To hire a virtual stylist is a quick step in the ‘new normal’ direction. Unsurprisingly, jogging bottoms are also becoming a new uniform staple.
But who said being stuck indoors meant your sense of style takes a back seat?
Not on my watch.
Consider me your new stylish virtual BFF. My job is to help make you feel and look good based on the clothing you wear and the way that you wear it.
Everyone is going to have days where they don’t feel like the best version of themselves. Imagine pairing this feeling with scrolling through IG content and comparing. It can’t help our confidence.
Not long-term, anyway.
“The Mindset Of A Virtual Stylist”
One thing I vowed to always teach my clients is that the best version of yourself never goes away. Your perception simply alters it. That perception is usually governed by our ever-changing emotions. In order to control your emotions, you need to have the best version of yourself in your head when you don’t feel like it. It’s all about the power of your mind.
To find our style is to truly connect with ourselves. Our mind and body thrive on positive comments and healthy food, (just like plants!) not vacuous motivation posts designed to surface resonate and provoke ‘ahhhh’ feelings.
When you see or hear a positive comment, either online or paid to you by family, friends or strangers, here’s what you need to do. See it, read it, hear the message, receive it, embody it, show gratitude, repeat it and keep it. Time is an illusion but wasting time is real. Productivity, organisation and motivation are my aphrodisiacs. Yeah, I’m freaky like that.
“You Get Access To A Stylist Expert”
Ask yourself this. If you had to leave your house right now, what would you wear? Why would you wear it? Would anyone even see it? Are you working outdoors?
Notice how many layers and textures you’d be wearing versus how many layers you’re wearing right now. Maybe you’re not wearing anything. Maybe you’re nude!
When you hire a virtual stylist, you’re choosing to hire my expertise in fashion design. Together, we create your vision virtually and then bring it to life in the comfort of your home!
“Suitable Brands Are Made Available To You”
When you hire a virtual stylist, the turmoil of choosing what brand will fit your quality, fit or ethical moral compass will be a thing of the past. As your personal virtual stylist, we assess your physical attributes in conjunction with your aesthetic vision and save those preferences. Additionally, we only send you brands that match said preferences (which can be changed at any time) so all you have to decide on is the colour. Awesome, huh? Swipe right, indeed!
“We Nudge You Out Of Your Comfort Zone”
Let’s face it. Sometimes we’re only tempted to try a trend if we’ve seen it on someone else, right? We’ve all been there. But what if I told you that that’s not the only option? When you hire a virtual stylist, you’re giving them your preferences, yes, but as creatives, we also get to send you options based on our perception of your character and accentuate those inner features. You never know, you may be pleasantly surprised and would never expect to wear certain garments.
“Hiring A Virtual Stylist Saves You Time”
Sooooo much time. You have no idea. A virtual stylist works, in the same way, hiring a virtual assistant does. We listen to your problems and goals, apply our knowledge and expertise and solve your problems with solutions bespoke-tailored to you. What more could you ask for?
What’s the first thing you’d hire a virtual stylist to change in yourwardrobe?
Wearing a black blazer should be a simple affair. And it usually is. But how do you know what it actually goes with?
Black is often known to be the colour of professionalism. However, it can clash with clothes that may not fit the slick, pristine demeanour that a black blazer possesses, regardless of office or fashion wear.
My love for the 80s and their perceived necessity of a blazer is very strong. So strong, in fact, that I needed to express that love for one of my favourite items in my wardrobe. I’m going to show you four ways to wear a black blazer that everyone should know. If you’ve never come across a black blazer then you’re about to learn something hot. They’re sexy af.
“Over The Shoulder”
This pose is for wannabe and professional models alike. Brown is one of the closest colours on the colour wheel to black and they compliment each other very nicely. Wearing a black blazer on your shoulder aesthetically shows that you have the confidence to wear a ‘normal’ garment in an editorial manner. Go snap them pics, sis!
Wearing a black blazer buttoned down is the ultimate classic. Paired with a light grey, you appear confident, open and ready to work. Having a buttoned blazer tends to produce a slight restriction in arm movement, but it helps to retain your shape without swamping your figure. It conveys a simple yet elegant air. Poised, practical and precise. You mean business and who am I stop you?
Let your outfit run free! Sometimes you know that you’re wearing a great outfit and just want to show it to the world. And you totally should! When you wear a black blazer unbuttoned, it will give you a casual feel with an air of sophistication. A killer combo, in my opinion.
Belts accentuate your figure and balance out the typical broad tailoring of the shoulders. When you wear a black blazer belted but opened out, you reveal what’s underneath in a vertical cinched shape. With summer fast approaching, this is perfect for reinforcing your shape but staying warm without taking off your blazer.
How to get the perfect beauty sleep. Well, call me Sleeping Beauty. I can’t get enough of it. I don’t need to tell my body twice. Once I’m asleep, I’m practically a corpse. You’d need a foghorn to wake me and even then, good luck, babe.
The concept of ‘how to get the perfect beauty sleep’ is very important to me. It’s not ‘how’ you get it, it’s how you achieve it. It’s a precious characteristic of my lifestyle that has transformed my skin and has helped me to overcome several lifestyle obstacles. I used to suffer from mild insomnia in my teenage years, although it didn’t feel mild, let me tell you. I went through severe stages of getting three hours of sleep to fuel a full-on day, to catching 12 hours of sleep straight.
This had a particularly dire effect on my skin. For one thing, dark circles were becoming increasingly prominent and were harder to shake off with just hydration, face masks and eye creams. It was duller and more prone to breakouts than I wanted. It became harder to stay focused on tasks and when I wanted to sleep the most, I’d be tired and wired.
This was the kick up the ass I needed to put my body first and give it the respect and time it deserved to keep me working at my best. It took me about a month to integrate my new steps into my regime, but, wow, did it work.
Here are five elements of my bedtime routine (five of many!) that I incorporate to give my body the best chance at growing and glowing.
I don’t know about you, but for a homebody, I’m also a busybody which means that I’m very active during the day and rarely sedentary, especially during this lockdown period. Your muscles relax during sleep and naturally compact during the day due to repeated movement such as walking. By stretching before you sleep, you’re opening up your body and inviting it to relax and wind down. You’re also decreasing the risk of getting a cramp or sleeping on your arm, which isn’t fun to wake up to, trust me.
“THE POWER OF YOGA”
Try a few yoga poses such as Child’s Pose, Bridge Pose, Camel Pose and (my personal favourite) the Corpse Pose where you lie on your back with your hands gently by your sides. How appropriate!
Child’s Pose: Start on all fours with your arms gently stretched out in front of you. Lean back on your heels, keeping your arms outstretched.
Bridge Pose: Lie on your back in semi-supine with your feet placed flat on the ground. Keep your knees shoulder-width apart and your arms gently placed by your sides. Engage your core by sucking in an lift your hips up towards the air, hold for 10 seconds and slowly release back down. As you lift your hips up, imagine weights are keeping your feet flat. They should never move when you complete this exercise.
Camel Pose: Start sitting up straight on your heels for this one. Place your hands behind you with a slight bend in your arms and push your chest out, looking above and behind you as much as you comfortably can. Hold for 30-seconds and then slowly release.
Corpse Pose: Ideally, start this pose on your bed as the final step into sleep mode. Simply lie on your back and place your hands gently by your sides, keeping your jaw, neck and shoulders loose.
Each one these poses work in alignment with your breathing. Deep breathing is the key to releasing any tension you may or may not be aware of and it prepares your body to fall into a state of relaxation easily.
This one might come as a no-brainer to a lot of you, but it is often overlooked. Meditation has been known to only be perceived as a morning affair, but using meditation throughout the day, especially at night is key to lowering cortisol production and welcoming those sweet, sweet Z’s.
A decent starting time is around 3-5 minutes. Use this time to engage with your breathing and assess if you have any excess tension from your stretching. Also, use this time to reflect on the day you’ve had, how it made you feel, the day you want to have tomorrow and what you’d like to accomplish. The longer you meditate, the easier it will be for you to fall asleep.
Your beautiful body is about to embark on the wonderful journey of perfect beauty sleep and self-repair. The best gift you can give it is a nice few gulps of water before drifting off into paradise. If you have a nighttime skincare routine, drinking some water before you doze off is going to give your various treatments a massive boost in the right direction. It’s advised to do this at least half an hour before as that’s how long it usually takes for the body to process water.
If you’re the type of person to use the bathroom during the night, try drinking the water as early as possible. If plain water is abhorrent to you, try mixing it with a few drops of lemon or incorporating cucumber or berries for variation.
Chamomile tea is also famously known for its ability to aid in sleep, so get on that!
“PLAN YOUR DAY”
Hopefully, your day turned out pretty much how you wanted it to. If so, brilliant! Maybe it could’ve been better and maybe it was a complete nightmare. But it’s okay. We sometimes view tomorrow as a negative because it suggests that we’re not seizing an opportunity to achieve our goals.
But tomorrow is also a powerful day. Tomorrow is full of possibilities that you have the capability to create and manifest. To help you complete your plans, write them down somewhere you will see them. Type them if you must, as long as you’ve written them out of your head. These should be plans that you’re excited about waking up to, so make sure they’re worth getting up for.
Find a ten-minute opportunity just before bed to write out all of your feelings, wants and desires. The closer you do this before you sleep the better. You’ll always drift off faster when there’s little to think about.
It’s best to journal after you’ve planned your tomorrow to truly hold space for your emotions. If not, you run the risk of neglecting the chance to express yourself. You are not your actions and you are not your feelings. You are simply a vessel that has the capability of thought and action. This separation is necessary to prosper both in sleep and in life!
These are my key components to achieving the perfect beauty sleep I can’t seem to shake off. Beauty sleep will improve skin health, manage weight effectively and lower stress levels. Beauty sleep is the key to everything. See after you feel after some sleep.
The perfect summer wardrobe is staring you in the face. You just can’t see it yet. With less than six weeks away until June, the official month of the summer season, it’s time to rejuvenate your summer wardrobe and prepare to step out. Literally.
Spring clothes are still eligible to be worn in summer, believe it or not. But the truth is, since the pandemic hit, it may have affected our financial freedom. New statistics calculate that the general population is spending their money on survival essentials, which means that you may not be rushing to purchase a tonne of new things online.
So, for those who have lost their jobs and simply can’t afford to buy new clothes for their summer wardrobe, for those looking to spruce up their already fabulous wardrobe, or simply for those that are here to enjoy the content, this is where I come in. You’re welcome.
“WHERE DO I START?”
Your rejuvenated summer wardrobe is going to depend on three variables: clothing preference, temperature and social interaction.
Questions to ask yourself:
What can you envision yourself wearing? Are you a ‘skirts and dresses’ person or ‘shorts and t-shirts’ person? Do you incorporate all of these items in your daily summer style? Are you looking to change your aesthetic this year?
If you’re used to having very hot weather, it’s a good idea to ease up on the shirts and focus more on flowy items. If your summers tend to be light, lightweight cardigans and flowy cotton trousers may be a secure variation.
Our ability to physically socialize has been unwelcomingly severed but that doesn’t mean you can’t dress to impress. If you’re known to be a social butterfly, making use of bold and colourful designs made for an outing are highly encouraged. Personally, I’m very comfortable staying at home, so summer loungewear, i.e., light, tight, long and flowy is more my thing.
Although these variables are important, you need to have a solid vision of how you plan to look this summer, which brings me to the first step.
“VISUALISE YOUR SUMMER LOOK”
Find somewhere comfortable to sit and perhaps grab a notebook and pen. Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Picture yourself in one or two of your favourite spots that you plan to hang out at this summer. Envision yourself smiling and enjoying being in the presence of friends or family. Now, ask yourself: “What type of clothing are you wearing?” “What colours are you sporting?” “What textures have you chosen?”. “What’s your silhouette?” “Do you have any accessories ?” Write all of these characteristics down. These are going to help determine what clothes you keep and how you style them.
Trends will come and go but your personal taste will never change. Maybe you’re a socks and sandals type of human? No one’s judging here, but make sure it’s clear and unique to you.
“ORGANIZE YOUR CLOTHES”
Now that you have an idea of what you want to look like for your summer, it’s time to identify which of your current clothes match that vision.
Primarily, there should be two piles. The first pile is purely based on colour. These can be divided into mini piles for each colour you own. Notice if you start to see a trend. A colour can reveal a lot about your personality and attitudes. If you have a lot of clothes in the same colour, that’s one of your favourites!
The second pile is based on clothing that no longer fits you. We need to eradicate the clothes that no longer serve a purpose to your vision. If it doesn’t fit you, it no longer serves you. It’s as simple as that! Now, that’s not to say that your vision cannot change, it just needs to be clear. When you see clearly, we do too.
Sorting your clothes is a simple affair that is usually clouded by sentimental feelings. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to organise and monetise your wardrobe’s content before you start this step.
From a stylistic point of view, there’s a fine line between eclectic and tacky. As a virtual stylist, it’s my job to help bring out your personality through your outfits. The first rule I tell my clients is the following: “Always dress for your happiness and success.” If you like it, tell me. If you don’t, tell your journal.”
While we’re certainly not dressing for strangers, your personal style needs to have a consistency of either pattern, colour or texture. Even for the most eclectic dresser such as myself, mixing too many variables conveys sloppiness and can subconsciously offend the eye, including your own. As long as you’re working with two colours consistently with the main texture openly featured, you’re doing great!
“DO I NEED TO BUY NEW CLOTHES FOR MY SUMMER WARDROBE?”
Definitely not. It’s the fashion industry’s job to entice you with sales, discounts, bold colours and trends, but similar to the power you have within yourself to achieve your goals, you already have everything you need to bring your summer wardrobe back to life!
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t buy anything new, but it’s completely possible to survive the summer with items you already own. If you’re still utterly compelled to buy something, I highly recommend shopping sustainably at Depop!
“HOW MANY THINGS SHOULD I HAVE IN MY SUMMER WARDROBE?”
Here is a list of essential summer wardrobe items you need to thrive in the summer climate:
Sunglasses (UV protected)
With these essential items in mind, you can build on the quantity from there.
All in all, you have the power and freedom to wear whatever you want. As long as you’re happy and you’re not hurting anyone, who gives a *@*$?!
Make sure to stay hydrated and wear a smile. Who can resist?
Walking daily has a plethora of benefits that are just too good to ignore…
Ah. Daily walking. Fresh air, pumping through your lungs. Your blood is coursing through your veins and the sun is splashing on your face through the trees. Taking your daily government-sanctioned walk. Ain’t it sweet.
Then again, the drizzle fills your hoodie, you smash into deceiving puddles by mistake and you can’t decide whether to turn in or to power through. Welcome to walking for fitness.
I know. It seems like a bit of a stretch to deem walking as something worth leaving the house for. “I walk around my house every day.” “Why is being outside so significant?”
I’ll tell you why.
It’s more than for your fitness. Walking is something that we are systematically designed to do. Our bodies are engineered for ease of movement. Flexibility is an extension of our regular capabilities. So when you apply this capability to nature, it produces astonishing benefits on our physical and mental health.
“WHAT DO THE BENEFITS OF WALKING DAILY ACTUALLY DO FOR YOU?”
A benefit of walking daily is that it’s a massive stress reliever. It can lower your blood pressure and increase your focus. If you’ve decided to take up a new skill such as learning a new language, DIY crafts or creating online content, your motivation towards productivity will be ramped up! If hardcore sleeping has become your thing, walking will not only kickstart your energy levels, it’ll also improve your ability to fall asleep faster, promoting a deeper and longer sleep cycle. Talk about giving back to yourself in a kickass way!
WHAT HAPPENS IF I DON’T WALK DAILY ENOUGH?
When your walking is disrupted and the air is stagnated – i.e. walking up and downstairs in your home, then stopping for hours – it doesn’t give your body a chance to relax in one session. Instead, your body ends up releasing small doses of endorphins inconsistently which, ultimately, increases your production of cortisol, (the stress hormone). By actively taking a 20-30 minute daily walk, you’re giving your body the chance to release endorphins in one go, a much healthier method of destressing.
Did you know:
It’s possible to burn 100-300 calories in 30 minutes just by taking a brisk walk!
When you take a brisk walk, you run the amazing risk of increasing the number of your immune system cells or ‘natural killer cells’. This happens by breathing in organic compounds called phytoncides that are released by trees. These cells are what combat disease and even many types of cancer. Imagine if you start jogging!
Furthermore, brisk walking increases your positive feelings. By allowing your mind to wander, your brain gets the chance to switch off from the working issues of the day and just enjoy what it’s processing: nature doing its thing.
HOW SHOULD I WALK EFFECTIVELY DAILY?
Heel to Toe
Start from the heel of your foot, rolling it forward and lifting your heel, applying weight onto your toes. This prevents injury to your ankles and helps you to keep your balance.
Check Your Posture
Face forward and look ahead. Your spine should aim to be as straight as possible with your head, neck and shoulders in a relaxed state. Your knees should have a slight bend and your arms should be able to swing effortlessly based on how fast you’re walking. All of these movements will become subconscious so try not to worry about ticking these boxes every time you step out.
Tune Into Your Surroundings
Okay, we’ve got the walking thing down. Now, let’s take this opportunity to treat our senses. What can you see? What can you smell? Can you hear anything? Can you feel a breeze? How do these things make you feel? By getting in tune with your surroundings, your breathing becomes regulated and your cortisol production decreases.
Walking in any climate will grant you these benefits, although, walking in sunlight allows our bodies to create Vitamin D, an essential vitamin for muscle health and metabolism. Just make sure you slap on the sunscreen though. It shouldn’t have to be relentlessly sunny for you to be motivated to take a walk outside, but it certainly helps.
Being cooped up isn’t a good thing for anybody, even if currently it’s the best thing to do right now. I can also understand if you’ve developed a deep cultivated fear of leaving the house because of the virus, but as long as you’re honouring the two-metre rule and you’ve got some sanitiser gel, you’ll be okay. Trust me. Go get that nature. Happy hiking!
Virtual assistants are having a moment. A big one. Unsurprisingly, the demand for hiring virtual assistants has skyrocketed because the outbreak has halted the ability to work and travel. Businesses and creative individuals alike have recognized their necessity of hiring virtual assistants for general tasks, marketing or just to assist with connecting to clientele on a wider scale.
Additionally, a high percentage of established online platforms have either invested in virtual assistants or have pursued their services to increase their exposure.
“WHAT ARE VIRTUAL ASSISTANTS?”
Virtual assistants are, at the heart of it, communicators. We perform a series of administrative tasks concerning your needs, either business or personal if necessary. Think of us as your PA, but digitalized. We can set up meetings, manage your emails as well as accommodate your clients all from a remote location. This makes us very desirable workers because we can be available to you instantly (within our work hours, of course).
“WHY WOULD I NEED TO HIRE A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT?”
Hiring a virtual assistant allows you to sit back and relax whilst they handle the background tasks. By outsourcing your general tasks to a VA, you’ll have more time to invest in your business or personal life.
They can usually be available for you for a minimum of 8 hours a day, although my hours have been extended for new clients.
” HOW DO I HIRE YOUR VIRTUAL ASSISTANT SERVICES?”
Here is a list of the services I provide:
Booking appointments with clients/customers
Proofreading & Editing
Following up with clients/customers
Hotel and flight booking
Social Media Management
Don’t hesitate to contact me via the Contacts page on my blog. Alternatively, I can be found on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram. I can’t wait to meet you!
Three Essential Skin Products You Need During Lockdown
Skin. It’s a funny old thing, isn’t it? It’s the largest organ in your body and yet it’s the most fragile. It can take a moment to damage and a lifetime to repair so having a consistent skincare routine is paramount.
And what better way to kickstart it or take it to the next level than in lockdown?
Think about it. You have nowhere else to be and you have so much more time to understand, identify and listen to what your skin needs.
This article is going to outline in tremendous detail the three essential products that you’re going to need to achieve and maintain plump, balanced, Instagram-worthy skin. Sit tight.
I know, I know. Cue the fluttering eye rolls. You were expecting me to reveal something you can just buy in a bottle, right? Well, guess what…you can. And if bottled water isn’t your thing, investing in a thermal one is the real G. You have your private tap at home with 24-hour access so let’s utilise it! Let me tell you why the advice of drinking water is constantly reiterated and why it’s also constantly underestimated.
Water is something that humans cannot live without. Ever. We’re mostly made up of water. Not only does it positively cater to every other organ and function in your body but it is the only thing your body cannot substitute on. Why deny it the one thing it will always need?
On the flip side, dehydration is something you should never be experiencing, especially if you’re fortunate to reside in a first-world country. If you tend to have naturally dry skin or eczema, you’re more likely to lose water through your skin at a faster rate.
Dehydrated skin may turn red, become dry, flaky, darker and tight which encourages skin damage through tearing. If you’re prone to little cuts and bruises that you’re unsure of how they arose, chances are that your skin is very tight and susceptible to damage that hydrated skin would substantially improve.
As if it couldn’t get any worse, dehydrated skin produces a natural oil -which seems contradictory- called sebum which is what clogs up your pores and hastily invites acne to the party.
What’s the solution?
Drink water. Just drink water. Preferably 2 litres a day, which does seem extreme, but little and often consistently is the ultimate key. Your bathroom’s going to be busy, but you’re at home, so it shouldn’t be a problem! I keep a 5-litre bottle and an 800ml bottle in my bedroom.
An example of this product in practice:
I fill up my 5-litre to the top and use that to top up my 800ml bottle which stays on my desk when I’m working. As soon as I run out of the water from my 800ml, I use the 5-litre to top it up.
That 5-litre bottle means that I don’t have to go downstairs just for water for 2 days. It makes a huge difference and I’m much more inclined to drink more because it’s only a half-hearted grab away. It doesn’t get any more first-world than that.
Follow @drinkwaterslut on Twitter as an extra incentive. An account dedicated to reminding you to drink water. Profanity is used but it’s funny, it’s sassy, sometimes I feel personally attacked, but it works.
And that’s why my blog is here. To provide you with information that is tried and tested and not designed to confuse or repeat vague tips for the sake of it.
SWEET ALMOND OIL
Okay. This might sound like the least desirable product for any of my clients who suffer from oily skin but similarly to oil cleansing, it helps keep that excess oil away and has been proven to be a necessary step in a glowing skincare routine.
Almond oil is created through cold-pressing the almond kernel. The organic oil is best as it’s the most natural but highstreet suppliers frequently sell the chemically extracted type so it’s always good to know which one you have.
Nevertheless, both work very well and the chemically extracted oil (which tends to be cheaper) will still look after your skin and demonstrate the same fabulous effects.
Why is it so good for your skin?
Rich in antioxidants, almond oil is known for achieving long-lasting results which include reducing dark circles (with a consistent and optimum amount of sleep) and hyperpigmentation or increased melanin. I find that this product is amazing at combatting dry skin and UV damage so imagine the added benefit of drinking water to reduce dryness. Super soft skin? Yes please and thank you very much.
The horror enthusiast in me wants to say ‘sun scream’ but you’ll be screaming when you see how much this improves your skin, especially in the little time it takes to use it regularly.
I never understood why so many dermatologist routines stressed the utmost importance of wearing sunscreen every day – even when the sun wasn’t visible – until I found out that sunscreen is the key to preserving your youthful appearance. It’s the ‘you’ll thank me later’ potion to looking 24 when you’re 58…or something.
Yes, it’s primarily used for absorbing or reflecting UV radiation, but for the sake of your skincare routine, you should see it primarily as the product that heavily prevents the development of sagging skin, wrinkles and dark spots which can include hyperpigmentation.
These are my holy trinity products of skincare. It’s a skincare routine that can be followed by most, dare I say, all skin types because the benefits genuinely do work long-term. I am extremely confident that if used in conjunction with consistent sleep, your skin will improve in smoothness, brightness, youthfulness and have that undeniable glow. Do it for your future self. They’re counting on you.
In my upcoming e-book, I outline the exact methods, beauty tools and commercial products that I’ve tried and tested myself for years, some of which I religiously use in my routine today.
Here is an outline of just some of the chapters in my e-book that will get you the results you’re after:
A specified list of beauty tools and products to buy
Step-by-step methods on EXACTLY how to apply and the order in which to apply them
The skincare routine needed to obtain optimum skin health
A chosen fitness package that outlines weight gain, weight loss, weight maintenance and toning
A style guide for every season
A practical guide for motivation and consistency
I’m not going to leave you hanging! In preparation for this pack, you can receive a 30-minute consultation with me where we will establish your goals and intentions together before fully engaging your time and energy into them.
Sound good? It sure feels good to me! Links to your consultation can be found here. See you there!
How To Invest In Your Head, Your Space And Headspace
Originally posted February 25th 2020
I’ve always thought that having a great night’s sleep was hard to come by. In the past, it would take me literally hours to finally power down, even after scouring the internet for the best ways to wind down from technology- yes I see the irony…hush- sleeping in a cooler temperature, using an eye mask etc. My mind would be stuffed full of tasks I hadn’t completed for the day, even the ones I had, and I’d be replaying events that were yet to happen and events that never would.
This cluttered mind needed a refresh button. You can get them on Amazon, right?
When you hear the words ‘all-nighter’ you can probably imagine a college student hopped up on Red Bull with blood-stained eyes, typing wildly on All-Caps with their favourite motivational playlist pumping out of their earphones which are sprawled over their, frankly, embarrassingly cluttered desk.
Whilst I’ve never been a fan of an all-nighter and have never willingly resorted to it, it’s become something that I’ve recently found myself regularly participating in, just for the thrill of it! My productive urges always hit me towards the latter hours of the day, which, as a freelancer is acceptable, but it’s definitely not desirable, because how are you able to justify to yourself what you do in the earlier hours of the day, compared to what society calls ‘the 9 to 5’? Nine-to-five? My hours are more ‘6 to 3’.
And it got me thinking- as always- why don’t I take my mental and personal space seriously? I’ve always believed that they’re important, but they’ve never been super high on my many to-do lists, especially when I’d be prioritising other tasks and other people much higher than what they deserve.
Also, what happens to your body when you don’t get enough sleep? Does it cause damage? Irreversible damage? Why can’t I just be awake 24/7? I could get so much more work done, or, realistically, I’d have so much more time to procrastinate about the way I’ll perfectly get more work done. In a fear-fuelled panic, I rushed to Youtube to have someone who’s professionally ’sleep smart’ intellectually slap me out of my habits.
Matthew Walker, a professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California and author of ‘Why We Sleep’ goes into excellent detail about the many eye-opening effects of sleep deprivation on the brain and body which you can watch here.
He describes worrying statistics on the reproductive, cardiovascular and immune system, not excluding the terrifying consequences of accelerating the production of the protein ‘beta-amyloid’, increasing the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease, which currently has no definite cure. According to Walker, the recycling rate of a human being is 16 hours. I’m definitely one of those humans who needs those crucial 8 hours to guarantee a ‘great night’s sleep’. The Wakeful Eight I call them.
Based on Walker’s phenomenal findings, science clearly proves that your cells are slowly dying the longer you stay up. Well, for one thing, my eyes end up stinging like a b!%£* but that doesn’t stop me playing Plants and Zombies 2 whilst watching ’12 Biggest Reception Regrets’.
The point is, humans need sleep. We use sleep to process the endless mass of mundane tasks and confusion that stomps our way, our inboxes overflowing as we dance it all away and leave it all behind on a Friday night.
So, I started to make a change to my working routine, incorporating daily meditation and decluttering before my work shift started, and it was devastatingly helpful. Here are a few tips to get you started:
INVEST IN YOUR HEAD:
Create a great relationship with your hair.
Figure out where it’s at health-wise and adjust your hair products accordingly. Is it usually greasy? Structure a wash routine that works for you and invest in anti-grease solutions. Many girls I know despise the fact that their hair even knows what grease is and dares to excrete it, but if you can learn how to control it and minimize it if necessary, I swear it’s the next best thing to running off into the sunset and changing your name. That feeling of having a new hairstyle, whether it’s a haircut or just taking some extra time in the day to style it will increase your confidence which will transfer to your productivity.
Visualize what you want to accomplish for the day and when you’ll take your breaks. Reflect on the importance of each task and imagine yourself completing each one with patience and efficiency. This can take anywhere between 5-10 minutes, or even longer if you’ve got a lot to achieve, but as long as you’ve sat with those thoughts, you’re off to a bloody good start.
INVEST IN YOUR SPACE:
Take a look around your room. How tidy is it? And by tidy, I mean, your honest version of tidy, because everyone’s is different. A universal theme of tidiness, though, is the ability to know what is both useful and necessary for you, where important things are at all times if even your tidiness occasionally spins out of control.
Can you look at every item you own, big or small- yes those numerous lip balms that have been sitting on your bedside table count- and be confident that it’s an item that you need? If it is, how often do you use it?
As for the items that you’ve stored away, do they deserve to take space in the places you don’t see? If they don’t, maybe you could donate them to a friend or two, or sell them if that’s your prerogative. You can get some tips and advice from my article How To Make Money On Depop.
Once you’ve established that your room is tidy, clean it. Sweep it, vacuum it, polish any wood-bearings, light a scented candle- I’m mad for them!- or a neutral one and open your window. Let all of that stagnant energy and procrastination be gone and feel the wind of change.
So where does Headspace come in?
Headspace covers all bases of your mind for every aspect of the day, morning, noon and evening but, in particular for the evening, uses skilled voice actors who ease you into a suitable relaxed state of mind, which cleverly conditions you to receive the vast variety of Sleepcasts they provide. These are a collection of stories that are supported by audioscapes that match their description, and they are just heavenly.
I highly recommend Midnight Launderette and greatly compliment the voice actor responsible for setting the scene. His voice is low, slow, grandfatherly and gravelly, with a tenderness that’s made for this service. I’ve listened to it every night for over eight months without tiring and that is because the scenarios are expertly designed to be similar but with slight changes and deviations in the story so you’re never left yawning out of boredom, but rather, a comforting familiarity.
This makes Headspace a brilliant investment just for the sleep element alone because you’re practically guaranteed a sound night, with the option to scour their 23 other stories. On top of that, if the idea of people reading you a bedtime story seems somewhat alarming or just unwelcome, you can easily opt to change the volume between speaking and audioscape to just audioscape. The whirring of the laundromat machines are irresistible and hearing the fire crackling in Desert Campfire gives me goosebumps as I descend into snore-heaven. Lovely.
Your brain is responsible for everything that you do so it’s about time that you treat it right.
If I haven’t convinced you to invest in these three things, let Headspace convince you. My quality of life has vastly improved for the better and I will continue to shout their praise any chance I get. You can download it here for a free trial!
Become Depop Famous: How To Successfully Make Money on Depop
Depop. Depop, Depop, Depop. I bleed Depop stickers and the Depop logo is red. Coincidence? No. Well, yes.
I never imagined I’d be a successful seller on Depop. It’s certainly not the primary reason why I created an account. I just wanted to spend all of my money on clothes that I already had. And clothes I certainly did have. Every time I had to find something cohesive to wear it was like fighting an invading army, pushing back against my wardrobe doors as if I was defending my kingdom’s castle walls.
But one lazy summer afternoon, I decided enough was enough. I felt claustrophobic, surrounded by fabric that was being hoarded for more sentimental reasons than practical and some of them I’d physically outgrown, or was trying to lose weight to get back into for fitness inspiration, which didn’t work, by the way. I needed more space, and it couldn’t be for more clothes. I’d run out of things to wear. I’d run out of money…or so I’d thought.
What is Depop?
Depop is a super trendy platform that’s designed to let ordinary people like me rise to high ranks and become both a customer and seller of their personal and professional items. If eBay and Instagram had a baby, Depop’s your loverat. I had just begun to truly understand what thrifting was, what qualified as a true vintage item compared to ’vintage-style’ items and I was young, energetic and broke. These were the ultimate propellers for this flight of fancy: becoming a Depop seller.
I took every single item of clothing I owned and put them in a pile. What a heap. I also created a separate pile of accessories (coats, bags, hats, belts, and shoes) and made sure they didn’t overlap. God knows I didn’t want to have to deal with that all over again. Next, I categorized each item into clothes I couldn’t fit in, the clothes I liked, the clothes I loved and clothes I was still undecided about.
This was surprisingly easy to accomplish as I’d given myself multiple scenarios of thought to play with which meant that I wasn’t slyly talking myself out of selling anything. Nothing was definite. I could still just keep everything and carry on living my life as if nothing had ever happened. Yeah, right.
Next, I went onto Depop’s official page and looked at their recommended tips for selling on their site. I wanted to be taken seriously so I followed their advice as accurately as I could. I still had a lot to learn but by God, it worked. Within half an hour, I’d set up a spot in my back garden with the clothes hanging neatly on my washing line, ready to be modelled and goggled at.
At the time I was lucky enough to own an iPhone 8 Plus which came in very handy for photos as the camera is great, especially when paired with natural light which is what Depop highly recommends anyway. It took the better part of an afternoon, pretty much until the sun went down as I was taking multiple photos of each item, determined to get the money shot. I rehung my confirmed clothes and separated the ones for sale, vowing to never wear them again. They were going to have new owners. Grateful owners.
Then came the listing. Man, this took a while. The app has come a brilliantly long way in terms of updates and it’s become ridiculously easy to identify where each item comes from (unless it’s a true vintage item, in which case you label it so). I got out a notepad and identified hard facts about each item: What, Colour, Texture, Fit, Condition, Measurements (where necessary) and Quality. A system that I still use today. One item down, eighty-one items to go. By this time it was almost 9 pm. I was tired, but I was seeing this through until the items were uploaded and ready to be viewed and bought. I wanted to see how my hard work was perceived. Through likes? Through purchases? Both came, eventually.
After every item had been catalogued and given a personalised description, I turned all of my Depop notifications on. Maybe nothing will happen, maybe my items aren’t worthy or trendy enough to be on here. Maybe Depop won’t even acknowledge me.
Wrong on all counts. Firstly, I was being followed by a lot of people, many were new accounts, but many were also established.
Secondly, my items started to get numerous likes, day after day, month after month, until, inevitably (although retrospectively I didn’t ever think it would happen) a lot of my items were being featured on the Depop search page, sometimes two at a time. How did this happen? Simple. It was because of the quality of the photos. The ones that got picked to be featured with the best of the best were the items that looked particularly pretty as a picture on their own.
They were also quite colourful or happened to fit the trend that Depop would be featuring. Whilst you may not be able to know what trend Depop is focusing on (although you can identify it when an item of yours is featured), as long as you make sure your photos stand out naturally, are creative and have accurate descriptions, you’re going to do well. Peep some top tips below:
Declutter every piece of fabric you own.
Sort out your clothes and accessories. Put away the clothes you would ugly-cry at the thought of selling and take out the clothes that you’re not completely sold (ha-ha) on selling but would let them go for a certain price. Everybody has their price.
Take great pictures.
And by great I mean natural light, (or studio if shot clearly), I mean trendy, I mean fashionable. Give customers a reason to scroll through Depop, see your item and give it a chance by clicking on it and reading your accurate description. What makes it special? Why should a customer invest their money and buy it? Are there any defects? Are they noticeable? What do you love most about this item?
Update your items regularly.
Edit items and keep reloading them. Get them to the top of the search pile by adding relevant keywords that fit your item’s description. Additional keywords are acceptable if they match an aesthetic you’ve chosen to model your item in, but I wouldn’t recommend using clickbait keywords just for the sake of someone seeing your item. You’re just going to piss people off for tricking them and wasting their time which deflates potential budding customers and, ultimately, loses you a very potential sale and even more upsetting, a trendy friend. WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!
Create a Twitter or Instagram account.
Because of how substantial my following was becoming I felt that I needed to extend my social presence. Enter Twitter Vs Instagram. That lovely blue tweety-bird. That camera-shaped pastel beauty. I couldn’t decide between them because I used them so frequently…so I got both! Ha! I created accounts on both platforms and linked them to my Depop store, keeping them regularly updated, although this can become very challenging when other parts of your working life take over. Just make sure to keep updating when you can, tag Depop in your posts and if all else fails, manage your Depop store. That’s where the sales and the cool people are at, after all.
I’m hoping that if you got this far I don’t have to tell you to check out my Depop store?! How could you not? You’ve read all about it! And now that you have these tips, I expect to see you growing and keeping that wardrobe mountain-free.
Marie Kondo’s series is now out on Netflix and everyone seems to be transformed by it: “Where has this been all my life?” “I feel so much more in control” “How have I survived living like this?” And whilst I’m happy for the ‘sparks of joy’ that have been erupting around me left and right (and back and forth and fold and tuck…) I do wonder whether Marie’s influence is drowning out what Minimalism represents.
As someone who sells clothes, buys vintage pieces and stores them in a tiny bedroom, I’m constantly mislabelled as a hoarder by my fellow flatmates. I’ve been met with bouts of laughter when I tell them that I’m a minimalist because what they see isn’t what matches up with Minimalism in their minds. But there lies the problem. It’s not about what you see. To another extent, it’s not even about what you do. It’s about how you feel and going forward, how you deal with issues in your life.
Minimalism is a lifestyle. The flashy portrayal you see with the same colour bed sheets and curtains, green succulents, monochrome patterns and empty decor is the surface level. You can apply Minimalism to every aspect of your life, or just one. Or none, if you don’t agree with its method. It’s not a big deal. Minimalism can be materialistic if you’re focused on colour, or one type of item.
We live in an indulgent world. Whether we choose to participate in it is up to us. It may feel as if we have no choice, but we do. It just depends on how much you’re willing to stray from the ‘inevitable’ and become as authentic as you choose.
I’m not knocking Marie Kondo or her work, on the contrary- she’s making people tune in to their surroundings and evaluate what’s important in their life and that is revolutionary. Our world leaders haven’t been able to make people do that. But I ask you to see the bigger picture. It shouldn’t be a phase. It should be a constant ongoing process. How you feel dictates how you think, how you look, how you act. So start with that. Clear your mind, one thought at a time. Just because you don’t look like a minimalist doesn’t mean you aren’t one.