Sunday 27 July 2014

Balance Me Beauty Voyage!


I've gotten through a few Balance Me products in my time ... I think my absolute favourite so far has to be the Balance Me Pure Skin Face Wash which I've used for my morning cleanse since last year.  It's perfect for a zingy pick me up when you're all bleary eyed first thing - whatever the season! You can see my full review here. I have a few other Balance me products yet to try from my stash so next up will be probably be the Facial Expression Filler and Radiance Face Oil ...

This summertime Balance Me are running a campaign aptly named 'Beauty Voyage'.  We're all invited to take pics of our favourite Balance Me products whether holidaying at home or abroad and share over on their Twitter or Facebook page - don't forget to tag your pic with #BalanceMeHome or #BalanceMeAway according to destination! The competition will run over July and August and the best images will be picked each week to win Balance Me prizes!  You can head directly over to Balance Me for further details.

Will you be entering the competition this summertime? What's your favourite Balance Me product?

Jen x

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Anastasia Dipbrow Pomade in Ebony - Review


I've been ever so slightly preoccupied with brows of late and so decided I  needed wanted to get my hands on the Anastasia Dipbrow Pomade.  I had to choose between Dark Brown or Ebony. However ... it was sold out everywhere in Dark Brown (and as I had read that Dark Brown contained warm tones which was not what I was after) I took the plunge with Ebony ...

A picture of the Anastasia Dipbrow Pomade in Ebony
A picture of the Anastasia Dipbrow Pomade in Ebony
A picture of the Anastasia Dipbrow Pomade in Ebony

As you can see Ebony Dipbrow Pomade is a very dark flat brown rather than black. The flat tones are good because any warmth in my brows doesn't work!  It's a bit like using a gel eyeliner I guess as it has a 'mousse/gel' like texture and can be used for a natural looking brow or to create a more defined, sculpted effect. I use my Real Techniques angled brow brush to take a tiny amount onto the back of my hand and work from there - if I used it straight from the pot I'd have a proper Groucho Marx moment! It all seemed a bit fiddly at first and I wondered whether I'd bought too dark a colour but with a bit of practice it works best for me to use short light strokes to fill in the gaps and add density and then tidy up on the shape using the tip of the brush - a good brush is essential! My friend at work commented that my brows looked very natural and it's now surprisingly easy to achieve.

Applied first thing in the morning 'my brows' are still mostly in place after a full day at work and an evening session of body pump - on a hot day the shape does fade a little (on me) at the top of the brow - as my forehead can get a bit oily at times so in this case oil is the enemy!  The pomade does appear to be waterproof though as the swatches I place on my hand each morning take a good couple of sessions of scrubbing with soap and hot water to remove!

A picture of the Anastasia Dipbrow Pomade in Ebony

The pot does seem small for the price of £15/4g but you use so little each time it should last for ages. Maybe just need some kind of 'sealing' product to withstand the current heat - not that I'm complaining or anything!

What are you wearing on your brows at the moment?

Jen x

Saturday 19 July 2014

Just Call Me Rudolph!


Well it's been a jam-packed roller coaster of a week alright and now school's finished I feel like a deflated balloon! And now it's throwing it down with rain so that's even better!  The Y6 party was a great success midweek with all the kids dressed up in their 'sunday best' - was great to see them all bopping and jumping about on the dance floor - and as the weather was so nice they were in and out of the party room playing boisterously outside on the grass - just as children should, whilst the parents had a drink in the beer garden - just as adults should! Seriously though our young ones have a tendency to seem so grown up before their time these days - it was so refreshing to seem them all behaving just as kids!

As for the leavers assembly yesterday - well ... just a bit of background information for you here.  I cried when my kids started and left nursery. Same when they both started school. I also cried when my son left primary so I had a good idea of how yesterday would go!  It was a lovely assembly with the kids reciting their memories of school from reception through to Y6, a reading, a song or two and a slide show of the kids photos we'd all provided from reception to current day! As you can imagine it was a proper and I mean PROPER  'Kleenex fest' ... need I say more! My blogging bud Sharron from Style At Every Age left this comment on last weeks post ... 'Been there done that, it's hell on earth. Poor you I sympathise' ... I can confirm that this is an accurate description ... I am so no good at holding it in and resembled Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer by the time it was over!

My girl has also been a bit down with all the build up so this one's for her - she and her friends have done many a 'Wake-Up/Shake-Up' to this tune in the school playground over the last few months as well as bouncing around to it the other night at their party ...

Pharrell Williams - Happy ...

And on a 'happy' (sort of) note I can confirm that my Bourjois Volume One Seconde Waterproof Mascara held up it's end of the deal admirably - it didn't budge despite being saturated many times for most of the afternoon - full review will follow shortly!

How's your end of term been mums? Did you need your waterproof mascara?

Jen x

Monday 14 July 2014

Bare Minerals Warmth All-Over Face Colour - Review


Bare Minerals Warmth is described as an 'All-Over Face Colour' and can be used as a blusher, bronzer, eye or lip colour ... I've stuck to using as a bronzer ...

A picture of Bare Minerals Warmth
A picture of Bare Minerals Warmth
A picture of Bare Minerals Warmth

I own the original 'loose powder' version which comes in a lockable sifter to save on mess - that is unless you forget to lock it and then tip it upside down  - I speak from experience! You can  use in a 'figure of  8' or 'E and 3' along the forehead, cheekbone and chin to achieve a bit of shape or more sculpted effect (this is about as adventurous as I get with the contouring thing!) or just dust a little over cheekbones and nose, sweeping the excess over the rest of the face (and down the neck and decolletage) for a more sun kissed look.  It has a velvety finish, with no shimmer or glitter and once applied there is no orange (despite the above swatch) or muddiness. I've worn over a BB or full foundation (it lasts a good few hours), mixed with a little powder blusher or applied a bit of cream blush over the top for a more dewy effect.  Many a time have I reached for Warmth when I'm a bit grey/washed out or feel like my base is too pale and need an injection of healthy colour.  I use (in various degrees of moderation) all year round but you can really go to town in Summer if beach bronzed is your thang!

Just shoved a bit on here and my daughter has already pointed out that I have a pimple on my check which I don't appear to have attempted to conceal. I told her it's because I'm keeping it real ...!

A picture of Bare Minerals Warmth

If ever there was a product more aptly named it's this one as it really does warm up and enhance the complexion - it may look a little deep and dark in the pot but it can be used on all skin tones - the trick is to use the tiniest amount and build it up if you want a deeper colour.  I own a few products from Bare Minerals but I reckon Warmth is one of my favourites from their range - if not my favourite? A definite repurchase!

Have you tried Bare Minerals Warmth? Which is your favourite bronzer this summer?

Jen x

Saturday 12 July 2014

I Didn't Cry but I'm Gonna...!!


No - it's true ... amazingly I didn't cry buckets at last week's Summer Show performance! Only welled up a little as the kids were singing the closing number!  I was so intent on filming the show and trying to focus is not easy at times when your eyes are losing their long sighted ability!

It was the best school Summer Show I've seen - based around the children's last day of school whilst they remembered their years in Primary ie comical sketches of past infant nativities, frantic registrations and school trips - the kids acted it out tongue in cheek to a tee and made us all laugh (and cry in some cases!).

I had asked our Y6 teacher if we could please have a cheerful song to finish the show - instead of the usual emotional ballads that have us crying buckets ... luckily she obliged with this one ...

We're All In This Together ...

So glad it was upbeat and bouncy - the kids all sang and bobbed around on stage with their pom poms and did us proud  - they are growing up so fast ...!

A frantic last week of school ahead - only 5 more drop offs/pick ups at Primary!  School picnic and walk/pilgrimage to a local church/abbey, Y6 leavers party, school leavers assembly, that will be mascara carnage - that's the one where even the 'hardest' of the mums are expecting to have a cry.  The kids have to take pics of their reception days in to make a collage - once I set eyes on the display that will be it - the Bourjois Waterproof mascara will really be put to the test as I'm even welling up just typing this and listening to the above track - think it will always remind me of my daughter's Primary days now - ahhh I'm so pathetic!!

It's going to be an emotional week and I'm going to be an emotional wreck so any useful tips on self control would be greatly appreciated!

Jen x

Wednesday 9 July 2014

Bargain/Budget Buys, Bourjois and Freebies ...!


If you read my last post re 'Shopping my Stash' then you are probably thinking 'there is no hope!' However, you can't pass up on a bargain (or three) can you - even if it means adding to your bulging stash?  Anyway ... apologies for a slightly picture heavy post here ... I should also point out that these items were not purchased all at once but over a reasonable period of time ...!

First up Primark bargain footwear - a quid for the flip flops ... crazy!

I had a H&M gift card so bagged myself a much needed sun-hat for holiday ...

Superdrug hand creams are supercheap anyway but were on offer buy one get one half price. L'Oreal Expertise Heat Protection Spray half price at Tesco and I've been wanting to try their own brand of dry shampoo for a while ...

Also had a TKMaxx voucher which I put towards this baby. Ok so it's not leather but you know when you just like the way something feels in your hand (!) - I love the colour, the style and the way it hangs ...!

Limited myself to two magazine freebies - not bad considering there are tonnes out there this month! Red mag has the Rodial Stemcell Super-Food Glam Balm (how long?) for lips and could not for the life of me find any Clinique Chubby Stick freebies with Glamour so plumped for the High Impact mascara ...

And last but not least ... Bourjois goodies on 3 for 2 plus free sunglasses at Boots.  I'm blaming my daughter for this one (sort of)! We have the school summer show this week and the Y6 class will be playing all the lead roles in the performance - singing, dancing etc.  Mums will be crying ... I know this because I cry (a little) every year at the show when other people's kids are singing their farewells to the school ... this one is going to be agony! Cue the Bourjois 1 Second Volume Waterproof Mascara - let's see how it fares ... if all else fails guess I could stick the sunglasses on!

Have you picked up any bargain/budget buys recently? Any tips for composure during sentimental school concerts would be greatly appreciated!

Jen x

Sunday 6 July 2014

Shopping That Stash #1


Don't know about you but one thing I have a lot of is 'stash'! My problem is, more often than not, apart from maybe skincare - I'm easily distracted and move onto the next thing ...and then the next!  Thought it was high time I tackled the situation so here are a few stashed products I've been trying to make a dent in ...!

Lee Stafford Hair Growth Treatment - pretty sure this is a repurchase from ages ago.  It got shoved to the back of the cupboard maybe because it's used in-between shampoo and conditioner as an extra 'middle' step. I decided to make time to add this in a couple of weeks ago and I'm glad I did! It left my hair noticeably softer after going through a dry phase.  Now I remember why I repurchased - maybe I'll repurchase again and test out the 'hair growth' aspect properly!

Nivea Creme - I have a couple of pots of this age old classic (knowing me they will have been on offer!). I dug one out a few months ago when my poor feet were suffering from the effects of wintertime! Been slathering it on most nights after a bath/shower and shoving on a pair of socks.  It's worked absolute wonders on my dry, cracked, painful heels (don't worry I'm not going to show you a before and after!) and rendered my feet fit to be seen in public! The pot is still going strong, it's cheap and cheerful, lasts for ages and does the job -  I think this will be a repurchase!

Clinique Pore Minimizer Instant Perfector in Invisible Deep - again, can't remember when I bought this, easily a couple of years ago.  It's matte golden-beige in colour and can be used under/over foundation or on it's own to conceal those open pores etc. It works well on my nose (probably as it's a bit oily - nice!) but tends to roll off and accentuate any drier areas so I use in moderation here and there, under a BB or light foundation - probably why it's lasted so long!

Balance Me Rose Otto Intensive Lip Salve - most will be aware of the super strong taste of this lip balm? It's actually a bit too strong a flavour for my liking - which is why I let it lie for a while. However I recently decided to just 'get over it' and it's actually an amazing lip hydrator. It sticks around to keep the lips hydrated even after eating and drinking (and blotting!). Just need to ignore the intense turkish delight taste!

John Frieda Brilliant Brunette Shine Shock -  my hair product collection is verging on the ridiculous so let's make a start with the Shine Shock! I have to use sparingly - only a tiny blob, blob-ette even through mid lengths and ends. It's clear and has a jelly-like texture and does a good job of smoothing frizzy hair down, adding shine and a bit of definition. So yep - no idea why I left it so long to use up but the main thing I'm enjoying using it now!

Marks & Spencer Limited Collection Nail Polish in Pink - this is also a couple of years old and a great hot pink for summertime! Surprisingly it hasn't gone at all gloopy after all this time. It has a standard size brush, goes on very easily and dries quickly with really good coverage. Lasts pretty well too - I actually don't know why I don't own more of these polishes at £3.50, will definitely be looking at some other colours next time I'm in M&S!

So that's the start of my stash series ... yes I fear this will have to be a series! Have you been shopping your stash recently? Please tell me you have a lot of stash too?!

Jen x

Friday 4 July 2014

The Magic Number ...!


Last Monday morning saw me at the school gates with the other Y6 mums waving my girl off on her week long residential trip.  I was composed -even after a last minute hug as she walked past wheeling her bulging suitcase which seemed to contain our kitchen sink! I was composed until the tiny reception and Y1/Y2 kiddies (they are so tiny!) came out to wave and cheer (what they consider to be) the 'big' kids off! Yep it's my fellow school mum's fault too because she started with a tear or two after pointing out how emotional it was and then I started - thanks goodness for sunnies in these situations!

Had to have a mini blogging break (this may be a bit of a ramble!) - as the girl wanted her room redecorating it seemed sensible to do it whilst she was away - so last week saw me on hands and knees or up a ladder paintbrush in hand. I was in charge of woodwork and the hubby did the walls. You know when the majority of the furniture is in the middle of the room (including wardrobes) leaving only a narrow gap to manoeuvre both yourself and a man of average size and build through - it reminded the hubby of how much he dislikes decorating! The exasperated huffing and puffing, sighs and tuts he emitted had me giggling hysterically as we struggled to get past each other, trying to beat the clock, in the confined spaces (I hate confined spaces anyway!). Reminds me of all the times he has had to put together self-assembly furniture and also those annual occasions just before Christmas as he tries to get the tree to stand up straight in the pot!   Here's the finished room - in two colours (by request) no less...!

A picture of a bedroom

Anyway, decorating done, my girl was due back today and I couldn't wait to see her ... so up we went to school at the designated time - to be told we'd all (the parents) read the letter wrong and the time was 3/4 hour  later. Went back a second time - then received a text from school to say the coach was delayed and would be another hour. Went back for a third time and there she was finally clutching her 'kitchen sink' suitcase!!  So in this case three really is The Magic Number ...!

What a superb track and how fantastic to see De La Soul grooving on down on The One Show the other night!  Right - off to persuade the hubby that we need fish and chips tonight - really don't feel like cooking and I have a suitcase full of damp dirty clothes to wash - I'm told there was a water fight on the last evening - nice!  I should also point out that as we 'speak' the bed in the above pic. is now littered once again with loom bands ... she's back!

Have a great weekend!

Jen x

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