Thursday, 16 November 2017

Puffer Jackets - My High Street Puff Picks

Puff Daddy. Puff the Magic Dragon. Puff pastry. Powder Puff. But my favourite puff is a puffer jacket. When I was a mere 18 years old I was lucky enough to have a Naff Naff silver puffer jacket which my then cool boyfriend bought me. That was 29 years ago and the puffer jacket is in full force, in every shop, in every colour, long, short, wide puffs, small puffs.

A proper puffer jacket would be from Puffa, a British brand who specialise in the quilt style jackets.
Puffa jacket £100
If you've ever worn a puffer jacket you will know what I mean when I say it's like having a warm, enveloping hug. You know in Sex and the City when Carrie sits on Aiden's lap - a puffer jacket is like that! But you need to get the puff right as a lot of them can look cheap and nasty. I would definitely say avoid a shiny fabric and for me I prefer a larger depth puff. I've seen a lot of jackets that are quilted rather than puffers and I just don't like the look, example..
New Look £29.99
I really like puffers with a big collar, because after all if you are needing to wear a quilt outdoors, you want your neck to be warm as well. Here's what I'm talking about.. I love the colour and the asymmetric angle of this Zara jacket.
Zara £69.99
This one even has a built in puffer scarf. Also from Zara £89.99
 And if you want a loud and proud jacket..
H&M padded jacket with hood £39.99
H&M padded jacket with hood £39.99
Mango £79.99
Pull & Bear £29.99
Zara £69.99
Or if you fancy a more muted colour that will go with any outfit..
H&M £29.99
Zara £89.99
Zara £25.99
And if you want a longer line coat to keep you wrapped up and snug as a bug right down to your knees..
Pull & Bear £69.99
H&M £49.99
H&M £59.99
Most puffer jackets are (light) shower proof and because they're so squidgy, you can wear them whilst driving. I'll definitely be getting on the puff(er) train this season and for me I think it's going to be the black shorter H&M jacket.

xx

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Sunday, 12 November 2017

Brand in Focus - Pull & Bear

Pull & Bear is the shop that you get dragged in to by your teens but they end up waiting for you to come out. I first heard of Pull & Bear about five years ago when I was admiring my friend's coat and she said it was from Pull & Bear. And it was a lovely coat. 

On a recent shopping trip I walked into P&B as I was on my last legs from a day of shopping. I didn't know what I was looking for until I saw this gorgeous coat. It wasn't the winter coat I had in mind but it has turned out to be just what I needed.
Pull & Bear Herringbone Coat
Pull & Bear Herringbone Coat
It's short enough to wear in the car and thick enough to keep you toasty warm. It's current trend of over sized/double breasted/tweed blazer style. The quality of this coat is superb and was only £49.99. It's lined and even has one of those hidden inside pockets, as well as deep pockets on the front.

Cheeky shot of the back view and the split vent in the mirror. Here's the coat link.
Pull & Bear Herringbone Coat
Pull & Bear Herringbone Coat
And so pleased was I with this impulse coat purchase that without a care in the world I picked up this bag whilst queuing to pay.
Pull & Bear Crossbody Bag with Zip
Pull & Bear Crossbody Bag with Zip
And again it has proved to be just what I didn't know I needed - perfectly sized, easy to hold, on trend colour and comes with a sturdy strap for wearing cross body.
My favourite fashion blogger, Lizzy Hadfield, has a Loewe Puzzle Bag. It's £1725.00.
Loewe Puzzle Bag
This P&B dupe is £12.99. (link)
P&B Crossbody bag with zip
Pull & Bear Crossbody Bag with Zip
 Here it is worn crossbody.
Pull & Bear Crossbody Bag with Zip
Pull & Bear Crossbody Bag with Zip
So impressed am I with the quality and price point of Pull and Bear, I have been drawn to these coats..
Checked long coat - £79.99
Wooly Camel coat - £39.99
Grey Fake Fur coat - £35.99
Black Fake Fur coat - £59.99

And to complete the look, bags..
Embellished Heart bag - £17.99
Tote Chain bag - £15.99
Dinosaur bags - £17.99
Quilted Chain bag - £15.99

Pull & Bear are now firmly on my shop watch list and I'll be heading straight there from now on..

xx



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Thursday, 9 November 2017

My Birthday Favourites/Gift Ideas

When I posted what I got for my birthday last year, I felt a bit cringe/9 years old/showy off but you seemed to like it and I love seeing these posts because they also give me ideas on things to buy myself or gift ideas for others. So here we are again, another year older, grey-er, tired-er but still loving all the things and so, as well as the vouchers which I can't wait to spend, florentines I've already eaten, note books I don't want to ruin by writing in, here are some of my favourite birthday pressies..
Natural Spa Factory Fig & Vanilla hand cream - during a recent work thing at Bath Racecourse, I came across this absolutely delicious smelling fig and vanilla hand cream in the toilets (don't you just love a loo which provides decent hand cream?). It's nearly all natural and is a light hand cream that just smells like you could eat it. I'm a great hand washer (I wash my hands for the sake of it) but having this to put on after my slightly obsessive/compulsive practice leaves my hands soft and smelling gorgeous.
Candles - you could never upset me by getting me a candle (unless it's that really sickly cloying  Christmas one from Yankee!). You can't tell from the photo but the larger one is a three wick. I find three wickers last so much longer. I'm all about getting home from work-pyjamas on-light candles-cozy on down.
Phone - I've had a ugly black digital cordless phone for ages. So unsightly was it that I kept it partially hidden on the bottom of my "telephone table". This retro cute corded phone not only has a clearer sound than my fugly phone, it looks so girly. I just wish someone would call me so I could talk on the phone for hours, on my bed, in my curlers.
I now proudly display my new phone on top of the telephone table.
Mini Tripod - Look out for future clearer, close up angled photos now I have this mini tripod. I do have a standard size one but this is just going to be really quick to set up and take on holidays.
If I were a Vlogger, I'd hold it like..
Benefit Hoola Powder - I feel a great sense of life achievement that I've used up a whole Hoola. That is bronzer commitment. For me this is the only bronzer. It's neither orangey, cakey or too heavy and gives a natural "I'm healthy/been on holiday" bronze. As well as definition and contour to cheek bones and the jaw line.
Velvet hangers - I've decided to replace all my Primark and M&S plastic hangers with different coloured velvet hangers. These purple ones are going to get me off to a great start. 
Dirty Dancing print- Like most people I love Dirty Dancing, I could watch it every day and never tire of it. A couple of years ago, me and the daughter went and watched it at an outdoor cinema and it was one of the best experiences. So not only does this print from Honeymoon Hotel Art remind me of that moment in the film but also of that night when me and my girl danced in the dark, singing along to 'I've had the time of my life'.
Because nobody puts this baby in any corner! (Now that would make a good print).

xx


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Sunday, 5 November 2017

My first (and last) experience of LVL Lashes

It was my birthday last week and where I work you get a day off for your birthday, which is great. So I wanted to make sure I didn't waste this free day and do something I haven't done before. This did prove quite stressful as I really started overthinking the day. I was invited to have a beauty treatment in London but then didn't hear back from the PR woman, so that went out of the window.  I then even thought about getting the Eurostar to Paris for the day. But I didn't want to get up that early. So in the end I took myself shopping (I have done that before!) and then in the afternoon booked myself in to have LVL lashes.

LVL - length, volume, lift is a treatment to your lashes whereby your top lashes are 'permed' to a curled and lifted position and tinted. The effect is to give you lifted lashes which make your lashes look like you're wearing mascara and have curled your lashes. And the treatment is meant to last for between 6-8 weeks. 

I curl my lashes every day, and although I only ever wear one coat of mascara, the thought of not having to curl them and giving my lashes a break from mascara was what appealed to me about this treatment.

The treatment only takes about 45 minutes and you lay down, with your eyes closed and the technician applies several different lotions to your lashes. The top lashes are bent around a curl guard (you can decide on how much curl you want depending on which guard is used). The different stages of the treatment are then gently painted on to your lashes, one of which is a tint to darken lashes. It didn't hurt at all.   

I have to say at this point that I have never had lash extensions and only once worn false lashes for a Christmas party but I had Googled lots of before and after LVL lashes photos and so was expecting fuller, longer, almost Daisy the Cow style lashes. I did not get this. I have before and after pictures below and I think we can all agree that there is very little, if at all, difference to my lashes. To say I am disappointed is an understatement.

Maybe it's my lashes because all the reviews I've read, people love this treatment and go back time and time again. I won't be though as, for me and my lashes, there was no difference and I'd much rather spend the £40.00 on two good mascaras.

For those of you who are interested and especially if you have very straight lashes (I am sure you would notice a difference) the only "maintenance" of LVL lashes is in the 48 hours immediately after. You cannot get the lashes wet at all, so no shower. And you have to avoid all types of steams, so no saunas or even getting near steam from cooking or a boiling kettle. You also have to sleep on your back for that 48 hour period after, as you can't risk sleeping on your side and crushing your lashes in to a weird position. I did find this hard as I am a side sleeper. And I was left with some dried on solution on my eyelids (like dry PVA glue). This was tricky to get off as I couldn't get my lashes wet.

On the left is me before treatment and the right, two days after treatment. (apologies for the difference in lighting-damn winter day light, and I do have foundation on in the 'after' picture). I am not wearing mascara in either.
Before Treatment (left).  After Treatment (right). 
I know I am probably in the minority of people who are unimpressed by this treatment and what hasn't worked for me, could for you. But at least now I know if I do want the fuller, voluminous lashes I had envisaged, it will have to be extensions.

Back to my mascara..

xx
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Thursday, 2 November 2017

October 2017 Favourites

But of course October has zoomed by like a rocket and hurtled me towards my birthday month of November! Slow down declining years for goodness sake.

I'm happy the nights are getting darker though, there's a snap in the air and I can legit have my heating on and hot water bottle back out. So in October I've enjoyed..
Rimmel Super Gel Polishes
Rimmel Super Gel Polishes
Make up - Rimmel Super Gel polishes
I've written about the Rimmel Super Gel polishes and I just want to say again that I love these. Two coats of the colour and then one of the top coat and I'm getting a solid 5 days, no chips, wear. The polish is easy to remove. These are two new colours I've picked up for Autumn - the grey is Punk Rock and the red, Flamenco Beach.
John Frieda Frizz Ease
John Frieda Frizz Ease
Haircare - John Frieda Frizz Ease
I must be the last person to try any of the Frizz Ease shampoo and conditioner range from John Frieda. To be honest I just didn't believe anything could tame my winter static, age related frizz (which is only partially calmed if I do a proper blow dry). I bought the conditioner first and was so impressed with how it left my hair silky soft, smooth and feeling much healthier that I have now bought the shampoo and the two together are a delight. I've never spent much on my hair care and even though both of these were not expensive at all, I can definitely now see the benefit of buying hair care from a range that specialises in just that.
Primark Grey Pearl Jumper
Primark Grey Pearl Jumper
Fashion - Primark Grey Pearl Jumper
There are loads of pearl detailed jumpers on the high street at the moment but none as much of a bargain as this £13.00 jumper. Unlike other Primark knitwear, it is neither itchy or makes you smell funny. It's cosy, soft and the sleeves are slightly balloon which gives a nice look.
If you have heard of Graham and Green, the very stylish, quirky homeware store you'll also know that their beautiful pieces of furniture, lighting and home accessories are gorgeous but pricey.

Imagine my delight when I found out not only do they have a clearance store but it's in Chippenham, Wiltshire which is only half an hour's drive from me. I had to make a visit and it is a delight. You do need to take your time and have a really thorough mooch through everything. I bought a lovely marble and metal coffee table but it was well hidden under other items. It is a treasure trove which is well worth a visit.
Graham and Green Clearance Store
Graham and Green Clearance Store
xx

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Sunday, 29 October 2017

How to Clean your Home the easy way

So my daughter has moved in to her first home and as part of my moving in present to her, I filled a new washing basket with all the cleaning products I use. I also put a tag around each item with instructions on how to use them, like "use me to shine up the cooker hob".

Many years ago I owned a domestic cleaning business, so I feel I'm fairly experienced in knowing what cleaning products work, and there are a couple of things I swear by and I thought you might like to know as well because who doesn't love a good spring clean and scrub of the bath to take your irritations of the day out on!
Bathroom mousse - This is the easiest way to clean a scummy rimmed bath. Spray the mousse all over the bath and leave for a few minutes and then use a sponge to work it in and then rinse off. I know you should probably not use a sponge with a scouring side but I do and always have done.

Soda Crystals - If I could only have one cleaning product, it would be soda crystals. I used to buy a bag of the crystals and then mix them up with water and put in to a spray bottle. I picked up this pre mixed spray from Wilko. Soda Crystals are gentle yet can shift grease  and stubborn stains like no ones business. I use Soda Crystals for de-greasing kitchen cupboards, cooker hoods, cleaning grubby finger prints from doors and light switches and scuff marks on walls. The solution can leave a very slight white powdery finish, so I do a final wipe over with hot soapy water. When I use Soda Crystals on a metal cooker hood (nothing else shifts grease like this), I then wipe over with soapy water, dry and then wipe over a tiny amount of baby oil to bring the shine back up.
Soda Crystals are also the only thing I've found to clean up the grout in between tiles.

Limescale remover - I usually get Cilit Bang but Mr Muscle was on offer so picked this one up. I spray limescale remover around the base of taps and the inside of the shower screen, and then leave for five minutes. I use an old toothbrush to clean off the brown limescale from the base of taps and then a sponge for the shower screen. I then rinse off and wipe dry with an old flannel.
Erase Away/Magic Eraser - What ever brand you pick up, these white blocks of .. spongey stuff are literally magic. You wet the sponge and then this will remove stubborn scuffs from walls (it will also remove the paint so wipe gently), shoe scuffs from PVC doors and generally clean up all your PVC doors and window frames, nail polish scuffs on the bath and any marks that you've struggled to wipe off with anything else. And you don't need to use anything other than water with the sponge, so no harsh chemically smelling products.

Baby Oil - A tiny bit of oil on a micro fibre cloth buffed onto a metal or aluminium surface (cooker hob, door, kettles, toasters, oven hoods..) will bring the silver shine back up.

White Wonder from Lakeland - This cream does a  brilliant job shifting those small dark marks you get on your carpet when you've walked in with shoes on. It's also great for stains on clothes. For carpets, dab on to the mark and work it in and then rub off with a clean dry cloth.
And my tools of choice for a spring cleaning session - rubber gloves to protect your hands from the cleaning products and you can use really hot water without drying your hands out. An old toothbrush for cleaning around taps, the grout in between tiles and the ends of a shower screen that a sponge won't get in to.  I use the less abrasive cleaning sponges with the white scouring side.

Micro fibre cloths are the best thing to use to dry sinks, showers and baths and shower screens after cleaning. They soak up any excess water, meaning no annoying hard water marks left behind. I have a micro fibre cloth (or old flannel) next to my sink and wipe it round after every use, this helps to keep the sink looking cleaner and shinier for longer.

Two other items that are part of my cleaning bag but are not photographed are:

Dettol Mould and Mildew Remover - If you get any of those black mould marks on/within the sealant in your shower or around your bath, spray this on and leave for a short while and they will vanish. This product was recommended to me by a plumber and it really does do the trick.

Oven Pride - Just in case you haven't used this before, when you need to clean your oven (however dirty it might be), just pop the racks in to the bag with the majority of the solution and then the remainder pour on to the oven base and wipe over the sides and door. Make sure you use rubber gloves and don't splash this on to you or clothing, or breath it in. But it makes light work of really dirty ovens, with minimal effort or scrubbing.

I hope you find some of these tips/recommendations helpful, particularly if you are moving in to your first home and need a bit of guidance (because your Mum isn't doing it any more!).

xx
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Friday, 27 October 2017

Brand in focus-Gazelli Triple Youth Skincare

Every now and then I am lucky enough to be sent products to try out and quite a few weeks ago, I received a big box filled with a complete range of skincare. Let me tell you that made my day and I've been using all of these items for over a month now, every day, so I can tell you about this interesting range.

A bit of background
Gazelli Skincare was set up 18 years ago by Dr Hamzayeva, a genetic scientist who wanted to develop a range with a groundbreaking regenerative ingredient at its core. That ingredient is White Oil. This oil, unique to Azerbaijan, and originally only used in specialist clinics, was found to have unparalleled effect on conditions such as psoriasis and arthritis and an ability to heal and repair the skin.

The Gazelli White Oil is an organic compound and is similar to naturally occurring hormones found in the human body. In lay mans terms, this means that the White Oil works in synergy with the skin and is able to help protect the skin from free radical damage, increase skin cell turnover and stimulate collagen and elastin. 

Gazelli don't just offer a full and complete skincare range either. They have Gazelli House in London, which offers some really unique skincare analysis and treatments to help you better understand your own skin, body and mind.

Triple Youth Range
All products in this range feature Gazelli's White Oil and use only the most effective organic ingredients to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and improve the texture and tone of skin.

Under each product I've put the product info taken from Gazelli.com, in italics. My own review then follows the product info.
Skin Balancing Cleanser
This nourishing Cleanser removes make-up, excess oil and impurities, while thoroughly hydrating with soothing Gazelli White Oil™ to provide immediate relief from tightness and sensitivity. This refreshing and uplifting formula soothes and calms the skin with natural anti-inflammatories and works to promote a brighter complexion and even skin tone.
Key benefits:
• Thoroughly removes makeup, excess oil and impurities
• Cleanses without disturbing skin’s natural pH
• Balances sebum production and prevents breakouts
• Soothes tightness and sensitivity

I've been using this creamy cleanser in the morning or as my second cleanse in the evening. You only need a few drops and I lather these up with water. It's a light consistency which doesn't sting or irritate my eyes and feels refreshing on the skin. There is a subtle fresh scent to the cleanser which I like and I really think this has helped to limit the oiliness I usually get, especially half way through the day.
Illuminating Perfecting Skin Polish
This gentle micro-granule Polish thoroughly clears pores and lifts dead cells to balance and refine the skin, while soothing with regenerative Gazelli White Oil™. For a thorough cleanse that leaves the complexion smooth and healthy with a brighter more even skin tone.
Key benefits:
• Cleanses and refines the pores
• Instantly brightens the complexion
• Evens the skin tone
• Stimulates cellular renewal

I really like this exfoliator and recently, it's drawn me away from my usual acid exfoliators. I love the scent of this and tiny rice powder grains gently but efficiently leave my skin positively beaming. My skin is left smooth and my foundation has gone on so much better.

Ultra Nourishing Saviour Mask
This luxurious Mask, formulated with the regenerative Gazelli White Oil™, is a powerful at-home treatment that instantly plumps and tones the skin. Deeply nourishing and brightening, this velvet-textured formulation promotes an even skin tone and leaves the complexion glowing with a youthful radiance.
Key benefits:
• Deeply nourishes and hydrates
• Plumps fine lines and wrinkles
• Evens and brightens skin tone
• Improves skin suppleness

Thanks to the drop in temperature and Storm Brian etc the dry sections of my combination skin (cheeks and forehead) have gone in to dryness overdrive. This luxurious moisturising mask is perfect for this time of the year or just when you need a hydrating boost. The cream, which has a gel type consistency has the same fresh subtle scent and feels like silk on my skin. I slather this on for 10-15 minutes, twice a week, watch a bit of TV, and then tissue off. You can also leave the mask on all night for an overnight treatment, which I will be trying very soon.
Intensive Age Repair Cream
This regenerative Face Cream, formulated with Gazelli White Oil™, has been clinically proven to diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and improve the skin’s texture. Powerfully hydrating and rich in protective anti-oxidants, this skin-brightening formulation leaves the skin glowing with optimal health, strength and improved elasticity.
Key benefits:
• Regenerates and smooths fine lines and wrinkles
• Stimulates the synthesis of collagen and elastin
• Improves skin elasticity
• Targets hyperpigmentation

If you have really dry or de-hydrated skin, this would suit you. For me, I use it as a night cream only as I find the texture too creamy and it takes a few minutes to really sink in, precious minutes which I don't have in the morning. But as a night cream this is just what I need and I have many minutes to let it properly sink in to my skin.

Reviving Eye Cream
This brightening Eye Cream is formulated with the regenerative Gazelli White Oil™ to accelerate cell renewal and revive the eye contour area, reducing dark circles and targeting puffiness. Fine lines are diminished with improved elasticity and skin is left looking firm, bright and youthful.
Key benefits:
• Increases elasticity
• Diminishes fine lines and wrinkles
• Improves the appearance of dark circles
• Reduces puffiness

This is the only product I haven't been consistently using and that's only because I don't use eye creams as a rule. For me they are another stage in my skin care routine which I can take or leave. I know I should be using an eye cream and when I start to panic soon that I've left it too late, I'll be reaching for this one. The light cream texture sinks in quickly and is easy to dot on without any dragging or too heavy a cream feeling left behind.
Ultimate Firming Serum
This award-winning Serum is formulated with the highest concentration of the breakthrough Gazelli White Oil™ to accelerate cell renewal and provide the ultimate everyday regenerative treatment. Addressing every sign of ageing the Ultimate Firming Serum supports the skin to recapture its youthful elasticity, health and radiance.
Key benefits:
• Lifts, tones and firms the skin
• Targets lines and wrinkles
• Triggers cell regeneration
• Protects skin from free radical damage 

This award winning serum has received many rave reviews and I'm sure for good reason. The application of this rich serum is via a dropper but the dropper didn't work on my first bottle. I was then kindly sent another bottle but it's the same problem. The dropper just doesn't pick up enough serum. I have been able to pour the serum out of the bottle though. The serum is a milky coloured light texture with quite a strong scent which does stay on the skin for a short while. What I like about this serum is it sinks in quickly and leaves my skin really soft.

My favourite products from the range are the Illuminating Perfecting Skin Polish and Ultra Nourishing Saviour Mask. Both of these are much more in terms of quality and results than any other similar masks I've used.
The range itself is high end and you are paying for the research and ingredients that have been used. But if you're looking at skincare that is aimed at mature skin and to target signs of ageing, Gazelli Triple Youth is well worth checking out.

All products and details about the treatments on offer at Gazelli House can be found here*.

xx

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