Decluttering & Letting Go

While I'm not the type of person to sit and make a list of New Year resolutions, I think January and the start of a new year can create a great excuse to make some changes, whether big or small and physical or mental. Over the last few weeks I have been trying to downsize the amount of things I own, rearrange my bedroom a little bit, and generally declutter my storage areas in the hope that I will not only have a clearer room but also a clearer mind.

I've had the chance to put up the lights and pictures I've been meaning to put up for ages, but one of the biggest changes I've made decor-wise is to move my bed off the side of the wall and into the middle of the room. Even though I have a perfectly good desk and chair, more often than not I find myself using my bed as a desk, and being stuck in a corner felt just as much a reflection on my mental state as it was a description of the bed. It has meant I've lost a bit of floor space, but I have to say a shift of just 40cm has really changed my perspective of the room and opened it out, making my white metal bedframe actually seem like a purposeful design feature with clear open space to each side.

Of course, this change has meant I've had to sort through and consolidate everything lurking under my bed, as well as in my door-less wardrobe (no room for a waist high clothes pile at the bottom of the bed anymore!), and a sudden need for clear surfaces has meant drawers, cupboards and shelves have had to be attacked too. There's a lot to be said for decluttering small areas as well as making larger space changes, in fact it can be a bit like decluttering your mind- letting go of all the extra 'stuff' makes room for the things you really need.
One of the things I've really struggled with is the idea that I might use/wear/need something in the future, despite not having even looked at the thing for months. Ruthlessness needs to be your best friend when decluttering, letting go of the things that you keep hold of just in case is a really liberating feeling and asking yourself "would I actually notice if this disappeared?" is a good way to distinguish between 'want' and 'need'.

The big sort-out isn't just for aesthetics and peace of mind (tidy room, tidy mind- or so they say) but also because I'm planning to move this year. Although I don't have concrete dates yet, having a reduced amount of stuff to take will definitely make my life easier now and in the future.
Even if you're not planning to move house, a good spring clean at the start of the year can do the world of good physically and mentally, and the infographic* below gives some good decluttering tips. I really like the idea of separate 'sell' and 'donate' piles in particular as I tend to do either one or the other, but creating two piles would make sure things go to the appropriate place (especially for items like bras and cosmetics which are actually very gratefully received by the right charities as donations).

Whether moving or staying put, a sort-out might be just what you need at this time of year- never underestimate the power of a good declutter!

Curlers for Long & Shorter Hair- Babyliss Curl Secret and Nicky Clarke Diamond Shine Wand

I've learned the hard way that not all curlers suit all lengths of hair; some will easily create a smooth flowing spiral on long hair, while others will (quite literally) chew it up and spit it out!
Because electricals tend to be on the pricier side of beauty products, I want to make sure that the tools I'm using are right for my hair, especially when it can bounce between lengths and textures. The two curlers I've chosen for todays post are the Babyliss Curl Secret for shorter hair and the Nicky Clarke Diamond Shine Pro Salon Styling Wand for long hair.

Babyliss Curl Secret (£119.99)
We'd all seen the videos of women effortlessly creating perfect curls with the Babyliss Curl Secret, so I was super excited when I received this glittery purple gadget as a present a year or so ago and I thought I'd be using it pretty much every day. The problem is that the tool isn't meant to be used on hair that goes down past the bust and (disregarding the fact that everyone has a different length torso and boob height so the thought of a 'universal bust' is impossible, and weird) my hair did. 

I really wouldn't recommend the Curl Secret for long hair- this tool works by automatically rolling a section of hair round a barrel in the 'ceramic curl chamber' when its clamped against the hair, and I suppose the barrel is just too small to cope.
I found the tool was constantly beeping at me to let me know the hair hadn't been wrapped properly and I needed to re-clamp, or it was getting stuck in my hair and pulling it out when I went to release the curl. A couple of times it got so stuck that I had to unplug it out of fear of burning my hair off as I tugged hard to release my locks from the thing. The sections of long hair needed to ensure the curler works properly are so small that it makes it more time consuming and prohibitive than using a normal curling tong or straightener (especially as it's quite heavy to hold in the air for a long time), which in my eyes defeats the point.

However, after I had an extra big trim not too long ago, the Curl Secret worked much more as it should and does prove to be a useful tool that makes life much easier. I need to have a mirror handy to make sure the hair sections are tangle free and inserted correctly, but with the heat on high and the time option set to the middle of three, I get bouncy and long lasting alternating curls that can be separated with my fingers or brushed out to a lovely wave. 
I love curly hair but the constant wrapping and waiting can be difficult to master with some wands, so a curler that produces consistent results with less effort is exactly what I needed, even if I can't use it when my hair is at its longest. 
Its a bit of an investment, even though you do get a free heat mat and dust cover, but if you have short to mid length hair then the Babyliss Curl Secret is a tool you'll definitely reach for in order to make curling an easier task. 

Nicky Clarke Diamond Shine Pro Salon Styling Wand* (£34.99)
I'm always up for trying out new hair tools but it was the inclusion of real diamonds in this wand that intrigued me the most. The Diamond Shine Pro Salon wand has a diamond infused ceramic coated barrel that uses tourmaline technology to help transfer heat evenly, avoid damage and moisture loss, and leave a smooth shiny look to the hair.

While this wand would also work well on short hair, the 25mm barrel is exactly the right size for my hair now that it has grown out. Smaller sections produce tighter curls but the barrel can quickly heat through larger thicker sections of hair and its easy to get the hair flat against the barrel and avoid twists that produce an uneven curl.
The Diamond Shine wand reaches a maximum of 210⁰c and I use the middle of the five heat settings at around 170⁰c. With my hair held for 15 seconds against the barrel and a few seconds resting in a gloved hand, I get a really nice curl that doesn't drop too much. I'm not convinced that there's all that much diamond in this curler, but it's doing something right as it produces curls which are much more even and uniform than some I've tried. I get trouble with visible split ends and increased dryness with some tools, but thankfully with the Diamond Shine the ends of my newly bleached hair look smooth rather than frazzled.

For longer hair, the Nicky Clarke Diamond Shine Styling Wand is a hit- the high heat transfer of the barrel but lack of damage makes it a really useful tool and, if like me you're not a pro with hair styling, it will definitely speed up your curling routine! 

Which tools do you find work best for your hair length?


How To Care For Your Fashion Jewellery

Gold fashion skull, unicorn jewellery. How to clean and care for your jewellery
How many times have you dug an old favourite piece of jewellery out of the cupboard only to find it's discoloured, rusted or (horror!) fallen apart? As much as you might curse the shop you bought it from, not caring for your jewellery properly is actually the biggest cause of defects.

Giving your fashion jewellery the proper love and care it deserves can ensure it stays looking gorgeous for years, and luckily it's very simple to do!

Do protect your lovely jewellery from rain, sweat and body lotion during wear
Do apply hairspray, perfume and body products (sparingly) before putting your jewellery on
Don't do the washing up in all your rings and bracelets

Why- fashion jewellery is made from metal alloys (which means different types of metals mixed together) and water, alcohol and some oils can cause these metals to oxidise, creating rust, corrosion and a range of strange colours to appear on the surface from green to yellow. Alcohols and strong astringents can also cause metals and some types of beads and crystals to lose their gorgeous shine.

Do give your items a rub with a soft cloth after wear to ensure they're clean and sparkling
Do use a soft, clean dry toothbrush to clean daily dirt from hard to reach places occasionally if needed
Don't use soapy water, chemicals or harsh abrasives to clean your jewellery

Why- as above, too much moisture can cause metal alloys to oxidise, but chemicals or over vigorous cleaning can remove the coating from some pieces and loosen glues, increasing the chance of losing crystals and beads or the item falling apart!

Do remember to remove jewellery before bed
Do hang necklaces or lay them flat in a box, to stop them becoming tangled
Do store earrings in pairs for ease and piece of mind
Do find beautiful holders for your jewellery (especially lovely ring stands!) but remember to rotate the items 'on show' frequently, as direct sunlight and exposure to air can sometimes cause colours to fade.
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