Saturday, 30 January 2016

9 of the Best Motivational Stationery

   We all need a little motivation sometimes, whether it's early in the morning on a Monday when you've just got into work and realised that you've got 1,000,001 things to do, or late on a Sunday night when you're working until 2am to meet that deadline. I'm not saying that these super cute pieces of stationery will solve all your problems, but it might make you just that little bit more inclined to do the job - and do it in style.

1. Ecojot Believe A5 Notebook, £8 - Paperchase
2. A & C Black I'm Over it Notebook, £7.99 - John Lewis
3. Personalised Travel & Adventure Journal, £12.75 - Not on the High Street
4. Follow No Crowd, £4.95 - Ohh Deer
5. Carpe Diem Journal, £10.99 - Waterstones
6. Start Today Notebook, £8 - Etsy
7. Work Hard Notebook, £2.95 - Ohh Deer
8. New York & Paris Notebooks, £14 - Quill London
9. Start Somewhere Notebook, £5 - Etsy


Tuesday, 26 January 2016

7 Nutritious Breakfasts for Rushed Mornings

   I'm a massive hypocrite when I say that we should always eat breakfast as it's the most important meal of the day; you can usually find me getting up around 8am, realising I have around twenty minutes to get ready (bearing in mind I wear winged eyeliner), running through the shower and leaving the house with a piece of fruit and a pastry chucked into my bag to eat at my desk.

   This isn't ideal, as this kind of high sugar breakfast will probably keep me going until around 10am, at which time I'll tip an extra strong cuppa down my neck to stop me from nodding off. For this reason, I'm going to make 2016 the year of the breakfast, starting with 7 nutritious breakfasts ideal for those in a rush. I hope you can try a few of these out and, if you do, please send me a link!

1. Greek Yoghurt, Muesli, Honey & Berry Parfait (4 minutes)

Grab a Kilner jar, spoon in a layer of yoghurt, then muesli, honey and berries - and keep layering into you fill the jar! Eat now or screw on the lid to enjoy on the go.

2. Wholemeal Breakfast Burrito (10 minutes)

Place a wholemeal tortilla in the microwave for 30 seconds, scramble some egg in a pan, chop up a tomato, grab a handful of spinach and place everything in the centre of the tortilla. Fold and enjoy.

3. Almond Butter & Apple Porridge (5 minutes)

Pour some porridge and skimmed milk or water in a bowl, heat in the microwave for 1 minute (stirring halfway through), stir in a dessert spoon of almond butter, slice an apple into eighths and place on top.

4. Frozen Banana with Almond Butter, Granola, Cinnamon & Blueberries (3 minutes)

With this, you'll need to freeze your banana the night before.

Cut a frozen banana in half (lengthways) and place it in an elongated bowl, pour over a dessert spoon of almond butter, sprinkle on some cinnamon and granola, chuck a handful of blueberries on top.

5. Fruit Kebab (6 minutes)

Chop up a banana, cube some pineapple, quarter an apple, gather a handful of strawberries and stick everything on a skewer. Lay the kebab on a plate and drizzle some honey on top (or if you're feeling naughty, some melted dark chocolate).

6. Chocolate Chip Mug Cake (6 minutes)

Combine 1 egg, 1 tbsp almond flour, 1tbsp coconut flour, 1.5tbsp dark chocolate chips, 1 tbsp honey and 2tsp vanilla essence in a mug. Stick in the microwave and blast for 90 seconds.

7. Breakfast Pizza (2 minutes)

Slice some wholegrain bread, spread on some low-fat ricotta or cottage cheese, add on your favourite toppings like sliced ham and pineapple, or tomato and fresh herbs.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

I Wake at the First Cringe of Morning



Friday, 22 January 2016

Body Confidence in Practice

   I'm in a beautiful hotel right now (the Grand Hyatt Martinez in Cannes, to be exact - and to brag on a whole new level), surrounded by gorgeous architecture, stunning views of the Riviera (a place where I thought only existed in the lives of A-list celebrities and my rich Aunt Maud), and fun, fantastic, intelligent people who know much more about anything than I do - but that somehow seems irrelevant because all I can bloody well think about is how big my thighs are.

   Aren't I supposed to be in my twenties and care free? That's what everyone tells me, anyway. But I'm not care free. Not at all. Not when it comes to my thighs. These damn Bratwursts of legs that are attached to my ever growing hips are the bane of my life, and have been so for maybe two or three years; but, recently, they've got so bad that I've begun enshrouding myself in long, loose layers, squeezing my legs together when I'm standing still with the deluded intention of appearing thinner, and NEVER going out in a bikini (I've actually had to tell people that I'm hydrophobic so that I can get out of wearing one).

   I've tried dieting and exercising, but I never realised how hard it is to tone up and slim down with a metabolism as slow as a snail. My boyfriend keeps telling me that I have to keep at it for months before I see a difference, but there comes a point where you just break down and wonder if it really is you that's the problem. The determination's there, the motivation's there, and the desperation is there, but how can you continue working as hard as you do for zero results? It has destroyed my confidence, and it's hard to picture myself ever rebuilding it.

   Now, you're part of one of three schools of thought here. Either you're thinking, 'stop eating and shutup', which would be a rather insensitive response to a sensitive subject and ultimately irrelevant (as I said, I've tried dieting), or you're thinking, 'you shouldn't get so worked up about something so superficial when there are more important things to worry about like (A) and (B)', which is almost equally as insensitive because now you're dismissing something that is clearly very important to someone. OR you feel exactly the same about your own insecurities, and don't know how to beat it.

   In actuality, I'm not worried about those of you belonging to the first or second groups; what concerns me is the amount of people reading this who may feel the same way. It's clear that there are too many of us hating too much of ourselves, but we feel as if we can't talk about it anymore because of this great big contradictory subject called 'Body Confidence' which tells us to love ourselves without inhibition, but completely disregards the notion that confidence doesn't come easy for a lot of us. In fact, most people I know dislike something about their body, and are afraid to show it off for fear of embarrassment, negative comparison or ridicule.

   Now, talk about your body issues with your friends and they'll say something like: 'don't be stupid, you're gorgeous; you're silly, you're so hot; it's all in your mind, you don't really look like that', which makes you feel better about yourself for a day or two until your mum's friend makes a seemingly innocent joke about how much you're eating, or the office dickhead asks you why your jeans are so tight. The more confident woman would brush off these remarks and probably break out a witty comeback, but the rest of us spend the day sweating it, believing that we're not beautiful and probably hating our friends for lying to us.

   The problem with the world is that, unless you're close to someone who understands and can relate to what you're going through, you're pretty much on your own. You're the only one who can make things better for yourself. You're the only one who can make your life positive. You're the only one who can change your mindset for the better.

   But how can you do all these things when you've got so much working against you? Instead of giving you the bullshit transparent clichés that lack substance, like 'think positive' and 'believe in yourself', I've put together the best pieces of advice that I can find to try to help you (and me) begin the long and hard journey back to happiness:

D O N ' T   M E N T I O N   I T

   Constantly bringing up your insecurity in conversation (unless it's a serious conversation with someone that you trust and can really understand your problem) gives it life, making it harder for you to move on and let go. Nothing good comes of mentioning it in casual talk, because the conversation will move on and you'll most likely be distracted. Every time you find yourself stuck in a chat with your friends or colleagues about issues with appearance (and in my circles, it happens a lot), whether it's cellulite, stretchmarks or weight, try not to contribute. Simply listen, instead of fueling the fire.

T A K E   C O M P L I M E N T S

   Too many of us are guilty of getting all shy and embarrassed when we receive compliments. If someone says that they think you look amazing, that you have great hair, that you have excellent style, that you're smart, funny, intelligent, chic, elegant, cool - smile and say thank you. The only thing that comes of refusing a compliment is awkwardness, but indulging in a friendly, mutual social transaction will likely boost your mood.

L E A D   Y O U R   F O C U S   E L S E W H E R E

   Take your mind off your insecurity by leading the focus elsewhere; for example, try out a new hairstyle, paint your nails a vibrant colour, or wear a great pair of shoes. Consciously drawing attention to a fantastic part of your attire or appearance will make you focus more on that positive aspect, rather than the negative one.

   If you've got a tip to help with body confidence, please post it in the comments - it may help someone more than you know!

Saturday, 16 January 2016

9 Boots Made for Stomping in to Work

   The boot game is strong this season, and with the cold weather all of a sudden arriving on our doorsteps, you'll be kicking yourself (ohh the puns) if you don't get yourself a pair of decent ankle protectors. 

   Any colour goes (although you may want to start thinking about next season's trends; try metallics á la Louis Vuitton and Loewe, or opt for bold hues as in the collections of Christopher Kane and Gucci), and the more exciting the texture, the better. Suede (or faux suede) is still very much 'a thing', but this year I'm in love with high-shine patent fabrics in pastels and brights.

   Hate the idea of a cold commute? Match your boots with a faux fur jacket or chunky knit - and don't forget socks (no one likes sweaty boot feet). A slight heel is always elegant, if you can handle the ice; if not, try a cleated sole for extra grip.

1. Public Desire, £39.99
2. ASOS, £45
3. River Island, £65
4. 3.1 Phillip Lim, £153
5. Aldo, £90
6. Dune, £129
7. Acne, £480
8. H&M, £39.99
9. Zara, £39.99

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

5 Productive Things to do on Your Break

   If you're over 18, work over 6 hours hours a day and live in the UK, you're entitled to an uninterrupted 20 minute break each day; some employers split this up into two ten-minute breaks, and some allow you to take it in one go - nonetheless, it is your right to take some time away from your work during the day.

   Now, most people use this break to make a round of tea, or go for a cigarette; however, as I'm trying to cut down on caffeine, and I don't smoke, I try and use these periods to do something productive such as note down ideas for my blog or even just neaten up my desk area. Breaks are important - so use them! Here's a list of five things that you could do on your breaks.

1. Go outside

Getting outside, even just for a few minutes, can improve your mood. Regulated exposure to sunshine releases endorphins - these are neuropeptides which reduce perceptions of pain, thus making you happier! If you've had an awful morning, a quick stroll in the sunshine might perk you up a bit and prepare your for the rest of the day.

2. Meditate

For the working woman, this no longer means sitting cross-legged and chanting a mantra. You can easily meditate at your desk with a pair of headphones and a meditation app in order to increase mindfulness and overcome daily obstacles such as stress. My favourite apps include Headspace and Omvana.

3. Read

From magazines, to the Pocket app (which lets you save interesting articles to read later) to a good old-fashioned novel, there's always something to read. The benefits of reading are endless: some studies have shown that the increase in mental stimulation can help prevent Alzheimer's and Dementia, reduce stress, and improve memory and concentration - but it also expands your general knowledge and vocabulary, and helps you gain better writing and communication skills.

4. Exercise

   Like sunshine, exercise also releases endorphins - making you happier! If you have a gym in your office block or very nearby, take advantage you lucky thing! If not, find a space where you can be alone and do a quick blast of HIIT - better yet, find a friend to do it with you. 

5. Talk to someone

   It seems that our culture just doesn't talk to each other anymore, bar messenger and texts. On your next break (if you don't already), try the simple act of talking, whether it's on the phone, with the person at the desk next to you, or someone from the other side of the room. If you have have your office clique and don't tend to stray outside, try talking to someone different - there's nothing more uplifting than making a new friend.

   Regardless of this list, you should always use your breaks to take a short time away from work or from your screen. A good personal and worklife balance is essential not just for mental but for physical health. Let me know what you do on your breaks in the comments below! 

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Scribble All Over

   Finding a bag that's fashionable is one thing; finding a bag that's fashionable and functional is another concept entirely. Of course, you probably have far too many bags (I know I've been told so) - most of which you'd forget about after a month, moving onto the next for the sake of changing it up - but probably posses only one or two that tick all the boxes when it comes to style AND practicality. So for your 2016 resolution, why not make a challenge for yourself to purchase clothing with both concepts in mind? Helen Bullock's canvas tote bags are a good place to start.

   Shop the range here.


Thursday, 7 January 2016

Period? No Biggie

   Imagine being on your period (not hard, right? You have one every month) and someone presents you with a surprise box full of delicious and pretty goodies, like chocolates, shower goodies and skincare, as well as your choice of sanitary products. How great would that be? How loved would you feel?

   A couple of years ago, the only time I'd get this kind of special treatment was if my boyfriend wanted to apologise for forgetting to pick me up from the train station. Now, however, Period Box does the hard bit, without any apologies.

   I think I speak for a lot of women when I say that periods are the one time of the month when you're not feeling so hot. Some of my girlfriends get easily irritated, some feel the bloat, some don't like wearing skirts. Personally, I feel like I need a 24-hour blanket hug, a Netflix binge and a good cuppa to get rid of the headaches - the perfect remedy when I get home from work. Usually, I would go to the shops and pick up a bar of chocolate and maybe some nice tea when I know the crimson tide's approaching, but Period Box provides everything you need to feel comfortable and loved when that time comes around.

   A monthly prescription box, Period Box provides a selection of teas, artisan chocolate, high end beauty samples and a unique design gift such as stationery or an art print, alongside your preferred brands of tampon or sanitary towel - or both! I can't even begin to explain to you how convenient this is, as I always need to pop out on a separate shopping trip to pick up my sanitary products. Plus, the edible goodies 100% make my day, as they're often items that I wouldn't normally find in the supermarket.

   After seeing Period Box on Twitter, I decided to give the service a go, as I've tried various subscription boxes in the past and I love the concept. Putting together my box was super easy - it took me around five minutes. Simply state how long your period usually lasts, choose your sanitary products (you can even choose from organic options), state how long your cycle is - then you're away! A 'pay-monthly' subscription starts from £14.95 including p+p, which is how much I would usually spend on sanitary products, chocolate and tea anyway!

   Tempted? Check out Period Box's website here.


Sunday, 3 January 2016

7 Songs to Get You Motivated in 2016

   So you may have had a few days off between Christmas Eve and New Year's Day. You may have even had a lie in or two, clutching your duvet safe in the knowledge that you might not have to hear that shrill alarm sound for another morning or two. Until now.

   We may have Sunday, but Monday is looming and you'll be back to your 7am starts in no time. And no matter how much you love your job, nothing is more gratifying than a few more minutes under that warm, comfy, fluffy duvet where nothing can go wrong and no one can judge you for your 'New Year, New Me' outfit choices (I see you - put the flatforms down). Even worse - it's winter (*cries softly for another three months*), which means the mornings are dark, dull and wholly unmotivational, and getting up becomes one more reason to have all kinds of break downs.

   To make things a little bit easier for yourself, get rid of that awful bleepy alarm and slam-dunk it in the bin because you need one of these tunes in your life right now:

1. Whip It by Lunchmoney Lewis

2. S.O.B by Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats

3. Confident by Demi Lovato

4. Love Myself by Hailee Steinfeld

5. More and More by Fleur East

6. Where Do We Go by Lion Babe

7. Cake By the Ocean by DNCE

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