How to Sunday Like a Pro and Prep for a Productive Week

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We’re all familiar with that old saying that “a weekend well spent brings a week of content” right?  I mean, if you haven’t seen it captioned all over on Instagram (y’know; a weekend well spent, brings a week of social media content…) then you’ll have probably heard the words muttered with a smile over weekend brunch.  I used to think that the phrase meant cramming the weekend full of activities – that if you hadn’t hiked up a mountain, gone out for brunch, been to a museum, hit the shops, gone to the cinema, spent time with the family and polished everything off with a whopping great big roast then nope, you were doing weekends wrong.  I mean, who has the energy for all that!?

Growing up, I used to absolutely HATE Sundays – and even though it’s still a whole 50% of the weekend, it always used to feel like the end of it.  It was just one big clock-watch and countdown until bedtime and giving into Monday’s looming arrival, and the back to school/back to work blues would hit me hard.  Because of that feeling, Sundays were never “well spent”; I’d resent going out somewhere or running errands because the day would just disappear, but at the same time I’d hate staying in because then it just felt like a massive waste.  I just didn’t know how to spend the time in a satisfying way.

The truth is that time “well spent” means something different to everyone.  For me, it’s all about balance, and I’ve come to realise that when we’re talking about Sundays that balance is between doing things that relax my mind and make me smile, and doing things that’ll get it into gear for the week ahead.  It’s the basics of self-care, right?  Allowing yourself to indulge in the things that not only make you happy (a big ass brunch and new shoes), but also doing the things that are necessary to function as an adult (changing the sheets and ticking things off that to do list)!

So let me give that old saying a little bit of a tweak, because I think the truth of the matter is that a Sunday well spent brings a week of intent.  People who Sunday like a pro feed off of that back to work feeling because it enables them to spend the time wisely, not only having fun but prepping for Monday’s arrival. I’m still no Sunday Pro myself, but here are a few things that I like to do to rest and prep for the week ahead… 🙂

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Have a Fancy Breakfast

During the week I’m a fast bowl of Frosties kinda girl; they’re grrrrrrrrreat to slurp down quickly on a Monday morning, but not exactly worth getting out of bed for on a lazy Sunday, right?  We can do so much better!  Sundays (and Saturdays…) are for Brunching – which is basically another way of saying “On Sundays, we fancy”.  I’m talking eggs, pancakes, french toast… A little bit of whatever you fancy and can’t be bothered/don’t have the time to make or enjoy during the week.  A slow Sunday morning is one of my favourite things!

If you’re looking for a couple of recipes to pump up your Sunday jam then check out some of my Favourite Egg Recipes here, a whole post on Fabulous French Toast here, as well as Five Lazy Breakfast Ideas here.  Breakfast food is my favourite food, in case you didn’t already know… 😉

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Do Something FUN

I guess the point with this one is to do something that sparks joy – something that you can’t do during the week – whether that’s slobbing out on the sofa and binge-watching three seasons of Alaskan Bush People (…No regrets), baking a little something-something, going out for Sunday Lunch, hiking up a mountain or going for a bike ride, filling up your ASOS shopping bag, or just taking the dog on a proper walk.  Let the good times roll before Monday rolls back around!

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Meal Plan

I started meal planning last year and honestly, it was a total game changer.  It’s helped me not only to cut down on how much I spend on the weekly food shop, but also to cut down on food waste and all that time spent faffing around trying to work out what the hell to cook for dinner every night.  These days I make just one trip to the supermarket and pick up everything I need for the week ahead.  A little bit of planning goes such a long way!

Because I do my food shop on a Monday, Sunday is the day I like to meal plan.  I check my diary for the week and see what’s happening – to see if there are any days where either myself or Sunny are out, or days that are looking crazy-busy (takeaway night!) – and then I start planning!  I jot down all the meals I plan on making over the next seven days (focusing on dinner – that’s the big one) and then I write up a shopping list. 🙂

You can read all about how to start meal planning – along with some tips and tricks – right here.

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Sunday Soak

I LOVE having a bit of a pamper-sesh on Sunday evening. Yes, it’s relaxing, and sure, it’s nice to sit and stew in some suds for an hour rather than have the ten minute shower I tend to go for during the week… but honestly, it’s kind of necessary if I want to keep myself looking (and feeling!) ship-shape and shiny.  I don’t have time to re-paint my nails during the week, or to shave my legs, or clean my makeup brushes and sit around in a hair or a face mask for an hour; so Sunday is the day where I catch up and take the time to tick off all those things that a woman’s gotta do.

You can read my step by step Sunday Soak and a see a list of my favourite products right here.

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Make a List of Goals

As well as writing up my shopping list, I also like to write a list of goals for the week ahead too.  It’s really nice waking up on a Monday armed with an attack plan!  I write down all the things I need to do by the end of the week in order of importance – as well as a list of a few selfish things that I’d quite like to do.  I also like to make some fun plans for the following weekend!  We all need a reward for hard work, right? 😉

Have a great weekend everyone, whatever you’re up to; let me know how you like to spend your Sunday in the comments below 🙂

Spring Skincare Shakeup

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Hello Friday!  Hope you’ve had a good week whatever you’ve been up to – mine’s been absolutely mad.  It’s been one of those weeks where I haven’t actually done much or been out and about (lucky, I guess – the weather’s been mental here in Cardiff!), but have had a lot going on.  That being said, I’m so happy it’s the weekend – time for a little R&R and some pampering! 🙂

I feel like my skin’s going through a bit of a shift in season right now.  It’s been feeling a bit… winter-lagged (is that word?) for the past few months.  Dry, a bit sad-looking and a little bit more red and sensitive than it usually is – so, I’ve been loading up on anything that’ll inject it with some added moisture, scrub away the winter scales and inject a little radiance. But we’re heading into Spring now and so I’ve had a little bit of a skincare shakeup, and these are the products I’ll be using from now until the weather heats up.

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*Clinique Take The Day Off Makeup Remover for Lids, Lashes and Lips

I’ve been a massive fan of Clinique’s Take the Day Off Balm for a looooooong time.  It’s so satisfying massaging a blob of the stuff into my face and watching my makeup instantly dissolve.  Even more satisfying is smudging all my dark eye makeup until I look like something out of a horror movie – but sometimes I need a little extra elbow grease to remove all that liquid liner, waterproof mascara and liquid lipstick.  Enter Clinique’s Lids, Lashes and Lips formula which I was very kindly gifted by Clinique Cardiff.  It’s gentle (no stinging watery eyes or dried out lips!) and I’ve started using it when I go in for a second round of makeup removal – just to make sure everything’s squeaky clean before I start my deep cleanse.

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Kiehl’s Epidermal Re-Texturizing Micro-Dermabrasion

Honestly, I’ve been thinking of making the move towards acids when it comes to exfoliating my skin – especially now that we’re heading into summer and technically those dry scales of winter shouldn’t be a problem anymore – but I’ve been using this little number from Kiehl’s for so long that it’s going to be tough to try something new!  I’ve had really dry skin all winter and this dude’s been my one and only for scrubbing away dead skin and polishing up the new.  You only need a tiny amount and some gentle circular scrubbing and it really does the job.

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Nuxe Nirvanesque Enriche for 1st Wrinkles

I picked up this baby in TK Maxx when I was looking for something to really soothe my super dry winter skin at night and it’s honestly one of the most beautiful face creams I’ve ever used.  I mean, I’m a little way past “first wrinkles” stage – but this little gem’s been really helping to keep my skin feeling soft, smooth and hydrated – and dewy!  I wake up with “I’ve had ten hours sleep and ten bottles of water” skin, and it smells really lovely.  Unfortunately, I’ve got a funny feeling that they’ve discontinued it – I mean, a quick google will find you a tub of the stuff, but I can’t find it being sold on the Nuxe website – but hey, I’ve adored everything I’ve ever bought from Nuxe, so if anything it’s converted me into giving the rest of their skincare rage a go. I’ll definitely be on the hunt for one of their lighter moisturizers to take me through summer. 🙂

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*Clinique Dramatically Different Hydrating Jelly

As I said before, I’m still coming out of winter with skin suffering from a bit of a hangover.  It’s been dry, sad and a little bit more sensitive than usual.  I’ve only just started using this hydrating jelly from Clinique, but so far so good.  I’ve been using a very small amount in the morning just to give my skin a little bit of a moisture boost, and to protect it from pollution when I’m out and about.  Because it’s lightweight, I think it’s going to make a great moisturizer when the weather heats up over the summer and I might make a full switch over in a couple of months.  Early days though, so we’ll see.

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*Elemis Peptide 4 Thousand Flower Mask and Eye Recovery Cream

Still a massive fan of this combo – and I think I’ve spoken about them a few times already.  The Thousand Flower Mask is an absolute dream when my skin needs a bit of a pick me up (it really smooths everything over and brightens things up) – I tend to use it on a Sunday evening after a bath and after I’ve exfoliated with the Kiehl’s Micro-Dermabrasion Cream – just when my skin isn’t necessarily looking for any added moisture, just something to generally perk it up.  The Eye Recovery Cream has been working wonders on my tired, winter-lagged eyes – keeping those dark circles at bay and working on those fine lines. 😉

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Nuxe Nuxuriance Ultra Mask

Again, Nuxe are quickly becoming one of my favourite beauty brands – their products are all such a treat.  I picked up this little mask from TK Maxx (all hail) on a whim and have been enjoying pampering my skin with it a couple of nights a week before I go in with my moisturizer.  It’s packed full of Hyaluronic Acid to smooth out the fine lines I’m staring to get and also claims to plump up skin and even out tone.  It’s got a metal roller that you use to squeeze and apply the product, and as it goes on it cools and reduces any puffiness.  The only thing I don’t love about it is the smell… but to be honest, it soaks in so quickly that you barely notice it.

Have a great weekend everyone! 🙂

*This post contains affiliate links; to learn more about them, click here.

How to do a Spring Wardrobe Audit in Seven Steps

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I’m definitely not one of those women who can survive on a super-streamlined capsule wardrobe.  I mean – don’t get me wrong – I absolutely love the idea of it and devour Capsule Wardrobe videos on Youtube like I do Cream Eggs… but in practice?  Nope, this gal likes options – lots of options – and is still clinging on hard to that Original Rudeboys T Shirt she bought in Topman back in 2004 (even though it’s literally falling apart and has gaping holes in the armpits…).  I like a full wardrobe (I used to work in a costume warehouse, go figure!) – I like to have lots of options and I love rediscovering old favourites.  But, I’m a bit of a hoarder, and for that reason I have to make sure I do a little bit of a wardrobe audit at the start of every season just to see exactly what I’ve got and what I need to add (and, more importantly, what I don’t need to add!).  Just like everyone else right now, I’m also trying to think about sustainability when it comes to fashion, my personal style and I’m trying really hard to only buy items that suit me, that I need and  ones that I know I’m going to wear and love until they fall off me in pieces!

This post is basically a step by step guide on how you can start doing an audit yourself, with a few handy print outs to help you keep track along the way 🙂

The Idea

The basic idea behind the audit is to transition your wardrobe from Autumn/Winter to Spring/Summer and back again in a way that helps you see what you’ve got hanging up, what needs to go (does not spark joy!) and any gaps that need filling.  By doing it, you get a better idea of your personal uniform – the styles and colours you reach for again and again – and will be better equipped to stop yourself from spending needlessly each season on items you a) Don’t need, b) Don’t suit you, and c) Just won’t wear.

The best time to do it is usually a month or two into the new season (the end of September and the beginning of April seem to work well) because by that time the weather should have started to shift, you’ll have seen enough of the new season trends to know exactly what new bits and bobs you fancy adding, and you’ll still have time to pick up some old season bargains in the sales to fill in any gaps!  Make a note in your diary or on your phone and block out one whole day to focus completely on your audit.

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Step One: Take Everything Out

Right, let’s get this show on the road.  Before you can get sorting, you need to get everything out.  In true Marie Kondo style that basically means pulling everything out of your wardrobe and throwing it into a big pile on your bed or on the floor.  You need to see what you’re dealing with and then work on each item individually.

Step Two: Buh-bye Autumn/Winter!

Now it’s time to get sorting.  A massive part of a new season audit involves reflecting on the one that’s just finished.  As you sift through your pile of clothes, shoes and accessories think about the items you kept reaching for again and again.  What items did you wear to death?  Which outfits worked?  Which ones didn’t?  What items didn’t you wear once?  What kind of items are missing?

Begin sorting the clothes into three piles:

  1. Love it, keeping it“Never wanna give you up, Never wanna say goodbye!”
  2. Maybefor when you’re on the fence…
  3. Ditch it “Thank you, next!”

Be as ruthless as you can! Donate or Depop everything you’ve fallen out of love with and doesn’t fit anymore, and recycle any items that are damaged (that might even mean turning them into something else; all my old t shirts usually retire and turn into pyjamas at some point!).

“Thank You, Next”

As you’re going through, start making a shopping list of any items you need to replace, items that you need (I really need a black pair of jeans… I could do with a jacket to wear when I’m walking the dog… I don’t have a smart pair of boots to wear out…) and any trend items that you would want to add.  You’re going to pack this list away with your winter wardrobe; some of the items on the replace and need lists you might be able to pick up the sales immediately (if so, highlight and then tick them off the list!), and as for the trend pieces you’ve been eyeing up – you’re going to shelf the urge for a while.  When autumn swings back around you can re-evaluate where you are with them and have a handy shopping list ready to go. 🙂

“Love it, Keeping it”

Pay close attention to your keep pile because it’s going to give you a really good idea of what your ideal wardrobe is going to look like.  Look at the colours and styles you keep reaching for time and time again – maybe you’re a confirmed “Jeans and a Nice Top” kind of girl like me, maybe you’ve got a thing for tailoring and maybe it just turns out that your wardrobe is as black as your soul.  That’s great!  At least now you know what works for you and what’s worth spending money on. 🙂

“Maybe…”

Once you’ve finished sorting, go back to your maybe pile and see if you’ve changed your mind.  Maybe there’s an item in there that might be quite useful, maybe it’s a transition piece that could work during either season, maybe you’ve found a better version in your love it pile and no longer need it, or maybe you’re still on the fence.  That’s okay!  Throw it into your keep pile and you never know, you might fall in love with it all over again and be glad you held on.

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Step Three: Pack it Away

Hopefully now you’ve whittled everything down to just two piles.  Bag up everything you’re getting rid of (depending whether you’re donating, depop-ping or recycling) and then turn your attention to your keep pile.  Time to pack it away ready for next year!  I’m lucky, my bed’s got secret storage underneath it so I like to pack away last season’s clothes into vacuum bags (love them!) and keep them stowed away and out of sight – and more importantly, protected from dust, damp and moths.  For extra credit, pop them all in the wash before you store them – and don’t forget to pack them with something to keep them smelling fresh.  Don’t forget to add in your shopping list – you’ll need it next season! 😉

Storage Tips and Tricks…
  1. You know those little scent boosters you can throw in the washing machine?  Pour some into a small organza bag and then pack away with your clothes to keep them smelling fresh! (I also like to hang a few in my current wardrobe to keep my shirts smelling nice) 🙂
  2. Similarly, you can stuff a couple of dryer sheets into your shoes to soak up any sweat and keep them smelling fresh.
  3. Consider wrapping delicate fabrics like silk and occasion-wear in tissue paper before storing – or use an old pillowcase!
  4. Spruce up your shoes before putting them back in their box.  Clean off any mud, polish them and get the heels mended so they’re ready to march next season!
  5. Make sure you throw in some protection from moths.  Moth balls are toxic to pets and children, so consider using cedar wood instead.

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Step Four: Hello Spring/Summer!

Right! Time to get your summer garb out of storage!  Finally!  Hopefully you’ve packed it all away neatly and all it needs is a bit of a steam to bring it back to life.  Lay everything out on your bed and see what you’ve got.  If you already performed an audit at the start of autumn, then you’ll be ready to go; if not then swing back to step two and get sorting!  As you’re reacquainting yourself with your spring/summer wardrobe there might be a bit of extra streamlining to do.  Are there any items you were unsure about last year that you can comfortably make a decision on now?  Is there anything that doesn’t fit?  Hopefully everything’s come out looking brand new, but sometimes there might be an item that doesn’t survive.  I had a red faux-leather jacket a long time ago and had to chuck it because it literally just disintegrated in storage!

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Step Five: Outfits

Time to get your wardrobe working for you!  Think about how you spend your time on a weekly basis.  List three activities that you tend to do every single week, including work and then try to come up with three outfits for each of those activities using the clothes you’ve got in front of you – ideally for three weather scenarios (dry, wet and changeable).  If you’ve got an instax camera, why not snap some photos of these outfits?  Or you could print out some old Instagram snaps of outfits that worked, or just list the items!

As you’re building your outfits, you might find another opportunity to streamline.  Are there any items that just don’t fit in with your day to day uniforms?  Think about whether it’s time to toss ’em!  Keep your shopping list close as you might find there are a couple of items you’d like to add to it.

Keep these outfit lists handy somewhere in your current wardrobe (maybe clipped to hanger on their own, or tacked up on the doors), then pack them away with your wardrobe when the season ends – they might come in handy next year!

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LOL, “Brunch on the weekend” – because I only get dressed properly if there’s going to be food involved.

Step Six: What’s Missing?

Time to refer to that handy shopping list you made at the end of last season.  You might find that it’s all still applicable and you’re still lusting after that rattan bag you had your eye on last summer, or maybe you’ll just have a good old laugh, wonder what the hell you were thinking and be glad you didn’t splurge on something you were never going to wear!  Deal with the “Want” and “Replace” lists first – cross out anything that doesn’t apply and tick the items that do!

Next move on to “Need” list.  Look for gaps in your uniforms; maybe you don’t have a spring jacket, or threw out your only pair of sandals last year.  Jot these items down!  Then, you’re ready to set yourself a budget and shop!

(*If you’re in Cardiff then don’t forget to sign up for St Davids Shopping Centre’s Big Night Out – which is basically a student lock in with tonnes of discounts and treats… but you don’t have to be a student, win!  It’s completely free to sign up and it’ll be the perfect opportunity to go refresh your wardrobe!) 🙂

Step Seven: Organise!

Phew!  Home stretch!  After all that sorting, it’s time to (make a cup of tea first, and then) put everything back into your wardrobe in an easy to see, easy to access way.  Think about arranging items in some kind of order – whether that’s by colour, by item or by outfit.  Whatever works for you!

Tips and Tricks for Organising your Wardrobe…
  1. Make sure you’re using the right hanger for each item.  Invest in some hard-wearing wooden ones for heavy items like coats, felt-lined ones for delicate items and grippers for trousers and skirts.
  2. Don’t forget your cedar balls to keep those moths away, and scent boosters to keep things fresh!
  3. The top shelf of my cupboard gets really messy – use dividers to keep those piles from toppling over.
  4. Get crafty when it comes to storing accessories.  For example, office filing boxes are great for storing purses and clutch bags, and hooks are great for handbags.
  5. Use ring-pulls to double up hangers and arrange outfits together.

And that’s it!  Happy auditing! 🙂

If you fancy giving a wardrobe audit a go then you can download my Audit Shopping List here, and the Uniforms List here. Come on them, come clean!  How many pairs of jeans/t shirts are bashing around at the back of your cupboard?  😉

About Motivation

Wouldn’t it be great if they bottled Motivation?  So whenever you were feeling stuck in that emotional rut of “I just can’t be arsed” you could just drag yourself to your local supermarket and literally stock up on cans of whoop ass that would give you that much needed boost to get stuff done.  They’d be right there on the shelf next to those silver cans with bulls and lightening bolts on them, but completely separate because let’s not confuse motivation with energy.  After all, they’re completely different things.

A slump in energy can be quickly solved with a sold eight hours shut eye or a stonking great big cup of coffee (…or tea, if you’re like me!).  Motivation though?  That’s trickier.  Motivation is elusive.  It’s unpredictable; it comes and goes and can’t be pinned down.  It can’t be summoned, and it can’t be kept.  Just like inspiration (I’m a firm believer that the two are either the same thing or at least go hand in hand), it’s got an air of mystery and magic to it – a sudden spark that gives you the jolt you need to tackle anything and everything from the moulding dishes in the sink to job applications, blog posts and unwritten books.

Motivation – when it sticks around – makes you feel powerful, invincible.  You know the feeling; it’s practically a superpower, it’s that voice inside that shouts YOU GOT THIS and just for second makes you believe that you’re capable of doing almost anything.  The problem is that almost as soon as it appears, it’s gone again.  Hopefully after you’ve finished that pisa-esque pile of ironing or bashed out that blog post that’s been bugging you, but y’know sometimes it’s been known to bugger off sooner, leaving you high and dry – something that’s not only incredibly rude, but can be incredibly depressing too.  It leaves you feeling the exact opposite of strong and capable; weak and unable.  Useless.

Perhaps that’s why Motivation’s so elusive.  I mean, if we all went around ignited by that spark 100% of the time then we wouldn’t value it as much – not to mention, we’d be bloody exhausted from taking over the world every day of the week!

Sadly, I can’t see Tesco or Waitrose bottling Motivation any time soon (but if it did it’d probably be flavoured with blood oranges and salted caramel), but there are definitely a few ways to encourage that fickle spark of superhuman can-do to return.

Rest and Re-energize

Ground breaking, I know.  But, Motivation never likes to stop by when you’re feeling run down or exhausted.  So relax, put that to-do list on hold for a while and refill those batteries.  Not by necking caffeine though – all that’s good for is a quick burst of Faux-tivation followed by a crash.

Do Something Else

Motivation likes to be inconvenient.  Just like that Hermes delivery you’ve been waiting for and watching out the front window for all morning; you know that as soon as you decide to get in the shower or plonk your bum on the toilet the front door bell will go.  A watched cake never bakes (…or something like that). So do something else; read a book, go for a walk, start binge-watching that new show everyone’s been talking about and you can guarantee that Motivation will suddenly show up unannounced and ring that bell.

Ask for Help

There’s no shame in taking a sip from someone else’s can of whoop-ass.  When you’re feeling in a rut, ask for a boost-up from friends or family.  They might have the answers you’ve been looking for and couldn’t see yourself, or be more than willing to give you a break and help with that to-do list.

Fake It

Sometimes we can’t afford to hang around waiting for Motivation to give us a jump start (there’s no AA membership when it comes to Motivation!), and during times like that you need to be able to roll your sleeves up and get things done anyway.  Everyone has their own ways of tricking themselves into feeling inspired, whether that’s bribing yourself with a reward for getting the job done, or a playlist of songs that help you feel empowered.  And you never know, maybe Motivation might sense the positivity and offer a helping hand after all.

What are Your Tips and Tricks to staying Motivated?   🙂