Discovering My Wow Colours

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Last Saturday my mum and I went to Crystal Palace to spend the day with Ali Westmoreland, a Colour Analyst, Image Consultant and Personal Stylist for House of Colour. I had heard about Ali and the House of Colour from a mutual friend last year and knew it was something that I wanted to put on my list of things to do in 2017. I was also struggling to know what to get for my mum's birthday, and knowing that she wants to revamp her wardrobe, thought this would be a good idea.

Ali started the day off by explaining a little about the history of colour and how the House of Colour developed the idea of different seasons of colours suiting different skins tones. I clearly knew about the three primary colours being red, yellow and blue, but what I did not realise is that the primary shade of red has the perfect balance of yellow and blue in it. Every single other colour in the world has either more yellow or more blue.
If you can see in the picture above, the top two seasons are surrounded by a gold band and the bottom two by a silver band. This represents not only which seasons are warm (colours with more yellow) and which are cool (colours with more blue), but also the type of jewellery that will suit each season. I have always favoured silver jewellery so I was praying that I would at least be in the cool section.

We took it in turns to sit in front of the mirror with a white cover around us and a white scarf covering our hair while Ali held different colour swatches up to us. First of all she was looking looking to see if we were on the warm or cool side of the spectrum. It was amazing to see the change in our complexions as colours from different seasons were compared and I soon began to see a pattern myself. Once Ali had established whether I was on the top or the bottom of the chart, she then compared colours from those two seasons to see which ones suited us best. I was cool (YES!) and eventually discover that I am a Winter. Specifically a Burnished Winter.
After we had established what our seasons were, we looked at makeup. House of Colour have produced their own makeup and skincare range with shades designed specifically to suit each season. Together we worked out a 90 Second Makeup Prescription - Foundation, Blusher, Mascara and Lipstick that I can use for a quick get up and go in the morning.
After a spot of lunch we got back to work and Ali went through all of the colours in our season to rate them. While all of our colours will suit us, there are some that will suit us from top to toe and others that are better as an accent colour. The scores were classified as good, very good, excellent and outstanding and at least one would be used in the categories of 100%, 75%, 50% and 25% for each colour. So even if my mum and I had both been Winters, our ratings would have in all likelihood been totally different.
Suddenly it was the end of the day. It had gone so quickly, but had been incredibly interesting and a true investment in ourselves. All that was left for Ali to do was present us with our colour swatches that we can take out shopping with us and give us a few last tips for how we can move forward with this knowledge of our "wow" colours. Oh and the little matter of treating ourselves to something special.
Mum and I each had a £20 voucher that we could spend on either makeup, clothing or jewellery that Ali had at the studio. While my mum decided to use hers towards the foundation and blusher that had been used during the session, I used mine on this gorgeous Stella & Dot bracelet that had caught my eye. It's so sparkly!
We both had a wonderful day and I would certainly recommend a Colour Analysis Class to anyone who has an interest in style or even just leaning more about colour in general. For more information about the classes offered or to find your nearest stylist, you can visit House of Colour

The Sisterhood of the Travelling Book

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Last week I read the princess saves herself in this one, a collection of poetry written by Amanda Lovelace. In her own words, her poetry is about resilience and writing your own ending. The collection was self-published on 23 April 2016 which the book lovers out there may have noticed is World Book Day (for the majority of the world anyway - trust the UK to be different). This, I am sure, is no coincidence as on social media she can be found under the name @ladybookmad.

The collection caught my attention when someone posted one of the poems on social media and I just related to it so much. I asked what book it came from and it went straight on to my Amazon wish list (that is a loooooooong list). I finally ordered the book shortly after choosing my word for 2017 - "Stronger". It seemed fitting and I decided I wanted it to be the first book that I read this year.
I originally planned to read a couple of poems a night before going to bed, but that didn't happen. I could have easily read the entire thing in one night, but at the same time I didn't want it to be over too soon. Luckily the collection is split into four parts: the princess, the damsel, the queen and you. When I reached "the damsel" I forced myself to stop reading and continued the following night.

The subject matter is often difficult to read and could be triggering to some (abuse, cancer and eating disorders to name a few), but the journey of the author is a positive one as she grows stronger from her experiences. I don't usually read poetry as I don't often "get" the meaning behind it, but I was so moved by Amanda's story and the unusual style intrigued me. 

As I came to the end of the collection, I made a decision. I wanted to share it with others so that hopefully they could gain something from it too. I sent out a message on Facebook asking if people would like to be added to a group where one member passes it to the next and so on. 
Thinking it would be nice to get one or two people join in the fun, I was slightly overwhelmed by the response and ended up with over 60 members in the group that I like to call 'The Sisterhood of the Travelling Book'. A few people have some fantastic ideas of how to take the group forward and I am gradually getting myself organised and deciding on the best way to get going with it.

I would now like to take the opportunity to invite you join us. If you would like to become a "sister", then drop me an email using the link in the follow me section and I will add you to the group. We're not scary and we come from all over the world so everyone is welcome. And if you have a book that you think others may find inspiring then feel free to mention it. 

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas... I Shared the People Who Inspired Me in 2016

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I've left the most difficult post of my Twelve Days of Christmas series to the very end. It wasn't difficult because I didn't know who to write about. It was difficult because I didn't know how I was going to keep it to just twelve people. Somehow I have done it and so I am pleased to introduce twelve people who have inspired me in 2016.

Helen Beecher Bryant
What can I say about Helen? Dear, wonderful Helen. The woman is a machine! She is currently a Leader at five units (one for each section in Chislehurst Village and a Rainbow unit in Petts Wood), Division Commissioner for Chislehurst Division, a Trainer and has numerous Region roles. She might even have more District, Division and County roles for all I know. Over the past few years she worked tirelessly as the Lead Volunteer on a special event for members of The Senior Section during their 100th year, which culminated in Use Your Voice, a two-day democracy festival in various venues across London including City Hall. She's also an amazing poet and whenever she is at an event there are requests for one of her sublime rhymes. It makes me feel tired just watching her. She's amazing!

Emily Coxhead
I first came across Emily late in 2015 when someone shared the link to her Kickstarter for The Happy Newspaper. Emily wanted to create a newspaper to celebrate all that's good in the world. She initially wanted to raise £500. After two days that target was reached and by the end of the 30-day campaign it had more than doubled! The first issue came out in December 2015 and then one followed every three months. When they arrive on our door mat, I make sure that I take the time to curl up with a drink and read it from cover to cover. Each issue contains good news stories from around the world, a double page spread of "Everyday Heroes" where readers can nominate someone to be included and articles relating to that issues theme. Even the overwhelming amount of celebrity deaths had a happy spin as readers were reminded of how they touched our lives. While the newspaper has guest writers, the majority of the stories are researched and written by Emily as well the overall design of the paper. It must take her so long and all this is on top of designing, greeting cards and stationery and writing a book that is due out next year.

Giovanna Fletcher
What can I say? It's no secret that I love her! As well as being a full-time mummy, she writes books, blogs and magazine articles, vlogs, presents segments on morning TV and performs in West End performances. She is also a passionate and eloquent advocate of important causes such as CoppaFeel!, a charity set up to make sure that women (and men) check their boobs regularly. She can laugh at herself and has the most infectious laugh ever. I can be having a really rubbish day then watch one of her vlogs and immediately feel better. As far as inspiration goes though, she has made me realise that I have a story to tell and I just need to keep writing until it's out there. 

Samantha Goddard
Sam is my dance teacher. She's a right laugh, encouraging and puts up with my unpointed toes, arms and legs going in the wrong direction and responding to her cheery "Practice makes..." with "PAIN!". That's not the reason she has inspired me this year though. South East Dance, where my Jazz and Yoga classes and Slimming World group (and many, many more) took place, closed at the beginning of last year despite a petition being created by Sam and some other dedicated members of the community. They didn't let that stop them though. In the summer it reopened as The Howard Venue and Sam is now one of the Trustees helping to keep it open. They knew it was something that our community wanted and needed and they didn't stop until they succeeded. If it wasn't for her and the other amazing people involved, I'd be sitting on my backside for two evenings a week watching TV and eating pizza! 

Sofie Hagen & Deborah Frances-White
Sofie and Deborah are comedians that started The Guilty Feminist podcast. When I heard about it I started listening to the episodes on my journey to and from work and they had me crying with laughter and shouting out in agreement as they discussed a different issue each episode relating to feminism and equality. What I love about them is that they aren't afraid to admit when they are wrong and acknowledge that they are still learning all the time. I've learnt a lot from them, but they have also encouraged me to go and find out things for myself too. I'm a bit behind on listening to episodes at the moment, but that just means I can have a good old binge on them just like I did when I first discovered them.

Kizzy Harvey
Kizzy is a Black Status Younique Presenter. I had the pleasure of seeing her at the UK 2nd Anniversary Event in London and from the moment she walked on stage she had my attention. She bravely spoke about the troubles she has faced in her past and what she hopes to achieve in the future. Her story and her passion for what she does did more for my enthusiasm than any of the other speakers that day, and maybe even since then. If she ever decides that a career in beauty is not for her then she should become a comedian because she is naturally hilarious. She owned the whole stage!

Catherine Mayer, Sandi Toksvig & Sophie Walker
In March 2015 Catherine and Sandi founded the Women's Equality Party. It opened for membership at the beginning of July that year and just a few weeks later Sophie was chosen as leader. Together they have achieved so much in the first 18 months of the party's life and when I attended the Women's Equality Party Conference in November each of them moved me to tears with their honest and heartfelt words. And they inspired me so much so that when Sandi challenged us to do something that weekend that we'd never done before, I promptly decided to take part in the Open Mic Night in front of 1,500 people. 

Claire Mitchell
I have no idea how I found out about Claire and The Girls Mean Business. I think it just popped up on my news feed one day and I was drawn in by the pretty pictures and positive words. Oh and there was a planner. That's right. Haha. Claire is an Online Business Expert and has given me so much confidence to take my business forward in 2017. She and her sister run all of the Facebook support group between them and in the run up to Christmas they managed to parcel up and send out hundreds and hundreds of planners. This year I am going to take every opportunity to learn from her, but her vibrant personality and enthusiastic approach has already inspired me so much.

Louise Peatland
I watched a lot of YouTube at the beginning of this year. I found it therapeutic. It was during this time that a friend recommended Louise to me. Louise's personality is so vibrant that I couldn't help but smile as I watched one of her videos, then another, and another. I love how she shows how rewarding being a single mum can be, while still admitting that it is by no means easy. She has become an awesome businesswoman so that she can spend more time with her daughter and she makes you feel that anything is possible if you put your heart and soul into it. Her drunken vlogs also have me in stitches. Thank God I don't vlog!

I would love to know who inspires you. Let me know in the comments below.

On the Eleventh Day of Christmas... I Shared my December Favourites

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Keeping it relatively short this month as most of my money went towards Christmas and I'm still waiting for my main present to arrive (just making Christmas last that little bit longer) so there isn't too much to share.

I got some money for Christmas and most of it has gone on the above mentioned present which has not arrived yet. The remainder though went towards this gorgeous jumper that I got from Debenhams having seen a colleague model it so stylishly #sorrynotsorry. When it arrived my mum tried it on and promptly ordered in grey. Since we're the same size, I'm hoping we can share.
When we went up to see my uncle before Christmas, he gave me my present all wrapped and I couldn't figure out what it was at all from its squishiness. Imagine my delight on Christmas morning when I unwrapped the most luxurious onesie I have even seen. Most of my onesies are from Primani, but this wasn't any onesie. This was an M&S onesie! 
Scarf & Stationery
I also got this lush scarf from my manager for Christmas. She also got me some pink pens and a notebook (with an owl on it). She clearly knows me very well.
I may have gone a little one the top with the make-up this month, but we had some amazing offers on, plus I needed to stock up on some basics and it worked out better if I bought a collection that included said basics. 

The December Kudos was good little bargain. It included a Limited Edition Evening Carrying Case with a Splurge Cream Shadow in whatever colour you wanted (I chose Victorious), a Lucrative Lip Gloss in Lucid and Precision Eyeliner Pencil in Polar, both of which were exclusive colours for the Kudos. 
Then in the collection I got the Stiff Upper Lip Lip Stain in Skittish (not shown) and the Moodstruck Addiction Shadow Palette 5 as well as some more primer and foundation. Oh and I got the Moodstruck Minerals Pigment Powder in Awestruck too.
Then Younique announced that the Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes+ had been reformulated so I got those to try out before the release. I also had some Y-Cash to use so I got the Moodstruck Opulence Lipstick in Fortunate and the Lucrative Lip Gloss in Ladylike.

That's it for this month. See you next month for more of my favourites.

On the Tenth Day of Christmas...Normality Resumed

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So today I went back to work. Properly back. I was in work for two and a half days last week, but there was still the smell of Christmas goodies floating up from the kitchen so it was difficult to concentrate and knowing that there was another long weekend on the way made it even harder. It wasn't as bad as I was expecting. I was a little tired, but it helps when you do a job that you love and even more so when you like a structured routine.
New Year's Eve was a bit of a non-event for us this year. In the morning Mum and I went into Bromley for some retail therapy and then into Asda on the way home for the dreaded food shop. Mum allowed me to watch Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 even thought I have it on Blu-ray and I tucked into half a pizza and garlic bread that was in the freezer to use it up before the clock struck midnight. I climbed into bed at about 11pm and watched the first part of Robbie Rocks Big Ben Live. I just about saw the New Year in, but the fireworks went on a bit too long for my liking so I turned the TV off and enjoyed my first sleep of 2017!

Mum and I had a really productive New Year's Day de-Christmasifying the house. All the decorations came down and were put into piles so that we could sort out all the boxes before putting them up into the loft for another year. Once they had been put away, we cleaned and hoovered the living room, then moved the furniture back to how it usually is (my sofa is nearer to the fire again - whoop whoop!). We then hoovered the dinning room and the stairs and decided that was probably enough for one day. After all that hard word we deserved to enjoy our first roast dinner of the year with our feet up watching Skyfall
Yesterday I slept through my alarm, so it was a good job that I didn't have to be at work! After breakfast the dream team were at it again, this time waging war on the chaos and disorder that is my bedroom. There are, *counts on fingers*, quite a few boxes that have been piled up in the corner since I moved back home last year/came back from university/went to university... You get the idea. We didn't finish yesterday by any means, but we cleaning all the shelving and drawers and I decluttered and cleaned my desk. We also sorted a couple of boxes. My mission for the first part of this year is to GET. IT. SORTED! All of it. I want it done!
I also started my Slimming World journal again yesterday. It definitely makes me more aware of what I'm eating and drinking. Today I went over my syn allowance, but by writing it down I can track how it affects my losses and gains each week. I am determined get to target by my holiday in August. I do have a target weight in mind, but it may be that I feel comfortable before then especially if I gain muscle doing Jazz, Walking and Yoga and still lose inches. We shall see.

While normality has returned for the main part, Rainbows don't go back until Saturday and my fitness classes don't start until next week so I've got more to look forward to (I really do love routine!). 2017 is going to be so much fun. I can't wait! In the meantime I'm going to start my first book fold of the year.

On the Ninth Day of Christmas... I Cleared Out my Bag

I love reading and watching 'What’s in my Bag?' blogs and vlogs so I thought I’d do one for you as part of my Twelve Days of Christmas series. I have a really bad habit of just putting stuff in my bag until it's totally full so let's just tip it all out and see what we've got...
I love my iPhone 6s Plus. Everyone says it's huge, but it's no bigger than my Sony was and so far seems to work better. I also have an iPhone 5s (maybe) for work, but the battery doesn't last very long.
Holds my driving licence, debit card, Younique card, Oyster card, Girlguiding, Trefoil Guild and Women's Equality Party membership cards and my gym membership (which is now expired so out it comes!). There's also a photo of my mum and me, those loyalty cards you get stamped for the Wild Bean Cafe and the hairdressers, a post-it with what looks like a password on (no idea what that's for). In the coin section are my shinies from Slimming World, some Metrolink tickets from when I went to Manchester (chuck), an appointment card to get my eyebrows waxed (put in my diary and chuck), two books of stamps, a discount card for Pizza Express which expired yesterday (chuck), some receipts (they look business related so I had better file them) and a Younique charm. Oh and 36p. I'm rich!
Loyalty Cards
I hated putting these in my old purse as there weren’t enough slots and putting them in the coin bit just stretched it all out. I ended up stealing this idea I saw on Pinterest and punching a hole in them all and securing them with a split ring. So much easier and I don't lose any now.
Business Cards
No explanation needed really. I have a business. These are my business cards. And they are in my super cute pink case.
Glasses Case
Matches my purse. Matches a lot of stuff I own come to think of it. I have to wear my glasses all the time and for that reason I also have prescription sunglasses. I find that with the sun being so low in the sky during winter, I often have to wear them when I’m driving as much as I do in the summer so they pretty much stay in my bag all year. And if they aren't in my bag then they're in my car.
Diary & Notebook
I have about four different diaries and planners for various things, but this is the one that comes everywhere with me. It's got all my personal and work appointments in it and I'd be a bit lost without it. As with my diaries, I usually have about three notebooks on the go. This one is my business one so that if I think of an idea while I'm out and about, I can jot it down straight away.
I am currently favouring the blue freebie which I picked up at a training for work because it has black ink (can’t stand blue) and has a stylus on the end to use with my phone and iPad. I also love the pink one that my manager got me for Christmas. Not only is it pink on the outside, but it has pink ink too!
Bottle of water from a Happy Meal I had on Friday, a tin of mints, a couple of hi-fi bars that I didn't have at work because I had the Happy Meal and some bourbons that are looking a little crushed. Might just put them out of their misery now actually...
Lip Balms
It's a miracle that I even have one in here. My bag is usually a Bermuda Triangle for lip balms. I love Burt's Bees because it makes your lips feel all tingly, but I also love my Lip Bonbons because it's tinted and smells and tastes great. (Public Service Announcement: please do not eat lip balm!)
Badge Tab
I'm not sure why this is in here because I don't do Rangers anymore (sob) and I didn't even wear uniform to the last meeting of the term because it was Christmas. I'm kinda glad it's in here though as it shows how much a part of my life guiding is. In case you're wondering the navy badge at the top is my Promise badge (not my original one as I think that's still on my Guide badge tab), the gold and blue one is the World badge, the diamond-shaped one with the horse is the Greater London Kent Country badge, the aqua, diamond-shaped one is my Chief Guide's Challenge Award and the globe is from when I went on a GOLD project to Russia.
Cosmetic Bag
I've had this little cosmetic bag for years now and it goes in whatever bag I am using at the time as it's full of essentials. In it I keep Paracetamol for headaches, Nurofen for period pain, Strepsils for when I have a sore throat and tissues for when I have a cold. I also keep a couple of sanitary towels in there in case Shark Week strikes when I'm not expecting it, Rescue Remedy Pastilles, a hairband in case I lose the one that lives on my wrist, my blingy compact mirror for make-up emergencies, lens cleaner because I can't stand it when my glasses are grubby and a tape measure because I am my mother's daughter and she's taught me that you never know when you might need one.
Hand Cream
I suffer from sore, dry hands really badly in the winter. They've not actually been too bad so far this year because of how mild it's been. I usually use Soap & Glory's Hand Food, but Zoella's Hungry Hands is currently in my bag because it smells like Christmas!
Tea Bags & Honey
Until recently I hadn't drunk tea since I was little when I used to drink it from a Tommee Tippee cup. Someone recommended Lemon & Ginger tea for when sore throats and since I often get throat infections, I've made myself acquire a taste for it. Now I drink it most mornings. I was also recommended Manuka honey which has a double use because I don't think I could handle the ginger without it. This one also has Vitamin C in it so helps to fight those pesky common colds that lead to my throat infections in the first place.
Not only do I have a fear of my phone running out of battery, but I also tend to listen to music or podcasts on it in my car so my lightning lead stays in my bag and the one that came with my iPad stays at home. Again I think I’d cry if my Fitbit were to die while I was out and about. Knowing my luck I’d end up doing loads of steps that day. I don't have a spare so it's quite risky having it out and about with me. I also got this power bank at a training I went to in December, but it's probably not even charged. USB? I don't know why!
Camera Bits
This little tripod is years old from when I had a compact camera. It was so handy and it seemed a shame not to use it so I took the phone holder off my selfie stick (which I don't even use - I got it off Groupon) so I could attach it to the tripod. I've also got the remote that came with the selfie stick, but when I tried to use it at Christmas I couldn't get it to work.
I bought this for £2 from Wilko back in October and it has been in my bag ever since. I know everyone essentially has a torch on their phone nowadays, but it drains the battery so much (see above fear) so I find this handy to have on me particularly when it's dark in the mornings and evenings. I also imagine it would be great to shine on various surfaces to wind up a cat, but seeing as I don't have one I can't test that theory.
Random Crap
Letter from a friend in France that came with our Christmas card, a payslip, tickets from when we went to see A Christmas Carol, a lottery ticket which I just scanned and it didn't win and a pompom which appears to have come off a pair of socks I got at Christmas!
So that is the contents of my bag. Now I need to decide what items are essential enough to put back in and what I need to find an alternative home for. So far most of it has just gone back in my bag, just more tidily.
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