When people reach retirement, the gifts that they’re given usually fall into a specific category; for men, it’s often a nice watch and a lot of retired women that I know get given vouchers for a nice shop. They’re both really lovely gifts and I’m sure anyone would be grateful to receive them, but it got me thinking about more unusual gifts that could be given to a person when they retire, as companies often spend hundreds of pounds on something that isn’t particularly personal. Here’s some of the ideas I came up with:Continue reading “Five Unusual Retirement Gifts”
Is it just me or has 2020 been one of the most stressful years of your whole life?! The constant worry, the changing rules, remembering masks and hand sanitiser, homeschooling the kids, working from home… The list of additional stressors seems endless. With this in mind, I’ve been trying to do some things recently to improve my self-care, and it’s definitely helping. Here are just a few of my new rituals:
Self-Care Skincare Routine
I’ve never had particularly problematic skin, aside from the odd bit of dryness and the occasional hormonal pimple, so I’ve never paid much attention to a skincare routine before. However, my Mum has AMAZING skin, especially for someone who will be 60 in a couple of years, and that’s because she’s always made sure she looks after it, and I am inspired to do the same.
I’ve started using a hot cloth cleanser with Vitamin C to wash my face, which helps to exfoliate and make my skin look a LOT brighter. I’ve also been using a peptide serum before I moisturise, which seems to make my skin feel super soft. I then use a gel moisturiser, which sits much better on my skin than something oil-based and doesn’t cause spots. I’ve got to say, my skin looks better than it ever has, just by adding a couple of new things to my daily routine
Managing moods with wearable technology
When you’re feeling stressed out and overwhelmed it can be really difficult to take control of your mood and focus on more positive things. I’ve found that using wearable technology like the Hapbee band helps me to take charge of how I’m feeling and reduce my stress levels.
With the band around your neck or your head, it sends magnetic signals to influence your moods. I can choose to feel positive with moods like Focus and Alert when I need to get things done during the day. And in the evening I can unwind by selecting Calm or Relax, which helps me to get a good night’s sleep and significantly reduces my stress levels. You can follow Hapbee on Facebook for more tips on dealing with stress and controlling your moods.
Yoga and Meditation
When I went on my mad exercise kick back in 2017, one of my favourite things to do was my weekly yoga class. Taking an hour to do something peaceful and relaxing, stretching my muscles and realigning my mind and body was amazing for me.
There would be a ten-minute meditation at the end of the class where we’d lay on the floor with our eyes closed and the teacher would coach us on proper breathing and clearing our minds, and I absolutely loved it. It was probably the closest thing to a tantric massage without being touched! Since lockdown happened, I’ve been doing yoga and meditation at home, and it’s really helped me to keep my mind and body healthy during this weirdness.
Finding a Hobby
Because of my health issues, our family has been isolating constantly since the beginning of March, which has meant that we’ve had a LOT more time on our hands. Obviously, I’m doing the usual working/cooking/cleaning/walking the dog, as well as homeschooling both kids, but that still leaves me with a few hours a day in which I actually have some time to myself.
I’ve taken up a few different hobbies to fill the time, and I actually feel quite fulfilled for the first time in years! As well as the baking and cooking that I’ve been doing a lot of, I’ve also taken up cross-stitch, which I absolutely love, and most recently I’ve started quilling! I’ll be sharing one of my latest creations here on the blog soon, and I’m quite proud of it.
Have you picked up any new hobbies lately? Have you been taking more time for self-care? Leave me a comment below, I’d love to hear from you.
I think I can speak for a lot of parents when I say that we’ve all had a moment of feeling a little bit like we’ve lost ourselves. Our days are spent working, looking after the kids, keeping the house tidy, and maybe occasionally socialising in the little time we have left – having a hobby didn’t seem like something I had time for.
When I was a kid, I had all sorts of hobbies and some of them felt like they helped to define who I was. Just lately, I’ve been trying to do more things for myself, now that the girls are older and don’t need constant attention, and as well as picking up some old hobbies again, I’ve also been trying some new ones. Here’s a look at what I’ve been up to:
If you follow me on social media, you might have got a peek of a few of the cross stitch projects I’ve completed lately. I’ve always enjoy sewing and crafts, but I’d never tried cross stitch before. Then Husband bought a kit for Sausage and I to try and I haven’t looked back! As well as being a great way to pass the time and stretch myself creatively, it’s SO gratifying to put that final stitch in a piece and enjoy the rewards of your hard work. I’ve even been making them for people’s birthdays! I think it’s probably my favourite hobby right now.
In our pre-kids days, Husband and I were members of a casino and used to love a night out amongst the slots and tables. We’d have a meal, play a few games of blackjack or roulette, check out some of the latest slot singapore has to offer, enjoy some cocktails and wander around, soaking up the ambiance. Sometimes you just can’t beat going to an actual casino, especially as some casinos have some of the most beautiful venues around. It’s been a fair while since we’ve been able to do that, but that hasn’t stopped me enjoying a little flutter online, especially when you can find some great deals like 25 free spins no deposit.
When I was younger, I loved playing computer games. I had a ZX Spectrum in the late eighties, a Nintendo Gameboy which I was GLUED to in the early 90’s, an N64 (Goldeneye is still one of the best games of all time, DON’T @ ME), followed by a PS1, PS2 and so on and so forth, but my gaming time dwindled as I got older and busier. And, while 200 percent bonuses on the aforementioned online casinos are fun, we also seriously appreciate playing a good computer game. Husband has a PS4 now, and he’s managed to get me into playing Red Dead Redemption, and I also recently got SIMS 4 on my laptop. Oh, and don’t even get me started on the remaster of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1&2 for the PS4. Pure nostalgia for Husband and I!
Another hobby I’ve discovered is soap making. It’s surprisingly easy to do if you use pre-mixed soap base (yeah, so I’m not a purist, but the thought of trying to use chemicals like lye when I’m a clumsy calamity is scary!) and I love finding combinations of essential oils which are theraputic for the mind and body. I’ve given soaps as gifts over the last few months too, and it’s all been very well received. I love making personalised gifts like this, based on what I know about the person I’m giving it to.
I’ve loved baking for as long as I can remember. When I was in Primary School, we had dedicated kitchens for the kids to use to bake in and the heady smell of sugar and margarine being creamed together before being baked with flour and eggs still takes me back to those days. Husband recently bought me a stand mixer as part of my birthday present, because I wanted something with a dough hook to take some of the stress out of kneading bread, but I’ve actually used it to make SO many different things! I think my proudest bake so far was the German plum cake I attempted in homage to Husband’s late grandmother – he said it was just as good as hers, which is HIGH praise indeed!
I have to admit, I spend more time looking at Rightmove than is really necesary for someone who has no intention of moving. I’ve always loved looking at other people’s houses and can often be found binge-watching episodes of Grand Designs or Location, Location, Location just to get my interiors fix! I love dreaming about what I’d do if space and money were no object and at the moment, a hobby room is at the top of my list. Read on for an insight into what I’d have in my ultimate hobby room:
A Sewing Station
I absolutely love to sew and make clothes but I often lack the space to do it, so a dedicated space with a dressmakers dummy and lots of fabric storage would be a great way to enable me to get sewing. Valentino’s Displays has an amazing range of clothes rails, mannequins, hangers and storage bins and I reckon I could get everything I needed for my sewing area on their site.
A Reading Nook
I’ve always been able to read just about anywhere, probably from years of reading on buses and trains, but these days I do require a little bit of quiet to enable me to get lost in a book. A comfy armchair in the corner of the room with a little table for a lamp and my latte is definitely a bit part of my fantasy room.
A Writing Area
Writing is both a hobby and my profession and although I tend to work on a laptop literally on my lap, Burrito Baby is off to nursery in September which means I don’t have to only work in the room she’s in! A proper working area where my laptop could sit and I could use a decent ergonomic chair would not only be a novelty, but it would probably also be a lot better for my back!
A Proper Coffee Machine
These days, my vices are well and truly confined to the virtuous, never more so than now, given the fact that I even eat clean and don’t drink alcohol (well…hardly ever!). However, one thing that I absolutely refuse to give up is decent coffee! I tend to use my Waitrose card to get a free cup every day and I think I’d be considerably poorer if I didn’t get my coffee fix from there! Having a coffee machine in my hobby room with a proper milk steamer would be the ultimate indulgence for me.
A Yoga Corner
Since I started going to yoga classes at my gym a few months ago, I’ve found a really deep love of it. It’s one of my favourite hours of my whole week and I look forward to it every Saturday. I’d love to be able to do it more often but we really don’t have much space at home for yoga because our house is pretty cluttered. A dedicated space to find my zen and get my stretch on would be a dream!
What would you have in your dream hobby room?
Buying gifts can be tricky enough, but when you’re looking for a couple, it can be particularly challenging. You’ve got two people to please, and you probably want to avoid the cliches. Are you shopping for weddings, anniversaries or even tackling your Christmas list early? If so, here are some gorgeous gift ideas to consider.
Some couples send a wedding list or a polite request for donations towards a honeymoon. In this case, you should find shopping relatively straightforward. If there is no list, or you’re eager to buy something more sentimental or exciting than China plates or towels, there are other options. One idea is to buy vouchers. Vouchers may not seem all that original. But they give you a chance to spend money on things you want, rather than those that you need. You don’t have to choose a department or home store. You could buy vouchers for a restaurant, for example, and treat them to a slap-up meal. Home decorations always go down well. You can make your gift stand out by adding a personal touch. You could order a personalised cushion or print with the couple’s names and their wedding date, for example. Or you could indulge a passion for food with personalised mugs, glasses or a cheese board. If your friends are art lovers, a framed print is a thoughtful and unique idea. Likewise, if they love to travel, a scratch map is a great idea for brightening up dull walls and bringing back memories.
Many couples complain that they don’t spend enough time together. If you’re shopping for an anniversary gift for somebody special, why not treat them to an experience or a night away? You could book a spa weekend, afternoon tea or even an animal encounter or a track day. There are all kinds of options available for couples with varied interests and hobbies. Alternatively, trees and bushes make for unique anniversary gifts. If you know a green-fingered couple, this is a present that will keep on giving for years to come.
Christmas is a time for giving, and there are some fantastic options out there for couples. If you’re keen to think outside the box, swerve candles, vases, and matching bathrobes. Instead, put some thought into designing a bespoke hamper with all their favourite foods and drinks. Or go one step further, and organise a series of dates for them. Stuff some miniature envelopes with cash and a printed note outlining what they’re doing. You don’t have to spend a lot. You can treat the to a takeaway or a movie night at home. Print out a cinema voucher, or plan a trip to the zoo, a meal out, or a day at the beach.
Image taken from https://www.flickr.com/photos/whiper/22345074622
Shopping for couples can be tricky. But if you put some thought into it, you can come up with incredible unique ideas. The perennial crowd-pleasers are fantastic, but it’s always good to be original. Tailor your ideas to suit the couple’s interests, and don’t be afraid to go for something a little different.