Lifestyle

Lifestyle news and stories.

One of us has a shoe obsession (Nicola) and one of us has a packing obsession (Suzanne). Sargasso & Grey have just become our new favourite brand.

After an awful lot of ‘ooooh look’ we untied the ribbon on the beautiful, sturdy grey box and found our shoes packaged in their own dust jacket, a sure sign that the contents is worth protecting!

sargasso Nic wearing

Why are they different?

Sargasso & Grey’s shoes are designed by women for women. Ladies, we know how painful shoes can be. The blisters, the squished toes and the pains in our joints. Still, time and again, we’ll buy shoes because we just love how they look, how they make us feel and give little consideration to the long term effect they’ll have on our feet and bodies.

The Sargasso & Grey designers are determined to change this. They design for comfort as well as style.

They say…

Create beautiful and stylish shoes which offer a bit more width at the front, giving your toes more wriggle room and your feet space to breathe. We believe that shoes should be comfortable, fit properly and be beautiful. The smallest details such as padded insoles, extra width, slightly wider heel base on stilettos can make the world of difference.

Why we love them…

Undoubtedly the shoes are lovely. Pretty and stylish.  You don’t just have to have wider feet to wear this brand.

The Ready To Wear collection (made in Spain) comes in a range of wide fit styles for just about any occasion. The Sargasso range is Handmade in England and come in EE width and half sizes between 36 -43.

No more squeezing your fit into shoes just a little too small and waiting for them to stretch or slightly too large so they slop off.

The nude court shoes that Nic is wearing in the photo above are cut higher up her feet than regular court shoes. No toe cleavage. The heel isn’t too high for discomfort, but high enough to be smart and raise confidence.

From the Ready To Wear range, there are a beautiful grey, pink and navy suede version on the website retailing at £125.

 sargasso suz feet

The wide fit sandal (from the Ready To Wear S/S 2016 collection) in navy suede that Suzanne is wearing above, is a lovely contemporary summer sandal that would compliment just about any outfit. They worked really well with trousers, but would be lovely with white jeans or any of the floral maxi dresses or jump suits that are everywhere.

And the heel means you won’t get calf ache. Find out more on their website and remember if you sign up for their newsletter you’ll receive 10 percent off your first order!

Suzanne’s off to get a pedicure, what colour would go best with these navy suede sandals?

 

 

Tupperware

So then, what do they have in common? They are both brands that we as consumers use on a daily basis to refer to vacuums and plastic containers.

Actually not one hundred percent true. When people used the word Hoover instead of vacuum I would shudder. It was a pet hate of mine but a couple of weeks ago when thinking about how much Tupperware I have in my life a lightening bolt went off in my realisation that I had been in fact been guilty of double standards all of these years (apologies to all those people who have put up with my wrath of branding), Hoover did a fantastic job of getting into the minds of consumers even though Dyson came first.

The featured picture isn’t really a true representation of all of the plastic containers that live in my cupboards but there is always room for more and the children do need their own (don’t they?)

babybowlsWe’ve been testing out these six bowls for £7.99 from Babymoov. Even though there are to help with our #stresslessweaning Emily my six year old decided that the pink and purple bowls were hers and not necessarily for food.

The bowls have a capacity 250 ml (perfect size), a rewritable surface and has an airtight cover.

These bowls came with instructions, I know right, who needs instructions to use the bowls? Ermmm, that appears to be me. After several attempts I simply couldn’t get the lid to make a safe fit so I enlisted the advice of a fellow Babymoov ambassador who instructed to place on in a circle action rather then putting them directly over the bowl and pushing down. Alas this didn’t lead to a perfect seal which is absolutely okay for home use but I may be a little reticent to venture into the picnic bag with any wet items but would use for dry items and hope that I get the lids on well enough not to dispense the contents all over the bag.

These bowls are really easy to get clean and are dishwasher friendly too.

Look out for the next #stresslessweaning #messisbest post which sees us trying the Babymoov lunch set.

 

 

 

First time Acupunture at Jesmond Natural Health and Fertility Clinic

Month by month the migraines were getting worse. It got to the point that I’d be in bed at least sometime each month, unable to see properly, squiggly lines jumping around my right eye, feeling sick, slurring and mixing up my words and unable to drive. On top of that my periods are no longer regular. Once a 24 -25 days cycle, they’re now 21 to 34 days apart.

Resulting in a heady mix of migraine nastiness each and every month.

Of course as women we all know about “The CHANGE.” At 39 it wasn’t totally inconceivable that I could be early menopausal. Ladies, have you ever heard of Peri-menopause? This is the name for the stage that is the run up to the menopause (which you’ve reached after your last period). When women talk about going through the menopause, they’re experiencing the changes that can last a decade or more until actual menopause.

I set about reading article after article, and headaches / migraines were mentioned so frequently, that I came to my own conclusion that there had to be a link between my periods changing and the migraines I was suffering. Oddly, my biggest problem with it wasn’t that they were actually happening or how poorly I felt, it was how it was affecting me at work. Running my own business means the impact of taking any time off is massive, but time off each month? Unthinkable.

Anyway, I altered my diet, drank more water, tried different foods at different times and did a bit more exercise, all of which helped me feel better but did nothing for the migraines. Stubborn as I am, I couldn’t face the doctor just yet; I made do with off-the-shelf migraine tablets.

Through an event I was running for Sparkle Communications, I met Louise and Laura from Jesmond Natural Health and Fertility Clinic. We were starting to work with them on their Digital PR and Marketing plan and, in the course of conversation, I told them about my migraines. The clinic provides a comprehensive range of treatments including Acupuncture, Reflexology and good old massage, and the team have undertaken specialised training in Fertility, IVF, Pregnancy and Pain management.

This service opened up old hurts; my one and only round of IVF failed. But sitting with Louise and Laura, there was something about Louise’s no-nonsense approach “I can cure them for you” that made me take note (and eventually cry with relief that someone ‘got it’). Being honest, until we all met, alternative medicine has never had a place in my life but as Louise has a BA, PGDip Acu and MBAcC it’s safe to say she knows more about Chinese Medicine than I do.

But when someone sits in front of you and resolutely says that they can help, it’s got to be worth a try.

After an introductory session to find out about my migraines and lifestyle, Louise got stuck in! The image at the top is of the first time I received acupuncture. The tension was so bad in my shoulders and neck I yelped as the needles were inserted, and the pressure in the front of my forehead grew at an alarming pace. After 30 minutes or so, when the needles were removed and I got up to get dressed and I’ll never forget that my head felt like it could fall right off my shoulders. It was so incredibly strange. Something had definitely happened. The next day, I spent in bed. I was head-achy, emotional, exhausted.

Me in month 3 acupunctureThe next session was just as exhausting. And I do mean exhausting. What ever was happening was wearing me out. But the tension in my shoulders and neck was different. I felt different.

In the first two months, I suffered a headache. I also suffered incredibly itchy skin on my back and legs for a couple of weeks. That was odd. But it passed (and Louise invested in some hypo-allergenic needles for me) I’d had four or five acupuncture sessions. But in month two, even though I felt rotten, I took tablets and stayed at work. No bed for me. That was a major improvement.

In month three, after  six or seven sessions of acupuncture, I didn’t have a migraine. At all. And you can see the difference in my body’s reaction to the needles. No angry red skin. I don’t feel any discomfort from the needles now, unless I am super tense in my neck or the base of my skull.

I can say, with certainty, that acupuncture is making a difference to me in my life. I understand that it helps release the tension in my neck and shoulders, which is turn makes me feel better. And I know that last month was the first month I’d been migraine free for years. I was sceptical for many years about alternative therapies. Now, because of the actual difference it is making, I am open to exploring these methods of staying healthy that have been used for thousands of years.

And Louise, Laura and the team are wonderful, lovely ladies whose only aim is to help us feel better. I wholeheartedly recommend them.

Nic x

For further reading try the British Acupuncture Council and 34 Menopause Symptoms.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week 6 to 12 June

Hello everyone. How is your week looking? 

This week our stories are coming from Central Healthcare, Northern Stage, and Il Mulino.

Monday I’m heading to Central Healthcare in Newcastle to see what colonic irrigation is all about. This treatment doesn’t seem to be talked about as much as it once was. It’s something I’ve NEVER tried but I’m happy to put myself in the capable hands of Gill.

Tuesday we have a double bill. Nicola will be sparkling at her networking evening for the ladies of Derwentside! I went along to the first one and I often feel uncomfortable networking but I felt right at home here. I also found my much wanted cleaner in Reliant Robson and it was Claire’s first networking event. So get your #SparkleON! and click here for more information.

Also on Tuesday I will be heading to Northern Stage to watch Julie. Julie is the young and complicated mistress of the estate and is drawn into a dangerous tryst with her father’s butler, John. In the oppressive heat of Midsummer’s night, the couple hurtle towards an explosive conclusion that will shake them and the existing order to its core.

We’ll keep you updated with everything.

Suzanne x

Roxanne by Hotter

I recently took the plunge and delved behind the front line of Hotter shoes. Yes I am talking about the brand as though it’s my enemy but at 40 years old I saw the brand as one ‘for the grandma’s’ and I’m not talking sirens like Joan Collins or Helen Mirren but rather characters like Nora Batty or Hilda Ogdon.  Sorry but that had been my perception and if my children follow in my footsteps it will be another 28 years until I don that title, but could this brand change my thoughts or at least alter them?

Because I had never seen the brand as one I’d wear I have NEVER ever researched the company and it’s provenance. Turns out they are UK-based and were possible for the last eight years I’ve been celebrating all things UK made but Hotter I’m sorry you didn’t get on my radar but now I’m well and truly tuned in.

Hotter has been in INTU Eldon Square for five years but the first time I even noticed it was when Lush moved in next door and I was completely honest and told deputy manager Hazel this when I visited the branch for a ‘getting to know you session’.

As I entered the shop my eyes were drawn to what I had always perceived as the core of the brand ‘cosy comfortable’ but as my eyes scanned the shop and the associated graphics I was pleasantly surprised that the shop could quite literally have been split in two, into a, ‘Yes I’d like to take you home’ and ‘No thank you, maybe in 30 years time’.

I had free-reign of the whole shop along with very knowledgeable staff to help us on our #HotterMoment journey. Considering my initial preconception and my definite misconception of the brand I must have tried on 20 pairs from sports lux, heels, wedges and sandals.

Sandy was my first crushMy first crush was on Sandy or was it Molly, Hattie or Megan, well they could have all come home with me but alas in some of the shoes I was more Anastasia (ugly sister not the singer) then Cinderella and my foot simply didn’t marry together with the shoe. Hazel said that I have quite wide feet to the front and narrow to the rear. I had never realised that but it explains so much as I can’t keep a heel without straps on my feet. Roxanne caught my eye and my heart went all a flutter and I well and truly had my #HotterMoment and Roxanne became my glass slipper. The height was perfect and the wedge made the shoe stable. I’m looking forward to not only running after my children in them but also wearing on date days and a mooch around the shops.

Some facts and figures about Hotter

1959 Thomas Houlgrave decides to use his experience to set up his own business to manufacture slippers and Beaconsfield Footwear was born.

1992 Thomas Houlgrave’s son dream was realised when he started to produce shoes as comfy as slippers and the Hotter Comfort Concept was born.

1997 Call centre opened to process the increasing demand for the brand.

2002  First shop opened in Southport

2013  Fiftieth  store opens

2015  Awarded a Queen’s Award for Enterprise and named UK Manufacturer Of The Year.

90 days The length of the guarantee at Hotter. That’s right you buy the shoes, you wear them but within 90 days you realise that the love wasn’t really love and just lust and they really weren’t a perfect fit then you can take the shoes back – no quibble leaving everyone 100 percent happy – guaranteed! I can’t imagine Hotter getting their hands back on MY Roxanne’s though.

20 seconds – one pair of shoes is made by Hotter every 20 seconds

2016 The year I found a ‘go to’ UK brand with amazing ethics in supporting the UK economy with genuine year on year growth.

The photo above is from a lovely day spent with Nicola and our partners where we met at 12 noon and were in taxi’s by 8:15 pm and we walked and talked from Newcastle’s Quayside and up and around through town and they were so comfortable.

Now have I convinced you to go and at least have a look? Good, thought so then why not grab this discount code PPATEN and apply it at the check out and not only will you get £10 off your first order (full priced) you get FREE delivery too.

* T&C: Minimum order value £25. This offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other promotional offer or on Sale or Factory Clearance items and gift vouchers. Expires 30/6/16