Self-Care Sundays

Hiya lovelies 👋

Can you believe we’re only four weeks away from Christmas?! This final quarter of the year has flown by so quickly; Xmas 2016 still only feels like a couple of months ago! 

The weather has become (a lot) chillier, so I’ve been transitioning from denim skirts and Bardot tops to layers (and layers, and layers…) of jumpers and long-sleeved tees and thick socks. The gloves and scarves have come out of hiding, and now it’s out of the question to leave the house without the thickest coat I can find! 🙅 

The past few weeks have been a bit busier and more tiring than usual, so I was looking forward to spending some time with the doggo, catching up on lost sleep (daytime naps FTW) and doing some blogging.

Now that weekdays are taken up by that employment jazz and week-evenings are spent eating / netflix-bingeing / sleeping, my dedicated pamper time has had to be confined to a couple of hours on Sunday afternoons.

As a natural introvert I love spending time alone each day to reconnect and rebalance. Today’s post is going to be about the routines and habits I’m trying to practice every week with the aim of boosting those happy vibes and reducing any anxieties or stresses that have followed me into the weekend.


1. Set the mood

Candles and fairy lights ain’t just for romantic evenings with your boyf/girlf, and treating yourself well is just as important as treating others well. Don’t save candle-lit rooms and boxes of chocolates just for loved ones – you deserve a night of pampering too. 

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If my stress levels are particularly haywire, I’ll add a couple of drops of essential oils to the bath water, play soft acoustic tunes and just float for half an hour or so. During my work experience at a mental health clinic I learnt about the power of grounding and how effective scents are at rebalancing emotions. Lavender can be particularly good – hopefully a blog post will be up about this soon! ☺️


2. Tidy up your space

I used to be a terrible hoarder – I’d keep every magazine, every pair of ripped tights, every broken picture frame and crinkled photo. My room usually looked like the aftermath of a hurricane.

I’ve worked hard to break that crappy habit and nowadays prefer a much more minimalist lifestyle (oh, how vogue). Clean surfaces, colour-coordinated bookcases, walls reserved for pop-art canvases rather than ripped-out zine pages… *drool*

A tidy space means a tidy mind

A tidy space = a tidy mind

There’s something so satisfying about a clean, ordered bedroom, made even more special with a bunch of fresh flowers and burning incense.


3. Write write write

Whether it be creating blog content for work or scribbling in a journal, I looove writing and have done for as long as I can remember. I’ve kept diaries since I was about 10 years old – the early books are hilarious(ly embarassing) – and I’ve always used journalling as a form of ‘soft therapy’ when life gets stressful.

If my brain can’t switch off and I feel a little wired, getting all the thoughts jotted down on pages of a notebook can feel like a relief.

It’s fun to read back on times that made you happy, or when things were tough and you came out at the other end having learnt how to deal with a new type of situation.

Writing gratitude lists are also great for times when you feel a little lost or empty. Reminding yourself of all the lovely things around you, which you might not always see or take much notice of, can give you a new perspective and lease on life.


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While I might be a lazy gal at heart and have zero desire to ever join a gym or dedicate time to strenuous exercise nowadays, I’m learning to love a good walk.

As well as long dog walks across the countryside every weekend, I’m starting to enjoy the short journeys to and from the tube station each morning and evening, and trying to make the most of my lunch breaks by taking mini tours of the area.

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The music I listen to as I ramble around can really influence the mood I will be in afterwards. Sometimes there are days when you just need to wallow in your bad mood with those sloooowww saaaadddd songs. Other days, a couple of fast-beat motivational tunes are all I need to get me going for a workday or a night out. Choose the right playlist and you can feel like you’re in a movie – I looove that weird feeling of detachment from reality.


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Just like sounds / smells / images / etc. can trigger crummy thoughts or memories, they can trigger happy ones too! Dedicating time to figuring out what those things are is important – the things to perhaps avoid, and the things to have around you in your space to keep you feeling sweeeet.

Simply seeing a candle flickering on my desk when I’m working on something a bit tedious at home makes me feel more at ease. The sound of crunching leaves under my feet when I’m walking the pup. The smell of a perfume that reminds me of someone I love. Putting on a warm sweater that’s fresh off the radiator.

Holding onto the little things that trigger those lovely feelings of warmth and/or nostalgia helps bad moods and stress pass quicker. 


So, when you’re next feeling rough or run-down, try running the bath, surrounding yourself with things that make you smile, taking a walk and jotting down any funny or annoying thoughts that are whirring around in your head. Establish a pampering routine to engage in at least once a week that helps lift you out of negative moods and return you to your happy place✨.

Love,

Ellie

3 Beauty Trends I’ve Fallen For This Autumn

Who knew a full-time job would be so time-consuming? 🤷‍♀️😂

Before I officially began post-graduation employment life I thought it was going to be easy to come home from a day at the office and spend the evening blogging and shooting. Unsurprisingly though, my free time has mostly been spent on the sofa surrounded by snacks, intermittently eating and napping.

Although the rush-hour commute is a bore and the 7am alarm can feel a bit painful after a late night movie, the job itself has been a whirlwind of excitement. I’m being introduced to a brand new career and getting trained in skills I never knew existed; I’m lovin’ it ❤️

Enough work-talk though; today’s post is going to be about another little love of mine. A couple of weeks ago I talked about my favourite autumn knitwear trends, and this post will run along the same lines but instead about the beauty crazes that have caught my eye this season.

For me, the perfect autumnal palette consists of rich red and mustard hues, soft browns, various shades of beige and metallic bronze. During the autumn months I want the colours of the changing leaves to be painted in makeup onto my face; nature is the fundamental source of beauty, so why not take inspiration from it each season? For the next few months I’ll be avoiding sharp lines and bright colours (not that I’m ever really one to sport a blue eyeshadow though…!), and embracing bitten lips, glowing skin and rosy “been-in-the-cold-for-too-long” cheeks.

 

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I’ve never really been one to favour a bright lip over a striking eyeshadow look. When I’m getting ready for an event or night out, I always warm towards a smokey and dramatic dark eye, complete with sharp liner & enormous lashes. My confidence tends to dip whenever I wear a bold lip colour because there are so many things to worry about – is it on my teeth? Has it smeared all over the rest of my face? Did I just get some on that person’s shoulder when I hugged them??  This lipstick anxiety usually results in me avoiding those stunning hot red or pretty pink colours.

But, autumn always feels like the start of a new chapter. I have always associated it with the beginning of a new academic year (a milestone more anxiety-inducing for me than January 1st! 😂) and I guess I’m still stuck in that conditioned mindset of something new starting around September/October-time. This sense of starting afresh is often accompanied by the desire to be a lil bit daring and get out of my comfort zone.

My mild version of “getting out of my comfort zone” this season is going to involve deep red lipstick. Enough of simply admiring those who have the confidence to wear a beautiful lip colour (and envying their perfect application skills!) – this season I’ll be joining them in sporting those gorgeous red-berry shades (at least, I’ll try to on weekends 😜). While matte lips were all the rage this spring and summer, autumn calls for contrasting high-shine glossy looks.

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My favourite red wine lip colour is the MAC Matte Lipstick in Diva, with a slick of No7 High Shine Translucent Lipgloss over the top. I line my lips with Max Factor Colour Elixir Universal Lip Liner before applying and it stays put for hours. If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to the MAC Diva, and prefer liquid lipsticks over solid ones, the NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Copenhagen is a pretty great colour match (if perhaps a tad darker).

 

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Rosy red cheeks bring back childhood memories of hours spent playing in the forest after school. We would make dens within the trees and build ‘bonfires’ out of leaves, and once the sun set and the air got cold we would run home to our cosy houses and mama’s warm hugs. I’ve always loved the sensation of burning cheeks when you come into a hot room from wintery weather outside. To me, that beetroot-coloured glow breathes life and energy, and I embrace any opportunity to recreate such a look without having to do the actual running-around part 😂

Rosy pink is the colour of choice this season (for eyes, as well as cheeks). The blush that I have repeatedly been reaching for is the No7 Match Made Powder Blusher in Peach Velvet, and the Real Techniques Blush Brush is perfect for applying it with.

 

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On the spectrum of cake-face foundation to barely-there BB cream, I can land on both ends. For the right occasion I will embrace a high-coverage foundation to create the illusion of “flawless” and matte skin. During general day-to-day activities, I’ll warm towards a lighter BB cream to even out my skin tone and add a natural glow; I’ll just dab some concealer onto blemished areas.

This autumn, the “no-makeup” makeup trend returns once again. While in previous seasons there was a focus on bare skin and soft brows, AW17 puts more emphasis on those finishing touches – wispy lashes, perfectly groomed brows (touched up with powder, if needed, and held in place with some brow gel), a touch of pearly highlighter or pale gold on eyelids, and a sleek hairstyle to accompany.

To keep my skin looking bright and glowing, without an oily effect, I use the Topshop Glow Prime & Finish underneath a light/medium-coverage foundation. For a subtle highlight you can also dab it along cheekbones, cupids bow and the bridge of your nose.

I hope you enjoyed reading about the beauty trends I’ve fallen for this autumn (get it? Fallen? Fall? Autumn? Yah, punny). I’d love to hear about the makeup fads you’re enjoying too!

Love,

Ellie

REVIEW: Vanity Planet “Ultimate Skin Spa – Facial Cleansing System”

Last month I was invited by the lovely people at Vanity Planet to join their Brand Ambassador programme, and along with this came the opportunity to sample some of their amazing products!

I only had to wait a couple of days until my first item arrived in the mail – the Ultimate Skin Spa – Facial Cleansing System. This post will be my unbiased review of this product after having tested it out for a couple of weeks.

Vanity Planet Ultimate Skin Spa Facial Cleansing System

Cleansing facial brushes have been around for years, promising a deeper clean and improved complexion in comparison to standard “motor-less” methods. Soft-bristled brush heads are attached to a battery-powered machine and once turned on, the brush moves in a repetitive motion (either side-to-side, or in circular patterns) over your skin. This motion is designed to remove the dirt and grime that collect in your pores (pollution, makeup residue, sweat, etc.). The brushes simultaneously exfoliate your skin, removing the surface layer of dead skin cells, and leaving a glowing and more even complexion.

The Vanity Planet Ultimate Skin Spa came with a set of three brushes – a Daily Cleansing brush, an Exfoliating brush and a Silicone brush that’s particularly good for sensitive skin (like mine!). All you need to do is squirt a bit of cleanser on top of the brush and buff buff buff ya face.

Vanity Planet Ultimate Skin Spa Facial Cleansing System

The device can rotate at two speeds – the lowest speed is perfect for using with the Daily Cleansing brush before bed when you’re getting rid of any excess makeup or grime. The highest speed is great to use with the Exfoliating brush to create a deeper clean and improve your complexion.

The Silicone Facial brush has got to be my favourite though. At first appearance, it looks slightly intimidating – it consists of a collection of sharp-looking spikes stuck to a wide plastic plate. However when it touches your skin you realise how gentle and soft these so-called ‘spikes’ actually are. When it is rotating at a low speed against your face it feels like a tingly massage – heavenly! Rather than scrubbing or buffing like the other two brushes, the Silicone brush is designed to have a more gentle cleansing and massaging effect.

Vanity Planet Ultimate Skin Spa Facial Cleansing System

My fave things about the Vanity Planet Ultimate Skin Spa?

  • It exfoliates, buffs and cleanses – what better all-in-one tool could you want for your skincare routine?
  • My skin feels softer, cleaner and not taut after use – I often find that using cleansing products/tools can make my skin feel stiff and tight afterwards, but not with this one!
  • It’s thought that these motorised cleansing brushes can be particularly beneficial for those with acne! It’s too early for me to conclude that it has/hasn’t helped with my own acne but I’m keen to see how long-term use might improve the overall quality of my skin.
  • The Silicone brush really does feel amazing.
  • Vanity Planet is a completely CRUELTY-FREE company!

What isn’t so good about it?

  • It requires a bit more effort and time compared to your average rub-ya-face-with-soap routine, although I’d say those extra few minutes are worth it to get a deeper clean.
  • Those with particularly sensitive skin should be more wary of cleansing brushes in general – I have sensitive and red-prone skin, so I take care not to put too much pressure on the brush on my face or buff too vigorously. As recommended by Vanity Planet (for all skin types), I only use the Exfoliating brush once per week.
  • The set doesn’t include batteries.

My overall opinion of the Ultimate Skin Spa is really positive, and I’m excited to see how it benefits my skin further the longer that I use it for.

Click here if you want to go straight to the product on the Vanity Planet website to find out a bit more, and have a lil browse at the other gorgeous health, beauty and wellness items they sell while you’re there!

Love,

Ellie