K is for KonMarie

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You can find information about the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge here or read the rest of my A to Z posts by following this link.

Today marks the 11th day of the Blogging From A – Z Challenge and that means today’s corresponding letter is the letter K.  Today I am writing about the KonMarie Method and why it didn’t work for me.

I’m sure most people have heard of Marie Kondo and her book “Life Changing Magic of Tidying” which was published in 2016 with a follow-up book “Spark Joy” following in the following year, 2017.  Since then there has also been a programme “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo” which is available on Netflix.  The method that Marie Kondo teaches, fondly referred to as KonMarie, with regard to our stuff and things, is to hold a “tidying festival” and go through our belongings in a set way, starting with clothing and ending with kimono (miscellaneous).  It involves piling all the items together that belong in each category, so for clothes you would gather every item of clothing you own, from jumpers, underwear, sportswear, hats, gloves, shoes, boots, into a pile and start going through them.  That sounds easy enough, but you have to hold each item and thank it, decide whether it sparks joy or not and then discard any item which doesn’t leave you feeling joyful.  Then you need to fold the items you will keep in a certain way and put them away.  Not only will everything you own, eventually, spark joy from within but you end up with a nice, tidy home with space for everything you own.

This sounds like a really good way to decide on what to keep and what not to, but for me, well, I started with my clothes and got rid of a fair amount of things which didn’t spark any sort of feeling for me at the time.   I did end up with a really tidy home which was a positive outcome, and my book shelves and drawers, cupboards and wardrobes never looked more organised and tidy.  But, what didn’t work for me started further down the line, a few months later.

I found that, even though I had willingly gotten rid of things and had this whole neat space around me, I started to regret getting rid of things.  It started with a coat that I had got rid of.  Admittedly, I had not worn it for a year or so but I missed it being there, ready to reach for whenever I wanted it.  Then there were books that had gone that I suddenly wanted to re-read, decorations that I wanted to put out and vases that I no longer had that would have been useful at the time.  I found that “joy” for me, is a pretty subjective feeling.  One day I can really love something, and the next it just be forgotten about, then I will re-discover it and love it again, and this goes in cycles, happening to all of my belonging, not just clothes.  And for this reason, Marie Kondo and the KonMarie method really didn’t work for me.  Not just that, but all the things I said goodbye to, have pretty much been replaced with similar items as time has gone on.

Have you tried the KonMarie Method?  Did it work for you?

 

E is for Evening Skincare Routine

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You can find information about the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge here or read the rest of my A to Z posts by following this link.

The Blogging From A to Z April Challenge is in its 5th day and that means today’s letter is E!  Today I am going to be sharing with you my Evening Skincare Routine!

You can find information about the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge here or read the rest of my A to Z posts by following this link.

***This post contains affiliate links to products. I may receive a small commission for purchases made through these links.***

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My skincare routine of an evening is really different to my morning skincare routine and focuses on cleansing, exfoliation, face masks and rehydrating my skin.

My skin is fairly dry and flaky due to an underactive thyroid in part and also due to the office environment that I work in though my t-zone can be oily on occasion and I get stress related eczema around my nose and on my forehead too.  I get the odd breakout of spots and blackheads, this last week my skin has been pretty bad because of the weather.  I wear make-up every day that I am in work but when I am at home I don’t really wear any make-up unless I am going out or having friends around for an evening in.

In the evening I like to remove my make up using Dr Organic Rose Otto Cleansing Milk with my facial brush.  I like using my facial brush as it loosens all the make-up, dirt and dead skin cells gently whilst also improving the skin circulation, it is a really gentle way for me to exfoliate without being too harsh on my skin.  I follow this up with Dr Organic Rose Otto Toner which removes all traces of cleanser and leaves my skin feeling really refreshed and helps to prepare my skin for the next step in my cleansing routine.

I use my Garnier Pure Active 3 in 1 Clay Mask-Scrub-Wash 2 times a week as a face scrub.  I have been using this product for a few years now and really like that the scrub particles are made from pumice which makes it a more eco-friendly scrub than some others which use plastic micro particles.  The pumice is really fine and works wonders on the drier parts of my skin leaving my skin bright and soft and less prone to break outs due to the eucalyptus and salicylic acid ingredients.

On other days I use Calm Skin Soothing Facial Wash from Superdrug, using my hands to apply and Facial Sponges to remove with hot water.  This face wash really helps to calm my skin and is really gentle without any drying effects.

Once a week, after I have double cleansed my skin I use a face mask.  I prefer to use a clay mask and love Skintruth Equalising Face Mask (which I had as part of a skincare set).  This face mask is salon quality and I found out about the brand through the Beauty Therapy course that I undertook a few years ago.  This mask has been formulated specially for Oily/Combination skin and is perfect for evening out my skin tone and balancing the dry/oily areas of my face.  I use this mask when I feel that my skin is becoming unbalanced and more oily in my t-zone.  I also love N-Spa Skin Glow Mud Mask (which you can get in Asda) and will rotate use of this with the Skintruth mask.  This mask has a very similar effect on my skin and balances out the oily/dry parts of my face.

When I need a bit more moisture I really like Creighton’s Photo Perfect Get Ready Mask. (I bought mine in Asda but they don’t seem to have it available on the website, Creighton’s site have it here though).  This mask is a creamy/jelly mask and is not drying like clay based masks which is brilliant to use when I have super dry patches of skin that are in need of a lot of moisture.  I like to use this mask when I have a hot bath as the steam and heat from the bath really open up your pores and help the product to penetrate the skin.  This mask always leaves my skin looking healthy, glowing, moisturised and peachy soft.

I always remove face masks with my facial sponges and warm water and follow with Dr Organic Rose Otto Toner to remove any last traces of mask from my skin.

I like to follow-up with moisturiser and will use Nivea Soft after I have exfoliated or used a clay based mask.  This is a thick cream which absorbs well into my skin and, come the morning, my skin feels more hydrated.  I use Superdrug Calm Skin Overnight Face Mask once or twice a week and apply to the areas of my face that are starting to look dull and de-hydrated more than applying all over my face as I find this quite a heavy product for my skin, that said, it works wonders and sorts my dry skin, and eczema patches out really nicely!

I also use Superdrug’s Calm Skin De-Stress Balancing Facial Oil in place of a moisturiser, usually after I have used Creightons Photo Perfect Get Ready Mask as it adds an extra shot of moisture to my skin and keeps it looking calm and smooth.

***This post contains affiliate links to products. I may receive a small commission for purchases made through these links.***

C is for Crafts

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You can find information about the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge here or read the rest of my A to Z posts by following this link.

Today, the Blogging from A – Z Challenge is the letter C, and I thought I would do a post dedicated to crafts, crafts that I have tried and crafts that I would like to try at some point.  I will be sharing what these crafts are and why they appeal to me.

Crafts I have tried

  • Artist Trading Cards.  I discovered Artist Trading Cards (also known as ATC’s) several years ago through a friend on Live Journal (remember that blogging platform?!).  These are little works of art that are made on card that is 2.5 x 3.5 inches in size (the same size as playing cards).  The artist creates artwork on them that is, usually, in their normal style and then these would be traded with other artists, a bit like business cards would be traded among business persons.  I really liked making ATC’s as the size was perfect to create on and less daunting than a full size canvas and I liked how quickly you could make artwork.  I also liked how versatile you could be, trying new techniques or skills you have learned.  I have not made any for a while as I don’t have anyone to trade with….
  • Calligraphy.  Calligraphy is a really intricate and ornate form of handwriting that is undertaken with an ink pen and special pen nibs.  Sometime nibs are wide, others are really flexible and can produce a huge, stunning range of different effects.  You can find loads of videos on the internet of people practicing calligraphy and I’ve spent many an hour mesmerised by the whole process.  As with all hand lettering, this is something that you really need to take time over and practice to achieve really good effects.  I really wish I had the patience to sit and practice daily to improve my writing.
  • Candle Making.  I have written a whole post on candle making which you can find here.  I really like being able to make candles as presents and with the range of scent options available you can make something truly personalised to that persons style.  I have since started to make wax melts which is a perfect way to use up any left over wax and scents.
  • Card Making.  I started out making cards for friends and family back in the early 2000’s as I couldn’t always find cards that I liked or that were suitable.  I really enjoyed the whole process, from thinking about ideas for cards, hunting for the right papers and making embellishments to seeing the face of the receiver when I gave them the card I had spent time making.  I enjoyed it so much that I started to make and sell them.  I stopped making cards when I started uni as I didn’t have the time and my creative energies were spent on my class projects but I’m now slowly starting to get back into making cards for family and friends again.
  • Ceramics.  I played around with ceramics in the 90’s when I was in school and I really loved making things from clay and glazing and firing them.  I was never really sure how they would look until they came out of the oven so there was always an element of surprise.  I would really like to try this again but don’t have the space for a ceramics oven or the funds to be able to afford to take this up at present.
  • Collage.  I was not really interested in collage until I started my Foundation Degree in Art, Media and Design where we made boards of inspirational images to use as part of our research and development stage for projects.  I really like the look of some of the collages you can find online, some of them are really well thought out and clever.  I have been thinking about using a pinboard and making my own that I can change around whenever I fancy, full of quotes and images that I find inspirational.
  • Glass Painting.  I dabbled in glass painting a few years ago and decorated vases and bottles using old nail varnishes and a black fabric paint as the design outline.  The things I created were given away as gifts.   I like the idea that you can turn even a simple coffee jar into a work of art and the object gets a new lease of life instead of being binned.  I think that combining candle making with glass painting to create decorated candle holders with the hand-made candle inside would be a lovely way to mix these two skills.
  • Jewellery Making.  My interest in jewellery making started as a kid when my Mum and Dad bought me a book about jewellery that came with some beads and jewellery findings.  I devoured the book from cover to cover and then re-read it several times!  I made all the projects in the book and then went on to buy tons of seed beads from the local market.  I learned to weave them into patterns and made bracelets, necklaces, rings and ankle chains from them.  Since then I have branched out into making charms and key chains from lots of different things like shells and toys from crackers.  Jewellery making is really fun and you can make things as complicated or as simple as you want and it’s really nie to be able to wear something you have made and get compliments on it.
  • Knitting.  My Mum taught me how to knit when I was small though I never got further than the basics and can knit a pretty nifty scarf in basic stitch now.  I dip in and out of knitting but get frustrated because it takes a lot of time to create something as I am so slow.  I also find I have to really concentrate or I forget where I am and what I am doing and drop stitches and make other mistakes so it’s not something I tend to do.  I really admire people like my mum who seem to be able to create really lovely things like jumpers and toys and appreciate the effort and time that goes into this craft though it’s not really something I can see myself getting fully immersed in.
  • Polymer Clay.  Polymer clay is so versatile.  I an’t remember when I first discovered polymer clay so I must have been fairly small at the time but it is something I always have in my craft stash.  I have made beads from it, card toppers, little trinket dishes and little ornaments.  I love that this medium can be used for so many different things, doesn’t take up too much space and you can bake it in your home oven to harden it.  It is available now in so many finishes too.
  • Print Making.  When I was a kid I used to love carving up potatoes and making prints with them and since then I have tried other methods of print making including etching, lino printing, screen printing and something my college tutor called glue prints.  Glue prints are one of my favorites and really easy to do, all you need is some thick card and PVA glue and a print medium like paint or ink.  PVA glue is used to create the image you would like, and you build up areas with layers of glue and leave it to dry in between.  Once the layers are dry you apply your print medium then place it face down onto damp paper, rub the back of it then lift up.  I’ve not done this for a while but I do have plans and ideas that I would like to try at some point soon!
  • Scrapbooking.  Scrapbooking was a natural progression as it used the same skills, and items, that I had already gained from making cards.  I started out with a 12 x 12 inch scrapbook and papers and really liked to record my memories in a creative way.  Since then I have diversified and have used other sizes of scrapbook.  I currently have a La De Dah journal that I am using as a scrapbook.  I love that you can add anything and everything to a page, whether it be journal pages, quotes, images, embellishments and really, the only boundary is your imagination.

Crafts I’d like to try

  • Book Making.  I love the idea of making my own books to journal in and would love to use all sorts of different papers.  I have seen so many lovely hand-made books and really want to give this a go at some point in the future.  These would make really lovely presents too.
  • Felting.  I really would like to try my hand at felting different things.  From what I have seen, there are so many amazing things you can make felting from cute little critters to flowers and jewellery besides a whole host of other things.  I think that I would make some felt embellishments for cards and scrapbook pages.
  • Floristry.  Floristry seems to be a craft that could be really calming.  I like the idea of creating beautiful decorations for the home using flowers and greenery.  And there really is nothing better than the scent of fresh filling your home afterwards!
  • Macrame.  Macrame is the art of knotting strings and has become really big in the last few years and can be found in wall hangings and plant holders, bags and other decorative objects.  I love the look of some of the wall hangings that have been made using the macrame technique and really would like to give it a go to create something of my own to hang up.
  • Mosaics.  I have always loved the look of mosaics and how versatile it can be in interiors, from frames to vases, table tops and floors, it is a way of injecting interest, pattern and colour to a range of different objects.  I like that you can create a mosaic using all manner of materials not just coloured tiles.
  • Soap Making.  I would like to learn how to make my own soaps and create my own scent for them and make different soaps for different types of skin.  These would be lovely to gift to friends and family as well.

 

Blogging from A to Z

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This month I am going to be taking part in  the Blogging from A to Z Challenge where each day through April, excluding Sundays, I will be working my way through the alphabet, one day at a time.  To see more about this challenge please see the link (here)

You can expect to see a post from me each day with a topic relating to that days letter, these will be posted each day except Sunday’s.  I will also be posting my usual blog posts (Top 10 Thursday, and posts on a Tuesday and Friday too).

Here’s a calendar so you can see which letters will be on which days…

Blog Calendar April A-Z Challenge

 

Planning for April’s A – Z Blog Challenge

I have decided to take part and attempt the April A – Z Blog Challenge, it is a challenge where you start on the 1st April with a topic beginning with A and work all the way to Z through the month, blogging every day, except Sundays leaving your last post – Z being published on the 30th April.

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Attempting a blog challenge seems like a nice way to push myself in my writing and topics that I may not normally cover and might be a way for you guys to learn a little bit more about me along the way!  I’m hoping that my writing skills will improve, that my photographs and images will get better and that I may learn something about myself through the whole challenge.

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But today, I’m focusing on planning for the challenge.  I had to sit down and think really hard about undertaking this challenge as I don’t really like starting something and then not finishing it, and I wanted to know that I can give my time to crafting posts and getting them up in a timely manner through the whole of April.  I have decided that I would like to run the challenge alongside my usual posting schedule so, on some days, not only will I be creating and sharing 2 posts I will also have twice the amount of preparation to consider.

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So far, in preparation for the challenge I have added the alphabet to April’s calendar alongside ideas for my usual posts and also created a spreadsheet with this information on it.  To the spreadsheet I have started putting topics against the letters that I could write about, some letters have several topics I could cover and other letters (here’s looking at you – X…) have none what-so-ever.  I like to be prepared rather than writing ad-hoc as it helps me to prepare content and decide which topics will be the most interesting.

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The next plan of action is to go through the list of topics I have and start drafting out more concrete notes and make a plan for what the posts will need (graphics/photos/headings etc) and once I have all that done I just need to sit tight and wait for the challenge to begin!

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Are you taking part in the April A – Z Challenge?  How have you prepared so far?