An evening at the #MegaMysteryBus Event

On the 8th of February I had the opportunity to attend the #MegaMysteryBus blogger event in London. I didn’t quite know what to expect from the evening having not taken part in anything like this before. I was looking forward to it though as I knew we would be taking part in a bus tour around some of London’s most iconic places and that it would also involve a bit of sleuthing.

We met at the Radisson Blu hotel on Portman Square.  Here we were welcomed with drinks and nibbles and given a team number.  This provided us with the opportunity to break the ice and find our fellow team members before boarding the bus.


Each team was given a Sherlock adventure bag that contained clue cards, evidence bags and a computer tablet. We had to follow the instructions to solve the clues, find some mystery characters including Sherlock Holmes himself and gather evidence along the way. The bus took us to two different locations, Westminster Abbey and Trafalger Square. We also had to find our own way from Trafalger Square to Convent garden. No easy feat as I’m clueless when it comes to London. Yay for google maps then!

This was such a fun evening and I met some great girls, even if our team didn’t really have a clue what we were doing. Sleuthing definitely isn’t my fortay. It is no surprise our team placed in last HA HA!

This was definitely one of those evenings were it was about living in the moment, I think I took about two viable pictures the whole evening, we were just having too much fun.  I felt like I was living out my childhood dream of going on Treasure Hunt. Yep showing my age there.

Fortunately the organisers of the evening  SEO experts Search Laboratory had brought along a professional photographer Matt Chappell. The photos in this post are all his work. Well done for keeping up with four teams of crazy bloggers running around London.

Our Teams Evidence of The Hound – A Poo emoji key ring
Sid turned up for a surprise visit.
If you are looking for a budget Intercity coach operator do check out Mega Bus.  They offer fares from as little as £1 including a 20kg luggage allowance. The coaches are clean and comfortable, have free WiFi and toilet facilities. I have used them in the past to travel from London to Birmingham and found the whole experience very positive.

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What’s in my Makeup Bag? 

As a self labeled connoisseur of all things make-up related and a great big fat nosy Parker I am very interested in checking out the contents of other people’s makeup bags. You never know were you are going to come across the next holy grail product right? So when I saw Joanne Mallon author of Opposable Thumbs  looking to set up a blogger challenge doing just that I jumped at it.

My day-to-day make-up isn’t actually stored in a make-up bag. It sits in a set of acrylic organizers on my dressing table. Yes blogger cliché I know, but it works for me. I’m the type of person that likes to see everything sitting neatly in its place. There’s a reason why visual merchandising is one of my favourite tasks at work.

So enough waffle, what are my much loved day-to-day makeup items?

The Ordinary Full Coverage Foundation rrp £5.95. 

Cult Beauty seems to have the best availability across all shades at the moment.

This has been quite a hyped up product so of course I had to see what all the fuss was about. To be honest I had read some very mixed reviews. I wanted to try it out for myself though as it has such a budget price tag.

The negative reviews from other users complained about having problems with oxidising and caking, fortunately I have experienced neither.

I have the shade 1.1 Fair Neutral which is the perfect match for my skin tone during the current winter months. Crucially it doesn’t oxidize on me and stays the correct shade throughout the day.

It might be worth noting that I use a primer, topped with a light dusting of powder followed my a spritz of setting spray.

To apply I use my Real Techniques Miracle Sponge £4.49 currently on offer at Boots. I do have to go back in with my Real Techniques Expert face brush to buff around my nose otherwise it will shift. Using this method though It’s lasts well enough through an 8 hour shift at work so at this budget price this is my daily go to foundation.

Maybelline Age rewind Eye Concealer £8.99 (or 2 for £12) at Superdrug.

I have lost count of how many tubes of this concealer I have used. I love the application method, however I do admit the sponge can get messy. I love that the formula covers well, yet feels light and most importantly doesn’t settle into any of those tell-tale eye creases. Fellow 30 plus ladies will know exactly what I’m talking about.

Maybelline Brow define + fill duo rrp £6.99 best price £4.85 Feel Unique. 

This is such a handy product for those mornings when you are in a hurry. I’m that girl who will happily leave the house without foundation but just can’t be seen without groomed brows. It has a fine gel pencil for defining the brows at one end then a powder with a sponge applicator to fill the sparse areas.

This is actually a bit too dark for me so I won’t be repurchasing. Maybelline could do with bringing out a wider shade range as there are only four available.

E.L.F Expert liquid eyeliner £3 Superdrug. 

I have been using this product for years. It is really easy to use, stays in place all day and is ridiculously cheap. I’d be mad to buy another eyeliner.

NYX Proof it! waterproof mascara top coat £6.00

I get terrible hay fever during the summer months, during the winter the wind gives me watery eyes. You can imagine the mess my face can get in then. This top coat works with any mascara to make it waterproof meaning I can still experiment with different mascaras. It’s a must have for anyone who has similar issues.
Maybelline Color Tatoo’s £5.99 

I have an entire drawer in my set up dedicated to these. I use them either on their own for a super quick eye look or as a priming base.  I love them and will more than likely purchase again in the future.


MAC mineralize Skin finish in Stereo Rose

I went to great lengths to get my hands on this when it was released as a limited edition back in 2014. I had to take a trip to Selfridges in London to purchase it as this was the only place that had it left in stock. I have’nt linked it for that reason but felt it deserved a mention as it sits pride of place on my dressing table.

Originally I only used this when I was going out because I was worried about it running out. Daft I know! Common sense has since prevailed as I do not want it to expire before I have used it up. I am actually reaching for it most days now. I consider this to be a bit of a bronzing blush hybrid and is perfect for days I want some colour but am in a hurry.

Dior Addict Lacquer Stick in Palm Beach £26.50  John Lewis 

I treated myself to this when I got my promotion at work last year. (that and a BMW 5 series). It is has a gorgeous moisturising formula so I have been opting to wear this most days as it has been such a cold winter.

I have just been promoted again at work so I definitely deserve to purchase this in a different shade don’t I? 

I’m passing the baton on these these ladies. I’m sure they will be up for the challenge of sharing ‘What’s in their Makeup Bags’

Don’t forget to check out Joanne’s blog Opposable Thumbs

Fashion Mini Haul – Trying out a new Budget Clothing Website 

Regular readers of Schoolrunbeauty.com will know how much I love a bargain. That’s why after seeing an advert pop up in my Facebook feed I was suckered into clicking through to discover what offerings the website Lessthan10pounds.com had.

The premise is ex branded fashion mostly on sale for less than £10. Some items are actually priced higher than this, and sold under their label rather than as ex-label. 

As per usual with this is type of website not all the items will be to everyone’s taste. In my opinion though it has some absolute Gems so it definitely worth a look. 

I ordered three items that came to £23.24 including postage. They arrived within 2 days of ordering, well packaged and via Royal Mail. 

I’m so pleased with everything I ordered that I had to share them with you straight away. So excuse the messy hair and lack of Makeup…


Ex New Look Wide Leg Burgandy Jump Suit – £7.75

I love a Playsuit. I always feel a bit more sophisticated when I wear one. This one was originally from High Street retailer New Look. The quality is good though as the fabric is so fine you will need to be careful with underwear choice. A VPL is definitely not sophisticated! 

It comes up long, which for me is great, it may though be a problem for shorter people. 


High Neck Textured Jumper – £5.95 

This is so warm and cosy. Most importantly it isn’t scratchy. I ordered this a couple of sizes bigger than my dress size as I wanted an oversized fit. 


Blush Sequin Dress – £7.95

The quality of this dress is amazing! I love it and need and excuse to wear it out. 

The top is made from a thick stretchy scuba material so is very flattering. I feel I could get away with eating a hearty meal wearing it. It feels quite heavy due to the sequinned skirt and hangs beautifully. 

As the label has been cut I can’t see which shop this originally came from. Size wise though I would say it is true to size. I’m typically a U.K. Size 6, which is the size ordered. It does come up very short on my 5ft 7 frame, but I have very long waist to leg ratio so everything comes up short on me. 

At the moment there is a coupon code that gives you an extra 15% of ex branded items.  This is 15EXBRAND  

Have you bought anything from lessthan10pounds.com before? If you have let me know what your experience was like. 

February’s Reading List 

At the start of the year I set myself a few personal goals. One of those goals is to get back into reading by finishing up 26 books throughout 2018. 

So far I’ve finished two books;

Helen Forrester Lime Street at Two 

Paige Toon All about the hype 

Both of these books are part of mini series’ that I have now finished. They are very different but both equally great reads. Let me know if you would be interested in a book review on either of these. 

In order to stay on track and keep myself accountable I have decided to share my monthly reading list here on the blog. 

These are the books I plan to read in February; 

Paige ToonThe one we fell in love with 

Paige Toon is my favourite author. I received this book from my husband for Christmas… I just haven’t got round to reading it yet 

Jo-Jo MoyesAfter You 

I read Me Before You last year and really enjoyed it. It’s about time I read the sequel then. I also have the book on loan from my little sister so need to hurry up and give it back to her. 

I’m open to pushing my reading comfort zone so if you have any suggestions for books that you think I should be adding to my reading list please leave them in the comment section.

5 things that happened when I stopped eating refined sugar 

For the past 30 days I have been taking part in a challenge to remove junk from my diet including things like crisps, cakes and anything that contains added or refined sugar. 

People that know me well will appreciate how much of a challenge this has been for me. The first few days of this were tough. I had a withdrawal headache and was cranky because I couldn’t eat what I wanted. 

Fortunately I am part of a 30 day challenge group on Facebook, and my husband has also been on this challenge so there has been plenty of support. 

Now  at the end of this challenge I thought I would share the five things that I have discovered since giving up the sugar. 

  1. At the beginning of my sugar detox I felt really hungry. I started having to look at food in a different way. I am now looking at food for its nutritional benefits and its ability to keep me full.    For example at breakfast I am now eating overnight oats made with natural greek yogurt and berries rather than a cereal bar. My sugar levels are no longer spiking and then slumping. I have so much more energy and no longer have a dreadful late afternoon slump. 
  2. My skin is looking clearer. I can’t give you a scientific reason for this, it just does. I am definitely a vain person so this is enough for me to make a go of sticking to a sugar free diet. 
  3. Now that the natural flavours of food are no longer masked with sugar it tastes so much better. I’m really beginning to appreciate food again. Fruit like grapes and strawberries taste amazing and are enough to satisfy my usual post meal need for a sweet fix. Home made sweet potato crisps are heaven! 
  4. I have got used to the taste of food without added sugar. I can really taste hidden sugars in food. Simple things like a tin of baked beans taste really sweet. Too sweet In fact. I’ve now switched to Heinz No added sugar beans, which I hated before. 
  5. In a bid to avoid those hidden sugars I have made an effort to take a packed lunch to work. This has saved me money. Win Win! 

I know I will struggle to stick to a completely sugar free diet on long a term basis. There will always be the temptation to indulge In the odd bit of chocolate, particularly around my time of the month. Going forward though it is about making sensible choices. 

A budget alternative to Megan McKenna’s NTA dress. 

Yesterday was the date for the 2018 NTA’s. To be honest I’m never really that interested in the awards themselves. I am very interested in what everyone is wearing on the red carpet though! Who was the best dressed! Who got it wrong! 

For me Megan McKenna completely stole the show in a rose printed dip hemmed dress. 

Image credit – PA Images

In all my dreams I could never afford this dress. It is from American designer Sherri Hill for a rather eye watering £720. If you can afford it though here is where you can get in in the UK. dress2party.net 

I have found a much more affordable retailer that offers dresses of a very similar feel. 

Chi Chi London offers a huge selection of dipped hem dresses. The closest to Megan’s dress I found was the Kalini dress. Amazingly this is actually on sale at the moment for just £34

Image Credit – Chi Chi London 

I soooo want this dress. I’m just trying to justify whether or not I would actually have anywhere to wear it though? 

My life is not that glamorous! Still if you have a wedding or a prom this year Chi Chi London is a website worth checking out. 

My first Pink parcel Experience 

Who else hates their period? I do, with a great big fat capital H! Saying that I do greet it each month with a ‘Halle-friggin-lujah’…I’ve dodged the pregnancy bullet. Those inevitable cramps and that not feeling truly clean experience are not welcome though! That’s why I decided I was going to give Pink Parcel a try. 

Pink Parcel is a monthly subscription service that promises to make those monthly visits ‘fuss free and fabulous’ The service combines treats, beauty products and those essential femcare products all delivered to you at home. This arrives in a discreet and well packaged parcel on a date of your choosing. 

My first concern was whether it would arrive in time. Fortunately it actually arrived roughly a week before my selected date. No problems there then.

Secondly, would I be sent the type of femcare product that I prefer to use? Thankfully you get to choose from a wide variety of brands and can pick, tampons, towels or even a combination of both. I was pleasantly surprised to see that this part of the box isn’t just an afterthought. You receive a good amount with a combination of items for both daytime and nighttime use. There is also even a little well filled ‘for now’ bag to keep in your handbag so you don’t ever get caught out. 

Also included in the box is a treat food item along with a healthy tea bag. I don’t know about you but I always crave chocolate around my time of the month. I also love a cup of tea!

January’s box theme is Positivity, so the beauty related products included reflect this. 

My favourite item included is the Made by Coopers Apothecary Happy Mist value £12. 

This can be used to spray in the air or onto fabrics. The lime, clementine and basil scent is very uplifting and definitely triggers the pleasure sensors. 

I was also pleased to see Browcote Waterproof Brow Gel. Value £6.99

Brow products are one of my favourite make-up items so I will definitely be trying this out. I’m that person that can happily leave the house with a bare face but I always have to have groomed brows. 

Laritzy is a makeup brand that I haven’t heard of before now. This eye pencil is what I consider to be a ‘safe’ introduction to the brand. This is the most expensive item in the box with an rrp of £18.00.

I have the shade shimmer which is a silver shade. I shall be trying this out in my waterline as an eye brightening product. The packaging states that it is free from Parabens and after checking their website I found out that they also do not test on animals. Both positives for me! 

The last item is a set of Bandzee Hair Ties value £5.95. 

I love this type of hair tie as they are strong yet don’t leave kinks in you hair. I do feel they are often very overpriced though, especially as I’m always loosing them. This was definitely a useful addition to this box. 
Over all I am really pleased with my first experience of Pink Parcel. The value of the contents far exceed the £12.95 price tag. I’m not going to lie sanitary towels are one of those essential items that I resent have to spend money on. This subscription service takes the pain out of it! I’m looking forward to seeing what February’s box brings. 

The 7 magical ingredients of Garnier Miracle Sleep Cream

I talked about Garnier Miracle sleep cream in a recent skincare favourites post. Before I wrote that post I was doing some research into the product’s ingredient list. I like to know what I’m putting on my skin, and to be be honest, who doesn’t?

Several of those Ingredients however I had never heard of let alone knew what they were doing for my skin. Are they even safe? I consider myself to be quite passionate about good skincare so its no surprise then this triggered a spontaneous research session. 

Now I understand why Garnier Miracle Sleep cream is so good! These 7 magic ingredients are why;

  • Lavender Essential Oil – Aside from smelling nice and  being relaxing, Lavender oil also has disinfect properties and can help with circulation. 
  • Extract of Albizia – This is a tropical plant extract. Usually this is taken as an oral supplement. Source (Organic facts.net) It has many benefits including helping to keep skin healthy. 
  • Andenosine – This is a type of Yeast. It actually can be found naturally in the body. Used in this way it can help to energise the skins surface and has anti-wrinkle properties. Source Paula’s Choice
  • Jojoba Oil – This can help to soften the skin whist also unclogging pores. 
  • Hyaluronic Acid – This is one of my favourite skincare ingredients. It has moisture binding capabilities so helps to improve the performance of the other ingredients on the skin. I swear by any product with this in. 
  • LHA – This is an abbreviation of beta-lipohydroxy acid and is similar to Salicylic Acid. As it has a PH of 5.5, similar to the skins natural PH level is it suitable for sensitive skin. Source laroche-posay . It has antibacterial properties, lifts dead skin cells and unclogs pores. 
  • Ruscus Extract – This is another plant extract that has calming and soothing benefits. Source Weleda.com

My skin has definitely benefited from this combination of ingredients. I would even go as far as claiming Garnier Miracle Sleep cream has achieved holy grail status with me. Priced at a very reasonable Rrp of £12.99 this is an all rounder skincare product that is worth investing in. 

3 Skincare favourites for use at Night-time 

Every now and then I like to give my skincare routine a little bit of a shake up. Before Christmas I felt my evening skincare routine was not as effective as it could be. My skin was tired and lack lustre.

Given I am such a skincare hoarder I had  a rummage through my stash. I found I already had quite a few unopened products, specifically created for use at night time, just waiting to be tried out. 

Now Ive had a good old play with most of them I thought It was time I shared my favourite discoveries;

AD skin synergy nourishing night treatment 

I received this 10ml sized bottle of facial oil in my tili beauty advent calendar. It’s a good thing as this isn’t a product that I would normally gravitate towards. It is a very luxurious feeling oil and my skin seems to love it.  I’ve been using this for two weeks now and my skin is feeling much softer and smoother. 

The facial oil contains both cold pressed organic rose hip seed oil and organic rose essential oil. Not only does it smell nice but it is good for anti-aging. 

The rose ingredients are ethically farmed and traded on the slopes of the Andes mountains in Chili. No parebens, artificial perfumes, pertrochemicals or phenoyethanol are used in the oil so It’s no surprise that it has won three awards from BeautyBible.com. 

The full size 50ml bottle is £38 with free delivery. 

Garnier Miracle Sleeping Cream 

This purse friendly night Cream has been inspired by Asian skincare sleeping packs. It has a highly concerntrated formula of 7 key ingredients. When you feel it in the pot it has a unique tacky texture. I expected it to feel quite heavy on the skin. This is not the case though. It absorbs instantly so doesn’t feel heavy, greasy or sticky.  

I’ve almost finished an entire pot of this and am about to repurchase. My skin loves this stuff! It feels smoother and much plumper.

I actually could talk for ages about the ingredients in this cream however that would make this a very long post. 

My curiosity saw me doing a bit of research into  Some of those magical 7 are ingredients as I had never heard of several of them, and Im a bit of a skincare junkie. 

I’ve decided that this deserves its very own in depth blog post so that will follow soon. Watch this space! 

Lastly this next product is something I keep on hand for skincare emergencies. Fortunately I don’t have to use it very often, maybe once a month If I get hormonal breakouts. 

The Body Shop Tea Tree Blemish Fade Lotion is very effective at calming down pesky raised spots. When needed I will apply this before bed and by morning, though not completely vanished, the appearance of those raised spots is much improved. 

Often I find spot treatments can dry my skin out but this doesn’t do that. It is also suitable for most skin types as it has worked well for both my teenagers that have quite greasy skin. 


The rrp of this is £10 although The Bodyshop always have some kind of promotion running. Currently it is 30% off full price items if you use the code 14673. 

It is definitely worth using products specifically designed for use at night. The body recovers from tiredness best when it is  sleeping at night so the same should apply to your approach to skincare. 

I can testify that my skin is looking so much better since I’ve introduced these three products to my bedtime routine. 

Moral of the story…don’t hoard that night time skincare…use it! 

A few personal goals for 2018

Last year I decided to set myself a bucket list of 17 things I wanted to do in 2017. I managed to tick off 7 items I believe? Umm bit of a fail then. 

I think my problem was that I was thinking on too grander scale. I still haven’t had afternoon tea at the ritz, why?…..Mainly because I would need to take out a small mortgage. Also 17 things is a lot!

Forgive me then for not being so ambitious in 2018. I have set myself some smaller goals and outings that I want to tick off this year. There will be no jumping on the #18for2018 bandwagon for me though. Mainly because I can’t think of 18 things. 

I still thought I’d share my modest list of goals though;

  • Start a good memories jar for 2018. Now I wouldn’t blame you if you are sat there going ‘What the hell is she banging on about?’ Basically each time something good happens I’m going jot down a little note and pop it in a jar. New Years Eve 2018 I will remind myself of all the good things that have happened this year. This is a fun idea I’ve seen other people do so decided to try it out for myself. 
  • Finish my NVQ. Well….as much of it as I can. The training company my employer have gone through can be a bit flakey. 
  • Run 10k – My big sister is running 12 10k’s this year as she wants to raise money for Cancer Research. I shall be joining her in July to run one of them. I lose the term ‘run’ loosely. She may be dragging me around some of it. 
  • Read 26 books – This sounds like a lot but it only actually works out as 1 book every fortnight. I want to return to the habit of reading a chapter before bed rather than my unhealthy habit of scrolling through various social media apps. No wonder I often struggle to settle! 
  • Create a new blog header/theme. It’s time to get my little corner of the Internet looking a hit more polished. 
  • Go and see the musical Wicked. I said this last and still haven’t done it. 2018 will be the year! 
  • Learn to cable knit. I said this last year as well and guess what I still haven’t started. Basically I need a kick up the back side. I’d achieve so much more if I spent less time with my nose in my phone. 
  • Continue to declutter our home. Throughout December the hubby and I took part in a 30 day minimising challenge. This involved decluttering one item a day. We found it a great experience so are going to continue with this.
  • Blog at least once a week. Since beginning my new role at work, and switching to full time hours I have struggled to find the time to pay the attention to creating quality content that readers of schoolrunbeauty.com deserve. My goal is to post at least one a week with a focus on quality rather than quantity. 

Now that doesn’t seem unrealistic does it! 

    Is there anything you want to do or achieve in 2018?