Katie

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SKN Rehab Daily SPF30 SKN Filter

Before I was serious about skincare, the only time I used an SPF on my face was when it was ‘proper’ summer or when I was on holiday. It just didn’t occur to me to use it every single day, even in the winter.

I know.

Now, I don’t leave the house without some kind of SPF on my entire face, usually SPF30 but when it’s really hot then I am factor 50 all over. I will never tan and so the only thing I’m interested in is protecting my skin from sun damage.

The SKN Filter SPF 30 (£30) is a broad spectrum protection that contains a combination of powerful vitamins and antioxidants to protect the skin while targeting and treating sun damage effects. It has Vitamin C to help treat sun spots, pigmentation and uneven texture while Vitamin E will help the appearance of lines and wrinkles.

SKN Filter SPF30 will help to protect against UVA/UVB damage while reducing the appearance of lines and wrinkles. It also helps recover damaged cell DNA, shield the skin from visible impacts of pollution and helps to soothe skin irritations and hydrate the skin.

It’s quite a thick cream so I have been using this when I’m not wearing make up, choosing to stick to my usual moisturiser with SPF under foundation, but it doesn’t leave any white streaks or residue on the face, it’s just a matter of feeling like I have too much on my skin when I wear make up on top, but that’s totally personal to each person.

SKN Rehab Daily SPF30 SKN Filter
SKN Rehab Daily SPF30 SKN Filter

It soaks into the skin easily and doesn’t feel like you’re wearing anything too heavy. It does have a kind of medicated scent, I am tempted to describe it as an unscented kind of smell, if that makes any sense whatsoever? Probably not!

SKN Filter SPF30 is available here and costs £30 for 50ml.

Gifted PR Sample.

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Philip Kingsley One More Day Dry Shampoo

Dry shampoo is my best friend. I’m not even going to pretend that I’m the kind of person who washes their hair every day, or even every other day. I have SO much hair that it takes me a good two days to work up the energy to wash it. Which is why I always have a can of dry shampoo in my house and my bag.

I usually go for the standard Batiste brand (even though they do a range for blondes & brunettes and have completely disregarded us redheads) because it’s nice and cheap and has always done an OK job, so when Philip Kingsley sent me a can of the One More Day Dry Shampoo I was very excited to see if you actually get what you pay for.

The short answer to that question is, yes. You absolutely do get what you pay for, when it comes to dry shampoo anyway.

This stuff is beautiful. It is really light in the hair and doesn’t give it that chalky feel that you can get and there’s minimal white residue, which is a real bug bear of mine, despite how often I use it!

Philip Kingsley One More Day Dry Shampoo

You simply spray it into your roots, leave it for around 10 seconds and then massage into your scalp like you would a normal shampoo. Give it a quick brush if you’re so inclined and away you go. I tend to not brush my hair too much (I sound delightful don’t I!?) but it’s wavy, thick and if I brush it when it’s not just freshly straightened, I end up with a giant ‘poof’ on my head. So I avoid brushing where I can.

It says it refreshes and soothes the scalp and I couldn’t agree more, usually, my hair feels dry and overly textured, especially if I use it two days in a row (bad hair washer) and while that’s good for people with fine hair, it makes my hair feel dirty and stiff. One More Day seems to soak up any excess greasiness and gives a little bit of volume but there’s no actual residue from it, almost as if the hair soaks it all up.

It smells incredible, even my husband noticed and was sniffing my hair like a, hair sniffing creature.

Obviously, it’s not the cheapest brand out there, but, if you’re a fan of dry shampoo then it’s definitely worth trying. The 200ml can costs £19.59 and the handbag friendly can is £9.00 for 50ml. Both are available from Philip Kingsley here.

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PAYOT Blue Techni Liss Nuit

Payot is a brand I have been a fan of for a while, and they’ve introduced some new products to their skincare range; Blue Techni Niss.

This range has been created to fight the effects of desynchronised skin biorhythms, and helps to lessen the impact of blue light on the skin, allowing the cells to regenerate easily – serious skincare stuff!

PAYOT Blue Techni Liss Nuit

There has been lots of research into the effects of blue light, from computer screens, smart phones & tablets, even flat screen TV’s and fluorescent lighting , where the damage is literally up close and person and right in front of our faces. Long-term blue light exposure to concentrated sources of blue light energy can cause skin damage, including colour changes, inflammation, and weakening of the skin’s surface.

Put simply, blue light promotes stressors in skin that cause ageing from exposure to light. So, we’re getting it from all angels really, sun exposure isn’t to blame entirely! It makes sense that the rays would cause some damage, but it’s just not something I have thought about until now!

Blue Techni Liss Nuit is a gel like texture which melts to oil on the skin. It’s not thick or sticky but it definitely feels different to the usual oils, it feels more like a balm oil than a liquid one. It sinks into the skin quickly, there’s no residue which is surprising considering how thick it feels.

PAYOT Blue Techni Liss Nuit

I spend my entire days in front of computers and phones, and while I’ve always been aware of sun damage, especially because I’m a pale redhead, I had never considered the damage I could be doing to my face indoors! I’ve been using this alongside my other products before bed, and I love how it feels on my skin, and how it might be helping prevent insider damage!

The Blue Techni Liss range is available from Payot here, with the Nuit cream costing around £60.

PR Gifted Sample. All views are my own.

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Half Term Activities // Dreamland Margate

Another day another activity! Don’t be fooled though, it’s not always just for the kids benefit, us parents enjoy a little bit of fun as well!

All work and no play…..

Half our family absolutely LOVE roller coasters and rides, the other half aren’t so keen but can manage them if they’re not too fast/scary/terrifying, so when we were invited to Dreamland in Margate, we were all over it!

Having never been to Dreamland (or Margate for that matter, as far as I can remember) we were intrigued as to what it would be like. Sometimes you can be a little spoiled when you’ve got places like Thorpe Park & Disney to live up to, but rather than competing with the high-tech thrills of those places, Dreamland has a gentle, retro version. Pure seaside fun.

Half Term Activities // Dreamland Margate

There are lots of old fashioned rides which have been refurbished, giving everything that vintage feel, without feeling like you’re on unsafe ground, which is always a plus. I absolutely love the whole look and feel of it! From the, slightly worryingly, old looking big wheel to the merry-go-round and swing chairs. There’s no high tech rides and it’s brilliant!

Think Waltzers with great music blaring (old school Queen!), rickety wooden slats on the Scenic Railway which takes you all the way round the grounds but not in a gentle, slow way, this is definitely a bit of a bone shaker! Pinball X, which we went on no less than three times – has you zooming round in a pinball, forwards, backwards, round and round. You get the idea.

The staff are all in bright t-shirts with slogans like Netflix and Thrill and Scream if you want to faster, coupled with bandannas, crazy sunglasses and brilliant attitudes!

There’s plenty of food and drink options available if you don’t want to take a picnic. We had an early stop off for some liquid refreshment and I can’t tell you how happy I was to see Aperol on tap. Forget a boiling water tap, I need to get me one of those in my kitchen!

When we eventually stopped to eat we just grabbed a (huge) portion of chips each as we were planning on having pizza when we got home, but there were some great choices, pizza and prosecco for £10, jerk prawns, fish and chips as well as the classic burger and hot dogs. The food isn’t cheap, you’re looking at a good £50 for a family of 4 including soft drinks for lunch (Aperol was £7 a cup!) but I think that’s to be expected at places like this. It’s a shame, as I think if the food was a little cheaper, there would be a lot more families eating, but it is what it is!

We stayed outside the whole day, but there’s a roller-disco inside, plus loads of arcade games, and an Octopus’ garden for the little ones. There are also quite a few rides for the mini’s – all the rides have height restrictions – luckily my giant kids were well above the limits so they were free to go on everything.

Half Term Activities // Dreamland Margate

There were no huge queues for any of the rides, I think the longest we queued for was about 30 mins for Pinball X (round 1) but even that moved fairly quickly and you can get fast track tickets too.

Half Term Activities // Dreamland Margate

There are various payment options, you can either pay as you ride with a card that you can top up, rides cost around the £4 mark that way, you can buy a wristband (which gets you onto all the rides including the roller-disco) these cost £18 for the day if you buy them in advance, or £23 on the day, or you can become a member for £190 for a family ticket, which also gets you discounts on food and soft drinks, as well as the chance to book early for special events. All the ticket prices are here.

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Half Term Activities // Hever Castle

It’s Half Term again. I’m pretty positive we’ve only just gone back after Easter, but here we are!

Luckily I only have to work two days this week so I’m able to spend some time with the kids while they’re off and we have no horrible school run to do.

Boo to the school run!

We were invited along to Hever Castle at the weekend, one of our favourite places to visit locally.

Half Term Activities // Hever Castle

Until the 2nd of June you can step back in time to the early 20th century when the Astor family were in residence for half term family fun at Hever Castle with Edwardian Life.

The whole castle has gone Edwardian which means you can enjoy everything from traditional Punch and Judy shows to games from the period including hoopla, tin-can alley, boules or even a game of croquet on the lawn.

In the Castle you can learn about Edwardian inventions, (like windscreen wipers!) and listen to interviews with former ‘below stairs’ staff on old-fashioned telephones which never fails to entertain my electronic loving ten year old!

Half Term Activities // Hever Castle

It always feels so decadent being at Hever Castle. We’ve not been during the warmer months for years, usually it’s freezing cold and just before Christmas which is magical, but sitting on the lawns with people eating picnics all around you, it really takes you back in time!

Half Term Activities // Hever Castle
Half Term Activities // Hever Castle

Not forgetting the water maze, which was a revelation for C – luckily we went just before we left as he had to travel home in just his pants and his Dads t-shirt….!

Edwardian Life is on now until the 2nd June. Tickets cost £16.75 per adult for the gardens and castle, and £9.40 per child. A family ticket is £44.30. You can get tickets at the gate or online here.

Half Term Activities
Half Term Activities

PR tickets were provided for this visit.

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These Aren't Just Any Gel Nails...

The Nails Are Back.

I’m going to blow my own trumpet here. I grow very good nails and very good hair. There, I’ve said it. If you were to ask me what my talent is, that would be my answer. Growing. Ahem.

They grow that fast. And we’re not just talking about flimsy nails here, no no. These are good, strong nails that, with a little time and care look bloody spectacular.

A few years ago I went all out on the nail front. My nails were super long, stiletto shaped and painted in the craziest colours you could imagine. It was great at the time because I was freelancing (and doing social media for a Nail Salon, wink wink…) so I didn’t really have to think about my nails being too long. Because that’s a thing you know.

These Aren't Just Any Gel Nails...
These Aren't Just Any Gel Nails...

But. Real life got in the way (damn you real life) and the nails had to go when I got a desk job in the worlds worst company but we’re going to skip past that debacle.

However. Kate is getting her nail groove back. I had a manicure as a birthday present last month, and it got my juices flowing, so to speak. Then I got a voucher to get my nails done as another birthday present (see, people know me!) and that was it.

Colour me neon, I was hooked again.

The nails are back.

Once I have good old Shellac on my nails, they’re virtually indestructible. Which means I can carry on about my business and grow my nails to all kinds of lengths. At this particular moment in time, I’m sporting what you might call a peachy-orange shade but I’ve already decided I’ll be going for actual neon pink next time. I’m hoping that, in 2 weeks, the sun will be shining and we’ll all be feeling full on summer vibes so it’ll fit right in.

They’ve also been filed a little too short for my liking, as I was getting used to having talons back, so we’ll have to work on that particular issue before my next appointment.

These Aren't Just Any Gel Nails...
These Aren't Just Any Gel Nails...

Admittedly it’s not the lowest maintenance routine to have in your life. I have to get them done every two weeks (ish) because they grow so fast, and it’s just not possible for me to live in a world where my nails are only half painted. I’m sorry, it’s just who I am, I will take no shame in that.

However, in between visits, my nails look freshly painted every single day. There’s no chipping or peeling (well, hopefully there’s not) and I can go about my daily business of whacking a keyboard, cooking, cleaning and, even, sit down for this, gardening without too much thought to my varnish. Plus, these nails give the best back scratches ever, or so I’ve been told.

That, my friend, is what you call a win win situation.

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Philip Kingsley Daily Damage Defence Extreme for Hair

I’ve had a bit of a love/hate relationship with my hair in the past. I hate being ginger – the whole standing out thing really affected me when I was growing up, no one wants to be the odd one out when you’re a teenager. Now though, I LOVE being ginger and wouldn’t change it for the world. 

Despite trying to a few times, but we won’t revisit that. 

Now I can finally say I love my hair. It’s long, the remaining remnants of bleach have left the building and it’s back to feeling healthy and ‘swishy’. We all know how important that swishy feeling is. 

Because it’s so long, think touches the top of my bum long, it obviously needs that little bit extra care. Long hair is old hair, and while I only straighten it once or twice a week maximum, there’s still a lot of heat going through my tresses to get it from crazy curly to presentable straight. 

I have a whole load of products and tools I use to keep it in the best condition I can, and I use them regularly, without fail. 

1: Shampoo & Conditioner

I’ve chopped and changed my shampoo & conditioner a few times but nothing makes my hair feel as soft as Tigi Urban Antidotes Level 3.

It’s a serious hit of moisture for weak, brittle hair that needs an intervention. I was introduced to this after 3 bleach jobs, a grey toner and then several rounds of trying to get back to ginger that saw me heading towards brunette. My barnet was literally screaming for help. I’ll always come back to these bad boys. 

2: Deep Conditioning Treatment

I’ve been using Philip Kingsley Elasticizer every 2 weeks on my locks for well over a year now.

I try to leave it on at least 6 hours, if not overnight, if I can, but I hate sleeping with wet hair in the winter. Brrrr.

The difference it makes to my hair is insane – I go in looking like Wurzel and come out looking like Gisele. cough. This may be a slight exaggeration but we’ll run with it.


3: All About The Oil

Moroccan Oil all the way.

I whack it on when my hair is wet, and again just on the ends, when I’ve straightened it. It’s the dream oil and I defy anyone to convince me otherwise.

It’s not cheap (naturally) but a little goes a long way and it’s never, ever given me that greasy look even when I’ve been a little heavy handed with it by mistake.

There are loads of products in this range, including different levels for different hair types & colours. The light range is best for fine, or light coloured hair.


4: Damage Protection Spray

Finally, in my arsenal of hair products, I’ve been using the Philip Kingsley Daily Damage Defence Extreme. 

It’s a super intensive protective conditioning spray which repairs damaged, over processed and porous hair types. Hi, that’s me.

It nourishes and detangles hair to help reduce breakage and provides defence from heat stying, so it’s a kind of all in one spray.

Again, it’s not cheap, but you get what you pay for with these products, and as my hair (and my nails) are my ‘thing’ I don’t mind paying out for the good stuff. 

Philip Kingsley Daily Damage Defence Extreme for Hair
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Don't Talk To Me, My Period Is Due - Living With PMS

It’s finally Friday! My weekend started yesterday at around 5pm and I’m lucky enough (for now) to be out of work until Tuesday morning, so I have a lovely long weekend every week. 

I had grand plans for today, I was going to be ticking things off lists like a machine. 

Instead, I woke up realising I’m on day 25 of my cycle and I’m about as much use a glass hammer. 

You know that feeling when you wake up and instantly you’re in A Mood. There is no reason for it, apart from those bastard three letters that creep up on you every single month when your period is due. 

PMS. 

My PMS used to be AWFUL. Even I didn’t want to be around me back then. Thankfully, it seems to have eased off slightly in the last couple of years. And what I mean by slightly, is it doesn’t last as many days, there’s still full on rage, violence and tears for no reason, just it’s condensed into 2 or 3 days instead of a whole week. Lucky me. 

The first sign for me (and in terms of signs, we’re talking big, flashing, neon arrows here) is The Rage.

The Rage hit me this week when someone decided to cut me up on a main road. She wasn’t looking where she was going, AT ALL, and as I was happily travelling along, she just swerved in front of me. 

Oh my god the anger. I felt it bubbling up like a giant pot of boiling water and, had I been in an episode of Monster Trucks R Us, I would have happily driven right up over her car to make her aware of just how much she pissed me off. 

I didn’t, obviously. Because, a; I’m not insane and b; that is very much illegal, despite my period being due. 

But did I want to? Yes. A massive fucking yes.

When I have The Rage I am terrifying. I feel like I could flip a truck when I’m in that moment. And there is every possibility that I could actually gather the strength to do it . It comes from deep within, a feeling so full of power it shocks me. There’s no stopping it either, once that lid is lifted, The Rage is free to explode over everything. Like PMS’ing lava, destroying everything in its wake.  

Don't Talk To Me, My Period Is Due - Living With PMS

Of course, following the spike, there’s the massive come down the other side. 

And with that come down comes the waterworks. 

Now, I’m a crier at the best of times. Adverts, songs, shows, even cartoons FFS, I will cry. If someone is crying/hurt/upset I am right there next to them crying along. I’m emotional. I wear my heart on my sleeve all the time.

I’m not sure if this is a good thing or not. But I’ll tell you this. Watching BGT while due on is a ROOKIE MISTAKE. 

Once I start crying, it’s highly unlikely that I’ll stop anytime soon. 

You see? I’m a joy to be around. Either hulk smashing things out of my way or sobbing uncontrollably because a teddy bear got left at a train station and now he’s all alone. God that poor teddy. 

Completely normal behaviour I’m sure you’ll agree. 

Maintaining a life isn’t easy during these days. Not only am I swinging from one extreme mood to the next, but I’m also more knackered than I’ve ever been. No matter how much sleep I get, I wake up feeling (and looking) like I’ve not slept for a week. Add to this, the fact that the night before my period I have total insomnia – which is apparently due to the raised body temperature – by the time my period arrives I feel like I’ve spent a week in battle. 

Of course, having a job (or 3) kids, a husband, a house and 2 dogs means I can’t just escape to my bed, or send myself off on some retreat every time I feel the PMS approaching.

But Christ on a bike I wish I could. 

Instead, I just have to keep going. Which usually means lots of chocolate, PJ’s from the second I get home, feeling very sorry for myself and hiding away in my house until the red rage passes. 

I love being a woman, despite the shitty patriarchy battles that we seem to be facing every single day, I absolutely love being female. During the ‘good’ points of my cycle I am earth goddess, woman warrior and all encompassing feminine powerhouse.

But for those 3 days of the month I wish I was wielding a penis and stable level of testosterone. 

I’m still (clearly) working on taming the joyous beast that is PMS, but I have been trying to find ways to reduce how much it affects my (and my families!) life. I track my cycle with Flo, an app which let’s me keep an eye on where I am in the month so I can prepare myself for what’s to come. 

I try not to plan anything around those 3 days, because I know, at best I’ll be snappy and at worst I’ll be an evil cow to be around, and it’s no fun for anyone, including me. I’ve been reading up on the benefits of magnesium supplements, for both PMS and feeling less exhausted, both of which I need help with! 

But it’s an ongoing situation, which, I’m led to believe doesn’t get any easier when you hit pre menopause and menopause. Not that I’m in any rush to get there. I’d just like to be a little less erratic before my period is due, so I can carry on being the god damn goddess that I am. 

 

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