Friday, 22 January 2016

Fruity Beauty - Three of Your Five-A-Day

As many of us have fallen off the "Eat More Fruit and Veg" New Year's Resolution wagon by this time in January, I thought I would let you know about some fruity beauty products. Since they all smell good enough to eat, perhaps their lovely fruity scents will encourage you to get back on the straight-and-narrow.

1. Apple
Superdrug's range of skincare for those of us over 35 features Malus Domestica (the humble, but effective, apple) in combination with Myramaze and Argan Oil. The Optimum Apple Serum (shown here) has been created to support the vitality of the skin’s stem cells, protect its lipid matrix against damages caused by oxidative influences, and nourish and hydrate the skin. I found it to be an excellent addition to my before bed skincare routine, as it absorbs quickly after application, leaving the skin moisturised, soft and smooth.

I love the bright, fresh smell of apples which is why I am also keen on their Optimum Apple Day Cream, which has an added bonus of SPF15, so need to add that separately. Although it is a day cream, you can apply both morning and evening, which means there's no need to splash out on a special night cream. Both these products are in the BOGOF promotion at Superdrug right now.

2. Lemon
I don't have much time for facials during the week, but the Dead Sea Purifying Clay Mask would be a great way to kickstart Saturday morning. It's been created by Superdrug with oily and blemished skin (like mine) in mind.

Because of its uplifting fragrance of cool Eucalyptus and zesty Lemon, this mask is suitable for both men and women whose skin needs a pick-me-up. The Dead Sea Minerals are there to help draw out dirt and impurities, while Witch Hazel and Willow Bark extract deeply cleanse your pores.

At 99p it is of course cheaper than going to the salon, and takes only 10-15 minutes to work its purifying magic.

3. Pink Grapefruit
Superdrug Tea Tree and Pink Grapefuit Facial Wash has just been introduced, and is very reminiscent of another well-known product by Neutrogena. If you're of fan of that particular pink grapefruit range, why not give this one a try, as it costs less!

Once again, it has a refreshing, uplifting fruity aroma, so welcome at this dismal time of year. We all know that Tea Tree is renowned for its natural purifying and antibacterial properties but this facial wash also includes Grapefruit Oil help to cleanse the skin of dirt, excess oil and impurities for an ultra clean, radiant complexion.

Pink Grapefruit fans will also be keen to try Original Source's citrus shower gels - the one I tried contains100cm of juicy Pink Grapefruit peel. Zingy doesn't come close!

All these beauty treats are a great way to get a summer fix, even on the foggiest of days!

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Sew Something from Nothing

Something from nothing is my favourite equation so I was excited to find 50 Nifty Thrifty Upcycled Fashions by Cynthia Anderson, which promises to be a guide to creating a fun, stylish new wardrobe from tired old pieces and found treasures.

I have recently re-discovered jumble sales, which appear to be undergoing a resurgence in our locale, so now and then I am able to source garments far more cheaply than even at charity shops or on Ebay. Having a book like this, I thought, would encourage me to buy those too-big but great quality pieces and alter them myself, as the author would show me how to transform any old thing into unique, eco-friendly fashion.

However, although the author says readers only need to have basic machine and hand-sewing skills, it does also require a huge amount of confidence and general flair. A lot of projects need you to "draw four arches on the garment with chalk - one centre front, one centre back and one on each side just under the bustline". I really need a diagram to show me exactly what this means before I get the scissors out. In addition, the sewing steps are put together in a paragraph and I need bullet points. Photos or sketches to explain each new technique would have been very helpful.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

A Discreet Post about Bladder Sensitivity

Ladies, bladder sensitivity affects one in three of us, so I know some of you reading this, like me, may have some bladder problems. Who persevered with those Kegel exercises when they should have done, after all?! Even if it is common, it is something we rarely talk openly about, and I apologise if this post makes you feel awkward too!

I have been given some Always Discreet products to try and also have some money off coupons and bladder health tip sheets. I got them free off Proctor and Gamble because I am a member of their savvycircle, in exchange for honest feedback. I haven't tried them yet but will post a review on Mumtopia when I have done so.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Desperation Crafts #5: Turn a sweater into a slouchy beanie.

Slouchy beanie. So THAT'S what they are called, these attitudinal, hands-in-pockets all-season hats that are somehow reminiscent of Dopey in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Not necessarily worn for warmth, more for a cool, skater look, slouchy beanies can be easily made from old knitwear. Favoured by twenty-somethings who should know better, they nevertheless look quite sweet on primary school children. Secundus often becomes quite attached to clothes, but the zip-up jumper shown left is three years too small for him and even he accepted that the cuffs were at his elbows rather than his wrists. However, he didn't want to get rid of it so I offered to transform it into something else wearable.

Apart from some outgrown knitwear, all you need is the printable pattern featured at seekatesew, which is free and comes with a tutorial here. I suppose you could felt the knitwear by washing it at a very high temperature, but we were stuck indoors on a rainy afternoon, and we wanted a project to do NOW. You may need to adjust the width according to the size of your child's head, as this pattern would fit me. The best way to work it out would be to compare the paper pattern with a hat that fits them well.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Five Fabulous Recipes for Autumn #2

There’s something about that nip in the air that affects our culinary psyche and finds us craving cosy, comfort food. Barbecues and salads become long forgotten and soups, stews and sticky puds enter our recipe repertoire.

Al fresco eating needn’t be the preserve of summer; pause for a cuppa with buttered Cheddar and Chorizo scones during a walk through the autumn leaves. And enjoy sticky toffee apples on Halloween or while sitting watching the Bonfire.

Find new inspiration for the season in the brilliant 2016 Dairy Diary, which features a plethora of superb recipes – one for every week of the year – so there’s something to tempt anyone and everyone.

Each and every delicious dish has been triple-tested and has easy-to-follow instructions to ensure perfect results every time.

Today's recipe is  Chorizo and Cheddar Scones

Time 30 mins, Makes 8, Calories 151, Fat 7.3g of which 4.3g is saturated
Suitable for freezing


Self-raising flour 225g (8oz)
Butter 50g (2oz)
Cheddar cheese 50g (2oz), grated
Chorizo 40g (1½oz), chopped
Milk 150ml (¼ pint) plus extra to glaze

1 Preheat oven to 230°C(210°fan)/450°F/Gas 8. Line a baking tray with baking paper. 

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Cashback on Grand Days Out

If you too were dragged round National Trust properties as a child, you might be surprised that I am continuing the tradition and imposing said historic places and green spaces on Prima and Secundus. However, the National Trust has changed for the better in the last thirty years. They have always existed to protect, and open to the public, historic houses, gardens and ancient monuments in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, but now they do so in a family friendly manner, making visits interesting and relevant for adults and children alike. They also offer plenty of open space for exploring, picnicking and letting off steam (and that's just for the King!)

At over £100, membership isn't cheap but it is good value when you consider the cost of visiting somewhere like Fountains Abbey as a family (over £25 for a family), and you can get cashback if you pay for your annual membership via topcashback. We see our NT membership as an investment in our country's heritage and also access to a variety of great days out. 

We used our membership cards to visit Eyam Hall and Craft Centre when we were caravanning in Derbyshire and we found the staff extremely welcoming. The village of Eyam is also fascinating place. Nearly 350 years ago the community made the ultimate sacrifice to prevent the spread of the deadly plague – their own lives. By cutting themselves off from the surrounding area, they contained the plague and prevented countless more deaths. To me, the village acts as a tribute to selflessness and courage in the face of suffering and death.

Closer to home,we are lucky to have Harlow Carr in North Yorkshire, which makes it well worthwhile to be members of the Royal Horticultural Society. This is a beautiful garden to visit at any time of the year, especially if you, like us, only have a small back yard.

Membership of the Royal Horticultural Society includes free entry to stunning RHS Gardens and over 140 other gardens, privileged entry and reduced rate tickets to world-famous RHS Flower Shows, a monthly magazine and free gardening advice. It's always worth looking on HotUKDeals if you are thinking of joining, as they often list special offers.

It gives us our own massive breathing space, full of perfectly tended raised beds, borders,woodland, and an adventure playground, without having to fork out £££s or dig anything!

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Five Fabulous Recipes for Autumn #1

There’s something about that nip in the air that affects our culinary psyche and finds us craving cosy, comfort food. Barbecues and salads become long forgotten and soups, stews and sticky puds enter our recipe repertoire.

Delight in the bounty of the fabulous seasonal foods that autumn brings with gorgeous home-cooked meals and desserts that everyone will love.

Fight the frost with warming dishes, such as Spicy Sausage and Tomato Pasta and Gingered Beef Casserole. Or for a cosy snack in front of the fire try hot home-made Pikelets topped with jam.

Al fresco eating needn’t be the preserve of summer; pause for a cuppa with buttered Cheddar and Chorizo scones during a walk through the autumn leaves. And enjoy sticky toffee apples on Halloween or while sitting watching the Bonfire.

Find new inspiration for the season in the brilliant 2016 Dairy Diary, which features a plethora of superb recipes – one for every week of the year – so there’s something to tempt anyone and everyone.
Each and every delicious dish has been triple-tested and has easy-to-follow instructions to ensure perfect results every time.

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