Sunday, 31 August 2014

À la rentrée

September 2014.  How did that happen??  Back to School... À la rentrée... the French make it sound so much better don't they?

I've realised that I graduated over a year ago now.  I'm not going back to University after a three month summer break.  This is my life now.  It's different.

I'm not sure how I feel about that.  But I do know that when I was in my final year of university and I imagined my life, this is probably not how it would have looked back then...

I don't want life to be a simple case of get up, go to work, come home, have dinner, go to sleep.

But that is what it has become.  My life has become a rut!

That's not to say I'm not happy.  

Having said that, it is now September and I have been writing The Orchard since January.  I started with such vigour and excitement, and I realise that this blog is not at all what I had originally intended it to be!

I wanted The Orchard to be a place where I could let my creativity be explored.  A place where I could learn new things, become part of an online community and a thing that I could be proud of.

And it's not.  Don't get me wrong I have enjoyed these past 7 months.  I certainly take better pictures now than I did before!  However, The Orchard has become something which I post very irregularly to and often times rush posts just to get them out.  Sometimes it is even a chore.

So this is my Back To School promise.

I will use this little space on the internet as a place which I enjoy creating content towards.  A place which I love to create and a place which I would love to come to read.

But what I really want The Orchard to be a place to remind me to enjoy life.  To get out of my comfort zone and try new things.  Because at the end of the day I have a great place for a photo album to look back on when I'm older!

So here it goes!

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Chanel Hydra Beauty Nutrition Review

As you all know, I have always had issues with my skin being super dry!  It seems as though nothing I try fixes it.  It's flaky, it's sensitive, it's dull.

Until now!

This little beauty is a god send, I promise.

"Hydra Beauty Nutrition soothes, repairs and protects to delight weakened and dry skin.  It reactivates the skin's natural hydration and compensates its lipid deficiencies.  It's rich texture gently melts away, leaving a hint of subtle fruity notes.'

I can't put it any better than that.  It's a really thick, creamy consistency but as soon as you put it on your skin it just melts right in leaving your skin feeling, and smelling, so incredibly luxurious.

I have used this religiously every single morning and evening for two months now and I promise you my skin has never been better.

You know when sometimes you come out of the shower and you can't do anything before you moisturise.  This used to be me every single day.  But now I can actually do things before I moisturise.  I feel liberated!

Now, it is pretty pricey.  £55 from boots.

But it is truly worth every single penny.  Never again will I ever use another moisturiser!  Just look at the results!  Quite simply... glowing!

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Denim Hues and Stone Circles

On the last day of our trip to Arran, the sun was shining and I had found a rocking chair to sit in!  I read my book, drank my coffee and thought to myself, life is pretty great.

The book I am reading, by the way, is called 'Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China'.  It is incredible.  Written by Jung Chan, the book follows the breathtaking story of the 'the grandmother given to the warlord as a concubine, the Communist mother and the daughter herself'.  It's my summer must read!

Anyway, we decided that we couldn't possibly sit indoors rocking all day so we decided to head out to hunt for the Machrie Moor Stone Circles.

But first, there had to be ice cream at the Highland Games.

It was Turkish Delight flavour and I look pretty pleased with myself!  If you've never seen a Highland Games before, it is something.  Typically, men in kilts through stuff.  It's ace!

Ye, so after that little distraction, off we went.

I am wearing a dress from Oasis that I picked up in the sale but you can find a similar one here.  I am also rocking last seasons rucksack from New Look.

Andrew is all Hollister with some John Lewis  sunglasses
thrown in.

One thing you must always be aware of in Scotland is not to trust the weather.  Gorgeous sun can turn cold in a second, so you're gonna need to take your favourite jumper 
everywhere with you!

You also need to be prepared for rain...

I'm loving Pac-a-Macs for thins occasion, and currently I'm rocking this little number from Fatface.

Now, the Stone Circles are also pretty cool.  They date from the Neolithic period to the early Bronze Age and can be found all over the country.

Machrie Moor, however, is littered with the remains of early man, from hut circles to chambered cairns and standing solitary stones.  If you're ever in Arran, you should definitely check them out.  Plus the view is pretty amazing!

Tuesday, 12 August 2014



The lovely people at Thierry Mugler send me a sample of their iconic Angel fragrance.

They asked me to think about all Angel evokes for me from emotions to smells to sensations.  But if you want to pick yourself up a bottle of this gorgeous fragrance then head here.

I was going to write a little something about the feelings and emotions I associate with Angel fragrance, but honestly I think it's best said in pictures.

Check out other mood boards on Facebook and Twitter!

Also check out my instagram:

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Mood Food

Mein Parfum


A lot of my family have diabetes. 

This is not new news to me.  I have always known this.  But typically, you never really think about the consequences when you're young.

I have always been pretty prone to moodiness when I'm hungry...  Apparently, it's also known as being pre-diabetic...

Which is a real bummer 'cause I do love a sweet treat!

But, you know what?  It's a great wake up call.  It says, Joanna, it is time to sort out your diet, look after your body and your mind and stop this in its tracks.



So, I took to Google to search for advice.  "I have pre-diabetes, what now?"  And what I found was full of contradictions and was quite frankly confusing.  Should I cut out sugar all together?  Have I had me last ever bowl of pasta?  Should I even eat too much fruit?

Then, when I was reading this months issue of OM Yoga I came across an article called 'Balanced food for good mood' by Charlotte Watts.  

'Break the blood sugar rollarcoaster and see your spirits soar'.

The trouble is when we feel low we crave sugar and comfort food and this only makes us feel lower.  So creating a vicious circle.  I know that I get stressed easily, I get irritable and I don't think clearly.  Yet I will still reach for the cookie jar.  Why?

Not ideal!

I notice, as well, that when on a 'diet' women tend to talk about 'cheat days'.  I can't help but feel this sets the wrong state of mind.  By cheating we are doing something we shouldn't making the 'cheat' food something naughty and dare I say exciting..?

When we think about it, we all know the answer to feeling our best.  

Healthy living!  In fact, really the word diet should just be banned from the English language!

BE HEALTHY ������������

That doesn't mean never eating a chip again.  It doesn't even mean no more wine time.

It means everything in moderation.

For me that means:

1 - Move More
Go for a walk.  Climb the stairs.  Do some squats during the adverts.  Take the bike out.

2 - Mindful Eating
Don't eat while vegging out.  Don't eat out of boredom and don't eat my emotions.

3 - Clean eating
Cut back on carbs (though not cut out...), junk food, processed food.  Eat more fruit and veg.  Drink more water.  Basically have as much fresh, quality produce as possible!

I know I am no medical expert.  But surely this is a good place to start?

If you have any links to great pre-diabetic friendly recipes please do leave them below in a comment!

* OM Yoga Magazine have very kindly given me an online subscription in return for writing occasional posts that have been inspired by what's in this months issue.  I love the magazine and I'm sure you would too.  You can get your subscription here  

** pictures in this post are from  


Saturday, 21 June 2014

Oh I Say, That's a Bit Lush Isn't It?

You wanna hear something totally crazy?  But you have to promise to still like me after...  I'm serious!

Apart from the odd face mask and a bath bomb given to me as a gift once....

I've never used Lush products!

I know, I know.  Where have a been all this time?  Catch up Joanna!  What kind of blogger even am I?  

Well, today, I promise you, that all changed!

I've always had skin issues.  It's just so dry, like all of the time.  Though if I am totally honest I don't do that much to sort it out.  I don't exfoliate that regularly, I don't even moisturize every day.

But for some reason, this week, I've been really down about my appearance.  The realization that I don't always take that much pride in myself really hit home.  

So... I decided to hit up my local Lush store in a big way!

And what can I say?  I'm hooked!

It all started with the AMAZING Amelie in the Aberdeen store.  This woman was such a huge help and I can not thank her enough.  She was so knowledgeable about all of the products and was clearly a big lover of Lush and everything it stands for!

Anyway, I won't babble on any more.  Here is what I bought!

First up, when I mentioned my skin was very dry, Amelie suggested 'Sympathy for the Skin'.  'A comforting cream to soothe uncomfortably hot, sensitive skin - now in a self-preserving formula'.  This stuff is packed full of organic bananas, coca butter and vanilla to help nourish your skin.  It's great for dry skin because it is anti-inflammatory and cooling.  Plus it feels amazingly silky smooth!

Now, everyone knows the secret to great, smooth skin is exfoliation.  So I grabbed a pot of 'Rub Rub Rub' to do just this.  'An exfoliating shower scrub that can also be used to wash, volumise and add shine to hair'.  Wait, what!?  I literally only just found out that hair thing right now!  Anyway, you can use Rub Rub Rub wet for a gentle scrub or dry if you really wanna go fir it.  It's got Sea Salt, lemon juice and Orange Flower.

Next, for the perfect bath I got Butterball.  This may be the most 'boring' of the bath bombs, but is great for dry skin.  'Once the cocoa butter pieces have melted, your skin will be coated by a light buttery film that smells good enough to eat'.  It also has Ylang ylang which is used to treat tress and depression and to relieve anger, panic and fear.  Perfect!

These two little beauties I had heard of before.  'You've been Mangoed' and 'Sunnyside'.  Both of these create the most wonderful soft bubble baths and due to the citrus ingredients will leave you feeling fully prepped for the day ahead!

Lastly, I had to get me a face mask.  So I picked up 'Oatifix'.  'This gentle, nourishing mask is made with fresh bananas and illipe butter to moisturise dry skin'.  It's full of oatmeal, ground almonds and kaolin which help leave your skin feeling soft and supple.  

Now, the more observant of you might have noticed there are a couple of things I haven't mentioned yet.  After realising that I had spent quite some time in the store and Andrew, bless him, had waited very patiently, I figured he needed some relaxation time too!

So... we got him...

'Brightside' 'when you're chewing on life's gristle, don't grumble, give a whistle'.

And... 'Avobath' 'in the morning to help you face the day: its lemongrass and bergamont oils will pick you up while also tackling dryness with avocado and olive oil'.  

If he doesn't use them, I certainly will!

So that's my Lush Haul.  But I need you're help!  When you take back 5 clean pots you get a face mask free.  I have 3 pots to use up...  I need another 2...  What are your Lush suggestions?

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Yoga in the Office?

I'm pretty lucky at work.  Although I do spend much of my time sitting at my computer, we are encouraged to correspond mainly on the phone.  We also have head set phones which means I can get up and walk about while doing my job.

In fact, they like it when we do so much that they provide us with basket balls, scooters baseball bats and other crazy toys.

And yet, since I started working in an office I find my back gets stiff and I'm not nearly as connected to my mind and to my body as I would like.

But what's the answer?  It's not like I'm gonna start a downward dog while on the phone... 

And what about peak stress times?  When you want the ground to physically swallow you up so bad your so hunched over your practically on the floor!?

Sure, I can wait till 5.30.  I can run out of the door and into the yoga studio ready to sweat it out.

Only to return the next morning and start the viscous cycle all over.

And this an office that has baseball bats!!

Wouldn't it be great if there was some way to bridge that work/life imbalance?

Well, I was reading this months copy of OM Yoga Magazine and came across a great little article by Adam Hocke which suggested 'three simple steps to bring some deeper yogic awareness to your desk'.

These three little steps will help you 'be present' at work.  And this will help you to make friends with stress!

So do you want to know the secret?

1 - Breathe
Sure you breathe.  I believe you.  But next time your slouching over your keyboard furiously typing an e-mail to that guy in finance who just doesn't 'get it' take a moment and breathe.  Breathe throughout the day and whatch your posture improve.  Watch your productivity improve.  Watch your stress levels improve.

2 - Listen
So you're breathing.  You're sitting straight.  You're calm.  You're ready to listen.  No not to the two gossiping across the desk about what happened last Friday night.  But to yourself!  Listen to your inner dialogue as you process your thoughts.  Take a second to listen instead of jumping right in and choose your course of action wisely.  Listen to your mistakes and use them to improve.

3 - Connect
Ok, so you're breathing, you're listening, you're feeling good!  But something is still missing.  Why are you doing this job?  Why do you come to work every day.  What's the point in what your doing?  The answer?  Connect with the little things and find out.  Connect with the person you've never met but e-mail regularly.  Connect with the person who will reap the benefit of what you are doing in this very moment.  

"Be in your life.  All of it.  Bring yourself to work and see what happens"  

* OM Yoga Magazine have very kindly given me an online subscription in return for writing occasional posts that have been inspired by what's in this months issue.  I love the magazine and I'm sure you would too.  You can get your subscription here  

** pictures in this post are from