8 rewards that keep me motivated to achieve my goals

2018 has been a tough year so far.

Mainly because I’ve set myself some major life goals to achieve and I’ve been hammering at them hard.

Setting hard goals for yourself is a good thing – if you don’t go and build towards the things you truly want to achieve, nobody’s going to do it for you.

But it can also be difficult to stay motivated and keep going.

8 rewards that keep me motivated to achieve my goals / Cake + Whisky

Regardless of your goals and the obstacles you run into to achieve them, I find a reward-based approach to be helpful in keeping your spirits and motivation up.

Setting up a reward ‘programme’ before starting to tackle a new goal, no matter its scale, has two major roles:

  1. Give you the day-to-day motivation to carry on
  2. Allow you to aknowledge important milestones, especially when you’re not fully in control of the goal being ‘achieved’ (e.g. getting a new job or a new client…)

The rewards you choose should not only be a reflection of the scale of the goal/milestone itself and how much achieving it challenged you, but also be things that truly make you happy.

So, of course, they will be different for everyone…

But here are a few ideas of the rewards and treats I found helpful to keep me motivated to achieve my goals.

8 rewards that keep me motivated to achieve my goals / Cake + Whisky

To keep you going on a daily/weekly basis (e.g. to exercise, to file your work expenses every week…):

  • An episode of a series you love

    Pairing an activity you want to indulge in with one you tend to put off is incredibly effective. TV is a very helpful tool to use when working on physical or repetitive tasks that require little brain power.

    Since January, I’ve set this rule that I only watch reality TV programme whilst exercising. And truth be told, Queer Eye and Grace & Frankie are the best thing that’s ever happen to my physical health!

  • An indulgent bath

    When you’re caught up in the most intense, work-heavy phases of goal achievement, it can be very easy to forget to take care of yourself – both physically and mentally.A truly indulgent bath caters for both, giving you a chance to take some time for yourself, pamper and relax.

  • Baking time

    Along the same lines, I tend to do a lot of baking when I’m stressed or am working towards achieving a big goal. The reason for that is simple: for me, baking is the ultimate way to relax. It allows my mind to stop buzzing and rest.Your ‘relaxing time’ might not be baking time – it might be reading, or playing an instrument, or craft projects… Whatever it is, adding some more of that activity into your schedule as a reward is very beneficial when building towards a goal.

  • A nap

    Being quite introverted, having to deal with interaction-heavy environments and situations is a very demanding challenge for me, and the best way to reward myself afterwards is with extra sleep.

    Depending on the nature of your goals, achieving them might be putting a lot of pressure on your body and/or your mind and allowing both to rest is essential to avoid burn-out.


To celebrate reaching a milestone:

  • Fresh flowers

    Despite how much I love them, I rarely treat myself to fresh flowers. But a friend recently brought a bunch to me, and it’s be so good at lifting my spirits up.So, I’m going to take the risk of sounding soppy and silly and say that sometimes, something that’s pretty and a little bit useless is an excellent idea.

  • Small treats that would make achieving your goal easier or more enjoyable

    There something extremely motivating about a new gym kit when you’re trying to make exercising a habit. Or great stationary if your goal involves a lot of writing. Or quality boxes if you’re trying to meal-prep more.

    It’s some sort of ‘back to school’ effect, when the idea of using new, better tools/equipment just makes you excited to get up and dig right in!

8 rewards that keep me motivated to achieve my goals / Cake + Whisky

To celebrate achieving a goal:

  • Tickets to a show/event

    If your goal has a set deadline, booking tickets for an event you’re excited to attend for right after is an excellent thing to do.Getting close to deadlines can be a stressful time, but having something positive to look forward to as well makes the dread easier to handle.

    And by the time the event actually rolls around, you’ll be in full celebrations mode, making it even better than you anticipated!

  • Significant ‘treats’ you rarely indulge in

    Things that you enjoy but don’t really buy for yourself because it feels too extravagant, or doesn’t feel like you’d get a lot of use out of.Now is the time to treat yourself. You deserve it – you’ve worked hard to achieve those big goals.

    And it’ll also be an excellent reminder than you can achieve whatever you put your mind to.

Don’t even think about ‘punishment’

Because you didn’t manage to reach your goal fully doesn’t mean you haven’t moved forward with it.

I’m sure you already feel bad enough about this without needing to put extra pressure onto yourself with a punishment.

Instead, take some time to analyse what hasn’t worked out and why, so you can learn from this experience and do better moving forward.

… And on that note, I’m off to buy myself some shoes to celebrate achieving the biggest goal I had set for myself this year!

Do you find it hard to remain motivated when working towards a big goal? What helps you carrying on? 

8 rewards that keep me motivated to achieve my goals

Cruelty Free Beauty Review #2

A few month into this whole ‘switching to cruelty free beauty products‘ adventure, things haven’t changed much since my last post on the topic.

Finding information hasn’t become any easier, but every once in a while, you do come across a few things worth trying out – some resulting in immediate adoption into your skincare routine, and other not quite delivering on their promises.

So here it is – my latest instalment of the good, the bad and the extraordinary of cruelty free beauty!

Cruelty Free Beauty review • The Good, The Bad & The Extraordinary • Cake + Whisky

The Good

Fair Squared Argan Facial Cream Light*

I’ve recently run out of my impressive stock of my former face moisturiser of choice, so I’ve been trying a few alternatives lately.

Amongst the lot was Fair Squared’s argan facial cream and while it’s a good face cream and I’m still absolutely smitten with the brand, I’m a bit torn.

The product composition is obviously great (Fair Squared’s products are not only cruelty free, but also vegan, certified Fair Trade and Natrue), the texture is lovely but I’m not sure it was the best match for my skin at the time.

It might have been my fault. I have combination skin and I started using it before it became properly cold so it was a bit rich.

Now that the days have grown colder, it is a much better match though. So if you have dryer skin or you’re looking for something to use this winter, give it a go – it’ll work wonders!


One of the biggest changes I wanted to make this year was to switch to non-disposable menstrual products.

I was terrified so it took me a while to put this into action, but I finally took the plunge and got myself a mooncup.

It wasn’t the easiest switch to make – it take a bit of practice to make it truly comfortable, and the cleaning process definitely rules the menstrual cup out if you’re the squeamish kind.

So yeah, good overload but still a bit of a work in progress.

That said, not running the risk of putting bleach into my private parts and not having to get my hands anywhere near one of those gross menstrual product disposable bin things is absolutely priceless.

The Bad

Tisserand Rose Deodorant

Let me tell you something – finding a good cruelty free deodorant is no easy fate.

So when I found this little number in my local TKMAXX, I was quite excited to say the least – it was affordable, not complitely impossible to find in the UK and it smelt divine.

The only problem is – it’s rather useless as a deodorant. As in, you’ll be good for about 30 min and then it’s back to being a sweaty, smelly mess. So yeah, not exactly ideal…

The Extraordinary

BareMinerals Total Cleansing Oil

I’m a big cleansing oil advocate.

In my book, nothing beats it when it comes to removing hefty waterproof eye make up without having to scrub like crazy.

And BareMinerals’ is the best I’ve ever tried. The texture is perfect (thick and very sensory), it smells divine (quite herbal with a touch of lavender), doesn’t burnt your eye AT ALL and removes all your make up perfectly.

So yeah, that one’s in it for the long run!

Mario Badescu Drying Lotion

I’m not entirely sure what it is, but my skin has simply been the worst lately.

Is it the crazy weather swings? Stress-related hormone peaks? Too much chocolate? Not enough water? Some other mystery reason I’ll never ever find out about? All of the above? Whatever the cause is, I haven’t quite manage to figure it out just yet.

So in the meantime, I’m treating the symptoms (aka all those lovely spots that simply won’t stop appearing on my chin).

And Mario Badescu Drying Lotion is simply the best for this. Seriously – I’ve tried A LOT of those over the years – nothing comes close.

Definitely one that’s good to have in the bathroom cabinet just in case!

REN Instant Brightening Beauty Shot Eye Cream

I’ve already raved about this eye cream in my last cruelty free beauty edit and I’m still absolutely in love with it.

The texture is a sort of very light gel that dries to feel a bit like aloe vera gel. It really helps keeping the thin, fragile eye contour area moisturised and comfortable.

An all-year-round lifesaver!

Next on the ‘to try’ block

Korres Shampoo

I’ve loved every Korres product I’ve ever tried sofar (this thing is especially A++) so I hope the shampoo I recently picked up from TKMAXX (an excellent source of cruelty free beauty finds!) is just as dreamy as the rest!

Do you have any cruelty free beauty faves? What do I need to get my hands on? Hook a combination skin girl desperately looking for a good moisturiser & deodorant up!

*Press sample.

Cruelty Free Beauty Review #2

13 reasons to be excited about autumn

Admitedly, I have quite mixed feelings about transitioning from summer to winter.

Yay for cosy nights at home with all the candles, all the snuggly blankets and all the hot drinks. Absolutely nay to freezing toes and fingers (mine actually turn the most charming shade of purple-ey grey at times) and night time starting at 3:30pm.

XX reasons to be excited about autumn • Cake + Whisky

That said, fall is an absolute charmer of a season.

Beautiful golden leaves, cinnamon scent and cashmere everything – there are so many reasons to be excited about autumn!

  1. Being able to drink hot tea all day, every day without anyone raising an eyebrow. Turns out you don’t get that sort of acceptance when you ask for a cup of peppermint tea in the middle of a heatwave…
  2. Not having to think about which nail colour you want. Dark red ’til Spring it is!
  3. Cashmere sweater weather (the best kind of weather). That plus black jeans/a cute skirt with black tights and boots and that’s all your fall outfits sorted.
  4. Pumpkin Spice Lattes. Need I say more?
  5. Soup being back on the menu! Super easy to make, hot, healthy, satisfying all at once – soup is just souper!
  6. Not feeling any remorse to ditch any going out plans and stay home – Comfort (carb-based) food, Netflix & chill is what chilly Autumn nights are made for!
  7. Cinnamon everything. Apple strudel, cinnamon rolls, hot chocolate, apple pie – cinnamon is the flavour of the season!
  8. New seasons of all your fave TV shows. After months with nothing better to binge than the 2500th re-run of Friends, the wait is finally over!
  9. Stew. Mashed potato. Roasted potatoes. Bolognese. Pie. Carbs are BACK! 
  10. Massive blanket-like scarves. Don’t you just love being able to use nasty air drafts as an excuse to wear a comforter around your person at all times?
  11. Squash and pumpkin – because what’s better than food you can use as decorations until it gets roasted!
  12. Putting your vast collection of deliciouly scented candles to good use. Apple pie & cinnamon cookie candles, it’s your time to shine!
  13. It FINALLY being socially appropriate to talk about Christmas. I’ve been ready since July, but y’a know, the rest of the world wasn’t quite on board with discussing wrapping theme and festive cocktails just yet!

What makes you excited about autumn? Are you a jumping-in-the-golden-leaves or a cuddle-up-with-a-good-book kind of person?

13 reasons to be excited about autumn • Cake + Whisky

More fall-spiration

Autumnal quinoa salad (V)

Pumpkin Spice Latte pancakes (V)

The best carrot cake recipe (V)

The perfect night in in 5 steps

Halloween monster brookies (V)

13 reasons to be excited about autumn

10 tips to make the most of your trip to the farmers’ market

The first time I visited London’s Borough Market, I remember coming back home empty handed.

There was simply too much to take in, too many possibilities in front of me and I couldn’t make a choice.

10 Farmers' Market Tips • Cake + Whisky10 Farmers' Market Tips • Cake + Whisky

The first time I visited Barcelona’s world-famous Boqueria market, the same thing happened.

And then, right before Bastille Day, I was lucky enough to attend a private tour of the Borough market with demo chef Luke Robinson, who showed us around and shared his top tips to shop around the market.

And that’s when it hit me: buying produce at the farmers’ market is not as obvious as it appears and a few farmers’ market tips go a long way to find the best produce and make the most of your trip!

10 Farmers' Market Tips • Cake + Whisky

1. Go early

The early bird gets the worm. This is especially true at the farmers’ market.

The crowds much more sparse, produce is fresher when it hasn’t sit in the sun/cold for a few hours and you’ll also avoid the risk of the produce you really wanted to have run out.

So check the opening hours, take a big nice latte along and head on down early & bright!

2. Plan ahead

Whether you want to go all in by doing all the meal planning heavy-lifting ahead of your farmers’ market trip is entirely up to you. If you go for this option, make sure you compile (and take to the market!) a grocery list.

One thing you definitely want to think about beforehands though is the quantity of produce you’ll need and whether any impulse buy is a good idea.

How much will you’ll cook that week? How many people are you feeding? Do you want to (and can you) freeze any leftovers or will they need to be eaten soon?

Asking yourself those questions will help you make sure you buy enough food without wasting any of it.

10 Farmers' Market Tips • Cake + Whisky

3. Shop around

At the market, it’s quite often the case that a few stalls offer the same type of produce.

If that’s the case, it’s always a good idea to take a stroll around to check for freshness, quality and prices before you start shopping.

10 Farmers' Market Tips • Cake + Whisky

4. Follow the seasons

One of the main advantages of shopping at the market is the availability of fresh, local, seasonal produce.

It’s no secret that seasonal produce tastes better and, more often than not, is cheaper than out of season alternatives.

But while we’re all roughly aware of fruit & vegetable season, fish, meat and even flowers (!) have seasons too, and markets’ merchants are always happy to show you what’s good at any point in time.

10 Farmers' Market Tips • Cake + Whisky10 Farmers' Market Tips • Cake + Whisky

5. Trust the queues…

Most farmers’ market rely on regulars’ customs.

Which means the people around you most likely know their way around the market, and therefore know who has the best meat/fish/vegetable/bread…

6. … And your nose!

When it comes to finding the best produce, your nose is your best friend.

Fish shouldn’t smell fishy. Fruit, especially berries, melons and tomatoes should be fragrant. And I am still to meet anyone who can resist the smell of freshly baked bread…

10 Farmers' Market Tips • Cake + Whisky

7. When in doubt, ask!

Farmers’ market merchants are knowledgeable professionals and you should absolutely make the most of it.

Want to know what’s truly sensational this week? Unsure about which cut of meat to choose or how to cook it? Not sure you can quite fillet a fish on your own?

Don’t be shy and ask way! You’ll be surprise how much helpful advice, useful services and inspiration you’ll get that way.

10 Farmers' Market Tips • Cake + Whisky

8. Don’t be scared to try something new

While you should definitely not buy each and every alien thing you see at the market, a little something new here and there never hurt anybody (and absolutely helps keeping the creative juices flowing!).

Heirloom varieties, uncommon produce, rare spices, there are many ways to think outside the box and you should take full advantage of it!

9. Look out for special events

On top of their regular schedule, some markets also hold special events that are always worth taking a look at.

From weekly cooking demos (if you’re ever near the Borough market on a Thursday…) and tours, to annual events and Christmas specials, make sure you keep an eye out for those as they’ll allow you to see your local market with fresh eyes!

10 Farmers' Market Tips • Cake + Whisky

10. Always reward yourself with some celebratory baked goods!

Because let’s face it, if you don’t come home with a freshly-baked all-butter croissant, a crunchy baguette or a bag of artisan doughnuts, have you even really been to the farmers’ market?

What’s your top tip to make the most of a trip to the market? Answer on a croissant-filled brown paper bag or in the comments below!

More London adventures & tips

A local’s guide to Angel Islington

5 things to do in London before summer is over

30 regional French dishes you must try (& where to eat them in London)

What to do in London when it rains

Exploring London’s Bankside

10 tips to make the most of your trip to the farmers’ market

Cruelty free beauty – Edit #1

Making the decision to switch to more ethical consumer products is one thing. Implementing said decision is another.

Cruelty Free Beauty • Edit #1 • Cake + Whisky

Truth be told, it’s not all been quiiiite as easy as I thought this would be.

Part of it is liked to my neighbours insists on filling our food waste caddy with their empty coffee cups ?.

Part of it is because ethical choices are usually less convenient, and information can be difficult to find.

Cruelty Free Beauty • Edit #1 • Cake + Whisky

Especially when it comes to cruelty free beauty, since there is no legal definition.

Which means that no matter how many links you click on & how many pages you read on the back of an innocent ‘brand name + cruelty free’ Google search you make, there are times when you will still not get any conclusive answer.

That can be quite discouraging at first, but if you dig deep enough, there are absolute gems to be found!

Cruelty Free Beauty • Edit #1 • Cake + Whisky

Fair Squared’s Apricot Shampoo*

Now, I know the idea was to replace products for a cruelty-free alternative as and when I run out. But I simply couldn’t wait to try this one. And how right I was not to!

Free from parabens and Laureth Sulfate, and smelling absolutely delicious, Fair Squared’s Apricot Shampoo is simply the dream! Its light texture is easy to rince and leaves your hair smooth, soft and shiny.

Not to mention the fact that Fair Squared is probably one of the most ethical beauty companies around (their products are not only cruelty free, but also vegan, certified Fair Trade and Natrue) and has one of the most impressive range.

I don’t know about you, but I aprican’t wait to try more!

Urtekram’s Nordic Berry range

Another berry good discovery from award-winning, Danish organic beauty pioneer brand Urtekram!

Founded in 1972, Urtekram is renowned for creating plant-based products which are wholesome and natural.

Packed with vitamins and antioxidants derived from traditional Nordic Berries including Seabuckthorn, blueberries, cranberries and rosehip, the Nordic Berry range includes all the products you need for a full ethic body ‘n’ hair routine.

The body lotion* is my favourite sofar because of its light (it gets absorbed in seconds) yet very moisturising texture and its delicate, subtle scent.

I’m also looking forward to trying out the repairing conditioner* -aloe usually works wonder on me- and I’m looking closely into their toothpaste & deodorant ranges…

Hurraw lip balm

These have been a favourite of mine for several years now and if you haven’t tried them yet, I don’t know what you’re waiting for!

They are the best lip balms I’ve ever tried. I’ve tried A LOT and nothing comes even close.

All Hurraw products are cruelty free, vegan, non-GMOs and mainly made of organic ingredients. There’s a huuuuuge range of scents to choose from (my favourite is Earl Grey). And they’re really easy to find too (on Amazon, or at Whole Foods, Planet Organic and other natural food and beauty stores).

To which I say: hip-hip-hurraw!

Ren Instant Brightening Beauty Shot eye cream

With the heat and the increased pollution levels resulting from it, the skin around my eyes has been unusually dry and itchy lately, so I decided to give this little thing a try.

I can’t really give you any information on the brand’s anti-aging promises. But what I can vouch for the moisturizing and calming effect of it. The texture is a sort of very light gel that dries to feel a bit like aloe vera gel and really helps soothe itchy eye lids.

An absolute sore eye Summer dream!

Do you have any cruelty free beauty faves? What do I need to get my hands on? Hook a (newly converted) girl up!

*Press sample.

Cruelty free beauty – Edit #1

7 Ways I’m Making My Consumer Choices More Ethical

Now that we’re -finally- settled into our new home, there’s finally space in my brain to move forward with making different aspects of our life more in phase with our personal ethics.

Truth be told, making ethically-proofed consumer choices is no easy task.

7 Ways I'm Making My Consumer Choices More Ethical • Cake + Whisky

There’s so much to consider. So many fronts to fight on. And once you start digging, it seems like the list gets longer and longer. Because the thing is, sustainability is a complicated thing and reconsidering an entire lifestyle isn’t easy in any way.

So this whole ethical consumer journey of mine might well end up being a lifetime project sort of thing.

7 Ways I'm Making My Consumer Choices More Ethical • Cake + Whisky

Which doesn’t mean I (and you) can’t start doing smart, small changes right now to improve our ethical footprint and make a big difference to the environment, animals and other people.

Here’s what I’m starting with:

Reducing household waste

Top of my list of things I want to make a significant change about is reducing the amount of household waste we send to landfill by at least half.

1. Pay attention to what goes into the rubbish bin.

The first step to reduce household waste is to figure out what actually makes its way into my rubbish bin.

So for the past week or so, I’ve been paying extra attention to what I put inthere. And the results are in: half of it is food waste (fruit & veg peelings, bones, tea leaves…), the other half is non-recyclable packaging (with a few other bits such as paper tissues and other personal care bits thrown in as well).

This was an easy step to take and yet a very important one. Finding out what you’re throwing away will allow you to single out what next step makes sense for you on your rubbish-reduction journey.

2. Check how your local council can help with recycling.

From recycling bins, compost boxes and collection services and more, most local councils offer free or low-cost solutions to help you reduce your household waste. So find out what recyclable materials can be collected from your kerbside.

As far as I’m concerned, that means a shiny new recycling box is on my way, as well as a food waste caddy so those items can be upcycled & composted instead of ging to landfill.

3. Buy fruit & vegetables at the market or greengrocers.

One – it’s much cheaper to do so than to buy those items from the supermarket anyways. Two – Fruit & veg have absolutely no need to be kept in those little, non-recyclable plastic wrapper things. Three – You’ll be supporting people instead of corporations.

Win, win, win.

4. Start using non-disposable feminin hygiene products.

Now, this one terrifies me, but here it is: I, tampons no.1 supporter, am thinking of switching to a mooncup. Good luck wishes and advice welcome.

Rethinking transports

5. Walk, cycle, sleep, repeat.

If you know me, you know I’m not the biggest fan of cycling bikes. And yet, for about 2 months now, they’ve been my main means of transport!

It saves me a lot of time (not having to wait for the bus is an absolute game-changer) and money (£90/year to use the Santander bikes whenever you want you guys!), it helps me feel healthier AND I’m having a near-zero carbon footprint.

Fair to say I’m LOVING it sofar!

Making my purchases count

6. Switch to cruelty free beauty

There are now excellent alternative to animal testing (and the cruelty-free certification is a free one), so companies have absolutely no reason not to keep outdated and cruel practices going.

That’s why I’m slowing switching to cruelty free beauty and personal care items, following this simple rule: whenever I finish something, I’ll replace it with a cruelty free alternative.

7. Keep reducing how much of my groceries come from supermarkets.

I’ve talked about it before – reducing my reliance on supermarkets has been an ongoing goal of mine for a while now, and it’s still going strong today.

I do most of my grocery shopping via Farmdrop, with a few visits to local markets and food stores when I’m after something specific. It does take a bit of getting used to (the opening hours aren’t quite as convenient as traditional supermarkets). But in the end, it is quite manageable. And a small price to pay to have access to fresh, local (and not too over-packaged) ingredients and support small producers instead of big corporations.

What ethical considerations affect your consumer choices? What steps are you taking to make things change?

7 Ways I’m Making My Consumer Choices More Ethical