Valentine’s Day Gift Guide: For the Gals

As well as my gift guide for the gents, I’ve pieced together some ideas for the ladies too.

This lip balm from Cult Beauty is super cute and would be a fab little gift for a girl this Valentine’s day. It comes in red too as well as pink.

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TONYMOLY lip balm, £7

Sticking with make-up, this versatile palette from Hourglass will be suitable for most skin tones and is probably something that us ladies wouldn’t buy for ourselves (at least I don’t think I would… definitely would make a nice present!).

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Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette, £56

I included an aftershave in my gent’s guide, so it seems right to have a scent for the girls too. I love my Jo Malone Cologne Intense cologne, so I’ve chosen a limited edition bottle from this brand.

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Incense & Decrat Cologne by Jo Malone, £120

My sister and Robin bought me a lovely blanket scarf for my Christmas, which I have pretty much worn every day since. So I’ve chosen one here as it was such a hit with me.

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Oversized scarf at asos, £65

If an experience is more your thing, then I suggest a voucher for afternoon tea at Blythswood Square Hotel; or even better a ticket for the Square Eyes Film Club which includes afternoon tea, a glass of prosecco and tea/coffee plus your favourite movie for £35 per person. The tiered stand that will arrive at your table is just so beautiful and looks too pretty to eat (but I did, and it was gorgeous!).

You’re also going to need a card… Hole in my Pocket are based in Glasgow!

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Prepare for the Knight of your Life by Hole in my Pocket, £3
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Timber, I’ve Fallen For You by Hole in my Pocket, £3
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I Can’t Bear To Be Without You by Hole in my Pocket, £3

As a scientist, I had to get a geeky one in my shortlist too…(from another Scottish maker).

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Periodically, I Think Of You card by AlchemyandThistle, £2.50

 

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Valentine’s Day Gift Guide: For the Guys

Gosh, well 2015 flew by so quickly and I can’t actually believe we’re now thinking of V-day presents! Are we really already at the end of Jan??

I have pulled together a simple gift guide for the gents… items that I think most men would appreciate and I’ve covered a range of budgets.

First up is aftershave. An obvious choice perhaps but this scent from GANT is bound to be a winner. The nautical fragrance is inspired by the freshness of the salty sea and the dark woody aroma of old ships… even the bottle fits the theme with the appearance of braided rope. I personally love masculine scents like leather, tobacco, cedar… whether that be in a perfume or candle perhaps; so this ticks all the right boxes for me.

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GANT fragrance, 100 mL £50

Another classic gift for a man is a watch, and I’ve chosen this one from Paulin… which just happens to be assembled right here in Glasgow. I love the colours on this particular timepiece; very stylish.

C201A/Chronograph by Paulin, £195

If you really want to go all out for your gent, then why not commission a made to measure bespoke suit from local menswear brand, ten30. Definitely one for the man that has everything.

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Made to Measure Bespoke tailoring from ten30

If your budget doesn’t stretch that far, grab a pair of Dick Winters boxer shorts… make sure your man is aware that he is one ‘Lucky Dick’. I just love the marketing for this underwear brand (again, made in Scotland)… so clever!

Dick Winters Boxer Shorts, £28

Lastly, if gifts aren’t your thing (too commercialised, etc etc)… then perhaps it’s a well thought card that will do the trick 😉

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You’ll Do Valentine’s Card by Darwin Designs, £2.40
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Pic N Mix card by Peas-In-A-Pod, £3.50
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Your Snoring card by Mardy Mabel, £2.99

New Shoes

I am a big fan of leopard print, and I had been searching for a replacement pair of leopard print boots after my previous Boden ones were well and truly done in.

However I’ve not had much luck. The Ted & Muffy pair that I bought, the shoe ended up coming away from the sole and I had to return them due to the hole that appeared.

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Subsequently I chose a pair from Boden which were black with some leopard print detail, but after wearing these for one day the strap broke and I had to return them.

I then ordered these Sorel boots from Travelling Bazaar, only to find they didn’t have them in my size anymore.

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Sorel Major Low Premium – Black/Fossil

The final pair of shoes that I absolutely love are also not in stock in my size… It would seem that I’m destined not to have leopard print boots!!

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Jak & Jil in Leopard/Black by Air & Grace

 

Hibernate

I had a conversation with my friend Jackie the other evening about hibernation, and we agreed that in January it’s normal to want to stay indoors and not do very much. Phew! I’m not the only one.

My Crohn’s has been playing up. The only positive of this is that my stomach is a little flatter after all the over indulgence at Christmas time! However as a result I’m exhausted. On the days the children are with their dad, I’m at work and then I come home to have a little dinner and then I head straight to bed (sometimes at 8pm!)… I watch a little Netflix on my phone or iPad and then I’m typically fast asleep at 9.30/10. Similarly, on the nights when I have the kids, they’re in bed for 7/7.30 and I too jump into bed at that time!!

I had thought that the HUMIRA I had started on before Christmas had given me immediate improvement to  my Crohn’s symptoms, but now I’m not so sure. I was vomiting during the night in between Christmas and New Year whilst at my dad & Jo’s (and no, I hadn’t been drinking!) and had the most horrendous day after. Thank goodness for hands on grandparents who are willing to participate fully with the kids. I most certainly wouldn’t have managed without them. I still find myself having to rush to the bathroom, and on occasion I’ve been feeling nauseous and bleugh. The nurse has told me it’s early days, and I’m seeing her again next month for another check-up.

On top of all of this I’ve been feeling lonely… I am happy in my own company, don’t get me wrong, but when the kids are with their dad for 5 nights on the trot every second week and it’s just me (and the cats!) I tend to wish I had someone around. I’m not used to being single. I was on my own for 9 months after I separated from my husband but the kids were so little then that life was very busy with night feeds, nursery runs and work. Also at that time I had the kids 6 nights a week, so I had very little time to myself. I then had two relationships with a small gap in between, with the most recent one ending in October last year.

It’s now month 4 of me being on my own, and I’ve decided that instead of moping, I’m going to get more active. I’m hoping this will also help my energy levels and perhaps drag me out of my hibernation.

So for the first time I’ve joined a private gym, and I’m loving it. As are the kids. This weekend the kids were with their dad and I made it to the gym each day. It’s good having something to focus on. Plus, I have a house to renovate too! Pre-planning was submitted last week and hopefully we’ll be in a position to submit the full planning application soon.

 

Skincare update: Cleansers

My skin has been a bit of a mess lately… I’m putting it down to hormones, stress and illness (although I don’t feel particularly stressed out thankfully, but I do have a lot on my plate).  I’ve got a few different cleansers that I’ve been using and I do make the effort to make sure that my skin is clean each night before I go to bed. I thought I’d do a quick round-up of what’s on my bathroom shelf…

Merumaya, Melting Cleansing Balm, £15.50

I really like the Merumaya cleansing balm – it’s got a lovely thick texture that feels great on the skin. It’s fantastic at melting away make-up, even smokey eyes and mascara, although I’ve found it to be a little stingy on occasions if I’m using it on my eyes. I’ve repurchased this a few times, and I think it’s great value for money.

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Merumaya Cleansing Balm

Algenist, Genius Ultimate Anti-Aging Melting Cleanser, £32 at Space NK

I decided to try another cleansing balm and picked this Algenist one from Space NK. It’s green in colour and has a similar consistency to the Merumaya balm; perhaps a little thinner. It’s not stingy around my eyes, but I don’t find it as effective as removing eye make-up and I always need to use a separate eye make-up remover afterwards to take away the final traces. For the price, I’m not sure I’ll be repurchasing this.

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Algenist melting cleanser

Origins, Clean Energy Gentle Cleansing Oil, £23.50

As the name suggests, this is an oil rather than a balm. It is effective and I really like this product. My only complaint would be the packaging as it’s a bit fiddly to get the lid off and on again when you’ve got the product in your hand. A pump bottle would make it easier to use.

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Origins cleansing oil

The Body Shop, Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter, £13

This cleansing butter is thicker in consistency to the products above. It feels luxurious and I think is good value for money. It’s gentle on the skin although it can make my eyes a little blurry after use for a short time. It’s never my first choice of cleanser, and to be honest I’m not sure why that is.

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The Body Shop cleansing butter

With my skin being a little spotty lately, I’ve been using an acid cleanser after a first cleanse with one of the products above. I’ve used up the Elizabeth Arden Pro Gentle Facial Cleanser but I’ve now got the Clarifying Foaming Cleanser which has lactic acid and salicylic acid. I also have a selection of Alpha-H Liquid Gold skincare products that I’m trying. I’m not getting immediate results, which I guess no product can promise, but hopefully after a few more weeks my skin will be back on track!

Elizabeth Arden Pro, Gentle Facial Cleanser, £26 at Ellen Conlin Hair

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Elizabeth Arden Pro cleanser

Alpha-H, Liquid Gold Skin Renewal Wash, £36.95 at Cult Beauty

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Alpha-H skin renewal wash

 

A crick in my neck

My good friend Ailsa once asked me how often I go to the dentist. Every 6 months, I replied. She then proceeded to ask how often I get my back checked. To which I responded, never. So you’ll have perfect teeth when you’re old, but you won’t be able to stand!? Ailsa was recommending regular trips to a chiropractor, which is something I’d never have considered myself.

I did end up going, and have been visiting Shawlands Chiropractic clinic for 6 years, admittedly on and off.

I think a lot of people are of the opinion that chiropractors are a bit airy fairy. However I’ve personally had some huge success stories.

My son was a difficult baby, and at nearly one year old he couldn’t sit unaided let alone crawl. He had tummy issues and the chiropractor said he was so tense across his back & shoulders as a result of it. After a few sessions he could sit, and then began crawling. The sudden improvements may not solely be due to the chiropractor’s adjustments but I do feel it played a huge part.

Before I gave birth to my daughter I was struggling to walk, and naively assumed it would fix itself upon delivery and that perhaps the baby was pressing against a nerve. Which it wasn’t. I was told I couldn’t see a physio for 6 weeks after the birth, whereas the chiropractor you can see straight away. After just one session, when littlest was 6 days old, I was able to walk normally. Just like that! I was amazed.

At the moment I’ve got a sore neck, probably from sleeping in a funny position, but the stress, long hours at my desk and just my lifestyle in general isn’t helping. Back to the chiropractor… this time I’ve had two sessions and have seen huge improvements. I’m still a bit stiff though so will have to go back again.

It’s very strange letting someone crack your neck… and perhaps a little nerve wracking. The noise is what is most bizarre, but it doesn’t hurt. Although I was getting a knot in my shoulder massaged out the other evening and it was a little painful admittedly.

I always walk out feeling a little taller though… (Maybe not a good thing given that I’m already 5’11”!).

Does anyone else swear by their chiropractor?

Birthday Wishes

This month sees me turn 34.

Aside from world peace and skinny thighs, I’ve put together my wish list…

Hoover

I had wanted a new Hoover for Christmas, as sad as that may be! I’ve been holding out for a good deal to come up & at the moment there is £100 off the Dyson V6 animal in the January sales.

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Dyson V6 Animal

Pyjamas

I was informed by my friend Carolyn the other day that Hush have a Tall size in their pyjamas. I’ve had a pair of Hush PJs on my wish list for some time now, first writing about them in Sept 2012 on my previous blog.

Now there is a deer print too, which would be absolutely perfect for me… but they’re sold out.

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Deer PJ Trouser

Candle

I’m a huge fan of candles, and I have loads of them dotted around my home. This Christmas I absolutely loved the Neom Perfect Peace candle, and so for my birthday I have another Neom candle on my list…the Jenny Packham Real Luxury Candle.

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Neom candle

Skincare

I was in Space NK at the weekend and spotted the Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Oil that I’ve heard about on various YouTube channels. At £85 I can’t really justify the purchase myself, but I’ll stick it on my wish list for now!

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Luna sleeping night oil

Kitchenware

This year I will be moving into my forever home, and so over the next few months I may start collecting a few bits and pieces for my new kitchen. I literally cannot wait to get into a bigger space where I can prepare meals and bake with the little ones with ease. It’s so difficult where I am as there is such limited counter space.

I love the brand Gray & Willow at House of Fraser, and this chopping board caught my eye. It would be ideal for serving up platters of meats and cheese for dinner parties.

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Marble and wood chopping board