Friday, 22 April 2016

10 Things That Make Me 'Me'

This post is an advertorial

   This month, the team at Nectar challenged me to reflect on the things in my life that make me 'Me', using just ten items - this could be anything from a pet to a plant pot, so naturally it was extremely hard to narrow my life down to ten items, but I wanted to give it a go to see if it was possible!

   I came up with the above. I must admit, I can be a little superficial sometimes, so some of these items are in this collection because I really love the way they look or the brand is one which I really enjoy using; however, I've also added in some items which have sentimental value to me - because, believe it or not, I do have a heart!

1. José the Cactus

   I love to surround myself with cacti and succulents of all sorts, mainly because I love plants - but I'm not really very good at looking after them, and cacti are great at looking after themselves. Incredibly low maintenance, these plants need hardly any water, and are quite happy to sit on a windowsill in indirect sunlight, just cacti-ing away.

2. Fujifilm Instax Mini 8

   Photography has been a passion of mine since I was 14, and I love using different types of cameras to create my photos. The Instax Mini is a Polaroid-style camera; however, I also like using DSLRs, film cameras and lomography cameras.

3. La Cafetiere Teapot

   I'm a tea fiend - I love drinking it and I love collecting it, and that means teapots and crockery too! One of my goals is to eventually build myself a 'teapot wall', which will feature a teapot from every country I visit. And I would love to own a tea emporium or quintessentially English cafe!

   This teapot is one of my current favourites, bought for me as a Christmas present by my lovely boyfriend. I love that you can see the tea brewing, so you know when it has reached the perfect colour!

4. A photo of my dogs

   I have two dogs called Hero and Lili, and they live with my parents but I absolutely love going to see them. I couldn't imagine what life would be like without them, but I do hope to add a canine friend to the clan and get a dog of my own in future.

   I keep this photo in my bedroom, as it's very dear to me and I love seeing their beautiful faces when I wake up.

5. My copper saucepan set

   Two of my favourite past times are cooking and baking. I love trying out new recipes and adding my own tweaks to old favourites; my favourite cuisines to whip up are Italian and Mediterranean, but I'd love to learn how to cook a few more dishes from my Filipino heritage.

   Copper saucepans are great for cooking at high temperatures because they conduct heat really well - and they also look really pretty.

 6. Le Jasmin by Miller Harris

    This is, without a doubt, my favourite perfume, for two reasons: firstly, it reminds me of the first time I went to London with my boyfriend - we walked around Covent Garden, and I visited the Miller Harris store and tried out this scent (and was instantly addicted) - and secondly, it's a beautifully unique fragrance which I've never seen anywhere else on the high street.

7. Copper Wire Basket

   I'm incredibly organised and I hate mess, which means that anything I can use to file away loose items is a huge savior. This copper wire basket has a really pretty design and, at the moment, it sits on my kitchen counter holding my cooking utensils.

8. Kindle Fire HDX

   As someone who loves to read, I highly recommend this tablet. It can store a huge amount of books, apps, photos and music, and its the perfect size for popping into your handbag for a day of reading at the beach or on your commute.

9. Chevron notebook

   As a writer, notebooks are my best friends. I have around ten of these on the go at any one time, but I use this one in particular for my daily thoughts and musings. Not particularly exciting to an unfamiliar onlooker, but it helps me organise my mind, and refer back to things when I'm writing articles or blog posts.

10. Nike Revolution 3 trainers

   Casual clothing is my go-to on my off-duty days. You can usually find me in a pair of Nike trainers (I LOVE the Air Max Thea Desert trainers but can't find them anywhere!), black leggings and a comfy jersey top, or chunky knit jumper if it's cold.

   These trainers are super lightweight, comfortable and I love the colour combination of the grey base and coral swoosh.

   What are the ten things that make you 'You'? Leave a link to your version of this post in the comments and follow the conversation on Twitter using #makesmeMe!

Instagram: @jenniferlouiselove
YouTube: /JenniferLouise

Monday, 11 April 2016

The Best Selfie Smartphone Yet?

   I don't know anyone who hasn't taken a selfie at some point in their life. Even before the word 'selfie' became a thing, people used their 2MP camera phones to take photos of themselves. Before that? Compact digital cameras. Before that? Disposable cameras. Before that? Polaroids, pinhole cameras and oil paintings.

   It's not just a concept that belongs to the 'youth of today' In fact, I was sitting at the family dinner table playing around with the new Samsung Galaxy S7, lent to me by Three to review, and I asked my sister to take a photograph of my grandma and I together. To my surprise, my grandma asked, 'Are we going to have a selfie?'. She's 90.


   Anyway, we took the photo and, because my family is very private to me, I won't share it on here - but I CAN say that it was a great photo, one which I'll look back on and think about when my grandma used the word 'selfie' in conversation...

   I spent that entire week taking photos with the Galaxy S7, appreciating both the front and back cameras for their quality and precision. Though only 5MP and 12MP respectively (I say 'only' because of the crazy megapixelage emerging in the smartphone industry today), both cameras produced photos which were incredibly bright, colour-rich and highly detailed. Being the first smartphone to feature dual pixel technology (which has also just been released as a feature of the Canon DSLR 80D), it really made up for those lost pixels.

   If you've been following me on Insta, you will have seen some of the below images pop up on your feed. Usually, I'll spend around twenty minutes staging some of these shots to achieve the right lighting, but with this phone the whole process was cut in half, time-wise.

   One feature which needs noting is the ability to take a selfie without camera-shake. The phone features a heart rate monitor on its back, which needs a simple tap of an index finger to release the shutter. You can also wave with your other hand, and the shutter will automatically release. Super simple, but insanely effective and addictive.

   See below for some of the images I've taken with this phone, and head to my YouTube channel for a more detailed and technical review!

   Three has a great range of tariffs for this phone - see what they can offer you here:


Sunday, 10 April 2016

Why I Love Being a Morning Person

   I get woken up by my alarm at around 7am, check through my social media and emails, climb over my boyfriend and go to the bathroom to start my cleansing routine. I get showered, get dressed, eat breakfast, watch a YouTube video and go to work. 

   This is my routine, five days a week. The other two? Well, some would say that weekends aren't for routines, or that weekends aren't for getting up early, or that weekends aren't for getting up at all.

   I understand why some people feel like this. Jobs can be stressful. Life can be stressful. But, at the same time, life is precious and it's important to take full advantage of each day and use it to fuel your happiness. For some people that may mean laying in bed all day and watching TV; but that's not the case for me.

   I may not wake up at 7am on the weekends, but I'm out of bed no later than 8.30am on both Saturday and Sunday. Why? Because I'm a morning person, and that's just what we do. I love mornings because they're full of possibility: the sun has just risen, hardly anyone is around and you have time to just be.

   Going for walks first thing in the morning is my favourite thing to do (if it's sunny outside). I love a little bit of gentle exercise, and maybe I'll tie that in with another activity like walking to the beach to read a few chapters of a book, or walking to the local bakery to grab some breakfast for myself and my boyfriend. I love doing this because no one else is around, and although I would consider myself a people-person, it's so nice to get a little bit of peace, quiet and alone time every once in a while. And if the sun's shining and the sky's clear, it's a big fat positive bonus and puts a permanent smile on my face for the rest of the day.

   If it's raining outside, my morning ritual is to put some Latin music on my sound system, make some banana pancakes and cuddle up on the sofa to watch Saturday Kitchen or Sunday Brunch. I'll put on my dressing down and some slippers and just wait for the rain to go away; but if it doesn't, I'll usually get down to filming or editing a video for my YouTube channel, or planning and writing blog posts for you lovely readers.

   These little rituals set me up for a positive day, help me gain composure and let me organise my thoughts and daily plans. Without mornings, I'd probably be a disorganised wreck, always showing up late to things, get stressed easily and losing control of my emotions - so I'm glad that mornings do exist!

   What's your favourite time of day?

Thursday, 7 April 2016

All You Need to Know About SS16 Homeware Trends

1. Oval basket set, Zara Home, from £49.99
2. Gold lantern, H&M, £19.99
3. Marble and wood decorations, West Elm, from £34
4. Round table, Made, £249
5. Triangle rug, Urban Outfitters, £75

1. The Snake Charmer Basket is the new way to organise/hide your crap

Don't just buy one though. It'll look weird. Especially as most of us are still riding the Scandinavian ski lodge interior look. By two or three in descending sizes and pop them in a corner where they can be accessed easily.

2. Gold is the new copper/rose gold

I know. I love copper just as much as the next person, but it's such an autumn hue. Try out SS16's new gold shades and mix with palm tree greens, flamingo pinks and warm whites.

3. Don't throw away the marble! Mix it with wood.

A lot of trend spotters are distancing themselves from the marble trend and moving more towards various woods instead; however, I think that these two materials can be paired together in so many different situations. Try a marble and wood chopping board or geometric decorations.

4. Don't be a square

Square/rectangular tables are pointy, sharp and will most likely stab you in the leg as you shift past them. Satellite tables, on the other hand, are beautifully round, and make an area feel less choreographed and more natural. Extra points if you buy these in two different sizes and slot the smaller one under the large one.

5. Geometrics rule

I could never get tired of geometric patterns, especially when it comes to triangles and hexagons. There's something just so strategic about them. Put this pattern on your tea towels, cushions, bed covers and wall hangings - but the most popular form is the beloved rug.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

5 Easy Things to do This Week to Get Organised

Declutter your computer

This will probably take a good hour or so but, if you're anything like me, you'll have folder upon folder of photos, revamped CVs and portfolios, PDFs from university lectures, odd chapters from that book you were trying to write two years ago, etc. So get that shit sorted this week, and you'll thank yourself that you don't have to spend £50 on an external hard drive. Also, take a look at your Local Disk space before and after your do your clear out - it's extremely satisfying to see how much space you've created!

Clear out your makeup

Nobody likes three year old foundation. It does no good for your skin, nor for your over-cluttered makeup draw. Chuck that shit out and, if you have a spare tenner, go to Tiger or Muji and get yourself some makeup organisers to separate your lipsticks, liners, mascaras and other products into neat little slots. Again, extremely satisfying.

Cleanse your inbox

This can be carried out in tandem with the computer decluttering; however, it'll probably take another hour so you may want to grab a large cup of tea/coffee and get comfortable. Anything from over two years ago: delete it or, if really REALLY necessary, make a copy and file it in a specific folder on your computer, then delete it. Special offers in brand emails that you can't remember subscribing to: easy - unsubscribe and delete. Newsletters or updates from blogs/magazines/newspapers that you meant to read but never got round to: anything older than a week - delete - anything under a week old - read then delete.

Plan your meals

You always say you're going to get round to it, but never do, so why not start this week? If you're not ready for the whole nine yards, start with your breakfasts and go from there. Then, go out and buy the ingredients and set them out clearly in your cupboards so that there's no escape.

Throw away old magazines

Being a print journalist at heart, the only thing I admit to hoarding is magazines. I love the iconic issues, i.e. anything with Kate Moss on the cover, September issues, first issues, etc. However, I do have around ten everyday magazines lying around my house at any one time. If you're like me, take a quick walk around your place and pick up any magazines lying around, take the most important ones and file away, place any ones you haven't read on your coffee table to read in the next few days, and throw away any old ones. If you love particular parts of a magazine and don't want to throw them (i.e. an inspiring article or image) rip it out of the magazine and stick it on a mood board - that way it'll inspire you every day rather than hiding away in a magazine that you haven't opened in two months.
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