Thursday, 31 December 2015

5 Things | What I've learned in 2015


The last day of the year has finally arrived and I must say I am feeling such a buzz today! Normally, I'd say I don't feel like anything is about to change or it's just another day so it's not a big deal, but this year I am so excited for today! Yes, it might be because I will be getting a long weekend but it could also be because I feel like 2016 is just going to be swell!

I was scrolling through my photos on my beloved iPhone 6 (not 6s but it's okay) and thought to myself, "I have so much to be thankful for!". And yes your guessed it, I have A LOT of photographs capturing my happy memories and possibly life changing moments in my life so I thought it would be nice to do a 5 Things post on a few things that I have learnt from 2015.




1. Friends and family are the most valuable.

 I know this is probably the biggest cliché ever and I guess this idea has always been in the back of my mind but this year is the year that I finally understand what other people mean when they say they need people. Work, family, and acquaintances will always come and go but family will always be yours no matter what! As well as having a great family, I've also been very fortunate to have met a few friends that I hold closely to my heart so I guess they've made the cut past acquaintances and weather they like it or not, they are here to stay! I wouldn't have achieved half as much as I have now or be this content and happy 

Side note: I have a couple more friends that I didn't manage to get a selfie with this year so if you're here and reading (cause why wouldn't you be, you are after all one of my closest friends) and can't see yourself, then it is your own fault for not selfie-ing with me! Ha, love ya all really...



2. Spending time and money catching up with friends is a lot more rewarding and cheaper than spending on clothes.

This is sort of a follow up on number 1 but it is another thing that I've experienced this year. Don't get me wrong, I have always been and will probably still be a materialistic person because I just really like pretty things, but that doesn't mean I can't have pretty things and build relationships or have new experiences with the people I care about. This year, I started going out for meals with friends without a particular occasion (birthday, celebration, leaving drinks, etc.). We would meet up, have good food and simply talk to each other. Not only did I have an amazing time but I also found that I spend a lot less money than if I were to go on a shopping spree which is ironic because I used to think that I'd waste a whole lot of money on eating out, and then at the end of it all, leave with nothing to show for it. WRONG! You leave feeling all content and grateful for having a wonderful friend to share life with, which I think is far more priceless than any handbag (yes, even a Chanel one).



3. Hair is confidence.

2015 is finally the year that I got myself some hair extensions and I have no regrets! This is the first year where I had the privilege of learning about hair through the eyes of various African and Caribbean women, they were kind enough to share a bit of their culture with me and ladies... don't you know a thing or two about hair and hair care! So yes, I experienced getting a weave but in the end decided that it was too much maintenance for me and turned them into clip ins hair extensions instead. I am absolutely in love and sounds so ridiculous but once I had this long hair on, I genuinely felt like 'me' again. I used to have long hair as a child, then went through various styles and colours and now I just want to have my long, thick, and luxurious Asian hair back in my life!




4. My iPhone 6 is more than just an iPhone.

As I am looking through my photos on my trusted phone, I start to wonder why do I feel the need to capture almost all remotely exciting event in my life... I've thought long and hard about this and I think, well why not?! I am a very visual person, so when I look back on these photographs, I get a burst of emotion, and it takes me back to that day when something funny, amazing, or emotional happen. There's so much you can do on an iPhone these days, take panoramas, edit and retouch photographs, make a collage, share the photos, keep them, upload them onto your macbook, and of course take a #Selfie or two hundred... the list goes on, but my point is, my phone is more than a phone because it is a memory vessel that sparks my feelings and emotions, reminds me of the good times I had, reminds me that all feelings, good and bad are all temporary emotions, which in it's own very unique way is quite healthy I think.




5. There is so much beauty in this world if we just stop and look for it.

I got a new job in July, and as luck would have it, it was located just down a few roads from my flat which means I can walk there! It's a good half hours walk there and back (so an hour a day) which is not only good for my health but also very good for my mind! Every morning I get a burst of fresh air and some alone time to think and be calm, and every evening I some time to wind down and get rid of any negative vibes before I get home to relax. Walking has also taught me to explore and simply look at your surroundings and find beauty no matter where you are. I'm not going to lie, even half a year ago, I would moan at the thought of exploring because there would be a lot of walking involved and I would just find it utterly boring but now, I am genuinely all up for it and while I'm there, I will do my best not to moan and instead take in the beauty of the world. After all, you never know when you will see such a beauty again!

Of course, I have learnt so much more from this past year but these were just a few that came to mind! Let me know what you learned from 2015 in the comments. Would also love to hear your thoughts on my 5 Things posts, you can read my previous 5 Things post here!

Happy New Years to all you lovely people of the blogging world, thank you for always commenting and showing your support! Hope you have a fab time celebrating no matter what you do and I wish you all the happiness for 2016! BRING IT ON!

See you on the other side!
Grace
x



@the_queenbeach

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

What I got for Christmas + Boxing Day sale shopping!

IKEA haul

Good Morning everyone, hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! Apologise for not posting sooner but I have been so busy with travelling., spending time with loved ones, and then travelling back to London to be at work bright and early on Tuesday but I am back with a quick post just to share what I got and what I bought!

First up is the photo above... this was actually my last big spending spree but I thought it make for a lovely start to the post because who doesn't love IKEA! I only popped in to get a few bits but we all know that a few bits never really means a few bits so I ended up with all this beautiful white coloured goodies! I did end up with too much and was not able to carry everything so I also treated myself to a taxi from North London all the way back to East London... No regrets. New year, new room decor!






I'm not gonna get in to too much detail but I got all these gifts from family and friends. I seem to be feeling a general theme going on here, like do they think I need to improve my general scent? or do I look unclean? haha anyway, I am appreciative of everything I got! My parents raised me in an environment where me and my siblings don't ask for gifts so I guess we were never a family that bought each other lavish gifts but I am not that fussed because it just means that I don't have to buy lavish gifts either haha!





I didn't buy any gifts this year, and thought I'd treat my little brother and sister by taking them shopping on boxing day so that they can chose their own presents... of course, while I was there, I picked up a few goodies for myself too! We went to Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet and went to all the stores, checking out the deals but to be honest, all I wanted to go to was the Nike store so that I can finally buy all my gym attire! Got my little brother and sister some trainers amongst other things and bought myself a whole lot of stuff so I am hoping to film a Nike haul/lookbook for my Youtube channel (which will hopefully be launching at the end of Jan)!

Now these trainers are actually the same as the ones that I did a post on a couple of months ago but I got them in half a size too small and it has been a little tight... I was so upset that they sold out of my size at the time and have been desperately browsing the internet to find them, so when I FINALLY found them in my size, I decided to just go ahead and get myself a couple of pairs, you know for emergencies and all that! I got mine for just over £50 each from Amazon, which isn't too bad considering they are Nike shoes!

Whilst I was in Paperchase, I picked up these little thank you cards because I often find myself in situations where I want to thank people but can never find a nice thank you card, and you dont want to just get them a box of chocos cause that just doesn't seem personal enough... so when I saw these little rose gold minimalist designed cards, I just had to grab them! £4 for 10 gorgeous cards isn't half bad at all!

and that is everything I got! Yes, I am aware that most of the stuff I got were mainly gifts that were from me to me but I really do not mind at all! haha! We gotta learn to treat ourselves once in a while eh? What did you get for Christmas? Let me know in the comments and don't forget to leave your links so that I can find your blog/social media accounts too!

Speak soon,
Grace
x


@the_queenbeach

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

When in Boots...


So you know the deal, you pop into Boots because you inevitably ran out of toothpaste but you know while you're there, you thought it be a good idea to pick a few more things and before you know it, you've spend nearly £50... Yes, and the only reason I went in was literally just for toothpaste! I can only justify this spending with actually using all the products and as an added bonus, I get to do a haul post! Justified. Done.


A few of the usual suspects.



The toothpaste...

6. More toothpaste. I think it was buy one get one half price offer or it was 2for1 so how could I not? 


You can never have too much shower gel.



I had just ran out of Conditioner and thought it's time to treat myself to a new shampoo and conditioner. This sounded very nourishing and smelt so amazing that I just had to add to my basket. And since I am getting the shampoo and conditioner, I clearly cannot forget the after care/multi-purpose oil that comes in matching packaging now can I?!



Last but by no means least is an adorable travel sized brush that will fit and live snugly in my handbag!




Have you ever gone in to Boots or any other pharmacy store with the intention of getting one item that would cost no less than £5 and come out with a lot of things that you may or may not need or is this a specifically me problem? I love shopping in Boots cause you just get points for buying stuff, and then you can use the points you earn to get more stuff! Happy happy days indeed.

I'm not entirely sure if I will be doing anymore posts before Christmas so if I don't see you all before then, have a beautiful Christmas and enjoy yourself however you spend it!

Until next time,
Grace
x

Sunday, 20 December 2015

L.A.B.2 Eye Brush Set review

Before eye make up and lipstick | After eye make up and lipstick

Hello lovelies, I hope you are all doing well and have got all your Christmas shopping done! If you haven't then take comfort in the fact that I have not even started mine yet... but I have got my make up sorted so at least I will be looking good whilst showing up home empty handed ;)

This post is gonna be a little lengthy but trust me it will be worth it as I will be talking about this new line of make up brushes by L.A.B.2 (pronounced Lab Square). I first heard about L.A.B.2 at the Beauty Bar Event hosted by The Bloggers Hangout back in September. L.A.B.2 is a sister brand of Sensationail which has created the UV gel polish kits that myself and so many other bloggers love, and let me tell you, these brushes lived up to their sister brand's expectations.

The packaging has a pop of colour, each different set of brush packaging have their own colour which I think is a nice touch and it looks really cute too. I was lucky enough to be gifted with their Strokes of Genius Set along with their Sensationail Starter Kit at the event. It's hard to say which brush is my favorite because they all have their own uses and having used all of them in this look, I can safely say that they are really quite amazing! (Scroll down for my look)
 





before mascara

after mascara

h&m individual eye lashes

Before lashes | After lashes


So as you can see, the Crease and Eyeshadow brushes did an excellent job at blending. The Pointed Eyeliner brush is good but I think I just need a little more practice with it to perfect my winged liner! All in good time! For my brows, I used the Brow and Eyeliner brush, it had good precision and didn't pick up too much product so you could gradually build up the colour as you desired. I then went over my brows with the Brown and Lash Groomer (probably my fave tool if I absolutely had to choose) for a more natural brow finish.

I think that this set would be a great gift for anyone starting out with eye make up because it is fairly good quality and it's priced at a very purse friendly £18.99 (£14.99 at Superdrug). This could make the perfect Christmas gift for one of your girls or if you are looking to try out some new affordable brushes then this would be pretty good too. I already have my eye on L.A.B.2 Lash out Loud mascara wands, maybe one of those wands could be the answer to the longer lashes that I am still in search for? We'll see! But for now, I have my h&m individual lashes to keep me going, still haven't mastered the strip lashes but maybe 2016 will be the year!


 It's always good to finish a post with a Selfie!

Have you tried any of L.A.B.2 brushes yet? If so, let me know in the comments below. If you haven't then I would still love to hear your thoughts on these brushes too! What do you think of my make up look, is it Christmassy enough? Haha

Until next time,
Grace
x



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Wednesday, 16 December 2015

5 Things | What I learnt from working in Retail


Before I get started, I would just like to say that I am so happy and grateful for all your lovely comments! They mean the absolute world to me and makes my day even better/puts a smile on my face every time I read them :) so thank you all so much for all the love!

I was looking through my photos the other and I stumble across a few screenshots that reminded me of the good old days where I used to work as a sales assistant in a retail store. I must say that working in retail is not the most pleasant of experiences but I am happy to have gone through the process as I now feel like I can safely say (from the other end) that I am a stronger individual! I highly recommend everyone go through this or other customer focused job roles at least once and here are 5 reasons why.

Improve your people skills.
 I have always said that I am not a people person, and to be honest I still don't think I am. But I used to be absolutely terrified of even the idea of a conversation with a stranger, and the difference now is that speaking to and even assisting strangers seems like second nature, I speak to them as if they were my friends, and I even found that people are more open to speaking to me in public cause I guess I am just naturally prepared to provide assitance even if I don't want to.. 

Master the art of the most genuine fake smile.
You start to find yourself pretending that you care about people's problems, and your patience is put to the test everyday. This is extremely handy especially in your professional life as it makes everything more bearable for everyone involve. For example, you could have an intolerable boss but you're used to dealing some horrible customers. You don't talk back in a rude manner which makes the boss feel great and in return you get to keep your job! Everybody wins!
Become the queen of small talk chats and bants.
Small talk seems like such a little thing but if you think about it, how many situations do you find yourself in where you don't need small talk? The answer is not many, if you need to talk, you normally start with small talk, unless of course you are a little rude or just do not have the time. Being the best at small talk not only saves you from many awkward encounters in your day to day life, but it also helps you with job interviews and other important life changing scenarios! So embrace the mundane chats and throw in some banter, just think you are investing in your future!
 Confidence
You are able to speak to anyone, you don't really have a choice but you are payed to do so, so you do it. I found that this has helped me in my personal life too. Say you have an issue with someone, you will have no problem confronting them about the problem as you are used to speaking with annoying weirdos everyday. You learn to hold your own and if that person decides to argue back, you can patronisingly respond to them, both being polite and throwing them off at the same time. It's like a verbal slap them in the face served with a slice of awesome. You walk off winning the argument. BOOM.

Savvy Saver
You are used to getting that cheeky staff discount so normally you will just buy clothes from your store or sister stores. However when you leave retail, you don't get discounts but you become a pro at finding discounts, you know you are entitled to return stuff without receipts and if the item you bought is faulty, you know exactly what to do. Saving you lots of £££ in the long run. You basically know how to cheat the system and end up with a wardrobe that you are entirely happy with!



I really enjoyed my time as a sales girl but I am so glad that those days are behind me! If you are currently working in retail then all I can say is my thoughts are with you this festive period and push through, having this experience is invaluable and can open so many doors to different career paths!

Until next time,
Grace
x

Monday, 14 December 2015

Christmas Party 2015!


I don't know if I have mentioned but this before but December is definitely my favourite month of the year! I just love all things festive, people seem slightly less miserable (considering it's a winter month), and there is just generally more alcohol* involved! I work in an environment where there are a good handful of companies and have been fortunate enough to be invited to several Christmas parties but so far, I've only been to my own one, and that would probably be it for this year to be honest. My colleagues and I were all very merry that night, and you know it's a good night when you went to sleep thinking you didn't take that many pictures, and waking up with around 130... Over half were selfies but I have no regrets! So since I had so many wonderful shots (photographs and actual shots, good pun I know), I thought it might be nice to a small selection on the blog!







Follow me on instagram (@the_queenbeach) for instant updates! Comment down below to let me know if you have followed me, and don't forget to leave yours so I can find you too!

Wishing you all a FABULOUS December and I will see you in the next one,
Grace
x

*Please drink responsibly, but have fun while you are doing so! Haha

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Life Goals!

Photo Source
I guess it is that time of the year again, where we reflect on the year that's just gone by and look forward to (or dread) welcoming another year, a fresh start with new year resolutions and all that which I think is all healthy and positive things to do so I thought I'd be a basic b***h and jump on the ban wagon by doing a post on it all for you!

2015 has been a very satisfying year for me. I've got myself 2 new jobs and I feel like I am finally in a job that can give me opportunities to progress. I've made a few close friends and am always making and getting to know new and interesting people. I visit my beautiful family whenever I can. I am more confident in myself and slowly but surely becoming more independent which will help me go and grab new experiences with both hands and live life to the full. I may not have it all but I do feel as though I go home with a smile on my face almost everyday and I know the best is yet to come!

I don't really want to call it new years resolution because I feel like the following things are goals that I will have regardless of the coming new year so I guess I will just call it...

LIFE GOALS:

  1. Move out and find myself my own place in London. Failing that, my own room would suffice as I am currently sharing a room.
  2. Finish my Mandarin course and pass the exam(s).
  3. Progress with my career.
  4. Travel and see the world more.
  5. Start a YouTube channel.
  6. Maintain my awesome social life with awesome people.
  7. Learn more.
  8. Start exercising. Maybe.
  9. Do new things. Spend more time and money on experiences, as opposed to materialistic possessions.
  10. Be happy.

That's it for this post, thought I'd keep it short and sweet so that you didn't have to do too much reading haha. Have you got any life goals that you aim to put into practice in the coming year? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time,
Grace
x