Monday, 12 June 2017

Create a Tree of Life decoration - a craft workshop with a meaning


Being in the middle of nature, surrounded by trees, gives you such a liberating feeling! Now imagine the perfect feeling you get when you create your own little tree!

If you love jewellery, you’ll appreciate this creative use of beads and crystals. If you enjoy crafting, you’ll be delighted to see how the wire turns into branches and how the crystals become forever blooming flowers.

Traditionally, the tree of life is deeply spiritual and symbolizes knowledge, wisdom, and awareness. You can invest it with new meanings, as it will be your creation.

You’ll be able to personalize it, picking from a wide variety of crystals - amethyst, quartz, moonstone, lapis-lazuli, unakite, sodalite, jade, jasper – and I’ll be there to guide you through their significance and properties, so that you can select the ones that fit you best.

No previous experience is required for this workshop, so all you have to do is bring your enthusiasm. I provide all materials and tools and also tea, coffee and homemade cakes or snacks are on me!

At the end of the class you’ll be able to take home your finished item: a tree so delicate it fits within your palm, yet so rich as it embodies so many meanings.


Saturday, 1 July 2017; 12:30PM

Hanbury Hall street-side cafe, Shoreditch, E1 6QR

Price £30

The price includes:

  • Creating your own tree of life
  • Finding the meanings of the crystals you’ll use
  • Tea/coffee and a homemade cake or snack
  • A morning full of creativity


    For any query, please contact me at amelie.uniquejewels@gmail.com.

    Create your Summer Accesories! - new jewellery workshop in London


    Summer is here so guess what? It's time of the year to wear your favourite dress and accessorize it with a unique jewellery! But why not try creating a personalized piece of necklace yourself?
    I created this jewellery workshop for you to express your ideas and make your personalized summer jewellery! I promise you this is going to be a colourful workshop, full of joy. And very important: tea and home-made cakes will boost your creative vibes even more!

    This is a beginner level workshop and you don't need any previous experience - join me for a creative morning and explore your creative self! 




    Sat, 15th July  – 12 PM, 
    Hanbury Hall street-side cafe, Shoreditch, E1 6QR


    Price £30

    The price includes:
    • making your own summer necklace + earrings or bracelet at your choice to take it home
    • Tea or coffee and a homemade cakes or snack
    • A morning full of creativity
    For any query please email me amelie.uniquejewels@gmail.com

        Friday, 2 June 2017

        How tea can boost your creativity



        Starting as a treat available only for the privileged, by the mid 18th century, tea became Britain's most popular beverage, replacing ale and gin as the drink of the masses. And although, tea times have changed, this drink kept its important place in the daily lives of British people. As a full-time Londoner, I’m no exception and I use every occasion to enjoy my delicious cuppa: in the morning - after finishing my exercising routine, in the afternoon - just to unwind after a day of work, when I go out for a chat with friends, but also when I’m handcrafting.

        But what’s making tea such a beloved beverage? Could it be its health benefits or, maybe, its ritual value? I’m guessing the answer is a happy combination of both. Green tea, black, and red tea have been most often associated with mood and creativity boosting, but there’s one key ingredient that differentiates them: the caffeine.

        With or without caffeine?

        Green tea and black tea don’t contain as much caffeine as coffee itself, but the amount they have and how it is released are good enough to keep you alert and conserve your stamina. Another true creativity-booster is something called L-theanine. This naturally occurring amino acid found almost uniquely in green tea helps improve cognition and reduces stress by promoting the production of alpha waves in the brain. These waves release the caffeine slowly, rather than in a burst, so you avoid that sudden crash and maintain productivity and creativity throughout the day.

        Green tea and chocolate are a heavenly combination! So while sipping my cup of tea, I’ll indulge in a little dark chocolate bar every now and then. At its turn, dark chocolate is another great friend for mood and creativity. It increases blood flow at brain level by dilating vessels and it contains magnesium, which helps decrease stress and releases the two “happy hormones”, serotonin and endorphins. One recently discovered chocolate bar I really enjoy is made by Lucocoa Chocolate, a company based in London, which uses only organic ingredients and no refined sugars or artificial sweeteners for its products.

        To those who want to avoid the caffeine intake, the red tea is an excellent alternative full of powerful antioxidants. Due to its power of reducing the impact of oxidative byproducts in neural pathways, the red tea has anti-aging effects, enhancing the cognitive ability and stimulating concentration and focus. Well, well, well! Poor me a cuppa right now!

        Under certain circumstances, there are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.”

        That’s how Henry James opens his novel The Portrait of a Lady. And he’s not the only famous writer praising this healthy drink. Leo Tolstoy, one avid tea drinker, once noted: “If, then, I were asked for the most important advice I could give, that which I considered to be the most useful to the men of our century, I should simply say: …stop a moment, cease your work, look around you.” Enjoying a cup of tea throughout the day allows you to do exactly that.

        Preparing tea is an activity that receives ritual value in its simplicity: you boil the water and pour it while it’s hot into the teacup, you unwrap the tea bag and savour its flavour, you stir the sugar or honey, and while the drink reaches the ideal temperature, you get yourself cozy in your favourite corner of the house, maybe somewhere next to the window, with a good book in your hands. All these steps keep you deeply involved into the tea-making process and give to your brain a break from all the other problems and a chance to recharge with creative energy.

        A study carried out on 150 self-professed “tea drinkers” divided into three groups revealed the effect a simple tea break can have on creative potential. Group one were asked to make a cup of tea using hot water, milk and sugar as they usually would, before drinking it. Group two was given some sweets, while group three were given only a glass of water.

        Afterwards, the test conductors asked the participants to recount a recent happy event, take part in word games, draw an alien creature and solve anagram puzzles. According to the results, the group of tea drinkers had a deeper desire for success than those given water, and a faster response time when facing challenges. “There was a significant effect of the condition on valence – pleasure – and arousal,” the research paper read. “Water consumption provoked lower pleasantness than tea consumption.” As a tea drinker, I’m not surprised at all!

        All in all, tea is a great drink that has a special place within my daily routine and the creative workshops I organise. If you’re a tea lover yourself, check the calendar and find out when we can enjoy a cup of tea together: warm, delicious, and sweetened with some jewellery handcrafting!



        Love,

        Amelie

        Tuesday, 30 May 2017

        From hate to love - How I started exercising


        Exercising was never for me. Why I should do so much effort when I can just sit doing nothing. Why get tired and sweaty, I don't like to be exhausted at all. I am a lady and a lady never exercises. The simple thought of doing something that made me feel tired and sweaty was absolutely disgusting.
        This was my way of thinking for many years. Until my awakening time when everything changed.

        When I was a child exercising wasn't something popular, not even really practiced. In the primary school, our teacher used to prefer to teach math in the period allocated for physical education. Because everybody thinks math is more important than PE:  you cannot become an engineer if you love playing football. Playing football is a waste of time and it Is for those who are lazy and do not like to learn.

        I don't know how many of you were raised with this way of thinking, but in my country, this was something normal. In the 80's and 90's, all people thought that PE is useless and a waste of time. 'You should better read a book!'

        When I started working I became even lazier. If before I just loved going for a walk every day (no sweating, right?) when I started working I thought my whole life will revolve just around work. I only traveled to work by car and I completely stopped doing any kind of walking at all. 

        Later on, when I gained a lot of kilos I tried to going to some aerobic classes but I found them so exhausting and I thought is too much for me. I am fat and I cannot do it. So I stopped.


        The first time when I really wanted to start exercising was when my mom was ill. This was my awakening point and I was so concerned about her health but also I started to care about mine. I think the shock of knowing her fighting for life made me realize how precious our life is and how important is for us to really put some effort in keeping our health.

        I knew my limits so I did some research to find a suitable exercise for my fitness. I found a Pilates club in my city and I booked my first class. I liked the fact that I used only minimal equipment and the club had everything I needed. I tried mat classes and also a Reformer. I found that the Reformer was easier for me to use, so I just booked reformer classes. It was perfect and I couldn't believe how good I felt after each class.

        Pilates is the best option I would recommend to start with, for any extremely sedentary person like I was, no matter your weight. In a few weeks time my back pain completely disappeared (and I had it for years) and also I started feeling my core straightening which made me feel really proud! 
        Easily I changed the Reformer with mat Pilates and after 6 months – 3 times a week - I found these classed too soft for my new fitness level!
        Happy me!

        So now if Pilates is too easy why not try something else?
        How did you start exercising? If you didn't what kept you in place? 

        I had a burnout syndrome and I didn't know it

        You work hard and you are happy with that. You work harder and harder. At some point you may find that deadlines become too tight, you are exhausted and see no sense in your work. You start feeling depressed, always tired and forget to enjoy life.
        This is the so-called burnout syndromeTo help you recognize the burnout syndrome I wrote this article to share my story. 

        I first started to work in a big company just after my graduation. As a newcomer in a big company probably most of other older employee would hate you because you are young, you have energy and they assume you don't have knowledge but you are there to steal their job. If you ever experienced that, please share your thoughts too.

        Well, I had to work hard, to learn a lot, I worked very long hours to do the research myself and understand what was expected of me to do. I didn't mind, I actually loved it. I felt I am doing something important, I gain my freedom knowing what I do and actually, I don't need help at all.
        Later on, I swapped to another role in the company that challenged me more. It wasn't easy. I had to do work even harder, to do more research, to become even more organized, to work independently and to deal with more various tasks. 

        After a few years of doing this job I gained weight, I had chronically fatigue, my life was just work, home and sleep. Everything has happened without notice.  I wasn't able to do anything at home but just eat and sleep.

        I started feeling like a robot. I thought I actually hate my job, but still continued to do it consistently and at a high standard as always. Later I get promoted into a new role in the company. I grew, learned other new technical things, and after another few years, I ended in the same place.

        I worked from morning to evening, not having the chance to see the sun sometimes. I remember a moment when during the day I had to quickly go out to buy a card for my colleague's birthday and I went out in the middle of the day. It was a sunny winter day, with fresh snow lightning in the sun. I was so impressed that I got in tears instantly. It had been  months since I hadn't seen the sun .


        I actually didn't realize at that moment but much much later that I was actually experiencing the burnout without knowing it.

        I had a high level of stress, sometimes the feeling of losing control, I had chronic fatigue and anxiety. No one believed me when I tried to explain, I just got some replies like 'life is hard for everyone'


        Something very important I already mentioned is that actually for me being burned out it doesn't mean I didn't love my work. I actually loved it too much, I've been too involved in it and I lost the borders between work and my personal life and even my personal thoughts. I truly believed that the company's problems are my own problems trying to find a solution for everything. I put too much energy in something that I actually shouldn't do because is not humanly possible.

        Spending so many years in the same company, the first company I was actually ever employed at, made me have real doubts about myself and my capacity to do another job. I always thought the work I did was specific to the industry I worked in and I may not be able to transfer any of the skills into another industry.

        Later I left that job that I thought I didn't felt satisfied with and tried to look for another option. I didn't know where to start but I changed a few things: I started volunteering,  meeting new people, made new friends, learned a lot, discovered so many opportunities that I never saw before because I was too busy to working

        If you ever experienced that, please share your story and let me know how you recognize it and what did you do to escape. 

        How meditation changed my life


        That place on the earth where you always find peace, joy and light. The most precious place where you can always come back. Is your soul. This is where meditation takes you: deeper into your soul.

        My very first meditation experience was a few years ago. My mentor taught me when we first met as an exercise to help me deal with my emotions.
        I knew I needed to find the calm and slow down my mind but I never realized the thing I needed is mindfulness
        It was easy. The experience itself is not a spiritual one which I liked it, it is just a relaxation technique but not just relaxing, I would actually say awakening.

        The meditation exercise

        Just stay comfortable on a chair or sofa, deep breath (abdominal breath), extremely slow inhale up to 7 and exhale up to 7. Focus on your breath flow, and try to empty your mind. Well, not really empty but don't follow any thoughts. If some thoughts come, ignore them, say you will think about them later. 

        And that's it, this is meditation! If you manage to keep the calm for a few minutes, it's great! If you manage to do it for 20 minutes, then it's even better!

        When I practiced I noticed I was calm and relaxed. I managed to keep the deep meditation for even 20 minutes. I was feeling sooo good in that state as I wanted more. I felt happy and peaceful.
        And then I got awakened.


        What it means awake to me?

        It was something new. It was a kind of revelation of the facts that happened in my life and I didn't notice before. I understood why I wasn't happy, what kept in place, what borders I had, I started seeing clearly how I wanted to be, how I wanted to be treated and what I need to do for this.

        My 20 minutes meditation exercise helped me open my mind for the whole day after.

        You may think this sounds spiritual but it is not. There is nothing spiritual in mindfulness.
        What is actually magical is our own mind. And meditation just opens our mind and our soul, helping us to look inside and understand.

        Meditation is for me the awakening, the magic.

        Have you ever tried mindfulness meditation? If not, why not try? 



        My top 3 tricks to give-up sugar

        I know this is probably the first question when you start dieting. It was also for me. How to give up that super tasty nice thing called sugar. Sugar is sooo delicious AND always makes you eat more and more.

        Sugar is bad. Is high calories, makes you want it all the time, no nutritional value, but a very clear chemical that makes you gain weight. Ah, and I want to add that I wouldn't go for  sugar replacements either. I did it, but realized that because they are also tasty, you tend to eat more. So except the calories saving, no gain with them!

        OK, so we all know sugar is poison, I won't go into details, but how to quit? 


        I am a busy person, I have a super busy job, sometimes with no time for lunch. I never have a proper lunch break but I am able to eat at my desk when I need to eat. I leave the house in the morning and come back in the evening, as almost everyone else in London. So here are my top 3 secrets.

        Planning is caring 

        To be sure that I am able to have control of my food I started to take packed lunch – healthy lunch I prepared myself. But not only the lunch. I also plan and have with me my two snacks I really need over the day. And sometimes, the third one.
        The secret to give up cravings is to not feel hungry at any time. If you have you lunch and all your planned snacks in your bag, you never risk feeling hungry.

        Take control of your shopping list

        Another super easy trick to give up sugar is actually....not buying it! So simple! I stopped buying all tiramisu and muffins I used to buy and eat before. I only bought dark chocolate with 85% cocoa. My new favourite!

        I found that I must avoid buying food when I am hungry because my mind would tell me I need all the high caloric food I see and I may have all cravings at the same time. So no supermarket visit when I am hungry! Rather I look into my bag for the third snack!

        Majority of my food shopping is now online. It is so simple to avoid everything I want to avoid. Actually buying online makes me go straight to the categories I know I need, buy what I need and job done!


        Avoid temptations

        The hardest days for me in the fight with sugar were only the first few days in the diet. Once I passed those days, I discovered I am fine living without sugar and I had no sugar cravings. It is as simple as it sounds, even if you may think is not. 

        What if I still have the sugar craving ?

        I don't think that happened actually, but I prefer to go to a huge 500 ml yogurt which keeps me full and satisfied. I prefer milk replacement varieties because is lower in calories and fat. And I love some of the brands! 
        For extreme emergency if I really want a treat I opt for a light ice-cream or ice lolly. Not perfect choice but I taking responsibility of it :) 

        If you gave up sugar I am curious what tricks you applied. If you still feel this is difficult, please share your experience and I will try to help with ideas.



        Create a Tree of Life decoration - a craft workshop with a meaning

        Being in the middle of nature, surrounded by trees, gives you such a liberating feeling! Now imagine the perfect feeling you get when yo...