Thursday, 31 July 2014

Hair & Beauty Review: Batiste Dry Shampoo

I'm would be interested to know who out there is a big fan of dry shampoo? I really can't decide whether I like it or not. I have several friends who swear by it and won't go out without a travel sized bottle in their handbags.

I first used dry shampoo at my wedding. My hair is particularly smooth and shiny, so my hairdresser used some dry shampoo to gain a bit more texture and grip whilst pinning my hair up.

I recently decided to give it a try myself. I chose Batiste Dry Shampoo and left my hair for a few days between washes until it was starting to look a bbit limp and slightly greasy at the front.

I am happy to report that the dry shampoo really did seem to work. Whilst my hair did not have the same shine and vitality as with a normal wash with shampoo and conditioner, itwwas  an easy and quick way to give my hair a boost for the day. It masked any greasiness and put a bit of volume back into my lacklustre locks.

The scent of Batiste's dry shampoos are all pleasant, however I kept getting whafts of the fragrance throughout the day which made me slightly self conscious that other women would recognise the smell and know that my hair was unwashed. I think I, personally, wouldpprefer a slightly more subtle smell.

Overall, it really is a good quick fix but I will be saving it for those occasions when I really can't get to a shower.

I am interested to know what you think of dry shampoo. Would you use this regularly instead of a proper hair wash?
Ginger Cat x

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Hair & Beauty Review: Gelicity's G-Spa Therapeutic Gel Bath

Have you ever had a gel bath before? It is a odd experience.

My husband bought me Gelicity's G-Spa Therapeutic Gel Bath in Revive for Christmas and I eventually got round to trying it at the weekend. It is a unique bath product made from sodium polyacrylate, rosemary oil and red colouring.

The box includes two sachets and an instruction leaflet. The first sachet is to be poured under running water to create the gel bath (stage 1). The sodium polyacrylate absorbs the water to create the 'gel'. The second sachet is salt that is added at the end of the bath in order to neutralise the sodium polyacrylate and turn the gel back into liquid form (stage 2). Sounds clever, right?

The box specifies that the product is intended to work for water levels equivalent to a half-full regular bathtub. I have a standard-sized bathtub, so I carefully filled the bath to just under half full whilst swishing and swirling the contents of the first sachet around in the water. I expected the bath water to completely turn into a gel-like consistency, however I was somewhat disappointed to find that, in fact, the bath water remain as normal however it becomes filled with gel-like beads/sacs which lurked at the bottom of the tub.

My husband and I both jumped in the tub to try it out, which was a bit of a tight squeeze! We found that the water did stay nice and warm, the gel beads felt unusual but not unpleasant and we liked the vibrant pink colour of the water. More importantly, it provided us with a little oasis where we were able to spend 45 minutes together in the middle of a hectic weekend relaxing our aching muscles whilst catching up on our news from the week.

The gel beads are supposed to have a slightly exfoliating effect on the skin and claim to be effective for hydrating and deep cleaning.

Towards the end of the bath, we added the salt and spent a further 5 minutes swishing that around. The gel beads did reduce in number, but only by approximately 50%. We had to was the remaining beads down the plug hole and also had to use the shower to rinse the beads off ourselves. The salt is alleged to have detoxifying properties.

After the bath, I can confirm that we both noticed that our skin did feel quite silky and smooth.

In conclusion, we enjoyed the experience but were somewhat  disappointed that the gel bath did not turn the water into a more of a gel-like consistency.

Ginger Cat x

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Hair & Beauty Review: MAC Cremesheen Glass in You've Got It

What can I say, I love MAC Cremesheen Glass lip gloss!

On first application I was slightly disappointed in the colour. Whilst appearing to be a lovely nude/taupe colour in the tube, the colour is so feint that it could be a clear gloss. 

However, I immediately loved the smooth consistency, the incredible shine and the sumptuous scent reminiscent of chocolate or vanilla. 

After a couple of uses, I have come to love the chic, subtle colour which is really just a hint of beige. This gloss is perfect to use over lipsticks in order to obtain a high-gloss look. 

This gloss now has a permanent place in my handbag as it is perfect to add a hint of glamour whilst at work or at play. 

Ginger Cat x

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Book Review: The Universe versus Alex Wood by Gavin Extence

'The Universe versus Alex Wood' is Gavin Extence's debut novel and what a surprise it was! I bought the Kindle edition of this book several months ago and didn't really know what to expect. I believe it is aimed at young adults and I imagined it to be in the same vein as Mark Haddon's 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time'.
According to the synopsis from the official website "Alex Woods knows that he hasn't had the most conventional start in life. He knows that growing up with a clairvoyant single mother won't endear him to the local bullies. He also knows that even the most improbable events can happen – he's got the scars to prove it. What he doesn't know yet is that when he meets ill-tempered, reclusive widower Mr Peterson, he'll make an unlikely friend. Someone who tells him that you only get one shot at life. That you have to make the best possible choices. So when, aged seventeen, Alex is stopped at Dover customs with 113 grams of marijuana, an urn full of ashes on the passenger seat, and an entire nation in uproar, he's fairly sure he's done the right thing…."
The story is a quirky tale in which the hero, an eccentric boy named Alex, looks back on his life from the ages of 12 to 17 in order to explain how he has arrived at a particular point in his life. Alex acts as narrator and the entire story is seen through his eyes. Alex is one of life's outsiders, a curious mix of naiveté and intelligence, overthinking every situation to ensure that he always acts in a way he feels to be appropriate with little thought to the consequences for himself.
The story is unusual and whilst I initially had some difficulty getting into the story, once I did it kept my attention until the very end.
Without ruining the story, I can say that that I did not expect the subject matter that arose towards the second half of the book. Extence, through Alex's thoughts, manages to deal with a huge moral dilemma in a gently thought-provoking and touching way, without veering towards sentimentality. The controversial issue was tackled with a splash of humour and a lightness of touch that seemed intended not to provoke tears from the readers but to encourage people to look at the subject matter through Alex's eyes in a logical and compassionate way and to consider the thought process behind such a decision.
I was concerned that the book would try to be a bit too clever for its own good to the detriment of the storyline, however it set a perfect tone between light hearted humour and serious subject matter. It is not easily pigeon-holed into one category, it is a comedy? a drama?
The characterisation of this novel is very good and you can't help but warm to Alex and his unique way of looking at the world. The story can make you laugh out loud or reduce you to tears.
This is a beautifully written book full of wit and warmth. It is a brilliant achievement, particularly for a debut novel, and I would encourage any reader to give this one a try.  I am hoping that Extence may have a few more novels up his sleeve...
Ginger Cat x

Monday, 21 July 2014

Hair & Beauty Review: July's Birchbox

My July Birchbox has arrived and I'm very excited about the contents.

Whish - Three Whishes Lavender Body Butter

This lotion did not smell particularly of lavender to me, which was slightly disappointing but it did have a light and pleasant fragrance, not too overbearing as lavender can often be, and I like the soft,, sweet vanilla-y scent which lingers after use. I have not tried this item properly as yet, however the little bit I tried on my hand absorbed well and left my skin feeling silky smooth without any stickiness, which can sometimes be a problem with body butters. The fact that the product is sulphate and paraben-free is a big bonus for me.

According to the website write-up, Three Whishes Body Butter contains repairing and rejuvenating antioxidants and is available in pomegranate, almond, lemongrass, lavender, blueberry, coconut and limited edition seasonal scents.

Balance Me - Wonder Eye Cream

Yet another natural and organic product, Balance Me's Wonder Eye Cream is designed to firm, lift and soothes the delicate eye area. It claims to help combat fine lines, dark shadows and dull skin.

Wonder Eye Cream contains botanical ingredient including witch hazel, virgin coconut, jojoba, cucumber, rosehip, spruce knot (anti-oxidant), cloudberry, aloe vera, lavender, Roman chamomile, lemon and carrot oils.

It has a pleasant smell and feels quite lightweight and non-greasy. I look forward to seeing whether there is any noticeable difference to my wrinkles and dark circles after a week or two of using this item.

Laqa & Co - Sheer Lip Lube Pencil in Bees Knees

Laqa & Co Sheer Lip Lube Pencil is a pigmented lip balm that is perfect for everyday wear. The peppermint-shea butter formula gives a lovely minty fragrance whilst moisturising the lips. It is packaged in a handy twist up pencil, so no need for messy sharpening.

The colour is slightly too pink for me. I prefer a more natural colour with a hint of shimmer and I find that Sheer Lip Lube Pencil in Bees Knees is, as with a lot of lip pencils, slightly too matte for my taste.

I applied it before I left for work, at around 7.30am and the colour was still faintly visible at 9am.

Whilst the colour is not quite right for me, I'm sure one of my sisters will make good use of this item.

Benefit - The POREfessional

This was the product I was most excited to find in this month's Birchbox.

Benefit's The POREfessional is, apparently, the no.1 primer sold in the UK at present. It's formula is designed to "quickly minimise the appearance of pores & fine lines for smoother-than-smooth skin!" The lightweight serum can be applied either under or over makeup. The oil-free formula is supposed to help makeup stay put for longer.

I tried this item for the first time today. It comes out of the tube in a skin-toned shade, which is unusual for me as all other primers I have tried have been a clear gel. It went on easily and was of a lightweight non-greasy consistency. I will have to wait until the end of the day to know whether my makeup stayed on all day, however it did seem to reduce some of the more visible pores on my nose.

Gilchrist & Soames - English Spa Sea Kelp Extract Mineral Bath

What can I say, it's bubble bath. I can't imagine that it will be drastically different from other bubble baths. However, I like the fact that Gilchrist & Soames English Spa Sea Kelp Extract Mineral Bath contains natural ingredients and is both paraben and phthalate free. The formula is stated to be a blend of English botanicals used at the turn of the century.

The Gilchrist & Soane website describes the Spa Sea Kelp Mineral Bath as  "Delightfully rich & foamy, the Spa Sea Kelp Mineral Bath contains therapeutic marine nutrients, vitamins, and extracts that invigorate the body as the warmth of the water releases it's fresh fragrance of citrus and herbs."

Certainly, it has a pleasant fragrance and I can happily imagine myself relaxing in the bath, glass of wine in hand and surrounded by Gilchrist & Soame citrus-scented bubbles.

The Chia Co Shots

Finally, as a little lifestyle extra, a pack of chia seeds, the latest 'superfood' to arrive in Britain. The Chia Co, an Australian company, claims these tiny seeds have 'more omega-3 and dietary fibre than any other food from nature'.

According to an article in The Daily Telegraph 'What's so super about chia?', chia seeds are from a plant in the mint family (Salvia hispanica) which was originally a crop grown by the Aztecs. When the seeds are mixed with water, they swell to a thick gel, somewhere between caviar and tapioca in texture. In America, chia health drinks are sold, suspended with seeds like raspberry jam. 

On a practical note, chia seeds are a plant source of omega-3 and has a less obtrusive taste than flax seeds. The Chia Co recommends a 15g daily portion in porridge, over cereal or included in a number of other recipes.

Whilst I am happy to try these seeds, I will not be purchasing them. The health benefit would have to be proven and pretty spectacular for me to justify the cost of £4.95 per 10 shots. In addition, I imagine that in the quantity I would eat them there would be no significant health benefits over and above a usual healthy diet, certainly not enough to justify the cost.

What do you think of your July Birchbox? Did you like the selection of products? Were there any products that have surprised you, in a good or bad way, when you tried them?

Ginger Cat x

Hair & Beauty Review: Barry M Matte Nail Paint

I am lucky to find that, despite being a nail-biter for almost 30 years, now that I have stopped my nails grow quickly and are very strong.

Probably as a result of being unable to for many years, I now love painting my nails and I cannot resist trying a new colour or brand. 

Whilst doing my food shopping today, I picked up a Barry M Matte Nail Paint in Vanilla. I was looking for a neutral colour good for the office and this colour immediately appealed to me. It is a soft grey colour and is extremely matte in appearance. On a side note, the matte-ness of the varnish makes it easy to see when the polish is dry. 

I am still largely undecided about matte nail varnish, however I do love this one! I found that 2 coats of the polish gives good coverage and the colour has not yet chipped, despite me taking a shower. Most polishes last for around 3 days on my nails without chipping, so I will need to wait a few more days to test for durability. 

My overall view is very positive. I love the colour and coverage it provides and I am looking forward to trying some other polishes from Barry M's impressive range. 

Ginger Cat x

Update 24/07/2014 @ 12.46pm - I have now been wearing this polish for 3 days. I applied 2 coats, but no base or top coat. It has been put through daily showers, 1 x hair wash and 2 x washing the dinner pans, yet I can only find one small chip on one nail, otherwise the polish still looks newly applied. I am very impressed with it's durability in comparison to other polishes I have tried ~ Ginger Cat x

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Hair & Beauty Review: Silk + Honey - Shea Butter Hair Mask

Photograph from

I received this item in my June Birchbox and finally got around to trying it last night.

My hair is naturally long, thick and straight, although I admit to quickly running the straighteners through it every morning to ensure any frizz or fly-away bits are under control.

Last night, I used my usual Shampoo (Dove Nourishing Oil Care Shampoo) followed by the Silk Honey Shea Butter hair mask. As it was only a pre-mixed trial tub, there were no detailed instructions for use on it. I therefore decided to apply it to wet hair after shampooing and leave it on for around 5+ minutes before rinsing thoroughly.

I left my hair to dry naturally and it felt dryer than usual whilst drying. I was a bit concerned that I should maybe have used conditioner after the mask, however once dry my hair felt soft and hydrated.  It still feels silky smooth today, after a night's sleep, and has more bounce and volume than usual.

The Silk + Honey website advises that "If you’re looking for a creamy, moisturizing conditioner that answers a range of hair care needs all in one, look no further. This conditioning mask contains rhodiola, an extract from the golden root plant, which increases the strength and elasticity of your hair. Other ingredients include silk protein, honey, shea butter to coat the hair shaft and protect it from dryness, and provitamin B5, which penetrates deep into the hair shaft to nourish the hair from within. This product is also excellent for taming frizzy hair."

I would definitely recommend this product, however I am not sure whether I will use it again after my sample tub runs out as I am usually in a rush and having to make up the hair mask myself does not really appeal to me. In addition, at £55 it is pretty expensive, although the website states that the pack provides enough ingredients to make 5 x 200g/7fl oz pot of conditioner. If I find the item on sale/special offer and the recipe appears quick and straight-forward, I might be tempted to give it a go.

Have you tried this hair mask? What did you think of it? Have you tried mixing the formula yourself? How easy/quick was it to do?

Ginger Cat x

Friday, 11 July 2014

Hair & Beauty Review: bareMinerals Customisable Get Started Kit

Afternoon beauties!

I recently got married and, whilst I decided to save money by doing my own makeup, I did treat myself to some new make-up for the day.

I decided to try bareMinerals due to the great reviews that I've seen about their products.

I chose the Customisable Get Started Kit at a cost of approximately £50. The kit included:-

  • bareMinerals Foundation - chosen personalised to what best suited me
  • Prime Time Foundation Primer, size: 15ml
  • Original Mineral Veil Finishing Powder, size: 2g
  • Warmth All-Over Face Colour, size: 1.5g
  • Full Flawless Face Brush
  • Flawless Application Face Brush
  • Maximum Coverage Concealer Brush
  • How-To DVD

  • I tried it on several occasions before the wedding and I was surprised to find that the powder make-up is easy to apply. It also provides good coverage and it seemed to be quite durable on my skin. I found that I did not suffer the same degree of end-of-day shine that I usually do.

    However, I have to say that the foundation was simply not for me and I ended up using my normal liquid foundation on the big day. This may be because I simply wasn't used to using powder foundation. I didn't dislike it and I would wear it again now and again since I own it, however it will not be a regular in my make up bag. I go for the natural look and I found that I did not like the slightly powdery finish that I could sometimes see when using this product. I prefer my make up to blend in naturally. For this same reason, I prefer cream blushers to powder ones. From a distance, the foundation was great, however on close up viewing I could see some powdery-ness on my cheeks and forehead where the foundation sticks to the fine hairs (not that I'm admitting to any ape-like qualities!).

    Despite not really liking the foundation much, I love the Warmth All-Over Face Colour and still use it frequently now. The Warmth All-Over Face Colour is fantastic for contouring and is a natural colour, not too much orange-tone in there.  I tend to use it when I'm doing my face for a special occasion or a night out.

    The primer suits my skin and I have started using that under my normal liquid foundation. I am not sure if it works, however it does make my skin feel nice.

    The brushes are good quality and perfect in size. I use these on a daily basis.

    I know that I'm quite a late-comer to mineral make-up and I would be interested to hear your thoughts on powder foundation v liquid foundation.

    Ginger Cat x

    Tuesday, 8 July 2014

    Hair & Beauty Review: Boots No 7 Protect & Perfect

    Evening all!

    I'm a bit of a latecomer to Boots No7 range of skincare products. 

    I have used moisturiser daily for a number of years now and, until recently, I would buy whatever moisturiser was on special offer in the supermarket.

    Since entering my 30's, I have decided that I need to take more care in selecting a moisturiser suitable for my skin. Hopefully, this extra care will help in my quest to grow old gracefully!

    In early January I treated myself to a No7 gift box containing a range of Repair and Protect items - hot cloth cleanser, makeup remover, day cream, night cream and eye cream. At half price it was an absolute bargain!  I also decided to invest in the Protect & Perfect Intense Serum so that I could try using all the products together for maximum effect. 

    Whilst I had not tried these products before, I'd heard a lot of good things about them. 

    My first impression is how long the products have lasted. I had to replace the serum after 3 months, however the other items are still going 6 months later. I am particularly impressed with how long the day and night creams have lasted when I users them both at least once or twice a day. They are starting to run low and I predict that I will need to replace them within the next two weeks. 

    Secondly, my skin has felt lovely and soft since using these products.  

    Finally, I am getting to the age where wrinkles will soon be developing and, in fact, I was somewhat worried about one that seemed to be developing on my forehead - a vertical frown line between my brows. I can't say whether that line has reduced at all since using the No7 products  however it certainly hasn't grown any larger. 

    My overall verdict is very favourable, except for the cleanser. This is simply not for me. I prefer a facewash style of cleanser and, as such, I will be sticking to my regular cleanser instead. 

    I would buy these products again, although I would probably wait until the are on offer as the prices are quite steep. I would also be interested to try more natural products containing less chemicals etc... 

    What you think of the No7 range? I would like to hear your thoughts. 

    Ginger Cat x

    Hair & Beauty: What's in my makeup bag?

    Afternoon all!

    I always find it interesting to see what is in other people's makeup bags, so I thought you might be interested to see what is in mine. The photograph above shows my daily 'go-to' makeup selection. Whilst I do occasionally swap and change what I use, these are the standard items that would not like to be without.

    I tend to use either Clinique Superbalanced foundation in Alabaster (no. 27) or Garnier BB cream Miracle Skin Perfector in Light, mixed with a little bit of Face Lift skin illuminator from Barbara Daly for Tesco. This skin illuminator contains an SPF10 and helps to give my skin a healthy glow. Whether I use the foundation or the BB cream depends on my mood that day. The foundation is paler, so I stick to the BB cream if I've been on holiday or if I am a bit hungover/dehydrated as that tends to be less heavy on tired skin. The foundation is fantastic for situations when I need lasting coverage, such as at work. It also covers imperfections better than the BB cream.

    For under eye dark circles, I use Under Eye Concealer from George at Asda. It costs less than £5 and it really is amazing! It is a better match for my skin tone than YSL Touche Éclat and other under eye concealers that I have tried. The concealer has a yellow undertone, rather than the pink undertone found in a number of similar products, and is easy to blend in. It really does camouflage dark circles just as well as any of the expensive brands.

    For additional concealer, I use one from the Natural Collection at Boots. This is great for extra coverage if I am suffering from a spot or two and at £1.99 it doesn't break the bank. It covers well and is easy to blend in.

    If I get a bit shiny during a busy day, a quick pat of Clinique Stay Matte Sheer Pressed Powder in Invisible Matte. This is a lightweight powder which gives light coverage and effectively reduces shine.

    For my cheeks, I use Rimmel London Stay Blushed in 004 sunkissed cherry, with Benefit Hoola under the cheekbones to provide a little bit of definition. I particularly like this bronzer from Benefit as it is matte and therefore I do not get that sparkly, glittery effect which, whilst fine for evenings, I find to be somewhat too much for the workplace.

    Finally, for my eyes, I use Smashbox Limitless Eyeliner in Java (dark brown) followed by a swipe of  Estee Lauder Sumptuous Waterproof Bold Volume Lifting Mascara.  The mascara goes on well without any clumping and the brush shape lets me get right into the corners. More importantly, it stays on well, even after being caught in a downpour! Similarly, the Smashbox eyeliner glides on easily and remains in place all day. It can be smudged/blended but I find that this has to be done as soon as it goes on otherwise it tends to be harder to soften.

    You might notice that I have not put any lipsticks in my list of  go-to products. This is because I usually only use a bit of lip balm or Vaseline throughout the day. I tend to save lipsticks and lip glosses for evenings and weekends. However, I am becoming more interested in lip products recently and I am starting to wear them more and more.

    Are any of these products in your makeup bag? Have you tried them? What do you think?

    I would be interested to hear if you have any recommendations for other products you think I should try instead of my current favourites.

    Ginger Cat x

    Monday, 7 July 2014

    Hair & Beauty Review: Dove Nourishing Oil Care Shampoo & Conditioner

    I have recently been introduced to Dove Nourishing Oil Care shampoo and conditioner and I don't have a bad word to say about them.

    The products themselves have a very light but pleasant floral scent and the consistency is rich and creamy.  I wash my hair approximately 3 times a week and always condition my hair afterwards from about mid-length to the tips, leaving it on for a minute. I also rub a small bit of conditioner through the front of my hair immediately before I rinse it.

    My hair is long, fairly thick and pretty straight, although I must admit that I do tend to straighten it daily in order to calm down any overlying frizz. After using Dove Nourishing Oil Care shampoo and conditioner, my hair always feels incredibly soft and looks more shiny. I also find that the frizz has reduced since using these products.

    I usually avoid nourishing/moisturising conditioners as they tend to weigh my hair down, however this one seems weightless on my hair.

    The price compares with other such products found in the supermarkets, although I have noted that the Dove products tend to be on offer fairly frequently, so I like to stock up where possible.

    I would honestly say that the conditioner is one of the best I have tried (and I have tried a lot!).

    Whilst I do like to try a range of products, I will definitely be purchasing these items again.

    Have you tried Dove Nourishing Oil Care shampoo and conditioner? If so, what are your thoughts? Have you found any products that you think are better? I would enjoy hearing your views.

    Ginger Cat x

    Saturday, 5 July 2014

    Legal News: Court of Appeal clarifies ‘misunderstood and misapplied’ Mitchell guidance

    Lord Dyson, Master of the Rolls, yesterday attempted to bring clarity to courts in England & Wales following on from last year’s landmark case of Mitchell v News Group Newspapers Limited [2013] EWCA Civ 1526. This new guidance will undoubtedly be welcomed by the legal profession after the unforgiving stance taken by the courts since the Mitchell decision.
    Lord Dyson, sitting alongside Lord Justice Jackson, upheld three appeals relating to granting relief from sanctions under the new CPR 3.9:-

    ·         Denton & Ors v TH White - an appeal against relief from sanctions being granted for a party that served six witness statements late.

    ·         Decadent Vapours Ltd v Bevan & Ors – an appeal in a case that had been struck out for late payment of fees.

    ·         Utilities TDS Ltd v Davies – an appeal in a case where the court had to decide if two trivial breaches aggregate so as to become one significant breach.

    The judgments can be found here.

    They were deliberately heard together in an attempt to provide clarity to any uncertainty arising from the new CPR and the Mitchell judgment.

    Lord Dyson commented that the guidance in Mitchell remained ‘substantially sound’ but had been ‘misunderstood and is being misapplied by some courts’. Lord Dyson was critical of the approach taken by some courts and concluded that the guidance in Mitchell needed to be clarified.

    Dyson reminded the judiciary that the guidance in Mitchell, where the claimant’s non-compliance caused ‘substantial extra work and extra costs to be incurred by the defendant’, could not necessarily be applied in all cases.

    Dyson replaced the Mitchell guidance with a three stage test:

    1.      At the first stage, the court assess the ‘seriousness and significance’ of the breach in respect of which relief from sanctions is sought.

    2.      At the second stage, the court should consider why the failure occurred.

    3.      At the third stage, the court should consider the circumstances of the case itself.

    Dyson added that ‘The important misunderstanding that has occurred is that, if (i) there is a non-trivial (now serious or significant) breach and (ii) there is no good reason for the breach, the application for relief from sanctions will automatically fail. That is not so and is not what the court said in Mitchell.’

    Dyson commented that yesterday’s judgments should help allow the courts to provide for a ‘reasonably consistent judicial approach’ to the application of CPR 3.9.

    Interestingly, paragraph 21 of the judgment details criticisms of the guidance in Mitchell. It states that the outcome of Mitchell has been to encourage un-cooperative behaviour between litigants, along with excessive and unreasonable satellite litigation.

    The judgment further advises at paragraph 43 that ‘The Court will be more ready in the future to penalise opportunism.... It is as unacceptable for a party to try to take advantage of a minor inadvertent error, as it is for rules, orders and practice directions to be breached in the first place.’ The courts will be more ready in the future to impose cost sanctions on parties who unreasonably refuse to agree extensions of time or who unreasonably oppose applications for relief from sanctions. Dyson specifies that the parties should be prepared to agree limited but reasonable extensions of time up to 28 days as envisaged by the new rule 3.8(4).

    The legal profession is likely to welcome this new guidance and the return to a less adversarial and more co-operative way of working, hopefully minimising the need for satellite litigation over trivial matters going forward. This decision should herald the return to a more common-sense approach to applications for relief from sanctions and should allow for more just and sensible decisions from the courts.

    Yesterday’s judgments, whilst softening the Mitchell guidance, does not allow for a return to the old culture of non-compliance. Strict compliance with the court timetables is still required from the Parties, however it does allow a more reasonable approach by the Court when hearing applications for relief from sanctions under CPR 3.9.

    It would appear that, for the first time in a while, common sense has prevailed. Although, I wonder whether Defendant firms will be quite so happy with yesterday’s outcome...?

    Ginger Cat x

    Wednesday, 2 July 2014

    TV & Movie Review: Orange is the New Black

    What can I say except I LOVE THIS SHOW! 

    This black comedy follows Piper Chapman (played by Taylor Schilling), a 30-something middle-class lady, living with her fiance (played by Jason Biggs) in New York. Her friends and family, whilst aware of her somewhat bohemian nature,  have  no idea that she has a criminal past or bisexual tendencies. Unfortunately, Piper's past catches up with her when she is named as an accomplice to an international drug dealer (her ex-girlfriend, Alex) and sentenced to 15 months in federal prison for a 10 year old crime of trafficking a suitcase of drug money. 

    The show focuses on Piper's adjustment to the strict rules and limitations of prison life and the odd characters she meets on the way, including being reunited with the ex-girlfriend whom she blames for her arrest. 

    The show is based on Piper Kerman's memoir, Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison, about her experiences in prison. I have not read this yet, however I am keen to give it a try.

    For me, this is the first show in quite a while that has lived up to expectations. It makes me laugh out loud and each episode leaves me wanting more. 

    I'm only 5 episodes in and I can't wait to see more. 

    Ginger Cat x

    Tuesday, 1 July 2014

    Hair & Beauty Review: China Glaze products and tips for a professional looking home manicure

    Being a former nail-bitter until 4 years ago, I love the look of a professional manicure. However, I rarely have the time to treat myself to one and tend to paint my own nails at home.  Getting the look of a professional manicure can be tricky to recreate as, more often than not, I manage to dent or mark the polish before it is properly dry and it just doesn't have the same finished look to it.

    I have recently realised that a good top coat makes a huge difference to the look of the polish, whether it be a cheap or expensive polish.
    Top manicure artist, Madeline Poole, from MP Nails in LA gave Refinery29 her fool-proof guide to recreating a professional looking manicure at home.

    Image by Elena Giavaldi via

    There is nothing new or astounding about the advice given, however for anyone like me who is a latecomer to nail polish, it is a useful basic guide.

    The only surprise with me was that she does not mention using a base coat. I sometimes apply lighter colours straight to the nail, however I always use a base coat when using darker colours so as not to stain my nails and to get some further wear from the polish.

    I am currently using China Glaze Strong Adhesion base coat and Fast Forward top coat, both of which seem to work well for me. The base coat gives a good adhesive base, prevents staining and protects my nails. The top coat goes on quickly, has a fantastic glossy shine and dries in minutes. Although, I am sometimes a bit impatient and manage to get a finger print on at least one nail!

    Do you have any tips to share about how to get the perfect manicure? Can you recommend any products that I should give a try?

    Ginger Cat x