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I need this more than ever right now! Life is odd and just when you think everything’s ok it’ll throw a massive curveball at you.  I try so hard not to be negative or sad but sometimes it’s an impossible task.  There are just too many things going off that are bringing me down right now and it’s all too easy to just slide down that slippery slope.  So during (another) sleepless night I tried to think of all the things that would cheer me up and put a smile on my face and I made this little list.  Hopefully it’ll help you guys too!

Positive vibes people….

1. Find a photo you love from a moment when you were truly happy.  You CAN be in that place again.  The photo above was taken during a pretty crappy time, and for my friend too, but it was a really happy moment. I was carefree, with someone I love, and loving life.  It’ll happen again.

2. Exercise.  Do anything to get your heart rate up.  Run, walk, dance, kick a ball.  Do whatever you can.  Those endorphin’s are real.  Enjoy them and the knowledge that you are looking after your body.  It’ll reward you with happiness, trust me.  Since my accident I’ve not been able to ride or do pretty much any sort of sporting activity.  I’ve never felt so low.

3.  Eat well.  It’s so easy to skip meals or over indulge when you feel low.  Do yourself a favour and fill up on nutrients and all the superfoods you can find.  Your body will thank you for it and you won’t have to face the guilt after scoffing that family sized bag of Galaxy Counters.

4.  Go outside and go somewhere different.  A change in scenery always reminds me how small we are and how vast the world is.  Make the most of it.  There are so many interesting people out there and fascinating places to go to.  Life is too short not to explore.

5.  Change your hair.  Sounds basic but the feeling after a new haircut/colour is a real booster when your self esteem needs a pick me up.

6.  Clear out.  Nothing helps cleanse a clouded mind like having a good sort through all the clutter you have.  Sell your old things you no longer need, make room for new items and relish anything you find that reminds you of a happier time in your life.

7.  Find a new hobby.  Start a project, learn a new language, and take on that thing you’ve been meaning to do forever.  The time is now.  You’ll never be this young again, so just do it.

8.  Call that person you’ve been meaning to.  You never know- they might need cheering up to.  Equally surround yourself with friends, they CAN make you laugh and they will.

9.  Do something good for someone else.  Let’s not be selfish people, helping others will help yourself.  I’m not suggesting you give you every free minute in your life to volunteer but even a small act of kindness is one of the quickest ways to instantly feel good again.  Don’t forget to say thank you when someone else returns the favour.

10.  Look in the mirror and tell yourself that you are a GOOD person with a good heart.  Quit all the bitching and gossip and enjoy life. Being respectful to others will only breed happiness onto yourself.  Think about how you see yourself and how you want to be seen. Try and stop comparing yourself to others, you can only ever be you.  That’s why you need to be the BEST version of you possible.

Tell yourself that you’ve got this, a positive attitude can overcome a negative mind.

Don’t forget to SMILE : )

J xx

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 1. The end of summer

Despite Game of Thrones-style warnings that ‘winter is coming’, anyone with sensitive skin knows it doesn’t make a damned bit of difference.  You can arm yourself with enough balm to clog up the Parisian sewers but once that dry skin of yours decides to crack then there’s nothing you can do.  Brace yourselves…

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2. You leave a part of you wherever you go

If you have Eczema/dry skin you will always be followed by that little magical dust cloud of skin.  Peeling off your skinny jeans, you’ll wonder how you’ve any skin left judging by the atomic mass billowing in the air.  Remember when someone brought in that snakeskin to show off at school?  You could TOTALLY relate.  Gross but you hear me right?

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3. The inevitable questions

‘’What have you done to your ______?!’’ *insert ‘face’ ‘hands’ ‘leg’ or whatever has decided to flare up this time*

It’s like when someone tells your six-foot-three friend ‘’ooh you’re tall’’.  No shit.  I am sure they already knew this.  As I am more than aware that my hands could provide Zombie close ups in the Walking Dead but you don’t need to tell me because, guess what?  I’ve already seen them. I don’t understand why people I barely know think its ok to mention anything at all.  Unlike the communal mugs at work, not everything is for sharing.

I find it equally frustrating when people try to ‘fix’ you.  It’s amazing that doctors can train for years but your colleagues can become dermatologists in seconds.  I’ve tried every trick and every product, so don’t even bother.

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4. You’re so cynical but you just can’t stop spending

It’s always a game of skincare-roulette when it comes to trying new products.  You’ve just spent half a month’s salary on the latest moisturiser for sensitive skin; slather it on only to find the next day your epidermis looks more like a painting by Pollock than a Vogue cover.

Yep, we’ve all been there.  Taken in by the promises schmoises of the latest wonder cream that will turn us all into Victoria Secret models. Over the years I think I’ve become wise to these ‘success stories’.  The day something really changes my skin forever will be the day I ride away on my pet unicorn.

However, anything that DOES make your skin feel anything slightly smoother than sandpaper requires you to remortage your house or rob a bank.

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5. Thinking that diet will save you

You’ve been eating that many Blueberries you’re starting to resemble Violet Beauregarde (if you have to Google her then shame on you!) Then weeks later you come across a blog post warning that if you want the skin of an angel you need to steer clear of all berries!  When my skin is bad one of the first things I blame is my diet, but how the hell do you know what you’re actually SUPPOSED to be eating?!  For every ‘safe’ food that will help sort out your skin there’s a conflicting opinion telling you the opposite.  I still have no idea whether I’m supposed to bathe in a vat of tomatoes or avoid them like an 80’s mullet.  The only real way of testing foods is an elimination diet, and to be honest who has the patience for that
shizzle?

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6. Tanning is a no-go

Ahhh, the Sun.  That glorious Vitamin D provider.  If you’re paler than a pint of milk AND your skin is more sensitive than a Westlife album then it’s pretty much game over.  The sun is either friend or foe.  It’ll help heal your skin, or you’ll get that prickly rash and the only option is to slather on that much sun lotion the chance of getting any shade of brown is slim to sod all.

Equally trying to fake tan is COMPLETELY out of the question- you’ll either blow up from an allergic reaction or end up looking like you suffer from ringworm when it sticks to all those sneaky dry/sensitive patches.  Ugh.  The tanning struggle is VERY real.

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7. You just can’t trust yourself, your clothes, or your washing powder

Ever woken up with blood under your finger nails?  Even if you’re the healthiest person in the world, use the best skincare products, and only wear clothes crafted using cotton hand-picked from clouds, what your body decides to do in your sleep is the one thing you can’t control.  That itch will won’t scratch itself…

I’ve gone to sleep thinking my skin isn’t so bad only to wake up looking like I’ve been in bed with Wolverine.

When it comes to buying clothes and washing powder- who the hell do you trust?! And you can forget buying that woollen jumper, you might as well wear a cape of fire.  You can also forget that sweet smelling fabric conditioner.  You’ll look more ‘elephant in poison ivy’ than ‘Amazon rainforest’.  Anything that smells remotely pleasant must be avoided at whatever cost.  This includes perfume, body butter, and those bath bombs I shudder at the mere thought of using.

Only last week I was scorched by the liquid venom of a perfume promoter in Boots, spraying carelessly in my direction blissfully unaware of the hell I’d be in later.

All you can do is ask yourself- will it make me itch, will it burn me from the inside out, and is it worth it? Probably not…

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8. From the lowest self-esteem to extreme vanity

Yes it might be a ‘first-world problem’, and there are far greater issues than a bad skin day!  But when it’s more like a bad skin year you REALLY start to hate yourself.  Sometimes, when it’s only acceptable to walk out the house with a hat covering my head,  I think I’d actually rather be bald than have skin that rejects everything it comes into contact with. At least I could wear a wig!

On the other hand it’s PERFECTLY acceptable to flounce around like Beyonce Barbie leaving the salon on those few, and far between, occasions where your skin and body decide to work in perfect harmony and actually look like they should.  Take a bazillion selfies, put on those hot pants and pour yourself a glass of champagne.  Just be ready for the next morning when your outermost organ will decide it actually hates alcohol now too…

Owning a shell that is of the sensitive persuasion means the things you want to take part in- trips to the beach, running through fields (because, let’s face it- we all wanna do that), cuddling your best friends new dog/cat/rabbit- all come with serious risks and more often than not running your red raw hands through the hair of a Guinea Pig is simply not worth the
hours of pain and itchy misery.

There are few benefits of having an outer layer of hell but it’s vital to milk every single one!  I use my pathetic dermis as an excuse for all sorts of things.  It brings an end to all those crappy shower gel sets at Christmas, which leaves room to suggest something you actually want.  I can also avoid cosmetic counter slaves, washing up, cleaning, weird food, bad cups of tea, and it allows me to be a complete bedding snob (350 thread count minimum) and also adorn myself in only the best skincare I can get my itchy little mits on.

For anyone with sensitive skin- it’s tough out there.  You have my deepest sympathies.

J xx

I am a moisturising addict. I go through more pots, tubs and tubes of the stuff than any other beauty product.  Having Eczema never makes skincare easy but anyone who suffers from sensitive or dry skin knows that skipping on your moisturiser is never worth the pain.

Admittedly sometimes at night  I slather so much on if I had silk sheets I’d probably shoot right out the other side of the bed!  So finding a good quality, natural product, that isn’t too greasy, is always on my hit list.

I’ve used Aveeno hand cream for years but I’d never tried their moisturising cream and I was pretty surprised when my dermatologist actually prescribed it to me.  Firstly I was ecstatic because it means that I get two massive bottles for the cost of one prescription, which means a mahoosive saving on the usual price.  Right now at Boots (UK) you can buy Aveeno moisturising cream for £14.46 for 500ml and there’s a 3 for 2 offer so you can stock up

I reckon a 500ml tub lasts me about 6 weeks, but I’m slathering it on every day religiously so it’s good value!

If you read Sensitive Shell a lot you’ll know I’m a huge fan of natural products.  It’s really important to me that I’m not just coating my skin in a load of chemicals.  The ingredients list on the back of the simple cute packaging is pretty short (always a good sign) and it’s gentle enough to use on babies.  I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s helped get rid of my Eczema but my skin is in the best condition it’s been in for ages and I’m sure this bad boy is partially responsible for this. I’ve seen all of my usual dry patches disappear, it’s the best cream I’ve used in ages and definitely does what it says on the tin!

I am a massive fan of oats, although I normally like my porridge first thing in a morning not on my skin, but Aveeno have been using oats in their products since 1945 so why not?! Go through pretty much any homemade skin scrub blog and oats will usually always feature heavily so I think it’s no secret that they are actually pretty good for us, inside and out.  The Aveeno moisturising cream smells so fresh, and even though their products are fragrance free the oats make for a deliciously delicately scented cream.  Almost good enough to eat, almost.

There are so many benefits from oats: moisturises- restores dehydrated skin, soothes, creates a protective film on the skins surface, and helps to return skin to normal PH levels.  I also love love LOVE the fact that this doesn’t leave my skin all greasy.  A lot of products for dry skin are very thick, heavy and you need to leave them to sink in for an eternity.  The Aveeno absorbs super quick and feels SO good.  Nothing like any of the moisturisers any of the doctors/dermatologists have recommended for me before.   I’m definitely going to give their shower oil a try, in fact I’ll probably be buying most of their range in the hope of swapping things up a little, but this love affair with the Aveeno moisturising cream won’t be ending any time soon…

J xx

I am so envious of anyone that can wear fake tan, and wear it well.  I’ve tried so many tanning products, however once they’ve been applied to my crazy sensitive skin they usually develop into patches of brownish-orange that wouldn’t look out of place as an example of ringworm in a science book.

There are a few good high end wash-on wash-off tanning products around, but you really need smooth skin for them to work well and when you have eczema there ain’t no amount of exfoliation that’s going to achieve that!

Fret not, my darlings, for a hero is on hand!  Be gone pasty legs and hello wonder skin! My friend suggested I tried Sally Hansen leg makeup and OH MY GOD-  HOW ON EARTH HAVE I NEVER TRIED THIS BEFORE?

The Bear was best man at a wedding last weekend and as I had bought the mother of all dresses I didn’t want my legs to let me down.  I’ve been off work and actually looking after my skin, so my legs are in fairly decent condition (apart from the serious lack of exercise) and they are virtually Eczema-free (wahoo!) so I thought I’d give it a go.  Wearing tights wasn’t an option with open-toed shoes so I needed a little something to help me along! Shaving always irritates my legs and I hate how they look without tights so this was definitely a product I couldn’t wait to try.

Aww, doesn’t he look all dashing and smart.  I am in LOVE with this dress…


Obvs the Sally Hanson brand has been around forever (Mumma Cox used to swear by it) and I know I’m
super late to the party, but if you aren’t confident at tanning, or have
sensitive skin then this is a great way to give your legs a bit of colour
without the commitment of fake tan.  Even
wash off tan can be a right pain in the ass if you have problem skin like me so
I bought the Airbrush Legs in Medium to sort out my pins.  And sort them out it did!  Airbrush is available in a spray or a
lotion.  I tried the spray and I’ll
definitely be using it again.  Not only
did it colour correct my mottled milky legs, it also hid some of my bruises,
shaving rash and really evened out my skin tone.

I sprayed it onto my hands and not directly to my legs and
then applied it to my legs in a downwards motion and massaged it in. The beauty
is you can build up the colour with no streaks, no orange patches, and
therefore no ringworm circles on your dry skin patches!

Airbrush legs claims to stay fresh on your legs all day and
it definitely does that.  The only thing
I will say is that, despite what it tells us on the advert; it DOES rub off
onto clothes etc.  I managed to leave the
hotel bed sheets looking like the Tango man had paid a visit, however it does
wash off super easy when you’ve hung up your dancing shoes.  So not only did it give my legs a bit of
colour it also smoothed out my skin and hid all those annoying marks from years
of clawing my skin and scars from being a total clutz!  It’s basically an amazing pair of
tights/stockings in a tin!

Check out the difference: No bruises, scratches, or redness!

I hope one day I’ll find a tanning product that works on
sensitive skin but for now I’m more than happy with a temporary leg
makeover.  Give it a try and check out
the image below to shop my wedding outfit and accessories.

Happy Friday!

J xx

Limited edition ‘Peyton’ dress, House of CB http://bit.ly/1TFGN4J

 

New Kid lipgloss, shade ‘Tickled Pink’ http://bit.ly/1QMHo1N

Eyelure volumising lashes 070 http://bit.ly/1X7ZEmG

Nails Inc, shade ‘Porchester Square’ http://bit.ly/1nCPZIv

 

L’Oreal eyeshadow Gold Mania  http://bit.ly/1pbNyP0

Gold shoes, Miss KG, John Lewis http://bit.ly/1WeH6RE

Just Cavalli, Nappa clutch/wrist bag http://bit.ly/1WeI9AT

Sally Hansen Airbursh Legs, Medium http://bit.ly/1QCHQPW

Mother’s Day is just around the corner and for all you lucky bastards that have one I suggest you make her feel special!

I’ve not had a Mum to share Mother’s Day with since my 21st birthday and trust me that ‘effort’ of buying flowers, a card or making a little gift, or even picking up the phone to organise the annoying family get together is actually worth it, because you’ll never know what you had until it’s gone.

I never wanted to be anywhere else but her side, even feeding the ducks!

I think Mother’s Day can be so many things.  It can be like a birthday for anyone that IS a Mother, it can be fun for everyone else and it can feel good to know you are spoiling the person who not only brought you into this world but the person that made you into what you are today.  It can also be a desperately sad day, some people have never known their mothers, or if you have other women who are pretty much the next best thing to a mother figure in your life, but often wonder what happened to the original. It can also be a painful day for anyone who has lost a child, a reminder of what could have been, and of course a sad day for anyone who lost their mother during any point in their life.

So buy that card, book that table and buy whoever is like a Marma to you a little something to show you appreciate all the times they’ve listened to your tears, tantrums, and celebrated your joy.

Here’s ten little ideas for anyone feeling a bit clueless, all £20 or under (links below). Don’t worry if you’re a little cash-strapped,  a homemade something is always a great idea. Get scouring Pintrest for some inspiration, bake a cake or print out and frame your favourite picture of you both or a photograph you know she loves.

 

Diptyque Roses scented candle, Space NK £20

Elemis Frangipani Duo £14.50

Personalised Mother’s Day gift, Not On The Highstreet £14.99

Royal Albert New Country teacup, Amazon £17.60

Holdsworth Blue Cube, 200g, John Lewis £15

Nails Inc Baby Nailkale Collection £19

Best Mummy make up bag £12.99

Lvndr Turquoise Bracelet £20

M&S Handcream Trio £8.50

Edinburgh Gin Rhubarb and Ginger Liqueur £18.00

WHEN YOUR MUM ISN’T AROUND ANYMORE…

There are a few problems you will always notice when you don’t have a Mum on Mother’s Day.  Firstly you’ll
feel like you have to do some sort of memorial. Like you’re massively dishonoring the person who brought you into the world if you don’t light a candle or something.  This is a load of rubbish.  If you’ve lost your Mum or don’t have any sort of Mother figure then you know damn well that you think about them more than just once a year.  Light a candle on their birthday or toast your next G&T to their memory.  Don’t punish yourself by thinking you HAVE to go all out and create a shrine.  It’ll just depress you even more.  I used to shy away from anything remotely Mother’s Day-ish, however this year I was invited to a Spa Day with my chums and their Mum (who has kind of ‘adopted’ me) and despite me thinking I’d get sad I thought what the hell.  My Marma loved a good Spa so why not?  Definitely ditch the guilt.

Secondly you’ll feel really annoyed or angry.  I am SO jealous of anyone who gets to meet their Mum for coffee, text them knowing they’ll get a reply, go shopping with them, introduce them to their boyfriend. Blah blah blah. You can’t avoid the bitterness-inducing social media surge of how much everyone loves their Mums on Mother’s Day statuses, all the Insta-worthy photos of lunches out with the family etc etc.  Nor will you have been able to hide under your duvet until all the shops have removed their Mother’s Day paraphernalia, which seems to start Feb 15th FYI. In time this bitterness dies down
a bit, you’ll never not miss your Mum; you’ll just learn to get on with life without her physically being there. Which, trust me, sucks.

Thirdly, there is also the awkwardness of responding to anyone who doesn’t know you don’t have a mother.

‘So where are you off to on Mother’s Day?’

‘Erm, nowhere, she’s dead…’

A guaranteed conversation killer.

Then there’s also the awkwardness of anyone offering pity on you:

‘I know this day is always difficult for you Jemma, so why don’t you come and have a six course lunch with twenty eight members of my family?’….. But that’s where my next point comes in. There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t think about my Mum.  I always wonder when I get myself into dumb situations or let myself down what she would say to me and what her advice would be.  I would swap anything to spend a day with her and I feel like I’m at an age now where I would genuinely want to do so many nice things with her.  When you’re young parents can be kinda embarrassing but as you grow older you realise you become pretty similar and that they weren’t such bad eggs after all.  I look at my friends relationships with their mothers and I’m so jealous.  It hurts.  I hate it. I hate the fact she will never see me as I am now, she’ll never see me become a mother too, or get married (if that ever happens….yuk) she’ll never meet the Bear and she’ll never be able to tell me off again for stealing her makeup.  I’ll never be able to ask her how to make the best scones ever, or how to wash my knitted jumper without shrinking it to fit a Barbie.

WE ALL NEED A MOTHER FIGURE…

Just because you don’t have a Mum doesn’t mean you can’t adopt another Mother figure.  Let’s face it, well all kinda need one!

OBVIOUSLY you can’t parade round acting like they are your REAL Mum, annoying anyone that’s actually related to them,  but you get my point…

I never went searching for one, my adopted Mummy just kinda happened.  I am so lucky to have such amazing friends in my life and their families are part of this. My boyfriend’s Mum is amazing and I love her so much, but she’s his
marma and not mine.  My adopted Mum is my BFF’s mum, Gill Sheeran, and she’s incredible. I can literally sit for hours talking to her and she’s one of the most kind, glamourous, and generous women I’ve ever met. I guess she’s more of a role model and an aspiration than anything.  Anyone who can look that good on a daily basis is a hero in my eyes.  She’s
brought up a family, been through hell and back and still laughs and smiles like a care-free soul.  She’s always there to talk to, offer advice, share a Gin with,  and make me feel good about life.  She also has a blog ‘Growing Old Disgracefully’ so check her out- it’s awesome!

We can literally talk about anything.  I know it’ll never be the same as talking to my own Mummy but I think deep down every girl needs someone they can turn to as a Mother figure.  It’s nature.

So if you DO have a Mother on Mother’s Day just imagine how hard it would be if she wasn’t there, and if you don’t have one try to avoid the bitterness of those that do!  Go out and celebrate someone else’s!  I know my Marma would be more than happy for me to be sipping Prosecco in a bathrobe this Sunday,

Love you Marma,

J xx