Last minute Christmas gift for a new parent

WHEN I was pregnant with Rafael, my first son, I spent ages investigating bath care for children and was astounded that there is such a limited offering on the market. 

I indulged in Burt’s Bees, who have lovely nappy creams, moisturisers and oils, but since that time three years’ ago Rituals have launched a lovely baby range, as well as Dove.

This gift set from Dove is a steal at only £8, and would make a lovely gift for a new parent, or mum/dad-to-be. Dove is a trusted brand and so feels like a natural fit for a baby bath care range.

The gift set includes a head to toe wash, a shampoo, a lotion and a sponge.

We’ve been using the Dove range for the last couple of months in our two-year-old’s bath and he’s been absolutely loving the bubbles and bath time routine. His skin has been a little dry since winter began, so will start to use the moisture lotion before bed as an addition to our usual routine.

Buy Baby Dove’s gift set for £8, here.

A bright winter lipstick for a tired mama-to-be

AT coming up to six months’ pregnant, I have to admit I’m starting to look tired around the eyes and in need of a beauty boost.

I’ve been using approximately 1million face creams to perk up my tired skin and make myself feel less exhausted but nothing compares to the magical powers of a really great bright lipstick.

A slick of a swathe of pink – such as this one from Too Faced is all you need to brighten up the most sleepy of faces.

The colour I’m trying on is called Bend and Snap (shout out to Legally Blonde!) so you can imagine the power punch of pink that it delivers.

I love the Too Faced packaging too – it’s always so bright and brash and unashamed. It’s brilliant.

Buy Too Faced’s Melted Matte Liquid Lipstick in Bend and Snap, for £19, here.



Embracing the dark side with Black Lace Rabbit blush

I LOVE a little sense of magic when it comes to beauty products and this blush from Lipstick Queen doesn’t disappoint.

It appears black… but applies as a sheer purple. Ta-dah!

I can’t quite understand why they didn’t use this formula for the lipstick version, instead opting for a sheer black which is virtually unwearable. The blush however is highly wearable and a great shade for winter.

I don’t usually wear a cream blush in winter, but for this one I’d make an exception. The plum shade is really special and adds a berry tint to your make up look. You can see that it has a gold shimmer shot through it.

Plus – the name! It’s awesome. Quality-wise, it’s everything that you’d expect from Lipstick Queen. Always a treat and worth the money.

Buy Black Lace Rabbit for £22, here.

At home maintenance for red hair

A FEW weeks ago, I decided to go from bottle blonde to dark red hair.

I’ve got a two-year-old son, and going to the salon every six weeks for bleach was just too much of an investment both on the wallet, and on the clock. I just didn’t want to spend that long away from him every few weeks to just sit in a salon, especially when I can’t seem to find a salon that does wine or g&ts on the house anymore!

On a complete tangent, does anyone else remember the wonderful days where going to the salon for an expensive hair treatment was treated like a luxury? When I’ve rung around salons recently they have all acted like I’m doing them a favour by offering them hundreds of pounds, and asked for a 50% deposit up front in case I’m a no show. After about ten years and several thousand pounds spent in expensive salons, I really feel that the service has gone downhill. I was even admonished once for ringing up and enquiring about any on-the-same-day bookings… (looking at you Blue Tit in Peckham). Anyone would think that salons don’t want big spending customers anymore!

Back on topic – I dyed my hair dark red using a combination of Garnier Nutirisse and Olio, finally settling on Garnier Nutrisse 3.6 deep reddish brown as my colour of choice.

However, after a couple of washes using a brown tinted shampoo, the bleach underneath my hair was coming through again, and leaving the ends of my locks looking pale and unloved. To counter this and avoid having to dye my hair every single week, I looked to try a couple of different tinted shampoo and conditioners, including Infuse My Colour and Joico.

IMG_0989Upon advice, as well as the ruby variant from Infuse My Colour, I also tried out the copper tone which I’ve been absolutely overjoyed by, and really fell in love with. The copper tone really added a new dimension to my hair tone (see main pic) and is definitely the one that I would buy again. Ruby is good, but I feel that the copper tone is the one that really makes a difference to the depth of colour of my hair.

If you have bleached hair then you can use these colours together to create a wonderful rose gold effect. I’m kinda kicking myself for not trying this out before going for the full dark effect.

Infuse My Colour is perfect for those looking for a clean formula too as it’s…

  • 100% Vegan Formula
  • 0% Sulphates
  • 0% Silicones
  • 0% Parabens

After using Joico shampoo and conditioner

A few notes of worth – I’ve never used these shampoos in the bath for fear of staining, so I whack them on in the shower, leave them on for a few minutes and then rinse. I think they are having a tough time of it over the bleached hair, but they are doing a sterling job of keeping the tone nice and bright. Also, use a decent conditioner after to keep hair in tip top shape, and I use an oil on damp hair afterwards too to ensure it feels silky smooth. I love Super Oil 3 from Envy which literally makes my hair feel soft as satin when I’ve used it. It contains a unique blend of yangu oil, Japanese camellia oil, avocado oil and vitamin E. It’s literally a miracle worker.

I’ve also been trying out the red-toned shampoo and conditioner from Joico, which I also rate highly. This lathers up more which helps when you’re in a rush and means you don’t need as much to cover thick hair like mine. It also has a conditioner in the range which means you can double up on the red effect.


Joico shampoo and conditioner

In the pic, above, you can see that I have a lovely tone on the top half of my hair, which fades a little at the roots as you reach the bleached section of my locks. This is after using Joico, and you can see that it covers the blonde and adds a red tone. My hair has a tendency to show green if it’s not toned properly, and this is definitely reversing that effect.

My new routine is to dye my hair every few weeks, and keep maintaining the colour using Infuse My Colour, and Joico. The one that I would re-invest in would be the copper shade from Infuse My Colour though. That has secured a place in my heart!

Buy Infuse My Colour for £13.95 here, and Joico for £12.40 here.


Living the festive dream… at Dreamland

TOP of our to-do list for this winter was taking our two-year-old son to see Santa…

The Santa racket is big business these days with visits to Father Christmas becoming more and more elaborate! Not like the experience that I had as a little girl going into a grotto in our loca garden centre up north.

But I still remember our annual Santa visits with such fond memories and my husband and I were delighted when we were asked to visit Dreamland in Margate, Kent for their Christmas festivities.

We made a weekend of it, and booked a lovely airbnb about five minutes walk away from Dreamland. It was the perfect location as wrangling our two year old in the freezing cold proved quite a challenge! So it was worth securing an immaculate self-catering apartment which was fully geared up for children rather than checking into a hotel.

We had so much fun at Dreamland! Our first port of call was Santa’s grotto where Rafael was invited to create a VIP pass for his visit, followed by making a Star for our Christmas tree. Santa was pretty groovy! And gave Rafa high-fives as well as a wonderful Gruffalo book to take away with him.

Rafa then was delighted to have a go on the child friendly rides, and munch on some deliciously crispy chips which were more than welcome as we were starving!

The only downside was that Dreamland wasn’t fully open, there was a sign for a diner and drinks but we only managed to get a bottled beer as they weren’t fully geared up for tourists.

Traditional fairground games were still touring for business though, and my husband and I each had a go trying to Knox down tin cans to try and win a giant stuffed doughnut! (We lost).

Rafael was enamoured with a brightly lit twinkling Christmas tree, and it was really wonderful to see the experience through his eyes. There was a band playing on stage, and we all stopped for a quick boogie.

On the way back the apartment we tried to find a pub to get some food and warm up, but the dining options were lovely restaurants or cafes which were closed. We rang for a takeaway as we were so cold!

The next morning we indulged in a lovely breakfast (much of which was provided by our lovely Airbnb host) went to the beach and let Rafa splash about in the sea, and visited the arcades on the sea front. Then it was time to head home as frankly our two year old was going wild and it was sub zero temperatures again!

Definitely recommended for a lovely weekend out of London.

Find out more about Dreamland, here, and find out more about where we stayed, here.

Men’s grooming with MoroccanOil

I’M ALWAYS curious at all the various grooming treatments that my husband has squirrelled away in our bathroom cabinet, and what they do for his hair. 

Texture clay

I can’t say that he has that many products when compared to me… I have a whole beauty cupboard in our living room with about eight plastic boxes of products filed away. However, his collection is growing, and these products from MorrocanOil have become part of his collection.

MorrocanOil rose to fame by bringing fame to the benefits of argan oil to the masses. There was a time when every salon in the country has MorrocanOil on each station, I think!

Now there is more to the range than just their hero oil. The men’s selection has a Texture Clay which has a much darker and thicker formula than the Molding Cream that is also available in the range. The Texture Clay allows you to really style thick hair with strong hold, which is what my Colombian husband has to keep in check, boasting a healthy head of thick hair. Would say this is for every day use as it has a matte finish, and keeps hair firmly in check.

Molding cream

The Molding Cream offers medium hold, for those days when you want a little bit of style but nothing too overworked. It’s infused with thickening fibers to build texture and definition. I reckon it’s best used on a weekend for when you want a little style, but with minimum effort.

Buy the men’s MorrocanOil range, here.

Party Hair with Babyliss Smooth and Wave Secret

I AM a dedicated devotee of Babyliss – ever since I discovered their Big Hair styler which has basically saved me from styling disasters ever since I got my hands on one.

You can imagine that I was very excited to try out one of their new stylers, the Smooth and Wave Secret that follows in the footsteps of their Curl Secret but with added straightening powers.

Confused? Let me explain. With the Smooth and Wave Secret, one side of the styler grabs your hair and whizzes it up in the barrel. Hold it for a few seconds while it beeps away and then release the hair leaving a perfectly formed wave/curl. Amazing!

Before I dyed my hair dark red

The other side automatically squirrels away the hair into the barrel but as you pull the hair out you smooth it out, leaving you with a poker straight section of hair.

This is different to a traditional straightener or GHD as there’s no option for creating a little wave or volume when straightening, it really does give you super flat hair as promised.

The styler is £130, and as my hair grows I think I’ll be using it more and more. It’s time-intensive as you have to section of small centimetre-sized pieces of hair to curl, and therefore curl them later by layer.

Top top – I also made sure I used a few handfuls of a strong hold mousse, like this one called Big Head from the Bed Head range by Tigi, when my hair was damp so that when I dried off my hair with a dryer it had some stiffness and hold in it before I attempted to curl it.

Straightener-side wise, I love the effect I can get with my wide paddled GHD. I like a little bit of volume and bounce even with straightened hair so will be using this tool for curling only.

Buy Babyliss Smooth and Wave Secret for £130, here

Getting my sparkle back with Ted Baker


IT’S that time of year that everyone is ready for the Christmas break and the forthcoming weeks are filled with sleepy eyes and tired minds.

My mind is especially tired as I’ve been working full time as well being five months’ pregnant and wrangling a feisty two year old.

So I’ve been searching out beauty products that may be able to give me my sparkle back, and the Sweet Treats fragrance range from Ted Baker is doing just that.


I’ve tried Ella, Polly and Mia from the range. They are a sweet treat to spice up the festive party months, as well as looking retro kitsch on your beauty shelf.

Mia is a sugary hit of scent that gives a saccharine punch of joy for the rest of the day. Polly and Ella are complementary fragrances that make up this sweet trio.

The range would also make a fantastic gift for Christmas.

Sweet Treats perfume by Ted Baker is available here for £18 (30ml) or £30 (100ml)


Needing an escape

AS a working mum, with a hyper-active two year old – not to mention being five months’ pregnant… I do like to daydream about a little hideaway which I could style up to be my perfect adults’ escape. 

I’d style up the Tiger Elite Pressure Treated Octagonal shed in the garden from Tiger Sheds to be my perfect little getaway. I love the quirky shape, and I can imagine it painted in a beautiful pastel shade, or maybe a deep forest green to really add a stand-out effect.

Beauty is my passion, so I’d fill it with my huge collection of make-up, creams, and tools. I’d style the space up with my favourite designs from House of Hackney, and fill it with vintage furniture.



At the moment it has to remain a fantasy – I have Champagne tastes on a tap water budget, but what would the fun be, if you weren’t allowed to dream?

Now… back to reality!

A beautiful cream moisturiser

AMIDST the trend for acids, serums, gels et al, sometimes your skin is just crying out for a beautiful rich cream moisturiser.

This one from Embryolisse is a beauty – not only for its gorgeous limited edition packaging which is both eye-catching and chic, but also for its rich cream formula which nourishes skin back to health once applied over the face.

I’ve tried a few items from the Embryolisse range, and found them all to be high quality, and a real treat on the skin.

It’s one of my favourite kind of skin care ranges, where there’s real science to back up the efficacy of the product. As the blurb on the website says, “The Embryolisse story begins in 1950, when a Paris hospital dermatologist specializing in skin diseases creates the legendary Milk-Cream Concentrate, sold millions worldwide. A physician who desired to create his own pharmaceutical skin care brand that met the expectations and acceptance of his profession.”

Buy Embryolisse here.