Friday 28 November 2014

Driving To Work With Pete Tong ...!


Driving into work on these dark, grey mornings is so depressing and at times I need something to get my ass and mind in gear! The Pete Tong Collection seems to be a near permanent fixture in my car and our Pete's kept me going this week with his selection of 'banging tunes' ...

Eric Prydz - Pjanoo ... 

This has got to be one of my favourites on the album (the video is a tad weird but I'm concentrating on the track!) ... it has that trance/euphoric/uplifting vibe to it which make me want to turn it right up and play on repeat - played three times in a row the other morning - how sad is that - obviously I need to download a lengthy club mix!

Don't you just want to stand on stage in a club and 'give it some' to those crescendos?!  Rather difficult to achieve whilst driving into work! Still ... I arrived at my destination on a 'dance music high'  ... doesn't last long once in the office and presented with your work for the day but anyway!

What do you like to listen to on your way to work? Do you like to arrive on a 'dance music high'?

Jen x

Wednesday 26 November 2014

The Smallest Haul ...!


Did anyone witness any actual daylight today because it seems like twilight has descended upon us - hate this grey, murky, damp weather - my hair hates it too!  Unfortunately, according to the long term weather forecast things don't look much better over the next few days, not one 'sunshine' symbol to be seen (in these parts anyway!), only pesky black cloud - pants!

Anyway - just a few bits and pieces I've picked up over the last few weeks here ... been trying to restrain myself but you know when an 'offer' hits you in the face - sometimes one has to do that thang ...!

OGX Anti-Breakage Keratin Oil Shampoo/Conditioner & Biotin & Collagen Thick and Full Oil Treatment - I've been wanting to try more from OGX after using their Hydrating Macadamia Oil range in the Summer - review here. When Boots had one of their 3 for 2 offers on I dithered around over which to choose (there are so many!) but finally went for anti-breakage and thick and full!  I've already dipped into the oil - call me a bad blogger for doing so before taking the photograph but I couldn't wait!

Gatineau Floracil Eye Make-Up Remover - a firm favourite,  as you will know if you read my blog!  I spotted this kit on offer at £18 from John Lewis this weekend and jumped straight to it - no P+P either as I had it delivered to my local Waitrose to collect! A 400ml bottle plus 50ml travel size plus a make-up bag was a complete no-brainer - as the 400 ml usually comes in at around £22-24.  I was so tempted to order two sets but held back - this supersize will last for months so I can relax for a while!

Tell me ... if you were to pop into Boots for just the one item of make-up ie the Maybelline Color Tattoo Cream Gel Eyeshadow in Permanent Taupe and realise the 3 for 2 is across all make-up brands - would you a) just stick to the original item and walk away ... or b) grab another two products of similar value ie Sleek Make-Up Eau La La Liners in Cocoa and Molasses and come home with the three?  No prizes for guessing which path I followed ...!

Last but not least I finally got to H&M last week to take advantage of my 20% discount card with Glamour magazine.  Red mohair mix sweater - may end up being my Christmas Day jumper - just love the colour!  Fitted denim shirt - need to get my thinking cap on and style this with something other than my usual/perpetual jeans - is double denim acceptable these days?  I don't want to resemble a member of Status Quo!  Suggestions from you lovely fashion bloggers welcome! Orange woolly hat - to brighten my barnet up on a dull day! Thanks again Glamour!

What have you picked up recently? Did you get hold of the 20% H&M Discount card? Double denim - yes or no?

Jen x

Sunday 23 November 2014

Clinique High Impact Mascara - Review


Believe it or not I seem to have 'calmed down' a little when it comes to buying mascara - I've found a couple that work well but still can't resist the odd magazine freebie - guess I'm not on my own there!  The Clinique High Impact Mascara (in black) was included with the Glamour magazine back in the Summer.  Described as a 'multi-benefit' mascara it's meant to add maximum volume, definition and length ...

A picture of Clinique High Impact Mascara
A picture of the Clinique High Impact Mascara

Not sure you can tell from this pic but the brush is a bit longer than I'm used to and the bristles are a little more splayed out. Maybe this is why it doesn't add as much volume as I was expecting but more length and definition?  The formula is pretty standard, a bit thin and didn't really do much at all when first opened but now it's had chance to thicken up a bit it works much better.  Easy enough to apply, not too bad on the clump front as long as the excess has been scraped from the brush, a decent black pigment (as you would expect) and stays on all day, no flaking or smudging. Extra coats can be applied later on - again - following a 'good scrape'!   For some reason though I can't get right into the inner corner of my eye to catch those super-tiny lashes, the brush doesn't seem to pick them up, not sure why, maybe it's the bristles? I've tried on numerous occasions but can't seem to get the knack - annoying!

Lashes before and after below ...

A picture of the Clinique High Impact Mascara

So ... I'm a bit on the fence ... it's not a bad mascara but maybe I was expecting something a bit more 'in yer face' with the whole 'high impact' thing and all?  I'd not pay £17.50 for the full size but luckily this sample cost me just £2.00 with good ol' Glamour ...!

Have you tried the Clinique High Impact Mascara? Which is your favourite at the moment?

Jen x

Wednesday 19 November 2014

Autumn/Winter Nails ... Neutrals


I don't know about you but when it comes to nail polish I try to hang onto my Summer brights for as long as possible and since we were lucky enough to have that bit of Indian Summer not too long ago they stuck around for that bit longer than usual!  I tend to ease myself into the new season gradually (and somewhat reluctantly since I'm a proper 'Summer lover'!) moving onto neutral polishes,  and eventually the deeps!  Of course, you can obviously wear whatever the hell you want on your nails throughout any season and depending on your mood but this is just how I tend to roll ... generally!

So here's what I've picked out from my current stash - different depths here but I consider all these to be in the 'neutral zone' ...

From left to right...

Nails Inc - Basil Street
Maybelline Forever Strong - Taupe Couture
Leighton Denny - Supermodel
Barry M Matte Nail Paint - Mocha
M&S Limited Collection Nail Polish - Putty

And here they are on ... as always a rushed paint job (on a Sunday and I had to get a chicken in the oven shortly after - as you do!) ... but you get the general picture ...

Basil Street is the palest and reminds me of Baileys Irish Cream - usually need three coats with this one.  Haven't used Taupe Couture for ages and it's a deeper shade than I remembered but still has that flat brown/neutral vibe.  Supermodel is quite new and one of the thinnest polishes  I've tried but very easy to apply.  Mocha is unfortunately the least long lasting but I still love the matte effect.  Putty is my newest edition (you can see my NOTD here).

Must invest in a couple of those 'nail wheel' contraptions I know some of you use for these types of posts - would certainly make things easier when there's a Sunday dinner to cook!

What are your favourite Autumn nail polishes?  Do you cross over with neutrals or dip straight into the deeps?

Jen x

Saturday 15 November 2014

Have A Funky Good Time with Brother Strut!


Brother Strut are an up and coming funk and soul band, formed in 2012, we're talking real musicians, real instruments, real music!  The members have collectively performed on records that have sold over half-a-billion copies.  Not only has this line-up played on numerous hit singles and albums, they’ve also worked for the likes of Van Morrison, Stevie Wonder, Herbie Hancock, Madonna, Elton John, Sting, George Michael, Robbie Williams, Al Green, Level 42 and Amy Winehouse ... the list goes on!  Find out more about Brother Strut right here!

If, like me, you're a lover of  'proper' music and like to 'get your groove on' every now and again then have a listen to this ...

Good grief how funky?  Brother Strut are performing live in London at the Brooklyn Bowl, O2 on Wednesday 3rd December.  I was invited down to the gig and I can tell you if I lived in or around the London area I'd have been there like a shot!  Sadly it's at the wrong end of the country for me but you can win one of 5 pairs of tickets to attend the gig by entering here.

I'm so envious!  Let me know if you manage to get to see Brother Strut,  I bet it will be an amazing night of pure groovetastic sounds!

Good luck to everyone!

Jen x

Wednesday 12 November 2014

Natural Collection Blushed Cheeks in Rosey Glow - Review


This is my Natural Collection Blushed Cheeks Blusher in Rosey Glow.   I once read that it is a reasonable dupe for Benefit Dallas, which I've used, loved and finished a good long while ago but have never got round to repurchasing.  I dithered around for ages over Rosey Glow and then picked it up the other week after reminding myself that it was only £1.99!

A picture of the Natural Collection Blushed Cheeks in Rosey Glow
A picture of the Natural Collection Blushed Cheeks in Rosey Glow
A picture of the Natural Collection Blushed Cheeks in Rosey Glow

This does seem like one of the palest blush powders I've bought.  A fleshy pink in the pan with a touch of the nude vibe? It's not matte, nor shimmery but verges on 'ever so slightly pearly' in finish. The pigment is surprisingly good but I do have to layer it up a little to achieve a decent 'flush' of colour - being a bit darker skinned and all.  Buffing it in with my Real Techniques Blusher Brush seems to work well, although I do find the formula a little powdery - it fluffs up 'Puff the Magic Dragon Style' when you touch the brush to the pan so a good blow/tap is advisable before applying but it lasts well on - most of the day in fact (again surprisingly) - without going patchy.  Rosey Glow does have a tendency to look a bit 'candy pink' when swatched but once on, it's actually quite a flattering tone, not overly colourful on my skin tone but with a pleasant warmth to it, which is sometimes all you want/need on your kite - particularly at this time of year when skin can start to look a little grey?

Swatched below and blended above ...

A picture of the Natural Collection Blushed Cheeks in Rosey Glow

And on the kite ... ignoring the shocking dark circles please ...!

A picture of the Natural Collection Blushed Cheeks in Rosey Glow

And here's a quick swatch of Benefit Dallas on the left and Rosey Glow on the right - only snapped on my phone in Boots (as you do - hence the weird angle and bad lighting!).  Dallas is much deeper with more of a burnished tone to it don't you think?

A picture of Benefit Dallas and Natural Collection Blushed Cheeks in Rosey Glow

Anyway back to Rosey Glow ... overall I think this a very decent little pot of blusher, especially considering it's £1.99 - isn't that the price of a Starbucks Cappuccino (my favourite by the way!)?  It's a great 'everyday product' and is one that I could probably apply in the semi-darkness of the morning without making too many mistakes - now there's a challenge!

Have you  tried any Natural Collection Blushed Cheeks colours?  What do you think of Rosey Glow?

Jen x

Friday 7 November 2014

Cheese Series #2 - A 90's Girl High ...!


It's Friday (yipee!) so I needed a happy tune and this is the one ... you know when something from the past just pops into your brain at random and you can't get it out!  I'm going all the way back to 1991 here so youngsters won't have a clue ... you older peeps may well remember though! The weather is dull and gloomy but inside the sun is shining and I'm bouncing along ... (not literally - I don't 'bounce' in that way - unfortunately) but you get the picture ... have a listen ...

Amy Grant - Baby Baby  ....

My hubby dislikes this kind of tune ... it's one for the girls after all ... with a proper dose of corny lyrics ...
Baby, baby, the stars are shining for you, and just like me I'm sure that they adore you
Baby, baby, go walking through the forest, the birds above a' singing you a chorus ...
See what I mean!  Have to say I would never have thought to verse my feelings for the hubby quite so poetically, whilst walking through a forest or otherwise!  Corn aside what a happy tune, happy cheesy corny tune don't you think?  It makes me smile, sway and sing along every time and I've always loved all those key changes since 1991, good grief I was so young and everything was so plump and fresh back then!    And see that magnificent corkscrew perm of Amy's? I was the proud owner of a very similar creation (as I'm sure many of us were) - the more defined the curl the better - remember? Also had a pair of those slightly questionable stone-wash high waisted jeans too ...!  Didn't we all?!

Can't help myself - been singing out loud at the top of my voice all day, doing the hoovering, loading the dishwasher, even running up to the loo ... the dog thinks I've gone mad!  Laugh if you will ...who cares I'm on a '90s girl' high!!

Do you remember this tune? Has it brought back memories of  corkscrew perms and stone-wash high waisters? Are you on a '90's girl' high right now?

Jen x

Wednesday 5 November 2014

October Empties!


How can it be Bonfire Night already?  I happened to casually point out to the girls at work that 'this time in a couple of months Christmas/New Year will be all over and done with' ... and was told to shut up!  Anyway ... on with last month's empties ...

L'Oreal Paris Hair Expertise Everstrong No Sulphates Shampoo and Nourishing Intense Mask - I really like this range - I reviewed it back in March here and have used it on and off since then, in between other products. I still have some of the standard conditioner (always the case with conditioner!) but have finished up the shampoo and mask.  I like the way this makes my hair feel and will repurchase at some stage to dip in and out of whenever I feel the need to replenish and revitalise!

Balance Me Pure Skin Face Wash  - love this as a morning face wash - it's so zingy and refreshing! Leaves my skin soft with no dry or tight feeling, Full review here and I've already repurchased!

Gatineau Defilift 3D Eye Contour Cream - I do like this cream for a.m. use. Firming and tightening is important when you get to my age and I do feel like it does the job quite nicely, however, this bottle must have been a 'dud'! I've used quite a few Gatineau products and although quite pricey, they usually last for ages making them worthwhile.  This, however, has already run out after not long at all and it's not as if I've used loads as you only need a small amount - I think it must have been half full - big disappointment! 

Elemis Melting Cleansing Gel - another favourite cleanser that's had it's tube cut to scrape every last bit out!  Works well as a morning face wash but was also very effective as a refreshing and purifying evening cleanser.  I do switch to cleansing oil for winter nights but will repurchase to use come Spring/Summer.

Organic Surge Orange Flower Toner - I won this in a giveaway held by my young blogging buddy Sasha at Ramblings of a Beauty Bird.  A lovely hydrating toner suitable for sensitive skin with a subtle orange flower scent at a brilliant price of only £7.50/200ml.  I'm currently finishing off a travel size of the Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic but will be repurchasing this one I'm sure!

Dr Jart V7 Turnover Booster - technically used up in September so should have been included in last month's empties - whoops! I really like this for use  during the warmer months as it's cooling and refreshing and revitalises the skin.  Review here.

Clarins Blue Orchid Oil Face Treatment Oil and Liz Earle Superskin Concentrate - a couple of little gems! Been using up these sample sizes under moisturiser at night.  Love my facial oils once the weather turns.  Full reviews are here and here

Mandara Spa Island Paradise Moisturising Shower Gel - trying to make a dent in my huge shower gel stash. This one is so refreshing with all those grapefruits and lemons!  I can see me repurchasing at some stage - I have soft spot for Mandara Spa!

Have you tried any of these products? What have you used up last month?

Jen x

Sunday 2 November 2014

Cooking with Gourmet Gorman - Roasted Pumpkin stuffed with Lamb Mince & Chickpea Curry - a Halloween Special ...!


I couldn't let Halloween weekend go by without a quick post based around my 'musician brother' Mike's (aka Gourmet Gorman)  'frightful' culinary antics - the video is a few years old from his Cooking with Gourmet Gorman series and this particular one is the Halloween Special ... !

Roasted pumpkin stuffed with lamb mince and chickpea curry ... I don't think I need say anymore ... apart from it's absolute bonkers! I'll let the maestro do the talking now shall I ...?

Yes I know ... what can I say ... my brother is a nutter! You can see the extremely fine line between genius/insanity thing can't you?  The dish looks good though!

Hope you've enjoyed Halloween weekend! What have you been cooking?

Jen x

Saturday 1 November 2014

NOTD - M&S Limited Collection Nail Polish in Putty

Bonjour ...

I've not done a NOTD for a while now - actually haven't bought a new nail polish for a while ... I was trying to 'shop my stash' but this all changed last week when I popped into M&S to pick up some edible goodies (as you do!) and then all of a sudden found myself in the beauty department - which is on a totally different floor ... how this happened I have no idea! The Limited Collection Quick Dry Nail Polishes (which are only £3.50 anyway) were on offer at buy one get one half price - after this discovery it all went downhill ... or uphill whichever way you look at it ... I'm waffling again aren't I...?

This is one of shades I picked up ...Marks & Spencer Limited Collection Nail Polish in Putty ...

A picture of the Marks & Spencer Limited Collection Nail Polish in Putty
A picture of the Marks & Spencer Limited Collection Nail Polish in Putty
A picture of the Marks & Spencer Limited Collection Nail Polish in Putty

No idea why I don't own more of the Limited Collection Nail Polishes as I have a bit of a soft spot for them - I find them really quick and easy to apply - the brush is user-friendly and the formula just the right consistency.  It's opaque in two coats, has a good glossy finish and is touch dry in a jiffy.  They also last quite well on with a decent base and top coat which is always a bonus!  Putty comes out with a richer purple hue than I expected from the bottle but has a touch of grey mixed in which gives it that bit more of a flat/neutral vibe which I really like - a good Autumn nail colour!

Have you tried the M&S Limited Collection Nail Polishes? Will you be buying any new Autumn nail colours?

Jen x

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