Failed manicure

October 23, 2010

I went to get my nails done today – long overdue, as they were in a terrible state.  And then I did a bit of shopping, before coming home and sleeping on the sofa with Tui for a couple of hours.  And I must have gone to sleep with the back on my right hand resting against the wool of my jumper, as I now have the pattern of the knit making my formerly-smooth nails look all weird and textured…

Not so much for me with the whole ‘looking groomed and polished’ thing.


A good haircut

October 14, 2010

In my opinion there are few personal maintenance opportunities that can gladden the heart more comprehensively than a good haircut.  My hair was totally out of control – I had let the short style of earlier in the year grow out and it had gone from ‘just a bit longer’ to ‘terrifyingly shapeless’ overnight (or so it seemed; actually, it’s been terrible for a while and I haven’t had time to get it sorted out).  I’ve decided to go back to a longer style.  I like having it short and it’s super-quick to wash, but it requires more styling time than I’m prepared to set aside every day.  I’m very lazy when it comes to these things.

Anyway, it needed attention and my former hairdresser had moved back to Australia like a selfish sod, so I was forced to look for a new person (hence the long delay in getting it trimmed).  Finally, somebody at work had a haircut that I really liked.  I followed their lead and booked an appointment at the Broadgate Circus branch of Charles Worthington.

My hair was cut by Joanne, the manager, a chirpy little Irish woman.  She has done a great job and I’ve got to say that the whole experience was one of the best hairdresser moments I can remember, probably ever.  I arrived early, they offered me a drink, I asked for tea and they brought me a tray with a dinky teapot and all the accessories, as well as a plate of delicious chocolate brownies.  The consultation with Joanne was really useful and covered everything from my face shape and ‘colour family’ (i.e., am I ‘cool’ or ‘warm’ – I’m cool, in case you’re taking notes) to my preferred techniques for styling and my philosophy regarding colouring my greys.  I discussed my whole ‘I don’t know whether or not to keep up with the colour’ dilemma and Joanne has suggested that a quarter-head of highlights could help them to blend in, while avoiding the whole ‘dyeing the entire head of hair and dealing with regrowth’ situation that I’m keen to avoid.  After a quick discussion about my face shape and preferred parting position I was whisked away for a shampoo and a very good head massage.

The actual hair cut was pretty quick and we passed the time by talking about our respective dogs and their personality quirks.  Joanne was a really sweet girl, so it was quite a shock to hear her reprimand one of the juniors just after finishing with my hair – she was very professional about it, but it was a serious ‘you know that you need to sweep up that hair over there and I don’t want to have to tell you again, so get cracking’ conversation and the junior wisely did as she was told.

Anyway, the haircut was cheaper than my previous guy charged me, I was given a couple of decent free samples of products (proper travel-sized samples, not silly little sachets), I was given some discount vouchers for spa treatments and colour services, I was patch-tested for colouring, so I can make a booking for the highlights if I want and nobody tried to sell me any of the products used on me today.  Brilliant!  And they got me organised and booked my next trim, helping to prevent me from getting to such an unkempt stage again.

And my hair looks good: Joanne trimmed the longer layers and took the ends off the shorter ones, making everything tidy again.  Hurrah.

Progress: 20 September

September 20, 2010

Well, I’ve fallen off the ‘eat breakfast at home and bring lunch to work’ bandwagon: I didn’t have any breakfast and I bought lunch – leek and potato soup and jelly and custard (I really love jelly and custard). 

I did a lot of what I wanted to do this weekend: or, a lot of what I wanted to happen, happened.  I didn’t have any afternoon naps, but I had good sleep on both Friday night and Saturday night (and Tristan and I slept until nearly 10am on Saturday morning, which is almost unheard-of).  I ate some sweets and they were good and sugary.  We didn’t make it to the cinema because there wasn’t anything we wanted to see.  I did a lot of work on Charlie’s embroidery and it’s coming along very nicely.  I did pretty much no reading and absolutely no writing.  I walked Tui on both Saturday and Sunday.  I hung out with Tristan on Friday night and all day on Saturday, but he was in Wales, working, all day on Sunday.

I used the magic Colour B4 stuff and it did sort out my hair colour a bit: I think I’m back to my natural colour again.  The reddish tinge from Saturday seems to have calmed down a bit (either that or I’ve got used to it already and don’t notice it anymore).  I cleaned the bath and the loo, but Tristan did most of the housework because he’s awesome.  I made pasta for dinner last night, but didn’t do any other cooking.  I didn’t post my nieces’ birthday presents because I couldn’t be bothered heading downtown and standing in a queue for eons (sorry, nieces).  I had a splendid and long-overdue chat with Anna and really wish that I could live down the road from her and see her all the time, because doing so would undoubtedly enhance my life quite substantially.  I had a nice chat with my mother and even caught up with my father.

I didn’t make it into the loft for warmer clothes, but I may have to do so at some stage this week.  I think I spent money on both days.

I am taking this Friday off and Tristan’s proposed that we should go away for the weekend; but only if I promise to leave my Blackberry at home and relax.  It sounds like a good deal to me.  We’ve found a fantastic hotel in Norfolk and we’ll even be able to take Tui with us, which should be great fun.

And really, this recap is pretty much all I can tell you at the moment.


September 18, 2010

I used that stuff to strip the artificial colour from my hair today and it turns out that Narly’s prediction (in the comments of one of my posts a week ago) was dead right: I’m blessed with a tinge of ginge.

This isn’t actually news to me: there’s a strong ranga history in my family, with my grandmother and three of my nieces touched by the red hair fairy. Looking at photos that pre-date my dyeing habit (so, photos from earlier than 2000), my hair was very light brown with a vast amount of auburn.

Anyway, now it’s mostly reddish, but a bit darker at the (undyed) roots. I like the colour, although I’m in desperate need a hair cut and the Aussie who has cut it for me recently has had the bare-faced cheek to move back to Adelaide, damn him.

I don’t know whether or not I’m going to recolour it. I have so many grey hairs, but I’m still deciding whether or not I care. Maybe they’ll give me gravitas?

Progress: 13 September

September 13, 2010

Blimey, I’m tired. This morning Tristan was up before 5 because he had to fly to Scotland for a couple of days, to begin his MSc.  So I was up early as well:  I took Tui the Wonder Dog to the dog sitter’s house for the next two days and then caught a train just before 7am.  As I parked at the station (because I’m still not supposed to walk much and I did quite a lot of walking over the weekend, as it turns out), I realised that my front right-hand tyre is almost completely flat.  I didn’t notice anything weird when I was driving, so either it happened as I got to the station or I’m a really bad and unobservant driver.  Anyway, that will be fun to sort out when I get home this evening.  I’ve already programmed the telephone number of our emergency breakdown cover service into my phone, because I have more chance of making a car from scratch than I do of changing a tyre myself.

This weekend I achieved some of my goals, but not all of them.

Things I did do:

  • Watched the rugby (and the All Blacks beat the Wallabies at the last minute, which was awesome)
  • Went to Tamara Drewe (which was pretty entertaining, albeit fairly ‘slight’)
  • Ate sweets
  • Did lots of embroidery while watching Sky Plussed episodes of Masterchef Australia (and Tristan has decided to bow to the inevitable and watch this series with me, which is the path of least resistance given that this programme is on TV six nights a week for the next fourteen weeks)
  • Bought birthday presents for two nieces: Gabriella (who turns ten at the end of the month) and Claire (who turned fifteen last week and who had the three-week trip to Europe at our expense earlier this year)
  • Walked Tui the Wonder Dog twice
  • Spent the whole weekend with Tristan

I also:

  • Went to London with Tristan, to help him as he bought new trousers and jumpers
  • Bought a new jumper and a new cardigan, both from the Uniqlo mensware concession in Selfridges
  • Drank a good vanilla milkshake at Gourmet Burger Kitchen in Soho and ate a fairly rubbish burger there as well
  • Baked a damned fine-looking banana, coconut and mixed berry loaf (which I will ice this evening)

However, I didn’t:

  • Write anything
  • Clean the house
  • Colour my hair (although I did order that Colour B4 stuff that I mentioned the other day, so I should have regained my natural hair colour by the end of the week)
  • Obey my own rule about not buying clothes (obviously)

Also, please note:

  • I’m nine for nine when it comes to breakfasting at home on work days
  • I’m also nine for nine in the ‘take lunch to work’ stakes (although it was easier today: I had a lunchtime training session and sandwiches were provided)
  • Friday was a no spending day and today will be one as well, so that’s six days so far this month

Right, it’s time to tackle the vast number of unanswered emails in my work in-box.  I have been run absolutely ragged since Alice departed, so thank goodness that Emma, her replacement, is starting this Wednesday.

Colouring my hair

September 10, 2010

OK, guys: I need your advice about my hair.

I found my first grey hairs when I had just turned 24 and shortly after our wedding (make of that what you will).  For a while I ignored them, but in recent years I’ve used semi-permanent colour to hide them.  However, the colour has progressively got darker and darker.  While that’s fine, I’ve realised that I really prefer my natural hair colour: a reasonably light brown with more than a tinge of auburn to it.

I haven’t coloured my hair recently and I’ve been trying to strip out some of the built-up colour (regardless of what hair people might claim, I find that semi-permanent colours do not fade from my hair and that the only reason I need to keep colouring it is because of regrowth).  I’ve been using a clarifying shampoo to fade the colour and also a bit of Head and Shoulders (which is very good for these purposes, apparently).  But I have a lot of regrowth and a lot of greys, which I want to cover.

My question is this: if I colour my hair with a really light golden brown shade – far lighter than my natural hair colour – am I right in thinking that the greys will be the only hairs to pick up the colour?  I’m thinking that this must be the case, particularly if I use a brand with no ammonia that won’t affect the rest of my colour.

One hour later:  OOH!  I’ve just discovered this (apparent) wonder product, so I’m going to try it and see what happens.  But I’m still curious about my ‘use a light colour and just cover the greys’ idea, so do let me know if you have any comments.

In Cambridge

August 30, 2010

Last night I decided to accompany Tristan to Cambridge for the afternoon: he had been asked to give a couple of work-related lectures and my alternative plan involved little more than catching up on some of the many episodes of Have I Got News For You stored in our Sky Plus box.

I’m so glad that I came: I love Cambridge and if we were to sell our current house this is where I’d want to buy. As we drove through town earlier I told Tristan that, should our move to New Zealand fall through in two or three years’ time, we will just have to settle here instead.

I’ve spent the last three hours stocking up on beauty products – nothing unnecessary: all like-for-like replacements. I went to John Lewis and bought Bobbi Brown foundation and Lancome concealer and eye makeup remover. I also bought a facial scrub and some oil-free moisturiser from the own brand tea tree oil range at Boots: a bargain two products for £5.

No other shopping for me – such self control! – but I did buy a little belated birthday present for my older sister. But I ordered her to start reading my blog only yesterday, so I’ll say no more on the subject for fear of ruining the surprise.

I did make good use of being in a civilised place by landing an instant appointment to have my unruly eyebrows shaped at the Clarins spa in John Lewis. Decent eyebrows make my face look so much better that it’s almost a miracle.

Now I’m at Browns, sipping a Bellini and just about to tuck into a salad of poached duck egg and asparagus. When I’m finished I will stay here for a while, working on my book and contemplating the prospect of a roasted nectarine with armaretti crumbs and raspberry sorbet. Today, I’m enjoying my own company very much.