Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Here's a thought.

My blog was two recently, I didn't flag it up because that would be a bit like expecting to you congratulate me on two years of gratuitously massaging my own ego, which would just be odd. 

However in light of this auspicious event I had a bit of a wander back through old posts, spotted the bit where I stopped writing make up reviews and only having pics of the stuff swatched on my arm and actually got brave enough to show pictures of the things "in the context of my face" an expression I will love til my dying day!  And something struck me as I looked back through those pictures.

I haven't changed.

Now this may not be particularly earth-shattering news to you but it rather shocked me.  I spend my every waking minute either dieting, recording every morsel that passes my lips, stressing about when I slip up, threatening to go to the gym, meaning to go the gym and sometimes even actually going to the gym or stuffing every single thing I can find to eat into my face whilst sitting on the sofa in my Uggs.  What can I say, I don't do middle ground.  And still I haven't changed.  

It struck me as I looked back over the pictures that maybe the time had come to stop beating myself up about being a size 18 to 20 and just accept it.  Then I decided to give up carbs and make a really big push towards losing 2 stone in 8 weeks before I go on holiday.  I decided that whilst buttering a crumpet.  I think the reality is I wouldn't be me if I wasn't waging a permanent war against myself!  I am more self accepting now than I have ever been, its easier to be me at 46 than it was at 26, but if you are 26, or 36 or even 46 you owe it to yourself to find something about you you love and to try and pay scant attention to the things you don't.  Reality is the things you love will still be there in ten or twenty years time and so will the things you hate and they might even have got worse so they just aren't worth the head space!  So here's a thought - share with me something or even somethings, you love about yourself - looks, personality anything, or compliments you have been paid that you have been able to accept graciously, lets acknowledge the good for once!
Have a positively beautiful day folks!

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Mont Bleu Nail Files

When this blog started out it was mainly a nail blog. I am nail obsessed.  As a curvy girl, ahem,  I feel it is very important to take control of the things over which I can exert some control, namely hair and nails.  So yes, I am claiming that my fat ass is out of my control, what can I say?

So I was very pleased when I was offered the chance to review Mont Bleu crystal nail files.  I haven't used anything other than a glass file on my nails for years and wouldn't consider using an emery board - I am more likely to run my nails up and down a wall to be honest.  My nails flake badly and I find using a very smooth glass file really helps to seal the tips of the nail and helps to prevent flaking.

Ordinarily the glass files I have used have been very functional but perhaps just a bit, well, dull really.  Not these beauties:

 Aren't they lovely?  And what's more they aren't all style over substance they really work.  I have the smaller one in my bag for emergency nail work and keep the larger on my desk for days when work is a drag and I decide I need to do my nails! Each file comes in its own velvet pouch to keep it clean and safe and they are reasonably priced at 10 Euros each.  So if you want something a bit gorgeous for the ardous task of nail filing I can recommend these!

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Shock horror! Drugstore hair products!!

My name is Debbie and I'm a hair product snob.  There I said it!  Personally if I ever find myself with a lump of cash that I don't need I am going to buy myself Frederic Fekkai Overnight Hair Repair which is £138.  OK, I probably wouldn't, but if that £138 really really was spare I'd be sorely tempted!

I have wanted to use Kerastase shampoo and conditioner for ever but always baulked at the price.  Then last year I managed to justify it on the basis that I was getting my hair cut every 4-6 months and colouring it at home.  I love Kerastase products and would happily use nothing else.  But I have had a complete change of heart regarding salon visits and my hair.  On April 18th I spent £50 on highlights and glossing (thats the nice way of saying they cover up your grey roots that would show between the hightlights).  Then yesterday I just had the "glossing" bit done and a tiny trim, £62, and whilst I was there I booked T-section highlights and glossing for 7th July which is going to be another £60 I'm guessing so I really, really can't justify my Kerastase habit any longer.  

Fortunately Em had a sample of L'Oreal EverPure in a magazine which I pinched.  I have to say I have been sort of drawn to this range since I first saw it.  Just in case you don't know here's what they say:
 Non-sulphate cleansing system. Indulgent care to help protect over-processed, frizzy hair.

Specifically designed for fragile and brittle hair, EverStrong Reinforcing & Vitality is a Reinforcing System that combines non-sulphate cleansing and conditioning care. The formulae are enriched with botanical rosemary and juniper oils. Hair looks shinier, smoother and protected. For extra care use L'Oréal Paris Hair Expertise EverStrong Shampoo with EverStrong Reinforcing & Vitality Conditioner and EverStrong Nourishing Intense Mask

I decided to try EverStrong because it seemed closest to the Kerastase range that I was using.  I have used it for the last week and whilst I don't think it tames the frizz quite as well as the Kerastase did, I think that given I bought the shampoo and conditioner for £9 together in Boots compared to a joint price for the Kerastase of £34.80, the difference isn't worth the additonal £25.90 - gad that's a Dior Extreme Addict lipstick right there, in case further justification were needed!  Considering this is sulphate free it works up a nice lather, it smells lovely, sort of herbal which, considering it contains rosemary and juniper oils is hardly surprising - mmm hair that smells of gin, quick squirt of Juniper Sling and I'm good to go!!  The biggest downside I have found is that with the Kerastase and a good blow dry - this takes me 20 mins and I don't stint on the products;  a smoothing gel, an anti split ends serum (see below!) and a squirt of Kerastase to thicken, the next morning I can "refresh" my hair, using EverStrong I really could do with starting from scratch again the next day, it just doesn't stay as frizz free as it does with the Kerastase.

As if all that weren't bad enough there's this:

 I know!!! Shocking isn't it.  TRESemme stuff.  My god who'd ever have thought it.  Tell you what though, this bloody stuff works!  It smells lovely, like sherbert sweets - covers up the ominpresent whiff of gin! - and it works.  I rub a couple of pumps through my wet hair before styling and then rub a single pump onto my hands and then lightly froof the ends of my hair once its dried and it really tames the frizz.  This costs a budget busting £5.99 and given the amount you need this could last me well into my 80's.

Big thanks btw to Claire of Jolie Laide Beauty Blog, whose review of EverStrong I read and who then answered my questions on twitter, she helped me to decide it was definitely worth trying, thanks Claire; my hair loves you, my wallet loves you, but more importantly my husband worships you and your frugal good sense!!

Thursday, 7 June 2012

My blog pics will never look the same again!




Have wanted a macro lens for the longest time, not primarily for my blog photos you understand but for some of my paid photography.  Buuuuut it does take stunning blog pics!! 

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Recent life savers

Nothing glam happening here folks but a little shout out to some products that have made the last 3 weeks bearable for me.

You probably know that I have rheumatoid arthritis, I am fairly lucky in that its pretty well controlled most of the time and I tend just to ignore it.  I have been taking Sulfasalazine for the last ten years which is supposed to help prevent things from escalating and to help with the pain, basically wherever I have a joint I have pain and some places where I don't most notably my sternum, every morning I wake up and feel like my ribs are going to crack so it takes me a while to creak myself out of bed!!  

Anyhoo, when I was down in Cornwall I developed a rash on my wrist and arms, that spread to my neck and then developed red splotches on my hands and feet that itched like buggery.  When my lips became red, blotchy and itchy I took myself off to the Dr's only to find that I was having a reaction to the sulfasalzine and it had affected my blood. Couple of calls from Dr to hospital confirmed that I needed to stop taking them right away.  So I came home and endured a very unpleasant week of incredibly itchy hands and feet.  I had thought that once the itching stopped my problems were over.  I was so wrong.  The skin began to peel off of my hands in sheets, literally all of the skin came off my thumbs and index fingers and all over the palms of my hands leaving red, raw, painful skin underneath that was incredibly dry, sensitive to heat and that cracked.  My poor hands looked ghastly and hurt so much and the only thing that gave me any relief was this:
At the same time my lips did pretty much the same thing, they were so dry that a couple of times when I smiled they cracked.  I have any number of lip balms and the one I use least is Carmex, I am not a fan of menthol smell and taste but of all of the ones I have the only one to give me any relief was my little pot of Carmex, which has been in my pocket and by my bed continually for the last 3 weeks.
 It was fairly inevitable really but I had hoped it wouldn't be the case but the next thing that happened was that the skin on my feet thickened, became incredibly dry and then split and peeled off quite literally in sheets.   I have taken photos to show to the consultant when I go to hospital later in the month, but they are too grim to share on here.  E45 was once again a life saver.  As Em has pointed out I should really be grateful - the new skin that is being left behind by the extreme foot peeling is baby soft and pink, just in time for sandal wearing!  She is such a half full sort of girl!  

As if all this wasn't enough to be going on with I am also going through another phase of hot flushes!  Seriously I am gorgeous; skin hanging off, sweat running down my face, damp, frizzy hair, if I was a horse they'd shoot me - as my husband likes to say.  Bastard.  I did laugh the other night though, woke up mid night sweat and put on my glasses and they steamed up!!  Who says I'm not hot stuff?!  So, on the advice of a friend these are my next non-glam little life saver:
There would have been a photo of a bottle of Bombay Sapphire here at this point but for the fact when I am going through a menopausal phase I can not drink any more than a couple of glasses of wine, any more than this and I feel beyond ghastly and of course the dehydration flares up my recurrent corneal erosion.  Oh, had I not mentioned that?  Its where my cornea doesn't attach properly so my eyes dry out whilst I sleep, my cornea sticks to my eye lid and when I move my eye in my sleep it rips off part of the cornea leaving the nerves beneath exposed.  Its a little how I imagine it would feel if someone took some crushed glass and rubbed it into your eyeball.  Hmmm, my husband might just have a point you know!

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Splurge! Dior Addict Extreme Paparazzi & Laura Mercier Second Skin Cheek Colour Rose Petal

Not a very recent splurge but one that took place before my recent blogging hiatus, I fell in love with the idea of the Dior Addict Extreme lipstick in Lucky when I saw it on a number of blogs and was determined to buy it as soon as I could.  In the meantime I dealt with my immediate need for a sheer, glossy, balm like lipstick by buying Revlon Lip Butter in Raspberry Pie.  As you know I do try to not splurge too often, my budget isn't limitless and I like to get a lot of bang for my buck.  So when I did finally check out the Dior Addict Extreme lipsticks I just couldn't justify buying Lucky, the colour was just too similar, or if not similar, not different ENOUGH to warrant spending £24 on.  But I wanted one!  (horribly in touch with my inner two year old, I know)  After swatching all of them on the back of my hand the one I kept coming back to was Paparazzi and even whilst I knew that such an expensive lipstick should be purchased in a very wearable, every day shade Paparazzi's juicy berry'ness was really calling my name!

In shade

In direct light - more colour accurate

It does feel lovely to wear, the usual balm like texture all of this sort of lipstick share and no discernible taste or smell.  I did also buy a Bobbi Brown lip pencil to wear with this as my lips do really need some defining although I still cant decide whether a defined edge, even blended out, really works with a sheerer lipstick and I think it affects the colour even if it is only slightly.  All in all £24 well spent, I am crazy about the packaging and I completely love my splurge lippy!

Blusher has long been an absolute minefield for me.  Even when I seem to think I have found my hg I catch sight of my reflection in the wrong light and it looks shocking.  Now that my beloved Estee Lauder Double Wear light has dealt with my foundation issues I feel much better able to deal with the blusher situation and on my birthday shopping spree in Leeds I decided that a really good blusher was top of my list.  

I had Nars in mind when I set out but couldn't find one that really worked on me, they were too opaque and just too "blusher" rather than "natural ethereal glow only gained from brisk exercise, a healthy diet and a love of quiet living" (oh yes I demand a lot from my make up!) This wasn't helped by the fact that the lovely girl on the Nars counter grabbed a big, huge, massive brush, swirled it generously in a bright, candy pink blush and then, kill me please, splodged it right on to the fattest bit of my cheek and made roundy swoshing motions.  It was all I could not to slap her hand away!  It was only then I took a look at her blusher.  Should have done that first as this was clearly her "technique".  

I blended it in as much as I could and beat a hasty path to the Laura Mercier counter.  This was staffed by a porcelain skinned beauty wearing the most flattering and subtle make up I have ever seen on a Sales Assistant, made the ladies on the MAC counter look like jaded harlots.  She spent a couple of minutes looking at my colouring and skin tone, insisted that pink not peach was the way to go - which was what I was wanting to hear - and put a delicate hint of Rose Petal right where I wear my blusher - more of a contour than on the apple of my cheeks.  I was instantly smitten and couldn't get my purse open fast enough.

I know it looks really quite peachy here but its pink, I promise!
Rose Petal is beautiful it gives an incredibly sheer wash of colour like no other blusher I have ever worn and which is exactly what I want in a blusher.  I am too prone to pinkness and colouring up to want to add too much in the way of colour, the hint of a flush Rose Petal gives is perfect and I would strongly recommend Laura Mercier blusher to any pale skinned readers looking for that effect.  It wasn't until I got home that I remembered that Strawberry Blond had once said that the Laura Mercier Second Skin Cheek Colours would be exactly what I was looking for in the way of blush - not only is she gorgeous, she knows her stuff!

So here they are then, the two of them in action!
Bloody glasses really mark my face - should NOT have gone to Specsavers.

This one probably shows the blusher off best

And this one the lipstick, and my rather sleepy looking left eye. God I am weird looking!
 The blusher is £20.50 and for me worth every penny!


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