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Monday, 26 December 2011

What bath-time means to me.

Bath time tales in 150 words

There is no other place I feel I can totally unwind and lose myself in my thoughts as I can whilst sinking into the bathtub. Bath time to me is a place of escapism, a place to lie back and dream whilst cocooned in the warmth of the water and the  heady scent of rose and geranium oils. In the bathtub time stands still, my senses are revitalised and my body relaxes. As the day ebbs away I come back, creativity is found and a new ideas are born in the moment. I can stare at the paint peeling off the ceiling, read a novel, doze to the flicker of a candle or get lost in my thoughts, for when I’m in the bathtub, time is my own and the world outside is a merely a place where I have existed and will return to only when the water runs cold.

My top five bath indulgences.

1 - Beautannia bath and shower gel in Brideshead bottles the floral essence of quintessential England which I love. Fresh, feminine purity whispers timeless elegance as wintersweet, wild bluebell and honeysuckle softly lace with plum, peach and violet leaves - a true revelry of nature's finest bouquet.

2 - Morrocan Rose Otto bath oil by Ren. This scent is heavenly and intoxicating. The oil leaves your skin incredibly soft and nouished so you don't need to reach for the body moisturiser afterwards. A perfect time saver when you have spent too long lazing in the bath!

3 - Fig and Coco natural olive oil soaps form the amazing two storey barn conversion in Ross-on-Wye - Baileys. The scents are heavenly and the infusion of olive oil is also great for your skin..far more than just a bar of soap!

4 - Jo Malone Red Roses/Wild Figs & Cassis bath oils. Whilst the former is like bathing in rose petals - seven types of rose petal blooms in the water leaving the sensuality of honeycomb, clove and musk lingering on the skin. The latter transports you to the warmth of the Mediterranean as you relax in the embracing scent of sun-warmed wild figs blended with cassis, cyclamen, pine and cedar. I've used these oils for years. They are pure heaven.

5 - Diptique candles - I use Philosykos. For the ultimate bath-time experience, bathe by candle light and let the freshness of fig leaves, green fruit, milky sap and the bark envelope you whilst you while away the hours.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Beauty Bumpkin

So this post is aimed at beauty junkies like myself who are always looking for a cult product that in some way will change our lives for the better. The type of beauty buy that after just one use you know that you cannot live without. Having edited beauty pages, I have tried and tested hundreds of products and I'd like to share some of my favourites..but shhh don't tell everyone!
Here are my top ten products that save me daily.. 

1 - Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream. I have used this for years and am never without it in my bag. Every photo shoot I have been on this product has been in the beauty kit! It makes for the best lip balm, giving long lasting gloss whilst nourishing your lips at the same time. It's also multi- purpose and can be used as a moisturiser for chapped dry skin, a gloss to tame unruly  brows and a skin healer for minor cuts and burns.

2 - Talika 'Liposils'. Eyelash conditioning gel. The best product out there for healthy and long eyelashes. Fantastic for days when mascara is too much.

3 - Nars 'Laguna' bronzer. The most natural looking bronzer on the market, it gives me an instant glow so I can face the world even after next to no sleep with a hangover.

4 - Lancome Juicy Tube in Marshmallow. The best lip gloss known. Perfect consistency and sheer pink colour. This product is rare.

5 - Keils Creme de Corps body lotion. This oh-so-buttery lotion keeps my skin soft all year round. A little goes a long way and it has the most perfect non greasy texture. 

6 - Blinc mascara. You can swim, cry and get caught in the rain wearing this and it will stay put yet all you need to take it off is a cleansing cloth & warm's a product that speaks for itself.

7 - Eve Lom cleanser. Good skin starts with cleansing and this product used with a muslin cloth gives for the most satisfying and deepest cleanse before bed, removing make-up and exfoliating the skin at the same time.

8 - Eve Lom rescue mask. A real pick me up for tired, stressed skin that needs a glow. Great to use before a party!

9 - Traite shampoo. Sulphate free, it is gentle &  nourishing leaving hairr uber glossy.

10 - Ren 'Rose Otto' Bath oil. This heavenly oil not only smells divine but leaves your skin feeling like silk.

11 - Okay I knew I couldn't keep it to ten! Last one..Origins 'No Puffery' eye mask. A life saver for tired, puffy eyes. I couldn't face the day without it. 

What I'll always do - drink tons of water and exercise daily.

What I'll never do - go to bed without removing make-up, ewww!

True beauty is found within.. smile!

Monday, 28 November 2011

Stilettos V pumpkin soup

So since writing my first blog there have been not one, but two occasions to don my stilettos. My initial reaction - hooray! My BFF's birthday party and my BBF's wedding respectively and two very different occasions indeed.
I've always loved a full social diary but each invite came with it's own sartorial dilemma. Firstly my best friend Rosie's birthday. Now for this occassion there had been talk of cocktail bars, posh nosh restaurants, acoustic sets, and dancing til dawn but when it came down to the finalities of the plans it turned out that we would be having a curry at Rosie’s, cooked by her dad, followed by a jaunt to the local pub which is in no uncertain terms a little bit of a dive. To make matters even worse, I am Rosie's only non-student friend. She, having just graduated in graphics & illustration from her third university course, at the grand age of 26, is a bonified clothes horse of thrown together, just got out of bed but ready to rock the party all night student-esque style. So there I am, stood in front of my wardrobe, clothes piled up around me, wondering which outfit, if any, is suitable for this occasion. I try on numerous dresses, jeans, tops and accessories. I add belts, then take them off again. I want desperately to wear my blue suede stilettos but have the erksome worry that I will be the only one in heels and look over dressed. Approximately one hour later I am leaving Daisy Cottage, late, wearing the blue suede stilettos with the silver heels that I can barely walk in, but whatever they look hot, right? So I am wearing my Reiss Tiana dress, a wardrobe staple, my skinny snake skin belt which contrasts with the print and  have my Mulberry clutch under one arm, well what else? I also have a ‘No Guts No Glory’ bag full of gifts for the my lovely friend, containing amongst other delights the iconic Essie nail polish in ‘Turquoise and Caicos.
On arrival I greet both Rosie’s ma and pa and head down to the basement where the party is in full swing. A canapay has been put up so everyone is grouped around in the garden just off the basement. Someone has an acoustic guitar and there are candles placed around the rockery. A fragrant smell of curry and lots of chatter, the atmosphere is cute and Rosie’s other chums are nice as pie, greeting me with hugs and kisses all round. Still, amid this lovely atmosphere something is bothering me - yep, I am most definitely the only girl in this house wearing stilettos and, eek, another sartorial thunder bolt, a dress! To be honest this didn’t come as a surprise at all..I mean I could have worn skinny jeans and a printed t shirt to fit in but hey, the times a girl gets to dress up are limited so what the hell. Another eeksome moment arrives when it is established that we will, gasp, walk to the pub! Help! I can barley stand let alone walk! Sure enough this was salvaged when Rosie’s brother Ed hoists me up and carries me pretty much the whole way, phew. So the night gos on and we head from one not so great venue to a rather more tragic one. A band is playing in the pub and we must dance so the stilettos come off and I hold them like most prized posescions in my hands, whilst bopping away to some wannabe rock band. The blue suede ones received more compliments in the air than they ever did on my feet, I wonder if we should always take off our shoes and hold them in the air, after all they are objects of beauty and deserve every appreciation going. So a fun night was had despite the dilemmas and I leave the pub with about as much sartorial elegance as the lead singer of the band in his bretton striped t shirt. I wake up the next day with a throbbing headache but absolutely no aching calves due to being bare foot most of the evening. Always a silver lining! Most of all I had a lot of fun, stilettos on my feet or not.

My BBF Marcos’ wedding is just around the corner and despite it being held in a bell tent in the middle of Dartmoor with an awful lot of twitchers attending, I know this will be an occasion to dress up. This time the sartorial perplexity is one of a different nature altogether. I need an outfit that will look chic and pretty but not too sexy as I am running very high risk of eek, dare I say it upstaging the bride! Now this is a difficult one as I always love an outfit to be a show stopper but on this occasion I know I need to pair it down and take a back seat. It is not my show and I may need to remind myself every so often! So I try on dress after dress with an array of accessories but none seem quite right, mainly they are too short or way to fashion forward. A week before the wedding and I am still without an outfit. I call upon my trusty friend Rach who has been to more weddings and royal ascot ladies days than the entire royal bunch put together!  We are just about the same size and have similar taste so I’m pretty sure she will have a dress to suit for the occasion. A couple of hours later I emerge from her house with a clothes carrier - contained within is the most perfect dress for a wedding. Classy, chic and pretty, not too short, not showing so much as a glimpse of cleavage! It’s a winner for sure and hopefully one that will do the job for the evening. The wedding, though far from a fashionista’s delight, is a jolly affair. I note I am the only girl to keep her stilettos on for the entire evening and find myself dancing to the likes of Kings of Leon and The Rolling Stones in my purple heeled beauties. The night ends with our taxi having to pull over on the A38 for us to vomit in the grass verge - damn those pasties they brought out at 11 o clock. Never a good idea to eat a pasty after a bucket load of bubbly then bounce around with an air guitar, eek! Luckily Rach’s dress remains vomit free and we all go home feeling much better for the stop off half way. My mind boggles as to why a local Devonshire cabbie struggled with the route, adding an extra half an hour onto our already arduous trip across horrific winding moorland tracks.

A couple of weeks later I am walking Partridge around the beautiful estate of Powderham Castle. I’m gazing in awe at the deer with their exquisite antlers and the joyous abundance of the lambs skipping through the fields. Autumn is most definitely upon us and I relish in being outdoors at this time of year. I love everything about Autumn, to me it has all the refinery a season can offer;  Autumn leaves of colours so rare you want to preserve them, crunching under foot as we climb to the highest point to get a glimpse of a sunset made of the boldest hues. Chestnuts, gourds, conkers, toasty nights by an open fire eating home-made pumpkin soup and star gazing on a clear night. These are all things that make me stop and ponder the nature of time and the essence of beauty. In these moments in my wellies and bobble hat thinking about making that perfect soup I am a million miles removed from my stilettos and the ability to keep them on my feet all night. In the Autumn a new peace of mind is found and I’m happy to be here in the moment, appreciating all that is beautiful in the glorious countryside. After our walk I stop by at the local farm shop and buy a couple of pumpkins, one to cut out for halloween and the other to make soup for supper. I pop them down on the work surface ready to prepare and run upstairs to change. Smiling to myself I kick my stillettos under the bed, for now there is soup to be made!

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Muddy Mulberry

It may seem as though I have the perfect life; I live in a beautiful cottage in a chocolate box village in Devon with my lovely husband, gorgeous cockerpoo puppy and a flock of pekin and silky bantams. I work from home as a freelance writer - the envy of many a friend.
However, the reality is, that though ‘happy’ with my life, I frequently find myself questioning my choices and decisions. Life in the country is certainly not without its perils. I mean, I am a fashionista at heart.

I spent years living in London feeding off the buzz of city life. I used to walk runways as a model, these days I’m walking country lanes and the treadmill when I can be bothered. Note
to self: Mulberry bag is not required when dog walking nor for a session at the

Let me put you in the picture. It’s a forty minute journey to get a Cosmopolitan, Sweaty Betty exercise gear - forget it, people south of Bristol don’t want to look trendy whilst exercising.. apparently, nor use anything other than bog standard beauty products on their skin; each time I place an order with Space NK it costs me a whooping five pounds postage.

It was my choice however to trade my stilettos in for my wellies (hunters albeit), to
have a more peaceful life away from the smog of the city. It is just some days
when walking my puppy, Partridge, I find myself thinking that this is not quite
how I envisaged my life, and wondering what happened to all the promise
and excitement? Nowadays the most exciting thing to happen in my week is
winning my squash league game or selling an old pair of Prada sandals on ebay.

But a serene life is what we all strive for, isn’t it? Reading a book on a languid day in the summer house, picking the freshly grown vegetables, hanging up yet more bunting and sipping pimms on the terrace. I know, I know it all sounds too perfect for words but then there is the reality of of a less perfect day; I walked into the kitchen to find all my post chewed up by the pup including a top ordered from Toast - now not looking so new it had a hole in the front and back plus all the tags were chewed off. No returning that one then! The love film dvd’s were also chewed up - there goes our cosy night in.. Our kitchen is being renovated so a complete mess, I smelt burning plastic,  looked down to find another parcel I thought I had placed on the side burning quietly away on the hob. A hole had burned all the way through my new Reiss dress bought on ebay.  Cursing,  I donned my wellies as per normal to muck out my hens (a daily chore). Outside it was gloomy so the stunning hill view we have was, less stunning frankly. It was also drizzling so I could say goodbye to all the work put in by Frederick Fekkai in the shower that morning. Major eeks! On entering the hens pen my vintage wrap got caught on the wire and rips, I get chicken poo on my hands when pulling out the tray and the broody Louise pecks at me when I lift her off her eggs. On walking back up the path, Partridge escapes through the division gate and chases Thelma, Holly and Dorothy into our neighbours hedge. I scold her, walk back to the cottage forgetting I have the collected eggs in my pocket and as I push against the door they smash. Ugh, most definitely not the day I had in mind and certainly not the tranquil vision of my life my friends in the city conjure up when they think of me.

I could be sat in a plush office wearing my stilettos with a latte and a panini  to
go but instead I’m sat at my laptop in my pyjamas (from T
oast of course). This
is the life I chose, and even though each day brings with it more disasters and
less excitement than the one before, I feel a wee bit smug  knowing that I
don’t have to climb that corporate ladder or catch the tube each day. Instead I
can breath fresh air (translated as the distinct smell of cow pats) into my
lungs and smile at the fact that I at least have a view, even on a drizzly day.
Maybe this is what growing up is all about..and maybe a reason to don my
stilettos will be just around the corner....