Sunday Morning Musings 

Hello again, world. 

I’ve neglected you a bit, haven’t I. Truth be told, I’ve been absent from a lot of things. I could tell you that I’ve just been unwell, but that would be lying to you and to myself. In the latter half of 2014, I had the worst time possible, which culminated in something of a mental breakdown. 

I lost my job at an awful, repressive place, which would have been a blessing had it not been for the fact I desperately needed money. I lost a good friend to cancer and another to a premature aging condition. I failed my postgraduate degree on 3% of one exam, with no chance of a retake. All the hard work, none of the payoff, and two of my main confidantes gone far, far too soon. 

On New Year’s Eve I couldn’t foresee it getting any better. I got hideously drunk at my best friends house, and considered taking my own life. But something stopped me – something which had been getting me through without me even realising. 

In October, I started training with the Nottingham Hellfire Harlots roller derby team. I put roller skates on, made an utter prat of myself, but improved every week and fell in love with it. The rush when I got a new skill right, the incredible emotional pride when one of our phenomenal coaches told me “you are doing amazingly”. Although everything else felt as though it was crashing around my ears, roller derby was the one constant. My teammates are like family – when I lost my job, the skates went on and I sweated it out and added more bruise-shaped badges of honour to my collection instead of crying and moping around. When I found out I had failed my postgrad, the girls were there to lift my spirits and show me that if I can take a hit from an a team player, there isn’t much I can’t do. 

Last night I went out and got ridiculously drunk again, around 2 months on from the night I almost killed myself. But this time, I was so deliriously happy. One of our team is leaving for a year in New Zealand, so of course there were tears, but is finally got to tell her that she’s been a complete inspiration to me since the first time I saw her play. Seeing how that can make someone feel is a beautiful thing. 

I was out with girls who know everything about me, who know my flaws, my weaknesses and my strengths, and love and respect me for all of them. They’re the girls who will let you sleep at theirs at a moments notice, who share their cheesy chips with you, and who will always be at the end of the phone checking you got home okay. I’m not afraid to be what I am, mental health wobbles and all. I don’t want to die anymore, if anything I’ve never felt more alive. In the space of two months, everything changed for the beautiful. 

If you are feeling like I did back then right this moment, find your bliss and chase it. Hunt it down, whether it’s roller derby or otherwise. Don’t stop working. Enjoy the bruises and the muscle aches. They will remind you that you can feel, that you are a person with veins and nerves and potential to get better. One of the first things they taught me is if you start to wobble and you’re scared you’ll fall, drop gently onto one knee, regain composure, and try again. That applies to life too. 

I promise, you will be okay. I was. 

Gooey Chewy Gingerbread Men (or Women, or any other gender!)

This is something a bit different from my normal posts, but as the decorations came down and the Christmas jumpers got put away, and the Christmas Wonderland in Nottingham’s Market Square got taken apart, I’m starting to miss the mulled-wine cosiness that comes with Christmas. I found the solution a couple of days ago when I was tasked to entertain two of my teenage nephews for a bit.

I love baking. The boys love eating. So, I enlisted their help (and bowl licking abilities) to make my signature gooey chewy gingerbread! (Which we later went a bit over the top decorating!)

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(By the way, how cute is my recipe book? It’s by Emma Bridgewater and is available here)

So, today I thought I’d share the recipe to help any fellow sufferers of CIOD (Christmas Is Over Disorder) ease their way back into daily life. They only take half a hour to make, and even less time to disappear!

You Will Need
– 350g plain sieved flour
– 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
– 2tsp ground ginger
– 115g butter (butter always works better than margarine for these)
– 175g soft, light brown sugar
– 4tbsp golden syrup (this isnt a recipe for dieters!)
– 1 egg, beaten

Got all of those? Okay, here we go.
1. Pre-heat your oven to 190 degrees. Lightly grease (or line) your baking tray.

2. Sift your flour, bicarb and ginger into a bowl.

3. Rub in the butter with your fingertips until it looks like coarse breadcrumbs (like a crumble topping)

4. Stir in your sugar

5. Beat the syrup into your egg. It should be completely combined, and it will make the beaten egg turn a dark golden/light brown colour. Stir this concoction into the flour mix. This will need elbow grease so if you have any bloke-types hanging over your shoulder, get them to do it! Make sure it is all combined and looks like a dough.

6. Knead the dough until it is smooth. Don’t worry about bashing it about a bit, it needs to be smooth for the next bit! Flour your hands if you want, the dough should be quite sticky.

7. Flour your rolling pin and your worktop, and roll the dough out to about 1/2cm thick. Stamp or cut out your shapes and pop them onto the baking tray. Its easiest to use a fish slice or cake slice for this so no bits drop off! Leave a bit of room between each shape, so in case they spread they don’t all weld together!

8. Pop them in the oven until they’re golden brown (it should take about 10 minutes, but keep checking them). Then, stick them on a wire rack to cool. Once they’re cooled, you can get busy decorating (this keeps any kids or nosy fellas busy for a while, and is actually a right laugh!)

Thats it! Easy, isnt it? It smells lush, and tastes even better. You’d never know they only took half a hour to make! And in true Blue Peter stylee – here’s one I made earlier!

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(I got a little sartorial and gave him a tie!)

Have fun, enjoy, and please don’t ask me how many calories are in them, because I don’t want to think about it!

Love always,
Pebblebee xoxo

I’m Crazy About Guerlain’s Crazy Paris Crazy Pearls!

Is it just me, or does crazy not even look like a word once you’ve typed it three times?
Anyway, I had a little bit of extra overtime pay this month from Christmas, so after falling in love with the Crazy Paris Christmas range in general upon a pre-Christmas shopping trip to Leicester, I knew I was going to have to relinquish all self control and treat myself to what, in my opinion, is one of the standout products from this range – Crazy Pearls.

At the moment, the blogosphere is awash with reviews of Guerlain’s S/S incarnation of this product, which admittedly is pretty, but the A/W version is just so much more me, and you can still get hold of it! (Yes, it isn’t sold out everywhere! I got mine from an amazing website called Slapiton which is based in, and has an actual shop in Nottingham!

So lets take a look…

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I am such a sucker for packaging. Seriously. Anything that looks sleek and expensive from the very moment it lands in your hands automatically gets my heart racing and I can’t wait to try it out. I must have a problem… Anyway, the Guerlain packaging is a glossy black with gold embossing, which automatically looks luxe. I also like the touch of the little embossed pearls on the packaging, which gives you a kind of idea of the tones inside!

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I’m sorry, but how gorgeous is this? The neon on black decoration on the “Champs Elysee” and the mandala style engraving on the lid is so eyecatching, and it looks so damn cute on my dressing table in my (very monochrome) bedroom. I will be keeping this tin once I’m done with the product, no idea yet what I’ll use it for, I was thinking maybe it would be nice to pop a candle in (in a little glass jar of course so the tin doesn’t melt, because that would just be depressing). I’ll let you know what I do with it! As my first foray into Guerlain, I was, thus far, pretty impressed. I was seriously hoping that this wasn’t just a substandard product in a very expensive pot…

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I really needn’t have worried. The pearls are a mix of bright pink, lavender, gold-beige, and champagne, and they give off a lovely rose-tinted powder which is lightly scented. I would post a swatch, but unfortunately the effects don’t show up so well on the back of my arm! It gives you a lovely, subtle glow, and I think the choice of colours is perfect for perking up winter-tired skin. Crazy Pearls are a really luxurious product, and it literally makes you look like you’ve been in perfect lighting all day. Even my boyfriend (who has recently taken a pretty disturbing interest in my cosmetic habits) noticed a difference when I wore it out for dinner with him. Be warned though, this is far from a matte powder, and the luminosity is given by the little sparkles interspersed through the powder. Although it isn’t too much for day, it does show up on the skin, so glitter-haters, this might not be the product for you! I imagine it would look particularly stunning on black skin with its rosy tones and hint of sparkle!

So in short, is this a product I couldn’t live without? Probably not, but I do like it very much, and it is a fantastic little payday indulgence that I am definitely going to use up. Plus, the little tin (here we go with my packaging obsession again) makes it a product that keeps on giving, and looks exceptionally fancy on your dressing table!

Did you get any of the Crazy Paris range? What did you think?
Love always,
Pebblebee xoxo

My Top 5 New Years Beauty Resolutions!

So, 2014 is finally here. This is the year that I will pass my BPTC, commence the hunt for pupillage and then all being well become a high-flying superwoman of the legal world! But before all that, lets start as we mean to go on. What’s that old proverb again? A tidy person has a clean mind? Or something like that…

Anyway, without further ado, lets kick off my resolutions (and this way, you guys can tell me off if I trip up!)

1. Treat Your Skin Better.
It’s the biggest organ in all of our bodies, and for some reason we subject it to the most abuse out of any other. Sunbathing and sunbeds, sleeping in your makeup, pollution from the city air, those times you drop your straighteners/curling tongs and for some reason decide it would be an excellent idea to catch them mid-plummet… Our poor skin goes through a lot! This year, I’m promising myself that I will stave off fine lines and wrinkles, I will minimise my pores, I will moisturise my cuticles, and those unfortunate dry patches on my knees and elbows. I’ll apply eye cream, day cream and night cream to give my skin the big drink it deserves, and with my trusty Clarisonic, I will make sure that I never sleep in my makeup again (come on, we’ve all done it). I need to look into more face products with SPF, and I’m also going to set aside a day a week where I do a face mask. Also, oh my god, Steam Cream is a skin saviour in a tin – it moisturises EVERYTHING that could possibly need moisturising. I have no idea if this will last, or if its even possible to pack all this on top of my already fastidious skincare routine, but I WILL TRY! (cue fanfare).

Drink More Water.
I admit it, world. I am completely addicted to coke. No, not that kind! I mean Coca Cola, it seems to be the only thing that gets me moving in the mornings, and freshens me up after a meal. But, knowing that my early morning buzz is caffeine, and the fresh feeling is actually layers of my teeth dissolving, it really can’t be doing my sensitive teeth any good! My boyfriend did an experiment at work (he’s an accountant who clearly has too much time on his hands!) by putting a large lollipop in a glass of coke. Within half a hour, it had completely dissolved. I have to say, that scares me a bit, so naturally I’m going to cut down. Everyone always harps on about the health benefits of water, but I really hate the taste. I mean, REALLY hate the taste. And yes, water does have a taste! So, lately I’ve been picking up a glass of flavoured water instead. I know it isn’t really THAT much better than coke, but hey, you’ve got to start somewhere!

Take More Makeup Risks.
I like to think I’m pretty daring with my makeup as it is, but watching RuPaul’s Drag Race (of all things) has given me an extra little bit of self confidence. Can I wear that green lipstick? OF COURSE I CAN. Can I mix shades to create a striking eye look? Damn right! Of course it might not be for everyday wear, but just look at Shrinkle, Queen Of Blending, Doe Deere, and Hayley Fell for inspiration – these ladies WORK colour like nobody else. It won’t be long before I’m straying away from my faciform (face uniform) of kitty-flick eyeliner and red lipstick.

Wash Your Makeup Brushes.
I have a huge and gorgeous stash of makeup brushes courtesy of everyone from Real Techniques, MAC and Illamasqua to Sigma and Crown Brush, and shamefully, sometimes I let them get pretty grotty looking before they get a good spring cleaning. It is so, so important to clean brushes, otherwise you are literally pressing bacteria into your skin every time you blend! I’m going to invest in a professional makeup brush cleanser, as my BeautySoClean one has now run out, and took quite a lot of product to make any difference. Any recommendations? Let me know!

Take Pride In Your Appearance.
Yesterday for my first day back at uni, I rolled out of bed after oversleeping (as per usual), straight into a dress, jacket and heels combo that instantly made me look “done” before I had so much as brushed my birds nest of hair. I had gone through my wardrobes the night before, picked out what I was going to wear, asked the boyfriends opinion (because he is actually quite good at this sort of stuff), and hung it up ready for morning. Despite very little sleep and a rude awakening by my alarm proclaiming “YOU ARE GOING TO BE LATE”, I felt fabulous all day. Last night, I put out a red, white and dark grey smudgy leopard print dress, tights and shoes, and I was ready in record time yet again. I’m trying it again tonight to make sure it isn’t a fluke (for those of you who want to know, tomorrows ensemble is a black wool pinafore dress with a white shirt with a bejewelled collar underneath, with black tights and tiny heels). We’ll see how that one goes, and more likely, how long it lasts!

So far I have stuck to all of these resolutions, and I’m actually liking this new, organised way of going about my little routines. I don’t know if I’ll keep to them, only time will tell. But I can tell you already that Steam Cream and I are new best friends!

Clarisonic Mia 2 – First Impressions, and a Very Merry Christmas!

First of all, I hope you all had an amazing Christmas and Santa was very good to you! I love Christmas, it’s my favourite time of year, I adore watching my family open their gifts, sitting round the table and stuffing ourselves silly with delicious Christmassy food, and I even look forward to the inevitable falling asleep on the sofa in front of some festive TV or film! (This years nod-off fare was Wreck-It-Ralph – such a good film!)

I only asked for two things this year, and only thought I might possibly get one or the other! Those things were a No! No! hair removal device, and a Clarisonic, as I, like many, have a little bit of peach fuzz facial hair (which is quite unfortunate when your foundation turns it orange and very noticeable!), and frankly, I am obsessive over skincare and am always on the lookout for ways to improve my current routine!

Lucky lass that I am, I received both on the big day, and more beautiful gifts besides!

I couldn’t wait to try it out, and as I know it takes a good few weeks of use to show any major difference, I thought I might do a “First Impressions” post to give you all an idea of what it’s like. I used it last night and this morning with the cleanser that comes with the system, and I am currently very impressed!

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The cleanser that you get given free foams quite a bit, which I personally love as I feel like a foamy cleanser is something that you can actually see doing its job, however if you don’t love foam as much as me, it works with absolutely any cleanser. The little machine itself is very techy-looking and smart, but isn’t intimidating which is nice! My system is the Mia 2, which, unlike the other Clarisonics on the market has two speeds – including a faster one for an especially deep clean. It also comes with a “sensitive” head which is intended to be gentler on more temperamental and sensitive skin. I’ve started with the normal head, and I’ll just see how my skin reacts to regular use. If needs be, I’ll move on to the sensitive head.

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I’ve read that there is a significant purging period that happens with every cleansing brush system, which is when the skin starts to kick out all the gunk thats chillaxing deep in your pores, which I cant say I’m looking forward to, but oh well. I know it’ll be worth it in the end! Roll with the punches, as they say. I’ve been using toner and moisturiser after each use, including a day cream and a night cream, but I might need to switch to something a little richer for the day as my skin was a little bit dry this morning. I feel like Steam Cream might be a bit better over the chilly winter months!

So far I haven’t seen a difference as far as blemishes go, but every time I use it, I can tell an instant difference in the cleanliness and tone of my skin. I just whip off my makeup before I use it, follow the instructions for use, and in a minute flat I have lovely, clean, glowy skin. It also has a very handy timer for each section of your face which makes a noise to alert you to move on to a different bit so you don’t end up eroding half your face off!

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In all, it is a really lovely skincare tool and a welcome addition to my routine. I’ll stick up a full review after I’ve used it a bit longer!

(DISCLAIMER: As far as I am aware, no Clarisonic has ever eroded someones face off!)

Have a big glass of something exceptionally alcoholic and a bowl of something delicious for me guys!
All my love and festive cuddles, now and always,
Merry Christmas.
Pebblebee xoxo

Professional Lust List

Professional Lust List

Alexander McQueen clutch
luisaviaroma.com

Estée Lauder face powder
bloomingdales.com

THOMAS SABO
$61 – thomassabo.com

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has a list of things that I will buy one day, but only once I’m qualified, in the job I want, and earning a big fat paycheck every month!

It won’t surprise you that McQueen and Westwood feature heavily in this lust list – but my number one purchase from this list is the iconic Mulberry Alexa – the colour Conker is the ultimate in my opinion, classy, warm, will age beautifully and is just a little different from black or tan!

What’s on your professional lust list?

Pebblebee xoxo

Hello Again!

It’s been a while!

I’ve been crazy busy of late, I somehow managed to get my Law degree and start my postgraduate degree, so this time next year, all being well, I’ll have a decent job in law, will be waiting to start pupillage, and then become a baby barrister! Go me! Haha.

I have missed blogging though, and I still love makeup etc just as much – even if I do have significantly less money following my £12,000 course fees this year! Thank god for Boots points!

I break up today for Christmas, so expect me to spam you all with posts for the next couple of weeks! It’s good to be back, guys.

Pebblebee xoxo

Illamasqua Lipstick in Shard

Oh my crikey, I had been lusting after this lipstick for SO LONG, but having paid out over £12,000 for my postgraduate course it was one of those “must wait till payday” purchases that I then agonised over until approximately 5 minutes past midnight, when it was officially PAYDAY. How sad is that? (Actually, don’t answer, I don’t need to know…)

Anyway, without further ado, here it is! (I apologise for the battered packaging – I’ve been crazy busy since this arrived going down to London and all sorts, so it’s been toted round a fair bit and worn a lot of times before I actually had the time to blog about it!)

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I normally love illamasqua, but DAMN I love this lipstick even more than I thought I might! This little beauty is from the Sacred Hour collection, and is intended to remind the wearer of the dusk hours just before the night starts to close in. It looks really dark in the bullet, but please, please don’t let that put you off! It is the perfect mulled-wine, mulberry-stained colour for autumn and I can safely say it was worth the wait!

Here’s how it swatches…

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It strikes me as being a warm-toned purple, but I honestly think any skin tone could carry this off – even my corpse-like complexion manages it! Seriously though, it looks spectacular on pale skin, medium skin, and on black skin too – I’d suggest wearing it with a gloss if you’re darker skinned as the matte texture may not look quite right, as it would with brighter, higher contrasting colour lipsticks!

As with a lot of Illamasqua’s lipsticks, this is VERY matte, with a velveteen finish. I personally love it, but I know some people can find the formula a little drying. Beat this by using a lip scrub and balm before application – it gets rid of dry skin and any chapped bits, meaning that the lipstick won’t collect in your problem areas, and also the use of a balm underneath lipstick limits dragging upon application (if you’re applying straight from the bullet).

And, just in case you’re wondering, here’s how it looks on me…

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Please excuse the mega cheesy photo (and also if you’re a fan of jangly indie-rock go check out Jaws, the band on the vinyl I’m so lovingly holding), but this is how it looked after almost a full night of drinking, eating and singing along to the Twang. This lipstick is MEGA long wearing, and fades off to a stain, as shown on my Instagram (follow me at avegaseffect if you want to see my daily photo diary of food, cocktails, makeup and narcissism) so minimal top ups are needed despite it being such a deep colour. I would recommend using a lip liner though to prevent bleeding – I use a purple one from MAC, no idea what it’s called, the lettering has rubbed off, sorry!

Like pretty much every lipstick I own, I apply this VERY heavily, however if you use a lip brush you can tone the colour down easily to more of a wine-stain shade rather than an all out burgundy, if you prefer!

All in all, this is a gorgeous, versatile shade, and is probably going to live in my bag for the rest of A/W!

Do you have any of the Sacred Hour collection? And will you be buying anything from the #Creators collection that launches tomorrow? I’m like a kid at Christmas whenever they come up with a new campaign!

Peace and love always,

Pebblebee xoxo

The Tuesday Poll – What Would You Like To See?

As a blogger it’s very easy to write about what you yourself want to write about – but it is very easy to forget that your readers also have beauty questions that you haven’t yet addressed or would like to read about!

What Would You Like To Read On A Proper Cup Of Tea?
Cruelty-Free and Vegan Beauty
Quintessentially British Brands
More Fashion, Please!
Cult Beauty and Fresh Faces
More Recipes and Food Related Posts
VLOGS and YouTube Tutorials
Back To Basics – Skincare and Haircare
Beauty on a Budget
pollcode.com free polls 

SO now and then, usually on a Tuesday, I will be writing a poll where you guys get your say. What would you like to see? Which bit of beauty leaves you baffled? Get in touch and let me know! If you’d like to see a post on something I’ve not listed, please drop me a line! Any comments are always welcome! Remember though, the poll results will be collected in a week, so if you really want to see something sharpish, make sure you vote!

Lots of love,
Pebblebee xoxo

Bee Beautiful

Bee Beautiful

Theo Fennell bee earrings
$800 – harrods.com

Rodial eye care
beauty.com

Philosophy body cleanser
$20 – debenhams.com

I don’t know about you guys, whether its the chilly onset of autumn or whether its the crazy amount of inviting honey scents that have been wafting around this season, but I’ve been stung (geddit!) by the bumblebee beauty fascination. Here’s my top picks, call it a lust list, but I’ve been buzzing about these products! (Ok, ok, I’ll stop with the puns now).

Happy honey Monday, everyone!

Pebblebee xoxo