Wednesday 30 May 2018

Flash Fiction - Barren Land

This week's 100 word story based on the following picture prompt.

© Connie Gayer

Barren Land

Karla wailed into her tissue, the pain too much to keep inside, she had long stopped holding back her true feelings. She had done everything to the letter, everything the so-called experts had advised her to do. She didn’t drink, had never taken drugs, never smoked. Changed her diet, made sure she took her multivitamins, reduced her stress with Pilates and even tried acupuncture. The prescribed drugs had failed, except send her over the edge and place her marriage on the brink. Too late now, her womb barren land, her body beaten, yearning for what was not meant to be. 

Bettina x

* Thank you to Rochelle for this week's picture prompt, if you would like to read more stories based on this picture, click here 

Wednesday 23 May 2018

Flash Fiction - About Last Night

This week's 100 word story based on the following picture prompt.

About Last Night 

I gently push open the door and tentatively enter. I need to see this for myself. The house, my sanctuary, has been turned upside down. Absolutely nothing has been left untouched. I feel sick as I make my way to the kitchen. The mouth-wateringly expensive, stunning crystal bowl, a precious wedding gift that takes pride of place on the dining table, is cracked. A strange sticky residue lines the edges. My favourite plant, mutilated, leaves carelessly tossed aside. Devastated at the damage, I take a deep, angry, breath before calling upstairs.

‘Chloe, what the hell happened in here last night?’

Bettina x 

*Many thanks to Rochelle for this week's prompt. If you would like to read more stories based on this picture - click here
Enjoyed this story? Why not check out my new novel 'Without A Hitch' which is available to buy now -

UK -
US -

Wednesday 16 May 2018

Flash Fiction - Goodbye

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

PHOTO PROMPT submitted by Courtney Wright. © Photographer prefers to remain anonymous.


Jess glanced over at the old boots, and felt the tears slipping down her cheeks. She remembered how she had nagged him over and over again to buy new ones. Whatever the occasion, whatever they were doing, he would wear them, much to her intense embarrassment.

‘I like them Jess, they are comfortable.’ He would insist, before tying the laces with gusto.

‘But they are tatty and horrid. How much longer can you keep taping them up?’ Jess retorted, spitting out the words venomously.

Nate did replace the boots, once the holes became too big to bear. He also replaced Jess.

Bettina x

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

Enjoyed this story? Why not check out my new novel 'Without A Hitch' which is available to buy now -

UK -
US -

Friday 11 May 2018

Dior Diorskin Forever Undercover Foundation Review

Oh I do love it when a new foundation is released and so was delighted when I was able to obtain a small sample to test it out... I picked up a sample of the new Dior Diorskin Forever Undercover Foundation in shade 020 (I was matched at the Dior Counter)

Dior say


Full coverage
24-hour* wear
Second-skin matte finish

This fluid, 24-hour* full coverage foundation combines maximum complexion control with a natural matte finish for a result that is "Kiss-Proof. Touch-Proof. Life-Proof. All Night. All Day."

Peter Philips, Creative and Image Director for Dior Makeup, describes his view of this neo-camouflage: “Incorporated in a very fluid texture, the high concentration of pigments ensures perfect blemish correction. What’s new for such a high-coverage product is how you don’t feel or see it. The finish is fresh, and matte enough that you
don’t need powder.”

* Instrumental test. N = 20 women.

Application tip by Peter Philips - 

"This incredibly glide-on texture doesn’t set immediately and can be blended with the fingertips. Start by patting onto the areas that need correction, then smooth to blend in. If you’re looking for totally even coverage for the whole face, you can use a foundation brush. 24-hour wear means you never need to touch up."
My thoughts 
I am wearing shade 020 Light Beige which is my perfect shade.  The foundation has a delicate and pleasant perfume scent. I applied the foundation with my fingers. The foundation consists of a light fluid texture but the finish is velvety and matte. However, as you can see from my photos below, matte does not equal dull. I didn't use and I don't use a primer under the foundation and you can see that it covers the pores, smoothing the appearance of the skin completely. It also covers blemishes and red bits/ I have slight rosacea but you wouldn't be able to see once I have applied this foundation. I think my skin looks pretty damn amazing and flawless. I cannot fault this foundation and it is right up there with my favourites. 
After one hour of application and pretty much fresh on ...

After 7 hours of wear

I am extremely impressed with how well this foundation bears up to daily wear. After seven hours I think it still looks exceptionally good and keeps the rest of the makeup in place too. The only thing I would say is that the pores on my nose are slightly more visible but still pretty well concealed.

Obviously I cannot comment on the fact that it is supposed to last 24 hours but .... I would definitely purchase this foundation.

DiorSkin Forever Undercover has complete and flawless coverage, feels light on the skin and lasts.


Dior DiorSkin Forever Undercover Foundation costs £34 

Thursday 10 May 2018

Flash Fiction - Bright Lights Big City

A 100 word story based on the following picture prompt.


Bright Lights, Big City 

Emily Mae’s eyes danced wildly with excitement, the sky was alight with every colour under the sun. Gasping in awe at the sheer size of the skyscrapers, she slowly breathed in the tainted air of NYC with a sadistic pleasure, this city was hers for the taking. She had dreamt of her name in lights ever since she could remember. She could dance, she could sing and she had guts. Papa may have failed in his bid, but now she had finally arrived, she was not going to let this place defeat her. Broadway, a star was born.

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 9 May 2018

Family Day Event With Yellow Zebra Safaris

A couple of weeks ago the whole family were invited to a fun event being held by Yellow Zebra Safaris, the luxury travel company. I couldn't let the opportunity pass as my eldest son (about to turn 10) absolutely LOVES animals and I knew he would enjoy the day.

As soon as we entered the brightly decorated hall we knew it was going to be an action packed day and it didn't disappoint.

The children got up close to the animals that Safari Pete had brought along - Gumbo the toad, Juliet the owl, Drake the snake. Two meerkats, a crocodile, a lizard, a tarantula and a scorpion!!

Pete is passionate about his animals and dazzled everyone with amazing facts and information about them too. There was even time to watch some of them being fed! Safari Pete was fun and wonderfully animated - judging by the excitement levels, a good time was had by all.

The highlight was holding a Meerkat - my son still talks about that experience :)

We then enjoyed a delicious lunch platter while the children enjoyed an equally tasty buffet.

After lunch the children got to choose a Safari animal to paint courtesy of the Ceramic Circle.

For my just turned 2 year old this was the first time he had ever painted - which was super exciting. For my 10 year old, well he absolutely loves art and really enjoyed coming away with a gorgeous painted Elephant that has taken pride of place in his bedroom.

Yellow Zebra Safaris is an award-winning luxury and adventure safari company specialising in 'Safari Africa.' All their safari consultants are professional safari guides, camp managers, and/or people who were born and raised in Africa.

After our little taster of getting close to the 'tame-ish!' animals I know my boy was keen to investigate safaris further... and so we took a look at the website to learn a little more. I must admit I didn't really realise that safaris can be for all ages... but Yellow Zebras Safaris cater for families with an opportunity to get close to nature in their natural habitat. For young children - the under fives -  they recommend South Africa - a malaria free zone.

For families with children between the ages of 5 and 10, they would recommend a safari holiday to either South Africa or Kenya. South Africa's parks (both non-malarial, and also malarial areas such as the Kruger) are well set up for children, with a number of lodges offering excellent children's programmes that occupy the middle of the day during safaris. Kenya is also an extremely good destination for family safari holidays. The Masai Mara offers superb big-game viewing, while the Laikipia and Lewa area offers a large range of activities, and also interaction with local cultures.

Once the children are older, more destinations are open to them and there is lots of advice and recommendations for even more adventurous family holidays on the website to places such as Tanzania and Zanzibar.

To find out more about Yellow Zebra Safaris click here -  family safari holidays

Tuesday 8 May 2018

By Invitation Rose Gold Michael Bublé EDP Review

If an invitation from Michael Bublé hits your mailbox, of course you say yes!

I do enjoy discovering new scents, and as luck would have it, I had just finished the perfume I was using when I was asked if I would like to try the new EDP from Michael Bublé - By Invitation Rose Gold. 

The bottle is identical to the original except for the fact it is in a stunning and bang on trend rose gold shade. If it works, and it does, there is no need to deviate. It's a lovely bottle that has the all important shelf appeal so that ticks the at first glance box.

So how about the fragrance, because let's be honest, we are not going to be wearing the bottle... ?

The fragrance is described as a floral oriental gourmand.

Michael Bublé says 

Starting with sophisticated top notes of radiant magnolia, red fruits and Granit pear, By Invitation Rose Gold has the tenderness of a rose and peony heart, with a hint of black plum. With a lingering praline and vanilla base – and just a touch of precious spice – the fragrance is charming and elegant.

At a glance -

Top notes - Red fruits, Magnolia and Granit Pear 
Heart notes - Rose, Peony & Plum 
Base notes - Vanilla, Praline & a touch of Spice 

My thoughts 

I can see this appealing to all ages. As soon as you spray, the perfume is bursting with sparkly fruit notes which are blended beautifully with floral tones. The gourmand aspect and added sweetness, is provided by the delicious vanilla which I detected instantly. As it dries down, it fades into a most delightful, lingering and addictive fragrance, with the praline and spice preventing the sweetness taking over and becoming cloying.

The result is a warm, sweet scent that is sophisticated, utterly feminine and ultimately, seductive. A perfect date night perfume.

By Invitation Rose Gold Michael Bublé EDP  - £29 for 30ml and £55 for 100ml. Available from and The Perfume Shop. 

*PR Sample 

Friday 4 May 2018

Hawksmoor Guildhall - Steak & Seafood Restaurant Review

When I got the opportunity to have a date night with my lovely husband (the tall blonde one) I seized the chance! I had been yearning to go to Hawksmoor, billed as London's best steak for a long time but various life events have meant that it had been put on the back burner, but, in February we finally got round to booking a table. I have to say my expectations were high and Hawksmoor had a lot to live up to.

Date Night Outfit

I emerged from Bank tube station on a dark, wet, evening and a big smile was there waiting to greet me.. yes the tall blonde one had come straight from the office, in his gorgeous blue suit and looked suitable sauve and dare I say it... sexy! The evening was ours and we were going to make the most of enjoying a peaceful meal without young fingers trying to grab at our meals, we were child free ...woo! 

We made the short walk to Hawksmoor Guildhall, excellent location if I do say so! and were soon whisked to our seats. The waitress was very friendly and service was most definitely with a smile. As we had booked an early sitting the vast room was virtually empty but by the time the food arrived at our table the restaurant was filling up nicely. The air was filled with a pleasant, buzzy atmosphere. As it is located in the heart of the City, there were a lot of business people dining out, but equally there was a nice mix of young and old, friends and couples on dates, all enjoying their meals. Trust me, I am a people watcher and made notes, lol. 

I had asked a few people for some recommendations prior to going and having already perused the menu I knew exactly what I wanted. 

I skipped the starters and ordered the following 

300g Rump Steak cooked medium to well done
Creamed Spinach side 
Triple Cooked Chips side 
Onion Rings 
A Marmalade Cocktail 

The Marmalade cocktail was a perfect choice. (A recommendation from friends) it was fruity and tangy but on the right side of bitter and wonderfully refreshing, slipping down my throat a litte too easily...I would order this again. 

The tall blonde one chose the following ( the onion rings we shared) 

400g Sirloin Steak done medium 
Buttered English Greens (without the butter!)
And another portion of the famous Triple Cooked Chips 
Washed down with a beer  - Kernel London Porter

A jug of water was also brought to the table for the meal. 

What can I say? 

My steak was cooked to perfection, it literally melted in my mouth. The chips were crisp on the outside and fluffy inside. In hindsight we over ordered and just one portion of chips between the two of us would have been sufficient. The onion rings were delicious, but my top recommendation is actually the creamed spinach. I was a bit nervous at ordering it as I do not like spinach. Well it turns out, it is all about the way it is cooked. The spinach was creamy, smooth and ever so slightly sweet. I devoured the whole serving, it was just too moreish to leave. Incredible. 

Once we had finished we were offered the dessert menu and whilst there were many options of temptation I knew it could quite possibly send me over the edge of feeling full to feeling more than full. As we had a tube journey to make, I chose to go with a friend's recommendation,  the lighter option - The Salted Caramel Rolos 

Crisp dark chocolate encasing a rich, sweet and delicious caramel with a salty bite to it. These were so good and a perfect way to end the meal. Even better, I held back on finishing my cocktail and sipped after a bite of chocolate made it taste like chocolate orange which I love! 

We had an absolute blast, conversation and laughter flowed and the food satisfied us immensely. We will be back. 


Thursday 3 May 2018

Flash Fiction - Steps To Success

A 100 word story based on the following picture prompt

PHOTO PROMPT © Karen Rawson

Steps To Success

Someone handed Evie a blanket and a hot drink which she accepted, hungrily. Smeared in mud and red liquid, she detested every minute of this dreadful ‘B’ movie. ‘Necessary evil’ her agent had explained when he had sent her for the role. Her outstanding beauty meant she got the part without so much as opening her mouth. The plum parts had somehow eluded her thus far. This would be her big break, she could feel it.
                As the pterodactyl swooped down, she gave it her all, screaming as if her life depended on it. Her bank balance certainly did.  

Bettina x

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

Tuesday 1 May 2018

The Body Shop Skin Defence Multi-Protection Essence SPF50

Having finished the moisturiser I was using, I popped into The Body Shop to purchase a new one which included an SPF as we entered the warmer months... Never mind the fact that it was snowing, I like to be prepared!

Explaining what I was after the sales assistant quickly led me to the Skin Defence Multi-Protection Essence SPF50 which I promptly purchased after testing a bit on my hand, liking the scent and being seduced by the very high SPF.

When I got home I had a little wobble as I wasn't entirely sure that what I had purchased was indeed a moisturiser... having used it a few times, I didn't feel the need to use a separate moisturiser but I am still not entirely sure what it is... ha ha.

The Body Shop says 

From the effects of the sun to the environment we live in - we’re constantly facing daily aggressors that can damage our skin. Introducing NEW Skin Defence Multi-Protection Essence SPF 50 PA++++, our strongest multi-protection to help protect your skin day after day. A feather light, milk-to-water essence with broad spectrum UV filters, brightening red algae and Vitamin C, to help protect skin against multiple skin aggressors, while providing utmost comfort.
UVA Protection: PA++++: Helps protect skin from UVA rays, including long UVA rays, which reach deep within the skin and accelerate the process of skin ageing.
UVB protection: SPF 50 helps protect skin from UVB rays that trigger redness and damage the skin’s surface.
Anti-dullness: With red algae extract and vitamin C to brighten skin for a more luminous complexion.

My thoughts 

Well I have to say that this is up there as a staple in my every day beauty routine. This essence, featuring a light and runny lotion consistency which instantly absorbs leaving skin feeling soft with no trace of tackiness. It offers very high sun protection and as mentioned above, has a pleasant delicate floral scent. As promised it does what it says on the packaging ... it really does brighten the skin and gives a lovely healthy looking glow effect. It also works beautifully as a primer under foundation, when applying Estee Lauder Double Wear it literally glides on across the skin, my skin look fabulous.

10/10 I will definitely be repurchasing.

The Body Shop Skin Defence Multi-Protection Essence SPF50 costs from £17 for a very generously sized 40ml tube. 


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