Category Archives: INTENTION

A few things I’m grateful for right now.

July 11, 2018

INTENTION

Photography. Feet in the morning light

How are you handling the heat? I’ve found that this weather, although glorious, can be a little challenging to manage with a baby. Restless nights have been followed by early starts and sticky and sweaty days that have involved a lot of hiding in the shade. That said, in trying to avoid being hot and bothered, there’s been so much to enjoy over the last few weeks. I’ve been embracing a slow holiday-vibe pace of life and really noticing and enjoying life’s little pleasures.

Here are a few things that I’ve been grateful for and which have brought me joy recently…

☾ Diffusing summery scents in the morning whilst the early light dances around the room.
☾ Creating a shady nest in our garden for snoozy outdoor feeds with my babe.
☾ Clean washing drying on the line and the satisfaction of getting to the bottom of the laundry pile – thank you heatwave 🙏🏻.
☾ The euphoric feeling of swimming in deep, cool salt water.
☾ Dancing like only the baby is watching!
☾ Fresh veg delivered to our door (our Able & Cole delivery makes me so happy each week).
☾ A messy little yoghurt covered face.
☾ Beautiful sunshiny weekends spent with friends.
☾ Salad days for days.
☾ Football.
☾ Deliveroo *finally* serving our postcode!
☾ An electric fan in the bedroom at night.
☾ Sharing homemade ice lollies with my little buddy.
☾ Dinners in the garden.
☾ The vibrancy of the city in the summer.
☾ Escaping the city at weekends for fresh air.

What’s been bringing a little extra sunshine to your life on these warm days?

Intentions for May

May 1, 2018

INTENTION

Tea with flowers

The thing about wanting to live more intentionally, mindfully, gently or slowly is that it’s a constant work in progress. For me, it’s a balance between cultivating the habits that help me feel more aligned in my day-to-day but also learning to let go of internal expectations that cause frustration and stress. So often it’s much more about a mindset rather than anything practical. My intentions this month are all about working on that mindset shift and reminding myself that it’s ok to prioritise the things that fill me up.

I’ve purposely steered away from goal-setting so far this year during the first part of my maternity leave, but inspired by Jen Carrington’s weekly letter I decided to add some goals to go along with my intentions for May. Aligning with my intentions, these are gentle goals and things that will make me happy to achieve.

My intentions for May

Let go of the of-do list stress – House chores, life admin, Instagram posts…all the things that “need” to be done will be there whether I stress over them or not. I’m always coming back to trying to accept the fact that I can’t do ALL of the things and if I don’t prioritise the stuff that fills me up and feels good then I’ll never find time for it.

Practice presence – It might not always be the easiest thing but I know I’m always happier on the days I spent living a little more in the moment and not with half a mind on that aforementioned to-do list.

Make time for creativity – For their May ‘slow experiment’ the hosts of The Slow Home Podcast are doing something creative every day this month, with the point being that it’s about enjoying the process rather than creating something to share. This week’s episode made me want to crack out my sewing machine and material box, but I think I’ll have to find something that fits in a bit better with the baby.

More reading (less scrolling) – I recently joined our lovely local library. I would like to use some of that time I’m spending stuck underneath a feeding baby to slowly but surely make it through a paperback!

My goals for May

Write my birth story –  I’m heading into the sixth month since Casper arrived and I’d love to write up the story of how he joined us in the world in time for his half-birthday.

Make a start on a new project – My friend Franky and I have been hatching plans to launch a new creative project together (you can probably guess what!). This month I’d like to flesh out our plans and set a schedule for launch.

Back up and print some photos – Always a job I say I’ll stay on top of but it gets out of hand so quickly! I’d be heartbroken if I lost all the baby snaps so it’s definitely time to back up those memories.

Plan and book our holidays – Over the years we’ve been pretty ‘last minute’ when it comes to booking time away. It’s always worked out fine for us but I’m certain that now we’ve got a baby in the mix we can’t really continue with such a laid-back attitude. We’d like to get away for a mini-break soon and plan a longer trip in the summer using the remainder of my husband’s generous paternity leave.

Pump it up! – I’m yet to pump a drop of milk or try Casper on a bottle. While this has been fine for us so far it would definitely be nice to let Dad do the odd feed here and there!

Do you have any goals or intentions for this month? I’d love to hear about them. Let me know on Instagram and use #MyIntentionalYear for any posts.

Embracing The Fourth Trimester

March 22, 2018

INTENTION / NURTURE

Maternity Photography, Floaty, feminine, baby bump

Early in March my baby turned three months old, this means I have now come to the end of my ‘fourth trimester’ – the last stage of pregnancy. The fourth trimester is a phrase coined to acknowledge the significance of the first twelve weeks after birth for both mother and baby. There’s plenty to read online about a baby’s development in the early months and how certain things may help ease their transition into life outside the womb. However, that time after birth is also a period of great change for a woman and embracing the concept of a fourth trimester can help us connect with the idea that birth is not quite the end of our pregnancy journey.

While I was pregnant, I set the intention to really let these first few months be a time for recovery and adjustment. To go slowly and not to put pressure on myself (or my body) to do or achieve too much. For me, this has meant deciding not to worry, or even think about certain things during this fourth trimester. It hasn’t been a time for routines, to-do lists or getting back to pre-baby shape; but for bonding with my baby and gently adapting to a new way of life.

Maternity Photography, Maternity Photography, Floaty, feminine, baby bump Maternity Photography, Floaty, feminine, baby bump

This is not to say that embracing the fourth trimester has meant new parenthood has been easy. I’ve had days when I’ve been blue, felt exasperated and overwhelmed, have fought with my partner and cried over the tiniest things…basically, I’ve been as exhausted and hormonal as any other new mamma. Surrender is the word which has accompanied this time. I’ve done my best to surrender to the extreme tiredness, the three-nappy-changes, being covered in puke and screamed at. “This too shall pass”…and all too quickly. Surrendering to the tough moments may not make them any easier but it has definitely helped manage my wellbeing and my headspace.

Now I’m three months postpartum I’m not planning on changing things suddenly. I’m not about to go on a diet, become obsessed with getting into a routine or returning to starting an exercise regime. To see the three-month mark as some sort of end point, I feel, would somewhat defeat the point of a gentle transition period. This is only the beginning of this parenthood journey and I know the adjusting and adapting is now pretty much a constant, life-long process.

I do believe embracing the forth trimester has helped see me through the crazy newborn haze and I would encourage any pregnant women or new mammas to do the same. It’s been so important to honour the final stage of pregnancy.

Images by the brilliant Kasia Kiliszek (www.kasiakiliszek.co.uk) shot for an upcoming story on thisiswomb.com.

Read on… Me & My Bump: Body Confidence In Pregnancy

My Intentional Year: A Gentle January

January 27, 2018

INTENTION

A Gentle January blog title

In my last post I shared that I’ve not made any resolutions this New Year, instead of focusing on plans and goals I’d like 2018 to be the year for being more mindful and intentional. Rather than think about what I want to achieve each month, when I take some time to set my intentions for the coming few weeks I’ll be thinking about how I want things to feel and what mindset I want to cultivate as I navigate through my days. To help guide me I’m choosing a word for the month that encapsulates these feelings.

This month, I knew that more than anything I wanted to prioritise going slowly, taking things easy and being kind to myself and my family as we adjust our new lives together. So my guiding word for January has been gentle. Although you’d hope a new mum would know not to put too much pressure on herself I’m afraid it’s all too easy to let those nagging, negative thoughts creep in. When overwhelmed by tiredness – thinking I should be doing better or achieving more, it’s been helpful to come back to the idea of gentle and g e n t l y reassess how I’m approaching or feeling about a moment or situation.

bunch of gypsophila baby's breath lace ribbon handsbunch of gypsophila baby's breath lace ribbon

New baby aside, I think we all need a reminder, especially at this time of year, to approach things in life more gently. You’d think that after a month dedicated to spreading joy and cheer it wouldn’t be so difficult, but it seems as though after the excess of the festive season, January brings about a collective guilt trip. Dry January, Vegan January, a plastic-free month – as worthwhile as these lifestyle changes may be, I can’t help but feel that they still come from a place of beating ourselves up!

Last week’s Blue Monday may be mainly there to give marketers something to Tweet about during a slow season, but there certainly seems to be more people suffering from the blues during January. Even us ardent winter-lovers are searching for signs of spring! When things seem a little bleak ‘gentle’ seems to be a good solution. Gentle doesn’t tell you to “cheer up” or “try harder”; Gentle instead speaks of not being to hard on yourself and of sitting with those uncomfortable feelings knowing they will pass.

And yes, I know there’s only a few days left of January, but maybe, as we come to the end of this long month, it’s the perfect time to have a little check in. And if your 2018 hasn’t got off to the best start I hope you can choose to be gentle with yourself.

Join the conversation on Instagram using the hashtag #myintentionalyear to share your gentle moments this month.

My Intentional Year

January 8, 2018

INTENTION

My Intentional Year

It’s that time of year for reflecting on the past twelve months and making plans for the next. Although I love that fresh start, clean slate feeling that January brings, it seems these days, we’re mostly in agreement that a ‘new year new me’ mentality is not a sustainable way of bringing about real change. Read more, eat well, buy better, declutter, write more, exercise – whatever your list looks like, a generic and vague set of life ‘improvements’ only serves to become something to beat ourselves up about come the end of a long winter. That’s why this new year, I’m choosing to focus on intentions rather than outcomes or achievements.

If there are goals, dreams or habit-shifts you’d like to see come about in 2018, then by all means, lay them out and take steps to work towards them. However, I think it’s important not to get caught up in the big picture and be sure to focus on what is needed for this particular season, month or moment of your life.

This is especially apparent for me right now as I start the year as a new mum with a one-month-old baby. I have no idea what the next couple of weeks will look like or demand from me, let alone the next few months or rest of the year. That said, although I might not know what to expect from our day-to-day, I do have an idea of how I’d like to navigate our new lives together.I want to prioritise quality time and connection. I would like to be present in the moment as much as possible; to remember all the fleeting little details and find meaningful ways to document them. I want to be mindful of my emotions and ride out the tougher times without spiralling into negativity and becoming overwhelmed.

dried hydrangea petals in hands dried hydrangea petals

I know that when I’m living more intentionally I’m calmer and more content. Not mindlessly scrolling on my phone; knowing my limitations and not trying to do everything at once, taking time for reflection, meditation and mindfulness – the actions that help me feel aligned may well look different now my priorities have changed but by keeping intentionality at the forefront I hope to be able to bring about that same sense of calm.

I’m starting my intentional year by deliberately taking January gently and slowly. If you’re not feeling the New Year buzz (or maybe you’ve already lost it) then I recommend emerging into 2018 gradually, without putting pressure on yourself this month. I’ll be publishing a post later this week on having a gentle January.

My plan intention is to share my journey into a more intentional year here on the blog and over on Instagram using the hashtag #MyIntentionalYear. I’d love it if you would like to join in with the tag to share your own moments of intentional living this year.

How are you feeling about the new year? My friends online seemed to fall into two camps –  those who are raring to go and those who would rather ease themselves gently into the new year.

Pregnancy Massage with Relax Bristol

December 2, 2017

INTENTION / NURTURE

Relax Bristol Pregnancy Massage Table

In collaboration with Relax Bristol.

Trying out Relax Bristol’s pregnancy massage could not have come at a better time…As I headed into the third trimester those aches and pains associated with pregnancy that you hear about, really began to kick in. I had to quickly make a few lifestyle changes, choosing the bus or train where I would have usually rushed about on foot and I had to start leaving my computer at home instead of lugging around for meetings and later pay the price physically. Despite doing my best to make sensible decisions not to push myself I’d often wake up feeling achy and sore after a bad night’s sleep with my hips, back, shoulders and neck reminding me that they’re baring the strain of growing a little human.

A local independent company, Relax Bristol offer massage treatments in your own home. With customers being able to book a massage treatment at a time and date that suits them, including evenings and weekends. Alongside pregnancy massage, Relax Bristol’s therapists can provide a whole range of therapies including Thai massage, reflexology, sports massage and bespoke treatments. The online booking process is super simple and with a just few clicks, you’ll have a confirmation that an experienced massage therapist will arrive at your preferred time, ready with their equipment and oil to effectively transform your living room into a home spa. You can even book a massage for the same day!

I decided to book my treatment for the Friday before we headed off on our babymoon. My thinking was it would be a lovely way to begin a week dedicated to relaxing, self-care and quality time unwinding with my husband. It turned out that Friday would also happen to be the end of a very stressful week. After days of battling a broken computer and feeling like I was falling behind on my workload, let’s just say I was *tense*! Certainly not the productive week I’d planned in order to feel good about taking a week off. Although I was tempted to cancel my appointment and use every last moment to play catch up, I’m sure glad I didn’t as, of course, it was exactly what I needed to release the tension and help let the stress go.

Relax Bristol Pregnancy Massage Candles at homeDining room Relax Bristol Pregnancy Massage

Relax Bristol had included suggestions for how to prepare myself and my space for receiving a treatment at home and I decided to fully embrace the idea of creating a spa-like environment. I lit candles, burnt my favourite essential oil and chose some relaxing background music. When my therapist Olga arrived right on time, she effortlessly set up her table, finishing my dining room’s transformation into a treatment room.

Before she began Olga was sure to check on the details of my pregnancy, confirming how many weeks along I was and if I’d experienced any particular issues that she should be aware of and checked if I was happy for her to massage my bump – understandably, not all pregnant ladies like having their tummies touched. Olga, and the other Relax Bristol therapists that can be booked for pregnancy massage, have gone through training to provide a treatment that is specifically comfortable and safe for pregnant women. The treatment felt mostly quite similar to other massages I’ve had before, apart from having to lie on my side opposed to my front to allow Olga to work on my back. I was instructed to lay on my left side as this improves circulation and blood flow to the placenta and a cushion was placed under my bump for extra comfort.

As I closed my eyes and relaxed into receiving the massage, I can’t quite explain how wonderful it felt to not only have the tension of the week melt away but also have all this attention given to my aching body that has been working so hard and going through the most intense period of change. Instead of letting my mind wander whilst receiving my massage, I chose to focus on my body and cultivate some internal loving kindness – something I’ve learned through my meditation practice. I extended gratitude to the part of my body being worked on and consciously released any tension I was holding.

I felt so relaxed after the hour-long treatment and having a therapist come to my home meant that I could fully enjoy that post-massage feeling. It really was the perfect way to let go of all that stress ahead of our babymoon week away. I would urge any fellow pregnant ladies to think about booking a massage for themselves or better yet – wouldn’t it make a perfect baby shower or Christmas gift for a mum-to-be friend?!

If you’re local you can book with Relax Bristol here: www.relaxbristol.co.uk and readers of my blog can receive 10% off any treatment over 60 minutes throughout December using the code SNOWFLAKE.

Relax Bristol kindly offered me this complimentary pregnancy massage, but all opinions are my own. 

An evening with Yoga Brunch Club

July 19, 2017

INTENTION / NOURISH

Yoga Brunch Club Yoga Brunch ClubYoga Brunch Club

As evening fell on a warm June day, I joined a group gathered to enjoy a yoga class with a difference. Yoga Brunch Club – as the name suggests – can usually be found popping up on a weekend morning, with brunch clubs held regularly in Bristol and London. Switching things up for this midsummer event, Yoga Brunch Club’s founder Clem Balfour hosted a yoga supper club which consisted of a vinyasa flow class, followed by a delicious Italian feast; all taking place in the beautiful setting of The Forge.

It was the day following the hottest of the year and with fans running and windows open wide, I think we were all grateful for the drop in temperature as we arrived and settled on our mats ready for an hour of yoga. Having not attended a yoga class for a good few years I was honestly a little anxious about my ability to keep up, not to mention being nearly four months pregnant obviously needing to be considered. However, Clem took the time to chat with me beforehand, mentioning a few poses I should adapt or skip, which put my mind at ease. She also made her way around the room before commencing the class, checking in with all the attendees.

As she led the class, Clem was sure to include options to adjust poses accordingly for the variety of abilities in the room along with providing gentle words of encouragement. I particularly remember her pointing out to the class that yoga is not about striving to attempt the perfect pose, but maintaining awareness of your own body during the practice. As my particular combination of tight hamstrings and little arms have a habit of making me feel like the least flexible girl in the room this felt like a very good reminder for me as a novice – plus I realise that pregnancy is probably not the time to lament not being able to touch my toes!

I really enjoyed the flowing nature of the class and as we rested in savasana at the end of the session I had that lovely satisfied feeling of an hour well spent.

Yoga Brunch Club A Tavola Food Yoga Brunch Club The Forge Yoga Brunch Club A Tavola FoodYoga Brunch Club The Forge

Having visited The Forge for all sorts of events I’m always impressed by the versatility of the space, which on this occasion seamlessly transitioned from yoga studio to dining room half way through the evening. Cocktails were served as mats and blocks were replaced by two long rustic tables, which looked so pretty decorated simply with flower stems in vintage bottles.

Bristol based caterers A Tavola had prepared a three-course Italian feast for the evening meal. As the sun set, we tucked into a delicious starter of spring broth, handmade ravioli main accompanied by two incredible salads followed by panna cotta with strawberries and pink peppercorns. Natural Italian wines were also available to enjoy with the meal. The food was so fresh and delicious, perfect for a midsummer’s evening and a lovely balance of hearty and wholesome which felt just right to follow our exercise.
Yoga Brunch ClubYoga Brunch Club

Having got into meditating regularly over the last year, I’ve been really wanting to give yoga another go as the two practices obviously compliment each other so well. Yoga Brunch Club was a lovely reintroduction for me and I’m definitely going to seek out a local pregnancy yoga class, although I may be disappointed in the lack of yummy food to follow!

Whether you’re also an absolute beginner or if unlike me you’re a seasoned yogini, I think you’ll find Yoga Brunch Club a beautiful way to spend a morning or evening.

The next Yoga Brunch Club in Bristol takes place on September 10th at The Forge with Vietnamese brunch menu from Uncle Ho’s. Early bird tickets are available for £30. Or you can catch Yoga Brunch Club in London with their next event in Brixton on August 13th.

Follow Yoga Brunch Club: Instagram / Facebook / Twitter / Website

All photos shot by the lovely and talented Kasia Kiliszek: InstagramPortfolio

* * *

I was invited to this event by Yoga Brunch Club but all opinions (and tight hamstrings) are my own.

The Rhythm Of My Working Day

April 29, 2017

INTENTION / WORK

My-working-week-JORD-Watches-2“The value of a watch is not in being able to tell how much time has passed, but in being aware of the need to make that time count.”

I’ve written this post in collaboration with JORD wooden watches, this quote from their website sums up something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. Now I work for myself and my time is entirely my own to schedule and manage how I see fit, I find I’m acutely aware of the need to make my days productive and make the time spent working count.

Something that has become apparent in the half a year that I’ve been freelancing and working from home is how much the routines and rhythm of my day can impact on the way I work and my productivity. I don’t necessarily work on set tasks on particular days and my workload can vary from week to week so I like to think more about the way my days flow. Each day may look slightly different but if they follow the same rhythm it can keep me on track. There are a few habits and rituals I practice to help me out…

My-working-day-JORD-Watch-blossom

Time to focus

The early hours are all about getting in the right headspace to set me up right for the day.

Meditation helps me clear my mind and focus on one thing at a time and has become an important part of setting the rhythm for my day. I sit down to meditate as soon as I’ve got dressed, usually for 15-20 minutes in the morning before switching my computer on for the day. Sometimes I’ll take 5 minutes later in the day to do a min-meditation, this can be really useful to help switch from one project to another.

Although I love working from home I did use to enjoy that time spent walking to the office in the morning. So a few days a week I will make sure I get out of the house for a run at the local park or even just a short walk around the block.

My-working-week-JORD-Watches

Time to work

When it comes to getting down to work I’ll usually find myself sat at the dining table, or at the desk in our spare room.

Working from home by myself all day I’ve been so much more aware of any shifts in my focus and attention. Of course, there are no traditional distractions such as colleagues chatting or the office phone ringing but there’s still factors that will throw off my concentration. The very nature of working in social media means that constant notifications from multiple client accounts are inevitable, emails ping in, the housework can be hard to ignore and the postman even more so.

However, I’ve discovered that if I’ve got a long to-do list, I really benefit from adopting the Pomodoro method of time-management. It works by working in bursts of 25 minutes to focus only on one task and then taking a 5 minutes break. I really recommend it for people whose brains, like mine, try to think about a hundred things at once!

I always try to have a break away from my screen at lunch time. I love that being at home means I can always prepare a simple but nourishing lunch (often involving eggs). As the weather gets nicer I’ll take my plate outside and enjoy the sunshine at the garden as I eat. To accompany my break I will put on one of my favourite podcasts. I’ll usually turn to an inspirational creative show, such as Being Boss or Make It Happen, to spur me on with motivation for the afternoon.

As I said not every day is the same, sometime a have a busy day of meetings, a lot of writing to do or a day being more creative. The good thing about establishing a rhythm over a set routine is that it allows the flexibility to chance-up what I’m doing but stay on track.

Time to unwind

I suppose for some, the beauty of setting your schedule means being able to work outside of the traditional 9-5 office hours. I can see this being great if you’re a night owl or have children to consider, but for the most part working a standard day makes the most sense for me and means that once my husband gets home we have the evening to chill out together.

It’s funny, as I always thought I would be someone who preferred a less structured schedule but I definitely need a rhythm in place to keep my from feeling overwhelmed and to get the work done.

My-working-day-JORD-Watch-blossom

Keeping Time

I’ve written this post in collaboration with JORD wooden watches. I haven’t had a watch for years but the moment my Frankie 35 sandalwood watch arrived from JORD I fell for it completely and it’s barely left my wrist since. It’s a simple pleasure but it’s so nice to be able to keep track of time during the day without looking at my phone!

If you’d like to fall for a JORD Wooden Watch yourself you can enter to win a $100 voucher here. Open until May 14th.


Luxury Wooden Watch

On Blogging

March 6, 2017

INTENTION

Once, A Glimpse blog, On Blogging

So, it’s been a good couple of months since I posted here. The hiatus wasn’t exactly planned, but it also wasn’t entirely unintentional either. Although I’ve been blogging in one form or another for the best part of a decade, I’ve never exactly been great when it comes to consistency. During the final few months of last year I found that having my focus on other things just didn’t allow the time, or creative headspace, to put into writing blog posts and I found myself thinking a lot about how I wanted proceed with blogging – if at all.

In October 2016 I signed up for Me & Orla’s Instagram E course and really threw myself into improving, developing and growing my Instagram channel. I found taking the course so inspiring and the work I’ve been putting in there has definitely been paying off. Along with improving my photography and growing my following and engagement, I have also made some lovely new friendships with fellow Instagrammers (a few of whom I’m hoping will be reading 🙋🏻). The thing is as I’ve been getting so much fulfilment out of Instagram I found myself wondering if there’s much point in keeping up blogging.

I now plan and create for Instagram the way I used to for my blog. It used to be if I was going to and event, out for a walk or even baking a cake, my DSLR would be right with me to document and the occasion would (eventually) find its way onto my blog. Although I never grew a particularly large readership, that little old blog helped me show off some skills in a couple of different job interviews and really was my way into a career in social media.

Despite launching with big ideas I haven’t given this space here at Once, A Glimpse anywhere near as much dedication as I did my old site. But yet here I am…

Once, A Glimpse blog, On Blogging

To be fair, when I launched this blog last spring I was on the cusp of a year that would prove to be full-on; I turned 30, bought a house and moved, we had a major family bereavement, I got made redundant and began working for myself. Despite not finding the time or general wherewithal to publish posts I never stopped writing, albeit in a sporadic kind of way. I have been writing content for clients along the way and contributed a few bits to local sites. Intermittently I got into the practice of doing morning pages, I’d scribble down ideas, kept gratitude journals on-and off and fill note books pages with half-formed blogs posts in-amongst to-do lists.

I think ultimately it’s that desire to keep writing that makes me know I’m not done with blogging. But I want to give more of myself to this space, not just hop on to re-hash Instagram content or post a quick playlist, not just keep up with the bare minimum so I can use it on my CV!

I toyed with the idea of trying something a bit different with the blog, to rekindle my inspiration… choosing a particular theme, or something like that. But, ultimately I realised I would be creating more of a rod for my own back. So, I decided instead to just chill about it… and lo and behold there’s three posts scheduled for this month already!

There’s a few things I know I would like to work towards on the blog – like including posts related to social media and other elements of my freelance work, sharing some of the changes I’ve been making over the last year and generally just go deeper with my blog writing…but no grand plans or promises to stick to a posting schedule. I’ll be here, more wholeheartedly and hopefully more often, and when I’m not – you know where to find me.

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