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How to Commute Like a Boss

Feeling Good, Life

I spend up to two hours commuting each day. It’s easy going during the summer when it’s all sunglasses and Drake songs and the kids are at school so the roads are quiet.

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Come winter it’s a different story. Everyone’s miserable and road ragey and it’s so windy that my little car gets blown across the motorway, which isn’t scary at all. (That’s not true, it’s SO SCARY.)

Luckily enough, I’ve discovered the secret to commuting like a total boss.

Whether your driving, taking the train, a bus, or your little leggies, there’s a whole world of content out there that means you’ll never have to use the time getting to/from work to (a) be alone with your own boring thoughts (b) actually think about work when you’re not in work or (c) play The Best of Cher for the 2600th time.

There’s a few thing’s that you’ll need to get started, the first being a phone. I’m certain that you’ll have one of these, unless your a highly functioning cat or dog that has somehow logged into your owners Bloglovin’ account.

If you’re listening to your phone via headphones then this will be pretty easy for you.

To listen in my car, I plug my phone in via a USB cable so it plays through the car stereo. To stop my phone from falling about all over the place, and for that private hire taxi driver experience, I have this jaunty piece of kit that I’ve fixed to the windscreen. I’m pretty smug about my set up.

Podcasts 

Podcasts make me feel all cosy and safe ( well most of them, more on that later.)  Here’s a roundup of some of my favourites and if you haven’t listened to them yet, then dear lord, I’m so excited for you.

This American Life

One of my favourite podcast experiences was flying solo to Amsterdam, drinking a white wine in the sky and watching the clouds while listening to a story about a family that decided to take their young family across the Pacific Ocean in their boat, needless to say it did not end well.

Each show has a theme and they vary quite a bit but I usually feel like I’ve learned something valuable about human nature after listening. Here’s a list of their very own favourites to get you started.

Strangers 

The theme of this podcast is ‘strangers no more,’ and the host, Lea doesn’t hold back revealing all the juicy bits about her love life, while also speaking to people with interesting stories based around the theme.

Often uplifting and sometimes heartbreaking, like really gut wrenching, these podcasts are about love but not exclusively, they also deal with loss and illness and just generally the human spirit.

With all the podcasts I recommend going back to the start, but this is especially true of Strangers as Lea starts off single and charts her time back then really well – nowadays she’s all loved up with a guy from the band Dengue Fever.

Generation Why 

My sis got me into this one, actually she got me into most of them . Generation Why is perfect for this time of year as things get a little more, well, creepy.

I’m a bit of a ghoul and love nothing more than a good murder. I’m not proud of this and it does nothing for my anxiety or my constant fear of being murdered (wonder where that comes from?).

Anyway, if you’re not of this disposition then this podcast probably isn’t for you. It’s pretty much just two guys discussing high profile crimes, usually murders, often speaking to authors who’ve penned books about them.

Highlights include The Untold Story of Ted Bundy ( chills) Charles Manson Behind Bars  (more chills) Madeline McCann (controversial but interesting..)

Looking at all the episodes now, there’s quite a few I’ve missed. I’ll be interested in what they have to say about Steven Avery and Amanda Knox. Be prepared to think everyone is out to kill you.

Happier with Gretchen Rubin

This the other end of the scale. Gretchen Rubin is a writer living in New York and her sister Elizabeth is a script writer living in LA. Basically I want an amalgamation of both their lives.

Gretchen has written some books on being happier and the podcasts look at ways we can incorporate habits into our daily lives that will make us happier.

I love their chat and find it both interesting and useful but this probably wouldn’t go down well with the cynics among my readership.

Serial 

If you haven’t listened to season one yet then I’m guessing that you must be that dog or cat that I spoke about earlier. This is an excellent gateway podcast. A real life did he or didn’t he? I’m saying nothing more.

Ok that’s the podcasts done, I listen to more than this but there’s so much more to discuss like..

Audio Books 

I know it’s utter madness but I couldn’t tell a muggle from a port key up until a few months ago when audio books changed my life.

Getting in the car as it’s getting dark to listen to Stephen Fry read me Harry P after a rough day at work is one of life’s greatest pleasures and I still don’t know what happens in the end so NO SPOILERS PLEASE.

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It’s not just Harry Potter though, other favourites are the brilliant Robert Galbraith detective novels, also by JK. So far there’s 3 books in the series and I’m totally in love with the main character, Strike.

These books are excellent in audio for the accents alone and perfect for Autumn listening. Get involved.

I’ve been known to pull up outside my house and stay in the car as I’m at such a good bit. Baths, driving, walking, cooking, lying in bed – audio books make everything better.

I have the audible app on my phone and you can download and get your first book for free by clicking this link. You won’t regret it.

BB6 Music

This is the only radio station that I’ve listened to for about 5 years. It’s on in my kitchen 24-7 and Sean Keavney’s morning show is brilliant. Unless I’m at a really nail biting bit in one of my audio books I tend to listen to this every morning.

I don’t have a digital radio in my car so I listen on the BBC Radio app and it play it through the stereo. There’s also all the Dessert Island discs podcasts on their too, how could I forget them?!

Other stuff

A clean car is a happy car.

You won’t find old McDonald’s cartons and empty bottles of water in my brief. I buy a monthly Jelly Belly and get a buzz from paying £1 for a few seconds of hoovering in a garage forecourt. I know how sad that is but it’s true god damn it.

I wipe down my surfaces at traffic lights, actually I’m not sure if that’s strictly legal so let’s say when I’m safely stopped with the engine turned off, and I now have a bottle of Hawaiian Tropic Scent Mist that I keep in the glove box and spritz around when I fancy a tropical vibe.

So there you have it. I moan a lot about my commute but most of the time I  love getting to listen to all the brilliant stuff out there without needing to talk to anybody for a while.

Happy Commuting bitches xxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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11 Reasons Why You Should Never Get a Cat

Life

Last week we had to put our furry friend to sleep.

The house feels so stagnant without our big cat striding into the hall to welcome us home after a rough day and jumping off furniture with a crashing thud.

Getting my Autumnal hygge on is something I’d usually be super excited about but even the lure of  faux fur blankets, hot chocolate and cashmere socks isn’t getting me in the groove without my partner in snuggles around.

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For those of you with a cat , you’ll already know how these creatures enrich our lives with their ridiculously fluffy underbellies, bad ass attitude and secret dog like loyalty that only their chosen humans will ever see.

For those of you not familiar with a feline padding all over your life and clawing out your heart, here’s why you should never get a cat.

  1. You’ll never really be alone again. Whether it’s paws in your face at 3am, a 5kg lump of purring cat treading all over  your laptop as you try to finish a report, or a kitty weaving in and out of your legs if you even think about walking to the kitchen, your life will no longer be your own.
  2. You’ll need to buy a king sized bed. Before your cat wakes you at 2am running around at high speed with bright saucer eyes, it will sleep next to you but must lie horizontally, it’s cat law. You’ll spend your nights hanging off the bed by your fingernails or squashed into an unnatural, legs bent position, that will accommodate your sleepy kitty but give you cramp.
  3. You’ll loose your mind. When you let your cat inside in the morning you’ll ask how his night was and respond to his chatty meows with pleasant conversation.
  4. You’ll need to get a bigger memory on your phone. Cats in the sun, cats sleeping on their fronts, cats sleeping on their backs, cats sleeping with their paws out front like superman, cat selfies, cat videos, you’ll be generating a lot of cat related content.
  5. You’ll have to stroke every cat. Now that you get cats and cats get you, you’re a friend to all cats. You will need to behave accordingly by stroking every cat that you see in the street, even if you’re in a rush.
  6. You’ll stop going out. Staying in with a cat is often preferable to actually going outside and it certainly beats staying in alone. Your cat will watch Netflix with you, eat snacks with you, watch you drink wine and protect you if a man wielding a knife comes rushing in to murder you. OK, they would probably hide under the bed but it feels safer with another being about, especially one with claws.
  7. You’ll stop being on alert. That ominous sound from the bins outside, “its just the cat,” a questionable creak from the other room, “that’ll just be the cat,” the sharp sound of glass shattering in the living room, “don’t be silly, it’s just the cat.”
  8. You’ll realise that dogs are so needy. Like seriously Rex, get your shit together, your owners have only gone out for the afternoon.
  9. You’ll never have any spare boxes. Cats just love a box, any box, it’s weird.
  10. You’ll need a heart of stone. Cats won’t be around for as long as we’d like. Don’t let that stop you loving them fiercely but do know that you’ll have to be strong when the time comes to say goodbye.
  11. You won’t be able to imagine life without a cat. 

Hug your kitties tight xxxxx

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Earning my Stripes: The Perfect Breton

Looking Good, Style

I used to wear mad stuff.

Skirts over boot-cut jeans with Uggs ( we have Sienna Miller to thank for that,) the dreaded white stilettos and sweatband combo that featured in every party ensemble circa 2002, and don’t even get me started on my late 90’s pleather phase, *goes misty eyed at the thought of a pair of Morgan trousers basically made of plastic.*

Back then I was properly going out every weekend and a brand spanking new outfit, or at least a new pair of shoes or jaunty accessory, was essential. I honestly didn’t think I’d have a good time unless I’d recently hammered my overdraft in Toppers and ripped a tag off something.

Needless to say I spent the entirety of my 20’s in debt.

While I don’t miss staying out until 8 am and dragging my hollow self home just as people are popping out for their papers, I do miss properly having fun with fashion.

Since getting older and trying to take control of my finances I just can’t justify buying new clothes all the time and so the ones that I do buy tend to be stone cold classics.

I quite like my look now – typically skinnies, breton and a leather jacket but it’s becoming a bit of a yawn-fest and I’d like to start getting more fashion savvy next year once I’m back in the red, nope green, oooooh it’s black isn’t it? I wouldn’t know, I’ve not been in it since I was 12.

Anyway, in the meantime, I’ve solved the quest for the ultimate Breton top, the wear anywhere, wash a gazillion times, hangs like a dream, looks super chic and doesn’t cost the earth, Breton.

You can thank me later gals.

Looking in my wardrobe it’s actually a little embarrassing how many striped things I have. As I’m pretty old these days, 100% cotton makes my heart sing and so my favourites are from JCrew and Boden.

Boden?

Yep Boden. I have a bit of a style crush on TV chef Gizzi Erskine, I just love the way she mixes vintage and high street and has fun with clothes but always looks amazing. Having stalked her Instagram very carefully I saw her raving about the perfect Breton from Boden and right enough, it’s the wear everywhere saviour that’s got me through a hell of a lot of, ‘I’ve got nothing to wear, excuse me while I throw out my WHOLE wardrobe ,’ days.

I currently have this long sleeved Breton in 2 colourways but have my eye on it in red and white. If you sign up to their newsletter they often send out discount codes but be fast, these babies sell out quickly.

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Oh gawd, I just looked and they currently have a ‘buy 2 get 15% off’ and, ‘buy 3 get 20% deal,’ that’s your wardrobe sorted then.

Happy shopping bitches x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Neom: Science of Scent

Feeling Good

Scent is crazy important to me. I constantly have candles burning, even in the mornings, although obviously not when sleeping – don’t burn candles when sleeping kids.

My  happy place is curled up on the bed under a fur blanket, kitty at my feet, candles flickering on the side table, and a large part of why I took up yoga was the joy of being enveloped in a heady cloud of incense.

I religiously slather oil across my pulse points before class and then inhale deeply- lavender for a chilled vibe or mint to feel all pepped up like a sprightly Kate Hudson.

If I catch a whiff of Cool Water, Joop, or any of the scents popular in the late 1990’s then I’m immediately transported back to that awkward but exciting time when it felt like life was just beginning, Britney wasn’t crazy yet and platform trainers seemed like a good idea.

So when I spied an offer online for a Neom scent test offering to, ‘help you discover the underlying cause of your well being concerns and select your perfect Neom scent range,’ I was in  – plus I was able to take up an introductory offer, with the kit priced at £3.99 as opposed to the usual £20.00.

The kit arrived swathed in beautiful tissue paper, offering the luxurious touches that I have come to expect from Neom. I haven’t actually purchased anything from them before although I stayed in a hotel that had their Pulse Point Tranquillity Deep Treatment Roller in the bedroom and loved it.

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The gist of the test couldn’t be more simple. Inside each bottle is a potent blend of essential oils from the 4 key Neom ranges, which are Scent for Energy, Sleep, Happiness and to De-stress. Each range contains various products incorporating the distinctive smells, including candles, body washes, room sprays, bath oils and body lotions. 

Turn the bottles around so you can’t see their names and then have a sniff of each one for 5 seconds each, with a 5 second gap in between to re calibrate. The scent that appeals to you most – not the scent that you like the most, is the one you actually need.

This is all down to the super clever science bit. Each scent stimulates the hypothalamus in your brain  (which produces hormones to continually balance your system,) and these hormones act like chemical messengers and rush to specific cells that need help within the body.

I went into the test feeling low in energy , something that I constantly suffer with, perhaps due to my lengthy commute, anxious nature or addiction to watching crime dramas late into the night.

I had a feeling that my grey matter would be turned on by the Scent for Energy and right enough that’s the one that I picked. The scent that I liked the most was the Scent for Sleep as I love all things lavender but the one that appealed was definitely energy.

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The test would be really useful if you felt run down but weren’t too sure why – sometimes we think we’re getting a great sleep when we’re actually tossing and a turning all night, or we reckon our jaded state is down to lack of energy when it’s actually low mood.

Neom recommends taking the test at least once a month as your needs will change and I’ve found myself reaching for different bottles for a little pick me up depending on how I’m feeling.

The test bottles aren’t really to be used themselves – although I have been using them on my pulse points and adding a couple of drops of the Scent to Sleep into my baths for a heavenly soak before slumber. The idea of the test is that you purchase products from the range that you’ve selected.

I initially went for the Burst of Energy Intensive Energy Boosting Treatment although there’s loads more that I was tempted by.

The juicy little tube arrived within a couple of days and has travelled everywhere with me , offering pick me up’s at work during the afternoon, before I head into the gym and first thing in the morning when I need a pre-coffee boost.

I genuinely find the scent effective at giving me a lift and making me feel all lovely and for £8 I’d say it was well worth the money.

The test itself was also a bit of a wake up call so I’ve been trying to deal with underlying issues for my lack of energy by listening to my body when I feel drained and going to bed a little earlier.

The other Neom products look beautiful and I can’t wait to try the De-stress bath and shower oil (£8) Energy Boosting Home Mist (£18) and Essential Sleep Kit (£20)

While the products aren’t cheap, the premise behind them, offering the frazzled and stressed out beautifully crafted products to help relax and restore, is spot on.

Neom is certainly worth considering if you fancy treating yo’self or someone else.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Ultimate Book Club Trip: Jane Austen & Bath

Life

At book club we eat lots of those seemingly bottomless tubs of chocolatey bites from M&S, slurp the odd glass of mid -week wine, go for the occasional dinner, talk about life, oh and we read books and then talk about them. Although one time we actually forgot to talk about the book. 

Turns out we also like to take trips too.

Before going to Bath to stay in Jane Austen’s ACTUAL HOUSE  I didn’t rate her very highly (I’m so sorry Jane, please forgive me) and I couldn’t understand all the hype about Bath.

Whenever you tell someone that you’re going to the Bath their eyes glaze over and they spend ages telling you how their parents go there ever year and that it has an amazing spa and the people are just so nice and the architecture is to die for, “it just has an amazing vibe,” etc. etc. Naturally this over enthusiasm made me suspicious.

Alas, Bath indeedily  has got it going on and after learning all about Jane and getting to know her work a little better, I’ve realised that she’s clearly a bit of a legend too.

We flew to Bristol from Glasgow and then got a taxi to Bath through Agatha Raisin style county lanes that were beautiful but bendy so by the time we pulled up outside our home for the weekend we were all green.  The nausea was soon replaced by giddy excitement as we were staying in  Jane Austen’s Apartments  and had afternoon tea with fizz waiting for us.

The, ahem, luxury apartments comprise of  4 apartments in Jane’s old gaff. Well, one of Jane’s old gaffs. Turns out poor Jane had a pretty rough time of it all in all and didn’t spend an enormous amount of time in this fancy Georgian townhouse because her father popped his clogs and didn’t leave much money behind.

We took over two apartments,  Emma’s Garden Apartment and Cassandra’s First Floor Apartment, with five of us downstairs and four upstairs. A lovely lady met us on arrival and made sure we absolutely were not a hen party and then showed us about our pads, which felt very plush thanks to careful attention to detail – locally ground coffee, fluffy towels, Cowshed products in the bathrooms and tasteful furnishings I’m looking at you.

Can we just take a moment to appreciate the afternoon tea.

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Before we demolished our tea and snaffled our beds we went out for a trot around Bath and stumbled upon a little indoor market.  A stall packed with glistening costume jewellery that could be seen twinkling from Mars immediately made my heart sing. I bought two turquoise silver bracelets for a total of £11. Joy.

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It’s a great place to wonder around thanks to the stunning architecture and cute shops such as Fudge Factory selling, you guessed it, ridiculously delicious fudge (that we all bought, hence the cheesy pic below,) excellent vintage shops, non – vintage shops (oh Anthropologie, why are you so divine and so expensive?! ) and a tourist information centre selling quirky Jane Austen gifts, way nicer than the usual tourist tat. The locals are impeccably dressed and really friendly and all seem to own dogs – a good sign in my book.

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We got very excited walking past The Pump Room, which features as the stage for flirtations ,whispering behind fans and gettin’ dirty on the dance floor in a few of Janes books.

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After scoffing a light lunch at an old school tea room and then going to Waitrose for some essentials ( beer, wine and crisps)  it was back to the apartments to swan around like Jane for a while and eat cake before getting ready for dinner.

Dinner was booked at the Bathwick Boatman, which was just a short walk from the apartments and perfect for a girly dinner, not too formal but a lovely atmosphere and beautifully lit with stunning views of the river.

Family run, their shtick is, ‘rustic food that won’t cost a fortune,’  and we really enjoy it plus the service was fantastic. I went for sirloin steak and chips with garlic butter and a side of pepper sauce, washed down with a couple of glasses of red and then shared a warm chocolate brownie with with chocolate sauce and coconut ice cream , it was heavenly.

Calories don’t count when you’re away for the weekend – everybody knows that.

It was then into a taxi and onto the bright lights of central Bath. Our fabulous trip organiser had scouted out a bar dedicated to all things gin and so it was on to the Canary Gin and Wine Bar for a few Darceys and Wichkam Mules.

Snug, with eccentric decor, good looking drinkers and interesting gin cocktails, this place is definitely well worth a visit. We enjoyed a couple of drinks and then realised that we were knackered from a day of travelling and eating.

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Coaches and then home.

The following morning we awoke with the promise of a free breakfast at local eaterie  The Blue Quails Deli. Part of our stay included breakfast here both days and admission to the spa, but more on that later.

A 5 minute walk into town and we were at what is now one of my all time favourite places to eat breakfast, largely down to the owners who make their own granola and generally rock.

On day one I went for the healthier option having eaten like a queen the night before and enjoyed the granola laced with fresh fruit and a croissant on the side, washed down with a flat white.  On Day 2 I went for the eggs benedict with bacon, obviously.

Along with a solid breakfast menu they also lots of lush looking salads and fritatas going on behind a glass counter – so another place to add to the list if you visit Bath.

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We were all rather excited as next on the agenda was a visit to the Jane Austen Centre, where they give you period costume so you can dress up like Jane.

I really enjoyed the other stuff too, including a walk around the museum, a talk about Jane, given by a rather talented lady dressed up like her and video about Jane’s life – narrated by none other than Mr Wickham in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.

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There’s not a whole lot of things to see when it comes to Jane as upon her death she instructed her sister to burn everything. We don’t even know what Jane really looked like but I imagine a young Cher.

(Jokes)

As we departed I felt full of love for Jane, who in a way was a gal after my own heart with her passion for writing. Publishing however wasn’t seen as ladylike trait and she had to remain anonymous, although she received acclaim for some of her works published while she was alive.

Despite the love stories that she wrote, Jane never enjoyed a great romance of her own and died at 42.

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On a lighter note, having tried on all the clothes in the Jane Austen Center and taken about a million photos we went for a walk in the sun and popped into a farmers market to sample some cider and sausage rolls.

After a mandatory pint in a quintessential English pub it was back to the apartments to collect our cossies and then make our way to the spa.

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Thermae Bath Spa is one of Bath’s main attractions and you can tell by the massive queue snaking around the front of it at most times of the day. We went late afternoon, which wasn’t too busy so I’d recommend going as late as you can.

Here you’ll find Britain’s only natural thermal waters, once enjoyed by the Romans a mere 2000 years ago  -but dated this place ain’t.

Wearing an electronic tag on our wrists that opened our lockers and allowed us to pay for extras, changing in pods and padding around in identikit robes, it felt a bit like being in the future.

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The spa has quite a luxury feel and is super clean and modern, with lots of glass and shiny surfaces.

If this is what the future looks like I’m definitely in.
We began in the rooftop pool, which was busy but worth it for the views and wonderful bracing feeling of cold air on your face while you float around in warm water. We had to avert our eyes a few times as despite spa rules, there was a heck of a lot of bumping and grinding going on – must be all that tight fabric and bare flesh.

From here it was downstairs for a sweaty blast in the aromatic steam rooms and then onto the Minerva Pools for a float around in more thermal waters with water jets and a lazy river.

Feeling properly blissed out after 2 hours of spa time we stocked up on snacks and oven pizzas and had a night of Jane Austen movies back at the apartment including Becoming Jane (sobs!) and Mansfield Park.

Sunday was our last day and so before catching our flight we went for breakfast and then a final stroll around Bath and up to Royal Crescent, which is a stunning piece of Georgian architecture. Cue lots of photos.

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If you’re in a book club and you like your fellow clubbers enough to go away with them,then I highly recommend a Jane Austen themed trip to Bath. Not only did we all have a blast but it felt special learning so much about Jane and retracing her steps – as far as even staying in her house.

If you’re not in a book club I still recommend a trip to Bath and I also recommend that you join a book club.

Oh look, my eyes have glazed over.

Happy book clubbing Bitches! xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Great Holiday Cliches

Feeling Good, Life

I came back from holiday a couple of days ago and yet I’m still embroiled in a jet lagged fug,  wide awake watching Modern Family and eating peanut butter on toast at 3am, then accidentally napping for 6 hours in front of terrible daytime TV at 3 pm.

  
I’m desperately trying to cling to all of the promises I made to myself while on holiday and jacked up on plenty of sleep, beer, sunshine and good books. You know the kind of stuff, “I’ll  start each day with a green juice and yoga,”and “I’ll get up early and write for an hour” or  “I’ll start wearing lipstick and heels every day like a proper grown up.” This one is really important, “I’ll stop mindlessly scrolling on my phone for hours on end.”

It doesn’t escape me that I’m a massive cliche, planning to overhaul my life while slurping on frozen margarita and blissing out by the pool listening to Drake but I suppose that’s a large part of what holiday is all about – embracing the time and the energy to think about what you really want from your days and what you could be doing better.

My problem is that I want to be a juice swilling, every day lipstick wearing, book writing, yoga bunny and while I do these things occasionally, they tend to fall by the wayside thanks to the rigors of having to earn actual money and travel to the place where the money is earned.

Excuses, excuses.

Now that I’m back to real life and feeling all refreshed I’m reminded that while it won’t be easy, I should try and keep to my holiday promises. I’ll try and be more focused and batter out a few words, slap on the Russian Red,  think of nothing and blitz some spinach and frozen berries when I can. 

Lots of people with full time jobs have written books and done yoga after all.

And look, I’m writing now!

I’m also going to try and plan more breaks – not necessarily jetting across the Atlantic but weekends away, breaks from the boring routine. 

There’s nothing like a fresh perspective and some export strength gin to help you get your shit together.

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In the meantime, here’s some massive, inescapable, holiday cliches I just couldn’t avoid… 

  • Pre trip working out like a boss and eating like an angel then gaining 10 lbs on holiday and coming home to fill a  trolley with kale, quinoa and coconut water. I’m that ass-hole, I know!
  • Deciding that holiday will be better if you buy new sunglasses, some tops, a new pair of jeans, a properly fitting bikini and then finding you’ve blown most of your spending money in Toppers before even leaving dear old Blighty
  • Legs or hot dog photos. I hate myself.
  • Dreading going to back to work and forgetting your  passwords and then you’ve been back just an hour and what do you know, it’s like you’ve never  been away
  • Promising to be a better person upon your return to British soil
  • Burning on the first day and the last day
  • Alcohol. Every  damn day.

 

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Legs, definitely legs

Happy Holidays bitches!

 

 

 

 

Fake it ’til you make it – A Guide to Self Tanning

Looking Good

I was an early adopter of self tan. My first experience was a misappropriated, dusty old glass bottle of Guerlain self tan once belonging to my ex-stepmother.  It was a heavily perfumed brown water that you applied with cotton wool.  I used it on my face and neck for that exotic stained by an oxo cube look – it also stained all my school shirts and the bathroom sink, as I recall.

It was the late 90’s, I was watching a lot of MTV and, ‘like totally,’ couldn’t figure out why Jennifer Lopez and Britney Spears looked so good and I didn’t. The Guerlain swamp water made me realise that a tan, even a weirdly acquired one,  makes clothes look better, teeth whiter and eyes brighter.

Luckily I wasn’t the only one who had figured this out and soon, spearheaded by a very young, very brown, Victoria Beckham,  self tan was everywhere, literally.  St Tropez was the only decent one that you could buy at that time and it was pretty basic – a thick green paste that left you (and your bed sheets) mahogany coloured . It was heavily scented yet still failed to disguise those tell-tale fake tan biscuit undertones and it took hours to develop, subtle it wasn’t.

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My 16 year old self prayed for developments in self tanning technology and the gods answered. Having messed around with various tans over the years, I still think St Tropez is the best but now instead of sludgy lotion they offer air whipped mouse, gradual tanner in a daily moisturiser,  sprays and even in shower self tan (which, I’ve still to try!)

Some people look great pale  – all power to my alabaster skinned sisters!  But for those that want to give their pasty skin a boost without frying it in the sun, my advice is to be willing to spend a bit of money and take the time to do it properly.

I’ve experimented with cheaper tans but they tend to smell ropey and don’t give such a natural looking colour. For a while I used the Garnier self tanning moisturiser  but it was sticky and made my skin smell sour as it was developing – needless to say it went in the bin. Go cheap at your peril.

One exception to this rule is Rimmel Sunshimmer, it’s cheap and cheerful and a fabulous quick fix if you have to get your legs out at short notice. Always go for the ‘light’ version, always use a mitt and watch out in the rain as it will go streaky. I recommend a layer of moisturiser before applying as it’s pretty dark.

Day to day, I’ve been a Fake Bake fan in the past and rate their spray tans but for home use my favourite is St. Tropez Bronzing Mouse. 

It glides on easily with a mit, smells expensive and dries fast, though it is a little icky at first. A bottle lasts a good while too, depending how often you apply of course, I’m a once a week kinda gal. If you want a deeper tan I would recommend applying a second layer the night after you’ve applied the first. You can a buy a travel sized bottle of this to get you started for around £10.

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St Tropez Bronzing Mouse, Feel Unique

For the face, unless you want clogged pores and a weird brown muzzle, I urge you to use a specially formulated facial tanner . At the moment I’m using Lancome Flash Bronzer Self-Tanning Face Gel, which I apply before bed to give me a lightly bronzed bonce come morning. Again, while a little pricey, the bottle lasts for ages.

Perhaps I’m a bit of a throwback, still using self tan after all these years but I feel disgusting unless I’ve recently applied a layer of brown goop to my cold, naked flesh. I simply need to be brown and if you’ve read my blog on being moley then you’ll understand why tanning from the actual sun is certainly not an option.

Hopefully St Tropez will invent a pill for perfectly bronzed skin but until then here’s my tips for a top tan.

  • Preparation. Preparation. Preparation. Exfoliate and moisturise first.  Your skin will look better and your tan will last longer. Watch an episode of Frankie and Gracie while you let the moisturiser soak in first though.
  • Always use a mit for application and if you’re going to be baring lots of flesh then get someone to do your back, back of your neck, behind the ears and your sides – unless you’re incredibly lucky and have long arms so you can DIY.
  • Work on one section of your body at a time, applying the tanner in light, long vertical strokes until smooth and even.
  • Knobbly bones are the enemy of a good tan. Feet, ankles, elbows and hands are danger zones . Treat these areas with caution and a hefty slug of pre tan moisturiser.
  • Brown feet are beautiful but go easy on the amount of tan you use down there, just swipe across gently with your mit.
  • Leave hands until last and, again, give them a swipe with your mit using the residue from the rest of your body.
  • Use a specially formulated facial tanner for your face, go easy around your hairline, eyebrows and nose area and blend into the jaw and neck.
  • I’ve learned that chlorine is the enemy of self tan, if anyone knows a way around this then do tell!

Happy tanning bitches x

 

 

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