Saturday, 19 April 2014

Where Did You Go?

I didn't notice as you started to change. As he attached himself to you and started to change your view. Still, everyone changes though don't they?

Then you started to talk differently. Your outlook changed. Positivity disappeared. Defensiveness and bitterness growing like a weeds around you. Choking out the last pieces of you that I knew. It got so I could barely reach you, but still I tried to cling on.

They started dropping like flies. Your friends. Your family. As one by one your actions became stranger. I stood by you. Saw it from a neutral position. I tried to mediate. I apologised for you. I tried to build bridges for you, but every time you burned them.

According to you there was only ever one side. Yours. I see now you wanted me to be like you. To turn my back on everyone but you. I could not. Would not.  Then came the day I knew in my heart would come. You would not tolerate my tolerance any more. For the last time you asked me to choose. To walk away with you and leave everything else behind. Yet still I would not choose. So you chose for me. You cut me out of your life like all those before me. Like I was a wart. Vile. To be removed and never thought of again.

I tried to reason with you, but the girl who could be reasoned with had gone. Someone else I really didn't know stood in her place.  Would I do it differently if I had the chance again? No. My decision would be the same.  I could never give up everything I knew for someone I did not know anymore.

Yet still I miss you. The real you. The you who went on thrilling teenage midnight walks, of talking until the sun came up, of shared Saturday jobs and trying to be grown ups in fishnet tights and dog collars at the local rock club.

A fixture in my life for so long. I wonder if you really could have simply disappeared before my eyes.  I can't believe that you are gone forever.  That you aren't still somewhere, the girl you used to be.  So if you're there, if you come back...know that I am still here. Your friend. Even if you can't make it all the way, then maybe we could meet in the middle. Maybe find a new route to get to where we once were.  I'm holding my hand out, I'd love for you to take it. Whatever path you choose, I wish you well.

Gel polish at home - Red Carpet Manicure Review

Before I became a mummy I used to love doing my nails.  I don't have the nicest nails (they tend to split and peel very easily), so I found keeping them polished made them look much better.  However, if you read my blog you'll know I'm quite partial to a bit lots of cleaning and tidying and I can be terribly hard on my hands and nails, so I would always find my nail polish would chip really easily and quickly, even when I used really high quality polish.  I didn't mind that too much though, as I always had plenty of time to re-paint them. Or I could go and get Shellac or Gellish which lasted weeks.  Now I'm simply too busy to either do my own nails repeatedly or even to go and have them done professionally.  So I started looking at a variety of at home gel nail kits. However I found most were so expensive I couldn't really justify the cost,  I was really staring to think I would never find an affordable one. Until recently that is. I think I may just have found exactly what I was looking for. The best of both worlds. Affordable, at home gel nails that actually last! So like me you are a thrifty lady in need of a money saving manicure or  just a no-chip nail polish solution, read on...

 I'd like to introduce you to...Red Carpet Manicure.

The Packaging


"Red Carpet Manicure allows you to achieve salon quality gel manicures at home. This professional brand features a wide range of on trend nails colours for beautiful manicures that last weeks without chipping!"

Imagine my excitement when I saw this! I was straight onto the website choosing my kit!


There are 2 different starter kits to choose from.  Both contain exactly the same products:

  • Portable LED Light (requires 4 x AA batteries, not included)
  • PURIFY Pre & Post Application Cleanser (59ml)
  • PREP Max Adhesion Sanitizer (9ml)
  • STRUCTURE Base Coat Gel (9ml)
  • BRILLIANCE Seal & Shine Top Coat Gel (9ml)
  • ERASE Gel Nail Polish Remover (59ml)
  • LED Gel Polish (9ml) in Red Carpet Reddy

 the only difference being the LED curing light.

The Professional Kit (£89.95)  - Contains a professional quality LED light which has a timer function and is powered by mains electricity. This LED is designed to provide rapid curing.  Curing takes 45 seconds for each coat of polish.

The Portable Kit (£59.95) - Contains a smaller, less powerful LED light, which has no timer and is powered by AA batteries (which are not included). Curing with the portable kit takes 2-3 mins per coat of polish.

As the products in each kit were exactly the same I opted for the cheaper portable kit.  I didn't mind using a less powerful LED light, it just meant my manicure would take a few minutes longer.  I don't mind the extra time if it saves me £30!

Portable LED


When my kit arrived and I couldn't wait to get started!   I set out all the products in the order I would use them. I made sure to read the instructions a few times just to make sure I understood the process.

The process is very easy and fairly quick. 

I used the Purify cleanser on a tissue to remove any excess dust and oil. The next step was applying Prep, a sanitizer that dries the nail surface out for better adhesion.

I then applied Structure, the basecoat. The first thing I noticed is that it is thicker than actual nail polish and had a very sticky consistency so it was a little difficult to achieve the thin coat the instructions recommend. It takes 1 minute to cure but you have to do it in three steps (four fingers right hand, two thumbs together, four fingers left hand), as 5 fingers of a hand won't ideally all fit in the LED curer at once Apart from that, the LED worked fine, the light even has a swivel feature to angle whichever way best suits you and little grooves to rest your fingers (or toes) on. It was very easy to use.

The next step was applying a thin layer of the colour. I cured the first coat for 3 minutes because it's a darker colour (lighter colours take 2 minutes). I then repeated this process for the second (thin coat) coat.  The colour I used was RED CARPET REDDY, the colour supplied with the kit.  This is a lovely bright shade of red.  I was slightly worried that the polish might be the same consistency as the basecoat, but it was fine.  The polish applies smoothly in a few strokes of the brush.  It didn't appear streaky, but you definitely need 2 coats to get a nice deep red.  A word of caution though, if you aren't confident in applying nail polish a red probably isn't the best colour to start with as any mistakes you make will be clearly visible!  I would recommend in that case you buy a pale pink or nude colour while you get the hang of it.

Once I was done I applied the Brilliance topcoat and cured again for 2 minutes. The nail polish remains tacky through the WHOLE process, right up until the very end so be very careful not to touch anything while doing your nails (you really need to set aside the time to do the full manicure in one go). After I'd cured the topcoat I put some more Purity on a tissue and wiped the nails smooth. I'm not sure how, but after this step the tackiness magically vanished. Initially I had been a bit dubious as to whether all the prep and finishing products were truly necessary but it seems that you definitely need to use the Purify with your manicure. You cannot skip this step, or ANYTHING you touch will stick to your nails!

Et Viola! The finished nails were super shiny and smooth!


Despite the LED being so easy to use and being able to angle it, I found that where you had applied polish to seal the free edge of your nail (to further minimise the risk of chipping) wouldn't cure as well on some of my nails. The LED either wasn't reaching it properly due to the angle or perhaps the LED was not strong enough?


Obviously I currently have no idea how long my finished manicure will last, but I will update the review in a week or so to let you all know the verdict.  I will say now though that I am very impressed with the kit.  The manicure easy to apply and the instructions were very thorough too.  The whole process was relatively quick even with the slower portable LED ( 15 mins at first attempt which I think isn't bad and I should get faster with practice).  The finished look is just beautiful.  My nails look super smooth and glossy (when in reality under the polish they are in awful condition)! They feel super strong too, just like a salon job! Overall I think this kit provides excellent value for money.  The purchase price is covered in what it would have cost me for 2 or 3 salon gel manicures!  Even if the finish doesn't last quite as long as they claim I'll still be pleased as I don't think I'd get a better alternative for this price.  Also, I'm hoping to try the top coat over some of my favourite ordinary polishes to extend the wear time, so if that works I'll be over the moon!  At home gel manicure?  I THINK I'VE NAILED IT! My best beauty buy this year so far! Thank you RED CARPET MANICURE!

Friday, 18 April 2014

Scottish Independence - Courage, Cowardice or Stupidity?

The day is coming. The day is coming. I'll head to the polling station and what I choose to do WILL change my future. Our future. That may or may not be a good thing.

So what do we do? Do we stay governed by those we most certainly didn't vote for, knowing what they have done and continue to do to the UK?

Should we stay, when we have a chance to break free? Even if that means heading into the unknown?

Will we be left out in the cold? No monetary union, no EU membership. How do we begin to build our own currency? Who would help us? Who would be our allies?

Yet if we don't, is it cowardice? Will we become a joke? If we are perceived as weak, will we be punished for having ever had the audacity to consider going it alone?

There are so many unanswered questions and so many that are answered. Yet so many of those answers fall into the category of speculation or opinion. Expert opinion, yes. Yet opinion all the same.

I look on independence in the same way I look at a new business start up. There are no guarantees.

Even the best business models can fail, but they can also be successful. There are no guarantees.

So what do you do? Stay in the dead end job, or take the leap of faith?  What would you do? For you, for your family, and for your future?

*disclaimer - I'm not really a political animal by nature. I do not claim to know anything about politics. This is about the closest thing you'll get to a political opinion from me. It's extremely simplistic, if not entirely stupid. So if you've come here to start a political debate, I suggest you jog on. There is nothing of interest for you here!

How Clean Is Your House - I Don't Care!

Hello, my name is Lynn and I'm a neat freak. It's likely that if you arranged to come and visit me the carpets would be freshly hoovered, the kitchen floor would be mopped, glass would be cleaned and cushions would be plumped. It's just what I do.

Yet I'm annoyed. I recently read a blog where someone suggested they could never be friends with someone like me, a mum with a tidy house (apologies - I couldn't actually remember who wrote that original blog post). I've read posts on Facebook too, berating people (especially mums) for having a clean and tidy home. Apparently if I take time to tidy my house I'm missing spending quality time with my child. Apparently I'm not fun.

I know it's daft, but statements and blogs like this make me feel I have to justify myself. So I'm going to. First of all, I don't think there is anything wrong with wanting your home to be nice. That's all I want. A nice environment to live in for my child, and for me. However, to say I prioritise housework over the care of my child is utter nonsense. Every single day my daughter and I read, draw, paint, bake, dance, visit the park, sing, play with toys, play hide and seek. You name it, we do it. Where possible, I plan my cleaning around my daughter. So if she is napping or having a snack or after she's gone to bed you will most likely find me completing a household task. Sometimes when that's not possible we'll do some housework together. Holly loves to help me with the washing and think it's a great way to help teach her colours too! She also loves to help me dust and often asks to do it without any prompting. I think it's good to get her involved in housework now because when she is older she will be expected to do housework to earn her pocket money. Doesn't sound like such a bad thing really does it?

For the record though, even though I have a tidy house most of the time it does get messy with a toddler. Of course it does. How could it not? You'll find every floor strewn with toys. EVERY DAY. You just won't find dishes in the sink or cobwebs in the corners. Then when it's Holly's bedtime the toys disappear. They are stored away. I like to turn my house into a nice adult place to relax in the evenings. Again, I don't see what's so awful about this?

There is some suggestion that because I have a tidy house I judge others who don't. I think that's really what the whole thing boils down to. Well I can honestly tell you I don't. Not at all. You're not me, and I'm not you. I've always been a neat freak, I've always been fastidious. Just because I became a mum that was never going to change. It's part of my personality, a trait ingrained in me. I do it because I want to, but that doesn't mean I expect anyone else to. Sometimes I wish I wasn't so, but it's part of what makes me, ME. It genuinely upsets me that someone would judge me for having a tidy house. Judge me as not worthy of their friendship. Would dismiss me, without knowing anything more about me than the state of my home. I would never do that to someone else. Reduce a person to one part of their life*. It's narrow minded and I most certainly think that is far worse than than being either messy or tidy!

*Well unless they were something hideous like a serial killer in their free time.

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Wednesday, 2 April 2014

What I Ate Wednesday - The Slimming World Edition!

Welcome to What I Ate Wednesday!


Slimming World overnight oats. If you've never tried or heard of these they are simple to prepare and really delicious. It's just 28g of oats (HEXB), a Muller Light Yogurt (or I use Lidl low fat instead). Put them together in a sealed container and pop them in the fridge overnight.  I used a strawberry yogurt and added some sliced banana in the morning. You can use any yogurt and fruit you like really!

Quick tip - I like my oats a bit runnier so often add a splash of almond milk if I have it. Almond milk is a great addition on SW. Did you know you can have between 875ml (Blue Diamond) and 950ml (Alpro) unsweetened almond milk as a HEXA choice? That's loads, so you could easily use it to make something tasty like SW rice pudding!


Baked potato with a dollop of Philadelphia extra light and topped with lots of roasted veggies. This used to be my favourite bagel filling so I just switched to using it on a potato instead. The vegetables I used were garlic, peppers, onion (try to use red onion if you have it) and courgette. I would usually have mushrooms too but had none left today. 


Couscous Jambalaya. One of my favourite foods is Jambalaya but I make mine with couscous as it's much quicker that way. I can have it ready to eat in under 30 mins. I have had to alter my recipe to make a SW friendly version so have excluded certain ingredients like oil and sausage. I try to pack in as much veg as I can to this dish and it's always delicious. I know a lot of people don't like couscous but I can assure you this is nothing like ordinary couscous. So why not give it a try?


One tangerine (I'm a bit addicted to the ones from M&S, they are so sweet and juicy)

One homemade SW flapjack. Check out my recipe HERE. They're great and you only need 3 ingredients!


SW flapjack - 2.5 syns

So that's my What I Ate Wednesday. What did you eat today?

Slimming World Flapjacks

I absolutely love flapjacks. Unfortunately they just happen to be about a million calories each, so I really don't want to waste my SYNS on such a small amount of food! No matter how much I love them! So instead I've come up with my own alternative recipe which I think turned out quite well and is ridiculously simple.  I thought I should share it with you all.

Slimming World Flapjacks

120g oats (about 20 syns)

2-4 tablespoons Agave Nectar (2 tbsps is 3 syns)

56g mashed banana (3 syns)

Simply mix it all together in a bowl then spread in a small baking tray which has been lightly coated with fry light to stop it sticking. I baked it at 150 degrees until it started to brown at the edges. 


And that's it! I sliced mine into 12 pieces which I'd say were fairly large. So depending on how much Agave nectar you use (depends on how sweet you want them) they would be between 2 - 2.5 syns per slice. I don't normally syn mashed banana but I thought I would on this occasion just to give you an idea of the syn values.

Now, I think these slices are yummy. They aren't quite the same texture as a real flapjack but I think they are a good substitute and will be making them again. You could definitely add some more fruit or for a few more syns why not add some chocolate chips or a drizzle of chocolate on top! I hope you like them as much as I do.


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