How to improve your morning routine and have a more productive day

Morning routine

I’m not a morning person. It’s a major struggle for me to get myself out of bed in the morning and start my day with any kind of positivity or productive outlook. I always find one way or another to procrastinate; checking my phone, instagram, facebook, even watching a few YouTube videos, and before I know it an hour would have easily passed and I’d still be in bed. It’s especially hard now that I work from home and strictly speaking don’t need to get up at a specific hour. But overtime I’ve learned to become more responsible over my time management as I wasn’t getting anything done and realised I needed a major habit overhaul. Today I’m going to share a few tips and tricks that I’ve used to improve my morning routine and start my day on a more positive and productive note.

Don’t hit the snooze button.

To be honest, you are not going to feel more rested from an extra five or ten minutes of restless sleep.Trying to sleep on snooze time is actually pointless because more often than not you end up lying half awake in bed and dreading the moment when the alarm will eventually go off. Set just one alarm and put it far away from your bed so that you need to get up and out of bed to turn it off.

Leave your phone alone

This is probably what I struggle with the most. It’s a new day and you’re curious to find out what’s been going on with the world during the past 7-8 hours. I often open Facebook and Instragram first thing in the morning and start scrolling, which can easily lead to an extra 45 minutes in bed just mindlessly looking through photos and posts. Starting your day with an act of procrastination does not feel good, and most importantly it gives your mind no chance to think freely without the influence of social media. Stay away from your phone in the morning to allow your mind a fresh start to feel creative and productive without exposing youself to social media overload. Charge your phone overnight in the living room or the kitchen if you need to and just get a real alarm clock instead. I promise you will thank yourself for giving your mind a break and a fresh start in the morning.

Drink a glass of water

Our body gets dehydrated when we sleep as we spend up to 8 hours straight without any water intake. Drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning replenish the water that your body lost during the night and makes your feel refreshed and awake.

Exercise

Waking up and jumping into any kind of exercise, whether it is a relaxing yoga, pilates, or a morning run, wakes your body right up and give you a boost of endorphin that makes you feel happy and energised. It is also nice to  get exercise done and over with first thing in the morning because it allows you to tick an important task off your list and you don’t have to worry about finding time to exercise during the day.

Get Dressed

This might seem pretty obvious but for someone who works from home there is always a temptation to just stay in your comfy dressing gown or pyjama until lunchtime. This invariably makes you feel like a bum and lazy, and more often than not results in a much less productive day. Getting properly dressed with your hair and makeup done makes you feel put together like a productive member of society, which will prompt you to act like one. When you dress for the day, even if the day involves working alone at home, you feel more confident and ready to take on any challenges life throws at you.

Eat Breakfast

Many of us think we have no time in the morning for breakfast and tend to skip it altogether, which is such a bad habit. By mid morning we are guaranteed to feel lethargic and cranky for not having any foods in our stomach and as a result we won’t be able to concentrate on getting any tasks done. Make sure you eat breakfast in the morning. If you don’t feel like cooking in the morning or you don’t have time, just plan for something easy that will still give you enough energy to last until lunch time. A bowl of yogurt with muesli or granola with some fruits like banana or berries takes no time at all to make and can even be prepared the night before to store in the fridge ready for the morning.

Make a big cup of tea (0r coffee)

I am a major tea person. I literally can not  function in the morning until I’ve made myself a big cup of tea. It’s such a relaxing morning ritual to be able to take time to enjoy and indulge in a morning cuppa. These little moments can set a positive tone and put you in the right mood for the day.

Write Morning Pages

I always make a point of starting my day writing my morning pages. If you are not familiar with the morning pages, there are plenty of information online that can give you more insight into this wonderful technique. The morning pages allow me to clear and empty my mind of anything that’s been bothering me or been stuck in my head and blocking other creative thoughts. This simple act of  writing down all my thoughts freely without any censorship helps me jump into the day with a clear mind more receptive to embrace and express my creativity.

Write a list of tasks for the day

Before you get on with your day, write down a list of tasks that you need to accomplish that day (or tasks that will make you feel good to accomplish). These can be anything from exercise, catch up on emails, grocery shop, take blog photos, promote on social medias etc. This will give your day a structure and make you feel more focused to gear your day towards accomplishing these tasks. It is also very satisfying at the end of the day to be able to tick off each task that you have completed and see what you have achieved in a day.

Tackle the hardest or most important task first and get it out of the way.

There is no point drawing it out or putting it off, just get it done and over with and you will feel much better knowing that the rest of the day will be easier and more manageable. When you make a list of tasks that you need to get done for the day, do the one that you hate the most first, and you will be free of worries and ready to take on the rest of your day.

The first few hours of your day can have such an impact on how the rest of the day follows. So try a few of these suggestions and make an effort to improve your morning routine. Once you stop treating your morning like an inconvenience and start greeting it with a smile and positivity, the day will likely smile back at you :)

Do you have a morning routine that you swear by?

Pony Maker Velvet Kiss Lip Colour

the best liquid matte lipstick

I have such a love hate relationship with liquid matte lipstick. On the one hand I love it because I dislike reapplying lipstick throughout the day, and so the lasting power of liquid lipstick is one I hold very dear. On the other hand I absolutely can not stand how most liquid lipsticks tend to parch your lips to the point of unbearableness; where your lips look ridiculously dry, flaky and feel very uncomfortable (Kat von Di comes to mind).

On my recent trip to Asia I came across a brand called Pony Maker, which I believe is a startup brand and recently launched at the end of last year (2016). I swatched a few colours and fell in love with the shades, which are mostly neutrals, very wearable, and right up my street. So I decided to purchase a few to try, because the price is also really reasonable at £34 for 4 lipsticks (about £8.50 for one lipstick). I settled for 4 shades, which are Clair de Lune, Madeleine, Amour de Fleurs, and In the Mood for Love.

Swatches liquid matte lipstick

I guess I didn’t have that high an expectation since Pony Maker is a small, unknown brand, which in my mind at the time could not possibly compare with well known, well established, and much hyped brands selling exactly the same kind of product. But the formula and the shades really blew me away, especially when it’s clearly much better than some well known brands that I have a major gripe with for being so expensive but with a really disappointing drying formula.

Pony Maker Majorly Velvet Kiss lip colour has a semi watery consistency which makes it really easy to  apply as it glides effortlessly on your lips. It also doesn’t dry out too quickly and you have a good minute or so to perfect and tidy up any uneven edges. It dries to a beautiful, velvety, and most importantly, incredibly comfortable finish that doesn’t feel dry when you pucker or press your lips together. Another perk is its impressively long and comfortable wear-time, even after a meal or drinks, and the way it fades out evenly and naturally so you don’t get that unsightly dark lip liner look.

The shades are gorgeous and truly catered for liquid lipstick enthusiast, i.e. nude, neutral, 90’s inspired hues, which are very wearable and work really well for both day time and night time looks. All in all I think I deserve a good pat on the shoulder for discovering a truly amazing liquid lipstick brand that tick all the boxes with a reasonable price tag that’s not designed to rip you off, but still deliver the same or even better quality compare to some well-known brands out there.

My current beauty favourites

current beauty favourites

current beauty favourites

I’m not in the habit of doing a blog post on monthly favourites because, 1) I am a fickle creature who chop and change all the time, 2) I am also quite hard to please and it takes a lot for a product to grab my attention and become my holy grail. After six months into the year (where has the time gone by the way?) I’ve managed to round up a few items that I have absolutely been enjoyed using, some are recent discoveries that I’ve very quickly grown to love, and some are slowly but surely working towards a holy grail status.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit Palette in Surreal Light. Althought this palette was brought out way back last Christmas, I’ve only just acquired it a few months ago. I’ve already done a full review of this palette here if you would like to have a read. But in short it’s one of those versatile palettes that you can get full use out of every single item. This is a super handy palette that I can chuck in my travel bag and it will take care of  all my makeup needs.

Nars Soft Matte Complete Concealer. This is a heavy duty concealer in terms of coverage and lasting power. I absolutely love this concealer because it’s just so effective and everything I need in a good concealer. If you have dry skin, don’t let the word ‘matte’ throws you off, because if used correctly it is not at all drying. I use a damp mini complexion sponge to dip into the pot to gather the product and then bounce it under my eyes, and I get a full coverage that lasts all day, plus my undereyes remain hydrated without any creases.

Chantecaille Just Skin Tinted Moisturiser. I had been holding out for so long to buy this much hyped tinted moisturiser because the price really threw me off. It now retails at £61, which has increased from £55 when it was first launched a few years back. I did a full review here if you want to find out more details. Despite the staggering price tag, I hate to say I’ve fallen in love with it. It transforms my skin into a natural, radiant, healthy-looking complexion, and been absolutely perfect for sping and summer, when I want my skin to look like my natural skin but more perfected.

Ouai Texturising Hair Spray.
I used to be an Oribe Dry Texturising Spray girl through and through. I was completely faithful to the product and never thought anything else could sway me. But I’m afraid to say I have been swayed, and for justifiable reasons. Although Oribe does give me volume and texture, it doesn’t seem to last very long on my hair and by midday my hair is in need of oomphing up again. It also makes my hair greasy and sticky, and need washing the next day. Ouai texturising spray on the other hand feels really weightless, gives beautiful texture and volume, but most important of all it holds my curls and style for days, up until my hairwash day.

Real Technique Mini Miracle Complexion Sponges. As someone who has dry skin, I always struggle with my under eye concealer and constantly trying to find new ways to prevent creasing and dry patches under my eyes. These mini complexion sponges have been a godsend and an answer to my under eye concealer woes. The mini version is a perfect size to use around under eye area, and the hydrating sponge is so cooling and soothing and keep my concealer fresh as well as counteracting any dryness.

Heliocare Oral Capsules.  I’ve always struggled with the idea that applying sunscreen to my face in the morning is hardly a guarantee that my skin will be protected from the sun throughout the entire day. Almost all topical sunscreens need to be reapplied every couple of hours, especially if you have prolonged exposure to the sun. And what can a girl do if she has a full face of makeup on? Reapplying sunscreen on top of makeup is out of the question.  Removing makeup to reapply sunscreen and then redo the makeup again is even more unthinkable. These oral capsules by Heliocare solves the problem for me completely since it protects your skin from inside out against the sun. In the summer or when I’m on a holiday I take two capsules in the morning, and if I’m going to have prolonged exposure to the sun I will take a third one around lunch time or early afternoon, and that takes care of my sun protection needs. So easy and effective!

Byredo ‘Blanche’ perfume. This beautiful scent by Byredo really needs no introduction. ‘Blanche’ is a sweet and floral scent with a hint of musk, which makes it so sophisticated and seductive. I always feel really confident when I wear this scent and love carrying a 12ml travel-size with me in my makeup bag to freshen up with a few spritzes during the day. I will definitely be exploring more scents by Byredo since I love this one so much.

What have been your beauty favourites so far this year?

Recent purchases and first impression

beauty haul

I managed to pick up a few makeup bits and bobs on my recent shopping trip and thought I would share them with you in my blog post today, along with my first impression of the products.

I first picked up two shades of Lancome Matte Shaker, which I was pretty excited to try since I love the Juicy Shaker so much and always have at least one handy in my makeup bag. The idea of the same packaging and applicator (which I adore from the Juicy Shaker) but in a matte formula was too tempting to resist. Most of the shades are pretty bold (and I’m not a bold lipstick wearer in any way shape or form), so I settled for two that are on the more subdued side; Beige Vintage and Energy Peach. Beige Vintage is a classic deep rose pink shade, and Energy Peach is a coral peach colour. To be honest I am majorly disappointed with the formula, which takes ages to dry, slip-and-slide, transfers on to everything, and can hardly be called a matte lipstick in my opinion. The lasting power is non-existent, and after a meal and a drink, the colour completely disappeared. In terms of colour range I also wish that there are more nude/neutral shades available as opposed to the current mostly bold shades. So on first impression I am sadly disappointed with the Matte Shaker, and wish I’d checked out reviews first before I bought it.

The second item I picked up was Benefit Galifornia blush. I have never been disappointed with any of the blushers from Benefit and this one is no exception. Galifornia is a beautiful peachy shade with finely milled shimmer that adds a beautiful glow to the skin. I love that it goes on quite sheer, making it easy and manageable to build up the colour while keeping everything looking very natural. Best of all is the scent! Galifornia has a delicious malibu/coconut scent, very similar to Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess, which is my all time favourite summer perfume. This is a summer blush through and through, and makes me very happy everytime I use it.

The last item from my shopping trip was Urban Decay eyeshadow in the shade ‘Laced’. This is abit of a random buy but I wanted to get a single eyeshadow in this mauvey, lavender hue for traveling. Laced is a universally flattering colour, which suits everybody and goes well with every looks. So this is another winning purchase that I’m super happy about :)

Have you done any beauty shopping lately?