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Clarins Radiance-Plus Golden Glow Booster

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I have never been a massive fan of fake tan, in any form but especially for the face because I am so pale and freckly, I didn’t want to look too obviously tanned, because it just wouldn’t suit me. A natural glow however, to add a boost to my sometimes ‘blue’ skin is always something I’ve tried to get, normally with make up, although I’ve yet to find a traditional bronzer that isn’t too orange for me, so when I was sent the Radiance-Plus Golden Glow Booster from Clarins, I have to admit I was really nervous! It’s one thing going to heavy handed with make up, but another with something that stays on your face until it actually wears off!

The idea behind the glow is you add 2-3 drops to your night time moisturiser, apply as normal (making sure to wash your hands) and in the morning you wake up with a natural, made to measure golden glow. Applying it this way gives the self-tanner time to develop naturally and evenly meaning no patches or strange tide marks!

Radiance Plus can be mixed with all times of moisturisers, gel, serum, cream etc so you can continue to use your favourite product and get the results from it, as well as adding in a glow that is perfect for your skin. You just click the bottom of the tiny bottle to dispense three drops into your cream, mix them together and apply as you usually would. You continue with three drops each day until you’ve reached the glow level you’re happy with, then you move down to two drops each day to maintain that level.

Radiance-Plus costs £18 and is available from Clarins.

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Gap Years: A Wise Choice?

It can be very daunting deciding to set out on a trip across the world, especially when others around you are plowing through their university lives. Gap years are such a tantalizing concept for students and young adults alike that it’s strange that they’re not more popular than they already are.

Research conducted by foreign exchange company World First found that £995 million was spent on funding gap years by British parents last year. That’s an incredible amount of money and a total that is expected to increase over the coming years.

But are these trips worth it? Sure they’re great while you’re on them but if the trip puts you back five years on a career ladder, is it just short-term joy in exchange for long-term pain? Well not exactly.

In fact 88% of those who have gone on a gap year believe it has increased their employability and 66% said that it made them focus more on their academic work when they arrived back.

Travel broadens the mind but does it inhibit your aspirations? Take a look at the graphic below and decide for yourself.

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An infographic by World First
 
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For Him: New Mazorin

 

Mazorin launched their skincare range for men last summer with four core products and they’ve now added two new ones to their range for Spring 2014. Oakham’s Razor Shaving Cream and Wash Trade Face Scrub.

The shaving cream is a foamless texture which is designed to improve the glide and reduce razor friction, the active ingredients help skin to heal and prevent irritations and cuts and the rich formula leaves the face super soft and moisturised. My Man is a beard man now (love a man with a beard and tattoos) but he needs to regularly keep the edges neat and sharp, so this new cream has become his new favourite. He has quite sensitive skin, and some foams can dry his skin out, but this hasn’t irritated him at all.  The ingredients include Greater Plantain (aka soldiers herb) used to heal wounds on the battlefields, which also promotes skin cell renewal. RRP £12.50

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The scrub is just as good, containing bamboo and maracuja powder to exfoliate dead skin and unclog pores, it’s active ingredients help prevent blackheads and ingrown hairs and the gentle formulation leaves skin hydrated and deep cleansed. The main ingredient is white willow extract, which is antibacterial, astringent and has anti oxidant properties. Malachite rich in copper and high in antiseptic to keep the skin protected, and Salicylic Acid which prevents pimples and acne. RRP £15

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They’re both dermatologically tested, with no parabens, mineral oils or synthetic colouring, which is why they are so perfect for sensitive skin.

Available from Yes Sir.

PR Sample.

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Framing your Instagram images with Inkifi

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Did I tell you I went to Paris last month? I didn’t? Are you sure….!?

Anyway. I did. And while I was there I took a million and one photos on my phone, which, were of course, uploaded to Instagram. Because I am addicted to Instagram, which I’m also sure you’ve noticed! So when I was given the chance to look at the Inkifi range of products I was all over it! Unlike some companies, they don’t just offer standard square prints, they print cards, posters, books and framed or unframed photos. I picked a framed print (in white) and decided to make a collage of my favourite photographs from Paris.

The site is really easy to use, and they also have an app. The hardest part for me was deciding how many images to include in my print (you can choose from 1, 4, 9 or 16 images) and which images to use! I would normally go for photos of the kids but I wanted something remember Paris with, that was special to me and the man.

The way the print turned out was fab, they emailed me a proof so I could check it over (this is an optional extra, you don’t need to do that) and I just made one tiny adjustment, moving the Eiffel Tower out from the centre and putting us in there, and it was good to go. The quality of the images is amazing, I’ve had some instagram prints that have looked grainy but these are perfect. I love the site, and I think next on my list of products will be the square prints and the greetings cards, the square prints will look perfect lined up on my photo shelf.

Inkifi offer free UK shipping and the delivery is quick! If you’re an Insta-Addict, this website could be dangerous!

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PR Sample

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Watching me, watching him.

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I was a very very lucky girl this for my birthday, amongst lots of presents, I got a gorgeous new Michael Kors, silver watch. I also own a chocolate brown one, but (first world problems I know) the face was so dark, and the hands were the same colour so it was practically impossible to tell the time on it! It also stopped working about 3 weeks before my birthday, so I was watch-less for ages, which is really annoying let me tell you! The amount of times I looked at my naked wrist to find out the time wasn’t even funny. I know, serious issues in the AG household during the month of March.

My MK watches are the only two I own. I mean, let’s face it, I don’t need to own more than one! I’m not the type of person who changes their jewellery daily, I wear my watch, bracelet and rings all day everyday. I occasionally add a necklace which will be big and bright, but the classic stuff stays on me all the time. The husband on the other hand is a serial watch addict, and would happily spend a bloody age looking at them. Let him visit The Watch Shop and that’s it, it’s like his drug. He will wander between Swatch to Swatch, Casio to G-Shock and he will be indecisive for days. We even managed to find ourselves inside a watch shop in Paris, because, you know, they’re different over there…!

Apparently I’m buying him a watch for his birthday, but I’m not. I will give him money and time to go and pick his own watch because I tell you, he’s worse than a woman when it comes to shopping and I’m not buying the wrong thing! They always say women will go back to the first shop they visited and buy the first thing they had seen, but my Husband will sometimes debate with himself for days over whether he bought the right thing. Days!

He’s always been a bit of a watch addict, I remember when we first got together, those and baseball caps were his ‘thing’. Could have been worse eh! The problem is, we differ SO much on style. I like classic, metal strapped watches, not too big but I do like them chunky, not dainty. He, on the other hand is off the wall crazy when it comes to his wrist wear. The bigger the face, the better. Almost always plastic straps, usually with the mechanics showing in the face and bright colours. We’ve been through yellow, blue, white, orange and I think the next one on his list is going to be a coloured one too. Which is why I would never in a million years be able to pick the right one for him!

If we were millionaires I would probably still stick with my Michael Kors watch, but I know the bloke would go for something like Breitling or TAG (which also happens to be his initials) and I’m pretty sure they don’t come in luminous plastic, so it’s strange that his taste changes the more expensive the watch gets! Although to be honest, he would probably be out buying a new one each month if we were that loaded, and I’d let him have all the time he liked to decide, because I’d be out buying new handbags! I always wonder which one of us GG would be shopping with because she is a watch person like her Dad, so I have a feeling I’d lose out there. Wonder if I could take The Boy handbag shopping without too many complaints?!

{SP}

 

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So, 2014…..

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You know when you have a post planned for, oh, say January, but then you lose track of all time and before you know it, it’s April and you’re wondering what the hell happened during the last four months!?

OK, so I know what happened, steroid injections going wrong, trips to Paris, hand operations, broken elbows, BAM, I’m now 33 and still trying to get organised!

The whole post was going to be around Self Improvement. Each year, I make this big list (mental or otherwise) of all the things I want to change about myself in the next New Year, then the following NYE rolls around and I haven’t completed any of them. It’s almost like setting yourself up for a fall. So, this year I decided to just make general improvements to my life, better health (not a weight loss goal!) more organised, more relaxed, more time to chiiiiiill and most importantly, self improvement. Through travel, experiences and study. I was given a challenge by Debt Free Direct, inspired by their #ImProving2014 campaign that they’ve been writing a lot about on their blog and was sent a whole load of goodies to make it happen.

It’s much easier to make gradual changes and see a difference at the end of the year, than expect something to change overnight. As much as I’d like to wake up 2 stone lighter and a million times fitter, it’s never going to happen. I am so very sick of trying to make these overnight changes and then being annoyed when they don’t happen! I know, I know, I’m an adult, I should know better, but I’m such an impatient adult.

So, my improvements were are going to be make time for yoga each day, try something new each month (not doing too badly) and to get my backside enrolled on a course I have been looking at for almost a year.

I have always loved yoga and pilates. I used to go weekly and always felt amazing after it, relaxed, stretched and clearer. Then, for whatever reasons, I stopped going. And once you stop going, you really don’t get back into it. I have been sent a voucher for a free yoga lesson thanks to Debt Free Direct, so once I’ve had the go ahead from my hand surgeon, I’ll be booking my appointment. I’ve also got a set of 3 DVD’s, my own yoga mat & yoga pants so I can actually do some yoga at home each morning. In an ideal world I would get up before the kids do, do my poses and get on with the day. But I don’t live in an ideal world. I live in a world where my daughter needs next to no sleep, gets up at silly o’clock every morning and is on full speed from the *second* she opens her eyes. Whereas I am a moody biatch for at least 20 minutes once I’ve woken up. Maybe I should add that to my list of SI’s, getting up 10 minutes earlier each day until I’m finally up before GG……

I am determined to make (what’s left of) this year count, by making time to be and making room to improve. I have enrolled on part one of my list of courses, all part of the master plan to graduate in psychosexual therapy (sex therapist) it’s going to take 5 years in total, and ideally, I should have started in my 20′s but I didn’t, but I have now. I cannot wait to get started, studying from home for the first year, then 4 years of part time study with Relate. Again, not rushing, not expecting something to happen overnight. Good things take time, things worth waiting for, take time.

So, all in all, the rest of the year is looking pretty good. If we could just add in some sunshine so I can study in the garden, and a few more magical travel experiences (Paris feels like so long ago, I miss it so much) a meal at the Shard, the hot air balloon trip with my Mum (eeek) I think I will have pretty much made 2014 all about my improvement.

Watch this space.

Om

 

(that’s going to be my new tattoo, the Om symbol. Perfect)

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Quiet in the back!

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OK, I admit, I like to do anything I possibly can to keep the kids quiet while they’re in the car. If we’re on a long journey, I want to be able to put the music on loud and enjoy the drive, and if they’re happy in the back then it makes it all a lot less painful.

We’ve done a few long journeys, France and Ireland spring to mind, but we’ve also been to Cornwall, Devon and Wales, and thankfully, it wasn’t too painful. We don’t do things like mini board games or anything like that; they’re good at travelling but not so good at travelling and getting on with each other at the same time! iPads, movies and music are always winners. Top tip though, two sets of headphones, two different movies because I can guarantee that they will NOT want to watch the same film!

I-Spy is always a hit. It’s helpful now The Boy can actually spell, because I tell you, trying to guess a word beginning with T when it’s actually R makes for a really long version of I-Spy…..

Colouring seems to be a good one, but I have no idea how they can do it, I struggle to read and reply to a few text messages when I’m in the car (as a passenger, obviously!) before I start feeling sick, so the thought of colouring, reading or writing is a big no no! They seem to love it though, and you know, anything to keep the little darlings quiet happy. And food. Food is always a good idea. A bit like feeding time at the zoo, if they’ve got something to munch on they’re happy.

Having enough space in the car always helps, I remember one year (pre kids) we all drove down to Cornwall on a bank holiday weekend, hoping to find a B&B when we got down there. Big mistake! We ended up sleeping in our cars one night. Thank god we got a larger car hire for travelling across the UK otherwise we would have been cramped up in the back of a 2 door! As long as kids feel like they have their own space, and there’s enough legroom for adults too, then you don’t feel like you’re on top of each other and need to escape, which is always helpful when you’re on a long journey!

I think we’re quite lucky really, we both enjoy driving, the kids enjoy being in the car, so road trips don’t feel like a chore, at least not to start with! I’m sure if we had a convertible or a massive monster truck they’d feel a lot more fun, but you can’t have it all can you!

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