Friday, 31 July 2015

#GeorgeousDresses project Pt1

Dress: c/o George - White leather Converse: Spartoo - Sunglasses: c/o George - Bracelet: Gift

I've worn this dress so many times since it arrived a few weeks go. As soon as it's been worn it goes straight in the wash so I can put it on again. It's had loads of compliments when I've worn it to work and people were trying to guess where it came from with most people guessing Oasis or the Monsoon Fusion range. They were all wrong, it's from George! It's an online exclusive and a bit of a bargain at £30. I wore the dress to Volksfest this weekend because the weather was so nice and I wanted to wear something bright and summery but I've also worn it to work and the pub with some smarter pumps. Pretty versatile. Make sure you check out Char's George post too because she is looking rather lovely in pink. 

I'm going to show you how I've been styling it for work next week but this is how I've been wearing it to swoon over camper vans in a field. Isn't that first van a beaut?! I feel in love with quite a few but sadly I don't have a spare 30k hanging around *sob* Anyone want to lend me some money? I had a really fun day at Volksfest and I would love to go back to the site at some point because there's a castle there, a little narrow gauge railway and lots of deer. 

This dress is all washed and ironed ready to wear again on my birthday next week. I think it's a sign of old age that I have no big plans for my birthday. I'm going to go to work,  come home and watch Great British Bake Off and eat at least three varieties of cake #rockandroll

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Thursday, 30 July 2015

Explore Wales Pt 1- Caerphilly Castle & Castell Coch

This is a picture of Caerphilly Castle and the moat surrounding it

Caerphilly Castle

Caerphilly Castle

Castell Coch

Castell Coch

I love to promote my home country and all it has to offer. There is so much to see and do here so I hope this series of Explore Wales posts coming over the next few weeks prompt you to pack your bags and head to Wales for a day trip, long weekend or even full holiday. Wales is a country with a magnificent heritage. There are over 600 castles in Wales which shows it is a country worth waging battle over and protecting. There are a mix of castles to explore including medieval, Tudor and Victorian.
Caerphilly Castle

First up is Caerphilly Castle which is one of the biggest fortresses in Europe, and the second largest in Britain, behind only Windsor Castle. The castle dates from the 13th century and lots of later castle designs were based on this one. Caerphilly was the first concentric castle in Britain and in the late 13th century, it was a revolutionary masterpiece of military planning. It was built by Earl Gilbert de Clare, at beginning of 1268 to frighten Llewelyn, the last native Prince of Wales from fighting the Normans in the southern part of Wales. By the 15th century it had fallen into disrepair but the Marquesses of Bute, (who I'll mention again later on) bought the ruin in the late 18th century and along with successive marquesses carried out extensive restoration of the castle. It has been used as a filming location for numerous TV shows like Doctor Who and Merlin.

There are trains from Cardiff to Caerphilly every 20 minutes and it's only a short walk from the train station so even if you're only visiting Cardiff for a weekend you will have time to see this enormous monument that dominates Caerphilly town centre. The park behind the castle is the perfect spot to have a picnic and make sure you take some bread to feed the ducks in the moat.

Castell Coch

Castell Coch (Red Castle) is a 13th century medieval castle that was restored by 3rd Marquess of Bute and Lady Bute in 1871.(I said he would crop up again) It is a little different to other castles in Wales because is relatively modern and is an excellent example of Victorian Gothic Revival architecture. The 3rd marquess of Bute gave William Burges free rein to create a fantasy castle like his main residence, Cardiff Castle. The interior of the castle is covered in hand painted murals, over the top furnishings and beautiful tiled floors. This stunning castle has also been used as a filming location and has featured in Doctor Who, the Worst Witch and Robin Hood.

Castell Coch occupies a stretch of woodland on the slopes above the village of Tongwynlais and the River Taff, about 6 miles north of Cardiff. You can reach the castle by bus, car or take the Taff Trail route to the castle from Cardiff on a bike. 

Both Caerphilly and Castell Coch are maintained by CADW along with most other castles in Wales. Cadw is the Welsh Government’s historic environment service working for an accessible and well-protected historic environment for Wales. They conserve Wales’s heritage, help people understand and care about their history and help sustain the distinctive character of Wales. Cadw is a Welsh word meaning ‘to keep’ or ‘to protect’.

If you want to take a look inside the castles there is a fee which is normally around £5. If you're going to be in Wales for a few days and visiting lots of castles you can buy an Explorer Pass and and visit as many as you like for one price. These cost £26.00 for one person, £42 for a couple and £51.20 for a family so you get a good saving.

Have I temped you to visit Wales this summer?

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Monday, 20 July 2015

Krimml Waterfalls - Austria

On my recent holiday to Austria Martyn and I took an excursion to the beautiful Krimml Waterfalls (Krimmler Wasserfälle).With a total height of 380 metres they are the highest waterfalls in Europe, they were a pretty impressive sight.‬

The falls are on the Krimmler Ache river and are located near the village of Krimml in the High Tauern National Park in Salzburg state. We took a narrow gauge steam train from Zell am See to the falls. The local Pinzgau train has been around since 1898 and I loved the slow and romantic trip through the wonderful Upper Pinzgau landscape. Most narrow gauge railways only run for a couple of miles and are run by enthusiasts but this one was run by SLB and covers about 56 kilometres of track. You can take both modern and steam trains along the route. There's plenty of other stops you can get off at and explore and you can find the full route here. The Steam Train 399.01 which I rode on was built in 1906 and is almost as old as the track itself.

The waterfall begins at the top of the Krimmler Ache valley, and plunges downward in three stages. The upper stage has a drop of 140 metres, the middle of 100 metres, and the lowest a drop of 140 metres. It takes about 2 hours to climb to the top and even though there is a path it is pretty steep so I wouldn't recommend it to anyone with mobility issues. We walked about two thirds of the way up and got some spectacular views over the valley and the falls.

About 400,000 people visit the falls annually so it can get pretty busy. The misty spray of the waterfall creates ideal growth condition for hundreds of mosses, lichens and ferns. The surroundings are the habitat for 62 bird species so there is plenty to see and the falls are a full day out if you get the train there and back. The Krimml Falls are also of historic note and the path over the falls was used by Jewish refugees after WW2 as an escape route to Italy and Palestine.

I would love to return to the Tauern National Park in the future and explore more than just the waterfalls.

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Thursday, 16 July 2015

Looking after my skin

Skin is made up of an outer layer, the epidermis, and a layer of soft tissue underneath called the dermis. The epidermis constantly grows upwards and sheds dead cells. Skin acts as a barrier to protect our body from the environment. It also does loads of exraordinary things like regulates temperature and detects and fights off infections. The skin is one of the biggest and most complex organs of the body, and contains hair follicles, oil glands, sweat glands, nerves and blood vessels. If our skin can do all of this (and how amazing is that?!) we should really look after it. If we can give it a little helping hand to protect us it would silly not to.

I've been using my anatomicals scrubs to gently polish and brighten my skin by removing dead, dull skin. At £3 a tube and £1 a sachet it doesn't break the bank and does a great job of leaving my skin soft and refreshed.

Remescar is a range of medicated skin care products that helps with treating things like old and new scars, stretchmarks and spider veins. A large percentage of the population have scars and for some it means loss of self-confidence and can lead to social withdrawal. My acne scars mean that I wear very heavy double wear foundation everyday and I would love to be able to be a little more fresh faced. I also have an awful scar on my knee after having some stitches recently so I hoped remescar would help with both areas of scarring and help me to feel a little more confident. 

I found it really effective at softening and flattening the scar tissue, diminishing old and new scars. It has SPF15 UVA and UVB screen to protect scars from UV radiation, which is really important. Fresh scars need to be kept out of the sun. Remescar silicone scar stick (£19.95)–an easy to apply stick and will last up to three months when applied twice a day. It is invisible upon application so can be worn under make up, I put it on in the morning and before bed.

How does it work?

• A thin, transparent silicone film is released to hydrate, protect and restore the upper layer of the skin and stimulate collagen production, creating a protective barrier for scars to help heal. Overall, natural moisture balance is kept under control to soften and flatten scar tissue, reduce a scar’s length and height and restore the skin to a more normal colour and texture tissue so that even old scars fade and diminish.

• Beta glucan delivers a calming, protective and hydrating effect on the skin. Renowned as a wound healer, it is also an excellent film former.

• PVP (polyvinyl pyrrolidone), also a film forming agent and frequently used in the treatment of wounds, allows a longer contact time between the active ingredients and the damaged skin tissue so that the skin can repair itself faster

This stick really worked for me. The skin around my scar feels more supple, the scar area looks a lot less red and angry and the little dot marks from the stitches are nearly invisible now. I would say £20 is reasonable considering the results and I would purchase a second stick. 

I've recently started a job where the air-con dries out my skin so if you could recommend a product to help with that I would be very grateful.

What are you favourite skincare items? I always want to try something new so I'm sure I'll be trying out loads of your picks.

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