23andMe DNA Testing in the UK – My Results #23andme #dnatesting

Posted by Lipglossiping On August - 16 - 2015

When I received the email from 23andMe informing me that my results were ready, the rush of excitement, anticipation, and fear was real. I could taste it. My heart rate quickened and I had to steady myself before clicking through. You see, these things are no joke. If you’d rather hide under the metaphorical duvet covers and not face up to the potential realities of your future, this service probably isn’t for you. Thoughts of Parkinsons, Alzheimers, Breast Cancer and other inherited conditions could well be about to take a goose-step into your psyche.

For me, although the idea of discovering potential health issues wasn’t entirely unproblematic, I felt that I’d rather be forewarned. There are so many lifestyle changes that I could make, that I should make to boost my chances of a healthier later-life and I’m not opposed to the idea of a little kick up the bum.

Of course, one should not lose sight of two very important facts.

Just because your genes show a disposition to developing a certain condition, this does not mean that you will inherit. And perhaps more importantly, just because your genes don’t show a disposition… doesn’t mean that you won’t develop it anyway. I may not show any mutations in the BRCA1/BRCA2 gene varients, but that doesn’t make me immune to developing breast or ovarian cancer, I will still be vigilant in my monthly boob checks – I just won’t be rushing off to my GP demanding that he lop both breasts off there and then. Clearly, I’m not the type to overreact!

So caveats aside… what did my results show?

I’m at a higher risk of developing Alzheimers thanks to having one copy of the APOE ε3 variant and one copy of the ε4 variant. The ε4 variant is particularly associated with higher risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease. Infact, it’s the strongest known hereditary risk factor for late-onset Alzheimer’s (after the age of 65). But as frightening as this may initially sound, it puts me in a category shared by roughly 22% of people with European ancestry. Mate, I’m not alone – and when you consider the rising incidence of Alzheimers in an aging population, I’m not especially horrified. As I’ve said before, both my mother and my grandmother have suffered the disease, I pretty much expected this result.

But what’s the point of receiving this information if you’re not going to do anything about it? What can you do to prevent Alzheimers? Well, for me… it will just mean that I’m more mindful about trying to keep my blood pressure low, reducing my risks of diabetes, and taking an omega-3 supplement. I’m not going to lose sleep over it, truly. But you will catch me looking up from whatever I’m doing when they talk about new research in battling the disease on the news.

My genes also show that I also have Inherited Thrombophilia, something that I wasn’t aware of but basically means that I have a higher risk of DVT (deep vein thrombosis) and PE (pulmonary embolism). To be more specific, I have one copy of the Factor V Leiden variant in the F5 gene. Having this variant is associated with about five times higher odds of developing abnormal blood clots in people with European ancestry.

Now, how is that not useful to know? It means I won’t be taking any risks on long-haul flights, if I have to have surgery or my leg put in a cast, you can be sure I’ll be telling my care providers about this possible complication to give them the option of treating me with blood thinners. I mean, seriously, how could being forearmed with this knowledge not be a good thing?

Now, in terms of the “scary” stuff that 23andMe test for, this is my lot (thankfully).

I don’t have any increased genetic risk for Parkinsons or BRCA1/2-related breast cancers, and there are numerous other serious but lesser-known conditions shown within my 23andMe control panel, all of which I show only a typical (rather than increased) risk of developing.

My control panel also shows that my body metabolizes certain proton pump inhibitors (anti-acids such as omeprazole/lansoprazole) faster than the typical response. This is of interest to me as I am allergic to NSAIDs (aspirin/ibuprofen) and have been treated on numerous occasions for stomach ulcers. On a basic level it means that I may need a higher dosage of these drugs than usual to have an effect. So far, I’m generally ok with what the doctor prescribes… but it’s good to know that if I don’t respond well to the usual treatment in the future, there could be a reason for it.

The serious stuff now out of the way, the rest is a bit of fun and frippery, I’ll run through a quick facts-about-me-determined-from-my-genes list so you can get an idea of the kind of things that 23andMe tell you about.

•  I do not flush in response to alcohol. (just in response to the stupid things I say whilst under its effects!)

•  I am “taste-blind” to the bitter components found in cabbage, raw broccoli, coffee, tonic water, and dark beers.

•  My ear-wax type is err, “wet”. Who knew earwax was highly heritable?! Also, women with a wet earwax type are likely to produce more colostrum when breastfeeding!

•  Interestingly and incorrectly, my eye colour is likely to be brown. My Dad’s eyes are brown and my Mum’s blue… brown is dominant, so I guess that’s the basis of the assumption? Mine are green, which means that with my particular inherited genotype, I only had a 37% chance of getting green eyes.

•  I’m likely to be tolerant of lactose because I produce higher lactase enzyme levels.

•  I’m more likely to be a sprinter (as opposed to a marathon runner).

•  I’m unfortunately, not resistant to the most common strain of norovirus.

•  I’m a red hair “carrier” but am unlikely to have red hair myself. Put me with another red hair “carrier” and we could have the most beautiful flame-haired children.

•  I have moderately higher odds of detecting the scent of asparagus in my urine(!)

•  I’m likely to have more freckling than average

•  I metabolize caffeine quickly, reducing my chances of a coffee-induced heart attack

•  I have higher-than-average odds of disliking the taste of cilantro (coriander). I’m not bothered by it.


There are many more tidbits of useless info like this gathered from your DNA data. I can’t deny, It’s ridiculously good fun to read about yourself like this.

All of the above comes under the “Health” heading on the website, there’s a whole other section devoted to “Ancestry”.

I won’t go into too much details on this section (because I’ve already written too much!) except to say that my genetic data has revealed that I’m 99.9% Northern European and 0.1% West African. From that giant 99.9%, 78.% is British/Irish and 6.8% is French/German.

My mitochondrial DNA shows that I descend from maternal Haplogroup V, which originated in Iberia during the Ice Age. Apparently, Haplogroup V was likely common in “Doggerland”, an ancient land now drowned beneath the North Sea. Blimey!   This Haplogroup can now be found in 12% of people in the Basque region and 40% of Laplanders! I share my Haplogroup with Benjamin Franklin and err, Bono.  Nevermind, you can’t win ’em all.

So, once you’ve read your results… then what?  Well, things could actually get even more interesting in the future.  23andMe give you access to download your raw data and with this, you can upload the information to other 3rd-party websites.  These websites, such as Promethease and GEDMatch, will give you access to even more information based on your human genome data.  As you might imagine, these websites and databases are being constantly updated.  Your raw data has an extremely long shelf-life when it comes to usability.

I’ve written far too much but I’ll leave you with one last little tidbit of useless info.

An estimated 2.9% of my DNA is from Neanderthals, this puts me in the 87th percentile amongst other Europeans. I’m basically a knuckle-dragging, low-browed imbecile and it’s a miracle I’m not typing this with my feet.

If you’re interested in unlocking the mysteries of your DNA, I purchased my DNA kit directly from the 23andMe website but I believe you can also buy them from some Superdrug stores, they’re priced at £125 and results take around 6 weeks to process.

* this post contains affiliate links

23andMe DNA Testing in the UK – My experiences (pre-results)

Posted by Lipglossiping On August - 12 - 2015

Ever wondered if your uncle’s cousin’s brother was, infact, your husband?  No, me neither… but I’m sure it happens in some places, like Yeovil or Darlington.  Anyway, despite society’s thirst for new technologies, I soon discovered that many people view DNA testing with the same kind of suspicion they reserve for tarot reading or “Psychic Sally”.  I’m not talking about the kind of DNA testing that proves X murdered Y at the Old Bailey, that kind of science is beyond reproach – I’m talking about the kind of DNA profiling that you and I can have done.  On ourselves.  Of course, it’s basically the same thing – but try telling that to some people. SOME PEOPLE.

To be fair, my prior knowledge of DNA testing was pretty sketchy, it was based around everything I’ve ever learnt from watching The Jeremy Kyle Show, which, as I’m sure you can imagine… amounts to not an awful lot.

If I’m being honest, vanity had a lot to do with my decision to have my DNA profiled.  I mean, we all know that the best subject in the world to talk about is ourselves.  On the health side of things, I was curious to discover whether my DNA would show a genetic disposition toward Alzheimers now that both my mother and my paternal grandmother had been diagnosed with the disease.  I also wanted to find out about any other genetic risk factors, including the much talked about BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations that can significantly increase the risk of female breast and ovarian cancers.

23andme offers a wealth of health-related information (note, the FDA do not allow the company to provide health-related information on the basis of its genome scan in the US) to many of its customers but if looking into a potentially rather murky crystal ball doesn’t float your boat, perhaps the ancestry side of things is more to your taste.  The results offer a full breakdown of your ancestral composition, detailing what parts of the world your ancestry hails from, whether you have any famous relatives, and just how much of your DNA is basically Neanderthal.  It will inform you of any relatives it discovers from across its network of customers, providing of course, you grant permission for it to perform that kind of private “matchmaking”.

So, your appetite is whetted.  How does all this magic happen?

I signed up and paid my monies on the 23andme website… it’s not cheap by the way, it’ll set you back £125 – but I saw that as a bit of a bargain after I’d done some research into getting my BRCA1/BRCA2 genes tested privately at a cost of upwards of £1000.

Once signed up, you sit back and wait.  And the waiting is the dullest part of the whole procedure.  While 23andme offer their services within the UK, they’re not based here and it took just over a fortnight before I received my DNA Collection Kit.


The process involves depositing saliva into a collection tube.  It’s basically a spit-kit, pure and simple.  I’ve never felt more feral, or indeed impressed by my gobbing abilities.  It took me far less time to fill to the line than I thought it would, I was probably thinking about steak and chips… I usually am.  Once your “deposit” is safely sealed in the box provided, you’ll need to head for your nearest post office, feeling like a dirty miscreant handing over bodily fluids to an unsuspecting Royal Mail employee.


It took a painstakingly long six weeks before I received my results.  I felt a rush of excitement, anticipation, and dare I say it, fear when that email pinged its way into my inbox.

But more of that next time…

What a difference a few months make…

Posted by Lipglossiping On February - 2 - 2015

What with it now being February, I feel as though I may have neglected my space on the internet for far too long (you don’t say).  You see, the thing is… I just don’t seem to stop between 7am and 8pm, and if I do… it affords me just enough time to get the washing on, sterilise some bottles, tidy up the momentous amount of utter shite that comes with having more than one child in a 2-bed flat, or just simply make a cup of tea.  When it *does* get to 8pm, all I want to do is sit on the sofa and comfort eat whilst watching any old crap on TV.

FOTDs are something that I faintly remember from a time long, long, ago.  I don’t get as much opportunity to play with my makeup as I used to and I don’t feel very qualified to talk to anyone else about what they should or shouldn’t put on their faces anymore.  Having said that, I wasn’t ever *qualified* to begin with so maybe I should just pull up my big girl pants (getting bigger by the day) and simply get on with something that I know I love to do.  This whole blogging malarkey seems so completely polished and professional nowadays, I’m not sure where I belong within that sphere anymore.

Anyway, enough of my insecurities, regardless of whether or not I feel ready to return to the whole beauty thing just yet, I sure have missed this place.   I mean, right now… this very moment, my fingers are furiously pounding across the keyboard.  It’s as though it’s past midnight and I’ve just fed the little blogging gremlin within me.

This past year has just flown by, I can’t remember time passing so quickly when Leila was little but here I am, what seems like only a few weeks since giving birth and yet I have a rambunctious, completely-focused-on-doing-things-he-shouldn’t, 9 month old.  His nasal cavities are currently swamped with snots of all caliber and restfulness, or indeed sleep, is at somewhat of a premium right now.  He’s still swaddled, which is starting to make things a little tricky as we’re battling a current case of “can’t sleep with, can’t sleep without”.

Joe 9 months

Joe 9 Months 2

He’s still the spitting image (in boy form) of his big sister, two little blondies… I’d never have thunk it.  Talking of Leila, I still couldn’t wish for a better big sister for him and he seems to fully appreciate how lucky he is, it fills my heart with all kinds of skips when I watch his little baby-walker constrained legs pump up and down in an effort to run to Leila when she gets up for school, she’s definitely his number one, and that’s fine by me.

Until next time,

C x

Life, lately. From the sublime to the ridiculous.

Posted by Lipglossiping On September - 8 - 2014

September eh? How and when did that happen?

It’s a strange old month.  For me, it marks the end of Summer and the beginning of the slow decline into Winter.  I feel as though I’ve entered an odd sort of limbo, one that will persist until the clocks go back… because only then will I start getting excited for a more festive season.

For Leila, however… September isn’t the end of anything, quite the opposite infact.  I can clearly remember starting the new school year myself, the satisfaction of a clean exercise book, delighting in a bunch of new teachers to annoy, and later in my school life… the annual frustration that the Summer break hadn’t afforded me the opportunity to return to school less ugly duckling and more beautiful swan.  Again.

You’d think that now I’m older, things might have changed… but no, I still had that “damn, I didn’t lose any weight over the Summer holidays” feeling as I walked Leila closer to the school gates last week.

You may have noticed that I’m still struggling to find room for Lipglossiping in my life.  I’ve come to the harsh conclusion that anyone who blogs regularly, and has more than one kid, should probably be reported to social services for child-neglect.  Either that, or my baby boy is particularly high-maintenance.  Come to think of it, he is much more of a diva than his sister ever was.

However, I did manage a FOTD and some other blog photos this morning, feeling terribly guilty all the while, as it meant that Mr. L had to stop his work to afford Joe the kind of attention to which he has become accustomed.  Having said that, things are on the up!  This mother/baby thing is finally becoming a two-way street – oh, how rewarding a little interaction feels after four months of dead-behind-the-eyes newbornhood.  Some people love the very littlies… me?  I’ve always felt much more fulfilled (and happy) as my babes have grown older, even if it is more tiring!

It’s our 10th wedding anniversary next week and I’ve nearly burnt myself out trying to organise something to celebrate.  We never celebrate anniversarys… it’s a rare thing for us to even exchange cards, but 10 years does feel kinda special and I wanted to mark it somehow.  To be honest, we’ve (I’ve) gone from the sublime to the ridiculous.  To begin with, I stupidly thought that we might be able to escape for a couple of nights to Barcelona.  I bent poor Karleigh‘s ear on Twitter about the city’s highlights, found some cheap Ryan Air flights and a hotel shortlist but alas, I conveniently forgot about having two children.  I would have gotten away with it if it wasn’t for those pesky kids!

Then, my cousin stepped in and offered to have Joe for a night and I immediately hit Google up for the plushest, most loveliest hotels in the area.  Key criteria: food-to-die-for and spa facilities built by angels.  I’d even talked Mr. L into having a massage, and that’s no mean feat!  Having now realised that I’ve left it quite late and found the proverbial inn (Botleigh Grange Hotel) to be closed, I’m scuppered.  And this is where the aforementioned “ridiculous” comes in…

…I’ve booked 3 nights in Pontins, Camber Sands.


You see, Leila has an inset day on the Friday (long weekend) and I’d been feeling pretty guilty that she hadn’t had an actual holiday this year.  I figured that I could cope with Pontins on the premise that I would be well prepared, having been massaged into a long-lasting sublimity earlier in the week.  But now, I just basically want to kill myself.

And that, ladies and … err, ladies… is my life, lately.

Getting to know you…

Posted by Lipglossiping On July - 3 - 2014

Getting to know you,
Getting to know all about you,
Getting to like you,
Getting to hope you like me.

The King and I

Leila Joe Kiss

Leila Joe Love

Leila Joe Reading (2)

Leila Joe Reading

My heart, I think it might burst.

I don’t mind admitting that I was nervous of having another baby… an “intrusion” into our little world of three.

But, well… as you can see, with the help of someone special, he’s making a perfectly-proportioned, little Joe-shaped hole to squeeze his bum into.

♥  ♥  ♥

Oh, Hi! *looks at feet*

Posted by Lipglossiping On June - 18 - 2014

Jesus Christ, one of you could have tidied up around here for me, no?

I mean… I abandon my blog for the longest time ever and when I come back, I’ve got an astronomical electricity bill because one of you forgot to turn the kitchen light off and mouldy custard slices in the fridge because you selfishly forgot to eat them.  No wonder I don’t wanna come back, look at the state of this place, there’s even a fucking tumbleweed blowing through the bedroom… *make readers aware of double-entendre just in case*.

But, I really do want to come back… it’s just.  You know, I can’t remember how.

Blogging is one of the most “creative” *slaps self* forms of writing around, especially when you’ve limited yourself to a narrow stream of talking shit about makeup for over 5 years.  If I’m not blogging and at least being a little bit silly and fun about it at the same time, I’m just robotically reviewing and while that’s useful, at least for anyone who Googles the product, it feels a little bit soulless for me.  It’s like that little girl (who had that little curl)… when it’s good, it’s very very good… but when it’s bad… there’s just no point in doing it.

So, yeah.  Having a baby.  It was awesome!  Better than last time, sorry Leila, but it was… no one was screaming “THIS ISN’T GOING TO HAPPEN ON MY WATCH!”, for one.  They also didn’t run my bed into the reception desk mid-contraction this time, you know what?  I didn’t even swear!


Having said that, recovery has been the biggest bitch since Cindy Beale.  I don’t know if it’s the two-kid thing (which is a nightmare btw, thanks for warning me) or just because it’s been pretty warm this past month but I’m plagued with a c-section incision that just. won’t. close.  Also, c-sections… how insane are they?!  I was completely knocked out last time around so had no idea what went on!  Poor Paul’s face went every different colour known to man and there is simply no mystery left in a relationship when your partner gets *that* close to your innards.  Still, he finally got to see his baby being born, pass me a tissue!

Talking of the baby.  Joe is nice.  I mean, he’s a bit like a Tasmanian Devil (they’re all just little animals to begin with aren’t they?), and he eats constantly… far more than he should too.  Already taking after his Mum.

But, but… he smells all milky and babyish and is a bit squidgy now his knees aren’t so wrinkly.  Unlike Leila, he seems more wiry in build?  Leila was a chunk of beautiful bubs from the moment she came out and even though she was an oz lighter than Joe at 7lbs 6oz, she has always been this solid, little thing.  Joe is definitely stronger and um, bendier!  He also has these incredibly long monkey arms, that one day, I pray he’ll grow into.

He’s also 6 weeks old today, so I need to man-up and stop telling people that I only had a baby a few weeks ago.  I think I’ve probably milked it enough for now.

Anyway, if you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you’ll have been subjected to a torrent of baby Joe photos… but this here is my (neglected) blog, so… have another, just for luck.

baby joe

As for the blog… well, I can finally log back into the dashboard (thanks Mr. L) and TalkTalk flicked the “turn the internet back on” switch for my phone line, so you can expect a couple of *brilliant* guest posts that were kindly written for me while I was otherwise occupied, and with a good kick up the arse, some new posts from me.  I warn you, there may be a couple of NOTDs first, you know… just to ease me back into the hardcore beauty blogging 😉

Love and baby sick and stuff x

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Leila. Today, you are FIVE!

Posted by Lipglossiping On May - 16 - 2014

I usually have a little more time to myself while writing my annual birthday letter to you beautiful, but just last week… we welcomed your baby brother into the world.  I keep looking at you, wondering what you’re thinking about this latest installment into our family but you know, if you don’t end up being Daddy’s chief game designer, I’m sure you’d make a great poker player.  When I think of you, the phrase “still waters run deep” springs to mind.  It’s not that you’re not vocal… it’s just that you’re always, always thinking, far more deeply and analytically than any child I’ve known.

For a Mum, this is something that I both cherish and despise.  Shouldn’t you just be living in the moment, shouldn’t I be the one doing all this deep-thinking for you?  The truth is, you love nothing more.  If you’re not applying this analysis to your own thoughts and feelings, you’re asking me and Daddy to quiz you on the Universe.  You want to know where you came from (not like that) and why you’re here.  You want to know all about Earth’s gravity and just how big is the Sun anyway?  But despite your adoration for all things planetary, you know for sure that you never want to be an astronaut.  Far too scary.  Clever girl, we don’t want you to be an astronaut either.

We’ve bought you a telescope for your birthday.  You may only be able to see into next door’s garden with it but all the same, I know you’ll cherish it for the way you’ll feel as though you’ve been given a key to another portal.  Let alone the opportunity to stay up a bit later for some moon-gazing.  You have a glow in the dark solar system hanging from your ceiling and your favourite planet, despite its rugged and inhospitable surface is Mercury.  I think that Venus, with its poisonous clouds, makes you feel a little in awe of just how incredible it is up there.


This is the year in which you started infant school, and after the tribulations of starting nursery, both Daddy and I were terrified.  Not about how you’d fit into an academic environment and the stresses of a work-load, but fearful of how you’d socialise with your friends.  Let’s face it… you still struggle to mount a climbing frame with any kind of grace at all, the monkey-bars don’t even stand a chance.  This makes you a little sad.  I know that for once, you’d love to be able to catch your best friend Issy whilst playing tag… but just like your Mum before you, we simply weren’t built for speed my love.  Unlike your Mum, however, just recently… we’ve noticed that you seem to have been blessed with a generous side-order of humour… comical timing and a quick wit that endears you to both adults and children alike.  This is something that, if we’re honest, has caught us by surprise… our little girl is a funny one!  Please stay self-confident enough to know that the things you have to say are worth the smile of others.

School is going really well, you’re almost up to box 6 for reading.  You love a bit of maths (though hate being wrong) and we often catch you belting out school assembly songs about all the different year groups and classes.  You’re not top of the class but slightly better than average and you know what?  That’s a very comfortable place to be in life.  One of my favourite things about your school life is the way you come home with a newly-learned word that simply must be slotted into our every conversation… “Hey Mum, let’s collaborate!”

Just recently, you’ve developed the kind of sass that makes me both roar with laughter and hold my head in my hands as I catch glimpses of the future teenager you’ll become.  From your street-dancing (single person grinding) in Asda to your desperate desire to have the last word, you’re finding your own way.  For now, I can hold my own but I know that a time will come when I need to allow you the occasional victory if I don’t want you to experience too many of those teenage feelings of resentment.  Give me a few more years of reminding you who the Mummy is though, eh?


When you see us looking at houses to buy, you worry that we’re going to move too far away for you to have your weekly sleepover at Nanny and Pop’s house.  We do our very best to reassure you that this will never happen and it’s true.  Our initial desire to roam further afield in the quest for a more affordable home has been quelled by the simple knowledge that such a move would break your heart.  So important are your Nanny and Pop to you, we understand and realise that they’re more like second-parents than grandparents.  You are so very lucky to be so very loved.

Hot on Nanny and Pop’s heels is your infatuation for your cousins.  If you’re not making cards and notes for Mummy and Daddy, you’re inventing ways to express your adoration for the cousins you get to see frequently: Mildred, Ava, Eli, and Ola.  From simple scraps of paper to sophisticated Cool Cardz, from Post-It Notes to hand-crafted greeting’s cards… our flat is awash with your arty creations.  Only around 10% of these find their way to their intended targets once life has gotten in the way… but still, they keep coming.  “I love you!”, “Thanks for being my friend!”.  They love you too stinky-bum.

Your brother is wakimg up and so I must find a way to close this letter to you.  I just want to thank you for being so bloody brilliant, so genuinely reasonable, and so infinitely enchanting.

Leila Jean (beauty queen), Happy 5th Birthday big girl.  We love you to Pluto and back.


Previous “Birthday” Letters: Four, Three, Two, Four Months

The great big (practically elephantine) pregnancy post!

Posted by Lipglossiping On April - 23 - 2014

When I started this blog back in 2009 (it’s Lipglossiping’s 5th anniversary on Friday!), I was already 8-months pregnant with Leila, which didn’t leave a lot of time for pregnancy thoughts and updates.  When I discovered I was expecting again last September, I thought that this time around I might fill the pages with tales of untreated haemorrhoids, killer constipation, and colourful stretch marks but when push came to shove, I’ve actually spent most of these past 9-months feeling too lackluster to blog much at all.

Which means two things.

One.  You’ve actually been spared.

And two…  You’re overdue a post (or seven-hundred).

Let’s start with a pregnancy/beauty/health one shall we?  I’ve only got two weeks of this chapter in my life left, so I’d better crack on!

baby bump

Sickness & Nausea

There’s been a lot of it this time around.  I didn’t realise how lucky I was when I was carrying Leila, my early pregnancy symptoms revolved around sore boobs and that was mostly it.  This time, I was dealt the whole deck – from night-time nausea to daily ritualistic sacrifices to Ralph, the porcelain god.  Nipples that were convinced my bras had turned into julienne peelers overnight, and the kind of exhaustion that had me tucked up in bed by 7pm every evening.

My only advice is to remember that it will pass.  Unless you’re really, really, unlucky.  In which case, sorry about that.  I tried sickness bands, preggo pops, scent therapy… truly, the only things that really worked for me in the early days were to make sure that I slept as much as I was able (waving goodbye to my late nights of blogging) and to eat toast/crackers/anything I could get my hands on before I’d even sat up in bed in the morning.


Back in 2008/2009, I glowed from day one.  Five years on… not so much.  It’s a pretty frustrating turn of events for someone who invests so much bloody effort in their appearance nowadays!  As soon as the mercury plummeted and Winter approached, my skin turned to pure shit.  The dryness, all over my body was unbearable at times.  Foundation was a no-go, a practical impossibility, so I resigned myself to it and spent the mornings slathering on increasingly rich moisturising products in an attempt to keep the flakies to a minimum.

I’d love to tell you that I found a magical combination of moisturising products to solve my issues.  But I didn’t.  It didn’t matter how heavy the lotions were, how much the serums pulled water from thin air, or how many moisturising masks I applied, I can’t say that I ever restored the balance through changing my moisturising routine.  The only thing that has provided relief is upping regular exfoliation from once a week to four(!) times a week.  I’ll admit, I was worried that I was over-exfoliating my sensitive skin… but I really believe that my skin, right now… needs it more than anything else.


I’m alternating between using LUSH Let The Good Times Roll Cleanser (£6.35)* three times a week while in the shower in the morning, and my beloved Elemis Tri Enzyme Resurfacing Gel Mask (£38.25), once a week as a Sunday night (treat)ment.  For moisturising, I got so pissed off at throwing money at products that I’m really happy to have stripped back the fuss and found it beneficial.  I’m using Olay Beauty Fluid Sensitive (£3.99) and it’s doing a grand job without bells and whistles.


Another cruel blow from the last 9-months was that nothing actually changed.  With Leila, my greasy roots disappeared and I was able to get away with washing my hair only twice a week!  This time, nada.  The only noticeable difference was how much greyer I’ve become in the 5-years between kiddos.  Thanks for that!


I avoided dyeing my hair completely for the first 3-months of pregnancy and have since cut-down my habit to once every 8/9 weeks.  I use a semi-permanent dye… the same that I was using pre-pregnancy but I’ve gone another shade lighter as my hair seems especially prone to sucking up the dark colour at the moment.  I use the Superdrug Crème Sensations in Light Brown 6.0 (£3.59) which gives me a med/dark brown result and lasts really well over my greys.


I’ve been waiting for the onslaught of stretchmarks since I turned 30+ weeks but I haven’t seen any.  Well, not any new ones anyway… some of the faded ones from last time are looking a little more pronounced but I may have gotten away with developing any additional marks.

Having said that, I firmly believe that there is nothing you can apply topically to your tummy to avoid stretchmarks.  Nothing.  You’ll either get ’em or you won’t.  I haven’t paid any special attention to moisturising my body because I’m a lazy oik, so the only products that have been in contact with my baby bump are good old-fashioned Astral Cream (£3.99)* after showering and LUSH Ro’s Argan Body Conditioner (£15.95) as a once a week treat, a product that I still get evangelical about!


The only other pregnancy issue I’ve experienced with my body has been a big increase in the development of my existing skin tags!  I’m a skin-taggy person and have had a few removed over the years but in the past 9-months, my two remaining ones have literally tripled in size.  I’ve read that this is a common issue, brought about by the extra growth of cells within the superficial layers of skin.  This makes perfect sense to me… and may also explain why I’ve benefited so much from upping my exfoliation routine!  I’ll be getting them frozen off when bubs is out, for sure!

Other Preggo Issues

I was half-expecting my PCOS hair-growth to go ballistic during pregnancy… but this hasn’t happened (thank God!).  Neither have my moods been massively altered by the hormonal changes.  My diet has been affected by the return of “borderline” gestational diabetes and my greatest ally in reducing my refined carb-intake has been the humble loaf of Burgen Bread (the soya & linseed one) (£1.40) and an increase in side salads!  I have missed hot cross buns terribly this Easter but Lidl’s 81% Arriba Superieur Dark Chocolate (£0.99) has seen me through my darkest days!


My final issue has been achieving quality sleep.  I’ve really struggled with it on and off since week 32.  Mostly thanks to heartburn, so if the old wive’s tale is anything to go by… I will surely give birth to an ape.  I’m at the point now that regular over-the-counter remedies just aren’t helping.  I have a midwife appointment tomorrow but with only 2-weeks left, I don’t think she’ll be keen to put me on anything stronger.

So there we go, I’m sure I’ve missed some preggo-related stuffs but in all honesty, I’m bored of writing this mammoth post now and I desperately want to go and put the kettle on. 

All things being well, we’ll be meeting the newest addition to our family on the 7th May, that’s not long is it?  I still haven’t attached the crib to the bed yet but I have packed my makeup bag for the hospital. Priorities!

* press samples

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Something a little bit different…

Posted by Lipglossiping On March - 31 - 2014

…I’m so pleased with how these party invitations turned out, I had to share!

Mostly because my poor husband is absolutely sick of giving me constant “they look great!” validation, so I’m turning to you instead.  Of course, you can tell me they look terrible if you want, it’s ok… I can totally handle criticism, that’s if… you can handle a DDOS attack.


Anyway, this is kind of a big deal, Leila has been waiting for a proper “friends” birthday party since she turned 3 and I told her that in her first year of BIG school, she could invite the whole class if she wanted but until then, she had to make do with family-only birthdays.  So she has.  Not that she minded the family parties at all, but you know… when you’re that age, nothing in life is more important than your PARTY, right?  She also knows that she doesn’t get another “big” party until she turns 10… so, she’s keen to make the most of it!

Anyway, as fate would have it… my due-date for baby number two coincides with her 5th Birthday.  Which means that I’ll be 38-and-a-half-weeks pregnant on the day of her party.  The party with 35-children coming.  Speshul award for me please!



The invitations are going in to school today to be given out just before home-time.  I don’t know about you but I hate the idea of giving out invitations during school-time if there’s only a select few kids being invited.  I’m of the opinion that if the whole class isn’t invited, the invitation “thing” should be done out of school completely.  The thought of leaving a few 4 or 5 year olds disappointed while others get invited makes my heart do a sob.

Because she’s having a Disco Party, we made VIP DISCO PASSES.  If you’re not wearing your lanyard, you’re not getting in! (or something like that).

Each lanyard has a glowstick and a candy watch attached.  To be honest, I really wanted to attach candy-dummies to the lanyards but I was a bit worried the parents might think I’d be playing Happy Hardcore and handing out Speed and Ecstasy during the interval.  I also considered a whistle… but then came to my senses, because that wouldn’t be at all annoying for Mum and Dad on the way home, right?

I bought most of the components for the invites from eBay.  The lanyards, I think, are mobile-phone ones from Hong Kong… the “VIP card” holders I bought separately and the glow-sticks were bought in a bulk pack of 50.  The candy watches came from Amazon.  All in all, to make 35 invitations, it came to just over £18.  Not including printer ink/card or the blood, sweat, and tears.

I was pleasantly surprised because I always embark on these projects and then start lying to my husband when I realise just how much it’s gonna cost to DIY it!  I also have some leftover glow-sticks/watches to put in goody bags.

Between the almost-5-year-old and the almost-33-year-old, you can guess who had more fun making these invitations can’t you? *blush*

Afternoon Tea at The Vineyard Hotel, Berkshire

Posted by Lipglossiping On February - 23 - 2014

Half-terms may be aimed at kids but that doesn’t mean that the adults can’t have a fun-filled week too!

I met up with some of my dearest blogging-pals yesterday for an overdue gossip and a stroll around Newbury.  I won’t bore you with what I bought because to be quite honest, I spent more time in Lakeland than I did Boots and I’m not sure you’d be too impressed with an indepth review of the gadgety tea-strainer and strawberry-huller that came home with me.

However, I did confirm an infatuation after swatching Laura Mercier’s latest palette, developed an interest in the new, lightweight version of the N07 Stay Perfect foundation, and unexpectedly cooed over some new Lancome blushes, I just failed to part with my pennies on this kind of frippery.  It may not have helped matters that I haven’t been paid yet *shakes fist at late payers*.

However, I thought I’d share what, for me, was the highlight of the day… afternoon tea at The Vineyard Hotel, just outside the town.


I had a bloody terrible afternoon tea last weekend at the Clifton Gorge Hotel in Bristol, so being seated in the plush surroundings of the Vineyard’s restaurant bar did wonders to soothe the old wounds leftover by that experience!  Have a look at what we (over) indulged upon…


The most precisely cut sandwiches you ever did see, a delightful variety that included: cucumber and crème fraiche, smoked salmon with coriander and lime butter, ham with honey mustard, chicken with tarragon mayonnaise, and the obligatory egg mayonnaise.


This was followed up by a generous 2-scones per person serving, accompanied with… well, despite lots of guesses we weren’t quite sure on the jams to be honest… but for me, the flavours beat your standard strawberry fare!  They didn’t skimp on the clotted cream either!

And finally, the piece de resistance… take a look at this for a patisserie platter…



Chocolate-filled profiteroles, mini pistachio ice-cream tubs, blackcurrant macarons, lemon cake, and slices of classic fruit cake!  As for the red jelly-esque mounds in the middle there… well, they kept us guessing too!  Not a clue what they were all about but they were very fruity with a sharp tang and a great caramelised crunch.

The tea selection was varied and ever-flowing, I stuck to the traditional English Breakfast (I won’t deny the temptation to ask for “builders”) but there was a great choice of black and herbal teas to suit every taste bud.

All in all, it was a fantastic way to spend the afternoon… staff were attentive without being overwhelming and the tray after tray of goodies that kept arriving at the table ensured many looks of jealousy from the other guests seated nearby.  Best of all?  There was no feelings of pressure to clear our plates and make room for other parties… we sat in complete comfort, chatting away for almost three-hours.

All of this?  £22.50 each.  I can’t think of a nicer way to spend a Saturday afternoon than in the company of some lovely people and some truly great food!

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Do you double dip?

Posted by Lipglossiping On January - 23 - 2014

I can’t wait to see the kind of traffic that title brings in… some of you are going to be sorely disappointed (and somewhat frustrated) when you realise that I’m talking about multi-use products!

After posting this morning’s review of the new Clarins Cream Blush, I read a tweet from another blogger (and Clarins skincare specialist) who, quite rightly, reminded me that they could not only be used on the cheeks but also double-up as a lip product.  Now, this isn’t an unusual feat for cream products… Many offer this multi-function, but for me…. I just can’t deal with that kind of cross-contamination!


I know this makes me sound majorly OCD about my cosmetics.  I’m not.  Hell, I was also simultaneously tweeting about my mascara graveyard that I can’t seem to put to bed, despite the knowledge that I might get syphilis in my eyes (or err, something) by being so lax about my cosmetic hygiene.  But when it comes to cream multi-use products, it just feels sorta dirty… in a double-dipped kinda way.

Remember when you were a kid and you had two flannels.  One for faces and one for bums?

I need two cream compacts.  One for cheeks and one for lips.  It’s not that I might confuse my face for a bum, it’s just that… it’s just… I don’t want a sneaky speck of lip-gunk on my cheeks, and I don’t want skin sebum all over my lips (mmm, tasty).  For someone who only has one face (and one bum), buying two compacts seems rather excessive, so I… err, don’t.

Surely, I’m not alone in this mild makeup OCD-ness?  Am I?!

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Don’t miss another post!

Posted by Lipglossiping On January - 14 - 2014

How do you keep subscribed to my updates. You know, since 2009 there have been over 2790 of them! That’s a lot of blogging, think of all the things I could have been doing with my life instead?! No actually, don’t…

What I want to know is… how do you follow my inane ramblings? In case you’re in need of a little update… here are some of the ways we can keep in touch…



Bloglovin is an easy way to find and store all of your favourite blogs in one place. It’s quick to log on and check for updates, giving you the gist of a post so you can decide whether or not you’re interested in clicking through to read more.

click here to subscribe via Bloglovin’


For the least amount of effort on your part, subscribe to my daily mail out. You’ll only receive one email per day (and that’s only if I’ve updated!)


Any posts will be waiting for you to read from the comfort of your email inbox whenever you get a spare minute.

click here to subscribe to my daily email


Incase you don’t know, I’m a wee bit of a Twitter addict (50,000+ tweets and counting!) If you have any questions or want to shout at me about something, this is the best place to find me! I use Twitter to promote my latest posts with a single link and automate a couple of links a day to older posts that you may not have picked up on the first time around.


Twitter is also where I link extremely time-sensitive info (deals, voucher codes etc.) and retweet lots of completely and utterly fascinating (honest!) snippets that I discover!

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I don’t really use Facebook if I’m honest…. but if you’re an avid fan, you can follow my page which will, by the power of the magical internet, feed my latest updates into your timeline.


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My Instagram account is more personal than blog-related. Generally involving attempts at healthy and not-so-healthy(!) dinners and treats, a wee bit of Leila’s antics and not much else!


Click here to find and follow my Instagram account


However you choose to follow my blog, if you do – thank you very much!


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