4 benefits of having fresh flowers in your home

There’s nothing better than a fresh bouquet of flowers and the benefits of having them around your home are amazing. I personally love styling my home with flowers and I’ve been trying out different varieties lately. It’s a really nice idea to buy flowers seasonally also, such as tulips in the Spring time or sunflowers during the Summer months. Here are 4 benefits of having fresh flowers in the home.

Flower box by Handy Flowers

1. Mood lifting/stress reduction

It’s so lovely to see brightly coloured, fresh flowers when you wake up in the morning. Studies have proven that having flowers in the kitchen, living room or hallway can have a really positive effect on your mood and can help to beat the morning blues. Having fresh flowers around the home will help you to feel more relaxed and less anxious too. This is perfect if you are studying or working at home to help to help you to relax and feel calmer.

2. They can compliment your interior design

Interior design trends come and go, but accessorising your home with flowers will always be in style. Combining flowers with a beautiful vase can create a real focal point in a room too. If you have a large hallway, having a table with a gorgeous flower arrangement can really lift the whole space and be the perfect thing to see as you open the front door. Flowers and plants are also a great way to bring texture into a room. By simply changing the colour scheme and texture of the flowers in your home, you can easily bring in a new look indoors every other week.

3. Flowers clear the air

Indoor flowers and plants have a number of health benefits. They can help to eliminate harmful pollutants that can cause things such as headaches, coughs, colds, allergies and tiredness. Leafy green plants and flowers purify the air and release oxygen, while absorbing toxins in the air so they are not only nice to look at, they help you health wise too!

4. Some flowers even help you sleep

Not only are Jasmine plants really pretty and have a gorgeous sweet scent, but they are linked to reducing anxiety levels and improving sleep quality.

Lavender is also another great example of this. It’s proven to lower the heart rate, blood pressure and is the perfect plant to have in the bedroom to help aid relaxation and a better nights sleep. You will often find lavender in bath products which are a lovely to use before you get ready for bed.

This post is in collaboration with Handy Flowers. They have flowers for every occasion and such a gorgeous range to choose from. They also offer a next day delivery service so you can always have beautiful fresh flowers delivered to your door hassle free. For a full list of their services, head over to their website HERE 

What I have learned in my first year of blogging.

It’s my first blogging birthday – Hannah Lu Loves is a year old! I can’t quite believe how quickly this past year has gone. It only seems like it was Christmas 5 minutes ago. I have loved writing blog posts, working on content and my photography so this first year has been fun.

I didn’t know how it was going to turn out or if anything would actually come of it. I only knew that I wanted to blog about the things that I have been doing or enjoying. I was always getting asked where my clothes were from or what make up I was using and I thought, what better way than to blog about it!

I have learned a few things along the way which I wanted to share with you, and these might be useful if you are thinking of starting a blog yourself. So let’s get into what I have come across in my first year…

Fabulous opportunities

The plus points of blogging in my first year have meant some really great opportunities. I’ve been invited to product launches, events and even a fashion show as part of London Fashion week which was amazing! I’ve also been sent lots of lovely products to review and test out which is something that I really enjoy doing. It’s so much fun to try new brands and to write my thoughts about them. I’ve bought things in the past after reading blogs and reviews so I know how useful it can be.

Receiving gifted items is amazing and I’m so grateful for this, but if you want to start blogging, I would advise not to go into it thinking that you will be constantly receiving gifted items all the time.  This is just a small part of the process. You need to genuinely love writing, producing content and focus on that, which leads me onto my next point.

It’s hard work!

Working a full time job, running a home, having a social life and blogging, let me tell you is not easy! There are days when I get home from the office, where I’ve been looking at a computer screen all day and the last thing I want to do is carry on with more typing.

I aim to post a new blog once a week and I haven’t always stuck to this. I have so many ideas buzzing around my head and have things that I want to write about, so I would love to increase this to twice a week. That’s a new goal I’m going to try and set myself for my second year.

You really have to be passionate and dedicated about blogging, putting in the hours if you want to go the distance.

Prepare to have IT headaches

I am not what you would call an IT whizz in the slightest. To be honest, computers and technological things hurt my head! I’ve literally had to teach myself how to use WordPress, (with the help of some YouTube tutorials along the way) and learn about plug ins, backlinks, coding, SEO, the works. They don’t make it easy let me tell you! SEO is a really important topic though for bloggers and if you want your blog to grow and be noticed you have to pay attention to this.

People don’t understand it

When you mention that you have a blog, a lot of people don’t really understand it. They think you are trying to be a model by having your picture taken, or that you are only in it for the freebies. It can be frustrating having to justify to others about why you are blogging. I decided not to tell many people about it as couldn’t be dealing with all of the questions. I enjoy doing it for myself and for my readers and that’s all that matters.

Expectations from brands

I have been approached by a lot of brands in the last year and those who I’ve chosen to work with have been lovely. Some brands will give you a free range on what content you put together and others will send you a criteria of what they are looking for. I have heard some horror stories from other bloggers though where brands have asked for drafts and made endless corrections and changes to their work. This I can’t get my head around. The brand must have seen their previous examples of work/blog posts so I they should have known what kind of content to expect from them surely?

Never let a brand dictate to you what your final published blog post will be like. Your post will not seem natural and will sound like a walking advertisement.

Be assertive with brands

There are some brands out there that will contact you asking to collaborate, but then expect you to work completely for free. You wouldn’t do this in your daily life, and blogging is no different – time is money people!

I don’t think brands always appreciate the time, and effort that goes into putting together a blog post and to expect you to do this completely free of charge is quite cheeky. Be assertive but polite with them and if you want to ask regarding payment, then it’s good to be clear and upfront on this.

Brands not using your images

This is something which has bothered me over the last year. I actually read a really great blog post on this. I’m not able to link it as she has called it a day with her blog which is a shame. She was saying how bad it made her feel when she had worked so hard to put together photography for a brand related blog post, but they never used her image on any of their social media channels.

This happened to me not so long ago with one brand, and it also really bothered me. It starts to make you feel paranoid – was my image not up to their standards? Why have they been using loads of other people’s images but not mine? Is it something about how I look?  – this is a dangerous mindset to get into but something that you need to be prepared for.

Who knows why brands don’t always use the images you have worked on. If you liked them and were happy in how they turned out, just remember that. Don’t allow this to demotivate you or make you feel bad about yourself. You will also get rejections from brands, and not hear back from them occasionally. This is also something to bare in mind and its important not to let that get to you. Something better will always be around the corner!

Staying true to yourself

Being authentic is one of THE most important things when blogging. If your posts are purely just product reviews, a blog can start turning into one big advertisement zone. I can often tell when people are talking about products just because they have been paid for it. I see it a lot on YouTube when people are promoting brands, when they cannot even pronounce the name of them properly and you can tell they aren’t really into what they are trying to promote. The whole thing can come across as a bit of a sham.

For me personally, I love writing reviews on products but I also want to talk about things that are going on in my life and about places I’ve been or  lifestyle hints/tips. Variety is key!

Promotion, promotion, promotion

Writing blog posts alone is not enough. The market is heavily saturated and you need to get noticed. I have found that using other social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter are essential for getting your name out there and gaining new readers. A good tip on Twitter is include hash tags of pages that help to promote bloggers and their recent posts. They will re-tweet for you which is a great way to gain new readers and interest.

Hopefully you’ve enjoyed reading about my first year blogging and I’m looking forward to the future and to see what else is in store for me!

Leather Jacket – Per Una at Marks & Spencer

Cream T-Shirt – Zara

Jamie Jeans – Topshop

Handbag – Jimmy Choo

Prêt-à-Portea: The Dior couture collection

Back in early March, I went to the Christian Dior:Designer of Dreams exhibition at the V&A museum (you can check my blog post about it here). So when I discovered that The Berkeley hotel in London were hosting a special Prêt-à-Portea that was inspired by the exhibition I just had to go and complete the set!

The venue

The Berkeley hotel is based in the heart of Knightsbridge and is the ultimate luxury venue. They are well known for their legendary afternoon tea experiences too. They have 2 collections per year that are inspired by the world of fashion to reflect the latest catwalk trends, colours and designs. Previous collections have seen them teaming up with other designer brands such as Dolce & Gabbana, Moschino and Manolo Blahnik.

This special collection focuses on the iconic designs of Christian Dior, transformed into beautifully decorated biscuits and miniature cakes. Each piece is inspired from Diors’s fashion history which I absolutely love!

The afternoon tea is held in the Collins room which is a really peaceful space, decorated in soft lilacs, silvers, marble and mirrors. There is also a garden room section which has a lovely light feel with the surrounding windows.

A high tea to remember..

We arrived at the hotel feeling excited about the afternoon ahead. From the moment we arrived, the service was fabulous. We were shown to our seating area and our server started off explaining to us the idea around the collection, as well as information about what we could expect from our tea experience. We started off with drinks and there are so many varieties of tea that you can choose, from a selection of different white, green, yellow, black, tisane, and oolong tea options.

The savoury selection..

First to be presented to the table was a plate of beautifully cut finger sandwiches, each with individual flavours, fillings and breads. Alongside this, there was a selection of beautiful canapes. They almost looked too good to eat! I loved the presentation of these and it was fun to try all of the different options.

The sweet selection..

But let’s be honest, we all know the best part of a high tea is the sweet section! Following the savoury section, out came the stunning three tiered display of the Christian Dior sweet treats. Christian Dior cakes – isn’t this just every fashionistas dream combination?!

On the top tier we had a rose pink Miss Dior perfume bottle shaped cake. This was lychee and raspberry flavour and was topped with a gorgeous silver bow. Also on the top tier were 2 iced biscuits – a single J’adior slingback heel and the iconic bar jacket. I have been lusting after these heels for a while now and am thinking that I have to add them to my collection! Well they do say things come in threes after all…

On the middle tier, we had a pavlova and raspberry jam cake that was inspired by a dress design. We also had the Junon gown fromage blanc and cassis jelly encased with scallops of white chocolate and it was sprinkled with edible glitter. They were like little works of art – just stunning!

The bottom tier had the classic Lady Dior handbag which was so delicious. It was red chocolate sponge inside with an iced outer casing and it looked just like the real thing! Also on this lower tier was a pretty little coconut marshmallow cake which was decorated with a white sugar bow.

Overall verdict..

I love spending an afternoon having a high tea and this is one of my favourite experiences. I have wanted to try the Berkeley afternoon tea for a long time as always love to see the latest fashion inspired collection that they come up with. Their collections always look so fabulous and so being able to attend this special Dior inspired one, after visiting the exhibition was like the cherry on the cake..see what I did there 😉

Jokes aside, it was such a lovely afternoon and I highly recommend it. I’m never a huge fan of the sandwiches but these were nice and not so much that you couldn’t then enjoy the sweets section which you can sometimes find with afternoon teas. The sweet selection was just perfect and I enjoyed every item from this selection.

If you want to make a reservation for the Dior Prêt-à-Portea collection, head over to the Berkeley hotel website here 

Prices start from £60 per person.

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