Thursday, 22 September 2011

Learning to Drive

Being 30 and still not being able to drive, hasn't been too much of a sticking point up until now. I've always lived in places that are well served by public transport and I never mind jumping on and off trains, tubes and buses. Travel turmoil is a bit like water off a duck's back with me; show me a delayed departure and I'll show you some SERIOUS patience.

I have painful memories of failing the driving tests I did take. The first time around, my examiner was being examined by an examiner. My story goes a little like this: "My examiner HAD to fail me in order to look like he was doing his job...", never mind the fact that I drove through a set of red lights and mounted the curb as if I was playing Grand Theft Auto.

Failure #2 came a few months later when I was just getting back on my feet after a nasty bout of adult chicken pox. If you had chicken pox as a child, be thankful, having it when you're 21 is like developing raging flu and adult acne overnight. I was off work for 4 whole weeks in which time my fiance / first love and I decided to end our 3 year relationship - life changing stuff. I probably shouldn't have attempted driving test #2 given the emotional upheaval I was going through. But, not wanting to lose my slot or lose out on hard earned money, I took the test.

I failed.

That was 9 years ago, and I've not tried again since. Do I need to learn to drive now? In a word - YES!! Even though I live and work in London, and know the booking pages of redspottedhanky.com and thetrainline.com more intimately than what my friends are up to on facebook, yes, I think at 30, it's about time I knew how to drive. The convenience and freedom it would give me would be brilliant - and when I have children - it will be a necessity.


Maybe there is a plus side in learning how to drive later on in life; road crashes are the biggest cause of death and disability among young drivers. That said, RED Driving School, believes that road safety education is paramount and is committed to working with organisations, including the road safety charity Brake and young people (in particular between the ages of 17 and 24 who are more likely to be involved in a car crash than any other age group in the UK).

It's always good to know you're in safe hands... so maybe I'll see RED when it comes to learning how to drive ; )

Rosie x

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Headmasters: Blow Dry Collection

I'm a wash-and-go-kinda-girl. Fuss free and slightly unkempt hair suits my personality; easy going and somewhat all over the place.

Before Neil worked his magic
Every time I've had a fringe cut, I love it at first but days later I want nothing more than to grow it out, why? Because fringes are fafftastic! Sometimes though, I like to pull out all the stops and go the whole nine yards. Not nine yards of hair silly - that would be ridiculous - the whole nine yards to a more glamorous and polished hairdo (with plenty of faff in the process).

As I've never quite mastered the art of kirby grips or Silvikrin, I sought the architectural mastery of an expert for my most recent 'up-do'. Headmasters do a Blow Dry Bar and they change the 'menu' with the season. When I saw the gorgeous Neil at the Headmasters flagship salon in Mayfair, I opted for the Adele style vintage double-knot.

Watching your hair, look & whole demeanour transform in front of you over 45 minutes is quite a novel experience. Whether you're chatting away to the hairdresser or sitting in pampered silence, it's hard not to let your mind drift into what it's like being a film star, receiving this treatment day in, day out....

Anyway - back to reality. For most of us, a salon blow dry is a luxury and not something you'd readily have done in your lunch break. That said, they're perfect for a big event or as a pay day treat to hit the town looking fabulous. There's a good range of styles too, from Bergdorf Belle to Manhattan Curl. A blow dry from the Headmasters Collection starts at £24. You can find out move by visiting http://www.hmhair.co.uk/


I think I was admiring Neil's hair at this point

A sure fire way to feel like a film star in just 45 minutes

Neil - a true head master

Are you a Holiday Bragger?

Some people are still eeking out the last of their 'summer holidays', having opted for late September deals, wisely avoiding the throngs of families with ice-cream-hungry kids . But as the British autumn creeps up on us, you may be left reminiscing about your summer holidays with friends and colleagues... but will you tell them the truth? Or will you embellish a little, saying you were delayed at the airport for 24 hours, when it was just two... that it was nearly 40 degrees Celcius, when it was actually just 30 degrees and how you windsurfed for the first time – without mentioning that the board was still on the sand.

New research by lastminute.com reveals that 17% of Brits admit to embellishing stories and stretching the truth about their holidays. This is nowhere near as much as our Irish neighbours though; 29% admit to bragging about their trips away and are the most likely people in Europe to spin a yarn when regaling friends with their stories.

Have I ever stretched the truth about my holidays? Sure. Last year we went to the Gambia where our suitcases were turned inside out by airport officials (they browsed through my boyfriend's bag). We were caught in the biggest torrential downpour, (it rained quite heavily when we got there). The sea was like bath water (it was warmer than the British coast) and my other half probably fought off yellow fever, (he had mild fever and a bad tummy).  

Yesterday, I was in the studio with Mark Maddock the MD of lastminute.com and travel journalist Alison Rice, who were talking to radio stations up and down the country about this very topic. I also gleaned their top destinations:
  • Mark recommends Turkey & Croatia, as they are both outside the Eurozone and are good value for money
  • He also rates Reykjavik in Iceland where you can see the Northern Lights - just a three hour trip from the UK
  • Alison is a huge fan of the Canary Islands as they're reliable for sunshine
  • According to lastminute.com the most popular destination for package holidays (flights and accommodation) in 2011 so far has been Egypt

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Autumn Thoughts

I've decided that my tube commute also counts as my daily exercise.

This may sound like an excuse to push a 'real' workout conveniently to one side, it probably is, but in today's age when there are seemingly NEVER enough hours in the day (...week, month or year), Convenience is King. So for me, a one hour 20 minute door-to-door commute with thigh-punishing escaltor 'treks' (I rarely stand still on one), coupled with a brisk pounding of the pavement above ground, carries enough cardiovascular credentials. Right?

Anyhow, exercise aside, I'm a bit hot and sweaty sitting on my long District Line shuffle back to South West London. Maybe it's because I'm wearing too many clothes for this transitional time of year? Have you noticed that lots of people are still championing flip flops & bare legs while others seem all for embracing Autumn's comforting additions?

I'm really looking forward to Autumn and here are some of the things I shall be enjoying! x

Gold nails. This one from Collection 2000 is cheap & cheerful  - £2.99

Camel coloured shoes by Freed of London - I bought these from Fara Charity shop for £18. They're made in England and feel gorgeous on my feet
Another charity shop bargain: Mustard coloured polka dot bow tie blouse £4 - Oxfam
These wax finish black trousers from Mango cost £34.90 - they make a nice change to jeans and are just as wearable

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Japanese Kiri Facial

A facial cleanse, massage and hot towel treatment in a rather sunny destination. 


On my recent trip to Spain we visited the town of Rojales in Alicante.

After a morning spent mooching around the lively market, we found ourselves in the hotel "El Corazon" where we ate, drank sangria and played crazy golf (hard work if you ask me).  So much hard work in fact, I opted for a lie down...

I was treated to Japanese Kiri facial cleanse, massage and hot towel treatment by Saphia, the beauty therapist who runs her own salon at the hotel.

Trained in London, Saphia doesn't subscribe to any particular style of treatment, instead she uses years of experience to pick and choose the therapies and massage styles which she finds to be the most effective.

Me...in heaven...somewhere.
The treatment came in three parts:

Japanese Kiri Facial Cleanse - cleanser was emulsified and massaged into my skin and then removed with warm flannels.

Facial massage - as well as concentrating on my neck and shoulders, Saphia used a technique which facilitates toxin removal.

Hot towel treatment - to finish, Saphia used a hot rolled-up towel to stretch out my neck and shoulders. This addressed the pressure points on my head. Mmmmm.

Saphia uses products by the award winning Germaine de Capuccini (they smell delicious).  Treatments start at €20 for a mini facial up to €50 for an advanced anti-ageing "Timexpert" treatment.

If you happen to find yourself in the vacinity of Rojales, you can make a booking by emailing Saphia on zglegg(at)btinternet.com.

Happy weekending, and massaging (if you're lucky!)

Rosie x


Sunday, 1 May 2011

The Oral B Power Challenge: The Results

Do you ever look forward to going to the dentist?


I must be feeling sick... I have a dental appointment this coming Thursday and I'm actually quite excited about it. 
In previous years, I would nervously lean back in the dentist's chair as all my bad habits (sugary drinks, lack of flossing and nights when I'd forget to brush) would all rush to the front of my regretful guilty mind. 
This time around, I'm hoping the dentist will award me with a badge and some Brownie points.

As I approach my thirties, my attitude towards my oral health has definitely changed.  For the past month I've been taking part in the Oral-B Power Challenge by using a Professional Care Power 500 Power Brush.
Switching from a manual to an electric toothbrush has meant I now pay more attention to my oral health in general.  I've cut down on soft and fizzy drinks, I chew xylitol gum after most meals and snacks and I've been rinsing with Retardex.

The Professional Care 500 has an inbuilt timer - so you know when to switch and clean the other side of your mouth i.e. no cheating with a 30 second speed-clean.  You can also swap the brush head for a floss action one, or even a polisher depending on your mood!


 

Studies show that using an electric toothbrush can remove up to twice as much plaque from your teeth than a regular manual brush. 
It's amazing how having a super clean mouth can boost your confidence and your overall sense of wellbeing.

My teeth certainly feel cleaner and brighter, I must say though, since seeing Princess Kate's mega-watt smile on her wedding day, power teeth whitening has now definitely gone on my to-do-list, but that's another blog post entirely!

Rosie x


This is a sponsored post.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Konjac Sponge: A review

100% natural and good enough to eat (well... almost). 

When I was little my Mum and Dad always made bath times fun, ensuring my sister and I had billions of bubbles to play in while fashioning our hair into sky-high spikes.

I also remember the brightly coloured sponges we washed with, they were shaped like animals and changed colour as soon as they touched the water.  I haven't loved a sponge as much since - until now.

For the last month I've been washing my face with a sponge from the Konjac Sponge Company.
Not a pudding. Honest.
Ok - it may look like a wobbly pink blancmange or raspberry soufflĂ© and I guess that's not a million miles from the truth.  Konjac sponges are made from a highly praised foodstuff.

The Konjac potato (Amorphophallus konjac) is a perennial plant, native to Asia and grows at high altitude.
For over a century the Japanese have been using the konjac (konnyaku) vegetable as a beauty treatment for delicate skin.
This alkaline plant contains all kinds of good stuff including vitamin E, vitamin C, pantothenate, folic acid and fibre.  

The konjac plant
Konjac sponges were originally designed for babies but their gentle properties were soon established as beneficial for all the family.
I met Michele, the Director of the Konjac Sponge Company at the Natural & Organic Products Europe trade show.  What struck me more than anything was the sheer beauty of her skin, so clean looking and so luminous (the perfect pitch for her products). Michele I envy you!

There's a variety of Konjac sponges to choose from, I opted for the one with added pink French clay.  It is recommended for tired, sensitive & dehydrated skin.  Combined with the konjac it's said to remove impurities and be excellent for rejuvenating skin that has suffered from the weather or central heating.

The Konjac sponge is pH balanced and I've noticed how gentle it is on my skin; I was using a flannel before, and boy is there a difference. This sponge exfoliates delicately.
If you are prone to the sensation of tight skin after you wash, I would certainly recommend this product.
If you wear make-up, you will still need to take that off before using the Konjac sponge at night.

Sponger
Konjac sponges are 100% natural with no colourings.  For those with oily skin prone to outbreaks and spots, there's a bamboo charcoal sponge in the range which contains activated carbon & various minerals that can remove excess oil.

The sponges range between £5.25 and £5.75 and will last you about 3 months each... just squeeze them free of water after each use and hang the sponge up to dry.  Simple!

Rosie x

Friday, 8 April 2011

Spry Xylitol

Why Spry is my new chewing gum of choice.


I've made no secret of the fact that I'm fascinated by teeth at the moment.

I have renewed my vows with an Oral B electric toothbrush, I have taken to rinsing with Retardex (yeah, the name baffles me too), I plan to get my teeth professionally cleaned and I chew gum after I eat or drink.

The theory has been around for years now - if you chew gum after eating it will help boost saliva production. This in turn helps fight the bacteria which cause plaque acid and cavities.

Wrigley's Extra has been a staple in my handbag / rucksack / pocket for years now (right back when I first started kissing boys).  Although it is sugar-free, Extra has got a number of artificial sweeteners in it including aspartame & acesulfame K. I've heard aspartame dubbed a carcinogen before and whenever I drink Diet Coke it gives me a headache. It stands to reason why it's not something I want to chew around my skull on a regular basis.
Most other chewing gums I've found including Orbit Complete have got artificial sweeteners in them too.
Spry is different - it only contains a natural sugar called xylitol.


When certain harmful bacteria enter the body, they attach to the membranes of the nose and throat. These begin to culture and grow and can cause infection and sickness.
When the harmful bacteria come into contact with xylitol, they lose their ability to stick to those membranes and aren't able to grow.
Whereas antibiotics will kill the majority of bacteria and leave the resistant, super bacteria behind, xylitol merely flushes harmful bacteria away.
Studies have shown that xylitol has significant dental benefits. These benefits have been confirmed in numerous field studies conducted throughout the world and has brought about official endorsements by the dental association in England, Ireland,  Finland, Norway, Sweden, Estonia and the Netherlands of products containing high levels of xylitol.

Xylitol has been clinically proven to:

-Fight and lessen the occurrence of inner ear and sinus infection.
-Fight and reduce plaque.
-Fight cavities.
-Reduces the secretion of plaque acids.
-Facilitate the remineralisation of tooth enamel.

What does Spry xylitol gum taste like?

I picked up some Spry tester packs at the recent Natural and Organic Products Europe Exhibition at Olympia and have since been happily chewing the cinnamon and spearmint varieties after meals and drinks.  The flavour doesn't last as long as the gum I've been used to, but this is because it doesn't have other artificial sweeteners like aspartame in it.

Spry is also a smaller amount of gum to chew than say one piece of Wrigley's Extra... but actually this just means I chew it for less time.  Apparently the benefits of xylitol work their magic in the first five minutes anyway. 

It should be noted that too much of anything can be bad for you and excessive xylitol consumption can have a laxative effect and too much chewing can cause jaw pain and even excess stomach acid.  

Spry is not readily available in shops in the UK and seems to be more common in the States. So it looks like I'll have to get my supplies from the Internet from now on, but if it means chewing something I'm happy with, I'm happy to go e-shopping to get it.

Rosie x

Thursday, 31 March 2011

The Oral B Power Challenge

I've become slightly obsessed with teeth lately.

I've started to notice the signs of acid erosion at the tips of my two front teeth (the enamel is getting visibly thinner) and I'm not happy about it.
I plan to blog about acid erosion itself in the near future, but first, let's talk about teeth in general.

I want to avoid more damage to my teeth
I always thought I was pretty good at cleaning my teeth until I went to a dental hygienist appointment about 4 years ago (it'd been a while).
The hygienist said that while my teeth were in relatively good nick, plaque was building up.

So, I was:
  • Given a professional teeth clean there and then.
  • Advised to use an electric toothbrush.
  • Told to floss and to make a dentist appointment once every six months.
  • Given a rather lumpy bill.
That year, I invested in an Oral B electric toothbrush and I fell in love with it. It wasn't a love affair that was to last though; about three years later my beloved toothbrush broke. It's still waiting for me to fix it now, but ever since my boyfriend had a go a changing the fuse in it (attacking it - WITH A SCREWDRIVER), it seems more dead now than ever.

I spent so long hoping to fix it, that I never bought a replacement and went back to using a manual toothbrush. Some of my good teeth cleaning habits undoubtedly fell by the wayside.

Not anymore.

I've been asked to trial the Professional Care 500 Power Brush as part of the one month Oral B Power Challenge. Thanks Oral B!
So from now until the end of April I'm going to clean my teeth with dedication... and a souped-up brush. Now all I need is a cape to match my shower-cap.


Floss and fly! Oral B's floss-action head
Power brushes are proven to remove twice as much plaque compared to a manual toothbrush and 9 out of 10 people who tried one would not want to go back to their regular manual brush. (I think these stats might have some weight).

I will post again in a month's time and let you know how I get on.

The good news is Oral B is currently offering the Professional Care 500 Power Brush for half price at £22.50 (The offer runs throughout April and May 2011).

Rosie
x

This is a sponsored post.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

A Little Dedication











There's nothing like some bright sunshine, colourful bunting and children running around playing, to confirm that summer is well and truly on its way. Today I had such confirmation. I've spent the day in South Wales at the Dedication of my friends' baby daughter, Mia Rose.

The ceremony at the Bethel Elim Church in Neath was nothing like what I was expecting. I thought that it would be in a traditional old church with kneeling mats, pews and a stone lectern.

How wrong I was!

Within minutes of arriving I clocked the band equipment that had been set up on stage, with a massive video screen overhead. Everyone was chatting ten to the dozen and catching up on one another's news, a lovely buzz filled the air.

The service kicked off with the five piece band playing two upbeat rock ballads, the lyrics appearing on the large screen. I couldn't help but move, sing and smile. This was followed by readings, prayers and Mia's Dedication conducted by the friendly Pastor.

Then it was back to Ruth and Stu's for food, drinks and mingling with friends and family. Ruth's interior design and attention to detail always have me cooing and she'd decorated the house and garden with some gorgeous touches for the party. There was bunting, lanterns, table displays, flowers and then, there was the food...

The array of homemade cupcakes, flapjacks and pretty little sugary treats was gobsmacking - literally.  What really got my juices flowing was the vegetarian buffet that was spread before us, and no, it wasn't just bowls of garnish! There were pastas and couscous, breaded mushrooms, onion rings, spring rolls, pizzas, a fanciful cheese board and lots of other tasty morsels. Plates were filled, as were our wine glasses and out into the sunshine we went.

A sociable, sunny and extremely special Sunday I will remember forever : )

Rosie x