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.
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!
‘Sweetbitter’ – Stephanie Danler
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.
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…
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!
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?
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
BOOKS: MAKEUP & BEAUTY
You all know that beauty is one of my most loved passions, it’s something that I talk about almost every single day, so it’s no surprise that my shelves are over flowing with books that focus around my favourite subject. Each and every one of the books that I’m about to talk about are beautiful in their own right, I just love to see these babies lined up in my office waiting for me to flick through them with a hot cup of tea by my side. These are the books I turn to when I’m feeling a bit ‘meh’. Within these pages there are beauty tips, makeup tricks and healthy, nourishing recipes that will help me shine from the inside out. Leave a comment down below and let me know what your favourite beauty books are, I’d love to know and expect a second follow up post because there were just too many to mention in one post!
If you’re one of my OG viewers you’ll know that Lisa Eldridge is one of my favourite girl bosses, she’s one of the worlds most formidable and most respected make up artists, so naturally when I saw this book pop up on my list of recommended books on amazon I knew I had to add this one to my basket. The history of makeup is a subject that has always interested me, so reading ‘Face Paint’ was an experience that proved to be both enjoyable and informative. I found it so fascinating to learn about how techniques and trends in makeup have been influenced by moments in history, and how the materials that women have used have changed and evolved over the years. As a beauty lover I felt it was important to expand my knowledge on a subject that I speak about daily. Give this one a go if makeup is your thang.
‘The Nature of Beauty: Organic Skincare, Botanical Beauty Rituals and Clean Cosmetics’- Imelda Burke
This book is almost like a handbook for someone interested in natural beauty. Imelda Burke is hugely respected in the industry and is the mastermind behind the London shop Content Beauty Wellbeing. I highly suggest you pop into the store or check out the website for some serious beauty inspo. It showcases natural ingredients that work wonders for your skin in a way that’s easy to digest. It begins with reasons to switch from conventional products for more natural ones-I highly recommend it! (Oh, and I love the cover!)
BOOKS: Motivation & Girl Power
Sometimes we all need to read some words of encouragement to make us realise that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Whether you’re struggling with issues at work, feeling unmotivated to get fit or simply need a little inspiration to find the lifestyle that’s perfect for you, I’ve got you covered. I wanted to make a list of a few of the books that have helped me to overcome a few obstacles in my life in the hope that they can help you along the way too. Sometimes we all just need to know that every problem has a solution, and we’re not the only ones in the world who have had to deal with certain issues in life. If you’ve read any of these let me know if you feel as passionate about them as I do, and if you haven’t yet added these books to your collection then I strongly urge you to do so! Enjoy.
‘Big Magic’ was a game changer for me whilst writing my book Bloom. This book gave me the confidence that I needed to push through the dreaded creative block that I often encounter in my life and gave me some tools to think about things in a different way. It’s packed with valuable insights, suggestions and advice on how to follow your dreams and utilise your creativity to reach your final goal. This book is a must read for anyone who’s looking to take a creative leap but feels as though the fear of failure is keeping them from following their dreams. ‘Big Magic’ pretty much embodies the definition of motivational. Elizabeth, you’re a legend.
Sheryl Sandberg is the ultimate girl boss and I strongly believe that every woman should have a copy of ‘Lean In’ sitting proudly on their book shelf. In this book Facebook COO and one of Fortune Magazine’s ‘Most Powerful Women in Business’ Sheryl Sandberg, describes her own experience of working for some of the world’s most successful businesses and shares her valuable thoughts on the changes that women can make to have a positive effect on the issue of equality within the workplace. This brave and provocative read is jam packed with useful insights and constructive advice to encourage women to climb the corporate ladder. ‘Lean In’ helps us to recognise the obstacles that face women on the path to leadership and tells us how to get over them. This book is without doubt an uplifting and inspiring read. Major girl power.
Aimed specifically at women, ’Step Up’ is the ultimate self-help for anyone who wants to climb up the career ladder and reach their ultimate goal. It’s a bit of a mish mash of inspirational advice and helpful 10 minute daily exercises that can help you on your journey towards success. Although it’s mainly aimed at women who work within an office environment, I still found this book extremely motivational and discovered that I could still apply some of the tips and advice to my own career path. This book helped me to really think about exactly what it is that I want to achieve in my career and taught me a few simple lessons on how I can start to make it happen.
‘Eat Sweat Play’ by Anna Kessel played a big part in encouraging my fitness journey, which I have coined #PersonalBest. It’s no secret that I’ve never really been into sports, going to the gym has never been high up there on my list of things to do on a Sunday morning, or any day of the week for that matter…but as soon as I reached the last word on the final page of this book I knew that something had to change. ‘Eat Sweat Play’ is hugely inspirational; its pages discuss the topic of sexism in sport and talks about how the sporting industry is unfortunately a largely male dominated environment. This book is a call to action for us girls to reclaim our right to engage in sporting activities and encourages us to teach younger generations about how important it is to grow up as a strong, fit and healthy human being. I’d go as far to say that this book was a life changer for my health and fitness. Now whenever I’m feeling unmotivated and can’t summon up the energy to get off my bum and head to the gym all I have to do is think of this book and what it taught me and I find myself slipping on my trainers and heading out the door. Get it girls.
Oh come on, you didn’t think I would write a book guide and not include my own book in there did you? Come on guys, I had to do it! Basically this book is written by this really cool person called Estée Lalonde and I think you should all go and buy a copy for all your friends…In all seriousness I wanted to include my book in this week’s post because I’d like to think that it’s motivational to some of you (from what you’ve all told me it is, so thank you!). I talk a lot about my journey through life and the obstacles that I’ve faced along the way. I speak out about my struggle with anxiety and depression and how I’ve learned to deal with the effect that it has on my everyday life. I also discuss my relationship with food and body confidence and how I’ve finally reached a place where I’m comfortable-ish in my own skin. I wrote this book because I wanted to share my story with you guys in the hope that it will encourage you to find the lifestyle that is perfect for you. Grab a copy for yourself or a friend if you haven’t already. I hope that you love it!
BOOKS: HOME & DESIGN
It’s no secret that Aslan and I are obsessed with all things interiors. A few weeks back I uploaded a video called ‘Welcome to My Home’ to my YouTube channel and the response that we received was overwhelmingly positive. As it turns out, you guys love seeing little snippets of our home, so I thought it was only right that for this book week I give you an insight into some of the books that we turn to for interior design inspiration.
I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes, it’s nice to be nosey. Alexander Onderwater’s book ‘Where They Create’ includes pages and pages of behind the scenes shots of artist’s studios and office spaces, which means I can get a rare glimpse into these creative environments from the comfort of my own sofa. I love to see how different artists work and what they surround themselves with to get inspired. I find it so fascinating to see how they curate their own idea of the perfect working environment. This book will be a permanent fixture on my shelves for many years to come. One of my favourites for sure!
This book pretty much does exactly what it says on the tin. With its pages full of beautiful imagery of the most gorgeous of homes from all over the globe, ‘The Monocle Guide to Cosy Homes’ provides us with a guide of the best cities, villages and coastal areas to settle down and build your nest. From a London Mews, to a Spanish hideaway, this book gives us a peek into some of the world’s most stylish of spaces. Keep this one on your coffee table or give it as a gift.
You guys know that I love to collect quirky knick knacks, my office is the one room in the house where I can go wild and fill it with all the things that I love, so I’ve found myself falling head over heels in love with this book. It’s full of images of the most interesting of spaces and gives you innovative ideas on the endless amount of ways that you can decorate your living space. This is the book that makes me realise that although minimalism may look good, for me it’s just not as fun as surrounding yourself with beautiful bits and bobs. This one’s a winner.
‘The Design Book’
If you’re into iconic furniture, this is the book for you. ‘The Design Book’ showcases 500 of the most innovative and influential objects of our time and talks about how they have shaped our society. Covering not only classic pieces of furniture, Aslan and I love to flick through this book whenever we need some interiors inspiration, this is definitely our go-to.
In Danish, the word ‘hygge’ is used to describe the notion of enjoying life’s simple pleasures; friends, family and graciousness. How cute is that? In this day and age, its very easy to forget to stop and smell the roses and sometimes we just need a little kick to remind us to do so. ‘The Book of Hygge’ focuses more on lifestyle than interiors, but I wanted to include it in this weeks blog post because it reminds us to enjoy the homes that we live in and the people that we share it with. This book is jam packed with examples of some of life’s most simple yet rewarding pleasures and tells us that it’s important to take the time to slow down and appreciate every single one of them. Whether it’s enjoying a meal around the table with the people you love, baking a fresh loaf of bread or spending an hour digging in the flowerbed, each one of these simple activities evoke a sense of hygge. I’m a big believer in the idea that the best things in life are free and this is a book that instills my faith in that belief. This is a must-read for sure.
If like us, you’re a lover of all-things-Scandi, this book is for you. ‘Northern Delights’ is full of stunning photos of the most beautiful environments from all over the world. Even if you’re not all that into interior design, this book should be a permanent fixture on your coffee table. It’s the book for getting Nordic design inspo and if I only had to recommend ONE of these books, it would be this one. Perfection.
Christmas is just around the corner so I thought I'd put together a few gift guides to give you some inspiration. It can be so hard to pick the right thing for the people you love, so hopefully this sparks a few ideas if you're stuck!
Since there was such a great response to my recent post showing some Bloom outtakes by George Muncey, I thought I’d show you some more outtakes! I also set up a photoshoot with my friend Ollie Ali because I wanted to make sure I had lots of photographs to choose from when putting my book together. George and Ollie have quite different photographic styles, so it’s really interesting looking at how each person interpreted the ‘brief’ I gave them.
This shoot was actually a couple of days before my shoot with George, so I was super excited because it was my first shoot for Bloom. Ollie is absolutely lovely and made sure there were loads of snacks around (yes, these are the things I remember), we popped on the music and started! I genuinely didn’t know what to expect with these photos, but when Ollie sent them through I was absolutely in love! I look so like a professional boss lady and it’s awesome!
You might notice one of Ollie’s photos in Bloom (comment down below if you find it!), but I wish we could have put in more!
#BLOOMBOOK OUTTAKES: GEORGE MUNCEY
Now that my book Bloom: Navigating Life and Style has been out for just over a month, I decided it would be fun to share some of the behind the scenes shots and unseen photos from the cover shoot day. All of these photos are unedited and taken by my good friend George Muncey. I have admired George’s photographs ever since I first saw them and I knew I wanted him to take some pictures to be in the running for the cover of Bloom! As you all know now, his photograph is indeed on the cover.
On the day of the shoot it was pouring rain, but I grabbed loads of outfits and headed over to my friend Harry Hitchen’s flat, which he graciously lent us for the day. If I’m being honest I wasn’t really in the mood to have my photo taken, but I felt super comfortable around George and we decided to take a few pictures just for the hell of it. In my head I was thinking we’d have to have another shoot day because I wasn’t feeling my most peppy, but I’m glad I stuck with it because I think lots of these photos did work out.
The reason I decided on one of these images for the cover was because I felt that it truly represented me. The pink sweater I’m wearing (from IGWT) was never supposed to be on the cover-it’s just what I wore to the shoot. All of the shots with the pink sweater were just test shots and a bit of fun to get me into the groove. I wasn’t trying to be anything I wasn’t and I feel like the photos really represent who I am and express my energy.
It was such a great experience hanging out with Aslan and George. I didn’t feel rushed, I didn’t feel any pressure whatsoever and I was genuinely just feeling relaxed as these photos were being taken, which is sometimes hard when there’s a camera pointing at you!
I hope you enjoyed seeing some behind the scenes photos from this day.
You can order Bloom now if you want to read more about my self discovery journey.
To celebrate the launch of my brand new book Bloom: Navigating Life and Style I gathered all of my friends to come hang out at Libreria Bookshop in East London. It was the perfect venue because there were loads of beautiful books around us, it has a great atmosphere and a pretty cool mirrored ceiling. I’d definitely recommend checking it out if you’re ever in the area!
Anyway, I’ve been a bit of a recluse for the past year while I wrote Bloom, so it was great to see some of my friends I haven’t had a chance to catch up with for awhile. It has been such an unexplainable feeling to be so supported by my friends and family throughout this process. I can’t begin to describe how grateful I am for everyone’s support and positive feedback. Much love to anyone who has taken time out of their day to say something wonderful about Bloom.
SO WHAT IS BLOOM ABOUT?
Bloom is about growing into yourself and working out who you are – which can be really hard at times. I've looked back at all of the events, people and things in my life that have influenced and inspired me and have made me who I am today.I'm not a flawless human (nobody is) and I wanted to write something that showed highs as well as lows in my life, and how you can use that rollercoaster to help you form the life you want. I hope that my book will inspire other people to think about their Bloom stories and who they are, to not be so hard on themselves, to celebrate the good and to not be defined or limited by the bad – and to look into the future, take control of their path and make things happen.