Bowery Mural

British National Road Race Championships: NRRC

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Last Sunday I enjoyed my first ever cycling road race event in Glasgow. It was the National Road Race Championships. There had been time trials in the preceding days but I was only there to catch the men's road race. However I did arrive in time to see the end of the women's race.

When I arrived I was surprised at there being so few people out to watch. But perhaps they'd drifted off as I caught the last lap of that race only.

I opted to stay around the city centre area to watch. First up was a spot at the top of the Buchanan Street section. Right outside the Apple store. It was a nasty left hand turn and with the spots of rain that started it made the first few laps a bit tricksy there. Thankfully I only saw one faller and he was as quickly up and away on his as he was when he fell off.

To say it was utterly exciting to see people such as David Miller, Ben Swift, Mark Cavendish and more on the roads was a massive understatement. I was starstruck. It was brilliant. I kept snapping pictures and videos then had just about enough time to rush into the Apple store to recharge the phone up some more.

Around lap 6 I decided to head up St Vincent Street as there was a bit of an incline, and how would they fare on this. It's not of Alpine proportions but a little bit of a punt up there no doubt. The pavements were fairly quieter up there. Plenty of room to catch a great view of the leading train. Well, there were 2 leaders for a long time then the Cavendish, Miller, Kennaugh and Swift group for a good few laps. Towards the end that lead group was down to 4. They were flying. It was great to actually see this in person having watched the grand tours for most of my adult life on TV. I can only imagine what it's like on a stage of the TdF. The whooshing of the wheels, the clicking of the gears, the chatter... Magic.

By the last lap I'd made my way around to the George Square side and got a quiet spot on the pavement to have a wee seat. I watched for the last time as the leaders flew past at an visibly more increased rate. Wowsers. It was time for my train home and since I was nowhere near the start/finish line I'd watch it all unfold on Twitter from my comfy train seat.

Mark Cavendish won. You wouldn't really bet against him in a spring finish now would you. Brilliant racing from everyone who took part. And good organisation from everyone involved. Scottish Cycling; British Cycling; Glasgow City Council and the volunteers and event staff who were on hand all day to shepherd you across the route and give a little whistle to let you know the riders were on their way.

All in all a great day out in Glasgow, Miles Better! ;)

Angela x


That Perfect Ombre Hair: the search goes on...

Thursday, 20 June 2013

So, I got my hair done again last week after a little over 5 months. I went back to the same place, and frankly I'm a little disappointed with it. So much so that i spent the past few days researching THE perfect hair colour for me on different websites based in places as far reached as LA to Miami to London. Argh, does anyone else have this much angst when you're getting your hair done? I swear I'm more scared of the hairdressers than the dentist. Serious.

Anyone, you might wonder what went wrong this time. Well, I don't really know except the colour is totally wrong for me. My much desired perfect ombre looks like grown out highlights with a hint of the dreaded stripey look on the sides. Serious. I don't like it that much. I mean, it's passable for summer. You could say the base colour (which I wanted just like my natural colour), looks like the 'sun-in' look from the 1990's. Oh yes people. I used to spray that stuff on my hair hoping for that sun-kissed look, but what you actually ended up with was, well, not exactly that.

That's my current base colour. With blonder bits at the end, which i did ask for. I just expected it to be nice and blended. Which is sort of is and in the salon it did look very nice. But on closer micro inspection in my 5x optical mirror, I can see the edges of where the blonde starts and ends. And I can definitely see a ginger tinge in the base colour. OMG.

Crap. I'll have to let it grow for a month or so and see what evolves. It usually ends up okay once the colour starts to fade a little bit. Fingers crossed.

Anyway, I've decided that the only person I'd trust now to do my hair in Mr Johnny Ramirez. Unfortunately there's about 5000 miles and a big wide ocean that separates us. (You don't know how many fingers and toes I had crossed on Friday night to win that EuroMillions lottery so that I could visit his LA salon. Serious). Anyway, I absolutely adore his work. I follow his website, Box No 216, 'Like' his Facebook page, found RamirezTran on Tumblr, and and I'm always excited when they post a new 'in the salon with..' story every couple of days. Yes, I'm obsessed in that 'I love your work' way, not in a stalkery way!

He seems like a genius with hair colour. And his partner in crime, Anh Co Tran, seems like a genius with a pair of scissors. Reading the stories, they often spend up to 8-10 hours in the salon with a client to get the colour just right. Just right! Wouldn't that be great! How many times have we been whisked in and out in 2 hours in our salons here in the UK, whilst in-between your colour and cut your stylist heads of the cut Jessie's hair who has popped in on the off chance of a last minute appointment. Not exactly customer care. I know they have to make money but it does feel like a bit of a conveyor belt instead of good customer care, at times.

Anyway, to say I would DO ANYTHING for a chance to have Ramirez Tran let loose on my hair would be an understatement. If I had the money I'd be out there in a flash. With each photo that's posted I am so jealous of those women who have their colour perfected by the man himself. He's famous for his well blended, faded even, ombre look. Ombre incase you didn't know is like really grown out highlights (darker roots and lighter ends) here in the UK. In Johnny's chair you get baby-like hair. You know when you were a kid and it was those long hot summers (I know, we're in the UK but humour me)? anyway your hair was sun-lightened around the face and the ends were lighter too because your mum always tied your hair in a ponytail. Well, you know that hair? That's what he's famous for.

Hair that I would absolutely LOVE.

I mean, the only other haircut and colour that has been pretty much perfect for me was when I visited London salon Jones and Payne and Charlotte coloured my hair. She pretty much gave me my own hair colour as a base and then lightened my ends a little bit. I loved that hair too. (Oh and the reason I need my base colour done is that since I'm mid-twenties (ahem, okay I mean thirties!), there is a little bit of silver slivers showing through now. It happens to us all. Otherwise I would never get my base colour done. Sadly I need to. But when Charlotte coloured me, she pretty much nailed my colour. That was 2 years ago and I've been striving for that ever since.

The reason I'm bothered so much is that my hair is pretty much my favourite thing about me. Apart from my flat stomach - wink. No, but seriously, some people don't mind using packet dyes but I'd be too nervous to do that myself. Plus I don't want to damage my hair further. The ends are now a bit dry due to the bleach that was used to lighten them. No, I'll wait a month or two and try to get it corrected or coloured with a flat, non ginger-tinged natural looking base colour. I wonder if that's possible?

Until then I'll try not to let it dent my confidence and I'll leave you with a few pictures of what my ideal hair colour would be. You can also find more examples of my favourite hair on my 'Hair I Love' Pinterest board.

This is pretty much what I'd ideally like...

OR this...

Or this...

You get the idea. Lovely, natural looking faded ombre hair colour.

Please someone in the universe, make this happen?!
Love, Angela X


NOTD: Essie DJ Play That Song

Sunday, 16 June 2013

I've got a couple of purple nail polishes in my collection but every time i reached for them i was met with this pang of doubting niggles in my head. It's too dark, it's too lilac, it's too reddish. Until now.

This, my friends, is what i'd call the perfect bright true purple from Essie neon summer collection - which may not be released in the UK yet (if at all). It's called DJ Play That Song. I know, great name right! And it's bedfellows in the summer collection are all a little bit bright and neon. Perfect for summer (if we ever get one). But if not, perfect to cheer up these dreary grey showery days.

I got this from my trusty favourite eBay store in the USA so it has that thin brush. I was a bit wary of using it but the formula is good. I put a very thin first coat on (that looked almost jelly-like), then made it more opaque with a second coat. Lastly, and unusually for me, I put a coat of the famous Seche Vite top coat on. My first use and i'm impressed, although 2 days on and i have a little bit of tip wear where i have a ragged nail.

The colour is great on my light freckley skin tone. They call it 'jammiest neon plum'. I'd call it freaking delicious! It pops without being ultra neon bright. As I'm looking at it now it does in some ways have an almost jelly-like look about it. Perhaps that's the top coat though.

Really pleased I picked this colour purple, finally. I don't know what I was afraid of.

Angela x


Beachy Hair - minus the beach

Sunday, 9 June 2013

I used the same shampoo, from the same bottle, for the whole of 2012. A giant 1 litre bottle of Aveda Be Curly shampoo. It's good but i felt like i needed a change, and my hair probably did too.

However, since the turn of the year I've been trying out other shampoos. No conditioners as I'm still using the remnants of a Frederik Fekkai conditioner for curly hair that smells like tangerines. Not oranges, tangerines, there's a difference ;)  I've even begun trying a Tresemme nourishing shampoo, something i never ever thought I'd try. But I decided that i wasn't going to spend insane amounts of money on something you wash into and out of your hair.

And then Bumble and Bumble just had to go and launch the Surf range.

New for summer is the Surf Foam Wash shampoo and the Surf Creme Rinse conditioner. As well as the fantastic Surf Spray. I absolutely LOVE their surf spray but at £19 a bottle it's just not been in my shopping basket for a few years. I bought my first bottle back in 2005 from HQ Hair. I saw a few reviews raving about the new range but never from anyone with my type of curly (kinda already beachy) hair. In John Lewis last weekend i hesitated and decided not to buy it. I have this new rule. If I see something I want to buy, i don't buy it there and then. I wait a day. If I still want it the next day I weigh up why, then decide if i really need it before i buy. Works. Sometimes! But this non purchase lingered on my mind and as soon as I was home I searched online to see if there were any bargains.

Hurrah! I managed to stumble upon a site i hadn't heard of before, Active Beauty, and with the lure of 15% off until 21 May i didn't hesitate for a day. I bought the shampoo, conditioner and the surf spray all with free delivery too. Bargain.

I tried it out on Saturday. I wasn't expecting much to be honest. You know when shampoos promise much and almost always fail to deliver. But oh, how wrong was I! What I ended up with was soft, great smelling, 'beachy' hair. Usually if i don't put mousse on my hair then it ends up a frizzy mess. But with the aid if just a few drops of hair oil and a few sprays of Surf Spray it was like I'd just stepped out of the  water in Ibiza. No really.

It was soft, manageable and yet had the messy look about it. Well, messier than my usual. But with a look of being 'done' too. And the smell. Oh the smell. I can't describe what it is except... aqua. I didn't need to use much of the shampoo to produce a lather and I've learnt to use half the amount of conditioner than I think I'd need. A huge plus was that the conditioner felt like i had rinsed it properly. I wary of some conditioners when they don't rinse out or take half an hour to rinse out (Pantene, Aussie - in my experience - yuck). I let my hair air dry for a few minutes then sprayed some surf spray in it. There was no tangles or straw like texture, just 'beach' hair. Honest.

If, like me, you have curly hair and want something to give you a bit of that 'done' texture look then this range is probably for you. Only if your budget can stretch to them that is, because at £18.50 per bottle they aren't exactly budget priced. But I only get my hair done maybe twice per year so I like to treat it in between times.

Angela x


Teeth Brace: Month 2

Thursday, 6 June 2013

I had my second 8-week brace adjustment appointment with my orthodontist last week. So I'm now 16 weeks in to my 2 year brace life. I've come to like attending the hospital for these appointments (I go to the hospital as it's the NHS treatment I'm receiving). I'm in and out in about 15 minutes for these appointments. All very efficient.

A gap had formed where my troublesome front tooth had been straightened up a little bit. Remember my front left tooth had a severe squint overhang of the right front tooth. After my last appointment the left tooth had straightened out a little and had given me a gap in between my two front teeth. It was kind of quirky. I'm not that bothered abut a gap, so long as it didn't develop into a severe gap. The only problem with this gap is that it's is off centre. Like a good 3mm off centre to the right hand side. Anyone looking probably wouldn't notice this but in orthodontics, every millimetre counts.

To combat this gap and right hand side pull she inserted a thicker wire as she wanted the teeth to move in a different way and for the upper arch to expand a little. I was told the front gap might get worse before it gets better but that this was fine as the teeth need to be straightened up first and then pulled into line, so to speak.

She also attached some joined up plastic loops on the side wires where there are huge gasp due to the teeth I had removed back in January. The technical term is e-chain plastic. It's basically to close the gaps, and also protects the slightly thinner side wires. So my large side gaps will close a little bit, meaning the front teeth can space out and straighten up properly. All very complex but an amazing piece of engineering when you think about it.

Lastly she added on some of the little rubber bands that hold the main wire onto each bracket. I chose the silver again. I was going to white or clear but they say the bands can get discoloured with food and general eating so silver is the safe option. Next time I might get a coloured one. Maybe!

See how they're kinda off-centre?
After each appointment my teeth are always a bit sensitive, but that's because they are moving again until they get used to the new adjustment. It means I can't really chew anything tougher than a piece of toast but I've managed to figure that if i cut my food into tiny pieces I can just about get away without too much pain when chewing.

After just a few days I can already see that the front tooth gap has gotten smaller. There's only really a space at the top now. I'm always amazed at how this metal contraption can move my teeth and the results I see so quickly.

After only a few short months, I can already see that my confidence has lifted a bit. I'm actually smiling wider than I thought my widest smile has ever been. I'm not afraid to show people the brace in the way that I always shy'd away from showing people my wonky teeth. Isn't that peculiar?

It's another 8 weeks until my next appointment. But for now I just have to keep on going with it. Clean my teeth thoroughly and try to cut down on the sugary drinks! Yikes. Cola and chocolate is my craving. Bad.

Angela x


Spring into Summer

Saturday, 1 June 2013

You'd think with our recent weather that we were still stuck somewhere around February or early March, but this weekend has (hopefully) been the turning point. That point where we slowly transition from spring to summer. We get our lighter brighter clothes out and pain our nails a neon shade - well, the girls do.

With that in mind, it was with much excitement that i ripped the brown box open as fast i could last week.

Inside was this... the Selfridges Summer Beauty Box. Tah-dah!

Beauty boxes have been popular for a good couple of years now but i stopped buying one as i felt that, even for only £10 plus postage, I wasn't using most of the products that came in the boxes. I've seen a few recently and i'm glad i stopped mine.

However, when i saw that this Selfridges box had a mini bag sized Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray as well as a neon pink Models Own nail polish I couldn't help myself and ordered it straight away before it sold out. I think these boxes are limited edition and are only released at certain times of the year. (Summer and Christmas, perhaps?). It also costs £25 which is more than your Glossybox or Birchbox but the products are better.

Inside you also get a Tangle Teezer for wet hair, which i am thrilled about. I've been going to buy one for ages since the hairdresser used one on my (mostly unbrushed) hair. Can't wait to use it.

You also get a mini sized St Tropez instant face glow. A Lancaster after sun tan maximiser. A Caudalie beauty elixir spray - that i also love! A set of Jane Tran hair grips and clasps which will be lovely in my newly surf sprayed hair. A Molton Brown mini shower gel and an Erborian Korean skin therapy BB cream. I'll pass that on to someone else I think.

Really glad I ordered this. The value is apparently £70 in real money if you were to buy the products separately. Bargain. It comes in a nice sturdy white and yellow box too which is a nice touch.

Summer is here!

Angela x