Browsing Category

Midweek Musings

LIFE Midweek Musings

Midweek Musings: New skincare faves

Right, I promise today to not talk about babies or toddlers or anything mummy related. Instead, I thought I’d do a quick post on my two favourite things from my wonderful Liberty beauty advent calendar. And a quick note about that too: it was flipping expensive but really it was worth every penny, I LOVED opening it each day and best of all getting to try lots of different products that I would never normally even know about. So totally worth treating yourself if you can spare the dosh. This year, I think I’ll try the Lookfantastic one, as I’ve heard good things about that too, and it seems to have more make-up in it (the Liberty one was quite skincare heavy). But I’m getting ahead of myself…

There were some real gems in the Liberty advent calendar. And only a few duds – as I said on Twitter I’m fairly sure that Night Brow Balm is a solution looking for a problem, and as for the two tubes of mini toothpaste – fancy they may be but still, meh.

But there are two products I’ve repurchased – here they are and here’s why…

Eve Lom Cleanser

I know tons has been written about this already and it’s also a bit controversial because it has mineral oil (Vaseline to you and me) in it, but it’s literally THE BEST CLEANSER I HAVE EVER USED. It has truly transformed by skin. I was using Clinique’s Take The Day Off before and while it did the job it also dried my skin out quite a bit. But the Eve Lom stuff seems to both exfoliate and leave my skin super baby soft, not a hint of tightness or dryness. It also comes with the best muslin cloth I have ever used (if you don’t fancy the cleanser, maybe treat yourself to some of these instead – you can buy them in packs of three). Now, it’s ridiculously expensive, and I used the entire advent-calendar pot up before buying it as I wanted to be sure sure sure before I splashed out that kind of dough, but no regrets. It means I need less moisturiser after and I’ve also given up my Alpha H Liquid Gold (which was great but did freak me out a bit with the burning sensation) because it seems to exfoliate so beautifully I don’t need it. Hurrah. It’s a bit smelly (I quite like the smell myself, clove oil I think!) so it’s definitely worth testing before taking the plunge, but I’m a real convert and heartily recommend.

Malin + Goetz Vitamin E Moisturiser

This is a super boring looking bottle and a very underwhelming product to use. It has no discernible smell and the texture is quite thin. But it’s amazing! It leaves my skin soft and happy without being shiny at all (no need for loads of powder throughout the day) and it hasn’t clogged up my pores or broken me out. Also quite pricey, but another one I really recommend – it’s apparently great for sensitive skin too. A bit of an obscure brand (and I wish they could have put a BIT more effort into the packaging because it’s THIRTY NINE BLOODY QUID AND I WANT SOMETHING PRETTY FOR THAT) but totally worth checking out if you want something non-perfumed and kind to your skin that does the job.

Both of these are available at Space NK so I am sure you can get samples if you fancy testing them out. I also loved the Aurelia Refine & Polish Miracle Balm, but it’s just stupid money, and the Laura Mercier hydrating primer, which really does help your foundation stick around.

LIFE Midweek Musings

Midweek Musings: Belated Resolutions

Might as well, right?

I’m a bit of a grumpy cow when it comes to actually celebrating New Year’s Eve (as I’ve said before I’m allergic to organised fun), and this year was no exception. However, there’s definitely something to be said for feeling refreshed and coming to the year anew, rethinking all that’s gone before and deciding on some changes.

So, a little bit late I know, but here are my new year’s resolutions:

Lose some bloody weight

Now, I’m not the sort of person who really obsesses about their weight but that’s because up until about two years before I got pregnant I could eat whatever I liked and I really didn’t put any weight on. But then my metabolism changed completely, and suddenly I understood all the neuroticism surrounding food. When I was pregnant I decided it didn’t bloody matter what I weighed so long as the baby was growing (which she wasn’t – cue my excuse to eat even more). Then I gave birth and felt a bit horrified by my new figure, and worked a bit to get some of those maternal fat stores off. But then Daph decided to stop sleeping. And we moved house to somewhere where the car is needed to get to most places, meaning I don’t even get to go for long walks anymore. And then it got cold and then it was Christmas and I ATE ALL THE THINGS. And now I am about half a stone heavier than I was in the summer, and I actually feel gross. So yes, new year’s resolution no 1 is the most boring and predictable one of all but I must stop EATING ALL THE THINGS. Specifically, sugar. And get off my arse more. I’m back doing the XBX plan which I love (apart from the lateral bends which are bloody HORRID), and once the weather warms up, intend to start jogging again.

Stop spending so much money

I’m not terrible with money – I don’t really have any debt apart from my mortgage, but neither do I have a pension and I only save enough dosh each year to pay my tax bill in January. From next month I’ll be getting less income each month (long and complicated story, but some of my revenue from selling my business was deferred, and this comes to an end next month). So I need to stop buying things on a whim. I am a terrible whim-buyer – I see things I like and I buy them, without really thinking twice. Stupid stuff like coffees I don’t really need, a new umbrella because it’s prettier than my old one, another lipstick that’s identical to one I already own but a different brand etc etc. If frittering money away was an Olympic sport I’d ace it. So I’ve started a new budget – actually written down all my outgoings on a spreadsheet and given myself a fixed sum each month to spend on crap clothes, beauty etc. It’s not much but it should be enough to get by. Just to prove I’m down with the zeitgeist, I’m calling it Mindful Spending.

Read more books

I make this resolution every year. It’s pretty obvious. Stop pissing time away on Facebook at night and instead spend more time with my Kindle. Specifically I’d like to read some more classics, rather than just stuff that’s in the bestseller lists. I didn’t do English A Level (and I call myself a writer – shock horror!) and there are some serious gaps in my reading that I’d like to fill (Oli was disgusted to hear that I’d never read Wuthering Heights last week when we were watching the Bronte programme on BBC… *hangs head in shame*).

Sort out my career

Ah the biggie! I am trying, honestly. I have been totally lost in sleep-deprived motherhood career-wise and I have so many thoughts on it all that I’d love to clarify in my own mind (do I try to find a full-time job? set up another company? continue freelancing in an industry that inconsiderately decided to die on its arse while I was off having a baby? retrain as a librarian? (seriously, have been considering this!) if not then what what what?) and then share, but I don’t have time because, well, I’m a mother. So yes, more soon. Hopefully. Once Daph’s settled into the childminder!

LIFE Midweek Musings

Midweek Musings: Life updates

life-update-lifebylotte

More trees today, sorry!

Long time no blog. I apologise. If I’m honest, I’ve been a bit stuck for topics. Now Daphne is older, there isn’t so much to write about her on a regular basis (although she’s changing all the time, of course, it’s all quite subtle now and we’ve settled into a reasonably happy routine). I’d love to blog about the house but the truth is we’ve done a big fat NADA to it since we moved in. I don’t know how people manage to do up houses with babies/jobs/lives.

But here are a few little updates, just to reassure you I haven’t died:

  1. We have found a childminder! From January, Daphne will be going to a lovely lady in the village next to ours for one day per week. Even this feels slightly traumatic/scary, but at the same time, incredibly exciting as it means a whole day to myself to do whatever I like! Well, mostly work, of course, but still. I will have time to reply to emails, to plan stuff, to get ahead, to work on my book… I cannot wait.
  2. I have finished the first draft of my novel. It’s a bit of a mess (a massive mess in fact) but still, I’m really pleased as now I finally know what the story is about, and how to fix it. I had my critiquing session with my group at the Faber Academy last week (we share our first 5000 words with each other and give feedback) and it went really well, which was reassuring. I am sure it’s super boring reading on a blog about someone working on a book, but I have and I’m afraid it has been taking up most of my headspace lately, leaving little room for anything else. But I’m going to have a bit of a break from it over Christmas, and then get stuck in with the redraft in January. If anyone’s interested as to what it’s about, let’s just say it’s about new motherhood not turning out exactly how someone had planned…
  3. And on that note… I’ve been having a real think about the blog lately. When I first started blogging after Daph was born, it was as an outlet for all the experiences I was going through that felt so alien and new. But now I feel a bit more sorted (not much, but a bit) and also more like I should stop with the oversharing, as if I’m honest, I don’t think it’ll help me try to relaunch a career (more on that in a minute). So I’m trying to work out how the blog can fit into this new way of thinking. I don’t go to glamorous events anymore. My restaurant review days are well and truly over. My life on a day to day basis is incredibly mundane. I’m not one of those supermums who does crafts round the clock with their offspring, providing plenty of blog fodder. I could blog more about interiors, but somehow that doesn’t feel like it fits with the content I already have on here (plus there are a gazillion interiors blogs out there already). So yes. I need to make some decisions. I want to know what people find (and don’t find) interesting, so if you fancy sharing what YOU want to read about, that would be awesome and very helpful. I try to be honest about motherhood, and these posts do seem to be the most popular, but then I worry I sound like a right moaner… Generally it seems my real life friends like reading the personal stuff as a way of keeping up to date with my life when everyone’s so busy, but for those who don’t, I’m sure it’s a massive snorefest. Pondering pondering… and open to suggestions!
  4. Careers. Hmm, I shouldn’t write much about this really, but I am feeling so so saddened by the state of my former industry (magazine journalism). I haven’t done proper journalism for ages now, just bits and bobs here and there, but still, it was a bloody awesome job while it lasted. I found out the other day that the interiors website I worked on for four years from launch has been rebranded and basically turned into a shadow of its former self, with loads of staff being made redundant. I nearly wept! It is crazy how journalism has just died a death thanks to the internet. So yes, in 2017 I need to start making some firm decisions about what the hell I am going to focus on for the rest of my working life. SCARY stuff. I have written a list of priorities for my new career, top of which is not having to commute into London every day. More on that soon…
LIFE Midweek Musings

Midweek Musings: Simple pleasures

small-pleasures-3-lifebylotte

Blame the fact I’m reading The Handmaid’s Tale at the moment, blame the fact that November seems to be dragging on unbearably long, blame the fact that I haven’t been out for dinner with friends for nearly ten weeks now as I’ve been totally housebound six nights a week, meaning adult conversation is somewhat limited – whatever it is, I’ve been in a very reflective mood lately.

The other night, I made Oli do some silly quiz someone had posted on Facebook – a bit like Mr & Mrs, you had to answer questions about the other person. One of them was ‘What do you like the most about me?’ and, somewhat incredibly I think, Oli said my ‘positivity’. I nearly fell out of bed (we were just about to go to sleep). I try very hard to stay positive, but I do have a tendency to moan on – for me a bit of whinging is cathartic and I do love a good rant. Generally speaking though, I’m quite a content person. When I moan I’m trying to make light of things – it’s my way of dealing with stuff, trying to turn it into some silly exaggerated joke.

Having said that, I have been trying really hard to be positive lately, which has been really tough, given the state of the world in general. There’s an interesting message in The Handmaid’s Tale which basically says ‘we didn’t know how good we had it until it all changed’ and that’s kind of how I feel about the state of things world-wise at the moment. It’s all very good thinking change will be better, but what if it’s not, what if it’s worse?

small-pleasures-lifebylotte

Anyway, in order to counteract this rather deep-seated sense of malaise and fear – especially as I have a little one to think of, imagining the world she’s coming into is terrifying quite frankly – I’ve been trying to appreciate the small things in life. Each day, trying to live in the present (which is one of my top tips for coping with life in general actually). I do think having a baby makes you appreciate the simple things – it’s a cliche because it’s true. I used to be all about fancy events, expensive clothes and handbags and, well… showing off, and while I do still like most of these things (!), they seem to come at a price. But it’s the little things that now bring me those small thrills of excitement, like you used to get as a kid.

So, here are a few of my simple pleasures. Things that make me smile. I’d love to hear yours too.

small-pleasures2-lifebylotte

  1. Cold walks wrapped in big coats. Watching my breath mist in the air.
  2. Online shopping arriving (especially when it’s something cute for the baby).
  3. The smell of Christmas candles. Candles in general. Let’s be honest, they don’t have quite the same effect on long summer evenings.
  4. Lebkuchen.
  5. My daily gin and tonic once the baby is asleep at 7pm.
  6. Writing. It’s been hard – I’ve written about 76,000 words now, done over just nine weeks, and am nearly finished with the first draft. But it’s so satisfying to be working on something that I feel passionate about.
  7. My blow fan heater. Economical it may not be, but god that thing brings me joy. #toastytoes
  8. The baby running around naked before her bath every night and being ridiculously excited about it.
  9. Getting a decent night’s sleep after a year of not doing so. Just waking up and not feeling exhausted is amazing – I will never take sleep for granted again!
  10. The Missing. I don’t watch much telly at all, but this is addictively good and I get very excited when I realise it’s Wednesday and there’s another episode on.
  11. Christmas coffees – OK, they are responsible for around half a stone in weight gain each year but still. No one has to see my white flabby thighs, it’s winter.
  12. And on that note… no one has to see my white flabby thighs, it’s winter. I don’t have to shave my legs every day and faff about with fake tan. Hurrah for low-maintenance beauty.
  13. The colour of the leaves on the trees outside my office window. It’s insanely beautiful. I have tried photographing them but my windows need cleaning and the pictures don’t do them justice. Instead, please enjoy these recent pics by my professional photographer sister. Suffice to say, nature beats everything.

Oh god, have I just described hygge? Shoot me now.

small-pleasures4-lifebylotte

LIFE Midweek Musings

End-of-week Musings: the UK cat killer

percy3

Our beautiful mog Percy

Apologies! This post is late – again. I’ve had food poisoning/norovirus (no idea how you tell the difference) over the past few days and have been in an absolute state. On the mend now finally, thanks to lots of rest and dioralyte.

This week I wanted to do a quick post about the UK cat killer. A bit random, I know, but actually it’s something I’ve been following lately and it’s really upset me. For those not in the know, there’s a horrible sick git out there taking great pleasure in killing (often decapitating) cats late at night, and leaving them for their owners to find. There’s been more than 100 confirmed murders now, most of which have taken place around the M25. But the police are still no closer to catching the person responsible.

I wanted to write about this because since we moved house, we’ve wondered what to do about Percy and his access to the garden. We have a cat flap in our living room, but as our downstairs is completely open plan this means he can come and go as he pleases, leaving a trail of muddy footprints across our carpet/rug/sofa/dining table/everything (he loves the new garden, and he especially loves digging in the mud). So when we go to bed, we’ve taken to shutting him in the downstairs loo (should add, it’s quite a big loo!), with his bed, litter tray and food etc. It feels quite mean to have him confined to a relatively small area all night, and we were considering getting a cat flap fitted on the loo window too so he could get outside that way, but we’ve decided not to do that until this terrible person has been caught. It’s just not worth the risk.

So yes, that’s what I wanted to say really. Just in case you hadn’t heard about it and have a cat that you love and want to keep safe! Please spread the word. The official advice from the people investigating this killer is to keep your cats indoors at night – most of the killings have taken place over night. If you want to read more about it, there’s an animal rescue organisation in South Norwood (the killings started in Croydon) who have all the information you could need, and there’s lots of stuff in the press too. This is a good article.