aka the adventures of blueskygirlie: I'm a part-time marketing consultant/social media content creator, a part-time style blogger and a full-time fashion obsessive! I am also a seller of fabulous vintage treasures via Etsy, a mum to a blended family & here to help to prove you can be over 40 & still look great! I dropped 5 dress sizes between my 30's and my 40's and now run 5k 3 times a week. I changed my life and this blog helps me to share what I'm discovering along the way…
Its been a tough 12 months for all of us, but there is light at the end of the tunnel with the development and roll out of a series of vaccines that will protect us against Covid 19.
As I work within the care industry my company requested I get the Covid 19 vaccine as part of the NHS frontline worker roll out. Everyone within social care is being encouraged to take up this offer not just to protect them but to protect everyone around them.
I know that a lot of people are quite anxious or maybe just curious about the vaccine, so I thought it was a perfect thing to write a blog about it. I felt very privileged to be able to receive the vaccine during the early stages of the UK program and wanted to share my story…
After booking my appointment via a secure NHS portal I arrived at the vaccination centre at the allotted time. I had to provide my NHS number, show my staff ID and answer some questions about my health and confirm I didnt have any Covid symptoms.
I felt a little nervous but everyone was very kind and there were lots of volunteers to show you where to go and what to do. I received the Pfizer vaccine and was given a pamphlet all about it as well as guidance on any side effects and what to do if you experienced any of them. You had to wear a mask the whole time and come in a short sleeved top and there was lots of hand sanitising points as well as social distancing.
At your appointment time you go into a large room where chairs are set up 2m apart and you sit and wait for the doctors and nurses to come to you. Everything was very well organised with plenty of time taken on everyones appointment. After a doctor went through my medical details and checked I had no questions I then waited for my injection. I waited for about 10 minutes as I was quite near the back of the room.
When it was my time, a lovely nurse came to me and gave me my injection quickly and painlessly. I mentioned I was a bit nervous and she said not to worry it would all be over very quickly. Like all injections theres a pinch when you are injected and then your arm feels a little heavy but thats it. You then wait 15mins to check you feel ok and after that you can leave.
I even took a selfie!!!!
You are given a card saying what vaccine you had and the date. This is important documentation which you need to keep safe. I then went straight home – I had cleared the rest of the day so I wasnt too busy and could rest, but to be honest I felt completely fine.
The next day I felt completely normal with no side effects whatsoever – my arm hurt a bit which lasted a couple of days but over the next few days I did all my usual things – worked, did exercise, looked after the kids, all the normal things. I slept fine too – just had to remember to not sleep on my injected arm.
Obviously deciding to have the vaccine is a personal decision but I am so happy I am protected and just need to have my follow up injection in 12 weeks (as per the NHS advice).
To find out more about the UK’s governments vaccine advice see here.
I received the vaccine because of my job but most people will be contacted via their GP when its their time. There are sadly a lot of scams around at the moment – if you are not sure about anything check the Gov.uk website or speak to your doctor.
We have just got back from our family holiday…and this year it was quite different. After getting quite a few questions on my Instagram when I was doing stories while away I though it would make sense to write a blog on our experiences and what I learned taking a holiday during a pandemic.
Before I start it’s worth stating that these are just my thoughts and feelings and I am by no means an expert in travel, planning a trip and don’t have any more knowledge about coronavirus than anyone else – if you choose to go away this year make sure you do your own research and decide on what’s safe for you. And on that note…
Do your Research
Before we decided to travel we weighed up a lot of pros and cons. We looked at different locations and their R rates and the general behaviours of the countries (rule of thumb – if theres not a lot of Brits there its probably pretty rule abiding and safe – harsh but true!). We read travel websites. We looked at the governments advice. We watched what other people were doing. Taking all of that into consideration, and knowing the air bridges were on the verge of opening we took a chance a booked a week in a private villa on Kefalonia, one of the smaller and more remote Greek islands. We personally felt that this year, hotels were too risky for us as a family, not so much because of their cleanliness, more to do with the other residents (our local supermarket in the UK was a non socially distancing free for all so I felt an all inclusive hotel might be quite stressful with people drinking/ignoring the rules/letting their child run riot etc.) We also hired a car, picked the short stay parking at the airport and basically opted to keep ourselves in as much of a ‘family bubble’ as we possibly could.
We bought comfortable masks (as you cant fly without them and each country has its own rules about when they need to be worn) and made sure our youngest son who is 8, although he didn’t legally have to, had practised wearing one as we wanted him to wear it for the whole flight. I’d say for me the most stressful part of the whole trip was the flight – not because it was particularly hard or scary but because that was the bit I was the most worried about. I really didn’t need to be – Stansted Airport was extremely quiet, half empty in fact, everyone wore marks, the Jet2 team who we booked the holiday through were very helpful and calm and to be honest it was the best experience I’ve ever had there! On the plane everyone again was very calm and helpful and there were empty seats and rows although it was a little fuller than I would of liked – ultimately though it was a lot quieter than a usual holiday flight. Wearing a mask for 5-6 hours in total wasn’t that hard and when you know you’re getting a lovely holiday at the end of it, that’s quite an incentive!
Make sure you have your paperwork
Once we got to Greece we had to go through security and get a QR code scanned which was linked to a declaration form we had done a few days before we flew. Find all the details on what you have to do here. You must complete an online Passenger Locator Form (PLF) at least 24 hours before your arrival in Greece. Every traveller, including children, must have their details included on the form and if you’re travelling together as a household, the Greek authorities ask for you to complete one form with all adults and children included. Once you have completed the form online, you receive an email acknowledgement and in a separate email, you also receive a QR code. We saved this onto our phones and had it ready to show when asked.
We had to show this before we boarded our flight and when we arrived in Greece, where the Greek authorities scanned the QR code as part of going through passport control. We were told that they might require people to undergo temperature checks or even testing for coronavirus, but although we saw the teams there in their PPE we weren’t checked and didn’t see anyone else being checked either.
Our home for the week
We stayed in a large villa from James Villas with 3 double bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and a good size lounge and kitchen area. It was just perfect with a large pool, air conditioning, some low-fi wi-fi and lots of sun loungers and parasols. It was very clean but we bought our own anti-bacterial hand wash and sanitiser with us. The villa was located away from the main roads between the mountains and the beach and although there was other villas around it no-one could come into it so we could socially distance really easily. Mid week we received fresh towels and linens which were just left on the doorstep and each morning the pool was cleaned really early so we never even saw the man doing it. There was a supermarket close by and the beach and local tavernas were a quick car ride so its location was pretty perfect. When we booked it you could search the distance of things so we made sure we booked somewhere close to certain amenities as we knew we wanted an easy week.
To be honest though, 2020 is not the year for a bargain holiday (not that I’ve ever had one with 3 school age children having to always holiday at peak times) – we paid a bit extra to make sure we had the space, location and things we needed so we felt safe and happy. We opted for a shorter stay than we normally would as we just didn’t know what to expect and went self catering rather than our usual all inclusive so we could control when, where and what we ate.
In Greece it is mandatory to wear face-masks on public transport (including flights and ferries), at airports and in taxis. Travel in a private car or a taxi is limited to a maximum of 3 adult passengers per vehicle, in addition to the driver but any children in the vehicle do not count towards this limit. Face masks are also obligatory in public indoor spaces, including lifts, staircases and any enclosed venue providing goods or services (including supermarkets, which is wear we mainly wore our masks). All the restaurants are open air so we didn’t wear masks although all the staff either wore masks or visors when they served us.
The whole island felt like it was following the rules and to be honest I felt safer in Greece than I feel in the UK. The island was very quiet and on the few times we left the villa during the day to go to the beach and to visit a local large town it was very easy to keep a safe distance from people.
As this was a villa holiday it was technically self catered so we ate breakfast and lunch mainly at the villa and then ate out each evening. The villa had a sandwich toaster which came in very handy and of course we ate the holiday favourites of foreign crisps, Haribo and Fanta Lemon! The local supermarket had a good selection of food with everyone wearing masks in there so we shopped every few days and then just made food and snacks when required.
In the area we were staying there were a lot of Taverna’s which we ate dinner at each evening. With it being so quiet we tried to spread our spending around and ate at as many different ones as we could. Safety wise it was amazing – all the tables were spaced out and we pretty much were always outside anyway. The tables all had disposable coverings, cutlery/napkins etc were delivered in sealed packets and they had even stopped having olive oil on the tables with it being replaced by single use sachets. All the waiting staff wore PPE, mainly a visor that covers just the mouth and nose that I haven’t really seen in the UK and we made sure we washed our hands often and used sanitiser gel. The people there were so friendly and it was clear that the pandemic is making things very tough for them. They couldn’t of been more accommodating and often we were given a free dessert or a Limoncello to drink after dinner to say thank you. We tipped everywhere we went knowing how much these businesses need the support.
Visiting Tourist Attractions
We didn’t know if we would visit anywhere ‘touristy’ as we wanted to make sure we were safe at all times. A few days into the trip we decided to drive up to one of the many mountainous peaks of the island which was easy to do in our hire car and there were only a few people around. We were already confident with eating out (see the section above) as the Greeks safety measures were impeccable. Nearer the end of the holiday we decided we were going to try and do one ‘big’ visit as the island has a world famous underground cave and lake – Melissani Cave which is often on travel bucket lists and not knowing if we would visit Kefalonia again didn’t want to miss seeing it.
Visiting the caves was a really great example of how the Greeks have adapted their tourism during the pandemic. For this attraction there was one pathway in and one pathway out, everyone we saw visiting wore masks of some kind and payment was contactless with sanitiser gel at the main contact points. The caves are accessed via row boat and there was only 2 ‘bubbles’ of people allowed on at any one time so social distancing could take place. All the staff wore masks and other PPE even those working in the gift shop. It was safe, well organised and everyone followed the rules. The caves themselves are amazing and I’m so glad we visited – even our 2 teenagers were impressed! The guide books are right – it really is a bucket list location.
Timing is Everything
Although we planned this trip carefully there no two ways about it – we were lucky too. We booked it at the right time while Covid19 cases were still quite steady but even while we were out there things were changing and Spain including the Balearics was put back under a 14 day quarantine. Its clear that at the moment nothing is certain when travelling and there are risks whatever you choose. We had had a trip cancelled in April but hadn’t booked a summer holiday before lockdown started which gave us the flexibility to create the holiday that best fitted the circumstances and it worked really well. Myself and my partner are key/essential workers and have worked continuously throughout lockdown as well as home-schooling three children so this break was much needed, both emotionally and physically. The week flew by and I can honestly say there is nothing I would change about it. Our Covid 19 holiday was a unique one but pretty damn awesome and I am so glad we did it!
Have you travelled this summer? Would you? Or would you rather stay in the UK this year? Whatever you choose enjoy yourself – this summer is a difficult one but life goes on (and economies need supporting or there will be no tourism next year) and with a few sensible precautions we can all enjoy doing the things we love with the people we love.
I’ve been thinking about last year and what it taught me. Its already the end of February and the year is racing by, full of opportunities and unknowns.
So what did I learn in 2019? I learnt a lot but if I had to condense it down to 10 points I’d say…
Downs always lead to ups
In March 2019 I was made redundant (again) unexpectedly. The company involved treated me pretty shabbily and I limped away very low and anxious. I found a new role a few months later – one that pays a lot more and is a much bigger and better job and its a real reminder that theres ALWAYS light at the end of the tunnel.
Travelling is great but home is where the heart is
Last year I took some great trips with my favourite travelling companion – my fiancé Russ. Portugal, Turkey, London and some fab day outs too. But nothing beats getting home – it really is our calm from the storm and I love that this year we’ve also made our home even better (with more to come in 2020). Spending money on trips is nice but I truly believe improving your home and surrounding yourself with lovely things is the thing that gets you through the mundane day to day slog…
My body, my rules
I ran a lot in 2019. I dieted hard this year. I lost some weight and I toned up. I ran almost 950km. Its funny how lots of people have strong views on how we should look, what we should eat and opinions on other peoples bodies. I actually stopped posting my Strava runs on Facebook due to some snarky comments (and even an unfollow!) and made a rule for myself that no-one gets to tell you how to look and feel. The only person that matters in this is you. In 2020 I am relaxing this as I am finally starting to feel happy with myself – a lifelong battle for me.
Growing up is hard to do
So my son turned 13 in 2019. We’ve always been really close but I can feel it beginning. The gap forming. Theres a strange feeling, like experiencing a slow motion break up with a really loved boyfriend but you know it has to happen.
I look at him each day and can see him changing, growing, transforming into the adult he will someday become. Teenagers aren’t meant to be easy, and I’m sure it will get harder but for now I’m hanging on to all the cuddles and kisses I can get…
Know your worth
During my period of having no job in the Spring last year I suffered from a deep feeling of inadequacy. I have always been very hard on myself and when I was offered a job with a very (pretty much insulting) salary it hurt me deep in my soul. I suffer from low self esteem so any knock-back often makes me feel extremely agitated and critical about myself. I wondered if I should take it, try and make the best of it, almost thinking that was all I was worth but my ever supportive fiancé reminded me of who I was and what I offer. And you know what? A month or so later I was offered by current role on nearly double that salary!!!
Mental health matters
Exercise, self care, getting toxic people out your life and learning to recognise the behaviours that lead to repeated problems. Pretty standard but very hard to actually do. In 2019 I exercised a lot but also gave myself permission to relax which is something I find very hard to do. For me, little things really make a difference – having a good beauty routine, eating something yummy, reading a great book or just taking some time for myself away from the kids. I have started to learn I must always protect what is precious and my own wellbeing is key. It is not selfish to regular check-in with yourself and make sure you are feeling ok.
It doesn’t have to cost a lot to look great
I shopped a lot at Poundland in 2019…in fact I was borderline obsessed! This something that definitely wont change in 2020 – its an amazing shop! A zebra vase for £1 instead of £55 via Quail Ceramics? I’m in!!! Seriously though I’ve learnt that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to create a great look…
…which leads me to :
Creativity feeds the soul
In 2019 I let myself be creative again. I created craft projects, undertook DIY projects, made things for the children, watched documentaries and arts programmes and visited museums and art galleries. I didn’t always get it right, but I did have a jolly good go! The more I found outlets for my creativity the better I felt. It took my time and energy but I really did enjoy what I achieved.
Work hard, then work a bit harder
I had to really push myself in 2019 and worked very hard. I had to step up in to the biggest job I had taken since I had stepped back from my career to be with my son after my marriage ended. To be honest I always have been a hard worker and find it hard to rest but this year showed me to get what you want you have to work your ass off! I read a quote somewhere that said ‘theres is no such thing as luck, only hard work and perseverance’ and I have to agree… I have a lot of plans for 2020 so it looks like theres no relaxing for me yet!!!
Social media is a lie
One of the things that has caused me the most anxiety and ups and downs in 2019 is social media. As a marketer with a specialism in digital, I should know better but seeing peoples highlight reels constantly filled me with feelings of inadequacy, low self esteem and jealousy. I know much of this is photoshopped (often obviously) or faked but it still has a huge effect on me, especially when its via people I know. I know – stupid right? This year I started to manage this once and for all by unfollowing a lot of accounts on Instagram and blocking accounts I had a tendency to obsess on (exes, ex-friends, companies I used to work for, ones where the girls Facetune/Photoshop a lot etc). It hasnt been plain sailing, I’ve had some relaspes but I feel a lot better and am following professional advice I found on the internet about how to deal with unhealthy use of social media. Since I started talking about this, so many people have told me they feel the same/have been suffering from this too and I feel a lot less alone.
I dont expect you to agree with all of these, or even any of them, but these are some of the things I have come to realise over the last year. I personally don’t subscribe to the whole ‘new year, new start’ rubbish. No resolutions or a ridiculous idea to change my life because its January for me – I continue as I always do – pushing forward.
Ever forward. What an adventure…
Heres to 2020, the new roaring 20’s, a completely new decade… whatever it may bring!
So, anyone here truly love their body? Its a real challenge, right?
When Playtex contacted me to ask if I would like to pick an underwear set from their collection to try, I must admit I was a little torn. Their ranges were lovely but I knew to review it properly I really needed to show it on. And knowing that, was I ready for that level of blog…erm, openess? I thought about it and then realised I was being silly – I am very proud of everything I have achieved in the last few years and the changes to my body and fitness levels is one of the things I am proudest of (and have been the hardest to achieve).
So here I am, mum-tum, stretchmarks and all!!! Taa Daa!!!
I have been a fan of Playtex for a long time now, in fact my first bra was Playtex so its definitely a brand I have a warm affection for. These days however, fit is key for me with any lingerie I buy as smooth lines and a great silhouette can make all the difference as your body changes as you get older.
Playtex have some beautiful styles of lingerie currently and with that in mind I went for a set from the Perfect Silhouette range. I chose my normal sizes and went for the 34D in the bra and the small (UK10) in the knickers. This set came with high waisted shaping briefs which is perfect for me as I hate a low knicker that cuts across my tummy.
As you can see the fit is quite functional but with a sexy look to it still. The set is made from an innovative, dense, stretchy microfibre with detailing of transparent tulle panelling. The bra is underwired with dense microfibre cups that shape and lift your bust, creating a defined silhouette and the high-waisted briefs feature invisible stomach support for a flattening effect.
I found the fit really good – the bra was a perfect fit for me, offering the right amount of coverage and support and was smooth under my clothing. For a high-waisted pant briefs were a tiny bit low for me, but to be fair I like a really high pant in this kind of set. They still fitted me well, definitely smoothed my tummy (the area of my body I am most self conscious of) and were comfortable to wear all day.
I really liked this set, it fitted well and made me feel good. It looked great but was still the type of set you could wear for everyday use. Playtex have definitely lived up to my expectations but more than that I love the fact they want to feature real women wearing their products. As a woman over 40, its sometimes really hard to visualise yourself in products you see online and generally you don’t get to see real bodies with all their perceived imperfections. Beautiful lingerie is for everybody and its lovely Playtex recognise that. Taking these photos have really made me question why we are so frightened to show ourselves. My body is strong and healthy, has given me a beautiful son, is loved madly by my partner (his words), ran almost 1000km last year and lets be honest – is the only one I’ve got, so loving it is the only real choice there is. So, did I find my confidence? Well, if this blog is anything to go by I’d say YES!!!
Do you like this set too? Find the bra I am wearing here and find the briefs here. Not sure of your size? Find everything you need here.
*I was gifted this product but all views stated are my own. For more information please see my disclaimer section.
Did you know in England and Wales, when you die without a will, the law decides who gets your assets and how your possessions are distributed. Pretty scary, huh?
Having a will, even a simple one, can help ensure that your partner can continue to live in your shared home, your children are looked after by the people you desire, sentimental possessions are passed on to those you wish to have them and your assets and finances are distributed according to your wishes. Recently I’ve been thinking about the past, the future and the responsibilities of being a mum. Its a lot to think about, so anything that can make life a bit easier definitely has to be a good thing.
We have quite a complicated family set up being a very loving and close, but blended family. We have four children between us, three who are still dependent on us and will be for some time, so getting ‘our house in order’ was extremely important. I have a will but it is very out of date and lists people in it I would definitely now not want to benefit from my estate and my partner has never had a will. I kept meaning to do something, wrote notes for myself, wrote down some ideas but never seemed to find the time to actually do it.
But where do you start?
When Smart-Will approached me and asked if I would be interesting in trying their app based will writing service, after checking them out online and looking at their reviews I could see this could be an easy and simple way to get wills in place for myself and my fiancé.
The aim at Smart-Will is to take the stress out of writing a Will and enable you to take control of the process, allowing you to easily produce a legally sound Will that accurately reflects your wishes on what will happen when you die.
The app itself is really easy to use. Once you register you go through a series of questions and choices to create the Will you need. You can create a single Will or a Mirror Will (these are virtually identical Wills where one person in a couple leaves their estate to the other in the event of their passing away. The most common type are when one spouse leaves everything to their spouse and then to their children). This was the type of Will my fiancé and I decided on.
The app has simple drop downs and tabs to select to make each step very simple. For a Mirror Will you go through the process twice, once for yourself and once for your partner.
The app itself is easy to use and free of jargon. The Will you create can be tailored to suit your exact circumstances, giving you the freedom to appoint the executors of your choice and divide your estate between your chosen beneficiaries as you wish. Leaving gifts of money, specific possessions or gifts of money to charity, is made easy using the menus within each step.
Some of the questions might make you feel a little uncomfortable, as its not easy thinking about death and dying but all all know we need to think about them. As well as the financial details of the Wills themselves, you will also need to think about some big questions such as choosing a guardian for your children and if you want to be buried or cremated.
If your funeral is something you want to sort out at the same time, Smart-Will is able to offer assistance with funeral arrangements, and even offers clients the choice to indicate they’d like to have their ashes scattered high above the earth, at the edge of space!
Once all the steps are completed you view a summary and check you are happy with all your answers and choices. Their online app means once you’ve created your Will on your phone or tablet you can choose to utilise their free secure storage so that you can be assured that your Will is in safe hands.
As well as all this, the help they offer extends beyond simply helping you create a Will; when you appoint them as professional executors, they will obtain fixed fee probate quotes from local solicitors, to ensure your family and loved ones benefit from the best value services available at no extra cost. Within the process they explain how to choose an executor and why you may want to have a professional executor which is the choice I made.
With this being a modern solution for both creating and managing your Will, Smart-Will offer free updates to your Will for life. This was important to me as we all know that our circumstances change over the course of our lives, and I wanted a Will that was flexible and could grow and change as my life did. However if you need something bespoke or more complicated they can do that too – find all the fees here.
All in all I found the process simple and stress free. The Wills we have chosen are quite simple but work for us right now. Plus the peace of mind I now have knowing we have something legally binding in place protecting our family is a great feeling. I am waiting to receive my copy of our Wills but in the meantime I know they exist and are stored safely as part of the Will writing service. So that just leaves the question – are you looking for some peace of mind too?
The Smart-Will app is available for IOS here and Android here.
*I was gifted this product but all views stated are my own. For more information please see my disclaimer section
Pure Collagen 5% Biphase Serum – not the catchiest name but Skin Chemists create products that aren’t created to just be pretty on the surface, they are products that work…and they work really well.
I use a lot of Skin Chemists products and picked this one as it is aimed at more mature skin…plus its pink – and who doesn’t want more pink in their lives? Collagen is a big deal in skincare and I wanted to see if it could make a difference to my 40 plus skin which is now starting to show its age.
The product itself is contained in a 30ml size glass bottle with pipette top for easy dispensing. It is pink in colour, almost glittery when you mix it and has no smell. A water based product I found it was easier to dispense it on a pad to apply it to my skin. You shake the serum for a few seconds to activate it and then apply 2-3 drops to cleansed skin before using any other creams or moisturisers. Its absorbs really quickly, doesn’t feel greasy and a little goes a long way.
This version of Skin Chemists Biphase serum comprises of two layers (the Bi, in the Biphase) which work in unison – the anti-ageing powerhouse that is Collagen with the freshness and versatility of water.
According to Skin Chemists, with its ability to promote skin cell renewal, Collagen is able to give a smooth effect on the skin’s surface to reveal a glowing complexion. Retaining a healthy skin barrier is essential in achieving a supple complexion, and Collagen has a high capacity for water retention, so helps to protect and maintain this for more youthful looking skin.
What the product claims to do:
Promotes glowing, vibrant skin to keep youthful appearance
Smooths fine lines and wrinkles to restore skin’s elasticity
Minimises and eliminates scarring
What Skin Chemists say are its key benefits:
Collagen in the skin is the key to building block to regain the structural integrity of a young face
Protecting and maintaining the skin’s natural oil barrier to achieve a supple, moisturised complexion
If you are concerned about fine lines or dryness, or want to improve the appearance of your skin’s texture, elasticity and firmness then this might be a product you want to add in to your skin care routine. I think this is definitely a product that works best for slightly more mature skins – on a more mature skin (I am 46) you can feel the difference within days.
The lightweight formulation means that is easily absorbed into clean skin and makes it feel smooth to the touch straight away. I could feel the wider effects quite quickly and after a week or so of using it, started to look forward to applying it each night!
So, is Collagen the miracle ingredient we have been led to believe it is?
I’d say its not far off – and this serum is an affordable way to start discovering its benefits. After using it for a week or so, the difference in my skins texture was clearly visible and made my face feel more supple and dare I say, slightly more youthful! I love the simple and effective vibe of this product – it doesn’t need gimmicks, flash packaging or advertising, it just works!!!
This clever little product costs £29.90 and is available here.
Find the full Biphase range here – I’m interested to see if the other two products in the range, Caviar and Hyaluronic Acid work as well as this one does.
I’m going to bet they do…
*I was gifted this product but all views stated are my own. For more information please see my disclaimer section.
Do you worry about the amount of waste you are creating? I definitely do, particularly within my beauty regime, from the amount of single use plastics in my products packaging, to using baby wipes that I know go in to landfill, to the minuscule plastic beads found in body scrubs. Like most women, I cleanse my face each night using cotton wool pads and throw them straight in the bin sometimes using two or three at a time.
Cotton wool is not recyclable and the disposable nature of it makes it not only wasteful but also harmful to the environment. Harmful pesticides are used in the farming of cotton and the cotton farming industry is a major source of environmental pollution using almost one quarter of all the world’s insecticides and 10% of all pesticides. During the production of cotton cleansing pads, chemicals are used that will eventually leach into the sea, rivers and soil when the pad is disposed of. The argument to not use cotton wool is a powerful one but for most of us with busy lives (oh hello full time job, blended family, part time business) it’s often hard to not take the easiest option.
Enter I&G Eco… A fantastic small brand aiming to do big things. They say – “We believe, looking after our planet is the responsibility of all of us and small acts multiplied by millions of people can transform the world. Join in and make a difference!”
The I&G Eco natural make-up remover kit is a great little set comprising of 16 x bamboo makeup remover pads, 2 x sisal soap bagsand a cotton mesh wash bagall packaged in recyclable packaging.
So, what do you get in the box?
You get 16 super soft bamboo makeup pads. These are made of 100% bamboo fabric, great quality, biodegradable and according to the packaging, BPA and polyester free so it doesn’t impact the environment like ordinary single-use cotton wool pads.They are machine washable and can be washed up to 1000 times each.
Also included are 2 sisal soap pouches meaning you can use your favourite soap and stop using single plastic use shower gel bottles. You simply put a bar of soap inside the pouch and gently massage your body to exfoliate dead skin. You can also use smaller bits of soap together as the bag holds them all together, making your soaps go much further.
The final piece of the set is a cotton mesh wash bag which you can place your used pads in as you use them ready for washing. I washed my pads weekly in the mesh bag and they washed very well. The bag also doubles as a storage or travel bag keeping everything neat and tidy.
There is a lot to like about this set – it is obviously a great idea and eco friendly but it also is a really nice beauty product too. The pads themselves are so soft, very easy to use and wash really well. I was concerned after using and washing them a few times they would start to feel a bit ‘scraggy’ and not fresh like a new cotton wool pad but I can honestly say they feel lovely every time I have used them. They are a larger size than I expected too and have 2 layers meaning you can use both sides during make-up removal and the pad still feels clean, soft and fresh.
After going cotton wool free for a few weeks now, I am really feeling the love with this set, the brand and its ideals. We have developed into a throw-away society, filling up our environment with rubbish that we cannot dispose of and something has to change. Doing my bit for the planet without comprising on everyday time-savers is what I strive for and by simply swapping to clever eco friendly and sustainable products like this can really help the environment, as well as saving a bit of money in the long run too.
This set is ideal for all types of skin, plus can be used on adults, children and even babies. The bamboo pads can be used for applying beauty products, such as toners and serums as well as the removal of all types of make-up, even really heavy applications.
I really liked the feeling of the pads on my skin and found they removed all my make-up while absorbing the Micellar water I use each night. They all washed really well and the additional soap bags made me consider my other toiletry usage and look at where I could be more eco friendly.
So, will I go back to good old cotton wool?
Its a 100% no from me!!! Using bamboo pads is definitely the way forward – they work great and fit in to my busy life really well. And best of all – no waste and no guilt!
Want to try this fab kit for yourself? The I&G Eco natural make up remover kit costs £12.99 and can be bought from Amazon here or directly via the I&G Eco website.
It’s time to start making a difference…
*I was gifted this product but all views stated are my own. For more information please see my disclaimer section.
I have wanted to buy a bar cart for our lounge for some time but was put off by the prices. Even a basic one from somewhere like West Elm or Oliver Bonas was over £150 and I just couldn’t justify that kind of cost for what is really quite a frivolous item. I should also add I am 100% teetotal and have been for many years but that still doesn’t stop me wanting to make cocktails. It does however make me want to find a cost effective way to have a drink trolley in the house…
I couldn’t believe it when I was pottering in our local Emmaus charity furniture store and lent up against the wall I saw a 1960’s drinks trolley. It was a bit dirty and had onyx effect shelves which wouldn’t go with anything I own but it was a great size and had a fantastic gold coloured frame.
And the best bit? The man there sold it to me for just £5!!!
Once I got it home I started planning how I would upcycle it and decided a black version of the onyx effect shelves it had been designed with would look the best. The iconic Blue Peter staple – sticky back plastic (now rebranded as self adhesive film) – is an amazing way to change things as it is cheap, easy to use and comes in a huge variety of colours, patterns and sizes.
Firstly I cleaned the entire trolley making sure it was clear of dust or anything that would stop the film sticking. I then measured the surfaces I wanted to cover, loosely cut out the film I was going to use and then in stages adhered it to the flat surface working slowly and methodically. Every couple of inches I would use the scraper to make sure there were no air bubbles and the film was nice and flat.
Once the whole surface was covered I used a Stanley knife to cut into the carts metal edges and carefully removed the excess film. Top Tip: If you do get the odd air bubble take a pin and make a tiny hole in it. Then go over it again with the scraper. It will then disappear.
Once the top was done I repeated the process all over again to cover the bottom section.
A quick wipe down and a final hard scrape of the film to make sure it was well and truly stuck and I had finished my weekend project! And here is the finished item – I have styled it with a mix of 1960’s vintage and some new items and with the stylised mid century trolley design it makes for a great retro vibe…
Over the last 6 weeks I have been trying out a new luxury range from fantastic skincare experts Skin Chemists. I have tried quite a few products from this brand over the years and am always impressed with the results. As a brand their products are priced in line with many high end beauty ranges but with Skin Chemists you also get a mix of unconventional ideas developed via the company’s research centres in the UK and US that go beyond ordinary skincare to combat and control skin ageing.
This range is all based around one of the most luxurious things you can think of…caviar! Now, like many of the Skin Chemist ranges Caviar isn’t the first thing I think of when you say ‘great skin’ but over the years I have tried their snail serum and bee venom ranges so Caviar feels positively normal to put on my skin!
The Caviar skincare range is made of a large range of different items all working together. I used the anti-aging day moisturiser, facial serum and eye serum together as a trio morning and night as part of my normal routine. I used the facial serum, day moisturiser and eye serum in the morning and facial and eye serum before bed each day.
As always the range is presented in a set of lovely stylish packaging, both the boxes (so great to give as a gift) and the product containers – I do like them to look nice on my bathroom shelf! These three items are currently on offer for £19.99 each making them really affordable too.
Caviar extract is a highly nutritious marine extract, which aims to improve the appearance of the firmness of the skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines when mixed with other key ingredients this creates a range that aims to plump up the skin to smooth the look of fine lines and wrinkles and to make it look brighter, healthier and more radiant. BUT the real question is – does it actually work?
First up is the Anti-Ageing Caviar Facial Serum which aims to hydrate, balance and improve overall skin’s complexion. Because Caviar contains a large mix of vitamins and minerals it is an exceptional moisturiser – you massage it onto the skin twice a day after cleansing and toning and then finish off with a moisturiser (I used the Caviar day moisturiser) . Like many Skin Chemists products the serum has a slightly medicinal smell to it but goes on very smoothly and a little goes a long way. I noticed quite quickly my skin looked healthier and more radiant and after about a month plumper too. Some fine lines around my eyes appeared to fade slightly and its velvety texture left a very nice feeling on my skin.
Next I used the Anti-Ageing Caviar Day Moisturiser which aims to mattify, smooth and brighten your skin and also protects from free radical damage (when Oxygen atoms in the body try and pair causing damage to cells, protein and DNA causing premature aging). A lightweight day moisturiser, I liked it didn’t make my skin feel sticky and after two weeks or so I saw a definite balancing of my uneven skin tone on my cheeks. I would then add my foundation on top to create a slightly dewy finish.
The final step to my routine was a small dab of the Anti-Ageing Caviar Eye Serum under my eyes concentrating in the small feathery lines at my eye edge. A great little product, this felt really hydrating and after 6 weeks of use I felt it had lifted and brightened the skin around my eyes. Its consistency is jelly-like and it absorbs into your skin without any residue – it really works and is a great finisher to this three step routine.
The ranges key active ingredients are –
1) Caviar Extract: A highly nutritious marine extract, its aim to improve the appearance of the firmness of the skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines.
2) Aloe Vera: which works to soothe and moisturise the skin.
3) Seaweed Extract: which aims to deeply hydrate the skin as well as having anti-oxidising properties.
Obviously this is something to bear in mind for any allergies but there were no issues of any kind for me. I really liked these products and they definitely made a difference to my skin over a 6 week period. They felt luxurious but still effective and at 46 I need products that are more than just pretty packaging – that is one of the things I really love about Skin Chemists. I will definitely continue to use them as part of my skincare routine.
Creating globally celebrated formulations that go beyond ordinary skincare to combat and control skin ageing at its source is key to Skin Chemists success. These products work, make you feel good and last a long time – all key for me as a consumer.
Want to try them yourself? All three items featured in this blog as currently on offer for just £19.99 each. Find the full caviar range here.
*I was gifted this product but all views stated are my own. For more information please see my disclaimer section.
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