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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Win MyBunjee

Want to Win MyBunjee but not quite sure what it is? Then read on…..

My BunjeeOK, so if you’re anything like me, you’ll have dropped your mobile phone a fair few times. Over a 100,000 people claimed on their insurance last year for dropping their phone down the loo! And, yes I’ve done that twice but never claimed on my insurance.

Funnily enough (more unfunnily enough really!), I simply made an enquiry a year or so about claiming on our house insurance for my daughter’s stolen iPhone and our insurance went up. I was so flipping angry, let’s say incandescent with rage, when I rang them up to find out why the insurance had gone up when we’d made no claims for years. They seemed to delight in telling me that because I’d enquired, it meant that their ‘system’ saw us a higher-risk! Can’t win, can you?!

Anyway, I’ll get to the point… A few weeks back I was contacted by Emma from MyBunjee who’d been on the Dragon’s Den with her new invention, also called MyBunjee. She’s clearly as cack-handed as me and fed up with dropping her phone and losing it in her bag. Though in her case, she came up with the clever idea of the MyBunjee –  a phone accessory which fits all mobile phones and stops it dropping in the floor!

Win MyBunjee!

If you’d like to Win 1 of these clever little things to keep your phone safe, then just



FOLLOW @TheThumbsUp & @MyBunjee on Twitter

Competition ends midnight February 16th.

The Winner can be seen here – Twitter Competition Winners

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I Love MAKE Skincare

Make skincareI love MAKE Skincare for so many reasons right now that this could get really corny.

You’ll get where my over-abundant enthusiasm is coming from, if you take just one look at their site – MAKE Skincare. Just scroll up and down that page of products and tell me that’s not the prettiest page of skincare products you’ve ever seen! Those jewel coloured pots are so striking. I took one look at the page and it was a case of ‘I want that one….oh and that one ….. and that one…..’. Get the picture?

I ordered a couple of things and they arrived incredibly quickly. Not surprisingly I suppose for a company who has such a lovely site, the packaging was gorgeous. A sturdy, luxurious-looking black, flip-lid box with my two pots of scrumminess nestled inside. If I’d bought my products as a gift, I’d have been dead chuffed, I really would.

MAKE Skincare

I have the MAKE Face Smooth and also the MAKE Hands Soft. One of the principal ingredients in the face moisturiser is Linden Make Face SmoothBlossom which I’ve found particularly good in the past in another face product.  It kind of smells like honey (but not in a cloying overpowering way) and apparently is good for reducing puffiness. Amongst the MAKE Face Smooth  other active ingredients are vitamins A, C and E and apricot, kiwi seed and macadamia oil and aloe vera. It also contains Hyaluronic Acid which has a plumping effect on the skin.

You only need a small amount as I find it’s quite rich but having said that, it does sink in quite quickly so doesn’t delay you in the morning when you’re trying to get ready quickly and can’t wait for ages for your moisturiser to sink in before putting your make-up MAKE Hands Softon.

My MAKE Hands Soft pot has pride of place in my living-room as it’s way too pretty to hide away

The ingredients include ylang ylang, vanilla and black pepper (??!) with jojoba, avocado and vitamin E thrown in for good measure. This cream doesn’t stay sticky forever and a day either and it really feel nourishing. It has much more of a neutral scent than the face moisturiser – not unpleasant but kind of neutral I suppose.

Would I buy the 2 products again? A resounding YES!


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Ken Picton Cardiff Bay – Wow, What a Hair Salon!

Ken PictonJust before Christmas I went to the Ken Picton Salon in Cardiff Bay to have my hair ‘done’ and was, to say the least, very impressed with the whole ‘experience’.

I’ll start from the beginning ……. 6 weeks or so before I ended up going to Ken Picton, my hair-dresser’s Dad died and, to add insult to injury, the poor woman had to have a wrist operation the day after his funeral. Now Chris has been cutting my hair since Year Dot and I’m not a fan of trying out someone new although obviously over the years I’ve had toKen Picton Hair Salon resort to other hairdressers when Chris simply couldn’t do it.

In a nutshell then I put off choosing a new hairdresser as long as I could. Chris knows my hair, knows me and never gets it wrong whereas I’ve been known to cry my eyes out after some disastrous visits to different hairdressers!

Ken PIcton receptionAnyway, I had a look around and decided to try out the Ken Picton Salon down in Cardiff Bay. I checked out the prices beforehand and they seemed to be on a par with, if not lower than similar salons. I’d walked past the place a zillion times but had never been in before but bite the bullet I did and in I went. It looks like your usual smart, high-gloss trendy hair salon but when you go upstairs, well…….My words were ‘It’s like a flipping Tardis in here!’ It’s really, really huge with endless mirrors, basins and chic stylists in black everywhere.

Ken Picton Cardiff Bay

Paul Ken Picton colouristColour Director Paul, who did my half-head high- and low-lights and put a ‘gloss’ on to finish it off, seems to be a ‘colourist extraordinaire’. He’s won so many awards including Hair Colourist of the Year and is much in demand training colourists for L’Oreal – a right jet-setter he is! He was very easy to talk to and the time just flew. I had my Kindle with me but I didn’t even take it out of my bag.

Rachelle, the stylist who cut my hair, was as easy-going and lovely as Paul and seemed to know exactly what I wanted. She snipped, she cut, she sliced, she chatted, offered me a coffee, talked about her Rachelle Ken Pictonupcoming Wedding and then dried my hair. It was ‘just right’! I hate looking like I’ve just had my hair ‘done’ and have gone home from a hairdresser’s appointment many a time and wet and restyled my hair straightaway. Not this time though. Rachelle did a brilliant job! The basic style was similar to what I had before but with a few twirls and flourishes she managed to make it look better somehow. She showed me a few tricks of the trade when blow-drying and I’ve used her tips every day since she cut it.

So, will I be going back? A resounding YES! I couldn’t fault them. I loved the cut , the colour and the whole experience. The Ken Picton salon really was spot-on!

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Clever Skincare -TEN- Skincare Range

-TEN- skincareA little while back I started using the -TEN- Skincare Range from Clever Skincare.

Now I’m going to be completely honest with you and say it didn’t go off to a good start as I had a bit of a reaction to the eye cream from the range. I persevered and carried on with the moisturisers though and after a week or so I tried the -TEN- Revive Eye Contour Range again but the same thing happened.

Nonetheless I’ve been using the -TEN- products below for over a month now and love them to bits!

-TEN-Luminescence Skin Exfoliation Cream

-TEN- Instant Lifting Face Cream

-TEN- Anti Age Complete Regenerating Care

-Ten- anti ageing creamI particularly love both the moisturisers as they sink in beautifully and smell divine. I’m not entirely sure that any of the products make me look any younger or less lined but my skin looks and feels lovely.

Clever Skincare

The Luminescence Cream is such a mild exfoliant that you wouldn’t even know it was exfoliating if you hadn’t read the blurb. There’s none of that gritty feeling to the cream and it doesn’t leave your face looking as if you’ve been in too close contact with a cheese-grater (which happened to me with one well-known apricot scrub!)

Ten Anti Ageing MoisturiserThere’s loads of information about the -TEN- Skincare Range here at www.cleverskincare.com . They say it all so much better than me!

Suffice to say I will be buying this range again but maybe not the eye cream!

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