Sunday Sampling / 066

A Spell for Feeling Well

Hello heroines!

Without intending to, each of my Sunday Sampling roundups often have a common theme. This week it seems I have money on the mind.

Sometimes I wonder if a post is too business-y to share, but I believe that entrepreneurial lessons often apply to life, whether or not you run a business.

One thing I can promise you is that this list will always include the 7 links that have intrigued me most in the past week! Enjoy!


When it comes to ethical fashion, my absolute favourite is Izzy Lane, a vegetarian designer who rescues sheep and uses their wool for slaughter-free socks, knitting yarn, and fabulous wool clothing (autumn collection coming soon!). I am fangirling over the opportunity to collaborate with them [see me proudly sporting one of their coats above]. You can use the code XAG2 to receive 20% off your purchase.


💖 A study on why Disneyland is so addictive, written by a Disney fanatic trying to understand his own obsession with the most magical place on earth!

🛀 I’m obsessed with this extensive guide to DIY green cleaning recipes.

🌟 A poignant reminder to reach out to others when you think of them, because you might be the only one.

🎶 Taylor Swift, “disruptive business genius”.

💸 I love Denise Duffield-Thomas’s idea of ‘first class upgrades’. Here are 38 things to declutter from your life, including things that aren’t ‘first class’!

🔮 A vivid imagining of the Autumn Equinox as a gathering of two goddesses: light and dark.

😴 There is always space for rest – if we give ourselves permission.

👑 Plus on Heroine Training: 5 ways to be a good friend & my minimalist wardrobe tour

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 🙂

5 Ways to be a Good Friend

5 Ways to be a Good Friend

I get by with a little help from my friends

…is probably my favourite Beatles lyric [if not “I’d like to be under the sea in an octopus’s garden in the shade”].

Through all the stress of work projects and mental health challenges, consistently spending time with friends has been a huge help. While it is amazing to have the support of my friends, it feels equally fulfilling to focus on being a good friend to them. 

5 Ways to be a Good Friend

Note their important dates on your calendar. 

It means so much to me when my friends reach out the morning of my tea parties to cheer me on. Just a quick ping makes me smile. Following their examples, I note big dates for my friends, and send them a note with my support even if I can’t be there in person.

Before the old Taylor Swift died (RIP), she would post on Instagram to celebrate her friends’ birthdays and song releases. It’s something you don’t have to be a celebrity to do with your own friends.

Send a follow-up after meeting in person.

I will never forget this one time in high school when I spent a morning browsing bookstores with a new friend. On the way home I got a text from her saying she had a great time hanging out (this is back before touch screens, when texting took more effort!). I was pleasantly surprised, and promised myself to take up that habit myself.

Whether I met a friend in person or on Skype, I try to send a ‘great to see you’ note at the very least, and usually I’ll include something that came up in conversation, like a title of a book I was gushing about, or a link to an article I’m obsessed with. I always send out a reading list of topics discussed at my tea parties too – because, like Emma Woodhouse, I love a good reading list.

Brainstorm the next meetup.

This is one I mention in my ‘how to keep in touch with long distance friends’ article that applies to all friendships near and far. I love to gauge when we two shall meet again. 

It’s fun to brainstorm what to do next – see a play, exchange neighbourhood tours, try a certain cafe… anticipation is half the fun!

5 Ways to be a Good Friend

Be there, and let your friends know that you’re there.

In Gossip Girl Blair and Serena will drop everything when they get an SOS text from the other, and magically appear on the other side of Manhattan to be there for their BFF. As much as this is probably more a plot device than anything, I have to admire their commitment. 

I don’t have one best friend like Serena and Blair, or a tight-nit group that hangs out in a coffeeshop like in Friends. But, as Isabella Thorpe* in Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey says,

There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature. My attachments are always excessively strong.” (ch.6)

I must remind myself that because I don’t see my friends every day, it’s my responsibility to let them know that I care. I let them know that they can reach out to me, suggest specific ways of doing so, and always share when I see something that reminds me of them.

*Disclaimer: It turns out that Isabella is a bit of a hypocrite, so my taking inspiration from her ends with this quotation.

Be the one to suggest the adventure.

Take a moment to think of your ideal way of spending time with your friends – not just what you’re used to, and not just what everyone else seems to do. Sometimes I prefer going to the cinema by myself, and while I enjoy going to a beautiful cocktail bar for a special occasion, it’s not somewhere I enjoy spending my weekly budget [unlike in coffeeshops]. 

I love inviting friends to activities ranging from weird plays to mundane grocery shopping to a home screening of the new Lady Gaga documentary on Netflix [highly recommend!!] that I would otherwise curl up in bed and watch on my own. 

To live the most vibrant life, with the flourishing social calendar of your dreams, sometimes you have to send the invitation.

P.S. How to Get the Most of your Awesome City

P.P.S. If you would like me to bring a Heroine Training Tea Party to your city, submit your request here!

This lesson is filed under HUFFLEPUFF for encouraging loyalty and friendship.

Sunday Sampling / 065

Sunday Sampling


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?



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 🙂