A jewellery wishlist

It's payday today, and true to almost every month, I have a long list of things I've been lusting for over the last couple of weeks that are now likely to hop into the shopping baskets of various websites.  One such website is TJC, which is a TV Shopping Network you might have spotted when scrolling through your TV channels.  You can also shop online via their site as well as buy from their channel, and I've been really impressed with the range on there (not to mention the prices).  Up until tonight they also have 50% off, which makes some of these items an absolute steal...  (You can tell from my wishlist I'm still totally obsessed with rose gold...) I'm particularly in love with that arrow bracelet - I think it's so pretty and dainty.  And that first ring is rather lovely, but might have to save up a little more first...

1. 9k gold rose gold pink diamond ring, £799.99
2. 14k gold coral reef bracelet, £24.99 {out of stock - similar item}
3. Strada rose gold bangle watch, £9.99
4. Rose gold bangle, £99.99
5. Button drop earrings, £19.99
6. Arrow bracelet, £37.99
7. Strada rose gold watch, £9.99

I never used to wear much jewellery but as I get older I'm much more into adding classic pieces and pretty additions into my 'wardrobe' - I love stacking bracelets and wearing lots of rings, I think it really adds to an outfit.

Do you have your eye on any jewellery at the moment?

* this is a collaborative post with the jewellery channel


I check my watch as I'm lacing up my trainers; one knee on the floor and an awkward upturn of the clock face tells me it's 07.27.  My stomach knots with angst, a flutter of angry butterflies that tell me I'm running late and I need to hurry.  Downstairs my bag is packed and I know the only thing left to do is sling it over my shoulder and grab my coat on the way out of the door.  I consider a last minute glug of tea but leave it emitting steam on the chest of drawers - no time for tea.  I had told myself I would leave the house at 07.30 and I literally haven't a minute to spare.

I climb into the car and the dashboard clock says 07.32.  As I turn on the windscreen de-misters my stomach churns again and I take deep breaths to stop the wave of angst from knocking me over.  I break the speed limit driving to the station, angrily tailgating a Nissan Micra in my efforts to get to the train station on time.  I arrive before quarter to 8 and finally allow myself to relax a little.  My train isn't until 8.15 and I have more than enough time to do everything I need to.  In my head I make the calculations - five minutes to get the parking ticket, five minutes to check my ticket with the guard, five minutes to find the platform - plus I'll want to be on the platform at least five minutes early.  I allow myself five minutes to sit in the car and wait, watching the rain make trails across the windscreen and keeping my eye on the clock.  I know I won't be able to relax until I'm safely settled in on the train.  I don't allow myself to retrieve my Kindle from my backpack - I know it will be too stressful to then have to re-pack my bag a few minutes later, and I've strategically arranged my belongings in the order that I'll need them; wallet at the top so I don't have to fumble around at the ticket office.

Public transport timetables aren't the only thing that make my heart race and my gut clench like some kind of awful stitch.  Sometimes it's even my own self-enforced timetables.  A few weeks ago I played a football match in the evening, and planned to go for a quick drink with teammates after the match.  It makes me feel stressed if I'm in bed much later than 11 as I know I'll be tired the next day, but on this occasion we were still in the pub at last orders, and the pub is 45 minutes from my house. Again, I couldn't relax and enjoy the time with my friends as I spent every minute watching the clock tick further towards certain tiredness.  I raced home and walked through the front door just before midnight, and then could barely sleep due this impending feeling of lateness; keeping a constant calculation as to how many hours it was until my alarm chimed the following morning.  I do this any time I'm out in the evening before work - constantly looking at the time, checking the traffic and calculating the time I need to leave to be home at a reasonable hour.  Even on a day when you might imagine I could relax - a lazy Sunday or a Saturday with no plans - I still have a countdown running of what I need to do that day, and how many hours I think it will take.  As my timer depletes, my stress levels increase, running through my to-do list in my head and feeling time run away with me.  It feels like a total loss of control, like something I can't put my hands around and hold close to my chest.

I wish I knew an easy way to counteract my 'timexiety' - a way to switch off the twist and turn of the metaphorical knife in my stomach, to stop my heartbeat speeding and my adrenaline rushing with every glance at the clock.  I try and tell myself that there's really no consequences to not meeting my allotted timetable - if I miss my train there's plenty more, if I have to go to work on six hours' sleep I'll probably survive, if I'm late for an appointment it's not a big deal.  But it doesn't make any difference.  I try and slow down my breathing, take deep inhalations, but I can't seem to stop it in its tracks.  My anxiety about time slipping away, about lateness, missed trains, long to-do lists, late bedtimes - like time itself, seems to be something I just can't control.


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?


Health and Fitness Update and plans for October

It's been a few months since I shared a health and fitness update on here - and since then I've had a summer which was a mix of both really disciplined eating and exercising, and then much more relaxed periods on holiday and since I've been back.

I managed to get into fairly good shape before my trip through a mix of personal training sessions and gym visits coupled with really strict eating and avoiding of treats.  Needless to say, by the time I got to Mexico I was ready to nose dive into a bucket of prosecco and all you can eat tacos.  Since I've been back I've been much more balanced with my eating and fitness, and things have been so busy that I haven't been going to the gym as much as I would like.

I'm a member of a gym near my work and pay about £15 for my membership, which means I can afford to pay for personal trainer appointments.  This works out best for me as it gets me into the gym at least once a week and it also means I have a routine to stick to when I'm in the gym rather than floundering around wondering what exercise to do next.  But it truly is a cheap and cheerful option (I have to wear flip flops in the shower as I don't trust bare feet in the changing rooms!) and I've been longing for something a bit more upmarket - with a pool so that I can swim, and preferably a jacuzzi to relax in! I had a quick nose on Pay As U Gym and I can get a membership that gives access to a local spa near me as well as the pool down the road from my work (and over 1000 other gyms) for £54 a month.  I think I'm definitely going to go for this, it would be so nice to be able to relax in the sauna or steam room after a hard day at work (was really surprised to see my local Macdonald spa hotel on there too; I think the membership for the spa alone is £50 a month so it's definitely worth it.)

img credit: barrandwray.com

As well as wanting to get back into swimming I also really want to get back into running this month. For some reason I seem to be able to get back into a routine with running in the colder, darker months - there's something I really like about getting up early and pounding the pavements when everyone else is still tucked up in bed! My plan is to go to the gym 2-3 times a week, and run at least once.  That should really help me get rid of the holiday (and post-holiday - oops!) weight and keep my fitness levels up.

Along with my regular gym sessions I've also taken up playing football regularly.  I've been playing five-aside on and off since about June but I enjoy it so much that I decided to try training with a local ladies football team.  I went to training the week before last and last Sunday I played my first match for them which was so nerve-racking! I also played for my work team in another match on Wednesday and I'm feeling more confident the more I play.  I'm really trying to get over this feeling of being 'rubbish' and worrying I'm going to let the team down as I know it will take time to get better.  

If I can carry on going to training on Wednesdays and then playing on Sundays I feel like it will really help my fitness improve, as well as helping me learn to get better at football.  I'm really enjoying having a new hobby to get stuck into.  It makes such a difference doing something that's active and that you enjoy - I don't think of football as 'fitness' but just as something I do for fun.

Of course, with Autumn here now I also don't want to overdo it - October will definitely have an equal dose of relaxing and getting cosy as well as the fitness and football.  Fitting in 2-3 gym sessions, a run and some football is aspirational but I'm not going to be hard on myself if I decide to skip a morning run for an extra half an hour in bed now and then - sometimes your body needs it!  What are your health and fitness plans for October?

*post contains a collaborative link


October Payday Wishlist

Now October has rolled around, all I can think about is cosy jumpers, long coats and ankle boots.  I've always struggled with wanting to be the pretty girl in the dress, but deep down I do love my Nike trainers and varsity jackets, especially when the temperature gets chillier.  Now it's definitely time to pack away my vests and embrace the knitwear, here's a few things I've got my eye on that might well be hopping into my basket this payday...

The Acne jumper is definitely a bit aspirational (much as I'd love to splash out on that bundle of cosiness) so I'm now on the hunt for a grey cowl neck that's a little more in my price range.  I need to stock up on my gym gear (well, I don't, but I want to!), and that Salt Gypsy striped pair are a bit of a bargain for £34 (and come in a load of different colours).  I'm a huge fan of pretty much everything Pull and Bear sell but I particularly have my eye on that varsity jacket - I'd wear it with ripped black jeans and ankle boots for a bit of a change from my trusty leather jacket.

What will you be picking up this payday?