Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Five Outfits To Wear At Home (Which will make you feel fabulous)






I've tried wearing loungewear all day long and I've also spent time putting together a nice outfit in the morning and doing my hair and make up. And really it's whatever works best for you but for me the latter is better. I just feel a bit more myself and I'm 100% more productive on the days I make an effort. I've actually brought zero clothes during lockdown, so if you need some inspiration of what to wear making the most of what you already own than this post is for you! 

For me the key is wearing clothes that are comfortable enough to wear in the house all day long, but stylish enough to bump into someone I know on my daily walk. Or at least just having a really put together top half for zoom calls and catch up with friends. Lockdown is a great way to re-fall back in love with some items in your wardrobe. (You might want to read my post here which gives you tips for Spring Cleaning Your Wardrobe.) What I love about getting dressed up in the morning is, in the evening when I get into my pjs or other comfy clothes I feel like the day is broken up rather than all rolled into a blur. 

Outfit 1

I'm someone who is very much drawn to colours, wearing certain clothes makes me feel really good. My favourite colour if you can't tell already is pink. If I wake up feeling a bit rubbish adding some pink to my outfit will always make me feel a little bit better.  The skirt is from Topshop and is velvet which I love as this tends to just be a trend during autumn/winter. That being said I could team this with black tights during the colder months.  

Outfit 2

I've always been a lover off tee's but especially now as they are so effortless and need very simple styling. I always team tee's with shorts or jeans. My flamingo one is years old from Oasis and it comes on every Summer holiday with me. And this year I'm wearing it in my back garden to feel like I'm on holiday! 

 Outfit 3

Can you tell by now that I love Flamingos?! Again another old item...but one I love. This playsuit is from Rebecca Rhoades. I love this print and it screams summer vibes. Dress up Friday has become my new favourite thing to take part in. So I wore this a few weeks ago for virtual drinks! 

Outfit 4

Blue is another one of my 'feel good colours' I got this playsuit from Zara a few years ago. And I've had a few from them over the years and they are super comfortable which is one of the most important things for me when wearing outfits at home. 

Outfit 5

One of my favourite prints that never goes out of style is florals. I'm pretty sure most of you will have some sort of floral print in your wardrobe. It's one of those prints where you will probably end with a few items of clothing that are all similar. My favourite is by far black against coloured florals because I think it stands out more and I love statement pieces. Again this outfit is super comfy, loose dresses have to be one of the most comfortable fits especially when wearing them all day at home. 

I hope you like these outfits and it gives you some inspiration of what to wear! 

Love
Nicole 
xx    

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Wednesday, 6 May 2020

FIVE things to do during lockdown if you want/have a creative career


Before I start this post I just want to say YOU DO YOU! I've seen so many things across social media telling people what they should/shouldn't be doing during this time. People are being put down for being super productive and those who are watching Netflix all day and just using this time to relax are also being put down. Turns out you can never really win. However if you do want to use some of your time being productive and you want/have a creative career this post is for you! 

I decided at the beginning of lockdown that I want days to fully relax but I also really enjoy learning and want to add more to my CV. I feel after doing quite a few different creative learning related things over thee past few weeks I'm now in a position to share my experiences and give advice on the good things I've found. 

1. Create a vision board, this is a really fun and creative way to look at how you would like your future to be in terms of work. You can do this by printing images from the internet or using newspaper cuttings and gluing them onto card. Or like me you can do this on Pinterest. (Also remember with Pinterest you can create secret boards so no one else has to see them) When you have day's you're not feeling so inspired go back over and look at your vision board to get that boost of motivation again. 

2. Four weeks ago I joined Grow and Glow, which is a platform to help bloggers/small businesses grow their online channels. (Check the website out here.) I can honestly say without Grow and Glow I wouldn't have been about to do 1/4 of the things I've now done for my blog over the last month. Grow and Glow have different bundles/courses you can work your way through. So far I've upped my Pinterest game, really narrowed down my niche, worked on my SEO the thing we all love to hate and put off doing for ages yet it's so important. You pay a monthly fee of £15 which is 100% worth it. Think of it as one less London priced cocktail a week once things go back to normal. Once you join you also have access to their Facebook group where you can ask other members questions and advice. 

My blog/instagram channels have always come up in interviews and it's something that employees are so interested in when you apply for a creative job. Creativity is something that you are so passion about outside of your work life so it's good to show extra dedication and things you do on the side. 

3. BoF, I had access to some amazing websites during my university days at London College of Fashion. But once I left and no longer had access myself through university I didn't join any membership programs. However after a recommendation from my friend at work about BoF. I decided to join. It's free for the first month then £33 a month after that and you can cancel at any point. You can check the website out here.  Monday-Friday BoF have live talks via Zoom with industry experts which has been really interesting. I think it's super important not just now but all the time to keep up to date with industry news again something that will make you stand out at an interview as you will have more to talk about. They also have so many articles and reports on what's going on right now and changes within the beauty/fashion industry.  

4. Do an online course, I'm currently doing a course on BoF called build your dream career. They have 6 courses on BoF the others include styling, merchandising/buying, marketing, history of fashion and building a brand. If you are not sure if you would like a career in fashion and haven't yet been to university or want to change you career path this would be ideal for you to get a taster as to what some jobs would be like. Also I think it's so important to remember that whatever your job title is, it would look so good to have some knowledge on other key areas in your industry. As all departments have to work together and you will do a better job working with the marketing department for example if you're a stylist if you have a good understanding of marketing. 

5. Download skills share, (the first two months are free at the moment then it is £7 a month after that check the website out here.) This is something that I have only just discovered and think everyone should be apart of a the moment. Skill share has 100s of online lessons about a whole range of different creative topics. I've completed the lesson with Emma Gannon called unlocking your potential. Emma talks through 5 exercises to build creative confidence. The thing I found most helpful was identifying your patterns looking at a 24 hour period and what makes you feel motivated and what doesn't. It is particularly important when working in the creative industry or any in fact to take a step back from time to time and look at how you're working and if this is benefitting you. 

I hope you enjoyed this post, and please leave a comment if you have any other tips/advice! 

Thanks, 
Nicole
xx

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Five Reasons You Should Shop At Independent Brands


Five reasons you should shop at independent brands  fashion bloggers


I love independent fashion brands, one of my favourites being Darla. Run by my close friend Amy. Independent brands offer some unique differences that separates them from big high street names. So for today's post I'm talking about 5 reasons you should shop with Independent brands. 

1. You get a real personal shopping experience, you get to know the person behind the brand and they get to know you. I think this all comes down to most independent brands having a real niche with their products that most of their customers will love. 

2. Leading on from this you get to build a relationship with the owner, they are likely to be the one who writes the newsletters and publish posts on social media. So if you have question you are likely to get a response from the owner themselves. 

3. You will find a lot of independent brands ask their customers what they would like to see more of and what trends/designs you are loving at the moment. As their target audience is smaller than the big high street brands your ideas are more than likely to be taken on board when putting together new collections.   

4. Designs have more originality and individuality. The downfall of big high street brands is that so many products look similar across multiple stores, however independents tend to have a different offering. Meaning that you don't have to worry about turning up to an event wearing the same/similar outfit to everyone else. 

5. They can focus on being more environmentally friendly, because they are producing their products on a much smaller scale than high street stores. You will tend to find that most independents try to work with recycled material or if not they will just buy enough material for the amount of products being made. This reduces the amount of waste. Also brands can be a lot more transparence about the history and making behind the clothes. Information that big high street brands either won't or can't offer their customers. 

As I've said before Darla is one of my favourite brands and I've had the opportunity to work with Darla on a number of occasions over the years.  Including styling for their latest photoshoot (all of the images included in this post.) 


Five reasons you should shop at independent brands fashion bloggers


'Darla is a lifestyle and womenswear label. Combining timeless silhouettes with modern fabrics and thoughtful details, our brand was made for creative everyday styling
Darla offers a playful and free-spirited range of clothing taking inspiration from around the globe while also promoting ethical and sustainable practises throughout our making process.
Designed for muses, romantics and starry-eyed daydreamers; at Darla you can shop our namesake collection along with independent brands, accessories, vintage and reworked clothing.'
I love how all of the Darla items are so versatile and you can style them all year round. Most of the designs are made in house and Amy is always asking her customers what they would like to see next, meaning they can get involved in the brand. All pictures from this post are from Darla and you can check out the website here
Five reasons you should shop at independent brands fashion bloggers


Hope you enjoyed this post, I would love to know who your favourite independent brands are?
Thanks, 
Nicole 
xx
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Sunday, 3 May 2020

20 Positive Quotes



I love positive quotes it's amazing how a few words can really lift your mood and change your whole mindset. After I published my interview blog post with Mary-Anne here, (all about HeartyNotes) I decided to ask my followers over on instagram what their favourite quotes are. So here they are along with some of my favourites added to the mix. This could be a good post to screenshoot on your phone and look back over every now and again when you need to see some positive words.

1. It's impossible to feel bad if you think good thoughts
2. I am in charge of how I feel today and today I choose happiness
3. Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud
4. Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire
5. Strive for progress not perfection
6. Difficult roads lead to beautiful destinations
7. Your mind is your only limit
8. Happiness often sneaks through doors you didn't know you left open
9. Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change
10. Don't compare yourself to others. There is no comparison between the Sun and Moon they shine when it is their own time
11. Today I will not stress over things I can not control
12. Be a pineapple; stand tall, wear a crown and be sweet on the inside
13. She needed a hero, so a hero is what she became
14. Be yourself, everyone else is taken
15. Real Queen's fix each others crowns
16. It's ok if the only thing you did today was breath
17. You are so much stronger than you think
18. There are so many beautiful reasons to be happy
19. Somewhere there is a past you looking over with so much pride at how far you have come
20. Spread love and kindness

Hope you are all having a lovely weekend! I'd love to know what your favourite quote is, let me know in the comments below. You can also check out my positive words board on Pinterest here.

Love
Nicole
xx
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Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Four Friends Tell Me Their Favourite Places To Shop


Nicole

For today's post I've got 4 of my girlfriends involved. I thought it would be fun to hear from them where their favourite places are to go shopping! To start off I'll chat a little bit about mine then scroll down to see some of my lovely friends. 

'I love Topshop, I think it was one of the first places I shopped in when I could finally fit into adult clothes. Topshop offer an amazing range of fashion focused pieces but also some more classic pieces that will last in your wardrobe for a really long time. Last year they had some fab prints on offer and I brought quite a few of them...but they are all such good quality that I will continue to wear them this year.  My favourite classic piece has to be my leather look jacket. I've had a couple now but both have lasted a super long time.' 



Victoria

'I have always been a lover of Zara and enjoy browsing the new in section of their website and in store. I think their clothes can look expensive and effortless whilst still being affordable. I have a lot of key pieces from Zara that don't date and are staples for my wardrobe. Smart black dresses, winter coats, lightweight summer dresses and blouses are just a few of the bits that I've had in my wardrobe for a while. I also love their more fashionable clothing and love looking through Instagram and Pinterest to see how people have styled them!'




Maddi

'I LOVE to do my shopping at H&M. Mainly because I love how sustainable their clothing is and how quirky their clothing can be whilst staying in-line with trends. I’m a sucker for a unique pattern and I think H&M nail this, whilst not breaking my bank account, bonus!'




Charlotte 

I wouldn't necessarily say I have a favourite shop overall but rather a favourite go-to for particular pieces. For example, I love the wide selection of jeans that brands such as Topshop and River Island offer all body types as being pretty tall (5'9"), it's hard to find the perfect outfit staple in the right length for me. If I want to add a little edge to my style but still want to keep it casual, Zara have some cute options that really make an outfit stand out. I love how quick they are to keep up with the current trends and you can pay a lot less for something that looks a lot more expensive. For casual sweatshirts and jersey pieces, I like to shop in Urban Outfitters. Although I find that they are on the pricier side, when I have a little more money to spend on the basics it's a nice 
treat. And I'm all about treating yourself. 




Lana 

'At the moment I'm loving online boutiques like Never Fully Dressed and NastyGal, to find items at great prices. I've shopped with NFD for may years now and still love the pieces I bought from them years ago - they're definitely worth investing in, but have great sales too! I also enjoy shops like Mint Velvet and White company for quality key pieces which will last a long time; and Anthropologie for unique and quirky dresses! A mix of high street and high end goes a long way - I try to be sustainable with fashion; if I need to purchase items which I know will only last a season I do so from more budget friendly chains and once they have served their purpose the clothes either get sold at our local car boot sales or go to charity shops.'

I had a lot of fun putting together this post, thanks to my lovely girlfriends for their help! I hope you all enjoyed reading it. Let me know in the comments you're favourite places to shop. You can read all my latest fashion posts here

Love
Nicole
xx
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Sunday, 26 April 2020

Interview with Zoe Louise - Personal Trainer





Zoe is a personal trainer and dancer who brings so much energy to life! I met her back in October when I first started going to Kobox classes. After a long time of not doing any fitness, I really got into boxing classes. I think the main thing that keeps me going when I really want to stop is the positive vibes and great music. I know that Zoe is the perfect person to interview about fitness as she has made me love it. And it's so true what they say you never regret doing a workout. 

1. Hey Zoe, can you tell us a little bit about your fitness journey and how you got into it?


I've been into sports since I was a kid growing up I had lots of hobbies but my two passions were horses and dancing which took over my life!! At 18 I went off to dance college so originally started my career as dancer! I've been dancing professionally for 14 years, then about 4 years ago I really got into fitness and decided I wanted to go down the fitness trainer route. I also found a love of boxing and 10 months ago I became a Kobox instructor. 



2. Do you have a structure to your day now we are in isolation, if so what is it?

Yes I need structure! So the night before I write down or make a schedule of all the things I want to achieve the next day it really helps to keep me on track, also I get dressed every morning I find sitting in my pjs doesn't motivate me to get the ball rolling! I try to workout early so I'm ready for the day and it makes me feel better. Afternoons are more for learning something new or doing something I've wanted to do and not got round to! 

3. How do you keep motivated on the days you don't feel like working out? Although we all have so much time at the moment, I know it can sometimes still be a struggle for people to workout.

So I try to be as motivated as I can, having set days to workout can help as you then have your workout days and your rest days also every workout counts if it's not as long as you would have liked it to be it still makes a difference, don't beat yourself up if you're not feeling it just do what you can. There are days I just don't feel like it and rather than force myself I just have a down day. We all have them and it's ok to not be motivated all of the time!

4. What are your top tips for beginners who are wanting to get into exercise? 

So for people just getting into exercise it can be intimidating I think the key is to choose something you enjoy whether it be yoga, dance, boxing, cycling, skipping or HIIT, if you enjoy it you're more likely to want to do it!! Also start small even it it's just 5 minutes it will change the way you feel and your mindset. Start off with one press-up or one squat or 5 minutes of your favourite exercise then add on every day before you know it you'll be at 20 minute. Lastly finding a trainer that you like and that inspires and motivates you during your workout can really help you to achieve way more than you thought was possible. 

5. Where can we find your fitness videos?


You can find my workouts on my 

Instagram @zoe1louise


Youtube user/zoe1louise


And real-time videos and live workouts on Move Home Studio here on here you can rent my videos for 72 hours or buy them so you have them for life or pay a monthly subscription and then you will get all videos and live workouts included.   

6. I'll be asking everyone this question. What one piece of advice would you give to remain positive?


Write down all the things you're grateful for or that are good at the moment it'll make you smile and remember nothing lasts forever it may seem like this is a dark cloud but it will pass and when we come out of it it's going to be amazing. 


I hope you love this interview as much as I do! You can read my last interview with Hayley all about The Kindness Foundation here


Have a lovely day 


Love

Nicole
xx


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Wednesday, 22 April 2020

Five ways to add colour to your outfit








'The best colour in the whole world is one that looks good on you.'- CoCo Channel

If you know me well you will know I love wearing colour. Colour brings me joy and happiness if I wake up in a bad mood adding colour to my outfit makes me feel so much better. Here are my 5 top tips on how to add colour to your outfit. 

1. Bags 

Bags are probably the easiest thing to start with if you do not normally add much colour to your outfits. I have many bright coloured bags and it's surprising how many outfits they go with. If your buying your first coloured bag I'd opt for something like blue (the one above is from Aspinal of London) this will go with denim which most people have in their wardrobe. And you will find something like blue will also go with most other colours so you will get loads of wear out of it.  I think people shy away from bright coloured bags and stick with more neutral tones because they are worried they will not get much wear out of  them. So before you buy a bright coloured bag think about what you already have you in wardrobe that will go with it. You will probably be surprised just how many things you can wear it with.  

2. Use Monochrome colours as a base 

People tend to overthink things when when trying out new styles, which is totally normal. If you get the base of your outfit sorted then you can work around that. Pretty much any colour will go with a white or black base. And if you don't already have much colour in your wardrobe you are bound to have a plain white or black tee. Add a basic tee with a pair of denim jeans (again another item most of us have in our wardrobes.) Then try mixing things up with a blazer, you do not have to go as bright as the pink one in my photo above, you can start off with a lighter colour that isn't so bold. But this style is super easy to put together and a blazer can completely transform your whole outfit.  

3. Patterns 

I love patterns and one of the best is florals, simply because they will always be on trend season after season. And they are available in most shops, I actually got the one above in a local charity shop. (I can do another post on second hand shopping if anyone is interested?) You can also find patterns that have the base of monochrome colours which can be easier to wear if you don't normally wear many patterns. 

4. Layering 

I love layering and a light weight jacket is the perfect way to add layers to your outfit during Spring/Summer. I got the above denim jacket from Ebay but it was originally from Topshop, but again it is another item that is sold in most high street stores. Adding a layer which is a more neutral colour against a brighter one will help to introduce more colour into your wardrobe if you do not feel very confident wearing colours as it adds a balance between the two. 

5. Make-Up

I couldn't write this post without talking about make-up. Something I've always loved to wear is bright lipstick. I hear so many people say that they are worried that bright lipstick will not suit them. I think the perfect way to become more confident wearing bright lipstick is to simply buy one. (Maybe from a high street brand to start off with so you're not spending too much money if you do not like it.) Then wear it at home first so you get used to wearing it, then maybe style a bright lip with a really simple outfit when you feel more confident to wear it out of the house. A bold lip will completely brighten up your whole face. I love the Sephora liquid lipsticks because you do not need to top it up too often and you can go all day without worrying about it smudging. (I've tested them out a millions times after eating food etc so you can trust me!) 

But most importantly have fun with it and do not worry about what other people think. That's the most important thing with clothes. And if someone doesn't like your outfit who cares as there will be many people who will love it! 

Hope you enjoyed this post. You may enjoy post about 5 tips for Spring Cleaning Your Wardrobe here

Love
Nicole 
xx 


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Sunday, 19 April 2020

Interview with Hayley - The Kindness Foundation





Hayley is a travel and style blogger behind Frock Me I'm Famous and has set up a non-profit charity, The Kindness Foundation to donate clothes and products from herself, bloggers to those in need. With the aim to spread more kindness! 


1. Firstly thank you for taking the time to answer some questions today. Can you tell us a little bit about The Kindness Foundation and how it all started? 

I set up #ShareThisChristmas nearly five years ago, a campaign to help people in need. As a blogger I've seen first hand the amount of samples and lovely products we receive, I also knew that I didn't need them, so I started to put items to one side and build up a collection to donate. I then decided to reach out to PR's that I had built a relationship with over the last 6 years, to see if they had any spare products they could donate, I didn't really have any expectations but was absolutely blown away when boxes of products started arriving (safe to say my mum wasn't overly thrilled haha). I bagged everything up into Christmas sacks and donated them to my local Women's refuges, Age UK, Little Havens and homeless shelter. This Christmas just gone, I was thinking about how I'd like to develop my #ShareThisChristmas campaign, the main way being that I didn't want to only help people at Christmas, but year round too - which led me to set up The Kindness Foundation!

2. What can readers do if they would like to get involved in the charity? 

There are a couple of ways that I'd love readers support with The Kindness Foundation! The first being to follow us on social media (@TheKindnessFoundation), the more people I can reach, the more people in turn I can help! If anyone knows of any PR's that are in the position to donate products that would be wonderful; or of any charities / causes that they'd like to put forward for donations then I'd love to hear! I've mostly helped people in the surrounding areas to where I live, but I'd love to branch out and help more! :) 

3. Do you have any exciting future plans for The Kindness Foundation? 

The one goal I really have is just to help as many people as I can, so I'd love to continue to raise awareness, and grow to help more people in need!

4. I'm sure most people reading my blog love fashion/beauty products and we all are guilty of over indulging in it at times. I know I own more things that I need. What tip would you give for being able to enjoy these things but also having the right balance and not buying too much?   

I think it's about knowing what you need / will use! I've kindly been gifted fashion and beauty products in the past that I couldn't keep due to storage or knowing I'd never get through them, so I started passing them onto friends and family members once I'd written about them. That's where the idea for #ShareThisChristmas came from! 

5. What's the been the best thing about running your Christmas campaigns over the last four years?

Knowing that I'm helping people is the best gift at Christmas! I know that giving people presents won't change someone's life, but if it puts a smile on their faces or let them know that people care for them, then that's what I do it for, to help those in need - you really can't put a price on that feeling!

6. I'll be asking everyone this question. What piece of advice would you give to remain positive? 

Trying to keep my days as normal as possible! Get up, shower, get dressed and pop some makeup on (it makes me feel like I'm ready for the day!). I'm using this time to work on myself, read more, do some yoga, learn the piano - I really want to look back on this time and say that I've learnt something / done something productive, so I'm setting myself one task a day, something that will make me happy and just focusing on that. Take each day at a time and don't put too much pressure on yourself - if you're having a bad day, just feel it and know that tomorrow is a new day. 






I hope you love this interview as much as I do! Come back next Sunday for the next one and you can read my last interview with Mary-Anne creator of HeartyNotes here

Have a lovely day 

Love
Nicole
xx
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Wednesday, 15 April 2020

Five Tips for Spring Cleaning Your Wardobe

5 blogger tips on spring cleaning your wardrobe

Opening up your wardrobe should be like arriving at a really good party where everyone you see is someone you like. - Amy Collins

I don't know about you but I always feel a million times better about my life after a good wardrobe clear out. I tend to do this twice a year at the start of Spring and the start of Autumn.  I've got pretty good at it now so wanted to share my 5 top tips. So put aside a couple of hours, listen to some of your favourite music and get ready to spring clean your wardrobe!

1. Take Everything Out And Lay It All On Your Bed

This makes you go through every item in your wardrobe and just makes the whole process generally a lot easier.


2. 'Does This Bring Me Joy.'

I love Marie Kondo's advice,  to look at each item of clothing and ask yourself 'does this bring me joy' and if the answer is no then don't keep it! You could also ask yourself another question if you saw that item in the shops now would you buy it? Again if the answer is no then don't keep it. Then with these unwanted clothes make a pile to go to the charity shop or give to friends because what you may no longer love someone else will.

3. What Is Your Wardrobe Now Missing

This is the perfect time to take note of what you're missing in your wardrobe. I'm sure you have all purchased clothes before that are very similar/nearly identical to those that you already own. To avoid this wastefulness (both money and environmental wise) look at what it is you need/would like that will enhance the wardrobe you already have. This will help you going forwards when shopping to ensure you are making the right purchases.

4. Put Away Last Seasons Clothes 

To create more space in your wardrobe and to stop it from being over crowded take out all of your clothes from the pervious season. So for now take out any Autumn/Winter clothes and store these somewhere else. I've never used vacuum bags before but I've heard they are pretty good. At the moment I store my clothes in suitcases

5. Organise Into Colour or Item Category  

When putting clothes back into your wardrobe make sure they go back in some sort of order. I find the best way to do this is by colour.  I find this is the easiest way to find the clothes I want to wear in the mornings. I'm very much drawn to colours when it comes to clothes so this is perfect for me. However you could also organise your clothes by item category so putting all of your t-shirts, dresses and jeans together etc.

I hope you enjoyed this post!

Love
Nicole
xx

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Sunday, 12 April 2020

Interview With Mary-Anne - HeartyNotes






Mary-Anne is one of my favourite people to connect with on Instagram. I discovered her as she is the creator of HeartyNotes. Mary-Anne puts little heart notes around central London with inspirational quotes on them. I started to see them at the beginning of this year during my commute to my new job, I always take pictures and send them to people I feel need to see them. There has been many days when I've needed words of inspiration myself and this has really helped me! (Take a look at her website here

1. Firstly Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions. You know I love HeartyNotes can you tell us how you started this and why?

I started HeartyNotes in September 2019 after returning from Burning Man Festival in Nevada. If you are not aware of Burning Man, it is a spiritual and art-focused week-long festival in the middle of the desert. It is always a very creative and grounding experience for me. There is so much creative expression in one place, whether that’s outfits, music or the incredible art projects. 

In a vastly digital world, it can be challenging to feel a sense of “self-worth or self-love” as there are so many ways we can compare ourselves to others and wish a change in our own lives. As an Instagram lover, I have always spent a lot of time on the platform. What I began to recognise is that in this digital world, we often forget to connect with people in the “real” world. We sit on our sofas browsing the lives of others and wishing things could be different, offering a “like” here and there but without any real human connection. We also forget that some of what we see online is a “highlight” reel of people’s lives, 10% of who they are and what they have been through. We all have different experiences in life that offer us different perspectives and no two journeys are the same. For me, this journey has brought with it so many lessons in self-love. I have learnt more in the last three months than I ever did before. As much as you can discuss challenges you're facing with friends and family, the real work has to be done by you, and you alone. I recognise that words, affirmations and quotes have an incredible impact on my state of mind. So I have focused on only following those types of accounts on social media, reading those types of books and listening to those kinds of podcasts.
In shifting my environment to one filled with more positive words, an idea formulated in my head. Out of my attempt to amalgamate the two things I was very passionate about (human connection and self-love), #HeartyNotes was born. I write down things that come into my head, things that have inspired me in the hope that they will inspire others too. When I have built a little pile of inspirational hearts, I stick them around Central London. 

2. Can you explain your journey and progress on self-love? I feel like this terms is used a lot, yet many people still struggle with it. 

I have always used inspirational words or quotes to get me through difficult times. I just love how a few words can change the focus of your entire day. In 2015 I was 21 and had just started working as an admin girl for a mobile accessories manufacturer and distributor in Coventry. The business I had joined was only eight months old, and the owner had huge ambitions about creating a brand bigger than Apple for mobile accessories in the UK market. I accepted that job as a way of paying my way through a law degree with the Open University. As this was my first office job, I realised that I had a lot to learn so I knuckled down and focused on watching, listening and learning from this incredibly talented owner. Over 5 years I had watched and mirrored his every move and what began as an admin job turned into so much more for me. Working to improve my communication, sales and presentation skills in an intense, non-stop, hands-on training environment I began pitching and presenting to top tier retailers, and succeeded in securing some of the biggest deals the company had ever achieved. In 2018 I was invited to become the Sales Director of a business that had grown from £0 sales to £14million in revenue in 2019. To say those five years were intense would be a HUGE understatement and naturally, I was so incredibly proud of all I had achieved.
In 2018, I had decided that if I was to progress quickly in the Company I would need to adopt a “fake it till you make it” mindset – it worked! I shadowed the owner, watched his every move heard every conversation and made meticulous notes. I practised pitching in my bedroom mirror and made pretend sales calls in the car on the way to the office each day. I had completely and utterly evolved into a mini version of the owner. I could sell like him, talk like him and act like him. In May 2019 I decided it was time for me to move on and use all the skills I had learnt to start my own business. What I quickly learnt was that my strategy of “fake it until you make it” had given me so very much, so many incredible business skills, but, what I hadn’t learnt was one extremely important thing.

I was in a yoga practice at Burning Man festival in Nevada, when the yoga teacher Donovan told us all to stand up, wrap our arms around ourselves and say the words out loud “I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you” - I couldn’t do it! With tears streaming down my face, I didn’t know how or why I felt like that. I had no self-love! What I began to understand was that I had spent so many years feeding on the gratification of others that I actually didn’t know how to give that to myself. I had spent so long “faking it until I made it”, that I had allowed my self-belief, my self-worth and my self-love to be reliant on what others thought of me rather than what I thought of myself. It was at that moment that I wondered if anyone else had experienced that.

Learning to love yourself is not surface level stuff, it’s deep. Through meditation (Sarah Blondin ‘Self-love’ meditations) yoga and reading I have learnt more and more about the way I treat myself. That inner voice, the inner critic we all have. Loving yourself is not about being self-obsessed or egotistical it is about treating yourself with the same affection and respect that you would treat anyone else. When you start to notice the words you use towards yourself it becomes easier to change those habits. What once was “oh you are useless” can become “it’s a great start but you need to learn X or Y” . Our minds fascinate me, they really do, they can be our best friend or our worst enemy.

3. I'd love to know more about journaling and feel like now is the bet time to start a new routine, which can then continue when life gets back to normal. What are your top three tips?

I've got to be honest. I don't think I could recommend one habit enough. Morning pages or morning journaling have dramatically changed the way I start my day and ultimately live my life.  My 3 top tips would be. 

  1. Start with morning pages – which simply is writing 3 pages of whatever falls out of your head as soon as you wake up
  2. Make a promise with yourself and stick to it! Every morning, the first thing you do is pick up that book. (leaving it by your bed on top of your alarm/phone makes it so obvious you can’t forget!)
  3. Have no judgement – just write whatever comes out of your mind and when you're done, shut the book. Sometimes your notes won’t tell you anything at all and that’s absolutely fine. 

4. Do you have any new plans for HeartyNotes in the future?

LOTS of plans! I have a lot more art at the tips of my fingers at the moment so I’m going to focus on that for now. I have ideas falling out of my head in the middle of the night haha my notebook is full of them! Who knows where it will go! For now, I’m enjoying the ride.

5. What's your favourite HeartyNote so far?

HARD question. It would have to be ‘you can choose happiness even on the darkest days’ this was my most shared heart. I had so many messages from people thanking me for changing their mindset. It was so incredible I cried! Haha

6. I'll be asking everyone this question. What one piece of advice would you give to people to remain positive? 

Take a step back and observe the way you are consuming information. Where /Who is it from? Would they be in your life if we were not going through a crisis? Do they impact you in a positive or negative way? Once you have answered, you know what to do. Step away from the NO’s and move gracefully into the YES’s.

I hope you love this interview as much as I do! Come back next Sunday for the next one and you can read my last interview with blogger Nicole Sage here

Love
Nicole
xx

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Wednesday, 8 April 2020

5 Positive Things To Do during Lockdown

Blogger tips on this to do during isolation

Train your mind to see the good in every situation

We are living in a time with much uncertainty and negativity. However one thing I've learnt recently is that you need to see the good in every situation. Last week I got told that I will be going on furlough. And you know what, thats ok! I'm healthy so I'm lucky right now. In order to turn this negative situation into a positive one, I've come up with a list of 5 positive things to do during lockdown.

1. Have A Project To Work On 

After a phone call with my God Mother who gave me some really good advice it got me thinking about all the things I an do with my time now I'm not working. (Remember we probably will never have time like this again.) She said to me in future interviews they will want to know what you did during this time when in isolation, so set yourself some projects to work on. This can be big things or super small things but something to give yourself purpose during this time.

For me my main project is my blog, I love blogging but have put it to one side over the years because my mind has been focused on other things. But now I'm ready to spend more time on it and get creative again. To help me to do I've joined Grow & Glow. I've done this as I want to learn more about social media and blogging in order to improve my own channels and bring you the best content I can.

2. Check In On Yourself

This morning before writing this post, I was watching Alfie Deyes Vlog here. (I'm loving his videos at the moment!) he was talking about something I found really interesting and that is checking in on yourself. He explained that it's good to every 6 months/year take a couple of days out to check in on yourself. To do this take time to stop and look at your life and what you're doing both inside and outside of work making sure you are on the right track to your main goals. Also making sure you're spending your time with the right people who are good in your life. Most of us have the time to do this right now. And I think it's important before life goes back to normal to reassess your normal and what parts of your normal life you want to carry on with and what parts you need to change.

3. Spend More Time Reading

One thing I always put to one side is reading, however when I do read I love self-help books. Recently I finished reading Vex King's book Good Vibes, Good Life. Here is one of my favourite quotes from his book, 'Being thankful is one of the simplest, and yet most powerful, habits you can cultivate. By counting your blessings daily, you can begin to condition your mind to look for the good in everything around you.' Vex talks about how to turn your negative thoughts into more positive ones by talking about different life experiences most of us go through. When reading this book I also felt so much more grateful for things I normally take for granted. This week I'm going to go back over this book and highlight key quotes I love so when I need to I can flick through the book and easily see the main quotes that inspire me.

4. Do Some At Home Workouts

I'm loving seeing so many people do at home workouts at the moment! I think it's amazing and something that I'm trying to do as much as I can. If you're a friend of mine you will know I LOVE Kobox, as the boxing club is closed a the moment they have been posting live workouts on their instagram page here. I love doing live workouts because it's the next best thing to going to a class, it's great to get involved in the comments and most classes follow a playlist on Spotify that you can download.

5. Take Part In Online Workshops

Brands/Influencers have been getting so creative over the last few weeks. I'd highly recommend checking out your favourites to see what they have been doing to see if you can get any inspiration of things to do. On Sunday I watched a live workshop on Marguerite London's page with Zeena Shah. The workshop was called mindful marbling, all about how to use Nail polishes and paints to create a marble effect on paper/other items of your choice. This was such a simple thing to do with items that I already had in my house yet was so therapeutic and I ended up making a really pretty heart painting that I will buy a frame for and hang up in my bedroom.


Picture from Pintereset



Let me know any positive things you have been doing in the comments, I hope you are all staying safe and well.

Love
Nicole
xx
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Sunday, 5 April 2020

Interview With Nicole Sage - Blogger

Interview with lifestyle blogger Nicole Sage


Interview with lifestyle blogger Nicole Sage

Hey Guys, 

I hope you are all keeping well. I'm back with my blogging game in full swing, I've been thinking for a little while now about what sort of direction I want to take my blog. And as much as I love sharing my latest outfits, London life and travel. I also want to share people who inspire me! So I've decided to start a new little Sunday series for April where I interview women who inspire me. First up is Nicole Sage who blogs over at Sleek-Chic. I've been following Nicole since she started blogging. I feel like I know her although we have never met! I adore her style and her eye for detail in her photographs. 

1. Hey Nicole, thank you for taking part in this interview. How long have you been blogging for and what made you want to start a blog?

I started blogging in the summer of 2013, I'm now approaching 7 years of blogging which is crazy. When I started blogging it was purely something to keep me occupied during the summer before I returned to university. I never imagined I would still be blogging 7 years later alongside heavy work commitments. I read blogs for such a long period of time before starting and I just thought 'why can't I do that?', I guess they say the rest is history. 

2. What sparks your creativity and new ideas for blog posts?

A lot of my posts these days are centred around my personal life, these are the posts that just flow out of me and I love to write as I'm not forcing anything. Navigating the struggles of adult life generally sparks a lot of ideas for my blog posts! 

I still write a lot of other lifestyle content in general though and a lot of inspiration for this comes through Pinterest, what topics are currently trending, is there anything I can tap into? I look at google trends a lot to see what people are searching for and if so, can I write a better post than the ones ranking on page one of google? I have a strong background in SEO so always write blog posts and think of ideas with my SEO hat on! 

3. What do you love most about blogging/blogging community?

The blogging community makes me feel like I'm truly part of something. I have made so many genuine friends online in the last 7 years that I've never met, but I know if I needed to speak to someone they would always be there for me. I love the positivity and creativity that I sponge off other bloggers and it's amazing to be connected with so many like minded individuals at the click of a few buttons. The community has definitely changed as the blogging sphere has grown, but the OG's will remember what it was like back in the day!  


4. In what way has social media affected your life? This can be both good and bad. And how do you think people can use social media in a better way to be more positive?

There have been periods of time where social media has had a really negative impact on my life. This has mostly been when I've been going through a hard time in my personal life and I don't want to be bombarded with happy people and ultimately comparing myself to other people. Whenever I've fallen into a negative head space I have to come off social media for a while until I'm mentally feeling better. I did this for 3 months before Christmas and it was the best thing I ever did. I was then in a position where I was starting to miss it as I feel so much more connected with people when I'm on social media. 

With the current situation with Coronavirus, social media is the one thing that is allowing us to stick together, and I love it, It's making people feel less isolated, we're seeing more authentic pictures on peoples feeds and it feels like the old blogging days are back! 


To keep a healthy balance with social media I think it's super important to have periods of time off the apps such as an evening a week or allowing yourself to check at only certain periods of the day. Curating your feed to follow only people that make YOU feel good about yourself is something I can't recommend enough. 

5. Do you have any future plans for your blog/media channels?

I seem to go through waves of inspiration with my blog and social media, there is so much I want to do but it can often be delegated to the back when work commitments take over and some weekends I just want to switch off completely. 

I'm still trying to think where I want to take my blog in the future, I want to continue with lifestyle content but fashion has always been a huge part of my life, this is why I think the content I put on social media and my blog should differ slightly. I want my Instagram account to be focused on 9-5 workwear, flatlays and interiors. But I'm also wanting to have one specific niche so when people land on my Instagram page thy know what they are going to find. Hopefully the time during lockdown will help me to nail these details down! 

6. I'll be asking everyone this question. What piece of advice would you give to remain positive?

Surround yourself with positivity. Turn the news off, mute accounts on social media and focus on the good things. I do this by way of reading my favourite books, turning my favourite radio station on in the morning and dancing in my living room and eating a packet of mini eggs each night because it makes me happy. Do the little things that make you happy during this time and remember that better times are coming. 


I hope you all enjoyed reading this post! I will be back next Sunday with another interview with creator of HeartyNotes Mary-Anne.  

Love
Nicole
xx
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