Tuesday, 29 December 2015

I'm taking my child out of nursery!

It makes me so sad to say this, but having been in nursery since she was nine months old (now two years, four months), we have made the decision to take my eldest daughter, 'Bubbles', out.

Leaving her at nursery was so difficult for us, as it probably is for most parents. I remember the first few days, sitting with her and gradually coming in and out of the room, and then eventually leaving her. She cried and cried and cried.... and cried, and I cried too, but after a few weeks she eventually settled and now loves nursery. When I go to pick her up, she doesn't stop talking about all the things she has got up to: "I paint today", "I draw a cat", "I play outside". So, to stop her from doing something that she has grown to love, breaks my heart.

I am due back from maternity leave, having had my second daughter, 'Choochi', who is now ten months old. I work three days and my husband five. Bubbles and Choochi would have had to go to nursery for two full days. However we have worked out that if hubby reduces his days to three (so I work the beginning of the week and he works the end), and we take the girls out of nursery and look after them, we will actually have more money at the end of the month. For us it's win-win: more money and hubby gets to spend more time with the girls. So it makes sense, right?

If it's right, then why does it leave me feeling so guilty? I know as a mother guilt is usually the first response to, well, everything. But I can't help but think about all the things Bubbles will lose out on - the social aspect, the bonds she has made with her teachers, the routine. All that she has learnt. Hubby keeps saying she will learn, as we are both teachers, and she will make friends, as we will continue to take her to stay and plays. But I can't help but feel all the hard work is going to be thrown away.

I keep telling myself it's only temporary, as she's three in eight months and gets her free hours. Then we should be able to put her back in. It makes no sense to me that people who are working and need childcare aren't given free hours, and I know when we do put Choochi into nursery, she will adapt quickly, as she is totally different to what Bubbles was like. However, it still doesn't stop me from feeling guilty. On the flip side, I have friends with children in childcare full-time, due to work commitments, and they feel equally guilty missing out on these special years. So maybe I get the best of both worlds.

Have any of you been in the same situation? What are your childcare arrangements?  I would love your advice or thoughts. Leave your comments below. Thanks.

Amina xx

New Mummy Blog

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Go organic with Organique!

Last week I attended an event at Organique in Birmingham's North Western Arcade. As I walked through the Great Western and North Western Arcades I was reminded of some great independent shops that are hidden within it and made a promise to visit more often.

Organique was founded in Poland and this is the only store in the whole of the UK (lucky us). As I walked through the door I was greeted by fantastic smells and warm smiles. In the centre of the store was a table full of multicoloured bath salts and bath bombs enticing you in.

Bath Salts

Handmade Soap

A few of the products really caught my eye, including the vast range of shea butter body balms. There is a variety of scents that smell good enough to eat! My personal favourites were Strawberry & Guava (£7.95) and Orange & Chilli (£7.95). As I tested out some of the products on my hand I was drawn to the 'Eternal Gold' range, mainly because it contains real gold and fine particles of glitter that left a beautiful shimmer on my skin. In particular, the Gold Corundum Peeling Cream (£18.50) that can be used as a facial scrub, left my hand sparkling. Yes it is pricey, but it does contains gold and is designed to be used as a real treat, rather than every day.

'Eternal Gold' range.
Another product that caught my attention and I actually purchased was the Aleppo Soap (£9.95), which contains laurel and olive oil. I was told that this was particularly good for dry skin which is prone to Eczema. I thought I would give it a go as my daughter suffers from Eczema and this may help her, so fingers crossed! Another interesting fact is that this soap is made in Syria and, due to the escalating conflict, production has stopped, so purchase it while you can.

Aleppo Soap from Syria
Attending this event really educated me on organic products in general. Some of the items we buy off the high street can contain so many additional and unnecessary ingredients that can cause reactions to our skin. It has definitely made me think twice about what I apply to mine and my children's skin. If there are products out there that are 100% natural and affordable, then why not use these instead?

Justyna giving a demonstration. This lady knows her stuff!
Altogether it was a fantastic evening and I left feeling educated on organic products. Would I recommend Organique? Yes! If you want a personalised experience and to feel like someone who really knows their stuff, actually cares and can advise you, then Organique is the place to go. Oh, and if you need a very last minute buy before Christmas, their gift sets are gorgeous, luxurious, yet really affordable!

Have you gone organic? Have you noticed the change in your skin? Do you have children with Eczema? I would love any tips! Leave a comment below!

Amina xx

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

My new favourite strip lashes!

I have heard a lot of good things about Nouveau Lashes. Their LVL treatment speaks for itself, providing 'Length, Volume and Lift' naturally, without the need for extensions. However, I wasn't aware they did strip lashes. So when they offered to send me some, I was particularly excited to see if they would live up to my expectations. 

In my package I received a number of products, including Nouveau lashes conditioning serum (£14.99),  Fine point tweezers (£10.00), Ultrasound strip eyelash adhesive (£13.00) and, most importantly, Strip lashes in Glamour / style 2 (£6.99). Nouveau offer a range of 12 lashes, categorised into natural, volume and glamour.

I was so happy to receive some from their glamour range, as I have been looking for a good pair of false eyelashes, to go with full make-up looks, for ages. I often find that full strip lashes can be quite heavy, feel quite cheap and look too fake, so when I received these I was pleasantly surprised. 

The first thing I noticed was that the seam, which the eyelashes are attached to, is so thin. This means that the lashes will look natural on the lash line and you won't have to pack on a thick eyeliner to cover it! I would even go as far to say you could wear them without eyeliner! Furthermore, they didn't have that fake shine that some lashes have. The individual lashes looked very realistic, which made me feel like the product was of high quality.

I applied the lashes using the fine point tweezers and the Ultrasound eyelash adhesive. The adhesive was very easy to work with and allowed me to move the lashes whilst on the lid, to get them to sit perfectly. The tweezers really helped to tuck the lashes right to the lash line, as the point is so thin on them. The adhesive is very strong and once set, these bad boys do not move, which is great. However, that does mean that when you want to remove them, you may have to pull a little harder, as the lashes were pretty much stuck to the lash line. For a video on how to apply strip lashes click here.

The final look is exactly what I was looking for  that full coverage eyelash, without overpowering  the make-up. They are fanned out so evenly that you can see the eye shadow behind the lashes. I think that for the price, these lashes are fantastic. I know quite a few popular brands around the same price, but the quality of Nouveau has definitely made these my new go to lashes.

What do you think of the lashes? Have you tried them out yet? I would love to know and hear you comments below.

Amina xx

Note: These products were sent to me from Nouveau lashes but all opinions are my own.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

L'Occitane Lip Balm Trio

Last week I posted all about some lovely L'Occitane products. This week I am just doing a quick review of the Pivoine Sublime Tinted Lip Balm Trio  by L'Occitane(£30).

Tinted lip balm trio in rose nude, untinted and rose plum.

This is a beautiful set of three lip balms, two of which are tinted in rose nude and rose plum. The lip balms are presented in a lovely tin box too which would be a lovely addition to any dressing table. They come incased in a metal shell with the lid being particularly sturdy as it is a screw on top. So definitely no chance of them opening in your handbag! It's a perfect gift set that could be used as a christmas pressie or split up into three stocking fillers! When applied on the lips they leave your lips feeling so soft without feeling greasy. They really feel luxurious. Furthermore, they also have a SPF 25 so will protect your luscious lips in the sun! The scent is of Peony and is just fab. I have watched the colours below.

Lip balm colours: untinted, nude rose & nude plum.

The untinted colour leaves a nice sheen on the skin and the other two speak for themselves. These are such a nice alternative to a lipstick which can often leave your lips feeling dry. The fact that these offer moisture as well as colour is perfect. I know the brand is French but the colours to me represent an English rose.

I would be over the moon if these were gifted to me this Christmas, in fact,  I was when I won them! (Eeek!). Do you know any other tinted lip balms or lipsticks that moisturise the lips? I would love to hear your comments.

Amina xx

Friday, 4 December 2015

Loving & Learning at L'Occitane!

This week I attended my first blogging event - the #bhmbloggermeet with L'Occitane! I have to firstly do a shout out and say thanks to Abbigayle and the L'Occitane team for hosting a fantastic event. I have loved L'Occitane since my husband first bought me the Pivoine Flora hand cream (£14, 75ml) a few years ago. The scent is of Peony and my hands were left feeling so soft, so I was thrilled when I found out the event was in association with the brand.

The event started out with introductions, and I was very excited to meet some fellow beauty bloggers! Throughout the event we took part in games, all of which were super fun and allowed us to explore the variety of products they provide. All in all, a fab event!

Fun and games with @sheeba_ali and @sophie_etc

Now, let me talk to you about some of the products I came away with. I bought the Relaxing Pillow Mist (£14 100ml) because, let's face it, as a mother of two, I need my sleep. I was told that the essential oils within the mist cause a natural physiological response that actually relaxes you. As soon as I heard that, I thought 'I need this in my life!' I also bought the Petit Grasse Fragrance Collection (£18 3 x 7.5ml EDT). The scents were so beautiful and I thought these would make great stocking fillers for my sisters. (Let's hope they're not reading this!)

Petit Grasse Fragrance collection and Relaxing Pillow Mist
Goody bag products

With my purchases I got a free goody bag, which included lots of products, such as Neroli & Orchidee Body Milk (travel size 50ml £5 or 250ml £20), which gives off a very floral/fruity scent - the kind of scent everyone loves - and smells divine. Another product included in the goody bag was the Almond Shower Oil (£18 250ml or £26, 250ml refill). I was particularly excited to see this in there, as I had a demo of it whilst at the event and the smell was gorgeous and left the skin feeling so soft!

To my surprise, as the event came to a close, I was named winner of the a competition to caption a Christmas cake. My winning message was 'Merry Blogmas & a great new year!' and I was so happy with my prize, as I had been eyeing it up earlier as a potential purchase!

Tinted Lip Balm trio prize.

The Pivoine Sublime Tinted Lip Balm Trio (£30 3x 4g) is a beautiful gift set of three lip balms, two of which are tinted with colour. I love these so much that I will be doing a separate post on this product, so watch this space! (Click here to view) Needless to say, the smell is gorgeous and the texture on the lips is beautiful. Aren't I a lucky girl?!

All the products I came away with!

Have you ever tried any L'Occitane products? Which are your favourites? I would love to hear your comments!

Amina xx

Note: I was invited to this event. Some products were won or free with a purchase, but all views are my own.


Friday, 27 November 2015

5 minute make up look!

Now, I know all of us are rushed for time in some way, whether it's because the alarm hasn't gone off, or because you have two babies holding on to each leg (like me). But, that doesn’t mean there’s no time for a fast make up fix before you run out the door. So, I thought I would post my quickest make up look, which is mainly thanks to the fact that it uses just two key products: mascara, and a cream blush, also used as a lipstick. ;o)

This look can be done literally within five minutes or less. The star product and what makes this look so quick (and portable) is MAC Cremeblend Blush in 'Britwit'. MAC has five colours to choose from in this range, so take your pick. The reason I love ‘Britwit’ is because it gives such a natural-looking flush, especially on my skin tone.

It is creamy in texture, but blends so easily into the skin. I literally applied my foundation (MAC Face & Body C5 - 50ml, £22.50), which is optional, then mascara (L’OrĂ©al False lash Telescopic mascara in black, £10.99)  and used my fingers to apply the MAC Cremeblend blush (£18.50) to my cheeks. You could use a stippling brush if you prefer, but I just find it easier to blend with my finger for this particular product. I then finish the look by applying the blush to my lips. And that's it! 

What I love is that I can carry the MAC Cremeblend around in my purse and re-apply throughout the day. Because it is cream-based, it gives such a fresh and dewy look which, by now, you probably know I am obsessed with. Below are some pictures of the completed look.

If you have even less time, scrap the foundation and you are left with such a simple, yet effective look, with just two products! I love quick and easy looks. The less products the better, I say. Have you got any quick make up tip ideas? I would love to hear, if you do. Comment below. Thanks.

Amina xx


Friday, 20 November 2015

Get the Gwen Stefani look!

So, this week, I have been inspired by the one-and-only Gwen Stefani. She is the ultimate style icon for anyone that loves a bit of a rocky edge and make up-wise she has got the red-lips look down to a T. However, more recently, she has been mixing up her make up a bit and has been giving us plenty of 60s vibes. She also has a new eye shadow palette in collaboration with Urban Decay coming out soon, which is to die for! I loved this one look she recently wore on ‘The Voice’ so much, it inspired me to have a go myself! 

The double-ended flick here is so representative of the 60s look, so I had a go, but added a sparkly spin to it, ready for the upcoming party season. 

To get the look, I used the Sleek Ultra mattes V2 palette on my eyes with ‘flesh’ on the lid and ‘pa-per bag’ through the crease. I then applied the bottom line first with Collection ' Fast stroke' liquid liner in black and used this as a guide for the top liner. You could use a gel liner for a softer look, but for an authentic 60s look, that gives you the definition, I would suggest the liquid liner. To give a touch of glam, and to emphasise the gap between the liner, I then added Urban Decay 'Heavy Metal' glitter eyeliner in Glam rock in between the two lines and a touch to the inner corner of the eye. Once this was done, I added Rimmel scandal eyes kohl liner in ‘nude’ to the water line. If you wanted to give a full-on 60s look, you could always apply a white liner. Lastly, I applied some mascara and false lashes for extra dramatic effect. 

Personally, I can’t believe I have never tried this look before. It was easy, yet really makes a statement. I’ll definitely be wearing this look out and about. What do you think? Are you a fan of 60s make up? I would love to hear your comments. 

Amina xx

Friday, 13 November 2015

Contouring is out, strobing is in.

Strobing – no, it's not the latest dance sensation, but actually the make-up trend of the moment. What is it? In one word – highlighting. I wish I had a detailed explanation for how it's this great new technique, which is going to change the make-up world forever. Alas no, it's just highlighting. It's still pretty amazing though. 

I have always loved highlighting; there is something about it that just gives you this youthful, fresh glow. Now, my skin is combination, so I admit that those people with oily skin may not be as in love as I am, as they already have a natural sheen. Yet, I really think highlighting suits all skin types. 

I have used three highlighters in this review. MAC strobe (30ml £10, 50ml £24.50), Lush 'feeling younger' skin tint (20g £12) – both of which are creams – and finally for a more subtle highlight, or for those with oily skin, I have used Makeup Revolution radiance highlight palette (£8.00) which is three compressed powders.

From left to right: MAC strobe, Lush 'feeling younger' skin tint, Makeup revolution Radiance palette.

 The biggest difference between them is the colour. MAC strobe is quite a transparent silvery colour, whereas Lush skin tint is gold with a pink undertone, and all three colours in the radiance palette have a gold shimmer. For winter, I would suggest going for the gold or pink undertone as it warms the skin. 

In my demonstration, I have kept my make-up quite simple to emphasise the highlighters. I applied the creams with my fingers and the powder with a brush on the cheekbone, under the brow bone and above the eyebrow.
MAC Strobe
Lush 'feeling younger' skin tint

Makeup Revolution radiance palette
I really love all three, but for my skin colour, I preferred the Lush skin tint, whereas MAC strobe may suit a fairer skin complexion. You have to be careful when highlighting to not over apply, as this can leave you looking greasy or oily, rather than fresh and glowing. I found with MAC strobe it was easy to cross this line. I would maybe use MAC strobe in the day for that dewy look and use Lush skin tint in the evening for a more opulent look and feel. The Makeup Revolution radiance palette, on the other hand, works well all day and is such good value for money at only £8.00! If you’re looking for an overall glow, then I would suggest mixing the Lush skin tint into your daily moisturizer and applying it all over the face. 

What do you think of strobing? Is it just another fad or do you swear by it? I would love to hear any of your comments. 

Amina xx

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Welcome to Motherhood

Life, in my eyes, comes in two chapters. Pre-children and post-children. So, you've waited nine months to meet this little bundle of joy and then the realisation hits you that life as you know it will never be the same. I remember that feeling well. This is one of many overwhelming emotions that comes with being a mum. Guilt is another. There are also nice emotions too. But either way, most of them will make you cry.

Expect the unexpected. Expect to feel emotions you have never felt. Expect to be a different person. Expect to be the mother you didn't think you would be. Don't expect to have time to eat, sleep or poo; or even to remember that you need to do these things. No matter how much advice someone can give you, you will never be ready for what's about to hit you. But, here I am, a little over two years later from my first experience, and I now have another! So, it can't be all that bad, can it?

The girls are asleep. Why is it that I want to hold them most when they are asleep? I suppose it is at this time I can appreciate them most, as now that I have two there is definitely not enough time in the day to reflect on my feelings. I have waited all day for a break and yet I find myself here talking about them. I am obsessed, what can I say? Don't get me wrong, sometimes (a lot of the time) I can just switch off, but occasionally all I can think about is them. I have two beautiful little girls and this feeling of not being able to switch off from them has gradually started to lessen, but once in a blue moon I have a day of thinking: Are they ok? Did they eat enough? Are they too cold? Am I a good enough mum? So annoying.

I can't remember what life was like before I had them. Well, actually I can: no responsibility, the world revolved around me, spontaneity, sleep; the list goes on. I miss the spontaneity and making last minute plans. Now everything has to be planned at least 24 hours in advance. My oldest is only two, yet it seems like a lifetime ago.

My babies have given me meaning to life. That's not to say I didn't have meaning before I had them. But, I feel as though everything has fallen into place since having them. Things seem to make sense. I understand what all those experiences, prior to having them, were for. Now the good, and all I've learnt from the bad, can be passed on. Gosh this is getting serious. How have I ended up at the meaning of life? WOW.

How has motherhood affected you? I love hearing about experiences of motherhood, so please feel free to leave a comment.

Amina xx

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Kiko - opening soon in Birmingham!!!!!

Can you tell my excitement from the number of exclamation marks in the post title?! 

Kiko, for those of you who don't know, is a make up company from Milan who sell an amazing array of good quality and affordable make up. I first learned of Kiko when my sister came back from Italy raving about all this make up she had bought from this shop. She then went on to find one in London which made it more accessible to us as well as their website kikocosmetics.com. We have been buying Kiko products ever since!

For a long time now we have longed for Kiko to open a store in Birmingham and so you can imagine when last weekend we were in the Bullring shopping centre, to our surprise we saw this ...

Our eyes literally popped out of our heads and we simultaneously did a little celebration dance. Finally! We can't wait! I will definitely be doing a Kiko related make up post very soon!  

Are any of you as excited as me? 

Amina xx

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Hi Everyone! 

If you didn't already know, October is breast cancer awareness month! Cancer affects everyone in some way. If you are lucky enough not to have had it, then you probably know someone who has. Even though it's nearly the end of the month, it's not too late to show your support by wearing pink, in any way - clothes, shoes..... make-up!

Personally, I love a pink lip (although the bright colours can leave you teeth looking a bit yellow, he he!) and will be rocking mine on a night out with the girls. Here are my top five favourite pink lipsticks. There's something for every occasion, budget and skin tone.

From left to right: Rimmel - Lasting Finish by Kate No. 20 (£5.49), Chanel - Levres Scinttilantes Glossimer No. 124 (£22), Dior - Rouge Dior Nude No. 169 Grege (£26.50), Revlon - Super lustrous gloss No. 180 Pink pop (£6.50), Loreal Paris Colour Riche No. 302 Bois de rose (£6.99)

There is a colour here for everyone and to suit any occasion, whether you are on a night out or just going to work. I have included a range of products for different budgets. I found that they all last quite long. However the Dior, Revlon and Loreal are buildable. So depending on the look you are going for you may want to apply more for an evening look. The best value for money definitely has to be the Rimmel as it gives such a pop of colour that is long lasting for such a reasonable price!

Also, whilst it's easy to get caught up in the fun of make-up and clothes, don't forget the important message of breast cancer awareness month - make sure you check your breasts regularly and if you can, donate!

If you have any questions about any of the products just leave me a comment below. Do you think I own too many pink lipsticks? ... Nah.

Amina xx


Friday, 23 October 2015

My first post!

Hi Everyone!

I just wanted to introduce myself. This blog is all about my interests, mainly my love of make-up, but I am also a mother of two lovely girls so there will be some mum stuff on this blog (mostly me moaning) . *Warning* There may also be blogs about random things. That is all. x

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