Happiness

My friend told me last week she spent an astonishing 800 euros in one go on creams for her face. I nearly died on the spot.

I swear my husband does not know how lucky he (or should I say his wallet) has it, although I do like reminding him! Nivea face wipes, that is my beauty regime :/

Call it lazy, call it slovenly… I can and do leave the house regularly without makeup. Recently this is starting to change though.

I’ve found a new makeup – Bare Minerals. I was introduced to it on a “look 10 years younger night” that I attended with my mother. I felt rather awkward as I was definitely the only one below the age of 50 there and I could feel the seething eyes scanning my wrinkle free skin, oops. It was a great night for freebies as they invited several members of the audience to have beauty treatments to make them look 10 years younger. My mum had her teeth whitened and spent the rest of the evening looking like gromit, sitting in front of a laser with a mouth piece in (snigger).

I did not DARE put my hand up for anything and just listened  ;)

Anyway it was on this evening that they demonstrated Bare Minerals and I was sold! For 40 pounds I received a starters kit of 3 brushes and 4 pots of mineral powder, 1 concealer (amazing at covering the dark circles under my eyes), 2 base foundations, 1 powder for warmth and 1 mineral vale (not sure what this does apart from make my skin look awesome!)

Bare Minerals is a beauty product unlike any I have ever known but what I do know is that every single time I wear it I don’t even recognise myself in the mirror! My skin radiates with dewy perfection and I get compliments that make my head swell :) I haven’t been asked to endorse Bare Minerals but I do so totally wholeheartedly. It makes me feel great and I want to introduce it to you too. I also just read it is clinically proven to improve the appearance of skin over time, what more could we ask for?

My sister said last week that I looked so young that I actually looked like I had stolen a child’s face. Which is rather odd but made me laugh.

This weekend was my birthday weekend. The big 30. I went back to Amsterdam (my home away from home) to spend it with my nearest and dearest girl friends. Despite a rather shaky start (my best friend accidentally booking to come over the weekend er, after my birthday (have fun this weekend babe!) a vomiting child and my stolen mobile, waaaaah) we had a brilliant 48 hours in the city we used to call home… and what an amazing, vibrant city it is. I love Amsterdam. I started feeling rather homesick for the buzz, the activity, the cutting edge design, the inspiration, the choice of restaurants (check out Bo5 next time you are in Amsterdam – incredible food with a French / Arabic influence and lush cocktails), bars, museums.

We moved around a year ago to a sleepy village in rural England. It wasn’t a hard decision, I’d been wanting to move back to England for ages. Having a small child in a foreign country made me miss my family, my roots. I wanted her to know the childhood I had known too. I wanted her to be English! Not that the Dutch aren’t rather fabulous too :)

Moving from a capital city to the place we now call home was somewhat of a culture shock to say the least. There are a lot of differences, not being able to cycle everywhere being one, er have you seen the hills! But the main difference is that we live a very simple life here, almost as if in times gone by. The folk round these parts (of which I am of course one) like to preserve the historic; old fashioned houses and public houses, traditional styles, countryside and English heritage. We have castles, old churches and reams and reams of countryside, farmland and woodland on our doorstep. The life is quiet, laid back, peaceful. A country walk here, a pub lunch there, a cozy snuggle by the fire. And it is lovely.

It’s like comparing chalk and cheese. Of course some people will always like chalk, some cheese and there are pluses and minuses for both. (I’m not sure how good cheese is for drawing). Anyway I digress.

My thoughts led me on to what is best for a small child, or should I say my small child, growing up.  It must be great to be surrounded by so much to do, all the people buzzing round, ice-skating on the square, giant libraries with every book  you could ever imagine, cafe’s and playgrounds galore and a beach close by. But along with that comes a faster pace of life (and even then Amsterdam is more laid back that most capital cities I know!)… and I guess we kind of like our relaxed life here. We keep busy enough, lots of time outside, playgroups, doing craft and activities and visiting friends and family (who are of course irreplaceable). Whats more I think that for a child it’s the parents and the exposure, stimulation and influence they bring that matter.

Not living in a big city, surrounded by the awesome array of shops stocking all the latest clothes, technology, stuff and things does have another advantage. The calm and peace are good for the soul. And interestingly I also find that I am no longer triggered in the way I used to be to buy buy buy. “Ooooh I need this, Oooooh I want this.” I’m not engulfed by it. We are surrounded by trees who shout “come and climb me!” I read somewhere recently that your best memories of childhood are often spent outdoors in nature. Thinking back over my 30 years I realised just how true this statement is.

Perhaps this is a real benefit to living where we do. Wow I sound old ;) And when I do need my culture or shopping fix, thank god for the internet is all I can say.

 

Due to a very blustery storm we’ve been pretty much trapped inside today. Despite this it’s been very enjoyable. We’ve played, we’ve read, we’ve got creative.

For D this involved mostly cutting (which she is really good at despite the fact she is left-handed and has right handed scissors!). Cutting gives her endless pleasure, today she cut string, paper, elastic bands, chalk…you name it! I do have to keep an eye on her as the little monkey will literally cut up anything she can find! She has already given several of her teddies a haircut :/

As for me (among other things) I was inspired by a blog I read called http://www.theimaginationtree.co.uk and made D a little play world for her my little (sea?) ponies. Ok, it isn’t really a scratch on the fab seaside scape from I.tree but with an impatient toddler, it had to be quick. I took a large tray which I covered in tinfoil. I scooped up a handful of shells we collected last week at the beach and added them. I made some very speedy seaweed out of pipecleaners and added some blue “waves”. Last but not least I added some rocks, which turned out to be crucial as D spent a lot of her time acting out a game of hide and seek involving said rocks. She spent at least an hour or two today playing with this “small world” creation and chose to add water and a boat to enhance her game.

And if that wasn’t enough fun for one day. D decided she wanted her face painted as a ladybird (which she of course very quickly smudged hence no picture!). I discovered something though, having your face painted by mummy is fun BUT painting your mummy’s face is SO much more fun! She spent ages painting my face and laughing as she did it.  I did have to swallow the urge to say “right that’s enough” as I got a huge splash of wet red paint on my eyelid but oh she was having so much fun and well it washed off (in the end). Not for everyone but if you are stuck for something to do and want to give your child something that they will find really funny. Let them paint your face, it doesn’t hurt. Much!

 

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