Words and Imagery by Andrea Cheong @fleurandrea
Welcome to my Sunday and beating the Sunday 'Scaries'
12:00pm I’ve never been an early riser. So my mornings begin past noon, where I’ll wake up and let my bunny, Sunday, out to play. The first sound I’ll hear is the grinding of my coffee machine, as the punchiness of beans and boiling water hit the air. A few minutes later, her furry face will appear by the fridge with an expression that says “feed me”. Structuring my days around something other than my own needs has been one of the biggest lessons in practicing mindfulness. All the other accoutrements are accessories to make it more motivating. It was one afternoon that I heard this on a podcast: “we rush to charge our phones when our batteries are draining but don’t do so for ourselves” - ironically whilst I was sipping caffeine - and those words really struck me. Since then, I’ve been prioritising the end of the week as a time of rest and calming my mind from the week before. Most importantly, in preparation for the week ahead.
1:30pm Journaling is the number one thing that therapists recommend and for good reason. Unlike many different band aids like shopping and countless new hobbies that I’ve used to patch up the holes in my mental wellness, this does the opposite. Instead of distracting me from my situation, it actually confronts what I’ve struggled to process throughout the week. It could’ve been the minor frustrations that stirred an embarrassing overreaction (thank God I didn’t send that email!) or those moments you’re by yourself and cringe hard at something that happened ten years ago, at 4:15pm on a Tuesday. It’s a form of self-love because it releases me from those critical thoughts and realigns my inward thinking to considering how I can help others. It took me nearly 30 years to realise that it’s how much you are willing to help others that’s a measurement of your happiness. Journaling and quiet time is a form of meditation to me and usually happens after a strong coffee by the window, with a flickering candle by my side.
2:00pm I love to cook. Saturday is groceries day, where I like to frequent up to three different supermarkets, so it makes for a very exciting gastronomy-filled Sunday. My go-to is salmon caviar on everything, try it. I swear it belongs on most pasta dishes except those with heavy meat sauces, of course. I try not to work on weekends, which is a new challenge. So the most I’ll do is post my cook-a-long on Instagram Stories and highlight a sustainable beauty brand for a series I call Sunday’s Sustainable Skin. Yes, you guessed it: it features my rabbit. I’ve been a bunny mum for a long time (my first kid is Percy and he lives in Singapore). So despite being a meat-eater and working in the luxury sector, it has inspired me to seek out more cruelty-free options and has made me more passionate about being anti-fur. I slather the Soak Sunday Body Oil on every evening, totally guilt-free. My favourites are Cleo's Paradise and Rose Utopia.
3:00pm Going for long walks is no profound suggestion but have you ever noticed how sluggish and fatigued you feel when you don’t move your body? If you were looking for a sign to add some endorphins to your me-time, this is it. I moved to West London from North London last year and have discovered the joys of taking excessively long routes to Holland Park and the Italian Gardens. I try to make this a cornerstone of my Sunday ritual because what better excuse to get into a languid, hot bath, steaming with rose salts than after a refreshing walk?
6:00pm Art has always been a passion of mine that I’ve constantly been dissuaded from pursuing. As a child by my teachers, where I was found doodling instead of learning maths. When I was a teenager, considering university options with my parents (I ended up studying History of Art with no regrets). And again as a self-employed adult, where branching out to art wasn’t niche enough for me to be marketed by managers.
The act of creating something tangible and alluding to life, is the ultimate me-time indulgence. After being discouraged for so long, it's a form of empowerment and expression. I’ve been working on a portrait series since last year, which focuses on self-care. Almost all of it sold last year, despite never showing my fine art on social media before. So I think it really resonated with the many women fighting for some comfort and familiarity in their lives. It speaks to all of us and unites us. There’s something about a face mask and bath time ritual that makes you feel like everything is normal. Everything is ok. Everything can wait until you’re ready.
8:30pm Dinner and a squabble over watching a reality TV series on Channel 4 or one of the endless, miserable crime documentaries Netflix seems to pump out these days. Obviously, I battle for the first and my boyfriend for the latter. However, I don’t allow myself to fill my head with noise, without journaling earlier in the day. Those distractions only make the unresolved thoughts in my head weightier. That’s another thing about mindfulness, it’s like a muscle you have to train through discipline.
10:00pm My bath time habits are a little odd. I wasn’t really allowed them growing up, despite having multiple bathrooms in the house. They’re also uncommon in Singapore, where I moved to for three years at the start of my “career”. So it’s been a wonderful phenomenon to me since coming back to London. It starts and ends by actually cleaning the bath - yes, every time. I also never wash my hair in the same water.
I love the water oily because it seriously helps with skin conditions like dermatitis and dermatographia, both of which I suffer from. It also means I don’t have to lather myself in moisturiser and air-dry later. I’d argue that it’s time efficient. The Rose Utopia Botanical Bath and Body Oil is the one. It’s completely non-irritating and so nourishing.
Maybe it is the artist in me but the Rose Utopia Clay Mask is soothing to mix up from powder to paste - I love everything about it, from the detoxifying properties to its hue. I apply this shortly after a few minutes, when the steam from the bath gently lulls my pores open.
A few years ago, I suffered from the most terrible diagnosed insomnia, so prioritising a mindful sleep is very important to me. Most likely, 3am is when I go to bed. It’s also around the time most of my friends receive long messages from me as a result of a final brain dump. Scents and temperature are essential components of my evening routine. The rose scented Sleep Balm is wondrous and I’ve used it as lip balm once or twice. I like a lot of cold, fresh air coming in through an open window to lower my body temperature. This naturally puts you in a still state. It’s a hard sell but it definitely works for me!