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My Thoughts On Black Friday & Being More Mindful This Christmas

  • Thursday, 6 December 2018


I love Christmas and I always find that the build up is the best bit. I love visiting the Christmas markets, drinking mulled wine, pulling out chunky knitwear and watching all of the best Christmas films.

However, one thing that I’m not too keen on during this time of year is the ever-growing expectation based around gift giving. After the wake of Black Friday and the build up to the big day, it seems as though everyone that I speak to has money, and the amount they are going to spend, on their mind. 

Black Friday to me is a bit of an odd one. It originally started in the U.S.A. as a big sale event after Thanks Giving, but over the last five years or so, it seems to have become much more of a ‘thing’ over here in the U.K. as well. It seemed as though my inbox was completely jam-packed with emails from every retailer, tempting me to buy some of their Black Friday deals, and it became a little overwhelming. 


I tried to take quite a methodical and logical approach to the Black Friday sales and only bought things that I actually wanted or needed. So rather than scroll the internet or mooch about the shops, I had a thick about some of the things I wanted to buy, and then looked to see if anywhere had a particularly good deal on.  For example, I needed a new vacuum cleaner and I quite fancied a cordless one. I had a quick look on Amazon and found that they had a third off the one that I wanted on Black Friday.

This approach to Black Friday also got me thinking about Christmas. It’s seems crazy to me to think about how much money everyone spends on gifts for people. I know that I personally don’t really need anything and so my family and I have decided that we will buy some tickets to see a comedy show together. That way we all get something we’ll enjoy, without spending a load of money on things that we don’t really need or want. 


I read a really nice quote the other week in reference to Christmas gifts…

“Something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read…"

I do have a couple of gifts that I would like to buy this year, but I think that I will try to stick to this little phrase whilst I shop.  

Madolyn
xxx

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This post contains PR samples from Femme Luxe, but all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Simple Ways To Overcome Self-Doubt & Feel Confident With A Bit Of Self-Love

  • Sunday, 2 December 2018

I don’t think that it is too bold a statement to say that we all have insecurities about ourselves. It isn’t uncommon to have something that we’d like to change or improve upon, and it is complete natural. I think that it is also true that we look to others as sources of inspiration and admire qualities in people we that we sometimes wish we could adopt and apply to our own lives and personalities. 

It’s a difficult subject to talk about and I think that some find it harder than others. I know that I struggle to deal with my insecurities about myself, both in terms of my personality and the way that I look. 


When I sat down to write this post I wanted it to be about confidence and self-love. But the reality is that my self-confidence is pretty low at the moment. I feel as though self-doubt can be one of the hardest mindsets to overcome.

I tend to think of my self as quite a logical person, however, I am also extremely emotional. This can be difficult at times to balance, and I find that I am often faced with conflicting thoughts about how I feel about myself from these two different ways of thinking. 

Self-confidence isn’t something that can be given to you. And one thing that I have learnt is that there is no quick fix. It is something that you have to learn and accept and it can take a really long time. I do feel as though there are little things that can be done in order to help move things along however. 


For me, I know that I feel confident when I’m wearing nice clothes that flatter my body shape. I also know that I feel more confident about myself when my face is looking fresh and clear. I know that these are only little things, but sometimes it can be something that is so insignificant to others, that can have the biggest impact upon us. 

I’ve had a bit of a bad spell lately in terms of breakouts on my skin, so I have been actively trying to make more of an effort to get into a good routine and keep spots at bay. I’ve also added a few new pieces to my wardrobe lately that I feel flatter my body, and make me feel a lot more confident about the way that I look. This also includes underwear and loungewear, because even if I’m at home alone, or know that no one else will see it, I still like to dress in a way that makes me feel good about myself. 



I have loved wearing this DKNY PJ set it is so comfortable and the fabric is so soft and thick. I think that these are perfect for winter and the sizing is really spot on so I feel like they fit like a dream, whilst being comfortable enough to wear in bed. I have also been wearing some beautiful lace bras by Pretty Secrets which are again so comfortable but also very flattering. I love the cuteness of the baby pink and I really feel much more confident about myself, and my body when I’m wearing it. 

I really feel as though acceptance is key when it comes to self-love and feeling confident, and whether it is a flattering item of clothing, a new skincare routine or whatever else it may be that might make you feel good about yourself, embrace it. In the words of Rupaul; If you can’t love yourself, how the hell are you gonna love somebody else?!


Madolyn
xxx

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This post contains PR samples from Fashion World, but all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Exploring Notions Of Spirituality

  • Wednesday, 28 November 2018



Spirituality is something that I have always been a little sceptical about. However, over the past few months I have tried to focus more on having a healthy and positive mind-set. As a result of this I feel as though I have learnt the importance of looking after my mind and realised that it can have just as much impact on my wellbeing as exercise and healthy eating.

So I have been reading a little bit more into the different notions of spirituality and below some ideas that can act as a starting point if you too want to explore this further…


Align your chakras


You may feel a bit sceptical about this, but all it’s really based upon is centres of energy in the body. There are seven ‘chakras’ and if one of them is out of balance, then it is believed that this can negatively impact your health. You can align them by meditating, and adding pressure to certain parts of the body. The idea has its roots in ancient Buddhism and it is very popular in yoga practices.

Speak to a psychic


If you can get a psychic reading, you may find out more stuff than you even anticipated. Of course, not everybody believes in this, but if you stumble upon a psychic who tells you about your entire past, then that's quite weird. They profess to tell you your future, and who isn’t low-key interested in what it holds? You can also get an Online Psychic Reading, if you can’t find any in your local area.

Read some spiritual poetry


Spiritual poets, such as Rumi, a poet from the 13th century, can bring you into the world of the divine if you want to get in touch with some mystical truths. His poetry is not only spiritual but beautifully written, and he was the guy who originally said: ‘Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there.’ Sometimes just reading one line of something that speaks true about the bigger picture can really provide some perspective.


Give to others


This one sounds like it’s based on some good ol’ karma, and it probably is something like that. But if you give to others, and help them, you’ll see that positivity coming back to you. Not only this, but you’ll just feel really good knowing that you’ve given someone something that helped them out. Especially if they mean a lot to you, but helping a stranger is also pretty wholesome.


There are so many different ways of looking after our minds and maintaining a healthy outlook on life. I hope that a few of these ideas spark some sort of inspiration if you’re looking for a bit of enlightenment.


Madolyn
xxx

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This post contains contributed content and PR samples from Femme Luxe, but all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Adopting Healthy & Mindful Lifestyle Habits

  • Tuesday, 27 November 2018



The end of the year is approaching fast, and it is usually a time of indulgence and bad habits, as we get ever closer to Christmas Day. This year however I want to be a little bit more mindful. Rather than reach for all of the festive treats, stay in every night and drink hot chocolates watching Christmas films… I want to be a bit healthier, get myself to the gym and walk into the New Year without that feeling of guilt about how naughty I’ve been during the festive period!
So I started to gather a few ideas together and have a think about how I could have more of a healthy and mindful countdown to the New Year - I think the list below is a perfect starting point…

Create A Healthy Meal Plan


"Pretty much everyone could eat a little healthier. That's something we should all do. But the notion is a little abstract without the means to put it into reality. Therefore, do something practical, such as creating a healthy meal plan. This is your basis for looking at those recipes that will help you to lose weight, and is the starting point for eating more of those foods that will preserve your health. So don't just say you will 'start eating healthier,' but commit to creating a plan, and then pin it to your wall so you can refer to it. It needs to be realistic; adhering to your budget and culinary skills. And it needs to be based around foods you will actually eat, and not those foods that you think you should eat but secretly hate. To help you in your planning, use this automatic meal planner at the start of the year, and stick to it as far as is possible in the weeks and months to come.

Learn how to cook


Perhaps through a lack of confidence in the kitchen rather than our lack of skill, we often resort to the easy options with our food choices, such as grabbing a takeaway on the way home from work or stocking our refrigerators with processed meals instead of the healthier options. So book yourself onto a cookery course to learn the basics. Or head over to YouTube and watch a few cookery tutorials. And use sites such as ours, practicing your cooking with a few simple recipes that won't take long to learn. Once you are well-versed in cooking techniques, and when you have grown in confidence, you will be able to stick to the meal plan that we advocated and feel healthier to boot.

Quit a bad habit


New Year's resolutions are all about kicking bad habits, but it may be more beneficial to tackle a few before January to start the New Year feeling motivated.  From smoking too much to drinking one too many glasses of alcohol, you will also be hurting your bank balance as well as your wellbeing. Setting yourself a target to quit your bad habits is something to think about. However it may be a good idea not to try and quit everything all at once. While you could certainly try, your better bet is to focus on one of your bad habits, taking steps to conquer it before moving onto something else. It might be less stressful for you if you do. Smocking is a popular habit to quit and although you could follow these steps, it’s important not to beat yourself up if you don’t manage it straight away. When quitting a bad habit, I think it is important to celebrate the small victories and take each day as it comes.

Find an exercise activity you will enjoy


If jogging or going to the gym seems like a chore to you, then don't. Give them a try by all means - you might actually enjoy the activity - but don't force yourself to do something that gives you little satisfaction. While exercise isn't only about enjoyment - you are ultimately doing it for your physical and mental wellbeing - you are less likely to give up on something if you actually have a good time taking part in the activity. Therefore, think about the sports you used to enjoy as a child. Join a group that has both an activity you might enjoy, and other people to have fun with such as a yoga class or something at the gym. And consider the ideas listed here to inspire you into starting something that falls under the category of 'fun.' By committing to something you enjoy, you will start to feel healthier, boost your happiness levels, and possibly enhance your social life as well, should that be a motivating factor for you.

Book your medical appointments


Instead of making a mental note that you really should get around to booking an appointment with your doctor, dentist, optometrist, and any other medical professional that will aid your health... Booking appointments now is your best way of staying healthy, even if there is nothing wrong with you, there is still that peace of mind that comes from knowing you are okay. And if there is something wrong, it's better to find out early, as the issue may be resolvable. Therefore, cut out your excuses. The financial aspect may be a reason for you putting off your medical appointments, but you may be eligible for a concession, so check with your local bulk billing medical centre. And if you are fearful about going for an appointment, especially if it's at your local dentist - we know how scary it can be - you might want to consider these simple tricks to overcome your anxiety. Just remember, ultimately, you may have to pay out more money if any medical issues you have aren't resolved early. Your health matters, so book those appointments as soon as.


Turn off the television


A sedentary lifestyle can create all kinds of health problems, so if you are prone to spending more time in front of the box than you should be, you are going to suffer in the long-term. And it's not only your physical or mental health that will suffer. Your social life may suffer too, with setbacks to both family and friend relationships. There are tones of amazing shows to watch but sometimes it’s good to hit that record button and then spend more time doing something else. A new hobby will prove more fulfilling. Spending time with the people closest to you can boost your happiness levels. And you will benefit your health if you can find something active to do with your time, be that pottering around in the garden or going for a walk somewhere interesting. So, set aside time in your weekly calendar to do other things, and at the start of each week, record anything you want to watch later.

Start a gratitude journal


Life isn't perfect. There will be things that get you down. But the more you dwell on these things, the unhappier you will be. And that can affect both your mental and physical wellbeing. Therefore, plan to take some time to sit and reflect on all those things that you are grateful for. Remind yourself of the moments, people, and other aspects of your life that are positive. By doing so, you will shift yourself away from anything that might cause you anxiety and depression, and into a mindset that is happier and more content. Sure, you might need to deal with the things that get you down, but you also need that positive balance to ensure you don't suffer unduly."



I hope that you’ve enjoyed having a read through this list of mindful and healthy lifestyle habits, I know that I plan to adopt a few over the next few weeks. I’m really looking forwarded to the build up to Christmas and the countdown to 2019 and want to head into each feeling as positive and happy as I can.

Madolyn
xxx

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This post contains contributed content and PR samples from Femme Luxe, but all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

My Autumnal Reading List

  • Wednesday, 7 November 2018


I love many things about the Autumn, but something that really gets me in the autumnal spirit is reading. I love to read, but I feel like this is the time of year where I get a major chunk of my reading list checked off. 

I’m not sure what it is about this time of year, but I just feel like I can be more of a homebody and enjoy a cosy night in, curled up with a good book. The only other time I feel like this is when I’m on holiday. It is most likely something to do with my state of mind. Much like when I’m away, I feel completely relaxed and chilled out during the months of September, October and November.

Maybe it is because this is my favourite time of the year (read more about that here), the evenings are darker much earlier, or that I have fewer plans during this time of the year. Whatever the reason, I just always feel like I have less on my plate; more time and can live at a slower pace during these autumnal months. 

With this in mind, I thought I would share a few reads that I am really excited to get stuck into over the next couple of weeks. All of these have been on my ‘to read’ list for quite a while now and I’m really looking forward to finally taking the time to get them read. 


Spark Joy – Marie Kondo

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying was one of the best books I read last year. In the summer of 2017 I really got into the notion of minimalism, and wrote, and still write, many a blog posts all about my thoughts and experiences of my minimalistic journey. Marie’s book really aided in helping me to understand and put into practice all of the ideas that I had read about and watched on the concept of minimalism. After reading her book I felt so inspired and I cannot wait to get into this next book of hers. 

The Underground Railroad – Colson Whitehead

I bought this book pretty much as soon as it came out. I majored in American Studies at University and opted for a lot of modules based on The Slave Trade. I found it such a fascinating topic to study and leap at the chance to read/watch any historical fiction based on the subject. I am about a third of the way though this fictional story about two runaway slaves and their adaptation to freedom. It is a brilliant read and I’m really looking forward to finding out where it will go. 

The F Word – Lily Pebbles 

I pre-ordered this book as soon as Lily announced that it was available towards the end of last year. It arrived just before I went to the USA and for whatever reason; I just haven’t gotten around to reading it yet. I’m excited to get going however, I feel as though it is going to be quite a heart-warming read. Lily writes about all of the different types of friendship that we as females experience through growing up, and then into adulthood and I can't wait to get stuck in.

Everything I Know About Love – Dolly Alderton

My friend bought me this book for my birthday back in September, although it had been on my radar for a while before hand. It is written in a very witty and comedic way and explores many ideas behind the concept of love and relationships. I have read the first couple of chapters and Dolly has already had me laughing out loud as she discusses the finer intricacies of MSN Messenger’s social interactions. I can already tell that I will be passing this book around my friendship circle for the cringey flashbacks alone!


Right, so now I have my pile of books at the ready, it’s time to light the candles and gather a constant supply of coffee, blankets and dark chocolate… 

Madolyn
xxx

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Ensuring That The Content I Absorb Positively Impacts My Life

  • Monday, 5 November 2018


We live in an era surrounded by entertainment, advertisements and noise. It seems to have become the norm that we want to constantly distract ourselves from the world around us.

No longer can we stand in a lift, wait for a coffee or pass the time at a bus stop without pulling out our phones to stare at our screens. As soon as we leave work we plug into Spotify or listen to a podcast on our walk home. When we get through the door the television or YouTube is switched on, just for a bit of ‘background noise’. Even first thing on a morning, or just as we’re falling asleep, there is a need to scroll pointlessly through pages and pages of social media.

But where is the point at which we cut off? How do we ensure that the content we absorb is positively impacting our lives? I know that for me, a lot of what I consume doesn’t add any sort of value. In fact, I feel as though a lot of content that I absorb, actually negatively impacts me my lifestyle.

There is a definite notion of comparison in the online world. It is hard not to look at things and want the perfect lives that are being portrayed on our television screens and social media pages. 

I for one feel as though I need to change my habits when it comes to online/social media content. I want to act more purposefully and mindfully. I want to pick and choose what I want to bring into my life, as opposed to just mindlessly absorbing anything and everything. I also want to limit the amount of time that I spend absorbing content. Sometimes it seems as though I am constantly “plugged in” as it were. As though I am always listening/watching/reading something online, like I’m in a constant state of distraction.

However, if we are more mindful about what it is we want to listen to or watch, I think that it will in turn become more meaningful.

Television


There are so many amazing television shows available at the moment, I’m looking at you Netflix! And although it is great that there are so many programs and films to choose from, it can become a little over bearing. I know that “My List” on Netflix is becoming bigger and bigger, but the truth is, we just don’t have enough time to watch everything. I receive recommendations here and there for various films and television shows, but I feel as though I need to really pick and choose what I want to watch in an attempt to be more mindful.

I am so guilty for putting something on the telly with the idea that I will just ‘have it on in the background’. So if I’m cooking, cleaning, blogging or even just painting my nails, the TV will usually be switched on. I have started to try and actively change this mind-set however, because I know that I’m not actually absorbing this content in a very positive way. The TV is switched on, purely to act as a distraction, but I’m not actually taking anything away from what I’m watching.

I have found that one of the best ways to watch something in a mindful way, is whilst I’m in the bath. I would say that I have a bath twice a week (don’t worry – I do shower everyday as well!) and for me, they are a great way to relax and unwind. I find that I am away from all distraction as I can’t walk away, I can’t be on my phone (I’m waaaay to clumsy and would definitely drop it into the water!) and so I am completely focused - so I set up my laptop and watch something. As in, actually watch something and not use it as a distraction, or be distracted by something else.

Podcasts & Music


I love listening to Podcasts and I think that they are such a great source of entertainment. However, I find that these too can sometimes act as a bit of a distraction, and often at times they seem to just be ‘background’ noise. For example, I would often listen to a podcast whilst I cleaned or did a food shop, however I would find myself zoning out. I wouldn’t actually be listening to what was being said on the podcast, because I was distracted by something else.

Much like my relationship with the television, I was finding that I was mindlessly absorbing the content, and in turn, it was becoming a negative impact. So now I listen to podcasts when I know I’m not distracted and can fully appreciate what it is I’m listening to. So if I’m doing cardio at the gym, traveling on public transport or walking to work, I’ll plug in and get listening. 

It can be argued that Music is perhaps the most inspiring art form, but I’m not entirely sure that there is a negative way to absorb it. There is however a way in which you can absorb music mindfully. I love to sometimes lie quietly in the bath with my eyes closed and just listen to a great album from start to finish. I find it really therapeutic, and it provides a lovely sense of calm. 

Books


I find that when I’m reading a book, it is one of the only times that I am actually fully absorbed in something. There is little to no chance of my mind wondering, or  attempting to multitask and therefore I feel a really sense of escapism. 

I guess it’s a similar sense of escapism people that play video games must feel. Some may see these activities are a bit of a waste of time, or that they don’t put time aside to read because they feel as though they should be doing something “better” or “more productive” with their time. However, no matter what you read, I think that it is really beneficial.

I know it’s a bit of a cliché, but I have been trying more and more to set some time a side to read (hasn’t everyone??) In fact, I’m currently writing up an autumnal read list post, so be sure to keep an eye out for that. And I really like to read physical books, but I have a kindle and I often find it easier to look online for suggestions and inspiration. There are huge ebook libraries that have millions of books to choose from that you can filter down into genres of interest. I think that the content we absorb through reading is extremely positive and beneficial. It allows our mind to focus on one thing, and one thing alone in that moment, without the distraction or noise of the world around us.

There is of course no right or wrong way of absorbing content, and everyone’s personal preferences differ on the type of content as well as the volume. For me, I felt as though I was absorbing way too much, in a world that is already so loud. As a result, I felt the need to be more mindful and attempt to absorb entertainment and online content in a controlled way, in the hope that it would have more of a positive impact on my life. 

Madolyn
xxx

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