Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Spotlight On: No7 Stay Perfect Eyeshadow {Mink}

The splendid £5 No7 vouchers are back at Boots until 25th March {you'll get a voucher when you purchase anything over £5}, and whilst I normally tend to stockpile their face wipes, I simply urge you to spend your voucher on this little beauty:

Excuse the 'well loved and dirty' look!

If you can ignore the annoyingly bright flash glare off the pan 
{that's how much I love it see, this is the second one I've hit pan on}, 
this is a pretty true representation of the shade.

This is the No7 Stay Perfect eyeshadow in Mink {60}, and it is beautiful. I believe that beauty is often found in the simplest of things, and in terms of make up, this unassuming eyeshadow personifies just that. This shade is oh-so-wearable, oh-so-easy to apply and blend, and oh-so-wonderful. Literally no effort is required to make this eyeshadow look good, and I should know - I reach for this shade on an almost daily basis when time simply isn't on my side. You can, of course, dress it up or down depending on the occasion. I'd go so far as to say that perhaps this eyeshadow is the make up equivalent of 'the' little black dress - it's there as a reliable failsafe whenever you need it, but it can easily form the basis of a show-stopping look should you require it to do so. 

Worn alone, other than a thin smudge of MAC Print along the upper lashline. 
It's coming out a little warmer toned on camera than it does in 'real life'.
As you can see, Mink is a gorgeous cool toned taupe grey brown, with a subtle and very wearable sheen to it - you won't find any disco glitter here. I think this shade is beautiful enough to be worn alone, but it also works perfectly to tone down a slightly-too-dark eyeshadow look, with a smokey eye, or to add some shimmer to a matte eyeshadow. It applies like a dream with a satin finish, and is incredibly pigmented with zero fallout. Regardless of the 'Stay Perfect' claims, this eyeshadow is impressively long wearing, and even with slightly oily lids and no primer, it has never once creased on me. I've not seen this eyeshadow featured on any blogs that I follow, so I'm hoping that this post will give it the attention it most definitely deserves. Staple shadows don't have to mean boring.

The Stay Perfect eyeshadows retail for £8.00 each, and are available in most Boots stores from the No7 counter/stand. Using a voucher makes this even more of a bargain! I managed to acquire three of the £5 vouchers this week {having to buy baby wipes and nappies comes in handy sometimes you know, and it's currently 3 for 3 across all baby things, even better!}, and have repurchased Mink {for the third time}, along with another of the eyeshadows in the shade Wheatsheaf {55} and a nail varnish in the shade Foxglove {80}.

What do you think? Will you be putting your £5 No7 voucher towards the humble Mink?

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with No7 or Boots. I was not asked nor sponsored by anyone to write this post. All views are 100% my own and the products were purchased with my own money. I simply felt ashamed that an eyeshadow I have been LOVING for almost 3 years now has never really graced the pages of my blog, and felt the need to rectify that immediately. Some links may be affiliated.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Recipe: Mellow meatballs

I love this recipe so much, I've now made it multiple times and just can't get enough of the taste - I do think that Thai curries are my favourite type. This is another offering from the Nigella's Express cookbook, which I've adapted slightly {the original recipe is pg 369 if you have the book}, and is a very tasty dinner that certainly won't take you hours to prepare.

You need:
3 x 15ml tbsp red curry paste
2 x 15ml tbsp vegetable oil
40 mini- meatballs, or 20 normal size meatballs
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 400ml can coconut milk
1 400ml can chopped tomatoes
1 410g chickpeas, drained
350g butternut squash and sweet potato, diced {you can get packets of this in the supermarket if you're lazy!}
500ml chicken stock
2 x 15ml tbsp honey
chopped coriander {I use dried}
rice, to serve

Put your rice on to cook, according to the packet instructions.
 Heat the red curry paste and vegetable oil in a large, wide pan.

 Once it starts sizzling {it WILL spit, so be careful} add in the meatballs, and ensure to coat them in the curry paste.

 Sprinkle over the cinnamon and ginger, and fry for a couple of minutes. 

 Pour in the coconut milk, tomatoes and chickpeas, then add the butternut squash and sweet potato, then the stock and finally the honey. Ensure you stir well at each stage and make sure all of the ingredients are well combined.

Bring the mixture to the boil and then simmer over a low heat for approx. 20-30 minutes. Serve over a bed of rice, and enjoy the delicious, creamy flavours, mmm mmm.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Recipe: Spaghetti with prawns and chilli

I adapted this recipe from one of my favourite cookbooks, Nigella's Express {check out pg293 if you have it, for the original recipe}, and although on paper I should hate this {I don't like tomatoes or spring onions, I'm not great with chilli, and have rather gone off prawns}, I really enjoyed it, and will definitely make it again.

You need:
200g frozen, cooked prawns {defrosted}
250g spaghetti
2 x 15ml tbsp garlic oil
4 spring onions, finely sliced
1/2 tsp crushed chilli flakes {I added a LOT more than this}
200g sundried tomatoes, in oil
125ml white wine
50g rocket {I forgot to buy this, so we went without!}
fresh parsley, to garnish {I rarely buy fresh herbs, so used dried}


Drain the prawns and set aside. Put your spaghetti on to cook, according to the packet instructions.

Heat the garlic oil in a large pan, and fry the spring onions and chilli flakes for a couple of minutes. Stir occasionally so it doesn't stick.
 Add in the tomatoes {and their oil} and the prawns {doesn't look very aesthetically pleasing, I know}, and give it all a good stir.

 Once the prawns and tomatoes are heated through, add in the white wine {if you haven't drunk it}, and let it bubble up. If using, add in the rocket at this point.

Once the spaghetti is cooked, drain and add into the pan, toss and ensure it's coated with the oily chilly prawny mixture! Sprinkle with chopped parsley, and serve.

As the title of Nigella's book would suggest, this is a really quick and easy dish to prepare, and could easily work as a starter if you're planning a Come Dine With Me special - in fact this recipe serves 2 as a main, or 4 as a starter. It is quite an oily dish, but I actually didn't mind that at all, and despite adding much more chilli than the recipe called for, it wasn't overpowering at all, so you can definitely use your creative license with this one. I would also probably do a little less pasta if you're making this just for two, unless you've a large appetite!

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Spotlight On: Conran Bath and Body

If Conran isn't a brand that's entered onto your radar yet, don't worry, you're not alone, I too was in the dark until just recently. Conran is a British company, developed by Sir Terence Conran {a designer}, who formed his simple yet elegant Bath & Body range with just two core {unisex} scents, combining some of his favourite ingredients. CONRAN 1 is warm and spicy, with notes of spicy nutmeg, fresh pepper and sweet cardamon, whilst CONRAN 2 is fresh and zingy with notes of lemon, mandarin and freshly cut green stems. The word on the street {their blog} is that CONRAN 3 and 4 are currently being developed.

The products that I've been trying out are the Bath Wash and Hand Cream in CONRAN 1, and the Body Scrub in CONRAN 2. On paper, CONRAN 1 would be my preferred scent, for, as I've lamented time and time again, I tend to opt for warmer, spicier fragrances. 

The Bath Wash {£16 for 300ml}, whether used as a body wash or in the bath water, bubbles up nicely without needing too much product, and doesn't leave my skin feeling tight or itchy, although I do feel the need to moisturise afterwards. The scent doesn't linger too long on the skin, which personally I prefer because I don't like my perfume to clash. However, I must be truthful and admit I expected it to be a slightly more intense scent, not overpowering as such, just more noticeable than I feel it is. It's quite unassuming and inoffensive, which whilst might not be a bad thing necessarily, wasn't quite was I anticipated. I really like the packaging, it's clean and simple, and adds to the luxurious vibe that this brand gives off.

CONRAN 2 is definitely more of a summer fragrance in my opinion, and would be perfect for a refreshing wake up shower. Although it doesn't linger on the skin too much, as soon as you open the packaging the citrus scent hits you. I can obviously only speak for the Body Scrub {£25 for 250ml}, but it has an immediate cooling effect on the skin, and leaves you feeling very clean. As for the actual formulation of the scrub, I'd say that is definitely its USP {unique selling point}. It's a very lightweight scrub contained in tiny gel-like crystals, that feel almost like textured jelly on the skin - that sounds pretty bizarre, but it's honestly the best way I can describe it. For an exfoliating addict like myself, I have to admit I found the consistency a little too slippery and meant a lot of waste going straight down the plug hole. I also found I had to dig out a fair amount to get a decent scrubbing effect, although it did leave my skin feeling smoother and very fresh. The Conran packaging took some of it's inspiration from Kilner jars, which is obvious in the design for this product, and I really like the sturdy feel of this tub.

The Hand Cream {£12 for 100g} is the ultimate winner out of these three products for me. The formulation is a thick yet lightweight, non-greasy cream, that absorbs quickly into the skin leaving no residue, and is very nourishing with long lasting effects. I really like the packaging, the tube is simple yet stylish and practical, allowing you to dispense only what you need. The CONRAN 2 scent is a lot more intense in this product than the Bath Wash, I definitely sensed more of the spicier undertones, but it's not too obtrusive. It can't quite live up to my beloved Soap & Glory Hand Food, but it IS a close runner up.

Overall, I'm really quite impressed with Conran, despite not being totally blown away by all of the products I've tried. The brand itself is very well thought out, innovative and exciting, and the people behind it are some of the nicest and politest I've ever had the pleasure of dealing with. The packaging, as you can see, is simple yet elegant, subtly embodying the Conran philosophy, whilst also remaining stylish and practical. The products feel and look good quality, and have been formulated exceptionally well. I'm looking forward to exploring this brand a little more.

If you're interested in trying out Conran for yourself, the products are available to purchase from various instore and online sources {please click here for the full list of stockist information}, with prices starting from £12.00.

Have you tried any Conran Bath and Body products? What are your thoughts?

Disclaimer: Products provided for review consideration purposes. I am not affiliated with Conran {although I have noticed they've linked to my humble little blog on their website, how very nice of them}, and all words and opinions are 100% my own. I spent a long time writing this review, I wanted to ensure I was as thorough as possible, in order to introduce this brand to you. Some links may be affiliated.

Friday, 17 February 2012

A Review: Soap & Glory Hand Food

Soap & Glory Hand Food
Non greasy hydrating hand cream

What Do I Think?
"The most astonishing hand cream ever? You decide!" Well Soap & Glory, I've decided...YES, it is! Putting my undeniable love for everything Soap & Glory related aside, under even the most harsh of tests, this hand cream performs it's basic task {of moisturising your hands} superbly - it's incredibly nourishing, it sinks in instantly, doesn't leave a single trace of grease or other residue, has a simply wonderful scent and has very long lasting effects. A strong accolade indeed. This really is all the food my hands could ever want for {see what I did there...?!}, and it is without a doubt my favourite ever hand cream. I've tried many, and probably will continue to do so {in fact I've another hand cream review coming soon}, but I will always come running back to this, tail between my legs by way of an apology for ever dreaming something could better it. The scent is quite strong, although no overpowering - and I've quite a sensitive nose - with notes of shea butter, macadamia oil and marshmallow to name but a few, but if, like me, you're a Soap & Glory fan this will definitely be a positive rather than a negative. I love the packaging, it's simple, fuss free and easy to dispense only what you need, and has the classic pink, retro Soap & Glory trademarks.

Where Is It Available?
 Soap & Glory products are available to buy, instore and online, from Boots and Harvey Nichols in the UK.

How Much Does It Cost?
The 50ml {travel size} tube retails at £2.35 and the 125ml {full size} tube retails at £4.85.

Would I Recommend It?
YES! Go out and buy it, NOW!

Star Rating:

Disclaimer: This product was a Christmas gift from family. I am not affiliated with Soap & Glory, and all words and opinions, unless marked in italics, are 100% my own. Some links may be affiliate links. If you want to check out ALL of my other Soap & Glory reviews, click HERE.  

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Recipe: Sticky maple pork with apples

 Sticky maple pork with apples

You need:
600g pork fillet
1tbsp olive oil
2 eating apples, cored and cut into eighths
1 garlic clove, crushed
2tbsp maple syrup
1tbsp white wine vinegar
2tbsp wholegrain mustard
rice, to serve

Put your rice on to cook, according to the packet instructions {I always add cold water to my rice, roughly about 3 parts water to 1 part rice, and only ever stir with a fork}. Cut the pork into slices {I had diced pork, so obviously skipped this step}, and heat the oil in a large, preferably non-stick, frying pan. Add the pork and fry until all sides are slightly browned, then remove from the pan and set aside. Add the apples into the pan, and cook until they start to soften {approx 3-4 minutes}. Stir in the garlic, maple syrup and vinegar {although I didn't have any, so missed that out}, then add 3tbsp boiling water. Bring this to the boil, then return the pork to the pan, ensuring you coat it with all of the yummy maple juices. Simmer for a couple more minutes, making sure the pork is cooked through, and the sauce gets thicker and stickier, then stir through the wholegrain mustard. At this point I stirred in the cooked rice, to ensure it all got coated with the sauce, but you could just serve the rice alongside the pork.

This is a quick and easy meal to prepare of an evening, with very basic store cupboard ingredients and virtually no prep work required. It's also only approx. 303 calories per serving, AND has one of your five a day! Obviously the maple and apple make it pretty sweet, so it might not appeal to everyone, but I personally really liked the combination.

Disclaimer: Original credit for this recipe 'BBC Books Good Food 101 Healthy Eats'.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

A Review: Soap & Glory 'A Great Kisser' lip balm

Soap & Glory A Great Kisser
A super fruit butter moisturising lip balm 

What Do I Think?
I mentioned this product in my January Favourites post, and although it was a last minute entrant, it was with good reason. I've been l o v i n g this product, I can't quite believe how much I love it - although I suppose as a huge Soap & Glory fan it probably comes as no great surprise. Their Sexy Mother Pucker lipglosses are *quite probably* my favourites of all time, although recent Chanel and New CID lipgloss additions are currently battling it out too {more on those to follow...}. Anyway, I digress...the latest lip offering from Soap & Glory are three 'A Great Kisser' lipbalms, available in the flavours 'Chocolate Cherry', 'Sweet Coconut' and 'Juicy Peach' - I have Chocolate Cherry, although as you can see from the photograph above, mine was so 'hot off the press' it's just the basic packaging with no labels {click here to see the finished product}. The consistency of this is quite unlike most other lip balms I've tried, and I can't really describe it any better than this myself: "it's not too waxy, not too slippery, not too greasy, not too sticky. In fact, it's just right". It's so very me, really simple and easy to wear, and I really adore the finish. The colour, whilst very bright in the pan, leaves a subtle, sheer wash of very wearable pink on the lips, that is surprisingly long lasting too - for a lip balm at least. The super fruits include "mango butter to moisturise", "apricot butter for weather protection", "lingonberry oil to boost the barrier repair" and "pomegranate extract to renew your dewy", and I can confirm they do pack a very moisturising punch. The scent isn't really that noticeable once on the lips, and although sweet {chocolate AND cherries} it's not overly so.

Where Is It Available?
Soap & Glory products are available to buy, instore and online, from Boots in the UK.

How Much Does It Cost?
This 18g tin retails for £5.00.

Would I Recommend It?
Oh yes, it's definitely worth trying out. I think it's a little on the pricier side for a lip balm, BUT it does do a little more than your average Chapstick, for example. I'll definitely be repurchasing - in fact it's taking a lot of power to stop myself buying the other two!

Star Rating: 

Disclaimer: Product provided for review consideration purposes. I am not affiliated with Soap & Glory. All words and opinions, unless otherwise stated or denoted by italics, are 100% my own. Some links may be affiliated.

A Review: Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum Foundation

Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum Gel Foundation
 16hrs radiance boosting, even, revived complexion

What Do I Think?
This foundation has been the talk of the {blogging} town recently, and there's absolutely no denying the 'holy grail' status some have bestowed upon it. You may recall that, quite some time ago, I reviewed the original Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation {and concealer}, giving it high praise indeed. In fact, the two Healthy Mix foundation offerings from Bourjois are the ONLY two foundations I own *shock horror*. Whilst I'm keen for this to be a review of just the Healthy Mix Serum, rather than a direct comparison between the two, it's important to acknowledge that the main difference between the two is the formulation. The serum boasts similarly fruity ingredients, such as litchi, goji berries and pomegranate, the same 16 hour longevity claim, and the same radiance boosting properties. The finish of both foundations, in theory and in practise, is natural and lightweight, evening out the complexion with a light-medium {buildable} coverage. It's hard for me to say which I prefer, because I love them both very much, however the application of the Healthy Mix Serum is slightly easier and relatively foolproof - it's light, gel-like consistency allows it to literally glide onto the skin, blending seamlessly and quickly. This foundation doesn't sit on your skin, it melts into it, providing great coverage where needed, and leaving a slightly dewy finish. I have oily skin, and whilst both foundations have proved to cause no problems, I think the original Healthy Mix does live up to it's 16 hour longevity claim slightly more than the Serum, on me at least. However, when set with {MAC Mineralise Skin Finish Natural} powder, this easily lasts all day on me. As for the best tools for application, I just use my fingers, which works fine for me. I think using a brush would just over complicate what is essentially a very simple, yet effective, foundation.

 Where Is It Available?
Bourjois products are available instore and online from Boots and Superdrug in the UK, and various other online/instore sources worldwide.

How Much Does It Cost?
This retails at £10.99 for 30ml.

Would I Recommend It?
Most definitely, yes. I honestly cannot fault this foundation. It leaves my skin looking even, healthy and glowing, it gives me more confidence in my complexion, and you really don't need to use much for your entire face, so I think it's pretty good value for money too. I probably wouldn't be able to chose one or the other of the Healthy Mix Foundations, so will continue to repurchase and use both religiously.

Star Rating:

Disclaimer: Products purchased with my own money. I am not affiliated with Bourjois, and all words and opinions are 100% my own. Some links may be affiliate links. 

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Spotlight On: Lynx - FOR GIRLS!

The eagle eyed amongst you may recall I posted about Lynx for Girls at the end of my Lust List #1 {all about fragrances} recently, and it turns out the rumours were TRUE... Lynx really have made a fragrance just for girls.

Yes, you heard me correctly. The newest Lynx fragrance 'Attract' is available both for HIM and for HER. 

In case you you need extra proof... it is in my hand!

I'm pretty hopeless when it comes to describing scents, or picking out what the different notes are, so here is the 'official' description: "Attract For Her perfectly complements the male scent and will drive the guys wild with its fruity, floral and woody fragrance. A vibrant colourful mixture of succulent fruit creates an enticing fusion while floral notes leave a feminine accord. Bottom notes of wood, musk and vanilla give the fragrance a sheer creaminess". In case you're interested, the "Attract For Him will drive the girls crazy with its sensual fruity and woody notes. Top notes of Pomegranate, apple and blueberry create a fresh scent while mid notes of violet, sage and lavender add a sharp crispness. At the bottom tobacco wood and sandalwood create a warm, smooth fragrance" {you'll have to take their word for that, I've not smelt it}. I have to be honest, it's not really very 'me', despite those scents being what I naturally gravitate toward, but I have worn it, and mainly use it to freshen up for my Zumba classes and if I'm just slobbing out at home.

If you fancy trying this out for yourself, the 150ml bodyspray retails at £3.25 and is available from various stockists nationwide.

Disclaimer: Product provided for review consideration purposes. I am not affiliated with Lynx and all words and opinions are 100% my own. Some links may be affiliate links. For more information on the Lynx effect, click HERE.

Bubbles Galore!

Winter is most definitely the time to pamper yourself, and to spend your evenings luxuriating in a hot, bubbly bath, maybe even stepping it up a notch with some candles and a nice glass of wine. I've amassed quite a sizeable collection of bath products recently, and thought I would share the ones I'm loving the most:

 I love...juiced up blackcurrant {Limited Edition}

This has SUCH a fruity fragrance, and although a more synthetic than totally realistic blackcurrant scent, it's not overly sweet or cloying, and lingers right until the water goes cold. I really like the 'I love...' ranges, there are so many different scents to chose from {I also adore the Coconut & Cream one}, and you won't need to break the bank if you decide to invest in a few. For the price, the quality is surprisingly great too. You don't need to use too much of this to produce a super bubbly bath, making it even better value for money - this huge 500ml bottle retails for just £2.05 {available instore and online from Superdrug, Morrisons and the Co-op}. I'd say that the 'I love...' products are the poor woman's version of Philosophy, but in case you fancy the real deal...

 Philosophy: Orange in Bloom

My first foray into the world of Philosophy began with this bubble bath, and is yet another bath product in my current collection with a fruity fragrance. I never tend to naturally gravitate toward fruity scents, I'm more of a spicy/nutty kind of gal, however, this has a really delicate zesty orange aroma, with a subtle hint of floral, that isn't overpowering in the slightest, and actually makes for a very comforting bath. This would be the perfect scent for spring/summer too. I do find I have to use a fair amount to create the ratio of bubbles I prefer, but perhaps I'm just greedy! I do think the Philosophy products are pretty pricey, so are definitely a more indulgent bath time treat - 500ml retails for £14.00 {available instore and online from Boots and John Lewis}.
 Philosophy: Marshmallows for Toasting

Another offering from Philosophy, and this one is much more up my street, scent wise. It smells very sugary and sweet - like toasted marshmallows, funnily enough - and although the scent doesn't linger too long it creates very bubbly bubbles that last for ages, and also has a somewhat moisturising effect I've found. This is a fantastic, warm and comforting scent, perfect for cosy winter baths, and one of those products I find I use very sparingly in a bid to make it last as long as possible. Again, the Philosophy bubbles retail at £14.00 for 500ml {availability as above}.
Tisserand Aromatherapy De-Stress Bath Soak & Bath Oil

 I tend to use these two products in conjunction with one another, as if to create a 'double whammy' of sorts. They are very heavily lavender scented, making them perfect for a relaxing and de-stressing bath before bed - something I've been needing a lot of recently. Used alone, a small amount of the Bath Soak creates a decent amount of bubbles, and the scent lingers, but in a fairly subtle manner. When used in conjunction with the Bath Oil, the bubbles are multiplied and the scent is much stronger, thereby creating a more relaxing environment. I'm not a huge fan of lavender scented products, but I can't deny that they do relax and soothe me, so are great for those nights when sleep is less forthcoming. The Bath Soak retails at £7.25 for 210ml, and the Bath Oil retails at £8.10 for 100ml {available from various stores and online sites - check the Tisserand website to find your local stockist}.

What bath bubbles are taking your fancy right now?

Disclaimer: Products provided for review consideration purposes. I am not affiliated with any of the brands or companies mentioned. As ever, every single word is 100% my own, and I luxuriated in the bath for as long as the water temperature allowed in order to fully test them out for you - I even risked taking my phone in to take the photos - that's dedication right there folks! Some links may be affiliate links.

One snowy day...


Hand in hand ♥

Off to explore...

 Oops... "Help Mummy!"

 Little footprints in the snow, where do they go?!

 Snow Angel 'Jamie'

 J A M I E

 "Tired now Mummy..."

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Spotlight On: Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic

Liz Earle Instant Skin Boost Tonic

Firstly, I must apologise for the pants not-so-great photo quality. I've broken my camera {again}, so am relying on an old one that suffices well enough for Jamie photos{!}, but not quite so well for macro shots of beauty products.

I recently waxed lyrical about the iconic Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish, and am thoroughly enjoying my current skincare regime {although it's less regime, and more lazy girl routine}. Following the natural order of the products as I use them in my routine, the next product under the spotlight is the Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic, a toner. My particular packaging preference is the 'spritzer' version, but this is also available in a standard bottle.

This toner smells d i v i n e, I literally can't get enough of it! The scent reminds me of babies, but is also quite medicinal/herbal, as with all Liz Earle products, and it just smells healthy - if there is such a smell?! It's so simple to use, you just spritz/pour a small amount onto a clean cotton pad and swipe it over your face {I always tend to go in an upward circular motion}. It instantly refreshes and cools the skin, and has a very calming effect on me, toning down any redness. I also feel that this adds extra moisture to my skin, and leaves it silky soft. This toner contains aloe vera, calendula, chamomile, cucumber and vitamin E, all known for their calming and revitalising properties - and all ingredients that I have noted have particularly visible effects on my skin over the years. I really enjoy using a toner, and I can always tell if I have missed this step in my routine for whatever reason.

A 200ml spritzer bottle retails for £12.50, and is WELL worth the price in my humble opinion. You can purchase Liz Earle products instore and online, and also from John Lewis, Fenwick Bond Street and QVC

Disclaimer: All words and opinions are 100% my own. Product provided for review consideration purposes. I am not affiliated with Liz Earle in any way. Some links may be affiliate links.

Monday, 6 February 2012

How I stopped biting my nails

(Nail polish worn is Orly Rage, from this NOTD)

You wouldn't think these were the nails of a biter would you? Well, technically you'd be right. They're not anymore. In my early teens, I foolishly became a nail biter - goodness knows why, perhaps because my friends did so I misguidedly thought it was cool?! This persistent nail biting, and I'm talking right down to the skin, to the point it hurts so much and bleeds, lasted {on and off} right into my early twenties. I'll be 26 this year, so that's a lot of abuse I've subjected my poor fingers too. I'm pretty darn chuffed to proudly {and publicly} declare that I've not bitten my nails in well over 2 years now.

As with most nail biters, I attempted preventative measures, even resorting to having acrylics put on fortnightly - which only served to weaken them further in the long term and left dents in my back balance. Those anti-biting formulas you can apply around the nail - useless, I just carried on until the vile, bitter taste was gone. That's the sign of a true biter, nothing will stop you. Oh, and the aforementioned acrylics, well yes, I even tried biting those.

"Please, stop wittering on!" I hear you all cry. Tell us, tell us, just how did you do it?! Well, I started painting my nails. That's it. I know, I know, surely something as simple as nail varnish wasn't going to be strong enough to crack this habit? It ruddy well was.

The moment my nails were painted, even when horribly short and unsightly, I admired them, turning my hands at all angles and gazing over whichever shade adorned them that day. Having painted nails allowed me to feel pride over them, and moved the focus from desperately needing to nibble them, to desperately wanting to make them look pretty. It took a long time, and a few failed attempts, but I got there, and now have talons I'm very happy with. They are actually pretty short for me at the moment, as shown in the above photo, I tend to keep them quite short and neat so I don't scratch Jamie when changing his nappy...

Of course, when you give up something as addictive as nail biting, you tend to replace it with something buying and hoarding unnecessary amounts of nail varnish perhaps?!

Saturday, 4 February 2012

NOTD: Orly 'Rage'

 {Natural sunlight, outdoors, no flash}

 {Natural sunlight, indoors, no flash}

{Natural daylight, indoors, no flash}

This is only the second Orly Nail Lacquer I've ever tried, but after breaking my Orly virginity with 'Rock It' from the Mineral FX collection toward the end of 2011, I knew that it was the start of something special.

As you know, I'm on an enforced spending ban, but when I saw this polish pop up on a friends blog sale, I dipped into the remains of my Christmas money to snap this up sharpish. I'd heard such good things about this, and honestly, now I've got it, I can't sing it's praises enough.

The shade I'm talking about is 'Rage', from the Foils FX collection by Orly, released last year. It's such an incredible rose gold intense shimmer, that applies like a dream and is totally opaque after two thin coats. The longevity of the metallic polishes isn't the best, but for the absolutely stunning shades I am more than prepared to accept that. I don't think this shade would suit everyone, but there is something about it that just seems to compliment my pale skin tone really nicely, and I can't stop myself from staring at my nails, like some kind of crazed magpie. 

Wisdom Tooth Extraction - Sedation

Please excuse me going slightly off topic for this blog post, but earlier in the week I had one of my wisdom teeth extracted. When my dentist advised me, for the third or fourth time, that extraction really was the most sensible option for me, I was visibly unsettled. After fiddling around in my mouth some more, he turned to me and said "would you like to be sedated for it?". My weak, mumbled reply was "yes please".

I wouldn't say I have a fear of the dentist. In fact, I've come to realise I actually quite like mine. I don't particularly like going, and especially don't like having to have {necessary} work done, but I kind of accept it as just another one of those things we have to grin and bear. I do however, get very nervous at the thought of injections in my mouth, and really did not relish the thought of being able to see and hear the tugging and pulling that would be inevitable during an extraction. My dentist referred me to a local dental clinic who specialise in 'conscious sedation'. {For more information on conscious sedation please visit the clinics website}

After having to reschedule my appointment a few times {the day before THE wedding of the year, I don't think so somehow!}, the 1st of February was quickly upon me. I'm aware I'm telling this story in a rather dramatic way, in a bid to avoid the inevitable, so I'll cut the crap and get straight to it. Conscious sedation basically means you are awake, but can not see or feel any of the treatment happening, and enter a sleep like state. When researching the method, the bit that freaked me out was that during the operation you may be able to hear, and respond to, verbal comments. However, most patients experience amnesia and are unable to remember anything from the procedure.

After getting checked in and having an x-ray, I had a little blip when the surgeon advised me I was very high risk of permanent nerve damage in my lip and chin, due to both the diagonal angle my tooth had grown at, and the fact it was sitting directly on a prominent nerve. The overriding advice was still to remove the tooth, and probably wasn't as dramatic as it sounded to me in my nervous state, and so I opted to continue.

Putting my initial anxieties aside, and now speaking from experience, I would wholeheartedly recommend this method of tooth extraction, if you are in any way nervous about what to expect. I genuinely do not remember a single thing, aside from speaking to the anaesthetist and surgeon beforehand, getting the sedative put in my hand and being told I'd start to feel light headed. According to Colin {you must be supervised by a responsible adult, both to and from your appointment, and for at least 24 hours after}, I was in and out within 10 minutes. The worst part, and I won't sugar coat it, was coming round from the sedative, which was horrible. I woke up on a bed in the recovery room, with some kindly nurses and Colin looking down at me, highly confused as to where I was and what time it was?! I started crying and felt very sick, and was generally very frightened. I was very unsteady in my feet, but in hindsight the effects did wear off pretty fast. Once I was home {a very confusing, surreal journey}, Colin explained I had been hallucinating, which whilst expected and completely normal after sedation, was obviously terrifying for me at the time! The numbness and hallucinations wore off within 2 hours of my procedure, and I was eating {soup}, drinking and manically applying lip balm after 3. I had some pretty weird dreams over the next 48 hours, but nothing life changing or unmanageable. The pain is obviously to be expected, but with strong painkillers, again, is nothing unmanageable. There are obviously a few rules to stick to, such as not driving, working or signing any legal documents for 24 hours, not cleaning your teeth for 48 hours, and putting your feet up whilst your 'supervisor' does everything for you ;)

I thought it might be helpful to share my experience, for anyone that like me, has some anxieties towards dental treatment, and wanted to read a first hand account of conscious sedation. Now...let's get back to the more light hearted posts! Next up, nail varnish!

Thursday, 2 February 2012

January Favourites {2012}

A new year means a new blog feature, and I'm jumping onto the monthly favourites bandwagon. Whilst I've not been buying anything much, I've been using up the bazillion things I already own, so it shouldn't be exactly the same each month {she says...hopefully}!



Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish, Instant Boost Skin Tonic, Skin Repair Light Moisturiser
No surprise here, but I've been absolutely loving my Liz Earle skincare routine. It's simple, quick and effective. Job done!

Soap & Glory A Great Kisser lip balm*
A last minute entrant to the January favourites is definitely this lip product. I love Soap & Glory {and no, I'm not being paid to say that, you should see my beauty cupboard?!}, and I just knew I'd love this! I have an abundance of lip balms, and some really don't cut it, but I've been reaching for this a lot since I received it. It smells great, is really moisturising whilst also really glossy, it's got a lovely, non sticky, slightly waxy texture, AND a subtle hint of colour, making it a fabulous multi-tasker. {Review coming soon}

Soap & Glory Handfood
The packaging boasts the claim "the most astonishing hand cream ever? You decide!" and honestly, I have to concede, it IS the best hand cream I've ever tried. I have many I really like, but this just wins hands down, I adore the classic Soap & Glory scent, that lingers but isn't overpowering, I love the non-greasy formulation that sinks in instantly - even if you accidentally blob out a little more than you'd anticipated, and ultimately I am just so pleased with how soft and well nourished this makes my hands feel.


MAC Pinch 'O' Peach Blush
I've had this blush in my collection for well over a year now, but tended to reach for my beloved Well Dressed {also MAC} more often. Now that I've well and truly hit pan on that, Pinch 'O' Peach has replaced it, and my love affair has been rekindled. It's the perfect pinky peach flush of colour.

Chanel Illusion D'Ombre in {83 }Illusoire
I'm not sure if it's possible to actually be in love with an eyeshadow, but if it is, then I am. I can't even begin to describe how unique and luxurious this feels, both to look at and apply. It's a little hard to work with if you try too hard, I find slapping it on and blending well works much better than precision application. It's my new favourite, and won't be easily knocked off of the pedestal I've placed it upon. {Review/FOTD coming soon}

Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum Foundation {Shade 51}
I only possess two foundations - yes, really - this and the original Healthy Mix. That suits me down to the ground. I'm not big on base, as long as I have concealer then I'm happy that I don't need foundation. Having said that, this is so effortless to apply and blend that I can work it into my rushed morning routine without having to sacrifice something else. It literally glides onto my skin, is an almost perfect colour match and looks very natural. J'adore! {Review coming soon}

Look Beauty Nail Pop in Petticoat
This shade has been on my finger nails almost constantly throughout January. It's such a wearable and surprisingly durable nail polish, that's a dream to apply {despite needing 3 coats ideally}, and I just can't get enough!

Everyday Minerals brush
I've no idea what the actual name for this brush is, and I've had it for years now, but I've been absolutely loving using it to buff in the concealer under my eyes.


Clynol Colour & Care Reflex Silver Shampoo and Restore Colour Conditioner*
This shampoo is the most vibrant shade of purple I've ever seen. It's so vibrant I was almost afraid of what would happen when I put it on my hair! I needn't have worried though, for all this does is help protect my blonde locks, and prevents the dreaded brassy tones appearing. The accompanying conditioner smells divine too, and is very nourishing on my ends. 

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with any of the brands mentioned. All words and opinions are 100% my own - can't you tell?! Products received for review consideration purposes are denoted with a *. Some products mentioned were received as gifts. Some links may be affiliate links.