Books I read in 2017

Now Jessica is older and enjoying reading herself, I am able to be able to read again myself.

I pushed myself to be able to read on my kindle and haven't looked back!

I added the overdrive app and linked it to my local library, so I am able to enjoy some books for free. You just need your library card number to register with the app.

When I can't find the books I want on Overdrive I find them on Amazon and they are instantly added to my online bookshelf. I would say my favourite book this year was 'A boy made of blocks'. It's a great book about the difficulties of parenting with a child with autism it was a real eye opener for me and had me in stitches and tears throughout! Absolutely loved reading the amazing progress made by the young child and the progress of the father to being a great parent.

Products from Amazon.co.uk

Please feel free to comment below with any recommendations you have for me to read next.

 


plastic free Norwich

New years resolution - going plastic free

Hi,

It's been a while since I last really blogged. I have been busy with work and family life. This blog is all about going plastic free, or at least creating less waste. It's shocking that all the plastic ever made is still on earth! It takes over 300 years to decompose

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Year. This year mine and Jessica's (plus Andy being dragged into it) new years resolution is to use less plastic. It's great how it's been high-lighted in the media so much now. It's going to be a gentle move over to more recyclable items. I personally see no point in getting rid of items we already own and Jessica is adamant that Lego isn't to be included in this new years resolution hehe! We mostly buy second hand, so I'm justifying it that way! I have seen wooden "Lego" bricks before, but as most eco friendly items seem to be it costs a fortune! Our biggest problem is going to be the supermarket for going plastic-free and I begrudge paying loads more to be environmentally friendly. Don't get me wrong I don't mind spending slightly more, but seems daft to spend a great deal more and unfair.

plastic free Norwich
Plastic free Norwich

In the salon I am aiming for a plastic free shelf! I moan about Tesco enough that I feel I should take the first move. It's not going to be easy. I currently have in bulk nail varnish remover, I am able to do refills on that if you have your own bottle. I need to have a really good think about what I am going to stock. Please note I am not an open salon. It's by appointment only. I am not an open shop.

.Jessica is in her final year of infants school now and going to be doing for first SATS this year! Not that we have told her she has exams. Her school is great and they are very laid back about them, so the kids shouldn't even be a aware they are taking them.

Last year I de-cluttered the house and cut back on our spending as our new year resolution. It's been great and now just feels natural. I am amazed by how many people have no idea how much they spend on food a month! I still have a lot more de-cluttering to do sadly.

Chat soon,

Liz

Here are a few of my fav alternatives to plastic items. Most of them remind me of childhood.

 

 

Plastic free Norwich UK


5 Important Winter Care Beauty Products You Should Use

5 Important Winter Care Beauty Products You Should Use

Winter is not the most energetic of the seasons and it can be especially harsh here in Britain. The rain and the wind not only hurt your morale, they can cause a bit of havoc on your skin and hair as well. If there’s ever a season to look after yourself, then it’s definitely winter.

The good news is you don’t have to spend hours pampering your skin and hair or throw money at expensive products and treatments to look good. There are great winter care beauty products out there that help you maintain a radiant and healthy skin and hair.

So, if you want to make sure you survive this winter, these are the five important winter care beauty products to use.

1. A proper moisturiser

Moisturising your skin is always important but it’s definitely a crucial part of your beauty regime in the winter. The problem is the dry and harsh air that will put your skin under more stress – you’re constantly going from cold air to hot indoors air. What many people get wrong is they assume the same moisturiser they use in the summer to also work in the winter. This is often not the case but you need to opt for something more moisturising even if your skin is slightly on the oily side.

There are plenty of good moisturisers out there. Green People is a great organic brand to try – the moisturiser is free from parabens, lanolin, alcohol, artificial perfumes and colourants, making it suitable for those with skin problems such as eczema.

2.A good protecting serum

Another way of adding moisture to your skin and protecting it from the elements is with a serum. Serums come in all shapes and sizes – they can help with targeted problems such as dimples or dark circles under the eyes or help you keep your skin looking radiant and young.

For the winter season, Neal’s Yard Frankincense Intense Lift Serum is a great pick. It’s a relaxing and calming aroma with a sweet lavender-like fragrance. It’s definitely a great product to put on at night, helping your skin look brighter and to feel smoother in the morning. Neal’s Yard has other lovely serums to keep in mind as well – if you have a particular problem you want to tackle, pick something to help you with it.

3. A soothing lip balm

The harsh weather conditions can cause havoc on your lips. If you are a regular user of lipstick and your lipsticks don’t have a moisturising effect, you might find them peeling and cracking during the winter. A good, soothing lip balm is a good idea to help your lips feel and look healthier.

Yes to Coconut Cooling Lip Oil is worth looking into. It has a lightweight formula,which adds a tiny touch of shine to your lips without wearing them down. Another good option is the Bioderma Atoderm Lip Moisturising Stick – it’s nothing fancy but does the job well.

4. A purifying cleanser

Your face will have to deal with a lot during winter months. You’ve probably indulged in a lot of tasty (yet sugary!) treats over Christmas and perhaps even drank a few extra glasses of mulled wine. The air is filled with different types of toxins and pollution and your poor skin has to deal with all of this. It’s important to pay attention to your cleanser and to pick something that really gets to those pores and removes all the dead skin and dirt from your face.

However, you can’t pick a cleanser that’s too harsh. Your skin is going through a lot in these months so you need something gentle but purifying. Two good options to consider are the Antipodes Grapeseed Butter Cleanser and The Organic Pharmacy’s Carrot Butter Cleanser. You can find both products online at Feel Unique, for example.

5. A relaxing and warming mask

Now, you do need a bit of pampering during winter. The weather can be dull, the nights are dark and summer seems so far away. Luckily, you can always attend a relaxing beauty treatment or simply pamper your face at home with a facemask.

A relaxing mask will give your skin time to rest and rejuvenate. You definitely want to pick something soothing and warming, as it’s the perfect way to prepare your skin for the cold air outside. So, consider checking out the Balm Balm Hibiscus Face Mask. It has a glorious fragrance to it and you get a lot of masks out of the bottle – you will have to mix the actual mask yourself each time. Grab a book, make a cup of tea, and just sit and relax.

The above five winter care beauty products will help your face stay healthy and happy over the dark and cold days. You can find discounts for the products with different beauty retailers through VoucherBin and can help yourself to save from winter hazards on a budget.

So, treat yourself and your skin. A good beauty regime over the winter will guarantee you look glorious during summer too!

Sponsored by Swapnil K, Marketing Analyst, VoucherBin


Eco cleaning recipes for sensitive skin

A huge chunk of human population share the same annoying condition which can prevent them from enjoying life to the fullest. It’s related to the biggest organ in the human body – the skin. Sensitive skin is something we have to deal with and manoeuvre around on a daily basis. From surprising rashes after trying a new moisturizing crème to random irritation and extreme dryness with cracking and even bleeding, abnormal sensory symptoms are hard to ignore. Store-bought cleaning products often contain various toxic and harmful chemicals, which can irritate and make even people with normal skin itchy, let alone those with the sensitive type.
In an attempt to alleviate this suffering, we’ll be sharing some ideas with you. When setting on the journey of DIY and skin-friendly cleaning products, three items should be always on your mind. They are baking soda, vinegar, and lemons. These are nature’s degreasers and disinfectants, and when combined with water they are capable of turning every stubborn stain and splatter into a distant memory.
Kitchen spray/Window cleaner
An easy recipe to start with is the one used for disinfecting your stove top, kitchen countertops and anywhere else. Its natural ingredients will keep the space where the magic happens squeaky clean and safe for your health. What you need for this concoction is one cup water, one cup white vinegar, 40 drops of essential oil of your choice and two tablespoons of rubbing alcohol. We need the rubbing alcohol to spread the oils in the water – we don’t want them floating on top and demanding a good shake before use. Tenancy Cleaning London suggests to mix the ingredients in a spray bottle, apply to a surface and wipe off with cloth. Enjoy bacteria free kitchen!
If you remove the essential oil of the equation, you can also use this spray to clean and polish windows, glass table tops and cupboard doors. Stainless steel can also benefit from it, but always make sure you read your appliance manual before using the spray on it.
Oven deep cleaning 
Starting with our three trusty friends, we spray the oven walls with a water-vinegar solution. A good ratio is 1/3 vinegar and 2/3 water. Powder baking soda and make sure you generously cover the more stubborn splatters. Then it’s time for the course salt sprinkling, right on top of the baking soda – this will fortify its degreasing powers. To seal it all spray again with the water-vinegar solution. Now it’s a waiting game, while you enjoy the low sizzling sound of the vinegar and the baking soda interacting. For best results, let it sit overnight. On the next day just scrub it carefully with a steel wool and you’ll see how easily all the buildup disappears. This proven recipe is one of the most effective eco ones and your skin will be more than thankful for ditching harsh chemicals.
Vinegar in the bathroom
№1 problem in the bathroom is mould and it’s something inevitable, when we are talking about a place where moisture can linger for longer amounts of time. Luckily, removing it is the easiest task when you put vinegar to good use. Spray it directly on the affected spots and let it do its magic. The acids will dissolve and completely get rid of the stubborn bacteria. As you know, it can linger and resurface later in time, but this won’t be the case after our vinegar total ambush.  And all this sans hard to pronounce ingredients.
Inspired by Demi at GMX

Seven year anniversary as Elizabeth Smith Beauty

It's seven years today, 12th September, that I started my adventure working self-employed as Elizabeth Smith Beauty and I haven't looked back! It's a career I love and works perfectly around my daughter's schooling.

I would like to thank my clients who have been with me since the very start. I really appreciate their loyalty, because of their loyalty my books have actually been closed to new clients for just over a year now, but I am hoping to be able to see new clients for skincare and threading soon. I will, however, always limit the amount of eyelash extension clients I have as these people have regular appointments they need to keep up the look. My existing clients are my priority.

In the future I see me continuing to concentrate on lashes, threading and facial treatments as my main interest.  The link between diet and skin care fascinates me. Having recently removed cow's milk from my diet I have personally seen a massive improvement. It's extremely interesting how food intolerance affect your health. I am NVQ City and Guild qualified and regularly on the look out for more courses. I have trained in something new every year.

Tonight I will be raising a glass with my husband to celebrate!

 

 

 

 


Afternoon tea Norwich

Where is the best afternoon tea in Norfolk?

The popularity of the traditional afternoon tea has risen over the past few years, despite it's origins being in the 1800s, it's something that has never gone away, and for good reason. Traditionally served late afternoon it's a meal consisting of either tea or coffee and a selection of sandwiches and cakes. The classic being a cucumber sandwich! It's normal to have selection of different sandwiches such as cucumber, smoked salmon, egg, cheese with pickle and beef with horse radish. Sweet desserts are normally sweet scones as well as miniature brownies and Panna Cotta. It's not that unheard of to have a savoury scone as well. It's usually finished off with fresh strawberries and garnished with salad leaves.

Afternoon tea is getting more and more popular in Norfolk, but where is the best? With more and more places offering it and trying to stand out from the crowd I have put a list together of some of the restaurants and cafes that offer amazing cakes local to me in Norwich. Most places offer upgrades of champagne etc. A lot of places are now catering for gluten-free options and other dietary requirements.

I am on a quest to find the best cakes and selections on offer. Please feel free to comment on this blog with your own recommendations. I am happy to add them! This blog is very much a working project I will come back to it and tweak it from time to time. The prices of these afternoon tea options are of Summer 2017 the time of posting this blog.

 

Afternoon tea at Imagine Spa in the Norfolk countryside. August 2017

List of restaurants and cafes offering Afternoon tea and cakes in Norfolk. The prices I have included are for full Afternoon tea not including extras such as champagne etc.

Assembly House in Norwich city £19.95 each person
Barnham Broom in Norfolk £15.95 each
Bidddy's tea rooms - £13.95 each
Byfords Holt £14.95
Cafe Britannia £11.95 each. I adore the idea of of this cafe. It's run by offenders from the prison making them less likely to re-offend when they are are released.
Dunston Hall £20 each
Harriets Cafe Tearooms £19.95
Imagine Spa at Blofield - Read my personal review here - Divine Afternoon tea at Imagine Spa £16.95 each
Number 17 in Norwich
Patisserie Valerie - Norwich city centre
Sprowston Manor

Afternoon tea Norwich
Afternoon tea with bubbles at the Assembly House in Norwich - Dec 2016

 

Afternoon tea in Norwich, Norfolk


eyelash lift in Norwich

Eyelash perming and lifting

Lash lift 

A Lash lift is a procedure where you lift your own eyelashes and then set them with a perming solution from the root. This gives your lashes a longer, thicker, fuller look from the front as it makes your eyelashes more visible from that angle. The eyelash lift lasts around 4-6 weeks before your natural lashes grow out and fall out as normal. This is ideal for swimmers or people who don't want eyelash extensions or wear mascara daily.

Test patch needed.

lash lift in Norwich similar brand to LVL lashes
Eyelash lift- This client's natural eyelash are 13mm, so they look amazing with a lash lift. I used medium shields. Results will varity depending on your natural eyelashes.

 

Brands available - All these brands use the same technique pretty much just a different company name. Some people include tint. The current guidance is that it's fine to tint and perm on the same appointment. 

LVL lash lift - LVL lashes
salon systems
Lashbase
Flirities

Shields and rods - 

Your lashes are lifted using a plastic shield placed and secured on your eyelid. The shields I personally stock are Large, extra large, medium, small and extra small. Small giving the most lift and dramatic look. Your natural lashes are secured onto the shield and then set using perming and setting solutions. Just like you would perm the hair on your head. There are also rods available, to curl your lashes around, which give a curved appearance. However it's a lot more modern to have a eyelash lift now.

ey

Aftercare

  • Avoid mascara for 8 hours
  • Avoid steam or hot shower for 24 hours (relaxes perm and could drop)
  • Don't rub eyes
  • Use nourishing lotion on your lashes after perm like caster oil.
  • Rebook for 4-6 weeks for your next eyelash lift.

 

Eyelash lift in Norwich


afternoon tea Norfolk

Afternoon tea at the divine Imagine Spa

Imagine Spa, located in the Norfolk countryside, isn't just a spa it has a lovely restaurant within their grounds. It's only 20 minutes drive from Norwich city centre, but feels a million mile away. The chefs are extremely passionate about creating great food for their customers and go out of their way to make the whole experience perfect. You have the choice of eating outside or in their cafe area. The kitchen is open to the cafe and the chefs are extremely attentive to customers, regularly checking f you need a refill and everything is OK.

Imagine spa is a small day spa, so I have never felt overcrowded here or rushed. They limit it to only 16 people using the spa facilities. However you are more than welcome to book just to have afternoon tea. The cafe only has 3-4 tables, so it's a lovely personal atmosphere.

On arriving at the spa we were greeted straight away by the head of house at the reception and taken to the garden as we were lucky to have a lovely clear sky. The garden is absolutely lovely including a pond, scented garden and a couple of relaxation pods. We had the afternoon tea option with a pot of coffee or tea. Several options for coffee were available, latte, Americano etc. Our afternoon tea came out on a three tier plate with sandwiches on the bottom tier, middle and top tier were a lovely selection of sweet desserts and cakes. The brownie with honeycomb on top was particularly tasty, the brownie melted in your mouth, unlike some I have had in the past which have been dry. You can tell the chefs have spent their time perfecting the recipes. This afternoon tea at the time of writing is £16.95, which I am personally very happy to pay.

Imagine spa will cater for hen do parties. At £100 each for 10 guests you can have the whole place exclude to yourself and your guests. If you are getting married soon I definitely recommend calling them for more information on their hen do packages.

afternoon tea Norfolk
Lovely afternoon at Imagine Spa

menu for afternoon tea afternoon norwich

Afternoon tea at Imagine Spa - Norfolk


Midsummer party at Imagine Spa Norfolk

Another fabulous evening at Imagine Spa in Blofield, Norfolk. Diane organised a very chilled and relaxing evening of gin and light entertainment. You never fail to come away without feeling really relaxed. Bonnie from Adnams brewery was there giving a very informative talk on Adnams gin. It was really interesting to hear where there they source their ingredient and their distilling process. I would highly recommend chatting to Bonnie if you visit their shop in Norwich. Looking forward to more relaxing times to come at Imagine Spa! 

-  Midsummer Martini on arrival – Adnams Gin demonstration – gin cocktails/mocktails to try – Spa chefs preparing tasty light bites – Spa tours – F1 simulator to try – free prize draw –

Very busy evening at Imagine Spa.
Lovely relaxing gardens of Imagine Spa in Blofield.
Gin botanicals - Adnams Gin Norfolk
Gin botanicals - Adnams Gin Norfolk
Bonnie from Adnams Brewery.
Very knowledgeable Bonnie from Adnams Brewery.

 

Selection of Adnams Gin Norfolk.

 

* Norwich Blogger *


Steaming your skin as part of a facial

Facial treatments are fantastic at giving your skin a healthy appearance. I would recommend having a professional facial monthly. However you can do a DIY facial at home. For me facial treatment is the ultimate treatment it's not only beneficial to your skin, but extremely relaxing. A facial treatment should be carried out in dimmed lighting with the smell of essential oils to enhance the experience. Never rush a facial treatment and always treat your skin gently.

Benefits of using a facial steamer for warming your skin:

  • Warming the epidermis makes exfoliation easier. I personally use Kaeso products in my beauty salon.
  • Warming the skin prior to blackhead removal is very important as it opens the pores making blackhead removal easier. NEVER try to remove blackheads without warming the skin first. You have around 20 mins before the pores start to close again. Always remove blackheads gently to avoid the risk of scarring the skin.
  • Steaming your skin stimulates the blood circulation and lymphatic systems.
  • Sebaceous gland activity is improved with steaming, which benefits dry mature skin. Sebaceous glands produce sebum, which is the oil that lubricates your skin.

Always use distilled water in the facial steamer. Never tap water. Take care of your professional steamer and clean it according to manufacturing instructions. This will avoid lime scale build up and pro-long the life of the machine.

This is not suitable for people with asthma. Please check other medical conditions before using. This is very important. If you have sensitive skin steaming can irritate your skin.

Keep the facial steamer around 30cm from your face allowing a fine mist to be directed at your face for around 10 minutes. Take care not to have facial steamer too close to your skin.

Cover eyes and any broken capillaries with cotton pads.

Steaming in facial treatment