Link Up Party: 1/19/18

Danny over at https://dreambigdreamoften.co is hosting a blog party! Head over and join in!!!

Dream Big, Dream Often

 

It’s time for the Link Up Party weekend everyone!!  Strap on your party shoes and join the fun!  

Ok so here are the rules:

  1. Leave a link to your page or post in the comments of this post.
  2. Reblog this post.  It helps you, it helps me, it helps everyone!
  3. Edit your reblog post and add tags.
  4. Feel free to leave your link multiple times!  It is okay to update your link for more exposure every day if you want.  It is up to you!

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This Month On The Blog!

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I’m all set to welcome in the New Year!  And along with a New Year I’m all set to share some new posts with you in January!

Get set for posts covering…

My Recipe of the Month – a gorgeous warming tomato and bean soup

What I Did – How I Celebrated the New Year

Minimalism – What Is It?

Project Make – How to Make Candles

A Quote

How I Stay Creative

Candles and Other Alternative Lighting

My Blogging Goals

and

My Hobbies and Interests

I hope you will come back and enjoy the posts I have written!

Monthly Goals

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I think it’s always a really nice idea, at the end of a month, just to sit down and think about some things that you want to achieve in the following month.  I am going to share with you, today, my little list of goals I want to achieve this month.  I have split my list into 4 sections covering my blog and social media, home, art and craft and personal.  Here are the goals I’d like to achieve this coming month.

Blog and Social Media

  • Stay on track with my blog routine.  December was a mad month for blog posts, I more than doubled the usual amount of posts because I wanted to share so much about Christmas and Christmas Ideas but now that is all over I’m going to try to get back to my usual routine of posting on a Tuesday and Friday.
  • Share more on social media.  Especially Facebook and Instagram.  Though I have got these platforms, I haven’t been using them a great deal for one reason or another so this month I am setting a goal to share at least one blog post image or the link to the blog post to these sites.
  • Change my blog domain.  Upgrade my blog extension from a wordpress.com extension to a co.uk or another extension to make it easier to share my site across social media platforms and make it easier for people to find my blog.

Home

  • Defrost freezer and deep clean fridge. I really like to do this in the New Year, not only do I get to have a nice clean fridge and freezer I can also take stock of everything that I have got in there, decide what needs using up, what I could do with getting rid of and what I need to stock up on!
  • Wash Sofa Covers.  I tend to do this job every few months and love how fresh my room smells once the covers are back in place.
  • Create a cleaning timetable.  When I lived in my other house I had a cleaning timetable in place but since moving I’ve not really had one.  A cleaning timetable helps me to remember to do things like make sure the right bins go out on the correct day.  This month I want to create a new timetable and write it into my home planner and (try to) stick to it.

Art and Craft

  • Make some more candles.  I made some candles the other  month and would like to make some more as it was really fun and a great way to relax and it means I will always have something to gift as presents.  I’d also like to research methods of making candles as there are so many different techniques!
  • Start making cards again.  I used to make lots of cards and even started to sell them for charity a long time ago.  I’d like to get back into making and giving my own cards to friends and family as it is a bit more personal and special than buying shop bought cards.
  • Start a scrapbook/journal.  This is something that, again, I used to do years ago and am thinking that I would like to start doing again.  I have a La De Dah Journal already which would be perfect as a scrap journal.  There are lots of different papers you can buy to add to the journal and so many different ways to use the pages that it would be the perfect choice for what I’d like to do.
  • Work on Lettering.  I bought a dot grid book a short while ago so I could start working on my own lettering and create my own alphabets to use in my journal.  I think that cold, dark, January would be the perfect time to start on this project.

Personal

  • Finish reading The Snowman.  I started reading this book back in September just before I got diagnosed with stress and anxiety.  Since then, because of my medication and symptoms associated with my mental health, my concentration levels have meant that reading a book or watching a tv show have been hard work.  I’d really like to finish this book by the end of January.
  • Plan another craft event.  I really enjoyed hosting my Crafternoon in aid of Mind and it got me thinking about maybe hosting a craft group every few months where I can get my friends together and we can learn new crafting skills together.  After talking to everyone that came to my event it seems that this is something that they would all be interested in.
  • Arrange another trip to London.  My brother and his family live in London and I really want to go and visit them again so this month I will try to make some plans to visit in the near future (hopefully end of Jan or Feb sometime!).
  • Go out for the day.  Since I have been unwell I have really struggled with basic things like shopping and running errands let alone visiting friends and going places.  Leaving the house in general has been a daily struggle as my anxiety seems to build so much that I can’t seem to even step outside my front door.  This month I would really like to make a change to that and am going to plan a day out somewhere, even if it’s to the local shopping centre or park.

What is on your goals list this month?

This Month On The Blog!

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This month I have a bumper lot of Christmas posts to share with you!  I have been busy making things, researching, writing, photographing and compiling ideas, hints and tips on all things Christmas related!

You can expect to see posts about

The Crafternoon event I held in aid of Mind

An Alternative Advent Calendar

Christmas Decoration Ideas – from making your own decorations, how to decorate your table and little touches to add to give an extra special touch.

I will be writing about food ideas to serve on the day, how I decorate my home for the Festive Season, DIY ideas for gifts, my own Christmas Wishlist, preparations for the day itself and ideas on how to relax.

After Christmas Day I will be sharing how I spent the day!

I hope you will enjoy reading the posts as much as I have in researching and writing them!!!

Why I Started This Blog

In the past I ran a few different blogs, I had one for my art and uni projects, one for my planners and diaries and one for beauty products but keeping them all going at the same time, remembering to write posts, schedule them, take photos, link back to products I used or other relevant sources, update social media platforms became a bit overwhelming.  I struggled to think of content to write, write posts and get them published.  It began to feel like I was writing each day and chasing my tail, not really getting anywhere.  Eventually, I just gave up as it was all becoming a bit too much to keep up with.

Recently I had been thinking about things that I used to do for fun and realised I really enjoyed writing and sharing ideas and thoughts, and that I really, really missed blogging.  In the beginning, when I started blogging I found the whole process of writing, taking photo and updating my blog to be fun and a way to relax, it was almost therapeutic up to a point.  And I wanted that feeling back, I wanted the space to share art things, decorating tips and ideas, food, beauty, whatever I wanted to, or could think of writing about.  I wanted to get back to blogging, maybe not with the intensity I had before but I still felt like it was something I really wanted to do.

I think the reason I failed blogging before was that I had several blogs all specialising in niche subjects and because of the nature of the blogs and their blog names I felt like I couldn’t add other subjects into the blog, that I had to stick with the given theme I had chosen.  It took me a while to really think about what I wanted to write about and share on a blog and whether I wanted to really start a new blog.  I wrote down subjects I wanted to write about and really thought hard about the type of blog these subjects would fit into, one that would give me the freedom to add any subject matter I wanted without having my readers wondering why I had added something that was “off theme”.  I decided a lifestyle blog was the best style to go with, it would give me the freedom to write posts about art and decorating, alongside posts about what I was reading or thinking about.

So I started this blog as a space for me to share my life, experiences, ideas, thoughts and life with you.  I started this blog as I enjoy writing and taking photos and because I find writing is a kind of therapy, it is something to help me mentally and somewhere I can log my life and look back on things I have done and ideas I have had.  I started this blog to give people ideas and inspiration.  That is why I created this blog.

If you are interested in the Story Behind My Blog Name you can find that post here.

If you blog, why did you start yours?  What is your blog about?  Do you write about a niche subject or something in broader terms?

Why I Need a Blog Planner

You may have noticed from my post “Preparing for 2019” that I have 2 planners set aside for my blog, in this post I will explaining more about them and why I need them in my life.

First up is my Gemma Correll Ohh Deer project book planner.

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As the pages are undated and marked out with sections for “Day/Month”, “Notes”, “To Do/Done” and a “Doodles” section this planner lends itself beautifully to being my content and ideas book.  I use the “Day/Month” section to write in a title for my post along with a rough date for the post which helps me to keep track of ideas for posts.  Sometimes this may be the only thing I fill in if I’m in a bit of a hurry or think of something to write about when I’m in the middle of doing something else. I use the “Notes” section to write a bit about what I want to post including ideas and any other information that I want to include.  The “To Do/Done” section I fill in after I have written out my ideas for the post, it will include things that I need to do in order to get the post actually written and will include a list of things like “take photos of x, y, z…. Upload photos, links for materials, write post, publish…” I can tick off tasks as they are done and helps me to stay on track with the post and not get to overwhelmed with what needs doing or missing off things and overlooking them.  This planner for me is the most important tool for my blog as it’s where the ideas are generated and kept, and while I may not use the ideas for a while I will always have ideas ready for posts in the future.

The second planner I have for my blog is the Bright Side 2019 diary.

With its handy monthly overview page and its week on a page format it will be easy for me to schedule posts and check off when they are published.  I can carry this around in my bag at all times so if I think of a post that I’d like to write I can pencil it in and write a short synopsis of the idea in the week to view section.  I can refer to it if I want to write a post and I’m away from home, my blog content and ideas planner and my computer.  I have the WordPress app on my phone and am able to post blogs wherever and whenever I choose so this diary will be super helpful to me in 2019!  I can’t wait to start using it!

The other blog planner I have is a basic excel spreadsheet on my laptop which I have set up with a calendar that runs from sept 18 all the way through to the end of december 19 and I am currently using that to track which posts should go where and to space out posts that have a similar content so that my blog doesn’t get overloaded with too many posts on a similar topic.  I transfer all the blog idea titles from my content and ideas planner to the spreadsheet and break them down into different themes by highlighting the titles with different colours for different things, like all food orientated posts I colour green.  I then look at the list and decide on the placement of them in the calendar spreadsheet.  Once I have these posts in an order I’m happy with I will then transfer them over to the Bright Side diary so I have quick and easy access to all the scheduled content ideas.

In all, I need my blog planners to help me with generating ideas for posts, coming up with content, keeping on top of the to do list and not forgetting anything, and to help me see where I am with my schedule.  Maybe running 3 different planners for one blog seems too much but they all perform different tasks and help me in managing my blog and content.

How do you manage your blog schedule and content?  Do you use planners?

Preparing for 2019

I’m one of those people who can never seem to get excited about Christmas and tend to roll my eyes at the hoards of people that want to get into the Christmas spirit, haul out the decorations and put up the tree as soon as Halloween is over.  I even feel a bit disheartened when heading to the supermarket at the beginning of October and see the start of the Christmas stock being put out on shelves.  It all just feels like one massive hype for one day, and the preparation seems to go on longer and longer than before…its just so tiresome to me.

There are, however, 2 times in the year that I do look forward to and get a bit excited about (aside from my Birthday!) and they are when the shops start preparing for “Back to School”, around the first week in August, and October time, both for the same reason – new stationery and new diaries!  I am a sucker for all things stationery related, whether it’s a new notebook, pens, pencils or filing system and I’m an even bigger sucker for a new diary or planner.

To me, there is nothing better than the promise of starting a new year (whether it’s a school or calendar year) with a new, blank diary of sorts, that is waiting to receive your notes, ideas and plans for the year ahead.  I always get a feeling of wonder when I recieve a new diary, the year is so full of promise and things to come, a perfect way to schedule your future and make new dreams along the way.

I’ve used several kinds of diary in the past, from pre-printed tiny little things, to filofaxes of many different shapes and sizes, bullet journals and just plain note books in which to map my future in.  I’ve tried spiral bound books, lay flat designs, ring planners, the list is almost never-ending, and this year (I know… It’s still October…2019 is Monnntttthhhhsss away….) coming is no exception… I currently have 5 different diaries for different purposes that I am going to be using….

  1. Filofax Malden with Stripes Illustrated Inserts as my carry around, everything organiser.  I love my Malden and that it is so portable and contains so much in it, I am able to carry around note paper, a diary, telephone numbers and addresses, sticky notes, all sorts of things!  And the size of it means I can use it for shopping lists, making notes on the go, having it out on my desk at work, it seems to fit everywhere.
  2. A planner similar to this (the one I purchased was in the sale, the layout is the same but the illustrations are butterflies) which will be my home planner.  I bought this with my Birthday voucher from my brother and his family for my Birthday, the layout of the pages caught my attention… there is a monthly overview, places for thoughts and ideas as well as space for plans each week, not to mention that the months are divided out with their own tabs (which always makes me happy!)  It is a fairly hefty planner which I wouldn’t like to carry around with me for several reasons – it would be too heavy, I’d need a huge bag all the time and I’d probably end up spoiling it.  I decided that this would be perfect for keeping at home, the monthly overview pages will be useful to track my household bills and appointments, the thoughts and ideas pages can be used to make notes of any meals I’d like to cook, things I’d like to see and places I’d like to go to, along with the weekly sections serving as household “to do”, reminders (like which bins get emptied and when), and chores that need to be done…)
  3. This hard backed book diary , of which I owned a previous years one and loved it!  This diary has a monthly overview and a 2 weeks to view layout which will be perfect as my blog and social media planner.  It is pretty small and takes up hardly any room so it is perfect for carrying around if necessary to jot things into.  The one I had a few years ago was used for the same thing and it was perfect for this job!
  4. This soft cover diary which I totally fell in love with on a recent trip to London.  I am unsure whether to use this one as my work diary (I like to keep a log of all the different tasks I do on a day-to-day basis in work) or as my “a few lines a day” personal journal though I’m swayed more towards using it as my personal journal, there are sections for “Must Do”, “Will Do Soon” and “Next Week” which would lend itself nicely to using as a personal journal or for work purposes, though the daily section, which is a week on a page format, might be a bit too small for all the tasks I usually complete daily in work.
  5. This teeny, tiny, cute diary that I bought partly because of how cute it looked but also to get me back into drawing every day.  I have several sketchbooks that I have started and never quite managed to get into a proper routine of using daily.  When I was in college and uni I drew pretty much all day, every day and I sort of miss it.  So, in purchasing this, I’m hoping that it will force me into a routine of at least doodling something each day and working on getting back the skills that have, not so much gotten lost, but maybe gotten a little rusty over time.
  6. THE BONUS DIARY… this is the one that I have owned for several years now and never used as I’ve been too worried about spoiling it or forgetting about it or whatever…I don’t really know…I love it.  I bought it from Ohh Deer and is by illustrator Gemma Correll though I can’t find it on the site anymore (there are other, similarly laid out versions here if you fancy similar…), its undated and has a to do/done check list, a doodle section and a notes section.  Technically, it isn’t really a diary as its undated…it’s more of a project book…and more to the point, I have a really good use for it this year…I am going to use it in conjunction with my Bright Side blog and social media diary 🙂  Its main function will be to plan out blog content, using the notes section to write a synopsis of the blog post, the to do/done section to track what I need to do in order to get the post published (like research certain things, take photos, upload photos etc) and the doodle bit I can use to plan the layout of the post and decide what goes where!

I’m itching to start the New Year already and start planning my year out but I have a tradition that I like to stick to and always look forward to once all the main festivities are over, and that is on Boxing Day and New Years Eve I will make myself a cup of hot chocolate (a dash of Baileys or kahlua optional), sit down in a quiet place, in my comfiest pjs with a box of chocolates and my favorite pens and start writing out my New Years Resolutions, filling in the information sheets, start making plans for the first few weeks of January and adding in all the celebrations that I have to look forward to like Anniversaries and Birthdays.

The Story Behind My Blog Name

I chose to call my blog “My Colourful Life” as I wanted the title to encapsulate what the blog was about.  I decided that I wanted a blog where I could share my life, my art, my home, things I like and dislike, wish lists, hints, tips, advice, recipes and anything else that I fancy writing about…I guess you could call it a lifestyle blog!

I thought about lots of different names for my blog and settled on “My Colourful Life” as I love colour, my home and clothes reflect that.  I also chose “Colourful” as I don’t think anyones life is dull, everyone has a story to tell and interesting things that they can talk about regardless of what they do day-to-day and I felt that this word was really summarising who I am and what I want for my blog to be… a colourful story of me and my life.

When I asked people for a word to sum me up, many people chose colourful, I don’t know whether that is because I like wearing colourful clothes or dye my hair bright colours or what the reason was, I should ask them really.  My Colourful Life represents me and my hobbies, interests and ideas.

The UK part of my blog site name is because I live in the UK and I wanted that to be part