Dear wanderer,

Perhaps you grew up dreaming of receiving your Hogwarts letter, or stumbling upon Narnia. Perhaps you long to visit Pemberley, to Defy Gravity, or to go to the ball. I will write you that letter, and build you that wardrobe. [A metaphorical wardrobe, that is.] Here you will find step-by-step lesson plans with takeaway homework assignments that show you how to embody fictional heroines in the everyday. This means chasing your dreams and making the impossible happen with your own inner magic.

For the full experience, you can Own Your Story, or join me for a literary tea party.

You have the potential. Heroine Training provides the tools.

Welcome to our headquarters, where dreams meet reality, where fiction is cherished, where magic is real.

Sincerely, your guide on this journey,



P.S. Read more about Heroine Training

Sunday Sampling / 065

Sunday Sampling

@adamschocolates

Hello heroines!

I am using every excuse I can think of to go outside these days – autumn air is one of my favourite feelings. I’m enjoying getting bundled up in jumpers and blankets (over shorts, because it’s still not quite cold enough for that) and doing my evening planning by candlelight. How is your September going?

 

SUNDAY SAMPLING SPONSOR

I am so fortunate that Adam’s Chocolates was a sponsor for my Bristol Tea Party, because the day after, while I was still traveling, I needed a dairy-free snack. My goodness. This chocolate is seriously amazing – I really shouldn’t eat dairy, but often chocolate just doesn’t taste the same. Adam’s Chocolates’ mission is “To create a chocolate that tastes incredible and leaves you feeling remarkable” and they certainly succeed!

My favourite reads lately

⚡️ I don’t get excited by something just because it’s Harry Potter-themed. In fact, I’m really picky about doing justice to my favourite books, so it means a LOT when I endorse a thing, and I am enamoured with PB Teen’s Harry Potter Collection (especially the Patronus Magical Damask Maison Bedroom)!

💄 These 10 business building ideas you can swipe from Kylie Jenner are spot on.

💕 I keep thinking about number one on Carly’s list of 4 lessons from the past year: Invest in friendships. Putting quality time into my friendships is such a worthy health investment, and something I’ll probably write about here soon.

🎶 “I haven’t heard very many songs specifically about Asian American pride & the microaggressions we face every day, so decided 2 write one.” – Charlene Kaye, whose music just gets more and more amazing.

🌟 The concept of a ‘housewife’ is relatively new – in the Stone Age men stayed home while women traveled and spread ideas and technology. whaaaat

❤️ I love these ‘soft skills’ that make you better at sales, even though they have nothing to do with sales. Also, I found this article from Smart, Pretty, and Awkward, which has the BEST curation!

🌎 It can be overwhelming to commit to shopping ethically and sustainably, and often the best options are online only. It’s great to hear that high street brands like FatFace are taking strides to be more environmentally friendly.

👑 Plus on Heroine Training: my little autumn adventure list & favourite YA reads lately

P.S. I’m always looking for likeminded businesses to feature! You can read about sponsorship opportunities here, or let me know about an awesome business I should know about 🙂

Favourite YA Reads Lately

Favourite YA Reads Lately

I’ve been in a YA reading mood.

Today’s vlog is about reading as mindfulness, selecting the perfect book for the present moment, and my favourite YA reads lately.

These are the (fab) books I mention:

  • Summer Days and Summer Nights Edited by Stephanie Perkins
  • Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han
  • Love and Gelato by by Jenna Evans Welch
  • Dumplin by Julie Murphy

I’m always looking for contemporary young adult books with thoughtful heroines. What do you recommend? 

P.S. If you’re following me on Instagram, you’ll know that my octopus ^ is called Frederick 🙂

Little Autumn Adventure List

Little Autumn Adventure List

I declare it autumn!

Normally I honour seasons by the solstice, but I couldn’t wait for autumn! When the first of September rolled around I declared it autumn in my life.

It’s been a pretty mild summer here in Edinburgh, so I could freeze in my summer skirts, or layer on the wool cardigans and embrace it. Guess which one I did? 😉

A heroine appreciates the season with intention, curating her own personal list of favourite activities. Here are mine. What’s on yours?

my little autumn adventure list

1. shop for a fabulous winter wardrobe piece

2. bake apple crisp

3. make pumpkin butter

4. dine at timberyard

5. go to a pumpkin patch

6. walk on crunchy leaves

7. rock climb outdoors

8. drink apple cider 

Shop for a fabulous winter wardrobe piece.

Since moving to Scotland, I do two things to cope with the long winters:

  1. Fly south in February. (You don’t have to go that far for the weather to be significantly brighter in comparison. London works. Paris works. This year we’re being extra ambitious and eyeing up Portugal.)
  2. Invest in something fabulous and warm each year.

My many Gossip Girl reruns have taught me that the key to staying fabulously warm is to layer with a fantastic cape. So my first piece was this Ted Baker cape (seen here!).

Last year I was on the hunt for the perfect winter hat. I searched the most fashionable department stores in London only to return to local milliner, Fabhatrix. I am obsessed. [It’s the one I’m wearing on the cover of my free ebook, A Spell for Feeling Well]. 

This year I’m thinking of getting a massive scarf. A doubles-as-a-blanket kind of scarf. Bonus points for looking fab on a hook with the cape and hat (pictured below)! Let the search begin.

Little Autumn Adventure List

Bake apple crumble.

Nothing says autumn like an apple crumble. Not just to eat, but to fill the kitchen with that perfectly crisp fruity scent. I’d love to get into the habit of whipping one up to the extent that I have the recipe perfected and memorised. Remind me to pick up some dairy free ice cream to go with it!

Make pumpkin butter.

I love Angela Liddon’s Pumpkin Butter recipe, and part of the fun is the challenge to use it up in creative ways. I remember last year’s pumpkin butter pancakes, and we even added it to her Mushroom Walnut Pesto Tart (a favourite in this household!).

Go to a pumpkin patch.

Childhood Octobers were all about the hay bales and pumpkin patches. The culture here isn’t as pumpkin-crazed, but there is a lovely pick-your-own farm just outside Edinburgh called Craigies. I love checking their website for the seasonal status of the different fruits and vegetables they keep.

Walk on crunchy leaves.

Going for scenic walks is something I love to do year round, so I got real specific on this one: I want to walk on leaves that crunch. I’m giving myself that specific sensation to look forward to.

Rock climb outdoors.

Ever since high school, when my ‘fall sport requirement’ was Outdoor Adventure, I equate this season with climbing outdoors.

(We also did kayaking, but that was a bit cold for the time of year in New England, and it didn’t become a personal obsession like climbing did). 

(And yes – best fall sport EVER).

There’s something special about climbing in the autumn, and in the UK it’s the last chance to do so before it gets too dark and cold. Get me to a crag!

Little Autumn Adventure List

Dine at Timberyard.

Hygge is a not-quite-transltable Danish word for cosiness/happiness. Stepping inside Timberyard restaurant fills in the rest of that definition.

It’s my favourite place to dine in Edinburgh for its relaxed candlelit rustic vibe and the gorgeous plates to feast upon. I almost didn’t include it on this list because it’s not something you can do anywhere in the world, but consider this a sign to come to Edinburgh, greatest city ever 😉

Drink apple cider. 

I usually make lists of 7, but here’s a bonus one since these last two are a bit location-specific. Apple cider is non-alcoholic, and it’s not apple juice (this article explains it!). You can get it in abundance in US supermarkets, and can drink it cold or warm – but it’s just not a thing in the UK! When I go home to Boston for Thanksgiving I will be getting my apple cider fix for sure.

What are your favourite things to do in autumn? I started a thread on Instagram: post your favourites.

Xandra

P.S. I write about my relationship with rock climbing and what it taught me about life in my book, Own Your Story!

P.P.S. If it’s still warm, and you want a few more summer activities, see my little summer adventure list!