I bought this stuff yonks ago after reading about it in the Daily Mail (don’t judge me – it’s not a regular occurrence). It came highly recommended and I spotted it on half price in Superdrug (which it is again now)so thought I’d give it a bash.
Because I have done nothing to prevent wrinkles (as in daily moisturiser or night cream), it’s likely that I will need to resort to things to make them look better. And while I don’t have wrinkles as such, I do have a bit of creasing on my forehead that I wouldn’t mind not being there (actually laughing at myself for the optimism of describing my none wrinkles! Next I’ll be saying they’re laughter lines!)
Back to this little tube of glory. Because that’s what it is! I used it religiously when I first bought it and even roped the husband in (to cries of “what is this sorcery?) because it does seem to just smooth out your wrinkles, like someone’s got a pencil eraser and rubbed you out around the edges.
You only need to use a little bit and it tends to work best if you pat it in to your skin, rather than rub it. You can use it with make up and it’s good for any areas you may want to look less “creased” like eyes or mouth.
Not sure why I stopped using it, probably misplaced it knowing me, but now I’ve rediscovered it I’m thrilled! I’ve even been and bought a new tube.
Do you have any “forehead crease” minimising tips?!
I’m a marketing person’s dream when it comes to hair stylers – I totally believe the hype. If you read this blog regularly then you’ll have seen my moans and groans about my barnet (which has now changed colour again, BTW, I’m back to brown). I want fabulous hair but in truth I don’t have the energy or inclination to really work for it.
(image via pinterest)
I wash, dry (and by dry I mean aim the hairdryer at it, not blowdry, I’m not dexterous or patient enough for that, so I go for the quicker “dry but frizzy” effect) and straighten. Occasionally I muss it up with some product, or curl it (I’ve learnt how to use my straighteners for curling – this is revolutionary stuff). I’ll wear headscarfs, quiff the front with grips or wear a messy bun. I’m not uncaring with my hair – it doesn’t just hang there. But I’m always looking for something else as well.
I’ve tried (and owned) most hair stylers going over the years – from the Braun cordless gas curling tong and hotbrush (remember those?!) to heated rollers, to electric tongs, wide barrel tongs, curling wand, Babyliss Curl Secret. The texture of my hair seems to have changed recently and, annoyingly, it doesn’t hold a curl very well anymore.
And anyways, I don’t always want a curl. Sometimes I just want bounce.
I spotted this Revlon Pro Collection One Step Hair Dryer and Styler recently on Target viaGoogle – it’s a one handed blowdry! The problem I have with blow drying is that I can’t coordinate the hairdryer in one hand and hairbrush in the other (*rollseyes* I know) but I do love the look of blowdried hair – bouncy and voluminous without being too straight. This would be perfect for me. All the reviews say it’s fantastic too.
The only trouble is that I can’t find this available from a UK seller yet, and by the time you add on shipping and taxes from the States, it’s pretty much doubled in price.
I’ll definitely look into getting one of these when it hits UK shores though, hopefully not too long (and maybe in time for Christmas so I can get it as a gift from someone!)
I read beauty blogs and twitter feeds that are full of gorgeously groomed and put together ladies and I wonder how they do it! Maybe I’m just not cut out for it (which sounds better than being lazy). I thought I’d share my bad habits (and maybe shame myself into being a better person…doubtful!)
I leave my eyebrow pencil as long as possible between sharpening it – it’s usually flat before I get round to it. At the moment it’s because I can’t find my pencil sharpener. I need to buy a new one.
Plucking my eyebrows
God. this is such a chore and so I end up leaving it longer than I should which makes it even more of a chore! I don’t know why, because I hate hate HATE unruly eyebrows. I just always seem to get distracted and then realise that shit, I really need to tame those beasts! I should build it into my daily makeup routine really.
Cutting my toenails
I clip my toenails quite short. I can’t stand them long. My big toe nails especially seem to itch underneath?! They’re not disgustingly short; certainly still long enough to paint and wear open toe shoes. But my Mom always tells me off.
Intermittent body moisturising
It seems such a faff to moisturise after every shower; plus the time that’s needed for it to dry properly before you put your clothes on. I got into the habit of using Nivea in shower moisturiser last summer, but then that novelty wore off. I recently bought some Vaseline spray moisturiser, but still haven’t got into an every day routine.
It doesn’t help that I’m rubbish at tan; even the gradual build up ones. I feel so much better when I’ve got some colour and every time I do get round to it I promise myself that I’ll keep it up. But I don’t. And then I regret it. But not enough to do anything about it, evidently.
Poor skincare routine
I’m very lucky to have good skin, I know I’m lucky. My only routine, if you can even call it that, is cleaning my face every morning, with face wipes. I use serum some days (I haven’t this week because it’s still in my case from holiday – more laziness, I’m not fully unpacked!). I don’t get my make up off before bed. I don’t deep clean or exfoliate, or tone or regularly moisturise. Having said that I don’t wear heaps of make up (I only use a light base like a BB cream, never a full foundation) so it’s not like there’s much to take off. And at weekends I quite often wear none. As I said I’m lucky. It also works for me so I don’t want to upset the proverbial apple cart! I tried a facial cleansing brush last year and ended up with a complexion like a loofah. So I figure I should just stick with what I know until I need to do something else.
Getting one more day from my hair before I wash it
Dry shampoo is my friend! I hate washing my hair. Actually that’s a lie. Love washing it, hate drying it. It’s not been such a burden while it’s been shorter, but when it was long it was such a drag. And will be again, I’m sure. It’s awesome when I’m somewhere hot and I can wash it, have a little siesta and leave it to dry naturally. Even though I end up with some wild woman of Borneo curls. Everything is ok on holiday. If I leave it to dry naturally at home it takes about 3 days and goes like cotton wool. Not ok.
Chipping my nail varnish off
Rather than remove my nail varnish properly I usually pick and peel at it once it starts to chip. Or, worse still, I leave it to wear off until it’s just a patch of stripy bits on each nail. It’s not on purpose. I just seem to forget or get distracted.
Aside from that, there’s the oodles of lotions, potions and tools of the trade that I’ve bought with the intention of making my life infinitely better but now languish somewhere (in some cases I don’t actually know where). Like a body brush (fad), Emjoi foot pedicure which I previously reviewed (immense, but I forget to use it), aforementioned cleansing massage tool type thing (scared of it since it ravaged my face – could have been my fault though as I think I used the wrong attachment for facial skin), hot cloth cleanser (faff), body scrub (I forget), fake tan mitt (I don’t fake tan enough to bother).
To everyone who is successful at being groomed, primped and preened; I salute you. I just don’t know where you find the time, energy or inclination!
Although I’ve been in denial about autumn, I have actually been buying some bits and pieces with a view to the change of season. So when I said in yesterday’s autumn inspiration post that I already have a lot of those outfit components in my wardrobe, it’s not because I’m virtuously using last year’s purchases, it’s because I’ve been buying anew.
Here’s a round up.
H&M jumpers – £7.49 each (on special offer), in khaki, light grey and camel (great basics in both style and colour)
H&M fine knit 3/4 sleeve olive jumper – £8 (I like the idea of this with denim flares and tan boots)
H&M print dress – £9.99 (I wore this at the end of summer with bare legs and sandals and got loads of compliments but it will be equally great with tights and boots)
New Look coated skinny jeans – £27.99 (these are fabulous, great fit and very leather look)
Despite my protestations and wishing it wasn’t happening, there’s no point hiding away and denying that it’s now autumn.
I managed to stretch “summer” out for most of October, which is better than normal, but with our holiday and the mild weather I haven’t felt the need to really change up my wardrobe, apart from covering my legs more.
But now I’ve packed my summer wardrobe away, the clocks have gone back, and it’s almost November, even I can’t deny it’s autumn any longer!
The one good thing about autumn is different clothes, so here are some pictures of ways I intend to be dressing this autumn.
We don’t generally go on all inclusive holidays (or package holidays full stop), as we’re big fans of eating out at different restaurants and having no set times in our day, but when we spotted the Conca Azzurra hotel on the Thomas Cook website it seemed ideal for our needs for this year.
We were holidaying late, wanted a mix of city break and relaxing and the reviews were really good.
First impressions of the hotel were great; after a very long and rainy drive from the airport, we finally arrived gone 11pm to a lovely meal of cold meats, cheese, bread, rice and pasta, and the all important wine! We’d booked a junior suite with seaview (not because we’re that kind of people, just because it was the last room available!) and it really had the wow factor; huge in size, large bathroom with two sinks, jacuzzi bath and separate shower cubicle; huge comfy sofa, soft lighting and lots of storage space, with a large balcony and sliding patio doors.
Thanks god for that suite. Because for the first two days we spent a lot of time in it. It rained from arrival and for the next 24 hours. Not “oh it’s only light rain, let’s chance it”. Thunder, lightening, wind, inches of rain. This isn’t as bad as it sounds; we pulled the big sofa in front of the balcony doors and looked out to sea.
And we drank wine. Lots of wine. It was impossible to order a glass – they just gave you the bottle – so with nothing better to do we whiled away the day reading, relaxing, napping (a 2 hour booze snooze counts as a nap, right?) and having a little tipple.
It was actually pretty nice. We’ve had a hectic few weeks so being able to just chill out was lovely.
The following day started dry but very windy. The hotel is at the bottom of a cliff, it’s impossible to reach it without taking a minibus from the top to the bottom around hairpin bends and hair-raising slopes
But the isolation and views are fantastic when you’re at the bottom. The sea was bashing at the cliff face and it was far from warm. We had a wander round the grounds and down to the sea.
And then it started raining again. So we did more of the first day; relaxing, sleeping. And wine.
Post storm we saw this amazing sunset. The island you can see on the horizon is Ischia.
On day three the sun came out. Hurrah! We finally got to take advantage of the fabulous sun terrace which had two hot tubs, sun loungers and comfortable outdoor sofas, all looking right out to sea.
Naturally I had to indulge in some more wine (celebration!)
And a cocktail!
The hotel itself is small, with only around 35 rooms. It had a nice outdoor terrace which we were able to make use of both daytime and evening for eating and drinking.
We booked the hotel knowing that it was fairly isolated, and that it wasn’t possible to just pop out for a walk or into Sorrento. You had to get the minibus to the top of the cliff before you could get anywhere, and it’s not an area for walking. To get to Sorrento you needed to book the free shuttle bus there and back (or book an expensive taxi), so obviously there were timetables to be mindful of. But if you’ve done your research before you book then you know this. It really annoys me when people complain about something that’s made clear in advance.
The food was slightly underwhelming at first – from the reviews we’d expected gourmet meals but the reality was more rustic Italian food. Don’t get me wrong, it was tasty and well cooked and plentiful, with loads of choice at each meal. But this wasn’t the foodie holiday I had hopedfeared expected. I didn’t go mental and stuff my face til I felt sick, and I didn’t break the scales when I got home! (this is both good and bad in my book).
But check out these views!
Would I stay there again? No, because there’s loads more of the world to see and I’ve done that part of Italy now. That’s no reflection on the hotel. I just don’t understand people who go back to the same place year in year out. It smacks of lack of imagination.
I mentioned during my packing post that the forecast for Italy wasn’t great and that I had invested in waterproofs. In the first few days I’d only used mine to walk from the bedroom to the bar (and therefore it was already a worthy investment!) By Thursday, it was worth it’s weight in gold.
The Amalfi Coast drive is renowned as being absolutely beautiful, with sheer cliff drops, sea views, and towns precariously built into the rockface. There are the usual organised trip options, which we always avoid where possible, plus the local SITA buses and the red sightseeing bus. The SITA bus, although cheaper, makes quite a lot of stops between Sorrento and Amalfi and is renowned for being very busy and hot. The red sightseeing bus stops just once at Positano and then again at Amalfi – a 90 minute journey overall. It also has the benefit of audio description in 5 different languages, which is useful for finding out what you’re seeing and a bit of history.
By the time we got on the 10.45 departure there were only 4 seats left – all of which were on the left side of the bus, The right side is the place to sit on the outward journey for the best views. Luckily, at Positano (which is where the best views of the coastline start) some people got off, so I pushed the husband into grave jumping action and we got to see more of what was going on.
It had looked overcast when we had breakfast that morning but seemed to be brightening up (in my little optimistic head) by the time we left the hotel. I’d checked the forecast and Positano looked to be getting better weather during the day than Amalfi, but I was confident (in my own naive manner) that we’d get away with it.
My little optimistic head was wrong; alas it wasn’t to be. I’d be lying if I said the weather made no difference, as visibility was reduced and everything looks better in the sunshine, but the coastline was beautiful nonetheless.
Then came the rain. Full credit to the driver, who’s dexterity around the sharp bends and twisty turns made for a comfortable drive as we meandered our way along the coast.. I couldn’t have navigated it in a car, let alone a great big bus! Just look at them!
As we headed down towards Amalfi the weather took a distinct turn for the worse and the wind started to howl; leaving the harbour looking grey and uninviting rather than the pretty blue sea we’d imagined. The harbour itself was a myriad of buses and coaches, and people huddled under canopies to escape the weather – not the picturesque scene we expected and made for a rather gloomy destination.
We hadn’t planned to spend too long in Amalfi anyway, wanting to get back to Positano, but the weather made our decision easier and we stayed just long enough to snap a few pictures and christen our kagouls before jumping back on a dry bus.
The cathedral is a fabulous building.
I don’t want to do Amalfi a disservice, as I’m sure on a dry day it’s absolutely beautiful, but it’s not much fun squelching around and getting rain in your eyes while trying to sightsee (believe me, I tried). I would definitely give it another try next time I’m in Italy.
Frantically looking for the light at the end of the tunnel (literally!) I used the wifi on board the bus to check the weather forecast in Positano, which suggested the rain would definitely be stopping! Clinging to that hope we took the 45 minute drive back along the coastline, laughing and freaking out at some of the terrible driving on this crazy road!
I’d read that Positano was a must see for it’s prettiness and higgledy piggledy cliffside development. And so we got off the bus once again, into the rain, with the dogged determination to see what all the fuss was about.
Wearing my kagoul (again!) with an umbrella up (it was that wet) we set off down the hill. The rainwater was running down the gutter and the views across the bay were somewhat obscured by a myriad of tourist umbrellas but it was impossible not to fall in love with the tumble of pastel buildings, ceramic shops and restaurant terraces with gorgeous seaviews.
We followed the natural slope of the town down towards the harbour, pleased to note that the rain was easing.
We took refuge in a beachfront restaurant where we ate bruschetta, aubergine parmiagiana (me – boy was this good; one of the best meals of the holiday for me), spinach and ricotta ravioli with butter sauce (husband said this was delicious) and drank wine and beer.
After lunch the rain had stopped and we had a mooch on the beachfront. There are some great boat trips available including a trip to Grotto Smerelda which I’d love to see.I’d happily base myself in Positano next time in Italy. You can visit Capri by boat, as well as being a short drive back to Amalfi where there are bus trips to other villages along the coast like Raffaello and Maiori.
It’s just so pretty!
We jumped on the SITA bus back to Sorrento as it arrived just as we reached the bus stop, and it’s fair to say the driver was a lunatic! I was glad we hadn’t taken that bus all the way along!
It’s unfortunate that we did the drive on a rainy day, but it was either that or miss out (as it was our last full day) and I’d rather have seen it not it’s very best than not seen it at all.
When I spotted this book title on my Nook I knew it would be a perfect (and topical!) holiday read!
In the end it turned out to be mainly set in the UK, but that didn’t detract from my enjoyment at all.
I love my Nook for holidays. I read a lot on holiday so it saves on luggage allowance (my minimum 6 books weigh quite heavy, I could use that space for shoes instead) and it also means I have lots of choice in case I start something that turns out to be a bit naff.
I much prefer books in every day life, but for convenience my Nook is brilliant.
So, back to the book. It starts with the prologue – a flashback to a woman in Italy on holiday, flirting with a man. Back in the present day the book’s main characters are Anna, a journalist who is looking for the father she never knew; Catherine, a family orientated housewife who’s in for a very big surprise; and Sophie who, at the beginning of the book, is living and working in Sorrento.
As usual in feel good chick lit like this the lives of the three characters become very intertwined, despite their differences in age and character. They all end up at an Italian evrning class, with different individual connections to Italy. There’s someone for everyone to relate to – Sophie is mid 20s, Anna early 30s and Catherine late 30s, and they’re all really likable. They have their faults, especially Sophie who – at the beginning – seems rather a spoilt and selfish brat but as their stories unfold you see there’s more than meets the eye to all of them, and you really are rooting for them all to get the ending they deserve.
With each character also having a sub plot as well as the main connection that brings them altogether this is a heartwarming easy read that’s just perfect for whiling away the hours.
I’ve read other novels by Lucy Diamond and enjoy her writing, I’ll definitely read more of her books in the future.
Oh, and the prologue to “One Night in Italy” is mis-leading; that’s all I’ll say!
A week ago today we visited Herculaneum; which is the smaller, less well known cousin to the famous Pompeii, which was destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D.
Originally the husband wanted to go to Pompeii, as he said “no-one ever says Herculaneum is on their bucket list” but after advice from my Dad and further investigation, it became clear that Herculaneum was the one for us – further vindicated by some people at our hotel who visited both and said Herculaneum was better (I do love knowing we’ve done the right thing!)
Unlike Pompeii which was covered by ash, Herculaneum was covered by volcanic gas and mud, which meant it was better preserved. It was also under 20 metres of volcano eruption coverage, unlike the 4 metres covering Pompeii, which again added to the quality of preservation. While Herculaneum is a smaller site, it does make it easier to get around and see everything, and there are actual buildings and decorations still in tact.
We hopped on the train in Sorrento and got off about an hour later at Ercolano. I expected the site to be in the middle of nowhere, but it’s just at the bottom of a hill in the middle of the town. In fact, much of Herculaneum remains underground – an estimated 75% – because the town of Ercolano with it’s businesses and residents is thriving above it.
On entering the site you get an overview of the full excavation site, and it’s mindblowing. It’s like looking back into history, a very unusual and eerie feeling.
At just 12 euros each to enter, it’s an unmissable visit if you’re in the area and have any interest at all in history and ancient roman culture and way of life. You can employ the services of a guide, or pay for an audio guide, but we preferred to just wander around and immerse ourselves at our own pace.
What I’m about to say next sounds very silly, but it’s how I felt. It’s almost too good. It’s really hard to imagine that the roads and columns and mosaic floors are that old. It could almost be a film set, if that makes sense? It’s really hard to comprehend that you’re looking at thousands of years of history. After all, the eruption happened in 79 A.D but many of the buildings would already have been in existence prior to that – back into B.C territory. That’s almost incomprehensible! When you look at the detail in the brickwork, and the decorative nature of the arches it’s difficult to get your head around (or, at least, it was for me!) The roads and kerb stones are of a quality you just wouldn’t expect for such a long time ago – nothing has changed from how the Romans did it to how it’s done today.
Columns – interesting that that they’re brick built and then rendered and engraved with the decorative line detail.
Many of the buildings still have wall décor in reds and blues.
The mosaic floors are made from hundreds of thousands of tiny tiles – imagine laying them by hand! This one has a mermaid pattern – it was the floor of the public baths (slightly sunken in places, but you can kind of forgive that, considering it’s age!)
Look at the detail in this room.
I assumed these round holes were toilets, but having googled it I found the answer on Sarah Ryan’s blog – they were holes for cooking pots – this may well have been an early form of restaurant or takeaway!
Unfortunately these baths aren’t open to the public due to safety reasons – only scholars and researchers can get access (never been more tempted to lie about my job!) but I took this photograph through the glass. You can imagine they would be absolutely spectacular.
There are artefacts and engravings and statues also scattered around the site.
These skeletons are residents that huddled together in boat houses, presumably awaiting evacuation from the town. The hot gases from the volcanic eruption would have killed them instantly.
Herculaneum was fantastically interesting and worthwhile – truly a memorable experience and a great part of our trip to Italy.