5 Tips for Self Care

I know taking care of yourself is probably never too far up on your list of things to do, it’s never on mine anyway (and if it is for you then well done! You’ve mastered what I need to do). Mainly because I find other things to prioritise or simply forget. However that is not exactly healthy and like me, you’ll probably find yourself in a state of panic or crying on your sofa every month or so because you have neglected yourself.

Like the good saying goes, you have to look after yourself before you can look after anyone else.

So I thought I’d compile some ways in which you can put yourself first without it breaking your routine or making you pay £40 for a facial.

  1. Bubble Bath

This is probably an obvious suggestion but I always look at having a bath as a huge effort so never end up having one. I also know that not a lot of people have baths and that this is a luxury. If you do have one I recommend dimming the lights, using a bath bomb and watching an episode of one your favourite shows.

Baths are a great time to switch your brain off and because you can’t do anything else but stare at your laptop when watching a show, you can’t not concentrate on yourself and relax.

If you want a cheap but decent bath bomb, The Body Shop do bath bubbles which change the colour of your water while providing bubbles and great smells! Therefore, your 40mins of relaxation don’t have to cost the earth.

2. Going on a walk

Again extremely simple but focussing on putting one foot in front of the other and admiring your surroundings does a lot for the soul. Especially if you are anxious or pent up about something, walking it off really does help.

If you want to switch your walk up why not try a new route, phone a friend or listen to a podcast. Walking is actually the perfect time to have conversations you have been ‘too busy for’ or podcasts you never quite have the time to listen to.

Another thing you can do on your walk is simply sit on a bench and listen to the birds or take time to admire what’s around you. This is great for clearing your head, especially if you are near the sea.

3. Looking after your skin.

Simply adding a few steps into your routine where you concentrate on yourself can perk you up instantly. Whether that is as simple as moisturising your face day and night, applying some lip balm or doing a face mask once a week. A little goes a long way.

If you want tips on looking after your skin and some products check out my post here.

On the other hand I have extremely dry lips and have had problems with them my whole life, so for me taking time to take care of them is a small step in looking after myself. Some of my favourites are Carmex, The Body Shop’s Hemp lip care and Elizabeth Arden’s 8 hour cream.

Carmex: This lip balm has solved all my worries when it comes to my lips, and I have tried A LOT of lip balms. Its highly moisturising and doesn’t dry them out after.

The Body Shop’s Hemp Lip Care: This stuff is a recent addition to my collection. One I wouldn’t claim to be moisturising, but instead it protects my lips from the elements and is best put on in the morning before applying anything else. When you live in the North of Scotland this is important.

Elizabeth Arden’s 8 hour cream: This is not cheap, in fact we got it out of our local Factory Shop for a fraction of the price. However, it does what it claims and restores the skin and can be used in a number of places. So it could be claimed for all it does and for how long it lasts, it is actually worth the price.

Being Alone

I don’t know how strange this may be but I believe to fully recharge you need some alone time. Now I am not talking about taking a holiday by yourself (however that would be nice), I more mean spend some time in your own company. This way you can process your thoughts and not feel like you need to be switched on 100% of the time.

Why not read a book, watch a film or like I said above, go for a walk. This way when you go back to being switched on you can do it affectively.

Meditation/Yoga

How to Meditate - Mindful

Now before you roll your eyes or skim past this section. I have never tried yoga or meditation either. I know it isn’t for everyone but why not try it because A LOT of people love it and maybe you’ve just not found the right place or way yet.

You can even do it really simply by sitting on your floor and just closing your eyes and letting your thoughts flow around your head. This way you can think about them rather than ignoring them.

It is the perfect time to just tune out the noise and sit in silence with absolutely no one bothering you.

Or if you’d rather do some movement why not try doing some yoga or stretching. Even if you aren’t listening to your thoughts or ‘centring’ yourself, you’re still doing some light exercise to look after yourself.


I hope that in some way these gave you some big or little ideas for improving how you take care of yourself. Or even help to remind you that at some point you actually need to stop taking care of everyone else and listen to what you need.

I am by no means good at doing any of the above and I am not here to preach about it either. However, I do know that when I do at least one of the above, when I remember, that it helps. Even simply by registering that you are doing it for you and that it is important will help shift your mindset and could help you be kinder to yourself.

I think in a lot of ways it’s about not making it become ‘something else to add to the list’ or part of normality, in that it should be special so you can feel special.

I hope you are doing well,

Much love,

Sophie x


My Relationship with Lockdown: An Update.

How many weeks are we now into staying at home? I think I have well and truly lost count. In fact I don’t think I started counting in the first place, mostly because I didn’t (and still don’t) know what day it is.

I have lost the plot. From my last post about life in lockdown it probably sounded like I was doing fine, having the odd down day, but mostly pushing through.

Now though. Now it is a different story.

Now I am bored. I am restless. I am frustrated at knowing this could go on for many more months.

Now I am ready for a mojito on a beach with the sun in the middle of nowhere.

Not in stormy Scotland (which is currently blowing a gale force on my window) *which was a few days ago now – we are currently back to sunshine.*

I know this probably sounds like I am having a good moan, and you know what I probably am. I am going to own the fact I am at the end of my tether because usually I’d apologise straight after about boring you with how ‘bad’ my life is. Yes in the grand scheme of things I haven’t had Covid so I don’t know the worst of it but it doesn’t mean I have to like it.

But lockdown has different ways of affecting everyone. Right now I think the best way to describe it is that I feel ‘stuck’. I just don’t know what to do because I don’t have anything to do (this is a weird thing to say seeing I do have things to do, I think it is more the repetition of them and the feeling of not getting out of that cycle). I’m telling you this more because I am curious if anyone else feels the same?

I have even started to notice that small things can put me in a really bad mood. Like if someone says something that I disagree with or something doesn’t go to plan, it will put me in a slump for the rest of the day and I can’t shake it. It’s like having a period everyday – I just don’t know what emotion is going to come my way next.

Maybe this is because I don’t have the usual outlets to expense excess emotions that build up. I’m never one for talking about how I feel (which if you can avoid I recommend) but before lockdown my life would be semi busy so then at least that way I’d have ways of avoiding coping with them. I know that if a psychologist was reading this they’d probably have alarm bells ringing in their head but here we are.


I’m now reading this the day after writing it. I’d usually delete a post like this, looking at it more like a way to get my frustration out rather than being useful. But this is useful. It is important to know that you’re not alone and that if you feel like this then it’s okay. I don’t want to glamorise lockdown, it’s hard and not everyday is filled with amazing memories which you can hold onto for a lifetime (if I’m honest most of lockdown doesn’t have many of those for me, so no pressure).

It may sound extremely overdone, and for an English Lit. student, there are probably better metaphors to use but lockdown is very much like a rollercoaster, to me it is anyway. From one day to the next I never feel the same. It definitely throws curve balls at you and sometimes its quite scary.

So far the best ways I have found at coping with this utter mix of emotions is just listening to them and owning them. If I don’t want to do anything one day I won’t. If I am in a horrible mood I’ll try and do things to perk me up or just sit by myself for a bit. Reading is a good way of escaping when you can’t necessarily go outside. On top of this, what I’ve really found surprising is that running is a good way to escape the horrible feeling.

I am currently doing Couch to 5k, and I am on week 4. I stopped and started A LOT but I’ve now realised it helps to purely focus on my breathing and my technique. When you’re nearly dying because of the heat, you don’t have time to think of anything else.

Anyway, what I am trying to say is, no I’m not having the best of times all the time. I get more down days now than I did before lockdown. Yet that is understandable, it’s not enjoyable, but it happens. So now apparently you are my therapist (I’m joking). I hope to at least one person this makes you feel less alone.

I have always over examined how I feel but doing that is not going to change it.

Sending you lots of love, whether you are still in lockdown or not.

Sophie x


Just Because You Have a Birthday in Lockdown Doesn’t Mean it Can’t be Special.

Lockdown has stopped a lot of things, one being celebrating getting a year older with your friends and family. It was my mum’s birthday on the 1st of June and unfortunately the plans we did make for making lockdown a bit more exciting got cancelled. So not only could my mum not go out and celebrate but she couldn’t have the afternoon tea she booked to be delivered to the house either.

I appreciate that this is not important in the grand scheme of things and there are definitely much larger things going on. However, I believe every single person should feel special on their birthday, lockdown or not.

Therefore, the idea for this post was created. I thought I’d share the things we did to make her birthday exciting and also some different ways that you can make your loved ones day a lot better. Even if you don’t have a birthday coming up (or don’t know anyone who does) these things are also applicable to anniversaries, special occasions or simply just making someone’s day that bit more special.

Breakfast

The best way to start off someone’s day right is breakfast (or that is my opinion anyway seeing breakfast/brunch is my absolute favourite). My sister and I made these waffles for my mums birthday.

Some of my breakfast suggestions include: Pancakes, Full Scottish Breakfast, Avocado and Bacon with a poached egg on toast (really stereotypical I know) or a bowl of natural yoghurt with granola, fresh fruit (often strawberries and raspberries or banana) topped with lots of honey.

Friends and Family

During lockdown we all miss interacting with people outside of our household. So why not make someone’s day a bit more special and different to all the others through engaging with those we miss the most. You can have someone come visit your garden (correct as of writing this post on the 2nd of June in Scotland), create a surprise zoom call or even create a short video with little messages from family and friends. Even something as simple as a chat over a wall can bring a smile to that persons face. These gestures don’t need to be large, the smallest of things can make the biggest difference.

I think in these circumstances it is remembering that each person will feel comfortable doing different things. So, if someone doesn’t want to visit don’t feel ashamed or heartbroken. These things take time and it definitely doesn’t mean that they aren’t thinking about you.

Do Something Special

Even with the lack of resources it doesn’t mean you can’t do something to make that day extra special.

For example, my mums afternoon tea was cancelled so we decided to make our own at home with bits and bobs from Tesco. Making sure she was sitting down and relaxing while we did the stressful bit. We even used her old china which was handed down to her and has been in a box for far too long.

Another great thing to do is hang up banners and balloons. Something to lift their spirits when the day might not be how they expected.

I think the most important thing to do is to keep that person busy. If you are looking for some different things to keep you occupied check out this post. Maybe try some baking or think of their favourite thing to do and put it indoors/in your garden. You could even recreate their favourite restaurant.

Sentimental Gifting

I think now is one of the best times to gift something sentimental. Even something as little as some flowers or a card with a nice handwritten message in it has a great sentiment to it. If you wanted to go the extra mile you could gift a box with your favourite memories together or create a photo album; a great way to reminisce, even when you aren’t together.


I hope these suggestions have come in handy and if you have a special day coming up I hope can you enjoy it.

Also, if you have any other suggestions that you’d like to input just mention them below.

Much love,

Sophie x


How to Keep Yourself Occupied in Lockdown

I know a lot of people are having nice weather and are probably lying out in the sunshine. However, the probability of that where I live (in the Scottish Highlands) is not a guarantee. On top of that even when there is nice weather there is a cold breeze. Which is what I am currently experiencing sitting out in my garden writing this – with a blanket wrapped around me.

I digress.

I know when stuck inside for over two months you become lost for ideas on how to keep yourself busy, both inside and out. Therefore, I thought I’d be super nice and share my tips (I say ‘tips’, I more mean that I will divulge what I have been doing and probably what everyone else has – I’m hoping though that I have included something semi original).

Be Creative

At the start of lockdown I bought myself a paint by numbers. Which my brother calls the idiot way of painting. I must admit I can paint to some degree however that was a long time ago. Therefore I don’t want to sit down and hope that the outcome is something I like. So, instead, I bought this and it has been keeping me busy ever since. Don’t get me wrong it is still not finished but I think that is the beauty of it – it will last you the whole of lockdown!

*The paint by numbers took 3 weeks or so to arrive so if you want to order one I would do it as soon as possible*

If you don’t like the sound of a paint by numbers you can always grab a colouring book. I find this really therapeutic and is great to do both inside and out. You don’t need to do a traditional mandala one. I recently gifted one that featured scenes of the sea – a perfect reminder of where you can visit after lockdown.

If like me, you don’t consider yourself very good at sketching but enjoy it all the same, this is the perfect chance to brush up on your skills. This way there is no pressure and you can just sketch when you want to. I quite enjoy doing my one walk a day and taking the odd photo. That way when I get back I can try to replicate it as best as I can. Don’t worry, its not like there is an art teacher screaming down your neck, do it at your own pace and just enjoy it!


Find a Course

Something which I have started (and not yet finished) is a google course. They offer a few free ones but if you are willing to pay then they also have an expanse of different ones. I’ve started a course on The Fundamentals of Digital Marketing (free). It is a great thing to add to your CV plus engages your brain when uni is cancelled. They are all available here.

*It is worth looking at universities and other organisations to see if they also have courses available. Also check reviews and see what you get at the end of the course before signing up*


Get in the Kitchen

The above photo is a Yoghurt cake which I’m currently trying to improve. *Fingers crossed a recipe will be coming soon*

Meanwhile if you fancy some baking check out the Cinnamon Bun recipe or the Triple Chocolate Cookie recipe.

I know with the increase in banana breads being baked and people saying they will learn to cook that this is definitely a trend for lockdown. However, it is extremely useful. I used to hate baking but lockdown has managed to spark an enjoyment in it for me.

Baking for other people and trying different things has been calming, unless of course it goes terribly wrong.

If you are not a baker I highly recommend ordering a new cookbook, I bought this one by Jessica Elliot Dennison (who also owns a restaurant in Edinburgh).


Get Yourself a Book or an Audiobook

I know this is stating the obvious but I think a lot of people forget that reading is a really good way to relax and also improve your vocabulary/speech. Don’t put pressure on yourself to read a literary masterpiece (although I have a feeling all authors class their books as this). Just grab a book from your local supermarket and enjoy it. I recommend ‘Girl, Woman, Other’ which I just reviewed here.

On the other hand if reading isn’t your thing I recommend listening to an audiobook, especially before going to bed. I really enjoy Stephen Fry reading Harry Potter (although I’ve already read the books and watched the films numerous times, the story never gets old). Or you can access various actors *including Daniel Radcliffe* for free reading the first book here.

If reading books and Harry Potter aren’t your thing (I am disappointed) or you’ve already listened to it then I have a great alternative. Instead you can transport yourself to your childhood or listen to this audiobook with your kids. Taika Waititi has joined Road Dahl HQ to read James and The Giant Peach each Monday, Wednesday and Friday with a bunch of famous people joining him. You can find it here.

I recommend watching it in your own time rather than before bed as Taika brings a lot of fun to the video. He makes his own sound affects, and engages his famous guests who act brilliantly of course. Making it great for both adults and kids. It’s also for charity so I highly encourage you to donate if you can.

Start Writing

Writing is a great way to take whatever is bothering you out of your head. This way you can give your brain a rest and see what’s bothering you as actual words rather than information floating in your brain.

Conversely, creative writing is a great way to give you an escape. Planning your own world for your own characters can last a good while, giving you a much needed distraction. You can even just start by writing some prompts on your phone, no pressure. Make it fun, it doesn’t have to be the next Lord of The Rings.


Like I mentioned in my last post about lockdown, don’t feel bad if you don’t want to do any of these things. If this list puts you off, you’ve basically just read a pile of things I’ve started but not actually finished. So, don’t worry.

If you have any suggestions of what else I (or anyone else) can do to occupy themselves let me know below. Also, if you use any of my suggestions make sure to tag me on instagram (@Sophie_mcivor) and share it with your friends.

Much love,

Sophie x