Author: elizabeth

A Political Journey (Saying Sorry)

Here’s a confession: I used to really dislike the SNP.  I’d go so far as to say I actively disliked them. Were my reasons valid? I’m not sure. I voted against Scottish independence in 2014 because I didn’t find the SNP’s case to be credible, and I believed Scotland would be out of the EU if we left the UK.  From my perspective, the 2014 referendum was exhausting. For those of us on the No side, there were no marches, no gatherings, no messages of togetherness or hope. For us there was nothing but negative news (‘project fear’) and a really uneasy feeling in the gut that we were voting against fear instead of voting for hope. As I’ve said many times, there was no joy in saying no, and I felt low for months afterwards – which is part of what caused me to dislike the SNP. I held them responsible for my low mood because I felt they’d pushed me into making an awful decision I didn’t want to make. And I worried they were going to ask …

Sensitive

It’s been a whole year since I started writing makeup and skincare reviews here at Fig & Pen, and I’ve enjoyed it more than I can say.  Since I only review things I like, I can be positive and promote the products I truly believe in.  And I hope I’ve been able to help others make more informed choices about what they spend their money on. When I began testing products, my skin was quite sensitive, and I hoped I’d be able to help guide others with the same skin issues, but over the past couple of months, I’ve found I can hardly deviate from my tried and tested skincare ritual without suffering some sort of reaction.  When a recent trial of a fairly innocuous cleanser led to an inflamed eyelid, I knew my days as a tester were numbered. This doesn’t mean I’ll give up completely but, going forward, I won’t be able to review products weekly the way I’ve done in the past.  What I will do is search out cosmetics for those of …

Olay Regenerist 3-Point Cream

A few weeks ago, I noticed I was running low on my usual night cream.  It’s quite expensive, but I do feel it works.  I’d heard about Olay’s Regenerist 3-Point Cream from a trusted YouTuber I follow, so I decided to give it a try.  If it’s as good as advertised, it could save me quite a bit of money. Because I’m sensitive, I went for the unscented version and I’m happy to report it works well.  It contains niacinamide, panthenol, hyaluronc acidm and an aminopeptide complex so it feeds as well as hydrates the skin.  It claims to firm and lift sagging skin, but I’ve not yet seen this effect.  The texture of my skin has improved, though.  The little lines under my eyes have diminished and my skin appears more hydrated and healthy. At £30, Olay Regenerist 3-Point Cream is a bargain, and I can honestly say it works as well as the £125 cream I’ve been using for the past year.  It agrees with my sensitive skin, plumps out fine lines and keeps my face feeling hydrated and …

Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm

A lovely reader asked me recently how my beloved Emma Hardie cleanser compared to Clinique’s Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm, £22.  Since I’d not used it before, it was the perfect time to buy a jar and try it out – and I have to say,  I’m impressed! When I opened the Take the Day Off, I was delighted to find it unscented.  As I’ve mentioned many times, my skin can be very sensitive, and fragrance-free products are less likely to irritate.  The balm itself was quite soft, and melted into a lovely oil on the skin. Where Take the Day Off really excels is eye makeup removal.  It easily dissolved my waterproof mascara and didn’t make my eyes water.  It also removed every scrap of foundation and left my skin feeling clean, soft and balanced.  Sadly, after a few uses, it caused the skin on my eyelid to turn that familiar shade of red, warning me not to continue lest I risk a weeks-long battle against inflammation.  I don’t think this cleanser would irritate most sensitive …

Gentle Morning Cleansers

I often skip cleaning my face in the morning – just a bit of warm water and a gentle buff with a muslin cloth works well, especially on my dry, sensitive skin.  When I do need to use a cleanser in the morning, it has to be super gentle. Natural Being Manuka Creamy Cleanser, £13, is one of the gentlest cleansers I’ve tried. Made with olive oil, macadamia oil, avocado oil and, of course, Manuka honey, it effectively cleans the skin without leaving it feeling tight or stripped of its natural oils.  It is pleasantly and lightly scented with essential oils, but this has never bothered my sensitive eyes or skin. Another good choice is MV Organic Skincare Gentle Cream Cleanser, £35.50.  Not only is it gentle, but with repeated use it can help combat skin sensitivity over time.  It contains camellia oil and chamomile, both known for their skin-soothing properties.  It’s also extremely gentle and doesn’t leave skin feeling over-cleansed or dry. If you want something fragrance free, Eucerin’s Mild Cleansing Milk, £9, is free not only …

Big Hair

Having grown up in Alabama in the 80s, I know a thing or two about big hair.  It’s not as fashionable as it once was, but I’m still a fan.  Even through the board-straight, flat-haired Rachel-from-Friends years, I loved big hair. There are a few ways to achieve big hair, but I’ve found the easiest and least damaging way is to use a lifting spray.  For the last year or so, my favourite has been SachaJuan Volume Powder, £22.  Just a couple of sprays of this product directly on the roots of your hair gives it tremendous lift and volume, and the effect lasts pretty much all day.   They also do a version for dark hair, and while it doesn’t leave behind the annoying white powder, it also doesn’t work nearly as well.  The trick is to ‘floof’ it with your fingers until the powder disappears.  If the whiteness doesn’t go away once you’ve worked it into you hair, you’ve used too much. If you’re after a cheaper version that works just as well, I …

Nell

There comes a point in a middle aged woman’s life when she decides she needs a small dog.  I don’t know when it happened to me, but when the need hit me, it hit me hard.  I spent a bit of time researching breeds and came to the conclusion that the best match for me was a chihuahua. Then I found Nell and the rest, as they say, is history.  She’s five months old and super sweet.  We spend a lot of time together snuggling on the sofa and watching TV.  I’m looking forward to warmer weather so she and I can enjoy some walks on the beach on Bute.