Monday, 29 December 2014

Another Emma Hardie Review

I think every blogger with a passing interest in skincare has done this review and now it's my turn.

On the Saturday before Christmas, I took the boldly foolish decision to take my visiting mother to see some London shopping (I am currently not so excited by museums and galleries), I thought, where better to go than the world-famous Harrods.

Let's just say, I have seen sardine tins and Johannesburg Taxis with more elbow room.

But this story is not about the misadventure that is Harrods at Christmas time; it's about a lovely little apothecary, across the cobbled streets, warm and welcoming in the frozen morning; it's about Space NK and the incredible cleanser I bought there.

I saw it when we first arrived outside Harrods, and I simply had to go inside. It was wonderful and filled with temptation. The staff were kind and friendly without being pushy, as I slowly walked around gazing at all the magical potions before me. I wanted everything!

No! I had to exercise some self-control. After all I had just bought a new laptop and DSLR camera.
I could not leave this place empty-handed and when I saw the Emma Hardie Amazing Face Moringa Cleansing Balm, I could not resist. I had always assumed that it was very expensive, but £36 for 100ml does not seem all that bad to me, especially considering how long these products last.

I was in heaven and still have not had the heart to throw away any of the packaging. Is that weird?

The caveat is this - I have never used this product before, I am not and expert and this is my opinion so far.

My skin is normal to dry with patches, sensitive and always dehydrated. There is some redness and wrinkles (apparently also broken capillaries and enlarged pores).

I have heard good things about this product and so I felt compelled to try it.
I know that some people have had poor experience with the jar, but mine is still in one piece (for now) so I won't talk about that.

The aroma is fresh, calming and zesty (almost lemony maybe) without being too sharp or spicy. I can't quite describe it and I am not going to try.

It looks like whipped honey has the texture of soft butter, and as it warms, like an aromatic oil on your skin. It emulsifies in water and is so soft and lovely that you just want to keep working it into your skin. It cleanses really well and does not dry you out.

My face felt nourished and clean, without any residue at all left behind. I really felt pampered using this product.

The Lush cleansing balm tries very hard but fails utterly to compete with this gem. It may have a similar look, but it just does not cut it for me at all.

This particular jar came with a nifty little muslin cloth - muslin on one side, and normal flannel on the other. Most people love it. I do not. - I like each side individually (and will probably be getting some muslin cloths in the future as they do this lovely buffing thing that feels rather nice), but together, they just do not work for me. The reason is that they slide around and don't wipe your face properly. Maybe I just don't have the knack of holding them correctly.

I tried it on my mother too and she really enjoyed it. Her skin is even more sensitive than mine, and she could feel the benefits right away. I would really recommend this to those of you with slightly older, thirstier skin. It can really make a big difference.

I use it PM only as I want it to last, and still love my REN Cleansing milk for a lighter cleanse in the morning (I still use REN as the first cleanse if I'm doing a double).

What's your cleanser of choice?
Please don't say soap.

Friday, 26 December 2014

Storm in a Teacup - SportsDirect U Suck!

Mr C and I went to Sports Direct today.
Our mission was simple - Get a kidney belt for Mr C because he was in a car accident a few months ago his back really hurts so his mobility is limited and he needs some support.

We went to the branch at The Boulevard in Borehamwood.

We are not, as a rule, optimistic in our outlook, but when it comes to shopping, we have a tendency to dare to hope that we will get treated like human beings and not like trash when we enter a store. This, quite naively, also includes Sports Direct which, in retrospect is quite a dumb attitude to have because in the 4 years we have been here, we have had passable service maybe twice, three times at a push.

At first we thought it was because we were going to the East Croydon Branch, but we have been to a few around London and they are basically all the same: Bad attitudes (except for a small number of people who are nice but never seem to stay very long), bad service, aggressive and defensive, incompetent, indifferent, and very rude, and that's apart from their disappointing product ranges in-store and low quality merchandise.

In brief, Mr C approached the till where two young female employees were lounging over the counter having a chat. He politely asks the one staff member for the item he as looking for. in return he got a bleary-eyed look from the staff member, who said "what's that?" then turned to her colleague and said "He says he wants a kidney belt." So my husband told her that it was a support belt for his back, at which point, she replied "Oh that, they're somewhere over there." waving her hand in the general direction and immediately returning to her conversation, still lying over the counter like she could not be bothered to hold up her own body weight.

So naturally, our next stop was to the manager, to find out A. if there was any other product he could guide us towards, since the item described by the vague hand wave was not suitable, and B. to tell the manager about the SHIT service we got.

Oh my GOD! What a self-righteous PRICK! His only reaction was to get defensive and aggressive because we used the word shit. It was an accurate description for the service. We were not swearing at him or at his staff. We said the service was shit. Well how dare we swear at him and he will decide when service in his shop is bad and deal with it accordingly and he doesn't appreciate being sworn at and - He was quite mean and I felt threatened by him.  

Let me be perfectly honest, JD Sports is a shop I will not set foot in. Sports Direct staff, however, have been so nasty to me that they have made me cry on more than one occasion. Chris, the manager of the Borehamwood Sports Direct, was one of them today. I will not tolerate this any longer.

I have worked in retail, I have worked in hospitality, I have even packed flowers at a farm for Mother's Day so do not tell me that you can't expect more from people earning minimum wage and you can't tell me that staff behave that way because the company does not treat them well. As excuses go, those are pitiful and pathetic.

I will be taking this to head office, We already phoned today, by the customer care centre was closed. (Surprise!!)

I have been to many of the shops in the Boulevard and I cannot think of a shop there or on the High Street that treats its customers worse than Sports Direct.

The experience completely spoilt my day; and I do try so hard to have good days - it takes work these days; it doesn't just happen by itself any more.

Please feel free to recommend an alternative supplier of sportswear and shoes. I really hate SportsDirect!

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Year in Review - 2014

I am a little apprehensive about this post, but I'll do it anyway.


This year was a devastating trial that may take years to heal from. I lost my first born, and I have never felt so much pain in my life.

I have tried, over the past months, to find some peace and healing. Mr C and I went to bereavement counselling (which helped a lot), I tried to go back to work (short story - I tried to work at a school - 2 weeks - I didn't like it. I went to work for a little local company doing office work - I was having a bad patch and was not coping well. So I left after 6 weeks).

We also bought a Pug puppy. Her name is Pugsleigh. She is very sweet and quite a smart little monkey, to the cat's dismay. They chase each other around a lot ad it drives me mad.

Mr C and I were in a car accident and our little Fiesta was written off and so we got a Mini Cooper. The accident added so much stress, I can't even begin to tell you.

I have also struggled with my health in these past few months. I have a shiny new kidney stone (5mm) in my right kidney and might have developed asthma. I also put on a lot of weight, so my GP sent me to Weight Watchers.

I have lost 9.5lb (4.4kg), a result I am happy with. Mr C will be joining me in January.
I may share some recipes, if you like.

We have also made some new friends and settled nicely into our new neighbourhood. We moved in April. I don't think I mentioned it.

There was much more activity this year,too. If I look back on the blog, I realise how much I learned and what I got up to - like going to Summer in the City, going to the YouTube offices to learn stuff and visiting some beauty shows.

2014 was full of pain and loss, and I hope the new year will bring new hope and a better 2015.

This was not much of a review, I know.  The blog took a nose dive and I hope to spend more time on it.

Anyway, Hope you have a good festive season and a Happy New Year!

Monday, 8 December 2014

Today I Blogged

Sometimes I feel like I start every post with an apology and it feels like a confession.
This blog is irregular. That's just the way it is. 

It's been almost eight months since I lost my girl and it's not getting any easier to cope.

In the last two months, I've tried a few things to move forward and get out and about. For a start, I got a job at a primary school, thinking I would go into teaching. That did not work out. I lasted two whole weeks before I just couldn't handle the chaos any more. So I started working part time for a company with local offices. That lasted a month. I resigned today. Lesson of the day - do not try to work for a company  that does things differently and feels chaotic and confusing, if you are barely hanging on to your own sanity. 

We've also adopted a little pug puppy. Her name is Pugsleigh and she is very sweet, apart from when she terrorises the cat and is hyper an naughty. She is small and cuddly and smart as a whip. She can already sit stay and lie down. It's very sweet.

On the health side of things, scans have confirmed that I have a 5mm kidney stone that is not blocking or causing mayhem, so they have decided to leave it be and check it out in a year's time. They also found a benign 2.4cm growth on my adrenal gland, but haven't said anything about it. I have completed all the tests related to my breathing and should get an answer tomorrow.

I have finished the physiotherapy from my whiplash injury from the September car accident and have also completed all the tests to find out why we are struggling to conceive. Everything came back clear and normal. 

My consultant recommended I lose weight to help with that, so I was referred to Weight Watchers. I joined two and a half weeks ago and lost four pounds in my first week and two pounds last week. My weigh-ins are on Wednesday nights, which, strangely enough, is a really good day for it. 

The weather has changed and the cold has set in. I have not kept up with my skincare and my nails are badly bitten down.

I've bought myself an entry level DSLR Canon Camera (1200D) in the hope of motivating me to do more blogwise. Mr C also bought me a new laptop (a lovely little HP) - mine was more than 4 years old. 

I make no promises on regularity, or anything else for that matter.

All I can say is today, I blogged.

See you next time.