Monday, 21 December 2015

A Christmas Story - The Robin Redbreast


The Robin Redbreast

Jane had met Christian in her local coffee shop a couple of months ago, a rather friendly chap with a warm smile and a smooth and soothing rich tone to his voice that had made her turn around and notice him. They had struck up a friendship over a period of a month or so of regularly meeting for coffee, although they both liked to pretend that on each occasion it was by accident rather than by design. They had laughed and chatted the time away whilst sipping on their drinks and their rapport had not gone unnoticed by the owner of the shop who often witnessed budding romances struck up on the cosy premises.

One day, as they said goodbye, Christian had handed her a piece of paper on which he had written his mobile number and the accompanying words -

'I think you are a beautiful woman and I would like to get to know you better. A date away from the Coffee Shop? Call me! x'

Jane read the note and fell silent. Although she had delighted in their little meetings and looked forward to bumping into Christian it was quite something else to take this further. Since Michael had died she had not so much as considered being with someone else. Michael was forever at the forefront of her mind and now she felt guilty that she appeared to be having fun and enjoying the attention of another man.

She put the note in her coat pocket and contemplated what to do next. There was lots to consider, not least the feelings of Alfie, her son. As she left the coffee shop to collect him from school she didn't notice the piece of paper fall out of her pocket and into the gutter.

Later that evening she went to retrieve the note from her coat, frantically checking both pockets she was disappointed to find that she had lost it. Never mind, come Monday she would see Christian and explain to him why she hadn't called. She had thought long and hard and decided that the time was right to throw caution to the wind and finally start dating again.

Monday came and Christian wasn't there, sat in his usual spot. She asked the owner of the coffee shop if he had been in and she shook her head, no she hadn't seen him she replied. Day after day she visited the coffee shop wishing and hoping he would turn up but each day that he wasn't there she left crestfallen and annoyed with herself that she had lost his number and now he was gone.

He was probably embarrassed she told herself, he had taken a risk in asking for more and now he felt rejected. She didn't blame him but wished she had just been given a chance to explain. After a couple of weeks she stopped going to the coffee shop and had given up any hope of bumping into Christian again. Perhaps it was a sign that she wasn't ready for a new relationship after all ... Putting thoughts of Christian to the back of her mind she concentrated on giving Alfie the best Christmas ever.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Alfie looked out into the garden as the first snowflakes began to fall 'Mum, mum, it's snowing!'

Jane looked out of the kitchen window and saw the flakes were settling as they fell. 'So it is Alfie, dinner's ready can you come down and sit at the table please?' Just then she noticed a Robin Redbreast perched on the windowsill looking in, feeling comforted she knew this was Michael wishing her and Alfie a great Christmas. He had come every year on this day without fail.She smiled to herself. Her beloved Michael often visited throughout the year when she was busy in the garden but Christmas Eve was their special day.

Alfie was beside himself with joy, a snowy Christmas was all he had ever dreamed of. Santa coming with his presents, thick snow on the ground. It was going to a be a great Christmas. He bound down the stairs at full speed, almost bumping into Jane.

'Careful Alfie!'

'Sorry mum! Oh look AND a Robin Redbreast at the window. This Christmas is going to be so magical I just know it' he spoke excitedly.

Jane beamed at Alfie, it was indeed. She had saved up hard and managed to buy everything he had asked for, it would be worth it just to see the look on his face on Christmas morning. She had bought lots of his festive favourites too and she had planned that they would sit and watch films all day whilst indulging on the food and snuggling up together.

It was the fourth Christmas when it would just be the two of them without Michael to carve the Turkey like he had always liked to do. Their traditional Christmas Eve meal was macaroni cheese, Alfie loved it and was guaranteed to polish it off. They watched The Snowman which was Alfie's all time best film he declared.

The snow was falling thick and fast now and she was relieved they had no need to venture out.

That night she put Alfie to bed, they read 'The Night Before Christmas' and he soon drifted off to sleep. She kissed his cheek and stroked his hair. He looked so angelic lying there and wonderfully peaceful.

Pouring herself a glass of red wine, she demolished a mince pie and marvelled at how everything had come together this year, next year would be even better she could just sense it.

Christmas morning soon arrived and she was awoken to the sound of wrapping paper being ripped open in the bedroom next to hers, Alfie squealed in delight.

'Mummy! Look what Santa brought me!!' He was almost breathless with happiness. Seeing him so happy brought tears to her eyes and a warm feeling in the pit of her stomach. This was what Christmas was all about.

Pulling back the curtains he checked to see if the snow was still there. It was! He ran down the stairs still in his pyjamas and dressing gown, burst through the patio doors into the garden and rolled around in the pretty, soft white snow. Standing up he tossed it in the air and shouted at the top of voice 'I LOVE CHRISTMAS!'

Jane was a little alarmed, she didn't want him to catch a cold but at the same time didn't want to dampen his spirit.

Just then the Robin Redbreast landed on the kitchen windowsill, its usual spot, something was protruding from his beak. Aware of this fluttering Jane looked over in the direction of the noise and noticed a piece of paper beside the bird which it had now dropped. She carefully approached the Robin, but the Robin seemed unperturbed. Gently she picked the note up to see what it was, her heart missed a beat and then started to pound. It was Christian's note, the one she had lost month's ago. How could this possibly be?

She looked at the Robin Redbreast... whispering 'Michael, it is you isn't it?'  She could have sworn he winked back at her.

Merry Christmas!

Bettina x

Loved this story? Then please check out my debut novel - A Tempting Trio - Available now by clicking this link - http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B011ZEUQZI

*An original work of fiction, all rights reserved.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Top Five Foodie Gifts From Carluccio's This Christmas

Way back in July I had the pleasure of attending the Carluccio's Christmas Press Day where I got to try all the tasty treats that were to be the Christmas Gifts..today I share my top five foodie gifts.. whether for friends, family or yourself!


Clemente in Camicia £16.95 - Delicious candied Clementine pieces covered in dark chocolate.


Fichi Ricoperti £9.95 - Dark chocolate coated figs stuffed with walnut and candied orange peel. I couldn't get enough of these!


Stelle di Cioccolato £11.95 - Exquisite chocolate stars that will delight children and adults alike.


Prosecco e Gianduiotti £26.95 - A sumptuous boxed gift of Prosecco paired with smooth hazelnut chocolate.



Vin Santo e Cantucci £25 - Dessert is sorted with this pairing of a sweet dessert wine and honey and almond biscuits. A Tuscan classic.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Korres Party Survival Kit

The 'Korres Party Survival Kit of travel sized goodies contains everything you need the day after a night of partying, ideal for this time of year of endless Christmas parties and heading into the New Year. Small enough to pack into your toiletries bag these samples are generously sized for a few uses.



Contents 



Wild Rose Cream 24-hour  Moisturising & Brightening, SPF6 16ml 

I absolutely love this facial moisturiser. It smells a little bit like Dentyne Gum for those that remember it.. (cinnamon, but is blended with the delicate rose) and it does a SUPERB job of leaving skin moisturised and wonderfully bright. Honestly just after one application those who know me knew I had used something different on my skin and said I looked really well! Very tempted now by the full size version. 

A great product for the morning after the night before!

White Tea Fluid Gel Cleanser 16ml

The cleanser doesn't really have a scent as such but is a decent cleanser and it doesn't leave skin feeling tight or dry, just soft and clean.

Aloe & Dittany Shampoo 40ml

This shampoo smells lovely and did a good job of washing my hair.

Guava Shower Gel 40ml

A gorgeous and fresh scented shower gel that wakes up the senses, leaving skin soft.

Basil Lemon Body Milk 40ml

Completing the lineup is this fabulous body milk. It has a wonderful citrus scent that is spiked with basil so it's not overly sweet or citrusy. It is non greasy and dries in seconds leaving skin smelling delightful and skin super smooth and soft.

KORRES PARTY SURVIVAL KIT RRP: £19.00,  available to buy online from www.Debenhams.com

*PR Sample

December GlossyBox - The Rose Gold Edition

I absolutely love all things rose gold so I adore this pretty box that is December's Glossybox - The Rose Gold Edition. 

The contents are brilliant too! 


This month's box is a collaboration with beauty blogger Really Ree and is a cracker... I have just read that it has now sold out and I can see why.

The contents - Inside my GlossyBox 




Swatches of the makeup 



The products 

Etre Belle - Golden Skin Caviar Eye Roll On 

This arrived just in time, I have just finished my eye gel. This lovely roll on is really gentle on the eyes and does a great job of hydrating and brightening the eye area up. My tired eyes are immensely improved.

So Susan Statement Skin Highlighter Pencil 

I am all about dewy, glowing skin and one way to achieve this is by using a highlighter. I honestly don't know what I did before I started using them! You can see how lovely this one is from the swatch above. Radiance is so easy with this pencil crayon. Perfect for party season or in my case... all year round.

Cheeky Chat Me Up Nail Paint 

I received shade 'Sheer Delight' which is a pretty sheer nude pink. I don't think you can ever have enough nude shades in your collection and Cheeky polishes are pretty great so I was delighted to receive this colour.

Darphin 8 Flower Nectar Oil Cream 

This sample pot of cream turning into an oil texture is billed as an overnight wonder, imparting moisture and leaving skin feeling soft, smooth and supple. I haven't tried it yet but it smells absolutely heavenly.

Essence Liquid Lipstick in Show Off 

I have swatched the lipstick above, it is a full on bright shade and packs a punch with even coverage. I haven't tried anything from Essence so will be giving it a go very soon.

Bonus product

Starskin Bio-Cellulose Second Skin Mask 

I have never used a sheet mask so I am most curious to try this one from Starskin - There are four different versions addressing various needs. I was sent the Hydrating one, ready for my red carpet appearance. Well I won't be going near a Red Carpet anytime soon but I am saving this one for a special occasion when I could do with a real boost.

*PR Sample

Friday, 11 December 2015

Snow Queen Afternoon Tea at Conrad London St James

The Snow Queen Afternoon Tea from Conrad London St. James is really rather striking and sounds like a tasty affair full of deliciously delectable treats. 

The Conrad London St. James is situated across the street from St. James' Park Tube station and a ten minute walk from Buckingham Palace.

Afternoon Tea is served in the hotel's Emmeline's Lounge 


Snow Queen Afternoon Tea 


The Menu 

Selection of Savouries

London cured smoked salmon blini, caviar, lemon crème fraîche
Mini tartlet of cropwell bishop stilton & poached pear
Prawn cocktail, marie rose
Selection of fingers sandwiches


Freshly Baked Plain & Raisin Scones 

Served with Devonshire clotted cream, homemade strawberry jam & winter berries curd

Cakes & Pastries 

Snowstorm 
Coconut cream, mint macaroon, candy floss 

The Magic Mirror 
Salted butter shortbread, yogurt cheesecake, frosted blueberries 

Snow Queen’s Sceptre 
Chocolate & pearl sponge, praline ganache, snowflake lace 

Palace Snowflakes
Blackcurrant & cardamom cake, crushed glittering meringue 

Blackberry Kisses 
Crème patisserie & blackberries


Afternoon Tea costs £39 per person 

Free Flowing Champagne Afternoon Tea costs £55 per person 

*Discretionary service charge of 12.5%

The Snow Queen Afternoon Tea is available until 11th February 2016*

To book - For more information or to book a table at Emmeline's Lounge please call 020 3301 1400 or email tea@conradstjames.com or book online at their website. 

* In January, Conrad London St. James will be offering an exclusive 25% off their Snow Queen Afternoon Tea at afternoonteaonline.co.uk. This is available on weekdays only.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Hotel Chocolat Christmas Gifts and Chocolates This Christmas

The gift of chocolate is ideal for Christmas for the chocolate lover and I can't think of a better box selection than this one from Hotel Chocolat - The Everything Collection 


The Everything Collection box 


Contents 


Billionaire's Shortbread x 6  - My absolute favourite - featuring caramel, smooth hazelnut and crunchy cookies, sublime.

Little Cheesecakes x 4 - caramel, lemon and strawberry with mascarpone cheese - yum!

A bag of 40% Milk Puddles - lovely circles of creamy milk chocolate (my 7yr son loved these)

A bag of Salted Caramel Puddles - These are delicious and a teeny bit crunchy from the salt.

The Brownie x 6 - Rich chocolate brownies, I love rich chocolate and these went down a treat.

And 3 super cute slabs of Milk Cocoa Cookies, Salted Caramel and 70% Dark Fruit & Nut.

This box really does contain something for everyone... or in my case I enjoyed the lot :)




Hotel Chocolat The Everything Collection box costs £25 

Hotel Chocolat also do some fabulous seasonal chocolate and I was sent two of their Christmas stocking filler packs.

Mulled Wine Selector x 6 £3.75 - These are proper grown up chocolates with a boozy punch of spiced Port.



Nutmeg Almond Praline Selector x 6 £3.75 - Gorgeously smooth and creamy praline balanced with real warming spiced nutmeg in 50% milk. I love the snowflake pattern.



*PR Samples 


Friday, 4 December 2015

The Body Shop White Musk EDT 100 ML Gift Set

Beautifully packaged gift sets are one of the bonuses of Christmas and is something that The Body Shop does particularly well.

I love this one featuring the iconic and best selling White Musk fragrance.

A white tub shaped parcel complete with a purple satin bow, slide the door across to reveal three fabulous and generous sized products from the White Musk collection and inside this lovely wardrobe is a purple striped interior.




How pretty!

What you get -

White Musk EDT 100ml 
White Musk Shower Gel 125ml 
White Musk Body Lotion 125ml 

For those of you unfamiliar with the White Musk scent it is an absolutely gorgeous light and clean fresh scent featuring a mix of notes including cruelty free musk, lily, iris, rose and vanilla.

The Gift Set costs £45 

Water Aid - With each sale of this selected gift The Body Shop will provide a day's safe water for a family in Ethiopia.

*PR Sample

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

The Perfume Shop - Gucci Guilty Gift Set - Christmas Inspiration

Think Christmas gifts and one of the top things on my list would be perfume and aftershave. At Christmas the stores are full of great value gifts sets that usually include an extra something for the same price as a single bottle of the chosen scent.




I love this Gucci Guilty Gift Set as the Gucci print pocket mirror is just perfect for my handbag and a bit different from the usual body lotion or shower gel that usually comes with these types of sets.

The clever people at The Perfume Shop matched me up with Gucci Guilty after I gave them a list of the types of perfume that I have liked and worn in the past.... so if you or the gift recipient likes these perfumes the chances are you or they will love Gucci Guilty.

Stella Mccartney,
Roberto Cavalli (the original)
Narcisco Rodriguez EDP
SI Giorgio Armani. 


Gucci Guilty EDT is described in the following way...
Gucci takes as a catalyst its iconic entwined Gs and brings us a heroine who regards this emblem as an incitement to subvert. For this most contemporary of rebels, Gucci is the brand of sex and power. In Gucci Guilty, this woman discovers the very scent of defiance.

Top notes
Mandarin, Pink Pepper
Heart notes
Peach, Lilac, Geranium
Base notes
Ambery Notes, Patchouli, Lilac, Geranium

The perfume is an oriental floral scent that is warm, sensuous and oozing glamour and class. The gold bottle is a mix of metal and glass in a sleek and elegant design that encompasses the classic entwined Gs. It also has that all important bathroom shelf appeal which one expects of the Gucci brand. 

I cannot believe I have never tried this gorgeous fragrance before, The Perfume Shop have helped me discover a new firm favourite. 

Gucci Guilty EDT 50ml Gift Set costs £53 from The Perfume Shop (This is a The Perfume Shop exclusive)

Visit the Christmas Shop today 

*PR Sample

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Christmas Carols Afternoon Tea at The Dorchester London

One of my favourite Afternoon Tea venues is The Dorchester. I have visited throughout the year but Christmas time is one of the nicest as the delightful Promenade where Afternoon Tea is served is beautifully dressed with traditional English festive decorations. 


The Christmas Carols Afternoon Tea features the resident pianist and children’s school choirs to get you well and truly into the spirit of Christmas.

Featuring a selection of finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones and delicious festive pastries such as a fruit cake Christmas present, a chocolate & chestnut winter land, a Dorchester snowman and mince pies.

Christmas Carols Afternoon tea is available at five sittings each day priced from £69 per adult including a glass of Champagne, and £35 per child (ages 5-11).

Available weekends from the 21st November to December 20th. 

To book your festive afternoon tea visit The Dorchester website for availability.

*Image courtesy of The Dorchester

Friday, 27 November 2015

Festive Afternoon Tea at The Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park London

The winter months are a fabulous time to indulge in Afternoon Tea - whilst it is cold outside inside you can enjoy a warming and filling tea full of festive treats.

The menu from the Mandarin Oriental (where incidentally I have experienced and can highly recommend afternoon tea) has caught my eye -



Taken in the hotel's delightfully cosy Rosebery Lounge you can enjoy the following

THE HARRODS TEDDY BEAR AFTERNOON TEA £53 (price per person)

A Selection of Sandwiches  

Slow roasted Norfolk bronze turkey with sage and cranberry 
Smoked salmon tartar with creme fraiche and dill 
Cotswold egg and mustard cress
St.Tola goat cheese with roasted pumpkin and red onion confit 
Portland crab and crayfish fondue on lemon and thyme bread
Wiltshire cured ham and heritage tomatoes 

Freshly baked cranberry-raisins & plain scones accompanied by Devonshire clotted cream, strawberry jam, rose petal jelly and homemade lemon curd. 

A Selection of Handmade Pastries 

Gingerbread, pear and caramel cake
Figgy pudding bauble
Chestnut, chocolate and vanilla Opera gateau
Cranberry, orange and yoghurt Yule log 
Mandarin and spiced prune tartlet

Pumpkin and pecan cake 
Traditional stollen 
The tea comes with a wide selection of teas to choose from.

Children are also welcome and well catered for with their very own and special menu

KIDS TEDDY BEAR AFTERNOON TEA MENU £28 (per person) 



A Selection of Sandwiches

Slow roasted Norfolk bronze turkey with sage and cranberry 
Smoked salmon tartar with creme fraiche and dill 
Cotswold egg and mustard cress
St.Tola goat cheese with roasted pumpkin and red onion confit 
Portland crab and crayfish fondue on lemon and thyme bread
Wiltshire cured ham and heritage tomatoes 

Freshly baked cranberry-raisins & plain scones accompanied by Devonshire clotted cream, strawberry jam, rose petal jelly and homemade lemon curd. 

A Selection of Handmade Pastries 

Winter land snowball 
Snowman tart
Chocolate teddy bear
Grubby paw layer cake 
Christmas cracker
Teddy bear cupcake 
Christmas tree cupcake 

Pumpkin and pecan cake 
Traditional stollen 

To book call +44 (0)20 7201 3828 or visit The Mandarin Oriental website

*Images courtesy of The Mandarin Oriental 

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

November Glossybox - What's Inside Mine - Lips & Lashes Edition

November's edition of Glossybox has the theme of Lipsticks to Lashes so as you would expect it contains items for both purposes...



What's inside ?

Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick £7.99 

This month there is a full size lipstick from Revlon promising one of their best selling shades - As I already have the very popular red 'Fire & Ice' I was hoping for another shade to try, however I was sent the red. It is a gorgeous and full impact shade and I have worn it for Christmas Day in previous years as it is such a lovely festive red.

MUA Eyeshadow Palette £4 

This cute palette from MUA is called 'Undressed' and features 12 wearable shades of nudes and metallics. Perfect to adorn your eyes.

Eylure Natural Lashes £5 

These lashes do look luscious, voluminous and flutterworthy but personally I don't wear lashes so I shall be gifting these to my lucky sister.

Emite Diamond Heart Primer full size £25.90

I have got the 15ml travel size version of the primer. I love trying new primers so will be trying this shortly. It smells nice, has a peachy tone to it which promises to boost radiance and create a smooth finish. It also has a cream rather than silicone texture.

Royal Apothetic Body Lotion full size £14.50 

Once again this is a travel size version but it is a rather generous tube. I absolutely love the scent of this - Venetian Grove. Lactic acid will gently smooth skin and milk proteins will hydrate the skin. I am looking forward to applying this to my skin after bathing this winter... Gorgeous and light!

Final thoughts 

Although there are a couple of  items I won't be using, I think this month's box is really quite good. Makeup lovers will adore it and those who like to focus on skincare will appreciate it. I personally enjoy discovering new brands so this box gets a thumbs up from me.

What did you think?



Friday, 13 November 2015

Popchips Mature Cheddar & Onion Potato Chips - Review

I am already a huge fan of popchips as a snack of choice and this new flavour  - Mature Cheddar & Onion does not disappoint



With just 95 calories in the individual pack it is light but packed with flavour. The cheese is lovely and intense and the onion is the perfect match for it. Sometimes you taste cheese, others your mouth has a punch of onion. Oh and did I mention they are low fat?

The popchips are non messy - they do not leave a greasy residue on the fingers. Texture wise they are nice and crunchy but once in the mouth they almost melt.

Unfortunately they do contain milk so my dairy intolerant husband wasn't able to try them which happily meant more for me and the 7yr old who declared them 'absolutely yummy!'

Another winning flavour from the popchips gurus and a big thumbs up from this household.

*PR Samples

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Tick Tock Vanilla Chai Tea - Review


I have only recently got back into drinking tea after going completely off of it in early pregnancy. Pre pregnancy I loved my chai lattes but as well as going off of tea (well everything food and drink really!) I also had an aversion to spices which to an extent still hasn't abated completely...

However, I was sent a box of Tick Tock's Rooibos Vanilla Chai and I am finally able to bring my review of this naturally caffeine free hot drink.

Tick Tock say

Bursting with exotic chai spices including cinnamon, ginger and cardamom, as well as smooth Madagascan vanilla, every cup of Rooibos Vanilla Chai promises pure pleasure.

An irresistible treat! Alive with inviting spice notes and a smooth natural sweetness, every cup of Rooibos Vanilla Chai promises pure pleasure.

Inspired by India’s vibrant tea culture, our Chai (spiced tea) balances traditional spices like cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and clove with natural Madagascan vanilla and delicious Rooibos Tea.

Because Tick Tock Rooibos is gentle, low in tannin and naturally caffeine free, this deliciously indulgent blend can be enjoyed by the whole family, with or without milk, throughout the day and at bedtime.

My thoughts 

As mentioned above I was a little apprehensive about trying a spiced drink but as the weather has got colder I yearned for something warming. I needn't have worried... this Vanilla Chai is delicious. I like it best enjoyed with milk for a milky treat. It is spiced but not heavily so and is sweetened beautifully with the addition of vanilla. I don't brew it for too long and find it just perfect. I also love its beautiful golden shade that with milk added just looks like my normal cuppa!

I am delighted that this great tasting drink is caffeine free as being pregnant I am conscious of the amount of caffeine I am consuming daily and with this I don't have to worry.

Big thumbs up from this mum to be.

Tick Tock Rooibos Vanilla Chai costs £1.99 for 40 bags

*PR Sample

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

The Body Shop Oils Of Life Collection - Review


A short while ago I was given the opportunity to review The Body Shop Oils Of Life skincare collection. It took me a little while to start the regime,  regular readers will know that I am pregnant and have been very poorly with hyperemesis gravidarum, but now I have been able to give it a good month of trying out the products and am ready to give my views.

The Body Shop say 

Give new life to your skin with our new collection infused with black cumin seed oil, rosehip seed oil and camellia seed oil, known for their supreme revitalising and repairing properties on skin. This daily routine has been created to intensely revitalise skin, revive radiance and leave your skin feeling nourished.

My thoughts 

I was really looking forward to trying these products as HG had really taken a toll on my skin and I was in dire need of something that was going to boost and support my skin so that my vitality returned.

Intensely Revitalising Essence Lotion £15 (150ml)

The Body Shop say 

This unique bi-phase oil [oil + water] formula is your essential first step after cleansing to prepare and activate your skin for the next steps of the routine.

My thoughts 

I use this lotion after cleansing and in place of my usual toner. I give the bottle a little shake to mix the oil and water and then apply to the skin. This product has quite a strong spicy scent but I am a fan of those so this doesn't bother me at all. I find the lotion really refreshing and it leaves my skin feeling soft and ready for the next step and not at all oily or tacky. 

Intensely Revitalising Facial Oil £28 (30ml)

The Body Shop say 

By infusing 3 precious seed oils from around the world, known for their revitalising and repairing properties on skin – Black Cumin seed oil from Egypt, Camellia seed oil from China and Rosehip seed oil from Chile – with a powerful blend of essential oils, we created a lightweight daily facial oil to intensely revitalise skin, instantly replenish moisture and revive radiance. Signs of ageing appear visibly reduced. Made from 99% oils of natural origin, this lightweight, quickly-absorbed formula effortlessly melts onto skin leaving a non-sticky, velvety-soft finish.
  • Potent daily facial oil infused with 3 precious seed oils from around the world to give new life to your skin
  • Cold-pressed seed oils to preserve potent properties and ensure the utmost affinity to skin.
  • Made from 99% oils of natural origin
  • Lightweight and quickly-absorbed, non-sticky finish
  • Signs of ageing appear reduced - skin looks revitalised and feels more elastic and firmer*
My thoughts

The facial oil has the same spicy scent as the lotion but this scent doesn't linger on the face from either of the products. One drop does my whole face and I work it in using the massager. Skin is left feeling super soft and radiant. I use this oil twice a day and have noticed a definite change and improvement in the 'glow' of my skin. A few people have mentioned this too and this pleases me a lot :)

Once again as promised this oil does not leave an oily or sticky finish. 

*I was given both moisturisers but I chose to use the Gel Cream version - The cream version is as you would expect a heavier textured cream. 

Intensely Revitalising Gel Cream £25 (50ml )

The Body Shop say

By infusing 3 precious seed oils from around the world, known for their revitalising and repairing properties on skin – Black Cumin seed oil from Egypt, Camellia seed oil from China and Rosehip seed oil from Chile – into a dewy-fresh gel cream with illuminating micro-pearls, we created a lighter alternative to the cream that intensely revitalises skin. Skin feels instantly freshly hydrated and suppler. From the moment it touches the skin, this Intensely Revitalising Gel Cream delicately melts onto the face, leaving a fresh light finish without a greasy feel.

My thoughts 

I find the gel cream to have a lighter scent than the lotion and facial oil, it is cool and jelly like to the touch. When applied to the skin it melts like water and absorbs fast leaving no tacky residue. I really like this gel cream as part of my routine and apply it twice a day. 

The results 

Within a week I had noticed a difference to my skin after using the Oils of Life Collection. After continued use my skin is softer, smoother and more radiant. I also have noticed how much better my foundations glide onto the skin and also that I am needing to use less foundation than I was before. Overall I am really enjoying this routine and can highly recommend it. 

*PR Samples

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Blanx Intensive Stain Removal Whitening Toothpaste Review



As I do suffer from teeth staining I was keen to give Blanx Intensive Stain Removal, I liked the idea that it claimed to whiten teeth whilst removing stains.

Blanx say 

BlanX Intensive Stain Removal with extract of Arctic Lichen.
Combines whitening with anti-staining action.
Its unique formula removes stains and pigmentation due to smoking, food, beverages and plaque deposits.

Contains non abrasive silica for deep and gentle cleaning without damaging enamel.

The Blanx range of products are the only daily cosmetic whitening toothpastes that use lichen, grown naturally in the Artic. Lichen contains active ingredients which attach harmful bacteria involved in the formation of plaque and tooth decay - not the beneficial bacteria found naturally in the mouth.

My thoughts 

The toothpaste comes in a handy pump action tube and taste wise it is nice and minty but not so strong that it almost burns your mouth, I am sure you know the mints that I mean!

The toothpaste is smooth in texture and pure white, most of the whitening toothpastes I have tried have bits or feel gritty.

Now I must admit I was judging the stain removal on a two week timescale and had a particular stain I was aiming to see disappear. I was disappointed to find it was still there after two weeks but I carried on using this toothpaste (the tube is now almost finished) and actually I have been pleasantly surprised.

Whilst using this toothpaste I became pregnant and found it hard to brush my teeth, extreme early pregnancy sickness made me physically unable to contemplate brushing my teeth without gagging or being sick (grim I know!). However I was attending my sister's wedding and I HAD to have beautifully white teeth. I tried my hardest to use it when I could... more recently I have used it religiously twice a day.

The results 

At some point the stains have gone, especially the one that was my control one! My teeth are lovely and white. So I would say that you will achieve stain free, whiter teeth but it will take continued use and a little patience.

I really like this toothpaste and can see the results, especially in photos.

Blanx Intensive Stain Removal Whitening Toothpaste 75ml is currently on special offer in Boots for £4.20

*PR Sample

Weleda Arnica Sports Shower Gel and Sea Buckthorn Creamy Body Wash



I call these 'his and hers' shower gels but obviously they are entirely gender neutral offerings from Weleda and gorgeous to boot.

From the bright and sunny orange packaging,  which instantly zings up the morning shower experience and starts the day in the most perfect way possible,  to the wonderful scents you cannot fail to love these washes.

Arnica Sports Shower Gel £7.95 200ml 

Weleda say 

Weleda Arnica Sports Shower Gel is a perfect exercise partner – the kind that complements your efforts and treats you with satisfaction. Refreshing and energizing essentials oils of rosemary and lavender are perfectly balanced to calm your mind and energize your body. 100% of our surfactants are bio-degradable.

My thoughts 

This is one of the latest product additions to the Weleda family.

Ideal for that morning shower or to add to your sports bag for your post workout shower the Arnica Sports Shower Gel is an ideal companion. The blend of rosemary and lavender is not at all feminine which is why my husband nabbed this as his and soon as he spotted it in the bathroom (lesson learned). Of course those of you who are regular readers of BeautySwot.com will know when it comes to shower gels he is a lather fiend. Therefore I was surprised when he declared his adoration for this one for it has a noticeable absence of SLS, this made me happy thought as I am always telling him how it is drying out his skin. 

The Arnica Sports Shower Gel doesn't just feel like it is doing good to your skin, it IS, wakes you up with its energising scent and leaves skin feeling soft and moisturised.  Big thumbs up from this household. 

Sea Buckthorn Creamy Body Wash £7.95 200ml

Weleda say 

Weleda Sea Buckthorn Body Wash is a revitalising shower cream which is a delicate composition of antioxidant-rich biodynamic Sea Buckthorn Oil, blended with the fresh aroma of sun-blessed oranges, mandarins and grapefruit from pure essential oils. A revitalising fruity fragrance for shower or bath.

My thoughts 

I am a big fan of SLS free body washes as unlike my husband I don't believe more bubbles mean extra clean skin! 

I have to be completely honest, during my early pregnancy days I really struggled with scents and fragrances in practically everything. Luckily the only thing that I found bearable was citrus scents and happily I was able to use the Sea Buckthorn Creamy Body Wash. It features a wonderful citrus orange scent that is really most pleasant. The creamy wash feels so gentle on the skin and leaves it super soft. Of course the major bonus is all its wonderful natural ingredients. 

* In the Summer I was fortunate to visit the Weleda Gardens. I saw where they grow all the wonderful plants used in the Weleda products and I witnessed just how passionate the staff really are about this fantastic natural brand.

Have you discovered Weleda yet? 

*PR Samples 

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Limited Edition Peanuts Carmex Lip Balm Pots


Carmex fans will absolutely adore these super cute, bright yellow pots featuring all your favourite characters from Peanuts. The collaboration is to mark the release of 'Snoopy and Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie' which will be out in cinemas this December.

The pots contain Original Flavour Carmex and each one features one of four well loved characters - Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Sally or Linus (Linus is 'Super Limited Edition'!)

Carmex contains menthol, camphor and beeswax to leave lips tingling, soft, moisturised and soothed.

Limited Edition Peanuts Carmex Pots are out now costing £3.49 each. 

*PR Samples

Friday, 9 October 2015

Win With SEVENTEEN makeup! & The New Blogger Network



In the final post of the my #SEVENTEENSummer series - the first two of which you can read here & here - I am giving the chance for five lucky readers of BeautySwot.com to win a selection of 5 of the following fabulous and highly rated items from SEVENTEEN.

Cheek Stamp

Skin Wow Highlighter/Tan 

Falsifeye HD Mascara

Lip Crayon (not pictured)

Instant Glow Shimmer Brick 

See below for entry details - Please note that the giveaway is only open to UK residents 



a Rafflecopter giveaway Good luck!

In other very exciting news - SEVENTEEN have launched a new Blogger Network.  The new platform gives you exclusive content including the latest beauty news and the lowdown on new product launches. There is also a SEVENTEEN noticeboard which is accessible to those who have signed up to the Blogger Network which will feature exclusive blog posts from special SEVENTEEN partners. In addition there will be loads of tips & content advice to inspire your own posts - I have signed up and you can too by clicking here -SEVENTEEN Blogger Network


*Sponsored post 


Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Pregnancy - My First 3 months (1st Trimester)


I've been umming & ahhing whether to post this or not as believe it or not I am a pretty private person in general, but hey, what the heck. Why not? Caring is sharing right?

I am 38, I already have a 7 year old boy and at the end of July I took a pregnancy test which came back positive. To be honest I knew I was pregnant before I even took the test as I had some little indicators in the weeks before ...

Pregnancy symptoms 

In my first pregnancy I experienced implantation bleeding which this time round I didn't have which made me think that I wasn't pregnant.

This time however I was feeling stretching, odd pains and cramps like my period was due any time soon...but of course it never materialised on the day I was due.

I needed the toilet more than usual, waking frequently in the night.

I was waking up in sweats.

I was on holiday and prior to this I had undertaken a healthy eating and exercise programme so I was a bit disappointed to find that my tummy still looked a bit full and rounded. This was absolutely not due to the fact it was an all inclusive resort and I was eating loads, oh no!

On my return from the holiday, unbeknown to me, I was actually 5 weeks pregnant. I had an odd feeling on the plane home,  my back hurt & I was overheating. I HAD to get off the plane as soon as I could.

We had an early morning flight and arrived home around 5am - last year when we did this I stayed awake and carried on as usual. This year I went to bed and stayed there for most of the day!

I felt a bit nauseous.

Scents were getting up my nose, my husband wanted to buy an aftershave at Duty Free - things I had previously liked smelt horrid! Oops!

2 days after our return, I was a week late so I got a pregnancy test to confirm my thoughts...

The Test 

I really wanted one of those Clearblue pregnancy tests that says 'pregnant' but all my husband could find in the supermarket was the tests that have the lines, no matter though... the result was unmistakeable - I was pregnant!

Hooray!!

What happened after ?

August

Again, I am going to be completely honest, it hasn't been a walk in the park.

Now I think my experience is not too common but I think people should be aware that it can happen to you.

Of course you can be one of the lucky ones who have no symptoms, or you may have a bit of mild morning sickness or nausea but be otherwise able to function pretty much as you were before.

My story is a bit more severe and left me debilitated for weeks. It seemed I was about to embark on a journey of  "hyperemesis gravidarum" - the same condition that the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton suffered from and meant she had to announce her pregnancy far earlier than she probably wanted to.

Within a day or so the hormones really kicked in. I was extremely nauseous and could barely stand up. This then progressed to being sick too many times a day to keep count. I lost interest in food as anything I managed to consume would come right back up, water didn't stay down either.

I tried all the usual things that they recommend for nausea in pregnancy -

Eat little and often
Ginger Biscuits - they make me feel sick!
Nibble on crackers
Suck boiled sweets

but my feelings were off the scale and NOTHING worked. I knew it was so much more than just the odd bit of morning sickness.

In desperation I visited my Doctor.

Now I really, really didn't want to take anything early on in the pregnancy but frankly I had little choice. I was extremely poorly and not functioning as a human being. My jaw hurt from being sick, my throat hurt from the force of the vomit and I spent most of the day in bed. My throat was irritated so much I would see blood in the sick bowl and was left extremely sore. My stomach would literally be throwing food out and the retching was unbearable.

I was given some anti sickness tablets. They didn't stop me being sick altogether but reduced the frequency (down from every half an hour to 5 or 6 times a day) and I could at least keep a bit of water down.

On top of this I was told I also had a urine infection (common in pregnancy) and had to take two sets of antibiotics.

Headaches - The headaches due to dehydration were horrendous.

DO NOT MENTION SCENTS and FRAGRANCES - every scent made me feel ten times worse... I hated my husband's shower gel, aftershave, our handwash.. food, dinner cooking. Anything really! It was all too much.

It was the Summer holidays and my poor boy was missing his usual happy mummy. Luckily I had family who could help and look after him as I was in no state to.

I narrowly avoided being taken into hospital and put on a drip for dehydration. I felt like I couldn't go..

You see at the end of August my one and only little sister was getting married and I didn't want to miss it for the world, call me crazy but I was not going to miss it.

I still don't know how I got through the fabulous day having spent 4 weeks in bed! But I did and it was an amazing day.

I popped on my fancy frock (I was Maid Of Honour), applied Estee Lauder Double Wear & lots of makeup. I tried to fool people into thinking I was just fine but inside I wanted to just go back to my bed. I was feeling incredibly sick and was sick on the day - especially just before bed that night (the hotel's neighbouring room must have thought I had got very, very drunk!!)

HG is a lonely illness, it can leave you feeling isolated and affects you mentally as well as physically.

September - Back to School 

I am trying to get some normality back into my life and I am actually seeing people again.

I do the school run - sick before I go, sick when I get back..All day nausea and sick most evenings.

September has also included my 12 week scan - the one where I came clean and finally confessed to friends & family that I am indeed expecting.

My husband came with me to the scan, we marvelled at this little person inside my tummy. Wriggling around and jumping about, I know! All 6.5cm of it!! Baby at first didn't want to play ball... it was standing on his head when we arrived at the hospital but a walk later and plenty of water to drink and it was in the right position for measuring.

Where am I now?

As I am writing I am 15 weeks tomorrow - still feeling nauseous, still being sick but nowhere near as bad as I was and still exhausted. Yesterday I had my first cup of tea since mid of July.

I am eating food far better now, especially lovely, healthy fruit & veg that I loved so much before pregnancy... Onwards & Upwards.

Part two will follow ...

Bettina x






Monday, 14 September 2015

Holiday Makeup For Evening With SEVENTEEN

A bit earlier in the month I shared my Holiday Makeup For Day with SEVENTEEN post, I was extremely impressed with the products that I used. This post is no different, the makeup I used for evening was a real eye opener and really showed me that budget products can really perform well.


So for evenings I used the SEVENTEEN CC Cream £6.99 which as mentioned previously was a great base and it lasts.

I used the SEVENTEEN Define & Conquer Kit £5.99 which I have reviewed before & absolutely love. It is such an easy & quick way to create/define cheekbones..

To add warmth in my face I used the beautiful golden toned SEVENTEEN Instant Glow SKINWOW Tan (liquid formula) £5.99 which is warm toned highlighter and adds a beautiful sheen/glow to skin, perfect for Summer evenings. I used it a couple of ways, all over mixed with the CC Cream and just on my cheek bones.

Now this is where I get seriously impressed.... On my eyes I used the SEVENTEEN Falsifeye HD Mascara £6.99 which once again I have reviewed before on BeautySwot. At just £6.99 it is an absolute bargain for stand out, long lashes. I really like this mascara, and later on you will see just how flutter worthy my lashes are using this mascara.

Now for my absolute favourite of this bundle of beauty products.... SEVENTEEN Wet Look Lacquer Eyeliner £3.99. I am always concerned about using liquid liners that are slightly brush like as I tend to make a right mess of my eye makeup using them, I much prefer a pen BUT although this had a scary tiny brush it was just perfect. It was stiff enough to draw a perfect and rich black line AND it didn't transfer to my upper lid or budge once dried all evening. BEST product in my view.

And finally my lips were adorned with SEVENTEEN Berry Crush Lip Stain £4.99 this colouring pen type product puts colour on your lips & it stays there for the evening. I am not sure what shade I was using but it was a really pretty & flattering pink shade.

Here are some pics using the products




Stay tuned for your chance to win some fabulous SEVENTEEN makeup products... coming soon!!

*Sponsored post 

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Holiday Makeup By Day With SEVENTEEN

I recently spent a fabulous week holidaying in Ibiza, the week consisted mainly of lounging by the pool, the waterpark and a few brilliant day trips out and of course visits to the beach. I know it is known as the party capital of the world but seriously there is so much more to Ibiza than just the club scene. If you haven't been I highly recommend making a visit.

As a beauty lover I do tend to travel heavy when it comes to make up despite trying very hard to narrow down some faves, I just like to have options!  This time however, I was sent a few bits by the lovely team at SEVENTEEN to try, so I pretty much pushed aside/emptied out my usual faves and those tried and tested to take a leap of faith in these products....




During the day by the pool I like to keep things simple (I have a son aged 7 and we spend A LOT of time in the pool!) so I just went with my really high sun protection, a light coverage of the SEVENTEEN CC Cream which has SPF25 to just even out my skintone and hide those pesky blemishes.. I must say this CC Cream is a fantastic product, a little went a long way and it was the perfect shade for me (medium) but more on this in my next post - Holiday Makeup For Evening. 

I also opted for some highlighting magic from the SEVENTEEN Skin Wow Primer, this gave a beautiful dewy and super healthy appearance to my skin. Described as a 3 way HIGHLIGHTER GLOW & PRIMER, I used it all three ways and loved the way it lit up my skin, blended well so that its cool tone looked completely natural and just gave a wonderful glow and all round pick me up.

The biggest leap of faith by far was the SEVENTEEN Waterproof Mascara which promised the following - Both waterproof and smudge resistant this non clogging mascara lengthens lashes and lasts all day. As I mentioned, I spent a lot of time in the pool and we also had an adjacent water park that featured a HUGE bucket that tips its entire contents of water on to you if you stand under it. My son thought this was hilarious and made me stand directly under it, the cheeky thing!

So was the waterproof mascara up for the water challenge? I can confidently give this a massive thumbs up and resounding yes. It passed the water test with flying colours. Only the teeniest tiniest of smudging and no panda eyes in sight. I wore this mascara all day everyday. As a waterproof mascara this gave great definition and length to my lashes, was light and the formula wasn't thick or gloopy.


SEVENTEEN CC Cream £ 6.99
SEVENTEEN Waterproof Mascara £4.69
SEVENTEEN Skin Wow Primer £5.99

*Sponsored post 


Friday, 14 August 2015

Sure Maximum Protection Sport Strength



About a month before my holiday I decided to try a little work out routine that I found in a magazine, I donned my trainers, dusted off my exercise mat and popped on my for purpose gear and started following the routine. It may have been too little too late but at least I felt like I was doing something, something is surely better than nothing right?

Well I would love to bring you a post that features glamorous workout shots from the gym but frankly I am not at all glamorous working out, hair tied back, no makeup. I mean why would you wear makeup to work out?!

So instead I am going to bring you some photos of me working out/post workout whilst abroad in Ibiza instead, luckily for me the hotel had a small indoor air conditioned gym that I used. I also carried on doing my usual daily workout in the great outdoors, although there aren't any photos of this sadly :(

I was testing out Sure Maximum Protection Sport Strength Anti-perspirant and I thought what better way to test it out than in the Summer heat of Ibiza.

It claims the following -

Sure Maximum Protection provides our most advanced, long-lasting protection against wetness, and odour yet is gentle enough for everyday use.

Our ultimate control of sweat during physical activity
Maximum strength wetness protection from Sure
Continuous odour protection that keeps you feeling fresh all day 
Long-lasting fragrance 

My thoughts -

Well this totally lives up to its claims, not a hint of wetness at all after a workout, the only water dripping was on my forehead! Plus I smelt good!

Completely and utterly impressed, this was a great holiday product. Whether I was lounging by the pool, working out or on one of our numerous day trips this kept me dry morning till night.

It is a little more expensive than your usual anti perspirant but well worth the money in my opinion.





*Sponsored post 

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