Four times in the past week my children, who are almost-five and three years old, have unknowingly grabbed onto one of my nipples to stop themselves toppling over. 75% of the time it has been when I’ve been putting their shoes on, which is always a precarious sport – and also explains why my nipples have been within grasping reach – but there was one particularly memorable case that saw my right nipple used as a sort of living climbing hold so that my youngest could scale my body like a mountain and sit on top of my head.
I’ll stress again that neither child has the faintest idea what they’re holding onto in these fleeting moments – for all the world it could be a button or the end of a zipper. On reflection, it took me a few seconds to work out what they were grasping in their little hands, mainly because after two solid years of being gummed and chewed at (referring to breastfeeding, obviously – Mr AMR isn’t some kind of low-key sexual deviant) my nipples tips have almost no feeling.
They may as well be steel-capped. If I was into body piercings, I’d have no qualms about getting some hoops through them – maybe then I could thread a dainty rope through the hoops and tie it around my neck, giving myself a free breast lift!
So anyway, the nips seem to have suddenly gained an extra practical use. And I’ve realised why it’s sudden and a brand new phenomenon: it’s because for much of the day I can’t be bothered to put a bra on. Previously my nips would be incased in a t-shirt bra, safely behind moulded cups. And now they are swinging free, a good four or five inches below me as I duck and dive to successfully complete the Crystal Maze Shoe Application challenge.
It’s a tricky old manoeuvre, isn’t it – putting small kids’ shoes on? There you stand, prone and vulnerable, your face necessarily next to the back of their head, which is for all intents and purposes a huge, solid, fast-moving canonball, ready to smash into your nose or eye socket at any given moment.
For it is impossible for a child to stand still whilst being shod; they toss their heads around, bob up and down, jig on one foot like a demented goblin. And the one time that you want them to move – “bend your leg! BEND YOUR LEG!” they stiffen every muscle like a board, knees locked out, so that you have to give up and plonk them on the table to get at their feet.
And even though you couldn’t be more clear which foot you’re tapping for them to raise – “THIS ONE” – they always lift the other one. And then they lose balance, because it’s all so overwhelmingly complicated, because their brains are (rightly!) wholly concerned with the mystery of “why bees don’t ride about in helicopters to stop their wings from getting tired”, and then a tiny hot hand shoots out and grabs onto the nearest convenient thing.
Pendulous, available, dangling right there like a welcome hand-strap from the ceiling of a packed London Routemaster. Topple, tipple, grab my nipple. It’s a wonder they’re still attached.
Photo by Victoria Strukovskaya on Unsplash
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There’s no big mystery to this post and it’s not rocket science – just simple mathematics and a couple of excellent, unfussy ingredients. I’m going to tell you how I make the most luxurious and effective bath soak for about fifty pence a go; a bath soak that genuinely relaxes me, helps me to sleep, relieves my aching muscles if I’ve been doing my stupid online workouts and that mentally transports me to somewhere exotic.
This soak is completely customisable but I’m going to give you a few options just to get you started. Perhaps you like a rose-scented bath or maybe you prefer a bit of frankincense to clear your mind and put you back on the level; whatever floats your boat, all of the versions below will make you feel as though you’re relaxing in a posh spa in one of those fluffy dressing gowns that’s always just too small to do up properly and so keeps flashing your paper knicker-clad fanjita to all and sundry.
I’m not posting this as a “thrifty lockdown beauty hack”, though it is that too; I’ve been banging on about this luxury bath soak for months and it’s time to set it in stone!
So, there are two elements to the luxury bath soak: the first is epsom salts and the second, good quality essential oils or a ready-made oil blend. Depending on the oils you choose (and how much you use) the price of a soak goes up, but if you stick to a beakerful of salts and a few drops of Tisserand oil you can keep it to around fifty pence or so.
The ingredients are top-notch, but the price is a fraction – a fraction! – of the ready-made stuff, because you buy the salts in bulk and add your own oils. Here we go then…
Using a whole beakerful of salts is the key here: I’ve done a lot of experimenting with epsom salt quantities and there’s no point pissing about with a couple of tablespoons of the stuff. You’re not going to float about in that, are you? It would hardly make a difference to the water at all!
(Even though that’s the amount that lots of luxury brands seem to recommend using. Mainly because if you used the amount I think you need for it to be effective then it’d be half a tub and people would be up in arms, because the price per bath would be outrageous. For context, I use approximately 200g of epsom salts in my bath (knocks me out well and truly, I sleep like a baby!) but if I were to use that amount of – say – Aveda salts, it would cost me around £14/£15 a bath.)
So, a beakerful of salts – about 200g. It’s around two mugfuls, but I use one of those large plastic kids’ beakers and leave it in my gigantic tub of salts as a scoop. I buy my salts from Amazon for around twenty to twenty-five pounds for ten kilos and I most often order these* or these*, which are currently £14 for ten kilos which is a crazy-low price! Note that they are plain, unadulterated epsom salts – you don’t want perfume added, mainly because you’re going to add your own essential oils but also because most of the perfumed ones smell rank. (I’ve tried a lot!)
I usually use a couple of drops of Frankincense Oil* from Aromatherapy Associates (mixed with a carrier oil first) but if I’m feeling particularly treatsome then I throw in a capful of their Deep Relax Oil*. You’ll notice the high price point on both: Aromatherapy Associates oils don’t come cheap but I think that their blends are some of the best and most mind-transporting you can get.
Remember that you’re using a tiny bit, so cost per bath is kept low. But even if you use a couple of capfuls of the AA Oil and it does send your bath price soaring to a pound, or two pounds, then know that you’re quite literally having the Rolls Royce of bathing experiences. Epsom salts to soothe and calm and switch you off and the best oils that money can buy to sort your head out.
So, some options:
For the Ultimate Relaxation Station, Aromatherapy Associates Deep Relax – find it online here*
To pretend you’re Marie Antoinette in her Versailles Beauty Bath, try Neal’s Yard Remedies Rose Absolute Oil, here*.
For the unwinding English Country Garden Experience, use a few drops of Tisserand’s Lavender Oil, online here*.
Tisserand are your best bet for keeping prices low and quality high – just a few drops needed and you’ve got an amazing soak for all of fifty pence! I tend to stick to rose, frankincense and lavender, mainly because I had a terrible experience with a eucalyptus and mint blend and my nethers have only just healed.
10kg of epsom salts for (average price) £20 = 40p per 200g of salts + Few drops of Tisserand oil, approx 10p = 50p per soak.
Run the bath, pour in the salts, then the oils, mixed with a bit of almond oil (don’t put the oils in when the bath is running as I find that the water tends to make the scent fill the bathroom too early) and relax. Or, if you’re like me, spend three minutes twiddling your thumbs and then think of something you need to do and get out again.
What’s your favourite bath treat? I really look forward to my nightly soak, it’s a fundamental part of my daily routine – tell me if I’m missing out on any particular oils or scents!
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Brilliant skincare buys that you can pick up in the supermarket. I won’t dilly-dally about today with silly introductions and off piste distractions because I have limited time: I just hoovered up a load of moths with the Dyson and I don’t want them flying back out of the pipe.
Can that happen? I mean, if the suction isn’t on, can insects climb back out of the hoover? God I hope not. That is the stuff of nightmares, isn’t it? It’s the natural world’s equivalent of that wet-haired girl climbing out of the well in The Ring. You just want to slam a lid down on it and hammer in a few nine inch nails.
Luckily for the insects I empty the Dyson outside, so they are (sort of) freed back out into the wild. Though how long a domesticated, well-fed moth would last in the open I have no idea. Going from a diet of cashmere and merino wool to, I dunno, dandelions. It would be like turfing an aristocrat from his club into the back alley and asking him to fend for himself.
“What? No Lobster Thermidor? And who are you, dare I ask? No, I can absolutely not spare a squid! A … quid? What is this quid you speak of?”
Where was I? Must concentrate. If you’re self-isolating and only getting supermarket deliveries, or if you’re trying to keep deliveries to a minimum, then here are some cracking skincare products you can buy at the supermarket. Both online and instore.
I should add that there are far more options than the ones laid out, but I am working with what I’ve got. Products I use regularly and ones that I’ve previously tested. Once we’re all out of confinement, I promise you that I will continue my much-praised (haha) Supermarket Sweep series. I think I only did ASDA and Sainsbury’s before I got totally distracted.
I’ve concentrated on Tesco, Sainsbury’s, ASDA and Waitrose here – I’m afraid I’m not so up to speed with Lidl and Aldi – they were on my to-do list but it’s impossible to try stuff at the moment!
Note, also, that I’ve avoided the powerhouse ingredients here; you can get various bits and bobs with vitamin C and retinol, but I haven’t tested them extensively enough to give them a proper thumbs up and so I have kept this post to the basics: cleanse, serum, moisturiser.
The supermarket shelves are awash with cleansing gels and foaming gels and wipes and micellar cleansers: there’s a distinct lack of balm, oil and cream cleansers. But I’ve checked, and pretty much across the board you can find one good, rich, creamy cleanser.
At Sainsbury’s I’d go for the Superfacialist Rose Cleanser (it’s also at Amazon here*) which is just gorgeous. I’m a long-term fan and if Sainsbury’s is your supermarket of choice then you’re in luck, because you also have the delightful Balance Me range.
Pricier than your usual supermarket offering, Balance Me have loads of great products – including a very good vitamin C serum, actually. Which is annoying because I’ve just said I’d avoid the powerhouse ingredients in this post!
Balance Me’s Balm cleanser is a treat – unctious, soft, it melts down to an oil and rinses off clean. It’s £20 at Sainsbury’s or LookFantastic here*.
At Tesco, I like the Cosmeticism Cleansing Cream here and at ASDA I really like the hot cloth polish from NSpa, which I couldn’t find online but sincerely hope they have instore. It’s a great budget cleanser.
At Waitrose, you have about a zillion options. Seriously, they have loads of wonderful brands – my pick would be the Weleda Almond Cleanser, which I’ve reviewed here.
For the serum step I’ve gone for a suit-all crowd-pleaser, good old hyaluronic acid. L’Oreal have a new 1.5% version that has recently launched in the UK, see if you can find it – they definitely have it at Sainsbury’s and at Lookfantastic here*.
The aforementioned Vit C one from Balance Me is great – again, find it at Sainsbury’s, and also online here*.
Olay do a great serum called 3 Point Firming – I tested this extensively a few years ago and it was excellent. Lightweight, non-greasy, plumping, sits well beneath makeup, keep an eye out for it!
My most-used supermarket-available options are below. The Simple moisturisers are a new discovery for me (via Nadine Baggott) and the teeny bottles are deceiving – you get a standard 50ml inside them. Just nifty packaging. I would highly recommend the calming hemp version.
Simple Calming Moisturiser with Hemp, many supermarkets and online at Boots here*.
L’Oreal Revitalift Night Cream-Mask, at Waitrose here* and most supermarkets. I’ve banged on about this one for years and years – it’s my favourite L’Oreal moisturiser and they make a lot. It’s more plumptious and effective than many of the far more expensive “sleep masks” I’ve tried from luxury brands and, with the hyaluronic serum layered beneath, it leaves your face as wibbly and turgid as an overfilled waterbed.
If you’re in a spot dilemma and need something immediately, you could do worse than to throw some Clearasil Rapid Action Pads. I mean you could do a lot better, but we are talking fast fixes here and I’ve tested these out a few times before so I know they don’t burn the bejeezus out of your face. I wouldn’t use them all over, because I find them drying, but use on the spot-prone areas and then just leave them to get to work. They’re saturated in salicylic acid so they help to keep pores clear without being to aggro in the process.
OK, I see a moth head poking out of the pipe (not a euphemism) (would be a strange one) so I must go and empty the dust-catcher. I’ve just realised I did a video on this entire post (amazing that someone could actually forget something so important) and so I’ll paste that in below for your watching pleasure.
Please do leave me your own supermarket skincare heroes in the comments – I will definitely be reinstating my video series and so I need to get testing once I can nip to the shops to research and stock up. Especially give me your Lidl and Aldi recommendations!
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I’ve (perhaps unwisely) started testing out online exercise videos. There’s a whole other post to be written on the various hazards to be avoided when partaking in Youtube workout classes, but I have a pressing question about the fundamental essence of my being and that is this: do I, Ruth Crilly, have the emotional maturity of a fourteen year old boy?
Am I hopelessly, embarrassingly immature or do other people chortle their way through the workouts, smirking at the utter smut-fest that is the running commentary? It’s like innuendo bingo! I have to say, too, that it is almost always the videos from the US that have the richest array of double entendre – the instructors across the pond seem to have absolutely no clue that what they’re saying sounds like it has been lifted from a porno script.
Here are some choice cuts from the Youtube videos I’ve been testing out this week:
“OK, I’m really feeling that in my booty right now, guys. Wow, that is deep, I can feel it deep inside my butt.” (Glutes exercise.)
“Oooh, that is good in my butt right now!” (Plank with mountain-climbing legs. Don’t ask. It’s no wonder the majority of people give up exercise after January.)
“Mmmm, okay, now let’s pump it, pump it, pump it, PUMP!” (Sumo squats with a “pulse” at the bottom. We will talk about “pulses” in my next exercise post when I’ve thought up enough expletives.)
I’d like to add that all of these things are said quite breathlessly, by women wearing lycra so tight you can see every gynaecological peak and trough. Nothing remotely wrong with that in itself, obviously, but it’s more than a little off-putting having a visual as well as the soundtrack. Puts me right off my stride! It’s almost impossible to balance on one leg and outstretch your arms “like an aeroplane” when you’re shaking with barely-contained mirth.
I find the word “pump” amusing in almost all circumstances, to be truthful, irrespective of accent. Depending on where you’re from you’ll know that “pump” is an alternative word for trump, parp or – as I insist on it being called in this house – bottom burp.
Unfortunate, really, when “pump” is such a commonly used word for…loads of things. Petrol pump, air pump, pump up the volume. I can deal with all of those versions, it’s just when someone’s talking about the action of pumping. Oh, the number of adverts I’ve filmed with beauty brands where I’ve had to say something like
“do two or three pumps into the palm of your hand!”
“spray two pumps onto your face and breathe deeply to inhale the scent!”
Kills me every time.
Anyway, back to the “feel it deep inside your booty” gang: surely they know what they’re saying? Do they come out with things like this deliberately, in a wild stab at humour, to get you through the workout? Or do they just assume that 99% of viewers aren’t as immature as me?
Answers on a postcard please. And happy Easter. I did mean to do some sort of intelligent, heartfelt post about new starts and beautiful life and #thankfulness but this issue seemed more important.
The post Sunday Tittle Tattle: The Workout Innuendo appeared first on A Model Recommends.
Life update? Oh, nothing much to update you on here. I wasn’t even going to bother with a life update this month, seeing as though things have been so uneventful and dull…
Sorry, was off in dreamland again. Trying to find some escape from the world crisis and the emotional pressure cooker that is my own home. Jeez Louise, what a shitty month!
It seems slightly petty to follow the usual trajectory of my life updates, which tend to start with something ridiculous and then move onto all of the things about parenthood that seem to constantly take me by surprise. I could tell you about how my youngest (three years and two months old) has started to say his little sentences with comically clear and crisp pronunciation – “Mummy, no T-reeees in the Ocean?” – and I could bang on for hours about Miss Clever-Clogs (five in June) and the way she’s suddenly got the hang of reading. The b-u-g was under the r-u-g.
But I have an overwhelming sense of feeling a little bit removed from reality at the moment. As a family we’re stuck in our own little bubble, here, more than ever before (I mean the combination of having young kids and moving out to the sticks is always going to isolate you whether you like it or not!) and it’s difficult to know what to write about. Are we all experiencing the same lockdown, wherever we are in the country or the world, or are we each having entirely different times?
Here’s what I’ve been up to for the last three-ish weeks (we’re on day 19 of our family self-isolation now): I’ve been a teacher, a mediator and a comforter, I’ve played shopkeeper, I’ve played cinema owner, I’ve invented eight different trampolining competitions and created numerous obstacle courses around the garden. I’ve watched Mulan, Toy Story 4 and Lady and the Tramp (Disney+, what a lifesaver!) and I’ve sat through hours of CBeebies. I’ve made a dragon out of a toilet roll holder, I’ve planted apple pips that will likely never grow, I’ve been inventive with food ingredients and then had to give the rejected meals to the chickens and I’ve had to give myself an emergency crash course in “having patience”.
Because it’s all just wearing a little bit thin, isn’t it? Being in such close proximity to others, even though they are (hopefully) the people you love the most. If you have small beings around then I won’t need to tell you that the work involved is constant and relentless; although I have to say I’m starting to get into the swing of it a little bit now. I just have to accept that I can’t really get much work done – even if I have the pocket of time freed up to work, I don’t have the all-important transitional period that you need to switch from mum-mode to work-mode.
So I’ll keep this update relatively brief – I’m not sure I have anything particularly novel to add, other than that I almost set fire to my foot with one of those electric pedicure things. You know the ones with the sandpaper that spins round? I was a bit over-zealous with it and now I have a slight dent in the ball of my foot and the bathroom smells of burning flesh.
Oh, it is grim this Covid situation, but I’m trying to retain a sense of humour. So many lives lost, so many jobs lost, so many lives changed forever – and nobody was expecting it at all. I think that’s the biggest shock. And I feel so all at sea with it, as though my little family unit is just bobbing along in this massive ocean where there’s no land in sight and no way of really knowing what’s going on…does everyone feel this way?
It’s hard to know whether any of the people in charge are doing the right thing, or doing certain things for political gain, or making colossal mistakes – I’d rather like for there to be a huge loud voice in the sky that would suddenly boom out, as though over a giant tannoy, and say
“hello world! This is your captain speaking!”
Wouldn’t that be amazing?
“Hello, Ladies and Gentleman. This is your captain speaking. My apologies for that rather bumpy takeoff – you’ll have noticed that I didn’t make any announcements; the crew and I had your safety as our primary concern and so we decided to concentrate on the control panel rather than lose all of your fucking lives in one colossal go! Anyway, we’re now cruising along at a steady RO of 0.9, having flattened the curve, and so long as you all stay with your proverbial seatbelts on then I have every confidence that we’ll have a successful landing in a new, very changed but very pleasant land.”
I just want someone to be in charge. I’d even turn religious if it meant that some Godlike figure would take control and pop his/her head out of the clouds to make wise decisions!
I must go. I’ve done my knee in on the trampoline and it’s the same side as the foot fire incident, so I’m off for a soak. May you and all of your loved ones be safe and healthy – if you feel the need to see my reassuring face (ha!) on a regular basis then you can find me most often on Instagram @modelrecommends.
The post Life Update: This Is Your Captain Speaking appeared first on A Model Recommends.
It seems a weird time to be filming a beauty favourites video, but what I thought would be even weirder would be for me to have made a big song and a dance last month about my favourites being back in town and then never doing another one! I even made that whole Brokeback Mountain joke about not being able to quit my favourites, etc etc, and so to simply up sticks and leave again wasn’t an option.
Just five favourites, though – it’s not exactly an orgy. Just five things that have really tickled my whistle and that would make a cheery addition to any routine, once things settle down a bit. The handwash favourite is probably the most relevant – very inexpensive, non-drying, good brand that gives back to charity and so on – but I like to think that any of this month’s picks would do a particular service.
A warm and comforting fragrance (it’s like the olfactory equivalent of being hugged in big, safe arms), a cleanser with aromatherapy benefits, an eye cream for tired, staring-at-an-iPhone-screen-twelve-hours-a-day eyes…
I’ll leave you to watch the video in peace. But if you don’t want the video, then – hurrah – a slightly new format for you! Rather than just listing the products below the screen, there’s a mini review. Which makes this more of a blog post than simply a place to announce that there’s a new video in town. Better for those of you who are resolutely video-free? I hope so.
OK, so onto my mini reviews. Some old favourites, here and some new. It’s like a wedding. Except there’s nothing borrowed. Or blue.
Neal’s Yard Remedies Frankincense Cleanser, £21 here*. If you have combination or oily skin and have always been put off by the idea of cream or oil cleansers, then this could be the one to try. It is rich and creamy, but it actually leaves the skin feeling very refined and ever – ever! – so slightly tightened. So if you hate a residue and want that ultra-clean feeling then this is a gorgeous luxury buy.
Neal’s Yard are experts at sourcing and working with frankincense and it really shows in their frankincense ranges. The cleanser is very scented (with frankincense, obviously!) and I find it to be more of a grounding, de-stressing treatment than anything resembling a mundane cleanse. Top marks, I’ve loved this cleanser for many years.
Soaper Duper Handwashes, online here. Soaper Duper do some of the best handwashes around. Wasn’t ever a beauty category that I imagined raving about, but it’s definitely topical and we’re all (hopefully) washing our hands about a billion times a day. So it’s nice to pick out some good ones. (If you’d like me to test a few and report back then I’m totally up for that – plenty of opportunity to compare and contrast!)
Soaper Duper do their washes in lots of scents – this Tuberose one is fresh and green rather than anything too floral – and they are hooked up with some great charities, including Water Aid. Big bottles, non-drying formula, definitely up there with the best of them.
Kiehl’s Line Reducing Eye Serum*, £41 here. Remember eons ago when I reviewed the Vitamin C face serum from Kiehl’s? Well now there’s one specifically for eyes and it’s just as good as the original. If you want a powerful eye cream that feels gutsy and strong, rather than a “light and fresh gel” or a “cooling cream” then this is the business – it has the same thick and dry texture as the serum, which won’t be for everyone, but really will be for those who want a rich cream that’s grease-free.
You can read my original review on the face serum here – I’ve just seen that it was a favourite back in 2015! How time flies. I think the serum – or concentrate as it was called – has actually been reformulated since then. More potent, if I remember correctly.
Charlotte Tilbury Copper Charge Eye Palette, £40 here*. I have an IGTV waiting to be published on this – very informal, just showing how I apply it and how it looks in different lights. I think that the CT eye quads are all fantastic – good pigment but easy to handle, really blendable and cleverly chosen shades that always look flattering and sexy.
The new Copper Charge palette is part of the new range that promises to make your actual eye colour more intense – so there’s a copper one to make blue eyes bluer, and blue one to make (I think) brown eyes browner, and so on. The coppery one could be dicey, if you are prone to looking a little pink-eyed, but used carefully it really enhances blue eyes. Keep a lookout for the IGTV video – I’ll update here with a link for you once it’s up!
Molton Brown Milk Musk, from £65 here*. Not convinced by the name of this new Molton Brown range, but I think that the scent is outrageously good. It’s warm, it’s cocooning, it’s like throwing yourself into (I imagine) a bed that’s been set-dressed for a Hygge interiors shoot. All natural-hued faux furs and giant knits and cashmere throws and those little flickering tealights scattered around the (wooden) floor.
The scent is warm, faintly exotic and with a musky, tonka bean base. Heady top notes that are really quite sexy and rich and then that warm, comforting base. The eau de toilette is fresher, (not surprisingly) and the parfum is deeper with a lovely little sharp, greenish twist right at the bottom. It’s gorgeous. Another winner from Molton Brown, for me – they seem to be ticking all of my boxes recently because my top fragrance love before this one was their Geranium Nefertum!
The post 5 Beauty Favourites: March 2020 appeared first on A Model Recommends.
I don’t think I’ve ever properly suffered with anxiety – stress is more my thing, though I’m sure the two are somehow linked – but the current coronavirus situation is enough to make anyone as tense and panic-ridden as a hedgehog on a highway.
So there are a few things that I’ve started doing, almost religiously, to safeguard my mental health and attempt to get a good, solid night’s sleep. Good quality sleep is said to be absolutely vital for your overall wellbeing and I must say that I feel much more invigorated since I started going to bed at what would normally be my dinner time.
Yes, it makes me feel as though I’ve suddenly aged by thirty years in the space of a fortnight, especially as I go to bed with a hot water bottle strapped to my chest to “ward off any chills”, but the payoff is that I wake up at 6.30am feeling moderately okay rather than how I usually wake up, which is moody and pessimistic and feeling as though someone has used my head as a gong.
(I don’t actually wake up at six thirty – my youngest does. He’s three and still has no sense of what’s polite when it comes to wakeup times. He’s like a bloody rooster. Except he crows “it’s morning? It’s morning?” rather than “cockadoodledoo”.)
OK, my tips for feeling altogether calmer and less panicked during the coronavirus pandemic, which is likely to stretch on for a good while yet. Realistically. I’m no expert, but all the signs are pointing towards this being a longterm event rather than a short and sharp shock and so I feel it’s perhaps sensible to adopt some semi-permanent lifestyle changes rather than reactionary quick fixes.
My first change is not reading the news all day. It’s tempting to. I go to open my news apps every time I pick up my phone, so I’m also trying not to pick up my phone as much. Difficult, considering my job, but I try. One thing I definitely don’t do is read the news just before bed. Good grief. Recipe for disaster, that is.
Another offshoot change is to only read news from one source, eg the BBC, and a source that doesn’t heavily promote a comments section. If the comments section is something that pops up at the end of the piece, you can’t help but click on it, and the last thing you need at the moment is to fill your head with the thoughts and opinions of a thousand armchair experts. Some of the commenters may well be experts, but wait for them to get themselves quoted in an article and listen to them then. Perhaps.
So, no news before bed and only one slot a day reserved for reading the news at all – I do 5.30pm, when the PM addresses the nation. Which sometimes feels as though I’ve tuned into CBeebies by mistake, but such is the political state of the country/world we live in.
I’ve started reading before I go to sleep – currently on the new Hilary Mantel*, so my mind is filled with Tudor politics and beheadings and frail children all night, but it still counts as escapism.
And then before bed, I do my Epsom Salts trick, which isn’t a trick at all, but feels magical all the same. The important thing to note about this tip is that – unless you’re a billionaire – you need to get yourself a load of no-frills cheap-ass salts. I buy them in huge 10kg tubs from Amazon (see here* and here*) and so my highly effective slumber-bath treatments cost me around 20-50p per soak – if I used the equivalent amount of luxury salts, each bath would cost me about thirty to forty quid.
Because the key is quantity, here; you need a good two cupfuls of salts to really see a difference and knock yourself into a relaxation coma. If you use the pricey salts, in those little pots, you’d be throwing in a whole pot at a time. Crazy times. Buy the big tubs, save yourself a fortune, have the best night’s sleep of your life.
(Disclaimer: can’t guarantee the best night’s sleep, I’m sure that these salts work differently on everyone. I mean, I can take Benilyn Original cough mixture and it’s as though someone has given me four valium, so I’m probably susceptible.)
I also add a few drops of Frankincense essential oil (Aromatherapy Associates do a nice one*, but it’s quite widely available) to de-stress and ground myself. Bloody love a bit of frankincense, me – I’m like one of the three kings, the amount I use.
I did a video on all of these tips – you’re welcome! – and now that most of us are working from home, you have no excuse not to watch it. Ramp that volume up and let yourselves be soothes with my dulcet tones.
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