self-love blog

Welcome to my Blog, lovely lady, where you'll find a little bit of my heart as I share with you stories and experiences that have moved me, chats that have led me to aha moments, and ponderings from my heart about life.

At times you may also read an article (or two) about the health of your skin or skincare, in general. You might, initially, wonder what articles like that are doing in here, right? Well, you see I used to be a designer and creator of luxurious skincare so I know a thing or two about how to look after your skin. And, well, even though my life has moved on, some of those articles still remain relevant because they touch on self-care (a building block to self-love) and they support you in making purchasing decisions that come from a place of love, not lack or fear.

I hope you enjoy what you find. Viv xx

6 tips to start your day the right way

It wasn’t so long ago that I felt I was walking through life as if it was treacle. Placing one foot in front of the other was not only exhausting but took so much effort.

And I noticed I wasn’t the only one. It seemed everyone around me was walking through treacle too.

And I wondered to myself: Whatever happened to living life to the full, enjoying every second of every minute, relishing the many miracles that are showered on us day in, day out?

we cut our grass

It wasn't through choice.

We received a call from our landlord telling us to cut the one metre wide grass area that ran behind our apartment because our neighbour had complained that it was too long.

So we cut our grass.

And in doing so, said goodbye to the life that had been thriving in it.

the 'hello' ripple effect

About six months ago I wrote a blogpost "Spread a Little Happiness". It was birthed from my experience of living in Switzerland where people are really friendly and always greeting each other as they walk by, even strangers. And where you're always welcomed into a shop by whichever employee may be near you.

When I returned to my birth country of Northern Ireland I felt the whole congeniality, the friendliness, the warmth that is synonymous with Irish people, had dampened a bit.

i'm a drug addict

I was a silent listener in a conversation about drugs recently.

It kinda went along the lines of "such a shame that so many young people are throwing their lives away on drugs" and "it seems so many people are addicted to drugs nowadays".

The theme was the condemnation of addiction, the evils of drugs and drug abuse, and the stupidity of people who become addicted to drugs.

don't judge a book...

You know that phrase, don't judge a book by its cover?

Quite literally one of the best books I ever read "The Dynamic Laws of Prosperity" by Catherine Ponder had the most awful, unattractive, uninspiring cover (sorry Ms Ponder!) I have ever seen. But I read it because it came recommended to me by a trusted friend.

the musings of a child

My sister's children came to visit me while I was staying with my parents recently. When they visit it can often be mayhem. I don't get to see them often so when I do it's like a special treat for them and the loudness of their voices tends to mirror the level of their excitement.

After they had been outside a while, playing with bubbles, and had burnt off a lot of energy, we headed back indoors for a bit more quiet time.

it starts with you

I was driving the other day in a double-laned one-way road system (ie all cars in both lanes traveled the same direction).

In my side mirror something caught my eye. I could see a woman in the right lane indicating to move into the left lane.

What I witnessed immediately following shocked me.

I am...

I was visiting family in N Ireland recently. In my bedroom there’s a mirror-wardrobe. As I was in bed enjoying a lazy morning lie-in I decided to do something I’ve never done before.

I rolled onto my side and looked right into my eyes. I held eye contact with myself for ages while I repeated “I am…”

do you judge?

As hard as the answer may be to hear, I reckon the answer is 'yes'.

Pretty much all of us judge. We judge others and we judge ourselves too.

Here's the thing. Each of us lives according to our own personal list; a list of ideals, a list of what's right and wrong, a list of shoulds and shouldn'ts, a list of personal and internal morals and beliefs.

something's happening...

.. but I don't know what it is.

This last day or so has been strange.

Yesterday I was suddenly hit by an unexpected desire to cry, an experience that took me back to my teenage years. So I wrote about it here in my blog as I found it less overwhelming to write it out of me than to cry it out of me.

today I'm being gentle on myself

Today started just like any other day, I woke up, I got up, I fed the bunnies and I sat down to meditate. Nothing unusual in that until suddenly I felt this wave come over me. I don't know how best to describe it. All I can say is that out of the blue I just wanted to cry.

So I did.

crisis of confidence

It's amazing what a holiday can do for the soul.

Time to kick back and relax. Not think about work. Just chillin', enjoying the beauty of nature and being with those you love.

Little did I think our most recent family holiday would also bring with it a crisis of confidence for me!

i forgot to meditate

We headed on a furry family holiday (ie our beloved bunnies joined too) and within a couple of days I was ready to snap at anything and everything.

Totally not what going on holiday is about!

But as each day passed by I had this sense of anger building up inside of me. I was ready to snap at the smallest thing and, although I didn't verbalise it, my mind was picking holes in absolutely everything my husband said or did.

the challenge of being you

I wrote in my blogpost "Just Be You" about the challenge I was facing. I was grappling between being the person everyone expected me to be and doing what everyone expected me to do, with just being true to myself.

You might think, "Duh, Viv! It's obvious. Be true to yourself, of course".

But I invite you to sit with that for while. Really think what it means to be true to yourself. And look into your own life and see where you really are being authentically true to yourself.

just be you

When I was around 18 years old and having to choose a career to study at university, my Dad pulled me aside for a chat.

I can remember that evening as if it was yesterday.

In the conversation he said something along the lines of "Do you really want to be a teacher? You're pretty good at maths. Don't you think you should study something like finance or accounting instead? It would open many doors for you."

juicing day 6 - a lesson in self-love

My body's sensitive when it comes to food. And it's intelligent. There have been times when I've just put something in my mouth and my body has immediately reacted by flushing everything out (even before the offending food in my mouth has even had time to be fully digested).

So when my sensitive and intelligent body is feeling nauseous as a result of something I'm eating (or drinking), I have to respectively treat that as some kind of warning signal.

taking back control

"Your health's your wealth" and "Your health's in your own hands".

How many times have you heard either or both of those phrases? More importantly how many times have you listened to anyone who's said them to you and taken heed.

If you're like me, and most other people I reckon, you'll have shrugged those phrases off, continued life as you know it until... BOOM! an illness hits you. Then you might change your mind and take heed, right?

train your brain

I have discovered, from personal experience, that when you travel along the lifelong journey of self-love, before too long you find yourself making conscious decisions that don't just positively impact you but also those around you and beyond.

And that's why I firmly believe that, through self-love and falling back in love with ourselves, we can heal our ailing planet.

a little bit of gratitude

When I was looking up popular hashtags for a Monday, two that popped up were #MondayBlues and #IFHM (I'll let you work the latter out yourself... it's not difficult)

The day after the weekend, the first day back at work... energetically it seems this is the heaviest and most negative day of the week.

When you're already moaning about the thought of being in the office at the start of the working week, how do you think your day (and the rest of the week) will look?

don't dare compare your magic

I found this quote and it really lifted me up. Because I've been in a funk. I felt dragged down the road of 'who I should be' when all I wanted to be was 'me'.

The quote, from Brooke Hampton, reads like this:

"Don’t you dare compare your magic to mine or anyone else’s. That’s a fool’s mission, you know...

  • 2019.05.07 Freefalling at 1am
  • 2019.05.04 Say Hello

free-falling at 1am

I have a night-time routine.

Around 10pm it's bunny bedtime. If we're running late on giving the bunnies their bedtime treat, refreshing their hay and cleaning out their litter trays... well... rest assured little Forrest will come over to gently remind us.

After the bunnies are fed, watered and settled for the night, we head to bed ourselves...

spread a little happiness

I spotted a video today that tied in perfectly with an experience I had yesterday that I want to share.

Yesterday I was out and about doing the weekly grocery shopping and on my way home I stopped off at the pharmacy to top up on my drugs (drugs... that's a whole other story!)

it's personal, really personal

I remember when I first started out in business, fellow business-owners and entrepreneurs would often say "your business is like your baby".

They were sharing with me that your business is a part of you, something you give birth to, something that needs your protection, constant support and vigilance.

But only today have I realised that they were all wrong.

do something that matters

A number of years ago a door opened for me, a door that led me away from the unhealthy, long-houred, unappreciated corporate life that I had been leading.

The door that opened for me was not one that led me down the path of enlightenment. It didn’t guide me towards an easier life, a more in-flow existence. Quite the opposite, to be honest.

how do you choose?

How much more would you appreciate buying from a brand that actively encourages you to fall back in love with the amazing and beautiful woman you already are than a brand that zeros in on a perceived imperfection, makes you feel at best insecure, at worst ugly, and then turns around and asks you to buy their product because it contains some magic formula that will correct the imperfections they tell you you have?

shamed... into purchasing

When was the last time you bought a beauty product touting to correct your imperfections? I’m guessing pretty recently.
 
No matter how much forward progress you think has been made (by introducing regular-sized models onto some catwalks or cutting back on photoshopping), the beauty industry is still all about achieving perfection and damning imperfections.

that dirty little secret

... and then 10 minutes before the end….

... BOOM!!!

The guy being interviewed dropped the bombshell about running your own business. And suddenly I crawled out of my little self-made hidey hole because suddenly I realised that I was not alone.

dalai lama on international women's day

I read a quote recently by the wonderful Dalai Lama and it lit up my heart. The quote was: "The world will be saved by the Western Woman".

I don't know about you but I've been feeling a real shift in energy these last couple of years and witnessing feminine energy begin to light up and shine. And it's a beautiful thing to witness.

critcism is tough

So yesterday I was criticised by a complete stranger.

She knew nothing about me, nothing about Simply Skin, nothing about my desire to spread self-love to every woman I meet, AND nothing about the work you and I do together to help abandoned and rescued bunnies.

She was in a Facebook group I've recently joined. We've never interacted before. Indeed this was one of my very first posts in the group.

"be happy with what little you've got..."

Today is my #beautyfullquote day and this morning I asked the angels to place a quote before me that I should write about.

I came across quite a few but it was only when I read this quote that I could feel that this was the one I wanted to focus on today:

"Be happy with what little you've got. There are people with nothing who still manage to smile." (Unknown)

i fell into my own trap

With crampons attached to our hiking shoes, we headed up to a snowy and peaceful plateau for a winter walk on Sunday.

The sky was the brightest of blues, the snow crunched under our feet, the mountains around us felt close enough to touch. In every single way it was perfect.

I had my camera at hand... we were ready to enjoy our day.

i didn't love myself yesterday

Every Wednesday for the past few years I have shared what I like to refer to as a #beautyfullquote. And I haven't missed many (if any) Wednesdays... until yesterday.

Because yesterday I was feeling far from beautiful. Yesterday I was in a low place.

It wasn't anything as shallow as having a bad hair day... I'm at the stage where I can now look myself in the eyes and tell myself "I love you" even when my hair's standing on end.

  • 2019.02.13 #beautyfullquote Comparisonitis
  • 2019.02.06 #beautyfullquote Confucius

do you suffer from comparisonitis?

Do you know what 'comparisonitis' is? It's a commonly-found dis-ease that has taken hold of so many people over the last years and has destroyed their self-esteem, self-confidence, self-worth.

You tend to contract comparisonitis from over-use of social media but it was around long before the birth of social media. Social media has just made it more widespread.

beauty in everything

Our apartment lies above a beautiful lake which is simply idyllic to walk around. And, to our right, in the distance, are the majestic Swiss Alps, currently white with snow.

It sounds bliss, right?

Well today, although I know of the beauty that surrounds us, as I see it and appreciate it so regularly, today it's shrouded in fog.

standing tall with comfort

"Stop hunching over!", "Keep your back straight", "Stand tall"

I don't know about your experience but when I was young I used to hear these phrases more than I care to remember. And even now, when my husband is around and I'm working on my computer, I often hear "stop hunching over!"

A good upright posture is really important for our health and wellbeing...

diy perfume recipe

Before I begin this post today, let me give you a warning: you may sense some anger in this post... you'd be right

I came across an article recently shared in the Guild of Craft Soap and Toiletry Makers, of which I'm a member.

The article was entitled: "Organic, Vegan, and Cruelty-free perfume recipe to try this Valentine's Day"

foods that slow down aging

Did you know that the key to eating a diet that will slow down the signs of aging is to eat one that is rich in anti-oxidants?

Oxidants (or free radicals) can create cell damage (which attributes to aging) and it's the anti-oxidants (or 'against oxidants') that prevent this cell damage.

Now, don't get me wrong oxidants are not a bad thing. The ones created internally by our own body fight off viruses. The challenge arises when...

why can't we be happy?

A few weeks ago when the first snow of Winter reached the lower peaks of the Swiss Alps, we went out for a winter wander.

It was cold, the fresh air gently nipped at our faces, the sun was shining. It was lovely. And we enjoyed a truly beautiful and spectacular snow hike surrounded by stunning mountains as well as ski-ers, sleighers and fellow-hikers. Until, that was, my husband decided to go a bit off track and follow a snow-shoe route... we were in hiking boots.

love: the best investment

"They say love is the best investment; the more you give, the more you get in return" ~ Audrey Hepburn

I came across this quote only this morning and I just thought "yes.... this is so true".

I wasn't looking at it from a romantic point of view, although that certainly is one way to look at it. I was looking at it from a self-love point of view.

not like those girls in the magazines

"She was beautiful, but not like those girls in the magazines. She was beautiful for the way she thought. She was beautiful for that sparkle in her eyes when she talked about something she loved. She was beautiful for her ability to make other people smile even if she was sad. No, she wasn't beautiful for something as temporary as her looks. She was beautiful deep down in her soul"

  • 2019.01.15 blogpost My Gratitude Jar
  • 2019.01.10 blogpost Science of Attraction

my gratitude jar

...This year I started a gratitude jar. I had tried to create one a few years ago but I wasn't committed and it just didn't work... after just a couple of days!

But now I appreciate and value the difference in my mindset that a daily gratitude ritual creates. And so, I thought I'd create a visual reminder on my working desk that I could contribute to daily.

the science of attraction

So I was flicking through my news feed the other day and an article caught my eye. It was entitled: "The Science of Attraction: Men are subconsciously looking for these 8 things in a woman"

Now, I won't lie, I was shocked.

Seriously?

  • 2019.01.09 beautyfullquote
  • 2019.01.02 beautyfullquote

don't try to fit in

As I was coming to the end of my #beautyfullquote post last week about taking the time this new year to fall back in love with yourself, I wrote the the following message:
"You're not meant to fit in, Beautiful, you're meant to stand out"

And it felt like such a special message that I thought I'd return to it this week.

fall back in love with yourself this year

So tell me, Beautiful, have you got caught up in the whole "New Year, New Gym Membership" or "New Year, New Fitter Me" that I see bandying around at this time of year, every year?

Can I suggest something quite radical?

Don't buy into it.

goals with soul

The internet is absolutely buzzing with yearly reviews and setting goals for 2019. Everywhere I look there's a ton of advice about what I should be doing right now.

But as I shared in an earlier post, I'm not one for spending time looking back and dissecting my year as I prefer to live in the present.

In saying that...

looking back

We're on the cusp of entering a brand new year.

And I'm seeing everywhere, people looking back over their year and breaking it down into what went right and what went wrong. And then looking forward to what the new year will have in store for us.

Have you done this yet? Are you planning to do it?

get off the scale!

“Get off the scale!
I have yet to see a scale that can tell you how enchanting your eyes are.
I have yet to see a scale that can show you how wonderful your hair looks when the sun shines its glorious rays on it.
I have yet to see a scale that can thank you for your compassion, sense of humor, and contagious smile.
Get off the scale because I have yet to see one that can admire you for your perseverance when challenged in life.”

a surprising benefit of a good night's sleep

According to Lauren Hale, Ph.D., of the National Sleep Foundation adults over the age of 17 need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep. There’s no exact figure as each of us is unique and individual but this is a guideline.

As most of us already know, getting a good night’s sleep is important for our overall health and well-being but did you know that it also has an impact on your skin?

self-care at christmas

The Christmas Season is well and truly upon us, wouldn't you say?

The shops are filling up with Christmas shoppers and our agendas are getting blocked left, right and centre with Christmas parties and get-togethers.

It can all be a bit hectic but, you know what, the buzz is great. It keeps us high and our energies lifted. Isn't that right? Or do you get a sense of overwhelm at this time of year?

happiness makes you pretty

Have you ever noticed that when you're feeling happy and are smillng, that people smile back at you and, even, treat you differently compared to times when you're feeling down or grumpy?

It's as if they want a bit of what you've got or want to be part of what you're part of. It's as if they're mirroring your feelings and unconsciously becoming part of your happiness. And that is beautiful.

today was a tough day

Today I struggled with myself, with my business, with life.

And rather than hide away and pretend to everyone around me that life's going just fine, I decided to show up and be honest with myself and with you. Because we can't expect that every day will be great. Some days are challenging - that's just life.

look at yourself as a colour

"Look at yourself as a colour.
You may not be everyone's favourite.
But one day you'll meet someone who
needs you to complete their picture"

What a #beautyfullquote for today.

I always wonder on a Wednesday morning what quote will pass by me, catch my eye and capture my heart that day and I have yet to be disappointed.

love letter from my customer

I received a love-letter the other day from one of my beautiful and amazing customers.

I call it a love-letter, others might call it a product review. But to me it was a love-letter because my customer took the time to write from her heart. And it truly brightened my day.

And I'd love to share some of it with you. Not to boost. But to honour my customer and publicly say "thank you... you mean the world to me."

And once you read what she has written you'll know why I feel so blessed to have customers like her.

do you only see thorns?

"Some people could be given an entire field of roses and only see the thorns in it. Others could be given a single weed and see the wildflower in it. Perception is a key component to gratitude. And gratitude a key component to joy" ~ Amy Weatherly

I wonder... which person are you? Do you only see the thorns, or do you see the wildflowers? Or do you see both, depending on the situation?

I know, for me, I have a tendency to see the thorns when the situation is personal or self-created whereas I tend to focus on the beautiful wildflowers in everything else around me.

The Natural Facelift (A Study in Marketing)

What if I told you: "I've created a product that would give you a facelift without botox, without fillers, without surgery or any other invasive procedure".

What if I told you: "I’ve surveyed this product on a number of women and 90% of them were elated – with a percentage of them saying they saw an improvement".

And what if I told you: "The secret ingredient in the product comes from the leaf of a tree native to the high Himalayan region of Nepal and that the Sherpas chew on this leaf every single day".

What if I told you: "This product is soon to be the hottest reverse-aging product on the shelves and will shortly be featured in beauty magazines".

What would you think? Be honest…

How Will You Weather the Storm?

"Life's not about how you survived the storm, it's about how you danced in the rain."

What a beautiful quote and it really means a lot to me.

Because when you run your own business, you could say you truly weather the storm. You rely on people to find you, to trust you and then to love you, your products, your ethics, before they even consider becoming your customer and buying from you, not once but on a regular basis, so you can pay your bills at the end of each month...

"I Love You"

Recently I read the book "Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends on It" by Kamal Ravikant.... seriously... one of THE best books I've read in a very long time (and it's only 57 pages!) If you haven't read it yet, please do so. It really is transformative.

I've since moved onto another book about animal communication and read a paragraph that totally supports the whole concept of saying "I love you" (to yourself, to someone else, to your pet).

It wasn't always Femininity & Sensuality

Simply Skin… celebrating your femininity and sensuality. That’s the focus of my brand nowadays but I wasn’t always about celebrating my own femininity and sensuality.

When I was growing up and in school, I struggled. I was never accepted by the cool gang. I was never the girl the boys would chase after or show interest in. I was never confident in simply being a girl, comfortable in my own skin. It was a challenge. And on top of that I was bullied, even in Primary School. Nothing serious, nothing like the type of cyber-bullying you hear kids having to live with nowadays. But nonetheless I was bullied and it really impacted my confidence.

Do You Know Your Cruelty-Free Brands?

I thought I'd pop in and share an experience I had recently when I was looking to buy a bottle of perfume.

Some time ago I was in hospital and one of the morning nurses wore a perfume that I simply fell in love with - it was sweet and vanilla-y and exactly the kind I love. So I asked her the brand and perfume name and she kindly shared it with me.

Recently while visiting family, I dropped into a local department store in search of this perfume. By this stage I had forgotten the name but was pretty sure I could remember the brand. It didn't take long to find it and I was all ready for buying it when a thought came into my head: "I wonder if this brand is cruelty-free?"

Why Use Organic Skincare Ingredients?

I get asked all the time by customers why I think they should buy skincare products which contain organic ingredients.

Is it really worth paying 2 or 3 times the price (at least) for such a product?

Plain and simple, my answer is yes. Read on to find out why.

The Organic Farmer

Why have I decided to go that extra mile and incorporate organic ingredients wherever possible?

The answer is very simple:

I believe in supporting farmers who have chosen to follow the more difficult and costly, yet ethical and environmentally-friendly route; farmers who have chosen to grow their crops organically.