The Collective

How To Improve Your Energy

Radiator with pink wall

Where to start on an article about energy? I’m referring to the good vibes that flow on a sunny day when everything just clicks into place and turns out better than you might ever have hoped for. It’s something I’ve wanted to write about for a while because learning to harness good energy has had the most profoundly positive effect on my life and yet I’m conscious that it’s often referred to either in a spiritual or religious context (off putting for some) or in language that can sound “away with the fairies”.

And yet, good energy – the sort that makes everything better is something we can all create ourselves whether we are religious or not. Call it kindness or goodness if that makes it more palatable but once you’ve worked out how to create more of it and use it, I’m pretty sure the happiness and quality of your life will increase tenfold. Read More…

How To Find The Perfect Pair Of Trousers

stack of jeans

I know, trouser shopping isn’t top of my list either. Mostly because it turns out we would all far rather be shoe shopping. Who wakes up on a Saturday morning thinking, “yippee, the chance to spend all afternoon in a cramped, badly lit changing room, craning my neck to check out my behind.

It’s up there with bikini or bra shopping which is a pity really because little else does the hard yards in your wardrobe as deftly as a pair (okay then, several pairs) of trousers.

Despite the style glossies debating asymmetric hems, ruffles skirts or ditsy print floral dresses, most women wear trousers most of the time. I know I do. What else ticks off flexible, practical, stylish, time-efficient or covers up hairy legs? Buy a classic pair and they can be re-invented season after season. The right trousers look easy and will make you look youthful, polished and that you haven’t tried too hard (which is harder than you think). I’m not going to lie to you though, unless you have a boyish figure, finding trousers that fit well can be an arduous task.  It’s why many women – especially those on the curvier side – give up at the first hurdle. But forewarned is forearmed and hopefully this ten point checklist will take a lot of the pain out of trouser shopping. Read More…

Spring Refresh

carolyn asome coat rack

What can I tell you about clothes at the dawn of 2018. That you had better get in there quick. T.S Eliot wasn’t joking when he said April was the cruellest month. Although he possibly wasn’t talking about the crushing realisation that anything you have vaguely coveted in the style glossies has probably sold out.

Not that I’m counselling you to buy a whole new wardrobe in February mind. No one but no one (unless you are an oligarch’s moll) buys an entirely new wardrobe each season and certainly no one I’ve ever met with an iota of style. Still, we all want to buy things that will add vim and verve to our existing wardrobes; a few judiciously on pointe items that will make everything else sing -and believe me they don’t hang around. Don’t underestimate the keen eye that is required for changing proportions and attention to detail detail detail although just as important is whether any of it actually suits us, an easily overlooked fact in the race to bag the latest trend.

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Lightness

carolyn-asome-jan-18

As I dive into another scorched almond/slice of panetone/lebekuchen for the 26th day on the trot, it’s tempting to think of the good a large dose of Magnesium Citrate might do me right now.

Possibly we could all do with feeling a little lighter currently, especially after a December (okay so it was November too) of de trop socialising and the dizzying, relentless pace of the run-up to Christmas. Except at the dawn of 2018, I realise I mean lightness in many senses of the word.

It was an email exchange with my former editor, Lisa Armstrong, that got me thinking once again about the importance of living lighter (and consequently, happier, more positive) lives. For a fashion feature, I had asked her to define what luxury meant today. Her definition was lightness in everything from ‘featherweight but warm coats and silk filled duvets to food, luggage, attitudes – and not being hemmed in.’ She thought that if she could cultivate a single thing in everything she did, it would be of lightness of touch. Read More…

How To Do Blingy Festive Wear In A Non-Bling Way

carolyn-asome-dec-2017

Not so long ago, blingy layers of festive sparkle worn in the run up to Christmas was what ‘other’ people did. Certainly not how anyone with even a sliver of good taste might dress. And certainly not the behaviour of a discerning style maven whose look might best be described as polished but not too polished, stylish and yet not ‘victim’. Well not so in 2017 when shimmering sequins of silver, gold, green, pink, and cobalt blue- yes ,even altogether in the same outfit- are very much where it’s at this winter. And while no one wants to leave the house in a deluge of sparkly tat, this Christmas is fast shaping up to be the one where it’s perfectly acceptable – expected even – to go all out, Quality Street wrapper style, into the night.

For someone who might be described as Mrs Matt (I have never been drawn, magpie like to anything that sparkles) , I’ve already managed to acquire a twinkly silver top from Vanessa Bruno and a pair of sequin ankle boots, although admittedly these are black. But how do you pull any of this off when you’re allergic to high shine? This might sound like the biggest oxymoron but the secret to sequins this season is wearing them in a matt way. Read More…

Be Happy – How To Be The Best Version Of Yourself

be-happy-carolyn-asome

How to be happy or happier? Who doesn’t wonder at the formula. And yet, while there’s no one -size-fits-all answer to the question, the missive this month is inspired by Boudica Fox-Leonard’s brilliant feature in the Saturday Telegraph, which I haven’t stopped thinking about since I read it, not least because as the weather turns, we are all more susceptible to SAD –vitamin D folks at the ready.

In it, Andy Cope, psychologist and author claims a small number of Brits, his “lab rats” (a group of people he calls the “two-per-centers” which are the top two percent of the working population , who stand out as creating a positive uplift in those around them) are 22.5% happier than anyone else, with a third more energy and asks what they can teach the rest of us?

For the past 12 years Cope has been studying happiness and observing happy people and is now on a mission to share what he has discovered. Perhaps deep down we too know that happiness is infectious. When someone smiles at you, your gut reaction – whether you know them or not – is to smile back. Happiness, even for a nation he describes as one of moaners (Brits apparently languish at no. 19 on this year’s World Happiness report) is a lot easier to achieve than perhaps we might realise. It’s very much worth the effort, because as Cope points out, without wishing to sound evangelical, your happiness will change the happiness of those around you. Read More…