Why it's important to travel more

I'm such a home body. When it comes to the option of having a night out over a night in, you can bet your behinds I'll be sat on my sofa knee-deep in take away, having the time of my life. I like the idea of adventure, I really do. But for some reason I can't bring myself to be that person that lives their life each day as it comes. I love the idea of travelling and booking a one-way ticket to anywhere, not knowing where I'll go, how long for, and who I'll be at the end of it all. I love the idea of it all, but that's exactly it - it's the idea I like. Leaving my boyfriend, my family, my friends is the reality, and that's something I don't intend to do any time soon. Some people are born travelers, some people are born nap-loving home-bodies (me), but that doesn't mean we can't travel. Looking back on my old posts and seeing the places I've been (Sweden, Paris, Spain, Amsterdam..) has made me realise just how much I've grown as a person, having experienced so many different cultures and meeting so many people that live miles outside of the little bubble that is my home. This year, I hope to add to that list with as many weird and wonderful communities that I can.

 

 

- IT KEEPS US YOUNG AND HEALTHY
 

- IT CHANGES THE WAY WE THINK
 

- IT ENHANCES OUR RELATIONSHIPS
 

- IT TEACHES US NEW SKILLS
 

- IT OPENS OUR MIND
 

- IT TAKES US OUT OUR COMFORT ZONE
 

- IT MAKES US MORE UNDERSTANDING
 

- IT TEACHES US WHAT'S IMPORTANT
 

- IT TEACHES US PATIENCE

 

I was recently introduced to the Okinawa Islands in Japan - one quick Google and I couldn't believe I'd never heard of this place before. A further look into what that islands have to offer and I added it straight to my bucket list. The people of Okinawa are renowned for their youth (something I think we can agree we're all on the hunt for) which is due to their diet, relationships, fitness regimes and general out look on life.

No matter where I've traveled to so far, the lifestyle remains very much modern, in that we apply expenses creams on our faces, go to the gym to exercise and message each other on social network to chat. In Okinawa, their out look on life remains very much traditional, in that they eat what they grow, communicate by spending time with one another, keep their mind fit as well as their bodies and beautify themselves from the inside out.

In Okinawa, there's a woman named Sumiko who is 98 years old, but doesn't look a day over 60 (see the video here). Her secret? Eating well and maintaining human contact with her friends and family. Male blogger Daniel also tried his hand at karate in Okinawa and, whilst also learning some new moves, learned how to keep his mind healthy, as well as his body (see that video here). Okinawa is about enhancing our lives from the inside, whether it's the food we eat, the exercises we do or the relationships we keep - which is exactly what I look for when I travel. #BeOkinawa.

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The Blogger Journal 2017 is here!

Last year I couldn't believe the amount of support I received regarding The Blogger Journal. I came up with the idea one evening when I was covered in scrap pieces of paper filled with lists and ideas, fed up of feeling so unorganised. It dawned on me that night that it would probably be a good idea to have an entire journal dedicated to organising my online life. Something I could keep on my desk at all times so that when an idea struck I could jot it down. Something that would help me keep track of my monthly statistics and keep me motivated along the way. I couldn't find anything quite like it within my budget, and so I decided to make my own.

A year later and I've sold thousands of those little journals. I still can't believe it. When I first placed my order at the printers I ordered fifty units. Fifty units that I thought I was being overly optimistic about selling. Even now I'm shocked when I get a notification saying an order was placed by one of you guys. It's one of the best and most surreal feelings I've experienced from behind the screen.

Anyway, if the title of this post didn't give it away enough, The Blogger Journal 2017 is here. No more pre-orders, no more waiting. If you want it, it's here. This year's journal is packed with the same goodies as last year including blog tips every week, goal planners and statistic trackers, only this year I've also decided to create an online hub made specifically for Blogger Journal-ers. What's included in the hub, you ask? I don't want to give away too many secrets, but I can tell you that it's going to be updated regularly with helpful tips and tricks, as well as printables and downloadables you can use to your hearts content. See you over on the hub!


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K WEST HOTEL & SPA REVIEW

As someone that lives a lifetime away from London (five hours, to be exact) I'm always on the hunt for top notch hotels that are central, stylish (for the gram, obvs) and somewhat affordable, which - as I'm sure a lot of you will know - isn't the easiest thing to find in the big city. However, a few weeks back I had the pleasure of staying at The K West Hotel & Spa, and it was so good I just had to spread the word.

Now, I have a little confession to make. Despite visiting London countless times over the year I still - quite frankly - have no idea where I'm going. Thank God for Uber. So you can imagine my excitement when I found out that the K West was literally a five minute walk from Shepherds Bush tube station. I didn't get lost once (and trust me, that's an achievement). The hotel itself was - as you can tell from the pictures - stunning. I could have literally spent the entire morning just Instagramming various parts of the lobby. 

The same goes for the room itself - it was honestly bigger than my first house! Upon arrival I was greeted with a platter of sweet treats, and instantly regretted scheduling a full day of meetings. I just wanted to sit in my big bed, plush robe on and watch reality TV whilst scoffing sweets. It didn't feel like I was smack bang in the centre of town. instead, it felt more like a little spa day getaway. Speaking of which..

The spa. Oh the spa. It was so unlike any other spa I'd been to. Of course, you had your saunas and steam rooms, but the real selling point? The snow room. It was literally like walking into an industrial freezer. Trust me, it was a whole lot more relaxing than it sounds. After spending some time in the saunas, the idea is that you head on into 'Snow Paradise' to help increase circulation and improve your immune system.

I must have spent hours alternating from various spa stations. From the snow room, to the sauna, to the hydrotherapy pool (lots of bubbles!) to the sanarium. I stayed right up until the spa closed, showered, and then snuggled up in bed for a good nights sleep. And boy oh boy, was it a good nights sleep. I could have probably stayed there all day if it wasn't for the lovely man that woke me up for room service the next morning. Being woken up is my least favourite thing, but being woken up with fresh pastries and smoked salmon bagels? I'll let that one slide. But seriously though, can I stay here like, every time I come to London? Serious question..

K West Hotel & Spa - Richmond Way, London W14 0AX

Time saving Christmas shopping hacks

Okay, I'll admit it -  I am one of those people that get excited about Christmas in, well, Easter. I stop myself from cracking out the carols for as long as humanely possible, and then once November hits I turn into a walking talking Santa Claus. Only with less facial hair (just). This year however, I decided to get a little festive behind the scenes, and start off my Christmas shenanigans with Matalan and Alder Hey for their Get Your Stripes campaign - a campaign that encourages others to whack on a pair of the official Alder Hey jammies in order to support the children's hospitals's Research, Innovation and Education Centre. A whopping 100% of the profits goes towards the cause, so if there was ever a time to sit around in your pyjamas all day, it's now, right!? And if that doesn't get you in the festive spirit, I've also included some of my top Christmas hacks over on the Matalan website. So what are you waiting for?! Get Your Sripes! (See what I did there?)


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*This post is in collaboration with Matalan*

How to de-stress (and de-bloat!) in sixty seconds

 How to get rid of stress and bloating easily
 How to de-bloat and get rid of stress easily
 Ways to get rid of stress and bloating

I am one of those strange individuals that thrive off of stress. I like lists, I like deadlines and I like overloading myself with work. Even when I was on holiday it took me days to be able to sit down in the sun without thinking about something work-related. Stress is one of those things that creeps its way into our lives without us even realising. Sure, traumatic events cause stress, but you'd be surprised by how much every day life can stress us out as well. And if you think stress just leads to the odd headache and a few aches and pains, you're way off the mark.

A little while ago I met with the lovely Katie Brindle, the creator of the HAYO'U method and the lady who I will forever know as the person who helped me handle my stress. The HAYO'U method is a form of one minute exercises that help to heal the body naturally, whilst de-stressing at the same time. 

THE MORNING EXERCISE (60 SECONDS)

- As soon as you get up, shake your body (you'll look insane) to help dislodge toxins and get your blood flowing. Do this for 15 seconds.

- Next, twist the body as if you were wringing out a sponge. This will help to dissipate the toxins from the body and increase blood flow which will help you improve your digestive function and release tension stored in the body. Do this for 15 seconds. 

- Last but not least, firmly drum on your skin to help get rid of any stubborn toxins in the body. This will also help you wake up your muscles. Do this step for a total of 30 seconds and repeat every morning for the full benefits. It'll help the body over time, but it'll wake you up straight away!

Like most people I don't have the luxury of going out and getting hour long massages and facials every week - nor do I have the time to attend yoga classes multiple times a week to help me unwind. I'd like to, and sometimes I do manage to squeeze the odd session in, but in general I can't quite commit to that sort of, well, commitment. So when Katie told me that her techniques would only take up a minimum of two minutes a day I thought - you know what - that is the sort of thing I can do. And I have been doing it - every single day.

Now, call me crazy, but I've always been a firm believer that we as people can fix a lot of our own ailments, without tablets or doctors appointments. I used to get the worst migraines, and at one point I was so desperate to find a cure that I found myself on the weird corner of Google looking at facial accupressure. I tried it out, and amazingly enough I haven't had a bad migraine since then. So when Katie started explaining the benefits of Chinese Medicine to me during our meeting I was all ears.


THE BREATHING EXERCISE (60 SECONDS)

- Get comfortable (I like to do this in the bath for full relaxation benefits) and take a big breathe in through the nose. Hold it for a few seconds.

- Breathe out through the mouth and engage your stomach - try to imagine yourself forming a 'smile' with your stomach muscles. This will help to engage your PNI (Psychoneuroimmunology) which, long story short, is the interaction between your brand and your immune system.

- Repeat this exercise five times - or more if you can! Doing this will bring more oxygen to the body and will help to release stress in the body. It'll also help to strengthen you against any future stresses!

Don't get me wrong - I'm generally a very healthy person, but recently I've been suffering from really bad bloating that - at one point - resulted in me being unable to move out of bed due to the pain. After talking to Katie it dawned on me that these digestion issues occurred around about the same time my Mum was diagnosed with lung failure. Alongside that, a few other personal issues, plodding through my final year of uni and working alongside, it became clear to me that the bloating was a result of stress, overthinking and worry, not the amount of pastries I was eating (although that probably didn't help).

Bare with me on this one, but, what emotion would you say comes from the heart. Love, right? And what about the lungs, the stomach, the spleen? We often ignore the emotions that effect the rest of our body, but it turns out that - in Chinese Medicine - every major organ is effected by how we feel. And the stomach? You guessed it - that's effected by worrying and overthinking - AKA stress, stress, stress. Did I say stress?

The idea behind HAYO'U is that you treat the problem, not just the symptoms, so instead of just trying to de-bloat I've begun to focus more on my overall stress levels, which in turn has helped me with my bloating. I almost feel guilty for writing this blog post, because all in all I'm simply just telling you guys to breathe - something you do every day. But trust me, it works. It may sound crazy, and you may think that it won't work for you, but if all it takes is a few minutes out of your day then hey, it's worth a shot, right?

In fact, Katie's so certain these rituals will work for you that she's offering them up to you for free. You can check out her tutorials on the side of this post, or you can have a browse on the HAYO'U website if you're feeling extra info-hungry.

WILL YOU BE TRYING OUT THE HAYO'U METHOD?


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*This post is in collaboration with the HAYO'U method, but I genuinely love it!*