Becka Shepherd

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Monday, 23 April 2018

Origins GinZing Collection

I'm quite lucky that my skin is fairly "normal" in that it doesn't get particularly greasy or dry and I only suffer from the odd breakout which is usually hormonal, stress or because of my diet. Whilst that certainly is a blessing it also meant that I was never sure what moisturiser I should be using. I don't really want one to do anything other than put a touch of moisture into my skin without taking ages to sink in or leave me feeling greasy.

I went to my local Origins counter for some advice way back before I was even pregnant as I was getting bumps under the skin on my forehead. The lady there advised it was because I was using E45 as moisturiser which was far too heavy and my skin couldn't breathe (oops!). People have raved about the Origins GinZing range for as long as I can remember, in particular the eye cream but I'll come on to that in a second. It's claimed to give you skin a boost to banish that tired, dull look that every other mum out there knows all too well and offer you moisture whilst still being light and refreshing. Origins were running a special promotion at the time whereby I got 75mls for not much more than the 50ml pot and so I invested in my first ever "high end" moisturiser!

Needless to say, as I'm writing this post nearly 3 years on - I've never looked back. I've toyed with the odd PR Sample and sometimes wonder if I need something more heavy duty in the winter months but all in all, the Origins GinZing moisturiser has served me very well. It's exactly what I wanted, I just dab my finger to get less than a pea-sized amount for each cheek and my forehead and it's soaked into my skin before I even reach for my eye cream. It gives me a nice little boost but means I can crack on with the rest of my beauty routine nice and quickly.

The eye cream, I really wanted to love, but it just wasn't enough for me. You'd think as a tired Mum of a toddler I'd be all over anything to make my eyes look more refreshed but I just don't think it was rich enough for my needs. I've noticed the skin around my eyes starting to thin slightly and I need something a little more heavy duty.

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Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation

I think that foundation is my favourite part of my makeup routine, it's the thing that I invest the most money in and if my foundation isn't right then I might as well not wear anything else on my face. I don't think that my skin is particularly bad but for some reason I don't feel confident if I don't wear a medium to full coverage foundation. I like my complexion to look as flawless as possible and so I spent months desperate to try the Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation.

As I said previously, I invest more money in my foundation than anything else - so nothing annoys me more than ordering online and getting the wrong shade. I also want the experience of buying a High End Foundation rather than just placing an order online and hoping for the best. So when I was invited to London one day last year, I decided to go the whole hog and had a Charlotte Tilbury makeover. The experience was lovely, and if you're planning on spending £35 or more in store then I'd highly recommend you purchase on as the cost is redeemable against any purchased you make and you get to try out so many more products at the same time.

The foundation itself definitely lived up to expectations - I've actually used it all up now and even scraped the inside out to get every last drop. It's £32 which is on the higher end of foundation prices for me but definitely not the most I've ever paid. Plus the packaging is super luxurious - a frosted glass bottle and the gold lid just look beautiful on my dressing table. This lasted me a long time too, I promised myself that I'd save it for special occasions but quickly fell in love and nothing else seemed to compare. I've applied this with both a brush and a sponge and in my opinion the sponge performs better. It creates a flawless base, it's not as dewy as I'd normally like but offers amazing coverage and I'm aware that you can't really have both!

It's a medium to full coverage if you ask me, with the first application you can create a good base which still looks natural, paired with a light dusting of blush and a slick of mascara you can create the perfect "no makeup, makeup" look. I like my foundations to be versatile and so it's important that I can feel comfortable wearing it with or without the rest of my makeup on days where I'm running short of time. Another layer and it builds to give you a flawless base ready to contour, highlight and sculpt the living daylights out of.

Would I repurchase this foundation? Most certainly I would! The reason that I haven't is I've started to fake tan religiously and so I'm unsure what colour I'd need now. I also live in the middle of nowhere and my nearest counter is well over an hour away - and as I've said before, I don't like to take chances on ordering foundation online. That being said the Charlotte Tilbury website does show the foundation on actual models and is really useful for selecting your shade if you're not as dubious as I am!

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Monday, 9 April 2018

Finding my inner Rachel Zane...

Photo Credit:
 The other day I was offered something pretty special to me, and that's my first sponsored post in collaboration with Panasonic, in particular the Panasonic 4KTV. This landed in my inbox as I was daydreaming about what sort of posts I wanted to write now that I was back blogging, I don't want this to become a "Single Mum" blog and I've always asked myself how I can incorporate my career into my blog, so this was really perfect timing and thank you so much for Panasonic for inspiring and sponsoring this post.

Have you ever watched a TV Programme and it's completely changed your attitude, either towards yourself or even another person? I'll admit that the main reason I started to watch the hit US show "Suits" was because of Meghan Markle playing Rachel Zane, but after the first episode I was absolutely hooked. I've binged watch Suits over the last month or so, and I have to say I've noticed myself changing as a result. The female leads within the show are so strong and sure of themselves and it's by far the thing that has kept me interested.

I too work in a male dominated environment, a car dealership, I'm the only Marketing Executive and I mainly work alongside a team of men. So there are a lot of similarities between my real life struggles, to be taken seriously, to be heard and to allowed to be ambitious - and the show. Seeing Rachel boss her way into Law School and achieve her dream of becoming a Lawyer spurred me on to start my degree level qualification in Marketing. It's going to be tough and mean some long nights of studying but I deserve that qualification and I know I'm worthy of it.

Watching Donna dominate the male leads and in turn the Name Partners of a major Law Firm has made me a little bit more sassy myself! I find that I've been standing up for myself a lot more recently, I know that my voice is worthy of being heard and no matter what my gender or my title, I'm employed because I'm good at my job and my contributions are valuable. I landed myself an extra day at work now that Sophie is that bit older and I fought to be given an extra line of responsibility to which I was told yes!

This post may look like I'm portraying my company really badly, but one of the biggest things I've noticed is the parallel between Harvey and my own Manager. He gives Donna free reign to do what she does best, he trusts her and her opinion hugely and you can tell that she is valuable beyond measure. My boss makes me feel like that, and I can't tell you how grateful I am for it. I'm a young woman in a male environment, the only relevant qualifications I have are ones that I've gained since being there and he took me back after I left years ago. I'm not naming him, but I owe a lot to him, as Donna does to Harvey.

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Friday, 6 April 2018

Two Years of Sophie Charlotte

 Sophie Charlotte you are so very almost two, just four more days until your Birthday and whilst half of me can't believe how quickly the time's gone - the other half can't really remember what life was like before you. I often find myself wondering why my childless self actually get out of bed of weekend, what motivated me to achieve that next career goal or payrise - because you are my motivation for everything I do now.

I'm not going to ramble on about her developmental milestones because she's ticked all of the boxes that a child "should" do between age One and Two. She's a walking, talking, independent little sass machine and I couldn't be more proud of her. Next Wednesday, the day after her second birthday, we're going to see a Pre-School as she's so darn intelligent and I'm terrified of that being stifled so I think she's more than ready.

Sophie's second year of life has been full of happy memories but also had some challenges. Her Dad and I are no longer together, a choice that was mine but the feeling was mutual, and Sophie has adapted so well. She loves going to her Dad's equally as much as she loves coming home to me and touch wood, we've had no issues, behavioural or otherwise. I'll do a separate post on becoming a "single mum" another day because this post is a celebration of my wonderful daughter and how proud she's made me over the last two years.

Everyone that Sophie touches is enchanted by her gorgeous eyes, her cute smile or her infectious laugh. She's funny (and she knows it), adventurous and not afraid of anything! It's a shame that rural Lincolnshire doesn't offer more in the way of Toddler groups as I'd love to get her into gymnastics whilst she's still fearless and flinging herself off the arm of the sofa. She loves animals, in particular dogs, and knows to be gentle with them but never seems scared when they approach her.

One thing that Sophie is scared of, is the hoover! I don't know where she's developed it from (perhaps a lack of introduction from an early age...ha) but she hates it, and she hates her toy version too! I'm sure there's a developmental reason behind her not liking noises of that kind as pretend animals that make noises tend to freak her out as well. Other than that, she's completely carefree. Muddy puddles are for splashing in, bikes are for riding (although non with pedals yet of course) and trampolines are for jumping as high as you can on!

Sophie Charlotte, you are one thing in my life that I definitely got right. Everything I do is for you and it always will be. I look at you and burst with pride that I not only made you, but also moulded you into the amazing little girl that you're turning into. Never ever change.

All photo credit: Natalie Lauren Photography

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Sunday, 2 July 2017

Being Sophie's Mum - 1 Year Update

This update is hugely overdue, Sophie turned one back in April so she's now technically 15 months old. I wasn't blogging over Sophie's birthday and I always swore that once she turned a year old, I'd stop referring to her age in months. I can't quite believe that my tiny, defenceless baby is a whole year old. I had quite a lot of worries about her turning one, me going back to work and her generally not being my little baby any more. It's needless to say that she is no longer my baby, she's a proper little toddler with the meltdowns to match. She's hard work, but completely worth it. Sophie can say a handful of words such as Mama, Dada, Dog, Ta, Tickle (kudos to Elodie for teaching her that one), Grandad (almost!) and is constantly babbling away to herself. She dances, laughs and pulls the funniest of faces when she knows she's being cheeky.

In so many ways, being Mum to a one year old is far more challenging than a Newborn. We're constantly unpacking and repacking any bags, boxes or cupboards that we can find. She insists on feeding herself even though it's both messy and extremely time consuming, and when you try and clean her face afterwards you'd think I was doing so with sandpaper from her reaction. That being said, she's an incredibly easy toddler in the grand scheme of things. Teething still doesn't really bother her much and it's nothing some calpol and a nice bath can't fix. She's been walking since before she was 11 months old so she's an old pro now and we've almost mastered coming back down the stairs as well as up. I could not be more proud of my little girl, I know I'm bias but I truly do think that she's so intelligent and is really advanced physically. She's challenges me in new ways every day but on the whole, we're really enjoying bumbling along this journey together and figuring it out as a team. 

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Thursday, 29 June 2017

The True Face of Adulting?

I posted one of these pictures on my Instagram a few weeks, captioning it with how it had inspired me to get back in to blogging. Obviously this was met with slight confusion from a few people as to how on earth a Vacuum Cleaner could be inspiring but in truth - I haven't been this excited about a purchase in a long time. We were making do with James' Grandma's old hoover, having to use a rubber curry comb over our entire carpet first to pull out Max's stubborn dog hairs. It meant that hoovering even our modest house was a day long affair, it was getting harder as Sophie was getting older and to be honest - who can be bothered to go through that once a week? I went on a vacuuming strike until James caved and we bought our first ever Dyson!

When this first arrived and I put it together, I was filled ever so slightly with dread as I'd had to really sell James on such an expensive vacuum cleaner when, let's be honest, there are far cheaper ones out there. I convinced him that it was worth the extra money and so when the time came to give it a test run, I was suddenly panicked that it would be crap and I'd be firmly in the dog house! Firstly, I was suitably impressed that even I managed to put it together in a matter of minutes, and you get so many attachments to get into every nook and cranny possible. Secondly, I don't think James and I have reacted with such excitement since we found out we were pregnant... It genuinely made us so happy! Within minutes our downstairs hallway looked like a different room, even I wasn't expecting it make the decade old carpet look that good.

We have the Dyson Animal DC40, it adjusts to whichever floor type it's currently on so no awkwardly bending down to change the setting every time I go into a bathroom or the kitchen. It's also got the ball technology so it's super handy for reaching around corners and under any furniture. It might sound like I'm being really pedantic over a hoover but it has honestly changed our lives. For those of you who don't know we have a short, wirey haired black dog who malts like fur's going out of fashion, plus a 15 month old. That combined with James' work boots and my riding gear - our carpet takes a battering day in, day out. Said dog is also terrified of any vacuum cleaner, which in turn winds the baby up - who coincidently gives me around 5.5 minutes to get anything done on my days off. It means that I effortlessly hoover my entire house in 20 minutes flat whilst she's entertaining herself and he's blissfully unaware in the garden. It cost us £220 on, but it's already been worth every single penny and in this case, it definitely was worth splashing the extra cash!

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Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Behind the Mask - My Skin Fixes!

Finding the time to use a facemask is something that I have always struggled with. It's quite a commitment - application, waiting for it to set and then carefully removing it is something that I can't always be bothered to do if I'm honest! I've tried to set myself a routine when it comes to masks in the past but in actual fact, I tend to use then as and when I feel like my skin needs an extra something. These four are my trusty team that I can turn to no matter what I'm struggling with and know that I'll get the results that I need. 

It took me a while to get into the Origins Drink Up Intensive (£25), to begin with I didn't like the idea of going to sleep with a facemask on and worried about it ending up in my hair or all over my pillow. Once I'd given it a go and realised that somehow, magically, neither of the above happened - I fell in love. It's the perfect pick me up if my skin is feeling dehydrated or dull and is probably the lowest maintenance mask you could find. I apply it like a very thick moisturiser, barely rubbing it in at all, and then leave it until the morning when I wake up with plump, nourished skin! I tend to use this as well as another mask if I'm having a bit of a pamper night too as the others can be a tad drying, so this is the perfect way to finish off my evening and know that I'll wake up looking fresh. 

I was really unsure which of the L'Oreal Clay Masks to get, but after reading what they all did I realised that the Glow Mask (£5) offered something which my current line up wasn't. It's an exfoliating and brightening mask which I find is great for just before a night out or when my skin is looking a little tired. I find that my skin can often feel quite rough, which leads to my foundation looking patchy quite quickly. The L'Oreal Glow Mask tackles exactly that and leaves my skin looking smooth and more even ready for my makeup. I tend to shy away from using masks in the morning as I'm worried about putting makeup straight onto my newly cleared pores - however I've been finding myself popping this on before my shower in the morning to kick start my skincare routine. 

I know that the Oskia Renaissance Mask (£49.50) is something which is often raved about by fellow bloggers, but I'll be honest that I've never really lusted after it. As you can see by the rest of my favourites - I find high street facemasks more than sufficient and so didn't feel the need to shell out on anything more expensive. However after signing up to the Latest In Beauty box and being able to pick this as one of my samples - I'm in love! It is pricey but you only need a tiny amount and it completely transforms my skin, if it's not available in next month's box then I will certainly be purchasing the full sized version as I've been using this almost weekly and noticing a massive difference. It takes away any rough patches of skin, soothes any redness and makes my skin appear so much more even. I've used this after riding once or twice and not felt the need to use foundation afterwards - something which rarely, rarely happens to me!

Last is everybody's favourite and another offering from Origins - their Clear Improvement mask (£25). I've been using this for years now and it's always my go-to when I need a skin overhaul. I'll admit that since I discovered the Oskia Mask I've been reaching for this less, but it's still making an appearance a few times over the month. I find that this takes longer to set, at least 20 minutes (although I do apply it quite thick) and due to it's colour and consistency, I prefer to take this off in the shower otherwise I end up in a bit of a mess - so that means I only really get the chance when Sophie's gone to bed early and I have an evening to myself. It's great at clearly out my pores however and bringing any brewing nasties to the surface, and for that reason I use this around a week or so before a big day or evening. I've heard a lot of people say that this gives them a breakout but I feel like that's what it's supposed to do? So I always prepare myself for having bad skin for a few days, but know that if I keep on top of my skincare properly I'll be reaping the benefits of this mask for over a week afterwards. 

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