Liz Evans Beauty Blog
Baby it's cold outside!
Wow, all of a sudden, the temperature has dropped and we've been so spoiled with a relatively mild Autumn, haven't we?
Yesterday I had several clients in for facials and each one of them mentioned they have noticed their skin has changed slightly in the last few days and I just thought I would remind you of a few tweaks to make to your skincare routine to keep your skin hydrated and protected.
- If your skin starts to feel more sensitive then try creamier cleansers and balms and STAY AWAY from wipes that just strip the skin of any natural moisture.
- The temptation to stand under a boiling hot shower is lovely for your muscles, not so good for your skin. Try to keep your face out of the water and use lukewarm water when you cleanse your face so your skin isn't going through too many temperature extremes.
- If you don't already use one now is a good time to try a facial oil. Two drops every evening makes a huge difference and if your skin is especially dry, try it under your moisturiser in the morning too. DON'T use too much. You will be wasting products and your skin will feel greasy.
- Keep exfoliating your face (and body) regularly to remove dry, dead skin cells that can build up and make your skin feel dry and flaky at this time of year.
- Now it is dark so much earlier and you are tending to spend most evenings in, take advantage of the longer evenings at home and do your routine earlier so your products have time to really soak in and work their magic before you go to bed. You could make one of the nights a real pamper night and treat yourself to an exfoliation, massage and mask to really hydrate and treat your skin.
Just a few easy tweaks that you will notice make a difference and keep your skin in great condition.
Lastly, on gorgeous bright, cold days like today when you can see for miles and you are going out for a walk, PLEASE APPLY SPF 😊 Yes Liz.. I hear you cry!
Have a great day,
My favourite bits of Autumn
Over the last two weeks I have really noticed all the leaves suddenly changing colour and falling to the ground. I think it should be a prerequisite that every person has to go for a scuffle through autumn leaves on the ground - brings out the inner child every time!
I also love the colours in our garden at this time of year. Muted and mellow but definitely there. We have several different Acers that are either yellow or orange and one that is a gorgeous deep red, particularly when the sun shines through the leaves. Lots of our grasses have fluffy seed heads and I love them swaying in the wind.
Although it hasn't been cold yet I do like getting out the boots, scarves and coats ready. Every evening now that it is dark when I get home from work, I go straight upstairs and change into my pj's - something I never do when the evenings are light. It is the instinct to be cosy and comfy and I do love sitting on the sofa, curtains drawn, with my candles lit, watching TV. Must be in the inner hibernation mode setting in.
This Sunday is 'stir-up' Sunday when families traditionally make their Christmas pudding and start to think about the festivities to come. Mum has always made our pudding and I never have but must learn at some point. It is also the last Sunday before Advent and I do like the idea of starting to prepare and plan for the end of the year. Those of you who know me well know I love a list anyway so won't be surprised to hear I have an ongoing section in my Filofax that I use every year to plan Christmas.
Don't forget that though December we are selling raffle tickets for our Advent event. £1 per ticket, you can have as many as you want. We have one of the gorgeous Hidden Treasures Advent calendars from ESPA and each day through December we will open a drawer to see what the ESPA treasure is inside and someone will win that product.
We have decided this year to support a local Women's refuge and all of the money raised will go to them. This last 18 months so many of us have had our home as our safe places and spent the majority of our time there. However, for some people, their home has not been their safe place and I can't imagine what it is like for home not to be the safe, warm retreat that it is for most of us.
Please support us and get your tickets over the next few days left in November.
Enjoy your Sunday
Autumn Body Boost
With darker evenings and more windy, wet and cold weather the temptation to cover up and ignore everything below the neckline is strong. However, if you look after your skin well now then whether you have a night out or escape for some winter sun at some point your skin will be supple, hydrated and glowing whatever the time of the year. It will just feel better too when you pay it a bit more attention.
1 - Body scrub
Cooler weather and central heating can sap your skin of any moisture. Once a week buff your skin with either a body brush, scrub or exfoliating product to get rid of dry skin cells and any flaky patches. Focus on dry elbows, knees and anywhere that your skin feels flaky and rough.
A favourite of mine is ESPA's Body Smoothing Shower Gel. It comes in a tube so lives in my shower. I use a 'blob' (technical term!) and rub it vigorously all over my skin and then rinse off. Walnut shell powder exfoliates while the smell of Ylang Ylang and Jasmine is gorgeous and my skin always feels softer after I use it.
2 - Body Cream
You need to lock in moisture so after a shower or a bath apply a generous layer of whichever cream, lotion or body oil you love to use. Your skin will stay soft and supple. A healthy skin is a hydrated skin and we need our skin to protect us.
I LOVE the Modern Alchemy Nourishing Balm. A bit of a luxury so I use this one at night because it smells so wonderful and feels gorgeous on my skin. It is a thicker texture, almost like a balm so you massage it in and it starts to melt so you just let it sink in. This turns applying a cream into more of a relaxing ritual at night and calms my mind too.
3 - Hand cream
With the extra handwashing and sanitising that seems to be here to stay, combined with colder weather, hands can feel chapped and sore. A hand cream you can carry in your bag, leave on your desk or even put in the car door so that whenever your hands feel they need some moisture you can use it is great.
We use Jessica Hand and Body Emulsion and it comes in handy little tubes, perfect for hand bags etc and a small amount goes a long way. Concentrate on knuckles, and massage around each nail to keep cuticles soft and conditioned too.
Thanks for reading, hope you keep looking after your skin even though the winter layers and chunky knitwear are coming out.
I have to admit I do like Halloween. I have many happy memories of childhood parties at this time of year. As my birthday is so close to Christmas, Mum always put on a party for Halloween instead. Fancy dress of course, bobbing apples, silly games and sweets. I was always a witch, Mum made a skirt out of sparkly black material, I had a top that we stuck sequins all over and of course I had a pointy hat and my toy cat!
It may be the big kid in me but I do love carving a pumpkin too. I am not into 'themed' ones, neither am I particularly creative with my carving. Triangle eyes and fangs for teeth in a gaping mouth usually but definitely a task I enjoy. Maybe next year I should try and grow my own in our raised beds.
Did you know that pumpkin is in one of your favourite products?
Pumpkin is a source of natural actives including enzymes. One special enzyme produced from pumpkin helps to clear dead skin cells without irritating the skin, like more aggressive exfoliating enzymes and AHA's found in other products. Another extract from the seeds helps improve the appearance of skin tone and smooths.
Pumpkin is a key ingredient in the Optimal Skin Pro-Cleanser. We know you love this because it is one of our top sellers. As you know it is a fantastic 3-in-1 skincare essential. It is a gel cleanser, exfoliator and mask to nourish, smooth and visibly brighten your complexion. The pumpkin enzymes buff away dull cells to leave radiant glowing skin. The cleanser is now part of the Active Nutrient range which is all about powerful natural ingredients, aromatherapy essential oils and ensuring you love the skin you are in.
After this weekend is over I feel Winter is truly here, especially with the clocks going back. Dark mornings and dark evenings make me want to hibernate and I do love coming home after work, getting my pj's on, glass of something and the fire lit... and of course I will make a few tweaks yet again to my skincare routine to keep it in tip-top condition going into the winter months. More on that soon.
What traditions do you have for Halloween? Let me know.
Wishing you a Happy, spooky Halloween whatever you have planned! 🎃
What does a skincare routine look like?
I thought I would give you a suggestion of what a skincare routine might look like. You do not need to have a hundred steps in your routine but just by following a basic routine will keep your skin in tip-top condition. Your skin has a very important role to play as your first line of defence and if it is unbalanced then you can suffer with problems such as dryness, sensitivity or breakouts.
We recently had one of our virtual facial evenings where we go through a facial routine with you step by step and the feedback has been very positive. People who attended said they particularly liked to know the order in which to use products at home for maximum effect.
You do not need to spend a lot and do not need to have all your products from the same product house but it is definitely good to get into a 'routine' to keep your skin at it's best, now and in the future.
A simple routine that would be my minimum ideal that clients follow would look like this:
AM - think 'protect'
Cleanse face - using cleanser, face wash
Tone - see this as an additional hydrating step in your routine
Moisturise - don't forget your neck too
SPF - always apply this, regardless of the time of year
PM - think 'repair and restore'
Cleanse face - you need to remove make-up, dirt, grease etc from the day. You may need to do this step twice
Tone - as another hydration step in your routine
Treat - you may choose to use a facial oil, serum or mask depending on your skin concern. You don't have to do this every night and you can alternate depending on the results you want
Moisturise - important step to rehydrate overnight
1 - NEVER use wipes. Not great for the environment or your skin
2 - NEVER go to bed without cleansing your face
3 - ALWAYS use SPF to protect your skin
Thanks for reading. As always if you have any skincare questions then please just ask us, we are very happy to help.
Q and A time
You may know that last week we held a Virtual Facial Evening. Everyone got the chance to ask any skincare questions that they had and I though it was a good idea to share some of them with you because they may be questions you have about your own skincare.
Q1: Do I need a separate neck product?
A: Honest answer no, although I do use the new neck cream that ESPA brought out earlier this year and am loving it. The key thing that you do need to do is make sure that you apply your face cream to your neck as well and then massage up the face in light strokes.
If you get too much eye cream out of your pot/tube, whatever you are using, you can always put the excess of that cream onto your neck too.
The skin on your neck is the thinnest on the body, the same as your eyes and the back of your hands which is why they need extra protection and tend to show the first signs of ageing.
Q2: Do I need to have all my skincare products from one range?
A: Again, honest answer, no. You do need to follow some sort of skincare routine to maintain optimal skin health but you could have a cleanser from one product range, your moisturiser from another and your SPF from a totally different range. Ultimately need to find the products that work for you, suit your skin and your budget.
I do like having the core of my skincare routine from ESPA but then as you will know, I tend to use different SPF's depending on the time of year and will try out different products from elsewhere from time to time.
There are of course benefits from getting your products from one product house because they will have worked the products to be complementary to one another and have similar ingredients and formulations.
My other reason for buying products all from one product range... I do love the look of the overall collection in my bathroom, and I don't think that's just me? 😊
Q3: When should I use a serum?
A: Well, this depends on what the serum you are using is for and your skin type. General rule of thumb is serum goes on underneath your moisturiser. Whether you need to apply it a.m. and p.m. will be a bit of trial and error in terms of whether you feel your skin needs it at both ends of the day. I normally start by applying the serum at night to see how my skin reacts to it. Night time is when your skin repairs and restores itself, so use that as a guide to try your products and see when you get the most benefit from them.
Q4: How often should I exfoliate?
A: This will depend on your skin type but a general rule if you have dry/normal skin is twice a week and if you have oily/combination skin, then once a week. If your skin is sensitive and prone to breakouts you don't want to aggravate it by over cleansing so once a week is plenty.
If you have dry skin, focus on the dry areas and always concentrate along the jawline, hairline and the corners of the nose. Use damp fingers with small circular movements when using your exfoliator and thoroughly splash or rinse off your skin afterwards. If you feel your exfoliator is too 'scratchy' on your skin, mix it with your cleanser so that it feels a bit gentler and you are more likely to do an exfoliation.
Exfoliation is great to get rid of dead skin cells, help clear pores and ensures that the oils, serums and creams you apply afterwards have more of an impact.
I hope you find these interesting and helpful. Any questions you have please feel free to ask any of us when you are in the salon, we are always happy to help and advise.
You may know that Karis and I went to Olympia last week for the first Beauty Industry trade show since the start of the pandemic and it was great to be with other Beauty Professionals and feel like the Beauty world was really reopening with a bang!
I have to admit I was slightly apprehensive about going to a big venue but with the measures in place I felt very safe and there was plenty of space.
Nail art is still clearly a big thing in the world of nails and although we don't offer extensions in the salon, we can never resist glitter and the new colours. If you love a bit of sparkle especially for your Christmas and party nails in the next few months then we have some lovely new colours for you.
We were able to watch the National Massage Championships for a while. We watched the Deep Tissue Full Body heats. It was great to watch massage therapists with so many different styles performing treatments on their clients. I was jealous of some of their clients on the couches. I spoke to one of the judges about the criteria they were using to assess each therapist and what she was looking out for. It has been widely acknowledged that during the last 18 months one of the things people have missed is human touch and massage really provides that nurturing, caring, powerful touch that so many people have been craving. Several of the therapists had bum bags to carry their massage medium with them rather than keep putting the bottle down. We may have to give one a go!
A few companies have launched new technology that takes pictures of facial skin and then analyses issues such as dryness, congestion, sun damage and can even predict how your skin will age over time. Certainly food for thought but it does make you think about how important it is to make sure your skin is kept in optimal conditions and this is something as salon we are really passionate about.
Light therapy is becoming more and more important in the Beauty industry and there were several companies showcasing their light therapy technology in terms of skincare and treatments. There is an increasing amount of research about the effect and benefits of light therapy on skin. Red light has been proven to stimulate collage production and blue light helps balance skin and calm and soothe.
We also looked at new furniture for ideas. If only we could win the lottery... you never know 😉
Thanks for reading, hope you find it interesting to hear about what we saw at the trade show and what is currently 'hot' right now.
Introducing our Focus Dual treatments!
We have officially launched our Focus Dual machine now and our launch events were very successful. I thought I would give you some more information about our machine, why we chose it and what it can do for your skin.
Over the last 18 months or so we were starting to get more and more of you asking us about aesthetic treatments for the skin such as fillers and Botox and even discussing surgery. We had started to look on the market for something that as a team we felt offered you an alternative that would work well with our philosophy as a salon, looking after, enhancing and optimising skin care but that wasn't going too far down the aesthetic route.
When Lynton launched their new machine earlier this year, we knew the Focus Dual would fit in perfectly for us and enable us to offer 'a bit more' for you and deliver real results. It means we can design a skincare package to focus on your main concerns and look after you skin care needs going forward.
Focus Dual offers a unique combination of the latest clinically proven technologies for face and body treatments. Radiofrequency Microneedling and High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) come together to give maximum results to reduce the signs of ageing. With these gold standard technologies we can treat the skin at EVERY layer to lift, firm, and tighten.
Collagen is important for skin health because it is a natural protein that promotes skin suppleness, firmness, hydration and a youthful glow. Unfortunately, collagen production begins to dwindle as we age. A HIFU Facial lifts, tightens, and firms up loose skin to counteract the effects of both time and gravity. With Focus Dual we can lift, firm, tighten, and sculpt the face, brow, neck and jawline. This treatment will not only give skin back its snap, but it will also naturally kick-start your body to increase the production of collagen and elastin to reduce signs of ageing. The heat generated in the skin stimulates the cells to produce strong, new collagen and kick-start dormant collagen. As collagen production increases up to 12 weeks post treatment, this results in a more youthful and refreshed look.
The other part of the machine is the Radiofrequency Microneedling. Utilising microneedles to puncture the skins surface we can help to improve a variety of different skin concerns such as: textural and ageing concerns such as acne scars, skin laxity, stretch marks, open pores and wrinkles. Radiofrequency microneedling helps to improve the overall appearance and rejuvenation of skin, through the delivery of heat to the deeper layers of skin, which causes the collagen structures within these layers to tighten.
If you would like to find out more and discuss your options, please speak to us when you are next in and we will book a no obligation complimentary consultation. We are very happy to make sure you have all the information you want and can show pictures of clients that we have treated so far and the results we've already achieved.
Any questions, just let me know,
Haven't we been lucky with the weather through September? It really has been gorgeous with warm, sunny days. I'm still managing to wear sandals - just, and I have definitely needed my SPF on when I've been out and about.
A discussion in the staff room the other day though made me think about the next stage in the year. Now as we reach the end of September, I thought I'd share my favourite bits of Autumn that I am looking forward to over the next few weeks.
Who loves chunky knitwear and winter boots? I do love putting on a woolly jumper and my boots and going for a walk.
I LOVE conkers. They are so shiny and the rich colour when they first come out of their shell is gorgeous. We have a conker tree in our garden (put in by the previous owners) and every year I collect a huge bucket of conkers and put some in bowls round the house. Supposed to be good for spiders too although I have no proof!
Our lovely view from Church Green from the salon starts to change as the leaves on all the Lime trees start to go golden yellow and then start to fall. Who else loves a proper scuffle through piles of Autumn leaves? We have a few local walks that provide great piles of leaves to walk through and I love the yellow, orange and brown colours and the sound of the crunch underfoot.
Misty mornings that turn into bright, cooler days are something I look forward to as well. Have you noticed all the spiderwebs everywhere covered in the heavy dew in the mornings? Truly beautiful.
There is still plenty of colour in the garden too and on the days that are sunny I love just pottering, doing a bit of tidying and enjoying being in the space. Our crab apple harvest has finished and you may have seen my pots of home-made crab apple jelly on our social media. We did raised beds for the first time this year so having now lifted all the onions I am learning to plait them together to make strings of onions. I'll post a picture and let you know how I get on!
We are holding our Autumn Bliss Virtual Facial Evening and there are a few tickets left if you fancy joining us via zoom on Monday 11th October at 7.30pm. Please visit our website to purchase your ticket. You can do the facial on yourself and we will advise tweaks to your skincare routine to ensure your skin is prepped and ready for going into the cooler months.
What are your favourite bits of Autumn that you are looking forward to?
Let me know
As the seasons change so does our skin. Autumn sees skin sometimes become more dull and sallow. It can become drier with flaky patches and generally be in more need of nourishment and protection from central heating going on, and the weather outside becoming cooler. Changes in weather (humidity levels and changes in temperature) can also cause the odd breakout.
You may already have an established skincare routine but your skin isn't the same 365 days of the year so from time to time you may need to tweak it and going in the Autumn is the prefect time to do this. A few changes here and there will help keep your skin at its optimum health as Autumn truly kicks in.
- Adding an oil or serum into your routine to help support your skin as you notice changes.
- Using a thicker, richer moisturiser as skin starts to feel drier. If you don't like the feel during the day, use your lighter one in the morning and a thicker one at night.
- If you get the odd breakout don't panic. Treat your skin to an exfoliation maybe more regularly than you are doing and try a mask to balance.
- Lips will start to become drier so don't leave them out, use a lip balm more regularly to soften and protect.
- Don't forget your SPF, maybe not factor 50 but you still need it on those lovely sunny Autumn days 😊
During the last lockdown we held a few virtual facial evenings and they were very popular.
We have decided to host one on Monday 11th October at 7.30pm. We invite you to join us via zoom and sit in the comfort of your home with a glass of something and do a facial on yourself as we talk you through the box of products we will give you beforehand. It's a chance to ask any questions you may have and enjoy some me-time.
Tickets are £10 and purchased online from our website, click on Virtual Facial Evening.
If you have any family or friends who may be interested then please let them know. The more the merrier and we look forward to seeing you on the 11th!
My product of the month
This product has been around for a few years now but recently I have started using it again because it is so easy and offers me flexibility in terms of a product.
With life returning to normal I am starting to get the gym more often and we are also starting to see friends and go away at the weekend. With that in mind the Optimal Skin Pro-cleanser is the product I am chucking in my gym bag and my overnight bag when we go away.
It is a cleanser, exfoliator and can also be used as a mask so a fab 3-in-1 product, easy to use and makes it really good value too!
It is a gel that as you massage into your skin becomes an oil so is also really good for this time of year if you notice your skin becoming a bit drier and suffer with any dry patches or flakiness. I love it because it helps cleanse off make-up effectively when I go the gym. I have to admit to being lazy about exfoliating sometimes so the jojoba spheres in this and the pumpkin enzymes help get rid of dead skin cells so win-win. Use damp fingers to work this product into your skin, concentrate on the corners of the nose, along the jawline and anywhere you get congestion. Then splash off or use a clean flannel to remove it.
This product is part of the Active Nutrients range (that the well-loved Optimal range has become) and is all about using powerful natural ingredient and essential oils to feed skin, provide nourishment and enhance vitality. Your skin will look brighter, feel smoother and will be more supple and soft.
If you haven't done a mask for a while simply apply a thin layer of this to your skin and leave it on for 15 - 20 minutes and then wash off. Your skin will feel fabulous after 😊
Many of you I know love this product as much as me but I would love to know how you use it.
For any skincare advice please don't hesitate to ask any of the team when you are next in the salon.
Thanks for reading,
I choose happiness
Today is 'Choose happiness day'!
It is isn't always easy to be 'happy' every day is it? I do try every day though to start off happy. Somehow if you are happy don't you feel like the world is a happier place too?
I know I have talked to a few of you about this but one of my huge bug bears is when walking down the street in the morning I cannot bear it when you walk past someone else and they don't acknowledge you to say 'morning' or just a simple 'hi'. It drives me mad! I go out of my way to say hello, smile and wish them a good morning.
Happiness means different things to everyone but for me it is about feeling safe, contented and in particular my relationships with family and friends are what makes me happiest. What makes you happy?
We have a couple of photo collages on our walls of moments with family and friends and when I am feeling a bit down or stressed, I do love spending a few minutes looking at those pictures and remembering the happy times featured in them. I can remember each one as if it was yesterday and the feelings I was experiencing at the time.
One of them is a selfie I took with Steve, Dad and I. After Steve and I got married Mum and Dad wanted to have a 'do' up in Cheshire with family and friends who hadn't come to our wedding. It was a great evening as I got to wear my dress again! The photo was taken on a point and click camera and we were all having a wonderful evening. Definitely precious happy memories to me.
Another one is a photo of Steve, the boys and I on our first holiday as a family to Tenerife. We are in a restaurant that we had found where the chef specialised in Flambe - or as a 3.5-year-old Sam and a 6-year-old Ed called a 'chef that made fire!'. We went a few times and the boys loudly explained to the waiter that I wasn't Mummy, I was Liz. I could have died but the waiter was very good and handled the whole thing with humour. Great memories of that holiday, lots of fun and many happy times.
I am a glass half-full type of person and if I can help others to smile when they are with me then that's good enough for me.
Choose happiness whenever you can, I believe it is what keeps us all going, especially through the tougher times.
Lots of love and happiness to you all,
The end of Summer
I never really like the 'end' of things like the end of the weekend, the end of a holiday, however although not wanting to wish my life away I am looking forward to the end of the summer as for me it signifies the start of the next season and new things to look forward to.
Although I am not at school anymore (!) the new school year always signals feelings of excitement and anticipation. Hands up who used to go to WHS to buy new pens, rubber, new stationery etc? I loved buying new marker pens and notebook and those of you who know me well know I have always loved a list!
I really feel that this new school year in particular is significant as it is the first 'normal' year hopefully for everyone for a while and we can now focus on the future whatever that may hold.
This summer has been an odd one for us all as it started with many restrictions still in place but now, in theory, that has all gone. From conversations in the salon, I know how many of you, me included, are still struggling to find that 'normal' and get back to doing what we used to do.
Summer has been very busy for us all with different stresses and strains. With that in mind we have a new limited edition offer for September that you may like to book in for:
Hide away with us
After a hectic summer come and get away from it all and let us look after you.
Choose from either Restful or Restorative signature blends of essential oils, you will have a relaxing back massage to ease tension followed by a face and scalp massage to soothe and calm your mind and body.
£50 (50 minutes)
If you want to book in for the above treatment then please call the salon on 01993 704445 to make an appointment.
I am truly hoping for us all that from this Autumn we really can start to regain more of our routine and the things we love doing.
Whatever you have planned for the rest of this Bank Holiday weekend I hope you have a lovely time,
Thanks for reading
Today is National Relaxation Day and it made me think, how do I relax?
You will know by now I'm sure that my happy place is our garden and I love being in it but it's not always relaxing trying to weed, prune and generally keep it the way we want to. I do like just sitting in the garden with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine depending on the time of day. Taking the time to be in the garden and observing the flowers, plants, insects etc. I definitely do find relaxing. At the moment our lavender bushes are literally buzzing with hundreds of bees of all types so someone somewhere is getting lovely lavender honey made.
For me the sense of relaxing is literally stopping. We live in such a busy world, even when we aren't at work there is constant stimulation from every corner. In the Oxford English dictionary 'Relaxation' is 'a way of resting and enjoying yourself' and 'the state of feeling calm and not anxious or worried'. Learning to relax helps us have a calmer and clearer mind, but also helps slow our breathing, reduce blood pressure and relax tension in muscles. Learning to relax really helps us deal with stress.
Here is a meditation you might like to follow to relax. This can be used at any time of the day. ESPA have many guided meditation and mindfulness sessions on their Instagram page that you can listen and follow too.
In a quiet space at home (you may like to play some quiet music), sitting in a chair that supports you, bring attention to your breathing and relax your body.
Think about these four words as intentions for the day: love, harmony, peace and laughter
Place your bare feet on the ground, hands in your lap, palms up (if that is comfortable)
Straighten your spine and be aware of your posture.
Close your eyes and try to leave anything you are worried or concerned about outside the room.
Focus on your breath and take deep breath in for a count of 4, hold that breathe for a count of 2 and exhale for a count of 6. Slowing and deepening your breath will help relax your nervous system and switch off your 'fight or flight' response. Do this a few times.
Now take your attention from your breathing and be aware of your body. What does it feel like? Notice any sensations, areas of tension and just be aware of them.
Then find an area of the body where there is no sensation. What does that feel like? Be aware of that area.
Then keep swapping from area to area and being aware of sensations and imagine them melting away.
Now focus on your heart - physical, emotional and spiritual. Mentally plant those words - love, harmony, peace and laughter. Keep repeating those intentions a few times and notice how it feels to think/say them.
Visualise how it will feel to have peace through the day, harmony, laughter and love.
There is only one of you so recognise your uniqueness and find joy in just being.
When you are ready, come back, open your eyes, stretch and be in the moment right now.
Thank you for reading this and let me know if you use this meditation are any point and how it helps you,
Wishing you a relaxing day,
Creating a calming ritual and me-time for yourself
A constant conversation theme in the salon at the moment is how busy everyone is now that things are (mostly) back to normal. I feel that we all started things during the lockdowns to keep ourselves busy and now that normal life has returned, we seem busier than ever.
This can definitely contribute to the feeling of overwhelm, anxiety and increased stress levels that many people are feeling at the moment so following on from my post last night about my #selfcareSaturday routine, I thought I would highlight the need to create some time out for yourself and think about mindfulness.
Mindfulness is about being in the moment, i.e. focusing on what you are doing at that precise moment. No point in worrying about or thinking about things you still have to do that day or what happened yesterday that didn't go so well.
You need to take a moment to be fully present and do something you really enjoy. It might be read a book for half an hour, listen to your favourite music, walking outside in nature or spending time with loved ones. Whatever you choose you must completely focus on that, even switch off technology if you can so that you can't be distracted.
My me-time last night was to create an evening ritual after my shower so I could have a relaxing 20 minutes or so to myself and consisted of using the following products:
ESPA's "The Anointing Oil" £72, from the Modern Alchemy range which is all about creating restorative rituals to realign the balance between mind, body and soul in today's busy world. I massaged the oil into my skin after a warm shower and focused on inhaling the aroma, taking time to concentrate on my breathing and relaxing my mind.
My new favourite facial product is ESPA's Tri-Active Resilience Rest & Recovery Night Balm, £63. Many of you who did our virtual facial evenings during lockdown loved this too 😍 Think creamy, comforting balm that smells divine. You massage in a small amount and leave it on all night to maximise every minute of your beauty sleep 😴
Hope you find it useful to think about what you can do to create that time for yourself and really be in the moment, and hopefully feel you are getting a bit more of a balance in your life.
Thanks for reading, let me know what you do for yourself and how you create your 'me-time'.
Pinch, punch, first of the month!
Happy August everyone, here's to the start of another month in 2021 - where has this year gone?
This is the month for me that means the peak of summer. All the schools have broken up and people are going away (although obviously this year seems to be mostly in the UK). We will either get long, hot sunny days or long, chilly rainy days. It could go either way but fingers crossed the sun will prevail for those of us staying in the UK.
There is lots going on now that restrictions are lifted. Festivals and events that were postponed can now go ahead and celebrations such as weddings, family gatherings, christenings etc are in full swing from what many of you tell us. It has been so lovely to help many of you get ready for weddings, holidays and gatherings. It has been great to be part of the buzz and excitement you fell about seeing people you haven't seen for 18 months or more!
August for me brings back memories of long days playing outside with my friends, caravan holidays with Dad's climbing club and the annual week with Gran and Granddad in North Wales, sometimes the only people on the beach on a cold, wet, blustery day with the sand stinging my bare legs as it whisked down the empty beach at Harlech.
With memories of my childhood summers in mind here is our exclusive treatment offer for August:
We all love to look the best we can when more skin is on show.
We will help you get prepped and keep your summer glow!
Treat your skin to a full body exfoliation and massage with hydrating and nourishing oils from head to toe
£60 (75 minutes)
Please call the salon on 01993 704445 to book yourself in.
This offer is only available 1st to 31st August 2021.
If you want any advice on exfoliating your skin during the summer, please speak to one of us when you are in. To maintain your summer glow, it is essential to get rid of your dead skin cells and hydrate and nourish your skin. Concentrate on drier areas such as knees and elbows and ideally do this once a week to keep skin silky smooth. You could use a body brush or exfoliating body polish; it doesn't matter as long as you get into a routine. Afterwards apply a body oil or rich body cream to soften.
Embrace the summer this year and whatever you have decided to do. The start of this year was challenging to say the least is let's just enjoy ourselves 😊
The importance of your Beauty Sleep
Now it is thankfully a little cooler I am sleeping better again, thank goodness. Sleep is very important for your body and mind and also for your skin.
Our skin rests and repairs itself while we sleep. During the day your skin has worked hard to protect you from UV, pollution, dryness and more so needs time at night to regenerate itself and recover ready for another day exposed to the elements. A lack of sleep also increases the stress hormones in your body which also has an impact on your skin, especially the puffy dark circles we all associate with lack of sleep.
At night there is increased blood flow to your skin bringing fresh nutrients and increased collagen production which is important for your skins volume and elasticity. 7 - 9 hours of sleep is the optimal amount of time to aim for to gain the most benefits. This is why it is so important to clean your skin properly before you go to bed so that while you are not wearing make up or exposing it to UV and other environmental factors it can really restore itself and have a break.
Here are some of ESPA's night time products you might like to try:
Overnight Hydration Therapy
This overnight treatment mask leaves skin feeling replenished and looking radiant. Lavender and Ylang Ylang essential oils help calm a busy mind. Encapsulated Lavender releases soothing and restful properties throughout the night. A firm favourite in the salon!
Restful Pillow Mist
Spritz this soothing mist over your pillow just before bed. Helps promote a sense of well being and stillness for the mind and body as you drift off to sleep.
Tri-Active Regenerating Bio-Retinol Sleep Serum
A little bit goes a long way. Use this every night under cream or on it's own and a trio of natural bio-retinols work to tackle visible fine lines and wrinkles so skin is more even and refined.
Soothing Bath Oil
A gorgeous blend of Rose Geranium and Frankincense to relax a busy mind and help you unwind with their soothing and restful properties. Take the time to run a warm bath before bed, then pour some of this into the water, relax and inhale the aromas. Your skin is left deeply nourished too.
Let me know if you try and of these and if you want any advice on any of the products, we are happy to advise you.
I hope you are getting your beauty sleep in!
Just one cornetto......!
Just for a bit of fun today, did you know it is National Ice Cream Day? Can't think of a better day to have ice cream for breakfast, lunch and dinner if you fancy it because it is set to be one of the hottest days this year!
Here is a small history of ice cream:
No specific person has been credited with the invention of ice cream although there are all sorts of storied of people who did.
The main thing is the process of freezing foods by mixing salt with ice. Who actually discovered the process is unknown but it is generally accepted that it was the Chinese who invented it. The process didn't arrive in Europe until the 1500's.
The first time ice cream was served in the UK was at a banquet at the court of King Charles II in 1671 at the Feast for St. George at Windsor. Only the top table had the 'plate of iced cream' while everyone else had to watch with amazement.
Seen as a symbol of the higher classes, iced houses were built on large estates where ice was taken from lakes, ponds and rivers and stored deep in the ground covered in straw and bark in thick-walled buildings.
The custard-based ice cream technique using egg yolks started in France in the middle of the 18th century. Importation of ice from Norway, Canada and America in the 19th century made ice cream readily available to the general public in the UK.
The ice cream cone may have been an English invention and the first recording of cones being used to serve ice cream was in 1888 in Mrs Marshall's Cookery Book. Prior to that ice cream was either licked out of a small glass known as a penny lick or taken away wrapped in waxed paper.
My Granny used to tell me she had ice cream in 'old Brum' as she called it as penny licks which would have been 1915-ish.
So enjoy today, stay safe in the sun and enjoy an ice cream!
What is your favourite ice cream flavour? Let me know what you have today.
The power of a smell
Do you have a specific smell that reminds you of a special person in your life? Or a smell that reminds you of an event? Or even a smell that you absolutely hate? Smells can trigger memories and emotions, deep within the brain.
I have one that I hate! It's a male aftershave and it was what my first boyfriend wore who broke my heart at 18... but that's another story 😉
I do however have lots of smells that I love. You can't beat bacon cooking or a roast dinner. Mum has always said I'm like a blood hound but I do really love smells!
Today is Essential oils day and I thought I would share with you some of the essential oils used within the ESPA products we use in the salon and I have them in my garden too.
I think everyone knows this one. Its wonderful smell is so relaxing and calming. It can help with insomnia, anxiety and depression. It helps promote a feeling of calmness and reduces stress. It can help with aches and pains. It is antiseptic and anti-inflammatory so can help with insect bites and help heal minor burns. The Overnight Hydration Therapy is packed with lavender, will help you sleep and smells gorgeous.
Has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties so helps with healing on the skin and soothes irritated, break-out prone skin. It helps promote relaxation and improves the mood and is often described as a 'balancing' oil for female hormones. The Balancing Face Treatment Oil contains this oil which helps to boost hydration while balancing excess oils.
This oil helps you feel uplifted, calm and positive because it helps balance hormones. It is antibacterial and can help increase cellular renewal in the skin so great for skin that is out of balance, maybe with drier patches, that needs some help to regain its overall health. Optimal Skin ProSerum contains Jasmine and is a wonderful product to use when your skin's barrier function has been compromised. This will help replenish and strengthen the skins natural moisture barrier so that even sensitive skin feels cared for.
I love aromatherapy even before my training at college and find it fascinating how oils can have a huge impact on our mood, skin, health and more.
What are your favourite smells? I would love to know.
Thanks for reading.
It's halfway!! (and Independence Day)
Wow! How did that happen? We are officially halfway through the year which seems so odd for us as a salon because we have been only open for two and a half months and have only just seen some of you for the first time this year.
What do you have planned for the rest of this year?
As a salon we are very excited about the next few months. We have just completed our first stage of training for a new treatment that will bring the snap back to your skin and we can't wait to share it with you! We have some more training to do and then will be revealing all, so keep your eyes peeled. "Lift, firm, tighten" is the theme and let's face it, who doesn't want some of that?!
Emily has just returned to the salon as of yesterday. It is great to feel like our team is complete again and I am sure many of you will be pleased to catch up with her and hear all her news.
ESPA has a lot planned for the next 2 quarters of the year with new products and treatments and we are looking forward to bringing these to you. Our newest favourite product is the Fruit Water Cleansing Gel, £32. This is a gently foaming gel suitable for all skin types and won't leave your skin feeling tight. This is great for anyone who loves to 'wash their face' in the morning. Previously we had the Balancing Foam Cleanser (which I love too) but that is better for more oily skins, so this new product is fab! Half the team are using it now 😊
We have come up with some great limited edition offers for the next few months too. Each one will only be available for one month and is designed to reflect the time of year and how you may be feeling. We will post about these on our social media and they are advertised each month in the Letterbox magazine that should come through your door if you live locally. Keep your eye out and treat yourself!
Can't let today go without acknowledging that it is Independence Day in the USA. I lived in Texas in 1996 on my gap year and had the most amazing experience. I lived with a lady, Nancy, who became my American Mom and as a family we have become life long friends. Since '96 we have been backwards and forwards regularly, just to visit and to be there for significant occasions such as weddings and christenings. We were supposed to go in April 2020 for Nancy's 80th birthday and when this is over we WILL be going to see her.
So happy Independence Day to anyone celebrating it. Apparently this year is the 245th year of the founding of the United States.
Here is to a great second half of 2021 and all it has to offer for us all. Have a good Sunday!
SPF is a must throughout Summer
With summer now well and truly here then we can't ignore the fact that the sun shines on us more directly and for a longer period of time every day, levels of UV are at their highest and (fingers crossed) more days will be sun filled and hot rather than rainy and cold.
This does mean the temptation to 'bare all' is greater than ever especially as we are mostly vacaying in the UK this year rather than going abroad, but this is NO EXCUSE for not wearing daily SPF.
By now I realise I sound like a stuck record but please do not forget this important step in your routine and if you have other household members then please encourage them to do the same.
When it comes to sun exposure, it's the UV rays that cause the damage.
UVA rays penetrate deeply into the skin gradually destroying your normal elasticity and cause premature ageing. UVB rays cause skin damage by altering the structure of skin cells and cause burning. If not careful over exposure to the sun can ultimately lead to possible skin cancer. There is no such thing as a 'safe tan' I'm afraid.
Here are just a few reminders about sun cream:
- Apply once a day as routine, minimum SPF 30 daily and if you are going outside then SPF 50
- Reapply regularly, especially after getting wet or sweating
- Seek shade during the hottest hours of the day, usually between 11am and 4pm
- Invest in glasses that block out the UV rays
- Wear long sleeved shirts, loose long trousers to try and protect your skin
- Check the use-by date on your cream. If the bottle has been kept at the back of the cupboard since your last holiday and is now out of date, throw it out and buy a new one
I know I have discussed this with several of you over the last 12 months or so but I am not a fan of a combined moisturiser with SPF. Mainly because moisturisers are there to hydrate your skin while SPF is such a dominant ingredient that it will really mask any benefit of the moisturiser. Also, I worry that if you think you have applied SPF by putting your moisturiser on every day then you don't think about reapplying and I don't think anyone applies as much moisturiser as you would SPF. Ideally, I would encourage you to invest in a good moisturiser and a separate reasonably priced SPF.
One sun cream that suits you, may not suit someone else and ultimately the best SPF for you is the one you are happy to apply on a daily basis.
Lecture over 😊
Thanks for reading and have fun in the sun, safely!
Let's talk about Men's skincare
As it is Father's Day today, I thought I would discuss Men's skincare with you.
A recent study by Clarins found that 56% of the guys surveyed confessed to using their partner's products to help with skincare concerns they have and more than one in 10 confessed to using their partner's product daily. So next time you think your moisturiser is going down more quickly than you thought then you know why!
Men apparently are more likely to use a moisturiser than any other product, dry skin and dark circles are their biggest skin concern. If oily skin is more of an issue, then enlarged pores and dark circles are the concerns.
Men's skin is thicker and produces more oil than women's. The hormones they produce are also different and these have an effect on the skin too. While most products designed for women are fine for the opposite sex, some contain specific ingredients which are unnecessary for men's skin. It is best to go for products designed to target their skincare needs.
Skincare routines don't need to be complicated so here are the 4 essential stages I would recommend for guys to follow:
- Cleanse. Rather than reach for whatever is next to the sink like the hand wash soap, invest in a proper cleanser so skin is clean and fresh but stays hydrated. The 'squeaky clean' feel is not good because this means your skin is being dried out, the natural oils that keep your skin hydrated are being stripped away. Find a product than cleans while at the same time moisturises the skin.
- Eye cream. This is one of the top areas of concern for guys, so invest in an eye cream to focus on the thinner skin around the eye. This area tends to dry out more quickly so needs more concentrated ingredients.
- Moisturise. No-one likes the feeling of their skin being greasy from too much product, so go for lightweight gels and lotions rather than creams. A bit trial and error to find the one that suits your skin but ideally it will soak in quickly and just keep your skin hydrated throughout the day rather than feeling 'tight'.
- SPF. Male or female you can't get away from the fact this stage is one you cannot miss out. It is not cool to go red, burn and then peel. Again, a lot of guys I know say they don't wear one because they don't like the feeling on their skin. You need to find one that you can apply daily, it is the most effective anti-aging product you can use. Find one you will wear and apply it daily over the top of your moisturiser as another layer of hydration and vital protection.
Happy to advise in the salon so contact us if you need any help.
Memories of time with Dad's today that are no longer here are precious. Making new memories with Dad's still here even more poignant this year than ever, so whatever you do have a good Father's day.
These are a few of my favourites (right now)
Well Summer is well and truly here and with the warmer weather my skin is changing slightly so it's the perfect time to tweak my skincare routine to take into account the increased temperatures and the effect that has on my skin. I thought I would let you know my tweaks that you might like to try at home too.
I love my Hydrating Cleansing Milk even more at this time of year. If it's going to be a really hot day you can actually use it as a light day lotion after you have cleansed and used the spafresh. With marshmallow and chamomile, it is soothing and hydrating so also great as an 'after sun' if you have over exposed (but PLEASE don't!).
My other product that comes into its own at this time of year is the Hydrating Floral Spafresh Mist. To use it, close your eyes and take a deep breathe in and as you exhale you spritz over all your face. It feels so cooling and soothing. You can store it in the fridge too so it feels even cooler and is fine to spritz over your make-up.
I really like to exfoliate the skin on my body more in the Summer and I love the Exfoliating Body Polish. It comes in a tube or a jar. I have the tube which I keep in the shower. It has Apricot Seed Kernels that exfoliate and Aloe Vera hydrates. It also has Spearmint in so it smells fab and is very cooling. Massage it onto damp skin, concentrate on elbows, knees etc. then rinse off. My skin always feels so soft afterwards!
I also go for a lighter texture moisturiser about now just as my skin is less dry and more prone to being a bit shiny. This year, I am using the Tri-Active Lift & Firm Moisturiser. I love the texture, it is really smooth and light. It contains Lavender and Bergamot so smells wonderful and is so calming at the start of the day. If you want any advice on a different moisturiser to use as the seasons change, we can help you.
So, as you can see, not many changes but your skin certainly isn't the same all year round so think about tweaking your routine as necessary and if you need any advice then just ask 😊
Have a wonderful day,
Who is your BFF?
Tuesday next week is 'Best Friend Day'.
This got me thinking about what a 'best friend' is. For me this is a person that knows me inside and out and I can rely on to be there if I need them.
I think during your life you have more than one BFF. At each stage in my life, I have a different person or people that I have shared experiences with, we have supported each other and always understood how each of us has been feeling.
I am still friends with my childhood 'best friend'. Clare was the little girl across the road. She was 5 months older than me, so in the school year ahead of me and both of us were an only-child. We spent every day together and did everything together. Mum has always said she either had both of us or neither of us. We both became parts of each other's extended family and we shared many family holidays, celebrations and just everyday life. Clare had the most wonderful thick straight glossy brown hair which I was always jealous of and she always got to wear blue - I always got the green dress! She has a beautiful family of children and we are still in contact and I will always value her friendship.
At secondary school rather than one person, I had a group of 4 girls who really were my BFF's. We all came from different primary schools but became close friends and still are all in contact with each other. I have so many memories of times with them from being in the school musical 'Joseph' to the sixth form panto. First dates as a group, safety in numbers! School ski trips, but as they say what happens on tour stays on tour. I love those girls, still do, and even though we only meet up once or twice a year (in normal times) it's like no time at all has passed since we last saw each other.
Beauty college was such a great time and our class was very close. Two of those girls in particular, Rhia and Julia, were very important to me and throughout our professional career we have stayed in touch, met up regularly and shared ideas, stories and a glass of wine or two. At college we pretty much spent most of our time in bra and pants practicing on each other and it's amazing how quickly you develop bonds with people and there are certainly no secrets between us 😊 I am looking forward to catching up with these ladies later on this year.
I have a great group of ladies I am friends with since I have lived in Witney. We made friends through scouting originally and have gone on to share family holidays, shopping trips, meals out etc. They have supported me with the business, empathising when times have been stressful. They helped me through my relationship break up and consequently when I started to see Steve were supportive and excited for me. Always up for a walk or a cup of coffee, and I look forward to many more shared times.
The last BFF I want to mention is Steve. He truly is my rock and my world. We will always be there for each other and I am forever grateful I met him and he became part of my life.
I would love to know who your BFF is? Don't forget on Tuesday we will be running a competition for you to mention your BFF and win some shared 'me-time' for the both of you to come into the salon and celebrate your friendship.
Have a great day,
Love your legs
Now the weather is finally improving (fingers crossed) and Summer is approaching we will start to wear shorter skirts and shorts. We will be ditching the tights and putting on flip flips. Winter trousers and boots can finally be put away for a few months.
Are your legs ready to be exposed after so many months hidden away? Here are my tips for making sure your legs are at their best for being on show:
- The skin can be dry and dull and will benefit from a scrub. Whether you choose to use a salt and oil mix or an exfoliator i.e. a product with 'bits' in to scrub off those dead skin cells, start getting into a regular routine now for smoother, clearer skin and it will help boost circulation in your legs too.
- Use a body brush daily and brush upwards from your ankles in swift motions towards your heart. It will really have a huge impact on circulation, improve your lymph drainage (so helping to prevent puffy ankles) and help with that heavy, tired leg feeling we can get.
- Use a moisturiser every day! Your skin needs to be hydrated, smooth and supple to look it's best so find a product you love that you can apply every day and sinks in easily, then you can get dressed and get on with your day
- Exercise to get those muscles into shape. Legs, bums and tums, swimming, walking, Pilates - whatever you prefer, but regular exercise will get those quads, glutes and calves into shape 😊
- Apply a fake tan (so much safer). Either a fake tan bottle if you like the darker shades or a apply a gradual tan product, like ESPA Gradual Tan Body Moisturiser which we stock. You can apply a layer every day, every other or twice a week to achieve the sun kissed glow you want for you bare legs.
Throughout June in the salon, we are offering a limited-edition treatment focusing specifically on your legs and designed to get them prepped and ready for the summer, whether you are heading to the beach or your garden!
Love your Legs
A course of 4 detox treatments, legs will be exfoliated and massaged helping them feel fresh and toned.
Perfect for getting your legs ready for their summer tan and shorts ready.
Each treatment is 30 minutes, package of 4 is £120. Individual treatment is £35.
Please call the salon on 01993 704445 if you would like to treat your legs and get them ready for the summer. Offer is only available during June.
Enjoy your bank holiday and if you are getting your legs out, PLEASE make sure you have got SPF on them.
It was self-care Saturday yesterday so I painted my toe nails in my favourite colour from Jessica, Merlot. It has been my favourite colour ever since I first started using it as therapist at Champneys, Tring when I first qualified over 20 years ago.
I also have a funny story to tell you that involves this polish. At the time when I worked at the Spa, we had a separate Nail suite where we did all our manicure and pedicure treatments. White tiled floor, white painted walls. Maybe you can guess already... long story short I dropped a bottle of the varnish with the lid on it! It smashed on the tiles and managed to do a big splodge up the wall too. Literally looked like I'd killed someone. Needless to say, maintenance team did not like me very much for a few days 😲
Over 35 years ago Jessica Vartoughian was living in LA and was inspired to open the worlds first nails-only salon with a system that was designed to look after the health and care of natural nails. She was crowned the 'First Lady of Nails' by the New York Times in 1971 and became manicurist to the stars in LA. The Jessica Nail Clinic is in Beverley Hills on Sunset Plaza.
Nails have their own physiology, just like skin and hair and Jessica believes they should be looked after with their own routine and suitable products just like you have a skin and hair routine.
Facts about nails:
- The edge we file or cut is called the 'free edge'.
- Nails are designed to protect the tips of our fingers from injury and are basically flat claws to help us dig, scratch and climb.
- Nails continuously grow but this does slow down as we age. Fingernails grow faster than toenails.
- The 'nail plate' is the fingernail we paint. It is made up of keratin like your hair. The underside has grooves that run along it to help anchor the nail plate to your nail bed (which is why it hurts so much when you bend your nail back!!)
- The 'nail bed' that is underneath your nail plate is packed with nerve ending. If you damage your nail sometimes the damage will grow out however severe injuries can lead to a permanently deformed nail plate.
So, nails do need looking after. Hand cream is great for keeping your skin supple and hydrated. Nail oils hydrate the nail plate and by massaging it around your nails it conditions your cuticles and stimulates nail growth. Jessica has a full range of prescriptive base coats depending on your nail type and professional emery boards to shape your nails without causing damage. We stock the full range in the salon so please ask next time you are in for any advice.
Do you have a favourite Jessica colour? Let me know 😊
Enjoy your week
Mental Health Awareness Week 2021
How has your week been? How are you? It's ok not to feel ok.
You may have seen on our social media pages and from other sources that this last week has been Mental Health Awareness Week and the theme this year is Nature.
I know how much I benefitted from walks outside in the fresh air observing all the changes in the hedgerows, fields and even the gardens as Steve and I walked around Witney during the different lockdowns. We are lucky to live in a relatively green part of the world with plenty of open spaces to enjoy.
I think all of us can agree the benefit of being out in nature. We have had a lot of clients in the last few weeks who have booked breaks in the UK and are heading for the coast or the mountains depending on which landscape they prefer. I benefit hugely from spending just an hour or so after work in the garden and feel so much better and de-stressed after a busy day - it definitely calms my 'busy mind'.
Here are some tips to stay positive:
- Every day write down something you are grateful for.
- Tell yourself every morning why that day is going to be a good day!
- Listen to your favourite song or piece of music.
- Spend time with positive people. Research shows this will boost your self esteem and help you see the bright side.
- Exercise regularly. The endorphins released will make you feel better and improve your physical and mental well-being.
- Take a break/time out for 'you' every day. Just 30 minutes outside for a brisk walk will reenergise you and leave you feeling refreshed and more motivated for the rest of that day.
- Hug a loved one or a pet. Oxytocin is released which is the happy hormone!
- To calm the mind practice yoga or meditation. There are 100's of apps and video on YouTube to follow.
- Listen to soothing music at the end of the day or read a book to calm your mind before bedtime.
- Turn off technology to allow yourself time to fully unwind before and create a bedtime 'ritual' to prepare your mind for getting a good night's sleep.
ESPA Skincare have shared the following list of numbers if you need to talk to someone:
Samaritans: 116 123
Mind: 0300 123 3393
ManHealth: 01388 320023
PapyrusUK: 0800 068 4141
We are always available for you too, either Instagram or Facebook chat or email email@example.com
Take care of yourself,
Skin Cancer Awareness Month
This is my 52nd weekly blog! So, in celebration of a year of writing blogs I thought I would take this opportunity to discuss a subject I have mentioned many times before but is very important to me. Using Sun Protection Factor (SPF). May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month and with the summer on its way I really wanted to bring this up again with you all.
Those of you that know me well will know I am a huge fan of slapping on the SPF. The boys and Steve have just become resigned to it and when I was a Scout Leader it was so important to me that the young people in my care at camp didn't get sunburn. I couldn't prevent cuts and bruises but could try and prevent sunburn. We've probably all been scarred by memories of childhood sunburn, which thankfully (and hopefully) is now very much a thing of the past.
For babies under 6 months old the advice is not to expose them to the sun and keep them covered. After 6 months old start using an appropriate SPF product and keep that up for the rest of your life. Melanoma is the fifth most common cancer in the UK.
Did you know the area of the body where the highest incidence of skin cancer in women (in the UK) is between the ankle and the knee? We are all guilty of the sticking our feet out as soon as the sun comes out. Also, if you wear glasses for reading, writing etc. you MUST apply extra sunscreen around the delicate eye area as your glasses are magnifying the damaging effects of the sun's rays onto that area, so it needs extra care.
There are hundreds of products out there so you need to find the one that suits your skin. You need to apply in the morning and then reapply regularly throughout the day particularly if it is sunny and you are out and about, or when you are on holiday.
You need to apply more sunscreen than you think, ideally 2 fingers worth (50 pence piece size blob). Rather than putting all that on in one go and then keep rubbing and rubbing until it is absorbed, apply a small amount then go back for more and apply another layer and build it up.
I am old school so like to apply my SPF as the last layer of product before I then apply my make up. You can buy products now that are spray SPF's that you can then reapply during the day over your make up. They are clear so they don't affect your foundation.
Here are some easy-to-follow guidelines from the British Association of Dermatologists when the UV index is above 2:
- You should ideally wear a broad-brimmed hat, sunglasses and longer sleeves and trousers where possible.
- Wear a sunscreen minimum SPF 30 with a good UVA protection, check the packaging for the logo.
- Reapply sunscreen generously, at least every 2 hours, paying special attention to back of neck, ears and scalp.
- Make good use of shade when the UV index is highest between 11am - 3pm.
At the end of the day the best sunscreen protection is the one you will use.
Thanks for reading my blogs and sticking with me, the team and the salon all year.
Please wear SPF every day 🙏
The best medicine
Today is World Laughter Day 😊
Having finally spent our first evening last night with good friends outside in their garden, I can't tell you how great it was to be with them and laugh. One of the gents in particular is one of those people who always has a story, a funny memory or a joke that makes the whole group laugh continuously. The buzz of conversation and laughter was so good and I love that spontaneous thing that happens when a group of people get together and enjoy each others company.
Laughter is such a contagious emotion and really bonds us a group of people. Apparently, laughter can boost the immune system and relax muscles. It also releases tension, improves your mood and lowers anxiety.
I wanted to share with you one of my funniest memories of my time working at Champneys when I first started in the industry. I know I have told a few of you this story...
There was a ladies spa and a gents spa and if you were on a late shift, we had to cover the desk until 10pm. Guests staying could use the facilities until that time and would ask for towels etc. We had several private jacuzzi baths in rooms and there was an older lady who was staying with us. She requested to use one of the baths late one evening and I felt she was lonely. We could add bubble bath to them and because I was feeling I wanted to care for her I put an extra big squeeze of the product into the bath, turned the bath on and left her to enjoy.
Back sitting at the desk there was an alarm board for each room and within 10 minutes or so the alarm for the room the lady was in went off. I rushed back to see if she was ok, opened the door and was met with a wall of foam!!! In my attempt to look after her and be extra kind I had added far too much bubble bath and the entire room had filled with bubbles. All I could hear was a voice saying 'Is this normal dear?'. I had to wade through the bubbles to reach her, assured her it was normal (!) and then spent the rest of the evening having to clean the room and disperse the bubbles. It took forever and I never put that much bubble bath in again 😉
I found this definition of laughter online:
Laughter is a physical reaction in humans consisting usually of rhythmical, often audible contractions of the diaphragm and other parts of the respiratory system. It is a response to certain external or internal stimuli. Laughter can arise from such activities as being tickled, or from humorous stories or thoughts
Sums it up, doesn't it?
Have a wonderful Bank holiday, hope you have lots of laughs and giggles,
Rediscover your joy
One of the most common themes from all the conversations I have had with our clients since we reopened is how lovely it is to get back a bit of a sense of 'normality' and being able to do the things we love. Seeing family, going out for meals with friends, returning to the gym, having a massage... there are many different reasons to enjoy life again 😊
I don't know about you but during these last few months in particular I have really thought about what I have missed and what I truly love to indulge in. You will know from our social media that I do love to cook but one of the things I have truly missed is being able to go out for meals.
I know I have mentioned this before but one positive to come out of lockdown is that people have also acknowledged that selfcare is so important and how much better physically and mentally we all feel when our hair is how we want it, or our nails have a lovely bright colour on.
It has been wonderful to have so many of you booking appointments with us and getting back into your 'normal' routine, with your waxing every 4 weeks, or monthly facials or your regular Spring/Summer pedicures as we all prepare to have our feet on display in sandals.
One treatment that seems to be really popular is massage. In the digital world we now live in, combined with our experience of this last year, as human beings we are all craving human contact and human touch. There are many benefits of massage but right now the most important thing is that as soon as a massage starts it feels soothing, calming and nurturing.
In May we have decided to offer a 'Lockdown Recovery Relaxation Package'. It is aimed to help you get that much needed me-time and enjoy being pampered as well as celebrating the power of touch through massage. Focusing on the back, face and scalp we will use warm aromatherapy oils to ease tensions, focus on any particular areas you want us too and help release stress. This limited-edition treatment is only available in May so call the salon on 01993 704445 to book yourself in. £45.00 for 45 minutes of me-time. We encourage you to leave your phone at home too - or at least switch it off for the time you are with us 😉
What have you missed that you truly love to indulge in?
Have you got back into you 'normal routine' with us yet?
Enjoy the rest of your Sunday and I look forward to seeing you booked in to for a treat and letting us look after you.
Love the skin you're in!
With months of not seeing people other than via a digital screen, the natural look is very much 'in' for skin. We haven't worn as much make-up or been exposed to environmental pollution either. More of us are adopting the 'minimal make-up' look and making sure our skincare routine is as simple but effective as it can be. The major trend for skincare this year is embracing your natural skin without feeling you need to cover up any flaws.
The aim should be to achieve optimum skin health and be proud of your skin's natural texture, tone and feel.
You may have read or heard about your skin's "microbiome". A bit like your gut flora, you have a skin flora. This is your skin's natural mix of microorganisms that live on the surface of the skin helping keep it healthy and fighting infections as your first line of defence.
If your microbiome is healthy then your skin will be in balance and you should be able to look after your skin fairly easily. If is unbalanced then you may suffer from skin disorders and have symptoms of a stressed skin such as dryness, spots and irritation.
You don't need to complicated a skincare routine but one that works for you. It obviously has to fit your budget and lifestyle but the most important thing is you get the results you want. One of the key things to remember is a hydrated skin is a heathy skin.
Key skincare points you need to consider:
- What are you using to cleanse? You need something that hydrates your skin and will cleanse, removing all traces of make-up, sweat, grime, SPF and environmental pollutants. You do need to cleanse in the morning and evening.
- You do need to remove dead skin cells to encourage a faster cell turnover so skin is smooth and radiant. Once or twice a week, depending on your skin type. We can help you with this if you need us too.
- Are you hydrating your skin enough? Layers of hydration are best so either apply a light layer of your moisturiser then another layer (or you may have an oil or serum you can apply first, then a layer of moisturiser over the top). Don't put a huge blob of your product on, it won't sink in properly, your skin may be left feeling sticky and you are wasting product that way too!
If you want to follow the growing trend this year for skin minimalism then go for it and we can support you in making the right choices for your skin. Most of ESPA's products are multifunctional and can be used morning and evening so you can pare down your skincare routine. We can create a bespoke routine that for you to get maximum skin health from the minimum number of products. You want products that are clinically proven and scientifically backed that contain certain active ingredients and this why we use ESPA products in the salon.
Multipurpose products will save you time and money, but also mean less waste - win-win in my eyes!
We can help you to work toward your skin goals so please contact us to book a consultation with us to discuss the best skincare routine for you, either face to face, over the phone or via zoom.
Thanks for reading,
So tomorrow, Monday 12th April, is our first day of being open after another 15 weeks of being closed during #lockdown 3 and we are so excited to be able to start looking after you all again!!
I have enjoyed the time at home with Steve, the boys and my fur babies of course and I will miss being master of my own time rather than a day dictated by the clock as we are for our appointments at work BUT Beauty Therapy and performing treatments is what I trained to do. It is my passion and I love seeing each and everyone of our clients and looking after them.
One great thing to come out of this situation over the last 13 months is that I believe the Beauty Industry has gained more recognition within the public eye and politically. We have finally been recognised as providing an important space for people to look after themselves, physically and mentally and we provide that very important human touch that living in the digital world is sadly lacking for so many people.
There has been an increasing amount of awareness regarding the importantance of mental health and our industry is a huge part of that. Nothing makes you feel more positive and boosts your self-confidence than when you have your hair done or those pesky hairs that bother you get removed from where you don't want them. The benefits of a massage are huge, in terms of stress release and boosting your self-esteem, and who doesn't love a pedicure that makes you feel glam and turns them into something you are proud to show off in a pair of sandals?!
We are of course following all guidelines to ensure we keep you and us safe so please bear in mind the following:
- Please only arrive 5 minutes maximum before your appointment
- Please come alone whenever possible
- Please use hand sanitiser when you first enter the building
- Please ensure you answer our COVID questionnaire and call to rebook if you feel at all unwell for any reason
- Please wear a mask at all times (unless you are exempt or we are doing a treatment where we require you to remove it)
- Please respect social distancing guidelines within the building
- Please only come when you have an appointment - for a treatment, patch test or to purchase a product
- Patch testing guideline have altered slightly so please check with us if you have tinting done to see if we need to give you a new patch test
However, we can't wait to see you so please also:
- Remember we can't wait to see you!
- We have missed you and all your news
- Please book for treatments and support us!
- Please remember we are only human and doing our best
So, my overwhelming feeling is one of excitement, mixed with some apprehension and nervousness. It's like the first day of a new school year! See you all VERY soon 😊
Why does this year feel so exciting? Maybe it is that we are really starting to feel like we are all re-emerging after lockdown, after the winter and... we reopen (fingers crossed!) this month! Whoop-whoop!
Hibernation feels like it is well and truly over and everything feels positive now. Evenings are lighter, days are getting warmer, and I for one feel that Spring is now here for sure and we are 'leaping' into brighter, better days. The hedgerows as you drive everywhere are certainly coming to life and tress are blossoming everywhere. Have you seen the Magnolias flourishing this year?
The Easter weekend really signals the final end to Winter for me and it always makes me smile when people start planning their DIY projects. You see all the adverts for home improvements and the queues at the DIY stores.
We seem to plan a 'project' most years, unless we go away with friends for a walking weekend. You may have seen on my live on Facebook on Wednesday but our project for this Easter is to create raised beds. I am not on a mission to grow all my own but I do seem to buy onions and garlic every week so we thought we would see if we can grow enough for ourselves. I will let you know how our project goes and if we are successful as the year progresses. If any of you have hints and tips then please share them and I look forward to seeing pictures of your projects 😊
This time of year has special significance for different religions, but even if you don't follow a particular faith, I always feel that Easter is a time to reflect and appreciate your family and friends and be grateful that you have them in your life. Obviously after the last 12 months we have had this is more relevant than ever.
Our plans for reopening are now going full steam ahead, unless we hear otherwise, and I cannot tell you how excited we are as a team to get back to doing what we love, looking after and caring for you all.
I will be sending an email the week before we reopen so if you have any concerns or questions about our reopening, restrictions, guidelines etc. then please keep your eye out for that.
We can't wait to help you get your body back on track - skin, hair and nails - and maybe start to plan for the summer and any events you may have had to reschedule.
Wishing you all a very Happy Easter!
Hair today, gone tomorrow! (or nearly...)
With the clock now ticking down until we can reopen in a few weeks (to be confirmed by the government, but fingers crossed) I thought I would remind those of you who come to us regularly for waxing to maybe stop shaving now and do some prep work, so we get the best possible results for you when you first come back to the salon.
We have had many emails asking for help due to overuse of tweezers during lockdown too so now is the time to stop using those tweezers at home so you give us a chance to come up with a proper plan (if needed) of how to get shape and definition back into your brows.
Hair removal has been around for a long time. The Ancient Egyptians regularly practiced hair removal, as did the Greeks and Romans. Obviously trends come and go in terms of fashion, especially for eyebrows, but also body hair and there are cultural and religious reasons for hair removal amongst others.
These pointers will help you get a better result when you first come in and then we can get your hair and skin back into a normal routine: 😊
- Stop shaving now. Your hairs need a chance to grow out and we ideally need them to be at least 5mm long for the best results. Your hair grows in three stages and ideally we want to wax your hair when it is in the active growth stage so they need to be visible when we do your waxing. If you don't then a few days after waxing you may see hairs start poking through as they weren't long enough for the wax to grip them. Don't worry if you really can't put the razor down, we will get there once we get you back into your normal routine again. It may just take a little longer.
- I've written a blog previously about this next piece of advice but exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate! If you haven't been bothering during the winter then now is the time to start getting back into that routine. Getting rid of your dead skin cells will leave skin fresher and release any little trapped hairs.
- I've also talked about this step too but using a moisturiser to really hydrate the skin will not only ensure it is healthy and hydrated but it will help any ingrown hairs come to the surface too and your skin will feel smoother and softer. A hydrated skin is a healthy skin.
- If you are booked in for facial waxing please stop using any products that contain high concentrations of retinal or AHA's for a few days before your appointment. These products are lovely for your skin but can cause skin to be more sensitive to waxing and tear or graze more easily.
We are really looking forward to seeing you back in the salon for all your waxing and hair removal treatments so if you haven't already please join our waiting list and we will be in touch.
Have a good day,
Spring has sprung!
I am so excited that Spring is here. Yesterday was officially the first day of Spring and I love living in a part of the world where we see the different seasons come and go. If you have read my other blogs then you will know how much I love Winter however the positivity and promise of new beginnings that comes with Spring is something I look forward to.
Spring is the season for a fresh start. Spring 2021 certainly is that for all of us this year. It is the season we will reopen (all being well) and a lot of 'life' as we knew it before the pandemic started will slowly start to return. There is a sense of anticipation and measured excitement and Spring is all about that.
The Spring Equinox is when the length of day and night are equal and happens again in September to signal the start of Autumn.
Buds start to bloom, animals come out of hibernation and earth seems to come to life again. Weather generally becomes warmer; trees begin to show their leaves and young animals such as lambs and chicks are born.
The increased length of daylight naturally gives us more energy and triggers the release of serotonin which is a chemical that makes us feel happier.
Colours all seem brighter too I think at this time of year. Turquoise, Marigold yellow, Cherry blossom Pink and Lime green. Our garden is probably at its most colourful during the next few months of the year and my favourite thing to do is spend time weeding, tidying and just being in it. Jessica usually bring out a spring range of colours and that always signals spring in the salon for me.
Is it just me or does this time of year make you want to have a 'spring clean'? Or maybe the light just reflects the dust and cobwebs more 😉
We have new things to introduce to you too once we are back in the salon so watch this space for more information coming soon.
There are many things to look forward to for us all and I wish you a happy Spring, better times are on their way!
Thanks for reading
As it is Mother's Day and like many of you, I won't be sharing the day actually with Mum I thought I would share a few reasons why I love my Mum.
- She makes THE best Lemon Meringue Pie in the world...
- closely followed by THE best Lasagne in the world!
- every holiday is always partly a Geography field trip. As I lookback I realise she has given me the passion for the world we live in today, the landscape, our environment, plants, weather, even the layout of cities 😊
- she has always encouraged me, supported me and been there for me
- she gave me the ethos to work hard, play hard
- 'no news is good news' her encouragement of my independence was amazing
- my love of Formula 1 is from Mum, she has always loved cars, especially fast ones and I do too!
- Mum has always volunteered in all sorts of ways so it feels natural that I should do too
- her sense of fair mindedness is something she has instilled in me and I am very aware of in every situation
- her love of cats, books, shoes, jewellery, friends and flowers are also my loves
I would love to hear your stories and memories of your Mum.
For those of you who no longer have your Mum anymore I am sending you a huge hug, especially this year. For those of you who are Mum's, nearly Mum's, Step Mum's, new Mum's, "don't want to be" Mum's and "can't be" Mum's, I send you all a huge hug too.
This past week has all been about celebrating women, Mothers or not, I love you all!
My female heroes from the Beauty Industry
Did you know that it is International Women's Day tomorrow? It is a global day aimed at 'celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women'(1). It is a day to recognise women's achievements around the world and to raise awareness for gender parity and equality.
I was thinking about this and I have had several important inspirational women throughout my life at different stages. Heroes come in different forms from family members to celebrities. They will change over time too.
Mum and Gran will always be my personal heroes for too many reasons to list here. My ballet teacher has owned her own school since the late 1950's and was probably the first 'woman in business' I knew. My guide leader was incredible, really encouraged us to be more than 'girls' and aim for our dreams. She was tiny but packed a punch in terms of her personality and ability to do anything. Dolly Parton, need I say more? And many others....
I don't want to be too political here but thought I would highlight two women from the Beauty Industry that have inspired me to follow my dreams.
Jessica Vartoughian - the founder of 'Jessica' Nails
I have to confess to being totally star struck on the two occasions I have met Jessica Vaurtoughian. I love her range and used it when I first started in the industry working at Champneys, Tring and have used it for the entire time I've had my business. I love the products, colours, the gel range and how good they make our clients nails and hands look. Although there a myriad of cheaper product ranges on the market now I can't see us ever using anything other than Jessica in the salon.
Jessica clearly had a vision for herself and ambition. Her emphasis on 'natural nails' and making the best of your own nails is what I love the most. Starting her business in the early 70's she is the person who is responsible for many 'firsts' in the nail industry and has also adapted and developed the range as the industry has changed and grown, but has never lost sight of the commitment to the health of the natural nail.
Susan Harmsworth - the founder of 'ESPA'
Susan Harmsworth has also been a lady I have followed in our industry. I think we need strong, powerful, successful female roles models to look up to, especially ones who make sure the Beauty Industry is taken seriously. When I first started using ESPA, you were often likely to see Susan at Head office and she used to answer the phone too! ESPA is now a big company but has never lost sight of its roots and I think that is down to her involvement, passion and commitment to the range.
I trained at Champneys College in Tring and then went on to work in the Spa there for a few years. My first love is the spa industry and I believe Susan has had a huge impact on the spa industry of today. Her vision for the importance of looking after the body, mind and spirit under one roof and providing a place for people to relax and nurture themselves has meant as an industry we are seen by many as extremely important in 'self-care'.
Thanks for reading. I would love to know who your female heroes are.
I am a "Skin Enthusiast"!
Throughout February I have run a 'Skin Enthusiast' course on our FB page. I have gone 'live' every Monday to Friday for about 15 minutes covering topics starting with skin types, skin conditions, and getting the basics right. We covered topics such as the benefits of using a facial oil and a serum, which products in your skincare range it's worth spending a bit more on and, of course, the importance of SPF 😊
Thank you to those of you who joined in, asked questions and advice and purchased retail. From the feedback so far, I know many of you have found it very useful and I am really pleased you enjoyed it. I wanted to help you make sure your skin was in optimal health and you are getting the maximum benefit from your skincare routine ate home, especially while we can't see you and look after you in the salon.
I also realised that when we are in the salon we don't always have as much time as we would like to talk through any skincare issues you have or dcuss all the products we would recommend and this was a great way of sharing my knowledge, hints and tips with you.
The last session was on Friday and I thought I would just summarise my main points for you:
- Please get rid of wipes. No need for me to ever bring these up again!
- Never go to bed with your make-up on (no excuses)
- You don't have to spend a fortune on your skincare but you do get what you pay for to a degree. Be aware of the very cheap, but also be mindful of the very expensive and any claims they make. Some companies are extremely good at spending their money on amazing marketing and not actually into developing their products.
- The younger you start to look after your skin, the more you will reap the benefits as you get older.
- You need to apply SPF every day.
- If you are wondering which product to spend more money on make it a facial oil or a serum. They have more active ingredients and are more easily and quickly absorbed by the skin so you will see benefits more quickly if you incorporated these products into your routine.
- The same routine all year round for the rest of your life probably won't work. Your skin changes, diet, lifestyle, 'stress factors', season etc so you may need to adjust up and down to keep your skin in optimal skin health.
- Everything in moderation is good for us - including the sun 😊
- If what you are doing works for you right now, then great. Just hope some of my hints and advice will help at some point.
If any of you have any queries or questions skincare related then please don't hesitate to contact us as a salon team and we would be more than happy to help.
Thanks for reading this, now go and enjoy this beautiful morning!
For nearly 10 years since the first Optimal product was launched the range has been a firm favourite in the salon and across the globe. We all love the smell, feel and results of all the products. I wanted you to know about the exciting changes to this range, this was only launched on Thursday so all of this is so new we haven't even seen the products yet!
The range has now been updated and extended. The range now known as Active Nutrients has powerful natural ingredients, aromatherapy essential oils and is all about making sure you love the skin your are in and improving your confidence and well-being.
There is now a new 'Vital Nutrient' complex in each product they have become supercharged. This is a blend of omegas and essential vitamins which feed the skin so it is nourished and replenished. It also has minerals and electrolytes in it so skin is revived and healthier. All the product benefits are now supported by user trials. The new packaging is brighter and more colourful to celebrate the vibrancy of the ingredients and their scents infused into the products.
There are also new products:
Yuzu and Ginger Cleansing Sorbet. This sounds amazing and good enough to eat! This will leave your skin feeling super clean and fresh. It helps melt impurities so skin is left radiant, healthy and glowing. Yuzu helps soften; Ginger invigorates. I can't wait to try this 🤩
Overnight Glow Enzyme Peel. This overnight peel is packed with essential vitamins and an omega complex. Pumpkin and Pineapple enzymes help to gently resurface your skin while you sleep. Hyaluronic acid hydrates and plumps. Skin looks progressively fresher and more radiant with use.
Clean & Green Detox Mask. This is like a smoothie for your face. A veggie-inspired mask to reboot your radiance and boost tired, dull complexions. A creamy-clay formula that helps purify pores and keeps skin looking shine-free. Broccoli seed oil, Kale and Spinach all packed with vitamins, minerals and omegas. Obviously you can't drink it but sounds, and looks, like you could!
If you want to try any of the above let me know. We have a few on their way to the salon and we also have a special link to the ESPA website that gives you extra discount as a client of ours and you will also be supporting us #supportlocal
Any questions about skincare choices then just let me know, very happy to help 😊
Thanks for reading
New York, New York
In the spirit of February being the month of romance, I thought I would share how Steve proposed to me.
I was a very lucky girl and taken to New York for a long weekend. It totally blew my mind as a city. It truly is the 'City that never sleeps'. On our first night there, because of the jet lag too, we were up 'til 3am and didn't even reliase how late it was as there were so many people still about. We went straight to 'The Top of the Rock' and had an amazing view over Times Square and up towards Central Park. I fell in love with New York that night.
A very good friend of ours had recommended a hotel and it is a tiny, boutique hotel with the smallest of rooms but seriously who wants to spend time in their bedroom when there is the whole of New York to explore?!
I had no idea what Steve had planned. The weekend was in lieu of my belated 30th birthday and I was so excited. Based on tips and suggestions from clients and friends we had a great itinerary planned for 4 fabulous days. Anyone who is lucky enough to go in the future - I am very happy to share our must-do's.
My top 3 things you have to do whilst there:
- Coffee and cheesecake to go and sit in Central Park to enjoy some 'people watching'
- The Tenement Museum on the Lower East Side which really gives you feel for America's urban immigrant history and how tough it was when people arrived in New York
- Stand in the middle Grand Central Station. Fabulous building, people flowing in and out, powerful to just be there
So now for the yucky love bit (!)
We had spent the afternoon in Brooklyn and the lights were all coming on in lower Manhattan as we walked over Brooklyn Bridge back towards the city. It is an iconic bridge. Just over 1 mile long, spanning the East river from Brooklyn to Manhattan. It was the first bridge to use steel for cable wire. Sadly, the engineer who designed it died at the start of the bridge's construction in 1869 due to an accident. It was the longest bridge in the world until the bridge over the Firth of Forth in Scotland in 1890.
We got to the last towers before coming off the bridge into Manhattan and I was, of course, taking yet more photos and suddenly Steve bent down. I was so surprised I think I almost shouted yes and certainly didn't really listen to him. Apparently, he was only kneeling down to tie his shoe lace but I said 'yes' so quickly he couldn't do much else 😊 Although, he happened to have a ring from Accessorize conveniently in his pocket so despite what he says I know it was his proposal.
And the rest as they say is history 😘
Love to you all,
Exfoliate, scrub, buff, shed...
You may have seen in one of my Facebook posts this week that it takes roughly a month for your skin to 'renew' itself. The cells in the top layer of your skin, the epidermis, take about 30 days to rise from the bottom layer to the top layer and naturally slough off. Your skin naturally sheds dead skin cells daily, but not always evenly and not always completely. In certain areas of the body your skin can become flaky, itchy and dry e.g., elbows and knees and even on the face.
The natural process of skin shedding that occurs is called desquamation. It occurs due to cellular changes and forms part of the skin's function to protect us from infection, disease and the environment.
Exfoliation is the process of removing dead skin cells from the surface of your skin by using a product like a body polish, that contains 'granules'. You can use a product with ingredients in such as retinol or an acid (not talking harsh industrial chemicals though!) or a tool such as a body brush. (I have done a video on how to use a body brush at home)
Whichever ever way you choose to do it you will feel the benefit very quickly and your skin will thank you for it too. But, word of warning, you can do it too much - so work out what is best for your skin and stick to it. Your skin type and age will determine the best way to exfoliate in terms of a facial exfoliation product and there are many out there. You also don't need to be too heavy handed when you do exfoliation, think nice rosy glow not bright red!
It is not just a Summer thing to get your skin ready for holiday (!) and wearing less clothes but do it all year round. Doing an exfoliation regularly means any products you then put on your skin afterwards, face or body, will have a more significant impact and you will get better results.
Exfoliating increases cellular renewal and it leaves you with much softer feeling skin. Circulation is increased, it brings fresh oxygen and nutrients to the skin and helps remove toxins. Sluggish areas are boosted.
So either get that body polish out that's been in your cupboard for ages, or the body brush and USE it! In a few days your skin will feel amazing. Let me know how you get on.
Short and sweet this week but effective 😉
Veganuary, Dry-January, end of January...
We made it! Woohoo! I don't know about you but January felt like a long month to me. Darker nights, shorted days, decorations all gone and a lot of damp and wet weather. However, it also means we are another month closer to re-opening and another month closer to getting our lives back to normal and that is great 😊
If you don't follow us on social media you will have missed our focus this week on 'Veganuary' and how natural and eco-friendly ESPA is. This is so important to us as a salon as we all care about the impact we have on our environment.
We are all aware of the importance of the natural world around us and what we must do to ensure it is there for generations to come. We all need to do 'our bit' however small to ensure resources aren't wasted and we recycle as much as we can.
I have always been very aware of the waste created by the beauty industry. Currently, 120 billion units of packaging are produced every year by the cosmetics and beauty industry and the majority of this ends up in landfill sites across the world. ESPA as a natural brand have worked hard since the start of 2020 to minimise the waste they create and become as sustainable and an even more ethical brand as they can be.
All their packaging is now recyclable, refillable and reusable! They have minimised waste as much as possible e.g. removed the little plastic discs from the pots of cream, and taken out the mini-leaflets that came in each box reducing paper consumption too. They have also introduced 4 new independent certifications and have had to go through lengthy processes, having to meet extremely strict criteria in order to be able to use the logos.
The first is the COSMOS standard awarded for the highest feasible sustainable practices when producing a cosmetic. It really enforces ESPA's core value of naturality and look as at each stage of the process of an ingredient from the farm, and geographical location it is grown, right through to the packing and storage of each product.
They have kept the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) approval for their packaging - which helps take care of forests, the people and wildlife who call them home and is recognised by the WWF as the 'hallmark of responsible forest management'. This means the materials used for packaging has come from well-managed forests and/or recycled sources.
They also now have Vegan and Vegetarian Society approved certification for many of their products (and more in the pipeline!)
And the coolest thing is that you can even send them your empty plastic packaging from any beauty brand. They are in collaboration with a company called 'Stormboard' that turn waste plastic into a recyclable alternative to plywood that can be used again and again - take a look at the details here 👏
I am looking forward to the start of February and plenty of fun things this month - especially with one of my favourite days of the year, pancake day! 😋
Thanks for reading,
(Credit to ESPA for information on all the facts and certifications)
What makes you happy?
I started writing this yesterday thinking about what actually makes me happy - and I have plenty that I will share with you in a minute, and then.... woke up this morning to snow!!!!!! 😍
This is definitely when I am at my happiest. I absolutely LOVE snow. Maybe it's because my birthday is December and I love everything "winter" but it is just so magical. Offered the choice between a beach or snow holiday I will choose snow every time.
When I was little, Mum used to wake me up if it snowed so I could get dressed and go out in it, whatever the time was. So, as they say, blame the parents, but I love mine for that as it truly is where I feel happiest. Mum phoned me up yesterday morning first thing (unheard of!) to tell me she had snow and I did exactly the same today 😂
Firstly, when it has just snowed and settled and no one has had a chance to get out there, it is totally serene and calm. The air is peaceful. Everything is magical and pure white. Trees look majestic, hard lines are softened and it all looks like a huge Christmas cake scene.
Everything looks so different. Nature gets a 'costume' and the scenery totally changes. Dark wintery landscapes suddenly become light, bright and even refreshing for the soul, especially when it is bright.
Snow also brings out the inner child. Who doesn't love walking in it, making a snowman, maybe even throwing a snowball? It rekindles memories of childhood and happy times.
Other happy times for me I will share with you:
- Cuddles with the cats
- Time with Steve, especially a whole weekend of 'just us'
- Going to the theatre to watch a show
- Buying new shoes and handbags (!)
- Cooking family favourite dishes and seeing how much the family enjoy eating it
- Many, many more......
I hope you can come up with a long list of 'happiness'. No need to share, but just realise what does make you happy and try and do more of it.
Enjoy the snow today, I don't think it will be here for long so get wrapped up and go out if you do, if not stay safe and warm inside and enjoy the view.
Thanks for reading, have a happy week,
This weekend was Steve and my 11th Wedding anniversary - Steel! Every year since we got married we have given each other a present related to the traditional gift for each year.
It has been fun trying to come up with an idea and we try to set a budget for each other of not more than £20. We have broken that twice however. The first year we bought a limited-edition print from a local artist who did an abstract of Didcot power station and the cooling towers which we loved. I've have always liked industrial landscapes. I guess growing up in the north west of the UK, being aware of the oil refineries nearby, meant I have always found them quite strong, powerful structures.
The fifth year is wood and my Aunt and Uncle had introduced us and the boys that year to the joy of Shuffleboard. They had a large set and we played several times with them. We decided to buy a set for ourselves and it comes out fairly regularly, definitely Saturday nights when we are all at home (!) and quite a few Near Year's Eve gatherings too.
Another annual tradition is that we return to the place we got married each year and have a night away. It is a chance to talk about our wedding, memories flood back and we reminisce. I love it. Sadly of course, we can't go this year but we WILL make it later in the year I hope - and if not maybe stay 2 nights next year.
Made me think about other traditions we have as a family. Sunday is very much the day we have a roast and probably only miss 8 - 10 weeks a year in total during the main Summer months. There is nearly a family strike when I announce the last roast for a few months! Steve and the boys always watch the Superbowl every February. The Formula 1 season also dictates our calendar a lot too, as does Rugby, especially the teams the boys play for and when their matches are. In fact, the more I think about it the more I realise sport is a major influence on our family life.
Traditions are an important part of our lives and bring a sense of comfort and belonging. There is definitely a sense of security and continuity from one year to the next. Right now as we all feel a bit lost it made me think about making sure that, as much a possible we stick to tradition, routines and things that make us feel grounded for the next few months. For our mental health we need these traditions and routines. They help keep us feeling more settled and feel more in control of our lives.
What are your traditions? Do let me know what your family traditions are and what you are doing to try and stick to your 'routine' of life.
The traditional wedding gift next year is silk so will have to get thinking for Steve - I personally can't wait for Diamond! 😉
Beating the Winter Blues
I think everyone is aware that the start of 2021 is not what we all had in our minds for it even just a month ago, but I do hope you are ok and coping with the situation we now find ourselves in.
People may be struggling to be positive while not knowing what lies ahead for us. But you know, that is ok. Life is up and down at the best of times and now is certainly no exception. January is never the best time of the year with the dark nights and sometimes almost dark days, there's little going on, the decorations come down so the house feels bare, and we all just want to hibernate anyway.
It'hs okay if you're not feeling productive and you spent the last week in pj's watching the TV. It's ok if you want to have a cry or scream into a pillow. It's okay to not feel okay right now.
Please know however as a salon we are here for you and if you ever just need a chat please message us on Facebook or email us and we will call you. We are missing seeing, chatting to you and caring for you and just because we can't see you in person doesn't mean we haven't stopped caring for you.
Here are some ideas I have seen on social media and the internet that you may want to try this next week and I'd love to hear how you get in if you do any of them 😊
- Start the day with a positive affirmation: "I am positive", or "I am confident"
- Compliment someone, tell them what they mean to you. Tell them how grateful you are for their friendship, support etc. and their reaction will really boost you too!
- Read every day - a book, a magazine, an article online whichever suits you. It will help give you some 'me time' without being disturbed and provide a distraction from other thoughts.
- Spend an hour outside every day in the natural light, either on your own or with your family. Reconnect to the outside world. You will really the benefit of exercise in the fresh air.
- Essential oils can have a huge impact on the body and mind. ESPA have created their positivity blend to help wave goodbye to negativity and help boost self-confidence and a feeling of optimism. It is available in a Bath & Shower Gel, Bath & Body oil, Pulse Point Oil, Diffuser and Candle so you can be surrounded by positivity if you want! It can be purchased from ESPA online via our link
Keep your eye out for our Positivity posts over the next few weeks and you may like to follow ESPA as they are also encouraging everyone to get involved with their #WellnessHour and #MindfulMovement campaign to help strengthen your body, improve health and make the day a little easier.
We are in this together. Let's be as positive as we can be!
New Year, some of the best Detox foods for you
First of all, Happy New year to you! Hope you had a good time in whatever capacity you had planned.
I am not doing "New Year's resolutions" - I never do. But I do make a few promises to myself each year that I try my best to keep. For example, since lockdown back in March I have increased my walking and really enjoyed the time outside, so this year my main promise to myself is to do the recommended 10,000 steps a day. So far, so good!
At the start of the year I do always feel that I need to cleanse my body a bit too, especially with the extra biscuits, chocolate and alcohol that we have had over the festive period. I do focus on detox a little more. I start the day with hot water and lemon for example, but do then have some coffee in the day, I'm not a total angel 😊
I wanted to share my top five best foods for detox that you can try if you fancy:
- Lemon. I think these are what people automatically think of when you say detox. Full of vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant that helps fight free radicals which can have a negative impact on the body. Lemon also helps aid digestion and can help strengthen the immune system. I am not great at just drinking plain water - so adding several slices of lemon to it makes drinking my daily suggested intake so much easier.
- Ginger. I have written about this before but I am a fan! It helps speed up emptying of the stomach so is often recommended for nausea. It also helps with bloating and gas, so good if a lot of fatty foods and alcohol have been eaten and you are just feeling 'too full'. It is high in antioxidants and also boosts the immune system.
- Garlic. This is one of the main reasons we are thinking about doing a couple of raised beds this year. I buy this every week at the supermarket and use it almost daily in my cooking at home. It has antiviral, antibacterial and antibiotic properties. It aids white blood cell production which help fight infection in our bodies. Note - it is best if you eat it raw, but if you can't get past the pungent smell there are supplements you can take if you ask in a health food shop.
- Beetroot. Think of this like a shot of nutrients - packed with iron, magnesium and vitamin C. This really helps support your liver's function of detoxification. If your body can detoxify chemicals and toxins more effectively then your body will be in better balance. Great for skin and hair too so it's a no brainer superfood. Best added raw into salads or try drinking beetroot juice.
- Watercress. A great detox food, it contains antioxidants and several detoxifying nutrients such as vitamins E and C, zinc and potassium. It is also a diuretic so helps to flush out toxins. It is a good source of calcium so great for bone development and strength. A handful a day in soups, salads or adding to sandwiches is the best way to get your daily dose of this superfood!
Wishing you all the best for a better, brighter 2021. Better times are coming, we just need to be patient, support one another and be positive.
Hope to see you at some point soon