Sunday, 14 August 2016

The Summer Series: let's get healthy

Hi

It's been a couple of weeks since I have been around here, and a lot has been happening. I went on another amazing retreat with Shine Yoga Retreats, this time in La Alpujarra region in Andalusia, and it was incredible! For me going back to Spain doesn't often feel like a proper holiday, as I tend to visit friends and family and the landscape feels very familiar, but I had never been to this region and I hadn't been anywhere that felt so remote either. It was like stepping back into the past.

Whenever I am on a retreat I always feel amazing. I feel stronger, lighter, more relaxed and energised at the same time. Eating healthily, moving and spending time in nature does that to me, and I always come back full of resolutions and new habits to bring into my every day life.

So today, when I was wondering which of my past posts I could share again, I thought this one about 20 small tips for a healthier life seemed very appropriate. When I read it this morning it was a very good reminder for myself, because I still stand by every single one of those 20 and they are the things that keep me healthy.


Sunday, 24 July 2016

The Summer Series: Lazy summer days

Hello and happy Sunday!

While you read this I will hopefully be in Las Alpujarras region in Southern Spain on a yoga retreat with Shine Yoga, and boy, am I ready for this break! In the past month I have had two bad colds, I fell off my bike and injured my wrist, and started a new job which I am loving but that is keeping me on my toes, so a week of yoga, laughter and hikes in Sierra Nevada feels like just what the doctor ordered.

For the past couple of days I have been thinking about how difficult it is to not do anything at all sometimes, or at least without feeling guilty, and it reminded me of this post about the sweetness of doing nothing from last year. One of the things I miss the most about living in Spain is the stillness of summer afternoons.



Hope you enjoy this week's read and that you find some time today to do absolutely nothing!

Inma x

Sunday, 17 July 2016

The Summer Series: it's all about confidence!

Hey!

I'm sitting outside in the garden, with a big jug of lemon and mint water, in shorts and a short sleeved t-shirt, and this can only mean that, at long last, on the 17th July, it feels like summer in the UK!

Today I wanted to look back at a post I wrote about confidence. Weirdly, the beginning of summer always feels a daunting time, one when I don't feel my most confident. I often worry about wearing a bikini on holiday, not being as toned and slim as I would like...

Confidence is something I always have to work hard at, whether it is about my physical appearance or my ability at work, at blogging... you name it! So I thought today was a good day to look back at this post from October in which I share 9 steps to build self confidence.

Hope you enjoy it!

Inma x


Sunday, 10 July 2016

The Summer Series: Green Smoothies

If you read my post last week you will know I am taking a break from posting whilst working on a brand new website that I hope to launch after the summer... In the mean time, I wanted to share some older posts, so you can expect these very quick posts every Sunday.
This month I have been doing Simple Green Smoothies 30 Day Challenge for the second time this year. There are a few reasons why I love it:
1. It is not a diet or about replacing a meal with a smoothie. All you have to do is add one green smoothie to your day. I usually have it at around 3pm when I would usually raid my office cafe for a chocolate bar.
2. It is SO convenient! You get an email every Friday with next week's recipes and a shopping list.
3. It actually makes you lose weight, but not in a crazy way. In January I lost the few extra pounds I had put on over Christmas.

Last year I wrote a couple of posts about green smoothies, as I always crave them after a heavy night or as a way to get back into a healthier eating pattern. Here they are so you can read them again!
Spinach and avocado smoothie for hangovers
Please feel free to share your favourite recipes in the comments, as I'm always on the hunt for new ones!
Inma x




Sunday, 3 July 2016

A long overdue update



Hello!

If you read Sunshine & Glow regularly, you may have noticed that things have been pretty quiet around here this month. Maybe you hadn’t even noticed! In either case, it has been really quiet, which couldn’t be further from how busy it’s been in the background, so I thought I would give a quick update.

LIFE OFFLINE

Last spring a professional opportunity came up to do a six month secondment in a different team in Oxfam. I love a new challenge and said yes to it, and finally started it three weeks ago. Even though there are lots of similarities with the role I was doing before, I am learning SO much every day and there is SO much information to take in that my brain is on sponge mode, trying to absorb everything I can, and I haven’t found a way to switch into creating mode yet.

On a different and less positive note, there’s been something that has thrown me a bit off balance, which was the result of last week’s EU referendum, or Brexit, as those of you from outside the UK will have heard it called. For those of you who don’t know, I am from Spain and have lived in the UK for nearly 13 years (I feel like I have said this too many times during the past week). Apart from a bumpy start I have mostly felt at home here and this time last year I was considering applying for dual citizenship. I won’t go into great detail about how I feel after the result, as I am still working through my emotions and understanding what it will mean for me in practical terms, but it is fair to say that I feel unsettled. It’s a bit as if I had been living in this house, coming in and out of it because it was ok, and now suddenly I have to ask for a set of keys to what has become my home. I am lucky that I work for an international organization where there are many of us from all around the world and live in a city where 70% of the population voted to stay within the EU, where there is great diversity. My British friends are so appreciative of cultural diversity and they have all expressed a lot of love in the past week, but I am very aware that I am not British, and as such, different, an outsider.

SUNSHINE & GLOW

But let’s talk about more positive and exciting things! The fact that I have not been publishing any posts doesn’t mean that I have lost my passion for it. When I started Sunshine & Glow at the beginning of 2015 I did it without much expectation. I just wanted to have a play, to have a go at it. Along the way I have loved writing, got frustrated with my inability to take good quality photos and enjoyed reading other blogs, commenting and connecting with other people who in some cases have other full time day jobs like me, or others who have successfully been making a living from their online business. I have heard about so many mind blowing podcasts and books that have helped me grow as a person and broaden my mind and outlook on life. During that time my content has slowly been evolving but I really fancy shaking things up here.

The truth is that at the beginning I always compared my blog to others that I considered successful and tried to find what worked for me and what didn’t, being inspired by certain topics or formats. Over time I have been finding my own voice and my interests have changed, and I know what I want this place to be, regardless of what else already exists online.

A couple of months ago I got in contact with Helen from One Line Studio. We had worked together in the past before she set up her own ethical graphic design business. I always loved her work as a designer and so I thought I could ask her to design a new logo and tweak things a little bit. That was the original plan, but to kick things off Helen has encouraged me to think about  what Sunshine & Glow is about through a simple questionnaire. It was a really interesting exercise that set my brain on fire. I came home one day a few weeks ago and spent all evening writing lists and lists of things I wanted to do here. Some of it requires research, time, new inspiration, and increasingly I have realised that what I want to unlearn everything I have done and look at it with fresh eyes, and I can’t do that without stepping away from it for a while.

I have wrestled with that decision for a good 3 weeks now. Part of me is scared of what will happen if I don’t post at all. Traffic was in a lovely flow lately, visits growing slowly but steadily, I was happier with my posts… Will that be lost? I have never taken a break that has been longer than a few weeks, so I am nervous that I will be shooting myself in the foot. I have considered still writing the Best of posts, and I still don’t know what to do about those. But I know I need to step away from it to take a small break and then work my backside off writing and photographing new stuff, working on the new design with Helen and presenting something new to you in the autumn. I hope you will still be here then, and that you may even want to tell your friends about it!

I will not be completely silent and will revisit some old posts on social media, so make sure you follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

Have an amazing summer and see you around soon!


Inma x
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Sunday, 12 June 2016

High 5: Posts I am most proud of

When I look back through old posts, there are some that make me cringe, believe me. Those are probably the ones that I have learned the most from, like the collaboration with a small website that practically tried to tell me exactly what I had to write and then wouldn't even share my post on social media. It taught me to stick to my guns and go with my gut - although I believed and meant every single word I said I just hate seeing it there, but it is a reminder to only write about what I am passionate about. Sometimes that means taking a week off, or posting a few days late, but at this stage in the game, being proud of what I put out there trumps consistency if there is a conflict.

Then there are other posts that I have forgotten I had written and are a pleasant surprise, like the 9 steps to build your self confidence or the post about oils. And finally, there are the ones that really meant something special to me and that I feel proud to have written.

1. RECIPE FOR THE AUTHENTIC VALENCIAN PAELLA


This is special to me in many ways. I am a complete foodie and have such a soft spot for food from my country that evokes so many happy memories. Making paella at home was a ritual and it often involved everyone in my family. My dad would be in the driving seat but he made sure that we all got involved in one way or another, whether it was chopping vegetables or tasting the broth. I have never tasted a better paella than my dad's and every time I eat it I think of him.

Until I wrote the next post in this list, this recipe was my most read post by a mile, and it made me really proud that it was something as personal as a family recipe that I have eaten and made time and time again.

2. WOMANCODE: THE BOOK EVERY WOMAN SHOULD READ



Since I had to undergo major surgery last September to remove some pretty large fibroids, women's health and hormonal balance have become two topics of massive interest for me. At Christmas I came across Alisa Vitti on The Lively Show podcast and this book that she wrote has changed my outlook on women's health and has improved my own health so much! I had the pleasure of having a video chat with her as a consequence and she was just as wonderful and caring.

3. MAKING GOOD THINGS HAPPEN



This is one of my most recent ones, but one that sums me up pretty well and encapsulates what type of messages I want to spread from here. When I started Sunshine & Glow I did it because I wanted to do something creative and explore that side of me. I started off talking about things that interested me, and slowly I get so much joy out of talking about things that matter to me. Having a positive outlook on life and being resilient to all the crap that happens to all of us are skills that I have had to learn and have found so valuable.

4. WHY I LOVE YOGA



Yoga is very special to me. It helps me keep fit and it helps me unwind, but it has done so much more for me than just that! I wrote this post after coming back from a wonderful yoga retreat in France where I had SO much fun, I laughed so much and came back feeling so strong and so confident that I couldn't not talk about it. You will have to read the post to see why I love it so much, but it has given me the best tools I have to live.

5. BEST OF 2015



This represents all the "Best of" posts, which I really enjoy writing every month. At the beginning it felt a little bit self indulgent, but my friends who read Sunshine & Glow always say they enjoy those. The rest of my content is probably more interesting to women, but these appeal to anyone. My friend Gary pretty much only reads those (Gary has been looking out for a name check here for weeks now, so let's see if you are reading now!).

If you have been reading for a while, what other posts have you enjoyed? Or which one of these did you like? Would love to hear your opinions.

Inma x

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Best of May



Here we are again, at the end of another month. Sitting down to think about what I enjoyed and what I want to talk about has become a great ritual at the end of each month, and one that is making me appreciate the good things a lot more. Sometimes I have a million things to recommend and shout about, but this installment of the Best of the month is less about things and more about experiences. I hope you enjoy it!

THE FUN VIDEO

Early in May a London receptionist was sent home from work because she wasn't wearing heels. The story became huge, putting in the spotlight the existence of useless dress codes that have nothing to do with a woman's ability to perform her job. More than 100,000 of us signed online petitions to stop this nonsense and in the end the company apologised, although I am struggling to find a link to their apology!
Stylist magazine published a really funny video showing men wearing high heels to work that made me laugh and that I have watched more times than I care to admit!




Monday, 23 May 2016

Yoga for beginners: 30 day challenge with Fightmaster Yoga

Last month Anne from Linda Libra Loca and I decided to take on this challenge together. We would complete Fightmaster Yoga's Yoga for Beginners 30 Day Challenge. We've been keeping a journal every day of it and Anne has published our thoughts, achievements and struggles in her blog each week. We finally reached the end and we wanted to share our thoughts on the whole experience.


Monday, 16 May 2016

Thoughts on healthy eating


This week I was going to write a recipe for a quick mid week pasta dish, but last Friday I came across an article about the wellness and clean eating trends by Ruby Tandoh that made me stop and think. Ruby was one of the contestants in The Great British Bake Off in recent years and since then has been writing about food for The Guardian.

Her piece is here and I would recommend you read it because if you are a foodie or care about your health you will find it interesting and thought provoking.

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Making good things happen


There are always times in life when it feels like everything is working against you and everything is going wrong, or you feel stuck in a situation you don’t want to be in. It can be work related, or a relationship or a friendship. Sometimes things that are completely outside of our control happen. We lose people we love, we go through break ups, illness, we have a hard time with a friend... I know I have gone through all of the above and it sucks at the time.

Monday, 2 May 2016

Best of April



I often start these sort of posts by saying what a great month it has been, but April has been rubbish. It has been stressful and sad and whenever I get stressed I stop doing all the things that make me feel good. Thankfully I realise I am doing that at some point and have started trying to get back to a better place, so next month you can expect lots of yoga, inspiring podcast episodes and sunny trips with friends. With that said, there have still been pockets of goodness in April, so let's get into it!

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Hema make up

Although I really like make up, I wear less and less of it and always like to keep it as quick and simple as possible. The step that I rarely skip is eyeliner, as my eyes are brown, the same colour as  my hair, and not huge, so they always need a little bit of help with definition. I used to be a fan of black liquid liner and wear it most days, even if it was a very thin line, but I had fallen out of love with it. Quite often it would fade throughout he day, or transfer onto my eyelids and even cheeks, so there is no wonder that I had stopped.

Last month I spent a day with a friend who always wears the perfect black feline flick and it lasts all day, so as we were having dinner I had to ask her what was the secret behind it. Her answer was that for hers to last it had to be liquid and have a brush applicator. She told me her favourites were by Rimmel and a Dutch budget brand called Hema, so given that we were in Amsterdam, the next day I rushed to the nearest Hema to look for it!


Sunday, 17 April 2016

Yoga videos to do at home


If you have been reading for a while you may know that I love yoga. Last year I wrote a post about all the reasons why I love it so much that you can check out if you didn’t read it at the time. If I had to say in a few words what it has done for me, I would say it has made me more curious and less fearful of outcomes.

If I could afford it, I would go to a yoga class every day of the week. For me the experience is very different to practicing at home. I had a few hits and misses but I have found two teachers who I really love and who I find very inspiring, and I really don’t think you can beat that human connection.

However, I can’t go to class every day, and have also found two yoga teachers online who are very different but who have helped me to develop a home practice over the past 6 months.

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Best of March

Without a doubt, the best thing about March is the arrival of spring: the lighter evenings, the milder weather and Easter break, which was the perfect excuse to sneak in a visit to my family in Spain. Apart from those, there are plenty of other things that stand out to me this month. Here are some of them!


Monday, 14 March 2016

High 5: Spotify playlists



Despite owning lots of albums more often than not I find myself listening to music on Spotify. I usually go to their Browse section and select a playlist depending on my mood, but there are a few that I keep returning to, so I thought I would share them.

1. THE POP LIST

This is probably the one I listen to the most, especially if I am getting ready to go for dinner with friends or even to go to work. It is the songs you hear on the radio, but without all the chatter in between.

2. THE MOST BEAUTIFUL SONGS IN THE WORLD

I love the Mood section on Spotify. There is where most of my favourite playlists are, but this one is by far the one I listen to the most, especially when I am writing on my journal, having a bath or doing some yoga. It is a great one for night time, as the songs are slow and are perfect for unwinding.

3. MUSIC FOR CONCENTRATION

As a good Spanish gal, after lunch I feel all sleepy and I need something to keep me concentrating at work. As I am trying to stay off the coffee past lunch time, I find that good music is the best way to help me get through that lethal half hour after returning to my desk. This is one of the playlists that I listen to on a daily basis, especially if I have lots of emails to get through. If I have a big piece of work that requires a lot of focus, then I usually listen to the next one.

4. DEEP FOCUS

Have you ever noticed that when you listen to upbeat music while you walk you do it faster? This is kind of similar, in that the music in this playlist will make you not only focus but always work really efficiently. Well, at least that it what it does to me. It sets the rhythm and I usually plough through my to do list like there is no tomorrow. I also find it very useful for big chunks of work, as my energy and concentration levels remain right up.

5. ACOUSTIC WINTER

Their Mood section is brilliant for when I am enjoying a cup of coffee, writing or reading stuff online. There are too many there that I would include in this list, but the one I am enjoying at the moment is Acoustic Winter. It's mellow and sad and uplifting and relaxing all at the same time!

What are your favourite playlists?

Inma x

Sunday, 6 March 2016

7 healthy hacks for work

Being healthy has become a driving force in my life and although it may look like one has to make massive lifestyle changes to be healthier, the truth is that there are very small things we can do every day. Here are 7 super easy things that will make your working day healthier!


Sunday, 28 February 2016

Best of February



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?

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Womancode: The book every woman should read


Sometimes bloggers try to find catchy titles for our posts hoping that in the big ocean of the internet they will stand out and will make you stop and take a few minutes to read what we have to say. Sometimes those titles can be a bit over the top, along the lines of "The one app you need in your life", "The 5 things that will bring you happiness", "The holy grail foundation/eye cream/mascara"... You get the gist. The title for this post today was the most honest I could think of, because I truly think that every woman should read the book I am going to talk about today.

But first, let me tell you why, and let me warn you that there might be a bit of over-sharing here, so if hearing about women's health, period pain, PMS and conditions like endometriosis or fibroids makes you uncomfortable, you are more than welcome to close this window, but I would encourage you to grit your teeth and keep reading, because it is your health after all (if you are a woman, that is!). Here it goes.

Monday, 1 February 2016

Best of January


I don't think I have ever started a year with so many good intentions as 2016, mostly health related, so it is not surprising that this post is going to be mostly about that. I've always though of January as a gloomy month, with Christmas gone, the weather being really cold and days still short and dark. For the past few years I have developed some fondness for it and it is a time to be cosy and a new beginning. So, in no particular order, here are the things I particularly enjoyed.


Sunday, 24 January 2016

Quick lunch: sweet potato and broccoli bowl

This year I am trying to avoid buying lunch every day. Last year I worked out that if I made my own lunch every day I could save £1,000 a year. Yes! £1,000! That is a week long yoga retreat and spending money for it! Not to mention the fact that when you make your own lunch you know what's in it and eat much more healthily.

However, sometimes it can be so hard to think of what to prepare the night before. I often take leftovers and I also make massive stews that I freeze and then use up throughout the month. For other days, something really simple and tasty like this bowl is the kind of thing I like. Easy, quick and healthy, with a big emphasis on easy.

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Santaverde Age Protect Toner sort of review

For a blog that started being predominantly about beauty, it has been a long time since I have written a beauty post. Two months and nine days to be precise. I don't usually write product reviews either, partly because I prefer sharing a collection of things I enjoy, and partly because it is rare that I find something that I enjoy so much I feel like dedicating it a whole post. Even my beloved Trilogy Rosehip Oil has not had its own post (I've talked about it so much though that there is nothing more to say!).

I hope I've not lead you to believe that this one product will change your life or that you absolutely need it in your bathroom cabinet. Or that I will go into very specific details about every ingredient and what it does, because that is not what you will find in the following paragraphs. I hope you enjoy it all the same.



Sunday, 3 January 2016

Resolutions, goals or wishes for 2016



Hello and Happy New Year!

I am sure you have read a million posts about this subject. Have you been told to call them goals instead of resolutions? To keep them short or to make a list as long and specific as possible? Did you read to start afresh, to look back and start from your previous years achievements? Confusing, huh? I say read it all if it interests you (I love it personally), but when it comes to making your own resolutions, goals or wishes, whatever you like to call them, do your thing!
 
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