Lush Mint Julips Lip Scrub

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

With a chill settling in the air I've decided to try and get a head start on warding off winter-sore, chapped lips. Prevention being better than cure and all that.

It's been a long time since I set foot in a LUSH store, largely because I find the polarising aromas of soaps and bathbombs hanging heavily in the air fairly overwhelming. Still, as I'd read about LUSH's new colour make-up line and have, in the past, been seriously impressed with some of their perfumes I left  my son and husband gagging and complaining outside my local branch whilst I browsed.

In the event, the vanilla extract, peppermint oil and tagetes oil (an anti-inflammatory addition) combine to produce a sweet mint-choc flavour just shy of sickly. Although the texture of the scrub is less sticky and more crumbly than I expected - do use over a sink as it tends to drop a little - when applied to and worked over the lips you can really feel the conditioning joboba oil providing slip. LUSH suggest that the product can be licked off (and I can see why as it tastes delicious) but since this is often what makes lips cycle into dryness I use a dampened cotton pad instead. 

Post scrub lips feel baby smooth, plump and soft but you will need to follow with a decent, nourishing balm since it does such an excellent job of whisking dry patches of skin away potential tender spots can be left exposed to the elements.

All in all however, I am very pleasantly surprised at how effective this lovely little product is and see it being an absolute winter beauty workhorse. Team with Lanolips or Kiehl's Lip Balm for chap-free comfort.

* Lush Mint Julips Lip Scrub is £5.50 for 25g


The Lost Soldier

Monday, 12 August 2013

One of the reasons I enjoy collecting vintage treasures is that the past, viewed through a nostalgic filter, seems far more interesting than the present.

I bought this tiny locket with the intention of refurbishing it with a photo of my son as a gift for his Nanny (maternal). But when I came to slide a blade beneath the carefully cut image I didn't have the heart to prise it out. The invisible bonds of intention and meaning attached by its original owner were not mine to break.

And so he remains a smiling, smart young soldier probably active in World War 2. In the photograph he is wearing a Garrison Side Cap, more commonly known in England as a Field Service Cap, but unfortunately I haven't been able to place rank or regiment.

The Patron Saint of children - Saint Nicholas - adorns the front of the locket whilst the back is stamped with flowers. From this we can deduce the owner was likely a female; sweetheart, sister or mother.

It doesn't feel respectful to replace another mother's son with my own so the Lost Soldier, as I have come to call him, lives on adopted in my jewellery box. He may now be long forgotten but, as the scarce detail from this locket reveals, once lay close to a loved ones heart.


A Week In Provence

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Recently my little family headed off to the South of France on one of those epic car journeys that is horrendously incompatible with a raging, antibiotic-resistant UTI. I think we stopped at every service station on our 8-hour journey but as services go (with sunny outdoor seating and semi-decent food) it could have been much worse. My small son was both horrified and fascinated with the hole in the floor toilet situation found in the picnic area facilities handily dotted along the route. I was just very, umm, thankful.

We stayed in a lovely villa that has just about every home comfort you could possibly need in the picture-postcard village of Serignan du Comtat. The scenery is stunning. A drive to the recycling bank (which in England would be fairly meh, let's face it) took us past fields laden with lavender and melons but it was the sunflowers struggling to tilt their full-bloom faces towards the sun, which reminded me that Mother Nature is totally on it when it comes to colour-blocking.

We packed a lot into our holiday: a visit to the sea, food and wine tasting, a fantastic brocante market in Beaumes Des Venise where I halved the price of my purchases using pigeon French and, I like to think, a little English charm. I spent a lot of time in pharmacies unsuccessfully trying to score a double-pack of Bioderma Micelle Solution but I did buy some other French beauty goodies I will post about separately.

The husband watched Chris Froome et al ride out on a stage of the Tour de France and drove us up Mount Ventoux, a Goliath of a mountain he has himself conquered. Anyone living with a MAMIL (middle aged man in Lycra) who likes riding up torturous inclines for fun and then downloading their ride stats on Strava, will know this kind of climb results in an endorphin rush that borders on the sexual. 

We ate, drank (well, I drank mainly water. Thanks bladder, you bitch) and relaxed. Though this year has proven relentlessly painful I tried hard to live in the here and now and for the most part managed to enjoy a welcome family break.

A week in Provence? definitely not enough. A year?  Now you're talking.


Select Sale Accessories - Go Look!

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Hands up if you've been watching Boardwalk Empire and paying less attention to the storyline and more to the opulent flapper fashions and actor Michael Pitt's dreamy plush lips... I'm in heaven thanks to Sky Atlantic.

I just love the Art Deco era, full stop. It's one of my favourite periods in time characterised by striking, highly stylised architecture and design. I'd have been kicking up my fabulous heels in a Speakeasy for sure. 

It's no surprise then that my magpie-eye seeks out treasures with 1920s styling;
 graphic symmetry, bold colours and lavish unapologetic glamour. Just look what I found in the Select sale this week for £1!!

With classic Art Deco sunburst shaping, triangular patterning and gorgeous citrine-yellow enamelling I zoned in on this fabulous cocktail ring immediately. I'll be wearing it with glossy black nail varnish and red lips when I next hit a gin joint :)  Are you a fan of Select? x

The Art Of Giving

Thursday, 6 June 2013

A quid made priceless

A super-quick post here tonight for anyone with kids and access to a Poundland or similar. I stock up on these absolute bargain £1 canvases when I see them in store, usually four or five at a time, for BB to unleash his creative eye and Tesco paints on. They make awesome gifts (think Father's day) or the perfect alternative to a Thank You card. Surely there aren't many people (except those with black empty hearts) who wouldn't want to receive an adorable piece of hand-crafted artwork? This teapot with two handles - which started out as a hotel in the Caribbean (say wuh????) - has pride of place on my desk and reminds me that my son is a crazy, cool kid and I love him. 


Swatched - Maybelline Color Show Nails Polka Dot

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

One of the cheapest thrills I get these days is picking up a new nail varnish or a posh coffee. I'm not big into lipstick, eyeshadows or shoes but I do like the fact that you can bring fancy to your fingertips without breaking the bank; I'm building up quite a collection. 

I bought these Maybelline Color Show Nails Polka Dot in a 3 for two deal at Superdrug. They retail at £2.99 each. Left to right we have Shooting Stars, Chalk Dust and Speckled Pink.

Whilst Shooting Stars (the blue shade) registers as looking fabulous on camera this was the hardest of the three to work with. The gel base reminds me of inky food colouring and I found it difficult to get the polish coverage and placement of the polka dots suspended within it even. There was a lot of dabbing going on, it took an age to dry and, when it did, dried fairly lumpy. I'm definitely going to try this over my favourite navy Chanel lacquer to see if it works better as a top coat.

Chalk Dust (black and white dots) was another matter entirely. This applied very easily and I just loved the speckled effect building it up to full-coverage dotty madness. I think it would look fantastic used with a lighter hand over a bright base coat (like a peppermint green) or to give a nude nail more edge.

The Speckled Pink reminded me of painted Easter eggs, again applied well but has a slightly creamier, less transparent base colour so the polka dots appear less prominent. I probably wouldn't wear ten digits worth of this shade because despite my penchant for glitter and girly things I'm no longer a major fan of pink. As an accent nail? Yes, absolutely.

I didn't apply a top coat because I like the matt, slightly gritty effect but if it sets your teeth on edge you could easily seal it in with something clear over the top. All you'll get is more shine and intensity I would think.

Overall, I was seriously impressed by the effects achieved by all three but Chalk Dust wins hands down. I wear my nails bare, neat and tidy for reflexology treatments so really enjoyed seeing them looking dressed-up and less boyish. These are limited edition shades so snap up a bottle soon (£2.99!! what a snip) to avoid disappointment. #NailLove   

Time For Tea

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

At the weekend BB returned from an afternoon out with gifts of flowers and a Hotel Chocolat bag; nice work for a four-year-old. I hauled him onto my lap for a cuddle (no mean feat these days) and he said 'mummy, I will love you a million kabillion days. Get me the iPad. I want Angry Birds.................. please.' 

As he tapped in my password (MY PASSWORD) I delved into the bag. Pink champagne truffles, what's not to love, and a small slab of Earl Grey and Lemon chocolate. As a dedicated Earl Grey drinker who likes nothing better than dipping chocolate into her brew this looked promising, very promising. I saved it to scoff whilst watching BGT. Oh yes, that's how I roll.

The milk chocolate stripes definitely taste of Earl Grey tea though I would have liked more punch, but then my kidneys are stewed in the stuff. The lemon stripes were delicious with crunchy lemon infused granules pushing the flavour towards super-tangy lemon curd. 

All in all it went down well, as they say. Or at least half of it did being a little sickly for noshing in one sitting. If you like your choccy straight up then you might not enjoy this but, if you fancy a break from the norm, it's definitely worth a diversion. 

Hotel Chocolat Earl Grey & Lemon 35g Slab is £2.25

Long Time No See

Thursday, 16 May 2013

It has been ages since I last posted and I could go into the whys and wherefores but I won't. Life has felt truly ugly and my appreciation of pretty things? Umm, minimal. 
Print: Amanda Catherine Designs approx £10 (frame not included)

But I'm back (or at least I think I am) and having refreshed my blog surroundings I'm hoping a change is as good as a rest. I've done a lot of personal cheerleading in recent times, trying to find motivation and meaning but I think this rather fantastic print from Amanda Catherine Designs is me to a tee. The style part may have slipped somewhat but gumption? Hell yes! And talking of infernos, to quote the late great Winston Churchill, "if you're going through hell, keep going." x

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