Sipping prosecco in The King of Ladies Man to celebrate my bestie's birthday.  I'd never been before but it's got really retro decor making it the perfect venue for a cosy gathering.  Possibly the worst review of a place I've ever done, but trust me....it was good! 

Partying the night away afterwards with this fantastic bunch.  Despite it being poor quality, I love this photo because we all look so happy.  I'm realising that a picture doesn't have to be instagram-worthy for it to be a perfect shot.

Wearing my new backpack.  I'd never felt cool comfortable enough to wear one, but after buying a cheap one from H&M and discovering how convenient and easy they are, I wanted to invest in a slightly more stylish one.  I knew I wanted croc effect and I knew I wanted it to be fairly slimline, so when I saw this Whistles one for half price I jumped at the chance.  It is a slight extravagance and sits at the higher end of what I'm willing to spend on a handbag but it's a definite investment I'm happy to have made.
  Lusting after 99% of the stock in Zara Home.  I'm not sure how it fits with the pared down aesthetic I'm hoping to move towards, but everything in there's so pretty! Trinkets with no sentimental value are something I'm trying to get rid of from our home, but if gorgeous decor's your think then you should check Zara Home out. (Not sponsored, promise!)

Week 4 In Moments

30.1.17

Sipping prosecco in The King of Ladies Man to celebrate my bestie's birthday.  I'd never been before but it's got really retro decor making it the perfect venue for a cosy gathering.  Possibly the worst review of a place I've ever done, but trust me....it was good! 

Partying the night away afterwards with this fantastic bunch.  Despite it being poor quality, I love this photo because we all look so happy.  I'm realising that a picture doesn't have to be instagram-worthy for it to be a perfect shot.

Wearing my new backpack.  I'd never felt cool comfortable enough to wear one, but after buying a cheap one from H&M and discovering how convenient and easy they are, I wanted to invest in a slightly more stylish one.  I knew I wanted croc effect and I knew I wanted it to be fairly slimline, so when I saw this Whistles one for half price I jumped at the chance.  It is a slight extravagance and sits at the higher end of what I'm willing to spend on a handbag but it's a definite investment I'm happy to have made.
  Lusting after 99% of the stock in Zara Home.  I'm not sure how it fits with the pared down aesthetic I'm hoping to move towards, but everything in there's so pretty! Trinkets with no sentimental value are something I'm trying to get rid of from our home, but if gorgeous decor's your think then you should check Zara Home out. (Not sponsored, promise!)


1.  I'm late on the bandwagon, but S2 E2 of Black Mirror
3.  Baking these cookies...on two occasions!
4.  Minimalism: A documentary about the important things - another one I'm late with!
5.  The Guilty Feminist podcast
6.  Sara's thoughts on slow living
7.  Generally I've managed to avoid the sales (well, avoided keeping what I've ordered at least!) but couldn't resist buying this (non-sale) top
8.  And while we're at it, this scarf is top of my Payday Purchase list
9.  One woman's year of buying nothing.  I doubt I'd ever manage to be that dedicated, but it's certainly made me wonder how much I could save by cutting out frivolous spending
10.  What better for number 10 than the 10 x 10 Challenge? 10 days with 10 items....I'm looking forward to giving this a go in the (near) future!

The Month In 10 Links: January

27.1.17



1.  I'm late on the bandwagon, but S2 E2 of Black Mirror
3.  Baking these cookies...on two occasions!
4.  Minimalism: A documentary about the important things - another one I'm late with!
5.  The Guilty Feminist podcast
6.  Sara's thoughts on slow living
7.  Generally I've managed to avoid the sales (well, avoided keeping what I've ordered at least!) but couldn't resist buying this (non-sale) top
8.  And while we're at it, this scarf is top of my Payday Purchase list
9.  One woman's year of buying nothing.  I doubt I'd ever manage to be that dedicated, but it's certainly made me wonder how much I could save by cutting out frivolous spending
10.  What better for number 10 than the 10 x 10 Challenge? 10 days with 10 items....I'm looking forward to giving this a go in the (near) future!

"Declutter" seems to be the buzz word of the moment, and what better time to do it than in the New Year?  When I'm in the mood for a clear out the first place I head to is my wardrobe, and being in the second cycle of my capsule wardrobe I've learnt a thing or two along the way when it comes to what you don't need in your closet.

So if you're looking to streamline your clothes collection but struggling to know what to part with, here are the three things you should let go of straight away. 

The Wrong Size // Specifically, too big.  My fluctuating weight meant that my wardrobe housed an array of sizes and if you're the same, get rid.  Chances are you never want to get back up to that bigger size so why are you holding on to it?  This one's a no brainer and the easiest way to rid yourself of unnecessary items.  Start off with a cursory sweep of your wardrobe, pull out anything which isn't your current size and bin it*.  You may be surprised what you have lurking in there.

The Duplicate // Hands up who's ever bought the same item in multiple colours?  Yup, in the past if I've found something I like and it fits the well chances are I've gone for it and bought the whole spectrum available.  When it comes to basics this can be a good thing, but too often I find that I wear the colourway I spotted initially to death and neglect the extras.  Be honest with yourself and consider whether you truly get your wear out of the variations.  If the answer's "no" it's time to throw it out.

The Guilty Purchase // These could be the hardest things to part with.  You know those items that you splurged on when perhaps you shouldn't?  Or the must have shoes you saw in a haul video then obsessively tracked down in your size?  The ones that were sold out everywhere and you had to fight continually check back to get your hands on?  Too often I've done this only to find that the reality doesn't live up to the dream of owning said item, and it's sat there unloved in my wardrobe.  It's hard, so hard, because there's an element of guilt attached and you feel bad admitting defeat but in the long run it's worth culling.  Chances are that if you paid a fair bit for it and if you get in quick enough (as in, if the style's still current) you may even nearly make back some of the money you shelled out.  So in this instance, admit defeat and whack it on eBay.

Do you have any tips for downsizing your wardrobe?


* I say "bin it" - what I actually mean is donate/throw out/sell, whichever's applicable to you!

The Three Things You Don't Need In Your Wardrobe

25.1.17

"Declutter" seems to be the buzz word of the moment, and what better time to do it than in the New Year?  When I'm in the mood for a clear out the first place I head to is my wardrobe, and being in the second cycle of my capsule wardrobe I've learnt a thing or two along the way when it comes to what you don't need in your closet.

So if you're looking to streamline your clothes collection but struggling to know what to part with, here are the three things you should let go of straight away. 

The Wrong Size // Specifically, too big.  My fluctuating weight meant that my wardrobe housed an array of sizes and if you're the same, get rid.  Chances are you never want to get back up to that bigger size so why are you holding on to it?  This one's a no brainer and the easiest way to rid yourself of unnecessary items.  Start off with a cursory sweep of your wardrobe, pull out anything which isn't your current size and bin it*.  You may be surprised what you have lurking in there.

The Duplicate // Hands up who's ever bought the same item in multiple colours?  Yup, in the past if I've found something I like and it fits the well chances are I've gone for it and bought the whole spectrum available.  When it comes to basics this can be a good thing, but too often I find that I wear the colourway I spotted initially to death and neglect the extras.  Be honest with yourself and consider whether you truly get your wear out of the variations.  If the answer's "no" it's time to throw it out.

The Guilty Purchase // These could be the hardest things to part with.  You know those items that you splurged on when perhaps you shouldn't?  Or the must have shoes you saw in a haul video then obsessively tracked down in your size?  The ones that were sold out everywhere and you had to fight continually check back to get your hands on?  Too often I've done this only to find that the reality doesn't live up to the dream of owning said item, and it's sat there unloved in my wardrobe.  It's hard, so hard, because there's an element of guilt attached and you feel bad admitting defeat but in the long run it's worth culling.  Chances are that if you paid a fair bit for it and if you get in quick enough (as in, if the style's still current) you may even nearly make back some of the money you shelled out.  So in this instance, admit defeat and whack it on eBay.

Do you have any tips for downsizing your wardrobe?


* I say "bin it" - what I actually mean is donate/throw out/sell, whichever's applicable to you!
Dining in Kaspar's at The Savoy.  We went on a work trip (which accounts for most of the photos this post!) and started off with some of the best food I've had for a long time.  Each course was spot on (the dark chocolate tart with liquid salted caramel was a particular highlight!) and I'll definitely be going back next time there's a special occasion.

Making cocktails.  I'm unsure how I've got to this stage in life without ever trying a Mojito, but now not only can I say I'm a convert but I also know how to mix them up properly on my own too!

Treating myself to a MAC make over.  I went off piste and opted for a skin focus; something I'd never normally ask for but now I'm armed with new knowledge and a list of products I want need to buy once payday hits.  If you didn't know, the sessions costs upwards of £20 which you can then spend in store aftewards.  Well worth doing!

Watching Aladdin as the final part of our trip.  Unfortunately it wasn't my favourite show and sat slightly too closely to panto for my liking.  Definitely entertaining though, I just wouldn't go in with expectations that are *too* high.

Baking with my favourite little people.  We made a fail-safe cookie mix and then got creative with extras.  The results, a variety of white chocolate, smartie and rolo cookies.  Delicious!

Week 3 In Moments

23.1.17

Dining in Kaspar's at The Savoy.  We went on a work trip (which accounts for most of the photos this post!) and started off with some of the best food I've had for a long time.  Each course was spot on (the dark chocolate tart with liquid salted caramel was a particular highlight!) and I'll definitely be going back next time there's a special occasion.

Making cocktails.  I'm unsure how I've got to this stage in life without ever trying a Mojito, but now not only can I say I'm a convert but I also know how to mix them up properly on my own too!

Treating myself to a MAC make over.  I went off piste and opted for a skin focus; something I'd never normally ask for but now I'm armed with new knowledge and a list of products I want need to buy once payday hits.  If you didn't know, the sessions costs upwards of £20 which you can then spend in store aftewards.  Well worth doing!

Watching Aladdin as the final part of our trip.  Unfortunately it wasn't my favourite show and sat slightly too closely to panto for my liking.  Definitely entertaining though, I just wouldn't go in with expectations that are *too* high.

Baking with my favourite little people.  We made a fail-safe cookie mix and then got creative with extras.  The results, a variety of white chocolate, smartie and rolo cookies.  Delicious!
Last week I shared the ways in which I'm hoping to stay organised this year, and this week I thought I'd give you a little insight into how I find inspiration for my bullet journal.

Bullet journalling can be as simple or as intricate as you make it.  There's a wealth of bullet journallers out there sharing their spreads and layouts so there's plenty to take inspiration from.  Here are 6 of my favourite at the moment.







Do you keep a bullet journal?  I'd love to hear more about the spreads you use!

6 Inspiring Bullet Journallers

20.1.17

Last week I shared the ways in which I'm hoping to stay organised this year, and this week I thought I'd give you a little insight into how I find inspiration for my bullet journal.

Bullet journalling can be as simple or as intricate as you make it.  There's a wealth of bullet journallers out there sharing their spreads and layouts so there's plenty to take inspiration from.  Here are 6 of my favourite at the moment.







Do you keep a bullet journal?  I'd love to hear more about the spreads you use!
Blogging today is worlds apart from where it was when I first started reading them and writing my own.  And would it be something I'd feel as passionate about if I stumbled upon it now?  I'm not sure.

It's amazing that bloggers can carve out a career from what started off as a hobby.  And though I'm fully aware of the effort and dedication that goes into maintaining and creating regular, engaging content, we all have to admit that to an outsider some blogger's lives look incredibly glossy and trouble-free.

And let's talk about that gloss, shall we?  It's the crux of this post and for a long time I've felt that the high-fliers in the community are moving towards a luxury fuelled lifestyle which leads me to question whether blogs are still as relatable as they once were.  I mean, wasn't the appeal of blogging the fact that you felt you could actually be friends with these people?  That their YouTube videos were like sitting down with one of your girlfriends to catch up and chat about make up and shopping?  Who else remembers OOTDs shot solo on a tripod?  Whilst I'm all for technology and standards evolving (I love the quality of photography on most blogs today), I definitely question whether the hiring of photographers and videographers to produce magazine-esque shots and YouTube videos has taken away a little of blogging's charm.

This change towards luxury, high-end consumerism and slick lifestyles has somewhat inevitably left me questioning my place on the internet.  In many ways it seems we've moved from "relatable" to "aspirational", but surely the overwhelming majority of readers can't match what they're being trickle fed as the norm through social media?  So what's the appeal?  If we look back at the original lure of blogging being its accessibility, why are the aspirational bloggers the only ones appearing to succeed?  I'm counting visibility, engagement and opportunities as a measure of 'success' here (although I know there's much more to it than that) but from my own experience, interaction with readers is the main way in which I judge (dare I say it) the 'worth' of my blog and sometimes it feels like I just can't keep up.

I will never be an aspirational blogger.  I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't one day like to own a YSL handbag but I know the chances of that are extremely slim.  I also know there's a degree of autonomy here and I'm by no means bashing bloggers who showcase designer purchases...if I owned a beautiful designer piece it would definitely make an appearance somewhere on the internet!  The argument as to whether these influencers owe a duty of care to their younger audiences in terms of realistic expectations is not the one I'm putting forward here.

I'm posing the question of whether there's still room and opportunity for "relatable" bloggers to flourish within the community.


It's an undeniably exciting time for content creators as we see the big bloggers being offered opportunities no-one ever dreamed of if we look back a few years.  But I'd like to think there's still room for everyone, it's just about finding your niche and knowing your values.  There never was (and still isn't) any point in trying to keep up with the Joneses and emulate another blogger's style so I'd like to think that by recognising the differing (but all equally as valuable) structure within the community perhaps we can have a resurgence of the relatable blogger.  The one who showcases highstreet fashion and doesn't have the means to go on multiple holidays per year.  More power to ya if that's an option, but I'd like to see a bit more balance online.  And I'm not reducing a "luxury blogger" down to the purchases s/he makes and presuming that they have nothing of merit to say to the world but there's a strong case for the fact their voice has the largest platform by virtue of the appeal of these purchases, whilst others fall by the wayside.

I suppose an important thing to note is that for the bulk of aspirational bloggers we see, this is their career, and trips to amazing places with high end make up carried in designer handbags is (often) a perk of the job.  Which if you think about it, most of us get someway or another in our vocations, right?  It's not fair to expect bloggers not to take advantage of the opportunities and products handed their way as they get more exposure, but equally I'd like to see more of the bloggers who haven't reached these heights.

Blogging felt like much more of an even playing field back when I started (remember when everyone talked about Lee Stafford Hair Growth Treatment and Models Own nail varnish?) so the diverse representation of brands is a good thing.  But I think we're drifting away from it now....we've almost moved back to when the spotlight seems to shine on certain products, but with a vastly greater pricetag.

I'll sign off this stream of consciousness with the confession that I'm not even sure I've managed to convey what it is I set out to achieve in writing this.  All I know is that whilst I like looking at snapshots of these sleek lifestyles and seeing how far my favourite bloggers have come, that's not necessarily all I rely on the blogging community for.

I just hope that there's space for the ascertainable alongside the aspirational. 

The Loss of the Relatable Blogger?

18.1.17

Blogging today is worlds apart from where it was when I first started reading them and writing my own.  And would it be something I'd feel as passionate about if I stumbled upon it now?  I'm not sure.

It's amazing that bloggers can carve out a career from what started off as a hobby.  And though I'm fully aware of the effort and dedication that goes into maintaining and creating regular, engaging content, we all have to admit that to an outsider some blogger's lives look incredibly glossy and trouble-free.

And let's talk about that gloss, shall we?  It's the crux of this post and for a long time I've felt that the high-fliers in the community are moving towards a luxury fuelled lifestyle which leads me to question whether blogs are still as relatable as they once were.  I mean, wasn't the appeal of blogging the fact that you felt you could actually be friends with these people?  That their YouTube videos were like sitting down with one of your girlfriends to catch up and chat about make up and shopping?  Who else remembers OOTDs shot solo on a tripod?  Whilst I'm all for technology and standards evolving (I love the quality of photography on most blogs today), I definitely question whether the hiring of photographers and videographers to produce magazine-esque shots and YouTube videos has taken away a little of blogging's charm.

This change towards luxury, high-end consumerism and slick lifestyles has somewhat inevitably left me questioning my place on the internet.  In many ways it seems we've moved from "relatable" to "aspirational", but surely the overwhelming majority of readers can't match what they're being trickle fed as the norm through social media?  So what's the appeal?  If we look back at the original lure of blogging being its accessibility, why are the aspirational bloggers the only ones appearing to succeed?  I'm counting visibility, engagement and opportunities as a measure of 'success' here (although I know there's much more to it than that) but from my own experience, interaction with readers is the main way in which I judge (dare I say it) the 'worth' of my blog and sometimes it feels like I just can't keep up.

I will never be an aspirational blogger.  I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't one day like to own a YSL handbag but I know the chances of that are extremely slim.  I also know there's a degree of autonomy here and I'm by no means bashing bloggers who showcase designer purchases...if I owned a beautiful designer piece it would definitely make an appearance somewhere on the internet!  The argument as to whether these influencers owe a duty of care to their younger audiences in terms of realistic expectations is not the one I'm putting forward here.

I'm posing the question of whether there's still room and opportunity for "relatable" bloggers to flourish within the community.


It's an undeniably exciting time for content creators as we see the big bloggers being offered opportunities no-one ever dreamed of if we look back a few years.  But I'd like to think there's still room for everyone, it's just about finding your niche and knowing your values.  There never was (and still isn't) any point in trying to keep up with the Joneses and emulate another blogger's style so I'd like to think that by recognising the differing (but all equally as valuable) structure within the community perhaps we can have a resurgence of the relatable blogger.  The one who showcases highstreet fashion and doesn't have the means to go on multiple holidays per year.  More power to ya if that's an option, but I'd like to see a bit more balance online.  And I'm not reducing a "luxury blogger" down to the purchases s/he makes and presuming that they have nothing of merit to say to the world but there's a strong case for the fact their voice has the largest platform by virtue of the appeal of these purchases, whilst others fall by the wayside.

I suppose an important thing to note is that for the bulk of aspirational bloggers we see, this is their career, and trips to amazing places with high end make up carried in designer handbags is (often) a perk of the job.  Which if you think about it, most of us get someway or another in our vocations, right?  It's not fair to expect bloggers not to take advantage of the opportunities and products handed their way as they get more exposure, but equally I'd like to see more of the bloggers who haven't reached these heights.

Blogging felt like much more of an even playing field back when I started (remember when everyone talked about Lee Stafford Hair Growth Treatment and Models Own nail varnish?) so the diverse representation of brands is a good thing.  But I think we're drifting away from it now....we've almost moved back to when the spotlight seems to shine on certain products, but with a vastly greater pricetag.

I'll sign off this stream of consciousness with the confession that I'm not even sure I've managed to convey what it is I set out to achieve in writing this.  All I know is that whilst I like looking at snapshots of these sleek lifestyles and seeing how far my favourite bloggers have come, that's not necessarily all I rely on the blogging community for.

I just hope that there's space for the ascertainable alongside the aspirational. 

Celebrating Ella's fourth birthday.  I can't believe how quickly the time has passed.  I'm constantly amazed by her intelligence, maturity, compassion and wit and can honestly say I've had no better job than being her auntie.

Discussing books with my book club squad.  Another caption here could be "forgetting to take a picture" so here's a stand-in bookish shot!

Experimenting in the kitchen (and subsequently failing to take an appetising snap!)  I've mentioned before that Nick and I have differing workout schedules and body goals, so it's rare that we sit down and eat together.  This week I made these cheesy chicken stuffed mushrooms and they were a hit.

Gathering hair styling inspiration as I attempt to go heat free as much as possible.  I've noticed a significant decline in the health of my hair; it's thinned out and snapped all over the place so I'm going to try and be kinder to it by cutting down on the heat styling.  

How did the second week of the year go for you?

Week 2 In Moments

16.1.17

Celebrating Ella's fourth birthday.  I can't believe how quickly the time has passed.  I'm constantly amazed by her intelligence, maturity, compassion and wit and can honestly say I've had no better job than being her auntie.

Discussing books with my book club squad.  Another caption here could be "forgetting to take a picture" so here's a stand-in bookish shot!

Experimenting in the kitchen (and subsequently failing to take an appetising snap!)  I've mentioned before that Nick and I have differing workout schedules and body goals, so it's rare that we sit down and eat together.  This week I made these cheesy chicken stuffed mushrooms and they were a hit.

Gathering hair styling inspiration as I attempt to go heat free as much as possible.  I've noticed a significant decline in the health of my hair; it's thinned out and snapped all over the place so I'm going to try and be kinder to it by cutting down on the heat styling.  

How did the second week of the year go for you?
Reading was a key feature of my 2016 and I plan to continue with that this year.  In fact, back in last January I shared this post of resolutions and thought it might be nice to make it a yearly thing.

Admittedly I didn't stick to the list religiously throughout the year (the Blogger Bookclub sadly disbanded, I have most of my 'Friend Recommends' books still to get through and I barely made a dent on my TBR) but in the early months it did help to shape my reading choices.  I hope that this year I can commit myself fully and tick everything off this list.

Read 70 books | Last year I aimed to read 52 books and managed to get to 79 (not including children's books I read with Ella), so this year I've up the ante and hope to read 70 books.  I actually had a Middlesex-induced reading slump of roughly two months in 2016, so having surpassed 70 books despite this means I'm confident I can smash this total.

Complete the 2017 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge | I joined in with 2016's challenge a couple of months into the year and enjoyed reading lots of books I wouldn't otherwise have picked up.  It did mean a bit of a rush towards the end of the year though, so I'm going to begin in earnest in January.  I've realised that a few of the books I've yet to read already fulfill some of the challenges so I'm optimistic that I can get this one done.

Clear my TBR shelves | A quick count this morning tells me I've currently got 30ish books on my 'To Be Read' shelves.  Which is better than last years 50-something, especially considering my book buying didn't slow down in 2016!  With my overall goal set at 70, I'm looking forward to knuckling down and reading all 30.

Buy fewer books |  I can be impulsive when it comes to book buying and while for the most part this works out ok, there have been a few duds in there which leave me really regretting wasting my money.  In 2017 (once I've got through my TBR shelves) I want to go back to the library regularly and only shop for books in charity shops.  There will be exceptions to this though, as I'm going to allow myself to buy coffee table books or specific editions which fit in with my collections.

Use my Kindle again |  Nick treated me to a shiny new kindle for Christmas which I'm really going to make the effort to use regularly.  I tend to favour physical books, but there are times when a Kindle is just so much more convenient (especially when reading in bed) and it should also help me to buy fewer books as I can download a sample before committing to making a purchase.

What are your reading resolutions?

2017 Reading Resolutions

12.1.17

Reading was a key feature of my 2016 and I plan to continue with that this year.  In fact, back in last January I shared this post of resolutions and thought it might be nice to make it a yearly thing.

Admittedly I didn't stick to the list religiously throughout the year (the Blogger Bookclub sadly disbanded, I have most of my 'Friend Recommends' books still to get through and I barely made a dent on my TBR) but in the early months it did help to shape my reading choices.  I hope that this year I can commit myself fully and tick everything off this list.

Read 70 books | Last year I aimed to read 52 books and managed to get to 79 (not including children's books I read with Ella), so this year I've up the ante and hope to read 70 books.  I actually had a Middlesex-induced reading slump of roughly two months in 2016, so having surpassed 70 books despite this means I'm confident I can smash this total.

Complete the 2017 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge | I joined in with 2016's challenge a couple of months into the year and enjoyed reading lots of books I wouldn't otherwise have picked up.  It did mean a bit of a rush towards the end of the year though, so I'm going to begin in earnest in January.  I've realised that a few of the books I've yet to read already fulfill some of the challenges so I'm optimistic that I can get this one done.

Clear my TBR shelves | A quick count this morning tells me I've currently got 30ish books on my 'To Be Read' shelves.  Which is better than last years 50-something, especially considering my book buying didn't slow down in 2016!  With my overall goal set at 70, I'm looking forward to knuckling down and reading all 30.

Buy fewer books |  I can be impulsive when it comes to book buying and while for the most part this works out ok, there have been a few duds in there which leave me really regretting wasting my money.  In 2017 (once I've got through my TBR shelves) I want to go back to the library regularly and only shop for books in charity shops.  There will be exceptions to this though, as I'm going to allow myself to buy coffee table books or specific editions which fit in with my collections.

Use my Kindle again |  Nick treated me to a shiny new kindle for Christmas which I'm really going to make the effort to use regularly.  I tend to favour physical books, but there are times when a Kindle is just so much more convenient (especially when reading in bed) and it should also help me to buy fewer books as I can download a sample before committing to making a purchase.

What are your reading resolutions?
HOW I HOPE TO STAY ORGANISED


I'm a mixed bag when it comes to planning.  I think my family often look to me for plans and schedules for day trips and Saturdays together, but when it comes to friends I'm more than happy to take a back seat.  When we went away last year I didn't manage to remember where it was we were actually going until a month or so beforehand, and I think the general consensus is just to tell me a time, what to bring and I'll turn up.

And when it comes to recording plans and scheduling them in I've always been quite fortunate in that I've not ever felt the need to write it all down.  Or does that just mean I've never had enough of a social life to warrant forgetting anything?

I've noticed a change recently, though.  I now find myself scrolling back through message threads to unearth the times and dates for meetings, and on more than one occasion I've thought we've had a certain thing planned  (e.g. a specific place for lunch) only to find that I've decided that in my head and it was never actually on the agenda.

So what better reason than a New Year and a snazzy new diary to kick start a new regime of organisation for the year ahead?


THE DAY TO DAY STUFF
I bought this diary in Sainsburys (of all places!) months ago and it's been sat patiently on my desk waiting to be used.  So far it's been in my handbag all year (all 11 days of it!) and I've been scheduling in events, reminders and blog posts in advance.  I don't take it with me at weekends, due to favouring a smaller bag, but so far it's working well!  It's a fairly big diary with a day to a page, so I've been using any blank spaces for each day to scribble down notes and ideas as they come to me.  In the past I've often found myself having blogging brainwaves whilst at my desk at work so jotting these down here means I won't forget and saves me having to carry around an additional notebook/scraps of paper.  


THE CREATIVE STUFF
My love for the bullet journal is ongoing and it's been a real learning curve.  There are some beautiful and creative journals out there but I've realised that just doesn't fit with my needs.  Creative doodles and borders don't come naturally to me and all too often I'd spend hours painstakingly recreating other people's embellished spreads only to make a mistake at the end and then hate returning to that page.  As I mentioned I've been exploring more minimalist spreads and once I've added a couple more pens to my supplies I think I'll be there.  In terms of what I document in my bullet journal, my most frequently used spreads are:
// month at a glance
// weekly logs
// books read during the month
// book club notes
// capsule wardrobe plans
// blog post planner
// online ordering tracker
// positivity log
If you'd like to see a more detailed post about the spreads I'm currently using in my bullet journal let me know!

Planning in 2017

11.1.17

HOW I HOPE TO STAY ORGANISED


I'm a mixed bag when it comes to planning.  I think my family often look to me for plans and schedules for day trips and Saturdays together, but when it comes to friends I'm more than happy to take a back seat.  When we went away last year I didn't manage to remember where it was we were actually going until a month or so beforehand, and I think the general consensus is just to tell me a time, what to bring and I'll turn up.

And when it comes to recording plans and scheduling them in I've always been quite fortunate in that I've not ever felt the need to write it all down.  Or does that just mean I've never had enough of a social life to warrant forgetting anything?

I've noticed a change recently, though.  I now find myself scrolling back through message threads to unearth the times and dates for meetings, and on more than one occasion I've thought we've had a certain thing planned  (e.g. a specific place for lunch) only to find that I've decided that in my head and it was never actually on the agenda.

So what better reason than a New Year and a snazzy new diary to kick start a new regime of organisation for the year ahead?


THE DAY TO DAY STUFF
I bought this diary in Sainsburys (of all places!) months ago and it's been sat patiently on my desk waiting to be used.  So far it's been in my handbag all year (all 11 days of it!) and I've been scheduling in events, reminders and blog posts in advance.  I don't take it with me at weekends, due to favouring a smaller bag, but so far it's working well!  It's a fairly big diary with a day to a page, so I've been using any blank spaces for each day to scribble down notes and ideas as they come to me.  In the past I've often found myself having blogging brainwaves whilst at my desk at work so jotting these down here means I won't forget and saves me having to carry around an additional notebook/scraps of paper.  


THE CREATIVE STUFF
My love for the bullet journal is ongoing and it's been a real learning curve.  There are some beautiful and creative journals out there but I've realised that just doesn't fit with my needs.  Creative doodles and borders don't come naturally to me and all too often I'd spend hours painstakingly recreating other people's embellished spreads only to make a mistake at the end and then hate returning to that page.  As I mentioned I've been exploring more minimalist spreads and once I've added a couple more pens to my supplies I think I'll be there.  In terms of what I document in my bullet journal, my most frequently used spreads are:
// month at a glance
// weekly logs
// books read during the month
// book club notes
// capsule wardrobe plans
// blog post planner
// online ordering tracker
// positivity log
If you'd like to see a more detailed post about the spreads I'm currently using in my bullet journal let me know!

Rearranging our front room.  We ordered a couple of new prints, bought some frames and took the opportunity to revamp the living space once the Christmas tree was down.  Our twig lights are now sitting where the tree was, adding some much needed height to the otherwise empty space and I've brought the floor lamp down from upstairs.  It's amazing the difference these simple changes have made and we're loving the new cosy vibe it's created.

Creating a new night time routine.  I've finally given in and bought a bedside table and, again, the difference it's made is massive!  I've installed an unloved table lamp and can now read before bed without the overhead light on.  It also means there's a space for me to charge my phone and store essentials that isn't on the floor!

Wearing my new cosy knit.  Nick treated me to this wonderfully soft jumper from Zara.  Two words: oversized perfection.

Seeing Ella and Dylan's delight as they watched a man playing the keyboard and singing in Guildford.  They both danced, Dylan gave him a spontaneous round of applause and we even had to go back to see more after lunch!

Organising myself.  More on this in a future post!

Week 1 In Moments

9.1.17


Rearranging our front room.  We ordered a couple of new prints, bought some frames and took the opportunity to revamp the living space once the Christmas tree was down.  Our twig lights are now sitting where the tree was, adding some much needed height to the otherwise empty space and I've brought the floor lamp down from upstairs.  It's amazing the difference these simple changes have made and we're loving the new cosy vibe it's created.

Creating a new night time routine.  I've finally given in and bought a bedside table and, again, the difference it's made is massive!  I've installed an unloved table lamp and can now read before bed without the overhead light on.  It also means there's a space for me to charge my phone and store essentials that isn't on the floor!

Wearing my new cosy knit.  Nick treated me to this wonderfully soft jumper from Zara.  Two words: oversized perfection.

Seeing Ella and Dylan's delight as they watched a man playing the keyboard and singing in Guildford.  They both danced, Dylan gave him a spontaneous round of applause and we even had to go back to see more after lunch!

Organising myself.  More on this in a future post!

I don't think I've ever successfully stuck to any New Years resolutions.  I tend to treat them as pipe dreams - things I'd like to make happen but feel no real motivation to work towards.

But this year I'm feeling particularly geared up for change.  I touched on it in my last post but I feel like I'm moving in a more spiritual direction (I know, who am I?) and am keen to invest more time in things to further my personal growth.

In 2017 I'd like to prioritise slow living.  Appreciating the little things and taking a step back from the consumerist lifestyle I've lived for so long.  Taking stock of what I do have with less focus on what I don't, and learning that more *stuff* is not the answer.  Rather ironically I've stocked up on a couple of new books for inspiration on this, but would love to hear any recommendations for blogs you have which explore this.

Leading on from that, I want to make more time for Nick and our relationship.  We can each be guilty of getting wrapped up in our own schedules and being independent people means it sometimes feels we can go days without spending any real quality time together.  I've just watched this video and would love to adapt it slightly and create a joint list of 'dreams' to tick off over the course of the year.

I'd like to document things in a different way this year.  I'm forever talking about making changes to my blog but would like 2017 to be the year that I (finally) find my groove.  I'm going to work on updating my instagram regularly and want to use this blog as a way to record my personal and spiritual growth throughout the year.  I've been feeling that blogging has become quite cold lately, with list and advice posts storming the web.  Don't get me wrong, I love a list, but I also miss the more informal journal-esque blogs which I first fell in love with.

Whilst we're on the topic of blogs, here are a few I'm looking forward to reading along with in 2017:
muchelleb (she's a YouTuber but still!)

And finally, five words of focus for 2017:

- strive - intention - simplicity - quiet - breathe -

Thoughts for 2017

5.1.17


I don't think I've ever successfully stuck to any New Years resolutions.  I tend to treat them as pipe dreams - things I'd like to make happen but feel no real motivation to work towards.

But this year I'm feeling particularly geared up for change.  I touched on it in my last post but I feel like I'm moving in a more spiritual direction (I know, who am I?) and am keen to invest more time in things to further my personal growth.

In 2017 I'd like to prioritise slow living.  Appreciating the little things and taking a step back from the consumerist lifestyle I've lived for so long.  Taking stock of what I do have with less focus on what I don't, and learning that more *stuff* is not the answer.  Rather ironically I've stocked up on a couple of new books for inspiration on this, but would love to hear any recommendations for blogs you have which explore this.

Leading on from that, I want to make more time for Nick and our relationship.  We can each be guilty of getting wrapped up in our own schedules and being independent people means it sometimes feels we can go days without spending any real quality time together.  I've just watched this video and would love to adapt it slightly and create a joint list of 'dreams' to tick off over the course of the year.

I'd like to document things in a different way this year.  I'm forever talking about making changes to my blog but would like 2017 to be the year that I (finally) find my groove.  I'm going to work on updating my instagram regularly and want to use this blog as a way to record my personal and spiritual growth throughout the year.  I've been feeling that blogging has become quite cold lately, with list and advice posts storming the web.  Don't get me wrong, I love a list, but I also miss the more informal journal-esque blogs which I first fell in love with.

Whilst we're on the topic of blogs, here are a few I'm looking forward to reading along with in 2017:
muchelleb (she's a YouTuber but still!)

And finally, five words of focus for 2017:

- strive - intention - simplicity - quiet - breathe -
1 | The biggie for 2016 was my change of career.  Whilst I miss the kids and the personal aspect of working in a school, there's no doubt that moving to an office environment has done wonders for me both mentally and physically.  I've had numerous comments on how much more relaxed I am now (and how less "haggard" I look!) and I can only put it down to the better work/life balance I've achieved.  The New Year is bringing some exciting changes with my job role and I'm looking forward to developing and feeling like I'm moving along, so to speak.

2 | Partying in a cave watching the sunset was undoubtedly a memory I'll never forget.  Check out the blog post here.

3 | I read lots!  I set myself the goal of reading 52 books in 2016 and managed to surpass that and hit 79.  The books I've read have been varied, from a range of genres and I've made some surprising discoveries when it comes to finding books on topics that I didn't think I'd actually like.  I can't wait to see how many books I can cram in for 2017.

4 | My capsule wardrobe.  This started out as an experiment but it's really changed the way I see my clothes and style.  It's very much a work in progress and there have been hiccups along the way but I'm pleased with the steps I've taken so far and feel so much more at ease with my wardrobe.  Next steps - hone in on my style goals and cull my shoe collection.

5 | Speaking of culling...towards the end of 2016 I gained more of an awareness of my surroundings and moved towards making our home more of a stress-free environment which is clear from clutter.  We've accumulated a lot of *stuff* and it'll be a while before things are feeling truly calm, but I know the direction I'm going and things are definitely on the right track.

6 | I smashed my weight loss goals.  Which at first glance seems shallow (who am I kidding, it is) but that also goes hand in hand with my heightened fitness levels, an appreciation for my body and....I hate to say it.... a general feeling of being more confident in my own skin. 

7 | After a long hiatus I got back into baking and, not only that, experimented with some recipes I wouldn't otherwise have chosen. If you'd like to see a selection of what I ate made, click here.

8 | Although not as many as I'd like, I did manage to go on a fair few day trips.  In terms of new places, I visited the spas in Bath, explored Chichester in the early morning sunshine, went for an impromptu wander around Kew and looked in awe at Canterbury cathedral.  On top of that I managed to revisit beautiful Oxford, take a couple of daytrips to Brighton and hit Waterstones in Picadilly (Europe's biggest bookshop didn't you know?).

9 | Watching Ella and Dylan, my niece and nephew, grow and become little people has been a favourite and I look forward to spending my Saturdays with them and Mum.  Ella is the sweetest, most intelligent little girl and Dylan has an irresistibly cheeky personality.  With only 16 months between them they can be a handful at times but I wouldn't have it any other way.

10 | I've found some great online content creators throughout the course of 2016.  There's too many to list here, but despite the radio silence on my blog at times I've still been very much immersed in the blogosphere.

11 |  Linked to #6, I really feel like I've gotten to know myself as a person over the past 12 months.  There have been times in the last few years when I've struggled with mental health (something I naively thought would never affect me) and I think perhaps it's a combination of my change in lifestyle alongside getting older, but I feel much more content.  I know my weaknesses but I also know what I won't stand for in my life.  After really struggling to feel in control for what was actually quite a sustained period of time, I'm glad to be starting 2017 with a sense of inner calm and ownership of myself and my emotional state.

12 | Similarly, that inner sense of calm is something I'm glad to have discovered in 2016 in more than just a sense of knowing who I am.  It's hard to put the distinction down into words...I'm glad to have found more about myself personally and then I'm also counting having this new outlook as a great thing from 2016It's definitely an ongoing development but after feeling like I'd been searching fora long time for something to ground me and bring me a sense of focus and calm, I'm happy to have found that and know where I'm going and what I'd like to look into.  I'm sure it'll filter into my blog over time so look out for more on this in the future!

13 | I was lucky enough to be surrounded by some pretty great people in 2016.  I come from a fairly close family and have a small group of friends who I wouldn't be without.  Lizzie came back from  her travels for the latter part of the year, too!  I'm also appreciative for my supportive colleagues, both past for sending me off with a bang and wishing me luck in my new job or present for showing me patience and helping me learn the ropes.

14 | Early on in 2016 I discovered bullet journalling and I love it!  It's a hobby besides blogging that allows me to exercise a degree of creativity, albeit in a more hands-on way.  Admittedly I did struggle to dedicate time to updating it at points throughout the year, but I've been researching new spreads and *think* I've come up with an aesthetic which will work for me and motivate me moving forward.

15 | Leanne and I hosted a beauty masterclass in collaboration with House of Fraser back in April.  It was scary and out of my comfort zone but ultimately an amazing experience.  We did some public speaking and had a make over whilst chatting make up to the people attending.  Plus spent some time checking out the beauty counters afterwards!  I never thought blogging would bring about opportunities such as that and it's something I'm really proud of.

16 | Overall 2016 was a year of good health and well-being for me and my loved ones and, material things aside, that's truly all I could wish for.  Here's to another 12 months of happiness!

What were some of your favourite things about 2016?

16 Great Things In 2016

3.1.17

1 | The biggie for 2016 was my change of career.  Whilst I miss the kids and the personal aspect of working in a school, there's no doubt that moving to an office environment has done wonders for me both mentally and physically.  I've had numerous comments on how much more relaxed I am now (and how less "haggard" I look!) and I can only put it down to the better work/life balance I've achieved.  The New Year is bringing some exciting changes with my job role and I'm looking forward to developing and feeling like I'm moving along, so to speak.

2 | Partying in a cave watching the sunset was undoubtedly a memory I'll never forget.  Check out the blog post here.

3 | I read lots!  I set myself the goal of reading 52 books in 2016 and managed to surpass that and hit 79.  The books I've read have been varied, from a range of genres and I've made some surprising discoveries when it comes to finding books on topics that I didn't think I'd actually like.  I can't wait to see how many books I can cram in for 2017.

4 | My capsule wardrobe.  This started out as an experiment but it's really changed the way I see my clothes and style.  It's very much a work in progress and there have been hiccups along the way but I'm pleased with the steps I've taken so far and feel so much more at ease with my wardrobe.  Next steps - hone in on my style goals and cull my shoe collection.

5 | Speaking of culling...towards the end of 2016 I gained more of an awareness of my surroundings and moved towards making our home more of a stress-free environment which is clear from clutter.  We've accumulated a lot of *stuff* and it'll be a while before things are feeling truly calm, but I know the direction I'm going and things are definitely on the right track.

6 | I smashed my weight loss goals.  Which at first glance seems shallow (who am I kidding, it is) but that also goes hand in hand with my heightened fitness levels, an appreciation for my body and....I hate to say it.... a general feeling of being more confident in my own skin. 

7 | After a long hiatus I got back into baking and, not only that, experimented with some recipes I wouldn't otherwise have chosen. If you'd like to see a selection of what I ate made, click here.

8 | Although not as many as I'd like, I did manage to go on a fair few day trips.  In terms of new places, I visited the spas in Bath, explored Chichester in the early morning sunshine, went for an impromptu wander around Kew and looked in awe at Canterbury cathedral.  On top of that I managed to revisit beautiful Oxford, take a couple of daytrips to Brighton and hit Waterstones in Picadilly (Europe's biggest bookshop didn't you know?).

9 | Watching Ella and Dylan, my niece and nephew, grow and become little people has been a favourite and I look forward to spending my Saturdays with them and Mum.  Ella is the sweetest, most intelligent little girl and Dylan has an irresistibly cheeky personality.  With only 16 months between them they can be a handful at times but I wouldn't have it any other way.

10 | I've found some great online content creators throughout the course of 2016.  There's too many to list here, but despite the radio silence on my blog at times I've still been very much immersed in the blogosphere.

11 |  Linked to #6, I really feel like I've gotten to know myself as a person over the past 12 months.  There have been times in the last few years when I've struggled with mental health (something I naively thought would never affect me) and I think perhaps it's a combination of my change in lifestyle alongside getting older, but I feel much more content.  I know my weaknesses but I also know what I won't stand for in my life.  After really struggling to feel in control for what was actually quite a sustained period of time, I'm glad to be starting 2017 with a sense of inner calm and ownership of myself and my emotional state.

12 | Similarly, that inner sense of calm is something I'm glad to have discovered in 2016 in more than just a sense of knowing who I am.  It's hard to put the distinction down into words...I'm glad to have found more about myself personally and then I'm also counting having this new outlook as a great thing from 2016It's definitely an ongoing development but after feeling like I'd been searching fora long time for something to ground me and bring me a sense of focus and calm, I'm happy to have found that and know where I'm going and what I'd like to look into.  I'm sure it'll filter into my blog over time so look out for more on this in the future!

13 | I was lucky enough to be surrounded by some pretty great people in 2016.  I come from a fairly close family and have a small group of friends who I wouldn't be without.  Lizzie came back from  her travels for the latter part of the year, too!  I'm also appreciative for my supportive colleagues, both past for sending me off with a bang and wishing me luck in my new job or present for showing me patience and helping me learn the ropes.

14 | Early on in 2016 I discovered bullet journalling and I love it!  It's a hobby besides blogging that allows me to exercise a degree of creativity, albeit in a more hands-on way.  Admittedly I did struggle to dedicate time to updating it at points throughout the year, but I've been researching new spreads and *think* I've come up with an aesthetic which will work for me and motivate me moving forward.

15 | Leanne and I hosted a beauty masterclass in collaboration with House of Fraser back in April.  It was scary and out of my comfort zone but ultimately an amazing experience.  We did some public speaking and had a make over whilst chatting make up to the people attending.  Plus spent some time checking out the beauty counters afterwards!  I never thought blogging would bring about opportunities such as that and it's something I'm really proud of.

16 | Overall 2016 was a year of good health and well-being for me and my loved ones and, material things aside, that's truly all I could wish for.  Here's to another 12 months of happiness!

What were some of your favourite things about 2016?

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