chloehelenmiles

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Mother’s Day 2017 – Paris (text below)

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“She is beautiful inside and out.” A phrase with good intentions, but one I have grown to despise. I understand the sentiment but I find it degrading.

Beauty, by definition, is an aesthetic sensation. Forgive me for being pedantic but if you cut someone in half I wouldn’t find it aesthetically appealing.

Perhaps your experience differs but I have never known a man to be described as ‘Handsome inside and out.’ I think the description of what’s inside as ‘beautiful’ is lazy and it emphasises the idea that above all else a woman’s main concern should be to be perceived as beautiful.

I’m very lucky to know many women who would be described as such but I would like to extend a notion to put an end to this description and put forth some alternatives I find much more fitting.

On the outside my mother, my auntie, my sister, my cousin, they are all beautiful. On the inside, they are much more. They are in equal measures; witty, infectious, charismatic, intelligent, strong willed, empathetic, generous, kind-hearted, diligent, warm, powerful. To reduce what’s inside to something as superficial as ‘beautiful’ is insulting.

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This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Selfridges. 

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Personalised Mini Moet (Available in selected Selfridges stores) / Selfridges ‘I Heart You’ Beauty Box

We show affection for the people we love every day, of course, but I like to use Valentine’s Day as an excuse to be a bit extra with it. Gone are the days when Valentine’s Day was just for couples. To me, it is an excuse to spoil everyone you love. Your partner, your mum, your best friend, even yourself.

This Valentine’s Selfridges are the pioneers of self love and ‘Galentines’. Their exclusive I Heart You & I Heart Me beauty boxes are packed with cosmetic goodies with a combined value of £130 but only cost £35. They are the perfect treat for any beauty lover.

 

If you want to do something really special this year Selfridges have loads and loads of pamper treatments that are perfect for Valentines. They treated Yanin and I to the most wonderful ‘Mate Night’ on Monday.

Cowshed Manicures 

To start our day we popped into the newly refurbished Beauty Workshop for a Signature Cowshed Manicure. This little area is so quiet you wouldn’t think you were in the middle of one of the countries busiest department stores. The Signature treatment is a relaxing full manicure using Cowshed products finished off with your choice of colour by Cheeky Cosmetics.

24 Karat Gold FaceGym Facial 

After our manicure we headed to FaceGym for a Golden Glow Workout. This is a limited edition treatment starting with a facial massage, followed by their electrical muscle stimulation device, and finished with a Mimi Luzon 24 karat gold mask.

I will definitely be going back for another one of these. My skin was immediately brighter and smoother but what impressed me the most was how flawlessly my makeup applied the morning after.

Makeovers at Yves Saint Laurent Beauty

After our facials we had our makeup done at the YSL counter. We also had a sneak preview of YSL’s beautiful new perfume which has just launched today, the Black Opium Floral Shock fragrance.

Treatments and Blow Dries at Daniel Galvin Salon

We then had Kerastase Fusio Dose Treatments, I chose strength and shine for my heavily coloured hair.  After our treatments we had our hair blow dried & styled.

Fragrance Consultation with Bella Bellissima

Our last stop before dinner was a fragrance consultation with Bella, the founder of Bella Bellissima fragrances. This was a completely unique experience, one I will remember for a long time. It was such a pleasure hearing the back story to all of the different scents. After lots of testing and sniffing I found that my favourite scent is Majestic Cedar. I have never gone for a wood based scent before because I simply assumed they wouldn’t be my taste but as soon as I smelt this I knew I had to have it. My dad is a landscaper and the scent reminds me so much of him.

Dinner at Aubaine

The last Selfridges treat of the day was dinner at Aubaine, Selfridges French Bistro. I was so impressed with the Risotto d’Orzo & Fourme d’Ambert, it was delicious and (for a change!) the perfect portion size.

Kiehl’s

At the end of our wonderful Selfridges pamper day we headed to The London Edition courtesy of Kiehl’s to finish off our Galentines with face masks and midnight recovery.

It truly was the perfect end to a perfect day. How are you going to spend your Valentine’s this year?

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When I wrote the post “Loss & Grief – A Year On” I had no intention of it becoming a series. I guess I didn’t realise I would still be struggling so much a year later.

I obviously didn’t expect sunshine and rainbows, but I definitely thought it would be easier to get on with my day-to-day life.

Most days I still struggle to get up in the morning, or even the afternoon. I feel like I have nothing to get up for. Nothing feels important enough to me anymore because Dylan has always been my priority. I often go days without showering. I don’t eat until dinner, I don’t feel hungry, I don’t feel anything. I don’t sleep until 2am, 3am, 4am. In fact, last week, I didn’t go to bed until 6:30am when Sam got up for work.

I’m not myself but how can I be. I don’t know what myself is. Dylan was such a big part of me, I don’t know how to be without him.

I want to write these posts at least once a year because the more time has gone on the more frustrated I’ve become with how taboo grief is. None of us are taught about it in School or at any point in life. We don’t know what to expect until we have to go through it ourselves.

I want to write these posts to show the people who are grieving that they are not alone, the crazy things you do are not so crazy after all, grief is a strange thing. I want to write these posts to help people who haven’t been through it to be able to understand how it feels, to try to be more empathetic towards those who are grieving, and so that when you are unfortunately but inevitably forced to go through it yourself you will be better prepared than I was. But above all I want to write these posts for Dylan.

“Dia de los Muertos” or “Day of the Dead” is a Mexican tradition I’m sure we’ve all heard of. Yet somehow I only recently discovered the Mexican belief in three deaths. This is a belief I have now adopted and adore.

“In our tradition, people die three deaths.

The first death is when our bodies cease to function; when our hearts no longer beat of their own accord, when our gaze no longer has depth or weight, when the space we occupy slowly loses its meaning.

The second death comes when the body is lowered into the ground, returned to mother earth, out of sight.

The third death, the most definitive death, is when there is no one left alive to remember us.” – Mexican tradition, Dia de los Muertos

If I continue to write these posts and share Dylan with you all, he can live through you. If I share the messages Dylan taught me well enough, he can live on long past me. That thought gives me so much comfort.

I have tried and tried to find a way to write down how I feel, but it’s not possible. There is so much I want to say, but for now I’m too exhausted. So I’ve decided, for now, the best way is to show you my most vulnerable.

I have a book, it’s leather bound, engraved with my initials. A present from Dylan, on my 18th Birthday. It’s priceless. In this book I write letters to Dylan.

In the hope that maybe this will help you understand, here is one of my recent letters to Dylan.

 

20th September 2016

“Hey DD,

It’s well past my bedtime but I couldn’t get to sleep. I couldn’t stop thinking about your beautiful brown eyes and hair. I miss you so much.

I’m trying really hard to stay positive. Lots of things are going well for me at the moment. I just can’t seem to be happy without you.

Not a single day goes by that I’m not thinking about you.

Your beautiful smile. The way you smell. The way you giggle. Your raspberries.

It’s so hard to keep going without you. I know I have to. It’s just not getting easier.

The worst thing is, people expect me to be ok now. As if two years could possibly be enough time. A lifetime isn’t long enough.

You still inspire me so much. To work hard, to make the most of absolutely everything, to cherish everyone I love.

All I want is you.

I want to hear your laugh. I want to feel your cuddles. Hold your hand. But I can’t. And I don’t know how to cope with that.”

 

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All looks wearing the new adidas Z.N.E Hoodie

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Photography by Ryan Winterbotham

21st century life is pretty fast paced. We’re working longer and sleeping less. Social media has us constantly plugged in. This is a blessing and a curse. We’re bombarded with information from the moment we wake to the moment our heads hit the pillow.

With so much information around us and so much on our plates it can be hard to find focus. With this in mind I’m working alongside adidas on their Find Focus campaign to share a few tips and tricks that help me to find focus balancing a busy lifestyle.

 

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Priorities 

Knowing what matters most is key to organising your time. Write a list of your priorities and work accordingly.

“Beware the barrenness of a busy life.” -Socrates

Not only will this help you to put what matters to you the most first, it will also help to reduce your workload by highlighting the things that in retrospect aren’t so important.

 

Making Lists

There’s no denying the satisfaction of putting a thick black line through an item on your to-do list.

When you’re making a list don’t make anything too broad that you can’t cross it out. It’s better to have a long list that’s easy to cross through than a short list that’s too broad to work through in a day.

E.g. If you’re studying Maths, instead of ‘Revise’, be more specific with ‘Revise Vectors’ or ‘Revise Kinematics’

If you break a task down into small sections you’re much more likely to get it all done.

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Little Wins

Little wins are so underrated. Getting your coffee for free at Pret. A room upgrade at a hotel. A passing compliment on your outfit from a stranger. A shared glance and smile across an otherwise miserable tube journey.

A lot of these little wins are luck. But they don’t have to be.

To make your day more productive and keep your positivity high, create your own little wins.

One way I like to do this is creating email tally’s. Every morning when I get to my desk the first thing I do is write two lines in my notebook. The date & ‘Email Tally’. Then I open up my emails and for every email I reply to a little stroke goes on the tally. When I get to 30 I take 10 minutes off.

I can’t begin to explain how much difference this little routine has made to my productivity.

It’s so motivating to see those strokes building up. It also means it’s completely on you. There’s no time period. You get your break as quickly or slowly as you’re willing to work. But if you’re like me, you’ll zoom through to get your 10 minutes asap. Win win.

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Maximize Your Brain Productivity 

I recently read a very interesting article on The 8-Hour Workday by Travis Bradberry.

“The eight-hour workday was created during the industrial revolution as an effort to cut down on the number of hours of manual labor that workers were forced to endure on the factory floor.. it possesses little relevance for us today.”

In a recent study conducted by the Draugiem Group they found that the length of the work day didn’t matter as much as the way the day was structured. Overall, the subjects who took regular short breaks were more productive than those who worked long hours.

“The brain naturally functions in spurts of high energy (roughly an hour) followed by spurts of low energy (15–20 minutes).”

After reading this article I put it to the test and the proof is in the pudding. I’ve found that I can concentrate on my work for roughly 50 minutes before starting to fidget and flick through my phone. So now when I’m at my laptop I take 50 minutes on, 15 minutes off. I can honestly say I’ve never been more productive.

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Give these tips a try and let me know what you think!

Shop The Post-

Z.N.E Hoodie / Z.N.E BottomsUltra Boost TrainersLogo Sports Bra / Three Stripe Leggings / Three Stripe Shorts / White Racerback Vest

This Post is in collaboration with adidas. All opinions are my own. 

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Photography by Ryan Winterbotham

The pressure to exercise has been growing rapidly over the past few years. The expectation to be active, fit and healthy is higher than ever. When I first started this blog it was a 50/50 split of Fashion and Fitness. That’s something I recently announced I’m going back to.

I will always love exercising and always highlight the importance of it. But to kick off my process of going back to 50/50 Fashion and Fitness I want to start by highlighting the importance of not going to the gym.

One of the side effects of grief is loss of appetite. I’ve suffered with this greatly. Since Dylan died I’ve been trying hard to eat enough and eat regularly but it’s been a struggle.

With this post I wanted to share the message that if you haven’t eaten enough, you should not go to the gym. Not only will you not have enough energy to exercise well, you will likely enter a massive caloric deficit. If, like me, your intention is to build muscle and strength it will stunt your progress. It will make you feel weak, tired and moody.

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I’m not a nutritionist, a personal trainer or any kind of fitness expert in any sense, so please don’t take my words as gospel truth. I’m just sharing my personal experiences.

There are so many accounts dedicated to fitness now. On blogs or on social media. It’s easy to take inspiration from these people, and rightly so, but I think a lot of us forget that for the majority it is their job to exercise. Whether they’re fitness bloggers, bodybuilders or athletes, they dedicate their lives to getting their bodies to peak physical condition.

For the average Joe it’s just not attainable. If you have a 9-5 you don’t want to be going to the gym 5 times a week and you don’t need to.

I used to go to the gym 6 or 7 days a week, often twice in a day. It was too much. I became obsessed. I muddled my priorities. I rejected invitations to meals out with my family and friends, all because I was too concerned with eating chicken and rice and going to the gym.

This seems crazy to me now because everyone knows my family and friends are my highest priority.

I love exercising and eating my greens but I also love going out for meals, scoffing cake and slobbing out. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that and neither should you. I’m a strong believer in a balanced life.

So if you haven’t eaten enough, you didn’t get enough sleep last night or there’s a dinner party you’d really rather go to, skip the gym today. You might just find it’s better for your health.

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