In Case You Missed It

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In Case You Missed It is a new series that I started last month.  This series gives you a chance to discover some of my favorite posts that I wrote in the previous month.  This month I am looking back at some of my favorite posts for June.

  • Wanna Know You Better  I was tagged by Riya of World of My Thoughts to take part in this getting to know you better question and answer series.  I had a load of fun answering the questions and letting you guys know a bit more about me.  I am really interested in taking part in more of these question and answer posts!
  • Diary, Planner and Journal Review  I really enjoy seeing how my planning style evolves, what works, what doesn’t and all the bits in between!  I am sure I always say that I have found what works for me and by the next post about my planners and planning style I have gone and changed it again!
  • The Bloggers Bash Review  What can I say?  It was a fabulous day of learning, listening, and networking and in this post, I tell you all about my favorite parts of the day!
  • Garden Update  I never really thought I was a “gardening” sort of person but it turns out that gardening is something I really enjoy.  I had been talking A LOT about gardening in other posts so thought it would be nice to share with you what I have done and my plans for the future!  It will be interesting to look back on this post in years to come and see how much my garden has changed!
  • House Plants  I really believe that the addition of house plants to any area can really change the atmosphere of that space, they add a calming influence, not to mention that they can be beneficial to our health.  I loved sharing my plants in this post.
  • 1 Year In My Home!!!!  I think that this is definitely a milestone worth not just recording but for celebrating too!  I’ve never really lived on my own before and having been in my home for a year is worth blogging about!
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New Blog Series – Words on Wednesday

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I am always thinking about things; ideas that I have, thoughts, conversations, comments, opinions, annoyances, observations, the list goes on…,  and sometimes I think that I would like to share these things over my blog, but never really do as they either don’t fit into any of my blog categories, are something that is pretty current and my schedule is full or they are things that don’t warrant a full blog post dedicated to them.  This is where my new series, Words on Wednesday will fit.  Each Wednesday there will be a post called “Words on Wednesday” which will be a post about, well, anything, I am letting myself be led by my thoughts and see what happens when I have a free thinking space in which to air my views, thoughts, and goodness knows what else that may flow from my brain to my fingertips and onto this screen…we shall see what happens and where this takes me!

So, if you are interested, Words on Wednesday will be starting here on Wednesday next week!

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?

 

Bloggers Bash

Today’s blog post is being written on a coach as I make my way from my home to London for the weekend!

I’m pretty excited about this trip as, not only am I getting to spend some time with my brother, his wife and my niece and nephew, I’m also going to be attending the Bloggers Bash!

I was up super early this morning, 4:30am and getting ready for my trip, made myself a flask for coffee for the journey and headed to the bus stop, (with thanks to my lovely friend for the lift down), to await the bus that would pick me up at 6:05am.

Luckily the bus was on time, and so far the journey has gone without a glitch. It’s been raining pretty much non stop since last night and showers are forecast for the day and for tomorrow which is a bit disappointing as it’s June and we should be having hot, sunny weather by now. Personally though, I don’t mind travelling when the temperatures are a bit cooler as it can get a bit unpleasant if it’s too hot!

What are your plans for the weekend? Are you going to the Bloggers Bash? Let me know in the comments!!!

Things I Am Looking Forward To – Summer

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I can’t quite believe that we are nearly halfway through the year and with that, we are all set to welcome Summer into our lives.  I can’t wait for the arrival of Summer and this post is just a little list of all the things I am looking forward to!

  • Warmer days.
  • Lighter clothes.
  • Dresses and bare legs.
  • Sandals.
  • The scent of sunscreen.
  • Barbeques.
  • Time in the garden in the evenings.
  • Butterflies.
  • Bright flowers.
  • Blue skies.
  • Better weather.
  • Beach walks.
  • Warm nights.
  • Stargazing.
  • Ice lollies.
  • Fruit and salads.
  • Cool, refreshing drinks.
  • Fun.
  • Being outdoors.

There is so much more Summer has to offer us, what are you most looking forward to?  Let me know in the comments!

Mental Health and Me – An Update

img_4183I’ve been thinking about writing this post since my last mental health update which was back in February.  In that post, I had been to see the Occupational Therapist and was returning to work.  I had been advised to do a phased return into work, starting with shorter hours and increasing them over a period of weeks until I was back working full time.  It was also agreed that I would have regular meetings with my line manager just to make sure everything was ok.

I’m now back in work full time and have been working 37.5 hours a week since 8th April.  My phased return went well and it was surprising how quickly I adapted to being back in work which had been one of my main worries.  My work colleagues have been ok, though I am finding that some of them seem to be acting a bit differently to me.  Whether this is just how I am perceiving things or not, I’m not sure.  I also have not had any meetings with my line manager about how I am getting on which is a bit disappointing.  I know that I could always approach my manager but in all honesty, it makes me feel a bit awkward.  Not only am I doing ok but I also feel like, as it was something that was suggested by my manager then really they should be checking up with me.

I’m still on my medication, it was agreed with the Dr to increase my Sertraline from 100mg to 150mg and that dosage seems to be the one that is working best for me.  I am sleeping a lot better in the night’s now, though I am still not getting a proper full night of rest.  I am still feeling anxiety and stress but it is a lot easier to cope with now.  I have been making sure to utilise some of the things I have learned in mindfulness courses on a day to day basis.

I am also eating a lot better and generally taking better care of myself.  I have times when I need to be alone just to recharge my energy but those times seem to be moments when I take time out to do things I love to do, blogging, reading, thinking…

I have started to expand my hobbies and have started to work in my garden.  I have ideas to turn it into a really lovely space over the next few months.  I don’t really know where this love of gardening has come from but I do know that it is never something I even imagined that I would like let alone enjoy.

I have learned to listen to my body more, and have realised that it is ok to have off days where plans remain unchecked, that it is ok to take a nap in the afternoon and that it is ok to say no when I need to.  I know that these are small steps but they are all helping me on my journey to wellness.

Whether I will be able to reduce my medication or to ever not have anxiety, stress or depression is something that only time will be able to reveal, but for the moment I feel like I am doing ok, and doing ok is fine by me.

A Day In My Life – Weekend

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I love the weekend, a break from work, lie in and lazy days to spend the time as you want!  Today I am sharing with you what a typical weekend day looks like for me!

9:30am.  Wake up.  I tend to go to bed late on a Friday night as I know I don’t have to be up so early in the morning.   I love waking up on the weekend without having the alarm blaring in my ear, instead, I just wake naturally, or Roxy wakes me up!  We lay in bed and have a morning snuggle while I decide what we should do for the day!

10:00am.  I wander downstairs in my pj’s and make a coffee and breakfast of toast or cereal, Roxy goes to investigate in the garden.  When she comes back in we go and sit on the sofa, she will have a snooze and I tend to catch up on some of the blogs I follow, reply to blog comments and sip my coffee.

11:00am.  I usually get dressed around 11am after I have decided what I will do with my day which depends on the weather a lot of the time!

11:30am.  I tend to sort a load of clothes washing to be done and bung that in the washing machine while the kettle is boiling for another coffee.  I wash up and wipe down the kitchen worktops and put any re-cycling out into the bin.

11:45am.  I begin what I have planned for the day!  If the weather is good then I tend to spend some time out in the garden, doing some weeding or ground preparation work.  If the weather is cold, damp or raining I retreat to my living room with my notebook and pen, diary and my laptop and work on my blog ideas, schedule and upcoming posts that need to be written.

1:00pm.  By this time I am usually hungry and am thinking about what to have for lunch.  A lot of the time, my lunch at the weekend will be my main meal so I will cook something and eat that.

1:30pm.  Once the washing has been done and spun a few times and I have finished my lunch I will hang it all up to dry.  I wash up my lunch dishes and make another coffee.  While my coffee is cooling I like to read a bit of the book I am currently reading or I will read some blogs online.

2:00pm.  Roxy and I head out for a nosey about or have a play in the garden.  She loves to play fetch with her toys or go for a walk down the canal near where I live.

3:00pm.  Around now Roxy and I are back inside.  I usually work on some graphics for my blog for a few hours.  This can be the most time-consuming part of my blog life!

5:00pm.  I call my parents and check in with them!  It’s always nice to hear how their week has been and what they have been up to over the weekend and what they have planned.  A lot of the time I will arrange a day to pop by and see them in the week.

6:00pm.  I re-check the weather and if it is dry out I spend some time in the garden.  I much prefer working in the garden in the evenings rather than in the day.  My garden gets a ton of sunshine all day round so can be quite hot at times so evenings are better when everything is starting to cool down.  In the colder months or when the weather isn’t too good, I tend to use this time to read or work on some projects.

8:00pm.  Shower time!  I have a shower and get my PJs back on!  There is nothing nicer than having a shower and putting fresh PJs on after a day of doing things!

8:45pm.  Roxy and I snuggle down on the sofa, usually with a cup of tea and the blankets!  I will find something to watch, either a film or series on Netflix and we sit and watch that for a bit.  I normally have something to eat around this time, soup and toast is a current favourite!

11:30pm.  Roxy and I start to get ready for bed around now.  Often I will take a cup of tea and my book to bed with me and will read into the small hours!  Roxy snuggles up beside me and is asleep as soon as her head touches the pillow!

What does your typical weekend day look like?  I’d love to know!