5 simple ways to make yourself happier


Paint your nails
Nothing makes me feel like I have my life together than freshly painted nails and toenails. I don't know what it is about coloured fingers and toes but they just make me smile and like I can take on the world. I find it so relaxing to set aside a few hours at night to concentrate on painting my nails. It helps my brain stop whirling around and just concentrate on the moment at hand.

Buy fresh flowers
I love fresh flowers in my room. Waking up and seeing them at the the end of my bed makes me smile each time without fail. Something so simple yet something so pretty. With British Flower week coming up on Monday, there isn't a better time to treat yourself to some fresh blooms. Ocean Loans has launched their project FourWalls to help celebrate all things homes related. Flowers are a great way to add some colour to a home!


Go for a evening stroll
We all lead such busy lives and can get bogged down with the mundune things in life. Work can be all-comsuming and tough to switch off from. I find going to a evening stroll after dinner really helps to switch off and help you to relax. Take your favourite person and just wander aimlessly for about an hour chatting about every and anything. Don't check your phone, just be in the moment. You'll come back feeling fresh and relaxed - trust me! The gentle exercise will help to endorse those endorphins that everyone harps on about. A natter and exercise - what a combo eh?

Try out a new recipe
Cooking give me such a sense of achievement. It's something I've only really discovered over the last few years. Even now I'm still shocked that I can make something not only edible but pretty darn delicious. I find it quite therapeutic to stand in front of a hob trying out a new recipe I haven't attempted before. That feeling I get when it's finished and tastes amazing makes me smile. It doesn't have to be a complicated recipe, even if it's just a another variation of avocado on toast. You get to feed your face and feel pretty sassy at the same time. Winner.

Have an early night
I don't know about you but I am a monster when I'm tired. I am grumpy, argumentative and awkward. I need my sleep every night and my alarm goes out at 5.30 every morning. But I don't always get to have a good run in bed. It's a hard life being a social butterfly eh?! So at least twice a week I set aside a few nights to get in bed for 9pm. That included pjs on, make up off and light switched off my 9pm. I find myself waking up feeling with more of a spring in my step and a lot more together. It's amazing how much a decent amount of sleep can contribute towards your happiness.

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Recipe: grilled avocado barley bowl with Lakeland


Lakeland got in touch to see if I wanted to try out the new Davina McCall range and test them out with a recipe. Always one for kitchen equipment, I said yes and soon a parcel arrived. Consisting of a pair of kitchen scissors, crinkle cutter, grater, peeler and a pairing knife, they were the perfect addition to my kitchen. I decided it was time to try out a recipe from one my favourite cookbooks at the minute, A Modern Way To Cook by Anna Phillips - the recipe called for most of the items to be used. So what did I think? I loved the bright colours as I think aesthetics are everything in a kitchen, they felt sturdy to withhold my clumsiness and were simple and quick to use whilst preparing a meal. Who has time for complicated equipment on a week night? The price point is great too - good quality at a really reasonable price.



Serves 2 with leftovers for lunch

Ingredients
1 large avocado
300g pearl barley
1/2 bag of baby spinach
50g chopped walnuts
Zest and juice of one lemon
100g feta cheese
200ml plain fat free Greek yogurt
A handful of roughly chopped fresh basil
A few pinches of sea salt
A pinch of black pepper



Method
1. Rinse the pearl barley under cold water then boil it in a saucepan. Include a good pinch of sea salt, the juice of half a lemon before putting the squeezed lemon half into the pan too. Cook for around 25 minutes.

2. Cut the avocados in half - leaving the skin on but discarding the stone. Put them cut side down in a griddle pan and cook until they have black griddle marks.

3. To make the yogurt sauce, mix the chopped basil leaves with the zest and juice of the remaining half a lemon. Add a good pinch of sea salt and pepper for some extra flavouring.

4. Wilt the spinach in a frying pan.

5. Once the pearl barley is cooked, drain away the water and crumble in the feta cheese and chopped walnuts. Add the wilted spinach to the dish and mix it all together.

6. Divide between two bowls - remembering to keep some aside for lunch leftovers! Top with the grilled avocado and spoon on the yogurt mix.

As always I'd love to know if you try this recipe out, drop me a tweet to let me know!


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Review: The Terrace at Royal Horseguards Hotel, Embankment, Central London


Located near the London Eye and overlooking the River Thames on the Embankment, The Royal Horseguards Hotel couldn't be in a more ideal location. I was invited along to the summer launch of their terrace for an evening of drinks and BBQ nibbles. Such a lovely way to spend a mild evening in the city.




The Royal Horseguards is pretty fancy and the terrace is no different. The food was absolutely delicious. Mini sliders, hotdogs and satay chicken all hit the spot. The sliders in particular were juicy, flavoursome and moreish - beef burgers topped with crispy bacon and gooey gruyere cheese.  I just wish I could have eaten more! Filled with fragrant blooms and comfy armchairs, the courtyard is the perfect place to relax after work or meet with friends at the weekend.



If you want to reserve an area with friends, there's a minimum spent of £20 which can easily be spent on a few cocktails. Keep an eye out for the London Eye looming over - I still never tire of that view! Alternatively, you can pick a special set menu BBQ package for your group. Coming in at £50 per person, you will get two types of meat. one type of seafood, one type of vegetarian, two types of salad, two types of dessert and a glass of pimms. More than enough for you to make a day of it in the sunshine!

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A Essex based lifestyle blogger who lives a champagne life on a lemonade purse!

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sophie.warner89@yahoo.co.uk.

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