Alternative Therapies

Therapy might seem like a big step for some of us. If we’re just feeling a little down, slightly overtired or a bit stressed, is therapy really the best option? Created by the always-marvellous School Of Life are three rather cool mobile sites/apps: Books as Therapy, Art as Therapy and Food as Therapy. We’ll let you guess which is our favourite…

books as therapy

Simply select your current malaise, and suggestions will be generated for you in terms of reading matter, artworks or recipes. Food as a therapy for boredom? Why, you need to whip up some Salsa Verde – described as “the gourmet equivalent of a roll in the snow after a hot sauna.” Would you like to feel more grounded? Some easily-made, super-delicious soda bread (made in under 12 minutes) is just the ticket.

art as therapy

Perhaps you find a lot of people annoying, but you don’t want to be lonely… The book you need to read is Anna Karenina – and of course, there’s a very convincing SoF explanation as to why! Art-wise you could be perusing Pieter de Hooch (your job is banal),  David Hockney (you can’t bear the rain) or Diego Velazquez (you think that everyone but you is having fun). So before you resort to the therapist’s couch, maybe it’s time to sit down with a good book – or cook a batch of strawberry jam!

Do Something

We’ve all been there – there’s something you know you need to do (revising for an exam, applying for a job, taking clothes to the dry cleaners) and yet somehow you just can’t find the motivation to do it. In fact you’ll do anything – anything at all – rather than committing to the task you know you need to do. The solution? Try Mark Manson’s Do Something principle.

do something

A cool little mental hack to get you over procrastination and inspire motivation. Read more here: The “Do Something” Principle.

Maybe, Baby?

Sometimes we’re that painfully honest best friend who narrows her gaze and replies that no, maybe those jeans aren’t the best fit for you right now. These are the hard truths you might not really like hearing. If you haven’t got children and you do want them, this article may be the most important thing you read this year. Seriously.

babies

Women in their 30s and 40s exhibit a mix of wishful thinking and woeful ignorance when it comes to their fertility. Why? Read more: Aeon Magazine.

Women Fashion Power Food

Are there any women out there who aren’t interested in fashion and food? We haven’t met them yet in any case! What better way to celebrate the Design Museum’s ground-breaking Women Fashion Power exhibition than with food?

women fashion power

The Blueprint Café’s head chef has devised a special menu inspired by fashion, and how influential women have used style to define their power and position in society.  Available during February, the three-course affair opens with ‘Ready To Wear’ – a beautifully light chicken broth followed by delicate poached salmon served with roasted Jerusalem artichoke accented with aromatic mussel foam. The spectacle concludes with ‘Haute Couture’ – a showstopping gold leaf-embellished chocolate fondant accompanied with rum and banana ice cream. Chocoholics beware, you may just have met your match in this dessert! The restaurant’s spectacular views over the Thames make for a pretty stylish backdrop.

blueprint cafe

For true style devotees, on February 19th Blueprint Café is also hosting an exclusive soirée including an exhibition tour (with Champagne, bien sur) led by the Design Museum’s curator Donna Loveday, plus a truly unique four-course menu paired with matching wines. Guests will also be able to enjoy a talk and post-dinner Q&A courtesy of acclaimed British fashion designer Tabitha Webb.

For more information on the Celebrate Style evening and Women Fashion Power menu, see the Blueprint Café’s website.

The Trends Cheat Sheet

Most of the time, we don’t pay very very close attention to trends… We try, but they change so often that how can we possibly hope to keep up with them as well as everything else life throws at us? So look to Vogue – who else – to fill you in on the trends you might like to know about. Ten slides to click through, this fashion trends cheat sheet for Spring/Summer 2015 makes updating your wardrobe a cinch!

fashion trends spring summer 2015

The sales are over and wintery clothes are beginning to look a little tired. Before you start to shop the new season, here’s Vogue‘s quick-fix style guide to updating your look for spring/summer 2015. Read more: Vogue.

This Girl Can

We love love LOVE the latest campaign from Sport England. Ready to sweat, celebrate your shape and get involved in sport?

“I jiggle therefore I am”. Girls, it’s time you get your fit on! Fore more information, see the This Girl Can website.

Choose Your Words Carefully

How you word your resolutions this year could make the difference between giving up come 31 January and making lasting life changes. Make sure your words count. 

To resolve or not to resolve, that is the question. It’s the one we ask ourselves each January as the annual invitation to start over rolls around. In the media, there’s the usual flurry of “How to make resolutions that last”-type articles (the kind of stuff I love to read), along with the expected slew of “Why making resolutions is a waste of time” pieces (not my cup of tea). Personally, I feel resolution-making as an expression of the will to self-improvement is never to be discouraged: the simple act of voicing a desire to change and then attempting to do so is a massive step forward.

new years resolutions

For me, failure to keep a resolution does not indicate that making resolutions is futile; rather it suggests that the resolution was perhaps the wrong one for you, or made for the wrong reasons, or – crucially – it was badly worded. The way in which we word and specify our intentions seems to me crucial to their success. The difference between “I’m going to be healthier in 2015” and “I’m going to jog for 10 minutes twice a week in 2015” is huge. The first is vague and contains no real action, the second is specific and involves a solid commitment. Which is more likely to be kept?

Now, you’d think that, self-improvement info junkie that I am, I’d be able to sidestep these kinds of mental potholes. Think again. This New Year, I caught myself making a whopper of a rookie error as I sat down to set some intentions for 2015. There I was with a nice list of all the things I wanted to find more time for over the year – yoga, new coaching clients, promoting my work as a writer – when I noticed that every item on that list was preceded by the words “I will find more time to…” See the fatal flaw? Answers on a postcard to the woman who’s still looking through her chest of drawers to find where she left that bit of spare time she just knows she put somewhere for safekeeping.

writing

What was I thinking? You don’t find time for anything. I have never once looked at my diary and thought, “Oh goodie, there’s an hour a week I didn’t know about”. Time is not a crumpled fiver you come across down the side of the sofa, nor is it something you discover left over at the end of a long day. Time is finite; no-one gets any more than 24 hours in a day.

The minute I changed the word “find” to “make”, my perspective on my resolutions changed. I am going to have to make time to prospect for clients, clear space in my diary for that extra yoga class, and – whisper it – make the choice between crashing on the sofa like an extra from The Walking Dead and getting out the laptop to write. Finding time is about trying to cram even more into the day, snatching five minutes here and there. Making time is about saying no to activities that aren’t priority, crafting your schedule to work towards your objectives, and making conscious decisions about where you put your energy at any given moment – which sometimes means giving up things that aren’t useful and that don’t serve you.

yoga class

It all comes down to a feeling of agency, really. Making time puts me firmly in the driver’s seat of my life, relying on myself to make the decisions that get me where I want to be. Finding time – just like finding a forgotten banknote – relies to a large extent on luck and good fortune. And my goals are a little too important to me to leave them in the lap of the gods. Aren’t yours?

Maximise Your Health

It’s that time of year when we’re starting to leave that resolutionist zeal behind, isn’t it? While everyday gym visits and endless kale might have seemed realistic in the first enthusiastic flush of January 1st, somehow… With tips on how to fend off illness, nutritional guidance for women, mindful advice for better health, practical fitness tips and useful probiotic and antioxidant knowledge, The Telegraph brings together five experts to ensure that your 2015 is as healthy – and happy – as possible!

fitspiration

Five experts – including a nutritionalist, a hypnotherapist and a cancer researcher – offer insider tips on how to vastly improve your health this year. Read more: The Telegraph.

After The Party

The so-called party season is officially over. This month you’ll find us slurping down green juices, adding kale to every meal and generally feeling quite hair shirty in order to atone for festive excess and overindulgence. But we might just have considered booking a detox had it not been for Korres’ magnificent Party Survival Gift Set.

korres party survival set

People seem to think that gift sets are reserved for Christmas and birthdays, but we’re going to let you into a little secret: any time of year is a good moment to give yourself a little something – if you deserve it! And dedicated hard-partying ways most certainly merit this bunder of wonder from Korres. In reality, you’re unlikely to confine your parties to the festive season only (right?!) so the Party Survival Gift Set is actually very useful 24/7/365. Five beautifully-scented natural products to mask the scent of gin make you feel like a human being again. What could be better?

korres party set

Skincare-wise, say au revoir to the slap with refreshing, energising White Tea Cleanser, and follow up with a deeply hydrating brightening Wild Rose moisturiser. Then bring body and mind back to life with an invigorating blast of Guava Shower Gel and zingy Basil Lemon Fresh Tones Body Milk. There’s also an Aloe and Dittany Shampoo so you have no excuse for hangover hair… Buy this now and keep it somewhere safe for when the party spirit returns!

The Korres Party Survival Gift Set is available to buy online via Debenhams.

RIH Drinks

For the non-drinker, Christmas can present a bit of a trying time. First off, people will inevitably question your reasons for abstaining from booze and try and wheedle you into having a tipple or two. And secondly, non-alcoholic drinks tend to be pretty uninteresting. You can expect to find soda water, orange juice or – if we’re being adventurous – sparkling elderflower.

From Lindy Wildsmith’s inspired Artisan Drinksthis recipe for Cranberry Fizz is deliciously different and wonderfully seasonal. On festive occasions this stunningly colourful drink can be dressed up for the non-drinker at the party. And it also works beautifully with a splash of gin, should you wish! Vary the fruit in this recipe to make vibrant fizz at any time of the year – rhubarb in spring, soft fruits and cherries in summer and blackberries in autumn.

cranberry spritz

500 g (1 lb 2 oz) cranberries
Finely pared rind and juice of 1 lemon
Finely pared rind and juice of 1 orange
300 g (10.5 oz) sugar cubes
2 litres (70 fl oz/8 cups) boiling water

3 tsp (10 g) fresh baker’s yeast, or 1.5 tsp (5 g) active dry yeast
Pinch of caster (superfine) sugar
20 ml (0.75 fl oz) warm (not hot) water
1.5 tsp (5 g) cream of tartar

cranberry

Put the fruit in the crock or deep bowl and crush with a potato masher or the end of a rolling pin or even better a mouli-legume or mincer. Add the citrus zest and juice, add the sugar cubes and the cream of tartar. Pour the boiling water over the top, stir and leave to cool to blood temperature. When the liquid has cooled sufficiently, mix the yeast and caster sugar with the warm water, stir into a paste and add to the liquid. Cover with a clean cloth and leave for 48 hours.

artisan drinks

Using a slotted spoon, skim and discard any debris that may have floated to the surface. Strain and using a large jug and funnel pour into bottles. Stand for 48 hours. Keeps for 2 to 4 weeks. Once open drink up within a few days before the sparkle subsides.

Lindy Wildsmith’s Artisan Drinks is published by Jacqui Small. Buy online here.