I have a sad update for you all. Several members of my family have tested positive for covid-19 despite doing their best to dodge the virus in the lead-up to our big family lunch. Oh well, it was bound to happen, wasn’t it? So, instead of risking the rest of us and leaving people out, we’re having everything over zoom! BYO lunch and drinks, and my dad took it upon himself to play santa, so he’s spending Christmas Eve picking up and delivering presents in his hazmat suit so we can all enjoy gifting on the day without anyone putting each other at risk. I’ll await his text, place my presents in a box on the front porch, go back inside and let him collect them. Honestly, it feels like a high stake mission and I’m kind of looking forward to the drama. Later, he’ll be back with my presents, and we’ll do the same steps to exchange. You’ve got to keep things interesting somehow!
I think the hardest problem I’m facing this year for Christmas is managing all my family members. With the pandemic still not over, half my family is jaded, apathetic, or simply refusing to let another special holiday be ruined by illness or apprehension. On the other side, we’ve got the worrywarts and health anxious family members who are seriously considering not coming to lunch. No one is ill, no one has had any scares recently, but they’re still nervous. I absolutely understand. Myself, I’m a little on the fence. I want to be careful and considerate, but I also can’t bring myself to accept that I might be stuck at home again. It may just be a case of whoever wants to come comes, and those who stay at home video call in. That is, if no drama ensues. You never know with my family.
There’s been so much stress recently, I knew exactly what to gift my family members. The ultimate spa gift, with face masks, gua sha and jade rollers, Epsom salts, bath bombs, hair masks, candles. You name it. Everyone has a little gift basket with a collection of things to help them to relax. I even got these Christmas Crackers with a duo of face masks to decorate the lunch table, which is just one extra gift, right? No more plastic magnifying glasses or small metal puzzles. I made fabric hats, to be more eco-friendly, seeing as we won’t have traditional crackers, which I’m very proud of. They’re made from thrifted Christmas fabric, with the classic crown shape and a ribbon in the back so they can be adjusted for all head sizes. I myself have a smaller head, and the hats always slip down over my eyes! We can’t have that anymore, I thought. I’m going to do a lucky dip for the hats, hand in a bag situation, but there is a specific one I’m hoping with be left for me to grab. It’s red on one side, with gold reindeer stitched across, like they’re running or flying across your brow. On the other side, because I had to make them double sided, is navy blue with gold and silver stars. You know, the more I think of it, I might just take it for myself first! If you’re coming to my Christmas lunch and are reading this… let me have my fun! I did make them all, after all.
In fact, my whole family is quite crafty. My mother made cross stitch place cards for everyone in the family, all with their own Christmas icon (mine is a bauble). We have handmade table runners, and I know plenty of people will be wearing handmade outfits! We used to wear joke shirts, but at some point we decided to glam up a little bit, and everyone changed tune. Sometimes it’s hard to find the right Christmas outfit that isn’t gaudy, but this family comes through! I was even asked for the pattern last year that I used for my dress. Unfortunately, I had to tell them, I completely winged it. Oh well, it earned me a few extra compliments!
Well, look at that, I went completely off topic. My apologies readers! I am hoping I will get to see my entire family for our annual lunch, but even if not, I hope my gifts can help provide some relaxation and restoration. If I do say so myself, I thought it was the perfect present idea after a long and stressful year. So if you’re in a pinch and need inspiration, feel free to steal this idea for your own friends and family!
Hi everyone, it’s good to be back with a new post! Since the last blog I uploaded, I was forces to move back in with my parents to avoid going into debt. If I’m honest, this came with a lot of mixed emotions. On one hand, not paying rent and only chipping in for groceries is great, and I have a lot of fun joking around and playing card games with my parents. On the other hand, it was a difficult loss of independence, and coming back after years apart gives you the opportunity, whether you like it or not, to see them in a new light. You’re all adults, and that feeling of ‘you’re my parent and can do no wrong’ has faded. If it was there to begin with, I’m sure many of you didn’t need as much time to see that parents are just as flawed as everyone else. If you haven’t reached that conclusion, boy do I have news for you. (Sorry!)
The final straw I suppose keeping up the façade was when I realised that my dad doesn’t like to apologise. He some something to me that was out of line, and so I called him out and explained why it was inappropriate, and he couldn’t bring himself to even acknowledge what I was saying. Instead, he avoided interacting with me for a few days, then acted like it had never even happened. When I was younger, I always saw this behaviour as normal – he was giving me space to get over my anger. Obviously, that’s not particularly healthy. To make things more interesting, he brought me the best beard oil he could find, as a peace offering, which was bizarre! I just wanted a simple apology.
I can’t spend this whole time complaining, because he’s also been supportive despite the circumstances, helping me to get my car sorted and subtly taking me out for lunch to keep me from another day eating white bread and two minute noodles. All in all, it’s just a strange thing to move home.
My parents moved houses after I moved out, so ‘coming home’ doesn’t have quite the same feeling of regression. I’m reminded of my situation by actions (and constant company), so I can’t imagine going back to your childhood room. Especially if it’s relatively untouched, posters, toys, knick-knacks aplenty! A friend on mine still had his race car bed frame! At 27, no less. Although, on the flip side, some of my friends found that moving home into their old rooms reconnected them with old hobbies and interests, so it was almost exciting. Each to their own, I suppose.
Well, what a rant! I usually pride myself on coherency, but you’ll have to give me a pass this time. Not only that, let me know if you can relate!
Trying to juggle life has become quite difficult recently! Between running the business, planning and prepping for Christmas, and coping with life in lockdown, I really don’t feel like my usual positive self.
Covid has put the business a few steps back unfortunately. I mean, it was expected but it doesn’t make it any easier! There have been a few good things to come out of lockdown though… it’s meant we’ve got to spend more time with our beautiful family – I’ve never seen my daughters so much! With them being housebound and us not going into the office, we have spent 90% of the day in each other’s company. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had our fair share of arguments, but overall, it’s been great.
All this stress has definitely taken a toll on my skin. I spoke about how I’d sorted out my skincare routine a few blog posts ago, and I can say it did make a noticeable difference. However, coming towards the end of November – start of December, my skin really started to get worse again. I think it might be the cold weather as it’s a little dry and a bit sore. I had to find a solution for this though, as this was just adding to my stress even more! I loved the toner I raved about in my previous skincare post, so I decided to check out some other products from the same brand…
I HAVE to share this product with you, it’s amazing. This Q+A hyaluronic acid for skin has done wonders for my dry patches – it’s so hydrating and feels so smooth to apply. I can’t recommend it enough!
Now that Christmas has passed and we’re heading into the new year, I’m trying to focus on all the good things that came out of this year and trying not to dwell on the negatives. I’ve got a good feeling about 2021 on a personal and business level…. Bring it on!
That’s right! Our business has an heir to inherit it all now that my sister and her husband welcomed a little one into the world, named Polly. I’ll have to hand over cutest family member to her, I think I’ll get over it though. It was always our dream to create something to live on for generations, so hopefully Polly has an eye for business!
I know I’ve mentioned beard and skin care in past blogs, but today I though I’d share a little insight into why I’ve talked about them on a blog dedicated to my family business. You see, running a business is very stressful. All kinds of sleep deprived, early morning, forgot to eat stress.
In fact, I don’t think I’ve had a proper holiday in years. A day off here and there, sure, but whenever I’m not with my family, or in the office, I need to be contactable because of how integrated my role is within the day to day workings of the business. I miss a few days, we could end up with unmanageable delays. So yeah, I don’t really go on holidays.
I’ve done plenty of reading on the subject of skincare and health, and come to the conclusion (or rather, it’s been force-fed to me for my own good), that not having enough time to rest and relax does take a toll on your skin and hair. The stress shows, as I say. But if I can’t take time off, there’s got to be another way to mediate the effects of my own stress. There has to be! I started with vitamins, and making sure my diet was a priority, even if it meant saying no to family pizza day for a salad instead. Breakfast, definitely. I invested in silk sheets, and blackout curtains. A sunrise alarm clock, which brightens as you wake.
Finally I had to face the real problem… my skincare routine. Or rather, lack thereof. I know, I know, it’s terrible! I tried my hardest to avoid actually helping my skin with skincare. I just thought it was going to take me too much time, which I would rather spend absorbing warmth in bed. I know this is a strange complaint, but I also hate water dripping down my arms, especially if it’s into my sleeve, so cleansing has always seemed slightly awful to me and absolutely not worth the hassle. Obviously that’s not the case. But this does set the scene, I need multifunctional skincare products to slap on twice a day to keep me looking pretty, and maybe something for a weekly pampering.
This made my search a little harder, looking for the right ingredients, rather than a product with nice packaging. A little googling on the bus one day, a little Instagram scouring whilst I ate lunch another. I wasn’t going to just buy and a whim for it to either do nothing, or make my skin worse. I ended up looking at niacinamide for skin, because I had read about it being a good ingredient for stressed skin, and that’s a descriptor I can give myself. In a toner form too, or a serum, just to apply and go off and do something else whilst it absorbed. Easy-peasy.
Yes, I got a cleanser too, but with a special silicone brush so the water doesn’t drip on me. It’s very soothing, too, and doesn’t make my skin feel dry when I’m done. Moisturiser’s easy. I found I could do each step in between my usual night time routine. Cleanser, drink of water, toner, get into pjs, serum, brush teeth, moisturiser, bed. Simple.
So that’s why I’ve got a bit more of a skincare focus now. It helps me have more confidence when I walk into work at 6:30am, rather than feeling like a bedraggled witch.
I have something to confess.
I am a long-time lover of squalane (no, that’s not my confession). It’s an incredible moisturiser, and really supports my skin in being supple and smooth. I’ve read that some people find it too intense, but I can’t get enough. Every night! I don’t have time to spell out every single benefit, but you can read about it here.
But I was just doing some research, and came across the fact that squalane can be derived from natural sources, like olive oil, or commonly shark liver!!! They have to kill the shark to harvest the squalane, and the kinds of sharks that are being targeted are endangered. I felt sick to my stomach that I was giving money to the people who do this! It’s absolutely appalling. Sorry, I can can’t get over it. I poured the rest of that bottle down the drain because I couldn’t even look at it. I’m a pretty staunch vegan, and have been for years, if you couldn’t tell. I’ve protested against harvesting shark fins, all the while pouring their liver oils all over my face. Disgusting.
But with just a day of not using it, I could tell the difference. My skin felt dry, and looked papery. I could just be being dramatic, but I honestly didn’t feel myself. Thankfully there is the option for natural squalane. And I went on a mission to find it. Surprisingly enough, it is in a whole range of different products, mostly moisturisers or oil mixtures, but I didn’t find it that easy to find a pure one. Some store attendants I spoke to didn’t even know what it was! Now I’m not the biggest fan of Amazon either, but I turned to Bezos’ money machine to try and find my replacement. And I found it, thank the heavens. You have to try this squalane oil. It’s by this no frills brand Ellipsis Labs, so you get exactly what they say… No need for bright colours or flowery descriptions. And it’s a bloody miracle. Even better than my old one, I’m sure. I’m glowing!
Unfortunately though I’ve now been so worried that I’ve unwittingly been using other non vegan products! Time to become an expert on ingredients lists… If you have any tips please let me know!
I’m pretty busy trying to keep the family business up and keeping me and my brothers’ heads above water. I’m not complaining I love my brothers and the business but recently for the first time in a long time I got to hang out with one of my old friends and let me tell you I did not realize I needed a break until I actually went on one. It was great we went out and had a nice meal, we went to see a play to try and feel sophisticated and mature then we ended up bailing on the play to go get a couple of drinks at our other friend’s bar. And then she joined us and it ended up turning out like one of those good old girls nights we used to have at the dorms in college. And just like college at some point the drinks got us complaining about our significant others. Here comes the meat of this article.
This is a message to all guys with beards from the ladies who love you. Wash the darn thing. A beard is literally something we have to brush up against every time we go to kiss you. The only thing more important than washing your beard is probably brushing your teeth but if your breath stinks on the daily I’m sorry unless there is a genuine (treatable) medical or dental reason for your breath don’t expect me to kiss you anytime soon. The beard might be worse though as my friend describes it. Her boyfriend’s beard was starting to get funky from time to time and apparently he had been misinformed that washing it was bad. He gave in and started washing it again and now my friend had to deal with a completely different problem. He washed it with regular shampoo and now she was rubbing up against a beard with the delicateness of steel wool or one of those wiry sponges. Guys please educate yourselves on your beard. It’s not your fault but for real buy a beard wash and if your lady still seems apprehensive about your beard then maybe get a beard oil too while you’re at it. The extra effort will not only make the beard look better but also you in the process. As a woman a guy who is active about taking care of himself is downright sexy. And no there is nothing wrong with enjoying this sort of thing. So there hope that helps you guys out and ladies I tried it’s up to the guys now.
Things are starting to get a little crazy trying to manage the business. Unsurprisingly not everything always goes according to plan, but we’re still doing alright just a few little hiccups here and there nothing to be worried about. The next article should be up relatively soon if everything is willing to cooperate. Even if things don’t cooperate I’ll do my best to get that article up as quickly as possible so stay tuned!
You’re looking to start a business centered around men’s grooming. You’ve got the drive, the resources, and the killer product ready to take the market by storm. Maybe you’ve got the next best Augengel to revolutionize the eye gel industry or something like that. But that’s easier said than done, well fear not since we’ll be going over a few tips to getting that business off the ground and reaching for the skies.
- Get an outside perspective
It’s easy to fall into the grandiose idea of starting a company and becoming a leading brand with endless resources at your disposal. But you’ve got to do a little research first otherwise you’ll never have a shot at that dream of yours. You’ve got to test the market to see if your ideas actually have any merit. Try getting opinions from loved ones first and then expand outwards to friends and acquaintances you trust. Now the fear of ideas leaking and getting ripped off is there but just be careful not to reveal too much of your process or product and you should be golden. Basically figure out if it’s something people will want to pay for immediately or if perhaps you’ll need to do a little advocating in order to change some mindsets.
- Test things out
Now you’ve talked to people about the product you’ve got right? Now it’s time to see if your product is any good. Make a batch for friends and family members to try and get their feedback on it. You might have to ask them to be brutally honest with you in regards to your products because if they aren’t I guarantee that buyers will be. If you get any criticisms that you feel make sense then feel free to either mess around with your products or come up with an alternative if they’re finding an issue with something explicitly subjective.
- Don’t expect the perfect launch
If this isn’t your first business you know this tip well enough. But for those of you for whom this will be a brand new experience let’s just make this clear “things are going to screw up at some point”. Of course you should plan ahead and try to avoid screw ups but know that even with all the planning in the world there is still a very real chance that things will run into obstacles. Which leads to our last general tip—
- Improvise. Adapt. Overcome.
As funny as this meme is it’s the perfect attitude to have when starting this new business. You’ve got to focus on survival in these early stages. You need to think on your feet and change your approach as it becomes necessary. For many many MANY successful businesses the early hiccups would often lead them to trying things out that would later define the success they now enjoy.
Good luck with your business. Oh and make sure this isn’t all the research you’re doing because this is a nice jumping off point but by no means all inclusive.