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Sunday, 10 September 2017

Weekend Antics: 'Me' Time

The dreaded end of the summer holidays: those last two weeks trickle away like quicksand, time slipping through your fingers as the Big Return looms like a dark cloud over you. It's not even that the return to school is something to dread, but it is the start of structured days and marking loads, seating plans and tricky customers, where the previous weeks have stretched by in holidays, lie-ins, dog walks and lunches out. I love my job, but I love the summer holidays, too!

Those last two weeks passed me in the blink of an eye for a variety of reasons: it was *gulp* my 26th birthday, and I managed to both catch a stomach bug which left me throwing up and fainting, and damage a disc in my lower back and injure a ligament. Mobility limited, stomach churning, and patience waning, it was one of the least fun bank holiday birthdays I've had for some time. After several visits to the osteopath to get me back upright, I decided it was therefore time to treat myself for the last weekend before the return to school as my birthday weekend had been such a dud. Teachers are notoriously rubbish at making 'me' time, so dammit, I was going to be that guy, just this once at least.

We had a weekend filled with birthday celebrations for other nearests and dearests, and although I still wasn't firing on all cylinders health-wise it was lovely to see everyone and socialise before I disappeared into a hole of work. My promise to myself this school year is to create balance in my life: I am aiming to be in work for 7:15 every morning, meaning I must not stay later than 5pm at night, preferrably 4pm latest. Burning the candle at both ends left me frantic, stressed and overwhelmed last year and it really did not leave me more productive or even able to produce better lessons or feedback. Consolidating my work time into set hours is both for my mental health and to hopefully increase my productivity, as well as allowing me time to be a better partner, friend, and daughter. A snappy stress ball is, after all, not the most appealing companion.

Step 1 of operation 'Me' was to book in to have eyelash extensions. It's something I wanted to do in time for holiday, but as a last-minute sort of person I unfortunately left it a little late. However, for my birthday present to myself I made sure it did happen.

I sent a facebook message to Sophie Alexandra, a local beautician renowned for her eyelash expertise, and on the Thursday morning at 8:50am I knocked on her front door, a little nervous about what to expect.

The process itself was fairly painless and took about an hour and a half. I laid down on the beauty bed in her cosy front room, Frenchie pup snoring peacefully in the corner, and was talked through the process. Two days before I had had a few tester lashes attached to check that I was not allergic to the glue - all good beauticians should do this so insist if yours doesn't offer of their own accord. Cotton wool balls are placed against your eye to keep your upper lashes from sticking to your lower with the glue, and in all honesty this was the worst part of the process, purely because the dampened cotton wool irritated my eyes slightly. The individual lashes are then applied to your own natural lashes with glue; they will simply drop off when your own lashes fall out in their normal cycle. It is a totally pain-free process and in all honesty - I fell asleep!

I asked for a natural look as I was returning to school but you could go for a much fuller glam look if that is your preference or if it's for a special occasion.

Apologies for my totally make-up free face; these were taken in my car directly after. The full set cost me £35 and lasts between 2 and 3 weeks in total. In terms of after care, you need to avoid getting them wet for 24 hours after in order to allow the glue to properly bond, and then if you do wear eye make up you are advised to choose oil-free products and make-up removal products to keep the lashes lasting as long as possible. You will find a few fall out here and there but it isn't a noticeable amount until about a week in, where you are beginning to take less care when rubbing your eyes etc anyway than when they are first done!

I personally loved having them on. It was so fantastic to wake up in the morning and not feel that I needed to put on make up. I didn't bother with mascara at all for the first few days, and after that just put some on my lower lashes. When attending a birthday event I used eyeshadow and eyeliner for the first time and mascara on the extensions and they looked great; although when I used make up remover that night several lashes did fall out, which is to be expected from the more direct rubbing motion. They really did both save me time in the morning and give me confidence to go out and about make up free; they looked natural but also gave definition to my eyes. I will 100% be getting some more next month. I think they are still subtle enough to get away with at work with clever make up, too.

Sunday was my last day of 'freedom' per se. We started it by viewing a house, as we are, hesitatingly, beginning to forage into the tempestuous seas of buying. We are in the very early stages post-mortgage advisor meeting but I will be blogging about the process throughout.

After a nose around some houses, we decided to treat ourselves to brunch from Church Green Cafe, a lovely little cafe in town that serves delicious breakfasts, lunches and dinners with loads of gluten free options. The space itself is a little cramped and they were busy with a big table's order, so we decided on sandwiches to go and headed off up the road while our food was cooked to savour our other treat: a milkshake from the Shake Shop.

I only let myself indulge in one roughly once a year or I'd be the size of a house, but they are DIVINE. The Shake Shop is a lovely little Cotswold stone place with a myriad of American sweets and chocolates lining its walls. It has every flavour of chocolate bar combination you can think of. You come up with your combination of choice and your chocolate bars are mixed with Mr Whippy ice cream for a truly delicious, full fat experience! I went for peanut butter and Oreo with extra crushed Oreos on top. It was heaven.

We picked up our sandwiches from the Church Green Cafe on our way back; I had a breakfast sandwich with sausage, egg and bacon, and Tom went for their chicken and bacon club. If ordered to go they come in little boxes with gingham napkins to really add to the British country feel.

We relaxed at home in our comfiest cosy clothes, rain pattering atmospherically outside, and devoured our treats whilst chuckling away at Rick and Morty on Netflix. Is there any other way to spend your last Sunday off?



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