The Sunshine Blogger Award

Thank you to the lovely Anita for nominating me for the Sunshine Blogger Award. I love answering questions as it makes you stop and think 🙂

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The Rules:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you.
  • Answer the 11 questions asked.
  • Nominate 11 other blogs and ask 11 new questions for them.
  • Finally, list the rules and include the Sunshine Blogger Award logo somewhere in the post.

Nominees:

Questions for Nominees:

  1. What are the three items you could not live without?
  2. What is the one item of clothing you could not live without?
  3. What is your biggest fashion mistake?
  4. Where is one place you would love to visit?
  5. What are the three foods you could eat every day forever?
  6. What is your one wish?

 My responses:

  1. Do you have any big travel plans coming up?

I’m currently at a point where I feel quite satisfied travel wise as I’ve been lucky enough to do a lot of it in the past few years, but I am never one to turn a travel opportunity down. Visiting new places and being immersed in new cultures is what totally makes me tick, so I’ve just agreed to a new work trip. In a couple of weeks I’ll be heading to Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina to co-host a workshop with local artists in order to discover new talent. What makes me most excited is the fact that I know nothing about the West Balkans, so i’m excited to learn and explore!  Personal travel wise I’m hoping to start planning 2018. I’m sort of thinking of a blow out trip to celebrate my 30th! (Maybe Vegas, maybe Miami, maybe Cuba!?)

2. Where would be the one place you could travel to?

I would cheat and get a ticket for a world round trip! I would love to visit India; it’s on my list.

3. What is your dream job?

I think i’d be a travel photographer

4. Could you survive without social media?

I’d be kidding myself if I said I could give it up indefinitely. But short a short period? YES. I go through periods where I cleanse myself from social media for a short while. I think it’s healthy to do this once in a while and re-connect with real life. I really do not like the pull that social media can have on me. There was a time in my life where I felt I wasted too much time looking at utter tripe that did not serve any purpose for me. I’ve learnt to let go of FOMO and as a result I’ve gained so much more time to do things I actually want to do. I feel better when I’m not procrastinating or wasting my life in that sense.

5. What do you have planned for the Christmas season?

Countless trips to the Christmas Markets, outdoor ice skating and drinking copious amounts of mulled wine.

6. Share a good Samaritan experience you’ve undergone?

I actually used to be a Samaritan listener, so I think that fits the definition 🙂

7. Have you ever broken a bone?

Nope, fingers crossed.

8. If you could change one thing from your past, what would it be?

I actually wouldn’t. Even the dark times taught me lessons and the struggles I’ve faced have turned into my strengths.

9. Coffee or hot chocolate?

I cannot live without coffee.

10. What are some of your 2018 goals?

For me 2018 will be about self-development, as I’ve unfortunately let that slip for a while this year. Self-development in both a personal and professional capacity.

11. What is a goal that you have achieved?

One thing I’m really proud of it having my dissertation published. At the tender age of 20 I set a goal of getting my work published and it happened with my first piece of empirical work. I feel that it’s ingrained within British Culture to downplay our success but I’m going against the grain and saying I’m proud of myself. That was a while back and luckily I’ve achieved much more since then 🙂

I hope you liked reading my responses  ❤

Lianne x

September Summary

Well September has flown by and thought I would round-up the things I’ve been loving this month.

Designing clothes!

I’ve been getting creative designing clothes this month. I’m lucky that my mum is an insanely talented dress-maker (amongst other things) and has that amazing ability to take my drawings and make them into a clothing reality. I feel really proud wearing her work. She loves receiving compliments on clothing she’s created and loves the feeling of having something totally unique. Take her to a fabric store and she’s in heaven. I don’t consider myself to be creative at all, I want things that technically don’t work and don’t understand pattern making or the general idea construction of clothes, but I LOVE FASHION. I get a picture in my head of the type of clothing I like, go to a fabric store and go wild.

This month I’ve designed a few items. We visited a few fabric stores and got pretty creative this month. I am in love with my playsuit below – it has a lace trim around the sleeves, neckline and bottom of the shorts.

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I fell in love with this autumnal chiffon fabric 

TV shows and Podcasts

I typically do not watch much TV. I’m that annoying person that just cannot keep up to date with a series and I get put off starting a Netflix show when there are just too many seasons to catch up on. i.e. more than one. I think I’m on episode one of SO many shows – Narcos, Designated Survivor, American Gods, etc. But this month I have finally watched some TV! I caught up on Suits, which i’ve really loved. I need a Lewis in my life. I also finished Pretty Little Liars, which the latter seasons did not keep my interest and I felt that the ending was just too far-fetched. Still, I’d committed for 6 seasons so I was always going to finish it at some point! I’ve also been good at keeping up with new shows – Bake off, Cold Feet and Liar. AND I’m loving all three in equal measures.

 

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I’ve been getting back into podcasts recently. I’ve found myself on transport a lot and I’ve quite enjoyed listening to podcasts and reading my kindle. The three podcasts that spring to mind are: Trish Blackwell’s confidence podcast series ( a recent find!), Happier with Gretchen Ruebin and Motivate Yourself with Richard Nichols. Yep. There’s a self-development theme here! As far as books go, I’ve downloaded about 10 (!) and have just finished two: the latest Lindsay Kelk instalment in the I heart series; I heart forever, and Hot Mess by Lucy Vine. Definitely recommend for some easy-going, light-hearted LOLs.

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Cooking!

I’ve been experimenting in the kitchen and have enjoyed creating new recipes. I’m a terrible baker, but I LOVE cooking. Cooking with and for other people especially. I was in Spain and spent time with my mum cooking Spanish food. A bit different for me as I tend to gravitate towards more Asian food. The food was just so fresh and amazing! OH MY GOD padron peppers! There was just something really refreshing about taking spice out of the equation and making really fresh food with simple ingredients, like garlic, olive oil and oregano. I also learned how to cook a traditional paella. Not to brag but it was AMAZING.

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❤ 

What have you enjoyed this month?

x

Thursday Thinking: Just do it

I was listening to an old Trish Blackwell’s podcast (which I really recommend listening to you’ve never come across them) and these words really hit home:

Just do it

I’m really starting to get into self-improvement literature. It’s pretty motivational stuff – our mind is a powerful and unfortunately overlooked tool. Positive thinking and its benefits all that jazz. Preaching to the choir with me because I for one definitely love learning about the mind as well as self-improvement .

In the episode she talks a lot about how so many of us are ‘almost’ people in so many aspects of our lives, from saying we’ll get fit and healthy ‘one day’ or saying we’ll go on that dream holiday ‘next year’ or find a new job ’soon’. These big life events are somewhat dependant on funds or other circumstances, but what’s worse is being almost people within our day to day living. Constantly putting things off, finding easy excuses and stopping ourselves from pursing things we actually want to do by procrastinating in our minds. Saying we’ll get round to something for it to forever hang on our to-do lists. I think most people are guilty of this. I know I am.

What this does is deny ourselves not just of those big dreams, but also those easily achievable wants and desires on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Procrastination really suppresses ourselves of truly living a full and meaningful life.

Carpe diem 

 

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One thing I’ve always yearned for is more time. More time to achieve work/career things, more time to put into my relationships and more time to try new things (I mean I’ve had aerial yoga on my list for almost 10 months!). I always proclaimed to be a busy person (which I am to be fair) but am I busy doing proactive things? Or am I just turning the wheel? I might perhaps not be filling my time as proactively as I can be. I see this all the time in people around me – running around like headless chickens – but they don’t seem to be happy. Perhaps insanely busy but not proactively time wise or necessarily enjoying what they are filling their time with.

Time is precious 

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What time is it? (Cue a terrible time reference LOL)

Once I started to fill my time proactively and be more congruent in following through on doing things that I wanted and planned to do, rather than felt I had to do, I felt a sense of relief. As though I had taken back the control and gained time. Enter the time wise phase of my life. It sounds selfish, not doing things the that I don’t want to do. Fancy that? Living a life where I only do what I want. Let me tell you one thing I’ve learned, being selfish with your time does not make you selfish at all. It means you can concentrate on you – making you happy – because ultimately we are all responsible for our own happiness. Plus if you’re happy then you’re a pleasure to be around. Win win.

Do you also suffer from having a million and one things that you want to do, but never enough time to get around to them? Those dreams that just seem way too far out?

Nobody is too busy.

I used to feel as though I almost needed permission to allow myself to take time for me. Does anybody else feel that way?

I’m going to stop making excuses and stop procrastinating in my thoughts, ideas and goals. In the last year or so I started doing this on an ad hoc basis but I probably haven’t fully committed. Sometimes when I want to make a change I end up outlining about 100 micro changes in order to achieve that goal. Result? Hello procrastination! I try to take on too much at once, become overwhelmed, disinterested and end up doing nothing at all. Small, day to day, baby steps are needed, not a list of big changes.

So here are some small steps to thinking less, doing more:

  • Bullet journalling and following through on plans – yep. I might be late to jump on this bandwagon but I’ve just bought one and I’m pretty damn excited! I’m going to start scheduling my weeks better. Instead of saying I want to do things, I’m going to take the list and put them in my diary. I got my to-do list out this morning and I’ve booked a massage for next week, had the brakes and lights on my bike fixed (I had been putting this off for the longest time!), booked tickets for a Halloween event and scheduled time for next week when I want to write up some more blog posts!
  • Quit being a perfectionist – and striving to be bloody great instead of perfect Perfectionism is procrastinations best friend. Aiming for perfection really hinders progress, the more you want things to be perfect, the less chance you have in even starting…  So just making the start. Put that first word down on paper, or make the phone call… make a start, however big or small!
  • Stop waiting for the perfect time – i.e. in line with the above, there will never be a right place and right time, there is just now
  • Positive language – I feel that the power of language is often overlooked, but I’m going to ban the use of negative language. Trish calls these ‘death words’ and I couldn’t agree more. Those horrible words that we use to criticise ourselves or talk ourselves down or out of a situation are often a BIG cause for procrastination. I’m totally guilty of this one – I’m SO hard on myself. Speaking words of action and kindness to myself. I like the idea of having a daily or weekly mantra. One for this week is definitely Just do it.
  • Stop caring what others think – again I feel that this stops the majority of people from doing things. Who cares if someone judges you for trying something new? following your dream, or heck, even starting a blog! It’s more than they are doing and you cannot please everyone. I’ve learned one thing – people will find a way to criticise whatever you do, or don’t do.

I thought back to the times when I’ve been happy as Larry (who IS Larry!?) and the majority of those times I just did it. I lived in the moment but was bloody great with my time. No thinking, just doing.

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Thanks for reading

Lianne x

 

 

Good nutrition for better sleep

One thing I’m really interested in is nutrition and how foods impact on aspects of our health beyond the purely physical.

I’ve been dealing with insomnia on and off for a few years now, and one thing that I’ve found that really impacts on falling and staying asleep is food. I know this is not rocket science; what we eat impacts on all aspects of our lives from how we feel to how we look.

Lets not talk about the amount of times I’ve found myself with my head in the fridge at 1am. Really. Or got back from a night out and emptied my cupboards in the search of finding answers. There are definitely no answers in the fridge, believe me, i’ve tried.

Enough about that.

There are two aspects to this: the food itself and the timing of that food.

When to eat?

Eating too close to sleeping can be seriously disruptive as your body uses its energy on digesting food instead of shutting down for sleep. But on the flip side of the coin, going to sleep hungry will result in being kept awake with a growling stomach. It’s a fine balance. Research suggests either eating a larger meal around 3 hours before shut eye – or a small snack an hour or so beforehand. Again pretty simple stuff.

The science: without going into too much detail, the hormones that regulate hunger, ghrelin and leptin, are linked to sleep, and when are not properly regulated (i.e. getting too little sleep) will have a knock on effect on hunger levels the following day. Turning you into that ravenous monster that tries to eat through the tiredness, turning to convenient, high calorie, high sugary foods. It’s in our evolution, when we need energy, we turn to high fat, high sugary, basically anything that gives us a boost! Or in my case lots of coffee.

What to eat?

Foods that help to naturally boost Melatonin and Serotonin levels are the winners.

Science: It comes down to eating foods that contain the right source of nutrients to support  hormone regulation and avoiding those which cause a hinderance on hormone functioning. Melatonin regulates circadian rhythms (sleep wake cycle) which is responsible for making you feel hungry during the day and sleepy during the night. When compromised it throws the pattern out of sync and is responsible for things such as jet lag. It can explain why you may struggle to sleep during the day regardless of being awake all night, or when you feel hungry through the night whilst suffering with jet lag. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter linked to regulating the bodily functions of sleep, appetite and mood. It is commonly thought of as making you feel good and is used to help people with low mood. Which is also linked to poor sleep. These hormones are all interconnected, which is why throwing one off can result in further knock on effects.

Melatonin: Some foods actually contain melatonin naturally such as oats, cherries and banana.

Tryptophan: A precursor to serotonin that helps to promote the production of serotonin. Dairy, eggs, turkey, walnuts, pumpkin seeds are all great sources.

There are also other nutrients that can really help your body to naturally unwind:

Magnesium: a great nutrient for relaxing! It helps your body shut down for sleep. Magnesium absorbed into the skin is actually a faster and more effective source to help your body relax, which is why magnesium salt baths are so popular. I personally like to use this magnesium spray after the gym as it really helps to relax my muscles. But you can increase your dose of magnesium through foods such as almonds, bananas, yoghurt, spinach, avocado, nuts, seeds and tofu.

Potassium: Most people think bananas which are in fact a great source of potassium, but the following have more per serving:  avocados, potatoes, salmon, apricots, and pomegranate.

My personal go to foods to help with sleep:

Oats: combined with with a source of protein to slow the release of energy, e.g. peanut butter, casein protein, oats are a good source of carbs that do not spike blood sugar levels

Bananas: Who doesn’t like bananas? With a source of protein to slow the sugar release, e.g. peanut butter (yep, addicition), greek yoghurt or nuts…

Nuts: almonds, cashews, walnuts…

Cottage cheese: naturally high in casein protein, which is great for sleep

Coconut or almond milk: warmed or in a protein shake…

Sometimes it can be hard to get all of the nutrients from food and some people prefer taking supplements instead. I have done both, depending on my mood and appetite! I’ve tried different supplements on the market and the ones I would recommend are:  melatonin for travelling (this is a necessity to combat jet lag), valerian root extract and casein protein. I also use magnesium sprays when my body is achy and camomile tea.

… And what to avoid?

Certain foods that should just be a no no:

Fat: Fatty foods are digested the slowest so unless you’re eating these a good 4 hours or so before they should probably be avoided. Research shows links between saturated fat and light, restless sleep – e.g. pre-packaged food!

Caffeine: Obvious one but it’s more than just avoiding a late night latte. Obviously coffee … but also foods that contain caffeine that you may not be aware of, such as energy/fizzy drinks, green tea, ice cream, sweets, some ‘diet’ foods, and even painkillers and decaff coffee…  and unfortunately, chocolate (especially dark chocolate)!

Alcohol: It can help you nod off initially but is linked to disrupted sleep, meaning that your body never enters the deep sleep phase that is the most rejuvinating. It can also make you sweat more and need the toilet.

Sugar Yep, the demon. It spikes and crashes blood sugar levels and can be the reason you’re feeling hungry in the middle of the night.

Of course this is based on my personal anecdotes 🙂 What foods do you eat at night?

Lianne x

Cyprus Part Two: The Greek side

cropped-cropped-cropped-screen-shot-2017-09-13-at-14-55-12.pngI adore the Greek Islands. They’re packed with history and culture and surrounded by crystal clear waters and sunshine. I mean, what’s not to love?! I spent the majority of my trip in Cyprus travelling around the South of the Island, taking road trips and eating my weight in Cypriot cheese. Bliss.

I’ve already written about the Turkish part of my trip, if you want to read about it here.

So where did I go?

Aphrodite’s Rock / Petra Tou

 

‘Sometimes, chaos and love seem like the same thing’ 

–  Aphrodite 

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Aphrodite, the ancient greek Goddess of love. Apparently if you swim around Aphrodite’s rock you gain eternal youth… I missed out on that one, but then I’m not really one to believe in myths.

This was such a photogenic place, but let’s be real, most of the Island is. The rock is grand (much bigger than I thought it would be) surrounded by a pebbled beach and those beautiful turquoise waters that in my opinion, really define the Greek Islands.

Given that it was relatively easy to find I’d definitely say this place is a must stop off point in the region. I think it’s generally one of those places to tick off the travel list and take lots of photos.

Adonis Baths

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Adonis baths are definitely a hidden gem. i.e. so hidden they feel impossible to find. To get there we trekked for what felt like hours, totally off the beaten path (there wasn’t really a path as such) and despite the signs, the road (if you can call it that!) is definitely not suitable for all cars. Although we had quite a fun road trip and finding it was part of the challenge…. driving on rocky paths, up and down the mountains and totally along the edge of the cliff!

Given the effort I think we were expecting to reach something much more impressive, so my opinion is probably clouded by that view. I have to say I felt underwhelmed. Fresh waters and an elegant surroundings maybe, but I’ve visited better waterfalls. Am I glad I visited? Yes, I think it was a pretty charming place, but would I visit again? Probably (unfortunately) not.

Would I recommend? I’m not sure. I think I would take a pragmatic view and weigh up  interest against the amount of time and effort required to get there.

Kato Paphos Archaeological Park

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A lovely heritage site full of ancient ruins and close by to Aphrodite’s Rock/Paphos. Great to see and explore, full of history.

Konnos beach, Fig Tree, Sunrise beach, Ayia Napa 

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I preface this with being totally bias in the fact that I am such a beach/sun/heat worshipper, but the beaches in Cyprus really are one of the selling points. I love exploring coastlines, swimming in the sea and just generally walking on the beach. My inner zen. Plus I’m as much partial to reading a book and sunbathing for a few hours like the next person.

The beaches were stunning. I think you’d be pushed to find a bad beach in Cyprus!

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Grabbing drinks in Ayia Napa – yep, had to be done! Also, can we just talk about the food?! OH MY GOD the food in Cyprus was amazing… I definitely ate my weight in Halloumi and drank enough red wine to sink a small ship. I mean, that’s what holidays are for, right? The mezzes though….. dips, olives, cheeses, fresh fish,  warm pitas… enough said.

Latchi and Polis

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Situated on the most western tip of the Island you’ll find Latchi and Polis. It was pretty quiet whilst we were visiting for the day which made finding the nightlife a bit tricky!  Having said that both towns were quaint and picturesque and the food was great.  We ate fish mezzes which came with about 10 different types of seafood. I think I could live on fresh fish and mezze.

In terms of area, I feel as though both are a bit up and coming and might gain popularity in years to come. I think it’s the type of place I’d love to re-visit in a decade or so to see how the area changes over time. At the moment though I’d say it’s definitely a place to visit for those wanting a more relaxed and chilled holiday.

On reflection I think what sold me was the amazing food and beaches! What do you like about Cyprus?

Lianne x