Sunday, 24 November 2013

Saying "screw you" to S.A.D. syndrome

Don't you just love Autumn/Winter? The golden colours, the sparkling frost in the mornings, ......the long nights, freezing cold, bad skin, too many layers on outdoors, the inevitable 10 minute strip indoors, and the general run-down effect it puts on you. 'Seasonal affective disorder' (when applied to winter) is a genuine thing.

Sluggishness, spots, dark circles and chill blains are a bad combo. So I say, SCREW YOU winter blues! Here is my How-To routine and guide to deal with it:

Gym or not to gym?
Ok, there's no denying that exercise is probably best. You stay healthy, keep your metabolism up, and also, a few of those endorphins circulating your system can't do much harm. However! welll....pfff, you know what? No one will blame you in using every excuse under the sun. It's too dark, it's too cold, I have a cold, my feet are too cold. F**k it. It's winter, winter is tough on your body, there is no shame in giving it a good old rest, or an extended rest in my case. Go home and stay cosy!

Get some wine, maybe mull it.
WINE, yes. If you're prone to a tipple, grab a bottle on your way home from tirelessly avoiding the gym, preferably red. If you have time, indulge yourself with some sugar, fruit and spices and make some mulled wine. This is by far another plus of the season and well worth your while. If you don't drink, here's a little family secret; try some 'Hot Tosh'. This, my friends, is heated up orange squash (squash, not juice). Take a seat by the fire/ plug in heater, lovely jubbly.

Face mask and skin care
So your face is looking a little tired, a few blemishes are coming through from the extreme temperature changes and multiple layers, like scarves and coats, gathering dirt and bacteria on the skin. I'm no expert, but I do work at LUSH, so I suppose I can suggest a few skin care faves.

One big suggestion for treating your skin right in winter is a nice face mask. It's all about giving yourself the me-time you deserve. Put on a mask for ten to fifteen minutes just before you run yourself a bath (seen below). Lush has a wonderful range of fresh, preservative-free face masks, hence why they are kept on ice. They have released a new one for xmas, called Rudolph, which I reckon is good for any skin type. I'm not just saying this cause I work there, I genuinely think it's great. It's packed full of everything to sort out winter skin. Cucumber and aloe vera for soothing, tea tree and witch hazel for sorting out the spots, tofu and oatmeal for moisturising and nourishing, also a bit of lavender in there.

Other products that I reckon you should look for is anything with Vitamin C in, apparently BodyShop have a great range. I also like the Eau Roma toner water, a wonderfully simple and gentle cleanser addition and alternative. Always, always use a moisturiser, but make sure it's right for your skin. Too heavy and it can cause spots, too light and it might dry it out. I have quite tolerant skin, but like a light cover, and absolutely love the brand Simple.

Oh, you're a shower person? WHAT. No. Make an exception, just this once. Light a candle, take the Hot Tosh in with you, a cheap magazine or put the radio on. You need to carry on with the me-time theme and nothing warms you up quicker than a tub full of hot, hot water.

Preferably add lots of bubbles! There are lots of smellies in Lush, but to keep it simple, I like the new Christmas Penguin. It's a warm bergamot/ olive oil smell, looks like a dude, and just break it up under the tap to make the bubbles! Combine this with a Lush Dreamtime bath melt to really help your body skin out. It's just a solid lump of cocoa butter mixed with relaxing essential oils such as lavender and sandalwood. This just melts in the water, and settles into your skin, keeping it moisturised.

Hot water bottle and fluffy slippers
It's cold, especially after your bath, get dressed quick. Bring out the wooly pyjamas, sort out a hottie-bottie and sneak under the covers. If you have to leave them, always, always have a pair of fluffy slippers at hand. I wouldn't say no to a pair of long-johns either. Laugh all you want, they really add a layer of cosy, and you can get a decent, cheap selection at somewhere like Matalan.

Pop a movie on!
A good, easy, silly one would be best, like Iron Man 3, or any Disney. Or, just because it's nearly Christmas, it's got to be Elf. Just got to be. You should be rested, happy, warm and relaxed, ready for the next day.

We recommend this routine to be repeated once a week, MINIMUM. Thanks.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Can we NOT call it a 'Date', please

Ahhh, the elusive Dating Game. So many rules, regulations, cautions, advisories, action plans, scripts and more. It's a wonder any romance is actually involved. God forbid you show a realistic side of yourself, christ. (Excuse the religious profanities).

You may have guessed that dating doesn't impress me much. It's more of a stress than an eye opener. And, sorry, this isn't classy, but I spend more time worrying about how much I'm spending than anything else! Think about it. If you arrange to meet someone minimum once a week, and you spend a minimum of £20 each time (which isn't much apparently), that's around £80 odd a month!!! on someone you don't really know and may not end up having a connection with!! - ok, yep, I'm taking all the romance out now for sure. Sorry.

Dating is not for broke people. Period.

Man.... I'm rambling about money now?

** DISCLAIMER ** I am most definitely NOT one to give dating advice (could you tell?)!

However there is an aspect to it that I, personally, find incredibly frustrating. You are given one, perhaps two dates, before you're socially expected to make a decision on someone. Sure, it shouldn't take too long to feel that 'special something', and see if you get along, but with every experience I've had, I've felt a certain pressure to label it, or even action it (if you know what I meeeeeaaaannn). Two dates in and we're Seeing each other?! Two dates in and I'm your Girlfriend? Two dates in and you're surprised I'm not available to watch a movie at yours which is inevitably going to 'last all night'?

Come on. You're essentially a stranger! I DON'T KNOW YOU YET.

And this is where I reckon that terming something as a 'Date' is dangerous. It implies interest, it implies a pre-existing situation of romance. Excluding existing friendships and other such circumstances, most cases of first dates come from improve, spur-of-the-moment encounters of brief attraction and confidence. Dates are supposed to be opportunities to 'test the water', figure the other person out, to ask whether we really feel that attraction after all. It just feels like sometimes, saying you're going a Date, is presuming that you're already committed in some way.

Why can't they be called "Meets"? What about that then, eh? Meets.

A Meet is a Meet. you're meeting someone. Just that. You meet someone twice, if you like each other, then Date. All presumptions are lost.

I know, I know. I'm clearly making a mountain out of a mole hill. It just gets on my wick sometimes. But I'm an anti-social so-and-so. I'm one of those folks that doesn't open up that easily, I over think everything, and I can't help thinking practically, with the optimism and hazy naivety of never having felt emotions take control.

I just don't see what all the rush is about sometimes. But that's me.

People are complex bastards. I think this, a friend of mine says she can 'go with the flow' and consider themselves a couple within a few times of seeing them. Who's to say? I can't read myself sometimes, let alone the person sitting opposite me.

And then, the headaches start...

Someone said that I probably just want something that happens 'organically", meaning, a situation that falls into itself. I find someone I like without realising it, and get to know them without realising it, then one thing leads to another...... A much more 'organic' approach than the stuffy label of Dating.

If it ever happens like this to you, don't think about it, don't call it a Date, just GO WITH IT.