Winter Health Tips

It is quite a challenge for most people to stay physically healthy during the winter months. For me, the cold air gives me super dry skin, especially on my hands and the increased need for brushing and straightening makes my hair very brittle and weak.

Our mental health also becomes vulnerable during winter as being inside most of the time reduces our intake of vitamin D (a mood boosting nutrient that the body creates from light absorption) and this combined with the stuffy, heated office environment generally lowers our immune system and mood.

I try to counteract these things as much as possible but I struggle to motivate myself to go out in the wintery British weather and my increased levels of tiredness from the dark mornings and nights, make it hard for me to push myself to go to the gym. All in all I wouldn’t describe myself as being at my peak level of health during the winter months.

This year I have been implementing some small changes to my normal routine to try and keep myself happy and well, running up to Christmas. Most of the things I have included have been tips I have taken from magazines, books and general advice I have had from friends and family; but I wanted to share all my tips together in the hope that they will help others get rid of the winter blues.

Staying Active

I thought I would tackle this aspect of the winter struggle first, as this is the hardest one for me! I do a fair bit of walking during my commute to work but really, it is not enough to keep my fitness levels up alone. It is also mostly in the dark!

Often when I have made it home from work between 6.15pm and 7pm, going to the gym is the least bit desirable when eating a mound of comfort food and going to bed at 8pm is a possibility… Something I have realised from making myself go to the gym, even if it is just for 30 minutes, is the benefit of the great feeling afterwards. Exercise encourages the body to release endorphins and adrenaline which help us to feel good, increasing our positive energy. This helps to shake that heavy, lazy feeling that tends to overpower me this time of year.

Exercising also helps me to sleep better and allows me to release any anxieties and stresses that have accumulated during the day. In the run up to Christmas, we are often so busy shopping and socialising that we forget to fit in time to be active. If you can brave the cold and exercise outside that is even better, as some studies suggest that you can burn more calories whilst exercising at lower temperatures. Also, making the most of the daytime and exercising whilst it is light, will allow you to get a bit of vitamin D, albeit at much lower levels than during the summertime.

Fitting in more gym sessions has definitely helped me to feel more content, so this would be a good place to start in changing your winter routine.

Eating Seasonally

I took a huge amount of inspiration from the book Eat Pretty by Jolene Hart, which offers a tonne of advice on what the best foods are for every season. During winter, root vegetables are at the top of the list along with figs, nuts and oranges to nourish the body. The book generally suggests the removal of gluten from your diet, however I have reduced my intake considerably rather than eliminating this food group completely as I am rather partial to a slice of toast!

After reading the book and doing some more research online, I have changed my work snacks to cashews, walnuts and dark chocolate and I have started to eat more sweet potato with my meals. Peanut butter has now become one of my favourite treats and adding a nice dollop to my breakfast porridge mixed with some cinnamon every morning, has made getting up that little bit more bearable.

I can see the difference after making these small additions. My skin and hair feel much healthier and less dry despite the awful weather, and I have been fighting colds well with the initial sore throat and achiness often not developing into anything. This stops me from coughing and sneezing over all of my fellow commuters, thank goodness!

Although they are going out of season a little now, fresh figs have been a really great addition to my porridge oats with some blueberries or raspberries if you don’t like cinnamon and peanut butter.

Ultimately, everyone is different and it is important to find foods that you really love that are adding nutritional value to your overall diet. Enjoying food and taking comfort from it is the most important thing during the winter months, as happiness and health go hand in hand. The temptation of refined sugar and alcohol during the festive period can often make us neglect to choose foods with nutritional value, and whilst it is fine to indulge, balancing indulgence and nutrition should be the main focus.


Despite the fact that I have been championing going to the gym and staying active, having time to yourself and relaxing is also a necessity.

November and December are often jam packed with social events, work events, family events and shopping leaving us with little down time. As such, anxiety and stress levels for me are at their highest during the festive season. We put so much pressure on ourselves to look good, buy good presents and attend every social event and be the last person standing, that we forget to just chill out and watch crap TV.

Try and read a book, set aside some time to watch a movie, make the most of your lunch break for shopping so less has to be done at the weekend or maybe shop online and enjoy time with the people closest to you. Trying to budget more and not spend so much money on people can also help as worrying about money can lead to increased anxiety levels after Christmas, when you realise how much you have really spent. Cue the New Year’s resolution about saving more!

My boyfriend has an array of awesome books, so I have been trying to read more of them on my work commute to keep my mind off work and any other general anxieties I may have. He also has Netflix so I have been making the most of snuggling on the sofa and watching good TV.

The main thing to remember is not to oversubscribe yourself, as before you know it you will be too exhausted to eat your Christmas dinner!


On a more general note, I don’t take any vitamin supplements as I don’t really believe that they add anything to your health unless prescribed by a doctor. I try to get my nutrients from my diet in the first instance and eating a well-balanced diet along with implementing an active lifestyle should be enough to maintain a good level of health.

I have read many times that caffeine is the devil of hot beverage ingredients, but I love a good coffee so allow myself to have one a day in the morning. This really helps me to focus at work and gives me a good boost for the day. In the afternoon I drinks lots of water and peppermint tea to keep myself going. Keeping hydrated in the winter should not be overlooked. We may not be sweating but it is really easy to become dehydrated as the colder temperatures subdue our thirst slightly.

Sorry, this has ended up being quite a long post for me, but I hope you guys have found it useful! If you have any tips of your own to keep yourself healthy during winter, please share them as I love to try new things. Especially food wise!

Happy winter everybody.

Julia xx

Positivity Maintenance

Something I like to blog about, which I haven’t for a while, is positivity.

Part of my personality unfortunately, is to focus on the negative and often create/take away negativity from a situation.

Fuelling my positivity and maintaining a mindfulness is quite tough for me and is something I battle with on a daily basis. Sharing my thoughts and writing them down is a coping mechanism I use that gives me a great perspective, allowing me to reflect and understand my emotions. I would like to share my coping mechanisms with others in the hope that it may help someone else out there suffering with similar thought cycles.

I have realised more recently that the majority of my negativity stems from the internal perception I have of myself and the standards and expectations that this creates. This often leads me to being disappointed with how I look/how I have behaved/how I have performed when I compare myself to others.

I spend a lot of time on social media and this escalates the comparisons, where ultimately I am likening my internal thoughts with everyone else’s external presence. This results in me having a battle with a perfect perception of other people which in reality, is likely to be false.

It is becoming more apparent that there is a difference between the filtered, highlighted, posed and shimmered pictures posted by bloggers and ‘it’ girls on various social media platforms and the actual reality of the lives they lead. The number of selfies they had to take to get the ‘perfect’ snap or the number of filters and photoshops used are never revealed, leaving others concluding that these end posts are reality.

During my teenage years and my progression into a young adult I have felt these influences slowly flood my world and warp my perceptions of myself and everyone else around me. I feel that I have imposed some pretty strict rules on myself throughout the years, which has slowly lead to the suffocation of my ability to accept myself and has also led me to be quite critical of other people- if I may be honest!

I realise that it is not the fault of the media and bloggers as I have my own brain and should not allow unwanted thoughts to infiltrate my being; however since it has now become such a big part of my life (albeit without me even realising) I can sense that it is going to be hard for me to suddenly change my thought program. But to start with, I am going to significantly reduce my accessibility to social media apps by removing them from my phone.

This means that when I commute to work, I am not aimlessly scrolling through news feeds for an hour; but perhaps reading a book instead or doing some work to get down my to do list- or even writing a blog post! I feel that ultimately the more I restrict my absorption of media influences, the more I can re-focus my thoughts on something more useful and productive.

I am hoping to slowly ween myself off the comparison rollercoaster and be more aware of the world around me. Maybe some of you can join me too and see how it goes? I have a hunch it will make a big difference.

Julia xx


I have just returned from my first ever trip to Amsterdam and it was such a great city. I thought I would take the opportunity to share some of the things I visited more for my own documentation than anything else. 

This was also the first time I have been on a plane for over a decade so this little holiday was quite outside of my comfort zone! 

One of the highlights of the trip was the Body Worlds exhibition which was located close to Dam square. The premise of the exhibition is to educate people on the importance of happiness and how it affects the human body.

The information was conveyed through a selection of real human bodies, which were donated specifically for the exhibition and preserved cleverly to maintain the relevant structures of the body. 

Ultimately the exhibition demonstrated that the little things in life are extremely important to our happiness and the appreciation of those things around us will contribute significantly to improving our overall well being.

It was really great and made me want to look after my body! 

The Van Gogh museum was another highlight for me and covered many other artists that were inspired by and worked closely with Van Gogh during his time. 

The queue was super long which highlights the museum’s popularity but I would definitely recommend it! 

The flower market which celebrated the city’s tulip delicacy, was really beautiful. To see something so rustic and cultured in a modern and very developed city was really great and I don’t think many cities can boast these attributes. 

Food wise- I thought there very few Dutch options. There was a lot of Nutella and crepes on offer along with your standard Italian, Chinese, Thai and Indian food. However on the last night we found a brilliant rustic restaurant selling Stamppot (usually meatball stew) and we also managed to try some Bitterballen (breadcrumbed meat and stock mixture) which I loved! 

Overall it was such a beautiful city and I was sad to leave. It was so clean and quirky and the canals were just stunning! 

I would definitely recommend a visit. 

Julia xx

Top Picks: Autumn

On my hunt for the ultimate Autumn wardrobe this season I have spotted some key trends/pieces that I wanted to share with you. I find myself getting so carried away  with  autumnal excitement that I end up buying items that do not blend well with my existing wardrobe, thus requiring more accessories and blending items to make it work. This ALWAYS costs me too much money! So this year I am trying to be more strategic about my purchases.

The below items are things that I feel can fit into most wardrobes quite easily, whatever your style. They all work well with black which is a staple colour for all seasons.

Mini skirt
Marks and Spencer Mini Skirt

I completely adore this M&S mini skirt which is the perfect nod to the 60s fashion trend that is prevalent this season. I wouldn’t go for the whole leopard print she-bang as shown in the above photo as I’m not one for floods of patterns; however I would totally wear the skirt with a nice turtle-neck jumper and some over-the-knee boots.

OKN boots

Speaking of over-the- knee boots… These are a must have for 2015. I have selected the River Island Smart OTK boots at £75 because I think these are a good price. Typically good boots like these are in the hundreds, so I might be getting these myself to keep my thrifty self happy.

Faux Fur- 70
Zara Coat £69.99

Faux Fur is something to consider this season (I don’t want to promote actual fur). It is super warm, outrageously on trend and pretty affordable. This multi-coloured Zara coat which oozes texture and softness is one of my favourites from the high street. It looks really good with black skinny jeans and would work really well with a posh dress at all the Christmas parties for 2015. There is no excuse to be shivering this December!

For blending and layering opt for mustard and tan this season as these colours look great with black and darker shades. Navy and burgundy are also back on the menu so don’t forget to bring out your knitwear from last year.

Julia xxx


Autumn is my favourite time of year; it is full of cute jumpers, patterned cosy scarves, beautiful boots and exquisite coats. What more could a fashion lover want? Not much from my perspective…

I took a trip to Primark yesterday and treated myself to some everyday cosies to keep myself up to speed with the new trends. I went for a cute knitted skater skirt in a camel colour and a high neck ribbed stripy jumper (which I obviously wore today as I couldn’t wait to get them on). 

Given that fringing is a very prevalent trend this season (and looks as if it will be travelling through to spring 2016) I, of course, blended my new outfit with a fringed piece! I went for some ankle boots from ASOS which are super comfy (close up below).

Both the skirt and the jumper came to £16 and the boots were around £40. Bargain! Although the amount of clothes I keep buying at the moment means I’m not really saving much. Oops! 

Oh and the cute bag was a gift from a friend! I think it was from Accessorize. 

Julia xx

Eating Clean

This is a post about something a little different to what I normally like to share. See- something that has been on my mind a bit recently is my diet as I have been running a lot with my friends and ensuring you have the right amount of energy to fuel you is really important. 

I also suffer with bad skin (granted it is a lot better than it used to be after going on roaccutane) and diet seems to be the main driver of my skin woes. Consequently I am trying to eat more organic produce, less gluten, no refined sugar and no caffeine (although I have a cheeky earl grey here and there). 

I have found that eating organically can prove to be quite a push on my normal budget so creating a meal plan for the week and stretching your meals to go further is really important. 

I’m typically vegetarian but I have started to incorporate more fish and selected meats that I can cope with (I don’t like the texture of most meats) for more protein. 

It was recently my birthday and my boyfriend gave me the Hemsley and Hemsley cookbook, which I have drawn some inspiration from for my most recent meal plan. Breakfast is the meal I struggle with the most as I always just make toast out of habit, which is boring and not very nutritional. So I really liked the breakfast ideas from H+H. All recipes are gluten free and well balanced. 

Another book I have taken inspiration from is Eat Pretty which discusses the foods that have negative impacts on the skin (sugar, dairy, caffeine and gluten) and how to eat seasonally to give your body the nutrients it needs all year round. My knowledge of what food is best eaten during each season is very limited so this was a section I found particularly helpful. 

I have included this weeks meal plan below. I have used some things I already have in the freezer to stretch my budget. I probably spend about £35 on food a week now I’m ordering more organic items. 

I also stocked up on some staples such as raw honey, cacao powder and miso soup which are fairly expensive and I wouldn’t buy on a weekly basis and so this has added to my bill this week. 

Coconut oil is also quite expensive but it’s totally worth it, as scrambled egg made with coconut oil is some kind of heaven! 


I have a lovely notepad to write in to keep me motivated. I don’t have the best self discipline so when there are treats at work or I am tired I tend to opt for caffeine and chocolate! But taking pleasure in writing the meal plans and cooking them should make it that bit easier. 


I hope this is helpful. I will post further updates detailing how I got on with my new regime. 

Julia xx

French Brands I Love 

Ok so one final post about Paris… I promise.

There are so many gorgeous brands that I saw that I wanted to share with you. Although I couldn’t afford any of them, I definitely took inspiration from the collections that were on display in the department stores over there. 


Such a gorgeous brand by a French designer, full of preppy mustard hues and boyfriend Blazers this season. 

Leon and Harper 

A classic French brand with bags of personality and quirkiness. Beautiful   broderie anglaise tops and midi skirts with tasseled accessories are just some of the items among the aw 2015 collection. 


Atelier Createurs  

A brand I have never come across before- neither can I find much information online about it. A really beautiful collection with effortlessly pretty garments that will make any women look tres chic! 

I will certainly be keeping my eye out for these brands. Really love them. 

Julia xx