Thursday, 17 August 2017

My five favourite pampering rituals

I'm not very good at making time to look after myself, and I'm trying really hard to change that.

I often run around saying 'I'm so busy, I haven't got time to do anything!' which means I tend to neglect the simplest of my favourite pampering rituals during a particularly difficult time. However, when I'm scrolling through Instagram on a Tuesday evening and realise that I'm absent-mindedly looking at photos of my friend's auntie's neighbour's daughter's hamster, I often regret not using my time more wisely.

As a result, I'm making a conscious effort to make more time to pamper myself. Self-care definitely enhances my mood, and I need these simple rituals to work their magic even more right now. Best of all, some of them only take five minutes and most of them require minimal effort.

Read on to find out what I'm trying to do more of...

1. Painting my nails 

It's amazing how much better I feel with freshly painted nails. I usually paint my nails around once every week but I'm going to aim to do it at least twice per week from now on. I feel so irritated when my nail varnish is all chipped and I've got a massive collection of nail polishes, so I've got no excuses here! 

2. Having a bath

I very often tell myself that I haven't got time for a bath so I'll have a shower instead, but I'm slowly learning that taking the time to have a bath is so worth it. I throw in a couple of Lush products and take my Kindle with me, and I genuinely try to relax! I might not always succeed, but at least it's healthier than sitting around stewing on my negative thoughts (or stalking strangers on Instagram). 

3. Moisturising and cleansing 

I own loads of lovely moisturising products but I'm very guilty of thinking 'I haven't got time for that tonight' and skipping the moisturising step altogether. However, I feel so much better when I spare five minutes to moisturise after my bath or shower so it's really worth pushing away that pesky 'I haven't got time' thought. I also make sure I cleanse my face every night before going to bed, which I blogged about here

4. Making an effort with my hair and make up

When I wake up feeling particularly down in the dumps, I'll make minimal effort with my hair and make up which then makes me feel even worse. I've learnt that it makes a positive difference to my mood in the long run, even if it's just by a tiny margin, if I take the time to straighten my hair properly and put on a bit more make up. By 'a bit more make up', I mostly mean mascara, blusher and eyebrow pencil... any more than that is approaching night out territory for me!

5. Going to the gym 

This might seem like a strange one if you're not a fan of exercising, but going to the gym honestly works wonders for me. I sometimes get into a vicious cycle of feeling rubbish about my appearance then skipping the gym (and comfort eating) because I feel so rubbish, which then makes me hate my appearance even more. On those days when I'm feeling awful but drag myself to the gym, the payback is so worth it.

I might start playing 'pamper bingo' to see how many of these activities I can fit into one day. 

What are your favourite pampering rituals? Let me know if you have any recommendations for me! 

Thursday, 10 August 2017

When it hasn't been your day, your week, your month or even your year... I'll be there for you!

I had a really lovely weekend catching up with friends and family, which is why I felt this was an appropriate title for this post! Even though I currently feel as if the world has brought me down to my knees (yes, I've chosen to continue with the Friends theme tune references), a good chat makes such a difference.

My weekend started with a visit to Sophie's house for Pimm's, Haribo, crisps, French Fancies and a very long chat. Neil and I often meet with Sophie and her husband as a foursome, but Sophie had the excellent idea of having a girls' night in on this occasion. It was a lovely end to a difficult week, and it's important to note that Sophie makes the best Pimm's cocktail I've ever tasted. Also, why on earth hadn't I tried Strawberries and Cream French Fancies before last weekend?

The next morning, I said goodbye to Neil and Jessie and drove to Portishead to visit Amy, one of my best friends from my university days. This was my first visit to her new flat and I fell in love with it straight away. It's so beautifully organised and colour coordinated, and I particularly loved the colours in the spare bedroom where I had the pleasure of staying!

We drove to Portishead Marina after I arrived and had some lunch, then went for a wander around Clevedon's independent shops before going back to the flat where I was introduced to Stella for the first time (the TV programme, not an actual person called Stella). We then went out to Venga for dinner where we had the most amazing tapas. I chose an amazing sticky chicken dish along with what can only be described as a sausage and chorizo feast, and we shared a dish of patatas bravas. We also shared a hefty portion of Eton Mess for dessert! We spent the whole dinner reminiscing about our university days and sharing some hilarious recollections... that's definitely the most I've laughed for quite some time.

Our meal was on Portishead High Street which was full of beautiful hanging baskets in honour of the 'Portishead in Bloom' campaign. I wish my local high street was that instagrammable! On the Sunday morning, we visited the high street again for brunch in Impero Lounge where I ordered a very tasty breakfast muffin. 

After saying goodbye to Amy at midday, I drove back to Penarth ready for Jessie's first ever puppy training class on Sunday afternoon. I went to the class with her on my own as Neil had been unexpectedly called into work, and I was really proud of the way I handled it. If you'd have told me two years ago that I'd have to take my brand new puppy to a training class with 15 other boisterous puppies, and that I'd have to go on my own, I'd have been petrified! She's already learnt to 'sit', and we're working on 'stay' and 'heel'...

When I got back to the house with a very tired Jessie, my brother and his girlfriend (another Sophie) had arrived ready for a visit. We had a long chat as we hadn't seen either of them for quite some time, then we took Jessie for a walk together before we settled down for fish and chips from the local chippy. Jessie was very excited about having more adoring visitors, and I enjoyed their company too!

I was completely exhausted when I went to bed on Sunday night, but felt really grateful that I'd had so many great catch ups with lovely people.

So even though it definitely hasn't been my day, my week, my month or even my year, I'm really glad I've got plenty of people in my life who are always there for me, even when the rain starts to pour!

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Face favourites

If you're a regular visitor to my blog, you'll know that I don't blog about beauty products very often. However, I thought it was about time I blogged about my favourite products for my face as these are the only beauty products I use every day without fail.

I never wear much make up, particularly during the week, but I always make sure I fully cleanse my face every night before going to bed.  I hate the thought of going to sleep without completing this nightly ritual! I've currently got five favourite products on rotation - read on to find out more about each one.

1. Soap & Glory Peaches and Clean
Peaches and Clean has been one of my favourite face products for years and it's always one I re-purchase when it runs out. It smells good enough to eat and it's lovely and soothing at the end of a long day. I've nearly come to the end of my current bottle but, thankfully, I've got a brand new one stored in my toiletry stash ready to be used as soon as this one finishes! 

2. Soap & Glory Face Soap and Clarity 
This face wash was one of the first Soap & Glory products I ever tried and it's another firm favourite. I like to use this particular product when I've worn more make up than usual; it gives a much deeper clean than Peaches and Clean due to its little pink scrub particles. I use this product once a week or so and you don't need to use a huge amount each time, so each bottle can easily last a year or more.

3. No7 Soft & Soothed Gentle Toner 
Soft & Soothed is the first product I tried from the No7 skincare range, and I now stock up on a bottle every time I have one of those £5 No7 skincare vouchers from Boots! This toner does exactly what it says on the tin. It glides onto my skin and makes my face feel really soft and refreshed after every use. On the rare occasions where I've worn a full face of make up, I use this product immediately after using one of my Soap & Glory face washes, just to mop up the last few remnants of foundation.

4. No7 Beautiful Skin Micellar Cleansing Water 
This is my first bottle of Beautiful Skin Micellar Cleansing Water and I'll definitely be re-purchasing. It has quite a similar effect to the Soft & Soothed Gentle Toner and leaves my face feeling bright and hydrated. However, I find that this product's scent is more striking and long-lasting. Also, it's worth noting that I love combining these No7 products with the Beautiful Skin Eye Make-up Remover which I blogged about here a few years ago.

5. Lush Cosmetics Ocean Salt Face and Body Scrub 
This is the first product I've tried from Lush's skincare range and I love love love it! It's packed with sea salt which does an excellent job of buffing my skin, and it also contains avocado butter and limes steeped in vodka which make it smell unique and rather spectacular. It smells as if I'm rubbing a salty cocktail all over my face and it has absolutely amazing results. I feel as if I've been given a brand new face every time I use it! Read about the other Lush products I've tried here.

What are your favourite face products? Do you have any recommendations for me?