10 Alternative Uses for the Humble Shower Cap

I used to await with excitement as my husband, a once travel photographer returned with a bag of presents for me. Oh, it’s another batch of hotel bathroom condiments. From illuminous green shower gel (pass), to white coloured water trying to pass as moisturiser (pass). But, there is one thing I could never have enough of, and that my friends is the humble shower cap. Below are my top 10 reasons why.

ONE
Keeping cooking smells away from expensive shampoo hair smell.
The last thing I want to do is cook after I’ve washed my hair. But when needs must, and they usually do must – I cover up my barnet with a shower cap to keep Eau de Bacon off my luscious locks. Granted, I do look like a nincompoop.

TWO
Protecting hair when painting and decorating. This was a tip given to me by friend Claudia. I painted a wall once, but to be honest, paint-in-hair was the least of my worries, choosing the wrong colour was my main concern. But a great idea to keep specks of bright blue off black hair. (If I got electrocuted, I would have looked like a peacock. Quite pretty really).

THREE
Waterproofing your camera. As I mentioned, Mr Five O’Clock was a travel photographer and shared this camera-saving piece of advice. It keeps water out…but also sand. I broke a camera this way, sand got trapped where the lens comes in and out. Whenever I tried to put it on, the lens screeched and struggled and never made it, despite my cheers of, ‘come on little buddy!’ Hearing your camera die is really painful.

FOUR
Mini-greenhouse. Cover up seedlings, with the shower cap to create warmth and moisture.

FIVE
Poo-picker-upper. I don’t have a dog, but I do have a garden full of my neighbours cats that like to shizzle everywhere, and it drives me to tears and moaning about it on facebook. Using a shower cap, I can scoop the poop and lob it back in the neighbours garden. I do love thy neighbour by the way. Lovely lady.

SIX
Covering muddy boots. If away for holiday and there’s a spot of trekking involved, pop each boot into a shower cap, thus keeping mud off other garments in your suitcase. Or alternatively, if you have posh shoes and scared of a nail-polish/shower gel/etc leakage, it’s also a good way to protect them.

SEVEN
Safeguarding your iPad/iPhone. When I cook, the kitchen tends to look like a flour-bomb has exploded with tomato jus and fragments of broccoli splattered across the wall (some would call it artistic). However one thing you can’t afford to be embroiled in your “modern art” is your iAnything. If you use it for recipes or playing music, cover up with shower cap and you can still scroll when covered.

EIGHT
Keeping bike seats dry. No one wants a wet bum.

NINE
Collecting soggy stuff. When leaving hotels, I can put wet toothbrushes or loofahs etc into the shower cap. Even, half used soap, if one must.

TEN
OCD help. If you have a cleanliness issue, you can use a shower cap to open doors, answer the phone, play someone else’s guitar. Just think of all those germs you wont touch. It’s discreet and light enough to use for all your future hygiene endeavours.

Postcards from the Dolomites

There are few things in this world that encapsulates the beauty of nature quite like the Dolomites. Breathtaking vistas dominate the horizon, whilst all around you are lush green fields which scream at you to run through them singing ‘the hills are alive…’. Which I did. And lost my balance and decked it. Ok, so I may not have the style and grace of Julie Andrews (and technically this is a different country), but the call was still there, and I answered.

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Doing my best Julie.

Set in northern Italy but with a distinct Austrian feel – being so close to the border, and indeed I did do the little trek up to the top of Mount Elmo, which sits in between the two countries. To which I could feel the exhaustion from my phone as it sent me text messages saying ‘Welcome to Italy’, then ‘Welcome to Austria’, then ‘Welcome to Italy’, then ‘oh you’re back in Austria’, etc etc in the space of a minute.

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The summit of Mt. Elmo, between Italy and Austria. That’s me demonstrating that.

So, of course this region is famous for the spectacular Tre Cima di Lavaredo, a UNESCO World Heritage site. There are trekkers, climbers, general ramblers galore and it’s not hard to see why. Different trails routes can take you through the most surprising and pleasant places, through beautiful Tyrolean hamlets, to emerald green lakes and past WWII bunkers. You can feel the history with every step you take, and every view your eyes take in is a postcard.

I booked my self-guided Dolomites experience with Exodus Travels.

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Emerald green lakes
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WWII bunker
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Tre Cime

 

Pint Shop – Cambridge

MEAT. BREAD. BEER. Is the Pint Shop slogan, but (and it’s a big but) do these guys do gin my the barrel load too. Set in the heart of Cambridge (near Jamie’s if anyone wants a specific landmark to work with), The Pint Shop offers shoppers and general wanderer-arounders a little escape and a well-earned gin break. The ethos of this place harks back to the 1830’s but throws in a thoroughly modern twist and a local feel.

I sat back with my deliciously sweet Quince & Ginger gin (£7.50), whilst Mr 5 O’Clock opted for a pint of Organic Pure Brew – Sam Smiths (£4.80). Most of the customers seemed fairly local (you can tell the Cambridge crowd), but definitely all varied.

Lunch was pretty good, the menu has pretty much something for everyone, but the dessert was amazing! I devoured a gin and mango sorbet (which looked like an egg yolk sitting in water), this was truly delicious and so ginny.

If you’re a gin (ok or beer) fan, then I can’t recommend The Pint Shop enough, lovely staff, great food and gin. Come on, what more do you need?

The Pint Shop, 10 Peas Hill, Cambridge CB2 3PN

Focaccia Trio

I have a complete Mediterranean spirit, so for me, Focaccia always reminds me of summer, sitting outside with a cold glass of rose and munching on some Focaccia all afternoon. I’ve made this before, bit this time I thought I’d add some bits of olive and chillies to mix it up.

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Ingredients

500g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
2 tsp salt
1 x 7g sachet of fast-action dry yeast
80ml olive oil
250ml warm water
1 bunch fresh rosemary
handful finely shopped red chilli
handful of sliced green or black olives
Himalayan sea-salt

In a large bowl add the flour, salt, yeast and olive oil. Then mix in enough warm water to make a soft dough, it may seem a bit sticky and watery but after you’ve kneaded for 10 minutes, or 5 minutes in an electric mixer with a dough hook, the dough should feel pillowy and stretchy when pulled.

Dust a large baking dish with flour. Shape the dough into an oval and flatten it to about 30cm long and 20cm wide. Cover the dough loosely with oiled cling film.

Preheat the oven to 200C, Gas Mark 6.

Leave the dough in a warm place for about 1 hour or until doubled in size. With a floured index finger press holes in the dough right through to the bottom. Add rosemary sprigs in the holes and sprinkle the Himalayan salt over the dough. Add the chillies and olives in sections or add both on the whole of the dough.

Bake for 25/30 minutes, or until the bread is well-risen and a lovely light golden colour. This can be served warm and is perfect side dish!