Thursday, 25 April 2013

MitoQ 8 weeks on

You might remember back here, I reviewed MitoQ, a new, powerful anti aging skincare product.  Well, it's time for part 2.

MitoQ's effects take a little time to build, and are most noticeable after a month or more, and thanks to a snarky commenter (I didn't publish, sorry), I remembered that I'd missed posting the follow-up, as I posted my initial review after a single week of use.

I found that the cream did make a difference to the appearance of my skin, especially to the fine lines around my eyes.  My skin appears fuller and smoother, and more evenly coloured.  It took a little bit of getting used to, I had a few break outs during the second week or so.  This might be the cream, or it might just have been one of those things.  So I persevered, and the spots went away, and my skin looks considerably better.  To the extent that people have noticed I look "well".  You know, it's that thing people say when you look a bit different & better, but they can't quite put their finger on why.

Now the summer's approaching, I'm going to have to add an SPF to my beauty regime as well as the MitoQ, which could be a sticking point.  All the SPFs I have, aside from proper "holiday" suncream, are already moisturisers, and I'm not sure whether my skin will deal with two, or whether I'll think it's a bit too much hassle to use two, and just use an SPF moisturiser instead.  This is the one failing of MitoQ for me, that there isn't any sun protection in it.

I'm staying with it for now, but I have a feeling MitoQ may become a winter-time part of my beauty package, and go away for the summer months, which is a shame considering the cost.  I like it, it works, but I need the sun protection.  If your skin is less sun-sensitive than mine, you may feel differently.

Marathon Effort

Did you watch the London Marathon over the weekend?  I managed to tune in for a while, before Squeaky demanded her programmes back on.  I couldn't contemplate running that kind of distance - I'm the sort of girl who can't deal with running for a bus, never mind anything else.  And I'm in the middle of my own marathon of sorts right now, the World Snooker Championships.  17 days of high intensity television watching while nice young men hit balls around a table in Sheffield.

Squeaky Daddy's big ambition is to run the London Marathon one day.  He's tried to get a place for the last few years, but "standard" entry places are like gold dust - it's a lot of work to raise the sort of money needed for a charity place.  It's a fantastic ambition, and I'd be really proud of him if he achieved it.  I know I couldn't do it myself.

There's a little part of me that would like to run, but I actually don't know how to start - I was never that sporty at school, our school didn't do swimming, which was always my thing.  Between that & cycling, I've got two-thirds of a triathlon, it's just the running I couldn't manage.  I watched an Iron Man Triathlon on holiday a couple of years back - it was all I could do in the blazing Spanish sunshine to walk to the beach bar for an ice-cream, never mind the kind of endurance they showed.  Really inspiring.
Triathletes in Majorca

Believe it or not though, a marathon's nothing to our pre-school wonderkids!  Pound for pound, sized up to adults, they run the equivalent of 30 miles a day!  All that careering around being a dog, a horse, a ballet dancer, playing hide & seek and general mischief making all adds up to a mammoth amount of exercise for those little legs.  Or if the marathon's not your thing, their daily exercise is equal to 6 hours of rowing (more than enough to get across the channel), or 250 minutes of boxing - which is enough for 83 rounds!

So it's really important to me that Squeaky gets the right balance of nutrition to keep her fit for those miles of running.  Even scaled up, with much longer legs, I can barely keep up with her some days.  I've mentioned before that we've had issues with Squeaky's food, she's a very picky eater.  We're making some changes at home at the moment, cutting out the snacks and trying to introduce a bit more variety into her meals, but it's very difficult - especially when you're out.  Which is worse, a child who only eats the Yorkshire pudding and ice cream of a Sunday Lunch, or the child who is screaming and having a tantrum because there's a pea on their plate?  We've got a way to go still, so I'm glad to have Growing Up Milk on my side to help me get the balance right.

Now, my child's asleep, worn out after her marathon day, and I'm back to the telly to continue my marathon.  There's still 11 days to go until we know who the 2013 World Champion will be!  I'm missing being there, I haven't been to Sheffield to watch the snooker since before Squeaky was born.  When she's a little bit older, maybe.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Splish Splash

I started writing this post a few days ago, you know.  And it was so bad that I tried to scrunch up the monitor & throw it in the bin.  Really, it was awful.  So I gave up, but I didn't stop thinking.

This is my bathroom... Inoffensive, bland, with horrible swaggy blinds that weren't fashionable even when the house was being a showhouse in 1991.  (Please ignore the large number of toys at the end of the bath, and assorted cosmetics on the windowsill).  It's a massive improvement on the bathroom in my old house, which I don't even have photos of.  It was chocolate brown.  Need I say more?  This one, at least, is white.

Tots100 and Bathshop321 have joined up to ask about our dream bathrooms.  This was the point where I got a bit carried away the other day, and went off into a crazy fantasy world of built in tellies, self-filling wine fridges, and a view of the ocean.  I even drew a picture.  No-one needed to see it, it was terrible.  I can't draw for toffee.  And it wasn't true.  OK, there was a heated towel rail included too, and that is my One True Ambition in life.  I SO want a heated towel rail.  I get all excited when I stay in a hotel and there's a heated towel rail there, I'm like a kid at Christmas.  I know radiators warm towels up just as well, but they're not the same, or not in my head anyway.

The truth of my ideal bathroom is much simpler.  I want to get rid of the horrible blinds, the beige carpet (and the green mats), the wood, and the beigey wallpaper.  In its place, I want clean lines, simple blue & white, with a Greek Key design.  Something that reminds me of holidays, lazing by the pool. Somewhere I can relax & let the stress float away.

I didn't draw you a picture of this.  Instead, I took a stroll through my photos, through my memories, and found the picture that serves as my inspiration.  So this, then, is what inspires my dream bathroom.  I took this photo a good few years ago now, in Neos Marmaras in Greece.  That shade of blue is so evocative of Greece, and makes me feel so at peace, I'd love to have that in my bathroom.  In fact, I'd probably get this picture blown up to put on the wall above the bath.

So there you have it, my simple vision for my dream bathroom.  Greek blue & white, with a heated towel rail.  A girl's got to have a dream, right?

As well as asking about our dream bathrooms, Tots100 and Bathshop321 are giving one lucky blogger the chance to win a new bathroom suite.  If I was that person, I think I'd choose the Galaxia showerbath suite, and be able to bathe or shower in style.  The lines fit well with my blue dream, and it's modern but comfortable, everything I need.

Mother's Pride (Not the bread)

Yes, every day we're proud of our children, proud of ourselves for bringing these adorable creatures into the world & nurturing them to some sort of successful existence.  But some days you're more than that.  You're properly, really, truly, actually proud of your child, of how they behave, or what they achieve.  That you've done this, and this little person reflects well on how you've brought them up.  Today was one of those days.  A proper Proud Mummy Day.
Young Love, awwww.

First off, this morning, we went to a pre-school music & movement class.  We've only been there once before, it was recommended to us by Wednesday Boy's grandfather, who takes him along most weeks.  Last week was our first time & Squeaky was a bit hesitant, as she often is at these kind of things.  This week though, she & Wednesday Boy were not only angelic, but really actively participating in all the songs, all the dances, and having a whale of a time.  It's great to see her really joining in with something.  And seeing Squeaky & Wednesday Boy cwtching up together in the Dingle Dangle Scarecrow just made me melt a bit inside.

Then, the big adventure of the day, off we went to the school Squeaky will be starting at part-time in September.  For the next ten weeks, they're running "link-up" sessions, so the children can get to know each other, the teachers & the school so when they start properly, it's not such a big shock to the system.  Parents have to stay for these sessions, and they're only an hour, but it's a nice introduction to school.  We walked to the school without any complaint, and went in amongst a load of other three year olds, not knowing anyone (turned out later there were a couple of people we knew) and into the classroom.  Squeaky, rather than hiding behind my knees and trying to disappear, was straight off into the middle of everything. checking out the toys, playdough, paints, cars, computer (oh yes, the computer.).  Everything.  I don't get to see how she is at nursery after I've dropped her off, but this was great, it put my mind at ease that she'll be absolutely fine, and that this is actually what she's like the rest of the time when I'm not there.

After we got home from our school visit, it was playtime.  Or laundry time, depending on which one of us you're more interested in.  But after having sorted out the laundry, Squeaky decided to melt my geeky heart a little bit more.  She can't quite manage to say "EXTERMINATE" in a dalek voice yet, but we're working on it.  I should have grabbed the sink plunger really to complete the look, shouldn't I?  Maybe next time.

Remember that M People song "What have you done today, to make you feel proud?"  Well, my only real achievement was not screaming when a spider ran across the room earlier.  Squeaky's had all my pride for the day. She deserves it.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

People Watching - Soft Play Style

We've spent the morning at our local soft play place.  You know the drill, a warehouse at the far end of an industrial estate, filled with other people's screaming children, running round at 100 miles an hour, hyped up on a mix of fruity bottled drinks & cheesy puffs.

Well, never mind the kids.  My favourite game at soft play is watching the parents &
carers.  See if you can spot anyone you know.

The Shadow  Can't be more than 3 foot from their precious darling, whether said precious darling wants their parent to hover over them or not.  Often to be found tutting about other parents.

I'm saying nothing.
The Overgrown Kid  Similarly to The Shadow, never far from their child.  At least in theory.  However, they aren't watching their child, they're too busy playing on the slides themselves.  Often to be found buried in the bottom of the ball pit, sat on by someone else's children, having balls and foam shapes thrown at their heads from close range.

The iPhone Owner  (Other smart phones are available)  They're present.  Physically.  Just about.  But they're sat as far as humanly possible away from the play area, giving 100% attention to their phone.  Their little darling is either tugging at their trouser leg, shouting "mummeeeeeee, look at me", or busy throwing things at The Overgrown Kid.

The Smoker  Not even present, they popped outside for a ciggie half an hour ago, asking someone else if they can mind their beloved offspring for a couple of minutes.  Now either chainsmoking, gossiping, or gone to the corner shop for a loaf.  (Please note, I have nothing against smokers per se, especially outside away from me, but that special breed of smokers who take advantage)

Supermum This parent shuns the tuck shop.  Secreted in that designer change bag (for it always is), is an entire wholesome picnic lunch.  Sandwiches on wholegrain bread, fruit, mineral water, carrot sticks, not a refined sugar or processed carbohydrate in sight.  They're probably not local, because they wouldn't be here if they knew where the park was. Either that or it's raining.

The Cool Gang You probably went to school with them.  The poisonous girls who'd spend their breaktime in the corner of the yard passing nasty comments about everyone who wasn't cool enough to be part of their gang.  They're still around.  They're standing in the corner of the soft play, ignoring their kids, and passing the same nasty comments.  They may also have a few 9 year old daughters who will be practising much the same nasty looks & comments.

Play or Party?  There, might be paying attention.  But, woah.  This is a children's soft play area.  Sheer blouses, miniskirts & stiletto heels?  Really?  Oh, right, I see which child is yours.  The three year old with glitter eyeliner, a mini skirt and a top with an inappropriate slogan.  Nice.

LOL.  There's normal folk there as well, somewhere.  You just have to look closely.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

The Daxon VIP Challenge

Those folk at Daxon have challenged their VIP bloggers again.  This time, we've been challenged to pick an outfit, for up to £200, and someone will win their choices.  Sounds good to me.

Well.  Some friends of ours have just announced their engagement (and about time too, if you ask me!).  So, in anticipation of the date being set, I've got to choose an outfit for a wedding.
First off, I've chosen this Anne Weyburn dress for £69.00.  It's pretty, it's unusual, and the flower on the front adds a lovely bit of detail perfect for a summer wedding.  I think it'd work quite nicely on holiday as well, strolling along a foreign beach as the sun goes down, sitting by the beach bar with a cocktail in hand.  Sorry, I forgot I was a parent for a minute then.  Ah well, dream on.
Then, to go with the dress, I've gone for these silver sandals for £24.00.  I'm not very good at heels, and like shoes that look pretty but are still sensible & practical.  These tick all my boxes, and I could dance the night away in them.  Wedding disco.  That means the Cha Cha Slide and a bit of shuffling round in circles with your loved one, doesn't it?

Being paranoid about the British weather, I'd need a jacket to go with the dress in case of sudden downpours.  I've opted for this Anne Weyburn jacket at £55.00.  It's light enough to not weigh you down, but will take the chill off shoulders in the evening, and keep the dress pretty if the British summer plays its usual games!
What good is a new outfit without a new handbag?  Especially if there's a wedding to go to.  That's why I've chosen this gorgeous little zip bag for £23.00.  Just big enough for a lipstick, purse, phone, and the all-important confetti!

So, what do you think guys? Will I be the most glamorous guest at the wedding?  Or should I worry about outshining the bride?  Let me know what you think of my choices.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Worst Window Views

I had an email land in my inbox recently, asking about my worst ever window view.  My mind was immediately cast back to last summer, when I spent the evening after Cybher with Helen from Petitmom, Di from Superlucky and Claire from Ninja Killer Cat, in a hotel room with a view of a semi-naked 50-something bloke watching tv in his living room.

Not a flashback I really needed, to be honest.  And not a picture anyone needs to see.

So I thought a bit harder.  And had a good old look through my photo collection.  I rarely think to take photos from hotel windows, which is a shame, because my room in the same hotel as above had a wonderful view of, err, some scaffolding.    I normally only take photos of particularly attractive views from windows.  The boring views I tend to ignore & leave the curtains shut.  But then I hit the proverbial goldmine.

Room with a view, Toronto style
This is genuinely the view that greeted me from a hotel window in Toronto.  It wasn't the most salubrious area of Toronto, to tell the truth.  I didn't really see much of it the evening I arrived, and I was pretty shattered after my flight.  When my friend joined me a couple of hours later, we ventured across the road to a 24-hour supermarket for essential coffee & snacks, and collapsed without checking out the view.  It was only the following morning that I opened the curtains to find, well, judge for yourself.  A wall, a wheelbarrow, some scaffold poles, and I don't even want to consider what was in that box.
Room with a view, Niagara style

Fortunately, this was strictly a one night stay.  We moved on to Niagara that morning, where we had a much more exciting view of, errrr, a car park.  Seriously.  But it's Niagara.  You're not there to look out of your hotel window.  You're there to look at the falls, which even a couple of streets back from the main attraction still provides the most incredible soundtrack to your stay imaginable.

Despite really not hitting the jackpot with my hotel views in Canada, I still had a fantastic week with old & new friends (and got asked for ID going into a casino, at the ripe old age of 31!)

This post is my entry to the Wooden Blinds Direct worst window view competition.  If you want your chance to win a Kindle Fire, share your own view, but get in quick, the competition closes on 12 April!

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Slow blogging. Very slow blogging.

There's a new movement going around.  Going around at much the speed of cold custard, or proper tomato sauce (when you haven't hit the bottom of the bottle).  Non-Newtonian Fluids, that's the bunny.  Sorry.  You didn't come here for science lessons, even if it is something I learned from Richard Hammond & that bloke from Big Brother on Brainiac.

New movement, yeah, that's where I was.  That movement is Slow Blogging.  What?  Well, it does exactly what it says on the tin.  Rather than broadcasting every thought that passes through my tiny little mind to an unsuspecting public, taking a bit more time over it.  Quality rather than quantity.  And a bit of reading more, posting less.

Now I'm all for this.  I've got a job (with slightly less hours than last month, but hey).  I've got a child.  I've got a husband.  I've got a house, and a garden.  All of these take up my time, some more than others.  I also have a blog.  A nail polish habit.  And somewhere along the line I have to sleep.  I can't post new blog posts 3 times a day.  I can't read other people's blog posts who do.  Slow blogging is clearly the way to go, for me at least.  If you have the time & energy to blog multiple times a day, and have that much to say, good luck to you.  If I had the time, I still wouldn't have the content, and no-one really wants to read about my washing up, whether the bin men have turned up this week, or my theories on the location of my missing socks.

So, that's my new mantra.  Quality Not Quantity.

However, as I haven't written anything more useful than a shopping list in the last fortnight & I've got the blogging equivalent of the DT's,  here's a pictoral guide to our Easter Holiday adventures.

We took a trip to Ikea, where I was remarkably restrained and didn't buy any random household items I didn't really need (partly because they've discontinued my beloved mini roasting tin).  We did, however, buy a large cuddly broccolli, and treated ourselves to hot dogs & lingonberry pop.  Hot dogs are, apparently, the best food in the entire world.  Closely followed by ice cream.

We went to the shops in town.  And accidentally bumped into De Li from Waybuloo.  I think she was heading to get herself a pasty, or visiting one of Merthyr's fine clothes shops.  Seriously, we've actually got some nice shops in town now.  I wasn't even expecting De Li to be there, she just happened to be there the same time as us. And by some amazing coincidence, the photographer who was taking pics for the local paper of De Li & assorted children was the same photographer who took the pictures at our wedding.  He didn't recognise me, mind you I wasn't exactly dressed the same!

 I caught up with an old (not Old!) friend from uni, and spent a happy afternoon with a 3 year old, a 6 year old, 2 bemused husbands, and a selection of owls at the Owl Sanctuary at Ebbw Vale.  An absolutely amazing place, that it seems very few people know about, despite the popularity of the neighbouring outlet village. They rehabilitate injured wild birds of prey, and provide a safe & secure home for birds who can't be released back to the wild.

Squeaky even got the chance to handle a Barn Owl, but as you can see, she was a little bit suspicious about the whole idea.  Either that or plotting a way to use the owl to take over the whole world a la Dr Evil.

And finally, as if that wasn't enough adventure for ANYone, never mind a three year old with attitude, we went shopping.  Shoe shopping.  And I made the amateur mistake of letting her have some input herself.  Admittedly, she hasn't had new shoes in ages, because she has surprisingly slow-growing feet.  And there's a small (ok BIG) part of me that's really jealous & wanted these shoes for myself.  But someone chose a pair of Hello Kitty hi-tops, and there was nothing I could say that was going to change her mind.  Please note the expression of smug satisfaction on her face.  I am beyond jealous, but I could only find them up to a size 1, and I'm a 5.  And just to rub it in, she's refused to wear anything else all week, and one of my work colleagues has threatened to disown me if I find a pair in my size.

So, that was our Easter break.  How was yours?  I've even run out of Creme Eggs now.  Must be back to normality.