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whentaniatalks: May 2015

Friday, 29 May 2015

May Is EDS Awareness Month - My Story Of EDS

Hi Everyone!

I couldn’t let May, Ehlers-Dalos Awareness Month, pass without telling you my story with this condition & my journey to diagnosis. This is the first year that I have had the opportunity to mark this month as a diagnosed EDS zebra! So…

I have EDS-Hypermobility type &, though only recently diagnosed, have been suffering significantly for the past 5 years. EDS is a connective tissue disorder, where the production of collagen is affected. There are a number of different types of EDS. Hypermobility type being the most common.

As a child, I twisted on my ankles a lot. Mum took me to the Drs (I was too young to remember) on countless occasions but was told there was nothing to worry about.

I started having problems with my wrists when I was 17 & working toward my piano exam. When I went off to music college I struggled. My hands were painful & I found sitting in orchestra difficult. My back would ache & I had concentration difficulties. It felt like half an hour had gone by but when I looked at the clock it was just five minutes. At 19, I had an arthroscopy on my right wrist, showing that there is instability of the ligaments either side of my lunate bone. The surgeon was of the opinion that this is the case for both wrists. 

I managed to not have too many other problems until I was 22, or if I did, there was too much going on with my basilar type migraine that it was the least of my worries! Then all of a sudden my back was so painful that I had to lie on the floor at uni while waiting for lectures. My elbows also became painful for the first time (at least that I can remember). When I went to the GP, I was told that I had tennis elbow & poor posture - not the case & not helpful!

It’s only now that I understand how lucky I was that my teacher ditched me at this point for not doing enough practice (despite her knowing the difficulties I was facing). At the time, I felt completely lost - playing was the one thing I could always turn to when life was hard. It was a month or two before I found my ‘current’ teacher (I can’t play much at the moment). She also has EDS-Hypermobility type. She helped me understand the condition we both have & gave me some really good tips on how to make adaptations to make life easier. She is one of my heroes.

I struggled through my dissertation, two hours working, two hours sleeping. Mum did everything she could to help. I struggled to put my thoughts into words though because of the brain fog. This made dictating just as tricky, if not more so, than typing my work out myself. My wrists were so bad that I couldn’t open draws or get the tops off my tablet bottles. Things improved once I finished uni & wasn’t using the computer keyboard all the time!

The first rheumatologist I saw was when I was 23. He told me that I have 'chronic widespread multiple skeletal pain with aspects of Fibromyalgia.' I still have no idea what that is or means! He handed me two leaflets, one on Hypermobility Syndrome (also known as EDS-Hypermobility type) & one on Fibromyalgia. He told me that I didn't have either of these conditions, but that the leaflets may be helpful & sent me on my way.

My neurologist (migraine specialist) wasn’t happy with this as it’s not uncommon to find migraine, EDS (& PoTS) coinciding. He requested my GP re-refer me to the rheumatologist. This resulted in me receiving & hand therapy. Both of these specialists were helpful & together gave me a score of 7/9 on the Beighton scale (more on this later).

It took an operation to put my knee cap back into the right place & 4 sublaxes (partial dislocations), as well as my neurologist pushing even more for a diagnosis for me to get to the point I’m at now. It might also be worth noting at this point that, prior to my EDS diagnosis, I received a diagnosis of TMJD (essentially a problem with the jaw joint that, again, is often found in people with EDS).

In November of 2014, I was diagnosed with EDS-Hypermobility type. There are many diagnostic criteria for this type of EDS, which I won’t go into detail about here. The reason there are a number of criteria is because EDS is a connective tissue disorder that affects each person differently. One of the diagnostic criteria, alongside family history, symptoms & a number of other things is the Beighton scale. This is a scale whereby certain joints are tested for their flexibility. At this appointment, I scored a 9/9. Frustratingly, not all joints are covered by this scale (like the hips - one of my most flexible areas) This is another reason why the Beighton scale is just one of the things used to diagnose EDS-Hypermobility type. I was sent for a course of physio with a senior therapist who specialised in connective tissue disorders, which proved very helpful. This physio helped with physical supports to make it possible for me to play my oboe again.

In December of 2014, I was seen at a different hospital & apparently scored a 1-2/9 (seriously!?! Surely it’s a 1 or a 2!!!) on the Beighton scale. I was told that I don’t have EDS-Hypermobility type. I think he thought I was a hypochondriac. He sent me to physio to ‘deal with the pains’ I experience. I went once to see if they could offer anything the other hospital couldn’t (with the original physio’s approval). The rheumatologist also suggested I see a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist. The physio he sent me to initially agreed with this decision but by the time I was through with my appointment with her she was singing a different tune. I made sure she knew each & every thing I do & think about in order to minimise pain, make my life easier & live my life to the fullest.

This is one of the big problems EDS. It is often misdiagnosed & mistreated. I believe one of my sublaxes to be a direct result of & the other three to be the indirect result of these. Being told that I don’t have a condition I’ve already been diagnosed with & toldd that I need to see a psychologist affected me emotionally & had a detrimental affect on my IBS. I dread to think how this experience could have affected someone else psychologically.

Not only is EDS a debilitating condition (& in the case of some of the types, life threatening), it is also one that is little known or understood. As we have seen in my case, this makes getting that all important diagnosis & subsequently help difficult. Part of this is that each of us is affected by the condition indifferent ways. Off the bat of my diagnosis I am being investigated for Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome - a related condition. 

A thought to leave you with - Talking on the program 'Issues With My Tissues' Professor Rodney Grahame noted that it was highly likely the late Michael Jackson was a sufferer of EDS-Hypermobility Type & that the management, or lack of, was ultimately the reason behind death.

If you’re suffering with &/or fighting for a diagnosis, know that you’re not alone. 

Tania Xx

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Beautiful & Inexpensive Jewellery from jewellerybox.co.uk

Hi Everyone!

I’m not someone who spends a lot of money on jewellery. The most expensive items I own are either 18th birthday presents, or gifts from my husband. I like dainty jewellery but don’t want to wear expensive items on a day-to-day basis as I’d most likely damage them in some way! Saying this, I do like to wear sterling silver pieces as they don’t loose their colour like costume jewellery can.

So when I came across the brand jewellerybox.co.uk - a brand with beautiful, inexpensive items, I was really excited! The first things that caught my eye were the enamel stud earrings, that reminded me of my teenage years. What’s more, they’re at an accessible price point for teens. I’m rambling now…

I was thrilled to be approached by jewellerybox.co.uk to receive some of their beautiful pieces & wanted to share them with you. First off let’s start with the a new launch from the summer collection - a sterling silver Abella Necklace. This beautiful piece features a silver leaf with a 18ct Dipped Gold bumble bee for just £14!

I love how dainty the cable chain is. It catches the light beautifully. Most of my necklace chains are shorter than this one (& the one coming up). I want to say that they’re 16inch & this is an 18inch… I really like the slightly longer length & have been wanting to get some to have a little variety!

With summer fast approaching, the lovely people at jewellerybox.co.uk sent me this lovely Bird Charm Anklet. I have a few anklets, but they don’t seem to come out all that often. I don’t know why. I’m going to use this anklet as an excuse to change that! Costing £8.80, this sterling silver piece, covered in little birds, is just right for the warmer months. 

I don't gravitated toward jewellery with clasps like this anklet, but I've found it to be really secure. These are clearly well made pieces. It does have a bell on it which, while it’s aesthetically pleasing, annoys me as I’m walking! I’m going to persevere with it a little longer but if it still annoys me I may resort to taking the bell off. 

I was also asked if there were any other pieces I would like! I felt like an overwhelmed kid in a candy store! Then I remembered the Winter Snowflake necklace I had seen on the website. While not particularly seasonal, the snowflake holds a special meaning for many spoonies (incase you don’t know, a spoonies is a term coined by Christine Miserandino for those with chronic illness). No snowflake is ever the same, in the same way that no two people, even with the same condition(s), experience the same symptoms. This meaning has been very poignant for me in the last year or so. 

Why are there so many symbols used for similar things!?! The Zebra for those with EDS, spoons & snowflakes for chronic illness sufferers… I digress.

The sterling silver Winter Snowflake necklace was £15.50 & is now down to £9.95! As I mentioned above, it is a slightly longer chain to most of my necklaces from Dan. This time using a foxtail chain, drawing the eye immediately to the snowflake itself.

Which is your favourite of the three pieces?
Have you bought anything from jewellerybox.co.uk?

Tania Xx


Monday, 25 May 2015

Institutionalised Bullying - My Story

Hi Everyone!

There are two work place related topics I’ve been wanting to write about for a long time. Those of disability discrimination & bullying. I didn’t want to write them whilst at the respective jobs but wanted to post both simultaneously. As a result I had to wait until I’d left both jobs (March) & then life just got in the way! You can find my disability discrimination post here.

I have been the subject of institutionalised bullying in two work places. This is not something I am ashamed to admit & know that in both the cases I was not in the wrong. 

The first took place when I took up a position as a supervisor on a management training program at one of the big department stores. I was bullied by two different members of staff whilst I was there, the manager & the senior sales assistant in my team. I found out toward the end of my time working for the company that the senior sales assistant had previously been a supervisor & had been demoted. She was actually really nice to me outside of work, but in work she was spiteful! She did everything she could to undermine me & my work. She was also pally with the manager - I was doomed from the start!

The manager of the store was vile. Bossy isn’t the best way to describe her, she was a hard woman. There was no compassion in her. I tried to keep her informed of my conditions with the appropriate amount of information. In one instance she told me “you’re not special, you’re no different to anyone else”. This I find to be completely contradictory to what a boss should be - surely a boss should be looking at people as individuals with strengths & weaknesses, utilising the strengths & developing weaknesses. She was awful toward me. In addition I was changing my medication which was making things difficult. She made my life miserable. I came home one day & sobbed continuously. i told Dan that I couldn’t go back there. I’ve never been one to hide from problems, but I’d got to the point where I couldn’t cope with it anymore. My GP knew I was struggling with the changes to my medication. I went to him the next day & he signed me off work saying “I’m not having you go through this”.

The job I was waiting to leave before writing this post actually started REALLY well! I started there as a Christmas temp & really enjoyed myself! There didn’t seem to be any negativity & I was vary happy. Things became less rosy after Christmas but I didn’t have any problems. The problems seemed to start when we got a new assistant manager, though I didn’t realise it at the time.

My first experience of institutionalised bullying within this company was when charity month came around. This was being championed by one of the ‘Rising Stars’. We were all expected to bring in a bag of bits to donate. I hadn’t moved into the area long enough to have accumulated any clutter. My Mother-in-Law had some things she wanted to get rid of though so she gave them to me. I needed some help getting the bag (which included books!) in to work because of the weight. My Mum was due to be up that weekend & would hep me. I told one of the Team Leaders this & she was happy. I brought the bag into store & went to start my shift. I was ‘named & shamed’ in front of my colleagues for not having contributed anything. I burst into tears. I was close to marching to the front of the store, picking my bag out of the drop off point & dragging it to the nearest charity shop then & there. The Team Leader who was having to ‘name & shame’ was really nice to me. She hated that she had to do it - yet she did it anyway. When I spoke to the manager about this she said that it wasn’t bullying as the store & the ‘Rising Star’ championing charity week were being named & shamed. I’m sorry, but two wrongs don’t make a right!

The next problem I encountered was when I received a group message on Facebook from the ‘Rising Stars’ who was in charge of the charity month. It told us that there would be a sponsored bike ride taking place with an exercise bike outside of the store & that we were all to take part - NO EXCEPTIONS. The bike ride was due to take place less than 2 weeks before my knee operation. The thing that upset me was that I would have been the first to volunteer to do this. There was a member of staff who was a large lady. She was also very upset about this as she didn’t want to be laughed at for being the ‘fat lady on a bike’. I really felt for her. Her son was infuriated & offered to cycle in his Mum’s place. The Manager asked myself & another colleague half a week before if we were happy to do it. I told her that I would as long as my joints allowed but that it would have been nice to be asked. Her response to this was that she was asking. When I told her about the Facebook messages she said that no one would ever be forced to do something & that I must’ve misinterpreted the message. EVERYONE HAS TO TAKE PART - NO EXCEPTIONS is kinda difficult to misinterpret! What I should add here is that both these instances caused a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder relapse. I went to my GP the week before my knee op for something unrelated. She saw how it was affecting me & signed me off work.

All was ok when I first returned to work. I had to attend a medical for my teaching job. I told my retail job that my appointment was at 2pm so I couldn’t work the afternoon but was also unable to work the morning shift because of the timetable of the train I had to catch to get there. I wrote this down for the Assistant Manager who was responsible for the rota. Guess what!?! I was scheduled to work the morning. I spoke to the Manager, who told me that she told me that she would have to arrange cover for my shift & that I would have to have it off as unpaid. By this time I was fed up with my employers. I stood up for myself - reminding her I was contracted to work 8 hour a week which meant that as well as me being available for these hours, they was also required to provide me with those hours. My Manager informed me that it was in the diary that I couldn’t work the afternoon & as I had not told them I couldn’t work the morning she was under no obligation to to provide me with an alternative for this shift. I told her what I wrote down for the assistant manager word for word. She went away & switched my shift with someone else.

From this point on, the Assistant Manager created reasons to undermine me. Again, I didn’t realise it at first. I dreaded going in to work, not knowing whether I’d have a good day or a bad one. Then the pattern became apparent - the bad days were when she was working, the good were when she wasn’t. I don’t know what the Manager said or did to her about the mistake with the rota, but the Assistant Manager made me pay for it. She would find a pair of socks in the changing room in the last hour before the shop shut, when I had to be out on the floor tidying ready for the next day. I thought I was getting complacent because I was unhappy, then I noticed that the Manager never had cause to complain, in fact, she only ever had compliments about my work. I hated my last few months there. I dreaded going to work incase the Assistant Manager was working. No one should have to go through that. 

Bullying is not ok. Whether it’s at school, work or anywhere else. I want to send out a message to anyone going through bullying at the moment. No one has the right to make you feel bad about yourself. However they do it, for what ever reason they do it - BULLYING IS WRONG. Stand up for yourself when you can, move yourself out of harms way when you need to. What ever you do, remember IT”S NOT YOUR FAULT.

Tania Xx


Friday, 22 May 2015

Disability Discrimination - My Story

Hi Everyone!

There are two work place related topics I’ve been wanting to write about for a long time. Those of disability discrimination & Institutionalised Bullying. I didn’t want to write them whilst at the respective jobs but wanted to post both simultaneously. As a result I had to wait until I’d left both jobs (March) & then life just got in the way! 

I worked for my employer, a music service for two years. I had no problems regarding the wearing of my glasses for the first year. The funding then switched from the government to a private company. This might not be related, but it would be a big coincidence if it wasn’t. I hope I can explain the ins & outs properly - there’s a lot of ‘he said ‘x’, then she said ‘y’!

The first I knew of my glasses being an issue was when my line manager told me that a head teachers at one of the schools I taught in had made a comment to him about why I was wearing sunglasses. I was told that I needed to speak to each of the head teachers to explain why I wear my precision tinted lenses. I was outraged! I was also not prepared to go into detail about my medical conditions. I decided to speak to each of the head teachers, to tell them that they could always approach me if there was ever anything they needed or wanted to talk to me about.

Each of the head teachers were as confused & uncomfortable as I was! One of the head teachers was furious & offered to write to the service on my behalf. He also said that if any of his staff or students made ANY comment, I was to direct them straight to him. That was very reassuring to hear. I had thought I might be over reacting about the whole thing. I had recently started teaching at a new school. I had already spoken to the other head teachers, but I couldn’t see the one at the new school making such a comment. I was REALLY confused & very stressed! My IBS flared up dreadfully. It wasn’t the new head teacher either though - that was an awkward conversation!

When I spoke to the head teacher of my new school, he picked up on my stress instantly. He said to me “you thought it was me, didn’t you?” I didn’t know what to say other than that I didn’t know what to think about the whole thing! He was lovely about the whole thing & put me at ease. He told me that he “just assumed you wore them for a medical reason.” The school is very switched on about dyslexia & a few of my students used coloured overlays or had their music printed on coloured paper to help them read it. So I went back to my manager. This is where it gets interesting. Remember I said that a head teacher had made a comment about my glasses to HIM, well…

My line manager changed his story rather - he told me he would need to speak to the deputy head of the service to find out which head teacher it was who had commented on my glasses, because she had told my line manager about the comment. Hmmm… So we’ve gone from a comment being made to my line manager, to a comment made to the deputy head of the service not my line manager. My line manager told me he would get back to me once he had spoken to the deputy head of the service. Guess what??? That’s right - he never did!

After my knee operation last Easter I was required to attend an appointment with Occupational Health. This was just a tick boxing exercise because of the time I had needed off work. I requested that it take place sooner rather than later. This was so I could raise my concerns about the discrimination I had been subjected to because of my need to wear precision tinted lenses. The OH doctor was very understanding. He was appalled at what my employers had done, likening it to someone in a wheelchair being told to explain why they need their chair. This may sound a bit drastic, but if you peel back the layers someone in a wheelchair needs the use of their chair for a medical reason to allow them to lead their lives to the fullest, just as I need my glasses to allow me to live my life to the fullest because of a medical condition. The OH added words to this effect, as well as reminding them that I require all written communication to be in the form of black text on a white background as they had been sending me forms & information with coloured text & backgrounds that I was simply unable to read.

I had never been self conscious about my glasses until having to deal with this. It took place over the best (well, worst) part of an academic year. I felt awkward around my colleagues & frustrated with my bosses. It made me feel awkward in my personal life too. When I started blogging post-knee op I used a photo where I wasn’t wearing my glasses. I wanted to fit in so without realising I created a persona around my blog. Until writing this post, I hadn’t realised that my experience at work had made me feel like this! It wasn’t until I started meeting other bloggers (wearing my glasses) that I realised I was being accepted for who I was. No one cared that I had coloured glass in front of my eyes. They didn’t think I was odd & they didn’t avoid me. I wasn’t made to feel ’different’. I have made some amazing & really supporting friends through blogging. Not once have my glasses been commented on. You can read more about my journey back to acceptance in my Embracing My Differences post.

So the message here is two fold:
  • Disabillity discrimination comes in many shapes & forms. None of which are ok!
  • Disability discrimination isn’t just about being treated unfairly in the work place. It has repercussions that can severely affect a persons life. I feel lucky that the lack of confidence I experienced lasted for less than a year & that I was not more severely affected.

If we don’t stand up against disability discrimination (or any type of discrimination for that matter) it will just continue. We need to challenge the thinking of those who discriminate in order to change the perception that this behaviour is acceptable. Will you stand up to discrimination?

Tania XX

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Black and White Pluko Hair Dressing Pomade - Review

Hi Everyone!

As you know, my hair is curly. Recently though, as my hair has gotten longer & longer, I have been feeling like the weight is turning my curl into more of a wave. Today’s product, the Black and White Pluko Hair Dressing Pomade* has done a lot to change this! 

At first I was nervous abut using a pomade on my hair - it’s different to anything I’ve ever used before!My husband got excited when it arrived so I asked him to try it too so we could have a man’s point of view amongst all the oestrogen!

For those of you who don’t know (& I didn’t until Dan explained it!), a pomades can either be water or wax based. This particular pomade is a wax based. What defines a pomade from a wax is that most waxes dry to a solid, where as a pomade remains flexible, something I really like!

Let’s start with my husband:
On the first day Dan used the pomade we went to his parents house. His Mum hadn’t even said hello when she came out with “Your hair looks lovely Dan! Very defined!” A compliment from Dan’s Mum is high praise. Not because she rarely gives praise, but because she has exceptional taste!

Dan said: “It’s good”
Me: “Can you give me any more than that?”
Dan: “No, I like it.”
Me: “Ok…”
Dan: “I do find it stickier that wax”
Me: “Oh, that’s funny, I don’t at all!”
Dan: “Yeah, I have to wash my hands after using it”
Me: “See, I don’t at all”

My thoughts:
I was unsure about this product, expecting it to be waxy in texture & consistence. I was pleasantly surprised when I didn’t have to dig my hand into the tub forcefully to get any product into my hands. I found the scent a little odd when I initially used it. It went after a few minutes & is now something I barely notice. If you’ve read my post on the Umberto Giannini Curl Friends Jelly, you’ll know that I have felt my hair lacking in definition as it has gotten longer. The Black and White Pomade took the definition of my hair one step further than the jelly - I had my first ringlet since my days of short hair! I REALLY loved this! It holds my curls so well that it has allowed me to style my hair one day & wake up the next morning & be able to tie it up without crazy frizz for the first time! Saying this, the pomade doesn’t de-frizz my hair as well as some other products have done. I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no such thing as defined curls & no frizz. I think this product may just be the happy medium for my hair. So far, despite my heavy handedness, I have’t put too much product on my hair.

Winner of  Hair Magazine Awards Best High Street Wax on a number of occasions, the Black and White Pluko Hair Dressing Pomade is available in Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Superdrug and Boots for £4.95.

Have you tried a pomade before?
What is your styling product of choice?

Tania Xx


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Monday, 18 May 2015

Ingredient Elimination #2

Hi Everyone!

As you may have noticed by my layout re-design, I am making more of a feature of the allergy element that my blog is aiming to navigate. I really feel that this has centred my focus. So today I wanted to bring you another post of this nature, the second in my ingredients elimination series. I f you haven’t read it, or want to re-familiarise yourself with it, you can find it here.

We will use the end point of the previous post; the ingredients found in the e.l.f. Glossy Gloss in Ballet Slippers but not in the Maybelline Colour Elixirs as out starting point.

Paraffinum Liquidum (Mineral Oil), Octyl Palmitate, Ethylene/Propylene Copolymer, Tocopheryl Acetate, Methlyparaben, Propylparaben. May Contain: Iron Oxides Manganese Violet (CI 77742), Mica (CI 77019), Red No. 6 Lake (CI 15850).

I recently reviewed the Rimmel Oh My Gloss! lip glosses & we will use these ingredients for today’s post.

Polybutene, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Paraffium Liquidum/Mineral Oil/Huile Minerale, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Lanolin Oil, Ethylene/Propylene/Styrene Copolymer, Calcium Aluminium Borosilicate, Synthetic Fluorphilogopite, Ethyhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Polyethylene, Silica, Phenoxyethanol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Butylene/Ethylene/Styrene Copolymer, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil Methylparaben, Parfum/Fragrance, Propylparaben, Ethylparaben, Tin Oxide, Linalool, BHT, Hydroxycitronellal, Hexyl Cinnamal, [May Contain/+/-:Mica, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), D&C Red No. 7 Calcium Lake (CI 15850), D&C Red No. 27 Aluminium Lake (CI 45410), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), FD&C Yellow No. 5 Alluminium Lake (CI 19140), D&C Red No. 6 Barium Lake (CI 15850).

From this, we’ll take out the ingredients found in the Rimmel Oh My Gloss! lip glosses from the first set of ingredients to narrow down our search, leaving us with the potential allergens.

Octyl Palmitate. May Contain: Mica (CI 77019), Red No. 6 Lake (CI 15850).

You’ll notice that CI 15850 appears in both the Rimmel Oh My Gloss! ingredients & the potential allergens lists. This is because in the Rimmel ingredients, it is noted as being ‘D&C Red No. 7 Calcium Lake’ & in the potential allergens if is ‘Red No. 6 Lake. I am therefore leaving this ingredient in as a potential allergen as I don’t know enough about the scientific makeup to be able to tell whether these are the same or different (though I’m leaning toward them being different, otherwise they’d have the same description surely???).

Are you allergic to any makeup items?
Have you been able to pinpoint the suspect ingredient?

Tania Xx

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Thursday, 14 May 2015

Blush Addict TAG

Hi Everyone!

I was instantly drawn in to reading Magpie Jasmin’s Blush Addict TAG &, though not tagged personally, couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share my love of blusher with you!

What colour blush suits you most?
I always gravitate toward pastel pink shades, they seem to be most complimentary on my skin tone. Those & dusty rose shades in the colder months.

Pressed, cream or loose blush?
I like both pressed & cream formulas, though I have more pressed as these have a longer shelf life. I’ve never used a loose blusher before. I only have 2 loose products in my whole collection as I find them messy, particularly with my clumsy tendencies!

Favourite shimmery blush?
I love Benefit’s Coralista blusher - I get most wear out of this in the summer. It gives just the right amount of shimmer, catching the light beautifully & illuminating the skin. The shimmer particles are small enough that it doesn’t look over the top.

Favourite matte blush?
I would never have said this before writing this post, but I actually have quite a few favourites! Bobbi Brown’s Nude Pink would be my pick of the pastel pink shades. I really love their blusher in Slopes too - it’s a great shade for giving definition to the face, as is Benefit’s Dallas. Fitting for my love of Nars blushes, I also have a soft spot for Zen. Who knew I had such a love for matte blushes!

Favourite cream blush?
The cream blusher I will always hold dear to my heart would have to be Bobbi Brown’s Pot Rouge for Lips & Cheeks in Powder Pink, as this was the blusher I wore on my wedding day! Nars' Penny Lane is my go to neutral cream shadow. Unfortunately, it seems that this product has been phased out. There are some great drugstore options though - Bourjois’ Cream Blush in No.s 2; Healthy Glow & 3; Rose Tender are my personal favourites!

Favourite drugstore blush?
This has to go to Makeup Revolution’s I Heart Makeup ***Blushing Hearts in Candy Queen Of Hearts***. I’d had my eyes on the Too Faced version for the longest time but didn’t know how I’d like the three strips of colour in one blusher. I picked this one up to try & fell in love immediately!

Favourite high-end blush?
I think this would have to go to Nars, particularly their palettes as you get more for your money!

Favourite bright blush?
I’m not a huge fan of bright blushes, so I’m sure you won’t be shocked to learn that my favourite bright shade comes in cream form. Urban Decay recently launched their new blusher line, which includes the shade Bang. Prior to this they had a range of cream blushes, which included this shade. I like that I can sheer our the colour, but it still make my face look alive! This is a great summer shade & the cream formula means it’s easy to reapply every time I top up on my suncream.

Biggest blush disappointment?
I think this has to go to Nars’ Orgasm. I don’t think I would be as disappointed if there wasn’t so much hype around this blusher. It also seems to be in almost every palette Nars brings our - meaning I have duplicates of a blusher that I’m just not in love with! You can probably tell that this just adds to my frustration!

Best blush packaging?
I think I’d have to go for the MAC holiday collections with their quirky & uniqueness, as well as the cuteness of Benefit & I Heart Makeup’s packaging.

What’s on your blush wishlist?
What isn’t!?! In no particular order:
  • Makeup Revolution’s Cream palette
  • Urban Decay’s Afterglow Blush in Bittersweet (not sure if it would suit me), Rapture & Fetish
  • Charlotte Tilbury's Beach Stick & Cheek to Chic blushes
  • Stila’s Convertible Colour Lip & Cheek Stain in Peony
  • Bobbi Brown’s Pot Rouge for Lips & Cheeks in Calypso Coral
  • Illamasqua’s Blusher in Katie
  • Nars’ Madly
  • Becca’s Beach Tint & Mineral Blush
  • MAC’s Modern Mandarin
  • Laura Mercier’s Second Skin Cheek Colour (I’ve heard they’re lovely!)
  • Clinique’s Sculptionary Cheek Contouring Palette (I don’t know which one - they all look lovely!)
  • Clinique’s Cheek Pops
  • Urban Decay’s Naked Flushed Palette in Strip (only one I don’t have)
  • MAC’s Mineralized Blush in Gentle, Dainty, Love Joy & Petal Power
  • Nars’ Dual Intensity Blush (I’m thinking they’ll bring these out in a palette so am holding off on purchasing)
I’m actually headed to Birmingham today for Anna from Vivianna Does Makeup’s event at Selfridges so who knows what I might pick up while I’m there! Keep your eyes peeled for a haul!

No.1 holy grail blush?
Benefit’s Hervana. This combination of peach, pink, lilac & a creamy highlight when swirled together create a glowing look - this blusher makes me look healthy & goes with almost everything!

Ok, so I tag Gemma from Miss Makeup Magpie, Sarah from and beauty or something, Ting from The Ting Thing & Vanessa from The Other VW.

What are some of your favourite blushes?

Tania Xx


Monday, 11 May 2015

Selfridges Birmingham ‘Work It’ campaign

Hi Everyone!

I was lucky enough to be invited to the launch of the Selfridges Birmingham ‘Work It’ campaign. I had a lovely time meeting & shopping with some other local bloggers, including Sarah from andbeautyorsomething, Vanessa from theothervw & Ting from thetingthing.

In this post, I wanted to share all the fantastic events, workshops & express services available at the Selfridges Birmingham until the middle of June. The idea behind the campaign is that all the exciting experiences fit in & around work - hence ‘Work it’. Everything available either fits into a lunchtime or is something you can drop in for after a day at work. Let’s start with the events, which I am really excited about!


Tuesday 12 May, 6:30-8pm
Illamasqua: Alex Bob & Spob - ‘Careers In Makeup’
The Creative Director of Illamasqua, Alex Bob & the Head of Professional Development, Spob, will be at Selfridges with an exciting opportunity to hear all about the inner-workings of the beauty industry. A must for those hoping to break into the profession & beauty lovers alike.
Tickets cost £35 & are available from the Illamasqua counter.

Thursday 14t May, 12-3pm
Meet Vivianna Does Makeup
Drop in to meet Anna from Vivianna Does Makeup as she talks about working as a full-time blogger & YouTuber as well as the beauty tools she wouldn’t be without. I met Anna last summer at her picnic with Lily Pebbles & she is lovely! Health being well, this is an event I’ll be attending so let me know if you’re planning on going too!

Thursday 21st May, 6-7pm
Pretty and Professional
Join Personal Beauty Shopper Rose (from the blog Mixed Gems Beauty) as she shares with you her work makeup tricks. She’ll be looking at makeup that will last throughout the day as well as quick, easy & faff free products to make your morning routine that little bit easier. After all, who wouldn’t want those few extra minutes in bed!?!
Tickets cost £5 & can be purchased here.

Sunday 24th May - Wednesday 3rd June, All day, every day!
Charlotte Tilbury Work It Pop-Up
Join the Charlotte Tilbury team at their pop-up space to celebrate the launch of the latest cream eyeshadows & get a complimentary eye transformation while you’re there!


Ok, there are WAY too many workshops for me to list them all! So here are my top picks. For more information, to book & for other workshops, please see selfridges.com/work-it.

Beauty Master
Drop in to find out your perfect beauty routine from some of your favourite beauty brands.
Free, drop in from 12-6pm, 25th May

Laughter Yoga
I love yoga & Selfridges are offering you the opportunity to giggle your way through your lunch break as you do it!
£5 for 3 sessions, 19th, 21st & 26th May, 1;30-2pm

Learn Spanish
Ever wanted to learn another language? Headed to Spain this summer? Did you know I took Spanish GCSE? See how I slipped that one in! Head to Selfridges for this week long course!
£10 for the week, 18th - 22nd May

Board Games
I love a good board game & Selfridges are giving you the chance to challenge your colleagues to a classic board game. Want to up the anti? Loser ( or winner) buys lunch!
Free, 1:30-2pm held on the 20th & 27th May


Tuesday 12th May, 12-3pm
Clinique - Smile Event
Visit the Clinique counter for a complimentary full-size Chubby Stick.

Thursday 14th May, 12-3pm
Work It With YSL: Flash Makeovers
Feeling in a makeup rut? Want to pamper yourself? Head over to the YSL counter in your lunch break & let the YSL experts treat you to a makeover while you learn tips & tricks to perfect your beauty routine.

Friday 15th May, 12-3pm
Bobbi-Brown - Secret To On-The-Go Makeup
Join the Bobbi Brown team & learn about Bobbi’s on-the-go-must-haves, as well as her beauty, wellness & confidence secrets.

Saturday 16th May, 12-3pm
Shu Uemura - Signature Workday Looks With Yazbukey
Enter the world of accessories designer Yazbukey & discover your signature workday look with their new collection. Here you’ll learn tips & tricks to personalise your look & give it an added edge. 

Sunday 17th May, 12-3pm
Nars - Make Up Your Mind Services
Choose from three express beauty services & view the exclusive Christopher Kane collection (I’ve seen it & it’s gorgeous! I want it all!).

There are so many other express services to enjoy in your lunch break! Check them out below:

Will you be headed into store for any of these treatments or events?
If you could just choose one brand to receive a treatment from, which would it be?

Tania Xx


Thursday, 7 May 2015

Mink&Stone 'Spring Has Sprung' Bracelet

Hi Everyone!

The idea behind Mink&Stone is that you can create your own pieces of jewellery (necklaces & bracelets) using their website, cutting out the need to scour the shops for the beads you want. When I met representatives from the brand I wasn’t convinced. Being a crafty person, I enjoy the physical action of sourcing, buying the elements & then making products. I was given the opportunity to design my own piece of Mink&Stone jewellery & decided to give it a try - I was so glad I did!

Your first decision to make is whether you want a necklace, & if so which type, or a bracelet.

From here, you can choose your beads from the categories of 'colour', 'use', 'material', 'collection' & 'size group'. By filtering through the beads you can see what you want (or don't), which can help give you great inspiration! I knew I didn't want wooden beads or anything large so avoided these. 

I started by scrolling through the entire bead collection & yes, this did take me a long time but I loved it! 

You can find out all the information on each of the by clicking on the 'i'. I loved that Mink&Stone are so specific about the price, size, colour, material, finish & even a suggestion of how the bead might be used. Remember I said that I wasn't convinced about this concept? These details completely changed my mind! It felt like I was choosing the beads because I truly was!

I got very excited & started putting all the beads I loved into trays to use when designing my bracelet. A + symbol appears when you hover the curser over the beads. 

Unfortunately there is a limit to the number of trays/beads in trays you can have. As a result I spent a LOT of time putting beads into trays which then had to be redone. It wasn't a complete waste of my time as I became more familiar with the beads available & began to form an idea in my mind of what I wanted my bracelet to look like. Note the 'Venus' symbols either side of the 'i', we'll come back to this later!

You can manage your trays in your account.

Now to the really exciting part - creating my bracelet!

Mink&Stone have a vast array of bead options. I really enjoyed the experience of choosing my beads, creating my pattern, not liking it, trying something else & seeing just how much, bead by bead, my item would cost. As we saw above, there are 'Venus' symbols either side of the 'i' symbol. You can use these to add beads onto the left or right sides of your necklace or bracelet. What I didn't realise was that you can click on the beads you have added to move or remove them. Instead I started over & over again each time I did something I didn't like!

Something I really like is that once you've added a bead, it becomes an 'added item', which you can then use rather than scrolling through the numerous available beads again & again! You also have a running total of what you're necklace or bracelet is going to cost. I love this feature of Mink&Stone's website.

I really loved the flower accent bead so wanted that to be a feature of the bracelet. I wanted to make my bracelet dainty & be something I could wear all day, every day! For this reason, I also chose the silver & pink spacers. I played around with the pattern & when I was happy, saved & named my bracelet!

One think I didn't realise was that my bracelet would come with a little Mink&Stone tag on the chain. This makes the bracelet look even more exclusive!

My 'Spring Has Sprung' bracelet* cost a grand total of £14.79 & I love it! You can go over & check my completed bracelet out here & even purchase it yourself!

I'm so pleased with my bracelet & love that I designed it myself!

What do you think?
Would you design a piece for yourself or as a gift?

Tania Xx