Tuesday, 23 February 2016

New Eight Hour Cream All-Over Miracle Oil for every bit of you!

I am actually wearing Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream as I am typing this. My lips are chapped - it's all the 'one minute it's freezing the next minute it's warm' weather that we are going through at the moment but I know that with the application of this wonder cream my lips will be fine again within less than 24 hours. If you've never used it then I can guarantee it's a miracle worker! I bought it for the girls when they went to university in their survival kits and I can't remember a time when I didn't have a tube. But enough of that I am here to tell you about a new addition to the range. I was sent some Eight Hour Cream All-Over Miracle Oil to try out. Unlike the Eight Hour Cream which is for small areas really, this is for much larger parts of the body that are chapped or in need of some deep nourishment.

So what's so special about this new Eight Hour Oil? Well for a start it has one of the best botanical oils in the world, Tsubaki Oil, which comes from the Camellia flower grown in the unpolluted ecosystem off the coast of Korea. It is known for it's anti-oxident, antiwrinkle and anti-inflammatory effects and is credited with giving the Geisha's their beautifully smooth and shiny hair. It contains high concentrates of Omega 6 and 9 so it nourishes at the same time as protecting your skin and hair. there is also Ginger Root extract (for skin tone and texture) Grape Seed Oil (moisturises and conditions) and Boswellia Resin that helps improve the skins firmness - alongside lots of other fab ingredients for looking after the skin.

So it really is a great combination of good things all in one bottle. I decided to put it to the test on my feet which after the winter and lots of aquarobics sessions in the pool, were looking the worst for wear. The skin was all dried out and papery in appearance so after my shower and when my skin was still warm and not quite dry I liberally sprayed it with the Miracle Oil before getting into bed. I did this over the course of the week and really by about mid-week the skin on my feet looked so much better and far less fragile. It was easily absorbed too so didn't stain my bedsheets which was a bonus. I also used it on my hair which has been taking a battering too due to the pool chlorine and it was unbelievably shiny after use.

The ways they suggest you can use the Eight Hour Cream All-Over Miracle Oil are -

  1.  For all over moisure on your skin
  2. To add shine to really dry and dull hair
  3. As a post shave moisturiser
  4. To reduce rough skin
  5. As a massage oil
  6. To soften your cuticles
  7. Instant shine on brows and cheeks

All-in-all I think this simple to use and all-purpose oil will become another classic that we just won't be able to live without! RRP £29 for 100ml.

Follow Elizabeth Arden on Twitter @ArdenUK #EightHourOil #EightHour and let them know if you have liked it!

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Glorious Paradise Bar Recipe from Hemsley Hemsley

I've been trying to curb my sugar cravings - what is it about chocolate that really gets me going? And now we are told that eating too much fruit is bad for us too! So I have been on the hunt for alternatives and came across this amazing recipe for Paradise Bars in my Hemsley Hemsley - The Art of Eating Well book.

It requires no cooking apart from melting chocolate (which I cheated and did in the microwave) and they do keep in the fridge for up to a month if in a sealed container. Everyone who has tried one has absolutely loved them so give them a go. We have one as a treat in the evening but they would be perfect for lunchtime or that afternoon sugar craving. Whenever you have them you will be hooked and shop bought coconut treats will just taste artificial by comparison.

Ingredients for 24 bars

800g bar of creamed coconut
6 tbsp coconut oil
3 tbsp raw honey
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
a pinch of sea salt
150g dessicated coconut
200g (85% cocoa solids) dark chocolate

I used Himalayan Pink salt and organic honey as an alternative which is probably not as healthy as the raw variety but was what I had in the cupboard. 

1. Line a 20cm square tin with greaseproof paper. Put the unopened bar of creamed coconut into a jug of hot water to soften so you can work with it.

2. When it's soft pour into a bowl and mix in the coconut oil, honey, vanilla, salt and 2-4 seaspoons of water if you like a soft consistancy.

3. Stir in the coconut evenly.

4. Pour into the prepared tin and press down mixture with the back of a spoon. Put into the fridge until hard (about 15 minutes).

5. Remove from fridge and cut into squares (6 down and 4 across). Then put into the freezer while you prep the chocolate.

6. Melt the chocolate then using 2 forks dip in the squares, turning until covered. Put them onto parchment paper so they don't touch and return to the fridge to cool. Once set put into a sealed container in the fridge.

And there you have it! They really are delicious!

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Christopher Raeburn has designs on Clarks shoes this February

No less than 11 new styles will be hitting Clarks for Spring and all designed by Christopher Raeburn and inspired by his Spring/Summer 2016 collection. The theme is Borneo and anthropologist Tom Harrison is at the centre of the story. Here is a happy Christopher at London: Men showcasing his Borneo Menswear collection.

Photo credit: Emily Clay/Avery Dennison

To get more of a feel for his Womenswear collection here is the Sarawak, a Borneo theme, at London Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2016.

But what is going to be made available in Clarks?

Here are some of the styles to whet your appetite. I for one will be dashing to get my hands on a pair of the trainers...

The collection is priced around £70-£110 and available online at www.clarks.co.uk dropping February.

Friday, 15 January 2016

2016 and I am looking forward.

Me and my 'support team'!

I feel like I've really neglected my blog - well I don't just feel I have, I really have. Back in September I came to a big decision. Treatment for breast cancer had been more gruelling than I cared to admit, either to myself or my friends. Working (albeit part-time) while having surgeries (two of them) followed by chemo and radiotherapy had kept me sane and given me some sort of normality and structure - for this I will be eternally grateful. But after keeping myself afloat emotionally and physically for a little under a year, I felt that I just needed to stop. I had stopped the treatment and now I needed to stop work too and just 'be'.

Now I know I am incredibly lucky that I have a caring and supportive working partner who can support us all - to an extent. My children are pretty self-sufficient now, apart from the occasional treat or take-away which we all enjoy, let's face it. But I just found that the tube travel with a painful arm that constantly seemed to be knocked into even in the most uncrowded of carriages, and the work itself, well I just needed some time away to come to terms with what had happened and readjust to what is now termed the new 'normal'.

Don't get me wrong. I loved my job and couldn't have worked in a more supportive environment. I loved the buzz of the West End and how there is always something new to stimulate and excite even when you're popping out for a lunchtime sandwich. But a cancer diagnosis can't just be swept under the carpet and even after all the fuss and treatment it's a big one to get your head around. Actually it all starts when you have your last radiotherapy really - well it did with me. I wasn't prepared for the oncologist and the supporting nurse to shake my hand and formally wish me 'Good Luck'. Being out of the hospital doors and onto the pavement I cried. And I don't feel like I've stopped really ever since. Okay so I'm not a total Debbie Downer - but my emotions all seem to be very near the surface. So some time for just me has been needed, and I must say it has done me good and although the raw emotions are never far away, I have had time in the privacy of my home and with a few close friends, to get used to feeling like this.

So October 4th was my last day in the office and I wish I could tell you that I have taken up oil painting or been training for a marathon. I haven't. What I have done is cleaned out cupboards like a mad person, made a bit of money on Ebay, threw myself into Christmas preparations and attended a Moving Forward course at my hospital with Breast Cancer Care. I really had to gird my loins for that one. A course with a lot of other breast cancer patients for 3 hours every week for a month would normally have had me running for the hills - and it nearly did. But I am so glad I went - not only was it incredibly useful in terms of really good advice on food, exercise and what is normal, but I met some lovely ladies of all ages who are all feeling the same way as me! Scarily I was not one of the youngest - in fact I would say a good 70% of the women there were younger than me - so it really can happen to any woman at any age. It was a good thing to do and a relief to be able to talk openly about your hopes and fears.

Breast cancer is a lonely place. I'm sure all cancers are and I'm not claiming that it's worse than any other and I know is better than most, but you can't spend your whole time telling people how you feel scared for the future and down about your day-to-day struggles. Those who love you just want you to smile and say 'I'm fine!' - of course they do. It's exhausting for them too to be worried for you each and every day.

So now I am confronting January with a new vigour and a sense of purpose. I am too young to retire and the truth is I have too much to still give. I also need to earn some money so we can continue with a lifestyle of occasional holidays and, well just those ordinary things that we all enjoy. The loss of David Bowie and Alan Rickman at just 69 (plus the mother of one of my best friends on Christmas Eve) is a big reminder that I can't stay with my head in my cupboards for much longer. Life is to be lived; highs, lows and days that frankly are simply a little boring (oh boring can be wonderful believe me). My hair has grown back to a length where I don't scream 'chemo patient' and although I have blood test results looming again (the new normal is 3 monthly checks and tests) I feel that I need to step out into the world and see if I can find a place where I can make a difference. Will keep you posted!

I want to finish this post with a nod to David Bowie's single from aptly named Blackstar which is the name given to the shape that appears on a mammogram when you have breast cancer. Some find it depressing but I see it as a call to arms, not to waste time and to be as creative every day as you can possibly be. Enjoy.

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