5 Tips for Hygge Living

Hygge (pronounce hoo-gah) is a Danish concept and its closest translation is ‘coziness’. The clocks go back this week so I think now is the best time to let a little bit of ‘Hygge’ into your life.

Let me paint the picture for you…it’s a cold, wet and windy November day. What do you want when you get home? A lovely warm fire, a cosy blanket, a wooly jumper to put on and to relax in front of the telly with Mr. S. That my friends is Hygge in a nutshell.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) a type of depression which reoccurs on a seasonal basis, is affecting around one in 15 people in the UK between September and April, Hygge could be an attitude to adopt to help ease the winter blues.

Below are some ways you can totally get into the Hygge groove and not just survive but thrive this impending Winter.

Embrace Seasonal Produce

I love changing my weekly food shop to reflect the changing weather. Take root vegetables for example, they are in season at the mo making them fresher and cheaper than at other times of the year. Chuck them together  in differnt combinations to make wonderful warming soups. It’s a win win! Roast Red Pepper and Carrot is a personal favourite of mine..yum!

Hygge_soup.jpg
*Image via Pinterest

Make Your Home as Cosy as Possible

Invest in faux fur and chunky knit throws and change your bed linen and duvet to the winter weight tog. Light a fire as often as you can and blow the dust off those ‘display’ candles and actually light them! The candle light and scent creates that super cosy atmopshere, how could you not be happy in your little nest thats is home!

img_7330

Invest in Cosy Loungewear 

If you know me at all, you will know loungewear is one of my favourite things in life. The best thing after a long day is getting out of those high heels and skinny jeans and putting on my comfy lounge pants and cosy jumper, oh, and not forgetting my cashmere socks (best investment I ever did make)!

Here are some of my picks of the season for lounge wear:

Cashmere socks M&S | Lounge wear Set Hush | Cashmere Jumpsuit The White Co

Plan a Trip Away

I love having something to work towards and planning a little trip away can help to put the long evenings in. A change of scenery also does wonders for the soul too! Here are two places that are on my never-ending wish list.

Northern Lights, Reykjavik, Iceland | Christmas Markets, Prague, Czech Republic

Fill Your Evenings with Laughter

Invite friends or family over, watch all the comedies Netflix has to offer, go to the cinema or out for a few cocktails…whatever..as long as it makes you feel good, do it! Alternatively, cosy up with a good book and a cup of tea.

If you would like to read a little bit more about ‘Hygge’ you can find a great book on it here.

I hope this helps give you some insight into the Hygge concept. Whatever you get up to this Winter just make sure that it makes your soul happy.

Much Love,

Judy xo

 

Advertisements

A Solid Investment

I’m pretty sure all of us are very good at investing our hard earned $$ in the latest trends or that new lipstick but how much do we invest in our own wellbeing? Two years ago if you gave me the choice of spending £25 on a top or a personal training session, I’d have went straight to Topshop..every time!

It isn’t until something goes wrong with our health we reflect back and wish we had perhaps invested in ourselves a bit more.  The old saying, prevention is better than the cure is very apt.

I have made a few changes in the past year which have had a really positive effect. I am happier, healthier and have more energy. If you know me personally you will know 2015 was a pretty tough year for me and my health but I’m now on the other side and I want to share with you some super simple things I have done that have improved my quality of life and hopefully will benefit yours too.

wellbeing_1

Lean in 15, Bodycoach.

The food we eat is our fuel…you wouldn’t put rubbish fuel in your car so why do it to yourself. If you load up on rubbish, you will in turn feel rubbish. Buying the Lean In 15 book was the first step I made in improving my diet. I have so many recipe books but most of the meals in them are complicated, expensive and take ages to cook. After a hard day at the office the last thing I want to do is start making a big dinner.  The Lean in 15 books are full of super simple, quick and yummy recipes that are easy to put together in the evening. With lots of veg and lean ingredients it’s had a really positive affect on my diet. I haven’t strictly followed the books plan but I do make a majority of my weeknight dinners and lunches from it.

Personal Training

For me this was a bit of a luxury, as I am sure it would be to you as well. Two operations on my abdomen in 2015 left me with pretty poor core strength, zero body confidence and had left me with a feeling that things were pretty much beyond the point of repair.

I was pretty anxious about starting back into exercise again after a year off and so I researched pretty hard about the best way to do so without hurting myself or landing back in hospital. I started off with a Yoga class to break myself in gently.  After attending Yoga regularly for a number of weeks I felt confident enough to up the ante a bit. I started Personal Training at a local gym, going on a Saturday morning and then also attending a class on a Monday evening. My personal trainer was great and tailored workouts specifically for me so that I don’t overdo it or put too much strain on my core. Even with that, initially the whole ‘exercise’ thing was a bit of a shock on my body and I found it reacting in various ways to all of this exercise it wasn’t used to. I listened to it and took a break as and when I needed to but I’ve since built up my stamina again and now attend twice a week without fail and I haven’t looked back.

img_5966

Mindfulness

If you have  been following my blogs you have probably heard me banging on about ‘Mindfulness’ a few times. When I was ill, I spent most days in constant discomfort and pain. Medication did it’s part to provide relief but some days it just wasn’t enough and so I started to look for alternative ways that I could manage the daily discomfort and it was through this search that I found ‘mindfulness’.

‘Mindfulness: a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique..’

I started with one of those pretty adult colouring books and although it seems silly, it was very effective  at helping me get through those really tough days. I have continued to practice it and having had such positive results I have also started to promote it to my patients in my job as a Psychiatric Nurse. It isn’t just a way of relaxing but can have very real benefits for those suffering from mental health problems as well as physical conditions.

mindful_2

Massage

This is a recent addition to my portfolio of managing my condition in the long term and one of the most empowering. I have begun attending a specialist Physiotherapist in Belfast who specialises in helping woman manage health conditions including Endometriosis. She  provides therapeutic massage and gives specialist nutrition, exercise and lifestyle advice and I have to say the result has been fantastic. She has has made me feel like I am in  more control as I have a number of things I can do to help manage my symptoms on days when I am in a bit of pain and discomfort.
In addition to the really helpful advice the benefits of the therapeutic massage are amazing. Massage has the obvious of helping managing stress which can bring its own issues and it can have a positive effect on your lymphatic system and it can even boost your immune system.

Whilst I appreciate that everyone is different and our path to a better wellbeing is unique to each individual experiencing it, I feel that these are some tips that mostly everyone can adopt.

My hope is that we all start taking care of our insides as much as we do out outside and we can all have that natural glow that comes from within.

Much Love,

Judy xo

Emma Bridgewater Collectors Day July 2016

Rewinding back to the beginning of 2016 I put my name in the hat for the July Collectors Day at Emma Bridgewater. I have done this for the last few years but never have been successful but you’ve got to be in it to win it, right?!

Being a massive fan this is what you would consider the ‘Holy Grail’, a day at the factory in Stoke, various activities, sneak peaks as well as a chance to buy special limited edition pieces. I often looked longingly at other collectors special pieces on Instagram and really wanted to have some of my own 😦 *cue worlds smallest violin*.

So imagine the sheer joy when an email confirming that I had got tickets pinged into my inbox on a rainy April afternoon, I was actually going, yaaaayy! You can imagine the excitement as the days got closer, I literally skipped out of work last week in anticipation of Tuesday the 19th!

We arrived on the Tuesday morning after a leisurely drive from Rookery Hall in Cheshire where we were staying (I will cover this  in another post. Spoiler alert: It was amazing) to be greeted by lovely smiling faces who ushered ‘FiFi’ our little red Fiat 500 hire car into its parking space.

IMG_5413IMG_5404IMG_5405

IMG_5320

Waiting for the day to start, we helped ourselves to tea and toast set out in the Cafe.  Mr S and I also enjoyed a little bit of sun and background music provided by a brass band.

IMG_5410IMG_5407IMG_5374

IMG_5394

We started the day off with a tour of the factory which is a must if you decide to visit. Our tour guide was really friendly and explained every part of the pottery making process. It made me appreciate the time, effort and many hands that touch each piece before it becomes the finished product.

IMG_5414IMG_5419IMG_5322

IMG_5321

Can you spot one of the new Christmas patterns?

I even got to try my hand at throwing a plate. Not to brag or anything *ahem* but it was good enough to go into production! So if you receive a 6.5 plate in the next while it could of been made by me!

Don’t worry I think this man’s job is safe 😀

On a bit of a high after becoming a master potter, we decided to go do one of the activities. As part of the Collectors Day, everyone got to paint 2 little fluted bowls in the Decorating Studio.

IMG_5408

IMG_5326

The real star of the show was Mr S though. He found his painting zen and created two beauties which received oodles of praise from onlookers.

If you were keeping score it would be 1-1 right now.

The likelihood of me starting a pottery business was getting more realistic by the minute (I joke obviously).

Next on the agenda was some ice cream before we went and picked our special pieces!

IMG_5441

Everyone was split into groups to go view and buy their special pieces. So the dealio with special items is that there is a limited number and are only for collectors and not the general public. Group 4 was up and it was time.

IMG_5346IMG_5347

As I was group 4, a lot was already sold, if you want to see what I purchased you can spot them on my Instagram!

IMG_5443IMG_5369

After buying some special pieces we had worked up a bit of an appetite. Lunch was served (on EB of course…) Our tummies were ready for it, breakfast seemed a long time ago. We were presented a beautiful veggie quiche, salad and warm potato salad. Pudding was a delicious chocolate brownie with clotted cream..yum!

We chatted to our fellow guests at the table, had some hearty laughs, then it was time to finish the rest of our day.IMG_5372

After consulting our itinerary,  we decided to do some tea towel printing.

IMG_5397

Some of the other collectors beautiful attempts.

IMG_5401

Needless to say this didn’t win any prizes for beauty, as for Simon’s…well…he tried!

Laughing at our lack of skill, we went to the seconds shop for a browse while we waited for our “masterpieces” to dry.

IMG_5348IMG_5352IMG_5351

Restricted to hand luggage, I felt like weeping. If only we lived a little closer…

Last stop of the day, the garden!

IMG_5388IMG_5393IMG_5445

Bags in hand and smiles on our faces, we bid fair well to the factory and made our way back to our little Fiat which at this point had reached 1 million degrees (how lucky we were to have such amazing weather!?).

IMG_5415IMG_5416IMG_5417

Until next time EB…

Much Love,

Judy xo

Chic Summer Dining

With summer well and truly here making the most of the long, balmy evenings with a super stylish alfresco soiree with friends is a must.

To get a classic sophisticated look follow these simple styling tips below.

Step One- Linen

Simplicity is key, vintage washed linens or anything with a french feel is a must.

Henley Linen Napkins| The White Company

Natural Stipe Table Runner| Not On The High Street

Nautical Rope Knot Napkin Rings| Marks and Spencer

Step Two- Tableware

If you have a matching dinner set, great; mix and match? Even better.

Serve food on different sized wooden boards for a rustic feel.

 

French Blue Faustine Plates | Dibor

Jamie Oliver Serving Board | Dunelm

Step Three- Lighting 

Fairy lights, lanterns and candles for when the light fades but the party is only beginning.

Rope Handle Hurricane Lanterns | Laura Ashley

Pure Pillar Candle | The White Company

White Cotton Ball String Lights | Cotton Ball Lights 

Much Love,

Judy xo

May: The Best Of.

Hello everyone!

It’s so hard to believe that May is over. What a month! It’s been so busy hence the lack of blog posts however behind the scenes I have been busy working on some lovely blogs that I will be sharing with you all super duper soon! I’ve been working full time in my day job which obviously takes up most (if not all) of my time. I have also started back to personal training after my year off, I won’t go into detail as but if you are interested I am going to the lovely Shannon Reynolds at Scott McGarry Health and Fitness in Ahoghill.

So enough of the chat, on to the good stuff.

Best of the Noms

Okay, it’s no lie… I like my food! This month there were some eats that I just have to mention.

Our local coffee shop (Middletown) holds craft beer and supper night every so often and we were so incredibly lucky to bag some tickets for the latest one.

This time round it was a Thai themed cuisine with local craft beers paired with each course. Take a lookie at this for a menu!

IMG_4506

IMG_4505

It reads well, but tasted even better.

Keep an eye out if you are from the local area for the next supper night… I might even see you there!

I had another lovely dinner on an evening out with our good friends Alison and Aidan (who have set a date for their wedding, all of the yays!). We went to The Barking Dog for dinner which was lovely but it was dessert and cocktails at Miel et Moi that really was the highlight of the evening!

Miel et Moi is a little licensed Patisserie on the Lisburn Road in Belfast that do yummy cocktails and even yummier patisserie. We got a little selection of goodies to share paired with a French Martini for me with everyone else opting for a G&T.

To be perfectly honest, I feel this the kind of place you would go with your girlfriends for a catch up and cake but the boys enjoyed it too (I think!).

Best of the Outfits

It hasn’t really been a month of dressing up really but I did love Alison’s and I’s outfits when we went out for dinner.

IMG_4597

Skirt: Miss Selfridge

Top: Topshop

Shoes Similar here

Bag: Christian Louboutin

Best of The Day Trips

Every May brings Balmoral Show and for those who aren’t familiar with Balmoral, it’s a huge agricultural show. I always look forward to it as I have been going to it with my Mum and Dad for as long as I can remember. When I was younger I participated in a number of Young Farmers competitions, mainly for floral art which is where my love of flowers sprung from I suppose!

It’s not all tractors and welly boots as I sense you drifting off… It’s jam packed full of local food, crafts, gardening ideas, entertainment and then some! In true noob form I didn’t take any photos, but take my word for it, it’s a great day out!

Best of the Pretty Things

As some of you may know I’m a brand rep for La De Da Living and I just cant get enough of their stuff. My favourite items this month are the hand stamped star and salad servers. You can get 15% off  on the La De Da Living website website with code ‘brandrep2’. Keep an eye out on my Instagram for more exciting pieces to come!

IMG_4591

I got a pretty print from Bill & Coo a while back but never got around to putting it into a frame. I did a little bit of shuffling about of prints and pictures this month and so here it is in all it’s glory! If you fancy a peep at Bill & Coo’s work work you can find it here!

Best of the Rest

I’m only going to mention this briefly as I spoken about it before but magazine in which my home was featured (eekkkk!) was published this month. If you fancy a look for yourself, it’s called Northern Ireland Homes and Lifestyle.

Thank you to everyone who tagged me in photos or sent me a snapchat with the mag and for all of the lovely comments I have received about it! Interiors are my passion so it was just lovely and humbling to be featured!

IMG_4362.jpg

That was May and so what has June in store I hear you ask? So far lots of plans with friends, hopefully some down time and no doubt a few surprises thrown in for good measure!

Have a great one you guys!

Much Love,

Judy xo

Patio Style

As a result of the sunshine this week I have spent a lot of time outside enjoying the weather while it lasts. Although I didn’t manage have any BBQs this week,  I did spend time outside sipping ice cold drinks, listening to good tunes and enjoying the sun right down to the last rays as it set below the hills and out of sight.

IMG_9256
Last Years Patio Details.

As such my attention was (like a lot of others I expect) drawn to my neglected, unloved and weather-beaten garden and patio. If any of you live in Northern Ireland you will fully understand how a little bit of sunshine totally diverted my attention from indoor styling to the outdoors.

Patio_Pin3Patio_pin4Patio_pinterest

Patio_Pinterest2
Images Via Pinterest

Seeking inspiration I have spent some time scouring the internet for ideas that could breathe some much needed life into the outside of my house.  I thought I’d share some of the favourite pieces I found that I think would jazz up any outdoor space no matter how big or small.

All from Matalan:

Reversible Seat Pads // LED Garden Sign // Insect Hut

John Lewis:

Pink Bistro set // Hurricane Lantern

Wayfair:

Copper Outdoor Light // Grey Wooden Planter

I’d love you hear what you have done to your gardens and patios this week and hope that the sunny weather will continue for a little while to come.

Much Love,

Judy xo

Irish Blogger | NI Bloggers | Belfast Bloggers | Blogger Northern Ireland

April: The Best Of

April is normally a busy month for me with a number of family and friends birthdays but this year I had another birthday to add to the mix which was my Blog Birthday! I have to admit I didn’t make a big deal about it as I wasn’t sure how to make the occasion…giveaway in May anyone??

There were a number of nice things that happened in April but starting back to work full time unfortunately wasn’t one of them. It was and still is, a shock to the system, however I am grateful to be back to a normal routine.

I apologise for not doing a “Best of March” blog post but I think I covered the creme de la creme of the month in rounding up our holiday to NYC and I am pretty sure I brought you all up to speed in those posts!

Best Of The Memories

This April my Aunt hit a milestone Birthday and there was no better way to celebrate it than afternoon tea at the Merchant Hotel. The Merchant holds so many happy memories for me as we’ve had some lovely times there such as my Sister’s wedding, my own wedding,  Valentines Day spa breaks and birthday dinners and brunches in the Jazz Bar so it’s always exciting to  get to celebrate another special occasion there.

IMG_3668IMG_3672

After my Aunt’s birthday a couple of weeks flew past and then boom, it was my Birthday. I am heading rather swiftly towards my 30s (sometimes it feels a bit more swiftly than I would like).  Unfortunately, I had to work on my actual Birthday (Note to Self: Book it off next year) but we celebrated at the weekend instead with dinner and cocktails at Neptune & Prawn on the North Coast which is fast becoming one of my favourite spots.

Any birthday wouldn’t be complete without some prezzies. You know those occasions when hubby gets it right? Well, say hello to my new Christian Louboutin clutch. An instant classic and a bag I will reach for again and again, day or night.

IMG_3798

Isn’t it a beauty?

Although big presents are lovely, it’s the little things that really make the day special.

IMG_3836IMG_3838IMG_3827

Hubby surprised me with a beautiful bouquet of Sweet Avalanche roses delivered to me at the office. These were the flowers that I had on my wedding day and are forever my favourites.

Talking about weddings it was our 2 year wedding anniversary on the 24th April, I have already blogged about what we got up to. you can catch up  here.

Best Of The Outfits

I had a few outfits which I loved this month. My favourite purchase was a classic navy blazer, it’s my personal highlight from the range ‘Archive By Alexa at Marks & Spencer’. I have lusted after this blazer since I spotted it on a press release a few months a go and it hasn’t disappointed! You can purchase it online here.

IMG_4014

‘That coat again?’ I hear you ask… no joke I am in love with my blush pink Topshop truster. Its pastel hue just promises of fresh sunny spring days. It works great with my 9-5 or combined jeans and converse at the weekend and I just flipping love it. True story.

Best of The Rest

Every so often you come across a cupcake that rocks your world. How lucky am I that a friend of mine makes said cupcakes! Not only does she make them super fluffy and light but she’s also got a serious knack for decorating them too. You know who you are!

IMG_3918

I had the absolute joy of attending a Benefit make up master class in Moore’s of Coleraine. (please pardon how awful I look as I rolled in after a long day at work). We were shown a gorgeous make up look and how to recreate it at home. I picked up some amazing tips on how to use some of the products and even made a few sneaky purchases.

How glamorous is Amy Lou Faulkner btw?? I had to be a fan girl and get a photo.

IMG_4259

So what has May got to offer? Well there is the excitement of having my home getting featured in a local interiors magazine as well as a few dinner dates on the cards and maybe even a surprise or two. Until next month…

Much Love,

Judy xo

Irish Blogger | NI Bloggers | Belfast Bloggers | Blogger Northern Ireland