Roast potato omelettes are AMAZING….and other essential things I’ve learned in lockdown

It’s been a weird old time. There has been horrendous suffering and pain, there’s no denying that. But there have also been positive changes, discoveries and seemingly much more compassion floating about in the air. I hope it carries on floating as the weeks and months go on. Talking of floating, I’ve been drifting between the ‘I want to read/watch/plan/do/make/dream everything and knowing I need to soak some of the calm of this time up. I think there’s definitely a happy medium. No doubt we’re all using that bit of extra brain space thinking about what we want out of life, what’s important and what we can leave in pre-lockdown world. We also might be using some of that time to learn some completely random and seemingly useless things…. That perhaps might not have emerged otherwise.

I thought I would share a few *completely essential* things I’ve learnt in lockdown….

1. Roast Potato Omelettes are AMAZING. So much so, that it justifies the use of capital letters for Roast, Potato and Omelette. I use my Dad’s flawless roast potato recipe and have recently been making extra each week after I discovered my new holy grail recipe. I crisp them up again in a bit of butter in the pan before I add the whisked egg, perhaps throw a few slices of mushroom in there too, OBVIOUSLY add cheese (goat if you’re asking) and voila! Just a sexier version of a Spanish omelette really….

2. My dog Ted LOVES yoga. Every single time I put my mat out, he looks up at me as if to say ‘is that for me?’, trots over and takes prime position right in the middle. I don’t know whether it’s the mat, the relaxing voices on the other end of the virtual class, or just knowing I won’t be moving for the next hour (clingy pup problems)… but he absolutely loves it.

3. I love birds. The comforting sound of bird song in the morning, the gathering of robins, blue tits & goldfinches on our bird feeders, the ritual of sitting with a coffee, watching them dip and dive across the garden. I know, I’ve gone completely loopy, but it really is lovely.

4. Table football is highly addictive. We started playing evening tournaments, scratching our scores into an old piece of slate and became extremely loyal to our teams. I’m always blue. Always. The plastic goalies with no faces even have names now so we can cheer them on when the ball comes shooting towards them. You know I said I’d gone loopy? Second example.

5. Anne Tyler novels are like a warm hug, a bubble bath, a mug of hot chocolate all at once. (With a side of chopping onions.) They’re the perfect, comforting read for a time like this, although they do have a tendency to knock you sideways with a ‘dagger in the heart’ style sentence.

6. Zoom Articulate is great. We have (v originally) been having weekly games nights with our close friends and as an alternative to a quiz, I would highly recommend Articulate. Obviously both families have to have the game, but pick teams across each family and away you go. If there’s a lag in the connection though, you’ll have to shout STOP THE TIMER STOP THE TIMER…. It gets serious.

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed and I hope you all keep on keeping on….while enjoying the random learnings as well as the really important ones xx

Top 5 scar covering, spot camouflaging CONCEALERS

As someone who has struggled with their skin on and off through most of my teenage and early twenties life, I have been on the hunt for the best concealers for as long as I can remember. I want as natural as possible, yet still good coverage makeup and when the day comes where I can expose my blemish free skin all the time, I will be thrilled! In the meantime, here are my top 5 concealers for covering those nasty scars and persistent spots! In no particular order… (I feel like Dermot O’Leary on the X factor)

  1. Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage Concealer

This palette has 2 shades, which I usually mix to create the perfect coverage and colour. I use this product just for spots and scars, never under my eyes as it has quite a thick consistency. It is my favourite at the moment for really stubborn blemishes that need a little bit more help to stay hidden. I use it with either a small concealer brush or my fingers to create a more natural look.

2. Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer

I love this and have for quite a few years. It has such a gorgeous consistency, really smooth and light yet pretty good coverage and definitely buildable. It has a small spongy applicator and I find that it lasts ages. When I run out of my favourite under-eye concealer (mentioned next), I could use a small amount of this to brighten up my dark circles.

3. Charlotte Tilbury Magic Away Concealer

This is quite a new one and I absolutely love it. I have never found a concealer that genuinely feels as though I don’t have any makeup on before this one. It has the lightest feel, and I wear it on its own if I want to have a ‘no makeup makeup day’. I also love the packaging, and twisty large sponge applicator. I wear this under my eyes and it never feels heavy. I also have a different shade that I use to conceal spots or scars. Despite its super light feel, it gives great, buildable coverage.

4. Bobbi Brown Instant Full Cover Concealer

I have used this for a couple of years on and off and I still think it’s great. It has a similar consistency to the Laura Mercier concealer but it is in a tube rather than palette. Pretty thick, so you only need the smallest amount, but I definitely thought it was worth a mention.

5. Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-In-Place Flawless Wear Concealer

Now this is faster to use than say, but I couldn’t not mention this concealer. The queen of full coverage with the Double Wear range, Estée Lauder has nailed the formulation, with a creamy and light yet brilliant coverage concealer.

I obviously don’t use all of these at once and I prefer to wear a lighter coverage foundation and then just cover my blemishes with concealer. I would love to just embrace my skin totally as it is and I’m really trying (emphasis on the trying!!!) to be more accepting of myself…but still, I like a helping hand every now and then, so I hope this was useful!

The Tale of the Magical Growing Eyelashes

Once upon a time, there was a pair of eyes… No I don’t think this is going to work.. I’ll start again. So, over a year ago in about November 2016, I started reading reviews about an eyelash growth solution called Lilash, and as a beauty junkie who is forever trying new products, I really wanted to give it a go. I am all for big full lashes and I was desperate to grow my own natural lashes. I had been having LVL (Life, Volume and Length) treatments, which basically gave my own lashes a perm, and the results I had were amazing. It is a pretty bizarre treatment in which your eyes are closed, another eyelid is ‘built’ on top of your own (I’m really not explaining this too well…) and your lashes are almost folded up and tinted. Depending on what your natural lashes were like before, you are left with lashes that could potentially pass as falsies. Now I have naturally very dark eyelashes, but they weren’t super long on their own so LVL was the answer for me at the time.

When I was a bit younger and first started wearing mascara, I used to pick my mascara off of my eyelashes at the end of the day, which caused some of them to fall out, leaving me with bald patches and it took me a really long time to grow them back to the point they were when I was having the LVL treatments. However, I wanted to try something that would avoid me having to go and get my eyelashes done and that I could maintain myself. I saw some brilliant results and reviews from Lilash and so I thought I would go for it. I started using it in January 2017, firstly with a 3 month tube and then bought the 6 month one after- because my eyelashes were looking INSANE. I don’t want to blow my eyelashes’ trumpet…but they did. I was constantly getting compliments on my lashes and I was asked if they were fake virtually every day, all I would respond was….it’s Lilash.

You use it once a day, at any time ( I apply mine at night before I go to sleep) and apply it how you would liquid liner, just a thin line of the solution on your upper lash line. You apply it for 12 weeks consistently and let the results speak for themselves. After the 12 weeks, you have a week long break and then start again. The only thing about Lilash is that once you start, to maintain the results you have to keep applying it, and it is pretty pricey. But considering how much lash extensions and LVL treatments are and how regularly you have to go, it is completely worth it in my opinion. Also, because I have been using it for so long now, I only apply it every other night, which means the tube lasts even longer.

You would think I got commission from the amount I talk about it (please), but you can order directly from their website to be sure you have the right one, as there are many copies on the market. I must have easily told 50 people about it… and I have tried other similar products such as Revitalash and never had the same sort of outcome.  I really really would recommend it for anyone that wants to grow their own lashes rather than wear extensions, experience the wizardry of Lilash and still be able to wear mascara.

Pat yourself on the back if you have made it to the end of this post… I am aware there is more to life than eyelashes, but I just wanted to share a product that I absolutely love and try to break the record for the number of times the word ‘lashes’ is used in a blog post. 🙂

PS. In the photo I only have the tiniest bit of mascara on!!!!

 

Podcasts…and why I love them

In 2016 I was recommended the podcast ‘My Dad Wrote a Porno’ with Alice Levine, Jamie Morton and James Cooper. Before this, I never really knew what a podcast was, I didn’t even know that the app is installed already into iPhones and I had it all along. Little did I know how much I was missing…. the world of podcasts have transformed my car journeys, my morning routine and have just generally improved my life. ‘My Dad Wrote a Porno’ is basically three friends reading out and commenting on a terrible (and I mean terrible) erotic fiction book that Jamie’s Dad wrote… Yes that’s right, his Dad. They read a chapter per episode and it is hilarious, leg crossingly cringe worthy and just bloody brilliant. The book is called ‘Belinda Blinked’ and Jamie’s Dad’s pen name is ‘Rocky Flintstone’…. I think that tells you all you need to know. Luckily (or unluckily depending on how you want to look at it), there have been three series so far, as Rocky has written several books and I am eagerly awaiting the fourth, which I believe will be out next year. My obsession has got to the point where my friend and I have booked to see the live tour… I’m not sure if that is something to be shouting from the roof tops, but there you go.

I would so recommend this if you want some light hearted, witty listening or just a good laugh, as I have almost had to pull over the car once as I was laughing so hard.

So that was my first experience with podcasts, and from then on I have trawled the Podcast charts for my next obsession and have listened to quite a few others that I think are worth a mention.

  1. The High Low

I got into this podcast during the back end of last year, and have been putting it on at any possible moment and loving every episode. Journalists Dolly Alderton and Pandora Sykes are the faces behind this brilliantly engaging, interesting and funny podcast in which they discuss what they have been reading, watching and listening to each week along with discussing news stories from around the world at the time of recording. It is a news and pop culture podcast, arguing that you can be interested in the trivial and the political. They always recommend the best reads, whether they are books or articles and discuss everything from ‘The Fall of Hollywood’s Ultimate Sex Predator, Harvey Weinstein’ to the BBC pay gap, to Blac Chyna suing the entire Kardashian family…. and I love it.

2.  Serial

This was recommended to me by one of my cousins last year, as I love any crime/thriller novels and documentaries and she told me I would find this completely gripping… and I did. If you have listened to the ‘This American Life’ podcast, then you might recognise the producer, Sarah Koenig from there. It has a couple of series so far and follows real life cases which I find so interesting, as Sarah digs deep, speaking to family members and the accused from jail, attempting to make sense of the case. They are typically murder cases, which include quite a lot of detail, so if you don’t like that sort of thing, I would suggest giving it a miss. The first series follows the story of Adnan Syed who was charged with the murder of his ex girlfriend in 2000 but maintains his innocence to this day. The podcast delves into potential motives, other suspects and hears directly from Adnan, whose case was appealed after Season 1 of Serial. If you watched Making a Murderer on Netflix or read any sort of crime novels then you will enjoy (is that the right word?) listening to this podcast.

There are several others that I have really enjoyed or that I’m working my way through, but I’ll leave it at that for now. For anyone who has never listened to a podcast before, I would thoroughly recommend plunging into the world of pornos, pop culture and innocence pleas.

Why Acupuncture is AMAZING

I uploaded my first post nearly two months ago, I can’t actually believe it has taken me this long to write another one. I haven’t even shared my blog yet so it currently has virtually 0 views. Yippee. Life has just been super busy, so much has happened. I started my final year at university; massively regretting taking for granted all of that blissfully free time over the summer, where I actually had time to iron my jeans. I am now fully into my first term, counting down the days until the Christmas break, where I will be panicking about keeping up with my work in between wrapping presents and packing for our New Year trip to Iceland… bring on the Blue Lagoon.

I can’t wait for a bit of time off, even though I won’t be able to forget about uni work I am so excited to enjoy the festive season, read for pleasure and reignite my love affair with the gym. I started my new job at a fashion and gift retailer, which I’m really enjoying, even the early 7am delivery shifts on a Friday morning. It is tiring but I have realised how much I enjoy wrapping Christmas decorations in tissue paper, which I may never have known about myself had I not started working there. I have met some lovely people and it really is a fab place to work.

What being this busy has taught me is that I really need to find time for myself. I’m not someone who can just keep ploughing on and on and on without coming up for air. I do need a bubble bath every now and then, and I do need to delve into a gripping book, and I also need to watch a bit of trash telly (Britain’s Next Top Model is my programme of choice for these moments). I love being busy, and feeling like I’m working towards something and being productive, but moments of rest and recharging are important too. Something that has helped me to realise this more than ever is acupuncture.

I started having acupuncture roughly once a month about a year and a half ago, maybe a bit less, and I absolutely adore it. It gives me a space to talk, to refresh and relax. Now I am not a needle person, I cannot stand blood tests, flu jabs… all that jazz, but when I say these don’t bother me, I really mean it. They are pretty much like bendy tooth picks and 95% of the time they don’t hurt. That 5% of the time, as soon as it hurts, she takes the needle out and puts it somewhere else. You can have them put in anywhere really, and each place means something different, from happiness, to stress and boosting your immune system.

I feel so relaxed when I’m there, it just feels like a safe bubble that I can enter into for an hour and then get on with my day. You lie on a bed under blankets in your bra and knickers; it pretty much feels like a spa treatment crossed with therapy. Carolyn (my acupuncturist) asks me about what has been happening my life in between the sessions, how I’m feeling mentally, physically, every kind of way, and then feels my pulses ( we have more than one and I never knew). She feels my heart pulse, lung pulse, liver, kidneys, all through my wrists. She then puts the needles wherever she feels that it would most benefit me on that particular day.

I go to acupuncture for all sorts of reasons, but mainly for my overall well being and health, but you can go for anything, from an injury, aches and pains, problematic skin, mental health… the list goes on. The main motive for me is to just have some time to myself, where I can say anything without being judged, to someone who doesn’t know everyone in my life, while giving me brilliant advice in a peaceful environment and using the needles to improve my sleep, stress, and how my body functions and heals.

I always look forward to my appointments and I can’t imagine not going now, as I really feel revived mentally after I leave. I never knew anything about it before I started going, and I might have thought it was all a bit hippy but I have felt the benefits and I could not recommend it more. In the busy world we live in, she always reminds me that taking time for myself is not selfish but necessary and the people who may appear to have their shit together running on 4 hours sleep actually might be crying out for some time to iron their jeans and devour the latest crime thriller.