Posts Categorised: Lifestyle and Home

My Skincare Routine

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Since turning 30 I’ve been paying my skin a bit more attention than before. I’ve become a total Caroline Hirons fangirl, and have really started giving my skin to love and attention it needs. I love reading about what other people use for their skincare routines, and I posted on Instagram last week that I might do a post about my own, lots of you wanted to hear about what I was using so here goes!

My skin is 30 years old, is prone to a little redness and a few large pores just around the nose. I have hormonal zits on my chin sometimes, and the starts of a few fine lines around my eyes. It’s neither greasy or dry, and isn’t too sensitive (I can handle new products pretty well).

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Cleansing

Hi, my name’s Kim, and I’m a reformed facewiper.

I used to use and abuse those dirt-pushy-roundy environmentally unfriendly squares of scented trash, and think it was a job well done if I remembered to use one each morning and night. How wrong I was! And how, looking back, my skin suffered. Breakouts, uneven skin tone, large pores, you name it.

Now, I’m a one flannel a day double cleanser. I have a whole bunch of white flannels that I keep in a small crate by my sink. I use the same one for my morning and evening wash, and then it goes in the laundry. Damp flannels are a breeding ground for bacteria, bacteria that you end up smearing on your face and causes you to breakout.

For my morning cleanse I choose my cleanser depending on how my skin looks, and the products that I’ve used the night before. Usually, I’ll use something light such as the REN gel cleanser or REN cleansing milk, there’s not much to wash away in the morning so a single cleanse is fine. If I want something a bit more nourishing I might use a hot cloth cleanser, I’m currently using Soap and Glory’s Ultimelt which is lovely (and kind on the old wallet.. it has a nice herbal scent, something I like a lot with skincare products). I’ll make sure to give a good massage with whatever cleanser I’m using, getting the cleanser right into the pores and waking my skin up.

For my evening cleanse I’ll start with a pre-cleanser, this is mainly to remove makeup or SPF. My favourites are the Body Shop’s camomile cleansing butter and Una Brennan’s Superfacialist Rose Miracle Makeover Oil (the scent of this has my heart forever, it’s beautiful, and very much like the expensive Liz Earle facial concentrate oil). Once that’s been taken off with a hand-hot flannel, I’ll get down to the actual skin cleansing with a superior cleanser such as Emma Hardie’s Moringa Balm (I was dubious about the smell of this when I bought it, but it’s such a lovely cleanser!) or a hot-cloth cleanser such as REN Rosa Centifolia.

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Exfoliating

I don’t use a physical exfoliator anymore,  I get a pretty good level of exfoliation from my cleansing flannel, however I do use some low level AHAs for a brightening & replenishing boost. Every other morning I’ll give my skin a wipe of the First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance pads, I could probably get away with using these every day if I wanted, but I’m still a bit scared to throw too much at my skin! Every other night (or, when I remember, more like) I’ll use 5 drops of REN resurfacing AHA concentrate.

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Treatments

I’ve recently started using m”My First Retinol”, which is a bit scary because “NEVER GO IN THE SUN AGAIN” etc. However, I’m already an SPF addict, so it’s not too bad. The retinol I use is La Roche-Posay Redermic [R], and I think I can attribute my smaller pores and the decrease in my (not too bad anyway) fine lines to this product. I don’t use it everyday, but I probably could/should as I continue to wither get older. I’ve had no reactions to it, which is good, and I’ve just ordered the eye version.

I’m just getting into the world of serums & oils, and I have two that I use regularly. The first is REN Vita Mineral Omega 3 Optimum Skin Oil, which I adore. I occasionally use this in the morning if I need a bit of a boost, and I sometimes use it without a moisturiser and it’s really moisturising in its own right. The second I use is a budget hero, Body Shop’s Vitimin E Serum in Oil. It’s actually really nice, and sinks into the skin really easily. I tend to only use this one in an evening.

One day I’ll get a Sunday Riley oil, one day.

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Eyes

I’m not big on eye creams. Oops. I probably should be. I use a little Emu Oil Well (when I remember), and a couple of other samples from Liz Earle and REN that I’ve picked up. I’ve just ordered the Redermic [R] retinol eyecream, though, so things might change!

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Moisturiser

I’m pretty much a moisturise-and-go kinda gal. My morning moisturiser is currently shared between Bare Minerals SPF 20 moisturiser, REN evercalm global protection day cream, and REN Vita Mineral daily supplement moisturising cream (I love REN moisturisers, they sink into the skin really nicely, and have unobtrusive scents – I’m looking at you Liz Earle, wtf is with your janky moisturiser scents?!).

I get lazy with my evening moisturiser sometimes, the two oil/serums I use are pretty moisturising in their own right so I sometimes skip another layer. I have, however, just bought the Soap and Glory night and flight moisturiser to try (it smells good, kinda like apricot).

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SPF

Thou shalt never forget thine SPF. I do one of a few things depending on my day, I either user my bare minerals SPF 20 moisturiser if I’m not going to be outside too much/the UV rays aren’t too bad, or, I use my La Roche-Posay 50+ SPF on top of a non-SPF moisturiser, OR, if I’m wearing makeup, I’ll rely on a 20+ SPF BB/Tint cream.

The La Roche-Posay stuff is great for a facial SPF, it’s not too heavy, doesn’t cause breakouts (just be sure to double cleanse at night), and sinks in really quickly.

Just whatever you do, wear a fucking SPF.

There, is over 1000 words on how I wash my face enough? I hope so! What are your favourite products? Any recommendations? Want any more info on the products I’ve mentioned above? Write it in the comments below!

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Standing Still

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I’ve just got back from a brilliant weekend in London where I got to hang with friends and attend the wonderful Blogtacular weekend.

It was the first time in the past few months that I’ve really had chance to breathe. I’ve been working non-stop, which is always better than the alternative when you’re a one-woman-shop, but it also means that you don’t  always get chance to stand back and look at the big picture.

I posted about it on Instagram earlier today and wanted to follow up to that with a bit more about where I feel I’m at right now. There’s a lot of navel gazing here, you’ve been warned.

My business is strong, I have lots of work coming in, excellent projects for exceptional people. There aren’t enough superlatives to explain how awesome my clients are. I love working with them, helping them build their businesses, and even just being a small part of that process is very rewarding. I’m under no illusions that I’m very lucky* to do what I do.

However…

Working on other people’s businesses means that I’ve been neglecting my own. I don’t mean that I’ve just been sat around doing nothing, I’ve been tweaking my processes, keeping up with enquiries, and booking new work. But I feel like I’ve been stood still on my own path.

When you have a successful** business, it’s hard to see where to make changes. Should you aim for more money? more holidays? better equipment? bigger clients? more renown? press? When I started out on my own almost 4 years ago, my aim was to make sure my business could support my lifestyle, and it does, with abundance. I wanted to be happy with what I did, and I am, in the main. And I wanted flexibility, which my lengthy gym sessions and day-time baths illustrate nicely.

I’ve achieved what I set out to achieve.

So where do I go from here? 

It’s taken me a little soul searching to see what I need to do, and I think it all goes back to creating & experimenting with my own businesses again. I just don’t feel as excited with my own shit at the moment and something needs to change.

Things need shaking up, untested ground needs stamping on, and new opportunities need exploring.

I’m not going to stop what I’m already doing, but I’m going to make space for the new by getting really picky with the old.

I’m going to question whether every move I make, project I take on, or interview I do will take me further down the path to my ultimate goal. I haven’t quite figured out what the ultimate goal is yet (does anyone really ever know? It shifts all the time), but it’s definitely not going to be found by keeping things exactly the same.

And I’m going to keep coming back to this post and remembering my promise to myself: keep moving forward.

* Well, not “lucky”, I’ve worked damn hard to get here.
** However you measure success.

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What I’m Reading: April/May 2015

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Well this has been a while coming, huh? Just a littttle late. May got away from me with a week long holiday and then catching up with work after, so I’ve lumped these two months into one post.

The Understudy by David Nicholls

Very easy reading, and a good prosaic book for winding down with. The story isn’t the strongest, and the characters aren’t likeable. I still think One Day has been Nicholls’ best book to date (I haven’t read Starter for Ten yet). This would make a good holiday read, but overall it’s a bit meh.

The Jennifer Morgue by Charles Stross

I totally devoured the first book in The Laundry Files, The Atrocity Archives, and had similar expectations from this one. Alas, it didn’t quite grab me in the same way. I found it quite hard to read, and in fact I’d read about a third of it a few months ago before shelving it for later. I won’t give up on the series, though, as I love the whole storyline (science fiction with a lovecraftian twist? I’m sold!), I’m hoping it was just me and this particular book that didn’t get on well.

Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey

You must’ve heard of this one, right? It’s been a best seller for a while now, and for good reason. I really enjoyed reading this one, which, while a pretty easy read, leaves you wrecked with emotion. I read this more as a story/experience of dementia, rather than a mystery (because you can figure that out yourself very early in the book). I think if you’re going to read this expecting a “darkly riveting mystery” as the cover suggests, then you’ll be sorely disappointed.

The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

I read Never Let Me Go a few years ago, and thought it was high time to read some other books by the same author. I didn’t know what to expect from The Remains of the Day, I’ve never seen the film, but I really did enjoy the story. It’s written so wonderfully from the narrators point of view that you could almost be fooled into thinking it was an autobiography. It’s one of those books that might not instantly shake you, but will stay with you for years to come.

The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough

What an epic read! An odyssey spanning the lives of three generations of cattle station owners in the Australian Outback. I bought this as a kindle daily deal way-back-when, and thought I’d get around to reading it one day. It was a long read, and with so much going on I was finding myself only able to manage 5% in one sitting, I pretty much spent the whole of May reading this one book. I was glad I did, though, the story (while drawn out) was pretty gripping. McCullough has a tendency for the over description, and while I’m all for detail, 2 pages describing the flowers at the front of a house takes it a little bit far. If you’re wanting a story of love, loss, hardship, family and Australia, this is the book for you.

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On Adventure, comfort zones, and pushing boundaries

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So this is kind of a break from the norm, a more personal post, oohh-eerr. Not that I’m against getting personal on this blog, but most of my posts lately have been more about business and creativity than actual life.

About a year or so ago I started getting itchy feet for adventure.

We’d started doing a lot more walking with the dog, longer walks over moors, fields, woodland and hills. We’d spend our weekends getting aquatinted with the outdoors, pushing ourselves to walk further and harder than before. I’d started doing more classes at the gym and I could see huge physical improvements. I could climb up rocks that I’d have previously cried about, I wasn’t afraid to scramble down hills, and I started punching the air when I made it to the top of tough hills.

There were low points too, of course. That time I cried on the moors because my jeans weren’t flexible enough (I soon invested in actual walking trousers), and I had ridiculous menstrual cramps. I think I told the Pennine Way to go fuck itself. Or the time I thought I’d never get down the muddiest banking ever, and cried again. I’m such a fucking pussy sometimes.

I cry less now, and punch the air more. Just the other week I traversed the boggiest downhill section in Holmfirth, and whooped the whole way, not caring if I fell and got dirty, just happy in the fact that I no longer gave any fucks about the mud. Ice though, I still cry about ice.

I started to crave more. Bigger challenges, something more testing, something that would probably make me cry but feel like a god damn heroine after the fact.

On May 1st 2015 we start the first of our adventures, walking the length of Hadrian’s Wall. We start in Newcastle and walk East to West, ending up in Bowness-on-Solway.

It’s going to be a walk of firsts for me:

  • The first multi-day hike
  • The first time I’ll have camped in over 8 years (and not at a music festival)
  • The first time I’ll have carried a huge pack over a great distance
  • The first time I’ll have seen a giant stone phallus*

It’s around 84 miles, through towns, country, woodland, fields, and bogs. It’ll be hard work, but worth it… I think.

I was the fat kid with asthma in school, I shied away from sports and didn’t even dream of doing anything like the Duke of Edinburgh. But now, at 30 years old, I’m pushing myself totally out of my comfort zone and feeling more content than ever before. Just look at what my body can do! These legs, these thunder thighs, are going to carry me across the entire country. I’ve already started planning our next adventures, and eventually I’d love to do something even further out of my comfort zone (Machu Picchu or Kilimanjaro), but for now, those 84 miles are what I’m aiming for.

So here’s to adventures, pushing your boundaries, and doing things that you never expected. Here’s to standing at the top of a muddy bank, crying that you won’t make it down, but having no choice but to do it, succeeding, then feeling all kinds of awesome.

*You should probably follow me on instagram to see the delights of my trip, stone phallus included.

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What I’m Reading: March 2015

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Another good reading month! Here’s what I read with a succinct review/opinion on each:

Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman

I’ve mentioned before that Neil Gaiman is my all time favourite author. I love his short stories, children’s books, and grown-up novels alike. This latest short story collection doesn’t disappoint, there were some stories that were better than others, of course, but overall I found it a really great read.

My favourite stories from this anthology were: Black Dog (because, Shadow), The Return of the Thin White Duke, The Sleeper and the Spindle, and The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains.

Be aware that there are quite a lot of stories in the collection that have already been published in other short story anthologies, or on their own.

Buy it here

Long Way Round by Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman

Oh man. I’m so obsessed with Long Way Round and Long Way Down, the two motorbike adventures that Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman took in the early 2000s. I remember watching the series when they were first on TV and loving them, and since they appeared on Netflix I think I’ve watched each series at least 4 times. Obsessed.

I’d been meaning to pick up the books at some point, but they weren’t super-cheap on Amazon and, for 10ish year old books, I didn’t want pay a huge amount. However, we recently popped into the ever wonderful Barter Books (amazing, amazing place) and I found both the books.

I read the first one in March and thought it was great, lots of extra bits that didn’t feature in the TV series, and maps/kit lists that I also found interesting.

This is for you if you appreciate the need for adventure, you don’t mind a bit of “my rolex is too heavy” navel gazing, you’re interested in hearing about how cultures across the world are appreciated through the eyes of a Hollywood actor & his mate, and you have a passing appreciation for motorbikes. This won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but for me? Loved it.

Buy it here

The Bedwetter by Sarah Silverman

This came up on a kindle daily deal a few months ago, and whilst not having a huge knowledge of Sarah Silverman, I’ve known about her since she Fucked Matt Damon and God, so I thought I’d give it a shot. I was pleasantly surprised. An easy read, laugh out loud funny in places, kinda gross in others, but great for connecting more lines in the world of the SNL family.

Buy it here

Yes Please by Amy Poehler

I got this on Audiobook because I really enjoyed listening to Tina Fey’s book, narrated by herself, and had similar hopes for this one from Amy Poehler. The audiobook features a bunch of guest voices, from Patrick Stewart to Kathleen Turner, which made it a really fun listen.

This read as more of a bunch of essays about Poehler’s life rather than an A-B. With chapters on her childhood, her days at SNL, and having her own kids, it painted a really nice picture of how hard she’s worked to get where she is.

I’d definitely recommend going for the audio version!

Buy it here on Audio, or here in text

Outlander #1 by Diana Gabaldon

You know I love a good trashy book, and mixed with history? fantasy/science fiction? Scotland? A muscley, hairy, ginger leading man? and a foul-mouthed leading lady? It’s almost as if Gabaldon was writing this in 1991 for future-me.

To be totally honest I only heard about the Outlander series recently, with the TV series coming to Amazon Prime. A few googles lead me to the book, which promised to be perfect for A Song of Ice and Fire (GoT) fans. After seeing Melanie had enjoyed the first book, I decided to give it a go.

It’s not a short book but the story moves along quite quickly (unlike GoT). There’s a lot of sex. Like, a LOT. But it doesn’t distract from the story, it’s not bodice-ripping orgies or anything, and it’s definitely not the main focus of the book. There’s a good amount of historical fact too, which as a history geek I found really interesting. It’s set around the Scottish Highlands, near where we stay when we go to Scotland, so being able to accurately picture the landscape was captivating (much like when I read Wuthering Heights).

I’ve read some reviews where people talk about certain aspects of abuse between Claire and Jamie, and while I understand their concerns, I think it’s very difficult to judge a historical situation with a modern yard stick. It’s certainly a tricky one, and it’s a subject often talked about on some of the history podcasts I listen to.

If you want to read a more in depth review of Outlander, then definitely head over to Melanie’s blog post about it!

Buy it here

Keep up to date with what I’m reading on Goodreads.

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