Beauty, Lifestyle

Creating your own ‘me’ space

This may seem trivial, but I absolutely love having a space, a personal sanctuary, which is just for me. Simply just a corner in a room and a space for me to sit at, whether that’s in the mornings/evenings to conduct my beauty routine, read my latest book, find inspiration for the next blog post, or simply just to reflect. A place filled with my personal belongings, hair and beauty products, books, notebooks; you name it. I think it’s really important to create this personal space, to allow yourself that invaluable time to reflect, relax and recharge.

When I first moved in with my fiancé, our house was quite small (but cosy!!), so I used to have random boxes stuffed in the wardrobe, under the bed, under the bedside table, (wherever I could fit them, essentially) filled with my things, nothing having its own individual place. I used to be squished on the floor between the bed and the mirror, trying to do my makeup as Marcus had to quickly learn advanced acrobatics to get past me without disruption, and also trying to get himself some airtime in the mirror to do his hair.

So when we finally moved into our lovely new home, I was really excited to be able to create this ‘me’ space. Straight away, I headed to my Pinterest board (which I’ve been adding inspirational ideas to for a while now!!) and picked out the key things I knew would fit the bill. First on the agenda – storage. For all of my products, whether that’s hair, makeup, skincare, notebooks, reading books, jewellery, keepsakes, I needed storage to house all of these items, and organise them exactly how I wanted to. So we stopped by IKEA, where I had seen a gorgeous desk/dressing table combo, with a set of drawers, which fit the profile perfectly! Once I’d got these home, the next item on the agenda was to build it and set it in the corner of our second bedroom, ready for me to fill with my things.

Then comes the exciting part (for me, anyway) – organisation! Now you may have got this from previous posts already, but I’m a very organised person. I like to know exactly where everything is at all times, follow a routine and this is where I am most comfortable. I picked up these great drawer organisers from IKEA and TK Maxx, which meant I could separate out my different products and various other items, so everything had its own little home.

Once I had filled the drawers, the final touches were to decorate the exterior to make it nice and cosy… so candles were an absolute essential! I love how the scent of candles can fill a room, the warmth making it feel so cosy, and how calm and relaxed they can make you feel. I received this beautiful set of Lily Flame candles for my birthday, so this was a perfect addition to my space. I’m also slowly but surely building up a lovely collection of perfumes, so I wanted a nice ‘home’ for these, and found this gorgeous copper tray at TK Maxx (you get the theme here!) which complements the colour palette perfectly.

So there you have it – the lovely space I have created just for me, and constantly adding to. I would love to see and hear about the spaces you have created for yourselves, and how you find these moments and spaces to be calm and have time solely for you.

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Lifestyle

Home Update.. we are in!!

So after six months of dawdling about with a half-written blog post in my drafts, I’ve now finally gotten around to adding the final edits to this post. I was meant to post a Home Update all the way back in September, however I was waiting for the finishing touches to specific rooms to be complete. There were certain things I wanted to show you in this post, and rooms I was extremely excited about. So this, coupled with a hectic December, consisting of getting engaged (eek!!), going away for a mini break and getting a beautiful new little puppy – it’s been a bit of a whirlwind to say the least!!! So I thought I would post this now, to give you a bit of an update!

After what felt like forever, we FINALLY moved into our home in August. Never again do I want to see another paintbrush, or hear the words “can you gloss the skirting, oh and don’t forget the two layers of undercoat” or spend several hours wrestling with the frogtape (which, by the way, is a completely overrated item, and caused us more problems than solutions!). It has been a lot of long evenings, where instead of going home and relaxing with a glass of red, we were trudging over to the house, paintbrush in hand. But, I must say, through all the tears, tantrums and fights with the frogtape, it has all been worth it. We have been spending the last 6 months making the finishing touches to our home, so I thought I would give you a sneak peek into what we have achieved so far.

Kitchen

As you may remember, the kitchen was looking (and felt) quite tired, dark and cramped, so the first item on the agenda was to completely brighten this up. I really enjoy cooking and rustling up new dishes, so I wanted to make sure the kitchen was a place I loved to spend time in. In terms of my taste in interiors, I prefer a classic and understated look, with splashes of colour in the accessories – which is why we opted for a grey and white colour palette for the kitchen. It instantly brought so much light into the room, and made it feel so much bigger and brighter. We haven’t yet had the chance to inject much colour into it, so I’m looking forward to browsing the garden centres for some colourful arrangements to add some life and colour into the room!

Living Room

This room was split into two completely separate rooms when we bought the house; a living room and a dining room, both with bright pink and purple chip wallpaper – which we had a bit of trouble removing!! We’ve always wanted a big and open space for a lounge/dining area, which we can use for socialising and entertaining, so we decided to knock the wall down completely in between the two rooms, which allowed for this lovely open space. I’m also a massive fan of winter, so at the same time we wanted to make this room really cosy – I love the feeling of snuggling under a blanket on the sofa, in front of a roaring fire watching a movie. So another must-have for this room, was to install a log-burner.

At the back of the room, we wanted a lovely rustic farmhouse style table, accompanied by some contemporary style low hanging pendant lights – we were lucky enough to find a fantastic company online which did wonderful bespoke tables made to order so we jumped on this instantly, and also found these wonderful pendant lights from a store in Somerset, which go perfectly with our colour scheme.

We’ve managed to create a lovely big and open space, again coloured and styled quite neutrally (for the time being!) which I thoroughly enjoy spending time in.

And for the final addition – I couldn’t resists adding this gorgeous one in – our beautiful and sweet new puppy, who joined the family on 1st January. He’s settling in incredibly well as you can see from this scrumptious snap!!!

So there you have it – a sneak peek into what we have done so far. If you have any great home renovation stories, or tips and ideas, I’d love to hear them!

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Fitness, Health, Lifestyle

‘Let’s start on Monday’.. an excuse to give up, or are we setting unrealistic goals which cause us to fall off track?

We’ve all done it. A sneaky glass of wine mid-week, what I like to call ‘easy oven food’ which does nothing for the waistline, late nights binge-watching Netflix; however joyful these events might seem, over prolonged periods, aren’t necessarily good for our health. I, for one, fully own up to my guilty pleasure of chucking a pizza in the oven, pouring myself a glass of red and settling in for approximately three hours of the Walking Dead on a Tuesday night, with the full knowledge that the spin class I had so much hope for at 6:30am the next morning, was a hopeless feat. Now don’t get me wrong – I’m 100% fully supportive of taking time for myself and relaxing, and now and again you really do need that Netflix binge (after all, what’s more important than witnessing the glorious reunion of Darryl and Carol?) but for prolonged periods, this way of living is not sustainable, nor healthy for us mentally or physically. All good intentions go out of the window, that spin class is abandoned, and the tuna salad with a healthy amount of avocado and spinach is swapped for a burrito at lunchtime as you ease off the foggy head. So what are the biggest downfalls of these good intentions, which cause us to fall off the wagon?

I don’t know about you, but the mantra I seem to live by when planning a healthy kick-start is ‘Let’s start on Monday’. Now I totally get it – Monday is the first day of the week, so it seems like the perfect day to start anything – just like New Year’s Day when we kick-start our resolutions, the 1st December when we open the first door of our advent calendar and the countdown truly begins (unless you’re me, and start straight after Halloween). We’ve all had a relaxing weekend, managed to catch up on stolen sleep and caught up with friends and family, had a chance to do the food shop and prep for the week ahead. All of a sudden, that spin class, which in reality we know makes us want to vom 30 seconds in, seems completely achievable. So it’s safe to say – weekends are pretty great. So however much we try to avoid that daunting feeling as the dark cloud of Monday looms over us, when the 5:30am alarm goes off on Monday morning, the last thing I feel is excitement for the day ahead. The last thing I want to do is chow down on that tuna and avocado salad ,with the fresh memories of Saturday night’s takeaway. So are we setting ourselves up for a fall, by starting on a Monday; or are the goals we are setting ourselves just simply unrealistic?

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In my opinion, we all put far too much pressure on the goals we set ourselves, and sometimes these goals are just simply unrealistic. Now it’s totally normal to have a weak moment, and make a beeline for that KitKat you’ve been thinking about all morning. But for most of us, we seem to see this as failing altogether, thinking ‘what’s the point in carrying on?’ and by Wednesday, all has failed and we go full circle back to ‘let’s start again on Monday’. We use this as an excuse to put off our goals for the rest of week, as the reality is – sometimes, they are simply unachievable.

And how do I know this? Because I am the perfect example of someone who has lived by this mantra, and I have come to the realisation recently that sometimes you need to change up your routine, review and reset your goals. I’ve been through quite a big lifestyle change this year –my boyfriend and I have bought a house, we have both changed jobs quite recently, so our routine was completely overhauled as we adjusted to a new way of living. I used to live five minutes away from work, with the gym next door, so it was completely easy and convenient for me to roll out of bed at 6:45, whizz up a green smoothie , pick up my gym bag and make the five minute car journey in, knowing I’d get an hour workout, be able to get ready for work and then make the 30 second stroll into the office. That would set me up for the day, wake me up and get me feeling motivated. Now I live around 30 minutes away from my place of work, my gym is in my hometown, so this routine just simply doesn’t work for me here. If I wanted to follow the same sort of pattern, I would need to wake up at 5:30am, get to the gym for 6, fit in my hour workout, head home, get ready for work and then make the 30 minute car journey in – not an impossible stretch by any means, but much more of a struggle and not as easy as it previously was – especially on these cold winter mornings!!

So when I do wake up on a Monday morning with good intentions, and look outside and see my windscreen needs de-icing, I have two choices – make the dreaded journey outside and begin scraping, or roll back into bed and get an extra hour and a half of sleep. I think you all know what my preferred option is! This change in lifestyle for me has meant I need to review my goals, set new routines which suit my new lifestyle, and this makes it easier for me to accomplish my goals. In reality, I know that on a cold and frosty morning, I’m never going to be leaving the sanctuary of my bed. So it makes sense for me to hit the gym after work when I’m already up and out the door, and have no excuses to make. It’s all about setting a routine that for you is realistic – yes I would prefer to go to the gym in the mornings, however for me right now, especially in these winter months, I know the most realistic routine for me to stick to is to go straight after work.

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This doesn’t only apply when it comes to the gym – it also follows the same pattern for food prep. I know that at the weekend, I can make the time to cook up a big stir fry dish or something similar, and freeze it for my lunches for the week ahead. This leaves me with minimal effort during the week, and enables me to easily stick to my clean eating plan. I also know that at the weekend, I enjoy spending a couple of hours in the kitchen, rustling up delicious meals from scratch, however there is no point in me attempting to do this on a Tuesday evening, as it simply isn’t going to happen – I’m going to get in from the gym and want to make something that takes me no more than 30 minutes. So utilising cookbooks such as Madeleine Shaw’s ‘Ready Steady Glow’, which promotes quick, easy and healthy weeknight meals, is far more realistic and likely for me to stick to.

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So when you are setting your goals for the week ahead, or even in the medium-long term, make sure they are realistic – everyone’s goals are different, and everyone’s motivations are different. Whether that’s a new food plan, a new workout regime, or simply taking some time for ourselves. Make sure it is sustainable, a routine that you enjoy following, so we don’t have to keep ‘starting again’ on Monday.

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Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Should you opt for separate social media accounts for blogging, or do you utilise your existing platforms? 

When I started blogging, which was just under two years ago now, one decision which I was deliberating over for a long time was how to promote my platform. Essentially, the big debate was; do I create completely separate Twitter and Instagram accounts in order to promote my blog content, or use my existing accounts where I already have followers? It was something I did a lot of research into – there were pros and cons for both. One of the cons of creating new accounts, was the fact I’d have to build up a completely new network of followers to keep engaged. One of the pros was that I wouldn’t irritate or annoy existing friends or connections with constant posts about my blog, which they necessarily didn’t want to see, as well as the fact I could still keep all my personal accounts private. On the flip side, by using my existing account I could use my existing network to promote content to, or by using a new platform I could create a solid ‘blogging network’.

I finally made the decision to create separate accounts, one of the reasons being that I didn’t want to annoy connections and friends, but also that I was extremely nervous about my blog. What if people saw it and made fun of me? What if people didn’t like it? I’ve always been quite a self-conscious person, and putting my own content out there, something that’s authentically mine, my interests and my views on something, for all to see, is actually pretty terrifying.

Further down the line, and I’m still going back around in circles as to what would be best. I have found it extremely difficult to keep two accounts going – whenever I post a photo, or tweet, I automatically share it on my personal account and have to admit, I’ve neglected my blogging accounts. Which to be fair, may have affected the engagement I have with followers on those accounts (or they’re simply scrolling past because my posts are boring.. which is entirely possible!!).

It’s a debate I’ve seen a lot in the blogosphere and on social media generally, and it’s something I’m still trying to fully make the decision on.

I’d love to hear from other bloggers out there – do you keep your accounts separate and find this works better for you, or alternatively do you find it works best using your existing network?

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