Saturday, 27 April 2013


Hello so I thought I'd do a post about my most used word at the moment!

The last couple of weeks have proven to be very tough and although I knew it would be a pretty hard year with finishing up uni and job hunting, I had no idea JUST how difficult it would be!

For anyone who is not familiar with how you go about getting a teaching job I will explain a little...

Checking for vacancies: There are lots of ways of hearing about schools that have job vacancies but a popular one and my most used is searching your local city website.

Visits: Once you have identified a job that meets your needs (in my case one accepting Newly Qualified Teachers and preferably a early years post) you are encouraged to arrange a visit for that school. You can apply without seeing the school but it is not advisable and can affect your chances of your application being successful. In my experience visits can last between 20 minutes to just over an hour.

Applying: Although visits can be quite time consuming (generally you have to fit around their scheduled appointments), applications take the longest. You first have to fill in a pretty generic form that the school supplies you with, which is no bother. However you then have to write a cover letter which generally is your chance to sell yourself and tell them what you've done and what you can do. This is always a ball-ache because let's face it, not many people like to big themselves up as it were! This letter also has to meet the requirements of the school's personal specification e.g. experience in KS1: essential, knowledge of behaviour management strateges: essential etc etc. There's usually a long list so it can be tricky to fit it all in a letter (I try to keep mine to 2 pages max!)
Occasionally your letter also has to include set things e.g. my first application required you to address 4 bullet points- one was how I differentiate learning.

Getting an interview: After you hand in your application, you then have to play the waiting game. You are given a date of when they will be short listing candidates (choosing who they want to interview), but generally you just have to wait to see if you hear back. If you aren't successful you generally do not get told, you just assume that no news means no interview!

Interview prep: If you are lucky enough to get invited to interview (the competition is unbelievable so it means you've done well to even get shortlisted from god knows how many people), you then have to prepare a lesson. This is specified in the letter you receive inviting you to interview. Usually you are expected to teach for about 20-45 minutes and often the age range is indicated, but not necessarily! Thinking of ideas for lessons when you know near on nothing about the children you will be teaching is pretty intense and stressful let me tell you!

My first interview was very nerve-racking and caused me many a sleepless night. However once I got there on the day it dispelled many of my concerns and it was almost an enjoyable experience. Sure, it's a little odd being sat with the 'competition' as it were but everyone was really nice and it was fair to say everyone deserved the job. Needless to say I didn't get offered the position, as it went to a more experienced teacher, but it gave me confidence knowing that my lesson got good feedback and I was able to do an interview!

In terms of stress levels and confused emotions...I've never experienced anything like the past couple of days.

I applied for a school but after not hearing back within a week of the interview date I resigned myself to the fact I had been unsuccessful. Honestly, I was disappointed but I didn't want to dwell so arranged more school visits and concentrated on applying to others. It also meant that I would get to go to my friend Sammy's (over @ bellini beauty) birthday night out (Thursday) and I bought a lovely sailor costume to fit in with the 'S' theme.

Wednesday at dinner time I get a call. It's only the school I thought I had missed out on inviting me to interview! However the interview was on Friday!!! Short notice or what?! As it goes someone had pulled out and I was the reserve. This didn't give me great confidence but I thought I may as well give it a shot!

That afternoon I went to visit another school (as it was already booked) and this caused a rise in stress levels...I just wanted to start planning my interview lesson! I also had to cancel my plans to go out as a Sailor :(

Anyway to cut a long stressful story short Thursday consisted of panicking, cutting out rivers, panicking, painting treasure chests, oh yeah...and more panicking! I'm one of those people that is repelled by food when I get stressed so food certainly wasn't priority that day!

In case you were wondering...I didn't get the job. In fact I didn't actually get interviewed. I got great feedback for my taught lesson and I did a written task but the day was cut short for half of us because we weren't suitable. Again experience came into play...but in terms of managing adults. Personally I know I am nowhere near being ready to guide others...I need guidance myself! If I knew that's what they wanted before then I would have never have applied. But hey ho!...I went in as the underdog and felt like a fish out of water whilst there but I tried! The process wasn't executed professionally imo and there's no excuse for rudeness...but I do truly believe that 'everything happens for a reason'. Fate is a powerful thing.

It's been an incredibly stressful time and I'm truly glad I can find a release in exercise! Unsurprisingly though, with my recent loss of appetite and my normal workout routine I've actually lost 4lbs over the last 10 days...not something I was aiming to do! Don't worry though I made up for it last night...

 Haha! Admittedly it did defeat me but I ate most of it! And I've also recently jumped on the protein shake wagon...but I may do a post about that another time :)

On with the next interview prep I suppose! Oh, and just one last awful assignment to write!!!

Hope everyone is a little more chilled than me at the moment! I saw this and just had to laugh...

Urban Decay's 24/7 Eye Pencil

I cannot believe I haven't blogged about this little gem before!...I mean, sure it's featured in some favourite posts but it truly deserves it own stand alone post... because it's that good!

It's no secret that I'm a big Urban Decay fan and I would have to say that eyeliner is possibly my favourite piece of makeup...if I had to categorically choose of course!

I tend to feel a little bit naked if my waterline isn't coloured in so to speak (and no, there is no pun intended there in ref to UD's eyeshadow palettes hehe!)

I had a browse around a Urban Decay counter some time last year, I think Feb '12 time, and just so happened to test some of the 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencils. They had a beautiful colour range but being a predominantly black eyeliner girl I sort out that one.

The colour Perversion was described to me as their blackest of black shades and after a quick draw on the back of my hand I knew I HAD to get it. The black was so intense, certainly blacker than any pencil liners I'd ever come across! I'm not sure if the photo does it the justice it deserves but believe me, it's BLACK BLACK!

Another impressive thing about this eyeliner is it's creamy consistency. It makes applying it to the waterline incredibly easy and soft. I can't stand that awful scratchy feeling some eyeliners create...eurgh!

Wearing Perversion on my waterline & Mac's gel liner on my upper lash line :)
As for its staying does a really great job. I'm unsure if 24/7 is all that realistic but to give you an idea, I always have to take care to remove it at the end of any day. Even when I've worked out for 3 hours it'll still be there to some extent...but the good news is I never find it to run and cause panda eyes!

I use it pretty much everyday and considering I've had it over the year mark, despite sharpening it regularly, it's nowhere near used up yet. At £14, I feel it's quite a bargain with it's long usage and the quality of the product. Well worth it in my opinion. I'll certainly be repurchasing when mine is all gone!

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

My running shoe journey


So, I've never really classed myself as a 'runner' until recently. If you saw my gym challenge post you'll know that I've been trying to rack up the miles over the month of April in order to complete a marathon as it were (just bit by bit).

Taken from

Since starting my fitness journey in June 2012, I've come on leaps and bounds. I look back at what I was like in the beginning and I literally would be struggling for breath after about 2 minutes on the treadmill!

When I ramped up my exercise regime to near on everyday, after a month into starting out, I realised I would need some proper footwear to help avoid problems such as shin splints, knee pain etc...which can come from wearing the wrong shoes when working out.

Way back in July I did a post about upgrading my trainers...I can't believe I actually worked out in these...

They're pretty much as flat as you can get! No support whatsoever!

I headed over to my local sports store and got tested on the treadmill to see how my feet land etc whilst running. I would really advise having this done because it means you know what training shoe is the best for you in terms of support.

My result was a fairly neutral left foot, with a over-pronating right foot. This basically means my ankle rolls inwards slightly when it lands. Consequently I left the shop with...

A pair of Adidas running shoes. Unbelievably in a size 7...when I usually take a 5 in shoes!
The colour wasn't to my liking but...if they did the job then hey ho! And then a pair of insoles to help with my over-pronation! However, wrongly, I was advised to only wear the insole in my right foot...So for a little while I wasn't wearing them correctly.

Quick to follow came my blister complaint post. As I got fitter I naturally started to 'up' my treadmill usage and when I became able to run comfortably for 5-10 minutes straight I got really excited and quite proud! :)

However with this increased run time came the sheer burning pain on the inner arches of my feet, although the right foot was always severely worse. Convinced the insole was adding to the issue I removed it but found the blisters still reared regardless.

Having paid somewhere in the region of £60 for the trainers and insoles I headed back to the store unhappy and in exchange left with a new £70 pair of Asics.

The Asics brand are designed to help with over-pronation and generally support most runners' feet so I was confident they would resolve my issues.

Sadly, they didn't and although they were much better than the Adidas ones, they were still causing me painful inner arch blisters right up until this Saturday!

Now at the peak of my fitness, I am able to run for much longer periods of time (30+ mins) but this  is always cut short by the sheer pain of the blistering...usually occurring at around 15-20mins into a run.

Nearing the end of my marathon gym challenge, I was getting fed up of my skin being ripped apart quite franky and getting frustrated because my heart wanted to continue running but my feet wouldn't let me!

Sunday I returned to the store and possibly spent over an hour trying on different brands of footwear and running on the treadmill to test them out! This time both my feet were slightly over-pronating but again my right foot was definitely the biggest culprit.

This time I left the store with a pair of Saucony's! Apparently these are very highly regarded in the running world, featured in the running mags and what not.

Amazingly I also found myself a right bargain, with these beauties reduced from £90 to a mere £30! Result!

And the verdict?!

Well...I don't want to jinx myself but having tried them out last far, so good AMAZING! I managed to complete a 3 mile run in 26 minutes (which isn't a brill time but for me it's improving) and I wasn't in agony at any point! I could have ran for longer to be honest but I had to stop for my Core Blimey ab class.

So, yes, I'm pretty happy at the minute knowing I can run without pain :D !!! As for the marathon challenge I only have 1.2 miles to complete so I will do that and more on Wednesday. (Tonight I have spinning and zumba so I can't fit a run in! hehe)

Hopefully I've solved my issues!!! Wish me luck :)

Friday, 19 April 2013

Micheal Todd's Blue Green Algae Antibacterial Toner

For a long time I neglected toners and didn't really get the reason for using them. When I started looking into the idea behind them...balancing your skin's PH levels and removing any leftover makeup etc I started to use Simple's Toner as I thought I probably should.

However more often than not I'd forget and whenever I'd remember I didn't get any satisfaction from using Simple's. To me it was like rubbing water over my scent, no feeling, not a lot going on really.

But when my skin started to break out left right and center and I developed a bacterial infection around my chin I started to look into maybe buying a new toner.

I first came across Micheal Todd's Blue Green Algae Antibacterial Toner over on YouTube in one of Fleur De Force's Videos. I was interested in the tingling sensation of the product she described and after reading more about it I felt it could be really good for my recently acquired acne!

I headed over to the Micheal Todd site, here, and was surprised to find it was $18 (just under £12)- I had expected it to be more to be honest! It's said to smell of lavendar and birchwood and whilst I recognise those scents, to me it's slightly reminiscent of green tea?! Anyway it is a really pleasant smell which I was relieved about because I don't handle a lot of fragrances too well!

When I read "...customers love this toner for its antibacterial formula to help improve problem skin.." I was completely sold and quickly ordered myself a bottle. P&P was reasonable I remember and although I was quoted an approx. 3 weeks delivery time, it was here after just a week. Fab, quick and easy service!

I've been using the product near-on twice a day every day since I received it about a month ago and have about half a bottle left! I'm slightly addicted to the pleasant tingling feel to it when it's applied...I feel like I can actually FEEL it working its magic.

As for results, I definitely think that it is helping to tackle my skin problems. I cannot categorically say that this is the sole reason why my skins improving, as I'm using many things at once but I'm 100% sure it's having nothing but a positive effect.

Along with that, I find it amazing how after washing my face REALLY well my MT's toner-covered cotton pad still reveals a little left over makeup. It's crazy how stubborn it can be!

So, to conclude...This, for me, is a winner! It's worth all the hype it receives! I'd recommend it to anyone but especially to those of you that have troubled skin!

Let me know if anyone tries or has tried this? What do you think?!

Ellie x

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Body Shop's Mandarin & Tangelo Scented Candle

I'd forgotten how much I love a good old candle burning sess! 

The Body Shop's Mandarin & Tangelo Scented Candle has to be my all time favourite. In honesty though I perhaps haven't tried that many candles, so it's perhaps not the ground-breaking statement it sounds but anyhow I think this is a delicious one!

I am a big fan of citrus scents and so as you would expect this candle ticks that box. The orangey infused fragrance is refreshing whilst also quite warm smelling...if that makes sense!
It comes in a nice box, as pictured above (taken from and the wax itself is held in a nice average sized glass tumbler.

At just £10 I think it's a bargain and you'll get hours of burn time out of it. I haven't kept track of the exact time but it feels like I've had it for ages!

It's so yummy! A must for any zesty fragrance fans! :) I'll certainly be re-purchasing!

And candles are so pretty, flickering away in the dark! Just remember to blow them out before you go to sleep :P

Sunday, 14 April 2013

#NottsBBMeet Evening at TGI's :)

So, as if the daytime meetup wasn't awesome enough...TGI's took the meetup to another level!

When I heard some of the girls saying how heavy/full the goody bags were I pictured a small over-filled gift-sized bag... what we were greeted with was insane!

We were all allocated seats indicated by these cute little place markers, along with a HUGE stripey goody bag as well as a Liz Earle one!

Apologies for the bad photo...I was just too excited at the time!! :)

I really appreciated how personalized everything was. It just shows how much effort went into it!...

...In particular these fab shortbread biscuits that were hiding in our goody bags! Sophia @ Tattooed Tea Lady really is very talented...and they tasted so good too! YUM! Thanks :P

I liked how the meal was yet a further opportunity to chat to people and perhaps to someone who you hadn't had much chance to speak to during the day. I enjoyed chatting to Megan @ A Scholar Life :)

TGI's were very nice and allowed us 50% off our first drink. This meant one thing...COCKTAIL! I went with an iced Pina Colada which was very yummy :) I later ordered a Strawberry Daiquiri, which again went down a treat!

Being someone whose eyes are often bigger than my belly, I knew 3 courses probably wouldn't happen and usually I'm a mains and dessert kind of gal. However I was so so hungry when I got to TGI's that I simply couldn't wait to eat so I went with the Bacon & Cheese stuffed Potato Skins to start.

For my main I had already half decided on ribs before I had got there so when it came to ordering it was pretty easy and I went with the Friday's BBQ Ribs half rack, served with cajun onion rings and fries. This was absolutely delicious and I devoured the entire plate!

Throughout the meal there were also various giveaways and I was really happy to have my name pulled out. I'm not usually someone to win anything so was pleasantly surprised to win some Sunkissed Gradual Tanning Lotion and mitt :)

When I got home I was absolutely bowled over by how much free stuff I'd been given. I think all of the girls around me at the meal were just as shocked!

The sheer content of the stripey bag was unbelievable!! Literally every beauty blogger's dream, I'm sure! I'll post lots of photos to give you some idea of what kinds of products is among this mass display!

And if that wasn't enough, there was a whole goody bag courtesy of Liz Earle!

I feel very lucky and honoured to have been given so many fantastic products! A huge thank you to all of the companies that contributed and obviously again to Sophia and the others for getting it all together for us!

I'd say anyone considering going to a meetup...DO IT! I had the best time ever and will be looking forward to taking part in more soon :)


#NottsBBMeet Daytime Shopping & Kiehls Visit

Wow. What a day!

This was my first blogger's meetup so I wasn't sure what to expect but I assumed it would be fun to meet people with similar interests. Safe to say it far exceeded any expectations and I had one of the best days in ages! :)

I thought the name badge idea was brill and super cute!

Everyone was so friendly and it was great to meet so many of you!! For once it wasn't weird to obsess over beauty items in shops...very refreshing from the usual blank looks or raised eyebrows!! :P

I enjoyed having a browse through New Look, H&M and grabbing a Greggs with these lovely girls:

(Left to right: Sammy @ Bellini Beauty, Gemma @ Gemma Means Jewel, Me, Sally @ Rainy Day Faces & Joanna @ Minty  Essence)
Thanks for the photo Joanna! Not going to lie, very envious of your fab camera!! :D

I enjoyed speaking to everyone I met! It's impossible to remember everyone, so sorry if I miss you, but it was lovely to meet Katy @ Sirens and Bells, Natalie @ Floral Republic, Megan @ Megan's Beauty Blog, Charlotte @ Lil Miss Chickas and of course the lovely Sophia @ Tattooed Tea Lady. A massive thank you to her and the other organizers for arranging this brill day!!! Some serious kudos to you!

The shopping continued with visits to Mac, L'Occitane and Space NK. I was seriously eye-ing up one of the Archie's girl's eye shadow quads but was able to self-restrain and save the approx £40. It was so pretty though...
Photo from :)
I was looking forward to checking out Space NK and despite not buying anything I was able to closely admire the Nars products! I've decided that I prefer the Orgasm blush to the Super Orgasm...I've corrected my wishlist! :)

Also popped into Ark...I found I really liked a lot of the clothing in here so may have to head back in soon!

Group 4! :)
And then for the Kiehls' Visit. Despite being a Notts girl, I hadn't actually been to the store before and so I was excited to hear more about their products and see what they would personally recommend for me.

Safe to say my oily skin was noted and I was interested in their products geared towards this! I really liked the Powerful Strength Serum. It was like velvet on the skin and the science behind the product made me sure it would help my troubled skin. However with a hefty £49 price tag I've added it to my wishlist!

Another product to catch my eye was Kielhs' BB Cream. I like the idea of swapping my heavy duty liquid foundation for something a little lighter every now and again and although I find bareMinerals works well for this I've always wanted to try a BB cream. Luckily I found the Kiehls' BB Cream tucked away in my huge goody bag when I got home, so stay tuned for my thoughts on the product in a little while! (I will do a separate post about the evening part of the meetup shortly!)

I thought this was such a lovely little piece of motivation!
I found the whole Kiehls' experience really lovely. The staff were friendly and having a glass of Bucks Fizz along with a cupcake made it even more welcoming, not to mention refreshing after a hectic morning of shopping! :) I enjoyed getting to know all of you Group 4 bloggers and it was great to meet Rhiannon @ The Barbelle who like me, shares her interest in fitness in her blog too!

One of the last stops had to be Boots. Gosh I love this shop and I love it even more when it has 3 for 2 deals on! As always it's a shame not to take advantage of their offers...

This is everything I bought during the meetup. I'm very happy to finally have the Origins Super Spot seems to be well worth the £13 already!

As for the Lush stuff, I got a bit excited that I now have a bath (now I'm home and not at my Uni house) so I had to grab a few bubble bars! I'm giving The Comforter to my mum though.

As I said, it was great to be able to get excited about something in a shop and this to be totally acceptable because everyone shared your enthusiasm! A fab day...and soon to follow!