Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Play It Straight from got2b

My hair has been horribly frizzy recently - humidity, rain, heat, all conspire against me having glossy locks. I hanker after shiny straight hair but know that it doesn't suit me but I still keep an eye on products that help maintain smooth locks when your hair has natural kink and frizz.

So here is a newcomer to the market which is already making waves (if you'll pardon the awful pun).

got2b play it straight is a semi-permanent solution to unmanageable hair giving you the first straightening blow dry kit from got2b.

In two simple Smoothing & Sealing steps you can create perfectly sleek and straight styles that last up to 10 washes - yes 10 washes. So it's like having a professional blow-dry at home every day really.

play it straight contains a special protein that helps loosen the bonds that make hair frizzy. The formulaiton also contains keratin, silk and wheat proteins for caring and conditioning. These advanced formulas help to seal in lasting smoothness to create a weightless humidity - resistant barrier to frizz - and we can all do with some of that!

So how does it work?

Step 1.
The Smoothing

  • Shampoo hair without massaging the scalp
  • Towel dry and comb then secure hair into 4 sections with plastic hair clips 
  • With gloves on, apply the smoothing serum to each section, then comb through to straighten the hair
  • Let the serum process for 20 minutes (or 25 for thicker hair)
  • Comb hair 3 to 4 times during the process to ensure it remains straight
  • After 20 mins rinse hair with lukewarm water - but don't shampoo!

Step 2
The Sealing

  • Repeat the same steps with the sealing cream and let it process for 10 mins
  • Comb the hair again, 2 to 3 times
  • Rinse hair - again don't use shampoo but use a conditioner if needed
Now your hair is ready to blow dry with a round brush to create beautifully straight and shiny hair that will be noticeably smoother and faster to style. For poker straight hair use straightening irons.

If you want to wear your hair curly then allow it to dry naturally then blow dry or use a diffuser to hold your natural curl - these will be far less frizz prone too.

got2b play it straight is priced at the bargain price of £6.99 RRP and is available now from Boots, Superdrug, Asda, Savers and Amazon. For further information visit got2b or Facebook.

got2b products are available in the following sizes - 

  • got2b guardian angel HEAT PROTECTION                          200ml
  • got2b beach matt PASTE                                                       100ml
  • got2b sparkling shine HAIRSPRAY                                       300ml
  • got2b rockin’ it DRY SHAMPOO                                           200ml     


Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Chicken, Asparagus and Lemon Cassoulet - Leon

This was a recipe that was originally developed for Fairtrade Fortnight by Leon but I couldn't get Fairtrade lemons just normal lemons from ASDA. They say use chicken supremes but they don't do these here either but I must say we all love thighs and legs over breast anyway so it's a much better version.

Anyway the original version appeared in Leon Ingredients & Recipes but
here is my version (which is slightly altered) fresh out of the oven. It went down an absolute treat and will go onto my list of things to do for the family that they will actually eat.

Here is my version which serves 4 - it looks a bit of a mess but is quite delicious...

1 lemon, zested and juiced
4 cloves of garlic
olive oil
2 heaped teaspoons of mixed herbs
4 chicken quarters (thighs and legs)
2 bunches of English asparagus
1 large onion, cut into cubes
2 x 400g tin of haricot beans
2 bay leaves
1/2 glass of white wine
200-300ml hot chicken stock (I use the fairly new chicken stock capsules which are lovely and rich)
1 glass white wine
8 tablespoons breadcrumbs
salt and pepper
carrots - small ones sliced

Put the lemon zest, juice garlic, mixed herbs, olive oil and garlic into a dish and coat the chicken in it. Marinade overnight.

Chop off woody ends of asparagus then cut into pieces about 4cm long. Put oil into a large frying pan, season chicken and when oil is hot, fry it skin side down until golden (a couple of minutes). Remove then fry onions then add the left-over marinade and fry up. Stir in beans and bay leaves and pour in wine.

Add asparagus then transfer into a large baking tray. Put chicken on top and stir in carrots. Add stock. Cover the bean mixture (but not the chicken) with breadcrumbs. Roast for around 30 mins in the oven until crispy and golden. Simply gorgeous....

Monday, 28 May 2012

Darling cardigan from Darling....

This is such a cute cardigan from Darling and has all the right vintage credentials - pearly buttons, fine lace which poses as handmade and a lovely grey/blue colour. Cropped short to skim my hips I will use this as the perfect cover up on holiday and to the office. Look out for Darling fashion - often it's a bit young for me but there are some lovely tailored pieces that suit everyone! Darling Danielle cardigan, £59.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Agadir Argan Oil - a little miracle!

Agadir Argan Oil Daily Moisturizing Shampoo 355ml
I am constantly testing out new hair treatments for curly and slightly dry hair but it is not often that I am genuinely excited by a product - but I am now! Agadir Argan Oil products are extracted from the rare and exotic Argan Nut which is a cross between a walnut and an almond, and because the resulting Argan Oil is lightweight it is perfect for hair products as it won't weigh hair down.

It penetrates the hair shaft so really works hard on softening, repairing and strengthening dry and frizzy hair - and it really does work. It also miraculously reduces drying time by about 40%. It is a natural anti-oxidant and helps with dry scalps too. My hair looks seriously soft, curly and well-conditioned - someone even commented on how nice it looked.

The good news is the whole range of products from shampoo and conditioner (both of which can be used daily) to more consentrated spray treatment oils can be bought online at Feel Unique.

Prices start at £15.30 for the shampoo and conditioner. Treat your hair especially now the sun is out - you really will reap the benefit!

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Xen-Tan - because I'm sick of our summer

Well it's mid-May and although we are promised a heatwave by the end of the week we have seen precious little sun. And precious little sun means I remain the same old sallow self that I cover up all winter. It just won't do so the last couple of weeks I have been using a little weekly self-tan marvel called Xen-Tan.

Xen-Tan is a premium sunless self tan which gives sheer and instant colour which lasts up to a week. So unlike the self tans which gradually darken and which you need to apply daily, Xen-Tan gives you instant colour. I've been very wary of doing this type of tan myself in the past. I always end up with streaks and orange elbows, but I have to say this tan is really smooth and because it does take a few hours to develop the tan was pretty damn near perfect!

It's designed to give a more olive skin tone - perfect for my natural colouring and stops the 'Umpah Lumpah' orange effect. It also smells really good - vanilla top-notes although it does contain aloe and green tea extract.

There is a high level of the deep tanning ingredient so you do get a good, even, dark tan without looking like you've over-done it, and it is so easy to apply as it's a cross between a gel and a cream and you can clearly see where you've been.

I'm a bit addicted. Smooth even tan, no discolouration to hands, elbows or ankles and my skin feels very soft afterwards - not all dry and tight. This moisturised effect can be felt for longer than 24 hours too.

It's not the cheapest self-tan on the market at £28.99 but works, leaves your skin soft and smooth and smells great so I think it's definitely worth the investment...

Xen-Tan also comes in a daily tan for extra deep tans and lots of other varieties so visit the Xen Tan website for more information.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Healthy Eating that's good for your teeth too


Healthy Eating - two words I would always like to put together but often fail dismally to do... Blueberries anyone? Well I love them especially when mixed in with full-fat creme fraiche or vanilla ice-cream. Salmon? Well I love it smoked and served with cream cheese and a large bagel. I think you get the picture.

I do try. I often have salads and pieces of fruit, but also just as often succumb to a chocolate biscuit especially when it's offered (well I was brought up to be polite and accept everything offered me).

And now I have another thing to worry about. When I do get to eat a healthy diet like a juicy, dripping, sweet orange that completely rids me of sugar cravings I may be doing harm. Yes, harm. Because often healthy foods like fruit can cause enamel erosion to my teeth.

Sensodyne Pronamel toothpaste has been invented to help with this erosion, but they do also say that a bit more careful about what you eat can really help too. So if you visit their website you will find a whole range of healthy eating recipes that are not bad for your teeth. They are promoting their healthy eating campaign with celebrity chef, Sophie Mitchell who has taken some of her know-how from her time at The Greenhouse, The Lanesborough and The Embassy kitchens to inspire and inform us...

Here is Sophie Mitchell in action with a delicious salmon recipe that is very tooth friendly...

Now the sun is finally shining it does make it easier to get into some good habits - I shall be delving into the list of delicious recipes to be found on the Pronamel healthy eating pages because they look too good not to. Further information can also be found in the Question and Answer section too.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Nigel Slater Apricot Cake...

I've taken this from Appetite by Nigel Slater and it's called A simple cake to serve with summer fruit.

Ingredients 250g butter, 250g caster sugar, a lemon (unwaxed), 75g ground almonds, 100g plain flour, 100g soft dried apricots, 4 large free range lightly beaten eggs.

You'll need a shallow 23cm cake tin lined with baking parchment or greaseproof paper and to set the oven at 180degrees C or gas mark 4.

Beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until white and fluffy. Grate the zest from the lemon and squeeze its juice. Mix the ground almonds and flour together and whizz the apricots in a food processor until finely chopped.

Add the eggs to the butter a little at a time with the beater on slow. Turn the machine off and add the lemon zest and a third of the almonds and flour, then turn the mixer on slow until the dry ingredients are all mixed in.

Add the second and then the third lot of almonds and flour, switching the machine off each time otherwise you will get a heavy cake.

With the machine still on slow mix in the lemon juice and the apricots. Transfer to the lined cake tin, preferably with a rubber spatula and gently smooth the top as you go. Bake until firm and a skewer comes out of the middle clean (about 35/40 mins).

I served this with a fruit compote made with raspberries, strawberrys, blueberries and redcurrants (all frozen) mixed with sugar and boiled with a cup of water and thick creme fraiche!

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Cuvee Rose from the Bolney Estate

So I was really lucky enough to spend a delightful evening at Morton's, Berkeley Square, London W1 with some even more delightful women sampling Veuve Cliquot champagne and being talked through it's heritage by the extremely engaging wine expert Ewan Lacey,

Ewan Lacey  who is the wine expert on Channel 4's The Cookery School and in 2011 hosted both The Wine Show and the Harvest Festival at Jimmy's Farm. He also writes about drinks for FHM magazine and is wine buyer for Jamie Oliver's events company. Ewan is passionate about the story behind the wine and over a glass or two of Veuve Cliquot we learnt all about the process of making champagne and how they got the yeast sediment out of the bottle, and how it was a woman Madame Cliquot who pioneered champagne production during the Napoleonic Wars. We raised a glass to you, Madame Cliquot!

But that's not really why I'm writing this post as the surprise item on the list that evening was a Cuvee Rose from Sussex. Yes, Sussex is home to the Bolney Estate and their sparkling wines have been winning awards!

Copyright © 1972-2012 Bookers Vineyard Limited

This Rose was definitely worth shouting about and I must say I preferred it to the champagne as it was softer and much more full of flavour. I encourage you to 'buy British' if you can lay your hands on a bottle or order it online for £24.99 a bottle (plus p&p). Or if you are down Sussex way then book a wine tour and tasting - if the Cuvee Rose is anything to go by you won't be disappointed!

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

British flowers at their finest

These were just so pretty I had to share them with you. This bouquet is called 'The British Country Garden Bouquet' and is available to order at Waitrose flowers from May 21st.

The jug is an exclusive design for Waitrose by Emma Bridgewater and the pattern mirrors the Britsh flower theme with sweet peas and peonies (£59). Prices for this range start at £22..

My garden is just about bursting into life with all the wet weather but I've a long way to go before I see sweetpeas - these will more than surface!

Monday, 14 May 2012

Letts Go '60's!

Noteletts A5 Telephone Box/Big Ben

Noteletts A5 Design Academic A6 Diary£5.99

Noteletts A5 Snap Jump Notebook
Letts diaries, notebooks and journals have looked back in the archives for this amazingly '60's collection - I tend to carry a very boring and practical notebook but one of these would be much more fun...

Saturday, 12 May 2012

As I was going to St Apricot Martini!

Not the place - although some of my twitter followers thought I was having dinner in Cornwall! No the other evening I spent a very pleasant time in the company of St Ives skincare. They wanted to remind me that their facial scrubs are the best selling in the UK and more importantly why...

I didn't really need that much reminding as I do really, really like these products. And an evening themed around apricots may sound a bit weird but was actually very entertaining as there was lots of Apricot Martini and Apricot Bellini's to be had... and I am very much a martini kind of girl!

So back to the scrubs. All St Ives facial scrubs contain apricots, walnuts and corn kernels. Apricots are a powerful antioxidant which gently cleanses while hydrating the skin. The walnut shells are ground to become an all-natural exfoliant - fine for the facial scrubs, slightly larger for the body scrubs. The corn kernels are actually flour ground from dried corn - this too is used as an exfoliant.

There are three different types of scrub in the range. Fresh Skin Apricot Invigorating Scrub removes dull and dead skin. Naturally Clear Apricot Blemish Fighting Scrub treats and prevents blemishes by deep cleansing and gently exofoliating to remove dirt and dull skin cells, my daughter has tried this one and is really impressed.
The third is Sensitive Skin Apricot Gentle Scrub which is much gentler than the rest for those whose skin is really sensitive. All are RRP £5.10 so are pretty inexpensive but really work.

They do have a St Ives 7 day skincare challenge which I am about to embark on, using it morning or evening 2/3 times in the week to see how good my skin will look after 7 days... I'm sure it will as after just one day my skin is less tight and my moisturiser appeared to be quickly absorbed afterwards.

And for those of you who fancy an Apricot Martini....

2oz Vodka
1oz peach schnapps
1oz triple sec
4oz apricot juice

Shake over ice, strain into chilled Martini glasses....

Friday, 11 May 2012

Pretty in Punk - Kurt Geiger Autumn/Winter 2012


Love to have a sneak preview so swung by the Kurt Geiger press event yesterday to get my fill of gorgeous, glam and thoroughly impractical (but who cares?) shoes for Autumn/Winter 2012.

Pretty in Punk is the theme, and pretty in punk they certainly are. Heels teetered and wedges soared. Colours were zingy - remember all those gawdy pinks and luminous greens from the '80's? Well their back with a vengance here...





Thursday, 10 May 2012

Spring/Summer colours from Lola and Grace

Who can resist these metallics and enamels from Lola & Grace for Spring/Summer 2012? I certainly can't and I think the necklace is going to be sought out and bought by me before too long...

The necklace is £31.90, the earrings £23.90, the ring £23.90 and the bracelet £21.90.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Spring/Summer picks from

Back to Etsy - readers of this blog will know I love this site. It pulls together small designers from far and wide and the prices are pretty competitive too. They don't load up with extortionate delivery either so everyone seems to get a fair deal. Here are my picks for Spring/Summer 2012.

Autumn Leaf Earrings Antiqued Gold Leaf Simple Earrings Fall Leaves Pendant Dangle Leaf Jewelry - E099

Okay so I said S/S and these are actually called Autumn Leaves but how beautiful are they? Antiqued gold leaf drop earrings by Silent Roses, £16 approx. 

vintage 1980's NEON PINK jantzen canvas leather sneaker shoes
Neon Pink vintage 1980's canvas leather sneakers from Clevernettle, approx. £20.

Un-break my Heart Hand STENCILED Zip Hoodie Heather Artist Series Sweatshirt in Cream - S M L XL 2XL 3XL

Unbreak My Heart hand-stencilled hoodie from Twostringjane, approx. £40.

Raw Diamond Necklace Rough diamond necklace gold delicate jewelry - Kaimana Rustic 3.4

Very unusual raw diamond necklace from Kahili Creations, approx. £94.

Friday, 4 May 2012

People Tree Circles of Hope

Cycling mini dress: In 8,10,12,14 Designed by Keeda Oikawa (Japan) £ 28

Running T-shirt: In 8,10,12,14 Designed by Hakon Madland Hagesaether (Norway) £ 25
Womens Medal T-shirt: In 8,10,12,14 Designed by Katy Wroe (UK) £ 20

People Tree are eco fashion pioneers and along with Fair Trade are promoting new T-shirts inspired by London in 'this year of sport' (guess they're not allowed to say the Olympics as they are not a sponsor - ridiculous!).

The Olympics are all about countries from all over the world coming together outside of politics and territory to take part in an event which promotes unity, fairness and mutual respect. They are united in circles of goodwill and it is these qualities which People Tree champion and campaign for. 

They challenged their customers and friends to design a t-shirt inspired by the key countries that they have been linked with over 20 years through People Tree - UK, Japan, Bangladesh, India and Nepal. Buy and t-shirt and continue the amazing work they do to help overcome the hurdle of profit before people and planet! I love the top one with the ladies on bikes!

The t-shirts will be on the People Tree website from May 2012, printed on 100% organic Fairtrade certified cotton produced by the People Tree’s Fair Trade groups.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Sea Food - Itsu Crispy Seaweed thins


I really wanted to snack out in the office but, painfully aware that I am on a countdown to a week on the beach, I am trying (and it is hard) to be good. Then someone thrust a packet of itsu crispy seaweed thins into my hands (apparently 22 bags had been delivered and put away unbeknown to me). These are made from real seaweed (not like the cabbage that is served up as seaweed in a chinese restaurant) and melt on contact with your tongue.

I really liked them - they are salty and taste of the sea. If you like sushi you'll love them - there's also a slight under-taste of soy sauce. These could become an addiction at only £1.28 a pack and with 38 calories to the whole thing!

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