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September 10, 2013 / magickittenblogs

September Shower-Pamper

You may have noticed it’s been a little quiet here for the last week or so – it’s the start of a new school term so I’ve been shattered and also incredibly busy, but I’ve finally had time to write up a quick blog for you.

After truly manic days, and very early mornings, I decided to pamper myself.  I don’t often spend lots on toiletries but I’ll treat myself to things in small sizes which I use every now and then, trusted bargains, or things I know will last me a long time.  I also am a little bit in love with Lush.  I have quiet sensitive skin and I’m also very aware of artificial chemicals like parabens so Lush is brilliant for me, as the ingredients are all natural and clearly labelled.  I can see exactly what’s in every product and the staff are very knowledgeable about whether anything in each product might irritate my skin.  I’m also not a huge fan of baths – I overheat! – so this is my recipe for a pampering shower.

Pamper products - Lush, Montagne Jeunesse and Sanctuary

Pamper products – Lush, Montagne Jeunesse and Sanctuary

I start by taking a big handful of Jasmine and Henna Fluff-Eaze Hair Treatment, working it through my hair then putting it up in a twist.  This smells incredible – days later, I can still catch the jasmine fragrance – and the henna conditions and gives my hair a lovely chestnut shine.  I also put on my Montagne Jeunesse Blemish Mud.  Despite the name, it’s actually quite gentle but very cooling and soothing to apply, with a very light fresh smell.  There’s a slight tingle from the witch hazel which I enjoy! And then, it’s time to relax for fifteen to twenty minutes while the hair mask works and the face mask dries.

Next, I hop into a nice hot shower and wash off my face mask before I start to look like I’m melting.  It’s time for exfoliating and I love my Sanctuary Spa Body Scrub from Boots.  It has an exotic, spicy fragrance, although it’s not overpowering, it’s paraben-free and although it’s effective as a scrub, it’s still gentle enough to use regularly if you want to.  For leg-shaving, I’ve stolen back a product I originally bought for my sensitive-skinned boyfriend, Ambrosia Shaving Cream.  This is designed to be ultra-soothing during and after shaving, and it leaves my legs beautifully smooth and gloriously moisturised. It’s a bit pricey to use regularly if you’re a lady, but for a man who’s just shaving his face, it’s probably not bad value!

Time to wash off the hair mask now, and I use Rehab shampoo, full of wonderful fruit enzymes which stimulate the scalp, then follow up with my usual American Cream Lush conditioner – I don’t use anything different as the Hair Treatment is so nourishing already.  Finally, one last dose of jasmine, this time mixed with honey, from my Flying Fox Shower Gel.  Again, I love the jasmine smell – it’s supposed to be an aphrodisiac and it’s also good for calming overworked female hormones – and the honey is great for calming sensitive skin.

After all those treats, my skin and hair feel ready for anything.

What’s your pampering routine?

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August 28, 2013 / magickittenblogs

Gabriel at The Globe

For my Mum’s birthday treat, she, Rob, Dad and I had a trip to London’s South Bank – we enjoyed a coffee and watched a little bit of athletics outside Tate Modern before heading to The Swan at The Globe, where we had a delicious meal.  We had a sort of Elizabethan-style tapas to begin, with onion omelette, potted trout, crusty bread, sweetcorn soup and a fresh salad with beautiful tomatoes, which would have been an exotic luxury.  For my main course, I had slow-roast Herdwick lamb breast with summer beans and mint pistou (sauce), which was absolutely gorgeous – the lamb was so tender, it almost melted.  Finally, for pudding, all of them sounded amazing, but I went for chargrilled rum bananas, toasted marshmallow, candied walnuts, banana ice cream and lime.  I know that sounds like a bizarre combination but it was fantastic, quite possibly the best pudding I’ve ever had. Seriously…

We then saw Gabriel, by Samuel Adamson, directed by Dominic Dromgoole.  From The Globe’s website:

Award-winning playwright Samuel Adamson brings a teeming world of intersecting narratives to the Globe stage with real & imagined characters: monarchs, prostitutes, wigmakers, composers, transvestites and watermen. Alison Balsom, one of the world’s finest trumpeters brings this world to life with the music of Purcell and Handel.

I’m not quite sure what I was expecting but I thought Gabriel was brilliant.  It’s a series of scenes which interconnect, characters crossing over, or actors playing another role, to create a feeling of an overflowing Baroque, Restoration London, full of colour, excitement, humour, tragedy, life and death.  At times I laughed out loud, but at others I was moved almost to tears.  The music, too, is extraordinary.  I’m not a fan of trumpets in particular, although I do love Baroque music, but I thought Alison Balsom’s playing was wonderful – it’s quite right that a trumpet can be warlike and brash but it can sing too, in the tenderest of tones.  It’s such a shame this didn’t have a longer run at The Globe because it was so unusual, full of vitality, that I just wish more people had been able to see it.  All in all, a brilliant day out.

August 22, 2013 / magickittenblogs

Reblogged from HotKeyBlog.com: Wifi Book Router!

I saw this and had to share with you – it’s a craft project, it’s a book idea – it’s how to disguise your (ugly) Wifi Router as an old book! Genius!

http://www.hotkeyblog.com/books-wifi-router-a-book-art-diy-project/

I’m totally going to try this out – what a brilliant idea!

August 21, 2013 / magickittenblogs

The Minories Garden Cafe – now re-opened!

On Friday, I went with my mum to visit the newly re-opened Minories Garden Cafe.  This is somewhere that used to be a favourite of ours, but it did start to get a little down at heel.  We were so pleased to see that it was going to have a fresh menu and a fresh new look too.

We both really enjoyed our meals.  The light bites were all priced at £6.90, so we both chose jacket potatoes – tuna mayonnaise for her, five bean chilli for me – and these also came with large side salads and tortilla chips.  The portions were very generous, and the food very tasty.  My chilli was spicy but not too hot, and obviously freshly made with lots of great veg.  We also shared a lovely pot of green tea for two.

The service was excellent – fast and very courteous – and the cafe itself was really clean, bright and a very nice place to sit, eat and chat.  We didn’t stay to sample the cakes, although they looked very nice, but I’ve heard there’s wifi so I may well pop back with my laptop to enjoy a coffee and a slice of something sweet.  If it’s nice, I can even sit outside!

If you fancy trying the Garden Cafe yourself, the Minories is at 74 High Street, CO1 1UE, and you can walk straight into the Garden Cafe through the gate in the wall opposite firstsite and St Botolphs Waiting Room.

August 19, 2013 / magickittenblogs

Unboxing: Glossybox, August 2013

The theme for August’s Glossybox is Highflyers, which means products that should be good to pop in your handbag if you’re a busy career woman, or your suitcase to take away on holiday.

Glossybox August 2013: Highflyers

Glossybox August 2013: Highflyers

I had quite high expectations after the great July selection, where I actually received 6 items, at least four of which I’ll be using quite a bit… August’s selection was really quite different, with fewer cosmetics and more ‘tools’…

From Sweden: Emite Make Up Eyelash Curler (£20)
I actually already have a pair of eyelash curlers, trusty old friends from MAC, although I don’t use them very often as I have freaskishly long eye lashes anyway: they’re really only for when I’m going for a really big, dramatic evening look… So, this was a little disappointing.  They look like a nice pair, although I wonder if my lashes will be hard to see against the black colouring! Always good to have a spare, though…

August 2013 Glossybox: products revealed

August 2013 Glossybox: products revealed

From USA: Juicy Couture Viva La Juicy Noir fragrance (£63 for 100ml)
When I filled in the initial survey on sign-up to Glossybox, I did say I’d be happy to receive fragrance samples, but I might go back and change my preferences as actually I’m quite picky when it comes to perfume.  For a cheaper squirt of fragrance, I’m fond of Benefit’s Maybe Baby but “my” perfume is Christian Dior’s Miss Dior.  This is not really a similar fragrance – it’s very sweet – so I probably won’t be using it very much.

From the UK: Jelly Pong Pong 2-in-1 Eyeliner & Shadow pencil (£10.50)
The box leaflet describes this as “the perfect multi-tasker for travelling”, a crayon that can be used as an eyeliner or smudged and blended to act as a shadow.  I received a purple-pink shade which, actually, I quite like; it goes well with the pink and nude shades I often wear in the daytime, although the colour isn’t particularly strong on application.  I’ll be using this to add a little more definition to my eye make up fairly regularly from now on.

From the USA: Philosophy Purity Made Simple cleanser (£17.50 for 240ml, £28.50 for 480ml)
A reasonable trial size of a light, easy cleanser, which worked effectively to remove make up, including mascara.  I won’t be purchasing a full size version of this as it contains parabens which I try to avoid, although the texture is light and not greasy and the fragrance is clean and fresh.

From Brazil: Oceane Make Up Remover Pen (not yet available to buy in the UK)
This is a very neat idea – make up remover in a pen form, with replaceable tips.  You could pop it in your handbag and use it to tidy up smears and smudges during the day.  However, I’m not convinced.  The pen does come with two additional tips, but I’m not sure I’d want to use the tip many times, so two spares doesn’t seem very many to me.  Also, the product isn’t available to buy yet in the UK, so I wouldn’t be able to buy extra tips when these run out.  A clever concept but I just don’t feel it would be hygienic enough for me to feel comfortable using it.

All in all, not an amazing result, especially after such a fantastic box in July, but I’m hopeful that September will be a bit more interesting…

August 17, 2013 / magickittenblogs

What’s In My Handbag review: Omorovicza Thermal Cleansing Balm

A little while ago, I was thrilled to receive a sample of Omorovicza’s Thermal Cleansing Balm to try out and review, from What’s In My Handbag, a website designed to allow us to discover and try luxury beauty brands, review them, then maybe buy the product if we enjoy it.

Dark and exotic - Omorovicza Thermal Cleansing Balm

Dark and exotic – Omorovicza Thermal Cleansing Balm

This was my first sample from WIMH and what a way to start!  I try quite a few hair products and love experimenting with eye shadow or nail varnish but I rarely try to skin care brands, as I still have very ‘teenage’ skin – prone to breakouts yet still quite sensitive.  I was very intrigued by the brand, which I’d not heard of before, and the product sounded fantastic – according to their website,

“This uniquely natural black balm glides on clear to remove all make-up and impurities without stripping the skin, to leave it radiant, soft and silky-smooth.  Amazingly gentle, this balm removes even the most resilient make-up without irritating the delicate eye area.”

The cleanser comes in a frosted glass jar with twist-lid, and looks extraordinary – it’s completely black when in the jar, although becomes translucent and lighter on the fingertip.  It has a really smooth texture, although I could tell it had gently exfoliated after use, and smells incredible too.  The company is based in Budapest and the fragrance is earthy and spicy; it conjured up images of thermal springs and bath houses.

I followed the instructions – “Rub a small amount of this cleanser between your fingers and apply to the entire face (including eye contour). Massage gently using circular motions then rinse thoroughly using a damp lukewarm mitt or cloth” – using soft cotton wool pads, as I was a little nervous at first in case I had any sort of reaction to the cleanser.  However, I needn’t have worried.  This is a really gentle cleanser – I had reaction, soreness, redness or even tightness, including when using it to remove eye make up.  In fact, I felt like it relaxed and softened the skin, with a moisturising effect.  My skin felt really smooth and perky, even after the first use.

The sample I received was just 5ml but I was able to use the Cleansing Balm to take off my make up every night for over three weeks, and still have a tiny smidgen left for when I next want to pamper myself.  A full size container is 50ml, for £46 (delivered free from the website); I wouldn’t normally consider paying this much for a cleansing product but I was so impressed that it’s gone straight on my birthday/Christmas list!  I can’t wait to have a pot in my bathroom again, for when I really want to pamper myself and feel like a film star.

Thanks to What’s In My Handbag for this sample.

August 16, 2013 / magickittenblogs

From Adventures With Words: The 100 by Kass Morgan

Hi guys,

Here’s a link to my review of The 100 by Kass Morgan, originally written for, and posted on, Adventures With Words. The 100 is all set to be the next big YA sensation; it’s been compared to The Hunger Games and it’s already been snapped up for development by the people behind The Vampire Diaries and Gossip Girl – can it really be all that?

Click and find out – enjoy!