Monday, 29 December 2014

Mack and May on new baby gifts

What was it with 2014? Was the UK water system drugged with some kind of love potion? We know of at least ten couples who have had a baby in the last few months.

Here are a few of our favourite new-baby gifts which have put an even-bigger smile on the new parents' faces...

Personalised Sleepsuit from Milly Molly Morley

Beautiful, quality sleepsuit personalised with baby's name all presented in the cutest gift box. Unisex, boys and girls designs available.   Cost is £9.99 plus postage.  Very quick delivery in our experience.  Sold by a Cambridge-based UK seller with an Ebay shop full of other  great gift sets and personalised baby clothing items.

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Mack and May wish you a very merry Christmas!

"Deck the halls with boughs of Holly
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la

Santa brought me a shopping trolley
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la"

After weeks of shopping, wrapping and planning, the big day is finally here! 
Merry Christmas to you all!

Christmas means different things to different people.  Whatever meaning it has for you, we hope you have a wonderful day and (assuming you have all made it onto the good list) that Santa has brought you an extra special present for being your wonderful self this year!

Christmas kisses from us both



Monday, 22 December 2014

Mack and May's last minute tips for a happy Christmas day

We are no Christmas experts but we have survived a fair few and hope that our last-minute tips help you enjoy the day. They have certainly kept us sane on a couple of occasions! Please do share your tips with us too...
  • Plan ahead. We won’t tackle the issue of catering for the masses, but think ahead about how you would ideally like the day to pan out and come to an agreement with those that you need to about some basics such as whether TV will be allowed during the day, when presents will be opened, and what time is just TOO EARLY for the kids to get out of bed.  

Thursday, 18 December 2014

May makes a festive non-alcoholic mulled 'wine'

When I was flicking through a friend's copy of the Country Living magazine a couple of weeks ago, I found a recipe for a spiced grape and cranberry juice that I thought would be perfect for the drivers and non-drinkers over Christmas.

I tested out the recipe last weekend and it went down as a massive hit with everyone, so I wanted to share the recipe with you.

By no means will anyone mistake this for mulled wine - it is fruitier and doesn't quite have the depth of wine, but I think it is a great replacement and I will definitely be making it on Christmas day (assuming I can find a spare saucepan...).

Monday, 15 December 2014

Mack reviews Memebox (part 2) - Hair & Body 4: Spa Edition box (#49)

Back in November 2014, I posted about Memebox, my decision to purchase the Hair and Body 4: Spa Edition box (box #49) and my fears about being charged a hefty customs fee (as the box was coming from South Korea).  I am so pleased to report that the box arrived within a week of its shipping date, all packaged safely in pink bubble wrap and there was NO CUSTOMS CHARGE!!!! I was delighted! 

I am really pleased with the contents of the box. Six full size products to enjoy and pamper myself with, with a value of approximately £79 (Memebox say its value is $125). Over the course of a week, I have tried the products and I think I may have discovered one or two real gems....

Thursday, 11 December 2014

May on H&M Home

You know when you find one of those stores that sell cute homeware bits and you can't stop yourself checking their website more often than is normal to see if they've had any new product lines added? That's me with H&M's home department.

Considering I didn't even know H&M had a home department until 6 months ago, when I moved house, I have placed a few fairly substantial orders already. Oops. Everything is priced reasonably so I never do too much damage in one go. Honestly.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Mack's lipstick troubles (but B.Brilliant Lip Gloss to the rescue)

Finding lipstick colours that suit me is something that can be quite difficult.   May will attest to the fact that we have spent many a shopping trip trying to find a lipstick that suits my dark complexion.  I don't even attempt to order a new, different lipstick online as I have been too disappointed in the past.  Ten years ago, I found the perfect lipstick for me whilst on a Paris shopping trip.  Chanel.  Adorably packaged, bronze/plum two-tone, creamy and shimmery, long-lasting and unfortunately limited edition.  I have been searching high and low for that slice of lipstick heaven ever since.

Of course, in the large city department stores I can find ranges specifically made for darker skin tones and wider ranges of the popular cosmetic brands which are suitable for a more diverse market. But sometimes even then I can struggle.   Sometimes colours can be too bold for a daytime look, or the product feels too matte on my lips.  Plus, I don't live in a big city.  It would just be nice to got out to a local high street store and just pick up something off the shelf that I am happy with.  However, the usual ranges in my local beauty high street stores have been quite limited in the past. 

Thursday, 4 December 2014

May reviews Caudalie SOS Thirst-Quenching Serum

There’s no denying the fact that (even at my ripe old age) I have oily skin.  I hadn’t realised though, until a lovely lady pointed it out during a facial, that I also had some patches which were quite dehydrated. 

When I got home after the facial, I was determined to find something to solve the problem. I remembered that I had received a sample of Caudalie’s Vinosource SOS Thirst-Quenching Serum in a Glossybox a few months previously and just chucked it in the ‘yeah, I don’t need that’ pile.  To cut a long story short, I’m now on my third repurchase of the full size version and don’t ever want to be without it. 

Monday, 1 December 2014

Mack reviews My Beauty Diary Sheet Masks (Plus win a box of My Beauty Diary Sheet Masks)

Pampering sessions have become an essential part of my weekly de-stress routine. Lock myself away from the kids for an hour, candles and music on, beauty products out...heaven! One of my favourite essential products for my pampering sessions are the My Beauty Diary sheet masks. Not only are these fun to use and relaxing, they work marvels for my skin! These sheet masks originate from Taiwan and I buy them from UK eBay sellers for about £1.70 to £2.30 each (simply search eBay for "My Beauty Diary" to find them). 

The masks are sheets soaked in essence with cut outs for your eyes, nose and lips. It is a simple case of applying the sheet mask to your cleansed face, lying back and relaxing. You do not need to rinse your face afterwards and you can use any excess essence from inside the packaging on other parts of your body (I apply the left over essence to my neck and cleavage).  I like to use a nose pore strip before using the mask to remove blackheads. The sheet masks generally fit my face quite well but you can snip the cut out areas to make them fit better if need be.  

Thursday, 27 November 2014

May on The Body Shop

The Body Shop is one of those places I’ve been shopping at for years and years and I know I can trust to deliver.  I’m sure anyone of my generation will remember the green plastic bags and the smell of White Musk and Dewberry in the school gym changing rooms.  The plastic bags may be long gone, as is my love of the fruit and dolphin shaped soaps, but I still love to buy bits on a fairly regular basis and always seem to find something new to try.

In store, I have never had anything but friendly and knowledgeable customer service although I tend to mainly shop online now - the website is easy to use, delivery is speedy (£2.99 for standard delivery although there are often free delivery offers) and there is often a really good discount across everything on the site.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Mack reviews Daily 4 Me from Inner Me

I recall watching an episode of Dragons Den last year and feeling inspired by a lady named Nikki Cooper who was seeking investment to market her beautifully packaged vitamins.  I remember thinking "If those vitamins help me to look as beautiful and radiant as her, I want them!".  Moreover, Nikki's story moved me. Diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, Nikki emersed herself into researching ways of keeping her condition at bay (which included taking a range of supplements) and subsequently, with the aid of nutritionists and pharmacists, she developed the Inner Me range of vitamins.

I was delighted when earlier this year Inner Me opened its online shop.  Since then, I have been fan of the Daily 4 Me vitamins which provide you with all the goodness you need in a handy, portable daily strip of supplements.  

Each strip has a multivitamin and mineral Tablet, an Omega 3 Capsule, an anti-oxidant capsule and a probiotic capsule.  A box contains a month's supply and costs £30 as at December 2014.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

May reviews Elemis Sensitive Cleansing Wash

When I was a teenager, and actually through much of my twenties, I hated my skin. Whilst I was never particularly plagued with bad acne, I had oily skin, always had a spot or two and my skin was just never smooth or glowing. To tackle my woes I got caught up in a what was probably a viscous cycle of those teenage staples such as Clearasil and Biactol. Whilst they certainly felt like they were getting into pores and cleaning out the daily grime, I suspect that they were also completely stripping my skin of all the good and causing it to get angry and react.

Over the years, I tried numerous products, before coming across Elemis' Sensitive Cleansing Wash. I didn't think I particularly had sensitive skin, but I liked the idea of being kinder to it in the hope that it would repay the favour.

This cleanser is now a complete staple in my morning routine and I can't recall having tried anything else since finding it. I have lost count of the number of bottles I have been through.  I love that it doesn't leave my face feeling tight, or taut, as some more astringent cleansers used to.

Monday, 17 November 2014

May makes Nigella's Christmas Rocky Road

I love having home-made treats around, and my husband (and his colleagues) always get excited when I remember this great Christmas Rocky Road recipe which I stumbled across on Nigella’s website a couple of years ago.

It scores very highly on the ‘minimum effort, maximum taste’ front and is a nice twist of on an old favourite for this time of year.

This recipe makes a huge tray of treats, and they are quite rich so I'd recommend cutting it into quite small squares (you can always have a couple!).

I've set out Nigella's recipe in this post, although I usually add a mix of different nuts and swap some of the cherries for cranberries. If you're catering for a vegetarian, remember to leave the marshmallows out of the recipe.

Mack reviews Memebox (part 1)

I am an avid fan of the beauty box. Although part of me is half-considering moving to the US as the choice of available beauty boxes is endless there, I have made it my mission for now to try every beauty box deliverable to the UK at least once.

The next box on my list is Memebox - made by a South Korean based company that sells the best-loved Korean beauty products in pretty, themed boxes. I do love Korean beauty products for their novelty, super cute packaging and most importantly, for how good they are!

Memeboxes contain 4 - 7 full-sized items and deluxe samples, and contents include makeup, skin care, hair and body products. You pay a one-off price for a themed box of products (so many themes to choose from!) and prices average at around £14 ($23) per box excluding shipping as at October 2014. 

May reviews Kenwood Smoothie 2Go

It’s not very often that I get excited about a kitchen gadget.  If I do, it usually turns out to be a short-lived love affair (hello, pineapple corer, ice-cream maker...), but I really, really like my smoothie maker.

For someone who quite likes fruit, and knows it’s good for you, I hadn’t been eating nearly enough of it for ages.  When I want a snack, I just can’t say no to chocolate.
As soon as I bought the Kenwood Smoothie2Go I knew I was on to a winner. It is SO easy to throw in some fresh or frozen fruit and some orange juice (I’m sure you can use milk, but I’m not a fan), pop the blade on, shove it on the, er, whizzy bit, and blend away. It only takes a few seconds and once you’re done you can just swap the blade for a lid if you need to run out of the door with it. 

Mack on the "Mack and May blog"

Some time ago, I started a beauty blog but life got in the way and much to my dismay, I didn't take it further than 3 posts! Blogging is like running a need a set plan, drive and commitment, and the time and ability to nuture the blog.

The burning ambition to blog about things I am passionate about (beauty, shopping and lifestyle subjects) has always lingered. When I happened to log in by accident to Blogger and see how many views a post on my old blog had accumulated since I had abandoned it, I was inspired to re-create a blog and work hard to make it something creative, helpful and meaningful to others.

Fortunately, my good friend, May, shares the same vision. May and I have created this blog to give honest reviews about the good and the not so good products we come across, discuss all things beauty, home and lifestyle related and share tips. May and I are similar in some ways, but different in many others and we hope our diverse tastes, opinions and selves give you a more-rounded view of the products we review.

We hope to build a community of friends and followers who share the same interests as us and have fun as we try to live out our blogging dreams (hey, at least it gives us an extra excuse to shop more).

Please have a look at our About Us page and enjoy our blog. We would love to hear your feedback.