Monday, 29 September 2014

My Autumn Beauty Buys

As I get older, I prefer a more subtle approach to make-up, using products that give me a healthy glow as opposed to emphasising every little flaw. The latest additions to my make-up bag certainly reflect this trend.
I’ve recently discovered No7 Stay Perfect Superlight Foundation SPF15 from Boots, which gives me a light, dewy coverage that evens my skin tone without looking unnatural. It’s a great little product and a little goes a long way.

Staying with No7 products, I’m now using their Stay Perfect Smoothing Eyeshadow in Bronze and Nude to add a subtle sheen of colour to my eyelids, rather than using a product that is too full on and heavy. The liquid formula glides on with the sponge applicator, and the tubes are handy and light to carry in your bag.

I do love the way No7 have developed this “Stay Perfect” range, if only the transformation to my face was that good! Anyway, I do like the products and are happy to recommend them.
I like to add a touch of colour to my cheeks, but don’t like heavy powder blushers or dark shades, so I was pleased to discover Limited Collection Cream Blush from Marks and Spencer. I’ve chosen dusky rose, which gives me a healthy glow, and I really like the way the product glides on, blends easily and doesn’t look overdone.

As the weather gets cooler, skin needs a little more TLC, especially I find, on my hands. My new favourite product is Hand Therapy Anti-ageing Hand Cream from Superdrug. With UV filters, Vitamin E and Co-enzyme Q10, it has a light non-greasy formula that is easily absorbed and just a hint of scent. My hands will thank me for it!

What beauty buys are you investing in this autumn?

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

The Casualty Experience

Last week I had the misfortune to visit the A&E department of my local hospital. It was a worrying experience, not just because of the nature of my symptoms, but I knew the hospital was in special measures and had suffered recent bad press.

As a former nurse I am always more critical as a patient, as I know what should happen ‘behind the scenes’ so to speak. So it was with some trepidation that I arrived in the department as a patient.

The initial reception was quite good, I was booked in straight away (it was about midnight and reasonably quiet) went directly to triage and in no time was sitting in the queue for an x-ray. At this stage of the proceedings I was relatively impressed.

However, after this great start, things went downhill somewhat. Despite there only being about half a dozen patients in the general waiting area, a couple of hours seemed to pass with only the odd person being called. Now I know from experience, there is also the trolley area to account for and Resus (resuscitation area) to staff, but usually there are nurses assigned to each area. A couple of ambulance drivers appeared to book in patients, who then seemed to walk out and join us in the general waiting area anyway. So I can’t understand the delay, especially as I observed several staff members just wandering aimlessly around. When I worked for a time in A&E, I never remember having time to amble, but was kept busy the whole shift.

All that said, when I was seen by a doctor, the service and attention I was given was very good. She examined me thoroughly and performed a few tests, the results of which I then had to wait for until a final diagnosis could be made. This involved another couple of hours waiting time.

Finally, with the results back, I was discharged with appropriate medication and advice, which has thankfully since enabled me to feel much better.

But that’s not the end of the story.

Getting out of the car park proved to be a bit of an ordeal. It’s one of those parking arrangements where you pay at a machine just before you leave, although I do believe this used to be free during certain overnight hours. Anyway, we attempted to put our money in the machine (£5 would you believe?), but it kept rejecting our coins. As it was we had to scrape around for the funds as parking charges are hardly the first thing on your mind when you rush off to casualty.

Finally a member of staff came and directed us to another machine further away (by this time I was really tired and still in pain, despite analgesia) and just wanted to get home. Unfortunately this machine didn’t like are coins either, so we had to locate help, enabling us to hand over our money to a real person to validate our ticket. I do think the whole system of hospital parking is atrocious as I’ve formerly blogged see here

As a final postscript to my visit, a few days afterwards I received a text asking me to rate my experience and state how likely I would be to recommend that particular A&E department to family and friends. What a ridiculous question! If you’re experiencing an emergency situation, you’re hardly likely to survey people you know, you’ll just head to the nearest place that will help. Although in a separate text I was given the freedom to say what I wanted about my visit – perhaps I should just send them the link to this blog!

Friday, 12 September 2014

Shopping Habits

Despite my recent move, which means that I’m now much further away from the nearest supermarket (see ruraljoy ) I’m not about to change from doing my weekly shop in person, to ordering online.

I’ve heard tales from friends and family, bemoaning incomplete orders and poor substitution of products, which certainly don’t inspire me to join the online shopping revolution.

OK I know that for every negative story that I hear, there are probably many positive experiences to be shared, but my aversion to online supermarket shopping goes much deeper than all that.

The problem is I’m a very fussy shopper (you may have realised that by now if you’re a regular reader of my blog) and take great pains to select the right items fit for my shopping trolley. I turn over many a bunch of bananas, bag of potatoes, pack of meat etc before making my final choice. The thought of someone else making these decisions for me brings me out in a cold sweat – I need to be in control of the shopping!

Well, maybe that sounds a bit extreme, but there’s no getting away from the fact that I like what I like – and I quite like to shop. So no matter how much longer it may now take to get to the shops or how far the distance involved, I will continue to trawl the supermarket aisles and fill my trolley with exactly what I want.

Are you a fussy shopper?

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

I’m Loving Lidl

I’ve previously made it quite clear in my blog how much I hate the whole Aldi shopping experience – well, more of an ordeal really. The stores are too cluttered, the choices too limited and some of their ‘exclusive’ brand products certainly don’t win prizes for taste in my opinion.

It was with some trepidation therefore, that I decided to give Lidl a whirl, having heard some slightly more favourable reports.

My first impression when I stepped into the Lidl store was how much brighter and clearer it seemed than any branch of Aldi that I had ever visited. The next thing that struck me was how much more choice of products there was, including well-known brands at very reasonable prices. I bought a Hovis Soft White Loaf for just 79p (£1 at Tesco) and Bertolli spread 500g was on offer for just £1.

Then I got a bit braver and tried a couple of the Lidl ‘exclusive’ brands, selecting some chocolate bars, rich tea biscuits and cherry brandy – all of which did not disappoint.

The rich tea biscuits weren’t bad, but the chocolate and the cherry brandy were absolutely delicious and such great value! I chose to buy Mister Choc chocolate bars, priced at 99p for 11, in the strawberry yogurt and latte varieties. Both were gorgeous, really tasty and just big enough for a little treat, with each ‘bar’ consisting of three little squares. The Serenade Cherry Brandy Liqueur cost just £5.99 for 50cl and was actually one of the best that I’ve ever tasted – warming, not too sweet with a good cherry flavour.

I’m definitely planning another trip to Lidl very soon.