GIRL POWER WORKOUT

As part of my #PersonalBest journey, I decided that it might be fun to invite some of you guys to come and work out with me and join me on my mission. Last week, 30 of my wonderful viewers came along to a beginners HIIT workout class at the Adidas Women’s Studio on Brick Lane. I was a little intimidated by the idea of a HIIT workout but I actually had so much fun and felt amazing by the end of it!

The HIIT workout class took place in the STUNNING Adidas Women’s London Studio on Brick Lane. There’s something about working out in a beautiful space that makes exercising feel so much more enjoyable, and the great thing about the Adidas Studio is that all of the sessions that they offer are completely free of charge! Definitely check it out if you fancy mixing up your normal workout routine!

I love going to workout classes because exercising with other humans makes me feel so motivated-it really feels like you’re a part of something. I just don’t seem to push myself as much when I’m working out on my own, so being surrounded by a group of people who are all pushing themselves makes me feel super inspired and more willing to work my body harder for longer. Working out with my viewers is something that I’ve actually never done before, but it was such an AMAZING experience because I really felt like we were working as a team. Everyone who came along to the class had varying fitness levels which was great as we worked together to help motivate each other. It was such a wonderful experience to see women supporting each other in a fitness environment.

The workout was led by fitness QUEEN Esmée Gummer and quite honestly, I don’t know how I would have made it through the class without her! Esmée is an exceptionally fit person; just a few years ago, Esmée was told that she may never walk again after she was paralysed due to an operation that went severely wrong. Esmée defied all odds and is now one of London’s best and most renowned fitness trainers and quite frankly, she’s amazing! This was the first HIIT class that I had been to and Esmée made it such an enjoyable experience (despite the fact that the workout was SUPER TOUGH), she encouraged us all to kick ass with her infectious, positive attitude. Big thanks to Esmée for supporting and inspiring us!

Not only do I have Esmée to thank, I also want to take this opportunity to say a HUGE THANK YOU to every single one of the strong, kickass women that came along to work out with me! It was so motivating to see you all pushing yourselves and supporting each other, I’m so touched that my viewers are such wonderful human beings and powerful WOMEN! Also thanks to my wonderful Adidas family for curating this event and providing us with the most beautiful environment to work out in!

HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY!

A BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO LIFTING WEIGHTS

*This post is sponsored by Adidas. I am an Adidas Ambassador.

Most of you guys will know by now that I’ve been working on my #PersonalBest journey for quite some time. If you’re new to my blog and don’t know what that hashtag means, basically I’m working on a mission to become a healthier and fitter human by throwing myself into new and exciting workouts and different forms of excercise/healthy food. So far I’ve given rock climbing a go, kicked butt in spin classes and taken things down a notch by enrolling in a pilates class. So many of you have joined me on this #PersonalBest adventure and it’s so exciting to see you guys getting involved and working with me on this mission. I’m not the fittest human in the world (nor do I claim to be) but I’m really trying my hardest to push myself to get up and get active. Trust me, getting out of the house and down to the gym doesn’t come all that easy to me (sometimes I just want to sit on the sofa with some tea and biscuits!) but I can guarantee that once I’ve finished my workout I always feel so much better for pushing myself to make the effort and get to work! I never thought I’d say this, but now I understand that exercise is healthy for not only the body, but the mind and soul too.

As part of my #PersonalBest journey, I decided to get my good friend (and fitness QUEEN) Zanna Van Dijk on board to teach me a thing or two about lifting weights. Whenever I go to the gym with Aslan I’m always envious of how he makes lifting weights look so easy! I’ve always wanted to give weight lifting a go but I’ve never been sure on where I should start and what exercises I should do, so that’s exactly why I decided to get in touch with Zanna and organise a trip to the fitness studio Evolve in Parsons Green. The idea of lifting weights was something that actually felt quite daunting to me, so I thought it was important that I get an expert involved to teach me how to do it properly. I was super scared of doing it wrong and ending up with a sore back or a torn muscle, but thankfully Zanna saved the day and showed me some really useful tips on how to get started and become stronger!

The first exercise that Zanna showed me is called an Arnold Press (named after Shwarzeneger himself of course). This exercise really helps to target the front and side of your shoulders and is great for strengthening your arms and core. This one is fairly easy because you’re able to sit down while you’re doing it. I used 4kg dumbbells which is a great place to start if you’re a beginner like me. Whilst holding a weight in each hand, extend your arms over the top of your head and twist them as you go, hold it for a second before coming all the way back down and pushing the weights together. Make sure your movements are slow and controlled and don’t forget to take your time whilst coming back down with the weights too. Zanna suggests that you do three sets of 10 reps of the Arnold Press exercise, but just do what you can and build yourself up over time.

This exercise is called a Single Arm Row and apparently it’s great for your posture For this one you’ll need to make sure that you have a bench handy and position yourself so that you’re half on and half off of the surface and make sure that your back is nice and straight. Using one hand, lift one of your 4kg weights up towards your body, hold it there for a second and then release. This exercise is great for your bicep but also works to pull your shoulders back (hence why it’s so good for your posture!) Try to do 8-10 reps on one arm before switching over to the other. I found this one surprisingly easy at first, but trust me when I say that they get a lot harder!

Wanna work that booty? This exercise is the one for you! The Goblet Squat focuses on the quads, hamstrings and glutes (basically your legs, thighs and butt!). I found this exercise quite difficult but what I like about it is that it works three areas of your body in one. To do a Goblet Squat you’ll need to hold the weight up to your chest and stand up, make sure that your legs are a shoulder width apart with your toes pointing slightly outwards. Now that you’re in position move your body down into a squat and as you come back up squeeze your butt cheeks together! Do 3 sets of 10 reps and your bum will thank you for it!

Again this exercise is great for your posture and it specifically targets your hamstrings and your glutes. I didn’t realise that hamstrings or glutes had anything to do with how you hold yourself, but targeting these areas actually helps to support your posture! To do this exercise you’ll need to hold a dumbbell in each hand whilst standing up straight. Once in position, take a nice big step back, stabilise yourself and then drop down so that both of your legs are creating a 90 degree angle, hold it for a second and then come back up. Make sure that your knee is as close to the floor without touching it and use your front heel to take the most of your weight and push yourself back up to a standing position. I ramped things up a notch and used 6kg in each hand for this exercise, but again just do what you’re comfortable with and build yourself up over time. Try to do 3 sets of 10 reps per leg if you can!

I found this last exercise quite tough so I’d have to say it’s my least favourite! This one is called a Plank Drag and you can amp things up by using your dumbbells or just do it with your arms if you’re not ready to tackle the weights. To do a Plank Drag you’ll need to position yourself into a plank (which in my opinion is tough in itself!) making sure that your back is nice and straight and your arms are a shoulder width apart. If you’re using weights, grab one of the dumbbells and pull it across to the opposite side. Make sure that you lock your core and don’t allow your hips to wobble, it’s important to keep your body as controlled as possible. If you’re doing this exercise without weights, you can do all the same moves as you would when using the dumbbells, but instead of picking one of those up simply use your arm to tap the floor on the opposite side. Again you should do 3 sets of 10 reps each side. This one is super tough and even Zanna described it as a ‘killer’ so if you’re giving this one a go be warned! It’s tough!

So those were the 5 beginner weight lifting moves. Huge thank you to Zanna for helping me to tackle something that I’ve wanted to try for a very long time! I actually really enjoyed these exercises and love that I’m on the road to being a stronger human! If you want to see some more advanced workouts make sure you check out Zanna’s YouTube channel, she really is a fitness QUEEN!!! Definitely make sure you watch the video that we filmed for my channel if you want to get a better understanding of how to do some of these moves. Let me know if you try out any of these exercises and don’t forget to use the hashtag #PersonalBest so that I can keep up to date on your progress!

Here’s what we’re wearing!

Hoodie | Tank | Crop Top | TightsTrainers

BOOKS: PRETTY BOOKS

This week I’m bringing you a selection of my favourite ‘pretty books’. By ‘pretty’, I’m referring to the books that I like to keep sitting proudly on the coffee table or popping out at eye level on my book shelves. Not only are they absolutely gorgeous to look at, they’re inspiring to read and a complete feast for the eyes from cover to cover. They’re beautiful in every way and I hope that you’ll love them just as much as I do!

‘This Modern Love’ – Will Darbyshire

Will Darbyshire is a good friend of mine, so my thoughts on this book might be a little biased. But you know me, I’ll only ever give you an honest opinion that comes straight from the heart, so believe me when I say that this one is wonderful! From cover to cover both in its content and style it is absolutely beautiful. This book is a collection of letters, stories and photographs submitted by Will’s YouTube audience from all over the globe, all of which focus on the subject of love and relationships. ‘This Modern Love’ is truly unique and relatable to everyone, everywhere. Make sure you grab a copy of this!

‘Men in This Town/Women in This Town’ – Giuseppe Santamaria

These books are so cool! If you’re a people watcher or a lover of all things ‘street style’ then these books were made for you. Giuseppe Santamaria is a photographer, blogger and art director with an eye for a style icon. These books are packed cover to cover with gorgeous photographs of the most badass people from all around the world. Each person has a sense of style that speaks volumes about who they are as a human being, it’s just so interesting to see how these people curate their outfits to showcase their personalities. These books have become a permanent fixture on my coffee table and are a huge source of outfit inspiration.

‘Nasty Galaxy’ – Sophia Amoruso

Author of #GIRLBOSS and founder of Nasty Gal, Sophia Amoruso is the ultimate badass. She’s someone that has inspired women from all over the globe, including me! Nasty Galaxy is basically the story of Sophia’s life and how she became the successful woman that she is today. It’s jam packed full of photos, illustrations and interviews and laid out in just the most gorgeous way. Flicking through this book is kind of like flicking through a scrapbook, so it’s perfect for those moments when I’m feeling like I need some creative inspo.

Rupi Kuar ‘Milk and Honey’

Poetry was never something I was all that into until I picked up a copy of Rupi Kaur’s ‘Milk and Honey’. This book is simply wonderful. Split into four sections, each chapter holds a different purpose and takes us on a journey through some of the most bitter moments in life as well as some of the sweetest. It’s hard to tell you much about this book because you have to read it yourself to fully experience it. Buy it for yourself and see what you think. I guarantee it will change your attitude towards poetic writing.

Valentines Gift Guide 2017

Aslan and I don’t avidly ‘celebrate’ Valentines Day, we’ve never really been the couple who spends a fortune on expensive gifts or fancy dinners when V day rolls around. We both believe that you should show your loved ones how much they mean to you all the time, no matter what the time of year (cheesy or what?). However, it’s nice to treat each other to a little something on the day to show each other that we care, and after all, Valentine’s Day is just a bit of fun! For Aslan and I, Valentine’s Day usually means swapping cute handmade cards and exchanging small, inexpensive gifts that may not mean anything to some, but mean a lot to us. That’s why for this Valentine’s Day Gift Guide I’ve searched far and wide to bring you a collection of some of the cutest gifts around for £20 and under. Whether it’s your bae, your bestie or even your favourite furry friend, sometimes the smallest of gestures can mean a lot to the person you love.

I hope that my Valentine’s Day gift guide has given you some giftspiration and helped to spark a few ideas! Let me know if you’ll be showing some love to your loved ones this V-Day. Whether it’s your lover, your mother, your bestie or your fur baby, comment down below and tell me what you’re planning on treating them to this year!

New In: Stationery & Other Things I Didn't Need

Just recently I published a post all about my hoarding obsession with magazines, but what I didn’t tell you guys is that I have another hoarding obsession…and that obsession is stationery. Take me to a place that sells pastel coloured washi tape, cute stickers or scented highlighters and I’ll probably have bought the entire store before you can even say the word ‘stationery’. The thing is, I don’t even need this stuff, but I just can’t help myself! We all have our guilty pleasures, right?

On this occasion I decided to hit up two of my go-to stationery stores, Paper Smiths and Choosing Keeping. Both of these sites stock THE most gorgeous pieces and have everything you could imagine; from coffee table books to fancy shmancy pencil cases and pens. For a stationery addict like me, this is heaven! If your willpower is weak, stay well away.

I picked up a number of things on my stationery spree and I’m in love with them all! Arguably my favourite things from this haul are my beautiful new cases from Choosing Keeping. These babies make me happier than they should. Just look at the way they glisten and shine! I picked up one glasses case and one pencil case and the fact that they match makes my heart jump for joy. They’re super fragile so I’ll most likely keep these on my desk rather than rolling around at the bottom of my bag, but they look absolutely stunning and I know that they’ll be a joy to use.

There’s something about acquiring new stationery that makes me feel motivated to be super productive. Whether it’s starting a fresh page of a notebook or opening up the lid on a brand new pen, having new stationery makes me want to get to work and start ticking things off of my ever-growing to do list.

Those are just a few bits that I’ve acquired recently, make sure that you head on over to my YouTube channel to watch my ‘Stationery Haul video where I show you a some more of the beautiful stationery pieces that I bought! Are you a stationery freak like me? If so, comment down below and let me know which are your favourite stationery stores! I’m always looking for new things to add to my collection so I’d love to hear your recommendations!

BEHIND THE SCENES: LANCÔME

The time has finally come for me to spill the beans on a pretty exciting secret that I’ve been keeping under wraps for the last few months. The urge to tell you all what I’ve been up to and where I’ve been has been painfully tough (you all know I’m terrible at keeping secrets), but somehow I’ve managed to keep my mouth shut and wait until this very moment to tell you my exciting news! So, without further ado…I’m incredibly excited to announce that I am officially partnering with Lancôme throughout 2017 to create amazing content and exclusive behind the scenes access. Eeeeeeeeek!!

I’ve been working with Lancôme on various projects throughout the years and over that time I’ve been able to get to know the team, understand what the brand is really about and have lots of fun along the way! Lancôme is all about female empowerment, being unapologetically you and of course great beauty products. I vividly remember purchasing one of my first ever makeup items when I was a teenager; a gloriously vibrant Lancôme Juicy Tube which became a permanent fixture on my lips from the day I bought it. Over the next year I’ll be working on loads of really exciting projects with Lancôme and I cannot wait to get started!

For this post I wanted to bring you guys along and show you a behind the scenes view of my first big project with Lancôme. As part of this journey, Lancôme asked me if I would be interested in working on a video to officially announce my position as a new member of the family and of course I said YES! There is a behind the scenes video at the bottom of this post to take a peek at but I’ll be sharing the official video and photos at a later date.

I had SO much fun filming the announcement video! The whole day went by in the blink of an eye so I’m super glad that Aslan was there to capture some special moments and make sure that this memory is something that I can treasure forever. The team were so amazing and made me feel so at home in the studio. It was pretty breathtaking to realise the entire day was set up just for me…it took me a few days to let that sink in. Aslan also made sure that I had a cup of tea to hand at all times (he knows me well!), which was a life saver and helped to keep my energy levels topped up. Gotta get that tea fix!

Arguably the best part of the day was having my makeup done by the legend that is Alex Babsky. Alex is spectacularly gifted and I’m completely in awe of his talent. I’ve been a huge admirer of his work for a very long time, so to have him work his magic on my face during one of the most important shoots of my life was an absolute dream! Alex has worked with some of the most influential women in the world including Naomi Campbell, Sarah Jessica Parker, Victoria Beckham and Alicia Keys to name only a few, so to have Alex do my makeup was a real honour and something that I’ll remember for the rest of my life for sure! I had two makeup looks during the shoot; one daytime look and one night time. My daytime makeup was a gorgeous, sultry eye with a glossy nude lip, then for the evening look Alex amped things up with a sexy smoky eye, strong contour and rosy lip. I adored both looks and I’ll definitely be trying my best to recreate them by myself!

Can we talk about the drawing Alex did of me? I stared at it for a good 30 minutes and I’m still not over it. Thank you Alex!!!

As well as having the wonderful Alex with me to get my glam on, I also had my good friend Larry King on set to tame my tresses. Larry is amazing at what he does and I was so lucky to be able to have him at the shoot with me to make my hair look bomb. Not only that but having a close friend on set really helped to calm my nerves and give me an extra boost of energy and confidence. It was a blessing to have Larry by my side to make me laugh in between shots, it was exactly what I needed and he made me feel so much more at ease. He’s hilarious and wonderful!

It’s no secret that I’m not a model, so trying to look a certain way in front of a camera with a whole team of people watching isn’t something that comes easy to me! However having legends like Alex and Larry with me to do their thang on my hair and makeup gave me the confidence I needed to get in the zone and kick some butt. This is such a huge deal for me so I knew that it had to be right and I had to give it my all, hopefully you guys think I did a good job!

I can’t find the words to express just how excited I am to be working with this amazing brand! I’ve been an admirer of Lancôme since I started wearing makeup so I simply can’t believe that this is happening to me! Of course I wouldn’t be in this position if it weren’t for you guys, so I hope you know how grateful I am to each and every one of you for making this dream come true for me. Every time you leave a positive comment or like one of my Instagram pictures it means something to me. Sometimes I wonder how this whole thing even happened to me. Surreal.

Stay tuned for loads of exciting projects coming up, I wish I could tell you all of the amazing things that Lancôme have got in store for me, but unfortunately for now I have to keep those under wraps! Stay tuned and all will be revealed in due course. In the meantime, make sure you check out one of the official photos from the day on my Instagram and also take a peek at our behind the scenes vlog from this amazing day!

Thanks so much to Lancôme for believing in me.

Magazines: My Ultimate Inspo

If you’ve been watching my snapchat recently you’ll know that over the past few weeks I’ve been on a strict de-cluttering mission. Although I usually have lots of meetings in the daytime from Monday to Friday, most of my working week is spent sitting on my laptop at my desk at home, so it’s super important for me to be surrounded by a clean and tidy, clutter free space to ensure that I can focus on my work and be as productive as humanly possible. Despite being a self confessed hoarder (I’m convinced I’ve inherited this trait from my Grandma) filling up bags of my belongings to donate to charity isn’t something that I find all that hard to do, in fact, I actually enjoy the process! However, if there’s something you wont see me bagging up and popping in the trunk of my car, it’s my magazines…my one true weakness

The reason that I find my collection of magazines so hard to part with is because they’re always my number one go-to solution when I’ve been hit by the creative block curse. There’s an absolutely enormous stack of magazines on the shelves in my office that I just can’t bear to part with and I can’t see a time in the future when I ever will! There are so may incredible magazines out there, each of one of them completely unique and inspiring in their own weird and wonderful way. Every once in a while I’ll spend a day flicking through my stack of mags and bookmarking anything that catches my eye with a sticky note, even if there’s nothing within those pages that’s relevant to what I’m working on at that time, I can guarantee that at some point in the future, that bookmarked page will spark an idea within me that I didn’t know I had. You should never feel bad for putting down your pen and paper or shutting down your laptop and taking the time to treat your eyes to something beautiful because you never know what that moment could lead to. It’s important to allow your mind the time to refresh itself and get excited by looking at something new.

Of course magazines aren’t my only port of call when I’m in need of a little inspo, with so many amazing apps and websites at our fingertips nowadays it’s easier than ever to see the light at the end of the creative block tunnel. As most of you are aware, I’m completely and utterly obsessed with Instagram and don’t even get me started on how many hours I’ve spent scrolling through Pinterest and Tumblr! We’re so lucky to live in a world where we have access to such incredible content from wonderful creatives all over the globe! Although half an hour scrolling through Instagram or stalking someone’s Tumblr is usually enough to get me powering through my to do list once again. Sometimes I find that the best thing for me to do is to head outside and take some time to breathe in the air. Aslan and I are so lucky to have our wonderful Greyhound Reggie because he gives us both an excuse to get outside onto the brisk London streets and lap up the change in scenery. Often I’ll leave the house feeling at a loss for ideas and desperate for something to spark imagination, but I can almost guarantee that once I return from a trip to the park with Reg I’ll be feeling completely refreshed and ready to get on with my day.

Check out my Instagram and take a peek at my Pinterest!

 So those are just a few of the things that I do when I’m needing some inspo. I would love to hear what you guys do to refresh your mind and tackle those creative block woes! Let me know by commenting down below or tweeting me @esteelalonde

Wanna see which magazines are my faves and where I turn to to get them? I’m throwin’ it back to a video that I filmed at the beginning of 2016 where I took you guys along on a magazine shopping trip. Give it a watch and let me know if you’ve read any of the magazines that I mentioned!

WATCH ME!

BOOKS: ON MY READING LIST

As you will have noticed, the past few book posts on my blog have all revolved around books that I’ve already read, so I thought it might make a nice change for me to write a post about some of the books that I’m yet to read. I’ve made it my mission to read at least 15 new books this year (that may seem like a lot to some and not very many to others). My reading list is constantly growing, so with this in mind I’ve put together a selection of some of the books I’ve accumulated over the past few months that I’m most excited to read.

‘The Mothers’-Brit Bennett

First of all, let’s start with the book I’m currently reading. Can we all just take a moment to appreciate how beautiful the cover of this book is? This is one of those books that I can’t wait to finish simply so I can see it looking back at me from my book shelf, does anyone else feel that way too? ‘The Mothers’ is a fiction novel by Brit Bennett and the story is pretty turbulent; main character Nadia Turner is a rebellious seventeen year old who is struggling to come to terms with her mother’s recent suicide. Seeking companionship she ends up finding herself in a rollercoaster of a relationship with Luke, a former football star, and ends up becoming pregnant with his child. This story focuses on the family and demonstrates how young love and friendships can create some of life’s hardest hurdles. I’m sure I’ll shed a few tears on the journey to the final page!

Buy it here.

 

‘Sweetbitter’ – Stephanie Danler

Described as a love story, ‘Sweetbitter’ is not the type of book that I’d usually pick up, however there was just something about the blurb that had me hooked from the start. Focusing on the life of 22 year old Tess, this story is all about how she moved to New York City in search of destiny. Meeting a host of intriguing characters along the way and getting herself involved in some exceptionally scandalous situations, I’m assured that this one is going to be page turner. I’ll keep you posted on my thoughts on this one, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to love it!

‘When Breath Becomes Air’ – Paul Kalanithi

Ok so technically I’ve read this one, but you guys should definitely put this on YOUR reading lists. Ever since I finished reading this book I’ve pretty much recommended it to everyone I know. I’m going to warn you, you are guaranteed to shed some tears throughout this book. I’ll try not to give too much away but basically this book is a true story about the Author’s battle with inoperable lung cancer. As a neurosurgeon, Kalanithi writes about his transition from doctor to patient and how it feels to be on the receiving end of a surgeon’s care. ‘When Breath Becomes Air’ is beautifully written and immensely emotional, although this story is incredibly sad, it leads us to question what it is in our lives that is truly important and forces us to appreciate every moment that we have on this earth. It has become one of my favourite books of all time, just make sure you have a box of tissues to hand if you pick this one up.

‘Love Warrior’ – Glennon Doyle Melton

Most of you know that I claim myself to be Oprah’s number one fan, so when I saw that she had listed ‘Love Warrior’ in her 2016 book club selection, I just knew I had to give this one a go. In this book the author’s husband reveals his infidelity to his wife as the reader watches her world start to crumble. ‘Love Warrior’ is the story of Glennon’s turbulent marriage and how, despite all odds, she found the light at the end of the tunnel and made it to the other end. Although it focuses on the author’s marriage alone, it’s also a story that encourages us to believe that healing is possible and that what we think might be the ‘end’, isn’t always so. I feel like this book is going to be a really empowering read and I can’t wait to get into it. It’s no doubt going to be an emotional rollercoaster but one that thankfully (by the sounds of it) has a happy ending.

Buy it here.

 

As soon as I heard about this book I was instantly intrigued.  ‘Swimming Studies’ focuses on the life of the author herself. Now living as an artist, illustrator and writer, Leanne’s youth saw her training to become an Olympic swimmer. In this book Leanne shares her feelings on how her obsession with swimming and the discipline that she learned from her passion has helped to shape her own art. She explores the meditative effect that swimming has on her mind and what this has helped her to discover in her life as an adult. Although it focuses strongly on swimming, this book also teaches us about what it takes to succeed in sports in general. I think this one will be an interesting read…

Buy it here.

‘Hot Milk’ – Deborah Levy

Not going to lie, I’ve heard mixed reviews about this one; some say it’s the most amazing thing they’ve ever read while other’s describe it as a bit of a struggle. Despite this, I want to give it a go for myself.  Focusing heavily on a mother and daughter relationship, this book speaks about female empowerment, sexuality and desire. I did slightly judge a book by its cover though because it’s just so gorgeous!

Buy it here.

One more thing! I have a Goodreads account now! 

Beach Bums

Let's Go To The Beach!

Everyone has their happy place and ours is the beach. Last summer we rented a house on the beach for two weeks and invited loads of people to enjoy the sunshine with us. It was pure bliss, so Aslan and I decided to go back in November for some r&r after my book tour was finished. It was something both of us were looking forward to, so when the time finally came to pack our bags we were ecstatic. Speaking of packing bags, we didn’t bring much. Just some loungewear and I didn’t bring a single makeup product. Bliss!

The best part of our beach vacations is that we can bring our beautiful Greyhound Reggie! Unfortunately our holidays are usually spent without him because he can’t go on airplanes or drive too far, but since Camber Sands is about a 2 hour drive Reggie can happily rest in the back seat of the car. Dog lovers will understand that being without your dog is tough, so to be able to organise a holiday around dog walks and afternoon naps together is ideal. ZzzZz.

Reggie is keeping his eyes peeled for rabbits.

There’s nothing quite like waking up and going for a morning walk on the sand. It makes for a nice change compared to the sirens, smog and noise London greets us with. You don’t always need to get on a plane and travel around the world to have a lovely holiday. Sometimes the best memories can be made near home.

The kind of happiness we get from seeing Reggie run around like crazy is unexplainable. It’s the kind of happiness that radiates through your entire body and keeps you buzzing all day long.

I’m learning the importance of switching off. We are all so obsessed with technology and the digital world that it’s actually quite difficult to break the habit. For the first 2 days at the beach house Aslan and I always struggle to get back in touch with “reality”. It has become strange for us to leave our iPhones in a different room all day long and I see that as something I want to change. These digital detox holidays are crucial for us and I’ll be making sure to do more of it in 2017.

Where is your happy place?

BOOKS: PLANTS

You’re all aware by now that plants are one of my favourite things in life, EVER. To me, a house is not a home unless there’s some leafy little guys to share my space with. There’s something about having a slice of nature within my home that makes me feel really relaxed and content, it must be the energy or the vibrations or whatever. There’s just some kind of vibe that exudes from their leaves that makes me feel positive and happy. With this in mind, I wanted to share with you some of the books that have inspired me to fill our space with all things green. If you’re a self confessed plant hoarder like me, these ones are for you.

And if you haven’t met my plants yet…click here.

‘Plant: Exploring the Botanical World’ – Phaidon

Ok guys, I have to start by saying that this book is the definition of STUNNING. When I saw this cover staring back at me it almost took my breath away. ‘Plant: Exploring the Botanical World’ is a collection of over 300 botanical works of art throughout history, all of which highlight the true beauty of some of the plants that we’re lucky enough to share our planet with. It’s packed cover to cover with everything from delicate water colour paintings, drawings and prints to high definition photographs and scientific micrograph scans of some of the most beautiful and interesting plants from all over the globe. This is one of those books that I can flick through again and again; each time I’m guaranteed to spot something that I haven’t seen before or learn something that I didn’t already know. I love how this book combines historic drawings and paintings with a layout that’s super modern and slick, it’s the perfect combination of aesthetics and interesting information. This one will be a permanent fixture on my coffee table I’m sure.

Buy it here.

‘Greenterior: Plant-Loving Creatives and Their Homes’ – Bart Kiggen & Magalai Elalai

This is another GORGEOUS book that I’ve spoken about many times. If I haven’t managed to convince you to add this one to your amazon basket, let me tell you a bit more about what lies within the pages of this beautiful book. ‘Greenterior’ showcases the homes of plant loving creatives from all over the globe and let me tell you, I have a serious case of house envy for each and every one of them. Packed with the most gorgeous photography of some of the most incredible homes I’ve ever laid my eyes on, this book is a must buy for all plant enthusiasts and green fingered folk alike. If you’ve spied a little green friend that you particularly like the look of, there’s also a little index in this book that lists the names of each of the plants as well as their specific characteristics. This book is a pleasure to own but has a seriously detrimental effect on my bank account….beware!

Buy it here.

 ‘Urban Jungle: Living and Styling with Plants’ – Igor Josifovic & Judith De Graaff

Much like ‘Greenterior’ this book is absolutely beautiful. Heavily photographic, ‘Urban Jungle’ shares with us some of the most enchanting ‘green homes’ from all over Europe. It’s a great source of inspiration and almost acts like a handbook for those looking to get more into plants and greenery. By the time you’ve reached the end of this book I’m pretty sure you’ll have bought the entire contents of your local garden centre….sorry!

Buy it here.

Vintage Books

Some of my favourite plant based books are actually vintage so I can’t link you to buy these exact ones, but I can tell you that some of the best green books that I’ve found have been hidden away at the back of antique centres or lined up on a shelf in a charity shop. The thing I love most about vintage plant books is that they often have the most beautiful hand drawn illustrations or black and white photographs. That hand drawn vibe and old school look just adds a certain charm that you’d be hard pushed to find in a modern day publication. Have a rummage around in your local second hand stores and let me know what gems you find!

Browse here. 

‘The Plant’ Magazine

I love magazines…I love plants…so when the two come together to combine a plant based magazine, all my dreams come true. The thing that I love about this magazine is that each issue focuses on a specific plant, for instance, the magazine in the photos focuses on the Spider Plant which I LOVE. ‘The Plant’ is really interesting and informative which is great, but it’s also laid out in the most gorgeous way so it’s an pleasure to flick through. This one is a must buy for sure.

Buy it here.

If you’re curious about what other magazines I love then you MUST watch this video.