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    The Wong Shop

    Conquering your fears

    Autumn is wonderful at the moment. Crisp, delicate and golden, this post is decorated with bursts of yellow, orange, brown & pink. In collaboration with the festive TP team, I’m wearing my Tresor Paris Crystal Bangle. Crafted in sterling silver and pave-set with white crystals (I’m allergic to cosmetic metal, I love this brand because they have allergy-free titanium), screw-fix bar bracelets are great because you can express yourself with personalised charms. If you’re based in London, visit them in Farringdon or you can shop online here.

    Snuggle up in your thickest blanket, sit by the fire (or a candle), with a mug of something steamy; we’re about to walk through fear.

    Fears. I have them; you have them. At any point in our life, we’ll experience debilitating fears. Big & small.

    Fear isn’t necessarily a bad thing. They alert us, prime us to run away and help us avoid getting hurt. But how do we stop them from holding us back from doing the things that we unquestionably want to do?

    Sustainability

    I’ve heard the all of the advice to dive in, head first. While that’s commendable, it isn’t sustainable long-term. Break down your fear into manageable pieces.

    Do what you feel you are capable of doing right now if you had to and work your way up from there.

    Awareness

    People struggle to overcome their fears because they believe they are not good enough. As a result, they will give themselves avoidance techniques to avoid the task at hand. But, don’t worry, you are not a lost cause. Being aware of your own methods of procrastination is very powerful.

    Think of all of the explanations you give yourself for not doing what you’re anxious about. What can you do to overcome them? Write it down.

    Perception

    Everything is about perspective. If you have a fear of what people think about you, chances are, people don’t think about you to the extent that you’re feeling.

    The key to is to change our perception of our ability to perform the task. The difference between someone who is a great public speaker and someone who is awful is that the good one believes that they will succeed whereas the person who gets nervous and stifles feels they are not. Believe that you can conquer your fear. Have faith in yourself.

    Everyone is different but think of ways on how you can rewire your brain to adopt a different perspective. E.g., for a public speaking fear, instead of thinking ‘everyone will think I’m an idiot in this speech,’ think about how you’re just having a conversation with everyone in the room.

    I’ve had two serious, big fears, which are why I used them as examples in this post. The first was during my teenage years which was a fear of people not liking me. After school, I would go home and ruminate about it, over & over. Then growing up, public speaking became my enemy. Both fears were detrimental to my studies & career. At present, I don’t give a sh*t if people like me, and I no longer suffer from attacks before presentations. (I still get nervous, but I can do them without wanting the ground to swallow me up).

    2018 should be the year of conquering fears. They are incredibly difficult but overcoming them will make you stronger than ever. You deserve success, to go and get what you want and not let anything stop you.

    Location: Hampstead Heath, London

    Photographer: Holly Baxter

    Tresor Paris Crystal Bangle |Reiss Skirt | Reiss Top | Dune Ballet Pump Shoes |

    Nars Foundation in Ceylan | Nars Concealer in Ginger | Urban Decay 3 | Loreal Liquid EyelinerLancome Mascara | Shampoo I’m currently using: Leonor Greyl

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    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.

    british perfumebritish perfume

    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?

    british perfume

    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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    London’s Most Instagrammable Brunch Guide

    You can never have too many brunch spots.

    Luckily, London has platefuls of EGGcellent brunch. The weekend sees our streets JAMmed packed with hungry brunchers. Sundays are for satisfying our cravings for fresh juice, avocado-on-something and my awful runny egg yolks (jokes).

    A few people have asked for recommendations because it looks as if I live in brunch venues on my Instagram.

    BTW, I’m splitting my London brunch guide into two sections. This guide is ‘London’s Most Instagrammable Brunch’. My next guide will be ‘the best Brunch spots in London’, dedicated to foodies (which will also have a vegan section). Stay tuned for that one if you favour quality of food above interiors.

    Let’s start with the places where you won’t be able to resist being snap happy.

    Most-Instagrammble-Brunch-London-The-Wong-Blog

    Bronte

    Welcome to a Tom Dixon–designed, and subsequently Instagram-hungry, restaurant. Dixon is one of my favourite designers, everything he touches turns into shades of rose gold, copper-brass and candyfloss. Under double-height ceilings and large palms; I couldn’t resist nestling at the polished pink breakfast bar for the gram’. And the food? Sorry, almost forgot. I ordered ‘The Full Bronte’. I’m weak for the full English; It’s a British institution. I have to admit; I kept staring at my mates ‘The Vegetarian’ breakfast which consisted of bulgur wheat kibbeh, spinach, balsamic plum tomatoes, Portobello mushrooms, smoked baked beans, eggs and extra avocado. Mmm. I stared at breakfast almost as much as the decor.

    Berners Tavern

    You know the food is going to be good when it’s a Jason Atherton (Michelin star celeb chef) restaurant, so foodwise, don’t worry my friend, we’ve covered. I pinky promise you that I’m not paid to say this, but please order the ‘Moroccan fried eggs’. The textures of tomato fondue, yoghurt and toasted sourdough confirmed that my plate was returned clean. The surroundings are astounding, with the balls-out stately Edwardian-style opulent decor, in the open: people-watching, decadent dining room. The Instagrammable factor relies on the triple-height ceiling, dangling chandeliers and walls arrayed with hundreds of paintings. Oh boy, it’s dreamy, and I didn’t want to leave, to be thrown out into the concrete jungle that is Oxford Circus.

    Clerkenwell Grind

    The Grind gang are killing it ATM. Clerkenwell Grind has opened its doors as the seventh branch as an all-day restaurant and club-bar with a dulcet atmosphere. This dreamboat entertains plush blue sofas, marble tables and sleepy lighting; it’s easily the most snappable of the Grind bunch. Juices are a favourite here. Set the day with the classic Fresh Orange or their signature – Amber Juice (orange, carrot, lemon and ginger). I’m a massive (fat) fan of the cliche Smashed Avocado (served with a poached egg and sprinkled chilli flakes), or if you’re feeling something sweet: the French banana toast with coconut frozen yoghurt is a winner. If you want to set your Instagram on fire, they have acai bowls.

     

    And this is why. Moroccan eggs though 👌🏼🍳

    A post shared by Monica Wong (@thewongblog) on

    I wish @Instagram had the capability to move images around in your feed. I've got a nice blue theme going on here!

    A post shared by Monica Wong (@thewongblog) on

    Aubaine

    Distinctly and deliciously French, Aubaine has grown from its West London home, currently flourishing with nine restaurants. The recently opened Selfridges branch is the most Instagrammble of the bunch. Spring 2017 saw Instagrammers go wild for London’s wisteria; if you have a case of FOMO, you can get your #hysteriawistera fix at Aubaine. Who can resist brunch with Parisian style lighting, cosy cream booths and a draping smell of lavender? You can’t have a French Restaurant without freshly baked bread and patisserie. Foodwise, there are the classics: eggs benedict, granola with yoghurt, freshly squeezed juices. There’s a twist on the full French – with Toulouse sausage, Alsace bacon, duck egg and mushrooms.

    Palm Vaults

    Slap bang in the middle of Hackney, Palm Vaults is the goddess of the pastel-coloured lattes. It’s a Bloggers paradise. The cute little café is home to pink hanging baskets overflowing with greenery, velvet sofas, terrarium walls, pastel interiors and mini succulents. Palm Valuts deserves this spot in the Instagram category because customers even take pictures in the toilets! The menu boasts Acai bowls, chia puddings, salads with edible flowers and the classic avocado toast is glorious. There’s also a range of vegan cakes including avocado fudge cake — a weird combination that works a treat.

    Goodnes 💞🌴💞 pretty pic from @theldnbrunchcollective taken by @winsomelaiws

    A post shared by Palmvaults.com (@palmvaults) on

    Chiswick Fire Station

    I could be biased because Chiswick is one of my favourite places in London. In fact, I’m sat in Chiswick right now as I write this post for you. If you’re willing to venture into the wild-wild West, Chiswick Fire Station is an interior goldmine. If there was a Pinterest lottery, then this place has hit the #interiorgoals jackpot. A deep-set bar and restaurant filled with irresistible strawberry milkshake sofas, copper tables and cacti. The light, airy and homey space creates an interior feast over brunch. It’s so cosy that I sometimes snuggle in with my laptop. I usually go for my regular, Eggs Royal Smoked salmon, avocado and spinach on sourdough with housemade hollandaise. The concoction of attractive interior and food is without a doubt the Instagrammers delight.

    Farm Girl

    Tucked in an alleyway at the southern end of Portobello Road, Farm Girl is a smaller cafe for the health-conscious-superfood eaters. If you’re not into the whole ‘raw’ food trend, then skip this one and continue your quest with my next recommendation. If Farm Girl were a clothing store, it would be Hollister; It has a bright, breezy and beach-bod ready vibe. Your Instagram story will relish in a realm of colour: turquoise tiled walls, lush flowers on the tabletop, and hanging fruit display. The most popular item is the salads. Otherwise, there’s buckwheat berry pancakes, three-egg omelettes cooked in coconut oil, vegetable patties and cake. I love the cacao smoothie of banana, almond milk and cinnamon.

    Flat lay goals!!! Have a lovely weekend 📸 @fashionzauber_com

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    Ultimate #botanicalpickmeup – last summer inside the Greenhouse.

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    We're ready for Chelsea Flower Show 🌺#cfs #kingsroad #chelseaflowershow #floralinstallation

    A post shared by The Ivy Chelsea Garden (@ivychelsgarden) on

    Bourne & Hollingsworth

    Farringdon’s finest brunch spot. The Instagram magic happens in the frond-filled conservatory filled with textured upholstery. The decor is faded but bright, overflowing with greenery and is the best spot for sun-worshipping. I already know that you’ll fall in love with me after I tell you that the cocktail menu features bottomless Bloody Mary’s and seasonal Bellinis. Breakfast wise, you can build your very own Full English. Amused by the smaller pleasures of life; I like teeny tiny jars of sauce that came alongside breakfast. I kept staring at another customer’s Huevos Benedictos which is runny poached egg served with crisp chorizo and avocado. If you’re craving sugar that day, there’s French toast with banana and chocolate. Utterly delicious.

    The Ivy Chelsea Garden

    To be honest, you don’t even need to have brunch here as you can take a picture of the beautiful floral backdrop situated at the entrance. Be wary of the Chinese tourists (*cough* me) who hover around to pap the spot. The Ivy Chelsea Garden combines Ivy splendour with a spacious garden terrace. Opt for the delicious Garden Breakfast, with halloumi, avocado and kale hash brown, in its grand dining room. Ivy Chelsea is a summer oasis.

    If I’ve missed any places and you just screamed at this screen by shouting the name of the venue, please do let me know and I’ll add to this list.

    If you’re planning to go or have been to any of my recommendations, I would love to see your Instasnaps.

    Eat loads and be merry, fellow Brunchers.

    Location: London

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