zen

  • Happiness Begins at Home!

    Home is where we begin and end our day, so naturally it should be a place of calm, serene, cosy and all engulfing. A place that you want to come back to, a place for you to just ‘be’ in whatever state of alertness or relaxation that may be. It has been proven that our environment affects our stress levels which then affects our well being. So you want to create a space that is completely in line with making you feel good, a space that has a place for everything and everything is certainly in its place. Its about getting that balance just right – not too overdone or too minimalist – it needs to tell the story of you, and who you are, where you might have been and what has shaped you.

    Now to create this haven, just for you, you should think about a few things; colours, patterns, furniture and accessories. Choose finishes and loose items for practicality as well as style and aesthetic. At the back of your mind you must think about creating that zen space – will this work, will it create that calm and serene mood I want to create? Does it tell or hint at my personality or life experiences like travel around the world? Time in a monastery? or even the high flying business owner that you are? Think about what you want your space, your home, your room to talk about. Don’t overly clutter the space so that each piece you have chosen can breathe, make an impact and tell a story.

    Many of us are guilty of owning too many things (guilty as charged!), its hard to let ‘go’ of things – don’t get me wrong I’m as sentimental as they come, but do you really need to keep your first ever phone from way back when they invented them and they were the size of a brick?? All of these ‘things’ that we keep (read: hoard) aren’t good for our well being, or our health and they impact our creativity – not what we need! Now to de-clutter is therapeutic in itself but also allows us to feel lighter, fresher and regain that spring in our step. Ready to do it? Yay me too… here are some simple ways to get started on that task:

    1. Write a list (you knew that was coming!) of all the boxes/cupboards/drawers/rooms you need to go through.

    2. Take small steps, dedicate 15 minutes each day to working on a part of the tasks and set a timer – stop as soon as it chimes and come back to it the following day.

    3. Do one room/wardrobe/cupboard at a time – don’t flit between them or you’ll lose focus like we spoke about when talking about being productive, here.

    4. One in, one out rule totally applies to this – every time you get rid of something you can buy another (you have my permission).

    5. Don’t give yourself space for clutter – the spare room or that empty box – get rid of it, turn that spare room into an office or a home gym.

    6. Good one for the wardrobe – take everything off the hangers, get rid of 5 hangers, hang them all back up by going through your clothes in preference order, anything left not on a hanger can go.

    7. My fav – create a memory box and keep all your treasured items in here so they don’t get mistakenly thrown out.

    8. Sort out paperwork as soon as it arrives rather than letting it accumulate.

    9. Get the Marie Kondo book – its packed with useful hints and tips on how to de-clutter like a pro, the KonMarie way.

    What other ways can you think of to shake the cluttered, tied down, heaviness that our homes might have been surrounded by?

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  • 6 Indoor Plants That Survive ANYTHING!

    If you’re anything like me then you don’t have any green fingers, not even toes! So I was pleased when one of my oh-so-cool friends (read: expert gardener) told me that there were certain plants that even I could look after, even though I was time-poor and very very forgetful at times… what was that you wanted me to do Mr P?!!

    Plants bring warmth and soften the interior, and it has long been my dream to cultivate a lovely indoor garden, they also have huge health benefits – one being to purify the air.

    Aloe Vera

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    This is the plant to have, apply aloe onto scars, burns and the such, it instantly soothes the skin. It loves dry soil so don’t water it very often, and find the warmest spot in your house as this plant loves the warmth. The added bonus is that they come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and look pretty cool too – the one plant that I do have so far and its still going strong!

    Spider Plant

    This plant is super easy to grow and can withstand lots of neglect, indirect sunlight is great for it. It definitely adds visual interest to a room and they like moist soil in medium to bright light.

    Peace Lily

    This is a popular houseplant with its dark leaves and white blooms and is really easy to grow. Low maintenance is the word, this plant has to dry out between watering so if you forget to water it (me) then this is perfect! It thrives in low light conditions, perfect for those rooms with no windows. They are also on NASA’s list of top air-cleaning plants – that is definitely good to know!

    Rubber Tree Plant

    This plant is easy to grow and can grow up to 8ft, or taller and has the shineyest green leaves. This plant prefers its soil to dry out in between watering and likes to be in bright rooms.

    Pothos

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    This plant has an air-purifying quality that absorbs toxins – perfect – and it thrives in a variety of light conditions, the stems can grow very long so you’ll need to trim it down once in a while to keep it looking neat. Guess what – irregular watering is ok – yaay! They’re also called devil’s vine or devil’s ivy just because they’re almost impossible to kill.

    English Ivy

    Ivy has a certain elegance about it and its trail can look really beautiful hanging down from the mantel. It also makes a great gift as it can be regrown just from a cutting. This plant also prefers moist soil and its advisable to keep it in cooler rooms in your home.

    The great thing is that with the plethora of indoor plants available on the market it makes for great styling of your interior space, and its always nice to bring the outside in, create that zen in your interior. I’m sure there are many other plants that I haven’t discovered yet, do you have any favourites? Be great to see photos of any in your home, put them into the comments below.

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  • Resolutions; Shall We?

    So how many of you have sat down and thought about putting together some resolutions for the new year? I said I wouldn’t because they’re always broken, but I did it anyway. The difference this year though, is that I decided that I wasn’t going to say I needed to stop doing this or that, or do more of this. Instead what I did was think about what I needed to ‘do’ to be happy, healthy and successful.

    Want to hear what those ‘do’s’ are? I won’t keep you waiting…

    TIME – Give myself more time with the people I love, that means being more ‘present’ so learning to put that phone away, air-plane or do not disturb mode so that I can actually be in the room with no notifications or buzz to indicate a new message. Leaving my phone and emails in another room and actually having a technology cut off point. We now have no phones after 10pm and no phones in the bedroom either. It has been hard to start off with but I already feel better for it.

    LEARN – they say that we are always learning new things and to be at the top of our game we should learn something new every month, that doesn’t mean learning has to be boring! You could learn how to tango or how to knit, or even how to play golf. I listen to podcasts on my commute which talk about all sorts of things, still pondering what I actually want to learn for leisure but for business there are whole heaps of things I need to learn.

    READ – You should be consuming at least one book a month, hah – who has time to read? But we have kindles, there are apps to aid the reading process and create short but compelling synopsis’ of books meaning less time spent and many of us have commutes where we can read instead of being glued to our phones. I’ve built mine into my bedtime routine – at least 10 pages before bed, OK it doesn’t always happen but its a start and one I want to become part of every day.

    ZEN – I do want to be healthy and happy and have lots of boundless energy and part of that comes from being rested within, so I have downloaded a couple of mindfulness apps and am going to test which works for me. Meditating or learning to calm my mind is a skill I definitely want to master this year. It means a clearer head and allowing myself time to make decisions with no clouded judgement. Fingers crossed!

    SELF-CARE – You’re probably thinking all of the above are self-care, but in fact they aren’t, not in their entirety. This year I have proclaimed to Mr P that at least once a week I am going to take myself off and do something for me; that could be a massage, a fitness class, a few hours in a coffee shop just reading. drawing or pondering life. Don’t ask which I’m doing, it will probably end up a combination of all of these things, but they’ll be just what the doctor ordered at that specific time in my life!

    So there you have it, my do’s are really simple, they don’t involve ‘must’ do this or ‘mustn’t’ do that, they’re more principles for living a better lifestyle and ensuring I look after myself and in turn look after those most important that are around me. What are you pro-claiming your resolutions/rules/principles to be? Have you started yet or broken any yet?

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  • Girl About Town: Time to Unwind

    Celebrations are one of those rare occasions where I stop and enjoy the moment, book something to indulge in and in this instance we took ourselves off to the spa for some rest and relaxation to celebrate 7 (feels like 170) years of wedded bliss. I find it extremely difficult to find a nice spa, one that isn’t just a Jacuzzi and a sauna and steam room so you can imagine my excitement at visiting the K West Spa in Shepherds Bush. They have some lovely facilities and it is such a nice spa that is part of the bigger overall hotel.

    We had decided to book a treatment package called ‘time for two’ which gave each of us access to the spa for a couple of hours, a dry flotation session and aromatherapy massage and use of the ‘sun room’ (no don’t read tan bed) which was a session of heat and light therapy using UV light. Now generally I’m not really a ‘massage’ person, especially when it states that the massage will soothe and relax you, for some people that totally works, but for me – I can’t stop my mind racing about everything I need to do! But the dry flotation – OHMYGOD, I think I have found the one!! This was total bliss, I was cocooned inside a huge pod and surrounded by water that I could feel holistically yet I wasn’t wet. Initially my mind was wandering, but the longer I stayed in this state the more relaxed I felt and even nodded off for a while. Honestly I felt so relaxed and came out of it focused and able to think more rationally and clearer than I had for a while!

    We also enjoyed a sumptuous lunch in their restaurant as part of the package and surprisingly they had a lot of choice for vegetarians. Overall I think the day was lovely and they did their best to accommodate special occasions which was nice I felt like I was in an elite bubble that no-one else had discovered. But I think they purposely make you feel like you are the only person using the place – my own personal spa with a service to match! Go on, book it… you know you want to!

    Have you been to any spa’s recently that you felt lived up to the job? Its a hard feat, but be great to hear your suggestions.

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