Add A Little Personality to Your Room with Photowall

Add A Little Personality to Your Room with Photowall

My decorating style is very simple. I like white walls, hard floors, and comfortable yet utilitatian furnishings. Its very minimal! But then I add some personality to the room through artwork on my walls.
We recently laid new floors through all the public rooms downstairs. I am so happy with the finish. Its so light and clean looking and really brightens everything up. Once the floors were down i decided to give my family room a refresh.

I started by taking out the old mantlepiece and boarding up the fireplace. I changed out the old radiators for a new dark grey vertical fitting. then had the walls replastered and the room and woodwork painted with a fresh coat of white. We have a cupboard in the room so had no need for storage so I kept the furniture simple- a dark grey corner sofa, a grey velvet pouffe, small cream rug and a marble coffee table and matching small lamp table. We have a large TV which takes up much of the third wall and patio doors on the last which let in lots of light so I added a large peace lily in a raised pot. I love lighting so as well as the crystal centre light, I added a floor lamp and a table lamp.

So far so minimal and very much my style.

But i think you’ll agree it needs something else. Something to add a little personality, some character, some colour. It needed some artwork. The brief was simple. I wanted colour, bright colour but I didn’t want flowers or animals. I didn’t actually want it to be anything more than a mood. I wanted a piece that would spark joy. I searched everywhere. I saw lots of pieces I loved in galleries but at prices that put them out of my reach. I searched through hundreds of prints but nothing really sparked that feeling of joy that I was looking for. I was determined not to settle. I knew that if I had patience I would find the perfect piece. And then I found Photowall.

Photowall make wallpaper, prints and canvases that are printed to order. They have a huge range to choose from or will even print from a photo provided by you. Imagjne! You could even have your husbands face plastered all over the downstairs loo – or maybe not!!!!

I really love how Photowall put their care for the environment at the centre of everything they do. All production is to order, which means nothing is held in stock or discarded unnecessarily. The printing ink they use contains no solvents or hazardous chemicals, and is biodegradable. Waste material from their processes is recycled and best of all, 5000 trees are planted every year in East Africa. Its truly inspirational.

At the end of the day though I chose the piece because I fell in love with it. It is everything I wanted and I am obsessed by the personality it adds to the room. It truly does spark joy in me every time I look at it.

What do you think of my new room? Home decor is so personal isn’t it? Is this your style or do you prefer something more traditional? Whatever your taste in home furnishings, if you are looking for wall decor you need look no further than Photowall especially as they are currently offering you a whopping 25% discount with the code julieellen25 . If you do make a purchase please send photos. I love seeing inside other people’s homes don’t you ?

Beauty Pie Lash Lowdown

As everyone I talk to knows, I am a massive fan of Beauty Pie, not just for their cut price beauty and makeup but for the quality of their products too.
There are lots of posts out there about how Beauty Pie works so I won’t go through all that but I found myself recently with a fair amount of spending available to me, and well I didn’t have to be asked twice.
Top of my list was a new mascara . Sadly I have shortish, elephant straight lashes that are growing more sparse with age. No surprise then that I am a sucker for a mascara that promises me the world but sadly such mascaras tend to deliver very little. Beauty Pie’s mascara was different, named simply the Uber Volume Boost in a choice of black or brown I picked it up hoping it would do exactly what it said on the minimally stylish tube. And spoiler alert, it DID!

This mascarat has a fairly thick formula so it thoroughly coats every lash. It adds a decent amount of length and volume without looking spidery OR clumpy. In other words it didn’t give me that ‘false lash effect’ but it gave me better looking lashes and I am down for that.
I should add that I also picked up the Uber Volume Fibre Lash Building Primer for times when I wanted a little more oomph. As a contact lens wearer I was worried it would irritate my eyes. It didn’t. It was a bit of a faff though and I’m not sure that it made enough of a difference to be worth it. However when I said just that on my Instagram I got comments saying it works much better if you use it between two coats of mascara rather than before mascara. I’ll report back !
Meantime get the mascara, it’s a DEFINITE yes !

UPDATE Tried the Primer using the sandwich technique abs it DEFINITELY worked. Was still a bit of a faff but gave my lashes some real va va voom so this is definitely something o would do for a special night out when I wanted some lash fluttering fabulousness. Great tip, thanks Louise!

African Extracts Skincare Giveaway

African Extracts Skincare Giveaway

I used to blog very regularly over on Blogger but since I closed that I really haven’t blogged at all other than to support my instagram account – and I haven’t really posted there either this year as who would be interested in photos of me sitting in the house in my comfies. In short I am a teeny tiny blogger and was absolutely astonished when African Extracts got in touch to ask me to run a giveaway with them. Astonished but delighted of course.

So how it has worked is that they sent me a pack of goodies and offered my readers and followers the chance to win one for themselves – all absolutely free. WHAT??? Yup free. How bonkers is that?

So there were absolutely no strings attached to this – no review required let alone a good review but given that I am running the giveaway I thought I would share my first impressions.

So the first thing I did when I opened the parcel was to make myself a cup of tea – of course I did. I wasn’t sure how I would feel about it as I only usually drink Tetleys or Peppermint tea but I wanted to give it a try. This Rooibos tea is grown in only one place in the world, the Cederberg mountain region of South Africa – just like Champagne or Cheddar, if it grows anywhere else it isn’t the real deal. It is packed full of unique antioxidants and minerals which bring proven health benefits by neutralising free radicals, and protecting the skin and body from stress. BUT WHAT DOES IT TASTE LIKE I HEAR YOU SAY? As I mentioned before I wasn’t sure how I would feel about this tea but it was actually really good. It had a mild refreshing taste with no hint of bitterness and is naturally caffeine-free so is defos one I will be adding into my evening routine.

But on to the skincare, I know that’s why you are reading this. I got quite a few bits, enough for a complete morning and evening routine. African Extracts have more than one range but were kind enough to send me products specifically intended for dry and mature skin.

Morning routine – after cleansing I would go right in with the misting toner. This can be used as a facial spray although I generally prefer to save the product by spritzing it onto a makeup pad and swiping all over my face to remove any residue of my cleanser. I also like to use a misting spray over my makeup during the day just to freshen it (and me) up a little. I am quite the connoisseur by now so you can take my word that this is a good one. It contains the BioActive Rooibos extract that I described above with aloe vera, witch hazel and chamomile amongst other delights and felt like it was brightening and tightening my skin without feeling harsh or drying. I liked it.

The next step in both morning and evening routine from African Extracts was the Triple Action Serum. Again this contains the BioActive Rooibos extract , this time with marine plant extracts, lavender oil, jojoba seed oil, aloe vera, lavender, hyaluronic acid and ceramides, it claims to helps to firm and lift, rehydrate and strengthen the skin’s defences for smooth, velvety soft skin and a youthful radiance. Obviously it is not going to do any of those things overnight but what I can tell you is that it is extremely light, almost a milky texture which makes is easy to apply and quick for your skin to absorb. It feels really lovely too just giving the skin an extra shot of goodness before moving to the final step.

The next stage in any routine are of course the moisturisers and I have both the day and night cream. The day cream is light with a whipped texture that is a pleasure to use. Packed full of all the active ingredients that I already understand are the signature of this brand, its high level of antioxidants are said to reduce the visible signs of ageing and boost the skin against environmental stress.

Did you know night time is when you skin repairs itself? That is why it is super important to use the best quality night cream you can get your hands on. This one contains as well as Rooibos extract, Vitamins A, C and E, and plant complexes with six natural plant extracts that really get to work targeting the visible signs of ageing as soon as you drift off to the land of nod. What I love about this night cream is that despite all the ingredients packed into this little pot, it isn’t heavy or sticky, it really is a pleasure to lose.

So now you know what these product are all about do you fancy winning a whole hamper of them for yourself?

It couldn’t be easier – just go to my Instagram page @imjulieellen and like my give-away post, then comment saying why you’d like to win and tagging someone else you know who might like to get involved. Oh and don’t forget to follow the African Extracts UK Instagram account too.


Self Care – My Mask Routine

Self Care – My Mask Routine

I must confess to being a relative newbie to the wonderful world of skincare. I have obviously (nearly) always washed my face, and would smear on a bit of moisturiser when I remembered but I certainly didn’t have what you could call a routine.

But I am now at an age where the sins of my past have absolutely come to haunt me and my skin need all the help it can get. So I have rolled up my sleeves and built myself a morning and nighttime routine that my skin and I are happy with.

Now and again though I need a little extra help – and that’s where masks come in. Once a week I have a self care day which I will share with you all one day soon but as part of that day of pampering and treats, I treat my skin to some real loving.

I start by thoroughly cleansing my face then it straight on with the Fruitizime Five Minute Facial by Beauty Pie. This is an old favourite and one I have recently repurchased. I am not sure I would have for the non-,members price of £60 but for the member’s price of £10.62, this was a no brainer for me. So easy to use, you simply slather it on, leave it to do its thing for five minutes then massage it off . It works by combining Glycolic acid with fruit enzymes and the gentlest of grains and will unblock the most congested of pores and gently, very gently exfoliate your skin. I absolutely love it.

Having removed all the nasties from my pores, it is time for a glow up and for that I turn to the Wake mask. This is an Australian Pink Clay mask that smooths the complexion, banishes that dull tired look and leaves in its place a bright glowing rejuvenating appearance. Who doesn’t want that? At £27.98 this is an expensive one but there is usually a code to be found for a little discount. The one that’s active at the moment is CONNECT10 which will get you almost £3 off which helps a bit. If that is still a little pricey for your purse then Superdrug sell a very similar one for around £9 which is a bit of a bargain in my book.

Finally having done all the prep work, its time to give my face a treat. I start with. my eyes . I am afraid after a lifetime of laughing too hard at absolutely anything, the lines round my eyes are pronounced, the skin is dry and crepey and my eyebags are more like suitcases . Frankly my eyes need all the help they can get. And that is where the Mylansea undereye patches come in. These won’t break the bank, they are just £8.99 for 6 and are packed full of proven ingredients such as Collagen, Niacinimide, Seaweed, Hyaluronic Acid, Q10, Vit E and lots of lovely peptides. These quality ingredients are delivered to the skin via a cooling aloe gel on a piece of silk which you apply under your eyes just like a sheet mask . They are fragrance free so good for the most sensitive skin and target dark circles, fine lines, puffiness, dryness and sagging. Being honest my lines are here to stay but I definitely have seen a difference in the quality and appearance of my under eye area.

Finally its time to treat the rest of my face and for that I turn to my Snail Jelly masks. I know that sounds weird and a little yuck but this stuff bought from a Korean company via Amazon, packs a serious punch. I should start by saying that this product is cruelty free as the jelly is collected humanely. You apply it to your face like any other sheet mask and I have to confess I thought it was pretty grotty at first. It did feel instantly cooling though and very similar to aloe gel so I just pretended to myself that was what it was. You leave the mask on for about 15 mins and honestly you will be amazed the first time you use one, I know I was. My skin just looked so plumped up and glossy and although obviously the result didn’t last forever , I did feel that my skin felt more moisturised and comfortable for the following week. Another fragrance free product so again suitable for all skins no matter how irritable.

So there it is, my mask routine. All in all it only takes way less that an hour and really leaves me feeling like I have treated my skin, which after all the years of abuse is the least I can do.

Do you have a masking routine? What products would you recommend?Be

Cruelty Free Vegan Brushes by Six Plus

Cruelty Free Vegan Brushes by Six Plus

I recently treated myself to this lovely set of brushes chosen I have to admit for how pretty they would look ok my dressing table – don’t they look great in their matching pots. What I didn’t realise till they arrived is that the pots attach to each other magnetically creating a perfect little travel care!!!

I was also very keen to buy synthetic bristles as I am on a journey towards being totally cruelty free in my beauty routine.

Given their budget price they are a lot kinder on the bank balance too which is always a bonus!!! My Maths isn’t great but I worked out that each brush costs about £2 with the storage containers and travel case included as a freebie – that’s SUCH A BARGAIN!!!!

But what about performance? Let’s face it they wouldn’t be a bargain if the quality wasn’t there ! But happily I can confirm that it really really is ! I have really enjoyed using these brushes, they apply and blend effortlessly making me look like I have better makeup skills than I do.

So would I recommend these brushes ? Yes I absolutely would and without mentioning the dreaded ‘C’ word, they would make a great gift for the makeup lover in your life!

Aisling Organics – Makeup That Actually WORKS

I love makeup – like really, really love it. I love buying it, applying it and I love how it makes me feel when I am wearing it. Recently though I have become more conscious about what I’m buying and what I’m putting on my skin – and it’s not always so pretty!

So I’ve been trying to clean up my skincare and makeup faves and cut out some of the nasties.

Aisling Organics is one of the brands I have been trying and I am genuinely very impressed. Their products are handcrafted using top quality ingredients with no parabens, fragrances, tars, talcs or any of the other horrors that lurk in the glossy packaging of many of the better known brands.

But do they work?

Yes they do, brilliantly!!!

I tried their Bali Bronze and Sienna cheek tints which I wore together to give a gently sculpted but fresh, natural look to my cheeks. I was really impressed by the formulation, so light and comfortable to wear but with good pigmentation that lasted all day/

I also tried their lipstick in Hibiscus a lovely pinky nude that was so creamy that I really felt it was nourishing my lips. Lovely n this miserable weather.

I am really keen to try the foundation but it’s always hard to get the colour right online. But don’t worry, Aisling has you covered, they have little sample sets they send out FREE for you to colour match yourself before you order. Genius!!!

Finally Aisling Organics are of course vegan, cruelty free and gluten free with a plastic neutral footprint.

So if you like me are interested in cleaning up your beauty routine but without sacrificing the quality of the products you are using, then check out Aisling Organics. – and for a bit of a bargain use the code julieellen5!

The Perfect Little Purse

The Perfect Little Purse

I recently resolved to ditch black and embrace a bit of colour into my life and if you know me you will know that when I decide to do something, I do it wholeheartedly.

I have brightened my hair colour, bought a LOT of new clothes and when I saw a collection of brightly coloured leather goods by Village Leathers on Instagram, i couldn’t hit the like button fast enough.

Imagine how excited I was when I got a DM the next day offering me the chance to choose a piece from the collection. I immediately found their website and I spent a very happy hour swooning over the luxury leather products.

Village Leathers make pieces for men and women offering both bespoke items and a large variety of ready made pieces from belts to braces, from bags to purses and all sorts of other leather goods large and small. They are an independent family business, started in 1974 with a store in Covent Garden and a thriving business online. The company are proud of the fact that their pieces are handmade in London by craftsmen and women using leather of the highest quality. What really makes them stand out though is that they offer luxury leather for budget prices.

There were so many lovely pieces that it wasn’t easy to make a choice but I eventually decided to go for this little coin purse in tangerine.

And isn’t she a beauty?

I was so impressed when it arrived. The packaging was beautiful, this would be a fabulous present – anyone would be delighted to receive any of the products as.a gift. The quality was outstanding, very reminiscent of another luxury leather goods brand which also prides itself on being quintestentially British but charges ten times more for their products. And the design was fantastic, it’s called a coin purse but it has been the only purse I have been using since I got it. I put my cards in the back section and any cash I am carrying at the front and that has been working perfectly for me. I have had it for about 6 weeks now and I love it.

I really could not recommend Village Leathers more highly and this will certainly not be the last order I make. I have my eyes on one of their beautiful clutch bags next which are priced at just £25! For a top quality leather bag with style that is an incredible price.

Check them out for yourself and let me know what you think.

My Experience With Fillers

I really hope you aren’t reading this before breakfast – if so then I apologise for the unfiltered closeups but when talking about fillers it’s best to show the plain unvarnished truth I think. Read all about it below.

Why Did I Decide to get Fillers?

My first foray into injectables did not go well. I tried botox about 5 years ago but really did not like the ‘SPOCK’ look it left me with so I let it wear off. I have had lip fillers a couple of times too and really liked the youthful effect of a plumper pout but again never really kept it up.

I have recently lost quite a lot of weight though, five stones to be precise and although I was really enjoying my new slimmer body, I was not so keen on the effect it had on my face. Top left is me a year before losing the weight, bottom left was me a week ago.

Obviously none of these photos look great, I am a 55 year old woman who loves the sun and my skin reflects that, but I think you can clearly see in the before photograph, the impact of my fat loss – my hereditary eye bags are exaggerated, my cheeks have a gaunt sunken look and well, just look at those jowls. Not my best look.

Although I wasn’t happy with the way my face now looked, I didn’t have the money for a facelift and it really never occurred to me that there were other options out there.

Then along came Doctor Darren.

Darren McKeown is a bit of a celeb in Scotland. In his own words his passion is to help men and women feel better about themselves through the way that they look. He claims to prescribe ‘The Power to be Confident’ whether that be by using a particular product, or by having a surgical or non surgical treatment.

I first encountered him directly though when I saw him post on Instagram that he was looking for models willing to allow a doctor being trained in aesthetic medicine to perform treatments on them and use their before and after photographs in their portfolios. Knowing the reputation of the clinic I did not hesitate to send Dr Darren a ‘warts and all’ photo with a heartfelt plea for him to ‘choose me’! You cannot imagine my delight when I got a message confirming I was one of a chosen few.

On the day I turned up at the clinic and was blown away by it. It reminded me more of an upmarket Spa than a doctor’s surgery. Think low lighting, squashy sofas, designer coffee table books and chill out tunes on the iPod!

Before my treatment I was taken into a room and photographs taken of my face from all angles. I then was taken into the treatment room where I was met by the lovely doctor and her trainer. Unfortunately I was so excited I missed their names but if by chance they are reading this, they will know who they are.

I was greeted so warmly that I genuinely did not suffer any nerves at all. I had temporary dermal filler injected into my cheekbone area to add back some of the fullness I had lost while losing weight. I also had fuller injected around my jaw to lift the jowls formed as the skin sagged. The treatment obviously took a little longer than usual as the trainer talked the doctor through what she was doing but I can honestly say that the discomfort was on a par with some basic dental work.

And just look at the results.

The picture on the right is unfiltered and shows my 55 year old face with no makeup. Just look at the difference from my before at bottom left. To be fair the lighting is very bad in the before photograph and much better in the after but none of that would account from the very visible improvements to my eye bags, the shape of my cheeks and my jawline. To say I am thrilled would be an understatement.

I have suffered very little bruising but have noticed some swelling – nothing noticeable though.

Here is a photo of me with makeup on 24 hours after the treatment. Still no editing or filters though. What a difference huh?

Would I do it again ? Definately – next on my wish list is a little filler in my temples to balance my face shape and some tear trough filler around my hereditary eye bags.

Was it worth it ? Well I did not pay for this treatment but dermal filler is temporary which is quite reassuring but does mean that in about 2 years time the filler will need to be re-done. When it does I will absolutely pay to have it redone.

Would I go back to Dr Darren ? Genuinely I would not go anywhere else – when it’s your face you are messing with, it’s important to have the confidence that the people treating you are the experts in their field and that’s what you get with Dr Darren McKeown and his staff.

If you are interested in looking the very best version of you then I highly recommend you go to see Dr Darren at his clinic at 202 West George Street, Glasgow.

If you have any more questions though don’t hesitate to ask!