Tag Archives: Shopping

Celebration for nails too!



When Kensington Town Hall hosted an inspirational Cancer Well-Being Event, this incorporated a mixture of information and hands on therapy sessions. This event was a celebration of life, with those attending delivering a pro life message in a big way.

As part of the relaxing therapy zone sessions, nailtiques’ mini manicures; targeting the adverse effects of intensive medication such as dry, brittle nails had people flooding to the stall, technicians suggested the perfect balance of proteins and conditioners to improve nail quality.

For over 20 years nailtiques has been providing treatments for those with problem nails caused not only by prolonged illness but also ageing and negligent care. For the majority of females visiting the stall it was about regaining their femininity, no more seeing life’s little luxuries as an indulgence but a necessity to their well-being.

Guest’s were very excited to find nailtiques samples in their goodie bags. A range of treatments were advised to them during an individual consultation and guests found samples to suit and take home.

All Formulas were recommend on a personal basis

  • Formula 1 advised to those looking to maintain a healthy nail building upon its already present strength
  • Formula 2 specially developed to improve soft, peeling and weak nails, stimulating rapid growth
  • Formula 3, getting results for hard, dry or ridged nails.

The day was a great success with nailtiques coming prepared with product and expert advice on nail care. Event organiser, Ijeoma Igwume said “I am overwhelmed by the fun that was had at the nailtiques stall. The consultations were a genuine opportunity to indulge these highly courageous individuals. It’s been a roaring success, we were busy all afternoon and it was a huge bonus to have nailtiques involved with fab treatments.”

Liz Kilpatrick, Educator and nailtiques specialist, was hard at work in her tiny corner.  The organisers wanted to offer lots of room, but the event was so popular that Liz and the other therapists were crowded in their corner, to fit everyone in.

But Liz carried on without a break, commenting, “I’m so proud that nailtiques were able to be involved; it’s such a worthwhile cause. There was a real sense of living for the here and now, when life threw them a curve ball they grabbed it with both hands.”

The timetable included humorous speeches as well as a vibrant display of African Dance- so associated with the bustling carnivals and a natural beauty perfectly setting the tone of such as inspiring event.

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Winter weather needs good skincare

Now is the time to

Up your skin protection


Watford. Gated Road through Park after some sn...

Image via Wikipedia

For the next few months we are going to be faced with scenes like this……

And this type of weather is not good for our skin, particularly if we are on pills which block off our body’s defense mechanisms.

So now is the time to stock up on goodies that help us defend our skin – and gives us protection from winds and cold.

So here are some Hero products to use in the battle against winter. Continue reading

Carol Smillie and using seaweed to zap spots


When spots make your life a misery, simple

seaweed can offer help

Undergoing cancer treatment, some people are incredibly lucky.  The drugs they take dry up their skin from inside – making spots shrivel up and disappear.

For others, the spots go on, and there seem to be a constant supply of new zits and blackheads making life a misery.  For some even unluckier people, they suddenly develop crops of spots, and can’t get rid of them.

There is hope

Scientists have discovered a new use for seaweed, and it is helping clear up skins that suffer from these nasties.

Recently Carol Smillie and her daughter Christie were showing off their skins after using the new seaweed-based Oxy products to help control spot outbreaks.

Oxy Tube with fresh looking packaging

Produced by the Mentholatum company, (makers of Deep Heat and Regenovex), their scientists have been harnessing seaweed off the shores of Brittany, as a basis for the Oxy range.

Now Oxy products are being sold in major chemists – alongside their topical gels  such as Deep Freeze and Regenovex.  These do a good job of helping relieve pain and help mega-precious footballers – and cancer patients with aching joints.  So the ‘stable’ is a good one.

Dealing with Spots

We all think acne is something we get in our teens, and hope to grow out of.  Now, this company own the OXY brand of topical skincare treatments, designed to tackle spots, blackheads and excess oil.

For those of us with cancer – spots can be a horrid reminder of our teens as the spots make their unwelcome appearance again.

Seaweed – is this the new miracle ingredient?

Scientists are now using new methods to combat spots, and and a lot of research has gone into using seaweed to combat these nasties.

As a plant, I have been watching seaweed for some time;  it is probably the latest ‘miracle’ ingredient, judging by the uses companies are finding for those long tendrils.  A friend living in Brighton gathers the squishy brown tendrils when she goes for shore walks, then brings them home to add to her bath.  Soaking in the warm, seaweed infused water certainly gives her a gorgeous skin.

This time it is the Laminar or Laminaire (below) variety of seaweed the scientists are using, and also a type of brown seaweed that is helpful – but to get the benefits you need to do a bit more with it than just soak in the bath.

Those clever people at Mentholatum have been working with this at a works by the seashore in Brittany, France, and have now come up with Oxy skincare products that have proven very successful in trials.

I suppose I am lucky – my skin just dried out from cancer drugs, but sitting next to me at the Oxy product launch was a friend who had had  horrendous spots as a result of cancer drugs, and she was saying what a benefit it had been.

Celebrity Trials

Another one who is keen on this product is Carol Smillie, and her very pretty teenage daughter Christie.

Carol says “the fact that some of its key ingredient properties come from seaweed ……. I much prefer the thought that as a mum, my daughter is using a product which uses ingredients from nature.  My daughter is a normal teenager ….. loves to wear make-up ……  Christie’s been using the new Revitalised Oxy ranged for several months now, and it really has the desired effect”.

Oxy skin preparations contain several active ingredients, including Phycosaccharide – harvested  from brown seaweed along with others from the coast of Brittany.  According to Dr. Carrie Ruxton, this is also a rich source of potassium, sodium, magnesium and iodine – plus also being a good source of anti–inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids.  She has been working on a double-blind randomised and placebo-controlled trial at the San Gallicano Institute and Acne Clinic in Rome.

As a result, Oxy has developed a brand new Oxy range, just launched in major chemists.  More info:  www.oxy.co.uk


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Lipstick is the cheapest form of Retail Therapy

Give yourself a lift with lipstick

We all know  Retail Therapy gives us a lift –

and one of the cheapest ways I know of indulging is to go out and buy a lipstick.

And if it is a special organic one, made from natural ingredients, so much the better.

One of the most influential style bloggers in the world, Gala Darling, recently picked out      Living Nature’s Laughter Lipstick; in Gala’s opinion “the perfect shade” of pink.

Although Plum, Mulberry and ‘almost black’ are the IN colours, if you want to look alive and warm, then choose one of the deep pink or coral colours.  These are much more flattering in winter, especially if you suffer from the cold!

Listed in Gala’s recent blog on ‘Little Things That Make Me Smile’, Living Nature’s Laughter Lipstick is just the thing for those that love pink. The perfect dash of pink colour, reliable, long-lasting coverage and a special moisture-enhancing, all-natural formula that also benefits from being lead-free and so natural it’s even safe enough to eat!

Gala thinks it’s simply “the perfect shade”, and signs are that the Spring/Summer fashion collections were veering away from the strong, ‘vamp colours, and returning to a more natural colour.  And Living Nature’s Laughter Lipstick not only provides the perfect flash of colour but its special moisture-rich formula is also good for the delicate skin of your lips and its all-natural nature means it’s even safe enough to eat!  This is good news for those of us that wear lipstick regularly, as we’re estimated to accidentally ingest about 2.4 kilos of lipstick throughout our lives.

If, like me, you tend to lick or gnaw at hour lips – you might – or might not – like to look at the helpful diagram on the left!

And realise that it is kinder to us, our lips and our insides to choose one of Living Nature’s lipsticks with a  combination of vegetable waxes, Squalane and Vitamin E, to keep lips moist, nourished and soft.  Importantly though, they are some of the safest, most natural Lipsticks available, so much so they are certified natural by the world-leading independent auditor of natural skin care and cosmetics products, BDIH Germany.  As an added bonus, since there is no safe level for lead, Lipsticks from Living Nature are also lead-free.

Also available in nine other soft and subtle shades from nature, including Morning Sun, Warm Rocks, Sandstone, Coral Sea, Dawn and Dusk, Living Nature Lipsticks combine superior quality with exceptional performance and the added benefit of including only the safest, most natural ingredients available.   Part of the highly respected range of natural skin care and cosmetics products from New Zealand, Living Nature Lipsticks contain only natural preservatives, fragrances and ingredients, none of which are irradiated or genetically modified; they are also free-from animal-testing.  Living Nature also takes a planet-friendly approach by using simple, recyclable packaging and all inks and papers are dioxin and chlorine free, allowing you to wear beautiful products knowing that not only are they good for your skin and your health but good for the environment too.

Stockist Information: Living Nature’s award-winning Lipsticks retail for £13.80 each and are available from a nationwide network of salons, pharmacies and health stores, by mail order and online.  For further information, contact Living Nature (UK) on 0845 2508455, email uk@livingnature.com or visit the company website www.livingnature.com.

Rescue remedies for hair


Oh! That glossy hair! daylife

What to do when ‘straw’

hair strikes


Watching the Middleton sisters with their glossy hair has made me insanely jealous!  Each time I get put on another drug, my hair rebels and loses all its sheen.

So not only do I end up with dull, lifeless dry ‘straw’ hair, but have also discovered that the colour is leaching out.

Sometimes I am a good girl, and actually read those leaflets they pop into tablet boxes, telling you all the side effects you are going to have.  Pfizer are possibly more honest than some drug companies, and reading the leaftlet that came with the latest batch of their pills, I realised why my hair has gone a ‘colourless’ colour.

At first I thought it was grey hairs creeping up; but it’s not – it’s just my usual colour is going paler, and according to Pfizer this is a side effect.  Heigh Ho! – another side effect that will make my male doctors think I am complaining over nothing – again!


Hairdressers  tell me that they can give me oil treatments, and when they do this does make a difference for a short time.  But day in and day out this is expensive, so I have been investigating what our ancestors did.  And of course they used olive oil and treated their hair at home.    Which is fine, but hair tends to get in a sticky mess and  leave marks everywhere.

However, there are companies that make oils for the body, and some for hair.  And these make an easy-to-use treatments, which are inexpensive and easy to use – and as oils today are much lighter, they don’t leave greasy marks.

Amazon Series Acai Oil


This is made from acai berries, with long claim to fame.  It’s light and a little goes a long way.

I drop a small amount on my hand, rub palms together and spread it on my hair, and it does a fantastic job of smoothing down all those fly-away split ends, without making my hair greasy.

It’s also wonderful for getting rid of frizz.  I have tried several preparations, but this is by far the best.

And thanks to the photo, I now know what an Acai berry looks like – who would have guessed they have such wonderful properties?

£16.99 for a two ounce bottle, which has lasted me a long time.



This company makes a range of oils, which I had used as body oils – until one day I thought they might help my hair – and they do.

They have lots and lots of fragrances, but none of them are obtrusive, and as they are based on plants it is unlikely they will cause an reaction.  But if you are worried do a patch test;  spread a tiny amount on your arm and wait 24 hours.

So I still use these as body oils, but now carry the good work up and over my hair.

£27 – £30 100 ml



Sebastian Kneipp revolutionised naturopathic medicine in the 19th century, and became a pioneer in the field of holistic healing and teaching in Germany;  today the brand he founded has a massive international cult following.

I tried out the Kneipp NaturRenew Organic Body Oil (the Germans are strong on organic products) and this is, again, something that works on my hair and my body.  Very useful when packing for a weekend away.

Incidentally, being plant based and organic it must be suitable for most skin types, and because it is so light I used it as a body moisturiser when we had that hot but short summer (anyone remember that?).  It absorbed immediately, whereas some creams take time to absorb.


This has been my favourite ‘pick-me-up’ this summer.  I like its light fresh scent, and the oil just sinks in.

I was using this as a body oil, and lots of people commented how nice I smelt!  Then thought I would try it on my hair – and bingo!  It worked a treat.

Yes, it is fairly expensive, but my bottle has lasted and lasted, as you only need a little.  A bonus is that if I use it in a warm bathroom, I don’t need room scents as my flat is filled with a subtle perfume for ages afterwards.

I am not surprised that it has been selected as best buy and won awards, and this is what I chose for the last cheering up present I gave a friend.  Needless to say she was delighted and keeps on referring to it.

And it makes a lovely pick-me-up when I have to face yet another doctor’s appointment.  Give the old boys a treat – I feel!  And their nurses sniff the air when I pass by!

And it is excellent for my hair.  £32 for 100 ml

N.B.  These oils are not as strong as the oil treatments you would have in a salon, but they take seconds to apply, rather than a couple of hours.  And for the cost of a salon treatment you could buy a bottle of each and have money left over!



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Summertime skin and what's hot

New products keep your skin moist and glowing


It looks like summer is really here, and skincare routines need updating!

Anyone who is on drugs (medicinal ones that is), can’t afford to relax for one moment.  Even in summer drugs are still churning up nasty rough patches, losing moisture and producing wrinkles, unless we continue to zap them.

So the cleanse, tone and moisturise routine is  still important – and here are some new products that will help lift your skincare and give you lots of new benefits, because good skincare is constantly evolving and being updated.

As so many of us shop online today, I have included current cheapest price on the net, but can’t guarantee they will stay – although they should.

If  ‘Googling’ a company or product, don’t forget that many are international, so UK addresses will usually end in co.uk, rather than .com – which can lead to US dollar prices and a hefty postage bill!


Anyone who watches the QVC Channel knows what a boon online shopping is when you are stuck at home.

The channel are now promoting ARK skincare, who have a brilliant cleanser which they call ‘skin clear cleanser’.  It definitely wakes up skin, and is so easy to use:  just one  drop smoothed over your face, then rinse off.



I love the Clarins products, and currently am using the Extra-Comfort Toning Lotion.

No nasties, it is alcohol-free so doesn’t sting, is very gentle, and lasts and last  –

at a gentle price online of £10.


Eye Care

Winter often leaves us with fine lines around the eyes, not helped by drug-induced dry, dry skin.  I have been trying out two new creams – one under the right and the other the left.  And I have to say that the one I am using on the left-hand side is streets better:  it’s Augen, a product that QVC are about to launch, so am waiting for price.  It’s way ahead of a Japanese product which sells at £80 – so if you have fine lines ask QVC for price and I bet it’s lower than the £80 product.


Serums are the success story of skincare today,

and I am using Elemis’s Visible Brilliance every morning.

Most serums are to be used at night, but this is light enough to be worn during the daytime, so helps give dried-out skins a double whammy of TLC.

When using, they should be smoothed or patted on after the toner, and before you use a moisturiser or cream.  Cheapest price online £35.

At night-time I prefer to use an oil, and Living Nature has a brilliant Radiance Night Oil.  Not only does one wake up with a gorgeous smooth skin, but there is no oily patch on the pillow.

This is a tiny little bottle, but a minuscule amount goes a long, long way and packs a real punch when it comes to moisturising one’s face .  £44.45


Final layer should be a cream;  either a light day cream, possibly one with an SPF factor of at least 30 if you are going out in the sun, or a rich one for night-time.

Because drugs try their best to ruin my skin, I believe in the double-whammy principle:  a moisturiser AND a cream with an SPF factor just before I go out.

Avene are a French company noted for skincare.  They have an extremely rich compensating cream which I use every morning, and although it is rich, it sinks in and protects my skin all day.  In France Avene have a medical treatment spa which is noted for its skincare;  (I have been told that NHS patients have managed to have funded  treatments paid for there).  £16.50.

At night, I use Clinique Comfort on Call ‘relief cream’, which seems to repair my skin overnight and leaves it well moisturised.    You can use this all day, especially if drugs have played havoc with your skin, and you want to give it a boost.  £35.





Skin protection

Elsewhere I go in to SPFs etc., but you should be looking for a minimum SPF 30 to wear outdoors all summer long, even on days when the sky is overcast.

One of my favourite products is Clinique’s Super City Block.  It’s oil-free, which means it doesn’t slide off during the day, and not only protects my face from sun AND pollution, but also leaves my skin beautifully soft all day long.

It’s slightly tinted, and is SPF 40   £15.50.


Fake Tan that doesn’t look fake

The media is full of photos of the Middleton family, especially the females, and even more especially their legs.  Look carefully, and you will see that they are generally tanned, which makes them look even more gorgeous!  Having a light tan makes legs look slimmer, too.

I want to look tanned, without the dreadful leathery skin, so have been investigating the newest ‘fake’ tan, which will help slim down legs, and have been using a new product, St. Moriz (sic).

This is fake tanning mousse is brilliant on my skin.      No streaks, no hard lines, it glides on and gives me a very realistic tan effect without having to wait hours.

Only thing to watch is the mousse is very light, so make sure your hand is steady and you don’t flick it around.   And it doesn’t smell (for some reason my skin used to smell awful with other fake tans – probably aided by the drugs I am on).

I couldn’t believe how smoothly St. Moriz glided on, and the colour stays for several days. I use it about once a week now, unless I want a deeper tan, in which case I put it on two or three times a week.  Best to exfoliate and moisturise beforehand, then it looks even better, and of course wash your hands after applying.  £4.99 .

And now comes St.Moriz Instant Self-Tanning Lotion, for those of you who prefer this type of application.  I have been using both mousse and lotion;  they are equally brilliant, and give a really natural-looking tan.

WARNING – fake tans generally do NOT provide sun protection.    You will need to slap on an SPF product afterwards:  look under SKIN FACTS category on this site.

And to finish off the look, St. Moriz now makes Bronzing Powders.  You brush these onto your face (no need for foundation or powder) and these give you a healthy, ‘sunkissed’ look.  I tried this out for the first time at a press party, and other journos were coming up and saying “you do look well” – two even wanted me to email them withe name of the Bronzer.  So when journos actually ASK for info from another journo, you know you are on to something good.  I am using the Light Bronzer, but there is a darker one too for when you get browner.

Incidentally this is useful for shading, as well as giving a shimmer, so I shall use it in the winter to give me a glow, and to add as a blusher.

Living Nature has come up with a range of lipsticks;  I particularly like Summer Rain and Coral Sea.  It is far better to go for coral and deep pink tones,  which these are, and are much more flattering to our skins.  They last (even when licking an ice-cream) and friends say ‘you do look well’ .Beware though!

Beward fashionable dark shades;  they  can make you look really washed out.  Our skins suffer from drug side effects, and we often look paler than before.  Slap on vampire black, and you realy do look like you are ill!

N. B. These summer products are generally cheaper than the products I recommend for winter;  this is because our skins don’t need quite as much protection from the harsh winds during the cold season.

However, if you are going to go sailing then go back to using ‘winter’ creams at night, and slap on the day creams several times a day.  If you are out on the water, where sun’s rays are magnified, and wind is strong, then a once-a-day slather is NOT enough.  It needs to be every two-three hours.



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Pedicure Day
Image by Rachel D via Flickr


Fiona Hughes is a very practical Practice Manager at my local GPs.  If you have cracked feet or hands, one of her tips is to get a bottle of baby oil, tip a couple of capfuls out and fill with Lavender Oil (the best quality one).  Shake – then get a bowl of warm water, tip a good splodge into the water, and sit with your feet in this for 20 minutes.  As she says, lavender will heal, is antiseptic and stops infection, the oil will continue the healing, and it smells lovely!

Another of her tips is to eat Manuka Honey (Rowse make a very pure one) – or you can do as they do in New Zealand and spread it on broken skin.  Ask advice first, but it is one of nature’s healers.

FEET ARE SO IMPORTANT – and whilst undergoing treatment, you may find your feet get horrid thick skin, and even what are described as ‘horse nails’ (very thick, calloused nails on your toes).  These come as yet another side effect from drugs.

So you need to have a podiatrist to sort these out – but the NHS tends to have massive waiting lists for them, so you may be better off going privately to somewhere like Shuropody.  They have around 60 salons around the UK, from Aberdeen to Plymouth, so there is bound to be one near by.

Cassie Armstrong from their Coventry branch took me under her wing, and knew all about the problems drugs cause us.  Starting with a lovely foot bath, dead skin was exfoliated off, and we got down to gentle TLC.  Rubbing in special cream, then getting rid of corns that had developed because of the way I was walking after being in bed, she said I should use special cream on my feet after a bath or shower, and before getting in to bed – even better if you wear bed socks to lock in moisture ! She explained that if we get ‘horse nails’, they can even do something about this.

Cassie knows how the NHS works, and is in touch with a nurse treating lymphoedema.  We talked about ‘post code’ lottery, as near where she works there are two PCTs – one providing lymphoedema treatment, the other says patients CAN’T obtain this on the NHS.  If your PCT says the same, look up under Lymphoedema elsewhere in this website, for details of how to sort them out!

If you have cracked, painful skin on your feet, Shuropody have a special Intensive Repair Cream, and gadgets to get rid of ‘build-up’ of skin, corns etc.  The salons offer reflexology too, so you can really have a pampering session, before floating out into the world!  And a lovely tip for summer – blast hot feet with the cold air setting on your hairdryer!

www.shuropody.com 02476-545 545.

Once you have gorgeous feet – keep them that way! After any bath or shower, pat feedt dry and rub in cream. Clinique have a Water Treatment cream which is wonderful and my NHS podiatrist wanted to know what I used! She was also impressed with the lovely citrus-smelling Foot Balm made by Barefoot Botanicals.

But I have found that Flexitol (on NHS prescription) is also very good, and as most people can get this free on prescription in England and Wales, worth asking for. For some reason it is only included on one NHS approval list, but just tell doctors to keep looking: they’ll find it eventually.

Cold feet were a real problem, until Charnos came up with Cotton Modal Tights – modal being a lovely, soft fibre made out of reconstituted cellulose from beech trees (so that’s eco-friendly then!), and 50% more absorbent than cotton.  They have lovely opaque tights in different colours, and – something I would never dare wear ordinarily – ribbed tights.  With swollen ankles etc. I try to keep them hidden, but a friend persuaded me to wear a pair of these, and because they are made of a modal mixture, they aren’t as bulky as wool, but are just as warm.

And if you find it almost painful to walk,or if your feet are cold, or if you just feel like walking on air (and who doesn’t?!) Then I have been trying out Carnation’s Cushion Comfort Insoles (good name).  Not only do they make walking supremely comfortable, but cutting them to size is incredibly easy – you just use a pair of scissors and follow guidelines for each foot size printed on the soles.  If your feet are in a really bad state after chemo, then use the Pressure Relief Insoles – which not only cushion your feet – but have an anti-fungal protection with a lovely smell.

Spa Paradisa (see under Hands) also make a treatment and sell socks to go with this.  Sit on the bed (don’t try to walk in creamed feet!, slather it on, and put the socks on top.  Next morning you should be able to feel a difference. www.spaparadisa.com

Pampering – you deserve it

One of life’s lovely treats is to go to Fortnum and Mason and have manicures and pedicures given by Sophy Robson. Beauty Editors go to here when they need ‘special feet’, and now she gives a gorgeous Medi-Pedi treatment for hands and feet. It takes an hour; all dry skin is removed, nails shaped and repaired, Legs and feet exfoliated using a warm sugar scrub then soaked. Then comes a delicious soothing and relaxing massage, and after that the nails are painted.

Sophy doesn’t mind if you bring your own base coat (I took NailTek) but usually uses Sally Hanson products. I am typing this up after one of her treatments, and three days later there isn’t a chip to be seen; I keep on having to stop and admire my nails. You can book her on the new health and wellness website www.wahanda.com.

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Get rid of hang nails!


They are not normally a treat, unless they are Nail Tek files, specially developed for soft ‘cancer hit’ nails.

At the Royal Marsden they used to have a manicurist, Francesca, who introduced me to this brand.  Yesterday, a friend sent me their latest file – in a smart red case with glittery crystals on the handle.  Now when I take it out (three times a day!) to file down hang nails, I don’t feel I have to hide the file!


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