I adore Lush products and I love Christmas, so naturally I was super excited to spend an evening in their Bournemouth store, checking out their seasonal range – and even having a go at making some myself!

I struggle a bit at events with a lot of people I don’t know, and I found this one, in particular, quite difficult. There were a lot of people packed into a fairly small space, and it was – as Lush stores often are – quite overwhelming, with the combination of strong smells and relentlessly cheery staff (as lovely as they are!).

We began the evening with an icebreaker, which was getting into pairs and giving each other arm massages. I was thankful to be paired up with Tara, who I both know well and feel comfortable with. Even so, I wasn’t expecting that level of physical contact, and it put me slightly on edge. I nervously swigged my Prosecco, which we were served in Lush’s classic black pots – a really cute touch.


I gradually eased into things, and enjoyed leisurely checking out all the new products.

We were given the chance to have a go at making our own bath bombs and fresh facial cleanser. I haven’t actually used my bath bomb yet, but it’s this one, and it’s so pretty!

The cleanser is called Bûche de Noël and features festive ingredients including cranberries and brandy. It even has little bits of gold leaf in, for an even more decadent treat. It smells absolutely wonderful and, let me tell you, makes my skin feel AMAZING.

The cleanser is wrapped in Nori seaweed sheets. So much fun to make!

I sampled and smelled loads of lovely products, and treated myself to some gorgeous things too. I bought my first Lush fragrance, the sweet and delicate Amelie Mae.

I love the subtle sweetness of this perfume, and the scent of almond oil transported me back to my recent, wonderful holiday in Greece.

I got myself a little bottle of Snow Fairy shower gel to use at Christmas, because I just love it.

I fell in love with Christingle, a limited edition body conditioner that feels so cooling on the skin, I just knew it would be perfect for days when I’m feeling hot and flustered (most of the time tbh!).

One thing I really like about Lush is the little sinks they have, where you can try the products on your skin. It was there that I enjoyed a really lovely arm massage from one of the members of staff. Again, I felt a little nervous at first, but it actually felt great.

“You have so many knots,” she exclaimed, as she rubbed firm but soothing circles in my skin. “Let’s get rid of some of that tension!”

All in all, it was a really lovely evening. I went in feeling tense and anxious, but left feeling pampered and refreshed.

A huge thank you to all the wonderful staff at Lush, who made me feel relaxed and at ease.

Some other products I loved

These are sort of hideous, but I love them!

How great is this packaging? Scent wise, would have gone for Vanillary.

Looks like cheese. Enough said.

These are just adorable!

As some of you may already know, I’m not a religious person. I’ve spoken about my beliefs (or lack thereof) in the past, and shared my experience of not being accepted as a result.

I’ve been interested in Humanism for a while now. Humanists believe in morality without the need for religion and, in their own words, aim to “create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail” – Humanists UK.

Doesn’t that mean that all atheists are humanists?

Not necessarily, no. The chances are that many atheists subscribe to a humanist way of life without realising it, but Humanism UK, as a charity, goes further than that. They campaign for a fairer society and for the voices of non-religious people to be valued as much as those who believe in God.

Why does Humanism appeal to me?

In a word, community. One thing I always envied about my church-going friends was that sense of community and support. I loved that they had a place they could go, where they could discuss their beliefs with like-minded people.

I signed up to join the Dorset Humanists when I came across their stand at Bournemouth Pride. I’ve since found out that they hold regular discussion groups, social events and even lectures from historians and scientists about the ways in which religion has impacted the world. It warmed me to see that this was a group of intelligent, curious people, who wanted to broaden their understanding of the world, engage in lively debate, and above all, practice kindness.

What Humanism isn’t:

  • A cult. Believe it or not, this has been suggested to me.
  • A “fingers up to religion”. That’s not the point of it at all. The way I see it, it’s an opportunity to meet people who share my beliefs, and explore the world in a way that’s meaningful to me.
  • Sad, empty or meaningless. I shouldn’t even have to defend this one, but contrary to what some people might think, meaning doesn’t only come from believing in God.

Other things you might not know about Humanism

One of the other things I quite like about Humanism is that it offers ways to celebrate important milestones in a deeply personal and meaningful way.

For example, Humanist celebrants can perform weddings and baby naming ceremonies. If Dave and I were to have children, I quite like the idea of having a little naming ceremony in our back garden. Humanists also have “guide parents” (in place of Godparents), which I think is a lovely idea.

I didn’t grow up with religion, but I was given the guidance I needed to become a good person. As a result, I’m a firm believer that God doesn’t necessarily need to play a part in a person’s “moral education”, so to speak. I like that Humanism nurtures the very best aspects of human nature, and encourages people to seek out happiness and fulfillment.

I’m not trying to throw anything in anyone’s face, or make a statement. All I want to do is explore the world in a way that makes sense to me.

Isn’t that all anyone wants?

 

The Bluewater Spa, part of Bournemouth’s 4-star Connaught Hotel, recently hosted a party to celebrate the launch of its Temple Spa product range.

The Connaught Hotel

Champagne

We were welcomed with a glass of Prosecco, and enjoyed a lovely evening of canapés, live music, and a tour of the gorgeous spa facilities.

Relaxation room

Can I move into this relaxation room please?!

One of the treatment rooms.

We were given samples of some of the Temple Spa products to try, and I’m in love – they feel wonderfully luxurious, and smell gorgeous. The spa itself it beautiful, and I’ve already bookmarked some pages of the brochure, which I’ve left out strategically for Dave to find before Christmas.

Thank you so much to the lovely staff at The Connaught, and Sunny Bird PR for inviting me – I will definitely be back!

It’s beyond frustrating that things like empathy, tolerance, manners and kindness are what get you branded a ‘snowflake’, ‘SJW’, or some other snide description.

How about, instead of laughing at someone, take a minute to understand why they’re offended?

I’m not saying I’m perfect (by any means!), but I’m learning as I go.

While we’re on it, can we also please stop using ‘liberal’ as an insult. Wanting equality, and respecting others, doesn’t make us ‘whiny pussies’. Times are changing and we need to change with them. We need to listen to survivors, victims and minorities, and learn how to be better.

Being open-minded and accepting of others takes nothing away from you. Stop hiding behind your ‘traditional’ values and realise that letting women have rights over their bodies, or accepting other beliefs and sexual orientations WON’T AFFECT YOU IN ANY WAY.

The people who call us snowflakes are always, oddly, the people who get the most butthurt when they think their ‘freedom of speech’ is being taken away. The people who ‘speak their mind’ or ‘tell it like it is’ are usually the people who hate to be challenged.

Listen. Open your mind. Be better.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

The lovely people at Paperless Post very kindly reached out to me and offered me some free credits to use their online invitation and guestlist service.

With my book coming out soon, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to create some snazzy launch party invitations.

With so many lovely designs to choose from, it was a tough decision, but I settled on something fun, bright and colourful. You get to customise everything and the website is super user-friendly.

I’m so happy with the finished design, and the whole process took hardly any time at all. It’s really easy to manage your guestlist and keep track of who’s RSVP’d.

Overall, I was really impressed by the service. It’s a really simple way to send out beautiful digital invitations and have your guestlist in one easy to manage place.

If you’ve got a big event coming up and you want to do a bit more than just create a Facebook event, but don’t fancy faffing with old-fashioned postal invites, this is ideal.