Thursday, 31 December 2015

Best of 2015



Before I had even considered blogging, every year I set aside a few hours to think about the year that is coming to an end and look ahead at the next one. Usually I write my thoughts in my journal, which I will still do later this afternoon. But I also wanted to share some of the best experiences, books and beauty finds in one post. I hope you enjoy it!

Monday, 28 December 2015

Best of December


Happy Christmas everyone! Hope you're having a fantastic break. Right now I am sitting at my mum's kitchen table in Albacete, Spain, having a very restful time. My blogging schedule has been a bit all over the place over the past month, so I will try to make up for it with not one, not two but THREE posts this week! Now I have said it there is no going back....

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Have the best Christmas you can!


Christmas has been a bittersweet time for my family during the past few years. It is always a special time because I live in a different country to them, so we always look forward to spending a couple of weeks together, but any of you who have lost someone very close to you will know how hard it can be and how much more you miss them during this time of the year.

For the past two years I dreaded Christmas and spent Christmas Day as far from social media as possible, as each photo of someone looking very happy with their families was a reminder of what it used to feel like and what it would never feel like again for me.

Sunday, 13 December 2015

High 5: Small pleasures


There are certain things in life that we do so often that we completely take for granted. Until we can't do them that easily, that is, and then suddenly we value them once more. Every time I get a cold I struggle with a blocked nose and tell myself I will always be grateful for being able to breathe normally, then of course forget about it the first half hour from when I can breathe properly again!

The other day I was thinking about all these things that we do mindlessly and that we don't stop to appreciate. Here are my top 5.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Petrichoralia: where jewellery dreams are made of concrete

My friend Esther is one of the most creative people I know. She is also incredibly thoughtful and for as long as I've known her she has always given the most original and personal gifts and cards. It didn't surprise me at all when she started her own jewellery collection and launched Petrichoralia with her husband, their shop on Etsy. This is the first time I venture out and get someone else involved in a blog post, and I couldn't feel in safer hands. It has been such an enjoyable process to learn more about how it all started and even create some jewellery myself! With a lot of help and guidance I made the ring in the picture below (well, one like it!) and I cannot tell you how many compliments I have received.

But without further ado, here are some of the questions I asked her.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Best of November


Four or five years ago someone told me that November is supposed to be the time of the year when I feel my best, my time to have a great time, to shine, because it is when I was born. I always thought it was a big fat lie, because if I look back at the past 7 or 8 years, it was always the opposite! I either had a cold or something was worrying me... until this year. I'm not saying for a second that this is because of what that person told me, but I have had a truly great month. It feels as if I woke up from the anesthesia a happier version of myself. I've got a deeper appreciation for the amazing people in my life, whether they are friends or family (sometimes the lines blur between the two), for health, I have developed better healthier habits, I feel really motivated about my work life and feel so much more comfortable in my own skin.

So, if I had to choose one thing that was the absolute best in November, it would be this sense of growing into the person I want to be. Wow, that sounds corny! But it is true, so I will say it and make no apologies for it!

Of course there have been other things that I have really enjoyed this month, and I'm going to tell you about them right now!

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Spinach and avocado smoothie for hangovers

Today's post is completely a last minute thing. Earlier this week I asked my friends on Sunshine & Glow's Facebook page what I should write about, and the consensus was quick lunches to take to work. I had every intention to look for some interesting recipes that were quick to prepare and good for taking to the office, but then it was my birthday yesterday and I wanted it to be a nice relaxing time instead of being busy writing a post. I celebrated it last night and had a few glasses of prosecco and well, let's say that I have been feeling a bit delicate today!

I had made peace with the thought of taking a break this weekend, when I suddenly thought I could share the recipe of the green smoothie I have pretty much every time I feel a bit hungover. Whenever I feel under the weather I love eating something really fresh and healthy, as it makes me feel like I am doing something good for my body.


Sunday, 8 November 2015

Beauty rituals

Months ago I wrote a post about how positive having a good routine is. At the time I was caught up in embracing spontaneity a tad too much. I still like to be spontaneous, but I think giving some structure to small parts of your day can be very enjoyable. A huge part of the pleasure we get out of make up and skincare is the ritual of putting it on, of using that cream.

So... Fast forward 8 months and when I look at my mornings now they look so different! I like my mornings to have a slow start, even during the week, so I get up a bit earlier so that I can sit down for breakfast and have time to have a browse on Bloglovin', read a few posts, reply to comments, etc. But let's rewind a little bit and let me share my beauty rituals.


Sunday, 1 November 2015

Best of October


The School of Greatness, by Lewis Howes
Last September The Chalkboard Mag, one of my favourite websites, published a post with the best podcasts for mind-body wellness, where I found The School of Greatness amongst a few others that I will talk about another time. I've been listening to them when I go on my daily walks. I think the mixture of being outside doing something active, having time to think and the inspiring content always make me come back from my walks full of ideas, energised, motivated and excited. If you are into development and self improvement, I highly recommend it.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

9 steps to build your self confidence


Self-confidence is a huge topic and a very complex one. If you clicked on the title of this post it may be because you think you are not that confident or because you would like to be more so. Well, the first thing to remember is that you are most definitely not alone. Most people have struggled with self confidence at some point in our lives.

Although I am by no means an expert, I was inspired to write about this today after my daily Headspace. Headspace is a mindfulness app that I think I have talked about before. I started using it last year when I bought a subscription after using the 10 free sessions. After a while you have access to different modules and the one I am currently listening to is focused on self confidence. I'm a person who comes across very confident on the surface, and at my core I am also fairly confident, but it is that middle layer that I have had to work on, and today I wanted to share my thoughts and the things that have helped me along the way. I hope you find it helpful.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Perfect autumn porridge



After six weeks I'm finally going back to work tomorrow. I hadn't had such a long break since I finished university too many years ago, so there is no wonder that I am a bundle of nerves. I am excited and looking forward to seeing everyone and to get stuck in work (I have really missed it!), but at the same time I have that feeling you used to get the night before going back to school after a long summer.

This week will be a test of how well I am, and I want to give myself the best chance to be full of energy, so I've been playing with different breakfasts that will keep releasing energy throughout the morning. As the weather has been getting colder this past week, I thought I would make porridge this morning and make it an autumn one.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

High 5: Beauty products on my wish list

After what has been nearly two months of giving make up and most beauty products the cold shoulder, and as my birthday and Christmas seem not that far away, the list of beauty products I would like keeps growing. These are the 5 things right at the top!

Sunday, 4 October 2015

The sweetness of doing nothing

This is my first post since I decided to take a break to recover from an operation I had at the beginning of September (although Blogger decided to re-publish an older post when I changed templates!). It seemed appropriate to talk about what I have been doing all month, which is, pretty much, nothing. This may sound like bragging, but I don't think I am being dishonest when I say that not being able to do anything productive has been one the most challenging aspects of my recovery.

There is a character in the film Eat Pray Love that talks about how some cultures are always on the go and never stop doing things, while Italians appreciate taking some time to not do anything at all. They call it il dolce far niente, the sweetness of doing nothing. I come from a very Meditarreanean culture where there are siestas and moments in the day where there is real stillness, but it seems that I have long lost that ability to appreciate it, or at least do so for longer than a couple of weeks while on holiday. This month I have had to learn to feel ok about not doing things that are productive, sit back and get better, and whilst it si still a work in progress (I am sure I will start enjoying it as soon as I have to return to work!), there are a few activities that are the closest to doing nothing and that I have genuinely grown to find pleasure in.


Friday, 25 September 2015

20 small tips for a healthier life


During the past couple of weeks I've read a couple of blog posts or read in a magazine about making end of summer resolutions. You don't have to wait till the end of the year to decide what you want to do better or if you want to learn a new language or play an instrument. Holidays often give us time to think what we want to make better in our lives, and for me it's all been about improving my health for the past year. 

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Life: taking a breather


Hi everyone!

I had hoped I didn't have to write this post because although my blog is quite personal there is a lot that I like to keep private. I rarely share big personal things even on social media with people I know, never mind with people I don't know! But sometimes being cagey and secretive can spark more interest so I thought I would write a short post today to explain that I will be taking a bit of a break from it all for the next month or so.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

August favourites

As I write this post I'm still on holiday with my family. On the one hand I look back and I feel very happy that I've done so much this summer, but I'm also a bit sad that it all ends tomorrow when we will all head back to our respective homes. Autumn has its charm, but I am a warm weather creature, and summer is by far my favourite season, especially when it's filled with trips, long or short.


This month's short list of favourites is all about summer and all about holidays!

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Festival essentials


Music festivals are one of the best things about summer and quite often one of the easiest ways to sneak in a quick break from work, spend some fun times with friends and listen to lots of music. We are incredibly lucky in the UK to have so many! Glastonbury is probably THE most famous, and one that I have actually never been to, but Oxfordshire has its fair share of them, and this summer I’ve been to Truck Festival and just spent the past weekend at Wilderness, set in the beautiful Cornbury Park.

Wilderness is quite a civilised affair, but that doesn’t make it any less special. I love that there is a lot going on, from wellbeing workshops, daily yoga classes, fine dining banquets, cricket and even a lake to swim in. The park is full of really magical and quirky spots. I loved the more worldly music at the Carousel Bar, or The Valley, which was an actual valley surrounded by very tall trees with late night music and acrobats. On Saturday night there was a spectacle by Spanish group La Fura dels Baus, who have created shows for the Olympics before. Seeing over 40 people suspended from a tall crane and moving to the beat of the music was jaw droppingly beautiful.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

July favourites

Hello August! It is with a mixture of excitement and sadness that I say that. Excitement, because I can't wait to go on holiday later this month, but sadness because we are entering the last month of summer, which is by far my favourite season. But let's focus on July, which is what this week's post is all about!



Beauty
For the first time in a few months I have more than a couple beauty favourites. This year I have found some amazing products that work wonders and I've not changed what I use that much and my make up has been minimal since spring, but I can feel I am arriving at that point in the cycle when I'm craving some new things in my stash, so expect a few new appearances soon.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Beauty products you don't need


If you are reading this blog, you probably read other beauty blogs and magazines, and like me, you probably get excited when you read reviews of new products or intrigued by this or that new thing that promised to keep you looking glowing and wonderful forever after. As nice as it is to have a drawer or a cupboard full to the brim with gorgeous products, all too often we have way more than we need.

I always advocate for keeping things simple, and this is no exception. Through using beauty products for years, reading and being a skincare and make up buyer for a short stint I've picked up some tips as to what is necessary and what isn't. This is not to say that you shouldn't use these, but if your budget doesn't allow it or if you like to keep things simple, these are the things you can do without.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Why I love yoga


Although I have practiced yoga on and off for years, it wasn't until 10 months ago that something clicked in me and I really got the bug. I'd always seen yoga as something that bendy, long limbed people did and I most definitely didn't belong to that crowd. My first experience was a really old DVD that I bought and played at home with a lady that looked straight out of a 1980s workout video. I gave it a go from the comfort of my living room and I was surprised at how I could actually bend over and touch my toes, or how breathing would help my body become more flexible.

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Recipe for the authentic Valencian paella



Yesterday I was in a bit of a panic because I had nothing written or photographed for today. It's been a full on week at work and whenever I wasn't worrying about work I was trying to evade myself and staying as far away from a computer screen as you could find me. And in evasion I found this week's post! One of my oldest friends is staying with me for a few weeks this summer. Our dads were best friends and we grew up together near Valencia. Yesterday we went to visit one of his friends who lives in Leicester and who cooked a paella for a few of us. For me, the food from where I come from has the ability to send me on a trip down memory lane in seconds, and I can talk for hours about all the stories associated with eating that food, which in the case of paella involves family celebrations and helping my father cook it from a very early age. He made the best paella I have ever had but it was quite a process! It involved the rest of us chopping vegetables, tasting the broth for seasoning and just watching because it was important that we learnt.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

June favourites


June has been an amazing month, really. I remember being a student and looking forward to June and dreading it in equal measure. I had to spend part of it studying for my finals but with the end of them came the beginning of summer, my favourite season. Now I don't have exams to dread so I can just look forward to it.

During the past month my mind and body have gone into summer mode. I feel happier and more relaxed, and you will see that in this month's favourites because everything is much more focused around my wellbeing. A couple of trips have a lot to do with it, but let's get into it!

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Oils, wonderful oils

For a girl who used to have oily skin and suffer from pretty bad skin in her twenties, trusting oils and beginning to use them took a leap of faith. The first one I ever used was actually to combat my acne. I must have been in my mid twenties and I was so fed up with using harsh medicated products on my skin to dry out my acne. I remember reading an article in Elle magazine about Natalie Portman loving Dr Hauschka’s Rose Day Cream for her dry, sensitive skin. It was not the first time that I’d heard about the brand and so I went on their website and ordered a booklet that explained their whole approach to skincare and everything you needed to know about their products. That’s where I first read that "like treats like", and therefore a good oil was the best way to balance oily skin. There was so much backed up research that made so much sense to me that I bought their Clarifying Day Oil (it used to be called Normalizing Daily Oil back then) and I never ever looked back. I stopped using it after a couple of years because it had worked so well I no longer needed it. It is the only thing that got rid of my bad skin, and ever since then I have been a total convert to oils and to a more natural approach to skincare.

FACE OILS


Monday, 22 June 2015

Reflections after 6 months of blogging and changes ahead



On Sunday it will be 6 months since this blog was born, and it doesn't quite feel real. I want to say that not everything has been a surprise, but I can't think of a single aspect about blogging that has been as I had expected it!

Monday, 15 June 2015

A little break

As you read this I will be away on holiday spending a week at a yoga retreat in France. I had been planning to leave a few posts written and scheduled so that everything was as if I hadn't gone away. After all, I've been fairly inconsistent during the past month and I've seen the number of visits drop. However, I had a change of heart at the last minute, partly because I just didn't have time to do it. I knew that they would be rushed and poor quality, and so I thought that perhaps what will help me get over the inconsistent schedule and back into a more regular posting routine would be to give myself the break I'd craved, give my brain some space to hopefully think about more interesting things to write about.

If you come here regularly, thanks for your patience and sorry I've been so flaky recently!

In the mean time, here is my to do list for the next few days :) What's on your to do list?



Inma x

Don't forget to leave me a comment below and share on social media.
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Thursday, 11 June 2015

5 sunscreens



The sun has been shining for days and I am off on a break next week, so my brain is all on summer mode. This is the season I love the most: summer fruits, eating outside, summer holidays and sunshine make me very happy.

It is no secret that the sun ages our skin, but above anything, it is really important that you are safe. There are over 2 million new cases of skin cancer diagnosed in the world each year, a number I find staggering, so protecting your skin from the sun is essential.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Courgette and feta fritatta





As soon as the weather gets warmer it is so much easier to eat healthily. When the temperature rises (which, let's face it, doesn't happen THAT often in the UK), all my body craves is summer fruits and lighter meals. Omelettes are something I make a lot, because they are so quick dish to make and so versatile. You can put in anything you like and it will most likely taste great. Fritattas are essentially omelettes that you finish cooking under the grill instead of flipping them over. I love this one, because the grated courgette makes it very light, the feta cheese gives it a bit of punch and the mint is what makes it special and more delicate.

(Serves 2)
Ingredients
3 eggs
1/2 courgette
100g feta cheese
A handful of fresh mint, chopped



Method

1. Set the grill to medium temperature
2. Beat the eggs
3. Grate the courgette and add it to the eggs
4. Crumble the feta cheese and add to the bowl
5. Add the chopped mint leaves and give it all a stir
6. In a frying pan, put a tablespoon of oliver oil and add the mixture when it is hot
7. Once one side is cooked, remove from the hob and put the pan under the grill to cook the top. Be careful with the handle of your pan. If it is made of plastic, make sure it is outside of the grill!



I normally add a simple salad and some bread with olive oil and a drop of balsamic vinegar. Hope you enjoy it, and if you make it, tweet me a picture @sunshineandglow. I'd love to see your creations!

Inma x

Don't forget to leave me a comment below and share on social media.
Here are the other places where you can find me:

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Finding motivation when you work from home


If you work in an office you will probably feel jealous of those who work from home. The ability to work at your own pace, in the comfort of your own home, the lack of a commute, which often means you can sleep in, being able to work in your pjs... All those can be true, but depending on your personality, working from home can often be lonely, and the flexibility can work against your productivity at times. People who work from home regularly know and appreciate the perks of it, but they will also admit that there are days when motivation is hard to come by.

During the past year I have transitioned from a job that required me to be in the office every day to one where I work from home one to two days a week. Past the honeymoon period of rolling out of bed at 8.30am to have breakfast and start work without having even brushed my hair, I've picked up a few tricks that keep me motivated and productive on my home days.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

5 very special fragrances

Last weekend I went home to Valencia for a family celebration. It was brilliant to be able to pop home for three days, soak some sunshine, go to the beach and see the people I love most, my mum and brother. Both their birthdays are in May, and when I asked my brother a while ago what he wanted as a gift from me, I wasn't surprised he asked for a fragrance. In recent years he has developed a bit of an obsession with perfumes (or aftershaves, I am never sure what word to use!), including a few that are very niche and difficult to get hold of. This isn't about buying a nice perfume that you wear every day or for special occasions, but more of an interest and hobby. He is often reading up about them online and is even part of an online community where they discuss them and swap impressions. I guess it's no different from the beauty or lifestyle blogging community. It is huge.

I love listening to him talk about them and handing over a sample bottle to smell them. Some of them I really don't like because they're too strong, but some are beautiful, like nothing you've smelled before. Some are obnoxiously expensive and some not at all. One thing that surprised me is that quite a few of these niche fragrances are unisex, and I liked that, mostly because it means I can sneak into my brother's bathroom and spritz myself with one of his treasures!

Last weekend I asked him to tell me what his top 5 were, and he reeled them off without stopping to think for a second, so I thought I would share them here. Fragrances are notoriously difficult to describe, so I did a bit of research into the different components to avoid talking about fruity, sweet or floral scents, and in the process I learnt all about top, middle and base notes. The first are what you instantly notice when you spray it, the middle notes are revealed after 10 minutes or so, and then they both fade (but don't disappear), leaving you with the base notes.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Warm potato and green bean salad with chorizo



It has been a little while since I posted a recipe here, but now the evenings are lighter and longer I have been spending more time cooking. I know it doesn’t sound related at all, but when it’s dark and cold all I want to do is cuddle up under my blanket, whereas as soon as it gets warm and light I have so much more energy when I finish work!

My cooking style is a bit slap dash. There is a very small number of dishes that I make again and again in exactly the same way (like this vegetable tagine with couscous from my favourite food post), some recipes that I try out by following the exact instructions (lately they have been mostly from Deliciously Ella’s book), but the bulk of what I cook depends on what is in the fridge or cupboard and, let’s be honest, what is about to go off. This dish is one of those. The basis of it are the new potatoes and green beans, but everything else is negotiable. I cooked it last night and added olives, tomatoes, capers and tuna. Sometimes I add anchovies, cucumber, red onion, bread croutons,...

The version I am sharing with you is one I tried for the first time a month ago and which I really enjoyed. I hope you do too.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

All you need to know about hyperpigmentation



I have had hyperpigmentation since my late twenties. It all started with a tiny patch between by brows that has been getting larger and more noticeable over the years. To most people it is not noticeable, but it is the first thing I see when I look at myself in the mirror or in photos, and it makes me very self conscious.

Over the course of the past decade I have tried to find all the information I could about it, as well as tried a long list of products that claim will reduce the discoloration. The problem I have found is that the information out there is either incredibly scientific or marketing led. You are often bamboozled with names of ingredients, with some sites telling you they will help and others telling you they can have terrible side effects. Otherwise, big brands are trying to tell you their latest serum that targets dark spots and will even out your skin tone. However, I haven't found a place that explains the basics in simple terms and has unbiased advice about products, so a few months ago I set out to write a blog post that did exactly that.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

15 things I love about Britain


Those of you who live in the UK will know that there is a general election tomorrow. You may in fact be gathering your thoughts before going to vote. I am so very jealous of you! Despite having lived in the UK for over 11 years and voting in local and county elections, as a foreign national I am not allowed to vote tomorrow. This has been the case ever since I've lived here, but for some reason, this year it has really bothered me and I feel very left out.

This is vastly because, as much as I love my country of birth and how Spanish I still feel, I see Britain as my adoptive country, somewhere where I feel completely at home. So I thought I would try and turn my grumpiness about not being able to vote into something more positive and share with you some of the things I love about Britain. Here they go!

Saturday, 2 May 2015

April favourites

This post will be the last favourites post I write for a little while, and I must admit I am quite glad! When I had the idea of the all time favourite series it made so much sense! I love writing about the things I like the most, they are reasonably easy posts to write and I had a month worth of blog posts drafted within two hours. Bingo. However, as the month progressed, it all started feeling a little bit self indulgent. Who would care what my granny cooked me on a Saturday or what films have left an impression on me? On the flip side, it’s been nice to go through my memories and revisit some things that I’d really enjoyed in the past but no longer use, like Dr Hauschka products. I used to own so many of their products a few years ago and I slowly started experimenting with other things, but I've never found a body oil as good as theirs.

Whilst this month has been all about looking back in the blog, I’ve been looking forward in my life, making plans for the summer and making new habits. Since the year started I’ve been reducing the amount of things I consume and been having a good clearout (you may have read my blog post about my make up clearout). As a consequence my list of favourites this month is a little light, especially on  the beauty front. It has been a great month though, so I hope that you like it.



Wednesday, 22 April 2015

My top films and books

Going to the cinema, watching a film at home or getting lost in a book are some of my favourite things to do. I don’t read as much as I would like to, but when I have some time during holidays or while I am travelling I just love to zone into the story and out of the outside world. As far as films go, it’s not only watching them that I enjoy. I’ve listened to Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo’s radio programme on BBC 5 Live for a decade and I find Mark’s rants hilarious. I’ve been sat on buses or trains a few times listening to them and trying to contain the laughter for fear of looking crazy. If you have never come across the podcast, go listen to it! You’ll find this new language and you’ll say things like wittertainment, wassup, wassup, wassuppppp or hello to Jason Isaacs. Yeah, if you don’t listen to them you will be looking at your screen blankly, which is why you have to go listen to them!

Sunday, 19 April 2015

My favourite hair and body care products



Writing a blog is a funny thing. You sit and ramble on about things you like, and sometimes you wonder if anyone is finding it interesting or if you're just being very self indulgent. I hope this month of all time favourites has been somewhat interesting so far. We are more than half way through and there are only two more posts to go. It's actually gone pretty quickly! I hope you are enjoying it. For me, it has served the purpose to get me back into the swing of writing and I have even scheduled posts well in advance. I feel like a self pat on the back is in order.

This instalment is all about body and hair care, and it was the easiest list to come up with. It seems I don't change products once I find things I like in this department. Here is my list of trusty favourites:

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

My most loved food

Food is one of my passions, whether it is to eat it or prepare it. Ironically though, I've never been much of a baker despite my sweet tooth. I feel much more comfortable rustling up a savoury dish, as it tends to require less precision.

Continuing with this month's theme, here are some of my favourite foods, including the recipe to a dish that I have made so many times I can cook it with my eyes closed.



 
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