Garnier SkinActive Moisture Bomb Tissue Mask

My skin is dry. Not typically dry, no dry, flaky patches. But dehydrated. Thirsty.

I used to use a serum and hydra moisturiser, but the formulation changed and nothing has really matched up. I also have to be careful as my skin can be incredibly sensitive.

So, after a busy morning of clearing snow from the drive – and then snowman building – Mr Six and I gingerly made our way to the supermarket for essentials (bread, milk, wine) and it was there that I spotted this moisture mask.


I was intrigued. I saw a lady using one on Gogglebox last night and it looked an utterly absurd idea. But then, we all love a gimmick.

Garnier have a range for different skin types, but I chose one that super-hydrates and revitalises. It claims that after 15 minutes skin is intensely rehydrated, skin looks smoother and complexion is radiant – and that in 1 week fine lines appear reduced, skin looks plumper and skin radiance is revitalised.

When we got home I went for a shower, cleansed my skin, dried off and pulled on my pjs. I decided to give the moisture mask a go as if I had a reaction, I still had another full day before having to go back to work looking like Will Smith in Hitch…

The mask comes in a foil sachet which was easily opened. Inside, folded into four, was the coldest, squidgiest tissue I have ever experienced. I found it a little tricky to unfold – but it wasn’t exactly the Krypton Factor. I applied it to my face, tissue side on my skin, plastic side out.

I gently massaged the mask to get good contact then removed the plastic layer. I massaged it a little more, lifted the annoying flap that sat on my nostrils, then lay back and relaxed for 15 minutes.

I was surprised at how pleasant the whole experience was. The mask remained cool for the entire time – not chilly and uncomfortable, but tingly like menthol. If I’m honest, I almost fell asleep as it was so relaxing.

When my 15 minutes were up, I removed the mask and gently removed the excess serum with some cotton wool. I was surprised that there was no redness at all because my skin can react badly, but it was dewy. As I came downstairs, Mr Six noted that my fine lines looked lessened and my skin felt renewed and healthy.

I’m interested to see whether the effects last the week, as promised, but at £3 per treatment, it certainly won’t break the bank.

DISCLAIMER: I received no payment or incentive for this post.


Making A Meal Of It – Mumbai Street Food


, , , ,

Technically, this isn’t a ‘Making A Meal Of It’ post. This is more of a ‘Fake Away’ post. But I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to shout about this new range: Mumbai Street Food from Iceland.

It’s been such a busy week so I was really looking forward to a fuss free weekend. Takeaway is incredibly costly, especially for a large family, but I needed a break from cooking so I bulk bought a selection of dishes (7 curries, a tray of bhajis and 4 portions of rice – which cost less than two portions of takeaway curry). The range is amazing; and what really got my attention was the number of vegetarian dishes – well done Iceland! – although there are plenty of meat dishes too.

Saturday evening loomed so I headed off to the kitchen, switched the oven on and rummaged in the freezer (this was as difficult as readying dinner got). Whilst the dishes were cooking, I finely chopped some cucumber, onion and a few tomatoes to add a bit of freshness, made a quick raita (yogurt, cucumber and mint) and warmed some naan breads.


The children LOVED it – they could choose what they wanted, tapas style, and Munchkin who isn’t particularly adventurous ate and ate and ate. The fruity rice was a massive hit with everyone and we all had a favourite as there was a great choice of mild and hot dishes, from lentil dhal to paneer to tandoori shashlik – and even kale bhajis. Totally delicious.


I massively underestimated how much food was in each tub – the new square containers are deceptively large – and at 4 dishes for just £5, Iceland’s answer to Fake Away certainly won’t break the bank!

Iceland have been in the press recently, thanks to their #toocoolforplastic announcement. Ready meals typically come in black plastic trays – but this range come in cardboard trays that are widely recyclable. Another bonus! Guilt free, prep free, environmentally friendly Saturday night Fake Away, what could be better?

I’d love to hear what you think if you try this range, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

*DICLAIMER – I have received no payment or incentive for writing this post, I just really enjoyed the range and wanted to shout about it*

Making A Meal Of It – Vegetarian ‘chicken and bacon’ pasta bake


, , , , , , , ,

I’ve posted many times about how difficult it is to keep a large family happy at meal times – what one loves, another hates! I try to get around this by meal planning; I include everyone and hopefully they realise that although there may be a meal that they don’t like one night, there is a meal that they love and several that they can ‘put up with’.

This morning, sat at my desk, I text Mr Six to ask if he had any ideas for dinner. His response? Pasta.

Now, I love pasta. But we only ever have it with pesto and roast Mediterranean vegetables or with a stir through sauce or with a homemade tomato sauce. But I fancied something different. So I scoured my favourite supermarket website for some ideas and plumped for: chicken and bacon pasta.

This recipe is the result of a day of debating what would work and what I really fancied – and I actively encourage you to adapt it; don’t like some of the vegetables? Swap them out! Fancy something spicier? Whack in a chilli… Long time readers will know that my ‘recipes’ are very fluid when it comes to quantities as we all like things to our own taste. Also lots of the ingredients are frozen as vegetables retain their freshness and nutrition – plus they are so much more convenient as you use as little or as much as you need then pop them back.

You will need:

  • Frozen leeks
  • Garlic (chopped/sliced – I use frozen)
  • Frozen spinach
  • Fresh tomatoes
  • Frozen Peas
  • Frozen broccoli
  • Quorn fillets
  • Vegetarian bacon
  • Pasta
  • Cornflour
  • Butter
  • Milk
  • Cheese

I started by putting the Quorn fillets to steam then I fried some leeks on a low heat. I added garlic, spinach and chopped, fresh tomatoes to the leeks and continued to cook on low.

Meanwhile I boiled some water and started the pasta cooking. In another saucepan, I made a cheese sauce.

As the pasta cooked, I added broccoli and peas to the water. I chopped the vegetarian bacon and fried in a small frying pan.

Then I drained the pasta, finely sliced the Quorn and combined all the components (it might seem like a lot of pans, but Munchkin didn’t want any veg), turned it into a lasagne dish, topped with cheese and breadcrumbs, then baked until crispy.


Quite honestly, it was delicious. Even vegetable-phobic Teen 2 had second helpings.

I think a little white wine in the sauce might be quite nice – and if you like, sliced mushrooms fried with the bacon.

Let me know how you would pimp this recipe as I’m always open to feedback

It’s A Sign – 365 Writing Prompts

Munchkin: It’s a long way to go on holiday, isn’t it mummy.

Me: Yes darling.

Munchkin: it’s a fast road.

Me: Yes darling.

Munchkin: There are lots of cars.

Me: Yes darling.

Munchkin: This next one is my favourite road.

Me: How do you know? We’ve never been here before…

Munchkin: Because there are no robots.

Me: No robots? How do you know?

Munchkin: Because the sign says so!


Where That Place Used To Be – 365 Writing Prompts

I used to stand in front of the tape wall. In the music shop.

I used to watch him.

He would serve the customers. Chat. Laugh.

Then look over.

I would melt.

Sometimes he let the smile linger.

Sometimes it was accompanied by a wink.

He was beautiful.

Those moments made my heart soar.

Skipping school to play hangman. To flirt. To talk about music. Discuss life, hopes and our dreams.

Once, in a cold, dark November evening when the windows steamed up, a friend walked past, came in – and without speaking wrote something in the condensation.

A secret revealed. A truth for all to see.

My cheeks burned with embarrassment. But secretly I loved it.

So many years ago…

Almost 30 years.

Now, whenever we pop in to buy something, I find ‘my’ spot.

My place.

Where that place used to be.

The tapes are long gone. The wall now houses other things.

But I recognise my spot.

Muscle memory.

Happy memories.

And I long to pass when the windows steam up, in the hope that the message is revealed once more.

Kirklees Light Railway

Half term is always busy.

This year, we are without Teen 1 as he’s away at university. However, Teen 2 is working incredibly hard and has barely left his bedroom. Teen 3 has exams when school resumes so he’s been revising too. But we managed to persuade him to join us (and Munchkin) for a day out.

We set off bright and early and headed towards Huddersfield, to the Kirklees Light Railway. It’s not a place I knew a lot about – and it wasn’t particularly well signposted (however the SatNav got us right to the door without any problem) but I am SO pleased we went.

The Kirklees Light Railway is a 3 and a half mile long 15 inch gauge railway. It was opened in 1991 and runs from Clayton West to Shelley, via Cuckoo’s Nest and Skelmanthorpe. We were incredibly lucky with the weather. It was the beginning of November, yet we didn’t need our coats; the sun shone brightly and the changing colours of the leaves were stunning.

Munchkin needed to stretch his legs after a long car journey so he took advantage of the outdoor adventure playground, situated next to the large car park. Then we ventured in to the main building to get our tickets (a family ticket for two adults and two children currently costs £24 at the time of writing) and look around the gift shop.

Tickets last all day and you can ride the train as many times as you would like during that time. We took our first trip out. We took our seats in brightly painted, little wooden carriages. The scenery was beautiful and we spotted squirrels, rabbits and a heron along the line.

IMG_2831 (2).JPG

When we arrived in Shelley we took full advantage of the tea room and ordered  hot drinks and slices of cake. Munchkin headed off to the playground that was alongside the track whilst we took in the spectacular views. We were able to have a chat with the lovely train driver who told us that during the summer months there is a bouncy castle and lawn games available. Then we headed back on the return journey.


Mr Sixdegrees nipped to the car and brought our picnic to one of the tables so that we could eat in the sunshine and we watched the miniature train take children around the pond.

We enjoyed our trip so much that after lunch we travelled to Shelley again for another brew. Again we chatted to the train driver who told us that all the locomotives were built by the founder, Brian Taylor, and that volunteers assist in the maintenance of the railway.

The Kirklees Light Railway has special events throughout the year. Unfortunately we missed the Halloween ghost train but there are days out with Thomas The Tank Engine and even a Santa special!


Soap & Glory Flash Extension mascara

I recently sat in on a training course at work and one question the trainer asked was: what three essentials would you take if you were stranded on a desert island?

Now, he made it clear that you couldn’t take family or items that would aid a rescue, so I mused for a while and decided that if I definitely couldn’t have my family, I’d have a photo of them. I’d also need coffee. I can’t be without a decent cup of coffee. Life is just too short to deny myself a cup of caffeine.

And lastly, a daily essential of mine is mascara! It might seem like a trivial thing, but I love long, thick, dark lashes. Even if I go ‘make up free’, I still have a coat – or two – of mascara.

For years I’ve chased the perfect finish: long lasting (we’ve all been the victim of panda eyes at some point), able to give me long, thick, clump-free finish and crucially, easy to remove at the end of the day. 

I’ve tried brand after brand. Some last but are hard to remove, some don’t even last a few hours. Some make me look like I’ve glued spiders to my eyelids. And I began to think I was chasing the holy grail. 

Until recently. 

I was in my local Boots to pick up my favourite lipstick when I came across Thick and Fast Flash Extensions mascara by Soap & Glory.

I hadn’t seen it before and was intrigued. I’ve tried several Soap & Glory toiletries previously but hadn’t dabbled with their cosmetics. 

The sleek, silver tube looks attractive and more expensive than it is. Priced at just £10.50 it certainly isn’t going to break the bank.

My initial impression was good. It’s a lovely thick, lump free consistency. And one coat is easily enough for day time. 

In the last month I’ve never had a smudge or dark ring underneath my eyes by the end of the day, it’s lasted from 7am through until late. And it’s so easy to remove (a slick of coconut oil or a face cloth in hot water followed by a swipe of micellar water soaked cotton wool).

I am so impressed, I’m tempted to try more products in the range… If you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear from you! 

The power of frozen 


Is anybody still here?

I’m about to dust off the laptop and see if I can remember how to do this…

Well, big news is both me AND Mr six have changed our jobs. He left his store and moved to head office – then a few weeks later, I followed him. We’re both so much happier and it’s lovely to be able to travel in to work together.

One of the biggest challenges is getting dinner on the table once we get in from work. I’ve always done a menu plan but now I need to be more creative as we don’t get in until after 5:30pm…

I’ve liberated my slow cooker from the back of the cupboard (it must be the week for re-finding unused gadgets) and have a couple of ideas.

Tonight was vegetarian fajitas. And it was very cost effective due to shopping at Iceland. 

This morning I put a shake of frozen, chopped onions, added a bag of frozen, sliced peppers, two bags of Quorn chicken style pieces (on offer at the time of writing this), a generous shake of homemade fajita seasoning, a couple of handfuls of frozen sweetcorn and several chopped, fresh tomatoes. 

I switched it on and went to work. That’s it. Barely any prep at all and when we got in from work, it smelled amazing.

Mr six set about grating some cheese whilst I started assembling the fajitas, spooning a little natural yogurt instead of sour cream on to the flour fajitas – and within 10 minutes all of us were sat down to a home cooked, vegetable laden, incredibly tasty dinner.

It wasn’t overly spicy – which meant that Munchkin happily ate his – so the teens spiced theirs up with Tabasco. They ALL asked for extras which is unheard of here!

I’ve got another meal to cook in the slow cooker later this week – I just hope it’s as successful!

I’d love to hear if you have any ‘meal hacks’ as any advice is gratefully received! 

Sticks and stones

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me…

When I was in primary school, I had a very wise headmaster. 

During an assembly he talked about how powerful our words can be. He quoted the nursery rhyme and said that he thought it was fundamentally flawed:

If someone were to push you and you fell, breaking your arm, it would really hurt. People would be able to see your cast and know that you had suffered. Yet whenever you thought about it you would remember that you were in pain but you wouldn’t be able to recall that level of pain.

However if someone said something that hurt you – even though your wounds wouldn’t be visible to others – for many years when you recalled those words, they would sear as if it were the first time you had heard them.

And he’s right. 

Words, however quickly they fell from your mouth, however ill conceived, they will hurt.

Once a word leaves your mouth, you cannot chase it back. Even with the swiftest horse.

     – Chinese proverb

Making A Meal Of It – Budget menu planning

We’re back to budgeting. It’s hard working full time and getting meals on the table -and unfortunately convenience costs. We’re trying to shy away from easy expensive large supermarket shopping; admittedly there isn’t as much choice but it is forcing us to think more about we eat.

Slow cooking is great as it means there’s a healthy dinner on the table when we get in, but that relies on me remembering to prepare the vegetables before I leave for work and I’d rather have an extra coffee and a cuddle with the boys!

This week I wanted to make a stew/soup style dish and I decided that tinned vegetables would be the key to speed. So on Monday, when I got in from work, exhausted, cold, wet and hungry, I knew that comforting stodge was needed. I put a dash of oil in the pan, added a handful of frozen chopped onions and started frying them. As they softened, I added a heaped teaspoon of minced garlic. I opened two tins of new potatoes and two tins of sliced carrots, rinsed them and added them to the pan. I chucked in a tin of chopped tomatoes, a vegetable stock cube and a shake of dried mixed herbs. I left this to simmer whilst I went for a shower,  then I threw in some frozen spinach and left it for another 5 minutes. When I was ready to serve, I crushed everything with the potato masher to a nice thick consistency.

Munchkin had his with grated cheese whereas Teen 2 (who is known for his love affair with spice) opted for a generous dash of extra hot chilli sauce. This went down so well, that I didn’t even get a chance to photograph it.

I think it really worked  and next time I’ll be brave and add extra frozen veg maybe broccoli, cauliflower and even sweetcorn to make it even healthier and tastier.

Snack time after school can be a flashpoint for some. Munchkin tends to just eat any leftovers from his lunchbox, but this week I decided to trial something new: homemade mushroom pate. I feel a fraud for sharing this ‘recipe’ but it’s just too delicious not to… I started with a 350g punnet of mushrooms which I chopped and gently fried. Once they started releasing their liquid, I added some of the minced garlic and continued frying until almost dry. I left them to cool them blended with a 250g tub of cream cheese (49p). This will (technically) keep for up to a week in the fridge but Munchkin,who despises mushrooms, had a taste and discovered he loved it and has had it on crackers each evening so that’s something new to add to the menu. I realise it doesn’t look too delicious here – but trust me, it really is!

Tuesday we had spaghetti bolognese. Discovering a new brand of meat free mince is always a nice surprise and at £1.20 per bag, it’s great value for money! It was a little coarser than our usual brand but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Mr six and the teens loved it.

So that’s a few days back in the budgeting world. I’d love to hear your food savvy tips