Thursday, 28 June 2012

Nivea Firming Good-bye Cellulite Serum

Did I mention I'm going on holiday soon? Not that I am excited or anything...
So, I am doing everything last minute which includes looking at my thighs which are bumpier than they should be even though they walk me everywhere. I am pinning all my hopes on Nivea Firming Good-bye Cellulite Serum Q10 plus which is said to firm the skin and reduce the appearance of cellulite in 10 days.


Five days in and my skin does look a bit better, less bumpy and smoother. What I really like is the fact that this serum (more like a gel really) is cool to the touch and lovely to put on after a shower. It's absorbed really easily and at £11.29 from Boots it's worth a punt. Nivea Firming Good-bye Cellulite Serum, £11.29.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

More from Etsy - I can't keep away...

Browsing back to one of my favourite sites I see there are lots more great little things to make my fingers twitch towards my credit card. Etsy.com really is full of surprises and here are some of my favourites this month...

The Birds Tree - Wood Branches Metal Birds and Roots


This is a bird tree from Turkey, and the branches are covered with tiny little birds. It's 33cm x 33cm and is made from, well wood and metal. It reminds me of Russian Fairytales though I'm not sure why. And it's around £100 plus p&p.

Petite Skull necklace

Awe I love this tiny gold plated skull necklace on a 16 inch chain with a silver clasp. A bargain at £13 plus p&p.

0strich black  feather ,vintage multicolouerd brass beads  headpiece

I'm way too old to wear this boho headdress - but someone very young and very beautiful would look fabulous in it under a festival sky. Ostrich black feather vintage multi-coloured brass bead headpiece, around £90 plus p&p.

gennia maillot... one-piece swimsuit

Oh to have this bottom - and the Gennia Maillot onepiece is pretty gorgeous too....Around £60 plus p&p.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Garnier Ambre Solaire Golden Protect


Golden Protect Lotion SPF 10

I have a summer holiday on the horizon so sent along to an afternoon with Lorraine Kelly who is a Garnier Ambre Solaire ambassador. She is passionate about keeping safe in the sun, never goes anywhere without a good dollop of suncream (factor 30) and a sun- hat. Maybe that's why at 52 she looks so amazing! She also has brought up her children to be highly sun aware too and we all have to take on board that skin-cancers are on the increase in the UK - even with our dreadful summers.

The main messages to take on board are -
  • Make sure you use enough sun-cream - most of us don't and therefore aren't getting proper protection
  • Although you can buy lower SPF creams and lotions, 30 is really the one to go for in hot climates
  • Stay out of the mid-day sun (so take a very long and leisurely lunch somewhere in the shade)
  • Replenish your suncream when you have been playing a sport or swimming
  • Using after sun helps to moisturise your skin and avoid peeling
I love this Garnier Ambre Solaire Golden Protect and can't wait to try it out on the beach soon. Like most people I am not a great colour when I go away and this is enriched with Monoi Oil so the fragrance is tropical and gorgeous. It conjures up the scent of frangipani and gardenia with coconut and seaweed - all far removed from many sun-tan lotions which don't smell particularly nice. this also has a real golden sheen - so even on pale skin you will look sparkly and shimmering in the sunshine.

It is available in 4 formats, SPF 10, £13.83, SPF 20 £16.03, SPF 30 £16.59. The Golden Touch Aftersun is £9.18. All prices are RRP. 

And here is another dreadful picture of me with Lorraine...


Monday, 25 June 2012

Super Stressed? Help is at hand...




Stress. It's a funny thing because it manifests itself in many ways and sometimes feeling a bit 'stressed' can be a good thing as it allows you to focus and gets the adrenalin pumping. But like most things, too much of something is ultimately bad for you (and in the case of stress can be very bad indeed). Half a million of us in the UK believe work-related stress is actually affecting their health so this is a common problem which really shouldn't be ignored.

Many years ago I had a bit of a crisis. I dropped out of college and didn't know what I was going to do with my life, and all my friends seemed to have a path to follow while I was just hanging around and visiting the dole office. Not good! But I didn't feel that bad... I wasn't worried (oh the optimism of youth) and was back at home, and had a boyfriend and family who were supportive. I didn't feel stressed but my body told me otherwise. My stress manifested itself in agonising stomach cramps which had me doubled over in pain and could come on at any time. Once I got a job these miraculously disappeared along with my 'hidden' stress.

Stress can go as far as blighting your life or can simply stop you from relaxing properly in your downtime. If you need to relax or have worse symptoms of stress then an AXA PPP healthcare expert is on-hand to give you lots of great advice on stress and anxiety.

Don't suffer in silence and don't leave stress and feelings of anxiety unaddressed as they can take a real toll on your mental and physical health. If you're feeling the strain, Dr Mark Winwood is on hand, providing live and free support in the form on an online chat to anyone with questions on stress from 1pm - 3.30pm on Thursday 28th June (so this Thursday).

He really knows what he's talking about, being the clinical director for psychological health for AXA PPP healthcare's specialist Health Services division. He is a fellow of the British Pychological Society and is accredited by the Health Professional Council and is a chartered scientist - so you'll be in the best of hands.

If you can't make the live chat with AXA PPP's expert,  Dr Mark Winwood, then you can leave your questions in the comments below or through Facebook or via Twitter. Alternatively further information is available through the stress and relaxation articles on the be healthy section of the AXA PPP website where there are loads of tips to help you relax and take the stress out of your life.

This is a free service provided by AXA PPP to everyone - not just their customers, and your mental health and wellbeing are worth a few minutes. Take part in the online chat on Thursday 28th June - you really won't regret it.



 Image from Photo In Canvas

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Latest looks from Fit-Flop for S/S





Meet this summer's 'must-have' - the Super T sneaker. In trend-friendly colours (choose from canvas, leather and suede) with streamlined design lines, simple seaming and a tailored toe-shape, it’s built with our new triple density Biomimetix™ midsole, for an ultra-comfy feel on a sleek silhouette. RRP £100.00

Anyone who reads this blog knows I'm a massive fit-flop fan and can walk miles with them firmly on my feet. Although they are not the cheapest on the market they do seem to last so are more of an investment than others. Here are some of the latest looks that caught my eye...



Half sneaker, half cut-out corset, the Gladda Tm has strung facings, soft, supple leather straps and a cool-girl ankle collar, this sexy new sandal is throwing down the gladiator gauntlet. Built with an ergonomically engineered, super-cushioned triple-density midsole, it's the definition of cool comfort. Available in black pearl, black, urban white and flame. RRP £250.00


Meet the UNO, our neat, chic scoop-cut slip-on: a handcrafted ballerina with a hidden wedge that adds a little height to make your legs look amazingly graceful. A gorgeous shoe-wardrobe basic, built with our slim-cut, ultra-comfy Biomimetix™ midsole. Available in tan, flame, milk, black and black mix. RRP £200.00



Friday, 22 June 2012

A Storm in a D cup








More companies are realising that not all women come with small boobs - in fact most have an ample handful   and are full of angst followed on by anger when trying to find swimwear.

Storm in a D Cup provides super stylish and chic swimwear for women over a D plus cup size. Fashion is foremost but so is support and this is magic as it is virtually hidden! Styles include the monokini, halterneck, balconette, tankini and one-piece with bottoms to mix and match including tie side, hipster, belted and sash pants. Swimwear starts at £75 for a set which is about standard for extra large cup sizes - and is cheaper than a lot of other designer alternatives. They offer free UK delivery.



Thursday, 21 June 2012

Aromatherapy Associates opens first day-spa!

It was first thing in the morning and it was Knightsbridge but I love the products so thought a trip to check out the Aromatherapy Associates day spa to have a nose was well worth the early start and the trip across town.

It is lovely - I could have moved in and even if you don't want a treatment experts are on hand to help you choose exactly the right products for you.

Aromatherapy Associates shop

One of the fabulous treatment rooms

The downstairs chill out room

Treatments start at £90 for an hour and £120 for an hour and a half.
Aromatherapy Associates Day Spa, 5 Montpelier Street, London SW7.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Philips ReAura gets a try out...


 


I have written about the launch of the Philips ReAura before but now I have got my hands on this amazing development in home beauty treatments. Promising to dramatically improve the quality of my skin, from high colour and age spots to wrinkles and lines, it is not to be taken lightly as it is fairly costly and is, after all, using lasers.

Using revolutionary light treatment the Philips ReAura laser skin rejuvenation home treatment is endorsed by leading Harley Street cosmetic dermatologist Dr Sam Bunting and is the first home treatment of it's kind to come to the UK. It is clinically proven to achieve skincare results and in 93% of users there was a visible improvement.

I had to have a chat with one of the Philips ReAura experts first before they would send me the machine to try out. I was asked if I suffered from skin break-outs, whether I'd been in the sun recently, if I was under any specific treatment and given the go-ahead I was quite excited to get going for the month that I had promised to give the treatment my full attention. 

So, how does it work? Thousands of microscopic laser beams are delivered to specific areas and these beams pass down through the epidermis and dermis of the skin, creating a pattern of microscopic treatment zones. This triggers the skin's natural cell renewal process, so even the sensitive and line prone areas like the eyes and mouth look more plumped up and therefore, youthful. Sun spots and age spots fade and you get an even skin tone. I have all of these so am keen to see an improvement. Oh and a very wrinkly neck - tiny wrinkles at the moment but I know they will soon turn to something much more noticeable - so any help is gratefully received!



So how did I get on? I must say I was a bit apprehensive but all is very neat and small and there is even a DVD to make sure I am doing it right. I had to apply the supplied gel to my fully cleansed face and then I lightly used it on my face, neck and chest. The machine won't let you over-use it so there is no chance of coming to harm and the second cream I applied after the treatment was soothing. It did tingle - almost prickle - but I'm not a wimp and  persevered and although my skin was a bit red it was all gone down by the morning. So I would recommend you using it before bedtime unless you want to go out looking a bit puce!

It does take a while to work - testers have put it through it's paces for 12 weeks, but over the next month I will be reposting with updates to see how it all works.

The Philips ReAura is £799 from space:nk.




Monday, 18 June 2012

LoveLite Ice - Hollywood style lipoglaze

I've got to get into a swimsuit soon and after this never-ending winter my flesh has been pretty well wrapped up (apart from an unseasonal sunny blast in March) and hidden from view. So pulling on a new costume was a bit of a downer when I realised that middle-aged spread had once again taken hold - and this time with a stubbornness that has seemed hard to shift. I have taken it to Pilates and blasted it with weekly Zumba. I have cut down on sweets and bad things and tried to restrict my intake of carbs. I am looking okay-ish everywhere else apart from my stubborn stomach area which looks like it's been stuck on. So when I was invited to try out a new form of lipo that removes fat from stubborn areas without invasive (and let's face it, risky) surgery I decided to give it a go.



Lipoglaze is very popular in Hollywood and is now making an appearance in the UK through LoveLiteUK who are experts in tooth-whitening but always on the look-out for treatments that are of high quality and actually show results. This treatment, known as Cryotherapy, works on small and stubborn areas of fat (like stomach, thighs etc) and actually 'dissolves' away the fat over a period of time (from 2 weeks to 2 months) without surgery and little pain. So how does LoveLite Ice work?

The fatty area (in my case my stomach) was sucked up into a vacuum suction cup and then the temperature was reduced considerably to the area to -5 degrees. This literally freezes the fat cells which in turn crystalise and 'die'. They are then absorbed and flushed away via the liver. And that is it!

So how did I find it? Donna (one of the founders of LoveLiteUK) took me through a standard form and the full-process before the treatment asking me the usual health questions and talking me through possible side-effects. Donna has had the treatment herself several times on different areas and she looks good and I immediately felt at ease and confident in her care.

Side effects include localised tingling, slight cramping, bruising - nothing unbearable or permanent.

Then it was onto the treatment. The initial 'sucking up' of my stomach was a bit painful - toe curling rather than unbearable, but amazingly this passed fairly quickly (I would say after a minute or two) and became far less so. I then lay there for an hour with the by now numb area being frozen. And that was it! After an hour the cup was removed leaving a strange, square, frozen shape in my stomach which Donna quickly massaged away. I would need another session for the upper part of my stomach and I know that this is not an instant solution but more gentle, but I am quite excited to see results and will blog about them in a couple of months - not enough time for my swimsuit wearing alas but you've got to start somewhere! Four days in and I am still getting mild (really mild) stomach cramps - though nothing like period pains, and the bruising and tenderness lasted about 24 hours. 

LoveLite Ice Lipoglaze is available in Harley Street, London W1. Follow Donna and Debra on twitter @loveliteuk or contact them via the website to ask questions. Alternatively email info@loveliteuk.co.uk.
Each session which lasts an hour plus consultation time costs £500.

Want more beauty treatment reviews! Check out my post on Philips ReAura.
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Sunday, 17 June 2012

A young blogger and a green teen cook book


As you know my day job involves finding brilliant new blogs to join Handpicked Media. This blog came to my attention as she is my friend's daughter (got to be transparent here) and although she is too young to join us at present, I can't wait to get her on-board. This is written by a 16 year old (who is currently taking her GCSE's) and yet her writing has maturity and she is developing a distinctive style nicely. I asked Not All About Boys writer Yolanda if I could use her post about The Green Teen Cook Book as a guest post because a) if you have teenage children with an interest in ethical food and who need to know how to cook then this is perfect and b) because you should all be aware of this blog because it's a breath of fresh air...

Picture

I’ve always been a tad sceptical of seasonal eating. I mean, isn’t it a bit “hippy”? Expensive? And why even bother scouring the shops for the seasonal foods when you can just as well buy produce from abroad?

Well, that was how I felt until a few days ago, when my Mother presented me with an early birthday present- The Green Teen Cookbook.

The Green Teen Cookbook is a basic guide to cooking in-season, environmentally-sound produce and seriously delicious food- all on a budget. Genuinely, I was quite taken aback by how good the book is.

Not being an experienced cook (like many teenagers, pot noodle is usually my greatest challenge in the kitchen) I chose to start with “Sushi for Dummies”- a simple summer recipe donated by Pauline Blistene.

I LOVED IT. Making the little sushi rolls was really easy- surprisingly so, actually- , and trying a new recipe was great fun, especially because I was with a friend, so we had a brilliant time slicing and choosing the fillings. And to top it all off, the sushi was delicious! 

Picture
Who knew slicing sushi fillings could be so fun?
But the best thing about the sushi rolls was that they were in-season. It’s somehow very exciting to eat seasonally. Call me sad, but I quite like the idea of looking forward to eating certain foods at certain times of the year. In a way, it’s very thrilling to know that the experience of say... eating seasonal British strawberries comes only once a year, and so we should cherish it!
So kudos to The Green Teen Cookbook- for converting me from a very reluctant cook (as my parents will tell you), to someone who actually quite liked the feeling of preparing a meal!

But it's not just the sushi I loved- I also made a chicken noodles dish, and some seriously tasty guacamole!

In short, The Green Teen Cookbook will definitely be a permanent addition to my kitchen- one that I’m certain will be well-used! There are so many recipes in the book that I really want to try- I’ve already got my eye on making a really yummy looking summer quiche...

Check out more of Yolanda's blog posts on Not All About Boys.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Blend collective launches at Fenwick

Blend Collective Soap


Always on the look-out for lovely new beauty products, this range from Blend collective looks gorgeous. Launching in Fenwicks (but also available online) there are 3 main ranges making up the collection, Unwinding - sandalwood, francincense, cedarwood and neroli, Balancing - star jasmine, geranium, vetiver and rose, and Enlivening - sicilian lemon, may chang, myrtle and lime. All natural, all organic, all using the purest essential oils these are theraputic (one of the founders developed the range while recovering from breast cancer) and I am told smell heavenly they are also British made which is always a good thing in my book!

Balancing body moisturiser, £20

Unwinding candle, £25


Unwinding bath and shower oil, £24.95

Enlivening hand wash, £13.95

Balancing soap bar, £9.50

Enlivening hand and body lotion, £19

Balancing body wash, £14.95

Unwinding bath and shower oil, £24.95
Blend collective

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

50 years of Havaianas!


Brazilian sandal company Havaianas, have been going an amazing 50 years so to celebrate here are some wonderful ads  and images from the archives...










Here are a few interesting facts about Havaianas that you might not know:

·         94% of Brazilians have or have had a pair of Havaianas. In 1963, over one thousand pairs of sandals were sold per day.
·         In the 80’s, the Federal Government considered Havaianas a basic-goods basket item. Prices of these basic-goods basket items were controlled to avoid inflation.
·         18,255 employees.
·         Main factory in Campina Grande, North East Brazil manufactures over 206 million pairs per year.
·         190 million pairs of flip-flops sold in 2011.
·         520,547 pairs sold per day.
·         21,689 pairs sold per hour.
·         6 pairs sold in a second.
·         Havaianas is present on the most trendy curves of the world: NY Fashion Week, the Oscar´s ceremony, Bread & Butter, Pitti, Who´s next, etc.
·         If a consumer wants to buy all Havaianas flip-flop models available in the market, print and colour combinations, he/she would buy 454 pairs per year.
·         Since its birth, over 4 billion pairs of Havaianas have already been sold. If lined up all together, they would go around the Earth about 40 times.
·         Each Portuguese owns 4 pairs of Havaianas on average.
·         Each Aussie owns 5 pairs of Havaianas on average.
·         Each Brazilian owns 25 pairs of Havaianas on average.

Havaianas now retail in 85 countries, with over 454 different styles available!

June 15th also marks National Flip Flop day, and as a celebration, Havaianas will be launching a limited edition 50th Flip Flop. Only 50,000 pairs have been produced worldwide, with 100% of net sales going to UNICEF to support further projects in Brazil.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Davina McCall and the Ultralift Challenge!


Okay - so spot the person who has been sitting for a few hours in an air-conditioned suite and the one who charged on foot and in the heat to the Soho Hotel as she was on a tight schedule.

Yup, you're right, the hot and slightly dishevelled one is me and the immaculate, unshiny and definitely unflustered one is Davina McCall.

Unless you have been living under a stone for a while you can't have failed to notice that Davina has been fronting several campaigns, the most recent of which is for Garnier Ultralift. Ultralift Day is said to give instantly smoother and younger looking skin, is enriched with Pro-Retinol which is derived from nature, give immediate hydration and results in anti-wrinkle and firming action. But don't just take their word for it...

Last year over 18,000 women took the Garnier Ultralift challenge and today (June 11th) sees the launch of this years challenge. 71% of consumers don't believe in anti-ageing claims so Garnier set itself and its consumers a challenge - to prove that anti-ageing skincare really can make a difference. Last year 80% of those who took part measured a positive difference in the reduction of their wrinkles after the trial with at least one grade improvement on the wrinkle reader. Nearly half said their wrinkles looked better by two grades! 


Davina has extolled it's virtues and always looks good, so when we were invited in a small group to go along and meet her to talk life and skincare, I was more than a little intrigued...

And what a lovely woman she turned out to be. Davina has, in her own words, made a career out of 'gurning' but in reality has made a career out of talking to real people either on Big Brother, The Million Pound Drop and more recently Missing Relatives. She makes it seem effortless and here too, having the tables turned on her didn't seem to phase her a bit. She has an easy smile, uses humour and self-deprecation to engage her interviewers and audience and yes, we all liked her, a lot!

-How long have you been working with Garnier now?
            About 7 years, I still rather can’t believe that they still want to be with me.

-Are you blessed with good skin anyway? Is that something that runs in your family? 

I’m all about do the best with what you’ve got. My skin; I’ve had 3 babies and the last one was 10 pounds 2 and I have not one stretch mark. That might tell you that my skin is olive, quite oily, so I don’t know. My mother had really bad skin, but she sort of abused herself quite badly, she didn’t ever look after it. My dad I think looks like a hot 69 year old, he looks really good for his age. He’s an old sea dog, he’s been out by the sea and he’s quite wrinkly but in a lovely way.
Maybe I have got good genes but I don’t think it really matters. I think that Garnier is definitely about trying to make the best with what you’ve got, whatever you’ve got. It won’t just make people with good genes look glowy and more youthful; it will make everybody look glowy and more youthful.


-Do you use it every day and do you ever go to bed with make up on?
           
Yes completely. As my granny would say, cause I lived with my granny and she calls that being a slut. “Oh that’s such a slutty thing to do,” Especially after The Million Pound Drop live which finishes at sometimes 11, I don’t get home until 1. I literally will just get in the door then wake up in the morning and its as if my clothes have dropped off me and when I wake up in the morning I still have my individual lashes glued on in the corner.
I’m just like everybody else, sometimes I’m too exhausted or can’t be bothered. But I try and do it with brushing my teeth so I brush my teeth in the morning and I brush my teeth in the evening and it’s a five minute thing that I’ve added on to my tooth brushing regime. Cleanse, tone, moisturise in the morning, wash and moisturise in the evening.

-You mentioned that Garnier Ultralift  makes your skin really glowy, do you think it would give other benefits for younger skin, someone in their early 20’s? Without the wrinkle side of things?
           
I think that any kind of glow if you’re young or old, glow is just nice at any time. Looking after your skin is all part of that. Just because you’re young doesn’t mean you might not want to look fresh as a daisy and I think that’s what it does. Also it just feels really nice. It’s got a very nice texture to it, I like the smell.
Scent, glow, touch, feel, its soft, its lovely.

-What do you at home?
I use night and I use day. I do like to use an SPF15 as that’s another way of trying to fight ageing.

-You’ve never used a serums before?
No.
The other Garnier products I use are the deodorant, I really like the smell of deodorant, and Summer Body which is the tan cause I can’t do fake tan. Summer Body, if I use it three times a week it just keeps you kind of topped up in the summer and its brilliant if you come back from holiday as well.
I am olive skinned naturally but it definitely will give me a deeper glow. I swear by that stuff.
As far as cleansing goes, I go for a facial three times a year, and I get red light treatment. I've got no idea what she does but she paints some really stingy stuff on my face and then wipes it off, I think it’s a peel. But it’s not like a peel where you can’t go out for three days it’s just a light peel. But I do that three times a year, and then the red light treatment afterwards.

-You sound to me like you’re on the go the whole time, and you’ve got kids. You must be regimented in what you do from your skincare regime to everything else. Are you into a major routine?

            What happens with me is that I go all or nothing. I don’t drink alcohol, I don’t take drugs at all, and I’ve now sort of decided that sugar is evil so I try to avoid all refined sugar. And I’m like that, I’m all or nothing and I sort of annoy myself. I think, “Oh my gosh, you can’t stop eating chocolate, that’s ridiculous” but I get a thing in my head and actually I have amazing willpower when I decide to do something. I’m actually trying to lighten up a bit, I’m trying to have the odd pudding and not be so uptight about it. And try and do sugar in moderation. Avoid refined sugars in cakes and biscuits, not have it at home, not eat chocolate at home but if I go to someone’s house for dinner have a pudding. So I’m trying to be less regimented about it, and about life in general. But my skincare regime isn’t regimented, that’s necessity I think. I want to look the best I can for my age.

-          Does your skin suffer from neglect? 

Its funny, my first moment of skin care realization was about five years ago when my daughter and I were having our nighttime chat in bed. She looked at me and said “Mummy, what are those holes in your skin?” I was like “Oh my God its my pores, she’s talking about my pores. Bloody gotta go do something about that” so that’s when I started having facials or black head extractions. It’s made an enormous difference to my skin. All of it is about making the best of what you’ve got. I don’t want to be the open pored lady, I don’t want my daughter to look at me and say what are those holes in your face, start looking out for myself.

- And what about 'extra help'?

The only thing for me is where do you draw the line and where would you stop and why are we doing it? Are we doing it because society dictates we should do it? Or are we doing it for ourselves? Or for what reason, I don’t know.
My thing was, I’ve always sort of said I can’t count out I’ll do anything because I don’t want at one point down the line for someone to say “Well you said you were never going to do it.”
I can’t say that I wouldn’t. I’d like to think I’m wholly anti-fillers. I’ve never seen anybody have fillers and look normal. I think people’s whole face change. And they think that if they do it bit by bit nobody will notice. But if you don’t see them for 6 months you’ll bloody notice.
I’ve never seen anybody do lips or cheeks or anything where they haven’t looked completely different people which I think its robbing somebody of their characters.

-What about Botox?

Well, I’ve seen Botox look quite good. I’ve got a very good friend of mine, she’s tried to keep it on the down low, she’s not famous, but I don’t think her husband knows. She had a massive, two pronged frown line. In fact she didn’t even need to frown it was just always there.
And, again, I wouldn’t have noticed it had gone if she hadn’t told me. But she only had that bit done, she didn’t get anything else done, she just looked less stressed out.

-So what did you do for your 40th ?

Can I tell you what I did? It was so funny. I had a party at a nightclub and the theme was mutton, dressed as lamb. Everybody had to come as mutton dressed as lamb so everybody had to wear really inappropriate clothing for someone of their age. And if you were under 30 you had to come dressed as an old lady or an old man. So anybody who was young and beautiful and nubile had to look old, grey wigs and support tights. All of us old ladies were wearing really rude hot pants. My husband was in a Run DMC t-shirt with some bling around his neck, it was really funny.
The Cuban Brothers came down and did some naked breakdancing. I’ll tell you, it was amazing. The Cuban Brothers, look them up on YouTube, they are amazing.

Without doubt Davina looks good and is wearing well. And she genuinely swears by Garnier Ultralift so is the perfect ambassador. If you would like to win a full size set of the Garnier Ultralift range then simply  leave a comment at the bottom of this post about your skincare routine. All those who do will be entered into a draw to receive the prize.

You can also take the 14 day challenge which is launching today for the rest of the summer and get your hands on 14 days worth of samples. Simply register at Ultralift Challenge to receive your pack and give feedback afterwards!

I have been using it for around 2 weeks now and I must say I agree with Davina. It is easily absorbed and my skin does look smoother and more plumped - oh and a lot more 'glowy' and if I am not mistaken (no honestly folks) the lines around my eyes are definitely less noticable.


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Sunday, 10 June 2012

Bravo for Bravissimo!



I am more than a little impressed by the service I have just had from Bravissimo so thought I really should share it with you. Bravissimo is a company that was set up to provide lingerie for the fuller breasted woman - of which there  are many. They make bras and now clothing (in the form of Pepperberry) that fits perfectly and comes in a huge range of cup-sizes. I won't be giving away my size here (far too modest) but I cannot get a bra in Marks and Spencer and Rigby & Peller is outside of my price range. So Bravissimo is a godsend and I now have several of their bras and matching knickers which give great support and do seem to last.

So as my summer holiday is fast approaching I decided to treat myself to a new swimsuit. I am lucky that I work a 5 minute walk from their flagship store off Oxford Circus so lunchtime on Thursday I ran in to try on a swimsuit I had earmarked on their website. They had my cup size but not my body size so offered to have the correct size delivered to my home free of postage charges. Saturday morning my doorbell went and it was the postman with my swimsuit - now that's what I call speedy delivery!


£55 is more than I would normally spend on a swimsuit but this one fits really well in all the right places - the lumps and bumps are down to my figure not the manufacturer unfortunately - and I really couldn't be more pleased. So if you are outside of the C and D cup normal ranges I really would advise you to visit Bravissimo.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Wella Professional for curls



So I was very lucky and was sent these Wella Professional products from the PR to try out. She obviously knows that I have the curliest of hair that needs a constant change of products as it gets too used to the same one's and they lose their efficacy fairly quickly.

I was going out with the girls last night so decided to put them through their paces after washing my hair. This is a bit of a moody instagram photo so it's difficult to see what is featured (apologies for that) but I have got Wella Professional Velvet Amplifier/Wet Style Primer (£2.41, Amazon), Wella Professional Curl Craft/Wet Wax Mousse (£8.75 Amazon) and Wella Professional Sublime Reflection shimmering spray (£15.49, Amazon).

After washing my hair as usual I used a ten pence sized amount of the Velvet Amplifier through my curls. It is a concentrated serum which prepares my hair for styling and makes it more manageable. Then I used a good sized squirt of the Curl Craft mousse. This smalls of summer berries and is delicious with no chemical after smell like so many mousses on the market. After my hair was dry I sprayed it with Sublime Reflection which I must admit did give my hair a bit of shine - no mean feat on curly, blonde highlighted hair I can tell you.

Impressed? Not at all bad - my curls were well defined without being 'crunchy' - those with curly hair who use mousse know exactly what I mean by that! I couldn't really tell what the Primer did and the Sublime Reflection shimmering spray did make a slight difference but I am sure is much more effective on dark, straight hair...

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Camper vanning with a twist

Lots of my friends seem to be talking about getting a VW camper-van and one already has. I don't really see the appeal, especially as their kids are all grown up and they should be enjoying life in proper beds with breakfast made for them by someone else, so it must be a hankering after a wilder and more free youth.

So mid-life crises aside, if you are hankering after the great outdoors and want to make a style statement, is a VW camper-van really the way to go? Especially when you can buy a tent that does much the same thing - well it doesn't really but it will have more of an effect when you rock up at a campsite or festival with this little beauty in the boot.


Yes, this genius piece of whimsy is in fact a tent from Firebox.com and at £299 is a hell of a lot cheaper than the real thing. It stands at six foot so you can stand up-right in it (essential at a certain age) and comes in trad camper peppermint green. I'm almost tempted... but not enough to forego a proper bed if I'm honest.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Raspberry Cupcakes with a Jubilee twist



So it's Sunday and it's raining so I thought I'd get cracking with some cupcakes to add a bit more red, white and blue to our Jubilee celebrations tomorrow. I have taken the Raspberry Cupcakes recipe from Cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery and swapped the White Chocolate Buttercream icing with the ordinary vanilla Buttercream icing with blue colouring.

I thought the marbling with raspberry jam complemented the red, white and blue theme perfectly - and who doesn't like raspberries?

Makes 12 regular cupcakes

180g caster sugar
2 large eggs
125g self-raising flour
120g plain flour
125ml semi-skimmed milk at room temperature
1 teaspoon good-quality vanilla extract
3 tablespoons good-quality seedless raspberry jam

Preheat oven to 160 degrees c/ 180 degrees c / gas mark 4.
Line large 12 hole muffin tray with cupcake cases.

Cream butter and sugar with electric handwhisk. Add eggs one at a time until smooth.

Combine flour in a separate bowl. Add vanilla to milk. Add 1/3 of flour to mixture and cream with whisk. Add 1/3 milk and cream with whisk. Continue until all ingredients mixed.


Carefully fold in jam to marble the mixture rather than completely colour it. Share out amongst cupcake tin and bake for 25 mins until golden and risen.




Remove from oven and cook in tins for 10 minutes then remove to wire rack to cool completely.



When cool make a small slit and add a dollop of jam - warm through if this makes it easier.

Ice cupcakes with buttercream and eat!

To make Buttercream icing.

110g unsalted butter at room temperature
60ml semi-skimmed milk at room temperature
1 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract
500g icing sugar
few drops of blue food colouring

Beat together butter, milk and vanilla extract and half the icing sugar until smooth. Gradually add the rest of the icing sugar until smooth and creamy.

To colour always start with one drop of colouring and beat thoroughly. Keep adding until you reach the desired shade.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Bunting Love and why Jubilee parties are a good thing



Come hell or high water we will be enjoying Monday - and most of us are turning our eyes skywards as we speak and PRAYING to whatever God we may believe in (Pagan, Christian, Muslim or the little green man with the huge watering can in the sky - there is after all a hosepipe ban) to please smile kindly on our particular corner of this green and pleasant land and NOT ALLOW IT TO RAIN.

Please.

We have sold 500 tickets to our street party. We have singers and a band travelling down from Nottingham I believe (or somewhere similar). We booked the church tables at least 6 months ago and have paid a small fortune for insurance. We have ordered mugs to commemorate the event and to raise more funds for a local charity.

We have had numerous meetings since last November to organise said party - and on the strength of the one we had two years ago this will be well attended and memorable. We have cleared COSTCO shelves of burgers and sausages as we will be feeding 500. And we have all, just like so many other friends and neighbours up and down the country, filled fridges with beer and wine, cut sandwiches, bought salads and made cakes.

I don't really care whether the Queen has reigned for 10, 20 or 50 years if I'm honest. I don't care for the idea of monarchy in itself but then I don't like the idea of a President either - can't think of one (especially in Europe) that has been worth the public vote. But I do like a party, and I particularly like a reason to get everyone out of their houses and out onto the street to celebrate. We don't do this enough and given the experience of our aforementioned street party of two years ago the benefits are huge. I know a lot more people on my street to say hello to. I am more tolerant of those people - we may not believe in the same things, have the same interests but, given that we know one another's first names it is easier to live alongside one another.

I feel safer - weird but I do feel there are lots more people I could turn to if I needed them.

It's nice to get the generations together - all our meetings have included young new families, the middle aged like me and a lot of the older generation - and grandchildren, teenagers, grandparents will all mingle and have fun together, we really don't do this often enough and it really is important for society to come together. You will do this more if you have young children at school or are active members of a church, synagogue or mosque, but, if like me you are a practicing nothing then these opportunities are not to be shunned.

I actually like flags and colours for teams and countries. I like the many designs for football teams and supporting your country nationally is no different from supporting a football team. I think the Union Flag is one of the most eye catching in the world. It's a shame it has in recent decades been hijacked by the far right (well I felt it was when I was growing up in the '70's). I'm glad it's been reclaimed...

So cheers to all you kill joys who would quite like it to rain on Monday and rain on our parade. Whatever the weather we will be donning our raincoats, putting up umbrellas over the barbecues, and getting out onto the streets to celebrate the fact that we can! Queen? What Queen?




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