beauty

5 things you genuinely won’t know about Lush… unless you work for them.

I always see lists of things I won’t know about Lush and then they start by telling me about getting samples or claiming a free mask with my 5 clean black pots. Yawn.  If you are a fan of Lush these are things you for sure already know!

So I thought I would let you into some secrets of the staff and things you genuinely might not know.

  1. We like to have fun.  I don’t just mean the shop staff, I mean the compounders, the packers, EVERYONE.  Our bath bombs and bubble bars arrive into store in big boxes and often they packers and compounders will have a little fun with it.  You may find a note or a cheeky drawing on the box.  Last week our store had a box come in and written on it was the name of a new musician and a song title, of course the staff googled it and listened to it.  They also loved the song, all thanks to a packer sharing the love.  Other times they might make a product look a little funny/cute like this butterbear with a heart that Lush Leeds received to give them a smile this week ❤

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    Photo credit @HarryKRogers @LushLeedsSpa
  2. Our manager meetings are all vegetarian or vegan.  Lush do their best to stay true to their ethics right down to the manager meeting food being meat free.  It used to all be vegan but I believe in recent years it has had a few vegetarian options.  Of course staff can eat whatever they like when working and do not have to be vegetarian or vegan, however if the company are paying for it, this is what they provide.  It is lovely food though.  I especially love when desserts are themed around products!

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    A Cinders themed pudding from 2015 managers meeting
  3. ALL staff get Christmas gifts.  Yes, you read that correctly.  The company send us all gifts (In the UK anyway).  We generally get a staff box with a selection of Christmas products to try and then at some point we get sent a big box full of Booja Booja chocolates (yummy! I have serious love for the hazelnut ones).

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    This years generous and beautiful staff box.
  4. Staff can talk to the founders/owners of Lush. Unlike most companies, we know who owns and runs our company as it is 100% possible to talk to them.  It doesn’t matter if you are a store manager or a sales assistant working 4 hours a week.  We can all join the Lush staff page and post our concerns, questions or funny stories and praises.  These can be things you just want to share with the rest of the staff or put to the product inventors and founders.  They are actually pretty great at answering questions if I am honest.  Helen gives wonderful answers to questions regarding products or ingredients and Mark likes to give us insights into what he is working on.
  5. We count in Christmases.  When working for Lush you will also find we tend not to count how long we have been with the company in years from when we started…. we count the Christmases.  If you happened to start as a temp at Christmas this works out well because when you have been with the company for only 1 year you can say “I’ve been here 2 Christmases” which sounds longer.  I think it’s kind of cute as most of us really do love Christmas

So there you have it, a few things about Lush you probably didn’t know unless you work for Lush too.  Genuinely one of the best jobs I have ever had and a company who share my values and ethics to keep beauty cruelty free and be as environmentally conscious as possible in the process.  If you have ever thought it would be nice to work for Lush then I can confirm it is true.  It’s fabulous to work for them and I am technically on Christmas number 4 this year 🙂

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Me loving my work Christmas 2015  x
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Christmas

12 Days of Christmas – best Christmas movies to watch!

I know people like to count with their advent calendar from December 1st but there is something about the 12 days before Christmas that is so much more fun.  So for me the count down is officially on!

One thing I adore about Christmas is Christmas movies.  Yes, even the ones channel 5 show or the stuff on the Hallmark channel.  I’m a sucker for everything festive.

This week I roped in Annabelle to help me pick out the best movies of Christmas and here are the top 12 Christmas movies that me and the kids will 100% be watching in the run up to Christmas:

  1. Elf.  Top of the list is always going to be Elf!  This is actually my favorite movie of all time!
  2. The Polar Express.  I know some people really don’t like this movie but this movie just says Christmas to my kids and reminds me of curling up on the sofa with only the Christmas lights on to watch it on Christmas eve.
  3. Home Alone 1.  Heck we might even watch Home Alone 2 after it but for sure won’t put on 3.
  4. The Santa Clause.  I love Tim Allen!  He was one of the faces of my childhood as I loved Home Improvement…. and the fact he is in so many Christmas movies!
  5. Christmas with the Kranks.  See my reasons above.
  6. Miracle on 34th Street.  This one is just so lovely.  I mean the real Santa is even in this one, what’s not to love ❤
  7. Arthur Christmas.  Everyone wants to be the one to make sure somebody has the best Christmas going so we can all relate to Arthur.
  8. The Nativity.  This is one of Annabelles favorites!
  9. Love Actually.  Its obligatory to watch this right?  It might be a little sad to watch this year though now Alan Rickman has died.
  10. White Christmas. I always used to avoid the older movies, they bored me and reminded me of waiting for Sunday dinner as a child while my uncle watched old black and white movies but then I caught this on one year and it fast became a favorite.
  11. Get Santa.  This isn’t one I think I have seen, Annabelle has picked it out to watch this year and she assures me it is funny.
  12. How the Grinch stole Christmas.  Apparently this is being remade for 2018 with Benedict Cumberbatch, not sure how I feel about that but I think the original is marvelous.  It’s all about Cindy Lou Whos hair for me 🙂  Hard to believe how old it is, this movie just doesn’t feel old to me!

Bonus movie – Annie Claus is Coming to Town.  Okay so this was a straight to TV movie as far as I am aware, but it’s lovely and cheesy and I have watched it the last few years in a row.  I wouldn’t say to put it top of your to watch list but if you want to watch a load of Christmas movies, add it on!

What are your must watch movies?  Any you think I should add to our list? Any on our list that you just hate?

Day Trips

First night out after having a baby…

Ethan is 3 months old today and Saturday was my work Christmas party.  I know I am on maternity leave but I love my team at Lush and I wanted to enjoy the night out with them.

The bit that most people find hard was actually my less stressful part, picking an outfit and some jewellery to go with it.  Although stupidly I didn’t realise one of the strands on my necklace was broken when I bought it.  Thankfully it was an easy fix with some Loctite glue though, yeay!  Secret Santa buying was a little tricky as I had never met the girl I was buying for but I went for safe options, a sparkly glass photo frame, scented candles and chocolate – if you work for Lush it is almost a given you will love these things… except the chocolate, my risk was i didn’t know if she was vegan (she wasn’t).

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Me all excited and ready to go.

The tricky bit is that Ethie pants is breastfed.  I went out and bought a new baby bottle and some formula to save me having to express and had it all on the bench sterilised and ready before I left.  I fed Ethan at 7 and left the house at 7:15 … got half way to my destination and then had to go home again as I forgot my secret Santa gift whoops.  I left again at 7:45, Ethan was sound asleep and I got to the restaurant for 8:15.

I was doing that thing, you know the one, where you constantly keep glancing at your phone to see if it is flashing to say you have a message?  I gave into my anxiousness and by 9:30 text only to find Ethan was still .  Phew, I was mighty impressed he was giving his daddy an easy night.  A false sense of security really as then he started to stir.  Daddy got the bottle ready and the milk warmed up, thinking he was on the ball but Ethan had other ideas.  The poor wee man went into melt down, refused point blank to take his bottle and cried his wee heart out no matter how much daddy cuddled and tried to distract him.

I managed to shovel the last bit of dessert into me before everyone else had even started theirs and vanished to head home by 10pm to my hungry little man.  I was home by 10:30 which meant he was fed only 3 1/2 hours after his last feed in spite of him acting like he had been starved for days.  This photo is the wee scamp once I had fed him.  As if nothing was ever wrong ha!

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Despite the mini drama of the wee man only wanting mummy to feed him, I had an enjoyable (all be it brief) time out with my friends.  I loved meeting the Christmas temps we have this year and I’m rather sad I haven’t had the joy of working with them as they seem a rather smart and lovely bunch.

I also brought home the most wonderful secret Santa gift.  My love for chocolate is well known and I was gifted super festive white chocolate and peppermint M&Ms and what looked like a little storage jar.  It was only when I read the tag I realised how wonderful the jar was, it contains 31 little folded up pieces of paper each with a motivational/inspirational note.  I love any excuse to start the day on a high and so I plan to use this gift for the month of January to keep myself starting the days off positively.

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With regards to the M&Ms I had to google to check the red food colouring was veggie friendly and true story, apparently it is made from coal!?  Very very odd…. I still ate it though!

So what would I take from my slightly failed attempt at my first night out?  If there is an event coming up and you can’t bring the baby, just plan to go to it anyway.  If it doesn’t work and you have to go home so be it.  You still get the fun of dressing up and getting out of the house didn’t you?  Worst case scenario, you go home early.  There is no point in not enjoying the time you are there and no point beating yourself up over leaving early and the baby getting a bit upset over their milk not arriving in their format of choice.

beauty

Urban Decay – 24/7 Glide-on Lip Pencil review.

This Saturday is my work Christmas party.  Yes, despite being on maternity leave I am for sure going to the Christmas party to get me out of the house and talking to grown ups for a few hours!

I headed to Newry as I needed a few new things for the party, one of these things being a new lip pencil.  I used to have a rose coloured one I loved by Estee Lauder but as my make-up bag is now cruelty free I have been looking to replace it with something new.

My first stop was the Bare Minerals counter as I like their pencils but sadly there was nobody at the stand and so lack of service meant I walked over to Urban Decay to ask them what they had.  The girls at the counter were great and pulled out a lovely tray FILLED with lip pencils.  I honestly don’t think I have ever seen so many lip colours on offer by a brand in one display!  I started to put a few on the back of my hand, picking peachy tones as I wanted something fairly nude and asked one of the girls what she thought would look the closest to nude on my lips. She lifted out a colour that to my eye looked to dark, even on the back of my hand I was certain it would be too dark but when I put it on it was perfect.  The colour she selected was aptly named “Naked 2”.

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Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-on Lip Pencil in “Naked 2”

The pencil is super easy to apply and glides onto the lip without any drag.  It stays put pretty well and lasts as long as my lip colour does so both can be reapplied at the same time.  I am sure it would last longer for most people than it does for me as I am a bit of a lip balm addict and thus apply it I guess a good 10+ times a day.

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Perfect colour to line my lips before applying a nude lip gloss (excuse the end of day tired face)

This product costs £13.50 and I intend to add it to my staples to use often.  I like my make-up to look natural which means I rarely wear colour on my lips so this will work well for me.  I’m not sure I can say I love it as much as my previous one from Estee Lauder but I enjoy it enough to work with it on the basis of it being a great colour and cruelty free.

I really am growing to love Urban Decay more with each visit to them and I can feel myself wanting to try their foundations out next so that may be on my hit list to buy after Christmas when my current foundation starts to run low.

 

House and home

Painting a ceiling is a bit like applying fake tan isn’t it? (My first attempt at redecorating)

So this week I have been decorating my livingroom.  When we moved into this house it had horrid wallpaper and I wanted to replace it.  However there was a problem.  Mimi was going through a stage of wanting to pick and rip at the wallpaper every time your back was turned!  So I had to sit on my hands and put up with the paper I didn’t even like, never mind love, knowing that it was at least saving me from having Amelia pulling off nice new paper.

As much as it was naughty she was quite amusing with her wallpaper removal.  At one point when asked who ripped this piece of wallpaper off she tried to tell us “Belle Belle did it”…. shame Belle Belle was in another room and the paper was in Amelias hand!

Anyways, this week I decided she hadn’t touched the walls in a long enough period of time that I could get the room done up in time for Christmas!  I wanted to love my livingroom for Christmas.  Think of it as a gift from me to me.

I had originally hoped my father in law would come and paper but he has hurt his back and so I had to accept that the job had fallen on me.  I’d never papered before but how hard could it be?  I remember my mum decorating our house when I was a child and so I figured I would be grand plus I always like learning something new.

I got a loan of a wallpaper stripper and started stripping the old paper off, thankful that my parents decided to come spend the afternoon helping me get it all done in one day.  At this point I realised just how bad the walls in the livingroom were.  Cracks, old wall plugs everywhere, uneven surfaces and even a broken bit of plaster that the last person had just papered over.  Argh!

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Cracks and hole in the wall after removing old paper

But I had started so I had to continue and decided to start with the ceiling.  Painting a ceiling is easy right? Err to an extent.  I was stood on a decorating stool and painting around the edges with a brush and then rolling away with  a wee roller but it made it hard to actually see the job I was doing as I was so close to the ceiling, plus I was getting lots of paint on my face!  So we taped a mop handle to the roller.  MUCH better.  You may wonder why is it like applying fake tan?  Well you know when you put fake tan on you just keep rubbing it in to be sure you have got everywhere?  Yeah, well, I did the same with the ceiling, just kept massaging the paint in with the roller and went back over areas when I wasn’t sure if it was all painted evenly enough.  In the end I can say the ceiling looks lovely and is all a fresh white colour with no patchy bits.  Emmy did good.

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Walls stripped and ready to paint the ceiling

The next thing to do was go get the paper for the walls.  I picked it online but when I got to B&Q they didn’t have it in that store and it wasn’t available to order in!  Argh so off I trudged to the wallpaper aisle to start the paper picking process all over again.  If you have ever picked wallpaper you may know why this is painful.  I needed two different papers, one feature paper and then a plain colour to go with it.  I spent a good 20 minutes unraveling sample rolls and holding them up together to see what I thought might look good.

A family started looking at papers half way through my selection process and after a few minutes they had stopped looking at papers but I realised they were still stood there… looking at me.  At this point the woman admitted she was just going to wait and see what I picked because she liked my taste in paper and as we will never see each other again she didn’t care if our livingrooms were exactly the same.  Blunt, amusing and slightly flattering I guess.

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The papers I went for

Once I picked my papers I grabbed the bits I needed and headed to the till…. with the woman and her family behind me buying the exact same papers lol.

I decided to start with the easiest looking wall that needed plain paper.  Mainly because if you mess up with the plain paper its a less expensive mistake than messing up with the feature paper.  This was when I realised wallpapering isn’t as easy as the videos make it look!  And it really would have been easier to have somebody who knew what they were doing there to help with the first few sheets to get me started.  Ah never mind, I got there in the end and then started on the feature wall.

That night I sent my mum a photo of my papering to show I wasn’t making a hash of it and that was when she realised I was actually doing it myself (I’m not exactly sure how she hadn’t realised this earlier?) and offered to come help the next day.

I was highly grateful when my parents arrived as the bits left to do included all the corners, the window, that broken bit of plaster that needed a quick fix and an archway.

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Mum matching paper for a corner strip

So how do you fix a broken bit of plaster that has a great big crack without plastering you ask? Gorilla tape.  I’d never heard of it but a family member who is a builder said to use it and although I was dubious, it did the job well and so I happily have papered over it.

Once the detailing was done and the edges were trimmed we roped a friend into helping us move our 3rd sofa from the back room into the livingroom (this involved carrying it out the back, around the outside of the house, over our garden fence and then back in the front door) and this morning I am pleased to say my livingroom is a sea of tranquillity.  Well almost… I still have to share it with Mimi the wrecking ball who insists on shouting rather than talking.

So what did I learn from this experience?

  •  Expect the unexpected when you strip a wall, it really might be a thoroughly crappy surface.
  • Use a long handle to paint your ceiling and if in doubt just keep rolling on a bit more paint to get an even coverage (like with fake tan).
  • Sometimes you paste the paper, sometimes you paste the wall. I didn’t realise different papers had to be pasted differently before this experience.
  • Practice with the cheaper paper so if you make a mistake it isn’t too costly (I had to bin one strip that I messed up).
  • Patterns are a bugger to match up so be very careful matching it before you cut it (I had to bin one strip of this paper to as I somehow cut the bottom of the pattern about 6 inches too short?)
  • If you can get help from somebody who has done it before, take it and learn from whatever they already know!

I’m well known for regularly moving house because I get bored easily and get itchy feet but I think I will find it hard to let go of this livingroom if/when the time comes.  I can hand on heart say I love my new livingroom and I sincerely hope that the family who copied my choice love theirs just as much… of course if they don’t that will teach them for not picking their own paper haha.

Now to get started with the Christmas decorations…

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This is the wall with the crack papered over (before the arch was trimmed)
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Feature Wall
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Poor lighting in this one but the Livingroom from the other side