My Bullet Journal

I’ve never been able to stick to writing a journal. I couldn’t do the ‘dear diary’ thing all the kids of TV shows were doing when I grew up. I was never very good at getting my thoughts out of my head. No wonder I have trouble expressing myself. It’s one of the main reasons I decided to start a blog as I wanted to share what I was doing and how I felt about things in a creative way. I am not the type of person to write and then edit. I say what I want to and hit publish, simple.

However I have always been a huge fan of lovely notebooks and funky colourful pens. I loved being in school at a time when computers were still only used for IT classes. I still find if I need to remember something I have to write it down. So all my lovely notebooks have often just had scribbles of random projects I’ve been working on over the years. However there has been a change in the last few months as I decided to have another go at a bullet journal.

So as I embark on starting a brand new Harry Potter Moleskine beauty of a notebook I thought I would share my set up for May with you.

Lets just take a moment to appreciate the stickers that are hidden in the pocket of the notebook and that I have chosen to stick on the very first page (you know the page that is attached the cover so is not really a usable page? Yeah that one.)

I start my bullet journal with a a date and key. I keep it as simple as possible and have chosen symbols that I already use when taking notes in work. I can always add to it if I need to, but after a few months I’ve found these are the ones I use.

Next up I like to have a view of the whole month. I like to know what I’m committed to already so I can plan my time well and make sure I get enough downtime to enjoy the fun things. I use one main colour per month and the other colours will pop up as nice bursts every so often. This way I can easily see which pages belong together if I ever need to look back.

The next section I include is a gratitude journal. I’ve always had trouble keeping up with these if I’ve kept them separate to my calendar, but have found this works really well. I limit myself to a sentence at most, but some days it’s just a word or two. It’s nice to look back on, but the use I get from this is that it makes me pause for a minute and think of something I’m grateful for. I also try to put down something different each day, but don’t worry about looking back at the previous months.

The next section is my master to-do list. This is for the big stuff I need to do each month. It might include the stuff I don’t have to do regularly, or one off things, or things for later in the month I might forget about otherwise. I keep the day to day stuff in a later section and I also have an app on my phone for reminders so I’m pretty well covered.

I then move on to some trackers. First up is a mood tracker. I find this really useful to remind myself how my mood fluctuates and that all feelings are temporary. I added a simple note section to this month as found it useful to look back on when talking to my therapist about any sudden dips and the possible triggers.

The next tracker I have is a habit tracker. I have chosen to pick four each month and see how I get on. The aim is not to do each one every single day, but look at routine and relate back to my mood tracker. This month i am going back to basics on a few things to bring back some good habits and also work on one (getting up) that has been a stumbling block this last month. This is also where all the colours come out!

I think I’ve put the next section in the wrong place and will rectify that next month as it is not really a tracker and I think should be at the start of the monthly section, rather than in the middle. I’ve been doing a monthly reflections page for the last few years as it is a nice way to spend half an hour with a coffee and just look back and forwards in order to focus on the now.

The next tracker is all about the money baby. I’m working really hard on curbing some unnecessary spending habits as I want to build an emergency fund and save for holidays and other fun stuff. I’ve found since the widespread use of contactless has happened I have become lax in keeping an eye on my spending. I’ve got my spending spreadsheet, the banking apps on my phone and use Money Dash Board, but right now find backing those up by writing each expenditure down makes me think things through. I used this tactic in university and it work really well, so I’m bring it back for 2017. It’s quite time consuming, so I don’t think it’s a permanent thing, but a useful tool to pull out of the box every so often.

I then have a section to focus on my blog. I’ve scaled my blogging down in the last year and my aim is one post a week as I really enjoy it, I just don’t always make the time with my job being busy. This allows me to think and plan ahead and it works really well.

The next section is also one I find extremely useful. I used to have my therapy session and then move on to something else and was getting super frustrated with forgetting what I’d been talking about the week before. Then I saw something like this somewhere I can’t now find and made it my own. I now spend 5-10 minutes after my session just noting down a few things and then before my next session I can recap.

Then comes the biggest section – the day to day bullet journal. This is where I note down anything I want to each day. I haven’t set myself a limit and just let myself free flow and go based on what I need each day, which means some days have 2 lines and others take up a page. I take a look in the morning to note down anything I need to do and then return in the evening to check those things off and note my thoughts/feelings/questions about the day. Like I said at the start I keep it simple and make it work for me.

The one thing I have found that the bullet journal doesn’t work for me with is random thoughts or working through things to make decision. So I also have to have a separate notebook to do this. I find this work for me as it also means I can use my phone notes section for random thoughts and not feel it must be transferred to the bullet journal.

There is loads of inspiration out there on what a bullet journal could do for you, but don’t be afraid to make it your own. I cannot be arsed with an index as I know I won’t keep it up to date, therefore I also don’t need to number the pages! I’m breaking the rules, but who cares, I don’t have enough fucks to give for that kind of thing.

Decluttering (my life)

I’ve been itching to declutter and tidy my house since December, but have waited until I could dedicate some solid time to it, to do it properly. I think this has always been about more than just the physical things I want to clear out, but it has only come to light as I’ve been doing the physical decluttering that the mental decluttering is coming to the surface. More on that later.

In terms of physical decluttering, I felt I had so much stuff taking up space that my home was feeling suffocating. Not nice! This has stemmed from a change in mindset I’ve been through in the last year. I’ve switched from wanting all the things, to wanting all the experiences. Many of the things I have bought or been given over the years have not stood the test of time and live up to the memories that are much more valuable. I’ve also bee inspired by a few people out there taking a more minimal approach and it resonated so much.

I decided to buy the hold grail of tidying books – The Life Changing Magic of Tidying up by Marie Kondo. This was a really interesting read and it definitely made me think about what I have in my space differently. I’ll admit now that I did not fully follow the method, but I definitely took on the principles, which led to a much more thorough clear out than I would have been able to do otherwise.

My clear out has been so thorough that I now cannot put my car in the garage as there is so much stuff in there that needs to go to the tip of charity shops (I have a plan for the next week or so to get this gone!).

It was an exhausting few days, but it was so therapeutic doing it and seeing the results instantly. This is also when it hit me about the mental decluttering. I turned down a few invite over the weekend as I wanted to concentrate on doing this and I think I was able to process some stuff I’ve been working through in therapy while sorting out the things. I’ve been letting things sit silent rather than face them over the last year and it’s all just under the surface and I am worried I will explode, but now I feel calmer. I want to face some things and deal with them no matter what the outcome as I know that will be better than keeping the issues all within myself. It’s made it very clear to me that some relationships in my life need to change, just as I needed to change how my home felt. It’s made me assess what is important to me and in turn what is therefore not important and has to go.

My home now feels peaceful and welcoming again, which is good timing seeing I’ve had to work from home this last week after hurting my foot (yes caused by tripping over the decluttering). I have space and gaps in cupboard and drawers and I have no desire to fill them up. I’ve moved things around a bit to give the things I value more space. My bedroom is no longer the storage area and my space room is now set up as a work space again. The cats have their space, but do not possess the whole house anymore (to their complete disappointment).

Wandering all over the place

I planned this post to be about my weekend away, but I ended up travelling quite a bit for work either side of the weekend and it’s felt like I’ve been all over the place both physically and mentally.

I started off my travels by heading to London for a last minute trip with work. I needed to catch up with a few people and all of them were at the London office so it made sense to head there for the whole day. I quite like going to London with work, but I do like it when I have a bit more time so I can add on an adventure like going to a museum exhibition or head to the Japan Centre for supplies. This was a rush job as I needed to be back in time to pack for the next location.


My next stop was Brighton! A trip with the girls for the marathon weekend. I’ve been going a few years now and it is always a great weekend. Two girls were doing the marathon, another two did the 10k and a few others did the local park run. I walked everywhere as my foot is still playing up with plantar fasciitis. It was super hot and I caught the sun while we were shopping and relaxing on the beach. We even bagged free t-shirts for taking part in a game that involved being broadcast on the big screen on the beach! 


Sunday involved coming back from Brighton with a quick stop at home and then driving up to the Lake District for another work trip. It wasn’t too bad as a friend drove back from Brighton so I only had the trip north to do. I hoped by going later in the afternoon I would miss the holiday traffic and I was right! I got up to Kendal at 8:30pm and crashed out. It worked out really well as I was refreshed for my 9am meeting in Grasmere.


The weather continued to be wonderful and spending the afternoon out around Grasmere was great. I love my job! After a day in the Lakres I then headed over to the Yorkshire Dales for another work trip. I met a work colleague for dinner in Settle and enjoyed a lovely evening and meal before more work in the Dales the following day.


The next was spent working from a local office with the local team. A piece of work I am doing is being tested up in the Dales and I don’t get to go up very often to work with the team and it’s always a good day. Fingers crossed I can work it out to go on a more regular basis.

After a day in the Dales it was time to head home. Unfortunately the traffic was not so kind on the way home and I got stuck and didn’t arrive home until 9:30pm. This is where my brain stopped working for 24 hours! I was so on form throughout all the travelling, but once back to normal I lose momentum and felt awful. I underestimated the impact of the travelling and paid for it by trying to push through it. Next time I need to plan in time to rest and rebalance. 

I love exploring but I also need the energy to do it and enjoy it. Just being able to pause in between is useful and I’m learning all the time what I need to do physically and mentally to be my best with everything I want to do.

Skincare Magic


I’ve never been one to believe those skincare adverts that promise to solve all your skin problems, but that hasn’t stopped me trying multiple products and regimes over the years. None of them worked well for me. I’ve spent so long not fully understanding my skin and what it needs that now I’ve finally found products that work I’m amazed by the difference I feel in my skin and myself!


I’ve stepped away from the complicated multi step routines to find that a few products really work well for me. In taking the time to understand what my skin needs I’ve discovered it needs to be clean and moisturised. Simple.

I have realised that all the stuff I was trying was drying out my skin even when trying to add moisture back in. I am prone to breakouts (and think this is beyond a skin issue) and that can really impact my self esteem. Feeling good in my skin is less about how it looks, but more about how it feels. When it’s clean, smooth, and not greasy I feel amazing and forget about the odd pimple. If it’s dry and irritated it’s all I can think about! 


So I’ve taken it back to basic. Frost I get my skin clean. Now I get my makeup off with Clinique Take the Day Off Balm. It’s a solid that becomes a cream then rinses away. It doesn’t strip the moisture from skin but removes every single bit of makeup and dirt. My skin feel smooth and soft after using this and a lot lasts quite a while. I currently need a new pot so that’s my plan for the weekend!


Then I need to add moisture. I simply use moisturiser and since finding Orba Vitamin E face cream I have not turned back. It’s so good and although it’s quite thick it completely obsorbs into the skin leaving it matte and feeling soft and fresh. 

The third thing I do, but not everyday is us the the Orba facial scrub. I find my skin still gets a bit dry and peels after a few days of makeup so this scrub gently removed the excess skin and feels super lush! 

Because it was working so well as on my face when I needed some more I also bought the body lotion and use it a couple of times a week. This is also amazing. It absorbed into my skin and leaves it feeling fresh and cared for. 
I still get breakout and currently am having the worst one for a while. I get my chin and lip waxed and every so often my skin hates it. It’s not all the time though, maybe twice a year. I think it’s hormones and diet related. I keep thinking about find a dermatologist to ask questions ask out adult acne as I definitely there is more I could do to help it out.

Overall my skin is much happier than ever!

Let’s talk about… mental health part 2


Resentment

It’s a horrible feeling and one we all feel from time to time. It’s something I’ve working through with my therapist and it is very much linked to comparison. Comparison is the thief of joy as they say and it’s true. 

I’ve been trying over the last few months to get better at naming the emotions I am feeling. This is so I actually acknowledge they are there and what ever I am feeling is valid. Resentment has come up a lot recently and it’s been horrible. There are also feelings of guilt and shame associated with feeling resentment. It’s a messy feeling that can really drag you down. I’ve also been told I shouldn’t be resentful as it is frowned upon, which is why all those other feelings get stirred up as soon as it appears. 

But you know what? I’m fucking allowed to feel resentment! 

It is a valid feeling. I don’t like it, but it is okay to feel it. I think actong it would be wrong as often the person or thing you are recentful of is not aware of how you feel. It is one of those feeling that I would think twice about making any decisons. Recognising it, acknowledging it, and then moving forward is my way.

It is however hard feeling to talk about. People get ashamed or defensive when it comes to negative feelings even if it is not really about them. For example I’ve been feeling resentful that all my friends are in relationships and I’m not. That is not their fault and I am truly happy for them, but it doesn’t make it easier to ease the sadness and fear I feel. Also ive been feeling recentful or my parents and sisters because a lot has changed in recent years and I think I preferred it before. Again that is not their fault, but it doesn’t make what I’m feeling any less valid, it is just something I need time to work through.

Emotions are messy, espeically when you’ve spent most of your life repressing feeling because when you shown them the feedback from people has been negative and reenforced the need to hide them away. It’s not easy to start to feel them again, but I’m going to work hard to bring them alive.

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