TEAM ZOELLA MARCH 31, 2020

13 Questions With Simone Powderly

Simone is a self-described model with purpose and passion and we couldn't agree more! Find out why she's one of our favourites to follow right now.

First of all, how are you and how are you coping in lockdown?

It was a little bit of struggle at first and I needed some time to process and adapt! So I spent most of my days having a cry, snacking and watching Netflix! Now, I have got myself a routine and I have reduced amount of news and social media I take in because that was really causing a lot of anxiety for me, 

Describe your channel in 3 words!

Empowering, Fun & Inspiring! 

What does wellness mean to you?

It means to be kind of myself especially on those hard days and exploring ways I can take care of myself. I have my own little selfcare kit that I always retrieve to when in need! I suggest everyone to create one especially right now! 

Tell us about The Teen Experience.

The teen experience is essentially a safe space for teen girls and we offer personal development workshops that explore relationships, beauty, mental health, finance, business, health and more! 

The teen experience was co-founded with my friend Jamelia Donaldson who is about creating experiences in the community and we joint together with my passion for mental health and working with young people we been running for 3 years! It’s so beautiful to see the journey of the girls over the years who have attended. 

What are some of the best things to come from The Teen Experience?

The best things are the friendships and bonds that form! You see a teen girl who attends by herself then following months she has a whole girl gang it’s beautiful to see.  The open and honest conversations we have and the trust and feedback we get from the parents and carers. 

How can our readers get involved?

You can get involved by following @theteenexperience due to the Corona our events are on hold but there is lots to see there of what we get up to! 

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

The highlight of my career  right now would be that Instagram and Cosmopolitan has named me as a  positive game-changer for 2020! That truly feels like a testimony to the work that I have done I feel seen and most importantly heard. 

What are you currently working on?

Always working on something, so I am working on a project that I will be sharing about how I took the journey of healing from my sexual trauma and a podcast! Yes I’m one of those who in isolation has decided to kick start a solo podcast so that’s what I’ll be busy working on!  

Who are your current favourite follows on the gram?

I am all about the BALANCE! So you’ve got to follow various people, someone who can educate you, make you laugh and inspire! So my favourites right now are:

@ciaralondon she is keeping me on my fitness and working out! She’s doing some insane workouts on IG she plays great music!

@willsmith he educates me and makes me laugh at the same time! 

@upworthy they post some positive news and I love it! It’s really uplifting 

What do you always carry with you?

My mood fix spray! Just refreshes me throughout the day smells so good! 

What does your perfect weekend look like?

Skincare, hair mask and watching Disney films! I have a very overactive brain and need to switch off so comforting my inner child is always the best! 

If you could only eat one meal again what would it be? 

Home-cooked meal from my mama! 

If you could give one positive message to our followers what would it be? 

In this current climate don’t forget to breathe, don’t forget your power and we all have a purpose to discover!

TEAM ZOELLA MARCH 30, 2020

The Happiest Things We Saw Last Week

Our brand-new weekly edit of happy news delivered straight to you every Monday morning!

Proud of our NHS

Last week the UK came together to clap for our carers at 8pm on Thursday night. Here in Brighton, we gave it our all and cheers could be heard all over the city as well as fireworks getting in on the action too. We loved this video of George, Charlotte and Louis clapping away that Kensington Royal posted on Instagram. The night itself was definitely emotional and reminded us that even though we’re all feeling lonely we are not alone. An unprecedented amount of people have signed up to become volunteers for the NHS, helping vulnerable people stay safe at home by picking up prescriptions, driving patients to appointments or the hospital and even making phone calls to check on people isolating at home.

Celebrity School

Parents across the country are turning into teachers as schools shut their doors but it seems they’re getting by with a little help from celebrities! Jolly Joe Wicks kicked things off with morning P.E lessons (adults can get a workout too) spurring on some experts to follow suit. Now you can have music lessons from Myleene Klass, and food tech from the one and only Jamie Oliver. If school was this exciting, we’d be heading in a heartbeat! We’re giving a gold star to everyone on social media lending talents for the greater good during the lockdown. Find the full article on Kidadl.

News we need

Despite this being a very odd time life goes on, we can’t get enough of lovely life announcements that bring a little bit of business as usual back into our lives! A huge congratulations to Em Clarkson on her latest engagement and Melanie Murphy on her pregnancy! We also loved this tweet from Iceland congratulating a man for proposing in their store as he couldn’t do it in Iceland (the country) as planned, round of applause for the creativity. Even though we can’t be there in person to congratulate our friends and family in their happiest moments we’re gearing up for all the celebrations to come when we’re out of self-isolation.

Castaway faves

We can’t get enough of this Meet My Wilson account set up for people to send in pictures of their “Wilson”. Referencing Tom Hanks and his beloved volleyball in the movie Castaway, people are dressing up their own little friend to keep them company. If you fancy creating your own Wilson give them a follow for the best inspiration, even if you’re just looking for a distraction for an hour!

Virtual Birthdays

Being an Aries baby has never looked so lonely but birthdays in isolation aren’t so bad! Our favourite new trend on Twitter is people sending well wishes to people who are a bit lonely on their big day and kids going to see their grandparents, waving from their cars through the windows. Of course, it was Zoe’s birthday this weekend and all though she wasn’t sunning herself in the Maldives as planned she was still able to hang out with her loved ones thanks to the power of technology!

What’s the best piece of news you saw last week?

TEAM ZOELLA MARCH 29, 2020

Weekly Wants: Things To Keep You Busy During Lockdown

The thought of being cooped up at home for long periods of time is stressful for most of us but in light of finding the silver lining in this difficult situation, we're determined to keep busy and make the most of the slower pace.

The thought of being cooped up at home for long periods of time is stressful for most of us but in light of finding the silver lining in this difficult situation, we’re determined to keep busy and make the most of the slower pace.

If ever there was a good excuse to catch up on Netflix, clear out your wardrobe and perfect your yoga poses, it’s now. Here’s how we’re making the most of our time at home!

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TEAM ZOELLA MARCH 28, 2020

Spring Cleaning Series: Things We’ve Learned From Mrs Hinch

When it comes to cleaning hacks, Mrs Hinch, AKA Sophie Hinchliffe, trumps the lot. What she doesn't know about housework, isn't worth knowing.

Her passion for cleaning has garnered her an army of fans and when you see many uses she has for a squeegee, you’ll understand why.

Want to know how to clean your house like a hardcore Hincher? Here’s everything we’ve learned from the cleanfluencer herself *grabs Minkeh*

Colour code your cloths

We never thought we’d be creating a colour key for each room in the house, and yet here we are. So simple, so effective. *Purchase some here.

White vinegar is essential

Tastes great on chips, makes light work of your cleaning. There are no losers here.

Zoflora is a way of life

Not all disinfectants are created equal. Pour a capful in your washing machine drum and another cap in your drawer to wash your cloths the Hinch way. You can also dilute it in water in a spray bottle for a quick and easy way to rid all your surfaces of bacteria and germs. *Choose your favourite scent here.

Squeegees aren’t just for showers

You haven’t lived until you’ve squeegeed your hob and your rug. Weekend made! *Grab one here.

Never underestimate washing up liquid

Use washing up liquid (just the suds) and warm water to gently clean the dust off your artificial flowers.

How to tackle a grubby shower screen

Those hard water marks are a stubborn bunch but where’s there’s a Hinch, there’s a way. Spray Viakal on and leave to work for a few minutes. Rinse off and dry with a squeegee or your bathroom cloth. Voila! Buy Viakal here.

Name your cloths

Say hello Freda the flash mop, Buddy, Kermit, ‘Minkeh’ – the gang’s all here.

Your cleaning cupboard is now called your Narnia

Because that’s the kind of respect it deserves.

Your bin doesn’t have to smell like… bin

Bin waft, be gone. Three words: Dustbin Odour Destroyer. Buy yours here.

For silver jewellery that’s lost its sparkle

If your pure silver rings and bracelets are looking a bit dull and grubby, let them soak in half a cup of white vinegar and 2 tbs of baking soda for 2-3 hours. They’ll come up like a new penny.

Get rid of a stinky microwave

Leave a cup of bicarb in a small bowl in your microwave to absorb all the foodie odours. Take it out whenever you’re using it of course and replace when you’re done.

Tumble dryer sheets = life

Soak the sheets in a cap of Zoflora overnight (any scent of your choice will do), wring them out and leave them to dry in the morning then put them inside your cushion covers and pillow slips to keep them smelling fresh. You can also store them with bedding in your airing cupboard to keep them fresh. *Buy yours here.

Lift mattress stains

Using a sieve, sprinkle a liberal dusting of bi-carb over your mattress to draw out dirt, moisture and odours, spot treating any stubborn stains. Leave to work its magic for one hour before hoovering away. Boudoir bliss!

Line your oven

Cleaning the oven is the absolute worst, there’s no getting away from it, but if you put one of these bad boys in the base, you’ll catch any drips and splashes and reduce your cleaning time. They’re dishwasher safe too so you can take it out and give it a clean when you’re doing the rest of the oven. Buy liners here.

Get rid of scuff marks

Window frames and doors accumulate so many black marks and scuffs but this stuff makes light work of cleaning them. Formulated to remove grease, it’s ideal for cleaning oily surfaces. You’re about to have the time of your life with those grotty windy panes!

Revive your carpets

To keep your carpets, rugs and upholstery smelling fresh, spray them with 1001 Carpet Fresh. It banishes every day smells, dries in minutes and there’s no need to hoover. We approve. *Grab the good stuff here.

Look after your pipes

Put a cup of bicarbonate of soda and one cup of white vinegar in the kitchen sink, leave for 10 minutes and flush through with hot water to shift and loosen the build-up of grease and debris.

Make your vases look good as new

Fill your vase with one scoop of baking soda and a splash of white vinegar, swirl the mixture around and leave to work for a few minutes before rinsing. If you’ve got gloves on, get your hands in there and mix up the foam to make sure it reaches the sides.

Scrub Daddy is everything!

Who knew we could have so much fun with just a sponge and an oven. Stick your fingers in his eyes for the ultimate deep clean, treat yourself to a multipack here.

The Pink Stuff

Tea and coffee stains, pots and pans, ovens – you name it. There’s no scuff mark too stubborn for this pot of pink putty.

Here’s how to deep clean your washing machine

Remove the drawer from your washing machine and leave to soak in the sink. Fill your Dishmatic sponge brush with cleaning liquid – the Flash Bathroom Cleaner Liquid Mrs Hinch’s holy grail – and begin scrubbing the area where your drawer sits.

Use a sonic scrubber or old toothbrush to get into the harder to reach places. Then use a tablespoon of bicarb, spray it with white vinegar until it foams and passes through the washing machine pipes. Leave to flush through and then dry any excess with a cloth.

For the rim, pour your cleaning liquid of choice along the rubber edge and wipe with a damp cloth to remove damp and grime build-up. Pop the drawer back in.

Put your cleaning cloths into your machine, pour half a cup of white vinegar straight into the drum, add two tbs of bicarb into the drawer compartment and set on a 90 degree wash.

Clean the front of the washing machine down with your diluted Zoflora spray and a cloth and you’re done. Good as new.

Follow Mrs Hinch on Instagram here!

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What’s the best cleaning hack you’ve learned from the one and only Mrs Hinch?

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TEAM ZOELLA MARCH 27, 2020

Pimp Your Pasta: Pesto Three Ways

Grab your apron, wash those hands to the tune of Happy Birthday and roll up your sleeves - your pasta spoon is about to have the busiest month of its life dear friends.

Grab your apron, wash those hands to the tune of Happy Birthday and roll up your sleeves – your pasta spoon is about to have the busiest month of its life dear friends.

If you’ve got some form of pasta kicking about in your pantry, we’ve got three ways to pimp it up pesto style. Who said lockdown lunches had to be dull?

Easy to make and full of flavour, these al dente dishes will serve you well when you want to rustle up a speedy midweek meal. Batch cook a load to enjoy throughout the week and hey pesto!

Dairy-free pesto pasta

SERVES 4
PREP: 15 MINS COOK: 15 MINS
EASY

For Pesto:

In a blender or food processor, combine the ingredients until smooth.

For rest of pasta:

Cook the pasta according to packet instructions and drain well.

Lightly toast the pine nuts in a frying pan until slightly brown.

Boil the asparagus, drain and chop once cooled.

Lightly fry up the onions to stir into the pasta, leaving some extra aside for garnish.

Serve with a few stems of asparagus on top and toss with a healthy serving of fresh lemon juice.

Creamy pesto pasta bake

SERVES 4
PREP: 15 MINS COOK: 30 MINS
EASY

Fore Pesto:

In a blender or food processor, combine the ingredients until smooth.

For rest of pasta:

Boil the pasta as per packet instructions until al dente and drain.

Toss the cooked pasta and pesto sauce together.

Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top and extra grated Parmesan.

Bake at 180c for 10 mins until golden brown or grill if you like it nice and crispy.

Drizzle a generous glug of olive oil on top once served and enjoy!

Sun-dried tomato pesto with olives and feta

SERVES 4
PREP: 15 MINS COOK: 15 MINS
EASY

For pesto:

Blend all ingredients until smooth, leaving the tomatoes out for now. Once the pesto sauce is combined, give the toms a quick blend so they are still a bit chunky.

Rest of pasta:

Boil the pasta as per packet instructions until al dente and drain well. Combine the pesto together with pasta and crumble feta on top to serve.

What pasta dishes will you be rustling up in the kitchen while we’re on lockdown?

TEAM ZOELLA MARCH 26, 2020

How To Keep Kids Entertained During Lockdown

For all the parents turned teachers out there, we salute you. Keeping your kids entertained while confined indoors and working from home is no mean feat.

You’ve probably got play dough in places you never thought physically possible, seen Frozen 117 times and exhausted your best singing voice. Not all heroes wear capes.

There’s no denying that the Corona Virus outbreak has forced us all to adapt in ways we never expected nor were prepared for, and the pressure that comes with taking up the role of teacher, as well as mum or dad, is huge but in all of this, remember you are a teacher of MANY important lessons, not just maths and literacy. If you’re doing your best and reassuring your children at a time when the whole world as we know it is unravelling and changing, you’re already teacher of the decade!

Rather than getting caught up in ticking off certain topics, take your child’s lead, what are they naturally inquisitive about, what do they enjoy? Above all, this is an opportunity to connect with your child and be present and active in their learning, and to cash in on those extra cuddles while they’re still little tiny people.

If you’re stuck for some inspiration for things to do, we’ve trawled the internet and our parent WhatsApp groups for some of the best activities. Mums, dads – you’ve GOT this.

Chalk drawing

If you have some outside patio space, dig out the chalk and get creative. They can draw the whole family, their teacher and class members, the planets, flowers or whatever else they fancy.

Grow your own cress

Are you even a kid unless you’re growing cress from a window sill? Get the step-by-step here.

Build a fort

Make a den indoors from quilt covers and cushions for a cosy movie night.

Check out the animals doing their thing in the wild

Here you can find the world’s largest live nature cam. From eagles to sharks and puppies, think of it like a virtual zoo without the bars. Unbelievable scenes to enrich your little one’s learning about the natural world, habitats and wildlife.

Have a virtual playdate

Organise a daily Zoom, Skype or WhatsApp call with your children’s friends. Most children don’t like to chat on demand so perhaps arrange a fun activity they can all do together on the hang-out.

Get the kids involved with yoga

Who said mindfulness and tree poses were just for grown-ups? This Cosmic Yoga designed especially for kids is great fun for the whole family, find it on YouTube here. 

Make the most of your devices

Now is probably not the time to impose rigid screen time bans, instead why not explore your smartphones, apps and tablets and exploit their potential as an educational resource.

Dance your heart out with Henry and the gang!

Make finger puppets

Using a piece of card, cut out the shape of an animal of their choice. Once they’re done colouring it in, cut two holes near the bottom big enough for your child’s fingers. Voila!

Create a pasta masterpiece

Using pasta shapes and PVA glue, create a fun piece of art. Why not paint them afterwards too? Monet who?

Have an indoor treasure hunt

Hide rhyming clues around the house or, if your little one is younger, use coloured dot stickers on pegs. Each colour represents a different number of points, when they collect enough points they win a prize.

Decorate plant pots

Round up any old pots from the garden and give them a colourful makeover. The brighter the better!

Set up a DIY tuck shop

Are your kids eating you out of house and home? Create a price list featuring all their favourite snack items, fruit 5p, crisps 50p, chocolate 25p and give your children £1 a day to spend. The kids get to brush up on their maths without realising it and you get to keep their snacking under control.

Paint a rainbow

Once they’re done painting it, pop it in the window for the other children to spot on their #rainbowtrail walk. The kids can also go out for their daily exercise and see how many rainbows they can spot in the windows.

Join in a live story time

Oliver Jeffers hosts a stay at home storytime at 6pm every weeknight. If you’ve exhausted your best-animated voice, he’s your man. Can’t make his 6pm live? You can find all his previous storytimes on his website.

Make leaf animals

Make an animal collage with some leaves and twigs from the garden. It encourages the kids to get creative and see leaves in a different way.

Make a DIY easel

Turn a small garden table upside down, wrap a few layers of cling film around the legs and huzzah! One very good makeshift easel. Happy painting!

Make a scrapbook

To help your little ones keep track of the days and give them a sense of routine, why not start a daily scrapbook. When they return to school they can take them in for show and tell and share everything they did during their time at home and catch up on what their friends did too.

Do a fashion show

Dig out the Christmas fairy lights and the Disney princess dresses, it’s show time. Simply line the floor with a few blankets or a sheet and cue the music. Mandatory for dads.

Make your own play dough

Recipe:

¼ cup of salt
2 tbs cream of tartar
1 cup of flour
1 cup of water
1 tbs of oil
food colouring

Mix the dry ingredients in a small pan, add the water and food colouring and stir over a medium heat for a few minutes until the dough becomes firm. Turn out onto a plate and let it cool before you are free to play.

Join in Joe Wicks’ daily PE class

A fab way to get the kids energised in the morning and to give them a sense of routine! Joe Wicks, aka The Body Coach, will be running daily PE classes from 9am on his YouTube channel. Find it here.

Build a fairy garden

Fill a couple of large pots with soil decorate with sticks, stones, shells, string and whatever else you can find to make the fairies a lovely humble abode.

Write a letter to granny and grandad

If the kids are missing granny and grandad, writing them a letter is a good way of encouraging them to keep in touch while practising their spelling and handwriting too. They can either read it aloud to them on the phone later on or post it to them so they can see how their handwriting is coming along.

Make fairy houses from toilet roll

Decorate old toilet rolls with paper and felt pens and use a cupcake case for the roof. Don’t forget to draw a little door on the front for the fairies to come and go as they please.

Play sink or swim

Using a big bucket or the bath tub and some household items or toys, ask your children which items they think will sink and which ones will float. You can use keys, apples, a cork, a spoon – anything goes!

Make blow paint pictures

Mix up some paint with water and place a large blob of it on the paper then, take a drinking straw and blow the paint so it spreads out across the page. If you’re doing this with young children, practise without paint first so they understand they’re blowing not sucking. Once dry, you can draw on some mouths and decorate your colourful blobs with googly eye stickers.

What will you be doing with your kids?

TEAM ZOELLA MARCH 24, 2020

13 Questions With Elly Curshen AKA @EllyPear

Elly is a completely self-taught recipe writer, columnist, teacher and now isolation kitchen advisor! Find out why she's our favourite person to follow for quarantine food!

How long have you been cooking and how did you start?

I’ve been cooking professionally for the last 14 years. I’m entirely self-taught.

Describe your cooking in 3 words!

Inventive, meat-free, modern

What are some really underrated ingredients?

Lentils, beans and pulses – you can do SO much with them!

What do you create most of, and what is your favourite thing to make?

I am mostly Team Savoury – simple weeknight cooking is my bag

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

My second book going to number 1 on the WHOLE of Amazon after an appearance on Sunday Brunch on Channel 4!

Tell us about some of the books you’ve written.

I’ve written three books, Fast Days & Feast Days (2016), Let’s Eat! (2017) and Green (2019). The first two are pescatarian and Green is all veggie/vegan. They are all inspired by world cuisine but with a constant eye on the local greengrocers too!

You’ve been such a good follow for self-isolation cooking content! Have you got 3 good tips?

Do a stocktake. Look at what you already have in your fridge/freezer/cupboards. Don’t panic buy and grab things off the shelf you don’t need. There’s enough food for all of us if we shop sensibly. Next, make a meal plan so you know what is allocated for when. Lastly, be open to having to make amendments and substitutions.

What is your advice for someone panicking about cooking during self-isolation?

Please try not to panic. If you’re reading this then you have internet access and that means access to more help and advice than you can imagine. This is a very challenging time but so much positive is coming out of it. We will all come out the other side better cooks, that’s for sure!

Can you tell us three great things that will always make a good meal if we can get them in the supermarkets?

Eggs, pouches of lentils, bread flour (now could be your time to learn to make sourdough from scratch! All you need to start making a sourdough starter is flour and water!)

What is the benefit to meal prepping?

Reduced waste, reduced stress and you can look at the week as a whole and keep an eye on your nutrition and try to ensure you’re eating as balanced a diet as possible.

What do you usually always have a good stock of? 

Oils and vinegars. I have a LOT of both!

If you could only eat one meal again what would it be? 

That’s a hard one! I could happily eat dhal for every meal though!

If you could give one positive message to our followers what would it be?

This is a time to grow and learn. We all need to support each other as much as we can. Try to relax and take joy in small things. If that’s watching YouTube videos and teaching yourself to chop an onion properly or learn how to make sourdough from an expert via Instagram or watching my Stories (@ellypear on Instagram) for daily help and advice, there’s so much to take pleasure in doing while we are all staying home.

TEAM ZOELLA MARCH 23, 2020

How To Stay Productive When You’re Working From Home

Working from home is the dream, right? You've got cups of tea on tap, candles flickering away, no office politics and background tv. Much calm, much zen. But then the novelty of the snow day mentality wears off and you realise you haven't brushed your hair or conversed with another human IRL for a week.

There are certain rituals that fall by the wayside when your home morphs into a hot desk and you find yourself making all kinds of lifestyle compromises, from neglecting your posture to forgetting to drink water. It happens!

Working solo certainly has its perks but it also has its downfalls and learning to function without the community environment of a shared workplace and the sense of belonging that that provides for us can be a challenge – one that a lot of us have recently found ourselves navigating as a matter of necessity.

To help you make the most of your remote office days now and for the future, we’ve got a few best practises we like to put into place to keep our productivity in check!

Resist the snooze button

Waking up at a consistent time, whether that’s 6, 7 or 8am, not only stabilises your circadian rhythm and improves your sleep health overall, it also establishes a clear morning routine; one that sets you up for a productive day right from the get-go.

Get to know your behaviour

Do you like background tv, Classic FM or total silence? Are you someone who is easily distracted and so has to be stricter with themselves and their time management, or is procrastination a sign you need to take a quick break and make a brew? Finding what works for you is a game of trial and error and we all work in different ways. Suss out what suits you and stick to it.

Prepare yourself to ‘go’ to work

Few of us benefit from rolling out of bed and hopping straight onto a Skype call before we’ve even so much as brushed our teeth. Determine what activities ease you into your working day and prepare your mind for productivity gradually, whether that’s an hour of reading before you open your laptop, listening to a podcast, going for a run, journaling or meditating.

Think of it like a warm-up before cardio – what tools can you rely on to ensure your mind is switched on and ready to give its best performance? By waking up ahead of your working hours and spoiling yourself with a leisurely morning ritual, you’re more likely to feel mentally ready for the demands of the day ahead.

Get dressed

We’re not about to deny you of your comfy loungewear and cosy knits but if you’re wearing pyjamas then you’re likely to stay in a pyjama mindset all day. Never underestimate the power of proper clothes. Have a shower, put on some makeup – if that makes you feel bougie – and enjoy the little things that make you feel awake, energised and mentally sharp.

Be strict with yourself

Get up to stretch your legs regularly, look after your posture, take screen breaks little and often and get outside for your lunch break if possible. You determine your own efficiency and while sitting at your laptop for 8 hours a day without so much as a sip of water or a loo break might sound like you’re slaying the work from home life, it’s not conducive to productivity in the long run and it will come back to bite you on the arse.

Stay hydrated

It’s so easy to forget to drink when you can’t gather around the water cooler and bond over the latest episode of Love Is Blind. Fill up a water bottle and have it within view all day to remind you to stay hydrated.

Never work from your bed

Try to keep your usual work-life boundaries in place. You might not have the luxury of an office space but your bedroom is strictly off-limits, it’s a realm reserved only for R&R, not looming deadlines, word limits and Zoom calls.

Write a realistic to-do list

It’s not a revolutionary idea but it sure will help you to prioritise and manage your time effectively. Break up your tasks into more manageable chunks so you won’t feel overwhelmed and discouraged by an overambitious list. This is about working smart.

Set some ground rules with the other people in your home

Not everyone who works from home does so alone, there are housemates and partners to consider and share your workspace with so setting some clear ground rules makes for a healthy working environment. Appreciate an hourly brew and a 5-minute small talk in the kitchen? Cool. Rather work through your lunchbreak and save the socialising until after 5pm? Speak now or forever hold your peace. Everyone’s jobs have different requirements and schedules so as long as you’re all respectful of one another and transparent about expectations, HR will be happy!

Work out what a day in the office looks like to you

The beauty of working from home is that you get to determine what your working day looks like. If you’re an early bird, waking at 6 and sitting at your desk for 7.30 ready to crack on with a few uninterrupted emails before the rest of the world starts communicating might suit you. Likewise, you might benefit from doing something for YOU before you have to answer to someone else all day, or starting your days slightly later and working into the evening. It’s your call.

Pull up a window seat

If you can, sit in a room with plenty of natural light. There’s nothing inspiring about facing a wall or sitting in a dark room, so do as cats do and follow the sun – it’ll make you happier.

Put your phone on do not disturb

Nothing throws off your workflow quite like opening Instagram every 30 seconds or attempting to keep up with the family WhatsApp, which naturally, is always absolutely popping when you’re at work and in the thick of a deadline. It’s like your sister just KNOWS.

If you’re easily distracted by your phone, close all messenger apps on your laptop and leave your phone in another room.

Get familiar with project management tools

There are a whole variety of project management and task-based communication tools out there to keep your tasks and your team members organised but Trello is one that stands out for its simplicity and efficiency for monitoring tasks on the fly, particularly if you’re working collaboratively with other team members. It’s basically a virtual corkboard.

By keeping all the information you need in one place, it’s easier to keep track and stay up to date with any changes. Whether you’re working as part of a team or just looking for something to collate your upcoming projects and boost your productivity, Trello is a versatile tool that you can use whatever industry you’re in. From editorial calendar planning to freelance assignments and IT support, the possibilities are endless.

Don’t work silly hours

When your workplace and your home blur into one, it’s easy to forget that such a thing as ‘working hours’ exist and before we know it, we’re sat tapping away into the glow of our laptops at 10pm like some kind of fireflies. Without a commute or the shuffle of a colleague’s backpack to signal that it’s the right time to pack up and leave for the day, it’s all too easy to carry on beavering away.

What’s important is that you’re realistic about what you can achieve and recognise what your productivity sweet spot is. You might decide that you’re going to have the morning off and work until 8pm instead, it totally depends on your workload and schedule and who’s to say that will look the same day-to-day. One thing’s for sure, switching off is just as important as switching on, so don’t feel guilty for shutting your laptop at 5pm on the dot and climbing into your PJs. And hey, when that time comes your sofa commute is but a few steps away. Praise be.

We’d love to hear your best practises for working from home!

TEAM ZOELLA MARCH 22, 2020

Weekly Wants: Styling Ruffles

You might be inclined to think ruffles are reserved only for the front row but to that we say hogwash.

You might be inclined to think ruffles are reserved only for the front row but to that we say hogwash. Ruffles don’t have to be scary territory, you can dabble with the fashion fan-dangle in a whole manner of wearable ways, from hemlines and sleeves to collars that wouldn’t look out of place in a Jane Austen novel.

Juxtapose structured tailoring with a flouncy peasant shirt or go off duty with an effortless wrap dress. Get your frills with our Weekly Wants!

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TEAM ZOELLA MARCH 21, 2020

Spring Cleaning Series: Organising Your Pantry

Where art thou turmeric, curry powder, cinnamon? Chances are they've probably sloped off behind the tinned tomatoes and the flour but fear not, after implementing these helpful pantry hacks, you'll never have to lose sight of your beloved spice blends or pine kernels again.

Where art thou turmeric, curry powder, cinnamon? Chances are they’ve probably sloped off behind the tinned tomatoes and the flour but fear not, after implementing these helpful pantry hacks, you’ll never have to lose sight of your beloved spice blends or pine kernels again.

With plenty of us working remotely and clawing back those extra hours we’d usually spend commuting to and from work, we have the opportunity, albeit a bittersweet one, to tackle all the little odd jobs we just l-o-v-e to put off. Now’s the time to get our humble abodes looking as neat as a new pin, starting with organising our pantries. Type As, you’re very welcome.

No pantry, no problem! Most of us use that term loosely as a fancy synonym for kitchen cupboards, so clear away the clutter and stow away the long-lasting snacks, it’s time to give your kitchen storage the glow up it deserves.

Decant products into containers

We’ve all swooned over those Pinterest worthy kitchens with their ship-shape open shelving displays and orderly jars complete with retro labels and felt a sudden enthusiasm to ‘tap to tidy’ our own homes. Well, the time has arrived.

Get savvy with your storage and do away with any bulky packaging by transferring dry food items such as pasta and cereals into clear food caddies or kilner jars. Breadcrumbs, seeds and powders such as drinking chocolate can be placed in air-tight containers and stacked to create more space.

If you have pre-packaged crisps and snacks, these can be stowed away in storage baskets or, make like Stacey Solomon and use an adjustable shower curtain pole to hang your snacks from. Because a)it’s a visual feast and b)why the hell not!

Organise products into categories

No one wants to go on a wild goose chase for their fusilli do they – apply some logic to your kitchen cupboards to help you access ingredients easily and make trying a recipe an enjoyable experience rather than a stressful one. From your cooking oils to canned goods, grains and pulses to your breakfast cereals, a food filing system will change your life.

Get in formation

Arrange your tinned food and staples with a long shelf life in front-facing rows. You can also use stair step shelves to make sure you can see the items at the back easily. Our inner Monica Geller is fast approaching a 7 over here. If you know, you know.

Add hooks on the inside of your cupboard

If you’ve got a pantry door or wall space, hanging oven mitts, tea towels, aprons and bulky utensils on hooks can free-up some room in your drawers. A wall-mounted shower caddy can also make a great home for all your vegetables.

Don’t stock up on food

Perhaps an even more important message in the context of what’s going on right now but only buy what you need. Squirrelling away rice and tins of tuna when there’s a deal on may seem economical but by cluttering up your cupboards, you’re unlikely to see what you have in. Cue expiry dates and food waste.

Streamlining your pantry is the easiest way to make sure you can see what you have in the cupboards, use up your food and replenish it when it’s running low. Minimalism is the key to a tidy pantry.

The label maker is your best friend

Hello jar containing mysterious grains, identify yourself! It could be couscous, it could be quinoa. Who knows!

Enter the label maker. Not only does it give all your glass Kilner jars a homely vintage vibe, but it’s also hella practical. Now you’ll always be able to distinguish the plain flour from your self-raising. Come through stationery, come through.

Clean your cupboards systematically

Every six months, take everything out and give it a thorough deep clean. Start at the top and work your way down, wiping the shelves and removing any sticky residue from jars. It’s always the Marmite isn’t it?

Use this an opportunity to dispose of any out of date items and note down what you need to restock.

How do you keep your pantry lookin’ sharp? Let us know!

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