Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Merry Christmas from Aimee Belle

Well, it's been a bit quiet over here lately, and I wanted to apologise for that. I don't think I'm alone in struggling to blog at this time of year - there's just so much going on! Presents to buy and wrap. Old friends to catch up with - you know the kind that are only in town a couple of times a year... I don't want you to feel neglected. And, I've gathered a few new followers despite my absence - it's not normally this quiet guys, I promise!

In all honesty, I think I'd be struggling to blog even if it wasn't Christmas. I've only gone and bagged myself another promotion at work! Which is obviously great news, but it means I'm really busy. I got a promotion back in July, and that meant I had to reduce the frequency of my blog posts from daily, to every other day. I'm hoping this second promotion won't mean I have to quit blogging all together. I love blogging, and I love you guys and our chats. I guess I'll just have to wait and see where the land lies in the new year. But this isn't goodbye!!

But I'm definitely continuing this break over the festive season, so for now I wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year. I look forward to reconnecting with you all in 2015. 

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Tag Tuesday: 25 facts about me

Well the lovely Jess only went and tagged me again. So here we go, 25 facts about me and 5 questions:

1 I have 9 tattoos. Most of which I now regret.
2 Up until a few years ago I had a hell of a lot of piercings, which I've removed in the last year.
3 I can pierce ears - I'm qualified, but no longer insured. 
4 I don't eat meat. I haven't for the majority of my life.
5 I love baking, though I rarely have the time - luckily for my waistline.
6 I really enjoy cooking.
7 I'm in a long distance relationship. 
8 I prefer dogs to cats.
9 I pole dance for fitness purposes. I even have a pole at home.
10 Sometimes I run. Sometimes. 
11 My favourite colour is turquoise.
12 I'm scared of quite a few things, most unnecessarily.
13 I sleep with a teddy in my bed. His name is Charlie. He was a present from the boy.
14 I like to avoid sugar, every so often I try to cut it out completely. Far easier said than done.
15 I'm a huge book geek. 
16 I love binge watching TV series with the boy.
17 I tell everyone I hate "chick flicks" but I have been known to watch them when there's no one else around. I still think they're a bit pants, but everyone needs something lighthearted now and again.
18 I talk to myself, more often than I care to admit.
19 I love gardening. I have grown my own vegetables in the past - very satisfying. It's something I'd love to do more of if I had the time.
20 I love the countryside. I love being outdoors, and walking in the woods.
21 I'm not a fan of crowds, and don't fair well in big cities. 
22 I haven't traveled that much, it's an aim of mine to travel more.
23 I really love buttons.
24 My favourite song is Lola by the Kinks. I wouldn't be surprised if you haven't got a clue who they are.
25 I love going to festivals, it's the one kind of crowd I'm happy to be in. 

And my questions:

What is the meaning behind your blog name?

Well I'm Aimee. Belle is beauty, and primarily this is a beauty blog. Bell is also a family surname (though not my own surname.)

Best thing to happen to you this year?

It's not been a bad year really. I got a new job. I became an Auntie. I had my first holiday abroad with the boy. I started blogging. I organised my first blogging event. Hard to pick just one. 

Why do you blog?

It started as a way of passing the time apart from the boy, but turned into something I love. My current way of unleashing my creativity. 

What are you afraid of?

Quite a few things. I think you really have to trust someone to share your fears with them, so forgive me for not posting them online. 

One beauty product you would recommend to your followers/readers

Just one eh? It depends what they're after really. Probably elf's Eyebrow Kit. 

I'm not going to tag anyone specific on this one, but if you want to give it a go please do. Just let me know you've done it, as I'd love to see your answers. 

Monday, 8 December 2014

Monday Musings: Can bloggers save books?

Love her or hate her, Zoella is everywhere right now. Especially as she's broken records with her book release: the fastest selling book since records began. Now that's an achievement no matter where you sit on the Zoella debate. But, I'm not surprised, she has millions of subscribers, and that will obviously translate into a whole lot of sales. Good on her, she's worked hard for them. 

However, there's been some speculation about whether or not Zoella actually wrote the book. I'll be honest, I haven't read it, and I doubt I will. It's not my sort of thing. But, then again, I'm not the target audience, I'm a good ten years too old for that. It has since been confirmed that the book was not all Zoe's work. (source) But, she's not the only one to use a ghost writer, or have a helping hand. An awful lot of celebrity authors go down this route. I have read a number of reviews of this book though, and so many people have said they can sense Zoe's personality in it. And even her writing style, I mean if anyone should know her writing it's fans of her blog. So she had some help getting it into shape, I can't blame her for that. Although even without it, she'd probably have broken records anyway. 

Personally, I don't care if she wrote it or not. What I care about is that within one week it sold over 78,000 copies. That's 78,000 teenagers or young adults reading for pleasure, and I applaud that. To a certain extent, when we're talking those kind of numbers, I don't care what they are reading, but that they are reading at all. Today is undoubtedly a digital age, and I'm a huge fan of anything that gets people reading and away from screens - whatever their format. One of my biggest pleasures in life is settling down with a good book, be it in a nice hot bath, or even in bed. Preferably with a good cup of tea to go with it. I'm not going to make big sweeping statements and say technology is killing books. I don't believe that. People still read. Teenagers still read. I mean look at Twilight and Harry Potter to name but a few. Having said this, I won't argue with studies either. Time Magazine did a study earlier this year that proves there's a lot less reading for pleasure these days. 

Having said this, a hell of a lot of teenagers out there are reading blogs. And that's reading, and more than likely for pleasure. That has to be a good thing. Only difference is the format. Want to know a secret? I haven't read a book in about 6 months, and this saddens me. Frankly I don't have the time. But I read blogs. It's quick. They are easy to digest. And they fit into my busy lifestyle. I read them for pleasure, just like millions of you do too. I highly doubt they were even considered in Time Magazine's study into reading, but why shouldn't they be?

Reading is fantastic. Booktrust believe that books:

  • Books can bring lasting benefits, help bond families and transform lives
  • Reading is one of the most effective means of promoting social mobility

  • Books and reading can increase life chances through:
  • Increased educational outcomes
  • Increased employment opportunities
  • Enhanced social mobility/aspiration

  • Books and reading improve social and emotional wellbeing through:
  • Improved family attachment and bonding
  • Increased participation in society
  • Improved levels of happiness and confidence

  • Access to books and the ability to read should be a fundamental right for all
  • Books are for everyone regardless of means

And, I'm with them there. On top of this, books broaden the mind, they spark imagination and thus creativity. They widen the vocabulary. In essence - books rule. So if more than 78,000 people are reading Zoe's book then she's achieved something pretty special in my eyes. And I for one hope many more bloggers go on to write books and get more of us reading. Even if (and I'm not suggesting Zoe's book is) the content is a bit pants, the plot's predictable and the language isn't imaginable. It's a start, and once someone has found pleasure in one book, they will continue to do so. An example, someone I know (and I won't name her) didn't read much, if at all. She read an autobiography of Katie Price. Then some of her fiction - also ghost written. Then some 50 Shades of Grey. Then some general romance. Then some science fiction romance. Then some vampire fiction. It started a chain of reading for pleasure. From just one ghostwritten book. And gradually the "quality" of the literature improved. She still reads now, and is happier for it. If Zoe has given this pleasure to her fans, then that's a wonderful gift. 

Merry Christmas

Friday, 5 December 2014

My Lush Christmas Wish List

I don't want a lot for Christmas, there is just one thing I need.... well, that's not strictly true. Unless that one thing is a bath. (or a few baths)

Who doesn't love a good bath when the nights are cold and dark? Especially a lovely scented Lush bath with an extra Christmas sparkle. So, with that in mind, I've put together my Christmas Wish List from Lush for you all to have a nosy at. 

To start, the bath bombs:

Rising Bath Bomb £3.35 - it's purple (and green), it's full of nourishing cocoa and shea butters, and it smells of cinnamon. I love cinnamon!

Brandy Butter Bath Bomb £3.50 - This sounds delicious!! Cinnamon leaf, tangerine oil and cocoa butter. It even contains brandy - very Christmassy. 

Luxury Lush Pud Bath Bomb £3.50 - colourful and calming. Perfect before bed. 

Think Pink Bath Bomb £2.65 - one of the cheaper bath bombs, and my absolute favourite. It's ridiculously pink and girly. And full of confetti hearts. (ok, ok, this one isn't from the Christmas range, but I couldn't miss it out)

And, as it's Christmas we need a touch of the luxurious. So, for that I bring you bath melts:

Star Light, Star Bright Luxury Bath Melt £3.40 - glittery, and lime and ginger scented. 

Snow Angel Bath Melt £3.95 - another limited edition, so it's a must try in my book. 

Of course, no bath would be complete without some bubbles, and personally the bubble bars are my favourite. 

The Christmas Hedgehog Bubble Bar £3.25 - softening and relaxing with a hint of Christmas sparkle. 

Holly Golightly Bubble Bar £4.75 - another Christmas must have, like bathing in hot toddy. 

The Christmas Penguin Bubble Bar - £3.25 - I'm not sure I could squish this little guy up, but he's a citrusy scented little fella. 

Candy Mountain Bubble Bar £2.75 - I love this! I've bought a few already. It's basically snow fairy in bubble bar form, what's not to love?

Magic Wand Reusable Bubble Bar £5.25 - Now this really intrigues me, I am often a bit OTT with my Lush baths and chuck the whole bar in. This is something you can reuse and reuse. I'd love to see how luxurious the baths are, and if it's got the same bubble pay off. Also, it's Snow Fairy scented. 

And finally, I want a few products that help me get clean while still smelling amazing and festive. So bring on the shower gels, and the soaps.

Snow Fairy Shower Gel from £3.75 - Well, this wouldn't be complete without some Snow Fairy in it's original form would it?

Hot Toddy Shower Gel from £3.95 - Now, I love Snow Fairy, seriously, who doesn't? But this is it's big sister. Definitely more mature, but still fun. And very boozey. 

Yog Nog Soap £3.40 - I've got this already, and I definitely need more. Very creamy and nourishing on the skin, and it smells good enough to eat. 

Baked Alaska Soap £3.25 - Now, I didn't pick this one up in favour of Yog Nog, but I had no idea this was also a Christmas soap. It's bright, colourful and smells like lemonade. 

Does your festive favourite feature in this list?

Have you tried these?

Have I missed off your favourite - and why should I include it?

(All images sourced from the Lush website - Links provided)

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

My Ultimate Winter Lip Colours

This post is a bit bitter sweet for me, I've spent a while putting it together only to realise I've lost one of these beauties - and obviously it had to be the most expensive one! Anyway, here's a break down of my most worn lip colours lately. 

1 - elf Mineral Lipstick - Cheerful Cherry £5
2 - Barry M Ultra Moisturising Lip Paint - 156 Vicious Violet £4.49 
3 - elf Mineral Lipstick - Prime Plum £5
4 - Illamasqua Glamore in Buff £18.50
5 -  elf Studio Matte Lip Colour - Tea Rose £3.95
6 -  elf Studio Matte Lip Colour- Rich Red £3.95
7 - Barry M Gelly Shine Lips in 1 Vega £4.99

I love these three brands. I don't find any of them drying. I actually find elf, the cheapest of the brands, to be the most nourishing on my lips. I love the colour pay off on Illamasqua however. Whereas Barry M has got it just right when it comes to the berry shade, for me at least. 

I find Buff, Tea Rose and Prime Plum best for "every day" wear. Whereas Cheerful Cherry, Rich Red, and the Barry M shades are much better for statement lips. 

Have you tried any of these? 

Which one takes your fancy?

Do you have any recommendations for me?