Alex MacCormick

Where to start with Alex MacCormick?

mccormickAn artist, writer, publisher! So many categories that we could put her in but we choose art.

Alex was born in London and grew up in Notting Hill. Her father was the renowned television playwright Ian MacCormick, the first playwright to be contracted by the BBC when ITV was being introduced and her mother, not to be outdone was a successful architect.

The family moved to Somerset then settled in Surrey,After reading French and English at Lancaster University where she also enrolled at Guildford Art School and later Chelsea School of Art, Alex pursued a career in book publishing in London.

After various positions, Alex became Senior Commissioning Editor of general non-fiction at Weidenfeld & Nicholson.

During this time she was involved in publishing books from such luminaries as Henry Kissinger, Laurence Olivier and Franco Zefirelli.

In the 1990s she left to become a freelance author and to spend more time pursuing her love of painting.

Alex has six published books including David Blunkett’s autobiography but always comes back to her landscape painting.

An artist obviously influenced by the flowing lines and sensuality of Matisse, Alex paints with a gouache base and then builds the painting as she sees it.

The use of color is expressive and shows a leaning to the palette of Kandinsky which can be seen in the occasional move towards abstraction.

Alex travels and paints the landscapes she sees.From Crete to Thailand to Provence. A chance visit (a friend had to cancel so she took the place) brought her to Roujan and after looking for a while she moved there permanently in 2003.

Alexandra MacCormick has now been a professional painter for over 16 years and still talks passionately about the ‘sparkling light, luminous colours and sensuous contours of the Mediterranean’.

Alex has exhibited in London, Bangkok and the Languedoc and is in private collections on four continents.

Give Yourself a Break and Enjoy Nature

Tips on Choosing… Your Hiking Socks

Don’t smile – choosing your socks right when hiking is very important since the feet are the first to suffer on long walks. There are several things to consider when you hike: the shape of your feet, the sensitivity of the skin, the sweat. Try some of your tips that will help you get the best socks for your hiking experience.

I’ll be talking about socks in this article, but you also need a good pair of hiking boots. Here’s a good website with lots of reviews, that you can read and make up your own mind: Wahoohiker.com. No one will be able to recommend the perfect boots for you – you’ll find to make your good diligence and detective work when finding the right hiking boots for you on the internet.

First of all, the flat seams on the toes are very important so that you can avoid any pain in the high pressure zones.

A loop stitch gives a smooth touch when hiking and thus, maximum comfort. It’s essential to have as few as possible.

A non compressing stem is preferable so that the shank is well sustained without being compressed.

Respecting the shape of your feet is very important for the socks so that they can divide well the pressure while giving you freedom on the movement. You need to feel good for the second you put them on.

Some brands go farther with the socks and even make different socks for the wright foot as for the left one, with a construction adapted to the zones that are used the most.

You can protect yourself against blisters by wearing heel shaped socks that keep away the rubbing and hence the blisters. You can also find double thickened socks that, due to this extra layer of knitting wear, reduce the friction between the foot and the boots.

The fabric on your socks is also important. Keep away from the fabrics that warm too much the feet and go for the soft to the touch socks.

Knit socks made from Teflon or Profilen keep away the rubbing and the overheating while hiking. These fabrics are very efficient for the long hikes and for the sensitive feet also.

Give a thought on the breathability, the dry speed and the thermal comfort when it comes to your hiking socks. Aired stitches favor the passage of water steams through air, regulate the surrounding temperature of the feet and keeps also away the moist caused by the sweat.

The climate conditions of the hike say a lot also when choosing a specific fabric for your socks. When it’s cold, always go for the woolen ones…

If your feet sweat a lot, stay forever away from the 100 % cotton socks. It simply dries too slow… The cotton is soft, long lasting, but eliminates the sweat poorly, just as wool. The mixing cotton/ polyester fibers or wool/polyester fibers are a good compromise.

To avoid the overheat and the sweat, choose breathable fabrics for your socks as Coolmax, Tactel. These fabrics, due to their structure, drain perfectly the moist.

The height of your socks should be chosen depending on your hiking boots, the weather conditions and… your aesthetic preferences.

The rebounding from the ankles should keep the socks tight to the feet. Good socks let the blood circulate and keeps the tiredness and heaviness away from the feet.

When it comes to the hygiene of your hiking socks, there are fabrics that are specially treated so that they limit the development of bacteria or unpleasant smells. There are also innovating fabrics such as bamboo, a very comfortable fiber, soft to touch. Entirely eco friendly, the bamboo is naturally bacteria proof and destroys the unpleasant smells.

Quite recent, a new technology has given the silver fabric. Known for its antibacterial effect, the silver fiber  fights against fungus, the unpleasant smells. It regulates the temperature and stops the excessive sweat.

Simply buying the best hiking socks is not enough. You need to check to see if folds form when threading the socks. A fold means risk of overheating and unnecessary pain. Footwear is very important when hiking.

If you plan to hike for several days, bring several pairs of socks. Never put on moist socks-it’s the best way to get blisters…

Clean up your socks so that no rocks or debris gets inside of them. It’s better also to place the very dirty socks outside and not on top of the washing basket. Don’t put socks inside one another if you want them clean- the washing machine won’t be able to do its job.

Knowing how to choose your hiking socks is knowing how to take care of your feet. Don’t hesitate to spend some time to choose the right pair of hiking socks…