TITLEMorning babes, and happy Friday to you

What a week it’s been. So much sadness in this first month of the year as cancer took from us the legend that is David Bowie, followed by Celine Dion’s husband René Angélil, and finally a much-loved giant of British film and stage, Alan Rickman. We’ll remember them so fondly and to look to their legacies for inspiration continually, so we thought it only appropriate to begin January’s 10 Ways to make Life Lovely post with a playlist of work that’s been changing the music industry and challenging the face of society for over 30 years…

One: Now Listening

An icon. A man of profound words, images and sound.

David Bowie’s all we’ve been listening to this week, and it’s both saddened us and been truly beautiful.

The world will not know another being like Bowie.

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Here’s hoping you spend your entire day absolutely loving every second of that playlist (I know I will be!), and be sure to check out his final gift to the world, Black Star.

Two: Classy Kicks

Moving on to lighter topics, which seem arguably frivolous in comparison, but I guess we’re here to for the loveliness…

Trainers are the one for 2016. True, they were for 2015 too, but that ain’t about to change.

They’re getting super classy (think minimalist colour palettes), oh-so chic (do I see matte faux snakeskin?!) and they’re just THE perfect addition to any busy bride-to-be’s wardrobe (ummm did someone mention traipsing round the London boutiques in search of the perfect dress?!)

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1bWe’re loving the following:

Nike’s Air Max Thea in Grey and Platinum White

Adidas’ Faux Snakeskin Grey Gazelles

Office’s Faux Snakeskin Slip Ons

Van’s Moccasin Style Suede High Tops

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1hPerfectly practical for those outdoor venue viewings, while undeniably chic for that lunch meeting with your wedding planner… What other shoe delivers on such diverse fronts?!

It’s official, if we weren’t already, we’re definitely trainer converts now.

Three: Tea, Madame?

So, following a vastly successful bid to cut back on caffeine at the back end of last year (read more on that here), I’ve found myself drinking a lot more tea.

I kid you not when I say in our house, we have the vast majority of one of those tall pully-out-pantry cupboard thingies (you know what I mean!) FULL of different tea flavours!

Being such a hardcore coffee addict lover historically, I’d kinda turned up tea for the most part… Boy I was missing out, huh!? There’s a whole world of exciting flavours, goodness and sheer loveliness to be gained from the world of tea!

(I’m sure you guys already know this, I’m so late to the table with this one!)

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2bSo, on my little voyage of discovery, here are my favourites this month:

This Spiced Mint Tea by PG Tips – a lovely twist on my all time favourite, that has a subtle sweetness

Yogi Tea’s Choco Chai blend – anything chocolate flavoured, I’m game!

Tea Pig’s Rooibos Creme Caramel – a smooth sweet version of that divine woody taste

…Ok, so there’s a bit of a sweet theme here, but yah know, January cravings an’ all that!

2cPlan for the weekend: grab an unusual brew, wrap up warm and take a hike in this cold, fresh weather we’re having this month.

Nothing blows away the cobwebs better!

Four: We ain’t about that diet life

January: everywhere I look I see either gym adverts or diet promotions.

The exercise I can get on board with, but the diets? Not so much!

We’ve been making life lovely by focusing on eating clean this month.

That’s not necessarily low fat, nor is it always low carb and it definitely doesn’t involve any fasting… But BOY do we feel good for it!

We’re not talking about quick fixes or fads, we’re talking about a sustainable lifestyle change that’ll help you look and feel better!

3aOur favourite books to help transform the way we eat:

Madeleine Shaw’s Get the Glow – ummm, highlighted, glowy skin from within? Yes please!

Amelia Freer’s Eat. Nourish. Glow. – her fresh approach is gonna help you seriously clean up your act!

And we’re eagerly awaiting these food guru gals on pre-order:

Deliciously Ella’s Every Day – we love Ella, if it’s as good as her first we’ll be living on this for 2016!

Hemsley and Hemsley’s The Art of Eating Well – a London-based sister-act teaching life-long healthy eating, we’ll take two!

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Five: The ‘No Makeup’ Makeup Look

Y’all know I am a HUGE fan of beauty vloggers.

So when I recently stumbled across Chloe Morello (a 25 year old Australian babe, who looks alarmingly like Candice Swanepoel) you better believe I dropped everything* and text my girlfriend like, ‘THIS VIDEO IS LIFE’.

*except my laptop… A girl’s gotta blog!

Why such levels of hysterical excitement?! Because she only went and nailed the holy grail of every natural girl’s dreams… The ‘No Makeup’ makeup look.

Would you just take a look at those natural looking lashes, the bright eyes and that glow, ohhh the glow…

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4bWith a whole host of techniques I’d never come across (including a neat felt-tip liner trick from under the lashes!)

Chloe has got you covered (or decidedly not as the case maybe) with this look, enhancing all the right thinks with as little makeup as possible!

This is all I’ll be wearing this weekend for 2016:

Utterly gorgeous for a quick makeup fix for a bride-to-be before she hits the gym, the morning after the wedding, or even on your honeymoon. We LOVE.

Six: Rose Quartz + Serenity

My GOSH, you guys.

Pantone have done it this year. Like, really though, their 2016 colours (yes, two!) are just everything.

Balanced, harmonious, gentle, soft, delicate and just effortless; you babes need to meet Rose Quartz and Serenity…

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If you’re looking for colour inspiration, be it for your wedding stationary, your home decor or your wardrobe, this calm-inducing duo are all kinds of lovely.

And, let’s be real here, in the world of pastels, I think this is the coolest pairing I’ve ever seen.

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Seven: Real Life Resolutions

Hum. There’s a sense of dread when you read the world ‘Resolutions’ right?

Like, ergh. They’re all well and good but by, well, about now actually, the enthusiasm may already be starting to lull…

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6bWell, not this year, my friends.

We’ve found there’s a bit of a technique to creating good, useful resolutions.

We dig goal setting; it induces a sense of purpose and optimism.

Make them realistic: think about this year, we’re all up for dreaming big, but make sure the goal is achievable in your set time period!

Make them very specific for you: for example, don’t just say you wanna get fitter and stronger this year, be specific, which parts of your body do you wanna work on? Which exercise programme do you want to complete? And by when?

Make them exhilarating: in short, resolve to live a little! Create resolutions you really want to complete and enjoy!

Eight: Denim that Speaks

You know when you just stumble across an artist and what they’re doing just resonates with you?

I love that.

It’s exactly what happened when I came across Kelli Kikcio’s instagram feed, a multidisciplinary artist from Toronto, Canada.

She works in leather, in paper, in skin (some of the raddest Stick n’ Poke tattoos I’ve ever seen!) and fabric…

Now, y’all know we LOVE a powerful quote, something that speaks to you, be it 100 words or just 3, and Kelli’s embroidered denim series is the perfect, wearable expression of that!

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So badass! What a way to express yourself all over your reclaimed denim.

Nine: Now Watching

Room by Emma Donoghue. A powerful novel, published in 2010 that tells the story of a young woman and her son, imprisoned by a psychotic abuser. It’s a story of motherhood, of desperation, of utter wretchedness and yet the protection of innocence in the midst of such darkness.

With 97 nominations (4 of which are Oscars), 52 wins, including the Golden Globe for Best Actress for Brie Larson… You guys do not wanna miss this one.

Will it make your life lovely? Maybe not immediately! It’s pretty dark, for sure, but it’s an incredible watch and, while very bleak in places, Donoghue’s novel and screenplay too demonstrate the beauty and hope of humanity.

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Ten: Now Reading

Okay, so I’m gonna end this opening to the year with a MAJOR girl crush and one of my own resolutions! (Eek!)

First up, the girl crush: Emma Watson. Strong, intelligent, elegant and brave. She’s #goals.

Second, one of my own resolutions: to read more. A lot more!

So imagine my excitement when Emma Watson released info of her new book club ‘Our Shared Shelf’ on her twitter feed (major thanks to one of my best guys for highlighting this to me!)…

LIFE = COMPLETE

9aThe premise with which Emma opened her book club? Check it out…

Dear Readers,
As part of my work with UN Women, I have started reading as many books and essays about equality as I can get my hands on. There is so much amazing stuff out there! Funny, inspiring, sad, thought-provoking, empowering! I’ve been discovering so much that, at times, I’ve felt like my head was about to explode… I decided to start a Feminist book club, as I want to share what I’m learning and hear your thoughts too.
The plan is to select and read a book every month, then discuss the work during the month’s last week (to give everyone time to read it!). I will post some questions/quotes to get things started, but I would love for this to grow into an open discussion with and between you all. Whenever possible I hope to have the author, or another prominent voice on the subject, join the conversation.
If you fancy it, please join up and participate. Everyone is welcome. I would be honoured!
Emma x

YAS, EMMA!

The first book is Gloria Steneim’s My Life on the Road, which I, for one, cannot wait to get into!

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9cAnd with that, I hope this post’s left you inspired.

Inspired to be artistic, to explore new tastes and to be kinder to yourself, to find balance, to let your natural beauty shine through, to feel empowered by the stories of strong women and to treasure the legacies of legends.

Let’s make 2016 extraordinary, friends!

Have a divine weekend and we’ll see you on the flip side.

Peace + Love

Clare XO

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