Monday, 19 August 2013

Big Thank You

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone that has been reading and commenting on my blog. There have been some lovely and interesting responses.

I will now be taking a break from writing, but hope to resume before too long. Thanks for your support.


Friday, 16 August 2013

Fairground Rides

I have to admit that I enjoy watching others on fairground rides, far more than I enjoy riding on them myself. Whether it's a travelling fair, seaside attraction or Theme Park, I'm often there to view as opposed to ride.

Don’t get me wrong, there are a few rides that I venture on, but they are what many may refer to as ‘tame’. I’m certainly not a thrillseeker, preferring rides that somehow have a point to them as opposed to just throwing me around and up and down into delirium.

Big kid that I am, I enjoy the gentle boat rides that wind around enchanting little scenes or ‘caverns’, and I really love a ride that involves a bit of competition, such as Tomb Blaster at Chessington. I get really competitive, frantically shooting the targets along our route, aiming (and often succeeding) to get the highest score in our family.

The nearest I get to riding on the more thrilling attractions is the type of ride where you sit in a tub and get thrown around on the ‘rapids’, often getting a good soaking into the bargain – great on a hot day!

As I child, I was often taken to Dreamland in Margate, Kent, Every time we visited I begged my mum to let me go on the roller coaster, but she always fobbed me off, muttering something under her breath about possible accidents. So I resigned myself to riding the swans on the ‘Alice in Wonderland’ track, gently chugging round the Lewis Carroll characters.

I eventually went on said roller coaster in my teens, only to discover I didn’t much enjoy it anyway. The same applied to the other more daring rides that I tried.

As my children came along, I enjoyed the type of rides that we could all go on as a family – although I have to admit, even the little caterpillar roller coaster was a bit much for me!

Thorpe Park used to be great fun before it became home to many of the more ‘dare-devil’ rides as it is today. It was much more my thing to sit on a train that took me on a journey to an island where pirates chucked buckets of water at us (hands up all those that remember this!), as opposed to being blasted by a Tidal Wave.

Today I still visit Theme Parks and fairgrounds on family outings, but with the exception of a few fun rides, you are much more likely to see me there in the role of spectator, as opposed to a keen rider.

Do you enjoy fairground rides?

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Wednesday, 14 August 2013

This August I’m Loving …

Do Me No Harm by Julie Corbin, a gripping psychological thriller that made me want to keep reading to reach the end, despite worrying how the tale may actually turn out. A must-read book!

Peaches Peach Schnapps from Iceland, a budget version of Archers, which tastes just as good and costs just £5.50 a bottle. Delicious with lemonade and ice for a long, cool drink.

Tesco Strawberry Milkshake Mix, which has a lovely flavour – preferable to Nesquik to my mind. A great way to encourage children (and adults) to drink their milk.

Saga Magazine Puzzles, a monthly puzzle magazine with a great variety of puzzles including Sudoku, logic problems, Hanjie, mosaic, quizwords and codebreaker puzzles. Great for giving your brain a good workout.

Tesco Wake Up Mexican Lime Shower Creme for just £1, a lovely scent, a pleasure to use.

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Monday, 12 August 2013

Tales Of A ‘Set Down Point’

At my local Tesco Extra there is an area named the ‘Set Down Point’, which consists of two bays each designed to accommodate two vehicles, for the purpose of setting down (and indeed picking up) shoppers.

However, I often see this area being used for all kinds of purposes, for which I’m sure it was never intended. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t sit there for hours on end watching the comings and goings, but I regularly meet my husband there following a shopping trip. Invariably I’m ready some time before he actually arrives, so I can’t help but see what’s going on.

I’m really exasperated by some of the activities that I see, and have decided to compile a list of things that I recommend you avoid doing at the ‘Set Down Point’, based on real events that I’ve witnessed. Take heed, if you live in the Medway area, this could be aimed at you!

  1. Do not park your vehicle in the middle of a bay, turning it from a space for two vehicles to an area for only one. Strangely it’s always the people with the smallest cars that do this, preventing others from being able to pause in the bay.
  2. Do not use this area to park your car whilst you perform a full ‘trolley’ shop. There are usually plenty of other parking spaces available and they are all free of charge.
  3. Do not park here to have a picnic. Yes, I’ve actually seen this happen. What appeared to be a father and son emerged from Tesco with a full carrier bag of food, which they then proceeded to eat on the spot – in their twee little camper van with net curtains! Surely there are better places to have a picnic.
  4. Do not use this area as a venue for a social event. I’ve actually seen people park here, greet friends, linger long enough to have major conversations and ‘catch up’ sessions, pausing to use the toilets along the way, and even using this area to ‘swap’ children that they have picked up from school!
  5. Do not settle down (it’s set down not settle) and read a book. Contrary to what you may think, this is not a reading area.
  6. Do not set down passengers – oh hold on! You can do that, I got carried away!

Have not actually seen one of these parked there though!
I certainly see a lot of life when waiting at the Set Down Point, In fact, I’m thinking of turning the shenanigans into a script for a TV soap. I’m sure ‘Setdowners’ could prove a big hit!

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Friday, 9 August 2013

What’s With The ‘Man Food’?

There have always been products that are labelled ‘man-sized’, but the whole ‘man’ element in product marketing seems to have grown. A strange concept in an ever more politically correct world.

‘Man-sized’ tissues have been around for as long as I can remember and I’ve never really questioned whether they should just have been termed ‘large’ instead. But just because a product is a little larger than average does this warrant it being called ‘man-sized’, especially in these days of equality?

We don’t even have policemen these days – we have police officers. Firemen have been replaced by firefighters and many other terms have been adapted to include the word ‘person’ instead of ‘man’. Should this trend extend to products too?

In the 70s, Yorkie jumped on the bandwagon (or haulage truck), showing a lorry driver tucking into one of their chunky chocolate bars on their TV ads. In their more recent adverts they took the ‘not for girls’ approach, which was quite fun and tongue-in-cheek, rather than a serious ‘man’ campaign. Most recently Yorkie have introduced ‘Man Size Buttons’ but I do find this a bit odd.

Whilst snacking on a pack of McCoys crisps I noticed that they were being referred to as ‘Man Crisps’ and that’s when I decided this whole man thing was going a bit far. What do the manufacturers hope to achieve by awarding a product the title ‘man’?
It doesn’t make me want to buy a product more, if anything slightly less. I thought perhaps I was missing the point so I decided to ask a few men if the products were more appealing to them when the term ‘man’ was applied. The response I received was a resounding, “No!”

OK, so maybe I didn’t hold a huge national survey, so my results may not have been entirely accurate, but the opinion was that people bought products because of their taste, rather than their image. The men I talked to buy a chocolate bar regardless of the packaging or name – they don’t feel that there’s anything ‘unmanly’ about chocolate in the first place! The same approach applies to crisps.

I notice that the people who come up with these names and slogans never award a product the title ‘girl’ or ‘woman’, should we feel hard done by? Well no, I would feel more patronised if a product was emblazoned with such labelling.

Of course, I’m not counting products in all of this that are made expressly for either men or women, such as deodorants, shaving cream or perfume.

Maybe it’s time to think of some new names and slogans to replace this whole ‘man’ thing. Any suggestions?

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Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Avon Solutions

I’m always on the lookout for products that help me in my quest to keep my skin looking young, and used to be a big fan of Dove ProAge Neck and Chest Beauty Serum. However, this disappeared from the shops with the emergence of their All Over Body Serum, which I don’t use, as I prefer Dove Firming Lotion to moisturise my body and would prefer to target my neck area with a specific product.

I was interested, therefore, to see Avon Solutions Ageless Bloom Neck and Chest Treatment SPF15 in a recent brochure. This is a light cream aimed at helping to firm and tone this delicate area whilst helping to reduce age spots, sun damage, lines and wrinkles. I really feel this is making my neck and chest area softer, smoother and a bit less crepey.

I’m also aware of trying to minimise sun damage to my face, so was pleased to see that Avon Solutions Truly Radiant Tint Release Moisturiser is SPF20. This is a white cream, but actually subtly tints the skin when applied – I didn’t fully notice this until removing my make up and seeing the evidence on the cotton wool! (Yes I do know the clue was in the name) It’s designed to even out skin tone and give you a healthy glow, whilst offering sun protection – a great light, summer product.

What new skincare products have you found?

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Monday, 5 August 2013

Milestone Birthdays

Later this month I will be celebrating one of those so-called ‘milestone birthdays’. You know, one of those ones that ends with a ‘0’, the first number being the age you feel you were not that many years ago.

Is it really that long since my mother took me off on my first day at infants’ school? I was actually eager to go and made a beeline for a little wooden doll’s house that was set up on one of the classroom tables. There I sat, so engrossed in my little world, that I didn’t even see my mum leave, although I do remember being disturbed by a girl sitting on the top of the table behind, bawling her eyes out. I recall turning round and glaring at her, wondering what all the fuss was about.

Anyway I digress. Milestone birthdays. They’re the ones that the card shops stock a multitude of banners, badges, balloons and mugs for. People hold huge parties to celebrate these special days – well some do, but not me.

When it comes to my birthday I like to do something quiet, you know keep it low key. For my last milestone birthday, we (myself, my hubby and my three children – yes there were still all children then) stayed in a little farmhouse in West Wales, miles from other civilisation. My actual ‘big day’ was spent on a quiet little beach, whilst I passed the evening sipping gin & tonic overlooking an expanse of green fields – aaah bliss!

Milestone birthdays do seem to make you pause and take stock, however. Even if you’re not actually ticking off a ‘Twenty Things Before I’m –ty” list, you may still consider what you’ve achieved since that last magic milestone.

With the years clocking up, I really have started looking back and considering all that I have done and achieved, and I’m pleased to say I’m quite happy with my lot.

When I was a child some of my favourite things to do were to dress up in my little nurses’ uniform and administer to my dolls, play schools and write stories. Since then I’ve trained and worked as a Staff Nurse, changed careers and supported GCSE and ‘A’ Level visually impaired students in schools (learning Braille in the process) and am now writing in various forms. In addition to writing my blog, I write for several companies, composing slogans and copy for their websites and brochures and am also penning a few short stories and a book. Childhood dreams are being accomplished then!

I’m also proud of my three children and have recently been blessed with my first grandson.

Although I’m not thrilled to be the age that I am, I’m certainly happy, on the whole, with the way that my life has gone. Here’s to the next 50 years! Whoops that’s let the cat out of the bag!

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Thursday, 1 August 2013

This August Why Not …?

Join in the fun of a carnival. I love a good carnival and as a child looked forward to the yearly event in my home town. The marching bands, stilt walkers, colourful floats and general party atmosphere all appealed to me – and still do! Sadly this event has fallen by the wayside, but throughout August there are many carnivals taking place around the country. Of course the biggie is Notting Hill Carnival on 26th August, but there are plenty of fun smaller events to attend. In recent years I’ve been to the Hastings Carnival (East Sussex), which is full of typical carnival floats and fun, with the procession this year taking place on Saturday 10th August at 5pm – so if you’re in the area give it a go! Go online to find out about carnivals in your area.

Be safe in the sun. Fortunately it would appear we are all becoming much more conscious of the damage that the sun can cause to our skin, and are covering up more with high factor sun lotions and light clothing. My current favourite sun care product is Boots Soltan Moisturising Suncare Spray Factor 30, which gives 5 star UVA protection. This is simple to apply, easily absorbed, water-resistant and also contains an insect repellent. Another good rule with the sun is to avoid direct exposure between 11am and 3pm. When we go to the beach on a hot day, we tend to go early, have breakfast there and leave by lunchtime, this way we avoid the crowds as well as the sun at its hottest. We also love evening strolls along the beach.

Enjoy some summer fireworks. During the summer, some seaside resorts put on firework displays. At Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, every Wednesday evening, for the six weeks of the summer holiday, there is a free firework display, with musical entertainment commencing at 8pm and the fireworks starting at 10pm. I can highly recommend this one – it’s great to be by the sea in the evening when it’s a little cooler and the atmosphere is great. Other seaside towns putting on firework displays this summer include Bournemouth (Fridays) and Poole (Thursdays). Look out for a display near you!

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