This month I can't really think about how to start this post. February has been a funny one, mixed with great experiences, being ill, stressing about work and a couple of breakthroughs so I'm really not sure what to make of it yet, never mind talk about it! A moment that stood out was when Alisa Vitti, author of Womancode tweeted about my post and the visits to Sunshine + Glow went into unprecedented highs. I sat back and soaked it in, because I also knew it was temporary and didn't mean that those people would stick around beyond that one read. Yet, I enjoyed checking my Google Analytics several times a day and seeing that there were people from over 30 countries taking a look. Pretty exciting, huh?
However, there have been plenty other things that are worth a mention.
I talked about dry brushing in my last post and I am slowly becoming a fan of it. It has taken me some time to get used to how rough the brush felt on my skin at the beginning, but the more you do it the easier it gets and the benefits are great. It helps your lymphatic system work better and eliminate toxins and it also helps exfoliate and gives you smoother skin. I bought a round brush by Hydrea London on Amazon. I knew the brand before and they use FSC wood and sustainable materials.
Another habit I'm getting into is using face masks regularly.
Soap & Glory's No Clogs Allowed is my latest discovery. It has very small beads that burst as you massage them into your face and release heat. The mask is deep cleansing but doesn't leave my skin feeling tight. It doesn't break the bank either, so that is another plus.
I've always been interested in sustainability and working conditions in factories because of my line of work, so I had had this documentary on my Netflix watch list for ages. This month I spent a couple of nights away with work and pretty bored on my own in a hotel, so I decided to watch it.
I thought it was a really moving piece of work, telling the story behind how the clothes we wear are made, especially those that are fast fashion. It made me realise more than ever that we really need to think about how our clothes are made and who they are made by, as well as which brands are responsible and which aren't. We hold so much power as customers - what these brands want is our money, and by choosing where we buy and why we have a massive impact on other people in those supply chains. I could go on forever because it is a subject that I find really interesting and am passionate about, but I will leave it here and recommend that you watch it.
Whilst I started following mostly beauty blogs, I've been gravitating towards different types recently, and Camille Styles is one where I always find interesting content that feels more relevant to me. This month there was a post by Kelly Krause about cleaning up your finances. She talked about how reading Marie Kondo's famous book slowly led her to think about her finances, which I definitely could relate to. Although the book is about tidying on the surface, it is about getting rid of all the noise and things that aren't important in your life, and when you're not surrounded by clutter, you're spending less on clothes because you love what you have and you're on top of your paperwork it kind of makes you want to be more in control of your finances and spend your money on what's important to you.
I liked the idea of having two separate bank accounts: one for fixed spending and one for flexible spending. I've not done it but I think I might in a few months. Have a read and make your own mind up about it!
A friend recommended this book recently and after just finishing it I already know it is going to be one of those life changing books for me. The subtitle says: The mind management programme to help you achieve success, confidence and happiness, and I think that probably describes it quite well. In it Professor Peters talks through his model of how our brain works. It is based in science but told in a more simplistic way. At the centre of it is the idea that a part of our brain is "the chimp", which behaves according to emotions and intuition. There is another one that is rational, "the human", which is who we really are. The chimp can makes us worry about things that may or may not happen for hours or days on end, can make us say things we regret instantly, etc. I am an overthinker and a worrier, so I can definitely see how this works in my life.
The book is divided in 3 parts. The first focusses on explaining how the inner mind works, where he talks about the chimp, the human, the computer and other creatures like gremlins, goblins and autopilots. I love the simple language that he uses!
The second part talks more about every day life and situations we encounter, how to prepare for important conversations, how to identify short term and chronic stress, etc. It is about dealing with what already happens in our lives.
The final part is more proactive and about achieving that happiness, confidence and success. It is the icing on the cake, if you like.
I really loved all the practical information and I have been able to identify lots of gremlins in my mind that have been making me worry for no reason whatsoever. I had always resigned myself to accepting that as an overthinker this was the way I was wired and now I am finding different ways to look at things in a more positive and constructive way.
BRUSSELS & AMSTERDAM
Last year my friends Barbara and Sam moved to Brussels, and ever since I have been saying I was going to visit. In the end, instead of it being a visit planned months in advance, it was a last minute thing, and I made my way through the Euro tunnel to spend a few days there. Brussels is a really interesting city with different layers. The area where they live is dreamy, with lots of shops, cafes and restaurants. Then you have the European quarter, which is heaving during the week but is a ghost town at weekends. And once you get through it you get to the old town, with La Grande Place, a stunningly beautiful square.
Seeing as Amsterdam was only a few hours away we had a day trip there where we met another friend who lives there. We only spent 14 hours there but being with someone local meant that we saw a completely different side to the city away from the touristy bits. I loved the relaxed vibe of it and how friendly everyone is. The same applies to Brussels.
That is it for this month! I hope you enjoyed this and if you have read/watched/visited/used anything I have talked about I'd love to hear what you think of it!