January blues 1 me 0

Advice, health, self care

Last month was hard

So hard

I have never felt so low for so long, January blues 1, me 0.

I still functioned, still went to work, but my energetic levels were so low. I felt in the edge of tears all the time. I just want to be held and left alone at the same time. The sofa became my best friend again, offering me support and keeping me sedated.

I bored myself.

I can’t quite believe how low I felt. I let things slide, my house dissolved into a complete mess. I paid little attention to myself and I just didn’t care. Not finding the route of the problem was pissing me off.

I pissed myself off.

I think it was a combination of two things. I think I was suffering from S.A.D seasonal affective Disorder which means that the grey sky’s and lack of sunlight where making me unhappy but also my diet didn’t help. SAD is about a lack of melatonin that you normally.

I had an apple today and realised that unless there was fruit in my dessert I hadn’t had fresh fruit since November! The Pink Lady I had today was joyful and refreshing. I also ate too much take out and processed food. This isn’t good, it didn’t help my mental state.

What did I learn

That next year I am going eat better.

Give up Diet Coke except if I am on holiday or socialising.

Exercise more but also I won’t be so hard on myself.

S.A.D is a real thing and I am allowed to be blue.

I had a few really shit days. And that’s okay because I am getting through this. I got through it. Next year I will be better prepared!

Any tips for getting through the winter months will be greatly appreciated!

Art Materials What I am taking to Japan

Honeymoon, Planning, Travel

I am so excited to be visiting Japan in March. When me and Gav thought about our honeymoon, we knew that we didn’t want a beach holiday because as a far as I am concerned Seychelles has the best beaches in the world. So I would rather just go and see my family and friends then visit the Maldives or Jamaica. You are a bit spoiled when every few years you get to visit paradise and call it your home. So we didn’t want beach and we didn’t want just snow. Luckily with Japan we get to have everything we want. Beaches, lakes, snow, sushi, cherry blossoms.

Note pads that I need to turn into one journal

Japan offers everything

It really does, great food, antient cultures, a land that is devoid of religion but filled with spiritualism. A history rich in tradition and folklore. It has beaches and snow-capped mountains. So even though we are only going for 3 weeks we plan to fit in a lot of sightseeing. I also want to take this opportunity to draw.

So not only will I be visiting some amazing art shops in Japan but I will also take advantage of the great views and characters. My art supplies will be coming with me. They will be scaled down to an art journal which I will try to prepared and filled with notes and maps to help us navigate Japan.

What I am taking

I can’t take too much especially as I can buy some bit there but so far I will be taking a small watercolour block as well as my travel journal with my itinerary already in it.

So far it looking like my this

• Art journal

• Watercolour block

• 2 HB pencils

• Maped sharpener which I have about 5 of

• My Winsor and newton watercolour half pans ( rearranged into what colours I think I will use)

• Gouache white

• Tombows

• Fine-liners

• Water-brush

• 2 brushes

• Atomiser

I think that’s it. I can always buy more Tombows and Fine-liners in Japan as this is where they are made but I am excited to see what other watercolour pens they have available that I can’t buy over here. I work in an art shop so I don’t need masses. I also want to pick up some beautiful washi tapes which again, I know are expensive but this is my honey moon and art supplies make me happy.

This is all going in a small case so I can easily access everything and put my new purchases in here as well. So looking at the pictures I may have to edit them again! Just over a month to go and I am so excited. Hopefully I will be able to share some of my pictures and illustrations on here, but only if I think they are good enough.

I can’t wait to visit all the art shops as well. If you have any recommendations please let me know!

Minimal skincare packing for Japan

Beauty, Planning, skincare, Travel

I think you are going to be shocked by how little I am taking to Japan. It’s minimal. But not because I have changed my ways. I love skincare and I am still learning what my skin needs.

I just don’t need to take everything.

I am looking forward to buying and trying some Japanese skincare. I have watched a lot of YouTube. @gothamista strikes again and I have taken notes of all the skincare and a few makeup bits I should get. It will all go in my Japan travel journal which I am in the process of making.

Anyway back to skincare.

I am taking 5 products in total.

Cleanser

Toner

Moisturiser

SPF

Lip balm / everything cream

That’s it! It has to be I want to have room for all the bits I plan to buy and try when I am out there. I already know I can get most of them over here but it’s Japan and exciting, so I am allowed to go crazy.

Cleanser

So normally I would take my Elemis but I have been a bit blue this January and I haven’t eaten well nor have I exercised so my skin has suffered. To me I feel like Elemis is my luxury cleanser, yes I use it every night but I feel like it’s a treat for me where as my Omaravisca is still luxurious it just feels a bit lighter perfect for holiday. Easy to decanter.

Toner

I am actually going to decant this into my little atomiser. It’s the Elemis apricot toner and it’s nice and gentle on my skin. I have enough toners ( I think, so I don’t think I will be buying any more but we will see) we haven’t hit the shops yet!

Moisturiser

It’s back to Elemis again! I am taking a small amount of my day cream and I will use it for day and night. I will be buying moisturiser in Japan there are a few brands I would like to try DHC and Sheseido are at the top of my lists! Sometimes my skin likes rich creams sometimes it just likes an everyday moisturiser. Elemis doesn’t let me down but it’s nice to try new things.

SPF don’t leave the house without it

My La Roche Posay is coming with me everywhere, I will buy a body SPF if it calls for it. But I am going snowboarding and if it’s sunny or overcast my pale skin will need protection. This is a factor 30 which will be fine for my skin I will carry it with me and top up when needed.

Lip balm

Okay I am cheating here. It’s two products not one. This one is from my Lydia Elise Millen Cult Beauty Box. It’s the Lano everything cream. So I can use it for my eyes, moisturiser, hand cream. It’s only 85mls so I don’t even have to decant it! I will also have with me my lanolips lip balm which is the best lip balm ever. Again there is a few lip balms in Japan I would like to try, they have a lot of honey flavoured ones that will be finding there way into my handbag!

Minimalist skincare for me

So that’s it!

6 skincare products. I bought these little plastic containers from Primark for £1,50. Now I know plastic is bad for the environment but these will get reused again and a again. It’s all well and good skincare companies using glass bottles and jars but they are impossible to travel with. They way too much and you always worry they will smash! Foiled tubes are definitely the way forward as they can be recycled, don’t smash and are easy to transport.

I am being greener with my bamboo cotton buds which my husband bought! And my reusable cotton pads that I won in a competition I just need to buy some more!

I am going to write another post on what I plan to pick up in Japan and I can’t wait. Not long to go now.

Are you a minimal skincare packer?

Curating and Planning my Japanese wardrobe

Honeymoon, Organising, Planning, Travel, wardrobe

I am finding planning my Japanese wardrobe difficult. March means it may be cold and warm so I need to bear that in mind: we are also travelling a lot of the country so I needs to be minimum however it’s 3 weeks of clothes!!

Challenges

  • Weather changes
  • Snowboarding clothes
  • 3 weeks
  • Everything has to be comfortable
  • Limited space in the suitcases
  • We want room to bring things back!
  • Shoes need to be slip on or easy to remove

Most of this I already have but there are a few pieces I need to buy. I want my wardrobe to be mix and match

Weather Changes

We are going in March so the weather will cool and mild hopefully but as we are visiting the north and south we will be having all sorts of weather changes. Everything will need to be breathable and good for layering.

Snow boarding clothes

With the exception of my jacket which is pictured I didn’t put any of my kit in the picture. I am taking my goggles, knee pads and gloves as this is my basic amour. I will pack my new snowboarding snood as well because this doesn’t take up any room but it is tricky. I am still contemplating my trousers but I will have to see how small this all packs down. They will definitely deserve a packing cube of there own!

3 weeks

3 weeks is a good amount of time but at the moment I feel like I have a few too many pieces so I may have to edit this down even more. It’s about everything working together. We will be living out of our suitcases travelling the country. I have looked into laundry places and I think it will probably be a good idea to visit them at least once.

Comfort is king

I generally don’t wear uncomfortable clothes nothing is ever too tight but in Japan I need to make sure my clothes and especially shoes are super comfortable. We will be walking everywhere!

Gavin mentioned to me he will be buying new trainers ones that slip on so he can get out of them easier. This is smart thinking so I won’t be taking my knee high boots. My Chelsea boots and sandals will be fine although I will have to go bare foot when I wear them. I will have to have a pack of sockettes in my bag at all times.

I am also taking my gym gear. Incase I get up early and want to go for a run plus I can use them as a layer for snowboarding!

Chosen items

There is still a lot to consider but I have started washing and ironing my clothes and hanging them up on my rail to see if I need anything or better yet if I have anything I would rather take. I bought a pair of Marks and Spenser jeans and they fit so well I am going to buy another pair. My vests are a little bid grubby so I will be buying some basics and I think that’s me done!

I never wanted to spend a fortune on my wardrobe but a few nice pieces to spark it up. I will keep you informed if I buy anything else or add to it. Looking at this as a picture I know I can cut back and we have also looked at some of our hotels that have laundry service so we can invest in that and hand wash any items by taking some liquid detergent with us.

Over packing the key to sucesful packing.

Advice, Travel

Overpacking is definitely a pet peeve of mine. I hate it, it’s wasteful and unnecessary and generally it’s down to not organising my list properly.

This holiday to Les Deuce Alps I only over packed slightly but it still rankles me. I could have just packed one jumper instead of 3, I could have just worn it a few times instead of 3 different jumpers that I wore once.

Perfect packing list

They key to perfect packing is a list and also packing cubes. They really are. When I write my list I like to think in out fits. What goes with what. But also I love a packing cubes Gavin mocks me for them but I find them essential.

Making a list is easy, you just need to know what you are doing and if you are going out out! Because we were going snowboarding I knew that my main priority was layers and keeping warm. This is my ninth year in the slopes so believe me when I tell you that hotels, bars and restaurants all have the heating on. You will always be warm when you are out but it’s getting from a-b that you need to focus on.

Oh baby it’s cold outside

Layers, you need layers and you also need to think practically. A pair of gloves is essential on the mountain but also off. You need a pair to keep your hands warm but also to protect them if you slip on the ice or snow. Cutting up your hands on a slip or trip is not a great idea!

Hats and scarves! So they have proven that it not true that majority of your heat comes out of your head however if you are completely wrapped up except for your head then it’s going to cold so pack a hat any will do! Scarves aren’t a must but you can use them as an accessory and keep warm. Win win for everyone.

The coat

Me and Gav generally don’t take extra coats with us. We use our snowboarding coat for day and night and it was only a mistake this year when the weather was cold and wet. We only had one night of issues but it was enough to make us think that next year we may take a thin waterproof that we can layer up with a hoodie underneath.

Again you will need to coat to protect you if you slip but also because it’s bloody freezing! We had snow, rain and hail! We needed our warm coats.

Safety first people

I have already written a blog on safety stuff so I won’t repeat myself! If you don’t look after yourself then you are a danger to everyone else!

But beginners need:

Sunscreen: no matter the weather it’s an extra barrier for your skin

A helmet: you head is a watermelon you hit it hard you die or brain damage. Be smart and protect your skull.

Goggles: visibility is key safety for you and fellow mountain buddies. Sunglasses are no substitute, fallon our face and tell me what a great idea they were. You can get cheap goggles online so no excuses.

Knee pads: cushioning for the part of your body you will rely on the most when boarding. As an extra you can do back armour etc if you want!

Gloves: you can’t board or ski without gloves. You can’t, cotton or wool ones will freeze your hands even in warmer climates. Invest in these. They need to be snow proof waterproof you name it. Mine have armour built in so I don’t break my wrist again.

Insurance, don’t be a dunce. No matter how smart you are and how safe there are always idiots on the mountain. This holiday we witnessed a fair few helicopters lifting people to safety and a lot of them were small trips that resulted in breaks and sprains. Often caused by others on the mountain. I knew a guy who slipped broke his back but didn’t know anything was wrong until he went and complained of a twinge. Get insurance it’s cheap compared to a helicopter flight.

Summary

Be smart. When it comes to safety then layer up. Know your limits and obey the rules.

You don’t need to overpack you can think in layers but it’s cold. So you can layer up and reuse items again and again.

You need an outfit for every night especially as all the photos of you will be out in the snow with you hat gloves and coat on. No one is impressed with heels in the snow.

Be practical and you will be fine. Plus you are in France so you will have great food and booze to keep you happy. You don’t need to overpack you just need to pack smart.

Self reflection

Advice, Dreaming, Planning, self care, Travel

This winter I have been busy. So busy I have missed out on a lot. It will be worth it if I get my bonus this year but it has still taken me away from the things I love and the people I miss. When you work in retail Christmas is your busiest time there is no doubt about it but life goes on weather you are out socialising or at home working.

Next year we are planning Christmas in January. Presents meal you name it. We will still have a Christmas meal but a less hectic one.

I love Christmas and it truely is my favourite time of year it I am just too busy to enjoy it. The week of Christmas I will be in France snowboarding and relaxing so I don’t mind how hectic it gets right now.

My head is already rocking with what I want to achieve next year.

Last years goals

Miraculously my goals last year were all hit. I had to save for the wedding, make for the wedding and look after myself for the wedding.

I didn’t hit all my travel destinations but I did travel to Madrid, Bulgaria, Jersey, France and Yorkshire. This years travel is going to be really exciting with Japan and Italy on the cards!

My sister asked me what I would do if I could do anything. I said draw.

Draw and paint.

But actually put the effort in. Sit down and practice what I love. So I am setting myself a challenge. 12 pieces of art next year that I am brave enough and proud enough to sell. That’s only one a month but it will still be a challenge.

I still have to actually do it.

I have enough paints and pencils and even pads to get started but I can’t tell you the last time I sat down and created something I was proud of.

Treating myself

I have no issues spending money on food or events but when it comes to me I wimp out. Skincare and food I don’t mind spending money on, or holidays or meals out.

But me. I stop at me. I need a new back pack and I have been eyeing up a Fjallraven backpack but for some reason I haven’t bought it. I was hoping to get it for my birthday or Christmas but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen.

So I should just buy it for myself.

Why not, it’s not frivolous it’s essential and cheap backpacks don’t last.

I need one that fits my laptop and that won’t tire so I am doing my research and I want it in green or yellow.

I am also buying my first Mac. This will again be for my illustrations but I think it’s important to have a goal. This will be a an expensive bit of tech but to me it’s a necessity.

Getting the house sorted

I am a messy person and I need to get it sorted. My head and home are cluttered to the max and although I won’t be chucking out massive amounts of stuff somethings have to go. We are planning on buying a new kitchen and moving the bathroom. This is going to cost a lot so I need to start saving.

Read moreI love to read. It used to be every waking moment I would reach for my book and although I do have books on my phone I really do prefer to turn the pages so in the knew year I will write a list of books I plan on getting round to reading and a few I want to reread!

Organisation, self belief, travel and saving

I was to spend less on crap and invest more in me, my body, wardrobe, home and larder.

Less is more is my motto for next year

Things I have learned about myself

Advice, Personal Experience

I was never going to write this post. I didn’t really believe in looking back that far but then I got a notification. Facebook shared a post from over ten years ago. It was a brief message to the world sharing how much pain I was in.

Dana:

It flashed up and I allowed my self a small smile at the pain that you can only feel when someone you love stops loving you. It was such a long time ago but I had decided to share it so publicly.

I don’t remember writing it but I am sure I wrote it hoping that the one it was aimed at would also feel pain or regret or at least guilt. At the end of the day it was my choice to emigrate to the other side of the world. It was also my choice to return back to the UK. To London where I had lived as a student and rebuild my life. Because except for my friends I really had nothing in London.

No home, no job and no family. London can be a very lonely place.

I allowed myself self reflection and thought about how much I had grown and all the things that would not be as they are now if that question had never been asked. The outcome would have been the same but maybe it would have been another six months of a bad feeling. 6 months of knowing it was over but refusing to let it go without a fight.

I had to ask.

Because I already knew.

“You don’t love me any more do you?”

I wanted to take them back the minute I said them. I wanted to fill my mouth and cram them back in. Each painful word piling on top of the other.But it was too late and they were true.

It was over.

It didn’t end as quickly as that, it dragged out and it doesn’t need repeating. There was no hate just hurt. No mean words but lots of sadness and confusion.

After Thailand, Seychelles and France I flew home.

I returned to London with a few hundred pounds and overstuffed suitcases. Just two pieces of luggage .

That was my life.

There were trials and tribulations and Becky and Charlotte looked after me. Offering me a roof over my head, helping me find work and a place to live.

I sorted myself out, my life out. It took time and a lot of dark moments. There were also a lot of wonderful moments too. Lots of laughter and possibilities.

I found myself again.

And then I found Gavin.

I needed time to heal so I waited before I put myself out there for love and trust.

So what I have learned about myself is that I am stronger than I ever thought. That building yourself up takes time and effort.

I am happy and lucky.

But most of all social media remembers everything. So if you don’t want people to know then keep it to yourself or Facebook will haunt you forever.

D