Have you heard of Aquaphor? I had not done so but was delighted to receive a sample and see how it helped my family’s skin in these colder months. We all know that Winter brings its challenges including chapping, chafing and so on. I love my walks in the forest and am finding Aquaphor is keeping my skin in tip top condition despite the challenging conditions.
Skincare in my family
I take my skin for granted. I seem to have inherited good skin genes and rarely get even so much as a spot. I also feel as it is so rare that I put any make-up on that my skin benefits from the good old-fashioned benefits of fresh air. I did not get the common teenage acne. As menopause approaches, my skin can be a little dry from time to time but not enough for me to stress about it. Over the years through talking to female friends, I am aware of how lucky I am to be able to count on my skin and not have to spend a small fortune on products.
My husband has to think about his skin al the time because often it hurts. He has three forms of psoriasis. He had it when I met him and it fluctuates in severity. However, it is a rare day when he is pain free and he constantly feels the need to itch. It isn’t nice for him or us as a family but there is no cure and treatments have not had much impact. Often he will wake in the night due to the condition so is often operating on limited sleep with all that that entails.
My children are all now teenagers but have inherited my good skin. They have the odd spot but nothing major.
Aquaphor is a balm so you do not need huge amounts. I have used it to moisturise my skin and it feels good to be taking care of myself a little better than usual.
We are looking after two kittens at the moment too so scratches are inevitable. Once again, it was good to have Aquaphor to hand.
For us, we were really surprised when my husband tried it on his psoriasis. He has tried injections, light therapy and other treatments over a number of decades. He found Aquaphor gave him full relief from itching and pain for almost 24 hours. When I asked him what he thought, his answer was “I would like some more!” which I guess speaks volumes.
Eucerin Aquaphor Soothing Skin Balm gives dry to very dry, cracked and irritated skin the SOS care it needs
Formulated with only seven ingredients, Aquaphor is gentle enough to be used on highly irritated skin as well as on sensitive baby skin and also in the nappy area
Eucerin Aquaphor Soothing Skin Balm protects the skin by creating a breathable protective barrier, allowing oxygen and water vapor to circulate to and from the skin, allowing skin to ‘breathe’ and strengthen its natural barrier function
The Eucerin Aquaphor formula was first introduced in the US market in 1925 and has been a household staple ever since – long trusted for its effectiveness in repairing a wide range of skin SOS cases
It seems a no-brainer to invest in Aquaphor. I love how it is a multi-purpose product so if you skin is in trouble even chapped lips or cracked skin on feet, it is just what you need. For us, the relief my husband got from his psoriasis symptoms was a relief to the whole family too and just in time for Christmas.
My first highlight has just happened as I thought my laptop had finally died on me but I seem to have managed to give it the kiss of life. I hate it when technology goes wrong and am the sort that could quite happily throw whatever gadget is playing up through the window. Anyway, I am here to report the happier stuff in my life right now.
1. Birthday news
Despite all my cynicism, it appears my husband has planned some nice things for my birthday. Apparently there is a meal in my favourite place and I will be getting a special artwork too. Just a couple of weeks to go now to the big milestone birthday. Looks like I will be spending it in my new front room with many of my favourite characters too. That will be a great start to what I intend to be an amazing year where I treat myself loads.
2. Home education
I got very stressed about home education this week. This is not an uncommon event as I worry so much that I won’t help my children enough and will eventually screw up their lives totally. My 18 year old had a lovely conversation with me and we have a new plan for the New Year. I will set my independent-minded daughter tasks for the whole week and she will report in at the end of the week. This will mean I can focus on my son who prefers to work with me right next to him. School is still an option for him too if I am honest but I don’t need to decide today. I remind myself once again how beautiful, wise and sensitive my new man is. Also maths is going really well which was always one of my challenges – we set work and they do it happily. My husband seems to be finally getting involved too so I feel a little less alone with it all.
I have cooked with my daughter this week and she felt a real sense of achievement in cooking a meal that everyone enjoyed. We are also busy sorting out her clothes as she has some that are too small now that can go to the clothing bank. She keeps her room really nice these days and it is a lovely sanctuary for her when she needs quiet space of wants to listen to music, write or draw.
I have started a new system of doing a big shop on Monday. This means the fridge, cupboards and freezer are stocked up. It turns out way cheaper and means I always have food in to inspire meals made from scratch. I tell you, I will nail this wife and mum business by the time I reach the milestone birthday after the next one. Yes it will take 10 years or more for me to reach your dizzy heights of domestic amazing-ness!
5. Good weekend
We did our usual meal out with my son on Saturday lunchtime. It means a lot to him and as he is talking about leaving home, I must make the most of these precious memory-building times. On the Sunday, we went to a car boot sale.
6. Telly nights
With cold days, I am enjoying hibernating a bit with the log fire going and trash telly like “I’m a Celeb” – I hate the trials bit but like the group interaction part. I can always pick up a book to read a bit during the trials.
7. Putting myself first
I have had some unhappy moments this week as I am not sure what I want to do next in life. I feel I am not making as much of a difference in the world as I would like to do so. This makes me quite envious of some of my son’s plans to change the world. I used to be like that and miss making a contribution to society. Having said that, that gives impetus to research some options for the New Year. I am worrying about housework less. I do not have to do it all nor do I have to do it in moments when I don’t feel like it. That weirdly leads to me getting far more done and more efficiently too. I am having lovely walks with my son and dogs through the beautiful forest. I am reading more. I am reflecting on the blog too and where it goes next. Part of that will be going back to basics and what led me to blogging in the first place.
Property ownership is not just about living in a home. You may also want tips on increasing your property value so that you can sell it on at some point. Perhaps your house is already on the market and you are finding it difficult to sell. Did you know there are tangible ways of increasing your property value by putting some effort into landscaping? I was impressed with a report from Sloane and Sons telling you the best ways to go about it.
When a potential purchaser visits your home, it is great if they are impressed even before they get to the front door. It is a really good idea to tie in the period and style of your house with the outside space. Also ensure your outside space has interest and colour all year around because you cannot guarantee the date that your perfect buyer will arrange to call. If there is anything unsightly around such as a wheelie bin, work out ways to mask it from view.
Think about your ideal purchaser
Make it simple for the buyer so perhaps decking works well with a modern home whereas someone looking at an escape to the country may want roses around the door. Your estate agent is your friend as they will probably be far better than you at guessing what sort of individual or family are most likely to make you an offer. If in doubt research shows that a balance of grass, low-maintenance plants and a pleasant seating area appeals to many. Most purchasers will appreciate that there will not be loads of work to do when they move in but will also want the scope to stamp their personality on the outside space. It’s a balancing act.
Simple and effective landscaping tips
Sometimes things don’t have to cost a lot to make a big impression. Edging your lawn properly is one of them. Placing trellis to hide a bin or similar is another. These immediately promote the idea that your home is well cared for and kept clean and tidy. Having a shed means potential buyers can see storage possibilities or even an escape from other family members. A patio or decking area will have them dreaming of social events and barbecues. Lighting can be over-looked and yet makes a huge difference to the ambience of your outside space.
Consult the experts
If you are like me, you may not have a lot of gardening knowledge. The wonderful news it that people who love gardening also generally like to share their expertise. Talk to a green-fingered friend or family member. Call in at your local garden centre and ask for advice. If you really don’t have a clue and have let your garden go, consider hiring a landscape gardener.
Most of us agree which room is the heart of the home but how do your transform your kitchen on a budget? Most families spend a lot of time in the kitchen cooking, eating and chatting together. It is often also the place where children do their homework or carry out hobbies. Kitchens matter so they are worth investing in but equally you don’t want to get into a heap of debt to get your dream kitchen.
So many worktops are so dull. I find the better the worktop the more motivated I am to keep the kitchen sparkling clean which is of course a very good thing. I don’t like beige looking ones and I think granite is getting a bit samey now too. I need style combined with practicality. I like the sound of Compac composite worktops which are moisture and stain resistant. Even better they stand up against cracks, chips, scratches and extreme temperatures. So it seems they are ideal for a busy family home like mine. I thought colours might be limited but am happy to report there are so many to choose from and my current front-runner is Compac Orange.
Lighting adds so much to mood and I need bright spaces. Again don’t stick to the tried and tested. Check out interior design magazines or online stores for the latest kitchen trends and go bolder than you normally would. You have signature dishes from your kitchen so why not have statement lighting too? Think carefully about the different lighting needs you have in your kitchen. In some areas safety and seeing clearly may be a priority whereas in another it might be more about creating a romantic atmosphere.
Cabinets cost a lot of money so make the most of the ones you have by painting them in your favourite colour and adding funky handles. If you want to be really bold in your design, consider different colours for different cupboards. Do you have enough storage space or could you add more cabinets perhaps seeing if you can find some second-hand? Often there is space on the walls for more storage whether cabinets or shelving. Shelving is cool too as it means you can a personal touch with plants, quirky or retro items and artworks.
I can tell you from bitter experience that I don’t think curtains work well in kitchens. You create a mess in the kitchen one way or another so you may be cleaning your curtains every two seconds. Invest in a roman, roller or venetian blind. I love colour and again the choice of blind can help make your kitchen express your personal style. By the way, floors are also a great place to show off your own tastes fashion wise from tiling to colourful laminates. Perhaps you are more traditional and would like a wooden country feel or even flagstones. Be realistic especially if you have children and pets and ensure floors and other areas of the kitchen are as easy to clean as possible.
Sometimes it is the smaller things that make all the difference. Choose compact appliances for your worktops so you have space to work with. I have just done this and bought a tiny but perfectly formed coffee maker. Add colour wherever you can to brighten your day from cushions to seat covers, from table-clothes to tea towels. It won’t surprise you to know that I often find retro kitchenware as talking points for my home from the charity shop.
How do you have the perfect Christmas? That is what we are all asking ourselves at this time of year. The television tries to tell us how to do it in a certain way often with mixed messages even within the same programme. Your perfect Christmas might include dinner on Christmas Day in Cheshire or even a trip overseas. We are all different and today I am sharing my ideas on a perfect Christmas or at least a good enough one.
We plan so much food for Christmas and yet often forget all about breakfast in the rush to get to the piles of presents. You could just grab toast but on a special day it is nice to do something that little bit different. I highly recommend Spanish baked eggs or perhaps some special pastries. One thing is for sure if children are hungry, their behaviour is likely to be worse so do treat breakfast as a priority.
Get outdoors for a perfect Christmas
I have often made the mistake of staying in all day on 25 December. Over the years I have learned that every day is a better one if I get out to enjoy nature and to fuel my emotional wellbeing with Vitamin D. Take the dog and children out early in the day. If you think that might be a challenge, ensure some of the Christmas gifts are to be used outdoors whether a bike or swing ball. If older relatives fall asleep in the afternoon, this is also a fantastic time to take a stroll.
Make it easy on yourself
Too many women get so very stressed at this time of year. That leads to everyone having a great time except the very person who has probably put most effort into the whole deal. I admire my Mum so much who one year announced that would be the last time she did Christmas dinner. We were all shocked but we went out after that mixing with other happy families and eating a meal prepared for us at various restaurants. Whatever aspect of Christmas you struggle with most, ask yourself whether it really needs to happen at all. If you feel you do have to do it, work out just how you can make it easier on yourself. It is your Christmas too!
Do it your way
The perfect Christmas is the one that is done your way. As well as ensuring you don’t feel overwhelmed, you can incorporate things that make your day special. For me, that is ensuring we keep to simple traditions that remind me of my childhood. We open our gifts in age order from youngest to oldest. That means you get the enjoyment of your family members’ reactions as well as just a focus on your own presents. You don’t have to do Christmas the way that your neighbours, folks on social media or the television suggests you should.
Christmas Day is just 24 hours in one whole year. Have a good one if you can but if that is challenging for whatever reason, aim to have a peaceful one. Look after yourself so you can have energy for your loved ones. Be realistic about your budget for the day. That will save a whole heap of stress and mean you are not facing a mountain of debt come the New Year.