Sunday, 10 August 2014

Hello again?

I'm sort of tentatively putting my foot back in the water again. I didn't think I'd feel the urge to blog again, but a colleague told me this past week that it would be great if I had a blog. Seeing as I already do have one....

Anyways. I just returned from a week long trip to Ethiopia for work, where I ate a lot of amazing food, took part in a fantastic training workshop that will really help enhance my ability to do my job, and I got to see bits of my organisation that I'd only dreamt of seeing. All in all, a fantastic week!

My colleague who said I should have a blog was there with me, and it was a comment in response to the seemingly endless random information that I can recall at a moment's notice. I'm never sure whether my brain is a blessing or a curse, but I am definitely helpful on a pub quiz team (my favourite pub quiz moment was staunchly atheist me getting the answer to the question "How old was Jesus when he was crucified?" correct - 33 in case you were wondering)!

Things like knowing the exact details of Strawberry Shortcake's outfit (oddly despite never really having played with her as she smelled funny), or knowing that the use of the word Board to refer to a group of people that make governing decisions comes from the old Norse for table, and refers to the way in which the Vikings lived and conducted business (by gathering in a hall with a table at one end, where the leaders of the village would sit, eat and dispense justice, permits and all other things that facilitated the smooth running of the community).

See, I really am a mine of information!

Trouble is, other than being good at pub quizzes, and ever so slightly annoying everyone else by sounding like a smug know it all, I don't really know what to do with all this information. So maybe I'll just bore anyone who reads this with it. Maybe you could ask me questions and I'll do my best to answer them?

So I'm sort of back to the blogging. The break has been good, and I remember why I like writing. I realise that although I originally started this blog for a specific purpose, it has really grown beyond that, and I shouldn't feel pressured to writing about specific things. So expect more random crap from my brain, on the days when my head feels fit to bursting if I don't put that information to some purpose!

Monday, 23 June 2014

Goodbye blogging

I never really got my groove on with this blogging thing. I could never find a good place between writing about what I have come to consider quite superficial things, and being much more serious.

In the last two years my life has changed inordinately and I no longer really feel the need to blog. I occasionally get the urge to write something, but I usually get halfway through a post and give up, knowing that my readership has never really crept above 50.

So I think I'll call it a day. I'm not going to delete what I've already done, it will all stay here. And who knows, maybe I'll return with a renewed purpose someday.

Thank you to everyone who has read this little piece of the world over the last 5 years.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Everything must go! I'm having a clear out of stuff!

Spurred on by a minor brainwave about my next tattoo last night, I am having a bit of a clear out of things. I have gotten rid of a huge bag of rubbish, and I am giving away the stuff that still has some life in it.

So... all I want for any of the remaining items is the postage money. I can either post from Austria or if you are in the UK and fancy something, I will be back there in 3 weeks, so can post things when I get there as it would be cheaper. For anywhere in Europe from Austria is 10 EUR, and for UK to UK postage it is £3.

The photos below show what I've been giving away - people on my Facebook have already had some time to snap up some goodies so not everything in the photos is still available. What is still available is listed below each photo.

Comment below if you want anything, it is first come, first served, and I will update both places this is up for grabs accordingly!

Still Available:

MAC Pigment in Emerald Dusk - barely used
B Never Glitter in Purple - barely used
MOX Lipbalm in Peppermint - moderate use
Fyrrinae Pigment Minis in Kureneko, Callpygian and Alchemist's Curse - barely used
Fyrrinae Pigment sample in Immortality - barely used
MAC pigment sample in Rich Purple - barely used
GOSH Smokey Eye pencil in black - used twice and sharpened
Butter London Cheeky Cream blush in Pistol Pink - used 3 times
MAC Pro Longwear Paint Pot in Stormy Pink - moderate use with a brush

Still Available:

Simple Spot Zapper gel x3
Lush Enchanted Eye Cream - 2/3 full
i+m eye cream for sensitive skin - nearly full
balanceMe balancing facial moisturiser - almost full

Still Available:

Naked Gorgeous Curls - half full
Naked heat defender - half full?
Dr Bronners Lavender Hair Cream - 2/3 full
(not pictured) Dr Bronners Hair balancing treatment (for use after using Dr B's soap as a shampoo) - 2/3 full
alverde Argan Hair oil

Still Available:

Illamasqua matte eyeshadow in Stalk
Illamasqua matte eyeshadow in Intense
Fyrrinae pigment mini in Freya

Still Available:

Body Shop angled synthetic brush (5th from left)
H&M brushes (7&8 from left)
Zoeva blending brush (vegan) (9th from left)
Revlon blending brush (11 from left)
Ruby and Millie smudging tool (6 from right)

Ruby and Millie blending brushes x2 (4&5 from right)
Ms Mascara angled brush (3 from right)
Ms Mascara eyeshadow brush (2 from right)
Body Shop synthetic eyeshadow brush (furthest right)

Still Available:

1 x Ecotools blush brush (2&3 from left)
Ecotools concealer brush (furthest right)

Paypal for postage payment is preferred. Items will be posted as soon as payment is received! Happy shopping!

Friday, 20 June 2014

Trials in the oil field... more skin stuff

I feel like I've become a bit of a one trick pony, but I guess after 10 years of crappy skin, when you finally find the answers you want to share them with everyone!

I've been trying out some different oils with the oil cleansing method lately.
I liked the pumpkin/grapeseed/EPO combo I was using, but it wasn't quite right. I was still getting the odd little spot in places, particularly around my cheeks close to my nose. Turns out pumpkin seed oil here in Austria is much more balanced between oleic and linoleic acid, which makes it ok, but not optimal. Of course combining with grapeseed helped a bit, but it still wasn't enough. The way I see it for my skin, cleansing needs to be as LA rich as possible.

So I thought I'd give a sunflower/walnut blend a go. Both oils are really high in LA (sunflower can be a bit iffy depending on where it is grown and whether it is organic, but here in Europe it is rich in LA).

Unfortunately this didn't seem to work out too well. My face didn't exactly erupt, but it wasn't happy either. The reaction took time to build up. I'm fairly certain that it was the walnut oil as my day moisturiser contains sunflower seed oil and it is fine. Apparently nut oils can be sensitising for acne sufferers, which I did know, but I had assumed that the problem was that most nut oils are rich in OA. It appears the problem may be something else in the nut. The first batch of oil I did was ok, but it was mostly sunflower oil with only about 10% walnut oil. The second batch was where it went wrong, and that was 50/50 sunflower to walnut.

Oddly the worst of the reaction was on my neck and jawline, which tells me that it was some kind of sensitivity to nuts, as that is where I tend to get my food sensitivity reactions. So I've switched back to plain grapeseed and that seems to be doing the trick; my skin is calmer and no more spots are appearing (I'm also taking a few days off work, which will probably help a little; I'm convinced some of the spots were in part stress related!).

So, grapeseed it is. Nice and simple!

Monday, 19 May 2014

Being somewhat introverted


I recently got myself a new job, which I start in 6 weeks. In the second interview I had, the interviewer asked me whether I would consider myself an introvert or an extrovert, and how I felt I could work with people who were the opposite to me.

I paused for a moment, reflecting on my tendencies. My answer was thus: I am predominantly an introvert, but I have taught myself to be extroverted.

I am a classic introvert. Just for a recap, this doesn't mean that I'm shy, but more that I gain energy from within myself. I hate using the telephone, especially to people I don't know. I hate small talk. I like to party, but only when I'm in the mood and I've had sufficient time to recharge my batteries beforehand. I like being alone. If people come to stay with us, I get antsy after about 3 days, because there are people in my space and I feel like I have to be 'on' all the time. Big events exhaust me.

But at the same time, I have learnt to buck this a little. I was a politician, which meant doing a lot of things that were completely outside of my comfort zone, like knocking on doors asking for people's support in an election. It probably speaks volumes that I never directly asked that of people without asking them something else first - I could never walk up to someone and outright ask them to support me. I had to learn to network, when small talk is my most hated thing. I had to learn to deal with stuff I would normally shy away from.

So now I consider myself an introvert with learnt extrovert traits. I still need space to myself. I can still ground extroverts, providing much needed balance to their enthusiasm (unfortunately I always feel like I'm the party pooper as a result). Being an introvert is a bit of a problem when you're learning a new language as well - you need to be able to make small talk to improve your skills, but if you hate small talk doing it in an unfamiliar language is the worst thing ever!

I was thinking about this because I read Sarah Wilson's piece on introverts and extroverts. She mentioned something about going to concerts not because the thing itself energises her, but because the experience pushes her. That made me pause - I love going to concerts. Music is my passion and live music is what I love. But only when I'm alone (or with someone who shares my love for whichever band we're seeing). The concert will fill me with energy and love, but if I'm with someone else then I end up using some of that energy being 'on'.

I read somewhere else that introverts are best partnered with extroverts. I don't agree with that - The Beard is as introverted as me, but in different ways. He is much better with small talk and networking than I am, but less good with mass social outings to parties etc. I'm fairly confident that one of the reasons we mesh so well is because we understand each others needs and don't try and push them too hard. But because we're differently introverted we don't end up with the stuck in the rut thing - we know how to push each other in different areas.

Extroverts can be hard work if I'm with them too long. I need time to recharge, time to refresh. Not too much time though - one thing people don't always understand about introverts is that even we get cabin fever. All that energy that we recharge when we're in down time has to go somewhere, and eventually we need to interact with other people.

As with just about everything, balance is the key.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

REVIEW: MD Solar Sciences Mineral Creme SPF 50

MD Solar Sciences Mineral Creme SPF 50 is a sunscreen designed by dermatologists with skins prone to acne and rosacea in mind. Which is pretty much why I bought this.

It is a completely mineral sunscreen, with 17% Zinc Oxide and 2% Titanium Dioxide. It is very difficult to get a pure mineral sunscreen at this level of protection unless you go for the Australian brands, which are difficult to get in the Northern Hemisphere. So this was a real win.

The ingredients list is quite short - mainly silicones of one form or another and right at the bottom green tea, pomegranate and cranberry extract. It sounds on paper like a good make up primer with high sun protection. Exactly what I was after!

Except... despite applying well the first couple of times I tried it, as the days went on, this just wouldn't sink into my skin, instead sitting as a plasticky layer on top of my moisturiser. I did leave it an hour one day and it eventually sank in, and that was the only day my make up lasted really well on top of it. The other days it would just break up in a few hours, leaving me with patchy coverage on my chin and around my nose.

The worst part was the breakout. Despite being marketed as suitable for acne prone skins, this broke me out. Not all over my face thankfully, but along and under my jawline, and on my neck. I haven't had spots on my neck since I stopped taking the biotin supplements! They really hurt too.

Since I stopped using this my skin has calmed down quite a lot. Sadly, this does not work for me. I think it is probably the high level of silicones present in the sunscreen - I don't care how many experts say that silicones do not clog pores because the particles are too large to get in them. To me, applying that amount of silicone to my face is akin to using cling film (saran wrap) on my face. It is like a layer of plastic that disrupts my skins ability to do something (I am not a dermatologist) and it makes me break out.

My foundation contains silicones, but different ones to this, and they don't cause any problems. It is obviously a sensitivity to certain ones. But to me, this makes this sunscreen a big fat fail.

Friday, 16 May 2014

REVIEW: Murad Acne Fast Fix

I grabbed the Murad Acne Fast Fix at the till in Sephora in New York, on a little bit of a whim. I'm really glad I did, because this product is absolutely amazing!

I've always been a little reluctant to use chemical warfare on my skin because it is so sensitive - even too much salicylic acid will actually make my skin worse than better. So as this product contains benzoyl peroxide, it was a bit of a wild card choice for me. Nevertheless, I gave it a try, having heard great things about Murad products.

Murad Acne Fast Fix is a light gel that sinks in really fast. You apply a thin layer to the affected area after cleansing and before moisturising. I have a fair few spots at the moment and I probably use a dollop about the size of a small pea at most. It does sting a little on open skin, but this is to be expected. It won't get rid of a spot overnight, but it does significantly reduce them. I personally don't experience any drying or peeling as a result of using this, but everyone is different.

The directions say this can be applied up to 3 times a day - I usually apply in the morning, when I clean my face in the evening, and sometimes add a little more just before I go to bed. Beware, this can bleach pillowcases if it hasn't had a chance to absorb properly. 

As this contains bezoyl peroxide it is important to wear sunscreen if going outside, even in the cloudiest conditions, as BP makes skin sensitive to UV light.

The best thing this product has done for me is help reduce the persistent spots on my jawline. Slowly but surely they are going!

Sadly this product doesn't look as thought it is available in Europe, but hopefully as it is a new product it will come this way soon. Unfortunately although Sephora now ships to the UK (and maybe Germany), they won't ship this as it is considered a hazardous product.

Murad Acne Fast Fix is a key part of my skincare routine, and I would recommend it to anyone who suffers from persistent acne who can get their hands on it!


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