An ethical chocolate brand, created out of love, Pure Heavenly Chocolate prides itself on having recyclable packaging, paying suppliers fairly, being palm oil free & having only 2% sugar, it’s also gluten and soy free .
For a chocolate lover like me this is all good news & I love the size of the bars, meaning I can eat the whole bar in one go (or be really generous and share 2 or the 4 squares!)
And so my family and I have been testing the bars for you and all the flavours get the thumbs up, Hazelnut was my fave BTW, but there’s Silk, Mint, Banana, Orange, Salted Caramel, Coconut and Strawberry as well.
You can use the code LINDA21 to get 15% discount on orders of £20 + from: www.pureheavenly.com
Pure Heavenly Chocolate is a small, family-owned business, created by a Stephen Conway, who had suffered from many health issues and wanted a chocolate that was healthy and came from the heart, with thought to everyone in the process of making the chocolate.
This could be the perfect grown-up Easter gift for you or your loved ones.
When did you last wear a dress? If you’re anything like me, apart from a blip over Christmas you’ve spent the last months in hoodies, random jumpers, leggings, dungarees, joggers and occasionally jeans. And oh, it would be nice to put on a dress, even if it needs a big jumper on top at the moment.
Well anyway, I have recently made a discovery I’m going to share with you: Mango have an outlet website and the prices are really good! https://mangooutlet.com
…..So I bought this dress, (actually I bought 2 – more of that one another day,) and a straw basket (rip off of a designer one.)
And I thought I’d show you how I will be wearing it.
Firstly there’s this Holland Cooper blazer, that I bought about 18 months ago and have worn exactly once! I’d style it with boots at the moment or with these Churches white brogues and just to make myself look like a celeb I’d add classic Rayban Wayfarers.
It’s a loose fit and I like the long sleeves as they can be pushed up on cool days but equally work for early summer or chilly evenings and I could belt the dress as I have here as an option, and add white pumps/sneakers, like these from New Look, (that were an absolute bargain.) But feeling a bit ladylike, I’m wearing my Powder UK sunglasses that are a little bit retro and I like the square frames.
But down here in Cornwall I’ll probably be throwing my M&S denim jacket over the top and if I want to be ‘posh’ (that is as posh as it gets on a Cornish summer evening) then I could add some wedges and to watch the sunset, put on my Rayban Aviators.
And that, is dressing up in my dress! Just need sunshine to stay for a while now.
Spring makeup tips…Let’s get a fresh glow because the sun’s out!
I felt the sun on my skin on my dog walk this morning (yes I had already applied SPF30) & when I got home I wanted to create a fresh makeup for you.
So here you go! It’s easy and simple and importantly I created it to make me feel, shall I say, ‘youthful’!
I focused on giving my face both lift, life and a healthy glow.
Lips were outlined before applying Wanderlust Lipstick and then Balm. to the centre.
Here’s what I used:
@code8beauty beauty balm n10 on my skin applying with a foundation brush lightly over my face
@code8beauty Day to Night foundation n05 as concealer applied with my fingers and tapped in under the eyes and where I had any discolouration
@code8beauty Bronze In East Hampton on my cheeks -high under cheekbones and in a sweep around outer hairline, tapped in and blended well.
@code8beauty Arch Realist in Light on my brows – applied with light strokes to mimic hairs, ending on the outside just above an angle from the corner of the eye and nose (Hold a brush against the tip of your nose to the outside of the eye for this.)
@code8beauty Iconoclast eye shadow palette in Jaipur Marbles colours applied with a fluffy brush and blended well. Apply colour just above the crease line to create life.
@code8beauty Lash Sophisticate Black Mascara applied to upper lashes only concentrating on the outer edges
@ariane.poolecosmetics Mineral Illuminating Pen on brow bone and cheekbones applied to outer side of upper cheekbone from the iris outwards
@studio10makeup Perfecting Lip Liner
@code8beauty Colour Brilliance Sculpting Lipstick in Wanderlust
“So, what do woman want ? ……To be safe, to be valued, to live in peace, to have control of their bodies and lives, and, above all, to be loved. On all these fronts, there is much work to be done….”
This is the preface of ‘The Soul of a Woman’ by brilliant author, Isabel Allende. Born in Peru and brought up in Chile, Allende has written twenty-six best-selling novels, each one written in her wonderful descriptive style.
…..And how significant and poignant these words seem this week.
For me those words hit the spot: to feel safe in the street, to be proage, to be the master of our lives and be loved, cherished and happy. The Soul of a Woman is, as the title implies, about feminism in the broadest sense, about women empowerment, family, being inspired and inspiring. The book, like all her novels, is beautifully written. She paints wonderful imagery and within the first few lines captured me.
Allende is one of my favourite authors. I’ve read many of her novels, but in this book she talks how she was ‘a feminist in kindergarten’ and on the back cover she writes:
“I want to light the torches of our daughters and granddaughters with mine. They have to live for us, as we have lived for our mothers, and carry on with the work still left to be finished”
I am very happy to say I was given the book by my husband, who has always encouraged and supported me (and our daughter) and who has often been made to understand the feminine viewpoint with 2 outspoken women in his life. I have certainly never felt less than equal, in fact… No! I’d better not say it ….
Going back to “The Soul of a Woman” – I cannot recommend to you more strongly.
#stylenotage – Oh, I like that hashtag! …. Because looking stylish will always make you look fashionable and anyway who cares about age?
Style can of course be very understated or very over the top, very casual or very dressed up… but style means what you’re wearing works for you.
Coco Chanel used to advise taking one thing off before you leave home. When I worked on photo shoots and often ended up doing the styling as well as the makeup, I had my own version of Coco’s renowned saying: “If in doubt, leave it out!” I maintain that’s still a good mantra to have before you go out, especially to an event, where you may be tempted to put on every bit of glitz and glamour you possess, (especially anything that comes up in the near future!)
I tend to look at most of my clothes in terms of how to dress them up and how to dress them down and no matter what your age, I think you can always find something from the latest trends that will work for you, even if it’s just wearing the latest fashionable colour.
1 dress x 3 ways – sneakers or heels, jewellery or not, scarves or big jumpers – fit to your mood.
I’ve found the perfect gifts for Mother’s Day….in my case, that means for ME!
I wanted to give a little shout-out to http://www.jonrichard.comwho make the most fabulous, really reasonably priced jewellery.
AND at the moment they are giving 20% off everything for Mothers’ Day, (and of course there’s nothing wrong with treating yourself as every home-schooling mum needs a gift for sure!)
Last Christmas a friend gave me some lovely earrings from Jon Richard jewellery which I truly treasure, so imagine how delighted I was to be asked to share some of their gorgeous designs. In fact, I have to confess I’ve been wearing these pieces for the last three days!
The Jon Richard Simply Silver Collection is perfect for layering up or wearing as individual pieces and the detailing is just gorgeous. (I know I’m going to be buying more of the bracelets to add to the two I’m currently wearing on my wrist. I love how lots of the pieces have added shine from tiny subtle cubic zirconia decorated areas and that many or the designs work with casual or ‘dressed up’ clothes (and hopefully I’ll be dressed up very soon!). Having said that they also have some fantastic glitzy pieces that would be perfect for glam events.
And, my daughter’s getting married in the summer, (fingers totally crossed here as it was postponed twice last year,) so I’m definitely going to be shopping from the Bridal Collection.
And I have to say, every design is both timeless and collectable. Jon Richard Jewellery is going to be a go-to for gifts, not just for me, but all my girlies. Do have a look, I think you’ll love them too!
This is probably my favourite kind of makeup look for me.
💛Rather than use an actual foundation I’ve used a light face tint to even skin tones without covering the skin too much. This gives a more modern finish than a heavy foundation – The aim is to still see your skin! Remember: updating products is a sure key to looking on-trend and by that I mean youthful.
💛I added warmth to my cheeks with a natural contour powder and coral blush. “Warming” your colouring with blusher, contour powder or bronzer enlivens the face and brings out the eyes. Just be gentle and blend well with a soft, fluffy brush.
💛Brows frame the face. Don’t ignore! I defined my brows with a brow pencil to give my face focus, whilst keeping it natural.
💛Next I used neutral, warm tones to define my eyes and bring out my blue colouring. Coppers and soft browns make blue eyes appear bluer!
💛And finished with a soft, pretty lip colour & gloss to tie the look together.
@ariane.poolecosmetics Ultimate Face Tint
@ariane.poolecosmetics Mineral Illuminating Pen
@ariane.poolecosmetics Coral Crush Contour Powder Duo
Over the past few years, brows have become fundamental to many people’s ‘look’ giving a strong visual statement that helps define individuality. It’s important to progress your look and working with brow trends can give you a youthful, fashionable appearance. But don’t worry, you don’t have to go as far as getting a ‘brow tattoo’ or ‘high definition brows’ to perfectly frame your face. It’s about finding the right tools and the right shape for you.
Back in the day when I was running a makeup course, I used to bang on about the importance of eyebrows as you ‘get older’ & how great brows can do more to retain a youthful look than using Botox – and of course, it’s a much cheaper option.
And it might be OK to sport the alternative fashion, no-brow, pale skin look if you’re 18 and a model (always shot with great lighting and an ethereal outfit of course,) but let’s face it, most of us don’t look like a Pre-Raphaelite painting (even though I had the hair and skin colouring once upon a time.)
I digress! I’ve been ‘working’ on my brows over the last year… actually only rarely plucking them (& sharpening my tweezers when I do with my Tweezerfile ) or occasionally using an Hollywood Browser to define the shape. So here’s what I use all the time, depending on what day it is and how the mood takes me!
✅I’ve been mainly using eye pencils – These allow you to fill in gaps and get a great shape.
My 2 current faves are:
@elfcosmetics Ultra Precise Brow Pencil
@purcosmeticsuk 4-in-1Arch Nemesis Light
And I haven’t used it yet because it’s brand new, but one of my fave brands @code8beauty launched Arch Realist Brow Defining Pencil yesterday…. which I’m sure will also be fabulous – so take a look!
✅When I’m short on time or feeling lazy, I’ve been using ‘lash mascaras’ which are quick to use and give a natural finish. A word of warning, you have to be careful not to get blobs when you begin to apply, so keep a light touch.
I’ve been using:
@elfcosmetics Wow Brow Gel Brunette (It’s darkish but not too dark)
@ariane.poolecosmetics Strawberry Blonde Brow Mascara. I just tend to brush my brows upwards and then when there’s hardly any product left on the brush, I brush them gently from the centre (side of my nose) outwards, to get the shape I want.
✅ I also like to use powders and creams which I apply with an angled brush. Sometimes I use actual eye shadow, but 2 products I’ve been using recently are:
@ariane.poolecosmetics Brow Duo which is a powder and brow pomade, for extra control, tiny tweezers and a little brush.
@ariane.poolecosmetics Brow Balm in Blonde, which I got along with the brush. (This is as the name suggests, a creamy waxy consistency and creates both colour, shape and hold to unruly brows.
In terms of colour I advise going lighter than you think! -The tones I tend to choose are: natural, light brown, blonde or grey. Go dark and it can look too strong and actually be ageing.
Other makeup details:
@no7uk Protect & Perfect All in One Foundation SPF50
Some time, around the age of fifty, I seemed to become invisible and I didn’t like it!
I have never been the ‘shy, retiring type’ more renowned for speaking up and speaking my mind, a bit ‘gobby’ perhaps.
…… I’ve often said my mouth works faster than my brain and so the right words don’t always come out. For this reason, if nothing else, people would remember me, even if their recall might be: “You mean that woman with the big mouth!”
…….I would be introduced to people and a couple of weeks’ later if I met them again, they would seemingly have no recall of ever having met me. If it had happened once I might have accepted it as a minor mistake, but when it kept occurring then I began to get upset. I even began challenging people. By people, in general I mean men. Now OK, if I’m introduced to an eighteen year old boy, he is not going to care who I am or even concentrate on the introduction, but when it comes to a guy who is anything from say a couple of years younger to any age older, then I expect some glimmer of memory. But nothing! Which told me one thing – I’d lost my appeal, my looks, my sensuality, my desirability, my very being.
…….Or, was it the f****-ing menopause? Had it done something to me? I’d sailed through it. It didn’t exist in my head, I ignored a flash of heat, I was no more moody than normal, (or so my daughter kindly told me,) but clearly something was very wrong.
“Maybe it was the MALE menopause?”
But then I began to see it through different eyes. Perhaps it wasn’t really me, perhaps it was THEM. Those men who were so sure of themselves a few years ago, guys at the top of the management tree, company directors, managing directors, owners of businesses, THEY had mostly taken early retirement or at least passed the reins to a younger team, still taking the money but losing the responsibility. Maybe it wasn’t ME who’d lost my status, maybe it was them? Maybe it was the MALE menopause?
“Suddenly I didn’t care what anyone thought!”
As soon as I saw the situation through new eyes, I for one, felt much more confidant. Suddenly I didn’t care what anyone thought, I decided I was going to be myself. I’d be loud if I felt like it, quiet if I didn’t, I’d occasionally flash flirtatious eyes, (in the safety of the husband’s ring-fence,) and I’d chatter away as much as I wanted and if my companions didn’t know who I was, what the Hell!
When you swing something around and look at the situation from the opposite perspective it can be very different.
“So many women lose their feeling of value as they age…. If this feels like you, stop right now! “
……If this feels like you, stop right now! You have every reason to be proud of yourself, so hold your head high, push your shoulders back, tighten those core muscles, stride forwards and ‘own it’.
‘One simple act of kindness might make a huge difference to someone else’
Sometimes it’s much easier to be cruel than be kind. Children for example, are often naturally spiteful, teenagers thoughtless when it comes to the words they choose and even as adults, it’s often much easier to criticise family, friends and work colleagues rather than praise or encourage them.
I remember returning home after my first term as a student and saying the words: “I will never live at home again!.” For my part it was a totally throw-away comment, but those few words deeply hurt my mum, as she was to remind me several times over the ensuing years. I still feel shame when I remember saying them, (totally inappropriately as they were the first words I uttered to my waiting parents on getting off the train.) At least I still feel that shame and have carried it with me for many years.
Charles Dickens novels are filled with characters easily divided as cruel or kind and in today’s society this strong division is perhaps less visible. Or is it? Some people happily give away fortunes to those less fortunate, whilst others are never willing to share. The ‘haves’ often have no consideration for the ‘have nots’ and this has certainly become apparent in recent times.
The early days of the global pandemic showed many examples of kindness and consideration. People walking around the empty streets near their homes greeted neighbours they normally ignored with a kindly exchange, (albeit from a safe distance.) Amongst fear and panic there was gratitude, offers to help the elderly and those people ‘sheltering’, thoughtful messaging on social media, clapping for the NHS and vital services and the development of a community spirit, whether this was all part of the developing virtual world or in real life. But somewhere over time, just as the flowers of summer have faded, so has the intrinsic feeling of kindness towards others.
This has really become very apparent to me on social media platforms. Earlier this year there were lots of posts designed to create a ‘light mood’ with happy pictures, memories, or positive messaging. Somewhere in the virtual confusion of our Covid world, this seems to have largely stopped.
….To the extent that suddenly I see people criticising each other unnecessarily, to the point of being hurtful. Of course you can politely disagree with something, that is each person’s right, but there is a way to disagree without being spiteful, by carefully choosing your words, or in most case, perhaps it is better to say nothing or to ‘unfollow.’ One big problem with social media, is in saying something unkind to someone, we have no idea how fragile that other person is, because, of course, we often don’t actually know our ‘friends’ and our ‘followers’.
If one of my family or my close friends says they don’t like an outfit I’m wearing, I’ll probably pull a face, say I don’t care because I like it, or call them a bitch….Then I’ll go and relook at myself to see if they were kindly telling me the outfit really doesn’t suit me. However, I trust my relationship with those people and also value their opinion and taste, (which may be very different to mine of course.) Their words are unlikely to have a lasting effect on me, or my mental health. But, if I put a picture on Instagram because I think I look good in something and someone writes. “Terrible look!” that’s a slightly different matter.
(This hasn’t happened by the way, although I have had some pretty pointed comments, but if it did I am pretty sure it would upset me, even if I have no knowledge of the other person or any reason to be distressed.) ……..Now I consider myself to be sane, and pretty level-headed and I wouldn’t describe myself as mentally fragile, but if I’m admitting a stranger’s critical words could upset me, then just imagine what it would be like if my mental health was poor!
I recently read a very long piece on Instagram, posted by a highly professional person whose account is about giving advice in a very serious manner. She had recently been ‘trolled,’ personally criticised and repeatedly victimised, to the extent that she said she had been lying awake at night unable to sleep, is highly distressed and struggling to get through the day. Almost as soon as I’d read her heart-wrenching words I saw another person who said she was leaving social media because it was interfering with her life and she had become obsessed. I’m appalled on many levels when I read things like this. For me, social media is about inspiration and ideas, information and communicating in a positive way. I believe whatever I post should be done with authenticity, reaching out to people (predominantly women) with whom I can share ideas and knowledge and absolutely showing thoughtfulness and kindness.
And this follows through into real life. These strange times have shown me that there are a lot of people out there feeling lost and lonely. Sometimes a smile is enough, but a quick message can mean so much. We need to show we care. One thing I’ve really seen over the last months is reaching out to people and talking about my own fears and worries helps them. I think most of us have had a few ‘black’ days, and that’s to be expected. Sharing your feelings and finding others are going through the same emotions can really help you and the people with whom you’re communicating.
I hope, in the end, the experiences we are all going through will have some positives we can take with us through the rest of our lives. For my part, I’ve realised how, as humans, we need each other. Wherever we are, whoever we are, whatever age we are, we need to feel kindness extending out to us. The warmth that feeling brings will give strength, positivity and hope and goodness knows, we all need some of that at the moment.
So think about it! A simple act of kindness each day doesn’t need to take any effort, doesn’t need to cost anything and doesn’t require much time, but it might make a huge difference to someone else.