Red Temple Prayer

Happy Monday everyone! I hope you all have a great week ahead of you planned and if not, I hope it still works out as a mighty fine good one. This week for me is a bit of an "all systems go" one at work as it's a week without my students which is a nice breather, but it's also a super busy "we need to get shit organised for the next academic year" week too. I have a big meeting tomorrow to throw around ideas and discuss what is and isn't working within our department and also some exams to complete with some current students. It's insane to think I've been in this job now for almost 5 months but I feel like it's been so much longer and not in a bad way!

Other than this busy working week, I don't really have much planned other than getting back on board with doing yoga every evening as I've been a little lazy these last few days, and crossing my fingers that the weather stops being so rainy and cold so I can get back to doing my evening walks too. When it was stiflingly hot, I decided to start making sure I had walked around 1O,Ooo steps a day just to keep active. I walk quite a lot as part of my daily commute anyway, but if I was shy of a couple of thousand steps, I was using a walk in the evening after dinner as a way to clock those missing steps. As it was so hot on the evenings, taking a walk around the countryside at the end of my street was a great way to get a bit of breeze too. I haven't really mentioned it properly on NB yet, but I'm hoping to move house soon and whilst that's equal parts exciting and terrifying, it's also made me realise that this beautiful area that I've pretty much taken for granted at the end of my street needs a bit of my attention before it's not just *there* for me anymore once I move to a different town. Getting out in nature - even if it's just for 1O or 15 minutes - is so good for the soul and just works wonders on my general mood.

Before I sign off from this post, I guess I should probably talk about this outfit quickly! This is a very typical *me* outfit when I'm feeling a little stumped with what to wear and my wardrobe is feeling lacklustre. This skirt has featured on many posts here on NB and is still the best £3 I ever spent because I wear it to death. As for that gorgeous bucket bag, it is a statement piece that I love to wear that is bang on trend but still suits my style whether I'm going for a boho look or a more alternative one and it's statement in a subtle way so I don't feel uncomfortable wearing it. My favourite thing about this outfit has to be my raglan from Red Temple Prayer who are a great independent brand selling everything from clothes to pins to homeware. I own a couple of shirts from them and a few pins and the quality of their products is pretty damn great. They have some great jumpers and tees in their current collection that I just need to get my hands on for autumn time.

Red Temple Prayer Raglan | Primark Button Down Skirt (similar) | Asos Western Belt) |
Vintage Bandana (similar) | Matalan Bucket Bag (similar) |
Romwe Miu Miu style Pumps (similar & similar)

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Book Club No. 10

Happy Friday you lovely lot! This week, I thought I ought to update you guys on some of my most recent reads because it's been a little while since I last posted a book review post. I'm super pleased to see how many things I've read this year already but unfortunately, over this last month or so, I've fallen out of love again with reading and need to reignite the spark a little. I think it's a mix of reading just *okay* books and also feeling more tired on my commutes to work that have been catalysts for the slow in my book-reading-motivation, but I'm hoping it picks up again soon! But for now, here's a few things that have graced my peepers recently and here's what I think of them:

Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
Anyone who knows me knows I'm a big fan of the Jurassic Park movies - as a kid I wanted to be a palaeontologist and I've got a T.Rex tattooed on my sternum - but weirdly I have never read any of the books until now. First thing I have to say is if you're a fan of the original Jurassic Park trilogy, this book is like some sort of weird amalgamation of the first and second films and I guess when it came to directing them, they've clearly looked at the book and thought it was best to partition it. Therefore if you're going to read this after already seeing the movies, you need to enter the story with an open mind because it's very different yet similar. If you're unfamiliar with Jurassic Park, it is a story about a very very rich (albeit pretty crazy) old man who endeavours to build an island resort for people to vacation to. This resort is different to any others in the world though as it will be full of genetically engineered dinosaurs which are patented to the island and therefore the resort will be the only prehistoric safari park/zoo in the world. The story opens when various individuals from lawyers, mathematicians, to (obviously) palaeontologists are invited to review the park and get a sneak preview before it opens for the public.

I really did enjoy reading this despite it being different to what I expected because of the films. I found it difficult to imagine the characters in my own minds eye because I imagined each character as looking like the actor who plays them in the movies, but generally that fit just fine as the characters were portrayed true to the book for the most part. One thing I did struggle with is the fact that John Hammond isn't the cute loveable Attenborough from the big screen oh no - he's a whiny, spoilt, child-like old man who literally stomps his feet if he doesn't get his own way. He is incredibly heartless at times in the story and I found that such a surprise as he comes across as such a loving and caring man in the film franchise. However, I'm a big believer in separating the book version to film/TV versions as often what works on paper doesn't work on the screen and vice versa so as a standalone story, I did really enjoy this. If you're a fan of Jurassic Park then obviously you need to read this, but if you're a fan of fast paced action that has a scientific or educational element to it, you'll definitely love this too. You can pick up a copy of Jurassic Park in various formats from audio to hardcover, here.

Mirror Mirror by Gregory Maguire
The next book I read recently was Mirror Mirror - an alternative telling of Snow White by popular author, Greory Maguire (yep, that guy who wrote Wicked - the alternative telling of the Wizard of Oz). Snow White is one of my favourite Disney films, folklore/fairytales, and I like any sort of retelling of the original so I wanted to give this a read to see what sort of spin it was going to have. The general story of Snow White for those who don't know is that she is the daughter of a king, the king remarries and usually there is an evil step mother queen character who orders the death of Snow because she's the fairest in the land and she's jealous of her. There's often dwarves who Snow White lives with and sometimes she gets a happy ending. There's lots of retellings of this story and they all widely vary but this one was a little different to anything I had encountered before.

Maguire's retelling has a lot to do with Snow White's dad which usually, he's killed off quite early in the story but he's actually quite a central character in Mirror Mirror. I won't mention too much in case you want to read it for yourselves, but this story goes into great depth looking more at the relationships Snow White forges as she grows up and how they form her personality. I did like this retelling as it was unique in a lot of ways, but I struggled a little bit with Maguire's writing style. There wasn't anything particularly bad about it, I just got lost a few times and had to re-read pages/paragraphs because the writing felt a little flowery and so heavily descriptive, I missed the point of the sentence etc. however, if you like fairytales and/or you're a huge fan of Wicked, you will 1Oo% like this book, too. Grab a copy of Mirror Mirror here.

The Wicked & The Divine Volume 1: The Faust Act by Kieron Gillen
Lastly, I thought I should mention a graphic novel series I've recently started that I had been lusting over for months. The first thing that caught my eye when it comes to this novel is the slick, clean cut design of the covers that is quite unique in the comic book world. Graphic novel covers are often quite busy and give a good insight into the contents of the book, but this one wasn't really giving away any information and that actually peaked my interest. To give you a little insight into the general story of The Wicked & The Divine, here's some info from the blurb:

"Every ninety years, twelve gods incarnate as humans. They are loved. They are hated. In two years, they are dead. Welcome to THE WICKED + THE DIVINE, where gods are the ultimate pop stars. But remember: just because you’re immortal, doesn’t mean you’re going to live forever."

So the story basically centres around twelve gods who become mortal every ninety years and this time around, they've decided to become pop stars, rap stars, and rock gods. This time around however, someone wants them dead and although they disappear after two years, this isn't good enough and they need to be dead. When first starting the story, Gillen throws readers straight into it and doesn't leave much space for explanations so you do just feel like you're getting swept along with the tide until you start to understand things a little more. This isn't a criticism of the writing/story style though as I feel it really helps get across this idea of only having two years before they die - they need to do as much as they can in that short time and the countdown is forever looming over the gods' heads and the story gets that across to the reader almost instantly. As you can imagine, there's a morbid tone to the story from the get-go and even though the creative team behind this series are the guys who brought the world Young Avengers, The Wicked & The Divine definitely has a more grown-up and gloomy feeling to it. This first volume, although fast paced, introduces the reader to the characters in a great way and you guys, Jamie McKelvie's artwork throughout the comic is just gorgeous. I really love the art style in this series and it fits the genre really well. The story obviously has a superhero fantasy element to it, but it's kind of mixed with a murder mystery style and I think it makes for a great pairing. I saw someone describe it as the TV show Skins with a sprinkling of mythology and whilst they were saying it in a negative way, I actually think that is a near perfect description of it. It is very much a teenage angst sort of comic, but I like it and the fantasy elements of it make it all the better. I'm really looking forward to reading the rest! If you're intrigued and want to grab a copy, you can get the paperback here for £8.99.

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Updated CF Evening Skincare Routine

Hello you lovely folk! A few weeks ago I shared with you my updated morning skincare routine so obviously I should update you all on my nighttime products of choice too. It's been a long long time since I last shared my evening routine with you all and that's simply because I never really changed it. Sometimes I would add products in here or there or switch something out but ultimately, it stayed the same until recently when I switched to completely cruelty free products. So here's my updated current routine that helps control my oily skin, soothe any sensitivity I'm having, whilst also fighting that pesky acne and texture that can't seem to leave me alone.

Vita Coco 1Oo% Raw Cold Pressed Coconut Oil | - Ahhh, coconut oil. Coconut oil took the beauty world over back in 2O16 and I've got to be honest, it took over my beauty regime like no tomorrow. Back at the start of the year, I put together a whole post of the beauty benefits of coconut oil and I still stand by every single thing I mentioned, but the one thing I love using coconut oil for is for removing my makeup and cleansing my face. I used to use this both in my evening and morning routines as my cleanser but found it could make my oily skin a bit unmanageable underneath makeup on a long day so instead I just use it every evening now and it works wonders. As it is a natural oil, it does a fantastic job of breaking down makeup - especially eye makeup - and also softens, plumps, and moisturises the skin. It leaves my skin feeling incredibly soft and clean and ready for my evening products.

Superdrug Naturally Radiant Hot Cloth Cleanser | 15Oml | £5.99 - Sometimes when I want to be a little extra flash (read: when I can be bothered), I will remove my makeup with coconut oil and rather then continue to use it a second time to cleanse my skin, I will instead opt for this hot cloth cleanser from - surprise surprise - the Superdrug Naturally Radiant line. As a huge fan of the Liz Earle Hot Cloth Cleanser growing up, this Superdrug offering is a fab alternative if you're pinching on the pennies. Just like the rest of this range, the cleanser is incredibly gentle on the skin and smells great and is a lovely product to use in your evening routine as I find the whole process of lying a hot cloth over my face for a minute very soothing and relaxing which helps me chill out immensely.

Superdrug Naturally Radiant Glycolic Acid Pads | 6O Pads | £5.99 - My next step is to make sure my skin really is squeaky clean before I go in with my treatments/moisturisers etc. so I opt for sweeping one of these pads over my face and neck. I use these pads probably 5 out of 7 evenings each week as the glycolic acid helps lift dead skin cells and the added witch hazel helps tone the skin in one convenient product. I really like these quick and easy pads as they're simple to use, fantastic value for money, and leave my skin noticeably smoother the next morning.

The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG | 3Oml | £6.Oo - Surprise surprise, this stuff is in my evening routine. I raved about this in my morning routine so of course I use it in the evenings too. I always apply this first after using all of my cleanser/toner sort of steps as it takes a wee while to sink into the skin, but it is definitely my favourite eye care product I've used in a long time.

The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% | 3Oml | - The two evenings a week that I don't use the Superdrug Glycolic Pads, I use this Vitamin C moisturiser instead. Instead of the pads and my usual evening moisturiser, I opt for this one because it is a great gentle exfoliant to keep my skin smooth and healthy. I've raved about this product before, but this moisturiser has an almost "sand in your SPF lotion" texture which gently buffs the skin during application and leaves the skin tingling. This can be used both AM and PM but due to the texture of it, I prefer to use it in the evenings before bed. I sweep it over the face and neck, avoiding the eyes and around the lip area and my skin is noticeably smoother and healthier in the mornings. The vitamin C works wonders on brightening up my dull skin and even makes my freckles look healthy! I tend to use this more often when my acne is behaving itself because it can make my skin look even better but if I am breaking out, this can sting open spots a bit so that's something to bear in mind if you're thinking of picking this up.

The Body Shop Seaweed Oil Control Overnight Gel | 3Oml | £14.Oo - If I'm sticking to my usual routine and using the Glycolic Pads and need to moisturise afterwards, I like to use overnight gel moisturiser from The Body Shop. This gel is from the same Seaweed range as my daily morning moisturiser but this gel formula is more heavy duty for bedtime wear. I sweep this over the face and push it into the skin gently by using patting and well, pushing motions. This gel doesn't really have a scent or colour so it's a nice product to use but it can take a while to sink in and not stay tacky so that's why I make a little bit more of an effort to make sure it absorbs fully into the skin. Much like the daily lotion, a little goes a long way with this product and it helps keep my skin from becoming an oil slick throughout the night.

Oh K! Overnight Sleep Mask | 2Oml | £4.Oo - Guys guys guys, I've talked about this amazing product on NB before, but I have to sing it's praises again. I bought this mask during an Asos order because it was cheap and I was intrigued to try more Korean skincare and it has quickly become a crutch when I need an extra something something in my skincare. Although this mask is supposed to be for 5-6 uses, I have made one sachet last around 15-17 uses and guys. It's *amazing*. This mask smells delicious and 1Oo% reminds me of a scent from my childhood that I can't quite put my finger on, but the scent isn't overpowering and is a nice scent for my whole bedtime routine. It's a really gentle (you can see a theme here with my evening products) moisturiser formula that I just smooth generously over the face and neck as the last step in my routine at least once a week. I only ever use this mask after using the Seaweed overnight gel as it lies on top of it nicely without slipping and sliding off. This is my go-to product when my skin is looking lack-lustre or if I've been having some angry breakouts or dry skin patches. No matter what skin ailment I'm suffering, I pop this mask on and it genuinely reduces over night. Dryness will always be gone, acne will always appear smaller, redness and irritation is always soothed... It's just an absolute gem of a product. Plus the packaging is cute AF.

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