Tuesday, 29 October 2013


About 20 years ago I decided that I couldn't put up with the endless time taken to remove the hairs on my legs.  I had tried shaving, waxing, depilatory creams and bleaching - all with limited success.  The trouble is when you have very dark hair - as mine once was :) - it shows and can make you feel very self conscious.  So my solution was to have laser treatment.  All those years ago it wasn't so commonplace and finding a clinic providing this was difficult.  I went to a place now called Sk:n in London. I had many treatments as individual hair grows at different rates and zapping them all takes time.  I started out with a "ruby" laser which targeted individual hairs that is one at a time - you can imagine how long this took!  This laser was replaced by an "alexandrite" which covered a small area at a time.  Both were very effective. I was told that they work best on dark hair as the energy is absorbed better. It was so worthwhile - it was like being free…..

Modern lasers are now available like  UPL - ultrashort pulse laser which emits ultrashort pulses of light

You can also buy home lasers now which are quite powerful - like the one by Tria - above.  I bought this one as even all these years later stray hairs still appear…….really useful for underarms, lip and dare I say chin!

My husband also uses it to thin out his "5 o clock shadow" which annoys him!  So not only for women!  Men need grooming too!

Have you noticed how some men neglect their eyebrows??  Tweezers and scissors can work wonders on eyebrows which have grown to be unruly with age - doesn't take long and takes years off them!

As you get older hair does change and hairiness varies but it is important to continue grooming and being concerned about your appearance - you look better and younger!

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Developing interests.....

Always loved painting - so nice I can indulge my self and do the things I have always wanted to do .......like painting my granddaughter!

We all have had to pursue careers which paid the bills.... still have these thoughts about how nice it would have been to pursue a career I really wanted......................

Friday, 25 October 2013

Friday this and that......

Remember my last but one post on taking vitamin supplements.......  well interesting that attention has turned to children under 5. Apparently there has been an increase in rickets which is put down to lack of sunshine vitamin vitamin D.  There are all sorts of reasons as to why this is happening.  However at this youn=g age I am not really in favour of giving them a daily pill as has been proposed - surely we should start with looking at their diet and also making sure that they have time to play outside??

What do you think??


Even though my grandchildren have very fair skins and one is a redhead they still are encouraged to play and enjoy the elements!


Just finished mixing the ingredients for my Christmas mincemeat and the kitchen smells wonderful with the combination of fruit, nuts, oranges, lemons, apples and spices.  Just waiting until the morning for its 3 hour stint in the cool oven tomorrow.  So easy and so much better than bought!!  Thank you Delia Smith for the recipe - I have used this for years and I always look forward to it!  :)


Yesterday my husband said   "would you like a little outing"  - I smiled enthusiastically - thinking shopping, lunch.........

It turned out being a trip to the dump!!  All he wanted was the company as he had already loaded all the surplus to requirements into our car.  In some ways it was enjoyable as we both have this need for decluttering and tidiness and clearing the decks.

There's nothing worse than housing things for the sake of it and taking up valuable space.
Also as you get older hoarding is often referred to as a "senior trait" - so determined not to be categorised in that way!!  I must say our recycling centre is amazing there are so many containers for so many different things which can be used in some way.

So maybe its time for your clear out !!!

.......I did get taken to lunch afterwards :)

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Cream of the Crop.................

My husband was reading the newspapers and saw an article on a face cream for menopausal women and mentioned it to me as ...he is interested in these developments in next generation creams  from the scientific point of view and also knows that I, like most women are very interested in anti ageing goods.


Now there have been many claims of creams providing life changing effects on the skin and I am highly sceptical about their claims.  However this particular cream, Stratum C is designed to boost collagen which apparently we can lose significantly during the menopause - up to a third.

Here are some of Stratum C's claims and information on their site........

"Collagen-stimulating peptides and Hyaluronic Acid work 
together to combat the effects of menopause as well as 
natural sources of Vitamins A and E (something the skin lacks during menopause).
Two unique combinations of peptides have been formulated showing the following results:
  • Muscle relaxation – muscles are relaxed helping to reduce stress and tension within the skin.
  • Collagen production is stimulated – clinical trials have shown up to a 70% increase in the production of collagen, helping to improve elasticity and skin tone.
  • Increased moisture content – Hyaluronic Acid holds 1000 times its own weight in water making ti the perfect ingredient to help increase moisture content within the skin.
  • Smooth, supple skin – Key ingredients including Jojoba Oil and Apricot Oil leave the skin feeling soft, smooth and much more supple once more."

I am not a person who goes in for spas and facials but I am quite receptive to trying some of these new products - so armed with this justification in my head for  the spend of £85 .....I bought a pot on line :)

I was quite pleasantly surprised at the size of the pot of cream which arrived and the volume of cream it contained.  It was also encouraging to read that it is recommended that you use a pea shaped amount twice a day on cleansed face.  So on this basis it should last a long time (more justification!)

I have been using Stratum C for a fortnight and I am cautiously declaring that I have seen a difference.  My skin feels smoother and fine lines have diminished significantly.  (my husband also confirmed this).  It is early days so will let you know what I think after 3 months! 

Here's looking for a miracle :-)

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Popping Pills......................

I was watching a programme on TV last week  "Trust me, I'm a Doctor".  They were looking at why
people take vitamins. They said that if people had a balanced diet, then people would get all the vitamins they need from their food and they concluded that most people who take vitamins excrete this surplus to requirements in their urine - so a waste of time and money.

You can't really argue with a logical argument so why do we take these supplements?  Certainly my husband and I do.  I feel like the pharmacist in a morning counting out the pills!! Maybe its psychosomatic as we believe in the practice or maybe there is this fear that maybe we don't always get what we need from our particular diet?  All I know is that my husband and I on the surface seem fit and healthy.

There has been one occasion when my husband suddenly came out in a rash, and it was itchy and irritating and also unsightly. After seeing our doctor and a specialist they concluded it was probably psoriasis.  He has no history of this in his family and he found it hard to believe that this was the case.

My husband was a Research Chemist and maybe his training helped him to overcome this particular problem. He tried to think of any unusual contact with chemicals or something new he had eaten or drunk.  To cut a long story short he concluded that because we try very hard to keep out of the sun and the fact that he spends a significant part of the day indoors working on his computer... this sudden appearance of a rash could be down to vitamin D deficiency.    Well it was worth a try as the prescribed pills and lotions were not having any significant impact.  So he started taking vitamin D regularly and the rash started to fade and after a fortnight the rash had completely disappeared. Now some could argue this is just coincidence but we tend to think that my husbands remedy was correct.  So this had lead us to be less strict about sun  exposure although still careful.....and  we take a daily vitamin D tablet.

At the moment we are taking 5 as you can see here.......we buy tablets online from either Healthspan or Woods as it is much cheaper than buying on the High Street but we also buy vitamin D, a multivitamin
and a low dose aspirin from Boots.

We have our reasons for taking this combination and they work for us. This is very much a personal decision and  what we are taking may not be doing us any good but the quantities we take will probably not be doing us any harm!

At our age we feel we are doing our best in managing to keep fit and healthy..............still a bit of a lottery :)

Do you have any anecdotes to share??

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

10 meals every child should be able to prepare!

In these health  and cost conscious times it is more and more important to cook yourself so that you know what is going in a meal  is healthy and by having a little knowhow it does not have to be costly.

When I was at primary school in the 50s I can't remember one overweight child.  Our mothers cooked nutritious meals for us and this is despite having full time jobs.  Many mums had an array of meals they cooked regularly and which did not take a great deal of time to prepare and cook. 

I followed on from what I learned from my mother and even when work demands were really high I would spend a couple of hours at the weekend preparing dishes for the week which I would freeze.  In this way we ensured having a good meal ready for every evening of the week. By cooking you can also reduce costs quite significantly. 

 I followed a woman at the checkout at our supermarket this week  and she counted out 4 spaghetti bolognese ready meals which didn't look very appetising but also would cost much more than home cooked

Mary Berry (the Great British Bake Off host) gave a speech at the Cheltenham Literature Festival and she talked about the need to bring back domestic science lessons back into schools and said.........

'It should be that every child when they leave school can do 10 meals, because when they leave home they've got to be able to eat healthily."  

This is just great practical common sense advice and being taught in school is an ideal solution for those who don't watch and learn at home.  I started to think about what were my 10 staple everyday meals  we eat on a regular basis.....

shepherds pie
fish pie
corn beef hash
chicken casserole
beef stew
spaghetti bolognese
vegetable curry and rice
roast dinner

in fact there are 11 here and for all except the roast dinner I would prepare in advance and maybe freeze. These with a portion of vegetables are healthy and filling and satisfying. When my children were at home and going through faddy periods as to whether they liked veg or not I would often "hide" carrot by grating it into several of the dishes.  There is nothing nicer that a warm wholesome meal on a winters night and even better sitting round the table together to enjoy it! 

Can you name 10?

(Mary Berry is 78 years old and living life to the full!)

Monday, 14 October 2013

Just a minute......

Just been watching Nicholas Parsons on the Alan Titmarsh Show.  Absolutely amazing - he is now 90 years old and as sharp and as witty and as clued up as ever. Although I must say in his earlier career he was perceived as quite irritating however he has experienced what could be called a rehabilitiation and a renaissance.

He is probably most well known now for chairing "Just a Minute" on Radio 4. This presents a challenge for him as he explained as he has to control some very intelligent and quick witted individuals and keep up with them.  His combination of humour and sarcasm is just right as he makes the whole experience fun.

He said that he will continue working until the public give up on him as what else would he do.  He went on to say he treats the brain as a muscle and needs to be exercised in order to stay in good shape - what brilliant advice for all of us!

What really makes him happy at 90 ?  Work, family and his garden............

Lessons to be learned for all of us!!

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Body Monitoring.............

About 2 years ago I bought the Omron Body Composition Monitor. It measures your weight, body fat, visceral fat, BMI and skeletal muscle.

 It was quite a party piece - every visitor wanted to have a go.  Some were quite smug about the results others quite worried.  This may have prompted the latter to do something about their adverse results, hopefully visit their GP.   

I monitored myself for about 6 months and the readings were fine and so I  lost interest and the monitor ended  up in a cupboard.

Just recently there have been health programmes on TV and more emphasis on the benefits of exercise and the impact on the body.  I remember that one of the concerns was about the fat that you can be fine weight wise but you could be accumulating fat around your internal organs (visceral fat) and if this is significant you may wish to examine your lifestyle. 

So curious to see how I was faring  I resurrected the Omron and have started monitoring again. All my readings were fine apart from the body fat which was just a tad over the ideal scale even though I am a regular exerciser.  So maybe for my frame I need to lose a little weight..........

Amazon have a similar item on offer for £49.95 (RRP £119.95) - I know I paid much more than this.

It is a useful tool if you are concerned about health and fitness and your general health.  It is also useful as I have found to revisit  from time to time to make sure that there haven't been major changes.

The Way To A Man's Heart........

In these health conscious days having puddings and cakes is a rare indulgence. I am fortunate that I don't really care for sweet things - my weaknesses are crisps and nuts, although the former isn't healthy and the latter is laden with calories.

My husband loves all the puds and cakes but I ration him to try and save him from himself!  A couple of days ago he said he would really like a lemon meringue pie and seeing as he gave me the pleading puppy dog look I relented.  Here is the result!

When I had finished it and admired my handiwork, I remembered a comment someone made to me years ago. I had prepared a lavish spread for work colleagues and one of them asked if I had cooked it myself with just a touch of sarcasm.  I said I had and she said "you cook........?!"

Now her exclamation could be taken in different ways....did she think I wasn't capable .......or was it that I was such a busy person I wouldn't have time...... I chose the less contentious assumption and smiled sweetly.

Maybe this capability, wannability assumption around career women had its inspiration from Shirley Conran's book "Superwoman" which she wrote in the 1970's.  This book was aimed at busy career women. Some of her comments were very much "tongue in cheek" but left a lasting impression.  Here are a couple of her quotes.

"Life's too short to stuff a mushroom"

"I make no secret of the fact that I would rather lie on a sofa than sweep under it"

As a full time working mum I always cooked and cleaned myself and dare I say I actually enjoyed it. At weekends I would regularly cook meals to freeze so that there wouldn't be any problem in the week with preparing meals if I was late for any reason.

Now I am retired I  spend more time cooking for the people I love.......and I assure you I am not turning into a Stepford wife!!

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Party Season!!

With Christmas on the horizon ...or at least that is what the shops are trying to tell us........maybe time to think about party frocks!  Good to get them "in stock" as when you want them nearer the time you can never find what you want.  I love long evening dresses and but there aren't always enough occasions to wear them - however I make the most of them on holiday and on the run up to Christmas. 

I like something different and hopefully something others won't be wearing that is why I use many of the designer outlet sites where you can get a fabulous bargain and something very special. The trick is being realistic about what suits you and also aware of the sizing of different designers - designs come from a range of countries, France, Italy , US and so on and the read across in sizing is not always accurate. 

I prefer very fitted items which pinch in at the waist as it is a really flattering look even though I can't eat anything when wearing them! "Pride must abide!" 

Here are two of my dresses I bought from outnet.com - the Marchesa hasn't had an outing yet but will do next month - the Mikael Aghal I have had for about 18 months and I have worn on a few occasions and it has been much admired.

Notte by Marchesa
Original price £845NOW £295.7565% off

Mikael Aghal
Original price £540NOW £18965% off

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Combatting Tears!!

As you get older apparently it is quite common to have "watery eyes".

Sumptuous Extreme

I must confess it is something I have always been aware of even when I was young.  Could be the wind, cold weather and lack of sleep which triggers it for me.

Not really a problem except when wearing eye 
makeup - and I really like eye makeup - hangup from the "sixties"!

Here are two items I have bought recently from Estee Lauder.  These two have been life savers in my fight against damage done by watery eyes - the mascara is waterproof but still has the build up of non waterproof and you can really get a "sweep"!!
Cost £22

The eyeliner - Double Wear/zero smudge easy to apply and most importantly stays put!
Cost £21

So no longer do I look like sooty!

I bought on line and got free postage and a couple of free samples.......... I know they are expensive but in this case I think you get what you pay for.  I have tried others in the past but they weren't as effective.

Have you tried any other successful alternative eye makeup??  Love to hear from you and especially older travellers :-)

  • Double Wear  

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Barking in Essex!

Last week my husband and I went to see "Barking in Essex" at the Wyndham Theatre.  We had been warned in advance by friends that there is a lot of lets say choice language and we were not disappointed!!! We didn't really know what to expect and we were pleasantly surprised as to how enjoyable this play turned out to be..... essentially a silly, farcical with lots of British humour and excellent acting from all the cast.

The reason why I am singling out this play more than others is down to the truly magnificent Sheila Hancock.  This statuesque lady is now 80 years old but it hard to accept that she is this age.  She has extremely good posture and a great figure and wonderful cheekbones.  She is someone who seems to regard age as just a number and continues to work in energetic roles despite having had major illnesses.  What a fighter and an inspiration for women of all ages.  Lesson for us not to talk yourself old!  Keeping fit and active must be her mantra!

Monday, 7 October 2013

Manchester Images............

continued from previous post ..................

I was absolutely amazed at the number of cameras aimed at the speakers ....and which annoyingly kept clicking non stop hoping for the special pic. It makes you realise the the smallest face or wardrobe malfunction can be interpreted in a thousand ways and recorded for posterity - enough to make you a quivering wreck.

So nothing was off limits on the image front.  The men got off pretty lightly with the hairstyles having the most coverage..... Boris of course with his unmanageable thatch and George Osborne's newly combed forward coiffure.........
Weight was also mentioned but concentrated on the cost of the Spa getaway to achieve this....Michael Gove seemed unperturbed by the scrutiny.  Certainly he had benefitted from the experience as he showcased his svelte physique.

The women came in for more detailed criticism.  Instead of championing those who had made an effort, looking groomed and smart and doing their bit for the fashion industry - we instead  had unjustified derogatory remarks - some very personal and hurtful.  You certainly need to have rhino hide to be in the public eye. Here is a bright woman holding down one of the most important jobs in the country and all that features heavily is her appearance.

Theresa May had the camera turned on her mercilessly commenting on her tartan Vivienne Westwood suit and comparing her unfavourably to the model who wore the outfit on the catwalk. Ms May also had the audacity to wear a little glitter on her Russell and Bromley shoes.  She can't win.  I give her 10/10 for pursuing her love of fashion and for being her own person.


Then there was Karen Brady of "The Apprentice"  and also the newly appointed Government's Small Business Ambassador.  She addressed the audience in a slightly nervous but authoritative way -  she has a a proven track record and is a very capable business woman.  So was this reported ?......well yes but what will stick out most in the write ups was that her dress was from BHS and cost around £38.  They then compared this unfavourably with a similar dress worn by Ffion Hague which was more expensive.  This snap only shows a side view of Ms Brady (difficult to take anything with swirling arms and cameras) but she looked pretty good to me.  

The press can't make their minds up whether a woman should wear expensive or cheap, high street or designer, flamboyant or safe.............this was clearly illustrated by Samantha Cameron's outfit which was smart and charming. The dress and shoes were inexpensive but someone found out that the belt cost £150.  Anyone would think this was a hanging matter.  Ironic really when some of the female  commentators outfits cost a great deal more than the PM's wife which came in at under £300! 

Confidence is something women always seem to have a problem with.......putting on a brave exterior and believing in yourself does not come easy. Finding the right outfit to fit the occasion is a challenge but helps in the image and confidence stakes,  however it doesn't take much to destroy this.  This is why I feel for women in the public eye as they seem to be fair game for a variety of comments often unrelated to the work they do.  Its bad enough not being in the public eye....... 

So thinking about the sisterhood.....next time you think about saying something bad about another woman and her style and taste............don't!  :)

Friday, 4 October 2013

Manchester Magic!

Its been a while since my husband and I have been to Manchester.  It is a really vibrant city and has so much to offer in the centre including shops, restaurants, architecture, food festivals......and of course football! Bad weekend for both teams as they lost - my husband, who was born in Manchester, supports City so not best pleased!


So why were we here?  We attended the Conservative Conference which started Sunday and finished Wednesday. We have always considered attending but work commitments have never allowed the time. We didn't really know what to expect and were pleasantly surprised just how enjoyable the experience has been.  

Of course the thrust of the event was about politics but there were other speakers who provided different perspectives about life and some were truly inspirational.  One of these was Lindsay Johns, a bright articulate man who gave a lot of time to youngsters in Peckham in helping them to achieve their dreams.  He spoke at length and had the audience mesmerised.  The link below gives a flavour but such a pity the whole speech cannot be heard.  At the end of his talk he was given a standing ovation and there were many teary eyes.


The evenings were also full of activity - on one of the nights we were invited by one of the delegates to the "Friends of Bangladesh" to attend a gathering at a restaurant.  We had a wonderful time, the food and company were exceptional.  Many there had started their own businesses and were really motivated to succeed.  This included their support for their own children and their education.

One of the things which impressed me at the conference was the number of women of all ages and from different walks of life who had achieved in their own right.  More of this tomorrow!  .......including the barriers to women which society unfortunately present.