Taking care of your skin-a simple and cost-effective routine. 

I’ve had so many people compliment me on my skin this week and ask me what routine I follow. I’m always reluctant to give advice on skin because we all have completely different types. But after hearing recently one of my friends washes her face with hand wash (yes hand wash) I feel some people just need some advice on where to start. 
I think budget is a big issue when it comes to choosing the right skin care for you. It would be lovely to be following a luxury Elizabeth Arden routine but some people just can’t afford it. So the starting point is working out what you can afford. Don’t be tempted to go out and buy the best products, your skin will get used to them and if you can’t afford to replace them you’re back to square one. 
For my skin I follow 4 simple steps:
1. Nivea 2 in 1 Cleanser and Toner-add a small amount to a cotton pad and spread evenly across the face. 

2. Nivea-Effective eye make-up remover-spread across the cotton pad and wipe over the eyes. This stuff will remove any left over mascara the cleanser hasn’t reached. 

3. Nivea Light moisturising cream-spread over the back of your hands and put on your neck using an upwards movement. Then put it on the ends of your fingertips and apply to your face using the same movement. Avoid using the palms of your hands. Most women make this mistake without realising this is where bacteria builds up. Applying cream like this will result in a build up of bacteria on your face-often resulting in spots.

4. Before applying make-up apply a small amount of prevage to prepare your skin. 

And that’s it-my morning routine. Simple, fast and not too expensive. You can pick most of the Nivea products up for under £5 and although the prevage is a luxury it lasts nearly 3 months. In the evening I will repeat but usually use a makeup wipe (simple oil free wipes) before starting the routine and I switch the Nivea day cream to night. 

Hope this helps some of you who are wanting to start looking after your skin. Remember though gorgeous skin is not just about your routine but exercising, fuelling your body properly and sleep-lots of it. 

Love Elle

The magic of red lips..

So there’s no hiding from my Facebook and Twitter uploads that I’m a major fan of the ‘red lipstick’.  Now I know when I put it on it makes me feel like my whole face is lit up.  But did I know there were studies based on this little gem…definitely not. The most shocking statements:

1. It is proven that waitresses wearing red lipstick get tipped more. 

2. Women in bars are approached more if they are wearing red lipstick.

3. Men spend 7.3 seconds fixated on a woman’s  lips when she is wearing red lipstick. 

4. Some of the world’s most intelligent and charismatic women are wearing red lipstick. 

5. My favourite-it makes women feel confident. 

So I ask myself the question does applying red lipstick really make me feel any different? 

Given my hair colour a red lipstick is very noticeable on me. The days when I do wear it I feel like my hair looks brighter and my makeup is more noticeable. So yes I would say I definitely feel different. More confident? Perhaps, I mean it is proven if you wear red lipstick people are listening to you more. 

There are really endless benefits to this magical colour…

Now there’s women that are totally against red lipstick stating that ‘it is too sexy for work’ and ‘way too high maintenance’. 

Wearing red lipstick for me is a statement that ‘I care about the way I look’ and knowing it makes people ‘look twice’ makes it even more desirable. 

What are your views on red lipstick? Should it only be worn in certain job roles? Should it only be worn with certain outfits? 

How to fix a mother/daughter relationship…

img_0549My relationship with my mum summed up is ‘non existence’. I think we have both accepted that we don’t get on and that’s ok. So you can imagine my surprise when she messaged me saying she was taking me away. The first thought in my head ‘how am I going to cope being in her company for a long period of time’ harsh I know. We just don’t agree on much and we are very different people, with very different views on life. I often joke that I’m adopted but most people who know us will agree apart from the same hair and eye colour we are nothing alike.

Enough of the emotional stuff! So the trip started with getting a taxi to the library at a cost of £5.50 my mum gave him £10 and told the taxi driver to keep the change…I nearly fainted. See when we order takeout and it’s £19.60 she will wait for that 40p change. What is going on! I eagerly anticipate what is going to pick us up or where we are going. A coach arrives and I get on. Now the whole coach is full of people no younger than 70. This is going to be a great trip. I’m already annoyed that I’ve had to cancel 2 beauty appointments and miss out on seeing someone I really wanted to see to be here. Well time to try and embrace in chats about hearing aids and crosswords.

As the coach headed south, I engaged in polite conversations with fellow passengers. Most of them assumed I was 16 and on break from school so I kindly informed them of their inaccuracies and began to tell them my story. The thing about people in their 70s is they are always full of stories (or so I thought). We arrived in Cardiff and had a few hours before we went for dinner so I had a wonder around the hotel trying to work out if I was happy Cardiff was the secret destination.

To my relief at dinner a couple asked to sit with us. This meant I could just sit back and let my mum engage in conversation with them and I wouldn’t have to do the whole nodding my head thing. They told us about places they had travelled and people they had met. To my surprise their fondest memories of their life were not travelling to China but watching their grandchildren dance around the garden. I was enjoying this couples company until the waitress got the mans order wrong, she apologised and offered him something else but he wouldn’t accept and starting listing the 10 commandments to her. I escaped to the toilet in order to avoid telling him how rude I thought he was.

The day after we wondered around Cardiff and the castles. It was a beautiful place and although not much to see I’m always interested in people’s behaviour and how different people live. It was very similar to my town people rushing around no one looking particularly happy.

It was time for dinner again and I prayed this couple would not sit with us. My mum invited them over and let’s just say if looks could kill she would be on the floor. I distanced myself from the conversation and just sat and observed everyone around me. I noticed a woman on the trip sitting by herself at dinner and it made me feel so sad. I asked my mum to go and talk to her. I wondered over after and she started to tell us that her mum had recently died, she had never been away because she cared for her most of her life. I was so shocked by this, she had sacrificed her whole life to look after her mum yet I didn’t even want to give up a few days to be with mine.

That night we went swimming and I made a conscious effort to be nice to my mum engaging in conversations that interest her and asking her questions. This total stranger had completely changed my mindset.

The morning after before we travelled back I realised we had spent three whole days together without one argument. We had laughed and joked, this was the first trip away just me and her, the first time I had allowed myself to just be happy in her company.

Although the purpose of the trip was for her to list her long list of medical conditions to me I had taken much more from it. My sister once said to me ‘you just have to accept her for how she is’ and I finally understood what she meant by that. Yes she is judgmental, yes she is critical but seeing her make conversation with a woman so she wasn’t by herself, seeing her give up her seat for an elderly couple and listening to her jokes also reminded me she was kind and funny. Sometimes you can spend so much time resenting someone you forget to see the good in them. This trip reminded me of that.

I realised I had never really asked her about her life and as she began to tell me I realised how strong she was, how she sacrificed so much, sacrificed the love of her life to protect her children. When someone hurts me or I have to get over something I always tell myself I’m strong I can do this and I finally realised that strength comes from her.

It’s time to let go of the past and concentrate on how lucky I am to still have her in my life-I may even give her a hug from time to time.

Broken hearted-a beautiful lesson…

Most people claim to ‘hate love’ often mistaking it for the pain you feel when it goes wrong or maybe the hurt someone’s caused you. But that’s not true. Love is the warm feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you first realise you love them. Love is the excitement you feel when you are around them. Love is when you smile at them and it means a thousand words.

Love comes in many shapes and forms but I’m talking about love in relationships. Some of us are fortunate to have that love that lasts a lifetime. Some of us love and the end result is hurt, disappointment and often feelings of foolishness. Whichever one we have experienced, love never really escapes you. 

I believe if you love someone you will love them forever. People often think if this person has hurt you then you should completely forget them and erase all feelings for them. But it is possible to move on with your life and still love them. I’m not talking about the love where you want them to come back to you. I’m talking about the love that you bury for them but it’s still there. If they had an impact on you and your life, if at some point you loved them, whether you like or not you probably always will.

After a relationship we often list all the bad things, we focus on how hurt we feel, we wonder if we can ever get over it. When I first fell in love I believed I could never love anyone like this again. I believed I could never let this person go because this love was so strong. But after it ended I fell in love again. And the most special part of that was realising that you don’t just love once in your life, it is possible to love again. Yes I got hurt, yes I felt foolish and wondered why I’d allowed myself to fall in love. But would I say ‘love sucks’? Definitely not.

This person made me feel alive again, he got me to open up to him and talk about things I had never spoken to anyone about. He made me uncover feelings I never knew I had. He showed me what love was supposed to feel like. He was the reason I knew I was truly capable of loving someone. He made me a better person in so many ways.

When someone makes you feel like that it makes you want to fight for them, it makes you not want to give up on that relationship. I know I’ve written hundreds of messages out ready to press send, ready to tell them not to go. But someone wise once told me ‘never persuade someone to be with you’. So no matter how much you love them, no matter how great they made you feel, if they don’t want to be with you then move on, you will experience all that again with someone who does.

I guess my point here is we are not living in a movie, this is real life and sometimes it just doesn’t work out. Some of us are so afraid to love and when we do we are so afraid that if it ends we won’t find someone else, we won’t love again. Life shifts us in crazy directions and if you allow yourself, you will love again. It’s all part of this beautiful adventure we call ‘life’.

Six secrets to stunning skin 

For me a beautiful face starts with beautiful skin. How lovely would it be to not have to worry about how you’re going to cover up those imperfections. Is it just me or can a spot literally ruin your entire day? Now I’m sure you all know that the main secrets behind perfectly healthy skin is to take your makeup off, not have hot showers and drink water-lots of it. I walk around work carrying my 2 litre water bottle (it’s a hot look-I swear) thinking this magical medicine will be the answer to all my skin problems. But is following these steps and drinking water really all it comes down to? Read on to discover my six secrets for perfect skin…
1. Is the term ‘beauty sleep’ a myth? Absolutellllllyyy nahhht. Recommended sleep is around 7-8 hours a day. However if you can sneak in a 20 minute afternoon nap- BAM  your skin will be glowing.

2. Protect your skin-even if it’s windy and raining outside your skin still needs to be protected. A few months ago I was in the spa reading a beauty magazine that recommended ‘Elizabeth Arden prevage’. This product is literally the best thing I have EVER bought. Now you may have to close your eyes when you swipe that magic card, hefty price of £50 but it is sooooo worth it. This product is silky and lightweight. Its purpose is not only to protect your skin against the sun but pollution. Pollution? What’s that got to do with anything? How many of you knew the main cause of ageing is not protecting your skin against pollution? I know I didn’t. This little miracle worker does 3 jobs: protects against the sun, pollution and can be worn as a primer-I’m so glad I found you.


You can buy this from most Debenhams and Boots stores.

3. Avoid stress-yeah like that’s possible. Feel stressed, deal with the issues that’s made us stressed and accept that ‘being stressed’ also breaks down collagen and makes us age. Bloody brilliant. The key to this is to find a way to ‘relax’. For me it is to spend a bit of time by myself. It might be going for a walk, jog or hitting the shops. I find this time allows me to gather my thoughts and pull myself together.

4. Monitor your skins moisture-erm so yeah I suppose we all have time in a morning to get the magnifying glass out and inspect how dry our skin is. It’s just NOT possible. Simple fix to this is to up your moisturiser in the winter-job done. If you have sensitive skin look for products with ‘ceramides’ in the ingredients.

5. Exercise-when I get back from a jog I have the most gorgeous glow, a glow I never get from makeup. There has been so much research into how exercise slows down the process of skin ageing and keeps skin looking healthy. Now I jog with a woman who’s 50 (does not look 50) she is hot! I asked her how long she’s jogged-her reply all her life!. It was at this point I realised the pain I was feeling jogging was totally worth it.

6. Stick to a good routine-it is important that you let your skin get used to a good routine. Now I could recommend the products I use but not every skin type is the same. All you need to know is what your skin type is, buy products that are made for your skin type and exfoliate twice a week. If you are fortunate to have a bit of spare cash left over at the end of the month (wishful thinking I know) then treat yourself to a facial, the results are amazing.

Do we really have to follow all this to get great skin-unfortunately yes. Going back to my original post this is a perfect example of how ‘it’s so hard being a woman’. But ladies we have to appreciate unlike men at least we can fake it with the makeup if we skip a few!

Do you have any tricks to getting perfect skin? What are your favourite skin care products?

My guilt free makeup obsession…

Do I ever go outside without makeup? Erm no. I mean it’s not that I have awful skin, I just (like most women) feel more confident with makeup on. But is it just me or do you feel guilty when you spend every day wearing it? Those Sunday evening when you stay inside and finally let your skin breathe, feels good doesn’t it? That’s what it comes down to really ‘feeling guilty’ for constantly covering my skin in all sorts to get that ‘perfect glow’.

So I searched for a product that covered my skin but didn’t feel heavy. After all this was something I would put on just to nip to the shop. Vein I know. But the thought of seeing someone with a bare face was too terrifying. Now I have friends that wear zero makeup in the day and look stunning on a night out and friends that wear a face full of makeup all the time and look no different. So my aim was to find something in between. A foundation that covered up my imperfections but didn’t look like I had spent hours contouring. My hairdresser recommended ‘bareminerals’. Now she wasn’t trying to sell this product (always a plus) but she was merely recommending it because she used it and thought it was AMAZING. So off I went to explore. Now when I got there, I was preparing myself for the usual ‘sale talk’ persuading me to spend hundreds of pounds but actually it was quite the opposite. I was greeted by a ‘perfectly glowing woman’ clearly paid to make her skin look ‘flawless’ she recommended the starter pack (a bit of everything). Now when I got home there was a disk inside which explained how to apply this. I laughed and thought ‘I’ve got this’ and threw it in the bin.

A few days later I got the box out and was excited to try it. I couldn’t even get in the foundation (probably should have kept this disk). Eventually I managed to tear the seal off and to my surprise it was a container full of powder. Now I always use ‘liquid’ foundation so already this was new. So at this point the disk would have come in really handy as I had no idea how to apply powder. I mean it’s not a fixed powder but a loose powder so the normal up and down movement of the brush wouldn’t work. My initial thought ‘how the heck am I going to get this on my face?’ Again really should have kept this disk. Eventually I found a YouTube clip on how to apply and after several attempts I had mastered the swirl of this application.

I loved the results I literally have to apply a small finger worth of powder to my face every day, which is great because I don’t have the heavy feel of makeup. For the days I’m not really doing much I’ll apply even less. The best part about this product is it’s that good for your skin ‘you can sleep in it’. Yes sleep in it! Now obviously unless you’re sleeping next to someone you don’t want to see your bare face you wouldn’t want to do this but knowing it’s that good for your skin makes wearing it guilt free! So the product is basically crushed minerals, it feels gorgeous on your skin, you really do feel like you have nothing on. I have used this product for 5 years now and would never use anything else. Even my eyeliner and lipsticks are bareminerals, you could say I’m slightly obsessed with the stuff! Price range is usually around £22 for most products which to me isn’t bad given the average foundation is now around £12.

These are my two favourite products from the brand.

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The first is the original foundation (crushed minerals). My skin is really pale so I always go for ‘fair’. I wear the foundation for work, given the job I do (Primary School Teacher) you would think I would have to retouch my makeup throughout the day. But that’s what I love about this product no touch up is required and although it’s a powder it settles on your face like a foundation. I’m fortunate to not get many blemishes however when I do I also use it as a concealer just switching brushes to a concealer brush. The second is an eye brightener for hiding those late nights. I usually apply this product under my eyes and if it’s been a really late night in the corners and on the lids. Again no touch up is required because it sits perfectly on your skin all day.

So ladies if like me for every day wear you prefer a ‘natural look’ I would definitely recommend investing in bareminerals. Their guilt free products not only benefit your skin but give you a glowing flawless result.

The Problem with Perfection-Challenging Comparison

We are all guilty of this, we have all done it at some point in our lives. Scrolling through social media with the endless thoughts…I need to travel more, I need to exercise more, I need to eat better food. I mean it wouldn’t be a problem if we were observing but if you’re anything like me it’s not an observation it’s a comparison. And let’s be honest, how often do we compare ourselves to someone less fortunate? The thing with comparison is we are never satisfied. The harsh truth is there will always be someone prettier than you, someone who travels more, someone who is more successful. The only thing we can do is quit comparing, quit being so hard on ourselves. Think of something you can do now that you couldn’t do last year. Think of something you have achieved that you never thought was possible a few years ago, then set a new challenge. Remember we are never going to be perfect and let me remind you life is a lot more fun when we stop trying.