Sunday, 22 March 2020

LIFESTYLE// Rainbow Pictures To Spread Hope

We made rainbow pictures to put in our windows to spread a little cheer to anyone who might see.

I can take no credit for this idea. It seems schools all over the country have been encouraging their children to paint rainbows for home windows to bring joy to passersby. I actually saw it on a fellow blogger's, The Twinkle Diaries Facebook page, who was sharing her home school activity for her followers. The two boys had made such beautiful, colourful rainbows that it totally inspired me to get our kids to make some.

A Rainbow. What an image of hope. I can't really believe how life has changed this week for us. It seems quite unbelievable that in a matter of days this country went more or less completely into lock down to help protect many from the spread of this Coronavirus.

When I was reading about the spread of rainbow joy through the country I thought it was such a wonderful visual for bringing joy. We all know how nice it is to see a rainbow; that magic of sunshine and water covering the sky with colour. Biblically it was a reminder of a promise, one that offers hope even when we may only see the darkness and how prominent that same theory is today. While this wave is covering the earth we are finding ourselves totally covered in the darkness of unknowing and actually, a rainbow becoming a beacon of hope is exactly the kind of symbol I need to help me move forward.

Today is also Mothering Sunday, a weird one as I haven't been able to see my mum or in fact attend church as all churches now have no masses for the foreseeable future. That in itself is mental. Being a cradle catholic, this is the first time I have ever known such a thing to happen and with the thought of no return date the whole idea of not having our Church community is a very scary one. I know this has also really affected Raph and actually after attending the last mass to be said at our church on Friday night he burst into tears explaining he didn't like all these things changing.
I know how important it is right now to offer our family a constant, some hope and just to keep life simple. 
Spending some time together today was truly wonderful. Painting these rainbows was such a nice activity and a wonderful thing to do on Mother's day. It made me feel like a mum, this time I was giving them and we were able to talk and answer questions and just be together, all four of us just being at peace.

The Rainbow

I had nothing special to do a fancy collage one with (I actually hate crafting), I don't even have a box of poster paints, yep I am that mum, but what I do have is a select few acrylic paints which I had bought for other projects that never got complete! I also happened to have 4 sheets of artists paper that had been left over from some project I can't even remember which suddenly had a more colourful life to live!

Our colour pallet

I just thought I would list the colours we used as that is often something I am interested in:
Winsor & Newton Galeria Acrylic in Yellow Ochre / Pale Umber / Burnt Sienna / Pale Terracotta / Pale Olive. Just so you know the website colours look nothing like the actual paint colours but the names are the same so I can only presume they are.

Our Rainbows

I happened to have enough frames for our rainbows by simply taking out older prints. This project was not about buying new to suit, I have used what we had. All the frames are different but that doesn't matter, these paintings are now framed and round the house with three of them facing outside to offer something to the world. 
 If you have children off school or just fancy getting arty yourself, why not help fill our streets with colour and a sign of hope to remind us all that this will pass.


Saturday, 21 March 2020

FASHION // Reinventing My Hair In Different Ways

Reinventing my hair styles in the easiest way.

Man, I am so past styling my hair with instruments. I wash my hair on an evening, sit in front of the fire whilst watching TV to dry it and then just straighten my fringe each morning. I do nothing. Seriously, hair styling can be such a chore and really, with life right now, I am just done with it. Don’t get me wrong, I love to do a good blow dry when I have time but day to day, that time doesn’t exist so I have found myself in the above cycle.

That all said, a few months ago I started doing that thing we all do when we get to a stage with our hair that we want to just cut it all off. Now, I am so glad I didn’t. Instead, I have been purchasing some amazing hair accessories to jazz up my locks and I absolutely love it.

I wanted to share some products and even just some photo ideas of how I am wearing my hair most days. The best thing is, hair accessories are very in fashion right now so there are a host of examples around. That also means that there are some amazing sale bargains, as hair accessories have a fashion cycle too (apparently) which is how I have been buying quite a few of mine.

I love wearing my hair in a pretty basic down style but by having a 90s Rachel cut ('Friends' fans know the one I mean) with a full fringe means that my hair is cut with some nice layers off my fringe and I find that an up-do sits well and frames my face nicely.

Whether you are wearing hair clips just on the sides or dressing up with a fancy scrunchy, hair accessories are a great way to just feel a little more put together.

So below are 7 examples (yes, one for every day of the week) on how you can make your hair look fancy by just adding a little bit of jazz!

What to know my favourite places to shop hair accessories?

Right now (21.3.2020) all these shops have got great sales on so may be worth a little look if you want to ABJ (Always Be Jazzy)!


Sunday, 15 March 2020

MIND // 20 Ways To Keep Happy At Home

I thought I would compile a list of activities you can do if you find you are stuck at home or wanting to stay in more at the moment. 

(Me Being blown about outside)

I thought it would be nice to just offer some ideas on how to keep happy through different activities that would suit someone who is single, a couple or a family.

20 Ways To Keep Happy At Home

Read a book. Common, let's hygge the shit out of this current situation and embrace the art of keeping cosy Scandinavian style!

Tidy up the garden. It is a perfect time to start the spring time garden sort. Clean up your boarders, cut back over grown plants, wash out planters ready for new seeds. You could even wash any patios or repaint fences. The time outside (especially if it is sunny will make you feel so good!)

Bake a cake. If I had to “panic buy” anything it would be flour, butter, eggs, sugar and yeast. Let's be realistic; keep calm and eat cake! Or hot fresh bread and butter; that makes me feel so happy!!

Do a jigsaw with a big cup of tea! Sitting down to focus on a puzzle is a great way to de-stress. You could have some music on or your favourite TV show and just enjoy the relaxing elements of sitting calmly. (Disclaimer; make sure your puzzle isn’t too hard as that could end up quite stressful).

Work out. There are so many easy ways to get your heart pumping at home and trust me, once you are done those endorphins are going to change your mood. There are millions of YouTube exercise videos if you don’t happen to have an old fitness DVD in your stash (I have a Pilates one that comes out once in a blue moon) or use what is around you to move. Weight lift tins, run up and down the stairs or work out using sit-ups/squats/lunges. If you have kids why not make an at home gym with “stations” when you have to do so many star jumps/ teddy rolls/ skips. It's a lot of fun!

DANCE!! Put the music on and just go for it. Dancing is so good for positive mental health and if you are staying at home lots it gives you a great excuse to practice some moves to bring out at the next party!!

Empty the toy boxes (one specifically for people with children). My kids love it when all the toys are out and they find things they haven’t seen in a long time. Not only is time at home good for sorting but when kids are reminded of what toys they have it can revitalise their play. In emptying toy boxes you can also sort them out a bit and provide charity shops with much needed stock. I found sorting is a really great way to feel like you have achieved something.

Deep cleaning is probably on a lot of people's minds but scientifically the process of cleaning and then the satisfaction can be a huge mood booster. Just tackle one room at a time and make sure you have a cup of tea break between each space. Cleaning can be enjoyable if you don’t make it stressy. Also get children to help where they can. Kids love washing down things like windows, mirrors and dusting surfaces. (Make sure your products can’t harm children though, lots of bleach can get rid of bad germs but also good ones that help with immunity. Keep clean safely.)

Learn something new. I still can’t do winged eyeliner at the age of 32 so you know what I’ll be practising in my spare time! If you want to be more cultured though the internet is now full of amazing tutorials on just about everything! Want to learn how to tile a bathroom, draw or make slime; there is loads of help online!!

Get creative in anyway possible. With children or without, find anything creative you can. Colouring pages can be printed online if you don’t have books. As Easter is coming you could paint some fallen branches from the garden and make some egg decorations for an Easter tree, paint stones with exciting patterns, make some artwork for your home! Getting creative can happen in so many ways.

Watch ALL the movies! You have a good excuse to catch up on everything everyone has been talking about!

Pretend to be a wilderness survivor! Sounds silly but our kids and their cousins had great fun last weekend hanging a sheet over the washing line and building a small campfire where they toasted bread as we had no marshmallows. You could also cook some baked beans or sausages on a fire which kids would absolutely love!! Also Bear Grills has a good show on Netflix where you can choose how he survives. It's called 'You vs The Wild' and has got Raphael particularly inspired.
Top safety tip // use a hard concrete surface for your small fire, make a circle of bricks and big stones and use twigs, dried grass and small logs to build the fire. It is not a bonfire. It is a small 30/30cm fire which is controlled by an adult and put out when the adult leaves. Be safe!

Organise your wardrobe. How often do you feel like you have nothing to wear? Now is a great time for a mass try on. Embrace any body changes and go though your wardrobe getting rid of anything that doesn’t “Spark Joy” as Marie Kondo would say. Make sure any clothes you are done with you wash and donate to charity or homeless shelters.

Why not plan a new venture, start a blog or develop a business dream. Thinking about what you aspire to be can be a really nice thing to do. Even if you don’t think you will ever act on it; spending time dreaming is good for you to do and it helps you keep life in perspective. If you are already working towards “the dream” then spend a bit of time doing some “office hours” at home to make sure all your plans are still on track!

Make a family or personal bucket list. While dreaming about where you want to be if life think about where you want to go, or what you want to see. This is a lovely discuss to have with a partner or children and can be really empowering if you are just writing a list for yourself!

Practice gratitude. One that is so easily overlooked but rather that holding grudges or letting emotions control the situation you may be in writing lists of all the good things people do for you can help you see life in a different perspective. Even if you feel completely alone try and find moments where you can be thankful on your life and then use these teachings from others to help you show others love, patience and kindness.

Start Writing A Journal. Writing can be very therapeutic and calming. it can also be very hard but spend some time jotting down your own thoughts. If you find you are quite anxious, putting a pen to paper can relieve that as the process of writing it down then reading it helps you to reevaluate those worries. Seeing them in front of you can make you think more logically and you will find it makes you feel better.

Redesign a room. Oh as a teen I would constantly be moving my bed around to change my bedroom up. I also loved playing The Sims, simply to design houses and rooms. As an adult I find you set out a house and it rarely changes but sometimes a change, just for fun is good. I find myself swapping side tables and lamps all the time so spend time playing interior decorator and see if you can have fun playing Sims grown up style!!

Become A Pinner. Pinterest is an absolutely wonderful place to live. Really, it is so inspiring and full of amazing articles. If you don't already have a Pinterest account, get one and enjoy spending time building boards that inspire you. Pinterest is a great platform for following blogs, and finding out how to do just about anything creative. You can also get happily in it for hours!

Make a list of ways to help your community when you are ready to leave home. One of the detrimental effects of today's current climate is that people are going to suffer: vulnerable people, homeless people, people who need to use food banks, community groups, local independent businesses. All of these things will be impacted by us as people due to a change in our habits. If you find yourself now at home lots more, come up with a list of things you can personally do to help your community. If that means buying local instead of from supermarkets then do it. If it means offering to serve teas and coffees at OAP coffee mornings then do it. If it means driving out of your way to drop off a bag of food at the food bank, do it. We need to make sure that if we are able we put time into helping the vulnerable. That is most important in all this.

Now is a time more than ever to keep spirits up, do things that will fill you with joy and make sure that you are looking after friends, family and neighbours in the same way. You don't have to visit people but a friendly phone call and text message or even a wave across the fence could cheer someone right up!


Saturday, 14 March 2020

LIFESTYLE // Some Thoughts & Help on The CoronaVirus COVID 19

Some Thoughts & Help On The Coronavirus

What a funny old week hey? I had a bit of a break unintentionally because I just got a bit busy with life but I really wanted to come online and say a few things about my thoughts on CV19.
It is a really hard time at the moment for all of us. Living in this weird limbo not quite knowing how to act.
All I would say is that we need to just use our common sense. Like all illnesses that you wouldn’t want to pass on, keep your germs to yourself. It is really simple. If you have people in your life who would be considered vulnerable, think about how your actions may affect them. Not only do we need to protect ourselves but the key in this is actually protecting others. It is a real time of care, a time when we can all act out of love and selflessness.

If you feel you need to provide more for yourself buy buying extra food, that is ok, but in your over buying don’t deprive others. Buy enough for you to avoid the shops for a few weeks, let’s be realistic, I don’t want to be in a supermarket at the best of times so a big shop that will last a couple of weeks is a fair thing to do.

Look after your mental health and the mental health of others. Do not scare monger. Share actuate facts to avoid anxiety, and just be conscious of offering support not encouraging fear. For extra help read this Article by Country Living on Coronavirus Anxiety.

If you need to self isolate then do, but enjoy the fresh air, be out in the garden, enjoy walks in nature, these little things will make you feel better and we are entering one of the prettiest seasons, enjoy those daffs!

If you are ill, just be careful, you know how to treat the CV19 (2 weeks isolation) but it is not the only illness around! All illnesses can have detrimental effects so keep healthy with a good diet and cleanliness.

Just try to find the joy in all of this. It is scary and seems a mess but we are clever people and we will be able to work through this. Look after each other. ♥️

I put this post out on Instagram but I thought I would also publish it here with some links to helpful articles. Let me know any others and I will add them in!

Myth Busters from WHO 

Talking To Kids About Coronavirus from Child Mind

5 Things You Can Do To Protect Yourself & Your Community from Public Health England

Coronavirus; Reasons To Be Reassured from The Gaurdian

I also am well aware that to help ease anxiety distraction can really help so I have also added some happy blog posts from some of my favourite bloggers if you fancy reading;

What Olivia Did // Reasons To Be Cheerful Pt3.

Within These Walls // Choosing Artwork For Our Home

Charlotte Jacklin // 25 Nail Art Designs  To Make You Happy

Hunters & Heels // Best Room In The House

Wish Wish Wish // Am Autumn Getaway

And If they don't distract you how about these lovely Instagram accounts:

Pinafores And Peonies

Blossoming Birds

Heart Zeena

Rush And Teal

My Bunches Of Flowers

Blooming Niki

Nicole Ocran

Grillo Designs

Hope all of the above helps. Keep calm friends.

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