Tuesday, 18 June 2013


This week, I've got a fabulous work experience girl with me who is the daughter of friends up the road (there you go, my hand is declared in that I know her).

I firmly believe in proper work experience opportunities for young people as I doubt any of us knew what we wanted to do when we left school - I never thought I'd do this.  Anyway, I love having her, she's calm, capable and does what I say which makes her perfect.

What I hated was the paperwork that now surrounds these placements.  Of course, no one wants to put a child in danger, but I work from home with no employees so we don't have Employers Liability Insurance (which I've had to take out for this week), we don't have the plugs and electrical appliances checked, the boiler hasn't been serviced in the last 12 months and no, the stock room (where I keep press samples) is not quite as H&S ready as perhaps they would like.

The coordinators at the school really can't have much on as they've been on the e-mail or attempting to phone every five minutes to see if I had sorted the insurance.  To be blunt I don't want to have insurance in place longer than I need to (as it's a business expense) so I did leave it until 4 days before she was meant to start.   However, I said I'd have it in place and I did but the e-mails between the school, the college (which was involved, I'm not sure how) and me went on and on.  Allegedly, the school reads out the names of the pupils in assembly who's companies haven't completed all their paperwork - why don't they just stick them on a stage with silly hats and point to them throughout break?

I'm a small business, I don't have staff because business can be uncertain and I've made people redundant in the past - it wasn't pleasant for either of us - and I don't want that expense or pressure right now.  I can't be the only business that is working hard, doing okay but keeping business finances tight, but it comes as no surprise to hear that my workie's friends are almost all in primary schools shadowing teachers.  A public enterprise has all the time and resources to tick the boxes.

I'm sure they don't all want to be teachers, but I'm equally sure I won't have a workie again and I bet many other small companies are exactly the same.  She lives up the road to me but I'm not allowed to take her to the station in my car so her mum is having to drive us both whilst the fear of God has been put into me when we go to London for a series of meetings on Friday.  I might wrap her in bubble wrap before we go.

Everyone knows that you won't get much done when you have someone shadowing you for a week so it's a real investment in time and energy into that person, time and energy that we need for business frankly.  Schools, don't make it even harder for kids to find their vocations.

Monday, 10 June 2013


Cellulite is one of those really tricky beauty problems.  To be perfectly honest, weight loss is relatively simple – less in, more out – it just requires self-discipline and that’s where most of us fail.  Cellulite is tricker, depending on your genes, lifestyle, hormones and your skin type, most of which are out of our control.  Lifestyle is about the only one we can have any decisions over and as there are claims that up to 70% of cellulite is down to lifestyle we can help ourselves an awful lot.   Treatments to help are out there, but bear in mind that results always vary from individual to individual so what works for one may not work for you.  Here are the few that I’d actually recommend.

Hypoxi Training
 The image doesn’t really tell us what’s going on here.  This is a salon-based treatment (there are just two centres in all of Sussex) that requires you undertaking 2-3 sessions each week for 30 minutes each session.  The model’s lower half in a sealed chamber (a bit like a canoe seal) and she is sat on an exercise bike.  You pedal for 30 minutes and during that time there is a vacuum that sucks and releases air in the chamber.  The idea is the vacuum is literally pulling your blood through the lumpy fat cells towards the surface of the skin.  When the vacuum releases, the blood moves back into the system and flows around the body.  The bit that makes sense to me is that if you feel your fatty areas after you’ve exercised they are normally quite cold, which means your blood supply isn’t getting into them.  By forcing blood into these areas through the suction, you’re helping improve your circulation, which must be a good thing for cellulite reduction. 
Price:                        Check Groupon and online for offers.  Price around £60 per session, but 
                                   there are deals to be had
Salon:                        hypoxi.com

Another salon treatment, but this one lifts and rolls your skin, breaking down fibres that are holding the bumpy bits of fat in place.  With this treatment, there’s no exercise involved, so if you want a passive solution, this could be it.  Endermologie also works on scar tissue and has a host of celebrity fans.
Price:                        £55 per session
Salon:                        lpgsystems.com

There are lots of very good reasons to do Powerplate (or similar) training.  For women, it helps increase bone density and fight osteoporosis and it improves cellulite four times faster than if you were on a treadmill for the same amount of time.  You stand on this vibrating platform and it wobbles you with small but incredibly fast movements, stimulating blood flow all over.  Ten minutes is all you’ll need and probably all you can stand.  I felt very sick when doing this – must be the motion – but it does give great benefits so see if you can take it
Price:                        from £10 for 10 minutes
Salon:                        powerplate.com/uk/

Elemis Skin Brush
Body Brushing is great for skin all over, but if you concentrate on cellulite you will see an improvement here too.  The Elemis Skin Brush is made of high quality Cactus bristles that assist the internal system by kick-starting the circulation and sweeping away dead skin cells. Brush upwards from the soles of your feet, avoiding sensitive areas.
Price:                        £20.00
Stockist:            timetospa.co.uk

Soap & Glory Sit Tight Super Intense XS
Caffeine packed cream complete with massage head applicator.  Personally, I don’t think creams can make any real difference to cellulite, but coupled with the applicator this one is better than many.  If you want a product in a jar to do the job, this one will give temporary assistance.
Price:                        £16.50
Stockist:            boots.com

bliss fatgirlsoap

This is a caffeine-boosted soap with massaging nubs that you work into the skin.  The theory is the massage element coupled with the ingredients will not only help revitalise skin but will also help contour.   Jojoba beads are added to help with exfoliation and massage.
Price:                        £14.00
Stockist:            blissworld.co.uk

Oh dear….
Last week I wrote about the Elemis Marine Cream at £99.00 a pop.  I have one in the cupboard so I got it out to test, only to drop it on the floor and lose half of it to the carpet.  That’s Karma in action for recommending something at that price!

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Thermasoft Bootees by Alessandro

I am in love.

I am just trying out a product given to me by alessandro International called Thermasoft Bootees.

Meant for a salon or home pedicure, they're not cheap at £9.95 a set, but what utter bliss.  I would use these even on a cold winter night when you just want a bit of warmth in your feet.

You get two plastic boots and a disposable measuring jug.  Into each boot you pour 2 x 6 oz lukewarm water and leave it to brew for 3 minutes.  After this, you pop your feet into the inner liner and the boots heat up.

As you can see from my picture, the boots aren't much of a look, but the inner liner is laced with Shea Butter so when you take them off feet are silky smooth and princess perfect.  These are great as a home treatment - no mess, very easy to use and they work.  Buy them at www.alessandro-international.co.uk