Sunday, 5 April 2020

How to work from home effectively

working from home

Working from home experiences vary, mostly due to your home circumstances. Since settling into working from home and from my previous experience as a freelancer and student, I've gathered my tips to help you work from home most effectively.

Stay as organised as possible

I always begin my working day by writing a list of tasks that I need to work on for that day, prioritising those most important. Doing this allows me to stay on track and ensures that I don't forget any crucial tasks. If I have work that doesn't require me to work in silence, then I'll ask Alexa to pop on my favourite playlist, but only do this if you can still concentrate. Try and start work at the same time each day, having a routine will help you feel productive. 

Keep a clean, creative workspace

Don't be shy to invest in cute new stationary as a little motivator to get writing or filing! Writing with a new pen or purchasing new storage folders can make a difference to your day-to-day and help with organisation. Have you ever felt frustrated for losing an important piece of paper? Not anymore! I also would hate for piles of papers to become part of my home interior, so keeping a clean, tidy and organised workspace is highly important. 

I live in a one bedroom flat with my partner at the moment, so I've not had the luxury of running off into a private office room to get focused. If you're in the same boat, I would recommend setting up a designated area as best you can. Mine is temporarily at the dining table during working hours, it's not perfect but it works. I also keep a back up area in the living room because every now and again, I have found that having a back up spot or a change of scenery massively helps.

On days I feel particularly unfocused, I'll light a candle on my desk. The comforting scent is pleasant and enables me to settle down far easier than the smell of what we've cooked for breakfast!

Stay comfortable but professional

It's so important to have the right posture support when you're working in a desk job. Most of us will have specifically designed office chairs or back supports at work so why settle for back problems when working from home? I'd encourage you to look for the most comfortable seating option or even look to invest in a back support for your chair to avoid back problems. I'd also advise stretching your back and neck often when seated for long periods. There are some great yoga stretches out there that will massively help, try googling "desk yoga" for ideas.

Lastly, I'd avoid staying in your pyjamas. I know so many of us will wake up feeling totally sluggish and unmotivated to get dressed when we are home all day long. I'm not suggesting you need to get your heels on and a face full of make up, but I do believe that our brains switch into 'work mode' when we feel like we are in work mode. For me, that's partly wearing clothes that I would normally wear to work, even when I am at home. It also means that you'll never be caught out in your pjs on video conference calls! If I do feel particularly sluggish, then I'll compromise for a casual outfit like a sweater and comfortable jeans. We all have down days, the important thing is to not pressure yourself or feel guilty for it, but to try your best to boost your day instead.

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Wednesday, 1 April 2020

How to bake a banana bread from scratch

   banana bread

Baking a banana bread from scratch is actually super easy, and it's much less daunting than it originally sounds. Since sharing my banana bread bake over on social media, many of you requested the recipe that I've relied on time and time again. I couldn't wait to type it out for you!

I'm a firm believer in baking therapy, it shouldn't be stressful and it doesn't need to be. There's nothing more satisfying than creating something from scratch and watching it be enjoyed by those you choose to share it with. This recipe isn't too unhealthy either, compared to your average victoria sponge or chocolate cake, this plain banana loaf is a much less sugary and less fatty alternative! 


2 over-ripe bananas
120g plain flour
30g brown sugar
60g butter (room temp if possible)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp milk
1 egg
Sprinkle of salt
100g dark chocolate (optional)

Equipment you'll need

1 x small loaf tin
Baking paper
2x mixing bowls/containers
Weighing scales

Prep time: 15 mins
Baking time: 25-30 mins
Oven setting: 175 degrees

Firstly, allow your oven to heat up by switching it on and setting it to 175 degrees. Line your loaf tin with baking paper to prevent your banana bread from getting stuck. Using one of your mixing bowls, combine together the plain flour (120g), baking powder (1/2 tsp), baking soda (1/2 tsp), and a sprinkle of salt until nicely mixed. In the spare mixing bowl, cream the butter (60g) with the brown sugar (30g). Next, mash up your two bananas with a fork and add them to your butter and sugar mix, along with the milk (2 tbsp) and the egg. Stir together until nicely combined, then add it to your flour mix. If you choose to add dark chocolate to your bread, then make sure to break it into squares and add it at this stage. Once you're happy that everything is nicely combined and there's no lumps of flour, pour evenly into your loaf tin. 

I'd recommend baking for 25-30 minutes for a moist banana bread. 

Do let me know if you give this recipe a go, and be sure too share a photo too!

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Saturday, 14 March 2020

How to wear the Urban Decay 'Naked Honey' Eyeshadow Palette

Since the first palette launched in 2010, Urban Decay have since launched seven twelve shade 'Naked' eyeshadow palettes. After a decade of these popular palettes, I thought I'd pull together my thoughts on the latest Naked Honey set of shades, alongside a very wearable makeup look that you can achieve at home.

As a perfect curation of classic golds, warm ambers and rich chocolate browns, this palette will suit any eye colour. At a first glance, I definitely had my favourites: Flyby, Sweet, Hive, and Hbic. However, as I've used the palette more and more, I've developed an individual love for how each and every shade can create a different look. From sweet summertime honey to a sultry smokey eye, the Naked Honey palette oozes experimental creativity and is everything you want as a beauty fan.

urban decay naked honey eyeshadow review

Get the look

With a warm day-to-night look in mind, I strived for makeup that tied modern glamour with subtle sophistication. I started with a strong base of the Collection Lasting Perfection foundation and concealer, to which I then added my favourite bronzer - the Hoola bronzer by Benefit. When seeking a glowing skin look, I'll always add a good dose of highlighting powder to the bridge of my nose and my upper cheekbones. This emphasises your bone structure and gives the appearance of healthy, well hydrated skin. To warm the apples of my cheeks with a flush of colour, I swept the Mary Kay 'Shy' blusher in circular motions using a kabuki brush.

Now to the nitty gritty of my eye makeup! I've got into the habit recently of not really fussing with my eyebrows. I've actually been really lazy with plucking, but that's another story for another day. For this look, I brushed my eyebrow hairs in an upwards motion with a mini spoolie brush. Brushing upwards will provide an instant lift and achieve that supermodel fluffy brow look that's everywhere at the moment.

Starting with a base colour for my eyeshadow, I applied the palette shade 'Sweet' across the whole eyelid, taking it right up to the eyebrow. I usually start with a natural nude shade to allow the pigments to blend nicely with my foundation. Next, I applied the shade 'Swarm' to set the tone for the warm amber look that I was striving for. Along the eyelid crease and underneath my lower lash line, I applied 'Hive' to define and deepen the pigment. 

Emphasising the drama without harshening the look, I added a small amount of the darkest tone, 'Sting', to the outer corners of my eyes. In contrast, I used the lightest tone in the palette, 'Flyby', to highlight the inner corners of my eyes. I find that applying a highlighting shade in this way enhances the whites of your eyes, making them appear brighter and more awake. Similarly, adding a nude eye pencil to your waterline has the same effect. 

For me, eyes wouldn't be complete without a lashing or two of black volumising mascara. Before application, I always curl my eyelashes. It's become a lash ritual. For this look, I used the Rimmel London Volume on Demand mascara in Black. 

I purposely didn't go heavy on my lip makeup because I wanted my eyes to be the main feature. I normally stick to lipstick, but for a sparkling alternative, I decided to use some plumping lip gloss by Soap and Glory. Prior to applying the lip gloss, I softly defined my lip shape by smudging in a MAC lip liner in the shade 'Soar'.

I've added shoppable links to most of the 'Naked' eyeshadow palettes at the bottom of this blog post. Be sure to click through, if you'd like to see the colour differences and shades for yourself.

warm eyeshadow makeup tutorial

This post includes commission links.
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