Monday, November 14, 2016

Self-Care Saturday (+ A Giveaway!)


Last week was ... really hard. And to be honest, the past few days have been very difficult. As my friends and I struggled to comprehend the outcome of the US election (or rather, its consequences, as the outcome did not surprise me), I had to take breaks - breaks from social media, breaks from the news, breaks from reading the papers. Because it got a bit too much.

So, on Saturday, John and I decided to have a "self-care" day. A day where we'd stay in, be silly, watch lighthearted movies, and do things that would make us laugh and lighten the burden that's been sitting heavy on our hearts.

In the morning, I ordered brunch from EatFirst - in bed. It arrived to our door in the time-frame it said it would, I proceeded to whip it away from John so I could take a billion photographs, and then I forgot to heat half of it up.

Oh well.


It looked pretty and it was delicious. I particularly loved the colorful Cannon & Cannon brunch charcuterie and the scotch eggs, which would be terrific for a picnic in warmer weather.

On Sunday, I went to a yoga class in Leyton and the teacher spoke of compassion, of healing, and of protecting our hearts. I nearly burst into tears. It was just what I - and I think everyone in the room - needed to hear.

The sun seems to be setting earlier every day. As I type this on our couch at home, it's 3:48 in the afternoon, and the sun has disappeared behind the Victorian houses across the street. I'm listening to the radiators trickle to life and lighting candles as it goes dark outside.

I went to see my friend Rebecca's new flat last week and when I walked in, it was an oasis of calm: candles flickered in the living area and the most wonderful scent filled the room. Even as the sky grew dark, the candles kept the atmosphere warm and cozy.

Sometimes, scented candles feel like an unnecessary indulgence. But right now? In this darkness? They're kind of keeping me going.


One of my favorite winter scents is the Winter candle from The White Company. It's a delicious combination of cinnamon, clove, and fresh orange. The smell of it burning instantly transports me to Christmas Day. That's what I'm choosing to focus on right now during these weeks of turmoil, confusion, sadness, and frustration: the thought of celebrating Christmas with my family, with the scent of this candle wafting through our house.

To cheer us all up, I'm giving away a Winter candle to a reader. All you have to do is leave a comment below letting me know about how you're practicing self-care this week. I'll be picking one winner at random, to be announced on Friday morning, 18th November.

Good luck!

Candles provided by The White Company, a store I've loved for years. All opinions are my own. Shop The White Company candles here - I'm a fan of their three-wick candles!
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47 comments

  1. I'm really hoping this week is better than the last few! I didn't expect to feel quite so affected by the result of the US election but the mood of the country (if not the world) totally changed.

    My boyfriend gave me a gift voucher to book a hair cut after a couple of challenging weeks at work so I'm booking that in. I went to Columbia Road Flower Market yesterday so I'm hoping a bunch of flowers will cheer up our flat for the week. Throw in the last few hours of my candle and maybe a bath should make for a better week.

    Hope you have a lovely one. x

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    1. Ugh, it's just been terrible. I alternate between being sad, angry, and fearful. I'm so touched by all the supportive comments I've received from Brits here! It has made me feel less alone.

      That is SUCH a lovely gift from your boyfriend! I remember once, when my husband came to visit me in college (and we were doing the long-distance thing), he gave me a gift voucher for a pedicure at the local spa ... it was the loveliest gesture. I think I cried! And I'm envious of your visit to Columbia Road Flower Market ... it's one of my favorite places for flowers (provided I get there early enough to avoid the crowds!). It sounds like you have an excellent week of self-care lined up x

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  2. I took the day off today after a weekend away as a self care day to have a lay in, watch Gilmore Girls and look at Thanksgiving recipes. Candles will be lit later while cooking a carb-tastic dinner

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    1. That sounds like the PERFECT self-care day, Julia! There is something so nice about staying at home on a weekday and taking a "mental health" day! I'm so excited about the Gilmore Girls revival - are you?

      p.s. your comment about a carb-tastic dinner had me INSTANTLY craving spaghetti carbonara. I'm so having that for dinner tonight, thanks to you!

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  3. It's been a terrible week at work to the point of doom and gloom. To relieve my stress I invested in an aromatherapy de-stressing muscle calming gel. Sort of working well -- as does some herbal tea (naturally!). White Company's candle would definitely complete the touch and lead me to a calmer, happier and peaceful state of mind! (Bye bye monster manager! Hello nirvana!)

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    1. That sounds fantastic, Anami! I love the "hello nirvana" sentiment!

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  4. I'm still in disbelief about last weeks results. I spent more time doing research into the US election than i ever have with the UK one, it really effected me and i'm not even American! I really hope were all wrong and the next 4 years will be ok! All we have is hope eh?!

    As for this week i'm going to be sending our wedding thank you cards out (we got married a couple of months ago). I've also treated myself to some new bedding which should be arriving today, winter is on it's way and i need an excuse to get into bed a bit earlier now the dark evenings are upon us! A lovely winter White Company candle would be the perfect addition to cosy time!

    Take care,
    Jess

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    1. I was so touched by your comment, Jessica. In terms of the new President-elect's policies, we do have to wait and see, but I'm fearful of so much of the hate speech and activities that have surfaced within the past week. Friends of mine have already fallen victim to this and it makes me so furious.

      Anyway. Back to the self-care. I find writing thank-you cards so therapeautic! And, congratulations on your wedding!! You are so good to send out cards. Sliding into new bedding is ALWAYS the best feeling. Thank you for your comment! x

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  5. I deleted Facebook and Twitter from my phone. It was just too much. It also didn't help that my husband was away for a conference that whole week. So I used my alone time to lit a candle at night, turn off all the lights, do some meditation or just relaxed while I put some coconut oil on my pregnant belly. That did the trick.

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    1. Probably a smart move, Ana. I started compulsively reading stories and scrolling through Facebook, which just left me an anxious, sad mess. I'm so glad you took some time to look after yourself!

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  6. I always find when I'm feeling glum I like to have things to look forward to, so I've corralled my friends into booking a spa day for our Christmas get together (and some drinks afterwards of course), and booked a fun night out at Boxpark with the husband, we're big Garage music fans and they're doing a special night (with free tickets) soon. It always perks me up to have things to look forward to.

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    1. That sounds like SO much fun, Rebecca! I didn't know that Boxpark hosted gigs! I bet you're looking forward to it. I'm the same - I leave for India with my husband and best friend next week and I'm starting to pack, so that I can truly look forward to jetting off and escaping for a while :)

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  7. You definitely need those kind of days, especially after a tough week! I've been trying to make sure I keep them in the diary. I've actually started cross stitching again as I find it so calming and nice to switch off from the world when I need some self care! x

    Jasmin Charlotte

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    1. Cross-stitch ... that is something I definitely need to get into! I want to see the finished product, please :D xx

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  8. I've deleted Facebook from my phone and am picking up my scrapbooking again (after a revamp of my craft room that took longer then expected). And as I look out on the rain, I'm focusing on the pretty leaves falling onto our driveway. Hope you feel that this coming week will be more positive for you and yours.

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    1. Thank you, Ruth. I can imagine just how stress-busting and enjoyable scrapbooking is! I used to LOVE making scrapbook pages when I was in high school and college.

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  9. Last week was quite hard for me too, whenever I am feeling a bit down or need a pick me up I love lighting my favourite scented candles and relax! Also, your food looks amazing! x

    Ariadna || RAWR BOWS

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    1. Hope you have a much better week, Ariadna! x

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  10. I love your blog and this post came at exactly the right time for me. I debated what I was doing to practice self care this week and I came up with absolutely nothing. Thankyou for the push to actually do something! I've booked in an evening for a bath and a 'The Good Wife' marathon with the other half, and we're going to get massages at the weekend :)

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    1. Thank you, Annabel! I feel like sometimes self-care can take the form of the smallest acts ... lighting a candle, going to that yoga class you've been putting off, washing your face with a delicious cleansing oil ... although your bath and The Good Wife marathon sounds like a divine way to look after yourself! Enjoy x

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  11. Aww I love this idea of a self-care day. So important to take care of yourself. Wishing you a better week!

    Enclothed Cognition

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  12. I've tried to stay away from Facebook this week as well, just too much overload. My self care this weekend consisted of sleeping in on Saturday and cuddling with my dog on the couch. Sunday we made a trip out to visit Windsor Castle which was great and prepped a few healthy meals Sunday evening that just need to be reheated once home from work. Here's to a better week!

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    1. I'm amazed at everyone's awesome self-care skills! Doggie cuddles sound like just what the doctor ordered (I've been wanting a cat for precisely this reason). I am also super impressed at your organizational skills re: meals for this week. Makes your weekdays far less stressful!

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    2. Amanda, congratulations! You have been randomly picked as the winner of this gorgeous Winter candle from The White Company. Please email your mailing address to angloyankophile [at] gmail [dot] com and I'll get your prize out to you today!

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    3. Yay!! Just emailed you!

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  13. Self-care is just the thing for surviving the past week! I've been wearing my warmest coats and sweaters, indulging in comfort food (may have inhaled a large bowl of pierogies), and some restorative yoga. It feels weird not to be pushing myself on the yoga mat and rather, just basically laying there, but I feel like it could be nothing but beneficial for the body. I looove candles + this one looks just lovely for the upcoming season. That EatFirst company sounds good - makes me wish I lived in a bigger city with more options like this!

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    1. Restorative yoga is so healing, isn't it, Cynthia? I hate to sound corny and unrealistic, but there would be so much less anger and hate in the world if more people practiced yoga. Stay warm!

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  14. My boyfriend and I bought a new teapot (our first one aw) and some loose leaf tea so we've been practising tea ritual pretty often �� Also, animated movies by Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki for an amazing child-like state of mind, really fantastic. Stay cosy ☕️

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    1. That's so sweet, Ioana! I'd love to see a pic! And how excited are you that Miyazaki has come out of retirement to make another Ghibli film? I can't wait.

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  15. Something very simple but...I've been going to bed an hour earlier each day and sitting in bed reading. It really relaxes me before I go to sleep, helping to clear my mind! x

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    1. That sounds like a great idea, Sarah ... something I should probably work on doing as well, instead of my default TV --> phone formula, which keeps me more awake and anxious than anything else! Love this simple trick - thank you for sharing! x

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  16. Last week certainly has not been easy. Honestly, I feared that would be the outcome of the elections from the very beginning, when everyone was just laughing at the ridiculous "wall" speaches. However, the hope kept me going till the last minute, and I was left very very disappointed. My immediate response was anger and hatred, but I also soon realized it's not the way to go, so in return I actually wish him (as much as I dislike him and his team) all the success. Because if he fails, our country fails, and that's the last thing I want. No matter what, I do hope everyone finds strength to heal and move forward.

    On a brighter note, this week I FINALLY went back to fitness. I vowed to engage in some sort of physical activity 5 times a week. It will mainly be a combination of weightlifting, yoga and running, depending on my mood and strength level that day. xoxo, nano | www.travelwithnanob.com

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    1. I had a similar thought about ramping up my physical exercise too, Nano, and channeling my thoughts of fear and anxiety into actual activity. It sounds like you have a great and healthy plan for self-care ahead xoxox

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  17. I'm taking time out to go to a yoga retreat at the weekend - my first time ever.

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    1. How exciting, Christine - where's the retreat? I've been wanting to go on one for years!

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  18. Being able to eat brunch in bed sounds like the dream. We've been unable to take a self care day in a little while due to travel at weekends and I'm really feeling it. This weekend we're visiting friends in Birmingham and I'm determined to carve out some self care time inamongst the visiting! As an introvert that probably means a little potter around a gallery, or watching trashy hotel TV for a bit. Something where you can switch off the respond part of your brain and let the subconscious take over.

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    1. I *always* need the next weekend off after I travel, Rachel! Travelling, while so much fun, can be so exhausting. I hope you have a great weekend. x

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  19. I took 3 days out to rest and recuperate after the death of my father at the end of October. Rest, relaxation and a couple of visits to my favorites Starbucks and Wahaca helped as well.

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    1. Very sorry to hear about your father, Rach. Grief can take such a physical toll on your body, let alone emotional. Hope you're treating yourself well x

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  20. Love this post, I've been planning a self-care day for this Sunday! Learning a new job, whilst studying for a degree and just keeping up with life in general (oh chores and washing I loathe you) has been exhausting. For Sunday I have a good Roast dinner planned, The Crown on Netflix and the biggest bath filled with Lush products and my favourite candle burning.
    I really hope you're feeling better now after your self-love day. I hope I will too after Sunday.

    Love Rachel x

    www.Rachel-Emily.com

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    1. The Crown was so addictive! Although ... the Queen and Prince Philip's characters/actors were quite annoying to me haha.

      I find it SO hard to keep up with washing. My husband always tells me off for letting my hamper pile up. :(

      Hope you have a restful weekend x

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  21. You can get brunch delivered? That's awesome! Oh life in London! I can barely get brunch at all in our town in Scotland lol. Self-care to me is definitely putting a nice mask on, maybe do my nails, trying to stay away from social media, watching a good movie with my man :)

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  22. Fredrik actually came home from work last week with a scented candle to cheer me up, it was so sweet and of course made me all teary eyed!

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  23. It was my 41st birthday last Sunday and I was working the Saturday so I just celebrated at home with my 4year old school. However this coming weekend I have 'Self cared' by arranging first the twins to go off to spend time with grandparents and I will have a meal with friends, a whole uninterrupted nights sleep, and read a book with some candles I hope. I don't have a partner so self care is all I have xx

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  24. Isn't it funny how one thing can lead to spiral of others tumbling after! It really was a sorry situation with such results and even though I am not from the US I have family there that are absolutely devastated. For moments like this the one thing that I can always guarantee to cheer myself up is a trip to Columbia Rd followed by breakfast (avo and eggs!) and a day of lounging reading, commenting on blogs and watching movies. I am currently trying to amp up my Hygge game and snuggle most days that I am off too! Hope you are feeling better hun x

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