Film Review for Hostile

Please note, this review is for the independent, French film (dialogue is in English) Hostile starring Brittany Ashworth and Gregory Fittoussi.

I admit that this film’s horror/sci-fi genre is not one that interests me these days and the only reason I watched this movie was because Gregory Fittoussi was in it. (He won an award for this role). Living in the UK this did not come to local cinemas so I had to wait till released in streaming media. Genre has more appeal to my husband so we watched together.

Juliette is trying to find food for a group of survivals in post-apocalyptic American. The landscape she is driving through is arid and deserted. Due to the presence of mutant humanoids, she has to return to base before dusk. A photo of her with a man is stuck to the visor in her vehicle. The film oscillates between Juliette’s present dilemma of returning to base and her pre-apocalyptic, past relationship with Jack, a rich French art gallery owner living in New York. They meet in his gallery which is holding an exhibition of Francis Bacon’s work.

Normally watching films at home I’m doing something else but watching this I became involved with Juliette’s dilemma; jumping at surprise attacks and shouting ‘get that gun’ at the screen. I was also drawn into her relationship with Jack, who looked passed Juliette’s ugliness to see the beauty within her. Without spoiling it, I just want to say the ending haunted me long after the credits had rolled. My husband also enjoyed this movie terming it ‘different’ which in his case means ‘not formulaic.’

I know it was justly nominated for several awards and it seems a pity that it never received the cinema release it deserved. Hopefully, now it is available through various streaming media it will find the audience it deserves.

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Beauty and the older Woman.

Aging is a privilege denied to many.

 

Beauty or Talent

 

Last night I saw ‘Ocean’s 8’, this has been touted as the female version of the Ocean films. The original movie was set in Las Vegas and starred members of the Rat Pack organizing the heist on a casino. The Rat Pack were all friends who hung out together off-screen. The film was remade with George Clooney playing Danny Ocean and various male actors he knew off screen as well as on; Brad Pitt, Matt Damon. As far as I’m aware the cast of Ocean’s 8 did not know each other before filming and great emphasis has been put on how well they bonded and their female camaraderie. Yet, something wasn’t quite right with the movie.

The lead character is played by Sandra Bullock, who is known as a talented comic actress, she plays Debbie Ocean, sister to the charismatic Danny Ocean. It could be argued that she plays this character as cool and calculating, but I feel this is ignoring the elephant in the room, her face barely moves! She has been rendered incapable of giving any expression to the character either by surgery or injections. To be honest, she looks stunning, she can smile but not grimace. She can say a line, but she can’t deliver it. She is in nearly every scene and the stiffness in her face seems to affect the movie. In contrast, Anne Hathaway’s expressive face wordlessly conveys her feelings at seeing, for the first time, the diamond necklace she is to wear at the Met ball. Meanwhile, elsewhere in the movie, there is little difference between Debbie (Sandra) looking at Claude (Richard Armitage) the man she is in love with and when, five years later, she looks at him with hatred, having served those five years in prison.

Maybe others will see this movie and feel differently. There are obviously arguments for undergoing procedures which retain your looks when you work in an industry where your livelihood seems to depend on looking better than good. However, if it is affecting your ability to do your job properly shouldn’t you rethink your priorities? If not for yourself then for every eight-year-old girl out there dreaming of being an actor.

Answers, but not Justice.

When we walked into the court’s waiting room for my father’s inquest I was asked if we had a barrister coming? I replied no. I can’t remember the exact response, but it was along the lines of an expensive waste, these things are better settled without them. By the time we left that court I disagreed wholeheartedly with this statement; if you are seeking justice then engage a barrister.

I wasn’t seeking justice, my father’s death, although unexpected, was caused by a combination of factors which weren’t all preventable. My issue was the care he received during his stay in Cheltenham Hospital and their seeming eagerness to despatch him to another hospital over the Christmas period. After his death, I initially said no to involving a coroner, even though I’d expressed concerns about the necessity of transferring him back to Cirencester. I was also concerned about an incident during his recovery which my aunt had witnessed but I couldn’t get any information from the hospital about it. After discussion with my father’s doctor in Cirencester, I agreed to ask for an inquest into the circumstances of my father’s death

Up until now my knowledge of how investigations of death are conducted has been gleaned mainly from various TV programmes. In our case no crime had been committed, there was no indication that medical negligence had occurred during his operation, one nurse had even prevented him being sent home as he had no one to care for him (prior to being hospitalised for a swollen leg he had lived independently). My concern was his aftercare in Cheltenham and the ordeal of enduring an ambulance transfer to Cirencester, only for him to be sent back to Cheltenham who told me there was nothing wrong with my father and insisted he was returned to Cirencester, all within forty-eight hours.

Speaking to the coroner’s clerk I was persistently told that it was not their role to ‘blame’ anyone. They would gather evidence to present to the coroner who would decide if any issues occurred that caused my father additional suffering. This process was expected to take six months. I could also raise a separate complaint with Cheltenham. My father died on January 1st so we were looking at June/July for the inquest.

Reports started to be sent to me, most were handwritten, others were typed statements after the event. Doctors were mainly locums who were no longer working in Cheltenham. Extra statements were requested. Time passed, and nothing appeared to happen. Finally, in October we received the missing statements. The preliminary hearing was set for December.

A couple of weeks before the preliminary hearing I received a response from Cheltenham.  It was not helpful. My query about the incident my aunt had witnessed was dismissed as the doctor I’d named (using reports) was not on duty. My discussion with three nurses was unrecorded, only that I’d agreed to transfer. I had only agreed as I had been told there was no nursing cover in Cheltenham, as the ward was empty, except for one able patient, I felt pressured to allow the transfer.

In December we had the preliminary hearing where a representative from Cheltenham hospital had a vast file with documents we had no access to. There were no records of the ambulance trips. It was agreed a full inquest would be held, calling witnesses, in March, no later than April. As I was on holiday in May I gave dates. Afterwards, I spoke with the lady from Cheltenham who shown me the nurse’s report at the time of the incident, it had a blood sugar level of 24, the highest reading I’d ever seen for Dad. The lady, who said she was a former nurse, was surprised at my reaction. She also told me that the hold-up was not due to Cheltenham, showing me reports sent in April. When I got home I checked and the missing reports from doctors working in Cheltenham were dated September.

When the date came through it wasn’t March or even April, but the day before I was due to go on holiday. Christmas was difficult, as was the anniversary of his death. My father’s birthday was the end of March and the anniversary of my mother’s death, now five years ago, was in April. By now I had the answers to my questions. My father had suffered a diabetic-related seizure which affected his recovery. Instead of being cared for in hospital he was subjected to travelling around Gloucestershire. It seems that the journey back to Cheltenham was late and he spent the night in Gloucester before being transferred to Cheltenham in the morning, hence my being called on Boxing Day morning with the gruff, ‘I was told to call you when he arrived, and he’s just arrived.’ After a brief medical procedure, he was deemed ‘fit’ by a doctor to return to Cirencester.

The court is a proper courtroom, without a jury. The judge sat high above us and it was an intimidating atmosphere. We were limited to the events we could talk about. I should emphasise that I received no support from the court during the procedure and I quickly felt out-of-my-depth.

The doctor from Cheltenham referred to my father as ‘elderly and frail’. I objected to the phrase as I felt it misleading, my father had been living independently and had been recovering prior to the incident, after which he declined rapidly. My objection was overruled, and the doctor continued to use the phrase. His registrar had arranged to send him to Cirencester and had seen him on Boxing Day, he was a young man and very nervous. He mentioned my father’s cancer, which unknown to us had returned, I tried to highlight he had been clear for thirteen years and we were unaware it had returned. He denied noting delirium in my father’s behaviour. He also claimed to have seen that my father had received a fluid drip in A&E but was unsure when. As he’d arrived with a swollen leg due to fluids it was very unlikely they would have pumped more fluids into him.  (Later I would realise he referred to the visit we made in the early part of the year after my father suffered from gastroenteritis, way out of time range).

When it came to explaining the Christmas Day/Boxing Day journey, suddenly the lady from Cheltenham hospital jumped up to show reports she had obtained from ambulance drivers’ records. At no time was I shown these reports. The judge muttered there were in order. It seemed strange that a year after asking these reports they were suddenly available but had not been supplied prior to this hearing.

Only the anomaly with his blood sugar remained to be questioned. I took the stand to introduce the subject. Immediately the lady from Cheltenham was on her feet again, she knew exactly what I was referring to and showed records to prove that no such level had been recorded. It was my word, that I was willing to take an oath for, against hers. She was not called on to take an oath. Once again, the judge accepted her report.

Weirdly I felt the judge’s wording of her decision concentrated more on the cause of death, which we were not disputing, then the suffering my father endured. She even repeated the phrase ‘elderly and frail’ to me. In his statement, the doctor from Cirencester had stated that as there was no overnight doctor cover in Cirencester he’d decided not to admit my father but return him to Cheltenham. He mentioned signs of deliria and that he didn’t expect him to return so swiftly. She appeared to ignore the evidence from this Cirencester doctor.

In hindsight, I would use a legal representative if I ever have to go through this process again. However, even though it was not recognised in court I believe I obtained the answers to my questions. I am sorry for any future patients that I fail to change Cheltenham’s policy regarding the clearing of their wards for Christmas and not showing the simple generosity of allowing families to enjoy what may be their loved one’s last Christmas with them.

Postscript

Recently Doctor Goodall made the news. He was 104 years old, articulate, active and living independently when he had a fall. He was told that from now on he needed care and could no longer live alone. A fiercely independent man who felt he’d had a good life, he was unwilling to submit to his inevitable decline so opted to go to Switzerland and end his own life. I know my father never wanted to go into a home and be dependent on others. Nor would he have been strong enough to survive cancer a third time. Doctor Goodall’s decision has helped me come to terms with my father’s death. 

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/may/02/david-goodall-perth-doctors-threaten-104-year-old-scientists-bid-to-end-his-life

Beauty and the older Woman.  

Aging is a privilege denied to many.

Beauty Aid – Silk Pillowslip

 

To be honest, I have heard of this latest craze before but, for whatever reason, ignored it. Since the New Year, it has appeared in several beauty columns and I have even seen it recommended for men. In my generation it was hard enough to get men to apply suntan lotion and they still seemed to enter their maturity looking better than the women by their side! However, it transpires the best preserved ones did secretly use moisturizers, hair products, and even hand cream. Nowadays, men’s beauty products are a growth industry. The miraculous product, which everyone is talking about, is the silk pillowslip which they claim to be good for both your hair and your face.

According to ‘experts’, it is less drying than other fabrics and you awake with sleek hair and unwrinkled faces. Pillowslips illustrating these columns tend to be in £60 plus bracket. In fairness, some columnists have stated seeing little or no benefit. Their picture shows a wrinkle-free, barely thirty-year-old, face and sleek hair!

At double that age, with hair that these days seems determined to either frizz or fly away from my face, I decided to invest in a silk pillowcase. After a bit of investigation; Did I need silk from a particular worm? Should it be white? What is the difference between a £20 silk pillowcase and a £80 one? I opted for a £35 John Lewis one in a dusky pink, as I had a voucher I could use to purchase it and I liked the colour.

Immediately I noticed how less frizzy my hair was in the morning. My skin also appears to benefit, although the pillowcase is wrinkled my skin is less so.

I was so impressed I mentioned it to my hairdresser.

He shrugged, ‘Yes I’ve known about that for ages, but then I know a lot about hair.’

Might explain why he’s looking so good for his age as well

Cheltenham Literature Festival 2017

Someone asks me the significance of the image on the scene. A suited businessman is outside a pink framed picture which appears to be stuck on cardboard. It depicts a rural landscape. There is a tunnel-like orb created by golden lines, moving towards it, what I thought were butterflies, are tiny images of people. I knew it must reflect the theme of this year’s festival but at the time failed to recall exactly what it was; something to do with Britain and its future? Checking the programme later I discovered it was ‘Who Do We Think We Are?’ with a subtitle of ‘What does being British mean in 2017?’ I’m not sure if the events I attended related to this theme.

Although I booked within hours of the tickets going on public sale I did not get all my wishlist. Tickets are sold to members first and there is a three-tiered membership. I was lucky, a friend, who is a bronze member, had a spare ticket for the Austentatious, but even she couldn’t get tickets for Bill Nighy. I did try for returns but to no avail.

Austentatious was the first event I attend. It wasn’t the usual kind of literature fare as it consisted of a troupe of actors, dressed in Regency costume, who improvise a play based on a title provided by the audience. My ‘Manners maketh a Man’ suggestion was not drawn out of the hat but ‘The Day my hippopotamus went missing’ was.  The premise taken was, one of the young ladies had inherited a zoo and, although her, and her friends, are looking for marriage partners, the local boys fail to make the grade. I particularly liked the part when one man, feeling let down by his friend, begins naming the values he looks for in a friend, his back is to the audience who suddenly realise he’s reading the sponsor’s poster on the left of the stage!

I was late for my next event as it had taken me 45 minutes to find somewhere to park! Rogue’ Gallery: A History of Art and Its Dealers was the usual type of fare whereby Sotheby’s director, Philip Hook, had a book to promote. He had a slide show and had already reached the Impressionists as I entered. He was a competent, relaxed speaker, skipping through slides that he wasn’t covering which gave me the impression this was a reduced presentation to one he’d given elsewhere. His stories were interesting as was his comment that at times of recession the rich put their money into art. Although record prices for paintings sometimes make the news on the whole most people are uninterested in art prices. Although I didn’t buy his book I did come home and search Kindle for them and have downloaded a sample of Breakfast at Sotheby’s to see if his writing style is similar to his speaking style.

Nicci French is the pen name of married couple; Nicci Gerrard and Sean French. Their talk, Partners in Crime, was about their working relationship and the release of the seventh book in their Frieda Klein series. Each title contains a day of the week, this being ‘Sunday Morning Coming Down.’ Both write books under their own names and had discussed writing together. It was always a future project until stories of repressed memories began appearing in the press in the 90s, they both agreed there was a great theme for a novel. Talking together a plot evolved and realising others in the zeitgeist would be working on similar books they decided now was the time. After discussion each worked separately, reading through, amending and then continuing story. They feel ‘Nicci French’ has her own voice and it differs from their own. The original books were one-offs, and both agree that developing a character over a series has been an interesting project.

I had recently read Matt Haig’s How to Stop Time, so was interested to see him. I knew he’d had mental health problems but was unsure of their cause. I had also read reviews of How to Stay Alive but not the book itself. Matt is honest about his anxieties and problems. Writing suits his lifestyle as it means he can work from home most of the time. So, although Benedict Cumberbatch has brought the option to film How to Stop Time Matt will not be writing the screenplay. He has previous experience of writing a screenplay and found it wasn’t for him. Matt has quite a back catalogue of work which includes children’s stories.  The girl next to me was here as she’d read ‘The Humans’ which looks at us from an alien dog’s perspective. A comment from his son inspired ‘Father Christmas and me’. Like ‘Nicci French’ he emphasised the importance of his book editor, saying you really want them to come back and say this is the first book in publishing history that requires no corrections, but it never happens.

My last event was where I had that conversation about the image. We were sitting waiting for Harriet Walter On Shakespeare’s Women. Unlike other events Harriet was at a podium reading her prepared lecture. It covered not only Shakespeare but the general history of women actors on English stages. The women’s roles were training for young male actors and, she wondered, if such speeches as Lady Macbeth’s ‘unsex me’ would have been written if women were expected to deliver them. She mentioned that even in Romeo and Juliette, Romeo has more lines than Juliette. Lately women actors have been portraying the male leads in Shakespeare’s plays. Harriet has played King Lear as well as other roles. A couple of the plays she has been in, Julius Cesar and Henry IV, were set in a female prison which gives them a different perspective as these are woman only environments. One woman’s role was not mentioned; Kate in the The Taming of the Shrew which is probably more controversial today due to the treatment of woman in certain countries arranged marriages. I wish I’d asked her about it. However, it was not part of Ms Walters focus whereas the sexual discrimination of woman within the theatre was. The recent pay revelations in the BBC was highlighted as was Peter Hall’s reference to the director as ‘he’ in his books on stagecraft. It seems sad that more than forty years after Sex discrimination and Equal pay Acts women are still having to fight for acceptance not only on the stage but in the production of plays.

Returning to the theme I am still uncertain to its relevance to each of the events I attended. Austentatious was an affectionate parody of Jane’s world. Philip Hook was aware of the greed that exists within his world but also viewed it with affection. Nicci French’s crime novel show a different side of London to the one most of us are acquainted with. Matt Haig’s perspective of life has been coloured by his own problems but it is one many of us relate to. Harriet has allowed Shakespeare inside her head and has viewed his world from a modern woman’s perspective. The festival, like reading, allows us to spend a bit of time outside our normal experience and whatever we are, we are all naturally curious about life.

Bye, Bye, Baby

2013 was a pretty bad year for me, my personal annus horribilus. That October my Monedo was as in as bad a state as I was; its mileage was high and although the engine ‘would go on forever’, to quote my OH, it’s bodywork needed welding and it also needed four new tyres, roughly £1K. I had to drive Kieran to London and pointed these problems out to my OH hoping he’d lend me his car. I still ended up driving it to London but I also ended up in a BMW showroom after declaring ‘no more Fords!’

To be honest, I wasn’t expecting we would actually buy a BMW but we did, or rather my OH did. I was really apprehensive that we were making a mistake. But as he talked about the joy of owning a new car I realised he was trying to make me happy by doing something for me that made him. Over the last four years, I can truly say I have loved driving this car. She has made me feel safe. She is a big, fast, BMW 328i GT. She is an automatic which has been easier on my left shoulder. She has sensors and a little screen which makes parking easier. She lights up at night as I walk towards her, pressing the button, it’s like being greeted by a puppy-dog who’s glad you’re back. But this November the financial agreement is up and decisions have been taken.

In all my years of car-owning, this is the first time I really haven’t wanted to move on to a new car. In fairness, the others have been out of necessity whereas there is nothing wrong with my BMW. I still love driving her, she still looks good but most people would just see a series 3 BMW without realising her power, hence she hasn’t retained her value and isn’t a good investment for the future. One of her selling points for us is she can easily seat our two six-footer sons but nowadays they rarely travel with us. I recently had her serviced and had a courtesy car, ‘it’s the same as yours’ said the girl showing me to a BMW 320d. By the time I’d driven home I phoned my OH to complain about the lack of response and ‘if next car was like this they could keep it!’ He assured me it wouldn’t be.

With my love for my current car, I couldn’t have the ‘same again’ as I would be constantly comparing it so I decided to go for something different. I have always preferred saloon to sports cars so my OH was surprised when I opted for a BMW series 4 coupé, it even has an ‘M sport plus’ package.

On August 31st, I drive my car for the last time to the dealership and, just after midnight I drive home in its replacement. In the last four years so much has changed maybe I’m ready for something different, not quite so safe and with just a touch of wildness to it.

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She was washed and polished after servicing, but weather recently meant wet, dirty puddles!

Opening my make-up bag!

Beauty and the older woman.

Aging is a privilege denied to many.

Recently a lot of ‘aging’ celebrities have been opening their bathroom cabinets and showing us their beauty products. Most of these ladies seem to be in their forties or fifties and can afford products which cost more than then the entire contents of my make-up bag! Okay, maybe a slight extravagation on that last statement but whilst I look with interest at Crème de la Mer’s counter, with its beautiful tropical fish, I see little point in trying their products. Not because I do not believe the claims, but because I can’t justify the expense of buying them. Once, or twice, I have been tempted to ‘treat myself’ but if I then discovered its brilliance I would have to continue buying, or feel guilty that I’m depriving my skin of something so beneficial. On the occasions  I want to treat myself  I feel my money is better spent on a visit to a spa for some special, indulgence treatment.

So why would you want to see my beauty products? Well I’ve just turned sixty last October, I rarely tell people my age, but if I do I can see that they didn’t expect reply to be 60. My mother always cared for her skin, and wore make-up, so I learnt to care for my hands, neck and eye area from an early age.  A few years ago I was tested for aging signs in my face. I was mainly way below my chronological age, exception being my eye area. I have similar problems to my grandmother so despite creams I haven’t overcome genetics, but maybe I have slowed process down as I didn’t register as being older than I was.

I discovered I have sensitive skin when I first started applying make-up and had to wash it off quickly as it stung! I had greasy skin as a teenager along with zits, hormonal skin problems over the years, then developed rosacea in my fifties. A friend recently commented, ‘You’re lucky you have good skin.’ I don’t, but I have tried to look after it.

For years, most of my facial skincare was Clinque products, but when I encountered problems in my fifties I had to find a new routine. I ended up looking at French products.

I don’t have a bathroom cabinet as my morning routine was to vacate the bathroom to allow others to use. Instead I have cluttered bedside surface and full make-up bag.

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These are from my bedside (the clutter includes books, jewellery and CDs as well as bottled water).  They are there so I can find them in the dark if necessary as they’re part of my usual night-time routine, after cleaning my teeth. By the way, teeth really give away your age. I recently started using Sensodyne Pronamel Gentle Whitening in the hope of stopping the thinning of my enamel, only time will tell if it works.

Hand cream is Nivea Age Defying which I have been using since it came on the market. I also have a tube in my car and downstairs.

Eye cream is a sample of Clinque’s All about Eyes. I have used various eye creams over the years.

Neck cream is Formula biotech firming  neck and jaw cream (from Marks and Spencer). I used to use Body Shop but it’s no longer available. I also need the extra ingredient to firm my jaw line. I think it has made a difference.

I use La Roche-Posey Rosaliac purifying  cleansing gel, available from Boots, to remove make-up. I don’t wash my face and even use this on the rare days I don’t wear make-up. I also use in morning. I just wipe it off with cotton pads.

I then use La Roche-Posey efaclar toner, again Boots. Usually just over my nose and chin area.

Finally, Clinque’s All about lips. I am sure my lips are disappearing! This moisturises them and is supposed to keep them plump.

I don’t use a night-cream as part of my routine. Dry skin is not one of my problems, but I have used Clinque’s Moisture Surge occasionally.

These are the contents of my make-up bag.

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Normal routine, after cleaning, is application of eye cream, currently I’m trialling Formula Bio tech Eye Cream (Marks and Spencer) as I was impressed with it’s neck cream). I then apply  La Roche-Posey Rosaliac UV light moisturiser, it is brilliant and also has SPV 15 included. I am still unsure about primer, is it a necessity or a con? At present I’m using a Clinque sample (little white tube, centre bottom), when I remember. I’m not sure if there is a difference. I have been using Clinque’s Beyond Perfecting  since its launch, which coincided with my visit to House of Frazer to buy more foundation. It is light and covers easily. I have two shades; Ivory for winter and Breeze for summer, although it does attune to your skin I was originally sold the darker shade as, at the time, my skin had a slight tan. As we progressed into winter I felt tangoed. I still use Clinque’s Blending face powder (invisible) to set my make-up. I prefer the loose powder. The brush was brought years ago I’ve forgotten its origins.

I have two pencils both Clinque’s quickliner; intense plum for evening and violet for day. I’m with Lesley Joseph who told Trinny and Susannah that as you age you need a little help to make your eyes stand-out. Wearing glasses I am aware I need to make my eyes noticeable. I like to use a base for my eye make-up. Clinque keep discontinuing products I use, at present I’m using their Lid Smoothie in Bit O’ Honey, it claims to nourish and protect my lid as well as smooth out fine lines.  I then cover it with a powder base colour from whichever palette of eye colour I’m using. At present, it’s the All about Shadoe duo Jammin’ for day or Black Roses (no longer available) for night. I like the violet shades and hope that next time I purchase I can find something similar. My three brushes are; a thick one for overall base powder, then slimmer, square-headed for lid and finally fan brush to blend.  I finish my eyes with black mascara, both shown here are samples from Clinque.

I prefer powder blusher and have been using Clinque’s Blushing Blush in Smouldering Plum since I had my wedding make-up consultation thirty years ago! I have tried a few others since but seem to keep coming back to this. The brush is a Clinque one. I used to have an artist brush but when the bristles started coming out I brought this rather than leave the house with a large dark hair on my face.

Lipstick has been a problem over the years. Clinque’s rarely stayed on and trying other brands had me begging assistant for cleanser as my lips started to sting. Recently introduced Clinque’s Pop Lip Colour and Primer has, at last, ended my plight. As name suggests they combine lipstick and primer and are light to wear AND stay on. Just as my lips are disappearing I have at last found a product which give me lips! I currently use Rebel Pop, a lovely dark red, but will be shopping for a more scarlet colour for summer.

In top right hand corner is a sample Moisture Surge CC cream which I use over my normal moisturiser for gym. I need something to even my skin tone, but it’s a waste to go in full make-up. I just add Eye Smoother and mascara. Plus a pale sample Pop lipstick.

Below are tweezers, these are Tweezerman from Boots which are worth paying extra for. Even if tweezing eyebrows is near impossible wearing glasses. Next to these are nail chippers, essential  maintenance. Not shown is my 7xs magnifying mirror which was a fiftieth birthday present from my mum. At the time I hated seeing every line and pore magnified. Since then I have had to resort to, almost, full-time wearing of glasses and in my mid-fifties I lost my mother. For a while my beauty routines seemed pointless. Nowadays, when I pick up the mirror I think of her before hers and smile, after all no one thought she looked her age either.

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Skincare is not limited to face of course. I prefer bath to shower. My boys tend to give various bath products to me on birthdays and Christmas. The Molton Brown collection, at back, are a Christmas gift. I loved Waitrose Rose scented product, the Lotus Petal and Jasmine is okay. The brush, at front, is a recent replacement for similar one which was was worn out but difficult to replace. I found this on Gorgeous shop website, bristles are softer than original. Body lotion is Nivea Q10 Body Lotion. I have treated my feet with Body Shop Hemp for feet since it was launched. Although I have hard skin on my soles, I tried removing once and found it painful to walk, I do not have any other problems.

During menopause my underarm skin became very sensitive and I swapped to Clinque’s Roll-on anti-perspirant  deodorant which my mother had used for the same reason. The Forever Aloe Heat lotion was recommended by a friend after I pulled my lower back I honestly wound not have coped in Bruges or the States without it. I have since used on shoulder and knee.

After flying to Spain, and ending up with tree trucks for legs, I looked for something to prevent this type of swelling again. I came across Cowshed’s Udderly Gorgeous leg and Foot Treatment in an article about swelling legs in pregnancy. Symptoms are similar so I thought I’d try it and it worked! It’s a cooling gel and I could feel a slight tingling on application. Reviews spoke of drying effect on skin so I limit use to once a week, except after flying.  I have ankles back and slimmer legs.

Like most people of my generation I hate looking at photos of myself. It is only when I see them ten years later I think, I actually looked okay then. In ten years I hope to remember to revisit this article and see what has changed in my beauty routine and skincare.