My friends and I were talking the other day about how when we were growing up we are taught that no matter what you were given you always had to say 'thank you', smile and act grateful. And sometimes, let's be honest, we have to act awful hard to be grateful, because some gifts truly were bad. Worse than bad. Terrible. Horrific even. Almost unspeakably bad. Almost. Because we then got reminiscing and came up with our top ten worst gifts…the gifts we think should never ever be given at Christmas time. Ever.
#1 Dust buster.
Hey, Merry Christmas, I’ve noticed your car’s a tip and you clearly don’t believe in vacuuming, you dirty pig. That’s what a person hears when they unwrap a dust buster, or any cleaning implement for that matter, at Christmas.
#2 Ugly Christmas sweater.
There was debate among the beauty crew on this one. I personally have a fascination with ugly Christmas sweaters, but I was the odd one out. Apparently these are not good Christmas gifts. Because you only get to wear them once again, and usually it’s hot on Christmas day so you only end up ponging if you be polite and wear it for the day, or half an hour. (Christmas t-shirts are ok though right? ****Managerial note: No, they’re not. Let it go already.)
#3 Tea towels.
They could have the most beautiful design and be made from the finest cotton, but they’re still tea towels. Unless you can make 100% sure that the person you’re thinking of buying them for is some sort of tea towel fanatic, then just don’t.
For one, it’s an appliance. Appliances should be bought outside of gifting times. For two, it’s something other people might get joy out of. Christmas presents should be for the joy of the giftee only. There shouldn’t be a situation where they’ll have to share it out of obligation rather than choice. This also applies to jugs, saucepans and microwaves. Ironically this does not apply to KitchenAid mixers or fancy coffee machines...do not debate why this is, just understand that it is so!
(Note the rictus. No one smiles while applying deo.)
It could cost a bomb, but it usually doesn't and all it says is ‘I think you stink, and I'm not spending more than $5.00 on you!'
#6 Egg timer.
Seriously. Who likes eggs that much? Especially do not gift to a person who does not eat eggs, and why in fact would the thought even cross your mind?
Taste is a funny old thing. What you think is sublime others will think sucks. Unless you know someone’s artistic tastes through and through, do not buy them art. They’ll just have to store it somewhere and then go through the stress of remembering to put it up when you turn up for a visit.
Yes, your trip to Egypt was a once in a lifetime unforgettable experience and you had to bring home a mini-pyramid paperweight. Yes Vegas was a blast and you bought the snow globe to prove it. Great for you. Not so great for others. Keep your tourist souvenirs at your house and out of Christmas gift boxes.
#9 Edible/drinkable gifts you didn’t want.
Imagine opening a box of chocolates to find they’d gone white with age? Or being given a bottle of wine that was so old you may as well been sucking back malt vinegar. Those gifts you were given a couple of years ago but not gotten round to eating and drinking? Those pickled 'Wazoo's from your bad staff Christmas Gift from last year! Either consume them yourself or chuck them out.
#10 The gift where you get given nothing.
(Goat says, 'you what now?')
This one may be controversial… you know how it’s really nice to give to charity? How it warms your heart and makes you feel like a super good example of a human being. Well, it’s not always a good idea to give that gift of giving to someone else to another human being. Some of us want to unwrap a gift to discover a voucher to our favourite beauty store, not a voucher telling us we’ve just given a goat to a village. If we want to give goats we'll give goats of our own volition. Don't force goat giving on us.
Basically when gifting First and only rule! – know thy recipient. Do your research. Heck, even ask them. Because a gift loved is a gift appreciated, a gift unloved is a gift unforgotten… and payback can be a you know what…
One gift we’re sure any beauty lover will adore? A Best Beauty Box Ever! Give one of our amazing boxes and you'll know that when they smile and say thank you they'll mean it. And as you generally get 2.3 x the value inside vs what you would have paid for each of the products individually when they add up the cost of what you've spent on them...well you will rocket to the top of the Christmas giving list!
Check out these amazing beauty boxes below and you'll soon see what we mean!
How do you rate your company at Christmas?
No matter where we are in our careers, what roles we've held, we've all been employees at least once, probably more. Which means we've probably received a bad Christmas staff gift, and also for some of us, been responsible for giving them.
So what makes a bad staff gift? Sadly it's not hard to get it wrong - and yet so easy to get it right! Here are out top 10 staff gift mistakes to avoid! And as Sir Richard Branson says 'If you look after your staff, they'll look after your customers!'
To make your staff feel appreciated you don't have to spend a lot, and often as long as some thought has actually BEEN put into it it is the 'thought that counts'. So if you want to get it right for at least the ladies in your company this year check out these great ideas below! You're guaranteed to get a 'WOW' when it's opened and the title of the "best boss EVER'!
What did you ask Santa for this year? Hopefully things off of your want list, rather than your need list. But still, you probably opted for the the more practical things off of your lust list right? Hair care products, your favourite skin care.
But for some, Christmas is the time to go all out - here we give the ultimate wish list. The 'I don't need it, but now I want it' list.
So grab a mug of mulled wine and lose yourself in Ultimate Christmas Beauty Envy List.
Luxury Perfume Minis.
These 5ml perfume samples from Bond No.9 Magic In a Jewel Box will set you back a cool $3700. Well, you wouldn't want to buy the full-size unless you knew you liked them right?!
Platinum for your face
For just over $2000 you can treat your skin to some platinum loving with La Prarie's Ultimate Platinum Indulgences. Hey, it's cheaper than a ring though so.....!
A grown up advent calendar
Like with the colouring books for adults, why should kids get all the fun? For a cool $500 Estee Lauder's Holiday Countdown Advent Calendar can be yours, and you can have a new mini sample product every day!
With the Diptyque Scented Candle, you'll literally be burning away $450. But you'll also be high from the smell of silly season, and left with a cool little jar, so totally worth it right? Might take your mind off your sister in law making puppy dog eyes at your mother's new boyfriend!
Enough products to be Naked forever
For a cool $420 you can nab the Urban Decay Naked Vault Vol III and have everything you need to be completely naked. And boy oh boy, does it take a lot to be naked these days!
So it's been fun looking at insanely expensive beauty products, but if you're feeling ready to come back to earth, why not check out these even more awesome present ideas. More awesome why? Well - you get much, much more than what you pay for to start! So wanna look good in the eyes of the person you love? Well..start here!
So what are you waiting for? Pick one of these boxes below to give to someone you love this Christmas!
To say I’m enamoured with K-Beauty is an understatement. Not a day goes by that I’m not scouring the interwebs to see what the next big thing is, and if I can get my hands on it, or try it out. So it was with much delight that Vogue magazine ran an article about a K-Beauty trend that I could have a go at from the comfort of my own home without having to go to any great effort. Apparently this trend was actually started by a Japanese beauty blogger, although for the life of Google I can’t find anything saying who the creator of this new trend was. Anyway, it’s called Jamsu, and it’s also called ‘face diving’. Basically what you do is apply your base – primer, foundation, concealer – then smother your face in baby powder, before diving your face into a sinkful of cold water for up to thirty seconds. Once you’ve come up for air you’re meant to pat your skin dry, apply the rest of your makeup, and you’ll go about your day with perfectly matte skin that’ll stick to your face instead of sliding off it.
I don’t know about you but when I read this all I could imagine was me with a face full of paste after dunking my moosh in the water.
Well… there was only one way to find out if my suspicions were correct...
So here you have me with my base face on.
On my face there’s Benefit 'That Gal' Brightening Face Primer, Lioele Triple The Solution BB Cream (which for me is way more like a medium coverage foundation), and on top of that is Revlon’s Photoready Eye Primer + Brightener.
Next up I had to pat on the powder 'freely'. I was also to release 'clouds of it into the air'. So I patted it on, and I can certainly say there were clouds involved. This was the result.
Next, it was time to plunge my face into a bowl filled with cold water. I tell you what, if you're ever feeling sluggish. Shove your full face into freezing water and hold your breath for up to thirty seconds. It gets your heart racing.
After holding my breath for as long as I could - probably for twenty seconds, which confirms my suspicion that a career in free diving is not for me, I released my face from the chilly depths of the water and... well... it was hot cakey mess. Not to be disheartened, and refusing to give up, I patted my face dry, and, well, it was a more even, but still a pasty-coloured cakey mess.
So I gave it a couple of minutes to settle, just in case that's what it needed - but. Yeah. Nah. The photo below makes the result look better than it was. My face felt super smooth, which was nice. And it was definitely matte. But it looked like I had a mask on, or like I had bought powder foundation two shades too light and was determined to use it anyway.
Face Diving - Fab or Fail?
It gets a big FAIL from me.
So do tell... have you tried Face Diving? Did you do it differently? Did I make a booboo along the way? And would I try it again even if I had? Nah. Life's too short to add another twenty minutes to my already long beauty routine.
Modernity is a funny thing. As technology evolves to make even the most simple of everyday tasks easier, we still find ourselves with too few hours in the day.
It doesn't matter if you're a working mama or a student juggling study and work, it's important to take time for yourself and de-stress. But if you can't find the time for a cup of tea, how can you be expected to find your zen?
And here, grasshopper, is the answer. Meditation. On the go.
You don't need to sit cross legged and partake in 20 minutes of humming to meditate. You can meditate anywhere and everywhere, enhancing your calm and making your day much less stressful.
1. Create a mantra.
We're plagued with negative emotions throughout the day and they can come from nowhere. For example, you might be grocery shopping and catch an unflattering glimpse in the chiller doors. All of a sudden in the middle of picking your pesto dip, you're feeling fat, ugly and unworthy of said pesto dip.
A simple deep breath and a positive statement can nip this negativity in the bud.
Buddhists believe your life consists of a set number of breaths - so slow down, take deep breaths and just enjoy where you are right now. You already breathe without thinking, so don't worry about doing it right. Just breathe deeply and slowly.
3. Focus on your feet.
While you're walking to the office, to the bank or the school run, don't just focus on the destination. Be conscious of each step as you take in your surroundings. Instead of running through the to-do list, the daily worries ("did I leave my straighteners on?") enjoy the journey - you're not going to get there any more quickly stressing through it and you'll arrive mentally refreshed if you appreciate the small things.
Do you eat on the run? Grab a quick coffee and forget about it until it's cold? Give yourself permission to stop. Enjoy your sandwich, focus on the taste, savour each mouthful. Enjoy your coffee while it's warm, breathe in the aroma. Taking 5 minutes, even when you don't feel like you have it, is a great way to destress, and return to duty with more vigour than before.
5. Use technology to help you.
If you really can't function without technology, check out some 'mind training' apps to remind you to focus on what's really important. Headspace is a popular app that teaches you to treat your head right. Creator and mentor Andy Puddicombe has been described by the New York Times as the Jamie Oliver of meditation. Or try calming GIFs, like this one. Calming Squid.
Even if you don't feel like it, smile. Close your eyes, think of something you love, take a deep breath and smile as you exhale. Feel better?
Lastly, when all else fails, go with The Beatles.
Let it be.
There are things you cannot change, so why stress about it? Did someone jump in front of you at the checkouts? Steal your parking space? You can't change someone else's actions, but you can control your reaction to it. Instead of letting anger seep in and affect your mood and snowball your day, just breathe, have faith in karma, and get on with your day. Your inner peace will thank you for it.
This video popped up in my newsfeed last week and it got me to thinking back.
Back to a few years ago when I lead the 4 Week Water Challenge over at Beauty Review. Along with loads of members from all over the country, I increased my water intake and monitored the changes in my skin, body and mood. I was really surprised by the results - but of course, life, babies and work has gotten in the way and I've let my water intake slide in favour of Coke Zero and tea.
As so many parents before me, I'm a little (ok a lot) hypocritical. At 3.5 years old, Milky Chops drinks nothing but water, and I'm stoked about that. Me? I seem to drink everything but. For those who don't speak in fluid-ounces, this video is based on drinking 3 litres a day. Right now I drink half that. Which considering I'm breastfeeding is terrible! So starting next Monday, I'm going to increase my water.
It's time to kick start healthy living, starting with something easier than cutting stuff out. I'm going to add water in.
Are you in? Take a selfie before and after the 4 weeks and email me them at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can include you in the final results!
Life is busy right? So it stands to reason there are lots of things we need or want to do that we just don't get round to doing. We got chatting about these types of things the other day at BRHQ when one of the crew mentioned she'd had her 'lady-W.O.F' and had been told off by her doctor for putting it off for so long.
"It's just one of those things isn't it?" said Beauty Crew member exclaimed. "You know, you keep meaning to do it but never get round to it. Like buying knickers." And thus out of this statement, a pondering blog post was born.
So, come on, when did you last...
I'm going to make a bit of a sweeping generalisation. If you live with a partner, husband, wife, lover, whatever, you've probably gone a bit longer than the average single girl when it comes to buying knickers.
Speaking as a married woman, I can honestly say the last time I bought knickers was when I when I was pregnant and my underwear was riding down and doing my head in. So I bought some $50 a pair over the bump knickers. The biggest knickers I've ever seen.
Prior to my humongous pregnancy pants, the last time I bought knickers was...um, two years ago.
...have a smear test
If you're between 20 and 70 you should be having a cervical screen every three years. Look, it's not very pleasant - it's very much a 'lay back and think of England' situation. That being said, it's 5 minutes of flashing your lady area to a trained medical professional every 3 years and it could save your life. So book in.
I had my last smear test a few weeks ago. While wearing Billy in a woven wrap. Because sometimes you just got to get the job done.
...have a bra fitting
While we're on the subject of flashing, when did you last get fitted for a bra? Over 90% of women when fitted find out they've been wearing the wrong size.
You should be getting measured during and after weight loss, throughout pregnancy and the postpartum period and at least once a year regardless. Hey if you're in-store anyway, why not just get fitted and buy the right bra?
I'm 8 months post partum and still breastfeeding, but I'll get measured next time I'm shopping. Promise.
...clean your makeup brushes
Ok not to mention the product build up on them, what about the bacteria and icky little bugs that are growing and contaminating your products and then being spread all over your face?
I was my brushes after each use. But you should at least aim for once a week.
...have a spring-clean
We're talking spring cleaning your makeup, bathroom cabinet or wardrobe. All three contain items that go out of date, probably sooner than you realise!
I actually went through every cupboard in every room about a month ago. I'm not weird or anything, I just couldn't sleep!
...change your hairstyle
Anna Wintour may know about clothes, but that lady needs to know how to shake things up a little wither her hair! I'm pretty good at this one, I know a few hairdressers and changing up my hair has never been something that bothered me. I just go for it, and wear a hat if it's a fail.
Have you been rocking the same hairstyle for years? Change it up! Even something subtle like layering or a fringe can give you a bounce in your step and a new lease of life.
I am bad at this, I have no issue treating the boys, or The Mummy, or The Husband on a whim, yet every purchase for myself needs justifying. Items are added to carts and there they sit until they expire.
Why do I find it easy to justify other people's happiness but my own I struggle with? I dunno. But I do know I'm about to hit checkout on the You Won't Believe It's HAIR box.