Saturday, 30 August 2014

One of those days...

Does anyone else have one of those days where you wake up and think, 'What the hell am I doing with my life?' I'm sitting here in my pajamas, sipping a cup of tea and feeling quite guilty over the fact that I just attacked a harmless box of After Eights in the most unsavoury fashion. It's probably worth mentioning that I'm hungover too. 

When and how did this happen? Okay, the hangover is due to the fact that I consumed silly amounts of sparkling wine with the girls last night and as for the After Eights, I'm going with the fact that due to their minty flavour, eating them is technically considered as brushing your teeth. I mean, my mouth does actually feel rather fresh right now. 

Also, I binge ate cheesy chips last night, therefore breaking my low-carb diet in a dramatic fashion. I lasted two and a half days though, which is fraction less than the amount of time I stuck to the ab challenge. It's pretty much Oslo's fault that one didn't work out. Nobody wants to exercise on their jollies now do they! So at some stage, I need to start this sorry process all over again. Oh how my life is so far from those watermelon and quinoa munching yoga gurus you see littered all over Instagram. 

Half-way into my cup of tea, I have only just realised that I forgot to put my usual sweetener into it. Clearly the After Eight aftermath has worn off and my taste buds have roused from their chocolate-induced coma. I'm pretty sure that airport security can just skip me when I next take a flight. I haven't heard of many people being able to create an explosive device, yet unable to make a simple hot beverage. I'm pretty, 'low risk' I reckon. 

This morning, I cried watching a child cry over getting a new puppy. Not even in real life. It was a video that was circulating on Facebook. The child had a really annoying whine but it didn't matter. The tears flowed, as they did last night when I had finished gorging on chips, because Scott really didn't seem to understand the fact that I loved him, in quite the way I wanted him to. Of course, it was nothing to do with the fact that it was 3am and he had work the next morning or anything. I'm pretty much that emotional drunk girl. I also managed to fall on my arse in the club trying to move a chair to sit on, shortly before making a stealth-like exit; but we can just gloss right over that one. 

Finally, I'm just going to put it out there that I am currently living in conditions of squalour. My apartment could probably feature on a Channel 4 documentary and I'm pretty sure I would become a trending hashtag. #FinlandsBiggestScruff or probably something a bit more clever than that, I just really haven't got the brain power today to come up with anything witty. It's worth pointing out that I'm living in such conditions due to the fact that 90% of my personal belongings are boxed up ready to move apartment next week, and not in fact because I have hygiene related issues or anything. Maybe I should just stop writing this post now. 

Here's a completely unrelated, but totally relatable meme:

Over and out. 
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Friday, 29 August 2014

Sum up your blog in three words...

If you could sum your blog up in three words, what would they be? That's the question today folks. I'm not entirely sure where the idea for this blog post came from? Perhaps I was thinking about dating websites and how you only have a minimal number of characters in which to sell yourself to a potential suiter. Not that I'm out trawling dating websites or indeed signing myself up to any. (I think my fiance would have something to say about it if I was!) My point being that, if you had to sell yourself and your blog to the general population, what words would you pluck out of the old Oxford? 

After wracking my brains for a short while, and seemingly forgetting every adjective I ever learnt in my long and arduous years of education; I managed to come up with three simple words to describe my little piece of the interweb, and here they are:

1. Light-hearted. If you are a regular reader of my blog, you may know that I'm not always entirely serious. I mean, who really has time for that? Pretty much 100% of what I say should be taken with a pinch of salt. I like to keep things light-hearted and fun. I see my blog as a positive place and somewhere I can write about things I daren't say out loud in front of 'real' people for fear of being carted off in a padded van by men in white coats. Okay, I don't entirely mean that, but you get my drift. Now and again I put on my serious cap to write reviews etc; however I still like to keep things light and entertaining. (I hope)

2. Eclectic. Firstly, can we acknowledge how bloody good a word eclectic is?! I think I did well fishing this out of the depths of my vocabulary. My blog is quite frankly, a whole bunch of stuff that doesn't really fit together. I see myself as a bit like George and his Marvellous Medicine. Everything gets chucked in and somehow something comes out the other end. I don't really fit into a particular niche, and I completely lack the commitment to consistently post about a specific topic. It doesn't matter how hard I try, the urge to waffle is just too strong for me to ever overcome. 

3. Honest. This is something that pretty much goes without saying for me. There are far too many days where I click on the 'new post' button without having the faintest clue of what I am going to write about. More blog posts than I care to think about are a major case of word vomit, or should I say, blog vomit? I'm sorry for that lovely visual, but it really is a case of 'thinking out loud' just tapping away at a laptop keyboard instead. I'd love to say I'm super organised and I have a tonne of ideas all panned out, but that's not entirely the case. You won't find me cropping up in any glossy magazines with my uber glamourous lifestyle either. I'm not going to lie, most days I'm rocking my pjs and absolutely winging the hell out of this blogging game. 

Now it's your turn! I want you to choose three words that best describe your blog, pop them in a comment below and sell the hell outta yourselves! I'm feeling like Cilla Black in her Blind Date days. Effortlessly Excessive Dating dot com... anyone? 
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Thursday, 28 August 2014

MAC Mineralize Glass in Fashion Perk

I must confess that I've owned this MAC gloss for a while. Well, since around early April anyway. It was a duty free purchase, a memento from the first time I ever flew from Edinburgh airport. Am I the only one that still looks for excuses for impulse purchases? Anyway, after bursting open my pencil sharpener all over my makeup bag, I decided to give it a good clear out and remembered that I had this little gem buried inside. 

I'm a bit of a MAC junkie to be honest and I always find myself being drawn back to MAC for many of my makeup needs. I tend not to wear too many lip glosses these days as I'm not a huge fan of the stickiness, but the Mineralize Glass is such a lovely product. 

It has the familiar vanilla scent that any MAC lipstick lover will instantly recognise. The formula is thick but not too gloopy and although it's a heavy gloss, it isn't overly sticky. It's the kind of gloss that you know you're wearing. You can really feel it on your lips and it's super slick. 

The gloss applies really well and is well pigmented to give a bright pop of colour. This particular shade, Fashion Perk is a plummy/berry which has a slight pinkish tinge to it. It's worth noting that the gloss does look a touch darker in the tube than it applies; however I still think it's a gorgeous colour. 

You can see from the swatch that the Mineralize Glass really does live up to its name. It's not for those that fear a bit of shine. In terms of wearability, Fashion Perk is an easy colour to work with in my opinion and is a lovely shade for Autumn. I definitely think I will be pulling it out of the makeup bag more often as Autumn starts rolling in. It has pretty good staying power too. There's no need for constant reapplying every time you so much as crack a smile and you can definitely have three or four mojitos without ending up all washed out. 

My only downside to this product is the fact that when the wind blows, you're going to get the inevitable, 'hair stuck in the gloss' although that's pretty standard for most glosses with a thicker consistency. It's not something I would wear every day, but it's nice now and again for a bit of a glossy shine. 

Have you tried any of the Mineralize Glasses from MAC? What are your thoughts?
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Wednesday, 27 August 2014

The 2 year countdown!

I toyed with the idea of writing this post because I wasn't really sure if anyone would really be interested at all, BUT in exactly 2 years to this day, Scott and I will be getting married! Cue me prancing around the room and squealing like a massive loser...

I honestly thought I would never get married; or more accurately, that no one would ever be able to put up with me til death do us part. It's quite a lengthy commitment seeing as I'm hoping to make it well into my 70's, at least. That's over 45 years of dealing with the fact that I am impossibly stubborn, having to accept that he will never win an argument and generally fearing for his well-being whenever I am tired or hungry. Miraculously though, he's still stepped up to the challenge. If anyone deserves a Blue Peter badge, it's definitely him. 

On to more serious issues. Two whole years is a loooong time. Undeniably, I am excited and have been floating around today in a little bubble of sunbeams and rainbows; however I can't help but have a bit of an, 'URGH' moment whenever I think back to the fact that it's 730 days, 8 hours and around 23 minutes. Not that I'm keeping track or anything. It's just bloody ages off, and whilst yes, it will all come around so quickly and I have a bazillion and one things to do before then, I can't help but wish it was a little sooner. 

In order to make myself feel better, (Or worse, depending on how you look at it) I decided to make a list of all the things that I could do in two, whole years. 

- Learn Finnish. Apparently Finnish is one of the hardest languages to learn and I've heard it can take up to two years to really get to grips with the grammar. That way, when I go to the supermarket, I don't have to tag along with Google translate or embarrassingly have to ask the locals if my orange juice has bits in it. 

- Complete a fast-track degree. In the UK, some universities offer 2 year courses which are the equivalent of completing a 3 year course, just over a shorter space of time. You know, in case you're in a rush. 

- Sleep a total of 243.3 days. Not really something I 'could' do, but more like what I will actually do. Using my GCSE maths skills, I worked out that if I have approximately 8 hours of sleep per night, multiplied by 365 days of the year, this gives me a total of 2920 hours of sleep per year. I then multiply this figure by 2 to give me a total of 5840 hours of sleep over 2 years. Divide this by 24 and it works out at a total of 243.3 days over the course of two years, that I will spend tucked up in my bed. Phew... 

- Become a body builder. I'm pretty sure that I could work my arse off in the gym and get absolutely ripped. I'm not saying I have any desire to do that, but I could all the same. 

- Birth a child. Moving swiftly on...

- Learn to play a musical instrument at a professional level. Does the harmonica count?

- Sail around the world, twice. Yes, I'd need a pretty decent boat and I'd probably need to spend a considerable amount of time actually learning to sail, but still. 

Feel free to pop your suggestions of things I could do to pass the time in the comment box below. The wackier the better! 

Does anyone else really, really hate waiting for things? 
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Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Clinique Chubby Stick VS L’Oréal Glam Shine Balmy Gloss

Today it's battle of the balms on Effortlessly Excessive and as promised, I'm going to be comparing Clinique's Chubby Stick with L’Oréal's Glam Shine balm. I have reviewed both of these products on my blog already, (Clinique Chubby Stick and L’Oréal Glam Shine) So I will try to avoid repeating myself too much and shall stick to comparing these luscious lippies. 

Both balms give a lovely semi-sheer cover. The original Chubby Sticks tend to be a little more toned down in terms of colour; however I have sampled some of the Chubby Stick Intense balms and these pack a bit more punch. The Glam Shine range itself seems to be much brighter and the particular shade I have chosen is less subtle than the Chubby Stick. Both are well pigmented and it really depends what look you are going for. Personally, I prefer the range of shades on offer from L’Oréal and many of the balms are infused with a gentle shimmer. 

My winner - Both. Although I prefer the Glam Shine range of colours. 

The clear winner of this one for me is the L’Oréal Glam Shine balm. It's more moisturising than the Chubby Stick and definitely leaves my lips feeling much more hydrated. 

My winner - L’Oréal Glam Shine

Both products wear really well and last a good amount of time. Even after a while, the colour can still be seen with both balms; however I find myself applying the Chubby Stick more frequently due to the fact that it tends to dry out much quicker; which in turn uses more product. 

My winner - A very close one but the Glam Shine due to the fact that I have to reapply less frequently. 

The lip crayon design is great for ease of application and you don't really need to use a mirror for a quick top-up. The packaging is a similar thickness, which is great for grip and with both balms, the product holds its shape and doesn't crumble or squish when it's being used. 

My winner - Both

Okay, I have to consult the Boots website for this particular segment as I paid the ridiculous, over-inflated prices in Finland. Via Boots, you can pick up the Chubby Stick for £17 and the Glam Shine for the absolute bargain price of £6.99. I'm crying a little over the fact that I paid almost double these prices. Book me a flight home pronto!

My winnerL’Oréal Glam Shine

My overall winner - L’Oréal Glam Shine

In choosing the Glam Shine as my overall winner, I still wouldn't rule out purchasing another Chubby Stick if there was a particular shade that I really wanted. The Chubby Stick is still a really great product and I love using it; however I would definitely make sure that L’Oréal didn't stock a similar shade first as I honestly cannot fault their Glam Shine balm. So much so in fact, that I ended up buying another to add to my collection. Meet Fall for Watermelon:

It's a brighter pop of pink than my other Glam Shine balm, and another brilliant shade from L’Oréal. I have been rocking this during the day since I picked it up last week. 

Have you tried the Chubby Stick or the Glam Shine balm? What are your thoughts?
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Monday, 25 August 2014

Visiting Oslo - Norway

I'm back everyone! If you didn't see my countdown on Twitter, (Yes, I'm that person) I have spent this weekend, swanning around Oslo with t'other half. I honestly had zero idea what to expect from the capital city of Norway so it really was a pleasant surprise. 

The view from our hotel room
We flew from Helsinki on Friday lunchtime. Just a hop and a skip away, or an hour and a half flight to be more precise. Oslo was the perfect choice for a short getaway. 

We stayed in the Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel, slap bang in the centre of the city. It was the perfect location for exploring Oslo and was in touching distance of Oslo central station which operate an express train to and from the airport, which means you can avoid hunting down a taxi, and also save yourself a small fortune in fares. It's worth noting that Oslo is not cheap by any means. The express train from the airport to the central station takes approximately 20 minutes and will set you back around 33 Euros each return. A taxi will cost you infinitely more; around 70 Euros each way. Ouch. (Norway use the Norwegian Krone and not the Euro, which I only discovered the night before we flew - Typical) 

That being said, Oslo is such a beautiful city and one that is definitely worth a visit. On Friday evening we arrived at the hotel and decided to have dinner and drinks at the amazing 34 Skybar and Restaurant. It's located on the 34th floor, (Funnily enough) of the Radisson hotel and offers panoramic views of the city. We had a table by the window for our dinner and it was absolutely stunning. I will be writing a full review of the Radisson in a later post so I will spare you the minute details; but the food and the drinks were delicious. 

On Saturday, we headed out to explore the city. After fretting about the forecast for rain all week, we were over the moon that the weather was glorious; albeit despite a teeny amount of drizzle in the early evening. I was a bit disappointed that I had packed, 'rain appropriate' clothing however, and left my sandals at home. Damn you weather app! 

Three trolls

The architecture in Oslo is incredible. There are so many interesting buildings and details; it was impossible to photograph them all. I literally had my camera glued to my hand throughout the day as there was so much to see and take in. We stopped off for lunch at a great little pub called The Scotsman. Having a Scottish fiance means it was pretty much a done deal as soon as we walked past. It had a relaxed atmosphere and the food was delicious. Real pub grub; but with a bit more oomph!

Of course, no trip anywhere is complete without hitting the local shops. Oslo definitely delivers in this department. You're not going to spot many of your typical UK high street shops here, no Topshop or River Island; however you do have the likes of Zara and Mango, plus a H&M on just about every street you come across. Beauty lovers take note because in Oslo you will find more beauty counters than grains of sand on a beach. Okay, maybe not quite, but you are literally spoilt for choice here and you can guarantee that if one shop doesn't have what you're looking for, one of the other twenty-bazillion will! Top marks Oslo. 

After a spot of retail therapy, we decided to wander some more and grab a few beers in one of the summer terraces. 

The strangest street performers
One thing I didn't expect about Oslo was the sheer number of people that were out and about in the city. I don't know whether it's the time of year, the nice weather, the fact that it was a Saturday afternoon or a combination of all of these factors; but the streets were so busy. It did become a bit of an annoyance for me as many people had seemed to have left their manners at home and just pushed past you or alternatively decided to stand in a public doorway and have a chat with their friends. Arghh.. It didn't deter us too much but if you're not a lover of crowds, you may want to avoid peak visiting times.

 It's also worth noting that there are a significant number of homeless people in Olso. You will find people begging on many of the streets and we also witnessed a number of people rummaging through bins for food. I was quite surprised as I assumed Oslo would be very similar to Helsinki and I have never seen anything like this on the streets there.

Karl Johansgate is the main street in Oslo and it is lined with shops and places to eat. It is completely pedestrianised and offers spectacular views of the Royal Palace at the far end. We spent a great deal of the day walking along the boulevard and taking in the many sights. It's a must see if you're ever planning a visit to the capital. 

The Royal Palace is enormous and sits ever so grandly at the top of a 'hill' as such, looking down on the streets below. I say a hill but it feels like a very slight slope - technically still a hill, I'm sure, but it really doesn't feel like it warrants such a name. You can walk around the palace and explore the pristine gardens. One of the guards very kindly let me take his picture. I'm sure he was trying hard not to laugh at how touristy we were. 

The view from the Palace, down Karl Johansgate
After a full day's exploring, we decided to head back to the hotel and order room service before having a nap. Definitely showing signs of getting old. We planned to hit a few cocktail bars in town, but considering how much our legs were aching from a day's walking, teamed with the fact that we had a relatively early flight the next day; we decided to head back to the Skybar in the hotel and drink them clean out of champagne and Jack Daniels. No judging, right? 

As is the custom when taking any flight, Scott and I made good use of the duty free! I have to admit that I made a small purchase at both ends, the first being a Dior lipstick before we left Finland which was half the usual price of the stores in my town and the second being a Smashbox waterproof kohl liner leaving Oslo which was a complete necessity as my current liner is giving me a major headache. Crumbling, snapping, you name it! I haven't photographed the liner yet but watch out for reviews of both in the near future.

Scott treated himself to a huge bottle of Havana rum and an equally huge bottle of Jim Beam Bourbon. Each to their own. We also picked up the world's biggest box of After Eights, just because... 

We have already discussed our next visit to Oslo and neither of us can wait to get back and explore more of what Norway has to offer. I think next time we would also like to travel further afield and discover some of the beautiful Norwegian fjords. Until next time Oslo...  

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Friday, 22 August 2014

Clinique Chubby Stick Lip Colour Balm

As promised in my earlier post on the L’Oréal Glam Shine Balmy Gloss (Link). I have written a review on the much coveted, Clinique Chubby Stick. The particular shade I chose is called Bountiful Blush, which is a a lovely pinkish brown colour. It doesn't sound particularly appealing, but swatched, you can see it is a subtle, warm colour. 

Lately, I have really been drawn to much more natural hues and have been wearing my brighter lip colours less often. This is no exception. For me, the sheer colour gives me a, 'my lips, only better' feel and is a perfect everyday choice for when you want to tone it down a bit. 

The Chubby Stick design is one of a chunky lip crayon and reminds me of my Crayola crayon days. It's easier to apply than I initially expected and you can pop it in your bag to top up during the day. The texture of the Chubby Stick is a balmy, non-sticky gloss. It's relatively lightweight with a hydrating, moisturising feel; although, personally I expected a touch more moisture than it provides, but it's not something that would put me off using or buying the product again. 

I like the style of the chunky applicator and when you have used up all of the exposed product, you simply twist the bottom to expose more balm. It's foolproof. If I had to pick a fault with Clinique's Chubby Sticks, it would have to be the scent. It really borders on nit-picking, but the balm has a fairly waxy smell that I'm not keen on. Once applied, you can barely notice it, but a touch of fragrance wouldn't go a miss for me. 

The staying power is pretty good for a product of this type and I find myself topping up, not for the colour; but for a little injection of moisture. Pretty much what you would expect from a lip balm. 

Have you tried any of Clinique's Chubby Sticks? Are you a fan and if so, what colours are you rating/hating?

Keep your eyes peeled for an upcoming post where I compare the Chubby Stick to the Glam Shine balm from L’Oréal. 
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