London: Sky Garden

I like heights. I especially like to see big cities from above. There’s something magical about looking at grand old buildings look so small and actually seeing how the city fits together.

So I LOVED my visit to the Sky Garden in London. Unfortunately it was raining so I didn’t manage to get outside (or get any really good pictures) but here are a few snaps I managed to take…

London Sky Garden

London Sky Garden [Read more…]

A quick note on how to handle twitter trolls.

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A couple of months ago, I interviewed Janet Street Porter for Tombola. One of the questions I posed was…

You’re no stranger to controversy, particularly on social media networks such as Twitter. Can you give some tips on how you handle the Twitter trolls? 

In which she replied: Ignore them! Don’t block them, just mute them. Don’t get drawn into a conversation with them.

And you know what? It’s really as simple as that.

As time goes by, it becomes easier and easier to ignore such things. Trolls are kind of like unruly teenagers. The more attention they get, the more likely they are to seek it. Ignore them and they quickly lose steam. Clearly, twitter trolls don’t get the attention they crave at home or at work so they take to the internet to seek it.

So ignore them. Use your energies in more positive ways and remember that Steve Jobs quote…

“By the way, what have you done that’s so great? Do you create anything, or just criticize other’s work and belittle their motivations?”

If you’d like to read more about my interview with Janet Street Porter head to Tombola.

Weekend Reads 15/8

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First up, I have to share the above picture with you. Spotted whilst walking the dogs, I LOVE it. I’m not normally a graffiti fan (mostly, because it makes zero sense and where I live 9 times out of 10 is vulgar) but this was such a nice, positive message, beaming out in quite a secluded and grubby area.

Anyway, here are some interesting finds from across the web…

Science Confirms As Effective As 14 Drugs.

These are the foods we waste most in Britain (I’ll be doing a post on this next week!)

Did you see the major faux pas by Bic? I love Stabilio’s response (although, it has made me yearn for that back to school stationary stock up which I still take part in even though I left school eons ago!)

This online test can help you find your purpose & what lights you up.

Eating More Fat Makes You Smarter, Sexier, and Thinner.

Look. I know it’s bad but The Real Housewives franchise is my guilty pleasure (New York, Beverly Hills, Melbourne and Orange County incase you wondered). I love it. My favourite – New York – has just had it’s reunion and I LOVE this little video which sums it up perfectly. (FYI NSFW)

THIS kickstarter campaign.

Zen and the art of dying well.

Mindy Kaling’s Guide to Killer Confidence.

Have a good weekend all! And don’t forget to join me in a phone detox!

x

Take a phone detox

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There’s a great piece in the New Yorker by Scaachi Koul where she lists things that will happen if she doesn’t take her phone out. For example:

1. Someone will post a photo of a brunch sandwich—like, a really great brunch sandwich, one with bacon and avocado—and I won’t get to comment, “omg where.”

2. I’ll come up with a great idea—a tampon that is also a mild antidepressant—and won’t have a way to write it down.

3. Someone will send me an e-mail marked “URGENT” and it will, for once, actually be quite urgent (probably about free food), and I won’t see it until it’s too late (all the free food is gone).

4. Ignoring texts that I don’t want to answer will suddenly become unintentional and therefore meaningless.

You can see the full list HERE.

But it got me thinking, I seriously need a phone detox. I’m glued to my phone. Sometimes, I’ll have my phone, iPad and laptop on the go at the same time. Technology overload much? 

Our phones are making us sick. REALLY. Not in a woo-woo all the radio waves are damaging our brains (although they probably are) way, but actual symptoms. Such as tendinitis aka texting thumb and sleep deprivation because our smartphone addictions mean that we can’t resist a cheeky check in on our phones when we should be snoozing. Read this piece in the NY Mag for more information on how your smartphone is causing your body damage.

So this weekend, I’m going to take a little phone detox – why don’t you join me? I’m going to ease myself gently into it and try to take it forward throughout the week too.

Here’s the plan… [Read more…]

Power Drink: Healthy chocolate shake

If you’re in one of those moods where the only thing that will do is chocolate then check this out.
Thick, indulgent and VERY chocolatey – without the crap that you find in shop bought milkshakes.

Oh and did I mention its super simple too? It has just 3 ingredients.

Healthy Chocolate Shake

 

– 350ml Unsweetened Almond Milk (coconut milk works REALLY well too)

– 1.5 tsp of Organic Peruvian Cacao Powder (obviously this depends on how chocolatey you like it)

– 1/2 Frozen Banana

Just place all the ingredients in a whizz. I like to add a teaspoon of chia seeds too for an extra thick shake. 

Here are some top smoothie tips…

[Read more…]

Whole foods Asparagus Water

It drives me crackers when people claim that eating healthy is expensive. After all, if you shop right then good foods are actually cheaper than most junk food.

But then this pops in to my newsfeed on Twitter.

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Asparagus Water. $5.99 for water with three stalks of asparagus inside. Seriously. No wonder people think that healthy eating is out of their reach. It’s also extremely pretentious and well, if you’re paying $6 for water with stalks of asparagus swimming inside then you probably need to have a word with yourself. 

BUT…and there’s always a but.

Asparagus infused water (which, I think whole foods have actually claimed it was supposed to be) may not seem as silly as it sounds. Actually, any infused water (although, I’d recommend lemon and fruits over veggies) is a good way  of helping you hydrate as you’re more likely to drink more if it has a flavour.

There are loads more benefits on infusing water and some combinations over on this post > 3 interesting ways with water.

So over to you…what “health” craze do you think has gone too far? 

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Wake at the same time every day…

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I’m a big fan of sleep. I find the whole “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” thing complete nonsense. Making sure you get enough sleep is essential if you want to feel good, look good and be uber productive.

But here is a good tip for you…wake at the same time every day. A recent study in the Netherlands found that those who slept longer on a weekend had higher cortisol levels (which leads to stress and weight gain) than those who woke up at the same time each day.

So, here are 5 tips to help you sleep smarter…

Make yourself a cup of Valerian Tea. Valerian root is a herb with sedative properties used to ease insomnia and anxiety. I like the Dr Stuarts brand which is around £1.80 in most supermarkets.

Turn off your devices at least an hour before bed! I’m not really one to comment on this as I’m terrible for “just checking my email” or having a scroll through twitter before I go to sleep. A lot of the time though, it’s habit not necessity that sees me reaching for my mobile. But the blue light that our phones and tablets omit will cause sleep problems. Instead, grab a juicy book and settle down with your cup of valerian tea.

Think about your alarm clock. I hate alarm clocks and I’m so grateful that I’m a freelancer who works from home. However, my partner, he has to have an alarm go off, luckily I’m usually awake by then but a bad alarm tone will set the tone for the rest of the day. Think about investing in an alarm that will gently wake you. Or even a Philips Wake-Up Light Alarm Clock with Sunrise Simulation which is especially good during the winter months.

Don’t hit the snooze button. Instead, pinch the pressure point between your thumb and index finger, this will stop you from falling back asleep.

Add essential oils to your life. I’m REALLY in to my aromatherapy and lavender is a great addition to your life if you have trouble sleeping or you just want to stop your brain from whizzing around.

Do you have a sleep routine? I’d love to hear about it below…

Shirataki Noodles (aka Yam Noodles)

This post seems to have had a boost thanks to Channel 4’s #FoodUnwrapped so I thought it was a good time to republish it. Since it’s been a year since I originally posted this – and I’ve fallen more and more in love with Konjac and “Slim Pasta” then if you have ANY questions please feel free to leave a comment below….enjoy!

So I posted my post gym dinner on Instagram last night and since it’s drawn lots of questions, I thought it would be easier to answer them here.

This is the pork and vegetable stir-fry with shirataki noodles I made last night…

Shirataki Noodles (aka Yam Noodles)

Shirataki (or yam) noodles have been used in Japanese cuisine for YEARS. They’re basically thin, translucent noodles that are made from a vegetable called Konjac (which is also known as devil’s tongue, voodoo lily, snake palm, or elephant yam).  They dry the yam and grind it into a flour from which they make the noodles. I’m sure you can think of lots of vegetables that have practically zero calories and the konjac plant (the Japanese yam) is one of them.

So just to recap these noodles have no carbs, virtually no calories (a pack has approx 10 calories) , no wheat, no gluten and no sugar.

How to cook Shirataki noodles:

[Read more…]

Weekend Reads

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Fancy giving a standing desk a go? A great ikea hack

12 Flower Essences For The 12 Signs Of The Zodiac

Health Tips even the laziest of us will appreciate

Unrealistic beauty standards are making dogs fat (ha!)

Is work life balance a big waste of time?

Stop Food Cravings In 15 Minutes With This Easy Trick

40 maps that explain the internet

Gretchen Rubin interviews Dan Harris – a must listen

THIS bag. What a brilliant idea, especially for those who love travelling with carry on

 

And finally, if you’re all worked out for the week then watch this. The case for the 32 hour week.

5 SUPER QUICK TIPS FOR TAKING BETTER INSTAGRAM IMAGES

5 quicktips totake better instagram imag

I’ve been doing loads of research on instagram lately because it’s by far my favourite social network. And I want to make the most of it because I don’t know if you’ve noticed, it’s a network that keeps growing and growing. So whether you’re using instagram for business or pleasure, I’ve put together 5 quick tips that I’ve picked up to help you up your instagram game.

DITCH THE CAMERA ON YOUR PHONE. I know it goes against the spirit of Instagram but let’s face it, there’s only so much that the camera on your smartphone can do. Instead use a separate camera, from compact system cameras to DSLR’s these will take way better images. You also have the advantage of editing them before you post. To get them on to instagram either email them to yourself or use an app for your iMac such as UP!

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE LIGHTING. First up, it’s pointless taking a shot in the evening or in a darkened room because it’s going to just look super grainy. Instead, try to use as much natural light as possible. If your image is still on the dark side, just up the brightness a bit by using an app such as AfterLight.

DON’T USE THE INSTAGRAM APP. If you ARE going to use your smartphone camera then don’t use the Instagram app to snap the pic. Use your regular camera app so that you can take advantage of many of the editing tools you’ve already got. If you’ve got an iPhone then there’s even the square setting so you know it’ll be instagram ready.

TAKE MORE THAN ONE SHOT. Very rarely will you snap the perfect shot in one go. So several shots at different angles because somewhere in there, you’ll find the right picture.

and finally…

TRY TO SHOOT WITHIN THE GOLDEN HOUR. You know that romantic, soft, yellow haze that you get just before the sun sets and rises? Well, that’s the golden hour. During these times the sun is sitting low in the sky and giving off a warm glow. By taking images during the golden hour you avoid annoying shadows and your smartphone will be able to handle the exposure with ease.

You can follow me on Instagram by going to http://instagram.com/rachaelphillips

What tips do you have for better instagram pics? Share below…