Spa feeling with Glossybox

I can’t quite believe October is just around the corner and my September Glossybox has only just arrived! There’s been lots of issues lately with Glossybox and there are some really unhappy customers on their social channels.

Thankfully this months box was worth the wait and packed with goodies to make a spa day in your own home.

First was this Spa Cleansing brush from Spa to You worth £16. Great for giving your face a deeper clean than normal and exfoliating for a smoother complexion.

Every good spa has a range of different products for you to try and we got this lovely Figs & Rouge Clarity serum to try. They have been a featured brand before and one which I’ve really liked after trying their Wonder Charm serum which gives a beautiful glow to the skin so looking forward to trying this one.

Face masks are always a beauty box favourite and this is a Pearl brightening mask from Vitamasques which is a brand I really like. They have a great range of masks and I love taking some time out to use a sheet mask and relax!

After you’ve cleansed and used your masks and serum you can use this Skin & Co Face Gommage which helps in exfoliating the skin gently using winter truffle extract.

Finally a cute hairspray which is always handy to pop in your bag from Percy & Reed. I really like this hairspray as it’s not sticky and doesn’t dry your hair out.

There were also two treats included this month which was nice, especially when one is a Lindor chocolate bar! The other treat was a sample set of fragrance from Judith Leiber which can be worn separately or layered together.

I have a yearly subscription to Glossybox which costs 11.75 per month including postage and packaging. There are loads of different options if you wanted to sign up from a monthly rolling subscription to 3, 6 and 12 month plans like the one I do. I do have a referral code if you click here which will get you 20% off your first box.

What did you think of this box? Is it one you’d enjoy?

What I’ve learnt in the last year

This isn’t a post about me learning a language in lockdown, baking a tonne of banana bread or undergoing a major body transformation. On the contrary it’s about the struggle I think we’ve all felt during the last year since lockdown was announced in 2020.

To be honest 2020 started well for me. We’d just moved into our new home in December 2019 and it was in my plans to spend time getting the house exactly as we wanted it, little did I know we would be spending more time at home than usual!

Getting the keys to our house on the 20th December 2019

The first time I remember any mention of a virus was around the end of January and to be honest it sounded like things were so far away from us in the UK it wasn’t going to be a problem here.

How wrong can you be?

I’m incredibly blessed to be healthy and have a home and a family I love. But it doesn’t mean I’ve had an easy ride during this time. Much of the social media posts I read implore us to be kind to one another but often times it seems we forget that each person’s situation is unique. I’m not blind to the fact that many people, including those in my personal circle, have been made redundant, actually had COVID and been suffering with ill health and not been able to get the treatment they needed. And of course not forgetting the lives that have been lost both here in the UK and around the world due to this virus.

Like everybody our family has been through one of the strangest times we have ever and probably will ever experience in our lifetime. So as I mentioned earlier I’m not going to wax lyrical and say I’ve baked banana bread, tie dyed my clothes or had some kind of amazing body transformation. I’ve done nothing of the sort! It’s been bloody hard. Working a full time job and homeschooling a six year old is not something I’ve enjoyed. Splitting my time has never been more demanding and difficult as well as both physically and mentally draining.

Found objects collage became a thing as we’d pick things up on our walks!

Don’t get me wrong Homeschool was incredibly rewarding when we had those ‘a-ha!’ moments with Daniel and he just ‘got it’. But equally frustrating for us both when I had to split myself in two and try to set him off with a task while I got some work done. I know it was difficult for him to understand and it’s the hardest thing about the pandemic for me the guilt I’ve felt at being at not being able to give enough attention during those times. I have always had the greatest admiration for teachers and am so grateful to our school for their support.

The hardest part of it all for me was when I realised I was experiencing burnout. After going through first the lockdown, then a bereavement, caring for our family, a redundancy consultation, psoriasis flare up and homeschool by the time September came around and things started to look a bit brighter I was just exhausted. Keeping all the plates spinning is hard at the best of times but to be honest I just couldn’t wind down. Again I know I am incredibly lucky as I didn’t end up being made redundant and I wasn’t furloughed as many others in my sector were.

So what did I learn during this time? Well, the biggest thing for me was that it’s ok to say NO! It’s ok to ask for help. And it’s ok to feel the way I did. I was trying to push through getting irritable, not sleeping well and never feeling like I’d accomplished anything. But as soon as I started to realise how it was affecting everything around me I knew I had to get some support.

So I did a short counselling workshop over the phone after being referred by my GP. I had reservations- what was this stranger on the phone going to think of me? Would they think I was ungrateful for my blessings , they must have clients with much bigger problems. I shouldn’t waste their time.

The first session I had is one I will never forget. They asked me why I was seeking help and what I wanted to achieve. I blurted out a lot of the things I just mentioned above, apologised as I am sure you’ve got clients much more important than me and said I just wanted to be happier.

The first words I heard were, “you’re going through an awful lot there in one go. It’s not surprising that you are finding things hard right now.”

Just hearing this stranger tell me that it was ok to be overwhelmed and ok to be there getting support was a weight lifted. Over the weeks I worked on various things and put different techniques into practice, something I am still doing, in order to make sure I am happy. Not just for myself but for my family who were the best support system I could’ve asked for. The best advice my counsellor gave me about worrying was this.

Will it matter tomorrow?

I was constantly worrying about every little thing but not focusing in the present. Now I take a step back when that thinking comes forward and give myself some breathing space because most of the time it doesn’t matter. You need to allow yourself to make mistakes, pick yourself back up and carry on.

Ultimately I’m so proud of the way we as a family have handled things. When the going got tough we pulled together and made the best of it. And as we head toward the future and lockdown is lifting slowly I know that if we can get through this we can get through anything.

Lockdown Partying with my boys !

If you are struggling with any of the issues I mentioned please consider seeking support from a healthcare professional you trust like your GP. You can also call the Samaritans who were recommended to me by my counsellor if I ever felt I needed to talk. Call 116 123 for free or visit their website for more information on services they can provide.

Beauty beyond Boundaries

This months Lookfantastic theme is a great one with International Women’s Day approaching in March 8th.

The theme of Beauty beyond Boundaries is to encourage us to feel beautiful and ensure any flaws we think we have don’t define us. This years International Women’s day theme is Choose to Challenge and I think challenging the way we view and think about ourselves is a great way to celebrate this year. We’ve all at some point been way too hard on ourselves whether it’s our appearance, our work, whether we’ve been a good parent or spouse. But if the last year has taught me anything it’s that I’ve got to be much kinder to myself and give me a break, and I hope you all will too!

First we have AHAVA mineral mud soap which is for face and body and meant to cleanse without stripping your skin of moisture.

Next is a duel ended eyebrow brush from Brushworks. This has a angled brush at one end ideal for applying either cream or powder brow products. The other end is an angled spoolie brush, perfect for brushing through your product and giving the trendy fluffy brow look.

Then we have a Lottie London pencil eyeliner, this is a really nice formula and really glides onto the lid. It also has a sharpener built into the lid so you don’t have to remember to sharpen it.

One of the things I really love about the Lookfantastic box is that they often include different haircare products and this month has a Christophe Robin hair treatment which is ideal for dry or damaged hair. I like that with this you only need to leave it on for 2-3 mins so it’s not a long treatment and can be done while you have a shower.

First Aid Beauty is one of my favourite brands and I’ve actually used this product before! The facial radiance pads are amazing and something I really enjoy using. Basically they are to be used after you cleanse, you can use them daily, and act as a toner brightening and smoothing the skin. The thing I really like about these is they are able to be used on sensitive skin and make my skin look so clear.

Blossom and Bloom is a brand I’ve not used before and this is called their wonder balm. It’s a bit like the Dr Paw Paw original in texture and is a multi-use product so they recommend it for chapped lips and dry hands in particular. It smells amazing, like aromatherapy oils and has lavender, Shea butter and vitamin E. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, and the texture is really rich. I think I will use this at night as I think it will be lovely to apply before bed and have the scent lingering!

And finally the last product in my box is Polaar IceSource Ultra Moisturising Mask. I’ve used the micellar water from the same range and really enjoyed it. This mask is a cooling treatment for helping hydrate and leave skin refreshed. It’s a leave on moisturising mask so again I think this would be a lovely one to apply after a bath or shower in the evening and let work it’s magic overnight.

So this month everything was a mini or deluxe sample aside from the eyebrow brush but we did get 7 items this month, making each item cost just over £2 each which I still find great value.

Lookfantastic have a range of subscriptions available here . I’m currently subscribed on a monthly basis and pay £15 inc postage and packaging for my box. If you got this box what did you think?

Love the skin you’re in

It’s ok to love your body just the way it is.

Sounds simple right? But it’s something I’ve struggled with pretty much since being a teenager. Over the last few years I’ve been on a mission to accept myself flaws and all, not always an easy thing especially when you are dealing with psoriasis and all of the perils of autoimmune disease. After all Psoriasis is so much more than just what you see.

I’ve become braver in speaking out about my psoriasis, something I was so ashamed of and never liked to draw attention to. But slowly I’ve become a little more confident, and unashamed to wear a T-shirt and bear my flared skin or wear a skirt without also thinking I have to wear thick tights to cover up. I’ve seen days in the height of summer when I’d wear a cardigan just so people wouldn’t see my skin.

Seems crazy when I think about it now but it took a long time for me to accept that I was never going to be “cured” and this was a condition I’d just learn to manage.

There’s no miracle cream that’s going to make it go away. There’s no tablet or injection that makes the fatigue and joint pain disappear, you just get good at managing with a combination of all of the above treatments. And a lot of family support. 💜

The difference within months can be dramatic at times

I am delighted to be part of the @_restingitchface #FlawedButBeautiful project encouraging people with long term conditions to know their worth and accept themselves. Because we all deserve to be happy.

There’s some amazing stories and people over on Instagram as part of the project so please do check them out. Psoriasis Association has lots of resources for anyone needing support.

I rarely discuss my specific treatment as I believe it’s important to work with a dermatologist but I do share moisturising creams and alternative therapies which have worked for me.

If you’re struggling with diagnosis or just want some perspective from someone who’s been through most of the treatments available via the NHS do get in touch.

Holiday essentials

Bring on the good times!

As summer has come to a close and we start into the autumn, it felt like a great time to share some of my summer faves. I actually got away abroad this year for the first time in 3 years so it was great fun thinking of cute outfits and things to take away.

My versatile little bag from River Island

This cute little bag from River Island has served me well over the summer. The perfect size to fit the essentials and casual enough for day but dressy enough for evening. I love the hot pink colour which seemed to be a theme for me this summer!

Loved these earrings that I picked up on sale in Boots for £3!

I love a statement earring and a hoop, so this summer I made the best of both! A pop of neon colour made these the perfect go to for a relaxed look. Plus they were on sale in Boots, not somewhere I usually shop for earrings.

Hask Hair masks have been my saviour!

My hair always gets really dry and frizzy in the summer so it’s so important to me to keep it well conditioned. I love these Hask hair masks, I took 3 away on holiday to counteract the sun and chlorine and they kept my hair feeling soft and my hair colour shiny.

Loving the peachy coral tones this summer
I love peach and orange tones for summer, especially when you have a tan! NYX butter gloss is great for hot days when you need some moisture but also want a good coverage lip colour. Of course my summer essentials wouldn’t be complete without a good bronzer and TooFaced Sweetie Pie is still my number one. It’s a perfect mix of colour and shimmer without an excess of glitter like some bronzers do.

Staying peachy with TooFaced

Finally a good primer is one of my essentials to make sure my face stays in place! I am currently using Obsession Makeup’s mattifying primer which is a silicone based primer. I find these work well for my skin type and it gives a wonderfully matte finish for your foundation to work on.

Primer to keep my face in place

Do you have any great summer essentials to share?

Bath time goodies

Baths seem to have had a resurgence lately with gorgeous collections coming out of Lush and every other post on my Instagram feed seems to have one more colourful bath than the next!

Goddess, Peachy and Unicorn Horn Bubble Bar from Lush

I’m loving the Peachy bath bomb which not only smells amazing, it also looks fab! Almost a shame to use it and it was a limited edition so not around for long. My other favourite is the Goddess bath bomb, which has notes of patchouli. It’s so relaxing and fragrant, perfect for a good soak plus it’s purple my favourite colour.

My other favourite right now, is the Unicorn Horn bubble bar, a colourful lavender and ylang ylang scented creation which turns your water a pastel colour. Perfect for a relaxing bath with a twist!

The GRL PWR Bubble bar was another favourite and great timing for it to be released with the Spice Girls recently going back out on tour!

There was a point when it seemed to me bath bombs were not in favour so much but with collections from Radox, Revolution and smaller brands making a breakthrough it seems their popularity has never been greater!

Do you have any bath bomb or product faves?

Toy Story 4

Toy Story goodies

So we are massive Toy Story fans in our house. Disney is a huge part of our lives and we were all mega excited to see the new Toy Story 4 movie.

No spoilers but it’s definitely different from any of the other movies and for some a bit emotional. One of my favourite things is the change in Bo Peep which has been well publicised, but I’ll leave it there if you’re still planning a visit! This post is all about some of the cool things we’ve picked up now that most of the Toy Story merchandise has dropped.

Primark Woody cushion

With a discerning 4 year old son and Toy Story mega fan, it was a great time to pick up some cute accessories for his bedroom. This cushion was only £7 from Primark and he loved it so much he insisted on using it as a pillow for his bed!

We also got some bedding and curtains for Daniels room, he’s now 4 and we wanted to make his room a little more grow up for him. Needless to say he loves it! The bedding and curtains are from Dunelm Mill and the curtains have blackout lining, perfect for little ones.

Toy Story Toddler bedding £14 , sheet £6

Toy Story Curtains £45 from Dunelm Mill

Boots UK offer

We picked up some suncream for the summer at Boots and got this free water bottle, featuring none other than Toy Story 4 star Forky. Possibly the most relatable item in the movie is Forky, the toy Bonnie makes from items in the trash. As a mum to a 4 year old we get some weird and wonderful creations brought home from nursery and I love this element of the film showing how creative children’s minds can be.

When the toys take a selfie!

Pizza Planet T-shirt from Primark

I picked up this Pizza Planet T-shirt from Primark for £6 for our family trip to the cinema . We went with a Pizza Planet theme as Daniel loves the aliens, his shirt is from ASDA. Phils is the traditional Pizza Planet logo and is from Amazon.

Toy Story 4 Fan Club!

It was one of Daniels first trips to the cinema and he sat pretty well. You can tell by our faces how excited we were!

Have you seen Toy Story 4 yet?

I’m so looking forward to the Lion King coming up now and now the trailer for the live action Mulan has dropped too it’s an exciting time for Disney fans!

My favourite live action adaptation so far has been Jungle Book so I’m hoping that the Lion King can live up to that!

What’s in your bag?

It’s a bit of a running joke with my husband that my handbags weigh a ton because of how much stuff I carry ‘just in case’.

I’m a mum so I pretty much always have things like tissues and wet wipes although it’s amazing how many times these end up not being used on my son!

What’s in your bag ?

I had the Soap and Glory advent calendar at Christmas and really enjoyed getting all the mini versions of things like Hand Food hand cream and Original Pink body spray. I was never sure whether the beauty advent calendars were worth it but I really enjoyed mine, and I am still using the products which were perfect for throwing in your handbag.

I’ve always got a lipbalm, nail file and my 4Head stick. I used to carry loads of painkillers incase I got a migraine while out and about, but I’ve found this little stick amazing for keeping the worst of the symptoms at bay and it means I don’t have to take as many paracetamol.

My Minnie Mouse mirror and a couple of lippie options go everywhere too- a gloss and a matte just in case! Really enjoying the lip crayon from my December Glossybox from Doucce Cosmetics in shade Winterberry a gorgeous red which really suits my skintone.

Finally I always have my diary, a pen and a notebook. Yes I still love a paper diary, even though I put all my appointments in our shared calendar on my iPhone as well! Paper chase is one of my favourite shops!

What’s your handbag essentials and is it as weighty as mine?!