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8 December 2017 5 comments

R E L A X ,   R E V I V E ,   R E C O N N E C T

As the year comes to a close, it's not at all uncommon to feel the 'afterburn' of whatever else onerous, tedious or trying you've had going on in your life. And what with the lack of sunshine to brighten your frame of mind, your winter mood can quickly snowball (ho hum ;) from almost jovial, to having a severe case of the winter blues.

If, like me, you feel like your mood suffers with the failing light, then I hope my seven ways to unwind help you feel a little more like yourself this winter :)

T H E   S P A

The ultimate winter wind-down for me, is a long weekend at the spa. F and I went recently and it's just the dreamiest way to split up the transition from autumn, and give yourself a pre-Christmas treat - especially as all that warm, bubbly water seems extra inviting and luxurious when it's cold outside. And, as we did, don't even think about using, or heck even taking, your phone - embrace the digital detox and you'll feel all the better for it :)

Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa is just a stone's throw from Cambridge, and the perfect place to retreat from a day's exploring, or even better, indulge in a full spa break. Like many of my favourite spa destinations, they've a Twilight package that gives all the comfort and relaxation of your lovely-post-office-evening-bath, but bathed (and quite literally) in the splendour of Bedford Lodge's luxury facilities. And make sure to take a visit to the restaurant - local produce sourced within a 50 mile radius of the hotel - angel chorus to a food lover's ears ;)


And if, for whatever reason, you can't make it to the spa, bring the spa to you.

There's no better season to indulge in as much pampering as you can fit into your day. Face masks, hair masks, painting nails, running a relaxing bath, and lighting all of your favourite candles, it's the perfect time for head to toe pampering and removing all the stresses of the day. Let me indulge in sharing a few favourites with you, as well as directing you to the R+R section of my gift guide for more ideas!

Something else that I find quite relaxing, oddly enough you may think, is making an extra effort to go makeup free. Especially as bloggers, we make our way through oodles of products and it's nice to give our skin the space to breathe as often as we can. Instead of applying makeup in the mornings, one day in every so many, I use that 15-20 minutes to treat my skin with a face mask. Two birds and all that!


I feel like 'cosy' should be a musical genre, because there are certain songs that make me feel just that. The kind that are able to evoke all the feelings of being tucked up inside, and can automagically loosen tension in my shoulders when I hit play. I'll share some favorites below, and do let me know your recommendations!

ILYSM - LANY (I've never heard backing chords sound so dreamy)
Six Eight - Gabriel Garzon-Montano
Hey Laura - Gregory Porter
Ordinary People (Live from Milan) - John Legend
Green & Gold (Solo) - Lianne La Havas
For You (Live) - Gavin James
The World Is Crowded - Unknown Mortal Orchestra
The Christmas Waltz - Peggy Lee

(P.S some songs just require some good quality, noise-cancelling headphones to get the best out of them. Easier to lose yourself :)

C H R I S T M A S   P R E P

What I used to think of as a somewhat stressful occurrence, (most likely due to leaving everything last minute) I now relish in Christmas shopping and wrapping, after giving it a touch of 'slow living' love.

I love shopping for others, and find it a real joy to put time, effort and consideration into my gifts, and it's why I like to share such giant Christmas Gift Guides with you! And I thoroughly encourage the practise of buying yourself a little something too ;)

Likewise with the wrapping, I used to leave everything until the eleventh hour of Christmas eve, but the entire process of wrapping itself can be much, much more enjoyable if you let it! Treat it as a pamper session for your inner being - grab some wine if you're so inclined, invest effort into some beautiful wrapping paper, ribbons or decorations (these need not be expensive! Just some boxes, brown paper and velveteen ribbon will have you well on your way) and take joy in creating little bundles of beauty, to be nestled under the tree.

D I G I T A L   D E T O X I N G   +   T H E   A R T   O F   D O I N G   N O T H I N G

If you can manage it, mindfully doing as little as possible is a wonderful unwind-er in any season, although especially fruitful I find in winter. It seems that in our busy lifestyles, to idle is to be guilty.

And if you can't manage giving up on all of your to-do lists, then at the very least, carry on with your tasks and errands, without the company of your phone! Digital detoxing is one of favourite mantras to come away from 2017 with and I really try to make an effort to incorporate it meaningfully and regularly into my life.

B A K E ,   E A T.

Winter is the season of baking in Casa BTB, and I extend this tradition to all of you! Fresh bread, warm cakes, and gooey desserts are the best smells to fill the house with when it's bitter and bleak outside and the sky's early darkening makes for the perfect excuse to alight some atmospheric mood lighting (fairy lights obligatory) and make an afternoon of it.

A wonderful activity to include the kids in too - something like these Blueberry Muffincakes are both easy and delicious.

C A F E   C U L T U R E

I often pop into a cafe to get out of the cold and grab a mug, or paper cup, of something hot and sweet - especially now that coffee shop drinks are festive and at their best - but it's perhaps less often that I spend all morning, or even most of the day there.

And on the occasions I do, I always think - why do I not do this more often?!

There's something lovely about whiling away several hours in a bustling cafe, taking your laptop perhaps and nabbing your favourite corner - for me, I feel completely anonymous, in the best, most reassuring way. A treat especially when the winter brings the wind and rain, and you can hear it pattering on the exterior, from the safety of your table. With a slab of cake and a pot of tea on hand of course.

Do let me know your favourite ways to relax and unwind, and wishing you all a wonderful weekend ahead!

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This post is in collaboration with Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa.
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