Summer Self-Lovin’


Summer is a great time for recharging, reminiscing and renewing yourself – the days are longer, the weather is (sometimes) better. You might even have a little holiday planned. But, it’s been a dismal old time here in the UK, and maybe your mental health is a little worse for wear.

If so, here are a few summer self-care suggestions:

  • What’s your flavour?: Try a new flavour of something – ice-cream, hummus or, if there’s still a chill in the air, maybe a rose and cardamom hot chocolate might be up your street… Variety is the spice and all that.
  • Check it out: Health checks – important business – if you’re worried about anything, whether it’s lumps and bumps or suspected gluten intolerance, don’t wait for it to wreak havoc! Get checked out and get treated.
  • Road trip!: Travel if you can, dream if you can’t. Making mood boards from holiday magazines might help a little…
  • Shrink to size: Get therapy. Identify what needs repair (if you don’t already know) and work on what you’re struggling with, NOT what someone else wants you to fix. An outsider’s take on situation offers perspective, too.
  • Funny side: Find something to make yourself laugh – it might be something you overhear, or a hideous selfie from a friend or someone else’s infectious laugh.
  • Magical Me: Channel your inner Gilderoy Lockhart and speak only good things about yourself. Although, try to make sure that they’re actually true… Write down every genuine compliment you get – treasure them.
  • Supreme clean: Establish good habits before winter comes and snatches you up into hibernation faster than you can say ‘White Walker’. A habit supposedly takes 30 days to take hold, so start now! I’m trying to kick my sugar dependency (trying being the operative word).
  • Take no prisoners: Self-love and self-care are, of course, totally personal. Stepping back from toxic relationships, or ones that are unsustainable in order to focus on yourself is better for everyone.
  • Go forth and multiply: If you have a craft, hone it. Write a novel, whip up a zine, work on a painting, whistle a tune… If you don’t think you have a craft yet, experiment with new ones to find your niche. Make/ write/ draw/ sing stuff. Do it now. You can, I promise.


Hope your summer lovin’ has you a blast.


Victory! Vintage hair-styling to dye for…


Photo credit to Jessie Clark (JRCPhotographic)

Hair and Make-Up by our kid, Jennifer (Curly Woo Hairdressing)


Recently, my babe of a hairdresser, Jennifer, who styled me for my Golden Girl post, did me up like a Vampire-Pin-Up-Badass! After she’d made me into a Jean GreyRogue hybrid, that is. I didn’t get super-powers, but I did get a sweet little cinammon swirl on top of my head which is all I’ve ever wanted in life, really. So I decided to write about hair, glorious hair…

No matter how good your outfit is, a kick-ass coif will kick up your whole look into transcendence. It is the ultimate accessory and it’s right there on your bonce. You can be anything you want, too – beekeeper, poodle… you name it.

I’m a novice at more complicated styles, like victory rolls, and tend to keep things simple with a Marilyn swoop and a pin curl or two. If I’m going for a more casual style, a pompadour or bandana makes life easier. For a quick fix: add hair flowers for instant hula goodness, you Tiki princess super-star!

My favourite way of styling is a wet set, because it feels much more authentic and holds well for a day or two. It gives as much volume as you could possibly want, too. It can take a hammering from the paddle brush until you get the curls just right. A setting spray or lotion makes for a strong hold, if your hair tends to lose curl easily. My issue is frizz-control – it’s a little unruly at the best of times! Serum and spray are the way forward for wayward curls, although I’m not a fan of the overly sleek vintage look, partly because its so much effort, partly because it doesn’t feel authentic to me. I take it easy for the every day. I save back-combing for special occasions…


Top tips for vintage dos:

  • Call in the experts: Find a hairdresser that specialises in vintage styling – it all starts with the cut!
  • Patience is a virtue: Getting used to doing a wet-set takes practice but you will get quicker at it, and re-setting the second day is a doddle, but at first it’s a right pain in the pompadour. Muscle memory, baby. If you’re using a heat tool for pin-curls, it’s important to let the curls set until they are completely cool so get the kettle on.
  • Tips and tricks: If you’re a beginner (like me!) or are starting to try more difficult styles, watch Cherry Dollface’s Do’s and Don’ts video.
  • Girls just want to have fun: Enjoy it! If you’re not used to teasing your hair or wearing it up, it feels weird at first. I did a bit of a suicide roll the other day and it felt HUGE! But it looked awesome!


Poems for strange times

The world can be a strange, scary and lonely place, sometimes. One of my solaces on Dog Days (for more, see these lists: 50 Things to do on Dog Days and 50 MORE Things to do on Dog Days), is to dip into a collection of poetry and try and find a new gem, or luxuriate in an old favourite, like ‘Sweetness‘ by Stephen Dunn or ‘Wild Geese‘ by Mary Oliver.


Here are 9 other poems for Dog Days:

  1. Oatmeal by Galway Kinnell: Contains one of my favourite lines ever – ‘I am aware it is not good to eat oatmeal alone.’ Taken from Emergency Kit (ed. Jo Shapcott and Matthew Sweeney)


2. Optimistic little poem by Hans Magnus Enzensberger: Let your faith in humanity be restored. Taken from Being Human (ed. Neil Astley)


3. To Sadness/II by Pablo Neruda: Bittersweet relationship with depression. Taken from Fully Empowered (trans. Alastair Reid)


4. These things I know by Kate Tempest: Full of sage advice and expletives. Perfection. Taken from Hold Your Own.


5. Repeat after me by Tony Walsh (Longfella): Mantras for life – one I revisit frequently. Taken from Sex&Love&Rock&Roll.


6. Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll: Get some nonsense down your neck! Taken from 100 Poems by 100 Poets (ed. Harold Pinter, Geoffrey Godbert and Anthony Astbury).


7. You’re by Sylvia Plath: Written for her children, this is Plath at her most uplifting. Taken from the astonishing Ariel collection.


8. You Get Proud by Practicing by Laura Hershey: The ultimate self-love poem. Taken from Fire In The Soul: 100 Poems For Human Rights (ed. Dinyar Godrej)


9. The New Regime by Wendy Cope: Refuse to be sensible all the time. Taken from Serious Concerns collection.


Feed your soul!

Life is Lush (and vice versa)

Anyone who knows me, knows my deep love of Lush Cosmetics. I am a lover of all things Lush. What’s not to love? Their products are all natural, cruelty free, fantastically fragrant and have witty names. What more could an ezcema-prone, allergic-to-everything, literary lovin’ lady want in her hygiene routine?  (Rhetorical question: the answer is nothing)

Here are 10 of my favourite Lush products and why I think they are the bee’s knees:

  • Skindrink: A rich moisturiser that is perfect for winter when your skin needs a bit of extra TLC. Great for really dry skin, but the scent is an acquire taste. If your skin is very sensitive/ allergic, try Celestial – a little lighter and good in summer.
  • Angels on bare skin: My cleanser of choice. Gentle but gives a little scrub to feel that deep clean. A little bit faffy to use at first, but you’ll soon be a pro paste-maker.
  • Soft coeur: This smells amazing, like honey and chocolate and everything beautiful. Although it’s primary use is as a massage bar, I also use it as perfume and I keep one in my underwear drawer, too. Winter aches and pains call for Wiccy Magic Muscles, with its cinnamon and peppermint cosy smell.
  • Vanilla puff: My favourite of the dusting powders that must have been discontinued (WHY?!). Also good is Silky underwear. As well as on my body, I like to sprinkle these  magic fairy dusts in my shoes to keep them smelling fresh and in my bed-sheets so I wake fresh as a vanilla pod.
  • Honey trap: Lip care at its most luxurious. Nourishing without being sticky, pretending not to be food but clearly smelling good enough to eat and contains chocolate. Winner on all counts.
  • VanillarySo good they named it unoriginal-ly. One of the Lush Gorilla perfumes. Karma is my other favourite, perhaps for a clandestine rendezvous. Vanillary is my everyday, never-leaves-my-side-kind-of-vibe. I like it in solid form.
  • Jackie OatesColour supplement for all over coverage. Sensitive skin friendly and lovely mixed to make a tinted moisturiser. Makes you feel as fresh as an English Rose.
  • Feeling youngerUse this as a highlighter/ primer/ eye-brightener. If you’re feeling a little bit 90s, maybe get a shimmer on your shimmy shoulders for a Big Night Out.
  • Creamy Candy: Bubblegum baths for all! Chuck a few crumbs in your washing, too, for a scent kick on a sad day.
  • Fantasy: Bright gold eyeliner to blow a few minds. It’s big and bold and it’s not going anywhere.


Not only are the products at Lush incredible, but the staff are always gorgeous, friendly, knowledgeable and passionate about finding the best product for you.

A few final tips and tricks:

  • Try me: Ask for samples and make sure you find your one.
  • Open-ended: Lots of Lush’s cosmetics are multi-purpose, so think about other ways you can use your new toy. Ultrabland is a good all-rounder to have – it serves as a make-up remover, cleanser, barrier to henna/ dye, general smoother of chapped skin.
  • What’s in this?: Don’t be squeamish about asking about ingredients – it might help you to identify any allergens or scents that don’t make you feel like a unicorn which, let’s be real, is the aim of the game. Plus, if one product really works for you, you and your Lushie guide will be able to find other products that will also make good things happen.


Happy hygiene routine!