What Easter Means to Me

Easter is a perfect time to spend with friends, family and loved ones. It’s a time of Bank Holidays, sunny days, and let’s do absolutely nothing days. But it’s also a time of reflection. A time to look back and be thankful for what we’ve had. A time to look forward and plan for the days ahead to be even better.

I’m a terrible Christian in the sense that I’ve never completed a successful Lent. In fact, I don’t even pretend I’ll try anymore because I know I’ll fail. But imagine if we took that attitude to every decision in life… who’d ever achieve anything? Yet, as another opportunity to make a success of Lent passes I wake up with a fresh sense of determination to not let another day go by where I don’t try, just in case I don’t quite make a success of it… whatever ‘it’ is. Today I’ll reread my 2017 Resolutions post as a reminder of the goals I set for myself this year. I’m on a mission to not let another day shall pass without working towards achieving what I purposed this year to be!

So, as I prepare for a day full of celebrations, family and most probably far too much food, I hope that your Easter Sunday will be full of love, laughter and an opportunity to achieve what you were put on this planet to do.

Temple Spa Nail Treats Review

For years I wished I was the girl with perfectly manicured nails every day. Beautifully filed, always painted and never chipped. That dream quickly faded when I totalled up the cost of having my nails done twice a month (they grow very quickly!) and once that reality hit home I started my search for a nail varnish that would last on my nails, while not chipping after just a day or so.

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When I first tried the Temple Spa Nail Treats I first fell in love with the wide range of colours but as I looked further into the products and the brand itself I knew that these nail varnishes would be in my collection for a long time to come.

Temple Spa themselves are a British skincare and beauty brand that sell exclusively at Harrods and online. Though British their products are inspired by the Mediterranean and pack full of quality ingredients. If you’d like to know more about the company, I reviewed one of their face masks and went into further detail on the detail of the company there.

Picture1The nail varnishes are actually called ‘nail treats’ as they don’t just colour your nails, but give your nails a spa experience with their professional nail formulations. The nail colours are a treatment for the nails and provide an intense, quick-drying, high gloss colour whilst allowing the nail to breathe. Packed with vitamin E and calcium pantothenate, they’re free from the usual nail polish nasties.

Picture1My favourite colour to wear at the moment is this beautiful shade in which easily made it into my March Favourites.

And now to the important question… how long do they last on your nails? If you have a busy lifestyle where taking an hour out for your nails to dry is a real treat, then this could be the deciding vote for you…Well, I’m happy to say that they last a long time! If you’re willing to paint your nails how they should be painted (base coat, colour, top coat) then you should see at least 5 days worth of wear out of your nail treat. Should you then add a quick top coat every other day, you can see the colour last on your nails for a good week. I don’t know about you, but this was a game changer for me. Nail varnishes that I’ve used the the past will chip after just a couple of days, even with a base and top coat but I just don’t have time to repaint my nails more than once a week!

At £10 per nail treat they’re sat at the top end of the pricing spectrum but considering how long the polish lasts the price is well justified.

So, if you’re a busy, on the go kind of girl who loves looking well groomed but without spending too much time or money then the Temple Spa Nail Treats could be the perfect product for you.

 

Have you tried these nail treats before? Or do you have a favourite nail varnish collection that you’d recommend?

 

 

 

The Girl’s Guide to Car Safety*

Let’s be honest, many sectors of society grow up within the confines of personal stereotypes. For women, we can be seen as the weaker sex, somewhat materialistic, and terrible with cars. But who says we need to live within these restrictions!

I grew up with a fascination for cars. When I came of driving age I was fortunate enough to be able to take driving lessons and then pass in a car of my own. Though the story isn’t always the same for all of us, the joy of being able to drive, and the freedom that comes with driving is something that most people love about having that pink driving licence. The freedom to take off and explore is an amazing gift that comes after the hard work of learning to drive.

Yes, we’re taught how to drive from A to B, but unless you have a mechanic for a friend or family member, the lessons tend to stop there. Throughout my 7 years of driving I’ve had to learn some lessons the hard way, and others (thankfully) through others. So, if I can be a part of helping you to avoid some potential issues with your car then I am more than happy to be of service! And these aren’t only tips for those who have a car of their own. If you know anyone who drives, they should be aware of these things too: if their car is safe, then your journey should be safe too.

So, let’s go back to the basics and talk tyres. When you’re sat in the comfort of the car it’s easy to forget the fact that the only thing making contact with the road is your four tyres. They’re crazily important, so how can you look after them and make sure that they’re safe? Here are 3 important things to look out for with your tyres…

The Right Tyre

The first thing you need to be sure of is that the tyre is the right one. It sounds so simple that many people don’t consider this. Ensuring that you have the right tyre for your car is absolutely essential. A good car garage will be able to source the perfect tyre for your car with only a few key pieces of information, and many will fit them for you on site. Some companies, such as Point S, can even locate a tyre for you via their website. All you have to do is type in either your car registration number or tyre size to look up the choices of tyre brands available to be reserved for a fitting at one of their branches. You can book your car tyres at Point S with their simple reservation system… All from the comfort of your own home.

Tyre Pressure

You can’t always tell whether your tyres are adequately inflated just by looking but under-inflated and over-inflated tyres are something that you need to monitor. Having the correct tyre pressure will reduce the risk of you losing control of your car. Even if the results aren’t so drastic, you could be making irreparable damage to internal build of your car… which could mean large amount of money needing to be spent at a later date. For the sake of a few minutes, you should be checking your tyre pressure on a monthly basis.

Tread Depth

The tread depth on the tyre relates to the distance between the top of the tread to the grooves in a tyre. The more tread, the more grip your tyres will have in wet conditions. Though we’re in the beautiful Spring months if you live in Britain like I do, you’ll know all too well how quickly the rain can come, so it’s important it is to check your tread depth on a regular basis. The legal limit for tread depth in the UK is 1.6mm which is the absolute minimum that they should be. Generally the recommendation is to change your tyre when the tread depth reaches 3mm, which could already be affecting the safety of your car. Again, a fantastically easy way of reserving the correct tyre for your car is to visit the Point S website.

So how do you measure the tread depth? You can either purchase a tread wear indicator or use a 10p piece. The distance from the edge to the raised dots is perfectly sized at 1.6mm. Place the coin inside the tread, if the dots disappear, your tyre needs changing.

 

So there we are, quick and easy tips for taking care of your tyres in just 3 ways. Let’s break the stereotype that ladies don’t know much about cars… It doesn’t have to be complicated.

 

*This post is in collaboration with Point S Tyres. All words and opinions are my own.

Making the Most Out of Your Work Day

Believe it or not, there are people out there who only ever work their contracted hours but still manage to exceed expectations in what they manage to deliver. Believe it or not, there are people out there that dare to leave the office as soon as the clock strikes 5pm. Believe it or not, there are even people daring enough to keep their evenings and weekends completely free for a selfish dose of ‘me time’. I know, crazy right?

So many of us just aren’t able to complete our work within the allotted time period and are left feeling as though we have to stay in the workplace later and later each week. I used to be this person as a rule. Now, I’m this person as an exception. Rarely do I work over my contracted hours. I even dare to take back time on a Friday afternoon if I don’t have any further work to do. How? Because I live and work smart… not hard.

Some people have the ability to just get things done. Inside and out of a working capacity. Others, can only reach their goals and action those tasks when they extend their days and stresses. The question I ask, is this: If some can achieve what they set out to without driving themselves beyond capacity, then why can’t everyone? If this really does come down to working smart, rather than hard, then what does this look like in practice?

Working smart, rather than hard, is sometimes easier said than done, but I believe that with a few small changes we can all be on the way to working less but achieving more.

Reflect on the Day Just Gone

Certainly within a work context, one of the greatest stresses can be not knowing what you managed to achieve that day. Spending 8 hours at work and not having done anything is a real challenge. Even the laziest of us would be too bored not to work. But there are certainly days when it seems like you haven’t achieved anything. Taking 10 minutes at the end of the day to look back at what you have managed to complete is a great way of relieving that stress.

Set a Bedtime

I don’t mean to sound like a pushy parent, but at all ages having a set bedtime can be a perfect end to a day. This goes hand in hand with my next point, leading you towards sleeping for a set number of hours each night. Scientific evidence shows that most people need 6-8 hours of sleep per night to truly rejuvenate the mind and body enough to be productive during the daytime. Getting in to a good sleeping routine is a great place to start.

Ban the Snooze Button

I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t like to snooze. There seems to be a joy in setting your alarm 10 minutes earlier purely so that you can sleep for an extra 10 minutes. This not only doesn’t make any logical sense, but it also doesn’t help you to start the day well. Your body sleeps in 2 hour patterns and that ‘extra’ 10 minutes can end up having the opposite effect then you hoped for, as your body fights to stay in its sleep cycle. Set your alarm for when you need to get out of bed and stick to it. It really does make a difference to your day when you don’t try to stall it.

Utilise Your Mornings

There are some things we have to do with our mornings: wake up, eat breakfast, get ready, make our way to work. The repetitive process takes longer for some than others. Many pf us don’t manage to achieve much more than making it out of the door on time. An article from BusinessInsider  shows us what times 21 successful people wake up at and what the get up to in those early hours. Most exercise (we’ll come on to that), and all make the most out of the early, quieter hours.

Prepare For the Week Ahead

Though you wouldn’t expect me to tell you to work on the weekend I do think that there’s a time and a place for planning the week ahead. Spending half an hour to think about what you need to do before you hit your desk on Monday morning can work wonders for someone that would usually spend the first hour or so pondering where to start. Dedicating a small part of your weekend to planning your Monday morning can also be a great way to plan your week before the distractions from the office, emails and phone calls start.

Pursue Your Passion

In the busyness of life it can be easy to forget to spend time on the things you’re really passionate about. I love this quote from an unknown source

“Don’t work 8 hours for a company then go home and not work on your own goals.”

It’s easy to fall in to the trap of working really hard for your company but not on your own personal passions. Making time to completely leave the workplace behind you and focusing on something you truly love can make a surprising difference to your productivity. Instead of resenting your job, you learn the art of a work life balance in which you can leave work at the office door and enjoy your free time that you work so hard to deserve.

Exercise

Exercise releases endorphins in your brain that make you feel happy. These endorphins are the same natural chemical that we realise when we fall in love. There are more benefits to exercising than weight loss or staying in shape. It’s a fantastic way of boosting productivity throughout the day, helping you to get your work done faster. LiveStrong reveals that one way exercise can help boost productivity at work is through alertness. When you exercise blood flow to the brain increases, which can help to sharpen your awareness and make you more ready to tackle your next big project.

So why not give some of these lifestyle changes a go and see if you can Make the Most out of Your Work Day.

10 Things to do on a Lazy Sunday

How do you choose to spend your lazy Sundays? It’s a rare occasion that I get to take a whole Sunday out for myself and so when I do, I want to make sure that I don’t waste it. I tend to enjoy a mixture of physical activities and something at a much slower pace to help me to relax. Finding a way to feel refreshed and rejuvenated  ahead of a busy week is always the aim of a lazy Sunday.

‘A Sunday well spent brings a week of content.’

Here are 10 ways that I’d choose to spend a lazy Sunday. There’s something for all:

Have a Movie Day – Sit back and enjoy one of your favourite movies, or why not watch that film you’ve been meaning to watch for a while.

Cook Up a Storm – Are you a sweet or savoury person? Whatever you enjoy to make and eat the most, a Sunday is a perfect chance to dust off those cookery books and make something delicious.

Create an At Home Spa Day – With so many fantastic skincare products on the market at the moment, creating a spa environment in the comfort of your own home couldn’t be easier. Select or make a face mask of your choice, light a few candles, turn on some relaxing music and run a nice warm bubble bath. Sit back, relax and enjoy.

Get Organised – A lazy day can provide a great opportunity to get organised for the week. I like to take my diary and make sure that I know where I’ll be during the week, make a to do list and plan my gym sessions in.

Gentle Exercise – Exercise releases serotonin in the brain which has been scientifically proven to maintain mood balance. On a lazy Sunday you don’t need to go for a 10 mile run, but you can do some gentle exercises at home. Exercise such as Yoga or Pilates is a great way to destress or a lazy day while getting the recommended 30 minutes of exercise.

Meal Preparation – If you’re like me, once the week starts it can be difficult to prepare my healthy lunches to take to work with me. A Sunday can be the perfect opportunity to bulk prepare your meals, to be put in the fridge or freezer, labelled and ready for the week ahead.

Start A Dream Board – There’s nothing wrong with day dreaming. In fact, it can be a free activity. To start a dream board all you need is some paper, old magazines or newspapers, pens and glue. This could be the platform for you to lay the foundation of a big project or a viable business.

Be Creative – I don’t usually find the time or the head space to let my creative side go wild. You can try something new or something that you ordinarily seldom do such as painting, collage making, crafts, sewing or DIY.

Get Lost in a Book – I have many good books that I’ve been meaning to read but have never gotten around to. A Sunday afternoon can be a perfect chance to sit down and enjoy a good read.

Skype a Friend or Relative – Life’s busy. It’s easy to get caught up in the day to day busyness of the week and not find time to catch up with those that are far away. Why not Skype or call a friend or relative for a good ol’ catch up.

 

What do you get up to on a lazy Sunday?

What I Learnt in 2016

Well, well, well. Can you believe that 2016 has come to an end? It’s been a great year with many a twist and turn but I’ve loved so many moments. As I sit and reminisce I recall plenty of happy moments spent with friends and family, old and new. I feel satisfied with what I have achieved, the adventures I have been on, and the memories that I’ve made. I tip my hat to 2016 and look back with a fond farewell.

I started the second year of my Graduate Scheme, moved 200 miles away from home, visited Dubai with my girlfriends, travelled to Rome alone and finally set the foundations for naomisophia.com. It’s been a big year and I’m only excited for what 2017 has to bring. But before I move on to the next chapter, I think it’s important to take a moment and look back at what I learnt in 2016.

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1. There’s nothing wrong with doing nothing.

This is something that I seriously struggled with earlier on in the year, and for many years before 2016. I need to be busy and when I’m not I associate doing nothing with being lazy. What I’ve learnt is that doing nothing doesn’t have to be passive, but is actually a verb, which requires action. We all need to take time out to rejuvenate ourselves in order to be effective when we are on the go.

2. It’s okay to say no.

No, no, no, no, no! That’s how comfortable I am with the word now. For years I was somewhat of a yes man. Not to please people all of the time but because I like to be the person a friend or colleague can go to for help and support. Here’s the first lesson: you can’t be the go to person all the time, and that’s okay. Here’s the second lesson: it’s okay to not want to do what you’re being asked. It’s hard to say no, but when you do you you’ll be proud of your strength.

3. I don’t need to be surrounded by people to have a good time.

This ties in with the first point somewhat. I’m an extrovert who enjoys the company of others. I come away from spending hours with friends feeling reinvigorated but I’ve learnt to truly love my own company this year. I wrote ‘Spending Time Alone & Enjoying Every Moment‘ afters surprisingly loving a full weekend without seeing my friends.

4. A good friend deserves a good friend.

I’ve uttered the words ‘I really don’t understand why she wants to be my friend’ many times. After uttering them earlier on this year I decided to reflect on why I felt that way. Deep down I knew that I wasn’t giving my friends the attention that they deserved, yet I expected them to be there whenever I was ready for them. I don’t believe that they picked up on this but it’s the small things that can speak the loudest.

5. Good things happen when you say yes to adventure.

Adventure won in 2016! I went to Dubai on my first girls holiday and then took a solo trip to Italy where I met some great people and have a great experience. Saying yes can be scary, but the adventures you have as a result are worth taking the plunge for.

6. Quality over quantity.

I carry this lesson across many parts of my life but this year I’ve applied it to friends and beautiful things. It’s simple really, I’ve learnt to appreciate having smaller amounts of the aforementioned, knowing that they’ll last and remain special to me, rather than having so many that I don’t have the time or inclination to enjoy them as much as I should.

7. (Almost) nothing worth having comes easy.

I had to add the almost because I’ve been blessed enough in some areas that they have come relatively easily, but this isn’t the case for everything this year. I’ve had to fight for what I truly want and work hard to keep it working well. Take naomisophia.com for example. Can I be honest? I thought it’d be a heck of a lot easier then it has been! Juggling consistent, engaging and relevant content alongside a YouTube channel, work, family, friends and other goals is time consuming and hard. So worth it, but hard.

8. Dream big.

No goal is too great for you to achieve. You have a whole lifetime to achieve some things and a shorter period for others, but always keep the dream alive.

9. Surround yourself with ambitious people.

Believe it or not I don’t know it all, not yet. I do know what I want out of life and think that it’s important to be around others with similar goals who will push you forward and toward the goal rather than talk you out of it or to hold you back.

10. Keep your eye on the goal.

Last but in no way least, and a lesson I need to keep on learning. If you know what you want then you can achieve it. When you take your eye off the ball, you can forget where you’re heading, so stay focused and keep moving towards it.

 

I’m sure that I’ve learnt even more then the ten lessons I’ve explored here, and I’ll keep on learning throughout the new year. What lessons are you taking away from 2016?

A Festive Message to All

Hello and Merry Christmas! I write this post as I am surrounded by family with the Dad’s Army Movie on in the background. I decided to take a minute or two out to say a short hello and to wish you all the best for the remainder of the day and the upcoming days ahead.

Christmas can be a busy period. Running around to find the perfect presents, cooking the meal of the year and providing a night of entertainment for those you’ve chosen to spend the evening with. But in the busyness of it all, remember to take a moment out and enjoy what the day has had to bring. Maybe you’ve been blessed and it’s all gone to plan. Maybe the day has been one mistake after another. But take a moment out to be thankful for those you have in your life, the gifts you may have received, and the fact that you’re here enjoy another day.

Merry Christmas to you and you loved ones!

DIY Christmas Decorations | BLOGMAS

I should start this post by declaring my inability to think up anything craftily creative on my own. The below Christmas decorations were truly inspired by Tesco who unexpectedly tweeted me last week asking how my Christmas decorating was going.

My Christmas decorating follows the same course as most other people. See. Buy. Hang on the tree. In my twenty-something years of Christmases I don’t recall choosing to make a decoration of my own. Quite possibly when I was a child and the teachers somewhat foolishly let us loose with coloured paper, glitter and scissors. But never in my teens or onward. As I say, I’m not naturally creative. I find it difficult to switch off and let myself ‘do’. Give me a PowerPoint presentation and I’ll blow you away. Give me a spreadsheet and I’ll add formulas to make a twenty minute process take a swift few seconds. But leave me alone with a craft box and I’m lost. Extremely lost. So when Tesco tweeted me out of the blue I decided that maybe December 2016 was the year that I finally gave the right side of my brain a chance to excel itself. Judge for yourself how my afternoon of DIY went, but I’m pretty proud with the outcome.

The Tesco Living website has a number of options suitable for those of all abilities. I chose the Easy DIY Christmas Decorations page and was truly surprised with how such an easy bunch of decorations could turnout so well (again, that’s for you to truly judge!). So here goes:

Gingerbread Garland- A Christmas garland that looks good enough to eat.

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What You Need: Brown Felt, Red Ribbon, Red buttons (optional), Scissors, Gingerbread Template

This gingerbread man garland was the easiest of the decorations that I chose to make. With only a few materials needed to create this feature it works out to be very inexpensive. I chose to glue the individual men to the ribbon rather than threading them through the felt as suggested on the website. They’re currently hanging proudly above the fire place and will stay there for all to see.

Star of Wonder- Beautiful hanging decorations that shimmer in the twinkle of Christmas lights.

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What You Need: 8 x Clothes Pegs, Glue, Varnish or Spray Paint, Coloured Ribbon

Again,this festive item only requires a few materials. Each star is made up of eight clothes pegs that are gingerly stick together with a glue of your choice. I used an all purpose craft glue rather than splurge on a wood glue that I wouldn’t have any other use for and it’s held together rather well. The website suggests that you use varnish for the finished look but I chose gold spray paint which catches the light well and sparkles on the tree.

Snow Glows- Battery operated tea lights transformed into stylish snowmen.

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What You Need: 2 x Battery Powered Tea Lights, Festive Ribbon, Black Paper / Card, Red Pom Poms, Black Marker Pen, Scissors, Glue

These smart snowmen were the fiddliest of my crafty makes. Fiddly but still very easy to make. Adding the glittery scarves was the trickiest part of the make but I achieved this by poking a small hole into the ribbon at the back and hooking it onto a small plastic knob on the tea light. I then added a pea sized amount of glue to keep it secure.

Creating your own Christmas decorations is not only a great way to save money over the festive period but it makes a fabulous change to the usual decorations you’ll in stores. Why not try adding a thread of uniqueness into your home with these decorations from Tesco Living.

If you do give these easy decorations a go I’d love to see how you get on! Leave a comment below or share a picture with me on twitter (naomiophia_).

 

 

*This post isn’t sponsored in any way. All opinions are my own*

The Story So Far

I’ve always enjoyed expressing myself through words. Of those people that know me, few would believe that for the first two years of my life I didn’t utter many words. After a number of trips to meet the family Doctors they finally believed that there was nothing wrong with me. Apart from having given birth to a stubborn daughter! I was a perfectionist and wouldn’t speak until I had an impressive sentence to blow them away with.

The journey to starting my blog was somewhat similar. I’ve been reading blogs and watching the accompanying YouTube channels for years now. I first knew that I’d enjoy taking the plunge into the blogging world but didn’t believe that I was ‘perfect’ enough to get started. The truth is that perfection never comes but focus and dedication can bring you pretty close. Hard work and success are somewhere along the same road, and my decision to finally blog is a part of the journey somewhere in between.

So join me as I figure out this blogging thing and be a part of the story.

Autumn / Winter Lookbook

The new season not only brings us shorter days and darker evenings, it also brings a new sense of style and opportunity to express yourself in a completely different way to only a few months before. The cold snap calls for layers, warm accessories and boots to keep the feet warm but needing to be sensible doesn’t mean that your wardrobe needs to be dull and boring. This post is a pictoral lookbook of how I would pair some of those items with my everyday outfits. Enjoy.
Coat: Warehouse / Fedora: (similar) Marks and Spencer / Polo Neck: TopShop / Jeans: New Look / Boots: New Look
Coat (similar): Neon Rose / Fedora (similar): New Look / Jumper: Oasis (ASOS) / Jeans: New Look / Boots: Primark
Coat (similar): Neon Rose / Fedora (similar): New Look / Jumper: Oasis (ASOS) / Jeans: New Look / Boots: Primark
Polo Neck: New Look / Poncho (similar): New Look / Jeans: Miss Selfridge / Boots (similar): Marks & Spencer
Polo Neck: New Look / Poncho (similar): New Look / Jeans: Miss Selfridge / Boots (similar): Marks & Spencer