Benefits Of Knowing Your Style

LIFESTYLE

I had a conversation recently that really got me thinking. If there is one thing I can talk continuously about its homes, houses and decor and this conversation was no different but what really stuck out to me is how it made me think about my own style afterwards. I then noticed this when scrolling on Instagram and Pinterest at home inspiration and colour schemes and even looking at my own Instagram grid. 

I’ve a couple of friends that KNOW their style and it makes so much sense. They like country-esque designs, mixed with wood and stick to a colour scheme. Others have a strong colour palette of greys and tan mixing modern and country but with similar colours following each room it gives a sense of flow and consistency.

It makes for a strong base. 

If you know your style, each room in your house will have a great flow to it. When one room is similar to the next you can go through to each without a disruption in tone or mood. I notice this strongly in my own home at the minute. When we have guests round I prefer to stay in the kitchen/diner as it’s bright and feels uncluttered. At the moment the living room is half decorated and is in complete distracting contrast that if we were to move company into the living room it becomes darker and more compact. This shows the importance of a house that flows comfortably from one room to another and not just when having guests round. You want to love your space wherever you are in your home and to help this being sure of your style is ideal.

It makes purchases easier. 

And I mean this for both purchases made by yourself for your home and referring to gifts from friends and family. If you see something you love you don’t have to think ‘Where will this fit in my home?’ If you love it and you have a similar colour scheme and style running through the item could go in any room. There have been plenty of times when I have seen something and loved it but haven’t known where it will fit in my home so it was left, or worse purchased anyway and unused.

Less likely to change it.

If your whole joke follows your taste and style you’re probably less likely to change it. If you like and enjoy being in each room you don’t tend to find fault or constantly wish you could redecorate it. You’ll be less influenced by how others have decorated (unless you decide to redo the whole house) because you like the way you’ve designed your space and you’re comfortable in it.

Evaluating my own style.

I am forever changing my mind when it comes to home decor. I have realised that in the past I have taken too many different opinions on board when making a decision for something that is going in my home. I am also quite easily convinced that something will work which never bodes well when making a large purchase. Now I know this of course, I am planning on changing my ways.

The one thing that I have always known is that I like white. Whereas some people may find it cold or boring I find it calming and a blank canvas to add to. Liking white does make it difficult when decorating as the elephant (or dog) in the room is the fact we have a chocolate labrador so some compromise does have to be made.

I also am easily swayed by a good home trend. Grey walls? We’ll have them! Moving to Taupe? No problem! Patterned paper and black skirting? Pass me the brush! Like I said, easily influenced.

I am however starting to realise that actually living with something is different to seeing it look great on social media and we each have our own individual style and limitations of what we want to see every day whilst making it functional. For an example, if I put up a dark floral patterned wall after a few months I’d paint over it with a neutral shade, yet love seeing it in other homes. Similarly if I had nothing but cream through my whole house I’d get bored and want to add a bright blue wall somewhere.

With that in mind it’s clearly all about finding your own style, making your own decisions and filling your home with your own vibe.

Do you agree? I share more of my home on Instagram if you want to come and chat (and see the constant changes I make).

Ectopic Pregnancy – My Story

LIFESTYLE

***Trigger Warning*** Please don’t read if you won’t feel comfortable. I speak quite only about my ectopic pregnancy, being in the hospital, surgery and recovery so please don’t read on if you’re not ready.

It’s been 1 month since I found out that I had an ectopic pregnancy and needed surgery to remove it. Recovery is still in progress but I have come a long way since that first week of being out of the hospital. Whilst I was there I headed to the internet to find some similar stories to mine but couldn’t find any so here I am. Hoping that if one person finds this at the right time then that’s good with me.

We had decided to tell our family the day before I went in to the hospital with pains. This in itself was the best and worst thing we could have done. Worst because they of course got excited and best because they knew the issues without having to explain why I was going to hospital. A lot of people say not to tell others too soon in case anything goes wrong and as much as I understand and agree to a certain extent there are some people that I would tell. In case of the worst happening you still want that support network.

As it was during a peak COVID time I had to go to the hospital on my own and it seemed like a long time I was sat (uncomfortably and painfully) on those plastic chairs. Of course I’ve never been in so much pain than I was and the evening before I actually thought it was IBS. That was the only explanation I had for the fact it was pain from my lower belly right up to my rib cage. I’d had no painkillers on the day I went into hospital until around 6pm on the ward so I am still amazed at how much pain the human body can actually take.

Once seen on the ward by the doctor I was admitted to a private room and after medication I was ready to eat the first thing I’d had since tea time the day before. I was dehydrated so they hooked my up to a drip and my husband was allowed to bring me an overnight bag to reception which someone would collect and bring to me. I wasn’t allowed to leave the room or have visitors and any of the medical team coming in had to put gloves, a mask and an apron on beforehand.

The next morning I went for my scan to be told, by lovely team members, that it was an ectopic. Even though I had been given a debrief from the doctor of what it could be this kind of news still takes you by surprise. You get nervous about what the next steps are and when you’re excited about having a baby it is upsetting but before my scan there was also hope as I had woke up that day with no pain whatsoever. I now realise that was from some excellent medication masking the worst.

The doctor visited again, ran me through the details and it was then I had to sign the paperwork and hear of the risks. This was probably the scariest part for me and this likely is because I’m somewhat of a control freak. The thought of being put to sleep, not knowing and giving someone else the control was terrifying to me but I realised as scared as I was that’s what they do. It’s what they’re trained extensively in and I wasn’t exactly going to do it myself was I? It was here too that the doctor said I didn’t have to be so brave but to me being upset wasn’t an option because I didn’t have another choice.

You get a few moments in life where you realise things about yourself that you don’t see or remember day to day; how strong you are, how capable you are or how brave you can be. There are some moments when you can look back and remember you are all of those things. Remember those times you were stronger than you thought you could be for a second. It’s a good feeling.

My husband was allowed to come in once I had been told I needed surgery as long as he didn’t leave the room. I didn’t realise how grateful I was of this until after the surgery when I woke up, came round properly and the quiet moments between the nurses coming in. I’m lucky we are able to laugh about my bossy behaviour as I woke up from the anaesthetic because there were definitely some moments.

The next day was painful. The surgeon visited and showed me images (I was having breakfast but it looked nothing like my cornflakes so I was ok). It turned out that by the time I had arrived in surgery the tube had already ruptured so I was in the right place at the right time. After a shower and plenty of tests the hospital were eager to send me home later that day all being well. I was surprised at the time but I get it. At home you’re relaxed, in comfortable surroundings and being well taken care of by family. Nurses are absolutely fantastic but you have to share them.

The few days that followed were uncomfortable and slow. (I would have given *nearly* anything to have a downstairs bathroom.) Some of my stitches became infected quite quickly so that needed sorting and I couldn’t concentrate for too long for about a week. My first car journey after the operation was so uncomfortable I cried. 20mph on a smooth road felt like I was on 2 different rollercoasters at the same time. One that drops and one that goes 0-60mph in quick time. During my first shower at home since coming from hospital I had to lie down half way through in fear of passing out. It’s amazing how much effort you use daily in things that you’d normally take for granted. I also couldn’t lie down and slept propped up with pillows. It has only been the last week or so that I can sleep on my side and I am not comfortable yet on my belly (my preferred sleeping position as it so happens). I can’t thank enough the friends and family that have visited, brought food, flowers and cards and messaged with kind words and gave me the support I didn’t know I needed during that time and even checking in now.

One month on and I’m back to walking up straight and doing things around the house. I still can’t bend forward or put any force into anything and the doctor gave another month before I’d be back to *feeling myself and 2 months before I would *actually be back to myself. Two different things that I’ve noticed as you may feel great but your body won’t have fully recovered inside.

You’ll notice there’s no photos on this post. Not because I didn’t take any, I did because I’m savage like that, but because I don’t want to remember or show the meek, cold colours in the room, I want to remember and recall the warmth of the people.

I’m always over on Instagram if you want a chat @lorenjessica_

4 Things I Have Changed Now Working From Home

LIFESTYLE, Wellbeing

Throughout my career I have worked in many different environments and some of them have been so far away from another that I had to relearn new skills for each position. To name a few lets go with a shop, spa, cafe, office, gym, outdoors, theatre and pool. You know what none of them are though? Home. And that is a completely different ball game. There are no colleagues and there are so many distractions. Not only is there the internet, books and the tv to watch there are also things like having our dog, getting the washing done or tidying the kitchen. I could even get distracted for two hours taking a midday bath. This is not conducive behaviour for working from home and to actually achieve something by the end of the ‘working day’ I have had to learn to buckle up and concentrate. This has also meant putting new structures in place to make me as productive and focused as possible.

The TV is off during the day. It seems like a pretty straight forward one but it was a little hard to get used to at first. Anytime I have written before I enjoyed putting a film on Netflix and watching it while I worked and I think I just liked the background noise. Now though and going forward I am only flicking the tv on whilst I have breakfast, my lunch or in the evening when my husband leaves the ‘kitchen office’ and retires to the living room.

Choosing my seat (and changing it throughout the day). I also used to work in the kitchen, sat at the table looking out into the garden but I would say there are definitely more distractions in there than my seat in the living room. The fridge for one. Now I have found the place where I work best I do make sure I am still getting up and walking around the house every so often. Movement is so important and I wouldn’t want to find that I had been sitting in the same place/same position for 3-4 hours.

Getting ready in the morning. No, I don’t put make up on every day but it definitely does bring me a little focus on the days where I do need it as well as getting dressed. The mornings the I have spent in my pyjamas are the days where I have ended up doing more housework than business or leaving the tv on for a little longer after breakfast.

Taking the dog a walk first thing. I find getting up, dressed and taking our Labrador Mia on a walk after our first cup of tea really helps us to feel fresh, ready to start the day when we get back and more focused on the tasks ahead. I would say that we have been doing this every other day at the minute and I can definitely tell the difference in the hours after the walk.

I have also been listening to a couple of podcasts that really help with tips on working from home and things we can do to improve productivity and the loneliness that can come with working from home and not seeing colleagues in the office. My main listens would have to be The Co-Working Podcast by Jess Berry and The Busy to Boss by Holly Bray because they cover the aspects of working alone and how to focus productivity when you work for yourself.

If you have any working from home tips let me know or get in touch on Instagram @lorenjessica_

Working Towards Finding My Niche – Part 1

LIFESTYLE

There is so much talk about in the realms of having a niche whether this is on Instagram or within your blogging, video work and I get it. You get known for what you do. This also works with so many other trades. If you want to find an accountant you type it into the search engine, to niche it even more you type in the area where you live. It makes complete sense. But it can also be difficult in finding your niche.

It brings me back to a chat with my family I had a while back. Imagine being that one kid in a hundred that knew exactly what they wanted to be when they grew up. And doing it. And actually enjoying it for their whole career. That notion simply amazes me. It also amazes me that I haven’t met anyone in my life that has done just that.

People, as people do, evolve. They also aren’t just ONE thing. People are a range of things and enjoy multiple aspects of life so it becomes difficult (and where I have especially found it hard) to choose just one of the many things that makes up a varied life.

There are many bloggers that clearly define themselves and their content and have found what they love to speak about. Travel Bloggers are one of these niches. They experience, educate and entertain their audiences with places they have visited and even when they are spending time at home they are writing about places they would love to visit or ‘how to plan a trip to …’ or ‘what to pack on a trip to…’ Similarly, book bloggers. I have seen many where their Instagram pages are full of beautifully full book shelves or inspirational quotes from characters. They know what their interest is and they run with it.

Home Renovation niche

WHY DO I NEED A NICHE?

Too right, why? Why should I feel the need to only write about one or two topics? Why can’t I write about everything that I enjoy? Well I could but it wouldn’t grow in the same way. Why should someone keep returning to see what I have written when they don’t know what to expect? I wouldn’t want to visit a travel company website and find that they’re talking about the latest fashion trend or a type of pet food. You want to know that wherever you are going you know what you’re going for. That way whatever mood you are in or if you want a certain piece of information, boom, you’re in the right place.

It also links to that good old saying ‘jack of all trades and master of none’.

So, How Am I Finding and Narrowing My Niche?

I couldn’t decide what I wanted my niche to be so I made like the true Virgo I am and wrote a list. It went like this;

  • Renovating our first home
  • Mia our chocolate labrador
  • Disney, the brand and holidays
  • Reading books and reviewing
  • Fitness, health and wellbeing
  • High end and luxury clothes, style
  • Skincare and beauty products
  • Travelling to beautiful destinations
  • Visiting places in the UK
  • Arts and crafts
  • Spa visits, reviews and skincare brands

That’s a LOT of things to talk about right? It would also be a lot of information to sift through when trying to find the blog post that you want to read and while everyone is out there having aesthetically pleasing Instagram grids mine would be like an explosion in a paint factory (and not in a good way). I’m leaving it there for now but Part 2 will be up soon!

3 Skincare Tips I Would Tell My Younger Self and *That* Embarrassing Moment

Beauty, LIFESTYLE

I am sure there are many people that look back to their younger selves and wish they would have looked after their skin a little more. For me there are a few things I would say to myself and others now I have learnt my lessons and I could only hope that they would listen but would I have done in the same position? Who knows. I can say that I had one of the best head starts I could have wished for. I did my work experience in a spa surrounded by beauty products and took this interest with me years after; My mum used great products and looked after her skin well and encouraged me to do the same. And there are STILL things I would go back and tell myself. I can only suppose that some lessons can only be learned from our own mistakes.

What goes in, glows out. It doesn’t take much explaining but what I put into my body shows on my skin. If I ate nothing but junk food, fizzy pop and coffee for a month, wow, would my skin hate me for it. Whereas if I ate fresh vegetables, drank balanced smoothies and stayed hydrated with water as the national guidelines suggested I would be completely glowing from the inside out. Of course I have only ever tried this out for short periods of time – a week, a month maybe – and the struggle is keeping the routine (we are chocolate mad in this house). But the knowledge is there and if I had started taking care of my skin sooner I would definitely tell my younger self that a good diet is very important. I will one day keep a food diary, like I keep saying I will, and hopefully be able to track the results to see what impact that a healthy diet makes on my skin.

Have confidence. Ok, so not in the usual phrasing of it. I had almost too much confidence growing up. But I would tell my younger self that I didn’t need to get my eyebrows waxed twice a week or however many times it was. I do remember the lady I used to go to started to charge me £2 per time because I went so often and looking back, I probably didn’t need to and I have relaxed this attitude a lot (apologies to anyone that has ever witnessed me having a bad brow day month). But in my younger days I wanted the confidence that having a neat brow game bought me, now I guess that as importance as confidence is, it’s not just my brows that define that for me. I would like to point out that it was also the time where skinny brows were all the rage. So I might add a side note here and say that following some beauty trends just isn’t worth it. Note to ‘Young Loren’ it’s ok to not be pristine all of the time.

I’m going to make mistakes. But they will *hopefully* be a learning curve. My natural hair colour is brown and this includes the hair on my face. I came to terms with the fact I can rival Will Ferrell in Anchorman if I let it get out of hand but I can’t leave it for too long (that’s my own decision) and have lightened, waxed, threaded and used removal cream on my top lip. There was one occasion during my school years where I used a removal cream for what I can only assume as too long. And you know what assuming does don’t you? Well, of course I still had to go to school the next day and pretend like I hadn’t been stupid enough to chemical burn my moustache. I can’t decide what was more embarrassing. Having to go in to school at all with a painful face or having my teacher inform me that she knew what I had done and she had also done the same once. (In reality of course I know she was only trying to help but it took 12 year old me a minute to notice this).

Looking back I guess I have learnt a lot in the time I have been dabbling in beauty and I do have a lot more that I could learn. How to successfully do winged liner EVERY. SINGLE. TIME for example is still at the top of my list. Or maybe how to create a beautiful smokey eye without looking like I’m trying to be a member of KISS. We all have to start somewhere and if I have to make some small misjudgments on the way so be it, we’re not born perfect. Although I will go get a glass of water now, you know, to counteract that coffee I just drank.

If you want another “Why did you do that?” beauty story go check out my Travel Essentials and Life Lessons post.

Book Of The Month: The One Plus One by Jojo Moyes

Books, LIFESTYLE

This post contains affiliate links.

* Post contains spoilers, you have been warned*

After reading the blurb for this book I still didn’t really know what to expect but after loving After You and Still Me by Jojo Moyes I was ready to give it a go. I shall start by saying that The One Plus One is very different from the other two novels I had read. Although the others did have realistic storylines and tugged at the heart strings, The One Plus One can only be described as a blow to the gut. In parts it made me feel the nerves and the anger from the characters and others made me look like I was catching flies as I read (I believe the real saying here is ‘jaw dropping’) and from a book that I was at first uncertain about as I closed the pages I found it a great read. 

I really didn’t know where this story was going to go when I started reading it. Following the conversations of two cleaners losing a job it felt almost too realistic and as I read for escapism and entertainment I wasn’t sure this was going to provide a happy ending. I am very glad that I continued to read because I did indeed enjoy each of the characters developments throughout the story. The story follows Jess, her young daughter Tanzie, her non-biological teenage son Nicky and lastly Ed, the rich, slightly rude but helpful acquaintance. After some extreme car trouble with Jess’ car, Ed offers to drive the family to Scotland. Their time in the car together becomes the story and this is very reflective on real life situations. Long journeys always tend to promote conversations that wouldn’t usually be had or provoke irritations within the confined space. The story conveys this perfectly and makes it even more tense as the characters are strangers to each other.

Jojo Moyes The One Plus One  book of the month

I am not usually a fan of books that switch between the characters voices but The One Plus One did this well. The story flowed, didn’t change scenes completely and I found it easy to follow, something that I don’t find in many of this type. I also enjoyed the characters voices themselves. Even though two of the characters are younger and you can tell this isn’t disruptive and they would seem ‘grown up’ for their age, especially Nicky towards the end of the book.

A couple of storyline twists in the book left me open mouthed in shock for a minute or two and I thoroughly enjoyed this about it. Finding out where Jess’ partner was and the accident with Tanzie and the dog towards the end were a definite surprise, not pleasant but interesting. And even better that it ended positively.

As the story is mainly centred around Jess the reader gets to know her character a little more. I do prefer to read books which have a female lead who is strong, independent and aspirational and although Jess is these things it is portrayed in a way completely different compared to female characters in other narratives. Instead of the high flying careers, designer labels and jet set life that I usually find in women’s literature, this is down to earth, arguably more realistic for the masses and aspirational in other ways. Ways like; working hard pays off, be a good person and be true to yourself. There are so many underlying meanings in the book, probably even a few that I didn’t catch, that the reader is bound to come away with something and I’ll definitely be keeping this one on the bookshelf to read again in the future.

Have you read The One Plus One or any other books by Jojo Moyes?

My Simple Daily Make-Up Routine

Beauty, LIFESTYLE

This post contains affiliate links.

I would like to think that I am pretty low maintenance. My husband may think otherwise of course but until he refutes this comment I am sticking with it. When I go out in the evening I can often get ready quicker than he can and I always like to keep it simple with what I wear. I think the best way to describe it would be understated glamour or working with that natural beauty as they say (it’s in everyone, I swear).

I’m a firm believer that make-up doesn’t quite sit right without a good base and this is why I now find myself using a primer every time I put make up on. Even if I’m just pottering around the house it gives me a boost. I have been using the Soap & Glory One Heck of a Blot Primer now for a few months and really like how it sits on my skin without feeling like it’s clogging up my pores.

The natural emphasis is why I have always loved BareMinerals and why I moved back to the brand recently. I had been using various pressed powders and liquid foundations over the past few months and at one time even using both layered as one didn’t provide enough coverage, it was a nightmare and made my skin look so much worse than it actually was. I made the decision to purchase a few products and really get stuck back into a manageable, quick routine that gave me the best, glowing results.

There was also one product that I could not stop thinking about. The BareMinerals well-rested concealer is the best product for my dark circles that I have ever tried. This meant it was a must purchase when I restocked but it also wasn’t the easiest to get hold of. When I initially looked for it a few online retailers sold it but had not stock and others did not have it listed at all. In the end I did manage to locate some stock and still love the concealer as much as I did a few years ago.

It was slightly more difficult to order a new foundation online, especially when I didn’t know what colour would be best. In the end and due to seeing the models wearing different shades I chose the BareMinerals Matte Foundation in Medium. I love it, the shade works with my tone great and it sits lightly on my skin.

The next product, and if you may have noticed the product I apply next in the routine, is the BareMinerals All Over Face Colour. When I first purchased a similar product (maybe 12 years ago?!) it was labelled ‘Warmth’ and I was told to apply it in the number 3 shape on my face, at the forehead, down below the cheek and onto the jawline. It was a great addition and gave a beautifully subtle colour finish. Although not the exact product the one I now have is the BareMinerals All Over Face Colour in Faux Tan and to me it could be the same colour as before with a different name.

At this point I like to add a little lip definition and use the BareMinerals Under and Over Gen Nude Lip Liner in shade Vibe. This colour was recommended to me at a BareMinerals counter when purchasing make-up for my wedding day. I wanted to do my own make-up for the occasion but knew I needed to have a professional colour match beforehand and it was in this session 3 years ago that the consultant recommended this exact lip liner along with the Gen Nude Matte Lipgloss in Juju. I don’t use the lipgloss every day, more evenings out, but love the liner for that daily, natural shade.

Last but not least I finish the look off with Soap & Glory Thick & Fast Mascara. I purchased this in a set just after Christmas when I was only looking for a mascara. I am very glad now that I did as I think it gives a great effect and definitely give my lashes extra volume. I tend to apply 1-2 layers for my day to day look but have also found it good for an evening out as I can layer it easily.

Even though this seems quite a lengthy blog post for a simple daily make-up routine it takes me less than 10 minutes to apply and its the easiest routine I have had in a long while. I have also noticed that having products that suit my skin type and sit well are easier to apply as there is less to correct and blend.

If you want to read more on my current skincare routines you can catch up here.

Changing The Way I Shop Skincare

Beauty, LIFESTYLE

For the past three years I have been buying beauty and skincare products from more high street, pharmacy brands and while this is all well and good more often than not I have ended up out of pocket. Either the product has not provided the results as expected, sometimes not at all and it ends up as wasted money. Even if it was £10 for a face cream, its £10 down the drain.

I realised a couple of months ago too that my skin isn’t getting any younger. Coming into my 30th year I am noticing the fine lines when I don’t use a saturating moisturiser and have also started to see a big difference in the texture; not smooth as I have been lucky to have this far but uneven. I decided that I couldn’t go on as I was doing and purchasing skincare that was not doing the job and started returning instead to the products that kept my skin glowing, clear and even in the run up to my wedding day which is coming up to three years ago now. I am looking back at that time and thinking “why did I not just stick with that routine?” Well the answer is I don’t know. I guess that after the big day it doesn’t seem so important, (it very much still is) and it wasn’t as accessible as other brands (the closest Elemis counter – a brand I used pretty much exclusively- was an hour away). No excuse I know but now it is even more convenient arriving straight at my door.

I am also able now to see skincare purchases as an investment. This may mean I spend a little more money upfront, say on average £40 – £50, but in the long term I will not be throwing away money on products that didn’t work for me, even if these are half the price or less. I see it as this, if I spend £5 on a product that had no effect I may as well have not made the purchase at all and saved myself £5. I completely understand and agree that there are a lot of products out there that do a good job but I have also tried a lot of different skincare brands and very rarely find a face product that I would buy repeatedly. I have constant dry and dehydrated skin that can be quite tight, sore and unreliable at times and this has made the search a little more difficult. Even products that are soothing or hydrating tend to lose this capability within 10 minutes of wearing the moisturiser or ringing away a cleanser.

Of course not everything works for everyone and not everyone can afford the more expensive ranges. I get that, I have been there, I am still there. I am lucky that I am able to purchase the skincare that works best for me and that I have recently also been gifted some from a family member who wasn’t using them. I will soon be ready to make some further purchases and will look at the best value for money available and be considerate in my shopping. Do I need it? Will I use it? Am I sure it will improve my skin?To make this change sustainable I will also have to ensure that I am using a small amount of product and that I am only purchasing what I know I will use. I would rather have 2 great products in my arsenal than 10 that don’t work as well.

Changing my skincare

There are a couple more things I will be looking out for when I make my future purchases. Does the brand, where I am spending my hard earned money, have similar values to mine? Are they inclusive, do they offer various shades and the space for other creators? This can be found with a bit of research either by looking at their marketing or asking them directly if they are an inclusive company. Also, what is their animal testing policy? After recent research into a brand I found that it wasn’t one where I wanted to to put my money into and the brands that I previously loved tested on animals. In this day and age I see zero point in testing cosmetic products on animals. I do have an issue with the parent company still testing on animals and it makes me feel very uneasy thinking that money has gone into funding this, even by proxy. I have decided that I will be doing what I can to prevent money being spent in this way in the future and by educating myself and others into what can be done to stop this going forward. Many other countries have made the change so I do not see why it can’t be done by all cosmetic companies. What are your views on this?

Have you made any changes to your skincare purchasing or routines? And have you got any product or brand recommendations? Let me know your thoughts in the comments or over on Instagram @lorenjessica_

A New Weekly Routine and How I Stay Productive

LIFESTYLE, Wellbeing

Never before have I worked from home. During my previous self employed years I spent a lot of time at home but then went out to work for a few hours before returning. In the house during ‘downtime’ not a lot got done as I didn’t have a focus and always had the mindset “I’ll do it after work” or “I want to save my energy for work”. Lately this kind of mindset isn’t possible and I need to find the productivity within me to work from home, stay focused and end the day feeling like I have achieved something. I thought I would write more about how my week goes and bring a little structure for me to keep coming back to if it does ever get lost.

The Week Days

On Monday I enjoy a slow Monday morning start and I always have. In two previous jobs I always liked the later starting shift to ease back into the week and get jobs done that we had left over the weekend. Over lockdown I have also been heading to bed around 9pm which means earlier starts in the morning. This definitely helps come Monday morning as I have a couple of hours to tidy around the house and get ready. Although this used to mean rising at 8am and being at work later an early night means I can wake at 6am and still have the same slow start before working between 8am-9am.

I will then work for a few hours in the morning before having a little coffee revival around 11am, maybe with an Italian biscuit or two. I find having something to look forward to, getting up and stretching my legs really helps keeps me focused until that time. If something is really not working for me and I am struggling with the focus I will go and spend time with Mia or go out into the garden before returning to it. 

Sometimes I do feel unproductive. Some days I wake up without focus after having a sleepless night and find it difficult to be creative or put pen to paper as they say. I have found the best way to ‘overcome’ this is to help it before it happens. A night of uninterrupted rest and a fresh, feel good start to each day is the way that I look after the future me and make sure I am set up ready to go in the best possible way. This is also important in what I eat too. I find the science behind gut health and mental health to be very interesting and can say that I have noticed it in my own life, day to day and looking back. In a very trivial sense of it I have always noticed that my stomach tightens and I can’t eat when watching any kind of tense film and in the most basic form of the topic eating healthy is incredibly important for me to be my best creative and productive self for that day and the next. 

I have more recently purchased Chloe Slade’s Vibe and Flow 90 Day Manifestation Journal which I am finding very helpful as I go to start each day by adding tasks to complete and productive aims for being the best version of myself. In the evening I can write how I have felt that day and what I can do to make tomorrow just as successful, if not more so and to do a little evaluation. Having always been interested in journaling I think I prefer having the key points in the 90 Day Manifestation Journal to assess rather than letting my mind wander and not knowing where to start. The journal has also helped me bring the focus back to what I am wanting to manifest, happiness at the end of the day and a good work-life balance. 

My work from home set up and Vibe and Flow 90 Day Manifestation Journal

Into the Weekend

By Friday I am ready for the weekend to start in the afternoon, who isn’t, right? When we get back to ‘normal’ after the current situation my husband will be back at work Monday- Friday which will mean we are likely going to be spending the weekends out walking in Derbyshire or heading out on the motorbike to find a coffee shop. 

Sundays are the time for me to recharge and I like to do this by chatting to family and friends which is great as we all tend to focus on work during the week days. A little self care can also go a long way on a Sunday and I enjoy time for a face mask, reading and a long walk outside. I have found that a little break to reset helps the focus within the week as well as boosting the creativity with change and doing something different. 

From writing this post I have even noticed that there are a couple of common themes. Being out in nature helps me to refocus and relax for a moment and that I do like, and feel most productive, by having a structure. Re-evaluating the day to day can sometimes reveal something that is hard to notice when you’re just getting on with it all of the time.

Do you have any work from home tips or a way that you’ve found you work better? Let me know here in the comments or over on Instagram @lorenjessica_ it would be great to chat!

Returning to my Favourite Beauty Brands

Beauty, LIFESTYLE

As you may see I don’t actually take about beauty that much on here. It isn’t because I don’t like or use it, because I do. I developed a love of beauty and skincare after a Media Makeup Course and from working in spas and have found many products that I have absolutely loved. It is more because I haven’t recently been using a product that I would ‘write home about’ as they say. In the last few years I have noticed that it takes longer for my skin to recover from a spot and longer for it to erase a spot scar. This means that I need products that can perform without wasting my money trying to find them and why I am returning to the brands I used to use and love when my skin was at its best.

I recently posted this photo on Instagram after using the Elemis Papaya Enzyme Peel. It wasn’t the first time I had used the product and I have been using it sparingly for a while not wanting to run out. I thought about this for a while and realised I am doing that classic thing of ‘saving things for best’. I have decided not to do this any longer and especially not with something as important and fragile as looking after my skin.

As well as skincare I also took a look at the makeup I was using and purchased a BareMinerals collection to get me restarted in a previous beauty routine. This routine was the one I used for around 8 years and in the run up to our wedding. Between a few products and a consistent regime I found what worked for my skin and what I am now returning to after 2-3 years away from it.

Let’s start with the reasons I moved away from this routine.

  1. I had gotten married. Every bride wants their skin to be perfect for their big day and I believe I had achieved this. I then simply used the products until they ran out which leads me onto…
  2. The cost. The products that I like and which work for me are not super cheap. They are what I deem to be mid-high price point when you think that you can actually pick up a product for £5-10 instead of the £25-30 for makeup that I have recently paid and £40+ for skincare. With house renovations then to pay for make-up and skincare had to be budgeted somewhat and the more costly products were the first to be a taken from the shopping list.
  3. Everything was great. My skin and hair were the healthiest that they had ever looked. And you know why? Because I was doing everything I should. Fun Fact: It only stays that way if you continue with it.

We had bought a home which needed a LOT of work and my priorities changed with that. I was still gifted products for birthdays and Christmas and like to treat myself every now and again but a bi-monthly to monthly purchase was not on the cards for a long time.

Which brings me up to the present. I feel that as I am reaching my 30th *sharp intake of breath I know* year I feel that I want and need to be correctly taking care of my skin once again and that I can no longer waste spend money on products that are not doing the job. Through house renovations I have found that although we are spending more money upfront on the times that we do the quality is better and we spend less in the long run on a job well done the first time. This also follows a quote I found and loved recently “Buy cheap, buy twice”. It epitomises what I am trying to put across here and I am finding it more relevant in the products I have been purchasing over the last couple of years.

As well as make up and skincare I am also talking about hair care. I have changed from cheaper dupes to Tres Emme and been using their shampoo and conditioner for two months now and can certainly see the difference in the appearance in my hair. As with my skincare I chose the Tres Emme for dry and damaged hair, hoping to repair years of dryness.

So, with this in mind I am now returning to my favourite, tried and tested beauty and skincare brands. I can not wait to return to that glow and flawless finish every time which in turn will save me time (mainly beauty; not spent trying to correct or blend a incorrect foundation shade, attempting to wipe too-obvious blusher off or having to reapply later in the day) and money (mainly skincare; spending on products that simply do not work as they say they should and then either wasting it or using it for the sake of it and still having to find another of the product).

Right now I am going to see what is online and what would make a great addition to my skincare routine. If you have found any products you can not be without let mew know about them. You can also find me on Instagram @lorenjessica_ to chat there too.