Friday 29 November 2013

H&M Lace Frock and Alexander O'Neal ...!

Happy Friday!

I think this is my 300th post! Good grief, doesn't seem like I've done this 300 times...! Anyway...last night on the treadmill, our Alexander popped up on my IPod and I got myself all hyped up - as you do - you know when you don't want to turn the music off cos you're proper feelin' it so you practically dance yourself into the changing room?  Yep - one of those moments...!

Alexander O'Neal -  Criticize ...

Released in 1987 from the album Hearsay (what an album), Criticize always reminds me of the run up to Christmas when myself and the girls from Top Shop (where I worked at the time) went out clubbing with our huge (and I mean huge) hair and lycra mini dresses - mine was black velvet - loved that dress!

The hubby and myself are off out tonight - just meeting old friends for drinks and then a curry.  I'm really trying to use what I have in my wardrobe and not buy any new items for the couple of nights out planned - so am wearing last years's black (yep black again) lacy H&M dress and black wedge ankle boots! That is the plan anyway!

Right must crack on - have various domestic chores still to complete,  need to wash my hair, paint my nails and decide whether I'm going heavy on the eyes or lips tonight - decisions!

Do you remember Criticize first time round? (I guess the  majority of answers will be no!)

Jen x

Wednesday 27 November 2013

Philip Kingsley Daily Damage Defence - Review


We're talking hair again - 'oh no not again!' I hear you say ... yep sorry -it's my obsession of the moment!  I bought this duo of Philip Kingsley Daily Damage Defence (from QVC) back in August just before holiday (seems so long ago now).  It's not cheap at approx £20/250ml but I'm a big fan of the iconic Philip Kingsley Elasticizer and so was certainly intrigued to try the Daily Damage Defence.  For those who aren't aware my hair is super-fine, curly, frizzy and thinning - good (not) combination eh...?

A picture of Philip Kingsley Daily Damage Defence
A picture of Philip Kingsley Daily Damage Defence

It contains ingredients to help smooth, strengthen and provide more elasticity together with heat and UV protection, and aids anti-breakage, frizz fighting and general manageability.  I took the mini bottle on holiday and have been using the larger one for the past few months.  The spray is easy to use with a super-fine mist and you don't need to use much, hence there is still loads left in each bottle. It doesn't cling to the hair or weigh it down and is not sticky or crispy. Plus - it smells lovely!

On holiday - I found this a brilliant product for enabling me to wear my hair curly, helped with the frizz whilst leaving my hair to dry naturally (something I don't often do - trust me it's frightening!), sprayed lightly after washing and also in the mornings to help tame and define curls which had succumbed to my usual overnight holiday hair madness! Yes - I do remember reaching for this most mornings!

Back home - again, sprayed lightly through mid-length/ends and layered with whichever other styling product I happen to be using -it does (usually) leave my hair softer and fairly frizz free - however I do still have bad hair days (when nothing I use seems to work!).  What I have found is that the Daily Damage Defence doesn't so much stop hair from becoming frizzy if I'm caught out (hat and hood-less) say on a damp school run but is great at rectifying the matter to a degree. I just spray lightly over the affected areas, which will have curled and frizzed up.  It renders the curls much less frizzy, softer and wearable.

Unfortunately - my hair is still prone to breakage in places,  maybe due to missing my haircut appointment?  I do think, sometimes, no matter how lovely the product you are using, if you let yourself get run down and stressed (as I have done recently) then it shows in the state of your hair (and skin) - well it does in mine anyway.

For me the Daily Damage Defence is a brilliant product for fighting established frizz. Not sure about the long term effects as Phil the hairdresser says he didn't see a vast improvement in the condition of my hair but then again it wasn't in as bad condition as I thought it was anyway - confusing!  I'm not sure I'll re-purchase immediately as there are similar products I want to try but it will be interesting to see what happens once it runs out - although I'll be saving the travel size to take away on holiday again next year...!

Have you tried the Philip Kingsley Daily Damage Defence? Which leave-in conditioning spray do you use?

Jen x

Friday 22 November 2013

School Disco Days - Blondie - Heart of Glass

Bonjour and a Happy Friday!

This week the hubby very kindly decided to give me a bit of the throat virus he's been nurturing so been a bit under the weather - thank goodness for painkillers that's all I can say! Feeling a bit better today - just in time to get my hair sorted - still not made a final decision yet (see Wednesdays post) ...

Anyway ... last Friday my little girl (not so little anymore - growing far too fast) went to her first school disco - it was all she and her friends could talk about for weeks before - planning outfits etc - ah I remember those days! It was only for a couple of hours after school but she came back home buzzing, singing Katie Perry 'Roar' and complaining that her feet were hurting from dancing ... again I remember those days well (apart from the Katie Perry bit!) ...

Here's the little outfit she put together for the evening ...

Got me thinking of my own school disco days - so without further ado ....

Blondie - Heart of Glass 

Released early 1979 - what an effortlessly cool and timeless track - it will never date ... I'm well proud to have bopped along to this at many a school disco ...

Speaking of effortlessly cool just look at our Debbie - she looks bloody fantastic - no wonder all the boys were head over heels in love with her. I'm in love with her laid back groovy hair (there's a surprise)!

So what was your ultimate school disco track?

Jen x

Wednesday 20 November 2013

Another Great Hair Dilemma ...


As you may have guessed I'm having another hair dilemma - well I have them all the time to be honest (my friends are laughing)!  It's like I can sort of manage my skin (more or less) but my mop is a different and an 'oh so unpredictable' kettle of fish!

I tried to skip a cut (well I went about 12 weeks) but it simply does not work for my hair - as it's so fine it just thins out and splits on the bottom - so lesson no 1 learnt (you'd think I know this at my age) regular trims are a must have. Lesson no 2 is that longer hair is a thing of the past - although it grows quite quickly - again - splitting and thinning are an issue - so... I've recently been bobbed off again and I think this is the shape of things to come - had a few layers cut back in (after growing them all out) as I didn't want to look like a monk!

So - I'm booked in with Phil (hairdresser) to have a colour this week and herein lies the dilemma! Highlights or semi, highlights or semi...can't decide in the slightest. So I'm looking at hair colour here and trying to imagine it on a bobbed head!

Every weekend I see Claudia's hair on Strictly and lust after the richness and shine of a semi-permanent colour which will cover the greys (there aren't loads but they stick out like a sore thumb)  and perk everything up a bit - shimmering and multi-tonal - that's what they say isn't it?

And of course Alexa's hair is always on my mind! So do we go for darker Alexa ....

or lighter Alexa ... in which case I'd need lots of fine highlights (instead of a semi) - which will also add texture and give the hair a thicker look?

or all over chunkier slices of colour and sod the growing out phase ...

...and then just to confuse matters I go and notice this gorgeous glossy colour and am now swaying back to dark again...?

or am I ...? I think I need some help! You think I'm mad don't you?

Which do you prefer - would you choose highlights over a semi?  How often do you have your hair cut and what do you do with your hair colour in Autumn/Winter?

Jen x

Sunday 17 November 2013

Vichy Aqualia Thermal Light - Review


Hope everyone's had a good weekend! I spent most of Friday evening asleep on the settee whilst the rest of the family watched Monsters' University - think I've got sleeping sickness - anyway ... here's my pot of Vichy Aqualia Thermal Light ...

A picture of Vichy Aqualia Thermal Light Pot
A picture of Vichy Aqualia Thermal Light Pot
A picture of Vichy Aqualia Thermal Light Pot
A picture of Vichy Aqualia Thermal Light

I bought the Vichy Aqualia Thermal Light back in June - but have only been using it since mid September - initially just in the mornings,  more recently also in the evening (since I finished my Emma Hardie). It is aimed at normal/combination to sensitive skin prone to de-hydration (yep that's me), is concentrated with Vichy Thermal spa water, enriched with hyaluronic acid and is paraben free.

I did wonder whether I should be using something more potent/anti-ageing (especially at this time of year) - but layered with serum AM and a facial oil PM - the Vichy Thermal Light seems to work well, plus, I use far less product in this way.  It's great under make-up as it's easily absorbed, has no greasy or sticky residue and keeps my skin comfortable and hydrated all day without clogging pores or causing any breakouts. I can actually see it being a favourite during the summer months as it's light, refreshing and soothing on the skin with a subtle fresh scent - it's definitely got that 'thermal spa water' thing going on - know what I mean? I've probably got approx a third of the jar left after a couple of months use so pretty standard on that front.

I have, so far, been impressed with the Vichy products I've tried (still loving the Vichy Aqualia Thermal Serum - review here) as they deliver hydration and don't upset my sensitive skin/eczema prone areas (which seem to be getting worse with age!).  At £16/50ml it's not too bad a price (especially if you can get a 3 for 2 offer) so I will repurchase at some stage.

Have you tried anything from the Vichy Aqualia Thermal range? What moisturiser are you using at the moment?

Jen x

Friday 15 November 2013

The Stone Roses - Fools Gold ...


Last weekend saw me and the hubby watching Made in Stone - documentary about The Stone Roses and their 2012 reformation, by the end we just wanted to go out and have a dance (even though it was midnight)!

The hubby was sat on the floor (with the dog) in his absolute element - bless him, legs going, air guitar playing, the lot! He says that Fools Gold is one of the (if not the) funkiest tunes from that era of the Manchester (or should I say Madchester) indie scene largely due to John Squire's mean guitar moves - I tend to agree!

The Stone Roses - Fools Gold

Here's the TOTP video from 1989 (check out the dude in the groovy dungarees at the start!) ...

I was into the Dance scene and the hubby into Indie so this is where the genre's cross over for us! Many a night was spent in local nightclubs casually bopping away (the shape throwing has to be laid back  you realise - most important!) to the 'longer' version of this and I Am the Resurrection ...

So guess what's been playing in the hubby's car all week ...?

Are you a Roses fan? Which was your thing? Dance or Indie?

Jen x

Wednesday 13 November 2013

Sleek Make-Up Blush in Flushed - Review and Swatches


This is my first Sleek Make-Up Blush (in fact my first Sleek Make-Up anything!) - bought it back in June ... rather a long time ago I know ... reckoned I'd save it for the Autumn/Winter ...

Comes in a neat black case with a clip fastening complete with a really decent sized mirror inside...

A picture of Sleek Make-Up Blush in Flushed
A picture of Sleek Make-Up Blush in Flushed
A picture of Sleek Make-Up Blush in Flushed
A picture of Sleek Make-Up Blush in Flushed

'Flushed' is described as a deep plum, matte finish - although there is a random sprinkling of glitter running through it (but not enough that I've noticed sparkly cheeks!) - so does this mean that technically it's not a true matte? Anyway ... it has the most ridiculous amount of pigment packed into that little black box - you really only have to touch your brush to the blush to pick up the product - this is not one that I can slap on willy-nilly (funny how spell check approved 'willy' but didn't like 'nilly' there - ignore me - I'm going mad!).  It is also long-wearing - I've applied first thing and it's lasted all day into the evening so no need for touch ups.   With this particular shade, obviously, less is more and  maybe just be careful with any dryer areas on cheeks as it could accentuate them if you don't have a proper base on?  The Sleek website states that the colour is ideal for darker skin tones - I'd consider myself a light olive at this time of year and it works fine for me - I reckon a darker skin tone could afford to be heavier handed though!   As you can see from the swatches it is pretty deep but used correctly can give a decent 'I've just been on a walk in winter wonderland' flush - I think it's a really flattering shade for this time of year to pretty up your cheeks!

Swatched heavily above and blended below - in shade on the left and in the super-bright winter sun on the right...

Applied very lightly here - too much more and I'd have looked like I'd just done several hours of step aerobics (I love step aerobics by the way!) ...

I  imagine this would be a good winter blush for teaming with dark berry lips - I'm not that brave yet - are you?

So ... yep ... I am impressed with my first Sleek blush. They are only £4.49 a pop and are available from Superdrug. There are a couple more shades I would like to try and as Superdrug have 3 for 2 across make-up at the moment, I wonder if it will be sooner rather than later?!

What's your favourite Sleek Make-Up Blush?

Jen x

Sunday 10 November 2013

Gatineau Radiance Enhancing Gommage - Review


Don't you just love a bit of French skincare - especially salon premium French skincare at that?  I've ended up with not one but two tubes of Gatineau Radiance Enhancing Gommage - courtesy of my lovely Mum - she's a good un you know!

A picture of Gatineau Radiance Enhancing Gommage
A picture of Gatineau Radiance Enhancing Gommage
A picture of Gatineau Radiance Enhancing Gommage

The Gatineau Radiance Enhancing Gommage is a non-granular, enzyme based exfoliant said to be suitable for all skin types including sensitive.  It contains AHAs (apple extract) and a cocktail of vitamins to brighten and energise, together with a moisturising complex with includes hyaluronic acid.
It starts off as a pearly orange gel-like substance with a viscous feel to it. You massage into your skin with circular movements until melts into a liquid form which can then be rinsed off after a minute or so - with the help of a cloth if you like. It has a delicate orange citrus fragrance - more on the sweet than tangy side.

I use as a 'pick-me-up' to perk up my tired skin either in the morning or before a (rare) night out and it's also a good option before applying a face mask as it sloughs of the dead skin layers and so leaves your skin like a blank canvas if you like.  It is hassle-free and effective, there is no stinging or burning and it works well to brighten and smooth without disturbing my eczema-prone dryer areas. In fact it leaves my skin so smooth it almost has a glass-like feel to it - it's not often I want to stroke my own cheek!

Sometimes we are all so busy that I guess it's easy to overlook the fact that there is no point in applying serums, creams and treatments over a load of stale skin cells as it will just sit on the top and do very little? This is why it's important to find the right product and exfoliate regularly according to your own specific skin needs. I find twice a week or so is enough for me.

Gatineau products can be purchased from several online beauty retailers but are a bit pricey to buy alone - the gommage comes in at around £30/75ml.  There are usually offers around though, ie  QVC has this product as a duo at £30 which makes it much more affordable.

Do you exfoliate regularly? Which is your favourite product? Have you tried anything from the Gatineau range?

Jen x

Friday 8 November 2013

Radiohead - Just ...

Friday at last...

I know I usually say 'it's been a long week' and all that jazz but it really has this week.  I think I've had a spot of low mood (low something anyway!) ... before I start let me just say that I'm not fishing for sympathy or anything - just discussing...

I can't be the only mum who races around like a complete idiot trying to accomplish far too many tasks and tires herself out to the point where she is mentally and physically exhausted.  I've not felt ill as such, just not myself? I don't know whether it's the physical that causes the mental downfall or the other way round - dodgy hormones maybe? Difficult to explain but the simplest of tasks become a huge ordeal, like wading through a sea of grey cotton wool and general equilibrium is at a minimum - don't even talk to me about concentration. I just have to tell myself that I'm having one of 'the episodes' and that things will return to normal once 'it' lifts.  I mentioned the following to another mum on Twitter this week - I think we take too much on and then beat ourselves up when we don't achieve everything we set out to. We need to cut ourselves some slack and just think sod it! So that's what I aim to do - if job number X, Y or Z gets left then so be it. There are only so many hours in the day and I am not The Bionic Woman (unfortunately!) ...

What's all this got to do with Radiohead? Well if I'd had chance to shut myself away from everything this week to blot our everything but the music then I'd have listened to Radiohead - 'The Bends' - from start to finish ... any one of the tracks would have cut it...

Radiohead - Just...

See what I mean - the whole album is filled with gritty, atmospheric tracks that you can just absorb or that absorb you - whichever way you look at it!

How have you been this week? What music would you want to lock yourself away with?

Jen x

Wednesday 6 November 2013

Dermalogica at Beauty 900!


Beauty 900 is the new online beauty retailer on the block!   The chaps behind the website are the owners of Shumailas Hair & Beauty  -  a chain of 5 salons in East London and Essex.   The website was initially set up due to the demand for Dermalogica products from salon clients and the popularity of the Dermalogica facials.

I was very kindly sent a  bundle of Dermalogica samples from Beauty 900 some of which I have started trying out!  Have to say I am enjoying the Daily Microfoliant - raved about by so many.  Also intrigued by the Barrier Repair and Age Smart Multivitamin Power Firm (sounds like a super-hero!). Some mini-reviews to follow...!

At present there is a large selection of Dermalogica products available on the website but I understand there are plans to introduce other luxury skincare brands pretty soon. Luxury and skincare - now there are two of my favourite words in the same sentence!

As an introductory offer there are free samples with every order and free UK delivery.  If you're into your Dermalogica products then feel free to pop over to Beauty900

Are you a Dermalogica fan? Which is your favourite product?

Jen x

Sunday 3 November 2013

October Empties...


October come and gone, Bonfire Night is upon us and the Christmas countdown has well and truly begun....! Anyway the products I've finished up during the last month or so ...

Vichy Aqualia Thermal Serum - my second bottle finished. I've waffled on many times about how much I like this serum for hydration so won't harp on too much but my full review is here.

L'Oreal Paris Vitalift Rejuvenating Cleansing Smoothing Toner - bought this on impulse from a local Boots store ages ago - I'd run out of Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic and needed something to tide me over - plus it was on offer at around £3 or something silly. It lasted a few months as I only used it in the mornings - not sure I noticed any 'rejuvenation' or 'smoothing' going on - it felt a bit drying at times when my excema had flared up - I'll not repurchase as I'm after the REN Clarifying Toner next.

DHC Deep Cleansing Oil - loved this cleansing oil and will be repurchasing the full size as soon as I finish my current Emma Hardie Moringa Balm. If you read my full review here you'll see that I have another small size unopened - saving that for holiday next year - forward planning or what?

Balance Me Pure Skin Face Wash - another lovely product which I took on holiday and have just about finished - it's lasted ages. There will definitely be some customary 'tube-cutting' going on to get every last drop of product out! I'll probably use the money off voucher from my recent Balance Me Beauty Box here - to repurchase this. Full review of the Balance Me Pure Skin Face Wash is here.

Balance Me Wonder Eye Cream - I didn't get round to doing a full review on this. I took the sample size on holiday and have been using it up recently at night.  It's meant to be soothing, brightening and lifting - I do find it soothing but can't say I noticed a huge amount of lifting - maybe I need something more potent at my age?  All in all though quite a nice little sample - I'd be happy to use this size again to take away - good job I have one in the above mentioned Balance Me Beauty Box?

Gatineau Melatogenine Advanced Anti-Ageing Eye Concentrate - I finished this back towards the end of August/start of September but kept forgetting to include it in my empties posts so thought I'd stick it in this one.  If you happened to read my evening skincare routine here you'll see that it's lasted me over a year and is aimed at the more mature eye to target wrinkles and fine lines. Loved using this - it felt like silk and I do think it helped with the old wrinkles. I'd re-purchase if/when it's on offer on QVC!

Emma Hardie AM/PM Moisturiser - another which I included in my nightly routine.  Although this is meant to combine the benefits of a serum and moisturiser in one, I had to use it over a serum to get the correct amount of hydration.  I was beginning to wonder if this would ever finish as it went on for absolutely ages!  I kept using the one pump at night for months and months and never seemed to get to the bottom of the container. Finally it finished a couple of weeks ago and already (sadly) my skin does not feel quite as nourished.  I wasn't sure whether I would repurchase this as it's quite expensive, around £38/50ml - however, it seems to be another of those premium products whereby, although the initial outlay is large - it pays for itself by it's performance and longevity so I'll be looking out for any offers!

So that's another lot of empties - can't believe it's Novembers'  next - scary! What products have you used up this month? Would you shell out for an expensive item if you knew it would last you ages?

Jen x

Friday 1 November 2013

Half-Term, Plan B and Elf Bargains to be had...!


Well another Friday is upon us, another half term has come and gone... I had some time off work and foolishly thought I would be able to chill and relax with the kids.  Not the case I'm afraid - it's been a bit manic for various reasons - one of which the poor pooch ended up with an eye injury and was in a lot of pain - we thought he may lose his sight in that eye. Thankfully he's been treated successfully after a couple of trips to the vets and should be ok but is now having problems with his (huge) ears - very narrow ear canals - common in King Charles Spaniels but his are extra narrow! So he's on eye medication, eye drops and ear drops - the poor thing is falling to bits!

This afternoon I should have been ironing school uniforms ready for Monday and putting PE kits back together but surprise surprise got totally distracted by Twitter and a half price offer at Elf Cosmetics - ended up ordering some goodies at bargain prices instead - it's got to be done. Think the offer is on until 4 November so check out their website for full details if you fancy bagging a bargain! Also just noticed that Sharron from Style At Every Age has listed a whole heap of tempting offers on tonight's 'Something For The Weekend Post' here so I'll be perusing that lot later on - thanks Sharron!

I am more than happy to stay in tonight - so cold and rainy and if the hubby wants to put some music on whilst I'm cooking his Enchiladas (!) then it's going to have to be something chilled such as...

Plan B - Love Goes Down...

Have you had a manic or chilled out half term? Are you staying in or off out tonight? Will you be bagging any bargains this weekend? How many more questions can I ask on one paragraph?

Jen x

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