Sunday, 27 November 2011

Keeping It Smooth

I was recently given the opportunity by the good people at The Clubhaus to review their EMJ Shave Cream Signature Mint. I am not a regular “wet shaver” but I do like to go down the traditional shaving route now and then. Sometimes an electric shaver just isn’t enough :)

The Clubhaus concept is simple; you Clean, Shave, Treat and then Style yourself. They will provide you with any info you need and a great selection of products; you then decide to what extent each stage suits your lifestyle with products to match. If you are looking for a Christmas gift for the man in your life this may be the place to go!

Anyway, as I said, The Clubhaus have given me the opportunity to review the EMJ Shave Cream, and I have been using it for the last 10 days or so. Although it is their “Signature Mint”, neither Dori nor I could discern much of a fragrance from the cream, but that ain’t necessarily a bad thing! The product claims that the “rich, low-foam formula softens and preps your skin and beard for a more comfortable shave,” and that it “won’t dry out skin or clog pores”.

Now one issue I do have is that my skin is very dry, so I was eager to test out these claims, as I know from past experience that some shaving creams can leave my skin feeling a little raw and dry. That was certainly not the case with this product though as the shave was indeed very comfortable and my skin felt refreshed and not at all dry afterwards. As they say, it is not a very foamy cream, but it certainly seemed to do the trick in keeping my skin as soft as is possible when you are running a razor over it. I have no complaints at all about the EMJ Shave Cream, and I will certainly be using the remainder of the 200 mL (6.7 fl oz) tube that The Clubhaus generously sent me. I may even go back for more afterwards!

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Sharpening My Pencils...

The days are zipping by and it hardly seems possible that tomorrow will be Halloween. Where has this year gone to? Heck, it’s only 8 weeks to go til Christmas! You got all your shopping done yet? No, me either :)

Anyhoo, if it is Halloween tomorrow then it must be November 1st on Tuesday. Obvious I know, but I mention it because this year that is an important date for me. You see, for the first time ever I will be taking part in National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo as it is more commonly referred to.  The aim of the project is to encourage people to get writing, and in particular to write a complete 50,000 word novel within a month.

Now, I haven’t written any piece of fiction, long or short, for many decades, not since I was at school in fact, and so to jump right in with attempting a full-blown novel is probably foolhardy and reckless. As you will have seen, I haven’t exactly been consistent with my postings here over the last good number of months, and so I have my own severe doubts as to whether I will be disciplined enough to get anywhere near the 50,000 word target for NaNoWriMo. For those of you who haven’t worked it out yet, that is 1,667 words each and every day for the 30 days of November. That is a lot of writing, especially when you are doing it part-time, alongside a full-time job and life in general. But then, if you don’t try you will never achieve anything! I fully expect to fall well below the 50,000 word target, but I am going to give it a shot and even if the end product isn’t exactly Shakespeare, or even Dan Brown, then it might still be the basis of something useful. And if not even that, then I will have a chunk of fiction that I have created myself and may be able to mould into something half-readable for my own personal pleasure and satisfaction. If nothing else it will be an adventure!

PS Happy Halloween everyone!

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Sunday Snaps #13 - Our Summer

Time flies and I can’t quite believe that it’s been almost 5 months since I last posted on this site. Time has been short and for this, and a bunch of other reasons that I won’t bore you with, this blog has been just a little neglected over the summer. So, in order to get back into the swing of this blogging lark, I figured that it would be a good idea to resurrect my Sunday Snaps thread and share a few pictures that either Dori or I took during the summer. I hope you enjoy them :)

These first two photos were taken in St James’s Park, just across the way from Buckingham Palace in London. They were taken on the beautifully sunny day that followed the Royal Wedding way back in April. It was a lot calmer strolling through the park that day than it had been 24 hours earlier amongst the joyous chaos of the wedding celebrations!

These nest three snaps were, fairly obviously, taken during our trip up to this year’s Wimbledon championships. The day we were there was one of the hottest days of the year, though as the rest of the summer was fairly non-existent, that isn’t saying too much! Anyway, we had a great time and saw some really great matches, as I talked about over on my sports blog at the time.

The last couple of pictures are from our day-trip down to the south coast town of Bournemouth. We had a really great day out, and thoroughly enjoyed our first visit to the coast for 3 or 4 years.

Well, that was the summer that was. Halloween is just round the corner, and Christmas is only three months away. I swear that time is speeding up! Anyhoo, I will be trying to blog a little more regularly again from now on, so please drop by when you can and pay a visit. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!! Til next time.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Our Anniversary...Oh, And The Royal Wedding

Well, what a weekend that was! As I mentioned in my last post, Dori and I were heading up to London for a few days to celebrate our wedding anniversary, and since William and Kate decided to choose our special day as their own wedding day it became a double celebration for us.

We left home on Thursday morning, travelling first by bus and then by train as we made our way into the capital. Once in London we headed towards our hotel where we dropped off our luggage and then went back out to see what we could of the last minute preparations for the Royals’ big day. We went first to Westminster Abbey where the crowds were already thronging outside. People had been camped out both there and on The Mall outside Buckingham Palace for a couple of days by then, in order to secure a good view of the events on Friday. The world’s media was out in force, as you would expect, and we saw a number of recognisable faces reporting back to the four corners of the globe.

We were kind of looking for a feasible spot to pick to stand at the next day, and it was immediately obvious that outside the Abbey was not going to be it! So we made our way over towards Buckingham Palace to see what was happening over there, and how many rows of tents there were already! It was busy there too, but a little less frenetic than at the Abbey and we decided that we would look to stand somewhere along The Mall on the following day. We hung around outside the palace for a while, enjoying the atmosphere and watching another large section of the world’s media doing their thing :) Everybody was in a good mood and the atmosphere was already building. After a couple of hours there we realized that we hadn’t eaten properly all day, and so headed off to get a bite to eat, before then going back to the hotel to get an early-ish night before getting up extremely early the next day!

The temporary media centre opposite Buckingham Palace

So, the big day arrived and we got up and washed before heading out a little before 6:00 a.m. We took the tube to Charing Cross and then walked down through Trafalgar Square and on towards The Mall. A lot of people were already there and we quickly chose a spot to stand about ¾ of the way along The Mall. There were some people who had camped out at the front and then a couple stood behind them, but we were right behind them with a good view of the processional route. It was cold, and we had a long wait ahead of us. Luckily, the people we were around were all very friendly and the atmosphere was one of excitement and anticipation. The crowds quickly grew, and before we knew it we were absolutely surrounded by people, and were unable to move much more than just shuffling on the spot. I think we managed to bag our position just in time!!

The procession to the Abbey started at 10:10 a.m. with William and Harry being driven past us, dressed very smartly in their military dress uniforms. We did try to get some pictures of them, and of the subsequent cars carrying the rest of the royal family, and the Middletons, but they were all going just a little bit too fast for us to be able to get any clear shots of them. That was especially so given that whenever a car went past the crowd would get very excited and everyone would be jostled about.

The ceremony itself was broadcast via loudspeakers to those of us waiting along the processional route, with many a cheer going up at various stages of the proceedings. Before too long they were all on their way back towards the palace, only this time in horse-drawn carriages. Here are a couple of snaps of William and Kate, and the Queen and Prince Phillip. Apologies for the quality, but as I said before we were all being buffeted and we were trying to catch a moving target!!

Once the procession had finished we very slowly made our way up The Mall towards the palace. My knees wouldn’t have allowed me to go fast having been stood on one spot for nearly 7 hours, but the huge numbers of people there made that impossible anyway. By taking a circuitous route via St James’s Park, we were able to get ahead of a lot of the crowd and back onto the now-open Mall and walk towards the palace ready for the traditional appearance on the balcony. The crush of people was amazing, but very good-natured. We were able to get reasonably close to the front of the crowd, though not as close as when we went to Trooping the Colour a couple of years back :) Here are another couple of snaps to give you an idea of what it was like.

And then, once the royals had disappeared to enjoy their celebrations, we VERY slowly made our way away from Buckingham Palace and towards our own anniversary celebratory meal in Covent Garden. It was a really great day and, no doubt, one that we will always remember. It was very colourful and the atmosphere was wonderful. Occasions like this come along about once every 25-30 years, so we felt very lucky to be able to join in this time around.

The following day we had some time to waste before heading home, and so we revisited the scene of all the festivities as things were being dismantled and taken away. Here are a couple more pictures that we took that day.

Which just leaves it for me to say that I hope that William and Kate have a very long and successful marriage, and to wish Dori a very happy anniversary!!!

PS Dori has also blogged about our adventures over the weekend, with some other interesting photos. Check her out over at The Yellow House!

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Sunday Snaps #12 - A Royal Occasion

Happy Easter everyone! Yes, it's been over a year but Sunday Snaps is back by popular demand!!

The holidays are coming thick and fast right now here in England. It’s a four day weekend for a lot of people this week, with Good Friday and Easter Monday being public holidays and then next weekend will also be a four day break with the Monday being the May Day bank holiday. Friday is, of course, also a public holiday here because of the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. So, for the sake of 3 days leave you can actually have an 11 day break from work! Lovely Jubbly!

As Dori mentioned on her blog a little while ago, the day of the Royal Wedding is also our 5th wedding anniversary and, by happy coincidence, we had arranged to be in London next weekend anyway. So we will spend a great deal of our special day on the streets of the capital enjoying the ambience of the royal occasion. Whether we will actually get to see much remains to be seen, but it is really the atmosphere of the day that we are looking forward to.

We have already seen pretty much all of the royals, including William and Kate – though they were on a break at the time! The first time that we saw William and Harry (and Kate) was at the Concert for Diana back in 2007 on what would have been Diana’s 46th birthday. Here are a couple of snaps we took that day, including one of Harry taken on a mobile phone through a pair of binoculars – hence the very poor quality!

We caught most of the rest of the family at Trooping the Colour in 2009, which I blogged about at the time. It was a little surreal to see them all lined up on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, just as I have seen dozens of times before on TV. Here are a couple of snaps from that day too.

If we do get to see anything of interest on Friday then we will no doubt share that with you here on our blogs. If we don’t then we will just enjoy our wedding anniversary together just as the nation goes wedding crazy!

It promises to be an interesting week.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

One Day in a Decade

Today is not only the start of British Summer Time here in England, when the clocks spring forward by an hour, but it is also Census Day. Which, come to think of it, makes it an odd day to choose – give every household in the country an extra job to do and then take an hour out of the day on which they are supposed to do it! But then “Government planning” has always been an oxymoron. :-)

So, this morning we sat down and filled out the form giving information such as the number of rooms in our house, employment status, educational qualifications, etc. For the first time ever it was possible to complete the questionnaire online this year, but we opted instead for the traditional paper form. It somehow felt as though it had more import that way. Of course, not being a traditional couple, the form did present us with a couple of difficulties – such as trying to write a US address into boxes that were structured for a British one. But, overall, the process was relatively painless and was completed surprisingly quickly, given how thick the form was! At least that job is now done for another 10 years.

The rest of the weekend’s highlights have been sport-related, and I did promise not to bore you all here with my sporty witterings now that I have a separate sports blog. So, head on over to The Sports Ground tomorrow if you want to know how else I have been filling my time this weekend.

Hopefully it won’t be another five and a half weeks until my next post, like it has been since my last one! Well, I know it won’t be because Dori and I are going on a little expedition within that time which I think a number of you may be interested in. Stay tuned for more info!!

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Gone Fishin'

There has recently been an updated version of an old TV commercial running here in the UK. The old advert was one of those standout ads that stick in your mind and provide a cultural reference point for everyone who was around at the time. It has been parodied and lampooned by many comedians down the years, but they wouldn't have done that if the commercial hadn't already entered the public conciousness. Here is the original ad:

I must admit that I got goosebumps seeing this again after all these years - it was first aired back in 1983. Following the huge success of this ad, there were a number of sequels and even a real book published under the title "Fly Fishing by J.R.Hartley"! Life imitating art :)

The new version has been updated to reflect modern times - after all almost all the bookshops on the High Street have disappeared now. Have a look and then contrast and compare.

To me, it doesn't have the charm of the original ad, but then I'm just an old fuddy-duddy! lol What do you think?

Monday, 7 February 2011

Opening of a New Frontier

As I mentioned in my last post, I have been working on a couple of projects that have kept me from posting here as often as I would like.

One of those projects is actually a second blog that I have been busy creating. Entitled "The Sports Ground", it will come as no surprise to you to find that this is a sports based blog! As most of you will know, I am a bit of a “sporty spice” as Dori would say. :-) So, it seemed a natural thing to create a separate sports blog where I can ramble away to my heart’s content on all things sports related. It will also mean that those of you who aren’t sports lovers won’t have to put up with quite so much talk on the subject here on this blog!

I have actually been posting there for a little over a week now, but haven’t publicized the fact as I wanted to get the tone and appearance of the blog closer to how I would like it, before I let the world in. But I have to bite the bullet sometime, and today seems as good a day as any. So, if you are at all interested, then please visit me at “The Sports Ground” – where the turnstiles are always open!

My post over at the other blog today is partly about my views on yesterday’s Super Bowl. We both stayed up to watch the game, expecting that we would probably call it a day at half-time after watching the Black Eyed Peas. But the contest got us both so intrigued that we actually stayed awake right until the end, and the trophy presentation at some time around 3:30 a.m. It was an exciting game to watch, with the outcome liable to go either way right up until the dying seconds. Sadly we couldn’t get to see the famed Super Bowl commercials so I’ll have to leave it to those of you who could to let us know if they were any good!

I hope that all of you – football lovers and others – had a great Super Bowl weekend, and that the coming week is good to you. ‘Til next time!

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Back to the Future

Well, I am glad that doing more blogging wasn’t one of my New Year’s resolutions! Apologies for the lack of updates here, but sometimes life has a habit of getting in the way of your plans. I have been working on a couple of projects this month and time has been in fairly short supply for anything else :-)

I spoke in my last post of living in interesting times. Well, those times just keep on rolling. Firstly in Tunisia, and now in Egypt, the people are making their voices heard and it looks like there may be major changes ahead in the region. It reminds me a lot of the wind of change that blew through Europe in the late 80’s and early 90’s, and which saw the fall of the Berlin Wall and the melting of the Iron Curtain. Back then millions of people were released from oppressive regimes and the world celebrated along with them. Only time will tell what will happen this time around, but I suspect that the international reaction may be a little more muted on this occasion. Instability in that part of the world would not be appreciated, and yet freedom from oppression – in whatever form it takes – is always welcome. I guess we will all just have to wait and see what happens.

An interesting aspect of this story is the prominent role that social media has had in helping the protesters to organize themselves. We really do live in a different world now. Back in 1989 when the Wall was coming down we didn’t even have an internet. Now, many millions of people manage their lives via social media platforms. It has never been easier for the people of the world to communicate with each other, and to have access to information previously hidden from them. Information technology has become a very useful tool in the fight for true freedom.

Back in the day, when I was a young boy watching the first runs of Star Trek, having a door that slid open as you approached it seemed like the height of advanced technology. Now you can get that at your local Wal-Mart! Portable communication devices, hand held tablet computers and video calls were all science fiction at its most imaginative back then, but all are now very much part of our everyday lives. It is truly amazing the advances that have come our way in the last 40 years or so, and especially in the last 20 years.

I was reminded of this just the other day when I noticed Dori watching a music video over the internet via her iPod. And all I could think was “wow, we really do live in the future!” Try explaining that picture to that small boy back in the late 60’s/early 70’s who was so amazed that you could hear music from putting a piece of plastic on a rotating plate and dropping a needle onto it! The times they are a-changing, and a-changing at an ever increasing speed it seems. Hold on tight because if the next 20 years are anything like the last 20 then we may not recognize the world that will be 2031. The journey could be fun though.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Interesting Times

We are barely a third of the way through the first month of the year, and yet 2011 has already left an indelible mark on the consciousness of most of us. From freak weather to sporting triumphs to mindless acts of violence, this new year has certainly gotten busy very early on.

Although restricted to TV highlights and radio commentary, I have been greatly enjoying following the Ashes series in Australia. For those of you not in the know, I am talking about cricket – and the oldest rivalry in the game. Last week saw the culmination of the series, which resulted in England beating Australia to win the Ashes “Down Under” for the first time in 24 years. A wonderful achievement from a team who were hitting rock-bottom not so very long ago.

Of course, elsewhere in Australia, they have been battling against a natural disaster with the terrible floods they are encountering there. The world’s weather seems to have gone haywire recently, with the dreadful floods in Pakistan and Australia, the unusual amounts of snow in Europe that crippled the entire transport system (in the UK at least), and a similar story in the US where large snow storms have been battering the country for some weeks now – including the southern states. It seems to me that our weather patterns are changing, and in quite a dramatic fashion. If we carry on like this we will be having hot summers in England soon – and that would never do!! :-)

On another note, today is January 11th - or 11/1/11 ...or 1/11/11 depending on your own point of origin. I have been seeing a lot of repeating numbers lately. I glanced at the clock a couple of nights ago and it said 22:22, then the next day when I was watching the news the onscreen clock showed 3:33, and then later I noticed that I was following 1111 people on Twitter. It must all mean something. I am sure that a numerologist would be able to give some guidance. I am just taking it as a sign that the universe is aligning in some way and that, hopefully, good things are just around the corner.

“May you live in interesting times” is reputed to be an ancient Chinese curse. Well I don’t think many of us would argue the fact that we do indeed live in such times, but should we be seeing that as a curse, or a blessing? And, was there ever a period of time that wasn’t “interesting”? Whatever the truth is, I think that 2011 is already shaping up to be both interesting and memorable.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Hair We Go Again!

Happy New Year everyone! I hope that you all enjoyed the holiday season, and that it brought everything that you hoped for.

So here we are at the start of yet another year – don’t they come round quick?! It is, of course, the traditional time to make resolutions to improve your life in some way. I have already completed one of my resolutions – to shave off the beard that I have grown over the last few months. Well, I say beard – it was more like a mass of hair that had sprouted out of my face in various directions! It wasn’t done purposefully either, just an inevitable result of the fact that I failed to shave for a number of weeks :-)

Anyway, the “beard” took a dive on New Year’s Day and is now no more. It was a strange experience all round. It is the first time that I have let my facial hair grow to that extent, and so when I looked in the mirror it seemed as though it was somebody else peering back at me. And yet, once I had shaved the whole thing off and was back to being clean shaven, that also seemed odd as I had now grown used to seeing this bearded geezer in the mirror every morning. A very strange feeling indeed. But now, three days later, I am starting to recognize my own face again, so the world is righting itself :-)

None of us can know what 2011 will bring, but I hope that every one of you has a happy and prosperous year and that we will all be better off – both financially and spiritually – by this time next year. If you are making resolutions, may you have the will-power to stick to them. I wish you all the best of luck as we each embark on yet another adventure in life!! Bring on 2011.
Blog Widget by LinkWithin