Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Collection Primed & Ready Make Up Fixing Spray Matte - Review

I'm back!

Back with some beauty reviews that is, I have some fabulous products coming up that I am simply itching to share with you.

First up is the Collection Primed & Ready Make Up Fixing Spray Matte

Product claims  - 

Stay selfie ready with Primed & Ready make up fixing spray. The lightweight mist will help prolong make-up wear for a natural matte finish.

My thoughts 

I was actually blown away by how effective this fixing spray is and it is such good value!

Does exactly what it promises. You must close your eyes before spraying at a distance of 10cm. At first makeup looks fresh and dewy, that will be because it is damp ;) but then for the rest of the day your makeup will stay perfectly in place and as fresh as the minute you applied it. When I do the school run I normally have to reapply my cheek products and sometimes my foundation for the afternoon school run. I apply my makeup at 7.30am. The first time I used the Collection Primed & Ready Make Up Fixing Spray I was amazed, upon checking the mirror at 2.30pm, that my makeup was still exactly as I had applied it in the morning.

This is a revelation and I won't go a day without using it now!!


Collection Primed & Ready Make Up Fixing Spray Matte costs £5.99 from Superdrug

*PR Sample 

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Flash Fiction - The Loving Tree

Here is this week's 100 word story based on the following picture prompt

Photo credit @ Sandra Crook

The Loving Tree

‘I love you Charlotte,’ Austin whispered as he held her tiny hand in his.
Charlotte beamed in delight. ‘Why don’t we carve our initials in the tree, as a symbol of our everlasting love?’
Austin pulled back in horror at the suggestion. ‘What? Why would we do that?’
Charlotte’s face crumpled in disappointment. ‘You don’t really love me, do you?’

Austin couldn’t believe what he was hearing, why would anyone want to harm a tree? Cutting its bark would allow a gateway for pathogens. He was quite disgusted in Charlotte. No, she was right, he couldn’t love her, not now.

Hope you enjoyed this story
Bettina x

Many thanks to Rochelle for this week's prompt. If you want to read more stories based on this picture - click here

My new novel 'Without A Hitch' is available to buy now - 

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Afternoon Tea At The Ritz - Review

Having Afternoon Tea is one of my favourite things as regular readers of BeautySwot.com well know, so I was absolutely delighted to find that one of my birthday gifts was Afternoon Tea for Two at The Ritz.

Being The Ritz, we had to book a couple of months in advance and even then one of the few slots we were able to get was the last sitting on a Monday afternoon. So, in early September, off we went all dressed up, the tall blonde one in his suit and tie, me in a little black dress and patent heels, ready to enjoy the sumptuous treat awaiting us.

The first thing to note was the delightful, cheerful and friendly doorman who greeted us on our arrival. It really is the little touches that put a smile on your face. We made our way to the Palm Court where Afternoon Tea is served, and were shown to our table - you can see just how exquisite a setting it is from the photo above.

It was then time to choose our teas to accompany the Traditional Afternoon Tea -

I opted for the 'house' tea - The Ritz Royal English and after the sandwiches I tried The Rose Congou to enjoy with my scones and cakes - both equally delicious and delicate, neither needing milk or sugar to enjoy.

We had advised, when booking, that one of the party was dairy free and they brought separate sandwiches for the blonde one and explained the difference.

There was nothing surprising about the sandwich fillings on reading the menu, the offering pretty standard, but the colourful array of sandwiches were fresh, generously sized and decidedly moreish so we enjoyed a second serving!

Ham with Grain Mustard Mayonnaise on Sliced Brioche 
Cheddar Cheese with Chutney on Tomato Bread 
Cucumber with Cream Cheese, Dill and Chives on Granary Bread 
Chicken Breast with Parsley Cream on Malt Bread 
Scottish Smoked Salmon with Lemon Butter on Sourdough Bread 
Egg Mayonnaise with Chopped Shallots and Watercress on White Bread

These were then followed up by -

Freshly Baked Raisin and Plain Scones with Cornish Clotted Cream and Strawberry Preserve Assortment of British Afternoon Tea Pastries and Cake

The scones were served warm and the blonde one received a separate dairy free batch which he said were most delicious. He was also brought his own separate plate of pastries which he appreciated and endlessly gushed about how tasty it all was... I couldn't disagree, the sweets were bitesize and the perfect balance of sweetness, fruitiness and a satisfying chocolate/coffee hit. I did enjoy the alcohol laced profiterole which was light and fluffy and creamy on the inside ...mmmm! These all really hit the spot. Just when we felt we could eat no more, a waiter came around with a cake trolley offering a slice of cake, well who were we to say no.... I enjoyed the exotic fruit sponge, foregoing the chocolate one and one final time they offered the blonde one a dairy free option.

Afternoon Tea is deceptively filling, best enjoyed on an empty stomach. We had two waiters during the afternoon and found the service to be attentive and friendly throughout.

We really enjoyed our afternoon at The Ritz. The Afternoon Tea was exceptional, it was leisurely, relaxing and The Palm Court was wonderfully opulent but not at all stuffy. The guests ranged from young to old, parties of women, couples and families, all appearing to enjoy this very traditional British pastime.

I have heard that some guests feel rushed at The Ritz ( bookings are allocated 90 minutes, which I feel is ample time) but this could be at busier and more popular times of the year and times in the afternoon. We certainly didn't feel rushed and the last setting of the day was a good choice as it served as dinner for us.

Before leaving we were given a book about Afternoon Tea and I couldn't resist having my photo taken with the pianist who had been playing live music throughout.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Flash Fiction - Like Father, Like Daughter

Here is this week's 100 word story based on the following picture prompt

PHOTO PROMPT © Douglas M. MacIlroy

*Like Father, Like Daughter

Meri heard the thud against the window and ran to investigate. A tiny bird was lying on the floor, its mouth opening hungrily. Must have fallen from a tree she surmised. Poor thing.

‘Daddy, come quick!’

Rick joined his daughter and surveyed the scene.

‘Can we keep her?’

‘No darling, we can’t. The bird has been startled, you know what we need to do. Box, holes, darkened room.'

A few hours later, the pair released the bird successfully back into the wild. Meri, all smiles, was in awe of her dad.When she grew up she became a vet too.

Hope you enjoyed this story
Bettina x

Many thanks to Rochelle for this week's prompt. If you want to read more stories based on this picture - click here

*Kindness breeds kindness

Without A Hitch - Available Now!

Without A Hitch 

I am delighted to announce the release of my second novel 'Without A Hitch' which is out now and available on Amazon to buy. I am planning to release the paperback version shortly so watch this space!

The book is a fictional tale about three brides-to-be who are planning their dream weddings but find that however organised they are, there is nothing they can do when fate intervenes... Sienna, Agnes and Bryony experience the highs and lows of planning a wedding. Will it all come together on their Wedding Day? Find out in this heartwarming, contemporary romantic comedy.

To buy -

UK readers click here 
US readers click here 

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Flash Fiction - Dusty Old Trainers

Here is this week's 100 word story based on the following picture prompt

PHOTO PROMPT © Sarah Potter

Dusty Old Trainers

Mandy picked up the trainers from the back of the cupboard.  She wiped away at a tiny section, hidden under the thick dusty silvery coating, their original colour was revealed.
A keen runner back then, until the day she was raped. She couldn’t wear them after that, too many reminders, and yet she couldn’t bear to throw them away. Studied hard instead, carving a career as a criminal lawyer.
She placed them in the removals box. 
‘Mum, why are you taking these?’ Poppy curled her lip in disgust.
‘To remind me of just how far I have come.’ Mandy smiled.

Hope you enjoyed this 
Bettina x

Many thanks to Rochelle for this week's prompt. If you want to read more stories based on this picture - click here 

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Flash Fiction - Heartless

This week's 100 word story based on this picture prompt

PHOTO PROMPT © Kelvin M. Knight


Ryan opened the door of the bedroom, wearing little else but an apron and brandishing a tray of food.
‘I’ve made you breakfast.’ He stated enthusiastically with a grin on his face.
‘Oh! I don’t eat breakfast.’ Daisy flicked her hair seductively.
Ryan wasn’t about to give up. ‘I made you toast, it’s the healthy type. It’s seeded.’
‘I don’t eat bread, like ever!’ Daisy said dismissively.  
Ryan was crestfallen, ‘But I carved out hearts and everything.’
Daisy shrugged ‘Sorry! You should have asked.’
Ryan sighed. His dad was right, women were hard work.  Next time he wouldn’t bother. 

Hope you liked it
Bettina x

*With thanks to Rochelle for this week's picture prompt. If you wish to read more 100 word stories - click here 

Friday, 8 September 2017

30 Signs A Man Is In The Doghouse

A poll of 2,000 women by onepoll.com has revealed the top 30 signs a man is in the doghouse and I thought it would be fun to share it on this dull, wet Friday!

Photo by Tom Sodoge on Unsplash

Top 30 signs men are in the doghouse:

1. Giving short responses such as “I’m fine” when he asks you about your day

2. Going to bed early to read

3. Rolling over in bed rather than spooning as usual

4. Not putting kisses on the end of a text message

5. Not responding to any gestures of affection

6. Leaving the house without kissing goodbye

7. Not replying to his messages as quickly as normal

8. Busying yourself with chores rather than sitting down to watch a bit of TV

9. Slam the doors

10. Withholding sex

11. Not making him a cup of tea when making yourself one

12. Slamming the dishes on the side when unpacking the dishwasher

13. Not waiting up for them to get in after they've been on a night out

14. Read his text messages so he gets the ‘read receipt’ but don’t reply

15. Spending all evening on the phone to girlfriends rather than talking to him

16. Locking the bathroom door when showering

17. Hog the bed

18. Not helping out with his washing

19. Watch a film he hates but you refuse to switch it off

20. Forgetting to make the dinner

21. Forgetting to iron his shirts

22. Watch the next episode of an exciting TV series without him even though you’ve promised you’d watch it together

23. Using the end of the milk / bread and not bothering to buy any more

24. Forgetting to make his lunch for work

25. Wear an outfit or comfy clothes around the house that you know he hates

26. Putting on your pyjamas and taking off make up before they get home from work

27. Leaving his favourite beer on the side to get warm

28. Stay at your parent’s/friend’s house overnight

29. Eat something smelly for when he gives you a kiss

30. Changing your screensaver or wallpaper on your phone from a picture of him to someone else

Do you do any of these or do you do something that isn't listed? I would love to hear from you!


Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Flash Fiction - End Of The World

This week's 100 word story based on this picture prompt

Photo prompt © Danny Bowman

The End Of The World 

Millie clutched her throat, with only a single drop of water left in her flask she had to make it last. Her wavy blonde hair was matted, caked in blood and dust. Left for dead, that was some blow to her head.
She had been afraid of taking a gap year but Frederique had convinced her to go. She had trusted him, this was how she had been repaid.
She glanced around, her vision hazy, it was like the end of the world. In the distance the mountain glowed, whispering ‘Not the end, the beginning.’ She had to make it.

Hope you liked it
Bettina x

*With thanks to Rochelle for this week's picture prompt. If you wish to read more 100 word stories - click here 

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Flash Fiction - Summer Picnic

This week's 100 word story - based on this picture prompt

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bulltot

Summer Picnic

With the sun shining and the sky clear, it was a beautiful day to go exploring. Jenny appreciated Martha’s skill in seeking out historic ruins, and this one was indeed quite a stunning spot to enjoy their summer picnic. Jenny’s eyes started streaming, the sensation of grit spoiling her fun, this was swiftly followed by an itch in her nose, culminating in incessant sneezing. She knew this grass would be trouble. Hayfever.

‘Apparently this was a smallpox hospital.’

‘What, you mean it wasn’t a castle?’

Martha howled with laughter ‘NO!’

Jenny clutched her churning stomach, feverish she began to hallucinate.

Hope you enjoyed this story 
Bettina x

*Thanks to Rochelle as always for the picture prompt. If you would like to read more stories based on this picture prompt click here 

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Flash Fiction - Psycho

A 100 word story based on this picture prompt

Image © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Flash Fiction - Psycho

My heart is pounding, my breath quickens as panic sets in. I race up the stairs, he follows a few steps behind. I don’t dare look back, he won’t have the satisfaction of seeing the fear in my eyes. I lock the door and collapse in a heap. I am in my safe place. I look around and the irony is not lost on me. Safe, in the shower room.

‘Open up Mel,’ he punches the door with each word. Anger reverberates.

I punch out the number of the emergency services. He won’t get away with this. Not this time.

Hope you enjoyed this story.
Bettina x

Thanks Rochelle for this picture prompt - if you want to read more stories based on the prompt, click here

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Flash Fiction - Love On The Rocks

A 100 word story based on this picture prompt


Love On The Rocks

‘Here it is!’

After a long and testing walk they had finally found the rock Tom had played on as a child.

Lizzie looked in disgust at the rock, batting away the flies. The rock in the picture that Tom was holding, was perfect, this had not stood the test of time. Full of holes and infested with beetles it was not a pretty sight.

Had Tom really taken the time to get to know Lizzie he would have never brought her camping. Like the rock, their marriage had once been beautiful but now, it was just not worth saving.

Hope you enjoyed this story
Bettina x

Thanks Rochelle for this picture prompt - if you want to read more stories based on the prompt, click here 

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Flash Fiction - You Don't Buy Me Flowers

A 100 word story based on this picture prompt

Image courtesy of Dale Rogerson

You Don't Buy Me Flowers

David spotted the flowers before he had even walked into the room, two beautiful bouquets prominently displayed on the table.
‘Who are the flowers from?’
Lara smiled to herself as she plated up dinner, her back was turned but she could sense the green eyed monster from the tone of his voice.  
‘No idea, there was no note,’ she replied breezily. It had been a while since she had received any flowers. Her plan had worked.
David had slipped up, it was his job to buy flowers for his wife. Tomorrow he would call the florist and arrange a delivery.

Hope you enjoyed this story
Bettina x

With thanks to Rochelle for the picture prompt as always. If you wish to read more stories based on this prompt, click here 

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Staring In The Face Of 40

What does forty look like? 

Well this is me aged forty. I have spent my 39th year worrying about reaching this significant age... Forty just sounded old to me. Certain ages are to be embraced, forty to be feared. Or does it?

Reaching twenty, well I felt all grown up - it also coincided with being at University, enjoying some of the best times of my life. Travelling all over the world and well being carefree. Good times.

Thirty  - Aged twenty five I met the love of my life. By thirty, I was married - about to have my first son, we also had a mortgage and work consumed 5 days of the week.  Travel still played a major part of our lives.

By the end of my 39th year, I had stepped off the traditional work ladder. We welcomed a second son into our lives. I started a beauty and afternoon tea blog which brought me so many opportunities, more than I could have imagined. At the age of 38 I achieved a lifelong ambition - I published my first novel. Although I had planned to have my second novel released before I was forty, life had other plans. It is going to be shortly released so watch this space!

The opportunity to travel and explore the world is still there, albeit with a lot more luggage to take with us.


Yet today, as I am a day over forty, I realise that actually nothing has changed. I may be a year older but I am still the same person. I have a few wrinkles, grey hairs and laughter lines, but that is me. It tells my story. I am grateful to have reached such a milestone age. A few of my friends sadly didn't.

I will embrace opportunities sent my way. I will actively pursue new opportunities. I will never take my health for granted. I will adore and cherish those I have been blessed to have around me. There will be ups, there will be downs but most of all... there is life.

So here's to being fabulous at forty!

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream SPF30 - New Release

The original Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream is one of my favourite facial moisturisers so I am delighted that Elemis have introduced the same cream now with added SPF30. It has the same delicious scent of the original which I adore. The cream is still light in texture, almost fluid like and is silky to the touch. I couldn't tell any difference which I think is great.

Protected silky soft, hydrated, glowy skin. I don't think you can ask for anymore.

Elemis say  

This clinically proven formulation blends a powerful combination of ingredients, including Padina Pavonica and Ginkgo Biloba, shown to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles in 14 days*. With hydration increased, elasticity and suppleness appear improved and the skin looks firm and toned.

A next generation micronized sunscreen offers a unique encapsulated blend that leaves no white streaks on the face and offers evenly distributed broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection without compromise to the texture of the cream.

This is the ultimate anti-ageing cream from ELEMIS.

Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream SPF30 50ml costs £82

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Crabtree & Evelyn La Source Collection Review

Getting Beachy feels everytime I use Crabtree & Evelyn La Source Collection.  The newly reformulated range features new products and four restorative marine blends and a new hero ingredient of anti-oxidant rich Green Seaweed Extract. Marine Goddess here I come!

Crabtree & Evelyn say 

The La Source collection draws inspiration from the restorative powers of the sea around us, and is carefully designed to restore, condition and rejuvenate the skin from head to toe. Formulated with a blend of ingredients such as underwater algae, mineral salts and seaweeds the products in this collection allow you to escape everyday life and immerse yourself in spa-like rituals.

My thoughts

I absolutely adore the scent - fresh and Summery. It lends itself so well to the products in the range and there is a whole host of products for top to toe. I was sent a few bits from the range to review and have definitely fallen in love with this uplifting, feel good collection. Oh, and of course, all the products have that all important bathroom shelf appeal. A huge thumbs up from me.

La Source Refreshing Body Wash 500ml £27

Described as 'A crisp, clean scent of refreshing aquatic notes, musk, and gentle shoreline breezes' this body wash swathes the bathroom in its glorious scent and leaves skin feeling cleansed, soft and refreshed.

La Source Exfoliating Body Scrub 175g £20

One of my favourite products in the range, the body scrub is smooth and creamy with enough grittiness to do its job of exfoliating, leaving skin smooth. Contains a refreshing marine blend of green seaweed extract and purifying brown algae extract.

La Source Ultra-Moisturising Hand Therapy 25g £8

Moisturising, softening and leaves hands smelling great, what's not to love about the classic hand therapy hand cream? Features the restorative marine blend of anti-oxidant-rich green seaweed extract and protecting red sea algae. The hydrating power of hyaluronic acid and ceramides contribute to improve the skin’s natural moisture barrier. I notice an instant plumpness and improvement in my hands condition as soon as I apply. 

La Source Triple Milled Soap 100g £7

For those of you who  like traditional soap there is one in this range, with all the goodness of shea butter and mineral skin loving properties from the collection, this is a bather's dream. 

La Source Eau De Toilette 100ml £37

And finally, we get to my absolute favourite item in the range - the EDT. I have worn this every day since receiving my package. In Spring/Summer I suffer terribly with hayfever and scents irritating my delicate nose. La Source EDT however is a revelation in scent terms - it is light, refreshing, Summery and oceanic. Does anyone remember Oceanus? It's similar-ish to this beautiful scent. 

Eau La Source is described in the following way - 

Take your senses on a journey with the new Eau de La Source®  Eau de Toilette, featuring a delicate marine accord and our antioxidant-rich Green Seaweed Extract. Experience the tranquillity of deserted shores as the spa-like scent of crisp ocean breezes, marine aromas and clean citrus notes soothes your soul and revitalises your spirit. Golden notes of amber evoke the warmth of rich sunsets, while Petitgrain and Basil bring to mind far-flung beach destinations.

  • Marine aromas and clean citrus notes
  • Golden notes of amber complemented with petitgrain and basil 
  • Eau de toilette strength
  • Perfect daytime fragrance

Literally transports me to the sea. I adore it! The husband also likes it so it's a win win.

Have you tried this range?

*PR Samples 

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Flash Fiction - Invisible

A 100 word story based on this picture prompt

Image © Roger Bultot


Six o’clock on the dot. Week in, week out, he would arrive dressed in a suit. Taking his usual seat, by the window at the front, he would wait. She would arrive shortly after, five past six to be precise. Pretty, not a hair out of place. Her lipstick, a coral shade setting off her baby blue eyes. He would stand to greet her, warmly. Taking her arm he would lead her to the hotel next door. Working late he said. Lying. I watched most days, invisible, from the back of the diner. My husband, his mistress.

Hope you enjoyed this story
Bettina x

With thanks to Rochelle for the picture prompt as always. If you wish to read more stories based on this prompt, click here .

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Flash Fiction - Tuesday's Child

A 100 word story based on this picture prompt

PHOTO PROMPT © Magaly Guerrero

*Tuesday's Child 

Born on a Tuesday, Melody Grace Edwards was destined for great things her mother proudly declared. As soon as she could walk she was signed up to ballet classes. Her grandmother, herself a famous dancer, died soon after she was born leaving Melody her dancing shoes and an exquisite case for use as a future performance prop.

At her first public performance aged three, Melody excitedly took to the stage to showcase what she had learnt. It was then, with horror, that realisation set in. The child, an unmitigated disaster, lacked any grace or coordination. Swan Lake she was not.

Hope you enjoyed this story
Bettina x

*Monday's child is fair of face,
Tuesday's child is full of grace,
Wednesday's child is full of woe,
Thursday's child has far to go,
Friday's child is loving and giving,
Saturday's child works hard for a living,
But the child who is born on the Sabbath day
Is bonnie and blithe and good and gay.

With thanks to Rochelle for the picture prompt as always. If you wish to read more stories based on this prompt, click here .

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Flash Fiction - Never Too Late

A 100 word story based on this picture prompt

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

Never Too Late

Alan gazed forlornly at his four cheese pizza and bottle of red and sighed, stood up again. Online dating was not going well. Pizza was his favourite meal, the red wine he had been saving for a special occasion. The search for love would continue tomorrow, tonight he would enjoy the feast.

Devouring his pizza, he was rather annoyed when the doorbell rang. He stomped to the door, oil dripping down his chin. His annoyance turned to delight at the visitor before him. She had come after all.

‘Hope I am not too late?’

He grinned ‘I’ll grab my coat’

Hope you enjoyed it!
Bettina x

With thanks to Rochelle for another great picture prompt - if you wish read more stories using this prompt - click here 

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Flash Fiction - Unbelievable (part two)

This week's 100 word story using the following picture prompt

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

Unbelievable (part two) 

*note - although this can be read as a standalone piece, it goes alongside this original piece Unbelievable

The Detective shook his head, he didn’t get it. Two missing people in a matter of weeks. He inspected the evidence – unfinished pizza, a bottle of red, tell-tale single glass. Beauty clutter on the dressing table, a torch, a watch neatly placed.  Why would anyone eat in the bedroom when they had a balcony with views people paid good money for?

‘You been drinking Marion? When are you going to learn?’

Marion could scarcely breathe in the closet, barely audible her muffled cries letting him know of her existence. She watched, despairing as he left. Here we go again.

Hope you enjoyed it!
Bettina x

With thanks to Rochelle for another great picture prompt - if you wish read more stories using this prompt - click here

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Mandara Spa Oriental Retreat Collection

The latest bathing collection from Mandara Spa puts the treat into retreat. Called Oriental Retreat , it's the most delicious smelling range - with Cedarwood and Sweet Orange, it really is the most perfect blend of sweet and spice. Personally I find it to be quite a unisex scent and the husband happily agrees with me.

Mandara Spa are renowned for bringing the spa experience into your home and this new collection does not disappoint, it feels and smells far more luxurious than the price tag suggests. Oriental Retreat transports your mind and body to exotic Eastern Climes, a gorgeously sensual experience, the scent is warming, sweet and calming. All the range has been created to pamper, relax and unwind.

The Shower Gel £4 200ml  

is gentle and leaves skin feeling soft and smelling of the delicious scent inside the tube. Containing soothing aloe vera, indulgent Oriental orchid extract, and fragrant cedarwood oil, sweet orange and cumin.

The Honey Bath £10 500ml

smells slightly sweeter than the shower gel thanks to the inclusion of the honey, is really conditioning on the skin and imparts the scent across the bathroom so giving your senses the Oriental experience too. You won't want to leave the bath once you have immersed yourself in the warm, bubble filled water! Contains Moisturising acacia honey, softening rice oil, indulgent Oriental orchid extract, and fragrant cedarwood oil, sweet orange and cumin.

The Beauty Oil £7.50ml

is a multi-purpose body oil with the same delicious scent, the scent is long lasting, the oil fast drying. Can be used as a moisturiser, massage oil or bath oil for silky smooth skin. For nourished, shiny hair apply to ends of hair overnight, shampoo and rinse. I haven't yet tried to use it on my hair, but I will be.
Contains wonderful ingredients of moisturising sweet almond oil, softening macadamia nut oil, indulgent Oriental orchid extract, nourishing rosehip oil and fragrant cedarwood oil, sweet orange and cumin.

A lovely way to end a day.

Mandara Spa products are available to purchase in Sainsbury's stores.

*PR Samples

Givenchy Le Rouge A Porter Lipstick - Rose Aristocrate Shade 201

Givenchy Le Rouge A Porter Lipstick has a lovely balm like quality to it, making it gorgeously moist on your lips. The colour is buildable which I am a fan of and allows you control of depth. The shade I have been using - No201 Rose Aristocrate is a pretty pink shade, just perfect for Spring. Of course I cannot fail to mention the stunning silver and leather case that it comes in. Very chic!

This is my first foray into Givenchy lipsticks but it certainly will not be my last....

Below I am wearing Rose Aristocrate - a really flattering nude pink that has been my go to recently.

*mini sample

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Flash Fiction - A Lucky Escape

This week's 100 word story using the following picture prompt

A Lucky Escape

A beautiful bicycle, had to belong to a lady. White and red, attached to the front a pretty wicker basket. I admired it from my bus as I passed it every day.  Imagining it was mine, what would I use it for? Romantic country rides with my beloved? Ambling to work on my regular commute? Of course this was all wistful thinking, I had never learnt to ride a bike, never even sat on one. Until one day the bike wasn’t in its usual spot. The bike a mangled mess, the woman sprawled on the ground, hit by the bus. 

Hope you enjoyed it!
Bettina x

With thanks to Rochelle for another great picture prompt - if you wish to read more stories using this prompt - click here 

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Flash Fiction - Unbelievable

This week's 100 word story using the following picture prompt


The Detective gazed out of the Penthouse Suite, the windows wall to ceiling. 'What a view' he commented. It was a crystal clear day, the water was absurdly still. Serenity reigned supreme.

‘He entered the water there?’ Pointing directly at the centre of the Marina, he quizzed the owner of the property.

She nodded, cigarette in hand, the hand shaking violently.

‘The thing is Marion, the divers have found no evidence of a body, or the boat.’

‘5th call this week, I’ll let myself out.’

‘I know what I saw’ she muttered as she popped open another bottle of red.

Hope you enjoyed it! 
Bettina x

With thanks to the lovely Rochelle who organises this each week. If you wish to read other stories based on this prompt click here 

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Flash Fiction - The Pearly Gates

My 100 word story using this photo prompt

PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

Two pert little button noses poked through the railings, one set of eyes wide with amazement.

‘Is that it?’ whispered Katie.

‘Yup, that’s it’ Tom whispered back with certainty.

Katie wrinkled her nose ‘That’s Heaven, where God lives?’ The little girl was sceptical. She ran the tips of her fingers along the rusty gates. ‘But these gates are not pearly and where are the angels?’

Tom shrugged ‘Dunno, maybe they were pearly once.’

The door opened and out scurried two cloaked figures dressed in white. An old man, bearded, with white hair waved from a window.

‘Angels, GOD’ Katie breathed.

Hope you enjoyed the story
Bettina X

If you wish to read more stories from this week's prompt - click here

Sunday, 19 March 2017

The White Company New Skincare Range Reviewed

Just over three weeks ago I was sent a few items from the new Skincare Range from The White Company. Since then I have been using the items every day, trialling them out and putting them through their paces.

I have to say that I cannot pass by The White Company without popping in and especially since having children The Little White Company. I love the fresh and simple look of the products, the great home accessories and well everything really, I am a fan! So it didn't come as too much of a shock to me that they would expand into skincare, particularly as the founder is an ex beauty journalist. She has partnered with Global Skincare Experts DECIEM, who make products under the Abnormal Beauty Company.

True to The White Company branding, the packaging is white or clear, smart looking and beautifully simple. I think it has great bathroom appeal and I couldn't wait to add it to my shelf.

So what of the products

I was sent the following

Super Balm - Gentle Daily Deep Cleanser £25 for 150ml 

The White Company say 

Cleansing is an essential starting point to achieving a flawless complexion. This luxury cleansing balm is designed to deeply, yet gently, cleanse and dissolve all traces of make-up, including mascara, while instantly boosting hydration and radiance, too. Its special balm-based formula melts upon massage, giving all skin types a healthy glow and super-soft touch. Subtly scented with lemon and petitgrain essential oils and suitable for all skin types.

My thoughts 

I am going to come out and say it straight off - this was my favourite product that I tested and I would repurchase. I loved the citrus lemon scent that wasn't overpowering but hugely pleasant to use. The balm like cream comes out of the tube runny. To use you massage it into the face, it then melts into an oil and loosens up. To wash off you use a hand hot wet facial cloth, follow by rinsing with cool water.

I felt this was a really effective cleanser, I loved the way it changed from cream to oil. It removed makeup well and cleansed skin. Skin felt soft and smooth and radiant. I have noticed an improvement to my skin, absolutely. I would say this is ideal for most skin types.

Advanced Hydration Skin Perfecting Moisturiser £30 for 50ml 

The White Company say 

This clever daily moisturiser immediately nourishes and hydrates all skin types, creating a more flawless-looking complexion by helping balance your skin’s natural moisture levels. Blended with an advanced form of hyaluronic acid, nourishing Amazonian oils and soothing aloe-vera butter, radiance and hydration are visibly improved with every use. What’s more, this non-greasy formula behaves like a primer, too, creating a matte velvet-touch base that enables your make-up to stay perfectly in place for hours. Delicately scented with our exclusive blend of lavender, rose and orange essential oils, this is a gentle yet effective moisturiser with noticeable long-term results.

Advanced active ingredients:
Hyaluronic acid: instantly offers intense and long-lasting hydration to skin’s surface and epidermis
Amazonian oils: to deeply hydrate and improve the appearance of skin’s texture
Aloe-vera butter: helps to soothe sensitive skin, reduce inflammation and gently hydrate

My thoughts 

This moisturiser doesn't have much of a scent but that suits me just fine. The only thing I would like to see would be perhaps an SPF included in it. This is a great every day moisturiser (I have combination skin) and I feel I get the best results when used twice a day as recommended. Skin feels soft, hydrated and it is a nice base for makeup (funnily enough, I wrote my thoughts before seeing what The White Company say.. and they mention the fact that it behaves like a primer, good base for makeup... Good to see I agree!)

At the moment, due to hayfever, my skin feels sensitive around the nostril area and this is delicate enough to continue to use.

Night Oil Overnight Renewal Treatment £30 for 30ml

The White Company say 

Give your skin a full night of beauty sleep with this incredible facial oil. Massage a few drops of the fast-absorbing formula across the face and neck after cleansing, taking care to avoid the delicate eye area. Our enriching blend of Amazonian oils, anti-oxidants and poppy-flower extract ensure that you will wake up to deeply nourished, firmer-looking skin that feels as soft as silk and glows with health. Suitable for all skin types.

Advanced active ingredients:
Amazonian oils: to deeply hydrate and improve the appearance of skin’s texture
Anti-oxidant carotenoids: to help support firmer-looking, age-proof skin
Poppy-flower extract: to help visibly smooth skin’s surface and boost radiance

My thoughts 

This oil has a nice, pleasant scent. Calming and relaxing. Just perfect for before bed. I use one squeeze of the dropper which gives enough product to massage into my face. Strangely I don't feel it absorbing into the skin. It seems to sit atop, it must me doing something however as by morning it has disappeared and skin feels nice and soft and looks pretty good too. Personally I feel using the products together I have seen an overall improvement in my skin so I am happy. I will be using these products until they are finished.

Have you tried any products from the range?

Visit their website for more details The White Company

*PR Samples 

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream Review

Whilst the picture above is not the prettiest, what it does show is just how well used this tub of Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream has been.

I have used this moisturiser every day throughout the winter months and have been delighted with the results.

Billed as a 24-hour daily facial cream.

Kiehl's say 

Continuously replenishing moisture throughout the day, Ultra Facial Cream leaves skin feeling smooth, soft and hydrated. With a lightweight texture and easily absorbed formula, this facial cream is perfect for daily use. Our formula is made with Antarcticine - a Glycoprotein extracted from microorganisms sourced from sea glaciers and notable for an ability to protect skin from cold temperatures. Ultra Facial Cream is specially formulated with moisturising Squalane and water retaining Imperata Cylindrica to protect the skin throughout harsh weather conditions. These ingredients help your skin to stay hydrated for longer.

Our unique combination of ingredients helps reduce moisture loss while drawing and absorbing moisture from the air.  With continuous water replenishment throughout the day, skin is smooth and healthy looking. 

My thoughts 

Well my skin has gone through a lot of hormonal changes in the last year after giving birth. I have suffered the worst psoriasis I have experienced. Although it sometimes lurks at the hairline, it appeared properly on my face in dry, flaky patches. I was nervous using anything on the affected skin but I am happy to report that this light cream was ideal to use, moisturising the skin but not irritating it in any way. Scent wise, it smells just like a very delicate cream if that makes any kind of sense! Pleasant.

Overall with daily use I felt that my skin felt balanced and I didn't suffer from any dry or oily patches.It just feels lovely - soft and well hydrated. A great start for the rest of my skincare and makeup. A fabulous every day moisturiser, non greasy and fast absorbing.

Big thumbs up from me.

Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream 125ml costs £45 

*PR Sample

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Elemis British Botanicals Shower Cream Review

Pamper time is such a rarity at the moment so I adore products that at least make me feel pampered in the short time that I have. I couldn't wait to share this review of Elemis British Botanical Shower Cream as it fulfills every criteria I look for in a skincare product.

Elemis say

Harnessing the powerhouse of ingredients grown in the idyllic British countryside, this aromatic shower cream is expertly blended with soothing Lavender, Chamomile and uplifting Geranium and Palmarosa. Omega-rich Echium oil works to hydrate and nourish the skin, whilst vitamin and mineral rich organic Oats and Rosemary gently cleanse the skin, for a truly restorative in-shower experience.

My thoughts 

To be honest I was quite surprised how much I liked this shower cream. Regular readers know that I am not a fan of Lavender scents particularly. However, although it lends itself heavily on the ingredient the end result is a far more appealing English Garden/Countryside floral scent. The cream is a runny non lathering cream that feels so gentle, non irritating and soothing on the body. The scent is calming, and actually,  I totally agree with the description from Elemis, it really does feel like it is restoring body, skin and mind. Skin is left feeling soft, silky and cleansed to perfection.

So it gets a huge thumbs up from me and a definite purchase in future.

Elemis British Botanicals Shower Cream 200ml costs £25

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Flash Fiction - The Clouds Roll In

My 100 word flash fiction story using this photo prompt

Photo credit © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

The Clouds Roll In 

'Mrs Jones can we PLEASE go outside. It's SUCH a beautiful day' Ayla pleaded. 

Mrs Jones peered out the window. It was a brilliant summer’s day, which, living in England was a rarity. It would indeed be a waste if they didn’t make the most of it, she conceded.

‘Okay, grab your tools, art class is al fresco’ 

The children cheered, how exciting!

With the sun blazing down, the children began to draw. Five minutes later, a shadow cast over their papers, a dark cloud blocking the sun. Plops of rain fell on their work.

‘Typical British Weather’ she tutted.

Hope you enjoyed the story 
Bettina X

If you would like to read other stories using this prompt - click here

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Flash Fiction - Smashed

My 100 word flash fiction story using this photo prompt

*Photo credit Liz Young 


'Don't smoke' she sighed, stamping out my ciggie. ‘Don't even think about drinking' she nagged, whilst tipping the bottle of wine down the sink. Words were never going to stop me. It was the cool thing to do at school and I desperately wanted to fit in. I had a lot to live up to.

Oscar winning. My mother, the successful dressmaker, designer extraordinaire. Miss Perfect. Well not so perfect, her husband, my dad, left her for a model. Turns out she was the alcohol swilling, chain smoking bitch. The mannequin's head? Based on the woman he left her for.

Hope you enjoyed this story
Bettina x

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Crabtree & Evelyn Rose & White Chocolate Biscuits

Romance, flowers, chocolates - these beautifully presented All Butter Rose & White Chocolate biscuits from Crabtree & Evelyn have it all... An ideal gift to show your love this Valentine's Day.

The tin they come in is just so pretty and wonderfully illustrated. The biscuits themselves are crunchy enough to dip in your tea if you so feel inclined. In fact I brought out the Royal Albert China specially to indulge in a special afternoon tea as I knew the occasion demanded it. I felt incredibly decadent whilst daintily sipping on my tea and biting into these moreish buttery biscuits.

I am a huge, huge fan of anything rose so these rose and white chocolate biscuits grabbed my attention instantly and they didn't disappoint. These traditionally baked English biscuits are made with crystallised rose petals and pieces of white chocolate. The result is a delicate rose taste from the the perfumed flowers and the white chocolate is smooth and creamy to tantalize the taste buds with this truly romantic foodie gift.

Delicious limited edition biscuits that are the perfect addition to afternoon tea. Massive thumbs up from me.

Crabtree & Evelyn new limited edition Rose & White Chocolate biscuits cost £5 for 160G

*PR Sample

Flash Fiction - The Bully

My 100 word flash fiction story using this photo prompt

Image courtesy of Ted Strutz

The Bully 

‘It’s too cold!’ Mollie screamed, dipping her big toe tentatively into the water.

‘Don’t be a sissy, you know the rules. That is IF you want to be in our gang?’

Fred pushed Mollie into the water and laughed sinisterly…caught unawares, she lost her footing and became submerged completely. ‘I hate you Fred’ Mollie coughed and spluttered.

Hidden in the bushes, four other children looked on wide-eyed, how brave she was.

Mollie, no longer cold, admired her new perspective. Empowered, she climbed aboard the chair.

She had beaten the bully, ‘Your turn Fred’

He turned and ran. Stupid little brother.

Hope you enjoyed this story
Bettina x

*This is the first time I have taken part in the Friday Fictioneers 100 word story photo prompt... you can read the other stories here

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gelée Milk Cleanser Review

Lazy cleansing for me equates to no water needed. Yes wipes have a place (usually used on holidays in my case), but actually I don't really want to compromise on good skincare routines if I can help it. But I get it, we all have lazy days where we want to flop into bed with little effort, that is where new Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gelée Milk Cleanser comes in...

Neutrogena say 

Neutrogena Hydro Boost® Gelée Milk Cleanser is an innovative cleanser combining the lightness of a gel with the efficacy of a make-up remover milk. The combination of Neutrogena® cleansing technology, hydrating agent and Hyaluronic acid which is naturally found in skin, help the formula to protect the skin barrier, boost hydration and help lock it in.

Boosts hydration
No rinse formula
Removes makeup
Leaves skin touchably supple

My thoughts 

This pump action cleanser has a lovely, fresh and fruity scent. The product comes in gelee form and feels really gentle on the skin as it effectively and easily wipes away and removes makeup including mascara. It does a great job of cleansing, I was surprised that it left skin feeling tacky to the touch but actually this only lasted a minute or two and then just like magic..skin just felt beautifully soft.

A great, no rinse formula cleanser.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gelée Milk Cleanser 200ml RRP £7.99

*PR Sample

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Revlon ColorStay 2-in-1 Compact Makeup Concealer

As a quick fix go to on the school run I like to use Revlon ColorStay 2in1 Compact Makeup Concealer which is a bit of a revelation for me. I do tend to prefer using liquid foundations but this cream foundation works well, covers great and stays put.

Revlon say 

Expertly matched makeup & concealer that lasts all day. The ideal on the go product not only features your perfect shade duo but also includes a mirror for touch-ups and a teardrop applicator for a flawless finish.

Revlon Colorstay Compact Makeup & Concealer:
4 expertly matched shades of foundation and concealer
Concealer one shade lighter than foundation
Flawless, velvet – matte finish
Lightweight, buildable coverage
Sweat and smudge resistant

Swatches of the concealer and foundation in shade Ivory which is perfect for me. 

My thoughts 

Soft, creamy and silky in texture this is a really light cream foundation and concealer that melts into the skin and gives coverage without you feeling that you are wearing anything at all. It covers mild redness and blemishes (I have normal/combination skin) and the lighter concealer shade is good for around the eye area. It is a buildable foundation but I personally find I need one swipe of the superb enclosed sponge is enough to give a coverage that I like. The finish is velvet but with a brightening effect. What I also think is impressive is that both the makeup and concealer appear to be running down at the same time  - you may be able to just see this from the swatches picture above.

A foundation, concealer, mirror and sponge in one super handy compact. Marvellous!

The picture below was taken when my skin was in a bit of turmoil both from coming out of pregnancy and the first few hormonal months after birth and I think it looks great. My skin has settled down now and I still think highly of this foundation.

A great every day foundation and portable quick fix (if you need it!)

Wearing Revlon ColorStay 2in1 Compact Makeup Concealer in Ivory

*PR Sample

Tea India Cardamom Chai

It's no secret that I absolutely adore drinking Chai, I do like a good spiced tea. However, when I was pregnant I couldn't stand anything spiced and pretty much went off of tea completely for a while... so it was with great pleasure that I recently discovered Tea India Cardamom Chai lurking in the back of the cupboard. I had obviously bought it a while back on one of my many tea discovering shopping trips...

So out it came and I have been enjoying drinking it daily ever since!

Tea India Cardamom Chai in my opinion is best drunk with added milk and some sugar, for a delicious, warming and sweet Chai flavour. Although me being me, trying to avoid too much added sugar,  have ditched the sugar bit, it is still gorgeous but I just get the feeling that a more authentic taste is with the sugar ;)

I don't leave my tea bag in too long and this gives it a fab, not too strong taste. I think this is an ideal drink in these cold, icy winter months and a good alternative to that other winter fave Hot Chocolate.

I must admit to liking cardamom in general, so if this sounds like this is your thing... I implore you to give it a go!

Friday, 20 January 2017

Sensodyne Pronamel - Protect Your Enamel

I have been trialling Sensodyne Pronamel Toothpaste and Mouthwash for the last few weeks. Protecting my teeth from acid erosion is something that I feel personally is important to me as I do like to eat a lot of fruit. And of course who doesn't want to give their teeth the best protection wherever possible?

Sensodyne Pronamel promises healthy, stronger and better protected enamel*

* Pronamel has a unique formulation. It helps minerals penetrate deep into the enamel surface, activelt strengthening and re-hardening weakened enamel, making it stronger, healthier and better protected from the effects of everyday acids.

Did you know...

Enamel is the hardest substance in the body. If not protected over time it can be weakened and erode.

Enamel is the white, mineral rich, outer layer of our teeth that protects the dentine underneath.

Acid erosion is caused by eating and drinking acidic foods such as fruit juice, fizzy drinks and even salad foods.

Yellow and dull enamel can be a sign of acid erosion.

It's important that we start protecting our enamel against acids to help stop acid erosion getting any worse.

Brushing twice a day with Pronamel helps to

Protect from the effects of acid erosion
Maintain healthy teeth and gums
Rebuilds enamel strength for strong white teeth
Clean and freshen your mouth
Restores natural whiteness
Provide cavity protection.

My thoughts 

Pronamel has a nice and refreshing mint taste and leaves my teeth feeling polished and smooth, a good and effective toothpaste. My teeth look brighter. I really like using it and would purchase. Used in conjunction with Pronamel Mouthwash (alcohol free) which has a gentle mint taste,  mouth feels super clean and fresh.

Pronamel is available in a few different variants which I am looking forward to trying.

*PR Sample 

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Breakfast Face Masks 3 x 10ml - Review

This pack of face masks were sent to me along with my Alpro Dairy Alternative Goodies and I have to say I have been pleasantly surprised at how nice and effective they are!

There are 3 face masks in the pack and I have got two applications in each so six face masks if you think of it that way...

Yoghurt - This is a smooth(ie) mask and smells so delicious and a little bit like a vanilla yoghurt. It's nice and creamy to apply. The result is gorgeously soft and silky skin, skin feels hydrated and looks bright and clear. I was surprised actually as this is such a gentle mask.

Coffee - Another great smelling mask that has a wonderful, light coffee aroma - oh my! Once again this is a smooth, creamy mask and works in exactly the same way as the yoghurt version. Good results. It cleans out pores without you even realising.

Oatty - This mask contains bits so it is gritty but not overly so, just a great scrub feel when you rinse it off. A nice smell like the other two. It leaves skin super soft and clear.

All in all, these are so gentle, effective and such a pleasure to use.

Breakfast Face Masks are available from Asos, Prezzybox and various online sites at around £6

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Ferrari Fragrance iPhone Case - Gift Idea

A perfect gift idea for this Valentine's Day that will satisfy a man's love of fast cars, gadgets and smelling good!

The Ferrari Fragrance iPhone case is award winning and innovative...

This Ferrari Fragrance iPhone case also doubles as you guessed it, a fragrance dispenser. Your man will not only look stylish he will smell incredibly alluring on the go. This gorgeous scent - Ferrari Black opens with fresh notes of lime, bergamot and red apple, boasting a delicious and spicy heart of cinnamon, cardamom and jasmine rose and finally base notes of masculinity and warmth of cedarwood, amyris wood, amber and vanilla.  Mmm, mmm.

The case is soft to touch and is a protective cover for the phone.

Also available in Ferrari Red, the cover is suitable for iPhones 6/6S and comes with an extra 25ml refill.

Ferrari Fragrance iphone Case 25ml RRP £30 and is available from Boots, The Perfume Shop and online. 

*PR Sample


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