Face Mask Fun

orchid-extract-beauty-maskLast weekend, Mr. C. had the fright of his life after walking into the bedroom to see me practising my ‘mindfulness’ wearing a face mask. And this was no ordinary face mask either as to say I looked like Hannibal Lector at his scariest was an understatement!

It wasn’t one of those sticky masks which set rigid on your face so you have to peel them off, it was more of a Facial Sheet Mask, I suppose. I used the Orchid Extract Replenishing Mask from the Luxury Range at Timeless Truth and it was made from elastic cotton, bio-cellulose and silk fibres. The elasticity ensures that the mask fits perfectly to the Orchid Extract face maskface and neck so that the serum comes into contact with all the contours of the area. Perfect!

Even after the recommended 20 minutes, the mask was still lovely and moist and continuing to hydrate my skin. When I took it off I actually used it to wipe over my arms, legs and chest as a kind of body moisturising treat! My face felt lovely and soft and smooth all day and the next. Not entirely sure I looked radiant or 21 again but hey after my half hour relaxing Me-Time, I definitely felt it!

My mask came from TheBeautyMask.co.uk .


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May 2015 in Pictures

Win KORRES Water Lily Bath & Body Collection

KORRES Water LilyI love KORRES products and always have and I love to bits the new KORRES Water Lily Bath & Body range. I think you’ll like them too so below there’s a chance for you to win them! Yay!

The KORRES Water Lily Shower Gel is lovely and moisturising. Apparently it’s something to do with the wheat proteins which create a kind of protective film on the skin to keep your skin hydrated. The Water Lily Body Milk is gorgeous too. It’s got all sorts of goodies for the skin in it including almond oil and shea butter.  The scent is ‘just right’ – not too strong and light enough for you to still wear your usual perfume after applying.  Having said that if you don’t want to put perfume on tKorreshen you’ll still be aware of a subtle water lily scent all day.


Anyway, if you’d like to Win the KORRES Water Lily Bath & Body Collection, all you have to do is:

Follow @TheThumbsUp on Twitter


Winner May 22nd

The Winner can be seen on My Twitter Winners’ List

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A Glasgow Sleepover!

Strawberry MojitoA few weeks back we went up to visit our eldest daughter in Aberdeen. Helena has been living and working in Aberdeen since she left Uni and loves it up there. Obviously I’m happy she’s happy, has a great job, lovely boyfriend and all the rest but Aberdeen is flipping miles away so every visit is a trek and a half! Cardiff Airport doesn’t offer flights to Aberdeen, otherwise we’d fly every time. We have flown from Bristol but we still had to leave our house in Cardiff at stupid o’clock to drive an hour, park and be there an hour before. Granted flying gets you to Aberdeen quickly but with all the faffing around beforehand, you sometimes wonder if it is the best option. My other bugbear is that every time we want to go, the prices seem to go off the scale.

Anyway, I’m fortunate that Mr. C is one of those rare bods who actually enjoys driving. I don’t get it personally but who am I to gripe when he’s more than happy to sit in the driving seat at 6 am Glasgow Buchanan Galleries Premier Innin Cardiff and power forward for the entire day to get us to Scotland same day?! He has driven up in one go once but usually we have a stopover somewhere and then do the last few hours the next day.

This time he drove us to Glasgow in record time (and yes we do stop every two hours or so for coffee, wees and whatever unhealthy snacks we happen upon!). I think we left at 6 and were parked in Glasgow around 7/8 or so hours later. I think Mr. C probably could have kept going but Aberdeen is still another few hours past Glasgow so better safe than sorry….

Premier Inn GlasgowWe stayed in The Glasgow Buchanan Galleries Premier Inn – one of numerous Premier Inns in Glasgow – which is smack bang in the centre. Check-in was as painless as ever. A super-friendly ‘meeter and greeter’ directed us to the self-check-in machines. I tapped in the name and two key cards promptly appeared from the slot as if by magic. As fate would have it, we arrived at the room to find the keycards wouldn’t ‘give us the green light’ . Mr. Meeter and Greeter sorted us out though in a Glasgow Premier Innblink of an eye and within minutes we were in our room. It was absolutely huge and most surprisingly had a chaise lounge in it. In a Premier Inn – who’d have though hey!

As we’ve come to expect of the chain, our room in the Glasgow Premier Inn was brilliant value for money, contemporary, spotlessly clean and equipped with everything you need for an overnighter. The TV was a tad high on the wall but the bed was amazingly comfy and the room was really quiet so we had an amazing night’s sleep. As you know, Premier Inn say ‘A Great Night’s Sleep Guaranteed’ Ask Restauranton their site. Usually I take these blurbs with a pinch of salt but we’ve genuinely found that we sleep like the proverbial logs whenever we’re in one. Once in the Brighton Premier Inn, we actually slept in till Ask Restaurantnearly midday. We hadn’t set an alarm as we assumed we’d wake at a normal enough time – mistake!

Our visit to Glasgow really was a flying one….. We decanted our bags and went straight out to stretch our legs. We wandered around for a bit before happening upon the Hard Rock Cafe where it being a Friday afternoon, I went for a Strawberry Mojito and then an interesting Margarita. Mr. C.  on the Premier Inn Restaurantother hand, seemed more than happy with his Stella. I find it very hard to resist more exciting drinks when they’re on offer – I obviously don’t get out enough! We opted to eat that evening in Ask, just around the corner from the hotel. There were so many restaurants nearby that you really were spolt for choice though.

Breakfast next morning, in the newly refurbished Thyme Restaurant, was hot and plentiful with everything you’d expect including plenty of fresh fruit and croissants. We filled our boots and after a painless check-out, were on our way further North to The Granite City.

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WELEDA Iris Hydrating Day Cream

Iris Hydrating Day creamI’ve been a fan of WELEDA moisturisers and hand creams for a long, long time but I’ve only just tried the Iris products for the first time recently.

The WELEDA Iris Hydrating Day Cream comes in the same sort of tube as the Wild Rose Smoothing Day Cream which is one of my all-time favourites and my ‘go-to’ everyday moisturiser. It has a vague kind of iris-like scent I suppose, but although I’m not a fan of irises, I actually quite like the light floral scent in this moisturiser.iris-weleda

On WELEDA’s own site it says that the Iris Hydrating Facial Care range is for skin ‘up to the age of 30′. Now I’m way, way, way past that, nonetheless, I found the Iris Hydrating Day Cream absolutely fine as a general moisturiser. It sinks in nicely, doesn’t leave the skin greasy, makes my skin feel soft, smells good and for a natural ‘nasties-free’ product is inexpensive. Yes I’d probably opt for the Wild Rose or the WELEDA Pomegranate range as a Weleda Iris Hydrating Night Creamfirst choice but I’d be perfectly happy using the Iris range if my other two favourites weren’t available.

I’ve been using the Iris Hydrating Night Cream too and have nothing but praise for that one as well. The texture is slightly creamier and isn’t absorbed quite so quickly – just as you’d expect from an overnight moisturiser. It smells divine though and as an all-round night cream, you can’t go wrong!

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Win a Lindt Gold Bunny Soft Toy With Mini Milk Chocolate Bunnies

Lindt Gold Bunny Soft ToyHow would you like to win a Lindt Gold Bunny Soft Toy to give someone special this Easter? If so, here’s a quick Easter Competition for you!

This very sweet and cuddly Lindt Gold Bunny Soft Toy would make a lovely Easter gift, particularly for children. It’s got the added bonus of having a hidden pouch stuffed with the famous and super-scrumptious Lindt mini milk chocolate bunnies. To top it all, the Lindt Gold Bunny soft toy has the same red ribbon and bell as the Lindt chocolate Gold Bunny.

What’s not to love?



Competition closes on March 31st and winner will be announced on Twitter and on my Twitter/Blog Winners List. Hopefully then the winner will have the prize for the Easter Weekend! :)

The Thumbs Up or The Thumbs Down?

So this week, here’s who I’m giving The Thumbs Up or The Thumbs Down to…..

The ThBotanicals Anti-Ageing Facial Serum umbs Up

The Thumbs Up definitely for Botanicals Anti-Ageing Facial Serum from the Botanicals Rose & Camellia face care range. A little goes a long way and my skin is feeling much more hydrated when I wake up. I don’t use it in the morning as I prefer not to use facial oils under make-up but from what I can gather it’s good to apply twice a day. It’s ‘nasties-free’ and smells heavenly!

GPs Behind Closed Doors gets the seal of approval from me too. It’s a lovely, heartwarming series full of ‘characters’ both amongst the doctors and their patients. The doctors are all incredibly caring and conscientious and the programme really shows how hard a GPs job actually is. So many symptoms and so little time…..

And The Thumbs Up also for Indian Summers – have no idea where it’s going but am enjoying seeing Julie Walters on our screens again.

My cleanser of the Garnier Micellar Cleansing Watermoment is Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water!. It’s pretty good stuff and it takes off all my make-up without a struggle. It’s lovely and soothing too and doesn’t need rinsing off when you’ve finished. It’s unbelievably good value for money – mine was only £3.32 for 400ml from Superdrug!

The Thumbs Up to LIDL too! So much variety, so many surprises and soooo cheap!

The Thumbs Down

Santander gets The Thumbs Down for a variety of reasons. I’m not going into detail because I don’t want to waste any more time on them frankly! In a nutshell, I have just closed a Santander account which I used to Cadbury Creme Eggsave for birthdays, Christmas and holidays. Wondering how Santander is allowed to send me unsolicited marketing texts to ask me to spend money from their affiliate stores yet can’t text to tell me I’m overdrawn unless I request it? Not a very consistent ‘texting policy’!

I’m not at all happy with Cadbury either for changing their near-as-dammit-perfect recipe for Creme Eggs. It would seem that Cadbury Creme Eggs aren’t made with Dairy Milk any more but with ‘standard cocoa mix chocolate’ aka that awful stuff which is kind of crumbly and leaves a bitter after-taste. A big mistake Cadbury, you mark my words!

A Spa Break at Careys Manor and SenSpa

Careys ManorA few weeks back, Mr. C and I mosied on down to The New Forest for a Spa Break at Careys Manor and SenSpa in Brockenhurst. Check-in was in the beautiful, old building and I loved the fact that the reception desk had hand-creams and other lotions and potions from the SenSpa for us to try out before we’d even filled in the registration form. So, hands soft and scented with lavender and grapefruit, we wandered over to our room in the newer part of the building

We stayed in one of the Garden Rooms which had French Doors opening out onto our own little patio and a delightful garden. As it was hovering around freezing point outdoors, we obviously didn’t choose to avail ourselves of that particular facility but hey, I can imagine that it would be a real bonus in the Summer. Our room had everything we needed, was much bigger than I’d expected and had a super-comfy bed. The decor wasn’t to my taste particularly, and if truth be told, was a tad dated, but we were about as close to The SenSpa as you could possibly get and it was here that we spent most of our time.

Careys Manor and SenSpa

We’ve been to quite a few spas over the past few years but the Careys Manor SenSpa ranks up there with the very best. We were on a Zen Spa Break package which meant that we could spend time in the Spa froSenSpam the minute we arrived and even on the day we checked out. Brilliant value for money. Breakfast in the Zen Spa Restaurant meant we didn’t even have to get dressed for breakfast as we could just roll straight out of bed, put our spa robe on over our swimming costume or yoga PJs (kindly provided!),  and within seconds be sitting down with a latte and fresh pastries or whatever we wanted. I have to say I cheated a bit and put mascara on though – I go nowhere without mascara!

SenSpa productsThe staff in the SenSpa  showed us around the whole place after we checked-in and then pretty much left us to our own devices, which is just how I like it. If we had any questions they were always happy to help and they seemed really knowledgeable about all their treatments. I’ve been to some spas where the ‘women on the desk’ taking bookings know nothing about the products their spa visitors may want to make. After speaking to one of the facialists (is that even a word?) I decided to go for a Willow Hydrate and Glow Facial. Apparently they are good for tired and dehydrated skin and help to ‘diminish fine lines’.

Willow Hydrate and Glow FacialI’m never entirely sure if they do everything they say they’re going to do when it comes to facials but this one hit the spot. No I didn’t look all Cara Delevigne or Elle Macpherson (more age-appropriate) for that matter when I left but boy was I relaxed. I only fell asleep for a short while as I woke myself with one of those snorty noises you sometimes make when you drop off. I wonder how often this happens to beauticians? I always know I’ve had a good facial if I’ve fallen asleep so assume it must happen to others too……. or is it just me?
The skin on my face was so soft and smooth afterwards though and it definitely looked brighter too. Well, what with rice and oats for exfoliating, acai berry, carrot, neroli, blueberry and stone crop to banish my free radicals and Manuka honey and guava to feed my skin, it was a veritable feast for my face.

Careys Manor and SenSpa Hydrotherapy PoolI think my favourite bit of The SenSpa was the Hydrotherapy Pool. It was huge with lots of different massaging jets for most areas of the body. The neck and upper back jets were so soothing on my tense back and shoulders – they probably felt better than they have for ages. We did the Saunas and Steam Rooms several times during our stay obviously but The Tepidarium was my next ‘best bit’. Yup – I fell asleep again. Lying on the warm loungers under the twinkling lights sent me off to the Land of Nod along with half the room as far as I could make out afterwards.

Our Zen Spa Break Package also included a meal in the newly-Wine Cambium Restaurantrefurbished Cambium Restaurant . The first night we had a cocktail in the bar beforehand (caipirinha for me) and then a superb 3-course meal. Why do I always eat so much when I go to hotels? The Chef Paul has worked as Executive Head Chef in a few 3 AA Rosette restaurants and his exciting menus made choosing what to eat, very difficult. Mr. C.’s fave bit was his Scallops starter whilst for me it was the dessert – a kind of Pistachio Crème Brule with blackberries, candied pistachios and New Forrest Yogurt. It was a bit of a departure for me as I virtually always go for a chocolate option…… perhaps next time?

Would we go back to Careys Manor and SenSpa? Oh in a flash! Yes, yes, yes!

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Some Mothers Day Gift Ideas

Mum Cushion

Cushion from JanConstantine.com

My first dilemma when coming up with Mothers Day gift ideas was whether or not to include an apostrophe!

My instinct was to go for Mothers’ Day – it being a day for all mothers. Apparently though, Anna Jarvis, the campaigner who originally came up with the whole idea wanted it to be Mother’s Day, as it’s a day for each family to celebrate their own mother and not just for all mothers in general. Anyway as I couldn’t decide what to do, I thought I’d really throw the cat amongst the pigeons and leave out the dreaded apostrophe completely…..

(And don’t get me started on how to spell ‘dilemma’ either!  I distinctly remember in school being taught that it was ‘dilemna’. I know for a fact that I still say the silent n out loud to myself when writing it down so that I spell it correctly ….. or incorrectly as it turns out. Read this on Dilemma.info if you don’t believe me…..)

Enough of all that grammar stuff anyway and here are a few Mothers Day Gift Ideas if you need them……

Mothers Day Gift Ideas

Spineless ClassicsI love Spineless Classics – it’s a site where you can get the full text of a book printed onto a poster.  It’s a unique concept and the resulting pieces of wall art make brilliant gifts for book lovers. They have a wide range of classics and prints start from £19.99  – www.spinelessclassics.com

If your Mum is forever losing her phone in her bag then MyBunjee is the way to go! They’re inexpensive, cute and not only will your Mum keep hold of her phone but it’ll stop other people from trying to nick it! No-brainer?

BeeFayre Bee Calm Diffuser

BeeFayre Bee Calm Diffuser

Beefayre is another site worth visiting if you’re looking for gifts for anyone frankly, although I’d hazard a guess that more women than blokes would be interested. Beefayre’s entire range has been inspired by the plight of the honeybee and the Bee Calm Body & Bath Set is part of Beefayre’s new Waggledance range. (Great name!)  My personal favourite though is the fresh-scented Bluebell & Wood Anemone Reed Diffuser. It’s beautifully boxed & packaged in Beefayre’s botanical print and is only £14 from www.beefayre.com

These framed plaques from The Fun Blue Plaque Company at www.funbFun Blue Plaque Companylueplaques.com are fun too and if your Mum is ‘green’ then you can’t go far wrong with a Gift Set from Dielle. Dielle sell really gorgeous nail varnishes with none of the usual toxic ingredients like toluene & formaldahyde.

Joan Collins Timeless BeautyPersonally I’m more of a Benefit woman myself but I know that there are loads of ladies out there who would really appreciate a gift from the Joan Collins Timeless Beauty range. The beautifully-packaged skincare and cosmetics make lovely gifts. This Paparazzi Ready Compact Duo is particularly handy for touch-ups on the go.

CobwebKnits Tea CosyCobwebKnits.co.uk have some retro handmade pure cotton aprons which can be personalised with BEST MUM, etc. or customised with any one of a selection of images. They also have handmade tea cosies in a variety of designs, including those perfect for Builder’s tea, English breakfast, Earl Grey or fruit teas. All their items come in pretty rustic presentation boxes which Mums everywhere will appreciate.

Premurosa is well worth a visit for something a little different for Mothers Day too. You can order a ‘letterbox gift’ to be delivered as a one-off or set up a subscription to have a gift delivered every month. The gift that keeps on giving! Everything is beautifully wrapped and really does fit through your letterbox so it doesn’t matter if you’re out when the postman calls.  I have a load of birthdays coming up and I reckon Premurosa might just be the first place I look for giPremurosa - Mothers Day Gift Ideasfts!

Of course, you could always just go to visit your Mum and take scones, clotted cream, jam and cake to make her a DIY Afternoon Tea. Why not throw in a glass of bubbly to make it that bit more ‘special’? Alternatively. take her out for Afternoon Tea so you can all be spoiled rotten…… And cliched as it may seem, chocolates go down well with most of us, let’s be fair!

Get your skates on, whatever you decide, as Mothers Day is only a couple of weeks away, on Sunday March 15th!

An Anniversary Trip Over The Pond – New York & Las Vegas

New York Empire State BuildingTen years ago Mrs C and I ventured with 5 kids in tow over to The Big Apple just before Christmas to tie the knot. It was absolutely freezing – minus 15 degrees on the morning of our wedding – but nevertheless it all went really well and all 7 of us had a fantastic and memorable time. So much so that we promised ourselves at the time that we’d go back in ten years’ time as a celebration.

Roll the clock forward 3652 days and we were back! This time we were to make a two-centre thing of it by including an additional few days in Las Vegas, mostly because it seemed a cheaper option. I know that doesn’t make sense, but believe me, it’s true.

The Seton HotelIf you ever have to choose a time to arrive in Manhattan, don’t choose 5pm at Penn Station! It’s mayhem! However we were very cheeky and managed to flag down a willing, if slightly maniacal, limo driver to take us across town to our hotel, which he did in a most white-knuckle fashion. It was like a stock car race with no fewer than half a dozen eye-closing grimaces as we narrowly missed buses, trucks and innocent bystanders in our 1 and a half mile race.

Our hotel, the Seton Hotel on East 40th Street was lovely. A brilliant setting, just around the corner from Grand Central Station and a short hop from the Subway station, it’s a smaller ‘boutique’ hotel with clean, comfy rooms, delightful staff and plenty of facilities to make your stay just that little bit more comfortable. Lots of New York’s attractions are within walking distance and those that aren’t are only a short subway ride away. There’s a great little pub next-door but one and a diner called ‘Bloom’s Deli’ serving fantastic breakfasts only a minute’s walk away.

The Guggenheim MuseumWe managed to pack in a trip to the top of the Empire State Building, although I’ve no idea why, as it was absolutely tipping down and we could hardly see our hands in front of us, the Statue of Liberty, The Guggenheim Museum, a stroll down Madison Avenue to see what we couldn’t afford. We also seemed to gravitate around the food hall at Grand Central. Heaven knows why, but the smells are so nice you can’t help it.

It was a welcome break from the winter rain and wind to head off towards Vegas for the second half of our trip. We had a corner suite at the Vdara hotel, which was a real hidden gem. The view was fabulous – overlooking the Bellagio fountains and most of the lower ‘Strip’. The room was huge withThe Vdara Hotel a separate lounge area, a dining area, a fab bathroom with an enormous bath, from which you can watch the goings-on in the bright lights below. The hotel has its own deli store in reception and is directly connected to the Bellagio and only a very short stroll to both the Aria and Cosmopolitan hotels. It has a really nice foyer bar, where you can choose to drink inside or outside depending on the temperature outside.

Unusually for Las Vegas it’s a non-gambling hotel, with no casino and no slot machines lining the public areas. It’s also completely non-smoking, which for us was great news. We knew from past experience how the smoke from the public areas so easily infiltrates the rooms in some of the other hotels.

Afternoon Tea at the Mandarin OrientalOur treat of the week was a Champagne Afternoon Tea at The Mandarin Oriental.  The Tea Lounge is situated up on the 23rd Floor of the mightily impressive Mandarin Oriental Hotel and with some of the best views of the bright lights of Las Vegas Boulevard it is a haven of peace and tranquility.  Tea is served with an assortment of beautifully presented cakes, sandwiches and scones and it’s hard to imagine a nicer and more convivial atmosphere anywhere in Vegas.  It’s a bit like turning down the speed of life for a little while.  The service is impeccable and combined with the views and atmosphere it really takes some beating as an afternoon outing.

One of our nights-out was to see Cirque du Soleil’s ‘Zarkana’, a visual and auditory spectacular with some absolutely breathtaking acts. We had excellent seats quite close to the stage and enjoyed every minute of the stunning show. It made me think back to going to a circus back as a child, but this was infinitely more spectacular. We particularly liked theOur Room at the Vdara juggling act as it seemed to be achieving the impossible! There was also a ‘sand-artist’, whose work was projected onto a screen at the back of the stage and a team of truly awe-inspiring trapeze artists.

Las Vegas offers an outstanding choice when it comes to places to eat out and on one evening we chose to eat at the Wolfgang Puck Pizzeria in the Crystals centre below Aria. For a restaurant group with such a great reputation we were appalled by the poor service. We felt as though we were an inconvenience and they couldn’t get us out of there fast enough. But hey, that’s another story and it didn’t stop us enjoying the rest of our stay.

Our journey home with British Airways was fine until we arrived at Heathrow and couldn’t disembark for a couple of hours because of a control centre fault. The last thing we needed after a 10 and a half hour flight.

All-in-all though we had a fantastic time and are already looking forward to our 20th!

We flew with British Airways, using their Galleries Lounge in Heathrow Terminal 5 and took advantage of a Stay and Park package with APH, staying at the Holiday Express Heathrow and using Purple Parking’s Meet and Greet service.

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