Monday, 30 September 2013

Girls Hairstyles - High Bun Using Donut

This is a simple but really effective hairstyle to achieve and is fabulous for ballet, school or weekend wear!





1) Pull the hair off the face into a neat high pony tail at the centre of the head and tie with a hair tie.

2) Take the hair donut and pull the pony tail through the middle of the donut.
3) Starting from the top push the hair over and around the donut and pin as you go to keep the hair in place. 
4) Once the donut is covered neatly with hair take the ends of any length of hair left and wrap around the base of the bun pinning in place.
5) Choose any ribbon of your choice and wrap this around the base of the bun using pins if required to keep the ribbon in place.  Tie Ribbon into bow.





Friday, 27 September 2013

It's almost winter..time to buy some Boots!

Now winter is on the horizon the new footwear season is out there and I have been on the look out for some new boots! This is what I have found!


I love these Knee Length Boots from H&M such a Bargain at £34.99!




Great value Biker Boots from George at Asda at only £26.00!


These Limited Edition Western Ankle Boots from Marks & Spencers are great and look fab dressed up or down at £45.00, they come in black too!



Next have a great range of 'Slouch' style boots these are real leather and come in at £75.00!



These Block Heel boots from New Look are real leather and a great price of £64.99 - Love them!



These are just a few of the gorgeous boots on the market right now perfect for yummy mummies to wear on the school run, shopping or evenings out without the kids! - Happy Shopping!


Thursday, 26 September 2013

Jillian Michaels Work Out Review - Banish Fat Boost Metabolism


Banish Fat Boost Metabolism is the first Jillian Michaels DVD I ever bought! It is a great starting place for anyone fairly new to exercise and also new to Jillian Michaels. There is no equipment required to follow this workout apart from an exercise mat and a TV and as it is currently only £6.92 from Amazon it is a total bargain.  For the same cost as one exercise class at the gym you can get unlimited workouts from this DVD!

Banish Fat Boost Metabolism contains only Cardio exercises and only one section of mat work which I quite like as you are not constantly scrambling around trying to get into different positions. Jillian is very motivational and also makes me laugh.  The music is nothing to write home about but to be honest you will be working so hard you probably won't even notice! The entire workout is broken up into 7 sections/circuits and you repeat the circuit twice in each section which keeps you from getting bored.  There is also a 5 minute warm up and cool down which I find quick and easy and doesn't take up too much of your time especially when you have finished and want to get on with the rest of your day/evening!

Section 1 includes a bit of kick boxing, side kicks, jabs etc. and basically gets you warm for the rest of the workout. 
Section 2 contains a lot of plyometrics which means jumping training so the moves include burpees, single leg jumos and 180 degree jumps.
Section 3 is mostly calisthenics intended to increase body strength and flexibility. The moves include butt kicks, high knees, jumping jacks and standing crunches.
Section 4 is all mat work including, crunches, walking planks and mountain climbers which all target your core.
Section 5 is my favourite section and gives you a slight break by taking you back to kick boxing including back kicks, knee crunches, punches and swing kicks.
Section 6 I feel is actually the hardest section of them all containing more plyometrics.  The moves include mountain climbers, scissor kicks, squat jumps and running man.
Section 7 is the final circuit and is slower than 6 presumably to start cooling down your body.  The moves include jump twists, standing pikes, knee crunches and small jumps.

Although this may appear like a lot of exercises the DVD run time is around 50 minutes and it goes really quickly. Jillian also shows variations on every move for beginner, intermediate and advanced levels which you can attempt whichever you like depending on how you feel.  As I have mentioned in my previous post Keeping Fit, Active & Healthy I work out 3-4 times a week so I would rate myself as fairly fit, however Banish Fat Boost Metabolism really makes you sweat and gets your heart rate up, by the end of this work out I always look a bit red in the face and feel like I have really worked out hard!  If you find this work out hard please stick at it, if you do it several times a week you will find you improve massively and be really surprised with the results and changes in your shape.

There are over 200 reviews on Amazon for the Banish Fat Boost Metabolism workout so check them out if you want more reasons to buy this DVD!

Please share my review with your family & friends and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Coconut Cherry Choc Tray Bake

I tried this recipe at the weekend and not only was it really easy with only 5 ingredients but also really tasty too! Thanks to http://mummyheartsyou.wordpress.com/ where I originally found this recipe. You can also find it at BBC Good Food!




Ingredients:

200g desiccated coconut
85g caster sugar
2 eggs, beaten
200g bar white chocolate, roughly chopped
85g glacé cherries, halved

Method:


1) Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and line a 20 x 30cm baking tray with baking parchment.

2) In a large bowl, mix the desiccated coconut, sugar, eggs, white chocolate and glacé cherries until combined.

3) Cook for 20 mins until golden brown and set.


4) Cool in the tin before slicing into bars.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Girls Hairstyles - Side Lace Braid

This is a side Lace Braid which is great for keeping a fringe/bangs out of the face and also gives some real interest to any type of hair!


1) Make a side parting and take a small section of hair from the front.  
2) Begin to plait/braid as if you were making a French braid but only add in hair from the top into the braid. 
3) Continue braiding taking only hair from the top until you have reached the crown.
4) Finish off with a simple braid/plait securing at the end.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Laser Eye Surgery - My Experience With Optimax! Post-Surgery

Post Surgery:

After I left the Optimax surgery my eyes were quite sensitive and blurry it was almost as though I could see like I had my glasses on but my eyes had been white washed!  I couldn't see fine detail at this stage but I could see better than when I didn't have my glasses on before the surgery it was just very hazy.  We got in the car and I took some paracetamol as I had a slight headache (probably caused from all the stress and tension).  After about 15mins into our journey the anaesthetic must have worn off as my eyes started to sting and water a bit.  It felt a bit like I had been chopping onions, nothing terrible but uncomfortable.  

Once I got home I took shelter in my bedroom with the curtains closed.  My husband put some anaesthetic drops into my eyes as they were more painful now and I had a little rest while he collected the children from school (Optimax give you anaesthetic drops to use for 24hours if needed).  For the first night I had my husband apply the eye drops for me, there were  two different types (anti-inflammatory and anti-biotic) which had to be applied in a set order.  You apply both drops four times a day for a week then for another three days you apply just one bottle of drops four times a day. Optimax also provided me with two boxes of freshening eye drops called Refresh which you can use whenever you like (unbelievably these are actually cheaper from Optimax at £5 then anywhere else so its worth stocking up on these). During the course of the evening I got out of bed and sat in the living room with my husband, I felt fine and ate dinner.  We had the lights switched off but the TV was on and I could see it, be it a little blurry. My eyes were still light sensitive and I listened more than watched at this stage.

While you sleep you have to wear plastic eye shields every night for a week which make you look like a bug but although they look uncomfortable I slept perfectly well in them.  
When I woke up the day after surgery I opened my eyes and couldn't believe it I COULD SEE!!!! I had a check-up at the Optimax clinic that morning and when I got there I had a quick eye test and had my eyes checked over only to find I had better than 20:20 vision!  I couldn't believe it!
The following week I found my eyes were quite dry and I was using the refresh drops quite often but as I could now see without glasses for the first time in 18 years it was no compromise.  
It has now been three months since my surgery and my eyes feel fantastic! I have been for two more check ups and my eyes are still better than 20:20 which is a fantastic result!  I have now been dscharged from Optimax but they provide a lifetime guarantee so you can go back to them any time you like if you feel you need to. I hardly use the refresh eye drops any more and cannot believe how incredibly lucky I am to be able to see without glasses I thank my lucky stars every day -  I am so pleased!! 


Please ask me any questions about my post as I am more than happy to share my experience.



See Pre Surgery & Surgery Day for more!

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Girls Hairstyles - Triple Topsy Tail

This is an easy tutorial on how to create a Triple Topsy Tail:



1) Section off the top part of the hair and tie with a small elastic (this is great if you want to get a fringe/bangs off the face).  Take your topsy tail and push through the hair above the elastic, thread the pony tail of hair through the topsy tail and pull the topsy tail down and under.
2) Section off the middle section of hair and include the 1st pony tail. Repeat step 1.
3) Take the remaining hair including the pony tail from 2nd topsy tail and tie again.  Repeat steps as above.

N.B: You can achieve the same effect without a topsy tail by making a hole through the hair behind the hair tie and pulling the pony tail over, through and under.



Friday, 20 September 2013

BaByliss Waving Wand Review


As you may already know I have banned myself from using my straighteners, so in my attempt to give my hair an actual style and not just a load of frizz I have purchased a BaByliss Waving Wand for £25.47.

I was looking for a way to tame the frizz and found some advice online on how to use a curling wand.  It looked very simple and only took 10 to 15 minutes to do your entire hair.  Also the look was meant to last for up to three days which would mean less heat styling and therefore less damage to my hair.

I checked out Amazon and found this waving wand which had great reviews from many people.  At £25.47 I thought it was worth a go and decided to treat myself! ;)

How To Use:
To get the best results I was told to use this wand on dry hair and section my hair into 3 layers.  Starting with the bottom section hold the wand down and wrap a 2" piece of hair away from your face going down the wand and hold each piece for up to 10 seconds.  Do this around the entire lower section and then follow the same technique for the middle and top sections.  Once finished pull out the waves gently using your fingers and then spray with hairspray to finish.

Here is the picture of my hair after (Day 1):


Day 2:


Day 3:




My Review:
Personally I find that I have to leave my hair wrapped around the wand for about 20 seconds in order to achieve a good wave. It is very quick and I am able to curl my entire head of hair within 15 minutes.  I have been leaving my hair to completely cool whilst getting the kids ready and then I pull the waves out with my fingers spraying under my hair with hairspray and also on top to hold all the waves.  As I have also been trying to wash my hair less (see In With The New) I have found that the waves last through the next day and even into day three!  This means less heat styling and hopefully less damage!  I am really impressed with this product and would highly recommend you try it for easy to create waves/curls - Love it!

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Thursday, 19 September 2013

Laser Eye Surgery - My Experience With Optimax! Surgery Day

Surgery Day:

On the day of my surgery to say I was frightened would not be enough, I was petrified! I had a little cry before I left home and my husband was really supportive and made sure I wanted to go through with it whilst encouraging me that this was a life changing opportunity. I knew I did want to go through with it as I had always wanted to have this done and the freedom from glasses would be life changing.  My husband and I arrived at the Optimax clinic around 10am and I filled out a few more forms signing to say I understood any side effects that may occur.  I also arranged my payment plan providing my ID, bank and address details.  You meet the surgeon and he carries out another quick check on your eyes to make sure he is happy to go ahead with the surgery.  He also let me know what to expect immediately after the surgery and personally reassured me about what I was about to do.
There were around twelve people at the clinic all waiting to go in,  we were all bare faced and wearing glasses and squirming in our seats!  To be honest this made feel a little more confident – I was not the only mad person going to have lasers pointed at my eyes,  there were other people just as crazy and brave as me.  The wait was long and I think I was third from the end.  In fact we waited so long I almost forgot my nervousness.  I saw eight people go into the operating room before me and all came out 20mins later with red bleary eyes before being ushered into a darkened room and leaving for home shortly after. 
After about 2hrs it was finally my turn!  My name was called and I went into a small waiting room where I put on a hair net and removed my glasses.  I waited for about 5mins then was shown into the operating room.  I laid down on a flat bed and the nurse was very kind asking me how I felt and not to worry.  The surgeon was also great and again very reassuring, all the staff tell you exactly what is happening and how long it will last at all times.  Firstly they cover one eye and anaesthetise the uncovered eye.  Using a small clamp they open your eye.  This is uncomfortable but once in place it was OK and the discomfort was manageable.  They apply a ring to your eye and vacuum your eye to make sure the eye has a smooth surface.  You can only see white while this happening and the surgeon counts down to let you know how long is left but it only lasted a minute or so.  They then uncover the 2nd eye and cover the eye just treated and do exactly the same again.
Once both eyes have been prepared you are then moved over to the laser machine.  Your 2nd eye is re-covered and your 1st eye is clamped open again.  You stare up at the machine and all you can see are a circle of red dots - I think this was where they cut the flap into the cornea and move it across.  The laser is then changed from red dots to one green flashing laser.  You are asked to stare at the green light and when the machine is ready it stops flashing and stays constant.  My first eye only took 15 seconds it smelt like burning hair slightly and the surgeon counted down the seconds until the laser had finished.  As your eye is clamped open you cannot shut your eye and all you need to do is stare straight ahead trying not to look away.  (If you did look away the machine has a cut off so nothing would go wrong with the surgery as far as I'm aware).  Once the first eye was done they re-cover the treated eye and carry out the same procedure again on your 2nd eye.  For me this was the eye with the worse prescription and it took slightly longer at 19 seconds.  
Once both eyes were treated they ask if you are ok and they help you get up from the bed.  I removed the hair net and was led out of the operating room and  into the darkened recovery room. My eyes felt sore and the darkness was a relief.  My husband came in and sat with me and I talked him through what happened in the operating room.  After about 10/15 minutes we were taking into see the optometrist and she had a quick look at my eyes.


They give you several bottles of prescription drops and instructions on how to use them and you are free to go home.



See Pre-Surgery & Post-Surgery for more...

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Help With Teeth Brushing

Calling all Mummies who have trouble getting their children to brush their teeth!


My girls hate brushing their teeth and don't I know about it! 

Recently we discovered the new Time To Brush App available on iPhone and Android and my children love it. They can watch the Aquafresh 'Nurdle' dance and sing for two minutes while they brush and once they are done they earn points which can 'buy' their Nurdle outfits. 

Thank you Aquafresh for making those four minutes of torture into a bit of fun that my children can look forward to! Now can I request a motivational children's app for getting dressed, cleaning their rooms, eating breakfast, eating lunch and eating dinner too??!!

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Laser Eye Surgery - My Experience With Optimax! Pre-Surgery

This is my Laser Eye Surgery Story, I guess its best to start from the beginning...

I have worn glasses for 18 years since I was 12 years old.  I started wearing contact lenses when I was about 17 years old but only used them during weekends and nights out etc.  My prescription was quite bad - I was short sighted in both eyes and had an astigmatism also.  My left eye was -5.75 and my right -4.50. I have always found having to wear glasses and contacts so inconvenient i.e. when swimming, not being able to put sunglasses on, getting wet glasses when it would rain, contacts drying my eyes out after long periods of wear etc, and I felt I looked better without them. I had dabbled with the idea of  laser eye surgery for years but was always too scared that something would go wrong. 

I'm not sure what made me finally do it but when I turned 30 I plucked up the courage to book a couple of consultations with the view that I would find out the facts and figures and also find out if I would even qualify to have it done.  I printed off a couple of money-off vouchers and the first company I went to see was Optical Express in Bournemouth. When you get there you fill out a couple of medical forms and have your eyes checked like you do at a normal opticians appointment.  You then have your pupils dilated which relaxes the muscles in your eye I believe and they check your eyes again.  It wasn't painful and lucky for me I was a candidate - Optical Express recommended I had the Lasik Wavefront procedure.

There was nothing dreadful to report about Optical Express, I liked the people there and what they had to say, it was also conveniently close to where I live - you have the actual surgery in Southampton but all the after care was carried out in Bournemouth.  The problem was that I wasn't entirely convinced and felt they gave quite a hard sale before I left when I said I needed time to think. I also had an appointment booked with Optimax and wanted to weigh up my options before I committed. 

When I went the following week to Optimax I went through the same tests I had with Optical Express they also recommended the Lasik Wavefront procedure. As I liked Optimax the best, with a little prompting from my mum I decided to go for it. I booked an appointment and knew if I did change my mind I could cancel at any point.  Like I said I had a money off coupon for both companies - Optical Express had ended up  being£100.00 cheaper so I decided to email Optimax and ask if they would match it.  I received an email back after only 5 minutes saying that yes they would match the price and as per their 'price guarantee' they would take off a further £100.00.  I signed up for a 24 month interest free payment plan and went ahead with my surgery on 7th June 2013.

Go to Surgery Day and Post Surgery for more...



Monday, 16 September 2013

Making Bread

My Home Made Bread
So I have dug out my old bread maker from the depths of my cupboard and had a go at making my own bread. After reading an article about how bad shop bought bread can be for you, making my own has been on my mind for a while.  After looking through the instructions I chose the bread type I wanted and added the few ingredients it requires to make home made bread and a great smelling house!  The ingredients required to make your own bread are minimal and usually, flour, water, yeast, sugar, salt and skimmed milk powder.  And with a bread maker it is so simple, by just adding the required amounts measured in cups or spoons and pressing 'start' all you have to do is wait and the machine does all the mixing, kneading, proofing and baking for you. Three hours later your home smells divine and your family have great tasting, soft, warm bread!  My daughter is already addicted and we went through a whole loaf in just one day.  So here's to my new resolution and lifestyle choice, to make my own bread from now on..let's see if I can keep it up and I urge you to give it a try! :)

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Sock Creatures

For anyone feeling creative check out these DIY kits from Sock Creatures.  

I have made my girls the sock bunnies and they were so simple but really funky at the same time! We Love Them!




There are a huge selection of creatures to choose from, here is the list: Hedgehog,  Sockosaurus, Giraffe, Elephant, Lion,  Cow, Piggy, Puppy, Froggy, Croc, Socktopus, Polar Bear, Bear, Penguin, Bunny, Owl, Monkey, Kitty and a Monster! 


If you want to try one of these fabulous Sock Creatures visit http://www.sock-creatures.co.uk/sock_creature_shop.php !

Friday, 13 September 2013

Budget Make Up, Brushes & Tools

Check out E.L.F for great value make-up, brushes and tools.  If like me you are on a budget and can only get your hands on expensive brands around Christmas or on your Birthday try E.L.F out for size.  They have a huge range of make up for you to look through and most of their products get good reviews from customers.  I recently bought some make up brushes from them and was really pleased with the quality and application. Even with £2.95 for delivery still managed to bag myself four new brushes for under a tenner!  

Here are some of my favourite products:

Mineral Lipstick £5.00
Make Up Mist & Set £3.75

Smudge Brush £1.50





HD Blush £3.75
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Thursday, 12 September 2013

Keeping Fit, Active & Healthy!

Feeling Good:

I know it is pretty much the last thing on your mind as a busy mum, but in my opinion if you want to feel better and look better too, exercise is the way to go.  After having my second daughter Sasha I put on at least half a stone and for the first year of her life I had a really negative view of my body.  

Starting Out:

After Sasha's first Birthday I decided enough was enough and started to exercise. I really enjoy my food and I couldn't face making my own separate 'diet' style meals so I just ate the same as the rest of my family but cut out puddings and my daily grazing habits, sticking to three meals a day.  At the weekends I would treat myself and eat what I wanted (within reason) and still do.  This gave me something to aim for and look forward to at the end of every week.
As I didn't have enough money to spend on a gym membership (and still don't) or the time to get there (and still don't lol) I decided to exercise from home.  During nap times or after the girls had gone to bed in the evening I started following a few Davina DVDs which I had on the shelf. I did this about three times a week and really started noticing some results. After a few months I was finding Davina's DVDs a bit boring and not challenging enough so I read numerous reviews on Amazon and found the same name coming up - Jillian Michaels.  let me just say "I Love Jillian Michaels"! I bought my first Jillian Michaels DVD called 'Banish Fat Boost Metabolism' and once I received it I never looked back.  

Before & After Photo's:



Part Of Everyday Life:

I pretty much have all of Jillian Michaels DVDs in my collection now and I mix them up depending on how I feel.  I  try to exercise between three and four times a week and feel the best I ever have.  I look back at old photos and can't believe the difference in the way I look. I am still strict during the week by not eating puddings and snacks but at the weekend I continue to treat myself to anything I like especially Friday Night Pizza and Chocolate! (I actually read an article somewhere which said that it's not good to follow a strict diet everyday and by upping your calories one or two days a week you will keep your metabolism from slowing down. I don't know if this is a fact but it works for me and I'm going with it!) 
Over the last two years I have lost 1 1/2 stone and although I'd much rather chill out on the couch after a long day, I know that the benefits are worth it.  I feel less tired, more energetic and have a happier outlook on life which I know is all down to the exercise.  I know it is hard to get motivated when you are a busy mum but try it,  persevere and you will definitely see and feel fantastic results!

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Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Poorly 3 Year Old! :(

So I know all you Yummy Mummies will sympathise with me as I was up all night last night with a poorly three year old. 

Woken in the middle of the night by my daughter shouting "Mummy I'm going to be sick!" I jump out of bed and find my bleary eyed way to her bedroom where she has indeed been sick...everywhere! I proceed to roll off her pyjamas whilst trying to comfort her and shout for my husband for back up!

My husband shows up and proceeds to stand behind me holding his nose and gagging - not helpful!  I have to instruct him to shower off our daughter while I accept the mission of bed cleaning.  Off they trot to the bathroom and I am left to clean the apocalypse left in the bed.  Three hours later we are all finally in bed asleep...

It's hard work as you probably already know, being a busy mum and with work in the morning the last thing you want is to have a sick child that you feel you have to ship off to nanny's house so you can get to your job.  And I have done just that, with a heavy heart and a feeling of guilt my daughter has gone to my Mum's house with the proviso that if she takes a turn for the worse I will collect her.  Should I have taken the day off work?  I don't know but I hope this is a happy compromise and all will be well. 

Now I am sitting at work questioning my own health, do I feel sick too or is it the mere three hours of sleep I had last night? Here's hoping no one else in my household gets sick -  keep your fingers crossed because if anyone does it will be me... ;-)


Tuesday, 10 September 2013

...In With The New!

In With The New

Further to my previous post #BadHairDays and Out With The Old I am now really concentrating on getting my hair back to a healthy state and I have decided to update my hair products:

I have been researching on the net and this is what I have come up with: Rehab shampoo from Lush, Label.M Organic Lemon grass conditioner, Pure Coconut Oil, 100% Argan Oil and TRESemme Keretin Smooth heat defence spray. To be honest some of these products are not cheap (Rehab, Label.M & Argan Oil) but they are are all natural products not one chemical in site! The Coconut Oil is really cheap at around £2.00 and I have found it available from Superdrug and also the Sainsburys pharmacy.  The TRESemme is also reasonable and available from supermarkets and other beauty stores.

New Hair Product Reviews: 

Lush Rehab:   

This shampoo uses natural ingredients and smells really fresh. You only need to use a small amount so the bottle lasts a really long time and as I have tried to cut down to washing my hair only three times a week it should last even longer.  It lathers well and my hair feels really clean after using.

Label.M:  

This is an organic lemon grass conditioner.   I really like the fact that it is organic and all the ingredients are natural – no chemicals!  It makes my hair smell lovely and after it was very soft.  This conditioner is really quite expensive but it was a gift and I am trying to use it sparingly.  It might be a good idea to put it on your Christmas List!

Coconut Oil: 

This smells lovely and it is 100% natural and cheap too! Coconut oil is meant to have a special quality where it actually penetrates the hair shaft rather than just sitting on the outside and can therefore do some good for your hair from the inside out.  I have been using it once a week as my hair is in quite bad condition right now.  I put it on before I go to bed and really massage it into my scalp and down through the ends of my hair.  I then tie it up loosely and lay a towel over my pillow while I sleep.  In the morning wash your hair as usual and if needed shampoo it twice to remove the oil.

TRESemme Keretin Smooth:  

I saw this recommended on the internet as a good heat defence spray and decided to try it for myself.  It seems to be doing a good job now but as I have cut right down on my heat styling I haven’t had much chance to notice any improvement yet.

Argan Oil: 

The brand I am using is 100% pure and organic.  You may as well use pure Argan oil instead of using a hair product with just a small amount of Argan oil added and you will benefit more from using the pure Argan oil. I have heard only good things about this oil and there are a variety of ways to use it.  I have been using it as soon as I have washed my hair.  Just use a small drop and then run it through your hair.  I am using this instead of the serum I was using before as it is meant to have the same benefits and more.

I have obviously only just started using these products so will post an updated review in a few weeks....

Out With The Old...

Out With The Old

So here is a picture of all my hair products which I have been using over the last few years:  

As I was washing my hair every day I would use John Freda Colour Renew shampoo and conditioner three times a week (as per bottle instructions) and the other four days I would use Alberto Balsalm Coconut & Lychee shampoo and conditioner this is super cheap at around a £1 a bottle.  Also I would treat my hair to L'Oreal Professional Intense Care Masque twice a week after shampoo and conditioning.  Although the L'Oreal Masque is more pricey it lasts for quite a while and really makes your hair feel soft after use.  

After getting out the shower I would use either a Toni & Guy serum or the Avon Advance Technique serum and also a heat defence spray - again either Toni & Guy or Avon.

As you may already know I am currently on a rescue mission to save my hair so I have decided to shake it up a bit and get rid of all the old products and try and go a more natural route with the new products...See my next post In With The New.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Mmmmm....My Home Made Birthday Cakes! (Pizza)

Pizza Cake for Brooke's 6th Birthday:

Pizza Cake
So Brooke decided she would like a pizza party for her Birthday this year and a pizza cake to match! Again I exhausted Google and did as much research on pizza cakes as I could! :)

1) Using my super easy sponge recipe I made one large cake in a 23cm/9" tin.  Quick Tip: As I didn't need the cake until the following day I wrapped it tightly in cling-film which really keeps the sponge moist and fresh.
2) On the day I used white sugar paste icing and dyed it black using a gel food colouring. Once you have made your black icing roll it out into a thin strip slightly higher than the height of your sponge.  Using a bit of jam around the side of the sponge 'stick' the black icing to the side of your cake and roll slightly at the top to make your 'pan'.
3) To make the 'toppings' I used strawberry jam to make the pizza 'sauce' then grated white chocolate to make the 'cheese' and sprinkled it over the top of the jam. Quick Tip: You want to put the toppings on at the last minute as the edge of your sponge cake will be on show and open to the elements this will cause the sponge to harden faster than if it was covered with icing.
4) To make the 'toppings' I used coconut mushrooms sliced in half, tinned pineapple chunks from a tin cut in half and I made the 'pepperoni' slices out of sugar paste icing - To make the pepperoni shaped icing I simply added brown and red food colouring gel to a small amount of white sugar paste, kneaded and then chilled. I rolled out the icing on some non-stick baking paper and used a round cutter to cut out the circle shape. Quick Tip: If you want, add really tiny bits of black food colouring using a cocktail stick to give the pepperoni a slightly more realistic look.  

That's it! - a really easy and quick Pizza Cake! :)

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Calming Jar

I love this Calming Jar!  Use when your child may need a little thinking time..if you know what I mean!? 


Choose an empty jar and fill with hot water (dye the water using food colouring), add 1tbsp of clear glue about 1 inch of glitter (might be best to glue the lid shut) and you have your own Calming Jar.  To use: tell your child he/she needs a break and may return when everything in the jar has settled to the bottom.

Friday, 6 September 2013

Mmmmm....My Home Made Birthday Cakes! (Teddy Bear)

This is the first major Birthday cake project I have ever done, it was for my youngest daughter, Sasha's 2nd Birthday:


Teddy Bear Cake

I made this from a book I have called Gorgeous & Gruesome Cakes For Children by Debbie Brown - Sasha had a teddy bear themed party and I think this cake design is so cute! This did take quite a long time to make however, maybe three evenings of my time and some help from my patient engineer Hubby too! 

1) Cover the cake board with rolled out green sugar paste (I bought all the icing already coloured but you could dye your own).
2) Bake the square cake using two 15cm square cake tins.  Quick Tip: I used a sponge recipe from the book which is pink as you add red jelly, it also uses more flour than a usual sponge recipe to create a firm texture. Trim the crusts from the square cakes and slice a layer through each.  Stack the cakes on top of a square cake card using a butter-cream filling in between each layer then crumb coat. Lay more green sugar paste on top of the cake and make sure it is smooth then cover the sides of the cake in pink sugar paste.  You can use edible glue to secure the joints. Push three dowlling rods through the centre of the box making sure they just reach the top ready for the bear.
3) To create the teddy I baked two cakes in a pudding bowl then had my lovely husband carve the bowl shaped cakes into semi-spheres which I sandwiched together using butter-cream. Once the head was together I crumb coated it with more butter-cream and laid more sugar paste over it in pink.  Cover a small circular cake board with pink sugar paste in a dome shape - this is the bear's 'body' and place this on top of the dowling poles in the box.
4) Roll out cream and green sugar paste in different sized strips using a ruler and stick around the box to create the stripes.
5) Roll out the nose section out of more pink icing in a tear drop shape and then press down slightly and attach it to the front of the teddy's face (the round cake) add a small ball of pink icing to make his actual nose.  Once this is in place add the line around his head to make him look more like a teddy bear.  Make the ears out of small icing balls pushed down then roll out the arms into sausage shapes.  Lay the arms from the bears neck over the edges of the box.
4) To make the bow I use green coloured sugar paste.  Making a flat leaf shape first and then loop over - stick a ball of icing into the middle.  To make the tails of the ribbon cut two strips into some rolled out icing narrower at one end and cut a 'V' into the larger end. Apply the bow to the front of your bear. Roll two small eyes out of black icing for the bear's eyes.
5) I bought the sweets in similar colours to the cake from a local sweet shop and scattered them on the board to finish! 

Voila! :)


Button Tree Art

How cute is this Button Tree Art?! Really easy and cheap too just buy a canvas and get your hands on a mixture of buttons and let your children go mad! Love it!


Budget Birthday Present For Children :)

These books are a great idea for children's Birthday Parties.  As you probably know when your child is invited to their school friend's parties it can get a little pricey.  


These books are fabulous for children aged 3 to 8 or possibly older and at only £4.99 each from The Book People a great buy.  They are really great quality and come in a version for Boys, Girls and even one for Preschoolers. The pages are thick and on the inside the books are printed in full colour for drawing  and design inspiration:


So if you are looking for a good quality present at a great price I would definitely stock up on these.  

Quick Tip: It is worth checking for free delivery codes before you order as The Book People have these offers quite frequently and bulk buy while you can!

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Ikea Wrapping Paper!

Ikea have just launched a new 'Paper Shop' inside their main shop and have loads of really cute products. Check out this funky paper from Ikea, it cost £1.75 per roll and you get 5m which I think is a bargain! Here is the link: Overlagsen Gft Wrap Roll  I love the unusual design and thought it would be great for kids parties it's also really good quality and the paper feels very thick. 


As you can see I bought two - one pink and one white! Other items include, gift ribbon, note pads, gift bags, tissue paper, sticky notes and more...

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Mmmmm....My Home Made Birthday Cakes! (Rainbow)


The Rainbow Cake

To make this cake I used 2 x 8" sandwich tins which I used 3 times each to bake the different coloured layers.  Of course if you have more tins of the same size it would probably be easier and you would have to do less washing up but I was trying to save money! ;)



1) Make up a good sponge cake mix and times the quantities by two (you can find my favourite recipe if you go to my main page).  Divide the mixture between six bowls you can do this by eye or use the scales to try and weigh it out.
2) Using gel food colouring, add into each bowl of mixture a few blobs at a time until you get the required colours.  Although I made six layers I only used 5 colours they were: pink, yellow, green, blue and purple. To make the red colour I just used extra of the pink dye to the 'red' bowl and less in the pink bowl to create different shades.
3) Pour the mixtures into separate tins and bake for around 15-20mins each.  Once baked allow to cool.
4) Where each cake has risen in the oven trim each one so they are flat on the top and therefore easy to stack then eat the left over tops - yum!
5) Stack the cakes using butter-cream in between - try and put on an even layer of butter-cream as you will see this when the cake is cut open and you want a dramatic effect. Once all the cakes are layered, crumb coat the entire cake with more butter-cream (I always cheat and use Betty Crocker's butter-cream as I use a lot of it, it saves time and it tastes lovely!) Put the cake in the fridge to let the crumb coat harden for a maximum of half an hour.
6) Remove the cake from the fridge and using a spatula cover the entire cake with yet more butter-cream.  I have added coloured chocolate beans to finish. Here it is:

BAD HAIR DAYS!

So I have pretty much always had long hair and it has been dyed all sorts of colours for the last 12 years- it started as my natural colour brown, then highlighted blonde, dyed back to brown, to black, to red and now highlighted blonde again!  I have always had really badly behaved hair which is frizzy and hard to style so for the last 10 years or so I have pretty much straightened it every day or if I have fancied a change I have plaited it to make it wavy.  As you can probably guess after all that colouring and heat styling I have recently noticed that my hair is wrecked!!

Check out these pics of my hair through the years lol...

Brown

Black

Red
Going Blonde From Red

Blonde


Although I want to stay blonde at the moment my hair has suddenly lost 3" or 4" in length and is very dry, much more than usual. Check out this most recent picture look how short my hair is (PS Do you like my henna lol?):



I presume the ends have been so abused and over-treated that they have given up and snapped off! As I really pride myself on having nice hair I have decided to try and fight back and this is my attempt at a rescue mission.  I'll keep you updated with my progress....