So apparently Monday 15th January is going to be the most depressing day of the year. Well you know what I say? Balls to that.
My mindset this January is completely different to previous Januarys. This might have a lot to do with the fact I’ve decided to ignore the “New Year New Diet” culture, but I also think it’s down to discovering five new things this month which are helping to make me happy (not just wine).
All of these items are low on cost but big on self-indulgence. I like to view them as “comfy mindfulness” tools which make me feel looked after in various different ways. So far they’re doing the trick in helping me forget about the fact it’s no longer Christmas, my bank account is emptier than usual and the festive leftovers have all been eaten (all triggers for Blue Monday meltdown, it seems).
Boots Botanics Organic Facial Oil
My skin always goes extra dry in the colder months, although – typically – it can also get greasy patches too. Fun. Anyway, I read a while back that facial oils are basically the nectar of the gods for your skin and although I’ve been a late adopter, I’m now firmly on board.
When my Elizabeth Arden Miracle Oil (read why it’s so good here) ran out I couldn’t afford to replace it before Christmas so I impulse-bought the organic facial oil in the Boots Botanics range (£11). It’s been brilliant and has completely sorted out my usually-dodgy winter patchy skin.
Oats and Honey Bath Soak
My lovely next door neighbour gave me a gorgeous home-made oats and honey bath soak for Christmas. As well as oats and honey it also has epsom salts and chamomile essential oil in and it smells AMAZING. It’s also magic tonic for dry skin and after a bath in the stuff I glide out of the tub all shimmering and soft (in my head I look like a glistening mythical queen although the reality is a bit lumpier, bumpier and less graceful). This is the best recipe I could find online if you want to recreate your own version.
When I first tried out a Spacemask I felt cross, mainly because I assumed I was the last one to the party and had only just discovered something everyone else had known about for ages. Turns out I wasn’t that late and they haven’t actually been around for that long, despite already having amassed a large celeb and beauty elite following.
They work by warming up when oxygen hits them, giving the eyes a warm hug, basically. The effect is to alleviate tension (particularly if your eyes, like mine, are sore from staring at a screen), encourage circulation and help you drift off into a beautiful state of relaxation. It’s the ideal thing if you’re a sleep deprived mum wanting to make the very most of the rare 15 minutes you might get to rest your eyes. Best of all, they don’t cost a million pounds, but an affordable £15 for 5 masks.
Whole Food Slow Cooked recipe book
This is the best recipe book I’ve ever owned. End of. I’ve raved about it to anyone who’ll listen, cook from it pretty much every weekend (especially if we have guests over), featured it on my Instagram Stories and in countless YouTube videos. I love it, in case you haven’t gathered that yet.
My sister bought me Whole Food Slow Cooked as a birthday present and the thing that really gives it the edge is the flexibility of the recipes – you can cook them all in a slow cooker, on the stove top or in a normal oven. And unlike most slow cooker recipe books it’s not completely dated or full of bland, watery, unappetising dishes. There are soups, braises, curries, puddings, classics – every type of recipe you’d want. It’s the ideal January accompaniment when the weather is cold and you need a pick-me-up in food form.
And finally, I’m probably the last person on the planet to download this app but it’s been brilliant so far this January so I’m including it here anyway. Offering bite-sized chunks of meditation and “mindfulness” practise for newbies, Headspace gives you easy to follow meditations each day. I’ve never done any proper meditation before, except for at the end of a Yoga class or when I was listening to Hypnobirthing CDs when I was pregnant with Effie. Part of me wants to write it off as a load of hippy nonsense but the rational, sensible part of me knows it works. I mean, I managed to birth a baby without any pain relief – even a paracetamol – and I’m a notorious wuss, so there must be something in it.
I find January can sometimes be an overwhelming month, especially when you’re surrounded by everyone else sharing resolutions, past year achievements, goals etc. And then there’s all the diet chat, the fact the weather is cold and miserable, the squeezed bank balance. Taking a few minutes each day to drown out the noise and just be has had an amazing effect so far this month.