Author, Instagram food star and founder of The Pear Café, Elly Curshen has recently adopted an entirely new work-life balance which sees her freelance from her new home in Bristol. Having released her third book, ‘Green’ earlier this year, we speak to Elly about her consistent yet minimalistic approach to skincare, how she overcame her battle with insomnia and how chooses to wind down on a Sunday evening…
The Wind Down
I am fortunate enough to have built a life for myself where I don’t experience those dreaded Sunday blues. After closing the café last year after over 12 years, I am now focusing my efforts on both writing and recipe development and have found a positive shift in my work-life balance. Depending on my week ahead, I do try to take some time out on a Sunday evening and I very much associate them with feeling relaxed. ‘Me’ time for me not only involves a long soak in the bath and a bit of extra pampering, but I also like to get organised for the week – particularly when it comes to cooking. I love to batch cook and Sundays are perfect for this. I find if my fridge is in order and I have plenty of base dishes prepped, I feel I have got the week off to a good start. Afterwards, it’s bath time.
Taking a bath is one of my favourite ways to switch off. I much prefer bath salts and oils as opposed to bubbles, so I usually reach for the This Works’ Deep Sleep Bath Soak. I have really dry skin, so after the bath I choose to hydrate my skin with a body oil. By Terry’s Baume De Rose All-Over Oil absorbs really quickly and the scent is just heavenly. If I’m showering, I prefer something richer like Dr Roebucks’ Top Stuff Ultra Hydrating Body Crème to keep my dry skin at bay.
When it comes to skincare, I try to keep my routine fairly stripped back but I am religious in double cleansing every day. I much prefer to take good care of my skin every day rather than having one night a week where I undergo an indulgent routine using a variety of products. I also swear by using a clean flannel every day – a really useful tip I learnt from Caroline Hirons. I switch between several different cleansers depending on how my skin is feeling. Sometimes I prefer something light and fresh and other times I like more richer cleansing balms. I tend to use a balm in the evening – either De Mamiel’s Restorative Cleansing Balm or Aurelia’s Probiotic Skincare Miracle Cleanser and I love to really massage them in to maximise their efficiency. I always follow with a mist and Herbivore’s Botanicals Rose Hibiscus Hydrating Face Mist is great for adding moisture and I find the smell really calming. At night, I tend to use a moisturiser which is quite heavy, so it can really soak in while I sleep. Darphin’s Rose Hydra-Nourishing Oil Cream and Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate are two of my favourites. I also use Dr Dennis Gross’ Alpha Beta Peel pads several times a month and my go-to eye cream is Aurelia’s Probiotic Skincare Illuminate & Smooth Puff Reduction Eye Cream.
I am really fortunate with my hair in that it doesn’t require much attention. It is naturally thick and wavy, so I don’t like to use any heat on it. For this reason, I tend to wash it in the mornings as I prefer to let it air dry. I have recently started using Christophe Robin’s Hydrating Shampoo Bar which lathers surprisingly well. Although my roots can get greasy, the ends do get dry. I find that just using a conditioner (I usually reach for Windle and Moodie’s Nourishing Ultra Conditioner) on the mid lengths to ends is the best way of dealing with this. On days where I don’t wash my hair, I simply spritz Living Proof’s PhD Dry Shampoo through the roots. It’s by far the best one I have ever used.
Lastly, I like to give myself an at-home pedicure when I have the time. My feet get very dry, so I like to use nourishing foot creams and paint my toe nails on a Sunday evening. Patchology’s Poshpeel Pedicure is also great for sloughing off dead cells and leaving my feet feeling and looking much smoother.
After my pampering, I love to get in to my PJs and wind down by watching TV. I really need my sleep, so I try to aim for at least 8 hours each night. I am fascinated by my sleep app and am always checking it the next morning to see how my night was. I battled with insomnia for several years so have learnt several things which really help me sleep. Lighting a candle as I get ready for bed really helps to create a sense of peacefulness and I prefer more masculine smells as opposed to something more floral. Malin + Goetz’s Vetiver Candle is a particular favourite. I avoid caffeine in the evening and sometimes take a cup of herbal tea to bed with me. Fennel and nettle are great for bedtime as it is really calming and also good for digestion. One of the best things I did for my insomnia was to listen to the ‘Sleep With Me’ podcast series. It’s totally bonkers but if you struggle dropping off, I definitely suggest persevering. It isn’t meant to be captivating which is why it works. I am always asleep before an episode has finished! Just before I turn the lights, I spritz Votary’s Lavender and Chamomile Pillow Spray and pop on an eye mask. I have just moved to a new house and I was adamant that our bedroom would be the perfect sleep sanctuary. My partner and I have kept it very minimalistic and have installed blackout blinds too.
Monday mornings are very different for me now than they have been for the last few years. I no longer have an alarm, but I tend to wake naturally around 6:45am. If I have a meeting or somewhere I need to be, I will of course set one. I always wake feeling much more refreshed and often start my morning by checking emails in bed. As a lot of my days involve recipe testing and I tend to start work later and work in to the evenings because makes sense to eat the recipes I am trialling for dinner.
My morning beauty regime usually consists of a gel cleanser like Sisley’s Buff and Wash Facial Gel or something that is a bit lighter on my skin. I then follow with a glycolic toner like Caudalie’s Vinoperfect Brightening Essence which helps to even out and brighten my skin tone.
Moving in to my new home and rethinking my work-life balance has had a huge impact on my overall wellbeing. I’m sleeping better and having more time to do the things I enjoy. I am a huge advocate of looking after yourself from the inside too, so for me nutritional food prep is just as important as my beauty regime. Not only does eating well help how you feel, it also has a positive effect on your skin and hair.