I rang my mumma earlier in the week (well actually I ring her practically every day) – but on this particular call she asked me what I had planned at the weekend, knowing that G was living the high life in Vegas watching the Fury vs Wilder fight… not my cuppa tea!

Anyways, I’d planned a few bits which is quite unlike me as I usually have a rigid plan for every second of the day.

“Is it really bad if I have some me time?” I asked her guiltily as if someone (not sure whether I thought this was her, friends, or society?) would judge me or disapprove for not making the most of G being away by being a social butterfly.

“Not in the slightest” – her affirmation was all I needed.

Since when did I need to feel bad for planning a bit of me time (even if I do have to ‘plan’ it in? I’ve been so busy with work recently and so caught up in my routine (which may I add I do love) that I really can’t remember the last time I had some time to myself…my own thinking space.

(The products above are my favourite when I need a little pamper time – Superfood Facial Oil by Elemis, followed by Decléor’s Crème Ambrée and their Jasmin Eye Cream…BLISS! Skin is always left feeling nourished and fresh!)

With that said, I’m not one for sleeping half the day and lounging around in my PJs until it’s time to make dinner and go to bed again – so I didn’t ‘do nothing’ per say. I saw a few girlfriends – brunch (a vegan spot in Covent Garden called ‘Redemption’ where I had ‘sweetcorn and pepper pancakes!!)/coffee…you know the drill. I also checked in with friends and family over the phone which gave me the reason to talk during the weekend (because you forget that when you have me time there’s nobody to speak out loud to…?)

But aside from that, I did all the things I don’t usually get the chance to do on a normal weekend…

  • Yoga – so I sometimes fit this around my busy schedule, but more often than not I’m boxing or spinning when it comes to exercise. However, for me there’s something quite self-indulgent about yoga and having an hour in a peaceful studio, concentrating on yourself, your breath and your being, with lots of other likeminded people. It was the perfect start to my weekend and quite literally I set ‘my intention’ for a weekend of self-care as part of the practice. If you haven’t tried yoga before, I’d recommend and there’s loads of places that allow you to book no matter what your level (I’m certainly no expert!) – I use More Yoga as there’s studios across London.
  • Solo Shopping – G is really good with my shopping addiction and never complains when he gets dragged to Zara (again) but unfortunately I can rarely get in the ‘zone’ when he’s there. So, in his absence I hit Zara hard. With 2 trips to the fitting rooms with armfuls of clothes, I was greeted with ‘let’s pretend there’s 10 items there’ by the kind shopping assistant who was manning the desk. Needless to say I was happy with my purchases (inc. this beaut poof sleeve t-shirt!).Does anyone else find they have the most productive shopping trips on their own?
  • Coffee & Cake – after the madness of shopping on Oxford Street I had an hour or so to kill so decided to head to John Lewis for a coffee and piece of banana and walnut cake. It’s quite fun having a solo coffee, watching the world go by, taking in the hustle and bustle of central London when you’re not in a rush.
  • Massage – The ultimate treat to oneself, I booked the Wellness Experience Massage  at Bethnal Green’s secluded day spa (York Hall Leisure Centre), which is only 1 stop on the tube from home. I booked in with less than 24 hours’ notice and enjoyed a 90-minute face, scalp and body massage with hot oils. I left with oil-drenched hair, but feeling extremely zen and de-stressed!
  • Acai Bowl & a Good Book – post massage I found a hidden gem of a café in Bethnal Green (Sazzy & Fran). It was the kind of café that had homemade banana bread, brownies and pastries on the counter which were shouting out for an Instagram. I ordered myself a latte and the most amazing acai bowl and sat on a bench in their intimate downstairs area with my latest book group recommendation (The Dressmaker’s Gift by Fiona Valpy). I needed the oils from my massage to sink in and I wasn’t ready to face that on the tube, so it gave me the perfect amount of relaxation time before I went home to shower it all off! Having coffee by myself was fun – I definitely need to do it more often and it also meant that I found a non-mainstream cafe that I didn’t know existed, win-win!)

It’s made me realise how much I needed this weekend and how important it is to stop, take a step back and chill for a second. That’s not even down to the fact that G is away – we are both so busy and both need to remember this (I’m already planning a long walk in Richmond Park on his return!) It’s been so nice to not have to worry where I have to be, not coordinate an outfit or wear make-up, not clock watch wherever I am, not plan anything (ish), not organise a day out, not cook a big meal, not put an alarm on, and actually just ‘be’ in my own company.

I wouldn’t want this kind of weekend all the time as I genuinely enjoy being busy, getting out and about and feeling proactive – but given that I’ve not had any time off since Christmas it was a type of ‘mini break’ for me to recharge my batteries.

My wholesome weekend is quite the contrast of G’s which is perhaps why I questioned whether I should be so self-indulgent, but the Sunday evening’s feeling of rest and recovery was worth every second I spent doing/not-doing anything this weekend.

We all need to relax. When people talk about mental health it’s difficult to know what that looks like because it can vary so much from person to person. It can be a big thing, it can be a small thing, but it’s a part of everyone and ensuring that you are happy, content and well is not always as easy as it seems. I wasn’t ‘down’ or anything before this weekend (in fact quite the opposite) but that doesn’t mean I can just put my mental wellbeing on hold. A bit of pampering has served to boost everything in the right direction and set me up for the busy week to come!

 Balance is also a key ingredient and there are so many little things you can do to get your dose of downtime whether that’s 1) escaping the London bubble (which G and I try to do as much as we can!) 2) going on a long walk 3) curling up to read a book 4) watching rubbish TV 5) getting an early night 6) starting your own blog (I love it!!) or another hobby which you can enjoy doing with yourself – days go by quickly and life is short.

I now live and breathe by the simple mantra of ‘do what makes you happy’, which unbelievably before I didn’t necessarily stick to. Yes, there are times you have to do things that perhaps you’d rather not, but equally I’d say now I do more of the ‘good’ stuff than ever before. I’m hardly drinking any alcohol (only had alcohol 3 times this year), I’ve gone vegetarian, I’m loving my exercise routine, I’ve gone on loads of walks in the park with G and I’ve strengthened relationships with people I care about.

Do what makes you happy, because why would you do anything else?

Now onto next weekend which is going to be spent with my girlfriends partying in Liverpool… It’s all about balance, right?!

IH xo