Dear Reader: I Finally Love My Hair


Unruly, fine, wavy and frizzy (course even, before decent products were invented) were the words I would use to describe my hair.  I hated my hair being combed as a child and developed a habit (that I still have to this day) of twiddling it.  Knots are my nemesis.


For years I’ve used products to wash it that ‘help’ a comb or brush glide through it.  I can really pack on the conditioner and I love my in-shower Tangle Teezer Hairbrush that helps me through the unpleasant task of clearing the knots post-wash.


Using over-the-counter shampoos and conditioners I didn’t care that there was a build up of ‘coating’ that never appeared to wash away.  In all honesty I was just glad to get some shine and it be more manageable.


However, I noticed that the ‘coating’ was enabling my hair to become a little slick.  In an oily, rather than an effortless way.  It never felt clean after washing and I had to wash it every other day or it appeared to be moulded plastic rather than a gorgeous glossy mane.


In true Gail Painter-style I thought ah well that’s my lot.  But it so isn’t.  I must tell you about an absolutely fantastic shampoo and conditioner that has absolutely changed my hair.  Really.


I didn’t go looking for it in all honesty (see above, GP settles statement).  I was approached by the Josh Wood Colour team to try its range.  To back up my review, a good friend of mine also tried some products.  We have different hair colour/treatments – I have highlights and she has coloured dark brown hair, which is lovely and thick, where I have fine hair, but both of us have waves to be tamed.

On holiday with me in Amalfi, Italy, last year.


I just want to jump straight to the punch here and tell you that since trialling the products, which was nearly a year ago, we have repeat purchased and notify each other if we ever see money-off deals so that we can stock up.  In a nutshell, we’re loyal fans.  I know that I and other bloggers review products all the time, but this trial has triggered a permanent purchase change for both of us and that’s why I feel so strongly about sharing it with you all these months later.


So, what do I buy?  I use Josh Wood Colour Uplifting Shampoo for blonde hair prone to frizz (RRP £10), Josh Wood Colour Shade Refreshing Conditioner for fine blonde hair (RRP £10).  I also have the Josh Wood Colour Everything Mask (RRP £15), but I’ve only used it a few times.  I don’t need it that often.  That says a lot.  The range is sulphate and paraben-free so gentle on your hair and leaving it free of the synthetic feeling I had gotten used to with other products.


Just using the two main products – shampoo and conditioner – is enough for me.  I also use these sparingly.  I do apply two washes because the shampoo doesn’t lather up very much (no sulphate) and the old me has been trained to see a lot of bubbles.  At first, I was put off because there didn’t seem to be much lather and I doubted its ability to work, but now I use a short squirt to get rid of the top layer of everyday grime and a second to give it a good clean.  Then its conditioner, Tangle- Teezer and I’m done.


For the first time my hair is manageable, while also being clean.  I don’t need to have lots of product on it to manage the waves. It doesn’t look frizzy.  It doesn’t feel or look greasy.  It’s proper hair.


I’m obsessed with it.  Can you tell.


My friend absolutely loves the Everything Mask. She was really pleased with how much shine it gave her hair and that it was so soft.  She also loved the pump applicator, which was easier and more manageable to use than squeezing a tube.  I’m guessing the aim is to provide you with just the right amount to use, rather than overloading your palm.  She also has the Josh Wood Colour Darker Brown Blending Brush (RRP £15), which really impressed her for its coverage of those annoying grey hairs.



We buy ours from Boots and I’ve spoken to my hairdresser about it several times, because she has noticed the difference in the manageability and colour of my hair. It offers a salon quality, but with a high-street price.  It’s not your value brand, but it’s a great halfway house and for the results an absolute steal.



I love, love, love it and simply had to share.  My crowning glory is here at last!


Have a great weekend.


Gail xx


Six Shackets for Spring



I’m hot.  And not in a good way.  But then we’ve all been hot these past few weeks.  And on that point, yes, it’s been lovely to feel the sun on my skin, but I’ve also been bothered by why we’re all stripping off in February. News that it was the hottest February ever recorded just brought on another hot flush.


While I try various medical routes to control my ‘hotness’ I’ve come to the realisation that light layers are the way forward.  I sadly put my winter woollies away a week or two ago.  What’s not to love about the utter pleasure of looking cute in a huge cowl neck while hiding the rather large Sunday roast that’s just been consumed in the soft folds of merino wool below, aye?


So this week’s fashion find is the spring shacket.  Not light enough to be a jacket, but heavier than a shirt, this little beauty is a godsend.  Wear thin layers underneath and if gets chilly pop another lighter coat over the top.  It offers an opportunity to play with fabric, colour and texture, so there’s no end of cute outfits you can create, again and again.


I’ve gone jungle deep with a camo number from New look.  I love camo.  I have a pair of camo jeans that I bought in Zara years ago, which I wear all the time. They’re a go-to piece in my wardrobe and I knew as soon as I spotted this shacket it would quickly become a key piece in my wardrobe.


Worn here dressed casually for the weekend, I love that you can add a T.shirt and jean, pick out some eye-catching accessories and go.


I also think, this shacket will look great with a long black pleated skirt that I have, worn with ankle boots or pumps and easily made classy with a black polo neck.  I’ve added yellow because it was just a quick outfit that I needed to bolt of the door, but red would look nice or perhaps some of the neon colours, such as pink, would make for a really stand out appearance.


Utility is a key trend for spring 2019, so the shacket fits very nicely within it as it commonly has pockets.  You’ll find quite a lot of denim and neutral shades in stores.  Below I’ve picked out my faves from New Look, Top Shop and Very.  See what you think?


As you can see a lot of these are worn casually with denim, but consider adding:
  • leather/pleather or coated skinny jeans – to upgrade your daytime look
  • bright pleated skirts and a snazzy pair of trainers – great for the school run, a casual day in the office, or meeting mates for a coffee
  • leather midi skirt, heels and a bright clutch – if you’re heading out for early evening drinks
  • a boiler suit in cream or khaki with a bright red cross body bag – ticking all of this season’s boxes
  • a breton top – stripes go really well underneath a shacket, even if you’ve chosen a camo pattern

There’s actually lots of ways.  Keep watching my Instagram page because I’m going to be trying out a few of these ideas myself this spring.


Have a great weekend.



Gail xx


Trying a Hydrating Face Gel For The First Time


Parched skin can be tricky to combat at any time of the year, but mine suffers more in the winter, as I expect yours might do too.


In outright combat with central heating, poor weather, a nasty cold that turned into sinusitis and, erm, more wine than normal (it was December), my skin was feeling slightly tighter (read. dry) than usual.


I hunkered down, deep into my beauty cabinet, to flush out as many face masks as I could, while also finding a very good use for a new product that I had asked to trial from Bristol-based Amphora Aromatics.


You’ll know that I’m a fan of Amphora Aromatics’ oils  – I use the Rosehip Seed Oil (link to blog post here) constantly – so when I spotted that they had a new hydrating face gel and loved the texture on the back of my hand, I asked if I could review and share the info with you.


I don’t think I’ve used a gel instead of a cream or oil-based moisturiser before, but honestly I absolutely loved the way this product immediately melted in to my skin, leaving it silky to the touch. I wanted to learn more.


What the brand says:

AA Skincare’s vegan-friendly Rejuvenating Rose Hydrating Face Gel is the perfect pick-me-up for dry and tired complexions.  Like a health drink for skin, used daily, it can help slow down signs of ageing such as pigmentation, fine lines and small wrinkles.   Light, refreshing and suitable for all skin types, it is packed with soothing and rejuvenating ingredients such as Comfrey, Rose Geranium, Lavender and Carrot Seed Oil. 


What I say:

If I’m honest, I assumed because it was a gel there would be some tackiness to the skin on application, but no, my skin was super smooth from the moment I applied it, using a half a teaspoon-size blob each time.  I used it twice a day, finding the push down pump applicator really easy to work with and used most of the 50 ml pot (RRP £6.96) in 30 days. 


My skin felt hydrated and soft, but on some days, due to the skin issues mentioned above, I went back to the bathroom and added a further layer of Rosehip Seed Oil – only in the morning – for that extra boost I obviously needed.


I guess on those days the gel acted as a nutritious serum in my skincare routine – adding an initial layer of natural ingredients.  Certainly, two layers of moisturising product wasn’t overkill for me.  I like to layer it up!  


You might be interested to know that there are other products in the range that complement and work with the gel, which includes a Frankincense and Rose Cream (best seller) and a moisturising lotion and toner of the same name. 


As my skin was in dire need of some extra TLC I also had a pot of the Frankincense and Rose Clay Face Mask (100ml pot RRP £7.98) and as you can imagine I made good use of it.  Deeply cleansing, I found the mask gave my skin a real boost, shaking off the dull, tired look it had developed, leaving it looking brighter and feeling more nourished.

To use, it was simply a case of slathering a layer over face and neck and leaving the mask on for five mins, while I had a catch up on Instagram 😉, then I washed it off with a clean face flannel (I buy mine from Superdrug or Primark, as suggested by a friend, you don’t need anything expensive)


It was a good month, in the end, and I really loved and would recommend the products.  You can never have too much armour in the cabinet, can you? If you’re interested in these products you can find out more by visiting


Also, please let me know what you’ve been using.  We need all the help we can get.


Have a great weekend.




Gail xx

We Were On A Break




It’s been a while since I was last on here and I apologise for my leave of absence, but I’m back and very happy to be re-launching Not Givin In with a new, hopefully impressive grown-up design.  Like I might know what I’m doing!


Absence really does make the heart grow fonder and my forced mini-break from blogging last summer, whilst giving me an out to toy with the idea of closing Not Givin In, made me realise how much I enjoy chewing the fat with you gals.


So, what’s new?  Well, I’ve turned fifty for starters and I’m sweating like a …….


Yep, right on cue the hot flushes have begun.  I’ve sat through quite a lot of very uncool moments of late so I’m pretty sure it’s the menopause.  A call to the doctor’s surgery, asking the receptionist, “Can I see a Dr please?  My body feels like its on fire for 10 minutes at a time and my tongue is savage,” resulted in vainly suppressed giggles, and an acknowledgement that the lady knew exactly what I meant and a booking to see the doc in February was secured.


I’ll let you know how that goes!  For now, let’s just assume I’ll be awake in my bed every night more than I’m actually asleep and my acid tongue will be glued to the roof of my mouth in the hope I don’t lose my husband.


So what else is new?  Well I haven’t been shopping as much.  Lack of time, little inspiration and a pretty full wardrobe has meant it couldn’t be justified and to be honest I’ve been really happy wearing last year’s closet and ramping up my pounds per wear holier than thou fashion tiara.


However, now that we’ve had our first flurry of snow, I’m starting to feel a little bored with winter and can’t wait for spring to arrive and with it some new togs.  With pay day just around the corner, the timing of freshly stocked New In sections of our fabulous retailers isn’t lost on me and I’m keen to wear something different.


Stores and sites remain heavy with sales stuff and you can still pick out bargains, but if you’re like me then you can peek your head into what’s coming down the track online or on the high street.


One item I want to bring to your attention as its firmly creeping through my Instagram feed, is the boiler suit.


I’ll be completely honest, the thought of wearing a one-piece that leaves my shoulders cold every time I go to the loo, doesn’t have as much appeal as it did in my twenties and thirties, and a look at some of the options out there does have me wondering if it’s a flash in the pan I can live without.


When I think of boiler suits, I think of this fella!  So to satisfy my curiosity I googled boiler suit and wikipedia threw up the clarification that a boiler suit is a loose-fitting garment covering the whole body except for the head, hands and feet.  So basically this fella!



Pic via Pinterest


I mean I can understand the appeal of a one-piece that covers all!!  Give me a kaftan any day of the week, but this is quite a utilitarian look and unless you’re going full on androgyny it will need, I think, some feminine touches.  Let’s take a closer look.


Here is one from Miss Selfridge.  Worn relaxed with white flats or trainers it’s a handy addition for casual dressing. Perfect for the weekend, I like how they’ve teamed it with large ear-rings and a statement bag.  I think it would also look great with a colourful handband (which is very In now), or even with a small crossbody bag, to jazz it up a bit.


I think the shade of denim on this version from Top Shop helps lift the look, quite a bit.  I also love the idea of wearing heels with a boiler suit and a bright accessory.  Bangles and a statement necklace can also work.

Better yet, move away from denim and choose a colour.  You can bet your Friday glass of Chardonnay on there being a sparkly version out for evening wear sometime soon and any number of stripes and prints will follow.  Again, I love it worn with heels.


Still, it doesn’t get around the fact that you won’t want to bust out the Chardonnay for the downside that is getting undressed in a public toilet cubicle as your evening progresses.   You know what I mean?  Or is it just me?   Perhaps I just need some warm weather.


What about you, are you going to step into the boiler suit trend? Please share your thoughts below.


Have a great weekend.


Gail xx

P.S.  Going forward I will be posting every other Saturday, instead of each Friday.  It gives me an extra few hours to write a post if I’m working on a Friday.

35 Things I Learnt In My Forties



There’s nothing like facing a new decade to make you take stock of the years that have gone before it.  So before leaving my forties I decided to write a list of what I’ve learnt from those years.



I also wanted to take this opportunity to say that I’m taking a little break from writing my weekly posts.  You’ve probably noticed that I’ve been sporadic in posting on Not Givin In this year.  My time and energy have been needed to take care of family matters, which are obviously a priority, and to be completely honest I just don’t have the head space and time to think about my little space on the internet right now.  I will return when time allows.  Til then, thank you so much for our weekly chats and here are my 40-somethings musings.


Lots of Love


Gail xx


  1. My forties were some of my best years. By the time you dive in to middle age it’s likely that you’ve experienced some dark times along the way, but it does make you rejoice even more so when the good times roll in.  I don’t just want to visit Ayers Rock, I want to drink champagne on the back of a Harley Davidson going around it.  Because I know those dark times will happen, still happen, but if I load up on the good days, then maybe they’ll override how I feel when the crap ones turn up.


  1. Belts are not the enemy. I definitely had a drawer full of belts in my twenties, but somewhere along the line I thought drawing attention to my waist was a waste of time and only drew attention to how thick it was.  How silly was I?  It helps the situation, giving you feminine curves.  All hail the belt, which I only recently discovered, is my saviour.


  1. It will cost around £6,000 to rid me of my double chin. I asked a cosmetic surgeon. She said it would be cheaper to lose a little weight.  It’s true, I lost some weight and the double chin, but they’re both back and I’m trying to lose them again.  I’ve set up a savings account.


  1. I can’t ignore my mobile phone, but I’m trying to. It’s not that I dislike it, in fact the problem is I love its ability to keep me in touch with my nearest and dearest, but I’ve really got to work on being present. Texting while walking, running, cooking dinner, talking to SP, visiting family, all comes with a price.  Have I concentrated on what I’m doing, who I’m with and what I’m saying?  Possibly not and it’s not fair and sometimes dangerous, so I’m trying to keep my priorities in order


  1. The coil isn’t as scary as I thought. I have always had short, punctual periods but around my mid-forties my ‘monthlies’ really started to play me up and I was having a lot of trouble managing the flow. Numerous doctor appointments later and I was offered the coil.  I didn’t want it, but, other than the discomfort of having it put in it has been the best thing for me. I’m a no show nowadays and couldn’t be happier. It will also last five years and I’m hoping it will see me through the menopause.


  1. Forgetfulness can work in your favour. If I ‘forget’ the clothes washing, Steve will do it. Win


  1. People’s noses can get bigger as they get older.   Google it.  Mine has.


  1. I’m not a slave to fashion but wearing it is fun. I used to love fashion when I was younger but lost my mojo somewhere along the line.  Fed up with the way I looked, who wouldn’t be, same old sloppy jumper and jeans, I started to really take an interest again. I don’t go mad, there’s no credit for this savyy shopper, but if buying a new style top for the season or a trendy pair of jeans gives me a confidence boost I need I’m on it.


  1. What I weigh still matters to me. No-one is sniggering behind my back in the playground and SP (thankfully) hasn’t left me cause I’ve eaten all the ice cream, yet still my weight continues to be a source of angst, after all these years.  You would think I’d give up and relax into middle age, but I can’t.  I blame it on those sodding eighties supermodels, but I always want to be the better version of myself.


  1. Colour my happy. That time I spent on a floor in a friend’s lounge with a woman holding squares of coloured fabric against my face in my twenties was worth doing.  Getting a colour analysis and knowing the colours that make your complexion look fantastic is the quickest way to getting a compliment and not looking like death warmed up.


  1. Jamie’s fool-proof dinner trick is a real people pleaser. I can’t remember where I read it, but this Jamie Oliver tip has helped me out on more than one occasion. Basically, if you don’t have time to make dessert just buy good quality bars of milk, dark and white chocolate and break them into pieces on a plate.  Voila!


  1. Multi-tasking sounds great but it’s a total wind-up. I can do several things at one time, balancing campaigns and clients in one hand while hanging out the washing and calling Sky to complain about a lack of Wi Fi in the other, but it makes me so stressed.  It’s a bit like the high I would get from smoking a cigarette, which is also horrible.  Now I try and start one job and complete it before starting another.   I don’t want to juggle plates and its way more satisfying than running around like a headless chicken.


  1. Being a smoker is a big regret. It’s probably the silliest thing I ever started, and I hope I never pick it up again.  To clarify, I puffed on my first cigarette that I had pinched from my mum’s packet before I started secondary school. I can’t tell you how happy I am that I finally kicked the habit.  At times it ruled my life and it wasn’t until I realised it made any anxiety worse that I finally stopped it, for good.  That said I would say I am a smoker.  I will always have been mindful that I could easily do it again, and it scares me to think I would


  1. You’re not a failure when a career choice doesn’t work. Although it feels like it at the time, I’ve been employed twice where I didn’t feel that I fitted in.  However, it wasn’t the end of the word, it just meant I had to keeping moving forward until I found the right role.  Square peg in a round hole sounds about right, but it’s not anyone’s fault and a better opportunity is likely to be just around the corner


  1. Love was worth the wait. I had boyfriends, some serious, some not, but when it came to me being settled, I guess I was single half of my life.  I really did marry my better half, soul mate, truest companion, love of my life, but it was a hell of a wait and one I loathed at times. I wouldn’t wish singledom, unless they’re happy with it, on anyone. If not keep looking he/she might just be out there.  I hope so, I really do. And I hope you don’t have to wait like I did.


  1. I still want to dance into the dawn. I don’t, of course, I can only imagine the looks I would get going down to Motion on a weekend throwing some Saturday Night Fever shapes.  But I love dancing, I do!  Probably why I love Vegas so much.  I can go dancing and the guy next to me is 92 (true story).


  1. Wine packs on the pounds. Call me stupid (please don’t), but I didn’t realise how much weight you gain from drinking wine (and other alcoholic beverages) until I slipped into my forties and staying in was the new going out.  Wine goes with cheese, crisps, cake and chocolate as does other alcohol, but there’s less calories in gin…so avoid unless you want a double chin or other problematic areas of your body


  1. I’m not an imposter, I’m just me. I know I’ve felt like it so many times, imposter syndrome is a ‘thing’, a feeling that someone is going to find out that you’re not as smart, funny, successful, clever as you feel you need to be.  And it’s bullshit. I’ve come to the conclusion that everyone feels this way in some way or another at some time or another and it’s just a trick to hold you back from bigger and better achievements in life. Feel the fear and do it anyway


  1. I’m not good at everything. Steve is really good at hanging out washing….and bringing it back in, folding it and lying it on the bed ready to be put away. WIN


  1. You really should brush your teeth twice day. I don’t know when I started the habit of not brushing my teeth at night, but boy have I paid for it, and feel there is more squirming in the hot chair down-the-line.


  1. Fad diets are not the answer. Any routine that suggests cutting out a food group to ensure weight loss is likely to fail.  I have tried them all and although I have seen good results with some (anything with less carbs works for me) it is NOT sustainable.  We don’t live in a protein only world, or a world where cabbage soup is in every store.  Follow the fad knowing that it will help you be party ready, if that’s what you want, but know you’ll be eating greasy pizza come 3 am.


  1. Always have a back-up. And my back up I mean good quality hard drive.  There’s no going back, we are paper-less people, and if your lap top or other device breaks you’re screwed, let alone broken hearted to lose all those precious memories of holiday past.  Worth the investment and the time, it takes to set it up (yes, I hate this bit too).


  1. Wardrobe basics will see you through. You don’t need to follow fashion, but if you have some good quality basics in neutral shades in your wardrobe you’ll be ready for anything. Think dark jeans, a white shirt, black trousers, striped T.shirts, ankle boots, trench coat, black turtle neck, checked blazer and khaki jacket.  You get the gist.  Then keep an eye on the sales for on-trend pieces. The sales start so early you should get plenty of wear and most pieces can be kept for the following year.


  1. Unless you exercise like an athlete you won’t lose weight just by working out. There’s a reason why those in the know say Eat Less, Exercise More in that order, the first rule is the most important.


  1. Camping doesn’t come easy to me, but I can survive it. A boyfriend once said that I wasn’t an outdoor pursuit kind of gal, which I took as a compliment.  However, with the right amount of positive thinking, a case of ale, warm socks and a bobble hat I can get through a long weekend under the canvas.  My hair meanwhile cannot.  Fine wavy hair equals tangled bird’s nest by day three, but thankfully by then it’s time to head home.


  1. I can also do festivals, if they’re fancy schmancy. I absolutely loved my first-ever festival.  It was at Wilderness in Oxfordshire and we stayed for the whole four days.  It was fun, interesting, exciting and the toilets stayed clean right up until the last morning, when I was very glad to leave.  We were also lucky that the sun shone gloriously, every single day.  Rose tinted glasses, you bet.  Highly recommend it


  1. Saturday night TV sucks. Just because I’ve hung up my disco pants for family life does not mean I want to spend my much-loved Saturday nights watching a dog do tricks on the box or watch an Irish guy dress up like his mammy.  It’s supposed to be entertainment, but really, I’m glad to go to bed


  1. Make sure your car battery never runs out. On my return from a trip to London I found that I had accidently left my car headlamps on all day, which in itself is a pain in the ass, but was made 10 billion times worse by being parked in the middle of nowhere in a car park known for dogging.  Waiting for the AA man was the longest hour of my life and luckily a friend was with me, though that also meant creepy old men kept coming up to our vehicle, flashing torch lights to watch us “make out”.  It was hell on earth and kept me awake for weeks to follow.  I don’t know what I would have done if I’d been on my own.


  1. You don’t need to worry about bumping into an ex past 40. Uh uh, life’s journey is just as hard if not more so for them (I would hate to lose my hair) and if you don’t have your glasses on you won’t see them anyway


  1. Say what you want, but I love Botox. I started to notice the two vertical lines shooting upwards between my eyes from my early forties and by around 45 it was all I could see when I looked in the mirror.  Obviously by this time I had read everything I could on Botox and was interested but scared, then one day I couldn’t face seeing the 11s anymore and made an appointment.  I’ve never looked back and have minimal injections every six months that clear those “concentration lines”.  It doesn’t hurt, there’s no side effect and honestly, it has given me back my confidence.  I love it, and no-one can tell me otherwise.


  1. Pick an exercise that easily fits into your routine and you’ll keep doing it. I go running.  Though strictly speaking it’s a jog, I do it three or four times a week before I start work and have been doing it for so long it has become second-nature to exercise before I shower and get dressed and is part of my daily routine. I wouldn’t do it if I had to get dressed, drive to a gym etc, but it’s free and neatly fits into my day. I have no excuse.


  1. Saying thanks goes such a long way. I blush to my roots when I think of the times I received cards and gifts as a child and didn’t respond and acknowledge the thought with thanks.  My parents didn’t instil the discipline in me and now I’m older I realise how much the gesture means.  I try to remember now


  1. Working with young people motivates me. I notice it more and more, people in charge are now younger than me.  Whether it’s the store manager, policeman, doctor, a client, I feel like I’m always thinking how young people look and how able they are.  It frightens me a bit, because it means that I’m in the generation that has passed its first flush of life, but I also love working with and surrounding myself with young people.  It rubs off, that youthful motivation, goal-driven passion for all that can be achieved in a day and gives me a kick up the backside to do my best.


  1. An eyebrow is important, two are preferred. I don’t have much beauty advice, but after Botox the one treatment that I can’t live without is Microblading.  It has changed my face.  I can’t see for toffee, so pencilling in my eyebrows was a joke.  Eyebrows frame the face and this tattoo-like treatment means I only must pluck a few stray hairs, which I can just about do, and my face looks alive even before I feel it


  1. Be careful what you say. I’m always going on about my love of flying, because it generally means I’m getting out of dodge on a big old aeroplane and heading somewhere far more interesting, but for my 50th Steve has bought me an hour’s flying lesson in a two-seater plane!!!  I’ll let you know how that goes….