Sunday, 25 January 2015

Now listen up, 2015!

Source: what jess does next // The one where everything is better than ever.
Hello to 2015. Although it is coming towards the end of January, it is only now that I have had some time to sit down, relax and think about exactly what I want the year ahead to hold. It is about time 2015 rolled around; whilst every other year seems to whiz by in the blink of an eye, 2014 really took its time. They say that good things come to those who wait and I am hoping that is a sign that you will be filled with wonder and goodness. 

I still remember being a scared 8 year old who nervously counted down to midnight in 1999, waiting for the clock to tick over to midnight and Y2K ending the world. Now I am a 23 year old who is split in two - half of me is scared about getting older, the other half is incredibly excited to see what the year ahead holds and what time will bring. 

It was over 3 weeks ago that I welcomed in 2015 from my backyard, and unlike the fanfare of the year before, I spent it with family and friends, frangipanis, fairy lights and food. As with every new year that comes along I think it will be different to the last, but this year there are a few promises I want to make, goals I want to set and bargains to negotiate to make sure that comes true.

2015 will be the year that things are bigger, better and bolder. Although I already put in my all with everything I do, there is always room for improvement, and this is the year that my effort levels are going to be a focus. Landing two jobs and getting a promotion in 2014 taught me that hard work really does pay off. 

2015 will be the year that I will learn more. Exploring a new field at work that I haven't had experience in before, reading up on topics that interest me and trying to once again learn French will hopefully expand my horizons and restore a bit of that work/life balance that has been a little lacking lately. 

2015 will be the year of documenting my life. Hopefully this blog will be brought to life once again documenting my life, loves, likes and loathes, and the photo scrapbooking paraphernalia I have bought will be put to good use as I try to take photos of important times in my life. 

And most importantly, 2015 will be the year of travel. I have two trips coming up in the next few weeks and I am positive that I will make that a trend to last throughout the year and beyond. Plans that have been brewing away for sometime to take on the world (and take on Scotland!) will be finally set into motion this year. 

This year I will cut down on sugar, say no to soft drink, put on the running shoes more often, spend less on ridiculous things, sort out health insurance, put happiness first and keep a clean room that I don't have to run to shut the door to whenever someone comes to visit.

What are your goals for the year? Have you been sticking to your resolutions?

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Goodbye 2014.

2014. I don’t want to sound ungrateful, but I am glad that you are going. Don’t get me wrong, you were great (mostly) and we had lots of good times, it’s just me. I need to move on. And I am beyond ready to leave all the tough, trying, tortuous and terrifying times behind. So before you melt away into the past and become a distant memory, lets take a look at our time together. Where else to start but the very beginning. 

With January you brought a much needed new computer and ‘What Jess Does Next’, and I rang in the new year watching the fireworks from the Harbour. I started up this little space in a far away corner of the internet to give myself a hobby. For months prior I had been reading blogs by lifestyle writers, beauty bloggers, travellers and cooks and their adventures, experiments and advice gave me something to look forward to each day. January also brought the start of a new tradition of English rom-coms and Jamie Oliver meals as my best friend and I would spend the day dreaming of what our lived would be like in a years time. It is a tradition I can see stretching on into the distant future.

When February came so did my birthday and I turned 23. I rang it in with friends in one of my favourite restaurants and relished at the event of being surrounded by people who mean so much to me. It also brought the beginning of a long stretch of unemployment and days of little routine when I left behind a pretty nasty chapter and I quit my job in an ugly tornado of tears and relief. It all snuck up on me pretty quickly, and you slapped me with wall after wall of realisations at how much more there is out in the world. The days of no routine became peppered with university work when March rolled around and studies resumed. I fell more in love with blogging and at one point was knocking out a new post each day.  

You offered me no relief on the job search front throughout April, and I put in nearly as much effort into applying to every job known to man as I did my uni work, the emails kept rolling in saying I was overqualified or under experienced. The trend of good food continued as I spent my days cooking, and then enjoyed a feast in aid of the Hamlin Fistula Hospital in Africa. Then my parents celebrated their 25th Wedding Anniversary.    

And finally, 2015, you brought a welcome break in May that saw good things spring out of the wood work without warning. A girls trip to Melbourne at the start of May brought the Wicked viewings tally up to 3, the H&M cherry popped on Bourke street and our waist lines expand slightly as we ate our way across the city. I got my first set of Muji storage and the difference it has made to my makeup storage is immeasurable. The odds were certainly in my favour (Star Wars reference, May 4th… get it?) when I received a call to finally say I had a job! Hoorah! Whilst it was not in a field I first expected and I was returning to retail I was so thankful of the chance to replenish my long lost savings account. 

June, July and August all rolled into one, as one job multiplied into two through a heavenly recommendation from a friend and I worked what must certainly be a record number of days in a row. I learnt what it was like to work in a healthy and supportive environment, to be surrounded by nice colleagues and to actually look forward to going to work. I appreciated clean makeup brushes, early mornings, single seats on trains, pre-packed lunches and daily walks through Hyde Park and learnt how to fit a room full of furniture and three grown adults into a Toyota Corolla. Life skills. What was meant to be a short break from blogging to focus on exams somehow turned into an almost 6 month hiatus.  

During that time Ed Sheeran’s album multiply became the soundtrack of my winter and Taylor Swift taught me how to shake it off. 

September came up next and to be honest it was a bit of a blur. Which is odd because you seemed to drag on forever, 2015. But it was probably because of that massive, ugly curve ball you threw at me. As if I hadn’t been kept on my toes all year, adapting to challenges and finding new ways of making things work, you had to conspire to derail a plan that had been in the making for years. No longer would I be fleeing next winter to head overseas in search of sun and a year of travel but would be here to finish off a degree due to a stupid change in subject timetabling. Even now I get annoyed thinking of what could have been but as you continued to roll on, I had to move on to. Now, new adventures are what I look forward to. 

Though as Spring well and truly sprung there were fresh bouquets of flowers and new colour across the city. I caught up with old friends that I met years ago on the other side of the world and enjoyed eating out. Again. Food was certainly a constant theme this year. Uni work was present as ever, with things that once seemed like an obstacle coming easily and naturally. Effort at uni paid off and good marks stretched across October. The cooking/movie tradition from earlier in the year made another appearance and one of the besties turned 24. 

Next up came November and after what was a long, long year you were finally coming to a close. The two jobs continued to take up the majority of my time, taking it in turns to wake me up each day. University also shone a light at the end of the tunnel. The other bestie turned 24 too, and we celebrated with sausages and mash and gravy. Then One Direction became the next most played album of the year. 

And finally, December. My baby sister turned 21, I went to 3 work christmas parties, received a promotion, spent time with friends and family and ate ridiculous amount of food. Though, living in Sydney, you could easily forget all of that against the dark backdrop of the Sydney Siege. The acts of a madman made our city stand still and all that we once took for granted stood still as we hoped for the best. Against the tragedy came a silver lining as across lines of race, religion, language or politics we were united together in a sea of flowers and hashtags showing that we are not to be beaten. 

What a year. There were some hurdles and some highpoints but I can’t wait to leave it all behind and begin the next chapter. 

Friday, 22 August 2014

What's The Time Mr Wolf?

Source: what jess does next // The Mimco watch that has been planted firmly on my wrist
Unfortunately this post isn't an homage to one of my favourite childhood games, but instead is full of praise for one of my favourite accessories. You all know my love of scarves and it is fair to say that love is given in equal parts to necklaces and watches. That is a whole lotta love! I have memories of getting a Cinderella watch when I was young which was DIGITIAL!! And had a lift up lid with a lipgloss underneath. Since then my tastes have changed rather a lot. The watch that has been planted firmly on my wrist for some time now is this number from Mimco. 

I had my eye on this watch for some months before finally added it to my collection in last years Boxing Day sales but it was not until months later that I finally took it out of the velvet box and started to wear it. For some reason when I get something new I imagine an aura of 'specialness' around it that means it's better to keep it safe and sound in the box than actually wear it. And this is more than just a watch, it's a 'timepiece' according to Mimco. How swish! 

This 'Sportivo' timepiece has a large boyfriend style face with gorgeous rose gold detailing. Rose gold and boyfriend style watches have been on trend for some time now, but I find that this watch has a fresh take on it. Thankfully it doesn't have a loud tick which I love, because I seem to have supersonic hearing during the night and loud ticks stop me from falling asleep. 

Something else I love about this watch is its general oversized-ness. Is that a word? Probably not, but you know what I mean. Sure, I could get a few of the extra links removed but I love the looser feel and look. And whilst it is oversized it doesn't feel or look too chunky. The smooth band and face and clear face feel fresh and streamlined, keeping it chic and still feminine. The Sportivo watch does have a bit of a 'sporty' vibe to it, from its size, to black face and the smooth link band which clocks shut. With a very satisfying click at that. 

I can imagine this little beauty remaining on my wrist for some time to come. Mimco also have a smaller version of this watch and I believe they may have recently released a matte black version as well. 

What do you think of boyfriend style watches? What watch is hanging on your wrist? 

Sunday, 29 June 2014

So, it's been a while...

Source: what jess does next // a few shots from instagram 
I decided to take a few days away from blogging to get over a nasty virus and get ready for exams and before I knew it nearly a month had passed without a post appearing here on What Jess Does Next. It was never intentional but out of nowhere my life 'to-do' list spiralled out of control. A busy period of assessments then illness then exams and then training at my new jobs (more on that later!) meant that I didn't have time to sit down to write and photograph a post let alone enjoy the mid year sales! But thankfully all of that has settled down and I am getting back into the blogging groove. 

When I last blogged I had returned from a trip to Melbourne and filled you in on what I had bought down there and let you know that I had eaten up a storm. The food-filled travelogue post will be coming soon! Just looking through the photos and remembering what we gobbled up has made my mouth water! 

And while I haven't been enjoying the end of financial year sales too much I did pick up a few bits and bobs while out and about recently, as well as a fabulous online purchase so you can expect my reviews and raves to come very soon. Hint: they are all things beauty! 

Mid year holidays also mean that for a few short weeks I don't have to worry about uni work and endless textbook readings but get to enjoy reading for pleasure again. I was a mega-bookworm growing up and really hate that my uni workload has got in the way of reading over the past few years. I was one of those people who was late to jump on the bandwagon for TFIOS, despite constant protests from friends, and after seeing the film which I loved I finally got my nose stuck into the book. One day later and it was all read! A bunch of book recommendations will also be coming at you soon! I would love to hear if you have any as well. 

So besides getting over a very nasty virus, studying my butt off for exams and reading never ending uni articles I have managed to land myself two jobs. One in retail and one in an office setting, similar to what I was doing previously. It is such a relief to be employed again after months of not being able to find a job that was able to fit in around my uni commitments. Job opportunities in Sydney are few and far between so I am very lucky to be working again. All my pennies are going straight towards replenishing my holiday account. 

I also caught up with a few friends who I first met in the UK who were visiting Sydney, checked out a cafe or two, have been enjoying the winter fashion and cooking up a storm. I farewelled my sister who jetted off to Mexico for a holiday, packed my room into boxes to start renovations and today I ate my way throughout the good food and wine show!  Lots of posts coming your way, thanks for sticking around! Catch you all soon! 

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Rollup, Rollup! The Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush Comes To Town!

Source: what jess does next // Look what has taken up a place in my makeup collection 
The Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blushes have been a thing of beauty that I have admired from afar for months. When they launched in the UK and received rave reviews from beauty bloggers and makeup lovers I was instantly hooked. They seemed to offer light and colour and shading in a natural way and I thought they would make a great replacement for my much loved MAC Star Wonder MSF blush which does much of the same and I have raved about before. They even made my wish list a few months ago as my one sided love affair with them continued! 

Well, I am very excited to announce that after all this time an Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush now holds a very prized place in my makeup collection! On my trip to Melbourne I bit the bullet and visited the Hourglass stand at Mecca in Myer on Bourke Street and had a bit of a drool over the amazing shades before getting a bit of a pamper from the sales assistant (who, again, I have naughtily forgotten the name of but she rocked an amazing red eyeshadow look right around the eyes and we again bonded over our love of UK beauty bloggers) and picking up one of my own. 
When I reviewed swatches and read some commentaries it was the shades Mood Infusion and Diffused Heat that caught all of my attention and lusting. They seemed to offer a pop of colour that was similar to the MAC Star Wonder, and I loved their plummy and pink shades. But after the assistant applied Dim Infusion to my cheeks everything I thought I knew and wanted changed and it was the warm apricot shade that made it home with me. 

The packaging is gorgeous, with a rosy gold plastic compact that offers a very satisfying click when closed. Though it is plastic it feels solid and secure, not at all cheap, and I have no fear of it getting crushed in my makeup bag. There is a god sized, and great quality, mirror in the lid which is rather handy. Even the packaging and luxury of its presentation makes it worth the $50 price tag and the product inside just adds to the value!

The blush itself has a lovely swirl of the bright apricot pigment (which does lean slightly pinkish but not in a bad way) with the dim light powder. The box it comes in says that it offers a 'truly multidimensional blush that enhances cheeks with seamless soft-focus colour, and a natural radiant finish', and I have to say that I totally agree. It feels soft and luxurious when applied to the cheeks and a light swirl picks up a great amount of colour. The colour is natural but you can still tell that there is a little sumin' sumin' going on, and it is easily built up for added brightness without going too chalky or messy. It is also free of paragons, talc, fragrance, nano particles and interestingly, gluten. 

I have been loving this blush and am glad to report that all of the rave reviews are spot on which is good, because my one sided love affair with this blush is now justified! 

Have you got any of these blushes? What makeup item are you lusting after?