THE LOVE LIST
Every year or so, I update my “love list”: a window into the collection of things I love, tools, and products I actually use that I heartily recommend, plus people who inspire me, and more.
Here’s my latest list of all my current favourites. If you want to feel inspired and find new tools to help your life flow better and sweeter this list is for you.
Enjoy! I hope you find something that delights you.
Self-care is the way I set the tone for each day and it’s literally about tuning in and connecting with my inner wisdom and intuitive compass as soon as I wake up so I can give myself what I need. I teach the very simple and easy process for this in my self-study course INSTINCT. (It only costs £20)
I have a loose morning practice which includes, meditation, movement, journaling and nourishing but exactly what that looks like varies from day to day.
Some days I slowly let myself wake up, let my cat out, use the bathroom and get my phone from the living room, get back into bed and put my Insight app timer on for 20 minutes. Then it’s usually fresh watermelon and ginger juice; cucumber, celery apple and ginger juice; or warm water with lemon pursued by a tea or matcha. Followed by a 10-minute yoga stretch sequence to get into my body and lengthen out all my limbs from a night of sleep, some neck stretches and face yoga.
On other days I go to my morning: my perfect start to the day: stretch for the first 3 tracks, get ready for my shaking meditation to the 4th track, shake with the 5th and 6th, then meditate to the sound of the Tibetan singing bowls and finally DANCE! or morning ½ playlists: morning rituals: shake, sit & dance in half an hour, on Spotify.
And then there are days when what I need most is to let go of all the structure entirely and just be. Do nothing. Sloth about. Stay in bed and in my pyjamas for a full 12 hours only to shower and put on some fresh pyjamas and go back to bed. That, for me, is self-care too.
As I get older I appreciate exercise more and more. My body responds so well to it and I need to move pretty much every day in some way. I mix it up with dancing, pilates, yoga, swimming and lots of walking. At least one of those each day, and often a combination of a few. Some of my favourite yoga, pilates and HIIT practices are free on my Lean & Tone playlist on YouTube and my favourite go-to Pilates teacher is Lottie Murphy. If you are new to her I suggest starting with her free 24-day Pilates challenge.
Emotional + spiritual support
I find astrology a really useful tool and resource that I am always studying and learning more about and adore the Chani Astrology app that I am subscribed to. I also enjoy using the Moon app because I like to know what sign the moon is in, especially when I’m journaling, as it changes every 3.5 days. I do a lot of Reparenting and Inner Child healing work in my journaling, integration practices and meditations to move through blocks and barriers that hold me back from living the freedom and full authentic expression that I believe we are all here to live. I teach some of the practices and approaches to clear my blocks and healing in my self-study course SOVEREIGN. I also work with a hypnotherapist to shine a light on the areas of my subconscious that I cannot access through my self-growth work.
HEALTH + BEAUTY
Health and beauty are synonymous to me as I believe that true beauty shines from the inside out, not just from physical health but also emotional and spiritual health. That being said, I will do everything I can to feel and look my best. Here are my favourites.
Nutrition + Hydration
I went through a huge health transformation at the beginning of 2022 when I found out that I was severely malnourished and depleted of core minerals even though I had been eating a “healthy” diet of lots of raw salads, veggies etc for a long time. I ended up doing a lot of research and learned so much with the help of this nutritionist who completely changed the way I think about and consume food and drinks. I have so much more food freedom and joy now, my hormones have regulated themselves, my period is no longer scanty and weak, I have lost weight because I’m no longer inflamed and I get to eat things that I truly enjoy. Like bread and pasta and cheese and lots of fruit! One key thing I learned was that drinking too much water actually flushes out your minerals and it’s much better to get your hydration from high-water foods and fresh juices. I used to drink sooooo much water thinking I was doing myself a favour when in fact it was quite the opposite.
Since having a hormone imbalance and adrenal fatigue in 2018, which gave me crippling insomnia and anxiety, I’m completely obsessed with sleep. Like all living things we are seasonal, so I notice I sleep more in the winter and less in the summer, but my perfect sleep schedule is 11 pm to 7.30 am. Most nights, if I am feeling harmonious and content in my life and I have moved my body and loved enough and been creative during the day, I fall asleep immediately. Sometimes, when I am moving through some challenges I use this sleep hypnosis to get to sleep. And very occasionally (less than monthly) when I notice that I am having a really hard time regulating my nervous system I self-medicate with Diazepam.
My main interest is in hydration, skin tone and healing the sun damage I allowed during my wild 20s. So each day I focus on 2 things. Nourishing and healing from the inside: high-quality hydration in the form of freshly pressed juices in the summer (I use a cheap and cheerful Jocuu Slow Masticating juicer I brought from Amazon) or mineral-rich broths in the winter. Repairing and protecting from the outside: my dermatologist put me on a set of clinical-grade skincare which has been transformational for my skin.
I generally wash my face with tap water and a washcloth first thing in the morning and then once I shower (usually after exercise) I moisturise with the Image Vital C serum. If I am planning to spend time in the sun I follow it with the Image Prevention Sun Protection cream. In the evenings I double clean my face. Once with a magic makeup eraser cloth and then a second time with the Image Iluma Brightening Exfoliator Cleanser followed by 10-20 minutes of The Light Salon LED mask on dry, clean skin which does wonders for collagen production and healing and then finally before bed, the Image Vital C Hydrating Repair Creme. I also dry brush my entire body as often as I can remember (not often enough) and moisturise with coconut or almond oil.
If I’m sitting at home, working I leave my skin clean and fresh, but if I’m seeing clients or going out I like putting on a bit of makeup to achieve the perfect “no makeup makeup look” using mostly natural products:
I swear by Kosas Tinted Face Oil for a clean even base or the Jane Iredale Pressed Mineral Powder, depending on mood, environment and skin texture that day. I use the RMS Signature Set in Pop for eyelids, cheeks, and highlighting key areas. Then I curl my lashes with a cheap and charming lash curler I bought in a 7/11 in Thailand years ago and put on a natural mascara from KIKO Milano which works much better than all the high-end ones.
I build on from there for events and nights out if I want but stop at any of the following steps:
My friend Petra gave me this Trish McEvoy Deep Aubergine eyeliner that I am now obsessed with. I love the way it makes my green eyes stand out. I sometimes revert to a reliable black cat-eye flick with a basic L’Oréal Paris Lineur Intense Felt Tip or a brown discontinued liquid eyeliner from MAC that my friend Mara gave me. Plus, RMS Beauty Living Luminizer is applied sparingly with fingers over the cheekbones, down the bridge of the nose, along the inner corners of the eyes, and on the cupid’s bow above the lips for a natural glow. Glossier Boy Brow in Brown and Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm in Hibiscus or RMS Lip2Cheek in Beloved for finishing touches.
Cycle health + contraception
I track my menstrual cycle via years of so observing my cervical fluid, mood, and appetites, and knowing what that means for me and where I am in my cycle day-to-day. Sometimes I measure my daily basal body temperature to keep an eye on things and as a natural form of contraception. I have used a range of fancy tools and contraptions over the years but I think using a normal basal body thermometer and the Kindara app is good enough. When I bleed I wear period panties, my current favourites are from Modibodi.
I used to get a lot of acupuncture but since moving to Mallorca haven’t found one that I resonate with. Here, I have been blessed with an incredible Craniosacral therapist, and often get Thai massage as this place 15 minutes walk from my home and sometimes go to see a healer on the island (he doesn’t have a website or IG), who is a miracle worker but hard to get an appointment with.
If you’re interested in the clothes I wear and where I get them, you can find that in a separate article titled ‘inside my closet’.
CREATIVITY + LEARNING
Creativity is my raison d’etre, my purpose or reason for living. Everything I do is creative: write, move, speak, cook, display, clean, love, and make. I am obsessed with aesthetics and particularly love drawing, watercolour painting, photography and creating beautiful spaces, experiences and interiors. I write about my favourite books regularly, and you can read all about them here. I listen to Audible books when I go on my daily big walks, during commutes and when travelling. Now and then, when I am writing a social media post or updating my profile, I want to embellish it with pretty symbols and characters that illustrate pieces of my soul. So decided to gather a list of sacred characters and symbols that I like to use, and copy and paste them into my social media, without having to scour the entire internet for them: 99 sacred characters + symbols. Music is everything to me and I’m always making new playlists on Spotify.
I am the most productive when I work intensely over short spurts of time. My ideal is 4 hours per day 5 days per week. It’s amazing how much I can get done when I know I only have 4 hours in a cafe or the day, as opposed to a whole day or even a week. Learning to manage my time and efforts in very focused ways while having austere boundaries are key for me.
- Instagram is my favourite social media platform. Even so, I am not putting all of my eggs in that basket and reserve most of my best work and writing here: all work-related and professional updates are in my newsletters, and all my cadence and musings on the mystery of life are found in my secret substack letter ‘kismet’.
- Plus: I also have a podcast called re.define that you can listen to on Spotify.
- For photography, people always ask me what camera I use, and honestly, about 90% of the time it’s my iPhone 12.
- For filming content and otherwise, I use this Panasonic Lumix with a Rode Wireless GO Mic or a BOYA Directional Mic.
- To edit, I use the Tezza app and have a set of 3 filters that I use over and over again to create visual consistency. I sometimes make little movies for Instagram using Splice + CutStory. I am also enjoying the RNI Film app for a retro look to my photos.
- My website is built on WordPress on a DIVI theme, I use Acuity Scheduling as my booking system and all my courses are housed on a platform called Podia, which I adore.
- I use Apple Mail for all my emails and double up between my Plannher and Apple Calendar for planning, and Google docs to develop my ideas into real, tangible things.
- I recently grew my sole trader business into a company. We are now Vienda Maria LTD baby! (Very proud business-mama moment.) And use ANNA Money for banking and bookkeeping, alongside Stripe and PayPal to receive payments and have an accountant who handles my accounting.
- My breakdown of how I combine structure (planning + systems) with intuitive living lives here.
OTHER ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE
- Inside my closet.
- How to let go (really).
- Please: keep your secrets, secret.
- My guide to hand reading.
- 4 essential rituals to do when you move.
- 10 tips on how to (actually) be feminine.
- 5 free resources to raise your confidence.
- It’s been 6 years since I spoke to my mama.
- Life as a single woman in her late 30s.
- Your 100 favourites (of 700) articles.
- 5 fiction books that changed me.
- About me.