Articles for November, 2015

Mascara Product Review by Okayzions

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Confused and frustrated when trying to buy a new mascara?

I felt devastated when I realised that my main mascara I have used for many years has been discontinued and I was forced to shop for a new one. I felt intimidated by all the buzz words, choices and stress confusion as it is not always possible to try testers.  Generally, there are only 4 points that need to be considered when making your purchase.

  1. What type of brush do you prefer i.e full, pointed, narrow, curled etc?
  2. Do you have sensitive eyes?
  3. Do you need a waterproof mascara?
  4. What type of look are you trying to achieve i.e natural, dramatic party eyelashes, doe or doll eyes?

Mascara Product Review Results

We narrowed our mascara product review down to 3 major retailers who are part of our affiliate programme (Boots, Debenhams & John Lewis) and their top selling products. It was hard selecting only 10 waterproof mascaras suitable for the party season as there are hundreds of products to think about. Our final decision was based on the mascara which gave the most comfortable application and the least clumping effects. The UK’s top selling mascara  “Benefit They’re Real” was awarded the title of our ‘Top Product’ because it was loved by all product testers regardless of their age (14 – 60 years). The other mascaras were all excellent but seemed to be split into age categories. For example, Lancome was preferred by our older testers, whilst the younger preferred Nars.  All the prices recorded on our product reviews were correct at the time but may vary due to seasonal promotions or price matching.

  • Benefit They’re Real – 10/10  Loved by all product testers regardless of their age. Buy from BootsDebenhams and John Lewis  for £17.55. After Black Friday and any other promotions the prices will revert to £19.50 after sales.
  • Lancôme Hypnôse Star Mascara – 9/10  A very close second. This is a lovely mascara and  fantastic for party eyes. Buy from Boots, Debenhams and  John Lewis for £20.25, reverting to £22.50 after sales
  • Nars Audacious Mascara- 8/10  Generally better for the day but if you add lots of coats then it can look quite dramatic for a party.  I have never tried NARS products before but I am now hooked. Buy from John Lewis for £18.90
  • Maybelline Colossal Mascara – 6/10  With so many products we became confused (26 mascaras in the range). However, overall they were fantastic for their price and generally performed very well. Buy various types of Colossal Mascara from Boots  priced £6.99 – £7.99.
  • Bobbi Brown Extreme Party -5/10  A nice mascara but did not to live up to its name implying dramatic party eyes. That said we simply love all other products by Bobbi Brown. Buy from Debenhams for £18.00 and  John Lewis for £17.00, reverting to £20.00 after sales
  • Chanel Sublime de Chanel Mascara Waterproof –  4/10  It is a natural look and so best suited to the daytime rather than the evening. Our younger testers loved the packaging as it is so elegant. Buy from Boots for £25.00, Debenhams £22.50 (reverting to £25.00 after the sales) and John Lewis for £20.70
  • Makeup For Ever Aqua Smokey Extravagant- The results were average which was a shame as it is quite expensive. Moreover, we expected more as it is being endorsed by celebrities. Buy from Debenhams  priced £16.20 reverting to £18.00 after sales.
  • No 7 Extreme Length Mascara – 4/10   Although easy to build intensity we found that the lashes went very hard and clumpy. It was not waterproof enough for swimming.   Buy from Boots priced £12.50.
  • Dior  Blackout Mascara 4/10. We expected more because of the brand and the price. Buy from BootsDebenhams and John Lewis priced £22.50 reverting to £25.00 after sales.
  • Blinc -3/10. This is a completely new concept as  blinc invented a technology breakthrough in mascara that allows for the easy application of water-resistant “tubes” around your lashes unlike conventional mascaras. Buy from Boots priced £19.35, reverting to £21.50 after sales.

What brand and type of mascara do you wear?   We would love to hear from you with a brief product review or comment via our facebook page or twitter


Black Friday is Here!

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Black Friday Sales

Following on from last year’s success, this year’s Black Friday event promises to be the biggest shopping event in the UK. Daily, I am noticing more and more retailers advertising their sales to kick-start the Christmas shopping frenzy.

 It was reported on the news that 1 in 5 workers will be taking today off work to use it as a shopping day.

Can’t cope with the stress of fighting over bargains in the shops or precious parking spaces?  Unable to or don’t want to carry heavy shopping bags? Why not make a coffee for yourself, sit back and relax and let your fingers do all the work by simply clicking on our links for a enjoyable online shopping experience.  Our email system has been going crazy this morning with all the shops within our affiliate marketing group releasing their offers. All of our affiliates are your high street  big brands and they have some of the best offers available, but only over the next few days! It is a fantastic time to get those bargain gifts, Christmas gifts and grab a couple of hours to pamper yourself also.



John Lewis



And even food retailers like Waitrose


Black Friday is here

Black Friday has arrived.


Diwali Sweet Treats

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Food and Drink During Diwali

Diwali is the festival of lights, but is more synonymous with sweets. A variety of Diwali sweet treats are prepared, and there are certain sweets which are Diwali specialities. Various kinds of laddoos, barfis and halwas are made. They use besan, rice flour and semolina and all purpose flour as base ingredients to which sugar, condensed milk and yoghurt are added and spiced with cardamom, cloves and cinnamon. The sweets are generously garnished with dried fruits like cashews, almonds, pistachios and walnuts.

The sweet making for Diwali is a social activity where women commence to preparatory work a good month before Diwali. Powders and ingredients are procured and spices are readied. All the preliminary work like cleaning and milling are done two to three weeks before Diwali. Different sweets are prepared for the different days of Diwali. On the first day of Diwali, lapsi is a must. It is made of large grain cracked wheat fried in ghee accompanied by a curry of long beans. On the second day the speciality sweet is anarsa, a dish made from rice and jaggery, which can actually take upto seven days to prepare. On the third day puris fried in ghee and dipped in sugar syrup is invariably served.

The sweet treats vary from region to region. From polis, mawa kachori, moti pak, sohan papdi to chirote, sheera and badusha the variety is mind boggling. Savoury items like namkeens and chidva are also prepared. The mithais can be eaten as such or can be accompanied by tea, or various kheers and shrikand.

Diwali Treats


The Meaning of Diwali

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Meaning of Diwali and how it is celebrated around the world

Diwali is a festival celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains all over the world. Not just in India, but Indians have carried the festival with them to London, Singapore, Malaysia and the United States.

Diwali signifies the triumph of good over evil. Many events in Hindu mythology are associated with Diwali. It celebrates Lord Rama’s return to Ayodhya after fourteen years of exile.

It celebrates the marriage of Lord Vishnu with Goddess Maha Lakshmi. It also marks the vanquishing of the demon Narakasura by Lord Krishna. When Narakasura begged for mercy, Lord Krishna granted him that the day would be celebrated with great enjoyment. Diwali is celebrated as a festival of light. Here, light is only symbolic and means that darkness should be dispelled. It also signifies the birth of a new year and hence a fresh start. Lord Maha Laksmi, the Goddess of wealth is also worshipped on this day.

Diwali is an official holiday in Singapore, Nepal, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, Fiji and Malaysia, besides India. Last year the US President Barack Obama offered warm Diwali wishes to Indians all over the world. In London, Indians visit the local Lakshmi temple, and prepare sweets and light lamps and incense sticks at home. They meet and greet friends and relatives. In Guyana, people clean the house and illuminate it besides indulging in sweets and other festivities. In Malaysia and Indonesia also, the festival is celebrated in much the same manner as in India.

Meaning of Divali


Remembrance Sunday

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The poppy has become an iconic image associated with remembering the military and civilians who gave their lives in the two world wars and more recent conflicts. The poppy can be worn on the lapel or even as a piece of jewellery such as the many designs of bracelets (which are popular with children) around remembrance week, Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday.
Remembrance Sunday first started in 1995 for the 50th Anniversary of the First World War and is always held on the Second Sunday of November. Poppies are made into a wreaths and laid at the cenotaphs or war memorials in sombre ceremonies throughout the UK and Commonwealth. The ceremonies are attended by members of the Royal British Legion such as ex and serving servicemen and women, cadets and youth organisations. The key elements of the ceremonies which are normally planned by The Royal British Legion are the military and youth parades, military bands playing music, short speech by local dignitaries and muffled church bells.

Armistice Day first started in 1919 by a two-minute silence after the Wester Front fell silent on at 11am, November, 1918 when the guns ceased firing after over four years of continuous firing. Since then every year on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month we continue to observe this respectful practice of remembering those who lost their lives in all military conflicts.

Remembrance Sunday
The Cenotaph in Whitehall, London hosts the national remembrance ceremony which is televised live. At 11am there is a two-minute silence, followed by the laying of the poppy wreaths, first by the Queen then followed by the rest of the main Royal Family, Leaders and Senior Government Officials, The Royal British Legion and Civic Dignitaries. A short religious service is conducted whilst the choir and orchestra play. The hauntingly sombre music throughout is played by military bands and the traditional music has not changed since 1930. After the ceremony the veterans parade marches past the cenotaph and salutes it thereby remembering all those whose lives have been lost. The march is completed with a salute to a member of the Royal Family in front of the Guards Memorial.Look out for local and national fundraising events and church services to mark Remembrance Day and to make a donation to The British Legion.

Official Programme of songs from the National Ceremony

Generally, the music at the National Ceremony remains consistent, no matter where the event is being held. Although this programme of music dates from 1930, the message is relevant for all other wars since.

Additional music completes the ceremony with  the unofficial laying of wreaths and veterans march. This typically includes with Trumpet Voluntary and  It’s A Long Way To Tipperary

The official organizer of the ceremony, The Royal British Legion, have their own march,which is a medley of marches from  the First and Second World Wars. The Legion usually includes younger members of the community, such as the cadets, to act as standard bearers. This helps to reinforce the message that all of us have been affected by the wars, now matter how old or young, or which generation we represent.


20 Things to remember on Bonfire Night

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Remember, remember the 5th of November? Well, these 20 things at least…

  1. Several weeks before your event check if you need to obtain a licence from your local authority for your party?
  2. You need to have a large open space and ensure that you work out clearance distances of how far away your guests need to be away from the fireworks. Check the wind on the evening of the party and be prepared to alter your distance.
  3. Before buying fireworks look at the most popular brands (Black Cat, Ghenghis, Fireworks Crazy & Kimbolton) and see which ones’ best fits your space and make a plan of type of display you want to achieve by thinking about the duration of each set of fireworks, different firework types such cakes, roman candles, rockets, and mines, colour schemes and heights.
  4. Keep all animals indoors.
  5. Serve any food that can be eaten without fuss i.e. hot dogs, toffee apples, and bags of popcorn.
  6. The entertainment will be in toasting and eating chestnuts and marshmallows so have lots of skewers and suitable foodstuff.
  7. Serve warm drinks such as hot chocolate and top with whipped cream and marshmallows for the children. Hot mulled wine or hot toddies for adults.
  8. Who is handling the fireworks and are they competent?
  9. Dig a large pit (approx. 12ft wide and 18 inches deep) for your bonfire and put a circle of stones around the outer edge to contain the fire. Make sure that there is no shrubbery around that can catch fire.
  10. Notify your neighbours so they can plan for the noise and parking disruption.
  11. Light the fire 10 minutes before your guests arrive.
  12. Keep a large supply of dry wood and kindling materials such as newspapers and plywood to keep topping up the fire.
  13. Make sure that someone is in charge of checking that the fire does not extinguish.
  14. Keep children way from the fire and under close supervision.
  15. Always make sure that the end of the sparkler is never touched, even if your sparkler has gone out, as it will still be very hot.
  16. Define a suitable dress i.e. warm clothing, hats, gloves & scarves and boots.
  17. Do children have gloves for handling sparklers?
  18. Before allowing children to handle sparklers ensure they understand how to handle them.
  19. Suitable music is Katy Perry- Firework, Ellie Goulding- Explosions, DJ Fresh & Rita Ora- Hot Right Now, Take That feat. Lulu- Relight My Fire and The Prodigy- Firestarter
  20. Suitable games for children are lucky dip, ring toss, hook a duck.

Bonfire Night

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