Christmas Traditions

Christmas is almost here and it’s around this time that we get incredibly excited about the festive period as a family.  Over the past few years we have noticed that we actually have a few family traditions, none of the traditions were planned in fact I suppose they originally were just a one off idea which worked and so the family decided to do it every year thus creating a new tradition.

My first tradition is that on the 1st December each year I get out my Spode Christmas china, even before I think about presents or decorating I start to unwrap the china and I always like to buy a couple of new pieces to add to the collection.

The second tradition is Christmas Eve stockings.  I originally used to do a Christmas eve box for Lucie which contained Christmas pyjamas, a dvd, book and some chocolate but this has evolved over the years into a stocking and now we all have a stocking each year which contains a few small gifts like chocolate, skincare, and a book, we open them after dinner and we all select a film/tv programme we would like to watch and if we have time we watch all 3.

Our third tradition is something started by Lucie a few years ago which has been carried on and that is that we take turns to open our gifts on Christmas Day, all of the gifts are placed underneath the tree by father Christmas and Lucie has the job of handing them out from underneath the tree and we’re not allowed to open the next present until the previous person has finished opening their gift.

Our fourth tradition is that each year each of us gets to choose a new Christmas tree decoration which is put on the tree that we decorate together.

I have a bit of a special fifth tradition which is that I always buy a gift for someone who is worse off be it an adult or a child.  For me Christmas is about giving and it always makes me incredibly happy knowing someone’s day will be a little brighter.

Christmas films are a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine and since last week I’ve ben indulging in some me time by switching on Christmas24 shown on channels BT 513, Virgin 419 and Sky 327  which I only recently discovered, I have a feeling this is going to turn into a new tradition just for me!  My favourite film so far is Guess who’s coming to Christmas? they are all real feel good films and a couple have made me shed a tear or two.

Do you have any family traditions at Christmas time?

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L’Occitane Immortelle Cream

I love skincare in all of it’s forms but I’ve had to change my skincare routine over the past few years as my over 30’s skin needs a bit of extra tlc, I find a richer cream works wonders and that’s where L’Occitane Immortelle Cream* (£46) comes in.

L'occitane immortelle cream

Immortelle is known as the everlasting flower because it never fades, even after it has been picked. Its rich in active molecules with unique anti-ageing properties which is something my skin needs. According to Greek mythology, the immortelle flower was the beauty secret of Princess Nausicca who rubbed Odysseus body with Immortelle as an elixir of youth when he was shipwrecked.

I suffer from dry sensitive skin which needs a lot of nourishment and I find the Immortelle cream to be a very rich and smooth moisturiser which works great without a facial serum or oil beforehand. The cream soaks into my skin very quickly and leaves it feeling incredibly soft, a little goes a long way.  I don’t suffer from any deep wrinkles but I do have fine lines and the cream does help to smooth these out and help restore firmness to my skin.

l'occtaine immortelle cream

I started using this cream 4 weeks ago, my skin was feeling rather parched as a result of the season changing and having the central heating on in the house.  I was suffering from dryness and my skin was looking very dull. The pot contains 50ml of product and based on my current use I estimate that I will get around 3 months use from the pot which works out as £15.30 a month, incredibly good value in my opinion.

l'occitane cream

There is a scent with this products which is incredibly light, fresh and botanical, it leaves my skin smelling like juicy clementine’s and it instantly refreshes me in the morning.  I’ve actually gone back to using a very light cc cream where I would usually have changed to a full coverage foundation but I haven’t needed it as my skin is so bright and radiant that I don’t feel the need to cover it with makeup like I usually would.

I’ve been so impressed with this cream that I’ve bought the night cream too.  Have you tried anything from the Immortelle range?

*Press Sample

Living With A Gastro Condition

If you saw a picture of my or met me in person you would probably think I was incredibly healthy, after all I’m running the London Marathon in 2016.  I run my own business, work as a freelancer, have two children and provide 80% of the childcare to my toddler but things are not always what they seem.

Living with a gastro condition

For 23 years now I’ve suffered from a variety of gastro problems, it started with a bout of IBS which was triggered by stress and over the years I’ve been diagnosed with more and more problems and have taken a lot of medication.

I look physically well and this can be a big problem for friends, family and employers who find it hard to understand that someone can be so poorly when they can’t actually see what’s wrong.

My family didn’t realise how poorly I actually was until 2009 when I was in and out of hospital while doctors were trying to find out why I was in so much pain and bleeding so much, I was in the middle of my complementary therapy degree and missed over 3 months of lectures because of this.  It was a miracle that I actually passed the course!

Over the years I’ve worked out through trial and error that there are a lot of food and drink I should avoid as they make my problems worse, sometimes eating the wrong thing can mean I’m unable to leave the house for a week because the spasm pain, bloating, bleeding and bowel problems are so severe.  My list is quite exhaustive and includes:

Fresh fruit and vegetables (I can eat them in moderation but I have to make sure I’m always next to a toilet)
Nuts and Seeds
Milk (I can drink it is small quantities)
Soya Products
Fizzy Drinks
Processed Food

You can probably see that it doesn’t leave much to eat, I couldn’t survive on water alone so I’ve managed to work out the warning signs of an attack and I know what products I just can’t consume at all.

5 years ago I was diagnosed with gastro oesophageal reflux disease (GERD/GORD), I take daily medication for this but it doesn’t always work.  You would think that someone who has had two children without pain relief must have a decent pain threshold? When a GERD attack comes on and takes me by surprise I’m actually in tears with the pain, an episode rarely ceases in less than three hours, sometimes I can be in agony for 5-6 hours before it just disappears as quickly as it comes about.

I’ve been really struggling over the past few weeks, both myself and Arthur were poorly with colds, chest infection and sore throat and I’ve had 5 days in two weeks where I’ve had gastro problems. If I had been an employee I have no doubt that I would have been sacked by now, in some ways I’m lucky that I work from home but as any other self employed workers will know, you don’t get paid when you’re not working.

So how do you manage to keep the balance right when you live with a long term condition?  I find having understanding friends and family really helps.  If you’re on your own with children you have to just forget about the mess and leave it until you’re feeling better.

Do you suffer from an illness that isn’t physical? How do you keep the balance right?



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Stain Removal With Ace

When you have both a toddler and a teenager your washing pile is most likely to seem never ending, when stains are added to the equation your laundry days can become dreaded unless you have the right products at your disposal and that’s where Ace* stain remover comes in.

Ace stain remover

Surprisingly Arthur isn’t a messy toddler.  We’ve not needed to use bibs for well over a year as he manages to hit his mouth rather than his clothes when eating and as he isn’t too keen on being dirty I’ve not had a problem removing grass or mud stains from his clothing.

Lucie is incredibly clumsy and messy and if you give her something to eat or drink you can be sure that some part of it will end up on her clothes or the floor.  Her bed sheets are always covered in makeup and pen and I’m forever soaking her school shirts which have a variety of food/makeup/pen/random stains on them.

David wears a shirt for work and although he isn’t a messy person by nature he does often have the odd pen park or food mark if Arthur has used him as a napkin.  You can see that when it comes to stains I do have quite a lot of work to keep things looking clean.

Stained Shirt

I’ve used a variety of in wash stain removers but I’ve never found anything that was both affordable and reliable until I came across Ace. When I’m testing something that I feel others might like to know about I like to make sure I’m putting it through it’s paces so I picked one of Lucie’s particularly grubby school shirts for this experiment.  It’s grimy, covered in makeup stains and has a nice drop of pasta sauce left over from dinner on it.

Ace is great for everyday use and removes typical dirt that children end up covered in like soil and mud. It also helps to prevent fabric colours bleeding or transferring to other fabrics so I can happily put Lucie’s school skirts in with her shirts.

Clean shirt

As you can see I managed to remove all of the stains by using Ace, I popped one capful in with the wash and didn’t pre-treat before hand like I would usually need to do.  All of the grime around the colour has disappeared and the shirt looks incredibly clean.

You can buy Ace from most supermarkets and stores like Poundland, Superdrug and Wilkos.

What do you use to remove stains?


Libbie Club November Offers

I Joined Libbie Club last month however my month of illness meant that I didn’t get a chance to share Octobers box with you, there were some great products in there some of which can still be purchased at a great deal price but that’s not what I want to talk to you about today, today is all about the November Libbie Box.

If you have never heard of The Libbie Club before it’s basically a community of beauty influencers who test a selection of items each month, provide honest reviews of the products and provide great discounts on the items so that other beauty lovers can take advantage of the deals without the worry that they are buying something that won’t work for them.

Libbie Club November

This month there were three great items in the box which I would be happy to give as Christmas presents or stocking fillers.  My daughter has already had her eye on one of the items so I know I’ll end up having to buy her one of her own!

la montana


The first item I want to share with you is my favourite, it’s probably not hard to guess that it’s a candle!  Prior to using this I’d heard a lot about La Montaña candles but I’d not got round to purchasing one.  I received the most delicious fragrance in my opinion which was Winter Oranges.  As soon as the cellophane was opened you could smell the perfume oils individually and it wasn’t hard to pick out which scents had been used.  The fruity orange reminded me of those little dried orange slices that you often find on Christmas trees, the spicy cloves invoked memories of drinking mulled wine at Berlin Christmas markets and the warm cinnamon took me back to my childhood where I indulged in German lebkuchen biscuits.

La Montaña candles are 220gms of top quality wax which burns for at least 40 hours, you can tell that they have been hand poured as the wax burns evenly and there is no pitting.  The scent lasts from the first burn until the last.

The La Montaña Candles retail at £35 but you can currently save £10 off making them only £25!

hairy jayne

The next product that really captured my attention was the Hairy Jayne hair perfume which has one of my favourite scents – it’s Turkish Delight in a bottle!

Not only is Hairy Jayne a delicious smelling hair perfume it’s also a heat protection spray which freshens hair up between shampoos. As a busy working mum of two I have to put my own needs last and this usually means that I only have time to wash my hair twice a week meaning this is perfect for me. It adds shine, calms frizz and fly-aways and protects hair from damaging heated styling – all in one spritz.

Hairy Jayne usually retails at £22 but you can currently save £10 making it a bargain at £12.

Crabtree and evelyn

Finally we have one of my favourite brand of hand cream, I always buy hand cream as a stocking filler for my mother and mother in law and this year wont be any different.

Presented in a beautiful Christmas cracker shaper box, this hand cream leaves hands moisturised and noticeably smoother. Crabtree & Evelyn’s award-winning Hand Therapy formula features a blend of shea butter and macadamia nut oil to keep hands soft, supple and smooth.  My favourite thing about this hand cream is the fact there are no nasties like colour, mineral oil, parabens, phthalates or propylene glycol.

You can buy a set of 3 Crabtree & Evelyn crackers which usually retail at £15 for 3 for a bargain price of £10, perfect for stocking fillers or to pop on the Christmas Tree.

Novembers box and bargains were so great that Decembers box has a lot to live up to!

Have you tried any of the three items from this box?