For those of you not on Facebook, on Sunday it will be exactly a month since I lost my beautiful girl to a neurological condition. Skye was only 8 years old, and we’d had her since puppyhood.

That very first day she spent with us, after we’d collected her from the breeder at eight weeks old, she sat quietly in a corner, overwhelmed by her new surroundings. She wagged her tail whenever I approached her, but didn’t seem interested in exploring anything. I gave her some space and told my then primary school age daughter to do the same, so the poor little thing could get used to us in her own time. I slept downstairs with her that night; in that silent room nobody would have known about our new family member.

Then, at 2am, Skye let out a little ‘Woof!’ and I knew she’d be alright 🙂

Skye grew into a loving and playful adult. She adored our two cats and loved romping with her doggie friends. She never dug ‘traditional’ holes in our garden, as with her paws – she used her nose instead, and we christened the mini craters ‘schnozzle-holes’. Skye barked at anyone she saw up a ladder, carefully walked around puddles to stop her paws getting wet, and not once ventured upstairs in either home we lived in during her lifetime. Our girl loved her ‘foot fights’, where Phil and I would don our knackered trainers and tease her with them. Whenever I brushed Skye, our cat Pandora would contentedly roll around in her discarded fur, purring loudly.

Thank you, Skye, for being such a treasured part of our lives. We will love and miss you forever xx

Skye tribute

You’re in my heart, you’re in my soul,

You’ll be my breath should I grow old.

You are my Samoyed, you’re my best friend,

You’re in my soul.

My love for you is immeasurable,

My respect for you immense.

You’re ageless, timeless, lace and finesse,

You’re beauty and elegance.

– Rod Stewart



Okay, I confess – I’ve fallen off the wagon. Before I’m sent to the gallows, however, let me explain: in just over a year I’ve lost three cherished pets, the latest being PTS on 18th February due to fluid on the brain which caused behavioral issues (this will be covered in a separate post under Pets).

Some people turn to drink or drugs in such instances. Me – I turn to makeup. Still, at least I managed seven months of abstinence beforehand.

I’d like to thank everyone for their support and encouragement throughout my challenge. Who knows, maybe I’ll try again someday.

Right now I’m hurting big time so forgive me if I take some time out.

Sleek for blog.JPG

I can scarcely believe I’m already halfway through! To date I’ve polished off three half full tubes of tinted moisturiser, an eye shadow primer and several tubes of lip balm. I’ve barely made a dent in my colour cosmetics, however, but I’m sure that will change before the year’s up.

Good pic 3

What I’ve learned so far is that my finances are a lot healthier than before. Being passionate about makeup had left a huge hole in my pocket, and not all my purchases had been worth it (I’ll be writing about those in another post, so stay tuned!). It’s also given me the chance to rediscover products I’d completely forgotten about as they lay buried under a mountain of stuff in my drawers.

At the moment I’m really into Colourpop eye shadow in Tinsel!




Christmas may be over, but who says you can’t sparkle whenever you feel like it?

Hope you all have a happy and colourful New Year xx

Before CDMe in 1999, aged 36, before illness struck


The Millennial Christmas and New Year is one I’ll never forget – for all the wrong reasons. I was having 10-20 bloody bowel movements a day, round the clock. Unable to eat for five days, the weight fell off me, and I was so weak my husband Phil had to help getting me in and out of the bath. My daughter had just turned one, we’d recently moved from one end of the country to another, and everything seemed to snowball.

I was eventually put on steroids, and after three days the diarrohea and bleeding finally stopped.

During first attack‘Merry’ Bloody Millennial Christmas

Following a colonoscopy, in the spring of 2000 I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. Until now, I’d never heard of the illness. CD is chronic inflammation of all three bowel layers; mine was confined to the large intestine only. Symptoms include bloody diarrohea, pain, fatigue and weight loss. The consultant told me I’d have repeated attacks, as this was a lifelong condition, and with it came an increased risk of bowel cancer.

Over the years I juggled Crohn’s Disease with medication, diet – and a lot of stress. I managed occasional remission in blocks of one and a half years but, just like the familiar black dog, CD kept rearing its ugly head, usually when I least expected it.

Fast forward to 2017 when I had my routine once every five years colonoscopy. This time there was a new ailment in my gut co-existing with Crohn’s – diverticular disease. My poor old large intestine had developed pockets of inflammation harbouring God knows what – bacteria, rancid food, old fecal matter. I dreaded to think what else could be lurking in there, and this would certainly explain why I’d been feeling rough in recent months.

Over Christmas I realised two things: one was that I could no longer eat large meals without suffering discomfort and heartburn, and two, I’d overindulged in booze, sugary and fatty foods leading to excess flatulence, lethargy, bloating and general malaise.

It was time to spring clean my system!

Out went everything in the picture below:

Not allowed

In came everything in the pic below, although I forgot to include the popchips (corn chips) as a replacement for my usual salt n’ shake crisps:


Phil is joining me in this new eating regime full time; my daughter Kat, a die hard chocoholic, is dipping her toe in occasionally.

Updates to follow ….


A year ago today I lost my beautiful cat Bonnie to cancer. For eighteen years she was my friend, chief mouse-catcher, destruct-a-mog specialising in breaking my favourite figurines and nail polish, four-in-the-morning alarm clock, washing basket shredder, furry hot water bottle and all-round favourite kitty.

Bonnie was older than my daughter, and had been with me through thick and thin: when I became very ill with Crohn’s Disease and subsequent depression, she was there for my husband when he developed stress and anxiety issues, and she was there to comfort us when our other pets eventually shuffled off this mortal coil.


She had her own unique little personality. She didn’t meow, she ‘skeeked’. I howled with laughter as she proceeded to beat up our other cat, Pandora, from behind the safety of the door, paw swinging windmill-style like Pete Townsend, her skinny tail quivering with anticipation.

There were plenty of ‘presents’ over the years, including a rather exotic looking fish! Mostly it was mice, though. On one occasion, in the early hours, Bonnie made such a racket and didn’t stop until I woke up to survey (and grudgingly acknowledge) the severed mouse head she’d kindly brought me. Thank you, pusscat!

Even her appearance was unique; although she was black and white, she had a totally black set of antenna (above the eye). The vet initially thought Bonnie was missing them altogether, but they became visible when I used my hand as a backdrop. Not many tuxedo cats were like that, we were told.


I was heavily pregnant when Phil and I brought Bonnie home in a cardboard box from a neighbour’s house. As we walked along the road a huge lorry thundered past, and the poor little mite almost jumped out of her skin. She was scratching a lot, so Phil tenderly bathed her in the bathroom sink. Suddenly loads of fleas appeared, and promptly sank back into her fur when she was fished out and dried off.

As Bonnie grew up she developed a ‘devil may care’ attitude. She’d sprawl out in the middle of the road to sun herself as The Chesney Cats, a bunch of local bruisers, looked on in disbelief.

Bonnie collage 2

Bonnie developed some strange habits over the years, such as eating toenail clippings, chewing tissue paper and growling whenever a car door slammed. She was also a big scaredy cat – I found her trembling behind the washing basket when the doorbell rang one day. Eventually she gained confidence and stopped quaking at the slightest noise.

As I write this I’m smiling at the memory of the things Bonnie got up to. She really was one in a million, and I’m so thankful I had her for as long as I did.

We’re now a two cat household again, but Morticia will never replace Bonnie. Our ‘skeekpuss’ was truly one of a kind.

Goodnight, sweetheart, perhaps I’ll see you again in the next life xx

Bonnie Casket

This year, Kat and I hopped on a plane and went Christmas shopping in Prague. Lo and behold, as we explored this beautiful city, there appeared ….. a Sephora. Back home, the nearest Sephora was in Milton Keynes but that closed down a good decade ago and I hadn’t been in one since.


This one was rather small, and Kat watched me like a hawk as I weaved through the counters. ‘Remember, Mum, you’re not to buy any makeup!’ she chided.

‘I know’, I replied. Er, had the mother-daughter relationship reversed here for a second? I felt like a naughty schoolgirl being observed just in case I disappeared behind the bike shed for a secret smoke!


Although I didn’t buy any coloured cosmetics, I did come away with a couple of much needed coconut lip balms to counteract the Czech Republic’s cold winter weather. My lips felt like sandpaper, and even Kat didn’t argue about my purchases; she herself knew that I got through lip balms like nobody’s business.

Sephora lip balm

Without sounding like blowing my own trumpet, I wasn’t really tempted by anything else. Perhaps this no makeup buy challenge is more beneficial than I first thought it would be.

It’s not easy coming down to earth with a huge bump when you’ve had a great time, but I’ll always treasure the magic of Christmas shopping in one of the world’s most popular destinations, Prague.


Although Kat and I were only in the Czech Republic from 1st-4th December, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We stayed at the excellent Hotel Merkur in Tesnov, where the free breakfasts were to die for – delicious meats, sausages, pancakes, eggs and little bite sized cakes, as many as you could possibly eat. The staff were lovely and most spoke English.

The Old Town itself was a short walk away, and despite this being our first visit to Prague, we found it easy to navigate (with the help of a good map, of course!). Aside from the main market square, there were lots of other little Christmas markets dotted around. They even had a representation of a manger in one.



The stalls were heaving with festive goodies; baubles, warm winter hats and souvenirs of every description. It wasn’t quite as cold as we’d expected during the day, although the evenings were certainly chilly and I was glad I’d brought my thermals with me.





I wanted to buy something typically Czech, so we visited Moser, a shop specialising in crystal. Prague has several of these outlets, including one in the Black Rose shopping centre, in Na Prikope 12 (The pic below is of the one in the Old Town Square).   Kat bought herself a crystal cat, and I bought myself a pair of crystal dogs. Each piece cost 1170 koruna (£39 GBP), cheaper than you’d pay back in the UK.

Crystal Cats

Crystal Dogs


Some things in Prague are fairly cheap, others aren’t. Our taxi fare from the airport to the hotel was 860 koruna (£29 GBP), for example, and a half bottle of Snow Queen vodka set me back 333 koruna (around £11 GBP). A sandwich from the local Billa supermarket cost 149.90 koruna (£1.98 GBP) and a box of chocolates was 149.90 koruna (£5.12 GBP).


As I discovered  for myself, Czech architecture is truly magnificent. I fell in love with the astronomical clock tower and surrounding buildings – they were so unique and majestic looking in the flesh, I was in total awe as I gaped open mouthed. This was Gothic/bohemian paradise!







I can see why Prague is such a popular destination with many. The Czechs are warm, friendly people; some even mistook us for locals (perhaps it was the hats!) so it was a bit of a shock when they spoke to us in their native language. I speak Polish, and although Czech is similar, it’s still different in its own way if that makes sense.

I’m off to indulge in some Snow Queen.

Na zdrowie!!



So far I’ve used up a couple of tinted moisturisers. I have two others, one with an ‘illuminating’ effect which unfortunately makes me look like a Dr. Who extra. Add to that the fact that they’re both a tad too dark for my skin tone. Now, I’m no chemist, but I figured that one way to ‘dilute’ the shades would be to mix them with an ordinary moisturiser. Bingo! It worked a treat.

The trick is – how do I mattify the ‘illuminating’ one? Is it even possible?


Cue Sleek Control Shine & Prime; I mixed this with an equal amount of the Dayglow tinted moisturiser, and sure enough, the mattifying effect was immediate. By nightfall, the luminosity had begun to break through, but that wasn’t bad considering I’d endured buckets of menopausal sweat earlier in the day without coming to grief.

I hate waste of any kind, and the thought of having to chuck out a product just because I couldn’t customise it didn’t sit well. Thanks to Sleek Control Shine & Prime, it was money saved instead 🙂

I’ve always loved the Old Hollywood glamour of yesteryear. Actresses such as Jean Harlow and Rita Hayworth had an allure which will be remembered well after today’s throwaway, so-called ‘stars’ such as the Kardashians and Caitlyn Jenner are long forgotten.

Each silver screen goddess had her own signature look and none mirrored anybody else’s.

Old Hollywood Palette CoverMy two all time favourites, Greta Garbo (left) and Jean Harlow


Here, I’ve recreated the look of the mysterious and beautiful Greta Garbo.

I used:

Charlotte Tilbury Instant Look In A Palette (Natural Beauty)

Inglot lipstick in 866 and NYX lip liner in Hot Red

NARS Tinted Moisturiser in Groenland (Light 3)

Skin Food Banana Concealer in Light Banana

Barbara Daly Eye Base

Collection Sheer Loose Powder 2 Translucent

Face Stockholm eye shadow in Morkbrun

Face Stockholm eye shadow in Nastan Svart

Cargo Cosmetics black eyeliner pencil

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencil in Whiskey (as lip liner)

Ulta Silky Wear Lipcolor lipstick in Twilight Port

No 7 Midnight Lash mascara

Tools of the Trade 1The tools of the trade


I started off by applying tinted moisturiser (I loathe foundation and powder!) all over my face. The concealer was applied under my eyes whilst I covered the entire eye area with base; these areas only were set with a smattering of loose powder. Brows were filled in with the Morkbrun eye shadow.

Next, I dusted the entire eye area with Charlotte Tilbury 1 Eye Brighten. This was followed by a careful application along the socket line of Charlotte Tilbury 3 Eye Smoke to create a soft, sleepy look. I used a dome shaped brush to get the desired effect.

CT Palette open

CT Palette back

Next, I applied the black eyeliner pencil along the top lashes only, and went over it with the Nastan Svart eye shadow to fill in any errant ‘gaps’ and to add further definition. This was followed by three generous coats of mascara.

Garbo eyes

Garbo eyes 2

Garbo eyes closed


I used two different lipsticks whilst keeping the overall look the same. Here, I used the Inglot lipstick and NYX lip liner:

New Garbo collage


In this picture I used the Ulta lipstick with the Urban Decay eye pencil in place of an actual lip liner (I had to improvise as I’d run out):

Garbo and Me


For blush, I used the Charlotte Tilbury 5 Cheek Swish

New Garbo pic

Back in the day the stars would apply vaseline to the eyelids for extra gloss, but unless you have a steady hand this can be tricky and messy to do. False eye lashes were also used, but I’m hopeless with those and opted for an extra coat of mascara instead. I do, occasionally, use cake mascara for a more ‘authentic’ feel, and regularly perm my eyelashes to further enhance.

Thanks for reading x

I’ve been a Planet Rock listener for donkeys’ years, and was intrigued when, quite recently, they began talking about ‘Damp Atlanski’. What sort of band is this, I wondered?

‘Damp Atlanski’ was, in fact, Dan Petlanski, a South African born musician who’s supporting Joanne Shaw Taylor on her current tour, and I got the chance to see them both.

Dan P 1

The above photo is the only half decent shot I got of DP (far left).

Although a newcomer, Dan Petlanski’s got promise. The bluesy music was good and he performed some Hendrix-esque techniques on his guitar, though he didn’t go as far as playing it with his teeth or setting it on fire! From where I was seated he looked like a cross between Hugh Lawrie and Mr Bean (no, I’m not being insulting, this is just my honest opinion), not quite dressed for the office and not quite rock n’ roll either. The backing band, DP informed us, were all German, and his performance was punctuated with little tidbits of info like that.

I later learned that a friend managed to get a selfie with him in the bar 🙂

Dan Petlanski may just be the rough diamond cutting his teeth musically, but he’s definitely one to watch. I, for one, will be keeping a close eye on his progress.

JST Stage

Joanne Shaw Taylor was simply brilliant. She’s come a long way since writing her first album at the tender age of 16, and her performance showed just how comfortable and at home she looked on stage. When she verbally interacted with the audience it felt as though one knew her personally; she even mentioned she was getting over a cold, the same way a friend would over a cup of coffee.

Her guitar playing was awesome, those fingers going like the clappers. The guitar tech seemed to bring her a fresh instrument after every number (DP had no such advantage, he had to sort his own instruments out). I was curious as to why the drummer was hidden behind a large plastic screen, though I later discovered it was to prevent the sound from reverberating too much.


Thank you, Dan and Joanne, for keeping us entertained!