The Middle Sister

The wonderings, ponderings and other 'ings' of me. Lifestyle, review, news and opinion posts. Chic with a hint of sarcasm... hopefully!

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Review Time: Clarins Double Serum


It’s time for another one of those posts that make people think we swan around getting free shizzle all the time. 

It’s truly not the case and even if it were could you pay your bills with beauty products and candles? That said this morning I went to Clarins in John Lewis at The Grand Arcade. John Lewis were kind enough to allow the @Cambmeetup bloggers a free facial to try out their new double serum.

The 20-something beauty consultant (20SBC) was very sweet and knew her stuff, although when I asked about Clarins ethics in relation to fair trade she couldn’t answer me.  This is a bit of a bugbear as anyone that reads my posts know this is my go to question. She assessed my face with a test where she held my cheek skin slightly higher than usual, let go…and watched it fall. 

Timber!
As some dude on Game of Thrones said last week nothing f*cks you harder than time! Luckily 20SBC was well trained in not looking aghast and began happily chatting away. She checked my ‘current beauty regime’ which I highly exaggerated the way you do when you go to the doctors and tell them you drink ‘moderately’ and exercise ‘frequently’.

My skin is as cantankerous as my personality so it’s oily in places, dry in others and down right snake like at times as well.  However we got cracking with a one-step facial cleanser and then comfort mask with wild mango butter.  Whilst we waited for that to sink in 20SBC gave me a hand massage using the same cream as the queen.  Not sure what that says about how old she thought I was but hey-ho! The mask was then taken off with a liquid exfoliator with white nettle, apparently using an exfoliator regularly makes your other products 70% more effective*

Now was time for the double serum which they are relaunching with spanky new ingredients like turmeric.  Turmeric fights over 300 antioxidants in the body* - it also includes teasel extract which fights fine lines.  How exactly I’m still not sure, maybe it goes all Jessica Jones and literally pushes the lines off my face.
 
Alright maybe not
Then came the eye cream.  I’ve not really used these before but this was incredibly cooling and soothing plus it has a spatula which helps get rid of puffiness, we don't like puffiness.  As the skin around the eyes are 7 times thinner than the rest of our face, it’s here we see the evidence of our own mistreatment.  The late nights, crying over crap boyfriends or girlfriends, drinking too much blah blah blah.  
  
Next came the day cream which she mixed with a lotus oil and warmed in her hands first to activate the ingredients.  This really smelt amazing and did remind me of a particularly relaxing spa treatment.  Finally it was neck cream time. 20SBC advised to always stroke up, not down, when applying neck cream because there’s no need to help the aggressive bitch that is gravity. I’m paraphrasing of course but you get the drift.

And that was it, my skin did feel incredibly soft and I left feeling quite pampered. I will advise that being a super sensitive sort, after a few hours my cheek did get ever so slightly irritated.  That could have been caused by a number of attributes though; weather, the fact that I’d been to the salon and small pieces of my own hair seemed intent on tickling the hell out of me or the cheese toasty I had from Urban Larder.  I’m not meant to eat bread but these buggers are so good on occasion I scoff one anyway.

Of all the products used I rate the eye cream and face oil highest for scent and effect.  While the experience was incredibly relaxing I’m not sure I have the 20+ minutes every day to apply all the creams and the cost is definitely a drawback.  If you’re time/money rich and have an extensive interest in beauty products I see no reason not to give Clarins a try. 



Product Prices 
Cleanser = £21.00
Comfort mask = £30.00
Liquid Exfoliator = £26.00
Double Serum = £57.00/£75.00
Eye Cream = £35.00
Day Cream = £42.00
Lotus Oil = £33.00
Neck Cream = £45.00



* However 57% of statistics are made up on the spot sooooooo
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Friday, 11 August 2017

My Favourite Podcasts - 2 of 2

One good thing about podcasts is they are very much about sharing your attention.  Unlike television programmes that demand full loyalty for months on end then disappear without a second glance.  Podcasts actively talk about other series that we might like, and so it is that The Guilty Feminist and now I give you Intelligence Squared.


This cast tackles some serious issues and calls for balanced opinion listening skills.  Not my strongest suit but with Brexit and Trump and all the other 'End of Days' malarkey that’s kicking around I think its important to spend time trying to understand those who think differently than us.  Something this podcast requires us to do droves!

If you can, Intelligence Squared is pretty good at showing us opinions and political ideas which - and this is the important bit - are backed up with well thought out motivations. It has also shown me I could respect and have some common ground with someone who’s political views I do not agree with.  Some (republican!) dude called PJO’Rourke seems on the whole to be a tolerant, intelligent person.  While some of his views have me raising an eyebrow, his likeability was surprising.  I enjoy that kind of surprise.

While the other two podcasts are educational, inspiring and informative this final one is anything but.  Its filth, it’s a dirty burger, it’s a whacking great slab of cheesecake you know will make you feel sick but you can’t help shovelling down your throat anyway.  Welcome to My dad wrote a porno.


Please note this is not porn.  It’s about as sexy as a watching a dog die of rabies and definitely as gross.  Read by Jamie Morton (a man who, I suspect, may well be working on an ‘eternal sunshine of the spotless mind’ style mind zap as I write) its snort out loud funny.  His two long suffering comrades, James Cooper and Alice Levine, basically rip the ever loving piss out of the ‘story-line’, ‘writing’ and ‘character development’ of the book. It’s not big, it’s not clever but it is bloody funny.

I love to hear the side chats the three of them have about their time at Uni together all while rehashing what would already be a car crash experience of a book.  I’m not actually recommending this on any normal level as it makes no sense, either grammatically or erotically.  But it worth listening to if you want to escape from anything serious at all. It is truly hysterical and confounding in equal parts. 

So there we have it.  Do you listen to any of these podcasts and if not, why not?
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Sunday, 6 August 2017

My Favourite Podcasts - 1 of 2

A short while ago I posted a tweet advising these days I listen to podcasts on my headphones more than music.  I thought I would be the only one but it seems many people feel similarly.



Podcasts are something I hadn't paid a great deal of attention to until recently but now believe they could be the answer to the myriad of problems life has given us.* They're the new black, the new cool, the new clean eating, they reflect how we live and what we strive for.  If I start the day with a podcast I generally start with a snort of coffee through my nose from laughing too hard, which I'm sure we all agree can only be a good thing.

So you too can begin your morning with liquid spewing from your nasal cavity today I’m talking about the ones I like. I was going to do all three in one post but I had so much to say about this first one I and am in no mood to sensor myself these days #Fuckit.  So am splitting them into two separate posts both up this week because I’m such a damned hero!
See, even Superman thinks I'm right!
I’m giving you the good stuff straight off as without question this is my absolute favourite. I was told about it by two friends, both of whom’s opinion I highly respect, and am so glad I listened to them.  Step up The Guilty Feminist.



I was a year late to the GF party so binge-listened to all available episodes in a matter of weeks and it’s had a profound effect on me. This pod cast and the women (and sometimes men) that guest on it can make you feel OK about the hypocrisies and insecurities that undermine our feminist ways.  At the same time they fire us up to take note of how society can disrespect and condescend women, whilst paying them less money than a man would get for doing the same work.  It has caused me to both check my privilege (as a white, first world woman) and systematic disadvantage (as a non-male type). It also introduced me to a whole gang of funny, cool, clever, eloquent women that I have become mildly*** infatuated with.

The one that sticks with me as the funniest thing since funny things were first funny is No 21 Not having kids with Susan Calman.  I’ve listened to it several times and still laugh out loud at her candour and exasperation with the world of white guilt and being overly pc.  If you are offended by those with a potty mouth you might want to give this one a miss but your life will be lesser because of it.  

Sarah Pascoe and Sindhu Vee are now names I look out for in comedy or panel shows, you should too. They make me just a tad ashamed that I was one of those people that (many years ago) said ‘yeah I just don’t think women are that funny’. 

I know!
The real star of the show has to be the woman that started it all, Deborah Francis-White. I’ve been fan-girling after her ever since the she first came to my attention.  When I was lucky enough to be see Guilty Feminist live, I practically auctioned off my husband - who had been kind enough to accompany me – just for the chance to talk to her.  Whilst I admit this was highly pathetic it only bloody worked because now we are best friends***

You should go listen to it this insrtant, then come back and check out the other podcasts I favour and let me know which ones you like too.

* Recognise this Heathers quote anyone?
**for mildly read completely
***in my mind

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Wednesday, 26 July 2017

The Return of Guilty Viewings

Sometimes I use this blog as a place to disclose things that I probably shouldn't. But as that seems to be a theme this year I may as well go all in.  Its confession time again. 

That's right, I have another guilty televisual pleasure.  Being a self-confessed tele-addict it was bound to happen again.  Yes again, I’ve written about these before way back in 2010 when I had NO IDEA the Kardashians would turn into the multi-million dollar empire of egotism that they are.  Just so you know I have been watching some well-produced, brilliantly written, thought provoking TV - I’m looking at you Billions, Big Little Lies and The Handmaid's Tale. However I’ve also taken to ‘de-stressing’ with some mind numbing trash. While the rest of the world was binging on Love Island I've gone retro.


I know…

I KNOW! Alright, I can’t help it.  It’s not a wish to be like them, it’s more “living vicariously without having to deal with the drama, wind down at the end of the day” type of situation. I started to watch 1 episode a day from the beginning a couple of weeks ago as E! is now showing it from the beginning.  While the quality of the picture now emulates the content, it’s still highly addictive.

I love Bethany.  Dear, sweet and as grounded as you can be when you’re a millionaire daughter of absentee father who is desperate for marriage and a child* Bethany.  I hope to hell I’m not like Ramona, who’s emotional maturity looks to have only just entered kindergarten**.  I like Jill for her intellect though question her materialism and I think Alex needs to be a bit more honest with herself and LuAnn to take herself less seriously.


And really I think this is exactly what this sort of TV is for.  It’s harmless, they will most likely never know and won’t care what you think anyway judgement! I find watching the clothes, the parties and the childlike misunderstandings all deliciously indulgent while being oh so grateful I’m not one of them.

I’m certain there are people judging me for my viewing habits as harshly as I’m judging the housewives. Well judge away!  A glass of wine, bar of chocolate and RHONY binge can be exactly what the doctor ordered.  Its true, I have been known to get bored as easily as I get addicted, so my affection for the show many not last all the way up to the present season anyway (can you believe there are 9 series?!).  For now though, I'm enjoying the ridiculousness of the...



 What’s your guilty viewing?

  *Season 1 obviously
**Hey American review, American words 

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Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Why do I blog?


It’s a question I’ve pondered quite a bit recently.  Why do we write about our passions or what drives us?  And why do we then post these thoughts on the internet for anyone to see? 

For me it started as something to do when my husband went off on mountain biking weekends and I was bored.  It featured a few snarky comments on red carpet dresses or celebrities I wasn't particularly taken with however now its become so much more. Its a creative outlet where I am governed by no one but myself, whether I am writing about the events and opportunities I am fortunate enough to be presented with or something more personal.  I decide what to write and what to leave out and that's something I'm aware not everyone understands.  

I've come to believe some view it as exhibitionism, surmising ‘who would talk about personal issues then put it on social media if they weren’t simply seeking attention’?  What these people may not see is that adding these more personal posts is a great coping mechanism for me.  When I blog on my life and thoughts its to pursue understanding about why I do what I do and feel what I feel. It gives me clarity and makes me feel empowered in a way nothing else in my life has*. But it has another outcome, by spewing my thoughts out into the world it stops them from constantly circling around my head, stops self-reflection turning into self-centred narcissism.

Privacy is something else people question but again I've discovered this means different things to different people.  For example with the exception of the one black and white image on my home and contact pages, I rarely add pictures of myself to my blog these days**.  I’ve tried it a few times and it just doesn’t feel right so I keep private in that way.  However I love seeing my friends on their sites especially if I have been involved in taking the images. 

In part I'm writing this in defence of us all.  The people I have met within this industry are passionately engaged, seeking to better themselves and the world around them.  They are brave in a way I wish to emulate.  They spend what precious time they have after work and family commitments, discovering new skills and desires or making societal changes.  They talk about everything from fashion and beauty to mental health and personal issues.  While not all will include delicate aspects of their life in their blogs, for me to be authentic I need to. It’s just who I am and I'm happy with that.

Blogging isn't without its consequences.  Recent events highlighting some mistakes I've made here goes to show I don’t always get the balance or tone right, but I'm learning all the time.  And, if I feel a situation I am going through now is something I will want to reflect on in years to come I will write about it.

There will always be people that don’t understand our motivations or maybe think blogging is a shallow pursuit.  Those that don’t understand may well be flummoxed as to why I wrote a blog about why I blog.  However I’m guessing people that do, will know it was the only response possible for me to achieve some sort of closure.
I’m genuinely curious to know why you blog and if you see yourself in any of the above?

*yet!
**instagram yes but not my blog.




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