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Showing posts with label Best Of's. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Best Of's. Show all posts

4 Sep 2015

August Favourites

August has been a great month for finding some real stand out products, here are those which made me smile.

A Heat Protectant You Can Spray on Dry Hair

Get Heated Repair Thermal Protect Mist  £9 *

Like many people, I don't use heat protectant every day as I don't use heat on my hair everyday.  I air dry whenever I can and it is only when I wake up the next morning that I decide that I want to curl the ends/straighten a kink out etc...  This is when I need a heat protector I can spray directly onto dry hair and that takes a minimal time to dry. 
It can also be used to add moisture to the ends, smooth through dry hair to make it look more sleek and obviously for it's intended purpose of applying on wet hair after washing as a protectant.

The spray nozzles leaves a fine mist and the product is easily combed through the hair, it dries super quickly so you can start work within seconds.  It barely has any grip when dry which is great as you can run the straighteners through without it catching. The other stand out feature was the smell, it smells lovely and fresh, which is ideal for a mid day freshen up. All in all a fantastic product and at a really good price, it's only £9.

A Peptide Packed Super Light Moisturiser for Under Makeup

Fake Bake Beauty at Home Skin D-luxe Moisturiser £17.50 *

Who knew Fake Bake did skincare, or for that matter makeup and bath products? They are also really good.  I tried a few of their new offerings ( a lovely cleaning balm, yummy smelling coconut bodyscrub which will be can be bought directly from their website or at parties thrown by consultants (good at home business idea for busy Mums.)
I particularly liked the moisturiser though as it sinks in so quickly, is not at all greasy, has a ton of great ingredients like Matrixyl 3000 which is a peptide combo that helps plump, improve skin tone and reduce wrinkles. It also has a pump top, Yay my favourite.

Long Lasting Non Cakey Foundation Spray

Urban Decay De-Slick - Travel Size £8.10 (full size out of stock everywhere!)

I am sure I have mentioned this before on the blog as I use it to make my makeup last as long as possible, but I have found another use for it.  Wayne Goss (who in my opinion is the best makeup artist and most lovely of guys) did a post about a hydration spray that Jane Iredale has launched which you use to take a the powdery look off your skin once you have applied a full face of makeup. It looks lovely but I have enough makeup and skincare to kit out all the Kardashian's at the moment so I had a play with my Serozinc and then this. I figured that this would work just as well as I often find myself giving my face a mist with it to give me a slightly more dewy/less matte look.  I am pleased to report that this works perfectly and can still help extend the life of your makeup too. I have the old style bottle, the new one is a bit nicer looking.

Sleep in a Jar

Vichy Idealia Skin Sleep only £19.87 for now at Escentual or 3 for 2 at Boots *

I mentioned this in my holiday skincare post (see link)  I used this every other day whilst on holiday.  I was in the sun most days and my normally oily skin can become a bit parched and wrinkled.  Whilst it didn't make me look completely recovered by morning, my skin looked substantially less thirsty and dried out.  I was concerned that the cream would be too heavy for me and break me out but luckily the gel balm consistency just quenched my poor skin and left me blemish free.  My only slight disappointment is the packaging, I don't like jars, I find them unhygienic and difficult to use with slippy hands.  I nice pump wouldn't have gone amiss, however I do have some small plastic spatulas that I use for skin creams that help keep the contents of the jars hygienic so I will have to use those.  I fully recommend this cream for those of you with normally dry skin as I feel it would be perfect.  It contains hyaluronic acid (to lock moisture in,) salicylic acid (to keep pores clear) and niacinamide which helps even your skin tone.  To round up I would say this is a great everyday capture all moisturiser that most people could benefit from adding  into their routine.

3D Lip Gloss for luscious lips

Fake Bake Scream & Pout Shine On Glo Gloss in Sunset £12 *

I posted an Instagram picture of me wearing this a few weeks ago and it honestly does it no justice.  The tube looks a little lack lustre but the product is gorgeous.  It's silky smooth, has a lovely fruity scent and the gloss itself is clear enough to wear over most stains or lipliners and just gives a lovely 3D look to your lips.  I really like this product and have found myself wearing it most days recently.

Daniel Sandler Watercolour Blush Dupe

Makeup Revolution Vivid Blush Laquer - £3

I have a couple of the Daniel Sandler Watercolour Fluid Blushers already but wanted something a bit more corally.  I decided on a whim that I would give this a go as it was only £3. The consistency is less watery than the Daniel Sandler ones, but the staying power and blendablity are still there.  It takes only a fraction of a pump of the cute bottle to get enough blush for your face and so will probably last me forever.  The colour is a mid tone coral more on the pink than the orange side.  It has really high end packaging with a pump and a lovely matte lid with a satisfying click.   It comes in 3 shades, Bloom, Heart & Desire of which I have Heart.  You could buy all 3 though and still have change from one Daniel Sander.

*Sample received for review purposes

5 Feb 2015

Anti Ageing Skincare Routine Cheat Sheet - Over 30's

Do you know what I love more than Caroline Hirons site and her amazing advice?  I love infographics.   I have spent an age on Caroline's site trying to make sense of all the endless skincare advice on there and the one thing I wish it had is a nice easy printable guide.   So here its is, my version of her crazily good advice with a few changes to make it more achievable for us mere mortals.  You can print this off to keep in your dresser and get you in the habit or as a rough shopping guide.

click to enlarge

I spent days pouring over Mrs Hirons site, the lovely Paula Begoun's site, Makeup Alley reviews and numerous skincare awards lists and came up with this.  It's what I reckon is the best of both guru's skincare advice along with products that are widely well received in the industry.

I found Caroline's 7 step morning routine far to excessive for me and my hectic attempts at herding children out of the house, so I have eliminated everything I felt was optional, and stuck with the core idea of her routines.  I then researched which products she recommends, cross referenced them with Paula Begoun's suggestions and my own experience to leave me with an achievable routine that can work at different price points.  I really wanted to include the magical P50 lotion in here but seen as it is nearly impossible to track down, I figured it was pointless to add it to the list.

I have written this as a guide for over 30's as girls in their twenties would require some changes to the routine (mainly in the serum/treatment area.)

Now I know that the total of all the products is expensive but, stay with me here, seen as it is best to only switch in one new skincare items per month to determine if you are having any detrimental reactions to it, then you could just buy just 1 new skincare treat per month and go from there. I have tried to include some lower priced alternatives in there for those who prefer to keep their money for something more high minded than smeary stuff for your face.

 An important point to note is that I do slightly disagree with Caroline about her hatred of foaming cleansers.  The reasoning behind her dislike is that (most) foaming cleanser are alkali and when you wash your face with them it makes your skins PH move further away from the acid zone that helps it fight blemishes.

I'll let Dermalogica put it more lucidly -
"On a scale from 1 to 14, a neutral pH is 7. The skin's normal pH level is between a 4 and a 5 (acidic). The majority of soaps are made from lye or potassium hydroxide: alkaline ingredients that can reach in the opposite direction, all the way up to 14 on the pH scale. Using soaps that are high in alkalinity take skin from an acidic state to an alkaline state and strip natural lipids from our skin. This accounts for the tight, pulled feeling you may have experienced after cleansing with soap. While you may interpret this feeling as "cleanliness," it is actually your skin suffering from a loss of lipids!"
The reasons I disagree with Madame Hirons are three-fold;

  • You follow your cleanse with an acid toner and therefore the toner puts your skin straight back in balance, just seconds after you have washed it.  
  • Water has a neutral PH and so would upset the balance anyway.  
  • A lot of foaming washes are PH neutral or with an acid base now.

Here are just a few of the best PH balanced foaming cleansers for those of you who still love to foam.

Kiehls Ultra Facial Cleanser £7
Neutrogena Visibly Clear Oil Free Facial Wash £5
REN Rosa Centrifolia Foaming Cleanser £14

I also found this handy guide to facial cleansers and their PH's on this Reddit thread, very few of them are actually alkali.

I have included balm cleansers too in the evening part of the routine, as they are definitely superior when it comes to removing makeup and SPF, but as the good ones are usually pretty pricey too, I feel that they are unnecessary on a morning when your skin should only have a light sheen from last nights sleep and the remnants of the evenings skincare products.

One last point regarding Treatments.  I use retinol creams every night see here for my favourites, but some people would prefer to spend their sleeping hours having a mild peel or luxuriating in facial oils, so I have left this section pretty open as all our skins have differing needs from week to week and so different night treatments are normally needed to combat whatever is causing you a skincare headache.

I hope this is of help to anyone else struggling to put all the great advice out there in to a realistic routine.  Feel free to pin it and if you want to receive more of my waffling sign up via Bloglovin here

8 Jan 2015

7 Products I Used More Than Anything Else in 2014

These are the products that kept finding there way back to the top of my makeup drawer.  I have 3 to 4 versions of each product (say lip glosses or face washes) and these are the one I keep repurchasing and using regardless of new fads and trends.

Caudalie Polyphenol C15 Eye & Lip Cream - £26 
Surprise find of 2014, I got this in a beauty box and immediately fell in love.  It is light yet deeply moisturising.  You only need a little for it to work and it helps to keep fine lines at bay and keep your lips in top condition.  I have had zero crapped lips this winter (so far) and I think this is the main reason why.  I have mentioned before (here) that this has Matrixyl 3000 in which is a very high end ingredient usually only found in £50+ Eye creams.  It costs £30 for 15 ml which would last me, with daily use, around 6-9 months.  I get mine from the Caudalie site as you can collect points towards future freebies, and you get a little sample set each time you shop which I think is genius as you can try out other items and have handy travel sizes for your wash bag.


La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo - £15
LOVE this lightweight skin clearing moisturiser, this is perfection for helping keep oily skin clear and soft without being greasy or not moisturising enough.  It costs £15ish for 40 ml which usually lasts me 3-4 months  which I think is pretty good value, particularly if you buy it on Boots 3 for 2's.

OPI Private Jet - £7
New for 2014, but it became my go-to nail varnish for whenever I was going out.  It is such a versatile colour that it can be worn with most everything and is appropriate for all but the most formal of occasions ( I wouldn't necessarily wear it to a wedding.)  I looks good on short or long nails so can be worn no matter where you are in your nail growing cycle.  I always top coat with Seche Vite for added shine, but then I top coat everything ever.

Botanics Face Wash - £1.99 at the moment!
I know Caroline Hirons would kill me for this, but I am going to stick my neck out there and say, "Caroline you are wrong" there I did it.  The idea that foaming facial washes are a bad thing is widely banded about the blogosphere with the rationale that all foaming solutions are alkali which strips the acid mantle of your skin and upsets the balance which can aggravate acne.  Now thinking of basic chemistry I am certain that water is PH 7 which is neutral and no where near acidic and as we all use water on our faces to no ill effects, I cannot see how this theory can stand up.  In addition I always follow with an acid toner which resets the ph balance anyway and therefore I much prefer the ease of cleaning with facial washes.

Now enough about acid v alkali and onto this particular brand,  I like that the ingredient list isn't a list of poly whats-its-names and ethyl-thing-ummy-bobs.  It has a sprinkling of real ingredients which always please me.  But most importantly it doesn't feel stripping yet leaves my skin feel super clean afterwards.  I love that you can regularly pick this little beauty up for just £2 so I can have stashes of it everywhere (bath, sink, shower, kids bathroom, travel bag) which stops me having an excuse for not washing my makeup off before bed.

Real Techniques Face Brush - £9.99
I wasn't sure if I would get on with this when I first ordered it, as I like the stippling brush by RT but I don't love it (in fact I now only use it about once a month.)  This however is a completely different creature.  It has tightly packed super soft bristles that are excellent for buffing foundation into the skin creating a pore free look.  I also love that the size is just right for contouring too, I have their contour brush which I find better as a under eye powder brush (specific much)  I can also use this to apply powder to the t-zone and blusher of needs be, it is all amazing at applying mineral foundation instead of the old kabuki style brushes.  It is really a brush that gives a lot.  I wish I had another of these but I can't justify any more brush purchases for about 7 years so I will have to make do with what I have.

From L-R - Buffing Brush, Stippling Brush, Top Blusher Brush, Bottom Expert Face Brush, Contour Brush

Maybelline Colour Tattoo in On-and-On Bronze- £4.99
How much do I love thee, let me count the ways...  If there are ever a decree made that all eyeshadows except one were to be discontinued, then this would have to be my keeper.  It is such a subtle colour with just one sweep that it is my everyday goto shade, yet for nights out you can layer this thick and get a truly metallic look that works great with hazel eyes.  I like how easy it is too apply it calends a dream and I can even use my fingers if I have no clean brushes.  I often smoke this up with the aid of Urban Decay's dark horse.  It is super cheap too at just £5 so when it starts to dry out (take about a year) it is no big drama to replace. Below I have swatted it next to Urban Decay Smog from the Naked I palette for reference as it is a good dupe with better staying power and a nicer sheen. Last thing, I promise, the same formula in "Permanent Taupe" is great for eyebrows if you have darkish hair.

L- Colour Tattoo on-and-on bronze R- Urban Decay Smog

Benefit Browzings - £22 
I believe this was one of the first brow kits on the market and I have had this for years.  It just keep on going and does such a good job.  I have it in the colour medium and I love that you can use the wax to shape and the powder to fill or, as I do, add both to the brush nd get a double effect.  I use my own brush for application rather than the twitchy one that comes with it, but if I'm away then it more than does the job.  This isn't cheap but considering I ahem had this at least 5 years then it works out as a bragin.  There is no need to worry about bacteria either as powders are a poor host for bacteria as are waxes.The packaging is also great as it is really tough yet sleek enough for bathroom touch ups. It also has a handy mirror.

13 Oct 2014

Grown Up Style - Top 10 Best Style Bloggers Over 30

Just because your not a fresh-faced 20 something doesn't mean there isn't a wealth of super stylish ladies snapping their OOTD's for you.  Here are some of the ones whose style resonates with me, perfect for some new autumn outfit inspiration.  I have a such a few over 40's in too.

My Pick of the Best Bloggers Over 30

super-stylish-over-30's bloggers

Top -Love Maegan - Maegan has such crazily creative ideas and a penchant for cute fancy dress outfits, love her fun blog.
Bottom - Thirty Something Fashion - Carly always looks glamorous without being OTT.

    see links below

    • Top Right & Centre- Chic on the Cheap - Lydia has a great byline, never sacrifice style for savings
    • Top Left and Bottom Left -Grit and Glamour - A sexy lady with a killer sense of style, probably not for the school run though!
    • Bottom Centre and Right - Not Dressed as Lamb- over 40 stylish red-head with a fantastic sense of colour.

    see links below

    • Top Left -The Average Girls Guide - Alyson is a Florida based blogger who covers lots of bases, from lifestyle to beauty.
    • Top Right -Ava Graces Closet - 40 something style with cute fashion pics and she evens includes her kids too.
    • Bottom Left - Grechens Closet - A women the same shape as everyone else, looking great, love this ladies outfits, she has figured out what works for her and stuck with it, you could actually wear these looks in real life!
    • Bottom Right - Jacket Society - Super Luxe with amazing accessories, some perfect shoe porn.

    I have made a Pinterest board (obviously!) with some of my favourite grown up bloggers best bits on, feel free to follow here.

    If you are an over 30's blogger please leave your links below.  I love to find some new blogs to read.

    For my all time favourite blogs see here.

    30 Sep 2014

    Minimal Makeup

    This is what I take when I am going to meet my Husband for lunch after making use of the gym near his office.  Quick and easy makeup must-haves.

    Laura Mercier - Foundation Primer - does not budge
    Revlon Colorstay - 180 Sand Beige - super matte
    Bourjois 1 Seconde Volume - waterproof - lasts and lengthens
    Lancome - Flash Retouche - banishes dark circles without looking white
    Rimmel - Glam Eyes Liner - gets close to lashes
    L'Oreal - True Match Powder in Golden Ivory - nice yellow undertones in a high street powder
    Benefit - Browzings in Medium - had for 5 years and still going strong
    Daniel Sandler - Watercolour Blush in Cherub - natural and long-lasting
    Maybelline - Color Tattoo in On-and-on Bronze - everyday essential in my house
    Maybelline Colour Sens Nude in Tantalising Taupe - moisturising, lets the eyes stand out.

    13 May 2014

    12 Best Beauty Buys in Supermarkets

    If you have spent the last half an hour trawling around you local supermarket slaving away putting broccoli, bin liners and milk in your trolley then you deserve a treat.  

    These products are all under £10 and can be added onto the weekly shop for a little pick-me-up without breaking your budget.



    Cien Nail Varnish Remover- £1.49
    I have mentioned this stuff before.  It is hard to be excited over a nail varnish remover but this one removes all traces of nail varnish easily, it doesn't leave a white residue and it has a pump top to stop spills, best of all it is only £1.49!

    Suddenly Madame Glamour- £3.99
    A great dupe of Coco Mademoiselle.  This is a great everyday scent, the silage and the longevity aren't as good but for the price you can't go wrong. 


    This is a great finishing product or just something to brush through your hair after a shower and before drying to make it more manageable.  They also stock Phil Smith Total Treat Argan Oil which I haven't tried but at £4 might be worth a punt.

    I received a sample of both of these as I love sulphate free products and was really impressed.  They are beautifully packaged and feel a real treat to use.  My only bugbear with these is that it is not easy to figure out which is shampoo and which is conditioner from the bottle.


    I'm not going to list anything for Morrison's out of protest at it's terrible excuse for a beauty aisle.  It has nothing of interest, just items you can get anywhere.  Save your money and shop else where for beauty supplies.


    Real Techniques Brushes - From £6.98
    I'm not sure any more needs to be written about these brushes.  The only point worth adding is that you can buy them in Asda!

    Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer £4.18
    Beauty bloggers favourite, enough said.  Make Up Alley 4.1 - Their liquid Liner is worth a look too.


    If you fancy trying out a balm cleanser this is a great one to start with.  It comes with a muslin and does what it says on the box.  I have read a lot of reviews comparing this favourably to Liz Earle Hot cloth cleanser.

    Really good foundation for oily skin, stays all day, only problem is limited range of colours.


    This has a cult following by the dry skin brigade.  It is formulated for babies and is very gentle yet effective. I would personally use this as a balm cleanser along with a muslin, as it is mainly olive oil and chamomile which would be too much for my skin as a moisturiser but would remove makeup like a dream.

    Cute cult beauty product, the only downside is the unsanitary container. Make Up Alley 4.0


    Lacura Q10 Anti Wrinkle £4.99 
    For drier skin and highly fragranced but if you are fine with that, it is a beauty steal.
    It contains - retinol (wrinkle reduction), glycerine (moisturiser), linoleic acid (anti-ox and repair) and Ubiquinone (Q10) Make Up Alley 4.4

    Lacura Wrinkle Stop £4.99
    This is one of those serums containing syn-ake (see what they did there) which is a chemical that mimics snake venom and temporarily freezes the face.  This is a good dupe for the Nip+Fab Viper Venom Wrinkle Fix and for the price is worth a go.  

    So no matter where you do your next shop, you can fling a little something for you in your basket too, well unless your in Morrison's.

    8 May 2014

    Products EVERY Beauty Blogger Owns

    I have been an avid beauty blogging fan for about 3-4 years now and I've seen a lot of products come and go.

    Some things though, just keep on giving.

    Here are the ones I seem to see again and again and again.

    I'm pretty sure every one of these has won awards in their own right too.

    • Bioderma Crealine Micellar Water - never has anything been so hyped in all the years of beauty blogging as this.  It is a good product, but I think has fallen out of favour as the pancea to all your skin care worries.
    • Soap & Glory Body Wash - I have pictured the Sugar Crush version as that is what is in my shower, but it represents all of them.  I still love this, even my Husband loves this. A treat without breaking the bank as it is nearly eternally on 3 for 2 at Boots
    • Batiste Dry Shampoo - Again I have pictured the tropical as this is my favourite smell, but all of them have been reviewed and reviewed again on nearly every beauty blog ever.
    • Real Techniques Brushes - A product design by a Beauty Vlogger, that is a must-have in most people collections.  I really like the blusher brush, but I could take or leave the stippling brush.
    • La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo - On many people Holy Grail lists, and for good reason, I believe.  This has really lessened the frequency of breakouts for me and deserves it's place in the Beauty Blogger Hall of Fame
    • Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation/Serum - I think Lisa Eldridge was the first on the scene with this great everyday foundation.  It suits dryer skin better than oily but still a lovely foundation for the price.
    • Clarisonic - I think this may actually knock the Bioderma Crealine off the top spot for hypedness (not a real word.) At £120 it is not cheap either.  I bit of a disappointment for me I'm afraid.
    • Seche Vite Top Coat - This is a evergreen favourite among the community with good reason, nothing works as well, long live Seche Vite
    • Revlon Lip Butters - You couldn't read a blog or watch a blog without being harassed by these last year, luckily the furore has died down and they have been replaced in most beauty bloggers hearts, but I bet every blogger owns one (at least.)
    • Sleek Contour Kit/Face Form - The first foray for many into the world of Kim Kardashian Contouring. Put your hand up if you haven't over done it with this baby one day and ended up looking like a russian prostitute.
    • Bourjois Bronzing Powder - The chocolate smelling bronzer ubiquitous to all blogs.  I personally prefer Benefit's Hoola but for price, this can't be beaten.
    • Maybelline Color Tattoo Eyeshadows - whether it's Permanent Taupe or On-and-On Bronze these are a firm favourite with good reason, they last like no other and don't break the bank.  Shame about the limited range of colours that they are available in.

    What have I missed?

    What did you feel you could never read another review, haul or favourites post of again?

    5 May 2014

    My Healthy Nail Dream Team

    I love nail products as much as the next blogger, but sometimes overzealous usage of said products can result in flaky peely nails and so here are my pick of the bunch when it comes to looking after my nails.


    Best Base Coat

    OPI Nail Envy
    I can't believe there was ever a time when I didn't use this!  It is easy to apply, and even on it's own looks good.  You can apply this everyday as a nail repair product, or just 1 or 2 coats under your polish to stop staining and help strengthen your nails.  It isn't cheap, but the brush can actually get nearly all the product out so you should get a lot for your money.  I like that it gives my nails a finished polished look for everyday whilst also doing them some good.  This is usually about £18 yet Amazon have air for under £10 at the moment.

    OPI Nail Envy Nail £9.65

    Best Ever Top Coat Ever in the World Without Doubt

    Seche Vite
    This is such and obvious winner, but there is a good reason for that, it works! It's super shiny, it helps your nails dry quicker and it seals the ends well to help avoid chipping.  I never ever wear polish without it and it has the power to make cheap polishes look good. It is super cheap at Amazon at the moment, just £5.61 so if you have never bought a bottle, get yourself over there now and do so, you will not regret it.  Important note, this needs to be applied on top of wet polish or it is just pants.

    Best Nail File

    Leighton Denny Crystal Nail File
    I know your thinking "crazy lady, a nail file is just a nail file" well your wrong. Normal nail files, even the salon quality ones are just fine sandpaper, they do a good job of neatening ragged edges but at a price.  The nail end is left damaged as it has lots of tiny cuts in it and this allows water to get in and then they split.  The crystal/glass version have such a smooth abrasive surface that they don't create anywhere near the same level of damage and so your nail ends stay intact.  I have 2 versions of this, the Leighton Denny one and a small Paname one, both are equally good.

    Paname Glass Nail File £5.36
    Leighton Denny Nail File £12.50

    Best Cuticle Product

    CND Solar Oil
    I don't have cuticles on my hands so this os not needed there but on my toe nails, well the less said the better.  In summer I brush a small amount of this on my toe cuticles everyday I am wearing sandals, and it gives your toes a much prettier finish, i softens and moisturises so your cuticles become invisible. I got 2 mini bottles off eBay so I have one next to my bed and one by my computer downstairs.

    CND Solar Oil Mini Size 3.7ml x 2 bottles £5.50

    What do you use when you need to get your nails back in good condition?

    29 Apr 2014

    April Favourites


    Nails -

    Such an easy to wear colour that is good on both my feet and my hands.  I wanted something for everyday wear but that was still springlike and on trend.  It goes on well, I love the brush, it is slightly curved which makes application easier.  It only needs 2 coats to look opaque.  I wear it with a base coat and Seche Vite on top (as always.)  I can’t say it has amazing staying power but nothing, and I mean nothing, even shellac, stays longer than 48hrs on my poor nails.

    Hair -

    Clairol Shimmer Lights.

    I am a DIY hair stylist and only visit a salon every 4-6 months when I really have to.  This means that I need to be able to keep my colour fresh. This is my favourite shampoo to stop an attack of the gingers happening.  It cools down the tome of you hair and I guess cleans it as well.  I don’t use this every time I wash my hair, more like once or twice a week.  I bought it off Amazon for around £10 after it being recommended by Elle from Elle Bangs, who does amazing home hairstyling videos, check her out here.  

    Babyliss Curling Wand

    I watched Tanya Burr's great video on giving your hair beachy curls and was inspired by how easy she made it look.  So I rushed upstairs to do my own poor attempt.  It has a taken a few attempts to get better at it, and it doesn’t look even vaguely like hers but here is the result on my shoulder length hair. Not v beachy but it has more body!


    This was just £2.50 in Superdrug for 400ml.  It is a repurchase but they have changed the name and packaging slightly, seems to be the same product though.  I like this as it is silicone free so no nasty build up, but it still gives "slip" so I can use it to comb through my wet hair after shampooing and not end up with a tangly mess.  It is also pretty lightweight so doesn't weigh my super-fine hair down.

    Another repurchase, you only need a tiny amount of this to wash your hair so a bottle lasts a long time (a couple of months or so) This leaves me hair super clean and light feeling plus it smells lovely too.  This is my everyday shampoo of choice and has been for about a year now.

    Makeup -


    I have returned to my favourite old school mascara after month of using Maybelline The Falsies.  I was getting annoyed at how clumpy The Falsies gets after just a week or 2 and so grabbed an old back up (waterproof) mascara out of my reserve drawer and was so impressed.  How could I have swapped away from this.  It lasts all day especially on my lower lashes and the small head makes it easy to apply there too. I got my new one from Fragrance Direct for just £6.99 inc P&P- which is an amazing saving when you bear in mind it usually costs £10.99, I think this is because they have updated the packaging.

    Again a forgotten gem, I tried using these as I noticed my lashes have started to loose their natural curl, I have no idea why, I blame my age.  Anyhoo, I dug these out from the back of my make up drawer and applied, TaDa! curly long lashes.  I tried using the hairdryer to warm them this morning too, and they are now super curly.  You need to be careful to just warm the curved section though as you can burn your cheek where they rest while they curl otherwise.  

    Clothes -

    Jewelled Flat Sandals (see pic above)

    I have been searching for a pair of these I like for ages. I wanted something I could wear at weddings and the like for when your heels become unbearable yet you don't want to resort to flip flops, I thought they would be good with a maxi dress too.  I like the neutral colour paltette as they should go with anything.  These ones are from next and were £36 which I thought was a fair price, they did take 6 weeks to order in though (probably because of my enormous feet)

    These were another Next purchase that again I had to wait for (damn modern life and it's inability to teach us delayed gratification.)  I like these as the wedge is quite thin at the back and the ankle strap is velcro, so easy to get on and off when doing the school run.  I love wedges and I reckon over 60% of my shoes come with these heels.  They look really good quality and more expensive than the £45 I paid for them.

    New Necklace from New Look (see pic above)

    A bargain find (£7.99) while scouring New Look for a non-revolting print skirt.  I grabbed this as it will go with the majority of clothes in my wardrobe, I love the aged gold colour and neon accents that make it more current.

    Book -

    I am currently reading Eat Move Sleep: Tom Rath

    I needed something to encourage me to eat more healthily, and this has done the job.  The man who wrote this suffers from a rare genetic condition that predisposes him to tumours that can turn cancerous, these tumours are a constant risk and have been since he was a teenager, at any time he is usually monitoring more than 1 tumor and trying to keep his risk down from developing more.  This book is a collection of the steps he is taking to reduce his overall risk of cancer and is full of useful practical advice not endless claptrap about Soya, Hemp Seeds and other faddy ideas. 

    6 Apr 2014

    March Favourites

    Wow, that went quick!

    Here's what I've been loving this month.


    Eve Lom Cleansing Balm - £85!

    About 10 years ago this was THE cult beaty product, but it seems to have fallen out of favour when Liz Earle created a cheaper version.  I can't believe I forgot how good this is.  Lovely texture for massaging and strangely comforting smell, I have broken out the muslins (of which there are many due to multiple kiddies) and my skin is much smoother because of this hideously over-priced cleansing balm. Here is a smaller one at Feel Unique, it has doubled in price since I last purchased it!

    MUA Undress Me Too Palette - £4.00

    No surprises here, see this post for me waxing lyrical. I find myself reaching for this at least every other day along with my trusty Revlon "attitude" quad.  I like the sheen that these shades give, they are suitable for everyday wear, my only bug bear is their staying power but this could be due to my skin.  To combat this I regularly apply over a base coat of Maybelline Colour Tattoo in Permanent Taupe.

    La Roche Posay Cicaplast Hand Cream - £6.50

    I have covered this in my Hand Cream Round Up post.  This has really helped with my super dry hands, I think mainly because I have forced it into my routine by applying it both morning and night after cleansing, so I don't forget it.

    Phyto 7 cream "Or" Hydrating Day Cream - £13.50

    I had my hair professionally highlighted this month (OMG! real hairdressers!) and so it is somewhat similar to straw so I cracked out the big guns, and tried this classic hair treat. So glad I did, my hair feels back to usual now (well at least while it's on it does.)  I love the gold packaging and you just need a pea sized amount on your hair after washing and before styling.  It doesn't weigh down fine hair and helps my hair look less frizzy at the ends. It is not super cheap but nor is it top end prices either.  I got it as part of a travel kit of Phyto products including a makeup bag for £12.99, which was a stellar deal but it is normally £13.50.  


    Non beauty

    Web- Caroline Hirons site

    A reader recommended this site to me (thanks you Diane!) Such a lot of info, so few hours in the day. I like her no-nonsense attitude even if some of her points I disagree with, her skin does look though. I have been trying out her routine for about 2 weeks now, it's hard to say whether there have been any improvement. So far I have noticed softer skin, but also more oil.  I am going to stick with it for at least a month though so I can see how it fairs over a full cycle.  For newbies to her site I recommend starting with the cheat sheets.

    TV - American Horror Story Series 3 - Coven

    I loved the scone series of this too.  The acting is top notch, it looks beautiful and has great story lines.  I like how each series has the same actors, but as different characters and in a different setting. It raises a lot of questions about racism and women's appearances, so not just some Hollywood tripe.  It also stars Jessica Lange, Gibourey Sidibe and Kathy Bates!


    Food - Granola and Yoghurt.  

    I have had to stop eating this as it feels so healthy, but it isn't!  I get the creamy Greek Natural Yoghurt from Lidl (£1 for 4) the yoghurt is really creamy yet tart, perfection!  I also use Lidl's crunchy oat cereal with tropical fruit (it got a Grocers award for taste). I put it in a french glass yoghurt pot, and it looks so cute, this also stops me eating too much.  I could eat this for every breakfast and every snack, I must stop, not good for the waist or my teeth.


    Well that's me for this month, It was really hard limiting my choices as I have tried lots of new things this month but I only wanted to cover those I could honestly hand on heart recommend.

    3 Apr 2014

    TAG: Spring Beauty 2014

    The lovely Sarah over at Seriously Shallow tagged me for this Spring Beauty Post.  I had been suffering with Bloggers Block, so this was just the push I needed to write a post.

    1. Do you change your makeup when Spring arrives? If so, how?

    I love to get the chance to change my look, I move to more coral lips and cheeks, my favourites are Coralista from Benefit and Revlon lip butter in juicy papaya. There is great Coralista dupe from Beauty UK called Rustic Peach it is only £2.99. I love that it brings a lovely warmth to your skin, it does have gold flecks though so maybe not for everyone.

    I often go for a more dewy foundation look (not the easiest to pull off on my already "dewy" skin.) I have just repurchased the Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation to aid me in my transition. I'm currently mixing shade 53 with my Revlon Colorstay in Nude to make the right shade. It's so much easier in winter as my skin stays pale for about 3 months straight, but in Spring, Summer and Autumn my skin changes every week!

    2. What’s your favourite Spring fragrance?

    Flower Bomb by Victor and Rolf (cheap here), so pretty and flowery.  It’s a really fresh, girly fragrance, I can’t say my Husband particularly likes it (even though he bought it for me!), but you can’t please everyone.


    3. What’s going to be your favourite accessory this Spring?

    This necklace from Dorothy Perkins, it goes with nearly everything in my wardrobe yet doesn’t look too over the top.  Did I mention it only cost £2 in the sale! 


    I'm currently wanting to get this when I get "paid" next week.  I love the colour and it's not to big, lis at £12.50 it won't leave me skint.

    5. What are your Top 3 favourite Spring nail polishes?

    • Berry M Gelly in Papaya, I have this on at the moment and it’s such a nice colour (it is actually better on tanned skin, but I’m living in hope.)
    • Essie - Mademoiselle - most boring choice ever but it’s a classic for a good reason.  Looks clean and fresh without making your skin and cuticles look dirty in comparison.
    • 2 True - Shade 3 - this is a cheap and it isn't amazing on it's own, but with a decent base, and Seche Vite on top, it's a great happify-me colour.


    6. Do you prefer pumps or sandals in Spring?

    Both, whichever go with the outfit, I actually wore sandals today as the thermometer hit 18, but I will wear a pump if that is what is called for. I am a bit if a fan of sparkly ballerina flats (grey goes with everything) or white plimsolls (Dunlop Green Flash are my plimsoll of choice as converse are only for those with small feet, plus I like the more skater look) in spring too. My most worn shoes has to be these black suede wedges, I get a lot of compliments on them (God knows why? they are just neutral shoes that go with everything)

    7. What’s your favourite Spring Jacket?

    I have actually just ordered this new one from La Redoute as again I am bored to death of my winter coats and they are just too bulky. It was only £38.50 and it's not too bad.  The waist is a little high for my liking, but it is great to fling on over a dresses or skinny jeans to smarten up the look without being overly warm. Most importantly it has no buttons (even writing the words makes me feel a bit sick!) I would talk about my hatred of all things not zips but I detest them so much, I'm afraid you will just have to take my crazy word for it)

    8. What’s your favourite flower?

    Lilies -  I adore them, and unlike many, I love the smell too.  I know they are meant to be funeral flowers but...I had hundreds at my wedding. I spent over £1000 (wholesale prices) at New Covent Garden Market on flowers and transported them all the way down to Cornwall where a family friend (who is a florist) and a large collection of my nearest and dearest arranged their hearts out for 2 days so I could have the flowers I wanted.  So very grateful to them.  

    I'm terrible at the re-tagging part of these TAG's..what happens if people don't want to do it???

    Oh well, here we go.  I tag, Kerry Just Beauty and the lovely ladies at Agent Smyth.

    31 Mar 2014

    Hand Cream Round Up

    I have kids, I have 3 kids, one is only 3; therefore I spend A LOT of time cleaning, so my hands are dreadful.  I know I should wear gloves while cleaning, but I should also not snack between meals, or drive above the speed limit, but I still do.

    So... I am always on the lookout for any cream that stops my hands looking like a Somali riverbed in a drought.

    I have tried many, many wonderful potions from hemp cream to Clarins.  Not many are really up to the job, but here is my humble opinion on all of the ones I have tried.


    • Flexitol Hand Balm £5.10- This contains Urea (which is the main chemical in urine. nice!) it is really good but smells dreadful, reminiscent of old ladies in a care home. 5/5 for efficacy, 1/5 for usability because of the pong.
    • E45 Cream £2.39 - Everyone with kids has some of these supposed wonder cream lurking around, I can't see it's appeal, maybe if you have super sensitive skin. 2/5
    • Body Shop Hemp Hand Protector £5.00 - This stuff is amazing, it is so good at repairing chapped hands that even my Dad uses it.  Again the smell isn't it's strong point, but at least it's better than Flexitol. 4/5
    • Body Shop Wild Rose Hand Cream £5.00 - Royally pants, this stuff has a pleasant old fashioned scent but it is so watery, it even slides off my hand whilst I am replacing the cap, and does nothing for your hands. 1/5 (just because it has SPF 15
    • Nivea Cream £1.49  the stuff in a blue tub - Again I really dislike this, it is in no way moisturising enough, I can not ever imagine putting this on my face! 0/5
    • Neutrogena norwegian formula, concentrated £3.68 - This is almost impossible to rub in, it takes some serious elbow grease, and on the subject of grease leaves an unpleasant film on your skin.  I does do what it says it does though so 3/5
    • Clarins Hand and Nail Cream £21.00 - I really like this, it smells great, moisturises well and has a lovely texture that sinks in fast.  The only downside is obviously it's price £21 seriously!!! 4/5
    • Soap and Glory Hand Food £5.00 - I have several bottles of this easy to apply, great smelling hand cream.  It sinks in quickly and does a good job but it doesn't last past the next hand wash and is more of a quick fix 3.5/5
    • Molton Brown Hand Lotion Naran Ji - £20 - I absolutely love the smell of this and it absorbs super quick but like the soap and glory it is more of a quick fix, the smell is divine though (and has been renamed Orange and Bergamot) 3/5 due to price
    • Derma Guard Skin Protector £5.99 - The main function of this is a barrier cream which means you apply it before doing tasks that would damage your hands (gardening washing up etc...) it works great at what it is designed for but only survives about 2 or 3 hand washes (which equates to about 30 mins for me) I always have it in though for when I am doing things that would really attack my hands. 4/5
    • Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream - £26 - this is too greasy for use on my hands as they remain slippy after application, but I love this for my cuticles, elbows, heels and lips, it reminds me of Kiehls lip balm. 3.5/5
    • Sanctuary Hand Cream - £3 - Again I love the smell, and always have this around as a nice pick me up in my handbag but it is quite a bog standard formula nothing special 3.5/5
    • La Roche Posay Cicaplast  -£6 - My new Hold Grail Hand Cream.  I apply this after cleansing my face both morning and night and the benefits last a good few hours.  It is easily absorbed has no smell and really sorts your hands out.  If it had a gorgeous smell it would get a 5/5 but for now a 4.5/5 will have to do

    See, I told you I have tried a lot, I have had even more hand creams than buggies, and I have had 6 of them.

    It may sound like I do nothing but wash my hands but I love to cook so I have to wash my hands all the time when doing that and with a dog, 3 kids, a large house and garden, I am kept pretty busy with housework.

    I can only honestly recommend 2 of them for efficacy, the rest may smell nice, have cute packaging or feel nice to put on, but they are intended for people who work in offices not people who limescale remove showers and clean up after mini people.  If you have ever have the joy of washing and sterilizing bottles, only you can understand the utter ruin it can reek on your hands.

    The conclusion has to be La Roche Posay Cicaplast or The Body Shop Hemp Hand Protector.

    Has anyone else tried as many hand creams and have some recommendations?

    28 Mar 2014

    Travel Beauty Kit

    Yeah! nearly the weekend. I have a Christening to attend this weekend, which means travel and therefore travel beauty.

    I have meant to do one of these posts in ages, but couldn't figure out how to get a photo of the copious amount of beauty paraphernalia I take, without it looking like clear-out day at the Cats Protection League Charity Shop.

    Unfortunately I have not actually fixed the previous issue I was having and so you will be treated to me and my most cack-handed attempts at photographing my kit.

    I spent a good hour fiddling around in my bedroom figuring out what to take (whilst watching Youtube videos) and I reckon this should cover most eventualities.

    My new Travel Wash Bag is packed to overflowing with travel sized goodies, and rather than list them all out and bore you to tears, I will let you have a visual scrabble around and see what I have taken.  A lot of these things are my second best items or ones that are nearly finished, very few of them are must haves.


    This photo is so poor, none of the labels are even facing up!  Obviously there are boring things like cotton pads and buds, earplugs, eye mask, shower cap (gotta love a bit of granny chic) deodorant, brush, razor, toothbrush etc...

    I have stolen the MUA palette in Undress Me Too from my £30 Bargain Make Up look along with the foundation, powder and mascara.  This is because the products are really that good and I am enjoying using them so much that I refuse to leave them behind at the moment.  In addition I have taken;-

    • Urban Decay De-slick - I always take this when my makeup has to last, I don't know if it works but the placebo effect reassures me.  
    • Clinique Pore Minimiser - this is slightly tinted and siliconey, but it gives a smooth base for foundation application
    • Daniel Sandler Watercolour Blush in Flush - this is really long lasting and such a pretty colour 
    • Maybelline Colour Tattoo in Permanent Taupe - great base for my eye look and can be used on brows too
    • Benefit High Beam - got in a set, just the right size for a travelling highlighter
    • Revlon Lip Butter in Juicy Papaya - still obsessed, sorry

    I only really need 5 brushes to achieve most looks (see this post for more info) so I just added on an eyebrow comb, black eyeliner and my new La-tweez tweezers.  The tweezers are seriously good for the £5 I paid in TK Maxx.  My last 2 pairs were Space NK  and Tweezerman (both £20 a go), but when one of my little darling lost them for me, I decided to give a cheaper pair a go.  These have lovely handles too, they came with a travel case and are great for detail work!

    So there you have it.  I have also taken my ladybird paddle brush too but it doesn't fit in either of my cosmetics bags, so is just dumped un-ceremoniously in with my undies.

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