Review: L’Oreal Paris Magic Retouch Instant Root Concealer Spray

I spend quite a bit each year on disguising my grey roots.  I always joke that I’ve no idea what my true hair colour is because nobody’s seen it for years!

When I was young, it was the lovely reddy gold colour that Ieuan has now but I actually think my real colour now is a dark brown, almost black with the odd grey.

A while ago I had the chance to try L’Oreal Paris Magic Retouch Instant Root Concealer Spray and I chose the brown shade to test. If I had to choose again, I’d select a colour that matches my hair dye rather than my natural hair colour for a better match.

root concealer spray - L'Oreal Paris Magic Retouch in brown

The product comes in a little spray can which promises enough contents for up to 30 applications. The product is also supposed to last until you wash it out.

The size of the can makes it ideal to slip into your makeup bag or handbag.

I got the husband to apply the spray for me down my centre parting (cue much shouting of “keep still”) and it took two good blasts of the spray to cover the roots.

The greys are also a lot less visible with just those couple of sprays.

As I’ve already mentioned, the only issue I have is that I chose the shade to match my roots but this does not blend in with my dyed hair.  I would have been better off selecting the dark blonde shade and plan to give this a try.

If the dark blonde shade gives as good a coverage as the brown one I tested then I think I could extend the time between salon colour appointments by a good couple of weeks.

My usual salon offers a root touch up service where your roots can be dyed literally down your centre parting and you have the choice of either paying for a wash and blow-dry or going home and washing it off yourself.

The charge for this is around the £10-£15 mark (the wash & blow-dry is extra of course) but you do have to find the time to get to the salon.  Not so easy with the kids in tow – and impossible now we’re still in Lockdown thanks to COVID-19!

This does, of course, hide all the roots and the greys but, aside from the expense, not everyone enjoys going to the hairdresser, do they?

The Magic Retouch Instant Root Concealer Spray, on the other hand, retails at £5.99 for 75 ml in Boots or on Amazon and comes in 5 shades – Light Blonde, Dark Blonde, Brown, Dark Brown and Black. You can also buy a 150 ml bottle – the XL version for around £9.30.

And, as you can see, it does a pretty respectable job with, if not total grey/root coverage, almost total.

If you want to eek out your salon colour and possibly save yourself some money into the bargain, I think this particular root concealer product is well worth a try.  Even if you don’t get quite the right shade the first time around, even buying a second can of Magic Retouch means you’re likely to be quids in on what your hair salon would charge.

That said, I’d still rate L’Oreal Paris Magic Retouch Instant Root Concealer Spray as an ’emergency’ product for those times when you want to look groomed and you just haven’t got the time or cash to go to the salon.

I’d certainly class Lockdown as an emergency scenario when it comes to hiding those grey hairs!

New Year Skincare Resolutions For Glowing Skin In 2019

Many of us decide that come the new year, we are going to do everything we can to be a better, healthier and happier person in the 12 months to follow.

The festive season leaves many of us with dull, dry complexions – the result of too much wine and too many mince pies.  That, coupled with a reduction in our usual exercise, late nights and the dehydrating effect of central heating, and our skins can look anything but dewy and fresh. That’s without taking into account the effect of stress on our skin – and who leads a completely stress-free life?

In this post, Dr Ejikeme, Medical Director at the Adonia Medical Clinic shares her 5 top resolutions for having glowing skin this year.

Dr Ejikeme is an NHS Medical Consultant and a highly experienced aesthetic medicine doctor with extensive global training in medicine and surgery.

Here is what she suggests:-


In order to get and maintain a nice healthy complexion, it is essential to re-hydrate constantly, with at least 2 litres of waters per day and by eating water-rich foods.

Your lighter face creams should be swapped in for richer night creams and oils to really keep your skin hydrated. You don’t have to spend a fortune.  I’ve tried loads of creams from Creme de la Mer to L’Oreal and, frankly, couldn’t see a difference in any of them.   What is important is that you apply it regularly and don’t forget to add a sunscreen if your chosen cream doesn’t already contain one.


By exfoliating regularly you encourage a more even fade compared to the natural exfoliation that happens over time, it also allows moisturisers and oils to reach deeper into the skin for better effects.

Exfoliate the skin 2 or more times a week for best results for removing dead skins and aiding circulation.


The motivation to exercise is often less in the winter months – however, it is essential. Movement enables lymphatic drainage and constant circulation which then enables the skin to be energised and glowing. Exercising 3-5 times a week will help maintain your overall health, as well as youthful, healthy skin.


The cooler months at the beginning of the year are more likely to encourage skin problems, such as eczema or dermatitis, to flare up it is important to avoid anything that worsens this.

Avoiding allergens and irritants such as chemical-laden detergents will help prevent these problems. Using moisturisers designed for your specific skin type will also improve skin quality.


Using lukewarm water instead of hot water to shower, bathe or wash your face will benefit your skin by preventing any essential oils and moisture being stripped from the skin.

Luckily there are plenty of excellent skincare products to suit every budget these days, as well as many great guides to skincare in your local bookstore.

[amazon_link asins=’0008375526,0241309107,B077YSLPTX,B00WHS8OAQ,B07PQSRXR6,B00E62G3AO,B000BFTAMS,1406318310,1782496580,0060722711′ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’mothedistr-21′ marketplace=’UK’ link_id=’fdecd5bd-d64b-487b-b9a0-ea4ff70f2989′]



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Summertime: How To Do Your Makeup In The Heat

So, ladies, we all know the nightmare of trying to put on a full face of makeup while you sweat in the heat, trying to find the coolest area in your house to apply everything.

Sometimes going bare is the only way, but what if you have something important coming up, or just want to make an effort when leaving the house?

Well luckily for you, there are some super easy tricks that you can do to help with this dilemma, while still looking hot (literally…)


You don’t need to go overboard on the eyes, especially if it’s sunny out because you will most likely be wearing sunglasses anyway! So just give your lashes a curl and apply a good coating of mascara. That’s really all you need, but if you feel your eyes are still looking pretty small, you can either stick some false lashes on to open them up a little bit more and add that hint of drama. Or you can create a little wing with eyeliner to alter the shape of your eye.

If you do go with the lashes, make sure you have a decent glue that holds strong throughout the heat and sweat.

If you suffer from hooded eyelids, then you may want to incorporate some eyeshadow, but merely for illusion purposes. A great trick that you can do is take a shade slightly darker than your own (how you would when contouring), and create a crease above your usual one. This will give the illusion of having wider eyes, even with hooded eyelids and no one will be able to tell.


Products like Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Lip Protectant Stick will give a sheer berry colour with an SPF15 too. You’ll be able to add a subtle pop of colour to your lips, without having to worry about a hard colour bleeding. (See also my review of Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream All-Over Miracle Oil – a multi-purpose product you’ll love).

There is an alternative though if you like to stand out. Line your lips first (to hold everything where it should be.) Take your favourite red lipstick, or whatever colour you prefer, and apply it as you normally would. Then take some loose translucent powder and lightly pat it over your lips with a finger. Not only will this turn your lipstick into a delicious matte one, but it will also work as a great shield to keep it lasting throughout the day, no matter how hard the sun is blazing down.  I’m a huge fan of Charlotte Tilbury lipsticks and lipliners, or there are famous MAC red lippies such as MAC Ruby Woo or Russian Red.


Skin Care

Before you do anything, you first need to make sure your skin is clean and hydrated. So wash your face well to ensure you get rid of any dirt and sweat-clogged up in your pores and then apply a moisturiser containing at least a SPF 15.  If it does not, add a sunscreen on top and don’t forget neck, ears and decolletage.  You need to protect your skins from the harmful UV rays.  Don’t forget a good pair of sunglasses and even a sunhat either.

If you want the key to getting flawless skin throughout your lifetime – then apply sunscreen every single day for the rest of your life. Even in the wintertime when it’s dull, rainy and cold.

Believe it or not, you are exposed to damaging UV rays through things like your computer screen and lights in your home, and those will eventually take their toll on your skin in the future – so don’t be a victim of this!

For everything you need to know about skincare, check out Caroline Hirons great guide – Skincare: The Ultimate No-Nonsense Guide.


If you’re used to using a full coverage foundation such as Estee Lauder’s Double Wear (a longtime favourite of mine), then it may be a bit of a shock switching it up, so if you feel you really need something as heavy-duty as that – maybe you suffer from acne scars or hyperpigmentation – stick with what you have.

Otherwise, switch out the regular foundation for something a lot lighter, like a BB cream. These are great because they still blur your face with your required shade, but lets your skin breathe a lot easier.


Once you’ve done all of this, instead of going all out with the contouring and sculpting, use a little bronzer instead to contour the areas like your nose, cheekbones and around your face and forehead. This will still do the job you want it to do while adding a beautiful sunkissed look. Follow that with a light dust of blush on the apples of your cheeks, and finish that with a golden sparkly highlighter on the highest points of your face, and you’re good to go!

Quick Tips To Spring Clean Your Beauty Routine

As the days get longer and the weather improves, we all feel that little bit brighter and more inspired to take care of ourselves – and what better time to spring clean your beauty routine?

My own routine is, I have to confess, quite haphazard and it needs to improve because, at almost 55, my skin definitely needs more love and care than it used to.

But there are things everyone can quite easily do to make the most of your products, your time and your precious cash!

Spring clean your beauty routine

Check the expiry dates on your bath and beauty products

Almost every bath or beauty product you own will have a Period After Opening date.  The PAO symbol looks like an open jar with a number inside.

This number tells you how many months your products will remain at peak efficacy after opening the product.

If you’re unsure, check the smell and look of the product – especially with eye products like mascaras.

It’s only natural to hoard our expensive beauty products, but you don’t want to risk skin breakouts or, worse still, a nasty eye infection.

A useful tip is to put a little sticker on the base of the product so you can remember when you opened them.

Cosmetic Period After Opening Symbol - Cosmetics Europe - Beauty -
Throw out after 12 months!

Throw out all those samples you’ve kept from magazines and will never use

I have loads of these and I never get round to using them? If you have a teenage daughter, a fun thing to do is to save them up and put them in a toiletry/gift bag as a little present. Otherwise into the bin they go!

Check your skin’s condition

I still have products suitable for oily/spotty skin.  Those days are long gone and lots of the oily skin products are much too harsh for dry, mature skin.

Are you using products better suited to how your skin was five or even ten years ago?

If you don’t know what skin type you have, why not book in for a free skin consultation? Lots of the top brands will happily offer this service if you visit your local department store beauty hall or branch of Boots.

Angry spotty skin may benefit from a trip to the GP as your skin problems may have more to do with your hormones than your diet or beauty routine.

Buy the products which suit your skin today

Once you know what your skin type is, you can refresh your skincare products accordingly. You might want to try some of the new formulations – for example, one of the new oil-based products or an anti-ageing serum.

In my experience, simpler is best and there are plenty of organic and vegan-friendly products out there to try.  I also avoid brands who test their products on animals.  There really is no need in the 21st century, is there?

Do the things you know will help your skin

We know what we need to do, don’t we?  Most of the time life gets in the way but we really owe it to ourselves to at least try.

I’m talking about:-

– drinking 2 litres of water a day
getting 8 hours sleep a night
– getting at least 20 minutes sunshine each day to help our bodies make Vitamin D
– having at least 2 alcohol-free days every week
– not mainlining on sugar, caffeine or unhealthy saturated fats.

Wash your makeup brushes

These can be a prime breeding ground for bacteria so make sure you wash them regularly.  Use a mild shampoo and lukewarm water to ensure that all makeup build-up is washed away, leaving you with a fresh, clean brush.

While you’re at it, wipe down your storage containers and give your makeup bag a good deep clean.

Check your SPF

Dermatologists and anti-ageing experts recommend that we wear a broad spectrum SPF every day.  Are you wearing yours?  Most moisturisers now contain an SPF of 15 but this may not be enough.

Switch to a lighter weight facial moisturiser

Now that it’s getting warmer and the humidity is rising, you won’t need to add so much moisture to your skin.  Time to retire the heavy creams for lighter lotions or the new whipped formulations – but don’t forget the SPF!

Check your hairbrush

Our hairbrushes have to withstand some pretty rough treatment, don’t they?  If the bristles are worn or broken, it might be time for a new brush. You should also consider your hair type when buying a brush. Experts say that curly hair does best with a wide-toothed comb, while thick, straight hair does best with a paddle brush.

Audit your beauty products

If you’re like me you might find you always buy the same colour or shade but how many red or nude lipsticks do you really need?

Take some time to flick through the beauty magazines or visit your favourite websites to plan your spring/summer look and see what gaps you might need to fill.

Don’t forget to check voucher and discount shopping sites like and retailers like Feel Unique often have discount codes to save you a little cash.

Do you spring clean your beauty routine?

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Review: e’lifexir Natural Beauty Body Creams

I’ve discovered some great body products lately – most recently the e’lifexir natural beauty range of natural body creams, designed to sort out any body dilemma you can think of.

The e’lifexir natural beauty range certainly has some great green credentials.  The products are Ecocert Natural Cosmetic certified, Vegan and created from natural and organic plant and fruit extracts.

e'lifexir range of natural body creams - 7 creams to be won

Made with more than 99% natural ingredients, all the products in the e’lifexir range of natural body creams have been dermatologically tested, are suitable for all skin types and are hypoallergenic.

There are NO parabens, acrylates, colourants, petrolatum, mineral oils, paraffin, silicones, PEGs, sulphates or artificial fragrances.

natural body creams- e'lifexir Push-up Breast Toning & Firming Cream

The range comprises 7 products each targeting specific parts of the body:

  • Push-Up Buttocks Sculpting Gel to shape, smooth and firm
  • Push-Up Breast Toning & Firming Cream
  • Fitness Body Contouring Gel
  • Actidren Revitalising Leg Gel to relax and refresh
  • Bodylift Anti-cellulite & Lifting Cream
  • Anti-Stretch Marks Repairing & Preventing Cream
  • Flat Tummy Reducing & Firming Cream

I was sent the e’lifexir Flat Tummy Reducing & Firming Cream to try.  It’s designed to reduce localised fat deposits and I can report that after a month’s use, my tummy is certainly smoother and a little flatter.

natural body creams - e'lifexir Flat Tummy Cream

Obviously, no cream is going to remove the ‘mum tum’ altogether, but I found the act of regularly massaging in the cream in a clockwise direction twice a day was an easy ritual to shoehorn into a busy parent’s schedule and also incredibly relaxing.

This particular cream contains caffeine, phospholipids and Centella Asiatica leaf extract.  It’s hypoallergenic and 99.6% of its ingredients are from natural origin.

Caffeine helps tighten the skin for a more sculpted looking waistline, whilst Centella Asiatica leaf extract helps to increase the firmness and elasticity of the skin.

There’s lemon, cherry and orange water, full of vitamin C, protect and soften the skin while olive oil helps reduce the signs of ageing thanks to its restructuring properties.

The cream is quickly absorbed without any residual stickiness and has a pleasant, slightly citrussy fragrance.

The creams are all available at Amazon and Holland & Barrett RRP £15.99 for 150ml and will be coming to other major retailers soon.

natural body creams - e'lifexir Bodylift cream



Review: Eye & Lip Power From Fitzjohn Skin Care

As your skin matures, and particularly around the time of the menopause, you find yourself constantly searching for that one eye cream that will halt the progress of those annoying fine lines (does nobody say crows’ feet anymore?).  And, as a long-term glasses wearer, I’ve often suspected that we are more prone to sun-related skin damage due to the concentration of the sun’s rays through our lenses.

More than any other product, I think a decent eye cream is the Holy Grail of lots of mature women’s skincare routines.  And I’ve tried quite a few.

Fitzjohn Skin Care - Eye & Lip Power

Eye & Lip Power from Fitzjohn Skin Care

Let’s be honest here.  The only thing that truly removes lines and wrinkles is botox or even more invasive surgery and that really isn’t for me.

But if you can find a great cream that moisturises and hydrates over a decent number of hours, that isn’t too fragranced or heavy and doesn’t come with a hefty price tag then you’re on to a winner.

It goes without saying, too, that you don’t want a product chock full of chemical nasties nor one that is tested on animals.  It’s 2018 for heaven’s sake, surely there’s no excuse for animal testing.

I was recently sent Eye & Lip Power from Fitzjohn Skin Care.  They’re a British brand whose products contain award-winning formulations using high quality, nutrient-rich botanicals, the latest plant ingredients and essential oils.

Fitzjohn Skin Care - Eye & Lip Power container with lid off

Their ingredients are ethically sourced, many of them organic and, they say, “free from slaughterhouse derivatives, petroleum, synthetic fragrances, silicones, plastic microbeads, parabens and animal testing” – practically every skincare nasty you can think of.

The range encompasses treatment products, like Eye & Lip Power, daily essentials like their Luxury Hydrating Facial Moisturiser and hand and body care, with products like Golden Body Oil and Decadent Body Butter Cream.

The packaging is divine.  Gold containers inscribed with white and purple make the products stand out on your dressing table. I find lots of the premium-priced skincare products have a clinical feel when it comes to packaging and it’s nice to be able to add a little glamour to your dressing table or bathroom shelf.

Fitzjohn Skin Care - the entire range

The product I was sent to try, Eye & Lip Power is designed to keep the eye and lip contours soft, hydrated and smooth.  It contains Lupine Peptides (for anti-ageing), organic Sea Buckthorn, vitamins and omegas.

Eye & Lip Power is a light textured gel creme dispensed via a pump-action vial and I found it to be quickly absorbed with no irritation to the delicate eye area. I think the idea of a product that treats eyes and lips is a great one.

Fitzjohn Skin Care - Eye & Lip Power gel cream on finger

It isn’t a lip balm though, so you just apply it to the area around your lips and it’s great for those annoying little lip to nose lines where lipstick tends to ‘bleed’.

I actually found that the skin around my eyes, in particular, felt a little tighter after application.

What impresses me most of all is that Eye & Lip Power is still there in the morning when you cleanse.  It is almost as if it has created a protective veil.

At £46.00 for 15ml, I think it is a premium product at a reasonable price point.  It suits all skin types too, as do many of the other products in the range.

It’s great to discover a new British brand which offers an effective natural skincare alternative to all those other products chock full of manufactured ingredients.

For great advice on skincare, check out my review of Caroline Hirons’ Skincare Bible.


Ideal World 18th Birthday Celebrations – Join The Show For Bargains!

If you follow my blog, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of the shopping channel Ideal World (also online, who offer great deals on big brands you might not have come across in the UK before. This year, it’s the Ideal World 18th birthday celebrations on Wednesday 14th March and they are inviting everyone to join the show as they are dropping the prices of their biggest brands and offering free P&P across the whole website.

They sent me a beautiful box of beauty products featuring some of their biggest sellers to try.  Here’s what was in the box.

A gorgeous box of Ideal World 18th birthday surprises

Zhuzh! – The Tan Accelerator (RRP £15.99 – special offer 2 bottles for £18 + Free P&P during birthday)

This is a quick and easy way of speeding up your tan.  Zhuzh! is formulated to work with the melanin in your skin whenever you are exposed to the sun – and it certainly helps those of us who are slow to tan.

A lightweight, spray on formula, Zhuzh! is easy to rub in and leaves your skin moisturized, not oily with it shea butter, glycerine and panthenol formula.

You’ll still need to use your sun protection though.

Ideal World 18th birthday Fabulift Fabulous Eyes

Fabulift Fabulous Eyes – Advanced Formula Eye Lifting Serum (RRP £20 – special offer 1 for £18, 2 for £30 and free P&P during birthday.

This advanced formula serum gives instant lifting and tightening around the eye area and its ingredients also smooth and plump the skin. It contains Argireline and Syn-ake to soften expression lines around the eye area and Hyaluronic Acid to plump the skin and reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles – of which I have many!

Ideal World 18th birthday Skinn Neck Amour Leave-on Mask

Skinn Neck Amour Leave-on Mask (RRP £29.99)

They say a woman’s hands and neck tend to give the game away age wise and it’s great to see a product specifically formulated for the neck.  I must admit I don’t always remember to moisturise much below my chin! You can use it on the chest area as well and you simply apply an even layer every night and then rinse it off in the morning.  You can apply it after your night-time serum too.

It contains rice protein, 100% jicama juice to improve radiance, white truffle extract to help tone the look of uneven skin and French blackcurrant bud extract which promotes your skin’s energising and oxygenating properties.

Elizabeth Grant Supreme Collection (combined RRP £249.96 – special offer £39.99 + free P&P during birthday)

Whilst the Elizabeth Grant range may be new to you, the company is hugely successful in Canada and focuses on producing highly advanced luxury skincare products using the company’s exclusive anti-ageing compound called Torricelumn™.  You can read my review of Elizabeth Grant Hydra Cell Active range here.

This is a blend of vitamins, proteins, botanicals and anti-oxidants designed to penetrate into the skin to make it firmer, smoother and younger looking.

The advanced formulation of the Elizabeth Grant Supreme Collection was developed using a rare blue-green algae and contains vitamins and essential minerals to nourish skin that has lost nutrients with ageing.

The Supreme Collection contains the following products from Elizabeth Grant

  • Supreme Active 35 Face Cream
  • Supreme Cell Vitality Revitalising Day Serum
  • Supreme Cell Vitality Renewal Night Serum
  • Supreme Triple Effect Essence of Torricelumn
Ideal World 18th birthday - Elizabeth Grant Super Active 35 Face Cream and Moisture Sticks

*Elizabeth Grant Moisture Sticks sold separately.

Supreme Active 35 Face Cream

Elizabeth Grant Supreme Active 35 Face Cream is so called because it has 35 skin conditioning ingredients, including collagen and Torricelumn.  You’ll also find Vitamin E and Coenzyme10 to target skin repair.

Supreme Cell Vitality Serums

The Revitalising Day Serum is a multi-tasking day serum which protects and nourishes skin suffering from dullness, whilst the Renewal Night Serum penetrates the skin whilst you sleep.  Simply apply 1-2 drops every night on clean skin.

Supreme Triple Effect Essence of Torricelumn

This product combines hydrators and botanical extracts to help lock in moisture and improve the overall appearance of your skin.

It contains some pretty impressive ingredients such as plant stem cells to renew your skin’s appearance and Matrixyl 3000 to stimulate collagen and repair skin.

Not included in the Elizabeth Grant Supreme Collection are the Elizabeth Grant Moisture Sticks (RRP £9.99 for 4) – a creamy lipbalm which makes the perfect base for lipsticks and contains Torricelumn, honey, chamomile, algae extract and avocado oil. I’ll be popping these in my handbag.

What I love about these products is that they have impressive ingredients at a fraction of the price some of the other high end brands charge.  The packaging is lovely too.

The Ideal World birthday celebrations will run until midnight on Monday 19th March so any offers will be available till then – including free postage and packing.

I can’t wait to try these lovely products – a real pampering treat.

You can stay connected with the home of shopping TV, Ideal World, on Sky 654, Freeview 22, Virgin 747, Freesat 812 and online at

*PR samples were received for the writing of this post.

Review: Maxine Laceby Absolute Collagen

As we get older, our skin becomes less supple, less clear and less able to support itself. The effects of this are only too clear as we start to lose collagen – and as a 50 something, I speak from some experience!

Collagen is a major structural protein and is an important component of our skin, bones and the connective tissue in our bodies.

It is composed of amino acids that provide strength and structural support to our skin, hair, nails, tendons, ligaments and blood vessels.

Our collagen levels are highest when we are young – that’s why our kids have smooth skin and shiny hair. But, sadly, collagen levels begin to deplete from the age of 25 and by the time we get to 40 we will have lost around a third of our collagen – hello wrinkles and sagging!

Factors like pollution, ageing, smoking and alcohol consumption lead to a high rate of collagen degradation over time, resulting in wrinkles, fine lines and sagging skin.

A healthy diet is vital for good skin but we can give our bodies a little extra help by taking a collagen supplement which can help restore this vital substance and reduce the signs of ageing.

I’ve just discovered Absolute Collagen  – an innovative new product designed to leave your skin softer, healthier and reduce the signs of ageing.  You simply drink a sachet a day for healthier, happier skin.

Absolute Collagen’s unique anti-ageing liquid formula is claimed to provide you with the highest dose of collagen in the most concentrated daily dose in the most convenient way.

It contains f2000 hydrolyzed marine collagen and each 10ml serving contains 8000mg of hydrolysed marine collagen. Their advanced formula is also infused with vitamin C, which works together with fish collagen for optimum skin rejuvenation and tissue renewal.

Fish collagen, also known as ‘marine collagen’, is extracted from cold-water fish. After manufacturers extract collagen from the fish, they refine it to remove the unpleasant fishy odour and taste while retaining the collagen’s nutritional value.

Marine collagen enters the bloodstream faster than other types of collagen, so it is the best source of collagen for you.

Absolute Collagen contains 8000MG of collagen per dose, which is a higher concentration than any other collagen solution and it’s made in the UK too.

Absolute Collagen is 100% natural protein and free of dairy, lactose, soy, wheat and gluten. It contains no artificial colours, flavours. The product is free of fat and cholesterol and contains 36 calories per 10ml sachet.

I found Absolute Collagen easy to take and pleasant tasting with a slight lemon flavour.  Either take directly from the sachet or dissolve in a little hot water and drink.  It’s an easy way to supplement your skincare routine which, like many busy mums, is pretty non-existent in my case!

Absolute Collagen can be purchased direct from the company’s website or on Amazon.

The No Makeup Selfie: Are We Being Taken In?

The no makeup selfie.  They’re everywhere at the moment and it’s about time we were more vocal in crying ‘fake’ at the number of supposed ‘makeup free’ shots clogging up our Instagram and Snapchat feed.

no makeup selfie are we being taken in - collection of makeup brushes

A recent study of 1,205 mums polled by parenting site and Benefit cosmetics discovered that 95 per cent of women believe stars such as Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian are actually wearing foundation, brow products and mascara in their no makeup selfie images on social media. There’s even a hashtag #nomakeup.

I’m at a loss to understand how anyone can believe a word any member of that desperate, fame-hungry, PR seeking clan comes out with.  I’m waiting with completely unbated breath to discover who is the surrogate for Kim’s baby and whether it is, in fact, Kylie.

But, more seriously, almost two-thirds of those polled say these false photos on Twitter and Instagram leave them feeling unhappy about their own makeup-free complexions.

And 48 per cent worry about their daughters’ self-esteem being left in ruins by the celebrities’ fake pictures.

I can certainly attest to that because, at nearly 10, Caitlin is already copying the looks she finds on social media (and yes we try to filter out as much as we can).  Her latest obsession is having the longest hair possible.  Like most 10-year-olds, however, she hasn’t yet made the link between having gorgeous glossy hair and actually brushing it.

But surely, it is up to us as mums to make sure we are honest about what makeup can and cannot do.

This report comes just days after X-Factor star Stacey Solomon was praised for sharing a genuine ‘no makeup’ shot showing how a TV make up artist transformed her face.

55 per cent of those polled agreed sharing real make up free shots like Stacey’s helps women feel better in their own bodies.

It must be a lot easier to feel confident in your own body if you have a TV make-up artist on hand to help disguise it.

Let’s be honest – we women have always used make-up to make ourselves look and feel better and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Why should there be any need to lie about it or justify our makeup habits in surveys like this which are often thinly veiled attempts to make us feel better about spending more on cosmetics?

Many of these products are, in any case, destined to lie languishing at the bottom of a drawer.  Beauty bloggers need to show us the products they have used, rather than just lightly tested!

The celebrity lifestyle these days seems to involve little more than looking a certain way and promoting some ghastly alcohol soaked, bed-hopping lifestyle which the sane among us wouldn’t want to pursue, even if it did get you the latest handbag or your own ‘fashion’ range in Very.

Other ‘revelations’ from this particular study include that women today now spend an average of FIVE times more than their own mums did on looking good.

While older generations spent just £3.50 a month on old-fashioned, heavy makeup products, modern mums splash out £17.92 a month on cosmetics to get the fashionable ‘no makeup’ look.

I’m assuming the researchers took inflation into account and, in fact, given the hefty cost of some make-up brands, you wouldn’t even get a mascara for £17.92. It’s no wonder it’s so easy to get into debt pursuing the celebrity lifestyle.

Half of young mums insisted they make the same amount of effort with their appearance or even more after having children, with 70 per cent claiming makeup is a ‘little treat’.  In this household, me putting make-up on is a ‘bloody miracle’.

Overall, the study showed 41 per cent of mums wear makeup every day while 21 per cent will don a full face of cosmetics even if they are simply staying at home.

One in eight admitted to loving makeup so much they wore it while giving birth, while more than one in five painted their faces for a post-birth delivery room selfies.

A further three in ten wore make up for bump pics while pregnant and also put on make up every day for the school run.

And half made a special effort to put on make up for their first trip out with their new baby.

But the most popular time to look glamorous include date nights with their partner, when seven in ten have a full face of makeup, alongside nights out with the girls where 60 per cent wear it.

What isn’t clear from this research, however, is the age range of the mums polled.  I would suggest that anyone influenced by Geordie Shore ‘star’ Charlotte Crosby, scarcely dressed Little Mix and the mono-browed Cara Delevigne are more likely to be at the lower end of the age spectrum.

13.51 per cent of mums want their own daughters to wait until they are 14 before wearing make-up and one in six will insist they hold on until they are 16 or over before using cosmetics.

These women are clearly strangers to a Snapchat filter because if there is anything quietly influencing our daughters’ obsession with how they look, it is surely this particular social platform.

The poll also revealed big changes in the ‘mum face’ look, as despite spending a small fortune on cosmetics, the top trend for young mums is the ‘natural look’.

More than a third of mums favour this look, followed by natural brows and dewy skin (22%).

One in ten also uses a contouring palette, made popular by Kim Kardashian.

By contrast, the top trends for their own mothers were heavy lipstick (48%) and thick foundation (31%), alongside coloured eyeshadow (28%).

This is simply a reflection of the quality of cosmetics that were available then.  Remember Cover Girl and Miners? I was particularly fond of the Kiss & Makeup Range from Miss Selfridge and wish they’d bring it back.

And I don’t know about you but my ‘mum face’ (is there really such a thing!) is closer to a bulldog chewing a wasp on school mornings than anything the Kardashian clan can create. Ain’t no make-up going to help when Caitlin can’t find her hairbrush and Ieuan has just remembered his spelling.  My school run style definitely needs work.

Apparently, modern mums hoard an average of 33 items of make-up, with 12 per cent owning a whopping 100 or more. By comparison, their own mums kept just seven basic products.

My mum had (and still has) a comb and a lipstick. My gran had a powder compact, lipstick and one of those tiny pots of Bourjois blushers in the Burgundy shade.  This didn’t so much add a rosy glow to your cheeks as make you look like you had a sudden onset of very high blood pressure. Phyllis was a devout user of Ponds Cold Cream though this wasn’t helped by the other frequent item in her handbag – Players cigarettes which you could still buy in packets of 6 in the 70’s.

The rise of Instagram and social media may mean many young mums are almost always camera ready but I’m not entirely convinced that this is making them feel better – particularly when they compare themselves to fake ‘no makeup selfies’ from celebs.

The challenges of parenting and new motherhood are such that greater support may be needed than just a new lippie.

New mums should understand that it’s OK to feel down, or lost, or unsure of who they are.  Having a baby is a massive life experience which changes everything.

You are not the same person once you become a mum.

Rather than copying celeb mums who probably have nannies on hand to help with every little chore, or make-up artists, personal trainers, hairdressers and stylists to design their ‘look’, it would be far healthier to work on mental and spiritual well-being.

Buy yourself a new mascara and lipstick if you want to, but don’t be fooled by Instagram fakery.

Both Facebook and Instagram are starting to demand greater disclosure of advertising and product endorsement.

That won’t stop selfie ‘fakery’ of course but it may help to create a climate of slightly greater honesty.

In the meantime, if your kids love you and the way you look, then you don’t need to stuff your make-up back with hundreds of pounds of products, surely?

And the next time you spot a dubious no makeup selfie, I’d be tempted to comment  -“you look lovely but please can we see you without your makeup?”….

Banish Grubbiness At Professor Scrubbington’s Emporium Of Clean

An important part of childhood is the making of mess and the general attraction of dirt and ick from all possible locations.

Their enjoyment of this is frequently inversely proportional to their willingness to clean it off – and likely to result in mild to moderate shoutiness from parents.

Professor Scrubbington Range of Products,

Ieuan has a particularly unique washing technique which involves simply being in the same postcode district as a bar of soap. Occasionally he will deign to trickle the dank corner of a flannel across his face but, otherwise, washing is not something his favourite Horrid Henry or Dennis The Menace specialise in. So clean is for wimps.

Ieuan Hobbis with Professor Scrubbington Products

Caitlin, on the other hand likes to channel Elizabeth Taylor in the film “Cleopatra” with the full on spa treatment, goats milk and servants wafting those large feather fans.

Tricky.  We don’t have a goat.

Enter Professor Scrubbington’s range of natural foaming toiletries which have been carefully designed to (FINGERS CROSSED) wash themselves.

The company mission is to empower children to learn one of the most basic things we parents need to teach them – personal hygiene.

The products are 98% natural with no parabens, colourants or SLS and bottles are solid, easy to grip and manageable for young hands.

They magically foam which adds a fun element and are, uniquely odour neutralising with a lovely fresh fragrance – described as ‘gender neutral’ although in my day unisex seemed to suffice.

They also contain Aloe Vera which is naturally gentle and moisturising for all skin types.

The range contains:-

Hair & Body Wash
Bubble Bath
Hand & Face Wash
2 in 1 Shampoo & Conditioner

Professor Scrubbington's Magically Foaming Hand & Face Wash -

We were pretty impressed with all the products but our favourites were the easy to pump Hand & Face Wash – lets face it, if it’s fun to use they are more likely to wash their hands after using the loo – and the Bubble Bath which foams really well and delivers lovely fragrant bubbles without being too harsh or drying on the skin.

Professor Scrubbington's Magically Foaming Hand & Face Wash bubbles in Caitlin's hand

I was particularly happy to see the inclusion of a deodorant because, let’s be honest, as kids approach tweendom and puberty starts to kick in they DO sometimes need a deodorant.

Caitlin has been using an organic one for quite a while, although we have tried some of the adult brands. I have not been particularly happy to do this, as there has been enough bad press about what the grown up deodorants do to us mums, let alone our daughters.

Caitlin with Professor Scrubbington's Deodorant

The deodorant shares the same fragrance as the rest of the products, light, fresh and wearable for both boys and girls.

I love the brand’s sense of fun and so popular are the products that you will now be able to find all of them in Boots at £3.99 each (with the exception of the deodorant) – great if you’re saving your Boots Advantage Card points for your Christmas shopping.

And of course you can buy the products online at where delivery is free on orders over £10.

I like to set the kids new personal development goals at the start of the new academic year.  These usually take the form of “you won’t get any pocket money this year unless you…”  (make your bed / tidy your room / use your cutlery properly & etc).

I reckon getting them to clean themselves is quite a good one, don’t you?

4 Things To Look For In Beauty Product Reviews

When making any type of investment, most of us conduct a bit of research to learn more about whatever it is that we are thinking of buying.

After all, regardless of the product in which we are thinking of investing our hard earned cash, it is often really useful to learn how other buyers perceived the product and what features they found to be the most useful.

woman holding lip balm in front of her eyes, beauty reviews, beauty,

If you are searching for a new beauty product to add to your daily routine, it is just as important to research product reviews for these as it is before purchasing a new television.

Here are some tips on what to look for when reading beauty product reviews – and they just might help you make a better-informed decision on your next beauty product. I suspect many of us have drawers full of unloved beauty purchases we really wish we hadn’t bothered with – at a not insignificant cost to our pockets!

Customer testimonials

These are a great (and some would say the best) way to find out what customers, like you, thought of the product. The most compelling reviews tend to be in a video format or if it is in a blog format, photos help bring the post to life. A good customer review will talk about the products pros and cons as well as different ways in which the customer found the product most effective. For a good customer review of a great beauty product, check out


If you are interested in purchasing a new beauty product, it is likely that watching a video of a consumer applying the product will be helpful. The most compelling videos are those that show before and after photographs or images on how the product worked. Other great videos provide visual examples of how to apply the product for the best results.


lipstick, beauty, beauty products

Truthful product reviews

While it is important to watch videos on how to apply a product or read customer testimonials on how the product worked best, it is also smart to read product reviews.

Be sure to do research on the ingredients and if they are made of natural ingredients, do research on those too. Understanding the product completely can help you determine if the product is right for you.

If you do not do research on the product, you could likely invest in something that may not work for you. Perhaps you have an allergic reaction or maybe you don’t enjoy the flavor of the supplement. To avoid mistakes such as this, read some product reviews.

Customer service

It is particularly helpful when you find a great product review that shares information about the customer service experience.

Often times a beauty product that is advertised on TV will offer a money-back guarantee. If you choose to try out a product because you know you will receive your money back if you do not get the results you were hoping for, it is helpful to read a review that this is in fact true.

It can be very frustrating to give a company a call in an effort to return an unused product only to find out that they actually do not accept returns. It is best to read about the reputation of the company’s customer service team before making a purchase.

So there you have it.  A little research before you splash the cash may save you pounds down the line and prevent you from adding yet another product to your make-up stash that never sees the light of day again.

What have been your most ill-advised beauty purchases?

Will You Have On Trend Nails This Autumn?

I can’t believe it’s the beginning of August already – although the shops are filling up with AW17 clothes and the glossy magazines are encouraging us to sort out our make-up bags and get ready to dazzle.

Image credit: Nic Senior

According to Harpers Bazaar, Chloe featured the 60’s eye heavily in this year’s show whilst Giambattisti Valli featured blood red lips.  Neither of these trends are too much of a stretch for most make-up bags, particularly if you are lover of the iconic MAC shades Ruby Woo or Russian Red. Personally I’ve never mastered the 60’s eye and still struggle with eyeliner but I’ve read good reports about Bobby Brown Gel Eyeliner for those of us who just can’t get the lines straight!

Vogue says that this season’s lip look is ‘just snogged’ and that it’s perfectly OK if your lippie looks a bit, well, smeary.  Very handy for us mums who apply their lipstick with a child in one hand whilst desperately searching for car keys.  Worryingly, they also include ‘bleached brows’ as a look and ‘over-liner’ – lining your eyelid with a contrasting colour.

Woman with long brown hair and red lipstick holding an autumnal leaf
Image credit: Pixabay

If you can’t be faffed with all that, there’s ‘Groomed Minimalism’, groomed brows, curled eyelashes and a slick or gloss or there also seems to be an outbreak of ‘rose’ for eyelids, lips and cheeks.

Palette of blushers
Image credit: Pixabay

If you are more of a mani / pedi girl, the statement mani is back. According to Vogue there were checkerboard nails at House of Holland, crystal-studded talons at Gucci, chainmail accessories at Ryan Lo and pressed flower designs at Preen by Thornton Bregazzi.

At Milan Fashion Week, Elle Magazine found tiger stripe press ons at Emilio Pucci, bejewelled talons at Gucci and 60s tan manis at Moschino.

Whilst none of those designs seem particularly appropriate for the renewed school runs, a manicure or a pedicure is something we can all manage – even at home – perhaps by getting inspiration from one of Ellisons Professional Manicure Kits.


And, in case you’ve forgotten the key steps for a professional looking manicure at home, here’s what to do:-


1. Remove old nail polish with a gentle nail polish remover.  Acetone nail polishes will work faster but non-acetone removers are kinder to skin.


2. Shape your nails.  Clip and gently file into shape with a gently abrasive emery board or crystal nail file.  Smooth the tops and sides of the nails with a slightly abrasive buffer but don’t overdo it as the polish won’t adhere as well.


3. Soak your hands and nails in a bowl of warm water.  You could add a little facial cleanser or shampoo to the water.  If you’re going to trim your cuticles, soaking is necessary but only for around 3 minutes.

4. Apply callous/cuticle remover. When cutting away the thickened skin around the nail, applying a bit of cuticle remover will help.

5. Remove excess cuticle and callouses around the nail. Using the cuticle pusher from your kit, gently push the cuticle back away from the nail, but don’t push it too far because it can damage nail growth or fray the cuticle.

Don’t clip into the cuticle, just nip off the free edge with a pair of metal cuticle nippers. Don’t overdo it because the cuticle helps protect the nail bed.


Dark purple & glitter mani - Lele Breveglieri
Image credit: Lele Breveglieri

6: Moisturize with a rich hand cream all over the hands and cuticles.

7. Prep for polish. Remove any leftover moisturizer on the nail with a cotton pad dipped in nail polish remover. You need to make sure that the nails have no oil left on them.

8. Apply base coat. If you have weak or brittle nails, use a base coat of ridge-filling nail polish to shore up the nail. A base coat also protects nails from staining (especially important if you prefer red nail polish) and prevents chipping.


9. Apply your nail colour in layers, allowing each layer to dry between coats. Two coats of colour polish followed by a top coat to add gloss should do the trick.

10. Check for and clean up any mistakes—and you’re almost done! It takes time for nails to fully dry, so be patient. A fan helps, but don’t use heat or your hair dryer or the polish will chip and peel. Also, don’t put your nails too close to the fan or you’ll end up with bubbles in your polish.

11: Reapply moisturizer! Keeping your hands and the nail area healthy-looking requires moisturizer. You can’t have great nails and hands without this essential product.

Using the right tools will make a great difference and it’s worth investing in a good set, especially when you consider how much you are likely to save on professional manicures.