DIY Fresh Grape Face Mask

Though I do love a trip to Lush every now and then, the sad reality is that I simply can’t afford to treat myself to new skincare all that often. Cup O’Coffee is an absolute staple in my routine, but I’ve had to cut back on certain luxuries, one of which is the random purchasing of skincare ‘just because’. I wish I didn’t have to spend money on travel, on food, on rent and on bills. But it turns out, annoyingly, in the real world, these things must take precedence. Which is what led me to having to get a little more creative when I recently felt the need for a touch of skin TLC.

Making your own face masks isn’t hard, and many require only the simplest, freshest ingredients, most of which you’ll find you already have in your fridge or cupboard. The one I’m sharing today, for example, is a two-ingredient wonder, the ingredients of which I had ready and waiting in the kitchen. Grapes are loaded with antioxidants, contain a molecule called resveratrol which prevents signs of ageing and can help to combat uneven skin tone. The lactic acid in yoghurt (both regular and soy!) has exfoliating properties that dissolve dead skin and tightens pores. Read on to find out how to give yourself a refreshing facial using just these two super simple ingredients!

Ingredients / Supplies

– 4/5 fresh grapes
– 1 tbsp yoghurt, regular or soy
– a small bowl
– a fine mesh sieve
– a fork
– 2 frozen grapes

Make

1. Cut your non-frozen grapes in half before placing them into a sieve. Over a small bowl, use the back of a fork to mash the grapes, allowing the juice to drip into the bowl and leaving the skin behind. Keep going until you’ve squeezed every last bit of liquid you can!

2. Add a dollop of yogurt to the freshly squeezed grape juice, and mix until combined.

A fresh grape facial

1. The first step is a little weird, but bear with me on this one! Grab a couple of frozen grapes and, using the palm of your hands, roll these around your eyes/cheekbones/forehead/general face area. The grapes are super cooling, relaxing and, like a cold teaspoon, can help reduce puffiness.

2. Next, smooth the yogurt/grape mask onto your face, applying liberally but not so thickly that it will drip. Avoid the eye area.

3. Once your whole face is covered, leave the mask to sit for 20 minutes or so, until the mask looks matt and feels tight. When you’re ready to remove it, splash your face with warm water and continue to use your normal face wash and moisturiser. Skin will be left feeling smooth, soft and glowing.

How to Deal with a Flaky Friend

We all have that one friend. That friend that always seems so up for brunch or a movie or a great night out. Who gets you all excited for a great time by planning every detail of your excursion. Who then, just hours before you were meant to meet, almost without fail, sends a quick text to say that they’re sooooooo sorry, but they have to cancel.

Once again, you’ve trustingly set aside your time for this person and they’ve let you down! How dare they?! You vow to never make plans with them again, to remember how bad this made you feel, and yet, the next time they text, you inevitably start the whole process again until eventually you’ll hit breaking point and decide to throw in the towel completely.

It really is tempting to say ‘f**k it’, when it comes to flaky friends. To give up and decide that it’s just not worth investing your time in them anymore. And, if that’s true, if you genuinely feel that they’re adding nothing to your life other than consistently bursting your bubble, maybe now is the time. Maybe you do have to make the decision to set them aside.

But if, once you’ve weighed things up, you come to the realisation that you do still want them in your life, you’ll need to find a way of confronting and working around the issue so as not to let it keep negatively affecting you and your friendship.

A pinch of salt

The best way to avoid setting yourself up for disappointment with flaky friends is to take your plans with a pinch of salt. If their track record is that they end up cancelling 85% of the time, then you need to go into this with 85% dubiety. Instead of letting yourself get super pumped up for a fantastic time, come to terms with the fact that things may not end up working out and prepare to not be too shocked should this be the case. Perhaps form yourself your own personal plan B – a chilled night in with a glass of wine and a bath, for example!

Your mind frame should be ‘if this happens, it happens’ and not ‘if this doesn’t happen I’ll be mortified’. Of course, making plans that may never come to fruition isn’t exactly a fun or productive use of your time, so the next step might be a touch more agreeable…

Don’t make flaky friends the focus

Try not to make this person the focus of your plan. If possible, see them in a group setting rather than alone. This way, there’ll still be people to enjoy your time with and you won’t have lost out on a slot in your diary in which you could have made other plans. One word of caution though: be aware that group dynamics change when certain people are missing. If the flaky friend also happens to be the glue that holds the group together, things mayn’t turn out as fun as you were originally hoping. Make sure to choose a group that’ll still be able to enjoy themselves whether this person is there or not.

Plan small

Instead of counting on your friend to fill hours of your time, try planning small. Suggest grabbing a bite to eat here or there, or asking them round for a cuppa. It’s easier to fit in these mini-plans, and less devastating/disappointing when they fall through. If this person frequently finds themselves suddenly unavailable then perhaps the way forward is to keep giving them the option of short bursts of time together, in the hope that these smaller plans might be more manageable for them to commit to.

The underlying reasons

If nothing else is working and you’re becoming increasingly frustrated that your friend is consistently breaking plans with you, have an honest conversation with them. Let them know how their flakiness is affecting you and give them a safe space to open up in. There are always underlying reasons why people act the way they do, and it’ll benefit your friendship in more ways than one if these are out in the open.

It could be that they’re struggling with introversion, that something is going on in the family or that their job is working them too hard. There are any number of reasons why someone might be having a problem with committing and, while it’s totally justified for you to be disappointed, a touch of compassion will go a long way to prevent you a) resenting this person and ditching them forever and b) boiling over and letting it ruin your own mood and day.

What are your tips for dealing with flaky friends? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

30 Prompts for Your Gratitude Journal

Even when buying the Five-Minute Journal, I wasn’t completely convinced that I’d manage to stick with it for more than few days. Whilst I could totally see the benefits, commitment has never been my strongest point, and I could see myself making the effort for a short period of time before giving up and letting the book go unused. However, to my pleasant surprise, I’ve been using it for around a month now and it’s had such a positive effect on my mood and outlook on life. I’m becoming used to collecting happy moments, recognising even the tiniest of plusses and now have a record of what’s kept me ticking each day. It’s a wonderful tool, and I cannot recommend it more if you want to start a gratitude journal yourself.

If you aren’t familiar with the concept of this particular journal (or others like it), the premise is that, at the beginning and end of each day, you’re prompted to write about the things you’re grateful for, what you hope to achieve from the day and any amazing moments experienced. To begin with, I found the provided headings enough to get me scribbling but admittedly there are certain days that the prompts given to me by the Five-Minute Journal don’t really spark much inspiration. It’s on these days that I cross out the given prompt, and add my own. Here’s a selection of prompts that I like to use, and that you could add to your own journalling routine.

30 Prompts for Your Gratitude Journal

1. What are your most positive qualities?
2. A small act of kindness to complete today.
3. A favourite quote to inspire/lift/motivate you.
4. A moment that made you smile/laugh today.
5. How could you make a positive difference in the world today?
6. Who are you grateful for in life, and why?
7. Who do you look up to, and why?
8. Something pretty/cool/beautiful you noticed today.
9. A new book/magazine/blog you discovered today.
10. What are you thanking the universe for today?
11. Something new to try today.
12. One thing you can do to be more healthy today.
13. One thing you can do to be more inspired today.
14. Draw a picture of a happy moment from your day.
15. Who are you proud of today, and why (this could be yourself!)?
16. Something you read today that made you think.
17. How will you stay mindful/present today?
18. A song that you loved/danced to/kept you going.
19. A great idea you had today.
20. A fear that you conquered today.
21. Something you did to prevent something negative happening today.
22. How do you feel right now?
23. Something that makes you different, and why you love it.
24. A compliment you received today.
25. How you worked on (insert goal here) today.
26. An amazing quality you noticed in someone today.
27. What made you feel nourished today (mentally, physically, spiritually)?
28. Something you did today that made your life simpler.
29. Forgive yourself for something that made you feel guilty.
30. How will you challenge negative thoughts that may arise today?

What are your favourite gratitude journalling prompts? Let me know in the comments!

Sunday Inspiration Vol. 1

Flourish & Be Sunday Inspiration #1

If my blog were a day of the week (like one of those really weird Buzzfeed quizzes that links two completely random things – “Have Breakfast For Dinner And We’ll Reveal Which Emoji You Are”), I’d hope that it would be a Sunday. Why? Because Sunday, for me at least, is absolutely the best day of the week. It’s slower and more laid back. It’s a day for recollecting your thoughts, readying yourself for the week ahead and taking some much needed me-time. It’s a day for getting up late, reading in bed and eating brunch. It’s a day for flourishing… and being… get it? Flourish & Be? I crack me up.

Bad blog name references aside, with Sunday being a day for stepping back and taking things slow, I thought it’d be a nice time to share the things I’ve been loving (both online and offline) in the preceding week(s). Here I’ll collate the things I’ve enjoyed, discovered and taken inspiration from in a single, concentrated space. So, here you go. Here’s my first list of Sunday inspiration:

Soundtrack: Haim – Want You Back

Online

1. Take some time away from your phone/laptop/iPad/desktop with these five ways to unwind without the internet. I’ve really appreciated getting more involved again in the blogging community recently on Instagram/Twitter, however I know that it’s also necessary to regularly step away from the tech and detach from the world of social media. (Oh My Clumsy Heart Journal)

2. I’m normally pretty upbeat when it comes to work but one day last week I completely lost the will. It was on the way to work that morning that I came across these tips for appearing confident at work when you don’t really know what you’re doing. Though I honestly do know what I’m doing, I sometimes lack the confidence I need to do it, and this pepped me up at the beginning of a difficult day. (Sophie Rosie)

Flourish & Be Sunday Inspiration #1

3. I’ve enjoyed the Designlovefest blog for a long time, especially the ton of free downloadable tech wallpapers regularly shared there. These (and an upcoming Instagram post of mine) inspired me to create something similar myself… watch this space! (Designlovefest)

4. What with getting more involved with Twitter again, I’m becoming reacquainted with the people I’m following. One account I’m really enjoying getting to know again is @LondonMindful aka The Mindfulness Project. They’re always posting helpful tips, quotes and reminders to be present, which is much appreciated on my feed! They also hold courses at their London HQ, I actually went to a fantastic mindfulness and meditation session there a couple of years ago, so there’s plenty of opportunity to get involved. (The Mindfulness Project)

Offline

5. I’ve recently gotten into the habit of buying and discovering new magazines, a more recent purchase being Breathe magazine. And let’s just say it’s basically ruined all other magazines for me. It’s a lifestyle magazine dedicated to wellbeing, mindfulness, creativity and the general escaping of busy life… everything I love in one place! If I could put together my perfect publication, Breathe would be it.

6. There are so many habits I’d like to keep up with but a lot of the time I struggle with commitment. Even when buying The Five-Minute Journal I wasn’t sure whether I’d be able to stick with it. However, I’ve now been writing in it morning and night for a couple of weeks and I’ve honestly begun noticing a real difference in my mood and outlook on life. Bringing focus to what I’m grateful for and the small-but-amazing things that happen each day has nurtured a much more positive attitude within me and I’m now absolutely committed to keeping the journal as part of my daily routine.

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday, and the week ahead!

5 Crystals for Increased Positivity and Wellbeing

5 Crystals to Introduce to Your Life

Whether you believe in the healing powers of crystals or not, they’re a beautiful addition to your home and general life. Personally, I have to admit that I struggle to get my head around the theory behind it all however I find them fascinating and am totally behind anything that promotes positivity. Whether they’re physically doing anything or not, choosing a stone that represents something you want or need will turn you on to saying yes to the right decisions and opportunities that will draw that particular thing closer. It’s a real, tangible reminder of your goals, hopes and dreams. And, honestly, whatever you find comfort in, whatever keeps you happy and looking forward, is a plus; crystals aren’t harming anyone, so why not embrace the magic? Here are my five favourite crystals, a few of their purported properties and what they are said represent.

1. Clear quartz The master healer. Quartz is one of the most abundant crystals on Earth. It’s ideal for bringing balance to the body and clarity/focus to the mind. It is said that it can help clear emotional detritus from the past and enhance positive emotions.

2. Lapis lazuli This deep blue stone is used to enhance intellectual ability/memory and to stimulate a desire for knowledge and understanding. It is also said to encourage honesty and deeper communication, bringing harmony to relationships.

3. Turquoise For good health and protection, strengthening the immune system and aiding with both physical and mental exhaustion. Turquoise may be used to encourage inner calm by stabilising mood swings and bringing peace to the mind. I love this one for its bright, vibrant colour.

4. Opal A beautiful, cloudy stone with a flash of rainbow within. Use this to provide inspiration and enhance imagination and creativity. As a water stone, like a river flowing over the rocks at its bed, the energy of an opal helps one smoothly move past times of change.

5. Blue lace agate This calming, sky-blue stone is one for bringing tranquility and lessening feelings of anger or nervousness. It enhances intuition and brings tact to both written and spoken communication. Sometimes I like to hold this stone whilst I meditate to help me focus on soothing my mind and being more present.

How I Survive Being an Introvert

The vast majority of the time, I enjoy being around people. I’m comfortable in most social situations, enjoy engaging in conversation and have no problem being the centre of attention. I love making other people laugh, quite often speak up in large group meetings and don’t generally shy away from gatherings where there’ll be a lot of people. I can be loud, I can be over the top and I’m not embarrassed to do silly things to raise a smile. If these facts were all you knew about me, I’d hazard a guess that you’d probably classify me as an extrovert. However, after getting to know myself over the past 23 years, I’d most definitely describe myself as the opposite.

At one time I was under the impression that extroversion meant that you loved being around people, and that introversion was the same thing as being shy. So whenever the discussion came up as to ‘what people were’, I’d confidently announce to the group that I was an extrovert. How could I, someone who enjoyed chatting and being social, who loved leading conversation and making others giggle, be an introvert? It didn’t seem possible. Yeah sure, there were a couple of times a month at which I felt an almost crippling desire to be by myself, to curl up in a ball and recharge my batteries without the eyes of other people on me… but, like, that wasn’t really relevant. If I loved people, I was an extrovert. Full stop.

Now though, now I understand what extroversion and introversion actually are, I’ve revised my answer to that ‘what are you?’ question. I’ve come to realise that it’s exactly those moments, the moments of desperately needing to be away from the hum of humanity, that make me an introvert. I love being around people, but they’re not where I pick up my energy. I might like to spend my energy on other people, however a group setting is not where I gather it. My energy is gathered when I’m by myself, doing my own thing, in my own time, at my own pace. Though I love a group, that group will eventually sap my energy away and there’ll come a day where I can think of nothing worse than being around other people.

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