Thursday, 26 February 2015

Maybelline Dream Flawless Foundation: Review

I have a pretty long list of demands when it comes to foundations. I want my skin to glow but not to look too shiny.  I want a light coverage but I also want imperfections covered.  I want something long lasting but not a product I need to scrape off with a shovel at the end of the day. Exactly.  My wishlist is a tad long, and my search for a foundation that I love has been a long time coming.  I came across the Maybelline Dream Flawless Foundation in Boots this week, and, as its currently on offer for £5.99, naturally it ended up in my shopping basket and here we are. But oh, its good. 

There are seven shades to choose from and I picked up shade number 40 in Fawn.  By some sheer miracle the shade suits me (even though I picked it by the God awful test of putting it on the back of my hand. A big make-up no-no!). You have to shake the product thoroughly before applying to mix all of the ingredients.  It has a bulbous dropper and you are meant to 'drop' a few drops of the foundation onto your finger and then blend in with your hands.  But, I am all about the buffing, so, I add a few drops to my hand and then apply with a brush and buff into my skin. 

This product is really buildable and you can go for quite a thin coverage or apply more if you have any areas you want greater coverage.  When it first goes onto the skin it feels quite satiny and I was a little worried it would dry out my skin, but it really doesn't.  It sits perfectly and suits my combination skin by not being over drying or too oily.  It feels really light and I love how my skin feels with it on.  Cue a picture of me bare faced to the left, and to the right after applying the foundation (with other make-up on too!).  

Whilst the bulbous applicator is a bit lost on me, (I would be quite happy to just tip the foundation out of the bottle), top marks for this foundation.  It's fantastic and certainly rivals some of the high end foundations I have tried.    

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Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Snack Time at Playgroup

An ode to snack time at our local playgroup. 

"Its snack time", the nice playgroup lady calls, 
As helpers hurriedly tidy away toys and balls, 
"Its snack time", echoes around the halls, 
"No need to push", "be careful no-one falls". 

As little bums rush to their seats, 
Some parents begin a hasty retreat.
Anticipation lies heavy in the air,  
But be quick, be late to the table only if you dare. 

In come the bowls,
In come the cups, 
In come the snack plates, 
Everything stops. 

This is playgroup snack time, so beware,
A bit like stepping inside the lions lair.  
How this is the bit I dread, 
As the children act like they have never been fed. 

Its like watching a pack of baboons, 
A scrabble, an elbow, 
And then there's that child who continues to bellow. 
A push and a shove, 
Heavens above. 

Some parents are even worse,
They take two biscuits not one, 
And my daughters wailing, 
She has got none. 

Some parents giggle, 
Others disappear, 
They have got that snack time fear. 
But we all know this is no joke, 
There is no kindness at the snack table to other folk. 
Some faces are red
And a push and a shove too, 
From that nice little mum that looks like she wouldn't say "Boo". 

Parents wouldn't you have some manners please, 
I think you would find better behaviour from fleas. 
Children that turn into naughty blighters, 
Parents that become expert kung-foo fighters. 
No manners, 
No love, 
Oh no, this my friends is war, 
Over a raisin and a cookie, they would knock you to the floor.  

Laura Evelyn Bee. 

(We love it really). 

Saturday, 21 February 2015

First day at Pre-School

On Wednesday afternoon I took my little baby to pre-school for the very first time.  My little baby who is actually nearly three.  Normally, I have some funny incident or observation to blog, but as we both made our way from the car to pre-school my heart felt very full. Surprisingly, I didn't feel sad. I felt so immensely proud of this amazing little person stood next to me and swinging her Frozen bag and marching to the pre-school gates (I had tried to coax her towards choosing another bag seeing as though all 20 pre-school children will probably have the same, but never mind).

She settled really well, and as I returned to an empty house, I thought I might shed a tear. But I didn't. I had only that morning finished reading Gretchen Rubin's Happier At Home.  Her closing chapter is on the passage of time and how we always tend to assume that in the future we will be happier, when in fact when we look back through the years, we yearn for those moments past. Here and right now are the happy days.  So, with that in mind, I didn't mourn for my little baby.  I didn't feel sad about the long days past that I used to sit feeding her (OK, maybe I did a little bit). I instead tried to focus on how my little girl has grown into the most wonderful little girl. I hope this day stays in my memory forever.  Of us holding hands.  Of our nervous excitement as we entered the doors.  

As I collected her and she showed me her painting that she had done, my heart was full again.  I want to keep this day with me. Of how proud I felt.  Of how she is truly amazing.  And of how the love I have for her is indescribable.

I feel whilst there may be blog posts to come about our adventures and more likely mis-adventures in pre-school land, today I wanted to capture what I felt for my wonderful daughter.  We returned home and my daughter danced round with her pants on her head to Frozen.  The perfect day.  

"Do not look back and grieve over the past, for it is gone; and do not be troubled about the future, for it has yet to come. Live in the present, and make it so beautiful that it will be worth remembering”, 
Ida Scott Taylor. 

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Teenager birthday gift ideas

I sometimes find that buying birthday presents for teenagers can be a little bit tricky. Not yet an adult but certainly not a child, teenagers are in that middle ground.  Besides the obligatory gift voucher or money in a card, thinking of a present for a teenager can take a little bit of creative thought! This week, it was my beautiful nieces 14th birthday and upon asking her what she wanted as a gift and her replying that she didn't mind, I set to work on creating her gift. Gulp! 

But first, let's just appreciate the ribbon. How cute is this ribbon? I picked it up from Hobbycraft and thought it was a lovely finishing touch to the present! I adore putting ribbon round presents.  I know some people may think it's a waste of time, but for me it really brings a present together and I always think how lovely it is to receive a beautifully wrapped present.  A metre normally costs around 50p - £1 so I always like to add it when I can.  But, onto what's inside!   

I picked up this gorgeous little suitcase from a little shop called Yellowstone at Trentham Gardens in Stoke-on-Trent (if you ever go near here, you MUST check this amazing boutique out).  The case was in the children's section, but I thought this was ideal to hold lots of little gifts, and it is something my niece can hopefully use for storing things inside after her birthday.  Inside the case I then individually gift wrapped little presents.  Presents within a present are always a winner for me! I wrapped a gift voucher for her favourite shop and some hair accessories. She also adores cats, so I found this really cute little cat milk jug. 


I also picked up this Ted Baker mini-body spray.  I always struggle with what beauty bits and pieces to get her, but I thought she would like the smell of this as it isn't as strong as a perfume but still has a pretty and sweet smell. 

And that was her little gift case.  Simple, but a bit more than your usual gift voucher.  I hope she loves it and I really enjoyed choosing her gifts within a gift.  I just can't believe she is 14 already!!! I hope this post gives you some inspiration for any teenagers you have to buy for and you can tailor the little gifts to their likes and interests. 

Have you got teenagers you need to buy gifts for? Any tips on picking gifts? 

Thanks for reading, 

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Monday, 16 February 2015

Parenthood or the MI5?

Let me start this post off with a little disclaimer.  I love being a mum. I really, really do.  I feel so blessed and happy that I have this little and incredible person in my life. But. There are times where I find myself lying on the floor, looking to the sky, and wondering what the hell I did wrong in a previous life.  I found myself lying on the floor doing exactly that this week.  Twice. 

On Wednesday I decided to have a bit of a Spring clean. My daughter was in particularly high spirits that morning and was very keen to help with the dusting.  I had ran out of cloths (she also likes to hide as many cloths as she cleans with) so I popped into our garage that you access via a locked door by the kitchen.  In I went to hunt for the cloths, and then I heard it.  A familiar clicking sound.  No, I thought.  Oh no,no,no. Surely not.  I walked calmly ran like a woman possessed back to the garage door and turned the handle. It was locked. I was locked in the garage, with no way into the house (always security conscious the front door was locked too!). 

My first instinct was to roll on the ground and weep, but I didn't.  I took a deep breath.  'Can you open the door for Mummy?', I called. 'No', came the reply. I whispered some expletives at this point which I won't repeat here.  I took another deep breath.  'Can you let me out and then we can have a snack?', I called. 'Ok', came the reply.  My daughter then proceeded to try and unlock the door, but it appeared her toddler fine motor skills only allowed her to turn a key to the locked position (for the record, that to me seems to be the worst case of toddler evolution. Ever).  My daughter then began to panic as the realisation came that her mummy was locked in the garage.  That or the fact that she couldn't have her snack. 'Its ok',  I called,  'Don't worry.  Go and get your little stool and see if you can turn the key then'.  Off she toddled to get her stool and she tried again.  She still couldn't do it and she started to cry.

Luckily for me, I could get out of the garage to the front of the house. I still couldn't get in, but at least I had access to help. Aside from scaling the 15ft drainpipe to the front of our house, I came up with no bright ideas.  My neighbour came out just as I was staring blankly at the front door.  She too tried to coax my now hysterical daughter into turning the key.  Maybe I could ask her to scale drainpipe? No, no, bad idea, she's 80.  There was nothing else for it.  My neighbour lent me her phone as I called my husband at work and informed him our darling two year had locked me out of the house.  Twenty minutes later and I was safely back inside the house with a very upset toddler and a bemused husband. 

To be completely honest, I felt that this level intense pressure was enough to satisfy my toddler that I am good enough to be in sole charge of her daily.  But she wasn't quite finished. Oh no. My toddler had one last trick up her sleeve.  

We both popped into town on Friday and whilst we were in a very busy M&S store (Valentines £20 meal deal anyone?!) she declared she needed the toilet so we wandered to the toilets and got in line.  Did I say it was really busy?! We went into our cubicle where there isn't room to swing a cat, and my daughter went first and then I went.  But, during my allocated time on the said toilet, my daughter decided she had clearly had enough of waiting a mere 30 WHOLE SECONDS and she opened the door and then proceeded to wander out of the cubicle!!! This left the cubicle door wide open, me...well, rather exposed and a toddler on the loose.  Again, my immediate reaction was to drop to the floor and weep (after pulling up my jeans), but let's just say in the blink of an eye I had simultaneously grabbed my jeans, my daughter's arm and the cubicle door.  I can only pray the other people in the queue had bad eyesight.

I have passed, or failed enough toddler tests for one week.  I feel I have demonstrated calmness, the use of more whispered expletives than is humanly possible, extreme dexterity and the ability to multi-task.  Not to mention the ability to turn the colour of a beetroot in a nano-second. I have a feeling the entry tests the MI5 set are a hell of alot easier than the tasks my toddler kindly sets for me.  I need a lie down.   

Any toddler tests you would like to share? Comments below please and as always thanks for reading, 

Thursday, 12 February 2015

The Book of You by Claire Kendal : Review

Are you looking for a sweet and romantic tale of lovers, lust and longing for Valentines? Erm, well you best be moving along.  This book is chilling, tense and absolutely terrifying.  My advice? Don't read this before going to bed.  I found I couldn't sleep.  Partly due to fear of what I'd just read, and partly due to the fact I couldn't wait to keep on reading. 

The Book of You is the very chillingly debut novel of Claire Kendal.  It tells the story of Clarissa and her acquaintance Rafe, who is a stalker. You are quickly drawn into Clarissa's world. Of never being left alone. Of constantly being frightened.  And before you know it, the author has cleverly made you too, look out for and fear the very disturbing Rafe on every page. Kendal tells at times the gruesome and harrowing, tale with ease and the novel takes you to a chilling and scary place.  

Intertwined with the story of Clarissa are the details of her ongoing jury service and her love of fairy tales.  Miraculously, these topics are woven seamlessly into the story and really reflect the turmoil that Clarissa is experiencing. Unlike alot of thriller books I have read, the truth behind this story with stalking at its heart really made parallels to reality, which to me, made the story all the more gripping and chilling. 

The ending certainly wasn't what I had expected.  But then I think the ending actually is very reflective of life.  And it can't be all fairy tales can it? This is an amazing debut novel and you won't be able to put it down to find out if anyone actually does live, happily ever after. 

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I was sent The Book Of You by Claire Kendal to review by Mumsnet Bloggers.  The above review is my personal and honest opinion of the book. 

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Is this a baby group or the X Factor?

Ahh the world of parent and baby groups.  Before having a baby, I was aware this world existed, but I have to say, they only existed in my periphery.  But, after having my daughter, I was thrust into the madness of the baby group.  Don't get me wrong, I think parent and baby groups are fantastic and I have met some lovely parents at them.  I do think you have to pick which groups work for you though, because some quite frankly are plain weird.  And just so you know, the majority come with singing. 

Now, I completely understand the benefits of singing to your little one. It promotes their speech, encourages interaction and really strengthens that mother and baby bond.  There is nothing that me and daughter like doing more than putting on Mary Poppins and proceeding to dance and sing around the dog. But, my friends, there is a slight problem with my beautiful singing voice, that being, I haven't got a beautiful singing voice. I can't sing.  When my daughter winced and then had a full fit of giggles as I reach my crescendo in a 'Spoonful of Sugar', I knew right then I had a serious problem (I think the dog howling was a little harsh).  

At some groups, I manage to mime. I've become a bit of a pro actually.   To the point where I think I could give a good show on Top of the Pops if they gave me a backing track.  At some smaller groups I whisper like a mouse or a very quiet person (which I am not).  At some groups I completely forget and as I join in with the fifth round of 'Happy Birthday', (there's always about 6 birthdays per week), I frustratingly wonder why it has to go up so bloody high and I hope to God the mum sitting crossed legged next to me didn't hear my rendition (she probably did and won't sit next to me again). 

But then, one fateful day at a baby group, my usual tactics failed me. The lady leading the session, who I shall now refer to as Simon Cowell, went around the circle and asked parents to choose what song the group should sing.  Now this is fine and dandy if you are sat to her right.  Oh yes, this is all bloody well and good if you are sat to her right.  Yes, lets sing, twinkle twinkle, wind the bobbin, baa baa black sheep, and the list goes on.  But, there isn't a infinite amount of nursery rhyme songs.  When the woman next to me suggested Little Miss Muffet, I knew we were scraping the barrel.  And then it was my turn. 'What song would you like to sing?', Simon asked.  All eyes were on me.  What I would like to have said is, 'You're bloody running the group, you pick the next song'. But I didn't. Even my little daughter turned to watch what song her mummy would sing with baited breath. 

I wracked my brains.  Ah-ha! Take this Simon I thought!! How about 'Down in the Jungle' I said.  Everyone just continued to look at me.  I had made a fundamental error.  No-one knew the bloody song.  I had got my groups muddled up and it was another group that we sang this song at. And what did Cowell do? Did she say, 'Oh never mind, lets sing Twinkle Twinkle again?'.  No.  No, she did not.  'Oooh lets hear it', she said. I cleared my throat and what happened next was the most painful minute and a half of my life and probably everyone else's.  I'm sure a few stray cats even wandered into the hall to join in at what they thought was the grand master cat screeching out a cat call.  I have never been so embarrassed or so red in my life.  Why didn't I just pick the Neighbours theme tune? At least people know that. 

Needless to say we have not returned, because quite frankly, if I want to make a t*t out of myself in front of a roomful of people I will just go and audition for the X-Factor.  Take heed, dear readers. These groups are not for the faint hearted.  Either be mentally ready with every nursery rhyme ever written, oh and sit to the leaders right, or you could always just belt out, 'Neighbours....everybody needs good neighbours....". 

Thanks for reading and I would love to hear any of your baby group disasters to make me feel a little better! 

Monday, 9 February 2015

Personalised Books - PenWizard

I adore personalised gifts, so when Penwizard offered me the opportunity to review one of their personalised books, I jumped at the chance! I think personalised gifts are lovely to give, and it can make gift giving that little bit easier when you have taken the time to personalise a product. 

Penwizard's website is very simple and easy to use and what I particularity like is that for a number of their books you get to read a preview of what the final edit will look like.  Whilst this is very helpful, it also meant that me and my daughter spent a considerable amount of time picking our book, looking at characters and seeing what we would like if we starred in Peppa Pig!!! You can choose from titles like Peppa Pig, Ben and Holly, In The Night Garden and princess and knight books. Some books offer the personalisation through the child's name, whilst with others you can design the characters to personalise and then add a name too.  

After much discussion, me and my daughter eventually chose a Peppa Pig 'My Daddy' book and we set about with our creation! My daughter helped pick her daddy's hair colour and style, facial hair and eye colour.  We did this again for my daughter, much to my daughters delight!  A few quick checks and our book was done!! I ordered the book on Thursday evening and by Saturday morning our shiny new book featuring two special characters had arrived!!!

The quality of the book is fantastic and even the little details, like a summary of the story with our personalised pictures on the back of the book is a lovely touch.  These books are amazing for any upcoming children's birthdays or even for mums and dads from their little ones for birthdays or mothers and fathers day. You can visit the Penwizard website here and for my lovely readers I have a special 15% discount code on all orders!  Just enter the code: 5625849 at checkout to apply your discount.  

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This personalised book was gifted to me by Penwizard, but this review is entirely my own opinion and review of the book.  I would definitely buy again and I highly recommend their site! x

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Original Source - My new love

I have very dry skin. So much so, that on certain days I have the distinct feeling that in my previous life I was part of the reptile or amphibian family. Possibly an iguana or maybe even a tortoise.  My bathroom resembles a beauty salon and with more lotions and potions than you could shake a reptile claw at. Whilst perusing in my local Boots I spotted these products and after trying them out this week, they are absolutely amazing and I can't stop raving about them. The really good news is that they are a fraction of the price of my usual lotions and potions. 

Both products are from the Original Source brand and my first pick is their Mint And Tea Tree Shower Gel. It smells absolutely amazing and easily rivals any of the much more expensive shower gels I have used. One bottle apparently contains 7,927 real mint leaves, and whilst showering, I find I often stare at the bottle and wonder who actually counted them all out and why 7,927?  But that's just me. I'm guessing normal people just wash with it.  

My whole shower smells amazing after using this as well as me, and I am now a convert. It comes in other scents too which sound equally appealing, and the best bit, its currently just £1 instore at Boots or online here.

My other new love, is the Skin Quench Body Butter in vanilla and sweet almond oil.  

This stuff not only smells delicious, but it actually works! The butter isn't so thin that you feel it should be in a bottle, but not too thick that it takes you an hour to rub it in.  This body butter easily rivals the more expensive body butters that I've tried.  There is a range of other scents and the butters are currently on offer for £3.99 instore at Boots or online here.  And it gets even better. Original Source carries the Vegan mark, so it means no animal derivatives are used in their products and there is no animal testing either. Hurrah! This my friends, is my new favourite and I may or may not have bought a years worth of supplies from Boots because it is so so gorgeous! Did I mention I love it?!

Thanks for reading and drop me a comment below if you try these beauties!  

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Thursday, 5 February 2015

Lose your Lingerie - A Valentine Nail

Lose your lingerie is a rather catchy title isn't it?! Sorry to disappoint, but this is a review of the Rita Ora's Rimmel 60 second coat nail polish in 203...Lose Your Lingerie. The name got me giggling in the beauty aisle of Boots, because quite frankly, the only images it made me think of are when I a) always think I've lost my pants at swimming and b) I still can't find said pants as my daughter has them on her head and is singing to Frozen. I have a sneaky suspicion that this isn't the image the brand are trying to evoke. But anyway, onto the review. 

I continue to adore the Rimmel 60 second polishes for the facts that they are very very fast drying, have a great range of colours and are only £2.99. You really can't go wrong.  This shade is a pinky nude colour and alas, with most nude colours I've tried before, application can be a little tricky and you do need a build up of the colour onto the nail. Normally with the Rimmel 60 second shades I apply two coats, but I found applying only two coats with this shade made my nails looked a little patchy.  Three coats seemed to do the trick and the colour looked more uniform. As the polish is so quick to dry I didn't really mind this, it just took a little longer than usual. I think the colour is really pretty and perfect for any upcoming Valentine day date's. 

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Monday, 2 February 2015


I think I may have lost my mind. Well, OK. That might be being a little over dramatic. But I have certainly crossed over into the realms of over-thinking. I blame social media. Bloody social media. I my friends, have Twitteritis. 

I am very new to twitter, six months new to be precise, and already I have been inflicted with this paralysing condition. I never have a tweet to tweet. I have my own little mental checklist.  Is my tweet going to be funny? (I don't think I've ever tweeted something funny for the record). Is my tweet boastful? (No-one likes a boaster). Is my tweet interesting? (No, not particularly). Hmmmm, back to the drawing board.  Oh wait, I've got one. I think I have a good tweet. Yep, this is a good one.  Oh no, wait.  One of the 783 people I follow has just tweeted something similar. Bugger. And herein lies my problem.  By the time I have gone through my checklist, I have lost the will to tweet. 

I often see people tweeting where they are off to. And if you are jetting off to the Maldives that appears to be a good tweet. I'm not by the way. Jetting off to the Maldives that is. My location tweets appear to centre around going to playgroup, and then I wonder if any of my followers would care if I am going to playgroup, it's not that exotic.  On a good day there might be a juice spillage at snack time, or that time a shoe went missing. Exactly. ARGH. 

But don't think my over-thinking is focused solely on my twitter life. Oh no, I can go a few days without Instagramming too, blinded by my Instagramitis. Does the picture look right? Who wants to see a picture of the Lego house I built anyway?(It was pretty good to be fair).  What does this picture say about me? Well, the pink potty photo sorta screamed potty training whilst the picture of my daughters lunch actually read that I should be trying to regain control of the toddler that's riding the dog around the house instead of rearranging her food on a plate to snap. (For the record I do have control of my daughter 96% of the time).  And don't get me started on what filter to use.   

And that's the thing with over-thinking.  Once you start, you can't actually start the thing you are over-thinking because you are too busy thinking about it. For all its fabness, social media is loaded with the demons of comparing yourself to others, thinking what you have got to offer might not be up to par, and that annoying gremlin called self-doubt. 

But I say sod it.  Because quite frankly, life's too bloody short. I'm going to rid myself of Twitteritis and Instagramitis. I'm going to tweet and snap to my hearts content about what I'm actually doing (I'm in the middle of painting an elephant if you're interested). I want my social media to reflect me and my daily life.  Not trying to keep up with her in the Maldives.  OK, I may not be lying on a beach with an elephant hosing me down, but being me right here and right now, is actually pretty amazing. I guess it all comes down to just being yourself. 

Happy Monday everyone and as always, thanks for reading. 

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken", 

Oscar Wilde.

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And then the fun began...