Sublime Sundays Part Seven: A Round Up of A Productive Weekend

A Round Up of A Productive Weekend

This weekend has been fairly productive; I finally feel like I’ve achieved something and been able to tick not one, but two things off my to-do list.

I know these posts are usually about how I spent my Sunday but I haven’t posted for the past couple of days so thought I’d just do a little round up of what I got up to this weekend.

As both me and Sean are working on blogs at the moment we’ve decided that on one day of the weekend we are going to spend a few hours in a coffee shop doing some work. We’ve done some research into the best coffee places in London to work in – comfy seating and a good internet connection is pretty important so we needed a bit of guidance. The aim is to try out a new place each weekend, occasionally going back to our favourites.

So, first on our list was Timber Yard on Old Street. We got there just after they opened at 10 on Saturday morning and it was a good job we did because it filled up pretty quickly. We bagged ourselves a sofa and an arm chair downstairs (upstairs is street level and got quite loud later on in the day, so not an ideal place to work but great to hang out with friends).

The coffee was really, really good (over the four hours we were there, I had a flat white, a latte and a chai latte), the only criticism I would have is that I wish each cup had lasted longer! We also had a caramel brownie between us for breakfast which was amazing and some pastries around lunch time (don’t judge!). There was more substantial food on offer such as sandwiches and soup which looked really good but both of us were far too tempted by the sweeter treats on offer.

Timber Yard

The internet connection was fast (and free) which meant that we were both able to get a lot done. It seemed like almost everyone downstairs was working which I think contributed to my productivity. The atmosphere wasn’t dull and serious though which is what I had been worried about before we got there. People were still talking to each other and laughing so it didn’t feel like we were in an office. The staff were really helpful and friendly too.

Timber Yard might have been the first coffee shop on our list to try but it’s also the first on our list of places to go back to!

We stayed at Timber Yard until mid-afternoon and I managed to get two blog posts written, I read an eBook on writing eBooks (clever, eh?) and I added another chapter to my draft book. All in all, a productive few hours. 

When we got home, I did a little more work on my book and then took some time out to hang out with one of my best friends and watch Grown Ups. By the time I’d come home, made dinner (home made lasagne, go me!), it was bed time.

Sunday started a little slower and has mainly involved me sitting on my bed. But, I have done a third blog post as well as this one and I’ve also finished reading an eBook on freelance writing. When I’m reading educational/how-to books and articles I like to make notes for three reasons; 1. it helps me remember what I read; 2. I have the key points handy for future reference; and 3. it means I have a use for the million notebooks I own.

Etsy are also running an course called Etsy Resolution, which is a four week course on setting up and getting the most out of your Etsy store. I’d kind of set one up before but never really put any effort into it so I’ve signed up for the course and completed the first lesson this afternoon.

So, as you can see, this weekend has been very productive and I actually feel like I’ve started to make progress in a number of areas. All I have left to do this evening is to finish off next week’s schedule and edit and schedule my draft blog posts for later this week. And, with leftover lasagne for dinner, I don’t even have to cook!

How was your weekend? Did you get much done or just enjoy a relaxing few days?

12 Things That Make Me Smile

Things That Make Me Smile

I’m sat in the dark because the bulb in my bedroom has gone and I’m too flippin short to change it! Sometimes being short is awesome, mainly because you can fit into small places, but sometimes it’s a nightmare. Like right now.

I decided I’d pass some time by reading other blogs which I love doing anyway, but haven’t done much of lately, and I started thinking about other things that I enjoy but haven’t had time for recently. As many of you know, I’ve struggled with depression for a while but it’s been much worse over recent months. Sometimes it’s nice to stop for a moment and think about things that make you happy and, in my case, how you can do more of those things.

So, I went for a list of 12. I almost always do lists in 12. Why? Because 1 to 10 is good but what about those things that are better than good? Well, they get the 11th and 12th spots. Having said that, these are in no particular order.

1. Reading – As I was reading when I decided to write this post, this one should come as no surprise! But I do really love reading whether it’s blog posts or books, I love to get lost in someone else’s words. At the moment, I’m reading “Reasons to Stay Alive” by Matt Haig which is an amazing story about how Matt overcame depression from the brink of suicide. I think part of the reason I’m enjoying it so much is because I can relate to pretty much every single word but I’d highly recommend it to anyone. The downside is that, at the moment, I only really get to read it on my way to and from work which, if you’ve ever travelled on the underground during rush hour, you’ll know isn’t always possible.

Reasons to Stay Alive

2. Crafts – There’s something about drawing and making things that I find really therapeutic. It’s something I can completely immerse myself in for hours on end. Plus it means I get to buy pretty things like paper and washi tape!

3. Running – Ok, ok, I hate running. The physical act of running is painful and cold and sweaty all at the same time. But the feeling it gives you is amazing. There’s something so satisfying about setting yourself a goal and then pushing yourself to beat it, even if it’s just a small goal like not walking until you get to the next lamp post/street/mile marker. And then there’s the obvious health benefits of it too, even if you do feel like you’re dying at the time.

Running makes me smile sometimes

4. Stationery – I guess this stems from my love of arts and crafts but I have an unhealthy obsession with stationery, especially notebooks. On Tuesday night I had some time to kill before my belly dance class and spent a good half an hour (yes, a full half an hour) in kikki.K looking at all of their different notebooks and diaries. I’ve made a little list of what I want to buy on pay day! Top of the list is the wellness planner and the Be Brave daily thoughts book.

5. Food – I love food. Probably too much but it makes me so fucking happy!

6. Friends and Family – It’s so nice to catch up with people you haven’t seen for a while. To forget about your immediate problems and just talk about the good things that have happened. Sure you might bitch a little but, for the most part, when you’re catching up with friends and family you focus on the good things and share funny stories that make you smile.

7. Films – No matter what kind of mood you’re in, there’s a film for it. Sometimes you just need a silly comedy like Step Brothers to make you laugh and other times you need something uplifting and inspirational like Eat, Pray, Love or The Theory of Everything (which is what I’m watching as I write this post). The point is, film is something else that you can lose yourself in and become completely drawn in by the characters and stories. Apart from those I’ve already mentioned, the other film than never fails to make me smile is Beasts of the Southern Wild, it has to be one of my all time favourite films.

Beasts of the Southern Wild

8. Learning – There’s nothing better than learning something new. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t studying something, even just an online course with no actual qualification at the end of it. There’s so much information at our fingertips that it seems a complete waste not to try to take some of it in. I also think that this one relates to my experience of depression because learning new things gives me a sense of purpose and achievement.

9. Photography – From both angles. As much as I enjoy taking photos, there’s so much talent out there to appreciate and make you smile. Sometimes I just Google photographers based on countries or subjects and spend hours marvelling at their portfolios.

10. Writing – Blogs, lists, things that make me smile, working on my book, whatever it is that I’m writing, it makes me smile. Writing, especially blog posts, can be cathartic and help clear your mind. It can get rid of the bad things in your mind and make you focus on the good things.

11. Travel – At the moment it’s more about planning future travel than actually travelling because I’m really poor at the moment! You probably already know that love travelling and there’s nothing better than exploring new places, or as I am at the moment, planning new places to explore.

12. Making Lists – Yes, I am a major nerd. So what?

There’s lots of other things that make me smile but these are my “go to” 12. What makes you smile? I’d love to know.

A Blogger’s Best Friend

A Blogger's Best Friend - The Weekly PlannerLast night’s #bdib chat got me thinking about planning blog posts and how I try to achieve a work/life balance. Whilst these two might seem like quite different topics, they’re very much linked for me; I plan pretty much everything in my life!

So, how do I plan my life?

Enter the Paperchase weekly planner, aka, a Blogger’s best friend…

Time to start planning

Isn’t it amazing? You can pick these up at most stationery shops but you probably already know, I’m a sucker for Paperchase.

The one I have cost around £7 and has 52 pages. Each page has 7 columns, one for each day of the week and a section at the bottom of each page for any extra notes.

I usually have a lot to do once I get home from work and the biggest temptation is to sit down, watch TV and do nothing else. So, to stop me from doing this, I schedule in the various things that I need to do, along with some optional extras!

Here’s a quick look at how I use the planner:

Planning, planning and more planning

My writing on it is tiny so it’s hard to read in the photo but I basically have three categories and colour code them or use specific placement.

  1. At the very top of each column I make a note of that day’s workout. It’s really easy to forget about exercise so writing it down makes it feel like any other task on your list. Don’t ignore this; exercise is a great way of ensuring you have the right work/life balance.
  2. In red, at the top of each day is a list of the relevant Twitter chats I want to join in with. In a world of scheduled posts, it’s easy to lose the personal touch which, for me, is what blogging is about; you want to get to know the writer, not just read the same 5 Tweets they post every Wednesday. There’s a lot of chats around and at different times so having them all in one place like these ensures you don’t miss any.
  3. Next on the list is other jobs. So, it’s things like making sure new posts are scheduled, checking in on Twitter and Facebook accounts to make sure you don’t miss anything or some sort of studying (I love to learn new things all the time and I’m usually working my way through some online course).

This planner maps out the work that I put into my blog and into the marketing/advertising/general social media for my business. Any actual making of scrapbooks, albums or cards for the business is separate. And if you want to meet me after work for a drink? Sorry, but if you’re not on the planner, it ain’t happenin!

I am, of course, joking. The great thing about this planner is that you can see the whole week so if you want to shuffle things around you can. anyway, everyone deserves some down time and it’s important not to be too harsh on yourself if you don’t tick everything off your list every single day.

In addition to the planner, I have a million and one notebooks to write down ideas for posts and Tweets etc. No blogger could survive without a few notebooks!

How do you manage your time? Any hints or tips for me?

Five Simple Ways to Beat Monday Morning Blues

Banish those Monday Morning Blues

How the hell did this happen? Where did the weekend go? Why is it Monday again already? Why is this happening to me?

The same happens every week, you go to sleep on Friday night and wake up again only to find out that it’s Monday. Everyone knows that Monday morning feeling so here are my five simple tips to beat the blues and have an awesome day.

1. Embrace Monday – This might sound stupid because Monday is Monday and it sucks. But it is also the start of a new week and is a chance to start over. Forget about last week and those awkward customers or the pile of work that got dumped on you late on Wednesday afternoon. That’s all behind you now. This is a new week so grab it with both hands and embrace it. This could be the week you finally start reading your new book, or sign up to a new exercise class. It’s pretty simple really, start your week positively and you will own it!

2. Treat yourself – Go on, you deserve it, it is Monday after-all! It doesn’t have to be extravagant but something small, just to reward yourself for getting out of bed and not calling in sick (which I know you wouldn’t do because you’re good people). Maybe it’s just a coffee on the way into work or leaving work on time, whatever you you decide to do, you deserve it for tackling today and winning!

3. Don’t read the news – Why? Because it’s depressing. Sure, it’s great to be up to date on current events but first thing on a Monday morning? Really? I’m not suggesting that if you ignore everything it will go away but at least wait until you get to work (or maybe even until lunch time). Just give yourself that little bit of extra time to come to terms with today and a decent chance at beating these Monday blues.

4. Listen to some music – You see that guy over there by the door on the tube? No, not him, the guy next to him with the ridiculously big headphones and the music you can hear from where you’re standing. Yea. That one. Want to know why he’s not sobbing and all-consumed by Monday? Because he’s listening to shit music really loudly and doesn’t give a damn! You know what they say, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. You know you’ve got some Justin Bieber stored on your phone just begging to be listened to.

5. Be Healthy – Start your day with a jog or a yoga class. It’s common knowledge that exercise releases endorphins and endorphins are amazing and make you happy, happy, happy. If it’s too late for that now and you’re already on your way to work, shame on you! Just kidding, it’s not too late for you at all! Make a conscious effort to drink more water today or swap your usual stodgy snacks for fruit which will make you feel less sluggish and hopefully make Monday a bit more manageable.

And, if all else fails, you can just pretend it’s Friday already (although, I’m pretty sure that will just push your Monday blues into Tuesday).

Hope you have a wonderful day, see you on the other side!

Sublime Sundays Part Six – A Morning Full of Crafting

Sublime Sundays

I woke up early this morning and was wide awake. I put some washing on, had breakfast, showered and sat down with my plan of action for today before 8.30 am. I know that this isn’t actually that early, those of you have kids have probably been up for hours at that time, but for me, this was a massive achievement.

I looked at what my planner had in store for me today :

1. Write blog posts for next week 

2. Review Facebook and Twitter accounts for blog and business

3. Check and respond to all emails

4. Read other blogs

5. Update Pinterest for the business.

I didn’t really fancy doing any of it. Yes, I appreciate that part of being an adult is doing things that you don’t want to but I am already ahead of schedule with new posts, I only checked my emails at 11.30 pm yesterday (how much could have happened since then??) and reading other Blogs could wait until the evening.

So I decided to spend my Sunday morning doing one of my favourite things – crafting.

I’m working on a new project at the moment and thought I’d play around with the new time lapse app on my phone. I’m pretty pleased with the result.

Here’s what goes into a single page in one of my scrapbooks, enjoy!

And finally, here’s a sneak peek at the finished page:

Scrapbook Page (1) Scrapbook Page (2)

As for my Sunday afternoon? It’s going to spent scheduling posts and tweets for the rest of the week and maybe a little bit of work on my business website.

How’s your Sunday so far? I hope you’re having a lovely day.