Halo Tank 2 Review & Giveaway

Yeah yeah yeah, I've said it before I know. I want to quit cigarettes. But seriously, I don't even think anyone actually smokes any more. What used to be, pretty much, a social event at lunch time at work has left me standing in the rain on my own. Smoking is not cool, never was. It certainly ain't healthy either, so... change is afoot!

My parcel arrives!

Vaping, that's what seems to be doing the trick these days. Monday morning conversations outside the office even feature new flavours everyone has bought over the weekend!  I bit the bullet and I stumped out the smokes. I have a Halo Tank 2, thanks to E-Cigarette Direct's approach recently offering me a review. What better time to just get on with it? 

Usually retailing at around £24.99, the Halo Tank 2 comes with 1 coil and the liquid of your choice. I stuck with menthol, my usual cigarette option, just to be safe. But I'm loving the sound of vanilla ice cream and blackjack twist. I also opted for the middle ground when it came to nicotine level -  0.6%; the top one is 1.8% and the lowest one is 0.3%. A decent varied range for every smoker looking to vape. I also chose the very girly purple device, but you can opt for a matt black or stainless steel as well.

The ridged edge below the air vent is where you need to unscrew in order to fill up the tank

To get it started, all I had to do was unscrew the tank from the battery, insert the coil and pour the fluid into the tank, then re-screw back together. It literally took seconds to do so it's a very user-friendly selling point!

I've been using the device now for a good week or so and have to say that menthol blast, the liquid I chose, is very strong! Much stronger than I was anticipating. So although I haven't used much of it, it has definitely hit the spot when I've needed to have a go. If you draw too much, it also becomes hot which can sometimes catch my breath, cue spluttering everywhere and much laughter from fellow vapees! I'll opt for a smoother flavour next time round so ensure a smooth and pleasant experience.

It's important to note that he Halo Tank 2 is lightweight which is perfect for me. I must admit, I don't like the big bulky e-cigs that some people I know walk around with, they're as big as the old mobile phones we used to have in our youth! So this is perfect if you're after something relatively discreet and similar to the feel of a normal cigarette.



All in all, I'm pretty chuffed with my device and, being sure you would be too, I'm happy to say I can give one away to you lucky dude and dudettes. All you need to do is enter via the gleam app below and you're in!


The giveaway ends on 17th August and is being run by ECigaretteDirect themselves. They will draw and notify the winner at the close of the giveaway period. This means that, by entering, you're agreeing to your details being shared with ECigaretteDirect

What flavour liquid and colour device tickles your fancy? 
Let me know what you'd choose...

How to make time to celebrate special occasions with your partner when you are a parent

I recently celebrated my 6th wedding anniversary and I can tell you that it's been a lot bumpier than those Disney films reckon it is! Being a parent doesn't make things harder, but it definitely makes it a little more complex which is why you really do need to make time to celebrate special occasions with your partner.

Look how little Carson was!

Whether it is a one year anniversary or a twenty-one year anniversary, it is important to spend it with your partner to celebrate your love, or strength at least! With things like work, children and your financial situation thrown into the mix, it can be difficult to properly celebrate. Taking the time to consciously remember your wedding day and reflect on the reasons you fell in love with your spouse is a precious thing. It is the day you pledged your life to another person and it is worth celebrating, small moments and all.

Life may sometimes feel like a chaotic madhouse and with everything going on, spending time with your partner can be the last thing on your mind. However, being in a loving and caring relationship is one of the greatest gifts you can give to your children. Spending that time alone together without the children is important to create and maintain a loving relationship.

Here are some tips to finding that balance between your couple time and family time in order to allow you to spend time alone together to celebrate anniversaries and your love for each other.

Keep it simple

Keep it simple
Spending time alone together doesn’t have to mean taking private jets to Paris. It could just be an hour a drive down to the beach to take a stroll. If you find a moment you want to connect with your partner and your kids are around, do so. They might give off some embarrassed groans, but in reality, they will relish in the fact that their parents are happy. If your first-dance song comes on in the supermarket, go ahead and dance arm in arm. You'll even make other's smile while you're at it! Those small opportunities to connect should not be surpassed.

Pamper yourselves!

Schedule in your night together
It is important to schedule in your alone time for just you and your partner. There’s not much room for spontaneity when you are a parent! Plan them a long way in advance so that you can organise a babysitter and clear some time. It’s great if you can get away from the family home for the evening. A perfect date night could be staying in a hotel close to Nottingham, having dinner, maybe going to the cinema; having a few glasses of wine and taking a romantic stroll back to the hotel together. If you can’t get overnight childcare, go to see a movie in the afternoon and have an early dinner. Couples that schedule alone time together are able to turn towards each other more for support and love because it builds a sense of closeness.


Use your words

Use your words
Affection is shown through what we say as well as what we do. Don’t forget to speak kindly to each other every day, not just on your anniversary. If you walk in the kitchen and your partner is doing the dishes, say thanks. It’s the little things like this that are the building blocks of a relationship. It is just as important to frequently tell your partner that you love them. After a long relationship, this can be an easy one to forget. But that reminder and reassurance of your love for each other are what will help to keep your bond.

Why so serious?!

Don’t be angry
Life can be pretty unpredictable when you have children and it’s not always possible to celebrate special occasions how you had dreamed. It’s common to feel unspoken resentment towards your partner for this reason. Instead of letting emotions build up inside, talk it out if you have something you want to say. You don’t have to raise your voice or argue, just take some time to sit down when the kids are in bed and get everything off your chest, one at a time. You and your partner are a united team and you need to communicate your feelings. It may be hard to remember sometimes, but you are more than just your children’s parents. You are both one half of a strong and emotional partnership. Talking things out and discussing your problems will show your children what it means to be in a healthy relationship.

What other tips do you have for making time to celebrate special occasions with your partner, when you're a parent? I'd love to hear all about them...

My Top 5 Beauty Finds For At Home Pampering!

As a full-time working mum of two absolute delights, it's only fair I get a pamper every now and then, right? Truth be told though, I'd rather spend any spare cash I had on the kids or buying one of the many badly-needed essentials for the house. It's called getting old ha! So what's a woman to do in order to feel treated, pampered and refreshed - without dreading the credit card bill? 

Starting from the top (aha!), yes, I'm talking about hair. If it's mega shine and bounce you're after I recommend scouring the web for home-made hair conditioning recipes. A great post I come across was at Slick Wellness and, well, who knew that fresh aloe vera gel would work so beautifully when applied to the ends of my hair? This wonder-plant cost me about £3 last year and despite it already living in the bathroom, I have literally only just 'found' it thanks to doing my research online. 

Fresh Aloe Vera gel works wonders on hair and skin

My second major YES, is the Babyliss Big Hair Styler - a rotating air-drying styler. If you want volume, bounce and serious shine then I recommend you get your hands on one of these bad boys. I had the original and loved it and now there's the titanium version for additional ionic frizz control for a super sleek and smooth look. Don't just take my word for it, all reviews I've seen online are positive, and the price tag really ain't something to sniff at averaging around £60 each. There are various ways to keep cost down on this too. Remember, use loyalty cards to earn, or even spend points such as with Boots  and Superdrug, or, to locate where it's on sale at any given time use the likes of LoveTheSales  to maximise your money saving where possible

Big hair, don't care!

I only blogged about this La Roche-Posay Effaclar skincare recently actually but I seriously cannot believe the different it's made to the touch and feel of my skin. The compliments are coming thick and fast and it is the first full 'system' I have ever been 100% happy with. Whilst the original cost is £26, you only need to use it sparingly making it really good value for money. You can see my full and detailed review here.

La Roche-Posay Effaclar 3 Step System

Clarins Exfoliating Body Scrub was gifted to me by my lovely mother-in-law. What a find! A rather thick consistency, there's no question that a little goes a long way. Full of beads of pain (so you know it's working, of course!) this scrub both exfoliates and conditions so after detoxifying and refining those tired or toughened areas, the skin beneath is also soothed and softened. It's like heaven in a bottle, I've even got a thing with touching my knees because they feel so very different to that of the last 20 years! This is around £25 per bottle but again, the number of uses and the satisfaction level each and every time, it justifies the cost. Another way to potentially save is to look out for gift sets that contain the product you're after plus a couple of new things to try - especially if the price is not much different to buying it individually, and usually it isn't. 

Seriously indulgent bodycare in Clarins Exfoliating Body Scrub For Smooth Skin

What better way to pamper than a nice hot, relaxing bubble bath? I love a good scented bath oil but I often feel a bit icky when I get out. Recently I won these bath bombs from AromaWorks over on twitter and my whole house smelt divine for 2 days, never mind just my skin after I used one of these. Upon opening the box, it hits you, and I guess that's why they call themselves Scent Bombs. Truly stunning, I lay in the bath for an entire 45 minutes, even ignoring a charity worker knocking on my front door -  and I'm not even ashamed! I'm revitalised! At £25 for the Quad Box, you're getting four soaks for the price of less than one treatment in a spa. Cha-ching.

AromaWorks Bomb Quad is bound to give you a bang for your buck! (see what I did there?!)

So there are my top 5 beauty finds for beauty at home pampering. Nothing to break the bank but everything to make you feel a million quid.

What have you discovered lately? 
I'm forever on the hunt for more so please do let me know the winners and the losers below! 


Skincare for the acne-prone, featuring Helloskin

Skincare for the acne-prone can be nightmarish. Like, proper scary! You want to be moisturised without either the oil-slick finish on the day, or, the boils that arise from it 2 days later. I know this because I'm a sufferer - always have been, sadly. So, whilst make-up can be a saviour for covering my scar covered, blemish ridden mush, it only adds to the problem long-term if I'm not focusing on the actual issue itself.


When Helloskin asked if I wanted to give their site a whirl, my first thought was whether there'll be anything remotely suitable for my skin so, upon pasting their link in to the browser, I held my breath... for no reason at all, because Helloskin specialise in, check this, skin care products for psoriasis, eczema, acne & other dry skin conditions. Bingo!

I was given free reign to chose 3 items from their site to review so made a point of using their search filters specifically to tackle my acne. A very simple process revealing a great selection of products. 

Here's what I thought of my choices...


La-Roche-Posay
Effaclar Anti-blemish system £26
Rating: 5 stars πŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸ

EFFACLAR PURIFYING GEL: A luxuriously silky face wash starts the process well. It builds a whopping lather and has a texture more like serum than soap. Don't get it in your mouth, it tastes vile (!) but wow, does my skin feel clean and supple afterwards!

EFFACLAR CLARIFYING TONER: The toner is very thin, a slightly cloudy coloured water that gets soaked in to cotton wool a little too easily. I find the application better when using like aftershave - squeeze a little in to your palm, slap your hands together and pat your face. You can feel the pores tightening the second it hits your skin. I love this feeling - you know it's really doing it's job.

EFFACLAR DUO [+] ANTI-BLEMISH CREAM: The anti-blemish cream is the third step. The texture is less of a cream, more like a primer. Applying a thin layer to my face after the first two steps, my skin is ready for any make-up application within 10 minutes.

Overall: After almost 2 weeks of use, my skin truly is more balanced. Sebum production appears to be reduced and there are no dry areas despite using toner on a regular basis (something that does usually happen with me). I actually received a compliment the other day - of sorts. I was asked if I was using new foundation as my skin was glowing... as I've made no change to my usual make-up I'm definitely putting it down to this!  This 3-step system will be for keeps in my skincare regime.



BiorΓ© 
Deep Cleansing Pore Strips £7.99
Rating: 3 stars πŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸ

Recommended for weekly use to unclog pores and prevent blackheads, simply wet your face after washing and apply the strip to your nose with dry hands. These strips take around 10 minutes to dry and stiffen. From the edges, carefully lift the strip up, gently unclogging those pesky pores in the process.

Overall: We've all used nose strips before and, let's be honest, we relish in the gross aftermath! On first application however, I have to say that the results from these strips weren't as vomit inducing as I'd have hoped. With little to see on the strip I was surprised I had no clogg-age to remove - until I looked in the mirror. The adhesive had stuck to my nose, requiring a good scrub to remove. Perhaps I removed  it too quickly?  On second application, it did work a little better but definitely still some residue left on the skin. Good results but not great when compared to others I've tried. All this being said, my skin was definitely feeling smoother and squeaky clean! 



Hollywood 
Overnight Magic Gel Treatment £24.99
Rating: 5 stars πŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸ

Designed to help clear spots and the associated redness overnight, this contains a combination of salicylic acid, sulfur, and zinc oxide in a bid to to clear pores, preventing the formation of acne-causing bacteria. The gel is said to have a visible impact on spots in as little as one hour, reducing redness and clearing blemishes without scarring. Unlike some acne treatments, it contains no benzoyl peroxide. It is also free of artificial colours, fragrances, and parabens, which can irritate sensitive skin.

Overall: True to it's claims, this gel really reduces that angry redness of acne. I applied this in the evening on one particularly painful spot that was starting to break through the skin.  By the next morning the redness had gone! However, a truly bulging yellow-head had dramatically appeared instead! Resisting the temptation to burst it's bad-ass, I covered over with concealer for work and then reapplied this gel later in the evening. By the following morning the head had somehow vanished and I had nothing but a skin-coloured pimple left over. This stuff is literally MAGIC!! An additional pointer to bear in mind - it goes a long way so use sparingly and you'll get the maximum out of your purchase. 


Have you ever used Helloskin to specifically find products suited for your problem skin? If so, let me know what you opted for - I'm always open to recommendations! If not, then now is the time to delve in deep because they have kindly offered you guys a 10% discount code, just for taking the time to read my blog. How kind!!

To redeem your 10% discount visit Helloskin and use the code: HELLOJO


You can also follow HelloSkin on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter


This blog post is sponsored by HelloSkin, but all opinions are my own


Celebrating Father's Day with Hallmark at Tesco

What to do, or buy, for Dad on Father's Day? It's the same question we ask ourselves every year and yet it feels like the same old gift guides feature the same old facial hair/shaving related gifts. 


❤ The Gift of Thought ❤

I've come to realise over the years that the most important gift to give is 'thought'. We may argue with our Dads, or have a relationship where we're unable to express just how much love we have them. Perhaps it feels weird that there is a day dedicated to him because he never wants any fuss? 

A thoughtful idea, making a tee!

For me, the very best in 'thought' based gifts involve finding words that can adequately portray how you feel. I am the worst (or perhaps best in some people's opinion!) for spending hours reading verses inside gift cards, determining which is truly representative of my feelings. For the football loving, vegetable hating husband I would never dream of handing over a greetings card that has a wildly irrelevant wellington boot on the front and a one-liner inside about how he should pop down the allotment this Sunday to relax! No no no. Get it right people!

Just some of Hallmark at Tesco's card collection 

Tesco have sent me a whopping range of their Father's Day cards by Hallmark to take a look at whilst showing you guys and let me start by saying there's something for every loved Dad out there. Secondly,  they don't cost the earth. 

If you haven't chosen your perfect Father's Day card yet I'm gunna put it out there and recommend you head off to Tesco - just look at these and it's not even the full collection.

What a design!!

In keeping with my firm belief that thought-based gifts count the most, Carson and I have been dabbling in some good old fashion arts and crafts - making Dad his very own personalised T-shirt. Granted, he's not likely to showcase our piece down to the local pub but, come on, it beats the standard lounge wear you can pick up at at least a tenner a pop. How adorable?! (Plus he gets the six pack he may always have wanted!)

Oh, let's not forget the obligatory socks... also relating to facial hair - also available at Tesco, of course!

The truest of all Father's Day cards 

What are your plans for Father's Day gifts this year? I'd love to hear, just let me know in the comments below.

Happy Father's Day to all great men out there xxx


Thank you to Hallmark at Tesco for sending the above featured cards and DIY gift materials that really helped our thought-based gift theme. We loved collaborating with you!