It’s the third day of the new year. Maybe you’re excited about the twelve months ahead. Perhaps you’re just hoping that they will be better than the last lot. You may have made some resolutions for 2017. You may have already stumbled over your resolutions for 2017. You may know better than to make any resolutions for 2017, or any other year.
I stopped making resolutions years ago. I switched instead to coming up with a few plans, maybe the odd goal or two, and choosing a word to guide and inspire me. Around the same time as I made this change, my views on the inevitable media onslaught of ‘New Year, New You’ features filling the pages of newspapers and magazines, and increasingly filling our TV screens too, shifted. I’d always loved them, the certainty of their tone and direction, but now their exhortations spark my ire. We get enough of the ‘you’re not good enough’ messages all year round; we don’t need an intensive extra dose as we attempt re-entry after what is often the gluttonous chaos December.
As a result, I was thrilled to be asked to contribute to online teen magazine Betty‘s new year theme of ‘New year, same you’. What a brilliant message to women of any age! We are ourselves, whatever the time of year, despite our wishing otherwise.
At the same time, I also recognise that it’s not nice when we feel frankly sh*tty. There are probably a lot of us out there who are feeling that way right now. January can be a shock to the system after the bright lights and heavily laden dinner plates of December. We are left overweight, overwrought and overspent.
I wanted to tackle this crappy feeling without straying anywhere near ‘New Year, New You’ territory and Tuesday Reviews Day seemed like the right forum for my offering (for more on the original vision for this feature, check out the first Tuesday Reviews Day post back in November). So here I am offering you six recommendations, three for the home and three for yourself – by which I really mean your appearance, as that is an area that can often spark particular discontent at this time of year.
This list is not going to change your life. It’s not going to change you. But it might just help you out a little bit. You might feel a little bit less sh*t if you take up one of the suggestions. You might find one of them puts a smile on your face for an hour. That to me is good enough. An hour is that place to start. We can work on the rest of the year some other time.
Let me know how you get on! And don’t forget that if you like this post then please do share it on social media. It really makes a difference.
For the Home
Along with the sights and sounds of Christmas come some distinctive scents too. Cinnamon, gingerbread, roasted meat and vegetables – all of these aromas and more can linger for days. At the time we love them, drawing on their proustian power to evoke nostalgia and connection.
Come January, we loathe them. Like the decorations, we want them out of house. We need a break from their richness. One way to really draw a sensory (and emotional) line is to introduce a new smell to your home, particularly if it’s a fresh scent that contrasts with the festive ones. I.e. get a new candle!
My three recommendations to give your home a clean, crisp January feeling are:
£ Ikea’s vanilla candles: these are so reasonably priced that with one trip you can stockpile enough to last to 2018! Unlike other cheap candles, they don’t leave you with a smoky bacon stench after five minutes; rather they envelope the space in a light cloud of loveliness. I would use these all the time except I used burn them in my old work office all the time and I don’t want to bring that olfactory association into my home!
££ I asked a candle expert from Diptyque for a suitable suggestion and they selected Baies. According to their literature, this combines the sweetness of blackcurrant leaves with the freshness of a bouquet of roses. I’m a big fan as it manages to be both fresh and warm, which is what you want when those of us in the northern hemisphere are still in the winter months. Something about it reminds me of old-fashioned laundry, in a really good way.
£££ Shoyeido is a traditional Japanese incense company who used to supply the Emperor’s palace. Their shop in Kyoto is still near to the imperial compound. Since my partner and I visited their store, we’ve been burning their daily incense Enmei (Circle), well, pretty much everyday. Their products are pricey but worth the extra outlay if you can stretch to it. They have a Japanese website and one based in the US.
For Your Appearance
£ Clean all your shoes, even if you only have kitchen roll and some furniture polish in the house. Gather them all up together on the draining board then remove the dirt and scuffs with a lightly damp cloth before buffing them up to (almost) their former glory. I swear by this as a feelgood boost.
££ Get a brow lash and tint. In the world of beauty treatments, a tint is probably one of the cheapest and quickest options. It’s not as luxurious as say a massage or even a manicure, but it also doesn’t cost as much, which is a major bonus in January. I also think it delivers a strong return; you just feel more groomed with them done. It’s the only treatment I have done regularly (every five weeks). I also swear by this as a feelgood boost!
£££ Have a hair cut. This doesn’t have to be a major restyle or dramatic colour change. Even just getting a basic trim and a blow out will help to banish the new year blues because whoever hasn’t felt better for a good haircut? I swear by this as a feelgood boost too 🙂
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