The Eyes Have It

There was a time when my eye area was not at its best.  Late nights, early mornings and let’s be honest, too many post-work drinks, had really taken its toll.  I thought I’d done permanent damage.  Thankfully, however, it was not too late, cleaner living (only having a few glasses Thursday – Saturday!!) put paid to puffy bags and swapping wine for water and getting more sleep, started to reduce the dark rings.  Phew.


However, you can’t stop the signs of ageing and I’ve mentioned this before, my eye area needs extra attention.  So when I spotted a well known style blogger asking her readers how she could improve the dark shadows underneath her eyes, I tuned in.


Turns out, this little baby – Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer – is one of the most popular products around, with readers saying it was their absolute favourite.


I obviously hot footed it to the nearest department store and asked a willing assistant to match me a shade and came home with Light 3 Honey (£23.00, House of Fraser)


It’s early days, but I am in love with the results.  It is creamy and simply glides on to the skin.  Light to touch, you can build up layer-by-layer to the level of coverage you want.  I use it lightly on the lines from my nose to my mouth, and around the nose, then build up coverage around the eye area.


When I pull the wand from the tube I can literally see the radiance from the product.  Nars pack it with antioxidants and it is very hydrating, so it’s not going to dry out the area, which is exactly what you need.  Dry, cakey make-up accentuates wrinkles. The dewy-look is not just in fashion, it’s the only way forward as I pick up speed towards the Barbara Cartland years.


It is not the only product that I’m currently loving.  The eagle-eyed among you will have spotted Boots Beautiful Skin Overnight Revitalising Eye Balm.  Part of a Christmas gift from my sister-in-law, this tube lives on my bedside table, so that I make sure to use it, and has quickly become an integral part of my beauty regime.  I really like it.


I just use a tiny amount under each eye on clean, slightly damp skin, before I go bed.  It’s hypo-allergenic, so no irritation and because I’m already in bed, it can sink into my skin as I sleep and do its job, which Boots says is to “visibly improve dark circles and puffiness”.  Does it work?  I’m not sure if this alone is improving my eyes area,  but overall my eyes are looking better.  Of course, I don’t think I’ve found a miracle!  But, my little mix of all the above seems to be working its magic, and that’s good enough for me. I’ll keep on using this bag of tricks if I look less haggard.


Have you tried either product and found the same or different results? Please share in the comments below.  Or, if you use other good stuff, again share with me and let readers know what’s in your bag of tricks.


Thanks and have a great weekend.


Gail xx

Natural Is Essential

I’m a big fan of using an oil on my skin at night.  When I was young, it was enough that I remembered to take off the day’s make-up. Nowadays, there is a Routine, which involves putting something back in to the skin, after I’ve taken all the crap, u-hum, expensive make-up, off.


There are some real miracle creams out there, and I like a few, but for a real glow that is evident the next day, I like to use an oil.  It has hours to sink in, eight if I’m lucky (I’m loving these perimenopausal years).  At least while I toss and turn the night away I know something good is happening and can see it the next day.


So, I was delighted to be invited to an open evening at Amphora Aromatics the other week.  In truth, I hadn’t heard of the brand before, but what a little powerhouse of quality products on my doorstep it is.  A family run business in Clifton with a store on Cotham Hill, it is one of the UK’s largest suppliers of essential oils and aromatherapy products.


Walking around the store, there’s literally thousands of products to choose from, from skin creams to shampoos and cleansers to candles, but it was the vast range of essential oils that caught my eye and I was delighted when  Clinical Aromatherapist, Zoë Green, asked me if there was a specific treatment that I was looking for.


Now, do you remember the other week, when I found out that the centre of my face is quite red (around the nose area)?  The disappointing part of spotting something awry in the beauty department, is that you can’t un-see it, and I’ve found myself not wearing make-up to see if, by some miracle, it’s vanished.  It has not.


Now bugging me, I spoke to Zoë about said issue and she said that I should try Amphora Aromatics Chamomoile Matricaria Essential Oil (£3.60).  Highly beneficial for the skin, it has soothing and calming properties that can help me, over time, reduce the redness.  Pre-diluted to 5% in grapeseed oil, I can use this product straight out of the bottle.  I’m giving it a go, but it’s too early to share the results with you.  I’ll keep you posted.


Amphora also do my favourite, Rosehip Seed Oil.   I’ve tried other brands, so I was keen to give this one a try. Recognised as a wonder oil, I know that Rosehip is good for your skin – personally I love the glowing soft skin I get when I use it.  Rich in Omega 3 and essential fatty acids, it also contains Vitamins C, E and F and also really helps with scarring, so popular for stretch marks.  I also noticed that you get more for your buck in this store – Amphora Rosehip Seed Oil, 100ml £10.80, unnamed competitor, 20 ml, £19.99.


It was my first forage in the store and I really wanted to focus on the “Red Centre”, but there’s so much good stuff that I want to go back and investigate further.  All the Amphora essential oils are 100% pure, from one botanical source, unless they state otherwise.  The benefits are both physical and psychological and if they’re sourced naturally, from plants and herbs, then that must be good.


I do believe in having an arsenal of beauty products to hand.  The is nothing to stop you layering products on as you need them.  You can use a night serum, night cream and essential oil, if you think your skin needs some extra moisture.  Yes, I’ve been reading up!  Did you know that if you are layering, you should put oil on last?  No, well, it’s recommended that you start with water-based products and work up to the oil, so that each product has a chance to do its magic and the oil seals the deal.  I actually just use Rosehip Seed Oil on it’s own at night.  For me, a few drops of this good stuff is all I need.


I really like this modern way of looking after your skin.  My mum would probably swear by using a tub of Ponds Cold Cream (some of you may remember this wonder cream of its time), but where’s the fun in that.  I feel like I’m now making more of an effort and you know what they say, if you study hard, you’ll get the results you want.


Have a great weekend.


Gail xx


Microblading: The Beauty Treatment That’s So Worth The Investment


I may have mentioned that I am going to a wedding this summer?  Actually, it is today.  The fact that I am finding it very difficult to write this post, will inform you that I have just left a nail salon with full-on Kardashian-worthy acrylics.


So, apologies now for typos.  I will keep this week’s post brief, but I wanted to share with you, that yesterday, out of the blue, I had my eyebrows micro-bladed!!!


Already booked in for a tint and shape on Wednesday I was asking the brow technician about micro-blading, which I had been interested in for a while, but had only lightly researched.


I knew Lisa had a good reputation, people travel from across the South West for this particular treatment.  So when during the conversation, she let on that she had a cancellation for Thursday and the normal price of £250 was reduced to £150, I jumped straight in.


Yes, I fretted about my decision.  As soon as I left the salon to be honest. I talked about it to friends in real life and those that I’ve met on Instagram, and by the time I went to bed last night I was 50/50.


It wasn’t that I didn’t want it done, the question was, should I have something so drastic, basically two tattoos on my face, done the day before I am going to a wedding?


Two very level-headed friends, who’s opinions I value greatly, sent me messages, saying go for it.  So I did.


The pic below is of the finished brows.  I have to go back in four weeks for a touch up, when I will take more pics and write up a full description of the procedure.  Needless to say, thus far, I am very happy.



Microblading a beauty treatment worth the investment


Have a great weekend.


Gail xx


P.S.  If you are interested in working with Lisa, here’s the link to her Facebook page.



Me, I’m High Brow


Can we talk about my eyebrows for a minute?  I don’t have much in the way of brow, never have.  I use a pencil to add “soft strokes” of make believe brows, which normally works fine when using my x5 magnifying mirror at home, but I forgot to take the mirror on holiday and couldn’t see a thing.  I ended up looking like that old bint on Annie with the thin drawn lines.  When I mentioned it to SP he laughed and didn’t argue the fact, concurring that I was, indeed, doing a very good impression of Miss Hannigan.


My eyebrows have always been fair and patchy, which kind of didn’t matter in the eighties cause everyone was plucking them to a thin line. However, years ago a beauty counter make-up artist told me that I really needed to have brows, “they frame your face”, and so I bought the product that he was trying to sell!  He had a point though, they do split up the rather large open-plan patch between my eyes and hairline.


So upon returning from our holiday I started to look at options for outside help.  I have tried tinting at beauty salons before, but haven’t been that satisfied.  It’s too short term.  I don’t have time to visit beauty salons every two weeks.  I remembered a previous conversation with a really good friend of mine, who had tried High Definition Brows and was thrilled with the result.  I had also heard of Microblading, but this was too scary a step for me as its semi-permanent and felt like a bit of a jump.  So I contacted my friend’s eyebrow technician and set up an appointment with Caroline for High Definition Brows.  No kidding, I couldn’t wait.


Caroline owns Lovely Nails and Beauty in south Bristol (a home-based salon).  She offers a fantastic range of beauty treatments, from High Definition Brows to Bio Sculpture Gel Nails, and is a qualified CACI Therapist (non-surgical facelifts and anti-aging beauty treatments).  I had already carried out a patch test, but you need to allow 24 hours if you’re thinking of having this treatment to make sure you’re not allergic.  I went through the regular health checks with Caroline during a consultation in which she then asked me what I was looking to achieve and we talked about shape, colour, size and overall look.


I really wanted to add to my natural brows and clearly needed some definition.   It was more build up than tear down and thankfully Caroline said I had something to work with.  She explained to me that it’s not a one visit fixes all treatment.  It’s a “brow journey”, to add more shape and correct wrong doings like over plucking. Over the course of a few treatments she would be able to create the perfect brow.  Caroline also pointed out that I have one eyebrow which has more movement than the other (caused by bells palsy that I suffered back in 2006), but took that as a challenge to fix it.


Importantly, we talked about colour and I wanted them to be pretty dark, but Caroline didn’t want to go too far and find I wasn’t happy, so put on a tint, then we had a look and agreed that I could go a little darker; they looked even better.  Interestingly, the technician doesn’t put a barrier like vaseline around the brows, the trick to shaping the brows is to grab more hair.  Caroline explained that this style of treatment gives you better performing eyebrows because it catches all the baby blond and fine hairs to really build up your brow.


The tint was taken off after a few minutes and Caroline then waxed and added a soothing oil to the area.  She then threaded my brows, which gives you a fantastic shape.  It’s pain-free, if you haven’t tried it before, and take seconds.  She also mentioned that my “tails” aren’t very long and I could help this by trying to encourage growth.   You can use caster oil to do this and Caroline also mentioned the High Definition Brow and Lash Boost to me, which retails at £39.50 and also helps to grow your lashes.  Importantly, she pointed out that I had a few bare patches, where my “blind” plucking had gone too far!  Thankfully she drew in a few more hairs with some soft strokes of a High Definition Brow Define Pencil (£18 and has been featured in the Daily Mail) and I was finished.


It didn’t take more than half an hour and I’m so pleased with my new brows.  Here’s the before and after shots.

Me, before the treatment

Me, after treatment


Since having them done I haven’t touched them.   I don’t need to and the great news is that every time I go back the definition will increase, as they have for Caroline’s other customers in the pics below.


Having great eyebrows is something that I’ve wanted for a long time and now I feel I’m on my way to having them.  Disclaimer: this is not a sponsored post, but my genuine opinion.  It costs £25.00 by the way (prices can vary depending on salon costs) and it’s recommended that you have them re-done every four-six weeks.  No more lines of fury for me!


If you’re interested to learn more about Caroline and the services she offers, click here, or follow her on Instagram @lovelynailsandbeautybycaroline.


Have you had High Definition Brows or more permanent treatments?  Please share your experience in the comments below.  I’d love to hear your thoughts.


Have a great weekend.


Gail xx


Save On Skin Care

When it comes to skin care I want the best.  I can absolutely crave the most expensive, undisputed world-renowned wonder products like everyone else, but sometimes you got to just pull in the reigns on spending, which is where I found myself last summer when I was experiencing a ‘light’ work load.


This coincided with some of my favourite skincare products running out and my skin starting to become parched (read. dry and aged).  Without much in the way of funds I turned to Aldi (hear me out) to see if the rumours were true.  If you don’t know, Aldi is known for having low cost products that produce high quality results.  I decided to try a separate serum and day cream and the results really surprised me, in particular with the serum, which for me was stand out.


I purchased Lacura Renew Multi-Intense (Anti-Wrinkle) Serum, priced at just £2.99/50ml bottle.  The blurb: if used regularly it will help improve the facial contours and noticeably reduce the appearance of fine lines.  Skin will appear more radiant, healthier and younger.


Taking that last line above, I would absolutely say my skin appeared more radiant.  It does have a healthy shine to it when I use this product.  I’m not going to say younger, because nothing makes your skin younger.  It is what it is, but a well moisturised skin does look healthier, and we’re all simply trying to make the best of what we’ve got, right?


More blurb from the makers: The bio peptide Mimox promotes active skin relaxation and helps reduce the appearance of fine lines.  Coenzyme Q10 plays an important role in the stimulation of the skins biological functions.  Aquarich, a deep moisturising complex from black oats, with Provitamin B5 and precious Macadamia Nut Oil, moisturises the skin and helps improve the complexion.


Let’s be honest, I’m obviously not a skincare professional, so when it comes to looking at the ingredients list, I don’t know if x is good for y, etc.  However I do know my own skin, very well, and my skin said loudly from the get go that it loved this product.  My head was in agreement about the price and I’ve now been wearing the product for six months. Some of the time, when I use the serum I forget to layer a day cream on top, but I don’t need to head back to the bathroom because it’s given me enough moisture.  That says a lot of me.


If you find yourself needing a top up product like I did you might find this product useful.  Have you used this or any other Aldi skin care product?  If so, please share in the comments below.


Gail x

P.S.  Following a post on my Instagram feed I’m not the only the one enjoying these products.  Lots are in agreement. Click on the link to see what’s being said.

P.P.S.  If you haven’t read it yet, you might also like my post on an inexpensive, but high quality foundation that I have found in Marks and Spencer, click here to read more.