Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Christopher Raeburn has designs on Clarks shoes this February

No less than 11 new styles will be hitting Clarks for Spring and all designed by Christopher Raeburn and inspired by his Spring/Summer 2016 collection. The theme is Borneo and anthropologist Tom Harrison is at the centre of the story. Here is a happy Christopher at London: Men showcasing his Borneo Menswear collection.

Photo credit: Emily Clay/Avery Dennison

To get more of a feel for his Womenswear collection here is the Sarawak, a Borneo theme, at London Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2016.

But what is going to be made available in Clarks?

Here are some of the styles to whet your appetite. I for one will be dashing to get my hands on a pair of the trainers...

The collection is priced around £70-£110 and available online at dropping February.

Friday, 15 January 2016

2016 and I am looking forward.

Me and my 'support team'!

I feel like I've really neglected my blog - well I don't just feel I have, I really have. Back in September I came to a big decision. Treatment for breast cancer had been more gruelling than I cared to admit, either to myself or my friends. Working (albeit part-time) while having surgeries (two of them) followed by chemo and radiotherapy had kept me sane and given me some sort of normality and structure - for this I will be eternally grateful. But after keeping myself afloat emotionally and physically for a little under a year, I felt that I just needed to stop. I had stopped the treatment and now I needed to stop work too and just 'be'.

Now I know I am incredibly lucky that I have a caring and supportive working partner who can support us all - to an extent. My children are pretty self-sufficient now, apart from the occasional treat or take-away which we all enjoy, let's face it. But I just found that the tube travel with a painful arm that constantly seemed to be knocked into even in the most uncrowded of carriages, and the work itself, well I just needed some time away to come to terms with what had happened and readjust to what is now termed the new 'normal'.

Don't get me wrong. I loved my job and couldn't have worked in a more supportive environment. I loved the buzz of the West End and how there is always something new to stimulate and excite even when you're popping out for a lunchtime sandwich. But a cancer diagnosis can't just be swept under the carpet and even after all the fuss and treatment it's a big one to get your head around. Actually it all starts when you have your last radiotherapy really - well it did with me. I wasn't prepared for the oncologist and the supporting nurse to shake my hand and formally wish me 'Good Luck'. Being out of the hospital doors and onto the pavement I cried. And I don't feel like I've stopped really ever since. Okay so I'm not a total Debbie Downer - but my emotions all seem to be very near the surface. So some time for just me has been needed, and I must say it has done me good and although the raw emotions are never far away, I have had time in the privacy of my home and with a few close friends, to get used to feeling like this.

So October 4th was my last day in the office and I wish I could tell you that I have taken up oil painting or been training for a marathon. I haven't. What I have done is cleaned out cupboards like a mad person, made a bit of money on Ebay, threw myself into Christmas preparations and attended a Moving Forward course at my hospital with Breast Cancer Care. I really had to gird my loins for that one. A course with a lot of other breast cancer patients for 3 hours every week for a month would normally have had me running for the hills - and it nearly did. But I am so glad I went - not only was it incredibly useful in terms of really good advice on food, exercise and what is normal, but I met some lovely ladies of all ages who are all feeling the same way as me! Scarily I was not one of the youngest - in fact I would say a good 70% of the women there were younger than me - so it really can happen to any woman at any age. It was a good thing to do and a relief to be able to talk openly about your hopes and fears.

Breast cancer is a lonely place. I'm sure all cancers are and I'm not claiming that it's worse than any other and I know is better than most, but you can't spend your whole time telling people how you feel scared for the future and down about your day-to-day struggles. Those who love you just want you to smile and say 'I'm fine!' - of course they do. It's exhausting for them too to be worried for you each and every day.

So now I am confronting January with a new vigour and a sense of purpose. I am too young to retire and the truth is I have too much to still give. I also need to earn some money so we can continue with a lifestyle of occasional holidays and, well just those ordinary things that we all enjoy. The loss of David Bowie and Alan Rickman at just 69 (plus the mother of one of my best friends on Christmas Eve) is a big reminder that I can't stay with my head in my cupboards for much longer. Life is to be lived; highs, lows and days that frankly are simply a little boring (oh boring can be wonderful believe me). My hair has grown back to a length where I don't scream 'chemo patient' and although I have blood test results looming again (the new normal is 3 monthly checks and tests) I feel that I need to step out into the world and see if I can find a place where I can make a difference. Will keep you posted!

I want to finish this post with a nod to David Bowie's single from aptly named Blackstar which is the name given to the shape that appears on a mammogram when you have breast cancer. Some find it depressing but I see it as a call to arms, not to waste time and to be as creative every day as you can possibly be. Enjoy.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

2.5% Retinol Serum - skincare just got simple

I was sent the InstaNatural 2.5% Retinol Serum to try out and write an honest review alongside the moisturiser that complements it - and I must say I am really impressed with this little bottle! Again 5 stars alongside the Retinol Moisturiser which I have also put to the test.

This serum smells heavenly - it smells like fresh oranges and transports you to sunnier climes just by using it. I've been using it every morning for the last month before my moisturiser and replacing my normal serum and the effect it has had on my skin is very good I must say. My skin definitely looks brighter and it does seem to tighten things up a bit too. It quickly works on my skin in terms of absorption but it does tingle a bit when you first apply it - though this quickly disappears.

The dropper means you deliver exactly the right amount to cover your face each day and there is a good month's worth in the bottle (which gives you 1 fluid oz). I simply drop the required amount into the palm of my hand then massage it all over my face with my (clean) fingertips. Because it seems to be absorbed so quickly I can immediately move on to applying moisturiser which is a bonus on busy mornings.

The ingredients are as follows -

2.5% Retinol
20% Vitamin C
10% Hyaluronic Acid

The last two ingredients really help stop your skin from drying out and I found really helped with going from cold damp atmospheres to central heating and the London Underground which all play havoc with my skin. You do need to be aware that Retinol can interfer with your skin's ability to defend itself against sunlight so they do recommend using a sunscreen alongside Retinol products if you go in the sun - not something that is particularly relevant at this time of year I must say!

All in all a great product at a great price which I will purchase again when I run out!

Amazon have InstaNatural 2.5% Retinol Serum on sale at the moment at £21.95 instead of £41.95 so at this very good price is worth a try.

Friday, 6 November 2015

Advanced Action Retinol Moisturizer Review - Vitamin C for your skin

I love this InstaNatural Retinol Moisturiser which I was sent to review. Okay so the packaging isn't beautiful to look at - if you like beautiful jars for your creams to sit in pride of place on your bathroom shelf then you may be disappointed - but I actually think it's the product that's of importance and this is a good product in packaging that, although sturdy, is very functional. It delivers the right amount due to it's pump action so you don't overuse and there is no waste.

It's a simple, white cream and I found it easily absorbed into my skin. I have been using it for the last month and we have had a wide variety of weather conditions - from balmy 20 degrees to nearly freezing and my skin is affected by the cold and damp so needs extra love at this time of year. I found this moisturiser had just enough barrier to keep my skin hydrated (even on the London Underground) without feeling 'sticky'. I can't say that my skin is any less lined (does it ever look less lined even with really expensive brands?) but it does look great - people say I look really well and my skin is glowing.

I also think this is breast cancer treatment friendly -  I am always on the lookout for brands that are gentle, not overly chemical, not overly fragranced and are simple, and this one fits the bill. I have been using it in conjunction with the InstaNatural Retinol Serum instead of my usual serum and my skin feels very fresh with using both products.

I haven't had a spot outbreak since using and my pores look fine too - it seems to have closed one deep pore I had on my forehead which is a real bonus as it was quite obvious. It contains no fragrance which I like - here are the ingredients for quick reference -

2.5% Retinol
Vitamin C
Hyaluronic Acid
Jojoba Oil
Shea Butter
Green Tea

Apparently Retinol can increase your sensitivity to sunlight so they do recommend you use a sunscreen in conjunction with this product on days of sunshine - I started using this at the beginning of October so it hasn't really been an issue.

Altogether a great moisturiser at a great price - the size of product is fantastic too, a 100ml bottle is rare and mine is still going strong after a month of almost constant use.

The InstaNatural Retinol Moisuriser is on sale on Amazon at the moment for £19.95 instead of £39.95 so pick up a bargain today!

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