De Brevitate Vitae

At the weekend a 'friend' of mine wrote on Facebook that it summed up 90% of her Facebook friends that everyone was discussing Amy Winehouse and no-one was talking about the attacks in Norway.  She said that there is nothing more 'real than Facebook', and if people weren't talking about it, they weren't upset by it.

This really made me think about the way we interact with social media.  Personally I use Facebook very little, and if I do it's only to talk to friends I can't contact via another medium.  I find the idea that Facebook could directly reflect what I'm thinking about or what I'm feeling pretty absurd.  In fact, I would find it kind of distasteful if that was how people were choosing to express how tragic and deeply, deeply sad the attacks in Norway are.  Because there really aren't any words to describe it, and to try and do so on Facebook (moreso the implication that if you don't, you don't care about it) just doesn't fit for me.  For me, Facebook is the realm of LOLs, and likes - of trite superficiality. But what about blogging? Are there things you do, and don't say on your blog? Things you would, and wouldn't say because it doesn't feel right?

Personally I like to think of my blog as a positive place - a place for documenting things I've seen, or places I've been.  Things that make me happy (often adventures, and food!).  But I sometimes struggle with what to share, partly because of my readership, and partly because I don't want this to be a place for moans or negativity.

I wasn't going to write about it on here (because it didn't seem like something one would blog about) but on Monday I was a few cars behind a car crash on my journey home from work.  The traffic suddenly came to an immediate halt, and after a period of silence the cars in front of me started doing U-turns and eventually the Police came and closed the road (I didn't see the actual crash, just a car off the road).  I learnt in the news the next day that the 35-year-old male driver, died.  After the initial 'Sliding Doors' type thoughts (what if I'd left work a few minutes later, etc), it made me think of the tragedy of it all - a man on his way home from work who would never see his family again, and how life is so fragile and unknown.  That thought has stayed with me for a few days.  What would you do if you knew that it was going to be your last journey home? Why haven't you already done it?

In the spirit of 'seizing the day', we are continuing to try and fill our evenings with fun things (not just the weekends!) and so last night we went for another walk in the forest before dinner.  It makes everything better after a difficult day to see the sun shining over the trees and watch horses swishing their tails and bees buzzing around the flowers!  Here are a few snaps.


My bathroom, the beauty counter

I have never purported to be a beauty blogger, but when a friend commented the other day that my bathroom was beginning to look less like a bathroom, and more like a branch of Boots, it occurred to me that I might have something of interest to say on beauty and cosmetic products.  Not because I know anything at all about them, but because I tend to buy a fair amount of them, and I'd like to start including on here some reviews of what's good, and what's not.

Because it is still five days (yes, I'm counting) until payday, and so I haven't bought anything new over the last few days, I thought it would be good to start off by telling you about some of my bathroom staples - the products I go back to buying again and again.

[001] Beyond Bronze - Fake Bake.  I have probably tried most of the fake tans out there that retail at under around £20.  I picked this up in Boots when there was an offer on and it's the best one I've tried; doesn't come out patchy and gives a really nice colour.  £12.99 and free shipping at Click Fragrance.

[002] Charles Worthington Front Row Rough and Tousled Salt Spray.  Tom and I go away in the campervan a lot, and whenever we're staying somewhere without electricity (i.e. no hair straighteners!) I always take this along - a few spritzes into wet or dry hair and it makes my hair all wavy, and smelling amazing.  £4.19 at Boots

[003] Aussie Dual Personality Curl Definition and Soft Feel Serum. I bought this when I had extensions to stop my hair from getting dry but I still use it all the time - I keep it in my handbag and use it as a sort of moisturiser for my hair- dabbing a bit on whenever it needs a bit of TLC.  It makes my hair feel really soft and shiny, and, again, smells yummy! £4.69 at Boots

[004] Garnier Body Summer Body Moisturising Lotion.  I bought this in Sainsbury's when it was on half price; it's the best 'moisturiser with a hint of tan' I've tried.  I took it on holiday with me and used it as an aftersun, it's really moisturising and made my skin feel lovely, and also filled in all my white bits! £4.44 and free delivery at Cheap Smells

[005] Lush Dream Cream. Lush's best selling product - at £10.75 it might seem quite pricey but is definitely worth it - it makes my skin feel amazing and is reputed to help a myriad of skin ailments such as eczema and psoriasis, and the big tub lasts ages. £10.75 at Lush

[006] Lee Stafford Hair Growth Treatment.  My hair grows pretty fast anyway so I can't comment on the growth boosting claims of this product.  But I use it as a conditioning treatment, and it definitely works well as that; it is so nourishing and makes my hair feels so silky and shiny.  It is quite expensive but Boots always seem to have 3 for 2 offers on lately so if you can pick it up as part of one of them it is definitely worth the money.  £7.99 at Boots

Do you use any of these products? If not, what's the product you always go back to?

Like limbs in procession

After a stressful day at work (and there have been more than a few over the last week or so), my default mode is to come home, sink into a deep bubble bath, get my PJs on and hide under my wonderful duck down duvet until morning.  But Tom has been trying to convince me that what I really need is a bracing walk to blow the cobwebs away - especially since we have the sea, and the forest so close to our house.  Although it feels more like Autumn or Winter at the moment, we have taken advantage of the few evenings of sunshine and gone out walking, and I must admit, it was really nice.  The bottom photograph was taken at Barton-On-Sea.  We walked along the clifftops and then down onto the beach and there were loads of cut roses that had washed up onto the shore.  Tom thought it was probably from a burial at sea and that perhaps the local lifeboat had taken them out.  

The top photograph is a place called St. Catherine's Hill, a little way from where we live.  We walked up to a lookout point where you can see almost all of the New Forest (and the Needles, as you can see from the photo).  Does anyone else find walking (or the sea) cathartic after a hard day - or are you a 'hide under the duvet' person like me?

In the spirit of my previous comment about the weather preventing us from any more ventures out over the last few days, I absolutely loved Bee's post today; a list of favourite things to do on a rainy day.  The lovely Erin has also featured a story I submitted to her Folklore Friday feature today on her blog - thanks Erin!

After we danced to the shipping forecast

After an incredibly hectic week at work last week, and then a weekend of being 'on call' for work where I clocked up even more hours, I have been making the most of the last couple of days by having some relaxing time, along with actually getting out of the house and remembering what fresh air and daylight is like! Here are a few snaps of the last few days.

[001] The first photo is a screenshot of my trawling of Google Maps earlier trying to find a field I saw from the train.  I am increasingly enjoying my train journeys home from work, especially when I get to glimpse a field full of deer with a rickety old abandoned shed in the middle of it.  I resolved to go and photograph it - only problem is I can't exactly remember where it was (hence the Googling!)

[002]  Bought a new iPhone case as my old one was a bit battered.

[003]  A bowl full of sour skittles.  Ate the whole bag.  Gave myself a tummyache.

[004]  Pancake hamster just having a nose around.

[005]  A little snap of a rare blue sky over the apple tree in our garden.

[006]  It's my birthday on the 7th August and I asked my parents' for a pair of Hunter wellies.  After spending an evening trawling the website for the cheapest pair (and worrying about some negative reviews on Amazon), Eloise very helpfully pointed out that some people had seen them in TK Maxx recently for bargain prices - cue me hotfooting it up to town today and snapping up a pair for £39.99 - my size and the colour I wanted! When does that ever happen? I now have to tuck them away until my birthday!

[007]  Joy of joys a gang of my least favourite animals have made a nest in our front garden.  Yes that is a massive wasp's nest.

Tonight we went for a walk in the New Forest and trogged up to the top of a hill to watch the sun start to set over the forest - we found an amazing viewpoint and you could even see as far as The Needles.  I will save those photos for another day.

On a final note, I have been listening to Dry The River non-stop the last 24 hours, I highly recommend you check them out, their music is beautiful. There is a little clip below, or you can check out a Spotify playlist I made of some of their stuff here.


On friendships

I try my best not to regret things in life, or spend too much time mulling over decisions that I've made.  But I think it's inevitable that, as time goes by, you look at the things that have changed in your life over the years - for better or for worse.  I have been thinking a lot about friendship over the last few days - in particular thinking about friends that I no longer have; either through us gradually growing apart, moving away or (on one occasion) an unsolvable disagreement.

When you're very young, it's easy to make or break friendships without any worry or stress. (In fact, I think the older we get the more we complicate things!) If you wanted someone to be your friend, you could just ask (you might even do so by passing them a note with yes/no/maybe tickboxes - did anyone else do that?!) And if that person then proved themselves to not be a very good friend, well, then you'd just tell them you didn't want to be their friend any more.  Now, I'm not suggesting brutal honesty is always the best policy, but when you find yourself in a situation where a friendship isn't really working out, it's a difficult one to deal with.

I'm a great believer that any relationship should enhance your life and make it better, rather than causing any complication or stress.  This might seem really obvious, and simple, but it's actually only over the last few years that I've begun to realise that you don't have to put up with people who constantly bring you down.  It is also difficult at times to realise who your true friends are - mainly, I find, because sometimes the ones who are your true friends are found in the most unexpected of places.  True friends present themselves when you have problems that need solving, or you need someone around, and it's only about you - not about them.  True friends are the ones that remember your birthday, the ones that offer to bring round magazines and lemon Fanta when you're poorly.  They're the ones who will drop what they're doing when you need them - and not try and make you feel bad about it.

But I think the hard part comes when you know in your heart of hearts that you have a friend that wouldn't do any of those things.  When you have a friend who makes you feel bad just to make them feel better.  They wouldn't be that person who turns up with a bag of popcorn and Pretty Woman on DVD when you feel down (because they're too busy).  They are that person who always forgets to ask if you're okay.  That person who forgets your birthday but expects you to chip in to the celebrations for theirs.  That person who doesn't want to hear about your boyfriend, because they don't have one at the moment.  Because when you're 26, well, you can't just say "I don't want to be your friend anymore," can you?

Postal packages and curly Sues

I have been a very lucky Rosie this week and received not one, but two awesome sets of goodies through the post.  The first was a prize from a competition run by Kiki's Boutique, who have not only a lovely little shop in my local town but a great website that stocks all their goodies.  I won a set of Dandy by Disaster Designs goodies from a giveaway on their Facebook.  But the good news is they are running yet another great giveaway on their Facebook which you can enter by tagging yourself in one of their product photos.  They also have an offer for 25% off everything on their website, so head on over and check it out! (Nb. I have not been asked to write this, I'm just chuffed to bits with my prizes and how lovely the Kiki's people are!)

Also this week, the lovely Claire at Another Girl, Another Planet sent me some goodies after she had a giveaway for all her followers a little while ago.  Originally Claire was just giving away one of her huge collection of Paperchase notebooks, but she very kindly threw in some more goodies, including an awesome ceramic thermos, Accessorize nail polish and a flamingo finger puppet! I am so grateful for the cute bits Claire sent me, and I highly recommend her lovely blog.

Yesterday Tom had a job interview for a job he's been desperate for a very long time, so he got all smartened up in his uniform...

... and had a whole morning's worth of assessments.  I'm keeping all my fingers and toes crossed he gets it.  To celebrate him getting the interview out the way we went out for Harvester - here is us excited about chicken and filling up at the salad bar!

I also took a sneaky instagram of my hair in the morning as I woke up to it all curly and wavy - I wish it was naturally curly!


Tomatoes and sailor dresses

Here are a few snaps from the last few days.  On Sunday Tom and I spent a few hours in the sunshine doing some more gardening - we planted the tomato plants his Mum very kindly grew for us, and potted some other plants we had (including some strawberries I've grown from seeds - I love growing things from seeds, it feels like such an achievement!)

The third snap is just before I went out with some lovely lady friends on Saturday night.  I haven't got a proper photo of my outfit unfortunately, which is a shame as I love this cute sailor dress, and I think it looked nice teamed with some navy and white spotty wedges.

On Saturday I went to a piercer's to be a big copycat and get a tragus piercing that Charlene had done recently and I loved, but they didn't do it where I went so I got my rook done instead, and I absolutely love it (sorry Mum if you're reading this!)

The final picture is a dinner that Tom cooked up for me on Sunday night - homemade burgers with mozzarella and avocado, and homemade wedges.  We ate this as part of the Sainsbury's feed your family for £50 meal plans they're doing at the moment - has anyone else been following these? We get our food delivered and you can get a week's worth of shopping (breakfast, lunch and dinners) for £50 - the meal plans and recipes are all online.  We find it great, as since there's only two of us (and the meal plan is for a family of four) we can do a week's shop for around £30, and it's all healthy, yummy food, and makes sure you get your five a day! This meal in particular was VERY yummy!

On a final note, have you checked out my 350 followers giveaway yet below? You have until Sunday night to enter!


350 followers giveaway - CLOSED

About a month ago I reached 300 followers and decided to buy a few things for a giveaway to say thank you to all the lovely people who read my little blog.  It's overwhelming to me that there are 350 of you that want to read what I put up here, and I'm enormously grateful.  Since I started gathering some goodies I have now crept up to 350 followers, and I finally have some things ready to be given away to a lucky reader.

The prize contains a lovely book, '14,000 things to be happy about', the total face brush, cream eyeliner and bronzer from Elf, and a gorgeous little vintage style (working) pocketwatch necklace.  

If you want to win -

  • You have to be a follower of this blog.
  • Comment on this post, telling me one thing that makes you happy (and leaving me a way to contact you if you win).
  • A tweet about this giveaway will earn you another entry.
    Just tweet "Check out Rosie's (@rosieoutlook) 350 followers give away at http://tinyurl.com/6laje47" - and then leave me another comment to let me know you've done it.
The winner will be chosen via a random number generator.  The giveaway closes on Sunday 10th July at 10pm.  Hooray!


Boudoir Prive, Glossybox, and PR DOs and DON'Ts

Working in a PR office myself (albeit one for an emergency service, not a beauty brand), I find the world of Marketing and PR an interesting one, and love seeing how new companies stir up an appetite for their brand, especially using social media.  I think it's amazing how, as bloggers, Twitterers and Facebookers we have so much more power as consumers than we ever used to, and have it within our gift to really make or break a brand.

With this in mind, I've been watching the rise (and fall?) of Glossybox since their launch two months ago. I'm fairly sure they didn't do any advertising (and very little self promotion), but the Twittersphere certainly did it for them, and when their first box featured a full size NARS product it seemed the brand could do no wrong.  As a result of their impressive first box, the June box sold out before the end of May and then the July box a few weeks after that.  However, it was after this initial success that things started to go wrong.  The brand market themselves on 'luxury samples' - and, seeming somewhat like a bit of a cruel joke, they totally contradicted their brand identity in only the second month by sending out a sample of arguably the least luxury brand on the market - dry shampoo.  Yet again, customers took to social media forums to voice their opinion- sadly, this time, not a preferable one for the brand.  As if this wasn't bad enough, GlossyBox customers were then emailed to be told that the price of boxes was increasing from £10 to £12.95.  After only the second month! (the price increase comes in in September) This is terrible PR.  Surely they would have had a sufficient business model and cash forecast to allow them to fix their prices for longer than two months! The general consensus from those that haven't cancelled already after 'Batistegate', is that they are waiting for the third box too see if Glossybox can come up with the goods.  If they don't have something good in this one I think they'll see their customers decline in very large numbers.

In what seems like impeccable timing, new brand Boudoir Privé are now drawing closer to their launch date - a very similar service to Glossybox, but cheaper (due to Glossybox's price increase), with one more product (six, rather than five) and their luxury brands, I understand, are more 'undiscovered' - their concept is that of genuine samples, helping you discover brands, rather than sending you trial size bottles of products you already know and love.  Already on the front foot due to the widespread disappointment in Glossybox, Boudoir Privé seem to have played a blinder with their promotion so far - encouraging people to tweet or give out the link to the sign up page, with the people who generate the most signups being given access to a VIP area 24 hours before the site is open for all customers to sign up in the second week of July.  The brand are also generating excitement via their Facebook and Twitter pages by giving clues as to what the first products are.  Their Facebook wall is full of comments from people desperate to gain the first access to the website - and if you have customers queueing up for your product before you've even launched you must be doing something right.  The first boxes will be sent out in August.

What do you think - have you signed up for Glossybox or are you waiting for Boudoir Privé?

(Nb. I think it goes without saying given that I do not have a beauty blog, or a particularly large amount of followers, but I have not been asked to write this post.)