LIFE | the tree …

I find that out of all the months of the year December is the hardest … my Birthday and Christmas falling within days of each other, spent without my Mum around just doesn’t feel the same.

While everybody is looking forward , I have this awful feeling in the pit of my stomach. Tears come from nowhere.

Don’t get me wrong I am looking forward to Christmas this year [ last year it didn’t even happen ] and I put the Christmas tree up last Sunday. Which is progress of sorts I guess

It’s not the best tree…

I found it squashed at the bottom of a box amongst a mix-match of pink, gold and purple baubles. I bodged it together and it’ll do. Its decidedly wonky and some of the branches are limp … but hey I’m not quite at the buy an all singing and dancing tree yet.

As the world gets more and more materialistic I find myself stepping away from it all ; does any of that matter in the big scheme of things? Does me having a crappy little tree make my Christmas any better , or worse than the lady across the road with her flashy , 6ft fancy tree…

No is the answer.

Christmas is much, much more than that . It’s about spirit , it is about remembering Christmas’s past and all those loved one who are no longer with us.

It is spending time with the people you love [ even those with a crappy tree.] I think it’s sadly lost in the buy, buy, buy culture.

My mum absolutely loved Christmas and I’m sure given time I will again… but just like my tree I’m a little bodged together at the moment , a work in progress 💗

#missyoumum

BEAUTY | what’s caught my eye this month

By my own admission I’m somewhat of a beauty and make-up junkie…

I thought it would be grand if today I compiled a list of my current favourite ‘bits and bobs’ This could then double up as a Gift Guide ‘of sorts’. I don’t really do Gift Guides because everybody else does them … and as you know I hate doing what everybody else does.

I believe the best gift you can give someone is your time and your love . That the best things in life are free … I’ll not start harping on about sunsets again. But hey with Christmas just around the corner … it’s the ideal time and these could all be classed as essentials or maintenance products!

So here goes , for transparency purposes some of these were gifted, which I have marked with a *

REN Sirtuin Phytohormone Replenishing Cream – 50ml £46.00 *

An anti-ageing moisturiser for pre- or post-menopausal skin, designed to recharge and replenish.

Sirtuin is designed to repair damage as well as strengthen the skins natural barriers so it could potentially be great for my combination skin.

Contains Natural Bio-Actives :Rice Protein Extract Helps boost energy release for a stronger skin.

Wild West African Yam Replenishes skins lipids to improve moisture and suppleness to reduce fine line and wrinkles visibility

Bio Calcium – Helps to improve lipid barrier function for fuller and plump 

I was sent this moisturiser a couple of months ago and my intentions were to post about it a lot sooner… however around the same time and following a professional facial I had a major, major breakout.

As I’ve documented all over my social media channels it left me with the skin of a pre-menstrual 16-year-old and zapped all my confidence. The spots just kept coming … You’d think at 47 I’d be over this spot malarkey. Appears not.

Thankfully after several weeks of feeling awful my skin is back to its former glory so I have started incorporating Sirtuin Phytohormone back into my skincare routine. I am advised by my Doctor that I am currently going through the peri-menopause so this cream sounds ideal for me. The peri-menopause can last years before the actual daddy itself – the menopause – kicks in!

Good grief …

I’m re-introducing it slowly; following my breakout my skin has become overly sensitive. REN advise you should use it morning and evening on clean skin , but for the past week I have only been using it every other night. I’ve not experienced any problems, or any further breakouts yet [ touch wood ]

It has a beautiful, light texture which is quite rich but that doesn’t leave a film or any greasiness on the skin. My skin feels plumped, hydrated and there’s no tightness.

REN are cruelty free and vegan , they are working towards being 100% recyclable which during the current climate is extremely important to me.

We are off to a good start !

I will keep you posted how I get on over the next few weeks but I wanted to share with you as it would make a lovely gift.

Ideal for :

Your best friend who needs a lift and is also going through the menopause

Bobbi Brown Smokey Eye Mascara – Full Size £23.00 [ sample size pictured ]

I recently attended a Blogger Event / Master Class at Bobbi Brown in John Lewis , Sheffield where we came away with a sample of the Smokey Eye Mascara each in our goodie bag.

It’s a clump free formula which gives me seriously lush lashes in just one coat. I however apply two because I like to go big … or go home!

It maybe my new favourite! Dare I say I prefer it over Max Factor False Effect Lashes. I’m just hoping that the brush on the full size is the same as on the sample size.

Ideal for :

Your flirty friend … these lashes need to flirt !

CLARINS Joli Rouge Gradation ‘801 Coral Gradation‘ Limited addition lipstick £22.00

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When Sue suggested I try this lipstick I was abit like “ohhh ok … but they’ll see me from Mars! ” It’s not a colour I would normally wear but one my Mum would have desperately tried to get me to wear / buy. She often used to tell me the lipsticks I wore made me look like I’d just been dug up! Funny how the only person who can tell you stuff like that and you do not take offence … is your mum 💗

What can I say I bloody love it. It brightens my face, applies beautifully and the colour lasts.

It features two colours in the one stick and is very moisturising.

It would make an ideal stocking filler … I mean who doesn’t love a new lippy

Ideal for :

Your Pale Friend who needs some colour in their life!

SCOUTING FOR PEARLS – Ruby Leo Drop Earrings £34.00 *

Ok not necessarily beauty related BUT I love these earrings. I was sent them earlier this year and they are amongst the earrings I wear the most. Little fierce leopard heads in your ears … what’s not to love? I’m like my late Grandma Betty when it comes to jewellery – a bit of a magpie.

Scouting For Pearls have some amazing pieces of jewellery and I am reliably informed there are a few pairs of these still available on the website. Quick …Go adopt a leopard.

Ideal for:

The Magpie in your life

ENGLISH MINERAL MAKE UP – Fairy Godmother £55.00 *

This is another product I was sent to try several months ago. It impressed me so much on its first application that I raved about it … and I’m still raving about.

It’s bloody fabulous.

A swipe of this across your face makes your skin look amazing . It’s as though somebody has air brushed you, and it’s not cakey . It’s the perfect highlighter and you can also wear it overnight as a treatment.

Fairy Godmother is not fairy dust [ awww I love the sound of fairy dust ] It contains millions of microscopic prisms which reflect light. This gives the appearance of fewer wrinkles and fine lines. Jobs a good un.

Ideal for :

Everyone … and those who lack glow

MAKEUP REVOLUTION – Glitter Palette – I couldn’t find this exact palette but this is similar – £10 .00

It wouldn’t be Christmas without a little bit of glitter would it? I recently won this palette via a competition run by @devotedtopink over on instagram. I love it.

I’ve been having such fun experimenting with looks. Who says you can’t have fun with makeup at any age? Apparently glitter sits in wrinkles and ages us.

I guess it’ll sit in my wrinkles and age me then . What do you think?

It’s worth noting Primark did a fantastic glitter palette last year for a mere £4.00 . It might be worth checking out your local store over the next few weeks.

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Ideal for:

The lady in your life that still believes in Unicorns. The sparklier the better

001 SKINCARE LONDON – CRYOpress and Alpha Glow Flash Facial 50ml *

CRYOpress – £75.00

Alpha Glow Flash Facial – £85.00

This was another set of products I was sent to try a couple of weeks ago and all I can say is I love it. The feeling of the ice cold roller against your skin is one I will never tire off. It’s so envigorating [ especially with a hangover]

I have had a couple of professional cryo treatments in the past and the results where fabulous … so when 001 Skincare approached me to see whether I’d like to review CRYOpress I snapped their hands off.

The official line goes like this

Thanks to its sustained cold temperature at -8 to 2.5°C, CRYOpress biologically triggers the skin for an  intense facial workout, increasing blood circulation and continuously pumping oxygen and nutrients to the skin encouraging lymphatic drainage. CRYOpress ice therapy improves skin’s overall condition at its core and helps skin stay healthy and fresh

It’s so very easy to use too.

You are advised to keep the CRYOpress in the freezer at all times, and to freeze it for atleast 30 minutes before first use.

Apply a generous amount of the Alpha Glow to your face [ it makes the roller glide easier ] and then start rolling with the CRYOpress up and down , side to side, zig zagging around the face and neck area for between 5 and 15 minutes.

It feels wonderful. After continued use pores become more refined, it aids scar recovery and soothes inflammation. Skin is tightened and lifted.

This is another product I will report back on in a few weeks but I wanted to mention as it would make a fabulous gift. If I had to summarise – I’d say I’m a little obsessed.

Ideal for:

Your friend that loves a new gadget and good skin care

So there you have it … did anything catch you eye, or do you currently use any of these? Id love to know your thoughts.

I could have gone on but I think I might do a part 2 next week!

Until next time ,

Tracey x

LADIES THAT LUNCH | Festive Menu at The Waggon & Horses

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas … at the Waggon and Horses, Millhouses, Sheffield

Last week I was kindly invited to attend [with a plus one] and sample the new Festive Christmas Menu that went ‘live’ on 14th November.

As always nothing  is ever straight forward with us and due to a huge smash on the motor way my plus one – Sue – was running an hour late! She was still on the M1 outside Derby when we should have been tucking into our starters.

Continue reading

Stay Gold …

“Nature’s first green is gold, her hardest hue to hold. Her early leafs a flower, but only so an hour. Then leaf subsides to leaf, so Eden sank to grief. So dawn goes down to day, nothing gold can stay” Robert Frost

November nights are drawing in. It’s icy cold outside and dark by 4pm. Its officially ‘life by candle light’ time of year.

My favourite.

Don’t you think candle light makes everything look and feel so much more beautiful; magical even. It creates a lovely ambience

[ It drives the BF mental, plays on his chest apparently – an ailment that appears to effect a lot of men …. mmmm]

In a few weeks it will be joined by the glow of the Christmas tree, an angel and a single string of fairy lights that will dance around the fireplace.

Late afternoon everyday on channel 5 its Christmas movie-time. When I can, I make sure everything’s completed before I settle down with my coffee [ preferably loaded with Baileys // or Bally Castle the Aldi cheaper dupe ] and lose myself for an hour or so.

The living room descends into darkness, the flicker of candles and smell of coffee fills the air.

I melt into the arm chair, into pure escapism. I’m temporarily transported back. I’m a young, carefree girl and I believe. I believe in the magic of Christmas, I believe in Santa.

Gold.

I absolutely love Christmas; but this year I’m not running at it with my usual gusto. The usual excited anticipation has been replaced with a sense of the unexpected, dread even. Mums not here for the first time in my 46 years and the thought terrifies me.

I’m fading ,

tarnished…

I am however in my usual up-beat way going to try and enjoy the moments. Ok last week I had a major melt-down. Last week was a bastard. Last week reality hit me like a tonne of bricks and it hurt. A lot.

This is a new week.

A new mind-set.

My heart might not be in it but I intend to decorate the house, write the cards , eat the mince pies. Like I keep quoting … ‘stay gold’ Continue reading

Instagram Finds…you’ll want to know about

Love it or hate it Instagram for the whole is a good place to be.

Little squares to inspire , or be inspired. A place to share your loves and your hates, your fashion finds, beauty essentials, interior goals… a place to be creative. To discover similar creatives…

Let’s just put to the back of our mind the people buying a following, the follow-unfollow game, the crazy algorithm [groan] and the swipe up facility that you can’t access or use until you reach 10k followers ? Why Instagram why?

As well as ‘meeting’ and getting to know some truly fabulous people , I’ve also discovered some really lovely small UK brands. Had it not been for Instagram I might not have done so.

I thought I’d share some of them with you today.

First up is a friend of mine that I didn’t actually discover on here [ little details eh ] we went to college together back in the day, but who you can find on Instagram here. Continue reading

Winter Sun Fun…

This year for all sorts of reasons , but mainly because non of us can face it without mum. We are going to leave on a jet plane and spend Christmas abroad somewhere hot.

Mum was our Christmas .

She was ‘Mrs Christmas’.

She adored it. She always had the best, most tastefully dressed tree [always red  and gold ], ensured the house was lit up like Blackpool, and her giddiness was infectious. Family was everything to mum and she ensured we always had the best time.

I tend to get my own way and have spent every single Christmas Day at Mum and Dads, bar one when I went to my ex-husbands house for Christmas lunch. I hated every single minute of it. Not because they did anything wrong, it just wasn’t the same without my mum around.

I’m positively dreading this year , the first year without her.

It’ll never be easy but I’m kinda guessing this year will be tough for us all. Firsts always are.

We [ dad, BF & brother] made a collective decision that this year we would take ourselves out of our usual surroundings and do something we’ve never done before. Hence a week abroad is on the cards. It’s new, there are no memories of mum there. [though I’m sure we will all be thinking about her.] It will still be absolutely gut wrenching her not being there with us …

I love Christmas but quite frankly this year I could take it or leave it.

So while I’d normally start looking for a warm, snug yet stylish outfit with an elasticated expanding waistband;  this year that will be substituted for a new bikini, sandals and a good false tan.  Continue reading

Charity begins at home … Would you shop at a Charity Shop?

Losing mum to cancer has had a strange effect on us all. While in the most part it’s been bloody shit it has also brought out a positive, determined side in us. A can we do more?… Can we help? …Can we raise awareness? 

Having experienced first hand the scale of this awful disease, the helplessness that we felt , its compelled us to want to do something worth while; try to give back.

I’m considering taking up running [ yes you heard correctly – sofa monster might move yet!? ] so that I can participate in a sponsored run next year. 

The BF and I are constantly thinking of hair brain schemes to help fund raise.

Wing walking‘ has been mentioned a few times but having Cataplexy I doubt it would even get past Health & Safety! Thanks to my ailment I have terrible balance generally … never mind while walking on a chuffing planes wing!

By a weird twist of fate an opportunity arose for my BF to help out at a local Cancer charity shop for the next couple of week-ends. It won’t bring mum back unfortunately BUT it will help raise money for research and maybe, just maybe it will go towards preventing somebody having to through what we have, as a family,  in the future.

Every little helps …

It was his first day working there today , [no drunken Bank Holiday escapades for us] so I popped into see him earlier. 

*Proud girlfriend moment* Continue reading