In 2012 I had a spending ban on all beauty products and to instead use up my huge stash of make-up and skincare items and I did really well – I only bought things like deodorant and cotton buds etc that I needed but no new products (apart from 3 items from Rodial back in the sales – it had to be done) were bought! This year is a little different and I am buying a few new products each season but I’m not going overboard on new purchases like I used to. Progress has been made!
Obviously I am still using up my beauty products and now I have a few new items that I love too so here are a few beauty products that I am currently loving.
If you don’t know what a BB Cream is – it’s an all in one moisturiser with added vitamins and minerals, an spf, a hint of colour (somewhere between a tinted moisturiser and a foundation) and generally they smooth out and ‘blur’ skin imperfections. Garnier BB Cream is my life saver! I had tried a few BB cream samples and wasn’t too impressed – they made my skin patchy and really shiny but I went online and ordered the free samples from the garnier website and the first time I used it I was gutted I hadn’t found this product before! It is the perfect colour for me and smooths into my skin nicely, giving a light coverage. It gives a sheer and subtly glowing effect (not hideously sweaty looking!) and I love it for days when I want lighter coverage and weekends. I have had compliments on my skin EVERY time I’ve worn this so far and it smells really nice to boot. Needless to say when the sample ran out I bought the full size version. I have a guilty feeling for not using more Garnier products as a result.
This sugar scrub was part of a Christmas present and when I saw it was a set of mango products I was apprehensive of using them as I don’t like fake fruit smells in bath and body products but I was so surprised when I used this scrub – it smells sweet and sugary and naturally fruity plus it leaves my skin feeling very soft and moisturised from the ingredients of shea butter and mango. As it’s a sugar scrub the grains are fine and it really feels like my skins being scrubbed clean without any harsh abrasiveness. Big thumbs up for this scrub. I want to eat it. But I won’t.
This little beauty is Alpha-H Liquid Gold with Glycolic Acid and is for ageing or older skins but there is a huge group of younger women using this after discovering the wonderful effects it has on brightening dull or tired looking skin (which can happen to all skin types at any time of life) and reducing scarring – which was my predominant use for it to begin. My skin isn’t too bad but we all have problem areas and I wanted a product containing glycolic acid as I knew this was the best way to refresh and renew skin cells and reduce scarring and blemishes. But using this has done more than that for me – each time I use this on a night time, I wake up the next morning with glowing skin and I really notice the difference on days when I use this.
Super amazing things happen when I use this Organix renewing moroccan argan oil intense moisturizing treatment hair mask. My hair gets all soft, sleek and shiny, it looks healthy and it smells incredible. I have been using this Organix product around twice a week and I see a huge difference in the condition of my hair every time I use it and it makes it much easier to style and manage. Everyone raves about argan oil as it has nourishing properties to restore and moisturise your hair so I think this is a pretty good inexpensive way to treat your hair on a budget.
Another product which makes my beauty regime a little bit easier are these Neutrogena makeup remover cleansing towelettes in night calming. They are super quick and easy to use after a long day if I don’t have the energy to do a full cleanse and polish I tend to use two wipes which sufficiently cleans my skin of all make-up and they have a lovely relaxing scent which is nice before bedtime.
Another little favourite of mine is the 50ml version of Soap & Glory’s Hand Food which is perfect for chucking in your handbag and I use mine when out and about and then last thing at night. I love the fragrance and as with most soap and glory products it smells amazing, somewhere between floral and fruity, plus it’s thoroughly moisturising without being greasy.
I’ve been using this Samy Fat Hair 0 Calories Thickening Spray for some time on damp hair before blow drying to give some lift at the roots. But I hadn’t used it on dry hair until a couple of weeks ago when I discovered just how volumising it can be. (It does state on the bottle you can use it on dry hair – I was just in a routine of using it only on damp hair). Spraying it into the hair before and after drying is fantastic and I found using it even on dry hair alone was much more effective than just on damp hair. This has a yummy apple scent and is easy to apply in a spritz bottle.
So that’s the run-down on my most recent beauty product favourites – have you tried any of them and what are your thoughts? Share your current beauty favourites in the comments below – I’d love to see your recommendations!
*All products featured were bought by me or were received as gifts from friends and family members.
March is finally upon us and it’s this time of year (both Mother’s Day and Easter coming up – Easter mostly) that gets me thinking about CHOCOLATE! As regular readers may know I am an avid baker and have cake on the brain 24/7 and I’m always looking for new ingredients, flavours and recipes to try out and although I love chocolate work e.g. making chocolate truffles, ganache and decorations, I rarely use it in baking.
So when I was asked to try out Green & Black’s new cooking chocolate range I was Delighted to say the least. What happened next was a total overdose on chocolate as I found myself not baking with the bars I’d been sent, but just scoffing an entire bar of white vanilla pod chocolate on it’s own (well washed down with a caramel latte), which in theory is the ultimate delicious indulgence but resulted in me clutching my belly and vowing never to eat chocolate again. Which lasted until the very next day. Sigh.
The day after the chocolate overdose (it was sooo good I couldn’t stop eating it – it’s not like regular cooking chocolate which is typically packed full of sugars and low in cocoa content), I actually got around to using it to cook with I made chewy chocolate cookies (using milk chocolate) and peanut butter and chocolate blondies (using both white and milk chocolate).
I can’t get over how good it was to cook with. First off it’s organic and you can’t get any better than that for ingredients, then I found out each square weighs 5g so you don’t have to weigh it out, plus it tastes and has the texture of regular Green and Black’s chocolate – it’s not inferior like some other brands who change up all the ingredients because it’s to be used in ‘cooking’ – no fair! And inside the bar, printed on the inside of the wrapper is a recipe that you can use the chocolate in and they all look delicious!
I’m debating whether to bake up a big batch of cakes, cookies and brownies for Easter and send everyone a Green & Black’s treat box via Parcelforce instead of chocolate eggs this year! I’m sure all the friends and family would appreciate some chocolate brazil soft-baked biscuits or perhaps some chocolate & raspberry cheesecake brownies.
The Cake Awards have been established to find and celebrate the very best British cakes. From the finest tea room slice and grandest hotel fancies to the myriad varieties on the shelves of supermarkets, bakery shops and retail food chains across the country, The Cake Awards are the only awards dedicated to recognising excellence in cake.
They are a a joint venture between food industry expert Jane Milton and event organisers UBM Awards & Partnerships. Jane Milton said: “Cakes are my passion and I have wanted to do something for a long time that would single out the best cakes across all areas of the UK food and hospitality industries and encourage others to raise their game.”
If you’re a cake maker and decorator, The Cake Awards are a unique opportunity for organisations and individuals to showcase their best products to the most respected figures in the industry, and to be judged by a panel of elite experts on the 9th and 10th April. Judges include Bruce Langlands, Director of Food at Harrods, Will Torrent award winning pâtissier and chocolatier (pictured), and Allan Jenkins, Editor of Observer Food Monthly. Only those cakes that have it all – excellent presentation, quality ingredients, recipe innovation, texture, taste and value will triumph.
Will Torrent, judge for The Cake Awards said: “I can’t wait to help fantastic producers celebrate their excellence in all things cake. This is a chance for cake makers, pâtissiers, supermarkets, bakers and more to be recognised for their skills and expertise, showing the rest of the country that they produce some of the best cakes in the UK and shout to the rest of the world that we really are the Kings and Queens of Cake.”
The awards are now open to enter and categories include –
Tea Room Cake
Bakery Shop Cake
Wholesale Bakery Cake
Retail Christmas Cake
Celebration / Novelty Cake
‘Free From’ Cake
Bake at Home Cake
Cake of the Year (nomination only)
Winners will be announced at the award ceremony on the 19th June at the Park Lane Hotel in Mayfair, London.
Mother’s Day is just around the corner on Sunday 10th March and each year I like to get my mum something a little out of the ordinary to the usual flowers and pot plants. Here is my alternative Mother’s Day gift guide full of fun and lovely gifts to show her how much she means to you.
Cath Kidston is usually my first port of call. How about one of these pretty bags – you could fill it with some of her favourite chocolates, books by her favourite author or some beauty products.
T-reat a tea loving mum to a monthly tea club subscription from Notonthehighstreet.com. Beautifully packaged monthly boxes of four different, delicious and high quality loose teas – delivered straight to her door every month! Now there’s no excuse not to have that cuppa and a catch up.
I love this sign (also from Notonthehighstreet) – buy it as a promise to spend more time with your mum. Or better yet, Mum’s buy it for yourself and use it to give your kids a daily reminder!
If you like the handmade touch why not bake some yummy cupcakes and present them in a special personalised cake tin or book a Baroque Cupcake Baking And Decorating Class you can enjoy together or with the rest of the family.
Lastly, to really spoil your mum how about some beauty gifts from premium brand L’Occitane.
To Mother’s everywhere, including my own, I hope you all have a wonderful Mother’s Day. And I hope this guide has helped with ideas for gifts and ways to spoil your mum
What is your favourite thing about Mother’s Day?
Last week I was asked if I’d like to review the new Nivea Stress Protect Deodorant. Easy peasy I thought and happily skipped off to reply saying yes please, why not, thankyou very much. However something I failed to notice at the time were the operative words ‘stress protect’ until I received a reply giving me directions of a stress test to see how the deodorant fared!
My Stress Test
The best thing about the test was that it was to wear the deodorant whilst baking a cake – awesome! I get to eat a cake at the end of the test The bad news though, was that it was a pretty challenging recipe and I could tell just from reading it through I would be spending a good few hours in a hot kitchen.
The recipe was for a White Chocolate, Lemon and Macadamia Nut Genoise layer cake by the lovely Holly Bell, finalist from the 2011 season of The Great British Bake Off. (I have very nearly applied for it for two years in a row but so glad I didn’t after seeing the amazing creations they bake!)
Now I’m no stranger to baking but I had never made a genoise before (and had never made a praline either – how did that happen?!) but as I stood with two pans on the go and watched my cake slowly rise in the oven I did a little happy dance as things started to come together.
I made a few adjustments to the recipe, which called for a lemon syrup, and replaced it with home made limoncello which is essentially a lemon syrup plus vodka for a little kick :). Plus I had some praline left over which I’m going to sprinkle over ice-cream because it is truly delish!
So I applied the Stress Protect deodorant stick, got baking and three hours later (I kid you not, I would be a terrible contestant on any cooking show because I’d only ever have cake batter at the end of the time. Imagine the look on Mary Berry’s face as she declared I have a very soggy bottom- fail!) I had a finished cake which looked like this:
And my underarms were completely dry! It felt as though the stick had created a barrier which stopped me from sweating and it felt moisturising and had a nice clean but subtle scent to boot. Would definitely use again. Then I sat down with a nice cup of tea and a slice of cake – the best results I could expect all round!
Effects of Stress
After heat, stress is the 2nd most common trigger for sweating* and is very different to the sweat produced from heat or physical exercise. It has a more rapid onset and smells much worse, making it harder to control. NIVEA Stress Protect is proven to minimise this stress sweat by up to 85%** and helps reduce the formation of body odour.
The deodorant contains a unique formula which combines two ingredients – Stress Protect Actives and a Zinc Complex – which work together to help provide protection in stressful situations. Added Avocado Oil also helps to care for and moisturise underarm skin.
Global Stress Study
NIVEA conducted a Global Stress Study to find out what most women get stressed about, although psychologist Dr Aric Sigman says stress is not all bad: “Stress is a much maligned and misunderstood aspect of our lives, and in itself is neither good nor bad. Most people think of stress as necessarily negative while in fact this is actually distress. Yet there is positive stress, created by the challenges that inspire and motivate us, which is ‘eustress’.
In these challenging times, it’s not surprising that 44% of women around the globe believe their stress levels have increased in comparison to just 6 months ago***.
Luckily unemployment figures are falling**** as the most stressful life moment for women is either not having a job or losing their job ***.
Over half (61%) of women who feel stress can be a good thing believe it motivates them and makes them more productive***. Dr Aric Sigman goes on to say, “The cliché that women are better at multitasking is certainly not without foundation. Scientists have identified a pronounced female response to stress, which is to ‘tend and befriend’ – they are more likely to comfort and bond – while their male counterparts reach for their clubs as their blood pressure rises.”
Women are far more likely to deal with stress through support from their friends and family in comparison to their male counterparts***. Dr Sigman says, “In a stressful situation, women can produce the hormone oxytocin promoting nurturing and relaxing emotions, which counter the effects of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline.”
Over half of women (51%) confront stressful situations up front more so than men***.
When asked who causes the most stress in their lives, the majority of women nominated their partner***. This conflicts with men who said their managers were the no.1 cause of stress***.
NEW NIVEA STRESS PROTECT IS IN STORE NOW AT TESCO, BOOTS AND SUPERDRUG
Beiersdorf RRP: 250ml spray £3.29, 150ml spray £2.29, Sticks £2.49, Roll On £2.03
*NIVEA Deo U&A 2011
** daacro institute, TSST Test, Germany
***Positive Stress Index Survey Nov 2012 ICM Research
What’s the most stressful thing you’ve ever had to cook or bake? Does your deodorant stand up to the job?
Christmas 2012 I decided to do gifts on a budget and turned my hand to making a few presents, mostly for the younger children (toys) and the adults (liquor!) and missed out the teenagers as it was a pretty hard task knitting x-box games o_O
Instead of foodie gifts (which I made the year before) I wanted to make some craft and home items so wanted to share them with you and hope they serve as a little inspiration (Sorry for the rubbish photos, they were taken in a rush!)
Collage of our little Pippin & Sleepy cow sock toy
Brush roll, Glasses Case & Business Card Holder
Cheeky Sock Monkey
Christmas Chick Cross stitch
I also made some limoncello, blackberry and raspberry liquor and hot chocolate jars for the adults which consisted of a decorated glass jar filled with a hot chocolate recipe mix and lots of scrummy marshmallows to melt into it
Do you make any special gifts for your friends and family? What handmade gift would you like someone to make you?
I wonder if anyone feels the same – that this year has been off to a slow start and that it feels like it’s just starting to pick up momentum? Before I go any further, let me wish you a Happy New Year! Because, yes, it seems we all survived the non-existent ‘apocalypse’ which I personally followed up by having a jolly good Christmas, celebrated the new year with an abundance of fireworks set off in time to ‘Gangnam Style’, made resolutions (and broke them) and then most recently have found myself knee (ok, ankle if I’m being honest) deep in snow. Is that just me?
Much has happened this year already but not much has been accomplished. But…it feels as if 2013 will be a big year, that things will get done, that changes will be made and that life is moving forward. I wonder if I felt the same this time last January and that my new found optimism just happens to coincide with new beginnings. Hmm.
But I digress. So the new year is upon us. And 2013 brings some definite changes whether I want them to happen or not. Namely my 30th (29 againth) Birthday slap bang in the middle of the year. Time to be a grown up. A proper bonafide grown up adult person. With a mortgage or somesuch. Erm, not likely.
Stuff like this just makes me want to run and hide. And I know I’m not the only one. Milestones bring responsibilities of different kinds and 30 brings proper grown up adultness, so be boring, quick settle down, get married, have babies, get a mortgage and while you’re at it retire from everyday society because you’re no longer classified as ‘young’. God help us when we reach, dare I say it, 40 and be completely over the hill. There’s so much pressure (which I hate) that comes with aging, especially if you’re a woman and I’m currently feeling it more than ever. But I’ve never been one to do things by the book so I’m planning on staying 29 and not giving into stereotyping myself for a long time to come.
So I mentioned before about changes happening this year. One thing I’d like to do is give the blog a bit of a make-over and spend more time blogging as it has been put on the backburner for a while. So any suggestions for themes and styles would be really good to hear
Other things I’m looking forward to this year:
Taking many photos
Rejoining my textiles degree
Drawing and designing
Baking yummy cakes
Trying lots of lovely new beauty products!
What are you looking forward to in 2013? What changes are you hoping to see?