Friday, 24 October 2014

Simple Inspiration: Sézane

Friday morning, and I hope you had a great week, looking forward to a relaxing weekend. 

Today a little french style inspiration from a label I've just discovered thanks to a little message from a good friend. Earlier in the week I got a note saying I should check out the new collection from one of my favourite labels, Madewell. It is a collaboration with a small french label called Sézane and is right up my style street, so to speak. You can discover this collaboration here, and naturally I had to find out more about the label. 

Sézane is a simple, elegant collection designed by Morgane Sézalory. She started her journey in design by curating beautiful vintage pieces, which has now grown into designing her own range. Her relaxed style has that perfect mix of masculine and feminine basics with a touch of edgy, modern design. What's not to love?

Do you have any favourite small labels? I love to hear about new brands and emerging designers. Have a great weekend.


Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Yoga gear

Wednesday morning and I hope you're having a great week. It's a stormy autumn day here, strong winds and rain, not much motivation to get outside, so with this in mind here is a little inspiration for taking care of yourself inside. 

Yoga gear is not only ideal for those time we make it onto the mat, but can also be perfect for lounging at home, like this long line waterfall cardigan from M&S [1], perfect for days at home too. And for a real treat the Neom Organics range is pure luxury for indulging at home. Created by a woman I worked with years ago in magazine publishing in London, the products also make a great gift for this time of year. 

With all this in mind I wanted to share an article I wrote for the studio I teach at [www.yogaaththereach.com], not just about yoga, it's also about the importance of making time to switch off, however you manage to do that. 

See you on Friday.


1. Active yoga wrap cardigan, Marks and Spencer | SHOP NOW |
2. Reebok Icon ladies watch, Watch Warehouse | SHOP NOW |
3. Real luxury bath and shower oil, Neom Organics | SHOP NOW |
4. Anusara yoga vest, Sweaty Betty | SHOP NOW |
5. Asana sticky yoga mat, Yoga Bliss | SHOP NOW |
6. Resolution yoga pant, Manuka | SHOP NOW |

Making time and taking time.

Finding time for our yoga practice can sometimes feel like we’re adding more pressure to our already overscheduled lives. Full time jobs, children, elderly parents; often our list of obligations, commitments and priorities can feel overwhelming. The truth is that this is when we need our yoga practice the most. With a full schedule, comes a full mind, but if we take a moment in our day to calm the mind and restore the body we can be stronger, more focused and productive the rest of the time. 

Most often in yoga class we focus on our asana practice, the wonderful physical movements that create space and energy in the body, elevating our mood and lifting our weary spirit. But dig a little deeper and there are much more valuable lessons to learn from the teachings of yoga that can help in life. 

Much of our modern yoga practice is based on the Yoga Sutras written around 2000 years ago by the Indian sage Patanjali. In this ancient text Patanjali wrote a philosophical outline for a balanced yoga practice described as the 8 limbs – only one of which was the asana practice of postures. The first few limbs begin by addressing our behaviour in the outside world, before the focus shifts in the later limbs to our internal lives. The Yamas, or restraints, are the first limb and refer to how we exist in the world. In today’s teachings they can be translated as kindness, truthfulness, abundance, continence and self-reliance [although different texts translate them differently]. The first, kindness or Ahimsa, is one of the most important lessons we can learn both on and off the mat. Patanjali was teaching the importance of non-violence not only to others, but also to ourselves. Taking time out of our busy day, whether it is 5, 15 or 50 minutes can be part of this process, after all how can we do our duty, or dharma, in the world if we never take time to restore ourselves? 

I learnt this the hard way when my son was born. 4 weeks early he had a voracious appetite and an exhausting sleep schedule, only napping for 40 short minutes at a time. I quickly became tired, emotional and irrational. At 3pm one afternoon my mum knocked on the door to find my son and I crying in the living room. I hadn’t showered, or eaten that day, my husband having left early for work that morning. Thankfully she scooped my son up and told me to shower and eat, restoring my energy and my mood in a few blissful moments. By not taking care of myself I was not just neglecting myself, but also my son, so I started to take time each week to do gentle exercise and rediscovered my regular yoga class. Later as a full time Mum those few hours away from my son gave me more energy and enthusiasm in the time that I was looking after him. 

When making time for your yoga practice, be kind to yourself, be realistic about what you can manage in your day. A weekly yoga class is a great place to start, and perhaps it is feasible to get up a half an hour earlier to make time for a short practice? Or would you benefit more from a longer practice before bed instead of watching the news before your head hits the pillow [after all which is going to make you feel better?]. Focus on a sequence that will restore and revive you, and don’t rush. Take your time in each posture to really enjoy the benefit of the practice. Switch off your phone and allow your mind to focus fully on your breath. Set this time aside for you and try to avoid interruptions. 

Who knows, what starts as a 10 minute round of sun salutations in the morning before work might soon stretch to a half hour practice, but it is also important to consider the second Yama of truthfulness. Your practice shouldn’t feel like a chore or an added stress in your life. Yoga is a life long practice and the only way to pursue it for a long time is to do it with enjoyment and honesty. Acknowledge where your life is at this moment and focus on enjoying where you are now, both in life and in your postures. 

For more information on my teaching and classes visit www.yogaatthereach.com.

I'll be running a special evening of yoga, relaxation and Reiki with my friend Debbie Sutherland on the 22nd of November in aid of Weston Park Hospital Cancer. For more information visit www.justgiving.com/restandrelaxatthereach.


Monday, 20 October 2014

Simple Inspiration: Autumn colours

Monday morning and I hope you had a wonderful weekend full of laughter, good food and even better company. 

Noah and I took a little adventure yesterday over the Penines to Manchester to visit a shrine to his favourite thing in the world at the moment - Lego. We had lots of fun and drove home tired but happy. Driving back through the rugged countryside as Noah slept next to me I was reminded what a special time of year it is here. Autumn arrives in a blaze of colour in our part of the world. Russet reds, rich browns, and almost luminous golden yellows the landscape is transformed for a few weeks. Those metallic shades of copper, brass and gold seem to be appearing a lot at the moment. We're looking for new lighting for our dining room and I keep seeing those shades around in the interiors we are looking at - like this beautiful kitchen picture below [3.].

What autumn colours are your favourites? Does your wardrobe change with the changing seasons? It's hard not to. Brown is definitely not my colour, but the warm metallics would mix well with my monochromes and navys.

I hope you have a great week and enjoy the weather whatever it's doing in your corner of the world.


1. Milly suede shoe, Jigsaw | SHOP NOW |
2. Made hammered drop pendant, Whistles | SHOP NOW |
3. IMAGE VIA | EYE SWOON |
4. Alergra pencil skirt, By Malene Birger | SHOP NOW |
5. Brown leather strap watch, Oasis | SHOP NOW |
6. Sparkle metallic top, Reiss | SHOP NOW |
7. Thanks giving card, Rifle Paper Co. | SHOP NOW |
8. Gold leaf print, Sugar Paper LA | SHOP NOW |

Friday, 17 October 2014

Weekend shopping inspiration: Coggles, Next, & Other Stories

Friday afternoon and I hope you've had a brilliant week. This is the first occasion I've had this week to sit at my computer which has meant a lot of my usual tasks have been put on hold including my blog. A busy week at work, it has meant I've had to practice acceptance - not easy when my mind is arguing that I have a list of obligations to get to, but for now they have had to wait. I've had to accept that that is OK - not easy right? How do you find those moments when something has to give? 

I read a great article in Yoga Journal this week about the Purusharthas which in the yogic tradition are said to point us towards fulfilment, the first of which is dharma or our duty - the link is here if you'd like to read the piece. Thinking in these terms has helped me as it has made my priorities a little clearer. Acknowledging that we can't do everything is the hardest part sometimes.

So for this week a little lite-inspiration for the weekend. Why don't you try wearing or doing something new? Clashing your colours or prints? Dressing up, instead of dressing down? Buying an accessory that shouts a little louder. Have fun with your clothes and push the boundaries a little as to what it means to be you now. And accept the present moment for what it is - you'll feel a lot lighter and that's got to be the best way to start the weekend.

Have a great one and see you next week.


Dress, & Other Stories | SHOP NOW |
Liebeskind navy clutch bag, Coggles | SHOP NOW |
Pink shoes, Next | SHOP NOW |

Friday, 10 October 2014

This week: Two NY, Everlane, Grow House Grow, and more...

Friday morning and hope you had a wonderful week. 

Today some new discoveries I've made online the last few days. It's always fun finding new artists, designers and other creative types that share your aesthetic and style, here are just a few that caught my eye this week:

| SHOPPING |

TWO NEW YORK: Pretty, simple kaftans and tops made in NY from hand woven saris and fabrics from India.



EVERLANE: Modern, clean design with an emphasis on ethical sourcing and integrity.



Grow House Grow: Beautiful, eccentric wallpaper and fabric design, fun and outside the ordinary.


| INSPIRED BY

Lingered Upon: A beautifully curated blog by Alice Gao including photography, travel, food and fashion. 


Little Green Notebook: Interior design and DIY blog by Jenny Komenda, perfect for anyone who loves bold design and is prepared to roll up their sleeves and give it a go.


| DOWNLOADING |

The Real Genevieve: The free magazine from designer Genevieve Gorder with ideas for interiors and style.


| COOKING |

Simple, delicious recipes from The Minimalist Baker blog. Great ideas for everyday recipes from husband and wife team John and Dana. Ideal for a busy family.


I hope there's something there that inspires you this week. Have a great weekend and catch you on Monday.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Simple Inspiration: Yoga

Wednesday morning and I hope you're having a great week. I had such a lovely response last week from my post about yoga I thought I'd share a little bit more about my practice and how it helps day to day with life.


I found this inspiring quote from Tom Ford - not a great philosopher but a great designer who seems to not only understand about style but also about the modern world. 

At the end of November along with a good friend who is a Reiki practitioner, I'm planning a special evening at the yoga studio to raise money for our local cancer hospital. It was the hospital where my grandma spent her last few weeks. The evening is intended as a very special time for those who need a break from the stresses of life - for whatever reason - to spend a few hours nurturing and restoring themselves. I feel very passionately that our modern lives don't afford us the time to stop and just be. We are so wrapped up in hectic work / life juggling, attending to emails / phone calls / Facebook that are bodies and minds never get a chance to switch off. Not only are our lives already full to bursting but we then embark on ambitious extra curricular activities, ferrying the kids to after school clubs, committing to running that 10k for a great cause and going to the gym after / before work. 

I'm worried.

I think we're on a course to burn out, or worst our families will suffer because our time and attention is so focused on all the 'stuff' we have going on. I'm the most guilty of this, constantly taking on more projects and work.

So for one night I would love for people to take a real, earnest break. Switch the phone off. Don't log onto the computer and bring our awareness inside for just a couple of hours to rebalance our bodies and minds. 

Yoga is just one tool to do this but you can discover your own yoga. It might be taking the dog for a walk, going for a horse ride, playing a round of golf, or taking the kids on a bike ride. Have no other distractions around. Take deep, nourishing breaths as you walk. Pay attention to the light; the leaves; the sound of the wind in the trees, and breath. Really breath. Deep, expansive breaths. Be truly in the moment.

I enjoy yoga for all these reasons, but also because it teaches me to listen to my body. To stretch and create space where I've been hunched and huddled over my desk or in the car for hours. I twist and turn my spine to open up those places that have been cramped and stiffened during the day. Rebalancing and restoring my body and mind so I'm calmer, stronger and more confident day to day. 

I'd love to hear your story of how you find space and calm each day. For more information about my relaxation evening visit: www.justgiving.com/restandrelaxatthereach.

See you on Friday. 

Monday, 6 October 2014

Simply shopping: Autumn shoes

Monday afternoon and I hope you had a great weekend. The new week has arrived here and brought autumn with it. The wind is bringing ruddy leaves off the trees and the skies are heavy with cold rain. It's a day for snuggling down with a warm drink and the fire on, but too much to do here. 

The changing seasons always bring about a shift in our clothes as the lighter summer coats and t-shirts are moved to the back of the cupboard and we dig out our thick jumpers, heavy coats and winter boots. 

So today's post is a few of my favourite shoes for the new season. Practical autumn flats that will survive the school run or busy high street on a Saturday. My favourites are the t-bar flats from Boden but with the exposed sides you don't want to be wearing those in a thunderstorm. For the worst the weather has to throw at us I think the brogue is the most hardy. The Next style are great value, but I've thrown in a few pricier pairs in the spirit of balance.

How do you fair in colder weather? Do you survive the winter in boots? I'd love to hear from you. Have a great week and see you on Wednesday.


FROM LEFT TO RIGHT:
Contrast cleated lace ups, Next | SHOP NOW |
Black tassel loafer, Wallis | SHOP NOW |
Collection calf hair double zip loafer, J Crew | SHOP NOW |
Flat t-bar point toe, Boden | SHOP NOW |
Suede skater, Hush | SHOP NOW |
Millie Derby brogue, Toast | SHOP NOW |
H by Hudson tassel loafer, Coggles | SHOP NOW |