Friday, 31 July 2015

Life: You May Have the Universe if I May Have Italy

A is back from Florence and she'd rather not be.

Guiseppe Verdi summed it up when he said "You May Have the Universe if I May Have Italy" - there seems to be a particular gravitational pull toward the place, I keep going back! And I sill dream about one day, packing everything in and running away there for good.

I've just returned from one of the most wonderful holidays, in the spectacularly beautiful city of Florence. I've been asked what what my favourite part of the holiday was, and I really don't know! Just spending a week in Florence, among the wonderful Florentine people and places is idyllic.

We happened to plan our trip bang smack in the middle of a heatwave, so in the 38 degree heat, didn't really do much at all. The week was mostly spent consuming copious amounts of gelato, and hopping between air-conditioned shops, with more than a few espressos and glasses of Prosecco thrown in for good measure.

We spent most of our days and evenings mooching around, taking in the beauty of the city itself. Round every corner is a stunning new vista.

We made it our mission to find and try as many of the recommended gelaterias as possible, so I don't even want to contemplate the calories we consumed in the name of research! There's definitely something magic about gelato, the flavours are so real! and the texture is so smooth! We would heartily recommend Gelateria di Neri and Grom, but it's hard to find bad gelato in Florence!

Quite apart from the gelato, the pizza, the coffee and the pastries, the city is a feast for the eyes, every building is beautiful, and works of art old and new greet you on every street corner.

The city feels so alive! Cute and clever street art adorns every wall.

The Museo di San Marco is an old monastery which is open to visitors, so we walked around the sunlit cloisters, and saw the amazing frescoes on the walls of the chapels and the cells where the monks lived.

Sunglasses obligatory.

And, oh, the coffee!

A x

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

I Blame the Crackle: Summer Glitter

Its finally summer and J shares her summer party nails recommendations

For me, summer is all about spending time with loved ones in the sunshine, and having beautiful nails comes hand in hand with the flowing maxi dresses, big hats and even bigger sunnies. Here's what I'm going to be experimenting with this summer:

A couple of coats of Ciate's Party Shoes brings a bit of glitz and glamour to that Sunday afternoon bbq in the sunshine.

Add a coat or two of Nails Inc's Christmas special Snowflake over the top of this seasons bold pastels to give you that unique twist to the everyday nail polish trends

Finally practice a bit of ombre against nude nails with Sally Hansen's Pearl Crush collection for that easily achieved wow factor.

J x

Monday, 27 July 2015

Life: How to be a Morning Person

Some tips to help you make the most of your morning.

Personally, I don't think the 'morning vs evening' person thing holds much sway. I think it can act as an unhelpful shield for bad habits. Whatever you're opinion, you can't deny the overwhelming evidence that the most productive people tend to be early risers. 

Obviously I’m not qualified to go into the science, and I accept that sleep is a personal thing and how much each person needs will vary and alter due a whole host of reasons. However, within a time frame of say 10pm-8am and for people not on shifts/with children there is, I believe, a healthy approach which is universally applicable and of benefit to most people’s health and happiness.

The key to a good night’s sleep and a bright early morning is to prep yourself for bed properly the night before.

  • Unwind before bed: A hot bath, a peppermint tea or just half an hour on the sofa reading a book will get your mind and body ready for a restful night. I’m speaking entirely from experience here - the better I prep myself for bed, the quicker I fall asleep and the better I then sleep.
  • Invest in bed linen: Good quality linen makes all the difference as it welcomes you into bed. Choose cotton or linen for its temperature regulating properties.
  • Cut out sugar, carbs and caffeine: For the few hours before bed I find it helps to stay away from highly caffeinated drinks, lots of sugar or heavy carbs. Going to bed feeling bloated can keep you awake for hours and mean you wake up feeling a touch 'bleurgh'.
If you put in the work the night before you should be waking feeling rested and relaxed. Here are some tips to get your morning off to the best start:

  • Don't snooze: Those extra few minutes after your alarm has gone off can be bliss, but I think they can often lead to a sleepier, slower start to the day. Instead, kick off your morning with energy and get straight out of bed. 
  • Hot lemon: Drinking hot water with lemon is a great way to kick start your digestive system, rehydrate after a night's sleep and a healthy alternative to a tea or coffee.
  • Get moving: Whether its yoga, a run, swimming or a quick home workout - get up, get moving and get stretched. There are endless benefits to introducing movement into your day and even more so in the morning - plus, you'll feel less guilty about indulgences later in the day.
So, have I convinced you to dare 6am yet?

R x 

Thursday, 9 July 2015

A Photo Diary: Ravensbourne Degree Show

E shares her photo diary of Ravensbourne's degree show 

R~A~J~E had the privilege of being invited to the Ravensbourne Degree show a couple of weeks ago, so I popped along on sunny afternoon and was met with a wonderful array of design. 

There were some playful final pieces by Tatjana Kira Vietnein, from her collection 'Illusion Of Illusion' inspired by 'Dazzle Camouflague'.

I really enjoyed the final projects from graphic design students. These cute origami characters were my favourites. 

I loved these stunning prints on silk by Emily Martin.

It took me back looking in work books and browsing initial images and ideas. 

Thanks Ravensbourne, for a delightful show and hosting with such a warm welcome. 

E x