Mindful colouring + face packs = the ultimate day of relaxation

It's been a pretty full speed couple of months folks. I've been the busiest I've ever been at work, I've had our bedroom redecoration to organise, I painted my nan's bathroom and my mom's kitchen, and I've started to map out plans for our garden makeover (happening in Summer 2016) - all fun stuff, but when Ocean loans got in touch with me to be a part of their "Relax with Ocean" series, I jumped at the chance to be involved and take my mind off everything for a day. 

The premise was simple. Ocean loans' ethos is all about making people's lives easier and to reflect this they gave a handful of bloggers £50 to spend on a day of relaxation for themselves. Nice idea, right?

It got me really thinking about what it is that makes me unwind, which led me to consider what it was I've been wanting to do for ages, but simply couldn't find the time. 

Since secondary school I was always pretty good at drawing and painting. I took Art in A-levels and wanted to do an Art foundation until I decided English Language was a better route for me (writing + painting were my passions when I left college, so I had to choose one or the other). But since I started uni, I never had much of a reason to draw or be creative on canvas/paper - my creativity was only ever a digital thing. I've since lost a lot of the drawing talents I used to have and I've always hoped that one day I'll pick it all back up again where we left off. 

I remember really loving the feeling of producing something tangible and creative on something that was once a blank piece of paper. Drawing and painting was always really therapeutic for me so I knew that whatever way I chose to spend this day of relaxation, it had to involve something creative. 

There's a sorta movement running through bookshops - you've probably noticed. Now that mindfulness is a legit thing everyone is practicing, there are a few incredible illustrators on the block that have started publishing adult colouring books to help people connect with their inner selves. It's a really mindful and creative practice, so I thought why not use the £50 to invest in some top notch colouring books and tools that I can dip into whenever I want to relax. 

A few you should check out if interested:

Millie Marotta's Animal Kingdom (as photographed) - a really lovely display of animals, insects and habitats to colour. 

Anastasia Catris' Colour me Mindful - she has a very similar style to Millie's, with displays of underwater scenes, birds and tropics.

I used a pack of WHSmith's Watercolour pencil crayons, that have good pigment without leaking through to the next page. 

So I spent the morning chilling back, just me, my colouring pencils and some Orange Lindor Milk Chocolates, feeling like I was 5 again. 

As if by pure coincidence, the very same day I did this relaxation thing with Ocean Loans, I received a really special package in the post. Cue the squeals as I closed the door on the postman. He must have thought I was a 5 year old left in the house all alone.

My very first Birchbox had arrived. What I thought was going to be a creative sesh, turned into a mash up of creative / pampering / face mask sessions to the extreme. 

Selfridges recently teamed up with Birchbox to launch a "Build your own Birchbox" in their Beauty Workshop part of the store in London to celebrate their 5th birthday. The idea is, you rock up to the Beauty Workshop counter in their London store, choose 5 to 6 products you want to try and take it home for about £15. 

Of course being Brighton based and rarely in London, I wanted in on this action minus the trek, so Selfridges offer a similar limited edition Birchbox box you can purchase directly from their website, pre-filled with lots of fab goodies (including a lippy in shade Fiona - jesus christ it had to be).

So I spent the majority of the day pampering myself silly whilst being mindfulness to the absolute extreme stuffing my face with chocolate. As you can imagine, all the cares of the world slipped to the sidelines, and I felt pumped with ideas on my walk to work the next day. Sometimes detaching yourself from everything you're doing is the simplest way to get your mojo back. 

Big thanks to Ocean Loans for collaborating with me on this piece. How would you spend £50 on relaxation? and hey, who needs a £50 budget to relax, what things can you make more time for in the next few weeks?

F x