* Competition * - New Look voucher

Hi everyone!

I am always purchasing clothes and accessories online, and usually if they don't fit properly or it's not quite what I was expecting, I stash them away in the wardrobe - forever forgotten. Come on, don't judge me - we've all done it!!

Anyway, last time that happened I made a firm pact with my wardrobe that I wouldn't let it suffer any more... but then inflicted that pain on my purse (somehow!)
I nearly threw away a credit note for New Look worth £23.99 amongst a ton of receipts. - yup, crazy.

Note to self: BE MORE ORGANISED!

Now, yes.. I could spend this on myself but I've decided to treat my readers with a little something just to thank you for your support during the last 10 months.
Hopefully I'll get a good response and then I'll be looking at doing my First Blogoversary shortly *yippee!*

Simply follow the instructions via the Rafflecopter widget below and keep your fingers crossed!


Jo xx

a Rafflecopter giveaway
ThePrizeFinder - UK Competitions

* REVIEW * Ascel "Wrinkle Miracle"

Tanning and Beauty World

I was kindly sent Ascel Wrinkle Miracle from Tanning and Beauty World in order to review on this here blog, and given that I'm always on the look out for "Under eye wrinkle care in minutes" - which is what this claims to do - I was more than happy to get cracking!

First off: the science bit. Argireline contracts the skin muscle which results in a lifting effect almost instantaneously. This, in turn, helps prevent any further wrinkles as it promotes blood circulation. This product is different to Botox in that Botox paralyzes the skin muscle which reduces wrinkles.

The product itself claims to lift the skin after just 3-4 minutes of use, with the potential to last up to 3-4 hours. Wrinkle reduction should occur after 15 minutes of use, lasting up to 8-12 hours. 

graph 06

The applicator is very swish - a chrome pen with a soft brush tip that seeps out serum by twisting the end of the pen. Handy, as you only release as much as you need. Gliding the brush on the skin from side to side 3-4 times, you can instantly feel a tightening. It's not an uncomfortable feeling but I must admit it shocked me at first. 

It felt like my skin was being pulled right back with pegs! 

Literally lifts instantaneously you will find it difficult to imagine what I'm saying without trying it for yourself.

Problem 1.
It dries rather, well, dry! Rather than sinking into the skin as you'd expect, it leaves a thin film on top of the skin which can quite easily crack if you smile too quickly. On one occasion it made my wrinkles appear deeper than they really were thanks to my smiling too soon.

Problem 2. 
You cannot apply make-up over the top as the film-like residue becomes visible, similar to thin dried glue or egg white.

Problem solver 1.
Do not twist pen more than twice, even if it feels like there isn't much coming from the brush tip and smile on application, simply to allow the product to sink into the deeper 'formed' wrinkles before drying them straight.

Problem solver 2. 
Once dry, only use tinted moisturiser - NOT concealer or foundation. This lets the skin stay supple as well as adding the desired colour, without 'layering' over the top of the film, causing a crust like effect. 

For the purpose of taking pictures and due to the above issues, I've cleared all make-up from my face. The camera can obviously not show you the feeling it gives, but I can show you how the lines are less prominent  It doesn't eradicate them completely but definitely reduces the finer lines. Note the crows feet are the most obviously reduced rather than the under eye wrinkles. 

Final opinion?

Ascel Wrinkle Miracle retails at £29.95 from TanningandBeautyWorld.co.uk (here is the direct link to the product itself) and whilst it does reduce the finer lines, I wouldn't say it was a wrinkle miracle.
I would, however, call this a lifting miracle.

Wake up late in the morning; dull/half open eyes; need a 'pick me up' mid-afternoon? 

Well then Yes - Ascel Wrinkle Miracle is for you! Afterall, I've not experienced something this powerful in terms of lifting - ever. 

It leaves you feeling bright eyed and wide awake - which, let's face it, is a miracle in itself if you're north of 18 years of age - so for that reason I would probably purchase this product myself in the future. 

What do you think? Tried anything like this yourself - or, indeed, Ascel Wrinkle Miracle itself? 

Jo xx

My 1930's Make-over!

My best friend Steph is currently participating in a course to become a Photographic MUA and she needed a model for her assignment on the 1930's Black & White shoot.

Sepia shot (practice run)
In comes moi!

My face is described as being square (who knew? I certainly didn't, I always thought I was round faced!) and of a combination type - oily/normal.

HAIR: I created the illusion of finger waves by using the Babyliss Wave Envy and it was surprisingly easy to carry out. Just ensure that you have used a heat protector in the first instance then take a thin but wide (as wide as the styler) section of hair and hold for around 10 seconds, then lift and replace the styler after the previous wave created.

B&W shot (practice run)

This is what Steph used to get the result:

Illamasqua Primer
Illamasqua Foundation SB06
Illamasqua Powder LP010
MAC eye pencil in black
Illamasqua Cream and Black shadows
Jemma Kidd Mascara
Illamasqua Black shadow on the brow
Chanel Intense 02 blusher
Lips - MAC Cherry pencil and Salon System Choc/Red MAC

To finish the look, she added pearl drop earrings and a simple pearl necklace. 

The pictures I've included aren't the professional shots by the way, just quick snaps from the mobile phone - but you get the idea of what we have gone for can't you?

I'm really excited for Steph doing this course, she has done so much - and I've even picked up some hints and tips of my own, such as applying blusher under the cheek bone and no further inward than the outer of the eye - MUCH more effective for creating the look of a defined cheek bone. I tried it the very next day for work and you can see that it really does work... 

You can follow Steph on Twitter - @StephDezza - and I'm sure she's love to hear any feedback whilst she's on this course.

Have you any handy hints and tips to share and how did you come about them?

Jo xx

**7 DAY REVIEW** Lunaling Capri's

I've been contacted by Lunaling to do a 7 day review of their Lunaling Capri's - figure hugging work-out leggings; designed to make skin softer, smoother and help you lose weight up to 4 times faster than exercising without. You can read more about how it works at their website www.lunaling.com.

Having reviewed Zaggora Viva Hotpants before and been impressed, I was very excited to get stuck in with this trial.

These baby's sell for £50 a pair, and being a size 18 I was sent size 'large' to try.

Day 1. Saturday.

*WARNING* Don't be afraid when you open the packet and notice that the waist is about the width of your face - not your waist!!!

As these Capri's are designed to hug you tight and snuggly, they do appear small, but are surprisingly easy to wiggle into. They are thick and warm. Oh so warm, it's like a cuddle from your belly button down.
Today, I decided to changed the bedding in both Carson an my own rooms, then cleared out 2 wardrobes and tidied Carson's room. When I started, I took a quick pace - determined to make this 'exercise' count. It only took an hour in total and I was shattered.
On the outer, the touch and look where dry - no embarrassing sweaty bits showing (despite feeling exceptionally hot) When taking the Lunaling's off in order to cool down and shower, although they were dry on the inside, I was a sticky mess!! I don't mind telling you that I really did sweat a lot. My skin was red (like when you get out of a hot bath) but certainly not uncomfortable.
All in all - great first day.

Day 2. Sunday

Wriggling into my Capri's I wondered what exercise to do today, but having looked at the description of them on Lunaling's website, I realised that they are perfectly suitable for simply wearing around your home as well as exercisingin. So I took to ironing the huge pile of clean washing from the day before. Instead of just standing there, I danced a bit (ha!) and after every 3 items ironed, I'd run upstairs to hang and put them away before running back downstairs and starting over.
After 1 hour of ironing, I did a few squats whilst waiting for a nice hot bubbly bath to run. Taking them off - same as yesterday: dry Capri's, wet legs and tummy, and red prickly 'rash' on my thighs. But no discomfort.

*I wanted to wash them and realised they never came with washing instructions - which is a bit disappointing. However, having had Zaggora's before, I decided that they should be treated the same. Wash in water (not HOT) and let drip dry as flat as possible*

Day 3. Monday

Really tired today having returned back to work after a 10 day break for Easter and half term. CAN NOT BE BOTHERED EXERCISING!!! But, not one to let down a review I've just been to my room straight home from the office and changed into my Lunaling Capri's. I'm going to wear them til I shower before bed, doing the norm - cooking tea, putting Carson to bed, making the packed lunches for tomorrow, doing the dishes, hoovering the living room, hanging the wash up on the radiators and maiden to dry then sit for 30 mins to have a gab with my besty on the phone! So better go and crack on!
...... Done. it's now 10.30pm and I've worn them for around 3 hours with moderate movement. I am sweaty, but not dripping! The prickly-looking heat rash is still there though so my temperature must have been raised enough to do something! One thing that annoyed me was the stitching around the waste today, it really irritated me - but not enough to leave a mark and it stopped as soon as I took them off.

Day 4. Tuesday

Getting back into the swing of things at work now and so it's not so much of an effort to motivate myself tonight! One thing I've noticed is my skin - it seems less dimply. Don't know if it's just me, but it's definitely firmer and smooth. Lunaling's work by increasing your body temperature, so I'm assuming that if temperature is increased, blood flow is stronger - when attempting to banish cellulite in the past I heard massage was great as it increasing the circulation of blood. Nuh, what do I know!
Anywhooo - I'm off to jump on my Reebok Stepper for 10 mins before starting to get Carson ready for story time, bath time and bed (all whilst wearing my Capri's of course)

Day 5. Wednesday

Oh My Days, I am due on  in the next few days (TMI - Sorry) and I am feeling so bloated. No exercise for me tonight, let's just wear them around the house - and I'm taking it easy. If I wear them for at least 30 mins I know that I'm still increasing my temperature leading to a higher metabolic rate at least.
...... I notice that even though I'm not sweating tonight, I still have that rash! So I must have worn them long enough. Yay!

Day 6. Thursday.

Ok so I'm early. oweeee. :-(
Exercise helps pain, so here goes.
..... I just don't feel comfortable in these Capri's tonight. They're chafing (or so it feels) and the waist keeps dropping/twisting (could be down to bloating, or the opposite - maybe I'm losing the inches?). I've worn them for 45 mins and I'm done. They have left my belly crease (under my roll!) wet though, so obviously they are still working and I'm only moaning due to my irritability! My skin is nice and pink - and hot too.
Tomorrow, I'm letting my besty Steph do her photgraphic make-up practising on me so I wonder how I'm going to fit my exercise in.

 Day 7. Friday

Finger curls and 30's make-up immediately after finishing work left no chance for exercising this evening so I am going to wear them for bed instead.

Saturday (DAY 8, D-DAY!)
I'm going ice skating today and then to a party tonight so I'll be uber active. But my 7 day trial has come to an end for review purposes. I've not been on any special diet this week, so any results are purely going to be down to the usage of these Lunaling Capri's.

Weight: 16st 0.8lbs
Hip: 45 inches
Waist 38 inches
Inner thigh: 28 inches
Knee: 19 inches

Weight: 15st 10.4lbs
Hip: 44.5 inches
Waist: 37 inches
Inner thigh: 26 inches
Knee: 16.5 inches.

Weight: 4lbs 
Hip: 0.5 inch
Waist: 1 inch
Inner thigh: 2 inches
Knee: 2.5 inches

Loss of 4lbs and 6 inches.

So, before you check out the difference between my Lunaling weight/inch loss and Zaggora weight/inch lost, you have to remember that is has only been for 7 days and with no real impact on my life. These capri's have fit in to my routine making menial tasks such as ironing or changing the bedding really count. I've not altered any of my eating habits and continued as normal.
If you decided to follow an eating plan or diet of some sort, joined the gym/followed a structured exercise regime AND utilised Lunalings, can you imagine how much more potential there is for losses?!
I am so impressed and the £50 pricetag is truly justified. They are comfortable, flattering and produce results. They were, however, sent with the wrong leaflet and no 'How to care for' information - which I think would be beneficial. Lets hope this can be rectified for paying customers. There was slight irritation with the stitching on the waist, but nothing a tucked in tee can't sort out.
The waist loss can be explained by the low rise - perhaps add a couple of inches to the waist height for even better results? Heck - why not make a onesie for all over body tightness!

My personal overall opinion - go buy some. Seriously. I love these. I'm guessing it's only a matter of time before they bring out a blazer/hot top rivalling Zaggora's too, and that - I want to get a hold of just as badly!


I've been saving a few pennies to redecorate my living room and although I'm keeping up with a red theme (can't quite afford to replace my couches just yet!) I'm excited for change.

Still not totally decided on my accessories etc but maybe you'll have a few ideas for me, who knows?

I've chosen a textured feature wallpaper to cover the alcoves and chimney breast and taken the oatmeal colour from the leaves as the paint colour for the rest of the walls - which should give it a bit of depth and warmth I'm hoping. You can't really see how deep the oatmeal is on a photo (looks more silver), but trust me it's not!

Then I managed to find some throw cushions from Wilko's (where the paper is coming from) which kind of goes with some amazing candle holders, photo frames and a clock from Next that I have. They follow a poppy theme and are mirrored too, so I thought I could integrate this in the accessorising so although it doesn't exactly match the paper I don't think it'll matter cuz who want's perfect matching themes (especially when you've got kids!)?!

Mix and match is the way to go - so if anything breaks, it's more easily replaceable isn't it, hey?

I've got a lovely red bubble vase which holds a tall white candle for my hearth and a red heart plate that sits in the centre of my coffee table. The floor lamp I have is oatmeal with chrome pillars.

When I've got it all finished and done up, I'll post piccies. But in the meantime, how do you go about designing/planning a redecoration? Do you choose one item (like me - couches!) and base it around that? Or do you take inspiration from an advert or TV show?

*Review* Eden Project Shop El Salvador Coffee

el salvador coffee, carsonsmummy review, Coffee is my downfall. Heck, what am I saying? It's my drug!! Give me a full-bodied coffee any time of the day and I am indebted to you.
So to receive a nice bag of coffee ground from Eden Project Shop to review was a very exciting moment for me. I'm actually being serious with you though - this is coming from the person who declared that next Christmas I want a Tassimo machine and that's it.

Firstly, let me tell you a bit about the coffee itself, which I have taken from www.edenproject.com
"El Salvador coffee beans or grounds come from Monte Sion a family owned coffee farm that has been growing coffee since 1906 and has focused on producing speciality coffees. 
Dr Urrutia and his family founded Monte Sion Nuevo Amanecer to help the communities in the rural area of Ahuachapan, serving around 400 people. 
With 10% of the production cost of every 100lbs of green coffee going to the community, it has created better homes, food, clothing and improved health as a result of a primary healthcare programme and rural medical campaigns every 2 to 4 months."

Immediately, you can be confident in the product you're buying and it's origin - the addition of the trusty 'Rainforest Alliance Certified' stamp is clear to see on the front of the packaging as well.

As Carson can't enjoy coffee with me, I decided to take my bag of El Salvador to the office and share with a colleague. Albeit begrudgingly, I must admit I thought it would be nice to have another opinion too.

The smell is divine, and that was before I even opened the bag as there is a very small push button at the head of the bag which you can press to allow the aroma to release.

I prefer my coffee white (but only a drop or two of milk) and strong so when I saw that this coffee is light to medium bodied I decided to make it a tad stronger in the cafetiere - my chosen implement - by adding an extra heaped teaspoon of coffee. You can also use this coffee in a filter machine or jug by the way.

My colleague prefers her coffee black, so it was the perfect opportunity to determine the difference, if any between both cups.

Firstly, my coffee (white) looked very weak after adding just a small drop of milk and I was concerned that I should've added 2 extra teaspoons from the off. The taste, was smooth and, yes, medium bodied. Not exactly my preference but not as light as I had thought it would be. The black coffee, looked beautiful so after polishing off my white mug, the temptation to have another - but black this time -was eating away at me.

The difference was actually very obvious despite only the small addition of milk in the first mug. If I had this coffee in the house/office again - I would definitely choose to drink it black. Or perhaps purchase a full-bodied variety instead.

My colleague enjoyed hers black and had commented that it 'tasted exactly how it smells'.

There was no powdery residue, that can be a common occurrence with cafetiere coffees and the is no bitter after taste - just a smooth, fragrant and all round pleasant beverage

On the whole, I really did enjoy this coffee. It retails at £4 for a 227g bag - well worth it.

I would recommend this coffee for any degree of coffee lover. Follow the instructions for a light bodied brew, add an extra teaspoon for medium and have it black with an extra teaspoon for a fuller, stronger taste.

I'll be buying it!
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