Break From The Crowd, Make Your Home Unique

26 May 2018

I often get tired of my bedroom decor, and when that happens it’s time to change that with some new twists. Some people are fine with their living room looking like that of their friends or their next-door neighbours. But if you want your home to look different while still being ultra stylish, here are some great possibilities for you to consider.

Get Eclectic

You might think that minimalist design is the best possibility for your house. With a minimalistic design, it’s possible to make sure that your home looks modern and sophisticated. Personally, it’s one of my favourite looks, but only with a few more personal touches. To achieve a minimalist design, you just need to make sure that you are limiting the number of furniture and accessory pieces in a room.

To pep it up, choose a few eclectic pieces whilst sticking to a colour scheme or general look. Doing this, you can choose furniture pieces from different periods to create a room design. You can also play with multiple colours too, clashing and creating a storm of imagination. An eclectic design can be difficult as it may make your room look like a cluttered mess if you don’t pull it off. However, selecting the right pieces is part of the fun - some of my favourite things to use are postcards, posters and photos for a budget upgrade.

Play With Shapes

You may also want to think about choosing different furniture shapes for your room. For instance, take the chair. You can get circular chairs that will look fantastic and are quite unique regarding style. Or what about the shelving in the room? Cattelan Italia has created a stunning drop shelf that would look brilliant.

I always think shapes also work really well on textiles. Throws and cushions are a great and inexpensive way to change the look of a room entirely, Urban Outfitters always have an amazing selection, or change with the seasons and add something like Hawaiian prints to signal the start of summer. My leafy bed print always makes me feel summer-y and a little bit uplifted.

Look For Rare, Special Accessories

Most people are happy to buy their home from a shop like Ikea for the convenience(me included). However, if you do this, it’s worth pointing out that you probably will end up with the same items as everywhere else. Instead, think about purchasing the bulk from these kind of shops and accessories from smaller shops and sellers. Niche stores may be able to offer some wonderful little accessories that could bring your home to life with a unique character.

Of course, if you want to make sure that your home is styled with unique accessories, you can think about creating them yourself. There are plenty of tutorials online, I could spend hours scrolling through ideas on Pinterest.

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Waking up with a Smile.

24 May 2018

If you’re a morning person, I’m happy for you. I really am. There may be a little bit of envy-speckled jealousy in there somewhere, but I am happy for you. For most people, though, waking up in the morning (read: midday) is a struggle that consists of a dozen alarm spread nine-minutes apart and at least two strong cups of coffee. It’s a routine that has long helped us non-morningers get up and out of the door.


But that’s not what kickstarting the day is all about.


We should be able to wake up with a smile, feel excited about the 86,000 seconds that lay ahead and dance out of the door with so much infectious happiness the rest of your little world feels like it’s been touched by fairy dust. The way you begin your day, at least for me tends to have a massive impact on how the rest follows, so it's imperative to do it in the most positive kind of way.


So, without further ado, here are the best ways to wake up with the kind of #MondayMotivation feeling you pretend you have on Instagram.


1. Breakfast Is The Best

Apart from music, nothing fuels the soul more than a yummy breakfast. Blueberries, syrup and freshly-made pancakes. Avocado on toast. A smoothie full of all your favourite fruits. A bowl of porridge with bananas. It only takes one less snooze-button to fit in the kind of delicious and nutritious breakfast that will make you feel more energetic, spritely and happy.


2. Bye-Bye Screens

We’re not sure if you’ve read, seen or heard the news lately, but it’s very rarely filled with uplifting stories of human kindness or facts about unicorns. The point is: skip the news in the morning and watch it later in the day, when your great mood couldn’t possibly dampened. (Oh, and the other thing is, screens are bad for moods in general, so try reading a book instead.) I recently took a month's break from Instagram and the difference was very noticeable.


3. Dance Like No One’s Watching

Spotify has roughly 1,650,032 feel-good playlists just waiting for you to explore and press play on, which you need to do because, like I said somewhere above, nothing fuels the soul more than music. So pop on your favourite cheesy hits, turn it up so loud you can sing in the shower and dance until your cheeks hurt from smiling. I love driving along to some classics in the morning, or failing that, at least an uplifting podcast.


4. Sleep Well, Wake Up Better

No one is going to wake up with a smile if they’ve spent most of the night tossing, turning and staring at the ceiling. If this describes your slumber-pattern, chances are your mattress needs to go and you need to go onto Google and search for a ‘local mattress store near me’. That’s the first part. The second part is keeping your curtains half open. We know that sounds bonkers, but waking up to a room flooded with sun rays is way more beautiful than waking up to an alarm, and helps wake you up gradually too.


5. Charge Your Phone Downstairs

Put your hand up if you reach for your phone as soon as you wake up and start scrolling through Instagram and Facebook like it's your daily newspaper. Well, weirdly enough, this isn’t the most enlightening way to start the day. My advice (although I'm also yet to follow it): leave your phone on charge in the kitchen and wake up without it. It might sound simple, but it’s more cathartic than taking a sketch pad to the park on a balmy summer’s evening.

Switching up my fitness.

23 May 2018



Life is, as we know, all about balance. The right amount of sleep will help you to perform better when you’re awake, the right amount of salt rebalances your body as you drink water - and any idleness should, of course, be balanced out with an active lifestyle. So far, so good; yet, it can be surprisingly hard to make your exercise routine as varied as possible.




I've recently been getting into exercise again, trying to drag myself to the gym at least a couple of times a week - and it's become such a mood booster for me when done right. However, it's good to keep switching it up. If you only focus on cardio, you’ll miss out on all the great benefits of doing strength exercises and vice versa. I've mainly been focusing on lifting heavy, but it's always good switch it up a bit and focus on some other aspects of fitness. That’s why I've put together this little article to help you along the way and kill two birds with one stone, so to speak, by enjoying workouts that will improve both your cardiovascular health and build strength at the same time.

The good news is that most of these activities are really fun - and you’ll hardly notice that you’re working out.

Swimming

Swimming really is the ultimate exercise for your heart and muscles. The resistance of the water makes it possible to exercise your entire body at once and the fact that it’s so good for your heart makes it even better.

Make time for an hour of swimming every week and you’re already doing a lot to maintain the strength of your body while simultaneously improving your lung capacity, heart health, etc - the list goes on. My gym unfortunately doesn't have a pool, but it's something I really want to get more into - especially in the summer.




Cycling

While you may get a lot of benefits out of cycling on those stationary bikes at the gym, it’s much better for your mental health to cycle in nature. Just make sure you have a proper insurance before heading off on a long trip, though, such as this comprehensive one from Velosure. It’s the perfect alternative for leg-day and you’ll get a kickass workout that you’ll actually enjoy - especially now that it’s summer.

It’s sure to get your heart pumping, your legs burning and, most importantly, the feeling of being out in nature will surely brighten your mood more than any grey gym is able to do. If cycling isn't your thing, a brisk walk is also perfect for clearing your mind, getting out into nature and the blood pumping a little bit.

Power yoga
Yoga is a really versatile activity and you can adjust it to suit any fitness level. If you’re looking for a harder workout than those mindfulness-sessions seem to offer, you should try power yoga; it makes the workout a bit harder while also adding elements of cardio - just what you’re looking for, in other words.

While there are a lot of great videos on YouTube to guide you through it if you’re new to power yoga, you can also wamp up your regular routine by focusing on doing 1 movement per breath and repeating it at least 3 times before completing another sequence where you hold the poses for 10 breaths.

You’ll flow through the sequence, feel your heart pump a bit faster, and put those muscles to work - all in one yoga session. I recommend starting out with a class if you're new to the practice, it will really help you master the moves and breathing with some more guidance. If you're feeling adventurous, I also love hot yoga as it really helps with flexibility and joints whilst getting a good sweat on.



These suggestions are just the tip of the iceberg and you can probably think of many more workouts where you get the best of both cardio and strength.

Secrets to the Perfect Instagram Love Story.

22 May 2018


Instagram has never been such a popular social media platform. With its active users and the many ways in which they can interact with your content, it’s fair to say that the platform has become a favourite for bloggers and visual creatives alike. Smartphone users have established a great audience base, and they are quick to react to the content they see online. A like, a comment, a share, a new follower gained, whatever you need, Instagram offers the potential to reach simultaneously and in real time millions of users who can then discover your work, your portfolio, your website, etc. The main problem with this approach is that Instagram is a busy platform buzzing with activities and new content. Of course, you can select the most relevant #hashtags for your content, but it’s fair to say it won’t be enough to gain a competitive edge and get noticed. You need to build your Inta-love story with your follower base. 





#1. Positivity and self-confidence

It’s there’s one lesson you need to learn about Instagram is that it’s a positive platform. Content that is designed to share confident and self-esteem boosting visuals is most likely to perform well – while negative content can disappear at the bottom of the feeds. In short, your posts should ooze with self-confidence, whether it’s your photo work or your makeup style, you need to stand behind what you choose to share. Users can tell if you don’t feel good about your content. 


#2. Have something to say and show

When you use the platform with a close group of friends, it’s easy to overshare and post visuals that don’t have any message to convey. But when you decide to use Instagram as a platform to launch your brand, you need to keep your posts engaging and purposeful. With more than 80 million images shared every day; it’s fair to say that nobody dwindles on pointless content. Instead of showing another picture of your cat sleeping in bed – even though it is very cute–, opt for bringing the user at the heart of the experience. Indeed, modern marketing is all about the experience more than the actual offering. As a creative individual, you can take users through your creative process, for example. 





#3. Beautiful photos with enhancements but no lies

It’s fair to say that nobody wants to see pictures that have been modified to boost your self-esteem. You know the kind, pictures that show people slimmer or fitter than they are in real life, as these can generate a massive backlash on social media. When celebrities such as Beyonce get told off by their fans for tweaking photos, it’s not a risk you want to take. But as a creative, you, of course, want to share the best possible image, so it can be worth to familiarise yourself with Photoshop lessons and learning resources to understand better how to use this tool in a subtle and positive way. Body enhancements are never okay, but most followers will forgive you for correcting the shadow in a landscape picture. 


#4. Find the trends

Like every online platform, Instagram follows specific marketing trends that are designed to meet the requirements of both clients and audience base. For instance, if you want to use paid marketing strategies to gain more visibility, you’ll be pleased to know that boosting your Instagram posts through an ad campaign can encourage users to interact with your brand. If you sell online creation, you can even include a link to get users directly to your shopping site, which increases results. As a creative, you can also ensure that you stick to your style and your colour palette as your profile aesthetic can become just as important as your website to reach out to a new audience. 


#5. Love stories go in both ways

Last, but not least, Instagram is a social media platform. While not everyone can create exciting and popular content, everyone can interact and comment. If you want to establish your brand online, you need to get used to managing your Instagram comments. If you receive too many comments, your followers will forgive you for the lack of response. However, when your posts don’t attract a high volume of comments, users will be more likely to expect a reply. If you don’t interact with your follower base, you might soon experience a backlash from users who feel snubbed out or taken for granted. Ultimately when people try to talk to you, it’s only polite to answer. 

Hopefully, with these little tips, you’ve got all you need to build a compelling and powerful Insta love story with your followers. Growing your brand online is hard work, but you’ll find that Instagram provides you with a high-quality platform to do so!