Thursday 30 January 2014

Liz Earle Superskin Concentrate - Review


Call me predictable but yes the Liz Earle Superskin Concentrate was included in a QVC kit from a while ago. These kits are such good value that you end up paying a fraction of the actual price of the product -it's a no brainer!

A picture of Liz Earle Superskin Concentrate
A picture of Liz Earle Superskin Concentrate

A little info from the Liz Earle website ...
"The intense, aromatic blend of 100% pure plant oils in this rich, rebalancing night-time treat is suitable for all skin types. It helps to soften dry or mature skin and balance combination or oily skin.
Use at night after cleansing and toning (but before moisturising).
Naturally active ingredients include softening argan and organic rosehip oils, soothing neroli, lavender and chamomile essential oils plus antioxidant natural source vitamin E."

Over winter, with the cold and central heating etc etc  my skin suffers the usual de-hydration and dullness. I introduced the Superskin Concentrate into my nightly routine a few months ago. I apply after toning and under moisturiser several times a week and massage in mainly over my cheeks - it alleviates any dry or tight feeling immediately - I then take the excess over my t-zone and chin.  It has a wonderfully aromatic strong scent which I find both relaxing and slightly addictive.  I love the fact that my skin feels nourished and have actually been known to do a surprised double take (through very bleary eyes!) first thing in the morning, as it leaves skin visibly plumped, smoothed and balanced.

You may know (as I bang on about it often enough!) that I also suffer from eczema breakouts from time to time with dry, red, flaky patches on my cheeks.  I have massaged the Superskin Concentrate gently into these areas every night during a flare up.  It soothes and hydrates and basically just clears it up. Whenever I suspect a breakout now this is the first thing I reach for to keep things under control.

So I'm thinking that the Superskin Concentrate is turning into one of my desert island products and possibly my favourite of the Liz Earle range.  It works wonders on my dry bits, my oily bits and my eczema bits - I think that covers all my bits!  I have the 10ml rollerball which is £20 to buy alone and although it is expensive a little goes a very long way so I don't need to panic just yet but it's definitely something I'd repurchase as a Winter skincare saviour!

Have you tried the Liz Earle Superskin Concentrate? What is your Winter skincare saviour?

Jen x

Tuesday 28 January 2014

NOTD - Barry M Matte Nail Paint in Crush


I've been intrigued by the Barry M Matte Nail Paints for a while now but faffed around (true to character) picking 'em up and putting 'em back (as you do) and mulling over the problem of a topcoat etc  before I bit the bullet the other week when they were on offer in Boots. I ended up with a couple of the Mattes and this one is 'Crush' ...

A picture of Barry M Matte Nail Paint in Crush
A picture of Barry M Matte Nail Paint in Crush
A picture of Barry M Matte Nail Paint in Crush
A picture of Barry M Matte Nail Paint in Crush

*Note the collaboration shot just above with sleeping pooch!*

I haven't used a matte polish before but this was easy enough to apply. I needed two coats as just the one was streaky. Drying time was about average without my usual super-quick dry (but obviously glossy) topcoat.   Unfortunately it didn't last too well once on - just over a day before some wear on the ends - but my hands are constantly in and out of water when I'm at home. My young friend at work said it lasted approx. two days for her before she had to go over her nails again with another coat to patch things up. Neither of us used a topcoat. I found it very easy to remove, however, if that's any consolation! ;)

Regarding the finish, if we were talking Dulux I'd say it's more of a  'soft sheen' rather than 'flat matt'. The colour of a good red grape with a smooth leathered look to it (reminds me of those dark red Dr Martens I'm still lusting over!) there's a slight edgy vibe going on don't you think?

So ... despite the 'not so good' wear time I am quite taken with this polish - it has a different look to it which appeals to me and is reasonably priced at £3.99 (mine were £3 each on offer) . Going 'topcoatless' is not a practical option though so I've bought a matte topcoat this weekend which I'll be trying out shortly. Will keep you posted.

Have you tried the Barry M Matte Nail Paint? What did you think?

Jen x

Friday 24 January 2014

Pumping Up!


This week I managed to get down to my Body Pump class for the first time this year after a spell of several weeks!  Hubby was working away, then Christmas got in the way and then I couldn't get into the darn class after Christmas - in fact all the classes I usually attend are brimming - funny how people flock to the gym in January!

So ... there I was the other night ... brandishing my bar during the bicep track complete with puny weights to match my equally puny frame, watching my little muscles trying to get a bulge on - remembering the bloomin' pain!  My upper body is not my strongest point when it comes to muscle workout (my abs are pretty useless too actually!) and I have to remember to stand correctly with back straight, shoulders down and relaxed (as much as you can in these situations!) and core strong to support the whole shebang!  I'm reassured by my teacher - who incidentally is tiny, smaller than myself and yet can lift what seems like the weight of an ox - that the burn I feel in the centre of my calves whilst performing our lunges is a good thing ...!

I'm not naturally strong or flexible but despite all the pain/burn malarkey I bloody love it - I do! I love the toning and strengthening that comes with it - although the task of trying to stop my bottom going south at my age is getting increasingly difficult - must do more squats!  Exercise, challenging though it is at times, gives me such a buzz that very often after this class I've told the teacher I'm on such a high I just want to bounce out of the class and go straight onto a club! There's a lot to be said for those old endorphins! Anyway ... as we're on the subject of pumping ...

Technotronic - Pump Up The Jam

Yes I was jumping around to this in smoky nightclubs since it's release in 1989 - and yes I bet some of you weren't even born ...! Good grief doesn't it get you going? Once a pumper always a pumper I guess!

Do you like a bit of Body Pump? What's your favourite exercise?

Jen x

Wednesday 22 January 2014

Elemis Pro-Collagen Advanced Eye Treatment - Review


I received the Elemis Pro-Collagen Advanced Eye Treatment  in a  QVC kit ages ago (I don't know what I'd do without QVC at times!) ...

Comes in a little (rather serious looking don't you think?) grey bottle with a dropper/pipette ...!

A picture of the Elemis Pro-Collagen Advanced Eye Treatment
A review of Elemis Pro-Collagen Advanced Eye Treatment

A little info directly from the Elemis website here for you ...
"Super-active padina pavonica and blue flower linseed helps smooth and firm, targeting fine lines and wrinkles, for a more youthful appearance. A super-light formula that packs heavy-weight results!

A sophisticated amino acid complex of natural humectants which attracts moisture into the deeper layers of the skin. Combines exceptional moisturisation with added protection to support the fragile skin around the eyes, without overloading them."

Now we all know my eye area is getting on a bit (along with the rest of me!) and whilst it's difficult to turn back time in this department, anything which helps halt proceedings - so to speak - can only be a good thing. I'm not a fan of anything heavy around the eye area - it just introduces more problems into the equation. Stands to reason that a light serum which is absorbed almost instantly and keeps the skin around my eyes hydrated, whilst helping to ward off wrinkles and saggy bits (dang those blasted saggy bits!) would always have been a welcome addition to my skincare routine!

All you need is a drop lightly patted around the orbital bone - it's very concentrated and the dropper makes it both easy and economical to use.  I started using in the mornings last summer and am only just  finishing it off (both AM and PM during the last few months) - it's kept going for ages. It has a cooling, soothing and slight firming feel to it and my eye area feels comfortable and moisturised (yet not overloaded with product) - and stays that way all day with no puffiness.  I'm not going to be completely wrinkle free at my age but I do think that using a quality product such as this helps to keep to keep the situation under control and treat the area in a suitable way.  I'll let you know if things start to slide after I finish this little bottle ...!

It is pricey at £39.00/15ml but no more so than any other premium product I've looked at.  I do have other eye products to try out but want to repurchase this at some stage as I feel it works for me. Wise to wait for another QVC TSV or kit though as it can end up costing a fraction of the full price and actually there is an Elemis TSV due on 16 February ...!

Have you tried the Elemis Pro-Collagen Advanced Eye Treatment? What's your favourite eye product of the moment?

Jen x

Sunday 19 January 2014

A January Haul ... ?


I don't know if you can call this a 'haul' as such - more of a sporadic gathering of bits of over the last few weeks.  I didn't have much in the way of presents this Christmas as my plan was to treat myself in the sales... unfortunately I didn't manage to bag that many official bargains so ended up just picking up things in dribs and drabs ...

Can you believe this is all I picked up from the half price beauty gifts in Boots?

Managed to get these leather pumps from Next though - a bargain at £12 ... but that's it for the 'proper' sales!

Because I'd been so good (or bad - whichever way you look at it!) sales-wise - I picked up some bits from Boots last week - all on offer mind ...!

Barry M Matte Nail Paints in Crush and Mocha (buy one get 2nd half price)
Max Factor Wild Shadow Pot in Burnt Bark (reduced to £3.99)
L'Oreal Miss Manga Mascara (on offer at £5.99)
17 Peep Show Mascara (an old favourite - couldn't resist as all 17 mascaras were £4!)

A few cheapie t-shirts and scarf from Primark (the stripey one was only £2) ...

And then when I went to Sainsburys last week all this lot was on offer so I satisfied my domestic yearnings and treated myself - go me! (Actually can't wait to try out the saute pan - as I say go me!).

So what did you get in the January sales? Bet you did better than me!

Jen x

Friday 17 January 2014

Leftover Lamb Fry (Anglo-Indian Style) ...!


Breaking from my music tradition decided to 'do a foodie' today - as if you hadn't already gleaned that from the title!   What now seems like eons ago - in between Christmas and New Year the family came over for yet another meal (there's a surprise!) and I cooked a large leg of lamb.  We don't have lamb very often as it's so expensive but it's my mum and hubby's favourite meat and was on offer in Sainsburys (another surprise!).

There was a good plate of meat leftover and so I used it the night after to rustle up a quick and easy curry or 'fry' as my grandpa and many Anglo-Indians have called it. My mum describes a fry (loosely) as 'meat fried with onions and masalas to make a curry with a dry(ish) sauce'.

So here's the plate of  cold lamb ...

and I used the following ingredients...

1 medium red onion chopped or sliced, couple of teaspoons lazy garlic and ginger (or you could use fresh), 1 green chilli sliced, 5 curry leaves, 3/4 teaspoon turmeric, 3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds, a few cherry tomatoes (or you could use half a can),  also a couple of tablespoons oil for frying.

Fry the onions, garlic, ginger, chillies and curry leaves in oil for a few minutes to soften ...

Add the meat and spices and fry for a further 5ish minutes (without burning Mum says!) - if it starts to stick to the pan I usually add a little water from the kettle ...

Add in the tomatoes and enough hot boiled water from the kettle to just cover the meat and spices, bring to the boil and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the meat is heated through thoroughly (probably not such a good idea to take a steamy photo at the same time!) ...

After the water has reduced down you're left with a 'fry' ...

This amount serves 2  - we had ours with leftover biryani (yes it was leftover night!) and yogurt and onion salad ... very nice it was too ...!

It's a great way to use up leftover meat from your roasts and as usual you can add in pretty much whatever you like to the mix in the way of additional spices/vege etc! We're having beef this Sunday so may be able to rustle something similar up next week ...!

What's on your menu for this Sunday?  What do you do with your meaty leftovers?

Jen x

Monday 13 January 2014

ELF Baked Blush in Rich Rose - Review


The Elf Baked Blush is one of the products from my recent Elf Haul which you can see here.  It comes in four colours, the two which grabbed me the most were Passion Pink and Rich Rose - after some deliberation  (I am a deliberator!) I went for Rich Rose ...

A picture of Elf Baked Blush in Rich Rose
A picture of Elf Baked Blush in Rich Rose
A picture of Elf Baked Blush in Rich Rose

Now, granted, it does look like the surface of a dark planet from the outer regions in the pan but do not be alarmed!  It's a warm burnished rose shade with a golden shimmer to it but not in a 'big chunks of glitter' type of way.  I wouldn't say this is the most pigmented of products I've used but it's a lovely combination of blush and highlighter which lasts surprising well - I've applied first thing before work over foundation (Bare Minerals) and it's lasted pretty much all day. Lasts a little less over a BB but I'm not complaining.  It's really easy to apply - a quick swirl around the pan gives a gleaming (but not sweaty looking!) healthy glow and it can be built up a little if you want a bit more colour. However, the more you apply the more highlighter comes along so unless you want to look like an extra from Goldfinger then maybe don't overdo it!

Swatched above and blended below ...

A picture of Elf Baked Blush in Rich Rose

Spot the gleaming cheek!

Rich Rose is a lovely product which I seem to be grabbing most mornings as it gives the old kite a bit of a lift which is so welcome at this time of year!  At the usual price of £3.75 it would have been a bargain - mine was half price! Going to have to try Passion Pink now! You can check out the Elf  Baked Blushes on their website here.

Have you tried the Elf Baked Blush - which colour is your favourite?

Jen x

Friday 10 January 2014

George Benson - Lady Love Me (One More Time) ...


Well I don't know about you lot but I cannot wait until Saturday for a lie-in - these early mornings are so not welcome! Christmas is now a sweet and fuzzy distant memory - this first week back is always pants don't you think?  Not helped by the fact that I've felt a bit fluish with almost constant headaches (darn hormonal activity) all week.  I suppose dragging myself into work wasn't such a bad thing as I got to sit down for several hours - even the dog looks wasted this week!

Anyways ... my little girl has gone for a sleepover tonight (I think she had sneaked several random bricks into her overnight bag - it weighed a tonne!) so I'm left at home with smelly boys!  It's an easy meal of pizza and pasta (which will please my boy immensely - he lives for his blessed pizza) and easy music on Spotify ... come on down George ...!

George Benson - Lady Love Me (One More Time) ...

Released in 1983 from the album In Your Eyes - I knew this album back to front during my time at Top Shop as they played the tape (yes tape!) constantly whilst we were busy serving customers sporting our turquoise jumpsuits (uniform of the day), stilletoes and big hair!

You know when you want to wind down to something laid back and smooth, well George hits the spot with this tune every time ... !  Have a great weekend and hope you find something to hit your spot!

Jen x

Wednesday 8 January 2014

L'Oreal Elvive Triple Resist Reinforcing Shampoo/Conditioner/Masque - Review


For a time back in November my hair felt like a pile of pants - seemed lifeless, limp, thinner than usual and was falling and breaking off.  I therefore decided to try out a few new products in order to try to improve the overall condition of my hair and sanity...! (Being a complete haircare junkie this didn't seem too painful!).

Kicking off with the L'Oreal Elvive Triple Resist Reinforcing Shampoo, Conditioner and Masque which I picked up from Sainsburys (in desperation!) whilst it was on offer.  I've been using all three for a couple of months so thought I'd sort out a quick review.

A picture of L'Oreal Elvive Triple Resist
A picture of L'Oreal Elvive Triple Resist
A picture of L'Oreal Elvive Triple Resist

Aimed at 'fragile hair with a tendency to fall' (that's me!) the range is enriched with amino acid Arginine and Protein and is said to provide nourishment, strength and restructure from root to tip enabling the hair to become more resilient to breakage - sounds like a dream eh? You can check out further info about the range from L'Oreal's own website here.

So - I've used the shampoo and conditioner since November now and again with my Philip Kingsley Elasticizer (which worked well) and also using the Elvive Triple Resist Masque at least once a week. The products have a pleasant fruity smell, the shampoo lathers well and all three have a nice creamy consistency (the masque being slightly thicker), they rinse out easily and don't leave any noticeable residue.  The instructions say to leave the masque on for 3-5 minutes, I've gone for probably 5 minutes plus and have had decent results.

Now I will just say that I have also started using a lovely new heat protectant which I reckon is also helping with the state of mid lengths/ends (more on that later) but I do think my hair likes this range of products.  I do have to use a volumising product when styling, as although my hair feels very soft, shiny and in overall better condition than before (even more so after using the masque) - sometimes it's a bit too soft (but not lank) to do much with - but not a bad 'soft', just that freshly washed first day feeling!  Also, I don't know whether this is just a fluke but I don't think I'm losing as much hair - I say this because the drain hasn't become blocked with my barnet (a previous regular occurrence) for a good few weeks ... sorry if that's too much info!  Also well worth a mention is that although we're not looking at a sulphate-free range, my scalp has not been irritated or flaky whilst I've been using Triple Resist. I mean it all starts at the scalp - right - so if my scalp is happy it follows that my hair has a better chance?

This is the first time I've used anything from the L'Oreal Elvive range of shampoo/conditioners and in a nutshell I am really pleased with these products. As an inexpensive drugstore range (plus they were on offer when I bought them so worked out at around a ridiculous £2 each for the 400ml shampoo and conditioner and something like £3.50 for the masque) they have performed really well.  I've already repurchased to put away for a rainy day and there is also a reinforcing spray in the range which I'm interested to try out at some stage - told you I was a haircare junkie!

Are you a fan of L'Oreal Elvive? Have you tried the Triple Resist range?

Jen x

Sunday 5 January 2014

2013 Favourites ...


Can it really be a whole year since I did a round up of annual favourites - time flies when you're having 'blogging' fun! I've used quite a few worthwhile products last year but these are the ones that stand out for me ...

Bumble and Bumble Thickening Hairspray - a magazine freebie which has become a firm (not literally!) favourite for volume. I tend to save for special occasions and as soon as I finish my existing plethora of hair products I will repurchase. Review here.
Gatineau Radiance Gommage - this has become my favourite exfoliating product, brightening, smoothing yet gentle - review here.
DHC Deep Cleansing Oil - I first used a travel size on holiday and liked it so much I decided to get the full size. Great cleanser, very effective - review here.
Vichy Aqualia Serum (review here), Vichy Idealia BB Cream (review here) and Vichy Aqualia Thermal Light (review here- I know this must seem like a 'Vichy' tribute but these products really suit my skin, combination/sensitive/dehydrated with eczema prone areas, I'm on my 3rd serum and 2nd pot of cream and will repurchase the BB when it finishes.
Soap & Glory Super-Colour FabuLipstick in Naked Beige my perfect nude,  it's so easy to wear. Review here.
Mally Evercolour Waterproof Eyeliners in Midnight and Black Violet - although I only reviewed this duo at the start of December I've been using them for months and love them to bits, remember the line 'Only the 'crumbliest, flakiest chocolate - tastes like chocolate never tasted before ...' - well substitute the words silkiest, creamiest, eyeliner and application in the appropriate places and you should get the picture! Review here
Liz Earle Superskin Concentrate - a product I've been using for the past few months - a proper plumper! My skin loves it a few times a week under moisturiser. Review will follow.

And lastly, a firm favourite I've gotten back into last year ...

Nice lemons! Yes, the humble yet mighty lemon - I drink a cup of hot boiled water with a few squeezes of lemon juice, first thing, most mornings and I think it really helps to keep skin clear as well as a multitude of other benefits. You get used to the early morning 'zing' (I'm not being rude here!) and I actually miss it when I don't have time to have my lemon water!

So those are my favourites from 2013 that I'm taking into 2014 - have you used any of them?

Jen x

Friday 3 January 2014

Feeling Good With Barry White and Beethoven...!


It's been a bit of a mixed up week in these parts! You know that period when Christmas is over, New Year's Eve comes and then goes, the kids are still off school and the tree still up but holiday adverts are all over the box. Then there is the joy of having to go into work leaving the rest of family at home (ok so the hubby was working from home but still!) and it nearly kills you to get out of bed at what seems like the crack of dawn after sleeping in for over a week! And of course you keep doing that thing (well I do anyway) of 'this time last week I was at the cinema/eating a lovely meal/drinking alcohol/sitting around watching Christmas TV/enjoying myself etc etc! It's all a bit of a 'come down' don't you think?

See what I mean about lovely meals (she sighs) - mum cooked meatball curry and coconut rice for New Year's Day dinner - here it is served with dhal and garnished with fried onions and curry leaves - there was also a mountain of poppadoms lurking out of shot!

So I was trying to think of a feel good track to play today and here's where Barry steps in - I was reminded of this tune (from way back when in 1974) whilst we were watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer last week (Willow was trying to seduce Oz!), it's a real 'feel good' tune and always brings a smile to my face! We need 'feel good' at this time of year don't you think?

Barry White - Can't Get Enough Of Your Love Babe...

Big Chinese tonight with the family, the last of the big suppers for a while as both brothers are off home this weekend - in fact as I finish typing this post my brother Mike is practising Beethoven Moonlight Sonata from one of my old books - see below ...!

What are you up to this weekend? What's your post Christmas 'feel good' track?

Jen x

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