Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Digital Detox Your Holiday

Working in Digital Marketing it is incredibly hard to go on a total digital detox.

And that's not an excuse I know. Maybe this is a weakness?

But the nature of my job means I keep my finger on the pulse most of the day - I check what's trending on Twitter, I follow Facebook Live events and I monitor Instagram stories from top influencers many times a day. It's second nature to me.

So how did I take a step away from it all on my recent trip to Dubrovnik? Here's a few tips to help you go on a digital detox while you soak in the sun...

1. Leave your phone in your room

Perhaps the easiest way to step away from the digital world is to simply leave your phone in your room. Lock it away in your safe if you've got a day round the pool planned.

What's the worst that could happen?

You can pop back at lunchtime to check your messages if you're expecting a call but when your phone is out of site it's probably out of mind. Now pass me a cocktail!

2. Turn off all your notifications

If you're on annual leave, chances are you've set an 'out of office' on your emails or if you're a freelancer like me you might have dropped your clients a note to say that you're away and will only be checking emails infrequently. That way no one can expect an immediate response from you.

Turn off your notifications too - if you need your phone when you're out to call a taxi either turn off your data or just remove your notifications.

Do you really need to worry about what your best mates brother is having for dinner when you're busy sipping Sangrias? Thought not.

3. Pack a camera

With thanks to the smart phone it's too easy for us to forget to take cameras out and about with us now. We can take a snap of whatever we want, whenever we want.

But with a smartphone it's not just about taking a photo off the cuff.

It's now all about adding a filter, posting to Snapchat, sharing on Instagram, checking in on Facebook...oh all the places that photo needs to go.

But the reality - well it doesn't.

So invest in a decent hand-held camera, hold off on the sharing functionalities and just get totally lost in snapping shots of the scenery and sunsets.

4. Build a playlist on an iPod

Old skool? Nah. I recently did this whilst I was away with my niece and my mum. We spent the weekend listening to some tunes we had loaded to Mum's iPod instead of streaming from Spotify.

It made the whole thing a little more enjoyable as we took ourselves back to some of our favourite songs when I was young and introduced my 6 year old niece to some classics - without having to rely on wi-fi!

5. Read an actual book

Don't get me wrong I love my Kindle. One of my favourite things I own. But when I'm lazing by the pool or about to get on a flight I love a good book in my hand.

I love it when you finish a book on holiday and by the time you get home the pages smell like suncream and the cover adorns a few grains of sand.

Maybe it's a nostalgic thing...

6. Meditate

Step away from the phone. Step away from the tablet. And step away from your computer.

Focus on you and see if your hotel or resort holds any mediation sessions during the first couple of days of your holiday.

Or book yourself in for a mindfulness and meditation class before you take-off and get to grips with what it feels like to just be present.

It'll change your life.

What do you do to unwind on holiday? And do you find it hard to totally switch off? Would love to here your top tips!


Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Book Review: Becoming by Laura Jane Williams

I've been so excited to shout about this book since it landed on my doormat...I just knew it would be everything I hoped it would be.

Laura Jane Williams is a ridiculously talented writer from the UK and author of one of my favourite blogs - Superlatively Rude. I've read Laura's blog for a good few years now and one of the reason's I'm such a fan is the way that Laura is BRUTALLY honest in her writing. No holding back - just her own, raw experiences tapped onto her keyboard and shared with the world. Very brave move but one that I'm so glad she has done.

As a twenty something myself there are many blog posts of Laura's that I read and think - 'that's so me' or 'ohhhh - so that's why I felt like that'. Reading Laura's blog is like sharing your darkest secrets with a best friend and getting the validation behind why something makes you feel a certain way or how you can get out of that negative situation. She has this incredible way of writing that makes you feel like you've known her for years...her book really made me want to be her friend!

We all get it. We get that 'what am I doing with my life' feeling -  waving around us throughout our twenties and making us feel unsteady. Becoming is Laura's thoughts, feelings and experiences of that time and how she has grown into a strong woman from page one to the last chapter. Oh and this is Laura's first book!

The book wasn't just an insight into Laura's life. It taught me a thing or two and I realised some things about myself too. And this book ain't even a self-help book! Amazing.

It taught me to be patient, to not criticise myself so much when I feel like I don't have a plan or an answer. It made me realise it's okay that maybe I once made bad decisions, fell in love too quickly, had too many shots or cried all my makeup off. All of that stuff doesn't make you a 'loser', a 'freak' or a 'psycho!'. All of that stuff makes you totally human.

Above everything else that happened in the book - and I'm not telling you what happened because you HAVE to buy a copy and read it - I felt like this is really the beginning of Laura's becoming and I think there is so much more that Laura will share.

The way the book is written is so honest, so truthful (sometimes graphic!) - it's like you can picture sitting sipping margaritas with Laura while she tells you about her memoirs...I don't think I've ever read something that made me feel so right there and with the author before. Maybe that's because as young women we get scared to spill the beans and tell all. But MASSIVE pat on the back to Laura for spilling her beans.

We live in such a 'filtered' world these days it's nice to be able to read something that we can all really relate to. Laura is an inspiration to me and I'm sure many others...

Buy Laura's incredible book via Amazon. And if you fancy reading more books like Becoming then come and join my book club - https://www.facebook.com/groups/gozengirls/



Wednesday, 3 August 2016

5 MakeUp Essentials for your #FreelanceLife

Some might call this the lazy girls guide to beauty?

Working from home 90% of the time means that I rarely pile on a face full of makeup during the day. It does make getting ready for dinner, a weekend away or night out with the girls extra exciting though - because that's normally when I treat myself to another new lipstick (I'm obsessed).

But back at the ranch when it's just me, myself and I, I just apply the basics. Getting up, putting on a favourite outfit and applying even just a small bit of makeup helps me to focus and makes me a little more determined and ready for the day ahead - this is kickass #freelancelife in its finest!

So what beauty essentials can't I live without when I'm working from home...

1. Tinted Moisturiser

To give myself a little glow, some SPF protection (an essential for garden office days) and a small amount of coverage; I have started using the Olay 2in1 Hydration + BB Cream. It doesn't clog up your skin, is very lightweight and combines both moisturiser and a touch of foundation. This particular tinted moisturiser gives you everything you need - SPF, vitamins and 24 hours of moisture - even more important for those of us who sit behind a desk all day. It blends really well with your natural skin tone too so there's no need for concealer or bronzer.

2. Mascara

For those of you that know me well you know I'm totally obsessed with the Lancome Doll Eyes mascara. I just can't find another mascara out there that makes my lashes look this good. I wear this mascara every - single - day. It lengthens, lifts, separates and adds volume...it's the best mascara out there in my opinion.

3. Brows

I've recently fallen under the Benefit Brows spell but when I've got a day working from home I rarely go all out with my brows. But I like to keep them reasonably neat so I use either Maybelline Master Sleek Brow (Medium Brown) or a new favourite the NYX Tinted Brow Mascara (Ash Brown) - a quick whizz over my brows and I'm done.

4. Lip Balm

Sometimes sitting in front of a computer all day, every day can make me feel super dehydrated. My skin and my eyes suffer. And so can my lips. So to keep them hydrated and give them a natural look I love using the Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Balm Perfector. Great moisture, totally natural and the taste of this lipbalm is DE-LISH!

5. Perfume

Lastly, before I head into my office I have a quick spritz of some perfume. I used to get through bottles of what I refer to as 'my posh smellies' but when you're working from home and not out and about at meetings I like something pretty inexpensive and light that's just enough to make you feel like Wonder Woman. My current favourite is Zara Oriental - smells incredible. And makes me feel nostalgic, reminding me of my earlier trip to Barcelona this year.

What are your office makeup essentials? And what products do you recommend? Would love to know your thoughts...

D x
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