Making Time

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I always used to find it really diffcult to find time for self care but now I’m making more of an effort and even though it’s early stages, I feel like it’s paying off.

I often find myself clenching my jaw when at work or even when just sitting watching tv and recently I came across an image posted on facebook, I can’t remember exactly what it said, but it was a reminder to let go of extra stress by dropping your shoulders and unclenching your jaw. And I had no idea that I was even doing both of those things until i read that post. So now, this week, I’ve been reminding myself at regular intervals to drop my shoulders, unclench my jaw and relax. Even when sitting at work. I wouldn’t say I’m a particularly stressed person but I do hold all that tension in my jaw and shoulders and it feels good to just let it go and remind myself to relax no matter what I’m doing or where I am.

I’ve also recently discovered how much better I feel in the mornings after I have breakfast before I leave the house for work. I’d been waking up and the car was covered in ice so I’d have to leave earlier to defrost the car or I’d be late for work. So I got myself into the bad habbit of preping my breakfast the night before by putting my cereal into a travel soup bowl so I could just grab it and go to eat it at work. Since it’s not as cold in the mornings anymore, I feel like I have a wee bit more time to have a less rushed morning.  The past two weeks I’ve been making a point of sitting down at the dining table to eat my cereal before I leave the house and it really has made me feel better. I’m not rushing as much in the morning, I still get to work on time, I’m not having to eat at my desk whilst working and I’m not having to wash my dishes in the rubbish kitchenette sink. Making more of an effort to start my day off right.

I’ve also been trying to not spend all my evenings on social media. I’m not always successful at this but the good weather has really helped because it means I’ve been sitting outside with a book enjoying the last of the days sunshine.

It also helps to just to the housework so it’s done and out the way. I’ve been working on this one this week.

Next change – making sure I go to bed early, regularly.

Small steps. Big result. Hopefully.

Photo by John Matychuk on Unsplash

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Podcasts

I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts recently. Unfortunately, I have an ipod classic and it died because the battery wouldn’t hold a charge but it is quite old and it served its purpose well. I got it for my 19th birthday (I’m now 26) and it’s never stopped working on me before so I feared the worst. I know that Apple have stopped selling these gems and that my ipod was long out of warranty, but I had a nosey on the Apple website to see how much it would cost to get it fixed. Oh boy, that was a mistake!

ipod photo

From the Apple website

To get my battery replaced would cost more than it did to buy the thing in the first place! So that idea went right out the window. Google helped me find a wee local place that said they could replace the battery for £30. Champion.

So I’ve been having to make do with only listening to podcasts in the house whilst making dinner or doing some housework. I’ve been trying to listen to podcasts that leave me feeling inspired or where I learn something new. Here are a few of my current favourites: The Pineapple Project, Happy Place, Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness, and Happier with Gretchen Rubin.

Spring Clean

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I really love the idea of a capsule wardrobe and all the simplicity that goes with it. My wardrobe is the opposite of a capsule wardrobe so I attempt to clear it out with three rules:

  • If it hasn’t been worn in a year, donate it
  • If it’s done or does not fit anymore, get rid
  • If I don’t absolutely love it, donate it.

I try to clear out my wardrobe often so it’s not full of things I don’t really like or wear. Scott doesn’t do this. Recently after being sick of ironing the same 7 t-shirts yet only ever coming across piles of his t-shirts no matter where I looked, I asked him to have a clear out of his clothes and he was not for it at all. He wasn’t willing to part with things. “But I wear them all!” Well, I know that’s a lie from what comes through the washing. But then, to my surprise one rubbish rainy day, he said he wanted to go though absolutely all of his clothes . What a mess! Everything was cleared out of the wardrobes and drawers and onto the bed. A good few hours later and there were many bags of clothes that don’t fit or he has never worn going to the local charity shop and thankfully pants full of holes were thrown out.

And you know what? I think he quite enjoyed his spring clean. There’s no more shovinng things in drawers and forcing them to close. He’s been telling everyone that he “gave away all (his) clothes”. An exaggeration, but for a hoarder, he did not bad.

I had already done this a few weeks before so now I’m trying to not buy more clothes to replace what I donated. I want to have good quality stuff that can go with anything. Making a start on that capsule wardrobe! I’ve only bought just one jumper since my big spring clean and to be fair, it was half price in a sale. Well done me.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash.

Long Weekends

I was feeling really bored and uninspired and I felt like I really needed a break. I listened to some Ted talks whilst cooking dinner one night and went into work and requested that Friday and the next Monday off to just chill and have some self care. Scott then also requested those days off and I ended up having a wonderful weekend. My plan was to literally do nothing except to go the cinema one day and see The Greatest Showman. (This plan didn’t happen. I’ve still not seen it.)

On the Friday I got a haircut. I hadn’t had it cut in quite a while and my long hair had been bothering me; always getting caught in everything, taking far too long to dry after washing it, not being able to do anything with it other than put it in a messy bun cause it took so long to do in the mornings. Pinterest is such a great source of inspiration so I went in with a few pictures with a style in mind and came out with it shorter than I had imagined before I went in. I’d been thinking about getting a pixie cut but didn’t think I was brave enough to get that much cut off. My hair is really curly too, so I figured that might be a bit too much work to make it look nice on a daily basis. I had decided I wanted it to be a bit shorter than shoulder length but then whilst in the salon, I changed my mind. I ended up getting 14 inches cut off so I could donate it to The Little Princess Trust. That’s one thing I can mark off my to do list!

We went for lunch to Dobbies where we picked up some bulbs to plant in the front garden to try and make it look a wee bit nicer. The plan was to dig out all the weeds and overgrown plants around the grass over the weekend but it got pretty cold and the ground was frozen so that’ll have to wait.

Saturday morning Scott suggested a wee bit of hillwalking so we climbed Conic Hill. Nothing too intense, just a chilled walk and it was lovely – pretty cold mind you but it was good. On the way home we visited Pets at Home and picked up two new dward hamster friends, which we called Maple and Cashew. After our walk we decided a spa day would be lovely so searched for a deal and noticed the spa nearest to us had a winter deal so booked that for the Sunday.  What a lovely relaxing day which ended with a carvery dinner with Scott’s mum.

Monday was a day for food shopping and just relaxing in the house, knitting and playing games. There was an Unlimted screening at Cineworld so we went to see Game Night, which was pretty good. The Beast From the East appeared and it turned out Tuesday was the only day I managed to make it into work this week which basically turned my long weekend into a week and a bit at home. Working from home was great – sitting in my comfies with a cup of tea and my work laptop looking at the crap weather from the window.

A break was just what I needed and it ended up being for longer than expected.

Ambitions

I read a blog a while back which suggested writing a list of small (or large!) goals you wish to achieve in the near future and check them off as you go along and you’ll be able to see your progress and inspire you to achieve more / do more / push yourself etc.  I’ve decided that the best time to share this list and watch myself grow is at new year. So instead of resolutions (which I never make anyway), here’s my goals for 2018:

Personal :

  • Go to the cinema by myself
  • Start going to the gym / more exercise classes
  • Read at least one book a month
  • Wear jeans less
  • Go camping
  • Go on holiday
  • Wake up earlier and have a better morning routine
  • Have more interesting lunches, especially at work
  • See friends more often
  • Knit a jumper
  • Learn something new
  • Grow my hair and donate it to the Little Princess Trust

 

Financial :

  • Put at least £10 into a savings account each month
  • Be more aware of my spending
  • Budget better

 

For my home :

  • Replace the windows and door in the front porch
  • Grow and eat more vegetables from the garden
  • Decorate the living room
  • Think about redoing the kitchen
  • Less waste
  • Use less cling film / use an eco-friendly replacement

The Present Queen

In recent years I have proven to be the best at gift giving. Thinking well outside the box and giving gifts people didn’t know they really wanted until they got it. At Christmas I had been struggling for ideas but Google was no help what so ever. I had been searching things like “really cool gifts” and “presents people actually want” and all I’ve been getting back is boring lists of the usual smelly stuff and grooming products. This I know, is not what my friends and family actually want.
So I’ve decided to compose my own list of amazingly cool gifts I have previously brought for others or received in the hopes that it will inspire others! A lot of my ideas stem from notonthehighstreet.com but the majority are personalised so nobody else will end up with the same gift.

1. Giant outdoor or indoor beanbag
Not going to lie, I got this deal through itison.com and it cost me a fraction of the normal price. It was so big when it arrived it didn’t for through my close door and I had a fear that my boyfriend wouldn’t find space for it in his house. It’s really comfy and definitely get used a lot. Well worth the money. Although now we have our own house it takes up a lot of space!

2. Personalised leather cufflink box
My boyfriend doesn’t use cufflinks so I figured this could sit looking pretty in his room He uses it for a whole variety of things. It looks absolutely gorgeous and is well built.

3. Personalised leather photo album
I only bought a small one of these due to the price since I was buying other things too but this is so pretty! I expected the personalism to be a bit bolder but its really subtle.

4. Personalised magnetic photo frames
These can be either free standing or magnetic and are in the style of polariods. You can pick between different fonts for the personalisation.

5. Nerf dart guns
My dad bought me and my boyfriend these one year. He decided I needed one to defend myself and he was so right! What an excellent gift. Last year, he bought sets for all of my aunts and uncles so they would have wars and tonnes of fun. Great success.

6. Wooden chopping board
I bought my parents one as an anniversary gift and it sits on display as my dad says it is “too beautiful to use”. It is a giant solid board with personalised engravings. I first saw the Breaking Bad ” let’s cook” one and since my parents are huge fans, I figured they would love it. But then I saw one with a tree engraved and the family name with their wedding date engraved and I just knew that would be the perfect gift. I also bought personalised chopping boards for a couple of friends as wedding gifts this year and both couples loved them. I highly recommend this!

7. Mini indoor citrus tree
We don’t have a garden but my dad loves plants. He is always offering to help our neighbour with her garden and I decided a mini citrus tree would be perfect. He loved it so I bought a 3ft lemon tree as his next gift. Although he loves them both and takes great pride in looking after them, he has warned me not to buy any more (even though I’ve seen SO MANY more indoor mini fruit trees) because we just don’t have the space. Thinking out don’t he box with this gift, that’s for sure!

8. Crystal skull vodka and shot glasses
I bought this on Amazon as it was  the only place I saw the gift set with the skull glasses. Beautiful.

9. Pun related gifts
A mini grater that says “I think you’re great” is by far my favourite one so far!

10. Scrapbook of memories
This one took a wee bit of time since I had to scan and print a lot of things but it is a cheap and incredibly thoughtful gift.

11. Personalised wallet
Scott doesn’t like wallets with coin holders. He told me that he was incredibly fussy when it comes to wallets. His wallet was falling to pieces and I wanted to get him on he would like and actually use. Then using my favourite web store, I found one I could have my handwriting on. You simply write down your personalisation then scan it into your computer (or take a photo) and send it to the shop. I used my sister’s graphics tablet and spent ages writing and re-writing until it was perfect. The outcome? A gorgeous wallet with personalised with their name (and a note too if you wish) in yours or their handwriting. He loves it. Perfect gift.

12. Tickets for the theatre or concerts
This is a favourite I go back to time and time again. Who doesn’t love an experience gift? And if you can upgrade their seats at the theatre by adding drinks and snacks, then even better!

13. Experience days
I got my dad two tickets for a birds of prey experience day. He loves big birds and is always pointing them out or seeing the birds of prey displays if there is one when we’re out so this is ideal for him. Up close and personal with the birds. You should have seen his face when he opened it. Magic. I’ve also been on the receiving end of an experience day gift when my boyfriend got me a hot air balloon ride ticket (!!!!!) so if you’re stuck for ideas, this is definitely the way forward! (Oh, and you get a discount on Virgin Experience Days with your rail card if you have one. Even better.)

 

Specs.

Sometimes you badly scratch the lenses of your glasses and you’re presented with two options: pay £80 to buy a new pair or pay £80 to get them fixed. Getting them fixed was my initial thought until the woman behind the till told me I’d be without them for 3 weeks. For someone who needs glasses full time, that was definitely not an option.

But it’s okay. Life happens and sometimes your things get damaged. There is absolutely no point in being angry over the unavoidable.

Except it was totally avoidable and I should have had a glasses case and not dropped my specs on the ground, twice.

I haven’t damaged a pair of glasses in a long time so I suppose it was overdue. At least my new ones shouldn’t fall down my face as much.