Thursday, 27 March 2014


Hypno, Hydro, Derma, Dermo, Endo and Arbo. The language of anti aging. Then there are the letter abbreviations but I can never remember them. Other than CACI - the non surgical facelift - a description which has been copy written although I am told there are products which do exactly the same but can't use the same sell.

The latest expert (very good treatment in Richmond - will write about later) told me I need exfoliation. My skin has been hydro'd and abrased so much I am amazed I have any skin left to exfoliate, but that is what I need to do.    I also need to drink more water (if I don't hydrofacial will help my skin to 'drink' what I don't) and get more sleep (so I mustn't be stressed about getting wrinkles because if I'm stressed I will get more wrinkles).

So I pile more product on (Endocare, Arbonne and Diamond Brand are my favourites for different reasons) - but not too much which will stress the skin although not me if I think it works even if it doesn't.  In order to unstress myself I go to hypnotherapy.  I worry that the hypnotherapist may not be able to hypnotize me, but I mustn't worry as this is aging, so I try to stop worrying.   Whereas I would usually have a jelly sweet I don't now as these are full of sugar which is very bad for the skin, so I breathe deeply and think positive thoughts.    Sort of works.

Ailsa Frank is a qualified hypnotherapist and tells me I  should visualise walking through a garden (its always a garden but I try not to visualise my one because I've still got that dead tree stump and I don't want to think of the people who hacked it to pieces) and throw stones in a lake which are my worries. I also want to ask if I can throw people in but I don't think its appropriate.

After a few seconds she asks me to throw all the stones in after I've been doing it diligently doing it one by one.   It's a good visualisation.  I like it. It reminds me of doing such things when I was a child, creating ripples.   Think I still like doing that actually.     But I look around and realise I've got an awful lot of stones - not truck loads but neat zen like piles of stones - so I find myself in my visualisation scrambling about trying to throw all the stones in very quickly, hoping there isn't a baby amongst there somewhere.

And then I'm walking over stepping stones, each with different colours relating to the chakras, which I get, although I fall asleep half way through I'm not sure out of tiredness or because  my conscious wants to switch off and just let the subconscious take it in.   It could be that or the fact I'm knackered.  She then tells me to go into the light, but this always reminds me of the scene in the film Poltergeist where the little lady tells the little girl to not go into the light.  Ailsa gave me a few things to do when I returned home, including some CDs to listen to atlhough not in the car as I may fall asleep at the wheel. And I must, whenever I'm feeling down say 'amazing.' which is working at the moment although it sounds a bit American

Still I'm going back again as it's interesting and I think it worked (one of the few alternative therapies to be scientifically proven to do so). The likes of Matt Damon, Jack Nicklaus, Andre Agassi, Winston Churchill, Kevin Costner have all used it for dealing with things like giving up smoking, staying awake, improving their golf swing, and their tennis game - although not in that order.

And I have always been interested in Derren Brown and the work of Paul McKenna. Ailsa, who is very grounded and pragmatic, specialises in work with people who have alcohol addictions, weight issues, and work life balance, as well as those who want to clear the mind, and calm the spirit - a bit like yoga really.    It goes deep does hypnotherapy and in a disarmingly gentle way. No tears, no pain. I came away feeling very light headed. I slept very well and this morning confronted the most appalling traffic and sat (for the most part) patiently, saying to myself 'this is amazing' when every driver tried to either cut me up or the police blocked off Chiswick Bridge refusing to give any information about how long and why.    Amazing.

Sunday, 23 March 2014


I found the gerbil.    After the disastrous attempt to improve my garden on Saturday and undo the work that has been done to my poor plants, I went to the Ideal Home Exhibition in search of inspiration and copy. Depressing and impersonal.

On Sunday, on to the DecorFest ( held in KCS in Wimbledon, I went with hope.  EXCELLENT.  ABSOLUTELY EXCELLENT.  BRILLIANT. WONDERFUL.   Altogether totally different experience. Lovely people, beautiful product, wonderful imaginative and creative ideas.     Those I will special mention to in the articles will include Deryn Relph, fab lady, fab colours. We are cowardly about colour. We should use it more.  Abigail Lipski artist, loves colour.  (there's a theme here isn't there?) Claire Henman, ( what she can do with feathers is no one's business - wonderful creations - Fran McCaskill, wonderful glass work, not the traditional SW stuff, - creative interesting, eccentric. Loved it.   She does workshops too Westminter Outdoor furniture. Excellent classy well priced product.    But it is Paul from    wonderful wonderful idea.    I am hoping he will help to undo the rubbish to my lovely little garden on Saturday.     Altogether a different bunch of people to those I met on the Saturday and living proof you can be creative and eccentric and not flakey.   You put a spring in my step and my weekend guys. Thank you

Saturday, 22 March 2014


 I've just had two blokes in doing the gardening.  A tree died in the middle of my lawn and I wanted it taken out and other trees planted. Nothing fancy, just a country garden.    They quoted and I said I would give half up front and half at the end.    What they've done is some strimming, not particularly expertly and left a lot of the concrete slabs here.   A couple of hours work at most. £300 - £400 max.   They insisted on doing it today although I said I wouldn't be able to pay today.   And then got nasty when I said I couldn't pay today.   That will teach me to look at a card put through my door.    At least as a journalist I can write about the experience, and make sure others don't get taken in as well.  They have probably changed their company name by now but I've taken photos so I know what they look like and so will Watchdog.

I had Edward de Bono ring me this morning telling me how much he loves my books although 'I don't like men very much'.  I do like men Edward.  It's just I meet an awful lot of really shitty ones.  I know there are good ones out there.

And I've lost a gerbil somewhere.

Thursday, 20 March 2014


Focusing on other things I have been remiss into noting my attempts to soften, erase, diminish, minimalize the lines, wrinkles of life, living, bad living, stress, or the numerous other descriptive words on bottles, packages, boxes, containing gels, liquids, creams, masks, to rid self of the aforementioned lines, wrinkles of life, living...

There is so much product out there. There are so many treatments, and experts offering advice which is frequently contradictory.    The only place I have ever bought 'high end' skincare product is at the Duty Free and it seems from speaking to those in the industry, it is the one place I should not. The assistants there know their brand but are not dermatologists and that, it seems, is what you need when you want to know how to care for your skin.  Everyone has specific needs. Those needs change with the lifestyle as well as the age.  It changes if you change offices, if you work outdoors more, if you are traveling more, if you move house. So it's worth having regular check ups.

You also need a nutritionalist, because what we put in our bodies has a direct impact on our skin. As does stress, so exercise, yoga (I knew it!) and a healthy lifestyle, (no alcohol, no smoking, no sun and definitely definitely no sugar). Oil is good, flaxseed is best - in liquid form.   Better than tablets.   And I'm still on the CherryActive @cherryactive, although my favourite is beetroot juice (active).  And anything Bimuno.

Then there are the treatments. I had a hydrofacial today (Jill Zander clinic Esher High Street,  Amy my consultant very knowledgeable).  Love it.  It works.    Dermaroller last week (Vincent Wong, Harley Street clinic, lovely man, treatment ouch).   Improved the texture of the skin.   Or was it the week before. I'm going to try Derma ebrasion.  I'm told peels are a bit passe which is good. I didn't fancy one much anyway.

I feel like I'm in a sweetie shop and doing mix and match at the moment and hopefully will find my favourite treatment and product that will be the baby porridge of skincare (just right for me).    If the skin on my face could talk I'm sure it would be asking me what the hell is going on.  Largely ignored over the past three years - I've been told everything from 'you need more sleep and to drink more water (I try, I do try) to having my eyelids cut.   But I don't want the frightened rabbit look.  I remember going into a restaurant in LA with a group of other travel journos and everyone in the room look stretched, shiny and startled. They may have been perpetually surprised but I doubt it.   And they all look exactly the same.  Exactly.

So off to bed now. Drunk pints of water (hot with lemon) and waking up at 5.30am.   I could murder a Malteser.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014


This evening I was invited to two events by two very good friends who are both entrepreneurs. It was their night, but they were doing it for others.

Both very strong mothers and very strong women and very strong business women.  I put the definitions in that order possibly because that is the order in which I respect them.  Or of importance. I don't know. It's nearly one in the morning and I've got a lot on tomorrow.

Both are in the business of show, but they have substance.

The first, Debbie Arnold.  An actor, a writer, a motivational speaker and an all round good egg.  Very kind, generous spirited, and launching her initiative the fabyouless card, helping others to find discounts for healthy living. Beautiful inside and out.  She's a grafter and beautiful with it.

I talked to a few of her guests at the launch at the Sanderson. One was the director of a forthcoming play about Princess Diana that should (and already has) rocked a few boats.  Because it speaks about the truth.   A lot of those I spoke to talked about the 'truth' about the beauty industry.   Reminded me of that quote by Keats 'beauty is truth and truth is beauty - that is all ye know and all ye need to know'.
Well it's more than skin deep and those in the room knew it.

The second event - a concert at Cadgan Hall -  was co ordinated by Gina Miller, a successful business woman running her 5th business as well as the Family Charitable Foundation.

The concert was moving and wonderful (one little rap number sung by a far too cool person to be anywhere near Cadogan Hall, was entitled  'I don't sell dope, I now sell hope' - I'm still humming it... and there was another one who made the audience (a lot of whom were extremely well heeled)   shout back 'I love my butt').    Yup, we were all shouting it back.

Miller Philanthropy helps the small charities that don't have the advertising clout. I've got involved in my small way helping out with offering yoga retreats and classes, although with the number of parking tickets I've been getting this week (and I still have no heating) I feel I need some handouts!  It's perspective ultimately, as is truth.  

After the concert she announced how little the music industry gives back.   How it's very much an industry that takes.   Music uplifts but also makes a lot of money and percentage wise gives a fraction of it's overall worth and wealth. She's going to name and shame just like she did in the charity industry.   Perhaps she'll get some songsters slagging her off this time.     But perhaps that's just perspective again.

Well done ladies.  The girls done good. xx

Friday, 14 March 2014


I am a happier bunny this morning. I had two hours sleep last night because of work but met a wonderful bunch of people in Clapham. Snotty man gave me a parking ticket but I don't care because he didn't look carefully and see I had paid in time and I took photos of the car and everything. It is a hassle (again) to write and say YOU ARE WRONG!!!!!!   but the roads were so clear this morning, and it was cold (it is warmer outside than it is in my home at the moment) and the sky was so beautiful. Wonderful wonderful morning and as I said, lovely people.

And Mr Benn has died. Not the cartoon Mr Benn, who found a wonderful way to deal with his midlife crisis (never saw the wife, probably divorced, hates her, doesn' like to talk about it and rarely sees the kids) by dressing up in funny clothes and every day goes into his own little world.   Loads of Mr Benns about these days, but they are called Mr Grey and go to Soho.

No Tony Benn.  He who talked in whispers so everyone would listen. Clever skill that. Want to be heard in a room of loud mouths, whisper and they will shut up - well they did for him. And it became quite sinister. I remember him once on Question Time doing the whispering to great effect. The room just shut up, became a vacuum, even with the size of egos of his colleagues.  Meryl Streep used the same skill when she played the editor in Devil Wears Prada - she was allegedly told to keep her voice to a whisper by Clint Eastwood when she asked him how she could play 'quietly menacing'.  

But what a lot of 'big characters' are falling now.  Or so it seems.   Big voices but they have all left their mark one way or another.  Even more so when they whisper.

Thursday, 13 March 2014


Wow, am I having an interesting time at the moment.   As they say, put your trust in people and they let you down.    First of all I am renting out my gite in France. I decided not to rent out the main house because the people who stayed there broke things, a lot of things, so I don't want anyone in that home again.  

The letting company - and I have put it on with two - one of them has just told me about the payment terms, which are ridiculous, so I am not going to let with them any more.    Read the small print carefully.   It seems people can stay in your home for a whole two days and pay nothing.  Not good.

Next my boiler. I have no hot water and heating (still) thanks to the plonkers who installed it installing it wrong, which has damaged the boiler. I made need a new one which costs £2500 odd but the plumber says other things might help. That's a might.  Life must be simpler than this.   This stuff is the basics, it's petty, it's not important but it becomes important when it's niggles like waking up in the cold, not having a hot shower, bath, and knowing that people will be in my lovely home in France and not paying for it.

Not a happy bunny and it's coming up to Easter.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014


I did it in the right order. I visited in the New Year the Corinthia Palace Hotel in Malta - the original Corinthia hotel where it all started.  The service there is wonderful (see previous blogs) and spa superb, and the weather glorious and it was there I met Professor Edward de Bono.  

Today I visited the newest Corinthia in Whitehall Place. The service has that Maltese warmth, the decor is beautiful and dramatic. 

First impression - first thing you notice is it is in central London. As in it really is central to everything – close to Waterloo station – a bridge walk away, so close to the City (city waterloo line when it works) and Embankment station, Charing Cross.   WC2 is just round the corner but it’s officially in SW1.   So many places claim they are in central London and they are not. Corinthia is.   Location is key.

Secondly, the lobby is striking, huge glass chandeliers loom overhead, soft furnishings you would want in your own home if it were big enough.   The interior designer has used colour. So many hotels don't use colour well. This one does. 

And the art.  The art is phenomenal. I know appreciation of art is subjective.  I realise some people would prefer to look at a shark in formaldehyde or thin line drawing architectural prints when they walk through the door but the paintings they have in the lobby area (and on the concierge desk (look at the desk when you check in), are incredibly beautiful.    I want the golden one (featured below) on my wall in France – not Richmond as the house here is too small.   There’s even gold leaf on the lift doors – not real gold leaf (as in Dubai tacky) but beautiful gold leaf (see photo to get my meaning).

There’s a writer’s penthouse (it was booked so could see it) which was a pity, and a musician’s penthouse, which allegedly Johnny Depp likes, which says a lot as there’s also an actor’s penthouse but he doesn’t stay in that one. There's a Royal penthouse which was booked - I think with a Princess, not sure which one.   Room below is a suite.   Photo doesn't do it justice.  

The list of celebrities who stay here is endless, but many are off the record – but anyone who plays at the O2 stays here.  

The spa is wonderful, ethereal, womb-like.   They have these sleep pods in this black room which is just like being in the womb, but probably suffers a lot less noise. 

The restaurants serve wonderful food (order the halibut) and the bars I am told are the place to be if you want to meet a ‘NYM’ (nice young man).   So I’m going to trek down there one evening dragging  a friend in tow to admire the art, the lift doors, the spa....

Sunday, 9 March 2014


Busy week ahead. My website goes live this week. I am so excited.   And the book is being edited.  And the sun is shining which is always a good thing, especially as I still don't have hot water.

On Saturday I visited Purley. Not a good place to visit at the best of times, but there's been flooding so the diversions meant it took about ten minutes more than it should.   I met a lady called Cherry Kingsman (lovely lady) who organises a Voll test which tests for everything, using a system detecting the amount of metal in the body. You hold a piece of metal in your hand, left and right in turn and she tests for weaknesses throughout the body.   Men like it because it involves computers and graphs, rather than chakras and crystals, but Cherry has a whole library of instruments and tools she uses.

I have a beautiful hypothalmus. She told me that and smiled.  This is good. It means my hormones are ok at the moment, yeah!    Circulation is a bit weak, and left lung a bit weak or is it the right, and my gall bladder is buggered. Not literally, but may be because of something I caught while traveling (we all do according to Cherry) - parasites, especially if you go to Africa - or emotion which is stored there (she told me anger).  That's it, I said. I don't have any heating. And the horrid journey to Purley.  I'm really annoyed about that, and other things, but that's the main thing.   She tested.  Nope, it's the parasite, so I'm taking something and she recommends all travelers do the same so I'm writing it up in more detail in other titles. And some has got into the kidney.  But a part from that I'm fine. Or the computer says I'm fine. That's as close as I'm going to get the computer to say 'yes' I suppose.

I also visited Dr Vincent Wong who does this dermaroller testing (92 small needles into the skin 'destressing' it) and turned me into a tomato again.    He is a wonderful kind lovely man but it really hurts.  I think my skin has improved, and what with getting rid of the parasites and the amount of cherry juice I've been drinking I should have glowing plumped up skin and be looking more like a plum than a prune at the moment.   I'm going to do a full summary of wrinkly of richmond in a month's time but I am still due to try a few more techniques including boxing yoga which sounds a contradiction in terms and principle but is allegedly brilliant for circulation.   Now all I need to get is the left lung fixed.