Gorgeous Gift Ideas for Natural Beauty Junkies with Beauty Kitchen

I love Beauty Kitchen as a brand, all their products are 100% effective, natural and affordable which is pretty much the criteria that I look for when buying new beauty products. They very kindly sent me over the two 'create your own' that you can see in the photos below and I think they would make amazing gifts for crafty kids and equally for any beauty junkie, so of course they were a winner all round in our house. 

One rainy afternoon, E and I decided to try out the 'Create your own lip balms'. The tin contained Cocoa Butter and Shea Butter which we needed to melt in a pan, so this is definitely not the sort of activity that could be done unattended. With adult supervision though it was great fun. We then added some sparkly natural mica powder and left the lip balms to solidify in the cute little lip balm tins provided. The finished product ( which I now carry around in my handbag) is a very moisturising balm with just a hint of shimmer. E was delighted with her lip balm, she loves to play around with make-up at home but she has super sensitive skin so I am always a bit wary but we have no such worries here with Beauty Kitchen as it's all paraben & sulphate free.

E adores Bath Bombs but generally we have to limit them because they tend to cause her irritation so she was overjoyed to be able to create and then use her own. We have used them a few times now and haven't had any problems with irritation.
The bath bombs were very quick and easy to make, dried and ready to use within 15 mins, which is a huge bonus if your kids are as impatient as mine!! The oil that comes with them smelled amazing and we added some food colouring just to make them a little more interesting. Come bath time both kids were super excited to watch our home made bath bombs fizz and dissolve.

For more Create Your Own kits and clean beauty goodness then check out www.beautykitchen.co.uk


Lapland UK Review

Last week, two letters arrived for my little ones from Father Christmas, inviting my children to Lapland UK to help him and his elves get all the toys ready for Christmas. To say that they were excited, would be an understatement. In the run up to our trip to Lapland, I have never known my kids to be so well behaved, it was like magic! E would help her little brother to get dressed in the mornings ( and this has NEVER happened before), they doing as they were told and E even told me not to wear make- up because I was far prettier with out it..... it was obvious they were on their best behaviour in case Father Christmas' elves were watching!! 

Lapland UK is based in Ascot, we drive this way quite often and it usually takes us around 45 mins from Chelsea but we got stuck in a huge traffic jam so we were cutting it fine. Our tour was booked in at 3.30 and we arrived at the car park at 3.25. We bolted over to the elf-check in, just as our tour was due to start and there was a queue in front of us. Fortunately, the 4pm tour wasn't totally booked up so the kind elf at the check in moved us up to the next slot so we didn't miss out on anything. 

In hindsight, I would say, make sure to arrive at least 20 mins before your tour is due to start. That way you would have plenty of time to make your way from car park, which is rather large, to the elf check-in. There is a cafe at the check-in and elves on hand to entertain the small folk so you won't be at a loose end if you arrive early.

The children were given, elf passports with stamps to fill in throughout the tour, it also contained words to the songs that the elves would sing later on. 

Whilst we waited for our tour, the children were entertained by a funny little elf called 'Porter' whose suitcase kept falling open to reveal presents, giant acorns and all sorts of bits and bobs. All the kids kept helping her pack her suitcase  only for it all to fall out again, they found it hilarious. 

The tour began with a short interactive play where we met two elves called Sage and Eeko. The play fun and yet informative, with a story explaining where elves come from and then teaching children the importance of caring for our environment. The elves then helped the children open up the doors to Lapland and we caught our first glimpse of the magic that awaited us. Tiny little elf cottages dusted with snow, nestled within Narnia-esque woodlands, I can imagine that as a child I would really have believed that we had been magically transported to a far away land. 

Our first stop was the toy workshop, Santa's good list is super long this year so the elves needed some extra help to get all the toys ready. 

The children helped the elves make a stuffed reindeer toy, which reminded me of 'build-a bear' and they also helped construct a teddy bear made from wooden blocks.

At the end they had to take the finished products back to the elves. I was a little concerned that we'd have a bit of a struggle handing back the toys but, miraculously there was no trouble.

Next we moved on to Mother Christmas' kitchen. The children sat and listened to magical stories told by Mrs Christmas and then they were asked to decorate gingerbread men.

We were then shown to the elf village where we had an hour and a half to entertain ourselves. The village is an adorable little square with christmassy shops and places to eat, all built around an ice rink which you are free to use for as long as you wish during your visit. We skated for a while and then explored the village, there were elves strolling chatting to the children and also very well behaved husky dogs. We found the elf post office and went in to write and post our Christmas letters to Santa. 

What truly amazed me is how the 'elves' are constantly in character. At one point I crept off to buy some Christmas pressies and I passed some of the elves chatting together.  I don't think they saw me and there wasn't really anyone around, yet they still kept in character! This authenticity is a theme that runs throughout Lapland UK and that's really what sets it apart from any other Christmas experience.

Our time at the elf village was up and finally it was our turn to meet the big guy himself. We set off on a path that took us through a winter wonderland, we even came across Santa's sleigh and some of his reindeer.  

We arrived at a little cabin, deep in the forest. We were greeted by an elf called Compass who told us that he was in charge of preparing the routes for Santa to take on Christmas eve. His desk was full of maps, globes and all sorts of fascinating equipment. He asked us to sit and wait our turn to meet Father Christmas.

After a short wait, a chatty elf named Bubbles came and showed us to Santa.

Father Christmas himself was brilliant and very patient with the children, who had so much to tell him! When I booked our tickets I was asked to give them some hints about things that the children had been up to which Father Christmas worked very convincingly in to the conversation, they were so excited that he knew what they had been up to! He checked his good list to see if they were on there and miraculously ( for Rufio especially) they were indeed. So Father Christmas asked us if they were allowed a small gift before Christmas and he gave them two soft and cuddly husky dogs.

I really can't describe to you how magical they whole day was, as we left my daughter said to me that it was the best day out that we have ever done as a family.
Yes, the tickets are eyewateringly expensive but when you break down all the activities through out the day then the price starts to make a bit more sense. I would find it easier to justify the cost if I thought of it as a theatre trip, craft, ice skating, family adventure day all rolled in to one, and on top of that you get to meet Father Christmas too.
The overall level of thought and care that has gone in to creating Lapland UK is just immense, with incredible attention paid to even the smallest details, making it a truly believable and magical experience.

If you do one thing with your children this Christmas then make it a trip to Lapland UK!



Autumn/ Winter Style

For the first time this year, it really feels like Autumn today. On Monday we took the children 'trick or treating' around The Boltons and it was warm enough to walk around without a coat on but not today! Its the beginning of November and there is a distinct chill in the air and the perfect opportunity for me to share my favourite pieces with you from Kaleidoscope's AW16 collection:

My standout piece from the collection, has to be this faux fur jacket. It's just so versatile and easy to wear. It a great way to dress up an outfit but works equally as well for the school run. I love to wear it mixed with jeans, a denim shirt and trainers! Be warned, it attracts a lot of attention!

I'm loving the zip detail on this polo neck, open up the zips for a cold shoulder effect ( in more ways than one!)

This birkin-esque Italian leather grab bag is so buttery soft and just beautiful. It's a bit of a Mary Poppins bag too because it holds literally everything.

Oh and the jeans, love the jeans! They come in different leg lengths too, why doesn't everyone do this?

What I like about Kaleidoscope is the fantastic quality, investment pieces with out the high price tag. You're going to fall in love with this collection, www.kaleidoscope.co.uk


Finding a Good Plastic Surgeon

If you have decided to go down the route of having plastic surgery, this article is for you. Finding a good surgeon is very important, which is why I decided to focus on how to do so.

The right qualifications
Naturally, you do not want someone operating on you who are not properly qualified. Fortunately, finding a highly qualified plastic surgeon, in the UK, is not difficult. There are several medical associations that you can use to help you in your search. They all have websites, and maintain databases of qualified surgeons.
Look for the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS) or the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS). In addition, the General Medical Council also maintains a specialist register for plastic surgeons. The leading plastic surgeon Gary L Ross is a member of all of these associations, so expect to see his name appear a lot, during your search.

The right experience
It is also important to look for a surgeon that has plenty of experience. Ideally, you want to find someone that has done the procedure you want done hundreds of times before. Therefore, if you are want breast enhancement or reduction surgery it makes sense to use the Association of Breast Surgeons (ABS) website to help you in your search.

Someone you can communicate with
Once you have narrowed down your options, and found a qualified and experienced surgeon you need to make an appointment. Before you visit the clinic, take the time to work out exactly what you want done. The clearer you are about what you want to achieve, the easier it will be for you to explain it properly.
If you do not feel comfortable while talking to your potential surgeon, it is usually best to continue your search. You are looking for someone that you feel listens to you, and clearly understands what you want.
A good surgeon will take the time to sit down with you and go through all of the options. He or she will be honest about what can be achieved, and explain the different procedures to you. They will explain the risks as well as the benefits, and give you a breakdown of the costs.

Practical considerations
When deciding which surgeon to use, you also need to think about practicalities. For example, how you will get to and from the clinic for the operation, and checkups. Opting to have plastic surgery done abroad is fine in theory, but if there were complications getting further treatment is likely to prove difficult.

Without a doubt, plastic surgery is not something you should rush into. It is important to bear in mind that the changes that will be made to your body are, for the most part, permanent. Of course, some of the procedures can be reversed, but this will be costly, and mean that you will have to undergo another operation. Therefore, it is wiser to take your time, do your research, find a good surgeon and be careful when deciding which procedure to have done.


Decorating Tips: Making Small Changes for a Big Impact

As someone who loves to shop, I'm always looking for an excuse to go out and purchase beautiful things, which is why I'm delighted that we have decided to do a little redecorating. The only thing I'm not too keen on is that my husband is insisting that we don't change too much while still trying to make an impact. As you can imagine, this suggestion was greeted with the disdain but after a while, the idea actually grew on me. Besides we don't really want to throw money at fads and d├ęcor when we intend to move in the next few years. The challenge of enhancing our home in simple, yet effective ways really appealed to me. I've already started my research and thought it would be handy to share some of my ideas with you, and maybe even get your opinion.

Give Your Rooms a Light Touch

Modifying the lights in a room can lead to a noticeable impact, whether its the installing a chandelier or a dropped light, or merely changing the lampshades on strategically placed lights. Dropped lighting over dining tables are exquisite as well as being practical. However, if you have small children, you may want to consider how low the lights can feasibly be without being pulled from the ceiling!

Dreamy Beds

Changing a single piece of furniture can change the look of a room and if you're fed up of the current decor, invest in the most spectacular bed you can afford. If its the children's rooms that are getting a make over, make a fun change and get bunk beds. When it comes to children, room decorating ideas need to be forward thinking. Even if you only have the one child, a bunk bed means that when they are ready to have sleepovers, your child's friend will have a comfortable place to sleep.

Go Door to Door

Replacing door handles throughout your home can add a touch of glamour without you needing to replace perfectly satisfactory doors. Again, you will need to consider the design to suit your family's needs, and if your eye has been caught by a beautiful, yet abstract and pointy handle, think about how impractical that would be in your home.

Switch it Up!

Have you ever looked at the switch plates surrounding the light switches? No? me neither! Imagine turning your switch plates into stand alone pieces of art. I was delighted to discover that there are all sorts of designs out there, to suit all tastes – even mine!

Tap into Design

Reclaimed taps, or modern designs are a beautiful addition to bathrooms and kitchens, so consider simply switching the taps to alter the theme of these rooms. Copper and nickel toned taps add a traditional touch to baths and sinks, while modern materials such as Chrome or stainless steel appeal to contemporary tastes.

Have you any more tips for styling your home without changing too much? It would be great to hear your ideas!

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