Monday, 9 February 2015

(Definitely not) Yummy Mummy - Review of Butter London Nail Polish

Review of Butter London Nail Polish - Yummy Mummy
How often do you try a beauty product that everyone is raving about and then feel, well, really disappointed?  Dependent on your personality, you’re next thought will either be, “They must all be mad” or, “I’ve done something wrong”!  However, leaving the psychology aside, I have to admit I have been thoroughly disappointed with the much lauded Butter London Nail Polishes.  The shade I've reviewed here is Yummy Mummy  - wrong on both counts – I’m not a Mummy and this polish is definitely not Yummy.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Cholesterol - The Silent Killer for National Heart Month

February is National Heart Month and I just wondered how much do you know about cholesterol?  Perhaps not a great deal, which is why cholesterol is known as the silent killer, as it often presents no symptons until quite a lot of damage has been done.  It can affect young and old, fat and thin.

What is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a sticky fat needed by our body to make cells, hormones and vitamins.You have probably heard that many people need to lower their cholesterol but you may be surprised to learn that we actually need cholesterol! However, before you disregard this as nonsense, I will clarify that what I mean is there is “good” cholesterol and “bad” cholesterol, and we need the good but not the bad. By itself, cholesterol can’t circulate in our blood. It is carried around the body in something called lipoproteins. This is where the good vs bad comes into play. There are two main types of lipoproteins in the body:
“Good” cholesterol comes in the form of High Density Lipoprotein (HDL). HDL removes cholesterol from the body by taking it to the liver where it can be recycled or broken down
“bad” cholesterol comes in the form of Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) is produced by the liver and supplies cholesterol to help repair old cells and build new ones. However, too much LDL cholesterol can stick to the inside of blood vessels, and, over time, this can build-up causing our blood vessels to narrow and restricting blood flow to the heart.

What Can Cause a Build-up of “Bad” cholesterol?

  • Smoking
  • Being inactive
  • Eating too much saturated fat
  • What we eat and drink
  • Being overweight, especially if you are “apple-shaped” and carry excess fat around your waist
  • A family history of high cholesterol, as this can be inherited from our parents 

Know Your Number

It’s important to get your cholesterol checked by a qualified health professional such as your doctor, pharmacist or nurse. The table below provides some general guidance on recommended blood cholesterol levels, but discuss your target number with your health professional when having your blood cholesterol tested:
recommended blood cholesterol levels

Managing Your Total Fat & Lowering Your Saturated Fat Intake

Research has shown that reducing saturated fat intake can bring about a reduction in harmful LDL-cholesterol. Guidance in the UK & USA recommends lowering saturated fat intake to less than 10% of energy intake. 

Cholesterol-Busting Super Foods

Plant based foods such as vegetables, oat cereals, beans and legumes, soya foods and drinks, nuts and seeds do not contain cholesterol and are usually low in saturated fat. So these are foods that should feature regularly in a diet to lower cholesterol.  In addition, there are 6 group foods, often called Superfoods, that can actively help to lower cholesterol levels. 

Easy Low Fat, Low Cholesterol Mediterranean Diet Recipe Cookbook
Cooking & Eating to Help Lower Cholesterol

If you are would like lots more information on how you can easily adjust your diet to support cholesterol-lowering goals, I can thoroughly recommend the latest cookbook by Milly White. Her new Easy Low Fat, Low Cholesterol Mediterranean Diet Recipe Cookbook contains over 100 delicious heart-healthy recipes based around cholesterol-lowering superfoods.

If you think that eating this way will be difficult or leave you feeling unsatisfied or deprived, think again. There are tempting and delicious recipes for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner along with mouth-watering Desserts and scrumptious Bakes & Cakes, proving that you can have your cake and eat it when the cake in question is Lemon & Blueberry Buttermilk Cupcakes!

Available in Paperback or as an ebook for Kindle on here.

Monday, 12 January 2015

5 Beautiful Bargains for Beauty Buffs at TKMaxx

I like serious skin care but I also like a serious bargain.  I'm therefore drawn to the tantalising shelves of a good TK Maxx like a bee to honey and I thought I'd share my latest buys with you. 
5 Beautiful Bargains for Beauty Buffs at TKMaxx

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Wantable Personalised Beauty Box Subscription Review

Last month, I had the opportunity to try out the premium, personalised Beauty Box subscription provided by and I wanted to share my thoughts with you.

In my post Beauty All Boxed Up - The 8 Best UK Beauty Box Subscriptions, I advise that should be your choice if you want high levels of personalisation and full sizes.  So how did my experience match up to expectations?

Personalised Profile

In terms of personalisation, I enjoyed completing my profile online.  You are asked lots and lots of questions about your preferences which you rank in terms or Love, Like or Dislike.  Wantable guarantee that you will not be sent something that you have marked as a dislike and you are most likely to receive something you have marked as Love.

Below is a quick recap of what I selected (but I can remember answering many more questions than the choices below indicate such as contemporary vs classis in nail polish colours):

Love: Fair, Cool, Brows, Eye Shadow, Lash Product, Lip Colour, Nail Polish
Like: Complexion Products, Eyeliner, Highlighter, Blush
Dislike: Warm, Bronzer, Tools

What Was in My Box?

I received 4 full size products:

  • Vincent Longo Pressed Face Powder in Golden Banana, Full size, Boxed, (RRP $28)
  • Tarina Taratino Dollskin Cream Blush Duo in Coral Cameo, Full size, Boxed, (RRP $28) 
  • Gleam Body Radiance Highligher by Melanie Mills in Rose Gold, 59ml Full size, (RRP $30)
  • Olfa Universal Eyebrow Pencil Liner, Full size, (RRP $10).
Vincent Longo Pressed Face Powder in Golden Banana
I have been looking for a compact to pop into my handbag for touch-ups during the heat of the summer and was pleased to receive this.  It is described as a soft, lightweight powder and it is that.  With the colour described as Golden Banana, I was fearful that it would be too yellow and too golden for my fair, cool-toned skin.  It is more yellow than I would choose as a foundation or even as my main finishing powder, but I will use this for what I want, a touch-up compact whilst out and about.

Tarina Taratino Dollskin Cream Blush Duo in Coral Cameo
I have to confess, I am not a great fan of blushers.  I suffer from high colouring and am normally trying to tone down my naturally very rosy cheeks.  However, I do think that one of the most positive features of a monthly subscription box is that they do introduce to new products that you may not normally buy.  So I resisted the tempation to assign Blusher to dislike in my preferences, although I did only rate it as Like.  

The product packaging is very stylish.  However, my big issue here is that Wantable and I obviously have very different ideas about what constitutes a warm shade and what constitiutes a bronzer (both on my dislikes).  On the Tarina Taratino website, the shade I was sent (Coral Cameo) is described as a peachy pink blush with bronze sparklicity.  In other words a Warm blusher with Bronzer.  Hmm.

Gleam Body Radiance Highligher by Melanie Mills
This is a make-up, moisturizer, and glow all in one and, apparently, there is a shade for every skin tone but every skin tone can use each shade for a different end result.  I was sent Rose Gold (shade pictured left).  Again, another case of myself and Wantable a having very different ideas about what constitutes a warm shade.    I will never, ever use this shade and it is just the sort of shade I had wanted to avoid by specifically excluding Warm shades.
Olfa Universal Eyebrow Pencil Liner
I tend to avoid "universal" shades as I really don't see how there can be such a thing.  This pencil has not changed my mind about universal shades, and it is a little darker than I would normally choose, but with a light touch, it will be useable.

How Much Does A Wantable Box Cost?

For delivery to the UK, a one-off purchase of a Wantable Box $54 (c£32) or a monthly subscription works out at $49.20 (c£29).  This includes UK delivery and all import duties.
I was sent this box to review by Wantable free of charge. 

Would I recommend?

I do very much like the concept of Wantable, I enjoyed the personalisation process. My parcel arrived quickly and I was kept informed of its journey all of the way.

Personally, I would rather pay more for a subscription box and receive good sized, great quality products, rather than a much lower price but then receive very small samples of products that have no appeal or are not beauty related.  I do think that Wantable delivered on this.  

I also was very, very keen on the level of personalisation offered.  However, I do not feel that Wantable delivered on this and that I was sent shades for two out of my four products that actually fell into my Dislike category.  However, Wantable do offer a satisfaction guarantee and if this had been a purchase, I would have been able to return these.

My recommendation would be to try this as a one-off subscription before signing up for the monthly service, you can find the details here. 

And Finally

This review has focused on Wantable's Beauty Box, but they do also offer an Accessories Box or a Intimates Box, and you can swap between categories if you have a monthly sub.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Review & Swatches - Mally Brow Fix in Taupe

Mally Brow Fix Taupe Review & Swatches
Mally's Brow Fix claims to be a "one-step tool" to tame, shape and colours brows to frame the face beautifully. In a bullet crayon formula, it combines natural waxes and colured powders.  It is priced at £21.50 + delivery from QVCUK, but frequently features in special value kits too.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Going Backwards Ain't No Fun - Reverse Hair Washing Review

Does Reverse Hair Washing hold the key to transforming my thick, tangly and unruly  locks (think 'Cystal Tips') into the lush, smooth, shiny and manageable tresses of my dreams?

When the concept of 'Reverse Washing' started doing the rounds, I was very interested in giving it a try, could it be the answer to my hair nightmare?

Let's start off with a quick recap of what is Reverse Washing?  It's where you use your hair conditioner first, then follow with your shampoo - so you are washing and conditioning your hair in reverse order.  

Monday, 10 November 2014

This is An Affair to Remember

Bareminerals An Affair to Remember Ready 8.0 Palette
I remember the first time I watched Deborah Kerr in a Saturday afternoon Matinee showing of the glorious An Affair to Remember.  I fell in love with the film, its urbane, witty, stylish elegant stars and the story of understatement, misunderstandings and enduring love.

So I wouldn't want the name An Affair to Remember to be used inappropriately, without consideration for its heritage.  I need not have worried, bareminerals An Affair to Remember Ready Palette is the most romantic, stylish (and just plain) lovely palette that evokes the style and romance of the original.  Encased in a luxurious rose-gold toned mirror-finish case, this palette contains 8 gorgeous, wearable baremineral shades in plums, lavenders and rosey blushes. 
Bareminerals An Affair to Remember Palette Swatches

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Not-so Radical - Anti-Aging Restorative Moisture Crème Review

Review Radical Skincare Anti-Ageing Restorative Moisture Crème
As you can see from the well-worn tube in the picture, I have been road-testing the Anti-Ageing Restorative Moisture Crème by Radical Skincare.

The product claims:

  • Unsurpassed and blissful multitasking cream is the ultimate all in one benefits solution for the most demanding skins. 
  • Fights free radicals
  • Increase skin hydration by 66% in just 2 weeks
  • Decrease wrinkle depth by 50% in just 4 weeks
  • Combat skin discoloration, even and brighten skin tone with long and short term results
  • Firm and increase skin’s elasticity

Monday, 13 October 2014

Foods For Hair, Skin & Nail Health

Vegetables and Fruits for hair, skin and nail health
In the news today is research from University College London that eating seven or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day is healthier than the five currently recommended and would prolong lives (source: BBC News).

I am a strong advocate of the all-round health benefits of a varied diet of vegetables and fruit, and I am not surprised that researchers have found that in the case of fruit and veg, “more is more”.  Intensive farming methods and long food miles mean that vegetables and fruits often contain far fewer nutrients now compared to 40-50 years ago. For example, iron in watercress is 80% lower, calcium in broccoli is 50% and the same for pineapples; the vitamin C in cauliflower is 40% less and sweet peppers are 30% lower.  So we now need to eat far more of these to achieve the same nutritional intake as previously.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Low Cholesterol Granola Breakfast Foods Low Cholesterol Breakfast Ideas
October is National Cholesterol Month for HEARTUK, the Cholesterol Charity. They have launched their Great Cholesterol Challenge, where they want you to treat your heart by pledging to adopt a new healthy habit, and raise funds for HEART UK at the same time! It's very easy to get involved, there are lots more details here.

There are all sorts of healthy habits that you can adopt and they don’t have to be hard.  My friend Milly White, who written an excellent cookbook on low cholesterol diets, has suggested a super easy one – why not swap your regular morning breakfast to a delicious Homemade Healthy Heart Granolapacked full of cholesterol-lowering superfoods? It's Suitable for Vegetarians, Gluten Free, Dairy Free and can be made Vegan too.  You can find her low cholesterol recipe hereit makes 31 servings - enough for breakfast daily during HEARTUK's October's National Cholesterol Month.  Pop over to here blog and have a look, it is very yummy!