A Good Old Soak

A Good Old Soak

A Good Old Soak

I am happy to say I am a fan of a good soak in the bath. And, it would seem I am not the only one. Emma Watson (Harry Potters wizard friend Hermione Granger) claims to have two or three a day. Mariah Carey enjoys them, and even Kim Kardashian has admitted to indulging regularly. So, I feel I am in good company. However, most of my Australian friends would not agree since, according to them, having a bath is nothing more than washing in your dirt. Well, I suppose there is some truth in that, or at least there used to be since I can remember growing up, most people I knew, including my family, would bath once a week.

Washing and bathing for cleanliness and purification have played an essential element in all cultures and religions. Ancient Egyptians believed in the importance of cleanliness and enjoyed washing and bathing several times a day - Cleopatra is famous for her donkey milk baths. Men and women shaved their heads and preferred to wear wigs and shaved their eyebrows, preferring to paint them instead, and both sexes wore makeup. A clean and well-oiled individual had a much better chance of a safe journey to the afterlife.

Use a trendy tray across your bath for all your bathing items

I was eighteen before I had my first shower in a motel room in Perth, Western Australia, at the start of a two-year working holiday (1973). It was refreshing. So, for most of that time, I showered every day and sometimes, due to the excessive heat, two or three times a day. However, during several camping expeditions in the outback, the more memorable experiences were, showering under a waterfall and washing naked in a river - during which I took a deep dive to hide from a local cruise boat full of tourists.

When I returned home from Australia, there was still no shower, so I bathed every day in Radox bubbles, to my family's amusement. We had a plastic tray that used to sit across the tub, which contained bars of Pears and Imperial Leather soaps, pumice stone, nail brush, and where you could hang your flannel.

But I missed having a shower. I eventually purchased a rubber handheld shower unit; you attached to the hot and cold water taps. But, after a while, the rubber stretched and would slip off, causing the spray to go everywhere except on you. I wonder what William Feetham, a stove maker from Ludgate Hill in London, would have made of our modern showers when he patented the first mechanical one in 1767; I would indeed thank him for his excellent idea.

I am also grateful to the American John Michael Kohler, who invented the world's first bathtub in 1883. It was a cast-iron horse trough with four decorative feet covered in an enamel finish. It was not until the 1880s when city sewer systems; central heating; hot and cold running water; indoor plumbing and pipes; flush toilet; stationary bathtubs and sinks combined together to create the modern bathroom.

I live in a two bedroomed bungalow with a small bathroom. However, size does not matter; you can always make it a luxurious experience.

Here are a few tips I humbly suggest

  • Keep your bathroom clean - luxury cannot be experienced in a dirty, cluttered bathroom.
  • Allow as much time as you can to fully relax - especially if you will include any of your beauty maintenance routines.
  • Use a trendy tray across your bath for all your bathing items.
  • Light candles or infusers.
  • Listen to music.
  • Do not have the bathwater too hot it can dry your skin.
  • Donkey soap bar
  • There is such a great variety of bubbles, oils, scrubs and dried flowers and I love to try them all.
  • You can wash your hair and let your conditioner work while you soak.
  • As tempting as it might be, do not take your phone into the bath.
  • Have a glass of wine or whatever takes your fancy.
  • Use the loveliest fluffiest towels afterward. Pat yourself dry instead of rubbing to keep moisture on your skin and finish with a moisturizer – do not forget your feet.
  • I do not have room in my garden for a herd of donkeys, which I would need to supply enough milk to bathe as Cleopatra did. Or, spend thousands of pounds on beauty products like Kim Kardashian. Instead, I shall be luxuriating in organic full-fat cow’s milk from the supermarket (two cups of milk with ½ cup of honey) and a donkey soap bar. Seriously.

Facial Hair

Facial Hair

For many women around the globe ‘Facial Hair’ is embarrassing, stressful, causes anxiety, and low self-esteem. I know what it is like to experience those emotions since I myself have had to deal with facial hair for many years – at one point I was convinced I was morphing into a man, OK perhaps not but I certainly felt less feminine. I felt abnormal and ashamed. It became my big secret; I never talked about it to anyone even other females whom I was close too. But in the early days, in my mid-thirties, it was not so bad; the light moustache became thicker and darker so I went from bleaching to waxing – remember Saffy in Absolutely Fabulous when Edina and Patsy waxed hers; they will never know how much that scene cheered me.

Chin hairs then started to sprout. Not a problem I thought. Just grab the tweezers and pluck them as well as the hairs I removed from my eyebrows. But slowly, over a period of time, the chin hairs were increasing. I tried Electrolysis, once! My God that was painful so I reverted back to waxing. I also went to the doctors and had my hormone levels and general health checked which showed all to be normal – sheer relief to know I was not morphing into a man.

In my mid-forties I tried Epil-Pro (soundwaves are transmitted down the hair shaft, disintegrating the papillary cells at the base of the hair follicle without damaging the surrounding skin tissue). This was liberating for me as the treatment was painless, not expensive and lasted about two weeks. However, I soon found out this was not as manageable as I had hoped; I could not always make my appointment due to work commitments or it was difficult to get an appointment when it suited me so, back to waxing.

I was in my mid to late fifties when during a waxing session with my beautician, we discussed facial hair; it was the first time I had ever talked about it to anyone. To my relief she assured me it was a common problem for many of her clients and of all ages especially women with dark hair. I shared with her the difficulty in arranging appointments and keeping them due to my work commitments. “Why don’t you try shaving’ she said. “It’s easy. You can do it home whenever you want and no it does not thicken hair as many would try to tell you” she continued. I was mortified, I didn’t say anything but thought ‘SHAVING, that is something only men do’. I said I would think about it and I did.

It was a week or so later I found myself in the bathroom looking into a mirror and could not decide whether to laugh or cry as I held a disposable razor in my hand and began to glide the blade through white creamy foam on my chin and upper lip – I was sure I knew what to do after seeing many men being shaved in films. The process was indeed quick. It was painless. I dried my face and to my relief my skin felt smooth. I had no nicks or razor rash. I felt liberated. I was in control. I could do this at anytime and anywhere. It was also the cheapest option after tweezing. I also knew there was no going back.

Today I am still shaving and thankfully I am now more comfortable with it. I have recently watched many videos on YouTube for women and how to shave and there is great advice to be found there. I have also read many newspaper and magazine articles on the subject but, opinion is divided regarding the merits of shaving – I tend to think that those women who cry against it do not themselves, have facial hair. Personally, I have no regrets especially since learning, two famous women I have always admired, Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe, were to my utter amazement shavers so, if it was good enough for them, it is certainly good enough for me. Therefore, my advice is, if you are struggling with facial hair, have a thorough health check with your doctor. Research all available treatments and choose one that feels right for you. And finally, do not worry about anyone else’s opinion.

My Slimming World

My 'Slimming World'

On February 17, 2020 I joined Slimming World. My first weighing revealed 10st 13lb and it was agreed my target weight at the end of six weeks would be to reach 9st 13lb. So, armed with a rather overwhelming amount of colourful information in a neat folder I began my diet journey. At the end of the first week I lost 1 ½ lb and at the of the second week only ½ lb. I was disappointed but, I had to be honest and recognise I had not followed the guidelines or shopped for all the correct ingredients also, old habits are difficult to overcome.

Fast forward a few weeks and suddenly I was plunged, as we all were, into a new world of social distancing, self-isolating and staying at home and no longer able to easily buy food as normal due to the Coronavirus. However, I was more than happy and grateful that my partner Mike, family, friend's, business colleagues and acquaintances were safe.

So, I began to cook proper food with everything that became available. I have always liked cooking but it was quickly becoming a passion. I appreciated every fresh item I could lay me hands on and took care not to waste anything. I looked up recipes. Then suddenly, about five – six weeks after joining Slimming World I realised I had lost a lot more weight and was not far of my target of 9st 13lb. What had I done without thinking about it? Then it dawned on me I had not eaten any of the following for about a month: -

  • Bread, cakes, pastries and croissants especially 'pain au chocolat'
  • Nuts, crisps, tortilla chips and pittas.
  • Cheese and biscuits – apart from parmesan on Spaghetti Bolognaise, and grated cheese on a fish pie.
  • Milk other than in tea and the occasional coffee which is for most of the time black (I use Almond Milk and 0% yoghurt in my porridge)
  • Cream
  • And NO ALCOHOL – cripes how did I manage that one.

My one and only 'sin' everyday was, and still is, 1-3 Chocolate Digestive Biscuits.

I think having our home cooked meal at lunchtime makes a difference – in the evenings I have often just had fruit and still do; so not going to bed on a full stomach.

I also discovered a couple of days ago my taste-buds have changed; I did not enjoy eating a hot cross bun and bread. It felt like when I gave up cigarettes and no longer wanted all those harmful chemicals running around my body and now stodge and certain other foods as well.

Of course, only time will tell - it will be interesting to see what my future Slimming World weighing will reveal. But, for now, I will continue with my passion for cooking and might even venture into homemade biscuits; chocolate ones of course.