Friday, 18 December 2015

A LIFE WITH FRILLS IS ON HOLIDAY


This is my last blog post of the year as I am taking my annual festive break until Monday 4th January. I won't be active on social media during this period either as I like to completely switch off and de-stress. Keep an eye on my Twitter @alifewithfrills however, as I have scheduled lots of my favourite 2015 blog posts to be tweeted out to you incase you missed any the first time around. Thank you for all your blog visits and comments this year, and get ready for an even bigger 2016! Merry Christmas x

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Image Credit- Rekita Nicole

FACE MASK FRIDAY: MONTAGNE JEUNESSE BRAZILIAN MUD FABRIC MASK

Montagne Jeunesse Brazilian Mud Fabric Mask

Oh dear, another disappointing mask for you this week. To be honest, this one is so cheap that I didn't expect much anyway, but from the photo on the front I expected the form of the mask to be unique and interestng to use. It wasn't- it's just a bog-standard sheet mask.


The Montagne Jeunesse Brazilian Mud Fabric Mask (£0.73p from www.boots.com) is cooling and smells deliciously of berries; but in terms of results, it does absolutely nothing. Literally, I may as well not have put it on at all. I think this is what I would expect anyway from a mask that is less that £1. If you just want to go through the pampering ritual of putting on a mask and lying back for a while, and you don't have much of a budget, then this would be fine; but I like to be able to see immediate results from face masks and this gave me nothing.

Montagne Jeunesse Brazilian Mud Fabric Mask on Face

Also, like nearly every sheet face mask I've tried, it is cut way too big for any normal person's face; so I had to fold sections over. The mask is damp and soaked in a wet clay formulation, and it doesn't dry or harden like a lot of clay masks do. Once you've had it on for 15 minutes, you're supposed to massage in the residue (there wasn't any) and then rinse off. It's supposed to cleanse and unclog your pores, but my skin didn't feel any different than it normally would after a wash.

I have another couple of masks from this budget brand in my stash, but I'm not holding out much hope for them. Have you tried any that you've liked? Also, yes, my hair is blonde in this photo- it's for a really interesting feature that you'll be able to read when it comes out.

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Thursday, 17 December 2015

MENTAL HEALTH AT CHRISTMASTIME

Woman Christmas shopping

I don't want to go into details, but I have chronic OCD. I am on three different types of depression and anxiety medication for it and I see a psychiatrist. In the most part it's managed (i.e. I don't have to go through several daily compulsions or checks) as long as I keep to the restrictions that I've had to place on my life. However, if I don't keep to them, I have panic attacks and get incredibly upset. I suffer the affects of anxiety on a daily basis and more or less have a permanent knot in my stomach. I carry a lot of tension in my shoulders, and as anyone with genuine OCD (and not the kind people joke about) will tell you, my brain races ten to the dozen all day long. If you don't know what OCD is, or all the different forms it can take, there is a great extensive list of all the ways OCD affects sufferers on the OCD-UK website.

"Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength."
Charles Spurgeon

I used to worry and apologise at having to cancel plans or change arrangements, or make what could seem like diva-ish travel plans, but I don't anymore- now I just simply state what I need or that I can't do something. The reason I am writing this post today is because my anxiety and OCD gets a lot worse during the festive period. Don't get me wrong, I adore Christmas but I struggle with making Christmas the perfect day I think it should be and I find New Year incredibly sad. For lots of people, Christmas is not a time of joy and happiness, but it is a time of sadness- whether that is from mental illness, grief or lonliness. If you would like some more information on mental health issues, how common they are and how they can affect people, Benenden Health published an interesting infographic on their site for Mental Health Week with lots of interesting facts on it.

Donuts and milk on table

"...there are people who have the glass half full and glass half empty, and I'm afraid the glass is going to break and I'll cut myself on the shards."
Scott Stossel

Certain things help me to feel just a little bit better at this time of year, so I wanted to share them with you incase any of them can help you or the ones you love too. I always do a digital detox at this time of year (I wrote about this here yesterday) to keep the intrusions from outside into my life at an absolute minimum. Food is my comfort but it's also a daily battle I face as I try to keep the weight I have lost off and continue to lose more. At Christmas however, I allow myself 10-12 days of eating exactly what I want. I treat it as a holiday to make this time of year easier and then I get back on the diet track after January 2nd. If you don't step on the scales, you won't judge your weight by a number and feel so bad. If you find this time of year hard, you need to give yourself a break and allow yourself things that you might not at any other time. I also try to keep to a regular sleep pattern at night, but allow myself a sleep during the day if I need it too. Basically, I just try to spoil and indulge myself as much as I can. I think the most important thing to remember (something that I struggle to remember myself) is that there is no right or wrong Christmas. A 'good' Christmas may have stereotypical components, but in actual fact it can be whatever you want it to be. Don't compare your day to anyone else's and focus instead on what matters to you. I do hope that you have a good Christmas, but if not, remind yourself that it really is just another day- maybe the 26th or the 27th will be a happier day for you. 

"A crust eaten in peace is better than a banquet partaken in anxiety."
Aesop

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Photo Credits: Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

TOP TIPS FOR A DIGITAL DETOX


Desk and laptop flatlay

As this is one of my final blog posts for the year before I embark on my own annual two-week digital detox over Christmas, I thought I would share my top tips for you on how to make the process easier. As much as I am a digital champion and very much #TeamInternet, I do think it is important to switch off from the digital world occassionally in order to appreciate family and friends in real life, and engage in some more 'old-fashioned' pursuits.

Baking sugar cookies

It can cause us more stress than we may realise to be constantly switched on and contactable- by worrying about not getting the latest updates from Twitter or about how many hits our blog posts have had that day, or trying to make our real-life special moments suitably Instagram-able. Over Christmas and New Year, every year, I like to be non-contactable expect by close friends and family members. I like to read books, read magazines, colour in colouring books, craft and bake. The only exception I allow to the digital detox rule is the television.

It helps to plan a digital detox in advance to make sure that you have lots of offline activities to occupy yourself and to use up the time that you would usually spend pinning images on Pinterest. I buy in all the ingredients for things I would like to bake, all the materials for craft projects I have forever been procrastinating about and I arrange firm diary dates with family and friends. I also collect all the books and magazines that I want to read too. Doing this means you will never be bored and be tempted to switch on your phone or computer. 

If you do have to stay connected to a certain degree, there is a great digital detox app to help you limit the time you spend on your device. Digital Detach App was set up by someone who still wants to remain in contact with people, but without the distractions that an internet-enabled smartphone brings. With this Android app, you can temporarily turn your smartphone into a phone that only has a call and text function for a time that you specify.

Feet in trainers

If, however, you lack no self-control at all when it comes to keeping offline, there is such a thing as a digital detox holiday. Time To Log Off run special retreats in beautiful locations such as Cornwall and Italy, where all digital devices are banned. No screen-based tech is allowed and instead, you are encouraged to practice yoga and mindfulness, talk about yourself, eat good food and do real-life activites such as art or surfing.

I've found that when I do a digital detox I am a lot less stressed and anxious as I have nobody to answer to and no demands on my time. I also sleep a lot better that I do when I've been staring at a screen all day. Have you tried a digital detox before? I really encourage you to do one this Christmas and remember what it was like before Apple took over the universe.

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Image Credits: Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo

LINGERIE GIFT GUIDE FOR MEN WHO DON'T HAVE A CLUE

I helped you a few weeks ago with ideas on what to buy the men in your life for Christmas (read the gift guide here), so I thought it was only fair to do a post to help the men out too. Pass this on to any man planning on gifting lingerie this Christmas. It will save their life.

As much as men might like the idea of racy red lingerie, most women do not. Go for something pretty and subtle and you're onto a winner. If you live in Glasgow, Ultimo are having a lovely little shopping evening tonight at their concession in House of Fraser on the 2nd floor. Their Wise Men evening is running from 5-8pm and you can get help from the Ultimo ambassadors on what to buy, get a 20% discount and enjoy a glass of Pogues whiskey as you browse.

If you're not based in Glasgow, pick something from my lingerie edit below (in the correct size, of course) and you won't go far wrong!


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Image 1 Credit: Treacle Tart via Flickr Creative Commons

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

DIY CHRISTMAS DINNER TABLE CRACKERS

DIY Christmas Crackers

Crackers are so easy to buy, but it's much more fun to make your own and put your own treats inside, even if they don't pull with a bang! I teamed up with Prestigious Textiles to make their Day 15 advent craft- crackers. They are a fabric and wallcoverings retailer that has a fantastic range of festive fabric, and I used two of their designs to make my crackers. I also had a go at some of their other crafts that other bloggers covered on previous days, and I'll be sharing these on my Instagram.


To make the crackers, you will need: fabric, brown paper, ribbon, glue, cardboard, scissors and sellotape. First, cut a length of card as long as you want yur crackers to be, roll it up into a tube about the width of a wrapping paper roll and sellotape it.


Next, cut some brown paper that is double the length of your cardboard cracker, place the cracker roll in the middle of it and roll the paper around it and glue down the edge. You should have a good amount of paper at each end that you can twist to make the pulling ends. Pop your gifts in the tubes, and get twisting those ends.


Now you need to cut a section of fabric that you can wrap around the middle. It's still nice to see some of the rustic brown paper, so don't make the fabric too wide. If your cutting skills aren't the best, you can quickly 'hem' the fabric edges with glue by sticking them down at the bag to create a neater finish. Wrap this around the cracker and stick down the edge with glue.


To finish your cracker off, tie some ribbon at the ends of it, and cut out a brown paper design (such as a heart or a snowflake) to stick in the middle. Now you have some fabulous handmade creations to decorate your table with. Will you be trying this craft?

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Monday, 14 December 2015

WINTER 2015 BATHROOM TOUR


Lush Golden Wonder Bath Bomb In Bath

I have just had my bathroom refurbished, so I thought I'd let you have a peek inside and a look at the bath and skincare products I am loving at the moment. There are always Lush Cosmetics bath bombs and bubble bars in my bathroom. I like to keep a rack of them at all times, but at Christmastime, this overflows with all their limited edition festive releases. The Golden Wonder bath bomb (£3.95)- which is in my bath above- looks like a simple gold and white present, but melts into an array of turquoise and fuscia with gold stars.


I also like to have a candle burning in my bathroom during a pamper session. I am loving the Aroma Works Soulful candle (£32 from www.aroma-works.com) at the moment as it creates such a relaxing atmosphere with its Frankincense, Juniper Berry, and Patchhouli scents. I also have lots of little battery-operated tea lights scattered round the bath for some extra glow.


If I don't have a Lush bath bomb in my bath, I always go for a relaxing oil or bubble bath to help me sleep. I adore the Aromatherapy Associates De-Stress Muscle Bath & Shower Oil (£45 from www.bathandunwind.com) as this sends me straight to sleep if I use it just before bed, and helps ease my leg pain from Fibromyalgaia. It has a beautiful calming blend of lavender, rosemary, ginger, black pepper and coconut oil. I also love the Neom Tranquility Bath Foam (£22 from www.bathandunwind.com) as it smells amazing and the packaging with its wooden top looks so luxurious. This makes lovely bubbles and has my favourite lavender scent mixed with basil and jasmine.


To wash with I love anything lavender or vanilla/cake-scented at night, and anything mint-scented in the morning. Origins Salt Suds Foaming Body Wash (£19 from www.origins.co.uk) has an awakening spearmint scent, Cafe de Bain's budget Coconut Macaroon Softening Shower Cream (£2.99 from www.superdrug.com) smells good enough to eat as a sweet treat, and This Works' Deep Sleep Shower Gel (£15 from www.feelunique.com) is a blend of relaxing Lavender, Vetivert and Camomile essential oils that sends me to the land of nod. Since it is Christmas I also loving the Philosophy holiday shower gel and shampoo hybrids in the morning time- they are hard to pin down scent-wise, but both Snow Man and Twinkling Starlight (prices vary at www.boots.com) are very crisp, sharp and revitalising.


To cleanse my face I am addicted to the Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish (£14 from www.boots.com) at the moment. I follow this with my favourite toner- the Vichy Purete Thermale Perfecting Toner (£11.50 from www.escentual.com), and my favourite mask at the moment is the Origins Out of Trouble Mask (£23 from www.origins.co.uk) as it sorts out any breakouts I have in an instant. I reviewed the Origins Out of Trouble Mask in full, here, and the Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish, here.


Is your bathroom a sanctuary for you too?

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Friday, 11 December 2015

FACE MASK FRIDAY: BLISS MULTI-'FACE'-ETED ALL-IN-ONE ANTI-AGING CLAY MASK

Bliss Multi-'face'-eted All-in-One Anti-Aging Cleansing Mask

I am really fussy when it comes to clay mask, but this one has really impressed me. The Bliss Multi-'face'-eted All-in-One Anti-Aging Cleansing Mask can be bought in a jar (£35), or as I prefer it, as a pack of three single-use sachets (£12 from Look Fantastic). Having them in this format means that I don't have to feel as if I need to use up a full tub- I get bored easily and like to switch back and forward between different masks.


Bliss Multi-'face'-eted All-in-One Anti-Aging Cleansing Mask
Bliss Multi-'face'-eted All-in-One Anti-Aging Cleansing Mask

This mask doesn't dry or harden as much as other clay masks- I was always able to move my face comfortably. It has a thick but smooth texture that spreads easily, and it contains many powerful ingredients- 10% glycolic acid (to resurface by destroying dead skin cells, and reduce the appearance of wrinkles), jojoba oil (to moisturise without clogging pores), quartz (to smooth the skin), lemon (to brighten the skin), kojic acid (to reduce dark spots and fade discolourations) and kaolin and carbon (to draw out impurities in pores and reduce their appearance). It is designed to rejuvenate skin and give you a younger looking complexion. I apply this to slightly damp skin just after washing it, and then remove with a warm wet cloth after 7 minutes.

After just one use my skin feels plumper, smoother, hydrated and more radiant than before. I don't have wrinkles or large pores, but this mask is designed to combat those too as well as tackle discolouration- all the visible signs of aging are tackled in one simple mask. In 4-week consumer trials, 87% agreed that it dramatically reduced pore size and that it delivered a glow to the skin; and 70% agreed that their skin looked exceptionally even and uniform and that it appeared extremely revitalised.

 This is a very pleasant product to use and my skin felt lovely afterwards. Have you tried this mask before?
 
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Thursday, 10 December 2015

GLASGOW LOVES CHRISTMAS


Glasgow's George Square at Christmas

As the title of this post suggests, my home city of Glasgow does indeed love Christmas. Glasgow's stores, restaurants and city council go all out for the festive season and I think it's great. 

Glasgow On Ice

The hub of the Glasgow Christmas action is definitely George Square. It's decked out in lights and has a temporary Christmas carnival and ice-skating rink. At the kind invitation of Glasgow Loves Christmas, I visited George Square last week to soak up the atmosphere and have a skate on the ice rink. Glasgow On Ice is open until Thursday 31st December and a standard adult ticket to skate costs £9. There are lots of concessions available too, and it's essential that you book online to guarantee there is room on the day you plan to visit.


After skating I headed across the road to new restaurant The Trading House for dinner with my husband. You can really make a whole night of your visit to George Square at Christmastime. They specialise in cocktails and have an extensive menu, so I opted to try one of their long cocktails- the Sangria Rose (£7.50). It was a delicious and very refreshing mix of rosé wine, elderflower liqueur, Cointreau, grenadine, fresh mint, strawberry puree and lemonade.


For our starters we had Pan-Fried Garlic Mushrooms with Truffle Butter & Crusty Bread (£4.95) and Baked Camembert with Fruit & Flatbread (£6.95). Both were lovely and just the right size so as not to fill us up before the main event. 


One of the unique selling points of The Trading House is their hanging kebabs, so for my main course I had the Beef Kebab with Sweet Chilli, Ginger & Garlic Butter (£13.95). This was truly magnificent- the butter gets poured over the kebab at the top and trickles right down onto the bowl of fries that comes with it underneath. You get a great amount of lean meat on the kebab as well as some grilled mushrooms and red pepper. My husband chose the Malaysian Vegetable Curry (£9.95). I obviously had to try some for research purposes and for a restaurant that doesn't specialise in Asian cuisine, it was very tasty and authentic.


I was the only one who had dessert (again, this was most definitely for research purposes only) and I chose to try one of the sweet versions of their hanging kebabs. The Strawberry & Marshmallow Kebab with Sailor Jerry Chocolate Sauce & Ice Cream (£4.95) was delicious, but the solitary one scoop of ice cream did look a little sad and lonely. The marshmallows were perfectly toasted and the chocolate sauce was delightfully boozy. 

If you are at a loose end this festive season, there is plenty to occupy you in Glasgow and to put you in a sparkly mood. Why not copy my night with a loved one of your choice?

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Wednesday, 9 December 2015

BOURJOIS NIGHT LIGHTS IN PARIS COLLECTION

Bourjois Night Lights in Paris Collection

I completely adore the new Christmas 2015 Bourjois Night Lights in Paris collection. It is full of bold colours and sparkle, but is completely wearable and versatile. There is two four-shade eyeshadow palettes, a fabulous red Rouge Edition Velvet Lipstick, an Illuminating Java Powder and two new nail polishes.

Boujois Smoky Stories Quad in Grey-zy In Love
Boujois Smoky Stories Quad in Grey-zy In Love Swatches

The lighter of the two palettes is the Boujois Smoky Stories Quad in Grey-zy In Love (£7.99 from Superdrug). In it there is a creamy and highly pigmented gold and silver, an intense fairly chunky white glitter and a dark grey that smokes out beautifully. You can create some stunning subtle and dark smoky looks with this quad.

Bourjois Smoky Stories Quad in Welcome Black Swatches

If you want something even more dramatic however, the Bourjois Smoky Stories Quad in Welcome Black (£7.99) is what to go for. In this there is the an intense pale gold glitter in the centre, surrounded by a deep sparkly blue, a metallic gold-toned khaki and a matte black. I'm not overly keen on the black shade as it has quite a lot of fallout and the formula isn't as creamy and pigmented as the other shades. I would recommend picking up both of these palettes if you can, as together they complement each other really well and produce some fantastic looks.

Bourjois Illuminating Java Powder
Bourjois Illuminating Java Powder Swatch

My favourite item in the collection is definitely the Bourjois Illuminating Java Powder (£9.99 from Superdrug). They've put a festive spin on their popular rice powder by making it irridescent. This champagne-toned beauty has some serious shimmer and is a beautiful highlighter on the cheek and brow bones. It is scented and I'm not keen on the smell, but I'm prepared to deal with it as it gives such great results.

Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet in Red-volution

The new lipstick is the Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet matte in Red-volution (£8.99 from Superdrug). This is a bold and bright blue-toned red that can be worn quite sheer or layered up for an opaque look. Some liquid lipsticks can be quite drying and patchy, but this one is creamy, long-lasting and doesn't flake. It's the perfect Christmas party choice.

Bourjois 1 Seconde Nail Enamel in Raining Stars

Finally, there are two fabulously festive nail polishes- the Bourjois So Lacque in Rouge Diva (£5.99 from Superdrug) is a deep red with a high-gloss finish, and the Bourjois 1 Seconde Nail Enamel in Raining Stars (£5.99 from Superdrug) is a chunky silver glitter polish with a thick and smooth gel-like formula. The swatches above are two coats of polish.

Do you have your eye on anything in this collection?

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