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Today’s post is a special one. A diversion from the regular dose of beauty, it’s about what I got up to at the weekend. With the wife.

It was Leanne‘s birthday yesterday (Happy birthday, petal!) and to mark the occasion, we set off on a road trip the day before to Scotney Castle in Tunbridge Wells, Kent. The weather forecast promised endless sunshine and that is precisely what we got.

I am personally fond of this region of the country because it is steeped in history with castles and stately homes and quite rightly lives up to its name of the garden of England. It’s also convenient and easy to get to by road from London in under 90 minutes.

We rocked up to the soundtrack of Michael Bolton’s ‘How Am I Supposed To Live Without You’, grabbed our cameras and went for a wander around the grounds.

Scotney Castle, which is owned by the National Trust, is more than you could bargain for – a country house, a romantic garden and a 14th century fairy-tale moated castle surrounded by 770 acres of woodland and parkland. It’s a haven for photography enthusiasts. It also served as the ideal spot for our picnic spread.

I thought I’d share some of the shots I captured. For more images, I suggest you visit Leanne’s post.

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There are still many places I’ve not covered in Kent alone and I am strongly considering becoming a member of the National Trust, which will allow me unlimited free entry to all their sites in the country for an annual fee while the organisation can maintain these beautiful and historical sites. Even if five places are covered in a year, you’ll get your money’s worth.

We are already planning the next road trip…’citing stuff!

posted by on Alpha H, Skincare

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I’ve been sitting on this product longer than a broody hen sits on her nest of eggs but I have been successfully using it for a particularly lengthy period (twice a day for nine weeks actually) which elevates this to a status of awesomeness.

What if I were to tell you there is a potion on the market that gives you the polished results of a facial at a few spritzes on a cotton pad? Alpha H’s Instant Facial* is precisely that in a bottle. It’s an oil-free botanical skin booster that replicates a microdermabrasion and salon face peel without the friction and irritation that those two torturous beauty treatments give you. Or to put it in another simple way, it’s an exfoliating toner on another level. Whatever, all I know is that it has given me radiant looking skin with a clear and polished complexion and it takes just less than a minute.

It’s so effective that when I applied it on my arm, the cotton pad wiped off dirt that my shower gel failed to. And I had had a shower that morning. Purely for pictorial evidence am I posting this, OK?


You sweep it on your face, neck and décolletage (avoiding the eye and lip area) after cleansing and follow up with your usual serum and moisturiser. Skin may tingle a bit but not to the point where you feel like it’s burning (like a microdermabrasion). For an intensive treatment, miss out the serum and moisturiser and allow it to work its magic overnight.

I’ve only ever had one microdermabrasion and it was painful; I hated every second of it. For those of you who aren’t familiar with what it is, a microdermabrasion is rather like your face being rubbed down with sand paper  but in this case some kind of exfoliating material like crystals are used to remove the outermost layer of dead skin cells from the epidermis to reveal fresh, baby skin beneath. It’s hard core and certainly for me, it’s not pleasant. If you have super sensitive skin, then I’d hate to imagine what the side effects are but I am guessing soreness is one of them.

Microdermabrasion treatments are horrendously expensive too and I remember the salon just wanted to push me into booking a series of treatments and paying a small fortune up front. Since then I’ve been completely turned off from the hype of a microdermabrasion and my face is very grateful for that.

Sorry, I just had to get that moan off my chest. I’ll get back to Alpha H. The Instant Facial concept is very straight forward and it doesn’t hurt. It absorbs quickly and invigorates the skin, refining pore size, reducing dead skin build-up and mattifying the T-zone. As a result skin looks instantly fresher, smoother, firmer and luminous. It also makes the job of your serum and moisturiser far easier as they absorb better and get to work where there was a barrier before. You also don’t need me to spell out that make-up applies better and lasts longer too.

The botanical cocktail comprises of Cypress Berry, Thyme, Barley, Malt and Arnica Flowers, which together even out skin tone and reduce redness while soothing and repairing the skin.

After reading this, you can’t tell me you’re not dying to try this. Instant Facial is definitely the most exciting skincare product I’ve come across in 2014 and seeing as we are almost three-quarters of the way through the year, I think I can get away with that statement.

A 100ml bottle is £35.50, which will last you about three months with regular use. I like how Alpha H have made this an accessible product because having good skin shouldn’t have to come at a high price. Please give this a try and come back to tell me how good your skin looks.

Instant Facial is exclusively available from a selected number of outlets including QVC,, and