Tuesday 16 June 2020

My Care Tips for Cut Peonies

peony flower

Peony season is my favourite floral event of the year. It's an absolute pleasure to have these big blooms grace our home and gardens, if only for a few short months. It feels like an annual celebration of what the world can offer and I am always truly sad to see it pass.

From buds to blooms

Before they go for another year, I thought I'd pull together my top tips for how I get the most out of my cut peonies. If you've bought or grown peonies before, you'll know they begin as tightly formed buds, typically covered in a little sap. Within a few days, they'll begin to blossom into big bountiful blooms and give you the biggest surprise. Peony buds can actually expand 3x the size of the bud once fully opened up. Don't worry if the buds have a few dark spots or look a little stained, this is completely normal. You can encourage your buds to open if you're growing impatient by gently wiping the sap off with a damp cloth and placing in a warmer sunnier spot.

Keep them for longer

Although stunning, peonies tend to last for around 5 days or more once cut and placed in an arrangement. To help your peonies last longer, keep them cool in cold water when you first bring them home or cut them from your garden. Prepare them for arranging by stripping the leaves below the waterline or further up depending on your desired style. Cut the stems 3-5cm from the bottom in a diagonal chop. This will help the peonies absorb more water as soon as they get put into the vase. After three days, trim the stems down a few cm again and top up the water. Remove any petals that may look brown, dead or mushy as these will rapidly encourage your peonies to go over.

Clean vases for happier blooms

Ensure you have a clean vase ready as any bacteria may cause the peonies to die off quicker than normal. Fill your vase with cool water and mix in flower food to give the flowers the best chance for surviving indoors for longer.

Where to buy?

You could partner your peonies with other flowers, such as roses, lisianthus, or freesias for a seasonal bouquet or enjoy them as a stand alone statement. You can usually buy peonies in the supermarket with your weekly shop but if you're currently unable to go due to the lockdown rules, you can also order them as letterbox delivered flowers online from websites such as Bloom&Wild. For £10 off your first Bloom&Wild order, click here.

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My Care Tips for Cut Peonies

Sunday 3 May 2020

How I Stay Fit and Motivated at Home

Since having to turn our homes into libraries, offices, yoga studios and gyms all in one go, it's harder than ever to stay fit and motivated at home. If you're looking for ways to stay active indoors or if you're a fellow gym-goer who's now needing to get creative to stay active, I can help. First of all, plan your day. Filling your time, goal setting, and sticking to your schedule will lead you to feel more productive and satisfied. While planning my own day at home, I factor in the following points to keep me active and feeling energised...
stay fit at home

Morning Yoga

Every morning, I'll lay out my yoga mat in my living room. I'll ask Alexa to play calming music and I'll stretch my body into yoga poses. I typically do this for 30 minutes, sometimes longer or sometimes less. Some days, you'll feel a lot more able than others - able to spend more time, able to feel the stretch, or able to hold that pose for a little longer. Don't let this stop you, because it is completely normal and the more you practice the more you'll improve in the longer term. Adding yoga into your morning routine gently wakes up your body, it frees your mind for motivation, and it sets a positive tone for your day. 

cobra yoga pose

yoga stretch

Practice Mindfulness

I'm sure we can all count times in the past few weeks where we have felt completely overwhelmed by everything that's going on around us. Whenever I feel overwhelmed by my worries, I'll set aside five minutes to focus on my breathing and calm my mind. My favourite way to do this is to sit cross legged on the floor. Place your hands comfortably out in front of you or softly place them on your knees. Close your eyes, and take a deep breath in through your nose, hold that breath for two seconds, then slowly breathe out through your mouth. Repeat this for a few minutes, allowing your mind to solely focus on your breathing. Once you feel ready to return to your day in a calmer state, open your eyes and slowly come out of the position. After doing this exercise, take note of how you felt before and after. Be sure to set aside time for it in your daily schedule.

mindfulness practice pose

Workout at Home

Working out makes you feel active and alive, it's no different when you're doing it at home. After finishing my tasks for the day, I'll change back into my favourite activewear outfit and conduct a home workout. Bodyweight exercises and abs circuits are excellent if you don't have much equipment at home. If you have resistance bands or weights, use them! Alternatively, don't feel afraid to get creative, a water bottle makes for a great dumbbell substitute. If you're feeling stuck for motivation, play your favourite workout playlist and plan your workout like you do your daily tasks. Ticking exercises off as you go is a great way to feel fulfilled and proud of yourself for getting your sweat on!

bicep curl exercise

home workouts

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How I Stay Fit and Motivated at Home

Sunday 5 April 2020

Tips For Working 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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Tips For Working from Home Effectively

Monday 30 December 2019

New Year Reflection | The 2019 Edition

new year reflection

This time last year, I wrote a post entitled New Year Reflection. I took the opportunity to look back on 2018 with a smile as I praised myself for my successes and experiences from the year. As I sat reading through the blog post this morning, I felt pleased that I had recorded my thoughts and views at the time. In the post, I asked you, my readers, some reflective questions that you could try out at home to reflect on your own year. As 2019 is now coming to an end with the new year beginning in just a few days, I thought I'd reflect again and ask myself those same questions that I had asked you.

One obvious lifestyle change comes to mind here as I changed jobs back in April. Unfortunately, the job I was in at the time was no longer suiting my needs. It took great strength to walk away from, and at the time it was a situation that caused me great stress. Rather than looking back upon the negatives that I associate with the reasons for the job change, I'm so proud for standing up for myself and doing what I knew I had to. All my life, I have been terrible at putting myself first. I finally learned that the person who will have your back most should always be you. I kept a similar role as a Digital Marketing Executive, but I now work for a bigger company with a bigger team around me.

"I finally learned that the person

 who will have your back most 

should always be you."

In my private life, I have been a supportive girlfriend this year to my partner of three and a half years, Ben. Ben decided at the start of the year to begin bodybuilding competition prep after years of weight training and working as a personal trainer. I've not known dedication like I have witnessed from Ben this year, and his hard work paid off for him. Living together, our meals were all completely separate, with him prepping about six meals a day. Eating treats in front of him was truly quite awful! It's difficult to understand unless you're in the fitness industry, but I am glad that I had the understanding to support him through his journey. It was tough, but we did it, and now we enjoy our meals out and cinema snacks even more than ever.

Our summer holiday to Cape Verde, just before my 23rd birthday, was one of the most enjoyable experiences for us this year. Ben and I had a wonderful time, sipping Pina Coladas on the hotel beach and soaking up the sunshine. The trip struck a chord with me, mostly for the island's "no stress" motto. The people seemed so carefree and friendly, with "no stress" written everywhere you looked. I recall it being the most calm that I had felt in months, apart from the aeroplane taking off and landing! The excursions that we went on included paddling with lemon sharks (that was an experience that I will never forget), and a day trip around the island where we tried their traditional honey rum, saw what the island had to offer and learned about its history. Every time I now hear Bob Marley songs, I can feel myself bobbing about in the back of the mini van singing along as we toured the island with our guide.

 "I recall it being the most calm 

that I had felt in months..."

Fitness has still been a massive part of my weekly routine and I feel proud to have made progress this year, keeping my training consistent despite working full time and working on my own projects in my spare time. I made it a self led mission to strengthen and tone up my quads, calves and hamstrings this year. I can now hit higher weights at high volume, which once seemed impossible.

On the blog front, 2019 brought some wonderful opportunities for me. I have collaborated with many fantastic brands this year on EVIE ROSE LANE, but working with Dior was a collaboration that I will never forget. Everyone has one brand that they dream of working with, so when I got the email about their makeup campaign, it was a real pinch me moment. I tried to capture the luxurious sophistication of the designer within my content, the same sophistication that I had seen a few months prior in the Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams exhibition at the V&A. Taking my time with the photography, styling each beauty flatlay delicately and creatively, I was really proud of the work that I had created.

Generally speaking, I've invested time and attention into improving my photography and highlighting sophistication within the style of my content. I want to capture the beauty of the everyday, whether that be your morning skincare cleanser or a new jewellery piece that you want to show off. Looking forward, I'm hoping to include more fashion within my content, but not fast fashion. I'm keen to show experimentation with timeless items that are made to be worn time and time again, not once for a one off.

"Everyone has one brand that they dream 

of working with, so when I got the email 

about their makeup campaign, 

it was a real pinch me moment!"

Christmas this year was the epitome of warmth and festive joy. From Christmas festivities in the office, to playing Christmas games with family, and organising fantastic Christmas giveaways that you could enter to win. It's been truly lovely. I can't wait to do it all over again next year! One last thing to mention are my wishes for you - wishing you a Happy New Year and a fabulous 2020.

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New Year Reflection | The 2019 Edition

Friday 25 October 2019

Dealing with Darker Evenings and Darker Mornings

darker evenings and mornings tips

dealing with darker evenings

It's that time of year where we find ourselves waking up in the dark and coming home from work in the dark. It's definitely not my favourite thing about the Autumn and Winter seasons, but there are ways that we can help ourselves deal with the darker mornings and nights.

Make your home cosy and well-lit

I adore lighting up the home with pretty tea-lights and scented candles in the darker months. By adding more light to your living space, you'll feel instantly more comfortable when you walk through the door and feel happy to be inside during the darker nights. Another way to add light to your apartment is to add affordable battery powered fairy lights to give your space an extra sparkle. As I have many vases in the apartment, if I do not have flowers arranged inside them, I will pop a tangled collection of dainty fairy lights inside for a whimsical effect.

Fluffy blankets are also a great idea during the colder months, they may be piled neatly in the corner all summer, but now is when you will get your use!

Become a morning person

The day feels so much more productive and fulfilling when you get up early and begin ticking tasks off of your to-do list. Although it's tough at first, you will soon train your body clock into a comfortable routine. If you find getting up in the dark extra tough, you may find a light clock a worthwhile purchase. The device gradually wakes you up by using light, instead of a sound alarm.

become a morning person

Keep up with exercise and look out for your wellbeing

You may be feeling more demotivated to get going than you did in summer, but if you can push through, the endorphins will be the kickstart that you need. Exercise not only has physical benefits but it is incredibly good for the mind. You will feel more satisfied and tired by the end of the day, leading you to getting a healthier nights sleep.

It's all too easy to slip off the bandwagon with your diet at this time of year - especially as festive treats have already begun hitting the shelves! Try to stay on track with your diet 80% of the time. You will feel less lethargic and more energised as a result.

Use light boxes at work

If you're like me and find yourself at a desk for the majority of your week, you may find a light box particularly helpful at this time of year. Bright light has been proven to put you in a better mood and leave you feeling more energised. Boxes such as these are a convenient way of introducing bright light therapy into your day during darker days.

Add Vitamin D supplements into your daily routine

When our bodies are exposed to sunlight, we produce levels of Vitamin D. Vitamin D has a range of benefits, but one of the key benefits is that it helps boost our moods. Individuals with lower levels of Vitamin D may find themselves more likely to suffer from anxiety or depression. As the activity of the sun is lowered through the colder months, Vitamin D supplements will help make up for the loss of naturally made Vitamin D. You can buy these cheaply from local supermarkets or health stores.

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Teddy Coat

Baker Boy Hat (similar)

Black Skinny Jeans 

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Dealing with Darker Evenings and Darker Mornings

Saturday 21 September 2019

5 Ways to Attract Good Energy

attract good energy

Attracting good energy usually ties hand in hand with the type of energy that you give out to world - perhaps changing your own way of thinking is the starting point. The list may be endless, but I've kept this short and sweet with my top five best methods for attracting good energy.

Find acceptance and love from within
I'm a believer that negative thoughts only breed negativity. Often if you're feeling completely uncomfortable with yourself, perhaps embarrassed and scrutinising your every action, you'll find this being transferred into the light that you give out to other people. This being said, of course, you cannot switch these feelings off in a matter of minutes, days, or even weeks. Self acceptance is a journey. Some days will be better than others, but each is a step forward. Self acceptance is a detailed topic and one that I simply cannot cover in one paragraph.
In brief: please allow yourself time to heal; praise and compliment yourself; when others compliment you, say thank you; and be proud of the person that you have become or are moving towards being.

Drift away from negative influences or cut them out entirely
This is so important. I cannot express enough how much negative influences or circumstances can have a damaging effect on your thoughts and behaviours. Whether, its negative people, negative environments or negative situations, it's perfectly okay to responsibly leave them behind if they are no longer making you happy. Personally, I don't always deal with stress well, and this was something that I have found very difficult in the past. I've been hurt, a lot. However, finding the strength to move on from that hurt is the most empowering and wonderful thing that you can do for yourself. You don't need to feel anger or revengeful, you simply need to accept that circumstances are no longer serving you. Therefore, leading you to moving on and focusing on putting yourself first.

Do things that make you feel good
When speaking about their passions, people light up. Finding hobbies or things that you love doing can not only make you feel good, but it can allow you to share that joy with likeminded individuals and meet new friends.

Do things to help others
Have you ever given someone a really special gift and felt that magical feeling of giving? It's a nice feeling, right? Well, it doesn't always have to wait until Christmas or birthdays - it doesn't even need to be a gift. Be kind to others. Hold doors open for them. Give up your seat on the bus. In a world of mobile phones and social media, we often don't take enough time to just look up and smile. So make it your mission to do at least one kind thing a day for someone. You may just make somebody else's day!

Have gratitude
At the end of every day, make a note of five things that you are grateful for that day. This will allow your mind to get into the habit of thinking more gratefully and positively. Pay attention to the little things as well as the big things. It could be something as small as the feeling of hot, bright sunshine on your skin or the beautiful blossoming tree that you pass on your way to work. Have gratitude for the things around you and the world will become a much happier place.

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5 Ways to Attract Good Energy

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