Friday 27 September 2013

N-Trance - Set You Free!

Happy Friday!

If you happened to read last Friday's music offering (from our lass Nina!) you'd have seen that I just wanted a quiet night of chilling (also known as chillin'?).  I decided to exercise the old vocal chords to some laid back tunes whilst I chopped onions for dinner (as you do).  Started off with a couple of ballads from Plan B, the Sugababes and Gladys Knight and the Pips. The tempo gradually seemed to pick as I was browning my mince and frying the onions and garlic. A little later on, whilst the bolognaise was simmering, (the hubby had had a couple of beers due to a hectic work week and needed to let his hair down - obviously not literally) - we somehow ended up on a wave of 90s dance music including Josh Wink - Higher State of Consciousness, Felix - Don't You Want Me and this one...

N-Trance - Set You Free!

Obviously a bit of impromptu shape throwing occurred in the kitchen (as you do!).  My children were completely mortified to see Mum and Dad bobbing about in no uncertain fashion and begged us to resume 'normal parental activity' of serving dinner, no dancing/singing/arm waving allowed.  Clearly these actions should only be restricted to 'young/younger people'! (I did get the impression that they were slightly more embarrassed of Dad than Mum!).

Funny how your kids only see you in a certain light and the notion that you were once young and carefree/less doesn't seem to register! No point telling them that - yes I did actually wear a silver A-line skirt and black lace up boots just like the girl in  the video (with pigtails too just for the record!) - ahh the 90s!!

Right - no dancing planned for tonight - I have a headache plus don't think the kids could take two weeks in a row - bless em!  I'm off to have a cuppa and choc chip muffin together with a couple of paracetamol - go me!  Much more fitting for a mum/older person?!

Will you be throwing any shapes in your kitchen tonight?

Jen x

* I should point out that I'm not actually that old! *

Wednesday 25 September 2013

The Skincare Tag!


I mentioned to Sasha from Ramblings of a Beauty Bird and Natasha from Shot of Beauty that I fancied this tag a long long time ago ... as usual it's taken a while but finally I've sorted it ... The Skincare Tag!

Describe your skincare routine in 5 words
Clean. Hydrate. Replenish. Protect. No-fuss.  Well that's my aim anyway! I don't have masses of time to faff around - either dashing about in the mornings or falling asleep at night-time (sound familiar you mums?) but I do try to make sure I stick to a similar routine as far as possible.

What's your skin type?

Normal/combination - with a typical oily t-zone - prone to open pores, cheeks can be dry/dehydrated (especially in winter) - even sported a bit of eczema a few months ago - so a bit of a mixed bag.

What's your favourite skincare product?
Difficult one! I'm still loving my Vichy Aqualia Thermal Serum (I love serums!) - review here.

Top blemish zapper
I seem to get spots when I'm run down and sometimes at the time of the month. I don't actually own a current 'zapper' (best rectify that!) but in the past I've used  Liz Earle's Spot On (which appears to have been discontinued for the moment) - shame!

Face wipes yay or nay?

Nope - used to in my younger days but they don't float my boat any more, I'd rather just use my cleanser and hot cloth- love a hot cloth!

Toner Yay or Nay? Yep - I tried to do without toning for a while to save time and money but my skin didn't seem to like the omission so I returned to the fold mainly for hydration.  Looking to introduce an exfoliating toner into the routine soon.

High end skincare or high end makeup?
I'd go for skincare. I think your skin is worth investing in and if you get the skincare right the make-up bit seems to fall into place.  However, I wouldn't use high end just for the sake of it, find whatever works for you and go with it, whether it's high end, middle ground or high street.

What's the most unusual skincare product you've tried?

Sorry to sound a bit boring but I don't think I've used anything extremely unusual on my skin. I do have some of that snake venom serum, from an old beauty box, unopened though!

You're in a French pharmacy and can only pick one item - what is it?
I am 'Mrs Indecisive' - honestly don't know, probably some sort of radiance/hydration mask?

Tell us your top skincare tip 

Get enough sleep, drink enough fluids and respect your skin!  I do fall down on the first two I must admit but I think age has taught me to treat my skin with a little respect and try to look after it - after all it's the only one I got!

So there you go!  Hope you've enjoyed reading the tag - I've enjoyed everyone else's!

Jen x

Sunday 22 September 2013

Bare Minerals Lash Domination Volumizing Mascara - Review


This is the latest mascara offering from Bare Minerals - the Bare Minerals Lash Domination Volumizing Mascara.  You may be aware that Debenhams offers a 'Try Something New Guarantee' on selected beauty products. Basically you buy the full size, receive a sample size to try first and if it doesn't work for you return the full-size (unopened) product within 28 days.  You can always have a look at the Debenhams website here to check out the details!

So...I bought the full size Lash Domination mascara and received a sample to try...been using it for a few weeks now...

The mascara boasts 10 benefits as below...

And here's my little sample - with full size brush inside to try...

The brush is a rubber/plastic one with a twist to it - literally - (called 'Protwist180') which is meant to curve around and coat the lashes from all angles...looks like a weapon of torture doesn't it - just joking! ;)

I'm in a bit of a quandary about this one! The brush looks pretty fierce but is quite comfortable to use once you get the hang of the twisty vibe.  The formula is a thick and creamy consistency and an intense black pigment (intense black is good in my opinion). I've found you need to practise with the brush - it has to be really well scraped of excess mascara - otherwise it ends up everywhere and clumps.  A lot of wiggling has to take place for me to get the desired effect and a comb through with my lash comb at times. I have also experienced a bit of light smudging on my lower lids when I've worn it on my bottom lashes - it wipes away easily enough but I have to remember to check! On the upside you can build up quite a dramatic effect once on if you don't mind  a bit of clumpage, gives the impression of thicker lashes (my lashes are really fine), a good amount of length, holds the curl up, isn't crispy or drying on the lashes and lasts all day without flaking until removed, which isn't too difficult with a decent eye make-up remover.  It's definitely become easier to handle now that it's been opened and dried up for a while.  It's just that I'm not sure I should pay £16.00 a pop when there are cheaper mascaras that may well do as good a job ... or would they...?

Here it is in on with a couple of coats ...

If I had to choose between this mascara and another well known and loved (by many) premium mascara with a spiky brush (you know the one) - then this would be my preferred choice.  As I say - it's good with a little time and patience but not sure it's the one to beat all ones! Is it just me - am I being too picky? Have you tried the Bare Minerals Lash Domination Mascara?

Jen x

Friday 20 September 2013

Nina Simone - Love Me or Leave Me


Been a long long week and at the end of a long long week sometimes you want to let your hair down, go out and get wasted (depending on your age/income/level of fatigue - in no particular order!).  Sometimes though you just want to lose yourself in something mellow but powerful (whether or not you're wasted!) - sometimes nothing else hits the spot quite like a bit of our Nina....!

Nina Simone - Love Me or Leave Me

This is my absolute favourite version of this age-old tune. I love the variations on the basic melody and the swinging jazz vibe with the 'Bach' style solo played by Nina herself in the middle of the song - a fascinating combination ...!

I'm sat looking at the piano thinking I should really get into playing again - you could totally lose yourself in the thing! Not that I could ever play it that well or even consider singing and playing together - far too difficult! (I'll stick to singing!) And if I ever got to sing this tune on a gig - well this would be the style I'd choose - with a few of my own nuances thrown in of course!

What style of music do you fancy losing yourself in this weekend?

Jen x

Wednesday 18 September 2013

DHC Deep Cleansing Oil - Review


I received these travel size bottles of DHC Deep Cleansing Oil in two separate beauty boxes a while ago. DHC are said to be 'Japan's No.1 online skincare company' so I was interested to see how the Deep Cleansing Oil would fare and decided to take one bottle on holiday as my evening cleanser.

It includes vitamin E, olive oil and rosemary leaf oil and is said to be suitable for all skin types. There is no fragrance as such and it just smells a little of olive oil to be honest!  I apply directly to my face and massage in - it slips over the skin, as you would expect and then emulsifies with a little water. I just use my muslin cloth (of which I own so many they are threatening to take over the house!) to wipe everything off or you could flannel/rinse off with water if that's your thing.  I've also double cleansed with it if I've been wearing extra make-up but not used it over the eye area as it's apparently not suitable for this.

I never thought anything could live up to my Moringa Balm, however I was surprised and impressed at how well this cleansing oil performs.  It removes every scrap of make-up (and sunscreen!) effectively and there is no oily or greasy residue to contend with.  My skin is normal(ish)/combination - sometimes prone to dehydration and eczema and it hasn't caused any breakouts, extra oiliness on the t-zone or brought out any sensitivity. It's fuss free, effective deep cleansing and gives me the desired results - end of!

It comes in various sizes with the largest - 200ml costing between £16-21. I'll definitely be re-purchasing a larger size - I've been using the little 30ml bottle above since the start of August every night and as you can see there is still some left over a month later - the larger bottle should last ages. You can check out full info on the DHC website here.

Have you tried out the DHC Cleansing Oil or any cleansing oil for that matter? Which is your favourite?

Jen x

Sunday 15 September 2013

It's Another Haul Thing...


Just a few bits and bobs I've picked up. First up is this lot from Sainsbury's last week - all on offer ...

A third off the Palmer's and half price Dove. Wondering what effect the Dove Intensive Repair will have on my mop, the Summer Glow is an old favourite but probably won't get to use it until next year now - rubbish! Sensodyne is so expensive at around £4 a tube I try to stock up whenever there's a half price offer on.  My teeth are sensitive at the best of time so always comes in handy - I'm also planning on whitening my teeth soon which always makes the sensitivity sky high at times and this toothpaste really helps takes the edge off it.

Couple of lippies with the buy one get one half price at Boots. I've gone for nudes - will swatch and post shortly.

Now believe it or not I didn't buy much in the way of clothing or footwear this summer - by the time the hot weather actually arrived I reckoned I could make do with what I had and only bought a couple of t-shirts from H&M and Primark (and one of the items below!). So ...

Jumper and boots from the new range at TU Sainsbury's - can't get out of the grey rut as you can see. Hope the lowered hem at the back doesn't make my bum look huge!  I love these boots and they're really easy to walk in but I'm actually wondering when I'll wear them - not exactly suitable for the school run! Maybe I need a few nights' out planned!

The leopard shoes were an absolute bargain at £9 in the M & S sale - love these! Again - need to get out more and get these worn!  Zara (pretend leather) jacket which I bought months ago at the start of summer and dithered around wondering if I was a) having a mid-life biker chick crisis or b) trying subconsciously to imitate Cher Lloyd! Anyway believe it or not it actually looks ok on my old frame - getting in and out of it is the problem as it's such a snug fit - there is clearly a knack to it which I'm working on!

So that's me done for a while. What have you been buying recently?

Jen x

Friday 13 September 2013

August Empties...


A mixture of recent empties here - some from July and some from August ...

Emma Hardie Moringa Balm - this huge 200ml baby lasted ages and it's an all time favourite!  I am patiently waiting for a special offer to re-purchase.  You can read my full review here.

Johnson's 24 Hour Moisture Hand Cream - lovely hand cream and one I've repurchased over and over. Hydrating and soothing - it's not overly perfumed so I can use it even when my hands are dry and sore.

Neal's Yard Rehydrating Rose Daily Moisture - I've had this for ages - from one of my first beauty boxed last year and thought it was about time I used it. This has been such a lovely product during the recent hot weather - took it on holiday too and it worked a treat at keeping my skin hydrated - gorgeous delicate scent too. I'd like to re-purchase but for now I have the recent Neal's Yard 'Power Berry' magazine freebie tucked away!

Sanex Sensitive Shower Cream - I tend to always have Sanex Shower Gel or Cream in - get them whenever they're half price at Sainsburys.  I had a bout of itchy eczema on my neck a couple of months ago - was driving me mad and this was one of the shower creams that didn't upset it further or dry my skin out. I've re-purchased a few times and will continue to do so.

Boots Essentials Base Coat - I've had this for ages. It's super cheap and empty (well there's a tiny bit in the bottom but I'm having to lie it on it's side and scoop around to get any out of it so think it's time for a new base coat.)   Want to try out a few other base coats now.

Alpha H Absolute Eye Complex - bit of a disappointment this one.  If you happened to read my review last year on this product (if not you can do so here) you'll know that this was a firm favourite.  I had high hopes when I re-purchased the 30ml in it's new 'tube' package but unfortunately it didn't last long at all - maybe only 2-3 months (only using in the morning) - how can this be when the original bottle lasted ages, around 8-9 months? No idea - I even cut open the tube to scrape what I could out in desperation. I've given up and moved onto something else.

So that's that then. Have you used any of these products? What you did you get through during the past couple of months?

Jen x

Tuesday 10 September 2013

Wild About Beauty - Eyeshadow Pencil Duo - Review


This Wild About Beauty Eyeshadow Pencil Duo (in shade Annie) was another item included in the kit I recently purchased from QVC.  You can see my review on their Multi-Purpose Tint  here.

It consists of a thinner tip (left) in a soft velvety mid brown and a thicker tip (right) in a golden bronze colour for using all over the eyelid.  Both ends glide on easily and there is no pulling or dragging of the eyelid. Swatched below, thinner end on top, thicker end below...

The thinner end is not quite as deep a shade as I would usually go for along the lash line but it adds subtle definition during the day which lasts pretty well and can be smudged and built up for a smokier look.  The bronzed end is a lovely colour but is more suitable for evening as it consists of sparkly bits which are a bit too obvious for me in the day.   You need an eyelid primer on first, otherwise the colour doesn't last very long on the lid, but melts away and sits in the creases, leaving only the glittery bits, which have a tendency to transfer and travel around the eye area - it does, however, last a bit longer when used with a primer, but not all evening (on me anyway).  It's a shame as the pencil is so easy to use and creates a pretty look  - and the lure of using an eye-shadow pencil for speed is something which definitely appeals to me as a busy mum!

Basically - only one half of the pencil is floating my boat so not an item I would re-purchase as a stand-alone product.

Have you tried the Wild About Beauty Eyeshadow Pencil Duo? What's your favourite eyeshadow pencil?

Jen x

Sunday 8 September 2013

Mally Instant Impact Mascara - Review


I seem to have accumulated a few mascaras waiting for a review and this is one of them.  The Mally Instant Impact Mascara was one of the products included in the Mally TSV from QVC (how did you guess?) back in April ...

The brush is a rubber type and is made is made up of clusters or 'balls' (no rudeness intended there!) of different length 'spikes' (but not painful ones!) which graduate in size down to the smallest at the tip.  It's not super stiff and has a little give in it so is comfortable to use even on my short lashes - (unlike some spiky wands where you end up poking or scratching yourself in the eye!) - good for grabbing the lashes and coating them evenly.  The formula is on the wet side but not overly so and is a smooth, glossy black pigment.

This has been my go-to mascara for the last few months.  A couple of quick coats in the morning is ideal for me (you could easily get away with one coat I reckon if you have more lashes than me!). I find it's better to apply one coat directly after the other rather than waiting until the lashes have completely dried. It doesn't smudge, flake or run (I've had teary eyes at end of term school concerts and there was no panda activity!)  but comes off relatively easily with a suitable remover. I took it on holiday this year - applied in the morning and it stayed there all day with no meltdown - even in the heat (I didn't partake in any underwater activity!).

Just a couple of very quick coats concentrated on the top and a tiny bit on the bottom for daytime (no eyelash curlers used).  If you're a reader of my blog you'll know how pathetic my bare lashes are so this length and definition on my top lashes is a result!

I must admit I was sceptical about the Mally Instant Impact Mascara but it's been a great all rounder.   It's only just starting to clump and dry a little in the tube now after five months of use.  My only gripe - and probably the reason I've not posted this review before now is that it doesn't seem to be sold here in the UK as a separate item - only in the same QVC kit I originally purchased or over on QVC USA as a $30 duo. Wonder if this will change in the future?

Have you tried the Mally Instant Impact Mascara? What's your favourite of the moment?

Jen x

Tuesday 3 September 2013

August/Holiday Favourites...


These are my favourite products from this year's holiday (which was obviously in August!) ... photographed by the side of the pool - she says wistfully...must forget about the pool and the sun for another year!

Clockwise ... (sort of!) ...

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt-In Cream Factor 30 - although the recent bout of eczema has cleared up on my face and neck I needed sun protection which was gentle but effective in case it re-appeared whilst on holiday - this was just the ticket.  I smoothed it on every morning over my face and neck after moisturising - super easy to apply and provided the protection I needed - a lovely product and one I would repurchase.

Barry M Gelly Nail Paint in Grapefruit - you can see it in action in my NOTD post here. Absolutely love this vibrant juicy colour. Don't want to put it away for autumn/winter - not going to just yet!

Wild About Beauty Multi-Purpose Tint -  a super summer and holiday product. Gives a natural flush which you can see in my review here.

Sanctuary Spa Skin Perfecting BB Cream (Medium to Dark) - can't believe I reviewed this a whole year ago here , it was also included in last year's August Favourites and here it is again! This is in fact the same tube with plenty left (and in date of course) so I've used it again.  I said it last year - because it's quite pigmented it's a lovely product to use on holiday and keeps that bit of glow on yer kite once you return. Another product I'm not yet ready to retire for the season just yet!

Philip Kingsley Daily Damage Defence Duo - I got hold of this from QVC on easy pay instalments during the the last Beauty Day. A leave-in conditioning spray, a leave-in Elasticizer?  It was certainly a lifesaver on holiday and kept the frizzies at bay good style. Full review to follow when I've done a bit more road-testing!

Daniel Sandler Instant Tan Face Powder - still loving this bronzer - perfect for holiday evenings - full review here.

Mally Perfect Prep Under Eye Brightener - been using this for a couple of months now and it works really well to lighten up those dark circles - full review to follow.

Oh - and then there was this little beauty ...

Now - I have to say I'm not a big drinker but I did find that this super-cheap vino from our local French supermarket went down very easily indeed and is - unfortunately a distant memory! Stupidly we only bought the one box. Must make room for more next year!

So ... those are the favourites. Still wishing I was beside that pool  ... however with the  kids back to school this week I'm pretty sure I won't have time to think about holidays, pools, sunshine and the like!

What were your August or holiday favourites?

Jen x

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