Friday, 9 October 2015

Rose Kiss Spritz - review

Many years ago a friend introduced me to the bliss of Evian Facial Mist – there’s nothing like it when you’re hot and bothered in summer. I used to buy it in France for just a few francs for a large spray can and it lasted ages.

Then briefly, I was able to buy it in London, but that was short-lived for some reason and I’ve not seen it since. I did find tiny cans of water mist for extortionate prices, but funnily enough they didn’t grab me.

Then a kind PR popped this in the post to me

It’s the same principle – cooling facial mist – but with the added benefits of anti-ageing rose.

I have used it a few times and I find it gives the same instant chill, but with added fragrance – not too heady, a subtle floral scent that does not compete with any perfume you might be wearing. It can also be used as a toner and for fixing make-up.

What's more, it is not tested on animals, is approved by PETA and does not contain animal ingredients, so what's not to like?

On a practical level, the bottle is small enough to fit comfortably into my bag (unlike the huge cans of Evian from the early 90s), yet large enough to guarantee loads of use for the price tag of £6.

It is available from and is currently on offer for £3.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Catch up

This past year has been one of firsts and I’m quite overawed in a way that I’m now where I am, 18 months after making a life change it took me so long to find the courage to make.

Almost 22 months – I have just worked it out.

My old life seems so long ago, yet it feels like just five minutes since I moved back to the North East.

We are now pretty settled here. It took Dot longer than it took me, but she is getting there. In the last few months she has been happier. She is doing wonderfully well at school, working really hard and I’m proud of her. She has made friends at school, but is also happy in her own company – something many grownups can’t achieve. She is a complete You Tube fan (I don’t get it, it’s a teenage thing) and idolises You Tubers in the same way I did David Soul, or Leif Garrett.

I found a good job as a copywriter and for the first time in many years I’m in charge of paying rent, household bills, doing the shopping and the gardening (worse luck). I’m still freelancing a little, too.

We now have three dogs and two cats – when we arrived we had Rosie Raditt kitty only. She is now nearly 20 years old and shows no sign of being ready to leave us yet.

About those firsts. Some are perhaps silly, some are more important, but all are mine. I have put air in my car tyres, had to deal with a flat tyre/AA emergency, taken my car to several garages for repairs, sorted a leaking shower, cut the grass in both the front and back gardens, entered a poetry competition and overcome my fear of white sauce.

Ever since we made soup in cookery at school from a roux and mine tasted of raw flour, I have avoided making any kind of roux-based sauce. That is more than 30 years of conscious avoidance.

Then Dot asked for macaroni cheese. I did it. It was one of my most satisfying firsts and it was bloody lovely. Not raw at all, but creamy, no lumps and very, very cheesy.

So what had I been so hung up about?

Fear is a limiting emotion. It sounds silly, but it was the fear of making a roux that kept it off the menu for more than a quarter of a century. It was the fear of change that stopped me from moving on for so long.

The amount of time I wasted, I could kick myself now.

I never saw my life turning out like this, would never have dreamed it would do, but it has.

Sometimes I miss my old life, friends down south, the place I used to live – only to be expected after so many years there and I understand that. However, I’m happier now, I’m content and I’m proud of myself for finding the strength to change my lot, rather than just sit and moan about it.

Here’s to many more first in the coming months and years – and to having the strength and purpose to deal with them.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Summer citrus - 2014

Summer time means summer fragrance and for me this year it has been Bronnley's Lime & Bergamot Eau de Toilette. It’s part of their new citrus collection, which also includes Orange & Jasmine and Lemon & Neroli. The fragrance is light and subtly fruity, not overpoweringly citrus. It’s a daytime scent – it doesn’t last for hours, but then I wouldn’t expect it to, yet because it’s light it can be respritzed at will without becoming overpowering.

I’ve also tried the Lime & Bergamot shower gel and the Lemon & Neroli hand lotion, both of which I liked though, having dry skin, I prefer my hand cream to pack more of a therapeutic punch.

This is where Bronnley’s RHS Natural Gardeners Therapy Intensive Moisturising Hand & Nail Cream comes in.

It smells lovely, sort of citrusy and green, and it contains vitamin E, keratin and shea butter. You don’t need much, as it is so rich (though you could use it as a night-time treatment: apply thickly and wear cotton gloves on top), and it absorbs quickly. This should be suitable for winter, which is just as well as it is a rather large tube (100ml) and should last a while yet, so I’ll be putting it through its paces in the cold weather a few months (hopefully) down the line.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

A Long Way Down - film review

I’m not sure quite what I expected when I sat down to watch this film – a chick flick, a good old happy rom com – but A Long Way Down is neither of these. It’s a black comedy, with not so much emphasis on the comedy.

Four strangers meet one New Year’s Eve as they all separately decide to commit suicide from the roof of a very high building. For various reasons they all decide not to jump and instead make a pact to kill themselves the following Valentine’s Day. See what I mean by black?

The four main characters played by Pierce Brosnan, Toni Collette, Aaron Paul and Imogen Poots all have distinctly different reasons for ending up in their sad situation; each has a different back story and different personality, but none of these are shown in anything but the scarcest of detail. This could be why I didn’t warm to any of the characters – except perhaps the mother played by Toni Collette (a little).

And then all four of them go on holiday to Tenerife. As you do.

A media storm later, Valentine’s Day arrives – and leaves again with a crisis point. All four then get on with their lives, presumably all the richer for having met each other. 

A Long Way Down is an adaptation of a Nick Hornby novel, which I have not read, so I don’t know how far the screenplay sticks to the truth of the book. As the credits rolled at the end I tried to work out how I felt about what I’d just seen. I found the storyline disturbing, but I had been expecting a rom com, which could explain that. Even so, the film left me feeling flat – I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t particularly like it either. I know it would have been impossible to create detailed lives for each of the four characters in just 92 minutes, but there could have been more than the superficial picture painted.

The press release that arrived with the DVD states Psychologies magazine found the film “Heartwarming and laugh-out-loud funny”. It’s not. I would say it makes you smile in places, but the characters aren’t particularly likeable and my heart didn’t feel warmed. I don’t want to get heavy on you, but I thought the treatment of such a serious issue as suicide was glib, trite even. 

However the person watching the film with me enjoyed it.

Each to their own. 

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

I'm in the Daily Express today - health feature: vitamin D deficiency

I'm in the Daily Express today, talking about my vitamin D deficiency and how treating it with supplements made a real difference to my health.

I'm still taking a daily vitamin D supplement, though not the high-dose one prescribed by my doctor. I really believe many people who put down their aches and pains, their feeling-off-but-not-knowing-why problems to getting older, or late nights, would benefit from a daily supplement.

Read the feature and please leave a comment to tell me what you think. 

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Back to the 70s with Aqua Manda

Boozy oranges, lipstick, powder and other people's mums...

I have just received a bottle of Aqua Manda perfume, it has only just been delivered by courier and I've only just opened the bottle, but I am already back in the 70s and a kid at school.

I didn't know that smell was this perfume. Of course I'd heard of it before, who in my age group hasn't, but I've never owned a bottle (until now), and my own mam was a Coty L'Aimant girl (still can't sniff that perfume without feeling sad).

This, this is the fragrance that wafts from the depths of a handbag, a mix of pink lipstick in a gold case, face powder with a velvety puff, dare I say it - of cigarettes, and Babycham (or Cherry B). It's a hidden world of grown ups, nights out dancing or at bingo, talk about unknown people and places, and American Tan tights.

To the child I was then this is sophistication. I don't know what fragrance was worn by the women at Abigail's Party, but I can imagine it was this one.

For me it is a fragrance of its time - even the design on the box is reminiscent of 70s decor, with lots of orange, green and brown, while the bottle is solid, safe, just as I remember those days to be.

I don't know if Aqua Manda will find a new audience in the beautiful young things of today, but it's got to have a ready-made fan club in us children of the 70s.

Dot came home from school and on spraying the perfume declared it "awesome" so perhaps there is a new audience out there... There's also a new purse spray available here

Friday, 23 May 2014

Our family is growing

No I'm not having a baby, but a puppy. Two puppies to be precise. Angel is around a year and a half, and Dylan is three months, and they are both currently in Cyprus. I will tell you all about them soon, but as an introduction, here's a short video of Angel taken by Constantina, the lovely lady currently looking after her.

We can't wait for both dogs to join our little family and are so excited - they should be with us in around three weeks.