Friday 4th August 5.30pm:

My daughter Kat and I were getting ready to go to work at 6pm when my little Japanese Spitz rescue dog, Anya, had a seizure in the kitchen. After a couple of minutes she came round and was fine, I mopped up the wee she’d left behind and carried on as normal.

Saturday 5th August 11.30pm:

I’d returned from work two and a half hours earlier, anticipating a normal Saturday night spent with my family, listening to Planet Rock and just chilling out. Anya, who was on the sofa with me, suddenly had another seizure, and fell to the floor. I informed my husband Phil that I was going to spend the night downstairs with her. Another seizure soon followed. Then another. Each time she came round quickly, having soiled herself again, and I knew I was in for a long night. At 1.30am Kat asked why I was watching one of my cheesy Hammer horror films at that hour, and I explained about Anya’s fits. Throughout the night more followed; some when I was cuddling her in my arms. Each time Anya rallied, sometimes she seemed confused, at other times she’d been frothing at the mouth. She eventually drifted off to sleep. An hour passed. I began to relax a little, then Anya woke with a start, and another seizure followed. By 8am I was exhausted, having been up all night. I’d lost count of all the fits, and Phil and Kat came downstairs to look after her while I grabbed some much needed sleep. When I eventually woke up I was very surprised when they told me everything was fine; they’d even taken Anya and our Samoyed, Skye, out for a walk. I couldn’t believe it.

Anya cuddles 2.JPG

Monday 7th August, AM:

I spoke to our vet about Anya’s seizures, and he increased her Epiphen medication from a quarter of a 30mg tablet daily to half a tablet twice a day. The rescue place we’d got her from back in May had told us her epilepsy was ‘mild’ and that the low dose had kept things in check.

Anya and Morticia

Anya and our cat Morticia were buddies


Wednesday 9th August AM:

Having fed the pets, I took Anya and Skye out for their usual walk. They met some of their doggie friends, exchanged backside sniffs, had a little play, and we went back home. At 10.30am Anya began throwing up, projectile vomiting like something from The Exorcist. I wondered how such a small dog could produce such a large amount of puke as I went round clearing it all up. A while later Anya threw up again, this time an even larger amount. It dripped down the sofa, all over the floor – everywhere. During the course of the morning she drank at least four large bowls of water – and she couldn’t even keep that down. My first thought was gastroenteritis, as Kat had had something similar the previous year, so I went about preparing some chicken and rice for Anya’s next meal.

By 2pm Anya was no better, and the vet decided she needed an x ray. Anya had a seizure in the waiting room so the staff administered a diazepam rectal tube which made her a little groggy, but stopped the seizure in its tracks. The x ray revealed an obstruction in her stomach which required surgery. Anya was to be kept in overnight and the vet would inform us of her progress via the phone.

6PM: The vet phoned to tell us that, despite being on a ventilator for an hour after the operation (during which they found grass and other ‘objects’), Anya had ‘no brain activity’. I knew instantly what that meant, and broke down in floods of tears. The multiple seizures had proved too much, and the vet explained that even if Anya had pulled through there would be no guarantee she’d be the same dog. We’d had her for such a short space of time; the Shelter had told us she’d come over from Ireland where she’d been abused, used to produce puppies then dumped when she was of no use to anyone. Was Anya born epileptic, or had she developed it as a result of her miserable existence? I shall never know. Having had a difficult early life myself, all I’d wanted was to provide Anya with a loving home and some happiness, to show her not all humans were bad. To say I was heartbroken was an understatement.


Sunday 13th August:

Thanks to Diazepam, Kat and Phil, I’ve somehow managed to muddle through these last few difficult days, operating on automatic pilot. I returned to work as it was better than sitting around at home moping, though I’m far from healed. Anya was the second pet we’ve lost this year – our 18 year old cat Bonnie died from cancer on – ironically – the NINTH of January.

Although rescue centres do their utmost in looking after and rehoming unwanted and abandoned pets, I have a very clouded opinion of them. Ten years ago we adopted a cat called Sparky from a local shelter, only to discover that, despite them giving him a clean bill of health, he had cancer. We had to have him put down just five months later.

Tonight, we shall light a candle in honour of the little dog who stole my heart. Anya’s appetite for attention and cuddles was insatiable. I miss her nibbling my hair, competing with Skye to see who’d squeeze through the door first, or who could run home the fastest after a walk. Phil and Kat cried at Anya’s passing, too, despite not being quite so attached. Run free, my little angel. Mummy loves you very much xx

Slipper 2.JPG




It’s official – I need to ‘shop my stash’ rather than clutter up my drawers with any more makeup. Below are some photos of my entire collection on which I’ll have to rely for a whole twelve months.

Best stash group photo

Good pic 1

Good pic 2

Yes, you read that right. No more makeup purchases for three hundred and sixty five days. Apart from mascara which needs replacing frequently, if I run out of a product I’ll have to improvise somehow, and I’m looking forward to the challenge! Can I do it? My husband and daughter have their doubts.

Starting in August, I’ll be posting a month-by-month diary of my new venture. I’ve already unsubscribed from various websites to make things a little easier; all those tempting Special Offers will no longer flood my inbox.

Keep reading, and wish me luck!!


Today my awesome daughter received two certificates from her College – one for her efforts in Health and Social Care, the other for Female Student Of The Year.

Well done, Kat – both your Dad and I are immensely proud of you and love you lots. Keep up the good work xx



This is going to be a rather short post as I’ve either a) already reviewed items in the above theme in a separate post, or b) I don’t have as many astronomy themed makeup items as I originally thought. Oops!!

Let’s start with Sleek Celestial palette. This has twelve mostly sparkly shades: Solar (rich burgundy pink), Astral Blue (self describing), Aurora (medium green), Galactic (silver), Earth Shine (starry night dark blue), Dark Matter (black),Stargaze (pale lilac shimmer), Saturn’s Ring (shimmery medium blue), Meteoric (matte hot pink), Terrestrial (matte pale green), Lunar (shimmery silver blue) and Eclipse (shimmery khaki silver grey).

Sleek Celestial 2

As with all Sleek palettes, the pigmentation and colour payoff is superb. The consistency is smooth and easy to apply although the darker shades are prone to a little fallout. The quality of these eyeshadows is such that you can get away without primer; they simply stay put. Normally, glitter eyeshadows tend to be chunky and gritty, but with Sleek the glitter is more finely milled. I do find, however, that the deeper blue shades leave a ‘stain’ (probably due to the amount of pigment in them) following removal, but that’s no biggie.

Sleek Celestial 1

I wear this palette a lot during the grey winter months, and I love it 🙂

NYX Lipstick in Mars

I’ve tried plenty of NYX round lipsticks over the years and found the majority to be cheap and nasty, with poor coverage, strange texture and an almost ‘soapy’ kind of aftertaste in some instances.

Step forward Mars, the exception. This dark nude shade has enough slip without feeling greasy, making lips feel soft and hydrated. The colour payoff is good, there’s no weird taste or smell, and I’ve repurchased on several occasions. However, the downside is that it doesn’t wear well and needs reapplying every couple of hours or so.

NYX Mars


MAC Lipglass in New Galaxy

I take my hat off to all those brands who introduce non conventional colours, whether it’s red eyeshadow or green lipstick. Who wants to look like the girl-next-door, anyway? Not me!

New Galaxy is a grey shade with lots of blue and pink sparkles. It feels nice and light on the lips, and can be worn alone or as a lipstick topper.

MAC New Galaxy 1

In the pic below I’m wearing New Galaxy on its own; even though my natural lip colour is quite pigmented, you can still see the effects of NG shining through:

New Galaxy on bare lips

In this next pic, I’m wearing NG on top of MAC Little Buddha lipstick. The lipstick colour appears more intense, as do the lip gloss sparkles:

New Galaxy over Little Buddha lipstick

I personally prefer wearing New Galaxy over bare lips, even though it was fun experimenting with different effects and ways of wearing it. New Galaxy is long lasting and stays put despite eating and drinking, so that’s a big plus in my book!

MAC New Galaxy 2


Barry M Cosmic Lights Highlighting Palette

Behind the cute holographic packaging lie six cream and powder shades: Clockwise from top left, cream pale pink, pink shimmer, cream bronze, cream pale champagne, pale silver lilac-blue (looks white in the pan), and cream baby pink.

Barry M Cosmic Lights 2

The cream shades give an ethereal kind of glow, the powders are more reminiscent of ‘princess-and-unicorns’ (hope that makes sense!) theme. This palette is great for whenever you fancy creating an out-of-this-world look, and is certainly cheaper than the high end equivalents out there.

Barry M Cosmic Lights 1

Apply to cheeks, cupid’s bow, shoulders and decolletage for the ultimate luminous finish.

Coming up in Themed Beauty Part Three – Animals (my favourite subject x)


My home town has already suffered enough this year – two terrorist attacks, and now the devastating fire which has claimed so many victims.

My thoughts go out to all those affected by these tragedies xx

i paper


Welcome to part one of my Themed Beauty series, where I’ll be delving into my makeup stash and reviewing products according to various topics.

Some of these items are long discontinued, but you may still be able to find them on or on blog sales (prices may vary).

Chanel Winter Nights Eyeshadow Quad

The one I have is the US version with the square pans. Clockwise from top left there’s a medium taupe, peach, black with gold sparkles and a soft, muted pink.


Despite the ‘winter’ name, these colours can be worn all year round IMO; they’re certainly versatile enough. For variation, I combine the darkest shade with the taupe for  a muted effect, or I mix the peach, pink and black for something a little different. I might wear the taupe on the crease, say, and a combination of peach and pink on the lid with the black serving as an eyeliner. Certainly with the two paler shades a primer is a must, or they’ll just gradually fade away. The black doesn’t seem to be quite as pigmented as it appears in the pan (it seems to have a greenish tinge at times). Still, I enjoy wearing this quad and team it with either a nude or bold lip, depending on the occasion as well as my mood.



Essence Hello Autumn Palettes

Oh, how I love the packaging!! Those cute little leaves say it all.

I find Essence products can be hit or miss, but these palettes are surefire winners in my book. There are two in the autumn collection: 01 Walk In  The Park and 02 Keep Calm & Go For A Walk. The colour spectrum covers golds, rich browns and lush forest greens, with six shades in each palette (the first shade in each is identical, btw, as is the third shade in 02 and fourth in 01).



The texture and colour payoff is very good, with absolutely no duds. I can ‘mix and match’ shades from both palettes as they belong to the same colour family, and in my opinion these would suit all skin tones and occasions, whether you’re after a smokey eye or a more natural look. Their compact size makes them ideal for travel or just to pop into your handbag when you’re out and about.



H&M Flower Palette

While this palette doesn’t belong to a particular season per se, the word ‘flower’ does conjure up images of spring and summer, so that’s what I’m going with. There are ten different shimmering colours here, with varying degrees of pigmentation: A deep pink, peach, pale pink, primrose, cool bluish-silver, warm chocolate brown, warm gold, pale taupe, lilac and cool pink, all with a flower imprint embedded.


The last three colours in the top row work best as highlighters worn on the browbone; the warm gold looks quite vibrant in the pan but needs building up in order to reach its full potential (using a flat brush here helps). Ditto the pale taupe when it comes to successfully accumulating colour on the eyelid.


It may be a cheapie, but I do like this palette and use it regularly. Just looking at those shades gives me a feelgood factor – no matter what time of year it is, they always put a smile on my face.

Say it with flowers xx


MAC Snow Season Mineralize Eye Shadow (left in pic)

I love the marbled effect of this one, it’s like a Cornetto 🙂 Cream, brown, gold, silver blue, they all blend together effortlessly. Depending on where you swipe your brush you’ll get a predominantly browny-gold layer, or perhaps a creamy sliver blue (yes, you read that right!). No two of these eyeshadows are the same; yours may have a mostly brown vein and your friend’s will be more champagne streaked.


The shimmering effect brings to mind crisp snow glistening in the winter sun (and that’s the nearest I’ll get as we rarely have the white stuff down here!) Snow Season is perfect for opening up the eye area to create a ‘wide awake’ look. Dark circles, puffiness and discolouration all recede into the background, as though you’ve had your full sleep quota. No surprises, then, that I wear this in winter a lot.


MAC Fresh Ice Mineralize Eye Shadow (right in pic)

My husband bought me this one Christmas, and even inscribed it on the back:


Two words spring to mind when I pull this out of my makeup bag: Ice Princess. Team with a cool toned blush and a touch of lip gloss, don a floaty top and twirl round the  room like Stevie Nicks.

On a serious note, Fresh Ice looks just like the real thing. Mine has the teeniest, tiniest purple veining, with pinkish bits dotted here and there.

Mac mineralised

The shimmer adds a touch of magical radiance. Some white eyeshadows are ‘too white’, if you get my drift, but this one’s perfect. You don’t need to use much, as a little goes a long way (mine looks barely touched and I’ve had it for ages).

Talking of cool toned blushes brings me to Essence Arctic Lights Blush in 01 Snow Queen. This is a lovely pink which gives you a healthy, outdoorsy kind of glow. Open the lid and you’ll see a few different sized snowflakes imbued into the powder – very Frozen like!


The pigmentation and longevity is good, giving an overall subtle effect. I’m not a huge blush fan, but this gets the thumbs up.

Still on the subject of winter/cool tones, the last product I’m reviewing on The Seasons theme is Essence Go Snow Eyeshadow in 04 Alpine Snow. This is a kind of seafoam green endorsed with cute little snowflakes.

essence open

It may be pretty to look at, but the pigmentation is zero. This is more like a shimmery wash, and even using it wet made no difference whatsoever. Trying it with and without primer brought no joy, either. I guess I could use it as a highlighter instead ….

Coming up in Part Two – Astronomy

Thanks for reading x


You’re invited to a party. All your friends are there. You exchange hellos and then they drift off into their little groups, chatting away happily amongst themselves. When you intervene they acknowledge your words, then turn back and you become invisible. You spend the rest of the night alone, sticking out like a sore thumb.

Sounds familiar?

The dreaded cliques seem to be a part of everyday life – at work, the gym, mother and toddlers groups – you name it. People conglomerate like little witches’ covens in tight unity, and woe betide anyone else who tries to muscle in.


Now, I’m no party animal. Neither do I have two heads, nor is my complexion green. So why, throughout my adult life, have I always been excluded from these groups? Even my husband Phil, who’s much more sociable than me, can be found propping up the bar on his own, while his drinking buddies chat away all around him. He doesn’t smell, fart excessively or have bad breath, so why the isolation? You can only be pro-active to a certain extent – starting/joining in a conversation etc, but when you’ve exhausted all possibilities, what then?

At ‘do’s’, myself, Phil and our daughter always end up on our own, a trio of Billy-No-Mates looking wistfully at everybody else socialising and apparently having a whale of a time. Even if we have company to begin with, they all disperse and go off elsewhere in the end. We’re nice, decent folk, yet we might as well have come from another planet.

Research shows that cliques form because the people in them lack individuality. They do the same things, listen to the same kind of music and even dress alike. They feed off one another’s views and ideas, and exclude all non-conformists.

How sad is that?

Thankfully, I’ve always been an individual with my own tastes and opinions. I’ve never belonged to a ‘sheep club’, and neither do I want to. It’s a pity, though, that people like me are viewed as though we’ve just fallen out of a dog’s bum, for ‘daring to be different’. People are strange, sang Jim Morrison. They are also judgmental.

Sod ’em, I say. They can keep their barbecues and parties. I prefer hanging out with my pets anyway. They love me for being myself. And they don’t care whether I fell out of their backsides or not.


I’m a mature rock chick from Cambridge, UK, where I live with my husband Phil, daughter Kat, dog Skye and cats Pandora and Morticia.

I play sax, and also enjoy travel, languages (I speak fluent Polish and am also learning Russian) photography, pets, walking, blogging, the odd bit of sewing, watching old Hammer horror films and, of course, makeup!

I have an IHBC in Cosmetic Make Up, and work at my local pub as a receptionist for their takeaway section.

I hope you enjoy reading my posts as much as I like writing them x007

You’ll need: Gel polish remover, lint free wipes, orange stick, sellotape, aluminium foil, someone to help you and plenty of free time.


Saturate ten lint free wipes (one for each nail) with gel polish remover. Carefully wrap around each individual nail and secure with sellotape (lint free wipes are extremely lightweight and won’t stay put otherwise). This can be fiddly so get your helper to assist if needed.


Ask your helper to wrap your hands in aluminium foil (to generate heat and speed up the removal process) as securely as possible, ensuring the fingertips in particular are fully covered. Leave for 30 minutes.


Remove foil and wipes. Using the orange stick, carefully lift up the gel polish at the edges and peel away. You may need to repeat the process for a further 30 minutes if necessary (see what I mean about having loads of free time?).


Wash and dry hands; apply hand cream if desired.

And there you have it 🙂