Saturday, 31 August 2013

Haircare | Dove Intensive Repair Daily Conditioner

This was actually a product I discovered when I first started blogging as it came as a sample size in Marie Claire. Before you read this, you can all have a little chuckle at a very old post from August 2011.

I love the feel of conditioner, how soft and manageable it makes my hair but what I hate about so many conditioners, especially intensive repair ones, is that they weigh my hair down and make it greasy within hours of it being washed. Is it really too much to ask to have soft, clean hair for longer than 12 hours?


Normally I would just use a regular conditioner daily and then a more intense treatment once per week but Dove Intensive repair is designed to be used as your daily conditioner. I still love this as much as I did when I had the little sample sized one, I guess I just forgot about it because I'm constantly trying new things and I very rarely buy the same shampoo/conditioner twice because I'm convinced there's always something better no matter how much I like the product. 

This is an intensive conditioner but it doesn't weigh my hair down, I use it from half way down my hair to the ends of my hair, concentrating more at the ends as these tend to become very split and damaged very quickly. You don't have to keep this on for any longer than 1 minute if you don't want so I tend to shampoo my hair first and then apply this and have a wash etc. while this is working. Once a week I leave this on a little longer (5 minutes or so) and it leaves my hair really soft and manageable. 

I don't think this is as nice as the Neal & Wolf conditioner I used but this is a fraction of the price at £3.99 (Neal & Wolf works out at around £10 per bottle). If you suffer from dry hair or for whatever reason you're looking for a really good, affordable conditioner then I'd definitely try this. The only hair type I'd be a bit weary of using this on is thin hair mainly because it is very thick and creamy and I'd be a bit concerned that it may weigh thin hair down. But my hair is quite thick and reacts really well to this.

What is your favourite conditioner?
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Monday, 26 August 2013

Skincare | La Roche Posay Serozinc, why you need it

First of all I want to say that, in case you didn't know, I have combination/oily skin which is prone to acne. So what I say about this product may not apply to you depending on what your skin type is.

Facial sprays have been a big thing in skincare for a while now but I believe that a lot of them (especially ones like Evian) are just glorified bottles of water; I can buy a bottle of water for 60p at the shop, I do not need to spend £6.99 or however much it is on a bottle with an aerosol on it. I do think a lot of the time these spray waters are classed as 'amazing' because they are a cool thing to have in your handbag at the time, ordinary Evian water, even out of an aerosol, probably won't do your skin any more good than sticking your head under a tap will. If you use things like Evian you'll probably find that you feel fresh (as you would if someone threw a glass of water in your face, only less annoyed) but that your skin quickly feels tight and uncomfortable afterwards.

Anyway, I went off on a complete tangent then. What I'm actually talking about today is La Roche Posay Serozinc. 

La Roche Posay Serozinc - £12.00 eBay

LRP Serozinc ingredients are significantly different to what you'll find in other facial sprays, I don't ever carry this in my handbag because I don't feel I need to carry around a product like this. The ingredients are very simple, with no fuss; Aqua, Sodium Chloride & Zinc Sulfate. 

The scientists among you will know that those first two ingredients translate to water and salt; sodium chloride is known for its astringent and antiseptic qualities (ever heard your mum/nana say bath a wound in salt water... stings like hell but it works). Zinc sulfate is known to benefit acne and blemishes; reducing soreness and calming the redness which comes with it. Because of these incredients, Serozinc can be used to help relieve razor burn, superficial (top of skin) skin irritations and even sore babies bums! 

I use it as part of my skincare routine, I cleanse, tone, spray and then moisturise (if I feel I need to). I also use it more often if I'm having a bad skin day and my face is really red and sore and I find it really brings down the spots on my face; they don't disappear by any means but they become more manageable and less painful. I can usually get away with not moisturising, especially during the day because I find that in summer my skin is like an oil slick so moisturiser tends to make matters worse, no matter how mattifying it claims to be!

The biggest problem with Serozinc is that it isn't widely available in the UK yet which is very annoying, the only way to get it is to buy it off eBay from someone who has obviously had a recent trip to France and they've bought a load to sell back in the UK because it's so popular. The seller I bought mine from no longer has any but I would imagine that most of the sellers are pretty ok; I would personally choose one that has taken a photo of it themselves, rather than a stock photo. 

It isn't cheap but if you even considered buying glorified water at £6.99 then you should seriously consider getting this at £12. If you suffer with acne, then I highly recommend it; it's such an easy step to add into your skincare routine... it'll be even better when La Roche Posay pull their finger out and start selling it in the UK!


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Thursday, 15 August 2013

Gift Ideas | Letterbox Cake

About a week ago I was asked if I wanted to try a cake. They had my sold in pretty much the first sentence but what I didn't realise until I read on was that it was a cake that came in the post from a company called Baker Days, no need for me to move, I just order it online and wait for it to arrive. If you were to say not to that you've gotta have a pretty good reason (an intolerance may not even be enough of an excuse because they also do gluten free cakes!) 






Belgian Chocolate Chip Letterbox Cake £16.99 (incl. delivery) Baker Days

Letterbox cakes are quite petite, they have to be to fit through your letterbox but although they're small they're perfectly formed and they taste gorgeous!! This chocolate one was so moist, and the icing layer was quite thin so you didn't just taste the icing rather than the chocolate aswell. It comes very nicely presented in a round tin which also contains some balloons, some candles and a party horn. 

If you're not a chocolate fan they do other recipes for the cake; a sponge option which takes the price of the cake down to £14.99 and they also do a fruit cake and a gluten/wheat free cake both for £16.99.

They do cakes for every occasion, I was going to go for the selfish option and just get a cake for myself just because I could but I decided to go for one of the Bright Side designs for my husband. They do personalised cakes aswell so you can add names as well as your own photos depending on the occasion. They also do larger celebration cakes depending on how many portions you need and also boxes of cupcakes . To give you an idea of the size of this one I could carry it on the palm of my hand so I'd say it spans roughly from my little finger to my thumb at full stretch. 

If you're stuck for something to get someone and you're bored of buying flowers then I'd definitely suggest a letterbox cake, it'd be a lovely surprise for anyone! 
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Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Holidays & Breaks | Kefalonia, Greece

A couple of weeks ago me and my husband came back from a weeks holiday in Kefalonia, you may have seen my post reviewing the Magnolia Resort where we stayed in the small resort of Katelios. Our resort was quiet with only a few hotels and some sea front tavernas so we decided that it would be a good idea to hire a car and actually explore the island which is something I've never done before when I've been on holiday. The first day we stayed in Katelios and had a look down at the sea front to see what we had on our door step, the beach at Katelios mainly pebble and isn't the widest beach, which I aren't too keen on because it means sunbathing isn't as comfy and going in the sea is difficult unless you have proper shoes (which we don't have)

 A nice shaded area on a bench

 Motor boat hire on the sea front, Katelios
 Not the prettiest beach at Katelios, the sand was 'littered' with bits of seaweed, grass, stone and wood.

 The water however was beautifully clear


As you can see, the sand is mixed with lots of pebbles and stones, not good on your feet!


Katelios was a nice base but to be honest there isn't much going on, it is very quiet and isn't for those who like a late night... but I must also say that I don't think Katelios is an island for anyone who wants late night entertainment; the general rule for Greece is that all outdoor music is turned off for 12 and all businesses adhere to this.

Our little 1L Fiat Panda, used for getting us up and down and round the corners of Kefalonia, poor thing. However, it served us well; it had air conditioning and was amazing on fuel economy!


We decided there were quite a few places we wanted to see in the car and we managed to do it all in 1 day, a whole 6 hours of driving which did take its toll towards the end but at least we could see the whole thing and decide if we wanted to revisit anywhere the next day for longer. We wanted to visit all the most talked about beaches with some quiet little cove beaches along the way!





 Antisamos Beach (the Italian encampment on Captain Corelli's Mandolin) 


 Teeny Tiny beach we found, we both went in for a quick dip on the way to our next destination, stones/pebbles were a real issue here though!


 Myrtos Beach

This is such a beautifully different beach, the water is such a vivid blue it's like something out of a cartoon, the only thing with it is that the current is strong so they don't recommend that you go out very far as there's a danger of even the strongest swimmers getting stuck. It was also the site of the mine explosion in Captain Corelli's Mandolin.

Karminia Beach - Our Favourite

You can walk out for ages in the sea without it getting any deeper than your waist. It is the site where turtles often lay eggs and although we didn't see any of this if you go at the right time of year they say that you can see some tell tale signs of turtles!

Looking back, we had a great time in Kefalonia, at the time I was a bit disappointed that the beaches weren't as sandy as I'd hoped but on the balance of things it was a really lovely holiday. Once we found the beach we liked we were all set but what I will say is that unless you like staying in the same resort for a week, you need to hire a car because all the different beaches are unreachable without a car. 

If I was to go back I would not stay in Katelios as although there were some nice tavernas on the sea front, there wasn't a lot more life in the resort, I do think Skala is better in terms of life and things to do (which is the next resort along). 

Have you ever been to a Greek island?
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Sunday, 4 August 2013

REN ClearCalm Clay Cleanser Review

I'm on to my second bottle of this so I thought it was time I gave it a review. I have become much more into skincare over the last 8 months and I have been using this every morning and night to take my makeup off, sometimes double cleansing and sometimes leaving it on for 10 mins as a mask. The REN Clearcalm 3 system helps prevent blemishes and breakouts by controlling excess sebum, dead skin cell build up and blemish causing bacteria without being harsh on the skin causing dryness and irritation. 


REN is committed to producing products which contain no parabens, sulfates, mineral oils, synthetic fragrances etc. etc. which are often responsible for breakouts and spots. It smells really clean and simple, much like most clay masks smell and the consistency is like that of a full on clay mask but thinner. When applying it as a cleanser I wet my hands with warm water and rub 1 pump of product between my fingers and then massage into my face, it goes quite milky with the water and is easy to spread and work with. After massaging I wipe it off with a flannel; depending how much make up I have on I might double cleanse or I might just finish off my cleanse with a splash of cold water. 

I've noticed a difference in my skin since using this, and I notice when I forget to use it... even if I miss one cleanse out my skin starts to rebel and little pimples start to appear. It doesn't dry my skin out at all but doesn't control oil as much as I would like, I do still get quite a bad oil breakthrough throughout the day but I don't believe that any product could stop that, nor do I think it's a good idea to stop it!! 

I much prefer this to the Emma Hardie in terms of what it does for my skin but I have to admit that balms do feel much more luxury when using them but they just don't seem to agree with my skin, Emma Hardie was much to heavily perfumed for my I think and I think that the lack of perfumes etc. is why REN is so good for me. I plan to try some more REN stuff soon because this has worked so well for me, I'm considering a moisturiser from them to see what that's like.

What's your favourite type of cleanser; milk, balm, clay or micellar water?
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Saturday, 3 August 2013

Personal Post | 5 Years On

I'm putting this post up as part of an agreement with Laurenella who had tweeted to say she was wondering whether to post a 'personal' post, I told her I loved to read personal posts but that I couldn't really talk because I had lots of posts in my drafts which I daren't post. I've had this in drafts for months, I didn't want to post it because I didn't know if it was a bit 'much' but here goes...

Please note, the content of this post could be a potential trigger, please be aware of this before you proceed to read. Thankyou.

I was undecided about whether to actually post about this because it's a bit depressing and a bit morbid in a way but I realise that my readers might want to know a little more about me than meets the eye. I also find it's good to 'talk' and share things like this because I have no doubt that there will be at least some of you that have experienced the same as me. 

Basically, 5 years today I lost my Auntie... she was one of those people in my life that I couldn't imagine losing, I remember thinking to myself 'I really don't know what I'd do if I lost my Auntie Karina' because she was such an inspiration to me. Other people would probably just think she's a normal person, nothing out of the ordinary and she was really, I just totally idolised her for all she was and all she did. She was so determined to get where she wanted to be and she definitely lived every day as if it were her last. She was diagnosed with a secondary Neuroendocrine tumour in her liver, which was devastating because I for one 
generally associate 'cancer' with death. However, the doctors told her that if she had periodic treatment she 
would probably live a perfectly normal life as it wasn't an aggressive cancer and could be kept under control. Unfortunately what they didn't know was where the primary cancer was, they couldn't find it anywhere. 

She lived a relatively normal life for about a year, obviously having treatment and stuff but none of us were ever worried that it was serious enough to threaten her life. She celebrated her 10th wedding anniversary with a party in July 2007, looking healthy as ever, loving life and not showing any signs of being beaten by her cancer.

(Karina is on the right hand side, the day before her 10th wedding anniversary party, my mum is on the left)

But then in December 2007, she came home to announce to us that she had a matter of weeks to live. We had no idea how much she had deteriorated because she lived in London and to be honest I don't think she wanted us to know the score because she knew that we'd all want to be down there looking after her and she didn't want that. The doctor had said she had around 2 weeks left, but as I always say doctors can't put a time on your life and she proved that because she was actually at home with us for 7 weeks which was both lovely but so painful at the same time because we saw her get worse over a period of time.

The whole experience wasn't one I'd wish on my worst enemy, Karina seemed so strong and we all crumbled around her; I remember the day she came home like it was yesterday, and I remember hearing my mum cry in bed which was awful because I honestly didn't know what to do. I'd always been so good at expressing my emotion and comforting others but I just clammed up. I spent my nights reading about cancer and other peoples experiences, hoping and praying that there was going to be this miracle and she'd be ok. Silly really, and totally irrational. 

So the weeks passed by, it was just like a waiting game, waiting for the inevitable to happen... I can't even begin to imagine what Karina was thinking. On Wednesday January 30th 2008 at about 8.45pm she lost her battle, with everyone around her (except me, I chose to stay in the front room). And I remember sitting there on the sofa staring at the TV, I heard everyone burst into tears and I knew what had happened but I was just blank. Not because I wasn't upset but I don't think my brain knew what to do. I went into the room where she was and said goodbye and had a little tear and a little cry but that was it really.

For a week after that I was like emotionless and I'd beat myself up emotionally thinking what is wrong with you, you heartless cow! Why aren't you crying!? Because I knew I should have been, I just couldn't. 

Then came the funeral and I decided to do a bit of a reading, on the day I remember being fine, we followed the herse to the church and I was OK then we got out and waited for the coffin to come out and I just remember this overwhelming feeling came over me, I just thought that's my Auntie Karina in there and I just broke down... for the first proper time I really cried. It was the first time since she passed away that I felt uncontrollable grief.

I was sat down in the church and I remember my dad putting his arms on my shoulders from behind me and I just turned around really nastily and said 'GET OFF' and I know that's so awful but I just didn't want to be touched because I didn't know how to deal with it. I composed myself and got up to do the reading and I was fine, a little shakey at the end but I just managed to pull myself together. 

I had never had this happen before, I'd never had anyone that close to me pass away before so this was my first experience and I really didn't know how to deal with it. I probably should have gone to a councillor about it but I didn't know what I wanted to say, I spent a lot of time writing letters about how I felt, even to this day I'll write my Auntie Karina a note in a card and take it to the cemetary. She's still very much a part of my life, I happen to have surrounded myself with her friends because I married her best friends' brother!

Everything is so much easier for me when I talk, I don't want to hug about it and I don't want people to tell me how sorry they are... I never have. All I've ever craved is people to talk to me about her, and I've never had a problem with that because there's always someone willing to chat to me about old times. The only thing I will say about my whole experience is that I feel like I've become a bit 'cold' at times. I tend to grieve to myself most of the time, everyone knows how much I miss her and I don't want to sound like a broken record but I do still sometimes think 'this is a horrible dream... and I'm going to wake up any minute'. But obviously it's not and there's times when the harsh reality will hit me and I'll just cry... whether it's a song or a film or whatever it is there are certain things that will bring everything flooding back and I don't see that stopping any time soon. 5 years on, I think I'm still grieving in a way because I feel so robbed; I had big plans for me and my auntie Karina and they never happened. 


One of my fave photos of her (i'm the little girl)

I'll never stop missing her, I'll never forget her, and I'll certainly never stop talking about her! 

You can't put a timescale on grief, and nobody can tell you how to do it. I do feel as if mine was a delayed reaction, I feel it more sometimes now than I did when it happened. If you're going through it please remember that there's always someone to talk to. The only help I sought was from the Samaritans I didn't ring them, because I didn't feel I wanted to 'talk' to anyone, I sent them an email just explaining how I felt (it was at the point when I wasn't feeling much emotion) and within 24 hours they replied to me and it did give me some comfort knowing that someone was there to give me impartial advice. 

I'm not a councillor or an expert in this and I only know what I've experienced but if you haven't already tried it... talk to someone, even if it is the Samaritans, there's no shame in it. Whatever you feel isn't wrong or a sin. It's your way of dealing with it, and your way, whichever way it is, it's absolutely fine. 
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