Absolute London Life.Wellbeing at home this winter.

Absolute London Life.Wellbeing at home this winter.

Make your home your sanctuary and pamper yourself this season.

Now is a perfect time to be kind to yourself and give special attention to your physical and mental well-being. Looking after our minds, bodies and souls can start by cultivating regular well-being routines and rituals each day in the comfort of our own homes and gardens. This winter be mindful to eat well, exercise, keep on top of personal admin and work, and declutter and organise at home. Then make time for fun and relaxation with walks outside in nature, settle down to read that novel from your extensive book list, take a relaxing fragrant bubble bath, immerse yourself in trying new wholesome home cooking, watch festive films or enjoy a spot of gardening on a bright day. These are all little positive activities to help us feel accomplished, fulfilled, contented, optimistic, happy, and grounded. If you cannot leave your house for exercise, make time every day in your routine for gentle stretching, yoga, and meditation, and give yourself quiet moments of mindfulness. Also, super charge your diet and cooking with as many fruits and vegetables as you can and turn your home into your sanctuary as you nourish and look after your mind, body, and soul this season.

Our gardens and well-being.

An area of natural indoor or outdoor green space is vital during these times to give us a sense of nurturing our own little plot of paradise. No matter how small or big, be it a courtyard patio, balcony, window box, allotment, a rambling garden with ponds and views, or even a small collection of indoor plants in beautiful pots, treat every space as an oasis of greenery to look after and enjoy. Everyone’s little bit of natural space indoors or beyond should be nurtured, appreciated, and admired as our positivity and well-being can grow immeasurably in abundance just from looking after our own little environments and living spaces in these challenging and changing times.

If gardening is new to you just start off small by growing herbs in little pots on your windowsill. My favourite herb pots for the kitchen is basil with its strong fragrant scent and luscious green leaves which taste amazing in salads. Waitrose do some wonderful ceramic pots full of pretty and fragrant herbs simply perfect for a sunny windowsill. Other fantastic indoor plants and herbs include aloe vera, rubber plants, lavender and mint, and peace lilies are great for bedrooms as they can boost air purification and humidity at night-time and which can aid a restful night’s sleep.

Well-being and beauty essentials.

Here are my latest well-being and beauty essentials for body maintenance and pampering over the winter season without having to leave your house.

Hands & Feet.

I love a pedicure and manicure and simply adore visiting my favourite nail shop to treat my feet and hands to some well-deserved professional care. However, during lockdown, like many of us, I got used to doing my own beauty treatments at home and while most things are best left to the professionals, a simple manicure and pedicure is something we can all have a go at, and if we experience terrible results we can just start again or wait until we can get back to our faithful nail shops. So do have a go with a good quality nail file and nail varnishes. I do think with nail polish you get what you pay for so buy the best you can afford as you want your nails to stay strong and chip resistant for as long as possible. When on a budget spend more on a good base and topcoat as this ensures nails endure daily wear and tear, then experiment with different brands for the colour.

Essential home nail care items include good quality nails files, cuticle cream, wooden nail sticks and clippers. OPI and Chanel nail polishes both have strength and staying power and come in an array of colours. One of my favourite hand creams on the market is Organic Defence Hand Cream from Neals Yard at £6, and the nail polish base and topcoat that I use all the time is OPI Start To Finish at £10.60 from John Lewis.

The Revlon foot file purchased from amazon.com for just £9.99 with free delivery is a wonderful little gadget that rescued my feet in lockdown earlier this year. The sun came out and then so did the flip flops so thank goodness I had this little tool in my pack of home care tricks to help my feet look spring and summer ready.


My favourite fragrance this season is Pomegranate Noir cologne by Jo Malone which comes in two sizes, the 50ml for £50 and 100ml for £100. www.jomalone.co.uk.


Cyclax body lotion is a good value, simple, and a reliable brand has been around for years, available from good local pharmacies for around £2 per pot or buy in bulk online from Amazon for as cheaply as three pots for around £5.


I love Neals Yard Rose Facial Oil as its fresh, fragrant, and natural. It helps with blemishes and smoothing the appearance of the surface of the skin to give a youthful glow and reduce the look of tiredness especially around the eyes. I have used this most evenings before bed after cleansing as part of my night-time beauty regime for years. www.nealsyardremedies.com

Pukka Organic Castor Oil is great for eyebrow and eyelash growth. I put this on at bedtime a couple of times a week and it has certainly made my lashes and brows thicker. Available from Holland and Barrett. www.hollandandbarrett.com.


I really encourage all of us to ditch the makeup as much as possible, to go natural and let our skin breath especially when we are now wearing our face masks out in public places, and having a holiday from everyday makeup will also help our beauty budgets. However, I believe keeping well-groomed, looking after our bodies and skin, taking care of our appearance, and having a good beauty cleansing and makeup routine helps us feel positive. I still love wearing makeup, despite having to wear a face mask and I am devoted to Estee Lauder, Double Wear makeup foundation. This makeup has amazing and remarkable staying power which does indeed last all day even under a face mask, whereas other cheaper makeup will just sink into the skin or come off inside the mask. The Estee Lauder Double Wear Liquid foundation comes in so many skin shades and they also stock a little removeable makeup pump for £5. The Double Wear compact is also my favourite for keeping shine at bay and I get both the liquid and compact in the shade Buff.

If you visit the Estee Lauder makeup consultants found in most major department stores they can safely help you pick the perfect shade of foundation for your skin. When shopping from home, as I encourage you all to do in theses changing times, use the fabulous online help chat service from their website where an online makeup professional will help you select the correct shade of foundation and lipstick from the comfort of my own home, then the products are delivered free of charge so you don’t even need to leave the house to rejuvenate your makeup bag. www.esteelauder.co. uk.

Perfect winter in-door activities this season.

Winter weather can turn from terribly gloomy, the sky filled with wind, rain and the darkest of clouds, to suddenly bright and sunny, and bitterly cold. I do love this time of the year, I adore autumn and winter and I simply love the rain, it always seems like such a miracle, so I don’t usually mind the colder months in the slightest especially if I am tucked up warm at home with large mug of wonderful tea (Yorkshire Tea Gold is my tea of choice if you are wondering). As I write we are in our second lockdown, but never mind, as rather than traipse out to all the shops and restaurants, it’s a perfect opportunity to get cosy and spend spare time indoors curled up with all the magazines, books, boxsets and films just waiting to be read and watched. So, stay in, keep warm and cosy, and make that tea. Winter is a great excuse to spend some time to yourself away from the busyness and hustle and bustle that life can create.

One favourite way to feel cosy this season is cooking. Clear out and clean out your fridge and freezer and make space for fresh produce, batches of stews and breads. Slow cookers and bread makers are always popular purchases as winter approaches.

I love my slow cooker to make casseroles and my favourite brand is the Crock-Pot. It is so easy to use, clean and store away. A casserole is easy to make, cost effective and nutritious and I keep this dinner super simple and preparation time quick by buying meat, chicken and vegetables already chopped up, then I just add stock and leave it on the high setting for around eight hours for meat and five hours for chicken. When you have a big batch, it is great to box up for family or store in your freezer.

The bread maker is a household essential and these do not have to be expensive or take up too much space. There are masses on the market, but I think the small ones work perfectly well. My favourite brand is the Russell Hobbs – 23620 Compact Breadmaker at £64.99 which is perfect to make all sorts of breads and my favourites are gluten free loaves, loaves with seeds and nuts, or sweet loaves full of dried fruit which are all ideal for freezing or give to family and friends.

Masks in London.

This season we all need to wear face masks when moving around in public places. If you prefer to use reusable fabric masks then make sure these are regularly washed. I also like to keep my masks in a clean dry pouch in my bag to keep them fresh, and then I keep them in handbags and coat pockets and a stash in the car as well. Most brands stock adult and children’s masks and my favourite fabric masks this season are:

Gap. These pretty fabric masks come in an array of wonderful colours and designs and you can coordinate with your family. Packs of adult and children’s masks are three for £10 and a family pack is £18. www.gap.co.uk

Liberty. These beautiful triple layered masks are created in assorted Liberty fabrics, and available online in packs of five for £40. www.libertylondon.com

Uniqlo. The Uniqlo AIRism high performance face masks have high performance filtering even after washing and are available in three sizes, small, medium, and large. The small size fits kids and each size is available online in white, grey, and black for £9.90 each. www.uniqlo.com

Advice for traveling on London transport.

·       Only travel on public transport in London if necessary.

·       Always wear a mask and keep a spare mask with you.

·       Always carry hand gel and re-apply often.

·       Avoid touching seats and handrails.

·       Wear gloves if possible and if fabric reusable gloves then wash regularly.

·       Avoid touching your face and keep tissues or wipes with you.

·       Keep your distance from other passengers and if possible select seats or a standing area with a two-meter distance.

·       Travel at off-peak times.

So dear Absolute London Life readers, do stay positive and optimistic and there is nothing you cannot achieve. As the end of 2020 draws to a close and the winter months are upon us, make time for yourselves and to have a warm, cosy, tidy, organised, and tranquil home environment and take time to rest, relax and rejuvenate. Read, listen to music, light candles, and surround yourselves with all your favourite comforts, and always endeavour to look after your minds, bodies and souls and care for your well-being.

2020 has been a unique year and some can be forgiven to looking forward to its closure. However, to view this year as a failure or write-off would be such a terrible waste. It is not the challenges but the way we react to them that makes all the difference to keeping an optimistic mindset and we should all try to always recognise the positive experiences in each day. This year for some of us has been sometimes challenging and worrying, but it has also been a time of thriving expansion with the emergence of new opportunities. Therefore, thank you 2020 for all the experience and for the lessons you have taught us so far.

Charlie McBrien