My Sunday Photo 

I’ve seen quite a few other bloggers share a Sunday photo each week. This is usually accompanied by a little explanation of what is happening in that photo and what it means to them. I loved this idea so have decided to introduce this as a regular feature on Schoolrunbeauty.com.

Now my first photo is not a deep and meaningful family shot. Nope it basically demonstrates what a Plank I am. 


Yes Katy managed to set fire to the dinner this week! The downstairs of the house stank of smoke for about three days! 

In my defence I was knackered after a very busy day at work. I didn’t want to cook! I wanted a takeaway! Listening to the Husbands reasoning on why we really should be well behaved and cook, I got on with it. This is where it went very wrong!

Cooking pasta is piss easy. My ten year old can do it! Apparently my tired brain can’t though. I had put water on to boil, managed to switch on the wrong hob, of which I’d left a packet of pasta on. Queue the flames! Bang went my quiet five minutes to indulge in a cuppa. 

Did I get that much wanted takeaway? Nope. We now had a mess to clean up alongside trying to get something edible on the table. I’ve spent several days since trying to scrape melted plastic of the ceramic hob. Alas I think it’s probably ruined. Bugger! 

So moral of the story….I should shave got the Takeaway!!! 

2017 Bucket List Update

At the start of 2017 I created a list of the  17 things I wanted to do this year. I have actually managed to do a few things on that list. 

It’s is crazy to me that it is the end of July and we are officially over halfway through the 2017. Where has the year gone? 

So much has happened in such a relatively short space of time. My life now  is very different to what it was like at the start of the year. 

Some of those things have been amazing opportunities such as going full time and being promoted at work. Other things have been very sad such as loosing my mum back in January. It has been bittersweet.

I decided it was about time that I revisited the Bucket List and gave you a little up date on my progress. 
London Zoo 

Way back in April we visited London Zoo. I enjoyed seeing all the animals but also loved all the old architecture, many of which are listed buildings. The Giraffe house with its huge split doors was built in 1836. 

Catch a Wave 

I said I was going to embrace the sea this summer and catch a wave. Well yay for it being so warm in the run up to summer as it actually wasn’t that cold when we finally headed down to North Devon for our summer holiday. 
I tried out both bodyboarding and Surfing. The later is much harder and I still haven’t got up off my stomach. I have the bruised and scratched knees to prove though that I did  indeed catch and ride a wave. 


Not quite sure if I’m pulling of the surfer girl look? 


Try Avocado on Toast 

I’m counting this Smashed Avocado and Bacon on Sour dough toast, from Jamaica Blue in Chelmsford, as ticking something off my list. It’s not quite the super healthy blogger cliche version but this appealed to me much more. In fact I enjoyed it so much I’ve been back a couple of times. 


Read the Harry Potter Series 

My son and I are making good progress reading through the Harry Potter series. We  have got as far as Goblet of Fire. 

I love this one to one time I have with my youngest. We don’t get to do it every day due to work constraints, which is why it has taken us so long. I’m sure we will have finished the series by the end of the year.

Visit Ireland 

Lastly I have booked my flights to visit family in Ireland this coming September. It will be a whirlwind weekend trip but I can’t wait. We are have a big girly weekend at my Aunts in a part of Ireland I have never visited before. 

We are a little over halfway through the year. So far I have ticked off or planned for 5 items on my list. With 12 still left I’m going have to pull my finger out if I want to tick them off before the end of 2017. 

Of course I will keep you updated when that happens.

Nude by Nature Perfecting Concealer 

I’m always on the look out for a good Concealer. To be quite frank when it comes to Concealer I’m hard to please. 

I want something that provides high coverage, blends easily, doesn’t cake and  stays put, all without clogging my pores and aggravating any breakouts. Oh and I almost left out non creasing. 

As part of Feelunique’s pick & mix service I recently tried out this Concealer from Australian brand Nude by Nature. Though it’s not perfect, it does come very close. 

Nude by Nature produce Mineral Makeup using Australian native ingredients.The products do not contain any synthetic ingredients or preservatives, and are 100 % Cruelty Free and PETA certified 

The combination of ingredients offer Makeup with skincare benefits. 

Key Ingredients includes;

Kakadu Plum – An anti-oxidant and natural source of highly concentrated Vitamin C.

Ceramic Extract – Provides anti inflammation and hydration.

Avocado oil – Moisturisers, repairs and protects.

Jojoba Oil – An anti-oxidant and helps to restore skin elasticity.

Kaolin Clay – Purifys and helps to remove toxins. 

Shea Butter – Provides an intense hit of moisturisation. 

The packaging is Gorgeous. It looks and feels luxury with its rose gold caps and lids. 
I have tried this out as both an under eye and spot covering Concealer. 

The formula is very creamy and feels hydrating. As an under eye concealer it works great. It blends well and doesn’t crease or settle in fine lines. I like to use the pointed end of a beauty blender to tap it on.    With setting spray it lasts well enough throughout a full 8 hour shift at work. 

I found that it covered skin discolouration and imperfections well but didn’t fully cover major spots. A key pro for me though is that it didn’t aggravate or make spots any worse. 

As Concealers go this is teetering towards the more expensive end of the spectrum with an RRp of £20. Feelunique are currently selling it with 20% off at £16 

At this price I am definitely tempted to purchase a full size of this concealer. Fortunately for now I do have a second sample of this concealer that I am currently using. 

Brand Focus | Exuviance Skincare

Today I thought I would share with you one of my favourite skincare brands. US skincare brand Exuviance has been scientifically developed by renowned dermatologists Drs Van Scott and Yu. They are the creators and patent holder of the first gylcolic peel. 

The brand offers Salon quality skincare, using clinically proven ingredients, that you can access in your own home as part of your daily skincare regime. 

There are specific ranges available for different skincare needs including dry and sensitive skin, oily and acne prone skin and age reverse. As well as targeted treatments and makeup and skincare hybrids. 

I sometimes find it difficult to know what skincare products are suitable for my skin type.  I have had my fair share of skincare fail horror stories. Thankfully Exuviance has this covered. The Patient Condition checklist area of Exuviance’s website is very helpful as it matches products to specific skin concerns, helping you choose the right product for you. 

I have had the opportunity to try out a variety of products as I was gifted these at various blog events. Here’s a little run down of the products I’ve tried. 

£35 age reverse eye contour 

I was absolutely gutted when I ran out of this eye cream. I will most definitely be purchasing it in the future. (I’m just using up the other ones I have first).

I was starting to see fine crows feet before using this but they have virtually disappeared. Not a bad look for someone in their mid thirties.

Don’t expect instant overnight results, but with prolonged use and a little bit if patience you can see great results. 

free shipping Skinoracle.com

£23.39 gentle cleansing cream 


This is such a lovely cleanser. Every time I use it, it feels like a treat for my skin. The milky cleanser feels super gentle yet still provides effective cleansing. 

You can use this cleanser in two ways. Either as a classic cream makeup remover that you would massage in and tissue it off or use with water to increase the creaminess of it and achieve a deeper cleanse. 

I use this as part of my morning skincare routine. I love that I still get a true clean feeling without stripping my skin of moisture. The knock on effect of this has been far less breakouts. (Previously I had been told by a dermatologist that dehydrated skin was the cause of my breakouts). 

£20.89 purifying clay masque 

This clay mask has quite a tingling feeling on the skin. I would describe it as similar to the feeling you would get if you put toothpaste on a spot but the difference is it doesn’t dry your skin out. 

This mask really does work hard to lift and extract the dirt from you pores. Do be prepared to see the odd breakout post use. These minor pimples cleared up superfast though so are literally the dirt being lifted to the surface. Sounds gross I know, but effective! 

I am yet to come across an Exuviance product that has disappointed me. It is truly great skincare that gets better the more you use it. 

I would love to try out more of their products in the future. Let me know if you have tried any of Exuviance’s other products. I’m always up for recommendations.

Enjoying Living in the Moment 

So I’ve been a bit MIA. The last time I managed to publish anything blog related was actually the 4th June. WTF!! 

I could come out with a whole list of half baked excuses but to be honest with you I have just been focused on living more in the moment and ultimately having fun. 

I work damn hard at work, since my promotion it has become borderline all consuming. In a good way though, I’m not complaining, I love everything about my job. I finally feel like I know who I am, and what I want to be doing with my life. Time off though is more precious than ever. Hence my blog has taken a bit of a back seat. 

In an effort to try and pick up on the blog again I thought I would share a bit of what I’ve been up to over the past month. It really has been busy, but fortunately really fun. 

Hen Party no 1 

My sister in law is getting married in August. We had the first of the Hen parties at Bar Salsa in Charring Cross. 

Getting in the salsa spirit we all dressed up in red outfits, apart from the bide who was in white of course! We had a salsa class, ate some really tasty South American food and drank too many cocktails. 

Bar Salsa does some great party packages, I highly recommend it as a venue for when you want a great all inclusive experience. 


Prom Time! 

My baby girl is no longer such a baby. I still can’t get my head around the fact she has left school and had her Prom. 

I know I’m biased because I’m her mother but my daughter truly looked beautiful. 

The dress was from Lipsy VIP. It fit her beautifully other than the fact we did have to have the length taken up. (She is so tiny!)



I did her hair and makeup for her. I’m actually really proud of this creation. A hairdresser I am not! 

Hen Party No 2

It was time for round two of my Sister in Laws Hen Party. This time we headed to Cambridge for a spa stay and a go on the punts. 

We stayed at the Hallmark Hotel. As hotels go it was comfortable and clean. I can’t say I was that sold on the food. Well that’s a lie, it was my pudding that had let it down. Who puts red cress on an Icecream sundae? 

The Thalgo facial I had though was without a doubt the best facial I have experienced. I would visit again just for that! Maybe choose a different dessert? 

Punting on the river Cam was great fun. I wish we had more time to explore Cambridge as the College Buildings are amazing. Everywhere you turn there is another little passage that needs discovering. 



Pop Choirs ‘Magnificent’ at Electric Brixton 

My big sister is part of Pop Choir. I’m not really sure where to begin explaining what this is. If you enjoy singing, just for the sheer joy of it then Pop Choir could be for you. I’ve left a link to the website so you can check it out of your interested. 

Last week we went to watch Pop Choirs ‘Magnificent’ evening. It was such a fun evening and truly inspiring to see such a large group of people come together and ‘sing their hearts out’ to raise funds for some really great charities. 


I’d love to join myself, sadly there isn’t a group in my local area yet. 

Beer Festivals, Hawaiian themed birthday bashes and more!

So all this has been dotted amongst cinema trips, the Cammra Beer Festival, Christenings and not forgetting my Cousin 30th birthday. That one got a bit messy…

I don’t actually have any pictures to share of these as true to living in the moment I forgot to take any. Whoops! 

A Thought for Today

I’d be lying if I said this spate of terrorist attacks didn’t scare me. Then I get angry! Why should we be cowed by these nutters? I’m scared of spiders and that doesn’t stop me getting something out of my shed! 

Carry on enjoy the amazing city that is London. After all life is too short! 

We must honour the victims by not letting fear win. 

We must be thankful to those that risk their lives to protect us. 

I will still go on my planned evening out London in a couple of weeks time. If something happens then it’s my time, I will have no regrets. 

Meanwhile I’m sharing some of my favourite photos from enjoyable visits to London. 

Covent Garden

London Zoo
Tower of London

Keep safe people and show kindness to your neighbour. Manchester proved to us recently that there was is still much kindness in this world. 

3 great online stores to shop for budget fashion 

What do you do if you love clothes but don’t have an endless shopping budget?…..You get a bit savvy with you shopping that’s what! Having found some great places to shop for clothes that are not only cheap but stylish I thought I would share them with you guys. 

Next Clearance – You don’t have to wait until the sales to find a great deal from Next. The clearance section on their website always has some amazing items on offer. 
This is a great place to pick up jeans, swimwear and footwear, especially If you are like me and are a half size. 

You can also make use of Nexts free click and collect service saving on shipping fees. 

BlackBetty.com is an overstock website. A lot of the items can be out of season but it is worth having a good look through as you can find some real gems. Postage is very reasonable and worked out per item so you don’t have to buy loads. I often just order one item at a time. 
Do be prepared to wait a couple of weeks for your delivery though as delivery is slow.   

This jumpsuit was cost me just £6 including postage, it is super comfy and more stylish than shlepping in tracksuit bottoms on casual days off.


This blue midi skirt was also just £6 including postage. I’m absolutely in love with it and have convinced myself that I’m just like Belle when I wear it. 


Everything5pounds.com is another fab place to pick up some really fab outfits without breaking the bank. Absolutely everything on the website is £5. You do have to act fast though as the best items sell through very quickly. 

A lot of the items are ex-high street though you don’t know which brands until you receive you items. I have had clothes in the past from Topshop, Newlook and C&A. 

I find this a particularly good place to buy shoes. Postage starts from £3.95 and is usually based on a combination of weight and quantity. 

Shipping is usually very quick. 

The trousers below were a purchase from a couple of months back and are ex-Topshop 


These boots from Everything5pounds are one of my favourite purchases. I always receive compliments when I wear them. They are such good quality considering how little they cost. Alas now it’s warmer I have had to put them away for the winter (they have a warm fleece lining). 


What are you favourite places to shop for budget fashion? Do share in the comments section.

Beauty Blenders | Splurge, Spend or Steal? 

When it was first released The Original Beauty Blender caused quite the the stir on the beauty scene.  Developed by celebrity makeup artist Rea Ann Silva It revolutionised the way many of us beauty fans  applied our makeup. 

Priced at £16 it definitely falls into the investment purchase bracket. That will be why everyone and their mama has since launched their own budget ‘dupes’. 


In the interest of research I decided to test out some of these ‘dupes’ and see how they compare to the Original. 

I’ve always loved splurge, spend or steal posts so thought heck, lets base my comparison around this format. 

Well…. Can a cheaper Beauty Blender hold its own against the Original?  

Packaging and Appearance 

When comparing to the original it is very easy to spot the dupes. Packaging is very basic. Once outside of their packaging though they are all very similar but with some variation on shape. 


Pictured from left to right.

The Original Beauty Blender retails for £16 from Beauty Bay

Avon’s offering, the precision makeup sponge, retails from between £3.50 & £6.50 depending on their current offers. 

Primarks 2 pack of blender sponges retails for a mere £1.50 

Contents

The original beauty blender is latex free and so is Avon’s sponge. Avon’s website describes it has a latex free PU sponge. Primarks sponge contains latex, so not good if you have an allergy. 

Feel

Avon’s offering is closest in feel and texture to the original. Something about it is off though, it just doesn’t feel as smooth. 

Primarks version feels very dense in comparison and doesn’t feel anywhere near as nice as the original. 

Reaction to Water

If you are familiar with the original beauty blender you will know that when it is held  under water it absorbs the water and expands. 

Avon’s blender does exactly this. In fact it grew a fraction bigger than the original. Primark blender doesn’t expand at all. 

Performance 

To try to keep a fair test I used the same primer and foundation with each blender. This was Smashbox photo finish primer and Loreal Infallible foundation. I also tried to stick to just using 3 pumps of foundation. 


Pictured left to right

The original blender by far gives the best and most even coverage. I feel my foundation looks very natural a flawless in this picture. 

Avon’s blender absorbed more foundation than the original so gave a less even coverage. It also makes an odd hollow sound when you tap it against you face. This im guessing is because the sponges fibres are less compacted and smooth and would be why it absorbs more foundation.

Primarks blender I found quite hard and uncomfortable on the skin. I had to work much harder with it as it seemed to move the foundation around my face rather than blend it in. This is especially noticeable around my eyes. 

Ease of cleaning 

All three blenders actually performed fairly equal in terms of getting them clean. They have all stained a small amount.



My Verdict – You get what you pay for! 

Primark’s offering as far as I’m concerned is a complete dud. I don’t like it. It doesn’t perform the same as the Original and actually felt a bit uncomfortable to use. As far as I’m concerned this is being passed onto the kids as a painting sponge! 

I was plesenty surprised by how well the Avon sponge performed. If you have never tried the Original Beauty Blender because perhaps you feel that £16 for the original is too expensive then this is a very good dupe. 

If you like the original beauty blender and want to save you self a good £10 then Avon’s sponge is definitely a good buy. I don’t think you would be disappointed. 

Thanks for stopping by and checking out SchoolRunBeauty.com.

Coping with grief | Its not getting any easier!

I have to tell you something. Those people that tell you grief gets easier with time…their liars! 

Yes that sounds like a very negative statement, but it’s the truth. It’s approximately three and half months since my mum passed away and if anything the sharp sense of pain that often creeps up on me is more intense than ever. I miss my mum like crazy. I have this profound sense that there is a great big gaping hole in my life that can’t be filled. 

Throwing myself into work helps, it means I don’t have time to think about my mum. It’s days like today though, my day off, that I struggle with. My husband is at work and the kids are at school. If I have nothing scheduled I feel lonely. If mum was here I would be popping in for a cup of tea and a catch up. We might have been popping out to Aldi’s and get sidetracked. We may have end up at Outfit buying shoes. Yes mum was responsible for many of my impulse shoe purchases. 

Maybe the sense of loss feels so great because Mum played such a huge role in my life. She literally was the foundation of our family. We are now in a period of muddling through trying to create a new normal. Whatever that is?

When both my grandfathers passed I felt sadness but I never felt that a huge void had just shafted its way through my life. At the moment it feels like a crack that keeps widening. 

One of the hardest things I’m coming to terms with is the fact that Mum was cremated. As far as I’m concerned Some stranger has literally burnt away the physical evidence that my Mum ever existed. It’s a weird feeling. Maybe when we have buried her Ashes and have somewhere to visit I might feel less like this? Perhaps that will be a place where I can go and feel close to her again? 

Grief is unpredictable. Tomorrow is another day and I might feel completely different. I’m not in a consistent state of doom and gloom. I have days when I feel genuinely happy and content with my lot, I can laugh freely without feeling guilty that I shouldn’t be. I can see a picture of mum and smile at the memories it brings up. 

It’s those dark periods of grief that are hardest they  creep up on you and catch you by surprise when you least expect it. I not convinced that it does get easier with time. Maybe less frequent but certainly no less painful. 

Product Review | Xen-Tan Fresh Tanning Mouse 

I don’t know about you but I am so ready for summer now. I’m desperate to put away the winter jacket and get into my shorts and floaty dresses. One thing I’m not ready to do is expose my milk bottle legs. Yay for fake tanning products then! 

It was definitely time to shop my stash and dig out my sample of Xen-Tan Fresh Tanning Mouse rrp £33.99 for 236ml. Yes that’s pricey but I’ve done some digging and found that Justmylook.co.uk currently have this on offer for £17.99. That’s is by far the cheapest I have seen it available for. 
This celebrity favourite tanning brand has won numerous beauty awards including from the likes of Harpers Bazaar and Elle Beauty. 

The brand was developed by US tan enthusiast Dera Enochson after she found the already available tanning products were not fulfilling her desire to achieve that much coveted natural looking olive skinned tan. 

Xen-Tans lightweight foaming mouse claims to provide a buildable natural looking tan whilst also providing antioxidant, cellular protection and moisturising skincare benefits from a range non toxic ingredients including Green tea, Aloe Vera, Ginko Biloba and Vitamins D and E. So how does it perform? 

I certainly found this easy to apply. I used a tanning mitt which I found helped to blend the formula evenly into my skin. 

It dries down very quickly so I was able to get dressed after about five minutes. I didn’t experience any product transfer onto my clothing. 

This isn’t an instant tan, the colour develops   over time. You are advised not to have any contact with water for at least three hours after application.

PRO’s 

  • No horrible smell. It is supposed to be grapefruit scented though I feel it has a cocoa type smell to it. 
  • Easy to apply. 
  • Can use on face.
  • Added skincare benefits.
  • Doesn’t leave dark looking pores. 
  • No staining. 

CON’S

  • Does feel a little bit sticky. 
  • No guide colour.

Below is a before and after shot after using 1 layer of application and allowing to develop for several hours. The difference is very subtle. Where I do notice the the tan the most is on my shins. They are very white in the first picture. 

    I am happy with this level of tan for everyday wear. It is very natural looking and certainly doesn’t have that fake orange look to it. Zen-Tan do advise applying a second layer for a darker tan. 

    I found this a really easy to use product. My only negative is the lack of guide colour to ease application. I did miss a patch on my foot, whoops! Good job a shoe will be covering that! 

    If you have any recommendations for easy to apply fake tans do let me know as I’m always open to trying out new ones. 

    Just because you are a busy mum it doesn't mean you can't have any me time!

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