Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Bloggers tips for Mindfulness (#MHAW2015)

Last week was Mental Health Awareness Week, and this year the focus was on Mindfulness.
Mindfulness is something I've been interested in for a while now - it's all about being completely aware of the present moment, focusing on the here-and-now and appreciating and acknowledging your raw emotions, feelings and senses to develop a state of calm and peace.

It's a great technique and concept for those of us who struggle every now and again - or on a daily basis- with our own battles. Those with anxiety, depression and other mental health problems are often recommended Mindfulness as an approach to daily life, and as a part of therapy.

It's a really interesting topic and I really recommend that you read more about it if you're keen to find out more - there are so many books and websites on the topic and so much advice out there. I myself bought a book on the subject, which is the next on my to-read list.

While reading up on MHAW, I decided that it would be a lovely idea to harness the knowledge of the wonderful blogging community in one small post on the topic of Mindfulness - so many bloggers write about their personal lives and mental health, so why not take that knowledge and share it with the world?

I contacted a handful of my favourite bloggers to see what advice they could give for maintaining mindfulness and to find out about how they cope when things get a little too much.

Lyzi - Being Little

"At the moment, in my Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, I'm learning about "worry time" - which is when you try to push all your worries throughout the day back out of your brain (noting them down quickly) and then at the end of the day you give yourself 20 minutes to worry about them freely. I've only been doing it a couple of days and am finding it difficult, but useful. 

Otherwise I think it's really important to look after yourself when your brain is feeling wonky. If you're feeling really awful, just do whatever you feel would make you feel better - listen to what your mind and body needs.

I find it incredibly useful to write down how I'm feeling. It helps me to get everything out of my head and makes it a slightly less confusing jumble. It can also reveal things, and help me find solutions to problems.

Even though it can be really difficult seeing or talking to people when you're feeling low, I find it helps enormously to just talk. Think of the person you feel the safest with - someone you can talk to about pretty much anything. Call them, text them, or ask them to meet up for a cup of tea. I guarantee it'll make you feel better, and it's always nicer to see a friendly face than to be sat alone with your mind going 100mph."

Cat - More About Cat

"I've started practising mindfulness through colouring! I also like to go to the seafront and watch the waves.

"There are two things I would say are essential and that help me keep my shit together when it feels like it's all falling apart.

1. Get off the internet. If you find yourself endlessly scrolling, feeling empty you have to get out. Social media can be good and bad. In times of turmoil, if talking to someone online helps then that's great, but if you find yourself stuck in a loop of just refreshing tabs endlessly and comparing yourself to others, place your hand against the screen and pull your laptop closed, and do anything else - go for a walk, call your mum, pick up a book you've been meaning to start, take yourself out for dinner etc.

2. Write it all down. Everything. Don't hold anything back, just write down every last iota of what it is that you're feeling. A notebook won't reject you, pen and paper won't judge you, so just be completely honest and spill everything as if you were confiding in an old friend, and leave no little piece out. Write until you feel you have said every word, and the pressure of harbouring all those troubles will just drain out of you into text and you will find peace."

Erica - Being Erica

"Miiiindfulness eh. I would say that in times of need, when I need to refocus, I'm forced to remember the little things. The fluffiness of the clouds or the smell of the roasting beans from the local coffee shop, the puppy chasing leaves in the park. The little things can make the big things have less weight and it's super important to focus on what makes you happy."

Toni - Lemon Freckles

"If I could only give one bit of advice, it would be not to be afraid to be unpopular. I'm not talking about purposefully going out of your way to aggravate other people but more to except that if you're able to live your life with kindness and generosity, then that is all that matters. You'll discover that even the kindest of people have others who do not like them and there is nothing that can be done about that. So be you and stand tall."

What are your top tips for living mindfully? I'd love to hear them, so please leave them in the comments! 

She Wears Burgundy

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Frittatas and food photography tips - Happy Egg Tastemaker challenge

I am that person - the one who can't eat a cupcake or a fruit-packed bowl of granola without posting it online after applying a good filter. My camera pops out, often uninvited, at meals and post-work drinks. It's becoming one hell of a habit.

Photographing food is my way of appreciating it and sharing it with the world, and as a blogger it is is an important part of my work! When you're writing about food, it's important that your photos are good enough to eat..

I'm not the most gifted with a camera, however, and my photography knowledge is extremely basic. So when the Happy Egg Co. got in touch about their latest Tastemaker Challenge* for their chosen bloggers, I jumped at the chance! Armed with a box of six medium-sized eggs and a list of food photography tips written for us by Marte Marie Forsberg, we were instructed to whip up something tasty and share it through photography using Marte's advice! 

Photography and food - I was instantly won over.

With my ingredients, a box of Happy Egg Co. eggs and a fully charged iPhone (my weapon of choice) I was ready to crack on!

I decided to use a recipe I found in the most recent Waitrose magazine for a delicious Sunday brunch of Red Pepper, Spinach and Feta frittata.

Red Pepper, Spinach and Feta Frittata Recipe:


  • 1 chopped red pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 handful spinach
  • 6 medium Happy Egg Co. eggs
  • 50g crumbled feta cheese (or more, if you're a cheese fiend like me!)
(Serves 2)


  1. Fry your red pepper and wilt your spinach. 
  2. Mix the eggs, feta, pepper and spinach together and season.
  3. Cook until mostly solid, then place under the grill to finish.
  4. Serve outside on a Sunday with a side salad and a cup of tea


This was a really quick, easy and tasty brunch to make and is healthy to boot!

So that's the cooking done - how did I get on with my food photography?

I'm used to trying to photograph my cooking along the way. However, I really wanted to focus on taking pictures once the cooking was done, when I was trying to capture the end result. This was when I felt I could play around with elements of the photos.

1. Light

Marte recommends paying close attention to your light source - 'try to use just one main light source to give a sharper picture'. I love natural lighting, so I decided to take my photos outside. It was a mildly sunny Sunday at midday so the light was soft, flattering and perfect!

2. Composition

Marte discusses 'telling a story' with composition and thinking about the arrangement in order to 'draw the eye of the viewer to the subject'. I tried a few composition techniques as you can see - my favourite is the simplest, with my dish slightly to one side of the photograph. I'm a fan of the 'one third' rule - subjects are more interesting when they're not central to the image.

I also tried out having two plates on focus rather than one, though I think I prefer having one dish.

3. Styling

I played around with this quite a lot! I wanted to use simple cutlery and nothing too flamboyant, as it's important for me to convey the real 'me'. I don't have fancy cookware. Marte mentions telling stories once more, stating that 'sometimes it's nice to have a few imperfections in your props' which I love the idea of. My styling is simple, and a realistic portrayal of a Sunday for me, and allows the food to speak for itself! I also played around again with composition and focus using the props I had, which I think worked well.

4. Colour

Frittata is a lovely vibrant dish and this one has reds, yellows, greens and whites all mixed in together! I wanted these to stand out against plainer, more neutral tones backgrounds, so my garden table was the perfect backdrop. I loved the contrast of textures of the background and props - wood, porcelain and metal. Marte advises not to let other colours distract from the focus, and that's exactly what I wanted to do.

5. Food

Of course, food is a vital component in food photography! Arrangement is key - and nobody wants to see one slice of frittata plonked on a plate! I loved Marte's advice on this theme: 'Subtle elements of life makes it look like the food is about to, or has been, nibbled on - and it breathes life into your scene'. I wanted my photos to be lively, so I tried one method and focused on food on a fork to being in the 'edible' element (see my previous photo!). I also added some crumbled feta and spinach onto the plate, and took a few photographs with my tea.

I had a lot of fun with this challenge, and am so pleased with my final photographs! I haven't yet been able to choose a favourite, but I'd love to know what you think - please let me know in the comments! I hope you found this post interesting as well - maybe you'll try out the recipe or some of Marte's photography tips! If you do, please tell me how you get on!

What's your top tip for capturing that perfect food photo?

Find out what other tastemakers have been doing through the hashtag #happyeggtastemakers

*This post was written in collaboration with the Happy Egg co., but as always all views and content unless quoted are my own!

She Wears Burgundy