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.

Friday, 16 May 2014

Summer scent - Alesha Rose Quartz

At last, it’s sunny and warm in Newcastle today and it feels like summer’s here. One of my favourite things in summer is the fragrance of roses, that heady, heavy, scent I associate with August, the six weeks holiday and playing outside as a child. Aunty Mary and Uncle Stan lived opposite us, across the back lane, and their garden was full to bursting with rose bushes, big, glorious blooms that spilled out their perfume in the air, especially in the evening. Happy days.

My daughter has inherited my love of that flower’s scent, though it’s a shame she won’t get to experience the joy of Uncle Stan’s garden as I did. Her love of roses though translates to perfume – currently one in particular, Alesha Dixon’s Rose Quartz.

(It's a press image - our kitten chewed up the perfume box before I got a chance to take my own photo)

Containing geranium, bergamot, grapefruit and magnolia, I don’t know if this eau de toilette includes any actual roses, but it smells like it does. It is very light, not cloying, so will suit a wide range of people. In the absence of actual roses around our way this is an enjoyable substitute. Not that I get to wear it often – Dot has acquired it and added it to her getting-larger-every-day haul of make-up and fragrance.

Usually I’m not one for celebrity scents, but this one is a belter.

Rose Quartz by Alesha Dixon costs £24.50 for 100ml from here.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Tresemmé 7 Day Keratin Smooth - not impressed

I bought Tresemmé 7 Day Keratin Smooth after reading rave reviews on a couple of beauty blogs I follow. It wasn’t exactly cheap, but I thought well, if it works…

I have dreadful hair – thick and lots of it, but not straight and not curly. There’s a wave that if left to dry naturally shows as frizzy, so I was excited at the thought that this set of products could be the answer.
It wasn’t.

The blurb says you can use the straightening treatment without the shampoo and conditioner, but the best results are to use all three steps of the system. So I did.

According to Tresemmé, the 7-Day Keratin Smooth Heat Activated Treatment uses heat activated polymers to keep hair beautifully smooth for seven days and up to three washes. It is described as a breakthrough in hair technology, and works with the heat of your hair straighteners. And it did, that bit is certainly true – my hair was so smooth and didn’t feel heavy with product, which is good.

It’s the bit where you wash your hair again and it’s supposed to still be smooth that I have the problem with – my hair was just as frizzy as it usually is when left to its own devices. I know I’m in the minority with my opinion here – there’s lots of reviews on the Boots website for example with people simply swooning over these products – but I won’t be putting away my straighteners anytime soon.

Tresemmé 7 Day Keratin Smooth Shampoo and Conditioner, around £5.99 each; heat activated treatment, around £6.99 depending where you shop.