The Space NK x Caroline Hirons – Clean Decoded Box

I eventually have it! I didn’t think I’d be able to get this. My Husband tried to buy it for me from the Chichester branch for my birthday, but they had sold out. He then secretly ordered it online for me (these are still available to purchase online at time of writing: Space NK x Caroline Hirons – Clean Decoded Box).

I can’t wait to try all this!
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Words from the Queen herself:
‘I’m so happy to be a part of Space NK’s Clean Decoded campaign which breaks down what it means to be clean, whether it’s looking at sourcing and sustainability, or what vegan beauty really stands for.

In partnering with Space NK I’m excited to embrace transparency; I want to help decode the labels you often hear about and highlight the products that work to deliver what they say they will, while still being ‘clean’. For me, clean beauty is great, but it’s got to be about the science too; the products that I’ve chosen in this box are ‘clean’, but more importantly, they deliver results.

I hope that this campaign will help you to feel totally informed when it comes to making choices about beauty, so that you know you’ve absolutely got a product that’s going to work for you. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy your beauty box packed full of some of my favourite clean beauty buys.

Caroline x’

This box came at just the right time for me. I feel a bit lost in the world of skin care, so finding a box enabling me to try cleaner, luxury products; ones that still do a good job is a stroke of luck. Not knowing much myself, I am able to put my trust into Caroline and Space NK and try these products without fear of them harming my skin. I am very excited to get going with these!

The box contains (all information is taken from the information card within the box):

  1. OSKIA RENAISSANCE CLEANSING GEL – Drawing on plenty of natural ingredients but also utilising smart science, Oskia are all about formulating with no potential irritants. This gorgeous cleanser is suitable for all skin types because it’s really light and easy to use, and it doesn’t leave skin dry or tight in any way. Use it in the morning as a first cleanse or in the evening when you do your second cleanse. It’s a no-brainer.
  2. ODACITE PO+R HYDRATING SERUM CONCENTRATE – If your skin is feeling dehydrated add a couple of drops of this oil-serum into Odacite’s Oleosomes Time Release Delivery Creme for an everyday moisturiser until your hydration levels recover, or use it on its own as a super booster treatment for an instant fix.
  3. TATA HARPER RESURFACING MASK – As a brand Tata Harper is dedicated to using an extremely high concentration of natural ingredients. This mask is a great product to use once or twice a week for a milk exfoliation that won’t damage the surface of the skin; it’s also good for anyone who can’t use a daily acid. Apply a 10 pence piece amount all over the surface of the skin, leave on for 5-10 minutes then remove with a warm cloth.
  4. REN EVERCALM GLOBAL PROTECTION DAY CREAM – Known as leaders in the clean beauty movement, Ren is a great, affordable brand to look out for in this category. This cream is suitable for all but especially good for those who are overly sensitised or find their skin is just annoyed with them. Half a pump should be adequate to cover the face and it’s suitable to use over a serum or under an SPF.
  5. HERBIVORE REGENERATING FACIAL OIL – A lovely, hardworking oil that’s loaded with essential fatty acids. A couple of drops under your moisturiser in the morning will make your make-up stay in place and will make dull skin look super bright and glowing. Or use it overnight to help your skin recuperate while you sleep.
  6. SOLEIL TOUJOURS 100% MINERAL SUNSCREEN GLOW SPF 30 – This mineral sunscreen is perfect if you cannot or choose not to use a chemical SPF. It’s slightly tinted to give you a glow, but you still get the protection of an SPF 30. Use it in the morning on its own, or under makeup.
  7. MAULI SUPREME SKIN FACE SERUM – A brand that is the epitome of science meets green beauty. This is really light and suitable for all skin types, but a more mature skin will see the most benefit and an immediate effect. Use a couple of drops in the morning and in the evening, and take two minutes to massage it properly into the skin to give you a glow.
  8. COVER FX BLURRING PRIMER – Formulated without sulphates and parabens, apply this primer underneath foundation for the illusion of perfect skin, and to cover a multitude of imperfections and create a flawless complexion. It can be used on its own, and you can use it on top of makeup as a retouching filter. A great multi-tasker.
  9. HOURGLASS AMBIENT LIGHTING POWDER IN DIM LIGHT – Hourglass make the best powders on the market, and this is suitable for all skin tones, whether you use it to touch up throughout the day or as an all-over face powder. I use it to ‘fake it till I make it’; when people say I’ve got a glow, I say ‘That’ll be the Hourglass’.

Here are Caroline’s YouTube videos explaining more about the box:


*This is NOT a sponsored ad! My Husband purchased this via the Space NK website.

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My current skin care routine

Ok, I want to be completely honest here. I am a COMPLETE novice where it comes to skin care. But it is something I am desperate to learn more about. I am currently reading Sali Hughes’s first book, ‘Pretty Honest’, and overdosing on Caroline Hirons’s website and YouTube videos, and am a member of her, quite frankly, life-changing Facebook group, where I’m learning more and more each day (it’s the ONLY reason I go on Facebook).

As a massive treat to myself after my operation, I purchased LOTS of skin care products as I want to start pampering myself a bit more. Some cheaper products and some more expensive. I don’t want to try them all at once as I don’t think that will help me find something I love, or something that suits me. I think my skin will be like ‘WTF’ after so many years of being ignored, so I want to make sure I properly use each product for a while to see how I get on with it. I also think that if I have a mass of products on the go, then I probably won’t get through them all and lots will end up going off. So for now, I have made myself a little routine, which is probably a bit crap, but as I say, I am a complete novice and learning as I go =)

I started with the more cheapy products for the majority, with some gorgeous Clarins thrown in for good measure, and I do feel that the Clarins products completely outshine everything else I’m using at the moment.

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morning face
Clarins Cleansing Milk – Alpine herbs, Moringa, Anti-Pollution for Normal or Dry Skin
This is my favourite product in this routine. It’s a lovely consistency, smells divine and cleanses my skin beautifully. I rub this onto my face first thing in the morning, then press a warm flannel over the top and buff it off.  It’s definitely something I would purchase again.

Clarins Toning Lotion – With camomile, Alcohol-free for Normal to Dry Skin
Again, I love this product so far. I bought this in a pack with the cleansing milk and like using them together. It has a gorgeous clean scent, which has something in it that reminds me of my Nan’s perfume from when I was a child. It really makes my skin feel incredibly clean. I want to learn more about using acids, and this contains lactic acid, which I believe is a very mild one. Here is an interesting article about lactic acid for the skin: Lactic acid for skin: The complete guide for beginners (from Marie Claire).

Nivea Q10 day cream
I have used Nivea for years. Even though I never used to look after my skin particularly well, I would always have a pot of Nivea soft. I do suffer from dry skin and always used to apply it on my face after a shower as my skin NEEDS moisturiser after getting wet, or it’ll get painful and tight.

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Because of this, I thought I would buy a couple of the Q10 day creams and night creams when I saw them half price in the supermarket. I really want to love them, but unfortunately, I just don’t really seem to be getting on with them.

This day cream is the ‘pore refining day cream’. I also have the ‘anti-wrinkle day cream’ that I am yet to use. It smells beautiful and goes along way, but I cannot apply make-up on top of this, it rolls off. So what I have started to do if I am wearing make-up, is that I will use the Nivea soft instead. This is a pain though as the Nivea soft doesn’t have any SPF in it, so I would have to use a foundation that does (or a separate SPF). So unfortunately, I won’t be buying this again. I work from home, so when I’m not leaving the house, I can get away with using it, but I’d rather use a day cream that I can use under make-up. Saying that though, as with all the products, this is just my experience with my skin, it could work better for other people.

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Burts Bees cleansing oil with Coconut and Argan oils for Normal to Dry skin
This is another product that I wanted to love. The smell is absolutely gorgeous. I love massaging this into my face in the evening, draping a warm flannel over and breathing in the smell, but it seems to break me out in spots =( I don’t want to give up on it just yet though, so I may keep this for a first cleanse (when I’m double cleansing) and see how I go with that.

Nivea Q10 night cream
To continue on from the day cream, I am again, disappointed with this product. Again, it smells nice, but turns my skin quite red and burns slightly. Is it supposed to do that? It has a few different alcohols in it, so I’m not sure if that is what is doing it? But it doesn’t feel soothing to me, it just seems to make my skin quite angry. I look forward to using the Clarins products in the morning, but this is one product that I really don’t look forward to putting on my face, so I won’t be buying it again. I have this pot and another to get through though, so I will probably continue with it for a while (or I might give the other pot to a friend to see how they get on with it).

Double Cleansing
I double cleanse at night if I have worn make-up and been out during the day. Through the week though, I work at home so I normal only cleanse once with the Burt’s Bees oil.

If I’m double cleansing, I have been being uber cheap to do my first cleanse with an aqueous cream. I watched a Sali Hughes video (linked below) explaining that this was quite a good budget buy, and it shifts my make-up pretty well using a warm flannel and doesn’t irritate my eyes. I haven’t tried this with a waterproof mascara yet though.

Sali Hughes Beauty Tips: Saving Money (The Guardian)

So what do you think? I know this is a very basic routine and I have many more products to try. Is there anything you can recommend? Anything you have loved and anything you would avoid like the plague? Please comment below and let me know xx

A Post-Hysterectomy Treat and Madonna Obsession

Having my Hysterectomy was a huge change in my life, both physically and emotionally. So I wanted to treat myself to something to make the recovery a little easier. So I bought myself a spendy bag. I have a couple of Viv’s, as I call them (Vivienne Westwood) and a Radley or 2, amongst others, but this one is the most spendy I have, but there is reason behind it.

Let me explain…

Since I was a little girl, I wanted a black, hat box style bag. For as long as I can remember, I have loved Madonna. So many of her songs have resonated with me, and mean the absolute world to me. They take me back to so many places throughout my life, good and bad. I grew up fascinated with this strong, powerful, outspoken, inspirational Italian American Goddess. I watched the films ‘Desperately Seeking Susan’ and ‘Who’s That Girl’ countless times. I wouldn’t be surprised, in all honesty, if it wasn’t ‘Desperately Seeking Susan’ that started my obsession for fashion at such a young age. Not only her style in it, but the clothing shop ‘Love Saves The Day’, in which she swaps her fantastic jacket for those awesome boots.

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I’d never seen a shop like it when I was a child, it was SO COOL!!!! It has always been a dream of mine to own a store like that! Strangely enough, one of the businesses I am starting is similar, selling fantastic vintage, pre-loved, upcycled and brand new amazing items that you wouldn’t find on the typical high street (and is also named after her character in Who’s That Girl!)  But I can only dream of it being a smidgen as cool as “Love Saves The Day’.

Anyway, I’ve gone off on a tangent, back to the fantastic, gorgeous, amazing bag!

The hat box bag in Desperately Seeking Susan:

I have looked on eBay and Etsy in the past for an old vintage hat box that I can refurbish, create the skull stencil and spray paint on, but I’ve never found the right one (one that is cheap enough, so that I’m not scared to mess it up, but one that is nice enough that it’s refurbable (is that a word? It is now!))

So I saw this gorgeous Aspinal Mini Hat Box Bag and it had the added gorgeousness of having this spectacular red interior! (I’ve always loved red and black together!) So this is my grown up ‘Desperately Seeking Susan’ bag. I haven’t had the guts to wear it out yet, mainly because I haven’t been anywhere special enough. We are seeing John Williams at the Royal Albert Hall in October though, so I’m thinking I’ll premier it then =D

It is a bit gorgeous isn’t it?

The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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The above was a standard post that came with my blog template, but you know what? I really like it, and it really fits. I AM beginning a new journey in my life.

3 months before my 41st birthday (12th of September), I had a total abdominal hysterectomy (keeping my ovaries). For a few years beforehand, my health had deteriorated. I ignored it for a long time until it became really bad in August 2017 which made me go to my GP. I was referred to a Gynaecologist and over the next few months, I had lots of tests and appointments. The pain was getting worse to the point that I couldn’t lead a normal life and spent most of my time laying on the sofa. I had a couple of good days a month, but that was it. In January 2018 I had a hysteroscopic myomectomy to remove a fibroid from my uterus and a endometrial biopsy. I came away thinking that was it and that bastard fibroid had been what was keeping me from getting pregnant over the last 8 years that we had been trying. I felt so happy, thinking that was the start of it all and that I would eventually be a Mum.

The next few months the (TMI) bleeding and pain got worse. I rang up the Gynaecology department and got my appointment moved up. This was early April. I was hoping to be told that it was just part of the healing process, but unfortunately it wasn’t. My Gynaecologist said it’s probably the ‘adenomyosis’. Err, what?! What adenomyosis?! This was the first time it was mentioned to me. He told me that I needed to choose between having a family or stopping the pain, which was basically a hysterectomy (or other continual testing and trials of birth control). The only cure for adenomyosis is a hysterectomy. I broke down in tears. After 8 years of trying for a family, was this my only choice? I love our NHS and they have given me my life back now, but the lack of communication throughout this experience with them has been really hard to deal with. I don’t blame the NHS, I blame the government.

I came away determined to prove them wrong! I was going to lose weight (he specifically told me losing weight would NOT help), become healthier, try and find the money to go private. I was desperate for some understanding of why this had happened and what could I do to change it. He had also told me that the chances of me getting pregnant would be very slim, with the only chance being IVF, and that if that was a road that I wanted to go down, that I should get my GP to refer me straight away. He then said that it would be unlikely that I could get it on the NHS as the local cut off age is 35. I was 40 at the time. I have been out of work for a while due to the pain (and again TMI) blood loss. I was unable to do anything, I was so tired and weak all the time. We just could not afford IVF privately. I had a friend mention that a friend of hers had a go fund me account enabling them to go ahead with a round of IVF. I just couldn’t do that. I feel like I owe my friends and family so much already, I couldn’t put that on them emotionally or financially, especially when it was unlikely to work.

The next cycle hit and I was in so much pain that I was climbing the walls and very nearly made a trip to A&E. The painkillers my GP gave me weren’t working and I just needed the pain and bleeding to stop, I couldn’t take it anymore, so I rang up again and managed to get an appointment for the 1st of May. This time I took my Husband with me and we all made the decision that the best thing for me would be a hysterectomy. I was told it would be a 3-4 month wait, but a couple of weeks after my appointment, I received 2 letters, one for my pre-op appointment on the 12th of June and the other for my operation on the 18th June. I think if I had had a laparoscopic procedure, the wait would have been longer, but my surgeon was a specialist in abdominal. I was told I could postpone it if I wanted laparoscopic, but I just wanted this over with.

I was in hospital for 2 nights and the recovery wasn’t easy in the heat this summer. But, in all honesty, the pain and discomfort of the recovery was nothing compared to the pain and tiredness I had before the operation. I’m now 13 weeks post op and feel amazing. I’m still not completely healed. Apparently I won’t be until about a year post op, but I feel great. I read somewhere that you are apparently about 60% healed at 12 weeks, 80% at 6 months and 100% at a year? I don’t know if there is much truth to that, but it makes sense.

I wasn’t able to lose weight before the op as I had no energy whatsoever, so I’m looking forward to doing more and more. I’m already doing more than I’ve been able to for years. I feel like a different person, but I can’t wait to start working out more. I think I’m going to give weights a miss until I’m 6 months post op, and I think I’ll go and see my GP to double check, but I’m becoming more active and building it up.

Oh, that’s another thing, I have had no post op check and won’t be getting one unless there are problems apparently. I seem to be signed off from the hospital? Again, I’m not blaming my consultant or the NHS, but the government cuts are ridiculous! It was a major operation! I’m happy in the knowledge that I have a lovely friend who has also had a hysterectomy, as well as my Mother, both of which have been an amazing help, but I really think there should be a post op check and sign off appointment. I was a member of a Facebook group and it seems that it depends on where in the UK you are, as some ladies were having numerous post op checks with consultants, appointments with physiotherapists, as well as counselling.

I love that I’m able to walk my dogs again. That was probably one of the hardest things. It’s one of my favourite things to do, they’re my babies. I didn’t start walking them with my Husband until 12 weeks properly. I had a couple of attempts beforehand, but ended up hurting myself, so left it until 12 weeks in the end.

Anyway, that is my hysterectomy story. My life is now post hysterectomy and I want to put it behind me and move on with life. I feel like a new woman! I want to do everything I have always wanted and live life to the full. A big part of this is wanting to look after myself better. I have started a basic skin care routine and have treated myself to lots of different products to try out. Starting a skin care routine has really made me feel a lot better and gives me some me time to whack some music on, have a cuppa and do my skin care routine. It’s amazing! And my skin is starting to show a difference already =)

So I’ll be blogging a lot about that, building a couple of businesses with barely any money, normal lifestyle type blogs and who knows what else? I’m excited to start this new journey in my life xx