Images to put life in perspective

The Hubble Space Telescope turned 25 on Friday. To celebrate they released this image…

image credit: NASA/ESA/HUBBLE/AFP/Getty Images

image credit: NASA/ESA/HUBBLE/AFP/Getty Images

Is it just me or does an image like that just put life in perspective a bit? I mean, according to theoretical astrophysicist Ethan Siegel, the entire universe may be made up of more than 100 billion galaxies. So in the grand scheme of things, a bad hair day or that person cutting you up in the car park doesn’t seem to significant anymore?

Here are some other AMAZING images from the Hubble Space Telescope – tell me how you feel when you look at them? Continue reading

How the right bedding can boost your health

We all know that bedding can have a big impact on the look of rooms and you’re no doubt keen to find dapper duvets and pretty pillows that have the power to elevate the aesthetics of your boudoir. However, did you realise that as well as enhancing the look of your home, the sheets you sleep in can boost your health?

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Helping you get sufficient sleep

First and foremost, comfy bedding can help you to nod off at night. Most adults need between seven and nine hours of good quality slumber a night, but up to a third of Britons fail to get this much shuteye. There are lots of reasons why people can struggle to sink into restful sleep, and bad bedding is one risk factor. When you’re perusing the variety of pillows, duvets, sheets and covers available on specialist websites like juliancharles.co.uk, make sure you choose materials that will help soothe you to sleep. Ideally, the products should offer just enough warmth and they should feel good against your skin.

Bear in mind that as well as helping to give you energy to face the day, sleep plays an important role in fending off potentially serious illnesses. In fact, regular sleeplessness can increase your risk of heart disease, diabetes and obesity. It can also raise your chances of getting long-term mood disorders like anxiety and depression. A lack of sleep can reduce your immunity too, meaning you’re less able to fight off infections.

Although many people don’t realise this, sleep can also have a big impact on weight. Studies have revealed that people who sleep for less than seven hours a day are 30 per cent more likely to be obese than those who get nine hours of shuteye or more. It’s believed that when people are sleep deprived, they have lower levels of leptin, a hormone that makes them feel full. They also have higher levels of the hunger-stimulating chemical ghrelin.

Controlling allergies

As well as helping people to get enough sleep, good quality bedding can play a part in preventing allergy aggravation. Around one in four people in the UK suffer from an allergy at some point in their lives and there are a range of potential triggers. Dust mites and small flakes of skin and hair are often the causes of sneezing bouts and streaming eyes.

If these allergens affect you, it’s worth looking out for bedding with synthetic fillings such as hollowfibre and microfibre. These products are designed to be non-allergenic and they can be laundered quickly and easily. You might be surprised by how much easier it is to reduce your allergy symptoms if you take simple steps like this to control your environment.

Given how much of an impact bedding can have on your health, it’s vital that you choose the best possible versions.

weekend reads #14

Hope you’ve all had a lovely week, especially since we’ve had gorgeous weather.
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Here’s what I’ve found interesting from across the web this week…

 Inside the Mad, Mad World of TripAdvisor “No matter your destination, you will, at some point in your research, visit TripAdvisor. The company, with the humble mantra ‘real hotel reviews you can trust,’ has become—on a rising tide of 200 million user reviews and counting—a travel-industry Goliath, able to turn obscure hotels into sold-out hot spots, carry new flocks of visitors on digital word of mouth to quiet destinations, even rewrite the hospitality standards of entire nations. For travellers the impact has been equally profound. What begins as a simple search-engine query becomes an epic fact-finding mission that leaves no mouldy shower curtain unturned, a labyrinthine choose-your-own-adventure—do you read the one-bubble rant?—in which the perfect hotel always seems just one more click away. For all the power of the service, it raises deep questions about travel itself, including, most pressingly, who do we want—who do we trust—to tell us where to go? ‘”

 

One of the first books I downloaded on to my kindle was “The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared”. Last night my boyfriend decided to watch the film, now, we all know that most films never live up to the book but this was bloody brilliant. Seriously, pop it on your “must watch” list.

Being a freelancer has it’s up’s and down’s -Emma has written about what to do when you fall ill as a freelancer”

Tim Ferris has interviewed Maria Popova this week. BrainPickings is one of my favourite reads. She talks to Tim about Writing, workarounds and workflow. Some interesting stuff on productivity too.

Why saying done can help productivity levels.

This piece from the New York Times ‘Gertie’s Babies,’ Sold at Birth, Use DNA to Unlock Secret Past is a fascinating read.

I HATE energy drinks with a passion. I think they should be banned stat! The Telegraph writers about how energy drinks are “like legal highs”.

I challenge you to start using the 2 minute rule

I want to introduce you to one of my favourite productivity tips.  This tip will help you crush procrastination and also encourage you to pick up and stick to some good habits.

Introducing the 2 minute rule

the twominuterule

If you have a task that can be done in 2 minutes then do it right now, without delay.

When you start shifting the small things out of your life then you’ll find that you feel less bogged down and it will boost your creativity and productivity.

Most of the tasks we have to do on a daily basis aren’t difficult or complex, they’re small things like making your bed, emptying the dishwasher, reading an email, opening your post, hanging up your clothes etc But even though they may seem small combined they actually make a huge difference and by not doing them, it could stop you moving forward with the bigger tasks.

You may be thinking that things like hanging up your coat or making your bed when you get up in the morning doesn’t make a difference but by using your two minutes wisely and getting those small tasks done then you’re opening up the time to tackle the big stuff.

And you know what the greatest thing about the 2 minute rule is? It just fits in to your life. You don’t have to schedule the time in or think about it, you just get up and do them.

The two minute rule doesn’t just have to apply to the mundane tasks either.  Believe it or not two minutes can have a profound effect any larger projects you may have going on.

For example; if you want to become a better writer then sit down and vow to write for two minutes. Once you get started you’ve broken that seal and you’ll either keep on writing or you’ll have written at least 120 words which is a grand start.

Or maybe you want to start eating better…challenge yourself to throw together a salad in two minutes for your lunch or your dinner.  This can be done whilst you’re waiting for the kettle to boil and if you do this then you have already made a huge step towards eating healthy.

The two minute rule is about freeing up your mind and getting those little things done and out of the way and organising your life without making a big deal of it.

Seriously, give is a try and let me know how you get on!

weekend link love #13

Happy Easter! I hope that you’re having a wonderfully, relaxing bank holiday weekend.

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Here are some links that I’ve enjoyed reading over the past week…

I LOVE how Gemma Correll is fighting gender stereotypes through her hilarious drawings.

How to Grow Microgreens at Home

‘House of Cards’ Renewed for Season 4 on Netflix  < love, love, love this one!

The 5 Easiest Ways to Give Others (and Yourself) a Happiness Boost

Have you encountered any of these 8 common misconceptions about working from home?

Have you checked out Monica Lewinsky’s TED talk yet?

Negativity online: an essay inspired by 200,000 online comments.

It’s time to stop blaming social media for making you feel like shit.

I’ve been reading Dan Harris 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works – A True Story. Brilliant read (honestly, despite the long title). Great if you’re intrigued by the idea of meditation but can’t suss out how to get your mind in to it.

On Loneness and Loneliness.

And finally…how to upcycle your hot cross buns

Enjoy the rest of the weekend x

colouring for adults – does it ease stress?

This week was spent doing a spot of research to help with my book. Whilst checking out the web for anti-stress tactic I came across this. A colouring book for busy adults.

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Apparently, working with your hands is a great way of getting rid of stress and this book will help promote mindfulness, help you focus and will hone in your creativity.

According to the Huffington Post, books that encourage colouring for adults are actually outselling cookery books in France. So they must be doing something for the stressed out and frazzled. Personally, anything that gets you to shun your iPhone for more than 10 minutes and helps you escape is always going to be a winner.

Any of my readers still indulge in occasional colouring? Does it work?

 

weekend link love #12

Georgie ready for summer

YAY for British Summer Time! Although the weather suggests we’re still in winter.

How’s your week been? I’ve been busy trying to get everything done and dusted before the end of the month. I also passed my health coach course – if you follow me on Instagram you’d have seen the pics – so all in all, march has been a good month.

Anyhoo, here are some interesting tidbits from across the web…

Well, first up I have to tell you about my two friends who’ve both released new books this week…first up is Tanya whose release her new e-book “Sweet Vegan Treats” and the other is my lovely friend Adele whose book “The Garden Forager: Edible Delights in your Own Back Yard” is also out. Both women are amazing and you should definitely buy both books!

Apparently, a bowl of Quinoa can save your life. However, I was reading an equally interesting article about how the demand for quinoa in the western world has meant that Bolivians can no longer afford their national dish.

Enjoy a ready meal every now and again? Well you may want to read about the murky world of connivence meals.

As you know I’m a huge Take That fan and back in the 90’s I couldn’t believe when Robbie left. And then of course just a few months later TT decided to call it a day. SO I totally get the angst teenage girls are going through at the news that Zayn has quit One D. Of course they’re going to feel emotional – they’re fucking teenagers!! And one thing that teenage girls are is a ball of frazzled emotions. Quite a few interesting reads on this subject…1. This cut for Zayn business is scary!! YES OK, so take that had a special hotline dedicated to the split but cutting yourself? Time to start looking in to why kids are taking it to the extreme these days. 2. EMPLOYED people asking for compassionate leave is just crazy!!! 3. Good piece in The Independent about how Zayn’s departure shows the perils of social media. 

Do you suffer from a big ol’ case of FOMO (fear of missing out) if you unplug for a while. Read this NYT piece about unplugging without the FOMO.

How amazing is this vertical greenhouse that will grow 100,000lbs pounds of veggies a year

Fed up of hearing how an early start could make you more successful and an all round better person? Well the New Yorker turns that on its head and explains why early mornings don’t make you moral. 
I posted a recipe for black garlic tofu earlier this week but   has knocked it out of the park with this Baked Camembert with Black Garlic & Sundried Tomatoes 

 

Totally love this piece from Amy Liz about what she knows for sure! Especially point one 😉

I wrote about the benefits of sugarcane juice this week and also the 7 habits of calmness.

I can’t believe that Sarah Jessica Parker is 50! She certainly doesn’t look it. Love this little piece by Lisa about SJP.

AND FINALLY…

This is fascinating. Since I’ve spent all week looking in to my own family history thanks to a DNA kit I was sent (more info on this soon) I loved reading about how this family delved deeper in to the history of their house after a builders made some interesting discoveries.

 

foodie friday: black garlic tofu

O.M.G – have you tried black garlic? The fabulous guys at Sainsbury sent me some to try and I have to say, I’m converted.

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It may look gross, after all, there’s not many black foods that we are encouraged to eat…but it’s so weird that it’s good – if you know what I mean?

Black garlic is just your regular white garlic that’s been preserved by being exposed to heat and moisture for more than a month.

The garlic then comes out like jelly, it tastes almost like balsamic vinegar. Its fragrance free too so you can enjoy without the dreaded garlic breath.

I thought I’d make Black Garlic Tofu. It’s a REALLY easy dish, you can serve with noodles, courgette noodles, salad, brown rice – whatever you feel like really. I like dishes that can be served with a variety of things, that way if you change your mind about what you fancy you don’t have to write the whole meal off.

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The other good thing about this dish is that it’s really quick. If you’re not a big fan of tofu then you could use chicken, beef or prawns but I don’t think you’ll get the same crispy joy. If you want to know how to cook some good tofu then let me know below and I can do a separate post.

You will need:

5/6 cloves of black garlic
light soy sauce
a good stir fry oil
tofu
salt/pepper/crushed chilli

To start with make sure you take all the moisture out of your tofu and then cut in to cubes. Once you’ve cubed it, give it another dab to make sure that you really have got all the moisture out. There is nothing good about soggy tofu.

Then you need to make a little sauce. To do that, pop your garlic, oil and soy sauce in to a processor and whizz.

Pop some oil in to your pan and make sure it’s hot  before adding the salt, pepper and crushed chilli to the oil. Next throw in your tofu and keep turning for at least 10 minutes to make sure that your tofu is crispy all round.

Next pop your black garlic sauce in and mix it in to your tofu. It will look “burnt” but it’s not, it’s just the way the sauce clings on to the tofu and trust me those black, crispy bits are so good.

And you’re done. A healthy meal in around 20 minutes.

please share on pinterest…

black garlic tofu

 

Forget happy – be whole

It’s the UN’s International Day Of Happiness so there’s no better time for this quote…

This is my happy place taken in Sardinia

This is my happy place taken in Sardinia

I actually attack the concept of happiness. The idea that—I don’t mind people being happy—but the idea that everything we do is part of the pursuit of happiness seems to me a really dangerous idea and has led to a contemporary disease in Western society, which is fear of sadness. It’s a really odd thing that we’re now seeing people saying “write down three things that made you happy today before you go to sleep” and “cheer up” and “happiness is our birthright” and so on. We’re kind of teaching our kids that happiness is the default position. It’s rubbish. Wholeness is what we ought to be striving for and part of that is sadness, disappointment, frustration, failure; all of those things which make us who we are. Happiness and victory and fulfilment are nice little things that also happen to us, but they don’t teach us much. Everyone says we grow through pain and then as soon as they experience pain they say, “Quick! Move on! Cheer up!” I’d like just for a year to have a moratorium on the word “happiness” and to replace it with the word “wholeness.” Ask yourself, “Is this contributing to my wholeness?” and if you’re having a bad day, it is.

—Hugh MacKay, author of The Good Life

I like the idea of working towards feeling whole instead of happy. And it’s OK not to feel happy all the time.

p.s since it’s International Happiness Day – Please share with me what makes you happy…

 

French Food Rules…

I saw this great image after reading an article on BonAppetite.com about Karen Le Billon and how a move to France stopped her kids being picky eaters.

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image credit

Can I just say that I bloody love France and friends will tell you that I often have “French” days (I mean I drive a French car, look good in black, love champagne and can do moody and mysterious just fine)…

But seriously, I think this is so good. I don’t know about you but it’s kind of how I was brought up, for a start the “kids eat what adults eat rule” was especially prevalent in our household. My parents didn’t have time (or the funds) to cook separate meals so if it was a case of fussy eating then you just didn’t eat that night. Simple. I also like the idea that the French teach their kids how to eat – we could all do with lessons on how to eat.

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