Thursday, 28 August 2014

New: YSL Fusion Foundation

OK first thing to mention here isn't that this foundation contains NASA-inspired technology (?!), no, it's that I'm actually writing this review whilst on my honeymoon. That's how impressed I am.

I couldn't wait to share this discovery with you, it's that good.

First thing's first. I wasn't even in the market for a new base, but we happened to pop into the big Boots in Brighton - one of our honeymoon destinations - Brighton not Boots that is, and I spotted a sign for a 7 day free trial of the new YSL foundation.

Being a beauty junkie who can't resist a freebie, and the fact that there wasn't a queue - despite the so called waiting list of over 12,000 beauty fanatics - I happily sat down to be colour matched.

Within 5 minuets I was walking away with a handy travel sized vial of the new Fusion Ink Foundation, fronted by Cara Delevigne, with the promise of 24-hour staying power - and a super matte finish to boot.

I'm going to keep this short and to the point - this stuff is works. So much so, that I was compelled to take time away from my holiday, to sit down and write this.

It applies like a dream with a pleasingly velvety texture - over moisturiser - no need for primers or powders.

It's easy to blend - you don't need much, fingers are fine, no need for brushes.

It's 'second skin' consistency is the best I've ever experienced - no caking or rolling, with a good medium (build-able) coverage.

This is the perfect product for anyone who struggles with shine. Or who simply prefers a less dewy look, or doesn't have time to touch up all day.

Without realising it, I was about to put the whole '24-hour staying power' claim to the ultimate test.

Straight after my first application I went for a - romantic - coastal walk.

This started out all sunny and bright, and before I knew it, I was battling 20mph winds, rain, and trapped on a cliff top feeling miserable that I'd just spent all that time blowdrying my hair and applying a full face.

Luckily I had sunglasses on to protect my eyes, but the wind & rain - which at one point was running down my face - I was sure had wrecked all of my handy work - so I was beyond impressed when I finally made it back to my room to discover that although my hair was a complete write-off, my makeup hadn't moved an inch!

My skin still looked nothing short of perfect. Let's hear it for NASA-inspired technology!

So basically, for anyone who's looking for a foundation to work as hard as they do, this is the one for you, and you can try it for free!

Plus, if you do decide to buy the full size at Boots, if you buy a 2nd YSL product, you get £10 worth of points. Which makes the £30.50 price tag a bit easier to swallow.

visit any YSL counter for a free 7-day trial of the Fusion Foundation, before its official launch on August 10 in Debenhams stores.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Wedding Belles

So yesterday, after a year of planning, I finally tied the knot, baby in tow! 

Here I am posing with my maid of honour, moments before walking down the aisle.

I've never felt nerves like that before!

I'm hoping to find some time soon to post more pictures, and details about the day. 

In the meantime please leave a comment if there's anything in particular that you'd like to know.

Monday, 11 August 2014

My 1 Year Update

This year has absolutely flown by. I can't quite believe it. I can still remember giving birth to him like it was yesterday, only now he's walking around, and babbling away in his own special language.It might sound cliched, but as much as I yearned to be pregnant, and thought about what my life would be like with a baby, I had no idea just how much I would love motherhood.

Turning one has been a real game changer for me. Developmentally he's right on track, but with walking comes a whole host of new challenges - he gets into everything!

His teeth are finally coming through, which seems to be making him particularly clinging - putting him down or leaving the room and a tantrum ensues

And he's all but forgotten about how to take a nap, so we're dealing with a lot of over tiredness come the afternoon.

Despite all that I'm really enjoying more interaction with him - he seems to understand most of what I say, and I can understand a lot more of what he wants from me.

He came over, hugged my legs, and called me mama today- which felt wonderful, and weird at the same time - as it really hit home that I'm someone's mum.

He also seems to be bringing out the best in my relationship with Tom - which I'm grateful for as I'm aware it can too often do the opposite for some couples.

It's hard not to spend the first year of your baby's life craving the next stage. You want them crawling, walking, talking, and eating - and then when they're finally doing all of those things, you catch a glimpse of a newborn baby - and you instantly crave that helpless little creature back.
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The kind you can put down, that won't crawl away!

I really couldn't have wished for more from our first year together. Of course I have days when I feel like I'm doing everything wrong, but mostly I just float around the house with a big fat smile on my face.

Maybe that's got something to do with the fact that I'm still breastfeeding - the mothering hormones prolactin and oxytocin are still gushing around my body from feeding so frequently.

We somehow got through the exhausting first stretch - after a long, challenging birth - of all the cluster feeding my son did (and still does actually!) We've battled colic, keeping my heavy let-down under control, feeding in public, and those overwhelming moments - of being the only person who can feed your baby, but most of that's a distant memory now.

The process of breastfeeding for a year is most certainly labour intensive, but it's been the most fulfilling of my life.

The bond I have with him feels immense. So much so that I can't even imagine having another child - although I'm sure when my fertility returns I'll be gagging for one!

There was a brief moment when I thought I might be pregnant again, and the first thing I felt was guilt! So I know I'm not ready yet, and I think that's the way mother nature intended it to be.

I've learnt that a baby's sucking controls the mother's ovulation. The more the baby has a need to suck, the less ready he is to be displaced by another. The less baby has a need to suck, the more ready and able he is to cope with a new brother or sister.

Clever right?

So for now the daily moments of tenderness and connectedness that we get to enjoy far outweigh any inconveniences, or any urges to add to my brood.

He's also still in our bed. This is by choice I hasten to add. As a family, we sleep soundly as a pack, sharing the same bed. It's a very special time for the three of us. Tom, like me, is head over heels about Ern, and getting up to leave for work everyday is hard for him, which makes that nighttime bonding even more important, and I can't help but feel that their relationship is extra special for it.

There are many benefits to co-sleeping, but waking up each morning and seeing the people I love is definitely the best bit. I know it won't last forever, so for now, even on those nights he feeds like a newborn, I cherish it.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Disney Frozen Cupcakes


I made these Disney 'Frozen' inspired cupcakes for my Niece Cicely's 4th Birthday party. 

I used Mary Berry's Fairy Cake recipe - the plain and chocolate variety. I find these to be a better size when baking cupcakes for children's parties.

I topped them with Hummingbird's Cream Cheese Frosting recipe - a real favourite of mine - with the addition of blue food colouring.

I ordered Frozen rice paper characters to place on top from Ebay.

I used a medium size snowflake cutter to shape white fondant icing for extra decoration, and a 1M Wilton nozzle to pipe on the icing.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Afternoon snack

Full fat Bio Live yoghurt

Hazelnut pieces

Rice Malt Syrup 

* Rice malt syrup is made from fermented cooked rice. It’s a blend of complex carbohydrates, maltose and glucose. I rate it because it’s fructose-free and it’s slow releasing, so it doesn’t dump on the liver quite as fast as pure glucose. Also, I find you need very little of it to achieve sweetness.


Monday, 4 August 2014

Our first Birthday Party

First let me apologize for being MIA the last few days, I am in CRAZY party planning mode - as I prepare for my upcoming wedding.

I couldn't let Ernest's 1st Birthday go by without a little celebration - it being so close to the wedding day we decided to just gather grandparents and cousins.

My Mum and Paul hosted the party at their new country pad, they prepared a lovely lunch, and we  all enjoyed a woodland walk, returning for a little chicken cake - made by Daddy!

Hope you enjoy the pics, and happy first Birthday to my sweet sweet Ernest James! 

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Toner 101

I have to admit, using a toner (after cleansing) hasn't been part of my beauty routine until very recently, but I'll let you in on a little secret of mine, toner is set to make a HUGE comeback in the world of skincare right now.

For a long time I associated all toners with my experience of them as teenager - when all you could buy was alcohol-laden mixtures of water and witchhazel that burnt your face off!

A tingle however, I've learnt, is okay.

So, if your skins been feeling a bit under par recently, this toner trend is a bandwagon you should get on.

Do remember though, not all toners are created equal, I'm not talking about the perfumed waters peddled as the "essential" step two in a skincare regime, no no no. I'm talking about liquid exfoliants.

What you need to know…

Toners stimulate circulation in the skin, remove any remaining dead skin cells or greasiness, and give the skin a smooth texture. They can be especially helpful if you have very oily skin or wear a lot of makeup. A good toner will help to restore your skin's natural pH balance.

My favourite's are 'acid' toners aka liquid exfoliants - such as AHAs (glycolic and lactic acids; for most skins except very sensitive) and BHAs (such as salicylic acid; better on spotty, oily and sensitive types). I find them to be the most effective way to exfoliate my skin - without having to resort to harsh beads, grains, and those god awful apricot kernels - that all ultimately ravage your skin, rather then do it any good.

This extra skincare step will also help aid the absorption of any products put on top of it - it basically makes the rest of your skincare more effective.

Sign me up I hear you say… but how/when/and in what order?!

Well… start with your usual cleanser to remove all of your makeup and clean your face...

Next... apply an exfoliating toner first, on cotton wool or with the pre-soaked pad.

Then... spray or cotton on a hydrating toner before you apply any serum/oil/moisturiser.

The hydrating toner, should contain things like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, algae or aloe vera. A mixture of softening and moisturising/hydrating. I like the The Body Shop Aloe Calming Toner, £8.50.

The exfoliating toner will contain acids - the strength of which is up to you depending on what your skin feels like on the day.

* It's worth noting that you can use toners on your d├ęcolletage too.

These are my top six alcohol-free picks … 

Pixi Glow Tonic £16 - An oxygenating and exfoliating facial glow tonic. For normal to dry, aging and sensitive skin. 

REN Clarimatte Clarifying Toner £12 - A clarifying toner that helps to unclogs pores, with antimicrobial benefits. Best for breakout prone skin.

Clarins Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner £25 - Feels soft and comfortable, best fort dry, dehydrated skin.

P50 - Is the holy grail of exfoliating acid toners, it is incredibly hard to get hold of in the UK, you can find it in store at EF Medi Spa, for around £50. It's well worth the investment if you suffer from seborrheic and/or hyper-keratinized skin, but is also recommended for most skin types.