Thursday, 31 August 2017

August Books

Time for a little end of the month book round up.

I've been pretty busy working this month, and on the days I haven't been working I've mostly had plans for days out/trips to visit friends, so I haven't read many books in the past month. However, the few I have read have been big hits with me, so I thought I'd tell you a little bit about them.

Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury

Honestly, I can't believe it took me so long to get round to reading this one. I loved it. As a lover of books, obviously the concept is a little upsetting, as the burning of all books and effective destruction of literature is NOT cool. But I thought the text was exceptionally well written, as well as very accessible when it comes to style - it was a nice, easy read. I loved the character of Clarisse, and I could only wish that we had heard more from her and about her, as she seemed an intriguing person. I'm sure most people would hate the somewhat ambiguous ending, but I am all for it. I love that you can choose to imagine how things went on from the ending point of the text, you can consider the possibilities and choose the actuality you think most likely. All in all, a must read.

The Road - Cormac McCarthy

The Road is quite the modern classic, and to an extent, quite a difficult one to explain. The most important point to get across: it's an amazing book. It's effectively a dystopian text, as Fahrenheit 451 would be considered, but unlike Bradbury's text, it's never made entirely clear why it should be thought of as dystopian. There's a sense of apocalypse throughout the text, and one that's essentially man-made. In the short, it's about a man and his son, who are walking The Road to find the ocean. It's seemingly desolate, with the odd person here and there, and no one can be trusted. There's an air of cannibalism and this due to the apocalyptic environment, with a 'good guys' vs 'bad guys' simplicity for the boy. But it seems that behind the simple language and basic explanations, something much bigger and more serious is going on. A really interesting, thought-provoking read.

Half of a Yellow Sun - Chimamanada Ngozi Adichie

The last book for this month, that I've literally only just finished, is a Nigerian novel, and an incredible one at that. The novel follows three central character during the Biafran War, showing their different, yet intertwining, experiences. I thought it was a really interesting, thought-provoking read, with a lot of political and colonial background covered. The novel jumps around in time a little, which can be confusing if you don't quite keep up with it, but overall I thought this told the story more effectively. One of the main things I liked was seeing the different women the novel portrays, showing women from varied backgrounds and yet giving great light to the theme of empowerment, which I found really endearing. An amazing novel, and one I would highly recommend reading.

What have you been reading this month? Any recommendations?

Until next time.

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Instagram: abbielour
Twitter: abbielour

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Summer Favourites '17

Bit of a mammoth one today.

It's favourites time. I never remember to do these posts at the end of the months, so doing them seasonally may well work out for me. These are probably actually one of my favourite kinds of posts to write; it's a nice summary of what I'm enjoying and it's always nice to share the things you like with other people - like a post full of only good things.


Makeup wise, it's a great month for Kat Von D. Not only did the brand recently become widely available in Debenhams stores as well as online, I also popped over to New York in April, where I tried her products for the first time. Let's talk about the Liquid Lipsticks. The formula is one of the best I've come across and I've been on a bit of a quest for the perfect liquid lip. I'd describe them as fairly similar to the NYX Soft Matte Lip Creams but far longer lasting. My favourites are two of the more everyday shades: Bow and Arrow and Lolita, which are stunning. They're probably the most 'everyday' shades in the range, and I can't say I'd be one to go for the darker shades, but these two are beaut. I've also been loving the Tattoo Liner, which is probably one of the best eyeliner pens for me. It's just so much easier to apply than a lot of the other felt-tip style liners I've tried, and it doesn't budge. Amazing.

The award for the world's most beautiful highlighter goes to the Too Faced Candlelight Highlighter in the shade Rosy Glow - SO pretty. I've had so many compliments on how glowy and yet natural this looks, I cannot get enough of it. Originally I was going to get a different Too Faced highlighter but they'd sold out in the shop I went to, so the sales assistant recommended this and I think I trust her with my life now tbh. It's such a beautiful sheen/glow, blends in perfectly and it's not glittery. Unbeatable.

Some other products I've been loving include the Maybelline Brow Precise Fiber Filler in the shade Medium Brown. It was only in the past year or so that I hopped on the eyebrow wagon, so I haven't tried a great deal of products, but nonetheless this one is my favourite of those. It just looks really natural and fills in your brows quickly and easily. It's a no-brainer. I've also only just tried the Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara and I like it a lot more than I was expecting to. I'm a L'Oreal mascara girl through and through, to the point that I never try ones from other brands, but this one has been too hyped not to try and it's beeeeautiful. It just really works for my lashes and gives that nice wide-eyed voluminous look. Surprisingly really impressed.


The only addition to my skincare over the past few months has been The Body Shop Chinese Ginseng and Rice Clarifying Polishing Mask. I bloody love this face mask. It has quite a gloopy texture, but it seems to work really well for my skin. I leave in on for 15 minutes and then massage it into the skin as I'm washing it off, effectively exfoliating my face and leaving it super soft afterwards. Looking forward to trying a few more masks from The Body Shop's new range.


As I said in my last post, I cut off a mass of my hair at the beginning of this month!! And I absolutely love it! I was expecting to really dislike it at first, basically because I've never had short hair before (besides when I was born). But I'm so, so happy with how it looks and how easy it is to look after. The best decision I've made in ages!!

Haircare wise, I switched up my shampoo and conditioner a couple of months ago, as my hair had gotten limp and lifeless. I'm pretty sure there were too many chemicals in my previous products and it had started weighing my hair down and it just wasn't working. But I started using Lush products and I've not had any issues whatsoever. My long hair was always naturally nice and wavy, with curls here and there, but they'd pretty much disappeared before the switch up. So I was really happy when they sprung back when I began using the Lush Big Shampoo and American Cream Conditioner. They are really great, cruelty free products and they have worked wonders on my hair. I can't remember a time that it felt so soft and yet still had a lovely texture to it. And the combo is still working great now that I've got a lot less hair - also meaning the products last soooo much longer, which is also another major pro for short hair.


A couple months ago I made a pricey Debenhams order but they threw in a couple of free gifts, including a little set of Versace fragrances. One of them is a little too full on for me, but the other two are divine. They're called Bright Crystal and Yellow Diamond and they're both super fresh scents and I've been loving wearing them - surprisingly the tiny bottles have lasted really well. Think I'm gonna have to purchase at least one of the full sizes now though, as I've finally run out! Also still absolutely loving Elizabeth and James Nirvana in the floral scent - a perfect everyday fragrance, and no fuss whatsoever with the rollerball.


My music favourites of this summer are all linked below - albums of the year for sure!

Lorde - Melodrama


HAIM - Something To Tell You

Mr Jukes - God First

Solange - A Seat at the Table

Bonobo - Migration

Halsey - Hopeless Fountain Kingdom

John Mayer - The Search for Everything


Books wise, I've started doing books of the month posts, so I'll link the first one from July here, and August's post will be up in the next week.

Day Trips

I've loved day tripping over the summer, whether it be to go visit my friends, National Trusting, or a day out in London. A couple of favourites have been to Basildon Park, near Reading, which is a beautiful National Trust property. The gardens are so rich and the house was stunning. I also loved going back to Buckingham Palace with my Mum, as we had year-long passes, so thought we'd better make the most of them with a trip back (had the most delicious scone ever in the Garden Cafe). As this is posted I'll actually be in Manchester for a couple days, visiting my best friend, Chloe - so more to come soon on this two-day trip.


I've been to The Farm Shop at Bicester Village a couple of times now, but I recently went for brunch for the first time. It was incredible. Maybe even the most delicious meal I've had in my life. And surprisingly good value too. I had poached eggs, spinach, mixed squash, tomato and mushroom, with tea and orange juice all for £13! Such great food for really reasonable prices. If you're ever shopping at BV, you need to try The Farm Shop.

What have you been enjoying throughout the summer?

Until next time.

Social Media/Contacts:
Instagram: abbielour
Twitter: abbielour

Monday, 14 August 2017

Exiting the Comfort Zone

Guess what.

Chopped ma hair off lads.

Believe it or not, my hair has always - minus the one occasion when it was first growing when I was a baby - been long. And I mean lower back long, so this is kind of a big deal.

Honestly, I've been wanting to cut it off for years, as I'd grown sick and tired of looking after it and forking out a load of money on conditioner every month. But I think for me it does resemble more than just me having had enough of the hassle. It feels like I've just given away my security blanket for the first time, and I thought that I would feel awful and absolutely hate it and immediately feel like I'd made the wrong decision. But I am so, so happy with it.

I think me cutting my hair off shows how confident I've grown over the past few years. In a way, I used to hide behind my hair and just be that girl who's quite quiet but has pretty hair. Now I'm a little louder, a little prouder, and a little happier with who I am as a person. Cutting it off feels symbolic of that; I don't feel like I need to hide behind it anymore, because I like who I am. And it was pretty momentous when I realised all this. So much so, that I decided to donate my hair to a charity, in order to pass my safety blanket on to someone else who really feels they need it right now.

In the end, I donated a foot long plait of hair, so loose it would be somewhere between 12 and 14 inches in length. I sent it off to the Little Princess Trust, who use donated hair to make wigs for children who have had to undergo cancer treatment and have lost their hair as a result. It was important to me to give my hair to someone else, as, like I've mentioned, I always felt I needed my hair to feel comfortable in myself, and I understand that some of the children who receive wigs will also feel this way. And I hope that it helps them grow in confidence, until the point that they too no longer feel they need it.

I absolutely love how it looks short and I feel so happy whenever I glance at my hair in a shop window. And I feel even more like myself having let it go.

Until next time.

Social media/contacts:
Instagram: abbielour
Twitter: abbielour

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

I joined the gym

About time really.

I've actually been planning on joining the gym for about two years, but either never got round to it or felt it was an unnecessary expense. In some ways I still think it is (it's vvv expensive), but it's something I've been hoping to do for ages and am finally in a position to do.

Honestly, I'm really enjoying it. I think it's always a bit nerve-wracking trying something new or going somewhere you aren't comfortable and where you don't know anything. That's probably the main reason I've been putting it off. Comfort zones are both wonderful and incredibly restraining things. I feel like I haven't been letting myself get comfortable with exercise because I've had anxiety regarding the gym. It's all the standard stuff: I'll look like an idiot, people will judge me for not knowing what I'm doing, they'll judge my body etc, etc. But I finally had a breakthrough and realised, if this is something that I would like to do for myself, I need to do it and try my hardest to push those feelings aside. And I'm halfway there with that.

I'm now really comfortable with going to the gym. But I am still yet to gain the courage to use the weights room. It is intimidating. There are always men in there seeming like they own the place. And it's been making me not want to try out the equipment and get to grips with it. I think this is actually something a lot of women feel in regards to the gym: you become really happy with the cardio side, but the weights become daunting, not because of your own physical strength and ability, but because of the people you know will be around you.

Obviously, this shouldn't be the case, and I shouldn't, we shouldn't, feel this way. It is however a sad reality. I wanted to talk about it here just to get my thoughts and feelings out. And I've decided that August is the month that I'm going to start using the weights room. If, by the end of the month, I'm just using one piece of the weights equipment, that will be a success for me. I'd really like to achieve this goal, mostly just because as much as you can tone your legs a bit with cardio, it's not really easy to do that for your arms.

Hopefully by the end of the month I'll have found the courage (and found the gym during a quiet period) to test some of the weights machines out. That's my small and achievable goal for this month.

Until next time.

Social media/contacts:
Instagram: abbielour
Twitter: @abbielour