Thursday, 21 February 2013

gal loves gel

I've posted about Josie before on the blog I used to guest post on with Clare, but now I have my own blog, I wanted to shout and scream about the wonder that is Josie Thirkell.

Not only is Josie a beautiful girl inside and out, but she is the most meticulous person I have ever met when it comes to her handiwork.  Ever since she first gave me a pedicure that lasted 6 weeks (and only because my nails grew, the paint never chipped), I knew she was a keeper.  For that reason, I've not let anyone touch my feet other than Josie in over 8 years.

I moved away from her a few years ago, and tried a few local nail technicians and phoned Josie nearly in tears sometimes as they had damaged my nails so badly, so made the decision to be one of these crazy people that drives 40mins just to get the nails/hair/brows done. 

 I was thrilled when Josie told me she decided to set up her own business, and even more so when she told me it was going to be in the comfort of peoples homes!

I've gone from fibreglass extensions, to Bio Sculpture, to OPI Axxium and now have gelish with Josie, my nails never grow past a certain length and when they do get a bit longer than usual, they split and peel.  (No this isn't down to the stuff my nails go through, although I'm sure it doesn't help massively, but I have had this problem with my nails long before I became a nail obsessive)

Gelish works for me, I'm not one of these people that needs to change her nail polish every 2 days, but I am one of these people that thinks the state of your hands says a lot about you, especially if like me, you are in meetings with people where you are selling beautiful products, and your hands are very visible.

This is my most recent gelish encounter, it's called rendezvous.

If you live in or around London you must give Josie a go, she is a professional make up artist too and has worked on some amazing shoots, so if you are looking for a wedding make up artist, it's worth speaking to her about that too.

Like I said, she will come to your house, or your office, I know several businesses that have paid for their staff to have a manicure as a thank you for their hard work, or just a bunch of girls who get Josie in over their lunch breaks.  Even better, get the wine in one night, and have a good old gossip while Josie gives you mani's and pedi's.   Tell her to bring her tanning tent too!

You can follow her on twitter here and you can find her prices here

Nails Makeup Me - Freelance Nail Technician & Make-up Artist

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

These boots were made for walking

 I am in love with my Ash Jalouse boots that I bought from style passport (here) but at £145, I couldn't justify spending it again on a more practical black pair, so had a shop around.

These little beauties arrived from on Tuesday.

Ok, so they are not the quality of my ASH ones, but for £15 what did I expect?

I did NOT expect them to be comfortable enough to wear for a day in London (will be putting that to practice next week) or to look as good as they do.

I am ridiculously happy with this unbelievably amazing value pair of boots!  If you want a pair, heres the link: shania suedette boots

What do you think of them?

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Anything for a good nights sleep

We were so smug when Max started sleeping from 7pm until 7am (at least) from about 5 weeks, we didn't have the dark circles under our eyes like other new parents did, we had full night sleeps, in fact I probably slept better than ever.

Then our smug grins slowly faded away about 2 months ago, and the dark circles appeared.

At about 18 months old, Max is now waking at various times in the night, if we end up going into him, we discover it is more often than not because he has kicked his duvet off and is cold.  So many of his friends still have gro-bags, but he is such a wriggler, he always used to get totally tangled up in his, so we gave him a duvet probably 4 or 5 months ago.

I'd ummed and ahhed for weeks about whether to get the gro store 'stay on duvet' (here) and after trying all ideas of how we could keep his duvet on and failing, I bit the bullet and bought it.

It's so easy to use, the pillow case is attached to the bed sheet so no chance of him ending up with pillow over head. 

The first night he got too hot, so now we just have one side fully zipped, and the other as the below pic, it still means he doesn't kick the duvet to bottom of bed.

He seems to be sleeping so much better, less wriggling.  It's not the best time to test I suppose as he's not very well, and has a bit of a temperature, but this is a simply genius design, that I can't believe nobody else has thought of!

This has mostly been designed for when your little ones go from a cot to a bed, as it prevents them falling out, but we're nowhere near willing for the bars to come down yet....that would mean that rather than him read in his cot in the morning for half an hour, that he would be climbing in with us, and we are putting that off as long as possible.  Anyway, that is when we will introduce the next genius idea from the gro store which is the Gro Clock! (here)

snug as a bug in a rug

Any other tips for keeping them asleep or later wake ups in the morning are gratefully received!

Thursday, 14 February 2013

pixi sheer cheek gel (3rd item from 'Latest in Beauty' box)

I've been wanting to try some of Pixi's products for quite a while, so was really excited to try this.

I'm always nervous at the thought of a non powder blusher, as have awful flashbacks to when I applied Benefit's Benetint when it first came out, in a pub loo (dimly lit), and looked like I had a bad case of sunburn.

So I tentatively approached this tube with fear when I saw the colour

Even more tentatively I squeezed the tube

This is actually a really lovely product to apply, it's cooling on the skin, but also quite fluid, not jelly like which is what I was imagining.  The tiny amount above is probably enough for both cheeks to be honest, unless you are going for the sunburned look, which I personally am not.

just a gentle massage into skin for a more dramatic look

fully massaged in for a nice flushed look

I've used this three times so far, and really like it, as it doesn't look like blusher, it just looks like you've had a little run outside in the cold weather. (something that I will only ever fake with make up, as am not about to have a little run in the cold weather.  Or the warm weather come to think of it)

It also works really nicely on the lips, for that just kissed look!

Are there any other Pixi products I should try?

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

something to look forward to

Infinity pool overlooking the private beach
After I had Max, unfortunately I was diagnosed with Post Natal Depression.  This is an unbelievably debilitating condition.  I have always been known for always seeing things in a positive light, always seeing the glass as half full, so to all of a sudden not want to get out of bed, not put on make up (unHEARD of for me), and not leave the house for days on end was completely alien to me.

Luckily my mum and James identified it straight away, I hadn't even thought that is what it could be, I had a beautiful healthy baby boy, who was eating well, sleeping fantastically, we were ok financially, just had got a new 'family' car, so there was no reason as to why I should feel down.  Luckily my extremely lovely Doctor diagnosed me fairly quickly, and also explained to me that I could be the richest person in the world, living the most wonderful life, and still be depressed.  It was nothing to do with me, it is simply a chemical imbalance in the brain.  She gave me some tablets which she assured me were non addictive, and within a week I could feel the old Abby returning.

Soon after, James told me I deserved a holiday, so we found the stunning Daios Cove (see here) and booked a half board holiday for when Max would be 4 months old.  I was nervous about how we would cope with a 4 month old on a 4 hour flight, how we'd heat bottles up etc, but all that worry was totally unnecessary.

There was nothing to worry about on the 4 hour flight!
Whether you have children or not, this place is stunning, it has its own private beach, you can have your own pool (we did, but unfortunately when we went - october - the sun wasn't in the right position to heat the pool so we never used it!), and there is fantastic food, activities and more importantly, you don't ever need to leave, which is what we needed, just to do nothing.  If you do have a little one, I cannot commend Daios Cove highly enough, they provided the travel cot, covers, a bottle warmer, an electric steriliser and anything else you could possibly need.  You ask the question when booking, and then they keep in touch with you until you arrive, just to check whether you may have remembered something else you could do without lugging abroad.

Our room with private plunge pool and AMAZING view
We haven't had a holiday since then (that was October 2011) which I know isn't a big deal for some people, but we were used to having 2 or 3 holidays a year pre-Max, as James' dad used to live in Spain, so we'd get cheap flights out there, and obviously not have to pay for accommodation, so we are literally on our knees needing to relax, and just to get away, get some sun and have a change of scenery.  The last 20 months have been incredible, but bloody hell it's hard work, especially when you are a workaholic too!  We are also desperate to see Max build sandcastles on a safe private beach, watch him run screaming with excitement into the sea, and just create another wonderful memory!

So after relentless searches for villas with private pools, that were safe for children - the only ones we can find fyi are in France, Corsica and some in Mallorca, where if someone falls into pool, a massive alarm goes off (it is the law in France to have this alarm).  We then decided, god, he is hard enough to entertain here with all his toys with his 3 second attention span, what we will do with very few toys in a villa?  So after searching for a holiday similar to Daios Cove, we decided, do you know what, it was so perfect, why aren't we just going there again?
So we've done it, we've booked it!  Due to us both working now, we have treated ourselves to an upgrade, again with a private pool but have asked for a south facing one so we don't waste money on not being able to use it again!

If you are stuck for somewhere to go, you should really check it out, they also have great deals on at the moment until the end of February.  May 10th cannot come quick enough!  Actually, I'm 35 on the 18th, so it's a bit of a double edged sword as I'd like that to be as far away as possible!

Sun tent that a wonderful friend lent us

First dunk in the sea

Family session

Any other child friendly holiday suggestions?

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

they're real! (part 2 of 'latest in beauty' haul)

I have long eyelashes, which I know is lucky.  Max (my 20 month old son) has inherited them too, which I think is going to add to his heartbreak status. (yep, biased)

So after reading all the reviews on Benefit's 'they're real' I was feeling a bit left out, as the one thing I have searched for since I started using mascara is a volumising one, that JUST volumises.  Forget about the lengthening, I don't fancy looking like Mr Snuffleupagus thanks, and I already have people suggesting I have false lashes, so don't need to fuel the fire even more.

Lucky Lucky, this was in the Latest in Beauty box I ordered!  I really love this size for a start, I posted recently how I hang on to sample pots of foundation so I can decant into them for travelling, and the gorgeous Nic (you can follow her here) pointed out that she does the same with sample sized mascaras, which I will now do too.

Onto the wand.  I. LOVE. THIS.  Nice short bristles and the bristled ball at the end so you can get those itty bitty lashes in the inner corners, and pump the volume up on the outer ones.

The best thing about this mascara?  It doesn't make me look like a character from Sesame Street (well, maybe Miss Piggy at the moment, but that's nothing to do with the mascara).  The placement of the bristles gives me amazing coverage with one sweep, and it does volumise!  I'm guessing if I applied 2 or 3 coats, maybe I'd be able to tell you how to get to Sesame Street, but one is perfect!  I'm going to go as far to say this is my new hero!!

And here are Max's lashes.  (curses from short lashed ladies I imagine)

Monday, 11 February 2013

keep everyone close

When I found out I was pregnant, I started to write a diary, not every day, just when things happened; scans, kicks, cravings, feelings and other personal things.  I still write in it every now and then when Max does something funny, or when he took his first steps, got his first tooth etc.  I did it as I kept asking friends when certain things happened and none of them could remember!  So I thought one day, my little girl or boy, might be interested to read it.

I also wanted to keep family and people that are important to him all around Max at all times.  The only family we have close are my Dad who lives in the same town and James' brother in London.  My Mum lives in North Yorkshire, as does my Sister with her husband and max's 2 cousins, my Gran lives in Lancashire and James' sisters and Dad live in Cornwall.  So I found these 2 frames when up in Yorkshire, in a cheapo shop.

top L-R: Max & his friend Scarlett, James & I, Max with my parents Bottom L-R: James' sister, Dad and Brother in Law, James' brother, Max with his cousins

Top L-R: Max & I, Max & his Great Gran, Max & James  Bottom L-R: Max & Sophie (his girlfriend), Billy (my mums cat, who he LOVES), Max & his cousins again
Every night Max says goodnight to his Grandma and Grandad, Gran, Grandpa, Cousins Jake and Charlie, Uncle Andy, Aunty Mandy and Uncle Nick, Sophie (or RaRa as he calls her), Scarlett, and a big kiss for Billy.

Something so simple, but it has also meant that because he doesn't see everyone as often as we would like, he still knows who they are.  I like to think this is one of my better ideas :)

Sunday, 10 February 2013

It's a celebration!

Thanks yet again to @reallyree for encouraging money to leave my bank account after reading this post (click here), I decided to buy the Latest in Beauty 'the session school' box.  Priced at just £11.95 (plus P&P) I thought this was the perfect price to try out several brands I have wanted to try for a while.

First up was the Bellapierre mineral eyeshadow in 'celebration'.

This was the product I was least excited about when I ordered the box, but when I opened it, the magpie in me of old times resurfaced!  The colour instantly made me think of a brand new shiny penny, not the old dirty brown ones, but the really bright copper ones, and I couldn't wait to try it out.  

I used the vintage cosmetic company 'shadow' brush that had come in the box, and both are a hit with me.  The brush picks up really well, and barely dropped any of the shadow, which is normally my big gripe with loose shadows.  The first time I used it was for a spontaneous night out when I didn't have much notice, so I grubbily just put one sweep of it across my existing eyeshadow, and it totally transformed the look, just a really subtle shimmer, but actually looked like I had really taken some time over it!  The colour on the brush above is the colour it appears on the eyelid, nowhere near as bright as it seemed in the pot, which pleased me even more!

The next time I used it I just used a cream colour base shadow and then put quite a few layers of this over it, without eyeliner and just lashings of mascara, and again I loved it, so silky smooth, so glittery, but not in a bitty glitter way, it was just an all over dense covering of sheen.

I love this, I would pay £11.95 for it alone, and I notice that Bellapierre is quite often on sites like so will be paying extra attention to those in future too!

with flash (left is one layer, right several layers)

without flash (left is one later, right several layers)

The box is still available to buy here 

Did you try this box, and if so, did you get the same colour eyeshadow as me?  

Saturday, 9 February 2013

mop glisten spray gloss

I always look at pictures in magazines and go green eyed at how shiny these models and celebrities get their hair, but then I remember, they probably had someone primp and preen them within an inch of their life.

When I was a brunette (my natural colour), I always got complimented on how glossy my hair was, and I always felt quite smug as never did anything to it, didn't even use conditioner really.

So now for the umpteenth time in my life I have blonde hair (I get bored very easily) and I think it is probably the lightest it has ever been.  With that comes the fact that light doesn't particularly bounce off blonde hair the way it does with dark hair.  My hair is also much drier, and unless I do something to it after I have thrown it upside down and blasted it with the hairdrier, I feel I look a bit of a hag!  I'd rather not use my ghd's if I'm not going anywhere, so I reached for my old trusty mop glisten spray gloss last week, and have used it every day since.

It is a really light formula, including avocado oil, wheat protein and amino acids to help infuse the shine.  The spray action is perfect, I have had this for about 18 months, and sometimes pump action sprays can get clogged and not evenly disperse, but I still get a perfect satisfying cloud of mist settling on my hair.

The best thing about this is it is perfect handbag size, it's 50ml, but i still have well over 3/4 of the bottle left as the spray is such a good sized aperture that you get a really good coverage, I probably use 4 sprays for my whole head of hair, and it also (for me) acts perfectly as a serum, to tame the fly away hairs.  Normal serums are too heavy for me, but this does the job perfectly.

This little gem is normally around £12.95, but I have seen that you can get it for a massive bargain price of £6.57 at the moment at

Do you have any tips for making your blonde hair shine?  I'd love to hear them!

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Chloe James Lifestyle...will make me bankrupt

I'm not sure if this is considered typical blogging.  In fact, I don't actually care, it's my blog and I'll write if I want to!!

I visited the wonderful ladies of Chloe James Lifestyle today (St Albans) for a business meeting for the first time, and they suggested I had a mooch around before we met.  Very clever ladies, very clever.  I mentally spent my entire February and March wages.

From candles (NEOM of course!), to cufflinks, to stunning art, and beautiful and quirky mugs, china, and jewellery, this is my dream store.  On 2 1/2 floors, in fact I just remembered I forgot to look in the kiddies section (phew says James), this is THE place to go if you have a gift to buy, or if you just want to be naughty and treat yourself!

My shopping list:
Alex Monroe £150

Butterfly Circle £169

Day Birger et Mikkelsen Dragonfly Mug £9

They do a Daddy one, but this one is cute too! £40

Click here to shop!

Sunday, 3 February 2013

my first giveaway

As you may know, after guest blogging with Clare at Fashion Femme for nearly a year, I decided I wanted to take the jump and do it by myself!

So this is just a quick post to let you know that when I reach 50 followers on gfc or bloglovin I will be giving away a full size (100ml) l'Artisan Parfumeur Séville à l'Aube - EDP worth £88

This beautiful fragrance opens with spicy, green and zesty notes but then makes way for the passion of the heart notes... enhanced by jasmine and beeswax, the orange flower absolute reveals its opulence and stunning sensuality. The base notes are my favourite due to a deep intensity from Seville Lavender and frankincense. 

I previously worked at l'Artisan Parfumeur, and I know how this scent made men and women weak at the knees, so you would do well to have this in your collection! 

This is not to be sniffed at (see what I did there?), so please click to follow me on bloglovin or GFC, and when I get to the magic number, I will be doing a good old fashioned 'pull a name out of the hat' !

Friday, 1 February 2013

COOPS - eat your heart out

I have raved about Emma Sharp (formally Emma Franklin) ever since she first made me my very personal necklace

She then went onto create COOPS which is a genius product awaiting patent, for a simple yet very clever concept for earrings that anybody can wear, men or women, pierced or non pierced.

Emma has created a Limited Edition design in perfect timing for Valentines Day, there are only 100 pairs available and at £140 for a pair of handmade heavy 18ct rose gold plate over sterling silver, I would strongly suggest that men who can't think what to buy the girl who has everything, should get her a pair of these.....and tell her there are only 99 others in the world!

Emma has also introduced a loyalty card for any purchase of a pair of COOPS on her site, buy 6 and you get a 7th pair free.  Get your friends to club together and you could get your pair free!

Simply squeeze to secure on lobe

 Oh, and if you're not in a relationship, so what?  Treat yourself!