Friday, 15 February 2013

Tights. Love them or hate them? An Update!

Aristoc - 100 Denier Cashmere Blend TightsBack in November 2012 I posted an article called Tights! Love them or hate them?

The article basically described the embarrassing methods I've had to resort to in order to keep my tights in position on a daily basis.  If you have a solution to the dilemma, please feel free to share.

In December I treated myself to the most expensive pair of tights I have ever bought.  They are by Aristoc.  They are 100 denier cashmere blend.  They don't have that change in thickness at the thigh that many have, making them perfect to wear with the currently fashionable suit shorts that I also purchased.  They are very very soft and very very comfortable. 

And so far I haven't had to pull them up repeatedly throughout the day.

Admittedly they are new, and things may change.  I'll keep you posted.  In the meantime; check them out at

Monday, 11 February 2013

So where am I on the Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) and why is it relevant to this blog?

MAD Blog Awards

Great content?

This weekend the Times Magazine ran an article called The Asperger's Effect.  A glance at the layout in the magazine and you immediately noticed that there's a test: "Where are you on the spectrum?".  In 5 minutes, and 50 quick multi-choice questions later, you know whether you are, and I quote "socially smooth, empathetic to others and ambivalent about numbers" or not.

Interestingly I was more interested in how quickly I jumped at the chance to do a test.  What that says about me is possibly far more revealing that the results of the test.

My results were almost disappointingly boring.  No revelations here I'm afraid.  I came in with a score of 17; apparently average for a man, whereas 15 is the woman's average.  You can do the test on-line at

Why am I mentioning this?  Because it struck me that the article was refreshingly different, on a topic I had read little about.  I was immediately drawn to great content.  That's what I aim for here on this website: great content.  I try and make it relevant, interesting, helpful, fun and a little tongue in cheek.  This website was started because I wanted to help other mums learn from my mistakes.  I provide tips on parenting that work for us and my solutions for maintaining your yummy mojo whilst also being a mum.

What makes great website content?

Whether I succeed or not is something of a mystery.  Whilst I can see how many people are clicking through to the site and how long they are staying, I can't tell if they are finding useful content.  I can't tell if I am making them smile, or laugh, or frown with disappointment.

That's where blog awards come in.  It's blog awards time, and it's now possible for you to nominate my blog for any of 16 different categories in the MAD Blog Awards 2013.  So do you think I qualify to be nominated for Best School Days blog, Most Entertaining Blog, Best Fashion and Beauty Blog or Best Mad Blog for Family Fun?  How about Best Family Life Blog, Best Family Travel Blog or Best Blog Writer?  Or do I qualify for the ultimate MAD Blog of the Year?

If you do think I deserve a mention, please pop over to nominate me on the Mad Blog Awards 2013 nomination form.  It'll only take a minute and I'll be amazed, flattered and thrilled that I might possibly be doing something right in this small, but perfectly formed, corner of the web. 

Nominations close at midnight on the 18th February 2013.

Of course, if you don't think I should be nominated, and you don't feel that I'm providing the content you are searching for, then absolutely please let me know!  Would you like more beauty, more fashion, more fitness; or maybe prefer the parenting tips and hints, the craft ideas, or the travel reviews? Please feel free to comment on the posts and let me know what you like.

Thanks everyone.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

How to define your eye make-up easily

I am probably the last person in the world to discover this make-up trick. On the slight chance that there are women out there like me, that missed out on the teenage years of girlie make-up experimentation due to being busy with something else (my teenage years were all about the dance classes), here's a fabulous trick I have discovered this week.

Whatever type of eye shadow applicator you use; be it the cotton bud style, or a brush; simply wetting it slightly, under a running tap, will enable you to pick up powder on the brush and position the powder so precisely that even a make-up ignoramus like me can manage to use shadow to create a neat line along the lash, eye-liner style.

I am a tactile make-up applicator. In that I mean I have always preferred to solely use my fingers. In reality this means that I have been walking around for years with the loosely smudged casual style. Now I actually am able to create a dark edge and use a different shade loosely brushed over the lid with a drier brush and blend the lot with my fingers if I wish.

And how did I suddenly acquire this knowledge? I asked for a beauty book for my birthday and duly received Jemma Kidd's Make-Up Masterclass: Beauty bible of professional techniques and wearable looks. It's a beautiful hardback full of pictures to show you step by step how to create different looks and is packed with useful information on skin type and how to pick the right colours for your skin tone. It is, most importantly, not in the least bit patronising, which for me, an ageing novice, is refreshingly unassuming.

So thank you Jemma. Thank you. I now stand half a chance.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Black duffel coat with a furry hood? MY PERFECT COAT!

I've been searching for a good all-round winter raincoat for ages, and when I say ages I mean years and years and years.

My daughters, who are 6 and 4 years old respectively, appear to have the pick of some amazing designs; bright colours, waterproof, padded or not... and all with hoods.

And my choice?  Restricted to the thickest winter duvet-esque quilted duffel coats with hood, but so enourmous you look like you are one step away from an Icelandic expedition), or a thinner mac style coat that 'pretends' to be a raincoat from a distance, but get up close and you realise it's all a lie; the material isn't waterproof and there isn't a hood in sight.

So I've had thin macs and thicker macs all without hoods, and when it rains I resort to an umbrella which promptly flings itself inside out in defiance at the ridiculous UK weather and never works properly again.

In the winter, for the last three years, I've resorted to borrowing a waterproof jacket in the 'NorthFace' style, and bought a similar jacket from Decathlon.  Fashionable and stylish were not the first words to come to mind.. nor the hundredth.  They kept me warm, but I wasn't happy.  They were practical and oh so boring. 

It was with great glee and excitement - so much so that I actually squealed like a girl, when I finally spotted a coat that ticked all my boxes.  Warm, but not too warm.  Waterproof, but not expedition like.  Hooded, but not with a plastic elasticated affair that takes so long to get out of it's pouch you are wet through by the time it's ready.  I found MY PERFECT COAT.

It is even shaped... yes, you heard me correctly... shaped!  It has zip pockets so even when it snows your mobile doesn't get wet but is easily accessible.  It has a divine pattern on the lining.  And it is, (I'm sorry, but this is the predictable bit if you know me well, as I am a major fan of this store) from Ted Baker.

And what do you know... I even got it in the sale half price!

No longer available on the Ted Baker website, though there are plenty of other choices for you to peruse - so this particular coat will become a coveted eBay classic.  Keep a look out!


This is not an advertising feature.  This is a rave review of a gorgeous coat that I absolutely love and I would not rave about it otherwise.  I am, however, a massive fan of Ted Baker, as their quality remains fantastic in an era of cheaper and cheaper fabrics and designs, so I therefore act as an affiliate.  I will receive a small percentage of any orders made as a result of you clicking into the Ted Baker site via this link.  Feel free to browse!

Ted Baker

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