Latest Posts

Moving From London To The Countryside

Well hi there,

If you have read my ABOUT page it will come as no surprise to you that I am very accustomed to moving up and down the country with my husband’s job and my children.  It has not been without it’s fair set of challenges along the way, but I can honestly say I am very grateful to of experienced living in different counties of England.

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Before we moved to the idyllic setting of the Cotswolds-Gloucestershire, we were living back on the outskirts of London. I was happy to be what I call “HOME” being born and bred in London, and it was really great to be able to catch up with family and friends and get back into the fast pace of ‘London’ living.

However, when we were due to leave again I found it so strange that so many people thought I was brave to be okay about moving out of London again.

What was brave about it?

It made me think how easy it is to become so confined to one place throughout our whole lives. Quite often we build up a great network of friend’s and then go onto have families, and our children end up playing with our friend’s children and it’s all very predictable and safe. But is that a good enough reason to stay living in the same place until we get chucked into a care home?

Morbid I know but true..

Friend’s would often say they liked the idea of moving out of London but couldn’t imagine actually doing it.

What was stopping them?

Fear of the unknown?

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I must admit when I first moved out of London to the leafy, rural cabbage fields of Lincolnshire, I literally cried for weeks. I didn’t really know what I was crying about apart from the fact that I was scared of what to expect.

However, once my husband introduced me to Lincoln town centre, and I spotted my favourite shops, my insecurities gradually slipped away and it became a pleasant home for the next 4 years.

And guess what I survived!

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If I am completely honest the real difficulties and stresses I have found have been settling the children into their schools with often having to appeal for school places. This has been pretty stressful at times to say the least.

Also having to leave great friends behind and make new ones can often be a little bit challenging and has definitely pulled on the heart strings throughout this journey.

But I can honestly say the positives outweigh the negatives.

  • People are generally more chilled and friendly.
  • You can drive down the road without the fear of someone having road rage at you for doing the speed limit.
  • You can breath in fresh, pure air.
  • Your commute to work is pleasant with lovely views of hills.
  • You can come home from work at a reasonable time without having to fight your way onto the tube, and having to blow black, smog out of your nose once you return home.

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You can have all this if you just put your fears and worries aside.

Just do it!

I would love to know if you have made a move to the countryside from a London?

If you are thinking of doing it and need some honest questions and advice, please don’t hesitate to drop me a comment.

 

Much love

Gemma xx

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3 Simple Hairstyles That Anyone Can Do…

 

As a Hair and Make-up artist I very rarely spend time on myself.

My hair is either slapped back into a ponytail or worn down with a few waves run through with straighteners.

I suppose it is mainly down to laziness and more importantly time.

I love it when I see other people with gorgeous braids and I get annoyed with myself as a hair specialist, that I don’t make more effort (especially as I can do most styles tbh).

So, I thought I would share with you, 3 hairstyles I have been experimenting with lately.. and that you do not need to be a professional to do.

The Halo Braid

  • The dirtier the hair the better. If your hair is freshly washed try adding some dry shampoo to the roots and brushing through.
  • Roughly section the hair at the front. I normally make the parting far over to the side.
  • Start to braid the hair across the top of your head. A little tip which sounds weird, but try not to look in the mirror when braiding. It can actually make you go wrong.
  • Once you have braided down the side you need to secure it with a band and then repeat on the other side. (I use clear, plastic bands that can be purchased from Amazon).
  • Once you have completed both braids secure them together with a band and form a ponytail at the back, you can either choose to leave it like this or add some pins to make it go round into a halo.

 

 

The Basic Ponytail With A Twist

Okay, so I am the queen of throwing my hair back in a ponytail most days just because its practical-obvs. But I have discovered it takes no time at all just to make a ponytail look a little bit more -for want of a better word ‘special’. 

  • If your hair is a bit greasy, spray some dry shampoo into the roots.
  • Pull your hair back into a high ponytail and secure with a band.
  • Leave some hair out at the front just so you can curl it to give a natural look.
  • Grab some hair at the crown and loosen to give some height.
  • Take the ponytail and start to twist it round the band.
  • Once the ponytail is forming a bun/twist start to pin parts of the bun.
  • Go back to pulling some hair out to loosen the ponytail and keep it looking natural.
  • Finally with tongs or straighteners, curl the two strands that you have left out at the front to frame the face.

The Front Twist Roll

So admittedly this one can be a bit tricky; but the key is to not give up, as once you let go of the hair it’s all over and you will have to start again.

 

  • Take two strands of hair at the front and literally start twisting, picking up the hair from each side as if you were doing a french braid with three strands.
  • Once you get to the back, pin and secure.
  • Continue down the other side and pin.
  • At the back you will have some remaining hair in the middle. Start to roll at the nape of the neck and incorporate the side twists.
  • Pin the roll so that it’s secure and then start to pull some hair out to give a loosened more natural look.With a pintail comb, pull the hair in the centre of the head out, to achieve a real ‘bo-ho’ look.

 

So there you have it, my 3 favourite hairstyles at the moment.

I would love to know what you do with your hair most days and if you struggle to be more creative.

Much love

Gemma X

 

 

 

 

 

 

So Many Reasons Why Not To Break Your Leg…

I am not sure if anyone will be interested in this post as it is essentially me talking about my experience of breaking my leg and how it has pretty much changed my life for the last twelve days.

So a bit of background information on how this happened….

It was my uncle Malcolm’s 60th birthday party with a live band. I was looking forward to going for so long. The plan was to go down to London, help my aunt and uncle set up the hall with the food and decs etc.. and then get on with the celebrations.

So, most of this went to plan without too many hiccups along the way, until this happened…

Okay, so admittedly as my husband keeps reminding me that once I found out my uncle’s sister had announced that there was a free bar, I was like a child in a sweet shop.  Yep say no more! {Although I have to state I have not really drank alot for the last year as I hate the hangovers.}.

So after several glasses of white wine and many conversations with family that I hadn’t seen for a while, I decided I would join in with the general ‘fist pumping’ and ‘head banging’ to ‘I am a firestarter – by Prodigy’ {If you didn’t know}.

I was still fine up until that point. Then the band decide to blast out something from the 60’s and I suddenly thought I was a bloody contestant on ‘Strictly!’

Before I knew it I was being spun round the hall by my mum’s partner, totally oblivious to anyone that got in my way, inhibitions clearly out the window, and then I took quite a large tumble in my new, gold TK Max boots and skid across the hall floor. NOT A PRETTY SIGHT!!!

So there we have it:- one broken leg- later confirmed in A & E at 3am. GREAT!!!!

What a total dick!!!

Little did I know what was to come….

That night, as I drifted in and out of alcohol induced sleep, my leg started to throb. I had always envisioned that breaking a bone had to be one of the worst, physical pains you would ever experience and I visualised a bone protruding out of your skin whilst hearing a snapping noise. This was not the case. It was sore and uncomfortable but not unbearable.{ Saying that I have had three natural births so I think that qualifies me to say that I do have quite a high pain threshold}.

Once we gingerly made the journey back home to Gloucestershire, the shock and reality started to sink in.

Shit me, I had just booked a few jobs the following week, how the hell would I do them?

How am I going to get the kids to school?

How am I going to make a cup of tea?

How am I going to be able to have a shower?

Who would do the food shop?

How am I going to be able to drive?

How am I going to put the washing on, hoover, change the beds/make the beds?

How am I going to be able to get to my bed?

Stairs? WTF!!?

How can I get my knickers on?

As you can imagine the sheer panic was crazy. My anxiety was peaking…But there was nothing I could do, so I started to prioritise the enormous amount of things that needed attention immediately and basically crack on{pardon the pun}.

 

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Me just before the accident.

My husband luckily managed to speak to his boss to arrange for him to go in after the school run. Phew. Tick. I emailed all my pending clients and rather sheepishly told them that I would have to cancel their bookings.{They took it well} Phew. Tick. Lets just say after a heated discussion with my husband, which involved a lot of eye rolling when he had purchased next to nothing from ‘Aldi’ for the following week, we decided it was best for me to do online shopping. Tick. So that was most of my list sorted. {The knickers one was resolved with me getting into a ridiculous position and hooking them over my foot- What a joke!}

I think it was two days later, sat alone on the sofa, leg in cast, that the true, life changing feelings set in. I was going to be pretty much disabled for the next 6 weeks.

As dramatic as that sounds, losing the use of a limb is unbelievably difficult to come to terms with.

This has been a real eye opener on so many levels, and I definitely have the utmost respect for anyone that has had to face this challenge on a permanent basis. I even have the greatest sympathy for the elderly and anyone that is housebound.

I kid you not it has been a profound experience.

Not the most glamourous pictures above, but tbh v.real and blimmin painful.

So here I am bum shuffling down the stairs everyday, crawling on all fours up the stairs. Strip washing with a flannel and generally sitting on the sofa taking painkillers, and using my bra as a pocket {genius}.

I have managed to have one outing to sniff the fresh air and hear the birds tweet in 12 days and that was to the hospital to have my leg re-plastered. I was told that I may need an operation, and I will certainly have to inject myself daily with medication to prevent DEEP VEIN THROMBOSIS. Right now the next few weeks are a little uncertain..

So the moral of this story is BE FLIPPIN CAREFUL and be grateful for your body and able limbs.

I would love to hear of anyone else’s experience with breaking bones and how you have coped…

Much love

Gemmax

My Go-To Products I Use For Brides as a Freelance Make-up Artist..

So as the ‘Wedding’ season approaches, I thought I would do a quick post on my ‘go to’  make-up products that I tend to use on most of my clients, with exception to the brides that request a heavier make-up.

Once a bride has booked me for a trial and preparations are under way for her big day, I prepare my kit for the job and make my way over to their home. After a general consultation has taken place (trial), I will begin to create the look that has been discussed.

Finding out the colour scheme of the Wedding, bridesmaids dresses and flowers can all contribute to how the bride would like her make-up to look on the day. Quite often a bride may choose the colours; pinks, lilacs and golds, where as others like to keep it simple and stick with soft browns, and neutral tones.

 

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PRIME

It is not often I will cleanse, tone and moisturise a clients skin, as once I arrive they have generally prepared their skin, however, my key  tip as a make-up artist is to always PRIME the skin and eyes. I have always used a primer from MAC as it helps to ‘even out the redness and skin tone whilst adding radiance, it also improves the application of foundation and powder giving a long-lasting effect’-states MAC. The Laura Mercier primer has also been a staple in my kit.

 

The other product I swear by to prep the eyes is the URBAN DECAY EYESHADOW PRIMER Before I discovered this product I use to apply a cream eyeshadow from MAC which would pretty much do the same thing, as it would dry and form a base layer for the powder eyeshadow. However, this product is a revolution! It obviously primes your eye lids but is super, long-lasting and stops the eyeshadow from creasing – perfect for brides!

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FOUNDATION

Once you have primed the skin it is important that you choose the correct foundation for your skin. The primary functions of a foundation are to even out the skin tone, conceal blemishes and cover any redness to give you a flawless finish.

Some people prefer a lighter, liquid foundation, where as others may find a fuller coverage more suitable. With so many different types of foundation on the market, it can sometimes be a bit confusing what to buy and where to buy it. As a make-up artist I have a mixture of foundations in my kit. I have inexpensive and high end, light coverage and full coverage, and of course different colours for different skin pigments. More often than not I tend to opt for the inexpensive one unless a client suggests otherwise, as I simply just prefer them.

CONCEALER

The purpose of a concealer is do exactly what it says ‘CONCEAL’. It is generally used on areas that need more attention than a foundation. The area under the eyes will need to be concealed slightly more due to the skin being thinner, giving a darker, more hollow appearance. Touche Ecalt by YSL is great for hiding dark circles. Although the Rimmel concealer is equally as amazing as it’s creamy texture, helps to glide over the delicate areas, blocking out the dark shadows and covering any awkward blemishes and spots.

POWDER

Clinique, Stay-Matt Sheer pressed powder is the best! I just love it. I am sure there are many others that are just as good out there, but to be honest I just love this one. It is so good at removing excess oil and shine, and it’s a great base for your bronzer and blusher. It’s lovely for a bride as it gives a sheer finish, so it doesn’t feel too heavy. It also photographs well.

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BRONZER AND HIGHLIGHTER

As I am an ‘old skool’ make-up artist I have never been into the whole ‘contouring’ obsession. I have always used bronzer and highlighter to do the same job, but in my opinion the results are a much lighter and more natural, subtle look.

My favourite ones in my kit at the moment are Anastasia Beverley Hills and Tanya Burr

 

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BLUSHER

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Bobbi Brown blusher is a new addition to my kit and is proving to be a great hit with my brides. The two tones of pink make it great to be able to define the cheek area, leaving a subtle, rosy glow.

EYESHADOW AND BROWS

Urban Decay and MAC are definitely my favourite eyeshadows for brides and take up most of my kit. I just love the strong pigment and diversity of colours, making blending so easy and smooth.

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BROWS

I never use a separate eyebrow pallet as I just don’t see the point. Some people swear by the ‘Benefit’ brow pallet, but I just use an eyeshadow. TOO FACED is a really great brand of make-up. I have never owned any of their products before, but I have always heard that they are amazing. So I was totally chuffed when I spotted a little pallet in the beauty section in TKMAX  for quarter of the price. It is perfect for eyebrows and also eyeliner as you can add water to make it into a liquid eyeliner. This brand is definitely one I will be investing in, in the future.

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EYELINER AND MASCARA

I have tried so many eyeliners over the years and have finally settled on two of my favourites. The Bobbi Brown -Long-wear gel eyeliner. I have always felt the application of liquid eyeliner is a slight weakness of mine as a make-up artist until I discovered this little pot of heaven! For the best results I use it with a MAC-263 Small Angle Brush It glides over the eyes and leaves the most beautiful smooth line. Definitely a fave! My other liquid eyeliner that I highly recommend for speed and accuracy is by Maybelline -The master precise. I can’t recommend this enough especially if you struggle with getting that line straight.

 

MASCARA

So let’s talk about Mascara!

I always use a waterproof mascara on a bride and the bridal party as it has been known for some people to ‘well up’ at a wedding. I use drug store brands, because as far as I am concerned you can’t really go wrong with the consistency of a Mascara. Although, I have to say it is all about the wand!  To get a great amount of product gliding through the lashes you will need the correct brush. My all time favourite is the ‘Accelerator Endless’ by Rimmel. I just love this mascara. The brush is perfect and you avoid big clumps of mascara being left behind on the lashes. The other fav’ of mine is the Bobbie Brown mascara . This is a bit pricey but I think it is worth every penny as again it effortlessly glides over the  lashes, leaving a smooth, silky finish.

 

LIPSTICK AND LIPLINER

Nudes are the most popular colours I use on brides unless they request something different.

Pillow talk by Charlotte Tilbury and Velvet Teddy by MAC are just amazing and the colours I always reach for when making up a bride. Creamy and long lasting.. What more do you need!

 

 

LIPLINER

Spice by MAC is my all time favourite lipliner that I have used most of my career. It compliments the lipstick so well, leaving the lips looking full and defined.

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So that concludes my ‘Go-to’ make-up products I use on brides.

If you are a bride getting married this year and you happen to stumble across this blog, feel free to ask me any advice. If you just want some general advice on make-up, please leave a comment.

If you would like to book me for your Wedding in the Gloucestershire England, please feel free to visit my website http://www.littlegems38.wixsite.com/gemmahull

Many thanks

Much love

Gemmax

 

 

18 New Year Goals..

Happy New Year!

I can’t believe how each year seems to be flying by so quickly. It’s scary!

This year is all about making realistic, sustainable goals. No silly, unobtainable dreams. This is where everyone seems to go wrong. There are many blog posts I read and think ‘Wow are you really going to do that?’ good for you (but I doubt you will keep that up!).

I have put together my own personal list that I would like to achieve this year, but hey if I don’t, then what the hell!

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1. Worrying too much about things that have not happened yet!    

I am the world’s worst person for worrying about future events before they have even happened. Hence, why I suffer with enormous anxiety. This year I want to focus on being a bit kinder to myself and realising at times you need to take a step back and just breath.

2. We all deserve to give ourselves a pat on the back.

I am determined to focus on what I have achieved and not the negative thoughts that sometimes invade my brain.  It’s okay to say ‘hey your pretty good at what you do‘ and appreciate what you have accomplished to date. I am generally a person full of self doubt and am terrible for comparing myself to others. This year I want to be confident with who I am.

3. Get more body confident.. 

 

I have spent most of my life disliking my body. I have attended numerous slimming clubs preying every week that the scales will go down and my life will change forever. This has never happened (shock, horror). Yet again, I have compared myself to others, bitter with jealousy that they can eat what they want and I just have to look at something and put on weight. What a waste of time!

This year I will try to change that mindset. Focus on dressing for my shape, instead of trying to squeeze into something that clearly is not designed for someone with boobs and hips. Embrace the fact that this body has carried three children and it’s done okay!

4. Exercise

 

As I was always so body conscious in the past I use to try to exercise three times a week to make up for most of the food that I shoved down my throat. I got to the point where I was running for 6 miles a couple of times a week.

But unfortunately back in 2007 I  slipped a disc in my back( for any of you that may of done that will know it is excruciatingly painful) and so the running took a back seat. In fact exercise took a back seat. Hence, the rather pertruding stomach in the picture above!  My goal this year is to get back into exercise gently, mainly focusing on stretching with the odd bit of cardio. Being a slave to the treadmill is not my thing anymore, I want to find other ways to challenge myself with exercise not punish myself .

5. Food

 

My name is Gemma and I am addicted to good food! I love good food (that’s probably why I am not a size 10!) What is there not to like… It really saddens me when you meet people that deprive themselves from this amazing pleasure. Don’t get me wrong, when I say I like food, I like good food..proper homemade, healthy food.

As a family last year (like many other families I am sure) we got into a really bad habit of ordering Dominos and fish and chips. It always seems like a good idea at the time, especially when you are slob-bed out on the sofa and can’t be arsed to cook. And then it dawns on you after about 30 seconds of it all being demolished that not only are you left with a bloated stomach and dare I say it bad wind but a huge hole in your wallet! Just stop doing it! I need to be more conscious of my danger zones and triggers and get more organised in the kitchen.

6. Family meals

This one merges from the above goal. I use to love cooking! Fact! I don’t know what has happened apart from possibly getting older and more tired, (oh and the kids saying that they want 2 million different things) but my love for cooking must return.  Last year as a family we had got into another bad habit of having ‘Netflicks dinners’. Apart from it being really bad to balance your dinner on a cushion it would also inevitably involve one of the kids dropping something on the floor.

I had also taken to making, dare I say it ‘orange food’ aka ‘freezer food ‘shoved in the oven. Bad mother!

So this year I want to try and force encourage the family to eat at the table and ignore the usual squabbling that goes on.

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8. Keeping in touch with family and friends more

I have to confess that I have become really lazy with this. Now that we live in a digital world it’s so much easier to text people. We all do it. But the truth is I bloody hate it. It really is not the same as hearing someones voice on the end of the phone. Not to mention that it really show’s that you care!  My Nan is 97 this year, and would talk the hind legs off a donkey if you let her. She is unaware of the society we live in today and expects you to have hours to dedicate to her, over the phone. I feel bad for my lack of tolerance with her.I need to really address this and take stock of what is really important, dedicate some time and have more patience.

 

 

Friendship groups are also really important to me. Over the last seventeen years we have moved up and down the country, the furthest being Lincolnshire. It has not been without its fair set of challenges; but on the plus side we have made some amazing friends along the way. Sustaining friendships when you leave is pretty tough. Although we all say we will keep in touch, this can sometimes become quite difficult. I really want to make more effort  this year to see friends.

 

 

9. Giving something back

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So this is definitely something that I have thought about for along time. This Christmas was a real wake up call to how we live in such a consumer society and how selfish we have become. I have moaned about it over the years but not really taken time to realise how bad it is. Anyway, without rambling on too much, I have decide to volunteer with ‘Look good, feel better’ to help cancer patients come to terms with losing their hair and general confidence with their appearance.( My sister had cancer a few years ago and not a day goes by when I don’t feel guilty about what an awful ordeal she went through.) As I work as a professional hair and make-up artist it seemed to make sense to utilise my skills with a great charity. I will keep you posted on how that goes.

10. Blogging

Now this is something I constantly beat myself up about. I started this blog over a year ago and have never been consistent with my posts.  I am so rubbish at sticking to anything. Anyway, dare I even hear myself say it, this year I really want to try to post at least twice a week. I love writing, (although I question sometimes if I may be a bit dyslexic as it takes a lot of work to get my posts right) and I love the creativity of being able to express myself, and hope that someone out there will ‘get what I am about’.

The blogging industry is so huge now, so to say I would like to break into this market and make a second career out of it, is a distant dream. But who knows what’s around the corner? You need to start somewhere!

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12. Making time for each other..

Without getting too mushy ( I don’t want you running for a sick bucket just yet!) I feel it is important as a couple, married or not that you touch base with your partner from time to time. What I mean is (obvs) that you actually take time out together away from the kids and simply just talk. As stupid as this may sound, it’s something that is taken for granted once you become parents. There will always be an excuse to allow yourselves not to do this as we all know family life can be just sooo crazy at times, but it is so important.

Mr H and I are shocking at this. We have other “couple” friends that go out on regular ‘date nights’. We always like the thought of it but then we both often roll our eyes at the mere suggestion of it and say ‘We can’t really afford it’. This year I want to make a conscious effort to put some money aside and enjoy getting to know my husband again!

13. Trying something new..

Towards the last part of 2017, I decided to take the plunge and dye my hair blonde. Trust me, I am not normally that brave and believe it or not I don’t like a lot of attention. So why the F**k did I do this to myself??

I was just simply bored with my mousey brown hair.. My sister had been saying to me for along time to try something new and different. Having witnessed her lose her hair when she was diagnosed with breast cancer a few years ago, really hit me hard. I would often think if that was to ever happened to me I would be devastated. How would I cope with losing my thick, mane of hair? My sister’s enormous courage spurred me on to look at things differently. A few years later she told me ‘Once you’ve been bald you will try anything!‘ This changed my outlook.

So I took the plunge. I am not going to lie it was a disaster at first as it went that terrible ‘brassy orange’. Yuk! But after some great tips from my sis-in-law and a 100 bottles of toner and purple shampoos later, I am now finally ok with it; however,the best part for me was how liberated it made me feel. Lets face it I am no Holly Willoughby…, Its just about having the balls to try something new. Bring on this year.. maybe a new radical hair cut???

14. Photography

Does anyone even talk about hobbies anymore?

I love photography! A few years back my husband bought me an amazing present for my 40th birthday  a – DSLR Nikon camera. I just love it, although I am ashamed to admit that I am still trying to understand how it works. I am defiantly what you call an ‘amateur’ when it come’s to photography, but I like to think I have a good ,creative eye. I think we tend to ‘over think’ photography and panic if we are not using the right lenses etc.. But we need to take it back to basics and just enjoy capturing moments that can be treasured as memories forever. I am all about shooting experiences and capturing emotions.

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15. Building different relationships with your children as they get older…

This has been a steep learning curve for me over the last year. I was always told by family members and other friends with older children that you enter into a new phase of parenting when your children are no longer babies/toddlers/little children.

First of all, you have to come to terms with the fact that they are gradually ‘letting go’ in other words ‘finding their own way’. It happens very gradually, but when you realise it, you feel sad and almost bereft. My husband laughs at me when I say I can understand those programmes where the women want to keep having children. That was me five years ago. But a fourth child wasn’t meant to be.

It’s crazy how parenting takes up so much of your life, and you never feel it’s going to end. Of course you never stop being a parent,- but things change. It was always something that I feared.

My teenage son is now a man. Although he is completely immature and still acts like a five year old most of the time, he has changed. Our relationship is different. I need to realise I can’t control him anymore ( that sounds terrible, but I mean he will do what he wants!) and I have to let go and accept it.

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My other two children are gradually changing as well. Elliott my middle child is a total computer addict and will scream at the top of his lungs if you try to prise him off it to do his spellings. His addiction worries my husband and I daily( I am sure I am not alone with that one – fellow parents out there!) He will be leaving year 6 and entering secondary school later this year, which in my opinion seems crazy. I worry constantly that he won’t be able to cope with the transition from primary to secondary, he to me is still so small.

April, my sassy daughter amuses me everyday, although, I feel she knows too much as an eight year old. Don’t get me wrong, she is a bright little thing, but I worry that her innocence is being taken away too soon with the likes of ‘you tube’ and peer pressure. I just need to accept that things are different to when I grew up.

16. Work

Last year as you may of read from a previous blog post I decided to rekindle my career as hair and make-up artist. I really enjoyed it and had some great opportunities that involved working on a fashion shoot and The Sun newspaper. I also did some weddings and other bits and pieces.

This year I want to focus on mainly building my business. I am always up for a new challenge. I want to use social media to my advantage to really work on marketing myself ( as this is something I have been lazy with in the past!) and to enjoy new opportunities that may present themselves.

One of my plans is to start teaching privately and maybe do some live webinars.. Watch this space..

17. Visiting new places

I can remember this being my goal for last year and I was a bit disappointed that we only managed to visit- Stroud[Gloucestershire], Worcester, Bath, Cornwall{a new beach}, Worthing{Sussex} and France.

I absolutely love travelling and exploring new places. I am hoping to discover some new cities, towns and villages this year. Who knows, maybe a new country?

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18. Fashion/reading

My last goal was a toss up between fashion and reading. So I thought what the hell I will include both.

Let’s talk about fashion first. As mentioned before, I have always been ridiculously body conscious so I would most of the time go for the darker option of clothes and keep it simple. However, my love for clothes comes from my Nan. I have never know any other 96 year old that still loves to shop for clothes that are vibrant. I adore this about her.

After reading Hannah Gales’s blog, it really inspired me to step out of my comfort zone with colours. The other thing is that it really doesn’t have to be expensive either. You can buy amazing things in shops like Primark’s, Sainsbury’s and Tesco’s.

I have a family party coming up at the end of the month and really wanted something to wear that was different. I was so shocked when I came across some brilliant clothes in the sale. It doesn’t have to break the bank to look good, you just need to be savvy. In fact that is what I have decided this year. To be SUPER SAVVY!! Just wait for the sales. Marks and Spencer, Monsoon and Next have amazing sales throughout the year!

Reading is definitely something that I don’t do enough of any more. My goal for this one is to try and leave my phone downstairs at night and go back to reading. The only time I seem to read now is on holiday, where I can get through two books in a week. It’s so easy to slip into habits of reading online or listening to audio books.

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So that concludes my goals for 2018. I am not sure if I will stick to most of them but I am really hoping I will give them a good go..No pressure…

I would love to hear what your goals are for 2018 and if there are any topics you would like me to write about. Until my next post which should hopefully be pretty soon..if I stick to my goals 🙂

Much love

Gemma x

Christmas shenanigans…

So how was your Christmas?

That’s the typical question everyone asks you once normal life resumes. I say normal life, I mean normal routine, out of the Christmas frenzy/haze…

So this year for me has been pretty odd really. I am not sure if it’s because I have got to the age where I am now just questioning everything and over thinking things, or if I am just simply bored with the routine.

Don’t get me wrong, I can still get carried away with the present buying, the`Christmas lattes’ and the general instagramable sheep following most people do. I even jumped on the Christmas Eve box bandwagon to prolong the build up, and of course the obligatory Christmas PJ’s with much eye rolling from my husband.

As soon as December arrives I am out there along with everyone else searching for the bushiest Christmas tree( I bought 3 this year- weirdo) and buying some new decs. I also love a good carol singing sesh ( in fact that was my fav part!) and the odd(or 200) glasses of mulled wine, mince pies and copious amount of cheese.

Our local Christmas market and ice skating was a real hit with my kids this year. Which in my opinion is a total blessing if if gets them off tech.

However, I  have to say I just had this overwhelming feeling of flatness….

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I wish I could take credit for this tree but it was the one in our local pub!

Why is there so much expectation over Christmas?

Why are we trying to compete with the Jones aka instagram?…

Why are we struggling from year to year to find presents for our children that will keep them engaged for more than 30 seconds if it is not an electrical gadget.. Is this just me or do other parents feel like this?

 

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Christmas breakfast with Elliott cheer’sing bucks fizz.

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I don’t know about you but I literally felt like I was going through the motions on Christmas day.

The pretty table cloth, the fancy breakfast which included the obligatory Bucks Fizz (which as you can see from the image above my 10 year old enjoyed far too much!) and of course the mammoth task of cooking the turkey and all the trimmings. Normally I am not really bothered about being in the kitchen for the best part of the day as I quite enjoy cooking. As long as I have a good 80’s playlist on and am plied with a few G&T’s I am happy as Larry. But this year I felt different. I felt like I resented it. I couldn’t be bothered. Hell, I didn’t even follow my usual Jamie Oliver recipe and use streaky bacon on the turkey!

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Gloucester quays ice skating

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April loving every minute of it..

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Promised the children milkshakes, we ended up making our own.

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You can’t beat home-made mince pies.

So after the crackers were pulled and the dinner was gobbled down, we went for our usual stroll around the block to relieve ourselves of our huge bloated stomachs ready for the next round of chocolates and cheese.

Boxing Day

This has definitely got to be my preferred day out of the two.

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A rare picture of all of us with my 92 year old great aunt.

Most years my family descend on us depending on where we may be living in the country, however this year my sister decided to host it in London. So once everyone was up and after several moans and usual disgruntled tones, we all jumped in the car and made our way on the 3 hour road trip to London leaving blustery Gloucestershire behind. We decide to make a quick stop off along the way to see my 92 year old great aunt Patience and her dog Sandy as she had not seen anyone apart from her carers for the whole of Christmas. Poor thing!

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Trifle that went tits up after the jelly decided to not set.

So finally after arriving at my sisters house and more buffet food and prosecco, we  huddled around to play a very ‘out of date’ game of trivial pursuit and unwrapped our presents. That pretty much concluded our boxing day. Although I have to say one of my best moments was watching my nephew and his girlfriend unwrapping a photo that I had taken of them and blown up on to a canvas. I was also blown away at how generous everyone had been with the presents I had received. One of my favourites being the new ‘Urban Decay’ heat pallet that made me let out a little squeal! A nice addition to my make-up kit. Thanks Mum 🙂

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My nephew and his gorg girlfriend Lauren (canvas)

 

 

So all in all it ended up being okay … In fact now I have just read this back I am realising that you have to appreciate every day good or bad, just live in the moment.. Christmas’s will naturally change as you get older we just need to evolve with them.- Don’t we?

I would love to hear how your Christmas was, feel free to leave a comment!

Much love and a happy new year!

Gemma x

 

October half term …. Pumpkin picking and Halloween…

October half term has always been really special to me,  I just love the autumnal colours, chunky jumpers, bobble hats, scarfs and warm hot chocolates after a crisp walk on the beach. THERE IS NO BETTER FEELING!  So as soon as the kids were out of school we headed down to Cornwall to see the in-laws and stay in our favourite place called Hayle, (which you may of read a previous post ) this place truly has the  most stunning beaches and breath taking views.

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After our usual first night of fish and chips (nothing like steaming hot, local fish and chips to get you in the holiday spirit), it was time to plan what kind of things we would do for the week. We usually take a few days to unwind and breathe in the fresh Cornish air and then we venture out. However, after seeing loads of pictures on instagram we decided to jump on the ‘Pumpkin picking’ bandwagon and give it a try. So after a search on google we discovered an amazing little farm called  Trevaskis farm’  What a little gem!

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Trevaskis farm- Cornwall

It was a great find for families and didn’t break my husband into a cold sweat financially. Unless of course like me you were pulled like a magnet to the gorgeous little gift shop that supplied the most amazing fresh local produce and stunning, dreamy gifts!

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This pig really didn’t want to show his face!

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Beautiful, locally sourced handmade creams.

 

Newquay Beach

Taking any opportunity to get my Nikon camera out we also made a trip over to Newquay to see the cousins and explore the gorgeous beaches….

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Eliza

I have to say I am definitely not a pro when it comes to taking pictures, but I just adore it as a hobby. I love capturing such, happy, organic moments.

Eliza my niece has always adored the sea.. She has been known to go in whatever the weather conditions. Even as a baby she would head straight towards the sea with my sister running after her. She still has such a love for the ocean…

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My teenage son Tristan

It’s so hard to pull kids away from Xbox’s and computers, but once you do they just love it. Pure, natural fun..

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April with her cousin Shikia

April had not seen her cousin Shikia in along time. They had so much fun catching up and truly embracing Newquay beach. It’s so lovely to see cousins connecting and picking up where they left off after a considerable amount of time apart.

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Elliott and Eliza

Elliott my middle child makes me smile everyday. His relationship with Eliza has been inseparable over the years. As there is only two months between them they have been more like brother and sister rather than cousins. Times are changing and they are growing up and separating now due to living in different places, but the family holiday and being in the sea always brings their love for each other flowing back.

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My sister and Lee

It was great to catch up with my husbands family and just relax. I appreciate every moment we spend with family and try to make the most of it. I am so aware of how time races by and you have to grab every opportunity you can to really embrace it.

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Chris(hubby) and sister

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My niece Amara and boyfriend

A moment captured of pure teenage innocence. We love to catch up with all the nieces and nephews when we holiday in Cornwall. Amara is the same age as my son Tristan. It really scares me to think how quickly they grow up. I remember being 14 like it was yesterday and having those tingly butterflies deep in your stomach, its the purest form of innocent love.  It’s just magical!

St Ives

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My sister and I twinning now we are both blonde.

We never get bored of St Ives. Although it is a tiny harbour and never changes from year to year the shops are great and the atmosphere is just buzzzzzing!! We generally have our little routine of grabbing a pasty and sitting on a bench with a hot flask of tea and generally people watching, whilst the kids go off and explore the beach. Pure bliss!

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Such mouth watering ice creams.

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I always hate saying goodbye to Cornwall as it leaves me with a bit of a lump in my throat. It truly is my ‘happy place‘ where I feel at home..

After we arrived home it was a quick dash to get my daughter ready for her Halloween school fashion parade. I must admit being a make-up artist does have its advantages for being able to knock something out quick!!

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I would love to know what you got up to in half term and how you spent Halloween.

Drop me a line!

Much love

Gemma x

 

 

Winter capsule wardrobe….

I have to say although I love fashion, I am not sure if that qualifies me to write about it. I spend hours scrolling other peoples blogs, instagram and pinterest always looking for inspiration and ideas. As a body conscious person I have to say I am a big lover of Winter. Cosy jumpers thrown on with jeans and boots accessorised with bobble hats and blanket scarfs. What’s there not to love!

It seems from my research that the ‘chunky Knit’ tucked into ‘mom jeans’ is a real favourite this winter. I have also noticed the pleated skirt with an ‘over-sized’ jumper seems to be a staple. I just love the look below but sadly I just know that would not look like that on me as my body shape is totally different.

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What I love about the fashion at the moment is that there are no real rules or age restrictions(thank god!) Oh yeah apart from crop tops of course, only someone under the age of twenty with a perfectly flat stomach should be allowed to wear those!

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I am just loving the checked blazer with the looser style jeans. It’s such an effortless style but looks so chic. I am living in my ‘girlfriend’ jeans at the mo. It’s so nice to put the skinny jeans to the back of the wardrobe and wear something way more comfortable. Don’t you agree?

Is it just me or are ‘vans’ foot wear everywhere? I love them..As a huge fan of converse for many years I am being converted. I see everyone in these.. Young girls, Mums on the school run.. and it seems you can pair them up with anything, Skirts, jeans even formal trousers. I know what will be on my Christmas wish list..

I would love to know what your favourite looks are this winter.

Please drop a comment as my noseyness(not a real word I am sure) is killing me!!!

Much Love

Gemma x

Back to what I know best…..

So many apologies for being absent for so long….. I have no excuses apart from being distracted with every day life. So, sorry to any of you that are disappointed with my pathetic attempt to build a blogging path/career!  However, you gotta keep trying.. so I am determined to change this situation and embrace this ‘blogging’ journey as intended from the beginning. I know, yawn.. yawn I have said that before, I know, but at least I am REAL I suppose…?? Life does just simply get in the way when you have three children, a husband and a cat, and your not a spring chicken anymore..

Anyway enough of that ‘get the violins out bo***xs’! Lets get chatting… I felt inspired to write about something that really affected me in a big way over the last couple of months, and why we should not presume that things will always fall into place.

I have always been one of those people that seemed to attract drama and negative shit in my life but have always found away of dealing with it. I was fortunate enough to be employed in various jobs throughout my twenties whist building my portfolio, to eventually work as a hair and make-up artist. Whatever came my way and however bad it got there always seemed to be a light at the end of the tunnel.  After relocating once again with my husbands job, I was determined that I was going to get back into teaching ‘hair and make-up’. Over the years I had been lucky enough to teach in several different colleges across the country, but had never gained any formal teaching qualifications. So crossing off one of my new years resolutions, I decided to enrole at Gloucester College in Cheltenham. I completed a 12 week course in teaching and loved every minute of it. My ‘older’ brain was certainly put to the test after being absent from studying for a good 20 years.. and although at times I felt anxious and full of self doubt, I pushed through and completed it.

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So this is the bit that threw me… Okay, as mentioned before I am no spring chicken, in all honesty, I am heading the other side of 40. I needed to find a job.. How hard could this be? Confident with my new qualification and slightly smug at doing better than I thought I would on the course, I braved this new world of ’employment’ and started job hunting.

After 14 years of being a ‘stay at home mum’ and working freelance part-time, I felt safe and secure in my day to day life. Becoming a Mum was one of the best things that had ever happened to me and gave me the deepest sense of achievement which I desperately craved. However, once the children were less needy of me I knew it was time to get some of my own identity back and to think about work. It was strange as part of me  liked the idea of ‘pinteresting’ work outfits, and visualising my own office with structure and routine., but part of me felt an overwhelming guilt towards the children. I felt like I was being disloyal to them and would often ‘fret’ about the prospect of leaving them to go out to work. (I have always felt hugely grateful to my husband for working really hard to allow me to have the luxury of being able to stay at home).

Anyway getting back to the job hunting, within weeks of leaving the college armed with my new qualification I found a job! Yay! (Not so yay actually!) It was exactly up my street teaching media make-up and hair. Without going into too many details about the interview, the long and short of it was that I didn’t bloody get it!! WTF! Bruised ego, I dusted myself off and went for another two interviews in different things. Guess what I didn’t get those either… My confidence was rock bottom.. and so was my bank account..The one thing I very quickly realised was how fierce the competition had become once you got older. There are also many things to consider now when attending an interview. I had been out of the game for along time.. I just wasn’t prepared….

So after some real deep thinking and self analysing, I decided to go back to what I know best -Freelance Hair and Make-up… With the right advertising and marketing I am now firmly back on that horse and loving every minute of it… I don’t feel that I have failed in trying something new but that I have now regained a new love for what I am already good at. Sometimes it just takes a bit of reevaluating yourself and where you need to be..

Do any of you feel that sometimes you are just stuck in a rut and need a change?

Please feel free to drop me a line. I would love to read your comments..

Much Love

Gemmax

 

 

 

 

 

 

Italy

So it’s this time of year again, the sun is shining, spring is in full bloom, and I am googling like crazy ‘family holidays’. I have to admit that it is my guilty pleasure. I have always loved to travel. It is in my blood. I love to explore… I think it’s genetic. My Grandad spent most of his life in the military and had lived all over the world with my nan. He had the most amazing stories to tell as I was growing up. His love of exploring, certainly rubbed off on me. My first real experience of travelling was when a friend suggested going to live on a kibbutz in Israel as a volunteer. What’s a kibbutz I hear you say? I had certainly never heard of one. My friend told me we would be staying with a community of people and helping them with producing ‘Olives’ for the rest of the world. Kind of strange I thought, but hey’ I was up for the adventure, what the hell. So, before I knew it, my backpack was packed and the ‘middle east’ became my new home for the next six months. It was a truly magical experience and one that I will certainly be telling my future grandchildren. (But that’s another blog post)..

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As a family of five with an average income, I think it is fair to say that finding a reasonably priced holiday is bloody hard. In 2015 after years of staying in England whilst the children were little, we decided to book our first ‘all inclusive’ package holiday to Majorca. Sadly, it was not what we expected, and ended up being a real let down. I take full responsibility for being so naive when booking holidays. Why was I the only person in the world not to check trip advisor? What an idiot!! I could write a whole blog post on why never to go to BelleVue  in Alcudia, but I would rather not go back there mentally ( if you know what I mean!)

So, last year I was determined to get all the boxes ticked and booked Eurocamp in Italy. We had been to one in France when I had only the boys, and really loved it. Perfect for families, right on the beach, great entertainment… good food… What more could you ask for? However, once again I felt disappointed and let down with the Eurocamp in Italy. Shabby accommodation, a freezing swimming pool and an expensive on site shop and not forgetting the super ‘rip off’ restaurant that was just simply out of our budget.

I questioned whether it was me? Am I a secret holiday snob?? No, I just honestly think you get what you pay for when holidaying abroad on a budget… So, once again we made the most of it and enjoyed spending quality time with each other as a family (  ignoring the general arguments that took place on a daily basis) and visiting some great places.

 

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Venice Italy

 

 

 

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I have to admit the pizza’s were amazing and came in true Italian style. Although we were fairly surprised by the pizza that came with chips as seen in the picture above.

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As we were able to get a discount through my husbands job, we realised very quickly that once we were shown the accommodation we had definitely been given the rubbish deal. My word of advice is to check everything before you book.

The saving grace of the holiday was most definitely the entertainment and the activities that were available, oh and of course the beach. So it was not all doom and gloom…

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I would love to know your comments on family holidays and if you have any recommendations of places to go… I am still in the process of looking for this year..

Much Love

Gemma xxx