How To Achieve Anything

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You have all heard the saying “You can achieve anything if you work hard enough”, and it is true.  If you want to achieve something then you will find a way.  Nothing is truly impossible or too hard if you can plan for it.  I use a method which works for me, I am very visual and tend to work better when I make lists and diagrams and have charts to refer to and today I am going to share my method of achieving anything I want.

  1. Write down what it is that you want to achieve, whether it be cleaning the house top to bottom or writing a dissertation.  Make this the centre title of your page.
  2. Surround this “title” with all the things you will need in order to achieve this goal.  For example – if you want to clean the house you might write things like “dusters, hoover, mop, anti-bac spray, bleach” if it were your dissertation you may want to write titles of books to read, topics to research, stationery supplies you may require.  Anything can go in this word cloud, if it makes sense to you, write it down.
  3. Now we need to look at steps involved in achieving the goal, for a clean house this would be something like 1) Sweep floor, 2) hoover, 3) mop.  For writing a dissertation you may want to make a list of similar steps such as 1) Decide on the dissertation topic, 2) Research by reading x,y z books or reading online articles, 3) Make notes, 4) decide on cohesive chapters for dissertation, 5) Research x,y,z topics.
  4. When is the goal to be achieved by?  Once you have pinpointed when the completion date is, you can then start to look at breaking down your steps in the above section, and assign them their own mini completion time.
  5. Is there anything you need to take into consideration with achieving your goal?  If you need a friend’s help for example, or if you need to brush up on a skill or learn something new then factor this into your goal timescale and make these things a priority.
  6. Work on your goal by achieving each step within your set timescale.  I find working on things, especially bigger projects, little and often is better than trying to achieve the goal in a short period of time.

I know that these steps won’t work for everyone but the basics will,

  • Know your goal.
  • Know your timescale.
  • Know what you need.
  • Know your steps.
  • Focus and  little by little your goal will become closeer and more achievable.
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How to Develop Your Own Fashion Style

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I am a big fan of fashion but an even bigger fan of creating my own style using fashion pieces mixed with tried and tested favorites that I already own, for me, it is more about how I curate my look rather than where I buy it.  In this post, I will be discussing ways to develop your own fashion style and give you some ideas on how to create your own look.

Developing your own fashion style is a bit like creating your own brand, choosing a color palette, patterns, accessories and a host of other things, that when bought together, create a look that is uniquely yours.

Firstly, I like to think about color and decide on a primary color – red, yellow or blue.  Don’t worry about the tone of the color, you could choose rose, mustard or turquoise as they are still part of the “primary color” family.  This color will be used for the basics of your style – the t-shirts, vest tops, jumpers, all those items that can be thrown together with anything you own.

Next, I like to think about patterns.  The pattern you pick, whether stripes, floral, gingham, zigzag, will be used to create a set of separates – dresses, tops, trousers, skirts, etc.  Choose patterns in colorways that will complement the color you chose in the first step as this will guarantee that you have a series of things that go together from the off.  I am really into black and white stripes at the moment which goes with any color.

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Image from https://www.sessions.edu/color-calculator/

Thirdly, choose a color opposite the primary color you chose in the first step.

  • Red = yellow-green, green, blue-green.
  • Yellow = red-violet, violet, blue-violet.
  • Blue = red-orange, orange, yellow-orange.

These are called complementary colors and work well together, acting as an enhancer of the other color.  These colors will be used for accessories such as jewelry, bags, shoes and, belts.

From this, you can assess what style you are most comfortable in or what style you wear on a regular basis.  Is this style formal, smart casual, casual, laid back, sporty or something else?  I am most comfortable and reach for items that are loose fit, boho, hippy and that have a beach/festival vibe.

Before buying anything go and see what you have in your wardrobe and think about things you can already wear.  Sometimes, by just re-thinking what you would wear with which item can give your style a new lease of life.  Note down any gaps in your attire and decide whether you are going to get that item in your primary or complementary color or in your chosen pattern.

Remember things such as jeans and jackets can be re-vamped and styled with ease, and you will probably have lots of items that can help to form the basis of your style, or help you to transition into your new look!  Try pairing black jeans, trousers or leggings with a bright t-shirt, blazer, and bright handbag and shoes!

I have found, since developing my own fashion style I always have something to wear to any occasion, I spend less time thinking about what I am going to wear, love all items in my wardrobe, they all get worn and I spend less time making terrible shopping choices!  In fact, I spend less on clothes now that I am happy with my style rather than buying off the peg outfits in a hurry.

What is your go-to fashion style?

How to Bullet Journal

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I have been using a bullet journal on and off for years now, some of them have been really creative while others have been more functional.  I have now settled into a style that works for me, it’s a mix of creative and functional with the most creative aspect of my journal being the page I dedicate to the month title.

I have never been one for following rules, and the traditional Bullet Journal Method of rapid logging doesn’t really appeal to me so I tend to borrow ideas from diaries and mish-mash them with things that I need in order to function on a day to day basis.

I wanted to share with you my tips and tricks I have learned along the way and how I bullet journal so today’s post is dedicated to this.

First up, let’s talk about the actual “journal”.  I want to start by saying that you really do not need to buy any kind of brand journal, any kind of notebook will do.  It doesn’t matter if the pages are lined, blank, dotted, graph or grid, whatever tickles your fancy will do nicely!  My personal preference is for a dotted grid that isn’t too dark.  Brand-wise, you can go with any, I have used cheap books from Amazon (which have no brand name), cheap notebooks from the supermarket, Lechtturm 1917, Scribbles That Matter, Flying Tiger and one that I picked up in my local TK Maxx.  The brand really does not matter, it’s what you make it be that counts!

Tools

You may have seen people on social media and blogs talking about this pen, that pencil, this washi, those stickers and a whole other myriad of “essential” stationery needs for your bullet journal.  My advice… disregard all that you have read.  Here’s a list of tools you will need.

  • Your favorite pen, ink color of your preference.
  • A graphite pencil.  Any kind will do.
  • A ruler or straight edge.
  • A few other pens in different colors, gel or fine liners work really well as do ball pens.
  • Eraser, accept that you will make mistakes, an eraser will help to remove most.
  • Post-it notes.

Now, before you even start on creating your journal, sit down with a pen and a piece of paper and write down a list of things you want your journal to have and what you want to use that journal for.  Each person has a different list of wants and needs and reasons to use a journal.

The main thing that is needed in a journal is diary space for logging things.  This can take up several different formats depending on what you want to use the journal for.

  • Future log – an overview of several months that you can add information such as Birthdays and other Occasions in little detail.  Usually, this will take up 2 or more pages.
  • Monthly overview – a page dedicated to just one month where you can log upcoming appointments in a bit more detail.
  • Weekly log – this can cover one page or 2 depending on the amount of detail you want to add to each day.
  • Daily log – a page dedicated to each day, where you have the whole page to use for recording things.

Basic Set Up

The next thing to decide is whether you want a divider page between each month.  Once you have answered that question you can then move on to thinking about the running order of your journal.  My personal preference is

  1. Future Log over 4 pages (title on the facing page then on the double page 8 months, and on the reverse another 4 months).
  2. Monthly title page on the next available facing page.
  3. Monthly overview on the reverse of the monthly title page.
  4. Weekly pages for the month over a double page.
  5. Repeat 2-4.

This is your basic set up.

There are so many ways to set up your weekly pages, columns, rows, squares, rectangles…a peek at Instagram will show you so many different ways.  Decide which layout is best for you. I find that rows and rectangles work best for me and alternate between the two every month.

Other Pages to Consider

Some people like to add a Key to their journal, a page of symbols or color coding that correlates to certain items in their journal, it is useful to add this to the beginning of your journal if you want to use one.  There may be other requirements you have for your journal, like shopping lists, trackers and other things.  Some pages you may wish to insert into your basic set up are

  • Trackers.  There are so many different things you may want to track, water intake, medication, sleep, steps, exercise.
  • Shopping lists.
  • Notes.
  • Checklists.
  • Projects.
  • Ideas.
  • Thoughts.
  • Daily/weekly/monthly reflections.

You can add these things in between your daily/weekly pages or at the beginning or end of the month, or you can have a whole section dedicated just to these kinds of pages. There is no wrong or right way when it comes to placement, remember it is your journal.

Making a Start

I like to start by opening a new Excel spreadsheet, in the first column I make a list of each page number (the amount will depend on how many pages are available in your chosen journal).  In the following column, I start to map out how I want my pages to flow, from my Future Log onwards and listing each page as if I were flicking through it.  This step gives me an idea of how many pages I will use and helps me to work out how many pages will be used and for what.  You don’t really need to use this step if you don’t want to.

I then map out in my journal the first few pages, firstly using post-it notes labeled with the title of the page or the date range those pages will cover so that I can get a feel for how the layout will be.  Again this is an optional step but helps me to make fewer mistakes or miss things out.

Creating Your Pages

Now is time to put pencil to paper and map out your pages.  Always, always, always start with a pencil!  Any mistakes you make can easily be corrected, and once you are happy with the way things look you can then commit to your design with a pen, trust me on this…I’ve messed up a ton and pencil is so much easier to rectify!

You can make your pages as intricate or as plain as you want, play around and have fun creating something that is useful and will be used by you!  Use as many or as few colors as you want, be minimal with your designs, be maximal, whatever you fancy!

Collections

I don’t really use collections but I thought it may be useful to mention here.  Collections are series’ of pages that log certain things.  collections can be lists of books to be read, films to watch, bucket lists, travel lists, packing lists, cleaning lists, and rotas… this kind of page is normally placed towards the back of your journal.

Bullet Journal Terms

Here’s a list of terms and definitions that may be useful

  • Future log – Overview of the yea
  • Monthly log – Overview of the current month
  • 2 Page Spread – usually a layout which spans 2 pages, normally a left hand and right-hand page.
  • Key – a series of symbols or colors that are assigned to certain events or tasks.
  • Week to a page – a week that is contained to just one page of your journal.
  • Week on 2 pages –  a weekly layout spread over 2 pages.
  • Tracker – a little infographic for you to capture information on whatever you want to track.

I hope you found this post useful.  Do you currently use a bullet journal?  What are your most useful pages?  If you don’t use a bullet journal, what would you use one for?

 

What Are Soapnuts?!

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I have been using Soapnuts for a while now and today I want to share with you just what they are!

I discovered soapnuts a few years back when I was looking for ways to be more eco-friendly, reduce the amount of plastic that I use and minimise the number of chemicals in my day to day life.

Soapnuts are not really nuts at all, they are berries that come from a species of shrub that is part of the Lychee family.  The shrub is called Sapindus and grows in several different places, namely Asia, both Northern and Southern.  The berries have high saponins which work as a detergent and have been used for many years in Asian countries.

Soapnuts can be used to clean a multitude of things, from surfaces, dishes, body and hair.

How I use Soapnuts.

I have been using soapnuts mainly to do my laundry and have replaced shop bought laundry detergent with soapnuts for pretty much all the washing that I now do.  I bought my soapnuts from here.  They came in a cloth bag, and the big draw for me was that there was 280 washes worth, they are compostable and are natural, no chemicals or other nasties that can work their way into our waterways.  They are really easy to use, just pop a few into a muslin bag and tie shut, place in with your laundry and set your machine for the regular cycle you would normally use.  Once the washing is done, dry in the normal way.

The nuts have no scent so I like to add a few drops of essential oil to the nuts before adding to the wash or I use a liquid, ecological conditioner (such as this Ecover one), though not having my clothes smell of anything does not bother me too much.  The soapnuts don’t leave your clothes smelling weird, they just don’t have any scent at all.  You can use the soapnuts two or three times before replacing.

Once the soapnuts have been used for laundry I like to collect them up, and when I have about 25 to 30 shells I place them into hot water and boil for 10 minutes.  I then use the water to rinse my hair or add to a bucket to mop over the floor.  The liquid can also be used to wash the dishes in or can be kept in a spray bottle and used for cleaning worktops.

The soapnuts don’t foam, which at first was really weird for me to get my head around after many years of being used to having soap suds being created when doing any type of cleaning.  It is hard to get your head around the idea that something that doesn’t foam can actually be effectively cleaning things.

I have found that soapnuts clean my laundry really well and lift out dirt and stains as well as regular, shop bought detergents, they don’t fade or discolour fabrics and seem to deal pretty well with things like deodorant build up too.

Have you tried soapnuts?  What are your thoughts about them?  Do you have any other uses for them?  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

What is a Blogger?

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When I say to people that I blog, most of them assume that I just write and publish to the internet but there are a lot of other things bloggers like me do aside from writing.  Today I am sharing with you what a blogger is.

First and foremost a blogger is a writer, we write about lots of different things.  There are blogs that people write about gardening, mental health, reviews on products, books, fashion and beauty.  You name the topic and I’m sure there will be a blog post written about it somewhere on the internet.

We are content creators, we are constantly thinking about things that would be interesting to write about and things that fit into our blog niche.

We are photographers, taking photos of things that we can add to our posts, and alongside that we are image editors, tweaking our photos digitally to enhance the lighting, shadows and making the most of the subject we have chosen to capture.

We are graphics creators.  We use different software’s to create page banners, logos and other items that we can add into our posts and social media channels to make them more visually appealing.

We are editors, writing posts and then re-reading them and checking them for grammatical and spelling errors, often re-writing parts of sentences and even whole paragraphs to make them easier to read.

We are social media marketers.  We share our blogs on different platforms in the hope that other people will want to read the posts we have written.

We are website designers, choosing how our blogs look to the outside world and how they operate.  We run checks to make sure that links work and things appear as they should and where they should.

We are schedulers.  We often work out a schedule of posting that fits in with the rest of our lives, sometimes this is easy to do and other times it can be hard.  Some people choose to blog daily and others work to a one post a week schedule.  We can be driven by self-imposed deadlines and try our hardest to stick to the schedule we have.

We are “stats” people.  Many of us are interested in the stats we generate, from page views to likes, comments and follows.  We like to keep tabs on this information and try to make sense of it.

We are readers and researchers.  We are always reading about things to do with our subjects and are interested in any new developments.  We research our topics to make sure that our facts and writing are correct and that our thoughts and arguements are well rounded.

We are not takers and makers.  We often have books full of ideas and thoughts, things we can do and things we need to do, things to look into and ways to improve.

But above all, we are human.  We make mistakes and we have days where we don’t want to get out of bed or leave the house.  We have lives outside of our blogs, we shop, we meet friends for coffee, we cook and eat food.  And we are all unique in what we write, what we post and what we do.

Simple Swaps to Become More Eco Friendly

The easiest way to become more eco-friendly is to analyse the things you use on a day-to-day basis and seek out versions that are more environmentally friendly.  Here’s a list of things you may want to consider switching to…

  • Shower Gel in plastic bottles to bar soap.
  • Shampoo and conditioner in bottles to solid versions.
  • Cleaning products to more eco-friendly versions.
  • Plastic toothbrushes to wooden ones.
  • Vacuum cleaners to sweeping brush.
  • Plastic wrap for silicone wrap or beeswax wrap.
  • Plastic carrier bags to canvas totes.
  • Plastic single use drinks bottles for re-usable ones.

You could switch plastic wrapped food items, particularly plastic packaged goods, to loose dried goods that can be packaged in your own re-usable containers or look for goods that are packed in glass or tin that can be recycled or re-used.

Cut down on the amount of electric and gas that you use by turning things off instead of leaving on standby, or by turning your heating down a few degrees or off completely when you don’t need to use it.  When there is a chill in the air, put on more clothing or wrap up with a blanket instead.

Try to grow some of your own veg if you have the garden space or apply for an allotment to grow things in.

Buy local produce where possible, markets are a good place to start as they are usually stocked with local farmers produce and can work out cheaper than buying from a supermarket.

Check each piece of rubbish that is entering your bin to see if you can re-cycle it, you may be surprised at what you can put aside to recycle.

This is only a short list of suggestions…what other things can you think of to help becoming more eco?

Ways to Become More Eco-Friendy

Becoming more eco-friendly is not just about reducing the amount of plastic that we use, nor is it just making sure that we re-cycle or re-use items as  much as possible, there are so many other things we can do to help the environment and reduce the impact that we have on it, and there are ways that we can help other earth inhabitants to not just survive but to thrive too.  And each little step we take to help our environment goes a long way towards helping us and Earth to survive.

Earth Day, this year, was about raising awareness, and putting into action, plans to Protect Our Species, from tiny insects to larger animals, and there are so many ways we can do our bit to help.

Bees are one of the many declining insects in our world, without them and other insects, we would have no food supplies, we rely on these little creatures to pollinate crops that give us our food.  With no insects we would have no corn, no salads, no crops, no coffee…nothing.  We can help to increase their numbers in lots of different ways – planting bee friendly plants and flowers, encouraging insects into our garden spaces by making insect houses and reducing our use of pesticides.  There is plenty more that we can do from inside the house too, things like reducing the amount of aerosols we use, a good example is to switch from spray canned antiperspirants and using block deodorants instead (I’m especially fond of Lush’s Sunflower Deodorant), using less harsh chemicals when cleaning our homes by making our own cleaners or choosing products that are less harmful to the environment.

Being a more conscious shopper can also help the environment.  Choosing to source and buy more local produce will lead to less carbon emissions, support the local producers and encourage them to plant more crops which, in turn, will encourage more wildlife to stay in the area and survive.  Think about how far the items you buy have had to travel to get to you and take steps to reduce the mileage travelled by each product you buy.

Choose products that will last longer, opt for garments that have been made from materials that are not as harmful to the environment, and where possible, try to steer clear of fast fashion or outfits that you may use only once.  If clothing is ripped or has a hole, opt to mend it rather than replace, and if a garment is dirty or stained then learn the tricks and tips to get stains out rather than add it to landfill.  If that isn’t possible then see if you can salvage parts of it and re-make into something else you can continue to wear or use for a time.

Reduce food waste, create a meal plan and buy only what you need.  If you cook too much food for a meal see if you can use it in another meal or have the leftovers for lunch the following day.  i regularly have pasta and will then have it cold the following day for lunch with a salad.  Freeze leftovers and have them at a later date if you don’t fancy eating it the following day.  If you have foodstuffs that are nearing their expiry date and you know you are not going to use them up, see if friends and family would like to have them instead, or, see if you can invite friends and family over and use the items in a feast.

There is so much more that we can be doing for the survival of all species if we just use our brains more and think about what we are doing.  I’m sure that there are lots of other ways we can become more eco-friendly.  What tips do you have?  Let me know in the comments….

Earth Day

Earth Day is fast approaching and takes place on 22nd April.  This day sees people taking part in all sorts of activities that aim to spread awareness, start a movement to get things done, and take action against things that are harming our planet or that will help species to survive.

Many people will start or sign petitions, others will hold a local area clean up day, some will hand out leaflets about how we can take steps to help the bees, some organisations will help promote green living, reduce plastic, educate on things we can re-use or recycle.

This day is a day to take steps to help our planet.  I intend to take a bag out with me and pick up any litter I see, brin it home and re-cycle it or dispose of it in the proper manner.  If we all did this on a day to day basis there would be less litter getting into our sewers and waterways, less then making its way to the sea, and there would be less damage being done to the eco-system, fewer animals being killed by our selfish, lazy ways and our streets would be cleaner environments for us to live in too.

What will you do this Earth Day?