Why the Fuss About Charlotte Tilbury Creams?

With the growing popularity of Charlotte Tilbury products I noticed over the course of last year everywhere I turned I would see them mentioned whether in an advert or a promotion.  There were staff in store beauty departments in London’s West End spraying copious amounts of the “New” fragrance onto passers by.  The promoters really did go to town making sure the products where almost everywhere.

I wanted to know what all the fuss was about.

Are they Really that Good?

Having looked around the internet at various reviews it seems that people are pretty impressed by the products.  I had a small free sachet sample of the day, night and eye cream sent through the post and here are my initial reactions to the products.

Magic Cream

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Although the sample size wasn’t very large I did get a good idea of the absorbency level and also the texture of the products and how they felt on the skin.  The Magic cream absorbed well and after application my face was left feeling silky soft without any dry patches.  The moisturiser is not too rich and did not leave a coating on the surface of the face or the hands.  It is a great base for make up and holds foundation, concealer and powder well on the skin.  The aroma was pleasant and not at all overpowering.

The cream itself contains a range of ingredients including plant based and is paraben free.  It claims to increase collagen production and also contains SPF15 and a UVA filter to help fight the ageing effects of sun (did you know chocolate can help prevent against some forms of sun damage?).

Magic Night Cream

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The texture of the night cream was far richer and heavier than either of the other two sample creams that I tried.  It was similar to a vaseline like consistency and it left my hands and face feeling greasy to the touch.  It took a little while for this to be absorbed into the skin.  The cream had left the skin on my face and hands feeling silky soft in the morning and that thickness of cream consistency for me wasn’t an issue although I do know that some people don’t like the feel of this sort of cream texture on their skin.  The cream ingredients are well thought out as in the other products featured here and really are a good recipe for great looking skin.

Magic Eye Rescue

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This too absorbed well into the skin well and leaves the skin feeling soft and moisturised.  The formula is slightly thicker and heavier than the Magic Cream but not as thick as the Magic Night Cream.  I thought the thickness of the cream was good as the skin around the eye area tends to need that extra little help.  This takes a little longer to soak than the day cream in due to the consistency but soaks into the skin all the same and makes a great basis for foundation and concealer if you are trying to hide dark circles.

This comprises of a range of natural ingredients and is said to be an “anti-ageing rescue remedy that works to slow down the ticking time bomb of ageing” on the Charlotte Tilbury website.  Studies have shown an improvement within 8 weeks of trials but having used this for just a few days I unfortunately cannot confirm this although with my skin being as receptive to these sorts of products as it is I am sure it would show an improvement sooner than that length of time.

The products seemed pretty good from initial assessment and my skin did not react to any of them.  I did have a healthy glow to my skin although that could also have been due to the fact I had been exercising and drinking lots of water.

If you want to buy all three you are looking at an investment of £215.  Don’t forget anything that will actually help give you a younger looking healthy skin is an investment for your future appearance and starting early will be something you are thankful for as the signs of ageing slowly appear or begin to wave manically at everyone as they progress.  The set can be found with a saving of £15 from the individual product size on the Charlotte Tilbury site which is good to know.  I appreciate for some this is still a bit steep so if you really want to try something from the range I would suggest going for the Magic Cream (day) at £70 and see how you go.  Even if you are not using all three products if the products do what they claim to then there should still be a marked improvement with continued use for two to three months.

Have you tried the Charlotte Tilbury creams before?

This is NOT a sponsored post.

 

You Have Got to See these Men Experiencing Labour Pain!

I was having a chat with a male facebook friend recently and somehow the subject of men experiencing the pain of labour came up.  I have seen numerous videos of men being attached to devices so that they can get a glimpse of what women go through.  Anyone that has given birth will know how excruciating the pain can be and how terrifying it is too.  Add in a few birth horror stories that we are bound to hear whilst we are pregnant and this intensifies the fear which of course men will never get to experience in the same way.  My first child was born in the Chase Farm Hospital labour ward which thankfully has since been closed down.  I must say that my first experience of having a baby was awful and I was literally lucky to get out of the hospital alive and that’s not an exaggeration.

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With my first child I had the pleasure of the staff stopping the epidural part way through so where I couldn’t feel pain it hit me like a train full on, there wasn’t much easing in that’s for sure.  The experience was made even more fabulously frightening when we had a passer by pop in and notice after I had given birth that I had been sown up incorrectly resulting in my bleeding not stopping.  She corrected the mistake thankfully and if that lady had not been passing by at the time she had then I may not have been here today.  Am I exaggerating the story, I wish I was.  They had done exactly the same to someone else around the same time but not rectified the mistake and this resulted in her death.  An awful story I know but that is why I am pleased they closed the hospital as they didn’t have enough funding to make improvements and it was getting worse by the day.  Now we all know we need more hospitals and trained staff but that isn’t the focus of this post.  This post is to show you what happens when men are connected up to machines to help give them a small insight into labour pain.

I bet many of my female readers have a male that they would love to attach to one of these machines.  The guys in these videos are great sports.  Why not watch them and have a little giggle at their expense and share this with men that think labour is a walk in the park and women’s pain thresholds aren’t high!

This first video is great as they explain quite a bit about what happens in labour and the guys really haven’t a clue what they have gotten themselves into.  The guys get the full treatment with electrodes on their front and back so they can get as close to experiencing what women do as possible.

You have got to watch these.

I dare you NOT to giggle or cringe!

As you can see these guys have a whole new admiration for their mums and what they went through giving birth and they haven’t experienced a full labour.

Want more?

It’s like a horror movie, you don’t want to see but then you peer through your fingers or from behind your pillow to watch.  Here’s another.  This one shows two men experiencing the pain with their wives in the room with them.

They were asked: “Better than you thought it was?”  Their answer: “A lot worse!”

Good one guys for having a go.

Last but not least a doctor experiencing the fun agony of labour who want to see who has the higher pain threshold, men or women.

“At the beginning of this thing I really cared whether men had a higher threshold then women, right now I doesn’t matter!” – contractions at three minutes apart.

“This experiment is getting almost too much to bare!”- contractions lasting sixty seconds and at two mins apart.

His final words “Men of the world you have no idea.  Leave it to the women.   Forget the whole pain threshold debate, we have nothing, women win, men don’t. THE END!”

Well there you have it, the men have spoken.  So if you know anyone that thinks that women exaggerate the pain of labour then send them this way as this post will change their mind.  Failing that, plug them into one of these machines, video it and post to YouTube so we can all have a giggle at their expense!

Know anyone you’d like to attached to one of these machines?

5 Habits You SHOULD Introduce into Your Daily Routine

With the New Year here many of us are making resolutions and with any luck we will manage to stick to them for few weeks at least.  Yes, it’s the same story I’m going to give up this and change that and stop doing this and do that more, blah blah blah blah blah.  The fact is that most of us won’t manage to get very far with our resolutions unless we have made proper lifestyle changes rather than just deciding we will do the proposed task(s).  By mid February or by the latest early March the gyms which are getting pretty full at the moment will be much quieter, there will be an increase in the sale of alcohol and cigarettes, sweet and fatty foods.  It’s a trap many of us fall into year upon year.  We need to make actual lifestyle changes that we incorporate into our day to day lives in order to see a more long lasting and in hopefully many cases a permanent change.  Once we have made a habit that has been permanently incorporated into our lives then will we see a marked improvement in our well being.

Here are my Top 5 Habits that you Should Incorporate into your Daily Routine.

Yes, we hear it everywhere increase your water intake, you need to drink this much each day and then that’s it.  You are left to fend for yourself.  I am here to help you is establish a routine.  Once you get into a routine of drinking water you will notice that you increase your intake without much hassle.  You will automatically start to reach for the water at certain times of the day and this will help you in numerous ways.  Start with drinking 1-2 glasses in the morning when you get up, the same an hour before lunch and again two hours before bed.  The spacing is for obvious reasons but those unsure of why I have set those particular timings here is a quick simple explanation.

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First thing in the morning – over night whilst you sleep your body loses water through breathing and also via evaporation from the skin and if it is hot you lose even more through sweat.  By drinking water first thing you replace this.  My advice keep a bottle (500ml minimum) next to your bed so you can easily replace water loss without forgetting and missing the time slot.  The water also helps kick start your organs into in a sense waking them up so use that to your favour.

An hour before lunch – the reason for the gap here is firstly you don’t want to drink water to close to having had the first glass or two.  The idea isn’t to over load the body and over work the kidneys.  Also importantly if you drink a bottle of water before eating you can help the body feel fuller for longer and it can help reduce snacking just before lunch.  You need water to carry out the process of digestion, you can also drink more water as you eat as otherwise the processes carried out digesting what you have eaten can dehydrate.  Some people say that drinking water with a meal will affect gastric acid by diluting it so that the body doesn’t break down foods sufficiently.  This would only be relevant if you drink too much water a glass of two with your meal shouldn’t affect your stomach acids too much.

Drinking water an hour and a half to two hours before bed; allows for you to further increase your water intake and also as it’s not too close to bed you will have plenty of time to process this and eliminate excess fluids (urinate) before bed.  It takes from a few minute to about two hours to process the water.

By doing this alone you help to flush out toxins, improve the functioning of various body organs and find that you actually feel better for it, your skin will look brighter and more plump, you might even lose a little weight and you will feel more alert too.  With all that just from making drinking water part of your daily routine it’s really a no brainer.

It’s not always easy to increase the amount of exercise that you do but getting into a routine of moving that bit more can make a difference.

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Power walks at lunch time are a great way to do this.  Adding in a power walk into your daily routine even if it’s just for 20-25 minutes will really make a difference to your health.  It will help boost circulation, improve stamina, improve brain function and more.  Coupled with an increase in water intake it will really help to detoxify the body more efficiently.  Why not get a lunch time walking club together with like minded colleagues as this is a wonderful way to keep you motivated.  Add in some fitbits or something similar and you can get a bit of healthy competition going too.  Can’t fit it in during lunch, no problem a quick walk before or after work will do just as well, just get out there and pound that pavement!

I work on my own (I know it’s a lit lonely but that’s the nature of my work) and will walk on my own or with other mums.  I found a setting on the fitbit where you can do daily challenges and you can compete against friends wherever they are.  It does motivate me to get off my bottom and get walking and if I can’t go out I might go for a quick jog in front of the tv, the kids think it’s funny and join in too.

Want to do your exercise in the privacy of your own home?  Sure, why not it’s not always something we want to do with others if you lack the confidence to do so, just don’t make excuses not too, go for it.  Get your hands on a fitness dvd tailored to your level or even just pop some music on and have a  little dance, it’s fun and helps get you moving.  You can even find free fitness tutorial on YouTube.  Don’t forget to stretch and also if you suffer from any health problems that might be affected by exercise consult your doctor first.

Cut the Cr*p.  Eat Good Quality dark Chocolate

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Yes, I am saying you can eat chocolate isn’t it fabulous!  Why on earth cut out the foods you love when you really don’t have to.  Chocolate can be good for you but you need to go for quality which in effect will reduce the quantity you will consume as it tastes so much better and seems to satisfy the craving much faster than the cheaper alternatives which are full of sugar, increas sugar cravings and addiction and contain vegetable oil instead of cocoa butter.  Chocolate can be great for you, it’s full of nutrients including, iron, magnesium, manganese, copper,  zinc, selenium and also fibre.  Chocolate contains antioxidants for a start which have anti ageing properties and can fight illness.  In some studies carried it has been indicated that chocolate may help lower LDL – low density lipoproteins (bad cholesterol), raise HDL (good cholesterol) and prevent memory decline (and there I go reaching for some dark chocolate).  Finnish studied have show chocolate consumption can help reduce the risk of stroke by 17%.  It can also help prevent against some forms of sun damage due to its flavanoid content although I would still recommend wearing that high factor daily as for reasons I will explain a little later.

The Neuroscientist Will Clower believes that chocolate can help us eat less and lose weight.  Apparently if you place a square of good quality chocolate (dark chocolate) on your tongue and allow it to melt twenty minutes prior to eating and also again 5 minutes after eating to help reduce snacking.  How does this work?  Dark chocolate is more bitter than milk and white chocolate.  This bitterness is thought to have a knock on effect by slowing down the rate of stomach emptying by 30% for up to forty five minutes after a meal.  This helps regulate sugar absorption into the blood preventing too much insulin being produced and also prevents the blood sugar levels dropping dramatically up to an hour and a half after the meal.  The stable sugar level means you won’t crave a sweet snack.

So that’s a square before and after meals so don’t get too carried away and also take note it is suggested that you let the chocolate slowly melt on the tongue rather than chewing quickly and gulping down loads more which would of course defeat the purpose.  I think it’s more enjoyable to let it melt on the tongue slowly as you get to enjoy the flavour if only we had some chocolate left in he house that hubby and the mini chocolate monsters hadn’t eaten.

For those that say they don’t like dark chocolate if you really want to you can.  You can train yourself to eat dark chocolate by changing the chocolate you eat to one that is slightly darker than your normal chocolate, eat a little each day for one to two weeks depending on how sweet a tooth you have.  By that stage your taste should have adapted and you should be ready to go darker if you are not on a minimum of 70% cocoa solids.

Wear a Sunfactor Daily – That means in the Winter too.

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In the Summer I wear a factor 50 it’s easy to do with the sunnier and warmer days as a reminder.  It’s not so easy to remember at the start of the winter but I sure do try my hardest.  I have made a point of keeping my suncream somewhere that will remind me to use it on a daily basis.  Once the routine has been set up there is no stopping me.  Why should you follow suit?  Were you aware the suns harmful rays can still cause skin damage anytime of the year whether it’s Summer or Winter.  Although UVB radiation isn’t as strong in the winter UVA is still there causing permanent damage to our skin and causing us to age faster.  Not wearing a sunfactor can result in freckles age spots, fine wrinkles appearing.  It can also break down your skins collagen and interfer with the formation of new collagen.  It also affects elastin in the skin resulting in the skin appearing loose and an increase in wrinkles.  Not sounding to good now is it.  I’m sure many of you are now reaching for the sunfactor or thinking of getting some in.  Don’t forget it’s not just the face that needs it.  Your hands if you don’t wear loves are also exposed to the suns rays so they will need it too.  I can hear some of you saying, “but it’s cloudy, we don’t need sun protection!”.  Unfortunately this isn’t the case.  Even during days when it is cloudy at least 80% of UV radiation can still get through so make it a daily routine and you will reap the benefits well into old age.  We know it’s good to be prepared well this is one of those times it really counts.

Eat Whole Foods as Often as Possible

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Firstly why should you eat whole foods?

Whole foods provide a range of nutrients that are beneficial to our well being.  When we move away from whole foods a perfect example being juices an imbalance occurs.  In most juices fruit will be used to make this more palatable.  That’s not a good thing as the fibre which many of us don’t get enough of is removed and the sugar content becomes excessive.  High sugar levels result in a peak before they drop drastically resulting in very strong sugar cravings and the desire to snack.  We want to avoid this don’t we!

It’s said over and over that we need to eat whole foods and that we need a minimum of 5 pieces of fruit & vegetables a day.  As we get older and our taste adapts making this far easier.  The best way to increase your whole food intake is making this a regular feature for each meal.  It’s shocking how some do not include any vegetables or fruits in some of their meals.  My suggestion would be to make sure you have a minimum of two to three vegetables per meal and if you must snack in between (don’t worry it’s not a problem in fact it can be a good thing) make sure you have some vegetable sticks or fruit.  Personally I would remove juices from the diet and give preference to smoothies drunk in moderation. The addition of these will help improve your digestion and transit of waste from the body (yes that second part refers to to pooping), reduce the risk of sugar highs and lows which cause binge eating, help maintain your weight and even assist in weight loss, increase your energy levels and make you feel fabulous.

Now that wasn’t so hard was it!

These 5 simple lifestyle changes can have a dramatic effect on your life making you feel and look fabulous so what are you waiting for get walking with work colleagues after work or go to the school 20 minutes earlier with another mum or two for a brisk walk, don’t forget your whole food snacks and bottle of water and make sure you are wearing that sunfactor.  Remember you can have that little piece of chocolate before and after your meal so dangle that in front of you and pick up the pace and leave the old less healthy you from 2016 in the dust.

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Which of these habits if not all do you plan on taking up this year?

Did you Cut your Spending this Christmas?

I have been reading all sorts of articles over the Christmas period from those about gift ideas for various members of the family, great party food ideas and more.  Some of these were found online and some I found in my inbox.  One that caught my interest covered spending over the Christmas season.

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An online voucher company recently did a survey and discovered that 42% of those asked have tried to save money this Christmas.  It’s not surprising Christmas is an expensive time of year and it’s hard especially when you have little ones not to feel that you should get them the latest toy that they really want and have been on about for the last month and a half.  With our desire to make Christmas as special and magical a time as possible for children and loved ones some really do get a little spend happy it’s easy to get swept up in the Christmas buying frenzy that seems to happen and sometimes we might swipe the plastic a little too much it’s easily done as by not physically handling cash it can make you a little less aware of what you are spending resulting in quite a few cases in accounts being overdrawn as we venture into the cold January months.  I wrote a post in November titled ‘Save this Christmas and Enjoy a Happy New Year’ which I hope some of you managed to read and this gave some great tips on how you could save money for this Christmas as well as begin working on saving money for the next.

The company that carried out the survey that caught my attention was none other than My Voucher Codes which I frequently use and you can see the full survey ‘here‘.  The great thing about this particular company is that savings are not merely restricted to Christmas time although saving money at this expensive time of year is of course great.  These guys like many other voucher services allow you to save money on a whole array of products /  services from holidays, dining out, shopping for clothes, jewellery, beauty products, the list goes on.  I will be using vouchers to help save me money over the year and might even buy a few Christmas gifts on the way to reduce the load for next Christmas.  I’m quite excited to see they link to the offers on the buyagift page where I plan on making the most of discounts and go on a few of the experiences yet again.  The gift and occasion page is one to keep an eye on for those needing gifts over the year or want to get their Christmas shopping for the coming year finished early.  At the moment many of the stores they list are offering up to 50% off so if you want to grab some bargains why not go take a look.

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Have fun shopping x

Do you use money saving voucher sites like these and which do you use?

A Cure for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia, Erin’s Story

Many of us get distracted by facebook when we are supposed to be doing something else in many instances working.  That happened to me recently when i noticed one of my facebook friends had liked the MSN UK page.  I couldn’t see the headline at the time but was for some reason drawn to it and had to click on the link to see what they had liked.  The story that appeared before me literally had me in tears.

We have endless news that quite frankly isn’t of much importance so when you get a good piece of news like this it is not only interesting to read but also something we want to share to help give hope to others.  The story in the headline was about a young girl Erin Cross (age 6), of Chester, in Cheshire who was suffering with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia.  After a public appeal £100,000 was raised to send her to Seattle to try a new treatment where T Cells (white blood cells that battle infections) from the child’s blood are reprogrammed to destroy cancer cells then reinfused back into the child’s blood.  93% of the children with relapsed Leukaemia that had undergone this treatment had complete remission.  So far this treatment has shown positive results for Erin too and today she was to go in to Manchester Children’s Hospital to have a bone marrow transplant which should prevent the Leukemia returning.  It’s not only an encouraging and positive story but it goes to show that progress is being made in regards to the fight against cancer which is fabulous news as let’s face it the odds are that many of us will either get some form of cancer or have a close relative that does.  Here is the light at the end of the tunnel, hopefully this treatment can be adapted to help fight other cancers too.

Want to find out more about this brave little girls fight with cancer?  Why not take a look at the video here:

I hope that all went well with today’s treatment and I am sure you will all join me in wishing Erin a speedy recovery from the surgery.  Let’s hope that this is the start of a flood of positive stories of people fighting cancer and winning.  We need more positive news in the media instead of hyped up headlines that don’t actually have much of a story behind them and are just to gain views and are total time wasters.

Please do share this story with friends and family and let’s end 2016 on a positive hopeful note x

This is NOT a sponsored post.

Black Forest Fruits Eaton Mess

It’s the time of year when we are making or buying loads of foods and desserts to enjoy with friends and family.  I like homemade desserts rather than shop bought they taste so much better in most instances.  The stores are full of ready made desserts and in many instances you buy them super excited as they look amazing and then when you try them you are disappointing as they are not as great as you had expected.  Unfortunately, I am a victim of my own success in a way as I enjoy eating the desserts that I make as 99% of the time they taste great even if they don’t look perfect in my eyes.

For Christmas day I wanted to make something different so I made a Black Forest Fruits Eaton Mess which is was not only simple to make it also tasted delicious.  This Eaton Mess was combined with frozen fruits that you can easily find in supermarkets and are packed full of antioxidants and vitamin C (helps fight colds and free radicals).

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The pavlova base is best made the night before.

Serves approximately 8-10 depending on serving size.

Ingredients

For the pavlova base

5 egg whites

250g caster sugar

1tsp white wine vinegar

2 level tsp corn flour

For the cream

approximately 250ml double cream

1tsp vanilla essence

For the black forest fruits topping

500g frozen black forest fruits

3 tbs of sugar, you can add this gradually to get the sweetness you like (add more if required)

Method

Pavlova base

Place the egg whites, corn flour, sugar and vinegar in a bowl and whisk until it forms thick stiff peaks and doesn’t move much when you tip the bowl.

Line a baking tray with grease proof paper and make a round with the mixture about 8 inches in diameter.

Place this in the oven for 1 hour at 140 degrees then turn the oven off and leave over night to cool.

The cream

Combine the cream and the vanilla and whisk until thick taking care not to over whisk this.

For the black forest topping

Throw the contents of the black forest fruits container into a pan and gently heat.  Add in 1 spoon of sugar at a time and gently stir in.  Try not to mix this too much as the fruit breaks down.  Add more sugar if you require.  Allow this to warm through so it isn’t frozen then cool before putting the dessert together.

To assemble grab a serving bowl.  Break up some of the pavlova and cover the base of the bowl.  Pour a little cream and then the fruits of the forest over this then repeat a further 2 times so you have 3 layers.

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If you like you can add on some chocolate shavings (whichever chocolate you prefer) as this looks pretty and also tastes great.

Enjoy!

Introducing EvoShave

Shaving isn’t always a fun or easy part of any man’s or woman’s beauty regime but unfortunately for many it is a necessity.  There are numerous types of razors on the market many are large and bulky others are dainty and easily broken.  For those that shave regularly I am sure you would appreciate the latest product that I have discovered.

Have you heard of the award winning and innovative shaving system EvoShave that makes shaving easier and gives a lovely smooth finish?

I will admit I hadn’t until recently but I have just been introduced to EvoShave who have a handy new razor system that can give great shaving results.  The system allows for a very close shave as you can control it at very close contact directly with your fingers.

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The razors are nice and sharp so make sure on your first few shaves you don’t press too hard!  This is extremely easy to use and comes with one razor blade.  To use it simply glide (shave), rinse and repeat.  The results speak for themselves leaving the skin exceptionally smooth and very importantly hair doesn’t get stuck in the razor blade clogging it up.  My husbands face is kissably smooth after using one and I thankfully don’t get stabbed by stubble.

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Made using the latest blade technology in the UK and Germany this razor comes in 3 different colours; blue green and black and is targeted as an item for men although ladies you will want one too as it’s great for shave legs, it’s far better than your average razor that’s for sure.

The product itself is relatively inexpensive with the handle costing only £4.99 and comes with a blade.  A pack of four blades costs £5.99 and a pack of eight blades will set you back £9.99.  Great news for us as we tend to like to buy in bulk in our household.

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Doesn’t the razor look great!

I’m sure you would all love to get your hands on one and just like your Fairy Godmother I am about to make one lucky readers wish come true and give away one of these fab razors in my latest competition.  In addition the winner will also get a pack of four blades and a Luxury Hotel Chocolate Gift Box.

So what are you waiting for get entering!!!

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Please make sure you read the terms and conditions before entering:

T’s & C’s

  • Entrants must be 18 years +

One winner will receive a EvoShave razor, one pack of four blades & one Luxury Hotel Chocolate Gift Box.

UK entry only.

The winner must be following @MelanieMse and @EvoShave on twitter and must have retweeted the competition tweet.

The prize will be delivered to the winner within approximately 28 days of confirmation of their delivery address.

There is no cash alternative to Prizes which are subject to availability, non-transferable, non-negotiable and non-refundable. Prizes may not be sold, offered for sale or used in connection with any other competition or promotion by the Prize winner.

The competition will close on Sunday the 22nd of January at midnight.

The winner will have to respond within a week of being contacted to claim their prize.

To enter please Follow and RT here:

The competition tweet will need to be added after it has been tweeted with the link to this post attached if you cannot see it here please do go to my twitter feed @MelanieMse and RT the pinned tweet.

Good Luck xxx

Last Minute Christmas 2016 Gifts Under £6

Stuck for stocking filler ideas and small gift ideas, well if you are OMG you’ve left it right to the last minute!  Fear not though just think of me as your Fairy Godmother as I am going to help you out with all the mini gift inspiration you will need all from one place HiHouse and best of all you can get next day delivery Monday to Friday so if you order by 2pm you will receive it the next day meaning the panic is over.  Plus as an added bonus if you spend over £20 then you get delivery for just £1.  This post will concentrate on items that are £6 and under but there is a larger range of products from gifts to household items available on the site.

For Mums, Grans and Teens

There is a lovely selection of items that can be bought as stocking fillers or small gifts whether it’s to let mummy, gran or a teen have a little pamper time, glam up for a party or relax in the bath with a gorgeous scented candle burning you will find what you need here.  The selection isn’t enormous but then in a way that works for you as it cuts the time searching through items.

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The Impulse Why Not Cosmetic Bag Gift Set is a bargain at £2.99 considering it is £4.00 in Asda and Wilko.  It includes a pretty pink cosmetics bag and two sprays.

Technic Kissed Lips Set contains 3 lip crayons and 3 lip glosses so at £2.99 it is a fabulous bargain seeing as individual products normally sell for a minimum of £1 each.  The colours look great and will make for a useful gift that will be used and loved.  The lowest price I could find this elsewhere was at Fragrance Direct who have it for £3.99. This gift would also be great for mums, I know I’d love one of these.

The Eden Perfect Pamper Time gift set is idea for busy mums who are generally run off their feet.  Kids if you are reading this why not get dad or another adult to make a cup of tea for mum when she is wearing these and give her a little foot massage, she will really love that and you can score a few brownie points too.  Here it is just £5.99 although Fragrance Direct have it priced as £8.99.  I’d be getting the HiHouse website open if you still need gifts right about now.

Vintage Stocking Fillers (nail varnish) There are two available and are reasonably priced at £1.49 each.  Just to note there are currently just two colours available and there is no option to pick which you would prefer although they are both lovely colours.

Dove Pampering Moments Trio & Washbag is just £2.99 fortunately I was sitting when I saw the price and I double and triple checked it not having believed my eyes.  Even more shocking is that the lowest price I could find it elsewhere was at Wilko for £8.00.  This contains a good sized washbag, a body lotion, bodywash and deodorant.

Starlytes Candle Jar Pomegranate and Pear 18oz smells great and is a great gift as everyone loves candles.  The price is fabulous as it’s only £3.99 .  It seems to be sold out elsewhere including on Amazon where it was being sold for a whooping £14.99.

Chit Chat – Totally Crackers are a great idea for beauty fans.  Each cracker contains a beauty treat and I could quite easily substitute the old style crackers for these.  It’s a shame they don’t have them for men too.  These two crackers come at the shockingly low price of £0.99p so just short of 50p each cracker.  At that price you really can’t go wrong.  I found them over on the Prettylittlething website on offer for £3.00.  Clearly HiHouse is a site that many can’t compete with pricewise.

For Dads, Grandads and Teens

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The Lynx Black Duo Gift Set is a really useful gift for any man in your life.   The duo consists of full sized products; Black Body Spray 150ml and Black Shower Gel 250ml.  These have a subtle fragrance and notes of bergamot, rosemary and cedarwood.  Priced at £3.19 it’s fairly priced and not to expensive.  I did find this at Wilko for £2.50 as they have it on offer at the moment, the normal price was £3.25.
Dove Men +Care Daily Care Duo Gift pack contains a deodorant and shower gel ad costs £3.99.  I did find this for less at Superdrug (on offer for £2.75 normally £4.50).  Again a useful present and a great way for the men in your life to stock up on the essentials to see them through the year.
The Dove Men +Care Daily Care Wash Bag Gift Set makes a lovely inexpensive gift.  It contains the essentials that every male will find useful including face wash, post shave balm and deodorant. It costs just £5.99 and is not too expensive a gift either.  ASOS do these for £8.00.

For Little Girls

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Minions Fluffy 5 Day Set comes with 5 mini shower gels.  These cute little bottles come coloured pink and purple with the cutest little labels.  It’s a lovely little stocking filler and not expensive either at £2.99.  The only place I could find this was ebay priced at £10.99, doubt anyone would be using ebay to buy this then.  These can be individually wrapped if you prefer to keep the fun lasting longer.

The Troll lip balm and topper set will prove to be very popular with little sisters and at £2.99 for 4 lip balms and a cute Princess Poppy topper you can’t go wrong.  I know both my girls would love this as would all their friends.

Minions Fluffy Unicorn Lip Gloss Selection.  Now for starters who can resist unicorns they are sooooo cute!!!!!!  Secondly one can never have too many lip balms as they are a beauty essential and you should always be prepared with one in every handbag and coat pocket.  This is great to stop little ones stealing mummies lip gloss as mummies one looks so boring in comparison plus it doesn’t come with adorable little charms like these do either!  (£2.99 for 4 lip balms).  Available from Gordons Direct for £6.99.  These too can be wrapped individually if you prefer and depending on whether you want to give a pack per child or not.

For Little Boys

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The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle 3D 250ml fruit scented bubble bath is not only a useful gift but also a fun one as it can also double up as a toy.  It’s £4.99 and makes a great stocking filler for any turtle fan.  It is much higher elsewhere and the lowest price I found it was at Very for £9.99.

Paw Patrol 3D Bubblebath 150ml is perfect for my little man and I can’t wait to see his face when he opens his gift and see’s Marshall looking back at him.  It’s just the thing for any Paw Patrol fan and costs £4.99.  Not only does it contain bubblebath but it can also be used as a toy after so it’s one of those two in one items that come in very useful.

There are also some great scented candles that are perfect to add a little fragrance to the home including this cherry scented tealights (£0.99p).  So why not pop some of these into your basket too and have your home smelling great when your guests come over.

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As you can see you can find super gifts for all the family quite easily no matter what their age and at an amazing price.  You will make such a great saving on gifts that you could always buy a few extras to bulk up gifts that bit more.  So what are you waiting for get the kettle on and make yourself a tea / coffee then visit the site straight away and save yourself having to sit in traffic for ages followed by fighting through crowds to buy those last minute gifts, simply order them online and then you can squeeze in watching that great boxset you’ve been meaning to see but not had the time  Go on relax a little you’ve earnt it by making a smart shopping choice.  Let HiHouse do all the running around for you, it’s genius and a no brainer.

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Simple Tuna Fish Cakes

I don’t eat anywhere as much fish as I should but I find that if I make recipes using it that are full of flavour than it is more likely to entice me to do so.  One such recipe includes tuna.  Tuna is rich in omega 3 fatty acids which reduces cholesterol levels in arteries and blood vessels.  Two portions a week can help reduce LDL (low density lipoproteins) thus reducing the risk of coronary heart disease.  Tuna also contains selenium which is an antioxidant and helps fight off free radicals thus reducing the risk of illness.  This is just the tip of the iceberg as tuna has many more benefits.  Tuna cakes are a great way to increase your fish intake and these are packed with all sorts of nutrients too.  In addition the tuna recipe also contains anchovies and these too contain omega 3.  Combined with the immune boosting properties that the garlic and onion bring with them this is not just a tasty and healthy food it is great to help ward off illness and to fight it.

So without further ado I give you my recipe for:

Tuna Fish Cakes

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Ingredients

For the fish cakes:

2 120g tins tuna steaks

1 slice of brown bread

1 tin of anchovies

2 small onions

2 tbs chopped coriander

2 medium eggs

3tbs Worcestershire sauce

oil for shallow frying

For the garlic and lime mayonnaise:

1 small clove of garlic grated

3tbs mayonnaise

black pepper to taste

3tbs lime juice

grated lime rind optional, it adds more flavour and also adds a touch of colour

Method

For the mayo:

Spoon the mayo into a small bowl then add in all the prepared ingredients.

Cover with cling film and place n the fridge for the flavours to infuse.

For the fish cakes:

Break up the bread into crumbs either by hand or in a food processor.

Break up the chinks of tuna.

Chop the anchovies.

Chop the onions.

Give the eggs a quick light whisk.

Combine all the fish cake ingredients in a bowl.

Mould the mix into small burger shapes or balls (the number you make will vary depending on their size).

Place them n hot oil cooking for approx. 5 minutes each side.  You will need to do this in batches.  Cooking times will vary according to the heat of the oil and the thickness of the fish cakes.  Once they are a dark golden colour they are ready.

Place the fish cakes on some kitchen towel and allow the oil to be soaked up.  Repeat with fresh towel on the other side of the fish cakes but be quick as they are best served hot / warm.

Take out the mayonnaise from the fridge, spoon some into a pretty serving dish and place that with the fish cakes.

This can be served with salad or vegetables for a yummy and healthy meal.

Enjoy

Cocoba: An Introduction Plus a Giveaway!

I love chocolate what can I say it’s fabulous, but I don’t like all chocolate.  I know, crazy right!  Let me explain.  When you purchase some types of chocolate the quality of the ingredients are not always to the level they should be.  Some companies attempt to cut costs by substituting what should be good quality ingredients which would make a fabulously delicious chocolate for cheaper inferior ingredients thus increasing their profits but creating a product which is in some instances not fit for consumption in my opinion.  Yes I am a harsh critic in some respects but good quality products should be enjoyed by all so when I find good quality products the foodie in me can’t help but tell everyone.  I appreciate some might not agree but then we are all unique and have different tastes and have also experienced different quality products.  In many an instance I am finding that some of the most fabulously delicious chocolates are best purchased online.  One such chocolate is that which you will find over at the Cocoba website.  They believe in creating great quality chocolate products and search the globe for the highest quality cocoa beans and best tasting chocolate (how amazing does that sound!!!!).

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Cocoba opened their first cafe in Bluewater Shopping Centre, Kent in 2014 and there you can enjoy their own Cocoba coffee blend, loose leaf teas, and iced drinks, along with their selection of freshly made baguettes, sandwiches, soups, paninis and salads, delicious pastries, cakes, slices, or one of their 100 chocolate products including chocolate bars (all made in store), truffles, pralines and more.  Is your mouth watering yet?

Cocoba’s hot chocolates are made from real Belgian chocolate that is slowly melted.  For those that can’t get to their store fear not, you can also recreate the experience at home, using their Signature Hot Chocolate flakes, or Hot Chocolate Spoons.

I really need to get myself to their store sometime because they also have a selection of Cocoba signature desserts, including a chocolate pizza, a brand new Chocolate Waffle menu, and warm chocolate cookie dough with ice-cream, plus an ice-cream and frozen yoghurt station with over 16 toppings to choose from!

It really does sound like my idea of heaven.  But again not everyone will get the chance to try these if they are not located close enough to get there but fear not these guys also make some of the most deliciously divine chocolate you could ever try and these and many more products can be found over on their site https://www.cocobachocolate.com/ . There you will find products including drinking chocolate, chocolate spoons, chocolate bars, truffles, tea, flavoured syrup and more.  There is even a Chocolate Collection Box monthly subscription that costs £19.95 for a month, less then many of us chocoholics spend on chocolate and containing some scrummy treats.

The Chocolate Collection box monthly subscription contains:

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A selection of truffles and pralines

Handmade chocolate bars

Decadent drinking chocolate

There are 3 of these boxes available at the moment; the Cocoba collection box, milk chocolate collection box and the dark chocolate collection box.  There is also a hot chocolate spoon subscription box which is going to help see many of us through the winter months and I am sure it is amazing.

Subscriptions are available for 1,3,6 or 12 months.

I was sent one of the chocolate box subscriptions to try and here is how I got on.

What was in my box:

A guide clearly labelling each type of chocolate.

Assorted Truffles & Pralines x 2 different types

Pack 1 (contains 3 types)

Caramel Truffle

A lovely milk chocolate with a gorgeous smooth caramel centre.

Cappuccino Truffle

A yummy thick melt in the mouth dark chocolate ganache encased in a gorgeous rich dark chocolate.  Coffee lovers beware one bite and you’ll be hooked.

Tipsy Run Truffle

Chocolate, cream and rum are combined to create a divine ganache which is enrobed in dark chocolate.  I do love adding rum to alcohol as it works very well and this is a great example of how it should be done.

Pack 2 (contains 3 types)

Grenoble Praline

This comprises of a delicious walnut praline in a lovely thick milk chocolate coating.  Not a chocolate that you will come across often but one that you will simply adore.

The Marzipan

What can I say I do love marzipan and these guys really do it justice.  The addition of the chocolate is the cherry on the cake, yum!

White Nougatine

There were two of these in the pack but interestingly the both vanished.  I suspect my girls may have had something to do with that when I went to answer the phone.  The moral of the story, don’t leave chocolate unattended at my house there are lots of little and also big hands that will snatch it up before you realise its gone.

Extra Smooth Milk Chocolate (small bar)

Mr Squishy got wind that there was chocolate and found that this bar was just the right size for him, he grabbed it and hid under the table and didn’t come out until it had gone.  The only tale tale signs were that his hands, face and top had a good coating of chocolate, somehow it even made it into his hair too.  Anyone for a chocolate coated toddler?

Salted Toffee Truffles

Dusted with cocoa for a touch more flavour and because it looks pretty, these smooth, thick, creamy, velvety truffles melt slowly on the tongue.  You will be in heaven when you eat these with the contrasting texture of crunchy toffee pieces and the addition of the sea salt.  It is hardly surprising this is their best selling product, the truffles are wonderful.

Milk Chocolate Spoon

This has been hidden for me to enjoy over Christmas, ssssshhhhh don’t tell anyone or my little troop of chocoholics will hunt it down and eat it off the wooden spoon.

Mint Crunch Dark Chocolate (bar)

This is a 71% dark chocolate (nice and rich) which has been infused with organic peppermint oil and also has a sprinkling of mint crunch.  If you love good dark chocolate and mint you will love this bar, it’s simply exquisite.

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Caramel Sea Salt Milk Chocolate (bar)

This yummy silky smooth caramel is sprinkled with sea salt to give a delicious contrast between salty and sweet.  I was lucky to get a piece of this.  I am strongly considering hiding my chocolate review products in someone else’s house although I’m not sure who I can trust to look after it and not eat it lol.

44% Venezuela Origin Chocolate

This is a lovely simple chocolate button like no other, the rich creamy chocolate melts gently on the tongue.  This isn’t bulked up with rubbish instead it contains a whole 44% of cocoa solids unlike many inferior quality products.  Those that haven’t had the opportunity to experience this quality of chocolate before may mistake the flavour of this for dark chocolate.

Further information

The expiry dates on the items included in the box varied from 4 months 15 months although whether such a subscription box will last in my house for more than a few days is questionable with the number of chocoholics here.  It’s crazy I actually have to hide chocolate and hope no one finds it.  Even chocolate gifts for others are not safe which can at times be a nuisance.  My husband is the worst of all having eaten gifts I have bought and with me discovering last minute it can be very frustrating.  The chocolate as you saw was nicely presented with simple, clearly labelled packaging.  There is a fair amount of chocolate in the box that should keep most happy for a fair few weeks depending on their rate of chocolate consumption and of course the number of chocoholics living in the household.  As this chocolate is of a higher quality you might find that your craving is satisfied far quicker and you don’t need to consume quite so much I know I do.  That’s the beauty of having better quality items your weight increase is far less (yaaaaayyyy) and also the health benefit is greater.  Don’t forget chocolate contains antioxidants which as we all know causes ageing and various ailments, it also triggers the release of endorphins making you feel good.  There are numerous benefits of eating chocolate but of course the quality of the chocolate will influence this greatly, stick to good quality and you can’t go wrong.  The products are well priced, I did look at a leading competition and these guys charge less so keep that in mind next time you are looking to buy chocolate for yourself or as a gift.

So now for a really exciting announcement, the generous guys at Cocoba have said that I can giveaway one of their 1 month subscription boxes away to a lucky reader, it could be you!!!!

Entry is super easy just enter via the rafflecopter form.

Instructions if needed can be found here:

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Not all of the entry options are compulsory but the more you do the more entries you will gain.

Look out for the daily entry options for extra entries.

Likes on Facebook are NOT compulsory but are very much appreciated plus it will ensure you don’t miss great posts, freebies and competitions.

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Enter here:

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