Thursday, 30 June 2011

"Colin, would you like to give me a makeover?"

Those were the, perhaps slightly foolish, words I uttered to Colin a couple of evenings ago. Today has seen my littlest man whisked off to his Nanny and Grandad's for 3 days and nights (yes, I missed him the second he left, and yes I probably will shed some tears), so with the house to ourselves and no money with which to go out and spend, the makeover process commenced.

After whining that he didn't like what I have, and that, I quote, he "is used to working with more colours than this", Colin set to work transforming me from this... this (behold ladies and gentlemen, for I, am a sight for sore eyes)...

Now, when you've all picked yourselves up from rolling on the floor laughing, I don't think he did that bad of a job...I mean, aside from those bruised looking eyes of course! The base, blush, eyeliner and lips are pretty good (I think the flash is on his side and washed out some of the slightly too heavy handed blusher application!). I don't know exactly what products he used, but the lip colour is from a Victoria Jackson palette, and I actually really like it!

Oh, and yes, I am sitting here writing this looking like that! The initial brief was to create a look he'd like me to wear out for dinner with him...suffice to say, despite his efforts and a lot of blaming insufficient choice, he is refusing to let me go out like this! Can't say I blame him, but hey, it was a bloody good laugh!

We've got the drum & bass on loud, and are enjoying the remainder of our Thursday evening. I hope this put a smile on your faces!
*Disclaimer: This is NOT my own work, although I did think up all of the words by myself, aren't I clever?!

UPDATED: Blog Sale #3

I really want/need to shift these last few items languishing in my collection, so am listing these items again, with some additions, at reduced prices. Everything must go!

  • Items will be sold on a first come, first serve basis. If I do not receive payment within 48 hours of you requesting an item, it will either be re-listed or offered to anyone else showing interest. 
  • Please leave a comment telling me what you want, and your PayPal email address so that I can send you an invoice. I will post your items 2nd class and all will be well packaged in bubble wrap. 
  • Prices shown do not included the P&P charge.
  • Postage will be charged at £2.50 per item unless otherwise stated, or combined if you buy more than one item. UK residents preferred, so please state if you are an international buyer and I will calculate the shipping costs for you.
  • I can not be held responsible for any breakages or damage that occur in the post, I'm not Royal Mail (thankfully!). I will no accept returns and do not offer refunds - so if you don't want it, or can't pay, don't ask!
  • Thank you! Happy shopping! 

Some of the photos got a bit squished and squashed, apologies!

     Revlon Beyond Natural Skin Matching Makeup SPF15 (foundation with a light coverage) in shade 210 Light - hard to tell how much remains, but I don't think I've actually used it, so I'd say 90% + (it may well be unused!) - £1.50
    Origins Zero Oil - 60-70% remaining - £4.00

    Revlon Nail Enamel in shades (094) Midnight Affair - used twice - and (031) Lilac Pastelle - used once - £2.00 each
     Maybelline Pure Blush Mineral in shades 40 Quartz Peach (middle) and *SOLD* 20 Moonlight Mauve - both still almost as full as when I bought them, they are never full to the top so hard to say how much is left! - £2.00 each
    Avon Nailwear Pro in Golden Twilight (left) and Splendid (right) - BRAND NEW NEVER BEEN USED OR SWATCHED - £1.00 each
     Maybelline Colour Sensational Lipsticks in 770 Brown Attitude (left) - never used, only swatched on hand; 338 Midnight Plum - used 2/3 times max - £1.50 each
    OPI Alice in Wonderland Nail Lacquer in Absolutely Alice and Off With Her Red MINIS - used twice - £2.00 each

    The Body Shop *SOLD* Blush Trio in shade Cool Dusk - £2.00; *REMOVED* Eye Trio in shade Moonlight Lustre (left) - £1.00 and Eye Trio in Sundown Glow - £1.00. All are still domed but have been used quite a few times, you can't really tell because a little goes a long way.

    Sally Hansen Natural Growth Activator - 90% remaining - and No7 Stay Perfect Nail Colour in shade Damson Dream - used 4/5 times - £1.00 each

    The Body Shop Eye Definer in shade Vibrant Emerald - used a fair amount but never sharpened, so it's practically new in that sense and The Body Shop Sparkle Eyeliner in a sparkly green colour - swatched on my hand only - £1.00 each

     Stila It Glosses in 03 'enchanting' (top) and 06 'ravishing' (bottom) - both barely used, 95% remaining - £2.00 each
    Barry M Silver Kohl Pencil - swatched once - £1; Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On eye pencils in *SOLD* Lust (bottom) and Covet (middle) - used a couple of times each - £2.00 each

     Playboy lipglosses in 79 Liquid Luxe Grenadine Dream (left) and 90 Hef's Favourite Playmate Pink - both barely used - £1.50 each
    Bourjois Shimmering Shine Liquid Eyeshadow in shade 32 'brun magnetique' - 80% + remaining - £1.50
     Gosh On Stage Cool Lip Jam in 101 (top) - 80% remaining - £2.00 - and Nicola Roberts Dainty Doll Plumping Gloss in Hibiscus - 90% remaining - £2.00

    Barry M Fine Glitter Dust (number has rubbed off, a gunmetal colour) - 70% + remaining; a Lilac VIP Dazzle Dust - FREE TO ANYONE WHO BUYS ANOTHER DAZZLE DUST - 90% remaining; Dazzle Dust 85 (possibly, number has worn off - it's white!) - 90% remaining; Dazzle Dust 91 - 85% remaining - £1.50 each

    Me Me Me Shimmy Shimmer Gold Shimmer - used but still plenty remaining - £1.50

    Tuesday, 28 June 2011

    FOTD: Benefit Benetint

    I don't normally do the whole 'Face of the Day' thing on my blog, partly because I don't feel I'm 'interesting' enough with my make up these days to warrant dedicating a post to it, and partly because I spend ages trying to get a decent photo of my mug only to be disappointed with how 99.9% of them turn out. I'm not sure if the fault there lies with my face or the camera...anyway, I digress. I recently picked up two of the Benefit miniatures that were free with UK Glamour magazine, and I'm really loving using them. I'll do a more in depth product review for them both very soon, but what better way to demonstrate my love for them than with an actual photo of them on my actual face?!

    As I have mentioned before, I'm a little bit in love with the Instagram app for Apple gadgets (iPhones, iPads and the like), and after taking some not so brilliant shots of my face one morning I decided to give them an Instagram makeover. The colours aren't totally true to life, but the emphasis has been put on the lips, which is exactly where I wanted it to be, and the colour is pretty spot on to how it actually looked.  

    I'm wearing:
    Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation
    Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay In Place Concealer
    MAC MSF Natural
    Max Factor False Lash Effect Mascara
    Benefit Benetint as a cheek and lip stain

    I've discovered a new liking for multi-purpose make up products, are there any others you think I should try?

    "Ooo, you smell lovely..."

     The Body Shop
    Vanilla Body Mist

    Simple things please simple minds, as they say, and never has a truer word been spoken than when in reference to my latest fragrance love. It's not an expensive designer or the latest celebrity perfume that I'm coveting, oh no, it's a humble body spray.

    I've reviewed many a product from The Body Shop in my time, they are a brand I will always like, their ethos and product quality speak for themselves. That aside, when I was sorting through my 'box of wonder', I came across this Vanilla Body Mist looking sadly neglected and wondered why on earth I hadn't remembered I had it. Vanilla is one of my all time favourite scents, there is something so comforting, wearable and slightly sexy about it, and the musky undertones always linger on my skin for so long. 

    Typically a body spray is not going to be a long lasting scent choice, and I would use them more for a quick freshen up (especially on hot days that provoke undesirable but unavoidable perspiration), however this scent really does seem to be pretty durable on my skin. I've been wearing this in place of perfume over the last week or two, with one or two quick top up sprays throughout the day, and everywhere I've been people have said "ooo, you smell lovely, what are you wearing?". I don't know about you, but the more compliments I get, the more I'll wear something, so this has just risen even higher on it's little pedestal for me at the moment!

    This retails for £7.00 in the UK currently, which I'll admit I do think is a little pricey for a humble body spray, however given how long the scent lingers on the skin I think this is pretty darn good value for money.

    What products are you raving about at the moment? Have you tried any of The Body Shop Body Mists?

    *Disclaimer: I purchased this with my own money, albeit a long while ago! I'm not affiliated with The Body Shop in any way, I just genuinely have a lotta love for them!

    If you go down to the woods today...

    NOTD: Nails Inc 'London'

     Nails Inc & 17
    Diet Coke 'London'  & Glitter Top Coat

    Apologies for the not-so-great iPhone quality photograph, but although I'm a pathological photo taker, I'm also someone who always forgets to charge my camera battery!

    I was inspired by Fee's recent post on sparkly top coats to hunt down one of mine (sadly I don't have as many as Fee, and my nails aren't as nice either). I've had this 17 polish for years, probably from my geeky, awkward teenager days, but this polish is still going strong without a gloop in sight!

    I used to diss Nails Inc polishes for quite some time, and I think I was won back around by them after their first collaboration with Diet Coke, and the four 'free with purchase' shades. Nails Inc polishes never used to last more than 24 hours on me, and I'm not sure if they changed the formula, or if my nails changed, but now I really dig the formulation and finish. I've got quite a collection now actually, mostly because they are super generous with their 'freebies'. The Diet Coke collaboration (from the first and second collections) are actually some of my very favourite nail polishes, and I love this particular shade. It's not a beige, it's not a grey, it's not a brown, it's not a mauve, it's not a's a little bit of everything and it's incredibly wearable. 

    The glitter wasn't exactly the 'bling bling' sparkly effect I was hoping for, but it was something different, and made felt girly and feminine. 

    *I actually have 5 coats of nail polish on here, 2 of Nails Inc, 2 of the glitter and one coat of OPI top coat! Wowzers!

    A Review: Garnier Intensive 7 Days

     Garnier Intensive 7 Days Ultra-Softening Lotion
    Dry to extra-dry skin

    What Do I Think?
    Garnier are making some bold claims with this moisturiser. On the front of the bottle it clearly states "skin feels intensely hydrated for up to 7 days", so your average consumer might think "wow, I want me a piece of this, a lotion I can feel the effects of for 7 days, gimme gimme". The eagle eyed amongst us might notice those two little stars after that bold claim, and upon turning the bottle over to find the small print, you'll read that in fact, to achieve this intensely hydrated skin, you should apply this lotion twice daily for 7 days. Now, I can't decide if this is really good marketing, or atrocious marketing based on false claims. If you were to use ANY moisturiser twice daily for 7 days, even those with the scaliest of skins are BOUND to notice a marked improvement in the condition of their skin. However, criticisms of the marketing and bold claims aside, this is actually a fairly good product. It does moisturise well, it does indeed make my skin feel more hydrated, but I'm certainly not blown away by it. I used it, as directed, twice daily for (over) 7 days, but my toughest dry skin patches (knees and ankles for me, some of the hardest hit areas of any Mummy) aren't significantly improved. My skin is soft and feels hydrated, but it doesn't last any longer than 24 hours, and although it doesn't stand out as a superior product to me, I do like it.

    Where Is It Available?
    Garnier products are, I believe, sold nationwide, in most drugstores and supermarkets.

    How Much Does It Cost?
    I think this is around the £2 mark, prices will vary depending on where you shop.

    Would I Recommend It?
    If you want a decent but affordable moisturiser then this does the job nicely, it smells really nice and sinks in quickly. However, it doesn't do what it says on the tin, so to speak, so I recommend you don't believe the hype and don't get your expectations set too high. The claims feel somewhat dishonest to me, I think it was a bit unnecessary of Garnier, it spoils the product for me.

    Star Rating:

    *Disclaimer: I actually got sent this by Cosmopolitan magazine, I am on their panel of testers (although they've never featured one of my reviews, I'm obviously too honest!). All words and opinions are my own. 

    Monday, 27 June 2011

    Recipe: Fun Homemade Pizza

    I do feel a little patronising posting a recipe for homemade pizza, because if you buy a ready made base it's as easy as ABC, 123. This is mainly just an excuse to share the pictures (excuse the iPhone quality), because it was very yummy!

    You need:
    1 premade pizza base
    Generous dollop of tomato puree
    Baked beans/chopped tomatoes
    Freshly chopped herbs
    Mozzarella cheese, torn into chucks
    Grated cheese
    Toppings of your choice - we used ham and pineapple

    Preheat your oven to approx. 180ºC. Squeeze out your generous dollop of tomato puree. 

    Spread your generous dollop of tomato puree evenly over the pizza base and add your freshly chopped herbs - I confess to not knowing what is what in my herb garden, so I cut a bit of everything off and chopped it all up.


    Add your baked beans or chopped tomatoes - you might be thinking, ew, beans on pizza, but actually it tasted really good, and was a welcome change to me because I'm not a massive tomato fan.


    Add on your choice of toppings, ham and pineapple (mmm, my favourite) in our case. Don't worry about being neat, just shove it all on! 


    If you wish, and are a cheese addict like me, you can add some grated cheese next. 


    Randomly place your torn chunks of mozzarella onto the pizza - if you want a bit of a crust don't go too close to the edges. 


    Bake in the oven for 5-10 minutes (keep an eye on it), serve with a side salad or crusty garlic bread if you fancy. Et voila. 

    *This is one of my favourite tasty, relatively healthy and super duper cheap meals. The pizza base, mozzarella, beans/chopped tomatoes and cheese were all Tesco Value, and the herbs are homegrown!

    A Review: John Frieda Go Blonder Lightening Conditioner

     John Frieda Sheer Blonde
    Go Blonder Lightening Conditioner

    What Do I Think?
    I was initially pretty sceptical about this product, indeed about anything that is claiming to lighten/brighten your existing hair colour, without the use of hairdye - this is ammonia and peroxide free. This boasts ingredients (according to the bottle) such as chamomile and citrus (although they are a pretty long way down the list!), which help to give this product a really lovely fresh, summery scent that lingers in your hair. If used regularly, this product with gradually lighten your blonde hair - natural or chemically highlighted - whilst also leaving it healthier and softer. For my fellow sceptics, I can tell you that this stuff works! I opted to use this 3/4 times per week (although it's gentle enough for everyday use), all over my hair from roots to tips, in conjunction with my normal shampoo, and I've just finished up my first bottle. My hair is noticeably lighter, to the point where people kept asking if I've done something to my hair, and the condition has significantly improved. The irritating tufts of new hair regrowth around my hairline are coming back blonde, and I'm pretty sure that is because this conditioner is lightening them. Used in conjunction with the matching shampoo I'd imagine the results could be even better, although I'm happy with my haircare routine for the time being. 

    Where Is It Available?
    John Frieda haircare products can be found in the professional haircare sections of most UK supermarkets, along with Boots, Superdrug and some pharmacies. You can also buy John Frieda online, just Google it! I believe John Frieda is sold nationwide.

    How Much Does It Cost?
    This is currently retailing for £5.89 in Boots in the UK, they are currently giving away a £2 off professional haircare brands voucher if you spend more than £5.

    Would I Recommend It?
    Most definitely. I do find that John Freida products are a little pricey (I have a very limited budget), however, they DO work, and on my hair in particular the effects are noticeable, therefore I'm prepared to spend that little bit more. 

    Star Rating:

    *Disclaimer: I purchased this product with my Dad's money, because he clearly took pity on my poor self and understood the value of decent conditioner! 

    Saturday, 18 June 2011

    Normal things that happen post pregnancy...

    ...that 'they' don't tell you about.

    There should be a pamphlet produced by the NHS and distributed with your notes when you're discharged from the maternity ward, that tells you, along with the standard 'what to expect in the first few weeks', what will actually happen over the next few months and years. I've peppered this post with photos of Jamie enjoying playing in his box, just because I can! Here are some things I've learnt along the way thus far, telling fact from fiction...I'm almost 10 months in:
    FACT: You will spend many, many minutes, days, possibly even weeks or months, simply staring at your little one, thinking that, quite possibly, you have the most gorgeous baby in the whole entire world. And you do.
    FACT: Your hair will fall out. Quite a flippin' lot. It will scare the pants off of you, and whilst on the surface you may appear to remain calm and look like a rational human being (albeit a slightly frazzled one!), inside you're screaming "OMG I'M GOING BALD" at the top of your lungs. Well...I can confirm it's (sadly) completely normal to experience a great deal of hairloss post pregnancy. Almost 10 months in and mine is still shedding at the rate of knots, and I've currently got that ever-so stylish fluffy regrowth around my hairline. The good news is, I've not gone bald. Or mad. Yet...
    FACT: Your baby will not, under any circumstances, adhere to what the experts or books say they will. Babies, rightly so, do things when they are good and ready. However, as a Mummy, surrounded by other (perhaps slightly more competitive) Mums and their babies, you have this innate "why isn't my baby doing that" reflex. For me at least, it's a gut instinct, and I try and bat away the thoughts by focusing on what my clever little man does do.
    FACT: You will cry, be exceptionally moody, be over enthusiastically happy, feel depressed and probably a little bit broody (no, just me?!), all at once. It's normal. You see, it's not just 9 months of pregnancy, a few hours (quite a substantial few in my case) of pain/pushing/operating and then, wow, a baby. Oh'll be a hormonal nightmare for at least the first year - I'm pretty sure women have been excused of murder after having a baby, or is that just a wicked rumour?! Don't be scared by this, and don't be ashamed if you're wondering "who the hell am I and what the hell am I doing?!" long after you expected to be. After all, it's a big deal becoming a Mummy, and all that this fabulous job entails. 
    FACT: Being a stay at home Mum (SAHM) is tough. It's rewarding, and wonderful, and an extremely fortunate thing to be able to do...but, it's blimmin' hard work. It can be a thankless task, it's lonely (at the start, no matter how adorable you're baby is, it simply is not capable of adult conversation) and it can also be pretty mundane - babies need routines, and endless cycles of feeding and nappy changing can get the best of us down at times. You will also get those irritating sods (not always men either) who claim that you must have all the time in the world/a sparkly, shiny clean home/endless pampering etc etc, because you, you know, 'don't work'. Insert suitable expletive here. You know what though, I wouldn't change it for the world...but I need still need to moan about it sometimes!

    FACT: Your skin and body will experience what is commonly known as a roller-coaster ride. Oily, normal, combination, dry - you name it, your skin will probably be it, at some point. During pregnancy my skin was, for the most part, clear and healthy looking, and whilst I don't think I ever really felt that effervescent glow, I was pretty happy with my lot. Fast forward to after the birth and it's a different skin type for every week of the month! I *think* my skin has made it's way to the end of the ride...although I've probably gone and jinxed it now!

    FACT: Baby brain is a myth. Oh, no, it isn't. In my experience, baby brain continues waaaaay after people allow it as an acceptable excuse. My mind is a sieve, and it's probably a good thing that I haven't yet returned to the more traditional forms of (paid) work yet. Thankfully, I've not left Jamie anywhere yet...

    FACT: You may take a while to adjust to becoming a Mummy. It doesn't mean you love your precious baby (or babies!) any less, and it certainly doesn't mean you're not a good Mum. It's normal. There is a hell of a lot to learn when you become a Mummy, and babies (sadly) don't come out waving a manual in their chubby little hands. So, if you feel like you're in way over your head, and are pretty much winging it most days, that's pretty normal. I'll bet most other Mums are too. Even Supermums!

    FACT: It takes 9 months to put the weight on and 9 months to lose it. Forget it. As if there wasn't already enough pressure on women (in the media, from peers etc) to be 'perfect' and lose the baby weight within seconds of leaving the hospital. Unless you are very rich, and have access to a personal trainer, personal gym, nanny and wet nurse, then it's going to take a lot longer than that. Be realistic, you'll no doubt spend the first few months in a complete bubble, totally consumed by your adorable new baby, then you'll suddenly become aware that your trousers are digging in uncomfortably at the waistband and you have a substantial Mummy tummy. I'm battling my own body demons, but I've learnt one really doesn't matter!