Tuesday, 31 July 2012

July Favourites

'The Adultery Club' by Tess Stimson
I first read this book years ago when I borrowed it from a friend. I remembered it later and fancied repurchasing it but couldn't remember the name. I came across it recently whilst browsing Amazon and was really pleased!
It's about an affair and is told from the points of view of the husband, the wife and the mistress in turn. This means there is a teeny bit of repetition but it's a great idea to give each character's perspective and the author has written each character's view in their own individual style, which makes it easy to follow - you never forget which character you're reading.
You could argue that affair plotlines have been done to death as but this doesn't feel cliched at all, it kept me gripped all the way until the end.
You can get it from Amazon and the Kindle edition is currently only 74p!

Rituals body products - Sakura Sugar Scrub & Magic Touch moisturiser
These were a free gift with a magazine subscription, I reviewed them here. Absolutely gorgeous, luxurious products which I am trying not to use up too quickly!

Rituals Daily Rose mild deodorant
It may not be cool to rave about a deodorant but I don't care. This stuff is great. I had seen it mentioned by beauty bloggers previously and fancied trying it, after loving the body products above I decided to buy it. It is aluminium chlorohydrate free and contains Indian rose and sweet almond oil to nourish the skin. It smells beautiful, no fake synthetic smells here! It's not cheap at £7.90 (for a 75ml cream stick) from rituals.com but during the sticky weather of the last couple of weeks it has been a pleasure to use. Not something I've ever said about a deodorant before!

Tiffany & Co sunglasses
I have been promising myself a decent pair of designer sunglasses for as long as I can remember. I've spent years making do with cheap ones, the latest pair from River Island two summers ago. Not that there's anything wrong with that - I've always had something more important to spend my money on to be honest and I hate shopping for sunglasses, I really struggle to find a style that suits me and always come away disappointed and feeling crap about myself. I dragged my long suffering best friend to Harvey Nichols last month with the instructions not to let me leave empty handed and we came up with these beauties. They may be criminally expensive at £195 (eeek!) but they were a one-off special treat and I love them.

Body Shop Honey & Beeswax Hand and Foot Butter
I got this during a recent Body Shop visit, I only went in for a new foot file but I ended up purchasing a foot soak, shower gel and this too! I wanted a foot butter but not peppermint scented, I use foot butters before bed and I find that peppermint foot products are a bit too zingy for late night use!
This is from the Body Shop's Spa Wisdom range and can be used for hands and feet but I've mostly been using it as a hand cream. Full review here

L'Oreal Professionnel Serie Expert Pure Resource Shampoo
I have been searching for the right shampoo for a LONG time. Years in fact. Finding a shampoo that addresses all of my scalp concerns (oily, itchy, flakes) has been like a pilgrimage and I was beginning to think I was looking for something that didn't exist. I must have tried nearly every brand out there so I was over the moon when I discovered this one. It has done wonders for my scalp and it's thankfully less expensive than most I have tried. If you have oily hair, have a look at my full (rave) review here.

So there we are, my July favourites! Is there anything here you fancy trying out for yourself?

Monday, 30 July 2012

L'Oreal Serie Expert Pure Resource Shampoo

So it's not a pleasant thing to share but I have to tell you, I have had problems with my scalp since my teenage years. I've inherited an oily scalp (thanks Dad) which is also itchy and produces flakes when scratched. I hadn't realised this until about four years ago because up until then I'd washed my hair religiously every day. I used to wash and dry it every morning before work, even when it was waist length and layered and it took me over an hour to dry it. About six years ago this got too much and I went to my hairdresser and begged her to chop it off. She did as I asked and cut me a beautiful Victoria Beckham-esque inverted bob - bang on trend back then. I spent the next few years growing it back.

About four years ago I embarked on a course of acne medication that dried up all sebum production in my entire body and made my hair, well, a dream to be honest. I remember leaving it eight days between washes and I only washed it on day eight because, well, it just felt weird not to have washed my hair for so long! It still smelled of shampoo, I couldn't believe it. Before the medication I hadn't even been able to wash it on an evening as my scalp would produce so much oil overnight it would need washing again in the morning. Ah those were the days. That medication had some nasty side effects but I loved what it did for my hair!

When I finished the course of medication my scalp gradually got oilier again. The absolute best case scenario was washing it every second night - a big improvement I suppose but on the second day I relied on dry shampoo and a mandatory updo as it was looking greasy and had that charming trademark aroma (nice)

A side effect of washing every other day is that the sebum on my scalp which I'd previously been washing away was now sitting there for longer and causing my scalp to itch. Uncontrollably. Like that woman on the Head and Shoulders ad who pops under the table during dinner to scratch her head. The combination of itching and the oiliness was making me miserable but by now my hair was waist length again and I wasn't prepared to go back to daily washing and drying. I resigned myself to feeling grubby and I organised my diary around clean hair days.

So began my quest for the perfect shampoo. One that would control my oiliness and solve the itching and flakes. I tried all manner of recommendations, most of these involved specialist shampoos from expensive brands. Kerastase, Philip Kingsley, Redken, Kevin Murphy, Joico, Aveda ... none of these could help me. I tried T Gel and Eucerin and even some pharmacist-recommended coal tar stuff which smelled like creosote and made my hands sting for days. I was at my wits end. The difficulty is that itching and flakes are associated with dryness so most shampoos that address these concerns are intensely moisturising - exactly what I didn't need!

I worked out an elaborate routine involving four to five different shampoos on rotation, it wasn't perfect but it was the best I'd managed. Until I found this shampoo.

I'd been working my way through Feel Unique's shampoo selection, each time my hopes were raised when the description sounded perfect but the product ultimately failed to deliver. When I ordered this one I tried not to get my hopes up ... yes it promised everything I wanted but I fully expected it to be another expensive mistake.

First impressions were good. Something that is see through can't irritate my scalp surely? The words 'pure' and 'professionnel' on the bottle also gave me confidence (I'm shallow) It lathered well, even on the first wash, something sadly lacking in other shampoos I'd tried. I don't know about you but I don't feel a shampoo is doing its job if there aren't many bubbles. It smelled fresh, not overly scented and no synthetic or chemical smell. All good so far. It rinsed out well and left no residue.

Whilst wet my hair was easy to comb out (I conditioned as usual) and it dried nicely, no knotting. I sat and waited to see if my head would start to itch. No. Great!

The next day my hair was soft and showed no sign of oil. On day two I waited for the itching and the smell but .... nothing! There were some small signs that it could do with a wash but I was even able to leave the dry shampoo out of my routine. I washed that night and decided to try three days before my next wash.

On day three there were definite signs of oil - I needed dry shampoo. But this was a huge improvement, I'd got an extra day! No itching! I won't lie, I was over the moon. I'm now able to have my hair down on day two and sometimes I go three days between washes (if I'm working from home on day three!)

I cannot praise this shampoo highly enough - it absolutely delivers on all its promises. The difference it has made to my scalp is incredible. Honestly, it used to be so itchy it would drive me to distraction. No more!

If you suffer from any of the above problems I strongly recommend you try this shampoo, I don't believe you will be disappointed. And at £8.10 (for 250ml) from Feel Unique it's half the price of some of it's inferior counterparts. I have already repurchased (you can see I'm more than halfway through!) and will continue to do so.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Rachael Reviews - Rituals body products

I've subscribed to a couple of magazines lately as there have been some great subscription offers about - six issues for £9.99? Bargain! But the best thing about subscribing to a magazine is always the free gift you get, right?

This particular gift was courtesy of Red magazine. They change their gift pretty regularly, in fact I only subscribed last month and they've already moved on to something new.

I've never tried Rituals products before so I was keen to give these a go. The gift also included a 'Shower Scrub' which I gave away as I can't see myself using it. I like to scrub in the bath rather than the shower, I wash my hair when I shower so I like to keep it quick as my hair takes up a lot of time!

As soon as I opened the package a great waft of fragrance hit me! I expected it to be overwhelmingly cherry scented but it's not - it's more of a creamy, comforting smell with a hint of sweet cherry in there. The packaging is exactly what I would expect of a high end brand, it looks luxurious and you really feel like you are treating yourself. I was already looking forward to my bath that evening!

Rituals Sakura Scrub in Organic Rice Milk & Cherry Blossom
I was a bit underwhelmed by the scrub when I opened the pot. Compared to my usual scrub (Soap & Glory's 'Flake Away') it seemed very loose and grainy - not much oily stuff to hold it all together with. You have to be careful not to lose bits as you scoop it out, if you know what I mean. But once on your skin it kind of melts a little, you can see and feel the oil and some of the grains seem to disintegrate as you scrub away. This is the first time I've used a sugar scrub and I was really impressed with it. It left my skin tingling a little - sore would be overstating it but I definitely knew I'd had a good exfoliation, in a really pleasant way. And the evidence was in the bath afterwards for all to see!

Rituals Magic Touch in Organic Cherry & Rice Milk
The body cream was equally as impressive, it went on like a dream and I noticed as I was rubbing it in how soft my skin was after the scrub, espcially my elbows! It's not a heavy cream, it has a velvety texture but you can tell it's super nourishing. It's not sticky and doesn't take ages to sink in or leave a residue, it just makes your skin noticeably soft and gorgeous smelling! I can see why it's called Magic Touch.

The next day I could still feel and smell the effects of my little pamper session! My skin stayed lovely and soft even after my next shower when I didn't use the products - impressive!

These items are fairly expensive at £14.50 for the scrub (200g) and £14.90 for the body cream (200g) but I'm pretty sure I will be repurchasing them because this is the best scrub I've ever used. I suppose I could just use the scrub with another moisturiser but I don't like mixing scents. Giving them away with a magazine subscription was a great idea on Rituals' part as I would probably never have purchased these without trying them first.

Rituals products are available from www.rituals.com or selected stores such as John Lewis

Friday, 27 July 2012

This Week I've Mostly Been ....

Enjoying the beautiful weather

Hasn't it been gorgeous this week? Super hot and sunny, it's about time the weather gods smiled on us for a change!

Working hard for my week off

I like to try to get my workload up to date before having time off to avoid any nasty surprises whilst I'm away

Sadly my BlackBerry will still be on next week but I will be ignoring it at will

Getting excited about house renovations

My new kitchen was plastered earlier this week, eeee! So exciting, it's really starting to look like a proper house now rather than a building site

By tomorrow the kitchen will have a tiled floor too, I can barely contain myself! I'll be spending this weekend getting the first coat of paint on the walls and giving the windows their final coat outside. Dull but necessary.

Enjoying a bath before bed

I love a nice relaxing bath, it really helps me wind down before bed.

It's even better when you have luxurious bath goodies to use and I'm loving my new Rituals products (review here)

Wondering how much more tame this chick will get

I had a little sit in the garden the other night (in my camping chair!) and it just popped up on to the arm next to me! Just look at those feathery feet, aren't they cute?

Lusting after the new Cath Kidston collection

Look at these little salt and pepper shakers - I MUST have them!

Cath Kidston Stanley Salt and Pepper Shakers £16

That's it, my week in pictures! Instagram is brilliant for this. What have you mostly been doing this week?

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

A Walk In The Sun

We've had some gorgeous weather this week, it's made such a lovely change to be able to take the dogs out without fear of being rained on!

The heat does mean we've had to go out later in the day to avoid overheated dogs but even that is a novelty. The sun on your shoulders can't fail to make you happy can it? Especially when it's late in the day and it's not so fierce, just pleasantly warming.

I took some photos of the dogs enjoying the sun yesterday, they got tired pretty quickly due to the heat but they had a whale of a time!

Can you believe this was taken at nearly 9pm?

Cut hay is fun to play in!

We had a great time and I'm looking forward to lots more late night walks - let's hope summer is here to stay. And we all slept well afterwards!

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Being Happy

The aim of this blog is to celebrate the little things in life because they are often the things that make us happiest.

This evening I sat in my garden with a cup of tea and a pile of magazines, my dogs at my feet, watching the chickens go about their busy little lives. The chicks were climbing on the logheap and jumping in and out of plant pots. The birds were singing, the sun was shining and there was a bolognese in the slow cooker for supper.

None of these little things are groundbreaking but put them all together and you get the happiest evening of the week. Certainly happier than Friday evening, which was spent painting my new office windows until midnight!

This made me think of a video I saw last week on a blog I am a huge fan of - Sprinkle of Glitter (see Blogs I Love on the left hand sidebar). I love this blog because the author Louise is wonderfully funny, frank and makes excellent videos. Though her videos are usually beauty and lifestyle based, her last video was entitled 'Being Happy'. Louise radiates happiness and positivity in every video and post, so understandably her viewers were keen to know how she manages to be such a happy bunny so much of the time. Hence the video, which addresses the need to let go of anger and sadness and focus on the positives - including the little things in life - to remind yourself how much you have to be happy about.

Watch this video and be inspired!

And on that note, I'm about to enjoy a little thing that will make me extremely happy ....

I Love Lavender!

I'm not a big gardener but one thing I always have in the garden is lavender. Why? Because it's nigh on impossible to kill it, even for a notorious plant murderer like me! It requires little water and likes a sunny spot but I've grown it pretty much every-which-where.

It's pretty to look at, attracts bees and I know it's not to everyone's taste (my sister says it smells like old ladies!) but I LOVE the fragrance of lavender

Bees love it because the flowers have a high nectar content which apparently makes better honey

Lavender can be used in cooking and baking and lavender oil is often used in aromatherapy to aid relaxation and sleep. I have a Lavender Vanilla Yankee Candle that I burn in the bathroom or bedroom when I need to wind down

It also has disinfectant properties - it was used during world war 1 to wash down hospital walls and floors. These days it's more likely to be diluted and used on cuts and stings.

I like to have jugs of it in the house because I like the look of it. You can actually get specific lavender jugs ,so I can't be the only one who does this!

If you decide to plant yourself some lavender, go for English lavender and be sure to give it a good trim back (to 1/3 of its size) every late August/early September to prevent it getting woody and out of control.

Go forth and spread the lavender love!

Saturday, 21 July 2012

SpaceNK Sale Haul

I placed a sneaky little SpaceNK order this week as it was my sister's birthday and I wanted to get her some Shu Uemura eyelash curlers. But you know how it is ... they have a sale on, you see some bits that look cheap ....

Shu Uemura Eyelash Curlers
As I mentioned, these are a gift for my sister. I have some and I love them, I wanted some for ages before I finally splurged - £20 just seemed a lot of money when you see them so much cheaper in Boots! But they have won so many awards and get such great reviews I just had to try them. My sister always makes the most of her lashes, she uses an undercoat as well as mascara, so I think she'll love them

Laura Mercier Creme Brulee Candle
I'm a sucker for sweet-scented candles and this one was half price (RRP £35.00) so I had to have it. It smelled edible as soon as I opened the box. It's now burning on my desk, the scent is not strong (compared to my usual Yankee Candles) but this is a fairly small candle and so sweet, too strong would be really sickly

Eve Lom Creme Universelle
This is for extremely dry skin such as elbows, knees, dry patches etc. I thought it might be good for the dry patches I tend to get between my fingers. It says it can double up as a massage cream but I can't imagine it to be honest. It's very thick and sticky - like a more extreme version of Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream. You'd feel as though you'd been rolled in treacle! I don't know why brands insist on calling this consistency 'cream' when it's clearly not creamy at all. It's not exactly what I was hoping for but as it was only £6.50 (RRP £25.00!) I'm not too upset!

SpaceNK Eyeshadow Brush
I've been promising myself a new bleanding brush for a while now and remember reading in a Sali Hughes column that she recommends SpaceNK brushes. This was £7.00, reduced from £20.00 so I thought I'd give it a try.

Have you noticed that the only thing I actually wanted and intended to buy was the only thing that wasn't in the sale? Typical!

Friday, 20 July 2012

This Week I've Mostly Been ....

... rediscovering old favourites.

This week saw me make my first trip to the office after six weeks of working from home due to an Achilles injury. I can't tell you how great it was to get out in my car again. I'd forgotten how much I enjoy driving! The fact that the sun was shining made a big difference I think, I love setting out on a long journey on a lovely morning.

During long drives I like to put my iPhone on shuffle and see what comes on. I drive a lot for work and sometimes it's the only thing that stops me from falling asleep!

Days like this require a good singalong!

Usually I skip through and don't listen to whole songs but for some reason this time it played brillliant old song after brilliant old song - I had a smile a mile wide by the time I got to the motorway! Hearing old favourites that I wouldn't necessarily have gone looking for took me on a real trip down memory lane - it was so much fun and made another little memory that I'll hold on to for a while.

It also made me want to listen to some of these old albums and I'm actually really excited to work my way through them.

Here is a sample of some of the songs that came up and what they brought to mind for me

Stereophonics - Vegas Two Times from Just Enough Education To Perform (2001)
What a great way to start the morning! I loved this album, my boyfriend at the time (we'll call him P) took me to see Stereophonics at Manchester MEN Arena when this album came out. It was my first live gig and something that I'll never forget

The Thrills - Santa Cruz (You're Not That Far) from So Much For The City (2003)
Another song that reminds me of P. We had a week's holiday in Aviemore, he drove us all the way there and back in his MINI and this was the new album of the time that we listened to all the way there. On the way home it was Pink Floyd - Dark Side Of The Moon. I have P to thank for my love of Pink Floyd

Turin Brakes - The Optimist from The Optimist LP (2001)
Another P song! I first heard this song on the way home from work one night on the Evening Session on Radio 1 (remember that?? No??) I bought the album and fell in love with it, I still love listening to it now and it hasn't aged a bit. I introduced P to Turin Brakes and he introduced me to Starsailor. A good deal all round.

Maximo Park - Books From Boxes from Our Earthly Pleasures (2007)
This was the first Maximo Park album I bought and I loved this song immediately. It reminds me of the journey from Milton Keynes back to Lincolnshire when I split up with another boyfriend (we'll call him L) and moved home. My little dog rode shotgun and my dad and stepmum were behind me in a hired Transit van full of my belongings, including a huge sofa!!

Doves - Pounding from The Last Broadcast (2002)
I loved this album. This reminds me of the time between my breaking up with L and actually moving back home - it took about 4 weeks to orchestrate the move as I had to organise transport for my belongings and pack up and move my office to a new location in Nottingham. It was a fraught time and L didn't even know what I was planning at first. Every Friday I would drive home to Lincolnshire for the weekend and this song was what I listened to.

Maximo Park - Going Missing from A Certain Trigger (2005)
Fast forward a few years, I discovered this album after Our Earthly Pleasures. By this time I had split with L and bought my house in Lincolnshire after a short spell lodging with my parents. I dabbled in internet dating and met a guy from Leeds (we'll call him J) who also loved Maximo Park. This reminds me of driving to Leeds on a Friday night in my MINI with the stereo blaring, windows down and foot down hard!

Muse - Time Is Running Out from H.A.A.R.P (2008)
I love Muse, P introduced me to their first album, Showbiz, years ago and it went from there. I remember buying this live album, which came with a fab DVD of the gig, and watching it on my new TV and cinema system at near enough full blast. I was mesmerised. My neighbour texted me to say he loved the album too!

Stereophonics - Not Up To You from Word Gets Around (1997)
I'm shocked at how old this album is! This was their first and I still think it's brilliant. If you've never heard it, do yourself a favour and buy it. It's an eye opener. Every song is a story. This one is about a man who is hit by a car on his way to work one morning and dies. It's basically asking what if one small thing had been different that day - would he still have been hit by that car?
'One more sip, a shoe amiss, a shaving nick, one extra kiss. Who's to know?' 
Which is quite profound really. This was my favourite album when I met P, I was living in a crummy shared house with a load of people I hated. I just used to shut myself in my room and listen to Stereophonics. I had Kelly Jones posters all over my walls.

Elbow - Buttons and Zips from  Cast of Thousands (2003)
Elbow are my absolute favourite band. In the world. Ever. This isn't a song that has any real memory for me and it's probably not a song I would have picked out to listen to. But if you have a MASSIVE GIRLIE CRUSH on Guy Garvey, like I do, then it's probably their sexiest song. Enough said.

Wow ... long post! That was a bit like writing a diary entry!

I challenge you to put your iPod on shuffle this weekend and remind yourself of some old favourites. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Monday, 16 July 2012

How Time Flies

I spent a bit of time in the garden during the short break in the rain last week, taking some photos of my little chicks. It dawned on me that they're not actually little chicks anymore, they are just the littlest chicks I have now!

These are a family of Pekin Bantams that one of my broody Pekin hens hatched for me. I bought the eggs off eBay, having tried unsuccessfully to break the hen of her broodiness. She was broody for almost three weeks prior to this, the full length of time it took another Pekin to hatch some Buff Orpington eggs. And she stayed broody despite the fact that she was in with all my other chickens. She refused to move out of the nesting box and they all just squashed in with her to lay their eggs, which she promptly rolled under herself. Amazing really as she is bottom of the pecking order and was severely bullied throughout - she just buried her head and ignored them.

Given this tenacity I thought she deserved some babies of her own. I had no more coop space as my Buffs had only just hatched so I made her a nesting box out of an archive storage box and popped her in the shed with her new eggs. She got straight to work and 22 days later ....

Hatching day - complete with empty shells and two eggs that didn't hatch

These were my first bantam chicks and I just can't believe how cute they have been. Pekins have feathered legs and these babies had downy legs from day one - the pale ones looked like they were wearing little pyjamas! Unlike my Buff chicks, which have been going through an 'ugly duckling phase' since around 3 weeks of age, these are just gorgeous.

I was wary of letting them out to free range as they were so tiny I was worried a cat might take them, so I waited until they were about five weeks old before letting Mama take them out and about

First outing - I kept the big hens in to prevent banty bullying!

And now they are 8 weeks old and still super cute! I'm trying to tame them, they will eat corn out of my hand and let me stroke them and pick them up (under protest!)

This little one has quite a sharp beak!

I am desperately hoping that there are some girls here as I'm not planning to keep any boys. I can't imagine having to lose any of them though, they are such sweeties!

I think this one on the right might be a little boy, sadly

They come running to me as soon as they see me and it's super cute - the other day I gave one half a cherry tomato, it ran away with it and all the others chased it in a line to try and steal the tomato! The only thing missing was the Benny Hill theme tune!

Cute feathered legs!

I am trying not to have a favourite - from experience this is a bad idea! But the little lemon one below is particularly curious, it tilts its head to one side to look at me and looks really comical!

Fingers crossed this one is a girl!

I've always thought chickens were great time wasters, I quite often pop out 'to check on them' and end up watching them for an hour! But having chicks is absolutely lethal, they are so cute as well as fascinating, it's amazing that I'm getting any work done at the minute!

The only problem is I don't want them to grow up!

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Giggle Of The Day

I saw this text exchange between a dog and owner  on Twitter and it made me giggle!

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Quote Of The Day

If you always do what you've always done
You'll always get what you've always got
This reminds me that if I want things to change then I have to begin by making a positive change myself. It's easy to want more from life, it's less easy to actually do something about it
I saw an episode of 'Undercover Boss' recently where a CEO said that 'We've always done it that way' is the biggest barrier to improvement that he came across.
I'm going to write this on my white board this week and look at it often to see if it inspires me!

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Rachael Reviews - This Works Perfect Heels

I have to confess that during the winter I tend to let myself go a bit. Not completely, I’m not talking about turning into a hobo for six months of the year. But I find it hard to bother to shave my legs regularly when no one is going to see them. I might not always moisturise my body, preferring to rely on bath oil to keep my skin from flaking off. You know what I mean. It’s easy to get a bit lazy when you’re swamped in multiple layers of warm clothing to keep the bitter British weather at bay.
The area most likely to suffer is my feet. Aside from filing and painting my nails, I tend to let my feet have the winter off. When they spend most of their time in multiple pairs of socks and variations on a boot theme, never seeing the light of day, I don’t see the point in buffing them to baby softness.
Usually by this time of year I’ve dragged them out of hibernation, dusted them off and brought them up to scratch, ready for sandal wearing weather. But as the Great British Summer has yet to begin, I’ve been a tad late with the routine this year. Which I hadn’t even realised until I needed to visit my physio a few weeks ago for treatment on an Achilles injury.
To say he looked taken aback when I unveiled my dry, calloused trotters is an understatement. I had just returned from a week long break which had involved a lot of walking – hence the injury – and bore the scars to prove it –even rougher, drier feet than usual post-winter and some serious callouses, including one with a blood blister. He also asked me why I hadn’t moisturised my legs. We’re pretty familiar with each other, he doesn’t hold back.
I left feeling pretty ashamed of myself and rushed home to rectify the situation. I hit the internet, found This Works Perfect Heels Rescue Balm and was impressed by the reviews. Less so by the price but this was an emergency. ‘Fast acting treatment to prettify feet on show’ read the description. YES! This was EXACTLY what I needed! ‘Effectively transforms badly cracked heels and dry skin into younger-looking feet’. Marvellous!

This Works Perfect Heels Rescue Balm 75ml, £15.00 from www.feelunique.com with free worldwide delivery

The balm arrived and I was disappointed by the size to be honest, I hadn’t realised that it was only 75ml. No matter. I soaked my feet, dried them, slathered the stuff on and tucked my feet into booties for the night. The balm is quite thick and waxy, I hoped this wouldn’t affect how well it absorbed. I have to say I was repelled by the smell, it’s truly awful and something I would expect from an over the counter chemist purchase rather than a high end beauty brand, especially one so beautifully packaged.
My feet were so dry and hard that I fully expected to need a week of sleeping in this balm before I saw any improvement. Wrong! The next morning I peeled back my booties to reveal noticeably softer feet. I hadn’t even buffed them first as I couldn’t find my trusty buffer.
I was very pleasantly surprised by this product, it was extremely effective and more than lived up to my expectations. The only downside is the strong smell – it really is vile, despite the fact that the product contains lemon and lavender, two of my favourite scents. But it does the job. So I will definitely be adding Perfect Heels Rescue Balm to my annual repertoire!

Rachael Reviews ... Disaster Designs Make Up Bag

I’ve been on the lookout for a small make up bag to tuck in my handbag for quite a while, six months actually, since I received one as a Christmas present from a well meaning relative and realised how useful it was despite being a fairly uninspiring design. Being a fan of large handbags I seem to spend a lot of time rooting around in the depths to find the exact lipgloss I want!
So I’ve spent the last six months tirelessly searching out a more beautiful specimen, whilst grimacing every time I open my handbag and trying to hide said atrocity from view of any unfortunate passerby.
I stumbled upon Disaster Designs and my prayers were answered. Their ‘With Love’ collection includes a gorgeous little leather-feel make up pouch which looks like a handwritten postcard with cute butterfly images and sweet little lace and button details.  The reverse carries the greeting ‘Hello Beautiful’, which never fails to make me smile. Who doesn’t love a bit of flattery?? Ideally sized at 18x14cm and with a butterfly tag on the zip closure, this is perfectly functional as well as pretty.

Disaster Designs 'With Love' Make Up Bag - rrp £14.95
Whilst browsing the ‘With Love’ collection I found another long term resident on my wishlist – a gorgeous wash bag for travelling. Echoing the design of the make up bag with its vintage postcard and butterfly design, the wash bag is larger at 24x17cm and includes an internal zip pocket to keep smaller items safe.

Disaster Designs 'With Love' Wash Bag - rrp £22.95

I purchased my items from www.campusgifts.co.uk as they currently have currently 15-50% off Disaster Designs. The other collections are equally cute, all with a retro, vintage feel, pretty designs and unique little details. Each collection includes make up bags, wash bags, handbags, overnight bags, purses, compact mirrors and more. So you can really go to town when you find the collection you like, or even mix and match!

Which is your favourite collection?

Monday, 9 July 2012

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