New You, New Me, New Year. 2019.

Howdy Y’all,

Happy New Year. How are you? Are you surviving the January blues? Can I share a secret? I am loving what Mother L describes as the anticlimax of January. I am not sure if it is the season of my life that I am enjoying the new quieter rhythm of Jan. December and the holiday season came and went like a blur, and I had a blast, but for the first time in what seems like an age I am sitting at my desk (in my new office, yes look at me with my own space!! Blog post soon) and all I can hear is the washer and dryer going, disturbed occasionally by Gertie (the dog) barking madly because the neighbor is leaving or returning.

January is notoriously the month of fresh starts, people set ridiculous resolutions which inevitably by their scale or severity are often failed by even now. I have been somewhat horrified on social media by this constant barrage of “New You” and “Faster Steps To Fat Loss,” information which I worry feeds into this epitome of a certain type of perfection. Trust me I am not sitting here from a place where I don’t have a want or need to make changes in my life, but I think there is so much pressure in January to “transform” yourself it causes me concern that verges on the unhealthy. I often wonder what kind of holiday season people must have that they are crackalacking and ready to go into total transformation on Jan 1.

I am taking a more measured approach this year, I am setting monthly goals that are not simply image based. I am taking the month of January and possibly February if necessary to think about the goals or my wants for 2019 and beyond. I will be frank I am on a journey of self-discovery which makes it sound like I am reading a self-help book, but I am moving to a new chapter, Little L is now at full time school and although I am not inundated with endless free time, the little I have, I want to have value. I want to use it to grow and become a better version of me. I have spent so much of the last years worrying about my family and where we are moving next that I am on autopilot. I loosely use the example of Brexit (holding out the white flag.) The UK is currently in a stalemate. They don’t want NO deal, they don’t like the deal on offer, and many don’t want another referendum. So what is the answer? Lord above knows but for me the epiphany is not is the solution but in the concept of knowing what I don’t want. I find it easy to say or know what I don’t want or can not do, either through time or talent but I am almost paralysed by fear into thinking what do I WANT? I am not sure if it is a mother thing or a woman thing where we have a predisposition to not to consider our wants, just ask Sheryl Sandberg. So I can not guarantee I will get the true answer this month or next, but I am planning to be a little more selfish (there I typed it) and focus on me and my wants. I am hoping by getting more time to cook, read and whatever else takes my fancy I might get more of a sense of my new direction. Whose with me? Fear, not my plan is where I can to share what I feel or find and if I lose a few pounds along the way (all the better.)

Ta ta for now.

Kx

Making a Floral Centerpiece

Howdy Y’all,

Happy Thursday, hope you had a wonderful July 4th to my American friends, it was quite the washout here, which was disappointing we often enjoy the parade (it was cancelled.) It literally rained all day. Last week Mr L and I celebrated our wedding anniversary, eight fun filled years, Mr L informed me that it was pottery, he did this while surprising me with the most beautiful porcelain bowl. As I begin to share my home with you, you will learn about my passion for china and the colors blue and white. Mr L hit the jackpot with this present. I knew the bowl would take pride of place on my dining table and although it looked beautiful I knew it was goading me to try my hand at making my own floral centerpiece.

 

 

Firstly I knew that the easy option would be to take it to the florists and ask them to plant something stunning in it, I also knew if my idea went tits up then I could fall back on that plan. Secondly I had considered buying a fake arrangement but that would have to be online and although I am not against faux flowers they have to be the most exquisite quality otherwise they can look cheap and I hate not being able to see or touch them. Thirdly both options are bloody expensive and I felt I could have a go. So for Queen and Country I jumped in and I share with you what I did.

What I Used

  • An extra large beach towel, so not to dirty the floor. (You will see why later.)
  • Potting Mix for Orchids. I used the coarse blend.
  • A black bin liner/ trash bag to line your bowl of choice.
  • Clips to help keep liner in place
  • A bowl to collect old soil.
  • Orchids (the amount is dependent on your bowl size.)
  • Moss to cover top of bowl (not in picture.)
  • The centerpiece bowl (not in picture.)
  • A sixteen month Goldendoodle puppy (not necessary at all, wanted to be involved she was a total pain in the butt, but God she is cute.)

 

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  • Take the bin liner/ trash bag and with one of the bottom corners place it in the bottom of the bowl, making sure the corner is centered.
  • Then pull the bag taut over the sides and clip. (You will have plenty of excess.)
  • Next use scissors to cut and remove the excess. Leave a few inches below the clips on the outside you can tuck this in later.

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  • You now take the Orchids out of their packaging (this is where the bowl comes in.) Orchids tend to be packed in mossy/damp soil which needs to be removed carefully to expose the roots.

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  • I then semi lined the bowl with the potting soil about half full.
  • Next I positioned the Orchids where I thought they would look best, juggling the roots is quite complex as they are shallow and bulky and alter placement.
  • It is important to view the Orchid placements from all angles.

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  • Carefully fill the rest of the bowl with the potting soil, I did this by hand to ensure all roots are covered.
  • It is quite fiddly because you have to make sure the Orchid leaves are not trapped.
  • The leaves get dirty/dusty from the soil so I used a paintbrush to clean them up.

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  • I then used plant twine to pull the Orchid close to the rod so it is upright and looks neater. Orchids can drop with the weight of the bloom.
  • I prefer to use twine and then cover with florists tape in the color of the stem, looks better.
  • The Orchid clips I find are not as effective at holding the plant straight.
  • Then you remove the clips, you can either cut the remaining excess or tuck it in as I did (neater edge.)
  • Finally you add the florists moss on top to give a  professional look (who am I kidding?!)

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  • I then placed the arrangement on the table and admired my amateur work.

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I am actually quite pleased with the result and certainly doesn’t look bad when in situe and your not looking too close. Plus it saved me several $100.

Have you done anything similar?

Ta Ta for now.

Kx

HydraFacial

Howdy Y’all,

Happy Friday, wow this week has flown by, yesterday I took a timeout and went for a little pampering. I love a facial and it would be my desert island beauty treatment. A facial can transform your skin and how you feel. When your a mum or have a busy life making time to have a little pampering is often difficult so you want it to be good. My thoughts on those who don’t like facials is you either haven’t found the right treatment or the right person. It is that simple. I have come out before feeling a little let down by the money taken and the result and that is not a good feeling. So when you get the right combination keep it up. I have wanted to try a HydraFacial for an absolute age but hadn’t had the time or inclination to do the research, well now I have.

What is a facial?

A facial is a multi step beauty treatment for your face conducted by an esthetician. A facial generally includes cleansing, exfoliating ,extracting, masking and nurturing the skin. The objective is to assist with skin concerns which can be a wide range from skin complaints like acne or rosacea etc. to anti-ageing with a primary focus on creating clear, clean and hydrated skin.

Why Facial?

A good facial is an essential part of an effective skin regime. It clears pores in a way cleansing at home can not , diagnoses skin issues which can change with age, climate and lifestyle. A skilled esthetician can help you with a skin regime suited for your skin type. The lights and equipment make them able to see your skin at a microscopic level and assist in diagnosing issues and guide you on effective products more than a person at a beauty counter. Finally they can perform extractions properly, whether it is blackheads (we all have them,) milia or regular spots they can assist in their removal without scaring and no God awful pore strip in sight.

How Often?

A good facialist will say to see great results you should visit them monthly and honestly that is not always practical financially or schedule wise, so my answer is get them when you can. An annual facial is better that no facial, plus they make awesome gifts.

Why HydraFacial?

A HydraFacial is a  new gentle treatment, it is the latest offering in non laser skin resurfacing. It combines cleansing, exfoliating, extracting and hydrating products into  your skin. It does this with the use of a small machine with high suction which works like a vacuum. The suction absorbs dead skin, clears and extracts blocked pores. The HydraFacial is effective for all skin types including sensitive skin and can assist and treat all skin needs and issues. It leaves you with clearer, cleaner and more beautiful skin with a limited recovery time.

My thoughts and results.

After doing lots of research and reading reviews I decided to visit a med spa within walking distance of my home. I was not disappointed, my esthetician Heidi was a lady older than me who had terrific skin, looked and dressed well. I always feel more comfortable when the person performing procedures looks like I would like to. She was not heavily made up with too many procedures and her professionalism in her work was similar to her appearance, excellent. She was incredibly knowledgeable and careful. I really appreciated the time she took to explain each step of the procedure and she  did extra extraction without the machine (removed a few of those beastly milia.) The extraction pain was minimal discomfort. The whole procedure was painless, it is not as relaxing as other facials mainly because of the noise of the machine but that did not concern me as I could feel the benefits. I got particular satisfaction from the machine extraction because it feels a little like a scrubber on a saucepan and I knew it was cleaning and clearing those pores. At times I could feel my cheeks flushing in particular and you will see that in the pictures below, that is expected for me as I have sensitive skin and slight rosacea. Heidi talked me through and explained how I could change and add to my regime to help with the issues. I was pleased to hear she felt my regime was working very well and that my skin was hydrated with minimal lines. All the hard work is paying off, I enjoyed chatting through some of my skin care concerns and how I felt my skin had changed since we had moved to the more humid climate of the Houston. One thing I found remarkably satisfying is to see the dirty liquid sucked from you face, I enclose a photo for those of you mad enough. The sediment is things stuck in my pores – gross. As I left my skin felt warm and I did have redness, but my skin felt glowing and it never felt dry or tight. The redness went down very quickly and I attach photos immediately after, after about an hour where you can see some dried skin cells on my face and then about two hours later when I had washed my face and reapplied sun screen. I am writing his approx six hours later and my skin feels clean and wonderful. I can’t wait for the next one!

before
Before the procedure, my skin was looking a little dull, tired and I had some minor congestion.

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A closeup on a problem area, milia, sun spots and pigment.

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The gunk taken from my face, Heidi is highlighting the sediment.

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The color of the extracted liquid

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The amount of liquid

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My face straight after the procedure. Lots of redness in the cheekbone area.

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About one hour after, you can see a few dead skin cells and white stuff left on my face.

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A closeup after treatment, still a little red but it is glowing and looks cleaner and more hydrated

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Picture about three hours later, after I washed my face in cool water and added sunscreen, Thrilled with the results. Skin looks cleaner, fresher and more hydrated. I could almost pass as 50- lol.

Have any questions please get in touch. Have you tried a HydraFacial? Have I inspired you. It is so important to take care of our skin.

Happy Weekend Friends.

Kx