Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Dick Whittington at Mayflower Theatre

The festivities are in full swing and with panto season upon us, it was time to head to the Mayflower Theatre for this year's pantomime, The London Palladium Production of Dick Whittington which will be gracing the stage in Southampton until January 6th. 

Dick Whittington features a whole host of familiar faces including Joe McElderry, Suzanne Shaw and my personal fave, Bobby Davro. It's fun, frolics and dirty jokes from beginning to end so us adults can enjoy the show just as much as the children and without any "what's that?" questions! 

I honestly cannot wait to take Joshua for his very first pantomime at Christmas! 

Sunday, 16 December 2018

A Dose of Skincare QMS MediCosmetics

*This is a paid partnership with QMS Medicosmetics*

Skincare has always been a huge love of mine but it's something I've only started to fully understand and appreciate the last few years, since starting this blog if I'm honest. Creating a skincare routine for myself as I've got older has definitely helped and as I'm regularly told I look much younger than I am, I'm going to assume I know what I'm doing and what to look for now. 

My big skincare love is high-end skincare products, not because they necessarily work any better but more because they've usually got the budget behind them to put in real, scientific research to find and establish a thorough and useful product line to help us keep looking fresh and young despite the years ticking by. 

QMS MediCosmetics is a skincare brand I've been trying out recently although it's a little bit more than just skincare, it's a skincare revolution created by leading skincare specialist and surgeon Dr. med. Erich Schulte. The brand launched in 1986 and has come a long way in revolutionising our skincare and the way we use it. 

Dr. Schulte worked within trauma surgery in Germany, the surgery would help reconstruct the face but there would still be scarring and damage. Finding a way to re-introduce collagen would help the skin's elasticity and appearance and so he worked on a way to do just that. QMS Medicosmetics was created and this technique became the foundation of the brand leading the way for innovative skincare. The first product created was the Classic Collagen Set (£189.00), a unique set which combines Day and Night Collagen serums which contain 70% natural soluble collagens with and Exfoliant Fluid formulated with fruit acids and enzymes. 

It's like skincare I've never used before and boy oh boy, is it incredible. The Classic Collagen Set has been my go-to for some weeks and the difference is already noticeable which I think is testament to the brand the science behind the products. The products work together by helping skin ageing and improving cell regeneration. I have some scarring from menstrual acne over the years and I've already noticed a reduction in this. The Day and Night Collagen feature their innovative Neotec A15 Collagen Hyaluronic Acid and Matricine which have been specially formulated for the skin to absorb the collagen to improve moisture levels. It's all very scientific and I've read a lot about the brand, products and the way the products work to help understand the process but most importantly of all, I've seen it work on my skin and it does work. 

I'll be looking twenty one again before I know it. 

I've overhauled most aspects of my skincare routine with QMS Medicosmetics recently including using a different cleanser (although I'm still using my beloved Eve Lom alongside it). The Deep Cleansing (£36.00) emulsion is formulated with mineral oils and the soft, milky formula helps clean skin thoroughly leaving it super soft, clean and moisturised. The emulsion is so soft, I use it to remove my eye make up. I usually use micellar water but this has worked so much better and it's much softer on my eyes. The best bit? It removes everything and I mean everything! 

Paired with the Freshening Tonic (£36.00), these two products are the ultimate dream team and my skin has never looked or felt better. The tonic helps by restoring the skins ph-level after cleansing and helps protect against environmental damage. It's one of my favourite products I've tried so far, it's easy to use, fresh and leaves my skin feeling exceptionally clean. 

I love how both bottles are designed as it makes both of them really hygienic to use. Try with cotton pads, reusable makeup pads or pick up one of QMS Medicosmetics super soft pads. 

A great way to discover QMS Medicosmetics and more of their products would be by looking at the sets they have available and the one I've been using holds two incredible products that I would snap back up in a heartbeat, the hefty price tag or not. The EpiGen Anti-Pollution Duo (£175.00). The products have been inspired and created by findings in Epigenetic Science which is the way heritable changes are made in gene expression. Epigenetic change is a regular and natural occurrence but it can be influenced by a number of factors including age, environment and lifestyle which is what makes this set so great. 

The two products inside, EpiGen Pollution Rescue Overnight Mask and Epigen Daily-Detox Serum are two wonder products that help skin cells stay youthful and active for longer. The EpiGen Pollution Rescue Overnight Mask (£46.00) is a brand new product and it just pips the freshening tonic as front runner for my fave product. The Hydro Foam mask is a lightweight foam which soaks into skin leaving no stickiness or residue, it smells incredible and it's just a really great product to use.

It is enriched with silk proteins to help restore the moisture balance and plump out fine lines while the hyaluronic acid leaves skin silky soft. There's also jojoba oil to calm skin from the days activities and it even helps with sunburn although we all know we should be layering on the factor 50! 

The second product in the set is a serum and we all know how much I love a serum! The Epigen Daily-Detox Serum (£167.00) is housed in a pump-action bottle and it's been specially formulated to help skin damage caused by pollutants in the atmosphere. The serum has an incredible formulation of ingredients to help the regeneration of the epidermis, activate cellular cleaning, detox the skin and help DNA repair. It is an unbelievable product and one pump is enough for my skin each morning. My skin just feels and looks different, it's brighter and fresher and the results must be noticeable as even Arran has commented on my skin and for him to notice, something must've changed! 

We only have one skin, it's the largest living organ we have and we need to take care of it. What better way to do that than with incredible products that are proven to work. QMS Medicosmetics is the skincare brand you need to be looking at to keep your skin happy.

This is a paid partnership with QMS Medicosmetics, all products have been provided so I could try the brand fully before sharing my thoughts - see disclaimer for more information.

Friday, 14 December 2018

Joshua's Christmas Eve Box

A Christmas Eve Box seems like a relatively new tradition to many but I adore the idea of them and couldn't wait to create Joshua's very first box. For our very first Christmas as a family of three, one of our best friends created a Christmas Eve box for us full of yummy treats, hot chocolate and a Christmas film so we wanted to carry that on ourselves. 

We've always bought new Christmas pyjamas, lots of tasty Christmas food and stuck a Christmas movie on so the box isn't too different to what we do anyway, just with some extra treats for Joshua and of course a letter from Father Christmas. 


Wednesday, 12 December 2018

New in my beauty cupboard

I think the most exciting thing about calling this my job is being able to try lots of new in beauty pieces. Beauty blogging has always been my first love and if that means trying numerous new lipsticks each month then I'm happy to take one for the team... Aren't I good eh?! 

I've been trialling lots of new bits recently and so I'm sharing five brands and a range of products that have made it into my permanent stash. 

Monday, 10 December 2018

The December Birchbox

Twinkle into the festive season this December with the sparkly new December Birchbox! I've always been a fan of a beauty box or two but Birchbox have been the one box I get every month without fail and have done for the last four years. It's a nice little treat at the beginning of the month full of new beauty pieces to try and this month's even had a helping of Hotel Chocolat and a yummy discount code for something sweet. 

The box this month is beautiful, a dark blue glitter adorned with gold stars, much like the night sky and perfectly festive for the time of year.

Sunday, 2 December 2018

November on Instagram

Another month has been and gone and Christmas is right around the corner, it doesn't seem real! As I've said before, my Instagram round ups are my least popular posts and they don't get many views at all but I love them and having a record of what I shared each month. So with that in mind, I'm going to continue sharing them, mostly for me. If you ever want to have a nose at some more then I've added an Instagram Round Up tab to the categories above. 

Now for November 2018...


Friday, 30 November 2018

Super Sonic Cleansing for Fabulous Looking Skin

Cleansing brushes have been a big hit with skincare lovers, young and old for quite a number of years. I've used a few different brands in the past but the one I always reach for is by Magnitone. My first cleansing brush was the Magnitone Lucid Cleansing Brush and it has served me well but I was definitely due an upgrade and the cleansing brush gods clearly heard my plea because I had a shiny new brush land in my hands recently. The brand new Magnitone Barefaced 2 Cleansing & Toning Brush (£90.00) is the cleansing brush to beat all cleansing brushes and my skin can definitely vouch for that. 

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Too Faced Gingerbread Spice Palette

At the beginning of 2018, I made a vow that I would try more products from Too Faced, it was a brand I'd always wanted to try but hadn't and so when Arran bought the Too Faced Chocolate Bar palette for my birthday, it seemed like the perfect time to do just what I'd said. 

I now own five Too Faced palettes and really love the formula of the eye shadows so when they launched the Gingerbread Spice palette as part of their holiday collection, I needed to get my hands on it but that seemed more difficult than first thought because it was sold out everywhere online.

Monday, 26 November 2018

Christmas at Beaulieu

I'm really excited for Christmas this year, mainly because Joshua is much more aware of what is going on so when I was invited to Beaulieu's very first Christmas at Beaulieu event I couldn't resist. My parents and I took Joshua for an evening full of warmed mince pies and hot chocolate and the most magical illuminated Christmas trail around the grounds of Beaulieu and left brimming over with festive joy. 

The illuminated trail is taking place from now until 24th December on selected evenings so be sure to book your tickets to guarantee your slot. 

Sunday, 25 November 2018

L'Occitane Luxury Beauty Advent Calendar

It's that time of year again already and for the second year running, I have my hands on a L'Occitane Advent Calendar full of skin loving treats. It's one I've been looking forward to and it doesn't disappoint, especially if you're a skincare fan like me. I find advent calendars are a great way to discover a new brand and get to try their products before committing to something full size. From hand creams, face cleansers and soaps to their much loved oils and perfumes, it's a fab treat to open each day in the lead up to Christmas. 

Friday, 23 November 2018

Get Ready for Christmas at JoJo Maman Bébé

The Christmas countdown is on and I've been making lists, checking them twice and making sure we have everything we could possibly want to celebrate Christmas this year. Joshua was only two months old last year so we kept it pretty low key but this year is going to be completely different and we're so excited. I've been collecting presents for under the tree and little bits to make him a Christmas Eve Box and I've been relying heavily on my favourite baby shop, JoJo Maman Bébé. 

I loved their maternity wear and we bought some rather special baby grows for when Joshua was first born so it's a brand we go back to again and again. The quality is outstanding, the clothes and toys are fab and the customer service is always exceptional so of course we were going to head there for Christmas!

Thursday, 22 November 2018

The Welsh National Opera La Traviata

I only went to see my first opera last year so with the Welsh National Opera coming back to the Mayflower Theatre this year, I was back again for another taste. La Traviata is sung in Italian and was created by Verdi. It was first shown in 1853 but was not well received, fast forward to modern-day and it's widely appreciated by many.

Monday, 19 November 2018

Being by Sanctuary Spa Face Masks

I'm a hard core Sanctuary Spa fan so when they released they're newer, younger looking brand Being, I didn't give it much of a glance if I'm honest. The Being by Sanctuary Spa range are described as bright, punchy products to tantalize your senses thanks to the fruity and delicious scents available. 

I was recently contacted about trying some products so I said yes so I could see what all the fuss was about. Two of those products were face masks and as you all know, I love a face mask! 

Sunday, 18 November 2018

A night with Hilton at Ageas Bowl

Nights away are few and far between at the moment but when we do get to escape, we always make it a good one. We were invited to the Hilton Ageas Bowl for dinner, an overnight stay and full use of the spa which was exactly what was needed after a very full on few weeks. With Joshua tucked up with his Grandma, we packed a case and made our way out to the hotel which is just seven miles from Southampton City Center. 

It the perfect location for a weekend away or a stop off before a cruise or flight from Southampton Airport and with full dining, a spa and golf course, it's great for the short getaway we had in mind. 

Friday, 16 November 2018

Revlon Kiss Plumping Lip Crème

For me, Revlon are the best lip products on the high street, the colour range is huge and the price is reasonable enough for you to buy one in every shade especially when they're on three for two in Boots. The Matte Lip Balms are my absolute favourite but every now and then a new product comes along and pitches up in your heart fighting for room.

That product is the Revlon Kiss Plumping Lip Crème and I have five shades, a range of pinks and nudes perfect for every day wear. The crèmes retail at £6.99 so they're a really reasonable price and with ten shades in the range, you're bound to find your perfect shade. 

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Getting out & about with Smartrike

After it looked like the warmer weather was sticking around a little longer this year, one of the first things we looked into was a trike for Joshua. We really like to make the most of getting out and about at the weekends and this was a fun way for him to see more of the outside world rather than being tucked away in his pushchair.  

The Smartrike smarTfold 700 (£149.99) quickly became our go to and as the weather has become that little bit chillier we've still made the most of getting out with our trike and from the excited giggles, I think Joshua loves it too.

Monday, 12 November 2018

The Cosatto Yo 2 Stroller

Cosatto is a brand we've loved since I was pregnant, the products are fun, colourful and most important of all, reliable. They've seen us through each stage of our parenting journey from the Easi Peasi Changing Table which saved me after my emergency caesarean to the Noodle Supa Highchair when we started weaning and most recently of all, the Yo 2 Stroller for getting out and about with our little squidge.

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Five ways I switch off from being 'Mum'

Being a mum... it's bloody hard work isn't it? Here I am in my sweat pants, mum bun and lunch crusted into my top trying to reclaim a little bit of me while I sip a coffee and fend off an over excited one year old shouting Dougieeeee.

It's exhausting, overwhelming and exhilarating but even though I adore being Joshua's mum, I also quite like switching off and just being Alice for a while too. 

And that's okay. It's okay to not just be a mum because you're also a human and babies are knackering and you are great. You're not just a mum, you're you too.

I left Joshua for the first time pretty early on, he was about six weeks old and I took myself off for a coffee, a quick shop in Chanel for a much deserved treat of the lipstick kind and a new book. That new book is still sat on my bookshelf unread, sure I've read books in between and I've tried to read this particular one but I've never quite got past the first chapter but I keep it because that book is my reminder that I need a break every now and then because I deserve it.

Take a breather
I'm terrible at taking time for myself even before I had Joshua so I really do try and make the effort now, whether it's a cup of coffee in piece for ten minutes, a book or cocktails with my best friend. It's during these moments that I get to relax with no makeup on or grab my heeled boots and a small bag without any wet wipes in and just be me, well a little less me because a hangover with a baby? Yikes!

Talking of books, have you read Paige Toon's Five Years from now yet? If not, do it! It had me sobbing and laughing.

Book in a date with a friend
If it wasn't for the support of my friends the last year, I'd have been even more of a sobbing mess in the corner than I already am butttttt I have a bloody marvellous support network who are always there for a moan, cry or prepared to knock back five Aperol Spritz and a pizza the size of my eye bags with me which helps. 

I know I'm lucky, I have amazing baby free friends and a really lovely and supportive group of mum friends so I have numerous date options. The hardest decision? Choosing where to eat!

Pamper, pamper, pamper
The beauty blogger in me will never die, fact. I love a pamper, my Sunday nights were always reserved for a bubble bath, face mask and the beauty bloggers chat back in the day and that hasn't changed much since becoming a mum, I always make sure I have time to chill in a bath once a week.

Don't worry, I shower in-between too!

The products won't test themselves after all or at least that's my excuse. I've even started going to  a beauty salon again to get my nails done which I haven't done in forever and I make sure I go on the late night opening as they always have complimentary cakes and prosecco to celebrate which makes for a happy Alice.

Solo coffee dates
A few years ago after going through a rough patch in life, to try and help myself I started venturing out more on my own. I've always loved solo shopping trips, flying on my own and just enjoying my own company but I always felt a bit odd going for coffee on my own because I thought it looked a bit sad - silly right?

It's actually one of my favourite things to do now and when my grandma ventures down to give me a hand with the sproglet, it's the first thing I go out and do and not just because she always sticks a fiver in my hand for a coffee. Pocket money still exists when you're 28, who knew?!

Now sleep is a biggy when you're a parent, you either get it or you don't. Joshua has always been a relatively good sleeper so we've never been horrifically sleep deprived but if he could start sleeping through that would be marvellous.

To help even just a little bit there's a few different products I use to help me mellow out, number one being the This Works Pillow Spray, I even have the baby version for Joshua. I'm a firm believer of using lavender to chill out so I light candles, use a bit of Lush Cosmetics Sleepy and my fave spray and chill. It helps me get ready for my night of broken sleep and definitely makes a difference for me.

And like I said, if Joshua could just start sleeping through now...

Being a mum is amazing, rewarding and honestly, I do love it but it's totally okay for me to be Alice too.

You don't have to be just a mum.


Friday, 9 November 2018

Get Festive with Clarins this Christmas

Christmas has come early thanks to Clarins and I am certainly enjoying a little sprinkle of glitter. Clarins have firmly had a place in my make up collection for many years now but it's their holiday collection I really look forward to every year and this years helping is no different. Think gold, sparkles and a twist on an old fave and you've got the collection in one. 

Available to buy now, there are three products in the range and depending on what you fancy, you could pick your favourites or go all in with the new collection like me.

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

The new matte CC cream in town

My love for It Cosmetics legendary CC Cream is well known and it's a product that completely turned my beauty world upside down for the better, I would buy it again and again. The thing I love about it the most is that you can wear it on its own, wear it as a base for a full  makeup look or even go semi natural with just the cream and a slick of mascara. This product knows no bounds and with the original Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream stealing my heart, the matte version was sure to be a hit too. 

There are now three versions of the best selling CC Cream including the original, Your Skin But Better CC+ Oil-Free Matte with SPF 40 (£30.00) and the Your Skin But Better CC+ Illumination SPF 50+ although the only one I am yet to try is the illumination version. I've loved the original and matte tubes so I'm sure I'll love a little glow too, it seems there is a tube for every mood! 

Monday, 5 November 2018

Sweet Peony & Tangerine Hydrating Mist by Jurlique

If there is one thing I wouldn't miss out of my skincare routine, it's a spritz of a Jurlique mist. My usual go to is the bestselling Rosewater Balancing Mist which always leaves my skin feeling refreshed and soothed and so when the newest edition to the misting range was released my eyes lit up especially when I saw the fragrance. 

Friday, 2 November 2018

October on Instagram

Another month has been and gone and we're almost on the fast track to Christmas, it doesn't seem real! As I've said before my Instagram round ups are my least popular posts and they don't get many views at all but I love them and having a record of what I shared each month. So with that in mind, I'm going to continue sharing them, mostly for me. If you ever want to have a nose at some more then I've added an Instagram Round Up tab to the categories above. 

Now for October 2018 which brought as much sadness as it did happiness.

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Molton Brown's Muddled Plum Christmas Collection

I lay in wait for the Molton Brown Christmas Collection every year and I'm even more obsessed with this years range than I thought possible. Muddled Plum is Molton Brown's deliciously grown up Christmas collection featuring six beautiful products as well as a limited edition set perfect for Christmas. 

The opulent collection is available to buy now and I've been getting acquainted with the collection over the last couple of weeks and I'm in love. Who knew I was such a plum fan?

The Molton Brown Muddled Plum collection is a tantalising mix of oak aged rum, warming saffron and sandalwood paired with Victoria plums homegrown in Sussex. To create the rich scent, the plums are fermented in honeyed cordial trickled into a distillation of dark, rich rum. 

Monday, 29 October 2018

A Traditional Christmas with Mr Kipling

*This is a paid partnership with Mr Kipling*

What do you think of when you hear the word Christmas? I think of twinkling lights, Christmas carols, pigs in blankets and mince pies. Christmas has always been quite a traditional family affair and it is something I look forward to every year, especially when those first packs of Mr Kipling mince pies start appearing on the shop shelves.

Monday, 22 October 2018

L'Occitane Overnight Reset Serum

Anti-aging products are something I've really taken notice of this year, I'm fast approaching my thirties and it's important to me that I make sure my skin is getting everything it needs. I've always had a strong love for serums and so when I started to use the L'Occitane Overnight Reset Serum (£49.00) I was really excited to see results from the best selling product. 

The serum promises to change your skin overnight, big claims from a little bottle BUT with so many rave reviews, there had to be some truth and by the looks of my oh so fabulous skin right now, I'd say it's a pretty darn good. 

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Baby Spake is One!

Joshua is one! ONE! One whole number, one whole year of having our darling boy in our lives!

This post marks his first year and the end of my updates unless I throw in an 18 month one but we shall see. It's true what they say, it really does go so very quick and in what feels like the blink of an eye, our tiny little bundle is now a walking, babbling, toothy toddler. If you've read the previous updates then you'll know I've kinda been dreading this milestone as much as I've been looking forward to it because it marks so many things for us all as a family. 

First and foremost, our baby celebrates his first birthday but it also means I'm a year on from an emergency caesarean that I am still healing from and still having to meet with surgeons about. I think I've come to the decision that I will never share my birth story because I can't bring myself to read it again and again before I hit publish but also I don't owe anyone my story. I think birth trauma needs to be spoken about as much as positive birth stories which are pushed and pushed all the time, we need to stop sugar-coating things but I'll do it my way, one day. 

Anyway, enough about me... I want to talk about Joshua! 

Soo... Joshua's final month as a 'month' and I'm kinda glad I can just say he's one now, my poor brain cannot handle any more months. Teething is still our never-ending hill to climb although he has eleven now with number twelve pushing through and let's just say, having four little sharp molars make all the difference when the baby bites. Now let's hope they stay in his mouth for a few years before I have to take on tooth fairy duty. 

Unfortunately with teething comes terrible sleep and we have missed our sleeping baby so much. Fingers crossed once this last molar is through it eases up a bit. In the meantime, there's my best friend coffee to see me through the day. Once we move, sleep training will commence and then hopefully we'll all be a little happier. 

His hair is still growing and he even wakes up with bed head. I realise I'm probably the only person that can see it but it's there, I can assure you. Although I'm starting to wonder whether I'm ready to see him with hair, I'm so used to my beautiful, bald baby. 

The last month has been my favourite as he has changed so much again. He's been walking for over a month now and he's getting much more confident and a little too speedy for my liking. He says hello clear as anything, it's my favourite word after mama even if his favourite word seems to be dada. 

He also says dog even though no one we know has a dog and he's never around them but he says it at dogs in parks so I don't know about that one. It's cute and the friendly dog owners love it. 

Food is still fun if not a little messy but nowhere near as messy as we expected. He loves blueberries and hates strawberries, would happily munch on sweetcorn rings all day long and I always have to share my marmite toast with him in the mornings. 

We've also started the switch from formula to oat milk which is the first one we've tried so far. I may try soya and coconut soon depending on how we get on. He loves soya yoghurts so I think we'll probably stick to what we're doing at the moment for our dairy-free baby. 

He has the cheekiest personality, laughs at inappropriate moments and always after a burp. He has nose scrunching down to a tee and makes the cutest eeeee noise when he screws up his face. He's just a very happy, lovely little boy and we're so proud. Turns out we're pretty ace at this parenting malarky. 

We celebrated Joshua's birthday with close family and a trip to Nandos for Joshua's first Nandinos. We had originally planned a jungle themed first birthday party for him but created our jungle extravaganza at home instead after losing both my Nan and Great Grandmother this week. 

I think I can now add balloon clouds to the skills section on my CV. 

We played cars, had a birthday tea and I made him his own dairy-free birthday cake. My parents also bought him a special first birthday cake covered in lions, monkeys and elephants which was perfect. We sang happy birthday and made memories to last a lifetime and we can't thank my parents and sister enough for making it so very special as always. 

We really did have a lovely day celebrating our gorgeous little boy. 

Happy 1st birthday Joshua, we love you so very much and maybe one day you'll read all your updates.

Read Joshua's previous updates
Baby Spake is one month old
Baby Spake is two months old
Baby Spake is three months old
Baby Spake is four months old
Baby Spake is five months old
Baby Spake is six months old
Baby Spake is seven months old
Baby Spake is eight months old
Baby Spake is nine months old
Baby Spake is ten months old
Baby Spake is eleven months old

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