Things I Love Thursday: A European Adventure!

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Good morning! Today is our last day in the U.K. before we jet off to Berlin tomorrow. I’m absolutely beside myself about going back to Germany — I love it there — and in addition to teaching there this weekend, we have Monday and Tuesday free to explore before we head to Amsterdam. The excitement, it is real!

I haven’t been to Berlin or Amsterdam since the very early 2000s, when my boyfriend and I flew all the way from New Zealand to see the Legendary Pink Dots play a few shows. That was my first real trip abroad as an adult, and I am a much more confident traveller these days! It will be wonderful to see those cities through a different lens, with two adventurous babes by my side!

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It has been an action-packed trip so far, that’s for sure. I kicked off my first international Radical Self Love Salon last Friday underneath an enormous disco ball (it. was. MAGNIFICENT), and went straight into two days of The Blogcademy at Curtain Road. We had one day off, exploring London — from Shoreditch to Bond Street — before jumping back into another two days of teaching. Madness! But wonderful madness, all the same!

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Last night after class, Loulou took Kat, Shauna, Sophie and I to dinner at Shoreditch House. It was pretty amazing: a rooftop pool, unlimited candy, a free photobooth, and a thoroughly ridiculous cast of characters. The food was incredible, too. I had pea and mint soup (my new obsession), grilled salmon with teeny-tiny mushrooms, and a chocolate torte which rocked my world. I also slurped on a lavender cocktail: delicious!

Tonight is our big Blogcademy party and you’re invited! There will be more fun than you can shake a stick at. Come out and dance with us!

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On the love-o-meter lately… The splendour that is ABC Carpet and Home (And buying my very first big girl armchair) MAC lipstick (my new favourites are Happy Go Lucky and Show Orchid) Trawling around London with my camera Selfridges! The best! Chad Wys: I love his art so much! Hoi Polloi at the Ace Hotel (our new favourite restaurant) Ginger beer with every meal Pink roses everywhere Gifts of crystals  A thick stack of photobooth strips beside my bed  The pink transparent cutlery at Itsu  Sexy Post-It notes (they exist Playing with the Party Party app Really small (and really big) Diptyque candles Bounty ice-creams Dancing after class Perving in flower shops One-shouldered dresses Tan Towels! A summer essential!

Bunny kisses,

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Radical Self Love Letters

#radicalselflovejuly: Week Three!

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Here we are again! I’m enjoying #radicalselflovejuly so much, and by the looks of things — with over 11,000 images — you are too! If you’re starting to fret because we’re getting near the end, never fear: I’m already plotting another Instagram challenge for the future. Hooray!


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DAY FIFTEEN: Your happy place

Good question: where do you go to be happy? Here are some answers: Emily dangles her feet in a pool, Kate levitates, and Emily Jayne blisses out in Cornwall.


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DAY SIXTEEN: Favourite quote

The variety in quotes was tremendous. Tyler thinks she could be brave enough, Torie is battling the demons of doubt, Ayanna is all about uniqueness, and Sarah’s primary intention is to feel good.

I picked Yogi Bhajan as my favourite quote… Though to be fair, as an almost-professional collector of quotes, it was hard to choose just one!


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DAY SEVENTEEN: Your city

There were so many fantastic photos on this day, spanning the globe from Panama to Omaha! I’ve picked these two as my favourites, though: Jessica lives la vie en rose in Paris, and Eleanor snapped the top of the Sky Tower in Auckland. I used to live on the same street as the Sky Tower, so seeing it is like a little taste of home!


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DAY EIGHTEEN: Inspiring friend

I loved this shot that Leonie posted of her friend, Pauline. It was amazing to read about how much love you all have for your BFFs: totally testament to the power of friendship.

…And I couldn’t resist sharing what Kate had to say about her London Radical Self Love Salon experience!

Today: INSPIRING FRIEND (couldn’t be anyone other than the beautiful @galadarling after today’s #radicalselflovesalon …anyone who can invite you into a secret coven in a back room in Kings Cross underneath a gigantic disco ball, nourish you with cherry bakewell flavoured potions in fine china & red velvet cake, cast spells in a mini cauldron & send you out into the world with a bag full (and bra-full) of rose petals gets my vote everytime!)


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DAY NINETEEN: Great outdoors

Since it’s summer in the Northern Hemisphere, I wanted to see how everyone is celebrating it! From the photos I picked, I noticed a water theme… Very summery indeed!

Agnes is raring and ready to go! Cassy jumped into the sea and had a good, salty splash-off after the Radical Self Love Salon, and Harissa went snorkelling in San Pedro.


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DAY TWENTY: RSL totem

It’s fascinating to me to see what other people use as their radical self love totems: little mementos which remind us to love ourselves. They can range from the impermanent, like jewellery, to the very, very permanent!

I love these tattoos on Athena and Sarah. Athena says her wing tattoos remind her to soar, to have patience and to be vibrantly self-expressed, while Sarah explains that her chest tattoo is all about radical self love and personal growth. Perfection!


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DAY TWENTY-ONE: Morning mantra

The question of the day: what do you tell yourself every morning? (I believe that the thoughts we think are potent, and that thinking positively first thing in the morning is massively beneficial. Here’s my morning mantra, in case you’re interested.)

There were some very bright colours on offer! Sarah knows today will be awesome, Nikki reminds herself to flow, allow and receive, Keri wants to keep on creating, and Eleanor will make great art.


Alright, we’re midway through a Blogcademy class, so it’s time to dash!

Kisses,

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Just Stop Doing It!

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A definite perk of my job is that I get to spend time with a lot of incredible people. This is what happens when you put yourself out there: the people you always wished existed actually begin to make themselves known to you. (Just another reason to start a blog, if you ask me.)

Ask me about the most interesting people I’ve ever met, and Danielle LaPorte would be way up there on that list. It makes sense, then, that one of the highlights of our trip to Vancouver was when she pulled up outside our apartment, piled us into her car, and took us to Nuba for dinner. We sat down, ordered drinks — wine for Kat, sangria for Shauna, something spicy with tequila and lime for Danielle and me — and started talking about business.

As we discussed some of the systems, checks and balances we had in place at The Blogcademy, one of us mentioned that she didn’t enjoy doing one particular task. The other two chimed in in agreement.

“Here’s an idea,” Danielle said. “Just stop doing it.”

Saying those words felt radical, momentous. Freeing. Like being let out of bondage. And when we got back to the apartment, we continued talking about it. The days wore on, and the discussion became, “I can’t wait to stop doing that!”

That’s one of Danielle’s talents, I think. She reminds you that you have permission to simply stop doing the things that don’t thrill you anymore. She reminds you that you can change your mind, whenever you like.

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Years ago, I went to Selling Your Soul, an event featuring Danielle LaPorte and Marie Forleo. It was illuminating, to say the least. I scrawled pages and pages of notes, and a line that has always stuck out the most is this quote from Danielle: “Either find a way to make it fun, or find a way to get it off your plate.”

Passion is essential, or as Danielle would say, lack of passion can be fatal. If something has become tedious, it’s time to either find a way to make it enjoyable, scrap it, or outsource it.

So my question to you today is a simple one: what is one thing that no longer lights your fire? Now ask yourself, is there a way you could make it fun? Or is it time to leave it in the dust?

A little food for thought from cloudy England!

Big love,

Photos from Wildfox.

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DIY Your Own Ghost Chair… With Hearts!

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I am not sure I can really put into words what it was like to work and spend five days with Tiffany Pratt, interiors genius and glitter guru. It was like going on a crazy rocket ride to another planet, requiring many things: trust, faith, and fast decision-making! I wrote about it on a daily basis, as a kind of captain’s log, just so I could have a record of exactly what went on. I will share excerpts at a later date!

We got so much done in a mere five days, and she’ll be back in NYC to put the finishing touches — or as she says, “frosting” — on the living room. And don’t worry, there will be plenty to show you! For now, I wanted to clue you in on my desk chair, which is now way more fun!

When you write for a living, the chair you sit in is of the utmost importance. An aching back and a numb butt will hamper the creativity of even the most prolific babe! Needless to say, on day of the Tiffany Pratt home invasion, we were on the search.

At ABC Carpet and Home, I was smitten with a chair bound together by neon pink stretchy rope, but when I turned over the price-tag, I realised it was going to be an unrequited love. A tragic love story, if you will. Spending almost $1300 on a decorative chair was just not in my budget!

As we talked more about the subject, I revealed to Tiffany that I owned an imitation ghost chair, which I was using as a makeshift bedside table.

“Oh, cool. I use one of those as my desk chair!” Tiffany said. “We could make yours pretty… Like with washable window markers!”

I was instantly keen. There’s something awesome about drawing on your possessions that appeals to my inner teenager. Didn’t you draw on absolutely everything during those tumultuous years? I did. The world was my canvas, from my jeans to my schoolbooks, mirrors and arms.

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Using a selection of four colours — grey, white, blue and red — Tiffany crouched on the floor and drew hearts. It only took her about ten minutes to transform my chair… And I love it!

We’ve turned something kind of generic (and let’s face it, a bit of a blogger-desk-on-Pinterest cliché) into something totally custom, and it looks beyond rad in my all-white living room. Best of all, it only cost us the price of a pack of washable window markers!

Even better than that, because the markers are washable, I can change the design on a whim. All I need to do is throw it in the shower and wipe it down with soapy water. Genius! Now my chair can look any way I want, and if I get sick of the doodles, I can always go back to keeping it plain!

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Needless to say, #darlinghq is coming along rather nicely. I have way more to share with you, so stay tuned!

Scribbly hearts and all that,

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#radicalselflovejuly: The Best Of Week Two!

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Hooray! It has been another week of brilliant creativity and self-celebration on Instagram. We have almost 9000 posts on the #radicalselflovejuly tag now, which is blowing my mind!

It is such a delight to see all the originality and imagination you’re bringing to this monthly challenge. We’re definitely going to have to do it again in the future!

Okay, enough preamble. On to some of my favourite shots!


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DAY EIGHT: Draw yourself

There were some very impressive self-portraits on display on day 8! I’m always amazed by people who can draw: my husband Mike is an incredible artist, and it always blows my mind. Like, how do you do that?!

A few of my favourite shots from the day were stars_are_red’s crop of an old self-portrait painting (WOW), Kate’s self-portrait-in-a-photo (what?! Brilliant!), and Carmen who wrapped her picture in gold fabric.


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DAY NINE: RSL meal

Meggie spelled out I LOVE YOU with potato waffles, Eleanor made a heart of orange pieces, and Jessica wrote about her ice-cream…

It’s no secret: I’ve always had a terrible sweet tooth, inhaling cakes, candy and so on by the truck load! It used to be a bit of the problem, as I would regularly binge on these foods; however, with time and plenty of #selflove, I’ve come to a place where I can enjoy these delicious morsels without guilt, and with the appreciation they deserve. I am so proud of myself for getting this far and changing my mindset so much! Radical self love to the MAX!


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DAY TEN: #TBT

Otherwise known as the day of “Awwwwwwwwwwwww.”

Kacia says she’s still the same size, with the same laugh, and the same hair! Having met Reina, I couldn’t resist posting her and her pumpkin. So much cuteness! And Nina has always been sassy as hell! I love the earrings!

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Plus, a special mention for Emily Jayne, whose photo made me laugh and laugh! Oh man. If I had a photo like this, I’d blow it up really big and frame it!


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DAY ELEVEN: RSL Bible

It’s always inspiring to see how other people journal, and what they create within their notebooks. I was not at all letdown by what I saw on day 11! So much colour, so much radness!

Eleanor implores herself to be bolder, Nikki doodled about what radical self love means, and Xandra drinks tea while she writes in hers. Leonie makes wicked collages, Reina is using old magazine cut-outs, and Emily organises her life using a Dodo Pad.

On this day, too, I was really moved by this caption from francislovesbacon:

So I need to be honest – I just started my radical self love bible this month thanks to this challenge. People, I need to say that I have never been so deep in selflove as this month. I need to thank @galadarling from the bottom of my heart. But not only her but all of you beautiful creatures out there taking this challenge. The first time I don’t feel ridiculous loving myself and doing all those amazing things. I knew that it is not ridiculous but amazing to meditate, to have a RSL bible etc. But I always felt kinda lonely on that path. But seeing all of your posts everyday makes me just feel like I am not alone but on the right path. And suddenly the world feels so much more open and kind. It’s beautiful.


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DAY TWELVE: In your bag

I have yet to do this one… It has been a crazy few days! But I’m perpetually curious about what people carry around with them, so this was the perfect prompt for my voyeuristic tendencies!

I discovered that Anne has a handbag full of pink, Amy has enough lipstick and lip gloss for everyone, and Kate has a bag loaded up with crystals and cameras!


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DAY THIRTEEN: No makeup selfie

Featuring the sweet faces of Lburanas, Luna, and Suzor. Aw!

Can I just say, I am so proud of you all for taking on this particular challenge with such gusto! I did it too, and it was not easy or fun. In fact, during my Radical Self Love Salon last weekend, one of the things we discussed was the idea of using make-up as a security blanket, and the issues around learning how to give it up. It can be tough, so it warms my heart to see so many of you doing it so splendidly.


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DAY FOURTEEN: Get physical

This was a great day! I was thrilled to see so many pairs of colourful running shoes, bendy-flexy yoga babes, and sweaty happy faces. I picked these to share: Kate flexing, Lynsay leapfrogging around Glasgow, Alice getting her badass on with a crossbow (!!!), and Emily’s mode of transportation.

…And a very special mention goes to Emma for this bike-riding video!


In the words of Justin Timberlake for McDonald’s, I’m lovin’ it. And by the way, if you missed a day or forgot a prompt, don’t worry! You can catch up any time.

Keep up the amazing work!

Kisses forevs,

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