Archives for posts with tag: relaxation

2018-08-02 20.12.10Last month, I came across a discount code for a new subscription box that seemed a perfect match for a bookworm like me, so I decided to try it out. The appropriately named Reading in Heels is kind of like a book club for women…except you don’t just receive a handpicked work of contemporary fiction (or non-fiction) each month, you will also be sent a few other treats…Though if you’re anything like me, you’re not going to need the extra encouragement to put your feet up and bury your nose between the covers of a book (channel your inner Belle from Beauty and the Beast)!

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The contents of the box generally include a small variety of luxe beauty and lifestyle products, along with a yummy delight or two. Although I got my first box at half price, it usually costs a mere tenner (plus P&P) per month. When you consider the price of new paperbacks these days (nevermind hardbacks), this is definitely a bargain!

While Reading in Heels isn’t a conventional book club with members that regularly meet up for literary discussions, it does have an online community where we can post reviews. It’s not looking terribly interactive at the moment, but I’m hoping it will later expand to include a forum of some sort, similar to Good Reads.

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In truth, I haven’t read a real book in years, having become more accustomed to my Kindle. There are pros and cons either way, so I don’t really want to get into a debate about it. However, I will freely admit that I love the feel and smell of books, and miss being able to turn actual pages. Plus, the covers always look so intriguing. Our house used to be so full of books we had to donate quite a fair few to charity, and reluctantly came to the agreement that for every book we bought, we had to make room for it by giving another away. That was almost a decade ago, and luckily for us, eBooks soon came into existence. Yay!

Still, not all books have a (legal) digital version, so every now and then, a printed edition will find its way into my hands, borrowed or purchased at a knock-down rate…or in this case, materialise in a mystery box of goodies!

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Most of the books I read are novels, but sometimes, I’ll make an exception and delve into the world of non-fiction if the subject matter interests me enough. Since the last biography that captivated me was about the relationship between Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots, I am hoping that Ma’am Darling, another saga of royal proportion, will prove equally fascinating.

The first few chapters are quite humorous, but I’ve not encountered anything earth-shaking as yet. So far, the real Princess Margaret is (unsurprisingly) not coming across quite as congenial and engaging as her dramatised counterpart in The Crown, a more sympathetic character by far, and with more redeeming qualities. By all accounts, bona fide Margaret (sorry to say) is a bit of a cow…Fingers crossed that will change as I read on!

Just a brief mention of the other items in the box before getting to the ones I like best…

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The pencil from Night Navy and notebook from Coconut Lane look pretty enough, but it’s difficult to get excited over stationery when I already have loads of similar stuff lying around my work and craft space. I did have a quick nosy round their respective sites, and noticed some products on there which would make great gifts (whether for yourself or someone else), so they’re worth bookmarking for special occasions.

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If you’re teetotal (like me), but love the taste of booze (unlike me), you will probably enjoy the real wine gums from Vinoos. Though I’m not particularly fussed, these do really taste like rosé. They contain 0% alcohol, so you can indulge without worrying about the morning after (or triggering an allergic reaction). My only suggestion would be to keep these gums refrigerated before consumption…unless you prefer your wine at room temperature of course!

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My favourite things from this box – Eye Gels from Patchology. I have hitherto been fortunate enough to escape the onset of wrinkles, but age will get us all in the end. When I look hard enough, there are signs of crepiness beginning to appear under my eyes. However, that’s nothing compared to the dark circles I’ve had to put up with for most of my life. These panda peepers must be genetic, since nothing will get rid of them…even the corners of my eyes look bruised.

Although these gels don’t provide a permanent fix, I am pretty impressed by the results. The area around my eyes did look brighter the next day; the skin softer and smoother. The gels are easy to use and you’ll experience a pleasant cooling sensation, but don’t make the mistake of placing them the wrong way round (with pointy bits down) as I initially did!

38481200_1691435620966014_3122567848417820672_nIf a period of cosy nights in seems a tempting prospect, or if you’re contemplating a netflix/social media detox, book a date with yourself and subscribe to Reading in Heels. It’s all you need for some quality “me time” – something I will certainly be looking forward to now on a monthly basis! The only trouble is…where’s the new bookshelf to go? 😀

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Here be my cat Magic! My adorable little furbaby…indulging in her favourite pastime as a kitty of leisure (aren’t they all?). I’ve always envied her ability to nod off at will, regardless of time or place. If only I could switch off so easily!

Years ago, I went through a bad patch of insomnia. I could have got a prescription for sleeping tablets, but preferred natural remedies. For a time, Kalms and Nytol worked like…well…magic. I no longer have the same problem I once did, but drifting off can sometimes still be a toss-and-turn affair. Playing ambient sounds from SleepBot or Relax Melodies do help, but I have recently been exploring a more novel approach that is pretty effective in putting me in a relaxed, almost meditative and trance-like, state.

Important: Don’t watch these videos without headphones on.

You may or may not have heard about ASMR, which stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. Some have described it as a phenomenon, but it’s not really a new discovery. Over the last decade (at the very least), a subculture has emerged from this sensation, and gained quite a following. According to Google, it is one of the top trends on YouTube. Safe to say it’s gradually moving into the mainstream, what with Ikea and Carphone Warehouse now producing ASMR adverts.

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I’m not going to go into too much detail about what ASMR is (because a quick Google will bring up loads of information), except to say it’s not for everyone. As a child, I often experienced these ‘tingles’ but up till now, could never put a name to it. Though not something I would ever bring up in conversation, I did always have a particular anticipation for haircuts that had nowt to do with vanity. However, everyone has different triggers; one person’s box-scratching might be another’s nails-on-a-blackboard. Some even seem immune to this sensory experience and have no idea what it’s all about, which must be frustrating when they come across unnecessarily long video tutorials with drawn-out repetitive movements!

They would hate my Tingles Playlist – a collection of videos guaranteed to induce a most-satisfactory auditory brain massage (for me anyway!). Some are, admittedly, not officially ASMR and would be better described as ‘accidental’. As I said…there is no one size (or sound!) fits all. Since my blog has of late been so preoccupied with subscription boxes and complimentary goodies, I thought I’d share my favourite unboxing video. I generally prefer the ones with no talking, but Emma Smith of WhispersRed seems so lovely, and has such a calm soothing voice that I don’t mind listening to it in the slightest.

If you have any videos of the ‘tingle’ variety to recommend, please feel free to share them in the comments. I’d love to add more to my playlist, and since recovering from a bout of ill health, I’ve been so stressed out trying to play catch-up that I’d welcome more ASMR time!