Monday, 20 April 2015

Spring treats from Clarins

Good foundations are like buses it seems, you don't find one for ages and then suddenly two fantastic ones come along at the same time. I recently blogged about the new Nars All Day Luminous weightless foundation which I adore and then along comes the Clarins Everlasting Foundation +. Clarins very kindly sent me over the new foundation along with their UV Plus Day Screen and the Instant Light Natural Lip Balm Perfector to sample.

The everlasting foundation+ claims to last 18 hours, I love long wear products that I can just apply and not have to worry about for the rest of the day so I was intrigued to try this out. I chose shade 109 or Wheat which is pretty much a perfect match for my skin tone. This is a medium buildable foundation, it covers all the redness on my cheeks. The formula contains a mattifying bamboo powder which means allows me to completely skip the powder stage when applying my make-up but I do still need to blot later in the day.
So does it really live up to it's long wear claims? The answer is yes, as the photo below shows. I actually tried this foundation out while we were on holiday in Greece, the weather was unseasonably hot, we had a few days where it was around 25 degrees and I took the children to the beach. It was still too cold to go in the sea but I did get splashed and I ran around after the kids and whilst I did need to use a bit of powder to tone down the shine, my foundation and make-up still looked pretty good afterwards.

The Instant light natural lip balm perfector below is another product right up my street as I love tinted lipbalms. I chose coral which is a barely there neutral peachy shade. This product claims to last 4 hours, I have yet to meet a lip balm that lasts much longer than a couple of hours and this is no exception but it is ultra moisturising. I apply mine throughout the day, any excuse to show off the gorgeous slimline packaging!

 Because I'm always in a rush in the mornings I rather stupidly tend to skip the sunscreen phase. As we hadn't expected the weather to be so good in Greece last week, I had the perfect opportunity to try this product out. I hadn't brought any sunscreen for the children either I applied this to their little faces and hands and none of us burned. I normally hate wearing sunscreen on my face because it usually makes my skin feel greasy but this was so lightweight that I honestly didn't notice I had it on. I was so impressed that I recommended it to some of my friends in Athens who then went out and bought it themselves and also loved it.

Well done Clarins, three brilliant new products! These will most certainly be my make-up bag all summer long and watch out for a vlog to follow shortly.


Friday, 10 April 2015

Mrs Jones Loves: Ella's Kitchen

When weaning both E and Rufio, for the most part I tried my best to whip up some form of homemade mush, with the help of my Beaba Babycook. However there were quite a few attempts that didn't quite end up like the pictures in my well thumbed baby cookbook, so I would always have a substantial stash of Ella's Kitchen pouches close to hand for backup. They were a complete and utter lifesaver to say the least!!

Rufio has recently outgrown the Ella's pouches and I have to say I was a little bit gutted, they're just so easy to travel with whether you're out for lunch or away on holiday. I would literally fill up my suitcase before going away to make sure we were covered with three Ella's pouches a day for the duration of the trip. So when Ella's Kitchen contacted me recently to review their new snack range suitable for toddlers and young children, I did a little happy dance, the things I get kicked out of these days...... I'm a sucker for the cute packaging, funny food names and of course I love that all the ingredients happen to be organic and free from additives.

My two very willing little taste testers eagerly gobbled up each and every one of the products that we had been sent to sample. With scrummy snacks such as parsnip and poppy seed biccies and raspberry & peach crunch rings, it's easy to see why they both loved all the flavours and textures. 

My favourite products had to be the Grip Me Baby Biscuits in apples & ginger. Suitable from 10 months onwards, they are individually wrapped so you can hide a few away in your handbag and whip them out in a superheroesque manner whenever there's a tantrum that needs diffusing! 

I also reeeeallly liked the Pick Me Melty Hoops which come in a reusable plastic tub. We're actually away on holiday at the moment and I packed these in my hand luggage for the flight. These teeny weeny puffed maize hoops kept my very wriggly and easily bored 21 month old on our laps for take off and landing and will most certainly be on my packing list for future plane rides.

Have your kids tried any of the new Ella's Kitchen snack range? If not, then I highly recommend you try them out. The children loved every snack that we were sent, I might have snuck a few bites myself and it was all rather delish!!


Thursday, 9 April 2015

Spring Is Here: Inspiration for Your Home

As I pulled back the curtains this morning, my heart skipped a beat. “Hurrah!”, I exclaimed as I realised it’s finally happening. Spring is here! The sun beamed through the windows and, as I wasn’t expecting it to be so intense at this time of year, I was somewhat dazzled. With the light freely flowing in, all kinds of emotions stirred within me. However, the positive vibes were dampened slightly as these gorgeous rays also highlighted every nook and cranny of my bedroom in a way I’d hardly noticed since the setting of the Indian summer sun last year. I knew then it was now the perfect time to plan for the changing season. Not wanting to make my life too difficult by embark on anything overtly grand, but unable to stand looking at the tired colours and worn out patterns, my boudoir is in dire need of an uplifting revamp if I’m to truly embrace these feelings of freshness.

So, with that in mind, and a cup of steaming hot coffee in my hand, I lifted the lid of my laptop and  took to the internet in search of some spring inspiration.

What’s Hot in 2015

Instantly, these bold, fresh, tropical inspired designs spoke to the travel-craving, sun worshipper in me. The idea of incorporating earthy tones and block colours with wild, rather garish prints that provide a modern, vibrant twist, pack a punch and make a statement, is highly appealing. Botanical  leafs, insects, floral and tribal designs seem to be making their way in to everything from sofas, to bedspreads, to wall fittings. Painterly rugs are also in the limelight, as well as smoky glass and graphic tiles  suitable for both indoors and out.

Dynamic Pairings

Apparently, and probably not all that surprisingly, grey is the new black this season! Other colours in focus early on in 2015 are: mixed metals, indigo, teal, midnight hue, moss green, grape, mulberry, peach and burnt orange.

The skirting boards in my bedroom are currently off white and are looking pretty dreary. My light wooden chair and shabby chic dresser would also benefit from an update. I don’t fancy as large a job as painting all the walls, so considering this and the aforementioned design inspo, I think contrasting the base wall colour with a deep, sultry shade around the edges is just about a perfect compromise, will help  to frame the room and provide a blank canvas for the other vibrant accessories.

I adore the idea of creating my own private sizzlingly-humid, tropical paradise; incorporating the bright, bold grape and mulberry tones, surrounded by the blue or metal grey skirtings and accessorised with bold print curtains, bedspreads and cushion coverings.

Updating Tired Techniques

So I’m set on adding that tropical inspired ‘je ne se quoi’ to my bedroom by combining some of the above suggestions. And, as well as purchasing lots of fabulous florals and powerful paints, I want a new approach to some of the tried and tested decorating techniques I’ve adopted in the past. I’ve been eagerly searching for twists on the obvious which will help create something trendy and that I’ll be able to apply time and time again. Here are two particular ideas that sparked my interest: Instead of using a regular old paintbrush, how about giving airbrushing a go. My skirting boards, chair and dresser will be injected with a much needed colour boost by combining an air compressor, a spray gun and various instyle colours to create a unique and lasting effect, and no doubt it will come in very handy for a variety of other projects in the near future.

Also, I plan to buy new curtains and/or bedspread but what about cushion covers. Clashing patterns are bang on trend right now, but constantly buying new to stay up-to-date can soon mount up. So, perhaps a touch of DIY upholstery using napkins?! Yes, you read me right, you can create trendy covers, that don’t cost the earth, using cloth napkins. Now I’m not much of a seamstress - hence buying my curtains and bedding - so the idea of iron-on hems and pre-cutout squares is perfect for me, as well as the ability to truly make the product unique and dynamic. And so what if you want a change them all in a few months time. This way you can constantly update and mix around your accessories without worrying about the expense.

Faking Fresh on a Budget

And finally, I love adding extra pizazz to a room by including flowers and plants. But buying fresh flowers can get pretty pricey and their shelf life is rather limited. So I’m going to add to my tropical paradise by accessorising with faux plants, flowers and fruit. The good thing about these products, beside the expense and time saving elements, is that you can truly be authentic in your style creations. You can find a wide range of very real looking products which in the UK are pretty unobtainable, or at least challenging to find during certain times of the year.

How about an oversized bowl or wicker basket bursting with vibrant, exotic fruit. A palm tree, oriental bamboo, or tropical bird of paradise plant by the desk. Whatever look you wish to recreate, you can. Mixing and matching can be the perfect compliment to any room and will enhance the authenticity of these latest interior design trends.


Thursday, 2 April 2015

Alternative Winter Holidays

We love travelling with the children, although at this age we like to keep it relatively short-haul to minimise the stress all round. We're off to Greece for Orthodox Easter, which is the week after Easter here in the UK and although it's not yet beach weather there, we are looking forward to some sunshine, catching up with all our family and friends and of course indulging in some yummy food. However, all this talk of travel lately has got me thinking, how lovely would it be to take the children away somewhere Snowy next winter.  We haven't had any snow for a few years here in London, Rufio has never seen snow and Estella doesn't really remember that eternal winter we had back in 2013.  They are both still obsessed with Frozen and E is desperate to see some snow, I think they're both still a bit small for skiing but if we were to visit somewhere like Iceland or Lapland there are plenty of age appropriate alternatives for children and also some cool things for parents too.

Iceland is less than three hours flight from the UK which is just about as long haul as we go these days. Being famous for it's waterfalls, the scenery in Iceland looks absolutely breathtaking. The children would love to go whale watching and I could definitely do with a couple of hours at the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa, it looks heavenly.

Equally, Lapland has heaps of fun activities for the family, Mr Jones would be thrilled to go Ice fishing, on a snowmobile safari or even Husky sledding. Both Iceland and Lapland are great places to view the northern lights, something I have always wanted to see and of course in the run up to Christmas, Lapland is a great place to visit the big man himself, Santa!

For those of you thinking of visiting Lapland or Iceland, there is still some time to experience everything these gorgeous destinations have to offer before winter draws to a close. For more information on alternative winter activities, click here!


Friday, 27 March 2015

Tenby & Our Bluestone Adventure

Looking back at the photos from our Bluestone adventure recently, I realised that I haven't shared those from our day trip to Tenby. Tenby is such a beautiful town,  and the day we were visiting, the sun was shining ( even though it was freezing) and we had a gorgeous day out. We were very fortunate to have top tour guides with us who hail from the next village along, they made sure we saw all the best bits. 

We drove from Bluestone to South Beach in Tenby, the drive took around 30 minutes so it really is very close if you're visiting Bluestone National Park Resort and are thinking of doing some day trips. There is some parking at South Beach but I imagine that come summer, it would be packed! The beach itself is gorgeous with light sands and twinkling turquoise seas. Living in the UK, I often forget that we have such beautiful beaches on our doorstep.

We walked along the esplanade to a little playground for the kids. This surely has to be the playground with the best view in all of Wales but it was seriously cold so we didn't hang around for long and even the children didn't protest when we left!

We carried on along the coastal path, past the view of St Catherine's island and beautiful pastel hued town houses and in to the town itself.
As a family, we have travelled quite a bit around the world but comparatively we haven't seen all that much of the UK. Tenby really defies all the preconceived ideas I had of what a British seaside town would be like, it has some serious charm. We would love to go back in the summer when it's a bit warmer to enjoy the beach a little more.

Come lunchtime, we braved the windy walk back to South Beach and stopped for something to eat at South Beach Bar and Grill. With the sun streaming through the windows and the views of the beach, I found it hard to believe that we weren't in some far flung exotic location.

After lunch, sadly it was time to drive back to dreary old London Town. Bluestone & Tenby we had an amazing time and I hope we'll be back soon!!

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