Love Candles, Love Aroma

heyland and whittle citrus and lavender candleI’ve had a few birthdays to buy for this past month and so I was over-the-moon to find the Love Aroma website. Now it might be just me but I don’t think you can go far wrong buying almost any woman a gift of a candle. (However, if anyone out there reading this wants to buy for me, then avoid anything with jasmine ideally as it gives me a headache. Sorry!) Anyway I digress, after much deliberation, I ended up buying two candles but have ear-marked a few others for the next round of family birthdays and Christmas.

I really like the Heyland & Whittle Citrus & Lavender candle in its lovely on-trend Stoneglow Rose Petal May Chang candletin. It’s pure soy wax and I hope it burns as well as it looks and smells. There’s nothing worse than having a nice stylish scented candle which burns unevenly and ends up looking all lop-sided for its life. Love Aroma claim it will burn evenly so I’ll have to check-in on the birthday-girl in a few weeks time to find out.

The other candle I bought was the Stoneglow Modern Classic Rose Petal & May Chang Tumbler. I particularly love the smell of this one . It’s really quite subtle with just that right hint of rose. It comes in a well stylish box and looks like a luxury product even though it’s only £15.

Love candles, love Love Aroma!

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Lulu & Boo Organics Multi-Vitamin Face Cream

Lulu & Boo multi vitamin face creamI’ve been trying out a new moisturiser over the past couple of weeks and it’s fair to say that I’m a fan already. It’s the Lulu & Boo Organics Multi-Vitamin Face Cream and it seems to suit my skin right down to the ground.

It’s got a really pleasing texture and I love the fact that it sinks in pretty quickly. There’s nothing worse when you’re in a hurry in the morning than finding you have to wait ages after putting your moisturiser on before you can think about applying any make-up! This is precisely the reason, as you know, that I love the Weleda moisturisers so much!

I was just taking a look at the Lulu & Boo website as I’ve been trying to work out what the moisturiser smells of. I can smell the lavender that’s mentioned in the ingredients list but there’s another fresh, clean scent and I can’t put my finger on it at all. Suffice to say that whatever it is, I like it. I’m not one for over-scented products, equally I find the smell of many organic beauty products off-putting. Lulu & Boo have the balance just right with this cream.

The Lulu & Boo Organics range have none of the usual ‘nasties’ and are hand made in small batches so you know they’re going to be fresh and have a reasonable shelf life. As a bonus, their packaging is fully recyclable too so tick, tick and more ticks! They’ve also won awards galore and  most of their products have been certified organic by the Soil Association.

I’ve got my eye on the Elderflower & Orange Blossom Whipped Hand and Body Cream next!

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#BigLittleThanks

tulips with cardOne of the more interesting press releases to drop into my Inbox last week was one that claimed 1 in 10 Brits are ‘too busy’ to say thank you. This kind of intrigued me as I simply can not comprehend how anyone can ever be ‘too busy’ to say thanks.

The research by Philips also revealed that 40% of Brits admit they forget to say thank you for the everyday tasks that loved ones do for them. It turns out that British people are more likely to say thank you to a stranger for opening a door for them than to their own family and friends.

Dr Mark Williamson, Director of Action for Happiness (now there’s a job for you!!) said,  “Too often we take our loved ones and friends for granted ….. but we should never underestimate the power of a simple thank-you – or how great it feels when we go out of our way to remind someone that we really appreciate them. Sometimes it’s the little things that make the biggest difference! Deep down we all want to feel loved and saying thank you is one of the simplest and most important ways of showing people that we care and helping them feel valued”.

The good news is that two thirds of people acknowledge they should say thanks more often for everyday things and it’s our mums and dads who top the poll of those people we think deserve the most thanks.
•         Parents 80%
•         Grandparents 21%
•         Friends 15%
•         Retail staff 15%
•         Waiters or waitresses 10%

#BigLittleThanks

Anyway, to cut to the chase, Philips is encouraging people to celebrate those little things people do everyday for us with a Great Big Little Thank You . So to show Philips Viva Collection AirFryeryour gratitude to someone special for the little things they do,  post your thank you using the hashtag #BigLittleThanks.  You can find out more on their Facebook page and on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

The #BigLittleThanks Philips Survey of 1,109 UK residents took place in June 2014.

While I’m here, it seems appropriate to give my own #BigLittleThanks to Mr. C who bought us a joint house present of a Philips Viva Collection AirFryer a few months back. I used to just buy ‘Oven Chips’ as this seemed to be the healthiest way to eat chips but let’s be fair oven chips simply don’t taste the same as the ‘proper’ ones, do they? Stick some chips in my new Air Fryer though with just a spoonful of oil and wow you’ve got amazing chips and healthy too! It’s dead easy to clean, heats up in no time at all and looks neat on the work surface in the kitchen. I’m still playing with it and learning something new every day. It wasn’t cheap but you know that because it’s Philips it’s going to last.  I’ll keep you posted anyhow…….

The Cost of Living?

three happy sistersI was reading an article the other day about how much it costs to bring up a child and I was thinking how absurd most of the figures were. To be honest, the overall cost, referred to, of bringing up a child from 0 to 17 was way more than many people would even earn over 17 years. Multiply the figure given by the number of children you have and the figure you’d end up with would come from Cloud Cuckoo Land!

Cost of Raising A Child Calculator

Anyway I started totting it all up in my head and boy does it all add up. From the nappies in the early days through clothes, books, toys, food, music lessons, school trips, pocket money, entertainment etc and all the way on to Uni. The thing is it doesn’t stop at 17 though, does it? How can it?

Meg and MaddieOne of my daughters is home from Uni as it’s the Summer holidays and obviously it’s made a difference to our shopping bills. Last week in Tesco I bought additional shampoo and conditioner to suit her hair, for example. I had shampoo in the house for my hair but hers is different so I had to buy it. Then there were the tampons I added on to the shop though I actually went to Aldi (nearly next door to the Tesco I went to) for them as they’re so cheap there! The overall food bill was obviously higher too. I bought twice as many grapes as I normally would as I know how much she likes them. I also bought her favourite cereal and various sandwich fillings for her packed lunch when she goes to work. An extra person in the house eating their 5 a day is bound to make a difference to the shopping bill – of course it is!

Some people might say that if she has a holiday job then I should ask her for a Banknotesproportion for bills. If any of my children were living at home after Uni and they were working, then clearly I’d ask them to pay their way. But as far as I’m concerned Meg is working through the holidays and is paying for all her own ‘entertainment’, contact lenses, phone bill, clothes etc. and is saving up to go inter-railing in a few weeks time. She got the travel bug when she was on her gap year in New Zealand and travelling can only be good for her.

I say she buys her own clothes because she does but it’s very rare that I go on a shopping trip with her or her older sister and don’t pay for something. I’ve got to say that I’m more than happy to do this too. I’m their Mum and that’s what Mums do. My Mum did it for me after all.

The cost of living doesn’t stop at 17 – how can it?!

Ruby Red Body Moisturiser

Ruby Red Body MoisturiserRuby Red Body Moisturiser is quite simply pretty amazing stuff! It smells clean, fruity, refreshing and works like a dream. There have been days since I started using it, that I haven’t even bothered with putting perfume on as I like the moisturiser’s lime scent so much.

I’ve got the Revive and Repair Body Moisturiser – Lime but I know they do a ‘Soothe and Nourish’ version too in Jasmine which I’m fairly sure I wouldn’t like as jasmine tends to give me headaches.  (Good call, Kathryn!)

Ruby Red prides itself on being a British brand which uses  plant ingredients and natural fragrance. Their products are free from all the usual ‘nasties’ and as you’d expect from a company with such a strong sense of what’s right, it doesn’t test on animals. This is all very well and good and many ‘green’ companies try to do this, however often their products fall short at the finishing line and end up being unpleasant to use because they ruby red logosmell, let’s say, less than fresh!  This is most certainly not the case with Ruby Red who have produced products which not only ‘do the business’ but are also fabulous to use.

I’ve been using my Ruby Red Body Moisturiser for a couple of weeks now and am nearly out of it. My dry legs though have never felt better and I love how soft amd smoothe they feel. It’s a winner without doubt!

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Jewellery Boxes from The Holding Company

jewelleryOver the years my 3 daughters and I have amassed a fair amount of jewellery, knick-knacks, trinkets and yes, some tat. All of this stuff needs putting somewhere and we all have lots of jewellery boxes and trinket boxes of varying designs and sizes, scattered in our bedrooms, filled with jewellery (both junk and ‘proper’ for want of a better word).

Anyway I thought I’d do a bit of ‘rationalising’ a couple of weeks back as DD3 jewellery boxcame home from Uni with a whole room-full of her Portsmouth life which needed storing until next Term. She can’t keep the things in her own room as it’s too small so I thought I’d make room elsewhere in the house by tidying-up, throwing loads out and donating bagfuls to charity. Whilst doing this, I took a good look at my ‘jewellery’ situation and decided to do a good sort-out.

Decluttering is something I have to do fairly regularly to keep sane as otherwise my house would be like that of one of those people from a Channel 5 documentary. jewellery boxesYou know, those people who, for whatever reason, simply can’t bear to throw anything away.

Well I was pretty brutal in my decluttering day. Necklaces bought in a NEXT Sale and never worn went in the charity bag along with many a ‘holiday bangle’. T-shirts which have been too small for a long time but kept in anticipation of the ‘day that never comes’ when I might fit into them again? Yup, charity bag for them too! Bijoux BoxBy the end of the afternoon, I could see light at the end of the tunnel and I could see some really nice pieces of jewellery I’d simply forgotten about too as they were languishing, all tangled-up under a load of ‘junk jewellery’.

I’ve still kept a few of my treasured trinket boxes but the bulk of my jewellery is now in my new jewellery boxes from The Holding Company . They’re see-through which means a lot less faffing around looking for particular items and nice and contemporary-looking too. I even picked up a couple of their cheap and cheerful Bijoux Boxes for the less-special trinkets I simply couldn’t bear to throw away – memories of Mothers’ Days gone-by!

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New Glasses from Vision Express

woman wearing glassesI’ve been short-sighted since I was five and have to wear either contact lenses or glasses to see pretty much anything unless it’s two inches from my face. Yup, I’m as ‘blind’ as the proverbial bat and rely on opticians to help me see basically.

Although I prefer to wear contact lenses to correct my vision, I obviously have to wear glasses too as it’s not good to over-wear contacts. I have MultiFocal contact lenses and Varifocal glasses so I’m not one of those people who can wander into an opticians, have an eye-test, choose new frames and return an hour later to pick up a new pair of glasses. My prescription is also really high which means I have to have the lenses in my glasses made thin so they don’t look like the bottoms of old jam jars. A costly business!

I religiously go for my eye tests every year and would never miss one. I have no idea why so many people don’t take their eye health seriously. Some of my friends have never been to an opticians – something I find incredible. One said to me recently, ‘My eyes are fine. I can see so what’s the point?! An eye test can find out all manner of things about you and many an optometrist has detected diabetes, high cholesterol and even brain tumours in their patients. (Obviously the latter is extremely rare but what I’m saying is that an eye test will reveal how well or not so well you can see, but it can also reveal a lot more about you.

Eye TestRecently I took myself off to Vision Express for an eye test and new frames. I knew my prescription had changed as I was struggling with screen-work and even reading when my eyes were tired in the evening. I’d been going to another big high street optician for the past 10 years or so but as I’d seen really nice frames in Vision Express, I thought it was worth giving them a go. Their prices seemed to be pretty much on a par with the one beginning with S that I used to go to so I had nothing to lose trying out a new optician.

On the day of my appointment, I was wearing my contacts when I arrived as I’d been given the wrong information – this meant that I couldn’t have the ‘puff test’ (which ccan detect glaucoma or the peripheral vison test. This made little difference as I had both of those on the day I went back in to pick up my new glasses. (On a side-note, why do so many people persist with the archaic term ‘spectacles’? Nobody ever says it in ‘real-life’!). I had a very thorough contact lens check and an Eye Test and as I thought, my prescription had changed. As I’ve been over the magic -10 mark for years now, my Eye Tests are free – the only benefit to having rubbish eyesight! Unfortunately my lenses aren’t and as I said above, the lenses in my glasses are pretty costly. I went out to choose new frames, knowing that I was going to spend a Mini-Break’s worth of money to get myself sorted.

The lady who helped me choose guided me towards the frames which would suit my prescription so I didn’t waste time trying on inappropriate frames. I narrowed it down to 2 pairs but ended up buying the first pair I tried on. I’m not a labels-person and don’t give a monkey’s about designer frames but the ones that suited me best were actuanew glasses from Vision Expresslly the Ralph Lauren ones worn far more beautifully than me by the model in the picture on the Vison Express site.

I can honestly say that I love my new glasses and they are far more stylish and comfortable than any glasses I can remember wearing ever.

The Thumbs Up then to my new glasses from Vision Express!

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The Thumbs Up to Trilogy Everything Balm

Trilogy Everything BalmIf I had three thumbs I’d give all of them The Thumbs Up to Trilogy Everything Balm! It’s seriously good stuff and I have it with me almost all the time. It’s one of those uber-useful balms which works for nearly everything and is another one of my ‘beauty must-haves’!

I use it on my cuticles, my elbows and my heels regularly but when I get sore, chapped skin anywhere I’ll just massage a bit of the Trilogy Everything Balm in and hey presto, it feels better! You know how your feet get really dried skin on the back of the bottoms of the heels in the Summer? Well I massage some of the Trilogy Everything Balm onto and into the hard skin on my feet and then pop a pair of socks on over the top? The socks warm the balm up and when I take my socks off after an hour or so, my feet are lovely and soft. Brilliant! I use the balm on my lips too to keep them smooth and conditioned although I much prefer the smell to the taste. It’s got a lovely scent and isn’t at all medicinal like some of the other so-called multipurpose balms out there.

It seems quite a solid balm in the pot when you pick a bit up but then it starts to melt on your fingers and becomes a lovely texture to work with. I’ve read that some people use it for massage as it does become oily with lots of contact but I haven’t tried thatTrilogy Everything Balm new (yet).

You can Buy the Everything Balm by Trilogy here and believe me it’ll be the best £12.50 you’ve ever spent. It lasts for ages and you can use it for everything. No-brainer!

(Just to say that I have the old packaging as I’ve had mine for a while now but I can see on the Trilogy website that they’ve updated the packaging and it now looks much cuter!)

So once again, I reiterate …..

The Thumbs Up to Trilogy Everything Balm!

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Buon Appetito – Win A Cook Italian Hamper

Rightio then All, to celebrate Italy’s Republic Day, Cook Italian are offering TheThumbsUp visitors the chance to Win a Cook Italian Hamper worth £30.

The hamper is filled with a selection of authentic Italian food in a perfect picnic bag!Cook Italian Products

The Thumbs Up to Cook Italian and Italy’s Republic Day, I say!

We Brits have a real love affair with Italian food and pasta dishes are forever appearing in the UK’s Top 10 meals. But if you want to create the true flavour of Italy in your own kitchen, then it stands to reason that the ingredients need to be genuinely Italian too.  Cook Italian (grown and made in Italy, by Italians, for over 3 generations) makes authentic Italian pasta, oils, sauces, tomatoes, Italian cheeses Cook Italian logoand now a DIY pizza kit to bring the true flavour of Italy to your family’s favourite meals.

Win A Cook Italian Hamper

Anyway, back to the prize….. To kick-start the festivities for Italy’s Republic Day, Cook Italian and TheThumbsUp are giving you the chance to win a tasty selection of authentic Italian food, packed into a brilliant picnic bag.

All you have to do is fill in the Rafflecopter Form below – all the usual tweeting and commenting is all that is required! Dead easy!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The competition closes 16th June

Competition terms and conditions

Weleda Wild Rose Smoothing Day Cream

Weleda Wild Rose Smoothing Day CreamI’ve been a massive Weleda fan since I first tried Weleda Wild Rose Smoothing Day Cream 4 years ago in the days when it was just called Wild Rose Day Cream. 

At the time it seemed like my skin was suffering every time I put anything on it. Shampoo, cleansers, make-up, moisturisers – you name the product and you bet I was having problems with it. A couple of years of experimenting with products and I’ve kind of worked out which beauty products I can and can’t use although even now I still slip up. My skin has calmed down a lot now and I don’t have to be quite as strict but every now and again I get it wrong.

Green People Hydrating Firming SerumFor example, right now I’m suffering from a blotchy light break-out caused by a Green People Hydrating Firming Serum. I had thought that it would be fine but it certainly wasn’t for me. Apart from anything else It made my skin feel terribly tight and taut when I used it so I should have guessed that it wasn’t right for me. I didn’t give up on it after the first go, by the way. I tried it again after giving my skin a complete break from everything (except mascara!) for a week but lo and behold, the same blotchy spots appeared.

Weleda Wild Rose Smoothing Day Cream

The Weleda Wild Rose moisturiser is my go-to moisturiser and the one I almost always end up going back to even when I’ve tried really good alternatives which have suited me. It’s a rich cream but not in the slightest bit heavy so you can put your make-up on straight after applying. It makes my skin feel really soft and I’m not saying it makes me look younger but id does soften the lines around my eyes. The other thing is that the Weleda creams have a premium feel but at middle range prices. It’s as good as the Dr H equivalent but less than half the price! (You know the one I mean , don’t you?!)

All the Weleda Wild Rose products I’ve tried have suited me right down to the fround and the Wild Rose Day Cream is without doubt one of my Top 10 Beauty Must-Haves!

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The WOW! Factor