Surviving a week without Instagram

Just writing the title of this post makes me realise how ridiculous it is that a week without Instagram is so notable but as I quickly (and rather alarmingly) realised during the past week, it truly is just that. Last Friday, three days after updating my iPhone and being introduced to the eye-opening ‘Screen Time’ feature, I decided to delete the Instagram and Facebook apps. I told myself that I wasn’t allowed to re-download the apps until at least Sunday evening. Three days without social media? The world wasn’t going to implode, adorable photos of nephews and nieces and a blogger’s current beauty favourites could definitely wait for a few days.

So how did it go? Here are my thoughts from the days that followed.

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Three cheap ways to fill your walls

Living in a rental property it can be quite hard to make the place your own. With age and various outgoings, investing in art isn’t top of the priority list. But I’ve found a few cheap ways to lift my living space above floor level.

For all of these pieces I’ve used the Ikea Ribba picture frames. I love their simplicity and they are very affordable at only £6 each.

In addition to these, I also love checking charity shops and making the effort to print off photographs.

Wallpaper samples

My favourite ‘trick’ has to be using wallpaper samples. Back when I didn’t have fun financial outgoings such as council tax and a sewerage bill to worry about, I bought a few cushions from the floral patterned wonder that is Bluebellgray. Their vibrant watercolour patterns are also available as wallpaper for which you can purchase sample pages for only £2. I ordered five samples, gave them a bit of a trim and stuck them into frames. The result adds pops of colour to a very white room and ties in with the beautiful cushions of my expendable cash rich youth.

 

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April Reading

I thought recently that it would be nice to note down what books I’ve been reading each month, something which I think will be good for two reasons. The first being the entirely selfish reason of motivating me to get back into what used to be one of my favourite pastimes. The second being that it forces me to actually reflect on what I’ve read, how its made me feel and if I’ve really enjoyed reading it.

So without further ado, here are the two books I read this month.

Still Me by Jojo Moyes

Books haven’t been particularly successful at keeping my attention of late but I’ve found that Still Me by Jojo Moyes has been a bit of a turning point and I couldn’t stop reading it over the whole of the Easter weekend.

This is the third book in the series starting with the well-known poignant tale Me before you. Years back, I remember originally reading Me before you in bed far too late into the night, unable to stop. What’s so lovely about Jojo Moyes’ writing is how simply she gets across a whole range of emotions that are so easy to empathise with. Continue reading

Three simple ways to improve your mental wellbeing

Improving my mental health and wellbeing has been at the forefront of my mind of late. Quite often I have found my mind to be a messy jumble that I cannot clear. Since recognising the longer term effects of such a mind state, I’ve been doing my best to take moments of calm, to try and focus on the present and look after myself. Here are three small and simple things which have helped bring moments of peace and positivity.

 

Fresh faced beauty

Having little tendency to reach for a glass of water, my skin is often dry and uneven in colour. I have tried really hard recently to wash, hydrate and moisturise my skin morning and night. I’ve found using a hydrating serum has made my skin softer and feel plumper and healthier. Cleaning off make up earlier on in the evening means I’m more likely to clean it properly than I would in a sleepy state just before bed.

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Squash, Lentil & Goats Cheese Salad

I never thought I’d be the type to get excited about a salad. I think that stems from having the same uninspiring salad forced upon me for many years i.e. bagged lettuce, cucumber, pepper and at a push some diced tomato. However, I have since learnt that salad doesn’t need to be boring. This one combines some old favourites like butternut squash and spinach with my new great food loves: goats cheese, beetroot and pomegranate seeds.

It’s a great one for a sunny weekend lunch and even for the weekday lunchbox: just make a batch of each component, stick them in the fridge and chuck them together before work. Continue reading

The Alex Project – February & March

It’s been far too long since I spent some time on this small speck of the internet but the last couple of months have been so full of exciting things that I didn’t want them to go by unaccounted. As I said in my January update, this is mostly just a record for myself to look back on and remember all the fun things I did each month.

February

February was a lovely month, spent either in Bristol or back home in Devon. My weeks were pleasantly filled (but still with room to veg out on the sofa every now and then!). Halfway through the month I went to Wales for the first time (which for a Devon girl, is quite odd). We stayed in Pembrokeshire and spent the weekend walking the cliffs, eating lots of cheese and giggling. It was such a lovely weekend that just thinking back on it makes me happy!

My worklife consisted of a trip to an army base (very cool), a bakesale (all the cake!) and hosting a work experience student. This was my first experience of ‘managing’ someone and it was terrifying: the moment they sit down on Monday morning and you just think ‘what the hell am I going to do with you all week?!’. Continue reading

5 Minute Coleslaw

Alternatively: The tale of Alex’s Relationship with Coleslaw

I hate coleslaw. Correction: I hated coleslaw. Perhaps it’s growing older and tastes changing but some of my favourite foods of late are ones which I detested when I was younger: porridge, raw carrot, orange, maybe even beetroot at a push. For some, I’ve forced myself to eat them until I enjoy them (porridge being the prime example) and now I happily enjoy them! No really, I honestly do..

Coleslaw though was a different story: I’ve always hated the shop-bought kind, finding it too vinegar-y and tasting like 99% of the other mayonnaise-based pasta salads/potato salads/etc. on the shelf. But over Christmas we made our own for a family party and now I can’t get enough of the stuff.

Coleslaw

As well as being tasty and going with any lunch option out there, it’s also brilliantly easy if you possess a food processor which, thanks to Santa, I now do. Continue reading