Arbonne CC Cream review 

I think I’m getting to grips with pampering myself. First Shellac nails and then last week I had a gathering with some of my lovely mummy friends for an Arbonne Makeup party. I don’t think I’ll be doing it again soon, thanks to the ME payback, but it was fun. It was nice to be pampered and catch up with the girls.

I did the party as a favour to my friend from the school run, who is an Arbonne Consultant. I wasn’t expecting to buy, but I took an interest in their CC cream.


I’m relatively new to makeup, I’ve only been wearing foundation for a couple of years and only once a week if that. My friend told me this CC cream did everything. Instead of concealer, foundation etc I would only need to apply this cream. Making makeup easy and quick is a big selling point for me so I was eager to try it.

According to Arbonne:

Arbonne Intelligence® CC Cream hydrates to protect skin’s moisture barrier, mattifies, soothes, and evens the look of skin tone. It provides lightweight coverage that minimizes the look of pores while concealing blemishes and dark spots. Formulated with nurturing botanicals for a healthier, dewy-looking complexion. Whether you have a late night or long day, this CC Cream will keep your skin looking beautiful. Beauty and smarts — Arbonne Intelligence CC Cream has it covered.

All the ladies at my party tried the CC cream and it was interesting to see that two of them looked remarkably better with the CC cream compared to the makeup they were wearing when they arrived. You couldn’t tell they were wearing it and yet their skin looked a lot more healthy and fresh looking. I didn’t notice much of a change with some of them, which is a good thing too. It provided the same coverage as their foundation and looked as good on. With a couple of my friends though it didn’t have enough coverage for their needs and they looked better with the foundation.

I have ‘normal‘ skin  and don’t really need too much coverage. My problem is that, thanks to sleep deprivation, I have dark circles round my eyes. I always use concealer and I was worried the CC cream wasn’t going to be enough to cover it.

I also really love the contoured look with makeup and was told the CC cream would be enough for me.

I took a couple of before and after photos so you can see how it looks. I also asked my sister, who has sensitive red, patchy and dry skin to take before and after photos. We both used the Light CC Cream (it comes in 4 shades fair, light, medium and dark).

Here’s my before:

Before – hate selfies, but needs must!

And after

After

Here’s my sisters before

And after

For me it doesn’t do a great job at covering my dark circles (and that’s with adding a bit more around my eyes) but it does give me a bit of warmer colour in my face and I love the feel of it. It glides on and goes a little further than my foundation. It feels really light and smooth on, like I’m not wearing anything.

I think it looks fabulous on my sister though. It lasts all day on her also, and she’s not sensitive to it.

If I use it instead of foundation with concealer, bronzer and blusher I think I’d like it more than my usual foundation. I like that it has good ingredients, Arbonne pride themselves on being the best of science and nature and I think you can tell their product is quality. I also like how it feels on.

The downsides are the price, I got a good deal because I hosted the party, but the full price (£31) is a bit more than I like to spend on one makeup item. And it’s not a cream that does everything like they lead me to believe, in order to look good I’d still need to use other products so it’s not a quick and easy solution, for me anyway!
Have you tried a CC Cream that works? Leave a comment and let me know 😊

Making the most of today 

One of my main coping strategies since I became ill is maintaining a hope and belief that I will get better and regain full health. My husband and I speak often about the things we will do and enjoy when I am better. I love to look forward to what lies ahead, but in doing so I sometimes feel frustrated with my ‘today’s’. We can miss out on many good things by constantly looking ahead. If we are mindful we will be able to see the gifts that each day brings and in turn we become happier and at peace with whatever situation we find ourselves in.

Image from http://www.everyday-mindfulness.org/20-beautiful-quotes-about-mindful-living/
Last week I was caught in the middle of feeling overwhelmed and bogged down by the kids loudness and mess-making and imagining us all on a family outing and myself being better, able to join them. I wasn’t happy and longed for the day my health would be better, but then I had the distinct impression that when that future came my kids would be older and I would miss this stage of their lives profoundly.

I’m reminded of the film ‘Click‘ with Adam Sandler. He is given a remote control that he can use to pause or fast forward his life. At first he enjoys being able to fast forward the boring or unpleasant parts of his life, but the remote control is clever and remembers what he forwards through and begins to fast forward more than Adam Sandler’s character would like him to. Before he knows it, huge chunks of his life have been skipped through and, now an old man, he realises how much of life he has missed – his kids have grown, his marriage has ended.

Fortunately for us we don’t have access to this kind of remote control and we can experience each day of our lives with all its joys and sorrows! When Adam Sandler went back to his normal life he was grateful for the good and the bad. Without this blessing of hindsight and doing life over again, it is up to us to make the most of each day, the good and the bad.

Some things that help me are:

Being aware – acknowledge each little moment of life. There’ll be some good in every day, even if it feels like a snippet.

Being grateful – saying/feeling thanks for  what you have. Sometimes it helps to write a list of at least 3 things that I’m thankful for.

Slowing down – when you’re busy, in thoughts or deeds, you don’t have time to appreciate what’s around you.

Meditate – meditation is a good way to slow down, clear the mind and feel peace. Through meditation we can feel calmer and more focused.

Treat everyone with kindness – being kind can uplift us, and help us think less of ourselves and our stresses.

Accomplish – have something to accomplish everyday,no matter how big or small. Ticking it off gives a good sense of purpose.

Laugh – laughing feels so good and can turn around a bad day.
What do you like to do help you make the most of each day? Leave a comment and let me know 😊

Mindful Eating 


Each day I’m bombarded by food posts on social media in the form of recipes; scare stories; advice and information; adverts etc. Food is such a hot topic for me that it elicits a variety of emotional responses, but the biggest one is guilt.

I’ve had a funny relationship with food since my teens. I’ve always been conscious of my weight,despite being slim, and conscious of healthy/ unhealthy food. I’d try all sorts of different diets. I remember once doing a low fat diet, before I understood about calories, and would eat a big bag of haribo every night because they contained little fat. Later on I would make a million resolves to be healthier and eat less right after I devoured a load of food (Once, I ate an 8 pack of penguins and then vowed to stay off chocolate for a year … It lasted a week!)

About a year before I became ill with M.E. I was diagnosed with IBS and so I began a wheat and dairy free diet. I discovered I’m pretty motivated if I’ve got a plan to stick to. This trait of mine came in handy when a few years down the line I tried a very restrictive diet, alongside the Perrin Treatment, for my health. I ate extremely healthy for a year and a half. After that pregnancy sickness and cravings, moving into our own home and caring for little kids all made a healthy, strict diet very difficult – It takes a lot of preparation, planning and extra finances to eat an enjoyable healthy diet.

For the past 4 years (where does the time go?!) I’ve eaten as healthy as I can, with unhealthy blips, like Christmas, inbetween. I feel constant guilt that I’m not eating well enough. Sometimes this guilt spurs me on to eating better, sometimes it sends me straight to the chocolate cake.  Although I’m a more sensible eater now and try to eat as well and as healthy as my energy and circumstances permit, I continue to have an underlying sense of guilt that I should be eating better.

My Perrin practitioner would always tell me that I should be ok with whatever choice I made when eating and not beat myself up about it. It’s important to remove all guilt and negative associations with food. It was thinking in this vein that reminded me of an email I received a few months back. Usually I would disregard emails like this, but the caption appealed to me – “Why dieting doesn’t work”. It contained a link to a YouTube video of a TED talk about mindful eating. I can’t usually sustain concentration for too long, but I was really interested in all she had to say and watched it all straight away, rewinding every now and then to really get the gist of it. It’s worth a watch if you’ve got the time and energy:


It makes sense to me that the more notice we take of what we consume and the more we are mindful of it we will recognise what effect it is having on us, whether good or bad , and we will be more inclined to eat better.  These three quotes explain it well

there is no right or wrong way to eat, but rather varying degrees of consciousness about what we are eating and why. The goal of mindful eating, then, is to base our meals on physical cues, such as our bodies’ hunger signals, not emotional ones — like eating for comfort.

Jenni Grover, Huffington Post

Mindful eating is not a diet, or about giving up anything at all. It’s about experiencing food more intensely — especially the pleasure of it. You can eat a cheeseburger mindfully, if you wish. You might enjoy it a lot more. Or you might decide, halfway through, that your body has had enough. Or that it really needs some salad.

Jeff Gordinier, The New York Times

Mindful eating helps us learn to hear what our body is telling us about hunger and satisfaction. It helps us become aware of who in the body/heart/mind complex is hungry, and how and what is best to nourish it. Mindful eating is natural, interesting, fun, and cheap.

Jan Chozen Bays M.D, Psychology Today

The process of mindful eating is a long one by its nature. To do it properly would take a long time at each meal, but we can make a start by following the suggestions on this picture from www.eatingmindfully.com and becoming more mindful when we eat.

www.eatingmindfully.com
http://www.eatingmindfully.com

It’s removing all distractions and really being in the moment of eating; noticing your thoughts and feelings before, during and after; observing the food, it’s smells, textures appearance; stopping when you feel satisfied; paying attention.

I thought this article was also good in explaining how to eat mindfully:

http://life.gaiam.com/article/zen-your-diet

Although it sounds a bit far-out and hippyish I can really see how mindful eating can remove the battles I have with myself over food and help in achieving a healthier diet.

What are your thoughts on mindful eating? Have you tried it? Would you try it? Let me know in the comments 😊

Shellac Nails 

When I was younger I wasn’t that interested in beauty treatments, and when I started having kids it seemed pointless. I’m covered in snot, sick and drool 99% of the time!

Then a few months back we had a pamper day in honour of my mum and it was so wonderful my eyes had been opened to what I’d been missing. My days entail looking after my kids and having to rest to recuperate so there’s no ‘me time’.

At the time I watched my sister paint my mum’s nails and I looked at my stubby nails in despair. During the next couple of weeks I grew them, and my husband, knowing my plight, had enquired at work and discovered a lady who was a mobile nail technician. Perfect!

I think I’d always felt that there wasn’t a need for having your nails done, previously. But after I’d had them done I couldn’t stop looking at them. They were beautiful and I felt like I was someone who makes an effort, who has their stuff together, rather than someone who has no energy to care. I loved having that time that was just mine too. My nails also feel so good, so smooth and strong.


Aren’t they beautiful! They’ve never looked so good! 



I had Shellac nails (gel manicure) and it took 45 mins to apply (I sat up for it, so took some preparation for rest before and after. I’m sure it could be done lying down as well, if it was easy to get to both hands.) My nails were completely dry as soon as they were finished. My lovely nail technician would work on one hand whilst the other hand was under UV rays drying. I chose the French manicure look as I love the natural look.

The gel makes my nails much stronger and durable. I was told I should get 2 weeks from them, 3-4 weeks if I was lucky. My husband’s colleague has her nails done once a month, so that’s what I was hoping for. Mine looked fantastic for two weeks, but I could really notice my nail growth in the third week and the gel had started to peel off from the bottom. Everybody else said they couldn’t tell, unless I pointed it out.


4 weeks and one nail down! 

We’re now in the fourth week and my nails have grown so much! I attempted to peel some carrots the other day too and chipped my nail which resulted in its demise when coupled with bending the nail backwards after washing my hands 😟 Definitely time to get them re-done, and I’m glad I went for the natural look. They’d look awful if I had half a colour on there.

NB. The gel is tough to remove and it’s suggested you DON’T try it yourself as it could damage your nails. Your nail technician will remove it with an acetone bath.
Do you spend your spoons on pampering? What do you enjoy? Tell me in the comments below 😊

Living with M.E 

It would be remiss of me to not write a post about ME in the month of May, ME Awareness month.

I’ve lived with it for 8 years and come across people regularly who have no idea what it is or how it affects those who have it. Even people who are close to me, who have seen the impact of ME on my life, have little clue as to its true nature.

My new ‘normal’ and “I’m ok thanks” is a far cry from healthy. 8 years of living with a chronic illness and I’ve learned to adjust to a level of symptoms that would have had me in bed at the beginning. I remember having sick days from work and feeling so poorly I would wrap myself in a duvet and lay on the couch. This level of poorliness is now a very good day and I can function fairly well.

For 99.9% of the time there are many other symptoms added (different types of pain, headaches, nausea, fatigue, light and sound sensitivity, difficulty regulating body temperature, tingling in hands and feet – to name a few) and my body feels like it’s weighted down by lead so all movement takes Herculean effort. I can’t think like I used to either, it’s called brain fog – I forget things; I listen but can’t make out what has been said; I read but don’t take in what I’ve read; I can’t cope if too much is going on at one time. It’s like I’m dealing with all the pain and other symptoms that they make it difficult to focus on anything else.

Becoming ill was hard, my life changed completely and I grieved it’s loss. However, time is a healer and slowly you adjust to the new life and limitations. What I haven’t adjusted to is being dependant. My heart sinks when I have to ask my husband, family members or friends to add to their already busy lives. It’s only through sheer necessity that I ask for help, but that doesn’t make it easier.

8 years of living with ME has rocked the confidence that took me 20 years to gain. My mind and my body are unreliable and so I become anxious at the thought of responsibility and having to let people down. If I go out it has to be with somebody who knows and understands my limits and who I feel comfortable with  asking for and accepting their help.

Over the years I’ve made new friends and it’s hard that they don’t know the old me, the person I still feel like inside. The person who was bubbly, energetic, hard working, confident, helpful. I am that person still, even if my body won’t allow it.

Everyday I wake up and make the arduous journey out of bed ready for another day of relentless symptoms. BUT, I can’t finish the post like that…

Without ME I would never have known the greatness of the man I married. How caring, giving and selfless he is, how he chooses to be with me everyday and how he makes me feel like a blessing, not a burden. A true hero.

I would never have known the depth of the love my parents have for me, who continue to sacrifice and care for me and help with my children. And my sister who spends most of her days helping me in one form or another. 

I would never have known the depths of my love for my children and the effort and ‘spoons’ I willingly give to them.

I would never have known the kindness and generosity of friends and family.  Always willing to lend a helping hand or a sympathetic ear.

I would never have known the courage and strength I have!

S&J Crafting Creations 

I’m amazed by all crafters who have the ability to create things of beauty, but through blogging I have had the privilege of getting to know some truly inspirational people.

Sonia, from S&J Crafting Creations, is one of those people. I got to know of her work through Conscious Crafties on Twitter. I was drawn to each tweet I saw of hers as I loved each piece.

You’d never know by looking at her creations but she crafts from her bed. After an operation on her foot to remove a ganglion tumour she developed CRPS type 2 (complex regional pain syndrome). Since then it has spread throughout her body. Her arms and hands are unaffected and so she is able to craft.

In her own words “CRPS has rendered me bedbound, so all my crafts are made in my bed with an old hospital ‘over the bed’ table to craft on. There is no cure for CRPS and the type I have is untreatable, many times a day I do sit here and totally ‘lose it’ and wonder what my purpose on this earth is, and why do I bother to fight and survive every day and then my wonderful friends from the conscious Crafties group remind me that I do have a purpose in life and I’m not just another statistic in someone’s medical book.”

If her example and courage weren’t purpose enough her creations certainly make her efforts worthwhile. It was her beautiful jewellery that first caught my eye, such stunning designs varying in style and colour.

multi coloured bracelet
https://www.consciouscrafties.com/Crafties/s-j-crafting-creations/?cate=315

After perusing her Conscious Crafties page I discovered Sonia also handmade cards. Each card is unique and her decoupage arrangements fit the theme she intends perfectly. Wonderful designs for many occasions.

handmade decoupage card
https://www.consciouscrafties.com/Crafties/s-j-crafting-creations/?cate=1302
I’m really impressed with her knitted and crocheted items. They look professional,  with the detail and she puts together lovely colour schemes. With an array of items from shawls to baby wear and footwear, there’s plenty of choice to keep you warm, comfy and looking good. My particular favourite are the converse slipper socks – so clever!

crocheted converse style slipper
https://www.consciouscrafties.com/handmade-gifts/converse-style-adult-slipper-socks/

For more information and to browse through S&J Crafting Creation’s products you can visit:

S&J Crafting Creations on Conscious Crafties website. 

And follow Sonia on

S&J Crafting Creations Facebook 

And

Twitter

About

jennifer barber
Hi, I’m Jenny, and I launched this blog to share the things that help me keep positive in life – my faith, positivity, creativity, healthy living and a little bit of pampering! 



Living with a chronic illness for over 8 years has made me more aware of the need to find the good things in life when it’s not so obvious and I share all I find on this blog as well as tips on how I keep positive and motivated. 

I’ll post as often as my health permits, so if you’d like to keep up-to-date and share in all the good things you can sign up to receive all new posts by email.

Who am I? 

I’m Jenny Barber.  In my previous life, before chronic illness hit, I was a graduate and worked as a mental health support worker. I was a non-stop exercise addict and a die-hard on the dance floor.

Now I’m a wife to an entertaining teacher who takes working full time and looking after a wife and 3 kids in his stride.

black and white 3 young kids cuddling

I’m a mum to two fun-loving, mum-loving, cheeky boys and one independent,  adorable toddler girl.

I’ve lived with ME/CFS/SEID for over 8 years but aside from being a completely different person and pretty much house and couch bound, it doesn’t define me or our family.

I’ve been blogging for a few years and found a passion in it. I love the new friends I make through it and being able to share my thoughts with you. Rather than be caught up in the struggles I find blogging a great way to capture all the good things of life.

quote on a starry background

If you’d like to get in touch or have something wholesome and positive you’d like to share, please email mecuperate@gmail.com