Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Wednesday Beauty Buys

Clairol Bee Strong Shampoo

I have been using Pureology's Shampoo for a while now as my hair has been very dry. My go to shampoo and conditioner is usually the Liz Earle combination for dry hair which I adore, but I had stored up the Pureology duo for an emergency so was using it up.

 However, I was puzzled at how quickly I was whizzing through it. I only wash my hair every three days and I use a small amount of it each time as a little goes a long way. No sooner had I started the bottle it seemed I was shaking out the last bit. Puzzled I confronted my OH who sheepishly confessed to having been using it ....daily! Gutted. 

I grabbed a sample I had from a magazine of the Clairol Bee Strong for damaged hair. I didn't have much hope. I've tried many off the shelf shampoos and they do nothing for my wiry mess of an excuse for hair, but this seems to be amazing. I have since got a full bottle of both shampoo and conditioner ( on offer) at the dizzy price of £2 each. I have used it 3 times and each time my hair feels strong and looks shiny. It handles well when drying and lasts three days without becoming greasy. It doesn't itch, which is always a sign of too many nasties in it for me so we will see. Of course it is not paraben free etc  and I would love to get my Pureology or Liz Earle back as soon as I find myself a bit of money off, but if you are looking for a drugstore alternative that does a good job I wouldn't rule this one out , not at all. Smells divine too - apricot and honey.

Monday, 25 November 2013


When Working

This is an area that is new to me.

I had the area of 

"Organisation as a Stay at home Mum" almost cracked on some days.

I think the trouble is with organisation and kids is the kids part. 

They tend to mess it up. 


These are the things that help me out.

  • Schedules.

I have schedules typed out so everyone can see them and see who should be doing what, going where, wearing what, taking what, handing what in, going to what club, etc etc etc. From January there is a possibility that I will be working more and I have 3 kids at  2 different schools. From September I will have 3 kids at 3 different schools - that's a lot of different schedules. 

  • I lay uniforms and clothes out the night before.

  • I get the kids to get their sports kits out for their clubs the night before.

  • I get them to plan the days on which they need to hand their homework in so they might not get caught out ( they still do) 

  • I get up early to give plenty of time in the morning to be organised before work and school.

  • Menu Plans - I know you heard me say it before! I can't cope not knowing what is for dinner that night and not having a few "easy cook" nights a week. 

  • I iron/wash everything at the weekend so it is ready for the week . If it doesn't get ironed/washed then it gets worn creased/dirty.

  • Basically whatever I can do ahead of time, I do. I feel sometimes it is a never ending cycle of keeping in front of a high speed train and I'd better not stop!

I am going to continue my series from earlier this year on organisation and share some ways I am trying to get reorganised after our building works. For me being organised never costs a lot, but it makes such a difference to the way our busy lives run. I shall be looking at gadgets I love, blogs I have found great,and giving tips on things I find help!

'We Can Do It!' photo (c) 2011, DonkeyHotey - license:

How do you best organise your day and your children? Tips and Hints gratefully shared!

Friday, 22 November 2013

Revamping the Hallway

On a Budget!

It seemed a shame to have half of the house looking so lovely and the rest tired and shabby. So I am gradually working my way around with a paintbrush smartening up the other rooms.

We had continued the grey flagstone floor tiles through from the new kitchen into the entrance hall, but with the creation of a new door and the ripping out of the old floor we were left with this.

I got a good 3 for 2 deal on some Dulux Nutmeg White paint which is a gorgeous chalky white and will last for upstairs as well. The woodwork is Trade Satinwood and the furniture is recycled from other rooms. It looks a touch pink in some lights and a touch grey in others! I love the colour and feel it is very Farrow and Ball like without the price. Sometimes shopping around pays off with paint colours, sometimes it doesn't! It is a really hard one to get right. I must admit to having a rather large basket of samples.

I plan to make a feature gallery wall of photos and pictures on the stairs side and I have some finishing touches like a back to the letterbox to fix yet. It seems a never ending job this house at the moment.  I have now moved on to painting my eldest sons room who has ordered grey and lime green stripes . 


Watch this space.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

November Birchbox

Bursting at the seams!

  • Spa Find Sculpted Silhouette Intensive Bust Firming Extract Serum- Hmmm I'm glad this states it is for the neck and décolleté too! Lovely little bottle though.

  • Weleda Replenishing Oat Shampoo - lovely travel size and for dry hair prone to breakage so perfect for me ( Birchbox do a beauty questionaire so they cater for your needs)

  • Laura Mercier Body Butter Ambre Vanille - to be honest they had me at Laura Mercier, but a Body Butter in any scent would do me too! LOVE.

  • Pukka Herbs selection of tea - ok the confession is the earl grey was the first thing I used out of this months box - lovely, lovely, lovely. The last tea they sent me (peppermint teapigs) became an addiction so I'd better be careful.

  • Chella Highlighter pencil - I have a highlighter powder and stick and cream so it seems sensible really to have a pencil too.

  • English Laundry Eau de Parfum ( quince, jamine and musk)- love anything that has the scent of jasmine and these small samples are great for the handbag to freshen up after a day in the classroom!

  • Birchbox Pencil Sharpener - I'm always forgetting where I'm putting mine so it'll be good to have a spare. I think my existing one is the only one I've ever had - it must be donkeys (thats all I'm saying) years old.

I'm especially enjoying these boxes at the moment as I am still sticking to my "No New Make Up/Products " rule . I am using up all my existing stash and products until after Christmas. It is amazing what I have found! However, It is lovely to have a box of goodies each month. My only concession is products that run out and have nothing to replace them.

Are you a great tea drinker? 

What is your favourite tea tipple?

Friday, 15 November 2013

The Big Reveal

At Last!

Ok so we haven't finished the whole project, but lets face it , this was always mainly about the kitchen for me anyway!

So, here we have it ( minus curtains, pictures etc, but you get the idea!)

The main kitchen area


Washing up and tea and coffee!

My mantle with a few of my charity finds

The decadence of a second sink!
The view from the side entrance

Central Island Lights!

With a Pretty Middle!

The other end of the kitchen - new table yet to be purchased! 

Larder cupboards and fridge

Pictures waiting! Old Sofa for now.

Loving Cooking on Pearl :)

The colour on the walls is " Yes Your Honour" from Fired Earth
The units are a pale French Grey.
The dark grey on the chimney breast is "Antimony" from Fired Earth
I got the central Island lights through a company called Dusk
The floor is a brushed limestone in mid grey called "Chapel Stone".
The kitchen designer was Kevin Partridge and I cannot recommend him highly enough. An absolute gentleman who took pride in every inch of his work. Brilliant. His website can be found here
The units look paler here than they are, but they are a very pale grey.

I am so enjoying getting all my bits and pieces back out and arranging the cupboards again! I am in my element here. I have never had so much space to play with. 

And the OCD with the organising has begun...

I also have redone our hallway as we ended up getting the floor replaced in here. In the interest of cost I decorated this myself. I shall post my efforts soon. I think enough photos for today!

Hope it was worth the wait ! X

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

No 7 Beautiful Skin Cleansing Brush

Wednesday Beauty Buys

I have seen the benefit to using a facial brush on a regular basis so decided to buy a more robust one than my manual botanics one I was using. The Clarisonic, amongst others, are well out of my price range so I opted for the No7 cleansing brush from Boots. This retails at £29.99. I got this with a voucher so paid £24.99.

It has two speeds, but I tend to stick to the slower rotation. The bristles are soft and do not damage the skin in any way. I use it once or twice a week for exfoliation and toning. It seems to give my skin a nice gentle massage and tightens everything up! I apply my usual cleanser, add some water then massage with the brush for a minute or so.  I don't think I would spend any more money on a facial brush for the benefit it gives, but for £25 it certainly is worth it. I did also look at the No7 cleansers and toners, but yet again so many have a high alcohol content - seems like you just can't avoid it at all!

Have you tried a Cleansing Brush?

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Deal Changers for My Hair

Products to Tame the Frizz!

If you have a mop of hair that falls naturally into place after washing then I envy you and you won't understand my need of hair product! If you have hair like mine that has a mind of it's own then read on.....

My hair , if left , is something akin to a wiry, frizzy mess and takes some work to get it to look mildly presentable. I have the sort of hair that seems to react violently to strong products and either hangs limply because the product is too heavy or flies free and frizzy because the product is just not right. There is no rhyme nor reason to it.

If I had to pick a word to describe my hair it would be 


So, after many years of trial and error I have come up with a list of my top styling products that tame my hair.

  • I do use two or three products on my hair at a time

  • I don't use a load of product that weighs the hair down but layer a smaller amount of the products in my hair

  • I don't put each product all over my hair, just in the area I need it. e.g healing oil on the ends.

Sebastian Volumpt Spray

This is a root spray gel for volume. It works wonders for root lift . I love this product. It really brings shine to my hair too.

Sebastian Mousse Forte

This is more of an all over volume mousse, but when I use it I apply it more where I need it and then comb it through the rest of the hair. It is not sticky at all and brings amazing lift and volume that lasts over a few days . It makes my hair feel really light. A fantasic product for big hair!

Beauty Protector

This is a protect and detangle spray. It makes my hair smooth and soft and tangle free. It gets rid of the frizz and seems to prevent it frizzing up again during the day! I did a separate review on this product I love it so much here.

Macadamia Healing Oil Spray

I always found the normal healing oil a little heavy for my hair, but this spray is delightful. I got the smallest size to trial, but will be getting the biggest when I can! I use it on wet hair before I style and occasionally on dry ends between washes. It eliminates dryness almost completely. It is one of those "no brainer" products.

Sebastian Shaper Zero Gravity

This is a lightweight, brushable, control hairspray. It gives a light mist of spray, but not heavy control and brushes out easily. I use it to hold my hair during styling and find that my hair lasts days longer if I do . A revelation!

TRESemme Instantrefresh

This is a dry shampoo to remove oil and boost body. I used a whole bottle and more of this whilst camping this year. It is a great dry shampoo. It smells lovely and does not leave a residue behind. It is very similar to the KMS one, but a lot less expensive! A great find.

What is your current favourite hair product?

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