Friday, 31 May 2013

Skint mum does beauty blogging!

I've been following many beauty blogs for just over a year now & I really love reading their individual reviews of products, both high-end & drug store.  But sometimes I sit & ponder on how much money some bloggers must be spending on all these products to do such frequent reviews.
I'm fully aware that a lot of well established bloggers get a fair amount of products gifted or sent to them from PRs for consideration of review but still, their Boots Advantage Cards must get loaded on a monthly basis!!
Please don't read this & think I'm being narky towards beauty bloggers because I'm not at all - quite the opposite in fact, I think I have a touch of the green-eyed monster!!  You see, I'm a stay-at-home-mum (the new way of saying housewife!) to 3 on a very strict budget so as much as I love beauty products & I'd love to be purchasing several a week for reviewing purposes, my circumstances dictate that I just can't do that anymore *cue silent sobbing!*
Unless an item is sent to me specifically for reviewing, I will only ever buy a product that I would've bought for myself to try anyway & 9 times out of 10, it'll be a drug store buy.  Actually, I'm currently trialling 10 products for a well-known publication, 6 of which I wouldn't be able to buy usually because they are waaaay out of my price range.  Once the publication is available to the public, I'll be able to post my results on my blog but I will tell you that while most products I've loved, one I've been allergic to so had to stop using & one I've hated the smell so much, it actually made me nauseous!!
Long gone are those days when I worked as a Beauty Therapist & my bathroom cabinets were full to the brim of high-end's a crying shame beauty blogging wasn't around then, I really would've been in my element! But I'll tell you something, I'm astounded at the progress & improvement of drug-store & budget beauty brands compared to 15, even 10 years ago. There are some fantastic products available now to suit everyone's budget (& some really great dupes too!)  Don't get me wrong though, birthday & Christmas present requests usually include a couple of higher-end cult products that I've been dying to try, heh heh!!
 So just to clarify, I'll never class myself just a beauty blogger...more of a ooooh-look-at-this-I-love/hate-it sort of person! But to be honest, I never started this blog as a beauty blog anyway, it was always my intention for it to be more of a lifestyle/blethering/jabbering away type of blog. Which, quite frankly, is what this particular post has been just jabbering on about things!!  But as you know, things evolve & who knows what I'll be doing with it this time next year!!
Image taken from Google Images from

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Fifty shades of grey (hair!)

So here's the thing, I (sadly but genetically) started getting grey hair at the tender age of 18.  It didn't seem a biggie way back then when it was just a few silver stragglers, nothing a good semi & some highlights couldn't cover, but over the years the greys rapidly multiplied, at a rate far quicker than I was happy about!
About 5 or 6 years ago, when I'd let my hair re-growth go a week longer than usual, I noticed to my horror that my roots were nearly all white near my temples.  My sister (a hair stylist) took great delight in pointing this out to me &, well to cut a long story short, now I am apparently 85% grey all over *sob*!! 
As anyone with lots of grey hair knows, your hair becomes really coarse, wiry & more & more difficult to colour & I've found over the last couple of years that DIY hair colours that always used to cover my grey, weren't doing so anymore.  As my hair grows at a ridiculous rate, I have to colour my roots every 3 weeks - 4 weeks at a real push.  When I find I'm having a conversation with someone & their eyes keep straying to my hair, I know I've left it too long!  Or when my 6'1" husband stands over me, sucks in air & says, "whoa hun, time to do your colour.......!!"
I've tried just about every DIY hair colour available & I'm very happy to say that I've now found one that is fabulous & covers every single grey just 10 minutes!!  Step forward Superdrug Salon Radiance & take a bow!

I forgot to take a photo of the packaging before I threw it away so I've taken the image from the Superdrug website.
This is a really great hair colourant & all for the bargain price of £5.09.  I also refreshed the rest of my hair with a Superdrug semi too as it was looking a bit faded & dull & I'm really pleased with the results.

So that's me done & feeling not too scummy-mummy-like for another 3 weeks until I do it all again!!  Bravo Superdrug on a fantastic product that even my new hairdresser complimented me on!

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Amazing Marrakech


Photos from Google Images
Morocco, Marrakech in particular, is a place I've desperately wanted to visit for quite some time now, it's now moved up to next on my travel wish list!
For a person who doesn't really relish being in busy places, it seems bizarre to want to visit somewhere like Marrakech where the utter madness of the medina & souks never quietens down..... but I'm strangely drawn to it!
Whenever I look at photos of the place, all the jewel-like colours of the food & spices just seem so exciting to me & I know I'd love wandering round the medina & souks all day long.  My case would definitely be filled with spices on the return journey!
The idea of staying in a traditional riad, a gorgeous private house usually hidden away behind a doorway in a souk backstreet, as opposed to in a large hotel, really appeals to me.  A lot of these riads have little plunge pools either in the centre of the courtyard or on the rooftop, somewhere blissful to lie in the sun!  I can almost imagine lying there with a great book & a chilled glass of rosé....a wee spa wouldn't be a bad thing either.....
I almost start to salivate when I think of the traditional tagines made with spices, chicken & preserved lemons, nom nom!!  Hmmm, beam me up Scotty!
I think I've persuaded Mr F that we need to visit here next year (or even later on this year if I can push it, heh heh!) & have already started pricing up flights & riads etc.  It can work out to be quite a reasonable trip if you're a bit savvy & use flight comparison sites & contact the riads directly etc.
Anyway, I'll just keep on dreaming (& planning) for now.....!

Sunday, 26 May 2013

NOTD China Glaze ~ Make Some Noise

I adore this summery shade of coral.  It's not too bright or neon & has the slightest hint of pink to it making it a good all-round shade & great now the sun has actually decided to show it's face again!
I'm finding myself buying more & more China Glaze polishes now as I love the variety of shades available & it helps that I get them at the beauty wholesaler so they're a great price!  The coverage is great & when teamed with my trusty nail duo of China Glaze Strong Adhesion base coat & Seche Vite top coat, I get at least a week from my manicure.  They never chip, just show some signs of slight wear on the nail tips after about 5 or 6 days.......but I'm happy with that!
I applied 2 coats & the finish is quite glossy on its own but I just love the quality finish of Seche Vite.  I keep reading on other blogs about other top coats but I just can't bring myself to try any out as I personally don't think I can top this one.........can I??
I hope everyone's enjoying their weekend in the sun!

Sweet potato & chorizo soup

Sometimes I really don't feel like cooking a large meal at night & fancy a big bowl of soup instead.  Luckily, my kids are happy with this too & this particular soup is our current favourite.
I first had this when Alfie was at his friend's birthday party last winter, it was so warming & tasty, I knew I'd be cooking it a lot from then on!!
The recipe is a Jamie Oliver one but I've adapted it ever so slightly for our tastes.
Sweet potato & chorizo soup
serves 6-8
2 carrots, roughly diced
2 onions, chopped
2 or 3 garlic cloves, chopped
800g sweet potatoes, peeled & roughly chopped
200g chorizo sausage (spicy or mild depending on your taste)
olive oil
1 or 2 tbsp Balti paste (according to taste)
2 chicken stock cubes dissolved in 1.8l boiling water
small bunch fresh parsley, chopped
salt & pepper
1.  Put a large pot on a medium-high heat & add a splash of olive oil.  Add all the chopped veg, parsley & chorizo & stir.  Add the Balti paste & mix well.
2.  Cook for around 5 - 10 minutes until the carrots start to soften slightly.
3.  Pour the hot stock in to the pan & stir well.
4.  Bring to the boil & reduce heat.  Simmer for 20 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are cooked through.  Season with salt & pepper to taste.
5.  Using a liquidiser or hand blender (or whizzy stick as I call it!), blend until smooth.
6.  Serve with a dollop of crème fraîche or finely chopped red chilli if you wish.
This is great served with some chunky wholegrain bread & a glass or two of shiraz.  A few months ago I read in a magazine about this Koolibura shiraz from Aldi, of all places.  I'd always been a bit dubious about trying their wines but it really is delicious & I've since tried many more & haven't had a dud one yet!  Their Toro Loco Tempranillo is another firm favourite of ours & such a bargain at around £3.50 a bottle!

Have a great weekend everyone!


NOTD Essie ~ Turquoise & Caicos

Last week I hunted out my old Tiffany bracelet that I had for my 30th birthday & I decided I wanted to paint my nails to match the packaging!  After asking the Twittersphere for some suggestions of colours, by far the most popular choices for good colour matches were China Glaze For Audrey or Essie Turquoise & Caicos.
So the next morning I hot-footed it into town & went to the beauty wholesaler where I usually buy my China Glaze products but they didn't have For Audrey & according the sales person, were unlikely to get any, booo!!
Next, was onto Superdrug as they had a 3for2 offer on & Boots didn't.....well, every little helps right?!  I bought the Essie polish along with Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum foundation which I've read many good things about & L'Oréal Lumi Magique Pure Light Primer.  I'll do reviews on those soon but for now, the polish.....
The colour is divine & a pretty good match for the Tiffany packaging.  As always, I applied my China Glaze Strong Adhesion base coat to begin with & then the first coat of polish.  I have to say, I was quite shocked at how thin in consistency this seemed as I usually find Essie polishes to be really opaque & cover exceptionally well with just one coat.  However, this was not the case here.
Even with 2 coats of colour, the coverage was still a little streaky for my liking & I think it could've done with a third coat to be perfect but I didn't have time!  I think next time I'll try it with an opaque white base colour on first & see if that helps with the coverage.
I finished with my trusty Seche Vite top coat & although I had about 6 days with no chipping or flaking before I removed the colour to change it, there was some serious wear on the tips going on.  Again, this just wasn't like any other Essie polish I've tried before so I was quite baffled.  But like I've already said, the colour is beautiful & I had lots of compliments on it, I'll just try an alternative  application next time & see if that makes any difference!
I also bought a bargain (£4.99) ring from H&M that matched the polish perfectly, another great summer favourite!!
What are your favourite summer colours?

Monday, 20 May 2013

May Book Club review

So this month was a 'classic read' month & as a group, we decided on Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez.
This is the story of Florentina Ariza, a hopeless romantic who falls in love with Fermina Daza when they are both in their teens.  He is left heart-broken when she rejects him & goes on to marry the distinguished Dr Juvenal Urbino.
Florentina can never forget his first true love & when 51 years, 9 months & 4 days after she marries Dr Urbino, he dies, he appears to declare his love for her once more.
I have really mixed feelings for this book.  The story had me gripped at the beginning & the end but I have to say, I began to lose interest in the middle.  It's a true love story but personally, I found a lot of it repetitive & it began to drag on a bit which really annoyed me as I really wanted to love it!
We've yet to decide on the book choice for June but after 2 quite heavy reads, we're all hoping for something a little lighter next!
Have you read this book, I'd love to hear your thoughts on it?

Saturday, 18 May 2013

All by myself......

...ok, a bit dramatic but Mr F has been working away so I've had a full week to catch up on my trashy tv & watch my girly dvds that he can't stand, utter bliss!!
Many episodes of Friends, SATC, Desperate Housewives, Dallas & Nashville have been watched along with the Magic Mike dvd I bought months ago, heh heh!!  Much chocolate has been consumed also, whoops......we'll just pretend that bit didn't happen.....
Last night was the turn of Les Misérables, a movie I was desperate to see at the cinema but with one thing or another (lack of babysitter mainly!), I didn't get to see it before it disappeared off the big screen.  But I finally got to watch it in total peace last night & I have to say, I'm quite glad I didn't watch it at the cinema as I would've probably been thrown out for the loud sobbing noises I was emitting!  Oh my goodness, what a bloody fantastic film, the best thing I've seen in a long, long time.
Silly little scenes set me off crying but by the end, the tears were just freefalling & I was sat on the sofa sobbing contentedly!!  Even when I went to bed & was reading my book, a song would pop into my head & set me off again!  Phew, very hard to keep my emotions in check with that one.
I also managed to get my hair cut a couple of days back, something I've needed to do for weeks now but my usual stylist had left the salon so I had to pluck up the courage to try the one who replaced her!  I'm glad I did though as she's made a great job of it...panic over!!
Me & my wee man!!
Today the rain is pouring - again - so tonight I'll no doubt be in my pjs early with a glass of red or three ready to go....I just need to decide what to watch.  After all, I only have 2 days until my man returns & I have to relinquish the tv remote again!!
Bon week-end à tous!!

Revlon Lip Butters

So I finally got round to buying some Revlon Lip Butters after reading reviews on them for so long!  Initially I bought Candy Apple, a corally-red & loved the formula & staying power of it so much, I then went out & bought Raspberry Pie (bright fuschia pink), Pink Truffle (nude/pink), Red Velvet (a deep cool red) on a Boots 3for2 offer.
Top - Candy Apple
Bottom - Raspberry Pie
Top - Pink Truffle
Bottom - Red Velvet
My least favourite is the Pink Truffle - not enough ooomph for my liking & I find it doesn't have the same staying power as the brights but I love the Candy Apple & Raspberry Pie.  In fact, I've very nearly finished my Candy Apple so will renew it next week (& I suppose try out some other colours too!)
The formulations are great for me, really hydrating & I love the fact that I can apply quite heavily for a real pop of colour or just gently pat it on directly from the stick for just a hint of colour.  Either way, I find they last really well, surprising given they're quite slick & glossy.  The Candy Apple can get through a cappucino & almond croissant without wearing off - always a good sign!
Please excuse the horribly self-conscious poses & believe it or not, I'm not pouting, that's just how my lips usually look!!!  It's not until I did some selfies that I realised how assymetrical my lips are, I'm sure they don't look like that when I look in the mirror - trés bizarre!!!
What are your favourite Lip Butter colours?

NOTD Barry M Gelly Polish ~ Lychee

Yes, yes, I know, I'm extremely late to the party where these Barry M Gelly polishes are concerned but when my daughter came home with some more of them last weekend, I thought I should finally give them a trial.  I have lots of the original formulation polishes though & love them so I was really intrigued to see how these faired.
I'm not usually a nude nail polish wearer as I love my bright splashes of colour or dark, gothic nails but there was something about this colour that drew me towards it.  It's a really warm nude colour which I actually loved but I must try it with leopard print nail art on top as I think it's the perfect base colour for that!
I loved the application of this polish, it was really thick & glossy looking - although this was to be expected seeing as it's a gelly polish!  It dried quickly with no streaking & as always, it was teamed with my China Glaze Strong Adhesion base coat & Seche Vite top coat.  I got 8 days wear from my manicure with absolutely no chipping or flaking & really only removed it so I could swatch other colours.
All in all, pretty darned great I'd say & I will be adding more Gelly polishes to my rapidly growing nail polish collection soon as I think I prefer them to the regular formulations!

NOTD MUA ~ Strawberry Crush

Sorry folks, seem to have been MIA during the last fortnight.  I've been up to my ears in end of year PTA stuff, making a new website for Alfie's primary school & being appointed the school's press officer so it's all been a bit manic here but I've sussed my time management now to enable me to get back onto my blog!
A couple of weeks ago I decided to try out some new MUA nail polishes in the gorgeous new pastel ice cream shades that are all too popular at the minute.  Usually being a bright or dark nail polish wearer, I wasn't & still am not sure if these colours are really 'me'.   But seeing as I adore seeing them on other people I thought I'd give them a try & for only £1 a bottle, well, it'd be rude not to frankly! 
1.  Lush Lilac
2.  Strawberry Crush (colour reviewed)
3.  Frozen Yoghurt
4.  Moody Mink
5.  Pistachio Ice Cream
I found the polish itself to be on the thinner side & the coverage would've been perfect with 3 coats but the photo below shows it with just 2 coats - still not bad at all though & I adore the bright burst of summer colour.  I wasn't holding out much hope for the longevity of them given the price but fair dues, I've still managed to get a full week with no chipping or flaking which I have to say, I'm ridiculously impressed with.  I think the fact it was teamed with my trusty China Glaze Strong Adhesion base coat & Seche Vite top coat has definitely added to the staying quality of the polish.
I will swatch the other 4 colours asap & do a follow up post but for now, these fabulously priced dinky little bottles of polish are a really great buy & I will no doubt be adding more to my polish collection swiftly!!

Friday, 3 May 2013

A day oot in Auld Reekie

Very rarely these days do Mr F & I get the chance to have a whole day to ourselves so when my mum came home after visiting my sister for 6 weeks & offerered to do the school runs etc. we jumped at the chance!  I'd received a fair amount of pennies for my birthday a couple of weeks back so we decided to go to Edinburgh for the day so I could go to John Lewis & Harvey Nichols & spend them!!
I love Edinburgh so much, I would live there in a heartbeat.....I just need to do some serious praying to the Lottery gods first though!  We normally take the train through but we find more often than not, there are never any seats on the return journey so have to end up standing for an hour & a half.  Not good at all when you've paid good money for a ticket, in my opinion.  So this time we decided to use the park & ride just beside the Forth Road Bridge which turned out to be so fast & easy, I just think we'll use this option from now on!
Anyway, I had a very successful day & picked up a load of new skincare & cosmetics.....and the obligatory pair of new shoes of course!  No shopping trip is complete without new shoes but instead of a pair of sky-high heels, this time I opted for the sensible-but-damn-comfortable ballet flats from Clarks. 
1.  MAC Viva Glam 1
2.  No7 cream blush Maple Silk
3.  Soltan Gradually Golden for face
4.  L'Oréal Nude Magique CC Anti-fatigue
5.  Stila Prime Pot
6.  MAC lipliner Spice
7.  Revlon Lip Butter Red Velvet, Raspberry Pie & Pink Truffle
I also purchased more of my favourite cleanser, the fabulous Cleanse & Polish by Liz Earle & a lip balm from Kiehl's, a range I've never tried before but I'm loving the product so far.  I also bought a new make-up pouch & some mini handcreams from Cath Kidston to keep in my handbag rather than the great big tubes I normally stash in there & finally got my hands on some Real Techniques brushes.  These things are like gold dust around here, they're always sold out but a full review of these will follow.  And finally, every trip to Edinburgh involves a visit to Bravissimo for new undies.  I was fitted by the brilliant & very patient Brigit & came away with 2 new sets.
Mr F wanted to go to the Hard Rock Café (again!) for lunch where I enjoyed quite possibly the tastiest steak I've had in a looong time & a couple of beers went down well too!  So that's me well & truly spent up for quite some time now.  Well, except for this fabulous bridge camera that I have my eye on that is!  I may have to do quite a few eBay & carbooting sessions to raise the funds for that one though!
À la prochaine!

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