Beauty Box: Diorshow Mascara

For quite some time now I have been a devotee of Bobbi Browns Extreme Party mascara but I have been steadily getting more irritated that it really doesn’t last. The tubes always seem to run out (or dry out – I’m not sure which) in less than 6 months, and whilst I know it’s recommended to change your mascara regularly for hygiene reasons, well, I ahem, don’t.

I happened across a free sample of the Diorshow Mascara recently however and have become a convert. Perhaps I should say I resurrected my devotion to it as I’m sure I have in years past used this particular mascara, along with YSL. I am a bit fussy when it comes to mascara. I like a super fat brush and a formula that doesn’t put big blobs of mascara on the lashes, particularly at the corners. Strong fragrances also put me off (take note Lancome,) and I want it all when it comes to effect – lengthening AND volumising, plus a bit of curling please. I don’t want spidery lashes, but super fat lashes that look like they will cause a draft when you bat them. I don’t ask for much clearly but Diorshow has got it covered. If you fancy treating yourself I’d highly recommend it. Available in all good department stores and Boots, it’s about £25.

Happy Friday readers!

Love, Rebecca xo

September Shape Up.

It’s not the usual time of year for it, but because of the promise of a new season, new clothes and a bit of serendipity too, I’m ready to make some effort finally to get into shape.

I’ve got more to wrote about post natal fitness and losing weight but for now as it’s the first and we have a month before our holiday and I am dying to buy new clothes but have promised myself I won’t before I lose the last bit of weight I want to, I’m setting myself some challenges. I’m keeping it simple and making it achievable and because it’s only a month, hopefully it can be measured by the end of the month before Ive forgotten about it.

I wondered if any of you would like to join me? It doesn’t have to be a fitness goal. Maybe you need to shape up your filing cabinet, wardrobe, garden shed, living room, your CV or diet. Write it down int he comments and give yourself 30 days to accomplish it. Maybe you need a treat as a reward too ;)

My goal is to…

~ Do some aerobic exercise 3 times a week
~ Do some floor stomach exercises every other day

What’s your goal this month?


PS, I’ve been saving loads of Pinterest workout plans and ideas in anticipation of this – take a look here!

The post baby body…

Now Bea is 12 months old I finally feel in a position to comment on my body. And honestly, it’s still changing, but I feel I can write this from a position of reasonable experience and with a realistic outlook. Before I start, please don’t anyone take any of this as a reflection or judgement on their body or decisions regarding it. This is purely my own personal experience and not meant to make anyone else scrutinise themselves, mother or not.

When I became pregnant, I was 10 and a half stone. To put that into context I’m about 5ft 7inches. It was the heaviest I have ever been and ironically I feel I got there because I was planning to get pregnant. My state of mind about starting a family was so messed up on reflection that I was constantly refusing to deny myself anything… if I had a pound for all the times I ordered something less than healthy or thought ‘to hell with it, I’ll have another drink…‘ because I thought I wouldn’t be able to eat/drink it during pregnancy, I’d be treating myself to something very fancy. I’d say my ‘happy weight’ i.e. the place where I feel good in my clothes but don’t have to really do much to maintain my weight is around 10 stone or just under, so I was at least half a stone heavier than I should be.

I weighed myself obsessively in pregnancy – not out of any concern for what I gained – I always assumed I’d get it off afterwards, but because I was fascinated by how much my body was changing. I won’t say I wasn’t keeping an eye on things, but I was eating everything in sight and so I made a mental note that if my weight ballooned I’d have to start being a bit more healthy. However, normal and healthy weight gain in pregnancy is 1 and a half to 2 and a half stone and watching my weight creep slowly up I never felt the need to cut back. In the end I gained exactly 2 stone, weighing in at 12 and a half stone the morning of my C-section. And I felt like a Goddess – I honestly can’t stress that enough. I LOVED my pregnant body.

You know how everyone tells stories about how they lost ‘a stone in the 24 hours after delivery,‘? Well, I had high hopes. I had a 6 and a half pound bundle, and had shed a placenta, a load of amniotic fluid and a bit of blood… I couldn’t wait to get on those scales with morbid fascination! Imagine my surprise when I had lost a measly 6 pounds! My flipping baby was heavier than that!

Of course, I didn’t care. My ‘baby bump’ took at least 3 weeks to subside and I accepted that it can take a bit longer post c-section. And in fact for many weeks or months afterwards my tummy was round and quite solid. It slowly started to settle but it was at a snails pace. I was (and still am,) breastfeeding but to say that breastfeeding makes you lose weight is the biggest myth in town… I’m sure it does, but if you’re eating for England, nothing can help you! – I took my milk production very seriously and after an astonishing conversation with a midwife early on who clearly thought I was trying to get my figure back at 10 days in when Bea was weighed and hadn’t gained anything, I was told to eat 3 square meals a day with pudding and snacks and to take food to bed too for the night feeds! And I did. Granted I didn’t gain any weight, but I think the breastfeeding mother typically loses weight because of being pinned under a constantly feeding baby and neglecting her own needs – I’m grateful to say that wasn’t me, I was well looked after by Pete – far too well! ;)

As the months went on my weight plateaued then would drop a fraction, then plateau again. Sometimes it bothered me, but on the whole I really didn’t care. I wasn’t desperately concerned with staring in the mirror before I had Bea, and afterward, well, I spent all my time just staring at her instead. When it did bother me I set myself targets, saying ‘I’ll start exercising at 6 months,‘ which became 9 months and ‘next month’. In truth, looking back, I just didn’t want to at all. My head wasn’t in a space that prioritised me or my needs and wants and rather than resenting or regretting that, I just didn’t even think about it. I’m not going to lie though, it was tough walking round in a bikini on holiday before she was even 4 months old.

Reading this back, I just realised I’ve talked almost exclusively about my weight, rather than my shape. That’s partly because its only recently as my weight has gone down a little bit more again that I’ve started to dislike what I see more. I’m still breastfeeding, so my boobs aren’t what they were, but they aren’t totally deflated yet either. ;) Honestly, I don’t really care about them. It did take a whole new perspective when I finally went bra shopping as the shapes and styles I’d normally reach for weren’t working for me at all, but I can’t complain.

I think the part of me that has changed the most is my stomach. It’s the area I have always gained weight in but this is different, I really feel that no matter what I do now, the skin isn’t going to recover its elasticity and go smooth again. A lot of people complain about C-section scars causing a ‘pouch’ of skin, but I don’t think it’s anything to do with that, the skin just stretched so much it can’t recover. I hope I find I’m wrong but I guess it’s just reality that skin that was so stretched won’t be the same afterwards. That said, everybody is different! One positive is that I did get stretch marks when I was pregnant… quite a lot of them and early on – I remember being quite devastated when one appeared at 35 weeks and I still thought I had 7 weeks to go! They were all under my bump but I’m pleased to report that like the ones I got in my teens they are all invisible now unless you scrutinise my skin. So that’s a plus! What bugs me is when you can see that skin and roll of fat through my clothes. Not pretty and really motivating me now to work on getting my shape back.

As I write, with Bea approaching 13 months I’m 5lbs heavier than I was at conception, having done absolutely nothing to shift any weight. I’ve finally had a change of mindset and feel ready to make a concerted effort to get back into shape and work on my waistline, but I’ll save that for another post.

Right now I’d love to hear your thoughts on your body post baby – what has changed and how do you feel about it?


What I thought about post-baby bodies before I had a baby…

Vichy Purete Thermale: Cleanser and Waterproof eye makeup remover

A couple of weeks back I was sent the Purete Thermale Beautifying cleansing micellar oil and the Purete Thermale Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover for sensitive eyes by Vichy to test out. I’ve been intrigued by all the micellar oil hype recently and you all know I’m an oil based cleanser devotee (having previously used Eve Lom and currently, Lush Ultrabland,) so I was happy to give this a whirl. You can see from the picture that this wasn’t a one off test – I liked it enough to take on holiday with me for the week instead of my usual cleanser. :)

Let’s start with the basics – You can pick up the Purete Thermale range from Vichy at your local Boots store and it’s priced around the £10-12 mark, which seems like a reasonable price for a better range than your average high street brand. It certainly looks lovely on the bathroom shelf and the fragrance is light and refreshing, whilst feeling luxurious.

The micellar oil cleanser is ridiculously easy to use and swift, so I was a fan instantly, being a bit of a lazy skincare addict! You simply use it as a makeup remover too – applying a pump of the light oil to your fingers and massaging it into your skin at the end of the day, straight onto your makeup. Once the face is covered you simply wet your hands and massage again and the oil becomes milky, then splash it off. Done! My skin tends to feel tight after wash off cleansers which it didn’t after this one, and it was a nice deviation from my usual routine in the warmer weather – it always feels cleaner to wash with water doesn’t it?

I must confess, I don’t use waterproof mascara, but the waterproof eye makeup remover was very good too, making light work of a few coats of mascara after a night out. I have previously used Lancome’s Bi-Facil eye makeup remover, and compare all to this as it’s the best I’ve ever used, but the Vichy version is equally good – minimal greasy residue on your skin, absolutely no irritation or redness from rubbing and the mascara just slid off. It’s also meant to have lash strengthening properties.

If you are looking for something new for your cleansing routine or need a new eye makeup remover, I’d definitely recommend these two and I’d try the rest of the range if I was in the market for something – in fact I’ll probably buy the toner when mine runs out very soon. Thanks for the samples Vichy!


What to Buy: February

Happy February Readers!

Although I do hate to wish time away, as I feel it speeds along so fast at the best of times, I’m glad we are now firmly in to 2015, and thoughts can be turned to Spring, and all the new-ness that comes with it.

The January sales seemed to last forever, and it’s really nice to see the new season stock coming in, especially when the trends for SS15 are not only beautiful, but really quite wearable too.

It’s a tradition of mine since I was at school to buy a copy of Vogue for my Mum twice a year for their Catwalk Report, and this still continues 20 years later! When I was living at home, I used to earmark the pages for Mum who would then make me something from the season (she’s a Bio-Chemist but loves to dress-make in her spare time), and she still uses the pages for her inspiration now.

This issue didn’t disappoint, and here is a round up of my favourite trends of the season.

Denim with a Difference

ASOS Dress / H&M Girlfriend Jeans

This take on the Denim trend takes me back a little to my late teens, when I LIVED in a Denim pinafore dress that Mum had actually made me. There’s an M&S Full Skirt that I’m waiting to come into store which looks perfect, but in the meantime, I love the easy look of this ASOS White dress and the patchwork pattern really lives up to the “with a difference” tag. H&M are also on fire with their jeans selection at the moment. If you haven’t tried their “girlfriend” fit I urge you too. Skinner than Boyfriend, but a slightly higher cut (something I prefer now I must admit!) and not too tight on the leg, the silhouette they give is great with flats or heels. This distressed pair would look great with a sweatshirt now, or strappy cami come the warmer weather.

It’s all about the Stripes

Next Skirt / Boden Top / M&S Shoes / TopShop Dress

I really never do tire of a stripe, and they are set to be big this season on everything from clothing to accessories. Bold colours, monochrome or the classic Bretton, anything goes really. This is good news for me, as a LOT of my wardrobe is already stripes, but I am drawn to these M&S shoes (sold out in my size, BOO!) and also this Boden top is very like the Karen Millen dress I’ve been living in this winter. I also love the way that some stores have styled stripes with other prints in this summer – Next, I’m looking at you :) There’s lots of choice out there so just go for a colourway and size that you know suits you.

Fancy Florals

Next Shirt / H&M Trousers / Boden Trainers / TopShop Trousers

As the Vogue supplement suggests, flowers are big news in SS15 and what I really love is that it’s not just one particular print. From big and bold cartoony type prints, to the more chintzy Liberty-esque styles, again, there is something to suit everyone. I personally think the bolder the better, but I think I’m in the same camp as Rebecca here – having grown up with Rainbow Bright as a style icon ;) I love this Next shirt, especially teamed up with the stripe pencil skirt, and these Topshop trousers, although not strictly floral, really drew my eye in the iciness that was NYC last week. I may just have to get these and store them in my post-baby box to wear come the late Spring.

On the Fringe

J.Crew Top / H&M Bag / Zara Boots / ASOS Bag

Fringing was around last season, but it’s not going anywhere fast, and you can now find it not only adorning accessories, but clothing too. Although I’m not what you’d class as a hippy chick, there are ways to nod to this trend. These Zara boots are a nice way in, as is this J.Crew top, which when worn with slim trousers or jeans, gives just enough movement to satisfy that swish. For something a little easier to wear, the blogger-favourite H&M bag is now back in stock, and although I know this isn’t actually fringing per se, the ASOS clutch has a gorgeous tactile look to it.

Jump to it

H&M / Zara / Mango

It’s so much more commonplace now to see a Jumpsuit in your favourite shop. Actually really easy to wear (although granted, NOT that easy when nature calls) they can be dressed up or down depending on the look you are going for. These three jumpsuits really stood out for me, mostly down to the print on the first two, and the shape of the third. Personally, I prefer a jumpsuit that looks less like a boiler suit, but that’s because I’ve not found a “boiler-suit” one that suits me. I’d be interested to know if any of you guys have.

Now, this is a fashion column I know, but I wanted to just touch a minute on a couple of beauty buys I’ve found and wanted to share, hope you don’t mind. I’m not saying they are must buys, but I’ve certainly found them revolutionary. First up with Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate. I bought this on a flight back from the US towards the end of last year, and have used it nightly, give or take a few misses, ever since. It smells wonderful, and really moisturises my skin. I’ve found with about three months use, texture is better and I do actually look less tired and worn out without make it – a big achievement!

The other is the lip products by Bite Beauty. Now Rebecca mentioned these a while ago on this blog and I bought a couple then (when Cocosa was selling them) and ever since, I’ve picked one up in the US (they are sold in Sephora) when I’ve been there. You can pick them up on eBay, and Sephora now ship to the UK, but my favourites are the High Pigment Pencils (Zinfandel is my go-to) and the Matt Creme Lip Crayons. The colours are mostly bold (which I love) but it’s the fact they are made with natural ingredients, and don’t make my lips feel dry at all that I like the most.

So that’s my tips for February readers. I’d love to see if you bought something from here, or from one of the trends above. Do share if you do, by using #ffWTBFeb on Insta or Twitter.

Until the end of the month… :)

Erin xxx

#JanuaryJoy: Make some Health and Fitness Goals

Well, it wouldn’t be January without talking about those new leaves we all turn over in the shadow of the Christmas excesses and lethargy, now would it? As we’re discussing it at almost the end of the month already, I’m curious, did you make any health or fitness goals that you’ve broken already?!

It seems a long time since I made a fitness goal and in all honesty, I’m not that motivated right now to change that. Perhaps because when I say ‘fitness’ I think of sweat inducing cardio and strength work. What I’m really interested in is getting my body somewhere near to where it was.

Top ten at home workouts

I’m going to talk about this in more detail in the future but I won’t lie, the first few weeks and months after having Bea was hard in terms of my self esteem. I felt like a goddess when I was pregnant, even if I didn’t always look like one. ;) Afterwards, I felt… ruined. 6 months on I’m happy to report everything is slowly getting back to where it should be but I do have 2 big aims for 2015, as it coincides with 6 months having past since I had Bea and that seems like a sensible milestone to be tackling things:
1. I need to lose weight. Cliche I know, and I’m not talking about anything drastic or sudden, just continuing the steady weight loss that has been happening without too much effort over the last few months. I’m currently about half a stone over my pre-pregnancy weight, but that was another half stone over my ‘happy’ weight, so there’s some way to go.
2. I need to tone up and rediscover my abdominal muscles. I’m really enjoying conditioning fitness work right now like yoga and pilates but I know I should be thinking about some cardio soon.. maybe one of those 5k in 30 days challenges you see on Pinterest?! I’m just not that motivated to leave Bea just yet…

I’ve heard some women say they couldn’t even tense their abs after having a baby, they were so stretched and fortunately I don’t feel like that, but they certainly have changed. When I look at my body in the mirror these days (or more specifically my mid section,) it’s not the weight that is causing my new shape, but the lack of tone in my abs. Sure I can tense them and/or suck them in to make things flat again, but they’re not staying there. I did start a post-natal exercise DVD a few months ago which was great and very gentle to get things going, but I’ve just moved onto something a lot tougher which I think will be much more effective. Honestly, it’s only 6 months on that I’ve felt able to do serious abs work post c-section. Look out for the DVD reviews coming soon.

Diet wise… well, I’m not really ready to give up the cake biscuits chocolate hot cross buns just yet, although I have cleaned things up a bit which is helping with goal 1 above! I’m going to see how far I can get with just sensible eating and staying active before I start any diets.

Now it’s your turn readers. Have you made any health or fitness goals for 2015? I’d love to hear if you’re sticking to them and how they’re going? And if you happen to be a new mum or have had a baby in recent tears I’d love to hear if and when you got back to exercise?


PS. I’m sort of thinking about doing the Manchester 10k again… maybe. (I’ve done it twice before.) Maybe we should do a FF group run?!

Monday Must-Have: Fall for nails…

After years of painting my nails in rotation, one colour off, another on, I haven’t painted them at all since I had Bea. I could find time, but I wonder how they would stand up to the constant hand washing I now do and half of me almost feels like gaudy nails don’t fit against her perfect brand new skin. However, I’m starting to crave seasonal rich jewel like tones, muddy autumnal shades and new textures like this leather effect polish. Here are some of the colours I’m coveting right now…

Ciate Fashionista Sister (Black Purple shimmer) // Essie Wrapped in Rubies // Topshop Nail polish in Exhibit
Essie Snake it up Snake effect metallic blue/grey // Topshop Matte metallic nails in Scream // Nails Inc Alexa (Black) Leather polish
Nails Inc Fouberts Place // Deborah Lippmann Laughin’ to the bank // Essie Armed and Ready

What nail colour are you wearing or wanting right now?


PS I love how unexpected the khaki looks. I’ve never gone for green before but I’m really into it right now.

Florence’s Favourites: The Sanctuary

I’ve been a long time fan of The Sanctuary products, so when I recieved a box full of ‘Spathroom Essentials’ from The Sanctuary, in the midst of the building site that passes for our patio whilst surveying the kitchen wreckage, I couldn’t have been happier. The products have a really luxurious feel without being mega expensive and do the job too so I couldn’t wait to start using them.

I cannot tell you what a godsend it felt like to have an excuse to pamper instead of clean or DIY or decorate, especially while pregnant!

I particularly loved the 5 day moisture hand lotion. My hands are taking a real beating at the moment and this stuff really works to moisturise and soothe.

If you asked me what my favourite body scrub is, hands down I would have told you it was this one, the Sanctuary Salt Scrub. The smell is divine, (as is that of the body butter,) so paired with the bath soak and a scented candle it sounds like my idea of heaven right now.

And for the face? You know I love a good diy spa sesh, and this thermal detox mask is right up there with the best of them when it comes to keeping breakouts at bay or putting an end to an untimely bout of troublesome skin. The therapists facial oil is hydrating, leaves my skin velvety soft and miraculously not greasy at all.

So guys, do you use Sanctuary products? And do you have any favourites?


Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. All products were provided by The Sanctuary, however as you can see from previous posts I am a long time fan and happy to recommend their products.

PS. Previous Sanctuary posts…
Sanctuary Therapists facial Oil
DIY Pampering pedicure
Beauty: Tried & Liked (Thermal clay mask)

Triple Temptation: Spring Palettes

Bobbi Brown // Nars // No.7

Every spring I’m tempted by the prettiest make up palettes that come out and look simply beautiful along with adding a bit of spring brightening sunshine to your make up look. Sometimes I feel like these are a bit of a folly but I have some lovely ones that I have used incessantly. As long as you pick colours that suit you it can be a hard working bit of kit. These are all brightening or blush compacts so likely to be the most useful of the possibilities out there and make a perfect spring treat for yourself or a gift for a friend.


Skin Saviour: Lush

I went through quite the phase a few years back where I was very keen on Lush products. At the time it was mainly bath products, the gorgeous bath bombs and exfoliants (Buffy Body Butter) but for some reason they slipped from my mind and it is some years since I have really used them.

This winter my skin has taken a complete battering and although I don’t understand it, as it hasn’t been all that cold, my skin is like a parched, dry, flaky dessert floor. After trying without success to slather on all my usual moisturisers, layering serums and facial oils and exfoliating I was on the verge of returning to my beloved Eve Lom, when I went in search of something to moisturise my growing bump and rediscovered Lush. I managed to find a solution to all of my dry skin trouble zones so I thought I’d share them here in case any of you find yourselves in need. Best of all, they’re all safe in pregnancy with the exception of one bath bomb

Bump and Body: King of Skin £5.50
My number one find has been this Body butter. I’ve said before that I’m lazy when it comes to skincare and putting something like Bio Oil on my bump daily simply wasn’t going to happen. This however is super fast and easy. I just glide it over my skin top to toe after washing in the shower, rinse and pat dry, with super soft and silky skin all ready for the day.

Lips: Mint Julips Lip Scrub £5.50
My lips have been so dry and with my love for lipsticks, the one thing I don’t need is flaky dry colour. This sugar scrub is brilliantly effective, fresh and minty and so full of goodness you can literally lick your lips clean afterwards.

Face: Ultrabland Cleanser £6.95
This oil packed cleanser melts in to the skin, taking off make up and dirt, then wiped away with toner, (not the way the company recommends but an excellent tip I got from the staff inshore) leaves my skin super soft and with no hint of dryness. With a lot less nasties than some cleansers and at a much better price, (a little goes a long way,) I’m very happy with this new addition to my regime.

Body: Therapy massage bar £6.50
Perfect for the end of the day if I want some additional moisture, this massage bar smooths my skin and with relaxing lavender, neroli and orange oil, it’s incredibly dream inducing.

I should say that I don’t really believe that any cream or potion will prevent stretch marks – its down to skin type, but if I can keep mine as healthy and supple as possible for a head start then I’ll try! And using something that I enjoy is likely to be 100% more effective as at least I will put it on!

So readers, if you are suffering parched skin or flaky lips, these might just solve your problems. I’d love to know if you’re a lush devotee?