Visiting Venice

My fiancé and I recently returned from the most lovely trip to Venice and I wanted to tell you about it! Venice had been on my bucket list for a while (I had visited for a day as a teenager on a school trip to Italy many moons ago but that was it) and I have to say it didn’t disappoint.

It is definitely the most unique place I have visited on my travels so far and the no roads/all boats took a bit of getting used to.  It’s so iconic you spend a lot of time gasping and ahhing at all the sights you’ve seen in images over the years – its really quite surreal. After landing, we took a pre-booked bus transfer from the airport and then walked into Venice from the mainland via the main drag.

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We stayed in a lovely hotel in walking distance to all the sights – the beautiful, opulent and very romantic Hotel Ai Mori D’Oriente and found the cost per night for 4 star hotel quite affordable. Venice is pretty small so you really can cover a lot of it on foot and by water bus but its always good to have a central base I find. The hotel and its rooms are beautiful and the staff couldn’t do enough for us so I would definitely recommend it.

So Venice…where to begin?

I always think theres two parts to a mini break – the sights and the experiences so lets starts with the sights we visited…

Places to visit

Piazzo San Marco (St Marks Square), St Marks Basilica, Doges Palace and the Campanile Bell Tower

It is said that Napoleon called San Marco “the drawing room of Europe” and it is a breathtakingly beautiful place. Busy and filled with tourists it is one of the main areas to visit in Venice – probably number 1 on most peoples lists.  There are queues for both the Basilica and the bell tower, expensive restaurants with musicians playing on the square, streets of designer stores and LOTS of pigeons.  The stunning, multi domed Basilica is free to enter and is dark, dramatic and rather solemn with no talking (and some shushing!), but you do need to pay to see the Pala d’Oro – a magnificent golden Byzantine icon of 4,240 square meters of gold mosaic.  The Bell Tower is a must – take a lift (there no access via stairs  – my boyfriend was furious!) and admire the views of Venice – your wont find a better place to view the city or in our case, share a kiss.

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The views from the Bell Tower and breath taking…

Rialto bridge

The Rialto Bridge is the oldest of the four bridges spanning the Grand Canal. Connecting the Sestieri districts of San Marco and San Polo, it has been rebuilt several times since its first construction in the 12th century, and is now a significant tourist attraction.  It is huge – breath-takingly so, with shops running down the centre of it, it is so wide.  Again it is VERY busy with tourists so it is easier to see from a boat than on the actual bridge. As well as walking it, we went underneath it in a gondola and it was really something – definitely recommended.

Bridge of Sighs

This enclosed bridge is made of white limestone, has windows with stone bars and passes over the Rio di Palazzo, connecting the New Prison to the interrogation rooms in the Doge’s Palace.  The view from the Bridge of Sighs was the last view of Venice that convicts saw before their imprisonment and the bridge’s name, given by Lord Byron comes from the suggestion that prisoners would sigh at their final view of beautiful Venice through the window before being taken down to their cells.

Island of Murano

This was a lovely treat – a free trip provided by our hotel which we travelled to by water taxi (more of that later).  A 15 minute speedboat ride takes you out of Venice and on to one of the various islands – Murano, famous for its glass production.  Anyone that knows me, will tell you I LOVE glass and collect vintage Murano pieces mainly from the 1950’s and 60’s.  The island of Murano is renowned for its long tradition of glass-making and visitors come to explore the Museo del Vetro, which tells the story of glass through the centuries, and to shop for locally crafted souvenirs.  We were lucky enough to visit one of the main glass producers and see how the glass is made which really was one of the most amazing experiences of my life so far.  There is a bit of hard sell to encourage you to shop but we politely excused ourselves as bespoke pieces cost up to 100,000 euros!

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Glass shops

There are a lot of glass shops in Venice.  Image the weirdest thing you can…they will have it made of glass.  Prices start at a euro so anyone can treat themselves though.

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Things to do

Take a Gondola ride

We couldn’t of visited Venice without doing this – yes its expensive but totally worth it.  Gondola fares are set officially, these are the minimum fares for a standard gondola ride but rates can go higher (most fares are higher at night).  During the day it is 80 euros which is what we paid. Gondolas hold six people and can be shared without affecting the fee so you can save money by sharing a tariff with other people if you want to – personally though I wanted the love seat (the main decorative seat) and it feel romantic so there was no sharing for us. I didn’t get to eat a Walls Cornetto on one, but this was definitely the highlight of the trip for me.

Take a water taxi

Want to feel like Sophia Loren in the 1950’s?  Beautiful speed boats with leather and walnut interiors are the taxis of Venice.  Fantastic fun but not the most affordable way to travel so we also made good use of the water buses which you can ride all over Venice for 24 hours on the same ticket for 20 euros. But for glamour? The taxis (and their drivers who seemed to want to go as fast as possible) had it all!

Eat and drink…alot!

Pasta, Pizza, Gelato, wine, butter biscuits… Italy is the home of great food and drink. Alongside the usual Italian fare, Tramezzini, also called Venetian tea sandwich was a must for me. These triangular sandwiches (starting 1.50 euro per piece) come with many different filling.  My favourite? A whole boiled egg surrounded by tuna – utterly delicious.

Buy a mask

There are mask shops everywhere in Venice with lots of street sellers selling cheap Chinese version from market stalls and discount tourist shops.  Visit one of the traditional artisan shops where you can see the masks made by amazing craftsmen and women.  It really is amazing watching the creations be made and discovering the many different types of masks many that have been used in film and TV.  As well as the traditional masks you can now pink SteakPunk versions, ones inspired by 50 shades of Grey and fashion pieces intricately cut out of metal and leather. My boyfriend fell in love with them and we ended up bring one home with us which now has pride of place in our bedroom.

Look at Art

There’s a lot of art in Venice.  As my taste is more contemporary, The Peggy Guggenheim Collection of 20th-century masters was my dream visit, with art by Jackson Pollock, Picasso, Magritte, Max Ernst, Andy Warhol and an amazing outdoor collection of sculpture and experiences.  It was founded by one of Venice’s most colourful expat residents, Peggy Guggenheim, whose father went down in the Titanic, leaving her a fortune.  Admission is 15 euros a person and well worth it.

Visit a supermarket

We always like to find a nearby supermarket whenever we travel (who wants to pay mini bar prices, right?) and Venice did not disappoint.  Want the most dramatic, glamorous SPAR ever?  That’s Venice…

Add a love lock

A tradition for us, Russ engraved a padlock before we left.  In our usual way, we added it to one of the many bridges in the city (there were quite a few locks there already) and threw the keys in the canal.  Another Sarah & Russ love lock left in Europe xxx.

Do some exercise

OK, OK I know we are annoying.  Another ‘me and Russ’ tradition achieved though as we ran a 5k route round the city.  We had eaten a lot of pasta and pizza by this point so it was probably needed!

All in all Venice was an odd, amazing, tiring and slight surreal trip.  It is small enough to do via a mini break and can be done on a variety of budgets.  It definitely is the strangest place I’ve been so far and loved seeing views and sights I’d seen in photos for so many years.  Yes it’s busy.  Yes its touristy.  Yes you have to pay for every toilet. But overall?  It is just amazing.  Oh and I got that Cornetto at the airport before we left!!!

All photos via my Instagram – follow me here.

Oh hello again weight loss journey…

For the last 3 months I have been signed up to Weightwatchers and following their new Flex program to lose weight.

I had put on a bit of weight this year (about 2 stone) due to too much snacking and too many treats as well as an issue with my contraception which meant I had to go on the pill for 6 months which changed my body shape/weight completely. I was unhappy with how I looked, was struggling more and more while running and knew my issues with food were rearing their ugly head again, so in September signed up with Weightwatchers for 3 months.

My start was a little slow but after 4 weeks I had lost 7lb and got my first ‘silver 7’ sticker. It took me a while to get used to points rather than calories but I soon adjusted and was tracking my food every day.

While I was on my 3 month subscription, the Flex program was launched – this is where my weight-loss really sped up. This new system builds on the existing SmartPoints system, but has expanded the zero point foods to include more than 200 different foods. You do get a lot less points per day though – mine dropped to just 23 but I have to say it worked for me. According to Weightwatchers in a six-month clinical trial, WW Flex produced better weight loss results among participants than in clinical trials of previous Weight Watchers programmes.

As always with Weightwatchers, no food or drink is off limits and now members have the freedom to eat many more foods without tracking or measuring, including eggs, all fresh fish and seafood, skinless chicken and turkey breast, fat free plain yogurt, beans, peas, sweetcorn, lentils and tofu. For even more flexibility up to four unused SmartPoints each day can be rolled over into your weekly points to use however you wish (for me usually on something sweet!).

Find out more about Flex here – I definitely recommend it.

My next milestone was losing a stone…and you get a little certificate! They say a stone is a dress size and my this point my clothes were definitely starting to feel loose on me plus some bits that had got too tight now fitted again.

Once you achieve a loss of 10% body weight it is also marked with a certificate as its an important milestone in health. According to Weightwatchers losing just 10% of your body weight is scientifically proven to lower your cholesterol and reduce your blood pressure, and high cholesterol and elevated blood pressure are two major risk factors for heart disease. Also if you’re overweight, you’re at increased risk for type 2 diabetes, which means your body can’t make enough, or properly use, insulin, a hormone that helps convert food to usable energy. By losing just 10 percent of your body weight, you’ll improve your body’s ability to use the insulin it makes, possibly preventing the onset of the disease. My blood pressure and cholesterol were already fine but its still great to be keeping an eye on these things particularly as I am now in my forties.

Exercise was a key part of this process for me – I ran in the snow…

I ran at night…

I just basically ran a lot!!! I have been exercising regularly the whole year anyway, running 5km three times a week, every week currently adding up to about 725km/450 miles in total – but weight loss is 30% exercise/70% diet so sadly the weight still crept on. If you’re interested in starting running but don’t know how to start, I’ve written some blogs about running as it has been a lifesaver for me – find links to them at the bottom of this post.

My last weigh-in was this week and I lost another 2lb taking me to 1lb over my goal of losing 1.5 stone by Christmas. I am so proud of myself as it has been really hard particularly as it got closer to Christmas.

So what have I learnt? After losing over 6 stone about 5 years ago I really thought my struggles with my weight were over…sadly I was wrong. I realise now this is something I am going to have to manage my entire life and must always be aware of.

So at the end of 2017 I am 22lb lighter, off the pill, my running has improved again and I am back to a size 10-12. For my work Christmas party I wore a heavily sequinned top which I would never of worn 20lb heavier…and I felt fantastic!

Always a blue sky girl 40 plus fashion blog blogger Sarah Gorlov blueskygirlie very sequin party christmas top

Always a blue sky girl 40 plus fashion blog blogger Sarah Gorlov blueskygirlie very sequin party christmas top

Losing weight has not been easy, but it definitely has been worth it. I realise not everyone wants to lose weight but for me the bigger I am, the more unhappy I am.

I enter 2018 much more aware of how easy it is to put weight on and feel I am back in control of my body and mind again. I feel healthy and strong but most importantly, I feel the best version of me again. I still have about 7-10lb to lose but for now I’m going to enjoy Christmas (although not go mad, I’ve worked too hard for that!) and then continue my weight loss journey in the new year, knowing I only have a few pounds to lose. Most importantly I am going to do what I have always done for the last 3 years – keep my running up (3 x 5k a week), walk as much as I can and generally be as active as possible…it really makes such a difference.

This is going to be a life-long struggle for me, but I am never going to give up. People throw around the phrase ‘lifestyle change’ but thats sadly what it has to be. This change has to be for life…of course every day cant be perfect, but as long as theres more healthy days than unhealthy ones, thats what matters.

Find previous blogs on my weight-loss journey here and here.

Find previous blogs on my running here and here.

#AD Skin Chemists Aqua Repair Facial Serum

Does your skin ever feel like it needs a long drink of water? For me, particularly in the summer months, I find my skin feeling drier and ‘thirstier’ than normal and usually begin moisturising more trying to refresh and feed my sun and heat damaged skin.

Skin Chemists 24hr Aqua Repair Facial Serum via Always a Blue Sky girl beauty fashion blog

This serum from Skin Chemists is a little saviour in a tube! Its 30ml size seems small yet because you only need a little of the serum each day it definitely lasts for well over a month of use. It also fits nicely into your bag and I also used it as a cheeky skin ‘pick me up’ in the afternoon when my skin was really feeling tired.

The main active ingredients in the serum are:
1) Rose Water to calm and soothe the skin 
2) Allantoin to moisturise and soothe thanks to its healing and anti-inflammatory properties
3) Aloe Vera to stimulate the healing process of the skin, its anti-inflammatory properties enable gentle soothing of the skin

Its feels cool and refreshing when you put it on and even though it seemed to refresh my skin totally, it dried really quickly to a matt base. I really liked this as it meant you could easily apply make-up over it without your skin feeling sticky if you wanted.Another lovely thing about this serum is its smell. It has a strong, sweet, fresh smell that lingers on the skin beautifully and makes you want to use it again and again. I love a nice smelling product and find it really makes a difference to my mood.I loved the refreshed feeling it gave my skin and although I didnt see much difference in my skins quality as a whole it definitely made my face feel calm, refreshed and hydrated. I’m off on holiday soon and it will definitely be coming with me to keep my skin feeling refreshed in the holiday heat.

Buy Skin Chemists 24hour Aqua Repair Facial serum here.

*I was gifted this product but all views stated are my own. For more information please see my disclaimer section.

#AD Skin Chemists Advanced Snail Duo Moisturiser

As you may know I am a Skin Chemists ambassador and I love to try their new (and always innovative) products. The first product I ever tried from their brand was their Advanced Snail Eye Serum (find the original blog here) and although initially I was a little squeamish about using a beauty product with snail secretions in it, I was really impressed with its effects.

This month I am trying another product from the snail range – Advanced Snail Duo Moisturiser.

Skin Chemists says Snail Duo Moisturiser is formulated using a range of regenerating and nourishing actives to help repair the skin from daily damage, whilst protecting against future environmental stress and leaving a mattified finish.  The main active ingredients include:

Snail Secretion – derived from the natural defensive liquid secreted by snails aims to delay premature ageing of the skin, whilst reducing visible age spots and providing protection from free radical damage.

Tiare Flower Extract is combined with light and silky coconut oil, working to hydrate, repair, soothe and purify the skin.

Vitamin E Acetate aims to leave the skin moisturised, whilst providing further protection against skin damage from environmental aggressors.

Creatine works to imitate an amino acid found naturally within the skin, it aims to revitalise cell energy metabolism, whilst hydrating and protecting the skin.

It’s worth doing a patch test if youre concerned you might be allergic to any of these ingredients. I did notice a very slight tingling feeling when I first started using it and although I didn’t have any type of reaction, I feel if someone had more sensitive skin it might be worth it.

Also if youre a bit worried about the whole ‘how do you get this from a snail’ part (which is quite understandable) be assured Skin Chemists are a cruelty free company and only use sustainable methods to extract snail secretion at no harm to the snail. Afterwards the snail is returned healthy to its breeding place – yay!


This product is easy to use in its pump action dispenser and smooths over the skin effortlessly, leaving a slight tackiness that sets quickly – you can even put make-up on over the top too if you use it in the morning which is great. On first use, what I noticed most was how a small amount plumped my skin almost immediately with a slight tingling feeling and after a few weeks of use my skin feels firmer, fine lines seem less and my skins imperfections have been reduced without making my skin greasy.  

Marble effect trays / H&M Home
Sunglasses / Depop
Sunglasses case /Primark
Earrings /Dorothy Perkins
Brooch / New Look
Eye Shadow / L’oreal

All in all this is another great product from Skin Chemists – I will be using the Duo Moisturiser with the Advanced Snail Eye Serum for a maximised effect and hope the reducing of my fine lines will continue! Oh and for anyone worrying it smells lovely too… 

Buy Advanced Snail Duo Moisturiser here.

Truly innovative products are rarely cheap, with this product retailing at £99.90, but Skin Chemists have been incredibly generous in giving readers of my blog the code SARAH1 for a whopping 80% off (making it just £19.99) throughout May.   Give it a go…what have you got to lose?

*I was gifted this product but all views stated are my own. For more information please see my disclaimer section.

#AD Skin Chemists Pro-5 Collagen Oxygenating Night Cream

As its a new month I am reviewing a new Skin Chemists product, this month its their Pro-5 Collagen Oxygenating Night cream. As you know I am always excited to receive a Skin Chemists product and have found their products consistently good. But what about this one – is it worth adding to your (probably) already cluttered beauty product shelf or drawer?

OK, lets start where I always start…the asthetics. The look of this product is fabulous – its a large size (50ml) and is in a tall yellow dispenser that just looks so bright and cheerful. In a world of drab packaging and boring products, it is a joy to see it sitting on your bathroom shelf! It uses a pump action to deliver exactly how much cream you need per daily application and dispenses from the bottom up meaning there is no wastage. 

Skin Chemists Pro-5 Collagen Oxygenating Night Cream by Always a Blue Sky Girl fashion beauty lifestyle blog blogger 40 plus
But we all know it doesn’t matter how good something looks, it needs to work. So what does Skin Chemists say about this product? 

Wake up to a revived, more youthful complexion with the Pro-5 Collagen Oxygenating Night Cream.  Did you know that the skin repair can almost double as we sleep?

By picking the right products with the most effective active ingredients, we can take advantage of this valuable repair time to ensure that we really do get our “beauty sleep”.  To make the most of this precious repair time and keep our skin plump and luscious, we developed our Pro-5 Collagen Oxygenating Night Cream. 

Our Advanced Pro-5 Collagen Range is a unique and true revolutionary formula for perfect skin showing the early sings of ageing. Our Advanced Pro-5 Collagen Oxygenating Night Cream aims to boost skin elasticity and even the skin tone, restoring it to optimal level when your skin is in its most restorative state as you sleep.

For me at 44 years old (don’t tell anyone!) and a working mum who could probably do with a bit more rest than she is getting, this is all sounding very appealing. The main active ingredients in the formulation are:

  • Marine Collagen which aims to leave the skin smooth, supple and rich.
  • Gatuline Bio which works to promote skin health and regeneration, reducing the visibility of wrinkles by renewing dull or ageing skin and providing hydration.
  • Matrixyl 3000 which aims to smooth away visible wrinkles and blemishes for an even mattified complexion.

I used this product after removing my make-up each night and noticed a few things straight away. It is absorbed into the skin really easily and it has a lovely, sweet delicate smell – slightly reminiscent of childrens sweeties.  It made my skin feel quickly refreshed as if it had had a drink of water and its bright look is just not on the outside – using it definitely made me feel quite cheerful – no idea why it just did!


Now, I’ve got to be honest usually with Skin Chemists products I notice an effect pretty much straight away but in the first week of using this cream I didnt see/feel much difference. Yes, my skin felt nourished each night but visually I couldnt see much difference in the morning. However I kept using the product and by mid week 2 – POW!!! I suddenly saw quite a significant change. My skin felt plumped and looked smoother and best of all had developed rather a nice glow to it. This is one of the reasons I always test beauty products for a minimum of 2-3 weeks and advise my followers to do the same (unless they experience any irritation etc.) – some products take longer to take effect than others.  Even under light make-up I felt my skin was more radiant…

Skin Chemists Pro-5 Collagen Oxygenating Night Cream by Sarah Gorlov Always a Blue Sky Girl blueskygirlie fashion beauty lifestyle blog blogger 40 plus

But with so many different skincare choices, why should we be using collagen-rich products? According to Skin Chemists, from the age of 20 collagen production starts to decrease so we need to give our skin a helping hand by using products with active ingredients that help to boost and support collagen production. I find this really interesting because as I have got older I have definitely noticed my skin losing some of its elasticity and not looking as fresh as it once did. I might be aging but I am definitely wanting to keep my face looking younger for longer.
Skin Chemists Pro-5 Collagen Oxygenating Night Cream by Sarah Gorlov Always a Blue Sky Girl blueskygirlie fashion beauty lifestyle blog blogger 40 plus flatlay

So in summary, for me this is a product you need to choose to use daily as part of your night-time beauty routine and for an extended amount of time. It is not a ‘quick fix’ but with continued use definitely seems to improve skin that is not as fresh and glowing as it once was. It is easy to use and 50ml lasts a good amount of time…and the glow, well thats the best part of it for me.

My followers can get the Pro-5 Collagen Oxygenating Night cream for £19.99 until the end of the month (instead of the RRP of £109) using the code BLUESKYBLOG. The code is valid throughout April. Find it here – if you use it let me know, I’d love to know your results! 

*I was gifted this product but all views stated are my own. For more information please see my disclaimer section.

#AD Skin Chemists Bee Venom Facial Serum

It’s March, so that means a new Skin Chemists review! Regular followers to this blog will know I have become quite a fan of this brand and am excited to be trying another innovative anti-aging product – this month it is Bee Venom Facial Serum.So…Bee Venom.  Its a hot product that has had lots of press attention – celebrity bee venom fans include Camilla Duchess of Cornwall and model Jourdan Dunn, but what is it and what does it do?


The science: By fooling the skin into thinking it has been stung Bee Venom causes the body to increase the level of blood circulation to the application area, encouraging heightened production of collagen and elastin. This increased production restores a plumper and firmer skin structure, slowing down skin sagging and dramatically reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. It all sounds pretty amazing, but it is obviously not suitable for anyone allergic to bee stings! Oh, and no insects are hurt or killed obtaining this in case you were worried.

The main ingredients in Bee Venom Serum are:

  • Bee Venom which aims to plump and firm the skin while stimulating collagen production
  • A blend of Amino Acids to balance the skin, whilst improving skin clarity and encouraging an even skin tone for a brighter complexion.
  • Hyaluronic Acid to maintain moisture within the skin.


So, the big question – does it work?

I used the product morning and night and found it to be refreshing and easily absorbed into the skin. The serum itself has a great texture and a little goes a long way. As usual with Skin Chemists, it is in lovely premium packaging (a frosted glass dispenser) and uses clever tech so as you use the product, the bottom of the container pushes up meaning no serum is wasted – with beauty products (which lets be honest, are luxury buys) this kind of detail is important to me. I dont like waste!

Before:

On the first few uses I felt my skin react ever-so slightly to the serum (not in an irritated way, more of a plumping feeling) after use and my skins fine lines did look less visible after a few days. It also smelt lovely and fresh and could be used as skincare by either sex in my opinion.  I definitely noticed a tightening effect around my jaw area and time will tell if it tightens up those slowly appearing 40+years old jowls! 

After:

I would definitely recommend this product if you are looking to tighten up areas of skin or plump fine lines and wrinkles and I am definitely impressed with the results on my skin in just 2 weeks. For those 40 years plus I think it would be a great (and unique) addition to your skincare regime.  


With this being a premium product it does carry a premium price tag, but excitingly my readers can get the Bee Venom Facial Serum I am reviewing for £19.99 until the end of the month (instead of the RRP of £129) using the code BLUESKYBLOG. The code is valid throughout March. Its really worth giving it a try at such a bargain price! Find it here. If you use it let me know, I’d like to know your results!

*I was gifted this product but all views stated are my own. For more information please see my disclaimer section.

Skin Chemists Rose Quartz Age Defence Youth Facial Oil

When Skin Chemists got in touch and said they wanted to send me a different kind of Valentines gift I was intrigued. Now I’m not a big fan of Valentines Day (I blogged about it here) but I am a big fan of beauty products and last year was very impressed with the Skin Chemists Snail Serum I reviewed (see the non slimy results here) so was excited to find out what treat I would receive.

Skin Chemists’ idea is to gift (or self-gift) a rose-themed beauty product rather than a bouquet of roses this Valentines Day because lets be honest, however beautiful they can be, bouquets of roses at Valentines are such a waste of money. I personally would always rather have something that will last more than a few days and more importantly something I actually want. So I’m definitely ready to break with tradition this February, are you?

PS If you’re single and thinking “Urgh, great a blog about gifts for Valentines day” I think February is always a great month to buy yourself a few beauty treats regardless…its still a bit cold and miserable plus your skin is recovering from winter and needs all the TLC it can get. So embrace the self-gifting (I know I do!!!)

Skin Chemists Rose Quartz age defence youth facial Oil review via 'Always a Blue Sky Girl' blog
I tested the Rose Quartz Age Defence Youth Facial Oil* and according to Skin Chemists, the oil is infused with a blend of hydrating, nourishing and protecting actives. These provide essential vitamins and minerals for the skin to leave the complexion illuminated, hydrated and refined.

The main active ingredients in the formulation are:
1) Rose Otto Oil to help restore moisture balance in the skin. Its anti-bacterial and anti-oxidant properties aim to repair and protect the skin, whilst firming and toning.
2) Vitamin E to reduce skin damage, whilst protecting against daily damage.
3) Almond Oil to provide deep hydration and nourishment, brightening and renewing the appearance of the skin.


So does it do what it claims – to smooth, illuminate and refine…?

The first thing I noticed, from the first day I starting using it was how soft my skin felt afterwards. The oil itself is very light and doesn’t make your skin feel sticky or oily plus it smells divine! The rose oil ingredient creates a lovely light floral aroma that makes you feel great even on the most miserable of days. Plus I had no break-outs while using it and considering I used it quite liberally over my whole face I think thats great as the fact it was an oil did worry me a little before I started using it.


By week two I felt my skin was looking dewy and definitely had a healthy glow to it which I loved. I didn’t see a huge difference in my fine lines but to be honest I’m lucky as I dont have a lot and this would probably be more obvious after a longer usage time. It definitely felt luxurious to use though and I got into the habit to using it before bed and it made me feel quite pampered which was lovely.  All in all I liked the product – it is easy to use with its pipette style dispenser, comes in premium glass packaging (plus a lovely bright pink box!), made my skin super soft to the touch and smells just lovely.  Suitable for all skin types, I think the oil would be a lovely treat for your skin this February.

Skin Chemists Rose Quartz age defence youth facial Oil review via 'Always a Blue Sky Girl' blog

During February Skin Chemists are having a Rose Quartz month with lots of promotional offers on the entire range. This product usually has a RRP of £99 but during February is reduced to £24.99 – to shop it click here.
And it gets better!  My followers can receive an additional 20% off by using the discount code BLUESKYBLOG making the product only £19.99!  The code is valid until the end of February so now is the time to treat yourself (or get someone else to!)

*I was gifted this product but all views stated are my own. For more information please see my disclaimer section.

The F Word

*warning this post may have triggering effects linked to food or weight issues*

Hi, I’m Sarah and if you follow this blog you will know that I am a generally cheerful, confident, fun person. You will also probably know that I have lost a lot of weight (I was a size 20/22 at my largest) and have to work hard to stay a size 12 by trying to watch what I eat and running 5k three times a week.  It is not easy.It has taken me quite a while to like myself again but my body image is still a constant struggle and this blog, in part, is a tool to embrace my flawed, curvy, 40plus figure as seen by my super critical eyes.  I had a eating disorder as a teenager and still have a complicated relationship with food and my body – to try to help, I follow quite a few plus size bloggers, those who embrace their size, love their bodies and are part of the #effyourbeautystandards movement. I admire them and their confidence but I cannot feel like them sadly. Being morbidly obese was a prison sentence for me and although I seemed confident I suffered terribly from anxiety, was physically in a bad place with various aches and pains and I hated myself.

So why am I telling you all this?

Well last week during an arguement with a stranger (a man) I was called ‘fat’.  I was also called a bitch, stupid, a ho and various other insults but ‘fat’ was the one that really hurt. It got under my skin and wounded me more then any other insult and it made me think – why do people still use it as a low blow insult? A word that is used to hurt and belittle, particularly towards women.


Forgetting the fact the man saying it looked like the back end of a bus (and was hardly an Olympian himself) once that word was said I felt awful, insecure, and yes, fat. I felt ugly. I felt weak.  He had told me in his eyes I was…what? Unattractive to him? Not the perfect body shape? Imperfect?  Erm – who cares! But sadly I did care.

At my sons school they are taught the word fat is a hate word, as abusive as a swear word or racial slur and if he hears me using it he tells me off. This gives me hope that using the word to attack and hurt and undermine will end with our generation.

Body confidence is hard – every time I go on a run I put myself out there. Dressed in skin tight lycra it is scary to exercise in front of the world. It not just the actual running that’s hard, its fear of being watched, insulted, maybe even hurt…I’d say pretty much every month I get catcalled by men in cars/lorries bleeping their horns etc – they seem to think thats a compliment. Doing it every other day, regardless of those fears takes guts. 



So am I going to stop eating cake? Hell no!  Not run in public?  I’m fitter than I’ve ever been so, sorry, no. Starve myself for an ideal I can never reach, one that is perpetuated by photoshopped images anyway?  My body has done amazing things – it carried a baby, it can run for miles, ticked amazing places and experiences off my bucket list, kept me fit and healthy and my boyfriend seems pretty keen on it too!

What I do need to do is make sure that my confidence in both my inner self and the body people can see (and judge) is greater than any throwaway line or joke.  I need to hear the words when the people who care about me tell me I am beautiful and loved and perfect in their eyes.  NO-ONE male or female has the right to make you feel bad about the way you look…and the key is knowing they are not just wrong, but that they are the weak ones, the insecure ones, the ones that truly hate themselves.  I need to remind myself of this statement – 


So another pathetic human being goes on their way thinking they’ve won because they have said some throw away insult which is not based on anything apart from wanting to hurt. But you know what? People like that will never break me – I am more than words, more than their twisted ideals, more than their insecurites – I AM ME…AND AM PRETTY DARN FABULOUS!!!Find my blogs on my fitness and running here, here and here.

All photos via my Instagram – blueskygirlie

The Olia Effect

Wanting to update my hair colour for winter and looking for a new home hair dye, I decided to take the Olia challenge and home-dye my hair using the Garnier brand. Fearne Cotton has been promoting the challenge and you can upload a before and after pic to their website for the change to be entered into a competition to win a £5000 shopping spree!  Also if you buy the product at Superdrug you can claim your money back too – so basically try it for free.  I only found this out after I’d bought mine somewhere else but you can find out more here.


Its always a bit nerve wracking trying a new hair dye brand and after the 48hr allergy test I unpacked my hair dye and dived in hoping for the best!  I needed 2 packs for my long, quite thick hair and went for shade 4.6 Deep Red.

The instructions were pretty simple and the dye mixed up easily and the packing doubled as a stand which I though was quite clever. The application was easy using the teardrop shape bottle and the product itself wasnt too runny which was good.


I wasn’t as impressed with the large, loose gloves and much prefer the tighter latex gloves I’ved used with other brands so I think next time I will use a spare set of latex gloves rather than the ones provided. 


I waited the 30 minutes and then washed it off. Going for a deeper colour meant it too ages for the water to run clear but then I did use two packs.


Some tips for a home dye

  • Preparation! Make sure you have old towels, baby wipes and clips if you have long hair to make the process as easy as possible. Clear at least 45mins for the task – you dont want to be moving around too much once the dye is on.
  • Do an allegy test 48hrs before – better to be safe than sorry!
  • Use Vaseline to create a barrier between your hairline and skin. This really stops drips and having to wash tons of dye from yourself.
  • Use a timer – its important to follow the manufacturers instructions, leaving your dye on for the wrong amount if time can mean it wont look like you expect it too.
  • Make sure you use the provided conditioner to finish your hair, this is specially formulated to repair any damage the dye may of done while colouring your hair.

And this is the finished effect? What do you think?


I’m really pleased with the final shade and my hair was left feeling very smooth and silky as Olia is made with 60% oils and I could definitely feel that (I wasn’t sponsored to say this LOL, I didnt even get my money back remember!)

Would I use it again? 

I would! Its a great price and it left my hair feeling great but I think next time I will go a shade lighter/brighter as the Deep Red was a little too dark for my liking at first look. Thats pretty typical for me as it usually takes a few washes before I’m happy with a new colour, but now its colour protect shampoo every time.

Garnier Olia hair dye – £6.99 available in all good supermarkets and chemists.