Thursday, 28 July 2011

I'm 25 today...

(Click image to enlarge)

...and here is what I've learnt in my modest quarter of a century:

- be true to yourself. I can't stress enough how many hours of my youth were spent wasted wishing I was 'her' with the nicer hair, 'her' with the more fashionable clothes or 'her' with the richer Daddy. I've learnt that I'm me, and whilst I might not have made total peace with everything, I know one thing for sure: there's no one else I'd rather be.

- "people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints on your heart". This quote I once read somewhere has stuck in my head like glue. I can count on two hands my true friends, who I can rely on in a heartbeat, and vice-versa. It's quality not quantity, and I'd much rather have just one true friend than dozens of 'mates'.

- in the face of real adversity and struggle, I can survive, I am strong enough to cope.

- you can never be too thankful for the incredible privileges and opportunities in your life. Being humble is a very endearing quality, and possessing the skill to truly appreciate your life is a hard but vital one to learn.

- there is no such thing as perfect.

- life isn't easy, but I don't think I'd want it to be. Try and look deeper than the surface. Difficulties provide challenges to overcome, skills to be developed and honed, and achievements to bring pride and strength. I am glad to look back and not regret a single thing, because each action and event made me the person I am right now.

- grief is one of life's most overwhelming and crippling emotions. Grief is the dark-side of love, the part we never want to experience or feel, yet an inevitability along the path of life. Losing someone will never get easier, and the pain might take a very long time to fade, those wounds might never heal. The imprint on your life of those lost will always remain, a bitter sweet memory to treasure and cherish.

- love and pride are what make me tick. Everyone is different, that's the beauty in the uniqueness of people and life, and understanding our emotional needs is key. I'm not motivated by money or material things, I'm needy and dependent, I've made my peace with that. Knowing I am loved and that people are proud of me makes my heart burst and my smile wide.

- priorities are hard to make, especially once children enter the equation, and all of the demands placed upon you seem to be of equal importance, but sometimes you need to take a step back. This poem sums it up perfectly:
"I hope that my child looks back on today
And remembers a mother who had time to play
There will be years for cleaning and cooking
But children grow up when you’re not looking
Tomorrow I'll do all the chores you can mention
But today my baby needs time and attention.
So quiet down cobwebs and dust go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby, and babies don’t keep."

- I'm a big believer in karma. It is true what 'they' say you know, what goes around comes around, and good things do come to those who wait - eventually.

- on the inside I'm very deep, I'm a thinker and a procrastinator. On the outside I'm quite shallow. It's easier and less stressful to be that way for day to day life, but I'm a big believer that ultimately it is what's on the inside that counts.

- I'm proud of myself, really proud. It's taken me this long to realise it, but I'm incredibly proud of the things that I've achieved, great or small, I've accomplished them myself, and no one can take them away from me.

It's my birthday today, my day to celebrate being me.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

A Review: Garnier Ultralift Day Cream

 Garnier Ultralift 
Anti Wrinkle & Firming Day Cream

What Do I Think?
I was initially approached by the PR company affiliated with the new Garnier Ultralift campaign, and on the same day I actually saw the TV ad (featured in this post), although I have to say I don't normally pay any attention to beauty adverts on TV (I don't watch much TV, and I'm not personally influenced by TV, more by blogs). My Mum and I were sent the free 14 day sample kit and set about using it daily. I replaced my normal Clinique moisturiser with this, and the sachets easily lasted me two/three applications, so the 14 samples have done me well! My Mum concentrated on using this on her neck and around her eyes (she actually only used it on one eye so she could compare the results), so continued to use her normal moisturiser in conjunction with this. As you can see from the above photos, we were also sent a 'Wrinkle Reader' each, but luckily my crows feet are very faint and barely visible, so this tool was pretty redundant to me. My Mum has really good skin too, and barely any wrinkles at all, so she didn't really have a need for it either (lucky us, hey?!). This lotion is safe to be applied around the eye area, although I could definitely feel a very, very slight burning/stinging sensation, nothing uncomfortable or overly worrying, but worth mentioning. This product smells nice, it's fine on sensitive skin, and it is absorbed really quickly, providing a good base for make up. This claims to leave your skin noticeably different after the very first application, and although my skin was most definitely smoother and softer, I still haven't noticed a particular difference to the firmness of my skin (although to be honest, I wasn't worried about that before). I have seen a reduction in the appearance of my wrinkles (I do have some, fine lines around my eyes, mouth and on my forehead), but my skin just feels healthier in general since I've started using this moisturiser. My Mum has noticed positive improvements to the texture of the skin in the areas she concentrated on, although I'm not sure she will be repurchasing, she's a happy bunny with her Clinique. I'm going to continue using this moisturiser, and hope that it continues to have positive effects.

Where Is It Available?
Garnier products are sold in most UK supermarkets, pharmacies and drugstores.
How Much Does It Cost?
I've seen this on offer in various places, you can expect to pay something between £5.00 and £7.00 I'd imagine.

Would I Recommend It?
I'm really surprised by this moisturiser actually, I haven't strayed from my Clinique Dramatically Different for about 2 years, but this is definitely more affordable, and I'm pleased with the results I've seen with my skin. So, yes, I'd recommend it (although, I don't like the jar packaging of the full size version, I find jars a little unhygienic).
Star Rating:

*Disclaimer: My 14 day sample kit was sent to me by the PR company, however at the time of receiving it they were also available free on the Garnier website. I am not affiliated with Garnier in any way, and all views and opinions are my own. I have since purchased a full size pot, using my own Mum's money.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

A Review: Batiste Dry Shampoo's

Batiste Dry Shampoo
Light & Blonde, Original and Boho

What Do I Think?
I won't be irritating and arrogant and say that I'm sure you've heard of Batiste dry shampoos, because the chances are, there are a fair few people who haven't. I was first introduced to the concept of dry shampoo a little over two years ago, although I didn't physically own or use any until much more recently. I don't think I'm wrong in assuming that Batiste are the most popular and well known brand of dry shampoo, and they are rapidly increasing their product ranges. That cute, unassuming little bottle in the middle of the above picture is the 'Original', the Daddy of dry shampoos if you like, with a sweet but not sickly scent, and a white, powdery consistency. They are essentially very simple products to use - you wake up with second or even third day hair, have no time or facilities to wash it, so in your bleary eyed state you pick up your bottle of Batiste and aim it at your roots. You open your eyes up a little more, and notice your roots are now a dull white colour, so you quickly (well, as quickly as you can muster early in the morning!) pop your fingers up to ruffle up the hair. Job done. Depending on how dirty/greasy your hair is (mine is naturally very greasy, and on the whole I'm a daily hair washer), after using Batiste your hair should look cleaner, feel less greasy and even be slightly more voluminous at the root. For me personally, dry shampoo isn't a miracle worker, but they do provide light relief in the place of actual water and real shampoo - they are a godsend for festivals/camping trips. Batiste have recently launched some coloured versions of their dry shampoos, and I have been testing out the 'Light & Blonde' version - it really does give your roots colour, so it's great for in between hairdresser visits, but do be careful when applying, because it will transfer onto your skin/clothes if you're a bit haphazard. The other product pictured above is the new 'Boho' version, marketed with festival goers in mind, who will most definitely be in need of a little hair refreshing and revitalising. I'm not massively keen on the scent personally, but I'll be taking this with me on my impending camping trip this weekend.   

Where Are They Available?
Batiste is available from Boots and Superdrug in the UK, as well as in Sainsburys, Tesco's, Savers and Lloyds Pharmacies.  

How Much Do They Cost?
 £2.99 for a 200ml can.

Would I Recommend Them?
Yes. I've not used any other brands of dry shampoo with which to compare these to, but they do the job well, and I like the variety they have introduced with their new product ranges. I like the funky packaging designs too, so if you're essentially drawn to things like that, you'll love these!

Star Rating:

*Disclaimer: I was provided with these products by the Batiste PR company for review consideration purposes, however all words and opinions are, as always, my very own.

Monday, 18 July 2011

A Review: Soap & Glory 'The Scrub Of Your Life'

 Soap & Glory The Scrub Of Your Life
Smoothing Body Buffer

What Do I Think?
A big claim to make right? The scrub of your life. Not far off I'd say! As you know, I could wax lyrical about Soap & Glory products all day long, but I really think the products speak for themselves. They are presented beautifully, and having the pink, retro products dotted around my bathroom instantly cheers me up, and I know I can genuinely rely on them to do the job well. You also all know that I am somewhat of an exfoliating addict, so it's no wonder I love this perhaps, however, it's never exactly hard to big up a product that really is the bees knees. As with all Soap & Glory products, this boasts a really fantastic smell: "The scent is a combination of fresh bergamot and mandarin, rose, jasmine, peach, strawberry, oakmoss, amber, woody notes and warm vanilla. In short it smells really good". This scrub has an almost gel like consistency, and is packed full with teeny tiny beads, just waiting to buff your skin to perfection - or near enough! My skin always feels fantastic after I've used this, and it is never left dry, tight or itchy - some scrubs can do that I've found. The only problem with this is, I've run out...and that is bad news!

Where Is It Available?
Soap & Glory is available at Boots, Harvey Nichols and in the UK.

How Much Does It Cost?
£6.50 for 200ml, which is slightly higher than I'd like to pay, but Boots often have offers like 3 for 2 on Soap & Glory products, so keep your eyes peeled.

Would I Recommend It?
Yes I would! I love this stuff, and when something does exactly what it says on the tin, you can't go wrong.

Star Rating:

*Disclaimer: This was purchased with my own money, and all words and opinions are my own. 

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Sunday, 10 July 2011

When I grow up...

...I want to be a princess and live in a castle. I might not live in a real castle, but at least I get to visit them with my big prince and mini prince*!

Hever Castle, Kent

Welcome to our kingdom!
 Spot the tourist anyone?!

 Adventures of the mini prince!

 Just call him the swan whisperer!

Maze champions!

 *Nanny and Grandad were there too, but I didn't get any photos of them!


Nails Inc 'Fabulous'

I hope my readers don't find it controversial that I am featuring two polishes that were given away in a News of the World promotion, but controversy about the paper aside, I really like these nail polishes, and as someone who has NO money, I can't really say no to freebies. For the grand total of £3.00 (each paper was £1.00, you needed 3 tokens to redeem for your nail varnishes) I have £22.00 worth of nail varnish.

These shades of these nail polishes almost personify summer, so what better time to take the NOTD photos than when the sun is shining?! Normally, orange really isn't 'my' thing, although perhaps I'm coming around to it, prior to this I was wearing China Glaze 'Peachykeen' on my fingers and toes (no NOTD because I'm a moron and deleted the photos!). I really love the vibrancy of these colours, and think the bright coral pink and zesty orange compliment each other pretty well.

P.S. Apologies if I have offended you by mentioning the News of the World, for what it's worth, I did not read or support the paper prior to this promotion, and I do not feel it is my place to become involved in a debate about the morals behind the actions of a select few members of their journalistic staff. My blog will assume Switzerland status (as my dear friend Liv always says!), and merely focus on the shallower points!

P.P.S. Sorry about the photos of my toes if you're phobic or just a bit averse to feet!

P.P.P.S. As you can tell, no editing or airbrushing has occurred in the making of this blog post, all 'excess' cuticle polish has been included! All silly expressions are also 100% my own!
*Disclaimer: sorry to disappoint but the stones are not authentic beach pebbles, merely humble gravel from my Mum's garden!

A Review: Soap & Glory 'The Righteous Butter'

 Soap & Glory The Righteous Butter
Body Butter
What Do I Think?
I've said it before, and I'll say it again, I don't think there is a single Soap & Glory product that I dislike, and this is no exception. I don't actually have any of this at the moment (am hoping some kind soul might like to refresh my S&G collection for my impending birthday this month *hint hint sister wink wink*), but I can clearly remember it's fabulousness. I think first up I need to quote the scent from the Soap & Glory website: "Smells like bergamot, strawberries and mandarin, with floral and fruity mid notes and musk, amber and warm vanilla notes on the bottom". A feast for your nose indeed, I mean, that's just blimmin' lovely right?! This body butter boasts shea butter and aloe vera, which are well known for their epic moisturising and nourishing properties, and I do tend to favour products with those ingredients. It has a typically thick and creamy consistency, being a body butter it is traditionally a thicker formulation than your standard lotion, and it sinks into the skin quickly leaving no greasy or sticky residue, and really locks in the moisture. It leaves my skin super duper soft, like a babies bottom, just without the nappy rash! Did I mention that is smells yummalicious?! 
Where Is It Available?
Soap & Glory can be found online at, or in Boots and Harvey Nichols in the UK.
How Much Does It Cost?
£10.21 for 300ml - a little on the pricey side, and I'm sure it used to be significantly cheaper, but it's a great product. The mini will last you quite a long time though if you don't fancy getting the big tub.
Would I Recommend It?
Yes. I like my products to compliment each other, mainly in scent, so this goes perfectly in conjunction with my favourite shower gel. This also comes in a lighter, lotion formulation, which I've not tried, but if body butters aren't your thing it could be worth a try. In summer I tend to use the spray lotion Girligo, for ease and speed, and that wins over this slightly, but once funds allow I will definitely repurchase this (again).
Star Rating:
*Disclaimer: This was purchased with my own money, and all words and opinions are my own.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

A Review: Soap & Glory 'Clean On Me'

 Soap & Glory Clean On Me
Creamy Clarifying Shower Gel

What Do I Think?
The smell of this product instantly transports me back to my blissful holiday in Grenada (paradise). I took a mini bottle with me, and although I'd used it for ages prior to that holiday, whenever I've used it afterwards, I'm right back in that shower, washing off the days sun, sea and sand. I'm a huge fan of Soap & Glory products (look out for a series of reviews coming up), from their gorgeously retro and girly pink packaging, with it's witty and fun quips, to the sweet and sexy scents, not to to mention that quality of the products, for the price, are fantastic. This is probably my all time favourite shower gel, a little bit lathers up so much, and goes a long way, it has a 'built in moisturiser' which helps to leave your skin extra soft, and best of all smells divine. This comes in such a huge bottle, with a handy pump - my favourite kind of packaging for a shower gel, practicality and looks, win win - and will last you forever. If you're a bit skint like me, you can also put a couple of pumps of this under running water in your bath, it bubbles up nicely. There isn't anything I don't love about this product, I urge you to try it!
[As a side note, Soap & Glory are endeavouring to encourage more responsible showering, with their 2 minute rinse challenge. I'm going to see if I can do my bit to try and save water, I do hate to think of all of that waste running straight down the plughole whilst I'm doing my thing.]

Where Is It Available?
Soap & Glory is sold in Boots and Harvey Nichols in the UK, and is also available from

How Much Does It Cost?
£5.11 for 500ml -  now that's a bargain!

Would I Recommend It?
Yes, yes, yes. That's all I have to say on the matter!

Star Rating:

*Disclaimer: Purchased with my own money, all words and opinions are my own.

FOTD: Benefit Posietint

You might all fall off of your chairs in shock, but your eyes are not in fact deceiving you, and I am in fact posting my second 'Face of the Day' in a week! If you can bear to look at photos of me again, then this instalment features my other new found love (thanks to UK Glamour magazine and their freebies), Benefit Posietint.

I'm wearing:
Clinique City Block SPF25
Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay In Place Concealer
Estee Lauder Ideal Light Brush On Illuminator
MAC MSF Natural
Max Factor Masterpiece Max Mascara
Benefit Posietint as a stain on the cheeks and lips

I'm really liking this girly, feminine hint of pink, it's perfect for summer and is so low maintenance and easy to wear. The only problem is, now I've come to love these lip and cheek stains from Benefit, I'm seriously lusting after the new Cha Cha Tint...good job it's my birthday in the not so distant future!

What are your favourite simple summer looks?

Friday, 1 July 2011

Garnier Ultralift Challenge

Do you think that anti wrinkle creams work? Or, are you one of the 71% of consumers that, like me, are hugely sceptical? Garnier and Davina McCall have launched the Ultralift Challenge to try and prove us cynics wrong. 
All you need to do is head over to the Ultralift website and sign up, free, to receive your 14 day sample pack, complete with a nifty wrinkle reader! Trying before I buy is right up my street, so I'm loving Garnier's idea here. You can share your results on the website after your challenge if you wish, however there is no obligation to do so.
My Mum and I are in the middle of partaking in this challenge, and will soon be reporting back with our results and thoughts on the Ultralift Day Cream, so keep your eyes peeled for that. I wasn't actually using a specific anti wrinkle cream prior to embarking on this challenge, but given that I'm turning 25 at the end of the month, and I'm not getting as much beauty sleep now I'm a Mummy, wrinkle prevention is definitely something I want to be proactive about.

Will you be taking part in the Garnier Ultralift Challenge?
*Disclaimer: I was sent my free 14 day trial pack by the PR company, however it is free to sign up and try it for yourself. Words inspired by the PR campaign but written by myself. Videos, photograph and statistics provided by Garnier.