Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Weekly Wishes

// Fashion

I was in desperate need for some comfortable shoes for work... something smart, but something that I can walk around in easily as at the end of the week, when I have the kids, I do the school run and then make a mad dash for the office! So basically a versatile style that can be dressed up or down. I'm still trying to stick to a capsule wardrobe and I don't have space for loads of clothes!

Just a week after I started drafting this post, I found a perfect pair of ankle boots that met my wishes... ta da:

I've been wearing them every day since!!

// Hair & Beauty

My feet are in a bit of a state. So much so that the littlest asked what was up with them and why was my skin so hard. Yikes! I bought a little buffer, pumice stone type thing but it's pretty rubbish. I think it's perhaps time to invest in something a bit more powerful... the likes of this came to mind:

// Home & Interiors

My home office area has been improved lately due to my new desk, and as a result I've got some new shelves that need to be styled. I've been looking out for magazine files and haven't been able to find anything in the shops as yet that takes my fancy. I still like these ones from Muji, but I think I need something a bit sturdier. I like this one from Brissi, but it's very pricey at £29!!

Hopefully I'll have my space organised and I can film another wee YouTube 'room' tour for you :-)

This was how it was before...

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Health: My MRI Experience

I had been booked in for an MRI of my small bowel by my gastro consultant. As I've had two Crohn's flare-ups in the last year, they thought it would be wise to do a bit of investigation just to see how things are.

I had booked a taxi which collected me at my house and dropped me off at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary. He thought I was going off to work but I explained briefly that I was going in for a scan. The previous week a colleague overheard I was off for a scan and assumed I was pregnant (which I'm not btw) so I clarified to the driver that in fact it was an MRI scan. He proceeded to tell me that he's had one before and about the nightmares he had before his and that he was claustrophobic etc etc which was far from reassuring. I too am claustrophobic and have been dreading this day. My GP had prescribed me some diazepam so I took these in the taxi en route.

After navigating the hospital corridors I found the MRI unit only to be told I had to find the X-Ray unit to get a nasogastric tube put in. The lifts weren't working (adding to my stress levels!) and so I took the stairs. I was feeling a little out of it, must have been the diazepam starting to work!!

The staff were lovely and made me feel a bit more relaxed. I think they could tell I was anxious and I got asked a few times if I was on my own to which I had to keep explaining yes I was and I intended on getting a taxi home. I got changed into my double gown and went through the questions and consent forms with one of their team. 

The nasogastric tube insertion was not pleasant. The consultant had to get it out of my stomach and into my small intestine and there was a lot of tooing and frowing which was very uncomfortable, particularly in my nose, and a little sore at points. Once it was in place though it was bearable, just. I was sneezing lots during and apparently I'm the only patient who has giggled during a nasogastric tube insertion! I'm so proud of myself for not panicking.

Next up was the cannula. I've had terrible experiences with cannulas before and was not looking forward to this either. However the nurse was fantastic & she got it in first time with zero drama and thankfully no tears from me. Phew!!

I then had to wait for my turn in the MRI machine. From the corridor I could hear how noisy it was but I had been told I'd be going in feet first on my tummy so I wasn't as nervous as having to go in head first. I really would have freaked out if that were the case. Although I had been organised and brought an eye mask with me so that I didn't have to see what was going on. The nurse gave me ear plugs to use, but the best ear plugs I have ever used are these ones from Boots. So I would perhaps consider taking your own, especially if you are going to be in there for a while.

By this point it was midday and I had been fasting since the previous night. I was certainly looking forward to a cup of tea afterwards and some lunch!!

I was going to have my bowel filled with liquid laxative via the NG tube and then a contrast agent put into the cannula to show up my veins. What I didn't realise was how sick I'd feel as they filled my bowels; they didn't manage to get the last two syringes of laxative into me. Add to that the bed of the MRI going in and out of the machine and I really did feel rather sick!! A bit like being on a boat!

I had to breathe in, out and then hold my breath for what seemed like ages. This was repeated a number of times. The consultant had to dash away to another clinic so the NG tube was removed (made me gag somewhat) and then I had a few more images taken. I glad when it was over. However compared to the colonoscopy, this wasn't nearly as painful or traumatic.

I didn't get any feedback; instead I was shown to a cubicle to get changed and then directed to the exit where I could wait for a taxi. I'm guessing if there is anything up with my results then I'd be contacted, otherwise I'm next seeing my consultant in October.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Fashion - Mint Velvet

I love Mint Velvet. I was introduced to the brand at the end of 2011 by House of Fraser's personal shopper Jeanette, and it's now one of my go-to labels for when I need a new item to add to my capsule wardrobe. At the moment a number of my tops have become worn out through a few years of wear and tear. I could be done with another casual top for day-to-day so I thought I would do a bit of online browsing! 

Here's my top picks:

I love the button detailing on the front and back of this shirt. Just gorgeous and I thought this would be a versatile piece that could be dressed down with jeans or equally dressed up for a dinner date :-)

There are quite a few different shimmer tees in Mint Velvet at the moment - I do love a bit of sparkle and sequins in my outfits! And I also spotted these fantastic trainers:

Friday, 21 August 2015

Kittens & the Kinder

I am so pleased that we decided to get our kittens Rhubarb & Crumble. They really are just the most delightful little cats you could imagine.

The cats have helped to teach my wee ones to be a bit more responsible and be confident around animals.

I was pretty scared of pets growing up... I can remember that I would have our pet rabbit on my knee, only if he was sat on top of a cushion and I would wear oven mitts to pick him up to protect my hands, and the minute he moved I would be getting someone else to take him away from me. I really didn't want my two wee ones to be scared like I was, so I thought that getting a pet early on was a good idea.

We had originally thought of getting just the one kitten, but due to my long hours at work, we thought that two would be better as they'd have a play mate whilst I was out. Rick and I collected the cats and these two were playing together and we just couldn't bear to separate them. It's worked out brilliantly and I'm really happy that we took them both. They're now nearly a year old and they've settled in perfectly. My allergies were a bit of a nightmare at the start and I was taking antihistamines daily, but I can now manage without.

Rhubarb, our wee girl kitty

Crumble is a little troublesome as he's gone missing a few times... he's always on the hunt for food and unfortunately some of the people he's encountered on his travels have been feeding him - one lady called me to say she gave him a tin of tuna as she thought he was lost and another gave him a bowl of milk. This only encourages him and he's been making his way into stranger's houses. Quite a few times now I've had to collect him and take him home!! I'm also extremely grateful to my lovely neighbours who have helped out on numerous occasions now with cat sitting, or even babysitting whilst I dash out with the cat carrier to collect Crumble!!

I absolutely love watching the kids interact with the cats. My son especially can be spotted chatting away to the cats, telling them about his day, or teaching them new things that he's learnt. Whereas my daughter loves to play with Crumble in particular who is so patient with her even when she tries to wrap him up in her blanket! It really does make my heart feel lovely and fuzzy, which I know is super cringy but I'm writing it anyway!!

Littlest with her favourite, Crumble (the boy)

The final thing that I love about the kittens is that when the kiddies are away with their dad, and when Rick is at his place, I still have some company and little ones to look after. It's really nice to have a wee cat snuggle when I'm feeling lonely. Crumble is so gentle, and he'll just stick his wee paw out and give me a pat before curling up in my lap. 

Thursday, 20 August 2015

ToyTester TV

We were invited to Hamleys, St Enoch Centre as part of The kids were super excited, as was I! We were greeted by Nigel Clarke, top Toy Tester and children's TV presenter, and his crew who had been busy all day doing demonstrations in-store. 

There were loads of toys for us to try and my son was immediately engrossed by the Real FX car racing. The slot-less track, which you can see in the photo below, is really quick to put together and I was amazed at the capabilities. Advanced artificial intelligence helps keeps the cars on the track and there is in-game commentary that tells you to take pit stops. If you're on your own, you can also race against the second car which will manoeuvre the track by itself. It's genius! At just under £100 I think this is great value for money and will give hours and hours of play, even for the big kids!

The littlest, who loves to craft, was keen to try the 3D drawing pens, IDO3D. I personally thought these were a bit fiddly and it's certainly something that little ones would need assistance with. You need to draw onto greaseproof paper and then cure the gel with a UV light. With a bit of patience though, it looks like you can create some really impressive artwork.

The other toys that we loved were the interactive Thunderbirds Tracy Island which had been set up with the Thunderbirds ships and the Power Ranger Dino Charge.

The new Tracy Island is very interactive - lots of sounds and flashing lights. The sounds are from the original series too! This is on Hamley's Top Ten Toys for Christmas 2015 (yes, I've mentioned the C-word and it's only August!). My two loved this playset despite not having seen the revamped Thunderbirds TV series.

There's a new series of Power Rangers called Dino Charge - which I hadn't previously heard of - but the kids seemed to enjoy the concept of combining the dinosaurs to create a Megazord. My son was drawn in by the Dino Charge Deluxe Morpher - you insert a Dino Charger cartridge, spin the barrel to charge it up and then pull the trigger to hear battle sounds and various phrases about morphing into Power Rangers. We were given the morpher away with us, and my son has been playing with this since but my daughter isn't as keen. Whereas we were also given a Thunderbird 2 to take home (we're very lucky!) and both of them have been playing with this lots - I can see why the Thunderbird playset is on the Hamley's Christmas List for this year.

The final toys that we tried were the Teksta Scorpion and Little Live Pet Mice. The Teksta Scorpion is basically a robot scorpion that you control from a wristband, which to be honest was a little creepy as it made it's way across the floor towards me. I much preferred the cute little electronic mice which raced round a track. 

Not all the toys are available yet, but they will be soon at Hamleys, St Enoch Centre.

Do you fancy being a Toy Tester? You can apply here!

Disclaimer: We were given a selection of toys to take home with us, but as always opinions are honest and are our own.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Beauty - Dermalux facial at Ellen Conlin, a review

I had the pleasure of going to Ellen Conlin hair & beauty in Giffnock the other week to try a Dermalux Triwave facial.

I was a bit unsure of what to expect, but the whole experience was just lovely.

Kirsty talked me through the facial...

Dermalux is an LED Phototherapy which is a non-invasive skin treatment that accelerates the body's own natural repair processes improving your complexion, fine lines & wrinkles. It can also help heal symptoms such as acne, rosacea, psoriasis and eczema.  Three specifically chosen light waves are used - red, near infrared and blue light.

...and then I got myself comfortable on the treatment table. I was nice and cosy under layers of furry blankets. Bliss!

The Elizabeth Arden PRO range that I've been trialling was used to remove my make-up and prep my skin for the light therapy. Following this a pair of goggles (not for safety, but more for comfort) were placed over my eyes and the Dermalux light was moved into place.

The machine perhaps looks a bit daunting and I can be claustrophobic at times (I'm going for an MRI next week and I'm already dreading it), but I can assure you that this was absolutely fine. It also doesn't make a sound! 

(This isn't me btw!)
The light was warm (not hot), soothing and actually very relaxing.
Imagine yourself chilling out on a lounger by a pool somewhere lovely and sunny... in fact, the blue light is used to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Kirsty then proceeded to give me a shoulder, neck and head massage, followed by an arm and hand massage. It was just divine. She then left me to relax and enjoy the rest of my time under the light (the light is on for 30 minutes). I very nearly fell asleep and only came to when the light automatically switched off!
Surprisingly, the effects were immediate; straight away my skin looked brighter and glowing. (It's difficult to tell from the photographs, so you are going to have to take my word for it!).
Kirsty had put some Elizabeth Arden PRO Smoothing Eye Serum on my lips, and after the light therapy my lips were look plump and fuller than usual. Yes, it's an eye serum I hear you shout but it's designed for fine lines and wrinkles and so Kirsty explained it's also great for the area around your lips. When Rick saw me after the treatment, he immediately commented on my pout - so it really was an obvious difference! It's the type of facial that would be really good ahead of a big event or special night out.
I'd say that my skin is in good condition and I've really been looking after it over the past year or so. However I do still get breakouts, particularly my chin, and I was suffering from one when I had the Dermalux facial. The next day, my breakout had calmed down - it hadn't disappeared so please don't think that you can have a treatment and then you get immediate results after one facial. That said, I think with perhaps two or three treatments then I'd see a dramatic improvement.
At £60 it's a bit more pricey than the facials I'm used to having, but the LED phototherapy has upped the ante in the beauty world. (The machine itself costs thousands and thousands to buy!). I'll most definitely be back.
Thank you Ellen Conlin for the complimentary facial. Opinions as always are honest and are my own.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Current Skincare, Hair & Make-Up Favourites

Firstly, can you actually believe we're nearly at the middle of August?? The summer is practically over (what summer!?!) and the schools go back this week.

I had vowed to do monthly hair & beauty favs, but life is kinda busy and I've not managed to write these posts as frequently as I'd like. That said, I thought I'd share with you now my current favourite hair & beauty products. Maybe I should aim for these to be quarterly for the seasons, so this would be my "summer" edition!

First up is Origins Clean Energy. I've been really enjoying this oil cleanser. I use it in the evenings to remove my make-up ahead and surface dirt ahead of a second cleanse with Elizabeth Arden PRO Gentle Facial Cleanser. It's fantastic at dissolving eye make-up and I then use a warm flannel to remove it. For a while I was using baby oil over my eyes to get rid of stubborn eye make-up,  but this is a step up and it's just lovely and feels great on my skin.

For hair care, it's got to be Ojon's Rare Blend Moisture Therapy Conditioner (turns out Ojon is now part of Origins!). This thick, luxurious conditioner is more like a hair mask than a conditioner and it's fantastic at injecting some moisture back into my hair. My hair feels immediately softer and sleeker after just one use. It smells slightly bizarre - it's hard to describe - but I actually quite like it.

Finally for make-up my go-to product at the moment is the Smashbox L.A. Lights Blendable Lip & Cheek Colour in Malibu Berry. It's a great colour that works well on both my lips and cheeks. The stick is really easy to use and at the other end there is a little sponge for blending (I'm finding it super useful for when I'm on the go or travelling). It's all very casual and you don't need to be precise in your application. In less than a minute and a few swipes, I've got my lipstick on and a bit of colour to my face. The colour is probably more one that I would use in Autumn... it has a lovely warm plum tones... but to be honest, the weather has been so mixed here in Glasgow that it actually feels like autumn right now. I've been wearing my North Face parka throughout the holidays!!

* I received a selection of Ojon and Smashbox products to try, however opinions are honest and my own
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