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Long associated with releasing feel-good endorphins, reducing stress and anxiety and even helping you sleep better, exercise is exactly what we need in January. Not naturally inclined to fitness and squats and running? Turn it into something fun, that you’ll look forward to by pairing up with an ‘accountability buddy’. Kickstart the new year with some fresh activewear (looking the part makes you feel the part), and then get creative with your workouts. Try brisk walks, gentle jogs or trialling a new Pilates class. Set small and achievable goals to keep yourself motivated. Most importantly, dial down the pressure and just enjoy it.
In need of a new sports bra? Check out our expert guide to choosing the right sports bra.
After a season of excess, relaxing is key to beating the January blues. There’s a reason why animals hibernate throughout winter – we mammals have an instinct to curl up, get warm and preserve energy in the colder months. Though it’s not always possible to completely check out from work and demands of everyday life, we can indulge in pockets of downtime. So, make it a ritual. Appoint your favourite scented candles, run a bath with indulgent salts and soaks, and envelop yourself in a snug bathrobe and unbelievably fluffy Egyptian cotton towels. Check out our guide to the ultimate cosy night in for more self-care tips.
There’s nothing more invigorating than a stroll in the fresh air. The hit of daylight ups your serotonin levels (your body’s very own feelgood chemical) and vitamin D, which help boost your mood and immune system. It’s great for your mental health, and can help with seasonal affective disorder. Plus, one Japanese study found that ‘forest bathing’ (walking through woods) decreases levels of stress hormones and increases intracellular anti-cancer proteins. Wrap up warm to fully prep: stock up on base layers like women's thermals, men's thermals and kids' thermals.
Nearly half of adults in the UK admit they don’t get a decent night’s sleep; not great news when sleep has so many health benefits, from lowering stress to boosting our immune systems. A minimum of seven hours a night is recommended for an adult, so what do you do if you don’t feel like you’re getting enough? It could be your bedroom setup. Simple changes, from choosing the right pillow for your sleeping style to making sure you have the correct duvet for the time of year, all help. Another tip is practising good pre-sleep rituals, such as a warm bath filled with sleep-inducing essential oils – apparently the temperature drop our bodies experience when we get out of the bath mimics our natural cooling when we’re ready to fall asleep. Clever.
After the indulgence of Christmas, a healthy diet is a great way to feel better come January – and it really doesn't have to be complicated. "First, think about getting your five fruit and veg a day,” says M&S senior nutritionist Laura Street. “Choose wholegrains to add fibre, and a source of protein every day. Keep it varied – choosing seasonal fruit and veg can be a great way to get lots of different vitamins and minerals.” Experiment with colours and flavours, cooking up a storm with fresh new saucepans, roasting trays and kitchen utensils. When you’re done, make the most of leftovers with our handy kitchen storage solutions.
Words: Michelle Chai
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