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Giveaway and review: SAD Light Therapy Box worth £158

It's around this time of year that my mood starts to flag a little.  Waking up and gazing out of the window into the unending darkness feels uninspiring and gloomy; driving to work in lashing rain with the windscreen wipers on overdrive, watching grey clouds darken the skies mid-afternoon and feeling too tired to leave the house in the evening.  At the moment it's nice to still drive home in the light, but next weekend the clocks will go back and that will change.

I think that most people are aware of the term Seasonal Affective Disorder.  Personally I have never been diagnosed with it or sought any kind of medical advice, I just know that during Autumn and Winter (especially during the darker months), I often feel very down, lethargic and find it difficult to get out of bed in the morning.  I find myself avoiding making plans as I know I'll feel so tired in the evenings and simply want to crawl into bed.  I also often find myself feeling more anxious and having my brain go into overdrive - probably because I'm spending more time at home so I have more time to overthink things and worry.  It's estimated that 1 in 3 people suffer from SAD, with women 40% more likely to experience symptoms of the condition.

There are a few things that can be done to minimise the symptoms of SAD, including exercising, spending time outdoors, or cognitive behavioural therapy or light therapy.  Over the last couple of weeks I've been trialling the Innolux Aurora SAD Light Box from Pure Lifestyle Wonders to try and minimise the gloomy feeling I get as the mornings and evenings get darker (and you can win one for yourself if you scroll to the bottom of this post!)  You can use the Light Box by sitting 2-3 feet away from the light box and having it at eye level, and then just carrying on your normal activities such as eating, working or reading in front of it.  This Light Box is 10,000 LUX meaning that just 30-45 minutes a day is usually sufficient - and the great thing about this lamp is that it can be dimmed as mood lighting for the rest of the day so it looks pretty lovely just sat on a shelf or coffee table.

I've found that the lamp makes a huge difference to how I'm feeling - just the other day I had it on quite brightly in the morning and it made me feel as if it was light and summer-y outside even though it was still dark.  Just gazing at it whilst getting ready in the morning instantly lifted my mood.  I've really found that using it every morning has meant that I don't get the overwhelming feeling of gloominess in the mornings.

The good news is that the lovely people at Pure Lifestyle Wonders have given me a lamp to give away to a reader so that they can also feel the benefit of this amazing lamp (RRP £158.99).  I am really excited to be able to give away something that will really be able to make a difference to someone's life during these darker months (not to mention the fact that it looks lovely at home too!).  There's lots of opportunities to win - you can enter using the Rafflecopter widget below, and the giveaway ends at midnight on Monday 31 October.  It's open to UK entrants only (sorry international readers but the lamp is too large to post overseas).

Good luck!

Styling up sportswear: Fila baseball t-shirt and leggings

When I was about 13 I was a total Fila devotee.  It was the cool brand to be seen in, and I eschewed the Adidas popper trousers that the other kids wore at the weekends in favour of some ultra cool Fila tracksuit bottoms. Even cooler were some Fila hi-top basketball shoes I wore religiously (I even joined the basketball team so I would have more opportunities to wear them).  So it was of great disappointment when Fila seemed to disappear some years later, not to be spotted on the racks of the local sports shops or packed in my PE bag.

Imagine my excitement then, when I spotted some seriously awesome Fila products on the JD Sports website.  Especially with a line that includes ultra cool baseball t-shirts and slouchy sweatshirts (my favourite).  Sportswear can be a tricky thing to style up, and whilst my lazy temptation is always to go full 'gym outfit' and team it with other sportswear, I prefer an outfit that still gives me an excuse to not immediately go for a run (ha).

top: fila baseball t-shirt, jd sports, £35* / jeans: new look {similar £24.99}
adidas gazelles, asos, £75 / bag: kate spade {similar £140}
coat: poppy lux, £48

Of course I wore my new Fila top with jeans (what else), my favourite duster coat and my new Adidas Gazelles.  I don't know why I resisted adding Gazelles to my trainer collection for so long; they are ridiculously comfy and go with anything (particularly jeans, which is lucky for me).

I also wanted to find a way to bring my new Fila leggings into my weekend casual wear.  Again, I'm always tempted to team leggings with a slouchy crew neck or something else ultra casual, but this time I thought I'd try them with my new favourite H&M knitwear and my much loved camel coat.

fila leggings: jd sports, £28* / bag: primark {old} / jumper: h&m, £14.99
shoes: converse chuck taylors, asos, £45 / necklace: anthropologie {old}
coat: zara {similar: £149}

Not sure I've quite nailed the sports luxe trend - but I'm in favour of any attempt to wear gym wear at the weekends.  Are you a lover of sports wear, or do you keep it just for your gym bag?

Sunday Reads and Favourite Things

I can't believe it's Sunday evening already - hope you're all having fab weekends whatever you're doing.  I've spent most of today with a hot water bottle strapped to my stomach, a stack of magazines and a constantly supply of Paramol due to 'shark week' which is not an ideal Sunday, but it was nice to have some lazy time at least.  Here's a round-up of what else I've been reading and enjoying this week:

001. 'Why self-help guru James Altucher only owns 15 things' - I really enjoyed this article and have added his book to my 'to read' list.  I'd like to establish my own daily practice - he has some great advice in there which encapsulate his four tenets of happiness, which are the physical (eat well, try to go to sleep by 9 p.m. and rise by 5 a.m., break a sweat for at least 10 minutes a day), emotional (be around people you love, who love you), mental (write a list of 10 ideas each day to exercise the “idea muscle” before it atrophies) and spiritual (feel gratitude every day).  This is great for a little dose of inspiration.

002. I've made these Raw Vegan Donut Holes twice now and they are so yummy and perfect for a post-work snack.  They really do taste like cake! (I promise).

003. I always love Kristabel's blog but her post on mistakes she made when she started blogging full time was super interesting - there are some real lessons about marketing yourself and working with Agencies.  It's not my plan to blog full-time but there's some great lessons in there for all bloggers who want to maximise their blogging impact.

004. Another blog I'm totally obsessed with is One Pleasant Day by Carrie (not to mention her totally stunning instagram account).  I've bookmarked her cinnamon butterfly cakes as a must-make this Autumn.  (Isn't her photography to die for?)

img credit: onepleasantday.com

005. I've been doing lots of pinning of pretty pictures on my Autumn Pinterest board and on my tumblr.  The Grace Upon Grace tumblr is just like diving into a perfect Autumnal scene, I could lose days just scrolling through all of the loveliness!

img credit: ajoyfuljourney

006. I've been thinking a lot about 'mantras' recently and how I can stop some of the negative self-talk in my head by repeating some more positive statements to myself.  I also listened to McKel Hill (of Nutrition Stripped) on the One Part Podcast and she spoke about using mantras whilst running or at the gym and I thought that was a great idea - I really enjoyed this article on Sonima with some suggested mantras to use depending on whether you need confidence, gratitude, love or happiness.

007. I love Carly Rowena's YouTube channel and tonight's video on meal prepping your breakfasts is so helpful - I'm definitely trying all three but that Superfuel Granola in particular looks so yummy!

008. The instagram eyebrow, and beauty in the age of social media. "As we spend more and more time online, the person you appear to be on Instagram or Facebook could soon be more relevant to you, and more real to other people, than whomever you are offline—if indeed you are ever really offline."

009. I got a lovely little package from Penguin Random House this week - some cosy socks, a face mask, peppermint tea and a book about Hygge! Hygge - The Danish Art Of Happiness is a beautiful book with lots of tips and ideas for how to bring hygge into your life.  Marie says that hygge is 'a Danish word for finding happiness in the little things in life... and finding magic in the ordinary'.  Sounds pretty perfect, right? 

010. Really enjoyed this article on Seasons in Colour on 'the best flat-lay tips ever' - so many awesome tips and major instagram inspiration! I'm really trying to improve my instagram and flat-lays is something I've never managed to make look good so I'm definitely going to use all of these tips (starting with the marble contact paper, much cheaper than a marble coffee table!)

What have you been reading and enjoying this week?