On My Desk In March And Other Adventures!

APPS, PHOTOS, FOOD AND LEARNING

March was an odd month for me, I've been a little quiet over here in this space, despite my best efforts, in order to sort out some other 'stuff!' Yet I still don't feel I've achieved an awful lot as I'd hoped. So I'm marking March down to experience and moving on happily to the bright new month of April today with lots that I'm looking forward to sharing with you soon. But before we skip head first into a new month here's a little look at a few things that I loved during the month of March. Things that I hope might also inspire you. Plus don't forget to share your thoughts and favourites with me too!

A Color Story App

1. Staying bright and bold, upping my Insta game with the A Color Story Photo Editing App. 

I love that people have beautiful Instagram themes and I do appreciate the beauty of the ever popular white and chic, Scandi style Instagram accounts that a lot of people are going for these days. They are beautiful and I can understand the appeal for sure but my life and the work I do just isn't always sleek, simple and mainly pale or white! Personally I love living life in glorious technicolour and I want to embrace that in what I share on The What Now Blog's Instagram feed. So this app has been a real winner in my eyes. Created by the team over at the blog A Beautiful Mess, you can really bring some extra vibrancy to your photos using the beautiful filters and effects in this bright and bold, easy to use app offering.

2. Starting the day with a tasty treat in the form of the Rude Health Spiced Apple Granola.

I really struggle to know what to eat for breakfast somedays I really do! My wholemeal toast offerings are starting to bore me and I don't always have the time or enthusiasm for whipping up anything else. So I've been loving tucking into a bowl of this apple-ly goodness doused with a little almond milk. It fills me up and sets me up for the morning. Delicately sweet, it's a treat with a price to match but I enjoy sneaking this one into my weekly shop every now and again to perk up those early morning mealtimes!

3. Learning new things with Guardian Masterclasses.

A few Sunday's ago I went to my first Guardian Masterclass and loved it! It was a day long course held at 1 Wimpole Street in London. This class was all about how to live a healthier and happier life - now who doesn't want to know that?! Speakers covered a variety of topics ranging from nutrition, relationship building, happiness and sleep. There was a lot to take in and at some point soon I hope to pick up my many notes and share a bit of what I learned here with you on the blog. If you've never heard of Guardian Masterclasses before then I'd recommend checking them out. They host a vast array of courses that range from a few hours to a full days learning. Covering topics from business to mindfulness and all sorts in between. A great way to learn something new, get some inspiration and network with other likeminded souls.

Guardian Masterclasses

4. Chowing down and catching up with a good friend at The Detox Kitchen.

A week or so ago I had my first experience of the ever popular Detox Kitchen with a visit to one of their London deli's. I was hoping to run a full review but I got so busy chatting that the few photos I took didn't really hold up to show you the best of the place. So I guess I'll have to venture back another time and that's just fine with me! We visited the teeny and cute little deli located on Kingly Street and filled ourselves up very happily with a huge salad box full of fresh and tasty delights, fresh green smoothies and a cheeky little raw beetroot brownie. A great place to swing by if you're looking for a much healthier option on your lunch break but don't want to sacrifice flavour and the satisfaction of eating great food. I'll certainly be popping in again next time I'm nearby.

What did you get up to in March and do you have any exciting new favourites to share? Let me know if you're a fan of any of the above or plan to try any out for yourself?

Have a great weekend and see you soon.

Louise

 


Desktop Nails: Spring Picks Suitable For The Office

The recent bank holiday has left me feeling all spring like! Despite the spell of stormy weather over the weekend here in the UK, we still had the odd glimpse of spring sunshine with clearer skies and a hope of brighter times ahead. Today I've been having a rifle through some of my makeup and nail varnish stash, still trying to get more organised following our move, and I stumbled upon three of my all time favourite neutral nail colours just perfect for welcoming the season of spring into the office. 

Desktop Nails: Spring Picks Suitable For The Office

I love the pretty pastel colours out there, the blues, greens, lilacs. Yet these aren't always necessarily workspace, meeting-friendly styles. Sometimes you just can't beat a trusty nude, pale-pink or neutral that's quick and easy to apply, looks smart and chic for work and is also equally easy to remove ahead of a wilder choice for the weekend! These three all fall in to this very category and are very well tried and trusted. Staple polishes that you can always rely on and that are well worth adding to your collection. So without further ado let's take a look at my top three picks for the office this spring.

1. From left to right, first on the list is the subtle pink offering, Revlon Classy. I love the formula of Revlon nail varnish but trouble often comes with the paler colours that require a multitude of coats to get any effect and yet still remain watery and streaky. Well this colour causes no such trouble with an opaque finish that satisfies with even one coat. So if you're looking for a very quick fix of perfect but subtle pink colour then this is a great option. It's by no means one of Revlon's newest releases but for me it's an old faithful that never fails to deliver.

2. Sally Hansen Mauve Along pictured in the centre is a delicate pale mauve that I adore, think of an ever so subtle tinge of lilac in a lovely neutral disguise. This colour glides on effortlessly for a smart finish that leaves you feeling put together for both work and play! Just two quick coats and you'll achieve a ready to go, fully opaque look. This varnish is also extremely glossy. I admit I rarely ever use a topcoat anyway but with this colour you just don't need to. This really is one of my all time favourite picks for super smart nails in a flash.

3. Last but by no means least is the beautiful Leighton Denny High Performance Colour in the shade Supermodel. If pinky or mauve based colours such as the above aren't quite for you then this lovely mink colour might be just what you're looking for. I've loved this ever since it initially came into my life via a freebie on a magazine! I've repurchased since which is actually quite rare for me and nail varnish, but that's how often I love to reach for this shade. Again it's a really easy one to apply - you may well sense a theme here, I can't be doing with lots of faffing when it comes to painting my own nails!

All three of these picks are pretty hard wearing and chip resistant. Plus that's part of the beauty of neutral shades such as these, tiny chips when they do start to appear don't notice nearly as much as with bolder colours, allowing you to get away with it for longer!

I'm intrigued to know what your all time favourite nail colours are? What recommendations do you have suitable for days that you need to be a little smarter in the office? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Louise

 


What's On My Desk? February Life And Learning

I'm going to state the obvious line here but can you believe it's the end of February already? Seriously? 2016 will be over in a monumental flash at this rate! That said I still have some favourites to share with you for the shorter month of Feb. A couple of desk-top treats as well as highlights from the month just passed. So let's crack on and take a little look ...

What's On My Desk February 2016

February was the month that we moved house and it was stressful, as moving always is. With so much to organise alongside keeping up with work and other commitments, edges started to fray just a little and I had to exercise a lot of the advice I share here on the blog about getting balance in order to keep organised and in check - well ish! 

These sort of upheavals can often leave you feeling a little run down and that's where my first favourite for this month came in very handy indeed. I discovered the absolute goodness of Plenish Juices in our new local store and have been using them to inject some much needed energy, vitamins and nutrition back into my body whilst on the go.

Low sugar, high protein and mainly vegetable based raw juices, cold pressed to maintain their nutritional value, these pack a huge punch of loveliness in each and every bottle. They aren't cheap, so for me they'll be something to reach for when in a real rush and in desperate need of a boost. They are however delicious, fresh and just what you need when you're starting to feel as if you're really running on empty.

Now in order to bring a sense of calm and a welcoming scent of loveliness in our new home I reached for the gorgeous Neom De-Stress Home Mist. A long time fan of Neom, their candles are just pure scented goodness, I thought the mist was well worth a try - and I'm happy to say I was right! The blend of lavender, rosewood and jasmine amongst other gorgeous essential oils, leaves you feeling as if you've just stepped into the most calming and relaxing spa and have nothing to worry about but just switching off and relaxing. A little spritz of this before bed has been doing wonders for the tetchy, frazzled mind!

Another beautiful little treat that came my way this month was in the form of a very lovely Valentines gift from hubby, making me a very lucky girl indeed! The luscious Tom Ford Lipstick in First Time has been my go to lip product of choice since it came my way. A pretty and subtle, pinky, nude that is perfect for all day wear as well as an evening look with a smoky eye. I could never really justify the cost of these lipsticks, as beautiful as they are, I mean look at that sleek packaging and beautiful TF inscribed bullet just screaming 'love me!' They are a huge splurge even for a designer lipstick. I do however adore this colour and it's incredibly lovely to wear so it's not just style, there's some real substance in the quality of the product too.

In terms of learning this February I was really so lucky to have the chance to attend the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Course at Google HQ in London and I can't even begin to tell you how much I learned. Mindfulness, meditation, journaling, listening and conversation styles, all sorts of tools to add to my work-life armoury! I'm working on putting everything into a series of posts to share with you as we speak so check back soon to learn lots more.

So that concludes a little of what went down for me this February! What have you learned and loved this month? Share your thoughts below and here's to a fulfilling March and to spring that's hopefully awaiting just around the corner. Have a great last day of February everyone!

Louise

 


What's On My Desk? Most Loved In January

Happy 1st of the month everybody! Can you believe that January 2016 has already passed us by? Where oh where does all the time go?! In lieu of the month just passed I thought today I'd share with you a few bits that I loved using throughout the month of January. From skincare, to beauty and from stationery to my all time favourite thing in the world ... tea!! So sit tight as I share a little love for these pretty little pieces sat right here, right now on my desk.

What's On My Desk January 2016

First up the aforementioned tea! Now during our recent adventure to India and Sri Lanka we visited a tea plantation to learn more about the UK's favourite tipple. No trip to Sri Lanka is really complete without such an excursion and whilst we were there I certainly learned a lot more about my personal favourite beverage. Namely the cast-off tea 'dust' that makes up the majority of our tea bags over here! So feeling a little cheated, I've turned back to a brand of tea that I love and have sampled before, but usually have to leave on the shelves for fear of the price in comparison to some other household brands.

Teapigs cover everything from your classic English Breakfast to some more tasty and unique herbal flavours such as this fresh and fruity Teapigs Rhubarb and Ginger. It's this flavour that I've been loving this month and the bonus is that all of their tea bags or 'temples' as they're known contain quality whole leaf only and not the regular old dust found in other options. The result is a much better and far more delicious cuppa. So from now on when possible I think it'll have to be quality over quantity for me - oh and also, don't these rhubarb beauties also look super pretty!

Teapigs Rhubarb & Ginger

Next up, I was very lucky to be sent the collection of Giorgio Armani Si perfumes to sample back at the end of last year and have truly fallen in love with the Eau De Toilette*. It's been gracing my skin non-stop for the last couple of months and is subtle and light with a fruity scent that's just right for anyone who loves a sweet based scent but can't cope with anything too sickly or heavy and musky. Frankly any scent that's too strong, as much as I might like it, immediately gives me a headache. If this sounds familiar then I think you'll find this worth a try. It blends so nicely that although it has a beautiful and powerful fragrance, you aren't constantly being hit in the nostrils with it throughout the working day! It's lovely and I'm so sad that it's nearly through but am looking forward to trying the other two in the collection. 

Giorgio Armani Si

The Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Intensive Moisturising Hand Treatment was a last minute emergency grab at the airport at the start of this month. I also picked up the Eight Hour Nourishing Lip Protectant which is hidden somewhere in the depths of my bag right now but I would also recommend. This hand treatment has been a godsend for the sharp, coldness of January. Keeping sore cracked hands at bay, quickly absorbed and really very effective. It does still have that slightly odd emollient eight hour cream smell, not as strong as the actual stuff but it's still there and I'm not entirely convinced that I like that. It is however so nice to use and so soothing for sore hands that I'm prepared to overlook the slightly unusual whiff!

Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream

I love an eye palette and was in the market for a new and more affordable drugstore option to get me through the winter months. Something a little different from my usual browns, although not too far off! This palette from Loreal the La Palette Nude in Rose stood out for the rich plummy colours, smoky dark options down to the lighter shades of beige and nude. I've only just picked this up having heard good things about the colour pay off and pigment.

Having used it a couple of times now I'm really loving the pretty looks that you can create. From simple daytime eye makeup that's perfect for heading out and about, to more intense smoky looks ideal for taking you from a day at work to a night out on the town! At an affordable £14.99 I think this is a great selection and addition to any day to day makeup bag. I'm pretty sure I'll enjoy using this a lot over the next few months, taking me through into the spring and summer.

Loreal La Palette Nude In Rose

This Vichy Liftactiv Supreme Daily Moisturiser* was one of the lovely treats gifted to us in the goody bag from November's 30 Plus Blog Event at Omniya Mediclinic in Knightsbridge. It can be used morning and night, is paraben free and is good for normal to combination skin. I have quite sensitive skin and it actually really likes this product. It isn't too harsh at all and glides on and soaks in fairly effortlessly. Has it improved my lines and wrinkles? Well I'm not too sure just yet! But it's certainly a really nice product and leaves my skin feeling smooth and prepped ahead of applying daily makeup. It takes a little longer than I might usually like to soak into the skin but give it a minute or two and you're good to go.

Would I re-purchase this with my own money? Well that's always the million dollar question but with this product I would have to say yes, if I had the funds (!) I would because I like what it's doing to my skin and feel that it's a reliable, firming and soothing daily product. Something that it's been nice to rely on each and every day to keep skin feeling good!

Vichy Liftactiv Supreme

Finally, if you still haven't gotten around to getting yourself organised for the year ahead and are looking for a decent diary to help to keep you on your toes, then you may well love this little gold striped beauty from Paperchase. I picked this up in the sale and it looks as if they still have some available online. It's a real winner in my eyes. Ring-bound with monthly tabs, and with weekly and monthly views giving you plenty of space and options for which to plan out your time.

What did you love this January? Have you tried any of these products or do you have any similar recommendations? Let me know in the comments below and as always thank you for reading x

Louise