Tuesday, 29 January 2013

In the bleak mid winter

The view from my bedroom window last week
OK so I know that the title of this post is from a very famous Christmas carol and that the festive period is well and truly over, but for me I feel like I am in the very middle of winter and winter is bleak to me. It is my friends, the January blues.

I'm a real sufferer of the January blues. Winter and I are not good bed fellows and by the middle/end of February I am climbing the walls as I can no longer face another day of 15 layers, the temperature being in single figures, and the grey dank drizzle that all signify winter.

Where I am, we have had weeks of rain; meaning floods and mud everywhere, followed by a week of snow which was lovely for all of five minutes before it froze and getting around was a nightmare and now we are back to lashing rain, howling gales and even more mud.

So instead of being a miserable old so and so which I usually am at this time of year, I've decided to count my blessings and think what I can do which will bring me out of my January misery. So......

  1. I am going to enjoy snuggling down in front of the fire, with a good book or two
  2. I am going to dance wildly and stupidly around my living room to some old '80s classics
  3. Have more date nights at the cinema, after all once you are in the cinema you can't tell what season it currently is! (plus I always get pic n mix!)
  4. Try and get into baking more - baking and I are also not the best of friends
  5. Start looking at colour charts as I fancy a change to some of my home decor
  6. Have a great big hot chocolate (now and then) with all the trimmings, you know marshmallows, chocolate sprinkles and lashings of squirty cream.
So what are you all doing to beat the January blues?

Monday, 21 January 2013

I like..........

..........making my husband laugh
..........spending time with my siblings, they are two of the nicest people I know
..........long hot bubble baths
..........the first gentle rays of sun on my back after a long winter as you know Spring is on her way
..........a glass of red
..........a cool cotton dress on a hot summers day
..........straight white teeth
..........the feel of sand between my toes
..........monthly lunch dates with my Sis-in-law - she just gets me dogs gentle snores
..........scented candles
..........sitting on a park bench and just people watching
..........the feel of wood (keep it clean people, keep it clean)
..........chocolate, any but milk is best tea, white with one please!
..........reading in bed
..........mashed potato
........clean, crisp sheets
..........the fact we have this invention called the internet so I can connect with some wonderful people via social media (yep that means you lot and your blogs/tweets)
..........walking hand in hand
..........painting - walls and furniture not art
..........the fact that although my best friend now lives 12,000 miles away, she instinctively knows when I need her close
..........the little chirrup noise my cat makes when he jumps on the bed
..........getting lost in a bookshop (figuratively speaking, not literally!)
..........a good walk on a frosty clear day
..........peace and quiet nights at the cinema
..........handwritten letters hair with brown eyes
..........daisies in my lawn, I see them not as a weed but as a bonus flower
..........lewd, crude and rude jokes
..........roast dinners own company

What do you like? I'd love to know!   

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Loves and Loathes - December

Before we knew it the month of Christmas madness rolled around, but now that it's over and we're into a bright new year, here are the ones which made it onto my list for December - both the naughty and the nice.

Starting with the loves list, is the gorgeous Christmas Eve candle by Yankee.  Yep I know they are expensive but the large jars last for 110-150 hours and I burned this one through the whole of December.  So I think it was well worth it in my book.  That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!

To me this really smells like Christmas.  That probably sounds a bit nuts, but there's something about the month of December which takes on a scent of it's own.  Almost like you can taste the anticipation in the air.  It's something which you can't quite describe but it's all around you.  Loved this candle and it just looked so pretty burning on my mantlepiece.

Next up is Rituals Magic Touch ultra rich whipped body cream.  This came in my December Glossybox and it is amazing.  The cream really feels whipped, it is thick and luxurious without being heavy.  It sank quickly into my skin without leaving any stickiness and my skin felt hydrated for a good 12 hours.  The scent I received was Cherry Blossom and Rice Milk, which is nicely scented but not overpowering.  I will definitely be purchasing a full sized one of these.  Have you tried any Rituals products and if so what do you think?

The read I've been loving this month is Room by Emma Donoghue.  I had seen this tome in the bestsellers charts for a number of weeks but had never got around to buying it, so when I saw it for 50p in a local charity shop I snapped it up.

"It's Jack's birthday and he's excited about turning five.  He lives with his Ma in Room, which has a locked door and a skylight, and measures 11 feet by 11 feet.  He loves watching TV, and the cartoon characters he calls friends, but he knows that nothing he sees on screen is truly real - only him, Ma and the things in Room.  Until the day Ma admits that there's a world outside..."

I thought of two reasons why Jack could be locked in a room, and I have to say I was wrong on both counts.  I won't say anymore as I'd hate to spoil it if you want to read this novel.  I enjoyed it but it is written from a five year old's perspective so there is a degree of 'baby talk' and if you aren't comfortable with the narrator being a child then you may want to give this a miss.

The lip product I have been so in love with this month is Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector, I have written a separate post on it which you can read here.  So I won't rave on about it anymore.

Last up on my loves list are these baby's, my wellie boots from Aigle.

I've actually had these wellies for 2 years.  I remember when I showed them to Mr B.P. in the shop and I thought he was going to pass out when he saw they cost £115.  £115 for a pair of wellie boots...... for walking the dog...... are you mad women?! I can hear him say even now, but he is eating his words as he now wants a pair for himself! Yes they were expensive but if you spend 10 months of the year in wellies, walking a dog twice a day they soooooon pay for themselves I can assure you.  Aigle are a french brand and my particular boots are lined with neoprene, the same stuff they use to insulate wetsuits, so wearing these boots is a little like a cross between wellies and walking boots - they keep your feet dry and warm, toasty warm in fact and the other thing I love about them is there is no 'welly wobble' you know that awful slopping against your calves business, as these are a snug (but not tight) fit.

Neoprene lining in red

I don't think Aigle carry this particular model anymore, but there is plenty to choose from on their website Aigle

So onto my loath of December.  I feel so mean writing about this product in this way, as I am usually a great fan of the Dermalogica products but their daily microfoliant made me just go urgh.  It came in a Glossybox and I love the principle of it, a powder formula which when mixed with water (you mix it in your hands) turns in to an exfoliating creamy paste.  This product for gentle daily exfoliating is great and for traveling, the powder idea is super but because this is a rice based product the smell just makes me want to gag.  It reminds me of a product I used to take as a kid for I.B.S. - enough said.  And that is why it has made its way onto my loathes list.

Have you tried this product? What do you think?

Monday, 14 January 2013

Michael's Original washing up scraper - Natures Health Box

Out of the four products I was sent by Natures Health Box. This is my absolute favourite.  I have never seen anything like it before! I already have family and friends saying "GET ME ONE OF THOSE NOW!!!!!!"

Michael's Original state their Washing Up Scraper is an ingenious, traditional use for the outer husk of a coconut that is ideal for removing baked-on food from pans and baking trays without scratching.  Proven over generations, the Scraper has a blade-like edge at the front and a fibrous surface underneath which acts like a scrubbing brush.

I say, where have you been all my life?! Here I am fawning over what is a simple kitchen aid and I feel slightly nuts writing in this way about it, but this is my new love. I cannot extol the virtue of this enough.  I like many, have lots of baked on pans in my household, it appears to come with the same people who leave their sticky little finger prints everywhere, so I regular use one of those plastic handled scrubbing brushes/pan scourers/brillo pads. Yes they do the job they are designed for but I HATE HATE HATE the way food particles get trapped in them.  Urgh it is making me shudder just writing about it.  None of that with this ingenious little tool.  Originally I thought Oh this might be a bit of a fad/get wet and soggy/relegated to the bottom of my under sink cupboard but no, it takes pride of place atop my kitchen sink!  I find it just the right shape to fit my palm and it cuts through baked on food the same as any leading scrubbing brush/pan scourer/brillo pad would but the very best bits are; not only does it not collect food particles in it, but it dries out super quickly ready for it's next use and when the edge starts to fray you just take your scissors and trim it and hey presto it's like new again (albeit a little shorter!)

Without sounding like a mad woman too much, this is probably one of the best things to grace my humble kitchen and what a simple simple totally simple idea it is.

This is fantastic! Would I buy this? What do you think?!!!

You can buy Michael's Original Washing Up Scraper here.

Alternatively you can view all of Natures Health Box products here.

Readers of my blog can claim a 10% discount on their order with Natures Health Box by entering the code: BLOGTASTIC2013
Valid until midnight on the last day of January 2013 on all products excluding postage and existing promotions and offers.

*Disclaimer - I was sent this product by Natures Health Box free of charge for review.  I was not paid for this post and all views are my own.

Uni Fresh Air Freshener in Vanilla - Natures Health Box

I normally shy away from air fresheners.  If you read my earlier post on Dishmate Washing Up Liquid you will note that my husband has allergies and I have an intolerance to synthetic based air fresheners.  I would like to have an air freshener in my home because they are always handy for those *moments* and now to answer my woes in steps Earth Friendly Products Uni Fresh Air Freshener in Vanilla Scent.

When this beauty arrived from Natures Health Box I was a bit apprehensive, thinking 'Oh it'll set me off, wheezing, sniffing, coughing the works' but oh no was I surprised, very pleasantly surprised in fact.

Earth Friendly Products state Uni Fresh is a natural air freshener.  Its unique properties are derived from essential oils that refresh and enhance your personal air space.  Uni Fresh is safe to use at work, home, schools, kennels and in boats and campers.

I gingerly tried this and Wow, no allergies set off in either Mr B.P. or myself!  In fact the hubby's response when he came into the lounge where I had just been liberally using this product was 'Ooooh it smells nice in here, have you been burning a candle?' That my blog friends is a RESULT! This product, to me and his nibs really does smell like a candle.  None of that yucky artificial fragrance, this smells just as it should in a natural air freshener made with Vanilla.  Would I buy this? For sure.

You can buy Earth Friendly Products Uni Fresh air Freshener in Vanilla Scent here.

Alternatively you can view all of Natures Health Box products here.

Readers of my blog can claim a 10% discount on their order with Natures Health Box by entering the code: BLOGTASTIC2013
Valid until midnight on the last day of January 2013 on all products excluding postage and existing promotions or offers.

*Disclaimer - I was sent this product by Natures Health Box free of charge for review.  I was not paid for this post and all views are my own.

Parsley Plus multi surface cleaner - Natures Health Box

Now I don't know about you, but I get through a lot of multi surface cleaner.  I live in a household with busy people with sticky mitts who never seem to clean up after themselves, sound familiar? Thought so. Oh and then there's the animals, if I've cleaned up one muddy little paw print I've cleaned them all. Me and multi surface cleaner are best buddies.

Earth Friendly Products state their Parsley Plus Multi Surface Cleaner in Natural Parsley is formulated to be a truly pure, green and effective surface cleaner.  Parsley Plus is safe to use on any washable surface such as oven tops and hoods, work surfaces, refrigerators, walls, tile, linoleum and sinks.

What did I think? The smell, oh the smell on this is AMAZING! It truly seems like you have been chopping fresh parsley in your kitchen, I kid you not! I found this to be a good multi surface cleaner, it does exactly what it says it is designed for, and out of  a 500ml bottle which I have been using for over a month, I have a lot left still to use, so for me it's good value for money.

But the smell is definitely the clincher for me.  Don't be afraid it doesn't leave an over powering stench of parsley in your home.  It just leaves a gentle fresh natural scent.  Would I buy this? For sure.

You can buy Earth Friendly Products Parsley Plus Multi Surface Cleaner in Natural Parsley here.

Alternatively you can view all of Natures Health Box products here.

Readers of my blog can claim a 10% discount on their order with Natures Health Box by entering the code: BLOGTASTIC2013
Valid until midnight on the last day of January 2013 on all products excluding postage and existing promotions and offers.

*Disclaimer - I was sent this product by Natures Health Box free of charge for review.  I was not paid for this post and all views are my own.

Dishmate Washing up liquid in Natural pear - Natures Health Box

Now I'm a big advocate of natural products in my family, I have a husband who has allergy issues and I developed an intolerance to synthetically produced air fresheners after years of working for the NHS in a hospital which used them, so I try to use as many natural products in my home as possible.  Also as a qualified and practising Complementary Therapist I always use organic and natural products on my clients.  At home I use Ecover for my washing up liquid of choice so I was intrigued to try this Dishmate version as an alternative.

Earth Friendly Products state their Natural Pear washing up liquid to be formulated to be a truly pure, green and effective washing up liquid.  Dishmate's neutral pH - skin's natural pH - makes Dishmate extremely gentle on hands.  Dishmate will shine every pot, pan and dish in your cupboard and suffuse your kitchen with full-bodied, fresh essential oil scents.  Dishmate is made fully from plants with natural essential oils and is very concentrated.

Cannot argue with that.  I found this to be a very effective alternative to my current eco washing up liquid.  I have been using it for over a month and I still have plenty of liquid left from a 750ml bottle.  A couple of squirts go a long way.  It was definitely effective in its cleaning power, gives a nice amount of bubbles - I find if a washing up liquid is too foamy you think what the hell is in this stuff? and if it's not foamy enough you think, hmmmm what is this really going to do for my pots and pans? But dishmate covers this nicely.  I totally loved the scent of Natural Pear, very different to what you normally find with similar products which tend to come in a citrus scent.  Would I buy this? For sure.

You can buy this product through Natures Health Box here.

Alternatively you can view all of Natures Health Box products here.

Readers of my blog can claim a 10% discount on their order with Natures Health Box by entering the code: BLOGTASTIC2013  
Valid until midnight on the last day of January 2013 on all products excluding postage and existing promotions or offers.

*Disclaimer - I was sent this product by Natures Health Box free of charge for review.  I was not paid for this post and all views are my own.

Natures Health Box Review

Natures Healthbox

Natures Health Box is a new on-line company launched in January 2013.  It's philosophy is to offer the best organic, natural and eco-friendly products currently on the market at fair prices with fantastic information at your fingertips, plus exceptional delivery options and customer service.  You can read more about Natures Health Box here. 

Natures Health Box offers the ability to order on-line a vast selection of products for Baby & Child, Beauty & Skincare, Supplements, Food, Natural Pharmacy, Household, Travel, Petcare and Remedies.  They carry lines, including, but not limited too:

Green People
Earth Friendly Baby
Burt's Bees
Skin Doctors
A. Vogel
Yogi Tea
Tea Pigs
Zita West
Earth Friendly Products
Michael's Originals
Lily's Kitchen
Absolute Aromas

Natures Health Box carries all of the organic, natural and eco-friendly products you could wish for, with more products being added to their range and with free delivery on orders over £50 what's not to love?! You can shop the full range here.

I was sent products from Earth Friendly Products and Michael's Originals for review.

Earth Friendly Products

Earth Friendly Products have been a leader in consumer bio-based, environmental cleaning products since 1989.  Their products are made from natural organic plants and renewable minerals such as lemon oil, olive oil, lavender, coconuts, cedar oil, parsley essence, earth salts, cotton blossom oils and tea tree oil.


Michael's Original founded and owned by Ben and Nancy and named after their son.  The Michael's Original range was developed to give you a 100% biodegradable alternative to plastic washing-up and cleaning utensils.  No animal ingredients or testing is used.  Suitable for vegans and fairly traded.  All items are grown and hand-made without industrial chemicals in a carbon negative manufacturing environment.

As someone who has a background in Complementary Healthcare and a love of all things natural and organic, I was very excited to try out some of the products from Natures Health Box 

Coming up I will talk about the products I was sent in more detail, give links to these products and also details of how you can get a 10% discount on your order from Natures Health Box!

* Disclaimer - I was sent these products by Natures Health Box free of charge for review.  I was not paid for these posts and all views are my own.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector

I am one of those people who really suffer during the colder months with sore, dry, chapped lips.  A combination of changes in weather and temperature, central heating, out in all weathers walking the dog, it all really plays havoc with my lips, so I am always on the lookout for something which will not only soothe but will look pretty to boot.  So when I saw Jennies review of Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector, I just knew that the product was for me.  Jennie purchased all 3 shades and wrote a fabulous review (when doesn't that girl write a fabulous review!) which you can read about here.

I decided to go with 01 Rose Shimmer, but worry not as it's not really shimmery for all of you with an aversion to all things glittery but just very sheer and glossy with a veil of colour.
Clarins describe this product as - "A softly textured lip gel with a deliciously sweet scent.  Lips are left looking soft, smooth and plump.  Sheer, but has enough colour to wear alone or to complement your favourite lip shade".  And I can't argue with that.  The first thing I was drawn to was the smell, it is unlike anything I can place.  Yes it is sweet and usually you think uh-oh sickly but this doesn't smell or taste sweet and sickly at all, it is just pure yumminess!

The texture to me is a little like a lip balm crossed with a light lip gloss, so as well as soothing the lips as a balm would do, it also gives a glossy slick of colour which is great for everyday wear.  That said, it's not the longest lasting of lip products I've ever tried and at £16 a pop is also on the pricey side BUT the payoff for the quality you get with Clarins and the fact it has sorted my poorly chapped lips out means it was worth every penny.
You can buy Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector for £16 here.

Have you tried this product? What do you think? Are there any dupes out there which you really think I should try? Let me know!

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Liebster Award


I've seen the Liebster Award on various other blogs and I was lucky enough to be nominated by the lovely Georgia over at Concept of Budd

I'm a nosey sort and I couldn't find the origins of this award and there also appears to be varying rules, but I am going by the following ones:

  1. The Liebster Award is given by bloggers to other bloggers who have 200 followers or less.
  2. The nominees must link back to the blogger who awarded them. 
  3. You must write 11 random facts about yourself and answer the 11 questions from the blogger who nominated you.
  4. Make up 11 new questions and nominate 11 other bloggers (don't forget to let them know you have nominated them!)
Right we're off:

11 Random facts about me......

I am petrified of scorpions
I've never been in a hot air balloon
I'm slightly short sighted (but don't wear my glasses enough)  
I am a middle child
Cadburys is my favourite chocolate - ever, ever, EVER
I belonged to a swimming club as a child but I am terrified of deep water
I 'collect' vintage pine furniture and love anything 'shabby chic'
I enjoy putting flat-pack furniture together - I see it as a challenge!
I am a voracious bookworm
I'm allergic to mussels 
I'm an excellent procrastinator

My 11 questions from Georgia

If you could bring one fictional character to life who would it be and why?
Bod.  He/she (not sure which gender it was!) reminds me of my childhood.

What song best describes/fits your current mood?
Everybody Hurts by R.E.M. (today is not a good day).

If you could only use one makeup product for the rest of your life what would it be?
Oooh this is a toughy and I change my mind all the time, but I think I would have to go with a good tinted moisturiser something like Estee Lauder's Daywear.  My face just looks so much better for it.

You turn on your computer - what is the first thing you open?
Bloglovin' or Twitter for fun but if it is a work day it would be my emails.

What is your favourite disney movie?
Probably 101 Dalmations.

If you created your own weekend festival, who would the headliners be?
Deacon Blue, I love them, I have loved them since I was 16.  It is true.

If you could bring one celebrity back from the dead, who would it be and why?
Eva Cassidy, taken far too young.  That voice - what can I say......

What film/TV show will you never get tired of?
If I could pick both a film and a TV show I would say Dirty Dancing and True Blood.

What is your biggest phobia?
Boat propellers.

If you were given an unlimited amount of money but you could only spend it in one shop, what shop would you pick?
Libertys. The very best of 'department' stores!

What is the one thing guaranteed to cheer you up on a bad day?
Chocolate, specifically Cadbury or a family sized bag of Revels

My 11 questions for my nominees

  1. What made you start writing a blog?
  2. If you could only listen to one band for the rest of your life, who would it be and why?
  3. What is your ultimate comfort food?
  4. Aside from household bills, what do you spend the majority of your money on?
  5. Dog or Cat, and why?
  6. Favourite sweet from your childhood?
  7. Your favourite season and why?
  8. Favourite mode of transport?
  9. Favourite smell?
  10. If you could live anywhere, where would it be and why?
  11. What type of blogs do you enjoy following the most?
I nominate:

Sorry if you have already been nominated by someone else!


Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Happy New Year - here's to 2013!

So another new year rolls around.  Hard to believe we are in 2013 already, it seems like only yesterday everyone was panicking that the world would 'crash' on millenium eve! Time really does appear to speed up the older you get, believe me!  Last night for us was a quiet one.  We had family over, a warming beef dish in the slow cooker, old fashioned board games and laughs a plenty and I was so very thankful to share my New Year's Eve with some of the people I love the most in the world.

1st January 2013 dawned bright and sunny, the first dry, blue-skied day we have had in...I don't know how long.  Mr B.P. was desperate to go to the beach, so we loaded up the car, took the hound and set off.  Unfortunately so did half of the west country - our favourite beach was PACKED!!! But it was great, saying Daisy loves the beach is a total understatement, she is beyond excited when she gets her paws into sand and there was so much going on and so many people and other dogs to greet, that she is now lying pooped on the sofa!
The beautiful Dorset coastline
The older I've become the less likely I am to make New Year resolutions.  As fantastic as they are, I sometimes think we put ourselves under so much pressure to achieve certain things in the coming year that we end up not living in the present and we get despondent when we don't achieve all of which we set out to do when we gaily made those resolutions.
Erosion on the coastline

Sure I want to do/see/achieve things in 2013.  I feel it is very important as humans that we continue to grow and learn, but this year I will be kind on myself.  I promise to just be as kind as I can to others, to laugh more, to stop rushing through life so much and instead notice the wonder of the world we live it - it can be truly outstanding, and finally to spend less money.  That is it.  Simple, attainable goals.
Blackened driftwood on the shoreline
Mr B.P. and I do need to reign in our spending this year.  Don't get me wrong we aren't frivolous individuals but we probably do spend more money on 'stuff' we just don't need, I know I am 'guilty as charged'.  We'd really like to move house in the next couple of years so saving money towards that will be the goal.
Beach huts at Studland
So whatever your plans, goals, aspirations or resolutions for 2013, I wish you the very best.  I wish for you health, happiness and peace.  I also hope you will stick around with me and follow my little blog as it grows throughout 2013.

Lastly I will leave you with this photo of Daisy.  She was a bit flummoxed when we came to a small stream which bi-sected the path we were on.  She eventually jumped it! (The stream is just out of shot).
My girl

Happy New Year!