Monday, 19 March 2018

in my late 20's - Invisalign update #4

I'm falling apart!! πŸ˜†

Here is an update I wasn't expecting to to write - my tooth's fallen out!

That's not good is it? 

OK so I have exaggerated a little, let me explain...

My front two teeth are crowned and each of the teeth either side are veneers.  This work was done about 17 years ago.

My orthodontist did warn me that Invisalign might add 'stress' on my crowns and veneers which could mean they might came out.  However I am not convinced that the loss was down to that, as other factors were at play...

Do you Floss?

Flossing is the boss when it comes to taking care of your teeth (and gums).

I use Glide From Crest Dental Floss  a dental tape and floss every day, which I actually enjoy.  Invisalign has made it so much easier to do this as my teeth are moving so the gaps between my teeth have widened (in a good way).

Pre Invisalign flossing wasn't so good so I used a Phillips Airfloss - it's a great tool if you don't like to floss.

The Airfloss squirts a fine high pressure jet of water (or mouthwash) between your teeth.  Due to the design of the head/tip you can precisely aim and fire - so you get in all the gaps to blast out whatever is there.

Keep you finger on the trigger and it produces an even blast at regular intervals - so no squirting water up your nose or in your eye.  As I said as great device - until it breaks down :(
My Airfloss was about 4 years old when it died.  

The Airfloss didn't have a lot of competition when I originally purchased it, but there are quite a few similar devices now on the market.  Whilst I thought I wanted to buy another device* I didn't want to  spend as much second time round.  

After reading a number of reviews on Amazon I purchased a YOHOOLYO Water Flosser at £29.99 it is half the price of the Philips device.

I liked the price and the look of this device.  It is quite large but not too big for the bathroom shelf and seemed to have a few features.

After charging for 3 hours I used it for the first (and last) time.  It gets through a lot of water and makes for quite a wet and messy time, but I expect with practice that would get better.  

The water jet itself was continuous as opposed to the regular pulse of the airfloss, but I didn't think it felt as powerful and it was definitely not as easy to aim.  

I went round my teeth a few times and then when I was just starting to think I would stop, I felt it - off came my front veneer...

Luckily for me I realised straight away and the tap was not running, so after a lot of faffing I managed to retrieve my veneer from the bottle trap - that tiny piece of porcelain costs about £300 so well worth the effort.  

Needless to say the YOHOOLYO flosser was packed up and returned to Amazon who have refunded me.  My dentist charged me £20 to stick the veneer back on so no harm done.

I was worried at first that the Invisalign tray would not go back in but my dentist advised me to put it straight back in as it meant the veneer was cemented in to the correct place.

All this was a week ago, at first I was very worried about taking the Invisalign trays in and out but now I have got used to it again.

Before I even started using Invisalign I had started saving up as I know my crowns and veneers will need replacing.  Like any 'cosmetic' work they don't last forever.

This is my first problem with Invisalign, and I'm not even sure it was, plus it's Monday so change over day which is 'Hello' tray Number 28 and only... 15 trays (and that equals weeks) to go.


*πŸ€”Would I buy another flosser?  If I did it would be a Phillips Airflows but for now I will continue with manual flossing

(post includes some affiliated links)


Monday, 12 March 2018

Real coffee and I'm on the go! ☕️

C-O-f-f-e-e coffee and apple on moomin tray

Like a lot of you I seem to be powered by coffee, although I have really cut back on my caffeine habit and only try to drink de-caff after 2pm.

I used to think I was immune to the effects of caffeine until I started to drink decent coffee at home via my Nespresso machine.  

Coffee - how do you take yours?

There is nothing fancy about me! No lattes, cappuccinos or flat whites here.  I take my coffee black with a splash of skimmed milk, an americano with skinny milk, if I am ordering one at the counter.

Out and about

I recently purchased a Wacaco nanopress to help fill a hole in my coffee habit.  

It is going to fill that hotel room void where you have a kettle but sachets of instant coffee.   You see my Nespresso machine has turned me into a coffee snob!!


The original Wacaco nanopress is designed to make an expresso from ground coffee but they also have an adapter that can take Nespresso style pods (any Nespresso style of pod).

I purchased my machine from Bear & Bear in a bundle which comprised of:
  • Wacaco nanopress machine
  • Carry case
  • Nespresso pod adapter

It takes a bit of work

If you have a Nespresso machine you will know how simple it is to use - pod in, press start - you have coffee πŸ˜ƒ☕️

The nanopress is totally manual, no plugs, no batteries.  It's easy to use, and if you are dedicated to a decent drink it's worth the effort.  This is how it goes:
  • Fill the water tank with boiling water, screw it on.
  • Put a pod into the adapter, screw that on.
  • Unlock the piston
  • Pump out the coffee (if you've ever used an old fashioned bicycle pump you will know the action)
The first 10 pumps are a breeze, after these the coffee starts to dispense and requires a little (but not supreme) effort.  You have used up all the water when the coffee stops coming.

One go will be enough for an expresso but as I like a bigger drink, I refill the water tank again (keep the pod in) and re-pump.  Then just add more hot water and a splash of milk.
Wacaco nanopress

Drink up

What I really like about the nanopress is I know what I am going to get, as it tastes exactly the same as the coffee at home.

After use you should clean the machine which could be a bit of a faff if you were using ground coffee but because I use a pod there is hardly any mess.

One downside for me is the carry case. It only fits the machine with the ground coffee adapter so it is not big enough for the nespresso one.  So I have to carry that separately (it does come with a little pouch).
Wacaco nanopress
Waco nanopress adapter

As I've said this will be coming away with me to hotels and self catering holidays - where I have a kettle.  Remember this machine does not boil the water.

Decent coffee, like putting on SPF, it's a daily essential for me.


Thanks for reading, if you have any comments please let me know, I'll get back to you as soon as I've finished my cuppa!


Monday, 5 March 2018

Aequill Orange & Ylang Ylang Candle*

and... relax

I love lighting candles at any time of the day to not only fill my home with dreamy fragrances but also to help me relax. Plus who doesn't love the look of (or look better in) candle light? ❤️πŸ•―

I'm also really into my essential oils and one of my favourite is ylang ylang.  So it was a very easy choice for me to make when asked if I would like to try one of the hand poured scented candles from aequill - Orange & Ylang Ylang, yes please and thank you.

Aequill candles are made by hand with real care and it shows.  The box it arrived in is simple and stylish and finished with a cream seal on the front featuring the aequill  'A' logo.

Each candle is hand poured into a glass jar which has a really thick and sturdy bottom.  I can be a bit obsessive about candles and coasters - i.e. I don't want the table top getting hot.  The bottom of these candles is so thick I can forget my coaster 'rule' (how liberating!).

The burn time for the 100g candle (my one) is about 16 hours, it's 40 hours for the 200g size.

The way the candle burns is really good.  What do I mean by this - well the flame is really steady it doesn't judder like some candles, just a very gentle serene flicker and no smoke.

Another benefit of a steady burn is when the wax in the candle melts, it melts evenly.  This means the top of the candle stays horizontal, not lop sided, it shouldn't  matter but it does and it looks neater.

Along with the candle came a card with the following quote:

People who wonder whether the glass is half full or half empty miss the point, the glass is refillable.

At first I thought this was purely an inspirational quote, however on the reverse of the card it explains more.  You can return the candle and aequill will refill it and knock 20% off the price πŸ’°πŸŒ

Orange & Ylang Ylang

Now back to my candle and the scent.  Unfortunately there isn't an App yet to enable you to scratch and sniff this post to release the fragrance!  So I shall try my best to describe it.

General terms like spa like, relaxing, soothing all apply. It contains orange and I am pretty confident you know what they smell like.

Personally I wouldn't give the overall description of the fragrance as citrus as the Ylang Ylang gives it a more grown up, warm and sophisticated feel and smell.

It's not overly feminine or flowery so should appeal to both him and her.

It would make a lovely gift for mum, sister, partner etc or of course to the most important person and that's you. 😊

You can discover more about aequill and it's creator Jintana, who signs the bottom of each candle (nice touch) at


PS Oranges are not the only fruit!! Other fragranced candles (and reed diffusers) in the aequill range include:

*post includes a PR sample

Monday, 26 February 2018

Rolling back the years - with SwissClinic* πŸ‡¨πŸ‡­

Skin roller?

I did a mini poll recently and whilst most people had heard of skin rollers, they didn't really know what they are supposed to do and and more often than not asked - "Doesn't it hurt"?

The concept is simple and not I promise as scary as it at first sounds.
There is NO pain, but still plenty of g-a-i-n.

Collagen, why should I  bother?

Collagen is what makes skin, soft, plump, smooth but firm and it gives you that youthful look and glow.  We all have it, but as we age the levels in our skin decrease - and that's a fact of getting older. πŸ‘Ž

However whilst the collagen in your skin will start to reduce in your 20's! You can produce more πŸ˜ƒ and this is where a derma roller or micro-needling is going to become your new best friend.

More Collagen, how?

Simply put, your skin will produce more collagen if you skin is 'damaged', and this is what micro-needling via a dermal roller will do - but in a very gentle and non ouchy way.

The 'damage' you do will trigger the healing process within your skin and the production of collagen.

Another benefit of micro-needling is the tiny channels you make means whatever product you put on after use will be absorbed deeper into your skin.

SwissClinic System

SwissClinic have produced a complete Skin Renewal Treatment, and the secret behind this is the combination of two products.

Step 1 is the skin roller, which has 540 micro (tiny) needles.  Below are a couple of close ups of the roller and the needles, which are just 0.2mm in length - as you will see nothing to be afraid of here.
SwissClinic skin roller
SwissClinic skin roller 0.2mm size

The roller also comes with some cleaning fluid as you need to keep your roller nice and clean, so a quick spray after each use is the way to go.
SwissClinic skin roller and cleaner

Advice is to use the roller on a rota, i.e. use for 5-7  days and then rest for 5-7.

I use mine last thing at night as you need to take your time and once you apply Step 2 (serum) the advice is to stop there and avoid any other skincare products for at least an hour.

The process of using the roller is very simple and also pleasant, but you do need to allow time - don't rush your treatment.

Using firm strokes you pass the roller over your skin, up/down, left to right and then diagonally, think of making an asterisk pattern.

It really is pain free, however you will feel it more on the boney areas of your face - i.e. forehead and cheekbones, less so on the fleshy parts and that includes lips which I enjoy using it on too.

I also use it round my eyes but go more gently here as I know the skin is thinner.

Rejuvenating Serum (step 2)

SwissClinic skin roller and rejuvenating serum
Swiss Clinic have also produced a dermatologically  tested serum.

This non perfumed clear serum has been specifically formulated to improve the healing process and the collagen production.  It also contains some powerful antioxidants including Vitamin E.
SwissClinic serum

As I said earlier I've been using the skin roller at night, and applying the serum afterwards however you can of course use the serum at any time.

So recently I have been using this in the morning and then following with my normal moisturiser, SPF etc.


I started using the system at the beginning of the year so as of now it has been about 8 weeks.

I am certainly noticing that my skin is smoother and my open pores are much less noticeable and I haven't had any new milia crop up.

My under eyes appear to be less puffy too.  Generally my skin feels softer and in better condition.

I am not sure I have noticed any reduction in my fine lines but I am very critical of these...

The roller I have been using is 0.2mm which is aimed more at improving skin texture.  SwissClinic do another roller which is 0.5mm which would mean more 'damage' and therefore aimed more at fine line/wrinkle reduction.

It's a bit addictive!

The great thing about the roller is you can of course use it anywhere you like, so not just your face.  I have just started to use mine on my neck.  The routine now is 5 days on my face, then 5 days on my neck and so on.

Personally, I think that any skin over 25 would benefit from using a skin roller.  I also understand that the concept works on scars, pigmentation and loose skin.  Collagen production is the way to go!

If you have acne scars it would be great for them too.  Please remember though to never use the roller directly on broken skin, spots and pimples - and of course to keep it super clean with the cleaner provided.

To find out more about SwissClinic and their Skin Renewal Treatment please visit πŸ‡¨πŸ‡­

*post includes a PR sample


Monday, 19 February 2018

Teeth brushing - its so black and white πŸ€”

Charcoal toothpaste

Charcoal - no longer just for putting on the fire, creating a great smokey eye or for dog biscuits!

Like me you may have seen a lot of health and beauty products featuring the black stuff.  It seems to be getting everywhere - face masks (even fancy magnetic ones), face scrubs etc. and now... toothpaste.

I recently purchased a tube of Ecodenta extra black, whitening toothpaste from Holland & Barrett, mainly because I had a £5.50 loyalty voucher to use up.

Whilst buying some fab Collagen Beauty Milk (well worth it) I saw this the toothpaste on offer at £2.25 and after reading a few reviews I thought, why not give it a go?πŸ›
ecodenta tooth paste and tonic 'giggler' mouse

It comes in quite a smart looking tube which aesthetically pleased me as it matched my Sonicare Black Diamond Toothbrush.
ecodenta tooth paste and tonic 'giggler' mouse and phillips sonicate toothbrush

It is also vegan and does not include fluoride which may tick a couple of boxes for you.

Now for the kinda obvious part, the paste itself is most definitely b-l-a-c-k.

It is the same consistency as regular toothpaste however it doesn't froth.  Once you start brushing it then turns grey - and I found this most alarming!

Maybe I am a bit old fashioned, but I now realise I am a bit of traditionalist when it comes to toothpaste colour.

I can tolerate pale blue, and maybe some stripes but on the whole I think toothpaste should be white.
ecodenta tooth paste and tonic 'giggler' mouse and phillips sonicate toothbrush

I tend to stare blankly at myself in the mirror whilst I brush my teeth as I like to let the Sonicare do its job (which it is very good at, even if it is on the pricey side).

However staring in the mirror to watch my teeth turning grey just felt weird - it was almost like immediate ageing!

Of course it all rinsed away and I dare say it may well clean them very well but after only one use I decided that Charcoal toothpaste is just not my bag.

The taste was fine, minty, but I hated the colour and the non foaming, plus there is one other important thing to point out and that's b-l-o-o-d!

I don't have the best gums in the world, due partly to some ill fitting crowns and a bit of family history of gum disease.

This means I do on occasions spit blood after brushing - and this would not show up with a Charcoal toothpaste, as gross as it sounds I do need to know.

Other uses for toothpaste?

I am now left with a tube of something I don't want in my mouth, but neither do I want it in the bin.

Do a Google search and you will find many uses for toothpaste, such as:
  • Brushing your teeth! πŸ˜†
  • Removing minor furniture scratches
  • Cleaning jewellery
  • Healing spots
  • many more..
I have a few old manual tootbrushes that I use to clean round the kitchen and bathrooms taps and to get into the grooves round the toaster, shower head etc.

I decided to see how the toothpaste would fare cleaning round the bathroom sink tap.

It made a lovely mess to start off with, but with a good scrub and a lot of rinsing it came up a treat.   Good enough to admire yourself in - no mousing around! πŸ­πŸ˜†
tonic giggler mouse admiring himself
So, not for the bathroom shelf after all, but the cleaning cupboard under the sink.


I don't like to throw things away unnecessarily and would always try and reuse/recycle them.

What do you do if something just isn't right? 


Monday, 5 February 2018

I don't know about you but I'm feeling 22!

Invisalign tray number 22, halfway there - update #3

Tray number 22 is the hump tray - tray 22 of 43 so I am officially halfway through my 'invisalign journey'.

So far so good.  If you have read my earlier posts you will know that I am speeding along now.  I started off changing trays every 2 weeks but at tray 12 I was told I could do a weekly change. πŸ˜ƒ

I am still managing to do that once a week with no real problems.  Tray number 18 was a bit tricky to get in (top only) as was number 20 but this was just the first time.

I don't want to be in a position where a tray won't go in so I am really making sure when they are in they are sitting tight and I am using my chewies a lot.

What's a chewie?
Moomin tray and an aligner chewie

A bit difficult to make them look pretty but chewies are small rubber coloured cylinders with a hole through the middle which you chew on once your tray is in to make it sit nice and tight.

My orotodontist said to chew until my jaw started to ache.

The chewing process is quite noisy and a bit anti-social, I sound like a donkey eating an apple!  Plus chewing makes you produce saliva which occasionally squirts out through the hole!!  So I don't do it in public.

I have a lot of chewies in the house and car in various states of deterioration.  Unlike Bunny's (my cockapoo) kong they are not indestructible.

When I go to the orthodontist for a check up every 6-8 weeks I pick up some more.

Check ups and more

If you are going to go down the Invisalign route you need to be prepared that:
  • It is expensive £3000+ in my case (I was able to get some back on insurance)
  • It is not a quick fix. It is a commitment in time, be prepared for 12-18 months
  • Wearing the trays could hurt...
  • People may notice - the trays are great but not totally invisible (although in my case people only see them if I draw attention to them)
  • Attachments - more likely than not you will have to have these (they are not permanent)
  • You will have to take the trays out every time you eat or drink (but not coffee/tea!)
  • You will be have to make regular trips to the orthodontist for check ups - so make sure you like them!
The check ups are very straight forward and there is never any pain.  Apart from a visual check the only physical thing that happens is my orthodontist files my teeth a little between the gaps to make sure they have room to move.

The file is tiny, thinner than a piece of paper and really gentle.

What does 22 look like?

Below is tray number 22 fresh out of the packet.
Invisalign trays on a moomin  wooden tray

And here is tray 22 above tray 1.
Invisalign trays on a moomin  wooden tray
Tray number 1 looks so grotty because it was in for 2 weeks and as I said earlier I don't have to take them out to drink coffee (but I would if I took it with sugar).

Caffeine stains the trays.  I have got some Retainer Brite Tablets that can be used to clean trays and giving the trays a brush helps too (they never smell).  But I will be honest, I don't do a lot of tray cleaning...

You get two trays in each pack - top and bottom teeth.  I have laid the trays out top then bottom.  What you can really notice is the difference between the top trays.

Top tray 1, has a much narrower arch, with tray 22 the arch is getting wider and a wider arch means a wider smile, plus in my case less of an overbite and my front teeth are being gently pushed back.

The changes are subtle but it shows my teeth are definitely moving.

Once you have finished with a tray there is no need to keep it but I have kept them all so far, it is a great way to see the difference.

Expect to hear more from me when I get into my late 30's!!


Would you like to read my previous Invisalign posts?

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Mane 'n Tail - Hoofmaker 🐴

Healthy hooves - right down to your finger tips!

I first tried this hand and nail cream because I just loved the name - Hoofmaker.  It also turned out to be a really fab product that works.

It's been around since 1979 originally used on yep, horses to condition their hooves but it was also found to benefit human hands and nails too.

I swear by this stuff to not only soften my hands (plus, feet and elbows) but also condition and importantly strengthen my nails.

It is super easy to use.  A lovely non greasy formula that my skin and nails just drink up.

I have in the past tried other equine inspired beauty products but for hands and nails Hoofmaker is the one I come back to again and again.

If you are bothering to apply a hand cream it makes sense to get one that is good for your nails too.

The only thing I think it is lacking is an SPF, so if applying during the day remember to layer your SPF on top.

It does have a scent, but it isn't floral.  I am struggling to describe the smell, it's pleasant, but once on the hands it quickly disappears  - maybe it smells of hooves!!!

The size I currently have is a 6oz tube which I purchased in the UK from Fragrance Direct for £7.50*, it is going to last me ages as 6oz is a pretty big tube.  I have seen it in a 32oz dispensing tub, which would be a tad big for even my hand bag.

Mane 'n Tail also do a range of hair care products which I haven't tried... yet, if you would like to know more why not trot over to their website :

*December 2017


Monday, 22 January 2018

I am going to nail it with MAVALA

MAVALA Swiss nail care

Up until the age of 25 I bit my nails, and I mean really bit them, right down with some skin chewing thrown in for good measure!

One of those moments in time I remember, at work, made me stop...
I was sending a fax (it was the 90's) when someone commented on my grubby nails and said "you'll never be able to grow them as you have bitten them for too long".

I didn't flinch or react, but I did take it personally (how could I not ?)  There and then I made up my mind to stop the biting and see if she was right.

Luckily for me she was wrong as my nails grew long and strong, I should have known they would,  my Mum always had great nails.

Mavala nail care products

My nail care regime started with the purchase of just one product by MAVALA  - Scientifique which is a nail hardener with formaldehyde.  A bit of a controversial ingredient for some (one of its uses is as an embalming agent) but it worked for me then and still does now.

Over the years I have stayed pretty loyal to MAVALA with the occasional flirtation with Sally Hansen   and Cutex.

New Year New Nails

Nails grow which is useful (!) for the times that you break them.  I like to usually keep my nails long (maybe too long for some) but I am also a great believer in cutting them short at least twice a year - kind of like pruning the roses.

January is always a good time to give them a cut as it should mean by April/May they will be back to the right length and in tip top health.

To help me with this years growth I picked up a MAVALA kit which contains all the essentials you need to grow them long and strong.

These products may be new to you but I have tried them all before and already have some but at £25.40 for the kit from it seemed too good to miss.

Ongles Fins & Fragiles?

The name of my kit, which translates to "Thin & Fragile?" well that is not exactly my nails however I think any nail however tough it is, is going to flourish with a bit of TLC.
Mavala nail care

Kit contents


The nail hardener.

A bright blue watery liquid which contains formaldehyde as the second ingredient after water.
Mavala Scientifique

The kit contains a 2ml bottle, might not seem much but this stuff goes a very long way and won't go off.

You must apply it to the nail growth only - so the dead part of your nail only, please don't get carried away and apply it to your whole nail.

This is a penetrating liquid which you apply to clean, dry, polish free nails and you need to let it soak in.

Don't use it more than once a week.

Nail Shield

This is a two part system, you apply it like polish.
Mavala Nail Shield

Bottle number 1 (phase 1) is a white liquid which contains tiny nylon fibres that form a protective network over the nail to help support it.  You apply it to the whole nail.  As my nails start to grow I also apply it underneath the nail tip.

Bottle 2 is a nail shield which looks a pinky/brown colour.  This will seal in the nylon fibres and give your nail a smooth surface.

It says to apply 2 coats but I find one is enough - once done it looks very natural has a very soft sheen - not glossy almost matt.  You can apply regular polish over the top as you wish.

Comes off with nail varnish remover.


I can't tell you how many pots (or tubes) I have purchased of this wonderful cream over the years.  You can apply it to bare nails (best option) but also on top of polish.
Mavala Nailactan

The key is to apply it regularly at least once a day and apply it first round the cuticle and really massage it in.  I am sure this helps with the blood flow and therefore nail growth.

With the pot you get a little spatula that they suggest you use to scoop it out - but I just use a finger.

Nailactan comes in a little glass jar (pictured) but you can also purchase it in a tube - exactly the same product, and it works.

Hand Cream

I am not so loyal when it comes to hand cream.  I like to find one with an SPF and some sort of nail benefit too.
Mavala Hand cream

This hand cream doesn't have an SPF but it does have marine collagen🐟, which is something I blog about a lot as it's just what your skin needs to keep it looking good.

The addition of collagen in this non oily hand cream is going to be great for my rather dry and tired looking hands

Nail files

Matches style packaging, six tiny nail files 10cm long.

Rough and smooth size, perfect for the glove box of the car where they live.


BeautyBoo44 - Project Nail

Below is a picture of my right hand, nails cut short, no nails varnish, no filters!

It is not pretty, the left is just as bad.
Mavala mini nail files

I will post again in April/May with the results of the MAVALA routine... so please follow me, subscribe to emails and watch this space.

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Post contains some affiliated links

Monday, 15 January 2018

2018 wish list - so far!

2018 - Hope the new year is going well for you.

I must admit I really like January (!!)  I like getting a shiny new year to look forward to and plan for.

New year doesn't mean making resolutions for me though or not exactly... I prefer to call them plans... Planning takes a bit more thought and a plan sounds more achievable somehow.

Whilst buying skincare, makeup etc may not sound like the hardest plan in the world, with so many fab products out there it's not always an easy choice.

For my 'planning' I like to do some research (aka endless Googling and reading Blogs) and therefore feel I am making an informed choice when I go shopping.

Plans of course come with the caveat that I am perfectly entitled to change my mind, but for now at least here is the 2018 plan:

Protein drink

Not exactly skin care but you are pretty much what you eat and I have really shaken up my diet in the last 12 months.

Along with a 2 stone plus weight loss (which was all done via a 'diet') my energy levels have improved.  However there has been a downside too - my skin.

Whilst cutting back on the sugar and more or less cutting out refined sugar I am protecting the collagen in my skin which of course is great.  But, 2 stone lighter and being middle aged I have been left with some pretty (and it ain't) lax skin and parts of me have really lost their shape (including my Boom Boom - see below*).

I need to start building muscle to help firm me up and have for the first time in my life started to lift weights and do some proper weight training (which I am really enjoying).

Being a nearly veggie I can struggle a bit with protein, there is only so much Quorn and natural yoghurt I can take!

I think the time has come to try a protein shake, at least on the days when I am pumping iron!  Having read a lot about them I want to make sure I am going to take the right one, not full of anything nasty and as natural as it can be. do a 'Discovery Box' box for £12.99 which gives you 6 sachets all different flavours to try.

I like the sound of this company and that they talk about proper food etc.

ESHO Sculpt

I am quite happy with my lips but want to stay happy with them.

Last year I started to apply a daily SPF via a lip balm, it varies but between Ultrasun (clear and tasteless) SPF30 and Malibu (clear but oh so slightly flavoured) also SPF30

Recently I have been reading a lot about Sculpt which is from Dr Esho.  He does several lip product and the range can be found at

Sculpt is designed for natural lips 'shape and volume' ('Pause' is for lips with fillers).

In theory you can buy at but they are currently out of stock, which of course makes me want it all the more.

Bum Bum Cream

The cult  Brazilian body cream - aimed at yep your bottom by Sol de Janeiro.

I am not expecting a miracle on the firming front (or should that be behind!) but I really want to try it for the texture, smell and the added sparkles.

I can be a bit hit and miss about using body creams and lotions but if it smells good and feels good I am going to want to use it.

Always a good idea to layer products when it comes to getting a lasting fragrance.  There is also a matching Shower Gel - shower gel then body lotion seems like a good match.

*Bum Bum - pronounced Boom Boom in Brazil (see above).


I will let you know how I get on with the above once I have them in my life.

New Year new things to try and try to do.... what are your Plans for the year??

Be good to know, why not leave a comment below?

#post includes one affiliated link


Monday, 8 January 2018

Beauty Budget Balance

The cost of good skin

Keeping things for best, I think we all have a tendency to do this, I know I certainly do.

In my case it goes for a few things including keeping clothes for best and then hardly ever wearing them.  And then when I do I often find them too small (I only buy clothes when I'm at my happy weight).  Or they end up disappointing and not being as good on as I remember them to be!!

I also do this with skincare, it's in regard to the expensive items.  When I pay a lot for skincare I expect it and want it to not only perform but also to last - and a way of doing that is not to use it!  Which of course makes no sense what-so-ever!

Buying and then sporadically using a product is not the way to go, as it could:-
  • a) go off (everything has a shelf life)
  • b) the effects might be cumulative, and you can't ever really expect to see a difference after just one use
  • c) you could be missing out on a great product.  You got it,  so you wanted it? Err... so why not use it?

Spending a lot on skincare

High end, expensive, luxury skincare call it what you will.  The large cosmetic and skincare companies are often the trail blazers when it comes to skincare.  These guys have a lot (and make a lot) of money to invest in research into the latest 'miracle' ingredient.

If you want to get the latest skincare tech on your face then high end is where you will more than likely find yourself - but my advice,  only spend what you can actually afford to use.

Looking for a bargain

Previously I had tried a Vitamin C serum from a very high end company and I paid a £60+ price tag.  To cut a long story short it was just too strong for me, my skin could not tolerate it, even when I cut it back to once a week.

Fortunately for me I purchased it direct from a Doctor led clinic who agreed to buy it back from me. 

But... I still wanted to try a Vitamin C serum as it helps with my one true skin love - collagen.  Benefits of Vitamin C to the skin are:
  • Reduces fine lines and wrinkles
  • Evens skin tone
  • Prevents and repairs sun damage
  • Increasing collagen and elastin production
  • Reduces breaks outs and help spots
What I didn't want to do though was spend a lot of money on a product that I might again have a bad reaction to.

Fortunately I found Balance Active Formula  - who do a Vitamin C serum for a very low price.

I then started looking at all the other Balance products and ending up buying the above all for less than £15!

At these prices I have no qualms about using the products every day.

Vitamin C Power Serum

The only product I originally intended to buy!
I purchased this online from and the cost was £4.99, I paid for standard delivery but it came the next day so super happy with that.

I am using this just at night, the instructions say day and night but I am sticking to just bedtime.  The bottle itself is coloured which is good as I understand that Vitamin C has to be kept 'stable' and could oxidise (go off) if exposed to the light.

I like the medical feel of the dropper, however the bottle is plastic not glass.

The serum is an orangey colour, not runny, plus it smells nice (if you like orange).

I am really enjoying using this product, after about 6 weeks of use I have half a bottle left, so it is very good value.  My skin is behaving well and looking good.

If you are interested in adding Vitamin C to your routine but are unsure where to start I would recommend this one as at £4.99 you can't really go wrong (its also an award winner πŸ†).

So glad I found it.

Hyaluronic Acid - Serum and Moisturiser

I purchased the serum first and then soon followed with the moisturiser.

There are plenty of Hyaluronic Acid (HA) serums about, but this is by far the cheapest I have ever found -  £3.99 from Fragrance Direct.

HA is a great addition to skincare as it locks the moisture into your skin and therefore keeps your skin looking hydrated and smooth.

The serum I have, Hyaluronic Youth Serum has one active ingredient which is 5% Hyasol PF  - this is the Hyaluronic Acid.

After doing some research it looks like Balance have tinkered with the ingredients for their HA serum.  The latest version is now called Hyaluronic 554 Youth Serum and has two active ingredients (HylasomeE® EG10 and SYN®-AKE).

Back to the serum I have... This serum is a great texture (not runny) clear and fragrance free.  Because it is a bargain price I have been applying it not only to my face and neck but also the back of my hands - morning and evening.

The moisturiser cost me £2.50 - yes really that little.  I really like it, it is very lightweight more of a lotion than a cream.  Not thick so quickly absorbed and a great base for make up.

I use the serum first and then follow up with the moisturiser - I am convinced my foundation is lasting better (no SPF in the moisturiser so I top off with a decent SPF).

Snake Venom Eye cream

This was purchased at Home Bargains.  I am a sucker for eye cream as my dark shadows are probably (along with sagging) my major skin concern.

They are definitely age related as I didn't suffer at all (or at least I didn't notice them) until I got into my 40s :(

This is the cheapest product I purchased at £1.99 so about the same as a large coffee!

It has two active ingredients that I have not heard of before - SYN®-AKE and EyePro™3X  The 'snake' one I hope doesn't contain any actual snake!  (Balance also do a Dragons Blood range which I doubt very much harmed any dragons πŸ‰)

This is a nice lightweight product which is easily absorbed and not greasy.
Claims are that it 'reduces under eye circles and bags'.   Plus the EyePro 3X mentions collagen stimulation and collagen :)

Results?  I am not sure that any eye cream will ever make me happy about my dark circles - even the best concealer in the world doesn't disguise them...

However what I can say is that this eye cream is very hydrating which is great.
It means my concealer is getting a good base and not drying (into the fine lines) and flaking.  Whatever is does and doesn't do at £1.99 is has to be worth a try?

Beauty does not always have to cost £££

So there you have it, four great products that don't cost fortune.  I haven't quite bought into the whole Balance range... yet.

There are other products in the range Dragons Blood and Wrinkle Freeze.  If you want to find out more here is the link to the website -


I have just discovered and am enjoying using a new brand - if you know of a great skincare brand please let me know so I can check them out.

Thanks xx

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