Brilliant packing-a-punch bargain moisturisers :) | Simply Marcia

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Brilliant packing-a-punch bargain moisturisers :)

Much as I love this time of year for all it’s sparkliness and glitter and the whole excitement of the entire December lead-up to the big Xmassy day; the beautifully wintry days we (sometimes!) get and the cosying-up opportunities it brings, it does however, come at a price: dehydrated skin – boo hiss 🙁

At this time of year, good skincare is essential so a moisturiser that offers a great big hydration and plumping hit is a must! Sadly, most of the face creams out there that promise miraclulous transformations of your tired and parched skin are super-expensive – so I’ve done a spot of skin-soothing research and am armed with a few bargain-priced (all cost around £10 or less – yay!) but brilliantly effective skin saviours 🙂

1. Weleda Calendula Cream (Facial)
£10.76, Amazon – this cult skincare range was originally designed for baby skincare, so it has a super-gentle formula, is enriched with lanolin and organic almond oil to soothe the skin and maintain the moisture balance to banish wind-whipped and under-hydrated skin – hooray!


2. Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Deep Moisture Comfort Balm – 300 ml

£3.60 (yup!) – ok so technically this is a balm rather than a moisturiser but either way, it delivers a massive hit of moisture and locks it in – these Norwegian’s know a thing or two about riding out their harsh winters so it makes sense that this skincare range is going to offer a max hydration boost too 🙂


3. Purity Facial moisturiser £6.29 – if you love all things organic and are a fan of (one of my fave organic skincare brands) Neals Yard, but are looking for an ‘easier-on-the-pursestrings’ option, then this is it: a light whipped-mousse moisturiser with a blend of moisturising, softening and moisture-retaining Coconut Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Shea Butter, and antioxidant Vitamin E which helps condition, soften and balance the skin – perfect!


4. L’Oreal Paris Extraordinary Oils Nourishing Oil-Cream 50ml
£9.99 – this fab moisturiser is packed with anti-aging essential oils renowned for their anti-oxidant and soothing properties. It packs a massive hydration punch, plumping and soothing your winter-bashed skin, giving you a healthy glow!


Don’t ask Google, my 13 year old knows EVERYTHING

Other browsers are available of course, however it becomes irrelevant when you have a 13-year-old in your house as they will know absolutely everything about everything. It’s just the way it is – accept it dullard parents.

So basically, a typical sort of conversation in our house:

Me: ‘It’s pouring with rain and super-cold – you need to wear your football thermals for football training tonight.’
13-year-old (know-it-all): ‘Oh, god, you’re such an idiot. I don’t get cold. You know that. And it’s going to stop raining by the time I train. Umm hello – like, check the weather forecast. Goddddddd. You’re so sad.’ Que lots of muffles and (probably) swearing under my/his breath.

The transition from wide-eyed child believing you know everything, to 13-year-old know-it-all takes place around the end of Year 7 at secondary school. They’ve now (finally) settled in to secondary school life, they’re about to head in to Year 8 (no longer the Year 7 bully targets that they were) and basically, they change. They’ve moved on from primary school believers-of-everything to secondary school believers-of-nothing-their-parents-advise/tell/inform them. It’s the ‘becoming a teen’ thing – and if you think 2 or 3 year olds having tantrum meltdowns are bad, you really, really haven’t seen anything like it (naturally though, a 13-year-old’s meltdown will only happen in the comforts of their own home (usually their bedroom because the Wi-Fi has STOPPED wtf wtf wtf) with zero chance of any witnesses …). And 13 year olds are BIG. So their tantrums match; they’re wild, snotty, sweary, dramatic, emotional, draining.

I used to verbally fight and resist 13-year-old know-it-all but have come to realise that most of the time, there’s no point and (to avoid regular conflict of gargantuan properties) it’s wise and advisable to pick your battles. The best starting point is getting it; it being the fact that your 13-year-old basically thinks you are fundamentally thick/stupid/an idiot. Their mates’ parents however, are, like, amazing and (probably) you’ll be told on a regular basis how your 13-year-old wishes that they:

– were born in to another family
– weren’t born at all
– could swap you for so-and-so’s mum who is lovely, cooks nice food, has no rules and has loads of cash.

They will also regularly remind you that:

– their life is shit
– they hate their life
– the Wi-Fi is shit
– you’re really boring
– everything you cook, go to, do is boring
– their siblings are shit
– school is shit

(There’s a bit of a theme.)

For info, 13-year-old’s do have some not-so-shit things in their life:

– their friends
– social media
– their playstation/X-box
– hot chocolate
– Nando’s
– football training (mine’s a boy)
– being away from you (mine engineers sleepovers away from us as often as possible)

Back to the battles. When needing to give information/advice/instructions to 13-year-old know-it-all this is how I now tackle it:

Me: ‘Oh blimey, it’s so cold and yucky out there tonight. Thank god for thermals’. This has to be said in a nonchalant ‘whatever’ tone of voice. Usually snuck in amongst some other random conversation with all the kids and not given any sense of importance, or to be misconstrued as ‘advice’ by 13-year-old know-it-all.

I’ve come to realise that I can offer all the advice in the world about everything and anything to 13-year-old and he will pretty much never, ever take it/listen/agree/think ‘oh yes, mum, you’re right of course’. Instead of reacting to his ‘knowing best’ conviction and his kneejerk ability to do absolutely the complete opposite of whatever I suggest, I now just let him get on with it. The less hung up I am about some of these battles, the easier it is (btw, some battles are non-negotiable like bedtimes and mobile phone use at 2am!).

I now think:
He’s 13 (he’s actually almost 14).
He’s not a baby.
He’s been given options.
He’s made his own decision.
He thinks he knows best.
Ok then.

I just make sure I’m on standby with a warm coat and /or hot chocolate at football training pickup time when he clambers, shivering, back in to the car. No words needed 🙂


Wardrobe stagnation saviours

I’m definitely no fashion expert and have certainly suffered from my fair share of FFP’s (fashion faux pas), in fact there are too many to give credit to individually (although one did comprise a neon pink jumpsuit, a snow-washed denim jacket, blue eyeliner and a perm – there are no words – thankfully no photographic evidence survives …). Having had my fingers burnt when it comes to all things style-related, I try to stick to keep-it-simple ‘classics’, steer clear of high fashion mini-trends and super-implusive shopping is now (along with said neon pink jumpsuit), a thing of the past. However, even I recognise when items in my wardrobe have been hanging around for so long that they’re in danger of ‘celebrating’ their decade anniversary with me.

So, whilst I might not be in the position right now to fork out on a brand new dreses for every occasion the sparkly party season throws at me, I can induldge in a teensy bit of wardrobe accessory updating 🙂 which makes me super-happy as accessories can totally change an outfit and give you a bit of current ‘on trend’ kudos without having to spend like a crazy woman – yay! Think: finishing touches, pops of colour and mixing up those textures.

My current top 4 easy-and-budget-friendly Christmas-ready wardrobe updates (my wardrobe stagnation saviours!) are:

1. New Look velvet boots – if I can’t have the dress in a luxurious fabric then by god, it will be the shoes – and these sexy ones are super on trend, dance-floor friendly and will go perfectly with your existing LBD 🙂


2. Clutch bag – I love, love, love a clutch bag – they make me feel a little bit grown up and help me pretend I could actually be a bit sophisticated … My fave are by Boden – they have a brilliant ‘party clutch’ in a mix of velvet and metallic – perfect party pairings for your LBD (again!). Look out for Boden offers – there will be loads in the lead up to Christmas!


3. Statement earings or necklace – I’m a massive fan of big old Bet Lynch style chandelier earings – sometimes, bigger is better. H&M have LOADS to choose from and they’re all super-affordable – I mean, you could go crazy and buy more than one pair? They also stock some fab party-perfect necklaces including velvet (yup, more velvet) chokers as sported by the younger Kardashians – just saying.


And finally,

4. A cosy, sexy, shaggy jacket – sometimes sensible outerwear is a no-no and glamour must rule instead – especially at this time of year. There are actually loads of on-trend super-sleek, silky bomber jackets out there right now, but having done that look back in the early 90’s and not being sure it worked back then, I’m just not sure it’s a look I can pull off this time around either … (it’s a no from me). Stick with what works for you I say, and for me, that means a shaggy, fake-furry jacket as my wintry wardrobe update – hooray for H&M – they have this fab grey one – it’s on my Christmas wish list 🙂


So my advice, forget a new dress and instead, hit those shops (literally or online) and treat youself to a wardrobe update – because obvs, you’re definitely worth it!

Beauty on a budget (for less than £20!)

This time of year it’s all about the sparkle and all things Christmassy! It’s all about gift and perfect present purchases – which I love. It’s also about the lead up to the office Christmas party, and that means (obvs!) wrapping ourselves up in a new dress and definitely new make-upy bits.

Buying new make-up is such a lovely treat and whilst my budget is (sadly) on the low side, I’m a huge believer that these days, budget make-up is something to be celebrated (as it’s actually, mostly, very good!).

So, my top 5 cheap and cheerful but super effective and not-to-be-scoffed-at make-up finds – totalling £19.95!!! – for the sparkly season are:

Mascara – glossy, full and super-black lashes – Collection Big Fake Curves Mascara Ultra Black WP 17WP £4.99

Lipstick – the perfect red – Maybelline Color Sensational Lipstick 530 Fatal Red £6.99

Brows – for face-framing brows – Rimmel Professional Eyebrow Pencil Black/Brown £2.99

Eyeliner – for Claudia Winkleman inspired panda eyes – Collection Kohl Eyeliner Black 1 £1.99

Blusher – get glowy – Miss Sporty Insta Glow Blusher 006 9G £2.99

With change from a £20 note, you won’t be breaking the bank (hoorah!) but you will be party-ready 🙂 which makes me super-happy! Mwah x



Not a concept I’m so familiar with these days. In fact, the closest I get to me-time is when I’m driving half way across the county to pick my 14-year-old up from football training on a Thursday night. Then it’s just me, Jo Whiley on Radio2 and her ‘taxi run service’ (if you’re lucky enough not to still be out taxiing kids around late in to the evening, it’s where Jo gives parents a chance to get a song of their choice played whilst out doing the ‘taxi run’).

Post-school evenings are full to brimming point and every weeknight involves ferrying kids backwards and forwards – sometimes needing to be in three places at once, which is naturally an easy feat to achieve … (thankfully I have a supportive and lovely partner and wonderful mummy friends to help share the load with).

Way back when (ok just over 14 years ago), and with no cares or massive responsibilities, there were literally days when I had so much time I didn’t always know what to do with it – I lolled around soaking up glorious amounts of special ‘me-time’. Sometimes (rarely) this involved a workout, but more likely, it was facials, massages, manicures, coffees and cocktails with friends (probably too much of that) and spontaneous anything – holidays, catch ups, dinners, dancing … I was super-indulgent and luckily at that time, had the monies to support my ‘me-time’ habit.

Everything changed of course, once baby no 1 rocked up; my whole ‘it’s all about me’ self-indulgence took a massive hit and a shock to the system was a bit of an understatement. I was convinced for a (short) time however, that I was the only new parent on the planet whose world and routines wouldn’t change because of a baby …

Baby no 2 arrived not long after, followed by baby no 3 – by which time I had become a bona fide ‘no-me-time’ mummy.

My three babies are now aged 9, 12 and 14 and whilst the older two are independent now in many ways (hooray!), the fact is that they have so many more clubs and social stuff going on that require ferrying around … So, a couple of quick tips for clawing back some much needed and completely deserved me-time.

1. When you have toddlers, absolutely stick to a regular bed time so that your littlies are tucked up in bed by a reasonable time giving you a chunk of evening that’s all yours – to do whatever. And not always the tidying up and boring stuff – leave it – it can wait. This is the time to get a friend around (or head out with one!); book a babysitter and head out with your partner; have a long soak in the bath; get to that yoga class … do something that you love as your me-time.

2. It gets a bit trickier as they get older and when you end up with not just a school timetable, but an after-school timetable too. This is when lift shares and play dates come in to their own. Don’t be afraid to ask for help – other parents will be feeling the same – share that load and free up occasional pockets of time. And keep sticking to bedtimes relevant to your kids ages.

3. Once at secondary school the gap between eldest child going to bed and your own bedtime narrows (if not becomes the same time even (wtf)). In our house (bad parent alert) we have a rule that at 9pm any wide-awake-kids have to disappear up to their respective room to watch TV and ‘wind down’ (in actuality, they will be on some kind of device but we just go with it now although the Wi-Fi goes off at 10pm and no deviation from this). That gives an hour of me-time (ish) – basically, that now means box-set heaven!!

And then, it’s beddy-byes time too – night, night.