Sunday, 20 December 2009

Ho, ho, ho

Well before the hectic festivities get underway and take all of my attention, I just wanted to say have a very Merry Christmas and I hope a very enjoyable one.

I'm not likely to get the chance to post again before January as I'm off with my family to Tenerife. That's two firsts for me, my first visit to Tenerife and my first Christmas away from home with my partner, daughter and mother-in-law.

Here's to a happy and prosperous 2010! x

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Saturday, 5 December 2009

All for charity

You can look beautiful and help out a good cause at the same time with these hair straighteners from Nicky Clarke.

The Love Women Cermamic Straighteners carry the Ovarian Cancer Action Charity logo and 10% from the sale of each set is to go to the charity.

Nicky's aim is to help raise awareness of ovarian cancer. He says: “I’m hoping my hair straightener will act as a talking point among families and groups of friends."

Highlighting the disease can only be a good thing. Often symptoms are difficult to spot, just not there or are mistaken for something else, yet according to the Ovarian Cancer Action Charity, ovarian cancer is the fifth most common cancer found in women and each year almost 7,000 women are diagnosed with it.

Symptoms can include: Persistent pelvic and stomach pain, increased abdominal size / persistent bloating - not bloating that comes and goes, difficulty eating and feeling full quickly.

Sufferers may also notice urinary symptoms, changes in bowel habits, extreme tiredness or back pain.

Frighteningly, ovarian cancer is the fourth most common cause of death from cancer in women. Yet, if diagnosed early enough up to 90% of sufferers will survive for more than five years.

Forewarned is forearmend, visit Ovarian Cancer Action at

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Caring for your skin - winter

I don't know about you but the heating dial is well and truly on in our house. I am no fan of the cold, trouble is, central heating though making you feel warm and toasty, is awful for drying out your skin. That coupled with the havoc wreaked by the winter wind and rain, makes extra TLC for your face and body essential.

Try these top tips:

1) Don't let the air in your home become too dry. Place water beside radiators to increase the room's moisture content.

2) Many people swear by a richer moisturiser at this time of year to counteract the elements. You could choose one from your usual brand or try something new. Book a skincare consultation at the beauty counter of your local department store to experiment with new products or treat yourself to a luxurious facial at a health club or spa.

3) Take the opportunity to treat yourself to a new body cream. Be as extravagant as you dare and apply it to damp skin after bathing.

4) Remember to use sunscreen on your face even though it's winter. Make sure your moisturiser contains at least SPF15.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Sweet berry shades

The catwalk is at your fingertips with the latest berry nail colours from Miners. Experience the opulent colours of this season's haute couture with Mulberry Shimmer (containing golden sparkly bits), Plum, and liquid gold Molten. Perfect for on-trend partying.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Be jewelled

I love this necklace from Accessorize, they call it Butterscotch Eclectic and it looks good enough to eat.

I was also bowled over by this triangular resin bangle from Bags of Sparkle. I love the gold chain against the black background. I could wear this for work or for going out in the evening.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Putting the colour back

Yay! Haircare experts L'Oreal think they have found the answer to grey hair. Researchers at the company's centre in Clichy, Paris, are developing a treatment they hope will restore grey hair to its original colour - and it could be on the market in 10 years.

Patricia Pineau, L'Oreal's Research Communications Director, says: "Hair is an enigma. It is a fibre, a material with physical properties. It is also a living organ that grows, greys and falls out."

She continues: "When hair goes grey there is a progressive disappearance of the melanocytes from the hair. While there are still mealnocytes in the hair, there is still hope that it could be re-pigmented."

I can't wait. As somebody who started going grey in her 20s (thanks Dad!) and who hates the muss and fuss of hair dye, it can't come soon enough.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Oh baby!

Research tells us that women are having their babies later in life and news stories often scare us with the risks involved. I was 36 when I had my baby, it wasn't something I planned for that stage in my life but that's when it happened and I couldn't have been happier.

Of course there are risks - but there are riskes whatever your age. Do newspapers and television have to rub it in with so much scaremongering?

I was interested to read about a new book this week, due out in December, called Pregnancy: Older Women - An Essential Guide. The publishers Need2Know call it a "friendly guide" that "walks mothers and partners through every stage of pregnancy..." I'm not saying women shouldn't know about the risks - after all knowledge is power - but I think there's a way to inform that isn't about scaring you to distraction.

I was blessed, as was my good friend who had been told she had no chance of getting pregnant then gave birth to her son when she was 45.

Whatever age the babies come along, it's a part of a woman's life to be celebrated and embraced, not something to be afraid of.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Fruity beauty

There was a time when I was never out of The Body Shop. Like I suspect millions of other girls, I went dewy-eyed over Dewberry and was wild about White Musk. So I was thrilled to hear some of those stars of the 80s are back - at least for a while.

Dewberry Bath & Shower Gel and Dewberry Body Lotion are among them. I'll have to pay a visit to my local store and take a trip down memory lane!

Friday, 16 October 2009

Luxury haircare

Tigi is one of my favourite haircare brands - not least because the products smell so good. Their new S-factor Diamond Dreams shampoo and conditioner is fab, with exotic ingredients such as cashmere, Champagne, diamonds and pearls - I felt like a million dollars after using it.

Meanwhile, big hair is back according to the catwalks, and a volumising spray such as Bed Head Superstar Queen For A Day Volumising Spray, together with Superstar Blow Dry Lotion, will help you get a head for heights.

One of my all-time Tigi favourites is Bed Head Brunette Goddess shampoo and conditioner - because I am of course and because it smells of toffee.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Confection perfection

Speaking of chocolate, this Souffle body Creme from Laura Mercier is a decadent, indulgent treat that satisfies cravings without the calories.

It's whipped and as the name suggests, souffle-like, light yet rich, but not greasy.

The three varieties sound good enough to eat: Au Laid, Creme Brulee and Tarte au Citron. Sweet.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Sweet treats without ditching your diet

This week is National Chocolate Week, celebrating all things cocoa-y and delicious with chocolate-themed events happening all over the country.

I for one am happy to indulge a little, but of course too much and I'm bound to regret it. No need to worry though, there's a rich assortment of tasty beauty products out there that give that luscious chocolate hit without the calories - so you can enjoy without the accompanying calorific hit to your thighs.

One of my favourites is Tigi's Chocolate and Mint Lipgloss - it smells wonderful and it has staying power, which is a great bonus as I can't resist tasting it.

Friday, 9 October 2009

In praise of real women

I read in the news this week that a German magazine is to ban ultra-thin models from its pages in favour of more curvy types. The magazine is even inviting readers to send in photographs of themselves as potential models.

It's a positive move in a culture that all too often embraces the ideal of the super skinny waif as the only beautiful woman. Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes and as the saying goes, is indeed in the eye of the beholder.

How many women do you know who are size 0? Exactly. They are few and far between in the real world. Yet beautiful women are everywhere, in all shapes, sizes and ages - and it's time magazines, fashion houses, advertisers and manufacturers woke up to that fact.

Focusing on the super skinny is sending a negative message to children and young girls. I don't want my daughter to subscribe to the notion that she must be stick thin to be beautiful - the potential headaches that could create over food, eating, her health and how she feels about herself worry me greatly.

Much better I think to promote the message that beauty comes in different sizes and we don't all have to fit the frankly sickly-looking size 0 frame. It's a much healthier and more positive ideal to live by.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Fun and sparkle

I couldn't resist trying the new Glam Metallics Liquid Liners from Collection 2000. As somebody who wore bright blue eyeliner first time around, they certainly take me back to the days of big hair, fuchsia pink jumpsuits and shoulder pads. I also like the Loose Glitter Wands - little bottles of vibrantly coloured sparkle with their own gel adhesive that you can paint on your temples, shoulders, anywhere in fact.

Now where's my banana-coloured silk sleeveless jumpsuit...

Friday, 25 September 2009

Bad hair days

Am I the only person who has problems trying to keep their hair in some sort of respectable state? When I wash it, it refuses to dry straight. Which is strange when you think about it - until I had my baby I did have straight hair but since then it's become curlier. Not good curlier that you can leave after washing and still look good, but frizzy curlier that always looks like you've been dragged through a hedge backwards. And it's big.

Now if this was still the '80s that wouldn't be a problem. It makes me smile to think I spent the entire '80s having my straight hair permed to achieve the curly look and backcombing bits like crazy to make it all bigger (and I've got some awful photos to prove it though obviously I thought I looked fabulous at the time). Now, if I want to achieve the poker straight locks of yesteryear I have to plug in the straighteners.

And there's another story. Over the years I have spent a fortune on straighteners, resisting the temptation to buy the most expensive brand on the market, baulking at the cost. So I bought cheaper irons that didn't work, until I eventually caved in and purchased the GHDs. I could have bought them several times over, the money I'd wasted on other products! And they still work, four years later.

But I digress. Getting back to frizzy hair problems. One answer is to wear it up, which I do, a lot, but this causes it to break and there's always loads of hair in the shower after I've washed it. I do like to wear it down at times but don't want to have to straighten it every day. So what's the answer?

There are so many products out there that claim to help. I've tried loads of them and I still haven't found one that does it all well enough. Frizz Ease serum is one I like - it does tame the more wild traits of my tresses, but can't control it all and there's a Tigi product, Camera Ready, which is great for spraying lightly on your hair after you've finished styling it, to flatten those stray wisps or ariels that always seem to stick up no matter what.

In my continuing quest to find the perfect product I'm going to try the new Head & Shoulders Hydrating Smooth & Silky Shampoo and Conditioner, and Aveda's Smooth Infusion Glossing Straightener this weekend. I'll let you know how I get on but in the meantime, any recommendations would be gratefully received.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Beauty at your fingertips

I've just seen the new autumn nail colours from Zoya. They are definitely dramatic, great for glam parties. My favourite though has to be the rich, plummy shade Posh. It gives a matte finish, is not too wintry and is still reminiscent of summer - which is perfect for the warm weather we've been having here in the East today. It works well with casual or career clothes so is great for my meeting today, but will it withstand the strains of mucking out the horse later? We shall see.

What a day!

John and I passed a crucial milestone today. We hacked out – properly – for the first time. I am so proud of him, he was perfect, in fact I was more nervous than he was.

We rode out with a friend from the yard and her horse, Croppie, choosing the ’short block’ (around 35 minutes) for our first time. Passing other horses, cows and dogs made my heart jump more than a few times but John took it all in his stride; yes he looked around, he was interested, but he did nothing more. What a superstar.

Just six months at our new yard and we have come so far already. This was the first time we’d hacked out in the nearly four years we’ve been together and an occasion that, many times in the past, I never thought I’d see. Absolutely wonderful.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Signing off...

Alas, the recession is taking the gloss off beauty with the news that the Prescriptives range from Estee Lauder, will be no more from next year. Distribution of the brand stops from the end of January leaving thousands of women around the globe with a gap in their makeup bags where those handy little refillable palettes once were.

Now I know there are similar products on the market and I know it's not that big a deal in the great scheme of things, but there is something sad about the passing of a product that over the years, has become something of a friend.

I realise Prescriptives is more than just those refillable makeup palettes, but they epitomise the brand for me - being able to choose each shade means you never end up with a duff one you will never use.

One spark of sunshine - Prescriptives Calyx fragrance will still be available to buy in department stores from next February.

Getting closer

We went into the school tonight – a bit of walk and trot, nothing more as with the jumps up there’s not enough room to canter, not for me anyway.

Afterwards we headed off down the lane. After his recent nappiness I was apprehensive as to whether or not we’d make it past the yard. Sure enough, John planted his feet and refused to move forwards. It was tea time and he was making sure I knew he knew it.

Efforts to persuade him forwards resulted in him going backwards, turning and going backwards some more. Words of encouragement from friends at the yard couldn’t quell my nerves at what he was doing, but with their support I actually eventually succeeded in getting the stubborn old so-and-so to move forwards. And I was still in the saddle!!

When he finally conceded I was in charge (this time) we walked off down the lane accompanied by an understanding friend for moral support. We progressed further than we’d ever gone before – twice – as we came back and did the whole thing again. And there were no shenanigans this time. Success! We are almost ready to embark on a hack proper I think.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Age is a state of mind

What happened? Last time I looked I was 20, then I blinked and somehow I have arrived at the startling age of 45, not knowing how I got here. Thank goodness that being 45 today is not the same as it was - it's the new 25 don't you know, or at least in my head it is. Which brings me nicely to my point - age is a state of mind. So, while my body might complain, creaking with odd twinges from time to time, my thoughts, feelings and emotions are the same as those of the 20-something girl I see when I look in the mirror, albeit with an added topping of maturity.

Beauty, fashion, music, friends and family are still as important to me as they ever were. I still get excited and nervous by new things, feel carefree on warm, sunny mornings and cry at sad stories (and even happy ones).

It matters to me how I feel and look - and when I look good, I feel confident. Obviously as far as hair and skincare goes, needs change over the years - I've moisturised religiously since I was 15 but baby lotion on my face just won't cut it anymore! And as for some catwalk trends well, we'll not even go there.

What I'm after are beauty products that suit my skin, makeup that complements my face and fashion that works with me rather than against me. I hope my blog is useful to other 40-somethings who are as shocked as I am at where the years have gone, but who feel exactly the same as they did before and still know how to enjoy every last drop of the fun that is life.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Horsing around...

At last, I’ve got round to starting my blog – and about time too. As a novice horse rider and first-time horse owner, I’ve been meaning to write about my wonderful and not-so-wonderful escapades with a thoroughly lovely Thoroughbred called John. Me! A girl from Windy Nook who never rode as a child, never even patted a horse, discovered a whole new life when I went for my first riding lesson five years ago. I’ve never looked back – I’ve looked up (from the ground), down (headed towards the ground), but never back…

John came into my life around four years ago and I’ve been his proud owner for more than three of those. Not the best horse for a nervous new starter, he is a prime example of his breed – spooky! Now I know that all horses can be spooky, but John well, he can suddenly take a dislike to a blade of grass blowing the wrong way and shoot off with me. Or the quad bike on the yard where he lives – he sees it every day, day in day out, sometimes several times a day, but that hasn’t stopped him from freaking out when he hears it in the distance, two fields away, when the mood takes him.

At one time his sudden darting off at high speed would also have me darting off at high speed – into the fence or onto the floor. Lately though, I’m happy to say I’m hanging on. I don’t have a velcro bum yet, far from it, but I am managing to stick on and ride the spook, even sometimes riding him through it and out the other end into an (almost) controlled canter.

Today we worked in the school, walk and trot. Though we did do some canter, accidentally, when he tripped over his foot and gave himself a fright. Oh well. Sometimes the best way to get over your canter nerves is for your horse to get over them for you and just take off with you. It wasn’t an all out spook this time though, he hardly picked up any speed and contented himself with his impression of a rocking horse.

Our aim for this summer is to trust each other enough to be able to hack out. He, I know, will be fine – his previous owner said he loved to hack out. The problem lies with me and my lack of confidence, I need to trust him more. Lucky for me he is a patient teacher and though I sometimes infuriate him with my lack of skill, I know that he knows that I will get there in the end…

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]