Friday, 21 January 2011


I am truly very excited. Next weekend I am going to stay with a friend. It means rushing out of work as early as possible and battling with the motorway traffic (the M40 will be horrific on a Friday evening!). But when I have made my way through seven counties the drive will be worth it!

This is a very special friend, one of those friends who you can share pink wine and giggles with but also rely on for honest advice, sympathy and chats. Someone who doesn't make nasty, sabotaging comments like many girls do.

I expect we will drink a fair amount of wine(I love red wine but it does make a change from sharing with my husband to have white or bubbly), eat lots of lovely food and no doubt do a fair amount of shopping. But I know we will have a fabulous time.

What would we do without our friends?

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Weight Loss Battle

Its so typical isn't it? January and turning to weight loss. But for me this isn't just a January battle, it needs to be year round. I am not severely overweight at all, I am 9 stone 12 pounds and 5 foot 1 inch which gives me a BMI of 26.1 - not far from the ideal range really.

But I feel fatter than I'd like to, I have a roll of fat around my tummy that hangs very attractively over my jeans, my tops are a squeeze and my thighs wobble. I would not wear a bikini at the moment. I would like to change this and I would like to lose a stone and drop a dress size. I have a small frame and weight shows easily on me.

I am not going to do anything drastic, just eat less and move around more. I need to resist unhealthy snacks while working (a bacon and egg sandwich here, a handful of chocolates there) and try to exercise three times a week. Its tough as I am busy, I rarely get home from work before 7pm and if I want to get 8 hours sleep a night I need to be in bed by 9pm. But I have to try to adjust my habits.

This month I am going to focus on snacking. Must resist the chocolate biccies!!

Will update in a month and hope something will have shifted.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

The search for a perfect foundation

This may be ongoing. I dream of a foundation that is light but with good coverage, that smells nice, is easy to apply, suits my skin tone and doesn't cause me an allergic reaction. Seems like the Holy Grail of foundation. In the last six months I have used: Gosh matte mousse (too dry and too orange), L'oreal Perfect Match (coverage good but didn't last the day), Bobbi Brown Moisturizing Luminizing (nice but allergic), Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua (I adore this but only have a sample pot and its £££s) and Bourjois Detox Foundation (weirdly dry when applying and sort of flakes off, good colour though).

I struggle with finding a good shade as I am very pale but with yellow toned skin - the shades described as "golden" are closest in tone, but always too dark. Colours that are pale enough tend to be too pinkish and make me look ill. I have eczema and so react to lots of foundations - but need one to cover occasional flare-ups, and my skin is not clear enough to be baseless!

I haven't yet found the dream foundation...if you have any recommendations please let me know.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Urban Decay Loose Pigments Review

Another product review for you. I bought a set of 3 Urban Decay loose pigments recently and have been wearing them this week so thought I would let you all know how I got on. These bottles of loose eye powder are a type of mineral make-up, which is becoming more and more popular. I bought this set, the colours are: Yeyo, a pearly white vanilla, Baked, a golden bronze and Gunmetal and black with blue sparkles. Firstly the colours are gorgeous - a little goes a long way. I use the dark shade dipped in a little water as an eyeliner or to darken the shadow in the outer corner of my eye for a more intense look. The golden shade is a good all purpose shimmery colour, it looks great layered up with the darker colour. And the light colour is my favourite under the brow highlighter I have ever owned.

They are easy to use, the only very tiny criticism is that the brushes are only so-so, but it is so easy to dip a better brush into the pot.

These are available at Debenhams, Boots and Littlewoods for around £20-25 for the set. Great value when you consider how long these colours will last you.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Chateau Vieux Mougnac

The picture that forms the background to my blog is a wine Chateau in the Bordeaux region in France. We were lucky enough to visit the region in October 2010, while Shropshire endured record rainfall, we sunned ourselves in 18 degree warmth and drank wine straight from the Chateau. Signs such as the one on the left are dotted all over the area - directing you to come into the Chateau where you can taste and buy wine direct from the producer.

Until visiting a wine producing region of France, I was very ignorant regarding how wine is produced. My husband has long enjoyed Saint Emilion wines - only when visiting the area did I gain any idea of the scale of wine production in Saint Emilion. There are hundreds of Chateau - ranging from massive, world-renowned estates, to small family-run vineyards. One such small Chateau we visited was the Chateau Vieux Mougnac. The Chateau was about one mile from our campsite and the vines stretched as far as the eye could see. Its an idyllic location - between the tiny village of Petit-Palais-et-Cornemps and the slightly less tiny (but incredibly picturesque) village of Montagne. These small communities are the places where some of the finest wines in the world are made.

We were warmly greeted, despite our lack of appointment, and given several wines to taste. The owner Sylvie Milhard was on hand to answer any questions and talk to us about the wine. We took a bottle of 2004 back to our tent which we drank in silence, feeling the sunshine on our tongues. Later in the week we returned and bought some wine to take home, 2004, 2005 and some Crémant de Bordeaux (a sparkling white wine). These wines have all been enjoyed over the festive period, wonderful, deep flavours that transported us straight back to that sunny afternoon in the South of France.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Lake Vyrnwy

Today we went to Lake Vyrnwy - a nature reserve and reservoir in Mid-Wales. I love Wales, the peace, the space, the rolling hills. Today it was beautiful. The drive took just under 90 mins from our home in Shropshire, time spent chatting, reflecting on 2010 and sharing our hopes for 2011. When we got there we were surprised that parts of the lake were still frozen - there was a thick sheet of ice over the area near the bridge, so thick that large rocks were able to rest on the ice. It was stunning.

We sat in the hide and watched the birds. A few years ago Lake Vyrnwy featured on the BBC programme SpringWatch, at the time we were living in Surrey and I remember really looking forward to the day we lived nearer and would be able to visit. As it is a nature reserve the RSPB have installed a few bird watching hides with guides to the birds you will see. It was quiet in the hide but a few birds braved the cold to feed in front of the windows - it was magical watching them, totally absorbing. We drove home tired but happy and feeling refreshed.

The picture above is one of me at Lake Vyrnwy in April 2010. Spring was late getting started last year and there was still some snow on the ground in high places. I am looking forward to returning in spring, and again in summer, hoping the birds will be busy and will put on a good show for us.

A happy place. Happy new year.