My H&M Home Obsession

Are you as obsessed with H&M Home products as I am? If not, you will be in just a few minutes time.

Seriously – it’s amazing. I first discovered it a couple of years ago when one of my favourite people Eleonore tweeted about buying some towels from there. I had no idea H&M even had a home department, but before I knew what was happening, I too had bought some towels and also some cushions. Thus started my love affair with H&M Home.

Apart from being ridiculously stylish, it’s also totally affordable. Is it weird that despite spending a lot of time at home – a lot of time, since I work there – I actually don’t like to spend loads of money on home buys? I just think what’s the point in buying really expensive things when you’ll probably want to redecorate after a few years, or you might go off the things you bought? I like to keep things cheap and cheerful, which is exactly what H&M is.

You can shop online, but I prefer to browse in store. Whenever I’m on Oxford Street or Kensington High Street, I can feel a magnet pulling me towards H&M where they have large home sections.

At the moment, there are loads of vintage-inspired goodies and also a nice selection of retro geometric buys too. Here are some of the gorgeous things that I have my eye on…

H&M home buys

1. Duvet cover set, £19.99 2. Tea light holders, £3.99 3. Mirror, £12.99 4. Mini vases 3-pack, £7.99 5. Scented candle, £12.99 6. Cushion cover, £7.99 7. 3-pack of candles, £3.99 8. Small wire basket, £7.99 9. Tea towel, £2.99

Happy shopping!

Hormones, Anxiety And Things That Make Me Happy

tulips-in-vase

I’ve been thinking a lot about happiness recently. I mean, we all think about happiness all the time, don’t we? But I’ve been thinking about it a lot more in the last month or so. Trying to work out what are the things that make me happy – and unhappy.

Let’s deal with the unhappy bit first – to put it bluntly, my hormones make me unhappy. I’ve always been a bit of a slave to my hormones, from those FUN teenage years where you hate everyone and everything, slam doors, flush your best mate’s necklace down the loo in a fit of rage (just me?) to my twenties when I discovered I had endometriosis. Poor Mr P had to put up with a lot of mood swings back then – thank goodness he didn’t run for the hills.

But lately, thanks to my hormones, I’ve had a few days each month where I feel really low – there was one day last month when I actually felt depressed, and that’s not a word I use lightly. There was this imaginary grey weight on me, and none of the usual ‘cheer me up’ tactics like lunch out with Mr P or shopping in The White Company made any difference. It actually really scared me. Thankfully, it only lasted one day, and I knew it was caused by hormones.

This has been coupled with something that I have only just realised I’ve suffered from for a long time – anxiety. I didn’t really know what this was before, but I’ve worked out that when I’m walking down a street and feel paranoid, thinking people are looking at me, or when I’m on Oxford Street in central London and I have this awful fear that someone is going to attack me, or steal my bag, or when I just have a gnawing feeling in the pit of my stomach but have nothing to feel worried about – that’s anxiety. Again – thankfully I only suffer from it when my hormones are doing their monthly loop the loop. Or when I’m hungover and tired, but that’s normal, right?

So – anyway! This isn’t meant to be a ‘poor me’ blog post, it’s actually a post about the things that make me happy. Because in the last few weeks, I’ve been focusing on what those things are, and making sure they are in my life more. Simple!

1. Fresh flowers.

If you follow me on Instagram, you might have noticed the sudden appearance of flowers in my photos. I’ve realised how much I enjoy having them in the house, especially since I work from home. Tulips, daffs, hyacinths, roses – I’m not fussy. There was one week recently when I had all of the above and it was like a bloody florists in my kitchen.

daffodils

2. Scented candles.

I’ve been burning my White Company White Geranium candle or Diptyque Baies while I work (hello, working from home cliché!) and the relaxing scent helps to chill me out and concentrate on work rather than how crappy I might be feeling.

Diptyque-Baies-candle

3. The gym.

I’ve actually turned into one of those people who exercises for its health benefits, not because I want to be slimmer. For real. I mean, obviously I’d like to be slimmer. My size 16 ass should really be a size 14, but genuinely, I notice such a difference in my mood when I go to the gym two or three times a week. It’s like a miracle cure. I heart endorphins.

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4. Chocolate.

Hmmmm maybe this is the reason for my size 16 ass? But I’m definitely an emotional eater, and having a steady supply of chocolate and cakes makes me happy.

5. Trying to be vaguely healthy.

On the flip side of that, I’m a MUCH happier person when I’m making sensible food choices – salads, smoothies, sushi, Vita Coco drinks rather than crisps, chips and pizza. I spent six months of last year being super healthy and I loved it. Just need to get back into it, don’t I?

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6. Taking time off.

I think I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m a ‘workaholic’ (so 80s of me). I love working so so much and I would happily sit at my laptop working and blogging until 10pm every night. But I’ve started putting the laptop away on a few evenings a week, and watching telly with Mr P (The Good Wife and Better Call Saul on Netflix, since you asked). I even went out for the day with my family last weekend and – wait for it – left my phone at home, deliberately. I’m fed up of checking my phone constantly when I’m out and about so it was almost a relief to not have it with me. Switching off and having time away from email, texts and social media is really good for me.

Speaking of which, it’s 7.15pm and I’m going to switch my laptop off…

Celebrating Amazing Women With #ARWoman

Fun at the fair

When you think about the women in your life, most people will think of their mum, their best friend, their gran. Some of us are lucky enough to be surrounded by brilliant, strong women, and it’s often something we take for granted. We take them for granted. I’m really big on celebrating women and I’m definitely a girls’ girl. I mean, I enjoy the company of men, but give me a group of female friends and a bottle of wine (or two) any day.

So the #ARWoman campaign by Atterley Road is something I’m totally on board with. The fashion brand is asking bloggers to talk about a woman who inspires them and I’m spoilt for choice. I’m inspired by fellow female bloggers like Erica, whose ability to style an outfit leaves me open-mouthed, Katie, who has a beautiful eye for photography, Fritha and Lori, whose blogs make my life a brighter place, and GillMolly and Katrina, who are talented writers and brilliant friends. Then there’s my best mate Kim who has been with me through thick and thin since we were 15 and bonded over our love of Take That. And Fee and Sarah, who joined me in taking that love of boybands a little bit further (like around the UK and Ireland doing a tour of concert venues, posh hotels and airports…)

But the woman who inspires me the most – as unoriginal as it may seem – is my mum. Apart from being generally ace, she’s so utterly supportive of her children and always has been. She’s such a positive person – always looking at things as ‘challenges’ rather than problems and refusing to dwell on the negative side of life. She’s determined and a great organiser – skills I know I’ve got from her. But most of all, she’s the kind of person I’d be friends with, even if she wasn’t my mum.

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Who’s your #ARWoman? Post a photo of her on Instagram or Twitter, tagging @AtterleyRoad and tagging it #ARWoman. Let’s celebrate the women we love and admire!

• Big thanks to Atterley Road for commissioning this post on #ARWoman. For details of how I work with brands, see my Work With Me page.

Doing Valentine’s Day On A Budget

funny-valentines-card

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Valentine’s Day. On one hand, I feel resentful that we should have to shell out for cards and gifts and overpriced meals just because it’s 14th February. On the other hand, isn’t it nice to have an excuse to tell someone you love them? Granted, we all need to do this more. We should do it every day – it’s something so quick and simple, yet we’re all guilty of letting too much time pass between declarations of love or random acts of kindness towards the people we love.

So, if we’re going to celebrate Valentine’s Day, let’s not spend a fortune doing it. We’ve all been that person – the one buying the biggest card in the shop, the teddy holding the red satin love heart, the one spending a small fortune on a restaurant’s set menu and forking out the extra £10 for a glass of fizz.

But here’s how I’m doing Valentine’s Day on a budget this year.

Instead of: Over-priced card from an expensive shop

I’m doing: An amazing (and oh-so-funny) card from Gin Bunny Prints on Etsy.

 

Instead of: Spending a fortune on a meal out (babysitter + set menu + creepy man coming around the tables, selling single roses = spendy night out)

I’m doing: A meal from COOK – who sell seriously gorgeous frozen meals. 3 courses for £20? Job done.

 

Instead of: Buying an expensive gift (that will end up being tossed into a drawer)

I’m doing: Some home made tokens for things like a lie in or a day watching F1 on the telly.

When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, you realise that it’s not about spending loads of money on each other – it’s the little things that mean the most. And if I’m perfectly honest, I’d rather save our money to spend on important things like childcare, petrol and groceries. Does that make me totally old and unromantic?!

• Thanks to TSB for commissioning this post on Valentine’s Day on a budget. For details on how I work with brands, see my Work With Me page

JOMO: The Joy Of Missing Out

sitting-on-bed

Do you know what I love? I love my sofa and Netflix. I love working from bed with a cuppa. I love having a glass of wine and then an early night.

I’m all for having a night out with friends – sharing a few cocktails and catching up on each other’s lives – but sometimes saying “No” to that night out invitation feels GOOD. I’m all about balance these days, and balancing off the fun socialising with the quieter moments at home is important.

I had no idea that this has a name, until I spotted a few people share this image on Instagram last week…

JOMO: the joy of missing out

So if our 20s are all about FOMO (the fear of missing out) then our 30s are surely about JOMO. And doesn’t it feel nice?

FOMO sees us saying yes to every night out invitation – imagine if we said no and then it ended up being that EPIC night out that people talk about for years afterwards. “Do you remember when we danced at that bar until 3am and then carried on at my flat and ended up playing strip poker at 6am?” No, because I wasn’t there. “Oh.”

JOMO sees us saying no to night out invitations because actually our sofa is so bloody comfy, and we’d only have to wear clothes that aren’t our PJs if we went out, and mmmm we have that bottle of nice wine in the fridge.

FOMO means we go out when when we’re knackered – third night out on the trot? No problem. I’ll just catch up on sleep at the weekend.

JOMO means catching up on the fun at the weekend. By which time, we’ll have had all the sleep we need, thank you very much.

FOMO means if we really can’t get to something that all our friends are at, we sit on Facebook and Twitter seething with envy that we’re not there.

JOMO means preferring to follow an event on social media because, well, if we were there, we’d only have to speak to people, wouldn’t we? That’s just so much effort.

JOMO, I think I love you.

 

Image: DTTSP/Instagram