We talk a lot about self care these days, and that is a very good thing. It seems obvious to look after ourselves, but with our lives being busier than ever, filled with more stress and the constant pressure to have it all, self care is very important. It’s not all about candles, pamper time and long baths, although these are all important. Self care can also be about taking responsibility for your life, making it run more smoothly and less stressfully. I thought I’d share a list of both small and big things that I so to make mylife more happy, less stressful and generally easier.

Self Care - Everyday Ways to Make Your Life Easier, Better and Happier

House Plants –

This may seem like a strange place to start! But last year I started filling my home with lovely plants. Firstly they look lovely and bring a little of the outdoors inside. I love green things and being outside, so having some greenery in my home just makes me happy. They really lift a room and add a lot of character. I also put them in places where clutter can build up. In a house with 4 people living in it, people are always putting things down. Putting something nice on table top of shelf stops people doing it!

Self Care - Everyday Ways to Make Your Life Easier, Better and Happier

Ultimate Bathtime –

One thing I try to do every single evening is make time for a nice bath. I actually went years not doing this. I used to have a quick bath or shower every morning for about 5 minutes and that was it – on with my busy day. When I got ill last year, it was one of the things I started doing to make myself feel better and now it’s very rare that I don’t take that break in my day.

I’ll usually put a few drops of bath oil in my bath, but sometimes I have a bath bomb and a face mask and have a proper pamper. I have a few special products that are just for me. I often watch some Youtube while in the bath or listen to an audio book, for some ultimate me time. It may seem hard to fit this time in and as someone who doesn’t stop all day I get that. But really it is worth making time for.

Long Walks and Runs –

When I was in my teens I got into the habit of walking my stresses away. I had a horrible boyfriend and things were not good. I used to just walk for hours and think my way through things and it did help. After I had Jess and didn’t drive at the time we used to walk everywhere, it kept me fit and was really good for lifting my moods and making me feel good. When I was 23 and passed my driving test, I kind of got out of the habit of walking. I still went to the gym and went running but not in the same way.

In the last few years I’ve started going for really long walks in very beautiful places. I’m lucky that I live near some gorgeous places to go and run and the fresh air and pretty views really lift my spirits. There are some really good apps such as iFootpath, which I use to find nice walking routes. Obviously don’t go anywhere too secluded and keep safe! Exercise can be a great way to have a bit of time to yourself and put a bit of self care time in too.

Self Care - Everyday Ways to Make Your Life Easier, Better and Happier

Being Organised and Having Routines –

Not all self care is fun. As an adult looking after yourselves involves taking responsibility for keeping on top of important things. From paying bills, to keeping your house in order putting things off and struggling is awful for having balance and calm in your life. The same goes for routines, things are much easier when you know what needs doing when. If you have routines for the boring things it can be much easier to make time for treats, rest and things that make you happy. I’ll often watch organisation videos on Youtube to give me ideas and keep me motivated. I also get up early and get the majority of my housework done before taking Lila to school, so I can start my day with less on my plate.

Pamper Time and Looking After me –

The best part of taking care of yourself is absolutely having a good old pamper. If you want to be really good to yourself, set aside an evening and set yourself up the perfect relaxing night. I like to put clean sheets on the bed, run a bath, put a face mask on, listen to an audio book while I soak in an indulgent bath bomb. I bring a smoothie and some herbal tea up with me and don’t move for an hour. It’s so important to just stop, and a bath, pamper and early night are a great way to de stress.

Self Care - Everyday Ways to Make Your Life Easier, Better and Happier

Listening to Records –

Having little rituals for stressful moments, can be a great way to calm down and find your centre. I love to brew a cup of tea, put one of my favourite records on and have a few minutes to relax and listen to some music. I also love the tactile quality of vinyl, I’m not surprised that people love records and record players so much, despite being able to just listen to music on our phones.

Spending Time with Friends –

Good times with good people are an essential part of looking after yourself. As someone who works on their own from home and spends a lot of the rest of my time with two children, I sometimes get a little lonely, bored and generally just starved of adult conversation. Luckily for me I have been blessed with some absolutely amazing friends and family.

In my 20s I slowly started to get a slightly smaller group of friends. This is quite normal as you grow up and your life changes. Now I’m 32 I am so happy to say that all my friends are people who have a positive effect on my life and I’m so much better for knowing them. We support each other, make time for each other and motivate each other and spending time with them, or just having a chat on WhatsApp is an excellent tonic. From a self care point of view, have friends who you can be the truest version of yourself with, the good the bad and the honest!

Self Care - Everyday Ways to Make Your Life Easier, Better and Happier

Making Time to do Things you Enjoy –

Our lives are busier now that they have ever been and it can be hard to schedule in time for things that you enjoy. This is why I find routine and organising so liberating. It allows me to make a little time for me. Being happy and living your best life, is good for the people around you too, and there is nothing selfish about putting your needs high in your priority list.

As a mum and wife I make sure that not only Rob and the girls do a lot of their own things, but that I do too. We make it work. These can be simple things like, walks, reading books, trips to museums or watching some TV. Rob, goes to football matches, fishing and the pub, Jess goes horse riding and to slime conventions and all sorts of other interesting things and Lila likes to go to the farm and park and play with her Barbies, she also love to bake and do paintings.

Self Care - Everyday Ways to Make Your Life Easier, Better and Happier

Appreciating What you Have –

There’s a lot to be said for having an attitude of gratitude. When we slow down and really take a moment to appreciate the small things it’s impossible not to see the blessings all around us. I’m all for keeping a positivity journal. Everyday write down 10 things that you have enjoyed, that made you happy and that you are grateful for. A hot cup of tea, a nice walk, the sunshine, a text from a friend, how pretty the trees and the flowers are, a successful day at work or school etc. The possibilities are endless. Appreciating what we have can also be applied to our lifestyles and possessions. We live in a very consumerist world, which is great, but rather than feeling sad about the things we can’t have, look at the things we do with gratitude and appreciation.

Getting Up Early –

When Jess started at her new school in September our morning routine completely changed. I’ve always been a night owl and used to stay up way too late and get up at the last possible minute to get everyone out of the door. Now I go to bed at 10pm and get up at 6. Both seem early, but where I’m losing evening hours I’m gaining morning hours where I feel fresher and more rested and I have time to dedicate to setting myself up for a happy and productive day. I try to get most of my housework done first thing, so I have free time in the day to work and I’m not too busy in the afternoon when the kids get in from school. This is such a great way to stay on top of everything.

Self Care - Everyday Ways to Make Your Life Easier, Better and Happier

Getting Enough Sleep –

This is probably the single biggest way to change your life. Not only is everything better when you’re rested and your body is working to it’s full potential, but it keeps you healthy, happy and is one of the best ways to look and feel your best. This year I have worked really hard on improving my sleep patterns. I get all my best ideas late at night, I’m the worst for watching ‘one more episode’ before bed. I used to live on about 5-6 hours sleep a night and now I go out of my way to get 8. Getting more sleep has changed everything for me.

Be a Good Person –

By the time I’ve done all the practical things I need to do like cooking, cleaning, washing, working, mothering and looking after me, there really isn’t much time to put some good back into the world. I do really try to make the people in my life feel happy and loved too I love giving my spare time to people and helping out where I can. I think it’s good to be proud of the person you are and try as much as possible to be the best version of yourself you can be. Even small things like leaving nice comments on people’s pictures or giving someone a smile, or just everyday nice manners can not only make other people feel good, but also make you feel good too.

Self Care - Everyday Ways to Make Your Life Easier, Better and Happier

Self Care Your Way –

Self care can mean a lot of different things to different people. I hope some of the things that have worked for me, will be helpful to you too. I’ll probably think of a few more things once this is published, but if you have any advice, opinions or things to add, feel free to add them in the comments. What are your top self care tips? I feel like I can always learn, grow and get better so positive advice is always welcome! What things do you do to make your life easier, better and happier.

For more posts like this check out the Health and Fitness category on the blog.


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I like buying gifts for myself, I think I definitely deserve nice things! I’ve mentioned a few times before how much I love subscription boxes. It’s so nice getting a little delivery every month and I love the surprise of discovering whats inside. As a busy mum, its not always easy to put myself first and I’ll always treat the kids before myself. The Lifestyle Box was also started by two mums, with a fab idea. I think this might be the perfect subscription box for me!

The Lifestyle Box | Monthly Subscription Box | ReviewEach box comes beautifully packaged and contains a selection of 4 beautiful lifestyle items. The gifts in each box are sourced from a selection of small and independent businesses and makers. This is something I can really get behind and one of the things I was most impressed with when I heard about The Lifestyle Box. I was sent the May box to try, so here are my first impressions.

The Lifestyle Box | Monthly Subscription Box | Review

Packaging

One of the little things I always appreciate in a subscription box, is the box itself. I love a nice sized sturdy box that I can re-use. This one is large, robust and glossy and it was an absolutely lovely way to start the experience. I liked the little note inside, which made it feel more personal.

The Lifestyle Box | Monthly Subscription Box | ReviewInside, the packaging is just as good and I liked that the inner packaging matched the theme of the May box, which was Blooming Gorgeous and with a purple colour scheme.

The Lifestyle Box | Monthly Subscription Box | Review

Contents

So what was inside the box? A lovely scarf, a cute coin purse, a stunning Amethyst necklace and an adorable Prosecco lip balm. Such a nice gift and definitely all stuff that I will use and enjoy.

The Lifestyle Box | Monthly Subscription Box | ReviewMy favourite piece in the box was the gorgeous Amethyst Druzy Necklace. I love anything with with crystals and the colour of this one is just stunning. This is definitely something I will wear and use a lot. I also like that it’s not something I would have sought out and bought, so getting it as surprise and loving it makes it even better for me.

The Lifestyle Box | Monthly Subscription Box | ReviewI always carry a lip balm or two around in my handbag, I love to try new brands and different flavours. This comes from lovely small business Heart and Heritage. I loved the smooth texture of this lovely lip balm. It’s perfect for giving my lips a little love and it smells gorgeous.

The Lifestyle Box | Monthly Subscription Box | ReviewThe cute leather coin purse is also going to get a lot of use. It’s currently in my bag with some spare hair elastics and hair grips in it, so I always have them on the go if I need one. This would also be great for keeping money in when I’m carrying a small handbag or clutch bag and I can’t use my big purse. I love the rose gold colour and that it was handmade by an independent maker called Dasprez.

The Lifestyle Box | Monthly Subscription Box | ReviewLastly the gorgeous scarf, which is just one of those lovely useful things to throw on before you leave the house. Right now it’s a little hot for a scarf, but I’ll be keeping this safe for Autumn, Winter and Spring. It’s a lovely light scarf, which is a really good size and agin absolutely gorgeous quality.

The Lifestyle Box | Monthly Subscription Box | Review

The Details

I received the May subscription box. Each month The Lifestyle Box co launch a new theme supported with colours and product that are completely different. There 4 surprise items presented beautifully in a box every month. The items very but include candles, stationery, beauty products, fashion accessories, confectionery and home trinkets. Basically all the lovely little things that I can’t resist treating myself too! Also perfect for bloggers like me who like nice things for flat lays (just saying!)

There are different lengths of subscription. 1 months costs £20 plus P&P, a three month subscription costs £54 and 6 months costs £105. I think this would make an absolutely lovely gift for somebody special, be it a friend relative or just lovely you!

Find out all the details of the subscription box over on The Lifestyle Box website.

*The Lifestyle Box was kindly sent to me for the purposes of review. All opinions as always are my own. 


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A couple of months ago I shared some of the beauty products that I’ve been using loads and enjoying recently, In my Beauty Favourites – Part One post. I thought it was high time that I do an update, with some new editions to my list of favourites. I’m still using all the products that I included last time and I’ve also revisited some old beauty favourites.

Skincare:

Beauty Favourites Liz EarleFirst up are some old favourites. I’ve been using Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish for a long time now, I reviewed it on the blog a few years ago. I’ve also got through a few bottles of the lovely Instant Boost Skin Tonic as well. At the end of last year I ran out of both and didn’t get round to repurchasing. I ended up using lots of other products instead.

A few weeks ago my skin was feeling a little sad, so I decided to repurchase my old favourites. When I looked on the John Lewis website, I saw that I could get both products in a Liz Earle Essentials Kit with the Gentle Face Exfoliator and the Skin Repair Moisturiser for just £50. I thought this was amazing value, so I sipped up the lot. They have a great selection of different kits for different skincare needs. My face is definitely happier for going back to a brand that I know works well for me. I absolutely adore the exfoliator and moisturiser so have added two new products to my long term favourites.

Elemis:

Beauty Favourites | Elemis Pro- Radiance Illuminating Flash BalmAnother product that I’ve loved for a long time and recently revisited is Elemis Pro-Radiance Illuminating Flash Balm. When my skin is a bit tired I love to use this as a primer under my make-up to give my skin a bit more glow. This is a brilliant all round product thats super handy for lots of skincare needs. I got this sample size with some other Elemis products, but I’m planning to re-purchase the full size when my budget allows.

Beauty Favourites | Elemis Cellular Recovery Skin Bliss CapsulesAnother product that I’ve had stashed away for a while, after getting it in a set, is the Elemis Cellular Recovery Skin Bliss Capsules. I started using these little capsules of joy recently and I absolutely love them. The pink capsules are for use in the morning and the green ones for night. They are great for when your skin needs a little love and not only are they packed with goodness they also smell amazing. These contain essential oils and they do really work on my skin. They are pricey though, so I’m using them sparingly and won’t rebut until I can afford them, or if I see them as part of a set again.

The Ordinary:

Beauty Favourites | The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5My favourite discovery of this month was The Ordinary. I mentioned that I love their foundation in my last beauty post. I had picked up a few of their skincare products a few months ago, but hadn’t got round to trying them properly. Their products can be a little confusing. I spend an evening reading up on their products and how to use them and in what order. It was so helpful. I’ve picked out two that have literally worked miracles on my skin. I’ve been using a few drops of Hyaluronic Acid each night followed by some Squalane.

Beauty Favourites | The Ordinary 100% Plant Derived SqualaneOnce you’ve got the products figured out, the simplicity of The Ordinary products is so refreshing. The quality that you get for their very low prices is amazing too. I saw instant results with these products and I’m completely hooked on them now. I’ve seen a few more formulas I’d like tom try’s so look out for an update in my next beauty post.

Hands and Nails:

Beauty Favourites | O.P.I Hand CreamI recently went to a screening on Grease at Soho House to celebrate the films 40s anniversary. O.P.I have also released a range of Grease inspired nail polishes to coincide with the film rerelease into cinemas. As well as nail polish I was gifted this lovely hand cream. The Protective Hand Nail and Cuticle Cream, is one of the best hand creams I’ve used in a while. I am constantly cleaning and washing and my hands really bare the brunt of it. So I’m always on the lookout for good products to give my hands and helping hand. This one is fab.

Beauty Favourites | O.P.I Grease Collection Nail Lacquer | Pink Ladies Rule The SchoolThe nail polish colour I chose was Pink Ladies Rule The School. I chose it because I loved the name and the colour is just gorgeous for Spring. Also I loved the name and how well it goes with the movie, which I’ll be writing more about soon. I think The polish collection comes out in May, so keep a look out as there are a lot of lovely colours.

Beauty Favourites | O.P.I Grease Collection Nail Lacquer | Pink Ladies Rule The School

Bath and Body:

Beauty Favourites | Ritual of HammamNo beauty favourites list from me would be complete without something from Rituals. I have a lot of their bath products as well as a few tubs of their sugar scrubs and body butters. As I’ve been going to the gym a lot recently, I thought it would be  nice to treat myself to a few products to use in the showers after working out.

I picked up a gift set with some mini of my favourite products and It’s been a lovely treat to myself. Their foaming shower gels are amazing and I think I’ve got through one of every fragrance! One of my favourite ever Rituals products would have to be the Purifying Body Mud. It is a gorgeous exfoliating mud, which leaves your skin feeling all tingly and very smooth. I use the shower gel and black soup first, before using the mud and finishing with the body butter.

Beauty Favourites | April 2018Thats it for now.  But I’ll be sure to do another beauty favourites post if I find any other products to recommend. If you’d like more detailed reviews of any of the products mentioned, let me know. Do you have any products you’d like to recomend  to me?


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Last week on a snowy day in London, I headed to London hairdresser Blue Tit salon in Dalston to have my hair styled. Unlike my usual vintage curls or messy mum hair we were going for something a little different. Inspired by the Reflections: Van Eyck and the Pre-Raphaelites exhibition at The National Gallery, we were creating a Pre-Raphaelite inspired look.

William Holman Hunt, Il Dolce Far Niente, 1866, Oil on canvas, Private collection © Photo courtesy of the owner

William Holman Hunt, Il Dolce Far Niente, 1866, Oil on canvas, Private collection © Photo courtesy of the owner

The exhibition itself is incredible and of course one of the things that really stands out in Pre-Raphaelite art is the beautiful romantic hair. Blue Tit London recently collaborated with the gallery to create a photo shoot which pays homage to the beautiful paintings on display within the exhibition.

Hair styled by Blue Tit Salon at the National Gallery on the occasion of ‘Reflections: Van Eyck and the Pre-Raphaelites’. Photograph: Sandra Vijandi.

Hair styled by Blue Tit Salon at the National Gallery on the occasion of ‘Reflections: Van Eyck and the Pre-Raphaelites’. Photograph: Sandra Vijandi.

Hair styled by Blue Tit Salon at the National Gallery on the occasion of ‘Reflections: Van Eyck and the Pre-Raphaelites’. Photograph: Sandra Vijandi.

Hair styled by Blue Tit Salon at the National Gallery on the occasion of ‘Reflections: Van Eyck and the Pre-Raphaelites’. Photograph: Sandra Vijandi.

The one advantage to how long and thick my hair is at the moment, is that it was perfect for creating this kind of look. When I arrived at the gorgeous salon, I was greeted by Declan who would be styling my hair. We discussed some ideas and decided to go for some big curls. He wanted to create something that was wearable with some Pre-Raphaelite inspiration.

It took a couple of hours to curl all my hair – there really is a lot of it! The end result was amazing.

Here we fluffed the hair up a bit more for a slightly more Pre-Raphaelite take on the look. It was such a fun way to spend the afternoon and I absolutely loved the salon. Declan was amazing and really took his time to create a look that we both loved. It’s definitely made me want to go back and get a cut and colour done very soon!

William Holman HuntThe Lady of Shalott, about 1886-1905© Manchester City Galleries/Bridgeman ImagesThe salon is absolutely gorgeous and every time I’ve walked past it, I’ve admired the decor. As well as the Dalston branch they have salons in quite a few locations across London. I really enjoyed looking at all the pictures on the wall. It was such a nice environment to sit for a couple of hours and relax, while Declan worked on my hair.

Here’s my resident art historian Matthew, with a little bit more information about the exhibition – The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood formed in 1848 when a group of young artists, including Dante Gabriel Rossetti and William Holman Hunt, were looking for a new and fresh inspiration for their art. Instead of looking to the 16th-century Renaissance artist Raphael, who was held up as the ideal model for artists to follow, they were inspired by older medieval and early Renaissance art. This exhibition puts one of their favourite old paintings, Jan van Eyck’s 1434 ‘Arnolfini Portrait’ in the centre, and shows how it influenced the ambitious young Pre-Raphaelite artists.

Jan van Eyck, Portrait of Giovanni (?) Arnolfini and his Wife and ‘The Arnolfini Portrait’ , 1434, National Gallery, London © The National Gallery, London

Jan van Eyck, Portrait of Giovanni (?) Arnolfini and his Wife and ‘The Arnolfini Portrait’ , 1434, National Gallery, London © The National Gallery, London

It’s brilliant to see one of the National Gallery’s most famous paintings surrounded by the Pre-Raphaelite’s works. You can see how they loved the Arnolfini Portrait’s beautiful colours and perfect attention to detail. A painting that was hundreds of years old inspired these Victorian artists to create art that was bold and revolutionary. They loved features like its mysterious round mirror and even had replicas of it in their homes. Van Eyck’s serious portrait was the inspiration for the Pre-Raphaelite’s beautiful women from medieval legend.

Today, the Pre-Raphaelite paintings themselves are now all more than a century old, but they are still beautiful, vivid and fascinating. Just as the Pre-Raphaelites were inspired by Van Eyck, we can be inspired by them for our art, our homes and our style.

Hurry along to catch this exhibition before it closes on 2nd April, and see what inspiration you can find.

Find out more about the exhibition on the National Gallery website

Find out more about Blue Tit London on their website

Thank you to Matthew Storey for contributing to this post. Matthew is a curator and art historian with a specialism in historic art and decorative art. You can read a couple of other posts by him here and here


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I’m a big fan of subscription boxes. It’s always nice to get a little surprise in the post each month and it’s also a great way to discover new products. Last month I was asked if I wanted to review the February Glossybox and of course I jumped at the chance.

Like most subscription boxes, Glossybox arrives monthly and is packed full of high-end beauty surprises. I usually like it when I get a mixture of make up, skincare and hair products. I take all my miniatures to the gym with me as their the perfect size to fit in my bag.

I also really love a pretty box. I use them to store my vintage jewellery in. This one is really cute, as it was Valentines day this one is all about having fun on the town with a friend or the one you love.

As for the contents, I was really impressed with this one. The box costs £10 per month plus P&P, or slightly less with other packages. It’s always good when the value of the contents is considerably more than the cost of the box. I ended up with a nice mix of products a couple of which I really love.

First up was a gorgeous mini nail polish from Ciate. I have loved their products for years, I featured the Ciate Advent Calendar on the blog a few years ago. I love their big brushes and beautiful long-lasting formula. If you’re looking for a completely cruelty free brand, then Ciate is the one for you. Their products are vegan and PETA certified.

The colour I received was Iced Frappe and it was absolutely gorgeous. A lovely pale shade, perfect for everyday wear. The coverage is excellent and in two coats, it looked perfect. The gel formula allows flexibility and prevents chipping and although I’ve not kept it on that long it can last up to 10 days. The full-sized product would normally cost £9 and the mini size would be £6.

Next up was a nude lip tint from Steve Laurant. I’m not familiar with this brand, but I’m glad to hear that they are also cruelty free. I got mine ion the colour nude pop. The colour is very subtle and perfect to use as a tinted lip balm.

I found the formula really moisturising without being too heavy. Mostly I just loved the pretty rose gold packaging. This is nice handy product to pop in your hand bag, for when your lips need a little love. The full-sized product usually costs £17.

The next product was Studio 10 beauty Makeup Mist Glow-Perfection. This is a pre make-up primer mist. It primes, refreshes and hydrates and can also be used as a setting spray. I’ve only used this a couple of times, but it seems like a great product. I don’t really get dryness on my face and don’t need much hydration, so although I really liked the product, it’s not something I would buy again. If you’re looking for a good all round product, this might work for you. The full size product costs £26 and the travel size £14.

One of the products I really liked in the box was the Skin Chemists London – Aqua repair Facial Serum. This serum works to infuse the skin with vitamins and anti oxidants to reduce redness and deeply hydrate. I loved how this felt on my skin. The formula is really soothing and just feels lovely to apply. My skin felt great after using it and as you only need a small amount this tube will last me ages, so I’m going to keep using it and see how I get on. The full-sized product costs £64.

I was really excited to see a full-sized Sleek eyeshadow palette in the box. I’ve used several of their palettes before and absolutely love their products. It’s also a real treat to have lots of new colours to play with. I got the i-Divine palette in storm, which features 12 shimmery shades including neutral beiges and vibrant shades of dark blue, green and copper. I don’t always opt for shimmery shadows and usually go for matts, so it’s nice to add something new to my makeup collection. I love how versatile the shades are. The pigmentation is really good as well and I’m really looking forward to trying some different looks with these. This palette usually costs £8.99.

All in all I’m really impressed with my first Glossybox, all the products were really good quality and the value of the items far exceeded the cost of the box. I enjoyed trying all the products and will enjoy using them all again.

You can find out more about Glossybox and subscribe on the Glossybox website.


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