Lifestyle and Parenting blog based in Surrey.

Friday 22 July 2011

Holiday hot list

When it comes to holiday packing, its not my clothes that pushes me over the weight limit, all my lotions and potions that I squeeze into my suitcase weigh me down. So in my attempt to streamline my luggage, what can't I leave behind?

The one item you can not live without on a hot-holiday has to be sunscreen. I must admit I am terrible at reapplying lotion throughout the day, so Piz Buin One Day Long is perfect for me. You apply the non-greasy lotion once in the morning and, as it is sweat and water resistant you don't need to keep slapping it on. It is more expensive than the normal version, but as you use much less of it, cost-per-day is probably similar. (£19.29 SPF 15 200ml)

If moving from your lounger to cool down in the pool is just too much like hard work, help is at hand from REN in their new Tonic Moisture Mist. Spray over your face, neck and décolleté to cool and hydrate your complexion, whilst adding radiance. As you can expect from REN it is full of yummy bio extracts and smells gorgeous - you will be the envy of the poolside. (£18/150ml)

I am obsessed with Elizabeth Arden's Eight Hour cream, it is gorgeous on your lips, but can be a bit gooey in the summer heat. Luckily it now comes in a cute stick, which also contains SPF 15 so will protect your pout from the harmful UV rays whilst the vitamin E makes your lips super-soft. I love the tinted versions, adding just enough colour to give you some beach-chic - blush is my fav. (£19)

The ultimate waterproof mascara was reccomended to me by my fabulous hairdresser, the lovely Aimee and there is now no looking back. Bobbi Brown's No Smudge mascara leangthens and definines you lashes without leaving you with panda eyes after a dip. (£18/6.5ml)

After a day in the sunshine, its important to make sure your skin is well hydrated. Body Shop's coconut body butter smells delicious and is quickly absorbed into the skin, so won't leave you with that 'sticky' feeling. Containing Fair Trade ingredients it is a guilt-free splurge. (£18/150ml)

When it comes to glaming yourself up for evening cocktails, a powdery, matte foundation is too heavy. A tinted moisturiser is perfect for adding a warm glow whilst covering up any imperfections. Benefit's You Rebel is one of my favorites and it contains SPF so will protect you from the evening sun. The colour is quite intense, so a little goes a long way. My tip: add some of your normal moisturiser to it, if its a little dark for your completion, or try their Lite version. (£23.50/50ml)

So what are you holiday beauty essentials? x

Wednesday 20 July 2011

Boho curls

Glossy, voluminous, boho curls are the favorite of Blake, Vanessa et al. I have straight hair and often add waves with GHDs, but they don't add volume to the roots which is the glamorous look I love. Could heated rollers give me this without going too bridal?
love her locks

I have gone for BaByliss PRO's ceramic rollers. The set comes with 30 rollers of 4 different sizes, to give you options on the size of your curls - the smaller the roller, the tighter the curl.

After allowing the rollers to heat up, you then start popping them in. There are some fantastic videos on YouTube on how to position them, here is one of my favourites:

Tips from me:

It is difficult to tell when the rollers are up to temperature, you have to guess, I reccomend you give them at least 10 mins to make sure they are hot enough.

To give your curls a bit more longevity, give each section of hair a light spray with hairspray before putting it in the roller and always make sure you wait until the rollers have completely cooled before taking them out. Also when you are removing each roller, carefully unwind the hair, never just pull the roller out, as you will also pull the curl out of your locks.

When you have taken out all of the rollers, give your hair a good coating of hair spray, then you can start to run your fingers through to loosen the curls and get the style you're after.

The set comes with clips and pins to keep the rollers in place. The clips are much easier to put in and take out, but I think the pins keeps the rollers in position better.

So how do they rate? The curls are gorgeous, but don't last as long as I was hoping, but should get you through the majority of an evening.
the fabulous Caroline, loving her curls

Babyliss Pro 30 piece roller set from £68

Miracle Manicure - 3 weeks on

I'm always pleased when a product does what it promises, I love it when it surpasses my expectations.
Shellac manicure just after application

Shellac says that their polish wears flawlessly for 14 days and 3 weeks on, it's still looking fabulous and I haven't been careful with them. The only problem is that my nails have grown and the colour is moving up.
3 weeks later

So now for the second test, removal. Shellac does sell removal wraps which minimises the contact of acetone with the skin, but at £3 a pack to do all your nails, it does add additional cost to the manicure and they are fiddley to use.

What I would recommend is; buying nail varnish containing acetone (available from boots, superdrug etc.) which you fill a small bowl with. Then put this bowl in a larger bowl of hot water (a bit like a bain-Marie) and pop your nails in and the polish melts off easily.

I'm heading off on holiday in a few weeks and getting a Shellac manicure will be top of my beauty preparation list.

CND’s Shellac manicure cost me £27 from my local salon (House of Beauty Cambridge

Festival Chic

With Glastonbury this weekend, the festival season is most definitely upon us. However jealous I was when friends got tickets, now looking at the weather forecast for the weekend, I'm feeling pretty smug I'm not packing up my tent and wellingtons to brave the elements.

Next week we will be seeing snaps of all the celebs looking fabulous, so here is my guide on what to pack in you festival beauty kit to channel Alexa, rather than drowned rat.
how does she manage it?
  1. If you are a regular reader, you will have heard me wax lyrically about batiste dry shampoo. It has to be the number one festival beauty buy. They have recently launched XXL Volume, which works wonders for banishing oily roots when showers are not an option and it will re-vamp rained on hair. (£3.99/200ml)
  2. Another life saver to the festivalite, must be the facial wipe. Your 3-step skin care ritual routine will take up much-needed space in your packing and finding all your products (and a basin!) after dark will be challenging. I recommend Simple Kind To Skin Cleansing Facial Wipes. They will remove waterproof mascara whilst being kind to your skin and purse. (£3 approx/25 wipes)
  3. With the vast amounts of Somerset cider and late nights, the odd blemish is bound to appear. A thick and durable concealer, such as Benefit's Boi-ing industrial-strength concealer will help you to look flawless. (£26.50/50ml)
  4. If you've bought/borrowed wellies for this weekend, the next item is a must. Compeed blister plasters provide a skin like layer which will speed up the healing of your blister and the thick layer will protect from any more rubbing. They have a new 'Blister Mix' pack which contains a range of sizes to deal with any problematic footwear situation. (£4.49/pack of 5)
  5. Clarins Beauty Flash Balm is another of my hero products. Apply a thin layer under your make-up and it helps to banish signs of fatigue and promotes a radiant completion. Everyone will be asking which B&B you stayed in..
  6. The final item for my glasto-beauty-kit is Clinique's Chubby Stick Lip Colour Balm. Your festival look should appear au natural and these super-cute sticks give just enough colour and sheen to enhance what mother-nature gave you, whist soothing dry lips with yummy mango and shea butters. My fav shade is Whoppin' Watermelon. (£14/2g)
Maybe I am a little jealous after all... have a super time, and fingers crossed for sunshine x

Teeth whitening - the results

Over the past twenty days I have been religiously applying Crest 3D Advanced Whitening strips in my bid to compete with Simon Cowell for bright whites.

The packet contains 20 pouches, each containing two plastic strips, one for your bottom teeth and the other for the top ones. The first day I put them on it was a bit fiddly, but a few days in and I was applying them like a pro. They don't look very attractive whilst on, but you can still talk and even drink water if you need to. After keeping them on for 30 minutes, peeling them off was easy too, but they can leave a jelly-like residue, which you need to wipe off.

So, how did I get on? The blurb told me that I'd see results in 3 days, and I noticed they looked slightly whiter and my dreams of pearly whites was growing. I was secretly hoping for results like Ross in Friends achieved and was slightly disappointed. However, my teeth are definitely looking whiter and I haven't experienced any sensitivity that other reviews of the product have mentioned. You can use up to two treatments a year, and I'm pretty certain I'll keep it up.



As I mentioned on my previous post, the product isn't licensed in the UK and I bought mine over the internet via ebay for about £35.


Miracle Manicure

Parisian and NYC ladies are renowned for their groomed finish, this is a look I crave but don't have the time, or the commitment to emulate. Well coiffed hair and perfectly manicured nails are a must for these women, but how can we get this on a tighter budget and time-frame?
Whenever I have a manicure, I have generally smudged my beautiful polished talons before I get home or I've chipped them in the next day or so, so I only tend to bother for a special event.

However, many different nail brands have come up with a hybrid between normal polish and gel nails. These promise to last between 2 and 3 weeks without chipping and are easy to remove.

I've gone for CND's Shellac manicure at my local beautitians. There is a range of 24 shades to choose from, including my fav 'Tropix' a lovely coral, perfect for summer.

The appointment lasted an hour, including shaping my nails and cuticle treatment, but I left with completely dry nails. They do feel a bit 'thicker' than a normal polish, but don't look like fake nails at all.

Removal of the polish can either be done at a salon, or you can buy acetone nail varnish remover from any chemist and soak them off in a few minutes.

If you are going for a manicure, I would definitely recommend Shellac over conventional polishes and it is perfect for holidays, weddings or other special occasions.

CND's Shellac manicure cost me £27 from my local salon (House of Beauty Cambridge

Nails inc's 3 week manicure costs from £55

Make up, stay put!

Having coffee with a beautiful-bride-to-be and the conversation took a turn to beauty tips for the big day. Weddings are a long day and it's not only the blushing brides that want to stay picture-perfect from 'I do' until carriges are called.
Luckily one of my favourite brands, bareminerals, have come to the rescue with the perfect product. Mineral Veil is a translusent powder that you buff ontop of your finished makeup. It absorbs oil that your skin produces during the day which causes your makeup to move.

In addition to this it is also meant to minimize the appearance of fine lines and pores, although I can't really see the difference in my skin!

Although is it quite pricey, £20 for 9g, it lasts ages, I've had mine six months and it looks as full as when I first bought it.

Buy at

Lovely lilac nails

Nail colour isn't something I tend to be very adventurous with, and once the sun arrives I am stuck in a coral coloured rut. To rectify this I have embraced one of this summers nail trends, lilac.

There are a variety of different purple delights on the shelves at the moment, from dusky lavender to icy mauves there is a real range to choose from.

After perusing the shades, I have found my favourite BarryM's Berry Icecream (308) and at only £2.99 for 10ml it's an absolute bargain too! As well as being a beut of a colour, aplication is easy and does't take an age to dry.

Berry icecream, love it.
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Hair revival

When Batiste, the first dry shampoo came onto the market, I saw it as a 'emergency product' used by festivalites or for when the boiler breaks. Not for someone who likes to feel clean and well groomed. I have been totally converted.

We always wish for the hair we don't have, my hair is fine, so all I want is volume. I spend far too long blow-drying, hair spraying (and back combing) to only have my locks fall flat again in a few hours. However, after using Batiste, my mane is back to its freshly blow-dried perfection, or better - this time it stays.

As well as adding volume it freshens up your hair, I asked my friends this evening when they thought I last washed my hair, they all replied 'today' no, no I'm on day 3, which could never have happened without this product.

Is this how Chezza gets her volumised locks?
Application isn't too challenging, but can be alarming, after spraying the product at your roots, it can make you look like you've aged half a century, as it is a white-ish colour. However, after you have massaged it in and brushed out, you should be back to your normal shade. Batiste have also launched some coloured versions which can blend in with any root regrowth.
The dry shampoo works by absorbing and mopping up any grease that has started to form and this stops your hair being weighed down, causing the extra volume and texture. Batiste comes in a range of gorgeous fragrances, I have smell tested them all, Boho is my personal favourite.

I am now a complete convert and Batiste is a 'hero product' in my collection and costing around £2 for 150ml no wonder it has won awards from In Style, Company, TopSante and Shout.

Pearly whites?

What separates us mere mortals from the hollywood goddesses? Well, in my case all manner of things... However, one of the most obvious has to be the difference in our nashers. Cheryl, Blake, Jennifer etc have spent thousands to get their pearly whites (I expect), so how can we get that look on our tighter budgets?
I have been recommended Crest 3D professional effects whiting strips - I could only find them available in the US, so a little eBay purchase (£35) was required and on my return from the bank holiday, my package was waiting for me.
So over the next 20 days I will be applying the strips every day and let you know how I get on.

Wish me luck... X

Doe eyed

Although I wish I was a natural beauty, cosmetics don't always manage to get me the look I'm after.

I am obsessed with long lashes, they make you look younger and more feminine (plus, plus). I never leave the house without mascara and I'm always hunting for new products to extend and thicken what mother nature gave me.
Strip false lashes are amazing, but can be a bit OTT for day-wear. When I heard about lash extensions, this sounded heavenly, but with the semi permanent ones costing £80 plus £20 for infills, my budget just won't stretch.

Then on a weekly supermarket trip, I discovered Eyelure's DIY version at just over a fiver.
You do need a steady hand but I was super impressed with the results. I used the small lashes with a few medium ones at the outside edge. They look really natural, adding a flirty flutter without the 'weighed down' look of traditional strip lashes.
The packaging says that they can last up to 4 weeks, no way. After a week or so the glue had clumped up a bit and a few of the lashes had fallen out or gone slightly wayward and it was time to take them off and start over.
I've bought them over and over again and friends, dubious about their self application skills have asked me to do theirs (thank you to the lovely Victoria for modelling for me!)
Perfect for holiday or weekend away, i haven't kept this up week-to-week as I want to put mascara on top in the evenings this does reduce the durability.

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