What is better than Clarins Moisture-Rich Body Lotion?

27 May

The answer is : Clarins Renew- Plus Body Serum.

I have an awful lot of years now, under my belt, with beauty products, and have seen a lot of brands come and go, and some changing their names and product ingredients, so I have decided to do a write up on one of my old favourites: Clarins

  • I like their clear, ‘no fuss’, easily- recognisable packaging and their clear red typeface on a white background, in a font size that I can read, sometimes without my specs, which is very useful, if one is in the shower. I can even read the small text on the back of packages and on the leaflets with my specs on, which is a great bonus, nowadays.(I always feel I ought to be able to sue some pharmaceutical brands for discrimination against the aged)
  • I have used Clarins Moisture-Rich Body lotion, with shea butter for dry skin for a number of years as I really like the smell and it absorbs quite quickly and my skin feels smooth. Olfactory senses for me is a huge selling point, having been subjected to everyone I pass lately, smelling like either a coconut or fig pudding!!! What’s going on???? Or a lime or mandarin jelly???? ( I must say though that I absolutely HATE the ‘uplifting-perfume’ splash-it-on stuff in the red bottle that Clarins do as it reminds me of those air freshener things that affect my sinuses. My list of  olfactory aversions is ever-increasing: Zoflora disinfectant, which reminds me of care-homes, Glade carpet vacuum powder, why would you want to sprinkle that all over your carpets, those wall air-freshener things that people put everywhere, even in their wardrobes, room-sprays, some candles, some flowery perfumes that are pretending to smell of roses. Sorry, I have got a bit grumpy, but bring back the good old joss-sticks and the real potpourri, not those lurid- colour-coded bits of sprayed- wood- shrapnel!!!!
  • Okay, sorry, I quite like Clarins french text, as it helps me to keep up with my french and I love everything french, and didn’t vote for Brexit, and would probably now go and live in France, as I really like the look of Macron, but now my pension wouldn’t match their euros, so I am scuppered!
  • Renew-Plus Body serum is even better than the body lotion, as it is a dream to massage in, and seems to take longer to absorb, so you can smooth it in. I feel it is sort of between an oil and a lotion???? Thank you Clarins. It is also AGE-DEFYING concentrate and I think this makes all the difference, as opposed to the moisture-rich lotion for dry skin. My skin is now aged, dry skin and if you push your finger along my forearm, it wrinkles like jam, when you are doing that saucer-test, haven’t made jam? Don’t ever make damson jam; my lovely hubby used to go for cover, as I swore at the hot spitting cauldron, bubbling away, and the hours trying to pick out all the stones, so that people didn’t break their teeth on their jam-butties.
  • I am finishing now as my coffee has appeared and I am going to smell my real roses in the garden but I will be back with the Clarins Relax body treatment and L’Occitane body oil in comparison to my forty year old home-made version!! Bet you can’t wait! Ruth always tells me off for anecdotes, capital letters and exclamation marks so hopefully she will be so busy she won’t notice a little blog going astray, she has her standards to keep up you know!!!!!!!!! Also I don’t use my Twitter account very much now as I am really extremely politically insensitive when I get going, especially after a coffee and so perhaps I will slip by unnoticed, without getting her to edit out anything!!!!!!!!!!!! Here goes!!!!!!!!!



Tregoose and Granny’s Cove!!!!!!

27 Apr

Thankyou ‘Perfect Stays’ ; you have fulfilled my dreams and those of lots of parents and grandparents who, every year look for that dream, large family base, or friends and families reunion base, in a beautiful part of Cornwall. A plethora of amazing gourmet restaurants, long walks on the sea-shore, swimming, surfing, sand-castle building, ice-creams and cornish-pasties and visits to historic houses and castles, and St Ives Tate and Barbara Hepworth’s studio. Something for everyone!!!

‘ Tregoose’ in Polzeath, Cornwall, is a spacious, modern, well-situated, well-equipped, aesthetically pleasing, comfortable, holiday home.

Why didn’t you exist when I was trekking through all those brochures? Travel agencies were the only people with computers to search out holidays, when I had three small children, looking for a base? How many grungy, aesthetically- distasteful, inadequately-equipped cottages and gites I have stayed in over all those years, cramped into beds with plastic mattress covers, and suffering the ‘ironing-board’ sleep, where your arms hang loose, and there is no ‘turning’, or the pull down sofa beds with the ‘tired’ foam mattresses, moulded to umpteen different bodies and those plastic shower curtains that cling to your behind and you have to try to turn in a 500mm square and find room for your elbows to reach the armpits!!!!

This was a super family home and large enough for a ‘whole families’ base. If only I had had this when my children were younger; I could have walked them down the road in their wet-suits, left them at the ‘surfing-school’, five minutes away, whilst I walked the dog over the cliffs for an hour, collecting kids on the way back, and walking them up the hill, hosing dog and children and adults down,(a shower and board stack is outside the house) and voila, into the shower room by the side entrance, to hang up wet-suits on the drying rack and have hot showers!!!!

All good! Tregoose has thought of everything, as there are even ‘doggy’ towels and TREATS in a doggy-bone tin in the wet-suit shower-room, which incidentally is huge, and could accommodate a whole family of surfers!!

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Wish Dexter could read !

Wish Dexter could read !

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I wish I had taken my wet-suit and board!!!

The games room or ‘snug’ was really brilliant and all tastes had been catered for, with some good old-fashioned board games, as well as play-stations, and really comfy huge bean bags and soft, cosy sofas, a Granny’s dream if you are catering for grandchildren and want to keep them all quiet, and the husbands, whilst you make lunch!


Child-proof area for bouncing!!



I have LOADS of photographs of the patios and lawn areas and decking pathways surrounding the back of the house, mainly because they were just so child-safety minded AND adult quiet-time minded, arranged with a ‘gin-hour’ sun-house, overlooking the whole of the house at the back, also equipped with plenty of garden chairs and tables.

The main family patio had two barbecues and plenty of tables and chairs and still space for children to play. Sunshine at all times of the day!!! The grassed area was above the main back patio but had a glass partition, so you could sit and sip your wine, and watch the children playing ball. Beautifully orchestrated, Perfect Stays, well done, and fabulous decking pathways to and from different areas.



SOS Save Our Skins

24 Jul

I have been meaning to do this post for ages , actually since March! Oops!

I have just retuned from a trip to Lisbon and Porto, and have been inspired to start work again in my studio, which now houses a large cat tree/sleeping pole for Mr B and his ‘poo-pan’, Dexter’s bed and both their toy boxes and food stores and our computers!

The dining room has a bouncy chair, a pram and carrycot and various, strange- coloured ‘waist-cushions’, which would be great as hats, but Ruth assures me they are indispensable for breast feeding and seems to walk about in them all day! (Mr B has ruined our dining room chairs with scratching, and I have tried to rescue some, by stacking them in a corner with sheets over them!)

My easel is crammed into the box room along with my sewing machine and drawing board, a desk and paperstore (oh dear Dex has just found a roll of plastic bags and won’t spit them out) and my book shelves, as I can’t get them into the guest room, as baby’s cot is in there, along with a stack, ceiling- high, of breast pads, nappies, baby-gros and paraphenalia!

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Dex and Mr B have been re-united and are like long-lost friends chasing each other, with Mr B hiding under my dining room chairs, miaouwing, and then, when Dex draws near, batting him with his paw.

I can’t believe, amidst all this, that baby just sleeps and coos, and doesn’t awaken, when Dex decides to bark at my lovely hubby, doing his after-holiday, hedge-cutting tasks! I can’t believe that my daughter and husband and their ‘menagerie’, who we have helped to move about FIVE times, to different holiday-homes (Ours is the last!) ARE SO VERY RELAXED and we are still discussing books we have read, and places we have visited and of course the difference between different nappies, and reminiscing over ‘when- they- were- all- little’ stories. All this, amidst wardrobe-planning, kitchen-purchases, visits to stores, negotiating with builders and dealing with all those roller-coaster moments, prevalent in having house alterations and extensions built, like TIME-DELAYS. The photo albums have been scattered over the table, whilst we decide who looks like whom, and we have had an absolutely wonderful opportunity, once again, to be grand-parents! (we have a twenty-month old grand daughter who is scrumptious, and we were very lucky to be part of her special, new-born baby stage as well) All so very fulfilling!

I am having a lovely little spell taking on the ‘mother-role’ and climbing aboard the ‘mothership’ for a while, but, I am actually going to have to lock myself away in my box room today and get started, as once the creative ideas are flowing, I need to get back to myself (which is sometimes just an hour or so at the bottom of the garden doing my yoga, raining today, so no space in house, will have to be ‘a-pause-in-time’ next to the airing cupboard, I think. Mmmm dog asleep and cat on his pole asleep so might just have to be here and now!)

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Right, okay that was good! Wanted to tell you about DOUBLE SERUM by Clarins. I absolutely love it and I have tried other serums over my years, and this, for my skin is THE VERY BEST and I am just about to order some, as it was still quite expensive at the airport, and I ran out ages ago.

I have been using some ‘oils’ actually during these ‘gardening-months’ as my skin gets really dry in the sun. I have been using L’Occitane oil capsules and they have been brilliant for putting back some nourishment. The only thing is that these ‘oil preparations’ are a little too greasy, and I find my hair and pillow gets so oily, so I have been using half a capsule, and in the morning, on hot days only, after cleansing and wiping off any residue. The capsules all have different blends in to do different things , which I found quite a palaver. They were marked with week one to week four BUT because there was too much in each capsule, mine have lasted for weeks and weeks longer, which is a good thing, as they are really expensive. I find the oil gets around my eye area and onto my glasses and into my contact lenses so I have been using them just as a sort of Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour rescue care! I find some of the L’Occitaine mechanisms, for instance, their body oils, which have a pump action, are just awful, and you spend ages trying to get the hole in the right direction and then the oil won’t come out. I still recommend my good old almond oil under the counter at pharmacy counters and I still use witch hazel, as a skin toner, and for bruises.

I can remember using capsules years ago by Elizabeth Arden, they were pink and had just the right amount. I have now noticed Elemis doing the similar capsules; getting the correct type of container is really important for oils, especially when we are travelling. Some companies use a bottle and dropper system. I am sure Lancome comes to mind from years ago, and their serum in a dark brown bottle with a dropper system BUT I have to say I am so LOVING Clarins double serum which is a pump action in a light enough bottle for me to take on my hols.

SOS used to be Save Our Sums when I taught Maths! Toodlepip! got loads of photos from Lisbon to print out, a gorgeous new baby to coo over, a dog and a cat to amuse, a lasagne to make and my box room awaits. Actually, I had a studio in Birmingham, which was only five feet square and I was making wall-hangings for hotels, which were 9 feet by six feet, so can’t see why I am having a whinge!




Thankyou Clarins and Ffion

11 Apr

photo Photo on 2015-04-09 at 17.43 #2 Photo on 2015-04-09 at 17.43 Photo on 2015-04-09 at 17.43 #3 photo photo

I think the last time I wore foundation make up was when I was a teenager and Max Factor brought out block foundation called ‘panstick’. It came in three different shades and we put it over our lips as well and no lipstick!

Actually I have tried others as I began to notice at work that women of my age always wore it. I tried several brands and shades, but some made me itch, and some were too oily and got into my contact lenses, and generally the whole experience was a waste of money, although I gave it all away, so friends had the benefit.

I had a go at the old powder puff job over my nose to stop the shine, just like my Mum did, and my eldest sister STILL does. My Nana had compact cases with loose powder in and somewhere in the memory vault, I can see a Max Factor compact with solid powder and a BEE on the top. It was pink plastic? This is at least FIFTY years ago!

Okay , I have tried, and still have the brush and box, of Number Seven little tiny balls of different shades of powder, including pink to give a blushed, sun-tanned look. I gave up on the ‘blusher-balls’ as it made people, like me, who didn’t know how to apply it, look like clowns, or worse still, like ‘lively-ladies’ making a few bob!

Anyway, happened to be in Boots in Touchwood, Solihull, and as my friend was engrossed in another counter, I found the Clarins girl and asked her what shade of their new Everlasting foundation she could recommend, as I have a wedding to attend in November! Wahay! And my future daughter-in-law is doing a course in Birmingham, to learn how to be a make-up artist.

Best thing I ever did, as she tried two different shades on each side of my face, and then I had to go have a look in the daylight, and my friend helped me choose. Then she applied the chosen one with a BRUSH, it was shaped like a tulip leaf. I can now see what all those brushes Ruth has drying on her bathroom window sills, are all about now, and, that was where I have been going wrong, all over my fingers and hands, and all a streaky mess.

Then she applied Instant Light Brush-on Perfector around the tops of my cheekbone and then Blush Prodige, illuminating cheek colour under the cheek bone. It looked really good and it lasted all day and all evening. She gave me samples and also recommended that I use the double serum and the Extra-firming Day cream and the extra-firming neck cream, all of which I have been using, thankyou, Clarins, they are so brilliant.

I always bought Estee Lauder Advanced night repair serum and just used it through the day as well and I have tried the face-oils, but, I find the Clarins Double-Serum, is almost like a combination of both an oil and a serum. I really find, as I am economical, that I use either that, or the day cream, but I always use the neck cream, I even re-apply the neck cream through the day, it does work. My future daughter-in-law, Ffion, said “you don’t have any wrinkles at all on your fore-head” but didn’t mention my neck, so maybe I need to re-apply it more often?

As you will see from the photographs, Ffion has been giving me a ‘make-over’ She was brilliant and had brought with her a vast range of eyeshadows and eyebrow ‘stuff’ and lip-shades, and so many brushes and powders and palettes, it was like my son’s studio. She actually put the foundation on her hand and said ‘less is more’ and had the ‘tulip-leaf brush’ to apply it. She did say she had bought, or been given, that brush from her course.

I really loved the look Ffion gave my eyes and my eyebrows; I didn’t know you had different shades of eyeshadows, and even eye shadows for the eyebrows, and a gel to keep it all in place. Lipstick was applied with a brush. I was telling Ffion, that we used to put a darker shade in the centre of our lips, and lighter on the full lips to create a plumper, look and we outlined with lip-pencil, which I still do. I think I much preferred my Ffion ‘lip-look’. It was agreed that we both didn’t like the glossy, glittery lips and eye shadows for my age, which made me feel better about all the lip-glosses I had bought over the years and had just thrown in the bin.

Going out to dinner tonight, so I am having another make-over and off to buy a Clinique mascara which I loved, it is a curved wand, with no brushes and there is a tiny brush for the underneath eyelashes, although Ffion did say she didn’t want me to get that ‘spider-look’ I always have a problem with mascaras and contact lenses. Must dash, toodlepip.

Oh dear, I need a hair-cut looking at these photos; I keep it longish, as I hate going to the hair-dressers, I have enough of my own concerns without listening to the hair-dressers’ problems. So, I have solved it. I don’t colour my hair, just wait for age and the sun, and I just divide my hair down the back, and cut each side, then my lovely hubby evens it all up, and voila’ done and dusted, and much cheaper than all those highlights cost, and the chemicals burning into your scalp when you have to have roots done, and the AMOUNT OF TIME you have to spend in there! I have been to the hairdressers about five times in my adult life. I can’t remember when I was little; when I look at the photos from the past now, I don’t remember who I was. In fact I spoke to one of my sisters last week, and she had to send me photos of when we both did judo, we were in a competition, as I couldn’t remember. I told her, I would keep ringing her, so she could fill me in, on who I once was! I am the sort of person who doesn’t linger too much in the past. Sometimes you have to go backwards in order to move forwards but I like to ‘feel the present’ and enjoy the moment, a glimmer of sunshine through the window, gotta go and feel the sun! Toodlepip! Onwards and forwards!



Mr Bear on his Holidays!

30 Mar

Yes, Mr Bear has landed; he came with a very large suitcase of playthings, squeaky toys, feathers on sticks, a tube and his little friend, the monkey. He settled very quickly. He has been banned from the living room, as he scratched my brand new leather chair, and tried to eat the persian carpets!

However he has had a tree house delivered and absolutely loves it. My hubby has left it in the dining room, as he feels it is too cold for him here in the studio. Oh yeah! I can hear him chatting away to him when I come into the room. I think he is actually getting more attention than me. There was a tricky moment, when we thought perhaps he was too fat to get through one of the holes, but no all good!

I have had several friends to lunch over the past weeks and as soon as they are chatting to me, Mr B starts to ‘play up’ He becomes really naughty, jumping up on the table and trying to get between my friends and I, for some attention.

I have had to move all my plants as he tries to eat them!


The Perfumery! Never felt the need for a dressing table?

23 Mar


Ever felt the need for pink fluffy talk?

I haven’t ever had a dressing table with a stool but my grandparents and my parents always had one and there was always a sort of air of female mystery to them; drawers on either side with handkerchiefs, nylon stockings, underwear, boxes of  talcum powders and those fluffy brushes with little satin bows on the top. There were special green glass containers shaped like mermaids or with pot pouri inside, and trays to put your pearl necklaces and earrings in. I still have a whole set of black ebony dressing table tray and ring holders and a selection of bristle hairbrushes and mirrors which are boxed and on the loft and never to be used.

Is it that we just don’t have the time, or the room, or is it just another thing to dust? We had Maids, as in Downton Abbey? We have Spas now and ‘body-brushing’ (only just found out what this is!) I can remember reading a book by a famous Turkish Sufi Master called Sheikh Muzaffer Ozak “Love is the Wine” and about brushing his wife’s hair, which is one of the other reasons I keep my hair long, as I am rather like Mr B Pussycat who loves his hair brushed.

My lovely hubby has just been perusing our library on Sufi Mystics and thinks it isn’t that book! Hahaha I made him look! Memory is a wonderful thing if it throws you back to move you forward!

The other reason is that I have been nagging my architect husband to build me a turret at the back of our house, so I can hang my hair down like Rapunzel. It hasn’t materialised, but it is so delicious thinking about it.

I think my love of  the Eastern Culture stems from my reading the Arabian Nights, when I was a child;  I could almost smell the turkish delight, and the perfumes, and the night scented air. I have just been reading a book by a turkish lady, Elif Shafak ‘Forty Ways to Love” and her latest, ‘The Architects Apprentice’ It has made me realise that we absorb so much from our childhood, which stays within our being, and it returned my heart to that wonderful poetry by Rumi, and the search for the soul. Anyway I digress but only to point out, how we have forgotten to make time for these ‘mindful’ meanderings, and hair-brushing and dressing tables, indeed. Don’t you just love all the different shapes of glass bottles? Pop into the glass section of the V&A in South Kensington. Food for the glass lover! I just so so so love perfume it sends me on different journeys, depending which one I use. I used to sit on the telephone in the ‘olden days’ sniffing the pot pouri on the telephone table. I am a very Olfactory person. My son gave me Perfume to read ages ago and I can’t see it on the shelf so forgotten who it is by? Brilliant strategy of writing. I love “strategies” for sharing truths and wisdoms AND for getting people to do things they hadn’t thought they wanted to do! Ha ha ha xxxxx Love you. Toodlepip!


Holt Farm ( Frome) was a PERFECT stay!

19 Jan

This post is a follow-on from the one on my daughter’s website, A Model Recommends. We held a lovely family get-together at one of the Perfect Stays self-catering properties and Ruth asked me to give my feedback. Apparently I wrote to much to include it in the main post! You can read the main review by clicking here, but it doesn’t have a snazzy photo gallery like the one I’ve made below. I think I need to give my daughter some computer lessons!

Heating and Cooking
Okay I really liked the fact that both houses were so very warm! The Barn especially, with its underfloor heating, which was run from pipes in the next field! I really loved how well stocked the kitchens were so you didn’t have to wait for the dishwasher if you were feeding a crowd. I liked the Aga in the farmhouse which cooked the turkey to perfection and kept one of the living rooms and kitchen lovely and warm nad there was a choice of cooker if you didn’t fancy using the Aga.There was even a book shelf with LOTS of well known cook books! Lots of table cloths and place mats and napkins and also table tea lights in the farm house which were really useful for our family celebration.

LIving rooms and bedrooms Interior design, decor was very sophisticated High spec on everything from glasses to bathroom soaps! Beautifully put together. Straight out of Period Homes Magazine and the Barn was definitely Grand Designs

The Barn had a good mix of children’s bedrooms and bathrooms plus ensuites and I thought it was very clever to have a double bedroom, ensuite and spare toilet at the other end of the Barn with the HUGE living dining cooking area in the centre;it just meant that you could actually allocate ‘the west wing’ to a couple, who perhaps didn’t have children, and didn’t want to hear them through the night, and also beside the entrance so they could come home late and not waken anyone up? The central area was quite cavernous and, actually with six adults and two children, there would still be masses of space!

The Farm house had three separate living rooms (one was a large snug) and at different ends of the house you could actually have quieter rooms for grandparents? The layout of the bedrooms was equally as good as the Barn, with two doubles and ensuites and bathroom one side of the house, and then single bedroom and two doubles on the other side, with ensuites and bathroom. Lots of different types of beds, really good mattresses. I will ALWAYS be using PERFECTSTAYS from now on when I think what I have had to sleep on, and in, with some companies, actually it drove me to expensive hotels. The downside of hotels is that there is no meeting place apart from the Lounge where you are then surrounded with other people. You are also stuck with the breakfast times and again you are sharing the breakfast room with other people in the hotel.

The Games room is a really wonderful idea and had table tennis, billiards and subbuteo. Massive room with a sofa! Very safe for the children or adults. We did have the whole site to ourselves so I am not sure how the Games room would work when all three accommodations were full. A rota system perhaps? There is also a superb slide, tunnel and swings with climbing frame, in a very safe area, and a plethora of different outside patios and seating areas, actually one bedroom had its very own patio and chairs and table. Outside barbecue areas, a garden, full of herbs and vegetables. (I actually used some of the spring onions and the Thyme and Rosemary) There are footpath walks also but it was a bit wet when we stayed. Lots to do around, Stourhead farm shop delivered a huge hamper of their produce and as it is a National Trust property nearby, then good for a visit, is Wells Cathedral, which is really beautiful, and Bradford on Avon is a lovely town as is Frome.

Quite honestly, we didn’t ever leave the site as there was so much to do; ducks, sheep and cows to look at and meals to cook, plenty of gardens to sit in and patio areas. Location is everything (well actually not everything, as I have stayed in lovely locations, in complete dumps!) and this was just so idyllic and nothing for miles. Actually if you land there after dark, it is very difficult to see the sign Holt Farm and I had to go down the lane in the pitch dark with the plangent sound of a buzzard, and the distinctive hoot of an owl, conquer mud in my suede boots, climb a hedge, and try to attach a birthday banner to a sign post (thinking it might shine in car headlights!  Loved it! Do follow your Satnav and remember that you can’t use your phone to give directions to others, as there is no reception even down the lane – well for my server anyway! There were others who were looking for a different farm to participate in a meeting, and they were completely lost, clutching a Google map, and called in on us during the day and also we had a delivery of a chinese take-away at 10pm one evening from another lost soul!

They also have weddings there. We invited a nephew, who lives in Frome, to check it out, as there is enough room for several parties of different relatives. You have to be very forward thinking actually, as it is very popular and has a lovely big wedding-feast barn, with walls festooned with antlered- stags and an idyllic church up the road ! You know I really reckon that visit prompted him to put an engagement ring in his girl-friend’s stocking on Christmas Day! Aaaaah, there is romance out there!

I just can’t re-iterate enough how ideal it was for our family gathering and how it catered for all our needs. A BRILLIANT thing to go on is the Perfect Stays website as not only do they take you around the rooms BUT they have floor plans for each house and you can then allocate different rooms and areas to different members of the family BEFORE you get there. Very useful and stops squabbling if the oldest member of the party does that perhaps? Also we worked out that it is very cost effective to have a larger, super- luxurious house, and split the costs, than go for smaller self-catering accommodations. All good!