Archive of ‘Beauty’ category

More Ways to Feel Good at Boots

For the past 50 years, Boots has played a big part in the lives of many – from the firsts to the dependables.  It is where I bought my first eye shadow, experimented with lipstick, pondered the many options for making my hair thicker and also where I bought most of my little boys baby clothes!.  But ultimately where I frequently go to pick up the essentials…and then leave with a bag full of other goodies!

And as a bargain hunter, resisting the 3 for 2, the free treats when you spend a certain amount, but mostly the Advantage Card points, it has always been my go to location.

So when I was invited along to celebrate Boots 50 years in Northern Ireland, I of course couldn’t wait to see the new treats on offer.

In the Penthouse Suite of the Europa hotel, the floor was set up like any Boots store you would see on the high street. A range of counters with an array of products just waiting to be tested!  As Boots advertising says, ‘More ways to feel good’!

I was heading on for a night out after the celebration so my make up was already just as I wanted it but I will never argue with someone willing to transform my hair!  A little back combing, a little bit of Bumble and Bumble, and voilà!

My outfit for the event/evening ahead…

With tips on how to recreate various looks, a bag full of products to make the look happen and an open invitation to visit any counter in store for a little bit of assistance, I think Boots will remain my go to for the next 50 years to come!

Thank-you Boots for making us all feel good…and thank you Jane at JComms for the invite!


Learning the Value of Alone Time at The Culloden Estate and Spa

Put up your hand if you are reading this in the moments in between all the things you ‘have’ to do?!

Life is busy, it’s hard to find quiet, and if you are anything like me, even when you do, you think of that one thing you meant to google earlier in the day!  It’s full of demands – some of these demands are placed on you by yourself, some placed on you by others.  But regardless of the source of the demand, it still has the ability to cause pressure when sometimes all you need is a break.  I have tried over the past few years to relieve the demands and take a bit of time out.  Time without housework, people, work – time for me to do what I want to do.  After spending many years in the company of others 24/7, I nearly had to re-learn how to be alone.

Hastings Hotels gave me the chance to rectify this – well for one morning anyway!  I had a few days where my little boy went off on adventures with family, so after I had spent the first day on the usual clear out (how is it possible to gather so much paperwork?!), day two was dedicated to relaxation.

During the summer holidays, one day easily rolls into the next so of course, I had thought of the great plan to take my relaxing day, but hadn’t yet booked it.  I phoned The Culloden on Sunday and was pleased to hear there was availability.  Big plus Number One!

I had been gifted the Spa-Tisserie Experience which included one Spa Treatment (55 minute treatment choosing from ESPA Aromatherapy Full Body Massage, ESPA Aromatherapy Facial, ESPA Body Envelopment, Manicure or Pedicure) followed by Afternoon Tea.

On arrival, I was greeted and given a quick tour before changing and entering the Relaxation Room before my massage.  After enough time to sit back, relax and flick through a few pages of Harper’s Bazaar, my therapist Chris brought me into the Treatment Room.  As you would expect, the mood was calm, the music relaxing and the decor conducive to helping the mind and body unwind.  I had opted for a full body massage; squeeze out any lingering stresses before getting ready to welcome a new term.  I was given the option of a relaxing or energising massage (I went with energising) and then given different oil options to suit my mood.  With just the right amount of pressure given, the massage had the desired effect, thank-you Chris!

I had booked my Afternoon Tea for an hour after my massage, giving me the time to head back to the relaxation room to finish my magazine, before heading for a quick dip in the pool.  Perfection.  There was also a sauna available but I can’t do the heat!  At this point, I’ll just add my one request – room signs!  As you enter the spa, there are no signs on the doors.  In my complete state of relaxation I got a little disorientated and nearly disturbed someone else’s massage time! Mind you, I would have happily snuck in to a Treatment Room for a little more pampering;)

When ready, I headed to Zest Juice Bar which was situated just by the pool, to enjoy my Afternoon Tea.  Greeted with a cup of coffee and a fresh iced water, I waited for the my treats to arrive.  I am a savoury girl at heart so happily devoured the delicate sandwiches and scones smothered in cream with a fresh cup of hot coffee (the service was impeccable!).  After a short breather, I dipped in to the sweet treats but they defeated me – thankfully they could be boxed up ready for home!

I still find it very hard to be alone and do nothing however – I managed to write most of this post while dining!

Unfortunately my time had come to an end, I was due to set my ‘me time’ to the side and get back to duties.  A quick shower in the spacious changing room and on the road again, feeling relaxed and revitalised!

I had an amazing experience in the Culloden Spa – it is a place to enjoy time alone or with others but whatever your grouping, a place to feel completely at home and just breathe.  Thank you to the Culloden Estate and Spa, Hastings Hotels and Michael at Duffy Rafferty for this experience.


Beauty Bootcamp

Anyone who reads silverbrogues regularly will know that I will happily spend my hard earned cash on new clothes or shoes, but it takes an arm twist to invest in beauty products.  I have my beauty routine, I style my hair pretty much the same way every day – some may call it habit, but if it works, why change it?!

Well, that is where Beauty Bootcamp steps in. Started by TV3’s beauty editor Liz Dwyer after spending time behind the scenes and watching  transformations happen, she decided she could provide an opportunity for all women to have a taster of the techniques needed for the everyday transformation.  With a team of international make-up artists and hair stylists, help is on hand to give you the opportunity to learn the techniques you know you want to learn and a few more besides!

So how does it work? A full day includes tips on hair and beauty.  We began the morning with coffee in hand and a browse of the make up and styling products on offer.  I had actually signed up to go alone, but ended up going with a friend.  However, there were many mixed groups of people – some alone, some part of a family, some friends, all ages, all females looking for a little guidance whether they had lost their way or never really got started.

We were given the choice of which area we would like to begin with. We chose hair with many of the group interested in curls. The last time my hairdresser cut my hair, she left it a little longer so I could style it with curls but of course my hair remains straight everyday.  I ultimately wanted to know the quickest way to curl my hair so it was an everyday option and what to do if it went wrong!

Beauty BootcampBeauty BootcampBest tips learned when curling hair?  If a strand goes wrong, let it cool before you try again.  After you have curled, don’t be afraid to put your hands through it – you can always go back and make a few changes.

Next up, make-up.  We were going to learn both how to chose products and how to apply them for an everyday look into an evening look.  Having a hands on approach definitely meets my learning style – if I don’t practically try it out, I will always find it hard to apply it.  The make-up products needed were available for us to use including brushes.  Naomh took us step by step through the layers, with a final focus on the eyes and lips.  I love heavy evening make-up but was unsure of how to soften this for the day.

Beauty BootcampBeauty Bootcamp

Best beauty tips – first up, buy yourself a beauty blender sponge.  Great for blending your foundation and concealer, but also useful for fixing mistakes! Using when it is damp is best; recently someone mentioned applying your primer with it first so it doesn’t soak up your foundation.  Secondly, you know when you are applying liner to your top lashes and then you get to the gap between your lashes and your nose. On that part, apply the liner along the inner eye line to make it look more natural. And finally, when putting on lipstick, apply, blot and apply again. That way, your first application should encourage a longer lasting hold.

Ultimately I think however, practising the techniques is the essential component to finding out how to make it work for you.  Time consuming, but true.  And again, that is what a day at Beauty Bootcamp offers.  Time to explore, try out and also to get expert advice.  The girls were great – they showed different techniques on you and then gave you the chance to do the same.  The professionals were  there to help with any questions or to guide you when fixing any mistakes.  You also came away with a handbook which gave a round up of all you had learned.

My conclusion.  Beauty Bootcamp offers a great day out with the girls where you come away relaxed, having learned an array of new skills.  At a price of £65 it seems a bit steep for anyone who just wants to ‘try something new’, but a £20 discount comes with a friend.  And it is a whole day where you can literally revamp your beauty regime.  My tip – go with a few things you really want to learn, write down any questions, and photograph or video what you learn on the day.

Thanks to Liz and CMPR for the chance to attend Beauty Bootcamp and Naomh for organising the day.


Fixing My Skin with Martina Collins and Obagi CLENZIderm M.D.

A few years ago I began to suffer from a condition I never had to deal with before, in fact I spent most of my teenage years avoiding it and now heading into, okay, well past 30, acne struck.

I have always had those spots that feel like they are pulling all of your skin to one location on your body.  You may know the ones I mean, the ones that only an ice pack will help because of the intense throbbing.  Now if you have never experienced these before, you may think I’m exaggerating, but don’t be fooled!  The fortunate thing was they only came at certain times of the month.  Now however, these spots were here to stay, and once one was gone, a new one popped up in its place.  And so began my adult acne.

The fixes I had been offered in the past hadn’t worked. I had been on various antibiotics which made no difference, I had been offered a contraceptive pill (Dianette) which ultimately turned me into a hormonal mess, and then changed to another pill (Yasmin) which, although it worked, seemed to become my final option.

I followed the usual tips of watching my eating, cleansing my skin, ensuring my conditioner was thoroughly washed off my skin and so on, but nothing changed.  Taking advice from a dermatologist, it seemed to become clear that the acne was as a result of changing hormones as the pill had been so effective, although I feel that it may have either been set off by, or continued to the degree I experienced because of, stress factors. Regardless of the cause (which I feel will never actually be identified), I didn’t want to be on the contraceptive pill to tackle a skin problem, so I decided I needed another option.

After visiting Martina Collins in her clinic on the Lisburn Road, she introduced her solution. Martina’s underlying thought process was ‘Why treat your skin, one of the largest organs in your body, by first diverting through your whole system, before finally accessing your skin?’.  And the option offered?   Obagi CLENZIderm M.D. – An Acne Therapeutic System.

Martina CollinsComing as a box of three lotions, I was to use them each in different ways for optimum results. Martina, having experience of this product, was convinced it would work, and Lyndsay, who was on hand for any extra help I needed, had actually also used this product on herself (and with a different type of acne to mine) with pleasing results.

At this point I had a decision to make. Every time I had come off the pill before now, the acne was back in a matter of weeks. And not slow and steady, but all there, all over my back, with the same amount of physical and psychological pain. I wasn’t prepared to deal with that again, but I didn’t want to be on the pill forever. So, I decided to trust Martina’s advice.

I went off the pill and began the Obagi treatment. And the process went as follows.  Each morning I used the Daily Care Foaming Cleanser. Once dry, I used the Pore Therapy.  The pack also included Therapeutic Lotion to use every 3 days to spots or areas where you knew a spot was on it’s way!

Martina Collins Obagi CLENZIderm MD

All you needed was a 20p sized spot of the Foaming Cleanser over the affected areas – for me it was the face, chest and top of my back.  Once out of the shower and dry, I used a water spray container to apply Pore Therapy across the troublesome area and wiped excess with a cotton wool pad.  Most days that was it.  Any time I felt a slight pulling of the skin I applied a tiny squirt of the Therapeutic Lotion directly to the area.Martina Collins Obagi CLENZIderm MD

May has just begun.  I have left this post for as long as possible to write as I wanted to be sure the treatment was actually effective.  I began to use CLENZIderm at the end of January. As I had been on the pill, my skin had been clear with the occasional spot here and there. After about six weeks I began to reduce the treatment, first using every other day, then using once a week, now using intermittently.  This week in fact I had a random spot pop up on my arm and two on my neck so I used the Cleanser and the Pore Therapy again.  I left the one on my arm too long before applying the Therapeutic Lotion so it has taken a bit longer to calm, however the ones on my neck never came to anything.

Three months and three spots, that’s a pretty good record!  So how does it work?  Using benzoyl peroxide (Theraputic Lotion) in combination with salicylic acid (Daily Care Foaming Cleanser and Pore Therapy), the products fight excess oil, clogged pores and acne causing bacteria.  Priced at £167 for the 3 products (can be bought separately), I would actually pay double!

Martina Collins Obagi CLENZIderm MDMartina Collins Obagi CLENZIderm MDMartina Collins Obagi CLENZIderm MDI was advised if my acne was due to hormones the treatment may take a little longer to work.  Personally, I didn’t want to take any risks so I continued using the product for this length of time, but the information says you should be seeing results within two weeks.  The instructions that come with the pack also gave slightly different guidelines to follow – that is where Martina and Lyndsay came in with their specific advice.

Martina CollinsI honestly could not recommend this product enough for anyone dealing with adult acne.  Obviously a consultation with Martina to determine if this is the right product for you is essential but for a small price, my acne seems like a distant memory!

Thanks to Martina for the product and Lyndsay for all your help in getting me started.  Thanks also to CMPR!


Miss Patisserie – Guest Post

Last Sunday I had the lovely opportunity of being silverbrogues International Correspondent for the day. Okay, so I may have made that title up, but I think it works, so I’m going run with it 😉.  As a silverbrogues International Correspondent, my mission was to jetset to Cardiff and have a little look in a beautiful new Bath and Body shop, Miss Patisserie, recently opened in High Street Arcade in the city centre.

Sadly, my glamorous jetset only involved a 10 minute bus journey from my house, but I soon forgot about that when I spied the Miss Patisserie window display. Even if I hadn’t been on my mission for silverbrogues, I think I would have found it very difficult to walk past and not want to take a peek inside.

The brand itself, founded by Charlotte Ridgwell, has been sucessfully trading since 2009 via their website (sadly mainland UK deliveries only) and in and in over 250 other retail stores, both in the UK and worldwide. Excitingly though, the shop in Cardiff is their first independent high street venture.
The new shop is complimented beautifully by it’s setting. High Street Arcade is one of several picturesque Victorian Arcades that burrow though the centre of Cardiff’s shopping streets. They house an interesting array of independent cafes, galleries and retailers – and a Victorian Arcade, decorated for Christmas, is a very cosy place to take refuge when the weather outside is trying to blow you to Oz!

When you first see the window display of Miss Patisserie, you would be forgiven for having a little drool at the rows and rows of perfect, sparkly, colourful little cupcake bath bombs, sitting neatly in their cases. In fact I overheard (subtly eavesdropped on) Charlotte telling another Blogger that she often has to correct people who want to buy the bath bombs to eat!  Inside the shop, the decor has the right balance of chic with a little bit of shabby, to make it feel luxurious, but also invitingly comfortable and affordable.

The products are all designed and handmade in Cardiff by Charlotte and her team of Miss Patisserie chefs. No little creatures were harmed in the making of the products or any of their ingredients, but two little creatures, Charlotte’s pugs, do appear on some of the packaging!

Cleverly there was a nice big hand basin in the shop for Charlotte to host a personal demonstration, for myself and the other browsing Bloggers (I didn’t tell them, I was an International Correspondant, rather than a Blogger – they might have got jealous).

I had a go at the Watermelon Body Scrub (just on my hands though!), the Mineral Mud Face Mask and the Argan Face Oil, and I bought them all, so it kind of goes without saying how much I loved them.

There was about nine different flavours of body scrub, but I’ve always favoured watermelon as a scent so I made a bee line for that pot. The scent is obvious, but not overpowering. Scrubbed and rinsed, and my hands felt lovely and soft and not at all like hands that had just come in from the cold, windy wet South Wales weather. The face mask intrigued me, as it is a powder. Bath and body experts might see this sort of thing all the time, but I was excited. All you have to do is mix the powder with a few drops of water and you have your paste ready for pampering! Oh, and it smells really nice too. My happiest purchase of the day though was the Argan Face Oil. I don’t know about you, but my face is like sandpaper at the moment. Especially my cheeks. I’m trying my best to drink more water, but this wind just keeps beating me. I’ve been using the Argan Face Oil all week and I love, love, love it! I’ve always been a bit scared to put oil on my face in case I end up covered in spots, but this product is so light and gentle and my foundation just glides over it.

Of course Miss Patisserie also stock lots of other lovely things such as creams, oils, perfumes and candles, but I think you should probably go and check those out for yourself, in store or online. I appreciate though, that a lot of you silverbrogues followers are based in Northern Ireland, so I think we need to persuade Miss Patisserie to extend her shipping boundaries!

Anyway thanks to silverbrogues for my International Correspondent mission. I am free to travel to other cities for further missions, especially hot cities!


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