A trailing spouse story…

Posted by Carole

Have you ever made a life changing decision meaning you had to start all over again and change your habits from A to Z? That’s what happened to me when I decided to leave my flat, my job and my sweet Parisian routine to follow my boyfriend in Switzerland, where he got a job.

It was very sudden and all went so fast I have to admit I didn’t think too much about it. I just followed my heart and six months in I truly don’t regret my decision… despite the ups and downs! Because yes, let’s face it, it’s not all pinky and easy to follow a partner abroad and become what some refer to as a “trailing spouse”. Many obstacles await on the road to settling down and despite being one very thrilling and exciting adventure, it’s also a time of great challenges, doubts and uncertainty… as I’m learning every day since I started my new life in Switzerland.

So today I wanted to share a few thoughts and tips on this unsettling yet very rewarding experience in the hope that it might help some other trailing spouses out there!

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  1. Own your life and stay confident

If you’ve made the decision to leave it all behind and start afresh, there is a good reason for it! Whether it’s to follow a loved-one, because you needed a change or both, your decision was justified by what you felt was best for you so never feel like you have to justify yourself or apologize to those around you, who might be questioning your choices.

I mean it’s normal that your family or friends worry about you, especially if your big change will leave you unemployed for a while and that is exactly what happened to me. I remember my mother being pretty upset about my decision at first but after I took the time to explain to her why I made this decision, she instantly understood and became incredibly supportive.

No one better than you knows what makes you happy so stand your ground and face raised-eyebrows with confidence but do take the time to explain your projects to your loved ones, those who truly care about you will understand and accept your decision. And simply ignore those who don’t!

  1. Stay positive and persevere

Starting afresh means there is lots of challenges you will have to face and one of those might be looking for a job! I always found that finding a new position was a relatively easy task in London, probably because I work in advertising and the market is flourishing there but things are different in Switzerland for multiple reasons I won’t bore you with, but let’s say I was told to expect an eight months hunting period to get a job! Believe me it was a shock and one that first left me distraught but then I digested the news and admitted that I had to deal with things the way they were and instead of pulling my hear and worrying sick, I decided to keep a clear mind and persevere.

Easier said than done but here are a few tips that help:

  • Don’t spend your entire day job hunting! If you’ve spent a few hours looking for offers and are not making any progress anymore, leave it there for the day as there is no point desperately scrolling through job boards apart from making you distressed and miserable (been there, done that!) If you’re registered to key job boards and recruitment agencies, you will be aware when a potential match comes through so relax and use the free time you have to do something you love or, this brings me to my next point, learn something new.
  • Being off work means you have time to learn new things and this can be a huge advantage for your career. For instance, throughout my researches I’ve noticed most employers are requiring knowledge of online monitoring and analytic tools so I decided to take advantage of the free time I have on my hands to broaden my skills and take the Google Analytics course and exam. It keeps me busy, in the game, it’s a great investment in my career and most importantly it gives me a sense of achievement, which is crucially needed when one is unemployed!
  • Don’t doubt or question yourself too much when you receive a negative answer from HR departments or are being ignored altogether. While making sure you apply to the right positions and your CV is flawless, there are many reasons why your candidature could have been rejected and it doesn’t necessarily mean there is a problem with you or your experience. Plus, there is not much you can do about a company’s decision not to hire you so just move on and persevere.
  • Mobilise your professional network as they might introduce you to potential employers. Also keep in touch with former bosses, colleagues and clients. Most employers will request references and recommendations at some point and it will be a lot easier to ask someone you’re still talking to than asking for the favour out of the blue!
  1. Embrace the opportunity

Embrace the free time you have to do things that you felt you didn’t have enough time for when you were working including learning or trying out new things but also indulgent activities such as reading, going for a walk or simply sunbathing.

Also use this free time and mind space to acknowledge this special moment in your life as a turning point giving you the opportunity to think about what makes you really happy and adjust your life accordingly. Not many people have the time or mental availability to do it so embrace it as a once-in-a-lifetime gift!

  1. Stick to a daily-routine

Moving to a city where you don’t know anyone can be a bit lonely especially if you don’t have a job to keep you socially active during the day so until you’ve found a new position and make new friends, try to stick to a healthy daily routine to keep your mind and body active and prevent you from slipping into a vegetative mode!

  • Of course you should enjoy sleeping a bit later in the morning as (I think) it’s one of the main benefit of not working, however it’s important not to spend half your day in bed! So set up your alarm clock to a reasonable time so you have enough pre-lunch hours to enjoy!
  • Echoing what I said earlier, I feel it’s important to define a schedule for your day otherwise you can easily get absorbed in counter-productive activities such as endless job hunting that will consume your day without any results. I usually focus on job searches in the morning when I’m fresh and the most positive and keep the afternoon for yoga, blogging, walks and any other activities a bit more fun. That way I feel like I work part-time and have accomplished my daily task by 1pm, which helps me enjoy my afternoon even more!
  • Try to leave job hunting or other learning activities behind when the evening comes so you can take a break from it all and most importantly enjoy some quality time with your partner without rehashing the same doubts or complaints and risk spoiling the moment you have. Also keep in mind that, just like you, your partner is going through a changing phase and is probably as stressed up as you are by his/her new life and responsibilities at work so go easy on him/her!
  1. Enjoy the small things

Don’t forget to enjoy the benefits, how small they seem, that come with your new situation. There are a lot more than you may realize…

Take the time to sit down and reflect on things, sleep longer in the morning, try that crazy recipe you’ve seen on TV, indulge in a daily yoga session, meditate in the middle of the afternoon, take a nap in the park, go swimming when the public pool is empty etc…

The list is long so relax and enjoy the freedom while it lasts!

Thank you for reading! Like and leave a comment below if you enjoyed reading this article and would like to share your experience with us!

Easy Veggie & Tofu Recipe

This dish is my kind of recipe: tasty, healthy, quick and it does not require many ingredients! It is actually ridiculously easy to put together and a real life saver if you have limited time on your hands for a quick lunch break at home or if you just fancy a light dinner.

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Cooking time: no more than 20 minutes!

Ingredients for 2 people: 2 yellow bell peppers, 2 medium tomatoes, a small bunch of flat parsley, 200g tofu, salt, pepper, olive oil and some lime juice

  • Prep your veggies: wash and dry your peppers, tomatoes and parsley before chopping them
  • Place your frying pan over a high heat and fry your tofu until golden and crisp in olive oil, then take it out of the pan and set aside
  • Add the chopped peppers to your pan and lower to a medium heat, cover and let the peppers soften for 5 minutes
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and parsley in to your pan and cover for another 5 minutes
  • Season to taste by adding salt, pepper and lime juice
  • Toss the fried tofu in to the veggies for a couple of minutes
  • Et voila! Plate up and eat straight away!

 

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Please like or leave a comment below if you enjoyed reading this article and if you would like to share your own cooking tips with us!

Mid-month empties…

Yesterday I was spring cleaning the bathroom and I ended-up with a small pill of empty beauty products… so I thought that I would do a quick mid-month empties of my favourite three products.

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Airbrush Flawless Finish Powder by Charlotte Tilbury

I went through my last Airbrush Flawless Finish Powder quite fast as I do not want to use anything else since I have discovered this product! My skin is a real mess at the moment and in need of some heavy duty concealling everyday which is made so much easier with this micro-fine powder which sets my make up like a charm without looking powdery and cakey.  It also blurs fine lines and gives a subtle glow to the skin all day long… I absolutely love it! I get mine in the medium shade as I have a yellow skin undertone and the tanned finish is perfect for the summer months but it also comes in fair and dark shades. The downside is the price (£33) but it is money well spent in my opinion as the hairbrush finish is well worth the money! Plus the packaging looks smart and sexy and feels expensive. It is also small and compact and fits perfectly in my purse. I cannot wait for my skin to settle down and stop breaking out as I know a touch of bb cream and this powder will be all I need in the morning!

Elvive Extraordinary Oil Nourishing Conditioner by L’Oreal

elvive condiI am not usually a massive fan of their hair products as I find them too nourishing and heavy for my oily hair but the Extraordinary Oil Nourishing Conditioner was a lovely surprise. I wash and blow-dry my (long) hair everyday so they need some deep conditioning and this product excels at it. My hair are left soft, silky and untangled all day long plus it smells divine and many people have complimented me on my new perfume… well it’s just my conditioner! I buy the large 400ml bottle for £4.49 at Boots. I have not tried the equivalent shampoo yet as I prefer to use clarifying shampoos due to the oily nature of my hair but as it is probably as good as the conditioner I may grab a bottle and give it a go!

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Cicaplast Baume B5 by Laroche-Posay

This cream is a real savior if you are a bit of an itchy mess like me… not sure who or what to blame for my itchy skin but it sometimes gets distressing and I am so grateful to have this cream in my bathroom. The multi-purpose formula soothes and repairs the skin and also contains antibacterial agents which are a massive help when it comes to relieving and making skin irritations go away. You can find it online or at Boots (£6.50 for 100ml). The Cicaplast range also has a Baume B5 with a spf 50 which is perfect for a sunny holiday.

Thank you for reading! Like or leave a comment below if you enjoyed reading this article. 

A fun night out in London!

Posted by Corine

We are so spoiled for choice with cool and quirky bars and restaurants in London that it sometimes is a bit overwhelming to plan a night out that suits everyone’s tastes and we  end-up staying at home with a Deliveroo followed by a few drinks in our local pub… Although there is nothing wrong with that, challenging yourself to try new places and break the routine is always a good thing. So if you are looking for a night filled with good food, fun and a relaxed atmosphere all in one place, keep on reading!

Just off the hustle and bustle of Regent Street in London, and a few minutes’ walk from Piccadilly Circus, Heddon Street is a small U shaped alley which offers a great choice of restaurants and bars. I recently spent a night out there and loved every minute of it!

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The night started with an early dinner at Tibits, a vegetarian and vegan restaurant concept from Switzerland. Even if you are a meat eater you will enjoy some very tasty, colourful and satisfying food there. It is served buffet-style on what resembles a boat displaying salads, mains, sides and deserts. The food is charged by weight at the till and I think you get two bread rolls for free. The choice of dishes is huge and it is very tempting to add a little bit of everything onto your plate, plus it is a real feast for the eyes!  The cost of your meal will of course depend on the quantity of food you eat which seems pretty fair in a way! A full plate of different salads and mains accompanied by a large glass of red wine was around £18… adding a small plate of desserts and another (large!) glass of red, I ended up with a bill of £30-ish which is not cheap for a buffet meal but the food is really great and of good quality.  Will I be back? Yes definitely as I really enjoyed the modern feel and concept of Tibits which is the perfect place for a relaxed catch-up with friends or a date! The food is quite heavily seasoned though, which makes it lovely taste wise, but I ended up with a bit of an upset tummy that night… something you should keep in mind if you have a sensitive stomach like mine and can’t handle your onions and spices! Check their website for menus and recipes.

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We then headed out for a ‘chilled’ drink at the IceBar next door. Well the name speaks for itself so I do not need to explain the concept here! It is a very cool experience and great fun to do with a bunch of friends as I remember having to wait 15-20 minutes for our slot to get inside so it was good to have a laugh and a chat while waiting. The staff will provide you with a thermal cloak and gloves and you will be extremely grateful for it as it is cold in there… it basically feels like hanging out in a giant deep freezer for a drink or two! The walls, bar, glasses and furniture are all made of ice and are beautifully sculpted. Overall I really enjoyed the experience and I would definitely do it again as it is a bit of a laugh when everyone loses sensation in their hands and feet and the only remedy left is to have as much drinks as possible to keep warm! So make sure to dress for the occasion by wearing warm clothes and shoes. The only downside is the price of the drinks on top of your entrance ticket (£16.50 per head) but again you kind of need the drinks to keep warm so there is no way out!

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We ended the night in the best way possible by warming up our frozen bodies just a few meters away at MoCafe. The atmosphere is truly amazing at night and we ended up dancing to the rhythm of Maghrebi music (probably still buzzing from all the shots we had at the IceBar…). Make sure to relax and soak in the exotic atmosphere with a mint tea, some sweet baklavas and a shisha. And if you love the items displayed on the walls and the hanging lamps in the café,  they are all for sale!

ziggy-stardust-heddon-street-1Plus if any of your mates are fans of David Bowie (who isn’t?!) it will be pretty cool for them to take a picture in the Ziggy Stardust Street… Well the K. West sign is long gone and Heddon Street looks really different from the artwork these days but there is a plaque just outside the MoCafe stating “This marks the location of the cover photograph for the iconic David Bowie album ‘The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars’ – Ziggy Stardust 1972” … so it is pretty cool and worth a picture!

Please leave a comment if you have any questions or want to share your favourite places to dine out and drink in London. 

Super Healthy Cooked Tomatoes

Posted by Carole

You’re already aware that tomatoes are good for you but did you know that cooking a tomato rather than eating it raw boosts it’s antioxidant properties and makes it even better for your body?

Indeed, tomatoes are a great source of lycopene, which gives tomatoes their distinctive red color but also has significant antioxidant properties known for reducing the risk of heart diseases and certain types of cancer and it’s been proved that cooking increases lycopene level in tomatoes, making them even better for you (two minutes cooking is enough to boost antioxidants level by 28 %)

There are many ways to enjoy cooked tomatoes beyond the traditional Bolognese sauce and here are two very simple and quick recipes to benefit from this very good news.

Pan-fried cherry tomatoes

Pan-fried cherry tomatoes are perfect to accompany any meat, especially grilled meats such as beef ribs or lamb chops or to beautify salad and pasta dishes.

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Ingredients for one portion:

  • 6 ripe cherry tomatoes
  • One generous table spoon of olive oil (quality oil is worth the investment)
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Aromatic herbs or condiments of your liking such as fresh basil, thyme, garlic, parmesan cheese or even turmeric powder – you’re free to experiment!

Wash and dry the cherry tomatoes then halve them.

Keep the tomatoes on your chopping board and drizzle olive oil onto them, add some chiseled basil and mix the all with your fingers to make sure the tomatoes are evenly covered in oil.

Heat a frying pan over medium-high heat and dispose the olive oil & basil coated tomatoes into the pan face down/skin up then let fry for 4 minutes until golden. Turn the tomatoes face up/skin down and let fry for another 4 minutes making sure to reduce the heat to low to prevent the tomatoes’ skin from burning.

Add some pepper and salt then serve!

Tip: Drizzle some balsamic vinegar onto your tomatoes to give your dish a little kick!

Oven-roasted tomatoes

Like pan-fried cherry tomatoes, these make the perfect side-dish to grilled meat or fish and give a very sophisticated look to your plates. And the recipe is even easier!

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Ingredients for one portion:

  • 2 ripe tomatoes (there are many varieties to try so have fun!)
  • One generous table spoon of olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Aromatic herbs or condiments of your liking

Heat oven to 160°C

Wash and dry the tomatoes then halve them. Keep the tomatoes on your chopping board and drizzle olive oil onto them, add some chiseled basil and mix the all with your fingers to make sure the tomatoes are evenly covered in oil.

Place the tomatoes face up/skin down on a baking sheet or baking tray covered with baking paper.

Tip: Pour some breadcrumbs on your tomatoes before heating them. Breadcrumbs will absorb any water surplus and give a beautiful crispiness to your dish!

Let roast for 45 minutes, add some pepper and salt then serve!

Bon appétit!

Good to know: Did you know that tomatoes also have astringent properties and drinking tomato juice can help reduce sweating? I guess it’s interesting news for those suffering from excessive sweating!

Thanks for reading! Like and leave a comment below if you enjoyed reading this article and if you would like to share your cooking tips with us!

Anti-Pollution Beauty Routine…

Posted by Corine 

Sadly we hear the words dangerous high peak of pollution too often these days and as much as we would all like to avoid its nasty effects on our health, most of us have no choice but to brave it on a daily basis. Add to that the fact that pollution not only has devastating consequences on our health, it also plays havoc with our glowing skin and hair! Common sense is to avoid highly polluted areas but how is that even possible in a large city like our sweet London town?! No, I am afraid avoidance is not an option here! Thankfully there are a few steps you can add to your beauty routine that will help you battle this invisible enemy!

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Whether you are wearing make up or not during the day, make sure to clean your skin before you go to bed. Your regular face wash will do as long as it contains gentle ingredients that will not disrupt the skin neutral pH any further. If you have a very sensitive skin, the Clarins Anti-Pollution Milk will be your savior as it cleans and moisturizes the skin at the same time. It costs £20 for 200ml which is a reasonable price for a high quality product that personally lasts me a few months. Go green if you want by removing make up and excess oil with coconut oil before massaging a thin layer of natural yogurt on to your face. You may feel like a fool but the protein and lactic acid contained in yogurts are the perfect way to gently unclog your pores and detoxify your skin from pollution. Whatever cleansing method you go for, do not forget to add a barrier of protection to your skin by moisturizing your face and body especially when you are about to leave your home and head to those polluted streets and always add a UV protection even if it is cloudy out there!

Same goes for your hair! Think about it, what is the point of carefully cleaning your face if you are about to rub it all night on a pillowcase covered with dust and particles of pollution! Indeed whatever dirt your hair have collected during the day will end up on your pillowcase so you might want to wash your hair before bed by using a deep cleansing shampoo. Its clarifying formula will remove most build-up and impurities. If you prefer to wash you hair in the morning, make sure to gently brush your hair with a bore paddle brush to remove some of the dust accumulated during the day. Oh… and change that pillowcase as much as you can… like every other day… well at least every week… OK, OK… don’t keep it for more than a month then!

agua do mar aerosolClean your nose! You are about to think that I am a complete nutter (which is probably true!) but nasal hygiene is a real thing and you should start considering it now. Think about it for a minute and you will probably realize how dry and congested your nose sometimes feel after a busy day in town. Well here comes the marvelous Sterimar isotonic nasal hygiene spray! It is 100% natural, has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and anti-allergy properties and it is suitable for the whole family, babies included. A 100ml bottle will last you months and cost you a very reasonable £7.99. Nasal hygiene has become as important as washing my hands when I get home and I am always stunned by the amount of black dust that comes out of my nostrils after being out and especially after riding the Tube! Plus my congested nose is a thing of the past at bedtime and I definitely catch a cold less often than in the past!

Ventilate your home everyday, especially your bedroom! With all the synthetic materials we have and the chemicals we use on a daily basis (cleaning products, hairspray, perfumes, etc.) the inside of our homes is sometimes as polluted as the outdoor! Allowing fresh air in every room by opening your windows for 15 minutes everyday will improve the air quality of your home drastically and you may quickly notice that your skin is less dry and irritated. Make sure to reduce your use of chemicals by replacing your house cleaning products by bio and natural options. Also, why not invest in a air-purifying indoor plant? A NASA research has shown that the Garden Mum does a fantastic job at absorbing nasties like ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde and xylene from indoor air. If like me you find it difficult to keep anything alive inside your home, try the Spider Plant, it is pretty, easy to care for and cheap!

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Last but not least, protect yourself by staying hydrated to flush the toxins out of your system and keep that healthy glow! If you find drinking a few litres of plain water everyday difficult, consider buying or making your own tasty herbal infusions. Fresh mint is available in most shops and all you have to do is throw a good bunch of it in to a teapot with boiling water for a delightful after dinner brew. It goes without saying but please stay away from sugary drinks, they are nasty and will do you no good! And don’t forget that vegetables and fruits not only contain water, they are also a fantastic source of antioxidants that will  help prevent and delay cells decay caused by pollution.

Please leave a comment and let us know how you feel pollution affects you and your skin/hair on a daily basis. And of course, please share your tricks and tips with us!

5 Tips for Better Sleep

Posted by Carole

There are two kinds of people on this big blue planet of ours – those who fall asleep as soon as their head hits the pillow and those who cannot help but switch to full-thinking mode as soon as the lights are off and start reviewing all the things they have to do, or have failed to do for that matter, as well as their worries, plans, hopes etc. and all this instead of sleeping of course!

I used to belong to the first group but it seems that growing older made me become one of these night-time worriers and I now often find myself ruminating for an hour or so before I can finally go to sleep. And it’s not always a bad thing as I often stay awake because I’m too excited thinking about my next blog post or holiday but it can quickly become stressful when the excitement turns to exhaustion as I realize I only have a few hours of sleep left and I’d better fall asleep soon if I don’t want to be an irritable zombie in the morning.

I know I’m not the only one in this situation so today I want to give you a few easy and natural sleeping-aid tips I’ve tried myself and which could be useful to you too!

But first I need to add that if you suffer from severe sleep issues or insomnia you should talk to a doctor as health professionals can offer solutions so don’t be shy and go get help!

  1. Relaxing music

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Because I love everything that is health & wellbeing related, I often find myself looking for new studies and a few years ago I came across an article about the power of music claiming that some tracks can slow down your heartbeat, breath and mental activity and therefore induce relaxation and sleep.

That’s is based on these facts that, in 2011, a British band and sound therapists decided to create “The Most Relaxing Tune Ever” by carefully arranging harmonies, rhythms and bass lines to help slow heart rate, reduce blood pressure and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol and Oh-my it does work!

This tune is Weightless by Marconi Union and I’ve been listening to it since I made its discovery, at night of course but also in the middle of the day when I’m in need of some comfort or calm or just in the background when I’m working (I’m actually listening to it as I write this blog post!)

Many studies have proved its exceptional calming effects so do listen to it as this tune is a relaxation marvel and should make you feel as peaceful and calm as ever, especially at night.

And if you ever get tired of it, scientists have established a playlist of the 10 most relaxing tunes on Earth, topped by Weightless of course, and here it is:

  1. Weightless by Marconi Union (also available as an extended 30 mins and 10 hours version)
  2. Electra by Airstream
  3. Mellomaniac (Chill Out Mix) by DJ Shah
  4. Watermark by Enya
  5. Strawberry Swing by Coldplay
  6. Please Don’t Go by Barcelona
  7. Pure Shores by All Saints
  8. Someone Like You by Adele
  9. Canzonetta Sull’aria by Mozart
  10. We Can Fly by Rue du Soleil (Café Del Mar)
  1. Essential oils

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I’m a big fan of essential oils and in awe at how they can help induce and maintain sleep, a fact that has been backed up by science! My fav essential oils are Lavender, Bergamot or Ylang Ylang which are well known for improving sleep quality but many others pack the same benefits such as Roman Chamomile, Vetiver, Sandalwood and Cedarwood. Depending on the essential oil (check with one as some of them cannot safely be applied on the skin), you can apply them topically by gently massaging your skin or use a diffuser that will keep your room beautifully scented while you fall asleep.

I also sometimes use a lavender pillow-mist that I spray on my bedsheet. It smells wonderful, can be found in most drugstores, is a hassle-free way to enjoy the benefits of aromatherapy and it works wonder as the smell of it makes me instantly sleepy!

  1. Bed-time routine

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I try to stick to a bed-time routine as much as possible as going through the same habits and moves right before bed send messages to my brain that it will soon be time to sleep and that it should start slowing down in preparation for it.

You can adopt any kind of routine as long as it involves quiet, peaceful and relaxing habits such as

  • gently stretching your body, especially the hips and back, making sure to make slow and flowing movements
  • cleaning and moisturizing your face with your favourites beauty products to give yourself a relaxing moment
  • giving yourself a quick facial or hands massage
  • taking a lukewarm shower
  • indulging in a soothing lemongrass infusion (avoid any caffeinated beverage of course!)
  • putting on your most beautiful pyjamas
  • staying away from the screen of your phone or laptop as it emits a blue light that disrupts sleep-inducing hormones
  • banning TV from your bedroom. Bedrooms are here for two things, sleeping and… well you know!
  1. Keep the thermostat down and your bedroom dark

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I hate being cold and always loved my bedroom as cozy and warm as possible but things changed when my boyfriend and I moved together as he gets incredibly hot at night and has to turn the heating off. He also enjoys sleeping with the window open even though it’s cold outside. I took me a few weeks to get used to it but it does work and I feel sleeping in a cold room helps me have more peaceful, non-interrupted nights. Plus, feeling a fresh breeze on my face in the morning while I’m still hidden in the warm cocoon that is my duvet is a delectable sensation.

I must admit that total obscurity can make me a bit anxious and that I’d rather see lights from the streets or better the moon projected on my bedroom walls but I have noticed that the darker the room is the faster I’ll go to sleep. Full moon for instance can make your bedroom a lot brighter and keep you awake for longer so it’s well worth investing in curtains if you have issues falling asleep. Worth case scenario they will make your bedroom look a lot more fancy!

  1. Invest in your bedroom

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I might sound old fashion saying this but I a firm believer that quality mattress and pillows, adapted to one’s morphology and weight, are key to a good night sleep and in the long run to overall health & wellbeing.

Thankfully, reasonably priced mattresses and pillows can be easily found nowadays and a quality purchase shouldn’t leave you bankrupt. Also bear in mind that you will keep your mattress for years so you’d better add that extra cash if you don’t want to regret your purchase after a couple of months and pay the consequences for years to come.

I also find that good quality bedsheets make a difference when you find it difficult to fall asleep, a silk and soft touch on your skin being a lot more soothing than gritty and scratchy bedlinen.

I hope these tips will work for you! As for me, just talking about it made me sleepy so good night all!

Thanks for reading! Like or leave a comment below if you enjoyed reading this article and if you would like to share your tips with us!

Easy Everyday Superfoods

Posted by Corine

I feel that I have been rushing around so much lately that making time for healthy and nutrient meals has not been my priority and I may have abused the pasta and take-away meals a little too much… and do not get me started on the Easter chocolates! I would love to have a portion of fresh spinach, kale or broccoli every day in my plate but I find it a bit difficult.. and I am sure that I am not the only one! However there are some super foods which are so easy to incorporate into your diet in a very simple and affordable way. The list is long but I would like to share with you three of my favourites.Co-Q10

I am a massive fan of the Linwoods Milled Flaxseed, Almonds, Brazil Nuts, Walnuts & Co-enzyme Q10. I bought other products from this line in the past but this one is the best so far. You should try to get an intake of two dessert spoonfuls daily to enjoy the full benefit of co-enzyme Q10 who has a critical role in producing energy and maintenance for the cells of your body, especially for your heart, liver and kidneys. Plus co-enzyme Q10 also functions as an antioxidant and is packed with iron, zinc, magnesium and selenium. The blend of flaxseed and nuts gives it a great nutty taste and it can be incorporated into your porridge, yogurt, pancake, fruit bowl, salad, soup, bread, roasted vegetables, etc. You can find it in most food stores or online for less than £5. This product is so easy to use and so good for you… it’s a keeper!

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If you have never heard about them yet, make sure to remember the tasty and colourful goji berries! They are so easy to add in to your morning cereal, muesli, porridge or bowl of fruits and they can also be eaten straight out of the packet for a healthy snack. I love to add them to my salads for a sweet taste and they also look amazing as edible decorations on tarts and cakes. Goji berries have roots in ancient China as a medicinal plant to treat eye, liver, and kidney ailments. They are a great source of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals including vitamin C, Vitamin A, iron, zinc, fibre and contain a large amount of protein. I personally like to buy the Infinity Foods Organic Goji Berries as they are always nice and moist. The packet of 250g costs me around £6 and it lasts a while.

blueberriesLast but not least, blueberries are an easy and delicious way to boost your antioxidant intake on a daily basis as they are known to have more antioxidants than 40 other common fruits and vegetables! They are also low in calories which is a plus if you are watching your waistline. To make the most of it I personaly prefer organically grown blueberries as they are believed to contain more antioxidants and be lower in sugars than the farmed ones. They are also a good source of vitamin K, vitamin C, fibre and manganese. Once again you can enjoy them at breakfast with you cereal, yogurt, porridge, pancake or on their own. And if you want to bring some balance to a very sweet dessert, just add a few blueberries for a zesty kick.

I hope these three super foods will help you make some positive changes in your diet in a simple and affordable way!

Please leave a comment and share your own favourite super foods with us below.

DIY Beauty

Posted by Carole

A few weeks ago I realized that I ran out of facial mask so I went through every cupboard of my bathroom as I know that, for some reason, I never throw away empty beauty products but instead store them somewhere in a corner, hidden under samples I gathered from previous shopping session but almost never use. Unfortunately, I quickly realized that there was no facial mask to be found in there as I had already exhausted my stock after a few months spent in Switzerland, where everything is so expensive I can’t afford any waste and have to harvest every last drop of my fav beauty products.

I was upset for a moment as I knew I had to wait for my next trip to France to stock up on facial masks (Aroma Cleanse Clay and Herbal Mask + Life Radiance Flash Radiance Mask by Décleor are favourites) but then decided to face adversity and prepare my very own facial mask. After all, I had read many articles on the Internet from girls concocting their home-made beauty products so why not me? Determined, I went to the kitchen to look for miracle ingredients but again, my stock was running low and I soon realized that I didn’t have coconut oil nor rose water nor plain yogurt so my choices were quite limited. Luckily, I finally set my eyes on one of my favourite ingredient and one that is as tasty as it’s beneficial for your body… and your skin! That is honey of course!

Honey is a marvelous ingredient that one should always have home for multiple reasons.

This super ingredient is

  • Rich in minerals, vitamins and antioxidants
  • Has antibacterial properties and helps reduce allergies
  • Helps fight acne
  • Is a healthy and natural sweetener

There are so many things you can do with honey! It’s the ideal sweetener for your deserts, it’s fabulous in warm water to calm irritations coughs and sore throats or as a balm to appease superficial burnt or some types of skin conditions but honey is also one of the purest and most effective ingredient you can use to prepare homemade facial masks and today I’ll give you very easy recipes adapted to each skin type.

I must admit that I was a bit skeptical at first but lacking other options, I decided to give it a try and put some music on, poured myself a bath and applied the sweet mixture on my face. When I woke up from a little snooze twenty minutes later, I washed my face and was amazed at how soft and replenished it felt. My pores were clearly more refined and my skin smoother! I was surprised to notice such visible results and tried again a week later but this time with a higher quality honey and Whoa! I was stunned to see that on top of making my skin smoother, honey also made my skin tone a lot brighter and luminous, a result that latest for days.

So my tip is really to try and opt for a higher quality honey as the results will be even more spectacular!

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For sensitive skin

  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 1 teaspoon of aloe Vera gel

Mix the honey and aloe Vera and apply a thin layer on your face (avoid the eyes area of course!) Let dry for 10 to 20 minutes then rinse.

Aloe Vera will appease sensitive and irritated skin.

For dry skin

  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 1 teaspoon of avocado paste (just crush or blend a bit of avocado)
  • 1 teaspoon of plain yoghurt

Mix the honey, avocado and yogurt until you obtain a smooth paste. Apply on your face (avoid the eyes) and let dry for 20 minutes then rinse.

Avocado will hydrate your skin while the lactic acid present in the yogurt will refine your pores giving your skin a smoother look & feel.

For oily & combination skin

  • 2 teaspoons of honey
  • Half a teaspoon of nutmeg

Mix the honey and nutmeg and apply a thin layer on your face (avoid the eyes). Let dry for 20 minutes then rinse.

Honey and nutmeg have strong antibacterial properties that will help significantly with acne and inflammation.

For normal skin

  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 1 teaspoon of plain yoghurt

Mix the honey and yogurt until you obtain a smooth paste. Apply on your face (avoid the eyes) and let dry for 20 minutes then rinse.

The lactic acid present in the yogurt will refine your pores giving your skin a smoother look & feel.

You can also apply honey on its own and let dry for up to 30 minutes for a mask that will reduce inflammation, pimples and red marks and give your skin a boost.

For marked skin

  • 2 teaspoons of honey
  • Half a teaspoon of lemon juice

Mix the honey and lemon juice and apply a thin layer on your face (avoid the eyes). Let dry for 20 minutes then rinse.

Lemon juice will exfoliate your skin and whiten dark marks and old scars. You will need to apply the mask on regular basis (once a week for instance) to start noticing its whitening properties.

I hope you’ll enjoy your homemade facial mask (and saving money too!) and I look forward to your comments.

Until next time Frinnies!

Thanks for reading! Like or leave a comment below if you enjoyed reading this article and if you would like to share your own tips with us!

Wedding Planning Tips!

Posted by Corine

Having recently celebrated my second wedding anniversary, I thought I would share with you some tips and things I wished I had known at the time! Of course everyone is different and my experience may not ring true to others but if you are planning your big day or just like to fantasize about it, there are definitely a few tricks that can help you keep your sanity and tackle the stress levels!
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Leave plenty of time between your engagement and your wedding! When he/she pops the question it will be one of the best day of your life and also the most choking one if you did not expect it! It can actually take you a few weeks (or even months) to adjust to the idea that you are about to enter into a deep and very serious commitment that will shape your future… and that my friends, it is a little scary if you are still very young at heart and do not feel like you belong to the adult’s world yet! That is why having time to digest the idea can only do you good, plus you do not want to jump in to the vast and stressful world of wedding planning too fast… trust me, you want to keep a cool head for that! Once you feel ready to start all the jazz you will soon realise that there are so many options out there and a myriad of things to plan, pick, order, etc. The list is BIG so make sure to give yourself plenty of time. Everyone is different but I was personally really happy to have over a year between my engagement and my big day!

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Be flexible with your budget as you will go overboard in any case! Yep, getting married is expensive if you want to throw a party and have many guests around you. Of course you can choose to do something quite low key but I guarantee you that whatever budget you have in mind will eventually go out of the window! Also do not get too scared or upset if you spend more than you first expected as, in the end of the day, you only get married once (well, in theory!) and you may regret not paying a bit more for the wedding dress of your dreams!
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There is no such thing as a perfect wedding… nope, it just doesn’t exist! You will be surprised at how things you carefully planned for months just go wrong or totally differently on the day so do not get too obsessed with the small details! Just focus on the essentials: you and your other half looking the part, plenty of food and booze for your guests and good music… that’s pretty much it!

Make memories, plenty of memories! Many people told me that the day would fly by and that I would not remember all of it afterwards… I did not believe a word but it turned out to be true! Your wedding takes months of planning but goes way too fast so make sure to take some time during the day and night to stop worrying about the food, your guests and everything that’s going wrong, and look around you and simply enjoy the moment. It may sound ridiculous to you now but trust me on this one… just pause, relax, enjoy and party hard! Also I would recommend you to have a photographer or a friend take plenty of pictures and videos as looking back on your big day is always such a sweet and fun thing to do. Also hire a photo booth… they are so much fun and will keep your guests entertained all night long!

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Last but not least… keep in mind all the way through this big mad process that your wedding is YOUR DAY so do whatever makes you happy! If fancy champagne, fine amuse-bouches and a fairy tale castle are not your things… well, go spend your money on something you really like! Your wedding should reflect your and your partner’s personalities and should come with no rules. Plus enjoy surprising your family and guests with a fun and different wedding day that they will remember for many years to come!

I can honestly think of many other do’s and don’ts but I do not want to go on forever! Please leave a comment if you would like a more detailed post about my wedding theme, the venue we picked in London, the dress, the photo booth and so on…
Thank you for reading!