I don’t know about you, but even with the recent easing of restrictions this third lockdown seems never-ending.
I’m very much a cup-is-half-full gal, but I am really struggling to keep my positive air about me this third and hopefully (fingers and toes crossed) final lockdown.
Getting through lockdown
On the up side, I have painted, cleared out and scrubbed my house from top to toe. I would never have done this so thoroughly pre-pandemic as I would be too busy working and travelling as a freelance make-up artist.
All my work has stopped, so I have had bounteous amounts of time on my hands. The house has never been cobweb-free in 15 years, nor have we had a sparkling oven or windows, so some good has come from these lockdowns.
Spending quality time with my three darling teens as they are homeschooling has certainly been both challenging and magical. Then there’s my ever-steady farmer husband Frank, who I don’t think has even noticed that I’ve painted the entire upstairs landing a rather loud moss green and have made the playroom into a dining room!
Another upside of lockdown is that I’ve had the time to spend on myself, which is rare. I’m walking every day, have lost 6lbs and have taken up online pilates, which has definitely helped me tone up my sagging 50+ body. I’ve also had the time to have long baths with a face mask, rather than the five-minute dash shower of the past.
I’m drinking my eight-plus glasses of water daily and starting my day with hot water and a slice of lemon to cleanse my system; all things I never had time for before COVID came along. I’m even drinking fennel tea in the evenings and have found that it is helping balance my menopausal hormones and has improved my digestion.
If you’re someone who suffers with flatulence then this tea will really help with that. Do leave the tea bag in boiling water for a good 10 minutes before taking it out to allow the fennel to infuse fully.
My hair roots are looking atrocious but I’m not really bothered about that as I’m not going anywhere and I’ve got a great hat collection to cover up my bad hair days. I did use a home dye kit – bright pink – for the first two lockdowns, but decided to let my highlights grow out this time and give my locks a break from the harsh peroxides they are so used to.
My hair is definitely in much better condition after using the Redken Strength Builder Hair Mask Treatment (€24) weekly. Along with the lack of dye, it is really helping my fine hair to thicken up.
Hair treatments need to stay in the hair for a good 30 minutes after you shampoo for the treatment to really take effect on the hair follicles and roots. Allowing your hair to dry naturally and stepping away from the damaging heat of dryers and straighteners really does help rejuvenate your hair’s quality.
To nourish my dry skin, my quick homemade face mask has been working a treat. Simply mash together a large ripe avocado, two good tablespoons of natural yoghurt, one tablespoon of olive oil and two tablespoons of honey. Leave on clean, dry skin for a good 20 to 30 minutes (I always do my face mask in the bath) and once the mask is washed off, pat the skin dry before applying your moisturiser. Your complexion will look nourished and replenished.
If you suffer from dry feet, why not give my easy homemade foot scrub recipe a go? All you need is two large cups of soft brown sugar, half a cup of olive oil and the juice of a whole lemon.
Mix up into a paste-like consistency. First wash and dry your feet in warm water with soap. Take off any old nail polish and file your nails to the same length. Then put a big blob of the mask on one foot at a time.
Spend at least 10 minutes gently rubbing the scrub into your feet. Wash off with warm water. Dry your feet, especially between the toes, and lather E45 cream (a tube from Boots or any good chemist is €4.95) all over the feet and ankles, then pop on a pair of cotton socks to allow the E45 to work into the skin. I do this treatment at night, so by morning my feet are moisturised and feel lovely.
Tips to stay organised
I have started since the very beginning of lockdown to put together (and keep in a small clear makeup bag next to my bed) a selection of useful beauty products to help me relax and sleep well. These are a small tube of hand cream; eye cream; face cream; two nail files; Neom Perfect Sleep Pillow Mist (€22.95); Rescue Remedy Night (€10) to calm me; and Elizabeth Arden’s eight-hour cream (€25.95), which is ideal for dry elbows, knees and cuticles, flaky lips and to shape your eyebrows into place as you sleep. Just a light dollop of this cream goes a long way.
A couple of evening primrose capsules are also great. If you have any spots, just dab the oil from these capsules directly on the spot and the redness and inflammation will be mostly gone by the morning. The oil is also marvellous if your nails are dry. On occasions that I really can not sleep, I have a few of the herbal Nytols Sleep Aid pills. These help you get a good night sleep and you don’t feel groggy in the morning.
Self-care is always important, but particularly during this pandemic. Simply take some time to be kind to yourself. Keep drinking plenty of water, exercise daily and get to bed before midnight. It’s the little things that make a big difference.