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Spectrum Unicorn Tears Wonder sponge

I've tried several different make-up sponges now including the BeautyBlender, Real Techniques Miracle Complexion sponge, Nika K Professional Airbrush FX blending sponge and a Primark version. I've done individual and comparison posts and you can find them here, here, here and here. The latest one I've got my hands on came in a Birchbox and is the Spectrum Unicorn Tears Wonder sponge*.

Spectrum Unicorn Tears Wonder sponge

The Spectrum Unicorn Tears Wonder sponge is a reasonably large egg shaped sponge that is available in pink or lilac. It comes in a resealable clear pouch but whenever I tried to get a picture of it inside the pouch the writing on it looked all over the place and you couldn't make any of it out. The sponge is latex free for if you do have an allergy to latex.

As with most make-up sponges you could use this dry but probably the best way to use it is to wet it first. I ran mine under the tap (another option is always giving it a quick spray with a facial spray) and I was surprised by how big this became once wet. Some sponges I've tried recently don't particularly appear to swell up when wet, but this one really did become massive.

This is quite a firm sponge, much more firm than the BeautyBlender, and I do tend to prefer a softer sponge as I think it feels more comfortable bouncing it against the skin. The large size of the sponge is quite good for using the rounded bottom for large areas of the face, but I felt the pointed end became too large for it to be able to get into areas like around the eye properly. I'm also not keen on using a firmer sponge around the eye area as you want something as soft as possible to bounce against your eye lid.

Spectrum Unicorn Tears Wonder sponge

Despite the large size and firmer feel I did quite like it and liked the finish it gave and didn't feel that it absorbed too much product. One final thing I did notice about this sponge was how long it took to shrink back down to normal size. 24 hours later it was still huge and obviously still damp. I would prefer it to dry quicker for hygiene reasons, but I guess this might be because it's a denser sponge than other.

For just £4.99 this is a good budget option (compared to the BeautyBlender) coming in around the same price as the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion sponge, but I think the RT one pips it for me due to being softer and having the flat side that I like.

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Lord & Berry lips & lashes

Although Lord & Berry products are now becoming more widely available in the UK and they are increasing in popularity, I believe they are still a very underrated brand. With MAC style packaging (sleek and black) and quality but for a slightly cheaper price I think they're a brand you should be taking a look at if you haven't done so already.

Lord & Berry lips & lashes

I'm a big fan of Lord & Berry's lipstick crayons and already own three, so when I had the opportunity to try a few more products I jumped at the chance. The first product I received was another 20100 crayon lipstick*, this time in the shade Audace, which is a shade I don't actually own. What I love about the lip pencils is they are so easy to apply as they're in pencil format and because you do need to sharpen them, which I personally prefer over wind-up ones, you can always get a precise point back if you wish by sharpening. I find these so easy to wear and long lasting. The only thing I'm not keen on is the lids as they do have a tendency to crack if you push them on too far, but then if you don't push them on far enough they can come off in your bag. As the pencils can be quite soft it's also quite easy to catch the lid on the product and end up in a bit of a mess. It's also a little frustrating that the shade names are printed in ink on the lids and they do gradually wear off.

I also received a Vogue semi-matte lipstick in China red*. Whereas Audace is a brighter cherry red, China red is a deeper, darker slightly more orange or brown based red. I do find this one a little more difficult to apply preciesly, but then I do have a complete lack of lip line in places that in general makes lipstick application quite difficult for me. Although this is semi-matte it apples smoothly and doesn't feel particularly dry and with one swipe you can get a good solid colour. This is comfortable to wear, despite edging towards matte territory, and the semi-matte appearance makes it long lasting. 

Lord & Berry lips & lashes
Lord & Berry lips & lashes

At first I thought I'd been sent two lipsticks, but the product that looks exactly like the Vogue lipstick is an Active spa lip balm in neutral*. This does look exactly the same as the lipstick, even down to exactly the same shape bullet, but the bullet is a white (clear when applied) balm. The balm is currently one of my go to's, meaning it's a good one. 

Lord & Berry lips & lashes

The Back in Black mascara in Deep black* I find a slightly unusual one. When I first opened this I noticed two things straight away; just how skinny the brush is and that it feels like very little product is removed by that little thing in the neck of the tube as you remove the brush. It looks like there's a solid blob of product around the base of the brush and I did think this could end up very messy.  This makes me think of cake make-up (stage make-up), which is usually thick and pretty dry and generally not great to have to use. This product is really quite dry and not a lot of it transfers over to your lashes at all. This is actually a very subtle mascara, think along the lines of Benefit's new They're Real primer, except this is black rather than brown. This is good for subtly defining lashes, separating them and coating each one in a light covering of black, but it can be quite frustrating because you can't really build it up or get much product on the lashes.

I think you'd either love or hate this. If you want something similar to the They're Real primer it's great, if you want something you can build up or that provides lots of length or volume then I think you'd find this very disappointing. I'm kind of on the fence about it and probably wouldn't choose to buy it myself.

If you're a fan of MAC but want to spend a little less I'd definitely suggest trying out Lord & Berry. The crayon lipsticks are £10, Vogue lipsticks £12, the lip balm £13 and the mascara also £13. You can find them on ASOS, Cult Beauty, Look Fantastic and the Lord & Berry website.

Have you tried any Lord & Berry products?

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*PR sample   

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Foreo Luna Play facial cleansing device

I certainly wouldn't recommend letting my spiky little friend in the background anywhere near your face, but I would recommend that you let a Foreo Luna Play work it's magic on your skin.

Although I do have a Magnitone cleansing brush I've always been slightly concerned that the brush type bristles might be doing more harm to my skin then good. They feel soft enough and the brush doesn't appear to irritate my skin, it does improve the appearance of my skin, but I'd still prefer a more gentle alternative. I've always had my eye on the Foreo cleansing tools, but with the original one costing somewhere around the £100 mark it has always been a bit out of my price range. So when I spotted that Foreo had released a new tiny little dinky version called the Foreo Luna Play, which costs just £30, I got very excited. I got even more excited when I was lucky enough to win one to try from The Sunday Girl.

Foreo Luna Play facial cleansing device

My excitement over the Foreo Luna Play was slightly short lived when I discovered that they are actually disposable. Once the up to 100 uses charge that this comes with has died, that's it, you can't recharge it and so have to throw it away. I've tried to tell myself that it's the same as buying a £30 product that you use until it's gone and then throw away, but I can't help feeling it's wasteful. Don't forget electrical items should actually be correctly disposed off so they can be recycled, so you really shouldn't be just chucking this in the bin. I'm guessing the small price tag and disposable nature of this might be to encourage you to give it a try and then maybe go on to purchase a larger rechargeable version.

Foreo Luna Play facial cleansing device

There's no denying this is a very cute little beauty tool. It's a little bit smaller than a round cotton pad, so it really is compact and dinky. I have the hot pink one, but it does come in seven colours, including pale pink and blue, purple, yellow, a darker blue and black. Rather than possibly harsh scrubbing bristles this features a silicone 'brush' that is extra gentle and super hygienic as bacteria won't build up on it. This uses up to 8000 T-Sonic pulsations per minute, so all you'll feel is a gentle vibration against your skin. This removes 99.5% of dirt, oil, make-up residue and dead skin cells, refines texture, evens out the complexion and enhances absorption of skincare products.

All you need to do is wet the brush, either apply your cleaner (avoiding anything clay or silicone based or grainy) to the brush or directly to your face and then move the brush gently around your face for one minute. The instructions recommend spending 15 seconds on each area of the face, but unlike other devices this doesn't beep to tell you when to move on, so you have to either count or just guess. I think that's why it states you will get up to 100 uses from this, because the time isn't measured, so it's likely you may spend longer using it each time than you think you do.

Foreo Luna Play facial cleansing device

I've found that this does exactly what it promises to do. It leaves my skin feeling clean and soft, has helped to reduce the redness across my cheeks and scaring on my chin and has helped to clear out the congested pores on my chin and prevent breakouts. When you use this it barely feels like it's doing anything, but it obviously is and is apparently doing it very well.

When I first opened the packaging I found a code that you enter online for a free gift. When I entered my code I discovered my free gift was an upgrade to the Luna 2; so effectively a discount to the value of the Luna Play (£30). When I saw upgrade I thought this would be to the next most expensive product, which is £69. Actually that one is the Luna Go; the Luna 2 is £149! If the upgrade had been to the Go then I would have considered this as I think paying an additional £40 to upgrade is a very good offer. But unfortunately over £100 is out of my price range.

I'm really enjoying using the Luna Play and I know I'll be devastated when it emits its final T-Sonic pulse. I'm not sure I'm going to be able to cope without this so I think I'm going to have to save up towards the Luna Go.

Have you tried any of the Foreo cleansing devices?

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Merumaya Melting cleansing balm 
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Product empties July 2016

My dedication to this is post is such that as well as packing up my entire life to move house in early June I also packed up a bag of basically completely useless empty products, just so I could do this post! It sounds a bit silly but I just though it was a bit of a waste (I can see the irony in this statement) just chucking all of this in the recycling when it would make quite a hefty empties post. So here we are.

Products empties July 2016
Products empties July 2016

The Body Shop Camomile Silky cleansing oil £11 This isn't pictured here for a very good reason. Although The Body Shop have recently overhauled all of their packaging the cleanser that I had was in the old packaging and oh my god did this leak! As in I could barely move it and oil would be running down the outside of the bottle. As the packaging has now been changed I'm hoping the leaking issue has now been sorted. Although this was once my favourite cleansing oil it has now been overtaken by a few others (I'm sorry The Body Shop, I still love you!). Although this is very good at removing make-up it can struggle with more stubborn eye make-up and despite the 'silky' name it's not the silkiest one I've tried.
Repurchase? Yes I would, especially if it's on offer.

Clinique Take the day off cleansing oil £22 This was one of the beauty products I bought with the House of Fraser gift card I won last year. I wanted another Clinique product to qualify for a GWP (yes I'm that person) and wanted some kind of cleanser. I believe this was a new product at the time so I thought I'd give it a try. This is one of the cleansing oils (along with Vichy's micellar oil) that has overtaken The Body Shop's camomile one.
Repurchase? Probably not but only because of the price.

Products empties July 2016
Products empties July 2016

Eyeko Black Magic mascara sample size This was a magazine freebie along with the Benefit product I'll be talking about shortly. To be honest it's a while since I finished this and all I can really remember is that I did like it. I do quite like Eyeko's squishy mascara packaging as it's a little bit different, but I do worry slightly it might go pop if something pushes against it! 
Repurchase? At £18 for the full size, no. 

Benefit They're Real Tinted primer sample size They're Real is my joint favourite mascara, along with BADgal, so when I discovered they were releasing a lash primer within the range I was quite excited. You can use this on it's own to subtly define and enhance non-existent lashes or use it as a primer under They're Real, or any other mascara. Using this reminded me of my love for They're Real (I've not used it for a while because expensive much) and I really like using it either way.
Repurchase? It's currently out of my price range but it's a possibility in the future.

Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Purifying mask £5.99 I won this as part of a giveaway prize and it was the first clay mask I'd tried for years after a bad experience with one burning my skin. This one doesn't burn my skin at all and I love this mask. I've recommended this so many times on Twitter I was actually contacted by Palmer's to ask if they could send me a little bundle of products to say thank you! 
Repurchase? Palmer's sent me another one so I don't currently have to! 

Lush Tea Tree toner water £4.50 There's not much to say about this really. I think this is my third bottle and I will be repurchasing in the near future.
Repurchase? Yes 

Origins Clear Improvement mask sample size I don't know where this sample came from but when I was still living between two houses I popped this in my wash bag in case of emergencies in the form of a breakout. I thought this might be a bit too harsh for my skin but actually it was fine and I really liked it.
Repurchase? Maybe in the future but £24 is a little expensive for the full size.

L'Oreal Hair Expertise Pure Colour Dazzling colour and volume shampoo £6.29 Is that really it's full name?? I don't very often review shampoos and conditioners because unless they blow me away with how amazing they are I tend to feel pretty neutral about them.This goes back to when I was a red head and was on a mission for colour protecting AND sulphate free shampoos, which are rare. This was just ok, nothing to rave about really.
Repurchase? No 

Products empties July 2016

Caudalie Diving oil sample size I realised I had three of these little Divine oil sample sizes so thought I might as well use them up. One came with a spray dispenser, which I much preferred over the 'tip out and go all over the place' dispenser the other two had. This is a really nice multi-use oil that smells amazing, so in general it's just lovely to use.
Repurchase?  I would consider it if I have a spare £17 for the 50ml size

Good things Manuka Honey creamy cleanser £4.99 Somebody had the berry version of this on Instagram, which is the one I went looking for, but when I realised that was for oily skin I instead picked up this one geared towards dry skin. I wasn't expecting amazing things from a £5 cleanser but actually I love this, it really is very good.
Repurchase? I will be doing in the future.

Philip Kingsley Elasticizer £17 I picked this up on offer when I was stocking up on products to treat my hair after I'd had it stripped. I was expecting big things from this but to be honest it left me a bit cold. I found this only lasted for a few uses when trying to cover all of my hair and it didn't seem to do much.
Repurchase? No.

Caudalie Vinosource Moisturising sorbet sample size This came in one of my Birchboxes and I started it straight away because I thought it might be just my sort of product and it definitely is. This is a gorgeous product and I'm so sad it's run out now, although it did last really well. 
Repurchase? Yes definitely, once I've got through some of the products I already have.

The Body Shop Wild argan oil hand cream £4 There's not much to say about this after I raved about The Body Shop's hand cream in a very recent post. You can nip back to that post if you want to know more. 
Repurchase? The one in my previous post is the repurchase!

Phew, that was a long un!

What products have you finished recently? 

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The kick-ass hand creams from The Body Shop & Clinique

If you've followed my blog for a while then you may have heard me (repeatedly) rave about The Body Shop's little hand creams, which were by far my favourite hands creams of the ones I've tried. Well there's now a new favourite in town and although it may not have quite pipped The Body Shop to the top spot (I'll explain why shortly) it is definitely coming a very close second. 

The kick-ass hand creams - The Body Shop & Clinique

Although The Body Shop do a few different types of hand creams my favourites are the ones that cost £4 each. You can get them in pretty much every scent The Body Shop do (if not all of them) and each year for Christmas they bring out a few festive Christmas editions, including the gorgeous Glazed apple. They're light but moisturising and most importantly for me they disappear completely within a couple of minutes leaving behind no greasy or sticky residue, so you can just get on with whatever you need to do. My current scent of choice is Wild argan oil but other favourites include Coconut and of course the Christmas limited edition Glazed apple, but all of them are equally as good.

I've had Clinique's Deep comfort hand and cuticle cream sitting in my stash for a while now and to be honest I'm really not sure where this came from. I would guess this was in a prize bundle I received from Debenhams when I won a competition based around their beauty awards, but I don't know that for sure. My hands, nails and cuticles really suffered when I moved house and I recently decided to pull this out and give it a try. I wish I'd done it sooner! 

I love that this is quite a rich cream, but yet just like The Body Shop hand cream this is completely absorbed within a couple of minutes and it leaves absolutely nothing behind. That really is quite a feat for a richer hand cream. This is usually the sort of cream I would use just before going to bed but I've been using this all through the day as and when needed. My cuticles and around my nails is usually a bit of a problem area and I have to try and remember to use cuticle oil each evening, but I haven't really had to bother since I've been using this. 

I really can't recommend this hand cream enough, so why hasn't it pipped my current favourite to the top spot? That is purely down to price. As I've already mentioned The Body Shop hand creams are just £4 each, whereas Clinique's offering comes in at £18.50, so it's far from a budget option at over four times the price. However, the Clinique hand cream does contain double that of The Body Shop's with 75ml compared to 30ml. If you can stretch to Clinique's I would definitely recommend it, but if not The Body Shop's is the next best bet for me. 

Have you tried either of these hand creams?

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The make-up sprays you need

When it comes to how you apply your make-up the usual options are using your fingers, a brush or a sponge. However, when you are applying your make-up there are two spray products I think you need to add to your routine. 

The make-up sprays you need. B. Makeup brush cleanser& L'Oreal Infallible Fixing mist

The first of these is one that you should be using while you apply your make-up. I've admitted in the past that I don't wash my make-up brushes as often as I should do, so that's why I bought the Superdrug B. Makeup Brush cleanser. It's not a substitute for not washing your brushes, but it does help to keep them cleaner and fresher between washes. This is particularly a good idea if you suffer from acne or at least the odd spot here or there. If you do have any spots while applying your make-up there is a chance spot causing bacteria could transfer to your brush, where it then sits until it transfers back on to your skin the next time you apply your make-up, causing more spots. Cleansing your brushes after each use will remove any nasties like this lurking on them and help to prevent a build up of product that will mean your brushes don't work as well as they should,

All you need to do is spray one squirt onto a cotton pad (you can spray it directly on the brush head but I personally think this can waste some product into the air) and then swirl your brush on the pad. Repeat with each brush you use. I've previously reviewed the Superdrug B. Makeup brush cleanser here

The second spray is one you should be using once you have completed your make-up. I was cautious about picking up the L'Oreal Infallible Fixing mist because I'd read mixed reviews, but I'm glad I did. I noticed that several people commented that it left a powdery look on their skin once it dried. I believe the reason for this is because you really do need to give this a good shake before you use it. 

This product is effectively a powder suspended in liquid. When not used the product will quickly separate and all the powder will settle to the bottom. You can't see this in my picture because I'd just shaken it up, but you will easily be able to see the powder when it settles. Shaking it up well mixes the powder into the liquid (there's even a little ball in the bottle to help with this) and when you spray this is then dispersed evenly onto the skin. If not shaken up well, or at all, the spray will pull up a lot of powder from the bottom of the bottle and this will likely leave a powdery appearance once dried. 

The directions tell you to spray two to four times in an X and T motion, but I don't find that works. If it was a continuous aerosol spray then yes, but I don't have enough time to move it to make even part of an X or T. So I usually spray it twice, once for the top half of my face and once for the lower half, maybe going for a couple more sprays if it's a particularly hot day or it didn't feel like it dispersed evenly across my face. Just make sure you've given your mascara enough time to dry fully or you may well end up with black marks just under your eyes. I was a little sceptical about setting sprays but I really do like this one. Using this with my YSL Fusion Ink foundation means my base will be set in place all day, even on my destructively oily chin.

With the Superdrug B. Makeup Brush cleanser coming in at just under £5 and the L'Oreal Infallible Fixing mist just under £8 you can definitely afford to add both products to your routine.  

Are you a fan of any make-up sprays?

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CaseApp iPad skin & discount code

When Swedish brand CaseApp contacted me asking if I'd like to review one of their cases or skins I was pretty certain they wouldn't stock cases that would fit my phone. You see when it last came to upgrade time for me I walked into my boyfriends local O2 store and O2 man wooed me with a brand new phone that had been released that day. So instead of sticking with the Samsung S series, which some phone case brands do cater for (life does exist outside of iPhones you know guys!) I was lured over to the brand new A series and walked away with a Samsung A5. Have you come across anybody else with a Samsung A5? No, me neither. I don't think it's been a popular phone and therefore getting a cute case for it has been impossible, and don't even get me started on the battery problem and having to send it back to be repaired.

Anyway, luckily for me CaseApp don't just do phone cases but also cater for other devices, offering you the chance to design your own custom iPad or laptop skins or cases, and of course you can also design your own custom iPhone case. If you don't fancy actually designing your own you can also choose from one of their own designs, which you can then customise a little if you want to. 

CaseApp iPad case

Although it is amazing that you can customise your own case and have something truly unique to you I went for one of their own designs as I didn't know where to start with designing my own and didn't really have the time to do it. As I couldn't get a case for my phone I decided to go for a skin for my iPad, as the case it was in when mum handed it down to me was a little worse for wear.

After a browse through their own designs I settled on this gorgeous purple to blue ombre bubble design, which I'm afraid they don't appear to have anymore. Not to worry though as there's plenty of designs to choose from including marble, palm trees, watermelon and glitter. 

CaseApp iPad case

As a skin rather than a case this just covers the back of my iPad and doesn't offer any protection for the screen at all. As I mostly use my iPad in the house this doesn't matter and if I do take it out with me I just pop it inside a bubble wrap envelope I have to protect the screen. This clips on to the iPad and the only thing you can see from the front of the iPad of the skin is just where the edges clip over slightly to hold on to the iPad. It doesn't even do this all the way round. 

The skin is beautifully made, there's not a rough edge in sight and all holes or cut out sections for ports, speakers, the camera lens etc are either an exact fit or oversized so the skin doesn't interfere with any functions at all. I love the ombre bubble design I went for and am really glad I chose it. I'd love something similar for my phone, but alas that's not to be!

If you fancy treating yourself to any case or skin available on the CaseApp website they have kindly given me a 20% discount code to share with my lovely readers. Just head over to the CaseApp website and enter code BLOGOFBEAUTY50 at the checkout and 20% will be deducted from your order. Prices vary depending on product but my iPad skin was just £17.

Are you thinking of treating yourself to anything?

*PR sample 

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Instagram round-up May & June 2016

Due to moving and not posting for over a month I actually missed my May Instagram round-up. But rather than missing it out completely I thought I'd do a double month round-up to include May and June.

As I've mentioned before, this year I decided to focus on improving my Instagram and trying to grow my following and I'm delighted that so far this year I have managed to double the number of followers I have. I'm not talking about huge numbers, I've only gone from 359 to currently 727, but considering I only gained 117 followers in the whole of 2015 I'm very pleased to have trebled that figure already this year. 

I'll make a start with May.

Instagram round-up May 2016

T:L May's Birchbox certainly was a good one. I've already nearly used up two of the products and will be definitely be trying/using the others. You can read my post on the May Birchbox here.

T:M I'm not a fan of yellow gold jewellery at all because I don't think it looks right on me but there's just something about the ring my grandma gave me that I love. It does actually fit my finger, so I am tempted to wear it, but I'm also scared I might lose it or damage it.

T:R I decided to do a little flat lay of some of my YSL products. Most of these I actually won from a Dave Lackie competition and I think the red lipstick I won as part of a prize bundle of products from Debenhams. I won the Debenhams competition with an Instagram picture! 

M:L I've spotted Candle Belle products popping up on Instagram and blogs and decided I wanted some ready for moving into my new house. I also bought some for my mum for her birthday. I'll be posting about these in the near future. 

M:M I have a couple of pairs of ASOS own sandals (the same pair in different colours) and they are so comfy. I decided to check out what pairs they had this year and fell in love with the Janine. I couldn't decided between black and nude, so went for both!

M:R This definitely isn't the best picture but these are the perfumes my boyfriend bought me for my birthday as I realised I didn't have any of my favourites perfumes or any I really like. He bought me these about a month early as Debenhams had a discount on at the time. 

B:L I'm a big fan of Lord & Berry's lipstick crayons and this is my little collection. I've recently been sent some Lord & Berry products to try so keep an eye out for a review coming soon. 

B:M I've never really been an Apple fan (apart from the iPod) but when mum upgraded her iPad I wasn't going to say no to her old one! Caseapp recently send me a gorgeous skin for it, which I'll be posting about soon, including a discount code for you guys. 

B:R May's Birchbox came with a scratch off panel on the lid where you could reveal if you'd won a holiday. I knew I wouldn't win with my PR box but I wanted to reveal the design underneath. After quite a bit of time, a huge mess and my arm nearly falling off I managed to scratch off the whole thing!

Instagram round-up June 2016

T:L I asked which Candle Belle melt I should burn first in my new house. To be honest though I still haven't actually got round to burning any of them!

T:M I knew when I moved that I wanted to have fresh flowers in the house as much as I could and my boyfriend has been keeping me stocked up, usually with three bunches in the house at a time. I had some lovely Roses but this ones head was so heavy I picked up his stem and the head fell off!

T:R Now I finally have a desk/dressing table I can make use of my 'house'. I always knew I wanted to display nail varnishes in it and that's exactly what I've done. This held the record for 'most liked' until it was pipped by another picture I'll be talking about shortly.

M:L So far I think my favourite flowers are definitely Tulips and I'm so glad they're still in seasonsso I've been able to have some. I'm on my second lot of Tulips and currently have these beautiful rainbow ones. 

M:M It's a bit of a tradition for mum to buy me pyjamas for my birthday and Christmas and this year she bought me some fab ones from Next. The top has one little embroidered cactus and the bottoms have a cactus print on them.

M:R These are the first bunch of Tulips I had. I do love the single colour Tulips but the two colour ones are also gorgeous.

B:L This is the picture that now holds the 'most liked' record and that's probably because it's a blogger cliche copper lamp. I wanted a lamp for my desk and when I spotted this on somebody else's Instagram I asked where they got it from. It was just £13 from The Range!

B:M When taking the pictures of my Candle Belle melts for my post I popped one out of its pot and into a little dish to show what they look like. I then realised it actually looks more like some kind of berry iced sorbet rather than a wax melt!

B:R I really like cacti and succulent plants (I guess like most bloggers) but didn't really have space for them in my room at home. Since moving into my new house I've been stocking up and the ones I have live on the blocked off fireplace in my room.

As this months post is a little long I won't recommend any accounts to follow, that will return next month.

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Suffering from RBF (Resting Bitch Face)

I've been thinking about writing this post for a while now and thought it was about time I just got on with it. If you're a little confused why I've decided to write about Resting Bitch Face (or RBF for short) please bear with me. Just in case you've never actually come across the term RBF before this is when somebody has a naturally miserable, angry or 'bitchy' neutral face. By neutral face I mean when you're not smiling, laughing, frowning or adopting any kind of facial expression. Although RBF is not an illness or disease or disability it actually can really be a problem if you're unlucky enough to suffer from it.

Suffering from RBF (Resting Bitch Face)

Recently a friend of my boyfriend commented that I suffer from 'particularly strong RBF'. I don't think he meant to be particularly tactless, but it did get to me because he's right and it causes me problems and there's absolutely nothing I can do about it. My boyfriend (who I've been with for 11 years now) regularly likes to comment that when we first met I sat and glared at him while he was talking and every single time I point out that actually I was just listening to what he was saying.

My earliest memory of this being a problem for me was when I was a teenager. One weekend I was out with a few friends, two other girls and two boys if I remember correctly, and we were walking through a local park, just wandering around aimlessly like teenagers like to do. There was a group of other people around our age in the park, I can't remember how many but there was at least a couple of girls, and when we went to walk past them one girl decided that I'd been 'facesty'. To this day I'm still not entirely sure what this actually means, but I assume she thought that I gave her a dirty look. I possibly glanced over in their direction as we approached them, like you might do when walking past somebody, but I can only assume that she took my neutral face as being 'facesty' towards her. They stopped us and wouldn't let us carry on. I can't remember all of the details as I have a bad memory but I do remember that although we were talking and joking around slightly there was an undercurrent of threat in the situation. Basically she'd decided she had a problem with me. The jacket I had on at the time was one made of fabric that would ignite quite easily (90s fashion!) and while she spoke to me she kept flicking a lighter on and off. My best friend admitted later that she was concerned that she might move the lighter towards me to attempt to set my jacket on fire. At one point she mentioned something about her shoes being dirty and maybe I should lick them clean for her. I was furious when my friend, who was obviously really scared, asked if she'd let us go if I did it. Obviously I have some pride and I'm not sure what I'd have done if she had tried to make me lick her shoes in front of everybody there. Eventually I think she got bored and they let us leave. We got back to my friends house and I finally burst into tears. 

Something that I often have to put up with is comments along the lines of 'Cheer up, it might never happen' 'Smile, it can't be that bad' 'Has somebody died' or various different combinations along the same lines. One of the worst times for this we were at the pub quiz we regularly attend and a friend of my boyfriend who he doesn't see often had come along. He sat opposite me on the table and was quite drunk. Every five minutes or so I'd get one of these comments and no matter how many times I told him I was absolutely fine or that this is just how my face looks he'd pipe up again shortly afterwards. I don't know why I didn't just walk out in the end (or tell him to f*** off or punch him in the face) as I was getting more and more upset and frustrated, which probably didn't help my RBF situation.

As you might be aware if you're a long term reader I work in TV and film appearing in front of the camera. I love this work, but something I always have to be conscious of when in front of the camera is what I'm doing with my face, or I guess in this case, not doing. If my neutral face is caught on camera I'm probably going to end up looking like a moody bitch. If I'm not smiling or having to act shocked or whatever else the director has asked us to do I try to keep my mouth open just slightly. I might run the risk of looking a bit vacant, but it's better than RBF. I have tried to try and keep a small smile on my face to try and counteract the miserable look I have, but think about if you have to keep up a smile for a long period of time, or give it a try. After a while it starts to feel a bit fake and it's also exhausting.

The thing that finally pushed me to writing up and publishing this post (although it has been sat in my drafts for quite a while now) was when somebody I follow on Twitter tweeted asking why people still walk around with RBF and commented that it doesn't take much effort to smile. The problem is if you accidentally make eye contact with a stranger this is a fleeting moment before you both politely look away again. I always try to smile at somebody if we catch each others eye, because I am a nice polite person, but often we've both looked away before my brain can register to my face that it needs to smile. So then at best that persons first impression of me is probably that I'm rude or miserable. 

If there was any kind of surgery available to try and help I would seriously consider it, but what could anybody actually do to try and help me. It's unfortunately just something I've got to live with for the rest of my life. So if you're one of those people that would say something like 'Cheer up' or 'Smile' please stop and think, and if you are actually bothered about how the person might be feeling how about asking 'Are you ok?' instead.

Do you suffer with Resting Bitch Face? Have you ever had a bad experience because of it?

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