Friday, 28 September 2012

High End Designers on the High Street

Orla Kiely at Uniqlo.

What are your thoughts on the way we are seeing more of designers such as Orla Kiely bringing a line out in the High Street that is within the price range of the every day shopper? Debenhams have their usual collection of names, plus a few more. Marks and Spencer have enlisted Betty Jackson, Orla Kiely and Sonja Nuttall for their Autograph collection this season and Sophia Kokosalaki  who was really big at London fashion week is collaborating with Top shop.

There are many, many more , I could go on! However, on my recent visit to London I popped into the Uniqlo store on Oxford Street and picked up these two tops from Orla Kiely at Uniqlo....she is obviously spreading her net a little wider than M and S.

A part of me loves to be able to get my hands on a few items such as these for prices under £20 . The dress was £19.99 and the top £14.99, but the cynic in me thinks why do they then feel they can still charge such extortionate rates for similar products that aren't being produced on mass. Is it just exclusivity? An interesting thought. 

We don't have a store locally so I don't think I'll be bumping into someone wearing these in every colourway in the school playground unless online has taken a battering too and all us mums will be standing in line like an Orla Kiely rainbow......

Thursday, 27 September 2012

The time to be Thrifty.

What does it really mean?

"There are people who have money and people who are rich "            

                                                                                                                Coco Chanel

I went to an event with some other bloggers recently and we had a discussion about what the word Thrifty really meant. If you read my blog regularly, you may have picked up that one of the things I try and do is look for the best use of my money when I purchase things - although this doesn't always mean the cheapest.

Thrifty = careful and diligent in the use of resources

With the current climate and being careful with our finances becoming a necessity for a lot of us, it is a great concept to explore and discuss. Expenditure quickly mounts up and before you know it, debt can be staring even the financially well off in the face.

We all find ourselves in different situations and stages of our lives that can govern our spending. For me, I would say we are in a stage of our lives now where money is not as tight as it was in the past. We can afford to send our children to music or sports lessons. We live in a large house in a lovely village, we go on 'nice' holidays, I drive a new car, but all this comes at a cost. 

So,I am careful that I get the best deal when I do spend. I don't waste money on things I know I can get for a much better deal somewhere else. I say no to my children and make them wait for the things they ask for. I don't want them to have a consumer mentality that just throws away stuff when they tire of it and replace it with the next trend.

Being Thrifty for me does not necessarily mean living cheaply . It means living well, but within our budget, getting the best out of our money at the same time as considering environmental factors such as waste. I do shop at charity shops - who doesn't love a bargain and to recycle clothes, but I will also treat us to a pair of designer jeans when we can afford it. I would rather spend money on clothes that stand the test of time than ones that have to be replaced after a few outings because the zip has broken or the knees have worn through too quickly. 

I must admit that my conscience does get bothered when I buy a cheap top I may well love, knowing it will only last me a few months. At this point I will discard it and buy another. Is this really the best for my purse and for the environment? However , there have been occasions when I have spent more on items I have thought would last , only to find them falling apart long before their time! It's quality, not price that counts! There is a great debate hidden in there somewhere.....

Here is my latest find at a local charity shop - a pretty, lined, rough edged and fitted jacket in autumnal colours for £5. The pockets were still sewn up so it was obviously fairly new.

Here are some interesting quotes I found:

There are plenty of ways to get ahead. The first is so basic I'm almost embarrassed to say it: spend less than you earn.Paul Clitheroe 

The amount of money you have has got nothing to do with what you earn.. people earning a million dollars a year can have no money and.. People earning $35,000 a year can be quite well off. It's not what you earn, it's what you spend.Paul Clitheroe 

The Best way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it back in your pocket

Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship.

Use it up
Wear it out
Make it do
Or do without

“To earn what you can; spend what you must; give what you should, and save the rest—this is thrift.” ~ J.O. Engleman, 1918
 "Being frugal does not mean being cheap! It means being economical and avoiding waste." --Catherine Pulsifer

What does being Thrifty mean to you at this stage in your life?

Do you have any interesting quotes?

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Wednesday Beauty Buys- Hyaluronic Acid

Hydraluron Moisture Booster

I have used, as part of my daily skin care routine for a couple of years now, a product that contains hyaluronic acid. I found that out of all the products I have used, this gave the most effect for the reduction of fine lines and wrinkles. I know it is an ongoing debate, but in researching there was nothing to convince me that the benefits were anything but good. So often when making choices about our skin care we have to read what we can and then take a decision. My motto is " Don't throw the baby out with the bath water" . So often we will hear something bad and then never use anything with that ingredient in, often at the expense of missing out on some really good, safe products. 

The product I have been using up until now was by Roc, called Wrinkle Correction and I apply it once a day under my usual moisturiser. If you have sensitive skin or you have not used a product with this in it before it is advisable to patch test an area first and then to introduce it gradually.

However, I had also heard about this product below that can be purchased at Boots and thought I would give it a test and see if a pure hyraluronic acid product was better than the one I was presently using. This again is applied under your usual moisturiser as it provides below surface moisture . It claims to increase elasticity and the skins ability to retain moisture and decreases surface roughness . For the full details check the Boots site  on the link above. 

I must admit the reviews are fantastic on this product. People claiming their skin has never looked better. I have been using it under my dermalogica moisturiser for a couple of weeks now and I am pleasantly pleased. You can feel it being absorbed instantly and the skin tightening immediately Your moisturiser absorbs better and overall your skin looks less tired, tighter and more 'dewy'. That ever elusive quality we look for as we get older!

This isn't an outrageously priced product at £24.99 and although the tube is quite small you only use a small amount each time so it lasts fairly well. I shall continue to use it and may re purchase if it continues to perform at it's present rate.

Hyaluronic acid has been nicknamed by the press as the "key to the fountain of youth" because it has been noted that at least some people who ingest a lot of it in their diets tend to live to ripe old ages.  If you want to read more about it there are a lot of sites with good information on. I found this one hyalogic unbiased and informative.

In conclusion though I am a creature of habit and my instinct tells me I shall probably return to the familiar Roc product as, for me, I feel it gives a more all round moisture boost to my skin.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

September JolieBox Uk

 What's in the beauty Box this month?

I have had the JolieBox beauty box delivered for about 5 months now and I have been delighted with each one. The boxes are pretty and reuseable. The contents are well labelled and wrapped and there is a good quality extra as well. However this month, JolieBox, come on! It is a bit on the light side and I don't think I am the only one  who is disappointed in the contents. It is not so much what they are, but the expectation of a decent full size product for your money which for me this month did not materialise.

So here we go - a pretty two tone blue box - lovely . A good start!

The contents:

  • A sample size of Redkens Protective Straightening Lotion ( 30 ml - 1 fl oz) I am looking forward to trying this, but I feel this could have been a bigger product to pack the box out a bit.
  • Balmi Lip Balm wuth SPF 15 . This is full size, but of course small as it is a lip balm. Ok, but nothing special.
  • Twistband Hairbands - two bits of ribbon really that are slightly elasticated. I put my hair in one last night and it fell out. These are labelled as a full size product!
  • Dr Bragi Bio Marine Exfoliant - two small samples labelled as extras.
  • I Love Face Mask in a sachet labelled as full size!

Full size product? Twisted Hairband.

Balmi Lipbalm

Am I being a little harsh? I shall give them a few more months, but do have my eye on the Amarya Beauty Box so may well be changing sooner rather than later if things don't pick up.

What's on My Desk?

The Next Instalment in the "What's in My...?" series.

The table I had lovingly prepped and  painted earlier on in the year to save a bit of money got nabbed by the 11 year old for his homework and laptop time! So, taking pity on me as I had been relegated to sitting on the bed with my laptop and a pile of papers yet again, my husband had this delivered.....

The Desk Arrives!

 A lovely solid wood , deep grey , beautifully large and brand new desk. Love it. At the moment it is positioned in the big bay window in our bedroom until we have the work to the house done next year when hopefully I will have a corner in the kitchen to base myself. I have taken two photos of the desk, one at the beginning of the day and one at the end with my mess!

I have a lovely view out of this window over the rooftops to the rolling hills beyond. I feel very thankful each time I sit here.

What's on my desk:

My Mac
My ipad and Kate Spade cover
A purple note book for writing thoughts
My Cannon Camera
A small purple vase
A cup cake pot with a pin cushion in it
A Cath Kidston empty cup of tea
A pot of pen, pencils and scissors
Nail varnishes
A camera lead
Papers and letters from the kids schools
A Jolie Box with some freebies in ready to giveaway.
A wooden 'in' tray with bills to pay and products I am about to review - My ' to do ' pile.
A note book and pen
The home phone
My Samsing Galaxy S 2 ( The iphones better relation )
Some flyers, card and leaflets to look at.
A light
A wireless mouse
Screen cleaner
Pritt Stick.
Some new CDs to listen to.
On the floor :
My sewing machine
Photo frames ready to fill
A pile of clothes ready to list on e.bay

Nice and neat!

My miniature filing cabinet!

What could you not do without each day - your Phone? Your Laptop? Your Coffee!!?

Monday, 24 September 2012

Music Monday

Music Monday - What's playing on your ipod this week?

On my ipod this week it is The Wallflowers and One Headlight 

And if you are a fan featuring Bruce!

Friday, 21 September 2012

Savoo - Saving you money.

A Day In London.

Last Saturday I managed to extract myself from the rigours of family life to attend the Savoo Saveup Conference in London. Despite it being a brutally early start for me to get there, it was a very inspiring day and an opportunity to meet other Bloggers who are motivated by similar things. 

As I have mentioned before I always put effort into finding ways to get quality items, whether it be clothes, beauty products, groceries or general items at the best possible price. Savoo is a commany that promotes this kind of savvy shopping with deals and discount codes. was launched in 2009, and is dedicated to offering consumers the best user experience while working closely with merchants and agencies to promote deals in a controlled and transparent way. 

Savoo also personalises the vouchers to your needs. This means you let them know your shopping preference and they will pass on deals and vouchers in those particular stores. It saves you being bothered by offers you have no interest in! Ideal. I have had a link to their company in my side bar almost since starting my blog - do check them out here. 

I also found more out about My Supermarket. This is a great site that scrapes the online major supermarket sites twice daily to find the best deals that are available on products and passes them on to you. You can be certain then that the prices you see on their site are the most up to date. They were featured and recommended on This Morning last week! 

They have no preference or leaning toward where you shop so you can be certain that what they recommend is simply the best price. They root out all the bad special offers that really aren't that special too!  Watch out Supermarkets is all I can say. The consumer is the winner here. 

I came home very inspired and full of ideas of how to pass money saving ideas on too. All I need now is a few more hours in the day!

Savoo are also running a great competition at the moment. Do take a look and enter. The prize is absolutely fab . Link is here to the full details.

Have a fabulous weekend everyone. X

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Caring For Your Clothes Part 2.

 Bloggers tips!

Following on from my previous post on 'Caring For Your Clothes' I thought it would be a good idea to do a follow up with the ideas that some of you wonderful people suggested in the comments.

 I have been able to buy a few lovely items this Autumn and I am determined to treat my clothes with a bit of respect. However, the start to this term has felt like being hit by a ten tonne lorry as the emotional side of staring a new school has hit my pre teen boy. The early mornings I can cope with - I am actually a morning person , but it is the emotional side of it all that takes the time. 

He hates his new uniform and cajoling him into his shirt, tie and blazer every morning is a feat in itself and I am now pretty handy at tying a tie in record time! Once he is up and off however he is having a ball, loves the school ( especially the lunches as I can tell by my parent pay account!) and has made a bunch of new friends already.

So , back to the clothes. I cannot allow myself to adopt the attitude of my kids who still like to think that a 'floordrobe' is the best place to keep clothes, so in the best interest of my new Baujken Scarf, here are some more nuggets for Caring for your clothes:

1. Fasten up bras and zip up zippers etc before you pop them in the wash so they don't damage any other items of clothing. Courtesy of The Greek Housewife

2. When you purchase a new item of clothing, remove the spare buttons, staple to a piece of paper, label and store so you don't lose them. Courtesy of Follow Me Home

3. Turn items inside out when washing to protect them- especially those prone to piling or fading.

4. If you can, invest in a steamer. A shot of steam restores clothes and cuts down on washing. ( I purchased one with my Tesco vouchers when they had their double up offer on).

5. Have your coats and jackets dry cleaned at the end of the season so they are ready to go for next year. Courtesy of The Flaky Fashionista

6. Keep shoes in boxes for protection with a photo on the outside of the shoes within!

7. Polish shoes when warm - they absorb the polish so much better.

8. Put glass coke bottles wrapped in newspaper into your boots to help keep their shape and absorb moisture and odour. Courtesy of Follow me Home

9. Do not over wash clothes. It is just is more work for you ,not good for the clothes and wears them out more quickly.

10. Enjoy your clothes. Don't leave them hanging in the back of the wardrobe for a special occasion ! 

Any more hints for caring for your clothes gratefully received. Remember the better we look after them, the longer they will last us and better for the environment too. 

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Wednesday Beauty Buys


Stlla Eye Shadow and Shimmer Duo

I had a good child free browse around the Benefit and Stila counter in our local Boots last week. I was looking for a darker brown than the phloof Mac shadow and wanted to take the opportunity to try something different. I don't know whether this is me showing the signs of middle age setting in, but on this occasion, I found the packaging and Benefit display utterly confusing. Nothing is particularly clearly labelled and for most products an explanation is needed as to what it is for.I think once you are really familiar with all of the products it becomes easy, but the reality is not many of us are. It seems to me that some of the labelling and packaging for Benefit has gone down the gimicky route for the sake of it and I think it detracts from the fantastic quality of the products.

 Now, I love a bit of fun in products - I like the way Soap and Glory label and package some of their product, but I also like to know what I am looking at. It took me forever to find an eye shadow and then the products were in a pot that was difficult to rummage in and I couldn't find what I was looking for. Usually the Benefit lady is hovering ready to impart advice and makeovers, but today was no where to be seen, so I headed off to the smaller Stila display. This was clear, simply set out and I found what I was looking for straight away. I was a bit gutted that I had missed the £1 offer at pound land on some Stila products, but maybe that will teach me to be quicker off the mark!

Firstly a lovely eye shadow in a lovely brown with a gold sheen in it called 'Golightly'. Very pretty and has a lovely depth of colour especially when used with a primer, but also is a great colour alone. I am very pleased with it's ability to stay put too. A little cheaper than the Mac products at £13.

I also picked up an all over Shimmer Duo called 'Kitten'. I have used this on it's own or as a highlighter with my blusher. It isn't as apparent on your skin as the 'Watts Up' highlighter from Benefit which I have and love, but is more of a subtle shimmer for daytime use. I mix the colours and use this mostly on it's own as it gives just a lovely peachy glimmer which is ideal on my fair skin. I think for darker skin tones you may want to use it as a highlighter with your usual blush. A really versatile little product and I paid for this with my points at Boots so an extra little gift. Price £18.

You can buy the Stila eye Shadow here for £12 and free shipping, and the Kitten Shimmer Duo here for £15 and free shipping. The same site.  This is cheaper than the Boots prices.

One of my favourite Stila products are their smudge sticks - very easy to get addicted to these and to want one in every colourway!

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Autumn Boots

My shopping Trip.

I headed into town last Tuesday to pick up a few items for school that I had apparently 'forgotten'. I also needed to pop into M & S to get some short sleeve, non iron shirts as it is too hot for the long sleeve ones , a jumper and a blazer my son is currently wearing. A quick aside here, I do find their uniform second to none. It is great quality, not overpriced and lasts really well. It may not be the cheapest , but I am not always on the look out for the cheapest , but the best value for money which means it will last.

On arrival I was greeted with a sea of OAPs and blue rinses. I don't mean to be rude at all , my granny was my favourite person in the whole world. However, it is quite disconcerting when you are admiring an item  of clothing , you turn around to find a 90 year old picking up the same item. One of us has got it wrong and I am hoping it isn't me!

Anyway I battled on and came across the shoes .I had intended looking at some boots here following Avril at School Gate Styles post on the fab M & S ones she found, but was astounded at the size of the shoe department. Row upon row upon row of shoes and boots and not the type of solid shoe I remember M & S stocking. I could have easily come home with 4 or 5 pairs of boots, ranging from £25 to £60. I was really quite impressed. Sounding like I need to get out more now!

This was one aisle - it was 3 times as wide as this!

Purple ankle Boots - lovely.

I was very tempted by these .....

 I did restrain myself, remembered that I was here for uniform and walked upstairs to get on with the job in hand. However, on arrival at the till, somehow I had managed to grab myself these little beauties for £29.99 - Oops a daisy !

I couldn't really justify spending much on another pair of boots . I have some lovely long boots from last year that are just gorgeous. I have also purchased these in Geox on a recent trip to London. I went for comfort and those of you who know me well.....yes they are totally and utterly flat. No heel, I repeat , no heel.

I think one of the redeeming features of Autumn and Winter is our ability to wear boots - love them. Have you ventured out in yours yet or are you still clinging onto the remnants of the sunshine in your peep toes?

Monday, 17 September 2012

Music Monday

Music Monday - What's Playing on Your ipod this Week?

On my ipod this week it is Metric and Breathing Underwater.

Friday, 14 September 2012

What are Your Style Rules ?

Part Two.

My last post on my style rules had some great comments, from some lovely people that I felt were too good not to share. So here we are with some extra style 'rules' that people apply to their every day wear. I have linked each comment to the blog so you can check out these wonderful blogs at the same time.........

1. The Small Fabric of my Life loves  Silver Jewelery  and combining earings, necklaces and bangles together. Gorgeous.

2. Keep it simple. Jeans and skinnies work every time ( yes!) . If you like it, then wear it says Beauty and The Biryani. I love this mantra!

3. Colour co ordination is key. Accesorize with jewellery, but always be comfortable. Find a unique favourite piece from the past and give it a modern twist says The Greek House wife. Lovely idea !

4. Thrifting has taught her to be more dircriminating says Dangerous Curves and she finds things often that she loves. A lesson for us all!

5. Wear what suits you. If you could remove one accessory from the finished look it could improve it says Ash's Rural mums style. So true!

6. Buy what you like - you know best what suits you. If the cheap copy is not up to scratch then don't buy it! Don't overly match items - rough it up a bit says Susie So So . Great advice!

7. Remember  "They are only clothes" says  Thirty Something Fashion . She tells her clients to spend 85 percent of their seasonal wardrobe budget on great classic go to pieces that will last them for a few years...and then 15 percent on fun pieces that are trendy and of the moment..but add some interest to classic looks. Good to remember this!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, 13 September 2012


The role reversal.

Somewhere along the line, I'm not sure I could pin down exactly when , the role of parenting seems to have been reversed. It wasn't a sudden change , more of a gradual shift in situation, priorities and health.

However, although it is still assumed by most acquaintances  when I say my parents live locally that we get plenty of help with the children, the reality is quite the opposite - I am the care giver not receiver. My Dad and Step mum actually moved into the next street to be nearer to us , so I could help out if needed.

My Dad has Parkinsons.

He gets very confused.

He is not very mobile and sometimes cannot move at all.

He lives at home with my step mum who is amazing and without her he would be in a nursing home. She fights hard for his care and organises his life so he goes places and does things . 

But she needs a break too.

 So, I have my Dad for a day when I can.

 I help with bits of care when my step mum is away .

 I take him shopping for bits and pieces he wants and out for coffee at garden centres ( they have larger aisles for his walker) .I  help when she goes away with the rota of care that she puts together - a combination of carers and family to look after him just so she can have  a few days away without him. It keeps her sane. Sometimes it is as simple as popping in , like today, for an hour to give him lunch.

 But I didn't feel like it.

I knew it would be hard and I was tired.

Sometimes I wish I still had parents who could come and help me - how selfish is that when he is going through so much?

I know it's because I am tired - weeks of demanding children, a husband who is working every hour that he can find, too much to fit in my busy schedule at the moment, children who still need more and I'm stretched. I felt I had nothing left. Everybody wanting a piece of me.

The moment I walked in and forced myself to call out a cheery " Hi Dad" and saw him sitting there drooling, with chocolate all around his mouth, talking nonsense about whether he had fixed the rail for the curtain correctly, I knew he was off colour and it was going to be tough. For the record he won't have been near fixing a curtain rail for the past 10 years. His mind plucks random information from the past and thrusts it into the present making it seem real to him.

But, there are times when I just can't listen to him talk rubbish again.

There are times when I have to hide how I am feeling from him.

There are times when, if I am totally honest, it just annoys me - how bad is that?

 I was so tired I had nothing inventive to say at that moment so I wandered into the kitchen to make sandwiches and a cup of strong tea for him. He had always been very driven and motivated by his own ambitions and I think this illness brings the worst of that side out of him . He focuses only on himself, no one else, but then wouldn't I - it is an awful , lonely walk and I have cried with him many a time. They say to try and separate the person from the illness helps you to cope, but they are so intertwined now that is hard to do.

Don't get me wrong , I love my Dad and I would do anything for him, but I spend hours popping pills in his mouth, manhandling him into the car to take him out for some fresh air, listening to his ramblings that often drift in and out of sense.....sometimes I would like to hear him ask in his moments of lucidity, how I am, but he never does anymore. Sometimes it is much too hard to see your 'Dad' sitting there like that, but he is not your ' Dad' anymore. No one asks me if I am dealing with it alright - I am just expected to.

Somewhere along the line his role as " Dad" changed , but I couldn't tell you when that was, only that the father I once knew isn't there anymore. 

But I can't grieve for his passing because he hasn't died .

I can't give up on him because he IS still my Dad.

The Dad I remember left long ago. I  can't pinpoint when, he just kind of got swallowed up gradually by this disease until there was not much left apart from a vague physical resemblance.

So what do you do?

You sleep.

You recharge your batteries.

You put a smile on your face and you continue to choose to love and care because the day will come when you won't be able to anymore. 

You do that because if you don't, who will?

You do that because deep down you'd want someone to do it for you.

You do that because you do deeply love him.

You do that so you won't one day regret that you didn't.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Wednesday Beauty Buys

Bath House Perfume

Feeling Gorgeous - Frangipani with a Citrus Twist

My Husband and I somehow managed to find ourselves with a rare couple of hours with no children at the weekend. My mother had whisked the boys off for an impromptu golf lesson and my little girl had another party to go to! We took the opportunity to go to the local upmarket farm store that does a wonderful lunch as well as a fantastic selection of things for sale for us to have a browse through. It was a real treat amidst a time recently that has been a hive of activity. 

I have been on the look out for an alternative perfume to my usual fail safes and had purchased this perfume from Bath Spa in the past, as a gift for someone, as I liked the fragrance so much. It has a sweetness to it, but it is edged with a real citrus/freshness that prevents it being too sickly sweet. I often go for very light fragrances and although this has a bit more of a discernible scent than I would usually pick, it is by no means overwhelming. 
It is described as " Frangipani with a citrus twist. A gorgeous fragrance of frangipani with a twist of grapefruit, orange and mouth watering nectarine, mixed with wild rose, cedar and musk. "

A good daytime and everyday fragrance  for only £21.99 .