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*Ad - gifted experience


In my opinion massages are good for the mind, body, and soul. There's not much that can't be fixed by a session with an experienced therapist, so when I was approached by The Massage Company in Sutton Coldfield I was more than happy to put their services to the test. It would be rude not to wouldn't it?


Based in the Mere Green area of Sutton Coldfield, The Massage Company offers a range of massages to suit everyones needs. The location is on the main high street surrounded by shops, bars, and restaurants. Parking is also easily available within just a few minutes walk, as is the Four Oaks train station. Although this is their only location in the Midlands, they also have branches across the South East in Camberley, High Wycombe, Tunbridge Wells, and Putney. 


The entrance to The Massage Company in Sutton Coldfield
Entrance to The Massage Company in Sutton Coldfield

On arrival at The Massage Company, I was greeted by a friendly receptionist who checked myself and my sister in. We were each given a short survey to complete which would ran through a few health questions, allowed us to pin point any areas we would like to particularly focus on, and any areas we would prefer the therapist not to touch. This is not something I'd come across while having massages in the past, but something I thought was a great idea, especially as I primarily enjoy back massages and would always like that to be the area of focus. 


Whilst we waited for our appointment time the receptionist talked us through the available massages and the upgrades. We were both booked in for a Swedish Massage which is a full body massage, something I'd not yet tried. Along with our main massage we were also offered an upgrade. This time we both opted for the Hot Stones although I was very tempted by the Scalp Massage.


The full range of massages available:


  • Deep Tissue Massage
  • Sports Massage
  • Swedish Massage
  • Maternity Massage


The upgrades available:


  • Hot Stones
  • Scalp Massage
  • Aromatherapy
  • Fantastic Foot Treatment


Once inside the treatment room the therapist gave me time to get undressed and comfortable. Although going for a massage is nothing new to me, they can be very intimate which is why it's always nice to find a therapist who is friendly and makes me feel at ease.  


Inside the treatment room. In the foreground the massage table can be seen and in the background is a table with a range of prodcts.
The treatment room at The Massage Company

Before starting the treatment the therapist checked that I was as comfortable and as relaxed as I could be by adjusting the massage table and ensuring the temperature was to my liking. She also ensured I continued to be comfortable throughout the massage, adjusting things where needed and regularly checking that the pressure she was using was fine.


Although it's not something I've chosen before, the Swedish Massage was a very good choice and a treatment I would likely chose again. The massage lasted for 50 minutes which is longer than I usually go for but I found this was the perfect amount of time to really chill out and enjoy the experience. The upgrade to the hot stones was also a very good decision as the sensation of the warm rocks gliding across my skin added an extra layer of pleasure.


Throughout the whole experience I felt relaxed and happy that I was in the hands of a very experienced therapist who did not give in until every single knot was rubbed out of my back, something that is no easy task let me tell you. My sister also said that she thoroughly enjoyed her treatment and we both agreed it was something we liked being able to do together before continuing the day with a well deserved brunch.


Although we didn't take out a membership this time, I think the sharable flexi membership The Massage Company offers would be great for friends or family members looking to meet up and enjoy a relaxing experience.


The Massage Company
320 Lichfield Road
Sutton Coldfield
B74 2UG


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The Royal Town of Sutton Coldfield, UK

THE MASSAGE COMPANY - SUTTON COLDFIELD*

The new Maybelline Sky High Mascara, everyone and their Mom seems to be raving about it online at the moment. I can't even scroll through tiktok without seeing several reviews for the damn thing, all of which were hailing it as the best thing since sliced bread - so obviously I had to try it out for myself!


Grace is holding a tube of Maybelline Sky High Mascara close to the camera


Now when it comes to mascaras I have pretty high standards. I've tried out tens of different products over the years so I'd like to think I know exactly what makes a good mascara, and what really doesn't. So what did I think of new Maybelline offering? Not that much if I'm honest.


Maybelline Sky High Mascara, why I hate it...


Pros


We'll get on to the bad in a second but lets start on a positive note shall we? The mascara isn't all bad, in fact there are a few things I actually like about the Sky High Mascara. 


  • It's affordable. At roughly £10 a pop the product is reasonably priced.
  • Nice packaging. The Sky High Mascara looks good, and wouldn't be out of place on a dressing table.
  • It's intensely black. The product is a deep black which is something I really like in a mascara.


a tube of Maybelline Sky High Mascara with the lid off showing the wand.


Cons


From the title alone I'm sure you can tell there are going to be quite a few of these.


  • Consistency isn't thick enough - This makes it quite hard to build the product up.
  • Brush is too flexible - The brush bends when applying the mascara meaning it can be tricky to use.
  • Product doesn't give lashes enough thickness - Leaves lashes looking long and spider like instead of full.
  • Takes a while to dry - And sometimes transfers on to the skin around the eyes even once fully dried.
  • Doesn't hold and lashes drop after a few hours.


a tube of Maybelline Sky High Mascara standing upright on top of a mirror


So would I try it again? Honestly not a chance. Although the majority of people who try the Maybelline Sky High Mascara seem to fall in love with it, I just could not get on with it at all. The consistency is weak, the brush is wildly bendy, and while it leaves my lashes looking long, the thickness just isn't there.


Which Mascaras would I recommend? I'm glad you asked because there are 3 mascaras that immediately come to mind. 


- Too Faced Better Than Sex £22.00

- Benefit Roller Lash £23.50

- Maybelline Lash Sensational £9.99 (a personal favourite)


So save your pennies and spend them on one of the mascaras above if you want long, thick lashes that last all day because I'm sorry to say that's not what you'll get with Sky High!

What did you think of the Maybelline Sky High Mascara? Was it worth the hype?


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Birmingham, UK

MAYBELLINE SKY HIGH MASCARA - WHY I HATE IT

*AD | Gifted - The Cetraben Dermatological cream was gifted to me with no obligation to promote it.
This post also contains affiliate links.


As someone who suffers from moderate to severe eczema, I feel as though I've tried every available cream under the sun. From E45 to Diprobase and even the Lush Dream Cream, I've smothered my sore skin in most of them so by now I have a rough idea of what works for my skin and what doesn't. But in all honesty, my eczema is very temperamental which means I haven't found a cream that consistently works - yet.


So when I was contacted by Cetraben to try out their dermatological cream for problematic, dry, sensitive and eczema-prone skin I needed to give it a go.


The transition from summer to autumn is when my eczema tends to flare up the most. Add in the fact that right now I'm washing my hands excessively and I'm using hand sanitiser quite often, and I've got a winning combination of things that upset my skin. With all of these factors affecting my skin there really is no better time to put a skincare product to the ultimate test.


A bottle of 50ml Cetraben sitting on a mirrored tray
A 50ML bottle of Cetraben

I was gifted the 50ml size product to trial, which from experience I now know lasts roughly 2 weeks when using regularly. I would use the Cetraben cream maybe 2-3 times a day using the full amount of cream produced from one pump. My Eczema does get quite severe as the seasons change so I could have done with using the cream slightly more some days but I was conscious not to use it all up too quickly.


The Cetraben Dermatological cream has a very thick consistency, similar to Sudocrem. While the cream does sink into the skin quite a bit, it doesn't rub in completely and leaves a thin shiny layer on the surface. This isn't particularly greasy or uncomfortable, however I'd recommend using the Cetraben cream when you're not planning on doing too much with your hands.


As for the price, the 50ml tube of Cetraben retails at around £4.99 so it's not the most expensive eczema cream on the market however I don't think it's the best value either. If you are looking for a product you can travel with then the smaller sized product is ideal, but for everyday use I would recommend going for the 475ml product as this retails at just £12.99, meaning you get a lot more for your moola.


Two photos showing both sides of my hands and the visible patches of eczema
Patches of eczema on my skin on the first day of the trial before using the Cetraben cream
 


2-week trial using Cetraben


The first day I tried the Cetraben cream Imy eczema wasn't particularly bad, however my skin was still very dry and flaky. On applying the cream I noticed it was fragrance-free which is always a bonus when you have sensitive skin. Although I adore scented products and will use them wherever possible, they aren't always the best thing to be putting on sore skin. Unlike some of my favoured scented moisturisers, Cetraben aims to soothe and protect the skin which is exactly what it did as soon as I started to rub the product in. Although the cream instantly relieved my dry hands, it would take a couple of days for me to see any physical improvements.


SHOWING THE PATCHES OF ECZEMA ON MY HANDS AFTER USING CETRABEN FOR 1 WEEK
Visible patches of eczema on my skin after using Cetraben for 1 week


By the end of the first week, I was well on my way to having an eczema flare-up. My skin was less flakey but I had more noticeable sores, splits, and red patches on the palms of my hands. After a few days of using Cetraben, my skin did start to heal, but the change in temperature mixed with my ongoing use of hand sanitizer had clearly taken its toll on my hands. Although I upped my use of Cetraben around this time, it's not uncommon for me to have to call in the big guns and use Hydrocortisone if I cannot control the flare-up. I chose not to use Hydrocortisone this time so see if the Cetraben could help and after a few days of having quite sore hands, I did start to notice improvements.


At the end of week two, my skin was healing well and I was still using Cetraben regularly to soothe it. Most of the cracks in my skin had healed up and my palms were much less itchy than before. Although I don't think the cream worked any miracles, I do think it helped me to keep my eczema moderately under control, and stopped me from reaching for the Hydrocortisone cream which I try to use very sparingly.


SHOWING IMPROVEMENTS IN MY ECZEMA AFTER USING CETRABEN FOR 2 WEEKS
Improvement in my skin condition after using Cetraben for 2 weeks


Main pros of using the Cetraben Dermatological Cream:


  • Fragrance-free and very gentle on the skin
  • Rubs into the skin quite easily 
  • Reduces the itchy sensation I get when my eczema flares up


What what did I think of the Cetraben dermatological cream overall? It's a decent little cream that I think works best over a prolonged period of use. I would have liked to have tried it out for longer as I feel it's hard to get a good overview of a product after using it for only two weeks, especially as my eczema can get worse very quickly. I found that the Cetraben cream works just as good as other similar products I've used in the past such as E45 and Diprobase, but for now, the verdict is still out on which one of the three works best.


Can it cope with a full-blown eczema flare-up? Not in my experience and I don't think that's what it's created for. But can it soothe moderate eczema and help with dry patches and soreness? Yes, it can!


Fancy giving Cetraben a go? You can get it here.


Do you suffer from any skin conditions? Which creams do you reach for?


Thanks for reading!


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A bottle of Cetraben sitting on a mirrored tray. Text below the image reads "I used Cetraben for 2 weeks, but did it help my eczema?"

Birmingham, UK

I USED CETRABEN FOR TWO WEEKS, BUT DID IT HELP MY ECZEMA?*

*The items in this Body Shop haul were gifted in exchange for an Instagram post


Towards the end of August, I was sent a package full to the brim with The Body Shop goodies. The products, which were picked out by the Body Shop team, were all either hair care items or skin protection products containing SPF.

While I usually like to pick gifted items out myself, on this occasion it was nice to try out a selection chosen by someone else as it meant I received items I wouldn't necessarily go for.


a pot of banana hair mask with the lid off. the creamy product can be seen inside.

So what did I receive in my Body Shop SPF & hair care haul...


Banana Truly Nourishing Shampoo & Conditioner - This fruity flavoured hair care duo aims to moisturise and nourish dry locks leaving them super soft and adding a healthy shine. Both products are fused with organic banana puree which not only nourishes the hair but smells incredible too. I haven't tried either the of The Body Shop Banana Shampoos or Conditioners yet but I will definitely be doing a full review once I have.


The Banana Truly Nourishing Shampoo & Conditioner retail £7.00 each for a 250ml product.



Banana Truly Nourishing Hair Mask - Like the Truleu Nourishing Shampoo & Conditioner, the Banana hair mask also contains vitamin-rich banana puree. The Truly Nourishing hair mask, which works best with the products mentioned previously, aims to reduce frizziness and leave your hair looking naturally shiny. 


The Banana Truly Nourishing Hair Mask retails at £12.40



Ginger Scalp Serum - The Body Shop Ginger Scalp Serum helps to soothe dry flaky scalps and rebalance scalps which produce too much oil. It's infused with a delicious smelling ginger essential oil and works best when used with the Ginger Scalp Care Shampoo & Conditioner. 


The Ginger Scalp Serum retails at £15.00


a small glass vial of body shop ginger scalp serum. The with pipet is off the vial and can be seen to the side.


Skin Defence Multi-Protection Essence with SPF 50 - This Body Shop moisturising lotion aims to protect your skin against harmful UV rays and pollution. It claims to be The Body Shops best protection ever whilst also staying lightweight and suitable for sensitive skin. It is also one of the many Vegan products now available from the brand.


The Body Shop Skin Defence Multi-Protection Essence retails at £22.00 for a 60ml product.



Skin Defence Multi-Protection Face Mist with SPF 30 - The Body Shop Face Mist is a lightweight product which protects your skin from pollution particles as well as UV rays. The Defence Mist which is to be used on clean skin before applying makeup forms a clear protective layer on the skin. The product is also enriched with Vitamin C and red algae extract to help leave your skin glowing


The Skin Defence Multi-Purpose Face Mist retails at £18.00



a bottle of skin defence mist and a tube of skin defence moisturiser are placed side by side.

So those were the hair care and SPF protection products I was gifted from The Body shop last month. Don't forget to keep a lookout for my reviews of these products as and when I test them out!


Have you tried any of these products out before? I'd love to know what you think!


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Birmingham, UK

THE BODY SHOP SPF & HAIR CARE HAUL*

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