Friday, 24 October 2014

Things you should know about living in Finland!

I know, I know... I talk about Finland way too often. Go ahead and tell me to put a cork in but it's really all I've got going on right now, (Sorry). So today, I thought I would treat you with a handy little guide of things you should know about living in Finland. 

1. Speeding
Do not speed. Seriously. I mean it goes without saying, speeding isn't good anywhere in the world; but if you are unlucky enough to get caught speeding in Finland you will find yourself lumped with a hefty fine. It's calculated as a percentage of your wage and based on whether or not you have any dependents, such as children. I've personally known people to have paid just shy of a thousand Euros in a single fine alone. It's a one-way street to bankruptcy so be warned!

2. Food Intolerances
If you're lactose intolerant, you'll fit right in because pretty much everyone else is too. Okay, maybe I'm slightly exaggerating on that front; but food intolerances are really well catered for here. Almost all places to eat and supermarkets will offer gluten-free and lactose-free choices. Take that allergies!

3. Sausages
You will not eat a tasty sausage in Finland, they don't exist. Oh how I long for a sausage sandwich on a hangover day, only to be presented with what appears to be fortified rubber in a bag. Trust me, they're vile. Avoid at all costs!

4. It's Hot
I mean, sunburn kind of hot. In the Southern regions in Summer, it can readily hit the 30 degrees (C) mark and yes, you really can sunbathe. Who would have thought?

5. It's Freezing
On the flip side, Finland gets cold. Unholy, frost-biting hell levels of cold. The kind where you want to shed a tear just walking to your car, but you can't because it's a bazillion degrees below freezing. Brrrr. 

6. Shopping
Unless you speak Finnish, you will not be able to go food shopping without your mobile phone set up with Google Translate. Neither will you complete such a task in under an hour. I buy sparkling water by accident on a weekly basis and I once made a meat pie using pre-rolled sweet pastry. If anything, it keeps you on your toes. In terms of where to shop, the high street in Finland isn't spectacular. As far as I'm aware, there's no Topshop, River Island, Miss Selfridge etc. I could go on all day about the lack of shopping opportunities on offer. Online shopping will become your best friend, although you can pretty much guarantee a Kioski, (Corner shop/newsagent equivalent) to be around every corner. 

7. Bugs
I can't say I've spotted too many creepy crawlies whilst living in Finland; and from research conducted before moving here, there doesn't appear to be a population of huge spiders. As a complete and utter arachnophobe, this pleases me somewhat. (If you know this not to be true, please let me down gently.) However, in Summer, you can expect to be inundated with flies and mosquitoes. So if you're anything like me, you'll want to bathe in insect repellent from May until around the end of August. 

8. English
Finns tend to speak really good English, particularly the younger generation; however that's where it stops. Don't expect to see many signs or information in languages other than Finnish, Swedish or Russian when you're out and about. Particularly so if you're out of the larger towns and cities. 

9. Strange Habits
Don't be surprised/concerned if you see someone weeing in the street, spitting or making that disgusting snorting sound. In Finland, it's totally fine. Better out than in I guess...

10. It's Expensive
The cost of living in Finland can often be eye-wateringly expensive. You can expect to pay over the odds for the majority of things and if you're craving home comforts, your best bet is to order them online and have them shipped over. Just imagine what you would pay for something in the UK; and then double it and you won't be far off. 

11. The Postal System
Which leads me onto the postal system. Everything seems to take an age to be shipped out here and if you're ordering for a special occasion, you're gonna want to make sure you've allowed yourself at least two weeks for things to arrive. In addition to this, the Finns have a weird system in place whereby if a parcel arrives for you, the postman delivers a note to tell you (think those little Royal Mail cards you get when you miss a delivery), but you have to pick the parcel up from the Post Office yourself! I don't know if this is a universal thing across Finland, but it's certainly the case in my town and it drives me mad! If you've gone to the trouble of delivering me a note, just deliver the damn parcel! 

12. Low Crime Rate
One of the great things about living in Finland is the fact that the crime rate is particularly low, even more so when you move out of the capital. It's no secret that the Finnish like to drink, and a high percentage of incidents occur whilst people are under the influence. Though Finland is one of the safest places to live and to travel to, you should still keep your wits about you and take reasonable precaution as you would anywhere else. 

*It's worth noting that I'm speaking from my personal experiences of living in Southern Finland, as well as information I have gathered through speaking to my friends here. Not all of these may apply in some areas. 

Thursday, 23 October 2014

DIOR GIVEAWAY!



Okay guys, it's been a long while since I ran my first ever giveaway back in June and I felt as though I was overdue in saying a huge thank you to all of you lovely lot that take the time to read and comment on what goes on around these parts. You're all bloody fantastic and I genuinely love replying to each and every person that takes the time to message me, ask a question or share their thoughts. The blogging community is one that I am ridiculously proud to be a part of and it's nice to be able to give a little something back every once in a while... Now let's get going before I start getting all emosh!

What's up for grabs?

I'm giving one lucky winner the chance to get their hands on a Dior lip product of their choice. Dior is one of my favourite brands for lip products so I know you'll be getting a goodie! You can choose either:

Rouge Dior Lipstick
or
Rouge Dior Baume 
or
Dior Addict Lipstick
or
Dior Addict Extreme Lipstick
or
Dior Addict Fluid Stick

(These may include Limited Edition Shades where available)

You can check out all of these lip products over on the Dior website - Click here

Terms and Conditions

This giveaway is international 

You will win only one of the specified products. I will try my best to deliver the shade that you choose; however please ensure you provide a second shade/product if your first choice is unavailable 

Anyone found to be cheating in any way will be disqualified

I will announce and contact the winner via Twitter when the competition closes. If I do not receive a response in 48 hours, I will pick another winner.

I will take every care to ensure the product gets to you safely; however I am not responsible for the prize getting lost in the post. 

If you're under 16 years of age, please ask a parent or guardian's permission before entering.

Thank you.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A Haul Load of LUSH!


If you managed to catch my post on Monday, (you can read it here) you will know that I managed to pick up a few LUSH goodies at the weekend. Squeal. I can't believe I had lived in Finland for nearly eight months before I realised there was a LUSH shop in Helsinki - utter madness! In my defence, it is tucked away in some kind of shopping centre basement but I followed my nose and finally struck soapy gold. 
I managed to pick up a whole host of lovely bits and pieces, a mix of seasonal and standard LUSH products. Let's have a look shall we?


First up is the Christmas, limited edition Snow Fairy shower gel - a sweet, candy-scented shower gel with teeny tiny sparkly bits in it. This is the one everyone seems to rave about but I've never actually used it before - shock right!? However, at an eye-watering 30 Euros for the 500g bottle, I shelled out just shy of 20 Euros for the 250g bottle instead.. yes, it still hurts. Damn you Finland!



This pretty parcel is the Golden Wonder bath bomb. It's a citrusy burst of orange, lime and cognac oils - yes, I thought cognac was a drink for old gentlemen too! This is another one of the Christmas specials and see that orange bit... it's literally caked in sparkly gold stuff. My word, it gets everywhere! I can imagine it's going to be a messy one, but look how cute it is!


The Rub Rub Rub Shower Scrub is an old favourite of mine. It's a gorgeous bright blue, sea salt scrub, infused with Jasmine, Lemon oils and orange flower... amongst other things. Why do I love this stuff? The smell is incredible for a start but not only that, this scrub is a great, little exfoliator and can apparently be used in the hair too to inject a burst of shine and volume - oo-er!


I'm pretty sure this beauty of a bubble bar needs no introductions... Its sweet, fruity, blackcurrent scent is a blend of Cassis absolute, bergamot and cypress oils. Crumble half of this bar under running water and you're left with a mound of frothy bubbles. And it's pink... Nuff said!



Next we have the Reindeer Rock Soap which pretty much includes the same smelly stuff as the Comforter, but with the addition of Lingonberries. This berry-scented soap has shimmery, silver reindeer engraved on the top which gives it a lovely festive vibe. Another one of the Christmas goodies - I actually used this one today and I have to say, I wish the lovely scent translated onto the skin more. I could barely smell it on my skin once dry. Not sure I like that fact, seeing as this bar of soap set me back a tenner! Ouch.


Behold the beautiful Northern Lights Bath Bomb. I was most excited about getting my mitts on this. It's part of the Halloween collection and fizzes an array of blues/purples and greens. The scent is jasmine and ylang-ylang, and although you can't tell from this picture, the bar actually has little stars embedded into it which I assume float around your bath once the bomb has done its business. I say assume as I won't actually get to find out as by the time I got home, the bomb had crumbled into a bazillion pieces in the bottom of the bag... gutted! I decided to have a peek online to see if this was a common problem and it turns out there's been a few of these snapping and breaking. Be careful if you pick one of these up!


Last but not least is the Candy Mountain Bubble Bar. A pink and white, vanilla scented treat from LUSH. It's also part of the Christmas product line up and reminds me ever so slightly of a candy cane... only it's pink, not red, but whatever... It smells so delicious and is covered in a frosty shimmer which I'm sure will give mounds of glittery, pink bubbles in my bath. Ahhmazing!


And that's all folks. Any thoughts on the bits that I managed to pick up and/or what LUSH treats are you loving/lusting after at the moment?

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

The Sesame Saga



So the other day, this happened. I'm not usually one for profanities, but I'm pretty sure the C word was batted around once or twice and that's when you know shit's serious. 

Rewind. Being the top girlfriend that I am, I decided to cook up a storm in the kitchen - which in my case is, 'throw a bunch of ingredients into a pan and hope for the best!' On the menu was some sort of Teriyaki sauce, prawn, sesame seed concoction or what I have affectionately come to call, the meal that fucked up my Tuesday. It started off well, which is usually indicated by the lack of fire alarm sirens bursting my ear drums. I'd obviously gotten far too big for my boots as I began strutting round that kitchen like Nigella, only in my PJs and far less glamorously. You know how it is...

Do you know when something really bad happens on TV and the producers like to slow it right down so the whole horrific scene is played out at an excruciating pace? Yea, that happened... only it was some kind of psychological trickery because I'm telling you, the minute I reached out to grab something and the sleeve of my jumper caught that sesame packet, the whole world switched into slow-mo. Tears were shed as I watched almost an entire Asian restaurant's worth of sesame seeds cascade out of the overturned box and scatter over every conceivable inch of my kitchen floor. The noise was truly something to behold. 

Obviously, the first port of call in a situation like this is your mobile phone for photographing the evidence. I mean, there's no chance I'm cleaning that shit up until I've captured the mess from every angle so that I can let everybody see just how bad it was. I even considered letting the seeds sit there until Scott arrived home from work so that I could point and make faces and have somebody bear witness to how awful a thing my day had been. Then all joking aside, I toyed with the idea of just saying to hell with it and letting it sit there until we acquired tiny mice that would be able to dine on it for months. And if I'm actually being completely truthful on the matter, my kitchen is still coated in sesame seeds as I sit and write this. You can't tell me I'm not a dedicated blogger if anything. 

I'll probably finish this post and go clean up. I say probably as thus far, I have no idea where to even begin. The more I stare at it, the more it looks kinda beachy, like sand or really tiny pebbles. Would it be totally unacceptable to claim it's a feature floor?

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Sigma Makeup Brushes - Review


A few weeks ago, I gave my first impressions on the selection of Sigma makeup brushes that I ordered via Beauty Chamber. You can read my first impression post right here

Today, I am going to give you a much more detailed review of each brush and my overall thoughts on the Sigma range. It's going to be a long one so without further ado, let's get going.



From left to right:

- Sigma Blending Brush E25 
- Sigma Eye Shading Brush E55 
- Sigma Large Fluff Brush E50
- Sigma Small Contour Brush F05
- Sigma Flat Top Kabuki Brush F80

I will start by reviewing the face brushes and then I will look at the brushes I use for applying my eye makeup.

Sigma Flat Top Kabuki Brush - F80




This was the brush that first caught my attention and made me sit up and notice the Sigma range. I'd seen a few reviews of this brush dotted around and it's safe to say that curiosity got the better of me. Used to apply liquid and cream foundations, the F80's dense, flat fibres are perfect for dabbing foundation onto the face and using circular motions, it blends products into the skin to give a flawless finish. Since using the F80, I'm inclined to bin my flat foundation brush - seriously, because I honestly can't imagine applying my base any other way. 

The synthetic fibres are soft, yet sturdy and the brush maintains it shape, even after cleaning. The handle of the Flat Top Kabuki is shorter and chunkier than the other brushes I picked up, and this makes for a good grip and ease of use. 

I have to admit, I love this brush. It's what I expected and then so much more. Best of all, it's seriously foolproof. An absolute must buy if you fancy trying out any of the Sigma range. 

Sigma Small Contour Brush F05





I have to admit, I toyed between the Small Contour brush and the F40 - The Large Angled Contour brush, and to be honest, I kind of regret going for the smaller option. It's not too dissimilar to the MAC Blush Brush (116) that I own, only the Sigma brush has shorter bristles and is slightly smaller. 

I feel that it's a bit on the small side for me in terms of what I would like for a contour brush; however I have been using it to apply blusher and occasionally to apply powder highlighters. A good quality brush; although it's not what I had in mind when I ordered it. If you're toying between this and the F40, I'd definitely opt for the larger brush.

Sigma Eye Shading Brush E55



Now we move onto the eye brushes. First up is the E55 Eye Shading brush. The short fibres are super soft and make applying eye shadow a dream. I absolutely love this brush!

The flat, rounded shape - bit of an oxymoron - is perfect for applying a heavy dose of shadow across the lids and under the arch of the brow. Dense fibres means this brush picks up a lot of product with minimal fall out and it's also pretty nifty when it comes to blending too. I've only used this brush with powder formulas; although I don't see why it wouldn't work with cream formulas also. 

A great base shadow brush; but I'd use something a touch smaller for more precise applications such as along the lash line or in the crease. 

Sigma Blending Brush E25





Next up is the E25 Blending Brush and another brush I'm loving from my Sigma set. The long, tapered fibres are silky soft yet still firm enough to be useful. The brush can be used for controlled blending of eye shadows on the lid and buffs away any harsh lines that may appear when applying two or more different shadow shades. I use it in a sweeping motion through the crease and gently blend outwards over my lids for a seamless finish.

This brush does exactly what it says on the tin and it's been my go-to brush for blending my eye make up since purchasing it. It also picks up colour nicely and I often use it to apply additional shadow during the blending process. I definitely recommend picking this one up!

Sigma Large Fluff Brush E50




Finally, we've got the Large Fluff Brush. This is actually much chunkier than it looks and I was quite surprised when it arrived as I was expecting it to be much smaller. Controlled highlighting is the 'official' function of this brush but when I used it to apply my highlighter, I found that it just didn't impress me. Maybe I'm using it wrong, I don't know, but it feels sort of odd to use - it's too big to be used on the eyes and too small, (for me) to be used on the cheeks etc.

 This brush kind of makes me feel a bit meh. I don't love it and I don't hate it, but to be honest, I don't really use it and I wish I'd picked up something else instead of this. That being said, the bristles are really full and soft and I can imagine this brush blends beautifully - probably in the hands of someone who knows what to do with it!


There we have it folks! Apologies for the sheer length of this post, I'm sure that if you made it this far you're probably going to need a break from your screen right about now so I'll wrap this up quickly. I purchased my brushes from the Beauty Chamber website as the shipping fees from the Sigma site (US based) were eye-watering! I'd highly recommend them as delivery was fast and they seem to have the largest stock/range of brushes than the other official U.K. Sigma stockists, and we all know a girl likes choices... 

Any thoughts on these? Have you tried any of the Sigma make up brushes before and/or what are your all-time favourite make up brushes?

Monday, 20 October 2014

Weekend catch up...


Today's post is going to be a bit of a weekend catch up/generous portion of waffle so you may want to mentally prepare yourself before continuing. 

On Saturday, Scott and I headed to Helsinki, partly because it was his birthday last Tuesday and he wanted to drag out his celebrations a bit longer, and mostly because I had been dying to raid LUSH's Helsinki store and check out the new M&S store that just opened... Yes, M&S in Finland, the shopping gods have been kind these last few months! If you caught this post, then you'll probably be wondering why I even bothered heading to LUSH at all seeing as I have a serious lack of bath, but after much moping around and genuine consideration of buying something along the lines of this:

Scott suggested we buy a bag full of bath bombs and go wild on the bath front in our hotel in Vietnam... and this is why I'm marrying him folks. This boy just gets me. 

I was a very excitable kid in a candy shop at LUSH and managed to pick up a tonne of stuff that I'm absolutely dying to use. I'll be featuring them in a post really soon, so you can have a peek at what I managed to get my paws on. Also, M&S is four whole floors of clothing greatness; however I was really disappointed that the food section was TINY! Decent, home comfort food is a bit of a rarity in Finland so I was hoping for something a little more exciting than a few packets of shortbread biscuits and some mint imperials.




One of the last times I was in Helsinki, I stumbled across the beauty brand Inglot and I picked up one of their Freedom System palettes. You can read all about it here. Well, I may or may not have picked up a third shadow to fill my palette. It's actually a little different to the usual shades I pick up, so I'm looking forward to sharing it with you soon. Scott and I also picked  up some winter woollies whilst we were out and about as the weather is getting so nippy now! It was -3 over the weekend and when we returned to our apartment on Sunday evening, every last leaf had fallen from the trees in our garden. Brrr...


In other news, we're now in sniffing distance of our jolly holidays and I have to admit, I'm more than a little bit excited. Okay, that's probably the understatement of the Century right there as I've barely been able to contain myself these last few weeks. It's a wonder I still have friends because my recent conversations include; holiday, holiday and ermm.. holiday! Did I mention I was going on holiday? It's felt like a long time coming though and I'm so pleased that it's now almost here. We're heading to Paree for a couple of days to sightsee and watch Lady Gaga in concert... on Halloween! One can only imagine how weird and wonderful that is going to be! Then it's on to Vietnam for cocktails, culture and more LUSH baths than you can shake a stick at!

Right, I've had my fun, I'll ditch the vay-cay chit chat, but before I do, I'm hoping some of you knowledgeable travellers out there may be able to pass on some good recommendations for things to see and do in Paris. We've pre-booked our Eiffel tower visit and intend on doing a fair bit of sight-seeing but if there are any must dos, pop them in a comment below and we will try and work them into our trip. Please and thank you.

I'm going to wrap it up here as I'm pretty sure that's enough waffle for one day. Sorry today's post is a bit all over the place, I will hopefully be back with something a bit more exciting tomorrow! 

How was everyone's weekend? Did you get up to anything exciting?

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Autumn Outfit Posts

Scary season is fast approaching in Finland and no, I'm not talking about Halloween! The weather app today reads the temperature at a measly 3 degrees Celsius, which is pretty darn cold; although probably not as cold as what is yet to come! To say I'm not looking forward to the next few months is an understatement and so I'm trying to make the most of wearing, 'normal' clothes before they end up being replaced by thermals and insulated trousers... Yes, I own these monstrosities. 

I've rounded up several of my, 'outfit of the day' posts from Instagram so that you can have a peek at what I've been clothing myself with lately, and also because I'll probably look back on this post in a few weeks time and weep into my Arctic weather gloves. 

Enjoy!
What are your favourite pieces that you've been rocking this season?
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