Book Review: The Year of Living Danishly

living-danishly

Commuting definitely has one pretty big perk  – it’s the perfect time to become totally lost in a good book.

So naturally I wanted to do a blog post on my favourite book of this year so far – The Year Of Living Danishly by Helen Russell (check out her website here). And trust me, you will want to read it.

The book was actually recommended by my friend who has serious book recommending cred, and so I bought it on my Kindle the day after speaking to her.

It’s fair to say I couldn’t put it down, and actually found myself wishing that my journey was longer (already at an 2h30 daily commute this is something even I am shocked I am saying!).

So what is the book about?

If you haven’t heard already, Denmark ranks top when it comes to the happiest countries in the world. The Year of Living Danishly sees Helen and her husband re-locate to Denmark with Helen making it her mission to see what makes Danes so happy, and looks at how to incorporate Danish ways in to their lifestyle.

What I loved about the book was how relatable Helen is as a person, and found her writing style/tone interesting, engaging and humorous. Filled with plenty of facts, Helen has the perfect knack to translate how this effectively plays a part in everyday life. I genuinely feel that I have learnt a huge amount about Danes and Danish culture, so much so that I have been inspired to start learning Danish (maybe a move is on the cards?!) and tried creating my own hygge space at home.

For someone who is admittedly undecided about the future and where my life will take me, I definitely found comfort in reading The Year Of Living Danishly. Helen’s personal story of initial unsure towards relocating to Denmark, but then taking a leap of faith is a reassuring reminder to take a chance and that we don’t have to live out the life we thought we had planned.

the-year-of-living-danishly

 

So enough gushing already…but a really quick fyi that Helen is actually releasing her second book called ‘Leap Year’ on December 15th (hello perfect stocking filler!) which I can’t wait for!

Would love any recommendations on any must read books (I am literally going through a book in less than a week) particularly any that have a Danish/Scandi style or theme to them!

xx

 

 

 

Mini Make-Up Haul

makeup-haul

Cool make up that’s reasonably priced AND available in the UK?

Hello to KIKO make up.

I actually first discovered them like 3 years ago when travelling to Madrid and purchased the perfect peachy nude creamy lipstick, and after to a recent trip to their London store I have a few other products to add to my collection!

I have never done a make up haul on Balm & Blyss despite the number of beauty posts that I do! (Check them out under the Balm & Blyss Beauty category)

But my recent visit to KIKO and a quick lil visit to the Nyx counter at Selfridges and I feel that it is totally necessary to share what I bought with you!

makeup-haul-2

makeup-haul-1

Weirdly most of my products from KIKO don’t appear to be named/numbered on their colour, however the eyeshadow is in 203and is this amazingly deep maroon/purple colour.

The nail polishes are surprising one of my faves (a steal at only £1 each!) and have a real nice consistency and seem to wear pretty well.

The gel eye liner is a re-purchase, however I can vouch that is THE best gel eyeliner I have come across. Super pigmented and wears literally all day.

And the NYX liptstick is a matt grey colour in no.34 which I have been after for forever – would you believe how hard it is to source a grey lipstick?!

Let me know what your favourite beauty finds are this month – do you change your makeup to match the seasons?

xx

 

City Break #1 – Copenhagen

city-break-copenhagen

Here’s a little recent background to this post for ya…

I recently was having a conversation with someone at work who had recently got back from a weekend in Stockholm (fyi – I love Stockholm) and she mentioned that she was attempting to do 30 countries before 30.

Long story short, I am hooked on the thought and have so far calculated that I have travelled to 14 different countries – driving through/layovers etc. do not count!

And it made me think about the amazing time I had earlier in the year in Copenhagen, Denmark and starting a travel series (mainly city breaks) on Balm & Blyss!

Basically I decided to surprise my boyfriend for his birthday and head on a 2 night city break to one of the happiest counties in the world – Denmark!

Flights cost less than your average train ticket, and with a greatly priced airbnb apartment we were perfectly set!

Copenhagen is a city that you can instantly fall in love with – I could literally gush about the city and it’s people all day long, but you have probably already heard the good news.

It has a very trustworthy, friendly vibe and has so much to offer for such a small city!

I would recommend getting a local map and just wandering about – it is really walkable in ALL weather.

nyhavn-1

[Nyhavn waterfront, Copenhagen]

nyhavn-3

[Nyhavn panoramic view]

christiansborg-palace

[Christiansborg Palace]

carlsberg-road-1

[The old Carlsberg Street]

round-tower-view

[View from the Round Tower]

apartment-1 apartment-2 apartment-3 apartment-4 apartment-5 apartment-6 apartment-7 apartment-8

[The most amazing airbnb find in Copenhagen]

On the subject of this Danish post, I just want to mention a book I have read called ‘The Year of Living Danishly’ by Helen Russell. Such an amazing book that I actually never wanted to end whilst reading it. It was really interesting and insightful in look at the way of Danish life from a British expat’s perspective – it has even encouraged me to start learning Danish!! Thinking of doing a full book review style post and maybe another on the ‘hygge’ concept which i am already in love with!

Let me know if you have any hygge tips!

xx

p.s….next stop Krakow so please share restaurants/things to do tips!

September is the new January

Sea, sand and new starts

Who said you had to wait until a new year for new starts?

Last month I made the pretty huge decision to leave my life in London and head back home up North.

Some people may think that it’s crazy and why on earth would someone want to leave London, but for me there has been something so calming and therapeutic about being home and being back by the coast that has so far made it so worthwhile.

I wouldn’t change my experience in London for the world (okay a little more money wouldn’t have gone amiss!) and many people when faced with my ‘I’m leaving speech’ responded with ‘London isn’t for everyone’ and they kinda had it wrong. See I feel like London was for me, however I also feel that there are so many other places in the world that are also for me.

Right now that’s back at home by the sea and amongst my amazing friends and family (and of course my crazy dogs) – I swear that Cayton Bay has to be one of the best beaches in the UK (I’m not bias I promise!)

Cayton Bay Beach sign

[Which way to the beach…]

Cayton Bay Beach

[The rocks @ Cayton Bay Beach]

Cayton Bay Beach

[Sea view, Cayton Bay Beach]

Cayton Bay Beach

[Sunset @ Cayton Bay Beach]

Cayton Bay Beach

[Sunset castle view]

Scarborough Castle view

[Burning sunset view]

Cayton Bay Beach

[Floating rocks, Cayton Bay Beach]

Cayton Bay Beach

[Rocky view, Cayton Bay Beach]

xx

 

Why You Need A Wooden Hair Brush

Wood for Good

Who doesn’t want healthy hair? And I bet that most of us want longer hair too right?!

You have the perfect hair oil that I mentioned in my previous post, so why stop there on your journey to the perfect hair?

It’s time to put down that tangle teezer and check out why you need a wooden hair brush in your life.

Here’s why…

☽  So a wooden hairbrush helps to absorb your natural hair oils which means when you brush through your hair it helps to distribute these oils evenly that help to keep it conditioned

☽ Helps to reduce static and breakage

☽ Provides a scalp massage particularly along the acupressure points – promoting good circulation and healthy hair growth

☽ If looked after, a wooden hairbrush will literally last you years & years – a definite worthwhile investment!

Tek Hairbrush 1

[Tek Wooden Hairbrush]

Tek Hairbrush 2

[Tek Wooden Hairbrush – Handmade in Italy]

I bought my wooden hairbrush a couple of years ago and honestly love it. It doesn’t drag like plastic bristle brushes tend to, it somehow doesn’t seem to get that unclean/messy, and it genuinely feels almost therapeutic when using it!

The brand I purchased is Tek which is an Italian brand where they hand-make their brushes. Did I mention that they are also FSC certified which means your hairbrush uses responsibly sourced wood. They are kinda pricey if buying direct through their website, however definitely check out your local TK Maxx as I grabbed mine there for a fraction of the price!

Let me know if you guys prefer plastic/wooden/any other type of hair brushes! Also if you have heard of or had any experience of the hair ‘inversion’ method I would absolutely love to know (blog post coming soon!)

xx

The hair oil you need in your life

 

Hair Oil

This shit is real…milk_shake glistening argan oil is legit the real deal.

Let’s backtrack sayyy 5-6 years when I was at University and first discovered argan oil.

I fell in love.

Hair dried quicker – check.

Smoother hair – check.

Hair feeling generally healthier – check.

So yep – I have pretty much used argan oil on my hair ever since.

I haven’t been particularly brand loyal, I’ve gone from using high street brands to the holy grail Moroccan Oil.

But there’s a new player in town, and if you haven’t heard of milk_shake haircare products already then check them out!

Long story short, my hairdresser recommended milk_shake glistening argan oil and that it’s seriously the best hair oil she has used. (She also used it on my hair and it felt aaamazinggg).

So me being me I kept putting off buying it and wanted to wait until I had used up the argan oil I was currently using. Anyway – cue me researching it online for weeks, checking where had it for the best price etc. until I found it on Beauty Bay.

Basically, they had it at the best price then something INSANE happened. I checked beauty bay on Tuesday and…the hair oil had been reduced to £3. Let’s take that in for a moment – this hair oil retails for £20!!

I ordered 5 bottles (they’re 50ml each) and it’s like the best decision I’ve ever made.

Milkshake hair oil 1 Milkshake hair oil 2 Milkshake hair oil 3

And I’m not sponsored or being paid for this post – I seriously sent an email around friends telling them as I feel that I should share this amazing find!

Let me know if you order any – I’m contemplating ordering more (I seriously have like FOMO in a shopping sense!) or what your favourite hair oil is!

xx

Malta Moments

Malta Balm & Blyss

Everyone loves a snoop at holiday/travel pics – am I right or am I right?!

So recently my boyfriend and I travelled to Malta for 10 nights staying in the St Julians Bay area which fyi is probably the most lively area of Malta, with new buildings/hotels popping up everywhere! (Expect views of cranes in certain areas!)

It was a pretty relaxed holiday – most mornings we got up about 9am and alternated days of sightseeing with days relaxing by the pool or on the hotel’s private beach.

My favourite sightseeing moment was travelling to Comino Island and swimming in the Blue Lagoon – legit the most clear blue amazing sea water I have ever seen or swam in!

The weather was pretty perfect too with most days averaging 30+ degrees which was perfect!

Blue Lagoon 1

[Blue Lagoon, Comino Island]

Blue Lagoon 2

[Panoramic view @ Blue Lagoon, Comino Island]

Gozo 1

[Azure Window, Gozo]

Gozo 2

[Pool @ Azure Window, Gozo]

Gozo 5

[Azure Window view, Gozo]

Blue Grotto 1

[Caves @ Blue Grotto]

Blue Grotto 2

[Blue Grotto Archway]

Blue Grotto 3

[View from inside the Blue Grotto cave]

Blue Grotto 4

[Blue Grotto cave view frame]

Valetta 1

[Upper Barrakka Gardens, Valetta]

Valetta 2

[Fountains @ Upper Barrakka Gardens, Valetta]

So this is my share of my Malta moments!

Food-wise there was some great local restaurants (I would 100% recommend Peperoncino and The Blue Elephant @ The Hilton), and if I had to pick any bones with Malta it would be the lack of vegetarian/vegan options, and the high prices for drinks (even just a regular oj will set you back!)

Anyway aside from that Malta was definitely dreamy and somewhere I would definitely travel back to!

xx

 

 

Quick Post – Blog Re-Brand

BeachLife. Balm & Blyss

It has been close to a year since I posted on the blog, and if you haven’t already noticed…I have made the decision to re-brand from TheGlowDown to Balm & Blyss – blog design makeover coming soon!

In the meantime, this is just a really quick post to get the blogger ball rolling again.

Recently something within my life has genuinely made me take a look at my own values and outlook, and what it is I genuinely want from life.

A quote that I have seen this week has kinda struck home with me that I thought would be cool to share…

“It’s not about wanting to escape life, but not allowing life to escape us”

This feels so true to my mindset at the moment! So in keeping with the quote, let’s see where life takes us!

xx

ps. photo credit to my brother who took this amazing picture of the harbour in my hometown!

Save your Skin. Save the Sea.

Save The Sea Campaign

FOREO is a brand that has been on my radar for years, and recently I was so sooo lucky to receive their LUNA mini Save the Sea – and my skin has been pretty peachy ever since.

If you didn’t know already, FOREO are a Swedish brand that create innovative products that are seriously at the forefront in the world of skincare & oral health. What makes them different – and has always attracted me to the brand and their products, is the fact that they don’t use the conventional bristle brushes (silicone = way more hygienic) and that it is eco friendly – there’s no need to keep replacing ‘brush heads.’

So what is the LUNA mini Save the Sea campaign? Basically the guys at FOREO created a product that help give back to the environment – net proceeds from each sale of the special edition LUNA mini are donated to two different ocean conservation charities.

So aside from the fact that the LUNA mini and the team at FOREO are total stars when it comes to creating a product that gives back to the planet, the LUNA mini itself deserves all recognition it receives and more for a product that truly makes a difference to your skin.

Basically – FOREO LUNA mini > all skincare expectations. There are so many benefits and positives about the LUNA mini, that in true TheGlowDown fashion, I thought I would create a lil list for you guys…

FOREO LUNA mini 2

FOREO LUNA mini 3

FOREO LUNA mini 4

FOREO LUNA mini 5

 ? It takes only 1 hour to charge, and can last for up to 300 uses!!

? It buzzes at 15 second intervals so you know when to change up which area of your face you are cleansing

? It is super easy to keep clean, and waterproof – I use mine in the shower for ease!

 ? It’s super compact and portable

 ? I am in love with the Save the Sea design – skincare that is functional, charitable anddd has a cute design – erm yes please!

 ? My skin felt soft and more plump after the first few uses. Seriously. No word of a lie, I had to get my sister in on this because it’s kinda crazy how plumped and supple my skin now feels!

 ? My skincare products and make-up go on a lot more smoothly

If there ever was a list of reasons why you should have the FOREO LUNA mini in your life, I’m pretty sure I have got it covered! The LUNA mini is as an absolute skincare staple, and not only that – but I love that FOREO are a brand that are also passionate about global matters – a brand and message that’s worth investing in.

TheGlowDown xx

 

100th TheGlowDown Post!!

100th post

So I always kinda envisioned my 100th post to be something spectacular but now it’s here and I feel like it’s more fitting to just sort of say thank-you in a simple way.

I aren’t someone who likes to be over the top anyway, and with my new simple approach and mindset to life I feel this way is pretty perfect and fitting.

I absolutely love writing TheGlowDown blog and even when my posts can become a little sporadic, I am always thinking about what I can come up with next for my blog. It has served as an outlet for me in so many different ways, and is starting to open doors for me that I hadn’t even thought possible, so I want to say a huge and sincere thank-you to anyone and everyone who takes time to read my posts and support me/believe in me.

I have always been shy about promoting myself as a brand and as the blog TheGlowDown, but I do take pride in how I have grown from my earlier days of blogging, and hope that somewhere along the way I have shared some inspiration to you guys out there!

So this is it really for my 100th post – just trying to keep it simple here in a world full of crazy/fun/madness – but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

xx

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