Author Archives: karenmaitland

The Ordinary Skincare – Favourites & Fails

The Ordinary Skincare – Favourites & Fails

I feel like I am a professional “The Ordinary Skincare” buyer now, having posted 5 videos on my You Tube channel! I think I have about 14 bottles of product, so I thought I’d round up my current favourites, and not so favourites. 


     Lactic acid 10% – my criteria for loving skincare is in some ways quite shallow – have a nice smell, make my skin feel really soft, and/or show that its working in some way. Oh and good ingredients of course. I didn’t like or dislike the celery smell of this product but strangely I’ve
come to enjoy it. It feel
s very smooth going on, doesn’t sting as I expected it would, and I can see my skin flaking a little which gives me the satisfaction that its doing something. Its not something I’m going to rush to repurchase when this bottle runs out in the not too distant future, but only because I’ve ordered some other exfoliants that I want to try (Azelaic acid & BHA Peel). 


Argan Oil – I’m going to talk smell again and to me this smelt a little of cow pat when I first used it. Charming! Thankfully husband doesn’t agree, but again I’ve come to love the smell of this. Ok that sounds tres weird but I should clarify that after a few applications there was barely any scent of Eau de cow poop. What I love about this is it doesn’t break me out as other oils have done (more on that in fails below), and it makes my skin feel super soft when I wake up. I’ve already repu
rchased this as I did go through the bottle pretty quickly, but won’t start using it till I’ve tried the Squalene and Rosehip Oils. 




Marula Oil – WAY too thick feeling for my liking. No scent whatsoever, but the worst part was waking up with a whitehead the morning after first using it. Just in case it was a coincidence, I stopped using it for 3 or 4 days, then tried again. Lo and behold, there was another whitehead the following morning, and I haven’t had a whitehead for years (ok, maybe 1 year, but you get me, it was definitely this oil). 





Vitamin C Suspension – I wanted to love this so much, but my skin is just way too irritated and it seems to get worse with every use. The website does say that some irritation can be expected, but the level of itch is too much for me to bear. I tried persisting, and I tried mixing it with Hyaluronic Acid as has been known to help, but I admit defeat and it is in my “Empties & Fails” basket ready to talk about next video. One of the reasons I especially wanted to love this product is as a suspension it has no PH, so can be more easily used with other products. Instead, I’ve ordered the 3 Vitamin C derivatives that The Ordinary do, and will see how I get on with them. 

What are your favourites and fails? 


Am I a Mother?

Am I a Mother?

Not for the first time, I’ve seen comments on social media saying “It really annoys me when dog owners call themselves parents”. Ouch. That stings. I DO consider myself a Mother to my Watson, and let me tell you why – I don’t have human children of my own, but I did and have always had a huge maternal instinct and nurturing love to give. Since Watson came into my life, that instinct has been given a purpose and I have become what I believe a Mother is – more selfless, putting my dependent before myself, and experiencing a love that you can’t even imagine until you have it. Strong doesn’t cover it. Unconditional, and all consuming is getting close. 
I’m not saying that being a doggy mama is the same as it is with a human child, of course not. I can only assume that is why people are annoyed. Do they think I’m saying its the same amount of work? I’m not. I have had 2.5 mothers in my life (long story) and I can tell you that the word “Mother” doesn’t have one definition – mothers come in all shapes and sizes. What I AM saying, is that I feel like a mother, and I’m driven to act in the way that mothers should, so why can I not call myself as such? I’m also saying that there are a lot of similarities. Lets look at some examples:
1. My husband and I are solely responsible for Watson’s welfare, and he is 100% dependent on us. Its down to us to provide for him and have enough money to fulfil his needs of food, toys, walks, medication, beds etc. It is up to us to give him the mental stimulation and exercise he needs and do what it takes to make his life happy. Its our responsibility to make sure he knows how to behave politely in public and also give him the skills to be independent and not shy or fearful. Sound familiar? We spend approximately £400 a month on Watson, mostly because of his complex needs but that’s ok because its what parents do. Just saying. 
2. He can’t tell us what’s wrong (this is of course only a parallel with a baby/toddler). When he is in pain, or feeling down, or just having a bad day, we have to try and guess whats wrong. Or use Google. 
3. We had a week of sleepless nights when we brought him home, and of course that is less than with a human baby (how do you do it?!) but it progressed to waking up at 5am which at the time felt blissful compared to what had come before. I have never felt so tired in my life, since the daytime was a blur of toilet training which involves going outside every 40 minutes, plus after every nap and playtime. In between which I had to clean up any accidents, play with him, walk him, train him, and try to hold down a job because there is no puppy mat leave. 
4. If I’m ill, it means nothing to Watson – he still needs to be fed, walked, and entertained. (If he is ill however, or needs to go to the vet, I can’t take sick leave because my dependent is ill, I just have to hope I have an understanding boss and make up the time later). 
5. He’s clumsy, and just like toddlers, prone to accidents. He’s had 2 or 3 so far, and they always lead to a debate of “should we let him off the lead” but of course its a fine balance as he needs some freedom. Just like with children, you need to work out how to protect them as much as you can whilst still giving them the freedom to enjoy their childhood. However, if my Watson has an accident, I can’t call 999 to come and help him – I have to pick him up regardless of his physical state, and carry him to the car or vet and then pay a minimum of £50/£200 (depending on if weekend) just to get him seen. I have done that very thing. Several times. #mother 
6. As with babies and children, there is controversial advice about EVERYTHING. Should they have their fur cut short or left long? To Vaccinate or not? Crate or not? Raw food or kibble? 3 walks a day or 2? Every area of their life that you comment on, will bring feedback, advices, and often criticism. 
7. My husband and I can’t remember the last time we had a conversation that wasn’t about Watson. Ok, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but you know what I mean. Our conversations are dominated by him, and I’m told thats how it is from Day 1 of baby. 
I don’t think I need to go on – I’m sure you can see the similarities but of course there are huge differences also, with benefits and detriment on both sides. Watson will NEVER be able to tell me he loves me, or go to college, or any of that good stuff. In fact he’ll never leave home. My £400 a month 24/7 care, is a commitment of 15 or so years, and the saddest difference is that I’m pretty sure that I will out live him – it breaks my heart even typing it. 
Who else in your life do you share your house with, your bathroom, your most intimate and vulnerable moments other than your spouse? I am with Watson every day, and only apart from him when he is with the walker and on my occasional “Mummy’s day off” when I have cocktails with my friend and spend the whole time talking about our boys (Yep, she is a Mother too, to the furry kind of dependent, Watson’s “Cousin”). Watson watches me bath (cause he knows a treat is sometimes forthcoming), and even joins me when I’m having a wee. He is the centre of our world and our weekend plans begin and end with Watson. 
Thankfully I do have friends and acquaintances that are parents to both human children and dogs, and consider themselves a parent to them both. I’ve even been told by one mother than raising her son was easier than raising her puppy. Not my words, don’t shoot the messenger!
My final thought is simply that I’m just loving on my dog, and he gives me purpose in life. If that’s “annoying”, so be it. I’m doing no harm. I can only assume those people that are offended, haven’t had the honour and joy of a pet in their life. 

Letter to My Watson – 2nd Birthday

To My Watson, 


You are nearly 2 years old, and all grown up. I silently promised you that we’d have all your various health issues sorted by the time you turned 2, and I think we are making it by the skin of our teeth! There is still room for improvement of course, but at last you aren’t in as much pain and discomfort. There have certainly been many more vet visits in this last year – 30 visits in total since you came crashing into our lives, but I don’t regret a single penny or moment of time it took. 
I wrote to you when you turned 1, and told you how much you had taught me. I knew I had much more to learn, and most of all you have taught me to be selfless. When my joints ache, and I just want to crawl into bed, I instead get geared up and go off for a walk with my boy. Seeing your little tail wagging at the door as we leave makes it all worth it. Walks were never my favourite thing, but now I feel that I could walk for days with you – seeing how excited you are just to be walking up a hill is something that money simply can’t buy. 
You amaze me and others with your chilled out demeanour whilst still managing to have endless energy, and you are the perfect mix of goodness & mischief.  You have been described as a “gentleman” on more than one occasion which made us beam with pride. You won a rosette for obedience, and charmed everyone at your night class by being the class clown. We literally see smiles appearing on people’s faces everywhere we go when they see you. 
Some people believe me to be a Dog owner, but I know that you see me as your Mum, and I believe that this is what it feels like to be a mother. I wouldn’t change you for anyone or anything in the world. This years promise to you, is to look after you when you need me, and do everything in my power to make your life wonderful. I hope that one day we are in a position to welcome a brother or sister into our lives for you, but for now you have Mum and Dad all to yourself and we have you. When you lay your head on our foot/leg/knee, it is the most wonderful feeling in the world, and we are honoured that you show us such love and trust. 
Happy Birthday my baby boy! I can’t wait for our next year together :0) 
Mum xx

My First Dog Grooming Blog!

My June Clients……

June Grooms 3 June Grooms 2 June Grooms 1








Abbey the 8.5-month old labradoodle loved the treats, was very affectionate and a little bit of a wriggler. We were delighted to find out she is Watson’s half-sister!

  • Sandy Bear – Cavashon/Cavapoo– gorgeous little guy that wasn’t much of a foodie until the appearance of cheese :0)
  • Cooper the 6-month old labradoodle was my youngest client to date and enjoyed playing with my Watson and using him as a stool in the garden
  • Bodie the 15-month old cockapoo gave me the giggles when he barked at a picture of a horse on the wall!
  • Buddy the 17-month old cockapoo – another of my small clients and his technique for stopping the grooming when he got a bit bored of it was cuddles :0)
  • Dixie the 2-year-old labradoodle – such a gentle soul who was happy to have anything done to her as long as she had something to chew.
  • Dixie the 2.5-year-old Cavapoo – my smallest client to date and gave me the biggest compliment of all by nearly falling asleep on the table lol
  • Dexter the 9-month old cockapoo – my joker of the pack and gets the award for most energy, and the one who loved my little extras like treats round the bath! Also had a great time playing with my Watson.
  • Rupert the 2-year-old cockapoo – a fussy eater like myself but I finally found the way to his heart with cheese & letting him smell each tool to be used – a guy that liked to be in the know :0)

Tip of the month

Picture1The biggest satisfaction from a groom seems to be that we get to see the beautiful eyes and face of our dogs again! If you aren’t confident at home with sharp scissors near the eyes, buy some thinning scissors and use these across the eye and cut continuously for a few seconds and this will take away the stray hairs without any risk of injury.





Product recommendation Do you have trouble with constant mats in your dog’s coat? This tool will help! It can break up the mats whilst combing through at the same time. Use it first, then use a comb to remove the broken up mats.









Reviews – Monthly dog box

As a blogger, I’m lucky enough to be sent free stuff. One of things I’m sent is the monthly dog boxes you can buy – the next one I’m being sent for review is the “Bark Box” and I’ll be doing a review on my you tube channel of what I think.


With every groom in July & August, I’ll be giving you a voucher for a free photoshoot!

Top 5 Essentials for Ageing Hooded Eyes

Top 5 Essentials for Ageing Hooded Eyes

I’ve wanted to do a video for some time now on my “Essentials for Ageing eyes” but just haven’t got round to it yet. I will do one for sure, but in the meantime I thought why not blog about it! As you may know, I had a botox disaster last year and what that meant was that my already hooded crepey eyes got even more hooded. Lovely .

The up side of that is I had to learn new techniques with eyeshadow, and even find new products to use in addition to the ones I already relied on. Here are my essentials!

RetinolRetinol is a product that generally isn’t well tolerated around the eyes and on the neck area, but I’m sure you have heard about the wonders of this ingredient. This one from La Roche Posay is specifically for the eyes and I’m on to my second tube. Retinol isn’t a product that you are going to see results with instantly, not even in months, but maybe 6 months to a years time. I’d highly recommend introducing this to your daily skincare regime, best used at night and I do use it on my eyelids as well as under and around my eyes with no adverse effects. Buy it here UK R Dermic Eyes and here USA R Dermic Eyes


When my hoods were at their worst, I couldn’t put top liner on and then continue with my makeup as the eyeliner would transfer to the skin of my crease and wreck the eyeshadow look. I  still have that problem a little now, but I have found that using a felt tip liner is much much better and doesn’t have so much transfer. It also dries faster so you are only waiting a moment or two – this one from Rimmel is a dupe of the Kat Von D tattoo liner and is wonderful. Buy it here UK Rimmel Precision Eyeliner and here USA Rimmel Precision Eyeliner




LY38A skinny but soft crease brush is essential. I have finally learnt to put my crease colour higher up and I love the result. If you have a small space between your brows and eyelid though, you don’t want to use one of the usual crease brushes, as a lot of the time they are too big and you will have too much shadow. This one by Louise Young isn’t cheap I admit, but its super soft, washes well (I’ve had it about 5 years) and is amazing at blending. Buy it here UK LY38B (not available in USA that I can see sadly).

2fYou know that I love shimmer as much as the next 20 twenty something girl, and that I am not listening to those that say we older ladies should only be wearing mattes. BUT. I do think that mattes help with the crepey look of the eyes quite honestly. For me there are two brands that somehow have magic qualities that just smooth out my eyes – Too Faced and Illamasqua. Love. If you are a lady of a certain age, you need some of these in your life – I’d highly recommend the Too Faced natural matte palette. Buy it here UK Too Faced Natural Matte Palette and here USA Too Faced Natural Matte Palette

Laura MI could probably make this list my top ten essentials, or fifteen even, but I’ll show the rest in the video. For now, my number 5 essential is a good mascara that is not too wet (so it doesn’t transfer) with a brush small enough to catch every single lash. For me there are two winners, the MAC Extended play gigablack lash and the Laura Mercier Long lash – the LM long lash is kinder to lashes to be honest, so I’d say that one is best to avoid the “crispy” feeling with the MAC one. It doesn’t claim to be waterproof but in the 5 plus years I’ve used it, it has never run, smudged or flaked, and it separates like a dream. Buy it here for UK Laura Mercier Long Lash Mascara and here for USA Laura Mercier Long Lash Mascara

What are your essentials?

Puppy Getting Calmer & Maybe Cuddlier!

Watson March 2016We have seen a minor change in the cuddling situation over the past few days, and both hubby and I are beyond excited about that! I know that might sound silly, but cuddling is so important to me, and the whole reason I wanted a dog was to have a reason to sit and “do nothing” as such, just sit and stroke them and cuddle on them. However, Watson has never been interested till now. Its not a massive change, just small little head on legs for a few minutes type scenarios, but it gives us hope. Friends have told us they believe that dogs become more cuddly after the age of 2 anyway.

In addition to the cuddling change, there is some settling down. He is definitely sleeping a bit more during the day, and when awake is more happy to lie and chill, and not paw at me constantly for attention. We changed the times of his dog walker to 12pm and that is working out fabulously. Kev takes him 6.30am to 7.30am and then one of us takes him in the evening, and with those 3 spread out walks and more of a routine, he seems to be thriving.

I’m applying for jobs now and it will break my heart to not see my boy as much, but the up side is that I think he’ll love going to daycare every day, even if it does break the bank for us lol.

His health has been ok for just under a week, which doesn’t sound like much but in our world, that really is quite good. No bum troubles, no incidents, and he’s eating his kibble. Miracles do happen!

Life is changing & settling down all at the same time :0)

IMG_9834Oh the shame, nearly one month since I spoke to you all, please forgive me. Its been a funny month with health issues with me, more health issues with puppy, and general plans for changes in our lives.

As the title says, its a time of change, but also a time of things settling down, but I suppose I mean more like things are coming together. The changes are that we are thinking about selling up and moving house. Not moving far, just trying to find somewhere with a big garden where Watson can run freely and I can one day have another dog and set up a studio for grooming and photography.

When I say things are coming together I mean with Puppy’s health, my health, and my plans in general. Its not long now till my redundancy pay out will run out and we’ll need a new plan to have any more money than enough to cover the bills. I’m applying for a few jobs – one is back at the hospital though not working for the NHS. The money is ok, only a bit less than I was on before, but honestly I’m kind of dreading going  back to work full time if that’s the job I get. Partly because of the pain levels etc, but also because office work is just not what I want to do anymore.

I applied for a job today as a dog grooming assistant! Terrible money, but I would see it as a temporary means to an end, as in experience for me grooming dogs and even if I don’t end up with my own grooming salon, I could apply for jobs such as manager of a salon or a pets at home store for example.

Health wise, I had the GP yesterday and I’m so happy with this new guy I’m seeing. He has given me tips to help get my iron levels up so I’m going to implement those in the coming weeks and that should help with the tiredness.

The only area of my life that isn’t moving at all is my weight loss battle. I simply don’t seem to be able to have the motivation to fill in the my fitness pal website and unless I do that and wear my fitbit watch, I don’t know how many calories exactly I’m eating. I can estimate it for sure, but I tend to just think “Oh a little bit of this won’t matter” etc, but it DOES matter. I am sticking at about the same weight. If only they sold “Weight loss motivation” in a bottle, can you imagine how much profit there would be!

Freshly Baked Fake Tan Mousse – Baby Powder Scent! Review

Freshly Baked Fake Tan Mousse – Baby Powder Scent! Review

Baby PowderI couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw that there was a fake tan with such yummy scents, AND it included my favourite scent which is baby powder, AND is was a reasonable price! I paid £12.99 from Beauty Bay – buy it here Freshly Baked Fake Tan Mousse

The other scents it comes in are – Vanilla, Coconut, Amaretto, Watermelon, and Black Cherry. Makes my mouth water!

So, is it any good? Well, so far its not bad. It certainly does smell like baby powder on application, and there is no fake tan smell on development. I’ve only used it on my arms, and I did also try it on my face.

No streaking and I’d say the colour is about medium. The only thing I’d say is I don’t think its great on the face – it didn’t provide much moisture and it looked kind of odd the following day. I can’t describe it and it might just be because I used the wrong foundation colour but, face = no, body = yes. Next step is to try it on my feet and legs, but I’m waiting for the other tan I’m testing to wear off (Madame La La Tan). So far, this is a winner but the feet will tell me what I need to know as not many look smooth there.

I think this is a really great idea though, especially for those that don’t like the fake tan smell. Oh, I also bought one called Skinny Tan from super drug – clearly I’m in a tanning mood :0)

Poop Solution Finally?!

IMG_7636Ok, not great having poop in the title I know, but I feel like its all hubby and I have talked about since getting Watson! I have never been so happy to see a firm poop. As you know, Watson has had many health issues since we got him – allergies for which he’s on Immunotherapy, Anxiety, Chronic Colitis, and many other ailments. The vet basically told us it was up to us to find a food that worked for his colitis.

That has been an epic challenge, as Watson bear is SUPER fussy. I ordered approximately 20 samples of food from the internet from various places, and also bought many different types from pets at home. Watson wouldn’t go near any of them. The only thing he’d eat is Royal Canin adult. We decided that we’d continue to give him that, and concentrate on trying to fix his allergies, as we wondered if that was maybe causing his tummy problems as well as itching (though we did do a rule out 6 week diet of only pork & potatoes so its not a food allergy as such). We did figure out long ago that he has a sensitivity to chicken.

Chatting to my friend Jenni about her dog and one of Watson’s girlfriends Lola, she told me she was on “Royal Canin” for neutered dogs. I’d never heard of it, strange since Watson is neutered. She offered to give me some to see if he would eat it, but we didn’t hold out much hope. Hubby and I stood stunned as Watson gobbled it all up! At that point we said, “Imagine if tomorrow he has a firm poop”. Living the dream then lol. That’s exactly what happened!

Now, things have still been up and down but we know now its the immunotherapy – he’s had 3 injections and each time its really upset his tummy. He got antibiotics last week and they did nothing, and then further probiotics but they made it worse. We then finally got our order of that RC Neutered food and gave him some and things are on the up again. I can’t believe we finally finally have some hope :0)

The immunotherapy doesn’t seem to have caused as much itching this week as it did with the previous 2 injections, so there goes that theory lol. I can’t tell you how happy I am with this food situation though. I just want my little guy to have a shot at life being healthy!

Photoshoot, Hubby Working Again, Blood Pressure Problems, Stress

IMG_9453You could be forgiven for thinking that I don’t enjoy writing this blog, due to the lack of continuity of posts, but you would be mistaken. I really enjoy it! I’ve always loved writing, its just the lack of time. Does anyone else out there feel like there is NEVER enough time in their day?!

I have a photoshoot tomorrow for a wolfhound called Tess. She is 15 years old bless her, and I’m super excited!

In other news, hubby is back at work and I had my first week at home alone. Much weirdness. Not only did the house feel very empty but I was a “single parent” again to my puppy lol.

I had my nurse visit this past week to check up the Blood Pressure situation and it wasn’t good. My top number was 148 so fine, but the bottom number was 105, which is a disaster. I cried. Yep, in the nurse’s office, how embarrassing. She was fantastic of course, and sent me off to an equally fantastic doctor who gave me a prescription for a stronger strength tablet, the same one I’m on now.

The challenge of my whole life is stress. I get stressed at the slightest thing. I was working full time, but now “only” do You Tube, photography, and look after Watson, yet every day I worry about how I’m going to get through my to do list. If hubby is 10 mins late home, my heart beats way too fast thinking he’s had an accident. And so the list goes on. I’m reading Essential help for your nerves by Claire Weekes, recommended by the Nurse. So far so good, its got a different way of explaining things. I feel like I need someone to crawl inside my head and just slow the speed down!

This week coming is a pretty quiet one, but I do have a potential new dog walker coming on Tuesday, so keep your fingers crossed for me that it’s the one! xx