Creating a Zen Space For Your Home | Guest Post by Anu Jarvinen


Creating a quiet space for yourself in your home can be beneficial to your overall well being. Taking a few moments  to yourself every once in a while and doing something that makes you feel happy is important. Quite often we are running from place to the next and from day to the next without taking a break. Sometimes it’s good to take a pause, connect with yourself and be quiet. Creating a sacred spot in your home helps you to get into that space of calmness easier.  Especially after a long and busy day at work we sometimes struggle to switch off. Here’s some simple ideas on how you can create a Zen space for your home. Zen reflects peace, stillness, meditation, connecting to yourself in silence and enjoying the present moment.

Creating Zen space

Find a corner or other space in your home that is not utilised and decide that this will be your quiet space. Make sure you clean the area properly, especially the corners and any floor trims. Hoover and wipe the floor and make sure there are no spider webs higher up. Set the intention that you are creating a sacred space for yourself. Take your time to do this.

Do a space clearing ceremony. You can do this weekly or however often you feel is right for you. Use sounds like bells or drums to bring a lovely new energy to the space. If you do not have any bells, you can use music or clapping your hands. Try burning an incense or candle or use some essential oils in a burner or diffuser to bring a lovely scent to the space. Great essential oils to use are sage, tree and resin oils like frankincense and myrrh or fir and pine needles, eucalyptus or palo santo. They can be a part of your ritual whenever you enter the space.

Make sure the space is clutter free. Depending on how much space there is, you could add a chair, small table or perhaps cushions for you to sit on. invest into a lovely lamp for reading and place some crystals in the corners and  on the table. Great protective stones are obsidian, onyx, amethyst and clear rock crystal. Place a candle on the table to create a warm atmosphere and if there is space place a plant somewhere near by.  You can also hang wind chimes in the area if you enjoy their sounds and it feels appropriate.

How you can enjoy this space?

There are many ways you can utilise the space. You can also agree with your family that whenever you are in this space you are to be left alone. Having a few moments to yourself will make a huge difference to your mood and general wellbeing. What is that you enjoy doing? Do you like reading, but find that there is never time to do that? Pick up a new book and take a moment to read a chapter or two. Do you enjoy crafting, but feel like you get disturbed and don’t get time to focus? Use this space to do some crafting and get inspired by new ideas. Perhaps you enjoy knitting? Try a new pattern, learn a new design or knit something for yourself.

You can also use the space for meditation, listening to some beautiful music or even enjoying a cup of your favourite tea. If your life is busy, taking just a half an hour break to enjoy a lovely cup of tea can be important. Try to avoid listening to radio or watching tv, use the space for stillness and quietness. Our lives are so stimulated constantly that are brains are often overloaded. Use these moments to quieten the mind.

For creating the space use: Bells or drums, wind chimes, candles, incense, aromatherapy and crystals, plants and light

Use the space for: Reading, writing , meditation, enjoying tea, crafting, knitting or listening to music

About the Writer:
Anu is a Finnish born, London based aroma- beauty- and massage therapist specialising in facial treatments, natural skincare and aromatherapy. She writes about natural skincare, healthy living and lifestyle on her blog.

Find her on:

Get her eBook Small Guide to Aromatherapy HERE.

6 Books I Want To Read This Summer | Seasonal TBR


It's the first day of Summer, yay, we're officially on the road to Christmas! I've never put together a seasonal TBR before as I rarely make TBR's in general, instead I tend to pick up anything I see at the library and inadvertently abandon the many, many, many not-yet-read books on my shelves at home. But we all do that, right? This Summer, as I'm on a roll with my goal of reading 100 books in 2018 (check out my progress on Goodreads HERE and feel free to add me, it's way more fun supporting each other on our reading achievements.), I wanted a semi game plan to "make" myself pick up the books that I've been wanting to read but haven't yet got to. 

As always, if you've read any of these, please let me know your thoughts!

Red Queen (Red Queen Series #1)
by Victoria Aveyard
Mare Barrow's world is divided by blood—those with red and those with silver. Mare and her family are lowly Reds, destined to serve the Silver Elite whose supernatural abilities make them nearly gods. Mare steals what she can to help her family survive, but when her best friend is conscripted into the army, she gambles everything to win his freedom. 

I've heard so many great things about the Red Queen series, and though I've had this on my shelf for ages, the tiny font inside made me reluctant to pick it up. A stupid reason? Maybe, but I have a liking to reading under the glow of fairy-lights and they aren't very...  bright. Alas, whether I'm gonna have to read this via Google Play or, heaven forbid, read in daylight, this is at the top of my TBR list.

The Nightingale 
by Kristin Hannah
In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn’t believe that the Nazis will invade France…but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When a German captain requisitions Vianne’s home, she and her daughter must live with the enemy or lose everything. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates all around them, she is forced to make one impossible choice after another to keep her family alive.
Vianne’s sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets Gäetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can…completely. But when he betrays her, Isabelle joins the Resistance and never looks back, risking her life time and again to save others.

Even if you have no intention of ever picking this one up, you've likely heard the name or recognise the cover. Released in 2016, this war time novel has quickly become what many would argue to be a modern classic. After reading Jojo Moyes's The Girl You Left Behind and really liking it, both The Nightingale and All The Light We Cannot See have been on my radar (and shelf). This one just happens to be at the top. (Plus I saw someone reading it in public so it works for the prompt in the POPSUGAR 2018 Reading Challenge. Speaking of, are you taking part? How's it going for you? Let me know!)

Leah On The Offbeat 
by Becky Albertalli
Leah Burke is a drummer, usually on the beat drumming in the band Emoji. However, Leah has kept something from all of her friends, even from her openly gay best friend, Simon: she is bisexual. The only person to know about her sexuality is her mother, whom Leah is very close to. When her friend group starts to rock, Leah doesn't know what to do, with prom and graduation coming up. In between her friends fighting and graduation, Leah then realizes she might like one of her friends more than she first thought.

Earlier this year I read and thoroughly enjoyed Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda (still a better title than Love, Simon, just FYI. It's not even a sequel to Love, Rosie! Confusing.), and though I haven't watched the movie adaption of it, I've heard nothing but good things. So when word finally got to me that Becky Albertalli was writing a direct sequel from Leah's POV, it excited me. I feel like we rarely get sequels in the YA contemporary world, so it'll undoubtedly be a great time to jump back into the Simon-verse and see where the characters lives lead.

13 Ways Of Looking at a Fat Girl
by Mona Awad
Growing up in the suburban hell of Misery Saga (a.k.a. Mississauga), Lizzie has never liked the way she looks—even though her best friend Mel says she’s the pretty one. She starts dating guys online, but she’s afraid to send pictures, even when her skinny friend China does her makeup: she knows no one would want her if they could really see her. So she starts to lose. With punishing drive, she counts almonds consumed, miles logged, pounds dropped. She fights her way into coveted dresses. She grows up and gets thin, navigating double-edged validation from her mother, her friends, her husband, her reflection in the mirror. But no matter how much she loses, will she ever see herself as anything other than a fat girl? 

Books about ED's have always struck a cord with me. I'd never heard of this novel despite it's *notable achievements in the book publishing world. I find it interesting that in the synopsis it seems like we read about the disease affecting Lizzie both in highschool and as an adult, which is something I haven't really seen in a novel of this sort before. It sounds interesting and just up my street.

Rosemary's Baby
by Ira Levin
Rosemary Woodhouse and her struggling actor husband Guy move into the Bramford, an old New York City apartment building with an ominous reputation and mostly elderly residents. Neighbors Roman and Minnie Castavet soon come nosing around to welcome the Woodhouses to the building, and despite Rosemary's reservations about their eccentricity and the weird noises that she keeps hearing, her husband takes a shine to them.
Shortly after Guy lands a plum Broadway role, Rosemary becomes pregnant—and the Castavets start taking a special interest in her welfare. As the sickened Rosemary becomes increasingly isolated, she begins to suspect that the Castavets' circle is not what it seems...

Who doesn't want a little horror with their Summer vacation? Never having watched the movie, I'm rather enthusiastic to be able to venture into this story for the first time by book. To be entirely honest, despite my horror loving ways with movies, I really haven't picked up any horror books. Psycho is the closest I've come to reading a horror classic, but I mean, does that even count? I found the book more sad than scary, as we got a glimpse into the devastating mind of Norman Bates, something that is impossible to portray through the movies. Either way, I'm looking forward to this read.

A Little Life
by Hanya Yanagihara 
When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they're broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity. 
Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome—but that will define his life forever.

I'm a quick reader but when a book has over 800 pages, even I squirm with fear and hide behind my standard 400 page books. It's illogical, isn't it? That I will willingly read two meh 'regular' sized books instead of a 800 page one that I've been looking forward to for a long while.  Brain meet logic. From what I've heard A Little Life is a brutally honest story that involves drug use, abuse, love, art, and so many other topics that others have mentioned in the many ravings reviews I've read. This is one I imagine diving head first into you and only coming back to my own reality a week or so later. I can't wait.

What's on the top of your TBR for the Summer? Do let me know below!

*13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl, won the First Novel Award and was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. It was named one of the most anticipated books of 2016 by Elle, Bustle, and The Globe and Mail, and it was named one of the best books of the month by the Huffington Post, Bustle, and Book Riot. The National Post chose it as one of their best books of 2016, and it was longlisted for the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour.

What I Eat In A Day #1


I think we've all fallen down a "What I Eat In A Day" Youtube rabbit hole at least once within the last year, and as a personal huge fan of seeing what other people choose to put into their bodies, I was all "Hey! Maybe I should do one of those." so skip ahead a few months and here I am, bringing you a somewhat realistic What I Eat In A Day post. Whoop. Before we get started I want to add a quick note to mention that I apologise in advance for the photos that are lacking (see: dinner), I still rely heavily on my phone's camera and that doesn't mesh well with low lightening, so.. yeah. Sorry! Also all the ingredients mentioned are portioned to one serving, so you may want to double, triple or quadruple the written amount if you're feeding more than yourself. Enjoy!

Breakfast: Instagram

Okay, I'm not literally eating Instagram but I think egg and avocado bagels are now an Instagram staple. I think every blogger has uploaded a variation of this meal. I'm usually not a lover of eggs, but alas, some days you just have a craving and this was one of those days. To go alongside breakfast me and my husband shared some premixed protein iced coffee that we got on offer. I can't remember the exact brand, but it was surprisingly good.

What you need: Everything Bagels
1 Egg
1/2 Avocado
Salt + Pepper
Optional:  Dried Chopped Onions

How to: Start cooking your scrambled eggs as your bagel toasts. 
(Many people I know cook their eggs in the microwave but I much prefer scrambling them in a pan with a bit of oil or butter to get a little crispyness going. But if you aren't bothered and appreciate the fluffiness that the microwave method gives, scramble your egg with a little bit of milk in a bowl and cook in the microwave for roughly 4 minutes, stirring along the way.)
Mash up your avocado in the skin and then plonk (yes, that is a scientific term) it on one side of your now golden bagel, proceed to do the same with your eggs on the other half. 
Top the green side with pepper, salt, and dried onion. Trust me, it makes a huge difference. If you're feeling crazy, put some Tabasco on your eggs and get ready for a flavor explosion.

Lunch: Hummus Pasta

This is one of my go-to speedy lunches if I'm busy but wanting something fulfilling. Though you can use your standard pasta, I favour using tri-color rotini or lentil pasta, there's no particular reason behind this other than my personal preference. The thing I love about this is how versatile it is. You can easily switch things up by changing the veggies, or hummus flavour. If you aren't  veggie, you could mix in some chicken or whatnot.  If you want a heartier variation, you could add mushrooms and broccoli. 

What you need: Pasta (Barilla Tri-Color Rotini was my choice today)
Plum Tomatoes

How To: Cook up your pasta to your own liking. Drain. Transfer to bowl and mix in a hearty scoop of hummus, cut your tomatoes in half, add them and a good handful of spinach to your bowl. Enjoy!

Dinner: Courgette, Mushroom and Caramelised Onion on Ciabatta with Marinara Sauce

And this humans, may be the most unattractive photo of food I have ever taken or seen, those nighttime lights just don't work well with my camera. At all. (Oh and I apologise for that Wish-like title. So many words.) But I promise you, this sandwich is as delicious as it is indulgent! I believe it's a variation of a recipe I stole from Lea Michele, but don't hold me to that. As with all of these meal ideas, you can make this as simple or as fancy as you want. This is just my chosen method. Also this is one that can be a little tricky to time correctly, but I usually do the recipe in the exact order I'm writing it down and it takes no longer than 20-25 minutes.

You'll need: Any kind of mushrooms you want, chopped
1/4 courgette, chopped
Cream Cheese
Marinara Sauce (however much you want)
Optional: 1/3 Onion
1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar

How to: For the onions: Heat up a little oil in a frying pan, add your onions and 1 teaspoon of brown sugar. Mix together and let it cook on a low heat until your onions became translucent and  have an almost sticky appearance.

Put your pan on a low heat. Mix your mushroom and courgette with any herbs that strike your fancy, I personally use a mix of Italian herbs, red pepper flakes, and steak seasoning (odd but works). Spray your now heated pan with some oil spray before adding in your  veggies, let them cook through to your own satisfaction. (usually 10-15 minutes)

In a pan or the microwave, heat up your marinara sauce and slather your bread in a decent amount of cream cheese, though optional, I highly recommend the spread as it gives the entire sandwich a creamy element.

And now it's time to pile your bread with all three elements and enjoy.

And there we have it, my first What I Eat In A Day. It may not be the most fancy or adventurous but these are some of my trusty fallback meals that never steer me wrong. Would you try any of these, or do you make something similar? Let me know!

Latest Instagrams

© Rooting Branches. Design by FCD.