The power of scent: the secrets of those who always smell distinctive

The antique cupboard at my parent’s house had a distinctive smell. I occasionally catch a whiff, and the lost memories that I thought I’d forgotten, reappear. We truly underestimate the power of scent.

Clive Christian resurrects the lost language of floral symbolism, boasting scents whose associations can be used to convey emotions, from love, gratitude, and admiration to sorrow and condolence. In collaboration with the luxury interiors and British perfume brand that is stocked at Net-a-Porter, I’m here to capture your fondest memories by sharing the secrets of those who are always remembered, for having a distinctive scent.

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Favour powerful scents

Clive Christian perfumes are uniquely complex and expertly crafted with the rarest ingredients. Not all scents are created equal. Citrusy fragrances tend to dissipate quickly, whereas spicy and woodsy ones with notes like sandalwood tend to linger for a while. Inspired by the majesty and natural beauty of the Scottish wilderness – the scent for him opens with intense top notes of sensual woody leather, oudh, and amber. With notes of cedarwood representing dark mahogany marquetry, this one for her is housed in a decorative gold bottle that will look so chic on display on your dressing table. I know that these crowned beauties aren’t modest, but if longevity is your top concern, these fragrances are an investment. Nobody wants to be that person who sprays their perfume twelve times to make it stick.

Know where and when to apply

Avoid spraying on jewellery. Go beyond your wrists and consider warmer areas of your body like the chest & stomach, as well as behind the knees. The best time to spritz is after a shower. While your skin is still slightly damp, the extra moisture helps to lock that scent.

Hydrate your skin

Drink lots of water and moisturise your skin. Dry skin tends to absorb and fade the product. Hydrated skin gives the fragrance something to adhere to, so it lasts longer.

And never rub it in

Resist the burning desire of rubbing your wrists together after application. Rubbing breaks down the formula, and this results in less wear.

Layer your fragrances

From oils, scrubs to body lotions; your favourite scents hold different notes. By wearing a few of them together, you build layers of fragrance that form your signature scent which sticks around throughout your day.

Storage?

The worst places to store your perfumes are window sill (sunlight) & bathroom (hot steam) Exposure to heat and humidity breaks down the molecules in your fragrance. Keep them in cool and dry places — like your dresser or vanity storage.

Reapply

For any events that fall outside of your daily routine (like when you’re going on holiday), don’t forget to pack a travel-size set in your bag for a refresh. That way, you’ll always remember your vacation each time you catch a whiff of the scent.

Different notes contained in each of Clive Christian’s distinctive fragrances act as a subtle form of expression. If you’ve never purchased an indulgent, pure perfume before, make this one your first. I would recommend starting off with this for her and this for him.

Which scents remind you of a life-changing chapter in your life? If you could bottle a memory, what would it be?

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Location: Hampstead Heath, London

Photographer: Brendan Donnelly (Insta here)

Nars Foundation in Ceylan | Nars Concealer in Ginger | Urban Decay 3 | Loreal Liquid EyelinerLancome Mascara | Huda Lipstick |

 Shampoo I’m currently using: Leonor Greyl

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Why you shouldn’t compare yourself online: Fields of View

This is a topic that I’ve wanted to talk to you about for while. It’s time to talk about comparing yourself online.

I often get this comment, ‘your life looks perfect on Instagram!’.

Let’s have a chat, shall we?

If you find yourself feeling deflated by seeing a constant flow of perfected, curated images online, then I’ve written this for you. With our world being digitalised; we’re bombarded with how much fun everyone else is having on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat. They say that comparison is the thief of joy, yet we find it so instinctively natural.

This post may seem strange coming from someone who aims to create beautiful, cosmic and dreamy images for a living, but hear me out, it’s important.

When I post an image, some of you will think ‘yassss gurl, get that pay, ‘ and some of you will be like, ‘urgh, she’s such a vain show-off, so annoying, she must be doing this for attention.’

To the latter, I want to be one of the first to tell you that, yes, these images look glamorous. BUT, the majority of my work isn’t as rosy as they appear. When I post on my Instagram, I don’t show you the work that goes behind the scenes, the sleepless nights and when things go wrong. The images you see has made it into the front cover of a fashion magazine (pinch me), yet I put myself down like I’m not doing my best and this worsens when I see an image from another blogger who promotes the collaborations that I want to achieve.

I want to share it with you how I cope with comparison in the hope that if you feel the same, we can relate to each other.

See the BIGGER picture: Fields of View

Your online mates won’t always show you the negative stuff that’s happening in their lives. Social Media only shows a snapshot of someone’s life. You rarely ever find out the whole truth in anyone’s situation.

  • When your Facebook friend has been promoted and is now earning a three-times your salary, they haven’t shown you their late nights, bullying managers/clients, boring meetings, tedious appraisal process, and stress.
  • When you see a #cutecouple picture, you don’t see the arguments that they had the night before, how hard they’ve worked to maintain their relationship or the problems they are experiencing.
  • When you come across a gym selfie with solid abs, you don’t see, or at that moment, have to go through the hard work that goes into staying fit.

Be so busy focusing on your goals that you don’t have time to compare yourself to anyone else

Jealously is essentially wanting what someone else has. Growing up, we’ve all had the case of the green-eyed monster. It’s what makes us human. The first key is awareness. Awareness of what you want and then to grab it yourself. It doesn’t have to be uniquely what another person has; it can be indirect and personalised to yourself. Change up your attitude. Be so busy that you don’t have time to think about anything else because you end up having fun. Focus on you. Focus on yourself.

Take responsibility for yourself

How you feel about what you see online, is not about other people; It’s a reflection of how you think about yourself. If you’re happy for others, you’re content with yourself. If you’re unhappy for others, you’re unhappy with yourself. You might disagree with me, and I might get a lot of stick for saying this, but I encourage you to comment because I’m open to opinions.

While it’s useful to benchmark yourself, don’t let it dishearten you from achieving your goals.

Take a step back and think about everything you’ve achieved. The fact is that while you compare your life to someone else’s, the truth is that if you lived it, you would find that in most cases, the grass is never greener.

Everyone is different. Everyone will carve their pathway in their own time. Don’t let someone else’s life choices make you feel anything but confidence in yourself. You are capable of doing anything that you put your heart into — don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. My Instagram is only a snapshot and so is yours ;).

Location: Lavender Farm

Photographer: Emma-Jane Photography

Make Up Artist: Joyce Connor – using:

FoundationConcealer | Powder | Eyeshadow and Brows in Depth (Black) and Light (White) | EyelinerCheeks and Contour in Sunshine | Freckles | Lips in Barely Nude | OCC Liptar in Hollywood | Highlighter | Lashes

Video: Stefano Perugini

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How I deal with stress

Growing up, I didn’t understand stress. As a result, I battled with trying to suppress it.

Stress = a state of mental, emotional strain or tension, resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances.

I understood the definition and how it made me feel. I was always under the impression that it was the worst thing in the world.

It’s not.

Stress prepares the body to either stay and deal with a threat or to run away to safety (fight or flight response).

When managed correctly, it’s a healthy, normal and natural reaction.

I’m going to share with you what I do I’m stressed. Please note that the below is not what to do if you’re struggling with anxiety. Please, please seek professional help if you’re battling with mental health.

This post is in collaboration with Elizabeth Arden’s White Tea Fragrance. Please note that I only work with brands that I genuinely believe in. I choose this fragrance for this post because I’ve fallen in love with its floral, musky-woody, Zen-like White Tea and Turkish Rose scent which de-stresses me. Exquisitely uncomplicated, the new fragrance invites you to revel in my moment.

Clear your mind

Stress affects our ability to make good decisions and to think clearly. Get moving from where you are. The location where you felt tension doesn’t necessarily have to be a stressful environment, but we underestimate how calmer we’ll be if we remove ourselves from the current atmosphere and situation. Remember to breathe.

Move your body

You need to get your heart racing. Walk, run or stretch. I have a high pressure job; I cannot get through my work week if I don’t exercise. An active work-out session increases your Dopamine and Seratonin levels (feel-good hormones). I always feel my stress disappear after a good HIIT.

Stay hydrated

The Elizabeth Arden White Tea fragrance is inspired by the simple pleasure that accompanies the first sip of tea. I love drinking breakfast tea. It’s a British institution that works a charm. Once I sip of a hot beverage, I instantly feel a lot calmer.

Sleep

As a kid, I used to have trouble with sleeping; I now overcompensate. I sleep lots and lots now. I can’t tell you how much better I feel after a good night’s sleep. Getting there was a journey in itself and perhaps deserves a blog post of its own, but once you realise that many things aren’t worth worrying about, you’ll have the mental space to be able to sleep properly without regrets.

Write it down

When I’m severely stressed, I write down my thoughts in a notebook and then I rip it up so that no one ever sees it. I promise you; it’s not a pointless exercise. It works. Writing ensures that all of the stressful thoughts in your head are released. Your bustling traffic of ideas needs to be cleared and processed.

Don’t underestimate the importance of ‘me time.’

I’m a firm believer in time spent relaxing on one’s own to recover from work. In a world cluttered with noise, I can completely relax and unwind in a spa. But, ‘Me time’ doesn’t necessarily have to mean emptying your wallet. You can apply a luxurious face mask, light a candle & run a bubble bath. Or, put your phone down and read a book. You can give yourself time in the morning to eat breakfast. You can promise yourself that you’ll cook your favourite meal one night and watch your favourite movie. The time is all about you and what makes you feel happy.

Take action

The best way to prevent stress is to organise and plan yourself. Coordinate your wallet/handbag so that you’re not faffing around realising that you forgot your travel card later. Clean your room so that you’re not rushing around trying to find something before you leave the house.

Your well-being is a priority

You may feel like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders, but I promise, you can get through anything that life throws at you. Life will always throw curveballs at us, but it’s always about perspective and how we deal with it.

I’d love to hear from you on how you de-stress. Feel free to share with each other in my comments box. I always reply.

Location: Zen

Photographer: Michal Jeck (Insta here)

Elizabeth Arden’s White Tea Fragrance| Nars Foundation in Ceylan | Nars Concealer in Ginger | Urban Decay 3 | Loreal Liquid EyelinerLancome Mascara |

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Why I quit my job to be a freelancer


I can’t tell you how excited I am to write this post. If you’re dreaming about dropping out of the hamster-cage-daily-grind, I’ve written this article for you.

On a cold, September morning, I slinked into the office. I’d been doing this, at 9 am, every day, for five years. On this day, I looked around at my other peers. I didn’t relate to any of them. I knew I was different. Most worked furiously on their laptops, stimulated. Others were lifeless & dreaming of a different life. Deep down, I realised I was in the wrong place.

There are gazillions of articles out there telling you how to earn money without holding down a so-called “real job”. From an ex-permanent employee, I want to give you an honest guide to freelancing without the bull. I’ll go through the emotional truth including dealing with doubt, lack of motivation and the implications on your social life.

Bare in mind that I wholeheartedly endorse this life decision. It’s been a dream so far, and I would encourage any potential entrepreneur who has the passion, capacity and capability to do it.

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Should you take the leap?

Honest question. Do you love what you do? Do you wake up in the morning, invigorated or do you wake up with fear & terror?

If it’s the latter, then I have a quote for you, “there’s no reason to do sh*t you hate. None.”

Freelancing isn’t for everyone. You need to be smart, have great work ethic & real passion. You need the motivation & emotional drive to push you to achieve your dreams.

Security

Okay, so I would love to tell you to pack up your stuff, tell your boss that you’re off, throw your papers in the air, fist-pump your colleagues and quit today. I highly recommend that you save a significant amount of money before you do. Every business needs capital. You need backup funds to pay for periods of the unknown. Sell everything you have. I’m deadly serious. My friends make fun of me because I eBay everything but excess possessions are counterproductive in a risky  lifestyle. There are a million handbags in the world; life-changing experiences happen once. Make a cuppa, sit down & write down the costs of your outgoings and how much you’ll need to make each month.

One of the major disadvantages of not working for an organisation is not having any company benefits – eek! I miss my discounts so much but let’s talk about the important stuff. As you will no longer have health and life insurance (which we take for granted, but it’s worth a lot), I would suggest setting up your own. Vitality is a good one because it rewards you with discounts for being healthy and you get subsided gym membership with Virgin Active. Otherwise, there’s Aviva which is pricier, but the critical illness cover is comprehensive because it protects you & your family. Otherwise, you’re covered with LV, and it’s a great value.

Tax & Pensions

You’ll need to register as self-employed with HMRC. Once registered, you’ll receive your unique tax payers reference number. HMRC will nudge you to submit your tax return each year. You can file it yourself or hire an accountant. It’s my first one this year, and I’m hoping that I won’t find it too taxing (hehe, get it?). Keep all of your invoices, remittances & receipts as you can offset and expense any payments like travel & website costs from your earnings.

Transfer your company pension into a self-employed pension. Otherwise, if you withdraw it, you will lose the value that the government put in. My pension is currently with NEST, as I am my boss, I top up and pay myself. When I top up my pension, the government tops it up too!

Where to find freelance work?

Depending on the field that you want to enter, the most successful freelancers are represented by an agency. You have dedicated agents finding work for you on a regular basis.

Alternatively, freelance recruitment agencies can find contracts for you. Contractors can earn a minimum of £250 – 1k a day. If you set up a limited company, you can pay less tax (I think it’s 12.5% but do not quote me on this) on earnings.

Otherwise, you’ll need to build up your client base directly. The best sites for freelancers are PeoplePerHour, Upwork & Fiverr. Every highest earner from those sites has a story on Forbes. Read and be inspired by their stories.

Doing all three at the same time is possible.

Doubt, motivation & social life

To be a successful entrepreneur, you need to have the confidence to take risks. The old saying goes, “If you don’t ask, you do not receive”. Your most powerful asset will be fear. It will present you with the commitment that you need to succeed. My post on improving your confidence is here.

You already have the motivation to wake up and go to work every day. With freelancing, there is no safety blanket. If you don’t work, you don’t earn. The harder I work, the more I profit, instantly. That’s the beauty of it.

The disadvantage is working crazy, unsociable hours. Your friends will want to meet up weekday evenings and weekends, lols, that never works on a freelance schedule. Freelancers don’t get paid leave. I can’t plan holidays anymore because a job could come up the day before. This will annoy some of the people in your life. You will become flakey AF.

Closing remarks

I quit my secure, permanent job late last year. I want to reassure you that it’s okay to want change. Initially, I was angry. I desperately wanted to fall head over heels in love with the corporate life. As a kid, all I ever wanted to be was a ‘business lady’ at a big company.

Don’t get me wrong; I’ve loved some of the permanent jobs I’ve had. I’ve learnt so much from each role. Who knows? Maybe I’ll change my mind about freelancing. At this present time, it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

I’ll love to hear your experiences and whether you’re looking to take the plunge. Either option, I’ll be with you all the way.

And if you’re a freelancer, my butterfly, what does it feel like to be free?

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Location: Holland Park, London

Photographer: Brendan Donnelly (Insta here)

Blouse | Top | Skirt | BraShoes | Bracelet | Nars Foundation in Ceylan | Nars Concealer in Ginger | Urban Decay 3 | Loreal Liquid EyelinerLancome Mascara |

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How to grow your confidence

As a teen, I wasn’t confident. Bullied during my school years, I always knew I was different. I was weird (I still am) and I had a drive that no one else had. People would ask me questions, and I would be too shy to answer them. I was an easy target.

Today, I’m confident, the happiest I’ve ever been, and I don’t apologise for it. Why should I? A journey with insecurities and low self-esteem is extremely hard to overcome. I believe that confidence is something we should celebrate.

The other day, a friend asked me how I developed confidence, and as a result, I’m going to share this personal post with you.

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Being who you are inside & out – loving yourself

You need to accept who you are, inside and out. Never try to be someone else or someone you’re not. You will be forever searching for comfort when all along, it’s within (PS I’m fully aware of how cringeworthy I sound, but it’s all true).

Fall in love with the strengths of your personality. Appreciate your: witty, smart, graceful, happy, motivated, assertive, organised and/or caring self. Dance, sing, speak: do the things that make you feel confident. It’s about being aware of makes you feel insecure and what makes you feel confident. I’ve been in situations where I could feel my confidence deteriorate, so I got up and removed myself. Surround yourself with people who ignite your positive attributes.

Fall in love with the flaws of your physical body. Accept it for what it is. If you’re unhappy with your body, do not whinge or compare yourself to someone else. Fall in love with your body. When someone tells you how beautiful you are, believe them.

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Risks

I see so much potential in my some of my friends that they cannot recognise in themselves because they lack the self-esteem to go and get what they want. Hate to break it to you folks; nothing will ever come to you on a white horse. Smart people do things directly or indirectly to get what they want:

Here are some examples:

Friend A wants to land their dream job, but they don’t think they’re good enough to apply. As Richard Branson said: “If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity, but you are not sure if you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later”. I hesitated for a long time not to quit my secure job to go freelance, simply because I didn’t believe that I could do it. Since then, I’ve had incredible opportunities that I wouldn’t have known if I didn’t take the leap. Weigh the risks, and be aware of what your gut is telling you.

Friend B wants to fall in love, have amazing sex and relationship. They lack the confidence to leave the miserable one they’re currently in, or if single, they don’t think they’re good enough to communicate with that potential partner who could turn out to be ‘the one’. You get one shot at this life. As the saying goes, you don’t ask; you don’t get.

Friend C wants to have a fit, athletic body to feel comfortable in, but they’re self-conscious and is scared of people staring at them in the gym. It’s a catch 22. I’ll be honest; no one gives a flying f*ck about what you look like because they’re thinking about themselves. That’s the truth. Do what you want to do without the need to seek approval from others.

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Learning to stop giving a f*ck about other people think

Aslong as it’s not a situation where your friend is trying to get you out of danger with their advice, then do not give a flying what people think. If people don’t like it, they can back off. You’re in your situation, not them. You do what you want because it’s what you wanted to do, at the time.

I’ve elaborated on this in my goals post but here’s a refresher.

  • Those who are confident in business are successful because they’re content with failure
  • Those who are trusting in their social lives are sure because they’re comfortable with rejection
  • Those who are self-sufficient in their relationships are trusting because they’re healthy enough to bear the risk of getting hurt

Be comfortable with the bad, to reap the good.

People who attack your self-esteem and confidence are well aware of your potential, even if you’re not. Once you’ve developed confidence, you will notice that you eat, sleep, and feel better.

I hope this post has inspired you to be more confident. Believe in yourself, believe that you can go for what you want and that you deserve it.

Location: Holland Park, London

Photographer: Brendan Donnelly (Insta here)

Burberry Coat | Black Blouse | Leather ShortsQuay Sunglasses | Nars Foundation in Ceylan | Nars Concealer in Ginger | Urban Decay 3 | Loreal Liquid EyelinerLancome Mascara | Red Lipstick |

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