Tips to ease your fear of the dentist

Posted by Carole

Can you feel your jaws tightening when you hear the word “dentist”? Like most people the thought of visiting your dentist is making you nervous to a point you only go when it’s absolutely necessary – read when it bloody hurts and you have no choice but to go!

That’s what happened to me recently as I kept saying to myself that strange feeling I had in my tooth was nothing more that gum sensitivity and would go away on its own. Of course it didn’t and I ended up needing a root canal treatment, which got me to endure three long sessions with my dentist to date and dread the next two appointments that the helpful assistant has scheduled in for me.

The funny thing is that I had never been that afraid of the dentist and had always been quite good at getting regular check-ups and – I admit it – I didn’t understand people who were too scared to even book an appointment but I now realize it is because I’d never had any invasive work done to my teeth and I now fully sympathize with those terrified by the idea of setting a foot in a dental surgery.

And even though my dentist is very competent and doing her best to treat my tooth as painlessly as possible, I shiver every time I sit on the dental chair and could even cry a little if I wasn’t afraid to be judged… so today I wanted to go through a few tips that I tried to ease my fear of the dentist and the pain associated with the treatment, that might be useful for you too!

1. Take a painkiller just before your dentist appointment as it will diminish the pain you will feel during and right after the treatment HOWEVER do not take aspirin or any medicines containing aspirin as it will prevent clotting in case of bleeding. It might seem like an obvious thing to do but I never thought about it until one day, I saw my dad swallow paracetamol tablets prior to his dentist appointment and asked him if he was in pain. He matter-of-factly answered to me that he wasn’t yet but that he would certainly be later on so this was prevention. I thought it was smart and now never fail to take a painkiller before a dental appointment.

2. If your dentist doesn’t offer, don’t be afraid to ask for numbing gel or even bring your own and apply it, with clean fingers, to your gums before the treatment starts. Numbing gel can be bought in any pharmacy where it’s generally sold to appease gum irritations or small wounds in the mouth. My dentist seems to think I don’t need numbing before she injects my gum with anaesthetic, I truly disagree and always bring numbing gel with me.

3. Natural plant-based relaxing remedies such as infusions, drops or pastilles can help you relax your mind and body and endure your dental treatment with more serenity. The more relaxed you are, the less traumatizing the experience will be, plus relaxed jaws will help prevent muscle tensions and aches post-treatment. Rescue Remedy from Bach Flower is a great option as it offers a wide range of products including spray, drops, pastilles that are relatively efficient and easy to carry and ingest, wherever you are.

4. Listen to music before your appointment, especially in the waiting room. Be discreet and make sure to keep the volume down not to disturb other patients but this will help you to keep your mind focused on something else than dental surgery noises (thinking about that horrible drilling sound…). You can also ask your dentist if you can keep one earphone in during the treatment so you can still hear his/her instructions while being distracted and relaxed by your favourite music. I’ve only tried music so far but I’ve heard of many people listening to funny podcasts or audio books and it seems to work wonder!

5. Close your eyes or wear dark sunglasses during your treatment so you won’t have to see everything that is going on. I personally like to close my eyes as I know that I’m more likely to anticipate the pain of a needle when I see one. Sometimes ignorance is bliss! On the other hand, some people find re-assuring to see and be aware of everything that is happening and if it’s your case, you should ask your dentist to tell you what he/she is doing step-by-step.

6. Before the treatment starts, it’s important to ask your dentist to explain to you what he/she is going to do and roughly how long it will take. You don’t need to know about the gritty – and gory – details but understanding why you’re going through that ordeal will help you to consider the benefits and cope with the stress and pain better.

One last yet very obvious tip is to get checked-up regularly but also to consult your dentist as soon as you feel pain in your teeth/gums or even some kind of sensitivity. The earlier you go, the less invasive the treatment will be. A filling is much quicker and painless than a root canal or, worse, a tooth extraction and I wish I had addressed the issue I had with my tooth a lot earlier than I did as my problem would have been resolved in one appointment by a simple filling.

I hope these few tips will help a little if you’re planning a visit to the dentist soon, there is no miracle solution but every little help is welcome when it comes to anything dentist related. Stay strong!

Thank you for reading! Like and leave a comment below if you enjoyed this article, although I know no one enjoys reading about drilling and dentist pain 😉

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Leaving London… ?!

Posted by Corine.

It is so hard to leave something or someone you love behind even when you know it is for the best… isn’t it? Well this is exactly how I feel about leaving London! I love this city  to bits and I am so proud that it has been my home for almost 10 years, plus there are many people here that I love just as much and who make this place even more special… but I have come to a stage in my life where I am trying to listen to that little voice in my head that is begging for less stress and a life closer to nature. London is such a fantastic place to live, especially in your twenties, but there comes a time where the rat race gets a bit too much as, let’s be honest, this city likes to throw many obstacles at you and everyone here is as driven and ambitious as you are so it sometimes feels like a constant fight to come out on top! Also you can’t really buy, you can’t really have a car, you can’t really have kids, you can’t really have a pet, you can’t really this, you can’t really that… so why just not move out to a smaller town or go crazy and settle down in the beautiful British countryside?! Well, it is not that easy but I think that I am getting there and I have come up with a few tips to make the right decision…

  • I am talking about my plans to as many people as possible! Some friends and colleagues actually have had similar thoughts and they have done their own research so why not take advantage of that!?
  • It is also important to talk to family, friends or acquaintances who have already taken the plunge. These people survived leaving the city so why not ask them how they are coping with their new life? It helps me get a better picture of how life is going to be like and have real expectations.
  • My husband and I now have a shorlist of some possible cities so the next step for us is to book ourselves train/plane tickets and spend some time in those places. It goes without saying but visiting and spending some time in your potential future city is a must! I know Google Earth is cool and all that but there is nothing like seeing a new place with your own eyes!
  • Also I believe it is primordial to research the job opportunities. Sadly it all comes down to surviving and making a living so I don’t want to fool myself by thinking that I will have as many job opportunities as I do in London so research is key here to avoid bad surprises…
  • In light of the above we made sure to save some money before even considering mooving! Having savings to live on for a little while will definitely make the transition into our new life easier and lower the stress levels!
  • Not rushing! I have accepted that it is a long process and that it is OK to come back on some of my initial decisions. I have drafted my list of pros and cons a while ago and I come back to it now and then… and it is really interesting to see how my views have changed over time!

Following my own advice, the hubby, our doggy and I will be visiting Chester, a lovely city in Cheshire, at the weekend and I will let you know all about it next week… Everyone keep your fingers crossed that we will like it!

Thank you for reading! Like the post and leave a comment if you feel like it ; )

 

My Invisalign Journey (6 months on)

Posted by Corine. 

After undergoing orthodontic treatment by wearing dreadful clear braces for over a year as a teenager, my upper front teeth started moving again during my twenties which was, let me tell you, a real bother and disappointment! I was given a retainer to wear every other night to make sure my teeth would remain aligned but the technology behind it was terrible and it was just too uncomfortable and painful to wear so I very quickly gave up on it…  and I , of course, ended up with twisted front teeth by the time I was 25! It took me another couple of years to decide to seek orthodontic treatment (once again!) and I decided to go ahead with it when I realised how much the technology had progressed the past 10 years or so and, to my relief, braces were not the only option on the market anymore!

Invisalign is a type of orthodontic treatment that helps to straighten teeth by wearing a series of custom-made clear plastic aligners that move your teeth through a series of carefully controlled movements. The aligners are replaced every two weeks. It was a perfect fit for me and the biggest selling point was that the the aligners could be removed at anytime giving me the possibility to enjoy a romantic evening or an important business meeting without an (embarrassing) orthodontic appliance! I am now half way through my treatment (6 months done and another 6 months to go) and I feel that I can give you an honest opinion on Invisalign!

Is it expensive?  The technology behind Invisalign is impressive so it is pricey! Depending on where you get your treatment, you are looking at £2,500 to £5,000 for the most complex cases. I was charged ££3,000 for the Invisalign Lite that also included a second round of treatment if the result  was not entirely satisfactory after the first six months (which is usually the case so I am glad that I went for this option!).

How long does it take? If you want to obtain satisfying results, you need to be strong-willed! Your orthodontist will advise you to wear your retainer trays for at least 22 hours a day. I personally wear mine between 18 to 20 hours a day (sometimes less!) and I have not been behind schedule so far. Having said that I have not spent one night without my retainer since I started my treatment as missing on a full night of treatment would really put me behind schedule. It is great to be able to take it out and have a little break but do not overdo it or your treatment will suffer and take way longer than expected! 
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Is it really invisible? Honestly, it is pretty much invisible! Only a few people have noticed my retainers since the start of my treatment. Plus most of the time they will simply notice that your teeth are a bit too shiny but they won’t figure out that you are actually undergoing orthodontic treatment!

Is it painful? I consider myself really lucky as my treatment has been pain free for the most part… of course everyone is different and some of you may strongly disagree! You do feel quite a lot of pressure when you put on a fresh aligner tray and some are worse than others and can cause pain when being removed (it feels like your teeth are being pulled out!) and some trays also cause headaches but the pain is manageable with painkillers if need be.

Is it comfortable? The first few hours are tough and you feel like you have a big piece of plastic in your mouth which is not pleasant at all! I kind of freaked out a bit at first and I remember wondering how on earth would I manage to keep the tray in my mouth for more than 10 minutes?! It takes a few days to get used to and you will probably get a sore tongue and sore gums at first but you will quickly adjust to it. Six months on and I actually feel ‘naked’ and not quite right when I am not wearing my aligner tray… who would have thought!

Is that it? Well, not quite… Some additional procedures may be required to perfect your treatment. I personally had to have attachments (or buttons) fixed on four of my side teeth which are made of tooth-colored filling material. They help the aligner trays grip individual teeth, which helps move them to their correct position. They are, of course, removed once the treatment is completed. My orthodontist also had to slenderise some of my teeth by taking off a tenth of a millimetre out of them. It sounds scary but the result is not visible to the naked eye and the procedure is pain free but, let’s be honest, a bit uncomfortable as it feels like someone is drilling a hole in your head! Having had a tooth removed during my first orthodontic treatment (that left me traumatised!), I was more than happy for him to shave my teeth and not have to go through the ordeal of tooth extraction once again!

Brite

What about hygiene? Let’s be honest here… having a piece of plastic inside your mouth for a long period of time is a bit yucky and your aligner tray stinks when you take it out after a long night sleep… it is gross and don’t even think about putting it back into your mouth before giving it a good wash! Warm soapy water and your toothbrush may not be enough so make sure to invest in some effervescent cleaning tablets – the best ones are the Retainer Brite Cleaning Tablets – your orthodontist should provide you with a box at the beginning of your treatment. If not or if you simply need a refill, they are available on Amazon for around £12 for a box of 96 tablets. I use one tablet every morning.

Drinking and eating? Water is the only thing you can put in your mouth while wearing your aligner tray… anything else will stain it and, trust me, keeping you tray clean and stain free will become an obsession! As you are supposed to brush your teeth after every meal, Invisalign will be your best friend if you are planning on shedding a few pounds.  Snacking between meal is not worth the hassle of removing your retainer, cleaning it, brushing your teeth, etc… this will help you diet greatly!

Is it worth it? As far as I am concerned it is a Big Bold Yes! My treatment is not finished yet but I am already loving my new smile and I feel much more confident with myself. So if you are not happy with your smile and you are serious about fixing it (and you are also willing to use a good chunk of your savings for it!), it is good to know that there are some discreet options out there. Invisalign has been great for me and so much more comfortable (physically and mentally) than my previous experience with braces.

Please give this post a thumbs-up if you found it helpful and leave a comment below if you have any questions or comments. xx
For more information, please visit the Invisalign website

Sing a Song #1

Posted by Carole

Maybe I shouldn’t admit it but for many years I very rarely listened to any French music as I much preferred artists from the Anglo-Saxon world and especially from the rocking nation that is the UK!

Of course there were a few French artists that I liked and respected but still, the French music section of my IPod remained pretty much empty for a long time… until I met my boyfriend.

When he realized that I wasn’t listening to any music from our common home-country, it was a total shock for him as he is very attached to his French heritage and therefore French music.

So he made me listen to it, no choice here, and truth be told I enjoyed it a lot and was surprisingly delighted to fall back in love with some of the classics as well as more recent tracks.

Most people know French icons like Edith Piaf and Serge Gainsbourg or contemporary hit-makers like the Daft Punk or M83 but some beautiful songs have not travelled past the English Channel and I thought Whatever Friday was the perfect opportunity to share some tracks that, I hope, will touch your soul and make you sing along. Plus, some say that playing French music at a dinner party is utterly chic, so maybe try it next time you host at your place… and add some candles and wine for a full “Oh la la” effect.

Lyrics are particularly important for French artists, who are known for their very engaged and sometimes very political lyrics (you either like it or not!) and the song I will present to you today is no exception to that. The reason I choose it is because the lyrics resonates deep with my convictions and I cannot help but have tears in my eyes every time I listen to them.

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This song is “LA CORRIDA” by FRANCIS CABREL and it is about bullfighting but from the perspective of the bull… and of course it denounces the sheer non-sense and cruelty of this practice that involves in most cases the slow and painful killing of the animal.

In each verse, Francis Cabrel describes in a very poetic and metaphoric way what the bull thinks and feels as he goes through his ordeal.

In the first verse, we find the bull waiting in a dark room, wondering why he is here and why he can hear people singing and cheering outside.

I’ve been waiting in this dark room for such a long time

I hear laughs and singing

At the end of the corridor.

Somebody touched the lock

And I dived towards the bright light…

I saw brass bands, barriers

And people around.

In the second verse, the bull finds himself under the attack of the matador and quickly understands that one of them will have to die.

In the first moments, I believed

You only had to defend yourself.

But this place is a dead end,

I begin to understand.

They closed the door behind me,

They were afraid I retreat.

I certainly end up catching

This ridiculous dancer…

In the third verse, the bull remembers the beauty of his native land, Andalusia, and is still confident he can win this fight.

Andalusia, I remember:

Meadows lined with cactus…

I am not going to shiver in front of

This puppet, this loser!

I am going to catch him, him and his hat,

Make them twirl as a sun!

This evening, the wife of the torero

Will sleep on both ears.

In the fourth verse, the bull gets increasingly distressed and distraught and starts losing hope.

I have chased many ghosts,

Almost touched their ballet shoes.

They hit hard in my neck.

For me to bow.

Where do these acrobats come from

With their costumes made of paper ?

I’ve never learnt to fight

Against dolls.

In the fifth and final verse, the bull succumbs and because there are no words stronger than Cabrel’s to describe this terrible scene, I’ll let you appreciate his lyrics without further comment.

Feeling the sand under my head,

It’s crazy how it can feel good.

I prayed for it all to stop.

Andalusia, I remember…

I hear them laugh as I moan,

I see them dance as I succumb,

I didn’t think that one could have

So much fun around a grave.

The chorus is one simple and efficient question the bulls asks himself:

Is this world serious?

Finally, the song ends with a striking contrast sung in Spanish by Cabrel and Nicolas Reyes from the Gipsy Kings (famous flamenco band from France) giving a voice to the men taking part in bullfighting, who are cheering and encouraging more killings.

Yes, yes, man, man,

Dance, dance…

We have to dance again

And we will kill others

Other lives, other bulls

And we will kill others

Come, come…

Come, come dancing

Deep, isn’t it?

Some say bullfighting is cultural heritage, folklore or just a good spectacle but so were many practices like gladiator games, dog fighting, fox hunting or freak shows and still, we’ve condemned them because we realized how cruel and immoral these were so why not applying the same thinking to bullfighting? I truly don’t understand as I strongly believe that no cultural heritage can justify putting to death humans or animals for entertainment purposes.

Besides these very profound and serious lyrics that, I think, can be applied to many other situations where some people feel rightly about hurting other living beings, I hope that you will enjoy the melody and talent of Monsieur Cabrel, who is a true poet!

Here are YouTube links of the song with the lyrics in French so you can sing along as well as the song performed live.

Song with lyrics in French

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Xcv8T4bsKc

Live performance:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4nnTXzk_aKQ

La Corrida from Francis Cabrel was released in 1994 on the album Samedi Soir sur la Terre.

 * Translated lyrics taken from Francis Cabrel’s official website however I’ve changed a few words so you could understand the meaning better.

Thanks for reading! Like and leave a comment below if you enjoyed reading this article and want to share your thoughts with us!

Twins Q&A!

Our birthday month is fast approaching so why not do a fun twins Q&A?! As identical twins we get asked many questions since a very young age and let’s say some of them are funny and sweet and some others are plain weird and, quite frankly, a bit silly! So if you are a twin yourself, you are expecting some little twinnies (congratulations!) or if you are just curious… keep on reading!

Who is the oldest/who came out first? This is the number one question!  The answer is one of us was born at 00:10 and the other at 00:20. No C-section, all natural… sorry Mum!

Do twins run in your family? Yes they do! We have a few set of twins on the maternal side of the family (both boy/girl and girl/girl). So I guess we have a good chance to have twins ourselves!

Can you read each other’s minds? Nope, sadly being born a twin does not give you superpowers (too bad as it would have been pretty handy during our school years!). Growing up so close to someone from day one and living the same experiences at similar moments in life makes you think and react pretty much the same way… that’s all it is! We know what the other one thinks just by staring at each other!

Have you ever swapped boyfriends? Ew… of course not, what kind of a sick question is that?! Many people ask but it is just not our thing! And we were not kind to the boys who wanted to date both of us or any of us for that matter!

Do you feel each other’s pain? No, thanks god for that! Having said that there was that one time when one of us had a (minor) car accident and the other one who was at home at the time could feel that her twin was in distress and needed rescuing even before she called for help! It was probably just a coincidence but the feeling was really strong and we are still amazed when we think about it!

Do you know who you are when you look at yourselves in the mirror? You probably think who the hell asked such a stupid question right?! Well our German teacher in High School asked us exactly that… and she was dead serious about it… we kind of lost faith in her teaching abilities after that!

Do twins have a special bond? Yes definitely! Nothing mystical or related to some strange superpowers but knowing someone else so well since birth creates a deep bond that is much stronger than brotherhood/sisterhood and most friendship. We do consider ourselves very lucky to experience it!

Who is the good twin and who is the evil twin? Ok, the person who asked that question definitely watches too much crapy TV series… or should we blame bad horror movies?! Anyway the answer is that we are, of course, both lovely girls!

What is it like to grow up with a twin? Having a twin is a lot of fun during childhood, you basically have your confident and playing buddy with you at all times! Growing up you always have someone to rely on and it made us more mature and daring to travel on our own and try new experiences and that also made our parents more trusting to let us do our own things. We can honestly say that you feel like you can conquer the world with your twin by your side!

Would you like to have twins yourselves? Hell no, it is way too much work!

What is the best part about having a twin? There are many… but the best one is probably the crazy giggling… if something is very funny to one of us, it will be very funny to the other and all it takes is one glance before we start giggling about it… and there is no stopping us!

Please like this post if you enjoyed reading about us twinnies and leave a comment if you have any questions in mind… even a silly one (we don’t mind really)! X

 

 

A trailing spouse story…

Posted by Carole

Have you ever made a life changing decision meaning you had to start all over again and change your habits from A to Z? That’s what happened to me when I decided to leave my flat, my job and my sweet Parisian routine to follow my boyfriend in Switzerland, where he got a job.

It was very sudden and all went so fast I have to admit I didn’t think too much about it. I just followed my heart and six months in I truly don’t regret my decision… despite the ups and downs! Because yes, let’s face it, it’s not all pinky and easy to follow a partner abroad and become what some refer to as a “trailing spouse”. Many obstacles await on the road to settling down and despite being one very thrilling and exciting adventure, it’s also a time of great challenges, doubts and uncertainty… as I’m learning every day since I started my new life in Switzerland.

So today I wanted to share a few thoughts and tips on this unsettling yet very rewarding experience in the hope that it might help some other trailing spouses out there!

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  1. Own your life and stay confident

If you’ve made the decision to leave it all behind and start afresh, there is a good reason for it! Whether it’s to follow a loved-one, because you needed a change or both, your decision was justified by what you felt was best for you so never feel like you have to justify yourself or apologize to those around you, who might be questioning your choices.

I mean it’s normal that your family or friends worry about you, especially if your big change will leave you unemployed for a while and that is exactly what happened to me. I remember my mother being pretty upset about my decision at first but after I took the time to explain to her why I made this decision, she instantly understood and became incredibly supportive.

No one better than you knows what makes you happy so stand your ground and face raised-eyebrows with confidence but do take the time to explain your projects to your loved ones, those who truly care about you will understand and accept your decision. And simply ignore those who don’t!

  1. Stay positive and persevere

Starting afresh means there is lots of challenges you will have to face and one of those might be looking for a job! I always found that finding a new position was a relatively easy task in London, probably because I work in advertising and the market is flourishing there but things are different in Switzerland for multiple reasons I won’t bore you with, but let’s say I was told to expect an eight months hunting period to get a job! Believe me it was a shock and one that first left me distraught but then I digested the news and admitted that I had to deal with things the way they were and instead of pulling my hear and worrying sick, I decided to keep a clear mind and persevere.

Easier said than done but here are a few tips that help:

  • Don’t spend your entire day job hunting! If you’ve spent a few hours looking for offers and are not making any progress anymore, leave it there for the day as there is no point desperately scrolling through job boards apart from making you distressed and miserable (been there, done that!) If you’re registered to key job boards and recruitment agencies, you will be aware when a potential match comes through so relax and use the free time you have to do something you love or, this brings me to my next point, learn something new.
  • Being off work means you have time to learn new things and this can be a huge advantage for your career. For instance, throughout my researches I’ve noticed most employers are requiring knowledge of online monitoring and analytic tools so I decided to take advantage of the free time I have on my hands to broaden my skills and take the Google Analytics course and exam. It keeps me busy, in the game, it’s a great investment in my career and most importantly it gives me a sense of achievement, which is crucially needed when one is unemployed!
  • Don’t doubt or question yourself too much when you receive a negative answer from HR departments or are being ignored altogether. While making sure you apply to the right positions and your CV is flawless, there are many reasons why your candidature could have been rejected and it doesn’t necessarily mean there is a problem with you or your experience. Plus, there is not much you can do about a company’s decision not to hire you so just move on and persevere.
  • Mobilise your professional network as they might introduce you to potential employers. Also keep in touch with former bosses, colleagues and clients. Most employers will request references and recommendations at some point and it will be a lot easier to ask someone you’re still talking to than asking for the favour out of the blue!
  1. Embrace the opportunity

Embrace the free time you have to do things that you felt you didn’t have enough time for when you were working including learning or trying out new things but also indulgent activities such as reading, going for a walk or simply sunbathing.

Also use this free time and mind space to acknowledge this special moment in your life as a turning point giving you the opportunity to think about what makes you really happy and adjust your life accordingly. Not many people have the time or mental availability to do it so embrace it as a once-in-a-lifetime gift!

  1. Stick to a daily-routine

Moving to a city where you don’t know anyone can be a bit lonely especially if you don’t have a job to keep you socially active during the day so until you’ve found a new position and make new friends, try to stick to a healthy daily routine to keep your mind and body active and prevent you from slipping into a vegetative mode!

  • Of course you should enjoy sleeping a bit later in the morning as (I think) it’s one of the main benefit of not working, however it’s important not to spend half your day in bed! So set up your alarm clock to a reasonable time so you have enough pre-lunch hours to enjoy!
  • Echoing what I said earlier, I feel it’s important to define a schedule for your day otherwise you can easily get absorbed in counter-productive activities such as endless job hunting that will consume your day without any results. I usually focus on job searches in the morning when I’m fresh and the most positive and keep the afternoon for yoga, blogging, walks and any other activities a bit more fun. That way I feel like I work part-time and have accomplished my daily task by 1pm, which helps me enjoy my afternoon even more!
  • Try to leave job hunting or other learning activities behind when the evening comes so you can take a break from it all and most importantly enjoy some quality time with your partner without rehashing the same doubts or complaints and risk spoiling the moment you have. Also keep in mind that, just like you, your partner is going through a changing phase and is probably as stressed up as you are by his/her new life and responsibilities at work so go easy on him/her!
  1. Enjoy the small things

Don’t forget to enjoy the benefits, how small they seem, that come with your new situation. There are a lot more than you may realize…

Take the time to sit down and reflect on things, sleep longer in the morning, try that crazy recipe you’ve seen on TV, indulge in a daily yoga session, meditate in the middle of the afternoon, take a nap in the park, go swimming when the public pool is empty etc…

The list is long so relax and enjoy the freedom while it lasts!

Thank you for reading! Like and leave a comment below if you enjoyed reading this article and would like to share your experience with us!

A fun night out in London!

Posted by Corine

We are so spoiled for choice with cool and quirky bars and restaurants in London that it sometimes is a bit overwhelming to plan a night out that suits everyone’s tastes and we  end-up staying at home with a Deliveroo followed by a few drinks in our local pub… Although there is nothing wrong with that, challenging yourself to try new places and break the routine is always a good thing. So if you are looking for a night filled with good food, fun and a relaxed atmosphere all in one place, keep on reading!

Just off the hustle and bustle of Regent Street in London, and a few minutes’ walk from Piccadilly Circus, Heddon Street is a small U shaped alley which offers a great choice of restaurants and bars. I recently spent a night out there and loved every minute of it!

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The night started with an early dinner at Tibits, a vegetarian and vegan restaurant concept from Switzerland. Even if you are a meat eater you will enjoy some very tasty, colourful and satisfying food there. It is served buffet-style on what resembles a boat displaying salads, mains, sides and deserts. The food is charged by weight at the till and I think you get two bread rolls for free. The choice of dishes is huge and it is very tempting to add a little bit of everything onto your plate, plus it is a real feast for the eyes!  The cost of your meal will of course depend on the quantity of food you eat which seems pretty fair in a way! A full plate of different salads and mains accompanied by a large glass of red wine was around £18… adding a small plate of desserts and another (large!) glass of red, I ended up with a bill of £30-ish which is not cheap for a buffet meal but the food is really great and of good quality.  Will I be back? Yes definitely as I really enjoyed the modern feel and concept of Tibits which is the perfect place for a relaxed catch-up with friends or a date! The food is quite heavily seasoned though, which makes it lovely taste wise, but I ended up with a bit of an upset tummy that night… something you should keep in mind if you have a sensitive stomach like mine and can’t handle your onions and spices! Check their website for menus and recipes.

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We then headed out for a ‘chilled’ drink at the IceBar next door. Well the name speaks for itself so I do not need to explain the concept here! It is a very cool experience and great fun to do with a bunch of friends as I remember having to wait 15-20 minutes for our slot to get inside so it was good to have a laugh and a chat while waiting. The staff will provide you with a thermal cloak and gloves and you will be extremely grateful for it as it is cold in there… it basically feels like hanging out in a giant deep freezer for a drink or two! The walls, bar, glasses and furniture are all made of ice and are beautifully sculpted. Overall I really enjoyed the experience and I would definitely do it again as it is a bit of a laugh when everyone loses sensation in their hands and feet and the only remedy left is to have as much drinks as possible to keep warm! So make sure to dress for the occasion by wearing warm clothes and shoes. The only downside is the price of the drinks on top of your entrance ticket (£16.50 per head) but again you kind of need the drinks to keep warm so there is no way out!

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We ended the night in the best way possible by warming up our frozen bodies just a few meters away at MoCafe. The atmosphere is truly amazing at night and we ended up dancing to the rhythm of Maghrebi music (probably still buzzing from all the shots we had at the IceBar…). Make sure to relax and soak in the exotic atmosphere with a mint tea, some sweet baklavas and a shisha. And if you love the items displayed on the walls and the hanging lamps in the café,  they are all for sale!

ziggy-stardust-heddon-street-1Plus if any of your mates are fans of David Bowie (who isn’t?!) it will be pretty cool for them to take a picture in the Ziggy Stardust Street… Well the K. West sign is long gone and Heddon Street looks really different from the artwork these days but there is a plaque just outside the MoCafe stating “This marks the location of the cover photograph for the iconic David Bowie album ‘The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars’ – Ziggy Stardust 1972” … so it is pretty cool and worth a picture!

Please leave a comment if you have any questions or want to share your favourite places to dine out and drink in London. 

5 Tips for Better Sleep

Posted by Carole

There are two kinds of people on this big blue planet of ours – those who fall asleep as soon as their head hits the pillow and those who cannot help but switch to full-thinking mode as soon as the lights are off and start reviewing all the things they have to do, or have failed to do for that matter, as well as their worries, plans, hopes etc. and all this instead of sleeping of course!

I used to belong to the first group but it seems that growing older made me become one of these night-time worriers and I now often find myself ruminating for an hour or so before I can finally go to sleep. And it’s not always a bad thing as I often stay awake because I’m too excited thinking about my next blog post or holiday but it can quickly become stressful when the excitement turns to exhaustion as I realize I only have a few hours of sleep left and I’d better fall asleep soon if I don’t want to be an irritable zombie in the morning.

I know I’m not the only one in this situation so today I want to give you a few easy and natural sleeping-aid tips I’ve tried myself and which could be useful to you too!

But first I need to add that if you suffer from severe sleep issues or insomnia you should talk to a doctor as health professionals can offer solutions so don’t be shy and go get help!

  1. Relaxing music

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Because I love everything that is health & wellbeing related, I often find myself looking for new studies and a few years ago I came across an article about the power of music claiming that some tracks can slow down your heartbeat, breath and mental activity and therefore induce relaxation and sleep.

That’s is based on these facts that, in 2011, a British band and sound therapists decided to create “The Most Relaxing Tune Ever” by carefully arranging harmonies, rhythms and bass lines to help slow heart rate, reduce blood pressure and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol and Oh-my it does work!

This tune is Weightless by Marconi Union and I’ve been listening to it since I made its discovery, at night of course but also in the middle of the day when I’m in need of some comfort or calm or just in the background when I’m working (I’m actually listening to it as I write this blog post!)

Many studies have proved its exceptional calming effects so do listen to it as this tune is a relaxation marvel and should make you feel as peaceful and calm as ever, especially at night.

And if you ever get tired of it, scientists have established a playlist of the 10 most relaxing tunes on Earth, topped by Weightless of course, and here it is:

  1. Weightless by Marconi Union (also available as an extended 30 mins and 10 hours version)
  2. Electra by Airstream
  3. Mellomaniac (Chill Out Mix) by DJ Shah
  4. Watermark by Enya
  5. Strawberry Swing by Coldplay
  6. Please Don’t Go by Barcelona
  7. Pure Shores by All Saints
  8. Someone Like You by Adele
  9. Canzonetta Sull’aria by Mozart
  10. We Can Fly by Rue du Soleil (Café Del Mar)
  1. Essential oils

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I’m a big fan of essential oils and in awe at how they can help induce and maintain sleep, a fact that has been backed up by science! My fav essential oils are Lavender, Bergamot or Ylang Ylang which are well known for improving sleep quality but many others pack the same benefits such as Roman Chamomile, Vetiver, Sandalwood and Cedarwood. Depending on the essential oil (check with one as some of them cannot safely be applied on the skin), you can apply them topically by gently massaging your skin or use a diffuser that will keep your room beautifully scented while you fall asleep.

I also sometimes use a lavender pillow-mist that I spray on my bedsheet. It smells wonderful, can be found in most drugstores, is a hassle-free way to enjoy the benefits of aromatherapy and it works wonder as the smell of it makes me instantly sleepy!

  1. Bed-time routine

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I try to stick to a bed-time routine as much as possible as going through the same habits and moves right before bed send messages to my brain that it will soon be time to sleep and that it should start slowing down in preparation for it.

You can adopt any kind of routine as long as it involves quiet, peaceful and relaxing habits such as

  • gently stretching your body, especially the hips and back, making sure to make slow and flowing movements
  • cleaning and moisturizing your face with your favourites beauty products to give yourself a relaxing moment
  • giving yourself a quick facial or hands massage
  • taking a lukewarm shower
  • indulging in a soothing lemongrass infusion (avoid any caffeinated beverage of course!)
  • putting on your most beautiful pyjamas
  • staying away from the screen of your phone or laptop as it emits a blue light that disrupts sleep-inducing hormones
  • banning TV from your bedroom. Bedrooms are here for two things, sleeping and… well you know!
  1. Keep the thermostat down and your bedroom dark

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I hate being cold and always loved my bedroom as cozy and warm as possible but things changed when my boyfriend and I moved together as he gets incredibly hot at night and has to turn the heating off. He also enjoys sleeping with the window open even though it’s cold outside. I took me a few weeks to get used to it but it does work and I feel sleeping in a cold room helps me have more peaceful, non-interrupted nights. Plus, feeling a fresh breeze on my face in the morning while I’m still hidden in the warm cocoon that is my duvet is a delectable sensation.

I must admit that total obscurity can make me a bit anxious and that I’d rather see lights from the streets or better the moon projected on my bedroom walls but I have noticed that the darker the room is the faster I’ll go to sleep. Full moon for instance can make your bedroom a lot brighter and keep you awake for longer so it’s well worth investing in curtains if you have issues falling asleep. Worth case scenario they will make your bedroom look a lot more fancy!

  1. Invest in your bedroom

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I might sound old fashion saying this but I a firm believer that quality mattress and pillows, adapted to one’s morphology and weight, are key to a good night sleep and in the long run to overall health & wellbeing.

Thankfully, reasonably priced mattresses and pillows can be easily found nowadays and a quality purchase shouldn’t leave you bankrupt. Also bear in mind that you will keep your mattress for years so you’d better add that extra cash if you don’t want to regret your purchase after a couple of months and pay the consequences for years to come.

I also find that good quality bedsheets make a difference when you find it difficult to fall asleep, a silk and soft touch on your skin being a lot more soothing than gritty and scratchy bedlinen.

I hope these tips will work for you! As for me, just talking about it made me sleepy so good night all!

Thanks for reading! Like or leave a comment below if you enjoyed reading this article and if you would like to share your tips with us!

Wedding Planning Tips!

Posted by Corine

Having recently celebrated my second wedding anniversary, I thought I would share with you some tips and things I wished I had known at the time! Of course everyone is different and my experience may not ring true to others but if you are planning your big day or just like to fantasize about it, there are definitely a few tricks that can help you keep your sanity and tackle the stress levels!
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Leave plenty of time between your engagement and your wedding! When he/she pops the question it will be one of the best day of your life and also the most choking one if you did not expect it! It can actually take you a few weeks (or even months) to adjust to the idea that you are about to enter into a deep and very serious commitment that will shape your future… and that my friends, it is a little scary if you are still very young at heart and do not feel like you belong to the adult’s world yet! That is why having time to digest the idea can only do you good, plus you do not want to jump in to the vast and stressful world of wedding planning too fast… trust me, you want to keep a cool head for that! Once you feel ready to start all the jazz you will soon realise that there are so many options out there and a myriad of things to plan, pick, order, etc. The list is BIG so make sure to give yourself plenty of time. Everyone is different but I was personally really happy to have over a year between my engagement and my big day!

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Be flexible with your budget as you will go overboard in any case! Yep, getting married is expensive if you want to throw a party and have many guests around you. Of course you can choose to do something quite low key but I guarantee you that whatever budget you have in mind will eventually go out of the window! Also do not get too scared or upset if you spend more than you first expected as, in the end of the day, you only get married once (well, in theory!) and you may regret not paying a bit more for the wedding dress of your dreams!
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There is no such thing as a perfect wedding… nope, it just doesn’t exist! You will be surprised at how things you carefully planned for months just go wrong or totally differently on the day so do not get too obsessed with the small details! Just focus on the essentials: you and your other half looking the part, plenty of food and booze for your guests and good music… that’s pretty much it!

Make memories, plenty of memories! Many people told me that the day would fly by and that I would not remember all of it afterwards… I did not believe a word but it turned out to be true! Your wedding takes months of planning but goes way too fast so make sure to take some time during the day and night to stop worrying about the food, your guests and everything that’s going wrong, and look around you and simply enjoy the moment. It may sound ridiculous to you now but trust me on this one… just pause, relax, enjoy and party hard! Also I would recommend you to have a photographer or a friend take plenty of pictures and videos as looking back on your big day is always such a sweet and fun thing to do. Also hire a photo booth… they are so much fun and will keep your guests entertained all night long!

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Last but not least… keep in mind all the way through this big mad process that your wedding is YOUR DAY so do whatever makes you happy! If fancy champagne, fine amuse-bouches and a fairy tale castle are not your things… well, go spend your money on something you really like! Your wedding should reflect your and your partner’s personalities and should come with no rules. Plus enjoy surprising your family and guests with a fun and different wedding day that they will remember for many years to come!

I can honestly think of many other do’s and don’ts but I do not want to go on forever! Please leave a comment if you would like a more detailed post about my wedding theme, the venue we picked in London, the dress, the photo booth and so on…
Thank you for reading!

Funky & Affordable Art… Everywhere!

Posted by Carole

Ha London! I’ve lived in London for eight years and I loved it so much but I have to admit there is one thing I hated about London and it was renting. Like most young and single professionals, I had my fair share of crappy accommodations from disastrous flatshare to living in a shoebox with a drunk neighbour having the annoying habit of yelling and banging against the wall at 3am.

This meant I had to move again and again in my pursuit of a more suitable place to live but because each flat was, in a way or another, a disappointment I always considered theses houses temporary solution and never invested too much time nor money into decoration.

But things have changed now that my boyfriend and I have moved in our new apartment in Bern in Switzerland and I can proudly say that I am in love with my flat! Yes, proud and in love – never imagine I could say that!

This, of course, means that I’m much more into decoration that I used to be (maybe because I’m growing older too but shhh!) and I now love scrolling through pages and pages of wall art, armchairs, fancy cushions and pop to the garden aisle of the supermarket to find that cute little plant that will fit in so well in our kitchen.

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This is how I came across JUNIQE, an online wall art, home accessories & fashion brand that have one very specific vision “Make exciting and affordable art a part of people’s everyday lives: Art. Everywhere.” and indeed JUNIQE aim to inject creativity into every household across Europe by bringing to life the designs of international artists on prints, fashion, home textiles and many other products.

Click here if you want to know more about JUNIQE’s mantra as they explain it all on their website. 

I loved the concept so much I had to share my discovery with you (please don’t judge me if you already know about JUNIQE, I’m truly enthusiast about it!)

I don’t know where to start because JUNIQE sell so many cool things including wall art, T-shirt, onesies, cushions, bed linen, shower curtains, stationary, smart phone cases and so on… The list is long and their selection is huge, too huge maybe! Each item is cooler than the other and it actually makes it nearly impossible to pick one product so prepare to spend some time scrolling through their Oh-so-arty products!

Another reason to visit JUNIQE is their prices, as promised by the brand they are very reasonable especially if you are looking for cool & funky wall art pieces to embellish your home. Items like shower curtains may seem a bit more pricey but I guarantee that you won’t find shower curtains this cool in Ikea!

If you’re not convinced yet, here’s a little selection of the articles that made it to my wish list… I still can’t make up my mind!

BED LINEN

Juniqe bed linen

SHOWER CURTAINS

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SMART PHONE CASES

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Please like or leave a comment below if you enjoyed reading this article and if you would like to share your top shopping addresses with the Frinnies community!