Saturday, 25 February 2012

Dr Fish Pedicure

This blogpost comes to you with two new firsts! One being the treatment I will be reviewing, and the second is that this is my first blogpost using my iPad! So here goes...

On Friday early evening I headed from work to my beauty salon, I was really excited about trying this new foot spa involving fishes, as quite a few friends have said to me just how good it is. I also thought the price of £10 for 15 mins was reasonable, so my expectations were high.

In my spa they offer this treatment near the customer waiting area, shielded by some large dressing frames - I have to be honest I wasn't keen on this, I felt clumsy taking off my heavy boots & outdoor gear with no real room to put my items down. I then had to spray my feet over a bowl myself before I could use the tank. I suppose for the price you are paying you have to expect to do a lot of self-service!

I think I was lucky, as there were two tanks and no one else having the treatment, they offered for me to place one foot in each tank, so I had twice the amount of Garra Rufa fishes working on me during this time. The initial sensation you get when you put your feet in (and believe me they are waiting for you once you start to hover your feet above the tank) is overwhelming! At first I thought, I can't do this, my feet are far to sensitive, but the lady said to me "keep with it and you will soon relax". I couldn't bear to look at my feet.

After a few minutes it all calms down, my next concern was that my right foot was getting a lot of action but the little blightlys in the left tank had enough! I kept stirring my foot to encourage them to start work again!! Well I didn't want to feel unbalanced!!

After 15 mins the fish had done an amazing job, my feet were soft, but not completely hard skin free, but I'm sure you would need a few of them to get them in top condition. A few hours later my feet still tingled which I never get from a normal pedicure. Is it relaxing? No. Would I do it again? Yes but I would go with a friend as I think it would be more fun.

Overall for the price you are paying, this is a fun affordable treat that you can do with a friend. It would also make a lovely token gift for loved ones for any future occasions.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Women - In life, in business & in style!

A new feature that I would like to introduce to Loved by Lizzi, is an interview-stye post whereby fabulous women give us an insight into their busy days.  Here's my debut star, Sandra!

Hi I'm Sandra and I work in telecommunications, Age 44 and I head up a Sales Team in Enterprise Sales.  I live in Newbury, Married for 15 years (been together for 24 years), no children but we have a little black cat – age 16 that we adore!

How did you get to where you are today?
I really fell into my career - I left school with very little qualifications, I come from a working class background where further education was never encouraged, in fact my father couldn’t wait for me to get a job when I left school. I decided that I wanted to be a chef as I have a love of cooking, I became a commis chef and went to college 1 day per week in order to qualify as a professional chef. I qualified after two years and had a ball for a couple of years working in Birmingham City Centre, 16 hour days and partying hard as well. I soon realised that I didn’t like the unsociable hours and the low pay, so I took a job in the retail sector and soon discovered I had a natural aptitude for sales… grooming for sales was at a local newspaper where I spent 5 years in advertising, once I had this experience I sought various sales roles in telecommunications as my brother was also in the industry and advised me that this was where career progression was. I am now employed by a very large telecommunications company where I have spent 13 happy years, I have worked my way up through the organisation starting out as a new business development manager – now leading a corporate sales team.

What's a typical working day/week for you? 
This really depends, I enjoy remote flexible working and tend to work from home 1 day per week. I probably spend around 4 nights a month away from home as I am ultimately responsible for accounts up and down the country. An average working week usually starts around 5.30am finishing around 6pm although later if I am working away from home.

What do you love most about your job? 
I love the flexibility in terms of being able to work anywhere at any time….I adore leading teams and seeing people progress in their career – it’s extremely rewarding.  I am still a sales person at heart so also enjoy meeting customers with members of my team. I also love the fast paced environment and love all the new technology, I feel part of something very very exciting…

What challenges do you face as a working women in your industry? 
Telecommunications is still a man’s world at times and on occasion you aren’t taken seriously – you also need to be extremely flexible as you may have a customer call you with an issue that needs to gain resolution to….this might happen over the weekend or sometimes quite late at night.

How do you get work/life balance? 
This has taken me a few years to master and each month is very different, sometimes I am able to really strike the balance and other times I do feel as if im not in control……the key is to be totally organised and make the most of every minute. Why go to the supermarket and stand in long queues when you can shop online? Having a cleaner and a lady that does our ironing is also a blessing, it’s great to come home on a Friday and know that you haven’t got to spend your weekend cleaning and ironing. My husband is also very good, he passes the supermarket every day and will always pick bits up that we need. I am also a great list person, if I don’t write it down, it doesn’t get done. I also try and plan my week, if I have a tough long week at work, I tend to get up really early to ensure all my work is done during that week. Weekends are so precious and on a Friday evening I pack away my laptop and I don’t get it out again until Monday morning. You need to switch off and have a break in order to be productive…

How do you relax from work? 
I love films and have recently rediscovered my love of cinema, I have created film club with a friend and we take it very seriously, reading reviews beforehand and then dissecting a film afterwards. I also really enjoy gardening and this really relaxes me, I love nothing more than getting my hands dirty in soil and indeed talking to my plants…I also love to dress up and socialize, I have a fantastic network of friends and most weekends we are doing something, although in the winter months I do like to curl up in front of the fire with a large glass of alcohol and just chew the fat with my husband. I also love cooking although I don’t tend to find too much time to cook these days, my husband cooks in the week and I tend to cook at the weekends

What place have you travelled to that you think every woman should go to & why? 
That’s a real toughie, I have been to some amazing places and I guess it depends what u want from a destination. I travelled to Marrakech for four days with my two very close girlfriends recently, there is amazing shopping, opulent luxurious bars, amazing food, relaxing indulgent spas, amazing culture and a fantastic climate so I would say Marrakech as there is a bit of everything to do….very closely followed would be Rome or Montepulciano which is a small hill top town in Tuscany.  Rome is just so cool , you also have great shopping and food and of course romance. Montepulciano is probably the prettiest town I have ever visited and the Italians just know how to live and enjoy life….

What three things could you not live without?
1) Vitamin E Cream – from the body shop, forget all your expensive moisturisers, I have tried them all and I always go back to this, a pot lasts me about 3 months (if my husband doesn’t use it!!) and it’s a snip at £9.00.  I use it to moisturise with, rub on the back of new shoes, use as a body cream if I have run out, use as a hand cream, great for sunburn and dry skin…’s just amazing, I have even used it to shine shoes when I couldn’t find the polish. I first started to use this around 15 years ago and always have a spare pot as I couldn’t bear to run out, I think my first pot would have been bought in Birmingham where I used to live.

2) My orange ring – I bought this from a market in Cuba about three years ago, its wooden, large, bright and I love it. I have around 40 different dress rings and this is always my ring of choice in the summer, it cost fifty pence and everyone always remarks on it. It goes with just about anything I wear and I would hate to lose it, if I had to choose 1 dress ring to keep, it would be this one.

3) High-heel shoes – I just love them!  I'm quite tall anyway, but I don’t feel dressed if I haven’t got a pair of heels on, you stand differently, you feel different and they give the illusion that you have long slim legs. My fave pair at the moment are black suede seventies style, I purchased them on-line about 7 months ago from Schuh

What special purchase have you recently made? 
Quite pleased with my green winkle picker boots that I bought from Oxfam on Saturday, very Vivienne Westwood – £5.00 – absolute bargain!!

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Shopping Destination: Newbury's back in fashion!

If you wouldn't eat in the same restaurant every week and pick the exact same food off the menu...then why are you shopping at the same location, in the same shops? Don't you think it's time for a change?

There is a perception that it doesn't matter where you shop, you get the same shops - NOT TRUE!  Yes you get highstreet chains, but they vary considerably, including what they merchandise.  My favourites have to be the indy boutiques and the regional department stores that have grown over the years from small local family businesses. 

In a recent post, Sometimes it's worth travelling the extra mile I mention four of my favourite places to shop, well I just added another one - Newbury!

Loving their marketing slogan too..

So last Sunday, Hubby & I headed down the A34 to Newbury, West Berkshire, for us it's about an hour away.  I always get excited about a new location, their new Parkway Shopping area has just recently opened last October and it's right in the heart of Newbury town centre. We parked up in the Parkway car park, which by the way is only £2 all day on Sundays - so no need to be rushing!

Familiar shops like H&M and New Look along with Debenhams were all there - but as I say, a slightly different version to the one you'll know.  All the stores are merchandise so well and with modern changing rooms, it's sure to make your shopping experience a good one.

After mooching around the new Parkway shopping area, we headed towards the highstreet where smaller independents are, and just before heading off for some lunch we had a look around their local department store, Camp Hopson, a lovely traditional english store.

So, why not try a new location?  If you do, why not leave a comment & share you experience with us.

p.s.  My friend Sandra recommends the Indy boutique, Tiger Tiger, a lovely little shop for gifts and bespoke accessories.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Essential Classics: The Trench Coat

Who would have thought that a must have item in every women's wardrobe was actually designed for our solders for the First World War!  Both Burberry and Aquascutum claim to have designed the original Trench coat dating back to the 1850's; both still feature this classic garment in every Spring collection!

Burberry Spring 2012 only £1,795!!

Aquascutum (no price available)

Audrey Hepburn, our Hollywood legend, was one of the most famous ladies to make the trench coat a must have item.  Audrey showed women that this simple beige coat could be so stylish, and she was known to wear them on & off screen.

I love trench coats, for me though I struggle a little with the big collar, and was really pleased to find a couple of years ago a trench coat from H&M, the coat still offered the lapels but not going around the back neckline.  You can find a trench coat to suit all budgets and if you don't like the classic beige there are lots of different colours that you can choose from!

Here are my top tips when selecting your Trench coat:
  1. Make sure it fits you properly on your shoulders
  2. When trying on, do all the buttons up and fasten the belt - how do you feel? This is really important - wearing the trench coat open appears sloppy, to look stylish you need to wear it fastened up, so you need to feel good in it.
  3. If you like the coat but not the belt that comes with it - most are detachable so you can choose to wear another belt.
  4. Some coats offer a lot of "skirt" - you need to think about what you will typically wear under your coat and does the skirt give you want you need.
  5. Don't forget to think about adding a silk scarf (not wool!), particular if you are going for beige, you can change the scarves to co-ordinate your outfit or simply add a little colour.
  6. Beige trench coats are not good to go from Day to Evening.  If you need this flexibility I would suggest that you invest either in a black coat or one whereby the fabric has a satin finish.
  7. If it's just for evening, you can really go to town with colour, purple, orange or red would simply look fabulous.

Here are some great options, should you be looking to buy one for this Spring:

Reiss have this style called Kimber.  I like the colour dark khaki, very stylish would look great for work.  No belt, which I don't particularly have an issue with, and I'm loving the piping and detail around the cuffs:
Was £265, now £185

If your not looking for classic style, this one from Helene Berman at House of Fraiser called Ruffles, may just be your thing.  It's offering a less tradition collar (sadly I couldn't wear it) and a full skirt which will look lovely once it's all fastened up!
Was £160, now £112

Coast have this beautiful red version, called Diana.  It's so feminine and I'm loving the collar!  A great one that you could take from Day to Evening.  I'm very tempted!

New Look have quite a few in their collection online, I'm loving this one, it comes in four colours, tan, shell pink, navy and this red.  Red or navy look good, I like that the lapels are buttoned down and the belt looks great, quite a full shirt on this one.  The price is great if you have never worn one and want to try a trench:
Was £34.99, now £24.99
M&S have this sophisticated trench with water repellant finish by Stormwear.  The neutral colour is a really nice shade, lovely sturdy looking belt, jacket is lined with a contrasting colour.  The skirt is straight giving you a slim silhouette look.

Next have this gorgeous two-tone trench.  The black with natural trim makes it flexible to go with all outfits.  The skirt is not very full but offers you more than the M&S above.  A great classic looking trench at not a bad price.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

A gift for a fashionista young girl

Today one of my gorgeous nieces turns 6 years old.   This particular niece is bonkers about clothes, shoes, dressing up and anything that involves going through your wardrobe.  When she stays over, she likes to apply every cream, potion & lotion that I have.   And yes sometimes my Chanel -  although I draw a line at using my 219 Black Satin when we paint our nails!

In the mornings, it's great fun as she likes to help me select what I'm wearing that day (which is normally based around what items/colours she has in her Guffalo Trunki) -  so that we can match, of course! (Note to her Mother - please bear this in mind when you next pack!)

Now when it comes to buying presents, it's great having nieces.  I personally find buying for girls much easier then the boys...sadly I think it's because I would love to wear them myself.  My Hubby quite often has to remind me that I'm not buying for ME!

She also loves books.

And so, what better way to encourage her to read than to buy her a book about Manolo Blahnik, the shoe designer.  Now I know what your thinking...a little young, would she care, does she even understand why there is a need to have shoe designers?

Well thank you to Camilla Morton.  She has taken a classic story of the Elves and the Shoemaker, and mixed up this 'Once upon a time' story and added our very own 'Sex & the City' Manolo. The illustrations are all by Mr Blahnik himself.

The story is the same, but now includes a young boy Manolo who is born in the Canary Islands and leaves the island and his mum to become a shoe designer.  With the lush illustrations throughout the entire book, these are just as exciting as the story itself.  

A must for every fashionista young girl, and at least when it comes to bedtime it will be a story for both you & her!

Happy birthday Ellie!

I purchased my copy from

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Onesies - No likey, no lighty!

My light is definitely turned off for this item of clothing!

On Christmas day - a fellow tweeter tweeted "the best way to open your presents is wearing a onesie".  For those of you who do not know what these are, the best way I can describe this garment is a baby-grow for adults.  

Then the other Saturday night, I was watching Take Me Out and there was a young guy on there, during one of the video clips he happily admitted that at home that's all you will find him wearing. Please note this guy is still living with his parents!  He was wearing one in the film, not a good look for a young lad like him, who could blame the girls for turning their lights off!

In my search, for the perfect designer Onesie, that possible could have change my such joy.  Here are the unfabulous ones that you could consider:

The Jumpin Jammerz site have lots for you to choose from, you lucky ladies have the choice of costume designs such as frogs, mice or tigers.  For the girlie girls there is bright pink Barbie or there are plenty of chenille fabric onesies with patterns like hearts, stars or leopard print.
Barbie version from Jumpin Jammerz

Going one step further, why not design you own!  The All-In-One Company lets you create your own unique onesie.  But wait for it, not only do you get to choose the fabric, pattern & colours. But you also get to add hoods, ears, tails etc!  Don't get me wrong, this is great for kids but for adults, I'm not so sure.  

Is your light still turned on?  I would love to know your thoughts on Onesies, why not leave a comment below this post.  If you wear them & love them tell us why and what's your favourite. Who knows you may turn my light back on?

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Mens Gifts - Valentines Day is coming...

It's not easy to buy a gift for your man.  A gift related to one of his hobbies, may be an easy choice but can be a little stressful if you are not sure exactly what he needs.  Buying clothes is also a tricky one, whilst you think he will look fabulous, he on the other hand may simply smile, say thank you and then somehow it will just hang in the wardrobe for the next 12-18 months!

Don't you find that the shops that offer "gadgets" for your men are simply awful?  You convince yourself that you will find something he has not seen before.  You may possibly get excited about the odd executive toy or two; but when you get into the detail it's a lot of money for something that is simply tat!

I've tried ladies to help you out here!  These are my top finds that possible may help you out for the forthcoming Valentines day!  Which by the way, my Hubby will still not let me forget how a couple of years ago our agreement of "not buying for each other" still meant that I should have got him a card!

The North Face E-Tip Gloves
An embroidered logo brands stretchy, snug-fitting gloves ingeniously designed with X-Static® material at the thumbs and index fingers, allowing you to easily use touch-screen cell phones, laptops and MP3 players without removing your gloves.

I laughed when I saw this next one, but then I thought if your man is on the phone 24/7 this may not be such a bad thing!  The gold is a little blinging but it does come in black.

YUBZ - Retro Handset for Mobile Phones
£50 - Go old school with the Yubz (pronounced "Why You Busy") Retro Handset for Mobile Phones. Specially designed by the Yubz team in Las Vegas to offer functionality, fun and safety, while providing excellent sound quality and reducing 96% of mobile phone radiation.  The handset is designed to fit iPhones and blackberrys, and also features one button for answering calls and another for volume. Just plug-in, dial and talk in retro-style.

Now this one I can recommend!  Hubby & I watched the whole lot last year - it was brilliant! (A gift for him....but will be for you too!)
The Sopranos - Complete DVD set
Currently £48.99 on Amazon - An American TV drama about a character Tony Soprano who is an Italian-American mobster boss based in New Jersey - his trails & tribulations.

If you have found the perfect gift for him, then leave a comment on this post, to help the rest of us!  

If all else fails - I would opt for food.  It's true, the way to a man's heart is feed him well! Good food, good wine, a little desert! Another year sorted!