Back-to-school labels with Cricut Maker + Premium Vinyl

Here in New Zealand, our kids are heading back to school tomorrow after seven weeks of online schooling during Level 4 & 3 Lockdown. SEVEN WEEKS!

I’m happy for the boys as I know they have missed their friends, but, I’m a little bit (ok, a LOT!) nervous about the whole post-lockdown environment. We haven’t rushed back into pre-covid life at all, and there is much that we will leave back in March, as we are all about that slower, simpler life after so much time at home as a family.

As we prepped school uniforms, books and bags today, I was thinking about sanitiser and general hygiene at the boy’s schools and realised I had not labelled Nixon’s lunchbox or drink bottle at the beginning of the school year. 6-year-olds are going to need all the help they can get to keep safe and maintain appropriate social distancing, not just from each other but also from each other’s belongings. So, I sat down on Sunday afternoon and put my Cricut Maker to work.

I’m still quite a Cricut Newbie so kept this project simple as I didn’t want to spend hours labelling a lunchbox and drink bottle! I browsed the Cricut Design Space app first – beware of falling down the rabbit-hole guys, there are over 3000+ ready-to-make projects on the app so getting distracted by ALL the pretty craft ideas is a def. possibility! I could have used my own design software on the Mac and uploaded it to the app, but Design Space is super easy to learn so I just picked a font and a couple of images from the library and dove right in.

Materials

Step 1

Measure the application areas on the lunchbox and drink bottle so you can create your labels to the correct scale.

Step 2

Click New Project in the Cricut Design Space App, click on Canvas then Text. Type the text for the label, drag the handles on the text box to resize, click Image to search the Cricut library and add cute icons like the lightening bolt and skull I added to Nixie’s labels.

Step 3

Tap the green Cricut Make It icon to send your design to Maker. You will be guided to choose your material – vinyl for this project but you can use over 100 different materials when crafting with your Cricut Maker! Cut vinyl to size according to your design, position on the Light Grip Cutting Mat, load the Maker and hit the GO button!

Step 4

Cricut Maker Vinyl Labels

Once the vinyl has been cut it’s time to weed! Take your time, use a light touch and you should have no problems.

Cricut Maker Vinyl Labels

Step 5

Cut a piece of Vinyl Transfer Tape to the same size as your label. Peel the Transfer Tape liner and apply the tape adhesive side down onto your label. I then used the Scraper tool to adhere the tape to the vinyl. Peel the tape and vinyl away from the liner and apply to lunchbox or drink bottle. Before peeling the transfer tape off the vinyl label I used the Scraper tool again to ensure a good, bubble free application.

I’m so stoked with this wee Sunday afternoon project! The vinyl decals look so great, serve a very important purpose and were super easy, even for a Cricut novice like me! Link me to your vinyl Cricut creations in the comments below, I’d love to check them out.

Cricut Maker Vinyl Labels

Cricut sent me their amazing Maker Machine for review purposes and with full freedom to create my own projects. All opinions expressed are my own.

Book Club 2020: Adults, Emma Jane Unsworth

I’m not sure there could be a more perfect, ultimately modern-day novel than Adults.

I’ve worked in social media for well over a decade, and what Unsworth has done by bringing Instagram out of the closet and into the light as the ultimate narcissist starter-kit is both clever and, quite uncomfortable, if only because it’s so very familiar and recognisable.

It’s all here – I recognise and acknowledge Jenny’s mid-30’s angst and entitlement, the increasing volume of her biological clock, the association between self-worth and social media success – whatever that looks like?!

What I think resonated most was the complete fallacy between Jenny’s obsessive online presence and the shit-show that was going down IRL (in real life fyi lol). Fertility, break-ups, Mum issues, professional confidence ft job loss, that violent transition between ‘I’ve got nothing else to do so let’s get fucked up, and, I’m over 35 and get quite tired if I’m out after 10.30pm……’

God it was painful.

Not the book! I mean, that stage of life. Although to be perfectly honest I had 2 kids by 35, but, it was painful watching others navigate those hungover waters.

I Loved Adults. Fastest book I have read this year, I could disappear into it easily and with pleasure but it’s also one of those rare gems you can put down and come back to with ease. Which helps when your digital ADD kicks in and you are picking up your phone every 1.5 minutes! j/k.

Kinda.

Available now, published by HarperCollins Publishers New Zealand.

Book Club 2020: Shakti, Rajorshi Chakraborti

Shakti Novel by Rajorshi Chakraborti

Oh my lord, where to start with this one.

It took me ages to finish, and I really wanted to finish this book sooner rather than later.

Shakti, by the author’s own admission, is a weird book. Its rambling narrative covers merely days but stretches on for e v e r . And ever.

Here’s what I enjoyed about this book;

  • India! I wish more local flavour had been included in the storyline.
  • The modern, feminist heroine Jaya. Her internal monologues are humorous, insightful and provide (rare) historical context into her current situation.
  • The ending! The final, very dramatic introduction of even more characters (there are SO many in this novel which I think is one of its downfalls) is as black and white as it gets throughout the story. And it works. The book finishes well, albeit taking a long time to get there.
  • The politics. Again, I wish there had been a little more time spent on this aspect of Indian life, fleshing out the motives and means of those in charge would have added more depth to the mystical powers bestowed upon selected women.

I felt like I was lost the entire time I was reading Shakti. Not entirely unenjoyable but definitely confounding, fast-paced and I wasn’t sure if half of what I was reading was relevant as it seemed to disappear from the storyline as soon as I turned a page.

In short (from the publicist), if ‘psychic warfare, nefarious deities, right-wing regimes, internecine attacks and the vicissitudes of life in a hectic city’ are your jam, then give Shakti a whirl. Chakraborti is a great writer and I’m keen to read more from this Indian-born novelist who now lives in Wellington, New Zealand.

Published by Penguin Random House, February 2020

Purchase online now from Mighty Ape using my affiliate code > TAKE ME SHOPPING!

Book Club 2020: Grown Ups – Marian Keyes

I’d only read one other Marian Keyes novel before turning page 1 of Grown Ups, so in the interest of ‘research’ and ‘diligence’ lol, I headed over to her website www.mariankeyes.com. Turns out lady has written MANY books! Which makes me excited as I adored both her brand new novel (Grown Ups in New Zealand stores February 4th, 2020) and The Woman Who Stole My Life.

I was lucky enough to preview Grown Ups over the Christmas/New Year period and what a perfect novel to savour over those hazy, blurry weeks where you’re not too sure what day it is or if Scorched Almonds are considered a complete meal (surely they are?). Also, this book is l o n g. Over 600 pages long to be exact, which makes packing one book to take away so easy! Though, fair warning, it’s a hard one to put down.

Grown Ups is one of those rare reads which successfully combines slice-of-life scenarios with (many) delicious, funny, narcissistic characters. Keyes does this in a way that creates a super familiar narrative whilst still bringing that ‘train-wreck’ fascination that compels you to keep reading.

This is a very charismatic book about ‘those’ people that appear to have it all; money in spades, woke-up-like-this looks, the requisite tight-knit family, and then, what happens when you scratch a little below the surface and just can’t seem to stop the bleeding.

Fab, engrossing read that doesn’t stretch the brain too much.

Published by Penguin Random House 2019.

Book Club 2020: Kingdomtide – Rye Curtis

I’m just going to say it – Kingdomtide is easily the best book I’ve read in the past 12 months.

The synopsis on its own grabbed me on a purely superficial level; plane crash, sole elderly survivor, remote wilderness, female park ranger, a man wanted by the FBI thought to be in the area……..totally sounds like my kind of book.

That was before I fell in love with the one person who walked away from the crash – the incredible Cloris Waldrip. The resolute conviction of Cloris as a woman who knows her own mind, is steadfast in her decision making and seemingly indefatigable in the face of tragedy and hardship is inspiring. The dichotomy created by Curtis between Cloris and Ranger Lewis is stunning. Both female leads are entirely unapologetic about their actions in the past, and the decisions they make daily as they try to independantly, survive in the Montana mountains.

Full of quirky characters that endear you to the human condition and how totally messed up we all are, Kingdomtide is stunning. The minutiae of Cloris’ day to day struggle to make it out of the wilderness is facinating and perfectly contrasted with the ambivalence Ranger Lewis seems to have for anything except merlot.

This is a FIRST NOVEL and it’s insanely good. A book to read, share and then eagerly await whatever comes next from Rye Curtis.

Available in stores now from Whitcoulls, Mighty Ape and other good book sellers.

Your Best Period Ever – My 3 Must-Have Products

This post may have been around 27 years in the making but I’m pretty sure I’ve finally figured out how to make my monthly period as ‘minimally disruptive’ as possible. (That was actually a really hard sentence to construct as it doesn’t really work saying “make my monthly period as ‘awesome‘ as possible”, or “as ‘fab‘ as possible lol. So, minimally disruptive it is!

I’ve been more active this year than ever before in my adult life (thanks F45 Massey!), which has been amazing, however, maintaining attendance at HIIT classes during that time of the month when I have my period has presented some challenges. I have been exclusively using a menstrual cup for almost 2 years now and will never switch back to single-use products – the convenience, cost-saving and environmental benefits are simply too great to ignore, but I was having some probs. My first cup had become increasingly uncomfortable – especially when running – and was prone to leaking. I wasn’t prepared to give up on the cup after a year of tampon-freedom so I switched to another brand ……….. and lived happily ever after!

Say Hello to Hello Cup! Made in New Zealand with a much smoother, more ergonomic design than my previous cup, I’m officially a fangirl guys. If you haven’t made the switch to a cup yet, here are some reasons why I love them; you never get caught out without a tampon in your purse or pocket, no trash, more secure when exercising, fewer leaks, more cash in your hand every month! Yay!

Your best period ever

Ok, my next period revelation came two months ago when I was gifted 3 pairs of period underwear by Modibodi. Along with a menstrual cup, period undies were something I swore up and down I would never use – because ew. Sometimes, girlfriends, it’s best to just shut those thoughts down and jump all in and give something a go. Holy moly I’m glad I did because Modibodi have been life-changing for me! I used to have incredibly disturbed sleep during my period as I’d automatically wake multiple times each night to prevent leaks and staining and now I sleep like a baby – until Nixon wakes us up at way-too-early-o’clock but I’ll take what I can get lol. I also have zero reservations about gym workouts. F45 classes are so intense and with such a variety of movements, I’d still often have to do a runner to the bathroom even whilst wearing my cup because leak paranoia is REAL am I right? I LOVE the Modibodi Active Brief under my workout tights. They don’t budge a bit, are super comfy, barely visible and best of all, they give me the peace of mind to just focus on my workout without any compromise on intensity.

Modibodi Period Underwear review

I honestly can’t explain how liberating the combination of my Hello Cup and Modibodi Period underwear is. I don’t dread getting my period anymore. I don’t feel like I can’t go for a run or head to the gym because my flow is too heavy. Yes, these products are SO out of the box for those of us that grew up with only pads or tampons as an option but give them a try, you will NOT be disappointed when they literally change your life!

The third product that I’ve been using over the past two months is the icing on the cake – or the powder in my smoothie to be exact. Women’s Hormone Health Blend by The Wholesome Co is ahhhmazing. I’ve never experienced painful pms symptoms like cramping, but lord, for the past couple of years my ’emotional’ pms symptoms have been ramping up. In other words, 2 days before my period begins I’ve been horrible to live with – moody, emotional, cranky, quick to yell……..ugh.

So far, I’ve noticed two massive benefits of taking the Hormone Health Blend daily;

  1. The emotional roller-coaster around my cycle has slowed down and evened out, to the point where I was even surprised when I got my period last month as I hadn’t been a major bitch in the preceding days! What the?!
  2. The heavy, heavy flow I’ve always experienced on days 2/3 has lessened and, much like my moods (!) evened out. Again this makes working out SO much easier and I am eternally grateful for the change.
The Wholesome Co Hormone Health Blend

Guys, girls, whoever is reading this, I’ve said to a few peeps that 2019 has been a really, really great year for me. I’ve maintained my diet overhaul that happened in 2018, I started working out regularly at F45 (life-changing!) and in general, I feel like I’ve taken control of my life a bit more instead of being a passive passenger along for the ride. Discovering innovative products that are designed to revolutionise the way we as women experience our periods and improve that experience monthly (as well as being environmentally friendly and sustainable) has also been a life-changing experience. Hello Cup, Modibodi undies and addressing the havoc my hormones were playing each month by taking The Wholesome Co. products has removed much of the trepidation and negativity I’ve felt around what is one of the most uniquely female things about me – my monthly period.

The big lesson here? You will probably have your period every month for years AND YEARS AND YEARS. That’s a fact. Can you make it a better experience? The answer is probably yes and if so, then why not try?! It’s 2020 real soon, there is literally no need to be sacrificing comfort, completely normal day-to-day activity nor your hard-earned cash each month simply because you are a woman and you have your period.

Disclaimer: These three products were gifted for review. I have used each for over 2 months before writing this post and am sincere in my review. They are all the bomb!

Black Friday Bliss: One-Stop Shopping online at TheMarket

I first fell in love with the phenomena that is Black Friday when I spent six years living in the states.  Our eldest son was born on the Sunday before Thanksgiving and I was up-and-at-em 5 days later on Black Friday to hit the awesome sales that American retailers are well known for.

I can’t say I’m mad about the fact that this epic pre-Christmas shopping tradition has made its way down to New Zealand.  For me, it encourages planning ahead, shopping early and avoiding expensive panic buying as I run out of time (and inspiration!) in December.

This year navigating the myriad Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales in New Zealand is a lot easier with the arrival of TheMarket, an online destination which has successfully streamlined the kiwi shopping experience across a huge variety of departments.
This is a retail experience with a difference guys – think of your favourite department store, complete with collections from premium fashion brands, as well as a comprehensive toy store, garden centre, tech department and a health and beauty offering to make you swoon.  TheMarket is one of the most user-friendly websites I’ve ever shopped – thankfully (!) as it hosts over 1500 retailers – no-ones go time to peruse THAT many aisles in real time am I right?!

I’ve done a quick swoop of the early Black Friday deals available online at The Market and created a wishlist to (hopefully) keep me focused as I tick off my Christmas list.

Check out my gifting ideas for our family below and HELLO, I’ve got a discount code for you! 

Enter the code BEST20 to get $20 off your first order at TheMarket when you spend $99 or more!

T&Cs – Discount applied when code entered at checkout on TheMarket.com. Saving of $20 off everything with a minimum spend of $99. Excludes shipping costs (if relevant). Single use per customer. Expires midnight Monday 2nd Dec 2019.

This post was kindly sponsored by TheMarket.

Facing Facts – Change Hurts.

This post has been kicking around in my head for a while. Fuelled by my body getting used to it’s ‘new normal’ over the past few months, I’ve been thinking a lot about what change means in my life and how I’ve finally been able to change the channel and start to get some shit done. For me.

I’m not sure yet whether I can put this down to some epiphany that I may or may not have had around turning 40, I think the timing is coincidental, however, a lot of things definitely fell into place around the end of April this year;

  1. I turned 40
  2. Dave and I went Samoa – sans kids
  3. 6 months of successful keto and 10kg lost
  4. I joined F45

The decade that was my thirties, was tough. We were still adjusting to life in New Zealand, namely the incredible expense of living here, Dave was nearing the end of an apprenticeship, we had very little money, HUGE financial pressure, I endured a missed miscarried which really fucked with my head for a long time, my Dad, was diagnosed with stage 4 melanoma and passed away 9 months later, we purchased our house with my Mum and began 8 years of living as an extended family (which was bloody amazing and I highly recommend it), and we welcomed Nixon to the family – along with his basket of medical complications.

I was a very tired birthday girl when 40 rolled around lol.

When my maternity leave was up after having Nixon I made the choice NOT to go back to working outside the home. This was the first big change in my life. The blog work was becoming more and more steady so I took a gamble and decided to go all-in (compared to now when I feel like I’m pretty much all-out lol). This paid off for around 3 years. I was able to generate a good income, work with some amazing partners and reap the benefits of working at home and being around for the boys. But, there’s always some sacrifice and for me that was my health – both mental and physical. I worked babes and I worked hard. My bum was literally glued to my office chair for 4 years straight, not a pretty sight, and I’d say, living and breathing that insta-life 24-7 had a massively detrimental effect on my already precipitous mental health. All my priorities were jacked up and backwards and I was making zero good decisions. August last year was also when I ripped every tendon in my right ankle and sheared two muscles as a bonus. What exercise? What healthy lifestyle Melissa? Where did these 15 bonus kilos come from?????

August 2018, 79kg. 2 months before starting keto

And so, in October 2018, after hating my body throughout an entire perfect family holiday in the Sunshine Coast (header image), I researched the keto diet and made the second BIG change in my life.

This is when I began to realise that change is some serious shit. And that the kind of change I was looking for was going to require a little more effort than simply going through the motions. I’m not just talking the old ‘lose some weight, physical transformation, #fitspo change, I’m talking ANY serious life change that may creep into your head and fly a flag every now and then. It could be a career change, quitting drinking, personal development, seeking medical attention – whatevs, but, the common denominator is that to successfully implement change, you’re going to have to work, and cry and then work again and again. Over and over.

Oh yeah, and it’s going to be REALLY, REALLY HARD.

I’d been kidding myself for years about my fitness. I could smash out a respectable 5km when needed, I was doing a reasonable amount of walking and I nodded my hat to some healthy food habits – some. But I was also totally full of shit. I knew that running a couple of 5kms each week had zero potential to shift the weight I needed to lose. Yes, it was better than nothing, but for me, it was essentially anaerobic exercise, with zero fat-burning potential. I know enough to read my Fitbit stats and shake my fist at the sky, but I was totally unable/unwilling to slow down and stretch those runs out to at least a 10km to get some fat burning in. To this day I’ve only ever run 10km ONCE.

This was all moot anyway as between August-January 2019 I was unable to exercise at all because of my ankle injury.

However, I was having some diet wins. Hard fought wins ’cause keto is no walk in the park. Putting what you eat under a spotlight and recognising that your ‘healthy’ breakfast and lunch is completely undone by the amount you consume over the 3pm witching hour, your portion size at dinner (of both wine and food!) and then the chocolate bedtime treat you hide in your nightstand is confronting! This is when you feel the hurt and the difficulty of change. It’s literally as simple as what you put in your mouth, duh WE KNOW, but succeeding at a lifestyle change requires changing habits (hard), changing your attitude towards food (hard), learning and educating yourself around your WHY and also HOW to implement these changes (hard and time-consuming), changing the way you feel about and deal with food in social situations (publicly hard) and then staying the course – hardest.

I had the best summer last year. I am the least body-positive person in the world and honestly don’t know if I’ll ever be on that bandwagon, but, I’d been working on those keto changes and what I did have for the first time in YEARS, was control. I felt in control of my eating, in control of how I looked and how I felt, and in control of future Melissa – I was on track, I knew where I wanted to be and I had a plan in place. God that felt good! Control and change saw me swimming at the beach more than I had in probably the past 10 years combined! It was liberating and fun and the mental load of such a massive change in diet was beginning to lessen as new habits solidified.

I found an amazing acupuncturist who, after a couple of months of intense work healed my ankle, so after Dave and I returned from Samoa it was go-time. Time to get to work with F45. For me, this was the hardest change of all. Keto was a mind game that I was ready and open to – it also helps that I love the food so I don’t feel deprived. Exercise, however, especially group exercise is where it hurt. I have joined so many gyms……….and quit. Purchased home exercise equipment………….and never used it, joined boot camps……….never to return, I was not at all convinced in my ability to keep showing up.

And guys, F45 is F*cKing HARD. It hurts. This is a change that physically HURTS. For weeks. The realisation that my muscles were working and functional after such a long period of neglect was great and it reminded me every second of every day how much I needed to keep going. BUT IT HURT SO BAD. It hurt during class when I would feel like throwing up and that my lungs were going to explode, it hurt when my arms hated myself so much for introducing this burpee nonsense to my life, it hurt when I discovered there is something worse than a burpee – the half burpee. But, after 6 weeks I started to feel the mental shift in my attitude towards classes. I wasn’t sitting in my car until the very last minute, I wasn’t hating every second, I wasn’t wondering every day if I’d be able to make myself go back again the next day. New habits were forming and it felt good!

I’m four months deep in this F45 Massey madness and the results blow me away every day, but for me, the biggest success is that I keep showing up. I literally high-five myself every morning for just getting through that door. That’s how hard this has been for me, and I’m still proud as hell for just getting my ass there lol.

I guess what I’m rambling on about is this; if change is what you want, how hard are you prepared to work for it either mentally or physically? Because I know now, that for me if it’s not hard as hell and if it’s not hurting me in the form of mental discipline or sacrifice or muscle fatigue, then quite simply, nothing is going to change – the proof is in the static life I had been living for the past decade.

It sounds ridiculously hardcore (it’s not really!) but put it in context; I’m not training for an IronMan here, I was just an overweight housewife who had been kidding herself for years about the effort she had dedicated to positive change and self-improvement.

And then I decided to do something about it.

And it hurt!

Part 1: Making my mental health and wellbeing a priority

I was listening to a podcast about stress the other day whilst driving. As with other episodes I have listened to also published by the uber-empire that is Gwynnie Paltrow’s GOOP, I found myself waiting (wanting?) to hit that cringe-worthy moment, which would spell the end of GP in my ears for good. My own personal ‘vaginal steaming’ moment if you will.

But like all prior attempts to exorcise GOOP from my podcast subscriptions, it was not to be. The content is too good yo. The episode was a live discussion with author Emily Nagoski around the reason why women experience stress differently to men. There were so many takeaways for me from the podcast, but what spoke to me most, was the concept of our ‘Inner Madwomen’.

In a nutshell, Nagoski posits that there are three perceptions of self that any woman may experience simultaneously. The first is our ‘real’ self. In my case, the wife, mother, daughter, sister, chairwoman, friend, self-employed content creator who lives in Auckland, New Zealand, has two dogs and doesn’t eat carbs. This, ‘actual’ Melissa suffers from depression, anxiety is quite forgetful, needs more sleep, procrastinates, feels like she is constantly in the weeds and failing at a lot of things.

At the opposite end of the spectrum is the fictional ‘Melissa’. She is perfect. Super organised, creative, spontaneous, fit, flawless, gorgeous, inspiring, a wonderful mother and the most amazing wife. She gets everything done and does it well. She is beyond capable, reliable and never feels overwhelmed or panicked by obligation.

In between, sits my ‘Inner Madwoman’. “She is crazy because her job is impossible” says Nagoski. Reconciling our current state of self with the artificial, aspirational self is a fool’s errand. I, Melissa, am a mortal human woman and will never achieve the lofty heights of Instagram-Perfection, every moment curated and crafted with intent, mindfulness and great passion. Mates, I’m sliding into bed (usually unmade) each night after a glass or two of wine and a sink of ignored dishes, an inbox of ignored emails next to a husband who I’m sure would like to feel a little ‘less’ ignored then he currently does.

And this is where the Mad Woman goes to town. All of those tiny little daily failings become weapons with which to berate ourselves internally, over and over again as we never seem to get any closer to that aspirational, zen goddess in our heads which we’ve been telling ourselves for years that we must keep striving to be! Another appointment forgotten ” You are so pathetic Melissa, how many diaries and calendars do you have?”, another date cancelled with friends, “It’s a wonder you get invited anywhere, you’re no fun and no-one can rely on you”, another night of yelling at bedtime, “that child deserves a better mother than you”……….trust me, my Inner Madwoman has quite the repertoire, she’s been going hard for a long time.

The point of all of this (I think!) is how a little bit of recognition and enlightenment when it comes to these three selves, can go along way towards some BIG internal changes.

Silencing the Inner Madwoman is not the goal – listening to her, using her insight and thanking her is what I’ve started doing and the benefits are compounding.

Here’s one example of how a little change is having a positive impact for me, every day.

For almost 2 years, since my last major depressive episode (brought about by an external stressor which I never acknowledged), I have been really struggling in the mornings. A real, irrefutable difficulty in getting out of bed and starting the day is very common amongst those who suffer from depression. For me, it became a nasty cycle of blaming it on being too tired, so I’d sleep in, letting Dave get the boys up, make breakfast, pack lunches, bring me coffee and more often than not, take Nixon to school. Sounds inherently lazy right? Cool, add that one to the Madwomen’s list of things to feel guilty about! Does it make it easier to understand if I describe the feeling of staying in bed as a basic desire for the day NOT to begin rather than the feeling of luxuriating in bed simply because one can?

It’s impossible to describe what depression feels like in one blog post so you’re just going to have to trust me. My problems begin to snowball when the guilt kicks in. Inner Madwoman would kick things off by telling me what a piece of shit I was for not being able to get up at 6 am like Dave, WTF is so hard about making perfect bento boxes for Nixon’s lunch as the other IG mums do hmmmm? Dave is such a better parent then you are Melissa, no-one would even notice if you weren’t around so you might as well just stay in bed and sleep. Go on, you’re so tired…..

So how on earth did I turn this awful cycle of mental flagellation around?

Well, it’s totally a work in progress and babes, I won’t be saying sayonara to my prescription anytime soon, but, I think I can pinpoint a couple of things that have really helped improve my day-to-day mental wellbeing.

The first is listening to and acknowledging what that inner critic is trying to communicate instead of running from it – or sleeping from it as the case may be! Though her methods are irrational (remember her job is impossible), I have realised that this is how my subconscious communicates with me, via my worst enemy who lives in my head!

Resetting my morning routine had been weighing on my mind for a long time, and was as important to my mental health as it was to my family in general. Identifying and acknowledging this has been key. Over the past month, I have set my alarm for 6.15am, I have responded to the alarm (also key lol), I have decided to maximise and RECLAIM those 2 hours before the boys begin school in a way that sets me up for a great/better/more productive day ahead.

And, it’s working.

And, it’s helped me realise that a HUGE amount of the stress I feel (resulting in anxiety and depressive episodes) stems from time management and procrastination.

But this blog post is already way too long so let’s save discussing that for Part Two.

PS. Just remember, I’m talking about my own experiences here. I just need to get this shit out of my head and I’m making no claims that any of this may be useful or helpful to anyone else xx

PPS. Thanks to Lisa for telling me to get writing again x

Beauty Review: Dermapen 4 – My BEST skin ever

One month exactly until I hit the ‘magic’ milestone that is 40 years old, and I’m sliding in to that big birthday with skin that I’m in love with right now.

The past 12 months have definitely seen an increased investment in time, money and basically, just, attention to my skin.  I’ve simply stopped being so lazy, I’ve made washing my makeup off at night a more frequent occurrence than ‘never’, I’ve religiously applied sunscreen to my face every day and I’ve been open to experiencing a broader of skin treatments than lovely (but basic, let’s be honest) facials.

The fab team at Clinic 42 have been putting in the hard yards over the past 6 months, guiding me through a series of treatments and I’m seeing the results increase incrementally after each appointment.

To be clear, I’m talking skin treatments here, not injectables (you can read my opinion piece on Botox here).

We kicked things off with a series of three medical peels to exfoliate and brighten my complexion in a non-invasive way.  I saw amazing results using varying combinations/layering of acids, but be prewarned, this is a peel program in which your skin WILL peel.  This didn’t bother me too much and the skin turnover time was around 5 days, but, based on that, a medical peel may not be for everyone.

Next on the therapeutic menu, the most magical thing that’s ever happened to my skin – Dermapen 4. Launched in April 2018, the latest device from the market leader in microneedling is available as a treatment from Clinic 42 (read more here) and my face and I were next in line.

beauty-review-nz-dermapen-4-microneedling

What is Microneedling?

Microneedling, at its most basic level involves using a physical device to repeatedly puncture the skin via many tiny needles.  The goal/benefits are two-fold; the ‘micro-damage’ caused by the needles initiates a repair response from the body, resulting in increased production of collagen and elastin.  Secondly, the channels created by the needles deliver topicals deeper into the skin when applied after a microneedling treatment.

Sweet!  I’ll just buy a dermal-roller and get on with this at home, right?

Oh please NO.

Let’s think about this; needles going into anyone’s skin shouldn’t be re-used, ever ::::shudder:::: and secondly, a miniature rolling pin covered in needles is not exactly a precise instrument.  Needles in this instance enter the skin at an angle, which can cause tearing and increased (unnecessary) irritation.

A Dermapen 4 treatment on the other hand, is professionally administered, controlled, hygienic and precise.  The 16 tiny needles in a Dermapen 4 cartridge enter the skin vertically resulting in minimum trauma, pain and skin recovery.

Why I Love Dermapen 4

  • Treatment is FAST.  I’m in and out of Clinic 42 in 45 minutes.
  • Pain?  Barely.  There is some, but it’s mainly concentrated in specific areas.  I find my forehead the most tender, but, as you may have seen on Instagram, I’ve filmed the entire process holding my phone so it can’t be that bad!
  • Recovery is fast!  After 24hrs, I find all tenderness and redness has gone.
  • The results are too good to ignore.  Dermapen 4 is recommended for treatment of a myriad of skin concerns from fine lines to scarring, age spots, stretch marks, hyperpigmentation and more, the first thing I noticed was a reduction in the size of pores on my nose – something that had been increasingly bothering me for years.  Secondly, after one treatment an annoying, bright red burst capillary on the tip of my nose completely disappeared and finally, the resurfacing/retexturizing effect of Dermapen treatments is UNBELEIVABLE.  Seriously, wind-back-the-clock good.  I have never been happier with my skin than I am now as I stand on the grim precipice of 40 – JOKES, I’m pumped about my birthday, this next decade is going to be amazing I can feel it!

The confidence I feel is also due to the implicit trust I have in the team at Clinic 42.  Both Doctors and Nurses alike and incredibly knowledgeable, professional, warm and welcoming.  An appointment here is something I look forward to and my fab partnership with the clinic as I share my skin journey with you is an added bonus on top of the fantastic results I am seeing month by month.