Screen Time and Awesome Things I’ve Seen!

It’s great fun to book an awesome holiday. It’s great fun to book awesome holidays for the next two years running…. but that also means you have to save up to pay for all that awesomeness…. which results in a A LOT of Netflix time.

I don’t mind this. I’m a self-confessed homebody and since I love my house, there’s nothing I like better than the idea of staying inside it for days on end.

So, I wanted to share with you some great TV and Films I’ve seen over the last few weeks, that you might want to watch too.

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The Staircase, available on Netflix, is a true-crime documentary and is apparently the doc that inspired the creators of Making a Murderer. Originally made as an 8 part series for the BBC in 2003 it follows the crime and trial of a man accused of killing his wife, who was found at the bottom of a staircase in their home. There were then 2 more episodes made in 2013 and then 3 more for Netflix have just been released along with the episodes prior. It’s a gripping series and if you like crime documentaries then you should definitely watch it. I have since found out, a whole strand of theory has been removed from the series by Netflix, which was originally shown and is now not there. Apparently a separate episode dedicated to this theory will be released at some point by Netflix. A strange move, I think, but I’ll be interested to see that, as and when it emerges.

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I’ve been enjoying watching new films, recently. Since I don’t often go to the cinema, I have been waiting for a whole bunch of films to arrive on streaming services so I can finally watch them. Mother! is one Gary didn’t really want to see but it intrigued me so much. I wouldn’t say the film is enjoyable, but it’s entertaining. I think it’s clever, others feel it’s self-indulgent of the director and egotistical. It reminded me of classic horrors of the 1970s. Frightening but not because something has been put in front of you. Comparisons with Rosemary’s Baby are probably the closest you’ll get to knowing what you’re getting into if you are deciding to watch this. It’s intense, and stressful and echoed anxiety dreams I used to (and still sometimes do) get when I worked in retail and dreamt I couldn’t get customers out at the end of the night, and somehow they kept coming in. It’s not for you if you’re easily stressed out. A lot of the reviews I read after watching the film were from people who were angry at the film. I guess it stirs up emotion and I think that’s exactly its aim.

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Having just said I never go to the cinema, I’m going to contradict myself now. I saw Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom in 4DX at our local cinema. We’re really lucky to have a 4DX screen as I believe there’s only 2 in the UK and only 1 in the US (that might be wrong, but I know there’s only a handful in the world). I love watching action films in 4DX. It feels like you’re on a theme park ride for the full length of the movie. I saw the first Jurassic World in 4DX and I’m pretty sure that was my first 4DX experience, so I had to see this one in the same way! I really enjoyed the film. It was suspenseful, exciting, good storyline which followed on well from the last. No Jurassic Park film will be as good as the original, but they’re doing pretty well with these last two!

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And to finish, I’ll talk about a show that’s completely blown me away. I’d avoided watching The Handmaid’s Tale because I was concerned I’d be upset due to the subject matter. But then a colleague said she’d been watching it and was enjoying it so much that I just had to try it out. I already knew Elisabeth Moss from The West Wing and then Mad Men, but she’s so incredible in this. The show took my breath away to the point that I binged the whole first season in a single weekend, and managed to catch up with the second season that has started week by week. There are points in this show that are so powerful that I’m sad I’ve seen it because I want to watch it for the first time again. One of the scenes in the first episode of season 2, along with the music choice they made, was SO powerful I could have sobbed. I’m so glad I started watching!

So, those are the things I’ve been enjoying watching of late. I’m sure I’ll share more with you as time progresses – it’s a great way to save on those pennies! What have you been watching, that you’ve loved?

Guest Post: Mum’s the Word!

Today I have a guest post, written by my Mother! She has her own blog, mostly about her travels and day-to-day activities and she loves to write. I chatted to her about make up when I was with her for lunch on Easter day, and it dawned on me, she would have an awesome perspective of how makeup has changed over the years she’s been using it. And of course how her use of beauty products has changed as her skin has matured. Now heading into my mid 30’s I am all too aware of how my skin is changing and it feels like every few years I’m having to relearn what works for me! Here’s what my Mum has to say:

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Erin has asked me to write a guest blog post about make up from the point of view of the older woman.

Well at 61 and a bit I guess that’s me.

I wear make up every day simply in order to look better than I do without it. I prefer the natural look and have never had much free cash to spend on cosmetics. But along the way I’ve found a few products that really suit me, and of course some others that don’t!

I’m proud of my hands; I’ve never bitten my nails and I love to wear nail varnish. I started to paint my nails at about 10, I think. I remember wearing a pretty green shade in the ‘60s and a subtle pearl coloured varnish in the ‘70s. While working on a mobile library in King’s Lynn in the early ‘70s I spotted a customer who had beautiful dark red nails. They were the exact colour of aniseed balls and I’ve been searching for this shade ever since, never quite finding it.

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At Centre Parcs a couple of years ago I enjoyed a pedicure, having my toenails painted with Leighton Denny’s No Comment which is an extremely dark purple, almost black. Since then Leighton Denny polishes have been my go-to make. I find them long lasting, hard wearing and in stunning colours. Entertaining names too!

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I suppose the next product that I started using when growing up was lipstick. Now, I have a love/hate relationship with lipstick. I have pale skin and any slightly bright colour looks so vivid on me that it drowns me out. My Mum on the other hand has olive skin, much darker colouring than me, and as she was a teenager in the ‘40s and ‘50s she wore bright red lipsticks as that was the fashion and she looked great in them. Trying on my Mum’s lip colour then, wasn’t a good start for me. Once pale colours became fashionable in the ‘60s I found what suited me and I’ve mainly stuck with them. More often than not though, I go without. Lip balm is my friend, in fact I’m probably a little addicted. I started using Cherry Chapstick way before Katy Perry tried kissing a girl!

Come my teen years I was looking for guidance. I bought a beauty book that I remember advising its readers to wait till 16 before wearing any make up. My art teacher at school was more enlightened and one lesson she asked us all to bring in our make up bags and apply our usual make up in the lesson. This was radical as cosmetics weren’t allowed to be worn at our girls’ grammar school. What I recall from this particular lesson was that one girl had followed the fashion of the day and lined her eyes top and bottom with black eyeliner. As our teacher pointed out, this had the effect of making her eyes look smaller! Not the intention!

I also remember having a make over at my aunt’s house. Now this gave me such comfort as I could see from this that make up could really make me look quite pretty. The revelation here was wearing blusher for the first time, on the apples of my cheeks. Blusher livens up my face no end, and I always wear it now, just a little pop of colour. I have used powder in the past but I prefer cream. I use Lychee by Colour Me Beautiful, a product that they have recently stopped stocking. So I am eking out my little pot.

What did I next discover? Probably mascara, and probably Rimmel from Woolworths. Mascara is my favourite cosmetic I think; the one I would take to that desert island. I am blessed with long thick eyelashes and I like to make the most of them. I’ve always worn brown or brown/black, never black as it’s too harsh for my colouring. And I’ve stuck to liquid mascara in a tube, never wanting to use those solid blocks in a compact with a tiny brush that my friends used to apply, mixed with their spit (shudder!) These days my most regular brand is Max Factor. I’m currently using 2000 Calorie though I like False Lash Effect too. A more pricey brand I like a lot is YSL, Baby Doll. This is a fabulous product with a very clever brush that makes my lashes look luxurious.

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Eye shadow next; it’s such fun to experiment with colours and where to place them on the eyelid. Of course in the ‘60s the focus was on the eyes so dark colours were the rage. Now, I have deep set eyes so I just look like a skeleton if my eyes are too dark. In the ‘70s I had little pots of gel like shadow that I applied with my fingers. One was quite a bright blue, and they were shimmery. Oh yes, quite the thing, with my bottle blonde hair flicked back and secured with Harmony hair spray I must have resembled a Charlie’s Angel! More recently I’ve been using my Colour Me Beautiful’s palette which contains 3 shades, all selected to flatter my summer colouring. These shadows are subtle and in great colours, mainly matte but the heather has a little sparkle. A ‘grown up’ product.

My current favourite shade is a lilac shadow by Bobbi Brown. It brings my eyes forward, so to speak , and provides some colour on my face.

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I experimented with eye liner in the ‘60s; of course I did. Other girls looked so with-it with that smooth black line so close to their eyelashes. I never got it right. Using a liquid product, there was always a sliver of pale eyelid showing between the lashes and the liner. It wasn’t till the 80’s that having been inspired by a friend who wore a subtle soft line on her lower lids, I found a soft pencil with a smudger and found that a thin line,once again in brown, enhanced my look. A few years later I was brave enough to line my upper lid too. Now I’ve found what works I’ve tried other colours too and currently favour a blue pencil, once again from Colour Me Beautiful and I also love a grape pencil from Clinique.

Now, moisturiser. A friend sent me a pot for my 21st birthday. I was honestly grateful, and have been ever since. I vary the makes I buy and try to spend as little as possible on day creams. As I’ve got older I spend more on night creams, using Clinique or Time Bomb. I have a few age spots on my face and hands so do what I can to reduce these.

Usually I steer clear of foundation. I look too made up wearing them, so I prefer a tinted moisturiser. Once again I vary the make I buy, currently using a Bobbi Brown one. I also steer clear of powder. It really ages me and I see no need to wear it.

I’ve always had dark shadows under my eyes. I can sleep for England, that’s not my problem. The shadows are probably genetic, so sorry, daughters, you get it from me; but I’m grateful to Erin as she started using Touche Eclat and I could see the difference it made. So although it’s an expensive product I’ve been using it since the ‘90s and now wouldn’t be without it.

What’s left? Eyebrows. Now, I’m a wimp, I can’t cope with pain, and this has stood me in good stead here. The ‘60s fashion was to pluck brows almost into non-existence. All I could cope with was to remove those stragglers under the brows, and this only after a bath or a hair wash when the pores are open. As a result I still have fairly thick well shaped brows. As I age the outer edges have become thinner and so I add some colour on occasion. I could probably do this more often to look fashionable, but as you’ve probably worked out, that’s not my aim. I use a very fine eyebrow pencil in a blonde shade by Clinique.

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A product I thought I didn’t have a use for is Garnier’s Perfect Blur but I tried a magazine’s free sample and was hooked. It’s a primer that’s applied after moisturiser and before foundation or tinted moisturiser and its effect is to smooth the skin. You can feel and see the difference.

I use hand cream a lot, applying it last thing at night and throughout the day when my hands feel dry. I like my daytime cream to contain an SPF but not many brands contain it; why ever not? If I’d started using it earlier I might not have those age spots. Molton Brown, Clinique and Neutrogena do hand creams with SPF.

Because I have a skin condition called polymorphic light eruption (PLE) I prefer creams with a high SPF.

The condition means that I can develop an itchy rash when my skin is exposed to the sun. It can occur anywhere on my body except my face and hands, and currently the usual area is my neck. The rash spreads and can last  2 or 3 weeks, causing me sleeplessness and distress. I manage PLE by not sitting in the sun, wearing a neck buff like this one and, most importantly, using a high SPF sun cream every day on my neck and chest. I use Anthelios 50+ cream.

Another product I rely on is Imedeen tan optimiser. Four years ago I started taking these tablets in preparation for an Australian holiday. I had only a few small rashes on that holiday, and those disappeared quickly. The tablets were off the market for a couple of years for reformulation but have now reappeared, albeit they’re only available online.

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During the hiatus I used Viridian SPF Skin Pro Factors tablets which weren’t quite as successful, but were an OK substitute.

Victoria Health is a very good website for both beauty and health products. Their monthly newsletter is full of information and product delivery is almost instantaneous!

I love Lush products but my skin sensitivity means I avoid the heavy perfumes they use. L’Occitane is more up my street, though expensive, so their products are always on my birthday and Christmas lists.

Palmers Cocoa Butter creams have a lovely vanilla perfume, but I find it hard to pump out the last of the product.

While staying at Hope Street Hotel in Liverpool last year I used the free samples of REN products, and fell in love with the body lotion, Neroli and Grapefruit body cream as it softened and smoothed my skin beautifully. Marks and Spencer sell it so I’ve bought myself some.

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Thank you so much Mum, for writing this blog. It was really interesting to see how fashions and make up has changed and your opinions. I can’t believe your art teacher had you bring in make up for a lesson! If I’d been asked to do that my make up would have consisted solely of one heavily used and unsharpened black eyeliner – but it *was* the 90’s!  It’s interesting to see how we steer towards similar brands too – I really need to try out that Garnier Perfect Blur!