Saturday, 26 August 2017

Week 4 of the summer holidays and Back to School stationery

This week has been a funny week.  It's week 4 of the summer holidays which means only another fortnight until everyone is back at school.  We were mostly away at the beginning of the holidays so this is the first full week we've done at home.

So far this week we've had a doctors appointment (couldn't park), a dentist appointment (was late, they closed the road I needed to use), hair cuts, food shopping (twice), a trip to the local Ford garage to get a battery for the car key as it won't work without it (8 quid!!), and a photo shoot with my friend Natalie to get some professional shots of the boys to put in a frame for my husband's birthday.  The dog pulled a ligament chasing a rabbit and has been limping and feeling sorry for himself all week and I've been worried sick because, you know, he's my baby and all that.

The weather is awful.  Dull and overcast and it feels like October half term.  Nobody is amused.  We are all missing Spain and Wales as that was the last time we saw the sun.

Also ...

Son 1 has just remembered his holiday homework.
Son 2 has worn the same pair of shorts since Sunday and 'can't find' a clean pair of socks anywhere.
Son 3 is just being very loud all of a sudden, I need a remote to turn him down this week.

I got on the scales (mistake) and am now back on Slimming World.  I'm actually not that bothered what I weigh but my clothes are tight and not comfy so a couple of pounds needs to go. It's my own fault, you know what they say, if you eat crap you feel like crap and it is true, I always feel better when I eat good food and I find that SW helps me to do that as I have a tendency to feed the boys properly and then not bother with myself that much, and that's not right.

This week I've also realised that I might have a little addiction to stationery.  I now view stationery the same way I used to view high heeled shoes in the days before I had to go on school runs and heels were basically relegated to the 'going out' section of my wardrobe.

It's not really pens and pencils as I'll use any old biro and I'm left handed so I don't use inky pens as they smudge, no it's notebooks A5 and A4, the prettier the better.  I particularly like ones that have the word 'organise' printed on them as it makes me feel like I might actually get organised if I have them in the house.  Of course, this past week I've been in my element because everywhere is screaming 'Back To School' and there's lots of lovely colourful pencil cases, notepads, and diaries and journals and  organisers just waiting to be snapped up.  Tesco has been particularly perused to death, they've got stationery both downstairs and upstairs in our local one and stationery type goodies have fallen into my trolley at least twice.

So in my opinion, this is my experience of stationery recently.

Tesco - excellent Pukka Pad sets on sale in a variety of colours (pink, purple, green) and I got a lined notebook with a removable cover which can be reused, an academic diary and a green A5 project book with dividers.  There were also some really nice pencil cases there (which I resisted because I really do not have a need for a pencil case though I did think it would make a nice case for my kohl pencil collection).

Paperchase - journals and diaries, both academic and for 2018.  They do a really nice selection of diaries, week-to-view and daily.  Last year, I got a blogging journal in there which sadly has been either discontinued or is not on sale anymore, I'm hoping they bring those back at some point as they were ace.

Amazon - great blogging planners or journals though most of them are in diary form and A4 so new year might be a better time to get those.  Massive packets of pens of every shape, size and colour and really good deals on those see through plastic cover slips.  I bought loads as Son 1 goes through quite a few at the beginning of term.

Sainsburys - very pretty and quite funky notebooks both A4 and A5, lots of 'on the wall' organiser type things as well which are good for confused Mum's like myself when you've got seventy billion things going in one day and then you forget to feed the cat, that kind of thing.  Their pads of lined paper are really good value as well (I bought a couple for homework purposes - the kids, not mine).

The Works - I love The Works.  Sadly, it's possible for me to spend a fortune in there even though all their stuff is so reasonably priced.  They've got super A4 notebooks/journals with nice hardback covers for between £2 and £4, they also sell those small exercise books like you have at school which can be useful if you don't want a massive book in your bag.  You can get them in packs of 10 for not very much money.  You can also order online from The Works, I've never done it but every time I pay for something there the young man behind the counter advises me of all the further discounts I could get if I went online (must do that sometime).

So there we are.  And I am now not allowed to buy any stationery for the next three weeks.

Love, Maria

Notebook and diary from Tescos.  Slimming World magazine self explanatory!


Monday, 7 August 2017

Avon Mark Gel Shine Nails - Dazzle Pink

Im sitting here watching Son's 2 and 3 in the swimming pool as No 3 has only really just learned to swim so I've got my lifeguard head on.  I thought I'd share my latest nail colour.

It's from Avon.  It's from the new Mark range and it's a Gel Shine one.  I love these Avon Gel Shine's I rarely wear anything else these days.  This one is called Dazzle Pink and it's fast becoming a second favourite to Lavender Sky which I've already written about this year.

Mark Gel Shine Dazzle Pink and top coat

Avon Mark Gel Shine Dazzle Pink Nail Enamel

Mark Gel Shine Dazzle Pink

Dazzle Pink plus Top Coat

Dazzle Pink is a bit of a misleading name actually because as far as I can see it's not very pink, it's more of a light peach colour and it's got a very slight shimmer to it hence the 'Dazzle' part of the name.  Still a lovely colour though.  One of my favourite pink ones is ASAP Pink from Avon which is a 30 second drying one, that's great.

Two coats is a definite, plus the Mark Gel Shine top coat which is on my list of favourite top coats.  It's worth investing in the top coat because it does help stop chipping and it is very shiny and I love shiny nails so I've always got some in.  Actually, I stock loads because I always have customers wanting it, I recently recommended it on my Avon FB page and it went a bit nuts.  These polishes are usually about £7 but quite often half price, so as I've said before, worth stocking up and I often have excess nail polish stock in my eBay shop going for less than that, eBay is a great place to check these things out.

As you can see from the photos above my nails aren't long, I do try but they break, but that's fine, I don't mind having them short, this is a nice colour for short nails I think.

I'm looking forward to seeing the Autumn/Winter Gel Shine shades which should be in the next lot of  First Look brochures.  It's hard to think about that whilst the sun is shining here but it'll be here before we know it.  Actually sooner, we go home to the rain tomorrow!

Love, Maria

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Clinique Cheek Pop Blusher

Over the past few months I've accumulated several new blushers.  This is partly because I went on holiday to Florida earlier this year and spent a small fortune in Walgreens, Walmart and Target not to mention the Florida Outlet Mall which, frankly, was my idea of heaven.  I'm sure it won't be a surprise to learn that it wasn't only blushers that I bought (wait till I do the post on Urban Decay Naked 3).

So anyway, today I'm going to showcase this little beauty by Clinique which was purchased at my favourite beauty shop in the Florida Outlet Mall .

Clinique Cheek Pop 'Melon Pop'

Melon Pop from Clinique

It's an aptly named Cheek Pop, I guess so that you can 'pop' a bit of colour on and go.  The colour is 'Melon Pop' somewhere between the colour of water melon and that other orange melon that I can't remember the name of right now.

This is different from most of my blushes which are big enough in the pan to swirl a massive Real Techniques blusher brush in so I was wondering if I'd be able to use it, and also the pattern on the product is so pretty part of me didn't want to use it as I didn't want to wear it away.  However, these things are bought to be used so I tried it at first with a smallish blusher brush (medium Real Techniques, one that they would use for contouring maybe) and it worked, I managed to get good coverage and because the colour is not highly pigmented it's easy to layer and work in and gives a lovely healthy glow.

Most of my blushers are pink based because I'm pale so anything with a hint of peach has a tendency to look unnatural, however I think it helps that it's summer and the Freckles are out so I've got more colour, I'm not sure how it'll look when I am alabaster in the Winter, I'll have to see.  I've been putting a bit of highlighter over the top where the cheekbones are to make it look a bit different, I've got a lovely summery Milani one that I'm loving at the moment (in pic bottom right but the Physicians Formula one is good too).

Milani blush, bottom right

It got me thinking what is the Cheek Pop range and what else is there in the range?  That's when I decided to go on the Clinique website.  Big mistake.  Since doing that I have created an account, purchased two items (with free samples of course) and have signed up for newsletters and text alerts on new products.  Oh dear.

But back to the Pop range.  There are no less than 14 shades of the beautiful Cheek Pop one of which is a lovely pink which is now on a wishlist and an Oil and Lip Cheek Glow which is one of those products that does a two in one, I've never got on with those so I'd be interested to see how that one works in practice.

So there we are, my blusher babbling is now complete.  Did I mention that one of the things I got from the Clinique website just now was a Special Edition Cheek Pop ... can't wait!

Happy blushing!


Thursday, 3 August 2017

First day holiday ramblings and first look at the Duty Free purchases

I brought my laptop on holiday determined to sit in an idyllic scene and blog.  So I am.  Warm breeze, beautiful surroundings, it's the ideal place to be creative.

I struggle with creativity sometimes because my mind is all over the place for about 98% of the time and I find it hard to focus.  I read a really good thing on Instagram yesterday (can't remember who is was from to credit but rest assured I'm not suggesting I made up these words).  It says

Mum's brains are like a computer
There's always 15 tabs open

When I read that I thought Amen to that sister!  In addition to this, there's always one or two tabs that never close and to top it off they ping open by themselves in the night and wake me up and I can't get back to sleep.

But enough, this is not meant to be a moany post, god knows I did enough of that at the airport (both before and after) yesterday.  No, this post is to try to relax and think how lucky I am to be able to have a holiday like this.  The villa we are staying in for the next few days belongs to our extended family, in a beautiful part of Southern Spain, 25 minutes from Gibraltar airport so providing you get an early enough flight you can get on a plane early doors at Manchester and be in the sun by lunchtime.  Gibraltar airport is easy peasy, it's not big so there's never a huge queue which I love as I hate queueing and British airports (and American) seem to be the worst.  And I know it's because of security but that doesn't make it any less wearing, particularly with kids.

So I'm on the plane yesterday sitting with Sons 2 and 3 and they've got their heads in their DS machines (still don't get how these work or how they don't end up with a migraine) and I'd bought myself some lovely stationery the day before as I'm determined to start planning this blog properly (as part of my 'get some me time' regime that I'm trying to put in place) and I started to jot down all the things I wanted to blog about, all the products, all the little Life things and then ... I spied the little magazine in the pocket of the seat in front.  My heart leapt.  It was the Duty Free brochure.


Down went the fancy pen, I grabbed that book out of the pocket almost giving the person in front of me whiplash in the process, and O M G there were pages and pages of lovely beauty things that I could drool over, and can I just point out there was more in the Monarch brochure than in the Thomas Cook one I read earlier this year, just sayin'.

Stila One Step Correct

Several things caught my eye, not least the YSL Mon Paris perfume which was down to £59 from £71 but I resisted and dithered for quite a few minutes but eventually decided on Alpha H Liquid Gold with Glycolic Acid serum and a One Step Correct Primer from Stila.  The packaging on the Stila got me because it's so pretty and now I'm wondering if  the whole product is too pretty to use (see pic), look at the pretty swirly pattern!

Alpha H Liquid Gold

This is the Alpha H Liquid Gold (I assume some sort of oil) with Glycolic Acid which is applied to face, neck and decolletage and helps to firm the skin.  This is what it says it does anyway so I hope it's true as I've noticed recently that I need a bit of help in the decolletage area.  It's annoying that bits of me have suddenly started to look older but I guess that's going to happen.

I'm pleased to say I got an extra 10% off the final price so I got both of these beauties for just under £35 which personally, I think is a bit of a bargain and I am really looking forward to trying both products.

Love, Maria

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