I should probably point out, this is as near to mindfulness as I get.
So yesterday, I had my first Pilates lesson in coming up to two years. Oh. My. Lord. How could I have gone so long without it? I am about to email them to see if I can in fact do another session each week as I loved it so much.
Now I'm not great at switching off so I will fess up and admit that Pilates is as near to mindfulness, relaxation and any form of meditation as I get.
So whilst I've not been great at taking some mindful time for me, I find it much easier to take time to look after myself. Ok when I say "take time" I actually do mean think about myself and buy something.... Yes, I'm all about the quick, immediate fix (aren't so many of us?)
We all have busy and stressful lives and you get used to the stresses and strains of your own. It's relative and everyone faces different sorts of challenges.
But being the mum of an Autistic child (having two neurotypical ones as well) can sometimes be more than a little draining. To give you an idea Seeing as this happened on Monday...
Yes that's my house key and yes it's snapped.
So this is one of those random extra blogs which I do every now and again.
We all know that I am NO beauty expert but what I will admit I am pretty darn good at is working out what makes me happy. And one thing guaranteed to make me feel better is discovering a new wash/fragrance set combo that I love.
And the one I've discovered recently goes a step better than that. It makes me smell French. In a good Parisian way, I have to quickly point out, as opposed to truck driver somewhere on the outskirts of Calais... Not saying that they don't smell fabulous but in my head, I would rather the image be a chic Parisian one. OK? Miles cheaper than dressing head to toe in Maje, Sandro and Zadig et Voltaire.
So I have already introduced you to my love of Nuxe but I've discovered another. This, to many, may be old news - there's nothing new about this brand, but it certainly does fly under the radar with regards to being readily available on the high street.
Caudalie. And specifically their range Caudalie Divine. For my birthday I was given the Caudalie Divine Scrub £21.50 (but if you order from Look Fantastic and use the code Summer, you can get up to 20% off).
Now I first used this in the morning, so no, I hadn't been drinking but honestly - I felt amazing after it. Not only is it a fabulous and effective body scrub, the smell is heavenly. And lasts. For hours. On your skin after having washed it off even. Plus a little goes a long way.
However to make it last even longer, I have just ordered the Divine Oil.
Caudalie Divine Oil in 50ml - ideal for travelling. £17.50 pre discount. They also do it in a 100ml size for £27.00
Then, with Summer coming up, I am really keen to try this....
Caudalie Divine Legs £23.40 Gets good reviews... Fabulous for those Summer days coming up when you want to wear a skirt... have your legs Public ready in a matter of minutes by all accounts... No streaking guaranteed apparently.
And finally, the one that I have already treated myself to and officially adore is the fragrance. I swear to god if you shut your eyes, I COULD BE Emmanuelle Alt (ish... and no I have no idea if this is what she wears but this is what ALL gorgeous French women smell like. Honestly/slightly in my dreams).
Caudalie Divine Fragrance EDP was £39 now £35.10 (on special offer by all accounts.. there is no telling with the Look Fantastic or Feel Unique websites. I tend to check both as they always always have offers on so order from whichever is cheapest at the time. Both super speedy and both free delivery. What's not to love? Ok so no Boots Advantage points...but they don't sell Caudalie at Boots. Which - as a bolshy Aquarian is another reason to fall in love with it a little bit more).
The second thing that makes me feel instantly better is having good hair. And whilst I tried the Olaplex treatment for my hair, I didn't use the follow up conditioner which I think does make all the difference. So, frankly, it was great for one hairwash and then... meh.
So in the meantime - and on the advice of a friend as my hair was getting me down - I tried the Philip Kingsley Elasticizer. Now I have only used it once but I am really really impressed with the results for one use. Will be using it again tomorrow (I am a binner and only wash my hair once a week) but so far, so very pleased.
Philip Kingsley Elasticizer £17.50 (there are larger pots to buy which are obviously more economical but I tried the smaller size out first). I was a fool and bought mine (in total desperation) from John Lewis and so didn't get a discount. Should definitely have ordered from either Feel Unique or Look Fantastic.
And SOD - I would have ordered this had I seen this as I'd love to try the shampoo as well.
Philip Kingsley Elasticizer Moisture Extreme Jet Set Pack £25
Finally, when it comes to hair, the piece of equipment that has saved me a fortune in blow dries (I have gone from having my hair blow dried pretty much every week/every other week when it was longer and layered to NEVER) is this beauty. Now it will only work on hair that is around shoulder length - or I suppose you could just curl the bottom half of your hair if it's longer, but I can do my entire head from rough dry (aka Monica in the Caribbean stylee hair) to perfect curls in ten minutes. No word of a lie - TEN minutes. It paid for itself in less than a month with no blow dries at the salon.
Babyliss Curl Secret was £119 now £107.10
So finishing with two other feel good factors, again both a tad left field.
First up candles. I am a complete candle nutjob. The husband reckons they're the grown up girl's equivalent of smelly rubbers (sounds all sorts of wrong when you write it like that.... but that is what we used to call them when we were young no? Wrong diddly). Not that we spend our pocket money on them but they are an instant pick me up. As all my friends will know, you can pretty much guarantee if I give you a present - it's going to be a candle of some sort.
And I have found an amazing new range - Brown and Drury. I was sent a candle before Christmas which we used in the sittting room but last week I used it in the kitchen/dining room which is a pretty big open space. Usually it's only the three wick Neom candles that work in there - others you can't smell at all but lo and behold, I have discovered one that does.
The best thing though? If you send back your candle jar, they will refill it and resend it to you for only £15. Genius genius genius. Gail, whose company it is, has worked so hard in setting it up so all credit to her - the candles rock - genuinely as good if not better than ones that are double the cost. And whilst I am no beauty expert, one thing I do know is candles.
I have the 1681 Pomegranate Candle and it is sublime. £25 This is the one I have and adore. They also have room diffusers, which I haven't tried (but they do also have a refill service for these too).
And finally... well I couldn't do an entire blog without mentioning clothes. But for once - ones that you might be able to get for free. Competition time. The lovely people who I've worked with at hush are running a competition which you can enter both through my website , through the rather gorgeous Wear and Where site and hush's Facebook page.
Best sort of mindfulness activity as it's free. And someone's got to win...
So to launch their new beachwear range, hush are running a "Watch to Win" competition. Their new beachwear is perfect for any beach - from Ibiza to Aldeburgh (which is handy because, as beaches go, this is where I shall mostly be hanging out this Summer).
To win, you need to watch this video (click on that link) and pause it on the outfit you would like to win, making a note of the time. If you then comment underneath HERE (not on You Tube) for your chance to win that outfit, using the time and the appropriate hastag eg "#myhushpick 1.09". If you have won, next Tuesday I will reply to your specific comment with details on how to claim your prize. Clear as mud?!
You can enter once through my site, once through the Facebook page and one through Wear and Where's site too. T&C's* are below but the competition runs from today Thursday 21st April only until Monday the 25th.
And speaking of little things that make you happy - oh hello new feet. Yes, so in the end, I managed to get hold of the original red soft leather Gucci loafers - the ones I wanted but simply could NOT find. They suddenly had ONE pair in my size on Net a Porter and it's definitely worth hawking the page if you want a pair as they do come back into stock. I had ordered the black backless one from Matches but they were just a SMIDGE (literally 2mm) too small. As a lovely friend of mine said the other day "if you're having to ask advice on whether something is too small, you know the answer". So so so true. I do need a 40 in them after all that, even though in the shop, the 39.5 pair they had there was perfect (SO should have bought them, as now they're sold out).
BUT these are complete classics and if I could tell you how comfortable they are? They make trainers feel like heels. It's just lucky they don't have the black ones in stock. I would seriously contemplate selling a child....
Navy and white breton tee - H&M
Distressed jeans - Zara
Navy Ada blazer - Marks and Spencer
Red Loafers - Gucci
Patent leopard print bag - Tory Burch
Ok... you may have noticed that I am wearing jeans. I have a confession to make... my self imposed ban on blue denim is over. O.V.E.R. All of a sudden I cannot get enough of them and have been asked so often recently about blue styles that I am on a mission. So what are your favourite styles at the moment? For the Summer, I rarely do the skinny thing. Mind you - with my new found love of Pilates, I expect to have a washboard stomach within a fortnight so skinnies and a little tee may well be my Summer uniform of choice. And maybe not.
Looser jeans it is for me. Distressed I have in spades. I feel a hankering for smart jeans coming on... You? Let the search begin... I have exactly what I want in mind so chances of me finding them are ZERO.
*T&C's for competition. Please read.
This competition is only open to people ages 18 or over, excluding employees and the immediate families of hush or anyone professionally connected with the promotion.
The prize is as states as an outfit but cannot include any items outside of the the video.
There is no cash alternative.
The outfit cost must not exceed £350 RRP value.
The prize si subject to availbilty. If items chosen are unavailable for any reason, a suitable replacement of a similar value will be offered by hush. This does NOT include footwear.
The prize cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer.
The prize must be claimed by the winner within 7 days of announcement or a new winner will be chosen.
The competition ends at 3pm on Monday 25th April.
Winners chosen at random and announced after 5pm but prior to launch at 9am on Tuesday 26th April.