My little heroes

MicellarWhilst I am pretty much hooked on Bare Minerals products when it comes to make-up and skin care, there are certain economies that I’m not averse to. For example, whilst the Estee Lauder eye make-up remover that was a gift from a friend worked brilliantly, once it had run out, there was no way that I’d have been paying £21.99 for the 100ml to replace it. I reverted to my usual 400ml bottle of Garnier Micellar Water which does an equally excellent job for a fraction of the cost. Retailing at £5.99 in Boots, Savers sells it for just £2.99. Now that’s a bargain!

Mascara removerTalking of removing eye make-up, these wonderful little sticks filled with a couple of drops of remover work wonderfully on mascara smudges and the like without having to whisk the whole lot off and start again. Available from Amazon, they also cost £2.99. And given that they are sealed until you ‘snap’ them, they’re great to carry in your handbag ready to deal with those annoying little splodges that sometimes seem to appear from nowhere.

Two items for nails – The Daily Mail ran an article the other day which talked about the risks of toxic ingredients in nail polish. I’ve mentioned 3 free/ 5 free/ 7 free (etc) nail polishes previously in blog posts, and other than occasionally, I only use polishes which are at least 3 free (from dibutyl phthalate (DBP), toluene, and formaldehyde). These three are the most harmful, and worryingly the most common, toxic ingredients found in many mainstream brands. OPI are 3-free but Benecos polishes are 8 free! Most such polishes are expensive – really expensive, some costing as much as £20, but this one cost just £3,69. Admittedly it was on offer but even at full price it retails at under £6. You can buy the products in independent chemists or online from


The other nail ‘hero is Boots nail polish remover pots which works so well. Pop in your finger and twist a couple of times. Hey presto! No more nail polish. The one for toes has a small foam sponge in the lid which is simply rubbed lightly over the toes. Costing from £2.20 for fingers only and £4.40 for fingers and toes, the speed at which they work knocks spots off their more expensive counterpart, the Bourjois version at £5.99.

These self-adhesive heat packs work marvellously on lower back pain, and are ideal for extra cold days when you know you’ve to  be outside for some time. The promise of ‘up to 8 hours heat’ is no exaggeration. They easily stay warm for ten hours at a time. Selling for £3.49 per pack in Tesco, the identical ones in Home Bargains cost just £1 (and that’s for two)!


Another useful handbag item is 4head. It really works! A solid block, it’s rubbed on the forehead as a headache begins and after a little eye-watering (the vapour is super- strong), the headache almost always fades away. I’ve been using these for years and rarely have to resort to tablets.

FiN deoHaving suffered since my early forties with repeated breast cysts and fibroadenomas, I took the advice of a doctor for whom I did some temping. She was married to a breast cancer surgeon who thought that deodorants containing aluminium (almost all mainstream brands do) should be avoided, as aluminium has been linked to a number of health issues. It’s only fair to point out here that there are as many studies which support this view as debunk it. Twenty years ago it was near impossible to find natural deodorants and I was paying over £10 for a solid crystal ‘rock’ which had to be dampened and was awkward to manipulate.  Thank goodness for Faith in Nature which started selling a liquid crystal version.  I buy this via Amazon’s Subscribe & Save scheme which delivers a bottle to me every 6 weeks for £3.45 including postage. It can cost as much as £6.99 in some shops.

Ultra violetMy hair has a white streak at the front, is brown and grey in the middle section and still dark brown at the back. To introduce some uniformity I have been having it heavily highlighted for the past twenty years since the grey began to infiltrate at pace. However, it’s dark brown base can cause yellowing of the bleach so I would also have a silver toner applied to calm the brassiness. That was until I tried Charles Worthington‘s Ultra Violet shampoo. It can often be bought on a 3 for 2 offer in Boots which keeps the cost lower. Just remember to wear gloves unless you want purple stained hands!

Just two more to go: Sunshimmer used to be produced by a company called Coty. At least it was when I was 17 years old and first discovered it being demonstrated in Birmingham’s prestigious department store, Rackhams (sadly no more). I’ve been buying it ever since. Now sold under the Rimmel brand it costs anything from £3.49 (online) to £6.99 (Boots). It is an instant (rather than fake) tanning product i.e. it washes off. Although shower proof, it comes off easily in the bath. I like my legs to have a bit of colour and use it all through the summer, applying it with a car-washing mitten (thicker than a tanning mitt so no brown palms)! I’d prefer it to be a little less chemical-laden but having tried ‘kinder’ versions, I found them not to be a patch on this one. Some you win, some you put up with!


And last, but definitely not least, my favourite foot balm. As much as I love a pedicure, something has to give in my love of pampering treatments so it’s a treat rather than a regular occurance. Meanwhile I use this divine smelling, and very rich, treatment – The Lemon Tree‘s Geranium and Lavender balm. I used to be able to buy this at a local craft centre but the proprietors moved to Shrewsbury and opened a shop. So glad they do mail order! Costing £6.95 for the smaller pot it lasts for around ten weeks when used nightly.

And so there we are – my little heroes. I wouldn’t be without them!


  1. Estee Lauder primer. Sigh. Love it. Can even wear cheap make up over it and it will last all day whereas cheaper primers don’t really do anything on my skin. I appease my conscience by buying it at Boots with a double points coupon. Also love the Estee Lauder Day Cream, never really bothered which cream I used until I turned 60 and noticed my usual cheap as chips Boots own brands were leaving me with tight, dry skin. I’ve tried the Aldi and Lidl versions that other people rave about but didn’t do a thing for me. My skin obviously has pretensions lol.

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    • We ladies of a certain age must listen to our pretentious skin! I’ve heard good things about the Aldi range too, but I like what I like! I’ve found (recommended by a friend) that QVC have some good offers on Bare Minerals so always worth a look there for your Estée Lauder products.


  2. That was such an interesting post. I’m unlikely to use any of the products you mentioned, since I live outside the UK but I enjoyed it anyway 😀

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