Early Impressions (and one long-term-love) – Skincare for Dry Skin

I have been majorly into skincare this winter. I wanted to try and make improvements so that I didn’t need to rely on make-up to look human.

I’m not getting any younger, sadly, and  make-up can only do so much. If the skin underneath the layers is dry, dull and cracked then my face is never going to look its best.  I mentioned some treatments and masks recently (read about that here), but I also wanted to tell you about my top regular skincare choices.


lancome skincare dry skin origins mask liz earle skin repair moisturiser moisturizer


I have used Liz Earle on and off for many years, but a few months ago went back to using the Liz Earle Skin Repair Moisturiser for Dry/Sensitive skin as my nighttime moisturiser.  I can’t really say enough nice things about this little pot of gorgeousness.  The smell leaves a lot to be desired, but you can’t win them all, right?  The scent doesn’t linger though, so it’s a small price to pay for super soft and hydrated skin.  If your skin is even more dry than mine, then you could certainly use the Skin Repair Moisturiser in the morning (they do have a lighter version that I also happen to love).  Despite the dryness of my skin, I really hate that heavy greasy feeling that some moisturisers aimed at dry skin can leave behind.  This one doesn’t have that, and sinks in pleasantly quickly, and doesn’t leave a yucky film on my face.


For daytime, I have been using the Lancome Hydra Zen Anti-Stress Moisturising Cream (there’s a mouthful).  There are many moisturisers in this range, but I went for the Anti-Stress option, because sometimes my skin can be sensitive, and a little angry.  I have only been using this in the morning for the last few weeks, so I suppose I can’t say I have fully tested it.  I do think you know fairly early on whether skincare is going to be a total waste of money, though, and this one is not that. For me, it delivers the perfect amount of hydration, and also contains SPF 15 for that all-important sun protection.  I love that it leaves my skin moisturised, and not slimy, and brightens and calms.

I don’t entirely love the texture (it’s a bit, well, gritty), or the tub.  In fact, this applies to the Liz Earle cream too.  Pots seem so unsanitary to me.  My hands are always clean, but I can’t help but think about bacteria getting in there and spoiling my expensive face creams. However, on the plus side, my penny-pinching side loves that I can get every last drop out of them.

With regards to the odd texture of the Lancome moisturiser, it doesn’t stay on the skin, the little bits do disappear as it’s rubbed in, but it does make it feel slightly less luxurious on the skin,

origins, skincare, mask, dry skin, night routine, hydration


When I need that little bit of extra hydration, and don’t feel like doing my Michael Myers impression with a sheet mask, I adore the Origins Drink Up 10 Minute Mask.  I don’t use this as a mask, but just as an intense moisturiser.  It smells divine (fruity and yummy) and is silky soft to apply.  It does leave skin a little slippery, but I can cope with that if it’s only once a week.  I usually apply it early in the evening and then slump in front of Netflix for a couple of hours before bed.  That way it has sunk in before I go to bed, meaning there is no mess on my pillow. Again, I have been using this for just a few weeks, but I do love the feeling of plumpness when I wake in the morning after using it.  While I know nothing is going to turn back the clock, I intend to keep my skin looking young for as long as humanly possible.


So, these are the products that I love, but what about you? What are your favourite skin saviours? Let me know in the comments, maybe I will find a new wonder product!


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Worrying? That’s So Last Year!

I don’t like making resolutions; they don’t stick (with me anyway), and why wait until January to make a change? This year, however, I have made one. I have decided to become worry-free.



worry, anxiety, worrying, anxious, relax, resolutions


This is not something that comes naturally to me. Worry has been my constant companion for my whole life. Do you know whose middle name is Worry? Me, that’s who.

As long as I can remember I have been a mildly anxious person (I hesitate to use that word, because my anxiety is the old-fashioned kind; not debilitating, just annoying).  As a child – as my mum will attest to – I was the one nervously biting my nails in the car on the first day of term.  Not because I was worried about the first day back, but because I was terrified that we had made a mistake and it really wasn’t the first day back at all. ‘What if everyone else came back yesterday, and I’ve missed a day?’

Is that weird? The same with non-uniform day, my stomach would be in knots, until I caught a glimpse of a classmate sans uniform.  I’m pretty sure that’s a normal worry though. Right?


As an adult, things haven’t been much better to be honest.  I have worried my way through new jobs; new experiences; pregnancies; meeting new people; old jobs I don’t like anymore; not having enough money; and less frequently, having enough money (in case it disappears)…. You name it, I’ve worried about it.


But NO MORE! As of 2017, worry is going in the recycling bin.  It’s going to come out as happiness and contentment.


My reasoning behind being a big fat worrier, is that if I worry about it (and expect the worst) then I won’t be disappointed when the worst happens.  But NEWSFLASH, this is extremely flawed logic.


Over the last 13 years I have been pregnant six times, and have four children.  You could argue that my anxiety during those pregnancies was justified, but did it do any good? Heck no.



“What’s comin’ will come, 

an’ we’ll meet it when it does” – Hagrid


My final pregnancy was by far the most stressful, after suffering a late miscarriage the year previously.  So I worried.  Oh, I worried like never before.  Thankfully my daughter was born happy and healthy in 2014 (albeit back to back – awkward child that she is).

One thing I am certain of – my worrying did not create this gorgeous little being.  In fact, she is the most nervous and anxious of them all.  I would go as far as to say that my high stress levels during the pregnancy caused her to be a nervous child.  Me worrying about that would be pointless though.  I owe it to her (and my other children) to be a calm and rational role model.


The thing about worrying is that it doesn’t stop bad days happening, it just ruins the good days. And where’s the fun in that?

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Being Grateful

Have you ever said ‘I’m just having one of those days’? Doesn’t it start to feel like every day is one of those days after a while?  The negative feelings and interactions with other people snowball until you are one big ball of frustration and irritation.  Life seems like an uphill struggle, and insecurities and anxious feelings are at their highest.

self help, law of attraction, gratitude, happy life, lifestyle.

Leading up the summer of 2016 my life was a little bit… let’s say bumpy.  My mind was all over the place, I couldn’t decide what I wanted to do with myself, and I was feeling uninspired.  I announced several times to my husband and family that I had decided on a new career path, only to dismiss it a few days later.  I honestly thought I was having a pre-midlife crisis (…possibly midlife.  Eeek, am I that old already?)

It was an unusual time.

I started reading all the self-help books I could get my hands on (some better than others).  I gravitated towards motivational speakers on Youtube, rather than my usual beauty ‘gurus’, and I started to move away from beauty blogs and magazines, and towards stories of inspirational people.

I would wake up feeling apathetic at best, and downright miserable at worst. I wouldn’t describe it as clinical depression, more misery and low mood.

But then one day it all fell into place with a thud.  The way I was feeling was because of me. It was the way I was reacting to situations that was making me feel so rubbish.   I was in charge of my life – no one else.


I started to work on being grateful for what I do have, instead of grumbling about what I don’t have.


Doing this has had a greater impact on my life than I ever would have imagined.


Gratitude, giving thanks, feeling blessed, whatever you want to call it is essential to my own mental well-being, and I would bet that if you are feeling low it would help you too.

Which feels better? Noticing the things that are missing from your life, or noticing the positive aspects?  I know what feels better to me.

I’ve tried both approaches extensively, and have come to the conclusion that life is better when I make a point of finding the good and ignoring the bad.

For the most part now I feel like I have moved on to a better place. Doing so has been a journey, and is still ongoing.  One of the biggest changes that has come about in my thinking, is feeling grateful for the things that are going well, and taking the time to appreciate the good.

It is also something that needs to be kept in check every day.  Feeling happy and grateful one day a month doesn’t really cut it.  I start and end each day with lying in bed remembering all the people and things (yes, things, it’s not evil and materialistic to be grateful for things) that I am blessed with.

My children; my marriage;  my parents and extended family; our health.  A roof over our heads; money to buy food; cars to make life easier; gadgets to keep us busy and entertained; music; movies; The Walking Dead (I’m kidding about that one – kind of). Education; freedom; books.  I really could go on all day.

Even those that feel that nothing goes their way can find something to be grateful for each day.  It’s the quickest way to feeling uplifted, I guarantee it.


Let me know what you’re grateful for in the comments, I know you can do it. joyfulthings joyful things beauty blog family blogger skincare mascara eyeshadow lipstick lip balm cleanser toner moisturiser makeup make-up primer blush blusher nail polish


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Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself

I don’t know what it is about the way life is currently, but why is it so frowned upon to do nothing?  Why do we have to be so gosh darned productive all the time?

Everyone seems to be writing listicles about how to be more productive, or how to get more done, or how to squeeze more tasks into an already crowded day.


self-help, motivation, productive, kindness, happy, successful,


With more and more people working for themselves, and trying to be successful in a shorter amount of time, I fear it’s only going to get worse.

After Christmas I felt pretty exhausted (as I’m sure a lot of people did).  January is a notoriously blue month. Money is low, we feel a bit fat, we haven’t stopped for what feels like weeks and we just generally feel bleugh.

So take it easy, yes?

Nope. We still want to get back to it.  To work; to blogging; to life, all at full force.

Personally, I am excellent at doing not very much.  What I’m not very good at is enjoying it.  If I have a day where I don’t tick off all – or most – of my to-do list then I feel like a failure. And I’m not really a perfectionist, or particularly ambitious, so I can’t imagine how other more motivated people must feel.

My husband was working from home a couple of days ago, and I was sitting at my computer not doing what I should have been doing (making some money), and was instead doing what I definitely should not have been doing (trying my hardest to spend some money).  I caught myself, and mentioned to my husband that I had been doing nothing, when I should have been doing something useful.

He was pretty shocked that I was being so hard on myself, and told me in not so many words that I should give myself a break, and, well, take a break.  And more importantly not to feel bad about it.


Well, that’s easier said than done, my friend.

I am honestly trying though, and while that guilt will probably never entirely go away, I am trying not to be SO hard on myself.  Trying to take some ‘me’ time, and making the most of it.  Not beating myself up for sitting on my butt for an hour or so, and actually just stopping every now and again.

Do you know what makes you more productive? Being less productive sometimes. Resting, and recharging your batteries, that’s what.  What is the point in running yourself into the ground, making yourself ill and then being forced to take time off?  I think in 2017, we should all just slow down a bit.  Stop rushing; get some fresh air; talk to a stranger; do something out of the normal routine.  Even just for five minutes.

But do it deliberately and enjoy it.  Easy right?


So, when I say ‘don’t be so hard on yourself’ I’m talking to myself too.


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Things I Love Right now

It has been so long since I shared any favourite products that I decided I would put together a little post about my current can’t-be-withouts.


I haven’t really bought any new make-up over the last few months, and instead I have been concentrating on my skin.  The cold weather really makes my skin even more dry than usual (think tight, cracked and flakey. Nice).  So, top of my pamper list has been hydrating masks and rich moisturisers.


make-up, eyeshadow, palette, urban decay, alice in wonderland, liz earle, maybelline, concealer, age rewind, toner, face mask, sheet mask, dry skin


After a long break (sorry Liz), I have returned to an old favourite of mine; Liz Earle skincare.  I first used the Liz Earle range about 10 years ago, and then allowed myself to be lured away by other brands.  I came back though, and that’s what counts, right?

I am particularly loving the Instant Boost Skin Tonic; a gorgeous floral scented, refreshing toner that is just what my skin needs first thing in the morning.  I have decanted some into a small spray bottle, and I love to spritz my skin with it after cleansing and before moisturising.  In the summer it is particularly divine as a refreshing boost throughout the day, but it’s lush in the winter too.


When I need a treat, I adore the When 10pm Bio-Cellulose Anti-Aging Sheet Mask. It never hurts to anti-age, and sheet masks are my favourite type of masks. This Anti-Aging mask makes my skin feel softer than soft, and super hydrated.  The results last for a few days too. When have a whole range of masks (here), and being priced at £7 they aren’t for everyday use (well, not for me anyway), however, they are fab for a weekly pamper session.


My collection of concealers is – quite honestly – disgraceful.  I am ashamed to admit that I have a whole drawer full. I have searched and searched (and searched) for a concealer that will cover my dark circles (impossible), not create lines under my eyes, and not leave me looking dry and cakey (achievable, but difficult).  The Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser is really very good.  I have two shades, and this is the Brightening and Illuminating version. I had to buy it from Amazon.com, and it was shipped from America as far as I can remember.  I did find it in the UK now though, (here) albeit at an inflated price.  This particular shade is quite pink, and reminds me of the YSL Touche Eclat.  It doesn’t have the best coverage for people who resemble pandas (me), but it isn’t even remotely drying and it does brighten up the under eye area nicely.

I could write a book about my concealer struggle, but on days when I just want to look healthy, brighter and hydrated, then the Maybelline Age Rewind concealer is perfect.


eyeshadow, palette, urban decay, alice in wonderland


Last up is an eyeshadow palette.  I was so excited about this palette when it launched last year. I ordered it as soon as it became available and couldn’t wait to try it out.  I hesitated about including it here, because it was limited edition.  But I love it so much that I just had to write about it.

I know packaging shouldn’t be a consideration when buying make-up, but I could not resist this beautiful box. The shadows are lovely too, with a good mix of shimmer, satin and matte shadows.  I particularly like Paradox for the eye lid.  It looks a bit daunting in the pan, but it is actually just orange enough, and is more subtle on the skin than it looks like it will be.  This palette is one of the items in my make-up collection that just makes me happy when I bring it out.  And that’s what make-up should be in my opinion; fun, and a distraction from the crazy people in the news every day.


As always,
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