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27 Jan 2017

Morning Habits

Whether it takes a rather large caffeine hit to take you from semi-conscious zombie to functioning human in the morning, or perhaps this transition happens naturally if you're one of those hard-wired early-birds, we all have our fixes to make this time of day a little easier to endure. I'm somewhere in between and lately, getting up has become more of a chore as a result of dark, bleak mornings through this winter-y season (literally everything is easier in the summer..). On top of that, starting a new job in London this month, involving a lengthy commute, seems that now is better than ever to implement some good habits into my routine to make that morning-slump a little more bearable, and dare I say it, productive. 

Ditch the tech
It can't just be me that wakes up and instantly reaches for their phone, to then lie for a considerable amount of time scrolling through pictures, checking emails and generally putting off the moment I finally rouse from the sheets for no particular reason. Especially unnecessary if your journey to work involves sitting on a train or the tube where time is much better spent (not advised when driving..!), you could save yourself more shut-eye or time to prepare a better breakfast. Investing in a clock or digital radio (yes, they still exist in this era) might prevent having to check your phone for the time in the AM and thus absolve the temptation to start scrollin'.

Set the mood
 It's a well-known notion that the mood you get up in is the one you'll have tied to you for the rest of the day. Getting up on the right side of the bed isn't as easy as it sounds, but positive thinking can go a long way. Setting your alarm ten minutes earlier than usual will allow you to wake up slower and effectively avoid that abrupt awakening, making you feel as if you've had some sort of lie-in. Another mood-booster, getting up in the morning is a hell of a lot easier if you have something to look forward to. Whether it's the last chapters of a book to read on the train or a state-of-the-art breakfast waiting downstairs that you prepped the night before, take your first minutes of the day to think of the good stuff you've got to come. Practicing gratitude is equally as effective in setting the tone for your day.


Eat well
Another thing that's easier said rather than in practice, finding time for breakfast when you don't even have the energy to brush your hair (thus falling back on the top-knot situation) can be difficult and inevitably lead to the mid-morning slump if overlooked. The notion that it's the most important meal of the day is drilled into us, and for good reason I suppose, and we need as much energy as we can get in the early hours. Dishing out an avo and egg masterpiece during the week is a little far-fetched, but a to-go smoothie, granola and yoghurt or eggs boiled the night before are easy wonders. It can also help prevent that 11am chocolate craving..


Look after your skin
Taking those extra couple of minutes in the morning to cleanse, tone and moisturise is invaluable, and you'll reap the benefits for the rest of the day. We've all been there; waking up in last night's make up and instantly regretting it is one of those inescapable things that we have to forgive ourselves for, but making sure you look after your skin for the rest of the week can make up for these indiscretions. I've been using the Slip Clay cleanser, Bodyshop toner and Dr Hauschka day cream in the mornings, and adding in the Ren Evercalm serum and Origins eye cream before bed. Not only does it improve your skin, it also does wonders in waking you up (especially if cold water is involved).

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22 Jan 2017

Blowdry Reinvented

Trying to achieve that perfectly-finished blowdry sans the professionally-trained hairdresser is easier said than done, and requires a helping hand in the form of creams, powders and primers.. basically whatever you can get your hands on, and then some. Not all of us can afford to give the time nor money to be getting our hair done week-in, week-out; striving to maintain undone waves, lifted locks and that subtle sleekness that hair salons have the knack of creating is a plight in itself. Come winter, stepping out the house without giving my hair any attention post-washing typically results in an all-day top knot to hide my sins, which can get a little same-y by mid-January, so I've been relying on shop-bought help to get me through..

I've been using Bumble and Bumble products ever since the brand appeared on my radar, particularly the salt-spray in summer and cult Brilliantine creme all year round to emulate slept-in, tousled locks; they're my go-to brand when it comes to D-I-Y styling without hassle. Pret-a-Powder is an innovative take on dry-shampoo and works to add texture and lift second-day-hair; right about the time when you're umm-ing and ahh-ing as to whether you should have washed it before venturing out. Like they say, the best things come in small (but mighty) packages and this palm-sized bottle answers my flat-hair conundrum time and time again. I've had a reluctant relationship with hairspray ever since my school days when it only made it's appearance in getting those ringlet-esque curls to stay in place all night, no matter how dry and crispy it gets. The Does It All styling spray has reignited my faith, being a much subtler, lighter formula (no crackling curls in sight), and works wonders in making those waves hold a little longer. Unfortunately not one of those blessed with hair that's naturally perfect, a little help in the form of heated tools goes a long way in my book and signs of damage are never far away if I don't use proper heat protection. Hairdresser's Invisible Oil works as a heat/UV protective primer on either dry or damp hair pre-styling, and helps to relax me in the knowledge that I'm not completely frazzling the ends of my hair day-in-day-out. As the formula is infused with six oils, it also helps to soften your hair and tame any fly-aways. Another step in obtaining that DIY just-stepped-out-of-the-hairdressers look is the All-Style Blowdry; a creme that 'does it all' in the haircare world, and no sane person would be without it when stepping out of the shower. Softening, shine and sleekness-inducing, it bridges that gap between just-washed and finished hair. 

If you follow me over on Instagram you might have noticed that I've finally succumb to having my hair highlighted in the hope of bringing it back to life this winter. I have always found it difficult to splash out in the hairdressers, no matter in how desperate need my locks are in, as it always feels like such a huge detriment to my bank balance. Ironically, I have probably spent more over time on products for my hair opposed to the actual colour and cut itself, which is pretty backwards. Being blonde especially requires high-maintenance in attaining a non-brassy, scandi-type colouring and in the past I've had a couple of traumas in the process of achieving this. But, I've finally come to my senses and vowing this year to actually take care of my hair, including colour maintenance on a regular basis; looking at it as more of an investment, I might finally be happy with it. 

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All photos are my own.

16 Jan 2017

Easing the January Blues

As previously thought, the well-intention-ed New Years resolutions that occupied my thoughts before the beginning of January and had so much promise, have inevitably proven to be short-lived, given it's mid-January and I'm writing this having just eaten an entire pizza and holding a glass of wine (it's Monday evening so I can hardly blame the mid-week blues). Being well aware of the benefits that all those clichéd resolutions actually bring both the mind and the body, why is it so difficult to implement them into every day life, especially when they're shoved in our face morning, noon and night by articles, television ads and all those celebrities hoping to launch back into the realm of popular culture through a five-minute long fitness DVD that's bound to sit on my bookshelf all-year long..?  


Having to battle the (notoriously) most depressing month of the year alongside a diet and fitness overhaul isn't exactly easy living; getting home in the pitch-black and settling down to a carb-free, green-laden plate is enough to send anyone over the edge of January despair. From here, spiralling into a haze of no return because you've quit now so you may as well carry on is very easily done. From my experience, the hardest part is day one. Breaking the wall of badly cemented habits is the first step in changing, and even with the best intentions, you've got to commit on this day to ease the pain that follows, and I think that's where I went wrong this time round.When eating better and exercising more than once a week, I reap the benefits both mentally and physically, and once I start I always think, why haven't I been doing this all along. It just sometimes takes a little longer to get started..

Being broke and wading through January sans alcohol (well, trying) can be outweighed with the new beginnings that the new year brings; I've never wanted to move forward with my career, or had the vivacity to do so, more than now, and likewise with a lot of other aspects of my life. We all have weaknesses and I think they're usually the things that are keeping us sane (and make us human), but it's balance that we should truly strive for; such a simple notion yet sometimes impossibly unobtainable. Only half a month down; that's eleven and a half left to make a good go of 2017, and I intend to atleast try. 

Photos taken from Pinterest


15 Jan 2017

Doughnut French Toast

Firstly, I have to admit that I didn't cook this enticing brunch; it was created by my talented friend Amber (have a look at her food blog The Greedy Student here) on Saturday morning, whilst we were nursing a slightly sore head and lulling around, trying to draw out the first lie in of the week for as long as possible. Doughnuts immediately take me back to when I was younger, eating them hot and covered in sugar out of a paper bag on the pier by the seaside. They, perhaps surprisingly, translate into a satisfactory brunch food pretty well when combined with french toast and berries; they're more than enough to satisfy a sugar addict for most of the day. An effective way of kick-starting your weekend, these are hard to beat in the realm of breakfast food. After these pictures were taken, a lot of maple syrup was added (as if they weren't naughty enough...). 

You can find the recipe for Doughnut French Toast here.



10 Jan 2017

Three Cities to Visit in January

This time of year, holidays, or just the prospect of sunlight, looms far into the foreseeable future and the last time you absorbed some decent vitamin-D seems like a distant memory. Alas, if this is a reality, downtime doesn't have to come from somewhere on the end of a five-hour flight, and there's dozens of beautiful cities on the doorstep to soak up and get you, at least temporarily, out of the daily grind that's wearing us down in the notoriously bleak month that is January. During a month where motivation is short-lived and something outside of diets and resolutions is needed to occupy stress-laden thoughts, being amidst a culture outside of your own doorstep ignites much-needed inspiration and feeds your brain, if you will, to fuel that get-go back into your way of life. For once, it might be refreshing wandering around a capital not sweltering in heat, giving more opportunity to take in the sights and relish in the crowd-free capitals that have so much to offer. As they say, a change is as good as a rest and there is no better way to start a new year. 


4 Jan 2017

Freshen Up

January overhauls can take a multitude of forms; whether it be body, mind, or in my case, skin-orientated. The effects of Christmas in terms of skin aren't desirable; suffering from the cold and drying effects of central heating, lack of vitamin D that drains all signs of life and the consequences of over-indulgence all contribute to make dullness and reptile-like skin a reality for the beginning of a new year, new me situation which is less than idyllic. The festive season isn't all bad in this realm; I've attained a few new skincare gems as both gifts and sale-steals to counteract all the factors against me, lessening the inevitable January blues that are set to kick in right about now..


1 Jan 2017

New Year Resolutions 2017

Setting goals can feel like a futile feat, with the reality that most years, the 'resolutions' have been long-forgotten come mid-Jan. There's nothing more motivating than a fresh start/blank page situation ('I'll start on Monday' springs to mind), and setting goals is a healthy and necessary way of challenging yourself, progressing and achieving what you want. Like most years, I'm at least aiming to start the year with these good intentions..

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