‘Treat yourself with kids gloves on’


My take on dealing with anxiety …. especially during times of uncertainty such as today.

A morning cuppa is my go to as it signals the start of the day. I usually have this in bed while catching up on the news on my phone or having a quick flick through social media (my bad I know !) However, I don’t want these little pink pills to become part of my norm. But I’ve noticed recently they have been creeping in to my morning routine to help with feelings of overwhelm, irritability and panic – all signs associated with anxiety.  Recent events have definitely added to this this week but I’d say my anxiety levels have been creeping up for a few weeks now and this correlates with me coming off my antidepressants (20mg citalopram) that I’d been on for around 7 years. I had my first therapy session yesterday which really helped me look at these feelings differently – the medication helped me immensely when I needed it but with that, for me, came an overall feeling of flatness. I didn’t really know this at the time but there weren’t many highs or lows really, just an overall feeling of being a bit numb to things. But now I’m off the antidepressants I experience the highs and feelings that I haven’t felt in years, but along with that comes the lows. So to give you an example…. I’ve never really felt irritated by my kids before. Crazy, right? Considering Fin is now 9 and Rowan 5. When I told some of my close Mum friends this recently they looked at me like I had two heads! And this didn’t make me proud or feel like some sort of super mum, it actually made me feel pretty sad. Sad that I’ve not really experienced this feeling because on the flipside of this comes with it lots of love and happiness which has inevitably been lacking too. And the old phrase is right – you’ve got to take the highs with the lows. So all of these recent feelings are new to me and massively intensified. I mean, how irritating is it to ask your kids to get dressed five times every morning and don’t even get me started on the noise. I cannot believe this is a new thing to me. WTF?! So whilst I’m learning to deal with these emotions, my therapist says I need to treat myself with kids gloves on. So be kind to myself and work out ways to deal with this added anxiety. Yes I sometimes need the help of my little pink pill but there are definitely other ways I can deal with this and you can to.

Many people’s emotions are intensified with the current situation in the world so it’s no wonder people have been reaching out to me lately for advice and support as well as to offer a helping  hand. My anxiety levels are pretty high. That lump stuck in my throat is not letting me forget it either. It might come as a knot in your stomach or just a general feeling of unease but believe me when I say you won’t be the only one during this time. So what can we do to help ourselves and others? Here are a few things that I’ve found useful but I sure as hell don’t always get it right so give the ones a try you feel might align with you best …..

  1. Breathe. Sounds obvious but I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had to take myself off and practice mindful breathing. Breathe in deep through your nose and slowly out through your mouth. This helps bring back your inner calm but does take practice, especially in the heat of the moment!
  2. Take one day at a time. I do this always as by looking too far ahead can cause me to feel overwhelmed. Or, try writing a weekly plan to break down tasks and activities that you can tick off along the way. Who doesn’t immediately feel more calm and in control working through a tick list?!
  3. Talk to people and tell them how you are feeling. I’ve started to tell my kids when I’m feeling frustrated when they are not listening to me. More often than not they’ll take notice but I can’t promise this one is going to be 100% effective!!
  4. Sleep. This is my absolute favourite medicine. Not been the easiest recently with everything that’s going on but try to rest at least or grab a 20 minute power nap in the day if you can.
  5. Acknowledge how you are feeling and think about why you are feeling this way. Often when you do this and break down your feelings they don’t seem as bad as you once thought.
  6. Get out of the house. Even if its just for a little walk. I used to hate it when people used to say to me ‘the fresh air will do you good’ when the last thing I wanted to do was leave the comfort of my own home. But my stubborn self hates to say it – it really does help. And if you can bring yourself to whack on a red lippy too then I cant tell you how much better you’ll feel (and it hides the under eye bags/unwashed hair). This I am an expert at!

Much Love,

Lisa x

Make up tips for mature skin

mature make up radio
I was recently on the radio doing a segment on make up tips for mature skin and the first question I’m always asked when talking about this ….. at what age do you class skin as mature? I know the age recommended to start an anti-ageing skincare regime is around 25 but I never put an age on when skin is mature. Why? Because you can be 60 years old with a skin age of around 40 as you’ve always had a skincare regime or you’ve worn an SPF or kept your face out of the sun. Equally you can be a 40 year old with a more mature aged skin as its not been so well looked after. So baring this all in mind, I think about the elasticity of the skin or if there is any sun damage or wrinkles when I talk about tips for maturer skin. This leads me straight to the number one rule for all ages – always wear an SPF. Not just in the Summer but all year round to help avoid new wrinkles and sun spots. Sun exposure is the number one cause of ageing and damaged skin.

Most of us do look healthier with a bit of base product on our skin but without being too overly made up. My favourite base product for a light and smooth finish is currently ‘Soft Focus Veil’ by Arbonne. It gives the skin a glow and softens the look of the face perfectly. It’s also vegan certified and botanically based so I know when I wear this it is actually doing my skin good and I’m not putting any harmful chemicals or ingredients on to it. It acts as a primer but has a small amount of coverage too so it’s a really good product with many benefits.





Soft veil focus to give the skin a smooth and silky finish

If you want a bit more coverage but find that a heavier product can sit in your wrinkles then I’d recommend looking for products containing retinol and antioxidants which have smoothing and collagen boosting properties. Check for hyaluronic acid too as this can help plump the skin. My top tip and something I always use are foundations that are ‘light reflecting’ or ‘illuminating.’ Don’t be scared to ask assistants for a small sample to try before you buy as its important to see how the product sits on the skin after a bit of wear as ideally we want it to be light but with good coverage and not something that sits in our lines or wrinkles which can actually accentuate them. I’ve recently started adding a couple of drops of Barry M liquid chrome highlighter drops to my base product to give that extra glow and dewy look; perfect for a fresh Spring/Summer look.

Add a couple of drops of this to your base product for a healthy and natural glow

When applying your base product, it’s always best to do this with a brush or sponge to make sure everything is smoothed and evened out. Rather than trying to cover wrinkles with product, make sure it is evenly distributed. Even if that means stretching the skin out a bit to ensure its going into the fine lines rather than sitting on top! Also if you suffer with dark circles under the eyes or just want to brighten this area a bit, use a moisturising concealer and apply in an upside down V shape under the eye. This gives the face an instant pick me up. Don’t forget to set all of the wet products with a loose translucent powder lightly over the face. This doesn’t add more colour as its translucent but stops the foundation slipping over the face and sitting in to the wrinkles. This is one of my must have products.
My number one product however and one that I cant live without is my brow gel. I’m currently loving the Illamasqua brow cake in ‘Peek’ and apply this with an eyebrow slanted brush, starting off lightly then building colour as I go. Brows give an instant face lift and can give structure to the face and take years off! So if you take anything from this today, then invest in a good eyebrow product.

My right brow with colour and the left without any product – what a difference!

Lastly, if your eyes aren’t as firm as they used to be and your lids are starting to get hooded the applying eyeshadow can often be tricky. There are some techniques you can apply to help with this. Firstly, curl your lashes as this will instantly lift your lashes and open up the eyes. Secondly, invest in a good eye primer as this will help with shadow slipping or padding on to the tops of the eyelids which can often happen with lids that are hooded. Next and most importantly – apply the eyeshadow with your eyes open. How many times have you taken the time to apply your eyeshadow carefully then open the eyes and its disappeared?! The trick here is to cut your crease higher than the natural fold of your eyelid. Apply the colour above the crease and you can cheat this yourself and create your own. Just make sure you blend the colour with a fluffy eyeshadow brush so the crease looks more natural. Finish the look with a non-smudge mascara as your lashes may be touching the brow bone so this will give a less messy finish. My absolute favourite mascara is ‘It’s a long story’ by Arbonne which contains bamboo extract to encourage lash growth and strength.

Arbonne ‘It’s a long story’ mascara


Lastly, add a pop of colour on the lips and you’re good to go. NYX do gorgeous shades in their ‘powder puff lippie’ range which I’m loving right now. These are a great price point and feel really moisturising when applied. They then dry matte on to the lips so have great staying power too.
There will be products out there that are right for you so don’t be afraid to experiment with colour and textures – you’re never too old to look and feel the best you ever have.

Lisa x

The Perfect Red Lip

The power of a red lip is well known in that it can transform your make up look in one swipe. It instantly adds a pop of colour and creates the perfect power pout, bringing sophistication or sexiness to any look. There is a known psychological phenomenon called ‘The Lipstick Effect’. This relates to the fact that wearing make up can help people to feel more confident, attractive and increase self-esteem. This is certainly true with red lipstick as the colour red is warm, positive and energising; giving confidence especially to those that need a boost of boldness. I would say I can definitely relate to this.

Often my make up clients will say to me ‘I can’t wear a red lipstick’ but I genuinely believe there is one out there for everyone. The right shade of lipstick can brighten a face while the wrong red could overpower a make up look. There are so many shades and textures that settling on the right one can be daunting, but it can be done. So where to start?

It all depends on your skin colour and its undertones so whether you have yellow, red or blue tones plays a part in the colour you should select. Here are a few tips when shopping for that show stopping red lipstick in time for the party season.

red lipstick2 Dark skin can really take a bold lip so be brave and choose a bright, intense colour like a deep red and reds with blue undertones. Wines, berries and brick reds can all look amazing on darker complexions. You can choose between a gloss or a matte texture – whichever one is your preferred choice.

red lipstick fair skin
Fair skin and complexions tend to be naturally pinker so cool toned reds with blue or purple undertones are preferable to oranges. A muted burnt red would look gorgeous in a matte or cream texture.

Lisa tartan headshot
My skin is a medium tone so I’m delighted that my go to red lippy in this season is a berry red with plum or blackcurrant tones. For daytime I like to brighten darker tones with a lighter red gloss. A tip here when applying a gloss over a lipstick is to dab it in the centre of the lips, concentrating on the middle of the lower lip to create the illusion of fuller lips.

red lipstick olive skin
If you have an olive skin tone go for warmer shades to help brighten so reds with an orange or coral base are best. So hotter reds with an orange undertone look fab on warmer faces and work really well in matte finishes.

You might need to experiment a bit before you find your perfect red shade. It’s worth noting that lipsticks look different on everyone and its texture (cream, matte or gloss) can have an effect on the way the shade looks on your lips too. If you still don’t feel quite ready to commit to lipstick then you can ease yourself into wearing red with a sheer lip gloss or a lip stain to gradually add colour.

I have a rule that if on the rare occasion I get my legs out then no cleavage should be on show and vice versa. Less is definitely more at my age of late thirties! I apply this rule to my lip and eye colours too so pair minimal eye make up in soft and neutral eyeshadows with a bold red lip. My absolute go to product is my eyebrow powder, then I add an eyeliner and mascara with this look along with a fresh, simple base.  Red lips make a big statement so make sure to plan the rest of your make up look to compliment your lip colour

Remember to also look after your lips in the colder weather as lipstick always looks better and stays on longer with well-conditioned lips. I recommend using a lip exfoliator a few times a week or gently brushing the lips with your toothbrush each night before applying a moisturising lip balm. You could also use a lip primer before application to prep the lips for longer lasting wear. Finally, for more precision I apply red lipstick with a lip brush then line the lips with a slightly deeper colour for added definition. Follow these simple rules and everyone can have the perfect red lip.

L x

Self Love & Lipstick

WOW! What can I say? The first ever ‘Self Love & Lipstick’ event last month was a huge success with around 50 woman gathered in the same room to chat, listen, connect, eat & drink – basically have a night to relax and mingle in a stunning venue in North Leeds.Self love and lipstick1

I was overwhelmed by the amount of ladies that came along, not only that but how many actually joined in the conversations openly and shared their stories of mental health, motherhood, thoughts on social media, ‘me time’ and so much more. There was a lot of love in the room and support for one another – let alone the tears, laughter and questions that came when the panel were talking.

It was an absolute pleasure and honour to be joined on the panel with Jo Love, mental health trailblazer and founder of @lobellaloves marketplace and ‘Depression wears lippy’ events; Emma Stirk @ejstirk, best selling author & business mentor and Kate Ibbotson @atidymind, declutter expert and professional home organiser. What a line up…… we could have talked all night and had so many questions to answer, it was an incredible atmosphere. I made the decision to take no more questions after we ran over by almost half an hour and let everyone get to the bar to fill up their drinks! We then carried on the conversations until way past 11pm. Us women know how to talk so next time I may make the event 3 hours long!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA          Processed with VSCO with a6 preset
Lisa, Jo, Emma & Kate

The purpose of this event was to raise awareness of mental health, in particular maternal mental health and share my story of postnatal depression to break the silence on these issues. I wanted this to be a positive story of hope that things can and do get better if you reach out and ask for help. All of the ladies on the panel have struggled or continue to battle with their mental health and all had different stories to tell so it was a real mixture of previous experiences and ways of dealing with this they have found useful.

I also wanted to bring in my love of make up during this evening too hence the name ‘Self Love & Lipstick.’ I talk a lot about how make up is so much more than painting a face and that it can be a powerful tool in boosting confidence, self esteem and overall mood. I know for me the simple act of filling in my eyebrows (that were drastically plucked within an inch of their life when I was in my early teens) can have a huge affect on how I feel about myself. Everyone has their own thing that helps them feel a bit more put together and face the day. Some people will absolutely get what I’m saying here and some wont’ but I am in no way glamorising mental health or saying that make up solves everything. Believe me, in my hardest times make up was the last thing on my mind but I know on the days when I feel good or ok it can have a huge impact on the outlook of my day.

Following this first event I’m pleased to say there has been demand to host more so I’ve decided to do a series called ‘Self Love & Lipstick’ presents ……………. and feature different topics all on a similar theme. Feedback from the women that attended was that they’d like to focus in on certain subjects to have more time to chat about these so that’s what I’m going to do! I also plan to roll these out across Yorkshire in my attempt to bring the cool London event vibe up North! If you have ideas on what you’d like to see in future events, ideas for areas and venues to host these in or suggestions for collaborations then please get in touch.

I’d love to hear from you,

Lisa xx



‘Two grip styles’ in less than five minutes


I talk a lot about how the smallest of things relating to beauty can make a difference to how I feel both on the outside as well as the inside. When I’ve taken the time to put on some make up or style my hair it can sometimes be the difference between having a productive day or not wanting to go out and face the world.

To some this may sound trivial but I’ve had many conversations with people who feel the same – applying make up or styling the hair can give an instant confidence boost or lift their mood.

For us busy women this may not sound realistic but there are loads of quick styles that can be easily created in less than 5 minutes that can dramatically change our look. I’ve put some together for medium to long hair to try below. They may not be the neatest or the most technical but they do what they say on the tin: quick & easy and only need 2 grips to create; 4 grips if you’re lucky enough to have thick hair.. If you’re like me you’ll easily find these grips either in your dressing gown pocket, lying on the bedroom floor, hiding in the bathroom cabinet or at the bottom of your handbag!

Style One: ‘Heidi’

  1. Middle part the hair then section it right down the back with a comb
  2. Plait the hair in two (each section)
  3. From the bottom of the plait pull the hair on to the top of the head and pin with a grip
  4. Repeat on the other sideDSC02526



Style two: ‘Classic messy bun’

  1. Pull hair back as if tying into a ponytail
  2. choose the height of your bun (I usually go just below my crown)
  3. twist hair loosely into a bun shape
  4. secure with grips
  5. gently pull bun to create a looser shape and more relaxed look
  6. massage scalp gently to create volume at the top



Style 3: ‘Princess Leia’

  1. middle part the hair right down as if doing bunches
  2. twist each section loosely into a bun and pin
  3. massage scalp with fingers to create a slight lift on top of the head



Style 4: ‘Tousled twist’

  1. Take a small section from a middle parting above either side of the ear
  2. Twist backwards loosely
  3. Pin at the back (above the nape of the neck)
  4. Distract children with a toy (note Princess Leia good for them too!)
  5. Repeat on the other side
  6. Pull twists gently to create a bigger loop
  7. Ruffle rest of the hair to hide the gripsdsc02569-e1536094839507.jpg
  8. dsc02565.jpgDSC02571DSC02577

Style 5: ‘Half top knot’

  1. Lift hair as if putting in to a ‘half pony’ tail
  2. Twist loosely round the fingers into a bun then pin
  3. Pull bun gently to make it wider
  4. Tousle rest of the hair or backcomb at the root to give a more messy lookdsc02556.jpg

So there you have it – 5 styles that are easy to create with minimum effort. I’d suggest you have some product in your hair for staying power. I usually go for the trusty dry shampoo or dust it product in the roots; either way unwashed hair with a bit of product creates the best results. Win Win!

Lisa x



Concealer & Curves

To conceal means to ‘cover things up’ and I do this most days to cover any blemishes or darker areas on my face. As my 3 year old daughter has just started to wake in the night again believe me when I say it is needed at the moment! I’ll be talking you through the best way to apply concealer later in this blog but first let’s talk curves.

As well as areas of my face, I’ve also been covering up my body and concealing myself under baggy clothes in the colder months which has been hiding a multitude of sins! Now the Summer is coming and it’s time to bare some flesh I’m struggling with what to wear. Is it just me or do your Summer clothes feel a bit ‘neater’ than last year?!

Trouble is I’ve realised that I definitely eat and drink according to my mood – when I’m happy and want to socialise with my friends I probably drink too much wine (actually no probably about it) which often results in me eating the wrong foods the next day. When I’m feeling a bit low or tired I’ll drink lots of cups of tea and reach for the biscuits. I can’t win! As a result my weight has been slowly creeping on over the past few months.

As much as I’d like to shed a few pounds to be able to fit my clothes more comfortably, I’ve recently started to look at the link between mood and food which is the main motivator for me. Did you know there is a direct link between sugar and depression? Certain chemicals can have a powerful emotional impact on the brain and one of these chemicals is serotonin – commonly known as the ‘happy hormone.’ Serotonin can get thrown out of balance by the over-use of sugar. When I started to read about this I assumed it’s nothing I need to worry about as I’ve not really got a sweet tooth. But of course sugar is present in other forms in complex carbohydrates such as white bread and pasta which I am definitely partial to.

As much as I like having curves, I also like my clothes to feel comfortable. So I’ve decided to take more notice of what I’m eating and try to eat little, healthy and often. I’ve realised that if I wait too long before breakfast I can feel my energy levels dip and the ‘brain fog’ starts so am making a conscious effort to have an almond milk protein shake packed with seeds, frozen fruit and veg before the school drop off. I considered having it before my morning cup of tea but that’s one step too far …….

As well as that I’m going to drink more water and try to limit my intake of caffeine. This should have an impact on my mental health as well as my physical health. I’ll keep you posted on how that’s going.

protein-shakes (2)

Beauty wise, I’ve started to use a dry body brush as an exfoliator but also to increase my circulation in an attempt to budge the cellulite on my thighs which is never a good look! I also find when I use a gradual fake tan I instantly feel better in my clothes and I feel slimmer too. This is one of my go to products throughout the Summer and gives me more confidence to bare some flesh.


I started this blog talking about concealer so it’s only right I share some of my make up tips with you around this product. I always put concealer on after I’ve applied my base product. During the Summer I wear a cc cream as my base which is a slightly lighter coverage than a foundation. It provides great coverage, neutralises any red areas of the face, smoothes out fine lines and gives a natural, glow to the skin. I couldn’t be without this.

cc cream

I recommend using a cream concealer so it blends well and avoids it drying into the blemishes and drawing more attention to them. This is good for mature skin too as its less likely to sit in any lines around the eyes. Go 1-2 shades lighter with your concealer under the eye but making sure it’s not too light though (bare in mind the shade will probably have to be altered slightly according to season as your colouring changes). Dab lightly under the eye with your ring finger or a concealer brush. Use a concealer closely matched to your base product for the rest of the face; blemishes, pigmentation etc. With any remaining product on your brush or finger, use lightly under the eyebrows to create more definition and a refined arch.

If you prefer a more natural look and don’t like to wear a base product, concealer is a great product to use only on the areas you feel need a bit of coverage so the nose, cheeks and chin. The nose creates a shadow on the face so dab concealer down each side of the nose to minimise the areas that appear darker. Finish with a translucent setting powder then apply colour such as bronzer, blush, highlight etc. if the mood takes you xx





Contour & Confidence

Self-confidence is sexy but not always the easiest thing to have or put out there. I know when I became a Mum I lost my identity, sense of style & self and questioned what direction my life was taking. Our roles change so much when we become parents and my self-confidence took a real battering. Not to mention my change in body shape and all the other bits that come with having a new baby emotionally and physically.

Now as a make up artist I am still shocked how women talk negatively about themselves and how they hate this and that about their body, face or hair. I’m constantly having to build up their confidence and focus on their best features. It’s really sad how us as women (myself included) focus on the bits we think are our flaws rather than noticing the colour of our eyes, how good our brows are or even the definition of our cheekbones.

When I complain to my husband about my weight for example, he always says the same thing….. ‘it doesn’t matter what you look like because when you are happy and confident rather than putting yourself down, that is when you are the most sexiest and attractive.’ Again a work in progress for me.

blue dress
Me stepping out of my comfort zone and taking part in a ‘real women’ fashion show. Few lumps & bumps on show but felt confident and good as was surrounded by uplifting and supportive women.

I’ve learned that when I’ve taken some time out for myself to shave my legs (it’s the little things!), fake tan or paint my nails I automatically feel more confident, attractive and its helps my mental health. That might seem obvious but with looking after 2 children and running my own business its not always the easiest thing to do. Its also about making the most of what we have been born with and celebrating and enhancing our best features. That could be knowing the best colours of eyeshadow to use to bring out our eyes or using the correct shade of red lipstick against our skin tone; it’s about concentrating on what works for you.

highlighting Lucy
Here I’m using a shimmer eyeshadow to highlight the cheekbones. You don’t need loads of make up, its about making the products you own work hard for you

I believe make up can be a powerful tool when it comes to lifting the mood and increasing self confidence. There are tips and tricks you can learn to enhance your best features or subtly change what you are not so keen on and this is where contouring comes in. I’m not talking Kim K style as with this I’m an advocate for less is definitely more. Even subtle contouring can make a huge difference to your face shape and highlighting can bring the face to life.

me highlighting
Highlight under the eyes, down the cheekbones, cupids bow and T-zone

Contouring has been around since the 16th century when soot and chalk was used by Elizabethan stage actors to help the audience members read their facial expressions. It is now widely used to enhance and sculpt the structure of the face. Use a colour that is one or two shades darker than your natural skin tone to give a shadow and slimming effect. I usually apply this on the hollows of the cheeks (starting mid ear), side of nose, temples and jawline. The secret with this is to blend the products well. This is then complimented with a highlighter that is one or two shades lighter than your skin colour.

So contour and confidence ……. two things us women should work on to bring out the best in ourselves. Just remember we are all unique and have amazing qualities and features. Learning to love ourselves as we are isn’t always easy but can have a huge knock on effect on our mental health, relationships and overall quality of life.

How to improve your self-esteem

This is a guest blog written by Sarah at ‘My Possible Self’, a mental health app that can help with stress, anxiety and mild to moderate depression. The main module, Managing Fear and Anxiety is free, and comes with a private diary feature that helps you keep track of your daily thoughts and feelings. Find out more at http://www.mypossibleself.com.

How to improve your self-esteem

Low self-esteem can affect us all at one time or another, but when it becomes a more long-term problem it can impact our mood, our relationships, our careers and our mental health as a whole.

We all have our own ways of ‘feeling better’. This might be learning a new skill, making time for pampering or surrounding ourselves with people who encourage and support us. There are also some techniques you can learn in order to tackle unhelpful thoughts and improve your self-esteem, which are outlined below.

Learn to spot thinking traps
‘Thinking traps’ are negative thought patterns that are easy to fall into but often keep us in a cycle of worry or self-criticism. They can be very distressing, but we can learn ways of keeping them at bay. The first step is to learn to identify what these thinking traps are. Below are the common types and some examples of the kind of thoughts that go along with them:

Mind reading
‘Mind reading’ occurs when we assume we know what another person is thinking, for example “My boss thinks I’m useless”, “My mother is disappointed in me” or “Everyone is judging me”.  When you catch yourself mind reading, think about what evidence you have for coming to this conclusion.

Black and white thinking
One way to identify ‘Black and white thinking’ is to look out for words like ‘always’ or ‘never’. For example, “I always fail”, or “No-one ever listen to me”. Also look out for extreme or blanket statements like “I’m worthless”.
Remember life is mostly shades of grey. We all experience failure in our lives, but sometimes we succeed. Sometimes we’re listened to, sometimes we’re not. Try and remember that this is an over-simplification and that life is very rarely black and white.

Filtering is also known as ‘selective’ thinking. This is where you focus on the negative aspects of a situation while filtering out the good aspects. For example “My holiday was ruined because the hotel room was too small”. It can be upsetting when things don’t go to plan, but try and focus on some of the positive aspects.

Once you’ve learned to identify these thinking traps, you will find you start to shift your perspective. As an exercise, keep a log of these thoughts and write down some statements that challenge them.

There are some other simple self-care strategies which might help boost your positivity. When you’re busy, it can be hard to find the time to look after yourself, and many of us view self-care as something of a ‘luxury’. But it’s not, it’s a necessary means of keeping going. Self-care can be different for everyone. It might be practising a sport you enjoy, pampering yourself, reading or socialising.

One important aspect of self-care is making time for pleasurable activities. These are activities which we enjoy, and which give us a sense of satisfaction. There are four main ‘categories’ of pleasurable activities and it’s good to try and get a balance of all of them, if you can. The categories are:

Social: activities which involve interacting with others.
Achievement or mastery: activities which give you a sense of accomplishment, such as making something or learning a new skill.
Physical: activities that make you get up and move around. This doesn’t have to be running a marathon, it could be going for a walk around the park.
Pleasant or fun: This simply means doing something you really love, whether it’s watching a movie, playing music or reading a book.
These activities may cross over into one another, and you don’t have to be regimented in making sure you do a certain amount of each one. It’s just a case of getting a bit of a balance and, more importantly, making the time to do it.

Know when to get a helping hand
It’s possible to break negative thinking patterns and improve your self esteem with some simple techniques. But if you need a bit of extra support, it’s OK to ask for help. If you’re feeling hopeless, or have thoughts of self-loathing or self-harm, help is at hand. Talk to your GP or seek advice from a professional.


Stress & spots. Anxiety & acne.

The focus of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is STRESS. Research has shown that of those people who experience a mental health problem each year, stress is a key factor in this.

Stress can affect almost every aspect of our lives such as personal relationships, work performance and sleep patterns. It can also manifest itself through the skin and may be responsible for common skin problems such as acne, rosacea, psoriasis and even wrinkles. Who knew?!

spot pic
Spots caused by hormonal changes occur round the chin. This happens to me around my monthly cycle.

The skin is our largest organ containing sweat glands, blood vessels, cells and nerve endings controlled by our immune and nervous systems which in turn are easily triggered by our own mental health. If you think about blushing as an example – our skin can reflect our emotional state and the emotions we are feeling so will turn red or hot when embarrassed or feeling anxious.
I have first hand experience of this in the lead up to my wedding and when I had fairly recently been diagnosed with post natal depression. I got married in September 2013 and during the March of that year, what I thought was eczema started to flare up. It got worse and worse until I visited the Doctor who told me I had a condition called guttate psoriasis which usually happens after a throat infection, which for me happens when I am stressed and run down. When I say my body was covered from head to toe in a bright red rash I am not exaggerating. Luckily over the course of 6 months and various creams, UV treatment and counselling for my depression, it cleared up enough for me to feel confident wearing my wedding dress on our big day. I was so grateful for this but was shocked just how our skin can react so badly to stress.

After that I did a bit more research into this to find out just how these skin conditions are triggered by stress and was amazed to find that almost every one can be linked back to stress of some kind.

Acne – is caused by inflammation and can occur at any age, not just during adolescence. Stress and anxiety cause chronic inflammation which causes cortisol spikes and encourages sebaceous glands to produce more thick and sticky oils which dead skin can stick to and block the pores.

Rosacea, eczema and psoriasis – cortisol also hinders the skins ability to produce hyaluronic acid (body’s natural moisturiser) and along with inflammation can cause these conditions which manifest themselves with itchy, flaky skin.

As if those aren’t bad enough, stress can also bring on our wrinkles as when cortisol levels are high there is a drop in the production of the anti-ageing hormone known as DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone). Good news eh?!

So if you’ve tried every skincare under the sun, changed your diet and upped your water intake to help your skin then it might be time to look at your inner health and see what’s going on with that. The right skincare is obviously vital, however if you are stressed or anxious then an expensive moisturiser isn’t going to fix that. I’m obviously a firm believer in investing in your skin with the right products too but only after the root cause has also been put right so a combination of both is key.


RE9 skincare
My personal anti-ageing skincare range



I’ve introduced a couple of things into my life to help me de-stress so thought I’d share these with you. 1) Meditation. Something I never imagined I would do but since me and my hubby have started meditating together before bed (how times have changed!) we are both much better rested, can get to sleep quicker and our minds are switched off and no longer buzzing with to-do-lists when we’re trying to get to sleep. I think it’s a lot to do with having time before bed without screens too. I would highly recommend it.

2) Mindfulness. This is probably something I wouldn’t have tried a few months ago either as I thought it was all ‘airy fairy’ stuff and not really a thing. I was wrong and would highly recommend it. This could simply be becoming more aware of your own body and taking time to breathe away from the bustle of everyday life such as children, TV screens, excessive noise or mobile phones. I know when I’m feeling stressed or my head is ‘full’ then external noises can seem amplified and make me feel more on edge so I need to take some time out on my own where its quiet and do some breathing exercises. I am able to recognise when this is happening now so can do something about it before it gets unbearable. On the bad days though it can take something tiny like my husband breathing too loudly to tip me over the edge and after talking to people about this I know I’m not the only one that feels this way!!

So, as with all my blogs I’m going to finish with some beauty advice. This time it’s my tips for tip top skin:
1) Take some measures to de-stress throughout the day – it may take a while to work out what that looks like for you but I’d highly recommend taking the time to do this.
2) Download a meditation app and try some guided meditation before bed. If this doesn’t appeal to you then switch your phone on to night mode so its not the last thing you look at before you go to sleep and the first thing you pick up in the morning.
3) Invest in a good face mask to use at least once a week.
4) Do your research as to what ingredients the products you are using have in them. For example, if you are prone to spots or blemishes then your skincare should contain salicylic acid which is a potent exfoliant known for its antibacterial properties. If your skin is dry or flaky then you need to be looking for the ingredient hyaluronic acid for repair. The addition of Vitamin C in your skincare is key for anti-ageing as it boosts collagen which results in an improved appearance of fine lines.

face mask
My weekly rejuvenating face mask


Make up & break downs

Hi my name is Lisa. Welcome to my new blog where I am going to be sharing my personal mental health journey – the highs and the lows – as well as my love of all things make up and beauty.

I was diagnosed with post natal depression and puerperal psychosis in 2013, two years after having my first child Finlay and although I am waaay better now than then, I remain on antidepressants and am still dealing with my illness, taking each day at a time.

I am also a (cruelty free) make up artist based in Leeds and so LOVE make up and how it can make others look and feel when they wear it. It is such an amazing feeling being able to help a bride on her wedding morning or a Mum on a rare night out look and feel their absolute best and see the confidence this can bring to them. I have also experienced this personally hence why make up has been and still is a powerful tool in my mental health journey.

I don’t want this to seem superficial and I’m not in any way saying this is the answer to everything as that certainly isn’t the case. It’s been a long road to recovery and so for me there is something really healing and comforting in having a beauty regime. I guess it’s down to self care and taking the time out to do something for me and feeling worthy of having this time, but also to do with having a simple routine. Routines can be really helpful when suffering with depression. It’s a small step or achievement which believe me doesn’t have to be much on a bad day but what a difference doing something little can make.

Most of us have that one thing that makes us feel more put together. For me, its filling in my eyebrows everyday to disguise the serious overplucking they were subjected to when I was in my teens! For others it may be a lick of mascara, a red lip or a bit of bronzer. Just something that makes us feel more ready to face the day.

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Eyebrow on left been filled. One on the right not. What a difference it makes to lift the face (& my mood!)

I believe that self-care should be more than a Sunday night bath or facemask as taking care of our appearance and body or applying that little bit of make up each day could do wonders for mental health, self-esteem and productiveness. I certainly have better, more fulfilling days when I get dressed and put a bit of make up on.  It’s not always the easiest decision as my relationship with my beauty regime changes as my mood does. On some days it can be an effort getting out of bed to tackle the school run and deciding what to wear whereas other days I take comfort and feel confident and happy wearing make up and making an effort with my clothes.

I definitely lost my sense of self when I became a Mum and make up helped me feel back to my old self again. Not only does it help my mental health but for me it is a big part of my life and routine and by taking a sense of pride in my appearance helps me cope better.

So here is the first of many beauty tips I’ll be sharing on this blog for you fellow Mums. Actually these will relate to anyone that likes a simple, no fuss look and want to feel a bit more put together in the morning.

DRY SHAMPOO is a life saver. I know this is not a revelation to most people but I can honestly say it is one of my must have beauty products. I usually try to avoid washing my hair for as long as possible so by day 3 this is my go to style….

1. Tip head upside down and spray dry shampoo on to roots.
Lift hair up and spray into the roots. Work through using your fingers & brush to get rid of any product build up that can create those powdery grey areas!

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2. Twist hair into a top knot and sleep with it in.

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3. Don’t panic if you look like this in the morning! I live by the motto that you’re hair can never be too big (my friends all know this well!) Tease hair with fingers to smooth down

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4  For extra lift twist hair in small sections and grab on to a couple of hairs at bottom of each twist and pull upwards (think like when using a scissor blade on ribbon to make it curl) – this will create more volume and section the curls                                                                                                                                                                twist hair

5 minute beach wave hair. Set with hairspray and you’re good to go x

finished curl

PS No idea what’s going on with my eyebrow in this pic!

PPS Asked my 7 year old son to take these pictures so here are a few that didn’t make the cut ……