Thanks for reading!
Thanks for reading!
[AD: This is not a paid for or sponsored post. Products featured are press samples]
My hair is like my comfort blanket, my ‘thing, my trademark if you like. It’s long (really long), it’s ginger and it’s very important I use the right products for it because (like me) it’s getting on a bit and needs looking after.
I’ve tried so many different shampoo and conditioners, all in the hope of finding one that’s reasonably cheap but does the best job. A; because I have so much hair, I get through quite a lot of product each month and B; because I also have a teenager with just as much hair as me. So you know, money.
What I’ve found out however, is, you get what you spend when it comes to haircare. I have thick, coarse hair, and, as I’ve mentioned, a lot of it.
When it dries naturally, depending on it’s mood, it can either take on a wavy, carefree kind of attitude, or it can take on a dragged through a hedge backwards look.
You can guess which happens most often I’m sure.
Philip Kingsley recently got in touch and asked if I’d like to try the Re-Moisturizing range, which has been designed for coarse textured, or very wavy, curly or frizzy hair. Hello me in a sentence!
Philip Kingsley is like the Don of Hair. I’ve long been a fan of his Elasticizer, the pre shampoo treatment, which just seems to breathe life into my locks like nothing else on this planet.
I even prefer it to in salon treatments like Olaplex and I try to use it at least once a week, which, as you can imagine, is an expensive habit to have! (Top tip, QVC!)
The Re-Moisturizing products deliver moisture to transform coarse hair from dry and frizzy, to soft, smooth and shiny. They add control and weight to aid styling, making it perfect for coarse hair that doesn’t hold a style, and reduces breakage caused by snapping. The Re-Moisturizing Shampoo contains the same ingredient as Elazticizer, Hydrolyzed Elastin, which increases hairs ability to stretch, meaning less breakage occurs.
The Re-Moisturizing Conditioner deeply penetrates the hair strands to leave coarse, frizzy hair smooth and shiny. It contains Oat Proteins to improve hair texture, making coarser hair types easier to manage. It also increases moisture retention so hair is left nourished and glossy throughout the day.
I absolutely love the smell of these products. It took me a while to work out what it reminded me of, but I eventually settled on roses. It smells like a rose perfume, which I’m a huge fan of.
After the first use, my hair didn’t necessarily feel any different but it did dry better, had a nicer ‘shape’ if that’s the right word, and didn’t get as greasy as quick, which is something I’ve found with other products designed for my hair type.
But, with each wash, it’s felt better and better. The ends feel less brittle and even when I leave it to dry naturally, they still feel fairly soft which is a massive difference.
When I straighten my hair, it’s so much easier to get through, there’s a lot less pulling and dragging needed and I can probably do my whole head in less than 20 minutes, which is a bloody life saver on a work morning when I realise I’m rocking a birds nest, it’s 6am and I have half an hour to sort it!
I can’t imagine I’ll stop using this anytime soon. The original bottles I was sent were 250ml and I think they lasted just under a month, so I invested in the huge, 1000ml bottles, which come with a pump. I’m hoping they will last a good few months!
[AD: This is not a paid for or sponsored post. Products featured are press samples]
Green People is one of my favourite skincare brands around, because of their approach to being organic, cruelty free and suitable for sensitive skin. Something which, in this age, should be standard and easy for huge companies to achieve.
I’ve loved all of the Green People products I’ve tried, including the teenage range, so when they got in touch asking if I’d like to take on the Winter Hand Care Challenge with them, my response was obvious!
My hands are always dry, sometimes so dry they get sore and feel really tight. It doesn’t help that I pick the skin around my nails when I’m stressed or anxious, and so, when the skin is already dry, it’s a lot easier to pick and then it gets even more painful. It’s a bit of a vicious circle!
To add to this, drier hands always appear older, which I hate. But, I have a huge issue in that I generally dislike hand cream. I’m quite fussy, in that I need it to be super moisturising but not greasy – it always leaves me feeling like my hands are dirty, so I need to wash them, defeating the object of putting the hand cream on in the first place.
The idea of the challenge was quite simple, I was sent a Green People Manuka & Lemon Tree Hand Wash with two tubes of Manuka & Lemon Tree Hand Creams, one for my bag and one for at home. I was asked to use them both together for a month to see how it worked, in the hope that they would breathe some life (moisture) back into my old lady hands!
The hand wash is 100% organic and is made with 80% certified organic ingredients. It kills bacteria quickly, thanks to Australian Tea Tree and New Zealand Manuka – the smell is incredible, it’s really fresh and summery, the word I want to use is ‘zingy’ if that helps! (300ml £13)
The Manuka & Lemon Tree Hand Cream is brilliant. It’s lightweight so it doesn’t leave behind that horrible residue (horrible to me, you may like that feeling!) and it seems to soak in straight away, there’s no need to keep rubbing it in. It does it’s job fast!
The Tea Tree helps to soothe cracked, sore skin and the orange is an anti-inflammatory property which helps to restore moisture. It’s super hydrating and is 91% organic.
I have to admit, I don’t use the creams as much as I probably should, but that’s down to years (and years) of avoiding hand cream, so it’s a hard habit to break, but when I do use it, I’m always pleased by how fast it’s absorbed. So much so that I can use it at work and get straight back to the keyboard after applying it, AND, a biggie for me, I can use my phone straight after – you know it’s a good one when you can still swipe on an iPhone! (50ml £12.50)
My hands are definitely better since I’ve been using them, there’s less of a scaly look on the backs on my hands and the skin around my nails is pretty much in one piece so there’s a lot less picking going on. I absolutely love these two products and will keep using them, the hand cream especially, throughout the year, not just during winter.
Gratitude doesn’t come easily to me, if you were to pick a person out of a line up for being the best at moaning, you’d be drawn to me.
It’s not that I enjoyed moaning or complaining – I really didn’t – it’s just that it became part of who I was. It was easier to complain about the negatives than to really dig deep and look for the positives. The more I complained, the easier it was to see things to complain about.
People walking too slow, drivers who didn’t indicate, hotel rooms that weren’t what I was expecting, food that wasn’t how I had imagined, the weather being too hot, too cold, blah blah blah.
I was becoming a walking, talking (and very irritating) serial complainer.
If I had carried on seeing the negative in every.single.situation then I would have ended up becoming a cartoon version of myself. The female Victor Meldrew in her 30’s, and how depressing would that be!?
Thankfully, I was stopped in my tracks and given the massive shake up that I needed in order to snap out of the, quite frankly, miserable and almost ridiculous state I was putting myself in.
I call it my hippy awakening.
I spent time reading books, searching ways to change my mindset and become a nicer person, because, without that change, I was worried where I would end up, and how my life would look.
Gratitude is everywhere. Literally. It is the self-help buzz word and has been for a while. There’s research concluding that gratitude reduces anxiety, depression, emotional exhaustion and boosts happiness and satisfaction with life. Apparently it can also lower blood pressure and improve sleep.
Just by changing the way you think.
I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve reached an age where I don’t care about how others see me, or if it’s just a point you get to when you’ve been through certain situations, but where I am in my life right now is exactly where I want to be. I am, undeniably, a hippy in skinny jeans. I find myself ticking more and more things off the hippy hit list, without even realising.
Essential oils? check.
The moon & it’s magical powers? check.
I mean, I’m a walking cliché! And I LOVE it. It’s not that it’s become part of me, it’s more that it IS me. And I’ve slowly, and surely found my way there.
The more I read about gratitude, the more I found myself practising it. The more I practiced, the easier it became and before I knew it, I was doing it without even thinking about it. It’s changed how I feel about everything. Everything.
A huge learning curve for me was realising that part of the reason that my, so called expectations, were never met, was because of how I pictured ‘it’ in my head. How can things be good enough, when you’re placing them on a pedestal too high to ever be reached? Nothing was ever that bad. It just wasn’t what I thought it was going to be. And the only way to change that, was to change the way I thought.
You don’t realise how lucky you are until you’re at the point of losing something. That feeling, of utter desperation makes you stop and look at everything you thought you were right to complain about and realise that you should be counting your lucky stars.
I often find myself now, usually when I’m driving, in the bath, or just laying on the bed, thinking about how lucky I am. To have a husband who is my best friend, two kind, clever kids, a family who love me, a house that I want to come home to every single day, friends who I speak to hourly, a job I love, space to write whatever I want, a chance to be creative with my business, the chance to experience opportunities I might not otherwise have, so much to be grateful for! And I wonder what the hell it was I was moaning about for all those years?
The more I think about how many reasons I have to be happy in my life, the more I find. Funny that?
Tell people you love them, and tell them why. Be specific. It will show them that you’ve noticed something about them, and it will remind you of all the reasons that person is important to you. It doesn’t have to be massive, the smaller the reason the more special it becomes. How many people can make you laugh until you’re snorting or laughing like a seal? (Very few people make me laugh like that, but they know who they are!)
Really be aware of each moment you’re in. The music that’s playing when you’re on a road trip, the clear sky when it’s a full moon, the way your kids cuddle you, instinctively and totally unique to them, the chance to have an afternoon nap while everyone else is chilling out in their own way – whatever it is – really notice it.
Make memories & fill your house with things that make you smile. It doesn’t have to match (have I mentioned how I hate matchy matchy?) We have a giant light up sign that says TOYS in our dining room, a pink flamingo in the living room, yellow velvet cushions, old clocks from special friends, empty gin bottles as candlesticks because of the memories we had when we drank it, everything in our house makes us happy.
Take photos, keep a diary, write a journal – build a memory bank of happy moments! There will be times when the Moaning Mildred will come back to play, but, if you’ve got a whole army of physical things to look at to remind you why you’re so bloody lucky, then it will help to kick her right back to where she belongs.
Mine include photos, screenshots, quotes, songs in playlists, drawings from my kids, little notes left by the bloke, magnets, books, pens, matches – anything that makes me go “remember when we…..” and I’m right back to that happy time again.
I write down everything I’m grateful for, even things as small as not having to put the bins out, the bloke reversing my car onto the drive for me so I can shoot straight off in the morning, H sitting with C while he’s in the bath so I can cook dinner, stupid things that you could take for granted if you weren’t careful.
Take nothing for granted. Nothing. Why should I? I’m not entitled to special treatment, I’m no more worthy than the next person, so anything someones does for me to show they care, I’m all over it. And I will say thank you a million times, because I am bloody grateful. And now, a whole lot happier.
Technically, Frenesies Active Nutri- Intensive Cream isn’t a face mask, but it’s used as an overnight treatment, so I say it is and that’s all that matters really.
Frénésies Active Nutri Intensive Cream is an intensive overnight treatment with a double action formula – it gently removes toxins and impurities from the skin whilst providing a hit of extreme hydration.
The formula combines powerful ingredients that work together to clean and deeply hydrate. Vitamin F keeps the skin supple and soft, whilst enhancing the penetration of antioxidants.
It’s also infused with Vitamin A (Retinol) for its potent skin regeneration properties. Retinol, one of my favourite ingredients, improves your skins texture and speeds up the cell renewal process – for a more youthful appearance, so skin is left supple, smooth and brighter.
The best way to use this mask is to apply a layer to targeted areas of skin in the evening, after cleansing, to use an overnight treatment. It’s really thick and feels quite heavy as a cream, but for a treatment it feels pretty good.
The benefits of the cream are listed as deeply hydrating, complexion brightening and helps to eliminate acne causing bacteria, but as it contains cocoa butter I’d err on the side of caution, cocoa butter is an ingredient which I try to avoid using on my face as I’m acne prone, especially on the chin (thanks hormones!) so I wouldn’t use this weekly, but it’s been amazing for the husband who suffers with really dry skin.
His face has soaked this up beautifully and it really feels comfortable for him. If you’re more of a dry skin person, this is perfect for you!
For him, this is almost the perfect day cream, it’s so hydrating and really moisturises his skin, it’s so ‘heavy’ it actually feels like it’s working it’s magic and he’s left with skin that doesn’t feel tight or stretched, which he often complains about, especially in the winter months.
A tiny amount of this goes a long way and it smells gorgeous, it’s not an overpowering scent.
It’s available from the Frénésies website and costs £22 or it can be purchased as part of the 3 Zone Facial Kit for £54.
Three days a week I have to wear a fetching purple t-shirt for work, and let me tell you, purple is not my colour. It’s a uniform, which, I know millions of people have to wear to work every single day of their lives, but there’s something about that t-shirt that makes me feel really scruffy and not quite ‘me’.
Obviously, I live in t-shirts outside of work, but they’re different, ya know?
On the days that I’m feeling awake/pumped/raring to go, whatever you want to call it, I try and make sure I feel less like I’ve bene dragged through a hedge backwards, and more like a 30 something, mother of two who has her shit together.
Looks can be deceiving you know.
Nails are always important to me. If you scroll back through my instagram you’ll see I had a good couple of years with super long (and all my own I’ll have you know) nails that were full on colour, sparkle and joy inducing weapons. But, I had to get back to real work, and spending all day on a computer with nails that long, was not working for me (or my employer, I had the typing speed of a cat) so they had to go. But short nails can still look bloody good, and having nicely painted nails even when the rest of you looks like you haven’t left the house for a few days, can bring a touch of style to your look.
Because I’m pale I have to avoid certain colours, otherwise my hands look closer to death than I would like, so I generally go with red, black, dark grey or a nudey pink. When the sun is shining I’ll be back to the neon colours. I just need to work on not biting the cuticles now.
I am a bag whore. There will never be a time that I don’t need or want a new bag. I have no shame in admitting that.
I have a huge tote for work, from Hermosa, which has my initials stitched on it (monogramming is my favourite thing ever) but I’m on the lookout for something new for Spring/Summer now. I’m tempted by the Longchamp Le Pilage bags, but the nylon is a sticking point for me. I need to have a feel of it before I invest!
For weekends, I like to use something a bit smaller, otherwise I end up taking a million unnecessary things out with me. Like yesterday for example, who needs to take work keys, a diary, 2 make up bags and a bag of sweets (C’s, not mine) to Ikea? Ridiculous. I want to be the kind of person who has a tiny cross body bag with a card wallet, a couple of keys, lipgloss and phone. I’m not her yet.
We went out for dinner a few weeks back and I was stumped at what to wear on my feet, as it appears I live in my trainers now. Work, home, days out, you name it, I have a pair of trainers that will work, but if it requires fancy, then I’m a bit stuck. In the end I went with gold loafers (which I had forgotten I owned) and they were just as comfortable as my trusty Nikes.
I just don’t do heels anymore. I used to, pre kids, spend all day and night in massive heels, running for the bus in them was no problem, but now I can’t think of anything worse. I’ve found what works for me and I’m more than happy they’re comfortable too.
Probably need to work on how much I’m willing to spend though, as my collection is growing and they’re getting more and more expensive each time! Vejas anyone?
My hair is SO important to me. There were a. rough few years where I cut it all off, dyed it several colours and then tried everything to get it back to ginger again. Lesson learnt! I am a long hair, redhead person and nothing is going to change that!
Because my hair is so long now, then ends are obviously old and require a bit more care and attention than shorter hair would, so I have to look after it.
Decent shampoo and conditioner isn’t cheap, but it’s worth it! I also use Philip Kingsley Elastisizer once a week, heat spray for days when I straighten it, and Moroccan Oil on the ends, straight or not. I try not to blow dry unless I really have to, because it’s a double hit of heat on it, which makes me worry about breakage! But, if my hair is looking healthy and swishy, then I feel a million times better than if it was greasy and whacked on top of my head.
And I’m not talking about push up, push out or any kind of pushing. I’m all about comfort and style.
There’s a time and a place for thongs, I’m not positive when that is, but there is, I’m sure.
For me, day to day, I’d rather wear a high waisted, high leg. Hold you in and cover your arse at the same time. Always black or nude (white is never nude, ever) If you’ve got good undies on then you already feel better than if you’re wearing scuzzies. Secret armour or something.
This is a huge one for me. The mental benefits of having clear skin are huge. When your face is working with you enough that you don’t need to wear full foundation every day, especially on your days off or at weekends, it feels AMAZING!
I’ve had a long battle to get my skin to where it is now (touch wood) and I have my trusty products that I use, without fail, every morning and evening.
I don’t go crazy with make up, because I like to recognise myself – but also because I’m not amazing at it. I can do a good base, I can do a natural eye. I cannot do winged eyeliner for shit. So, if I’m feeling the need for a fresh look I usually change my lipstick to something a bit bolder and that’s about it! I really need to get my lashes tinted so I can even dump the mascara on a Sunday. Heaven!
So, that’s how I feel more put together. A lot of the time it’s down to your mindset, if you tell yourself you look fab, then you’ll feel fab and you’ll be more comfortable in your style.
How do you make yourself feel more put together?
I love a face mask, in fact, at least twice a week you will find me walking around the house with my face slathered in either a sheet mask (always terrifying) or a cream or balm type mask.
My skin is a mixture of combination and dehydrated. My nose especially, it’s oily and dry at the same time, which, I’ve only just discovered means it’s dehydrated. Which would make sense, especially during winter when we’re in and out of warm homes and freezing temperatures.
So, anything I can use to soothe my skin and hopefully make me look a bit more ‘glowy’ is a must in my skincare collection.
New from Payot Paris is their Hydra 24+ Masque. It’s a super moisturising and comforting mask which is designed to treat the skin and provide a soothing & hydrating hit to your face, for the ultimate healthy complexion.
It contains active ingredients such as Hydro Defense Complex, fig, watermelon, red algae extract and H2O patch – which work together to nourish the skin. It also protects against pollution and toxins due to the anti-pollutant active.
Hydra 24+ contains Vitamin C, which is my new favourite ingredient in the quest for a brighter, more awake me, which brightens the skin, leaving it looking ‘healthy and luminous’ – yes please! And vitamin E to protect against environmental damage.
It’s so easy to use, you apply a thick layer over your whole face (avoiding the eye area obviously) neck and even down to the boobs, leave for 15 minutes then wipe away the excess. It’s perfect for dehydrated skin, like mine, and my face literally soaks it all up, there is very little to remove after the 15 mins is up.
It smells gorgeous, not too overpowering, and feels like it’s working, your face, if it’s anything like mine, goes from feeling tight and uncomfortable to feeling like it’s moisturised from the inside out. Kind of like a huge glass of water for the skin.
It costs £25 and is available from www.jerseybeautycompany.co.uk/payot
Oh, self-care. Something we all deserve more of, but something that often gets put on the back burner in life that can become stressful, hectic, and make us forget about it altogether.
I’m happy to see that ‘self-care’ has actually become quite the buzzword. We are seeing more and more people talking and sharing about how important it is to take care of yourself, take a break to de-stress, and have some time alone.
There are so many reasons of why you should take time to yourself. But the main one is that you deserve it. So step aside and get some quality time with yourself. Give yourself something to look forward during your busy days, rest and recharge so the times you are trying to be productive you are actually productive, and remember that everyone needs a break sometimes. Your body and mind will thank you for it, and you’ll be happier for it!
Okay, so now that we’ve discussed about why it is important to set aside time for self-care. What does that mean for when we actually have time for self-care? What to do.. what to do?
Here are some ideas on how you can enjoy some alone time to rest, relax and recharge.
Take a warm bath
Think steamy tub, bubbles, essential oils and candles. I’m already relaxing just at the thought of it.
Get out into nature for the ultimate rejuvenation. Go for a walk, take a hike, sit outside while you have your cup of tea.. anything that gets you outside!
Make a hair appointment
Any time I get my hair done, I have a little extra pep to my step as I step out into the world with my refreshed, bouncy hair. If getting your hair done gives you the same boost, confidence, or general happiness, set yourself up with an appointment and treat yourself!
Watch something on television
As a mum, it goes without saying that most of the things that play on our television is not chosen by me. Settling in with a cosy blanket and flipping through the options on sites like uk.chili.com to find one of my favourite programmes or a new movie is something I love to do. It’s also fun to throw on a facemask or do my nails while I watch!
I love to read, but don’t read nearly as often as I want to. If there is a book, magazine, or whatever that you have been wanting to flip through, now is your time! Make yourself a cup of tea, set yourself up in your ideal cosy environment and dive in.
Disconnect from social media
Social media is so fun, but it can eat up quite a bit of time. So for the ultimate self-care, consider disconnecting from social media. If you’re anything like me, that is definitely not something I would do during my usual day-to-day life, so disconnecting gives me that time and space to focus on other things rather than my notifications and beloved Instagram feed.
Try yoga and meditation
Yoga is a great way to get some movement in, and both yoga and meditation are a great way to take care of your body and mind. Focus on deep breathing and let yourself slip into the pure relaxation both offer. Bonus: you can do this within the comfort of your own home and/or go and take a class!
What are some of your favourite things to do for some well-deserved self-care?
Look at me, kind of blogging on a regular basis now, obviously got this writers block well and truly nailed.to.the.wall.
Or possibly not but we won’t dwell on that too much.
In my last post (she says, this is only the 3rd one she’s written this year, let’s not get carried away now) I touched on the fact that I am over diets. Clearly, this shocked a few people who know me in real life. I think the Husband even said something along the lines of “I’m fucking holding you to this, I now have it in writing”.
Yes, he reads my blog (hiiiii husband) and yes, he swears just as much as me, an angel he is not, despite appearances.
So I thought I’d go into a bit more detail on this ‘lil old topic, because, I’m nothing if not thorough.
I, like most women probably, go through stages. One day I can be all kinds of feeling myself, the next I feel like Quasimodo’s uglier sister. It’s all down to hormones and whatever but it really pisses me off.
Years, and I mean years (I’m 40 in 2021 FFS) of dieting, reading the constant battering celebs get in the press if they’re not a size 6, headlines about how the latest star has FINALLY dropped 3 stone and is now acceptable to look at, can really play havoc with someones mind.
But, towards the end of last year, something changed in my head in regards to the way I think of myself.
Body Positive accounts on Instagram, ‘curves’ on film & tv and nutritionalists literally pulling apart the diets bit by bit to show you how fucked up they are, they’ve all helped to bring about that teeny, tiny spark in me that thinks, maybe I don’t have to be on a diet for the rest of my life.
Wouldn’t that be fun!?
It always surprises me, but, I quite like myself actually. I’ve birthed two rather incredible humans, not died after almost dying, got through various ops, accidents and whatever else happens to our bodies as we grow, I even managed to not break my head when my dog pulled me into the corner of a wall as a kid, and everything still works. Quite well in fact.
OK, so my stomach is not my best bit. A home for two people, a c-section and all kind of issues in the old womb has made it slightly softer than one would hope for, and, I literally cannot remember what it looked like pre-kids. I even asked T the other week and, sadly, he can’t either. I mean, I know it was flat because I got it tattooed, but that’s as far as the memory goes.
My legs are long and fairly toned, apart from at the top of my thighs where I look like I could store some baby mice for safekeeping. Thigh pockets shall we say? (I don’t know if there even is a name for these, but pockets they shall be)
As for the boobs, amazing in a bra, not too shabby out of one but obviously they’re not as fit as they were when I was 20.
But, so what!?
I’m 37 (38 soon in case you’re think you should start shopping for my present) I’ve been married to my ACTUAL best friend for 18 years and annoying him for 22. So he obviously quite fancies me. I’ve got two really cool kids who I’m going to take at least 50% credit for and my life is pretty bloody good.
I like food too much to want to live on salad and low fat yogurt. Yes, I want to eat burgers and steak, double cooked fries and ALL the avocado on toast.
I want to wear clothes that flatter & make me feel sexy, and, even if I had a washboard stomach, I still wouldn’t be wearing a crop top – have you seen how many times they have to be pulled back down again!? I’m all about the comfortable thank you very much.
I’m going to try really hard to listen to my body this year. I used to be very anti breakfast, and would try and go as long as possible without food until lunch. When, obviously Sherlock, I’d be starving. Now, I can’t leave the house without my porridge pot to eat at my desk. I have NO idea how many calories are in it, and I don’t bloody care. It fills me up & keeps me going until I can have lunch.
Some days I’ll want salad and salmon and want to go on long walks with the dogs, but some days I’ll want pizza on the sofa watching TV and probably won’t move for a good 4 hours. Both are completely fine.
It’s really hard to switch off the guilt, you know, “I’ll eat this but then tomorrow I’ll be good and that’ll balance it out” but I’m going to try and stop myself every time I think like that. Food isn’t just “on a diet, this will make me skinny” or “having a blow out, eat all the calories” food. There’s a complete middle ground, where, so I’m led to believe, you can eat all of the food groups, whenever you want. Just by listening to what your body actually needs.
I’m over it. I am over it. (if you said that in Rachel from Friends voice, you’re my kind of person)
So, I’m gonna read the blogs & the books. I’m going to keep following the accounts that shout about loving yourself and I’m going to work really hard on loving myself too. And, if you want to be on your diet, I’m not going to knock you – you do you and I’ll do me.
(also, yes, all the photos are food related – you’d be surprised at how many photos of food I have inside my phone!)