Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Travel Review - Playa Blanca, Lanzarote

This years family holiday destination took us back to the windy isle of Lanzarote. With its dramatic volcanic moon like landscape and easy, typically laid back spanish way of going about things, I've always had a soft spot for Lanzarote.

We've been to Playa Blanca before but this year we went the other side, the Marina side. If you're looking for a small holiday resort, with lots of great restaurants within easy walking distance, the Marina end of Playa Blanca is for you.

Accommodation
We rented a three bedroom villa from Ocean Dreams Marina and Spa Villas. The villas are located opposite the Hotel Volcan and you can use all the hotel's facilities, pool etc. Both the hotel and villas are really great. On our arrival we were offered an upgrade (for a small extra cost) to one of the more newly refurbished villas, and it was worth every penny. Although I have to say that our original villa was the same size and perfectly adequate and homely, the upgraded villa had the WOW factor. And unbeknown to us, the addition of an inside/outside room with bi-fold doors was fully utilised on what turned into quite a few very cloudy days!
The villa had a large, freezing cold pool. Our last couple of days, when the clouds had finally moved on, did mean we all braved the pool but it was like an iron man challenge. Maybe we were used to pools that have been heated or had the summer season sun on them but a freezing cold pool is no use to anyone is it?!

There were enough sun loungers and, in our villa, a really lush day bed.
So the weather.. I'm not going to go on about it because it's not Lanzarote's fault! We were there for ten days from 10 June, so a little early in the holiday season and apparently the thick cloud was not usual, and it was still warm, it was just not what you want on your annual holiday is it.

Resort
As I said the end of Playa Blanca we were in was lovely, quiet (very when we were there), clean and pretty. A less than ten minute easy walk from our villa took us to the Marina area, which has lots of restaurants, bars to sit and look at the beautiful yachts whilst enjoying a jug of sangria and quite a few shops. There is a small supermarket, enough to get snacks and fill your fridge if, like us, you decide to go self catering. But equally the quality of food at all the restaurants we ate at (some repeat visits) was top notch.
The marina area is nicely laid out, and you can see that careful consideration has been given to the look and feel of the area.  Access is easy as well for pushchairs and wheelchairs.
Beaches
If beaches are your thing, or you fancy a change from being poolside, a pleasant and flat walk along from Playa Blanca to Playa Dorada takes about twenty minutes. There's a really nice sandy beach with plenty of beach side bars and restaurants. And walking along the paved promenade you can see all the love locks.

Just up from Playa Dorada beach there is a shopping area, full of your usual holiday tat shops and (praise the lord) a Mango!
In the opposite direction to Playa Dorada is the island's famous Papagayo beach. We walked along the promenade, which was nice and flat until we were met with a very steep (I would say sheer!) cliff face. I'm sure there must be an easier way to get up on the cliffs to walk along to the beaches, and you can drive there, although they are rough tracks so you have to take it steady. As me and my sisters treated this walk as a training hike, we climbed up the steep cliff and once up there it was a very undulating walk along the coast line past two nice sandy beaches, one quite large and then the last beach is Papagayo. It is pretty and certainly from our high vantage point the beach and the sea looked stunning. But I would certainly not have wanted to walk to it carrying a day's worth of beach stuff, which you will need as it's only the last beach which has a small cafe.
Holiday reads
Sadly I only seem to find the time and concentration to read on holiday and thanks to the clouds, this holiday I read three books, all of which I can highly recommend.
This is going to hurt by Adam Kay - a real life diary of an A&E Dr. This is a must read, not just because it's funny, sad and well written but it makes you really appreciate our national health service and all who work within her!

Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine by Gail Honeyman - this wasn't what I thought it would be but in a good way. I thought it was going to be quite a dark story in to someone's mental health. It is about that but there's much more and the character, Eleanor, is heart warming.

Good me bad me by Ali Land - a similar premis as Eleanor Oliphant as in it features screwed up mothers! This novel is a bit darker but a great story and read.

xx

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Monday, 2 July 2018

Sexily Practical Lingerie from Playtex

I am not one for frilly or fussy underwear. I want my underwear to be comfortable, supportive and well made. In that order. I'm not one for colourful undies either - black, nude or white are the way to go, for me. 

And if you're anything like me (or maybe it's just me?), when I find underwear that is comfortable, I buy a few and then I just stick with those until I HAVE to buy new underwear.

And here's another confession - I like big pants, especially if they are non VPL (visible panty line). Big pants not only keep your derriere warm and covered, they are so much more comfortable to wear and a big pant is the perfect underwear when worn with trousers. Big pants can also help to give a flatter silhouette, especially over the tummy area. But I have found that some big pants can be ugly pants. Mostly made in cotton with a thick seam that just advertises "I'm wearing my Bridget Jones'"!
So when Playtex kindly contacted me to see if I'd like to try a lingerie set, I opted for my favoured black, big pants but with a sexy bra.

The set I was sent is the Playtex Perfect Silhouette bra and the Perfect Silhouette Shaping Maxi brief.  
The Shaping Maxi briefs are made from an innovative soft stretch microfibre and the feel is like a soft satin. The briefs also have an integrated tummy support which helps to flatten. I love these pants. Not only do they cover everything I want covered, they do help to flatten my tummy area giving a much slimmer silhouette when I've worn these with either trousers or a fitted skirt. The satin texture feels great to wear and unlike other "tummy control" pants I've tried, these are really comfortable and you can still breath! No VPL either.


The Perfect Silhouette bra is also made in the same fabric and is underwired and just as comfortable as the briefs. The bra, whilst being in a practical black, has a half cup of tulle that really gives it a sexy feel and look. 
The straps, once adjusted to your size, stay in place. No annoying slipping off the shoulders and the simple clasp at the back is not too wide, so you can wear fairly low cut back tops.
This bra fits really well and, as the name suggests, gives a really nice silhouette to any outfit. The smooth satin fabric means you can wear as you would a t-shirt bra with no weird outlines from lace or frills.

This set is just what I look for in lingerie and the Perfect Silhouette set is what I would call sexily practical.

The Perfect Silhouette set is available from Littlewoods.com and Very.co.uk 

xx

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Saturday, 9 June 2018

A year on..Was it worth buying the Braun Silk Expert IPL?

Being a brunette, I am a naturally hairy person. Too much hair on my legs, toes, face etc etc. From a very early age (1st year of secondary school) I became sharply aware that I was a hairy person when my then "boyfriend" referred to me as Tash - he was referring to my top lip. I mean the cheek of it because he looked like Nookie Bear (younger audience will need to google this reference).

With hair removal on my legs and underarms, I've always shaven and been quite happy with this method. My face on the other hand has gone through all manner of removal techniques. I started with bleaching my top lip, then Immac cream hair removal, then what was for all intents and purposes, sandpaper on a plastic handle. And my most recent foray in to facial hair removal has been shaving. Now known as "dermaplaning". And with this tiny specific facial razor I have been removing my top lip hair and the downy peach fuzz. And this has meant smoother, clearer skin which foundation applies to much nicer and gives a better finish. However, I really don't want to be doing this for many, many more years and so started to investigate IPL at home devices.

What is IPL?

Intense pulsed light uses a light source to disrupt the melanin in the hair follicle, which in turn damages the hair root, and after a few treatments, means that the root is unable to produce new hair. You do need to check the skin tone guidance first though to see if this is suitable for you. It's great for me - brunette with light olive tone skin but would not be suitable for those with very blonde and light skin tone, redheads and very dark skin tones.

Why IPL and what's the difference between IPL and Laser treatment?

IPL is a safe to use at home, by yourself, without any training, treatment for long term hair removal. Note I said "long term". Before I purchased this device I had read enough to know that an IPL is not, as they advertise, permanent hair removal. An in salon course of laser treatments is permanent because the laser is able to precisely and accurately target the hair root. However, a course of laser treatments is very expensive.
What IPL offers is a significant reduction in your hair removal regime and a noticeable, visible lessening of hair re-growth.
Braun Silk Expert IPL
Braun Silk Expert IPL
Why did I choose the Braun Silk Expert IPL?
I researched IPL devices pretty thoroughly and read a lot of reviews and I was just about to press add to basket on the Philips Lumea (£389), although deciding on the right particular model number was a nightmare when I remembered a friend had said she loved her IPL device. After speaking with her she recommended the Braun Silk Expert. Apart from the obvious difference in price (the Braun was £246), I liked that the Braun was not cordless, as I had read that the cordless Philips did need charging often and people needed to re-charge mid hair removal. Also the Braun has 300,000 light flashes compared to the Philips 250,000.
How to use?
Before using you need to shave off all hair and have clean, dry skin. The Braun Silk Expert that I bought also comes with an exfoliator to remove dead skin but I haven't used this.
Sonic Body Exfoliator
Sonic Body Exfoliator
You need to stick religiously to using the IPL on the areas you want to remove hair once a week for between 4-12 weeks and until you see a significant reduction in re-growth.
I am now in week 10 but at week 9 I was able to stop the weekly treatment and am now doing it once a fortnight.
It takes me about 45 minutes to treat my legs, arms, underarms, toes and face (you can't use an IPL above your cheekbones). There are three settings on the device - I use the highest setting for arms, legs, toes and underarms and the middle setting for my face. I will soon start treating my bikini line but for now I wanted to treat the areas that most bother me!
The device omits a warm flash of red light. The heat takes a little getting used to at first. It's not hot but warmer than I had imagined. I've had no irritation after use on any areas.
This device also has a constant setting, so you can do legs/arms by just pressing on the button once and glide the device along which will then omit the pulse light at regular intervals. I don't use this as I prefer just to press, wait a second, move the device, press again.
Does it actually work?
Yes. It does. Thank goodness! I noticed a marked reduction in my underarm re-growth from week 3 and whereas pre IPL I was shaving my underarms every other day, I am now shaving once a week. 
Legs are the same, and I have noticed some areas have had very little or slow re-growth with patches of more obvious re-growth.
Arms have been great. I only used to shave these hairs every few weeks and since using the IPL I have noticed very little re-growth and all re-growth has been not as thick.
Face - slightly disappointed with this area. And it's the area and reason why I bought the device. I used to hair remove once a week and am still doing this/sometimes can stretch to every 10 days. But I will continue and hopefully will see as much reduction as in the other areas.

Should you buy an IPL?

If you have some spare cash and/or your body hair really grates on you, then yes. I am really pleased I bought this and with the results I have already seen after 10 weeks. I'm also glad I bought the Braun and not the Philips, because I can't see how spending £100 more would have made a difference.
You do need to be committed to the "start up" phase and make sure you use this once a week initially but it's no bother - I do this whilst watching some Youtube (although I do close my eyes each time I press the button when using on my face, because the pulse light is bright).

This does work.

I will do an update to this post in a few months time, so you can catch up and see how my "permanent" hair removal is going.

Here's the link to the Braun IPL available on Amazon. 

xx

Update June 2018 - 10 months on
As promised here is an update on my use of the Braun IPL. It's a bit longer than a few months but almost a year on, I think I can now give you a good update.

As I stuck pretty religiously to the start up phase, once I'd hit 12 weeks of weekly use, I was then able to just use the IPL on a "as and when" basis. During the winter months I hardly used it at all because frankly in the winter you need that layer of fuzz to keep you warm! But even in winter I only needed to shave my arm pits twice a week.

Legs - It was recently, when wearing shorts and in bright sunlight, that I noticed that although my legs did need shaving, the regrowth was only in certain areas, and didn't cover a very large area. So I have areas on my legs, specifically upper legs and back of legs that have no regrowth, at all. Legs I can go 10 days until I need to shave.

Arm pits - I now only need to shave once every 5 days and even then the regrowth is not much and very light.

Arms - I used to shave my arm hairs once a month, now.. gosh I go so long maybe once every 2 months and even then the regrowth is hardly noticeable.

Facial hair - this is the area I'm least impressed with. I actually stopped using the IPL on my face because I think it made the peach fuzz increase. I have started to use it again and will monitor. Maybe I just need a good phase of using again to see a reduction in regrowth.

I'm still really glad I bought this and as long as you stick to the initial phase, you will see results. I still wouldn't say this is permanent hair removal but absolutely it significantly reduces regrowth and for me, in some areas, appears to have completely stopped the regrowth.

xx
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Sunday, 3 June 2018

Current Favourites May 2018

I haven't done a monthly favourites for, what seems like, ages. And that's because I've just been ticking along, using the same products and not trying anything new until we started to leave the depths of winter. But now that spring is definitely here and dare I say it..Summer has started to show its face now and then.. I get motivated to branch out and try new things. Most of the items here I've been using for a good 2 months, so properly tested.

Facial Gradual Tanners - Elemis Total Glow Bronzing Moisturiser £31.00 50ml and Utan Nourising Night Creme £24.99 50ml
Both of these tubes are sample sizes but have lasted me ages. I've been using the Elemis Total Glow Bronzing Moisturiser as my day moisturiser and then the Utan Nourising Night Creme at night, so it's difficult for me to differentiate between the two to tell you which gave me more of a gradual tan or glow. But I can say that the combination of the two lifted my winter grey tone and definitely gave me a bronzed complexion which has meant I have felt confident to either not wear any foundation (just concealer) or definitely just a light coverage. Which leads me on to..

Foundation - Maybelline Fit Me £6.99
I like a high end foundation, always have. But when I'm spending £30+ on foundation I want it to have been properly swatched on my face to make sure I'm buying the best match. The next high end foundation I want to try is Fenty Beauty but I need to travel to a store that stocks it, so until then I picked up the Maybelline Fit Me, as I've read good reviews about this (and the loose powder which isn't being stocked in the UK yet).
It was quite hard to find the right shade, and there's a lot to choose from and I found there was quite a variation between the shades. Anyway I got 220 and although this is a tad too dark for me, because it's such a lovely light consistency, I can blend it out. My freckles (I'm now calling them freckles not age spots because if I'm still shopping in Topshop, I will also have freckles!) show through when I apply a thin layer, and I'm liking that look at the moment. The foundation can easily be applied heavier for a fuller coverage if you want.
The Fit Me is poreless and matte and I would say it creates a really good poreless look and although yes it is fairly matte, not in a dry looking way at all.
I really like this. 

Deodorant - Garnier Mineral Invisible £1.65
Ok granted this is not as strong, as in works as well, as Mitchum but neither does this new  antiperspirant from Garnier irritate my arm pits. It dries quickly, smells nice and just glides on. 48 hours non stop is a stretch but a work day, yes.

Perfume - Jo Malone Nectarine Blossom & Honey cologne £45.00 30ml
Confession - I don't really like perfume. And that's because most perfumes when sprayed near my neck or decolletage area cause a non itchy rash, almost like my skin has been mildly stung. Anyway when recently killing time at Duty Free and with Dirhams burning a hole in my pocket I decided to treat myself to a Jo Malone scent as who really am I at 47 years of age and never having had a Jo Malone product? 
After lots of sniffing, I went for the Nectarine Blossom & Honey. This is a light, fresh, floral scent which doesn't irritate me at all and the aroma continues to lift my spirits and make me smile every time I spritz.

Shoes - Grey pointed flats Topshop £20.00 (sale) and Tan flat sandals Matalan (I think they were £14, can't see them online anymore)
These flats from Topshop are as soft as they look and comfortable too. Because the point is quite long, my toes aren't squished and the grey colour goes with everything.
I love all the woven style slip on sandals around at the moment but I've had an embarrassing situation with slip on sandals (involves a big suitcase, a big slope and sweaty feet), so these seem more what I need. Ankle strap means no slip sliding about, tan "leather" goes with everything and looks great against tanned feet and the woven section is on trend. What's not to love?

xx



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Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Dove Summer Revived - another level of gradual self tanning

As some of you will already know, That Age Style is my hobby and I love that I can share with you all my passion for finding affordable beauty products that actually work. So, when I was recently invited to not only try out the Dove Summer Revived range of gradual self-tanning moisturisers, but also attend an overnight stay at the beautiful Gainsborough Bath Spa Hotel in Bath as one of a small group of bloggers, I literally jumped at the opportunity. And apart from the obvious reasons of why I didn't want to turn down the chance to attend the Summer Revived retreat and bring to life my holiday mindset, I have previously used other Dove DermaSpa body lotion which really worked for my skin! 


A few weeks before attending the retreat I was kindly sent the gradual self-tanning moisturisers, which are the New Dove Visible Glow self-tan lotion (larger bottles on the left of above photo) and what I was used to, the Dove DermaSpa Summer Revived body lotion. Both of these lotions come in 2 shades - fair to medium and medium to dark (my preferred shade).


You may be asking (as I was) what's the difference between these 2 lotions? Which I can now explain a bit more after hearing from Dove at the Retreat and getting the low down. 
Dove Derma Spa Summer Revived body lotion £7.69

Although this is the smaller of the 2 bottles, it's still a great size at 200ml. Summer Revived is a body lotion which has been combined with Dove's own Cell-Moisturisers™ and amongst the highest level of glycerin you'll find in a high street product to moisturise your body like a high-end body lotion. The quality of the moisturiser is so good that you can use this on your face as well, so no need for a separate facial self-tanner. And because of the scientifically advanced gradual tanning this range gives, you will achieve the same believable glow to your face as well as your body without any streakiness.
Dove Visible Glow self-tan lotion £7.69
If you want your daily body lotion to give you a gradual self-tan, the Visible Glow range is for you. This is the body lotion I've been using for the past few weeks and I am so impressed with firstly how quickly I developed a really nice colour but also how moisturising this lotion is. Some self-tanners can leave your skin a bit dry but you will not get any dryness with the Dove range. These lotions hydrate and care for your skin, whilst getting you summer ready. If you have drier skin, I would recommend the DermaSpa range though due to it’s higher moisturising properties.

And if you've been put off by the biscuity odour from gradual self-tanners in the past.. fear not as Dove have also worked really hard and very cleverly to disguise the unavoidable scent you will always get from the tanning ingredient with a lovely fresh citrus, fruity scent. I couldn't detect even a hint of the biscuit smell in either Dove Visible Glow or Summer Revived.


To put proof in the pudding.. here's a snap of me lounging in The Gainsborough Bath Spa lobby, with my self tanned legs out for all to see! I can tell you I would not have worn this length dress without having the confidence only a bronzed body can give you.
So what went on at the Summer Revived retreat I hear you say. What I need to say first of all is The Gainsborough Bath Spa is an exquisite hotel with exceptional service from the minute you arrive to when you leave. Myself and 7 other bloggers were treated like Queens. 

The event kicked off with a lovely brunch, where we all had the chance to meet and chat with each other and then hear all about the Derma Spa and Visible Glow products from Dove.


We all had our own gorgeous room with a bed that I had to climb up to and slept in like I was drifting on a cloud.
The room was a really good size with a luxurious bathroom, complete with Asprey products. Included in any stay at The Gainsborough is also the free in-room mini bar, free wifi, and use of the Spa Village - which has 3 natural thermal pools. The Gainsborough is the only hotel to have tapped in to these naturally heated thermals.


The hotel's Spa Village is accessible to hotel guests only at certain times in the morning and evening so it won't be busy. As well as the 3 natural thermal pools, there are other self treatments such as a saunas and steam room and an ice alcove, which is so refreshing to cool you down after the sauna. 
There are also 11 treatment rooms and it was here that I was treated to a 1 hour back, neck and shoulder massage - bliss.
After a few leisurely hours in the Village Spa, we all then got ready for a cocktail making masterclass. I have to say the 2 cocktails I made with the delicious fresh ingredients were really nice.


And then after cocktail making we were all treated to a 6 course tasting menu from Dan Moon the resident chef. It was a perfect end to a fabulous day. The food was mouth wateringly good and each course was paired with an accompanying wine.
And after a glorious sleep it was off to breakfast before an hour of yoga, which helped to keep going the very relaxed and revived state of mind and body we were all in.

And as sad as I am that it's all over, I'm keeping the Summer Revived feeling going every time I catch a glimpse of my tanned legs and arms.. I'm certainly going to be beach ready for my summer holiday in a few weeks.


Thanks to Dove for gifting me the products and the absolute treat retreat at The Gainsborough Bath Spa. Although I will be receiving a small fee for this blog post, my honesty about the products used are 100%. 

xx
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Saturday, 19 May 2018

5 Accessories to update your summer wardrobe

Is it safe to say that Summer is on its way? Well I'm going to embrace it because nothing lifts your spirits than when the sun is in the big blue sky and there's a smell of burning sausages in the air.

I've been getting over excited and ready for upcoming holidays by searching for and buying some accessories to update my summer wardrobe. Is it just me or do you feel you can go out of your normal style zone and go a bit quirky with holiday/summer accessories? Take this super cute crab straw bag, which is first on my list of 5 accessories to update your summer wardrobe.

1. Round Straw Bag
Topshop £22.00
Topshop
Round straw bags are hot this season. I love the natural material and texture of the woven fabric and a round bag is a change to the usual rectangle or square shape we're all used to. And whilst there are a lot of rigid round bags around at the moment - this one from Topshop ticks more boxes for me. Because it's not rigid, it'll easy fit in my suitcase (you know that front pocket on suitcases) and I won't be worried about it getting crushed. And although it has a handy long strap for wearing either cross body or on the shoulder, it easily hides away inside the bag so you can hold it by hand. There's also the button closure so the bag has a level of security. There's a cream cotton lining and a handy deep zipped pocket in the lining.
And of course there's the crabs.. too cute.  I've see that Pull & Bear have a purse that will match as well that I think I just have to get. (£12.99)
Pull & Bear
Hang on that's a lobster..or a shrimp?!

If you did prefer a more rigid bag, this one also from Topshop has a more secure closure. £27.00
Topshop
2. Woven Shoes
To go with your straw bag, why not get get some woven shoes. 
I bought these simple flat woven sandals from Matalan for £12.00 and they're so comfortable.
Matalan
However, I'm also after something a bit dressier. These softly textured shoes I've picked below are smarter and would be great for more formal occasions or work. They are on trend and a more fun look than a usual court shoe. And because of the open texture, your feet will stay cool, so are great for holidays too.  

I've got my eye on a few and just can't decide just yet which ones to go for..
M&S
These M&S slingback sandals will look great with dresses, skirts, jeans and trousers and M&S do them in tan as well. I've tried them on and they are comfortable and the heel height would be absolutely fine for all day or night wear. £55.00.

Topshop have some great woven design shoes and I think one of these is what I will end up going for.
Topshop
I love these Mary Jane shoes, they are so adorable and would completely make a wedding guest outfit. The soft pinky nude colour would go with any outfit choice as well. £49.00

And if you like this style but not with the strap.. how about these slip on shoes in the colour of the season.  Imagine how sharp these would look with cropped jeans. £46.00 (also from Topshop).
Topshop
3. Cat Eye Sunglasses
Zara
For a while I didn't think cat eye sunglasses would suit my round shaped face but I don't think these look at all bad. I bought this pair from Zara for £15.99 and I like them because they don't have a really extreme cat eye shape which there are a lot of about at the moment. The extreme shape I don't think many people can or should carry off. 
The only thing I would say about this pair is although they don't feel heavy on they do leave a dent mark on the bridge of my nose quite quickly.

I also like these from Asos and they're a bargain at either £12.00 each or £18.00 for both!
Asos
 Or these pricier but red cat eyes also from Asos at £115.00
Asos
 4. The Headband
Zara
For those days when you don't want to think too hard about your outfit and your hair needs a wash - there are so many headbands/scarves about. And what I love about this one from Zara (only £7.99) is it's got an elasticated back so you just pop it on, either over your hair like I've worn here or the normal way and you've made a bit of a statement. And it's comfortable to wear.

Zara have load of other designs, like this one..
Zara
5. The Beach Bag
A big bag that you can chuck your beach towel, book, bottle of water and sunscreen in for a day by the pool or beach, can also be used in the Summer as your shopping tote. I favour a beach bag that will easily fold in to my suitcase, has a wipe clean lining and small zipped pocket but I also really like a lot of the big straw baskets that are everywhere.
Here are some of the beach bags I am lusting after..
M&S £35.00.
M&S

Accessorize
 Accessorize £29.00.
Alphabet Bags
Alphabet Bags £22.00.

So those are my accessory additions to freshen up a summer wardrobe. I hope you like them.

xx


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