Sunday, 29 June 2014

Win A Pair Of Portuguese Heart Earrings - Ends 18/07/14

Portuguese Heart make beautiful filigree jewellery from a traditional Portuguese design.  

This type of jewellery isn't widely know outside of Portugal but it has a detailed and delicate look. 

To win a pair of Sonia earrings, check out my interview with the owner of the company Catarina Araújo here, then come back and answer the questions on the Rafflecopter application below.

If you love the earrings as much as me you can enter daily, so be sure to bookmark the page.





My giveaway is open to those 18 + living in the UK only.
Winner picked at random via Rafflecopter
Please allow 28 days for delivery
No automated entries
One entry per person
Giveaway ends midnight on 18/07/14

Good Luck!

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Portuguese Heart Jewellery

Portuguese Heart are a jewellery company that sell beautiful unique filigree jewellery. Here I speak to the owner of the company Catarina Araújo about her passion for beautiful Portuguese jewellery.



When did you start Portuguese Heart?

The website for Portuguese Heart went live in December 2012, but the ideas and preparation work for it began long before that. 

What is the idea behind the company?

I wanted to really promote this beautiful and unique art form, which isn't well-known outside of Portugal. I had bought filigree jewellery for friends in the past as gifts; they were always so well-received that it made me want to give others the chance to buy original gifts for their own family and friends. I hope that people will not only love the jewellery they see, but find some inspiration to go to Portugal and discover the myriad other things we have to offer.

What are the price points?

I wanted to have a price range that would be affordable to everyone. Prices range from £14 to £250. These correspond to what you'll find in the jewellery streets in downtown Lisbon. 



What makes the jewellery special?

There's so much that makes it special. Firstly, I make sure to only buy very low numbers of each piece (usually 2 or 3) to guarantee that you won't meet someone wearing the same thing at a party (what woman doesn't hate that?). Another way it's special is that it's hand-made by artisans whose families have been in the business for generations. It's a dying art form - and one that I hope we can preserve by introducing others to it. Finally, the versatility of the jewellery is unrivalled: you can wear it with denim shorts on the beach sipping a caipirinha, or to a ball at Buckingham Palace... and everything in between. It's traditional to wear filigree at weddings in Portugal, but I've seen it at Indian weddings and it looks amazing! 



What are your favourite pieces of jewellery that you own?

For me, my favourites are always the ones that have sentimental value to you. Some of my favourites include pieces that belonged to my great-grandmother (I'm fairly sure I inherited my passion for jewellery from her), a ring my grandparents gave me on my graduation, and earrings that my boyfriend got me on our first Christmas living together.



How do you see the company progressing in the future?

The next step, which is due to take place in the next couple of months, is to start selling solid gold jewellery. And whilst I'd be happy to continue focussing on the filigree jewellery, it would be really exciting to expand to other traditional products - anything from luxury soaps to quality hats. 

You can follow Portuguese Heart on Twitter and Facebook.

What do you think of the jewellery above? I love the beautiful gold plated heart necklace. The filigree looks so delicate and intricate and you know that it would be extremely unlikely for anyone else to have something similar to this unique necklace.  

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Friday, 27 June 2014

Degustabox For July


I am always excited when I receive my Degustabox delivery. This food box scheme guarantees value for money and some surprises every month.

So with some excitement I opened my July box...





 This is what I had in my box this month.



Elizabeth Shaw Milk Chocolate Amaretto Flutes - RRP £2.59

A little bit of an after dinner treat these chocolate flutes are sexily sophisticated. Little batons of smooth chocolate with an Amaretto flavour filling, they also contain no alcohol so can be safely shared with all.

Urban Fruit Perfect Pineapple - RRP £1.09

Don't be put off by the look of this snack. They are pieces of dehydrated pineapple but they pack a flavourful munch. Better for you than sweets or crisps, one 20g portion provides one of your five a day. Perfect to add to your kids lunchbox or why not pop some in your own if you go out to work.

Dr Oetker Madagascan Vanilla Grinder - RRP £4.99

Dr Oetker make great baking products. This vanilla grinder contains Madagascan Vanilla pods. The mill is easy to use with fine and coarse options. I am going to use it to make a New York vanilla cheesecake in the near future, so watch this space!

Be Fast Breakfast On The Go Banana Flavour x 2 - RRP £1.00 each

Now I don't know about you but sometimes I don't feel very hungry at breakfast time. These Be Fast milkshakes are packed full of fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals and will be a great breakfast drink when you don't want to eat much. They aren't a low calorie option however having 200 calories per shake and they also have sugar added, but they taste delicious and are definitely worth a try.



Veetee Basmati and Wild Rice - RRP £1.49

We eat loads of rice in our household so I was keen to try this. We ate it with a low fat Chicken Tikka Marsala and we really enjoyed the slightly nutty taste. It is easy to heat, via the microwave or you can even stir fry it. A great store cupboard product when you want a quick meal.

Shaken Udder Chocolate Milkshake 

Well this disappeared sharpish, I think my son is to blame. He loves all things milkshake and all things chocolate so you can guess we are onto a winner here. Free from artificial flavourings, colouring and preservatives, this milkshake it Udderly delicious (see what I did there!).

Bear Alphabites - RRP £2.69

With no refined sugar, salt or added nonsense - (as they say), this box of alphabet cereal shapes are great for kids, and adults too. They use coconut blossom nectar to make they cereal sweet so you don't need to load on the sugar either.

Estrella Damm - RRP £4.00

My husband spotted this can of Spanish lager as soon as we opened the box. Estrella is marketed as "stylish, vibrant and passionate" - and I thought it was just beer! Nice to have cold from the fridge, watching the World Cup, or at a summer barbecue.

Lambrini Strawberry Flavour - RRP £3.29

It's been a long time since I drunk Lambrini but this strawberry flavoured version is light and fresh, and great to use as a base for cocktails. Why don't you add some pineapple juice, raspberry liquor and a squeeze of lemon to make a Strawberry Lambatini. Serve over ice and enjoy.

The total value for these products this month is over £18. With each box being £9.99 plus delivery you always get a bargain. If you like the idea of signing up with no obligation, enter the discount code NO8VE where it says promotional code on the Degustabox website for free delivery.

You can also follow Degustabox on Twitter here.

What do you think of the products this month? What items are your favourite? Let me know.


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Friday, 20 June 2014

Universal Studios Florida - The Diagon Alley Expansion

If you are a lover of Harry Potter or Universal Studios, Orlando, Florida, you may be aware that they are holding press conferences all week for the opening of the new Diagon Alley expansion at Universal Studios.

A little bit of background to this - in 2010 The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened in the Islands of Adventure theme park, adjacent to Universal Studios, with the amazing Hogwarts castle, the simulator and headliner ride Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey, Flight of the Hippograff ride for the young ones and the Dragon Challenge rollercoaster.



The amazing Hogwarts castle

We went in 2010 and my favourite part was Hogwarts castle. The atmosphere and attention to detail was amazing. It was as if they had taken a real castle and transported it to the land of sunshine and fun. As you walk through the castle paintings come to life, and in a stroke of genius snow falls on you as enter the main hall. I actually let out an audible gasp.
The snow on the rooftops adds an authentic touch

The headliner ride here, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey has you soaring on broomsticks, encountering fire breathing dragons and the evil Voldermort whilst being totally immersed in the experience from start to finish.


So it is with excitement that I have been following the Diagon Alley Expansion before my return trip to Universal Studios later this year.

The new Diagon Alley experience has you transported to London and Harry Potter fans will enjoy Knockturn Alley and the joke shop 
Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes. The main restaurant will be The Leaky Cauldron, serving classic British pub food such as ploughman's lunch, pies and toad in the hole and you can wash it all down with Butterbeer and Gillywater.


The Hogwarts Express
The Hogwarts Express (Photo credit: Scott Smith (SRisonS))

One of the main attractions is Hogwarts Express, a train ride that will take you between the two main parks. Authentically created with even a replica of King's Cross Station, the windows of the train apparently show scenes from the UK, and don't forget to watch out for the Forbidden Forest and the Wealseys on their broomsticks!

The headliner ride is Harry Potter And The Escape from Gringotts. With some clever animatronics as you walk through the Gringotts bank the goblins come to life, and you take a lift down to the vaults. You then get onto a car for the ride experience. The combination of cutting edge technology, 3d effects and a part rollercoaster ride will surely be another of Universal Studios triumphs.

Diagon Alley officially opens on 8th of July this year, but Universtal Studios Orlando have a week of webcasts with previews of what to expect. I can't wait to go!

Tell me have you been to Universal Studios or visited the Wizarding World of Harry Potter? Are you a Harry Potter fan? 

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Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Top Tropical Destinations to Top Up Your Tan in 2014

If you are dreaming of beautiful white sandy beaches, deserted palm tree encircled coves, crystal clear seas and complete rest and relaxation, it's a tropical holiday you are looking for. Why not take a look at some of these beautiful destinations if you are in need of a little inspiration.

Mauritius


Mauritius
Mauritius (Photo credit: Samovar Group

Set in the Indian Ocean, the beautiful island of Mauritius is the perfect destination for those who want it all from their holiday. With simply amazing beaches, surrounded by crystal clear sea and some of the world's best hotels, offering first class amenities and personal service, it’s an out of this world holiday spot for those looking for a little tropical luxury. Choose from resorts featuring their own golf clubs, waterfront villas, personal butler service in some rooms, shopping facilities, stunning infinity pools, spas and world class restaurants!

The great thing about Mauritius is you really can have it all. If you want to lay on a beautiful beach all day, completely uninterrupted and soaking up the sun, you can. If you prefer things a little faster paced, you have access to some of the best watersports facilities in the world, and if you fancy packing some nice maxi dresses and getting dressed up for dinner, you'll find the perfect a la carte restaurant for it. 

Trinidad and Tobago


English: Beach in Tobago
Beach in Tobago (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Get a taste of the real Caribbean on these beautiful islands. Here you'll find stunning beaches, clear seas, friendly locals and an interesting and varied history, all set to a jazz soundtrack that will have you tapping your feet wherever you go. There are some fantastic sporting facilities here, including golf, diving, hiking, fishing, cycling, horse riding and so much more. Add to that the relaxed atmosphere of the islands and the amazing year round temperatures and you'll never want to leave. 


Cancun

Dolphin Crest
Dolphin Crest (Photo credit: jurvetson)
The playground of the young, rich and carefree, Cancun is packed full of adventures to be had, whether that's swimming with dolphins during the day or hitting the numerous superclubs by night. With fabulous beachfront hotels in the hotel district offering pool parties with famous DJ's, and quieter more refined hotels just a little further out of central Cancun on the Riviera Maya, you'll find something to suit any taste here. The great thing about Cancun is that it can be all things to all people, so whether you want a taste of the champagne lifestyle on a lemonade budget, to hit the clubs in a tropical setting, an action packed adventure holiday or something more sedate, you'll find it in Mexico’s popular party city. 

Other great places to try are sophisticated Barbados, beautiful Bermuda, Antigua with its 365 beaches (one for each day of the year), stunning St Lucia, the beach and animal lover's paradise of the Florida Keys, or the amazing Maldives, with each island offering something unique. So what are you waiting for? Dig the suitcases out and start packing the shorts, swimming costumes, maxi dresses from George at ASDA and sandals and head to tropical shores for a holiday to remember.


*This is a guest post
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What's In My Makeup Bag

What's in my Makeup bag

I have worn makeup ever day since I was 15. When I was younger I had oily skin, a few spots and uneven skin tone. Now that I am past 40 my skin has become drier but I have a few fine lines and pigmentation issues. I may not be perfect but I feel I have been lucky with my skin and hope I look younger than my years. This is a list of items I wear almost everyday. Most of the items I have bought although I have won a few in competitions and was given a sample of a couple of the items for past reviews.




Max Factor Whipped Creme Foundation

This goes on light as air and feels like silk on my skin. It provides a natural but medium coverage and is easy to remove. I feel it is perfect for normal/combination skin.  It never makes my skin spotty and doesn't sink into fine lines and wrinkles. 

BeautyUK Prime FX foundation Primer

This budget beauty buy goes on silky smooth and appears to soak up oil making your foundation last well into the night. This would be a great addition to your summer makeup, especially if you are going on holiday anywhere hot. 

Benefit Rockateur Blusher

This flattering soft pink blush with a touch of gold gives a shimmering glow. I won this in a competition and I am never without wearing it now. It's one of those blushes that takes years off you. Without blusher I look tired but this makes me look alert and gently rosy.

Loreal Touche Magique Concealer

This anti-fatigue and illuminating concealer helps improve the appearance of dark circles and spots. I guess it's the budget version of YSL Touche Eclat. I actually prefer it to the more expensive concealer as I think the colour Natural Beige is a much better much for my skin tone that YSL.

Le Volume De Chanel

This mascara by Chanel provides great volume and the look of thicker lashes. I also love They're Real by Benefit as it lengthens and curls lashes whilst still looking natural.

Missguided Lipsplash Lipgloss in Watermelon

I really rate this lipgloss as although it's a bright orangey red in the tube, on your lips it is much more subtle. It is only £5 and also smells super of vanilla too.

MUA Makeup Academy Intense Colour Eyeliner in Rich Brown

MUA have a great range of budget beauty products that you can buy online or from Superdrug. This eyeliner only costs £1 but goes on smoothly and lasts almost as long as a luxury eyeliner. Definitely recommended if you are watching the pennies.

Ginvera BB cream Green Tea nude cover

I like patting this under my eyes to conceal shadows. A little goes a long way and it also has a SPF of 30.

Clinque Moisture Surge CC cream

This cream compact evens out the skin, covers redness and has a SPF of 25. The compact looks stylish and the cream doesn't settle into lines. Perfecto!

What items are in your makeup bag at the moment? Have you tried any of the makeup above?

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Thursday, 12 June 2014

It's World Blood Donor Day On The 14th Of June

Have you ever given blood? I have been a regular donator of blood in the past, proudly collecting the little certificates they gave me in a little book. Unfortunately due to a blood transfusion when I had my son I can no longer give blood. I am in the category of those who cannot give blood anymore but many people can. 

This year’s World Blood Donor Day is on the 14th June. The campaign has been developed to raise awareness as to why we should give blood and why timely access to safe blood and blood products is essential.  Did you know that every day, about 800 women die from pregnancy or childbirth-related complications worldwide? Giving blood will help prevent maternal deaths during delivery and after childbirth as well as saving many lives for those with life threatening illnesses and conditions.


Benenden Health are currently running a survey to determine if people give blood, common misconceptions about donating and barriers preventing people from giving blood.

If you have never given blood it isn't as painful as you may think it would be, a sharp scratch as they say, and ten minutes or so later you will be sitting up having tea and biscuits. 


Image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Here are some common questions that people ask about giving blood.

Why give blood?

Thousands of people every day need blood and blood products such as red cells, platelets and plasma for emergency and long-term treatment. Giving blood can literally save someone's life. Due to the short shelf life of blood and blood products and the fact that it is difficult to predict demand, regular supplies are essential.


Blood Types

There are eight blood types and some are rarer than others. For example, O Rh negative blood, is rare but essential as it can be given to anyone regardless of their blood type. Only 2 per cent of the population have B Rh negative which is more often found in ethnic minorities. Blood donors are wanted for all types of blood but especially for those rarer blood groups.

I'm Not Sure If I Can Give Blood

The majority of people can give blood but some cannot. If you pop along to a session they will be able to tell you. Some of the common reasons why people cannot give blood include
  • You have a cold, sore throat or chesty cough
  • You have had a tattoo, semi-permanent makeup or any cosmetic treatment that involves skin piercing in the last 4 months.
  • You have taken a course of antibiotics in the last 7 days or are taken one currently
  • You have received blood during the course of medical treatment or procedure since 1st January 1980.
If you are concerned check out this link below on who can or cannot give blood.



Image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

If you want to find out where the nearest session is check out this Session Finder on the Give Blood website. There are also blood centres up and down the country where you can drop in and give blood within certain times.

Giving blood is a selfless act and it can make a real difference to someone's life. Someone gave blood and it made a difference to my life, why don't you make a difference to someone's life today.

* in collaboration with Benenden Health
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Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Jones The Bootmaker

Jones The Bootmaker are a high street quality brand that sell boots and shoes. They have built up their company over the last 150 years and they are known for their craftsmanship and on-trend designs every season. 

Did you know that they also sell bags ? Well I didn't. So when they offered me the opportunity to review one I jumped at the chance. Well you would, wouldn't you? This blue and brown medium sized cross body bag was priced at £39. 


cross body bag from the bags and accessories section

The bag is great quality and looks more expensive than it actually is. You can see that in the detail, for example the stitching is even and neatly sewn and the tag adds that designer touch. The bag isn't leather but you would never know. I really like this bag, it is a useful size and can hold most things us ladies need. I would use this bag on a daily basis, shopping in town or for a meal out with my husband. The navy colour is classic and goes with most things and I like the brown edging and strap. 
If you are looking for trainers or sandals for summer, Jones The Bootmaker have a wide selection. Below are two of my favourite designs from the shoe section. I actually have the FitFlops, they are very comfortable on as the material is soft (I think it is suede) and the crystals add a touch of glamour. FitFlops tone also the legs as you walk. I am a convert to this brand after buying these last year when I did a lot of walking on holiday. During the trip not once did I have any rubbing of the sandals and they were supremely comfortable the whole time. As it works to tone your legs, I was told to build up my wearing with the FitFlops as it could make your legs ache, but I never had a problem with this at all.

The trainers I have highlighted below are Sketchers Breathe Easy . Sketchers are known for comfort and style. I think these would be perfect for those who love walking or for a gentle exercise class. You may even just like the design, I know I have to admit, I would probably wear these trainers with bootleg jeans too as they would go well with a casual look.


FitFlops sandals and Sketchers Breathe Easy trainers

Jones the Bootmaker often have offers on their website, so if you do not live near a local store, it is certainly worth checking out their website

At the moment if you use the code GARDEN at the checkout, you get 50% off your second item - ends midnight Thursday. 

Have you ever shopped at Jones The Bootmaker. What do you think of the items I have picked above?

* I was sent this bag in exchange for an honest review
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Tuesday, 10 June 2014

The Cookshop Cardiff Review

Today I am talking about one of those hidden gems, a local business that deserves more recognition for its tasty food.

The Cookshop Cardiff, is a delicatessen based in Pontcanna, Cardiff. Opened by Julia Hallinan in 1982 the business went from strength to strength until Julia closed it in 1996 to go into a career in education. Last year Julia reopened the shop and one of the new ventures she has gone into is gourmet ready meals, with a strong focus on quality and flavour. She loves to support local producers and all the food is locally sourced not far from her home.

Every week a new menu is lovingly devised and cooked. You can buy the dishes separately or buy the dinner party in a box, this is priced at £19.95 for 2 starters, 2 mains, 2 sides and 2 desserts. You can place your order in store or via email or phone. All the ingredients are listed on the back of the packaging and there is nothing artificial added only simple good quality ingredients.





 A sample menu

This is my honest opinion of the food I was given to sample.


Starter - Leek and Cheese Tartlet



leek and cheese tartlet

The leek and cheese tartlet was very tasty. The pastry was light and crumbly and the filling soft and favourful. It didn't taste over powering of cheese either. It tasted delicious and refined like a upmarket quiche. You can eat this tart hot or cold, I ate it hot. 


Main Course -Lamb Moussaka and Spinach and Butternut Squash Lasagne


lamb moussaka



spinach and butternut squash lasagne

Both dishes were very generous portions. The moussaka tasted authentic with a delicious meat filling. The white sauce was smooth and the aubergines soft and yielding. There was an abundance of gravy so I have used an image of it in the cooking container, as the other photo does not do it justice.

The spinach and butternut squash lasagne was topped with a creamy bechamel sauce and a touch of cheese - my husband rated it highly. The tomato sauce in the lasagne tasted fresh and the dish was packed full of vegetables. A really excellent vegetarian dish.

Side dishes - Roasted Vegetables with Thyme and Honey and Peas with Pancetta

I could not fault the flavour of both dishes. A pleasant hint of roast garlic livened up the roasted vegetables with sweetness added by the honey and the peas with pancetta were delicious, you could really taste the slight smokiness of the pancetta. The only thing I would say is that the side dishes were smaller than I imagined as the main courses were extremely generous in size.

Desserts - Raspberry Pannacotta and Pear and Almond Chocolate Tart


raspberry pannacotta


pear and almond chocolate tart

We were full after our two courses but our dessert was still waiting.

Onto the raspberry pannacotta. This had a light and creamy set vanilla custard base topped with a lovely raspberry sauce. There were specks of vanilla pod in the pannacotta and whole raspberries in the sauce. This dish was smooth, delicious and not too sweet.

The pear and almond tart had a slightly sweet crisp pastry case filled with a chocolately sponge centre and was topped with poached pears. I would think this would taste equally nice eaten hot or cold with cream or ice cream. I couldn't wait to tuck into this one, I think my husband was disappointed that he didn't get a taste. The chocolate sponge was slightly gooey, and combined with the sweetness of the pears I feel the tart was definitely the highlight of the meal.

The dishes we tried I could not really fault to be honest. Authentic locally produced food, with a touch of class, cooked with love by Julia and her team. Perfect if you do not feel like cooking, I'm definitely going to pop in when I'm in Cardiff next.

Recommended 4 1/2 stars

Email julia@cookshopcardiff.co.uk
Telephone (029) 2034 4107
Post 171 King's Road, Pontcanna, Cardiff, CF11 9DE


What do you think of the dishes? Do you live near Cardiff?
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Monday, 9 June 2014

TrinkIt

A guest post by Erika Holt from Eclectic Enchantments blog.

Being a massive fan of jewellery and almost everything to do with it, I jumped at the chance to be able to get my hands on a TrinkIt.

A TrinkIt is an ingenious invention that allows you to safely store your earrings, whilst creating a lovely decoration at the same time.  It can be mounted to the wall or left free standing on your dressing table.


Made from a durable acrylic, the TrinkIt has delicate design cut out of it such as birds and butterflies.  They aren't just decorative though, each cut-out serves as a way of storing your jewellery.  The shapes are designed in such a way that they have slots and points where earrings can be securely hooked, hung or if needs be draped. 

The TrinkIt can be used for studs, hoops or dangles.  
  • For studs you just need to remove the butterfly at the back of the earring, pop the post of the stud through the cut out shape and then slide into place, securing with the butterfly.
  • For hoops simply slide over the side slots and leave resting in place.
  • For dangles you can use either way to fit them onto the board



The versatility of the TrinkIt means it can also be used for hanging necklaces or bracelets if you wall mount it.  

Another lovely feature of this clever product is the fact that the acrylic is mirrored, so it means you can pick your earrings, grab the from your TrinkIt and then use it to help you get your earrings in.  

Everything about the TrinkIt makes it perfect for young and old alike.  I do think that younger girls will love this so much and make great use of it.  Perfect for teenagers! 


It comes carefully packaged in cardboard envelopes, suitable for going through the letter box, or if you opt for a larger TrinkIt then large letter post will cover it.  I adore the fact that it is designed, manufactured and sold in the UK, supporting business in this country is so important.  You can get the TrinkIt in a range of six designs, across two sizes and there are even bespoke versions available! 

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Saturday, 7 June 2014

The Best Sun Protection Products For Summer

As I get older I am taking better protection of my skin, after all, nothing ages like the sun. I have noticed some fine lines and a few wrinkles forming and some pigmentation where the sun catches my skin on my cheekbones and my eyes. Here are some products that I have been sent to try and my honest opinions on their effectiveness. If you are serious about protecting your skin from the UVA rays (those that give you wrinkles and premature ageing) and UVB rays (those that give you sunburn) I would recommend wearing a product formulated with a high SPF all year round.



Merumaya Youth Preservation Moisturiser SPF15 30ml - £29.50

This moisturiser is formulated to provide long term hydration, and sun protection for the skin. The seven active ingredients work in combination with SPF filters to protect the sun from UV damage and help prevent the signs of ageing. Active ingredients include Echium Oil RevitElix which is clinically shown to reduce skin dryness, wrinkles and fine lines,  while Moistureplex™ Advanced is a blend of amino acids similar to our own natural moisturising factor which captures and holds water at the skins surface. 

My Opinion : It sinks well into the skin with a velvety texture and feels nourishing on. I feel it is suitable for those with combination and dry skin and I personally think it is perfect for those women, over the age of 30 that have a few fine lines and wrinkles appearing. It has a pleasant flowery smell that is quite distinctive and strong at first but over time the fragrance wears off if you are not keen.  A great medium priced product that feels expensive on the skin.
Clinique Moisture Surge CC Cream Compact  SPF25 - £30

This colour correction cream by Clinique brightens skin and makes redness disappear. It is fragrance free and ideal for those with sensitive skin and Rosacea
. This can be worn on its own or with foundation and the SPF of 25 means it protects your skin from sun damage too.

My Opinion. A useful cream to have in your bag, it provides a medium coverage with a matt finish and covers most blemishes. I find that it lasts for most of the day and doesn't creep into fine lines and wrinkles. You could wear this on its on or with foundation for a heavier coverage and it comes in a variety of shades to suit all skin tones. The compact looks very stylish and expensive too. You definitely get a quality product with Clinique and this is no different. A new favourite of mine.

Jan Marini Antioxidant Daily Face Protectant SPF30 57g - £51

Jan Marini Antioxidant Daily Face Protectant SPF 30 provides broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection to help prevent premature skin ageing. It has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and skin rejuvenating benefits which they claim can reverse sun damage. It feels light on the skin, hydrating whilst still feeling weightless and oil-free. The formulation is enhanced by the anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and skin rejuvenating benefits of phytomelanin and beta glucan 1,3 to help prevent and reverse damage caused by sun exposure.

My opinion: This product goes on like a dream and smells amazing. It is invisible on the skin and the product contains microscopic sponges to help control oil, perfect for wearing under makeup. I recommend this product for those with combination or oily skin - if you are serious about preventing age damage I would invest in this. The only downside to me is the price.



Sunsense Daily Face Tint SPF50+ 75g - £20.99

This multi-tasking oil free product provides a sheer face tint with an invisible matt finish. Fragrance free, and non-comedogenic it wont block pores and it provides a high level of sun protection having a SPF of 50 +. It also has UVA and UVB protection, and it is recommended to use daily to prevent sun damage.

My opinion: So often very high sun protection products have a white cast when applied to the skin so this light coloured tint is a pleasant surprise.  It is fragrance free so will not clash with your perfume or other body products. An excellent, medium priced high level SPF suitable for face, neck and chest. If you do not like the tint finish they have a range of products that are colourless too.

Have you tried or would you use any of these products? How do you protect your skin from the sun and UVA/UVB rays?
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Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Degustabox For May And Win a Food Box - Giveaway Ends 23/06

So a few days ago I received delivery of my next Degustabox.



 Degustabox is a surprise monthly box scheme, every month you never know what you are going to get, they guarantee you will get value for money as it is all for less than you would pay in the shops. 

There was an interesting mix of food items as always this month.

My Box This Month
Cirio Passata & Puree - Passata is always useful to have in your cupboard as a base to pasta sauces and chilis. A very authentic tasting passata. The tomato puree is brilliant to add that concentrated tomato oomph to your dishes.

Elizabeth Shaw Chocolate Flutes - these chocolate batons are lovely to have with a coffee and they are a tad more sophisticated than having a biscuit.

Kettle Sweet Potato Chips - an alternative to normal potato crisps, these sweet potato chips contain 50% less fat than normal vegetable chips. I have to admit these were not to my taste but were interesting to try.




Cawston Cloudy Apple drink - this was delicious, a grown-up pop, not too sweet, and was refreshing and lovely straight from the fridge.

Garofalo Pasta - superior quality pasta made from the finest durum wheat. A perfect base for your scrummy homemade pasta sauce ( and shop bought!). I don't know about you but I always have pasta in the cupboard, as it is such a store cupboard staple.

Dr Oetker Cake Release Spray - I have started cooking more cakes in the last few months and this will be simple to use to grease tins without the mess.

Hornsby’s Apple Cider & Pear CiderThe strawberry and lime version is lovely, like an alcopop, sweet but not sickly so. I will be trying the apple version  tonight with my evening meal. They say they make it so it is bursting with fruit flavour, how gorgeous does this sound?

Raw Energy Chewing Gum - my son tried these. He found the taste sweet, which when you consider it is sugar-free then that is no mean feat! Taurine is used to give energy and it is also packed with Vitamin B.


Taylors of Harrogate Blackberry & Elderflower Tea - I will be giving these to my mother-in-law, as I am not a fan of herbal tea, although the teabags do smell lovely.

Fin Crisp Crispbread - these crispbreads are made with all natural ingredients. Rich in fibre, vitamins, and antioxidants they would be perfect topped with cheese and pickles for light lunch or a night time snack. 


The total value of these products this month is over £21. When you consider you are only paying £9.99 for a box plus postage, it is a bargain.

If you like the idea of signing up I have a discount coupon for you, which will give you a £3 discount, bringing the price down to £9.99.


Enter code 1VAWW at checkout on the Degustabox website for £3 off your first order.

You can follow Degustabox on Twitter here. 

What do you think of the products this month? If you would like to win a box for July why don't you enter my giveaway below.  Leaving a blog comment is the only mandatory entry. There are many options to enter - you can do as few or as many as you like.  You can tweet daily, for an extra entry as well as leave me Klout daily. Good Luck!

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