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12 Sep 2015

5 Fantastic Cleansers For Over 30's Under £20!

Everyone loves a good cleanser, but some of the prices stun me.  £35 to wash your face, are you mental?  Seriously, I know it's important to get all the days dirt and makeup off your face, but considering it is only on for 2 minutes max then there seems to be little point spending a packet on it.

These are all budget friendly, very effective and PH 6 or lower to maintain the precious acid mantle that defends your skin.

Vichy Normaderm Deep Cleansing Purifying Gel £11 for 200ml or £7 on Boots 3 for 2 *

I assumed this was going to be a gel cleanser, which it kind of is, but it foams when even the tiniest bit of water is added.  I love a good foaming cleanser and this one has a low PH unlike most soap based foamers.  The smell is lovely and fresh and the pump is always a welcome addition.  You get a decent amount too.  I keep this in the shower for quick cleansing after a more thorough go over with a balm or after running just to freshen up.  I like that it has salycylic acid to help unclog pores yet your skin doesn't feel stripped after using it.

Fake Bake Skin D Luxe Cleansing Balm Melt £22 for 113ml (okay this is just over £20!) *

This is on the top end of the price bracket and contains mineral oil, which can be an issue for some, though Eve Lom, the original cleansing balm inventor, also includes it in her offering so how bad can it be.  It is a balm cleanser and so needs massaging in and then removing with a damp cloth.
This has a solid texture in the pot yet turns into a lovely smooth thick oil when it warms on your skin.  I love using this when I have a full face of makeup on as it melts away almost everything in just one pass.  The smell is pleasant though not particularly strong I assume it's the moringa oil.  The packaging is okay, though I would have preferred glass for eco reasons.  It also has peptides though I doubt they have much time to do anything substantial.

Soap & Glory The Ultimelt £10 for 100ml or £6.66 on 3 for 2

This was so highly recommended I had to try it for myself.  The texture is very bizarre and the tube makes it feel like your squeezing toothpaste out into your hands.  It's not my favourite as it is too heavy on the essential oils.  It does a decent job of removing makeup though and it can be picked up very cheaply.  I think if you like Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish (which I also don't) then you'll love this, it very similar yet cheaper and more readily available. One for those of you with drier skin.  Please not that this has half as much product as the others for the money and so isn't quite a s good a deal.

The Body Shop Camomile Cleansing Oil £11 for 200ml  

I bought this when they had one of those 40% off events online so I got it for just £6.  I like the smell of this and the texture is spot on.  The pump makes it easy to get the right amount, 3 pumps in case you're wondering. The oil is lovely and smooth and ideal for a facial massage.  You the remove with a damp cloth and the moment the oil meets water it emulsifies into a silky liquid and glides away with no oily residue left.  I will definitely be repurchasing this though you have to make sure your face and hands are dry before you start or it just instantly emulsifies and does nada!

La Roche Posay Physiological Cleansing Gel £12 for 200ml or £8 on Boots 3 for 2

I've saved the best till last.  This is my absolute favourite, a complete Holy Grail.  It can be used to remove a full face of makeup or for a quick freshen up.  It never feels stripping and is gentle enough to use on even sunburnt skin.  The smell is divine and the texture spot on.  I need to have this cleanser available at all times. My beloved.

I hope some of these work as well for you as they do for me.  I always have a selection of cleansers on the go together for different types of days and I can honestly say these are all stars in their own right.

* PR Sample

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

25 Aug 2015

11 Products You Need To Take On Holiday With You

Holidays require completely different makeup products than usual Most of my everyday products won’t stand up to the rigors of heat and water, nor do I want to wear a full face of makeup when spending my day by the pool.

A lot of products that advertise themselves as being waterproof or long wear really don’t live up to the claims. Very few products last 12 hours even in normal English conditions, so they don’t even stand a hope in 35 degree heat and constant dunkings in the water. I am not one of those women who sits next to the pool with perfect hair and makeup, I dive in head first and then spend the rest of the day alternating between drying off and jumping in. This means that I need products that are genuinely waterproof.

When I'm applying makeup to go down to the pool, I just usually wear a sunscreen, a bit of under eye concealer and a heap of mascara and that's it. I don't like the look of lots of makeup nor the feel. When you're wearing so few clothes, wearing a ton of makeup seems silly.
I try to concentrate on getting the evenest skin tone for both face and body rather than smoky eyes or dramatic lips.

I don’t use foundation on holiday as it feels too heavy over a high SPF facial sunscreens. I usually just take a few longwear concealers in varying shades to cover any dark circles and calm down any post-sun redness. The 3 (yes I bought 3!) that made it in to my bag this year are;

This is a new addition to my makeup bag and it lights up the undereye area beautifully and doesn’t crease ever. This is great news when you are starting to get fine lines under your eyes and are under no intention of accentuating them. I have this concealer in the shade, 02 medium which is my summer colour but still too light for my holiday colour so this is being used for just the first few days. The only thing that stops this being my holy grail concealer is the packaging, it is in a tube and you have to squeeze it out which can result in you being left with more than you needed.

This beauty blogger favourite is always in my makeup collection and because it is so cheap, around £4, you can buy it in your darkest shade and not mind that it will only be used for a few weeks. It can crease and definitely will wear off over the day but it is yellow toned so is good for muting sun frazzled skin and the wand applicator makes it quick to apply. I have it in the shade Dark 4 for holiday use and in 2 and 3 for usual use.

The best concealer for ease of application, it has sponge like head that you click product into by turning the base and then you just dot it where needed. Again this is yellow toned, I use the nude shade (the light shade is more pink toned) and is very light on the skin, it feels like you have nothing on and gives good buildable coverage.

I looked online to buy this for the holiday recently and found out it has been discontinued! The good side of this was that I could get it for £6 on eBay instead of £10 as usual, but it also means that I am now of the look out for a lengthening waterproof mascara that actually works, I've heard the L'oreal Shocking Extensions is exactly the same just rebranded. This has a slim plastic wand which is great for detail work, the lower lashes which can be a pain to coat are covered easily with this. It is a full on waterproof mascara and so needs a full strength oil-based eye makeup remover to get it off, but it really lasts, all day if needs be, and it never smears. I have oily skin and this even stay put on me. Because it is so “strong” it can cause breakage if you try to rub it off or pull at it, so fingers off whilst your wearing it.

I first bought this after a back-of-the-hand test in Superdrug, I went up and down the makeup stands swatching liquid liners on the back of my hand and then wiped them all at the same time to see which one stayed on. Bizarrely it was this cheapy number that refused to budge. I prefer a flexible fine tip brush applicator on a liquid eyeliner whereas this has a felt tip end but it has some serious staying power. I buy it in brown as the black looks too harsh against my skin.

I can't imagine there is anything left to be said about these, in case your late to the party they are easy to apply, super moisturising and this particular variation seems to be universally flattering.
These Chubby Stick dupes has a knock off from every major brand, from top end to bargain basement, but the Revlon ones I feel give the most bang for their buck, there's no need for a separate lip balm.

This was supposed to be a primer, and my intention was to use it to stop oil break through on an everyday basis. It unfortunately is a shade too dark for wearing at home, and it is nothing special when it comes to oil production either. What it can do though is blur lines and pores well. It's powdery silicone formula glides over your skin and feel completely weightless, it provides air brushing without the heavy layers needed. It doesn't last amazingly but it is enough when you just want a light touch.

I cannot recommend this highly enough, it is the easiest way ever to get natural looking filled in brows. It isn't cheap, but I got mine from my Mum for my Birthday back in February and 6 months later it's still going strong. It is a waxy, very fine pointed, dial up pencil. It doesn't need to be sharpened and the wax remains solid in the heat so it can be used whatever the weather.
I like that you can draw in individual hairs or just stroke it though to increase the volume in sparse areas. The colour choice is great too, I have ash brown which is a nice ashy medium brown and a near perfect match for my eyebrows, I want to get another shade that is a tad lighter to be able to achieve a bit more dimension, but it may have to wait till Christmas as I have spent enough recently.

I got this in a blogger goody bag recently and it is absolutely perfect for holidays. The colour is a bronzey coral with a gorgeous shimmer, I layer it over a pinky base such as the Revlon one above and it gives the most beautiful effect. I tried to capture it on camera but the sheen doesn't show up well. It doesn't look that promising in the tube, but when you open it up the wand applicator and lovely summery smell win you over. It glides on beautifully and is not at all sticky, so it feels very comfortable. It doesn’t last that well though, which is normal in a gloss, but that is a minor issue.

The original and in my opinion the best, what more can be said about this, it's a classic for a reason. I like the bronzey, goldy colours for evening as they look really pretty against a tan. My favourite colours are Half-baked (a true gold) and Smog (a dirty bronzey colour heavy on the sheen) I use the mattes to smooth the lids first then just a slick of a glitter over the lids and into the crease with a Real Techniques Shadow brush. Then I finish by rubbing some of Darkhorse (a grungey deep brown) through the lash line with my Laura Mercier smudge brush.

This is always in my makeup kit as I have the world's roundest face coupled with podgy cheeks so I need definition. I don't contour per se, more like just rub a little of the darker shade into what small amount of hollow I have beneath my cheekbones to give some attempt at bone structure to my face. I also use the high sheen blush as a highlighter and rub it from along the top of my cheekbones and back to the hair line to gibe a pretty flushed sheen. I also like the big mirror on this.

What I'm not taking on Holiday

Tinted Moisturiser
Hate this stuff, what's the point? If I want coverage I use foundation, if I want moisture, I use moisturiser. I find that having the two pre-blended means that neither is ever quite at the right level. Seen as I have oily skin anyway, moisturiser is never at the top of products that I turn too, I tend to find my serum or sunscreen provide enough protection and slip to make my skin feel comfortable so tinted moisturiser is a waste of time for me.

When your away you want to look sun-kissed and fresh, like you've just stepped off the yacht rather than heavy and try-hard like a TOWIE extra. Rosie from The Londoner, does this look best. She has freckles which she shows in all their glory whilst still looking picture perfect and the image of health.

What do you take on holiday? Is there any tricks I'm missing?

12 Aug 2015

Looking After Your Skin on Holiday

Only a few days to go till I fly off into the sun and so I merrily started my cosmetics packing today.  I imagine I am not alone in enjoying the process way too much!  I had a good search around in my drawers for all my current skincare faves and then combined them with a few more specific products to deal with sun exposure and dryness which inevitably come with 3 weeks abroad. Here is what I am packing...

Serozinc - £8.50 here

I am taking this with me as a cooling spray that should hopefully help keep breakouts at bay too.  It is lovely and cooling and sometimes the change in climate and products mean I can breakout so I am hoping this will help a bit. The mist on this is super fine and it also doubles as a toner keeping my vanity case weight down (it needs all the help it can get!) Another bonus is that it can be used to help heel minor cuts, bites etc.. a zinc is used in hospitals to speed up heeling time.

Effaclar Duo - £15.50 here

I use this at least once a day as a serum anyway as it is great for pigmentation which isalways an increased issue for me when in the sun.  It is so lightweight yet packed with a plethora of treats for the skin, such as ceramides, salicylic acid, niacinamide and LHA.  I love this product and can never be without it.

Lancome Eau Micellaire - This is actually Garnier Micellar water in disguise (shhhh) £1.99 here

For removing the copious amounts of waterproof mascara I shall be wearing.

Indeed Labs - Retinol Reface - £14.99 here (bargain)

A must for sun damaged skin, I use this on my neck and decollete too to try slow down any damage done by the sun.  I am not the biggest fan of the silcones in this as I find them a bit unnerving texture wise, but the pump dispenser makes this perfect for travel.

La Roche Posay - Anthelios XL Ultralight* - £16.50 here

I received a sample of this at a La Roche Posay event at Christmas and I have used it every day since, I am still on the same bottle and I have about a quarter left. This is the bomb when it comes to facial sun screen, it sinks in so well with no white residue. It's tiny ,so easy to pack, it's SPF 50+ so nothing is getting through this baby and it's cheap for such a high quality product. I have already bought a back up, in case I am ever without it. I have heard that they do a matte SPF 30 version that I can't wait to try.

Nip & Fab Glycolic Fix - £12.99 here

These pads are a cheaper version of the First Aid Beauty Radiance Pads, I think I paid around £5 for them when they were half price at Superdrug.  I really like these as they are more portable than the Pixi Glow Tonic (which is another excellent chemical exfoliator.) I need a good exfoliatior more than usual on holiday as the elements tend to make my skin more rougher than normal and so any help I can get in removing dead skin cells is greatly appreciated.  I am not a fan of physical scrubs at the best of times but particularly not when when I have been out in the sun all day (ouch!!)

Vichy Idealia Skin Sleep * £26.50 here

I am pretty new to this product, but so far so good.  I use this after retinol before bed and it is an excellent moisturiser for thirsty skin.  It's aim is to counter the effects of sun, poor nights sleep and bad nutrition choices (which is a pretty steep claim tbh) but it does leave my skin feeling baby soft and the pigmentation more even.  I think this will be the perfect things to combat the late nights, excess alcohol intake and sun that I am certain to encounter on holiday.

Body Skin Care

The most obvious concern when on holiday is sun damage, I use to not take this very seriously as I tan easily and aging seemed forever away.  Now I'm 36, I use full precautions.  I sit in the shade anyway, as I like to read on holiday and the glare is too annoying.  I have recently found some amazing sun screens that feel feather-light on the skin, and even improve the look of it, without that greasy gloopy white smeary mess you used to get.

La Roche Posay Anthelios Comfort Protective Oil SPF50+ £18.00 here

The original and the best, comes in the very distinct clear pump bottle.  The smell is divine and I challenge anyone not to be in the holiday mood after catching a whiff of this.  The texture is similar to a serum or oil and it sinks in very quickly leaving a lovely skin enhancing sheen behind.   The slight colour means that it also enhances your natural colouring too.  It's not cheap but it works every time.

Reiman P20 SPF50+ £24.99 here

This is for our eldest not me.  She burns so easily in the sun but as she's getting older she hates having sun cream applied to her but isn't diligent enough to make sure she has done a good job herself.  P20 is applied just once a day and is fully waterproof. You need to wait a bit for it to dry but it really works.  No burn no matter how long you're in the sun for.  This is also great if you accidentally got burnt the day before as it stops any more sun damage in it's tracks.

Malibu Continuous Spray Dry Oil SPF's 15 and 10 £3 here

This comes as a lotion and an oil spray, I don't like the lotion one as it is white and needs quite a bit of rubbing in.  This however is glorious, you just mist yourself all over and you're left with a lovely sheen and light sun protection.  This is for the end of the holiday only, as it's SPF is pretty low, though you can get it in a SPF 30 but I couldn't find any this year.  This is a real bargain too, you can regularly pick it up for £4.

Dove Summer Glow in Fair to Medium £2.62 here

This is a summer staple and I have been using it for years.  I love the classic dove smell, it's very moisturising but more importantly it helps even out a patchy tan.  I use this on strap marks, paler-than-the-rest-of-me-legs and as a tan prolonger.  My husband is the biggest fan of this, even though I have to buy it.  I think I got this for £2 in Beauty Savers.

Soap & Glory Sugar Crush Scrub - £8 here

Great texture, not too grainy nor too smooth.  The smell is divine, like key lime pie (which I am sure is too teenagery for most but I love it.)I will be using this on my upper arms and shins to get lovely smooth limbs. I like all the Soap & Glory scrubs so any would have done.

Body Shop Vanilla Sugar Body Butter - no longer available online

Again, like the scrub, this could be any body butter from the Body Shop as I love them all equally.  Basically this was the only one I had left in a travel size. Lovely vanillery scent coupled with heavy duty moisture for parched dried out skin. I imagine this will be used on my feet most days as all that flip flop wearing takes it toll.

Seems like a lot, doesn't it?  But it is only part of the cosmetics collection that I am taking with me.  There are obvious multiple bottles of the sun creams, as there are 5 of us and 17 days.  I will try and post my holiday makeup and hair kits, but with only a few days to go and a gazillion jobs still waiting in the wings, I'm not sure when I will get the time.

What are your must-have Summer Savers?

*PR Sample received for review purposes

24 Jun 2015

Summer Brights with Fatface

When I was approached by Fatface to style a look from their South Coast Brights collection, I was so pleased.  I love their relaxed chic look, it is so easy to wear and I have always found the quality to be excellent.  I used to be into the surf scene when I was growing up in a English Seaside Town, hence the wave tattoo I have around my right hand ring finger.  Fatface was, and still is, a store I go and have a look through for holiday clothes each year.

Cardigan - Annie by Fatface, Cropped Chinos by Fatface, Striped Top by H&M,  Navy Vest by La Redoute,  Lets not talk about the shoes.
I opted for some classic navy chinos and a pretty corla cardigan to set the look off.

I need to mention how happy I am with the Navy Crop Chinos.  They are gorgeous, the fabric feels so soft.  I got them one size up from my usual size (so a 16 instead of my usual 14) as I read they can come in a little small, and I wanted a more slouchy look. The fabric is excellent quality, it is a super soft cotton twill and the colour is a lovely deep navy (take note Very, they is what navy should be!)  These will be perfect for plane journeys, where you want to look tidy but still be comfy.  They will also allow me to not freeze whilst I get to the airport here, nor boil when I get to my destination.

The trousers have 2 side pockets which manage to do the impossible and be functional without adding bulk.  The cut is very flattering for those of us with big hips and smaller waist ,as the tailoring is spot-on and the waist fits beautifully (thank you, who ever designed these,  I won't need a belt for once)

The general advice for those of us with large hips is to not wear cropped trousers, as they can make you look wider by cutting off your legs half way down.  I have to add a caveat to this, which is if you are tall and have long legs and a short body, then it can help lengthen your torso which is a good thing.  I need to wear a top of a similar colour or one that finish past my widest point or they really do like me look very pear shaped, but overall, I find capri's to be a much safer option than shorts, which could not look worse on me ( I still have nightmares about wearing them in PE.)


I love the Neon trend but my skin is a little too pink to be able to wear very warm pinks. The Annie Cardigan in Corabelle is a pretty bright coral which bizarrely is a cool coral and so suits those of us with pink undertones. It is so pretty, and a great way to add some femininity and a pop of colour to your look. I like the pointelle detail (apparently that is what the patterns of holes is called) as it stops it from being just another cardie and makes it more delicate.  It's 100% cotton so ideal on hot summer days when you want to hide your arms but not get too hot and sticky.  Another point I must note is that the v-neck is well designed to not expose to much or make you feel too grandmotherly.

I paired the outfit with a pair of seriously old tan wedges that frankly have seen better days.  I am finding it such a struggle to find a pair of tan wedges in my size that aren't too high so I can wear them on a daily basis.  I painted my nails in a very unwise navy nail polish with a gold tips, this will be a real pain to remove as glitter polish is always hard and dark blue will stain. Anyway enough of the bad,  I think coral, navy and gold is such a classic colour combination and I will be wearing a lot more of it.

Navy Top by La Redoute, Navy Chinos by Fatface, Nail varnish Betty Blues by No7 & Revlon Sequins

I will get so much wear out of both these pieces.  The cardie can be worn with an all black outfit to give it a lift or with a white sun dress. The crop chinos are such a summer staple that I will probably wear them far more than is judicious.

I am really happy with both of these items and will definitely be making a stop in Fatface at Gatwick on my next holiday to check out some more of their items.  If you, like me, live quite far from the nearest shop here is their new arrivals page.

N.B. I must mention that writing this post make me laugh as I have notoriously chubby cheeks and so the irony of doing a post for Fatface is not lost on me :)

*Sample provided by Fatface for review purposes

15 Jun 2015

What to Buy the Man Who Has Everything

I really detest shopping for my Husband.  He is super picky but more importantly, if there is something he wants, he goes and buys it it, which leaves little for me to get him. Thanks!

Luckily, everyone likes a treat, something they wouldn't usually buy for themselves, a luxury that's hard to justify.

I have put together a few items that I know most men would be pleased to get, some I have got for my Husband for this year's Father's Day (shhhh don't tell) and some that are such complete hits that I would rebuy them in a flash if they ever got lost.

Stylish Going Out Shirt- Kenneth Cole £65*

I started with a top quality formal shirt from House of Fraser for evenings out.  He already has a sea of plain white slim fit shirts and who wants a work shirt for Father's Day?  This one is classic enough that he could wear with a suit to the office and then just remove the tie for a night out.  Kenneth Cole really know how to cut shirts well so they flatter. They are not so tight as to be restrictive but close enough to give a nice shape.  I love this shirt and can't wait to see it on. House of Fraser have some great formal shirts and accessories when you want something a bit more special.  I also love this white hidden placket one and even better it's on sale, but as I said no more white shirts allowed!

Serious Spirits - Pisco £27

I also got my Husband his current favourite drink, with an unfortunate name:/  If you haven't heard of Pisco before, now is the time to get yourself acquainted.  It is a bit like tequila, but from either Peru or Chile.  It is the drink de rigeur at the moment and a royal pain in the arse to buy, as so few shops stock it.  Amazon have luckily started selling it.  It's not cheap at £27 a bottle, but worth every penny.  We drink it as a Pisco Sour which has fresh lime, Pisco and egg white and sugar syrup.  You shake it vigorously and the egg white and sugar syrup combine to make a silky meringue-like topping with a sour kick from the lime and a bitter depth from the Pisco.  It's gorgeous, trust me! Here's the recipe from The Telegraph

Manbag £38+

A sure-fire hit was this messenger bag (Manbag) that I got for my Husband primarily because I was sick of carrying everything for the whole family when abroad.  It is great for days out and doesn't look in anyway feminine.  Paul uses it when he want to take the big camera or when we are out for the day and he wants his iPad.  The one pictured here is no longer in the shops but similar are available here (Howick Leather £75) and here (non leather £38.)

Tech Geek - Bluetooth Speaker £50

I have to mention the JBL Flip 2.  I adore this thing.  This was a birthday present and Paul loves it, it so sleek and well made.  I have also taken a shine to it and use it to take around the house with me whilst I'm cleaning, as I can move it from room to room without any issues.  I'm a bit of a podcast and Audible fan so I spend most of every day with something playing.  It's Bluetooth ready and connect in seconds so no messy wires, and it's also rechargeable so it doesn't cost a fortune to run.  The protective carry case it comes with is really sturdy and it just feels quality.  The best bit though is the sound.  This sounds as good as most top end docks. (Bose etc..)  I can't believe it's only £50 (down from £110.)

Practical (for you too) - Razor Sharpener £15

Now if your looking for something cheaper and that can save you money, whilst ensuring your man looks sharp, then I fully recommend the Razorpit. Not for purveyors of beards!  I first saw these on an Infomercial and straight away I was convinced.  After a long trawl though reviews online I took the plunge and got one.  I have to report that these are genius, not only do your razors last up to 10 times longer (they really do) the shave you get is so smooth.  I can't believe I waited so long. I now happily buy expensive razors knowing that they will last me months instead of weeks.

Bargain add on - Tablet Stand £2

This was a stocking filler as it was only £2.  They are such a good design because every brand of tablet can use it.  We have 4 different brands of tablet in our house, so this is ideal.  Paul uses it primarily to watch films in the bath (stood on the Vanity, the tablet, not him!) I use it on my dressing table to watch Youtube make up tutorials whilst getting ready.  The kids even steal it. Absolute bargain, see here.

Hopefully I have given you some ideas for things your husband might actually want for Fathers day, rather than a soap on a rope (does anyone remember them?)

Whatever you choose to get, make sure you get them the best gift of all, a bit of child free time with you :)

*Sample Provided by House of Fraser for Review

11 Jun 2015

Rimmel - What Sucks and What Rocks

I know this is going to be a contentious post, there is such a lot of love out there for at least a couple of Rimmel’s most terrible products, but I am going to stand firm and say these products don’t deserve the hype, but their PR team deserve some kind of award.

Pants Products

I love a good whinge.  So here are the worst products of the last 6 months, all these beauties found their way to my bin for a variety of reasons and should burn in the pits of hell.

Rimmel Wake Me Up Foundation

I can only assume they had a whopper of a PR budget because this foundation is chalky, short wearing and has an orange bottle! The only plus point for me is the pump dispenser which is mounted on a glass bottle, this gives it some gravitas at least, but with an orange pump, even that leaves a lot to be desired.  I give this 1/5 and that is purely for the packaging. Pooparama.

Rimmel Brow This Way

This is obviously a copy of Benefit’s Gimme Brow which incidentally I have not tried.  The aim is that you brush the mascara-like wand through your brows to give you a effortlessly groomed finish. The reality is, with just one stroke, overly dark clumpy looking, scary brows.  This is very dark for a colour labelled Medium Blonde (I have brown eyebrows and blonde hair so I err on the side of light usually) it is also clumpy which is not my ideal when searching for products to leave me looking more finished.

Rimmel Apocalips

These lip lacquers were given the biggest of warm welcomes ever in the beauty blogging world, so I rushed out and treated myself to one.  I was hoping to have the longevity of a stain with the gloss of a, em gloss.  However I got the gloop of a nail varnish with the longevity of a packet of haribo in my 3 children's hands. Major fail and seriously hideous colours, to top it off these are £6.50 a go!  These are categorically not for me. If however you really like these horrid things then you can grab them for a bargain over on Ebay (£3 each here) because obviously they aren’t half as popular as the press and blogs make out.

Rimmel Kate Sacandaleyes Eyeshadow Stick

First off I am not sure why Kate Moss is fronting a makeup brand, she may have effortlessly cool style choices but when it comes to makeup I can’t remember a single time I have thought, I love that makeup look on her. Rant over, kind of.  This sounded ideal, I was thinking it would be similar to the L’Oreal Colour Tattoos which have really lovely sheen and can make any eyeshadow applied on top last longer.  Unfortunately it was just your bog standard old-school greasy eyeshadow stick with an insipid orangey pink hue which made your eyes look slightly irritated.  

Perfect Products

Now Rimmel is not all all cheap, nasty ill conceived tat, it has some really lovely products too, these are my favourites

Rimmel Stay Matte

Everyone loves this, what more is there to say.  Granted it is not as good as Soap & Glory’s One Heck of a Blot but it is a damn site cheaper and comes in many more colors for when you have a tan.

Rimmel Glam Eyes Liner

You rarely hear anything about this liner and I don’t know why.  If you like your liner to just add definition and to be a fine line, then this might be the one for you.  It has a brush tip and so the end bends when you apply pressure which means you can just lightly pull it across the top of your lash line and easy peasy lemon squeezey, you have a line of eye liner.  It is also works well to smudge out if you catch whilst still wet, so you can achieve a smoky eye.  I think this was about £5 and I have had it at least 1 year (note to Donna buy new liner before I give myself an eye infection) I like that it doesn’t dry out and it lasts well on your lids. 

Rimmel Exaggerate Lip Liners

There has been a massive surge in lip liners post Kylie Jenner and her literally unbelievalble makeup trips with lip liner.  Both East End Snob, which is quite pinky and Addiction which is more brown and akin to Mac Spice, are great lip liners.  I don’t think they last particularly long when applied with gloss on top, but then they are not designed to.  These are super affordable and they apply so easily with barely any drag.  I particularly like that they don’t require sharpening, you just dial up the bottom and hey presto! More lip liner.  

Rimmel Stay Glossy

Llip gloss seems to have fallen out of favour recently, being replaced by balms and liners.  But in my world there is always room for a lip gloss particularly one that isn’t sticky and doesn’t catch my hair like a fly trap every time I open the car window.  This golss is really moisturising and feels really nice on, it isn’t a glass like finish, more of a sheen.  The colour though is neutral enough for most people to be able to wear it.  I use it on top of liners or stains to give them a fresh finish.  Again this is under £6, whats not to like.

Before anyone says it, I know these products may work for you but for me they were ill conceived money stealers. What are your favourites from the brand or major disappointments?

21 Mar 2015

Giveaway - Anthelios from La Roche Posay #Skinchecker

Hello Lovelies,

Spring is most definitely upon us and so it is time to start thinking about SPF again.  You know I'm a massive fan of La Roche Posay, they make some of the best skincare on the market and I like that you can buy it in Boots on their 3 for 2's as well.  It was nice to learn that 60% of dermatologists also  recommend La Roche Posay to their clients, I can see why, I have nothing but praise for everything I have ever tried from their range.


I attended the new Anthelios Launch last night and they have just brought out a new addition to their much loved range that now contains Baicalin, I have some of last year's SPF and this new formula is very similar but with the addition of extra anti-ageing protection from UVA rays

I was lucky enough to receive a few full size samples and so I thought I would share the love.  The RRP of these 3 items is £40 so it's well worth winning as it should keep you in facial sunscreen all Spring, Summer and Autumn long.

The launch also featured the new video for their #Skinchecker campaign.  They aim to encourage everyone to check, not just their own skin, but their loved ones too.  If 90% of melanomas can be cured when spotted early, then it really could be a lifesaver. The dalmation theme is really sweet, and I'm not really a cute animal pics kind of girl. I also got a spotty manicure to match!

The prize includes;

  • Full Size Anthelios XL BB Tinted Cream SPF 50+ 
  • Full Size Anthelios XL Cream - no white marks SPF 50+  
  • Thermal Spring Water Mist 150g 

It is open to all UK entrants - sorry my international readers but I cannot post aerosols overseas :(

To enter just use the Rafflecopter tool below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck and Happy Skin Checking.

26 Feb 2015

SS15 Double Denim Menswear Trend Lookbook

It's starting to feel like Spring, the days have gotten warmer (I even went out without a coat yesterday, but then I am Northern) I have already ordered a few bits to update my wardrobe for spring, Hello new bag and possible blazer!

If your Husband is anything like mine, then his wardrobe is a chaotic mix of things he has bought himself on a whim, and then the rest of the useful workhorse items that I buy (or badger him into buying) so that the disparate parts can come together.  I think we had both agreed it was time for a few new additions to spice things up.


Looking at the Spring/Summer Catwalk collection the double denim look seems to be very much the look of the season.  Some of the looks are almost wearable, amazing, I know! Prada, Ralph Lauren and the design god that is Tom Ford, all sent models down the catwalk doused in serious does of denim.

Tom Ford's super wearable biker cool inspired SS15 collection

In an attempt to reinvigorate my beloved wardrobe we looked to House of Fraser as they are always a good choice for fashion led pieces that can actually be worn in real life.  One of the in-house brands they stock is Barbour, who not only create the eponymous waxed jackets, they also create a range of biker clothes.  

This thick cotton blue/grey shirt* is inspired by Steve McQueen, AKA The King of Effortless Cool. It is ridiculously versatile . It can worn with a jumper and peacoat while the weather is still cold and then swapped into a daytime city break look for Spring and also as a going out shirt in Summer.  It gives the double denim look but for those who are less adventurous than others.

Shirt - Barbour £70
T-shirt - boring plain one

Paul works in the city so classic good taste is pretty much expected, it's hardly fashion forward in London's Square Mile. He turned 40 last year so quality and wearability are very important to his style. I think the general aim is "Stealth Wealth" though the actual result varies greatly :)

Shirt - Barbour £70
Coat - Penguin - similar here £210
Jumper - Blend - similar here £28
Jacket - Gieves & Hawkes £595
Jeans - Firetrap down to £50 from £90

City Break - This is the kind of outfit he would wear when we get the occasional break away.

Shirt - Barbour £70
Bag - Storm £40
Jacket - Gieves & Hawkes £595
Watch - Omega De Ville (more money than sense)

I like the city break look the best, I'm so pleased the shirt goes with his man bag as I encouraged him to buy after getting sick of being stuck with the heavy camera in my handbag every time we went out for the day.  Overall this is a great shirt, that I am hoping Paul will make use of this weekend when we go out for my Birthday. The fabric of the shirt is fantastic, it's cotton, but quite thick so it's very flattering and the cut is great too, it's slim around the waist and tighter on the arms.  

What do you think, what looks would you like to see on your man? Keep it clean Ladies.

*Provided by House of Fraser for review purposes.

10 Feb 2015

Lets Get Organised!

Every New Year, I  embark on a programme of mass organisation.  I spend hours writing out lists, labelling things and categorising, to create the ULTIMATE organisation tool.  A bit like the perfect handbag, the perfect organisational set up is a myth, but one I will keep on chasing!

Inspired by this great post  I decided to rekindle my love of Filofaxes (Filofaxi??) with this patent pink beauty.


I have collected together all these bits and bobs to make a bag for all my "work' needs.  In total it cost a jot under £40 which I think is pretty good value for money.

  • Cute gold striped diary from M&S in the January Sales, it was only £3.  
  • Quote notepad by Eccolo - TK Maxx (it actually has a slight smudge on the cover and so I negotiated it down to £5 from £6.99).  
  • Filofax from Paperchase £23
  • Pencil case from Amazon 88p!!! I know!
  • Cute matching pen from Paperchase -£2
  • Washi Tape from here £4.50 for 3 - used to customise the tabs
  • The bag I have had for years and has been holding homework related books on the back of my office doors, I think it was from New Look.  

The front insert, was just something I quickly created on Word.



I am really happy with this, as I can take the Filofax out and about with me due to it's small size.  The bag I use to transport all this from Office, to lounge, to bedroom.  It's like a portable office!

I have a separate diary to the one from my Filofax because this is regularly laid out on the kitchen counter as it is the main family diary.  All the children's school events and clubs are in it along with my Husband and my social goings on (whoever writes their night out in the diary first, forgoes having to pay for the babysitter if we have 2 events on at the same time)


When it comes to workflow, I can't recommend this book by Dave Allen enough, I have a had a copy on my desk for over 10 years and he really nails it when it comes to helping us all tame the information overload.  I also recommend Leo Babatua great productivity posts on his Zen Habits blog.

Links for organisation nerds like me;

Simply Organised for some serious organisation porn.
Strange & Charmed - for Filofax enthusiasts

I know this is a bit of a change from my usual beauty ramblings but I wanted to share my love of stationary with you as I am not just about beauty products and food.

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