Category: Looking Pretty

The reason I hardly ever shave my legs

Pink razor. Text: ShavingShaving your legs is a ballache, amiright? Whether you’re in the bath and trying to reach down to your ankles, or in the shower and balancing on one leg whilst resting the other on something to stop you falling over, it’s just awkward. Shaving cream everywhere, stray hairs in bath water, shower water washing off shaving foam before you’ve begun.

Annoying.

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PRODUCT REVIEW: Loreal Magic Touch

I’ve had a few silver hairs near my hairline since I was in my mid 20s, and they’ve never really bothered me that much because they’re not noticeable, and anyway, I colour my hair. In the past couple of years that “few” has multiplied to “a few more” and they’ve also sent an invitation to some of their friends in my parting (as wonky and changeable as it is), and although I wouldn’t class myself as “going grey” <<shudder>> there’s no denying that they’re there. And sometimes I just can’t be assed to colour my hair (winter makes me lazy, don’t judge, ‘kay?) but I don’t want them glistening at me through my ebony locks (that sounds super romanticised, for what is actually Bitter Sweet Chocolate from the Schwarzkopf Live range).

Anyway, I spotted Loreal Magic Retouch on special offer in my local Boots, and at £5 (instead of the usual £8.99 price tag) I thought I’d give it a go.

I bought the black shade, because my hair is as near as dammit, certainly more black than brown, and got super excited at the prospect of not having to dye my hair as often (I told you, lazy). Here’s what the blurb says:

The pinpoint micro-diffuser precisely targets greys and the rich colour pigments give you perfectly blended coverage. Our 1st instant root concealer spray, Magic Retouch conceals greys and roots in just one quick spray – when, where and how you need it. 3 seconds to flawless roots!

Perfectly matches and blends with leading shades, even salon colour

From light blonde to black hair

Lasts until washed out

No transfer, lightweight formula

Up to 30 uses

How to use

Shake well before use.

Keep the product upright.

Apply to dry, styled hair.

Hold can approximately 10cm from hair & spray roots in a light stream.

Don’t overspray. A small amount is enough.

Allow to dry before touching your hair.

Oh, and it also says to keep out of the reach of children, but seeing as I don’t know any kids who are suffering the affliction of early aging, that shouldn’t be a problem.

So, the instructions say to hold the bottle 10cms away from your hair and spray, but if you do that at your roots, your face is going to get sprayed too, right? Even with the nozzle, which is supposed to make application more targeted, you still get splodges on your forehead (as ably modelled by myself here in a before and after stylee, you’re welcome).

See the speckles on my forehead on the right? That’s overspray on my forehead, not a batch of freckles.

The colour itself is ok, it certainly blends in well with my (non) natural hair colour although it didn’t give complete coverage. I suppose you could apply more, but it does make your hair feel a bit powdery and claggy, like dry shampoo but obviously you can’t brush it out as you do with dry shampoo because that would defeat the object of the colour molecules. And, despite it’s claims, it doesn’t last until you next wash your hair. After a night in bed mine had completely worn off (although it hadn’t stained the pillow, which is a plus, so not sure where it actually went?!)

To conclude, I’m not overly impressed and I don’t think I would buy it again. I’m just going to have to be less slovenly and start dyeing my bonce more regularly instead!

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

Sign up to Magic Freebies…get free stuff!

I’m not sure how I came across the Magic Freebies website, but I did and…err..that’s kind of it really!

Magic Freebies

They feature all kinds of freebie offers – some are instant, some are prize draw entries, some require you to answer questions about stuff like your energy usage and where you shop but they all have one thing in common – you get stuff for nowt, nada, zilch.

Which is something we all like, no?

There are lots of companies and products featured – beauty, food, homewares – and you get an email linking you to 8 offers each day.

So far I’ve received mascara samples from MAC and Chanel, which I’ll be reviewing at some point, got a code for a free Body Shop nail varnish and a voucher for a free sample of Body Shop Drops of Youth face serum, and entered prize draws to review (and keep) a new Dyson hairdresser and win a Rimmel goodybag worth £150.

With nothing to lose it’s probably worth popping on over there and signing up! What are you waiting for? Toodle-pip! You can thank me later…

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

FREE nail varnish from The Body Shop

Do you want a completely free nail varnish, worth £5, from The Body Shop?

Of course you do!

Unless you’re not in the UK, or near a Body Shop, or have bitten all your nails off in a fit of rage and have nothing left to paint.

Apologies to all of the above!

But if you’re not one of those people and you do want a free nail varnish, just pop on over to Vouchercodes.co.uk, follow the link to the Vouchercodes app (or go to the app store direct, if you’re feeling a little bit crazy), download it, and search for Body Shop offers. It will look a little something like this:

Free Body Shop nail varnish Vouchercodes

You’ll generate a unique code, which you then just show to the kind people in store, and they will present you with a veritable feast of colours to choose from. Assuming they haven’t been overwhelmed with demand from other bargain hunters and run out already, that is.

The good news is that this isn’t just for new app users; you can still get your free code if you’re already a Vouchercodes user. Hurrah!

I snaffled my freebie yesterday; a rather gothic plum called “Berry Gorgeous”.

Drop me a note in the comments if you get involved, I’d love to know what colour you go for (I was a rather pithering indecisive mess during the decision process, tbh, I don’t deal well with too much choice).

Want to know how to find out about more freebies like this? Stay tuned tomorrow and I’ll tell you about my latest discovery…

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

Product review: Nip & Fab Dragons Blood cleansing pads

I got these cleansing pads free when I spent a certain amount on Nip & Fab products (can’t remember what the threshold was) and I thought, being as I love the Dragons Blood serum so much, I’d love these too (plus, free, what’s not to like?!)

Nip &amp; Fab dragons blood cleansing pads

I’m a big fan of cleansing wipes. I’m don’t really wear foundation and only wear light make up for work, so I use cleansing wipes exclusively for cleaning my face (because I’m lazy!) I don’t buy expensive ones because I don’t see the need, and my skin is perfectly happy.

Back to these cleansing pads then. Honestly? I’m not a fan. Here’s why:

a) They’re too small. Way too small. They remind me of the nail varnish remover pads you can buy, which are fine for nails because they have a small surface area. My face does not have a small surface area (in fact it’s getting bigger with the amount I eat, but that’s another story!) They’re not ergonomically pleasing to hold or use. And obviously you need multiples to cleanse your whole face.

Nip &amp; Fab dragons blood cleansing pads size

b) They feel foamy. I’m sure that’s part of their cleansing action but they feel a bit too soapy and sticky and don’t actually leave my skin feeling refreshed. I wouldn’t want to use them around my eyes because of the stickiness, I’d be afraid of it getting in my eye and causing irritation.

These pads retail at £9.99, so they’re certainly not cheap. I’m just glad they were free, because if I’d paid money for them I’d be pretty peeved.

I’ll probably finish the pot because I’m a cheapskate (and also because I have been known to run out of my usual wipes, I’m such a crap girl sometimes) but I wouldn’t rebuy or recommend them.

Do you have a cleansing routine? Or are you lazy like me?!

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

Bodies change, and we need to get over it!

Coming back from a summer holiday (did I mention that?!); seeing people wearing less clothes than we’re used to on a day to day basis, you kind of realise even more so that people come in all shapes and sizes.

Bodies change...and that's ok

I have to admit that, before I went away, I was feeling pretty annoyed with myself for not losing any weight and not looking the way I wanted to in a bikini. I still felt that way when I arrived and even more so by the time I got home (a week of food, booze and lethargy takes it’s toll on a girl!)

But then, when I rationalise it, it’s pretty daft to:

a) restrict myself and enjoy life less for the weeks or months leading up to a holiday, just to fit a beauty ideal

b) think that other people are looking at me and judging me

The truth is, my body looks how it does because of the life I lead. I enjoy life. I enjoy food. I enjoy drinking. I don’t enjoy exercise!

When I was in my late teens and early 20s I was blessed with a high metabolism. I didn’t gain weight, whatever I ate or drank. I looked great in a bikini!

Now I’m in my late 30s (bleugh!) my metabolism has slowed down and I look less great in a bikini!

But you know what? I’m happier now than I ever was when I was younger. Not physically – I’d rather look the way I did then, if possible! But mentally and emotionally I’m content. And that’s way more important than a change in my body weight. It’s to do with mental strength, life experiences and feeling settled.

In my 20s I was single, riddled with insecurities, coming to terms with mental health issues and wondering where my life was going. Now I’m happily married which comes with the addition of eating out with my husband, takeaways with my husband, drinks with my husband (sense a theme?!) I have more financial security which affords me more holidays (which means more eating and drinking!) I know my own limitations and try not to beat myself up over things. I’ve also experienced life stuff like redundancy and my Dad’s illness which sometimes makes me think “fuck it, life’s too short not to indulge in the good stuff”.

I haven’t quite bounced back from the holiday mind set of eat, drink and be merry. I’ve already made excuses for not going to the gym (the weather’s nice; bad drive home from work; I just don’t want to!). So it’s no wonder the pounds aren’t retreating!

We’re conditioned to think that a beautiful body looks a certain way. Magazines perpetuate the myth that larger women or older women shouldn’t wear bikinis. Yet, in Greece, I saw older ladies, bigger ladies and everything in between wearing a bikini with pride. And why shouldn’t they? It’s hot, you need less clothes and comfort is important. I bloody hate swimsuits; they’re icky and sticky and you can’t tan your tum. If someone doesn’t like how you look in beach wear, they can bloody well look the other way.

I’m as bad as anyone for judging people. I think that’s just the way we’re conditioned. But I’m trying to change that about myself. Instead of looking at an overweight person and thinking they shouldn’t be wearing something, I’m teaching myself to squash that thought and replace it with “good for them”. Because if they’re ok with it then it really isn’t anyone else’s business.

I think I’ve reached the end of my meandering now. I’m not even sure there is an end! And I know I’m a hypocrite, because I’m still sitting here thinking I’d like to shrink my tummy. But I do know that, as I get older, trying to look after my body for strength and longevity becomes as important as weight loss. I want to look and feel more healthy.

But, of course, looking great in a bikini would be a bonus!

I’d love to hear your thoughts; hit me up in the comments.

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

Product review – Olay 2 in 1 Firm & Lift

I bought this Olay 2 in 1 Firm & Lift on a whim, purely because it was half price at the counter in Superdrug! I actually bought it before Christmas, but it’s sat neglected in my stash because I’ve been having an ongoing love affair with Nip & Fab Dragon Blood serum (read my review here)

Olay 2 in 1 anti wrinkle firm &amp; lift

When my N&F ran out, I decided to give this a try. And of course I was comparing it to my beloved tube of dragons blood. At first it didn’t measure up in any way.

First impressions were sullied by the colour (that’s how petty I am!), it looks like moisturiser.

Olay anti wrinkle cream

I generally avoid moisturiser as I find it feels too heavy on my skin. The Olay is a serum mixed with moisturiser, hence the appearance, and as such it feels a little more, well, moisturising than my N&F serum. It doesn’t feel as refreshing on my skin. It also felt heavier, and greasier. Not a reflection on the product, just my comparison to what I usually use.

After the first week I was going to stop using it. I developed some pinkish areas on my face that felt a bit bumpy to the touch and I was convinced it was this moisturiser. But in the interests of being a good blogger (and mainly because I’m a cheapskate who doesn’t like to waste things) I decided to persist.

At about 9 or 10 days in the pinkish skin disappeared. My complexion became smooth and soft and clear. And so I persisted further.

I can’t say I’ve noticed any reduction in wrinkles (although of course I would like to think there is!) or any increase in firmness, but my skin definitely looks good. I’ve been applying the product in the morning, before I do my make up. I haven’t tried applying a base over it, as I’m not using one at the moment, but I do think it might need a few minutes to settle in as it feels a little bit slippery when first applied.

Would I repurchase? Maybe, if it was on offer. I don’t absolutely love it (when compared to my Nip & Fab), but I do like it compared with other skin products I’ve tried. Perhaps I’ll alternate between this and N&F – maybe there’s room for both in my life!

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

A hair revelation – the humble paddlebrush!

I’m not sure whether my arms aren’t long enough (!!) but I’ve never been able to master a blowdry. I get all of a tangle, and I can’t reach the back of my head, and the fact that I’m looking at the reflection of my limbs as opposed to the reality of where they are confuses me (yes I know I’m supposed to be a grown adult).

I’m also not very patient and, in truth, can’t be bothered with the length of time it would take to do after each wash.

As a result, straighteners are my friend. It means that I can just rough dry my hair on full heat as quickly as possible, embracing all it’s glorious frizziness, and then make it look like it’s not a pile of twigs I’ve attached to my head through the wonder of GHDs.

The only exception to this is when I’m on holiday, because it’s warm enough for my hair to dry quickly which creates rather lovely if wild and tempestuous wavy curls. The kind that work when you’re strolling round the beach wearing drapey dresses and sandals, but don’t work in real life in an office in the middle of an industrial estate.

So, how did this paddlebrush hair revelation come about? Honestly, it was as a result of me not being very great at being a girl. Again. I couldn’t find my own hairbrush. So I used the husband’s instead.

At this juncture I should point out that the husband is better at girls stuff than I am. Not wearing a dress and heels, or anything like that. But looking after himself and his appearance. He has a regular skin routine. He uses intensive conditioner and hair products. The background to that is that he has beautiful long surfy wavy blonde hair which is very thick and was getting tangled after washing, so his hairdresser suggested he buy a paddlebrush (oh yes, that’s another thing he’s better than me at – he goes to the hairdresser. I don’t). She said it would be kinder to his hair than combing when wet, and the padded bristle base would remove pressure on his head.

So, back to me using it. As I said, I couldn’t find my own so thought I’d make do with his. And the result was smooth hair that only needed straightening a little bit. I assumed it was just a fluke, so tried it a couple more times. The result was the same. Straight and smooth hair with a bit of oomph and bounce.

Unstraightened hair

I now very very rarely straighten my hair. In fact the husband uses the straighteners more than I do (surprise!) I haven’t adopted any technique, or spent any time drying in any particular way. I do exactly the same as previously; point the hairdryer and brush through.

Pretty chuffed tbh!

To finish, at risk of making the husband sound like a whimsical flaxen haired book character, he’s 6’2″, broad shouldered, with muscly arms and 2 full sleeve tattoos. It just so happens that he takes care of himself like a girl. And there’s nothing at all wrong with that.

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

Review: Nip+Fab Dragons Blood Fix Serum

I don’t actually have a skincare routine as such. OK, at all. I’ve always been very lucky with my skin in spite of not regularly moisturising or even (gasp) taking my make up off, slovenly wench that I am. I know that will all come back to bite me on the ass and one day I’ll wake up and my face will have fallen off onto my pillow or something equally horrid, but I’ll just have to deal with it if/when it happens.

One thing I do use regularly is Nip+Fab Dragons Blood Fix Serum.

Nip &amp; Fab Dragons Blood Fix serum

I first bought this in desperation about 18 months ago, after an incident with a facial brush left me with the complexion of a loofah (my own fault, I think I used the wrong attachment). I needed something to pump hydration into my ravaged skin and this was on special offer. Plus I was intrigued by the dragon’s blood. It’s that simple! No research, no recommendation and no previous knowledge of the brand.

It was a great shot in the dark. I love this stuff. It’s fresh and light and soaks in really quickly, leaving no residue or shininess. It feels like my skin is having a really big drink of water.

The best thing, for me, about this product is that it’s a serum and not a moisturiser. I don’t like moisturisers. I find them too greasy and heavy, leaving my skin feeling icky and smothered. I’d never tried a skin serum before but I was hooked from the first use. My skin feels much better for using this product than anything else I’ve ever tried (big claims, I know!)

The pump dispenser is great to use; fluid and sturdy. I use a pump and a bit each morning and slather it on. My skin drinks it in and feels immediately satiated. It absorbs immediately so I can apply foundation or BB cream straight away (although I’m not currently using either on a daily basis). My skin looks plump and glowing afterwards.

Nip+Fab serum

A little really does go a long way so a bottle lasts a long time. I find it excellent value for money in that respect, plus it’s quite often on special offer which makes it even better!

Have you tried any of the Nip+Fab range?

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

Squatting in heels

If you’ve read this blog for a while, you’ll know that I’m quite a faddy person when it comes to being healthy and exercising. A few weeks ago I started on a new fad.

30 day challenges.

I started a 30 day squat challenge, 30 day crunch challenge, and 30 day plank challenge simultaneously.

For anyone not familiar with these, you basically follow a program to do increased amount of each exercise each day. This was my “pre-bikini-betterdosomethingquick” plan.

It didn’t quite go according to plan. Most of my fads don’t. I did the first three days – all good. Then you have one day of rest. The trouble is I forgot to restart after my day of rest. So I took 2 days of rest. Then I got back on it. Then I forgot again the next day.

What can I say, I’m easily distracted.

So I’ve now introduced a new alternative “routine”. When I heat my lunch in the microwave at work at lunchtime, I’ve calculated I can do 60 squats in 2 minutes. So that’s what I’m doing. Regardless of footwear.

Squats in heels

I’m mainly wearing chunky boots at the moment, with a maximum 2 inch block heel. I’m not sure if the fact I’m slightly elevated makes a difference to the effectiveness. As much as anything it’s a mental thing; not only that I’m doing something, but that I’m sticking to it.

Obviously this is only 5 days a week.

And of course there’s the chance that someone might walk in on me, and I’m not sure who can see me through the window, but I haven’t been busted yet!

Do you have any funny exercise habits?

Thanks, as always for reading! x