31 May 2015

A BONUS VIDEO | A WEEK OFF IN MAY!

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This week I have had a whole week off (hooray!). It has been a really good week, although, if you watch the vlog you may beg to differ as it appears that I don't leave my little office room much. The thing is though guys, you occasionally like to watch a vlog, but just because I pick up a camera it doesn't mean I suddenly sprout an interesting existence! 

I have had a fair few things to do this week that involved me being creative, so I have been making a mess with paints, much like a toddler, in my room. To be honest though, I really enjoy those days! Anyway, I thought I would throw this vlog up as an added extra for you, should you be at a loose end today. Grab a cuppa and a biscuit and enjoy!

Please don't forget that I have a short survey going on to help gather your thoughts on moving From Lucy with Love forwards! I would love you forever and more if you could click on this link and complete one for me (if you haven't already of course!).

xoxo

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29 May 2015

FIVE THINGS I AM GRATEFUL FOR THIS WEEK #21

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^^Image source Pinterest, original here | I have been painting many, many succulents this week!^^

This week has been pretty awesome. It has not been varied or probably that interesting for anyone else (I'll find out when I put up the vlog I have done this week I guess!) but, for me, it has been pretty darn great! It has been half term so I have been at home; this will be the last chance I get for proper time off now until it is winter outside again, as the summer holidays are one of my busiest times at work. Needless to say the fabulous British weather has been testing out our wardrobes once again, one minute I'm digging out shorts and the next I am pulling out my ugg boots to wear in the house (what?!).

Before I start on my 'what I am grateful for this week' I just wanted to gently remind you that I have put out a survey for all the lovely readers of my blog so you can have your say on how From Lucy with Love moves forward. There are not going to be any huge changes, but I have been thinking about switching a couple of things up for a while now. I value your thoughts and opinions so would love it if you could complete the questions for me!

For all the information please see yesterday's blog post or simply click here to go straight to the survey (it's super-duper short I promise). Thank you to everyone who has completed it so far, I am grateful for that big time :-)

Five things I am grateful for this week:

1. Getting a Fitbit delivered. Joe treated me to one after I have wanted one for absolutely ages. I get stupidly inspired and motivated by seeing stats, especially when I am training. I used to have a heart rate monitor but this is so handy as you don't have to worry about a chest strap! Now there is no stopping me! (I may do a post on it as I have had quite a few questions after posting a picture on Instagram. If you would be interested in my honest opinion on this fitness tool and how useful it is just say in the comments). Thanks so much hubby! (xxx)

2. Spending time in my office. I finally have my home-office exactly how I want it and, for the first time ever, I have a space that I feel desperate to get into in the mornings. It is so light and I feel like I am super-productive whenever I go in there. Being surrounded my all my favorite things really helps the inspiration levels you know!

3. Having some new perfume! Hurrah! Well, technically I don't have it yet as it is with my mum and dad in Spain, but it's not too long before I have some! I asked them to grab me some of the Clarins Eau Dynamisante at the airport as it is more affordable (I hope!). I have a teeny, tiny sample of the other Clarins fragrance I love, Eau Ressourcante, so I am making that last at the moment. I am notoriously awkward to get perfume for as I hate floral, sweet and girly scents, but with the Clarins fragrance I find they are more 'spa' like in scent and are very uplifting, rather than overpowering, Thanks mum and dad for grabbing that for me, even though it was silly o'clock in the morning, you are super stars!

4. Seeing the sunflower seeds I planted about 10 days ago growing taller every day. One or two of them have been munched by an anonymous set of teeth but the rest are looking fab! I cannot wait for them to grow into 'proper' sunflowers and cheer up the patio pots!

5. My lovely friend, Helena, for being my text-a-friend-question-and-answer service this week. Me: 'Sorry, me again, can you tell me what would be a good graphics tablet?' Helena: 'sure, no worries....{insert useful info here}...' and then, me: 'hi, me again, do you know the best place to buy fonts?', Helena: '{insert lots more useful information here}'. Despite the fact that she is pretty darn close to getting married and has a billion and one things going on she managed not to text 'Lucy, can you just use that useful tool on the tinterwebs...what is it called, let me think...GOOGLE!!'. Thanks Helena, you rock chicken! :-)

Other things that have inspired me this week: 
Meg's blog post, from Wonderful You, about quitting her job and deciding to blog full-time. This appealed to me more because I have been following Meg for a while and know that she has had a mega hard time of late. I was so happy to see that she is feeling more positive and going after what she wants, and why not! / Rosie's YouTube video's never fail to inspire me. She could be doing anything at all and I would love them anyway. Seeing what her and her lovely little family get up to just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. / My 'I quit Sugar' recipe book, by Sarah Wilson. I have been pretty glued to this recently and am planning on making a few of the snacks this weekend (if only my food order would arrive!). I highly recommend this book though, the tips and recipes are fabulous and, other than needing to grab a few core items for your cupboards, it is totally achievable.

What have you guys been up to this week? :-)
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28 May 2015

FROM LUCY WITH LOVE NEEDS YOU!

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A natural part of doing anything for yourself, be it a blog, a business or a long-term project, is that every now and then you feel like embracing change or just switching things up a little here and there. The very process of growing as a person means that your interests shift and you want to try new things. This is exactly where I am with my blog (and life!) right now. 

I have a few irons in the fire, away from my blog, which require a little more of my time right now (all will be revealed at a later date). This means that I want to make sure that the content I am putting out for you guys is a) of good quality and well thought out b) what you want to see and c) what I want to create!

This is where you guys come in (if you're willing!). I have put together a short survey that I am going to put out there for a week or so. I would love it if you would click through to it and answer a few questions to help me understand what you are enjoying and what you may like to see more of. It would mean the world to me! If there is anything I haven't mentioned in the survey please add it into the box of question 3!

Here we go then lovely people.... the From Lucy with Love Survey

Thanks again for being here and taking the time to complete it for me :-)

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27 May 2015

LIFE REFLECTIONS

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^^An awesome Carl Jung quote | water-coloured by me :-) ^^

For several years I have had a dream to make my work/life balance better. The same pattern of events happened every New Years Eve; I would think over the months gone by and contemplate how I could get to where I wanted to be. I'd make plans in my head and buy another book to help me understand what it was I wanted to achieve. As the fresh, new year unfolded, my dreams of change grew more and more faint as 'real life' took the reigns and led me along the same old path...again.

For some reason 2015 felt different somehow. Yes, I had the same thoughts, the same hopes and dreams (hey, at least I'm consistent!) but this time I thought 'this is it' and 'if I don't do it now, I may never know what I could have achieved'. 

All I could think about in January of this year is how I don't want to be someone who waits for a significant 'life event' to knock me off my feet and make me re-evaluate my entire life. I want to be in total control of what I am doing. Somehow, I have got to 34 years old and still haven't quite felt that I am doing the right thing for me, for my soul. 

Fast forward to now.

Now, I am pushing forward.

Am I utterly exhausted? Yes.

Am I short of free time? Yes.

Do I feel like I am making progress? Yes! (It's slow, and bloody hell, is it hard work, but I am inching forward, bit by bit).

So, what am I doing? Well, unfortunately, my big plans are currently high-security in their status (if I told you, I'd have to kill you and all that!) but I just want to put it out there and say this: if you have a dream, forget it's a dream and make it a plan, right now. Just try

I am super-lucky to be working with a fab coach, who I have definitely mentioned before, Gemma Sands, but my plans were in motion even before this opportunity, it is just that Gemma has allowed me to explore more in-depth thoughts and ideals and has given me some awesome tips and advice. Together, we are working out a plan for what I want to achieve (having someone to answer to is also a really helpful thing also!).

One of the things that Gemma got me to do, and something that I have seen other people do on-line before too, is to imagine (and write down) the ideal day, from getting up to going to bed, and everything in-between. I'll tell you what, that exercise is darn useful and really helped me to focus back to why I wanted to put plans in place to make some life-changes. Try it!

Are you making steps towards your ideal future? What do those steps entail for you? If, unlike me, you are at a stage that you don't mind sharing what's going on with you, then please do comment down below, I'd love to hear what you're up to. (Can I just add that the only reason I'm not sharing right now is because it is still early days, but give me time and you won't be able to shut me up!).
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25 May 2015

SOFT GOLD/BRONZE EYE MAKE UP | NEW YOUTUBE VIDEO

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With summer just around the corner I have returned to my staple eye make up 'look' for this time of year; gold. I love a bit of a goldy-bronze shimmer on my eyes, I think it can be really brightening for most skin tones and looks fantastic with most lip colours too.

The trick with wearing shimmer on the eyes, in my humble opinion, is not overloading the shine elsewhere. That's why I love using my L'Oreal Infallible Matte Foundation as a base. This stuff is magic and covers most things but in a really light way so you are not left feeling cakey or overloaded with base. This then leaves you to create subtle highlights where you want them, with whatever highlighter floats your boat.

If you want to see what my favourite products are to create this make up please click on the video below! I would love you forever if you subscribed to my channel too...just click right here to do that! (It will cost you nothing, I promise!).

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22 May 2015

FIVE THINGS I AM GRATEFUL FOR THIS WEEK #20

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Yay, it's Friday and, more importantly, Monday is a Bank Holiday here in the UK, mini Mexican waves all round! This week has been pretty similar to the last few because, well, that is what it is like when you work a full time job huh! Most of the day is spent sitting answering emails and running about like a headless chicken chasing up things that need doing. That is why I love having my blog so much as it is my little space and it helps me feel like I am really doing something for me.

Despite a busy, samey, week, it's still important to me to notice the things that made it special, no matter how small they may be. Here are the things I have been grateful for this week...

1. Making time to sit out in the garden (and actually tidy the garden a little bit too) and read a book that I bought ages ago. I am reading The First Phone Call From Heaven, by Mitch Albom, and am about half way through. I have always enjoyed his books as, in my opinion, they are very thoughtful and inspire a certain kind of mindset within me that I cannot quite put my finger on. My favourite books by Albom are Tuesday's with Morrie (a total classic and very emotive read) and Have a Little Faith. I highly recommend trying these lovely books. They are usually quick-reads but are so beautifully written.

2. The smell of summer in the air. Yesterday was a gorgeous day. I left the house at 6.30am in fog, but the time I got to work an hour later, the sun was up. By lunch time, when I was walking back to my office, I had a really nostalgic moment. I took a big old breath in and could smell summer...maybe that sounds silly, but, to me, summer is freshly cut grass and the smell of clean, warm air. Couple that with the comforting warmth of the suns rays and the sound of birds happily going about their day  and you have a perfect scene. All I could think about was getting home to the garden and sitting with a nice cool drink and closing my eyes for a few minutes. Unfortunately today it's raining. I love this too though.... I am in my office with the window open. The smell of rain is pretty awesome too!

3. Speaking of nostalgia, for some reason this week I got thinking about some of the albums I used to have when I was a young'un! I remember listening to all sorts of total rubbish, just because I thought it was 'cool' (oh heavens!). One of the albums I loved was Natalie Imbruglia's 'Left of the Middle'. This album was out in 1997...I was 16. Wowzers. I remember listening to this non-stop when I got it and it seems like yesterday. Thanks to the wizardry of Spotify I can reminisce without having to buy the thing again. I'm kind of enjoying this random walk down memory lane! (Over half my life ago!).

4. Being able to stay on my healthy food wagon, despite every single bone in my body saying 'eat junk'. You know the weeks right? This was the week where I felt like I wanted to stick my head in a box of chocolate biscuits and not surface until they had all gone. There were even a couple of moments where colleagues were eating something nice and I could have grabbed it out of their hands and stuffed it in my mouth. Holy Moly! But, tonight is 'treat meal' night. Thank. The. Lord.

5. Cute Gizmo moments. Animals are the best cure for a bad mood. Gizmo has this way of making a sweet little noise and rolling on her back with all her fluffy paws in the air, waiting for a tummy rub, that makes me smile every time. I am constantly amazed by the trust and love you can get from a pet. She's the sweetest little moggy.

Now I am back into reading again I am wondering if you have any recommendations for me? I do have 'The Happiness Project' to read, that is next in line, and about a million Tudor history books I want to get through, but I am not in the mood for history just yet! Let me know in the comments what you are reading or what you want to read and what the number one highlight of this week has been of course!

Have a fabulous weekend xoxo
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20 May 2015

FINDING CREATIVE INSPIRATION

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^^My messy desk^^

I'm on a new, creative journey at the moment and, right at the start of it, I struggled to find things that made me 'spark'. I think creativity is something that you need to work on to keep the fire burning and, should you not do your creative activity for a long period of time, you can truly lose your way and forget how to let your mind wander and be totally free to think outside that bloody box that everyone constantly refers to!

I am writing this post as I am intrigued to hear from you lovely people, what things inspire you and get you back in your groove, creatively speaking I mean!

Let me share some of the things that I do and see how they compare.

:: Wander around garden centres. The variety of colours and textures on offer in a garden or garden centre are so wonderful and really get my inspiration flowing.

:: Go for a walk outside. Kind of similar to the above but being outdoors can rejuvenate the spirit and allow you to step outside your usual space. I find that when I am really stuck I find all sorts of distractions, none of which actually help me get past the block I am experiencing. Take yourself outside and clear your mind. The fresh air will help too!

:: Throw paint around! Obviously, if your creative outlet is writing, maybe a stream of consciousness writing exercise may be the equivalent. I like laying out a large piece of paper and chucking some water-colours down, making puddles of paint and adding things into the mix, such as water-soluble graphite. When I was studying for my fine art degree all the best things happened from mistakes or silly experimental moments.

:: Sit in a coffee shop with a notebook/sketchbook. People watching is fantastic inspiration. Sketch movement or write about what you see or snippets of conversation that catches your ear.

:: Sift through old magazines. As you can see from the right hand image above, my sketchbooks sit on a pile of pages, all torn from various magazines. I like getting inspired by colour combinations, fonts and textures.

:: Visit galleries. I haven't done this for way too long. My favourite galleries are the Tate Britain and The National Gallery, but small, independent ones are just as amazing. I like galleries as they often share, not just the finished picture, but words from the sketchbooks and notebooks of phenomenal artists. These are the things that inspire me the most, more than a finished work of art.

:: Browse a book store. The peace and quiet of a book shop is fabulous, but being able to flick through loads of different books always triggers ideas for me. Libraries are just as great but I don't often visit a library these days.

:: One word: Pinterest.

:: Talk to friends. Talking through ideas is so important. I love getting other peoples thoughts on things I can get so stuck in my ways sometimes. Whilst it can be hard to hear someone thinks your work is not quite there it is also very helpful to get new thoughts, especially when you have been staring at the same thing for hours!

:: Seek inspiration from others doing a similar thing. This is a tricky one. There is the obvious thing to mention here...copying. Don't. Then there is the thing that regularly happens to me...comparison based creative paralysis! I listened to a wonderful podcast series called 'Make It Happen' which mentions taking a step back from looking at other peoples work as you can stem your creative juices. I think this is a really valid argument. By not looking you are allowing yourself freedom, complete freedom to create what you want to create. But I believe it is also valid to stay in tune with what is going on. Balance may be the key word here!

So, there are a few things that I do to stay inspired (I am sure there are loads more!). Tell me in the comments what your favourite things are. What do you do when you need a creative boost?
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18 May 2015

(QUITE A FEW) EMPTIES!

I have been 'um-ing' and 'ah-ing' about whether or not to continue doing 'Empties' videos. I can't help but think 'I'm just showing people my rubbish!' but people seem to like these videos so I guess that is why I keep doing them! Despite this video featuring a couple of things I used but really didn't like, the majority of these products were finished because they were truly loved. 

If you like the video please click on through to the main video and hit the 'like' button and subscribe too if you like (I would like!).

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17 May 2015

QUICK & HEALTHY BREAKFAST | OVERNIGHT OATS

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Having mentioned 'Overnight oats' in passing a couple of times, I thought I would put together a blog post to show how very easy they really are to make. Seriously guys, just go on Pinterest and type in 'overnight oats' to be immediately overwhelmed with options. There are some seriously yummy recipes, including some treat options, with chocolate and other scrumptious ingredients to get the mouth watering.

I am being stupidly healthy right now however, so like to keep mine relatively simple and as healthy as possible, therefore the combination I make is crazy fast to put together. Let's get started.

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To create my overnight oats you will need:
:: Gluten free oats
:: Chia seeds
:: Unsweetened almond milk
:: One apple
:: Blueberries
:: Honey to sweeten

I usually find that this makes three portions.

How to make: 
Being the kind of slap-dash chef I am I just use a large mug to measure my oats out. I fill the mug all the way to the top and pop the oats into a bowl. Next, I use the same mug and fill it to the top with the almond milk, adding it to the oats and stirring.

(If the mixture looks stupidly thick just add a drop more milk. You need to make sure there is a little room for the oats to absorb some milk. They shouldn't be swimming in it, just a little extra!)

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Once the oats and milk are at the right consistency start to add your fruit. I have put in some blueberries (just add as many as you fancy). I also chopped up one apple and added two teaspoons of chia seeds. Stir all these ingredients together to distribute the seeds and fruit.

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I then add some honey to sweeten. This may be a step that you prefer to do as and when you serve each portion, especially if the people eating it have a variety of preferences!

Other things I sometimes add are desiccated coconut or cinnamon. The combination of the cinnamon and apple are really great!

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Once you have added everything you want in your oats all you need to do is cover the mixing bowl with some cling-film and literally leave overnight in the fridge. Before serving just give it a good stir and you are good to go. This will last about 3 days in the fridge but, to be honest, it doesn't stand a chance of lasting longer than that in our house with me around. 

If you make this why not Tweet a picture and tag me in or if you have another combo of ingredients you like let me know in the comments :-)

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15 May 2015

FIVE THINGS I AM GRATEFUL FOR THIS WEEK #19

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This week has been a week of extremes. Hot sun and cold rain. High energy and full on sleepiness. Massive motivation and, literally, none at all. What a weird one.

Committing to more posts of my blog this week has been great fun but also pretty hard work alongside a very (very) busy full time job. I have really enjoyed contributing to Mental Health Awareness Week though, it is something I am so passionate about and having an actual 'awareness week' meant that I was officially allowed to rant on. Usually I just do it for no reason!

What have you been up to this week? Come and chat in the comments or over on Facebook and tell me the one big thing you are grateful for this week... here are my top five:

1. Receiving lovely comments and messages from you guys and my YouTube subscribers. I have been attempting to put myself out there a little more of late and found myself getting quite anxious about the amount of notifications and messages I received. Once I got over the fear of that and sat and read all your lovely comments I felt super happy. You guys are wonderful and the fact that you stop by here to read my ramblings, or listen to me waffle on about make up, or whatever it is, on my YouTube channel, is absolutely wonderful to me. You are the best.

2. A treat roast at mum and dads. Oh. My. Goodness! Roast sweet potatoes, parsnips, carrots, beef, Yorkshire puddings... okay, I have to change the subject because my mouth is watering! 

3. Finding some new ankle boots in the ASOS sale. This is something I really didn't want to have to put money towards this month because I am trying to save some money, but my old ones (they really weren't that old) from Newlook decided to explode. That may be slightly over dramatic! Basically, they didn't have a solid heel and I was merrily wandering along and the left heel made a pathetic little sighing noise and gave up on life. Great. I wear ankle boots all the time and, with the weather getting warmer, I couldn't justify wearing my bigger, heavier, winter boots, so I had to invest. I found these basic beauties for just £25.00. They are arriving today, hooray!

4. A cheery print from a talented illustrator. I discovered Fran Meneses when she was mentioned by Estee, from the blog Essie Button. She is an awesome illustrator living in Berlin and I subscribe to her YouTube Channel as she often talks about some of my favourite things in life...art materials. Last week I checked out her Etsy shop and just could not resist her fab print titled 'Frida and Khalo'. I love the artist Frida Khalo and thought Fran's interpretation of her was spot on (mustache too!) but to see she had drawn Frida with a cat...sold! The print, including delivery, was super affordable too. Now I just have to find a frame...

5. A 'date-night' scheduled in. After a stressful day mid-week, Joe decided we need a night out so he booked us into our favourite restaurant for next Friday and I cannot wait. We could've gone tonight but I am trying not to have too many treat meals. I am on track right now so one treat meal every two weeks fits better and, as I said above, there was a yummy roast last weekend so I have already had something this week. Time to start menu-dreaming for next Friday then!

Have a fantastic weekend guys, if you didn't get to see this weeks Mental Health posts please do check them out and leave me your thoughts and comments too, I would love to hear from you on the subject.
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14 May 2015

MHAW15 - WHERE TO FIND HELP & HOW TO HELP YOURSELF

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{Image sourced from Pinterest}

As you all probably know by now, this week is Mental Health Awareness Week. I have already popped up two posts so far this week; a post talking about general mental health and certain stigmas attached to it and a YouTube video / post on the MHAW theme of Mindfulness. As well as this, I have been featured on Sophia's awesome blog Tattooed Tealady, as one of the contributing bloggers to her MHAW series. You can find the Tuesday post here and stay tuned, as there will be another going up this afternoon, around 5pm UK time I believe.

Today, I thought I would talk a little about where and how to find help as well as ways you can try to help yourself too. Some of the things I talk about may be kind of obvious but I figured I would talk about them anyway :-)

*Before I launch into a list of things, it is really important to say that if you are feeling in a critical state and need help immediately you must act, or get someone to act for/with you, straight away. Mental health charity 'Mind' have a 'I need urgent help' button on their site which you can use and they will get straight back to you. Alternatively you can call the NHS service (UK only) on 111, or, in a life-threatening emergency 999. There are other mental health organisations out there also, but these are just some suggestions.

Other things to think about:

:: Talk (to anyone)
One of the most important things for mental health sufferers is opening up and talking through any problem/thoughts, and I really do mean anything. As people with mental health problems will understand, you can have the most strange thoughts pop into your head sometimes. Trust me, people won't laugh, just say whatever is on your mind. 

:: Seek medical advice
This can be a tough one and you may need to gather some strength as you find the right person for you. Not all doctors are great at dealing with mental health (in my opinion). I partly think this is down to the fact that they are ridiculously pushed for time. If you go to your doctor and he/she cannot help you in the way you felt you needed make another appointment with someone else, keep going. If needs be, take someone with you. It can be hard to articulate your thoughts sometimes, this is where a family member or someone else you trust may be able to help.

:: Help through work
If you have a job, and feel comfortable approaching your personnel department to see if there is a service available to staff, such as counselling, then take advantage of it! It's free and, sometimes, the waiting list is shorter than via the GP. These services should also be available for students in schools and universities, so be sure to check.

:: Keep yourself safe
If you are feeling vulnerable and like you do not want to be alone then make sure you ask someone to come and be with you or, where possible, take yourself to a friend or family member. If you are alone then try to do something that is distracting and uplifting. Put on something totally mindless on Netflix, chuck on a DVD or read a book. Doing things to take your mind off of things really does help.

:: Look after your body
This may sound insignificant when you are feeling in a bad place, but by taking some form of exercise, even a stroll to the local shop for a loaf of bread, can really help lift the mood. Hand in hand with that is feeding your body the right nutrients to ensure it functions the best it can. Good, wholesome nutrition will stabilise blood-sugars too, meaning your mood remains more constant and you don't feel so sluggish.

:: Get outside
If the weather is on your side get out in the garden or any local outdoor space. I know that, for me, if I am in-doors too much my mood can drop dramatically. Stepping outdoors not only warms the bones but lifts the spirit and is a guaranteed pick me up. If pottering about in the garden is not your bag then make a cup of something soothing (camomile or some other kind of herbal tea is always good) and just take 20-30 minutes in the suns rays - clearly, if it is a scorcher of a day then go for some SPF also!

Like I said earlier, these are simple steps but just something to think about really. If you want to chat over anything I have spoken about please leave a comment or email me on fromlucywithlove@outlook.com.
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13 May 2015

AVEDA PURIFYING CREME CLEANSER REVIEW

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Now, I am really not known for actually writing product reviews on my blog. This is something I usually save for my YouTube channel (so I can have a really good ramble on), but in this instance I felt that the product in question deserved a whole post to itself. That is love people, a full post commitment.

My enabler, when it came to the purchase of this product, was my hair dresser. We were chatting, whilst I was having a quick trim a couple of Saturday's ago, and I mentioned I was in the market for a new cleanser and she pointed me in the direction of the Aveda Botanical Kinetics Purifying Creme Cleanser (not a short name then?!). I love getting recommendations from people as you normally get something you are pretty sure will be good and, my goodness, she hit the nail on the head with this one.

If you have ever been to an Aveda salon you will know it smells like heaven; all the products are simply gorgeous and make me instantly relax just by being in their presence (I'm not kidding guys!). This cleanser allows me to experience this feeling every morning and evening and is a real treat for my skin too.

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The 'creme' version of this product (you can also get a gel formulation) is perfect for a slightly dry to very dry skin (I have slightly dry cheeks and forehead at the moment and a light oil on my t-zone). It contains the ingredients jojoba, coconut, and palm meaning that your face feels clean, soft and supple after each use. It really is super-dreamy!

I use this as a second cleanse at night, after using my Body Shop Camomile Oil Cleanser as the first step to dissolve my make up. After watching the Caroline Hirons video on her favourite cleansers I am all for using something (slightly) cheaper to break down my make up and something higher in nutrients to feed my skin which, I feel this cleanser does.

The consistency is a lot more watery than most cream-based cleansers, but this certainly doesn't mean it packs less of a punch. What I am left with is super soft, very clean (happy) skin that has a lovely radiance to it. I honestly cannot wait to treat myself to other skincare products from Aveda!
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12 May 2015

MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS WEEK | MINDFULNESS

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For those of you that don't check in on YouTube that often I thought I would share the video I popped up on my channel yesterday. I didn't know quite what I wanted to talk about when I started but ended up sticking to the theme of Mental Health Awareness Week 2015, Mindfulness.

Mindfulness:: a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.

Whilst this seems like a bit of a 'trendy' thing now, it is actually pretty helpful to explore if you suffer with anything from mild stress to a full on mental illness. Actually, I think that anyone can benefit from having a little look into it.

As someone who has always spent a lot of time worrying about what has happened in the past and what may happen in the future, I know that this thought process can be utterly exhausting and an extremely negative spiral to get caught in. I'm not saying I don't do this anymore, I do it all the time, but the difference is, with the help of Mindfulness, I can sometimes be more logical and realise that no amount of thinking/worrying can change anything and so there is no point in fretting(too much!).

I am not saying this is easy, it is so hard, but it really helps to bring the focus back to the present moment. I once read somewhere, although it somewhat escapes me where, that '...the now is all we really have...' because the past is the past and the future is yet to unfold. This is something that resonated with me and I always think about it.

If you are unfamiliar with the concept of Mindfulness then you can find out a bit more about it here or you can hear my take on it by watching my video below :-)

Let me know what you think of Mindfulness; have you explored it? Did it help? If you want to contact me to chat about anything (away from the general comments) please get in touch via email on fromlucywithlove@outlook.com. I would love to hear from you.

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11 May 2015

MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS WEEK

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This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and, as you may know, this is something I care a whole lot about, so I thought I would theme this weeks posts on the subject (with a few regular posts still featuring too!).

To kick us off I thought I would talk about something that I always struggle with, not fitting the 'right' mental health sufferer stereotype (grrr!).

Whether or not you have suffered with a mental health problem, chances are you know someone who has. The question is, if you are someone who has never suffered with one, how much do you know about it? (I don't mean that in a patronising way, it's just that it is something that is not really 'out there', you know?). How does coming across someone suffering with a mental health problem make you feel? Awkward? Unsure? Afraid? Frustrated? Upset? Angry? These are all comments I have heard mentioned when hearing people discuss a friend or family member who is ill.

People who don't know I have a mental health problem are always surprised if they find out I have one because, apparently, what I portray, and what they imagine everyone with an illness to look like, don't marry up! That is what makes me the most mad I think.

Should all of us who suffer go around looking utterly miserable and like we are going to melt down at any given moment? (Nothing wrong with that by the way, if you feel it, you have to go with it). And if we look happy and are smiling (gasp!) does that mean that we have mis-labeled a 'bit of a bad day' as a mental health problem?

Let me tell you something. The same way that some people with a cold stay at home wrapped in a duvet, crying into a Lemsip, and others struggle into work with a smile on their face and a skip in their step is the same scenario as people with mental health illnesses. Neither of the reactions by our friends with a cold are any less valid, it is just how, as an individual, you deal with the hand you have been given.

So, next time you see a colleague looking a little drained but with a beaming smile on their face, don't be worried about saying the wrong thing, or being a bit scared, maybe just say 'hey, you okay?'. It's not rocket science, I know, but just asking is sometimes enough to make someone feel cared about and may well make all the difference to their day.
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MY MAY BIRCH BOX

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If you watch my YouTube videos regularly you probably know, by the tone of last months Birch Box video, that I was considering ending my subscription. That day has come. If you want to know why then you will have to watch the video below :-)

Don't get me wrong, Birch Box is fab, I just think it is not the best option for me. I came away from the You Beauty Discovery Box, a service allowing you to pick what you will get, to try something with the element of surprise. Turns out, surprises sometimes mean you will dislike your entire box, boo!

There were a only two products I liked in May's box, the rest I am going to send out to the first person to ask for them on my Facebook Page! (sorry but I can only send these within the UK for this as it is not a 'proper' giveaway... I am thinking of doing one of those soon by the way, so stay tuned!). If you watch the video and fancy receiving the samples I didn't want (un-used obviously!), just 'Like' my Facebook Page and tell me you would like them and I will message you (somehow) and get them over to you. First come, first served so go, go, go!

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8 May 2015

FIVE THINGS I AM GRATEFUL FOR THIS WEEK #18

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This week, as usual, has been a whirlwind of a week. They just seem to get busier and busier. I have felt like a dead-weight all week and so over-the-top tired it is stupid! I exercised on Tuesday night with legs that felt like they belonged to someone else (not anyone with energy either!). But all this extra work I am doing will not be for nothing...I have plans lovely people (insert appropriate laugh here...I am thinking a good old fashioned 'mmwa ha haaa'!). I will have to bring you all up to speed on what I am working on behind the scenes very, very soon. Stay tuned.

I hope you have had a great week. Why not let me know your highlights in the comments?

Let's get cracking on the 'five things I am grateful for this week'.

1. Having the right to vote (regardless of how ruddy annoying the politicians can be). It is so important to be able to have a say which I think many take for granted. We are very fortunate.

2. A treat meal on Bank Holiday Monday. We had some great company and, as said company are vegetarians, I pulled out my Deliciously Ella book and cobbled together her amazing chilli recipe. Wowzers, it was super-yummy and very. very simple to put together too. We added a few 'trimmings' to the proceedings, just to make it even more of a taste sensation; the sour cream, nacho's, guacamole, salsa and cheese all had a look in! It was the first treat I have had in over three weeks and I bloody enjoyed it! (Oh, there were waffles and ice cream too...gotta love a waffle!).

3. A mid-week pep talk from my wonderful hubby. I was having a tough time and sent him a 'SOS' text and he was there like a flash (well, on the phone anyway!). He is an amazing listener and I am so lucky to have someone who is so incredibly supportive and calm at all times. This balanced out my early morning (5.30am) how-to-make-a-bad-back-feel-better text service after he had pulled a muscle on Wednesday morning and needed advice immediately, bless him!

4. Being told I can be a part of the lovely Sophia's Mental Health Awareness Week blog posts. I have already Tweeted this week that my blog will be mental health heavy next week but I wanted to be a part of the collaboration on Sophia's blog and, lucky for me, she accepted me - yay! Keep your ear to the social media ground for more information on that next week. Follow her on Twitter to get updates.

5. I mentioned over-night oats last week, right at the bottom of the post, but now that I have actually made some for myself and realised how amazingly easy they are I cannot get enough of them. I make a big batch (about 3-4 days worth) and separate them out into good old Tupperware dishes, pop them in the fridge and bish, bash, bosh..yummy breakfast that is so good for you. I may pop up my version of this newly discovered delight soon!

In other news::
After watching Frannerd's Paper Haul video on YouTube and realising I am not the only one to think paper is sexy, I succumbed and purchased an awesome and quirky illustration from her Etsy Shop - I cannot wait for it to arrive! / Sorry to keep harping on about braids, but I am a little obsessed with them at the moment. I really want to try this braided up-do soon, so darn pretty / I have been listening to Mumford and Sons 'The Wolf' like a bit of a crazy women this week, I just love it. I don't even have much of their music, but I saw them perform this on TV last week and added to my Spring Playlist on Spotify immediately.

What has been the highlight of your week? Come and chat below! xoxo
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6 May 2015

THOUGHTS ON BEING STRONG

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I started to type this post and, for some reason, I decided to check on the posts I had previously started writing and not finished. The following words were drafted in September last year. For some reason I didn't write any more on the subject, but I thought I would start today's post with them as they clearly meant something at the time...

Let's talk about strength.

We are all so much stronger than we think.

We will survive better than we imagine and come out the other side so much wiser and more determined.

Each struggle we go through makes us more resilient and helps us realise that we can't always control the things we want to control and that, sometimes, shit happens. But sometimes shit happens and things get brighter.

Fast forward to today... I clearly thought these words not worthy of a post, but seeing as my intention today was to write about strength, I threw caution to the wind about my double use of the 's' word (sorry mum) and used my notes to kick us off.

I have spent a lot of time thinking about strength recently, mental strength that is (although I am strangely physically strong for a girl!). Recently, I was minding my own business, when a little thought popped into my head and stated '...you are so much stronger and more capable than you used to be you know'. After thanking the positive feedback from yet another weird voice in my head, I really got to thinking about what an undercover littler blighter strength can be.

I mean, growing in strength in the gym is something you can measure isn't it, but we often don't realise how we have grown until way, way after an event. It is only after we have finished sobbing (and usually snotting) into our man-size tissue, and we are fully 'recovered' from the [insert appropriate trauma here] that we can truly see it all for what it was and think 'wow, I made it'.

Maybe it is the fact that I am older and wiser (cough, cough) that I now think about what lesson I was meant to have learnt from something crap that happened. As upset as I can, and always do get about things, I can honestly say that 99.9% of the time I manage to think 'okay, this is totally rubbish, I am hating life right now but I can and will cope with anything that comes my way'.

I try and see everything as a challenge. I do get totally lost in pain and hurt a lot of the time, but I am not scared to go it alone and fight my own battle, not at all actually. When did this happen? Since when have I been Zelda Warrior Princess (or whatever her name is!). I'll tell you what though, it feels bloody good. It took a few many crappy times to get me to this point so I have definitely earned my stripes.

As for any future battle, well, clearly I hope there are few (none), but if there are? Bring. It. On.

You may now be questioning the point of this post... I'm not sure I had a point now, other than: stand tall, brave it (whatever 'it' is), regardless of what is happening continue to be kind to people and when it is all over, stand back for a moment (go for a walk or sit quietly) and reflect. What have you learnt? What would you do differently next time? Most importantly, you made it and you rock!
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4 May 2015

'FREE TIME' GET READY WITH ME!

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What with it being an (oh so wonderful!) Bank Holiday Monday here in the UK, I thought I would celebrate having a little extra time by doing a 'Free Time' GRWM video today.

I hit the 'speed-up-the-boring-parts' button when editing this little baby so, brace yourself for a video which is actually under ten minutes (I know, unheard of right?!).

I hope that, whatever you are doing, you are having a fabulous long-weekend. If you are not lucky enough to be having a long weekend, I hope that you fill the start of your week with positive thoughts and fun to make it a great one!

If you want to see more videos from me then why not click right here and head over to my YouTube Channel (you can even subscribe while you're there if you fancy...I know I would love it!)

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3 May 2015

TAKING STOCK 'MAN STYLE' | APRIL 2015

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^^My lovely hubby (he'll probably tell me off for putting up this pic!) Image by our fab photographer Adam Gibbard^^

Joe is back with his very own version of the 'Taking Stock' posts. When he sent me this one I did question the constant lawn mower references, but I thought I would leave him to it as it seems that this is a thorough insight into the 'man mind', lawn mowers an' all!

Making | friends with our lawn mower again.
Cooking | and burning sausages in the oven.
Drinking | champagne, before and after our wedding.
Reading | our marriage certificate.
Wanting | the garden to cut itself.
Looking | at our wedding photos.
Playing | chess.
Deciding | which level to set the lawn mower.
Wishing | we could live by the coast.
Enjoying | picking up Gizmo from her hotel.
Waiting | in line for fish and chips.
Liking | having tea and ice creams with friends on the beach.
Wondering | if I have cut the garden too short.
Loving | my beautiful wife.
Hoping | our new song turns out well.
Marvelling | at Marazion sunsets.
Needing | to make an album one day soon.
Smelling | sea air and fishing villages.
Wearing | a suit for the first time in ages.
Following | instructions of a photographer.
Noticing | that tiny inscription in one of our photographs.
Knowing | you can watch Jeremy Kyle repeats and still be entertained.
Thinking | I need to get back on the spin bike.
Feeling | calm.
Opening | little envelopes from Lucy every day up to our wedding.
Giggling | whilst watching a man levitate out of the sea on a water-powered hover-board!

So, there you have it folks, a month by the mind of a (rather garden obsessed) man.

You should try giving this list to your other half and see what they write down. I find it quite insightful! :-)
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1 May 2015

FIVE THINGS I AM GRATEFUL FOR THIS WEEK #17

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^^Some creative bits & bobs on my desk right now^^

Phew. You know what? I am kind of glad to see the rear-end of this week. Mid-week hit (or 'hump-day' as it is known around these parts) and it all went a little upside down. But that was then, and this is now, so let me tell you the positives and get cracking with the 'Five Things I am Grateful for This Week'...

1. Remembering to pick up some coconut to add to my yoghurt, fruit and granola (which is now my treat for the day). This is so ruddy tasty. It's funny how, as soon as I made the conscious effort to clean up my diet even more, what was a healthy breakfast has now become a treat-snack! 

2. Having an amazing husband (it feels so strange to say 'husband'!) who is always so calm and peaceful to be around and just knows when I need a hug and a cup of tea and who puts up with my endless rushing about and need to be constantly doing something, anything. Plus, he's awesomely talented too and put a fab cover song out this week, I am endlessly proud of him. (Check out the song right here).

3. My lovely mum and dad paying for a new tyre to go on my car and replace the, somewhat wobbly, old one. Honestly, I think the pothole that caused the damage could be given Grand Canyon status (although I believe it has now been filled in). My poor car (Pedro, yes, that's his name...Pedro II actually) has been limping about for way too long and now he'll be back to full tyre health once more.

4. Coaching sessions with the fantastic Gemma Sands. I mentioned in a couple of previous posts that I am working with Gemma on some ideas and I have now had two on-line chats with her to kick start me into getting my act together. You know what? It really helps to have someone there for you. I feel a bit like I waffle on at poor Gemma, who is probably popping Calms down the other end of the line for all I know (you're not are you Gemma?!). But seriously guys, if you hit a 'bump' in the road (another tyre reference!) and need some advice and guidance, an outside perspective is awesome. I have been like an inspired little machine since I spoke with Gemma. I think that blogging or working towards a business idea can sometimes seem really isolating, and you are often not sure whether what you are feeling is 'normal', that is why I am liking chatting with someone, it calms my brain down and makes me realise that feeling fear is okay!

5. The prospect of a long weekend. I totally forgot it was a Bank Holiday weekend until I was on my way to work on Tuesday and heard it on the radio. I actually squealed... out loud. I have quite a packed schedule ahead, including getting my mane cut (bye-bye split ends), hours of creativity and blog planning and cooking lunch for friends (currently nosing in my Deliciously Ella cook book for ideas). I can't wait, it'll be a good one.

Other things I have been loving this week include:
Lo's fab video showing how to make 'Overnight Oats', I was so excited about this that I immediately shared it on my Facebook Page (see what you are missing if you are not on there?!). What a fabulous idea these things are. I went to Waitrose on my way to work after I watched it (almost knocking their doors down to get in at 7.30am) to pick up some gluten free oats so I can make them tonight. In my excitement I forgot to get some apples though...back to the shops on my way home! / Wearing bright pink lipstick in the sunshine, my favourites being Mac's Impassioned and Revlon's ColourBurst Balm Stain in Lovesick / catching up with blog posts, including some from my lovely pal Ush (over at Fitness with U), I have also been laughing out loud to Michelle's posts, as normal, plus the comments she leaves in response to mine, love that woman.
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