Now this is a bikini I would love to wear…

One of my hopes, once I’ve overhauled my mind and body, is to wear a bikini.

At the moment, my swimwear choices are either a ruched navy one-piece or a bright pink tankini with embroidery. Those choices probably sum me up, wanting secretly to wear the bright colours more often, but sticking to the safe options, acting my age not my shoe size.

When I was a teenager I remember buying a pink leopard print little bikini….those were the days…and then wearing it with a sarong, not wanting to take that final step and throw caution and (my pre-children non-wobbly) bits to the wind.

There was an article in the Daily Mail recently, Jilly Johnston was modelling bikinis for the “mature figure” and, one stood out for me:

These are Jilly’s opinions and words:

VINTAGE
Haiti bikini, £79 for the set, samanthasage.com
My heart sank when I saw this. First of all it’s white – a horribly unforgiving colour that highlights every lump and bump.
Second, the bottoms are so huge even Bridget Jones would have turned her nose up at them.
But as soon as I tried it on I was won over.
Like most women of my age, I am self-conscious about my stomach and love handles, but these pants neatly tucked it all away.
The little belt is a lovely detail and it defines the waist, too.
The top comes with extra padding that can be removed, gives good support and is thick enough not to go see-through in the water.
I can imagine wearing this on holiday with a big, floppy hat and huge sunglasses. Very St Tropez!
Rating: 5/5

Best for: Holding it all in

20130620-103019.jpg

I decided to take a look at the website. Jilly starts off so negatively and purely based on her first impressions. I wondered what other colours the Haiti bikini came in.

I wasn’t disappointed, so many different colour ways:

20130620-103513.jpg

20130620-103527.jpg

20130620-103537.jpg

20130620-103544.jpg

I particularly like the pink option and the butterflies print, here’s a link to the page. Admittedly the Haiti is an investment piece at £89.00 but it looks flattering and above all comfortable.

Something for me to aim for for next summer!

Disclaimer: I was given permission to feature the Haiti on my blog. I have not received a payment nor a sample. My views are my own.

Advertisements

Preparing my little Pinkies for Summer #FreeYourFeet

Here we are, in June, the sun is finally shining for more than a couple of hours and it’s decision time….to bare or not to bare?

I’m not talking sunbathing but feet!

I feel sorry for my feet, I don’t drive so they are regularly propelling me to and from two different schools, walks for shopping, walks for days out. They do a lot for me and I appreciate them.

What I don’t do *shameful face* is take care of them during the winter months. They’re encased in socks, in boots and go from freezing temperatures outside to a warm environment, still encased. Being subjected to a warm bath and then they get a night off. All without much care or moisture.

So, come the summer months, my feet look like this:

20130605-184907.jpg

Dried up, splitting and quite frankly parched. Certainly not as scenic.

So, what’s a Mumma to do, because – as most of us know – cracked heels can only get worse untreated in hot weather, not better.

Here’s my get-the-feet-ready-for-summer-kit:

20130605-185405.jpg

Cracked heel cream works wonders, but only if the splits aren’t open.

If they are (and ouchie if they are), smother the heels and any dry areas with Sudocrem (it’s not just for little botties), pop a pair of cotton socks over and wear overnight. Not the most glamorous look, granted, but it worked.

If you’ve got cracked heels, with no open splits, put the Cracked Heel cream on and, again, cover with the socks. It works!

Next, is the Ped-Egg. It’s recommended that it be used when the skin is dry (ie not wet) but I prefer doing it at the end of a bath. It doesn’t seem to hurt as much as the skin collected is wet and bobbles together as opposed to flakes (apologies if anyone is eating whilst reading this!).

A few days of pampering and your feet should be looking much happier.

Next is a pedicure. Nail varnish lasts longer on toes so choose a colour that goes with the majority of your wardrobe.

I tend to choose a purple (quelle surprise!) or burgundy colour:

20130605-190251.jpg

20130605-190308.jpg

Remember to follow the same procedure as for your fingernails, it takes time but it means the polish will last longer:

Soak feet and trim cuticles
Trim, file and shape nails
Apply base coat, colour and top coat.

So, feet ready, choose some sandals.

As much as I’d love to be strutting around in high heels all day, it’s not practical, so you’ll find me in these:

20130605-190714.jpg

My purple FitFlops, glittery and comfy. They do the job.

Lastly, remember to put sunscreen on your feet as well as legs/arms/anything subjected to the sun. Sunburnt feet are not a good look, especially in very strappy sandals.

This post has been written for a competition entitled “Free Your Feet” run by Clark’s shoes.

A little bit of pampering?!?

I don’t do much in the way of pampering myself, a quick brush of my hair in front of the mirror, five minutes spent on make-up and that’s it before we dash off for the school run.

I do lay the foundations about half an hour beforehand though, with my newly-found regime of day cream and night serum. Which is making a difference definitely.

The only other pamper I allow myself is my nails, my hands look better with painted nails, they make me feel better too. If only I could enjoy the process a bit more…

Our local nail bar is run by little people, all wearing face masks, as they use the nail filing equipment. They beaver away in silence, indicating by a tap of the nail file when it is the next person’s turn to sit in the chair. Your hands are turned and contorted as the equipment whirs away, a tap of the hand with a nail file indicates when they have finished with one hand and it’s time for the other. The only conversation is when you are told to wash your hands (to remove the filing remnants) and to choose a nail colour. The whole robotic, impersonal process takes about half an hour. It’s almost as if they have been programmed.

But they are efficient, the finished nail finish lasts at least 2-3 weeks, depending on how quickly your nails grow and they are cheap. £18 for infills as opposed to £42 in the salon nearby, where you get a hand massage and chitchat about holidays/children/the weather at the same time.

In these times of economic cutbacks, I know which I would prefer but ultimately I chose the cheapest.

Nails look good though, and yes, they are purple. I’m predictable!

20130517-192340.jpg

Giving my face a Moisture Surge with Clinique’s CC cream

Warning: this post contains images of *gasp* an un-made up face!

I’ve had a mini “eureka” moment this year and it’s all to do with my skin.

To quote the Adam Ant song “Goodie Two Shoes”, I “don’t drink, don’t smoke, what do you do?”..the one thing I do admit to is a lack of sleep. As any parent will know, the “bank of sleep” can be seriously depleted by illness/stress and, having two SN children, my mind will just tick over all night at times. Routine is so important to my children, and the “bank” never gets a chance to refuel.

I’m also within that age where my skin is now classed within the “mature” age bracket so anything that brightens up my skin and additionally provides moisture is welcomed.

I was therefore delighted to be selected by Mumsnet to trial Clinique’s Moisture Surge CC cream, SPF 30.

20130513-100218.jpg

Here’s what Clinque say about their product:

“One day, your skin looks ‘different’ – too red, sallow, dull or ashy. Our guiding dermatologists know why. Skin’s undertones change. Now, Smart Colour Correcting Technology helps change them back. In seconds, you look like the picture of health. Lasting, oil-free hydration and a sunscreen mean a more flawless look tomorrow, too”

So, how did I find the cream and here’s where the *gulp* pictures come in.

Firstly, I have very sensitive skin, VERY, as well as combination skin. I haven’t tended to use foundations as I’ve always been worried that I’ll put some on and the familiar tingle of a reaction starts, which then leads to “little miss red-face” and a need to remove said product very quickly before the itching starts.

This cream has been fine.

Here’s a before picture, completely make-up and concealer free. I’m pale, I’m patchy, I need something to brighten up my skin:

20130513-100920.jpg

And this is after application. The cream was very thick, I didn’t need much for an even application, this is “Light Medium” shade. Regulated the colour in my face, smooth and even to apply and no sensitive skin reactions:

20130513-101135.jpg

I like the fact the cream also contains a UVA/UVB sunscreen as, even during cloudy days, the sun’s rays are still reaching your skin. It’s also fragrance free, which means my children aren’t going to object to the smell. Very important for those hugs at the school gates!

Disclaimer:
I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Network, a group of parent bloggers picked by Mumsnet to review products, services, events and brands. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity.

*Swishing* away like Cheryl…cos I’m worth it

I had a bit of an light-bulb moment recently. I think it’s to do with starting this blog. It’s a chance to ramble on about my thoughts as me – Jeannette – and not necessarily as a Mumma.

Couple that with a BIG birthday in 3 years, 363 days (you may have noticed the milestone countdown) and the time was right to think about my well-being.

My light-bulb moment came in the form of a jar, a jar in a box of goodies that I received for writing a post. An unexpected jar but one that made me think…this:

20130411-103146.jpg

My skincare regime was previously basically a Huggies wipes pack. I don’t smoke, don’t wear foundation – just use mascara, eyeliner, concealer and lipstick, finished with a dab of powder – so thought that was all I needed really.

But I’d been given the cream so thought I’d give it a try, half anticipating my skin to react/break out in spots. It didn’t.

Then I was asked to listen to a couple of radio shows for Boots Feel Good Forum (click to read the post), absolutely jam-packed full of tips and hints about hair, skin, confidence building etc. I came away with so many tips and an explanation for all the skin care products around.

I’ve carried on using the day cream and it’s now been added to via a birthday present from Hubbie. He was a bit put out that I asked for a skincare product but it was expensive, something that I wanted to try out and something that I really couldn’t justify buying for myself:

20130411-104238.jpg

There were grumblings that it was more expensive than perfume, that it had better last a while and that we shouldn’t recycle the bottle because it’s probably worth a bit. Bless him!

Anyway, I am now one of these people who uses a day cream, a serum and a night cream (also a birthday present) and you know what? My skin feels smoother and looks brighter already.

20130411-104559.jpg

It’s taken a few years to realise but *swishing my hair like Cheryl* “I am worth it!”

20130411-105010.jpg

Boots Feel Good Forum – online and on the radio

20130402-135050.jpg

Age is just a number, right? But sometimes women of *ahem* a certain age might feel that they need some extra help and tips to deal with signs of ageing.

I’ll hold my hand up gingerly and say “I am now at that age” and I was therefore asked by Mumsnet to give my views on an initiative that they’re working on in conjunction with Boots – a very familiar and trusted name in every shopping area.

Here’s some details:
Mumsnet is working on a new project with Boots called the Feel Good Forum (click on the link for more details) – this is designed to “inspire you to take control of you and your family’s health and wellbeing. From building your body confidence and helping you get the best night’s sleep through to tackling anti-ageing and explaining the latest beauty advice”.

The main part of this is a series of weekly radio shows broadcast on Sunday evenings on Real Radio and Smooth Radio. The show is hosted by Kate Thornton and each week features experts on particular topics. Broadcast times: on Real Radio from 7-8pm and Smooth Radio from 8-9pm.”

I’ve listened to two shows and found them both really interesting. Kate Thornton really interacts with the experts, offering her own views and insights and it’s very much audience-focused with the experts answering questions from callers and those already posed on the forum (which is open 24/7 to post questions).

The first show focused on “Anti-ageing, reducing the appearance of wrinkles and what causes them”. Experts in the studio were a dermatologist and a psychologist, with an expert from Boots Opticians on the phone.

They went through questions from callers and from the forum, questions that many women will identity with.

Here’s a couple of examples:

A 27 year old woman had noticed fine lines around her eyes when she smiles, is there anything she can do?

The experts were unanimous in that she shouldn’t stop smiling! Mild smile – or laughter lines – show a positive attitude and those features that an individual is conscious of are not necessarily noticed by someone else on a happy, welcoming smiling face.

However lines can (and do) get worse with sun exposure so protection of the skin with a UVA-absorbing day cream with SPF15 is essential, even in this country, even on a cloudy day as there are still 30-40% rays coming through.
Reflective make-up will also help draw attention away from the area. Choose light make-up not make-up that sits in any lines and gain confidence from knowing that you are taking care of yourself.

She was also advised to wear protective sunglasses. Sunglasses can be seen as a fashion statement but they serve a purpose, protecting the eyes from harmful UV rays which cause damage to eyes and the skin around the eyes. Sunglasses should not just be tinted lenses and state on any label/tag that they have UV protection in the lenses.

Another question from the forum asked whether it was necessary to have cupboards full of toner, cleanser, moisturiser, exfoliator/body scrub/sun screens etc. A very familiar scenario!

The answer is simplify! First, find out your skin tone – whether normal/oily or combination – Boots skin care advisors would be able to help and offer impartial advice as to skin type and best products.

The dermatologist then advised that once the skin was cleansed (using a cream cleanser for dry skin, an oil-reducing cleanser for oily/combination) then a serum should be used as a base, with a day cream on top.

At nighttime, again cleanse your skin, then use a good night cream containing anti-oxidants as the skin repairs and moisturises itself better at night.

The UVA and UVB elements in skin-care were explained – something I’d always wondered about.

UVA – think of the “A” as “anti-Ageing”, so a cream to be used all year around. The sunlight reflects through windows and glass etc, these products will contain collagen and elastin.

UVB – “B” is for “(anti)-Burning” so a preventative cream in sunnier weather.

Lots of different scenarios discussed but the main advice being:

Look after your skin with SPF15 day creams and a suitable repairing night cream.

Keep smiling, if you act as though you’re confident, this will be mirrored in how others behave towards you.

The show concluded with the experts top tips: from the dermatologist;

If you are a smoker, stop, if you’re not, don’t start. Smoking can age your looks by between 15-20 years;

Use the SPF15 day cream all year round.

And from the psychologist:

Think positive, if you’re having a negative thought, turn it around, be constructive, made it a positive.

Don’t become obsessed with numbers, don’t let it dictate how happy you are and start concentrating on things you can control.

Change the things that need to be changed, don’t sit around and complain and let’s all pick battles we can win.

That was Show 1 and I felt like I learnt quite a bit with regards to the simplification of products, the need for a day cream and the importance of sunglasses.

Show 2 focused on skin conditions and hair care.

Again, a sample of questions:

Jean has mid-length very fine and fly-away hair, she’s finding serums leave her hair lank and sticky, what products can improve her hair?

The hair expert suggested using spray-in conditioner on the ends with lightweight volume mousse/conditioner blow dried into the hair. As regards to serums, a pea-sized amount is enough to use, rubbing it into your hands first and then passing over the hair.

Waxes can be sticky and heavy so the trick is to start with a smaller amount, rubbing it into hands first to get the wax warm so it melts and it can then be evenly distributed.

Another question was one I could REALLY identify with:

The woman’s children didn’t sleep, she has ashen skin and dark circles. She feels like she’s really aged, how can she perk up her complexion despite a lack of sleep?

The dermatologist said that this was a very familiar issue for women with children, sleep is the key to a good complexion but when sleep is limited, it’s about using products with ingredients which will have an impact on the skin.

Using a product with built-in sunscreen during the day will really help, but at night it’s using products with Rectinoid in which will benefit – a module derived from vitamin A.

Dark circles occur as skin around the eyes is thin, smiling etc crinkles up the muscles so light-reflective eye concealer will help – eg Boots No 7 Youthful Eye Serum. As with all skin/body care products, results don’t happen overnight so allow 6-8 weeks to see the benefits.

Another question from the forum concerning thinning hair and hair loss. Something that seems to be a taboo amongst females.

Some hair loss can be do to age and hormones playing a part, but what can be done?

The dermatologist recommended a conversation with a pharmacy member of staff. Hair extensions do play a part in hair damage but after pregnancy is when women commonly notice a change in their hair. Boots sell nutritional produces with a hair care supplement and Regaine for Women was also recommended.

There are products that can help conceal the effects of hair loss – Nanogen hair fibres for example, which come in various hair colours and can be sprinkled on and will lock to the hair. Available over the counter.

As before, the show concluded with experts top tips.

From the hair expert:

On finding the best hair salon for you, look for the best-looking salon as this shows the owner has invested in it, ask for a free consultation, ask plenty of questions of the stylist and if you’re not happy that you’ve connected, ask for a business card and say thank you. A good tip for a get-out clause. But if you’re happy with their answers, then you’re halfway there.

As summer is coming (maybe!), keep your hair covered with a hat or a scarf, the sun is very damaging to hair.

If your hair is jaw-length, that means the hair at the ends is 4 years old. Keep the ends in good condition – as they’re older than the hair at the roots – so use conditioner from the mid to end length and have a trim every 6-8 weeks.

And from the dermatologist:

Exfoliate regularly, this creates a smooth, light surface that reflects beautifully, making sure that the products you put on afterwards penetrate the skin well.

Protect your skin – you only get one – apply sunscreen on a daily basis and that will offset a lot of changes associated with ageing.

Be smart with your money, learn about skin care ingredients, products that stay on/soak into the skin will have more of an impact than those that wash off.

I enjoyed listening to the two shows, I felt like I’d learnt quite a bit and there was some good music played too.

Something I’ll be listening to again, age might be just a number but any tips learnt to help with growing old gently are welcomed!

20130402-153519.jpg

Disclaimer;
I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Network, a group of parent bloggers picked by Mumsnet to review
products, services, events and brands. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event.

I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity.

Product Review – Beauty Boo-tique skin care products

Recently, I was sent a selection of skin care products from Beauty Boo-tique to trial.

The products instantly appealed to me as they’re not tested on animals and manufactured in the UK. I also have very sensitive skin, so it’s important to me that the products used are as natural as possible, otherwise I can go from normal pale complexion to looking-like-I’ve-been-stung-by-insects very quickly.

This is what Beauty Boo-tique say on their website:

“Lovingly Handmade Skincare…
For her, for him, for you. An innovation in bespoke British skincare, tradition meets a fresh new holistic philosophy to skincare.

A fusion of forgotten cottage industry skills with the essence of Mother Nature, wild craft, organic and natural. All richly enveloped in blended, delicious essential scents.

It is these honest, understated, fundamental qualities that are at the core of Beauty Boo-tique UK. British since its inception in 2002 by founder Deana Lowry, based in Frimley Green, Surrey at the heart of the UK Home Counties.

The Beauty Boo-tique therapy studio is where every pot of cream starts its life. Inspired and created in salon to meet the real needs of our customers. We formulate and blend our products to work in harmony with your skin, your diet and your wellbeing.

Harnessing the raw natural vitamins, essential fatty acids of our earth’s plant oils, we use only the very best organic and natural suppliers of raw materials sourced for us from all over the world.”

I like the fact you can browse by body area and skin type on the website, to find the right product for you.

The first product I’ve tried out is the Intensive Serum, suitable for Very Dry/Sensitive/Mature skin. I fit the majority of those categories!

20130313-134411.jpg

The serum is formulated from “a secret formula of natural plant extracts combined with Vitamin A, E and Rosehip oil, Apricot Kernel oil and Jojoba oil.

This intensive cold blended serum was three years in development within the treatment room. Created to help mature skins hydration, be protected and aid cell repair.”

To use the serum, “dispense a few drops onto the finger tips and tap gently across the face and neck.”

I was a little unsure about using something so obviously oily – memories of teenage skin etc – but it’s a few drops which soak in very quickly, leaving no after-smell or residue. I haven’t had any reactions to it either, which is a definite bonus.

The second trial was of a Dry and Mature Skin Travel Pack.. Three x 15ml jars of their most popular products.

20130313-135146.jpg

The Dry/ Mature Starter Pack contains 15 ml each of :

Lemon Verbena Cleansing Cream
Linden Blossom & Rosehip Anti Ageing Day Cream
Champaca & Avocado Night Repair Q10.

Again, I haven’t reacted to any of the products, they’ve all blended in very quickly.

I’ve only been using them for just over a week so I can’t whether they’ve banished any lines immediately – that would be an unrealistic expectation – but my skin certainly feels softer, which is always a bonus considering I don’t drive and am very exposed to the British weather daily.

Prices are comparable with High Street brands and, as before, it’s good to know that the products haven’t been tested on animals and are UK-produced.

Disclaimer: I was sent 3 x 15ml jars and a bottle of serum for the purposes of this review. I have not received a fee for this post.