Sunday, 30 June 2013

Let me entertain you.....!

Sorry folks, this last fortnight has been choc-full of end-of-term madness hence my lack of blog posts but school holidays are now underway so I should be posting more regularly now!!
Anyway, let me fill you in on this week's wee jaunt to Glasgow.  It'd been 12 long years since I last saw him in concert, but the day had finally arrived to go & see the one & only Robbie Williams!!  If you've read my very first blog post, you'd know that I'm a rock chick at heart but when it comes to Robbie, that all goes out the window I'm afraid!  He's such an entertainer & puts on a truly amazing show, I just LOVED it!!  And as a total bonus, Olly Murs was the supporting act, he too putting on a great show!
My sister was up for the show too so we decided to have lunch at Jamie's Italian on George Square first before we checked into our hotel (situated pretty much underneath the M8 flyover, nice!) & headed off to the show.  We had a fantastic meal & it was really good value (2 starters, 2 mains, 2 large glasses of red & 1 cocktail was a tad over £40!!)


And now for the main man!!!

It was such a fantastic concert, I really hope I don't have to wait another 12 years to see him again!!  (At which point I realise I'll be 50.... nope, I can't think of that right now!!!)

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Days out with kids #1 - The Scottish Deer Centre, Cupar

Last Monday we had our pre-school summer trip & this year parents had the chance to vote for their favoured place to visit.  The place that came out on top with the most votes was The Scottish Deer Centre in Cupar, somewhere we've not yet had the chance to visit so I was secretly quite pleased!  And most unlike the weather we've been having recently, the skies were blue & the sun shone all day, making it a beautiful day out for all.



There was plenty here for the kids to see & do & we started off by walking round the park with our maps spotting all the different types of deer.  They also have a wolf enclosure but it's situated right next to a small adventure playground so the kids were like "look Mummy it's a wo......THERE'S A PARK!!!!" & off they ran!  I, on the other hand, love wolves.  I find myself absolutely mesmerised by their eyes & I could watch them all day long!
After we'd escorted a small group of children over the treetop walk, we headed back towards the ranger centre where we were viewing a midday bird display.  We were shown a tiny white barn owl (who Alfie was convinced was Hedwig, bless him!) & a falcon (I think!) & although there's no denying their beauty, I'm really not fond of birds of any sort so to have them flying within millimetres of my head was not the most pleasant thing in the world for me!  The kids however, thought they were amazing!  We then enjoyed a picnic in the sun before heading back to the ranger centre ready for our ranger guide to take us all into a deer pen.
This particular deer was a beautiful tame deer called Izzy who took a real liking to my bag, as you can see from one of the photos above!  The ranger asked if I had an apple in my bag & when I replied that I didn't, he asked if there'd been one in there in the last couple of days.  I'd actually just taken one out that morning so she could smell it & was desperate to find it!  He told us they're not allowed to eat apples as they ferment really quickly in their stomachs & make them drunk, hence they all really want them!!
Anyway, take a look at the link at the top for The Scottish Deer Centre as it was a lovely day out & has plenty more to see & do than what I've mentioned here.
Now I have to make a list of other places to visit during the school holidays which begin in 4 short days.......& then it's time to prepare for 'proper' school, wahhh!!!

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Crail Food Festival 2013

Last weekend saw the 3rd annual Crail Food Festival being held & as for one reason or another we'd missed the last 2 years, I was really looking forward to going this year.  We went on the Sunday when the festival moved outdoors to the stunning Crail harbour & I'd pre-booked good weather for this....... & luckily, the Weather Gods were compliant as it was glorious!
The Crail Food Festival celebrates the best of the regional produce with stands where you can sample & purchase delicacies from local businesses such as The Pittenweem Chocolate Company, Chillilicious, The Doorstep Bakery, Balgove Larder, St Andrews Brewing Company,  St Andrews Farmhouse Cheese Company & many more.  I'm sorry for not naming everyone but you can check the CFF website for a full list of participants.

We had a fabulous couple of hours wandering round, taking in the sights, smells & tastes.  I have to say though, I love Spink's Arbroath Smokies so that's where I head to first, letting my nose lead the way!
Crail itself is a fishing town in the East Neuk of Fife, made up of winding streets with beautiful stone & white-washed buildings, some dating back to the 17th century.  I spent many childhood summers in the town of Anstruther, just a few miles down the road but I'd never really walked around Crail before.  I can't wait to go back & explore it properly, camera in hand, as always!

We finished off our day with a late lunch at The Vic in my beloved St Andrews!  We'd not been in here before but have wanted to try it for a while & we weren't disappointed. Great food, friendly staff, funky decor & Etch-a-Sketches for the kids (although I think maybe they could provide ones for adults too as we had bickering between wee man & Mr F about who was going to use it next!!)
Sorry for all the photos but I took hundreds & it was really hard to pare them all down!
À la prochaine!

Friday, 14 June 2013

June Book Club review

So this month's Book Club read was The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey, a story roughly based on an old Russian fairytale character named Snegurochka, or The Snow Maiden.
It tells the story of Mabel & Jack who, following a tragic event in their lives, decide to leave their comfortable lives to run a homestead in Alaska.  Facing the long, dark winters with only each other for company & living a frugal existance, can they survive......& will they even want to?
One winter as the first snowfall arrives thick & fast, in a moment of brief happiness they build a child out of the snow.  The following morning, it would seem that the snowchild had been destroyed by a wild animal but then the sudden appearance of a girl close to their home makes Mabel start to remember the stories of her childhood, the stories of Snegurochka.
After contacting her sister back home to send the old book to her, she starts to believe that the child they made of snow is actually the child who now visits their home & lives in the woods.  Could this be the case or is it just a child who lives rough in amongst the trees, with only a red fox for company?
I was totally gripped by this beautiful tale right from the beginning & although it is essentially a sad tale, I found parts of it strangely uplifting.  I'm so glad this was chosen as our June Book Club read as it's not a book I'd have chosen for myself in a million years but I really loved it.  It's beautifully written & you feel so much empathy for all of the characters, I urge you to read it even if it doesn't seem like your usual style of book!
Now to make a start on my stack of library books I have out at the minute....& then the 18 books I have waiting on my Kindle.......!
What have you been reading lately that you can recommend?

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Essentials ~ haircare

As I've previously had a whinge about here, my hair is really (& I mean realllly) grey now which has totally changed the texture of my hair from silky & thick to coarse, wiry.....& erm, thick!!  Consequently, most of the products I used to use & love are now not suitable so I've spent the best part of the last year trying out new products to see which ones work for me now. 
   I have consciously tried not to try more expensive brands of haircare as I get through so much of the stuff, I can't justify the cost of them....after all, my kids still need shoes etc.!  These are my current favourites which, when combined, seem to make my hair much more manageable & the silkiness is nearly back to where it used to be!

1.  Primark hair donuts
2.  Superdrug Salon Radiance permanent colour
3.  L'Oréal Elvive Full Restore shampoo & conditioner
4.  L'Oréal Studio Silk & Gloss Curl Power Spray
5.  Toni & Guy Iron-It Heat Defence Spray
6.  eBay hairdressing scissors
7.  Primark kirby grips
8.  Tresemmé 24 Hour Body Plumping Powder
9.  Carino Professional Miracle Oil with Argan Oil
10.  Trevor Sorbie Beautiful Curls Curl Cream
11.  John Frieda Full Repair Perfect Ends Deep Infusion
Primark hair donuts £1 each
Handy to keep in for when I fancy BIG hair!  So far, I can only master a rough, messy bun though & not a sleek smooth one but I'm getting there.  The sponge thingy (yes, that is the technical term!) attached to the hair comb is amazing for when you want a bit of a beehive going on or just for some extra oomph in your ponytail.  A bargain at around £1 each, if I remember correctly.
Superdrug Salon Radiance permanent colour
I've talked about this before on my blog but it is awesome at covering grey hair, of which I have many & it works in 10 minutes too.  It leaves my hair so shiny & soft & I always have 2 or 3 in my bathroom stocked up as my roots seem to appear overnight.  £5.09 or currently on offer for 2 for £7.
L'Oréal Elvive Full Restore shampoo & conditioner
I try out lots of different shampoos & conditioners when they're on offer in Boots or Superdrug but these are the ones I keep coming back to.  My hair feels really healthy when I use these, they don't irritate my scalp & don't fade my colour.  £3.99 for 400ml.
L'Oréal Studio Silk & Gloss Curl Power Spray
I'm pretty sure I found this spray in a bargain bin one day in either Boots or Superdrug for a couple of pounds but I have a horrible feeling it's no longer available as I can't find it on their websites!  Bit of a bugger really as I find it great to give beachy, rough curls & lots of volume.  If I can't find it, I'm going to have to limit my use until I find a good replacement!  £2 for 200ml (on offer)
Toni & Guy Iron-It Heat Defence Spray
On the rare occasions that I straighten my hair, I've found this heat defence spray to be excellent at giving protection & shine without weighing my hair down.  My hair will also stay perfectly straight for a couple of days too when using this.  £6.39 for 200ml.
eBay hairdressing scissors
When my sister cut a fringe into my hair back in January or February, I knew that I'd be back at the salon every fortnight getting it trimmed if I didn't get myself a pair of scissors to do it myself.  I didn't want to spend a fortune so had a look on eBay & found this funky pair for £5!  They're really sharp, fit in my hand really well, are not too long & have a removable thumb rest, a really great bargain buy!  £5
Primark kirby grips
With 3 females in my gaff, all with long hair, the house seems to haemorrhage kirby grips!  I swear, no matter where you go, there will always be at least 3 of the things within a metre of where you're stood!  But they're indispensable in a hair kit, even for short hair but I'm not a snob when it comes to these, any cheapy ones will do the job!  £1
Tresemmé 24 Hour Body Plumping Powder
I use this plumping powder for when I want MEGA volume!  You sprinkle a tiny bit into your roots & massage it in & woooosh, you have seriously big hair!  It's great for when I put my hair in a beehive or when it's freshly washed & too slippy to put up properly.  It does leave a matte finish on the hair though so I don't use it a lot as it feels a bit icky but it's fantastic for occasional use.  £5.49 for 10g.
Carino Professional Miracle Oil with Argan Oil
When everyone was going mad for the miracle that was Moroccanoil, I decided that although it sounded great, it was out of my price range so I'd look for a cheaper alternative.  Step forward Carino Professional at Aldi!! I read about it a few months back but my local Aldi never had any in stock so when I finally spotted some last month I snapped one up & now I've used it, I wish I'd bought more!  I can honestly say, my hair has never felt so good or nourished.  I apply a 10p sized amount to the lengths & ends of my wet hair & then leave to dry naturally as usual & it just leaves my hair so smooth & silky - I love it!!  It works just as well on blow-dried hair as my daughter, who usually suffers terribly from split ends, will testify.  If you have an Aldi near to you, get yourself down there & pick some up - you won't regret it!!  £3.99 for 50ml
Trevor Sorbie Beautiful Curls Curl Cream
This product has been used & replaced many times now as I love the finish on my hair.  It gives great, separated soft curls without any crunchy finish & doesn't feel heavy either.  A staple in my hair kit.  £5.29 for 150ml
John Frieda Full Repair Perfect Ends Deep Infusion
This was my go-to serum until I found the Aldi argan oil as it offers great shine & heat protection but I find that it works better on hair that is blow-dried as it seems to be heat-activated.  As I usually leave my hair to dry naturally (or I end up resembling Chrystal Tipps - showing my age now!) I don't feel like I'm getting the best out of it but I do use it when I dry & then straighten my hair.  My daughter swears by it as she straightens her hair a lot & she definitely doesn't have as much damage as usual.  £6.99 for 50ml
So there we have it, a wee look at my haircare essentials.  More 'essentials' posts coming soon!

NOTD MUA ~ Summer Pastels

1.  Lush Lilac
2.  Strawberry Crush
3.  Frozen Yoghurt
4.  Moody Mink
5.  Pistachio Ice Cream
So a couple of months ago I picked up these wee MUA bargainous gems in Superdrug for the princely sum of £1 each.  I'd seen a lot of people wearing summer pastels & loved them but really wasn't sure how I'd like them on me seeing as I'm usually a vibrant bright or gothic dark nail polish kinda gal!!
As it happens, I've loved them all but I surprisingly loved Pistachio Ice Cream the most (very similar to Essie Mint Candy Apple don'tcha think?!)
For the price, the longevity is great & I usually had around 3 days before any wear on the tips.  The photos are all showing 2 coats of polish (with my trusty Seche Vite top coat!) & although some colours could have benefitted from a third coat, in general I've been very pleasantly surprised by these polishes & they're a great size for travelling too! 
The only downside to these are the thin brushes but come on, for £1 I'm certainly not going to be shedding any tears about it & I can't wait to see what new colours MUA will be releasing next!!

Monday, 10 June 2013

NOTD Bourjois ~ Bleu Fabuleux

I've not bought or used any Bourjois polishes for a couple of years now & I don't understand why I stopped but I'm certainly glad I've rediscovered them!
This polish has a great, wide brush that covers the nail perfectly in just 2 sweeps & the cap itself is really comfortable to handle.
The application itself was excellent & the colour was opaque enough with one coat but I always do 2 anyway.  It was super glossy just on it's own but I always seal my manis with Seche Vite as I find it helps with the longevity.
I'm now day 5 into this colour & have had absolutely no chipping & only minimal wear on the tips, all-in-all excellent I'd say!  The vibrant cobalt blue colour is divine & I've never had so many people comment on my nails before.
On the same trip to Superdrug, I also bought another 2 Bourjois polishes so I'm looking forward to trying these out this space!!
I think this colour could become my new favourite & that's some feat seeing as I don't actually like the colour blue!!

Thursday, 6 June 2013

You know you're getting older when........ buy your regular weekly/monthly magazines, read them & then get really depressed about the fact that the fashions advertised are about 2 decades too young for you!!
I had this realisation a couple of months back now & it was like another door in my life firmly....& loudly....closing!  Well, that sounds a tad dramatic but you get the idea right?
I've bought Look magazine every week since it was released but just recently, I've been looking at the clothes featured thinking "what the....?!"  And then it dawned on me that had I been 18 years old, they'd have been perfect!  In fact, my 14 year old daughter loves the magazine & regularly recreates outfits from it......that should've been all the clue I needed really....
So, the next time I went to the newsagent, I started to look for an alternative weekly mag & then I spotted Woman.  I'd always discounted this as being an 'older ladies' magazine....yet again, the penny dropped!!  So I bought it, read it & loved it!  The outfits were still funky but age-appropriate & more importantly, affordable.  The beauty pages have some great ideas & product reviews & there are always great recipes & book recommendations in there too.
So this is my new weekly magazine now although I still end up buying Look too...but to hand over to my daughter!  I also get Essentials magazine every month too now for the same reasons.  There are really great articles in it & actually, there are many readers younger than me, something I never realised before I bought it as again, I'd dismissed it as being for someone of my mum's age!!  In fact, this month's cover star is a blogger I follow.  I've even had one of my tweets in print too - which gave me more pleasure than I'm sure is normal.....
So apologies to both Woman & Essentials magazines for dismissing you for many years as being too frumpy, I have well & truly learnt my lesson, heh hehe!!

NOTD Maybelline ~ Pow Green

I just love having teenage daughters who also love doing their nails as much as I do as it means extra polishes for me to try out!
Pow Green by Maybelline is not a colour I'd have chosen off the shelf in a million years but when my youngest daughter bought it the other day, then appeared wearing it later on, I thought it looked amazing.......& that I'd be pinching it at some point to try out myself!
This is the first time I've used a Maybelline polish.  I don't know why but it's a brand I tend to bypass as I don't really get on with their cosmetics & unfortunately, I didn't find the polish fared that much better either.
Colour-wise I can't fault it.  A fabulous, zingy pale lime green, almost chartreuse really, the photos don't do it justice.  But I wasn't in love with the polish itself.  It was really streaky & thin on the first application & even with the second coat, it could've done with at least another, you can see my middle nail is quite patchy.  I used my usual China Glaze Strong Adhesion base coat & Seche Vite top coat but it began to chip on the tips the next day....not good I'm afraid as I usually get 6 - 7 days from my manicures unless I remove it in order to change colour.
However, I will wear this polish again for a night out or occasion as I love the colour so much, I just know now not to expect it to last that long!

Revlon Lip Butter ~ Wild Watermelon

As you'll know by now, I'm a huge fan of Revlon Lip Butters & yet again, I haven't been disappointed by this one!

The colour is a beautiful, bright orangey-pink shade that would suit most, if not all skin tones.  Again, I find it highly pigmented, really long-lasting & very hydrating.  These are fast becoming my favourite lippies & are great value for money at £7.99 (or less if you combine with a 3 for 2 offer!)  Read about my other Lip Butters here.

Note to self - try to NOT swatch lippies when it's really hot & sunny outdoors!  This would explain the hot & bothered look, heheheh!!
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