Sunday, 31 August 2014

Review: Fujifilm Instax Mini 8

I've been sitting on this review for a while because I wanted to get a good feel for the camera before I passed judgement, but I have to say it was love at first sight. Mat bought me the Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 for my birthday back in May and it did not disappoint. For years I had lusted after an old Polaroid camera, but a mint condition oldie didn't come cheap. At £69 Fujifilm's modern offering has more than made up for this.

The first thing that struck me about this camera was that it's vertical, not horizontal like its retro counterparts. This means that it looks a little different but that ultimately it's easier to carry. This coupled with the chunky hand grip means it's a dream to use.

The camera is battery powered and fairly basic, but the lens slider automatically senses a range of shooting options for different lighting conditions to ensure your images aren't overexposed. You have to turn it to the setting that's lit up, but it's a small price to pay for the perfect shot. There's even a high exposure option for super 80s looking snaps. Films are very easy to replace but my are the pricey. Check out eBay and Amazon for the best multipack deals.

Even if you purchase a film and camera bundle, it doesn't come with a case. This is something you will want to invest in to stop the case from scratching, and is especially important if you opt for one of the pastel coloured cameras to stop them from getting dirty! I found a great one here on eBay that arrived quickly from China and was pretty cheap! I usually shove the photos into my purse once developed to protect them until I get home as they're credit card sized.

Here are my favourite images from the last couple of months! I've been a bit conservative with film and there were one or two accidental failures (I forgot to set the lighting settings before shooting!) but I'm really pleased with how they came out!

Have you tried the Instax Mini 8?


Friday, 29 August 2014

The Harry Potter Tag (!!)

Image Copyright Kelly Anne Rist 2011

I saw this tag over on A Little Boat Sailing the other day and jumped at the chance to have a go! It's awesome seeing how my answers compare to everyone else's and I could never miss a chance to talk about good old HP!

1. What is your favourite book?
For me I would say Prisoner of Azkaban. It was the first of the books where I felt things taking a real dark turn, and like many I adored the Marauders tales. I remember reading through it over and over with friends at school, each taking the character we loved the most and saying their bits out loud! It was the first time I got myself totally lost in a book.

2. What is your favourite film?
I am an enormous fan of the films. They aren't perfect but I found myself growing up alongside the cast and the way they bring out both the humour and the darkness of Harry's world really made me love them. If I had to pick I would probably say the final two films (Deathly Hallows Part 1 & 2) because I found watching the end on the screen so damn emotional.Having said this I always go back to Prisoner of Azkaban for a one-off watch.

3. What is your least favourite book?
Probably Order of the Phoenix. I feel like it was far too long for a children's book and while as an adult I can appreciate it a lot more, I found the excessive back story made this instalment drag on a bit when I was younger.

4. What is your least favourite film?
I don't think my opinions of this book helped but Order of the Phoenix received a shockingly bad adaptation treatment if you ask me. I found the script very awkward, I never enjoyed the Harry x Cho relationship debacle and all that blue light gives me a headache. 

5. Which parts of the books/films made you cry?
Unlike most people I didn't feel very strongly about Sirius's death, but Dumbledore's and Dobby's both really got to me. I mean really. It's embarrassing how attached I can get to fictional characters and I've spent many a tear on these two over the years.

6. If you could hook up with any character who would it be?
I'm a Weasley girl through and through. I think it was the jumpers that did it.

7. Who is your favourite character?
Growing up I was Hermione Granger. I remember plaiting my hair overnight and unravelling it in the morning for maximum bushiness and pretending to carry my Hogwarts books around. I was ever so slightly to young to audition but I totally would have! Something about the way she made being intelligent cool (ish) and overcame bullying helped me come to terms with the fact that I was a little bit different at school.

8. Who is your least favourite character?
Rita Skeeter. Dolores Umbridge. Enough said.

9. What is your least favourite line?
“Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.” - If you don't recognise this, I don't know who you are! Such a wonderful, stand out way to start her legacy.

10. What would your Patronus be?
I'd like to think it would be a bird of some description.

11. If you could have the invisibility cloak, resurrection stone or elder wand, which would you choose?The invisibility cloak. Not for mischief though, just to go unobserved for a time.

12. What house would you be in?
Ravenclaw through and through. I don't think I've ever taken a house quiz that's said otherwise. I've even got the scarf hanging above my bed thanks to WWoHP!

13. If you could meet any member of the cast who would it be?
Probably either Dan Rad or Rupert because they seem like awfully nice chappies! I think Dan would be a great conversationalist!

14. If you were on the Quidditch team, what position would you play?
Probably a chaser. I love to run and this is totally the same thing, right?

15. Were you happy with the ending?
Yes and no. I wasn't pleased with the changes to the treatment of Voldemort's death made from book to film and I don't think the flashfoward scene was produced very tastefully, but overall they gave it the epic conclusion it deserved,

16. How much does Harry Potter mean to you?So very much. I don't think anyone could ever understand. I have a Deathly Hallows tattoo to remind me that I would not be where I am if it were not for these books. They taught me so much growing up and they were the reason I became such a prolific reader and ended up doing a literature degree. I'd even go as far as saying Hermione's character inspired me to be astute and proud of it, and that this is how I ended up with a first class degree result.

You're all tagged! Please do let me know if you do this as I would truly love to read your answers.


Friday Thoughts #7

I'm off to start a new job next week, and with this in mind I've chosen a Friday Thought from none other than Walt Disney. He was always creating, always doing, always moving forward. The last year has been a difficult one for me and at times I grew complacent, but now I'm back at the wheel and moving forward myself. The best part of this is knowing that I've done so on my own merit and that I opened this door for myself when I thought there were few opportunities for me out there and didn't know my own worth.

Never stop wanting more for yourself, never stop being curious or trying new things. Whether it's applying for your dream job, going bungee jumping or just trying a different flavour of ice cream, do not deny yourself new opportunities by having no belief in your ability to seize the day!

Have an amazing weekend everyone!

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Advice: Starting a New Job

Yep, the Autumnal vibes have even invaded my advice posts!

It's all change here at HQ! Next week I'm moving on to my second post-graduate job and I couldn't be more excited! I'm moving away from the world of electronics marketing and on to pastures new at an award winning marketing agency on the other side of the city. Now don't get me wrong, I am thrilled to be taking up an opportunity like this and can't wait to get stuck in with some more commercial clients, but with a new position comes a bad case of the newbie nerves!

It's been a year since I started my first post-degree job here in Cambridge and this reminds me that as I move on, so many people who have just graduated themselves are doing this too. With that, I thought I'd share with you all my top tips for starting a new job on the right foot.

Be. On. Time. - I know this goes without saying but please dear god do not be late within those critical first weeks. A new job can be mentally exhausting so make sure you get plenty of early nights and set yourself backup alarms. Better yet, put your alarm clock or phone on the other side of the room so you have no choice but to get up to turn it off.

Don't complain about your old job/situation - If you're leaving an employer because you didn't enjoy the work, company culture or a particular member of staff, it can be hard not to compare this to your exciting new environment. Try to avoid it though, as you may come off two-faced or negative. Instead just throw yourself in wholeheartedly - it's the best way to show them you needed the change.

Learn the company culture - Speaking of company culture, use your first week to get a good idea of how things work in your new offices and make subtle adjustments to show you can go with the flow. If you turn up over (or under) dressed on day one, tone it down slightly the next day. Learn what day the department eats out for lunch and ask your desk neighbour how they like their tea. It will show them you want to fit in and it should help you feel more that way too!

If you need help, ask for it - Even if your new job is similar to your old one, new clients, computer systems and ways of doing things can be really daunting. Nobody will expect you to instantly 'get' everything and they'd probably prefer you to ask rather than plow through alone and make a mistake. Asking questions of those around you can also help you to network and make friends, something that's important both for teamwork and for your well-being in a scary new place!

Above all, enjoy yourself and embrace the challenges that come your way!

Image created at

Sunday, 24 August 2014

August Birchbox - Away We Go!

The summer jet-set theme continues in this month's Birchbox, with every subscriber getting a cute hand-luggage friendly travel bag for all their holiday beauty bits!

Also in my box were:

Dead Sea Spa Magik Refreshing Bath Shower Gel (full price £7.15) - I love Dead Sea Spa products but I don't come across them often enough! I can't wait to use this but I'm saving it for a weekend away we have planned for October!

Number 4 Super Comb Prep & Protect (full price £20.00) - I would never in a million years pay this much for a leave-in conditioner, and I'm not endeared to the chemical smell, but this stuff really does work and doesn't leave any greasy residue! I'll keep this in my gym bag for those post-shower knots!

Supergoop! Daily Correct SPF 35 CC Cream (full price £32.00) - Now don't get me wrong, I know that BB and CC creams are just glorified tinted moisturisers in disguise, but I think this offering from Supergoop is the best one I've ever used! It gives a decent coverage, adapted to my skin tone quite well given that it's light-medium and I'm normally a porcelain foundation girly, and stayed matte for longer than my usual foundation did! You get two teeny samples and I'm sure these will be gone quickly!

Vasanti BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvinator (full price £26) - This spa grade exfoliator really gets to work to perk up your skin. I'm not sure if it totally agrees with me as I felt a little blotchy after but I'll have to see with a few more uses!

Wild About Beauty Powder Eyeshadow in Fern (full size product, £13) - I was excited to try something from Louise Redknapp and Kim Jacob's paraben free makeup line and this doesn't disappoint! It blends really well and the warm colour is perfect for the transition into fall and prolonging that bronzed look.

The Proposal extract by Tasmina Perry (lifestyle extra) - I think it's pretty cool of Birchbox to include a novel sample in their holiday box! Some may disagree but it's each to their own. I have so many books to get through at the moment but I've not read anything romantic for a while so maybe I'll give it a try!

All in all I think this is another great box - for me it trumps last month's as there's more in here I'll use on a daily basis but Birchbox continue to impress me with their ideas!

Join Birchbox today to receive your August box!

Thursday, 21 August 2014

#ProjectBareAll - Makeup and me

After seeing some posts on #ProjectBareAll by Thumbelina Lillie and Zoe London lately, I thought it was time to examine my own (slightly unhealthy) relationship with makeup and beauty products.

I've used makeup in some shape or form almost every day since the age of 12 or 13. From a quick fix of powder and concealer to hide my greasy teenage skin to a full 3 coats of various products to remove all visible traces of my current breakout issues, things have gotten slightly out of hand.

It baffles me too how I will happily go (virtually) makeup free on beach holidays as if it's nothing but the idea of going to work or going into town with nothing on my face feels incredibly alien. Sure, I will happily go to the gym or do the weekly shop with a bare face, but any situation in which I could run into someone I know and I feel the urge to hide every imperfection.

Whether or not my skin would get better given a breather is debatable as mine doesn't always miraculously clear up while on holiday as some people's skin does, but I think going makeup-free more often and embracing what I actually look like would do my confidence some good even if it doesn't stop the dark circles under my eyes or my spotty forehead and chin.

The weird thing is that as I write this post I'm looking at this photo and beginning to realise that my foundation and mascara-less self doesn't look so shockingly, monstrously different and probably won't shock people the way I think it will. Despite the distinct lack of photo-flawless coverage and a post-shoot edit I actually don't think this is such a horrendous photo.

The #ProjectBareAll movement has been popping up all over the blogosphere since it began, and I hope that by plucking up the courage to share a photo that I wasn't that comfortable sharing with the internet, that I can inspire others to do the same!


Monday, 18 August 2014

Barry M Nails haul!

I'm seldom without nail varnish but when it comes to colours I often stick to the same shades year on year - dark greens and reds that while great, aren't particularly seasonal. This pay day I picked up a few different Barry M colours to give my stash a boost!

I'm so busy during the week that I never get time to snap a fresh manicure, so I'll make a habit of it as I use these so that I can share what they look like on. I'd never tried the Gelly effect polishes Barry M do but have heard good things, so I went for two of those and two regular colours to take advantage of a buy-one-get-one-half-price offer Boots were running.

One thing that you can always rely on with Barry M is that these are all fairly long wearing. Teamed with a base and top coat I can easily go Sunday to Saturday with only the most minimal chipping and actually feel a bit sad taking it all off for a refresh!

From left to right:

Gelly Nail Paint in Almond - An amazing dupe for Nails Inc's Porchester Square gel polish, as worn by Queen Bey herself, though it takes a bit more work to apply
Gelly Nail Paint in Elderberry - A gorgeous pale blue that has a slight lilac edge to it
Nail Paint in White - Yep, I went there and am now officially a trendy
Nail Paint in Grey - I had a grey Rimmel 60 seconds polish that I loved a few years back but as with many of their nail offerings it went goopy after about 6 months. This is slightly darker but I'm in love so far.

What nail colours have caught your eye lately?


Friday, 15 August 2014

Friday Thoughts #6

This week's thought comes from an actual Spanish matador - it doesn't get any more badass than that! And what better subject to quote the infamous El Cordobes on than bravery?

It can be really hard to put yourself first sometimes, but actually I actually think it's one of the bravest things you can do. So often when things aren't going our way we complain and let it get to us only to suck it up on the surface and just muddle through. 

Whether you take a stand for something you believe in, take one more step to achieving your dreams or call someone out on their negative behaviour, do something brave this weekend!

Have an amazing weekend everyone!


Thursday, 14 August 2014

A message to students on A Level results day

This (interesting) picture is of me on A Level results day in 2010. Aside from the fact that this was a whopping four years ago and that alone makes me feel like crying, I can confirm that not hitting your traget grades is not that big of a deal.

I remember being 17/18 and the nerves that came with those dreaded AS and A Level results days. Would I make the grade for my first choice university? What the hell would I do if I didn't?! It was testing to say the least. I never liked those days. The night before my GCSE results I fainted in the bathroom because I'd been up half the night worrying about them. But guess what? The world didn't end the next morning and it didn't end two years later at college either.

I did pretty great in my GCSEs. A nice handful of As and the rest where healthy Bs. I missed most of original target grades but I didn't care as I did great on all the subjects I loved and had always been academic.

I screwed up my A Levels a bit though. Somewhere along the line I lost enthusiasm and got tangled up in having a social life and a relationship or two. I came out with all Bs in the end after retaking a couple of exams including my English AS written exam (THREE times) and dropping a subject that was giving me anxiety attacks.

Again, this wasn't my ideal outcome. We all have our own standards and goals and expectations and when we don't reach them it can be disheartening. HOWEVER I got into the university of my choice, my grades were good enough to earn me a small scholarship that alongside my loan got me through three years of student living and I worked my butt off to end up with a 1st class degree in English Literature that I couldn't be more proud of.

Not only this but I have friends who really did do horribly on their A Levels, took university places through clearing and never looked back. You can still do something you love and do well at it even if this one set of results doesn't turn out so good.

I also have friends and family who didn't bother going to uni and are doing absolutely fine and are very happy with their decisions, so if you're not picking up results today, don't think about how you're missing out - you're just carving a different path and that's fine.

The bottom line on A Level results? They do not define your potential for achievement nor should they be your basis for self worth. Life will go on and there are so many options available. If you do feel disappointed today, talk to a tutor or careers advisor straight away about your possible avenues and do not let shame take over. Embrace the fact that maybe you had a bad day or that subject wasn't quite right for you, then move on!



Wednesday, 13 August 2014

5 awesome blogs I read every day

I feel like it's time to share the blog love! I don't see enough of posts like this and I enjoy seeing what other people are into, so here are 5 blogs I read every single time I hit my bloglovin' feed!

Jennypurr - This freelance blogger and editor of A Little Opulent magazine (another favourite read) posts a mixture of lifestyle, beauty and some seriously helpful advice on blogging, finding inspiration, and life in general. Check out her latest post about living on a budget! That's certainly something I can relate to!

Vivianna Does Makeup - Chances are that if you're into beauty blogs, you've read Vivanna's blog or seen her great quality YouTube vids before. I try not to exclusively read just beauty blogs as it can have me getting carried away and building a shopping list WAY out of my budget, but Vivianna presents things in an honest, interesting way so she will always be a favourite.

Becky Bedbug - Becky's blog is tonnes of fun and is a mixture of lifestyle, beauty, book reviews and hilarious musings. She's also currently jetted off to Florida to get hitched at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter - What's not to love?!

From Roses - Rebecca's blog is one of those that just oozes style. Also co-editor of A Little Opulent magazine, I only stumbled on her blog recently but it ticks all the right boxes. A perfect mix of post subjects and great photography.

Free People - Fashion brand Free People's blog is all about simple, clean and ethical living. I'm trying to clean up my act in a variety of ways at the moment, mainly through finding the right routine throughout the day, eating better and embracing life as much as I can, and these guys have been a great help so far!


Tuesday, 12 August 2014

How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

Apologies for the dodgy instagram pic - I had to lend this to my sister so I had someone to gush about it to!

As Young Adult writers go, Meg Rosoff has quite a reputation. Having never read anything by her before I chose How I Live Now as a starting point. It tells the story of a fifteen year old american teen named Daisy who is sent to live with her Aunt in the English countryside as the modern world breaks into a full-scale war.

Cool storyline aside, the writing itself has an incredibly refreshing style. It follows Daisy's chain of thoughts and has little punctuation. At first I found that a bit jarring but after a few chapters you get well and truly sucked into the character's head. Luckily that's a good thing as her thoughts are witty, funny and written in a frank, realistic tone.

The narrative doesn't focus, and in fact hardly mentions, why the war is happening and who 'they' are, but it gives a startlingly realistic idea of how something like that might impact the modern world. Closed borders leave Daisy's Aunt stuck abroad and the children must fend for themselves in a country house while bombings, food shortages and invading troops reek havoc in the UK.

There was of course a romantic sub-plot, which weirdly involved Daisy and her cousin and was frankly a bit uncomfortable, but their connection was presented carefully and powerfully and drives Daisy through the very worst of times when the two become separated.

By far my favourite character of the novel was Piper, a captivating blue-eyed young girl to whom Daisy becomes an unexpected guardian of when the cousins are split up. Having said this, each of Rosoff's characters is perfectly formed and individual.

This is a novel that doesn't shy away from the realities a modern day war might pose, but focuses on a normal girl's experience of being on the fringe of it. It's a refreshing read in contrast to the Divergent and Hunger Games series' in which conflict happens in the distant future and is far removed from everything we know.

The ending left me feeling a little bewildered as it is somewhat rushed, but the resolution was touching nonetheless. Well worth the read.

What have you been reading lately?

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Body Shop haul

Maybe one day the sun will stay out for my photographing sessions. Today was not that day.

Last week I took major advantage of a voucher code I found online for £20 off when you spend £40 on The Body Shop's website. I have always loved Body Shop products - I remember their Tea Tree shampoo being a household staple as a kid - but I have to admit it isn't within my budget to shop here all the time these days. Without further ado, here's what I got my hands on:

Born Lippy Pot Lip Balm in Strawberry - I was curious about these as I had been pretty disappointed with Mabelline's Baby Lips offerings. A gorgeously scented balm with a delectable strawberry scent, this doesn't last all that long but is great to keep on your desk at work for days when you don't want to go full-lipstick. The subtle red tint is what makes this so great.

Tea Tree Oil - A Body Shop classic. I used to use this stuff on spots when I was younger but I had almost forgotten about its natural antibacterial powers! This oil carries a less overpowering scent than most brands which is a bonus as while it's not a bad smell it's definitely a strong one! 

Blue Corn 3-in-1 Deep Cleansing Mask - I wanted to try this for a while but even I wasn't prepared for how deep a cleanse this mask offers! I've only used it once to far and the tingling sensation was pretty unnerving but my skin was visibly clearer and smoother after use. Just go easy as you apply and rinse off as it really is an amazing exfoliator. I wouldn't recommend using this as frequently as a normal mask as it might be a bit much for most skin.

Shea Shower Cream - I purchased this decent but sports bag friendly sized bottle for the gym so I had something moisturising enough for me not to have to lug a body lotion around with me. So far so good! I love that shea butter smell and although most fragranced shower gels irritate my skin this felt milky and smooth and didn't have a bad effect at all!

Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil - So I took advantage of the offer to take the plunge and buy my first cleansing oil. As I have such an oily complexion I'll let you know in a few weeks how I've been getting on and whether the rumors really are true! So far I'm quite liking it but I must admit the idea of washing my face with an oil still feels bizarre! 

Not featured are some muslin cloths and cotton wool pads as my stock was getting a tad low - you can never go wrong with these!

I'm not sure if the offer I used is still on but currently they're running a 40% when you buy 4 products deal along with the usual free delivery if your order total tops £25 so now's a good time to take advantage and try something new!
What Body Shop products do you swear by?


Friday, 8 August 2014

Friday Thoughts #4

This week's Friday thought comes from the inspirational late Maya Angelou. The writer was and is a true literary tour de force, but it was her personal struggles that struck a chord with so many. She didn't have an easy early life, but she more than made up for this by carving her own path and doing exactly what she wanted to do. 

I couldn't think of anyone better to take note from this Friday, as I embark upon some big, big life changes! I can't help but feel excited to be on my way to success...

Have a great weekend!!


Friday, 1 August 2014

Friday thoughts #3

Writer, publicist and religious anarchist Elbert Hubbard brings us today's Friday Thought. I've reached a point where I feel like I need to make changes in a few areas of my life. I need to look after myself and get more sleep, I need to learn to leave my work at the door and let things go, and to push myself more professionally. I reached this point after feeling like I had made too many mistakes and let amazing opportunities pass me by.

It's great timing that I stumbled upon this quote. I realised that I had to make those mistakes to get to this point, and that worrying about my next move being just as much of a mistake as the last isn't going to get me anywhere. Instead I'm going to be a bit more reckless. I'm going to stop playing it safe and start taking control of my life a bit more. If there are stumbling blocks along the way then that's fine. It's further than I would've gotten by sitting around being afraid to make changes.

The next time you feel a mistake weighing on your shoulders or playing on your mind, take ownership of it, move on, and learn. It's the only way to really live.

Have a great weekend everyone!

© kelly anne rist

This site uses cookies from Google to deliver its services - Click here for information.

Blogger Template Created by pipdig