If dreams had a scent…

It’s soooo good in bed… Launched just under a year ago, Feather & Down is a gorgeous range of bath, body and home fragrance products to help you unwind and have a great night’s sleep.

We spend 1/3 of our lives sleeping but today’s busy lifestyles means 35% of people feel their physical and mental wellbeing is affected by not getting enough sleep, and 30-45% of adults suffer from insomnia*.

My anxiety sometimes gets the best of me and that means that, even being a good sleeper in general, sometimes I appreciate the extra help unwinding.

The Pillow Spray is a joy. The fragrance is an amazing infusion of lavender and chamomile essential oils, which are known to help with anxious minds.

It encourages calm, which is essential for a restful night’s sleep. I’ve been using it almost nightly, a couple sprays on my pillow and have to say, on top of feeling very relaxing, it give my bed a comfy, sweet and fresh feel, as if my linen had just been changed. The scent is not lavender heavy.

Now, the Soothing Body Oil. Honestly, I am a huge fan of all sorts of oils in beauty, including body oil.

Full of essential oils, with the same fabulous scent of the Pillow Spray, it sinks beautifully into the skin. Apart from the calming and relaxing fragrance, spraying and smoothing it on skin will soothe it and seal the moisture after showering.

And talking about showering, the Melting Shower Cream shares the scent and mind calming properties of the range. The cream turns into a oil delivering softness and nutrition.

What a trio to reach to after a long week at work – and a great way celebrate World Sleep Day in style.

Bring on the lie-ins!

You can get the Feather & Down Pillow Spray (£7), Soothing Body Oil (£8) and Melting Shower Cream (£6) on the Feather & Down website.

They also have balms, butters and lovely little kits, as well as home fragrances and products are made in England.

written by Dani

*Info from the World Sleep Day website

You know the drill, but I’ll say again: this post contains PR samples. This review, however, is based on my experience with the product and reflects my honest opinion on them.

Surviving January (and let’s face it, February)

The party well and truly is over. When the summer comes to an end (and trust me, we stretch the feeling to the bitter end), we all start looking forward to the season to be jolly.

The celebrations usually start in early December, but with the shops putting the decorations up in mid-November, it is easy to get carried away by the festive spirit, especially when you love Christmas, like me. And it’s all fun and games.

We eat, we drink, we are merry. Too merry. Then January hits. Even worse, mid-January, when you had time to take a long, hard look at yourself… No bank holidays for a long stretch, dark, dark and cold days, we are poor from all the crimbo expenditure and our bodies are feeling the worse for wear after all the eating and drinking. It is truly dreadful.

So how do I plan to survive? By looking after my mind and body, that is.

The body works

I’ll reach out for the fake tan. I’ve been loving the Fake Bake Five Minute Mouse tan as I feel mega lazy. It’s quick, transfer free, little smell and develops into a gorgeous tan that lasts up to a week (I top up every 4-5 days).

Before bed, I lather myself with the Nivea Rich Nourishing 48h intensive moisturising care, which is perfect to treat your skin, battered by the cold and heating, overnight. It’s a classic that has been reformulated recently and it’s super creamy, delivering up to 48-hour hydration, thanks to the Nivea Deep Moisture Serum and almond oil.

And smells Nivea-comforting. It is very rich, but absorbs well. Next day, I can feel it “coming out as a shower”. This is serious moisturising.

I am a huge fan of pillow sprays and as much as they are for the body, they are for the mind. I am using the Feather & Down pillow spray, together with their shower cream and body oil before going to bed.

I absolutely love the fragrance and if you are not too keen on lavender, this one is definitely for you – so calming, relaxing and absolutely delightful.

Going back to fitness has been on my list for over six months, after being plagued with injuries. I am at a point I can ease myself into my usual routine, a step at a time.

I have just had a proper week of working out – four times, and closer to my old routine, including aerial pilates, ballet barre, an inversion class and circus conditioning. My injury seems to be ok with it and as long as I take it really slowly, it feels promising.

My diet will receive the attention it deserves. No, I am not going radical, but will stick for a while to the ketogenic diet my MSK specialist doctor recommended, to diminish inflammation, as well as taking good supplements like probiotics and immune system support, which worked a treat for me this year.

That also includes cutting down alcohol (dramatically? we’ll see about that), in quantity but mainly type as some are more irritable to my body than others.

I will also stick to my Zenii Radiance and Skin Health supplements as they do work a treat to fight dullness.

Minding the gap

My mental health will be a huge focus this year, so I’m starting strong in January to set myself up for the year. I will practice mindfulness, work to prevent thoughts from becoming compulsive and my actions turning obsessive and spiralling out of control.

Planning my budget and organising my life in general has always been a struggle, so I am aiming to put a realistic plan together. That should enable me from planning for the travels and hobbies I want to squeeze in 2018.

Attention will be focused on what matters; people who matter. Friends who are supportive, reliable and positive. Of course, no one is like that all the time, but it’s the give and take balance that is really important here. I will not be a sole giver. Unreliable friends make me anxious and why would I want to be around people show are not supportive? Exactly.

Creating rituals is important for me. I must go back to “face mask Wednesdays”, “mani Thursdays”, or “deep stretch Mondays”. You get the drift – something that is great for body and mind. Two birds and all that.

And the blog, which has saved me through so much, will continue to be my haven and I will (and already have been) paying more attention to it,

How are you planning to survive during these dark months?

written by Dani

You know the drill, but I’ll say again: this post contains PR samples. This review, however, is based on my experience with the product and reflects my honest opinion on them.

 

 

 

2017: good riddance

You know when you are in the Crimbo limbo and start thinking about your life… well. Have a sit. But not beofre making yourself a cup of tea…

When 2017 started, I seemed to have it all: I was comfortable with myself, I was going to move to my very own flat and I had met someone who seemed perfect, late in 2016, and we seemed to be good together. Great right?

Plan and simply happy, I was soooo looking forward to it and waltzed into it full of hope. It turns out the world went a bit messed up, and hell, so did my life.

While the move into the new flat in February was smooth – and quite frankly, amazing (but we will get to the good once a I have a good old moan) – from there on things started to crumble.

And one of the most difficult things for me to overcome has installed itself in: my anxiety started creeping in as soon as the flat buying rush started to calm down.

“Perfect” man decided, well, that in retrospect, he wasn’t so perfect, and after almost four months, couldn’t “do us”, announced two days before Valentine’s, over the phone. I was left with a card and a gift which would never met their recipient, but worst of all, with a heart so broken, in so many tiny pieces, I still think it will never be mended. I was surprised that A) I was actually in love and B) he wasn’t. What?! And I cried.

Anxiety reached peak. I was on edge, my OCD kicked off into unmanageable levels. I cried some more. I had awful physical symptoms and my blood pressure went up.

I struggled to leave the house except when I absolutely needed to (basically work and pushed myself to go to blog events. I STOPPED DRINKING (what, you say? Who even are you?).

But I thought the summer would sort me out. Well, it didn’t. So I cried a bunch more – alright, a lot more –  and started the long road of (yet again) rebuilding my shattered self through therapy and the excruciating hard work on myself.

As in a Mariah Carey song, “you’re all smiles but in your eyes, your sorrow shows, yes, it shows”. That was me.

Then I got injured. Oh, yeah, twice. And recovery has been long. To be away from the one of the couple things that keeps me sane was a huge blow to my balance and self esteem. That pulled me inside that hole even further, together with the fact I could barely recognise my inflating, weaker and inflexible body.

Boys were generally rubbish. Although I did have all he fun, the ones I liked a bit weren’t that upfront with me, some came out of the woodwork after months of disappearing looking for an easy shag, some even reappeared not knowing I knew they were back with their exes. Yes, I knew [insert eyeroll here]. Yes, I liked him an awful lot. No, I didn’t see him again. No, I won’t ever see him again.

I became extremely sceptical and detached on the romantic front.

My ex of 7 years got married within 1.5 years of meeting this (also Brazilian) girl on Tinder I believe a mere 2 weeks after we moved apart, four days before my bday. Oh yeah.

For the record, I hadn’t already been in love with him for quite a while when we broke up and we did so in great terms. I knew he was engaged (he proposed on NYE) and going to get married this year, but I ended up finding out on Instagram on the day it was happening. NOT COOL, mate. Not cool.

Some parts of my small network of friends proved to be more flawed than I anticipated. I seemed to insist on non-supportive, unreliable, “I’ll be all over you when I need you but am rarely there when you need me” only to, surprise, feel let down and lonely.

One of my besties decided to move to Australia. Another great friend decided not to come back from Australia (Australia, I am starting to have a problem with you).

My grandfather passed away in Brazil, it devastated me, it is still hard to think (or write more) about it, as he was a huge part of my life. Then my aunt had some scary health problems.

The blog suffered. As the anxiety exhaustion kicked in, I felt little motivation to write. Traffic dropped and even when I came out of the worse patches of anxiety, the motivation was low. I started posting less and have struggled to get back into it.

What a stupid year, 2017. Talk about disappointment, I had high hopes for you.

So, I feel I HAVE to focus on the good things (I mean, did you read the above? Jeez). And it’s amazing how many there are when you actually think about it:

  • I bought a freaking flat. On my own. In London. And I made it up exactly how I wanted. I am f*cking proud of that.
  • I reigned back my anxiety. It was a long and painful process, harder than the first time it hit me this bad. Many times I just couldn’t see how I’d get out of that. It is still a day at a time battle, but when you started to have way more good days than bad, you know you’re in the path to controlling your mental health.
  • My anxiety had very little impact in my performance at work. And I am very proud of myself for that.
  • I found a twinsie friend.
  • I found support where I least expected.
  • Despite being sh*t at blogging this year, I actually got some amazing opportunities and am so grateful for that.
  • My family back home seems to be closer than ever, which makes me so happy all the way here.
  • Another bestie is expecting a much desired baby. I might even love a child for a change.
  • I rediscovered my love for glitter. Ok, I know, but I had to add this here.

So how I am taking 2018? At my pace; I have no shame to say it will be all about me (I mean, to be honest, it’s always all about me. I hate resolutions list but I will:

  • Put myself and my health in the first place. Mental and physical.  I will take time for myself, I will be mindful of it, I will go back to fitness and look after my body. Circus activities which I love so much will be back and I’m sorting out my diet.
  • Give toxic and unrealiable people no time. At all.
  • Give f*ckboys no time. I’m genuinely bored of ya.
  • Work harder on the blog. Actually pour in the love I have for it.
  • Dance more. Just go out and dance.
  • Not be too hard on myself. I really struggle seeing how good I can be, what I can achieve and always think I am not good enough.
  • Holiday more. I have only been to one holiday in 2017 and that, my friend, is nowhere near good enough.
  • Volunteer. I used to a while back and must return to it. I always felt I got so much more than I was giving!
  • Get a new hobby. I haven’t yet decided what I want to do, burlesque is currently at the top of the list, inspired by one of my besties.
  • Have a long hard think about my career and where I am going, where I want to be and if the path is right.
  • Concentrate on people who matter. Show them I love them, make an effort.
  • Be a little bit more sensible with money.
  • Nurture (and ideally grow) my network of friends.

Phew. Thanks for hanging in there. Please send some cheer and tell me you had a better year. How did 2017 treat you?

written by Dani

And… breathe

Anxiety is something I have carried with me for a long time. Although rather manageable most of the time, there are periods that it still gets the best of me, no matter how many defense mechanisms I have against it.

The first time I came across aromatherapy breathing roll ons was after the this works energy bank launch event. I loved the range, but was really intrigued by that little roll on.

Fast forward a bit a few have come into my life. I feel the different scents do evoke feelings of calmness, energy, relaxation but for me, the most important thing is the time you take to breathe.

Sounds weird but most of us do not find time in our days to breathe mindfully. We our always on the go, with our heads on the schedule ahead, with a million thoughts overlapping. And if you are an anxious person, multiply that by 100, on a good day.

For me, the simple reminder of that little fragrant tube begs me to stop (hammer time! Not really), take some time out, breathe deeply a few times and think of nothing. And resume.

At the moment I have a few on the go, with a heavy bias towards the this works breathe ins, which have a natural blend of super oils. I apply them on my wrist, rub against the other and breathe away.

The energy bank fragrance is brilliantly awakening, with soothing orange oil, mood-boosting rosemary and energising geranium.

It is really an awakening fragrance, a fab post-lunch pick-me-up and costs £18 for 8ml.

The deep sleep stress less breathe in shown was reformulated and renamed as stress check and is now part of the fantastic stress check range.

It is calming, refreshing and really opens the airways for even deeper breaths, formulated with eucalyptus, frankincense and lavender oil . The packaging is now white for all this works breathe in roll ons, and they are very affordable at £16 each.

Bamford’s Padmasanainspired by the yoga pose of the same name, is a 100% organic blend of rosemary, ginger and basil oils, for concentration as it helps to restore mental strength and clear the mind.

It is quite fragrant, quite smoky to start with and then quite herbal.

Finally, a little spray from Evolve Organic Beauty, the Tranquility Essence with lavender, bergamot and cedarwood.

Although it contains alcohol in its formula, I really love this spray. It is not overpowering, quite citrus and you can really get the lavender at the end.

This is little helping hand is very useful if, like me, you struggle to naturally take a little time to breathe.

What’s your go to method to get your daily dose of mindfulness?

written by Dani

You know the drill, but I’ll say anyway: this post contains PR samples. This review, however, is based on my experience with the product and reflects my honest opinion on them.