Sunday, 26 February 2017

February Favourites 2017 - New Skincare, Makeup, Chanel and more!

One of my favourite types of blog post to read and video to watch is "favourites of the month" I like how it gives a little snippet of what people have been using and enjoying over the past month. So I am going to try and publish a regular fav post - it's the type of monthly that I actually enjoy and welcome.

So let's crack on and have a nosey at this months favourite items.

Formula 10.0.6 - So Totally Clean Deep Pore Cleanser -£8.99 - link HERE

I spotted this new range whilst in Boots recently and selected the Deep Pore Cleanser as my first product to try. I have a problem with large pores across my nose (combine that with oil and its not a happy situation) so anything claiming to deep cleanse pores and I am there. I have to say that if I had the opportunity to smell this before buying it, I wouldn't have purchased it, as it is very scented. It has a strong fragrance, combined with alcohol makes it quite overwhelming. I describe the smell as this - a bottle of baby lotion, sun cream and alcohol that has spilled and had a party in your beach bag - imagine that scent? yep that's it. To be honest I was put off by the smell and almost didn't even try it. But I am glad that I did, the morning after my first try, the pores across my nose looked clean and minimised! I was not expecting that at all. I have continued to use this as my second cleanse to really deep clean the pores, I can actually see it working as I apply it now.
 OK so probably not the best for sensitive skin, but if you are like me and need an extra boost in pore cleansing then I would give it a try. It really does prove that you should not judge a book by its cover, or in this case, a cleanser by its smell. 

L'Oreal Paris Pure Clay Glow Scrub Cleanser - £3.99 (on offer) link HERE

I have tried a few items within this range and this cleanser is my favourite so far (followed by the charcoal mask) I use this as my morning cleanser to wash away all of the oil and impurities from the night before. For me, it has the right amount of abrasion and the clay really does absorb the oil away leaving my skin feeling smooth and clean - I now want to try the mask! 

Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in the shade Very Victoria £24.00 - link  HERE

This is my first Charlotte Tilbury lipstick.....I know, I know, shame on me. This shade is perfect for a dark neutral lip, it matches the darker tones of my natural lip colour beautifully! the finish is matte but not drying at all, in fact it feels lovely and smooth and comfortable to wear. This has definitely made me what to investigate other shades....

Chanel Classic Wallet On Chain (WOC) handbag link HERE

This next item deserves a red carpet, why? its Chanel darling! anything with the CC logo on deserves the VIP treatment. Not that I am a label snob or anything (my next bag is from B&M OK?) but Chanel style is something that I love, its timeless, chic and in my opinion, just fabulous. So, when hubby was in Heathrow, he pinged me a lil pic with two handbags to choose from, smooth/textured, silver/gold hardware. As much as I love the gold, I think silver is more me so I went for smooth calf skin with silver hardware. If you are thinking of purchasing, and have opportunity to do so, take a look in Heathrow airport as a big saving can be made, this retails for £1630 but I got it for £1355, see who says I waste money....a part of me feels the need to apologise for spending so much, but at the end of the day it's what I like to do so should I really have to apologise? I think it's the mum guilt kicking in! which reminds me, I have written a piece for Good to Know about mum guilt which you can read HERE

B&M Shopper bag - £2.50 

One day Chanel, the next B&M - a true representation that I buy what I like and it doesn't matter where its from! this is being sold as a shopper bag but I am actually going to use it as a beach bag. The chunky rope handles, cream and grey stripe, water proof lining, all lends itself to a promenade purse.There are a few other patterns available too, different colour stripes and a geometric pattern, but for me it had to be the grey!

Sunday Riley U.F.O Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil - £68.00 link HERE

I still need to do a full review of this item (but I don't feel quite ready to do so yet) but what I have enjoyed doing is dropping it into a matte foundation to make it more wearable for me (Urban Decay All-Nighter review here). To use the foundation up, I have added a drop or two of this oil to make the finish more dewy and to make the foundation easier to work with. This is a suggestion on the bottle, which at first I was not too sure about due to the green colour. However it does not affect the colour at all, plus I feel like I am treating my pores whilst wearing foundation.

Lancome Cushion Blush Subtil Blusher in the shade - Sparkling Framboise - £29.50 link HERE

Its a tad expensive for a blusher (try very) but, the pink shade screamed out to me whilst I was eyeballing the cushion blush/foundation selection at Lancome. I was also drawn in by the cushion (yep, love a gimmick I do) as I normally use a powder blusher. However I love the finish that this blush gives, a little flush of colour - yet it is very pigmented and buildable too with great staying power. Personally I do not use the sponge supplied for application, instead I use a blush brush to sweep over my cheeks.

The Unmumsy Mum by Sarah Turner - £6.49 link HERE

If you are a mum I am sure you've heard about, or even read this book. If you haven't you need to, it's a very true and honest perspective of motherhood with lots of LOL moments. I forgot myself whilst reading this on the train to the Instagram meet-up the other day and let out a chortle/snort. It is worth the chort though (chortle/snort?) I am looking forward to reading her next book which is out now - The diaries of the unmumsy mum.

I have also filmed a favourites vid on my Youtube channel - you can watch it below!

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Project Volume part 1 // Volumising hair products // Post-partum hairloss

"With my second child, all my hair fell out after he was born. No pregnancy is easy to bounce back from."
Kate Hudson  

If you have children, or are with child, how many times did you hear about the pregnancy glow?  y'know, how your skin becomes amazing, hair glossy etc? Now we all know, for the majority of us, that is in fact a myth, an old wives tale to get us through pregnancy. I never reached the glow stage, unless you count the glow of sweat from all of the hot flashes. One thing that did happen to me though was my hair got thicker, which was welcomed with a red carpet and fanfare. So I guess that's where mother nature kindly gave me something that could be considered as the "glow", only to then snatch it away from me months later in a rather savage attack.

Hair loss -  not really talked about after having a baby is it? sure there might be the odd comment of "you shed a bit more hair" etc. However I found this to be the UNDERSTATEMENT OF THE CENTURY. Try borderline baldness? I was not expecting my head to resemble a barren wasteland with the odd token of "hope" in the form of the occasional copse of hair.  OK maybe a slightly over exaggerated recall of the situation, but when you have clump after clump coming out in the shower it can only be compared to deforestation.

Husband joked that we could make something out of all the shed hair - "Do you know how much people spend on Alpaca hair" not quite the same darling. Don't get me wrong, if I could flog jumpers made from my hair at the village fate for a few extra quid I would, beats having to bake. But somehow the hair on an animals arse seems so much more appealing than a jumper made out of the finest Kim fur.

Then came the baby hair, the flyaway, stand to attention, little feckers. So not only did I have bold patches but also an array of different lengths, textures, colours - the lot. Once the shedding had stopped and I was starting to get back on track, BAM pregnant again! taking me back to the start with no need to invest in hair products, my fate was doomed. Do not pass Boots, Do not collect 200 Boots points.

The second time around, to be fair, was not as bad as the first (proving every pregnancy is different) but it definitely left my locks looking a bit sad. Fast forward 15 months and it's only now that I really want to evaluate my hair care routine and get some life back into my barnet.

So I have been collecting a fair few volumising/thickening products to try, lets see what I have in my  hair care arsenal:

Top row starting on the left -

Aveda Invati Exfoliating shampoo - £22.50 link HERE - this is actually an old one that I had, I used the conditioner but didn't repurchase after (mainly due to the price) however I did find the shampoo/conditioner quite a good combo.

Percy and Reed Abundently Bouncy Volumising Mousse - £12.00 link HERE - I wouldn't normally pay £12.00 for a mousse, I got this in a beauty box. I do not find this much different to other mousses I have used so I do not think I would fork out for it again.

Trevor Sorbie Volume Leave In Conditioner - £5.60 link HERE
Trevor Sorbie Volume Conditioner - £5.50 link HERE the conditioner and leave in spray I actually got in the clearance section of Boots - I think this may be discontinued as I struggled to find it on line. So far I have used the leave in conditioner, it is light so doesn't weigh hair down, not so sure how much it adds to volume at this point

Bumble and Bumble Thickening Hairspray - £22.00 link HERE - I have only used this a few times so far, its not long been in my possession. Why did I buy it? bargain of the century, I got this and the other volume minis (below) for £5.50 - yep that's right, Boots were selling of Christmas sets and that was in it! score!

Aussie Miracle Recharge Aussome Volume Conditioning spray - £1.79 link HERE - I will be honest, this one has been hanging about for a while, I now use it as a detangler for my girl! works a treat for that. For me, well, it smells nice? (if you like the Aussie smell) but I don't think it added much oomph. I think this may be discontinued, as again, I struggled to find this one online.

Bottom row starting left -

Umberto Gianni - Glam Cheat Volumising Dry Shampoo - £3.96 again I found this in the clearance section of Boots - yes I do frequent it often, but how could I turn this down for £1.50? not normally a fan of dry shampoo (mainly because I need to feel clean!) I thought I would give it a second chance with this volumising option.

Bumble & Bumble - Thickening minis - Shampoo/conditioner/hair spray & powder - I am saving these for travel! although I might give the powder a go first.

OGX - Biotin & Collagen Root Boost Spray - £6.99 link HERE
OGX - Biotin & Collagen - £7.35 link HERE - I often use these together, starting with the lotion and then finishing with the spray, but as of late I have been a bit slack so I need to revisit this combo.

L'Oreal Elvive Fibrology Thickening Shampoo - £2.00 link HERE
L'Oreal Elvive Fibrology Thickening Conditioner - £2.00 link HERE - I find this range to be a good everyday option for fine hair, really leaves the hair clean with no build up, plus they are reasonably priced, you can always find these on offer somewhere!

As you can see above I have a mixture of shampoos/conditioners, sprays, mousse, lotions etc. A variety of brands, old and new. It was only when I got all my hair products out that it really did highlight the fact that I need to re-evaluate my hair care routine! haphazard maybe? yeah a little bit.

The latest additions are the bumble and bumble items plus the Trevor Sorbie. I do have more products but this is all I have that comes under the volumising umbrella.

So what steps have I taken so far? well I have chopped my locks to just above my shoulders with a blunt end, I feel that this has already added volume compared to finer ends, plus I think it frames my face better. I am a short hair person, as much as I desire long thick locks, I think I am going to have to let it go and embrace the short.

I am going to have a little play around with the products I have, use different combos and techniques and will report back with an update/progress report. Oh and I am already putting a shopping list together for new items, one thing that has caught my eye is the Grow Gorgeous Hair Growth Serum - I am yet to try a treatment like this, so for now its in my virtual basket! link HERE

Do you have any go to hair thickening products?

I also filmed a vid for the channel mum "why did no one tell me?" series relating to postpartum hair loss - see below

*quote from  

A Mum Track Mind

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Day in the life (DITL) vlog - Soft play and a pamper session

I've started vlogging a bit more recently, I really enjoy watching clips of the day come together to create a short film. Its so funny to watch back, especially when you see things that went unnoticed on the day! This time, I filmed my day that involved the hell of soft play (which actually wasn't too bad as we got there when the doors opened) and a beauty pamper sesh. It was only fair that I had a bit of a pampering after the stress of soft play right? you can find the vid below - oh and HERE is a link to my soft play survival kit, your welcome.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Pixi Double Cleanse cleanser // Caroline Hirons - Review & comparison to Clinique Take The Day Off balm

Whilst casually scrolling through Instagram, keeping up to date with my fave accounts, I had a thumb stopping moment. Caption - "looking forward to trying out Caroline's collaborative double cleanse with Pixi" and sure enough there was a pic of the item, proof there there was indeed a new double cleanse on the market. Immediately I google it to find that it had been talked about for months and released that week, which then lead me to think "how did I not know about this?" the only fair resolution for this misjustice is to purchase - I have forgiven the universe for not telling me sooner.

As much as I would love to hit the shops to purchase (from Marks & Spencers) I could not escape my SAHM duties for a good few days yet and it simply couldn't wait that long. So I headed to the Pixi website, put my blinkers on and headed for the cleanser and the cleanser only, very well behaved I must say.

The double cleanse is split in to two different cleansers (funny that, seeing as its called double cleanse Kim) one side is a balm and the other side is a cream. My immediate thoughts were "OOh a balm I like it" followed by - "ooh a cream hhmm not sure how this will go" but putting my faith into the skincare queen, angel, god - that is Caroline Hirons (no pressure love) I had to give it a try. 

My first surprise is that its not scented, I was expecting some sort of Emma Hardie-esque luxury type fragrance but there wasn't any. I actually prefer a non-scented cleanser, don't get me wrong I enjoy a delightfully scented experience, but usually scent = clogged pores for me, a bit like flavour in food, tastes good = lard arse. So I am not disappointed about the lack of smell, just not what I was expecting.
Seeing as this is aimed to be a one size fits all cleanser, it would make sense to leave out the compressed bunch of roses for this one, yep that's right - all skin types.

The balm reminds me of Clinique's Take The Day Off Balm, which I am a big fan of. A scentless, like attracts like, emollient balmy cleanser. The reason I am comparing it to Clinique is because that is my current product for double cleansing, so I am comparing the old with the possible new.

I massage the Pixi balm into the skin all over my face, even my eyes to remove mascara (not sure if this is recommended for this product but I do it and it works fine) once I feel like makeup has been dissolved, I use a flannel to remove the grime. 

Then onto the next step - the cream cleanser, I tend to avoid cream cleansers as I have not found them too suitable for oily skin. I need my skin to feel clean after cleansing (what a strange concept) but what I mean is, I do not like to feel a film left behind, not even if its meant to be good for the skin.
So in I go with the cream, massaging it in to the skin, I keep going until it starts to get hard to massage with and remove with a flannel. To my relief my skin felt clean and nourished with no residue. 

I tend to use this on make up days, I wouldn't double cleanse on a non make up day unless I feel particularly oily. For me its a nice change from using just a balm and it has opened my eyes up to the possibility of cream cleansers, a realm I thought that I would never step into.

Comparing it to the Take The Day Off balm, I would actually say the balms are very similar. Both removed makeup to the same standard and neither disappoints. The Pixi however, adds something extra to cleansing - it cleans yet nourishes after. But fear not oily skinned friends, it does not leave any residue behind, like other cream cleansers I have tried! which is the main reason why I tend to avoid cream cleansers (hence using Take The Day Off up until this point)

I have read some people are put off buy the thought of paying £24.00 for the Pixi Double Cleanse, but I personally thing its well priced comparing it to similar products on the market, plus if your going to DOUBLE cleanse then your going to use double the product anyway. The Clinique is £22.00 for 125ml so more for your money there, but as a comparison, I think it is worth paying a little extra to have both the balm and cream cleanser in one.

It sits well within the Pixi range and the price wouldn't put me off of buying it again. In fact nothing would put me off as I really like the product, its a 10 from Len, well more like an 8 but I cant think of anything to rhyme, 8 from your mate? not that it doesn't deserve a 10 its just that not many items make it to my fussy 10/10 category. Apart from THIS - which is another Caroline influenced purchase

For a fuller comparison of the two cleansers, and to watch me remove makeup with them both (one side of my face Pixi, the other Clinique) click the vid below 

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Birmingham Instagram Meet Up - Plus come shop with me

A simple hello could lead to a million things

When there were talks of a meet up a few months ago, I immediately knew I was IN. If there is an excuse to head to Birmingham for a bit of a shop/drink/chat I am there. It's a bit of a weird one through isn't it? meeting up with strangers, it's a bit like blind date, only without Cilla. "You could be meeting with anyone" came from the mouth of a non-Instergrammer/blogger, and in their eyes its seen as a bit weird.

Luckily, the people I met with did not turn out to be smelly old perverts, but actually really nice ladies that I can relate a lot too. So what did we do? well we chatted, drank, chatted, took photos, drank, ate a bit, chatted, I think you get the gist.

Below is a pic of us flapping loo roll, yes you read it right, loo roll. It was an ice breaker game devised by The Schujj that involved punching David Cameron and having a rumble with Mr tumble...don't ask. Strangely though, I think most of us already felt comfortable, as if we already knew each other. In fact some were a little "starstruck" at meeting (the people that are usually just on their phone screen) in the flesh. Because it turns out the people on your feed are actually real! strange but true. 

Even though most of us feature on each others daily feed, seeing someone in the flesh is so different. I didn't think I was that petite, turns out im a right short arse compared to some of the ladies that are  blessed with long pins, but that doesn't translate on camera does it? that kinda explains why I don't look the same as someone else when I copy am inspired by their outfit! (why doesn't it look as good on me!) defo worth remembering when you (if your anything like me) occasionally put your ridiculous comparison hat on.

If you have never been to a meet up before but are unsure, there's no need to worry, we are all the same! most of us are just mums that want to meet new people and have a bit of fun, no pressure. Its hard to meet new people when you're a mum, sure you can go to baby groups etc. but its not the same, and lets face it, it is all about the kids for that isn't it? Meet ups however are such a good way to meet like minded people! I am debating whether to host one or not, eeek! what do you reckon? 

Also many people may be put off by being on camera, well all you have to do is make it clear you don't want to be on camera (like this one bottom left - guess who it is?) on the other hand you could be like me, y'know grabbing someone else's coat, putting it over your shoulder and taking a selfie all casual - it takes all sorts.

So what fashion inspiration did I get? well I love the tights peeping through jeans look - I am defo going to try that one out! watch this space. The other I have already copied - a Zara knit, jeans and boots (see my Instagram feed!)

Not only did I take lots of pics, I also vlogged the day - yep I am that person, had to be one didn't there! I also did a bit of shopping too (obvs) click below and have a watch! oh and if you are not subscribed to my channel, hit that button (no not the X) and subscribe, there's a love x

Overall I had a fab day in Birm, met some lovely ladies and kinda feel reassured in some way that I am not a total crazy ass (putting pics of my outfits on Instagram!) and actually its OK to have a bit of fun in that way.


Friday, 10 February 2017

Boots discount section - Beauty bargains I found today

Just a quick one today, I felt the need to share my bargain finds with you (and it would go on longer than an Instagram caption!) SO, when I go into Boots I always check out the discount shelf - y'know the one that's hiding at the back with all the odds and ends on. Whether its a misshaped packet or a discontinued line, most the time there is something in there that is worth snapping up. A lot of the time I find the discounts are due to a change of packaging, essentially the same item but with a revamped label for a new season. I often find high children's SPF in there, which is defo worth stocking up on for summer. However, I am not such a fan of the supermarket chilled discounted section, mainly because it ends up in a fight. As soon as the discount sticker trolley is wheeled out people are around it literally vulturing it up all fisticuffed. Not for me thanks.

In Boots however, I found two tanning products and a dry shampoo. I have to go in with the main find first, I can't wait to divulge, and that is the Vita Liberata Trystal Minerals. This is a self tanning bronzer for the face, adding instant colour but also develops a tan too. I have never tried this brand but have heard good things about it, so when I found this reduced from £35.00 down to £7.00 (Yes I just heard you gasp) I had to give it a go. I went over to the tanning section just to try and work out why, my conclusion is that they are now only selling one shade instead of two (in that store anyway) so they were shifting the other shade. Now, the shade I got is medium, and being fair normally I would go for the lightest shade. However it was too much of a bargain to let go, so I will just have to use sparingly and see how I go! It also has a "luxury" Kabuki brush in, which actually is quite nice and soft.

Second item, L'Oreal Sublime Bronze Self Tanning Tinted & Shimmering gel (can you tell I have summer on the brain now!) I could not work out why this one is reduced, I found it online for £8.99 so maybe a packaging change? anyway I snaffled it for one whole pound. I like using tinted tanners on my legs in the summer, if I put on a skirt and have the "oh god I look like death" kinda vibe, I can put something like this on and get an instant pay off. Plus I can see exactly where I am putting it!

Lastly a dry shampoo, Umberto Giannini Glam Cheat Volumising Dry Shampoo. Now normally I avoid dry shampoos because I just don't really like the texture. However I have only tried one brand so really I should give it another whirl - plus this one is volumising which appeals to my lank locks. This was reduced from £4.00 down to £1.50.

It's definitely worth having a look at the discount section, you may find a hidden gem, or get to try something new. Have you found anything good Boots bargain bucket?


Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Valentine's day - Lush Valentine's mini haul PLUS my thoughts on Valentine's day

"All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt"
Charles M. Schulz

Just to warn you, if you're in your first flurries of love, I suggest you go and read another one of my posts - I've linked a make up post here. However, If you're a grumpy sod (or married over two years) make yourself comfy and get ready to feed the grump beast. Let's begin...

Valentine's day - or as I like to call it - national must put out day. I am tired/I've got a headache (even if genuine) is strictly forbidden on the cupid struck day of the year. Now I am not saying I am a misery or anything, but (cue miserable statement) I've come to the conclusion over the years that the V day is a load of shite.

It's not the love part that annoys me, I am not that miserable, it's the fact that it has become so over commercialised and forced. I don't know about you but most valentine days have not lived up to the hype, the random spontaneous romantic events are way better. However, spontaneity for parents is kinda hard, our version of spontaneity? planning three months in advance, arranging baby sitters, making sure the kids have everything they need for any possible situation...the list goes on. So V day in that respect does have legs to stand on, a viable reason to actually go out out. But why does it have to be so hyped? so public? It's kinda like new year's eve, which in my opinion is equally shite, if not more so.

All of a sudden roses are three times the price, nights away cost a fortune, restaurants charge the earth for a set menu. Which is not actually any different to any other annual occasion, but the big V seems to put on more pressure than others don't you think? if you're in a relationship you have to partake otherwise you clearly don't love each other that much (sarcasm guys) and if you're not in a relationship? Happy single awareness day!

This is mine and hubbies valentines conversation:

"Oh shit its valentines next week"
"Oh yer"
"What do you want to do."
"Dunno, u?"

End of conversation.

A few days later we realised that my husband would be working anyway, so we are off the hook. Our declarations of love would unfortunately have to wait for a different unlabelled day of the year. 

As much as I love to receive a card with a bear on the front holding a heart, I would actually prefer that few quid to be spent on a bar of chocolate from the corner shop when I request it - that's true love, y'know, changing out of your jammies to go on a chocolate run. To be fair, hubby has earnt his stripes on the choc run front when I was pregnant, hello Toblerone!

My main memory of V day is two years ago, when we tried a massage candle (it was rubbish - like rubbing on warm lard) having one too many shandy's, and conceiving surprise baby number two. So in that regards, V day is pretty spesh, so I thank cupid for that one - but a quick note to cupid, make sure the stork gets my message this time as two bubs is my max. 

But as the opportunist that I am, it allows me to buy a load of heart shaped stuff because that's what you're supposed to do right? cue a Lush haul. Just to feed the commercial beast that I claimed to hate above... 

Whether you are being a grumpy git or are loved up, Lush will always put a smile on your face, well it does for me. A bath with an heart-eyed emoji shaped bubble bar, ah go on then. So what did I buy?

Pic below
Top left - Lover Lamp bath bomb - cocoa butter, vanilla absolute and orange oil. Sweet and softening. £4.25
Top right - Ladybird bubble bar - Geranium and peppermint oil, a fun one for the kids, they will love crumbling this one into the water! uplifting and relaxing. £3.95
Bottom left - Rose bombshell bath bomb, rose, lemon and geranium oil. Defo one for the rose lovers out there, get your dose of rose with this bomb - balancing and uplifting. £4.25
Bottom right - Love struck bubble bar - lemon and geranium - another fun one for the kids (or the adults #ILOVEEMOJIS) fresh and uplifting. £4.25

I also popped a lip scrub in my basket, I had forgotten how much I like these. Not only does it get your lips super smooth, it tastes good too! if your after valentine kissy lips then look no further. Plus this edition has little edible hearts in it. LOVE. £5.75

OK so now that I have contradicted myself, starting with Valentine's day is shite quickly followed by "ooh heart stuff to buy" I feel the need to clarify. It's the lack of spontaneity that doesn't quite sit right with me, true romance shouldn't be planned it should just happen and it doesn't have to involve spending a fortune or big gestures. OK I know some people may need a gentle nudge as a reminder as let's face it, not everyone is a Romeo (thank god, imagine that!) but for me I would rather have a snuggle in our jammies and have our own special times as and when they happen. 
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