Books For Syria

Buying books is always a good thing, no doubt about it. And it’s even better when buying books means donating to a really important cause. Waterstones’ Buy Books for Syria campaign is raising one million pounds for Oxfam’s Syria Crisis Appeal.

Waterstones' Buy Books for Syria

An amazing and extensive selection of books have been donated by their publishers, and 100% of the RRP will help Syrian refugees. And these are books you’ll really want to buy too, so there’s no token effort involved. Not sure what to buy? You can’t go wrong with a page-turning bestseller – how about David Nicholls’ One Day, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson or perhaps We Need To Talk About Kevin? There are prize-winners too – Hillary Mantel’s Wolf Hall or Karen Joy Fowler’s We are All Completely Beside Ourselves for starters…

waterstones syria

Your bookshelves will thank you for one of the classics – Dracula, Great Expectations or the Picture of Dorian Gray, maybe? And every woman needs a copy of Caitlin Moran’s How To Be A Woman – a book to read, reread and give to friends, family and everyone you know. With the full cover price of all these titles helping Syrian refugees, there’s never been a better time to get stuck into a good book!

For more information, see the Waterstones website.

Productivity 101

We love at good infographic here at Running in Heels – simple, succinct information made pretty = what’s not to like? From the best task management apps and workspace wellbeing tips to how to get a good night’s sleep and the foods to eat for maximum productivity… These nine infographics are an easy way to become more productive, simply and quickly.


Productivity is achievable once you learn the tricks and apply them in your life. The following 9 infographics will arm you with the knowledge and productivity tips you need. Read more: Lifehack.

The 100 Best Novels

Ah those Best Book Lists. How many can you tick off then? Annoying as they can be – and sometimes fairly arbitrarily selected – a ‘Best Of’ book list isn’t a bad place to start if you’re after something wholeheartedly endorsed to read… From criminal tales like True History of the Kelly Gang and The Thirty-Nine Steps to intensely personal stories such as The Bell Jar and A Single Man, this list of the best English language books has ample choice for even the pickiest readers…

100 best books in english

After two years of careful consideration, Robert McCrum has reached a verdict on his selection of the 100 greatest novels written in English. Take a look at his list. Read more: The Guardian.

The Boudoir Effect

No one wants to leave the house in a mad dash, do they? Running for the bus? Applying their eyeliner on the train? Don’t get us wrong – we’ve been there and we’re not pointing the finger – but isn’t it so much nicer to start the day off in a calm, cool, collected fashion, rather than sprinting to work, feeling like you’re playing catch up before you’ve even got started? What you need to get yourself firmly into this mindset of morning calm is a silk robe.

fleur of england

Fleur of England Heiress Guipure Silk Robe

Fleur of England Blush Silk Robe

Fleur of England Caviar Silk Robe

A silk robe is the first essential element in becoming that serene woman who easily has time for a cup of tea or two and a leisurely breakfast before work. But of course she can fit in blow-drying and styling her hair while seated at her dressing table. She probably has a moment for conversation with her significant other/kids/cat/housemates too. And the purveyor of the finest silk robes? Fleur of England, bien sur.

fleur of england silk robe

Fleur of England Crème De La Crème Silk Robe

Fleur of England Signature Nude Belted Silk Robe

Fleur of England Esme Silk Robe

“If it is not exquisite it will not leave the door,” says Fleur, the brand’s founder. A motto we like a lot. Although collections are updated seasonally, these are timeless designs, so rest assured they’re pieces you’ll want to wear forever. The quality is impeccable and the finish is flawless. These are robes that might just make you set your alarm clock just a little earlier so you can lounge about/drink tea/not have to run for the bus…

fleur of england lingerie

Fleur of England Scarlet Silk Robe

Fleur of England Signature Black Belted Silk Robe

Fleur of England Geisha Silk Robe

Three Positive Things

How often do you notice the positive things that happen at work? Nope. it’s the negative that we so often focus on, discuss with friends and think about on our way home. So what if we told you that writing down three positive things from each day would actually have a wide-ranging effect across your whole life – from stress levels and sleep patterns to relationships, bonding and even creativity?

three positive things

We pay too much attention to all things negative – at a cost. The Powerful Effect of Noticing Good Things at Work. End each day by writing down three positives.Read more: Harvard Business Review.

Point of View

You might wonder what you’re letting yourself in for if you search for ‘adult colouring book’, but you’ll be relieved to hear it is definitely SFW. At the time of writing, four of the top ten bestselling titles are adult colouring books, and their popularity is not confined to the UK – this is a global phenomenon. 3.5 million colouring books were sold in France alone last year. I love the idea that people from all over the world are sitting down with a pack of colouring pencils and finding some peace and quiet from colouring in.

colouring book

There’s something for everyone, which is just as it should be. Creative activities shouldn’t just be the preserve of designers and artists; the new wave of colouring books are accessible to everyone and are perfect for those who might be short on time and money. With that in mind, it’s not difficult to see why the appeal of these books is so broad, from a busy office worker who finds it difficult to switch off at the end of a long day to someone who is housebound and enjoys colouring as a creative outlet.

little book of colouring

But forget the colouring books of your childhood. The best of the grown-up versions are highly intricate works of art, designed to be coloured and kept. For The Little Books of Colouring: Peace in Your Pocket, I approached Amber Anderson, a brilliantly talented illustrator from London, as we fell in love with the sophistication and beauty of her illustrations, most of which are inspired by the natural world. We wanted the books to be portable, to fit in a handbag or on a bedside table without compromising any of the design or production quality.

I think part of the appeal is that colouring acts as a kind of digital detox. Most of us spend the majority of our days in front of screens of one type or another, constantly refreshing and flicking between devices. But, even though it’s proven to increase our anxiety levels, going cold turkey on tech can be really difficult. It creeps into all areas of our life. We’ve all heard about the benefits of mindfulness, but it can be quite difficult to get your head round exactly what that means in practice. Activities like colouring are really helpful in encouraging busy minds to focus and draw attention. Colouring in an illustration is sufficiently distracting and allows you to simultaneously focus and switch off from the stresses of every day. And, it’s surprisingly satisfying, too.

colouring for adults

There is very little opportunity to do something creative and to feel that sense of satisfaction that comes from producing something of real beauty. And people are proud of the designs they are creating and sharing them on Facebook and Pinterest. There are even colouring groups, like knitting circles, where people meet up and colour. There’s a nostalgia to it. I remember that quiet focus I felt when I was in school surrounded by paper, pencils, some pipe cleaners and maybe a pot of glitter if there was any left after you spilt it on the floor trying to open it. Colouring books have become an accepted way to replicate that feeling for grown ups, and I wholeheartedly approve.

Jane Sturrock is Non-Fiction Editorial Director at Quercus Books. The Little Book of Colouring series is available to buy online here.

Memory Magic

Find yourself forgetting names and unable to recall small details that you just know that you know? It’s the most infuriating and frustrating thing ever! These three tricks actually work – just try them – and really help you remember those pesky little details. Magic.

remembering details

3 Amazing Mind Tricks That Will Help You Remember Small Details. Read more: The Muse.

Monogram Mania

The height all things chic must surely be the monogram, I have always lusted after monograms. Obviously the traditional Maison Goyard hand-lettered steamer trunk is the ultimate coup. The only Louis Vuitton I find that catch my eye are older pieces which have faded and worn with personalised bright stripes and letters of their owners – courtesy of their Mon Monogram which is also hand-painted, (somewhat amusingly!) over LV’s own monogram. Vuitton have in fact been celebrating their monogram for years; culminating in the recent collaborative project ‘The Icon and the Iconclasts’ which invites artists to interpret the famous motifs for themselves.

louis vuitton iconoclasts

goyard trunks

Of course, in the case of these trunk-makers, the self-branding came about from the purely practical requirement of their customers being able to recognise one’s luggage when travelling, as opposed to some kind of measure of chicness! But lets face it, those travelling on steamers and railways in those days were already heralding their status and chicness just by being there in the first place – monogrammed or not.

The irony of a monogram feeling so luxurious to me still now – when essentially the house monograms of the Maisons (Chanel’s C’s, Gucci’s G’s and LV’s LV’s of course) – are the most copied and faked of all time does not escape me, but it’s not their monograms that I aspire to, it’s mine. My very own initials. I share those of the Queen which I enjoy, they fit together so perfectly. I am in little love with my own initials, its true. Maybe EJR is the new LV? Maybe he was so in love with his own initials this is how it all started… (Actually his son George created it in his honour, meh).

vuitton trunks

louis vuitton monogram

vuitton monogram

When I was younger, my parents gave me a Samsonite vanity case with my own initials that I loved – a classic 80’s grey with mint green trim, Ooh La La! I somewhat ludicrously toted it about on various holidays, mostly in North Devon but occasionally it got to go on an aeroplane. It was filled with Kylie and MJ cassettes, Anastasia books and that yellow Sony Walkman. Vanity cases, again, such a chic notion, but as my make-up consists of an Eyeko mascara, Chanel eyeliner palette, Lucas Paw Paw, and a Laura Mercier eye base – a case it does not fill. I always fantasise about being the kind of woman who would travel with a vanity case, or a steamer trunk for that matter. Truth is, I am just not. I’m always hauling scripts and 73 Apple products plus their chargers plus adapters, so alas chic traveller – No. Hateful airline ‘you can only have one bag’ lopsided sweaty back-achey techno traveller – Yes.

Whilst the aim of a personalised Goyard steamer trunk, and or becoming the kind of woman who travels with a vanity case are life dreams conceivably impossible to achieve, I have found some very pleasing alternatives to the monogrammatic fantasy. Little ideas to make your personal life feel a little more chic, in the face of the real life adversity of actually having to do quite a lot of work.

rae feather bagsrae feather

Via Jean Queen Donna Ida’s fabulous Instagram I came across British brand Rae Feather , which ties together two of my very favourite chic things – French baskets and Monograms. Available in three sizes and strap lengths {and a clutch purse, which has been out of stock for months sadly} these baskets are an affordable way to commence this initialled life dream. Baskets are just brilliant and I’ve waxed lyrical about them before. You can chuck everything in and feel like you are tripping around the Riviera instead of carrying parsley, sweet potatoes and CoYo home from the supermarket. Whilst I do appreciate £120 for a basket which is available for around £20 in plain reality, please do appreciate that someone is taking the time to sit and paint, by hand, you on to it. It takes time, so appreciate the artisan. Plus I am comparing this as a solution to a £10,000 + steamer trunk so, you know…

Of course pyjamas are another traditionally popular piece to personalise. Ever since I saw Brigitte Bardot in A Very Private Affair I knew two things for absolute. A. I never want to be a film star. B. I want to wear proper pyjamas.

bardot pyjamas

silk pyjamas

I find pyjama buying as tricksy as bikini buying. The top and bottom halves of my body seem, according to pretty much all retailers, to belong to totally different women. Buying anything for your bust and bottom at the same time is surely one of the worst ideas in all retail history?

Whilst badly-sized swimwear has a much more widespread effect as it is mostly worn in a public space. Coloured Lycra creeping upwards, or sagging away from the body; the idea of badly-fitting pyjamas is almost more uncomfortable for me. They are a luxury item; to be enjoyed solo as one potters around one’s abode, making watching CSI Miami repeats or dusting the books feel glamorous. If you subscribe to wearing any pyjamas at all, you subscribe to letting in a little bit of chic, otherwise you’d just wear a hideously misshapen and weirdly grey t-shirt with a tea stain down it to bed – you know I’m right.

poplin pyjamas

Breakfast at Tiffanys Pyjamas

poplins monogram

Audrey’s slumber kit in Breakfast At Tiffanys is of course legendary. Sleeping eyes are always a must, and earplugs perpetually fall out anyway so why on earth should they not in fact be tasselled? The nightshirt championed here proffers an equally fancy bed wear option, although the practicality of actually sleeping as the fabric python suffocates me slowly through the night terrifies me into avoiding them.

I love Poplin’s offer of simple, yet classic luxury loungewear, and they employ Hand & Lock, a London embroidery institution since the 1700’s, to hand embroider their PJs with your initials. Now if the idea of this luxury excess in order to eat a bar of Green and Black in front of Orange is the New Black seems wild, then you can always wear them outside of course, to increase that price-per-wear value.

pyjamas fashion week

olivia von halle

Since about 2012, it has been touted by The Fashion Industry as 100% acceptable, nay chic, to wear your PJs in the day. Street style snappers at Fashion Weeks across the globe have captured the fash pack sporting the masculine silky separates worn with classic staples, as well as worn in full two-piece printed glory. I recommend Olivia von Halle’s beautiful prints for this, as well as faux fur fox Shrimps’ collaboration with Poplin. Both of which can, of course, be monogrammed…

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Look Good, Brush Better

For most women, applying makeup in the morning is a normal, everyday experience. But for some – those with the visible effects of cancer treatment – adding a pop of blush and a slick of lipstick really makes a huge difference to self-confidence, self-esteem and feeling strong enough to face that big, bad world out there. If you’re in need of some new make-up brushes – or you just fancy giving a helping hand to some pretty amazing women, you should definitely be spending your cash on the range from Look Good Feel Better.

Look good feel better brushes

The global cancer charity supports women undergoing cancer treatment, offering free make-up and skincare workshops which aim to help them feel just that little bit better – regardless of everything else going on around them. Look Good Feel Better has been operating for over 25 years, but their makeup tools range is a recent development, created in partnership with beauty etailer Look Fantastic. With every purchase, 8%-12% of the whole sale price goes to the charity – and there’s a guaranteed donation of £30,000 every year too.

There’s no scrimping on quality either, the make-up brushes are beautifully soft, featuring delicate synthetic bristles, perfect for even the most sensitive skin. They’re all handmade too, with smooth wooden handles making them a pleasure to use. Here’s what we’ll be buying…

Look Good Feel Better Mini MAsterclass Set

Look Good Feel Better Mini Masterclass Set

Look Good Feel Better Sponge


Flawless Complexion Sponge
Look Good Feel Better Angled Contour Brush

Look Good Feel Better Angled Contour Brush

Look Good Feel Better Makeover Brush Set

The Makeover Brush Set

Look Good Feel Better makeup brushes

Concealer Brush

Multi-tasking Brush

Detailed Eyeliner Brush

For more information, and to shop the collection, take a look at Look Fantastic where you’ll find the full range available to buy.


Super Fast Fitness

Busy lives and packed schedules – sometimes fitting in exercise in between work, friends and family can feel like a real challenge. How about if we said that all you need is seven minutes? Seven intense minutes, yes – but it’s only seven minutes! And there’s an app to show you exactly what to do too. Based on research showing the benefits of HIIT (high-intensity interval training), the Scientific 7-Minute Workout is a quick fix to boost your fitness – and you can do it anytime, anywhere. What are you waiting for?

hiit app

Got seven minutes? We’ve got the app. The New York Times is offering a free mobile app for the popular Scientific 7-Minute Workout and the new Advanced 7-Minute Workout. The app offers a step-by-step guide to both 7-minute workouts, offering animated illustrations of the exercises, as well as a timer and audio cues to help you get the most out of your seven minutes. Read more: The New York Times.