Thursday, 22 November 2018

#Myanxiety

I thought long and hard about publishing this post as it is not my usual style of blog post not to mention a lot of it is VERY personal but if it means reaching out to just a few people and helping them in any way shape or form then that would be enough for me.  

I am in no way claiming to be an expert on mental health nor am I asking for pity, it is merely to raise awareness and lighten the load for me, almost like a journal, a bit of therapy.

A few weeks or months down the line I may choose to delete this post (and hoping I will be in a better place) but for now I wanted to share this post. It is a long post I must say so you may wish to grab a drink and snack if you want to read on right till the end....

Truth be told I have always been a bit of a worrier and have always displayed signs of anxiety; I would be quite pedantic some would argue over the most trivial of matters. I am not referring to the simple planning of a girly night out and stressing over what outfit and shoes to wear as let’s face it most girls today do, it would be something simple like stressing over something I had to do, a few errands I had to run, having to face a certain someone, planning one of my kids birthdays or if they became sick, dreading a presentation or interview I had, worried about the future and finances, an overgrown garden or packing for a holiday amongst other things, I would start packing at least a few weeks beforehand at the fear of not packing everything I had needed/wanted and the fear of forgetting something. I would get this nervous stomach over pretty much everything and I often thought I was abnormal for feeling like this.

Source: Google Images

I was stuck in a dead end job which I gradually began to hate, my overall confidence and self esteem hit an all time low, even though I knew I was performing well within my role. I wore frumpy clothes and hardly took any pride in my physical appearance. When a position came up for another role within the same organisation located within the Customer Care team I jumped at the chance. I had found a line manager who was a people’s person, who took care of our well being and was fully supportive with any issues we had, whether that was within work or outside. Gradually my confidence and self esteem began to grow, I started to spend more time applying makeup and made sure I looked presentable and focused on improving my performance at work. I would often have a laugh and a joke with my colleagues and I realise now those were my ‘happier’ days, I was just glowing. As they say, when you are genuinely happy, you just glow differently don’t you? I came to work happy and went home happy. It was simple as that.

There was a period shortly after that where we had a few changes made at work, at first I assumed my anxiety was just from the transition of moving teams. I attributed my depressed thoughts, nervousness in social situations, newfound irritability, and constant worrying to a variety of factors. 

Source: Google Images
As the days went by, I started to realise these feelings and thoughts were not going away, rather than having the ability to control my own thoughts, my thoughts were in fact controlling me. Although, I had a good working relationship with the majority of now my former colleagues and had a few good friends, was performing well at work and socialised often outside of work, inside I still felt lonely, unhappy and anxious pretty much all the time. I could not remember the last time I had felt genuinely content within myself.

It was only until my line manager and a few close colleagues had picked up that I wasn’t ‘my usual bubbly self’ or appeared ‘distant’ that I had gotten in touch with a confidential help line that was offered as part of the health services at work. After one brief phone call, I realised the idea of opening up to someone, a complete stranger, that too over the phone, didn’t really appeal to me and was not going to solve my problem. I would much rather talk face to face with the three colleagues that understood me (and could relate), I found it to be much more beneficial and it helped me to some extent.

I would go through periods where I convinced myself I was fine and was just overreacting, but then there were times where I did not want to leave the house and face people, I did not particularly want to socialise much nor did I want to be alone and feel lonely, it was a constant game of back and forth. It was frustrating and tedious and I often felt ashamed of feeling like this.

Some nights, I would wake up in a sweat, not being able to breathe, gasping for breath, as if someone was suffocating me, I felt trapped. I realised later it was all the anxiety and could have possibly been a short anxiety attack who knows. I would replay most conversations I had with people during the day in my head, wishing I had said or did things differently, or if they were the slightest bit rude to me, I wished I had defended myself better, overplaying it all and obsessing over the smallest things. When I would be surrounded by people I would block out everything and laugh and joke, the majority of the time, the joke would be on me but in a funny sort of way I liked it, it was good character building not to mention help me forget how I was really feeling inside. It was only when I was alone, my thoughts would all come rushing to me at once, I would just feel numb and have this constant heavy feeling in my heart.

Source: Google Images

My appetite decreased, I was one of those people that during periods of stress, I could hardly stomach any food. I reduced my time browsing on Instagram massively; did I really want to see happy pictures of people or their twenty random holiday snaps whilst I felt like this? A constant reminder of what I was currently lacking in my life? How much I had wanted to be like them or to be carefree? Not that I was not or could not be happy for those people, but it didn’t help me feel any better. I was afraid of failure but had no urge to be productive in any way. In my head I had all these ideas of what I wanted my life to be like or what I wanted to do but failed miserably at bringing those ideas to life, at the same time envying those that were able to quickly turn their ideas into reality. 

The sad reality was not many people understood why I felt the way I did not even my partner (through no fault of his own), the very few that did understand would often talk to me relating to their own personal experiences, others would simply tell me I worried too much and that I needed to ‘snap out of it’, if someone had complained of the effects of having asthma or diabetes would they be told to snap out of it too?

From time to time, I needed constant reassurance and clarification. I felt I needed to be ‘liked’ by everyone; I was a slave to public perception and often felt worried and paranoid  about what they thought of me, some even thought I was annoying because of my constant need to be reassured and have things clarified but I just could not help it, being annoying was certainly not intentional.

To this day, my anxiety has not been medically confirmed by a medical professional, I refuse to take medication to ease it as I want to overcome it naturally even if it took me weeks, months or a year. (By the way, I am not saying there is anything wrong with taking medication for it). I genuinely believe my anxiety falls into slight borderline depression, there is a very thin line between the two and it is very easy to get the two confused.

What I have learnt however is that having anxiety is quite common today and lots of people claim to suffer from it, I have come across big social media influencers and Youtubers with a large following, many of whom I follow who claim to battle with it too. Thankfully more and more awareness of it has been raised through the media and in general life and it is reassuring to know that I am not alone in trying to combat this horrible soul destroying condition.

My only advice to others feeling or showing signs of any anxiety is not to sweep it all under the rug. As a society, we are often told that anxiety is not a big deal and that symptoms can be controlled with an on and off switch. Psychological disorders are created in your brain. It is not something you can always control or easily fix yourself.

If you have read all the above (well done for getting to the end!) and can relate to it to some extent all I can say on the matter is that you are not alone. The bottom line is we all deserve to live a happy and worry free life.

Love and Lipstick

xxx 




Thursday, 5 July 2018

A review: Citylooks Salon own brand hair products.





Hey guys, hope you are all keeping well and are enjoying the beaut of a weather we are currently having in the UK. So today I will be writing up my review on these two fab new hair products I was sent to review. Firstly before I jump right into this post, I just wanted to give you a bit of background on the salon itself and the lovely person behind it. 


 I first discovered City Looks Hair Salon early last year mainly through word of mouth. After many people frequently going there and posting their pictures of freshly done cuts and colours on Instagram and Facebook I became intrigued. 

It wasn't until when I had paid them a visit I realised what the hype was all about. I am a firm believer in you not only pay for a product, you pay for a service too. From the moment I had walked into the salon, I felt comfortable, relaxed and welcomed. The mastermind behind it all, the lovely Shifa gave me a brief consultation in what I was looking for in terms of my hair colour, she took on board everything I had asked for (and everything I had not asked her for ie brassy gingery hair) and to my relief she delivered it well. Fast forward a year later, I am still very much a regular at the salon and completely just put my trust into her whilst I sit back and enjoy a cup of coffee made for me by her lovely assistants. Overall, the ambience is relaxed, informal yet professional all at the same time, something not everyone can master successfully. 

During my recent visit, I was offered to review two of her recently launched hair products and of course I had jumped at the chance! Although this new fab range of hair care products have been in the pipeline in the background for many years for City Looks Salon, they have just been recently launched and are available to purchase at their salon in Leicester.

Their own range includes products from miracle sprays, to voluminising sprays, to fixing sprays to glossing serums and so on! There's a wide range and a guaranteed product for each and every individual hair type.

The two products I was given to try out were the Citylooks Colour glaze and their Argan Oil Hair treatment.

Although, in no particular order, I will start off with the Argan Oil Hair Hair treatment first. Now we all know the current Argan Oil hype for hair, skin, nails practically the whole body and what wonders it can do for us so I was very excited to give this a go. 

This product comes in a black pump 30ml bottle which I love as it means no messy spillages and you can control the amount of product you need. You just need a small amount to distribute evenly over your hair. The first thing that grabbed my attention was the gorgeous smell, it wasn't overpowering or anything which I typically like in a product. This product is great for everyday use and I just love how it is so versatile. 

The days where I have washed and conditioned my hair, I will apply a few small pumps whilst my hair is still wet and then blow dry it before straightening.The best thing? You don't even need to use a heat protecting spray separately when using this. 

When my hair is dry and straightened, I then like to apply a small drop all over to banish frizz and flyaways and the results are amazing! My hair is left feeling smooth and manageable and I just love how this product doesn't weigh my hair down and make it flat and greasy like some of the other similar products I have used in the past. 

Overall this is a great product and is great for daily use. It is one of their best sellers and I can see why. I use this on my daughters hair too when styling it and I just love how it doesn't irritate the scalp or leave any residue. I will definitely be purchasing another bottle on my next visit to the salon. A must have in every girls (and guys!) hair care routine!

Moving onto the next product is their colour glaze. As of late, a constant hectic lifestyle, not drinking enough water and major neglect to my hair not to mention frequent colouring has left it even more dry, damaged and lifeless. In a bid to restore some life back into my poor hair, I was very keen to give this product a try right away. The packaging is lovely, it comes in a silver sturdy tub and the consistency of this product is just right. It isn't  too thin and watery not is it too thick, it is like an intensive deep repair conditioning treatment and I just absolutely love the smell of this!

I have used this product three times now and I am not disappointed at all. After using my normal shampoo and conditioner, I then use a small two pound coin size of this and use it on my hair for at least 20 minutes before rinsing off. Whether I leave my hair to air dry naturally or use a hairdryer, I have noticed my hair to be more manageable, soft and less coarse. I cannot say for certain whether it has added any shine to my hair currently however with continuous use, I believe it will as well as enhance the colour of my hair and protect it from any dryness. As this glaze is quite rich and more like a deep conditioning treatment, it is not suitable for regular use and you may benefit from using it bi weekly as is more like a treat. This retails for £25 for 100ml which is pretty decent and can be purchased directly from their salon. 

Overall, I have enjoyed trying out these two new hair products, the results speak for themselves and it is clear that alot of hard work, expertise and passion have been put into them. 

I look forward to trying out more of their products as they do work from what I have seen so far. I wish Shifa and Citylooks Salon all the very best in the future. I not only recommend the salon itself but also their products too. Give them a follow on their social media, you will not be disappointed. 

Have you tried Citylooks Salon or any of their products?

Love and Lipstick

xxx

**Disclaimer- This is not a paid review. 





Wednesday, 13 June 2018

25 RANDOM FACTS ABOUT ME


Hey all

So, I’ve been meaning to write up this post and it’s been a highly requested one. If you want to get to know me a little better, you may want to read these 25 random facts about me, these are in no particular order, I have tried to keep them as interesting (and honest!) as possible, hope you enjoy!

1) I love coffee! My mornings do not begin until I have had my cup of it, I prefer cappuccinos with extra sugar and usually like to slurp the frothy/foamy bit first before sipping the rest, yes i am a weirdo!

2) I am very picky about what I wear, I’d rather have very few clothes in my wardrobe that are of decent quality and branded rather than a wardrobe full of rubbish. I’d rather wash these clothes and wear them over and over than have an overflowing pile in my wardrobe that don’t really do anything for me. Lets face it, expensive clothes generally last longer too don’t they?

3) My fav fizzy drink is normal Coke, if there’s no Coke, I then opt for Sprite or 7up, and I am not really keen on the drinks like Apple Tango, Orange or Cherry aid.

4) I spend most of my money on clothes, makeup and regular hairdresser visits.

5) My favourite childhood memory is when we used to go to Florida, eating Lucky Charms cereal for breakfast, visiting Disneyland and going to Universal Studios. The exciting part? Hiring a car and a villa for two whole weeks!

6) I am 33 years old.

7) I don’t really like coloured or half sleeved shirts, I prefer black or white and longsleeved ones.

8) One thing I do far too much of is over thinking and over worrying. Wait, is that two facts?

9) My birthdate is the 27th.

10) I come across very confident but I am actually very shy and anxious when you first meet me, it takes a while for me to open up depending on the people around me. I usually break the ice by cracking a lame joke or taking the mickey out of myself.

11) I thrive on sarcasm and find it nice when people reply back with sarcasm rather than getting offended. (Provided you’ve not said anything really offensive of course)

12) I don’t really like showing my feet, that’s not because I have an extra toe or something, its just something I feel conscious of and don’t really like to show unless I have to.

13) I am actually quite impatient and get bored very quickly.

14) I picked out my kids names before they were even born.

15) When I am stressed or haven’t slept much for long periods, one of my eyes usually twitches!

16) Sometimes for an extra pick me up, I gulp down a can of Red Bull if coffee doesn’t cut it.

17) My ultimate celeb crush is David Beckham, he just looks better and better with age.

18) My friends would say I generally give out good advice but I am rubbish at taking my own.

19) I am an avid social media user, however mainly just use Instagram now and don’t really use Facebook, Snapchat or Twitter anymore. I do go through phases though, sometimes I’ll just want to scroll through my news feed on Insta and sometimes ill just watch peoples stories that’s all. Sometimes I won’t go on at all and most days ill be on there atleast ten times in a day.

20) I have this obsession with being clean and smelling nice, I will usually drench myself in perfume and have a minimum of two showers a day.

21) I love getting beauty treatments done, spas, massages, facials, trips to the salon are my fav ways to relax and unwind.

22) I wish I had thicker and longer hair.

23) One thing I have a dislike for is arrogant people, there is a thin line between confidence and arrogance.

24) Even when I am home, I like to be showered and dressed; I don’t like the feeling of not having showered and being in my pyjamas all day.

25) Last but not least, I prefer tan coloured shoes to black ones. Tan goes perfectly with black or navy blue outfits in my opinion.


So there you have it guys, 25 complete random facts about me, what are yours?  I’d love to know. If you do this tag too please leave any links down below so I can take a read :-) 

Love and Lipstick
xxx





Sunday, 20 May 2018

The juggling act: Motherhood and working full time.


Source: Google Images

I often get asked how I juggle motherhood with working full time and the honest answer is I do not actually know and often find myself asking the same question most days too.
Having two kids 11 months apart was certainly not the plan I had in mind, my eldest was 2 months old when I had discovered I was pregnant again, I was just getting into the routine of the constant nappy changing and milk feeding as well as the endless laundry, cooking and cleaning all whilst being sleep deprived whilst mentally preparing myself of the realisation that soon it would have to be done all over again.

was on mat leave from a job I thoroughly enjoyed, really thrived in and so I didn’t want to or have to worry about the financial side of things just yet, my main focus was on the two under twos I had. It wasn’t about me anymore. The days were long and were often spent cooped up at home as I simply did not have the time or energy to dress myself and leave the house dreading the thought of having to push two screaming kids around in an enormous double pram practically the size of me.  

A year of mat leave quickly passed, as they say in motherhood, the days are long but the years are short and they really are.

After many discussions, debates and disagreements the husband and I made the decision for me to resign and stay at home until  both kids were ready to start full time school. Of course this decision was not easy and I had a million of ‘buts’ and ‘what ifs’ running constantly through my mind and I often prayed and hoped that I had made the right choice and we wouldn’t be hit hard financially and struggle later.

For those of you that know me well would know I absolutely love working and have always had strong work ethics with the determination and drive to excel in anything that I do. I gave it my all. I despised the thought of being a full time permanent stay at home mum or a housewife, it has never been my desire to be a domestic goddess but instead go out there and earn a honest and decent living making a career for myself and my family. The bottom line is I loved working and making a living.

Managing on one income was never easy, it meant really budgeting and cutting down costs where we could and swapping Grande cappuccinos from Starbucks for homemade instant coffees as well as cutting back on the other unnecessary expenses. Every last bit of savings I had went towards the endless nappies, wipes and milk I needed for both kids, it was like having twins and doing everything twice and in unison.

The option for childcare was always there and there was lots of little schemes available which meant if I had wanted to I could have worked part time. Truth be told I just could not bear the thought of leaving my children with random strangers, child minders or family, they were my responsibility and let’s face it working your guts off to then just throw it all away on extortionate childcare fees seemed pretty pointless and ridiculous. Besides I wanted to be there and see every milestone, their first word, first steps, and their first tooth and so on. These precious moments would never come again I kept telling myself.

Fast forward four years, I threw myself into work and became the main income earner whilst my husband worked part time. The transition was tough, but the feeling of guilt was even tougher. I remember crying on my very first day of work after dropping them to school. I worked endlessly and paid all the bills whilst he did the school runs and grocery shops. Some would even say we reversed roles and I suppose in a way we did. It became a partnership. Some days I often found myself at breaking point questioning whether I could do it all, I was far too tired and felt as though I had every ounce of energy and life sucked out of me only to pick myself up and carry on..if I didn't who would I often thought to myself...

Mornings consist of a mini military operation, dragging both kids out of bed with me being their best friend and worst enemy all at the very same time, a constant race against time, sipping my now lukewarm cup of coffee whilst getting both kids dressed, fed and ready for school, book bags and PE kits checked for the tenth time and frantically running around like a headless chicken whilst trying to get myself looking presentable for work, praying and hoping that I hadn’t forgotten to do anything important or completely forgotten an assembly or school trip they had.  

Often stumbling into work at half nine each morning with colleagues often asking how on earth do I manage it all, how on earth do I manage a full face of makeup and hair with the whole contouring and highlighting shebang and I honestly wonder myself sometimes. Getting up before everyone else and having that extra hour to shower and cram it all in certainly does help. All I do know is that caffeine is my best friend, you would often find me gulping down a can of red bull most days to keep me going and stopping me falling asleep at my desk, most days having had a broken night’s sleep and then a tough day at work can really bring you down and lose the plot so to speak.

The hardest thing for me? When you’ve had a challenging day at the office, everything and anything has gone wrong and it has just not been your day, week or month, having to then rush home, switch off and get the dinner on, kids fed, bathed, bedtime story and then to sleep all in less than two hours. Then having to clear away the dinner dishes, put a load of washing on and hoover and clear up any muck the kids (or husband!) has made. It was never ending. Weekends were no better too, the dreaded grocery shopping, kids haircuts, homework, things around the house and pamper sessions for myself that I could not find the time to do in the week. You yearn for an escape, wishing you could just book yourself in a nice hotel somewhere, away from everyone with some much needed peace and quiet oh and one preferably with a spa and lots of room service!

By around 9.45pm most  days I find myself slumped on the sofa with not having the tiniest bit of energy to move, eyes half shut and just wanting my bed at this point, then I remember I had forgotten to reply to a text or phone call or work through the hundred of notifications i had from Whatapp group chats, or completely forgotten to check whether we do have the all important ingredient in the cupboard for the next day’s dinner, that is after finally deciding what to cook that is. Most nights were spent trying to glue up the last bit of their mini science or art project before dragging myself upstairs removing my makeup and psyching myself up for only having to do it all over again the very next day. Is there such a thing as the perfect balance? Probably not and maybe I could have cut myself a little slack here and there now I think about it.

Would I have it any other way? Absolutely not believe it or not. Yes it is VERY mentally, physically and emotionally draining and the constant race against time and trying to juggle everything as well as find ‘me’ or ‘couple’ time (yes the husbands need attention too!) is almost impossible and I realise I am not alone, yet in a funny sort of way it is so rewarding at the same time too. It all takes a lot of strength and organisation and having to constantly keep yourself motivated and remind yourself that you are doing it all for your family and that it will all be worth it in the end. Patience is key and required, lots and lots of it.

My end goal? Is to be a good role model to both my children and set them a good example and encourage them. Remind them that mummy made it to all the parents evenings and assemblies despite working full time, she took the day off work when she needed to stay at home when we were poorly, she put the dinner on the table after a long and tiring day at work and worked endlessly hard so that we could wear nice clothes and have nice holidays. She did it all for us.

And yet again, if you were to ask me how on earth I do it all, the answer is I have no idea....

Love and Lipstick.

xxx

Friday, 16 March 2018

Beating Baby Blues




I am in no way claiming to be an expert at Motherhood, in fact far from it. Almost a year down the line, there are still occasions where I feel like ripping out the last bits of my hair and locking myself away in a room and crying. In fact, it almost reminds me of the mini crisis/ pantry cupboard scene Charlotte had from Sex and the City 2 , except of course, I did not have a hot lesbian nanny.

Nevertheless, having said that, I no longer depended on my Gina Ford's 'Contented Little Baby Books' and of course her 'The Secret to Calm and Confident Parenting' book and just so that they were not a complete waste, I decided to sell them to some other poor mum on EBay who I'm sure would have a 'contented little baby' just as I did.

After three years of marriage, two holidays, many trips to the cinemas and meals later, the husband and I decided to settle down, of course it meant moving into a place of our own, saving more and if we were really lucky cram in another fantastic holiday. Little did we know, nature had already taken its course, and as it intended, just as the two little lines on around 1000 pregnancy test kits confirmed, we were going to have a baby!

Naturally, we were a little shocked, despite the delightful news, it was big, and it was going to be forever. Amongst the congratulations from family and friends, many had also kindly warned us of the late nights, early mornings and all round hard work before adding it was also one of the best things in the world.

Aunts, grand mum, friends and women in general had warned me of the pains of labour, the lovely in depth details of just how unbearable the contractions, pressure and pushing stages were, nothing an epidural wouldn't solve they later added.

In fact, what they had forgotten to mention was just how painful it would be after, the effects mentally, physically and emotionally. Do our bodies ever go back to the way it was I hear you say? Sadly, ladies, no matter how many times your midwife, GP or some other know it all says, the answer is that it will not. Stretch marks, uneven skin tone, a weak pelvis, and a few extra pounds are just some of the results of our beautiful bundle of joy.

At first, the phone never stopped ringing and the doorbell never stopped chiming, there were lots of 'ooohhs' and 'aaahhhs' from people looking down at the Moses basket and our big coffee table had turned into a mini florist and card shop thanks to visits from kind family, friends and pretty much the whole street.

Luckily, mother and both grandmothers were around to help and teach yet I knew it wasn't going to be forever, as grateful as I was, all I wanted to do on the other hand was crawl up anywhere and sleep. Needless to say, with baby waking up every two hours for a feed and nappy change, I barely slept, showered or brushed my hair. I was exhausted, frustrated and cranky and resembled a zombie, I hardly recognised myself. The husband and I barely uttered two words to each other purely because we couldn't find the time or energy to from the all day then all night mothering and fathering. The days of long leisurely soaks with magazines and chocolates in the bath were long gone I sighed.....


To make matters worse, it was the middle of winter, long cold dark days and being cooped up in the house with no social life was every new mum’s nightmare. But, I kept telling myself this wasn't going to be forever and just had to suck it up. I had this beautiful little person depending on me, looking up at me, curling its sweet little fingers around mine and best of all, its smile and laugh even in the early hours of the morning made it all worthwhile. It truly did. The feeling was remarkable.




Source: google images 

 Along with the horror stories of labour, the lovely ladies also told me it did get easier. I often asked myself would I ever be able to be me and relax again. Be 'off duty' just for a little while? If you find yourself asking the same question, the answer is yes! Six months later it DID get easier, baby and I were in a lovely routine, thankfully I was able to sleep a few more hours at night, shower and wash my hair during the day all purely because once I was settled mentally and physically, naturally, so was baby. In fact, I had successfully BEAT those baby blues and with patience, dedication, support, organisation and getting priorities right, so can you. Of course, I'm afraid it means getting your priorities in order, eliminating a few not so important things in your life and knowing the things worth fighting for.

I realised housework could wait, does it ever end anyway?! Despite my inability to stop cleaning and polishing each and every corner of our lovely home (cluttered house equalled cluttered mind), I decided to not let it 'break' me, which I why when I could afford to, I paid for a cleaner who on the plus side, did massages too!
One thing I wasn't prepared to sacrifice however, was 'me time' even if it meant one hour a day, even if it meant savouring the serenity and being able to eat and drink with both hands. Even if it meant going to the loo in peace.


Source: Google Images.


And finally, don't be too hard on yourself, no matter how many kids you have, remind yourself that the mere feeding, nappy changing, dressing and caring for a small human is an amazing achievement, one which I would definitely go through all over again.

Along the way, I seemed to have picked up a few handy tips that I thought I would share. Sharing is indeed caring as they say.






1) Sleep when the baby sleeps. Well, do the fairies come and cook and clean whilst I do I hear you mutter? Even a 30 minute nap will ensure that you are refreshed and energised and sometimes a good decent nap is all it takes to make up for a whole night of broken sleep.


2) Communication is key. Talk to your husband/partner about how you really feel, do not shut them out, work and form a partnership and take nightly feeds in turns. After all, it’s a joint responsibility.

3) Be organised, get up before baby does and have your shower and breakfast beforehand, you will find even little things like combing your hair or putting the washing on without any interruptions is bliss.

4) Unless you are Cindy Crawford, do not pressurise yourself on losing the baby weight as soon as you walk out of that hospital. Your priority is your baby and not your dress size. Be realistic, it will happen naturally and besides experts recommend allowing your body at least six months to recover. Instead, use this time to really bond with your baby and get settled. These bonding moments will soon be over. They really grow so quick.  

5) Invite friends around the home when you feel up to it.  Catch up over cake and coffee so you do not feel you are missing out on your social life.

6) Get yourself and baby into a nice routine, feeding, playtime, bath time and bed times, not only do babies thrive on routine routine but it will allow yourself some quality unwinding time with your partner.

7) No matter what the weather is like outside, try to get some fresh air and natural daylight, even if it means simply taking a walk outside in your garden.

 
8) Try to keep on top of everything, a messy house will only create more work for yourself and make you more flustered, tidy as you go along, stay on top of important things you usually focus on such as bills etc. Nobody wants to be calling British Gas for the millionth time with a screaming baby in the background.


9) Take some time out for yourself, a hot bath works wonders provided your baby monitor is nearby, put on a bit of makeup, straighten your hair, wear your favourite dress or call up a dear family/friends. Always works wonders for me.

10) And lastly, do not be afraid to ask for help, there is no shame in asking family and friends for their help, if you need to pop out or simply need to sleep or feel you just cannot cope.  After all, it is what they are there for!

 
Albeit it all, with time,  strength and courage you will find yourself labelling PE kits, doing the school runs and making yummy packed lunches in six inch heels and freshly blow-dried hair in no time, and somewhere, a new mum will be asking how on earth do you manage it all.



Sunday, 16 July 2017

Elixir By Saarah - A review.



Hi my lovelies,


So, this time instead of making excuses for being MIA on here, I’m going to jump right into this blog post.

I have been really liking the idea of skin oils lately, well oils in general whether it’s for skin or hair as I feel they penetrate much deeper into the skin/hair and work much better for me as opposed to lotions and creams.
I have been following @elixirbysaarah on Instagram for a while now and seen that she has a 24K Gold oil infused in Pomegranate and Frankincense oil which is supposed to be great for anti ageing and skin balancing.
I was delighted when I was sent a bottle in the post to review. It came beautifully packaged in a gold bubble wrapped envelope and arrived promptly just as Saarah had promised it would.

So what’s in the oil I hear you ask? According to their official site, the oil contains Grapeseed oil, Pomegranate oil, Frankincense oil, Sweet Orange oil, Geranium Oil, Lavender oil, Vitamin e oil and 24k Gold.
The bottle itself is a sturdy ceramic like bottle, a white colour with a gold coloured dropper and a white lid which makes a great combination. The first thing that grabbed my attention was just how beautiful the bottle was and it was clear that a lot of thought went into the design process. The oil itself is a gold colour not too dark or light and contains gold flakes, almost like its filled with glitter, it looked so pretty! The consistency is just right too, not too thick or watery. 
You get 30ml of the product in the bottle which is a decent amount considering you only need a one or two drops and a little does go a long way with this oil.

During Ramadan, with the lack of food, water as well as reduced sleep, my skin was looking dull, dry and uneven around certain areas. It felt tight too which at times became uncomfortable and thus really needed a hydration boost.
I reached out for the oil and initially started to use a few drops on my face and neck at night only and didn’t use any other product alongside it as I really wanted to see how it worked alone. The next morning, instantly I could see my skin already looked smoother and brighter! I was that amazed at the instant results that I messaged Saarah to let her know my initial thoughts, something I rarely do when reviewing products.

The oil smells lovely and not too overpowering, something that often puts me off in a product. It smelt quite uplifting and ‘spa like’. It also didn’t irritate my skin which I was initially afraid of and I was able to use it around the delicate eye area without it stinging and watering the eyes.

I then started to use a few drops before applying my makeup each morning and the results were amazing! It worked an as excellent primer and my makeup sat better on my face, particularly when applying my foundation. This product is so versatile that I could even apply a drop to the lips before applying my matte lipstick. It also works great at really making your highlight pop! You can even apply a few drops to your beauty blender and pat away and it works just as well.

This oil has now become a must in my daily skincare and makeup routine and I am already looking to purchase another bottle once this finishes. I have really noticed a big difference to the overall condition and tone of my skin. It looks even and smooth and is no longer dry around some areas. It appears nourished and radiant and I can really see the results first thing in the morning and a lot of it comes down to it all having all the right and necessary ingredients your skin needs. 

This product is currently available through their website which can be found through their Instagram page @elixirbysaarah. It retails at around £25 for 30ml for now which is pretty decent considering its ingredients and what it does for your skin. Also the fact that one bottle will last you a while. There is also a sample sized 5ml bottle available to purchase if you want to try before you buy the full sized one. It is generally suitable for all skin types but as with any product, it is recommended that you do a small patch test first. 

I would like to see a bigger sized product at 50ml since it is so great and can last me ages particularly as I use it every single day without fail. I would like to thank Saarah for giving me the opportunity to try out this product (I am so glad I did) and I wish you all the very best in your ventures.

Love and Lipstick

xxx



Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Photoshoots: Tips for Makeup Artists.

Hi beauts
Yesterday I had my first ever photo shoot with a fellow makeup artist and Hijab Stylist here in Leicester at the Ibis hotel. Since I am trying to get the ball rolling for my freelance work, when the opportunity came to collaborate on a practise shoot I jumped at the chance, after all, theres no better way to promote your services .
Now, reading the title of this post you may think I am getting on my high horse, but believe me I am in no way claiming to be an expert at this, seeing as though it was my first ever time doing makeup at a shoot, I just wanted to share with you all some vital tips I picked up on the day and hopefully for those that are new to the industry like myself, some of these tips may come in handy.
So, without further ado (and further rambling!) I am going to jump straight into it. These are in no particular order.
Depending on how many models there are/what timings you have agreed on with the photographer etc, chances are it will be a long and intense day so comfortable clothes and shoes is a must. I initially opted for a cute little monochrome dress top from misguided but didn’t feel  it was suitable to work in and changed into something else. I was glad I did.  Again, heels are a total no no, you’ll be on your feet for most of the day, it will be hectic and you will be working to a tight deadline so the last thing you need is burning feet.
 Organise your kit the night before to make things easier on the day. Only take what you will be needing and using. Absolutely no point in taking everything and anything, you’ll not only be carrying excess luggage/weight but chances are you will be faffing around trying to find things.
Allow yourself plenty of time to get to the venue where the shoot is taking place to set up and grab a bite to eat. If you are anything like me, you will hardly be able to function on an empty stomach. Grab a drink (plenty of coffee in my case) and try sipping water at regular intervals.
 Confirm details with the photographer/stylist/person in charge prior to the shoot in order to avoid any misunderstandings on the day. This way you know what to expect, what you are required to do for the agreed incentive, be it money or professional images.
 Ensure you know what it in your kit. I’m not talking making a list of each and every item in there, but a mental note is good. If there is another makeup artist there working chances are things may get mixed up. No one wants to lose a Mac lippy you’ve spent long in investing or that favourite gel eyeliner. However do not be bitchy about it. You do not want to give them an impression that you are afraid they may steal or make them uncomfortable in any way.  Try to break the ice with the makeup artist before the makeup begins, it definitely helped me be less nervous and more at ease.
 Tidy as you go along. Having a clear tidy workspace will make life easy when working so you do not have to waste time looking for products or your favourite blending brush amongst the pile of mess you could have so easily avoided.
Before taking any pictures of the models makeup, ask if it is ok to and clarify where you will be posting it. The majority of them are very used to it and have no problem at all. I certainly wouldn’t want an image of me posted on Facebook without my consent.
 Be committed and be prepared to work under pressure. Leave important work and personal phone calls till after the shoot. It is nothing but disrupting and chances are the models will get frustrated from already sitting there with a stiff neck!
 Sanitise as you go along. I like to use my Sigma brush holder to put dirty brushes in so I do not cross contaminate. Don’t forget to use hand santiser if you are using your hands on somebody’s face.
And lastly, hygiene is a MUST! You’ll be getting close with whoever it is you are applying makeup/doing hair on so be sure to be odour aware. Underarm deodorants and mints are an absolute must!
So there you have it, all picked up on in one day! I will definitely be applying these tips for future photo shoots. Are there any tips you guys may have to add? Do leave them in the comment section below.
Until next time, love and lipstick. xxx