Book Review // Stiff - Mary Roach

Perfect choice of book review for Halloween, right? When I first found out about Mary Roach's Stiff, I bought it immediately and dived in the second it arrived. Remember 2008's Stephen Fry in America where he visited the body farm? That was the highlight of the series for me and I was thrilled to find out that this book had more information on the University of Tennessee Anthropological Research Facility, to give it its full name, as well as a whole host of other ways cadavers are used after being donated to science. Since watching the recent Channel 5 documentary Body Donors, it's something I've been considering and figured this book would give me an insight into what may happen to my body after death if I decide to do so.
Honest review of Mary Roach Stiff


FF CXLIV // Halloween special

Laura Palmer make up look
I've never seen Twin Peaks so don't know the context behind Shannen's Laura Palmer look but wow! Look at it! 
Evil mermaid make up look
Every year, I am in awe of Georgina's Halloween make up but I think this evil mermaid look might be my favourite yet! 
Halloween wound special effects
Michelle's wound effects are amazing!
Halloween party snacks
Kirsty's Halloween movie night looks so fun!
Halloween themed music and songs
Emily's Halloween playlist is perfect! 
Halloween themed readathon
Imogen's Hallowreadathon is such a good idea! 

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Halloween look // Bride of Frankenstein

What with Laura's wedding right around the corner, I haven't had as much time to devote to Halloween looks as I'd like. Nevertheless, I had some spare time today and thought I'd give a quick Bride of Frankenstein look a whirl.
Halloween make up look


Spooky books on my bookshelf

Ooh, creepy books are my jam! Anything that's a little eerie or macabre is right up my street, so it took me a while to choose just a few highlights. Some of these I already featured in my top 5 books about death but I could hardly miss them out! If you're looking for some Halloween reads, start here!

Spooky reads for Halloween


John Rylands Library

When I was heading up to Manchester, I asked for suggestions of places to visit and a whole bunch of people recommended John Rylands Library. Well, you guys certainly know me well because I loved it! 
John Rylands exterior architectureAlthough Jamie only lives a mile out of the city centre, he'd always walked straight past the library, dismissing it as a church due to its gorgeous neo-gothic architecture. It was commissioned in the late 1800s, opening on the very first day of the 20th century, by Enriqueta Rylands as a memorial to her late husband, John. The pair were rich philanthropists (John Rylands was actually the UK's first millionaire, and later the first multimillionaire) and after her husband's death, Enriqueta had the idea of opening a public library in his name to serve the local community- then the most deprived area in Britain. Unfortunately this meant she had to knock down a load of dwellings housed by the poor but there you go!

My favourite creepy artworks

It will come as a surprise to nobody that my favourite artworks are those that are a little creepy in some way (they're also all postmodern sculptures because that's my thang). With Halloween approaching, I've decided to pop a spotlight on some of my favourite spooky sculptures. 

Marc Quinn- Self
Marc Quinn Self

This is one of my favourite pieces ever. It's a simple sculpture of the artist's head. Just your basic self-portrait. Except it's made from eight pints of Quinn's own blood. It's frozen inside a refrigerated unit so it retains its shape and, interestingly, Quinn makes a new one every five years. Talk about commitment! Until it was loaned out, one of my favourite things to do in London was hover next to the sculpture and watch people's reactions as they realised what it was made of.


Review // Lush Halloween 2015

I know the real draw of Lush at the end of the year is the Christmas collection, but I am very partial to the Halloween products. It's a shame they're released at the same time really because a) it means I have to spend all my wages buying both collections at once and b) Halloween tends to get overshadowed. Unfortunately 2015 has let me down a little. Remember last year where we had a bunch of brand new products and two Bonfire Night bath bombs? This time round, we have one new product- Nightwing shower jelly- as well as two returning and the Lord of Misrule shower gel that is part of the permanent collection at Lush Oxford Street. It's all a bit underwhelming compared to 2014's offerings. A shame but, of course, each product is fantastic so I'll let them off this once!
Lush Halloween 2015 collection review

Walking the Cobbles // Coronation Street Tour

When I was growing up, our TV was always on ITV at 7:30pm. Although I never would have called myself a Coronation Street fan per se (apart from 1999 when I was in love with Adam Rickett and was most disappointed to be on my residential school trip when Nick married Leanne, complete with a bare-chested bed scene), it was a big part of my childhood and I was super eager to visit the Coronation Street Tour in Manchester. Finally, this week, my brother Jamie- who lives a mile down the road from the tour- and I got the chance to walk the cobbles ourselves. 
Coronation Street Tour Review


Morbid London

In the summer, I wrote a list of the best free things to do in London, and with Halloween coming up, I thought I'd write a similar guide, this time on the creepiest, spookiest, most morbid things to do in London. My specialist subject and not a cheesy tourist hotspot in sight! 
Creepy, spooky, morbid, death-related things to do in London


Haunted London Theatreland Tour with Secret London Walking Tours and Every Hotels

Halloween is coming up and everyone is getting into the spooky spirit. As everyone knows, anything to do with death and the afterlife is right up my street so I was super excited to be invited on the Haunted Theatreland tour with Secret London Walking Tours and Every Hotels
Red London Telephone Boxes


Panasonic IPL Hair Removal System

Laser hair removal is always something I've wanted to try. In fact, it's up there on my 101 in 1001 goals. For one reason or another, though, I've never got round to actually trying it. So when I was asked to review a Panasonic IPL Hair Removal System, it seemed like the perfect at-home alternative to lasers.
Honest review of Panasonic IPL Hair Removal System

I say excited. I was also absolutely terrified. Reading the manual, there were all sorts of danger warnings and information on what to do in the event of "intense pain". Taking a deep breath, I set my appliance to the recommended LV1 output level and pressed it against my skin. There was a bright red flash, a beep and... no pain. Nothing. It just felt like a plastic appliance being pressed against my skin which is, essentially, exactly what was happening.

The flash is really, really bright, more so than I expected, but that is the scariest part of the experience. Once it had flashed, I moved the head of the appliance to the next area of my leg and repeated. Nothing scary about it whatsoever. No pain, no redness, no burning sensations. That said, this is the lowest of 5 output levels so perhaps the others are more unpleasant.

I've found the instructions a little unclear, which is why I'm still on LV1. The manual recommends to start on this level for 2 weeks before increasing "the output level one step at a time", but doesn't give an indication of how long to stay on each level for. It also warns that I should "check the output level suits your skin", but I can't find any guidance on how to do this. Another issue I have is that you need to shave before using the product. This makes sense, as otherwise the hairs would singe and cause pain, but it does make it quite difficult to check which areas I've covered and I'm wary of going over the same area of skin twice. 
Panasonic IPL Hair Removal System Results
Aside from this, the IPL system is easy to use. It's cordless, so it can be used anywhere and is simply plugged into the mains to charge. The size and shape of the appliance is just about perfect for my hands- it's not unwieldy or particularly heavy- and the button controls are easy to get to grips with.

Of course you all want to know whether I've seen any results. Well, as it's recommended I only use the IPL Hair Removal System for one session of 10 minutes every fortnight, it's hard to tell right now. It does seem that my hair is growing back finer than it was before but I can't confirm if that's true or just wishful thinking. I will be writing an update in a few months time so I'm crossing my fingers that I see some fantastic results.
How painful is IPL Hair Removal?
All in all, I've been pleasantly surprised by my Panasonic IPL Hair Removal System. With no pain at all and a really easy-to-use appliance, I'm hoping this will be a revolution in the way I remove my hair!

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Nails // Essie Chinchilly

When I got my nails done this time, I'd already decided on a grey shade, specifically Essie Fancy Pants. Unfortunately, when I arrived at the salon, the bottle had gone AWOL. However, they did have Essie Chinchilly which seemed the next best thing.
Essie Chinchilly swatch


Review // Bobbi Brown Face Touch Up Stick

I am always looking to create my perfect base. While I've long since found my go-to lipsticks, blushers and mascaras, I still haven't found that perfect foundation or concealer. The up side of this is that it entails lots of experimentation with different brands. Every time I finish a concealer, I try out a different one and, as I'm almost finished with my Bare Minerals Colour Correcting Concealer (I was going to say "already!" but it turns out I've actually had it 10 months- Where has the time gone?), I've branched out to this- the Bobbi Brown Face Touch Up Stick.
Blogger review of Bobbi Brown Face Touch Up Stick in Porcelain


Mira Mess Makers // Making toiletries at home

I don't like mess. Actually, let me rephrase that. I don't like the grubby, sticky kind of mess. Clutter I'm fine with but I'm not a huge fan of getting my hands dirty so, of course, the Mira Mess Makers challenge seemed like a great idea. After being sent a parcel of various ingredients- the kind you'd find in your kitchen cupboards such as honey and cocoa powder- I was challenged to make a collection of toiletries using only those items and water from the tap. Oh, you know how I said I don't like mess? I don't cook either. I am of zero use when it comes to ingredients, following recipes and getting messy. What could possibly go wrong...?
Homemade toiletries and cosmetics


Sponsored Video // Lose the Label: Vichy Dermablend Corrective Fluid Foundation, Corrective Stick and Setting Powder Review

You're probably already aware of Vichy Dermablend, the high-coverage cosmetics designed to camouflage redness, acne, dark circles and other skin complaints. Now Dermablend have created their Lose the Label campaign, inviting users to discover a new, confident self with flawless skin. To help spread the word, Dermablend kindly invited me to try some of their products and find out first hand how it feels to be skin confident. As I've mentioned in the past, I suffer from dermatillomania, which is compulsive skin picking, so I often feel self-conscious of the scabs and scars on my face. This campaign seemed perfect for me, especially as my skin is quite bad at the moment, and I couldn't wait to try the products out for myself!
Vichy Dermablend Make Up Review


All the lessons I have learned in my life

One lesson for every year of my life. Excluding the ones I can't remember, of course!

1995, aged 7: Your brother, even though he's younger than you, will learn to do things before you if you're not quick. That cannot happen.

1996, aged 8: Beautiful is spelt B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L. Year 4 goal smashed! 

1997, aged 9: Sometimes you do win things in competitions... but don't get too excited because that penguin-shaped bouncy ball is the only thing you'll ever win in your life.

1998, aged 10: England will never win the World Cup but that won't stop you wearing ALL the England kit when they're playing. 

1999, aged 11: Looking in all the cupboards when your mum is out will give you the answers to everything. Yes, she's pregnant. 


Review // Lush Superbalm Scalp Treatment

I've always suffered from a really dry scalp and it drives me mad! Thankfully it's not itchy or painful but it is very annoying. Since Lush is practically my home, I had a nose around to see what they could offer and discovered Superbalm Scalp Treatment.
Lush Superbalm Scalp Treatment review


Bloggers' Blog Awards

I'm pretty sure everyone in the UK blogging community knows about the Bloggers' Blog Awards that were held last weekend. Hayley of Tea Party Beauty set up the awards in response to the sudden disappearance (and mysterious recent reappearance!) of the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards and, as I was in the running for Best Established Lifestyle Blog, I was invited to attend the ceremony in Leeds. 
Blogger friends



Guess who went away for the weekend and forgot to schedule posts? Yep, that would be me! Nevertheless, here are my Sunday Favourites for the week!
Nautical blue and white striped trousers
I'm not usually one for trousers but I do love Lucy's nautical pair
Visiting Friends Central Perk set Warner Bros Studio California
Amber has been to the Warner Bros Studios in California and I'm super jealous! 
Blue hair braids plaits
Kat's blue braids are so cute! 
Boats in Italy
Louise's travel posts give me such wanderlust! Her photos from Positano and Capri are gorgeous!
Ariel The Little Mermaid Dismaland
I'm so jealous that Emily made it to Dismaland

Weekly Wishlist // Halloween
Nice Halloween clothes and accessories

It's October now which means it's officially time to get excited about Halloween! There are so many amazing Halloween-themed clothes available and I've found from previous years that it's best to order well in advance!

Ghost jumper (also in plus size) // Nightmare shoes // Spider tights (also in plus size) // Teen Witch jumper // Skeleton dress (also in plus size)

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