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Sunday, 22 December 2013

Christmassy Smiling Sunday! (Things I love #13)

A long time without posting I know, but here's some Christmassy things making me smile this week:
1. Going for the Christmas tree: Last weekend we went out to choose the Christmas tree! For the last few years we've gone to a local plantation.

2. Mont Blanc glass box: Yesterday a new tourist attraction opened in the Alps called 'Step into the Void'. At nearly 4,000m above sea level, tourists can get an amazing view of Mont Blanc.  You step out into a reinforced glass box from which you can see the fantastic panorama.  It costs 55 euros which is about £46. I think this is incredible! It was designed by Pierre-Yves Chays and construction began in September 2013.  The finished attraction was revealed to the international press on Tuesday 17th December.
To find out more, watch the video and view the BBC article here (via BBC)

3. Cosy fire
As it starts to turn colder here in the UK, we light a log fire at home. I love it, glowing and warm, perfect for chilly winter evenings!

4. Christmas jammies: This has gone viral online, a family sent a video message to their friends instead of a Christmas letter/ card letting everyone know what the family had been up to.  I think this is cute and funny and pretty Christmassy!
Via Youtube.

5. Nativity!- This was shown on BBC2 today, I loved it! It stars Martin Freeman as a heartbroken primary teacher who unwittingly takes on the task of being in charge of the Nativity play. Marc Wootton is fantastic as the  wacky classroom assistant Mr Poppy.  Brilliant fun, lovely music, slightly schmaltzy but hits the spot for putting you in the mood for Christmas! :) You can see the trailer below.
Via YouTube

6. Black Milk leggings.  Bear with me: Last month a friend of mine showed me the Youtuber Anna Akana. Check her out here.  When I watched one of her videos, I had serious clothes envy.  She has some awesome dresses and leggings from Black Milk. I checked out their website and here are some of my favourites: (All photos via Black Milk.)  I want all the leggings!

Galaxy leggings

Lightning leggings

The Great Waves dress

The Christmas Tree Dress
7. The Christmas Mash up by Bastille in the Radio 1 Live Lounge, I particularly like the strings on this :)

8. My favourite traditional Christmas carol is ' In the Bleak Midwinter', I think it's really haunting and beautiful.  This clip is of a Norwegian soprano called Sissel.
Via YouTube

9. My favourite Christmas pop song at the moment is Elton John's Step into Christmas:
Via YouTube

I'll try to post more over the Christmas holidays as I should have some more free time. Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas wherever you are and whatever you do. Am really lucky to be spending Christmas Day with family and hoping to catch up with lots of friends during the festive period. Don't want to sound all 'Tiny Tim', but feeling really fortunate to have health and family and thinking of those who aren't/ don't at this time of year.

Peebreeks xxx

Monday, 28 October 2013

Oh Miley (*rolls eyes*)

So the interweb has been flooded with references to Miley Cyrus 'twerking' at the VMAs on the 25th August.  This apparently shocking behaviour whipped the media into a mass frenzy.  I even watched the video clip to see what all the fuss was about.  If I'm honest, I found her performance truly disgusting and wildly inappropriate for her young audience.  I wasn't shocked; we have seen so many shocking performances at the VMAS in the past. child stars 'rebelling' or 'going off the rails', it seemed pretty yawn-worthy. I just found it vile and strangely misogynistic.

VMA performances of the past have always won column inches by shocking and surprising viewers.  We've had attention-grabbing Britney with that yellow python in 2001, Britney and Christina dressed as brides, grinding and kissing Madonna  to 'Like a Virgin'  in 2003.  In fact, Miley herself made reference to these performances in her recent comments relating to her VMA shocker.  Yes, these performances were attention-grabbing and strange but I didn't find them as visually repulsive.

Miley then went to great lengths to say that she hadn't given the performance that much thought and was surprised by the public reaction.  Pure coincidence then, that her new pop videos feature the same themes and dance moves?? (Teddy bears, twerking, sexual moves, that stupid tongue)  Come on Miley, at least be honest about your blatant self-publicity.
Via Youtube

I think, ultimately, she will calm down a bit and possibly eventually realise how over-exposed she and her PR team have let her become.  We've all seen tarty girls going off the rails on a night out or even had friends who appear to have temporarily lost all sense of decency and self-respect,  the difference is those people don't do it on a world stage,  pounced on by the media and recorded in its entirety to wince at in later years.  Often those drunken girls have a friend who calms them down or gives them a shirt to cover up, we can only hope that someone does the same for Miley.

I think the most annoying part of her recent meltdown is that 'Wrecking Ball'  has actually made it to number one, perhaps due to airplay and so much extra publicity. However,  I do think that as pop songs go, it's okay  I don't think the video would have lost anything if she hadn't been naked on the wrecking ball.  Perhaps she needs some more visionaries to help with her video production, preferably people with enough brain cells to realise that you can convey innocence, heartbreak and vulnerability using lighting, set and costume rather than insisting/allowing someone to be filmed naked.

Via Youtube

At the end of the day, her records may hit the top of the charts and make her a lot of money, but at what cost to herself?   Love her or hate her, (and I edge towards the latter), I think that she actually can sing, she has a great voice for country music and it's a real shame that her real talent is overshadowed by her ability to simulate sexual acts whilst not wearing a lot. Anyone could do that, but not anyone can belt out a country ballad.  I think she is gifted as a singer, but people are definitely not discussing her singing ability at the moment. You only have to watch her live performance in the video below to realise that she has great skills as a country star.
Via Youtube

People would question why I would comment on her behaviour as I wouldn't count myself as a Miley Cyrus fan anyway, but I think most young women would have found her performance massively degrading and revolting.  All young women have battled and continue to battle against sexist stereotypes and wouldn't thank Miley for returning to objectifying women in performance and music videos.  We continue to live in a male-dominated society, where women are encouraged to live their lives pleasing men.  Though I wouldn't say I am an active feminist, I would say that I support them and understand their views.  I think Miley is going against everything that they (and most women) stand for.

You can also read Radio 1 presenter Jameela Jamil's article: Sexpression, which I read after completing this blog post.

Peebreeks xx

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Smiling Sunday (Things I love #12)

I didn't manage to do a post last week, because I was busy busy busy preparing for a lot of job interviews, so as a result, this week's post is now pretty jam-packed!

1. Going out hair-
Went out for a friend's birthday meal last weekend and fancied trying out a new hairstyle.  French plait on side then pinned at the back with kirby grips.  Was inspired by hair half-up/down styles and undercuts as seen on Kristen Stewart.  I'm not ashamed to say I loved it so much, I left it in for a couple of days.. :)

2. Jay Z's 99 Problems-
An illustrator and designer called Ali Graham has come up with the funny idea of illustrating possibilities of Jay Z's 99 problems.  Some of the daily illustrations are linked to the lyrics of some of his tracks, others are just everyday annoyances. Made me giggle!

Via Tumblr
Whilst we're on this, I love this track; the lyrics and the video are ace so I'll take any excuse to post it!

3.Japanese artist paipai/fan
Bought this for 1 euro in Barcelona, from a Japanese interiors shop, when I went to the street celebrations in Gracia.  It was sooo hot and humid during my stay, I definitely needed it!  The image is well- known; it's called 'The Great Wave off Kanagawa' by Hokusai.

4.Night-time folk session-
Some of you may not know that I play violin and guitar and sing.  Recently, I was invited by other folkies to a recent music session as part of someone's birthday celebrations.  We got a bit lost on the way, but eventually made it!  It was lovely, out in a barn by tiny village.  Party-goers could camp in the fields nearby and there was lots of food and drink!  It was really atmospheric in the dark, the stars looked beautiful and playing music by the fire and lantern-light was wonderful. Sadly my photo of these seems to be missing at the moment :(

5. Alice quote-
have been in the process of changing jobs and looking for a new place to live recently and have found it hard to make decisions (no surprise there! ) and confusing and a bit lost at times.  One of my good friends sent me a similar link to this one with the quote from 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland'. A point well made!
Via Pinterest

6. Gooey chocolatey brownie- bought this whilst out for a walk in the park with some family and friends.  Super yummy and it was massive so shared it with my sisters!

7.Running distances pic-
Shows the distances in miles for a 5K, 10K, half and full marathon.  Makes me think that I should be on the lookout for an interesting 10K soon...eek!
Via Pinterest
8. Unicorn t-shirt-
 I really like the galaxy background on this! Sorry the pic is so small :(
Via ebay
9.  Biker boots from New Look-
I love the look of these biker boots, will have to save up some pennies... Might get away with wearing them with shorts if the weather stays warm!
Via New Look

10. Fabulous Fashionistas-
Last week I watched a great documentary on Channel 4 (now available on 4OD) about a group of six fascinating women with an average age of 80.  The title was slightly misleading, as the documentary is really about a group of age-defying, confident and courageous women. I found all the women really inspiring in their attitudes; they all seem to have refused to let age dictate how they live their lives and all partake in regular exercise, perhaps that is their secret to long life!  My favourite was Jean, a quirky and stylish woman, who seemed much younger than her 75 years. I think that she looks stylish and youthful, but doesn't dress inappropriately for her age. If I manage to be that stylish at 35, let alone at 75, I'll be happy!

I was also in awe of Gilly, a trained ballet dancer and choreographer who has remained amazingly flexible, despite her 87 (yes, 87!) years.  I couldn't help but smile when she discussed how she and her husband (who is 27 years younger than her) had received a lot of criticism when they initially became an item:
''Thirty-four years later, those people, they've either died, Haha!- or they look silly.''
Via That's Not My Age

11. Caledonia-
Over the last week or so, I've been learning the chords and words for the song 'Caledonia' by the Scottish musician Dougie Maclean, such a great song. It's been covered by a number of Scottish artists too, including Paolo Nutini and Amy Macdonald.  I love these three versions; they seem very different from each other but each has its own charm!  I sang it at a folk session last week and it seemed to go down well :)

What has made you smile this week?

Peebreeks xx

Monday, 9 September 2013

Make-up: Real Techniques blush brush and shading brush

I have been using the Core Collection brushes by Real Techniques for a few months now and have been keen to add to my collection ever since! They were famously launched last year by Samantha Chapman; one half of Pixiwoo and have been a massive hit with beauty bloggers everywhere.
I went into Boots recently and discovered that the Real Techniques brushes were on special offer: buy one, get one half price.  So I purchased (I actually paid with Boots store points!) the Real Techniques blusher brush and shading brush.

They are similar in style to the other brushes from the range; with super-smooth bristles and free-standing bases.  I like the way each brush has its name on the side and there are different coloured brushes for the different collections, making it easy to grab when you're in a rush!
I have been using the blush brush frequently since I bought it, it is the perfect size and the bristles seem quite fine so it doesn't pick up too much blusher, great even application. It feels really soft, which is great when you have sensitive skin.

I don't wear eyeshadow as often, but I have been trying out the shading brush. Again, it is really smooth, I use it to apply and blend my eyeshadow.  The brushes seem well designed and are known to be multi-functional, e.g. the blush brush could also be used for powder. Their variety of purposes means that if you're on a budget, you don't need to spend money on a whole collection of brushes.
Overall, I think these brushes are a good buy.  They don't shed hairs, they are cruelty-free and they are much cheaper than other professional make-up brushes.  Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't say they are cheap, but I think they are definitely good value for money.  I have had the Core Collection brushes for over 9 months and they look and work as good as new!

Do you use any Real Techniques brushes?  What do you think?

Peebreeks xx

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Smiling Sunday (Things I love #11)

1.Wedding flowers-
My friend got married last weekend in a beautiful simple ceremony.  She did the floral arrangements herself for the table decorations and very kindly said that eveyone could take the flowers home.  Lovely and so pretty!

2.Cute wedding decorations-
Also from the recent wedding, these little birds with tiny feathers were on the tables, soooo cute! The photo doesn't quite show how tiny they are, they are each about as big as a 1p!
Inspired by 'The Ring'- Image via Sandra Holmbom
Inspired by 'Alice in Wonderland'- Image via Sandra Holmbom
Image via Sandra Holmbom
3.Eye art by Sandra Holmbom- I recently bought this month's Company magazine and there was a page about this awesome make-up artist from Sweden. She is extremely talented and I love her amazing designs.  I'm astonished that someone can create such detail in such tiny pieces of work!  You can see more on her blog

4.Fresh blackberries, little bubbles of sweetness! It seems to be the right time of year for collecting blackberries from our garden. They are delicious, I have been dipping into them all week from our fridge.

5.Jam! My mum had loads of blackberries so decided to make some blackberry and apple jam.  I'm not the world's biggest jam fan but this is pretty good!

6. Vintage Bakelite Autophone-
I spotted this in a charity shop this week and couldn't resist! I love retro telephones and appear to be accumulating a small collection... It needs converting to be in full working order but lovely to look at, if nothing else!
Image via The Guardian
7.Tribe- Bruce Parry
This week I saw a great documentary as part of the 'Tribe' series with Bruce Parry.  This episode featured the people of the island of Aneuta, near the Soloman Islands, a population of around 250 people.  It was a fascinating programme which gave a real insight into the day-to-day lives of the local community and showed how Bruce interacted with them and attempted to follow their traditions.  It was amazing to see a tribe like this still exists within such modern times.  There are of course, some drawbacks to their island paradise which Bruce explores in the episode. You can find out more information from the BBC webpage.  The episode is available on BBC Iplayer until Tues 10th Sept if you live in the UK.

 8. Anything could happen by Ellie Goulding.  I still love her voice and I think she has made so many great tracks.

9. After the Fall by Kodaline. I uploaded this for free from Itunes a couple of months ago and recently started listening to it.  It feels quite anthemic and dramatic!

What has made you smile this week?

Peebreeks xx

Friday, 6 September 2013

Running- my experiences so far!

I started running in June this year because I entered the Race for Life to raise money for Cancer Research.  I didn't want to make a complete fool of myself so decided I had better start jogging!  I did the Race for Life on the 16th June. It was a really rainy drizzly day but everyone was in good spirits.  I would really recommend this for a first race, Race for Life is all women and I felt like everyone was supportive of each other. We did a fun Zumba warm-up before the race began.  The spectators were really encouraging, clapping for everyone around the course and towards the finish line!  I completed the race in 34 or 35 minutes I think! I was extremely grateful for my medal, snack and bottle of water at the finish.
A few weeks later I entered a village 5KFun Run which took place on Sunday the 7th of July. I decided to enter to see if I could beat my previous time and to enjoy the village event.  As it was a fun run, I thought it would be enjoyable and have a nice atmosphere, I was right.  It was a hot day (the hottest so far of the year at that point!) and some of the course was on a track with no shelter from the sun, it seemed pretty hard-going at times.  The support from spectators was fantastic, one villager had a garden hose to cool everyone down! Everyone clapped and shouted encouragement.  I drank water and carried on and kept going all the way to the finish. I felt really proud and again received a goody bag with banana, water and some goodies.  I completed the race in 34:34!
I then decided to enter another race as part of a running event which included an annual half-marathon and 10K, but this year they added a 5K to the event, so I decided to enter! You were not allowed to run with mp3 players so I was quite nervous because I always train with music to get a good pace going and to keep me going. I had been running 5K everyday for the couple of weeks leading up to the race. I gave it my best shot but I thought my time would be slow because of the heat.  I did the race in 28:56, I couldn't believe it!  It was an extremely hot day and I have no idea how the 10Krs and Half-marathoners got through it, they were awesome! I cheered them on when I had finished, the last part of the race is pretty gruelling; it's all uphill and very little shade so I really admired their determination and strength.  Again, I found the crowds were really encouraging, one family had the 'Chariots of  Fire' theme playing loudly out of their house, which brought a smile to all the runners' faces!  Lots of people cheered me on and clapped as we all ran by, it was great.

I never would have thought that I would get into running, I'm not the most confident person in the world and thought I would feel really self-conscious.  But I bought some trainers, whacked my ipod on and just got into it. The more you run, the better habits you get into.  You learn a lot along the way.  I would now recommend always stretching fully after you run or you will feel it in your muscles. I had problems in my shins after running and have found that a protein snack/shake and lots of stretching really help.  I always shower straight after running because you sweat so much (gross I know!) and it can give you bad skin. I also think my running posture is getting much better, you should run with relaxed shoulders.

 I'm by no means an expert and still have a lot to learn and I know that there are people who can run much further and faster, but I feel proud of my achievements.  I am so glad I started because I think it has built my confidence and taught me to go for more opportunities.  You will always be sweaty and messy running, (as you can tell from my photos) so any vanity is out the window! I'm hoping to enter a 10K next to stretch myself even further, I think running is a bit addictive!  I now run 5K 2 or 3 times a week.  I don't time myself, I just run to keep fit and healthy and to switch off for half an hour!

What sports do you enjoy?  Have you discovered something that has given you more confidence?

Peebreeks xx

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

What I wore today

Ombre top- H & M
Necklace- New Look
Denim shorts- Asda
Starry converse- Ebay

Today has been hot! Quick, get your shorts on!  Trying to capture every last bit of sunshine before Autumn is upon us. Also, wearing pale shades to make the most of my (fading) tan from Spain :)

This is the first outfit post I've done, so sorry for chopping my shoes off the shot and I didn't notice my shorts were rolling up on one side, d'oh!

Peebreeks xx

Monday, 2 September 2013

Monday make-up: MAC mineralize moisture foundation review

So... am thinking of doing a make-up post every Monday, let me know what you think!

Whilst in Barcelona, after seeing the sights, I decided to make use of the fact that I was in a big city with department stores and make-up counters. (Can you tell I'm a small-town girl??!!)   I thought I would try out MAC Mineralize Moisture foundation.

The assistant matched my ( actually tanned?!!) skin  to the shade NC40 and my skin looked good with the foundation- sorry no photos of this!  I usually have dry skin and this foundation didn't show any dry patches or sit badly on the skin. It looked dewy but gave a good coverage (it can be built from light to medium) and has SPF 15.  I was really pleased with the foundation and delighted when the assistant gave me a free small sample of it in a cute dinky MAC bottle!

It was very humid whilst I was there and I felt that the foundation felt quite tacky and slippy on my face, but I am certain that this was due to the humidity (Around %60!) as I haven't had the same problem when wearing the same foundation back in the UK.  

You can buy MAC Mineralize Moisture Foundation in the UK for £27 for 30ml.  I really liked the finish of this foundation and would recommend it for dry skin, if you like a satin finish.  I doubt that this would photograph well because of the SPF, but a good everyday foundation.  If you like a heavy or matte coverage, this foundation probably isn't for you.
Via MAC website

Have you tried Mineralize foundation?  What did you think? 

Peebreeks xx

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Smiling Sunday! (Things I love #10)

Hope you are all well, this week seems like a bit of a catch-up of things I meant to post a longggg time ago but never got around to. Hope you like it :)

1. Black studded handbag

I bought this way back in May but haven't featured it yet! I bought it from Topshop in Swindon, it was half-price in the sale; £20 reduced from £40, it isn't leather.  I love it.

2. This book by Emma Koenig.
  I bought this a few months ago from Urban Outfitters.  It is a really funny book with cute illustrations and I think a lot of us can relate to the messages about day-to-day life as a supposed adult!

3. Chris Evans' 2nd book
This week I read 'Memoirs of a Fruitcake' by Chris Evans.  I listen to him on Radio 2 sometimes, but am by no means a massive fan and thought he seemed pretty arrogant back in the day but I found this book brutally honest.  I think he admits his faults openly, has faced a lot of his demons and makes a point of showing affection for the people who have truly meant something to him in his life so far. I find him to be very witty and the book was hard to put down!

4. My new shoes!

I bought these this week, they are made by Bussola and are the in the shade 'tan'.  I bought them in the sale in Mastershoe.  They are real leather and I bought them for £19.99 reduced from £45.99.

5.Flaws by Bastille: I know this has been around for ages but I go through phases of listening to things non-stop, then forgetting about them, then rediscovering them! Beautiful lyrics and I love the tones of Dan Smith's voice.

6.That's the Way- Led Zeppelin.  I came across this on the soundtrack to Almost Famous (love that film!) and often play it when I'm out for a stroll! It seems like such a warm summery song.
7. That kiss!!! (Nick and Jess in New Girl.)
Via Tumblr
Via Tumblr
via Tumblr

 I know this all aired agggges ago in the USA but it has only been shown in the UK over the last few weeks and I can't believe I haven't put it on my blog sooner!   I am a hopeless romantic, hence several pictures/video clips for this tension-kicking moment.
I maintain that 'I meant something like that' has got to be one of the best screen lines after a kiss, ever!!

P.S. I'm a little bit in love with Nick Miller at the moment.. Yes, I am fully aware he is a fictitious character.
If you haven't seen the kiss you can check it out above (via Youtube), just ignore the cheesy reporters, sorry!

8. Daisy ring
Got this cute hand-made ring when I went to Sidmouth Folk Festival recently. It's relatively simple and made from Fimo but I think it's fun for summer. For more info check out her collection on flickr or contact
The nail varnish I'm wearing in this photo is 028 'Minted' by Revlon.

9. Cherries fan
Saw this cherries fan in a shop window while I was away in Barcelona.  So cute for keeping cool! It was quite pricey though :(

What has made you smile this week?

Peebreeks xx