Rebecca Campbell's 'Light Is The New Black'

Saturday, 4 July 2015

A few weeks ago I finished reading the lovely Rebecca Campbell’s new book, ‘Light Is The New Black’ (thank you Louise for such an amazing gift!) and so so much of it is still resonating with me (the sheer volume of passages I've underlined and starred attest to that!)

I think of this book as a guidebook to rediscovering your soul’s purpose. I absolutely love how totally raw and honest Rebecca is about her journey and how generous she is in her sharing of how we can all get back into alignment with who we truly are and what we are here to do.

And, of course, I love the central message that following what lights us up is the key. Even if we have no damn idea of where it is going to take us. Take the first step, and the next will magically appear. I’ve devoured many a spiritual book in search for that one beautiful message, so thank you, thank you Rebecca!

As I shared here, attending Rebecca’s workshop last year and hearing the magical instruction to ‘follow your joy’ was the reassurance I needed to hand in my notice at my job and retrain as a makeup artist.

Yes, following your joy can be terrifying at first (if you’re anything like me, it will feel totally alien to dedicate yourself to doing what lights you up rather than what you feel you should be doing) but once you take that first step, magical things start happening and life transforms into an expansive adventure marked with crazy synchronicities and a deep knowing that you are aligning yourself with that inner voice. Totally worth it :)

Rebecca’s book is out on 6 July BUT if you pre-order before the 6th, then you receive a whole load of goodies including her Hay House Ignite talk, a light sourcing meditation and a spirit guides journey and attunement (so you get to meet your spirit guides which is ridiculously cool).

If you do order it then I really hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Much love
Louise xx

My favourite healthy pancake recipe

Monday, 16 February 2015

We’re coming up to Shrove Tuesday!!! I love pancakes. Looooove them. So I embrace this day with a lot of enthusiasm.

As I mentioned here, at the start of the year I decided to focus more on my health. No fad diets or strict rules; I just wanted to make sure that I was eating more meals that nourished me and made me feel good.

So I quite liked the challenge of trying to find a pancake recipe that would be filled with lots of healthy ingredients, would taste good (I still wanted it to feel like a treat) but wouldn't make me fall into a food coma 10 minutes later.

I didn’t hold out much hope to be honest, but Jenny from Healthy Crush came to my rescue (I love that girl - and hold her more than partly to blame for my move to healthier eating!)

This paleo recipe has just three ingredients: eggs, banana and almond butter. That’s it. You can get the recipe here.

They are delicious and AND ridiculously quick and easy to make. I personally like to serve them with maple syrup and berries. Yum. It definitely made me realise that there are recipes out there that make healthy eating taste so good.

P.S. Fun fact for you: did you know that the reason we eat pancakes isn’t just to use up the rich foods before Lent? The round pancakes were originally meant to symbolise the sun and by eating them, we would receive the sun’s light and power. How lovely is that :)

Falling in love with winter

Monday, 9 February 2015

I have a lot of friends who really suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).

I'm a little different. I'm pretty sure that I have SAD - but in reverse.

I recently watched this video with Sali Hughes and Marian Keyes (don't you just love these two ladies?) and may have squealed when I saw this:

So I thought that if anyone can advise on how to fall in love with winter, that I might just be able to qualify here.

These are my top tips for embracing this beautiful cold!

1) Forget dieting. Please, just forget it. Especially in these cold months. By all means eat healthily, but I believe that these are the months to nourish ourselves with hearty soups and stews that warm ourselves from the inside out. Embrace roast dinners and venture to your local for a good pub lunch in front of a roaring fire.

If you do put on a few pounds, then just think that at least it's extra insulation from the cold. That's my mindset, and I'm sticking to it.

2) Honour the winter. By honouring the winter, I mean understanding that nature is giving us this time to sleep more, to rest more and, quite possibly, to think more.

One of the reasons that I love winter is that it's a brilliant excuse to stay in, plan for the coming year, read all the books that have been on my wishlist for God knows how long, and to get the rest I need before spring.

I do more yoga, roast my favourite vegetables, I bake and I find myself spending more time turning inward and really looking at what I want from this new shiny year ahead of me.

3) Love your layers. A few years ago I realised that I had more summer clothes than winter ones. Which is ridiculous seeing as in the UK we experience maybe 2, possibly 3, months of good sunny weather.

I've gradually started to invest in more appropriate winter clothing. Invest in warm clothing that feels good against your skin and feels like a giant hug. You won't regret it.

4) Light. Many of my friends who suffer from SAD use an SAD lamp to help reduce the production of melanin (this round-up of SAD lamps is a good one).

I personally love the ritual of lighting candles or burning oils in winter (orange is a favourite of mine). When the days turn dark, we go around the flat lighting our candles and let the twinkling lights bring a bit of magic to the darkness.

5) Venture outside! Just because the days are shorter doesn't mean that you have to stay inside. Wrap yourself up in as many wool and cashmere layers as you can fit under your winter coat and get exploring.

A few suggestions for those of you living in/close to London include the Astronomy Photographer of the Year exhibit (running until 22 Feb) at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich (because of photos like these. I mean, wow), and the exhibition by David Birkin (running until 28 Feb) - an artist whose work looks at "not only the failure of images, but also the failure of truth and the manipulation of legislative language to suit political expediency". Both exhibits are free and look amazing.

Do you have any other tips that you'd recommend?

(Images via Woman and Home & Garance Dore)

Favourite Valentine's Day cards

Monday, 2 February 2015

I came across Sarah Hamilton's Just a Card campaign on Caroline's blog at Christmas and was completely inspired.

More often than not, I will coo over beautiful cards on Etsy and then (usually in a last minute panic!) run out to one of the large stationery companies to purchase my cards.

Sarah's words really struck a cord: "I know just how valuable each and every sale is, not only to independent shops and galleries which make our High Streets unique, but to their artists and designer suppliers... This is why we started our campaign Just a Card - to encourage people to appreciate just how invaluable every single purchase is."

So, as we are approaching Valentine's Day, I thought I'd do a round-up of my favourite Valentine's cards from some excellent UK Etsy sellers.

N.B. I'll be buying the boxset one. Can't imagine anything more appropriate for us ;)

Buy card here, £2.75

Buy card here, £3

Buy card here, £2.85

Buy card here, £2.75

I am always on the look out for new UK Etsy sellers. Any recommendations?

January's bookmarks

Monday, 26 January 2015

Well, we have finally reached the last week of January. I hope this month hasn't been too hard on you. Just think, six more days and we'll be in February. The month of love and pancakes. This can only be good :)

I've been bookmarking articles and objects that I have loved from around the web this month. I hope you enjoy them too.

Want more. Be more kind. Danielle LaPorte gives us her 10 points to success. As a huge fan of her work, this is everything.

A beautiful tutorial on painting fake feathers.

Jenny from Healthy Crush teaches us how to listen to our bodies to see how the food we're eating impacts us. This has been revolutionary for me. Join me in doing her breakfast experiment!

I absolutely love this makeup artist. She is such a talented lady. Here are her
beauty favourites from 2014. I want all of them.

Topshop dress is an absolute beauty.

Trust your instincts and embrace imperfection.

I have such a soft spot for stationery. These marble and gold gift tags are on my wishlist.

On Fey and Poehler at the Globes and how their opening speech made a much needed feminist statement.

How to find the right shade of lipstick. 
This tip by the genius and all round lovely chap, Wayne Goss, is ludicrously simple and sooo effective.

A great lighthearted article by a beauty points enthusiast on her joy of "working the points".

This month, I discovered the site, Annapurna Living. I have bookmarked so many articles from here this month. Here are a few of my favourites: an ode to mornings; "Without devotion in a Yoga practice, it becomes just exercise"; a beautiful film about Maria Helles, a Russian ballet dancer who, at 95 years of age, is independent, fit and healthy. Inspirational.

Much love
Louise x

(Image via Freepeople)

Healthy chocolate and banana smoothie

Monday, 19 January 2015

Come New Year's Day, "losing weight" was not on my list of resolutions and hasn't been for the past few years. But what I am focusing on is my health. Do I have enough energy? Is my body working the way I want it to? Can I play superheroes with my nephews without feeling like I've ran a marathon?

The answer unfortunately isn't always yes, so this year I'm addressing that. The challenge though has been to find recipes that are healthier - but that still actually taste good. I have tried soooo many healthy recipes that just taste, well, a bit blah.

But I have finally found one that does taste great. Really great. Plus, Imran likes it. And he is one fussy discerning eater.

Originally found here, this chocolate banana shake is seriously good. Plus it's free from added sugar and dairy.

Healthy chocolate and banana smoothie

1 ripe banana
1 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cacao powder
1 tablespoon smooth almond butter
1/3 vanilla almond milk

Slice the banana. Add the rest of the ingredients into the blender and blend until nice and smooth. Boom. That's it!

As we don't have a blender, we just mashed up our bananas and then popped all the ingredients into the Kitchenaid at the highest speed for a few minutes. Worked a charm!

The original recipe suggests freezing the bananas before adding them to the blender. I decided not to do this as in this cold the last thing I want is a chilled smoothie, but I am 100% sure that will change come summer.

I hope you enjoy! Do you have any tried and tested healthy recipes?

Much love
Louise x

Finally, I'm back!

Monday, 12 January 2015

Wow, four years is a loooong time to not blog for. What started off as a short break when my career became rather all-encompassing, turned into a four year hiatus.

I really missed blogging. And the lovely community that I got to know. It is good to be back :)

Here's a little recap of what's been going on in my world over the last four years...

I got a promotion at work which, as I'm sure most of you have experienced, meant longer hours (sooo long) and, of course, more responsibility. I work in marketing and have been for the last 15 years. As much as I love the work itself, taking that step-up meant that I had to deal with a whole host of other things (Politics! Public speaking! Networking! Gah!).

I have the utmost respect for my colleagues who enjoy these things and really nail them on a regular basis. So inspiring. But, and it took me four long years to realise this, these were elements of the job that I just did not enjoy, and spending so much time on them was sucking the life out of me. My energy levels were depleted, I started suffering from anxiety attacks and although I'm sure I seemed ok on the outside, on the inside I was really struggling.

I do feel that we get so bombarded with the message that we can be/do anyone/anything that we try, try and try again to be "that" person - sometimes at the expense of listening to our own intuition.

At the end of last year, I made the decision to hand in my resignation and made a promise to myself to follow my joy - and to trust in that (something I got from attending a session with the lovely Rebecca Campbell).

I've started to freelance, helping small businesses and individuals that I truly believe in market themselves. And, in the spirit of following what I love, I took a leap and signed-up for a make-up course. Countless hours of blending eye shadow and a few shoots later and I'm ready to start testing and assisting, and combining that with my marketing work and blogging here.

All very exciting and, I'll be honest here, slightly terrifying. But more exciting. Promise ;)

Anyway, it's truly lovely to be back blogging. I hope you enjoy following my journey and the usual mix of posts!

Much love
Louise x

(Images via glitterguide and Nylon Pinksy)