Hey lovelies! I don't know about you but my home is my sanctuary, particularly my bedroom! For me, it has to be a place where I can relax and forget about the day. Bedrooms are supposed to be relaxing sanctuaries where one goes to rest and revitalize oneself, and there are few things more relaxing than nature, so why not combine the two to create a bedroom that is truly a sanctuary for you?

Here are some natural bedroom ideas that will help you relax and regain balance:

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Natural Colours

If you do nothing else, taking out the overwhelming colours from your bedroom and replacing them with the colours, you’ll find in nature, like browns, greens, tans, rich reds and warm greys will have an instant calming effect that will help you wind down at the end of a busy day.

 

Natural Fabrics

Natural fabrics like cotton and bamboo not only look closer to nature than their man-made fabrics, but they also feel a lot more natural too. This is especially important when you’re choosing bed sheets because they will be in contact with your skin for at least 8 hours every night. However, you should also look at purchasing a mattress which has been made from natural materials. Vi-spring beds, for example, are stuffed with horsehair and wool, and that makes them a lot more comfortable. Combined with a natural wood or bamboo bed frame, they will give you a naturally comfy place to rest your head.

 

Plants and Flowers

What could be more natural than plants and flowers? Bringing some greenery into the bedroom will not only calm you down and put you at ease but if you choose the right plants, they will also filter the air, so that you aren’t breathing in so many pollutants. Having plants in my bedroom is one of my favourite ways to feel truly surrounded by nature – even in London!

As well as bringing live plants and flowers into the bedroom, choosing fabrics, bedding and wallpapers which feature botanical motifs is a  great way to get the natural look indoors.

 

Wool Rugs

Everyone hates that moment when they step onto a stone cold floor in the morning. It’s a real shock to the system, but it’s one that’s easily avoided by investing in a couple of natural rugs and placing them on either side of the bed.

 

Face the Window

If privacy isn’t an issue and you have a nice view, moving your bed so that it faces the window is the best way to bring nature into your bedroom. Waking up seeing the sun rising or the birds in the trees will give you a real boost, as will gazing at the stars as you drift off into slumber.

 

Natural Accessories

No bedroom is complete without a few choice accessories to add interest, but instead of heading to Ikea and picking up a few manmade pieces, why not head to the beach and collect rocks and shells instead? Arrange them on your dressing table for a taste of the beach in your bedroom.

If you can’t get to the beach, start collecting sticks, acorns and moss, which when delicately arranged and wrapped with fairy lights can make a unique centrepiece for the dressing table that will immediately trigger your relaxation response.


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Once you’ve brought nature to the bedroom, I think you’ll notice that you feel a whole lot calmer at home. I hope you find these tips useful!

How do you make your bedroom a relaxing sanctuary?

***This post is a brand collaboration***

My beautiful wedding dress was off the rack and I am by no means ashamed to admit it. I bought my wedding dress on my first day of looking and it was about the 8th I tried on and second shop I has been to. I didn’t really plan to buy off the rack, the first shop I went to was a boutique for example, but the second was a sample store and that’s where I ended up finding the dress I loved.

I have had mixed reactions. Most people thought it was great or didn’t really have an opinion either day, but a few friends wrinkled their noses a bit. They seemed fixated on the fact that other women would have tried it on before me… What like every other piece of clothing you have bought from a shop you mean?! These pre conceptions are plain silly. So, for any off the rack brides like me, here are some benefits of buying a sample dress as well as some tips for getting it right.

Saving money is obviously a big one. My dress was an Alfred Angelo last season which was reduced to half its original price. The full price of most wedding dresses makes me wince (you’ll only wear it once) but I do understand the price tags with all the material and detailing. So, to buy a sample and save some pennies seems like a great idea to me.

It might be one of a kind! When I found my dress before buying it I went home to think about it and searched the web high and low for the same Alfred Angelo design elsewhere. I would not find it for sale for love nor money anywhere in the world, it must have been a discontinued line. This meant that next to no brides would be wearing it for the 2016 wedding season! For someone who likes to be unique like me this is a big plus and I was keen on being a DIY friendly bride so buying a sample kind of fitted into that theme.

Flexible fittings. When you order your dress in you have the big decision of choosing a size. Yes, you can have it altered but it’s more difficult to take things out than in. I have heard of brides ordering a dress in a smaller size and then panic dieting to try and get into it when they haven’t lost the weight they wanted to. My dress was a size 14 so that was what I got. When I bought it, I was a 12 and by the time I went for my first fitting I was a 10 so I could have it taken in a fair bit. But equally could have had it taken in only a little. Flexibility makes for a calmer bride!

Tips for buying off the rack:

  1. Check the dress thoroughly, a few gems missing here or there is no biggie (my seamstress fixed some of those for me) but stains, foundation marks or major damage could prove difficult and cause you unnecessary stress.
  2. Get a good seamstress who you trust and can fit it properly and repair any small problems. Mine was amazing and transformed the dress. It fitted like a glove.
  3. Do not be ashamed! It does not mean your dress is used, second hand or in any way less ‘yours’. On the other hand you don’t have to tell people if you don’t want to. They’ll never know! And it’s none of their business anyway.
  4. Pick a dress you love and don’t be put off it’s off the rack. If, like me, you didn’t necessarily plan on buying a sample dress but you fall for one then get it! It might be your only chance! And if it’s the one, it’s the one.

Off the rack is fabulous. It doesn’t mean the dress is any less beautiful, stylish or special. I’m so glad I found mine and  wouldn’t change it for the world.

Happy shopping!

 

I think most of us will agree that lazy Sunday mornings are literally the best thing ever. Now, I love a brunch date and although sometimes it is nice to pop to a café and have someone else make it for me, sometimes I really don’t want to get out of my pyjamas and leave the house! So lately we’ve been whipping up some delicious home-cooked brunches in our own kitchen.

Instagram friendly poached eggs on smoked salmon and smashed avocado

This is super easy and quick and is equally as scrumptious to eat as it is to look at on your insta feed. Simply spread some ripe avocado on some wholemeal toast and pop some smoked salmon on top. Next, poach a perfect runny egg (this part takes some practice and I usually get Paul to do it for me!) either in hot water or using a poacher. Top with black pepper and a sprinkling of chilli flakes to give it an extra kick. A super impressive brunch which takes less than 10 minutes to prepare.

Guilt free oat and cinnamon pancakes

And they seriously are guilt free! These pancakes contain no sugar, no butter and no milk.  Throw 25 grams of porridge oats in a blender (or Nutri Bullet) with an egg, a banana and a tea spoon of cinnamon. Then accessorise as you please! Blueberries, strawberries, yogurt, banana and honey are all delicious toppings – but we were really naughty once and put apple, bacon and maple syrup on them!

Spicy vegetarian omelette

This delicious and healthy omelette is perfect for even the most discerning of healthy eaters! It’s meat free, dairy free, gluten free – not quite vegan though, sorry! Roughly chop peppers, radishes, spring onions, chills or any of your chosen veg you’ve got at the back of the fridge along with some tofu. Whisk three eggs in a bowl and season with salt, pepper and smoked paprika for a kick. Lightly fry your filling until the tofu is turning brown, add the eggs and cook, flip, fold and make your omelette! Serve with mashed avocado on the side.

 

Greek inspired bruschetta 

These are a tasty savoury brunch idea which were inspired by our time in Greece last year and we absolutely love them. They are so easy to prepare too! Serve roughly chopped ripe plum tomatoes with basil leaves and feta cheese pieces on slices of toasted ciabatta bread. Also, while the ciabatta is still warm rub a cut garlic clove over it for that extra yummy kick. Drizzle olive oil over the whole lot before serving.


The Full Monty

You cannot beat a full English fry up and sometimes – it’s just what you need on a Sunday. Particularly if you’ve had a few wines the night before I find! Anyway, I love cooking up the full monty for us occasionally but we all know it’s not that great for you. There are a few small changes I make to keep it as healthy as humanly possible (but still not healthy!). Firstly, I always use a very, very small amount of coconut oil to cook the eggs and mushrooms, and I tend to scramble or poach the eggs rather than fry them. I also cook the sausages and bacon in the oven rather than in the pan. This reduces the oil and grease content slightly. The key to a good full English is timing and preparation! The final ‘flourish’ of cooking everything only takes about 5 minutes so you have to make sure everything is out, ready and raring to go before it all goes cold! I’ve got it down now even if I do say so myself!

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Wow, my mouth is seriously watering now! I think I better go and get me some brunch! I hope this might give you some ideas for some super easy but seriously delicious brunch ideas to cook in the comfort of your own kitchen. For more recipes and food ideas visit my Instagram page.

Have a wonderful Sunday.

With wedding season nearly upon us no doubt many of us will be racking our brains for present ideas. True, most people make a gift registry these days so things are a bit more simple. But if they don’t (or you just don’t fancy buying another cutlery set for the sixth time) then you may need to come up with your own idea!

I love gift giving for any occasion and I think it’s so important, especially for a wedding, to choose something meaningful that the receiver will actually like. If you don’t know the couple super well, this can be tricky,. However, as a newlywed myself I have the inside knowledge on a gift a newly married couple will love and might actually need.

All of these gifts were sourced from my favourite gift-giving website: notonthehighstreet.com

Personalised Wedding Keepsake Box // £39.95

Most couples will have already purchased a beautiful personalised wedding album, but the keepsake box is often overlooked. After my wedding I found I had lots of ‘bits’ that I wanted to keep – an invitation, dried rose from my bouquet, spare favour, card from Paul from the morning-of and so on. A cute little box is the perfect box they never knew they needed.

Personalised Special Occasion Photo Frame // £25

If you know the happy couple have a lot of space on their wall to fill I think this ‘Insta-shaped’ photo frame is a really cute idea. Most newlyweds will choose their favourite professional photographs and have them displayed proudly – probably blown up on canvas. If I was buying this gift I would find all the best and most hilarious ‘candid shots’ on Instagram and fill the frame with these. That way every time they look at it they will be taken back to how happy they felt on the day with their loved ones.

Heart Personalised Candle // £29

Because who doesn’t love a scented candle right?! I spend a fortune on them, so I’m always delighted when I get one as a gift. And with the couples initials on it this candle makes for a really cute wedding gift that they will 100% get great use out of. More than a silver cheese knife let me tell you.

Personalised Wooden Luggage Tags // £34

This gift is super useful and it’s highly unlikely to be thought of by anyone else. These luggage tags are really stylish and your newlyweds will LOVE them for their honeymoon. The plus-side of getting tags with their full names on rather than just the traditional ‘Mr’ and ‘Mrs’ which honeymoon luggage tags normally have, is that they can continue to use these for holidays after their honeymoon!

Tree of Love // £35

I love this idea. Plant the tree and watch it grow as the couples lives together and their family grows. So cute, I would have loved to receive one of these. Only slight hitch is – we don’t have a garden! So before purchasing this wonderful gift it probably is worth checking a few things. A) the couple have a garden big enough for a tree and B) they are in a home that they so far intend to stay in for a while. If they are currently renting an ‘in between’ house then it would be unfortunate to plant the Tree of Love only to have to dig it up a few months later!

Framed Personalised Song Lyrics Print // £34

If you are close to the bride or groom and know their first dance song in advance then this is a seriously amazing gift for a seriously stylish couple. I adore this print and am actually considering buying this for my own home! Not only is it a gorgeous and poignant reminder of your first dance song lyrics, it’s also printed in beautiful gold AND these lyrics pictured just so happy to be from my own first dance song; ‘Thinking Out Loud’.

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I hope these have given you some ideas if you’re a bit stuck as to what to get a hubby and wife to be! Weddings are special so chose something thoughtful, meaningful and that is as special as they are!

So, here’s the next installment of my ‘Thailand Diaries’ series – our trip to the jungle! It seems like such a long time ago since we got back it’s really lovely to look through all the photos again and relive the memories!

We decided to visit Khao Sok on a bit of a whim. It’s not really on what you would consider the main tourist routes and not that many people have heard of it. However, we got the idea from our Lonely Planet ‘Ultimate Travel Book’ (which details some of the most beautiful places in the world) – and once we’d looked it up online we were sold! We knew we had to go, it was truly stunning.

We thought it was going to be a bit of a headache to get to and it certainly wasn’t as well connected as the other more ‘mainstream’ places we went to – but it definitely wasn’t as difficult as we envisaged. Khao Sok National Park is reachable by minibus from both Krabi and Phuket if you want to fly in (a few hours drive) or from Surat Thani which is the main rail station in the area. We caught the overnight sleeper train from Bangkok which is 14 hours and really not as bad as it sounds! We paid a little extra (£30 each at the most!) to have First Class which gets you a private lockable cabin and pretty comfortable beds. The train leaves Bangkok in the evening and you wake up in Surat Thani early morning! We found it remarkably simple.  TIP: don’t make the mistake of leaving train bookings too late. Thailand rail are yet to get on board with an online booking system so you need to pay a travel agency in Bangkok to physically get them from the station for you in advanced, and you pick them up when you arrive. We used 12Go Asia who were fantastic and efficient from start to finish.

Anyway, we turned up at Surat Thani station at 5am on Christmas Day slightly concerned we had no onward travel booked and imagining we may have to wait a while for the first bus of the day. We needn’t had worried! Even at that time the station was packed with locals offering taxis, mini vans services and breakfast. We only had to pay 150 baht for the 1hr30 drive to the national park.

Once we had actually got there we needed to locate our hotel – ‘Our Jungle House’, which was located right next to the national park entrance and it pretty well hidden! It was worth the trek to find it though. This beautiful, secluded hotel is right in the heart of the jungle and it’s made up of a series of beautiful rustic treehouse rooms and a quaint wooden building with a restaurant and bar. In the day it was tranquil and relaxing and at night it wasn’t! It was so amazing to be so close to the wildlife and hear the monkeys running about on our roof!!

During our short two nights in the National Park we went on two trips and enjoyed a delicious Thai ‘Christmas buffet’ which was served at the hotel! The rest of the time we went on a few (short) self guided hikes and just soaked up the true wonder of nature. After the madness of Bangkok, Khao Sok is the perfect antidote. The first trip we went on was on Christmas day which was a short excursion to a natural hot springs in the hills. It is popular with both local people and tourists, but luckily the tour operators at our hotel pre-empted this and took us earlier in the day which meant that we missed the hoards and had the place virtually to ourselves.

On Boxing Day we went into the national park on a day trip to the famous Cheow Lan Lake. If you’ve every seen any wildlife or tourism documentaries about Thailand; this lake will be in it. It was absolutely breath-taking and one of the highlights of our trip. Most of the trip was spent relaxing and swimming by the lake, but it also included an hours wildlife spotting hike and a trip to the limestone caves. I’ve always thought of myself as a beach person but this lake was probably more beautiful than any beach I’ve ever seen. The water was like glass and the backdrop was simply amazing. We were lucky enough to have brilliant sunshine that day – but during our afternoon we saw a 30 second rainstorm! It was incredible, literally passed over us in less than an minute and then it was gone.


For more information on where we stayed you can click here. I loved Our Jungle House but if we were ever to go back to Khao Sok I would LOVE to stay on one of the floating bungalows you can rent on the lake. Imagine waking up to that view each day! We had an incredible experience in the jungle, so different from any other holiday we have ever been on! We would have loved to have stayed longer, but I can’t say that we are particularly natural intrepid explorers! We never ventured far on our hikes for fear of getting lost! There are A LOT of creepy crawlies in the jungle so be sure to take some spray and watch out for the mosquitos.  Next time, we move on to the blissful beaches of the South!