Specific products mentioned within this post: Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella, Living my best li(f)e by Claire Frost, The next person you meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom, The Longest Holiday by Paige Toon, Bleach London’s Rosé Shampoo & Conditioner, Morrison’s eco brand Tampons, Pukka Herbs' Night Time Tea.
Self-care for the mind...
I love reading. Books, magazines, articles – you name it! But I must admit, when it comes to books, I’m not very adventurous at all. I use reading as a form of escapism to give my mind a well needed rest, and so I am strictly not a fan of any book where I need to pay close attention to every minute detail for fear of getting lost. I love love stories and I love a feel-good read… because that’s what self-care is about. Feeling good. So here are the four books I read in April, guaranteed to give your mind a rest and make you feel good.
Surprise Me – Sophie Kinsella: An extremely clever and emotional gaze into a modern marriage that had me belly-laughing one minute and holding my breath the next. Kinsella poses the question of how long did you really think forever would be when you said, ‘I do’? And what would happen if it turned out to be a whole lot longer than you realised?
Living My Best Li(f)e – Claire Frost: A fun story of friendship led by a group of female powerhouses, all offering a different essence to the story. I loved the insta vs. reality themes running throughout, reminding you that life isn’t always how it appears to be online. I am gagging for both a sequel to this story, and to be part of this fabulous fictitious friendship group!
The Next Person You Meet in Heaven – Mitch Albom: 'The 5 People You Meet in Heaven' is my favourite. Book. Ever. And I could not wait to read the sequel which explores another character from the original story! Albom’s writing is simplistic and easy to read – what makes his books so special is the sporadic sprinkling of heart aching wisdom dotted throughout.
The Longest Holiday – Paige Toon: If you would like to live vicariously through a spine-tingling summer romance, then this book is for you! I read this when the sun was shining with a glass of wine in one hand and the book in the other - a match made in heaven. There are plenty of twists throughout to keep you yearning for more! A blissful, summer read.
Side note: If you have a hefty pile of books in your bedroom (or maybe they’re scattered all over your home), and you’re agonising over how you can display them and keep them looking tidy… then look no further. Buy a cheap, small bookcase (I got mine from Wilko's for £12), and organise them by colour! For a minimalist look keep it to just books or for a more rustic, ‘organised chaos’ vibe add some colour coordinated trinkets and perfume bottles.
Self-care for the body...
If there were ever time to do or try something new, it’s definitely now! According to my social media feeds, most people seem to be adopting this philosophy and shaving their heads. I mean, why not!!! Hairdressers are closed and if it all goes tits up, you don’t have to show your face in public for a while, saving you any embarrassment. To me, that’s a win, win situation. While I’m not on the verge of picking up the clippers and going full Britney, I did decide that since my hair is all roots and no play right now, why not have a bit of fun? After all, a bit of pink never hurt anyone...
PINK HAIR, DON’T CARE
I had been absolutely dying to try the Bleach London colour shampoo/conditioner for ages and I’m glad that I finally bit the bullet and gave it a whirl. I bought the ‘Rose’ shampoo and conditioner from Boots for about £15, waited what felt like an eternity for the delivery (it was actually only a week but I’m incredibly inpatient), and then got to work!
My verdict: I had no idea how powerful the colour in the shampoo was going to be, especially since my hair is very long and very thick. On the bottle it describes the end result as a ‘pink rinse’, so I was very prepared for the fact it wasn’t going to give my hair the full, even coverage that a dye would… nevertheless, I persisted. It took me using the shampoo/conditioner on two consecutive days to get my hair as pink as the picture above – which was my ideal colour! I was really impressed with the product and got TONS of compliments which I loved. Obvs you get the odd bit of your hair at the root being quite blonde still and some of your mid-lengths being slightly pinker than the rest but as far as a ‘pink rinse’ goes, I love it!
The true power of the Bleach London Rose Shampoo and Conditioner will be in it’s power to wash out, so I will update in due course – hopefully it won't be long as the website says about 3 washes. If it’s true to its word and is as temporary as it says, I’ll 100% use it again… especially in the summer months.
Plus the MAHOOSIVE pro is that Bleach London is an ethical brand and their products are vegan-friendly, cruelty-free and in packaging which is made from 100% recycled materials… what’s not to love?
Speaking of ethical brands…
We live in an era where we have no choice but to be increasingly environmentally conscious when shopping. It’s incredibly easy to make eco-friendly changes in some aspects of our daily lives but in others, it’s quite the challenge. I’m very much of the opinion that it shouldn’t be down to the consumer to seek out the ethical choices, but the onus should instead fall on the big corporations who mass-produce products with a huge carbon footprint, which leave consumers with very few alternatives.
Period products are a market which is under the spotlight quite a bit in terms of the materials and methods used to produce the monthly essentials. While every day there seems to be a new brand rearing its head with innovative ways to have a eco-friendlier period, not only do these products appear to don a pretty hefty price tag but they very rarely make it onto the mainstream supermarket shelves in the UK.
I was absolutely thrilled when shopping for tampons in Morrisons and I spotted their own-brand environmentally conscious range, that are better for both the planet and your body when compared with the classic brands!
Why these tampons are amazing:
Made from renewable, plant-based materials
They are chlorine and fragrance free
100% organic cotton
Two different absorbencies (saves you buying two boxes for one period!)
They have a whole sustainable range including pads and pantyliners
What could be better?:
They cost more per tampon than the equivalent Tampax (60p more for a box of twenty, but well worth the extra spend if you can stretch it)
The applicator can be a bit stiff, so insertion is not always smooth
I know there is more drastic alternatives out there like switching to a menstrual cup, but for me and my conscience, having the ability to choose a more eco-friendly tampon has helped in my quest to make better, more ethical choices when it comes to my period. Hopefully this is a sign of significant changes to come for the period product industry!
Self-care for the soul...
Nothing quite calms my stresses and alleviates my anxiety like a nice, hot cup of tea. I honestly don’t think there is anything quite like it – a hug for your insides! I feel sorry for those who do not like tea because boy are they missing out on the soul-soothing magic. Each day starts and finishes exactly the same for me, sitting in bed with a cuppa (although I won’t lie, on the odd occasions I do trade it in for a glass of rose) (erm, not in the mornings though!).
My cup of tea is as much a key element of my daily routine as brushing my teeth. Although the classic English breakfast tea will always reign supreme in my eyes, I love trying different flavoured teas too…
During my first year of uni, I barely slept a wink. And the sleep that I did manage to get was very rarely at night but instead was formed in dribs and drabs throughout the day. I was in a permanently exhausted haze that took months to even attempt to rectify. What worked for me in the end – and trust me, it was no easy, quick fix – was a sleep routine. And it might sound ridiculous, but a piping hot cuppa became an essential part of this routine.
Now, nothing can ever top a classic cuppa but I’m always conscious that when I’m totting up an average of six cups a day, that’s a fair bit of caffeine…and I don’t want to risk being wired just before bed. So, trying a caffeine-free flavoured tea as a replacement bedtime brew is something I’m always up for. I follow ‘Pukka Herbs’ on insta and find their posts which explain the medicinal values of different herbs, consistently fascinating. This is what made me run straight to Morrison’s to find myself some of their lavender flavoured ‘Night-time Tea’.
My verdict: LOVED IT! I hadn’t tried tea containing lavender before and I was cautious of it perhaps being over-powering, but it was really well balanced with the liquorice-y flavour – I did add a drop of honey out of habit to make sure it wasn’t bitter. I would definitely recommend this as one to try if you are into trying different teas… and I genuinely think it made me sleepy (I mean, I drank it at 9:15pm so maybe I was tired anyway but still – delish!). Also ‘Pukka’ use 100% organic, ethically sourced, Fairtrade ingredients in their teas so it’s a winning brand all round.
TOP TIP – don’t use piping-hot boiled water for flavoured tea!!! Boil the kettle, wait 5-10 mins and then pour over your tea bag and leave to brew… this ensures a less pungent, in-your-face, herby flavour.
Need something to brighten your day?
If pretty, colourful things make your soul happy, then we could be great friends! My final soul-caring tip for April, is inspired by the beaming sunshine we’ve all enjoyed over the last couple of weeks. Spring has officially sprung with flowers blooming left, right and centre and blossoms decorating our gardens in the wind.
If you’re looking for a way to make your home as bright as your garden and lift your spirits in the process, you can’t go far wrong with a bunch or two of flowers. Not only are they gorgeous to look at, but they smell incredible too! You don’t need to fork out much for them either… while garden centres may be closed, most big supermarkets have some smaller bunches in stock for around £3 – so on your next essential shop, why not flutter over to the fresh flower section and buy whichever bunch makes you feel the happiest?
Hay fever sufferers, do not fear! You can still join in on the fun with an artificial equivalent... and why not buy some essential oils to drip over them so you can enjoy the sweet summery smells too, without risking a reaction?! ...and since they don’t have a shelf life, maybe you are the real winners here!
See in you in a month's time for the May Edition of mind, body and soul...
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