Handbag heroes | Simply Marcia

Shortcuts and top tips to a more healthy, mindful, positive and energised you!

Handbag heroes

Back in the day (aka pre children) the contents of my handbag were a) few and far between, b) super glamourous and c) never sticky!! Generally all I needed back then were lipstick, my phone, lip balm and purse.

Roll on 14 years and it’s a very different story. The contents of my handbag are mostly now a) sensible (tissues (a mix of new and used), wet-wipes, plasters, empty bottles of calpol, cheap bifocals), b) food-related (crumbly breadsticks, rotting fruit, forgotten sweets stuck to the inside of my bag) and c) school letters and parental slips (that have been signed and then forgotten about, now lying crumpled up and past their ‘must-send-in-by-date’, waiting for the next handbag clear out …).

I’ve come to realise that I am in fact a walking-vending-machine-come-cash-dispenser-come-clearer-upper-of-messy-things … I don’t actually mind this – I like to be a provider of things for my hungry, messy, sticky, (sometimes) bloody and sore and ever-money-hungry children.

This hand-bag transformation starts the minute you have your first baby in your arms – a sense of mild panic runs through you if you don’t AWLAYS at ALL TIMES have EVERYTHING with you that your little darling might need (you also suddenly realise that no ordinary handbag will cut it – your new best friend needs to be able to handle all sorts of emergencies and scenarios and carry EVERYTHING) – personally I was a fan of ‘the bigger the better’ (translates as ‘can fit more in’). If you’re currently on the look out for one of these bigger and better bad boys, Mumsnet do some great baby bag reviews for here and now …

I think this feeling of being a provider of easy-access comforts for your children never quite leaves you (it’s a major habit of mine), so even now, eldest child (aged 13 and 3/4) along with younger two, is still greeted at the end of the school day with a plethora of food (some healthy, some (shamefully) not so), wet-wipes (the child is incapable of eating anything without leaving the remnants around and on him and his surroundings), and  … complete control of the in-car entertainment (Kiss FM anyone?).

But anyway, lurking somewhere in this sticky and crumbly collector of random old receipts and shiny coins there are in fact some things that never change – my handbag heroes – lipstick, my phone, lip balm and (less) money. They’re just a bit more battered and bashed up than they used to be!


Get your glow on!

At the top of my list of beautylicious desirables is dewy-soft and super-glowy skin, however finding a product that a) doesn’t break the bank and b) does-what-it-says-on-the-tin is not akin to finding the Holy Grail … So, step forward Superdrug’s (yes, Superdrug’s)  Simply Pure Hydrating Serum.

It’s brilliant (and only £2.69 a bottle!! £2.69!!!). It rehydrates and moistens and plumps and brightens, imparts a super lovely dewy glow AND it’s got a bit of a cult following by those in the know (late last year stocks ran out as crazy women who should’ve known better, stampeded through Superdrug’s doors to bag themselves a bottle (or two, or three … literally)).

Stock up now (umm I have) …

simply pure

Skinny honey bee :)

In need of a sweet hit but trying to be a bit good and (sloooowly) backing away from the naughty aisle? Then hot-foot it to the crispy/savoury aisle (Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Asda or online at Ocado and Amazon) and give yourself complete guilt-free permission to grab a pack of Metcalfe’s skinny popcorn 🙂 Oh happy days! These popcornlicious lovelies are not only healthy-eating-friendly but are super-delish and will help curb a sweet-hit-emergency!

My favourite? It has to be honey bee x



Hello gorgeous!

I’m not always so great at accepting compliments. I mean, I want to (who doesn’t secretly love a well-deserved compliment?) but the self-doubting, non-believer and non-deserving side of me is always a bit surprised, shocked and convinced that anyone complimenting me has an ulterior motive – what do they want? They must mean the opposite? “Oh god, I must look like sh*t today”, is what I’ll be thinking (instead of graciously accepting said compliment and leaving it there) – it must be a joke – a set up? Etc, etc, blah, blah, blah … Negative thoughts can (annoyingly) creep in pretty quickly after that 🙁

Which I know sounds totally ridiculous. And which makes me super-irritated and annoyed with myself. I might even have a bit of an ‘harrumph’ moment.

So anyway, a week or so ago, a mummy at school gave me a lovely compliment and well, I decided to take it. I basically had a word with myself and took and accepted that compliment in the way in which it was intended (with genuine meaning). I enjoyed the moment 🙂 and how it made me feel (a bit glowy!) and decided there would be no more daft over-thinking about receiving compliments. A gracious thank you is all that’s needed and a belief that I do deserve compliments.

Fast forward to today. Lunch-break – dashing out of M&S when a young man called to me “Hello gorgeous!” Yup, he was talking to me (I did that head swerve thing – looking and checking to see who else he might have been speaking to – and unless an old boy in his 80’s or a goth-teen-boy were his thing, he was, absolutely, talking to me). Normally I’d have dashed off at 90 miles per hour – a bit terrified – but today I took it 🙂 Yes, I thought, I am looking pretty gorgeous today with the rain and wind whipping my hair in a ‘just-got-out-of-bed’ sexy manner (!!) – and then I dashed off at 90 miles per hour – as said young man was collecting in the streets for a national charity … And yes, I know that his job was to charm and flatter mid-40 year old mummies like me in to handing over their bank details but well …

Bring on the compliments – I’m finally ready 🙂

Bikini body brushing & buffing

Sometimes, at this time of year, when about to reveal bits of my body that have been in a (very) dehydrated state of hibernation for the previous 6 months, I recognise that a bit of brushing, buffing, scrubbing and slathering is in order. Without question.

My routine goes something like this: every day for a week I body brush (downward strokes everyone) whilst repeating ‘be gone damned cellulite’, I apply fruity-smelling scrubs in the shower (yes even more body scrubbing) followed by a good old slather of ‘make me smooth and luscious’ body lotion (whilst visualising magically transformed long and lean goddess body) … and then (probably) the novelty wanes … until the next wave of sunny weather (or when I realise it’s the summer hols count down – eeeeek!), miraculously springs me back in to another frenzy of BBB (bikini body buffing).

Lovely Liz Earle has a great body brush (super-reasonable too) for helping to get rid of teeny lumps and bumps as well as a brilliant body care range. And if you’re in the market for a (ahem!) slightly cheaper (but obvs still as lovely and effective) range, then look no further than super-Superdrug for some scrummy-smelling and effective body scrubs and lotions!

Of course, you could also (at no cost) apply a big dollop of ‘not-giving-a-sh*t-attitude’ 🙂 and simply style it out!


Knackered.com – the power of quick napping

I never seem to get quite enough sleep. Which I hate. Because I love sleeping (pleeping!), snoozing, resting; being in my cosy nest. It’s a safe and warm place (literally – thanks to dial 3 on my electric blanket). Nothing seems so bad when I’m cosied and wrapped up, enclosed in a fluffy blanket or heavy duvet (it could be likened to swaddling a baby!).

The problem, is that much as I love sleeping once I get to bed, I’m not actually very good at giving in and recognising the ‘I’m really, really tired’ signs (including: yawning, can’t keep eyes open, being grumpy with partner, and kids and dog …) and going to bed. Early. It’s like being an eternal teenager – I want to sleep – just not before midnight (maybe it’s missing out syndrome?) – there’s too much to do (by that I mean ‘watch’) – am a total TV-aholic if left to my own devices. And then, please, I’d quite like it if my alarm didn’t go off until at least 8.30am. That would work for me.

The reality is that my alarm goes off at 6.15am (what the!! Arghhh). I don’t like this – I often wake up a complete grouchy-grumbalina 🙁

To counteract this I’ve developed a tried-and-tested (many, many times) post-dinner and pre after-school toing and froing (think kids homework, kids clubs, dog walking, emergency home economics food purchases etc.) sleepy-catchy-upy. It’s basically a 20 minute (daily) emergency power nap on the sofa. This technique has been so finely tuned by myself (and partner actually) that kids can be running havoc around and about but my mind and body can totally switch 0ff. Mummy needs her sleep quota – and this helps boost it.

It’s not easy – and takes practice but try it! Set an alarm if you need to and give yourself a 20 minute sleep break allowance. I properly believe that a late afternoon or early evening snoozette and brain rest can help keep you going for the rest of the day (up until midnight of course!). Maybe plonk the kids in front of the TV (ipad, playstation …) – this works for me 🙂 get in to position, close your eyes and gently drift off … zzzzzzz … (sadly zero interruptions cannot be guaranteed).

Thought I’d include the ‘science’ bit – limit your nap to 45 mins or less and post-dozing, you should be far more alert, creative and sparkly. And, healthier as apparently napping reduces stress and other nasties 🙂 Read the full article to be fully ‘in the know’!

Permission to doze off on the sofa has been granted! x

yawn b&w

Trying to be (more) grateful

Gratitude. Thankfulness. How often do you stop to list the things in your life you’re most grateful for? If you’re like me, then not very often – umm, helloooooo, busy mummy lady!!

However, I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently (think it’s to do with that mid-age thing – I find my mind wandering about and thinking about all sorts of deep and sort-of-meaningful stuff …). Anywhoooo – gratitude. It makes you focus on the good things in your life – it really can help you gain perspective and in turn make you feel happier and thankful – for the stuff, people, health you have in your life.

And according to the sciency people who know sciency stuff, there are lots of positive side-effects: apparently being grateful and thankful you’re also more likely to be(come?!) fun-loving, optimistic, kinder, generous, resilient and it’ll put you in a better mood (no more moody-Mildred then!).

If this all seems a bit yawn-some and tedious but this post is maybe making you think you ought to give it a little go, then it’s actually easy-peasy to incorporate a bit of grateful attitude in to your life (with hopefully all the lovely side-effects!) – simply consider all the good things that can happen if you start reminding yourself, even just once a day, of all you have to be grateful about … x

Shady lady

Thank god for sunshine but equally, thank god for shades! They hide a multitude of tired-mummy and sunshine-enhancing imperfections and, they totally help to up the glamour stakes. They require zero effort but look so good, and no-one would ever know what horrors might be lurking behind them …

As a mummy of small children though, my days of designer shades are well and truly over (for now) – I’ve learnt the hard way (on more than one occasion) that very small children plus very expensive shades really are not a match made in heaven – never, EVER, leave said small children within reach of said expensive shades. It won’t end well.

Instead, these days I’m a massive fan of that high street fave H&M 🙂 They stock a brilliant selection of glamour-boosting and tired-mummy-eyes shades (and they’re pretty much all under a tenner – hooray!).

Spaniel’s are optional (though not available at H&M)!


Baby blush lips

I am a bit of lip balm addict; I’m a lip balm junkie in fact. I love (need) lip balm in my life. I find the simple act of applying lip balm calming and comforting; it’s literally become my comfort blanket!

I mostly love those lip balms that give a hint or mellow wash of gorgeous natural-but-enhanced colour, especially in the summer.

Vaseline Rosy Lips is probably my all-time favourite for it’s lovely colour (and price!) however, there’s a new balm in town and I love it! It’s definitely not aimed at my age group but ha, I’ve got a rebellious streak so have totally raided my local Superdrug’s teen make up aisle for this little beauty: Maybelline’s Baby Balm & Blush Booming Lip Balm in Ruby 🙂 It’s gives the most gorgeously plumped-up hint-of-glowy-red lips and is perfect for on-the-go lip balm application and thanks to the chunky applicator no need for dabbing (grubby!) fingers in pots of Vaseline … There are four summer-and-purse-friendly colours to choose from … Now blush off and get one x

lip balm 2

lip balm 1

DIY deeper hydration

I’m a constant slurper of super-weak decaf tea and good ol’ tap water throughout the day, so whilst my skin gets a good old hydration hit from the inside, and even though I slap on a good old skin hydrator twice a day (I’m a good girl), when I get to this time of the year (crawling out of my winter hibernation), my skin often feels in desperado need of an extra massive dunking in a deep pool of super-soothing and super-luxurious oil to up the ante … Of course, there are loooooads of amazing-sounding (and costing!) products out there, each claiming to give you skin to die for.

Sadly, for me, in order to afford these lust-after products, I’d need to eat beans on toast for the rest of the month, stop all kids’ after-school clubs … you get the picture.

There is of course, another way – the DIY way. Not normally my forte (at all) however, this little beauty – avocado oil – is THE do-it-yourself beauty treatment you must try.

Avocado oil is, quite simply, brilliant! It’s full of essential fats for plumping, softening and nourishing your skin and is great for dry, inflamed or eczema affected skin. And, you can find it on your supermarket shelf for less than a fiver (one bottle will last for AGES).

It’s easy to get your super-skin-soothing-hydration-hit. Simply apply a couple of drops of avocado oil to your cleansed face before beddy-byes time. It works brilliantly – add it to your weekly groceries shopping list right now!!

avocado oil