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Monday, 27 July 2015

NOTW

No, not the now-defunct tabloid, it's time for Nail of The Week!

These days, if you are at all interested in the whole hair/beauty/fashion industry, then you're probably going to either do your own nails, or have them done in a salon/nail bar.

Chances are, again, that if you are into having nice nails, you'll have some sort of gel/hybrid polish (unless you're a die-hard enhancement fan). Now, these are great because they give you two whole weeks (sometimes more, if you have awesome nails!) of unbeatable shine and perfection. A good manicure (pro or diy) is only slightly less powerful than a trip to the hairdressers in terms of making you feel ready to take on whatever comes your way - altogether now: "look at me, my hair is so freakin' fabulous, I'm practically bouncing along the road!" as you sashay out of the door and down the street.

However, in the same way that two weeks can be the best thing since sliced bread if you are a busy mum or are happy to commit to the same nails for 2 weeks (and who wouldn't be, seeing as they are gorgeous?!), it can also be a lifetime if you're one of those girls who loves to shake up a good mani and changes things on a regular basis. Two weeks can be a lifetime in the somewhat fickle world of fashion, dahling! Enter... CND Vinylux.

Normally, I wear CND Shellac because I love the wear that I get out of it, the designs that I can create are endless, and the shine is..... woooooooooow! Seriously, I can see myself in my nails! However, last night, I decided to ring in the changes (and also because between lifting and tinting my eyelashes, whitening my teeth and applying tan, I thought I had enough to deal with...) and apply some Vinylux instead.

Vinylux is a 2-step weekly polish, meaning that it requires no basecoat - the colour coat has little 'anchors' in it to provide adhesion to the nail and the pigments used are of a quality that if your nails are in good condition, you will get absolutely no staining what-so-ever (if your nails aren't in the best of shape, then you can apply a lighter colour of vinylux so as to have the same adhesion but without taking the chances of having stained nails) - and, again with good, strong, healthy nails, you should get one weeks worth of flawless wear. Which is totally unfair if you, like me, have pathetically weak little nails. Gah! However, I am happy to report that even I, of the pathetic nails, have successfully rocked Vinylux for a whopping FIVE DAYS - I barely get 24 hours from most traditional polishes!

CND Vinylux - Pretty Poison
The topcoat utilises the power of ambient light (no, not the Hourglass powder) to further harden over the course of the week. Now, while this is not how CND recommend to use their products (they were designed as part of a two-piece), I have successfully worn the Vinylux topcoat over other polishes and extended their wear (Chanel, I'm looking at you!) to a slightly more acceptable 2 days.

Vinylux should be applied to nails which have been prepped. Your CND technician will know how to do this, but if you are doing it at home you can push back your cuticles and scrub the nails with a cotton pad saturated with nail polish remover.

I am wearing CND Vinylux in the colour "Pretty Poison", which was freshly applied (over unprepared nails *slaps wrist*) last night. I will let you know how I get on. Pretty Poison is a deep green, shot through with a gold sparkle.

Love,
Linzi x



Disclaimer: I cannot be held responsible if you want to rush out and purchase a set. Also both of my middle fingernails have been peeling (because I'm very much do as I say, not as I do and haven't been using my oil. I have a feeling that my wrist will be quite sore in no time at all).

Thursday, 23 July 2015

How I Stay Organised

Hi All

In this post, I thought it would be fun (or not) to show you how I organise and plan to make my day run as smoothly as possible.

Basically, this whole spiel could be boiled down into a few words - Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance; However, do read on, if you will...

My days always start the night before. I know this sounds strange, but if I don't do this - for whatever reason (I'm tired and feel like I need to just go to bed, for example) - then I can pretty much guarantee that the next day, I'm going to be running around trying to work out who's wearing what, who will be eating what (and then prepping and packing it), when everyone needs to leave the house, and where they're going etc, etc... And if you start a day like that, just imagine how it's going to end!!

So, as you'll no doubt have worked out, routine and planning are my keys to having my morning run as smoothly as possible.

For the past few years of my working life, I was a manager working shifts. These could be anytime between 6:30 - 9:30 at night (and sometimes, I found myself finishing at 9:30pm and starting at 7am, which is insane - and also illegal). As a result, I was never able to establish a routine to the extent that I have now; However, the following pieces of information helped me immensely:

Choose/Lay clothing out the night before

This is especially important with my daughter. Choosing an outfit and getting it all ready for the next morning takes away any stress that might otherwise have happened. For myself, I needed necessarily pull the clothes out of my wardrobe, but they are planned in my head so I know what to grab. Obviously living in Scotland, this can change at any time but with everything organised and in it's own place, it's much easier to find what I need.

I am also working towards having a capsule wardrobe so that, no matter which item of clothing I want to wear, I will always have something to go with it.

I don't go as far as getting my makeup gathered together, but I do have my everyday routine which changes very little.

Plan your meals


Now, I know many of you may not have to deal with cooking meals and all the shopping and prep that goes with this, but don't write this paragraph off too soon; it can still be tailored to your lunches, for example.

Work out what you are going to eat this week, for as many meals as you need to. This could just be lunch, or it could be all three meals. Once you have this written down, look in your cupboards/fridge/freezer and see what you already have to work with. Some people do this the other way around so if that works for you, great. When you know what you've already got, then you can make your shopping list. A list has the added benefits of making shopping much quicker - and it can also save you some pennies. Win-win!

In the evening, I gather all lunch items (for example, homemade soup from the freezer; a bagel/sandwich; fruit; crudites and dip; boxed up noodle dishes) so that they're ready to go and in the morning, I defrost any meat that will be needed for that evening's meal.

Write it down


I'm just gonna put it out there that I am a stationery geek. Paperchase is my mecca - seriously, I could spend a fortune there everytime that I'm in!

I have a little notebook where I note down: my goals, so that they're always close to me; meal plans and shopping lists; things that I want (charlotte tilbury features on there a LOT. The makeup, not the lady... that would just be weird); and any other random little things that pop into my mind so that I don't forget them.

I like to keep a diary in my bag, as well as using the calendar app on my phone (which then syncs to my laptop and any other devices. You know the drill). My favourite diary was the one that my friends gave me for my birthday last year. It came from http://www.toaddiaries.co.uk/ (not an affiliate) and I love it because it's totally customisable. And the in-joke message "child must update panel" that he put on it has me in stitches every time I read it.

Declutter your space


I also find that it's important to have a clean living space; if your room/house is one big untidy mess, then it's not exactly inspiring organisation.

Find a place for everything and put it back when you're done and if you don't love it, why give it room space?

I'm happy to report that as part of my whole 'happy' year, my job has changed and I'm a 9-5er. It makes a HUGE difference to being organised. But even if you don't have your ideal job/conditions, I hope these little ramblings help you as much as they did me :)

Love,
Linzi x

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Aromatherapy Massage - What Mondays are Made For

Hello everyone (or mum..)

It may seem like I spend my every waking moment in a salon or holistic treatment room, but that's totally not true - it's just that these things have all happened at once this time around. And not before time, too!

Yesterday evening, I had an aromatherapy massage with Fiona Smith... the perfect antidote to the Monday morning, beginning of the week feeling that is the scourge of all 9-5ers.

It's been ages since I've had a massage (8 years for my last back, neck and shoulders and since college for my last full body aromatherapy treatment - so long that I don't even want to think about it), so I've been mega excited since making the appointment last week. And straight after work, I hotfooted it over to her treatment room for my massage.

Aromatherapy is the act of using essential oils extracted from different plants to treat certain ailments. You generally blend about 3 different oils (or can choose to use a pre-blended oil) , chosen for their respective properties, in a carrier oil and then use them as you wish - for example, a few drops in the bath can relax or relieve pain. In aromatherapy massage, the oils are applied by way of massaging (obviously) the body. This can either be carried out as a full body, or as a back, neck and shoulders. I had the full body, just cos ;)

The evening started with Fiona welcoming me into her treatment room (which was nicely dimmed and decorated with artwork and candles, explaining how the treatment would go, and then doing a thorough consultation which included general health questions and medical history to diet and exercise taken, etc. Now, you might think that this is a bit intrusive just so you can have 'a bit of massage' but it's an important step, a one which should always be carried out before a treatment. It not only assures your safety but can influence the oils chosen for the massage - for example, lavendar may be chosen for it's effectiveness at treating insomnia.

Once the consultation had taken place, I was instructed to undress and lie on the bed, face down, with the towel over myself. When Fiona came back into the room, she told me to breathe 3 deep, relaxing breaths and she put pressure on my back to aid the exhilation. She then applied the oil to my back and started with long, slow strokes to spread the oil. Next came the more 'kneading' movements and then she used her forearm along the length of my back, up over my shoulder and then down my arm. Now, I do like a massage with a bit of pressure - none of this back tickling for me - and it was fantastic. If you're not comfortable with the pressure at any time, your therapist would REALLY appreciate knowing about it because, if they don't, they can't fix it and you'll only leave feeling more tense than when you started.

Next was onto the backs of my legs, with the same long, flowing movements and then kneading where it was needed. Then the front and then, finally, my face and scalp.

At the end of the treatment, Fiona left the room to allow me to dress and brought back a glass of water for me to sip. She followed with some aftercare advise for me to adhere to: No alcohol, and to relax for the rest of the evening. The whole thing was wonderfully relaxing, and I'm pleased to say I slept like a baby last night!

I'm booked in next for some reflexology!

If you're in the Ayrshire area, then you can find Fiona on facebook.

Love,
Linzi

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

#NotaDiet

Hi Guys

I'm still trying to get into the groove of this whole blogging thing, and it's totally weird sitting here typing away to myself. It feels a bit Bridget Jones, but with smaller pants.

I'll get there though, but I'd appreciate if you forgive the jumble of thoughts that sometimes appear on here as posts :)

As you may know, if you know me in 'real life' - or possibly if you've seen my instagram - I have been changing the way that I eat.

As I approached a certain birthday, I began to take stock of my life. Asking myself if I could change anything, what would it be? And I realised that one of the biggest (pardon the pun) things was my weight. I mean, sure, I had tried - and been successful - in losing weight in the past but, as anyone who has ever lost weight before will know, that's not the difficult bit... it's the keeping it off! That's the kicker.

And here's the other thing: it's genuinely not going to happen long-term if you 'do a diet'. To me, now, a diet is something that you go on for a few weeks, or months, until you lose your weight and then you go back to eating normally - and that's only if you last past the first week of being 'good'. Of course, everyone knows that 'good' is code for being miserable, chasing a lettuce leaf around a too-big plate or of swallowing shake after shake of bleurgh. It's totally unsustainable. It's forcing yourself to be miserable until you can be 'normal' again.

It seems so utterly obvious, and I'm not quite sure why it didn't 'click' like this before - maybe I just wasn't in the right headspace? But I think that's the biggest change. And, so far, it's the most important. The plan I chose to follow was weightwatchers. I'm not going to lie, I did this in part due to the abject humiliation (in my head) of being weighed each week. In reality, it's so not like that and the leaders - and members - are awesome. It's all about support and getting you to where you need to be. I also did it in part due to the 'control' that calculating points gives me - I don't trust myself on filling and healthy quite yet! I know that some people are put off from this because, obviously, you need to count points but I honestly don't have a problem with that - I like it. You get used to it so quickly and fruit and veg are practically all zero points so you can fill up on your healthy foods - which I love!

As part of this new me, as it were, I've realised that I need to incorporate the foods that I would eat normally so I'm working my way through my recipes books and working out the points per meal. The first to get my 'points treatment' is Jamie's 15 minute meals - as a busy working mum, it's important to me that I am able to put a healthy dinner on the table quickly.

Now... Chicken Dim Sum with Coconut Buns, anyone?

Love,
Linzi x

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Princess Twilight Sparkle and the Accidental Haul

Well, what an absolutely awesome day this turned out to be!

I had my La Mer facial with Nicola at House of Fraser, Glasgow booked for a few weeks and was so excited when I woke up this morning.

After being cleansed, massaged and pampered to within an inch of my life, Nicola explained to me what she'd recommend my routine to be. This was: the cleansing gel, the refining facial, the eye concentrate (which had been applied with the metal tool which felt delicious on my skin!), the intensive revitalising mask and the moisturising gel cream.

CdlM Treatment Room
She said my skin was in good condition and it was about keeping it that way - prevention is totally better than cure! 

I bought the moisturising gel cream (which is already a firm favourite) and the treatment mask. She gave me a few samples of the gel and exfoliant and I also got the little green bag in the picture.

I had the hour's facial at a cost of £100 booking fee, which is then redeemable against any purchases. Thoroughly recommended if you're planning a purchase anyway :)

Just a note: these products might look ridiculously expensive, and you might be thinking that I'm a whole case of crazy, but the moisturiser I had last, lasted over 10 months - which is less than one fancy coffee a week costs.

After this, we took a leisurely walk back to the car via quite a few shops: GAP, River Island, Lush, Boots, Whittards (the dreamtime tea is delicious), John Lewis, Zara... and build a bear, where my daughter couldn't resist begging for a bear! How could I resist that face?


A few other purchases include: a simple, grey tee, a green vest top and a navy and cream striped vest top from GAP; a real techniques bold metals liner brush, a bottle of sugar crush body lotion and a righteous butter from boots; a bag (for me), and a swimsuit and dress for my daughter from River Island; and a few bits and pieces from Lush - the creamy candy bubble bar is the best!



The Soap & Glory Sugar Crush lotion is incredibly sweet, which is probably why I love it and the bold metals make-up brushes are up there with the best I've used. Plus, they're beautiful.

I had seen the bag the last time I was in Glasgow and thought it would be the perfect size to stash my new notebook in. I had planned on going to Paperchase today to see what other notebooks were there but when I spotted this one in the range on Thursday, I knew I had to have it!



A quick stop at Waitrose on the way home for some snacks for our movie night - Metcalfe's skinny popcorn in sweet cinnamon - and our day was done. After a bottle of Korres' Bergamot Pear body wash also fell into my basket...

Love,
Linzi x
(and Freya, who proofed the post... x)

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Does It Make Me Happy?

So... I've been a bit absent recently! Things were a leeeeeeeeetle bit mental for a while.

I originally started this blog as a way to record the new skincare/makeup items that I had tried, but I'm gonna add in a few different things as and when the notion takes me. Like now...

Late last year, when everyone else was coming up with their New Year's Resolutions, I was thinking about what I should do. I don't normally make resolutions - reason being that so many are broken within the first week... and if not that, then certainly within the first month! This year, however, was the year that I turned... *whisper it*... 30! With this in mind, I decided that I should do at least something that was different to my norm. This year, I decided that I wanted to be happy. Yup, that's it: there is no "I will go to the gym 5 x each week and eat only celery", which is ridiculous anyway... there is simply happiness.

The premise couldn't be simpler: before you do anything - and I do literally mean anything at all - just ask yourself... "does it make me happy?".

I started the year carrying a bit more weight that I liked and in a job that made me terribly unhappy. I'm happy to report that this has changed! I'm in a different job, that I enjoy, and I'm working hours that actually allow me to see my daughter - rather than anything between 6:30 and 21:30, over 7 days a week!

The weight has melted off, thanks to my local weight watchers meeting, and I'm having much more fun with clothes than ever before. I've also started ice skating - which I would never have done before!

Banana Pancakes, fruit and chocolate sauce

The above is something that I had for brunch this morning; banana pancakes. Wholesome - and very, very tasty! You mash up one banana, mix with an egg and then fry off. You could make some pancakes, but I made mine the size of my omelette pan. Yum¬

This simple little phrase has helped in other areas of my life too - if things in my home don't make me happy, then they go. This has had the result of streamlining my home and leaving me only with items that I love, which keeps the cycle going :)

So... why don't you give it a go, too? There's nothing to lose!