06.04.2020- Evening Relaxation Hacks

Monday, 6 April 2020

There's no doubt that the world is a very scary place at the moment, and it's completely natural to feel more anxious than normal given the degree of uncertainty which we're all facing, combined with some of the harrowing reporting of the crisis which we're seeing unfold in real time before our eyes on the news. Feeling overwhelmed is totally normal, especially as it's difficult to see an end in sight to the situation- but an end will come- and we have to be patient and kind to ourselves until then. Over the last few weeks, I've found that settling on a proper evening routine has really helped me to feel calm and relaxed as I head to bed- rather than stressed and worrying about a situation which is on the whole completely out of my hands. I know that everyone says it, but retaining a sense of structure at times like these really does help, as does not being too tough on yourself for having an entirely off day. So, in case it's helpful for anyone else- my evening routine is outlined here:

* Exercise- I've always been more of an evening exerciser than an early bird, particularly as it usually takes a good cup of tea before I'm able to do much in the morning! At the time of writing, the social distancing guidelines we have at the moment allow exercise alone or with a member of your household, so responsible running or walking is a great way to clear your head and get your blood pumping. I have been going out less frequently than usual (only a couple of times a week at the moment), but have also been supplementing my running with some indoor and garden based workouts, from resistance training to yoga. I've also found it really tough to go from being such a regular walker to essentially doing nothing, but I know that this will only be temporary, and I'm very lucky to have a garden to be able to get out in.

* Shower/bath- With an unlimited supply of time, it's tempting to have a bath every night, but so far it's one which I've managed to avoid in favour of a shower, primarily because it gives me a second burst of energy ahead of my evening meal. I'm also using this moment as a great excuse to rummage through my stash of toiletries and use them up.

* Dinner-  As I touched on in my last post, one of the upsides of not having to commute at the moment is that I'm able to dedicate more time to preparing fresh meals in the evening. I've also really loved leafing through all of my recipe books to get inspired and there's no doubt that we're all getting more creative in the kitchen, as well as being much more mindful of where we source our ingredients from and wasting less.

* Television- I've been limiting my news intake to once a day, usually in the morning or at lunchtime, as I found that tuning in to anything later meant that the situation would stay on my mind as I was winding down for the day.  Of an evening I've been tuning in to favourites which have really helped to take my mind off of things, including the wonderfully heartwarming The Repair Shop on BBC One, as well as old classics like Pride and Prejudice and things to make me laugh out loud like Only Fools and Horses. Last week, I also loved the first National Theatre at Home broadcast of One Man, Two Guvnors, a show which I saw three times when it was on and which had me roaring with laughter from my sofa.

* Bedtime- here we're talking minimal phone use- I'll cursorily have a look at WhatsApp but that's about it in terms of social networking. I'm currently avoiding Twitter as much as I can and if I'm not reading then I'll tend to pop an audio book or relaxing playlist on for fifteen minutes or so to wind down, as well as thinking about three good things from the day. If you're looking for something more, then the Calm app is great, and it's well worth thinking about a pillow spray like the This Works Deep Sleep one. I've also been sticking to my usual pre-bedtime skincare routine which has also really helped to wind down at the end of the day, as has making a to-do list for the following day.

All of this sounds super obvious when it's written down like this, but in the fog of one day very much feeling like another at the moment, I think it's well worth trying to stick to a sense of structure as far as possible, and trying to celebrate the positive too. There's a lot of noise around as things stand, but I think it's important to remember that you don't have to listen to or absorb it all- just do what works for you and take things one day at a time. We'll get there.

(Image credit: Sarah Farrell, please do not reproduce without permission.)

03.04.2020- On the Menu: Thomas's at Burberry

Friday, 3 April 2020

Before the world around us changed so completely, my lovely friend Lucy and I went for a leisurely Saturday lunch at somewhere which has been on my 'to visit' list for as long as I can remember- Thomas's at Burberry. This was nearly three weeks ago now (is anyone else finding it impossible to keep track of time at the moment?), and it was something which we originally had in the diary to talk about our trip to Florence, which was due to be the week after next. Whilst that's been put on hold for now, we still kept the date to catch up over some lovely food in some beautiful surroundings:

Whilst walking to the restaurant via some of central London's eerily quiet streets was very strange, I'm really glad that we kept the date, especially as it looks like it'll be a while now before we can do something like this again. Thomas's is a destination which didn't disappoint either, and more or less the moment we walked in my heart eyes emoji face appeared. The restaurant is designed absolutely beautifully- and any destination which greets you with a cake table as you walk in will always be a winner in my book. It's also got plenty on offer, whether you're popping in for a quick morning coffee, afternoon tea or something more substantial for lunch as we were. I opted for a sparkling elderflower to drink (something which seems like such a luxury looking back now), and a chicken and avocado sandwich with some chips- all of which were absolutely delicious. And, because it would have been rude not to, we both chose from the bountiful cake spread for dessert- indulging in sweet treats which looked like they could have been taken straight from the cinematic world of Emma. What's not to love? 

(Image credit: Sarah Farrell, please do not reproduce without permission.)

01.04.2020- What I Wore Today #307

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

It feels like years ago since these photos were taken (well, it was last December), but I'm still struggling to get my head around how much has changed since then. The world has turned upside down in such a short space of time, and it's almost impossible to know how long it will be before any sense of normality returns to our daily lives. Whilst we all hunker down and do our bit to support our wonderful NHS and key workers, I've found myself looking back through my camera roll to revisit some truly lovely memories from recent months, and this pre-Christmas catch up with Hannah and Elodie stands out as a truly lovely day:

Jacket- Mr Larkin (via Atterley) 
Trousers- Mr Larkin (via Atterley) 
Blouse- Urban Outfitters 
Shoes- Adidas

This trouser suit from Mr Larkin was a treat to myself for my birthday, and it's a combination which I also bought with an eye on the weddings which I've got in my diary for later in the year (keeping everything crossed that they can still go ahead.) Not only is the colour absolutely dreamy, but it also allows me to channel my inner 80s pop star which is no bad thing at all. I'm a big fan of the slightly oversized fit too- particularly the trousers which are a total high-waisted, wide-legged dream (although I did almost take off when I left the house in them on this rather windy day!) This combination was perfect for a brunch date and then a wander around London to take in some of the lovely Christmas lights and sights around the West End and Sloane Square- something which seems so distant now, but an experience I'm eternally hopeful we can recreate before too long. 

(Image credit: Hannah Hobson, please do not reproduce without permission.)
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