Serotonin, Style & Sustainability

This happens to me, I wake up and all of a sudden have an urgency to write about something that has been pulling on my heart strings (without having realised it).  The upside is I get so excited I don’t waste timing putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), the downside is, I don’t plan the post, which means you lot could end up reading a lot of babble…

Over my years of styling various people in various careers and walks of life, as well as following my own journey of ups and downs, one thing I have come to realise is that no matter where you are at or what you are doing we all benefit from feeling good.  Ive been through periods of feeling great, possibly because Im fit and healthy, and other times of feeling really miserable about myself, probably because Im going through a slump, not keeping up with exercise and poor diet.  That’s step one, feeling good from within.  Following closely on the heels of step one is looking good, dressing well! Whether I’m fit or not I need to maintain a level of style in my life otherwise I begin to feel even worse.  Ive noticed when I have let myself go a little on the dressing front I really do feel awful.  I totally can see how I’ve let this slide over the last couple of years and I’ve decided this year, whilst I certainly don’t have a new wardrobe to parade, I’m going to try and be clever and think out the box, whilst Ive adapted to a more classical look (for simplicity) I will try to add a (teeny tiny) edge to give it a touch of “me”, and these small efforts, I know will boost my happiness.  I will be trying my best to get fit and eat cleaner (mental note to self – stop eating children’s leftovers).  Ive seen it through so many women, how taking care of appearances boosts confidence and happiness.  Everyone has their own level of standards and they know when they are at their best or worst.  I could feel amazing in myself but to others out there look very average (hopefully nobody would tell me that – haha) and visa versa, but if you’re healthy and fresh faced then you should shine from the inside out and that counts for everything.  Once you’ve started with your body and mind you then move onto wardrobe and dressing well, present yourself well to show you care.  So that rounds up the bit about confidence and serotonin.

Next up is style.  Style is a very personal thing, Im sure everyone knows that.  Everyone has their own style and way of expressing this.  Style is not stepping out in the latest Zara/Topshop/Country Road and H&M haul, very far from it.  It is a slow and progressive collection of pieces that build up a wardrobe of pieces that you should always love.  They should be able to be worn with confidence and ease, if you ever feel uncomfortable in something, it’s not you, take it off and get rid of it.  Sell it, pass it on, alter it. Being trendy is not stylish! Dressing to suit your character is a good start although there are many women and men out there who battle with what works for them and will seek advice which is a great start.  I certainly don’t try and do my accounts, Im hopeless, so somebody else does that bit.  I do the parts I love and feel capable of doing and that is what we should all be doing.  Seek advice or help in the areas where you lack the ability to do it yourself.  My aim this year is to feel like Im trying my best from a wardrobe front (next mental note to self, try ditch all my t-shirt wearing and certainly NO more Havaianas every day)… if I want to wear a t-shirt, Im going to put it with something really striking at the bottom (haha lets see how this unfolds).  A friend popped in yesterday and said, wow look at you, is this just you strolling around in your best.  I have been “trying” a little harder this week, wearing bits that haven’t had a look-in in forever! So Im pleased to to say it never went unnoticed.  I’ve often had compliments on pieces that I’ve worn that are really old, but that’s where choosing a timeless shape helps as it doesn’t look outdated in 3 years.  That’s the bit about Style…

Now onto sustainability.  Like many others that share the same values out there, Ive become extremely conscious of our human footprint on this planet and Im desperate to be less of a consumer and more of a recycler.  We can all do little bits which will add up to a lot.  My goals for this year are to grow as many of my own veg as possible, buy less plastic, not purchase one plastic water bottle, I will continue to recycle all my rubbish as we have done for years and use earth friendly cleaning products (in fact vinegar is best, but Im not quite there yet). Being fully sustainable is quite a task and can be very overwhelming when thinking about absolutely everything we can and cant do, so baby steps makes me feel better and less stressed by it all.  Whilst there’s no way I will never ever buy another item from a high street store again, I am taking the saying “Buy Less.  Choose well. Make it last.” literally. (Thanks Viveinne Westwood).  When buying a dress for a wedding or special occasion, choose something that really suits you and that you absolutely LOVE so you will want to wear it for years to come.  Choose classic tailoring, simple sneakers, coats and jackets that suit your frame as well as being timeless. AND if you can buy from small business’s that are using sustainable practices & fabrics as well as having ethical values.  Choose raffia, straw, cotton or vegan material handbags over leather.

So how do these three topics all roll into one another? Well its simple.  Feel good, care about yourself, increase your serotonin levels by starting with the your health and fitness.  Style in turn makes you feel better, care about your appearance and I can promise you, the amount of people that I have seen transform in front of my eyes has been extremely gratifying.  Do good for your planet where you can and feel better about making a difference.  Transform yourself but be sustainable at the same time, choose carefully and don’t get sucked into consumerism, chasing the next trend.  Sure, from year to year you may want to update your wardrobe from the chunky knit to the twin set but generally trends like that last at least two seasons (so two years) before feeling the need to switch things around. Small updates can make all the difference and if you choose the classic version of a trend it’s likely to go the distance.  Keep it Simple! But hey, this is nothing you haven’t heard before, right 😉

I leave you with some of my favourite classic looks (most have been on my Pinterest boards for years, at least 3-4, and I still love them), so it shows, choose well, it lasts.

Have a fabulous week ahead everyone.

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Great Gifts to Give

Giving gifts is always the most wonderful feeling, but giving something average or something that doesn’t necessarily have the person’s personality written all over it is not always as fun to watch.  I can’t bare giving a gift when I know its been a rushed purchase and not much thought has gone into it, I would rather wait longer until I find just the thing for them.

Sometimes you just have no clue, so here’s a list of lovely things to give, if you’re stuck…

Number 1 on my list may come as a surprise (unless you know me well, in which case it wont!) Rusks are my weakness, on a good day I will have 1.5, on a bad day up to 4 (eeek)!!! I would LOVE to receive this, what a great gift with a beautiful ceramic cookie jar to keep forever. Rusk Jar

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If you know someone who loves to cook and spends hours in the kitchen then this is the most beautiful apron I have ever seen and wouldn’t be ashamed to wear it out the house even – that’s how good it looks! Linen Apron

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We’re all so health conscious (or are supposed to be anyway) but we’re not all that good at knowing what to do about it or how to go about it.  Deliciously Ella is someone I have followed for years, when she first started writing about her illness and how the only cure for her was through healthy eating, I find it fascinating and inspiring how someone can be ill for so long and self heal through diet and a strong mind.  The ‘every day’ recipe book of hers is meant to be great and easy to follow (I have not used it yet) but a great gift to give to a health conscious friend who can or cannot cook. Deliciously Ella Every Day

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I’m not sure everyone’s as obsessed with lovely smelling candles as I am.  I love candles and they are usually quite pricey so not something one would just purchase on any given day (well not the good ones) a store I love to visit when I’m after a gift is L’Orangerie, their candles, soaps and bathroom products smell heavenly. L’Orangerie Candles

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Grandparents always love pictures of their grandchildren, finding a pretty frame that suits their interiors (or doesn’t) and filling it with a gorgeous pic is always a lovely idea. Leaf Print Frame

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For coffee lovers, I gave this to my husband for his birthday and I LOVE it (so does he ;)), it’s not a schlepp at all and the slightly longer time it takes to make than your normal coffee is worth every delicious sip. Bialetti Coffee Machine

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Plants are always a good choice too!  Snow Rose 

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Fill up a Glass Jar with home baked treats. Glass Jar

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Find a pretty, functional and less expensive basket and build a hamper, filled with nuts, wine, nougat, jam, homemade biscuits whatever you think the receiver may love! Basket

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Another great gift that would fit into any home no matter what the style are these beautifully crafted marble coasters that will last a lifetime, bringing a touch of elegance and glamour to the table.  Marble Coasters

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Happy Christmas shopping everyone, and it may be a good idea to forward this one onto husbands, dads, grandpa’s, boyfriends or just anyone clueless!

X

Summer Salad

I was feeling very un-inspired wondering around the supermarket the other day trying to decide what to make for dinner and then I stumbled upon a supermarket suggestion card which they do on a monthly basis but I never really take note of them.  I am so glad I found this one as it has introduced me to a delicious Japanese paste that can be used in just about anything and is simply scrummy! It’s called Umami paste.  This salad can be adjusted to your taste by taking out the tuna if you are vegetarian or personally I think fresh caught tuna or prawns would be even more delicious than canned tuna.

Puttanesca Pasta Salad

300g penne pasta

250g cherry tomatoes, quartered

1 clove garlic, crushed

Grated zest 1 lemon

75g pitted black olives

2 tbsp nonpareille capers, drained and rinsed

1 tbsp Taste #5 Mediterrainean Recipe Umami Paste

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

200g can tune steak in spring water, drained

140g bag wild rocket

Cook the penne in boiling water as per packet instructions.  Put the tomatoes, garlic, lemon zest, olives and capers in a large bowl and stir in the umami paste and olive oil.

Drain the pasta and refresh under cold running water.  Stir into the tomato mixture to combine.  Gently fold the tuna and rocket through the pasta salad and season accordingly. Serve immediately

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Combine the zest, garlic, olive oil and olives, then add the Umami pasteIMG_0280                                                      This is what the Umami paste tube looks like and it comes in a box

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Hope you enjoy! xx

A New Week, A New Me

My husband and I have decided to do a detox, the eating and drinking started to get slightly out of hand so we just thought we should nip it in the bud.

Monday started off well, I resisted the urge for my morning coffee, I could practically smell the rich aroma of coffee as if it were following me around, instead I stuck to my lemon, honey and hot water and I added a cinnamon stick for extra flavour and it was absolutely delicious!

We did well with our eating, for lunch I had a vegetable soup and for dinner we had fish and salad…… I will keep you posted as the week goes by but I must say if you are trying to cut all sorts out of your diet and looking for inspiration when cooking, then you should head over to this website Deliciously Ella she has some amazing recipes and a good story behind her eating and why she eats like she does.

My inspiration for today’s outfit is gym gear, if I dont put it on first thing in the morning I just wont do it, but there’s nothing better than having really cool kit to wear, it definitely inspires me to get going 😉Screen Shot 2014-02-25 at 14.38.10Screen Shot 2014-02-25 at 14.31.39 Screen Shot 2014-02-25 at 14.33.52Screen Shot 2014-02-25 at 10.23.20