Cheerz photo album
I have written on this topic so many times I can't even remember anymore (see what I did here?). I've written about how I loved scrapbooks (here), I've written about how I've learnt to hate them (here) and how to make a happy memory wall in your living room (here). Marc Riboud (a famous French photographer) once said -

'Taking pictures is savoring life intensely, every hundredth of a second'   

And I couldn't agree more - life is too short but also too forgetful. Today I want to show you a 21st century upgrade of the old school photo album - my newly found way of capturing memories in a whole new and incredibly sophisticated way.

As you probably already know, Cheerz (click here) is my go to photo company. The quality of their products is immense (and I ain't even being paid to say this, ha! just saying), the paper, the print, the presentation - just everything is spot on. And they are ever so creative too - I adore my Cookie bookmarks I had done last year - they are the sweetest little thing to put in the books I'm currently reading. 

This time the team has kindly let me create a photo album. The process is simple enough - you upload, drag and drop, crop and swap and after a few minutes of playing about with the layout you're done. A few days later and the photo album is in your hands and you're literally crying with excitement (oh wait, that was me, not you). I can't tell you how beautiful the packaging of the album is - it comes in a box which kinda feels like Nars packaging (you know the silicony grippy feel) and the album itself is so so beautiful (a real coffee table book material!). I put our holiday photos from 2015 in it - both from Prague and Santorini and also a few from when we did the Color Run last year. The photos looks stunning in the album, I can't even begin to tell ya - just have a look in the pictures below! I'm definitely getting another one for our 2016 holidays at the end of this year, can't wait to show you already - and we haven't even been anywhere yet, haha!

What's your favourite way of storing memories?

Cheerz photo album
Cheerz photo album
Cheerz photo album
Cheerz photo album
Cheerz photo album
Cheerz photo album

On the importance of keeping memories

Healthy snacks ideas inspiration
I'm a muncher, a nibbler, a grazer. I snack. Constantly. Many have noted that this might be the reason why there's no exponential relevance between my weight and the amount of food I gobble down on a daily basis, I just think I'm bloody lucky. It's probably less alarming now I've been proper exercising, but God knows how I got through the past 27 years without becoming a jug of lard! Now, today's not all about my fatty rolls - it's about healthy snacking!

Recently I've been drawn to the clean eating trend. I see very little chance of turning clean eating into my lifestyle (some extra chicken wings Colonel please!) but it's definitely an eating habits that makes sense to me and that I'd like to incorporate in my diet. What is clean eating? In essence it means that you are more mindful of what you're eating - this way you're choosing the healthier from the non-healthy options. For instance, a clean eater will pick a plain yoghurt with honey and fresh strawberries rather than an artificially flavoured and coloured option. Makes sense, right? Here's a couple of snacks which I've been enjoying lately and which fall into the 'cleaner foods' category.

Overnight oats: also known as the most photogenic breakfast on Pinterest. Overnight oats are by no means limited to early hours of your day - they are a perfect snack, ideally after a workout because oats are just under 3% complete protein. The contain betaglucans which reduces cholesterol and they also contain a number of antioxidants. If you're unsure which oats are 'cleaner' than other then I recommend Primrose's Kitchen (click here) which are made in Dorset! A recipe for my favourite overnight oats will be on the blog next Saturday so keep your eyes peeled!

Raw energy balls: you can buy these - they are called Bounce Bliss balls and they are bloody expensive! Almost £2 per a tiny balls. I know, I know, it's packed with all the good stuff so it must be more costly, but Jeeeeesus, £2?! So one day I came home and made my own bliss balls and they were bloody delicious. And cheap as chips! You can find the recipe here.  

Porridge: the ultimate sweet English breakfast for those working in an office - I didn't even know porridge was a thing before I moved to the UK! Now you have to be a little more careful with porridge because most supermarket brands contain high levels of sugar and all things artificial. I've recently tried Moma porridge which has the most intriguing flavours - coconut & chia, super seeds, cranberry & raisin! It's not too expensive either and the company shares their porridge tips on their website too (click here)! 

Chia pudding: Chia seeds have become a synonym to Pinterest healthy eating. I have to admit, I have not mastered the perfect texture yet but I'm not giving up. I've tasted a Chia pudding made by someone else once and it was deeeehlicious! Chia seeds are rich in omega-3 fats and antioxidants and I want to stuff my face with them soaked in a chocolate pudding. One day, one day!   

Cookies with cocoa nibs: incorporating clean eating into your diet does not mean you will be left with just seeds, nuts and oats for the rest of your life, oh dear God, no. But instead of buying a pack of Maryland cookies (although they are delicious and I definitely won't say no to them if I'm handed a pack or two), try to make your own! It's super easy and there's a ton of recipes on the internets that you can follow. My favourite is the 3 ingredient base with just mushed bananas, oats and peanut butter - you can then add whatever your heart desires - I prefer cocoa nibs or little chocolate chips when I'm feeling naughty. Sometimes I even put peanut butter in between two cookies so they're like my own version of Oreos, muhaha! 

What's your favourite 'clean' snack?

Healthy (clean) snacks you need to try!

Raw energy balls easy recipe
I'm totally a morning person. I wake up every single day at 5:30, literally jump out of the bed and do a yoga flow or two. But that is, unfortunately, it. There's no chance of me doing anything more active than that during the first couple of hours after waking up. But because I prefer getting the gym out of the way I tried the early gym bird life approach. The first time I went (on a belly full of chocolate hoops and milk), I almost threw up. Who in their right mind would go on a treadmill after a bowl of milk and choco hoops, I genuinely don't know. The second time I went on an empty belly. When I say I couldn't even get on the treadmill because I was so weak, I'm being rather modest. This all lead me to some serious brainstorming. If there only was a small snack to give me loads of energy for a couple of hours.. oh wait, there is! The bounce balls. And they are ridiculously expensive!! Thank gods of Pinterest that there's now a DIY tutorial for not just IKEA shelves but also raw energy balls!

What will you need? (for ca 30-40 balls)
✓ 2 cups of pitted dates

✓ 1 cup oatmeal & chia mix (mine's from Primrose's Kitchen - how cute is the packaging though?! buy it here)
4 tbsp of water
✓ 3 tbsp of raw cocoa 
✓ 1/2 cup of ground almonds
✓ flax seeds & cocoa nibs
✓ matcha green tea powder (mine's from Bloom, buy it here)

Soak the dates in warm water for about 10 minutes and chop them up. Add everything in a bowl (apart from flax seeds & cocoa nibs) and use your hands to create a dense dough. It shouldn't be too sticky or too runny, so add oats or water to achieve the right texture (you will know when you have it). Now make about a million tiny balls and roll then in flax seeds, cocoa nibs or anything that you have on hand - could be coconut, ground almond, cocoa powder, matcha powder.. anything that takes your fancy. Et voila - your raw energy balls are done! They are booming with superfoods and everything good and believe me when I say that one ball give you enough energy for a whole workout! They are like little secret energy dynamites! 

  Have you made raw energy balls before?
Leave your recipes down below, I'd love to give them a try!

Raw energy balls - the perfect gym snack

why you need to try to exercise
And believe me, these have been all tried and tested by me, so they are FACTS. Just saying.

If you haven't seen my fitness journey so far (click here and here to read more) - I have been exercising on a regular basis since February this year. That's almost half a year of being active as opposed to 27 years of being a complete couch potato. Pretty good, ay? I do yoga every single morning and cannot recommend it enough! I also alternate between Kayla Itsines' BBG and my local gym. And I'm surprisingly enjoying it very very much; maybe exercise is like Brussels sprouts - when you're young you absolutely despise them but eventually you grow up into loving them, ha!

1. The wardrobe benefits
This should definitely be more talked about - would have started exercising years ago if I realized this, bah! Going to the gym (or exercising in general) means you get to buy a whole new wardrobe of colourful leggings, sweat-proof tops and Calvin Klein underwear sets. You will be one of those #mycalvins who actually uses them to their full potential rather than just poses in them for your insta pics. SCORE. 

2. Sweaty people have no friends
... said no one ever. You know why? Because gyms and exercise classes are the perfect place to make new friends! You are wearing zero make-up, are drenched in sweat and huffing and puffing through dribble (yeah, that actually does happen) - there's no better place to make a real friend than when you're at your realest.

3. The blackhead remover
Now, I see that you might struggle to believe this one but it totally works, trust me! Sweat is basically a natural blackhead remover. The more I sweat and the more often I sweat, the clearer my skin is. BOOM! Do avoid touching your face when you're in the gym though because all the bacteria that's sticking to your hands from all the machines you've touched will break you out like there's no tomorrow! Been there, done that. Didn't appreciate it.     

4. Inspire me!
People who teach others how to exercise and how to change their lifestyle are so inspirational! Rachel Brathen is a massive inspiration to me (see her instagram here), both in yoga and in changing people's lives. You don't have to go to Aruba (or Instagram for that matter) though, you can find your inspiration on your doorstep. The guys from Right Path Fitness (a team of personal training specialists based in London) are basically celebrities. One of the trainers - Keith (who can be your trainer if you're based in London) is an Olympic style wrestler (who has won both British and English Champion titles), and his colleague Tomas has won 7 individual and 2 team national championships. I mean, how bloody cool's that, right? Just go; go and find your perfect inspiration, they are literally waiting for you!

5. Become a hero
This is probably stretching it a little too far but becoming really good at certain exercise or sport can bring you to a position of becoming an inspiration to someone else, which is a damn beautiful feeling for both you and the one (or many) you're inspiring. Amongst many, this is also a reason why I've started incorporating fitness and well-being into Cityscape Bliss - if I can do it, then anyone can. And even if just one person picks up some good lifestyle habits from me, then my mission's been accomplished.

Do you exercise?
If yes then tell me why in the comments below please!
If no - then tell me why in the comments below, ha!

5 (less talked about) reasons you need to give exercise a try!

Top brown  review
I have been obsessing over brown toned lipsticks since the 90s trend cropped up again not so long ago. I reckon this brown make-up adornment is actually deeply rooted in my childhood. I can vividly remember my Mum wearing long fake nails with a chocolate brown nail polish and having at least 5 different shades of brown lipstick in her make-up bag (and that was a lot for your average not particularly make-up obsessed 90s lady!). Today I'm perhaps a little more make-up savvy than my Mum was around the year 94 - and I have so many brands and shades to choose from! Here are my current favourite brown lipsticks - but you know, my world ain't limited just to these, I'm also partial to a few NYX Lingerie and lip cream splurges just about every other day. Just saying.    

Bobbi Brown Sheer Lip Colour in Bobbi (£20, John Lewis - click here)
Bobbi is such a flattering shade and it's incredibly moisturising on my lips. Obviously with this also comes compromised longevity but who cares - it's a summer lip colour that everyone and their cat should own! FACT.

Bobbi Brown lipstick in Beige (£20, John Lewis - click here)
In the photo Beige looks very, well, beige. In real life it's much brown brown than this - which is what I love about it. It goes on really creamy which is half of the win - the consistency together with the shade create the perfect non offensive brown lipstick. Kinda nude, kinda brown, but very sophisticated and polished.

Illamasqua Glamore lipstick in Buff (£19.50, HQ Hair - click here)
The most recent addition to my lipstick collection (that leads me to an idea - would you like to see my actual lipstick collection? I'm a bloody lip colour hoarder so there's definitely a depth (of a drawer) we could explore!) - Buff is such a beautiful colour! Terri (click here to see her blog) was wearing it one of her new YouTube videos and I was immediately drawn to it. It's one of those Kylie Jenner creamy but kinda corpse looking shades. Very 90s indeed!

MAC lipstick in Stone (£14, John Lewis - click here)
Finally, a treat I got from the girls at work for my birthday - after I tried it at the MAC counter and even the girl at the till asked me what lipstick I was wearing. You know that was the ultimate sell! It's such a dark dark DARK brown colour with an ashy undertone. When applied with a heavy hand it almost looks like the shade of tree bark. Instead of heaving barky lips, I tend to dab it on lightly for an ombre effect. Beautiful!  

What's your favourite brown lipstick at the moment?
Or are brown lipsticks out now? Oh no - I don't even wanna know if they are!!

My favourite brown lipsticks

Father's Day gift ideas 2016
I find my Dad to be the most difficult person to buy for, seriously - like, the most difficult in the whole world. He doesn't like technology, he doesn't care for fashion and he doesn't do trips. That's why I mostly resort to books (bloody hard when you live in the UK and you're buying books for a dad who can't speak English, baaah!) and vinyls (new music will always be made so I doubt I'll ever run out of ammunition on this one, phew!). What presents do you get for your Dad? Here are a few tips I've pulled out of my sleeves for ya - happy Father's Day!

If your Dad's anything like mine then music is the way to go. CDs are good but obviously vinyls give a much better quality of sound. Your Dad doesn't have a turntable? Easily solved. Get him one of the nice Crosley turntables (click here) first and then each year you can treat him to a brand new vinyl. Forward planning, that's what this is. Boom! PS - David Bowie's new album is this year's must, obvs.

The 21st century dads are big on experiences. You get get him something as simple (and affordable) as a dining experience or a cooking class (click here) or you can go a little less low key and get him a National Park experience or even a European city break (click here). Or you know, you can go super wild and get him a day of zorbing or a bungee jump (click here), the possibilities are unlimited!

Dad's usually like their books, don't they. This is exactly the space where you can go really deep into your Dad's specific interests. Is your Dad a keen gardener? Then Alan Titchmarsh's books are the ones (click here). Is your Dad big on beers but a crateful seems a little excessive? Mark Dredge's Beer & Food is a strong candidate (click here).

Some dads (definitely not my Dad to be precise here) are a bit more upbeat about modern technology and enjoy all those funky little gadgets and techy inventions. The answer here is a drone (click here). Drones are bloody cool aren't they? I'm obsessing over YouTube videos with drone footage in them - they just look so professional and surreal! If your Dad couldn't care less about drones, can you get me one please?

The absolute easiest to buy for are the style dads - the dads who enjoy their expensive aftershaves and silky ties - and one can never have enough of expensive aftershaves and silky ties, FACT. Although Daniel Wellington watches are the shiz right now, I do recommend having a look slightly outside of the DW box (see what I did there??). The Horse is an Australian brand which takes me breath away - their watches are stunning (click here)! Oh, your Dad is a little hipster-esque? With a big beard and a birds nest for hair? Then the Great British Grooming Company is your man. Their products are super affordable but have a luxurious feel to them - keep your eyes peeled for these in your local Superdrug (or click here).

What's the most creative present you ever got for your Dad?
Happy Father's Day!!

What to get your Dad for Father's Day - 2016 edition

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