Wednesday, 10 October 2018

*#MySocialSpirit - Smallest changes for the BIGGEST impact?


eco friendly changes at home


Over the last year or so, a switch has seriously flipped for me when it comes to the environment we live, learn and grow in. Minimalism, zero waste, low impact, are all words flying around both on and offline, but is it all hippy dippy bull asking you to do the impossible, or is it easier than it sounds? Could it even be rewarding? In 2015 it was agreed by a whole host of world leaders that we should start working towards a better world, working towards sustainable development, ending poverty, fighting inequality and putting a stop to climate change. Can all this really be achieved by a few meatless Monday’s and homemade beauty products?

Believe it or not, we can all, as individuals make tiny, almost unnoticeable changes to our daily routine both in and out of the home that will actually have a substantial impact on the road to a better world. From choosing the right litter bin when out and about in the city - Glasdon have some great information on this if you’re unsure of which bin to put your wrappers in https://uk.glasdon.com/litter-bins to picking up a reusable coffee cup, stainless steel water bottle or even just taking a tote bag out to the shops. These changes are minuscule with very little impact on our own lives, but they work wonders for protecting our planet! Guys, come on, it really is that easy!

eco friendly changes at home


A couple of weeks ago I came home to a big blue bag hanging on the front door of our apartment. Liverpool City Council have finally given us recycling facilities in our building! When we moved in over 4 years ago, we had three recycling bins down in the basement, for over 60+ apartments. Living in the city centre, with no car, makes recycling all but impossible without these bins. But of course, 3 bins would fill up in less than 3 days. Some people couldn’t tell the difference between a household waste bin and a recycling bin. And then the bins disappeared! All the cardboard and plastic bottles taking up my kitchen windowsill (so Pinterestable) had nowhere to go - until now. That little blue bag has been a game changer, because with it came ten recycling bins in the basement! Recycling for everyone! It takes no time out of my day to put waste in two bins, and no time out of my day to take them to their designated spaces. And every time I put my plastic bottles into the recycling bin, I feel like I get little green planet points. They nourish my little community spirit.

Incorporating conscious, Earth saving decisions into our daily routine doesn’t have to be a headache. It doesn’t mean throwing away every plastic tupperware you have and replacing them with glassware. Plastic has become such an integral part of our day to day lives, from lunch boxes to toothbrushes, that to throw it all away to go green would do more harm than good. You are not a bad person for having plastic in your life. You’re doing the planet a favour by not throwing it away and replacing it, but using it for as long as possible. If it’s in your life the day the switch flips for you, you’re not a fake or a phoney by keeping it in your life. If the time comes and it needs replacing, that’s when you make a more conscious, sustainable choice. And of course, recycle, upcycle, and donate as much as possible before giving in and sending it to the landfill. 

eco friendly changes at home


Turning off the lights at home, unplugging devices not currently in use, not leaving your phone on permanent charge. Cooking more from scratch, reducing food waste by not over buying, by using what you have, by educating yourself just a little bit on what can be frozen to taste longer. Reaching for a jumper before reaching for the thermostat. I bet you’ve heard all of these time and time again, but what difference does one light switch make? Turns out that difference is something tremendous! The less power we consume, the fewer toxic fumes factories put out, so yes, switching off that light when you leave the room really does have an impact!

The biggest, most impactful changes really are some of the smallest, simplest you can make. 

What’s one change you could make today to earn yourself some super shiny Earth points?

Until next time, 




Credits:
Header Image: @john_cameron
2nd Image: @pawel_czerwinski
3rd Image: @rawpixel
This post is in collaboration with Glasdon. All thoughts, opinions, hopes and dreams are my own. For more information please see my disclaimer policy

Monday, 8 October 2018

Lifelong Learning - Choosing your own path!

lifelong learning


After leaving university, I didn’t have a clue what to do next. The path that had taken me this far had been so structured. There had been timetables, syllabuses, grades to achieve and deadlines to meet. From 4 - 24, I’d been in education, and education meant classrooms. I’d always felt so at home in the classroom, I couldn’t imagine learning anywhere else. So once the cap’s been thrown high and the gown has come off, does that mean education is over

At the time, yes. Oh that sweet taste of freedom, that feeling of time suddenly being mine. Down with deadlines, be gone with grades, for a brief, shining moment, it was exhilarating! But then came the Dolly Parton daily, weekends feeling shorter, paydays always 2 days too late for the direct debits due. I missed my files and notebooks, my deadlines and all night sessions in the library. Formal education was over, adulating was a work in progress, was I really done with learning? The funny thing about life and learning is that we’re never done. Or should I say, we never have to be done, if we don’t want to be. Yes, the freedom from formal education is mind blowing, but it’s also freeing in that you get to choose what you learn next. From taking an online finance course with Kaplan to checking out ayurveda books from the library, trying a new sport, or deciding to turn your love for a glass of vino into a full blown certified sommelier certificate. The possibilities are endless. Literally. 

Think of all the things you wish they’d taught you at school. In todays world we have an infinite amount of resources available to us at the click of a button, both free and paid for. You can literally take any one single thing that you are interested in and give it as much time as you want. No more timetables, no more 1 hour of PE a week or 3 hours of maths a week. YOU set the timetable, you take your passions and run with them. 

lifelong learning


There’s something about the idea of taking something that’s always been an idea, or a hobby, and spending so much time with it that you become a professional in that area. They say it takes around 10,000 hours to be considered an expert in something, which sounds like a bloody lot, but when it’s spent doing something you are truly interested in, something you have willingly chose for yourself, that hasn’t been forced upon you by the man. It can be a course to further your career, or it can be a course that just enriches your day to day life. 

I’ve been looking at online courses a lot lately. I like the idea of it being a bit more formal, in that there’s assessments and grading, but there’s still the freedom element as I can choose the course myself, do it purely for pleasure, and do it when I want too. Ah the beauty of online, distance learning. I’m really toying with the idea of taking an online course in short stories, in a bid to get back to my degree routes and giving myself a little refresher. Again, the beauty of choosing your own learning path is that you can revisit things as much as possible too, for a reminder or just pure enjoyment.

Because when you’re learning for you, there really is no greater pleasure. If you want to know more about Kaplan and developing an education you can choose, check out their e-book!



What’s been your post formal education learning experience? Have you ever taken an online course before? What was it in? Was it for business or pleasure? 

Until next time, 




Credits:
Header image: @baim
2nd Image: @syinq

This post was in collaboration with Kaplan. All thoughts, opinions, hope and dreams are my own. For more information please see my disclaimer. 

Friday, 5 October 2018

September Moments and Highlights 2018


september moments and highlights


When I first got to thinking about my September round-up, I honestly couldn’t think of much to share! It’s not that the month was a dull one, but it just went super quick. It’s such a cliche to say but I swear, the older I get, the quicker time seems to go by! September was a serious blinked and missed it month so I’m really hoping October decides to chill out and hang for a while! 



September felt like a long goodbye to Summer that’s for sure! I kicked off the month by heading back to The District with friends for a sweet 2 night stay right on Lake Windermere. Though the trip didn’t go exactly to plan, I had an amazing time! I chucked my phone in the bottom of my bag and just enjoyed being out in the fresh air with friends and chilling in beautiful surroundings. Having been to the Lakes twice this year, I have fell completely head over heels in love with the place! There’s something so ye olde world about it, so quaint and relaxing. Is it wrong to be planning a retirement inspired lifestyle at 30??

This past month I’ve jumped right on the Hinch bandwagon, stocking up on Zoflora and putting together a little Narnia of my own - I don’t think my house has ever smelt so good! I’m keeping an eye out for those Christmas scents and I still need to get my hands on a Minky! Have you been hit with the Hinch yet?



I’ve given my skincare routine a full overhaul over the last few weeks, and I can’t wait to share the updates with you this month! I’ve jumped head first into both the 7 skin method and a 10 step Korean skincare routine and am seeing some serious results! Having discovered the brand Sukin this past month, my skin has never felt so nourished and loved! With the days getting colder and the heating going on, our skin is always in for a rough ride come winter, so nailing the hydration game sooner rather than later is a must! 



Speaking of skincare, I also put in a cheeky, not so little, face mask haul which I am loving working through. Nothing beats taking just 10-15 minutes out of your evening to pop on a mask, lay back and just be still. Not only will your face thank you for the little pamper, but your body and soul will thank you for giving it time to just be and relax. 

Hands down, the biggest highlight of September was my first Polka Lab workshop! I met the gorgeous and fiercely passionate Mica, who is on a mission to not only show us how easy and fun it is to make our own bath and beauty products, but encourages us to take a step back from the all or nothing frantic lifestyle we are leading and just slow it down. She’s an advocate of slow living, making time for ourselves and making time to pursue our true passions. The workshop filled me with so much inspiration, I’m still riding that creative high!

In many ways, September has been a slow month. But I’m not complaining. We can’t be all systems go all the time, believe me, I’ve tried it, and it end in exactly the same way each and every time, with sheer exhaustion and a top to toe burn out. Taking time out to just chill with friends, family, partners, hell, even just yourself, is time very well spent if you ask me!

And before we go, let’s talk about what you guys have been loving this month! This months most viewed post was my Instruction manual for life post! Would you want a step by step breakdown of just how to live your life or is winging it more exciting?

What did your September look like?

Until next time, 





Credits

Header Image: @drscythe

Monday, 1 October 2018

*Improving blogger outreach


improving blogger outreach


When it comes to oureach, I’ll get real with you here, I am the worst for reaching out. There, I said it! I have been unbelievably fortunate to have had some amazing opportunities over the last few years, but they’ve all started with an email that has come in my direction, and never the other way around. I know I should be ashamed to admit this, after all I am forever preaching that blogging shouldn’t be about the numbers but, I’ve always been of the mind that my numbers/community here in the Wonderland doesn’t seem big enough for me to think anyone would take me reaching out to them seriously. It's time I improved my blogger outreach services!

I’ve always thought of my blog as the perfect hobby, It gets me out, it pushes me to try new things, gives me a creative outlet and a voice to share my interests and thoughts. I find so much comfort and joy in what I’ve created so far, and I know my blog could do and be so much more than it currently is. Seriously guys, if I work at this, if I throw myself into the arena and actively look for more paid blogging opportunities, I’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain. And the same goes for you

So here’s a couple of things I’m going to try in order to turn this hobby of mine into something with a real future!

Sign up to more blogger outreach platforms

Sounds like an obvious one, right? But as of right now I’m only signed up to one blogger outreach website. I’ve been signed up for a couple of months now and I’m finally getting a feel for the site and which content opportunities I want to be going for. I also see it as a bit of a challenge. Can I take something I would never in a million years have wrote about and put my own spin on it? Can I saloca-fy it? I’m using this as practice for my next idea…

To get more freelance work

I know the freelance work isn’t necessarily posted here on the blog, but I think I can use my blog as a decent portfolio to showcase my voice and ability. Plus anything that keeps me writing and challenges me can only be a good thing! So I’m hoping to at least get a client or two under my belt this side of the New Year - I can see this being a big goal for next year!

Define my space

The beauty of a lifestyle blog is that you can pretty much write about anything, but does that mean you should? I don’t want to go sending emails out to anyone and everybody I can find out there in the hopes that someone bites. PR’s are much more specific about who they want to work with, what kind of audience they want to see their product, so I feel like I should be more specific when it comes to the products/ideas I share on here. Inevitably, that does mean (and something I have done) turning down some well paid opportunities. But I’ve got to start thinking about personal branding and a more cohesive style/theme around here. So I’m going to crack out the coloured pencils and start on some mind mapping!

Get a media kit together

I’ve had this conversation with a few blogging buddies now, some say have one, some say it doesn’t matter. But I’m thinking this will help with potential follow up emails when PR’s ask about stats. If I can send it all out in one pretty, professional, neat little package (and figure out how to Elle Woods scent-style an email!) then that should hopefully answer a few more questions up front and I might get get an opportunity sooner rather than later. 

It’s time to put the hours in

Turning your blog into something more than a hobby means you’re going to have to give it the attention of a small child. It needs your love, devotion, and discipline to grow into a somewhat functioning member of society/a semi-reliable income. Not the easiest thing to do when you already have a full time job, a Netflix addiction and are a sociable critter. So time needs to be carved out somewhere. I’ve started taking what I call writing days off from work. The plan is to lock myself in the house from 9 - 5, gather my hair up in a messy bun and get sh*t done. I used to have a blog schedule and I used to stick to it like glue, but the last few months I’ve not made enough time to generate the content that a schedule requires. In theory, these days should help me get ahead with content creation, leaving me more time to promote/email/Netflix binge. 

Do my homework

There are hundreds, if not thousands of posts out there on how to improve your blog and turn it into something to be proud of and/or can at least pay the phone bill each month. I want to spend more time doing my research and putting some of the ideas I come across into practice. Like everything else these days, blogging and social media are moving at a million times an hour, and I don’t change up my approach I’m going to get left behind. 

Are you ready to try and take your blog to the next level? How do you plan on doing it?

Until next time, 




Credits:

This post is on collaboration with GetBlogged. All thoughts, opinions, hopes and dreams are my own. For more information please see my disclaimer policy. 

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Currently Reading #11


recommended reading


I feel like my nose has been stuck to the books these past few weeks and I am not complaining! Maybe it’s the early evenings coming in, the crunchy leaves under foot, but I have been making so much more time for reading and loving it. So brew up something warm, grab your favourite blanket and get ready for some reading recommendations!

Rising Strong - Brene Brown

Let’s say you have a fight with a friend, in the moment you are frustrated and pissed off, and when you walk away, you scrutinise everything they said, every blink of their eyes, you start to tell yourself a story about why they did what they did, but because your telling yourself this story about the interaction in such a foul mood, you automatically put a negative spin on it. But after you calm down, take a step back, and breathe, the story about the incident starts to change. Maybe you become more sympathetic to your friends point of view, maybe you remember how catty you were being in the first place because you’d had a crap morning. The story changes. We start to get confused between what is truth, and what was created to make us feel better about the whole thing. That is what this book is about. And boy oh boy did it speak volumes to me. Brene tells us about her own personal experiences, how we can own the stories we tell, learn from them, rise up strong from them and move forward. There’s a lesson in this one for everyone

How Not to Die - Michael Greger

When I started reading this book, I was a meat eater. By the time I’d finished, I was a pescatarian (though vegetarian most days), with a fruit and veggies intake that had been upped tenfold. Honestly? I have never felt better. I sleep better, I have more energy, I can focus more, I consciously make better food choices. Granted, I am still partial to polishing off a Terrys Chocolate Orange in one sitting, I have never felt this good about the food I am putting into my body. Now, don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t take this book as law, but the points made about the benefits of a more plant based diet have been researched, backed up and researched again. Yes, Greger is going to pick the bits out of journals and papers that resonate with the message he is trying to convey, so some reading around the book wouldn’t go amiss, but on the whole, this book helped flip a switch in me that has been teetering for sometime now. 

Ctrl Alt Delete - Emma Gannon

Someone had mentioned The Multi Hyphen Method which led me to it’s author, Emma Gannon. Now, the library didn’t have that one in, but they did have her first book, Ctrl Alt Delete on the shelf. Gannon is about my age, so we both grew up in the same digital age, of Livejournal, Neopets, Myspace pages and Nokias. From chatroom escapades to unfortunate webcam exchanges, I couldn’t stop laughing and nodding along as I read, having grew up at a time when you would block - unblock someone on MSN just so they would see you sign in and maybe it would catch their attention and they’d say hey. The first half of the book totally resonated me and it was so fun to look back on my own similar experiences, but she lost me at the half way point. I never did the whole internet dating thing, and though some tales were funny, I found it difficult to connect with. She spent so much of the book talking about these times, I found myself more likely to reach for my phone on my breaks than this book. Still, everyones digital experiences are different and you might connect with her in way that I didn’t.


The Miracle Morning - Hal Elrod

My Miracle Morning Routine is something that pops up on my subscription feeds constantly, guess it says a lot about what I’m looking up online! I always thought it was some sort of religious  thing. Don’t ask me where I got that from, but for that reason I’d never took much notice to it. Then a video auto-played and I realised how wrong I had been! The Miracle Morning is a 6 step routine that you follow with intention each and every morning. It’s all about goal setting, putting you in the right frame of mind for the day, and in many ways, the law of attraction. Elrod went through a rough patch some years back, well I say rough, he almost died. To get his mind motivated and to move past the trauma, he developed S.A.V.E.R.S, because this routine was going to be his lifesaver. Scribing, affirmation, visualisation, exercise, reading and silence. The practice itself is ridiculously customisable, there’s no set time frame so you can spend as much or as little time on each step as you need, you might not even need all the steps. What this routine really ensures is that every single day you think about your goals and you take small steps towards them, be they health, family, business or spiritually inclined, you give them attention each and every day!

Roadside Picnic - Arkady & Boris Strugatsky

The Zone is a mysterious area left ruined and scattered with alien artefacts after the visitation some years ago. Those known at Stalkers are brave enough (or stupid enough) to venture into The Zone in order to retrieve these mysterious objects that sell for a high price. Usually, when it comes to close encounters with extraterrestrials, they hang around, we try to experiment on them, they try to befriend us, ultimately realise we’re a pretty diabolical species and thus try to colonise and or wipe us out. What the Strugatsky brothers explore is what if, instead of acknowledging us, aliens just treat a visit to Earth like a roadside picnic? They park up on our unsuspecting little planet, throw down the picnic blanket, stretch their legs and pass the tupperware containers around. After they’ve filled their bellies and tossed their rubbish to the side, they take off and carry on their journey. Their rubbish is our treasure. How does an encounter like that, where we’re seen as so insignificant to even stop and say hello to, effect our community? Lives? Meaning of life itself? 

Got any book recommendations for me? Let me known below and I’ll add them to my TBR list!

Until next time, 





Monday, 24 September 2018

Polka Lab Workshop - Think Lash - Liverpool


polka lab workshop liverpool


Sundays have always been my favourite days when it comes to carving out some me time. Long lazy baths, trips to the library, an extended yoga session, anything that chills me out, get’s me over the week that’s been and ready for the week that is to come. This past Sunday I was invited down the beautiful Think Lash Bar, Roscoe St, to meet Mica, the founder and workshop leader of Polka Lab - workshops that focus on self love, slow living, and DIY skincare. Three of my favourite things all in one place!

Mica is incredible passionate about Polka Lab, the lessons it teaches are invaluable when we live in a time in which we just don’t believe we have enough time. Running around, updating social media, working hard and playing less, these are trying, frazzling times for our minds and bodies. As much as I try to make time for me, I’m even better at making excuses not to. 

And the biggest anti-me-time excuse it all comes down to? Guilt.

I feel guilty for switching off my phone.
I feel guilty for locking myself away in the bathroom for an hour.
I feel guilty spending time with myself.

Sound familiar? We seriously need to stop this guilt in it’s tracks and stop feeling guilty for putting ourselves first! Self care, me time, whatever you want to call it, is not selfish. This is how I see it, if we don’t look after ourselves, how can we expect to look after those we care about when they need us? 

So this is a permission slip to my future self, who is planning on turning her phone off for an hour, or doesn’t post on Instagram for a week. My future self who wants to skip out on a Netflix binge with the Mr one night in favour of a bubble bath and face mask for one. This is your permission slip too. 

polka lab workshop liverpool


I’ve always had an interest in DIY skincare and beauty, but again, it’s something I’ve never really made time for. But with Micas encouragement and guidance at the Polka Lab workshop, not only did I learn to make my own bath bombs and bath salts, but I realised just how much I enjoyed it too! 

polka lab workshop liverpool


I always thought bath bombs were something really fussy and complicated, that would take days to make - more effort than they’re worth right? Wrong! I made 3 bath bombs in under 30 minutes! And I made them exactly how I wanted them. We had a great chat with Mica about carrier oils and essential oils, the properties and benefits of each one, then picked from a selection which ones we felt called best to our current mood and needs. I added avocado oil to my bath bomb mix, for some serious moisturising, then a mixture of geranium oil, juniper berry, sweet orange and  rosemary. A heady mixture, rich in antioxidents, detoxification, circulation boosting, skin nourishing and so much more. That’s the pure beauty of DIY bath bombs, you can mix together exactly what you need. 

polka lab workshop liverpool


As our bath bombs set, we set to work on our bath salt mixtures. I went for a pink himalayan salt and dead sea salt mixture, with sunflower oil. I also added a mixture of grapefruit oil and juniper oil, a supposed fabulous cure for hangovers. Just saying, this might come in really handy! I couldn’t get over how pretty my little mixture looked, how amazing it smells - it’s by my side as I type and I can’t stop sniffing it and smiling. Not only does it smell really good, but I have this overwhelming feeling of accomplishment. Not only did I make something for myself, but I took the time out of my day to do something for myself. 

polka lab workshop liverpool


Hand on heart, I really do believe we can all find time in our day to do something for ourselves. It might mean getting up earlier, or staying up later. It might mean watching less Netflix, or dragging our backsides from behind the desk and going for a walk each and every day. Find the things that make you happy, from face masks to painting your nails, reading, writing, exercise, making bath bombs, and find a few minutes each day to give to yourself to explore the things you love. 

A huge thank you again to Mica for inviting me down, I really do wish this incredible woman all the luck in the world with her ventures! Her vision for Polka Lab and slow living really speaks to me and I can't wait to see where she goes with this mission! 

Do you think you make enough time for yourself?

Until next time, 

liverpool blogger



Monday, 17 September 2018

An instruction manual for life?


instruction manual for life


I don’t know about you, but I am not the kind of person who pulls the instruction manual out of the box before I start pushing buttons and twiddling dials. Growing up, whenever I would get something with a million tiny pieces, I remember my Dad would sit there with those illustrated manuals, laying out each piece, turning each page, and getting a feel for what needed doing in what order before delving in and putting that Barbie horse and carriage together. If it was left to me, 20 years down the line and I’d still be trying to figure out how to latch those doors on!

I’ve always been a do it now, figure it out later person. And that doesn’t always end well! From being convinced something is broken because I’ve missed a connecting step, to something not sitting quite level because I ignored the visual manuals step by step guide on balancing each end for a perfect level finish. I drive the Mr crazy, because just like my Dad, he really wants to check over the instructions first, and I’m already in the box and throwing nuts and bolts around the living room like confetti. 

And let me tell you, those nuts and bolts are not just for putting the new standing fan together, I’m talking about the nuts and bolts of life here too. With the Barbie carriage, the standing fan, every piece has a place, and every piece goes in that place in a particular order. If done correctly, woohoo! You have a functioning Barbie carriage and a room cooling standing fan. But if they don’t function? If they don’t turn as they should? You can go back to the beginning, and start again. You can put yourself back on page one and work through the process again.

Life isn’t always that straightforward though is it? We can’t all go back to the start and give it another go, try putting the pieces in a different order and seeing if the outcome is more desirable. I’m pretty sure that is called a Time Machine and I’ve still not seen one on my recommended for you Amazon homepage. Thought I refresh it a lot!

instruction manual for life


Having an instruction manual for life sounds pretty appealing doesn’t it? Knowing exactly whats going to happen, in what order, a helpful, visual, step by step guide for avoiding the cracks and for everything to go right first time. But where’s the fun in that? Sure, Dad read though the instruction booklet and laid out the pieces, he followed it to a T, but sometimes, those instructions where nonsensical. Bracket A didn’t always, seamlessly, slot into position B, so you’d have to get creative with your solutions, maybe snipping something off, shaving something down, or pure brute force. Regardless of the solution, he still found a way to make it work

Not every day starts off right, not every decision turns out to be the right one. But we can find a way to make it work. We might not currently be sitting at the desk we imagined, and with no instruction manual to hand, we can’t always be sure exactly where we went wrong. But we did, and here we are, and now we have to make it work

We have to knuckle down.
We have to get creative.
We have to figure this sh*t out.

And above all else, we have to keep moving forward

Instruction manuals are great when it comes to putting that mass produced Ikea bed frame together, but when it comes to our own life, there’s no one way to live it. But we can have some bloody fun, interesting, sometimes tearful times figuring it out. 

Would you reach for the instruction manual or wing it?

Until next time, 





Credits:
Header image: @florianklauer
2nd Image: @kellysikkema
This post is in collaboration with Manualise. All thoughts, opinions, hope and dreams are my own. For more information please see my disclaimer policy.