Olay Total Effects review!

I have been looking for a new skin regime; I am a bit of a chop and change girl and not a one for spending huge amounts of money on skincare. On recommendation, I have tried the Olay Total Effects range – it seemed a decent price and I have heard good things about it.
Just to note, this is not an advert. I am not sponsored by Olay. (Wouldn’t mind it though, ahem.)


Firstly, on overview of my skin.

My skin is typical of someone in their mid 30’s; large pores, fine lines etc. There has also been a lot of sun damage so lots of pigmentation. My skin type would be combination – it used to be oily for has calmed down on that front as I have aged.


I like a very simple routine. Cleanse, tone and moisture, twice a day. I think serums are a load of rubbish for me anyway. I don’t wear make up during the week, I usually stick to a BB cream as they have SPF built in.

So first choice was the Olay Total Effects CC cream (complexion corrector). I have used it every single day and under make up too and love it. It glides on, sinks in and when I do wear make up I just need very little. I bought this in the darker shade and it works well for sallow skin. It has a sort of a blur affect on my pores and it is non greasy so no shiny bits. Definitley not enough coverage for the undereye area so I need to use my concealer. I love the pump – and you really only need a small amount.


Next on the list was the Olay Total Effects Night Cream.


This stuff is yum!!! It just makes your skin feel so pampered before bed. It soaks into your skin and leaves skin feeling very soft. I find some night creams very very heavy and this is just right. I find my skin much more plump in the morning when using this.

So overall?

Well, here is the thing….
I will continue to use these products as my skin feels really good after using them.

But, is there a visible difference?

I don’t think so. I used these products religiously for one straight month and tooks some snaps to show you what you are paying for…

Day 1, week 1


And 4 weeks later – same lighting, same camera…


In both pictures, I have just washed my face, toned and applied the Olay Total Effects Night Cream. I even wore the same PJ’s 😊

So what do yo think? Is it worth the price tag?

I am still using the product 1 month later so it is good value.
Just don’t get sold on these “visible results” promises which I have yet to see with any product!!

The Total Effects Night Cream is available in Boots here
And I also bought the CC cream in Boots, linked here


Buy cheap buy twice?

I love looking for the cheapest deal on products, sure who doesn’t?? And of late I am trying out a few shampoo and conditioners.


My latest purchase was the Alberto Balsam range, and I chose the Antioxidant Blueberry set. It’s for dry/damaged or coloured hair which suits me as my ends are processed and I like to keep my colour vibrant.
I’m struggling to find a positive on this product other than the price.
First off, it takes a lot of it to get a lather. Which defeats the purpose of the cheaper price tag.
The amazing blueberry smell? Not quite the muffin aroma I had hoped.
And most importantly, the result – my hair felt flat, a bit dry, not very shiny and basically ‘bla’.
Sorry Alberto Balsam, but your product doesn’t live up to its promises! I’m giving this one a skip.

Blarneymum meets Pennys -denimgate update!

As a follow up to my blog post on the sizing of denims, the customer service team from Pennys invited me to meet their management team in store to discuss further. I scheduled a meeting in my local store – the only time I had free was a Saturday afternoon so
I have to appreciate the guys for making time on what is surely their busiest day!

I met with the Assistant Manager of the store and two senior staff from women’s fashion. They had prepared a number of samples from their denim collection to show me. This allowed us to contrast the various fits and materials. All of the ones I looked at were ‘skinny fit’ and all a size 12. I also brought the notorious pair that I had bought to show the management team what my issue was.

When I showed the team the pairs I had bought they at first suggested that it was the material not having the stretch like other pairs but when I brought to their attention to the leg of the denim they could see the issue. They have agreed that the size was incorrect and will speak with their buyers on this.

Having tried a variety of their denims, I can say that all of the size 12’s did fit. There were of course some variations but that is to be expected. The pair I bought must have been wrongly labeled.

I did share the feedback that I had received from the blog about the variance in sizing in Pennys and the guys took it on board. The team seemed to take customer feedback very seriously – they often take feedback direct from the shop floor (good and bad) so were very open to hearing about the various comments on the post.

A few things I have learned from my visit.

  • The denims have different waist heights for example, mid rise and high rise which will create a different fit.
  • When comparing, it is important to measure using the crotch as the starting point.
  • Different materials will fit differently – there is one type called super stretch which I tried in a 12 and it was too big for me!
  • Stock for the floor is ordered by demand – managers need to keep a close eye on what it moving at all times. When you think of the variety in Pennys, that is a lot of orders!


The visit was a successful one – I got to show them first hand an issue with their sizes and they showed me that they take their customers opinions very seriously. I also found it very interesting to get a glimpse of how the Pennys ‘machine’ actually works. The buying process is extremely complex given the selection of products in store.

I must say that I am relieved that there was no ‘Wanted’ sign with my face on it in the staff room (lol)! The management that I dealt with were extremely nice, they listened and I never felt rushed.

Will I buy in Pennys again? Absolutely. But they better keep their sizes in check – Blarneymum is watching…..

The Kingsley Spa – relaxation at its best!

I recently had the ultimate mammy relaxation day – a full spa day compliments of hubby dearest. This was actually my xmas pressie and I only got around to using it in March! I decided to go it alone as I really wanted to switch off from the world – a great decision. By the time I left the Kingsley, I was floating.


I booked the Journey through Nature which is a full day package. I decided to take lunch first at 12, then use the amazing health centre (more on this in a bit) and finally have my treatments at 2.30pm.

Lunch is served in the K – Lounge which can be a little bit too close to the reception area, depending on where you are seated. Some seats have a beautiful view of the River Lee, mine was adjacent to a wall and a large group of loud, older gentleman. Lunch itself though was very nice and there was a good selection. If there was a tea and coffee option afterwards it would have been perfect.

The Health Centre – this was simply fantastic. I left the health centre feeling like I had completed my spa day! Firstly you have the indoor pool, which I had all to myself for a few strokes (OK, so I did the deadman float and a few doggy paddles). Then I moved to the outdoor hot tub which overlooks the river. This was bliss. I could have stayed here all day.


Next up I moved indoors to the Thermal suite which includes a Finnish sauna, Turkish baths, jacuzzi, aromatherapy steam rooms….all completed with a thermal lounger at the end. This finished me off completely – this has to be the best facility I have come across! I was actually zonked by the time my therapist came to find me; she nearly had to carry me back to the spa 😊


Treatment time!

We began with a sweet orange and ground argan oil scrub, which I wanted to eat it smelled so good. Everything here is organic too. My skin was really soft afterwards. Next I got a back, neck and shoulder massage. This as a proper massage that really worked out any knots or tension in my back. I personally hate when a massage is too light and of no benefit so this really suited me. Linda, my therapist got it just right.

The final treatment was blissful – a facial using caviar, champagne and pearl by Elaine. I’m usually not a fan of facials (I know! I just don’t enjoy them) but I am now converted. This seemed to go on forever and by the end of this I was in a trance. Elaine brought me to the relaxation area and all I wanted to do was close my eyes. Next time I am so booking a room so I can head off to bed!

I really and truly loved the Spa at the Kimglsey and have instructed husband that all future occasions requiring presents result in a voucher. It would be an excellent location for a break to Cork as it is only a few minutes from the city centre. Or for someone like me, it was ideal as I only had a short drive home afterwards.

The thermal suite is one of a kind and really made the day for me. And I have to commend the staff also – I sometimes find spa staff to be a little bit ‘false’ but the guys in the Kingsley are warm and friendly. I must mention Melissa who greeted me when I first arrived; I was met with a natural welcome as opposed to rehearsed ‘welcome to our spa’ spiel.

If you would like to know more, I have included a link to the spa below. I will definitely be coming back as soon as I can convince my husband to take the kids for the day again 😀😀




Lean in 15 – 2 weeks done

Well, I have completed 2 weeks of eating in the Lean in 15 way so its time for the lowdown.

Does it work – yes.

Did it work for me? No.

This program is a sound way of eating IF you stick religiously to it. And you will see changes if you exercise as instructed 5 days of the week using HIIT.

So where did I go wrong?

  • I didn’t prep my meals. Sorry, but I spend the whole week running around after two children, keeping to their schedules. The last thing I feel like doing on the weekend is a massive amount of batch cooking. Its just not for me unless it is for the whole family.
  • HIIT workouts – I found it very hard to fit these in. My mornings are spent getting toddler to preschool and then getting a few things done while I have just the one with me. Afternoons are hectic, evenings are the same and then it is bed. I train in Karate twice a week but I don’t think that counts.
  • Food restriction – I understand cutting out the rubbish a.k.a choccie biscuits, crisps and highly processed junk. But cutting out porridge, multi grain bread, wholegrain rice is not sustainable for me. You can have these foods post workout yes, but 3 times a week is not enough for me.

I felt deprived at times and restriction lead to grab and go incidents that didn’t end well. I find any diet that restricts something throws me off the wagon.

I think Lean in 15 will work for someone with a little bit more time on their hands and someone who is willing to sign up to the program to get the individualized plan.

I have learned a multitude from it and will keep using some of the recipes, but I think I will adjust it slightly to allow an “all round” diet for me.

My planned approach:

  • Water – and lots of it, everyday.
  • Cut out processed food. If there are ingredients that I do not recognize, then I don’t eat it. Make my own sauces, no sugar loaded jars!
  • Fruit and veg until it is coming out my ears!!!!
  • Protein with every meal, and make it lean.
  • Wholegrain carbohydrates in moderation – will try to keep these to heavy training days.
  • Walking, as much as possible, aiming for everyday.

I didn’t weight myself on the Lean in 15. I felt an initial slimming down in the first few days but this then tapered off. I will be very interested to see how my “middle of the road” approach works.

The last thing I want to do is turn my blog into a diet and fitness site – I neither have the desire to do so nor the qualifications! So the next update on my fitness journey will be in a few weeks to see if the above approach works.

Has anyone else tried Lean in 15? I would love to know how others find it.

4 days down – Lean in 15 update

I have completed 4 days of eating non processed, low carb food and I must say I am pretty happy! The HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) sessions had to be skipped though due to injury which is a pity as I think they would yield some great results. I’m looking forward to seeing the back of this injury as it is really holding me back at the moment, but at least I know that I am eating right while I recover.

An overview of what I have been eating for the last few days

I have primarily been eating reduced carb meals as I have not been training much, except for Wednesday night when I did a light Karate session. I scoffed a bowl of Kelkin Museli afterwards! Breakfasts are definitely my favourite as I love turkey rashers and sausages; it really feels like a substantial start to the day.

I haven’t made a huge amount from the cookbook; I have been improvising but following the basic principles.




How do I feel?

This is the biggest bonus for me. I have zero cravings for sweet things which is amazing for me. I am sleeping better and I find it easier to get going in the morning. My energy levels are definitely on the up as I am eating more vegetables than before. I was worried about low carb and training and I didn’t find I was lacking in energy which is good.

How do I look?

It has only been 4 days so no different – let’s be realistic here. However I am definitely less bloated and my tummy feels a lot flatter. My jeans are more comfortable.

What has been most challenging?

I think it is hard when other people offer you a biscuit with your tea, or the hubby says lets get a Chinese – people look at you stupid when you decline. Joe Wicks also recommends that you prep all of your meals for the week and I understand why. I have been caught on the hop once or twice with nothing ready and almost reached for the rubbish. Having eggs handy saved me as I just threw together a quick omlette to tide me over.

Not being able to exercise is killing me. I am walking each day and moderately training at karate but I know I need to do so much more. Injuries suck!

What do I like the most about this?

I like that I am not writing down what I eat, not adding up points and that I am eating according to hunger. I love the recipes and I am delighted with the amount of veg that I am eating.

I am really delighted that my cravings are gone as I am a devil for comfort eating. If I am happy, I celebrate with food. If I am down, I make myself feel better with food. I am more aware of this now and feel like it is under control a bit better.

Lean in 15 Day 1 – Enthusiasm alert!

You know that first day of the diet when you are determined to make a change and stick to it this time? The day where you are bursting with enthusiasm and energy, ready to take the bull by the horns? Eh, that was not today.

Firstly, we all slept in so it was pandemonium trying to get everyone where they needed to be. All I could manage to grab was a coffee as I changed nappies and pleaded with my son to put his shoes on. You all know how it is…..


Finally, it was just me and my 4 month old little girl so I was able to get cracking. I did the HIIT session as she watched from the bouncy chair! It is harder than it looks but I have a very slight hip injury at the moment which is slowing me down (ahem, excuse). I felt great after it, guzzled some water and started cooking my breakfast.

After a workout, you are allowed some carbs. Otherwise this is a reduced carb plan. So post HIIT session I made my version of the Build Up Bagel for breakfast:

  • Slice of wholegrain toast (had no bagels as they are too tempting for me)
  • Topped with tablespoon of cottage cheese
  • Drizzle of peri peri sauce
  • Two smoked turkey rashers
  • Tomatoes
  • Topped with a runny egg

Visualize this on toast…


Oh sweet lord, it was divine!! Would never have thought of such a combo! Washed down with a coffee and it kept me going well past lunch.

Snack time – At about 2ish, toddler was back from school and baby was due a nap and a bottle and a nappy change and I was due some food. I had nothing prepped as such (Joe advocates prepping like a “boss”) so had to reach for a snack. I grabbed some cashews but grabbed way too many. You should really only have 20/30g as they are high calorie food. I ate 145g!!!! Lesson learned.

Dinner – I made a yummy Thai green chicken curry. This is my own recipe but based on the principles of the book.

  • Heated a tablespoon of coconut oil in the pan and added my chicken pieces to stir fry
  • Chucked in some veggies – courgette and mixed peppers on this occasion.
  • I pre cooked some butternut squash in the microwave and then put that in too.
  • Tablespoon of thai green curry paste (from a jar)
  • Then added a tin of full fat coconut milk.

Ok so this is not mine and mine did not look as good and I will start taking pics of my food from tomorrow on, promise!


I batched some of this away for the coming days. Hubby likes it too and has it with a microwave pack of rice.

Evening time then brought the munchies, probably because I skipped lunch. So I made Joe’s reduced carb oatmeal. Basically I took some chia seeds, ground flaxseed, oatmeal, pinch of cinnamon and added almond milk. Microwaved this, then topped with greek yoghurt and some raspberries. I also drizzled with honey which is probably not allowed but oh well.


And I’m done for day 1! I also drank 2.5 litres of water today. In fairness, I’m happy enough except for the cashew nut incident. It feels weird eating food that I would have ran a mile from on a low fat, low calorie diet but I will stick it out to see if it works.