Thursday, 14 February 2019

Sharing a bed with your boyfriend and the mattress of dreams

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! I have never been one for going all out on Valentine's day nor do I expect any grand gestures and a sea of red roses from my lovely boyfriend Zack. He knows it's just not very me. That said I do love anything covered with a heart shaped print and any excuse for some self love and sleep wellness this Galentines, Valentines or Palentines day.

Sleep is a funny old thing, it's such an important part of life, health and well being and somehow something that gets neglected. I often struggle with sleep and go through phases of sleeping like a baby and then there are nights when I don't sleep at all. Zack is the complete opposite and I am always envious of his ability to fall asleep as soon as his head hits the pillow. Whilst I lay beside him in complete turmoil unable to stop my brain from racing through tomorrow's to do list. Hoping I don't wake him up. It doesn't help that I am a night owl and he is an up at at 'em morning person either. 

For me the hard task of trying to quiet my mind and get ready for a restful night's sleep ensues. I've tried the delicious scented lavender sleep sprays, relaxing baths and mindfulness apps which are lovely (I do adore a sleep spray) but they don't always seem to work for me sadly. So you can imagine I was super excited when eve sleep got in touch about their mattresses of dreams and how it might be the solution to some of our sleeping woes.

It was possibly the speediest delivery we've ever experienced, our mattress arrived in less than 24 hours in the signature tall narrow box that we've all seen on TV. I of course wanted to get inside it as soon as we'd pulled the mattress out! The power of vacum packaging will never cease to amaze me. It went from as flat as a pancake to fluffy marshmallow in no time at all. We might have even jumped on it!

Zack in his element...
I was particularly impressed with the packaging and attention to detail.

There's always a bit of an adjustment period when sharing a bed with someone... 
Zack and I have been together for three years and we both have some annoying and loveable habits and when better to share them with you all than on Valentine's day... 

"Zeena is a little "fidge" as I like to call her, as when we first get into bed she will fidget and wriggle for ages until she is comfortable. Very cute, if she didn't move the mattress so much and wake me up. With the eve mattress I don't feel a thing, the mattress is super cushioned and the memory foam means I don't feel my little "fidge" at all!" says Zack.

Zack is a particularly light sleeper, despite trying my hardest to creep into bed without waking him up I always seem to as I am indeed a wriggler. That said he hasn't seemed to notice with our memory foam filled eve mattress.

"Zeena is always cold, especially before bed, she will then whack up the heating just as we get into bed. Now I am a warm person who tends to sleep without any covers or clothes.. so I get pretty sweaty with the heating on. The lovely cool, breathable mattress eve has made is just perfect for cooling me down, even though I'm roasting next to the radiator!" says Zack.

I am indeed always cold and even go to bed with socks on. I am that person! I love to layer up with the duvet and blankets much to Zack's annoyance. I call him my personal radiator when we get into bed because he is a hot water bottle. Wonderful in winter but less fun in Summer I can't wait to see what a difference the cooling layer of our eve mattress makes. The dreamy linen sheet set that arrived from eve really are the most luxurious bed fellows. I cannot imagine life without a linen bed sheet now there's something quite nostalgic about proper sheets.

Despite our sleeping habits we always wake up in each other's arms and it's the nicest way to start the day before jumping in the shower, getting dressed and heading out for the day. We both work long hours so it's often the most we see each other and so having a good night's sleep is so important and really makes all the difference. We are most certainly more grumpy when we don't sleep well.

Whatever tines-day your celebrating make sure sleep wellness is at the top of your list we already feel refreshed and raring to go. The only thing our eve mattress doesn't seem to help me out with is Zack's impossibly loud snoring... if you have any good tips for how to get him to quieten down I am all ears.

If you'd like any extra sleeping tips and to learn about eve sleep you can find out more hereOur mattress and luxury linen sheet set was very kindly gifted by eve sleep, i've included the links so you can find them easily over on their website. 
PS. They've also got an amazing offer on until the 17th of February, so be quick!

This post is sponsored by eve sleep, thank you for reading. I hope it helps you sleep as well as we did.

Sunday, 3 February 2019

DIY - How to sew your own hair scrunchie

Scrunchies are BACK in a big way!

You might have noticed this trend emerging last year so I can happily tell you hair accessories are even bigger for this year and here to stay so get ready to channel your inner 90's and Rachel from FRIENDS look with a DIY tutorial on how to sew a scrunchie of your own.

I have always been rather obsessed with hair accessories so am very excited to jump on board with this trend. Not only are scrunchies fashionable but they're also a brilliant way to use up your fabric offcuts and scraps. If you're new to sewing or just a beginner this is the perfect easy beginner project to get started with. If one of your goals for this year is to start sewing more and even sew your own clothes you might also enjoy reading this post here where I share some of my top tips to get started.

Another great benefit to using hair scrunchies as fashionable as they are they are also much better for your hair than using hair elastics. The reduce breakages and if you opt for a silk scrunchie there's nothing more luxurious and kind to the hair. Especially good if you have thin or thinning hair. One of my personal goals for this year is to up my self care routine - which I easily neglect in favour of deadlines and saying yes to everything - so i'm kicking of February in the right direction with this DIY sewing project. 
Goal two - Matching scrunchies to my outfits here I come!

You will need:
  • Fabric scraps (I used a 53cm x 18cm rectangle)
  • Elastic (This works best when it is roughly wrist width add a 1 cm overlap. I used a 6mm wide by 18cm piece)
  • Fabric scissors
  • Pins
  • Sewing Machine
  • Hand sewing needle
  • Matching Thread
  • Pencil or invisible marker pen
  • Measuring tape
  • Safety Pin
Step one
Cut your chosen fabric and elastic to the desired measurements.

Step two
With right sides together pin and sew the long sides together with a 1.5 cm seam allowance leaving a 5cm gap on either side.

Step three
Turn the fabric tube right side out. Align the short edges and sew the seam up.
Step four
Attach a safety pin to one end of the elastic length and feed through the fabric tube. 

Step five
Overlap the elastic edges by 1cm, pin and stitch together securely. I use a wide zig zag stitch or hand stitch together.

Step six
Close the open seam. Turn the open edges in towards the elastic, pin and sew the gap closed using a machine top stitch or invisible hand stitch. I prefer the later as it's neater and tend to use a machine if I have a few on the go or a really good matching thread.

*If you're an advanced sewist why not try making a matching on contrasting colour piping and sewing this along the centre seam at step 2.*

I hope you've enjoyed this quick DIY sewing project. Leave me a comment below if you'd like me to share a tutorial for a bow scrunchie next. I'm not sure about you but i'm addicted to sewing these and have a whole lot of fabric scraps i've finally found a use for. They also make great gifts for your galentines and palentines this Valentine's season. After all February is the month of love so why not share some with your favourite humans.

If you'd rather buy a scrunchie and aren't ready for a sewing project just yet see my top scrunchie pick below. I have a few of these already and love them!

For more DIY sewing and printmaking projects and lots of inspiration get your hands on a copy of my book
How to Print Fabric.

PS. This post contains affiliate links, this means I may earn a very small % of any sales that are made through the link, this doesn't add any cost to you it just helps me run my blog and pay for the monthly hosting :) 
Thank you for reading!


Sunday, 27 January 2019

Weekend away - Things to see and do in Paris

I excitedly and ambitiously started writing this post documenting my top tips for a weekend away in Paris on the Eurostar on my way home from the dreamiest December weekend spent in the romantic city with my boyfriend. I had so many lovely instagram messages about my trip and many of you mentioning you were heading to Paris in the coming weeks I wanted to share my top tips and favourites from this weekend’s visit with you sooner rather than later. That said I didn't quite manage to keep my momentum and my to do list got the better of me but I am excited to finally be able to share some of my favourites in Paris with you and hope they inspire your travel plans this year. I loved this piece by Tracy Emin at Kings Cross St Pancras, 'I want my time with you' couldn't have been more apt a sentiment.

Having grown up with travel loving parents and living in nearby London I am extremely lucky to have been to able to visit Paris a number of times. If you’re reading this and it is your first visit to the city there are some brilliant tourist 'must see’s' that you should get on your to do list- these include climbing the Eiffel Tower and wandering into Notre-Dame Cathedral - this post is a collection of fun and fabulous things i’ve seen and done in my two trips to the city in the past year. 

So first things first getting around...

Paris is split by arrondissements, these are numbered and referred to as the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and so on. A bit like the boroughs of London let's say. They're super easy to navigate too.

The Metro
The Paris metro is brilliant and inexpensive. I’d suggest either walking around the city or hopping on the metro. The station stops are very close together so it’s very easier to walk down to the right lines than changing more often than not. You can buy a carnet of 10 tickets at a time which is slightly cheaper than buying them as you go along. 
We used all ten easily, especially as you can share them with more than one person.

Uber has also landed in Paris, if you’re like me and didn’t bring sensible shoes it was very quick and easy to use. Plus there were no surcharges which was a miracle and not the case in London at the moment! Ps. Pack sensible shoes!

Places to stay

The Hoxton Hotel of dreams is as good in real life as it looks on instagram. We stayed here in January 2018 and it was so lovely and very convenient as it’s in the 2nd arrondissement. I’m not a fan of staying in the same place twice plus it is the top end of our budget so we choose a smaller and more affordable pace to stay for our December visit.

Is a boutique hotel in the 13th it’s a little less central but super close to the metro and very easy to get around. It was such a beautiful space, really pretty interiors and a cosy with a more air bnb feel. The room we stayed in was really lovely and I have to say the bed was especially comfortable! It was hard to get up and out the door in the morning.

Places to Eat in Paris

You really are spoilt for choice in this city, it’s full of delicious independent cafes, bars and restaurants. These are some of my favourites that we either stumbled upon or had been recommended by friends.

(Area: Close to the Marais)
Top of the list and by far the best food we’ve ever eaten in Paris! 
A twist on the traditional french menu expect and cosy interior and delicious meat and two veg vibes. Book if you can i’d say it’s 100% worth queueing if it’s busy and if you aren’t opposed to sitting outside they have blankets and heaters and you will feel incredibly Parisienne.

One of the Big Mamma group restaurants, they have a range of different locations and offerings and are guaranteed to have a beautiful interior and delicious food. They are as popular as the name suggest so do book but if you have to queue they're big so it doesn't take too long. The only caveat is yes it’s an Italian in Paris but that never stopped me.

A short walk from the Hoxton Hotel this is a fun Italian bar/ restaurant/ cafe vibe. We waited for a table with delicious red wine and blankets under the heaters on the outside tables. Yes Pizza again, there's a theme.

L’as du Falafel 
Delicious and cheap falafel you'll find them in the Marais - and it was so yummy!

The trendy Hotel Pigalle for a drink at the bar. Similarly Hotel Amour and the Hotel Grande Amour are fabulous for that 'insta-snap' and light bites or a glass of wine. Next time we go i'd love to stay in one of these!

Sweet Treats

When in Paris it would be rude not to enjoy the delicious patisserie... 
Laduree Now I know we have these in London but it isn't quite the same and I have never been able to resist a macaron.

L’eclaire de genie makes the most beautiful eclairs that are almost like pieces of fine art. Everyone should try one! Truly delicious.

Angelina’s one of my favourite stops in Paris for a very indulgent hot chocolate and patisserie. Definitely worth the queue for the cosy and very Parisienne interior. But if you're in a hurry there's a counter inside you can takeaway from instead.

Shopping - My favourite part

The famous grid patterned escalators you may have seen all over instagram. 
This is an incredibly beautiful and well curated shopping experience. They have many exclusives in store and a cafe on the top floor. It’s more than just a department store it feels like a museum filled with trinkets you might not find anywhere else. Plus the packaging is on point.

The famous red car sits outside in the courtyard. This is a dreamy shop come cafe come restaurant. They have a wonderfully curated collection, gorgeous coloured linens and incredible fashion pieces. It's not cheap but great for browsing and getting some inspiration from the collections plus they have fab homeware so you might leave with a little something. Stay for a coffee in the cafe or lunch.

Bon Ton
A short walk from Merci this is one of my favourites in Paris. It's a children's shop filled with beautiful treasures from stationery to children's homewares and stationery. They also have an old fashioned photobooth that Zack and I couldn't resist getting in.

This one is for my fellow sewing lovers, Make My Lemonade has just opened a brand new shop in Paris. Pop in for printed fabrics, sewing patterns and indie designer goods that you won't be able to get anywhere else. There's also a cute cafe at the back that sells yummy lemonade too. Lisa Gachet founded the brand after having a successful blog which is always great to hear.
If you do visit nearby you'll find Chex Prune for fresh oysters, cheese and wine. It's very French and the toilets are horrid but it's very fun!

La Super Marquette
Around the corner from the Pompidou pop into this cute independent Parisienne store for stationery, trinkets and socks.

The dreamiest outfits of dreams that will forever be on my wish lists. I'm a big fan of the beautiful interiors of their boutique stores and conscious collections. 

Le Marais 
Head to the Marais for designer brands, beautiful streets and a drink at one of the many cafes. Some of my favourites are;
The Frankie Shop
Vintage shopping at Le Coiffure

Paris is filled with art and creativity. If you're still in the Marais pop into the Picasso museum it's a beautiful space and free entry on the first Sunday of the month.

Other favourites include, Foundation Louis Vuitton, the Pompidou Centre, Musee des arts decoratifs, Musee d’Orsay and the Rodin Museum.

Secret Gems

Whilst wandering around the streets of Paris look out for the space Invaders! Made using a mosaic of tiles the artist has dotted them all over the city. 

The Pigalle Basketball Court
The most colourful basketball court I have ever seen and a must visit this is a really secret gem in Paris. Designed and painted by French design agency and fashion brand Pigalle (with the help of Nike) this space is burst of colour sandwiched between two very normal looking buildings. Find it on Rue Duperré along with kids and grown ups playing basket ball and the occasional model.

You can find out more and see what I got up to in my Paris highlight on Instagram here.

Happy travels x


Wednesday, 26 December 2018

My Christmas Sale Shopping Edit

Another Christmas has almost been and gone and I find myself hovering online today checking out the many sales that have started and hunting for bargains...

Here are my top picks of both bargains and investment pieces and pieces that i'm lusting after this boxing day. I'm a firm believer of sale shopping and if there's a designer something you've been wanting now is the time to get it! 

Happy Boxing Day and shopping!

Zeena X

PS. This post contains affiliate links, this means I may earn a very small % of any sales that are made through the link, this doesn't add any cost to you it just helps me run my blog :) Thank you for reading!

Sunday, 25 November 2018

DIY - How to start making your own clothes

I recently shared this snap over on my instagram feed and it received an amazing response. The reason being is that I made this pink gingham dress of dreams myself. Hand stitched with love and care and it came out exactly as I had hoped. I am still incredibly smug about it. 
This is the By Hand London Eloise Dress pattern with fabric from The Fabric Godmother.

I've dabbled in dress making since I was a teen and wanted to share my top tips and insights into starting to make your own clothes and how you might go about it if you're new to the world of sewing and textiles and really want to have a go but just don't know where to start. Hopefully this guide will give you the confidence and some of the know how you need to get started. I'm sure i'll be back with a few more posts on this but will cover the basics for now.

As much as I love to shop (and if you follow me on instagram then you'll know I do) there is nothing more rewarding than sewing your own clothes and making something unique by hand that will be treasured AND that no one else will be wearing!

1. The Sewing Machine
First things first you will need a sewing machine. It is possible to make clothing by hand stitching but who has the time for that. John Lewis have some brilliant models and this very pretty pastel pink machine is under £100 and a very good basic starter machine. If you've ever been into their haberdashery department you'll also know they are always on hand with lovely friendly trained staff for advice. That's where I bought my machine about 20 years ago (OH GAWD) and it's still going strong.

Now if you have never used a sewing machine do not fear, it is much easier than you think often all you need is someone to show you how or a bobbin tutorial. 
If you're in London there are some great introductory courses run by brilliant independent sewing brands to name a few here;
And if you'd rather an online course this one is fab;
There are of course thousands on Youtube you just need a cup of tea and google and some patience.

You'll also need a good pair of fabric scissors, some pins and a tape measure. (I've linked some of my recommendations at the bottom of this post). 

2. Sewing Patterns
I suggest you start with a super simple sewing pattern. I would recommend some of the newer more modern pattern brands (I've linked some below) out there rather than using a vintage pattern or something found purely because of the amazing blog sew-a-longs and step by step tutorials you'll be able to access to accompany them. It really helps when you haven't read a pattern before and have no idea what serging is for example. (It's a zig zag stitch way of finishing seams) and all of these pattern brands come with a glossary so don't worry.
Most patterns come as PDF downloads, all you need to do is print them out at home and assemble them. This can be quite time consuming but I just zone out and do mine in front of netflix. It does mean you can't ruin it as you can can always print it out again.

The online #sewist community is also amazing and you'll always be able to find a friendly person to answer any questions you might have.

Seven Indie Sewing Brands I am loving right now;
1. By Hand London fashion forward and come with an online sew along to follow.
There's also a Zeena Dress which is a great sew for a beginner and super flattering dress.
2. Named Clothing Stunning patterns set up by sister duo based in Finland.
3. Closet Case Patterns Canadian brand that has great denim patterns. These are on my sewing list.
4. Stoff and Still Danish husband and wife team who have the dreamiest fabrics as well as great patterns.
5. Tilly & The Buttons super stylish and really wearable patterns, you'll want to make each one about twenty times in all of the rainbow.
6. Alice & Co Boilersuit goals.
7. Nina Lee Patterns some great ruffles.

There are also some incredible free patterns available online too;
Peppermint Magazine has a library of free patterns that are great for beginners.

The Fold Line is an amazing resource of sewing patterns and a great place to join the sewing community.

3. Fabric 
Fabric shopping has become a bit of a guilty pleasure for me lately and you'll soon get addicted. 
I've listed my current favourites here but there really are lots of brilliant sources out there Ebay and your local charity shop can be a low cost start to your first sewing project. I've even made dresses out of old duvet covers and have an old Cath Kidston one waiting for it's turn.

If you're based in London these are my favourite stores to shop for fabric in (they have online stores too);
Goldhawk Road (Classic Textiles, A-One fabrics & more) is another haven for low budget fabric shopping and you're guaranteed to never find the same fabric twice but if it's for a one off and you're on a budget head there. When I was studying textiles at Chelsea School of Art our studios were a short walk away and we'd go in daily trying to grab the latest bargain or ex-designer fabric. 

I would say you're even more spoilt for choice online and here's a list of some of my current favourites here;
4. Reading List
Geek up with these magazines and books. I love to flip between magazine and books. I'd highly recommend Stretch by Tilly Walness and the new Named Clothing book.

I really hope this post has inspired you to have a go at sewing your own clothes and do comment below if you have any questions or would like me to add anything in a new post.
Above all remember sewing is not something you can rush, enjoy it and you're doing this for the first time and you're only human. The first dress I ever made was a total D I S A S T E R but I learnt from it, fixed it and gave it to my cousin.

Happy Sewing!

Zeena X

PS. This post contains affiliate links, this means I may earn a very small % of any sales that are made through the link, this doesn't add any cost to you it just helps me run my blog :) Thank you for reading!


Saturday, 24 November 2018

The Boilersuit and how to wear it

It's the big Black Friday weekend here in London and almost every store has a discount so i'm asking myself if there's anything i'd really like to buy...? and do I really need it...? Which of course I don't but I can still browse right...?

I've always loved wearing jumpsuits and have found myself drawn to yet another this season. It's inevitably pink and I found it here at Urban Outfitters which is now 30% off for Black Friday - annoying for me as I picked it up a while ago but great for you!

Boilersuits or jumpsuits are incredibly easy to throw on and work across the seasons which make them a great investment. They are also incredibly comfortable, the only downside being the need to get almost completely undressed every time you need the bathroom. 
As it starts to get cold i'll layer mine with a poloneck and a jumper or cardi and keep it simple and unzip a little in the springtime. You can do the same with your choice of shoe and easily dress it up with a heel or down with trainers.

I've popped together a collection of my favourites here for you to join the boilersuit club. I might just give in and get the floral one...!

 PS. This post contains affiliate links, this means I may earn a very small % of any sales that are made through the link, this doesn't add any cost to you it just helps me run my blog :) Thank you for reading!

Sharing a bed with your boyfriend and the mattress of dreams

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! I have never been one for going all out on Valentine's day nor do I expect any grand gestures a...

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