Monday, 22 August 2011

Summer Country Look

Firstly I have new glasses! They are Tommy Hilfiger, a silvery violet and are very comfortable. No more old frames for me!

Secondly I am wearing lots of summery dresses - this is partly style and partly ignoring that my jeans are too tight (must start losing weight again). Also lots of headbands - great as I am growing out my hair and they help hide how mad it is!

To get a nice relaxed summer look you need bright colours (or light colours depending on your complexion) at this time of year you can be more experimental with accessories and afford to indulge a little hippy chic (note this should be abandoned by mid-september at the latest). So save your dignified, serious looks for winter and enjoy! (haybale and pint optional)


Friday, 29 July 2011


I recently received an email from a younger reader who wanted to buy quality cosmetics but found them really expensive (don't we all!). I love major brands such as Bobbi Brown, MAC and Clinique - but for a foundation you are looking at spending £30 - usually money well spent in my opinion. But this girl wanted to know if the incredibly cheap products on ebay were worth it.

Generally, I say no. There are too many fakes to take the risk and many sellers have great feedback as people are unable to spot the fakes. I was once a victim to fake Bobbi Brown foundation and was left with a rash that took weeks to clear. I took all these from ebay today - all fake.

These are just two I found on the first page when searching "Bobbi Brown"

In this pic you can clearly see the packaging is not the same - the real has two lines of bold text and a slightly different shape. Always check the real products image on the website first - it is easy to check whether a brand has recently changed packaging too - just google it!

These brushes are fake - there is no "luxury brush set" brand from BobbiBrown - the case is wrong and they are not the same brushes.

So buyer beware! Fakes may seem harmless but you don't know what is in them, if they have been tested properly or any information. Remember - you only have one face!

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Product Test - Barbara Daly for Tesco Face Lift

I am only 26. So probably a bit young to need a full facelift just yet. However with the stress of the last few months behind me - there is no denying that my face could do with a bit of perking up. I have naturally quite dry and dull skin so often look at products that add a bit of shimmer and glow to my complexion.

I remember from many years ago hearing good things about the Barbara Daly range for Tesco. And I was in Tesco buying more of my favourite tee shirts (I never buy food from Tesco funnily enough) and I just cant resist a cosmetic browse.

The Face Lift caught my eye. The packaging is nice, very simple and you get a generous 30 ml for £7. Getting the product home I have used it now for a couple of weeks. I have very sensitive skin which will get irritated by many products but this does not cause me any reaction. It slides on effortlessly and smells yummy. I usually wear it under foundation (Clinique at the moment) but on a more casual day it looks nice on its own. It would be great for women who don't like wearing a heavy base but want to improve the look of their skin.

I will try the face lift foundation at some point, as the quality of this product is much higher than its £7 price tag.

Thursday, 14 April 2011


"it's only important to use your time well well time is something nobody can buy and nobody can sell you so don't let anybody tell you they have the advantage" Ani Difranco

Apologies for the lack of action on the blog. Its been a terrible couple of months at work - when real shit hits the fan its so hard to focus on anything else. Although I like to think I have been maintaining my glamourous side - just need to find more time to write about it!

Does anyone else think that time goes by too quickly? The older I get the faster it flies by. I have spent the last too months being incredibly unhappy - a job where I am not appreciated, not wanted there....taking this home with me and being stressed. Talking too much about work at home, worrying so much, going to the doctors after letting myself get so ill...what a waste of time! I have found myself marking time on the calendar, not exactly counting down, just marking time - until what I am not sure.

Time is too precious to spend it being unhappy. I've got a real chance to reconsider how I use my time now. Of course thinking, deciding, reflecting it all takes time. I can sense the next few months are going to be ones of change for me - its scary, not something I have done for a while, but its too easy to count your life away.

This blog is accompanied by a picture of my cat who has no such worries.

Sunday, 6 March 2011


Its so hard to find nice, flattering T-shirts. I live in skinny jeans and vests usually - however vest tops aren't as practical and "wear-anywhere" as a short sleeved tee, so I constantly look out.

These are a total bargain. From Tesco's label Florence and Fred - these lovely spring T-shirts are really flattering (I have a podgy belly and so many tops seem to make me look pregnant!) great with jeans, skirts, trousers, smart enough for work and chilled enough for a day trip. I love them - I have bought three, one in black, one in bright coral and one in a ditsy floral print. They also have them in a chocolate brown and white. They are fairtrade cotton and cost £6. The sleeve detail is cute and makes it a bit more special than a plan Tee.

Great Spring wardrobe update from Tesco!


All is very busy here in the SIB household - sadly not all for good reasons. But I am not here to dwell on the dperessing....but to announce a new season - SPRING!!

Its my favourite time of the year and an excellent time for shopping. I have been busy on the products, recipes and reviews and I shall be posting more over the next few days.

Nice to catch up with you all again!

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Food for the Soul

I have been cooking roast lamb today: the smell currently is filling my house. I have also been busying mysef preparing lunches for the week, making a large bowl of pasta salad to add bits and bobs to during the week, making cup cakes, making scotch eggs and filling bagels. Its a Sunday ritual to prepare us for the busy week ahead (recently our weeks have been busier than usual!).

I will post a few product reviews soon, as I have been trying new things out this last couple of weeks. I have very sensitive skin so I like to see how products suit me after being used day in day out for about a month. But for now I will leave you with a recipe for something tasty!

Spring must be on the way!! Its actually autumn lamb that I am roasting - but doing it on a day wth daffs around makes it feel springy (must sort out my garden soon!)

I grew up with lamb the italian way - roasted in massive slabs smeared in aromatics until it falls apart, served with green veg or slow cooked mushrooms. I can't claim to have invented this way of roasting lamb (its a classic) but this is my take. I also personally profess quite a strong dislike to two of the main ingredients (lol) I could never eat a whole anchovy and find rosemary cloying. But these are powerful ingredients and the perfect foil for sweet lamb, lending saltiness and earthiness, not tasting strong or fishy at all. If you really hated anchovy and can't bring yourself to try it - then you could use capers or simply omit them (but add a pinch more salt to the mix).

This is also a great way to enjoy a roast lamb without the cost of buying a leg. I love leg of lamb roasted and served pink but it is fearfully expensive. Shoulder is a much cheaper cut - but not great for serving pink - it benefits from a long slow sizzle. For the two of us I use a half of shoulder (blade end today) and it will do us two meals each (and we are greedy!) for a joint of meat that cost £6.99 how can you complain?

I have been cooking this lamb today, the smell currently is filling my house. I have also been busying mysef preparing lunches for the week, making a large bowl of pasta salad to add bits and bobs to during the week, making cup cakes, making scotch eggs and filling bagels. Its a Sunday ritual to prepare us for the busy week ahead (recently our weeks have been busier than usual!).

I will post a few product reviews soon, as I have been trying new things out this last couple of weeks. I have very sensitive skin so I like to see how products suit me after being used day in day out for about a month. But for now I will leave you with a recipe for something tasty!

For the paste:
6 cloves of garlic
2 anchovy fillets (I get the ones in oil rather than salt)
10 peppercorns
handful of rosemary leaves
zest and juice of one lemon
handful of parsley

Lamb shouder
rosemary sprigs to stud the lamb with
olive oil

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees

I use a pestle and mortar to bash the paste ingredients together but a food processor would do fine. You want a gloopy, smearble paste.

Poke holes about 1 cm deep about an inch apart all over both surfaces of the lamb (I do the bottomfirst then flip it)

Smear the paste all over the surafce of the lamb, getting into the holes you have poked, and any natural folds or creases in the meat.

On the skin side push in some extra paste with the rosemary sprigs so the surfaces of the lamb has rosemary sticking out of it (these springs will go brown when cooked - do not worry when rosemary crisps up it tastes delicious and sweet!)

Drizzle over some olive oil (I do about a tablespoon)

Then sizzle in the oven for 30 mins, then turn down the oven to about 130 and cook for up to 4 hours until the meat is tender and falling off the bone.

Yum Yum!!

Friday, 21 January 2011


I am truly very excited. Next weekend I am going to stay with a friend. It means rushing out of work as early as possible and battling with the motorway traffic (the M40 will be horrific on a Friday evening!). But when I have made my way through seven counties the drive will be worth it!

This is a very special friend, one of those friends who you can share pink wine and giggles with but also rely on for honest advice, sympathy and chats. Someone who doesn't make nasty, sabotaging comments like many girls do.

I expect we will drink a fair amount of wine(I love red wine but it does make a change from sharing with my husband to have white or bubbly), eat lots of lovely food and no doubt do a fair amount of shopping. But I know we will have a fabulous time.

What would we do without our friends?

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Weight Loss Battle

Its so typical isn't it? January and turning to weight loss. But for me this isn't just a January battle, it needs to be year round. I am not severely overweight at all, I am 9 stone 12 pounds and 5 foot 1 inch which gives me a BMI of 26.1 - not far from the ideal range really.

But I feel fatter than I'd like to, I have a roll of fat around my tummy that hangs very attractively over my jeans, my tops are a squeeze and my thighs wobble. I would not wear a bikini at the moment. I would like to change this and I would like to lose a stone and drop a dress size. I have a small frame and weight shows easily on me.

I am not going to do anything drastic, just eat less and move around more. I need to resist unhealthy snacks while working (a bacon and egg sandwich here, a handful of chocolates there) and try to exercise three times a week. Its tough as I am busy, I rarely get home from work before 7pm and if I want to get 8 hours sleep a night I need to be in bed by 9pm. But I have to try to adjust my habits.

This month I am going to focus on snacking. Must resist the chocolate biccies!!

Will update in a month and hope something will have shifted.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

The search for a perfect foundation

This may be ongoing. I dream of a foundation that is light but with good coverage, that smells nice, is easy to apply, suits my skin tone and doesn't cause me an allergic reaction. Seems like the Holy Grail of foundation. In the last six months I have used: Gosh matte mousse (too dry and too orange), L'oreal Perfect Match (coverage good but didn't last the day), Bobbi Brown Moisturizing Luminizing (nice but allergic), Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua (I adore this but only have a sample pot and its £££s) and Bourjois Detox Foundation (weirdly dry when applying and sort of flakes off, good colour though).

I struggle with finding a good shade as I am very pale but with yellow toned skin - the shades described as "golden" are closest in tone, but always too dark. Colours that are pale enough tend to be too pinkish and make me look ill. I have eczema and so react to lots of foundations - but need one to cover occasional flare-ups, and my skin is not clear enough to be baseless!

I haven't yet found the dream foundation...if you have any recommendations please let me know.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Urban Decay Loose Pigments Review

Another product review for you. I bought a set of 3 Urban Decay loose pigments recently and have been wearing them this week so thought I would let you all know how I got on. These bottles of loose eye powder are a type of mineral make-up, which is becoming more and more popular. I bought this set, the colours are: Yeyo, a pearly white vanilla, Baked, a golden bronze and Gunmetal and black with blue sparkles. Firstly the colours are gorgeous - a little goes a long way. I use the dark shade dipped in a little water as an eyeliner or to darken the shadow in the outer corner of my eye for a more intense look. The golden shade is a good all purpose shimmery colour, it looks great layered up with the darker colour. And the light colour is my favourite under the brow highlighter I have ever owned.

They are easy to use, the only very tiny criticism is that the brushes are only so-so, but it is so easy to dip a better brush into the pot.

These are available at Debenhams, Boots and Littlewoods for around £20-25 for the set. Great value when you consider how long these colours will last you.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Chateau Vieux Mougnac

The picture that forms the background to my blog is a wine Chateau in the Bordeaux region in France. We were lucky enough to visit the region in October 2010, while Shropshire endured record rainfall, we sunned ourselves in 18 degree warmth and drank wine straight from the Chateau. Signs such as the one on the left are dotted all over the area - directing you to come into the Chateau where you can taste and buy wine direct from the producer.

Until visiting a wine producing region of France, I was very ignorant regarding how wine is produced. My husband has long enjoyed Saint Emilion wines - only when visiting the area did I gain any idea of the scale of wine production in Saint Emilion. There are hundreds of Chateau - ranging from massive, world-renowned estates, to small family-run vineyards. One such small Chateau we visited was the Chateau Vieux Mougnac. The Chateau was about one mile from our campsite and the vines stretched as far as the eye could see. Its an idyllic location - between the tiny village of Petit-Palais-et-Cornemps and the slightly less tiny (but incredibly picturesque) village of Montagne. These small communities are the places where some of the finest wines in the world are made.

We were warmly greeted, despite our lack of appointment, and given several wines to taste. The owner Sylvie Milhard was on hand to answer any questions and talk to us about the wine. We took a bottle of 2004 back to our tent which we drank in silence, feeling the sunshine on our tongues. Later in the week we returned and bought some wine to take home, 2004, 2005 and some Crémant de Bordeaux (a sparkling white wine). These wines have all been enjoyed over the festive period, wonderful, deep flavours that transported us straight back to that sunny afternoon in the South of France.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Lake Vyrnwy

Today we went to Lake Vyrnwy - a nature reserve and reservoir in Mid-Wales. I love Wales, the peace, the space, the rolling hills. Today it was beautiful. The drive took just under 90 mins from our home in Shropshire, time spent chatting, reflecting on 2010 and sharing our hopes for 2011. When we got there we were surprised that parts of the lake were still frozen - there was a thick sheet of ice over the area near the bridge, so thick that large rocks were able to rest on the ice. It was stunning.

We sat in the hide and watched the birds. A few years ago Lake Vyrnwy featured on the BBC programme SpringWatch, at the time we were living in Surrey and I remember really looking forward to the day we lived nearer and would be able to visit. As it is a nature reserve the RSPB have installed a few bird watching hides with guides to the birds you will see. It was quiet in the hide but a few birds braved the cold to feed in front of the windows - it was magical watching them, totally absorbing. We drove home tired but happy and feeling refreshed.

The picture above is one of me at Lake Vyrnwy in April 2010. Spring was late getting started last year and there was still some snow on the ground in high places. I am looking forward to returning in spring, and again in summer, hoping the birds will be busy and will put on a good show for us.

A happy place. Happy new year.