Monday, 30 March 2015

Beauty - March Favourites

Here are my March favourites, with a wee vlog at the bottom too :-)

Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask

After my success with the Origins Super Spot Remover, I went on to purchase the active charcoal face mask. This mask acts like a magnet to draw out impurities from the skin. I've been using it weekly, and I've gotten into the habit of applying it whilst the kids are in the bath of an evening. Multi-tasking at it's finest! It does feel rather strange on the skin as it dries, but it really does seem to do the trick. I've been using the Super Spot Remover less and less now and I'm rarely applying concealer.

Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Face Mask

I bought this overnight face mask recently as part of a limited edition gift box from the Origins counter at Debenhams. I had wanted to try the charcoal face mask (above) and it made sense to buy the gift box as I got a few products for just £30 - the charcoal mask, this overnight face mask, a modern friction exfoliator and a facial brush. Anyway, this overnight mask has such a lovely thick consistency and it really is fantastic at injecting some moisture back into my dry skin. I've not been using Origins products for very long, but I really am enjoying this brand.

Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant

I got a small tube of this from Asda in their sale to replace a tube that I have finished. It really is the best product for chapped skin and I love putting this onto my lips before bed. It's a skincare classic, and probably something that I'll always have kicking about.

bareMinerals Complexion Rescue

Complexion Rescue launches in April but I was sent a tube of the Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream to try and I am super impressed. It ticks all the boxes for me and I think this is going to become a permanent feature in my make-up bag. It's so easy to apply, feels lovely on my skin and gives just enough coverage. You'll find my full review here.

Batiste Dry Shampoo

I wash my hair maybe twice a week after working out. In between washes, a few sprays of this dry shampoo can work wonders. It's great for making my hair feel a bit cleaner, improves oily roots and gives it a bit of oomph. Again, another staple item for my beauty shelf.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

#LittleLoves 12

I'm back with my weekly #LittleLoves post.

I seem to have missed a week - oops, and I'm also late - sorry!!


// Watched

Disney on Ice with the kids!!! We had a fantastic time...

// Wore

The kids have been wearing their new shoes from Brantano.

And the littlest chose to go out wearing two different shoes!!

// Read

Lots of is hectic (but I love it!).

I read a lovely post by Charlotte from Write Like No One's Watching entitled 'Castle'. Sticking with our Disney experience, this post has a fairy tale theme.

// Made

Nothing much at all... I've had a super busy week! No baking at all, my work colleagues will be disappointed!

My dad & his wife Jo came to visit last weekend and they kindly gave up their weekend to help me with some DIY jobs around the house... rim lock door handles, a new number sign at my front door and a faulty light was also replaced. I'm thankful that I have family that are willing and able to help out. It was my intention to then paint my front door this weekend as I'm kiddie-free, but the weather is not good at all and so I'll have to re-think my plans.

// Heard

My daughter and her very cute chat. She really is such a lovely little girl (most of the time!). We were at House of Fraser to meet their PR rep, Kimberly, this week for a cuppa (& cake!)... hopefully some exciting news coming soon. Anyway, the littlest was given three perfume samples as we passed by one of the stands in the department store. She chose to keep one for herself, and she wrapped up the other two (with my help) to give them to her nursery teachers. Isn't that just so adorable!

// And Lastly...

A little weight loss update for you... I'm now down at 11 stone 9lbs. Progress is slow, but I'm going in the right direction. That said I'm starting to notice big differences in my shape. So the scales may say that I'm making little progress (I've dropped only 1 lb in three weeks!) but my body is saying different. I feel trimmer around my middle that's for sure... to the point where I think I either need to invest in a new, smaller, belt or get some new jeans that are smaller!! I don't want to loose too much more weight, maybe 4 or 5 lbs, but instead I want to get toned up. I've really been enjoying my zumba classes and PT sessions and now the weather is starting to improve I'll hopefully go out running again.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Review - Disney on Ice, Magical Ice Festival

On Thursday night this week the kids and I headed to the Hydro, Glasgow to see Disney on Ice, Magical Ice Festival. We took with us our lovely neighbour Sandra who had kindly agreed last minute to accompany us to the event. I doubt I'd have managed on my own and Rick was feeling poorly (man-flu!).

We were very lucky to be invited to a special VIP Meet & Greet ahead of the show which was super exciting. 

The littlest of course wanted to dress up in her Elsa outfit as we knew that the sisters from Frozen would be making an appearance at the show.

Here we are with Mickey... my son didn't want to miss out on the dressing up so he put on his soldier costume. I think the littlest was disappointed that we weren't meeting Elsa! They were also given a Rapunzel doll each to keep which was unexpected and they're delighted with their toys. 
We felt very special.

We had amazing seats in the front row of the first level.

Sandra very kindly bought the kids a light up toy... these were super expensive in my opinion at around £19 each! But I guess that's what expected at a show like this.

The obligatory selfie once we found our seats... including Rapunzel!

Then the lights dimmed, and the show began.

It was about this time last year we went to Disney on Ice, and at the time both kids were engrossed by the performers. This time round my son at age 5.5 years didn't seem to be as bothered which disappointed me - he's obviously growing up! He felt that this show was too girly because each of the movies selected had a princess (The Little Mermaid, Tangled, Beauty & the Beast and Frozen), whereas last year Cars and Toy Story 3 featured.

It was the littlest that clearly enjoyed the show the most...

She was just couldn't contain her excitement. She was jumping around in her seat, and the family behind us thought she was super cute, as did I of course!

For me, my favourite songs were 'Under The Sea', 'Be Our Guest' and of course 'Let It Go'. The whole arena was singing along to Frozen! It truly was a magical experience - for the grown-ups as well as the children. 

The show was captivating... pyrotechnic explosions, floating lanterns, fire... One of the princesses put on an ariel show (which didn't look very safe in my opinion!) but it was very impressive as she twirled around suspended in mid-air. The performers were amazing... not a single fall this time which surprises me given some of the huge outfits they were wearing... teapots, fish, candlesticks!!

I was however pretty conscious of the time, as the show didn't start until 7pm. We ended up leaving just before the end to avoid the crowds and hopped in a taxi home (my son fell outside the Hydro on the way to the taxi and scraped his knee pretty badly... wasn't a good end to the night).

I loved all the lanterns in the sky for Tangled

Review - Chiquitos at Glasgow Fort

A while back, Rick & I reviewed Chiquitos at Glasgow Fort and we had a fantastic dinner washed down with a delightful cocktail before heading to the cinema. Very civilised and we thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

I was invited back to dine at the restaurant, this time with the kids to see what the experience was like as a family. Of all the chain restaurants, Chiquitos to me is more for the 'grown-ups' - not a balloon in sight! 

Anyway, we took along my friend Lauren (Living in a Boxx) with us as I wasn't sure I'd manage to deal with my two cheeky rascals at the same time and I'm very glad Lauren was there to assist!

As with our previous experience, the food was really good. The kids wolfed their chicken nuggets and chips. I had two starters instead of a main -  pulled pork tacos and Mexican fritatta - both of which were beautiful; and Lauren really enjoyed her steak wrap. There was so much choice on the menu that we really did struggle to make our minds up! My son then had churros for dessert whilst I demolished his kids ice cream. Lauren had a chocolate brownie that looked divine. The food was really good quality, the portion sizes were good and in my opinion it was great value for money. The four of us ate two courses plus drinks for £50*.

What was disappointing was that there wasn't really any Mexican food on the kids menu. My two really enjoy a mild chilli with rice and wraps but this wasn't an option. It was chicken nuggets, sausages and mash and pizza that were available. The kids activity packs that we were given were also aimed at slightly older children and they could have benefited from a simple colouring in sheet rather than the complicated game. The kids were given tall glasses for their juice, but were unable to get to the straw because the tumblers were so high. This then proved stressful for me as I had to keep a watchful eye the whole time in case they toppled over. Similarly the ice cream was served in a tall sundae glass which the littlest struggled to reach... she ended up kneeling on the seat for most of the meal. Smaller glasses and a lower dish for the kids desserts would have been better in my opinion; just a few little things that would have made my experience a bit more enjoyable.

I'm not sure I'd go back to Chiquitos with the kids at the ages they are just now, but I'll certainly go back on my own with friends or with the kids once they're older.

We did a bit of vlogging whilst we were there and you can see some footage of our food and our chat in the clip below!!

* I received a £20 voucher in exchange for an honest review. As always opinions are my own.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Beauty - New Complexion Rescue from bareMinerals

I was invited along to bareMinerals boutique at Buchanan Galleries today to try the new Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream ahead of its nationwide launch next month.

Prior to trying the product, I had spotted it was listed in Marie Claire's '2015's Beauty Game-Changers' (April edition). I was even more excited to try after this accolade! According to Anna & Ally, the tinted moisturiser has been very well received by the press. And now I understand why.

For me, the bareSkin serum foundation which I previously reviewed is just too difficult to get right in the 2 minutes I have to put my make-up on in - it takes time to blend in using the special brush. It's a great product and is a fantastic colour match but for a busy working mum, it's not for everyday use. Definitely more for when I'm going on a (rare) night out and can spend time getting my make-up just right.

However, the Complexion Rescue ticks all the boxes. Great colour match, quick to go on (you can even use your fingers with this one), a natural finish that doesn't leave your skin feeling caked, and despite it being a tinted moisturiser, it does provide a little coverage. I didn't even need any concealer on my problem chin! I was suitably impressed, as was the littlest who came along with me!!

Now for the science! 

Regular readers will know that I have a PhD, but you may not know that the topic of my PhD was emulsions!

A traditional emulsion has water on the inside and oil on the outside. Whereas Complexion Rescue is the opposite. It has mineral-infused water on the outside encapsulating hydrating humectants and pigment which helps lock in moisture when it contacts the skin giving instant hydration and quick absorption. (Hopefully that makes sense to you!)

The product is cooling on the skin when you apply it and it blends really easily, absorbing quickly to give an even skin-tone. So much easier than the bareSkin and ideal for those busy mornings when I've got the kids, or when I'd just rather have an extra 5 minutes under the duvet!! Complexion Rescue also has an SPF 30 so it will save you having to apply a separate sunscreen. 

This is me after my mini makeover. I'm wearing the Complexion Rescue, but no primer, concealer etc was used.

The girls sent me a colour-matched Complexion Rescue to try at home (I'm shade vanilla) as well as a few other products. Watch this space for a post on products for dark undereye circles...this is a big problem of mine and I'm always on the lookout for make-up that will help minimise their appearance.

Complexion Rescue will retail at £26 for a 35 mL tube and will be available from April 2015. You can sign up on the bareMinerals website to be notified when it is available to purchase.

I received a tube of Complexion Rescue and a few other products from bareMinerals to try. As always, opinions are my own and are honest.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Review - Brantano Shoes

This was the first time that I have been into a Brantano store and I was suitable impressed. The branch we visited had a wide range of brands from Adidas to Hush Puppies, Skechers to Nike. There was also an impressive range of character shoes; my little girl was particularly drawn to the Frozen trainers!

Our fitter Samantha was absolutely fantastic with the children. The process was considerably longer given that my son really wasn’t keen on getting new school shoes – he had his heart set on a pair of bright coloured trainers instead. However Samantha managed to encourage him to try on the Hush Puppies school shoes. The first pair were too tight, and we eventually found a pair that were perfect.

The littlest was super keen on the pair of Frozen trainers (she's literally obsessed with all things Frozen!?) and she also had her eye on some high heels (!!), but again Samantha managed to help her chose a more practical pair of shoes that mummy was happy with. The children were entertained throughout the whole fitting and we left the store very happy customers. We will most certainly be back.

There were a wide range of prices available in the store; my son chose a pair of more expensive school shoes but the leather Hush Puppies should last him a whole school year. My daughter chose a pair of Brantano own brand shoes, Feet Street Petunium which have a hard wearing sole with a rubber toe that 
 will protect the shoe from scuffs. I think at £16 they are excellent value for money. Both shoes have velcro closures, so the kids can get them on and off themselves.

Our shoe selection

The overall experience at Brantano was amazing. Sometimes shoe shopping can be stressful, but the experienced staff genuinely made the process straightforward. Samantha, who is a parent herself, was fantastic with the children.

Unlike other stores where there can be a long wait, the layout at Brantano is ideal. All the shoes of the children’s size are laid out on the shelves; from the outset you can easily see what’s available. It means 

that the little ones don’t get their heart set on a pair of shoes that aren’t in stock.

We're planning on returning to the store at the end of the month to get some crocs for our Easter holiday - there is already a huge range available and I'm told that more stock is arriving soon.

The following week my son arrived at school on Monday morning showing off his new shoes to all his friends (& the parents too... basically anyone that would listen!)... he was delighted with them. Thank you Brantano :-)

I've got happy feet!!

We received two complimentary pairs of children's shoes in exchange for this review. As always, opinions are my own and are honest.  


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