12 in 2012

Monday, 31 December 2012

I am absolutely terrified that it has made its way to 2013. That can't be right...someone grab me a calendar!

I thought I would look back at my year and pick out 12 of my favourite highlights.

1. University: I'm so proud of myself for completing my studies this year. A law degree in 2011 and then a postgraduate diploma in 2012. Who knows where life will take me, I may consider another degree in the future...

2. Employment: Although my job right now isn't what I actually had planned to do after graduation, it's a step in some sort of direction. Long hours and stressful days aren't so bad once I see that I'm managing to save up some money for my rainy day in the future.

3. Blog: 2012 is the year that ParisianOrchid was established. I'm so proud of my wee blog and so grateful to anyone who reads the ramblings of little old me. I hope in 2013, ParisianOrchid will stretch its wings and I'll definitely dedicate more of my time to it.

4. Confidence: I feel like my confidence has grown so much more in 2012. Spending time with people who have a positive nature has made me a much happier person.

5. Friends: I consider myself to have a small group of friends and I had to make a tough decision this year in regards to excluding people who made me unhappy or doubt my own abilities. It may seem harsh but if I get a dull feeling about having to see someone, what's the point in having them in your life if it makes you unhappy? 

6. Baking: I've baked my way through hundreds of recipes (or made up recipes!) this year and I'm so happy that I've finally mastered the holy grail of Chinese cakes. The chiffon cake. It's become a firm favourite in the family now.

7. Travel: With graduating and job hunting, I haven't done half as much travelling this year as I would have liked to. I did manage to visit Paris and London though amongst other Scottish cities. I would like to use some of my rainy day fund to be used towards an adventure abroad though. I think I would like that.

8. Family: With another family wedding under our belt, we welcomed another Orchid baby into the family and another baby on the way next year. Chubby cheeks alert in 2013!

9. Creativity: I was always a creative child but I think my imagination got lost in and amongst my law books so I'm glad a little of my creativity has started to seep back into my life.

10. Independence: In an attempt to avoid a highlight entitled 'love', I think my independence is a winner this year. Before I can commit to someone else, I kind of need to know more about myself. As cheesy as that sounds!

11. Laughs: I don't think I've laughed as much as I have done this year. Nothing that can't be cured with a giggle or two.

12. Reading: Last but not least, I rekindled my bookworm status. The danger of university is that you swap fiction for educational books and you don't nearly get as much pleasure from reading journal articles.

My 12 in 2012! I hope you all have a brilliant Hogmanay and a fantastic New Year to start things afresh!

What are your highlights in 2012?



harry potter studio tour

Sunday, 30 December 2012

*SPOLIERS* Do not read any further if you don't want to know the magic of the tour

When I was in London at then end of November, the whole trip was revolved around visiting the Harry Potter Studios. Oh my giddy aunt, it was brilliant! Above are just a few of my favourite pictures from the tour. 

We arrived at the studios from Watford Station on the tour bus and made our way to start our tour. It was already amazing and I think I let out a yelp when the doors to the Great Hall swung open. Me and my friend perused at our own leisure, oggling at the props and sets. I'm so glad we went at the time we did because there was a chill in the air and the skies were clear which made for a great atmosphere!

We stopped for a little respite and indulged in a little Butterbeer. It did not taste like what I thought it would be. For all you curious folk, it tasted like cream soda with melted marshmallow on top. T'was a strange combination! 

We spent a good amount of our time skipping around the gift shop and popping all sorts of memorabilia in our basket. I ended up purchasing a chocolate frog, other choccy bits, Hermione's wand and a Time Turner. On the journey home, I must have protected my bag like it was my life!

If you're a Harry Potter fan, I thoroughly recommend that you visit the studio tour and save a substantial amount of money to spend in the gift shop ^_^



twenty fifth of december

Thursday, 27 December 2012

The whole month of December is built up for this one special day and then it's over in 24 hours. I hope everyone had an amazing day spent with family, friends, lots of scrummy food and smiles. I on the other hand, spent the entire day at work. Yup, a full 9 hour shift...working. Not the ideal situation at all but pay enhancement starts to make up for it!

Even if you don't celebrate the day, I hope everyone out there counts themselves lucky and enjoys the holiday season! Not long until 2013 now! 

What kind of traditions do you have during Christmas time?



winter evening skincare routine

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Hello, I'm Vanessa and I'm a skincare junkie (this is the part where you say; 'Welcome Vanessa, we still love you all the same'!) 

I probably spend an obscene amount of my time and money on skincare but as my friend always says, you only get one skin so you have to take care of it. During the Winter months, my skincare takes a drastic turn of events because my skin thirsts for thick creams and some extra tender loving care. Here is my night time skincare routine!

Origins Checks and Balances Cleanser: this product is really growing on me. Mainly because it has lasted me ages! I use it every night and it'll probably last me a couple more months. You can read my review here if you haven't already done so.

Origins Make a Difference Tonic: this is brilliant for dehydrated skin and smells like cucumbers! Well to me it smells like cucumbers! I sweep this across my face after cleansing and it just prepares my skin for any kind of moisturiser that I decide to use. 

Kiehls Abyssine Cream: 'anti-aging cream'! I hear you shriek! Well, funny story behind this purchase...I wanted to try something from the Kiehls line and conveniently I had run out of my previous moisturiser so I walked up to a Kiehls counter in Glasgow with a big grin on my face before reeling off my skin's extensive history to the assistant. She advised that I try this and I took her advice and parted with my money. On my return to Aberdeen, I noticed that it was an anti-aging cream and I bitterly sighed. But MamaOrchid pointed out (whilst pointing to my face) that it's never too early to start using anti-aging creams. I've given it a go and yes...I do like it to the point where I will finish the jar but I probably would like to try another product on Kiehl's line before embarking on anti-aging creams again!

LUSH Popcorn Lip Scrub: this is a recent addition to my night time routine. I noticed that whenever I put lip balm on, my lips are really flaky and just not attractive to look at even though I apply lip balm on like there's no tomorrow! I realised that I probably need to exfoliate my lips so I purchased this to combat the problem. I'm not going to go too much into it as I think it deserves a post of its own!

What Winter skincare products have you been loving? Does your skincare routine change along with the seasons?



review: beauty diary 2-step hydrating sheet masks

Thursday, 13 December 2012

I find it really difficult to find sheet masks in the UK. Not sure why because they are so much more convenient to use than regular face masks out of a tube! Must be the lazy girl within me!

When MamaOrchid was in HK last month, I asked her to pick me up some sheet masks and she came up trumps! The one she got was a 2-step Africa Hydrating sheet mask pack. They come with one sheet mask and a moisturiser emulsion for afterwards. The Africa pack has a mango scented sheet mask and oh my...it smells so good! It's rather fruity and doesn't have that chemical scent that you often get. I found that I had to wring out a little of the moisture from the mask as the first time I used it, it was dripping down my clothes! I pop it on after cleansing my face at night time. Remember to tie your hair back before using it and leave it for about 20 minutes. The handy eye, nose and mouth holes will give you enough time to finish a chapter in a book, a part of a television programme before the break or even night time stretches! I peel it off and wipe away the excess moisture from my face with a warm face cloth and then I tone my face before applying the moisturising emulsion. At night time, I tend to want a thicker moisturising cream so I just use my regular night cream but I had used it once and it was really nice and light. 

You get 8 sheet masks per pack and I tend to sheet mask it up probably every 2 weeks so I don't run out and then apply a regular face mask on the other weeks. I'm not sure if there is a retailer in the UK that stocks these but if you hit up ebay, I'm sure you will find a reputable seller like this one.  

Have you ever used sheet masks before?



getting crafty: wrapping christmas presents

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

I'm on a roll with all these crafty posts huh? Well, today I will be showing you how I am wrapping my Christmas presents this year. You'll be sitting there thinking that it is such a silly post. Wrapping Christmas presents?! What's so special about that? Well...as special as you want to make it!
 You will need:
A Christmas present
Parcel Paper
Washi Tape (regular sellotape would also work)
Christmas stamps of your choice
Gift tags (if using)
Cup of tea
One exhausted Vanessa later, you should get a wrapped box of dreams! I'm all about being a bit unique and different and no-one else in the country will have the same wrapped present as you! I see shops selling lovely wrapping paper and ribbons but I love the personal touch of a present if it comes uniquely wrapped.

Do you like customising your Christmas presents?



up-cycling - candle jars storage

Monday, 10 December 2012

I have to apologise for all these lifestyle posts that are popping up on your reading list but I've been planning this one for a while and I've finally managed to start writing it!

I always get that sense of 'oh I don't want to throw away the empty candle jar when I've finished' feeling. Seems a bit of a waste if it goes in the rubbish. I believe I was reading Vivianna Does Makeup's blog and saw that she re-used her old candle votives to store some odd bits and pieces. 

I put the finished candle in the freezer for a few hours to freeze the remaining wax. Once I've taken it out, I use a sharp implement such as a knife or a pair of scissors to pop the wax out. Please be careful doing this, I don't want any injuries on my conscience! Clean out the votive with warm water and a cotton pad to get all the waxy bits out.

I use the votives to store cotton buds, lip products and those spare buttons you get with clothing that you don't know where to put!

Have you ever tried up-cycling items before and give them a new purpose in life?



getting crafty: christmas cards

Friday, 7 December 2012

This year, I decided to get my craft on and make my own Christmas cards. Yes, they're a little bit more fiddly and time consuming but you'd be giving a very unique card to someone and hopefully you will see the look of joy on the recipient's face when they see how much time and effort you've put into the card. 

Below, are a few cards I've already made.

Fancy your hand at getting a bit creative this year? All you will need is:

Card (you can get the pre-folded ones with envelopes in your local crafty store)
Glue (craft and pritt)
Coloured Pens
Various craft materials for decorating (this includes glitter and such like)
A little imagination
A cup of tea (optional but highly recommended!)

I went for simple designs and even utilised the little circles from the hole punch as falling snow! This is the first year I've decided to do this and I'm so glad I have. I've always loved thinking up new designs and being a bit more thoughtful with my gift giving this year which is making me very happy indeed!

Will you be getting your craft on this Christmas and being a bit more creative?

P.S...look out for how I'm wrapping my Christmas presents post as well if you are stuck for ideas!



review: mac - speak louder cremesheen lipstick

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

My first MAC lipstick. What can I say? It's love. I don't live near a MAC so I spent a lot of time researching which lipstick I should invest in and then purchased it online as a treat for completing my 'no jeans month'. The one I chose is 'Speak Louder' which is a cremesheen and is described as a 'clean poppy blue pink'.

I want to be more brave and start sporting a bright-ish pink lip so this looked like something I wouldn't mind leaving the house in. I'm such a MAC noob that I wouldn't really be able to tell you about the different finishes and formulas of the lipsticks and I'm sure other bloggers can explain it ten trillion times better than me. 

I have such difficulty describing shades but I'll try my best. This is a muted poppy pink colour that doesn't look as scary in stick form as it does on my lips. It goes with my skin tone really well and it is such an amazing investment. It can be used as a subtle shade that just enhances the beautifullness of your natural lip colour or you can build it up and sport a lovely bright pink lip. I prep my lips by using a Lush lip scrub first to get rid of any annoying dry flaky bitties on my lips and then this glides on like a dream. Such a great investment!

'Speak Louder' is £14.00 and can be purchased from a MAC counter or online. 

Are there any lipsticks (whether it be MAC or not!) that is your favourite?



sunday summary #18 (on a monday): london edition take 2

Monday, 3 December 2012

*Photo heavy post*

These really shouldn't be called Sunday Summaries anymore should they? They always seem to be popping up on Monday! But nonetheless, here is what has been happening the past week!

On Thursday, I made the 7 hour train journey down to London with my friend with the intention of attending the Harry Potter studios and just chilling out in London for the weekend (Harry Potter Studio pictures will have a dedicated post). And by golly is was AMAZING! I don't think I've ever laughed so much in one weekend. It doesn't seem like too long ago that I was in London but it was obviously for different reasons!

We arrived on Thursday afternoon and we decided to head into the city and do a little exploring. Whilst on Oxford Street, I caught a fleeting glance of Michelle from Daisybutter and I was so excited because I've been a long time reader of her blog and what are the chances that I would see her on Oxford Street? Couldn't really stop though because I got caught in the flow of the Oxford Street crowd! Then we went to our home away from home...Chinatown! Food was yummy and the atmosphere was buzzing. 

Friday was Harry Potter day and it was just an actual dream come true! I obviously spent far too much money in the gift shop but I am now the proud owner of a wand and a time turner. The world is in my hands! Again, I will do a separate post dedicated to Harry Potter so don't fret! Then I tried Korean food for the first time. So spicy but so good at the same time!

Saturday was our free day so we headed back into the city and did a little shopping. Wow, people be crazy because it was the first day of December, it seemed like the whole world and their mothers decided to go shopping! But Oxford Street is so pretty at night time with all those Christmassy nights and brisk Winter weather! We ended up back at Chinatown again for dinner with my friend's brother and his friend and my other friend! It was like a tiny reunion!

Sunday was our travelling day and I was so exhausted but I love riding the rail! I've basically had the best weekend ever and now I will always have the memories :D No doubt that I will be heading South again for more adventures!