Guest Post: Maintaining Inner Beauty


I’ve always been a believer in the phrase “beauty comes from within”, though like everyone else, in my younger days I didn’t always stick to the healthiest possible lifestyle! As we get older, though, and especially when we become parents, it seems to me that living as healthily as we can, as often as we can manage, genuinely does bring almost immediate results. And if we can ingrain healthy habits in children at an early age, I think we’re doing them a favour. Let’s take a look at the three most important steps towards inner beauty; if you feel beautiful on the inside, it’s got to show on the outside!


Perhaps the most important element of a healthy routine is regular, quality sleep. They don’t call it “beauty sleep” for nothing! It’s just as important for kids as it is for adults, and researchers have found that both not getting enough sleep, and getting too much, can be bad for your health. Creating a good “sleep environment” is important if you’re having trouble; and that starts with the bed. Mattresses don’t last forever, and I try and replace mine every few years. It doesn’t have to be expensive, and it doesn’t have to involve carting huge items around on a roof-rack! Companies like Bedstar, for example, offer next-day delivery. They’ll also take care of recycling your old mattress.


Drinking the right amount of water is something that sounds obvious, but a surprising number of people don’t actually do it. Coffee and fizzy drinks do count, but remember to factor in the negative effects of sugar and caffeine! Adults should be drinking 8-10 glasses of water a day, though obviously you need to take into account your size and how much exercise you’re doing. Milk is a good source of your daily fluid intake – while adults might want to drink skimmed, very young children should be given whole milk. Your skin will thank you for drinking the right amount of water, and your digestion and powers of concentration will benefit as well.


Eating the right foods – and I don’t just mean “superfoods” – can work wonders with your skin, nails and hair. Protein is what they’re made of, and it’s important for vegetarians and pescatarians (like me) to make sure they’re getting enough. Legumes, like lentils and beans, and dairy products are a good source. Oily fish is a great source of essential omega-3 fats, a lack of which can cause dry skin; if you don’t eat seafood, linseed oil is useful. Healthy skin, hair and nails also require iron, and if yours seem a bit lacklustre and you feel a lack of energy, you may need to up your intake. Non-meat-eaters should turn to legumes again, as well as whole grains, though you should really make sure you’re getting enough vitamin C as well to assist with absorbing iron from these sources.

So, there are some basic tips which I try to stick to as often as I can; I certainly feel better on the inside when I do, and I hope it shows on the outside!

(Image: devaleela /

Review: Clarks shoes

School uniform! Who’d have known what a minefield it would be!  Not only is there a large spend on school logo-ed gear but all of the extras like shirts, shorts, socks, and of course some sensible black school shoes.  Just getting four pairs of shorts in my son’s size proved to be quite a mission and so I was really not relishing the shoe shopping.  Add to that the fact my lively lad has to be  there in person for the fitting of the footwear and I was getting worried before we had even left the house!  Facebook friends had been regaling their torrid tales of their attempts to find appropriate shoes and the expeditions and waits involved and School Shoe Shopping was not on my Things I Want To Do Ever list.

But it had to be done so off we went.  Tamworth Ventura Clarks looked like the best bet for good school shoes, and I managed to park right outside the door, which proved to be a good omen.  When I saw the queue and the amount of people there though my heart sank, and there was nobody to explain what I had to do so I asked another mother and took a ticket from the ticket queue machine.  In the interim I browsed the shelves and noted a couple of pairs of shoes that I liked the look of, though they didn’t have the ones with flashing lights that I had seen on the website.  The Cub had brought a sheet of stickers from home, quite of his own invention, and was busy handing them out to all the children -what a kind soul he is – and so in the end the wait did not seem all that bad or that long.

There was a new system of measuring his feet that involved a tablet slotted into some kind of machine and in no time at all we were measured, shoes chosen and out again.  There were only two pairs that I really liked, one of which wasn’t available, and we ended up with some Stomp Roar ones, with a nice protective toe area and really cool dinosaur prints on the underneath, which I can’t wait to see in a bit of mud.

The purchase was so stress free we went for a nice bike ride round the castle grounds afterwards to burn off some extra energy and then home in time for tea.

He looks so grown up in his smart shoes.  What do you think?  Are Clarks still the best for school kids?  I was a bit disappointed to see no minimalist or barefoot-style shoes, as a minimalist runner myself.  I wonder if Clarks will try minimalist in the future?

new school shoes from clarks ABM_1409083360 (1)

Online Bingo an absolute fun only at NewLook Bingo

Popularity of the much loved bingo is growing by leaps and bounds. Well, with lives of each one of us getting busy we hardly have time for each other and hence find few people to provide us company with. It’s during those lonely times that bingo fills our time up and along with that helps us find some lovely like minded people. You would agree with me that we ladies love chatting and communicating with each other especially if we find people with similar likes and dislikes and bingo helps us find just that.

Bingo has now entered the online space like never before and we love it all the more as all we need to do is log in. Dressing up, getting our hair done (we love looking pretty don’t we) etc. not required. We can simply sit in front of our PC’s, laptops or better still punch in our log in details through our mobile phone and all this in our pajamas and play bingo, win some easy cash and make new friends.

Almost all the online bingo sites have taken notice of this amazing quality in us – of being able to communicate well, of being amazingly social of being lively and all the rest! And, thus they have tailored all their games mainly keeping we the ladies in mind. Here’s one such site which I think you would simply love playing in – New Look Bingo.

A site where you would find some of the coolest chat hosts, endless witty conversations in their chat rooms and your favourite – online bingo games. This site is powered by Cozy Games making a site you can blindly trust on. They have everything that you can wish for from an online bingo site. You can indulge in a plethora of bingo games here.  No it’s not only the 90 ball, 75 ball and 80 ball bingo but also the much loved 30 ball and 50 ball bingo.

All you mommy’s, aunts, grand-moms and pretty ladies, NewLook Bingo also has their set of cool chat games which I say mustn’t be missed. They have an entire range starting from Lucky 2’s, Crazy 8’s, Nextout, Charmmed, CH’s Favourites and many more. You simply need to be there to know about these exciting games in detail. Lastly, if you are wondering what if you get bored, then what? Then, NewLook bingo has for you their special break time quizzer which would make your mind go for a spin!

Competition: Win a spell of your choice

Have you heard about the Spinney Witches yet?  Their mission on this earth is to spread love, peace and happiness.  I am honoured to have been selected to host a giveaway for them.

You can win a spell, ready made or made to your wishes, or a bottle of magic spell oil (I can verify that they smell divine).

Just enter using rafflecopter below.

Ends 15th August 2014.

Blessings :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review: Growling tums

Golden-Oldies-Senior-and-Light1.jpgThe subject of what to feed your dog is a a tricky one to negotiate.  Some advocate raw bones and meat, others react in horror if you dare mention that you have ever fed them Bakers or Pedigree.  Yet, lots of dogs have very happy and full lives despite what we feed them,and you have to go with what your dog likes and what makes them shine.  I really have tried all sorts with Shadow, from the very expensive to the budget brands and supplement him with treats from the butcher every now and again, as well as any household leftovers.

Growling Tums sent me a bag of Golden Oldies Senior, since I had told them I was supplementing with glucosamine because he got a tired hind leg after our longer runs.  I am happy to say that he has performed well on it, and shows no signs of a limp, even after an eight mile run. He has plenty of energy, a shiny soft fur, firm stools and minimal bad breath.  He’s never been a fussy eater (except lettuce, he won’t eat lettuce) and he licks his lips if I ask him if he is hungry.

Growling Tums are a new dog food brand selling cheap natural dog food that is as nutritious as the more expensive brands.  For me though, they are still quite dear, at £39.99 for 15kg, while my usual brand is half that.  In my current financial state, that is too much, we are all on rations in our house and I just can’t quite justify that.  In the future, however, it may become an option for me again.  Shadow did like it, and had only positive reactions to it.  It certainly compared in looks and texture and indeed contents, to a brand I reviewed at twice the price of that.

I am having to switch back to my usual brand but Growling Tums will be high on my list for the future.


Review: Elevease – the original shower foot rest

At the age of 39, I wasn’t sure if testing the Elevease shower foot rest was age appropriate.  I’ve never had an issue bending down to shave my legs…. I am not that old yet!! But only three easy steps to install the foot rest so I gave it a go!
Did as instructed and the foot rest was installed within 10 mins – now to wait 24 hours before the adhesive set and I could use the shower (luckily I have a separate bath).
The first time I used the rest I was nervous about how much weight it could take BUT it felt secure and solid.  The adhesive works. Since then I’ve used the rest on a weekly basis to shave my legs and to my surprise found it much easier. It helped with balance and saving the odd back creak because I am not having to bend over completely.
The foot rest isn’t too unsightly, not bulky and has a nifty slot for your razor. I’ve only used the rest for shaving but can imagine it would be useful when exfoliating, moisturising and for foot care.
Would I pay just under £16 for the Elevease (price correct on Amazon at time of writing)- the original shower foot rest? I think so, especially if I had any back or balance issues.  The delivery should be free though. 
elevease shower step*Guest review by Abbey

Review: Yankee Candles

I think we all know about Yankee Candles, they adorn most garden centres and gift shops with their massive selection of alluringly coloured shiny glass jars, willing us to add one or two to our shopping baskets.

I’m a big fan of scented candles, though, for the past few years have mostly avoided them, what with a small person in the house who is naturally attracted to pretty warm flames.  Now he’s a bit older I can burn them on occasion and out of his reach on a very high shelf that I put in my room especially for keeping things way out of his reach.

Most of the time I use an oil burner if I want a nice fragrance because candles cost quite a lot, and Yankee are no exception.  So what I suppose you’d like to know is: are they worth it?

My nose is quite sensitive and I can sometimes feel a bit headache-y if I burn a cheap candle.  The smell of the wax seems to be picked up by my senses more than the intended other smell and it spoils the whole experience.  yankee candles

I had this experience with Yankee too.  They sent me the Orange Dreamsicle in their Really Massive size. I could smell the waxy smell more than the orange smell, and the aroma was very localised to the area of the candle.  I wonder what their popularity is, maybe it is because they are so widely available.  My personal favourite and the only ones that I buy now are by a company called Lily Flame.  Their scent travels widely, and is really true to life.  My favourites are violet, baby powder and grass.  I buy them off e bay for the best prices, but always shop around.

My friend really likes Yankee though, so I’ve passed it on to her, so it has not gone to waste.  I must have a funny nose (no personal comments please!!).  What do you think of Yaneke? Bees knees or not sure what the fuss is about?


BONKERS! #tiedyequeen

I have been getting a little bit over excited with some Dylon dye I was sent to try.  It all started with a picture I tweeted of some Toms that I had revived and then the lovely people at Dylon twitter posted me an eye-popping selection of dyes to experiment with.  I’ve loved it, making the Cub and I matching t-shirts and even letting him have a go at creating his own.  I just can’t get enough of it, I’ve been reviving old towels and a bag, transforming plain t-shirts trying out new designs and methods, and I’ve not even finished yet.

I need some more white tees and a white hoody and some trousers from  At this rate, there will be nothing white left in this house!  Brilliant fun.

The Dylon website has all the instructions, it’s easier than I expected and especially if you pick a bright colour, the hand wash packet for three quid-ish goes a very long way.


lavender bath mats

Lavender transformed some greying and bleach-spotted bath mats

dip dyed t shirts

I love the dip dye effect

spiral  dyed shirts

Our favourites – matching Mum & Son t-shirts

secection of dylon dyes

Bahama blue and flamingo pink are my favourite colours.

khaki bag

An old very faded bag that had plenty of life left in it, restored to a good colour again.

bubble dip dye tees

I combined dip dying with the bubble effect for these

two more dyed t shirts

A bubble dye vest and a scrunch dye t-shirt. This was a dip dye job that went wrong with a paler pink so i scrunched it and popped it in the flamingo pink.

modelling the dip dye bubble one

Me, in one of my favourites

mummylion and cub in a field

We love our matching tees

vest and long sleeved t-shirt

Cub’s creation on the right and a corner spiral dye with dipped sleeves.

The Big Run

My running buddy

My running buddy

Last year -when I climbed over the hill and found myself in another decade of life and realised I can’t actually get drunk any more without a three day consequence after half a decade of near abstinence – I bought some running shoes and decided to put some extra oompf into my dog walks.   I was quite happy with no particular goals other than move a bit faster than usual for my usual couple of miles and enjoy the nice fresh air in my lungs and the endorphins in my brain.  No pressure, just a nice jog through the fields with my four legged friend.

It went in fits and starts, to be honest, and the muddy winter put almost a stop to my activities.  In the spring, I heard about the Skafell Pike climb for Refuge and wanted to join in.  I figured that if I could run six miles, I’d be fit enough to do the climb, so set myself that target, for the end of August.  Anyway, then I suddenly realised (actually my Mum realised for me) that the dreaded School starts this year, and the dates clashed.  I was so disappointed.

Somehow, around this time Crazy Running Sister (the one who has run marathons and half marathons and other crazy running activities) managed to somehow (hypnosis? word weaving? catching me on an optimistic day?) get me to say yes to signing up to the Robin Hood Half Marathon.

Yes, you heard right, a full half marathon.

Over a decade ago I ran the run for life and hated it so much that I vowed never to race again.  Never say never eh?  I joked that my big glutes and small feet made me more suited to sitting than running, as I drove to the corner shop for me fags n wine (way pre Cub, obvs).

Anyway, here’s me, bopping over the fields in my running shoes with my dog in all weathers and I was doing quite well. One mile to six in a little over a month, easy, innit? *ahem* then came eight miles.  Oh crikey.  I am so totally not loving it now.  Eight miles is crazy hard, and the time it takes is soooo long.

So I googled training plans and they suggest not doing a half marathon for your first race. Oh well, too late now! Add to this that the only training days I have are when the Cub is at nursery  and the times I have to run are always midday in the full midday sun and you might see why I am thinking that this challenge is working out to be a bit more of an effort than your bog standard everyday race runner.

This week though I got a little self-booster when I hit the 11 minute mile over a short run, and managed a four miler in not much more and in 27 degree heat without actually dying, so I suppose I am making progress.  The short runs are the ones I enjoy, though a year ago I would never have said that running four miles was short.  The plus side is that my legs and feet are changing shape for the better, and I’ve picked up a lovely tan along the way.

I’ve had no injuries except a lower back pain when I increased to five, but that subsided quickly.  The barefoot shoes have meant that I get no shin splints like I used to, although my foot arches and ankles are pretty stiff, and the long runs can be felt inside my hips.  I have the remains of one dark grey toenail on one foot and blisters upon blisters upon blisters.  Apparently I am now a bona fide runner, with this rather unglamorous foot casualty.

My seven year old running buddy is the same age as me now according to this (older according to others) and is coping marvellously, even in the heat, though he stops for a dip in various rivers or canals we pass.  He’s had a stiff back leg for years but since adding glucosamine to his diet it seems to have vanished.  There’s life in us oldies yet! He’s great company, and listens to me compassionately when I start complaining, always offering a furry ear to stroke and a look of gentle encouragement.

But I’ve said I will do it and do it I will.

An organisation called Elizabeth Finn Care/Turn2us has been a real godsend to me, so I decided to run for them.

I am not asking for a tenner, or a fiver (though that’d be nice), but if you could spare a quid to sponsor me, that would be so super-cool.  My page is here, or, you can text: MUMC73 £1 to 70070.

Which moisturizer works better for the summer time?

PaperArtist_2014-07-11_22-05-21I’ve been trialling two summer moisturisers for a month now, to see which is my favourite.  Shielo complexion moisturizer (US spelling, all the way from New York), and Citrus Clear Skin Repair Moisturizer.

Both are GREAT for the summer, but work in different ways. The Shielo Moisturizer is better at leveling the complexion and controlling oil, while the Citrus Clear Moisturizer is more moistening and for skin renewal.

Now that the summer is truly here, they have both been put through their paces.  I have sensitive skin that is prone to spots, and when I stopped using my Lacura Clear Skin moisturiser, my spots did return, unfortunately.

However both were lovely to use, and definitely performed on the soothing and moisturising front but miles away on the pleasure front was the Citrus Clear Moisturizer.  It is a truly indulgent smelling moisturiser  that soothes not only the skin but the senses too.  Used at night in a nice thick layer, it would help me drift off to sleep in a haze of sweet citrus fruit, a really comforting smell.  I didn’t notice any reduction in wrinkles, though my skin tone has improved, and it was only used for a few weeks.