Basically Beauty

Forty-something beauty, reviews and the truth


Tuesday, 8 January 2019

I've quit the gym and I'm going back to exercise DVDs

I've been messing about not going to the gym for about a year now.  Actually tell a lie, I was doing OK up to about May last year, then it got really hot (not complaining) so I didn't go and after that every time I thought "I must go and do a workout" my brain found really good excuses not to go.

So, before Christmas I handed in my notice and officially finish on 31 January.  After I'd sent my email I felt almost relieved, after all I was literally burning money every month because I wasn't going.  I guess you could say I was burning money not calories!  Anyway, over Christmas I've been thinking about alternative exercise.

I already do two pilates classes a week and they are great, actually I've missed them a lot over Christmas but I also need do something that raises my heart a bit but doesn't hurt my knees.  I decided  to dig out my old Davina DVD's.  I started exercising with Davina in 2005 and I've always had really good results.  More recently I haven't done them because there wasn't much room in the living room but we've had a massive clear out and moved some of the kids toys into a different room so now there is actually room to jump about a bit.

So that's what I'm going to do, dust off the old DVD's, push the furniture back, and off we go!

My favourite DVD is Davina's first one 'The Power of Three' because I love the music and the leg and bum section is really tough, I seem remember there's a lot of squats which I hate but which are very effective for toning up.

My second favourite is her 'Three 30 Minute Workouts' - this is great because there are three separate 30 minute sections with warm ups and cool downs included and one section is a boxercise session which is great fun although you have to make sure you don't inadvertently kick the furniture, you need to make space.

And the one in the photo below, 'Super Body Workout' is another favourite because it's literally a mix of everything.  I think the sessions are 40 minutes so they are a bit longer but that's great if you've got time for a longer workout.

So for now it's goodbye to the gym and hello to living room exercise.  Yesterday evening I sat down and watched the whole DVD from start to finish just to familiarise with the exercises again.   I'm feeling quite motivated about it at the moment and hope to start towards the end of the week when I have a free morning.  Further updates on my progress in the near future!


Tuesday, 18 September 2018

My concealer collection and why I use more than one

I first posted this on my other blog last year but though it would be useful for anyone who has parts of their face that they would like to disguise a bit.

Concealer is one of my 'essential' products.  Even on a rare no make up day I do sling a dot of concealer here and there to disguise blemishes that I want to forget are there, you know, like the odd spot, stuff like that.

My concealer story

When I was thinking about writing this post I thought about all the concealers I've ever used.  In my (much) younger days before I was a full on foundation person, I just used to use a little foundation as a concealer.  Gradually, I needed more and more concealer and I found the perfect one from Witch Hazel, it doubled as an antiseptic/healing stick as well as a cover up.  I used that literally for years and years until quite recently when I realised that they had discontinued my colour (pale) and gone over to just one colour which was just a shade too dark for my skin.

That's when I stopped using it and invested in a proper concealer, or two, or three ...

They are not all the same!

I find that not all concealers are the same and not all concealers are for the same place on your face.  That's why I seem to have so many now!  I've got different ones for spots, blemishes, non-spot blemishes, dark under-eye circles, dry skin patches and cold sores (yes I know you're not supposed to cover them up but I just can't NOT cover them up a bit).

So I am sharing my favourites.  Of course I'm always on the look out for the holy grail so no doubt there will be more to come but these few are the ones I'm using at the moment.  Scroll down past the photos for the list.

Concealer Collection Details

Hard Candy - Sheer Envy
Something I found in the States, I think you can get Hard Candy over here in the UK but it's not widely available.  This one is great for under eyes because the brush is very thin and the colour is almost an exact match for me (fluke!).  It reminds me of Estee Lauder's Touche Eclat, the brush is very similar.  It does seem to last for ages, I never notice that it's come off during the day.

Avon Extra Lasting - this one is my every day favourite!
Anything with the words 'Extra Lasting' in the title has got to be a winner, right?  Right.  But not for under eyes, or at least not my eyes, far too heavy and matte.  Brilliant for spots and blemishes.  It doesn't budge and you can pop bit of powder over the top and there you go, spots all gone.  Avon do a few shades in this, I think this is the fairest one.

Physicians Formula - Youthful Wear Spotless
Spotless - that's what we all to want to be, right?  It took me a while to get to grips with this because this is actually a concealer in a roller ball pen style with liquid and I found it difficult to get the right amount on my face.  It's much better if there's a larger area to cover because you can sort of scribble it all over your face and make up sponge it from there.  Not great for individual spots but super for a larger area.  I think (not sure) it might also have something in it that helps spots to heal so it's a win-win situation there.

I'm not sure what this one is called, I only know that it's from Neutrogena and I love it and I'll be upset when it runs out.  This, alongside my beloved Hard Candy is the one I wear under my eyes.  You literally cannot see it once it's blended in, it's amazing it looks so natural.  Neutrogena is kind to the skin as well so no allergy flare ups or anything.  I haven't tried using this on blemishes as I don't want to waste it on those when I need it for my eyes!  I bought this in the States as well, it's on my list to replace next time I go. You can get Neutrogena in their drugstores, places like Walgreens and CVS.

Physicians Formula Super CC
Another Physicians Formula (and yet another brand that you can't get in the UK - flipping heck sake!) the super CC concealer is a mixture of everything you need to sort your skin out, whether it's covering redness, or grey under eyes or whatever.  It's a brush and you twist the end of the pen to get the liquid to come through, it takes a while at first and then whooshes out all in one go.  It's great for precision 'painting' if you've got a very specific and small area to put it on and I have also used it for under eyes but it's slightly more matte than the Neutrogena and Hard Candy so better for blemishes I think.


Thursday, 9 August 2018

My Guide to Clear Top Coats and Shiny Nails

For years I've been dodging the top coat on nails because I'm lazy but actually it's time to admit that they really do make a difference to the longevity, and the appearance of a nail polish.  Let's face it we all want our polish to last for days and shine so much that we can see our reflection in them - right?  

In addition, a good top coat will contain all sorts of ingredients to strengthen nails and protect them from splitting, you only have to check out the Sally Hansen aisle to see that there are a lot to choose from and they all do different things.

Today I've chosen three of my favourites to share, predominantly for shine but I find that they all leave my nails feeling stronger as well.

O.P.I RapiDry

First up is RapiDry, cool name huh?  What's great about this is that not only does it give a lovely shiny top coat to your nails, it's also very quick to dry (hence the name).  It also means you don't have to sit with your fingers outstretched for ages not touching them or doing that flicky thing we do to 'air dry' them!  Anything from O.P.I. is going to be good though, as they are a really good brand and used most places I've been for a manicure?  I would definitely buy this again though I can't remember how much it is I guess it's in line with most of the O.P.I. range.

Avon Gel Shine 

The Avon Gel Shine top coat is part of their Gel Shine range (although this is called Mark now having been re-branded in 2017).  The purpose of the top coat is to give the gel polishes that extra bit of shine and I can say that it really does!  

The gel polishes by themselves seem to be hard wearing, giving a great shine without the top coat but it's worth popping a bit of top coat over it to give them that extra pazzazz and also it helps with the longevity.  They last several days with no chips at all  but there's no problem taking it off with ordinary nail polish remover.  It's very reasonably priced as well and is very often on offer in the brochure and online.  It obviously works beautifully on the Avon Gel Shine polishes but I've used it on others and it does a great job.  So all in all a super product for a very reasonable price of about £7.00.

Revlon ColorStay Gel Envy Diamond Top Coat

I got this as part of my Glossybox subscription last year.  The Revlon ColorStay Gel Envy has got an unusual brush whereby the bristles are quite thin and are arranged so that the liquid covers the edges of your nail then you brush inwards, thus covering the entire nail.  Whilst this polish is designed to go on top of the ColorStay Gel polishes it does work well on other brands too.  


Monday, 6 August 2018

Perricone MD No Make Up Foundation

So, I'm on the plane on Wednesday and the announcement goes out about duty free coming round, would we like anything?   Ooh I think, yes I would.  After a little bit of dithering I decide to get the Perricone MD No Makup Foundation SPF 30.

It was in the brochure as being recommended by Harpers Bazar (good, I think, they don't make mistakes) and is infused with 'Alpha Lipoic Acid' which  ...

"minimises the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and enlarged pores over time"

Benefits are ...
  • Instant sheer coverage with a natural no-make up texture and finish
  • Corrects and evens skin tone
  • Broad Spectrum SPF 30

Doesn't it sound great?  Read below the photo to find out what I think!

I've worn it a couple of days now.  The first day I wore it with a primer like I always wear foundation.  Mistake.  The No Foundation Foundation is SPF 30 and therefore has a sort of sticky feel to it.  It does not glide on very well if you're primed!

The second day I did not prime first.  Went on much better.

The first day I put too much on.  The second day I did fewer drops.  Went on much better.

The first day I couldn't see the difference between my face and the 'no make up make up'.  I know that  is the point but you still want it to look like something don't you?  It's slightly unnerving at first because it does look very tan colour in the bottle and if you're pale like me you automatically think you're going to end up looking orange, luckily that didn't happen, it takes on the base tone of your natural colour (which is what it said it would do!).

The second day I asked my mother in law (who I am on holiday with) to observe whilst I put it on.  She said she could definitely see the difference but it was a fresh glow.  Later that day I gave it to her to use and when she'd finished you could tell.  It just gives a very healthy, even tone to your skin.  Result.

The truth is that had it not been for the fact that this was reduced in price because it was Duty Free I wouldn't have bought it, I'm not in the habit of spending too much on a foundation that might not even suit me.  But it was a gamble that paid off because I really like it and I'd definitely recommend it.  It will probably also last quite a long time because you really don't need as much as I was putting on at first.

I have since been on the website for more Perricone MD products ...


Sunday, 3 June 2018

Guess My Age Cream by Laidbare

Guess my age, go on, guess!

I love it when I discover a face cream that I really like, that I would definitely buy again and that absolutely does not break the bank!

Seriously, one of the nicest creams I've tried on my face recently is Guess My Age Anti-Ageing Treatment Cream by Laidbare.  It arrived as part of my Love Lula beauty box in February but I didn't take much notice of it until recently when I ran out of my Elemis (which is gorgeous but you need a second mortgage to buy it).


For a 50ml pot it's £9.99 which is really good value for such a good cream.  When I first put it on it felt a bit tacky on my face but sinks in immediately leaving skin soft and is a great base for primer and make up afterwards.  It's got a lovely refreshing smell too, lovely for first thing in the morning.

What's in it?

Laidbare products are organic and made with only natural ingredients and not tested on animals, beautifully suitable for vegetarians and vegans too.  Guess My Age cream has got Active Prodejine and Exotic Flower Oil in it which is great wrinkle busting stuff.  Laidbare seem to know that they can't turn back time unlike some anti-ageing cream claims but use natural products to boost collagen and plump skin.  I have to admit that my skin does feel plumped and smooth and really soft actually.

I'm not going to compare it to Elemis as they are completely different creams though both are lovely.

Laidbare also sell another cream for mature skin that I want to try it's called 9 to 5 anti-ageing cream, definitely worth a try for only £7.99.

You can find the Laidbare website and link to the cream here.

Have you guessed my age?

I'm 45 (46 in July).

Guess My Age?  By Laidbare


Friday, 27 April 2018

High Intensity Griit and Zumba Gold (and not Aerobics)

Following on from my interesting back to front Step class on Monday I have bravely attempted two more classes at the gym this week.

The first was a High Intensity Griit Cardio class on Tuesday.  Really, the least said about this class the better.  It was only half a hour but it felt like an entire day.  Basically, I was way out of my depth.  Even further than the Step depth the day before, because at least I managed to muddle my way through that and actually on some level I did enjoy it.  This class was just way too hard, I wasn't fit or quick enough to keep up though I did battle my way to the end.  The whole point of trying the various classes is to try and find a few that I want to do regularly, I knew when I started to do them that there would be a couple I wasn't overkeen on and this is definitely one of them.  Hats off to everyone else in the class though, I was in awe, they were super-fit

On Wednesday morning I took it down a notch and I to a Zumba Gold class.  Zumba Gold is aimed at "all levels of fitness" which is probably why I was the youngest in the class.  I knew a few of the ladies there from my Pilates class so it was nice to see friendly faces. The ladies pointed out a lady called 'June' in the front row "she's 92 you know".  You wouldn't have known she was 92, she was one of the fittest in the class, I bloody hope I'm like her when I'm 92 let me tell you.

The nice thing about Zumba is that it's dance based with really good music so it's really good fun and because you're moving all the time it really does raise your heart rate and give you a good workout.  My FitBit told me I'd done a couple of thousand steps and burned quite a lot of calories so I was pleased with myself.  I put myself down on the list for next week.

On Thursday I was supposed to go to Aerobics but unfortunately I had to give that a miss due to accidentally whacking my head on something the day before which meant I had to go to A&E to have it glued back together.  The nice doctor told me to 'keep quiet' for a couple of days.  I didn't have concussion and it wasn't a big cut but I think they just want to make sure the glue stays put so leaping around at Aerobics was out of the question.

Tomorrow is Saturday and I'm down for Step at 10am.  I'd really rather go to Body Balance on Sunday morning but I've got to go and find posh outfits for the kids as we're at a wedding next weekend.  So, Step it is.

I wonder if the teacher will be Mindy from Monday's class?  At least I'll know what to expect this time!

Not nearly enough water for a High Intensity Griit class!


Tuesday, 24 April 2018

The Beauty Box by Funmi Fetto SS18

Funmi Fetto is a beauty journalist and British Vogue's Contributing Editor so I'd say she knows a thing or two about beauty products.  That's why, when I saw she'd had a big input into the SS18 Beauty Box on the Clinique website I clicked the button straight away, particularly as I knew there would be at least two Clinique products in there (win win).

The Beauty Box arrived last week but I have only just been able to open it what with one thing and another.  I'd had a particularly rubbish Monday so after I'd eaten and got the kids to bed I sat down to open up my little box of goodies.

And they're good!  The box contains:

Darphin Hydraskin Light Gel Cream
Aveda Be Curly Curl Enhancer
Bobbi Brown Crushed Lip Colour, Ruby
MAC Prep & Prime Natural Radiance Yellow
Origins GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream
Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy Lash Multi Effects Mascara
Clinique Cheek Pop, Berry Pop
Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector & Optimizer


A sample bottle for Estee Lauder Double Wear
A sample of Clinique Moisture Surge

The only two products I'm not particularly excited about are the MAC Prep & Prime Natural Radiance as I've tried this before and didn't rate it, and the Bobbi Brown Lip Colour as Ruby is going to be too dark for me but I'll give it a whirl.

One of the reasons I love beauty boxes is because you get to test products before you buy them full size.  If it hadn't been for my Glossybox, for example I would never have discovered Kiko Milano make up which is now one of my favourite brands and very highly affordable too.  At the moment I have Glossybox and Love Lula (both monthly).  I've got a year subscription to Glossybox and Love Lula was six month subscription Christmas present from my lovely mother-in-law.  I'm do really love Love Lula though so I will be extending the subscription when it finishes.  It's a bit different as it's all organic products, things I probably wouldn't have known about if it hadn't been for the samples and I will definitely be re-purchasing a few things I've tried.

So, the testing of The Beauty Box products starts tomorrow!  I'll be back with my verdicts.

The Beauty Box

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