Monday, 17 December 2018

5 Ways to Beat SAD This Winter



Whilst Christmas might be just around the corner, it doesn't take away from the fact that this time of year can be pretty tough for a lot of us. We wake up and it's dark, go home and it's dark, it's constantly freezing cold and the sun is nowhere to be seen. It's definitely a far cry from the glorious summer we had mere months ago.

Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, as it is most commonly known, affects around one in 15 people in the UK alone every year, between September and April. Caused by lack of sunlight and Vitamin D, SAD saps the life out of many of us during the winter months. It leaves us feeling down, depressed, unmotivated and lethargic. It's also known as 'winter depression', which basically sums up the effect it has on many of us.

I definitely feel it at this time of the year - as much as I love getting cosy with a hot chocolate and curling up in front of the TV, the chilly weather and near-constant darkness definitely affects my mood. I suffer with depression on and off as it is, but during the winter it definitely takes a turn for the worst. I know a lot of you guys must feel the winter blues too, so I thought I'd put together a few tips for beating SAD this winter.

Exercise 

I know - especially with Christmas on the way (the season of being lazy, am I right?!) - exercise is probably the last thing you have on your mind. And I totally feel you - exercise used to be something I hated. However, after regularly going to the gym I've realised just how much of a mood boost it is. Whilst it can be pretty difficult to get the motivation to go, once I'm there and once I'm home I feel so much happier. I can go from feeling really low beforehand to dancing around the kitchen afterwards - it's honestly a little miracle worker. Whether it's a brisk walk with the dog, a trip to the gym or an exercise DVD at home - get moving and I promise you'll start to kick those SAD symptoms. 

Keep Busy

December can be a really lonely month for a lot of us - everyone is busy seeing family for Christmas or skint from all the presents they've been buying, and when it's so gloomy and unappealing outside it can be easy to stay cooped up inside and cut yourself off from people. It's so important to keep in touch with friends during the winter though - meet up for dinner, join a class, go for a hot chocolate or venture out on a Christmas shopping trip - getting out and keeping busy will have you feeling so much better than staying cooped up inside. 

Get a Good Night's Sleep

Sleep is one of my favourite things in the world, but it's something lots of us take for granted. It's also so important at this time of year, when we're feeling so tired and lethargic as it is. Sleep issues are really common with those suffering with SAD - lots of us oversleep, or take naps, leading to poor quality sleep which in turn just makes us feel even more tired and grumpy. Have a good bedtime routine and avoid taking naps if you can - instead, turn your bed into a haven of relaxation at nighttime so that you get the best quality sleep, and the right amount (around 8-9 hours) when you should. It's vital to invest in a really good quality mattress and pillow so that you get the best sleep you can (it makes such a difference), and you'll wake up feeling a million times better. 

Embrace All Things Hygge

While it's important to get out and about and keep busy at this time of year, it's also great to embrace all things "hygge" and cosy when you are at home. Light some candles, grab a good book and a chunky blanket, turn your phone and laptop off and just enjoy it. The Danish swear by it to boost happiness, and I can totally see why. Bonus points if you have a log fire to snuggle up in front of! 

Light Therapy

Another great option for SAD sufferers is light therapy. Whilst it sounds a tad scary, it isn't at all - it basically means investing in a special lamp or light box which simulates exposure to sunlight, so your mind is tricked into thinking it's getting the light it needs. There are countless lamps on the market, and many people swear by them to get them through the winter months.

Do you have any tips on beating SAD? Let me know!

*This post is in conjunction with TEMPUR® but all thoughts are my own.*
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Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Christmas Gift Guide: Stocking Fillers


With less than two weeks to go until the big day, I thought it was about time I put up a Christmas gift guide! I don't know about you, but I've still got a fair bit of Christmas shopping to be cracking on with. So, I'm putting together a couple of gift guides for any other last minute shoppers like myself! First up - stocking fillers.

Stocking fillers are probably my favourite gifts to buy (and to receive!). And there are so many options when it comes to buying those little extras - from key rings to lip balms, candles to phone cases and everything in between.

I don't think you can go wrong with candles at Christmas, and this gingerbread one was a total steal from the Wickford & Co range at Home Bargains (and it smells amazing!). If pamper products are more your thing, then a Body Shop body butter* is a great option, as is a mini Molton Brown shower gel (for something a bit more luxe) or a So...? body spritz*. For a really gorgeous pampering gift, Being by Sanctuary's 'I Don't Give a Frappe' set* has everything you need for a bit of relaxation and even comes in a cute plastic cup (plus it's reduced on Boots at the mo!). A total must-have for skincare fans has got to be Pixi Glow Tonic - this is a failsafe option if you're wondering what to get the skincare lover in your life!

For makeup lovers, head to TK Maxx and pick up an Anastasia Beverley Hills eyeshadow for the bargain price of £3.99 - the perfect little addition to a bigger present! While you're there, grab a Too Faced Melted Matte liquid lipstick for £5.99 - another total bargain considering these usually retail for almost £20!

If the person you're buying for is a lash addict (like myself!) then they'll love these uber glam faux mink lashes* from FalseEyelashes.co.uk - they're perfect for the party season and a really good price for a mink-style lash! Sticking with all things party, an incredible new brand I've discovered is Prima Makeup, which does these amazing Diamond Metallic Eyeshadows*. For a super glittery, full-on glam look these are insane, and a much cheaper alternative to the Stila Glitter & Glow Eyeshadows (honestly, these are just as good - but so much cheaper!)

If the person you're buying for is forever glued to their iPhone, then why not get them a unique phone case from CaseApp*? I love how you can create your own designs or choose prints you like and turn them into your very own phone case. It makes a really cute personalised gift too!

TK Maxx or Homesense are the places to be for stationery lovers - there are so many cute notebooks, sticker books and diaries in there, which make ideal stocking fillers. Or, you can find some super cute stationery bits on Etsy too - I went to one of the Etsy Christmas Gift Fairs a couple of weeks ago and stumbled across this adorable 'Crazy Dog Lady' keyring from Faye Finney - she has some super cute Christmas cards and other bits too!

If none of these tickle your fancy, I've put together a little selection of other stocking filler-y bits I've found online below. Let me know what you're hoping to get in your stocking this year!


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Sunday, 11 November 2018

My Current Skincare Routine


I've been stepping up my skincare routine lately and I'm loving the results. I'm always trying new products but these are what's working really well for me right now - my skin is looking great (if I do say so myself!) and I feel like I've finally found a routine I'm really happy with (and one I'll stick to!). This being the case, I thought I'd run through the products I'm using right now.

Nivea MicellAIR Skin Breathe Professional Makeup Remover 
So I stumbled across this one on offer in Boots when I ran out of my usual remover (Garnier Oil-Infused Micellar Cleansing Water, for anyone interested). I think this is a relatively new product and I was intrigued by the "professional" description as well as the claim to have 0% product residue and the ability to remove waterproof products. I'm really enjoying using this so far - it definitely gets my makeup off with ease, particularly my eye makeup, and I do find I'm using a lot less cotton pads than I was with my previous makeup remover. I think this will be my go-to from now on, as I'm really impressed with it!

Dermalogica Special Cleansing Gel* 
Once I've taken my makeup off I'll wash my face with Dermalogica's Special Cleansing Gel*. I've been a fan of Dermalogica products for years now and this is definitely up there with my faves - it leaves my skin feeling super soft and squeaky clean, and a little bit goes a long way. It's obviously not the cheapest but for the results I think it's worth the price tag!

Superdrug Naturally Radiant Glycolic Toner 
Okay so I'm a little bit in love with the Naturally Radiant Glycolic collection from Superdrug at the moment and this is definitely one of my favourite products. I love glycolic acid anyway, so when I found this range (at an amazing price) I went a bit wild and bought everything. I use this toner after I've cleansed and it makes such a difference - my skin feels so much smoother after using this!

Tropic Pure Lagoon Blemish Prevention Serum*
This one is a very recent addition to my skincare collection, but so far I'm really enjoying using it. I switch up my serums quite often depending on my skin concerns and this is amazing for when I'm blemish-prone. I've noticed quite a few blackheads lately as well as the odd spot (which I don't usually get anymore, praise Roaccutane) and this has worked wonders at clearing them up. It is weightless on the skin and full of skin-loving prebiotics, so I feel like I'm really looking after my skin when I use it.

Dermalogica Skin Smoothing Cream* 
Another favourite from Dermalogica, I absolutely swear by this as my daily moisturiser. The most exciting thing is they've recently updated their best-selling formula and it now has 48-hour hydration! I've been lucky enough to receive a tube of the updated version to try and I'll be doing an in-depth review on that soon, so keep an eye out.

Estee Lauder NightWear Plus & Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye
The older I get the more I realise I really need to keep my skin in tip-top condition, so a few months ago I started investing in some bits from Estee Lauder. I picked up the Protect & Hydrate gift set for around £22 (I've only been able to find this in store in Debenhams, so I'd say if you see it, get it!) which comes with some mini versions of their best-selling skincare products, all of which I've been loving. I also picked up the Advanced Night Repair Eye because I've heard so much about it and while I haven't noticed amazing results, I'm enjoying using it. I probably wouldn't repurchase though as it comes with a hefty price tag, but I think perhaps in a few years time it might sneak back into my routine.

Gatineau Jade Facial Roller
Another fairly recent addition, I'd heard so much buzz around jade facial rollers that I thought it was best I try one out for myself! I use this after I've cleansed my skin and applied all my serums/moisturisers etc, and it's supposed to help ease tension, eliminate toxins and de-puff the skin. The thing that appeals to me most about this product is that it's said to help you reap more of the benefits of your skincare products, as it helps fully absorb them into the skin. I'm really loving using this - I definitely think it helps my skin absorb the products more and it definitely helps ease tension! The rolling process in itself is really relaxing, and I feel as though I'm really treating my skin when using it.

L'oreal Smooth Sugars Clear Scrub
I picked this scrub up a little while ago as it was on offer (I know, I'm a sucker for discounted products) and I'm so glad I did. I always tend to neglect exfoliating for some reason, but this product makes me really look forward to it. It smells so refreshing and leaves my skin feeling super smooth and blemish-free - it works wonders for blackheads. The only downside is you don't get much in a tub, but I will most definitely be repurchasing when this runs out!

So that's my current skincare routine! Are you using any of these products at the moment too? I'd love to hear what skincare products you're loving right now!
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Sunday, 4 November 2018

Aims for Autumn


I can't actually believe how quickly this year is going. I feel like I blinked and suddenly it's November! I am, however, very excited that autumn is in full swing (I love this time of year) so I thought I'd put together a cute little post of my aims for the autumn, and things I plan on doing over the next month or so...

Do some autumn baking

Oh my gosh, I miss baking so much. I feel like every year I stop baking over the summer months and then when autumn comes around I am so ready to start creating delicious cinnamon treats, gingerbread cookies and everything else in between. I definitely want to set aside some time to make some autumn bakes for the blog, too, as I love blogging about what I make!

Cosy up and read 

Another thing I've really been neglecting lately is reading. I have about 12232 books I want/need to read but I've been prioritising Netflix over reading, which as a self-confessed bookworm is a tad embarrassing to admit! I'm so excited to just light some candles, grab my dog and my blanket and curl up and escape into a good book. If you have any recommendations do let me know! 

Buy some (more) autumn candles 

Speaking of candles, I'm a bit obsessed with them at the minute and this time of the year is just so perfect for stocking up on delicious-smelling autumn candles. I keep popping in to my local TK Maxx as they just have the best candles in there. Yankee Candle is another favourite - I've been lighting my Cinnamon Sparkle one from them all the time lately! 

Get into bullet journalling 

So I started bullet journalling a few weeks ago and I've well and truly failed at keeping it up. I really want to get back into it for autumn as I feel like now is the perfect time to get creative and make some pretty cool autumnal pages. 

Get started on my Christmas shopping

I'm so excited about Christmas already and I want to enjoy it as much as possible so getting a head-start on my Christmas shopping will most definitely help me with that. There's nothing worse than rushing around in the days running up to Christmas! There are so many cute Christmas gifts in the shop now too so I feel pretty spoilt for choice! 

Start YouTubing again

It's been so long since I last made a video and I really miss it! I can't promise how regular I'll be at uploading but I'm really excited to get back into it. Bring on the Primark hauls! 

Go to the cinema 

This time of year is so, so good for films on at the cinema. I'm gutted I've not watched 'A Star is Born' yet but I am so excited for the new Fantastic Beasts film! That and all the Christmas films that we've got to look forward to over the next few months. I can't actually remember the last time I went to the cinema, I think I feel bad going when the weather is nice but now it's cold and rainy I have the perfect excuse to go! 

What are your aims for autumn? Let me know! 
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