Breton tops and scarvesOn a very rare night where we grabbed a couple of hours together to plan our blog, Suz and I started chatting about all the “rules” for 40 plus ladies and how mostly we ignore them all (Suzanne got VERY cross reading that she wasn’t to wear her maxi dresses anymore – ridiculous right?).

But as we chatted about how much we absolutely hate being told what we can and can’t wear, we started making a list of our own rules that we do swear by, many of which haven’t changed in the last 2 decades despite getting ‘old’. Here are ours. And of course we don’t expect you to pay attention to any of them and encourage you to wear whatever the hell you want.

Suz: ALWAYS wear matching underwear (always buy two pairs of knickers to every bra).

Nic: Own at least three pairs of great fitting, flattering jeans.

Suz: Every women’s makeup essential item – nude lipstick.

Nic: Invest in your hair with a great colour and cut from a hairdresser you trust

Both: Breton Tops; the more the better (and they aren’t just for Spring).

Nic: BIG silver hoops. Big.

Suz: Delicate jewellery with a couple of bold statement pieces.

Both: Own at least one red mac and lots of good quality coats.

Nic: Shoes. Loads of them. Can’t ever have enough.

Suz: Boots are the essential footwear.

Nic: Cross body handbag. Smallish so you can FIND STUFF.

Suz: Own 800 pairs of tights. Must have three pairs in reserve at all times.

Nic: No tights.

Suz: Oversized tote bag that DOES NOT look like a baby bag.

Nic: Best phone you can afford.

Suz: Mum on speed-dial.

Nic: Mini-break every 6 weeks.

Suz: Expensive moisturiser (Even if it doesn’t work).

Nic: Thumb ring, toe ring and nose piercing. All or any of them.

Both: Scarves. An easy and cheap way to change any outfit.

Suz: Little Black Dress.

Both: Don’t take any notice of people who tell you what you can and can’t wear because you’re a certain age or shape.

 

 

 

 

 

International Women's Day Easyjet celebrates the day with an all female flight and ground operating crew.

easyJet takes to the air with all-female flight and ground crew operation in celebration of International Women’s Day.

EZY8275 left London Gatwick this morning bound for Madrid with a female Captain, First Officer and four female cabin crew.

The flight was captained by Kate McWilliams, 27, the world’s youngest female commercial Captain and co-piloted by first officer Sue Barrett. Cabin Manager Laura Marks was supported by three female cabin crew; Natasha Baker, Charlotte Carr and Nuria Belda Marco.

The flight was operated on easyJet’s special A320 aircraft named after renowned female aviator Amy Johnson.

Several female ground staff were also involved in getting the easyJet flight boarded and away from stand including;

Gate Agents Helena Curley and Ewa Alhutayfi – performing Boarding checks and procedures for each flight and pass final customer figures to the TCO and Captain.

TCO (Turn Coordination Officer) Lynne Pont – responsible for the turnaround of the aircraft itself.

Headset Operator Catherine Sims – responsible for the safety of the aircraft during the pushback from stand onto the taxiway and in direct communication with the flight crew and Pushback Tug driver.

Fueler Lucy Gorna – responsible for ensuring that the correct fuel is safely loaded onto the aircraft and in accordance with the figure requested by the Captain.

Cleaners Laura Heron, Emese Lenkey, Sheila Monteith, Marie Claire Lynx and Alison Seth– responsible for ensuring that each aircraft is cleaned internally.

De-Icers Maria Carr and Bethany Woods – When required, responsible for ensuring that the critical surfaces of the aircraft are clear of contamination such as snow & ice, prior to departure.

PRM Officer Kirsty Butler– When required, responsible for assisting all of our customers with reduced mobility from their arrival at the airport, until they are on board the aircraft. This includes use of motorised buggies, and scissor-lift vehicles to access the cabin.

Speaking prior to departure easyJet Captain Kate McWilliams, said:

International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the achievements of women so we thought this all female flight would be a very fitting way to celebrate the achievements of the many women working in the aviation industry. There are more than 15 women who are making this flight possible today in positions from pilots and crew to gate agents and fuelers.

This year’s IWD theme is #BeBoldForChange to help forge a better working world which is more inclusive and gender equal. This year easyJet has set an ambitious target of increasing the proportion of its female pilots aiming for 20% of new intake pilots by 2020. The aviation industry is exciting and challenging and I firmly believe that there should be absolutely nothing to stop women from entering into a career in aviation.

The first woman to fly an airplane solo took off in 1908, only 5 years after the Wright brothers first took to the skies and most people will have heard of Amelia Earhart and Amy Johnson who are famous pioneers of the 1920s and 1930’s. Women have been involved in aviation’s history from very early on but since the war years whilst the total number of female pilots has steadily increased so has the number of male pilots, leaving the total percentage of female pilots largely unchanged at around 3 percent. It is hard to think of another high profile profession where women are  so under-represented so I would encourage anyone thinking about a career in aviation to do so – it’s the most rewarding career I could hope for.

International Women’s Day global campaign coordinator, Glenda Stone, said

easyJet is to be applauded for the way they have truly embraced the very ethos of International Women’s Day and are showing not only to their customers and industry, but to wider audiences, that women excel when there are no barriers to participation or involvement. International Women’s Day provides an important opportunity to accelerate gender parity, and here we clearly see the collective talent of women that inspires employees, customers, aspirational girls and many more.

Around 12 percent of Gatwick’s airfield team are women and Hayley Richardson, Airfield Operations Controller, was on hand to help guide the easyJet aircraft on the tarmac today.   Hayley said:

Working on Gatwick’s airfield is an exciting and rewarding job.  For obvious reasons our team has to maintain the highest professional standards and I really enjoy the responsibility.  I’d say the number of women I see working in other roles across the airfield is increasing and I would recommend a career on an airfield to any women who are thinking about it.

The activity is also being promoted on easyJet’s social media sites using a Female Pilot Emoji and  #FlyingHigh.

How will you be #BeBoldForChange this International Women’s Day?

 

Luke tucking in at Keepers cafeWe’ve been meaning to visit Keeper’s Cafe in Dipton for ages and finally made some time to go! A family run business, Lisa and the rest of the lovely team, go out of their way to make you feel welcome and spoil you with their GORGEOUS food and treats.

The cakes are awesome, so if you simply wanted to sit in a comfy chair and chill with your friend or partner, that’s just fine. But if you have little ones, as you can see Suzanne brought Luke for his lunch, the children’s room at the back of the cafe is absolutely perfect.

It’s not just about the homemade food, the ladies love to support other local, small businesses and there is an enticing range of gifts and keepsakes to treat yourself or someone special to.

Suzanne and I managed to get a bit of chat time whilst Luke was asleep and the setting was perfect. We sat in the front room on two very comfy chairs, relaxing with a couple of hot drinks. When Luke woke up, we moved to the children’s area.

Panini at Keepers cafeFor lunch I had the amazing cheese board which had great portion sizes, enough crackers and pickle and lots of varieties of hand picked, local cheeses. Suzanne opted for a mozzarella and tomato panini which came with coleslaw, crisps and salad. Luke had a children’s platter with ham, salad, bread and other bits and bobs, which he promptly demolished. The food was delicious and there’s a good selection of lunch time favourites all made on-site.

We weren’t chased or hurried up, the older children played together and there is plenty to keep them entertained. The prices are reasonable, the atmosphere is lovely, and there are lots of monthly events hosted at the cafe so it’s well worth checking their website out or their Facebook page.

Joan Collins Timeless Beauty

I still remember receiving my very first make up palates from my Aunty Chris. I think I was 14 and I got three perfectly beautiful pallets from Marks & Spencer. They were mine all mine and I coveted them as though they were the crown jewels. If I look hard enough in my old bedroom which is back to being the storage room I’m sure I would find these empty golden gifts.

Receiving that makeup made me feel so grown up, no more stealing mams (that didn’t last long of course). Fast forward almost three decades and I still feel special when I get new makeup. So whilst mooching around in Marks & Spencer’s beauty hall, which is an absolute must I must say as there are so many testers but there aren’t any of those assistants to turn your huge effort that you went to this morning seemingly pale to insignificance with their perfectly applied makeup.

There are 36 brands in place at M&S and I selected one of them to try; Joan Collins an icon if ever there was one. Strangely the year I got my first makeup was the last year Dynasty was produced but Joan seems not to have aged and Alexis Colby, will forever be etched in my memory.

The range by Dame Joan Collins who is 83 is named Joan Collins Timeless Beauty. Oh lordy if I look like her at 63 I’d be very happy. I tried out the foundation, concealer and a lip and powder compact. The packaging screams Hollywood glamour but will the contents live up to the look?

Fade to perfect concealer; Currently I suffer from puffy dark eyes so it was good to read that this concealer is to aid the reduction of dark circles, soothe irritation and calm puffiness around the eyes. This indeed worked to a point but I by no means expect miracles. This concealer comes in three shades; fair, medium and dark and I tried out fair which worked for me. I use concealer before and after foundation so I do go through quite a lot so will need to consider a repeat purchase as it is £18.

First base foundation; I go between powder and cream foundation for day and night. Cream is most definitely my go to evening foundation. First Base is said to be youth promoting skincare and a foundation in one. The finish is lovely, quite natural and breathable but the tingle I get from what I presume is the hyaluronic acid is a little disconcerting. Despite the tingle first base has never left my skin reddened and the tingles do die down. This comes in eight shades and is £25 it would be difficult to choose between this and Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Foundation.

I liked the coverage and the dewiness on my skin on my dry skin days though it did stick to the pores so more exfoliation needed for me.

Lipstick and powder compact duo; This is one of those products I like to flash as it looks so good. The opulent packaging is distinctive. Top tip: project it in your makeup bag as it does scratch easily.

I chose Katrina which is quite a deep brown shade. The lippy glides onto the lips and leave them instantly moisturised. I do wish I’d picked a lighter shade as this is one for an evening but the formula is so lovely I want to use it all of the time.

Katrina is combined with pressed powder and a mirror both of which have become a god send as recently the tip of my nose seems always to be red and the powder helps to combat it. I love the fact that you can marry any of the 16 shades of lipsticks with the compact. I think Marilyn will be my next choice and the lip stick retails at £18.

I’ve already chosen to try out Rosie for Autograph on my next Marks & Spencer visit. .

 

 

 

Joan Collins Timeless Beauty items were gifted for review purposes but all opinions are our own.

Victoria Sponge

We love baking in our house and when I saw ‘Children’s Book of Baking (Usborne Cookbooks)‘ sitting on the shelves of our local charity shop I simply had to buy it and got a little excited to try out some recipes. Since it’s Valentine’s we thought we make a Victoria sponge, well who doesn’t love cake?

Apron donned and hands washed let the cooking commence….

Here’s what you will need if you’d like to join in;

Cake

2 x 20cm cake tins

4 medium eggs

225 g softened butter

225g caster sugar

225g self raising flour

Filling

100g softened unsalted butter

225g icing sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence

4 tablespoons of strawberry jam

Victoria Sponge making

Method

Heat the oven to 180 degrees C / gas mark 4.

Wipe the insides of the tins with cooking oil. Place parchment paper in the bottom of each tin.

Break the eggs into a bowl and beat together with a fork.

Put the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat them until they are pale and fluffy. Add the eggs a little at a time and if the mixture curdles pop in a little bit of flour.

Sift the flour over the mixture and gently fold in with a metal spoon.

Divide the mixture equally between the tins.

Smooth the top (Emily and I find this really tricky).

Bake the cake in the oven for 25 minutes. Pop on some oven gloves and carefully remove the tins from the oven.

Press the cakes to check they are cooked.

Leave the cakes in the tins for five minutes to cool. Then run a knife around the edges and turn them out onto a wire rack.

For the filling

Put the jam in a bowl and beat it. Spread it over the top of the bottom cake.

Make the butter cream by mixing the icing sugar and butter together until they reach a delightful texture then spread that over the bottom of then top cake (we ignored this and tried to pop it on top of the jam but this didn’t leave a nice clean typical Victoria sponge white and red line but more of a gorgeous pink marriage).

Sandwich both cakes together and gently press together.

Scatter some caster sugar on top. We decorated our cake with strawberries but this is optional.


TYummy cakeotal Time
: 70 mins Taste: Fabulous (if we do say so ourselves).

Check out Emily on Instagram.

Be our Valentine

Love from Sofa Stories x x