Twenty Time Shaving Tips

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I was approached by The Dollar Shave Club who asked me to create a list of time saving (or in their case, time shaving) tips that others may find helpful. As the self-proclaimed ‘Queen of Procrastination’ I have found it difficult until recently to prioritise my time effectively, prefering to leave things until the last minute and then feel stressed and overwhelmed when deadlines become imminent. Life is busy and fast paced, but here are a few little things that you could adopt to save some precious minutes during the day.

1. Put down your phone, turn off your computer and stay away from the internet. Social media sites have the ability to make hours of our day disappear. Instead of checking and updating things in the morning, reward yourself at the end of a day when all your jobs are done.

2. Turn off the television. Whenever I am around a television, I can’t help but watch it. If the television isn’t on, the temptation won’t be there.

3. Keep everything in a place. When you’ve finished with it, put it back. This will stop items building up.

4. Plan your weekly menu. Shop for the necessary ingredients in one trip. To save even more time, have your food delivered – most supermarkets offer a delivery service that allows you to select a specific date and time that is most convenient for you.

5. Cook in batches. Some meals can be prepared and frozen, ready to be reheated later on. Double up on recipes and freeze half of them.

6. When cooking, keep a small bowl at the side for any peelings. When you’re finished, take one trip to the garbage instead of several.

7. Do your banking online where possible. This could save lots of time instead of standing in line at a counter. It may also make the experience more pleasant – I am always stood in front of the people who have colds and end up coughing and sneezing into my hair. Save time, save money on shampoo!

8. Share the responsibilities with others around you. If there are more than one of you in the house, divide the chores equally.

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9. Get your children to help out! Give them responsibilities that are age appropriate – tidying up their own toys, doing the washing up, taking the garbage out, walking the dog. You could make it a fun activity – create a sticker chart that they can update regularly.

10. Pre-sort all the washing. Have several linen baskets for different types of material and colours. Teach your children how to categorise their clothing.

11. Send out birthday cards once a month in one go. This may mean that some may get theirs a few weeks early, but it will mean just one trip. This also means that you are more likely to remember everybody’s birthdays (something I am guilty of forgetting on many occasions). You can shop for birthday cards in bulk, saving even more time.

12. Get everything ready for morning the night before. Have clothes clean, ironed and laid out, make packed lunches and organise bags before going to bed. It may also be useful to check the weather reports to decide on appropriate clothing.

13. Try and avoid rush hour. I often arrive at work before rush hour starts – this means that my journey takes ten minutes instead of thirty and I can get my work done in a morning and leave a little earlier without feeling guilty.

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14. For those of you without a dryer, cut down on ironing time by hanging certain items of clothing up as they are drying. Stop ironing socks and underwear!

15. Once you have started a task, make sure that you finish it. Avoid answering calls and emails while you are working on it. Even if the job is so boring you find yourself repressing the urge to poke yourself in the eye, an unfinished job will inevitably take much longer to complete than if it had been seen through right to the end.

16. Learn to say no. Don’t be deliberately mean, but avoid becoming involved in tasks and activities that you have no interest in. It took me thirty years to learn to do this, but it has saved me hours of boredom over the last few years.

17. Leave the snooze button alone! Nobody wants to get up when their alarm goes off, but if you do so immediately you’ll inevitably save lots of time that would be spent waiting for the snooze alarm.

18. Set filters on your email. I have several email accounts and The Bloke (who is an IT Technician) set up filters so that emails are directed to specific folders. This has saved me lots of time instead of trawling through thousands of emails to find the one that I actually needed. While I’m on the subject of emails, turn off the notifications from social networking sites where possible that will send you an email every time that somebody interacts with your accounts.

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19. Stop trying to imitate Mary Poppins. Handbags can be like Doctor Who’s tardis, and I used to spend lots of time rummaging through mine looking for my keys. Now, I have certain items in designated compartments. To save even more time, instead of searching through a large make up bag, keep your collection down to five or six essentials.

20. Have less. I’m guilty of hoarding things over periods of years, but after moving house twice in the last ten months I have realised that large amounts of the ‘stuff’ that I have accumulated was neither useful or necessary. Be ruthless – if you haven’t watched a film, listened to a CD or worn an item of clothing in the last two years then bag it up and take it all down to the charity shop. You’ll de-clutter your life and your surroundings, leaving you with less to worry about, and you’ll be helping a good cause too!

What about you guys? Have you got any useful hints and tips for saving time?

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog

Don’t forget to check out the Dollar Shave Club – have you see their viral video? Click on the image for their site…

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Image credits:

quartz.com

classroom.peorioud.k12.az.us

kimconstable.com

Mary Poppins still, Disney.

 

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10 Things I Love About My Country #1: Music

I’ve teamed up with the lovely Steve from Steve Says to compile a comparison set of lists about why we love our country. He’s Scottish, I’m English, and even though we are currently both part of the United Kingdom we thought it might be fun to see the differences between the two…

Our first topic in the series is Music.

I’m proud to be English, and I’m proud that England has produced some of the greatest musicians and songwriters of all time. Steve’s list was very patriotic, but I couldn’t stomach listing things like ‘Pomp and Circumstance,’ and ‘Jerusalem’ – they’re brilliant pieces of music and I’m always uplifted when I hear them, but I wanted to branch out a little. My list (that isn’t in any particular order) represents songs that I feel are quintessentially part of English culture and performed by English artists.

1. Bohemian Rhapsody: Queen

This frequently tops music polls as being one of the greatest songs ever written, performed by one of England’s greatest bands, selling 7.5 millions copies worldwide. (Yes, I know that Freddie Mercury was born in Tanzania before anyone points this out…).

2. London Calling: The Clash

Written by Joe Strummer and Mick Jones, this song alludes to the the BBC World Service’s station identification: “This is London calling …”, which was used during World War II, often in broadcasts to occupied countries. The song, written during a time of upheaval and unrest throughout English society is a classic.

3. Life On Mars: David Bowie

Ah, Bowie. I love this song. My friends love this song. My family loves this song. Everybody loves this song. Why? Because it’s a great song. I went to the Bowie exhibition at the Victoria and Albert museum last year and saw the suit that he wears in the video, which was surpisingly tiny.

4. Paranoid: Black Sabbath

I love the fact that I live in the city where Black Sabbath were formed. Ozzy Osbourne’s house is a tourist attraction, to the point where the front door of the house keeps being stolen by fans. I’ve no idea how it’s possible to steal a door, but the story always makes me smile.

5. Hey Jude: The Beatles

It wouldn’t be a list without The Beatles. No English music list should ever be without The Beatles. My problem was with which song, and for this I had to ask those around me. Hey Jude topped the list of nearly 100 songs that were suggested, possibly because this is the song that Paul McCartney performs during every major event that they drag him out for.

6. You’ll Never Walk Alone: Rodgers and Hammerstein (Gerry and the Pacemakers version)

I’m taking liberties with this one. Yes, it was written by two Americans for the musical ‘Carousel,’ but this song is so intrinsically linked with English culture that I couldn’t leave it out, so I’ve taken the Gerry and the Pacemakers version. It is the main football (yes, football, not all this ‘soccer’ rubbish I’ve had to read about over the last few months) anthem for Liverpool Football Club and is consequently sang in every match by the fans and has been done so since the 1960′s. The song’s title adorns the top of the Shankly Gates, which were unveiled on 2 August 1982 in memory of former manager Bill Shankly.

7. Never Gonna Give You Up: Rick Astley

Lots of you may associate this with the popular internet meme ‘Rik Rolling.’ However, for me, Rick Astley was one of my favourite pop stars in my childhood and early teens. To this day, I can guarantee that during any party and in an English nightclub the DJ will play this song at some point throughout the night. For me, it represents the ‘Stock, Aitkin and Waterman’ era of English pop ie. the time just before shell suits. I had a shell suit.

8. White Cliffs of Dover: Dame Vera Lynn (Robson and Jerome version)

This is a popular Second World War song made famous by Vera Lynn with her 1942 version – one of her best-known recordings. Written in 1941 by Walter Kent with words by Nat Burton and was designed to lift the spirits of the Allies at a time when the Germans had conquered much of Europe and were bombing Britain. It was created about a year after British and German aircraft had been fighting over the cliffs of Dover in the Battle of Britain. And for you non-Brits out there, here’s a bit of trivia. You may recognise the blonde singer, Jerome Flynn, in Game of Thrones. He plays the character Bronn. Yes, my friends, Bronn was a pop star. A pop star.

9. Wannabe: The Spice Girls

I met The Spice Girls, just before they released ‘Wannabe.’ They were performing at ‘Party in the Park’ in Preston, and I went over afterwards to say hello as they were signing autographs. I didn’t have a pen or anything for them to sign, so I didn’t bother staying around for long and walked away, remarking to my friend that they would be ‘one hit wonders.’ I walked away from The Spice Girls without getting their autographs. When there were five of them. Before they became the biggest girl band of all time. Sh*t.

10. Back For Good: Take That

Before One Direction, there was (and still is) Take That. These down-to-earth English working-class men swept the UK charts in the 1990′s and late 2000′s, turning myself and millions of teenagers into screaming mush. They’re still the biggest selling boy band of all time, they’re still touring to sold out stadiums and they are the perfect representation of how a boy band SHOULD be done. I still can’t get over the fact that there are people out there who haven’t heard of them – they’re as famous as Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Jonny Depp, Robert Downey Jr and George Clooney over here (ooh, now there’s a boy band I’d like to see)…

11: Baggy Trousers: Madness

Like Paul McCartney, Madness are dragged out and shoved on stage during every major event. It’s a great song, and is guaranteed make grown English men start dancing like the chimney sweeps from Mary Poppins every time it is played.

12. Back To Black: Amy Winehouse

I was obsessed with the Black To Black album. What a talent, what a voice, what a loss.

13. Anarchy in the UK: The Sex Pistols

I couldn’t leave out the Sex Pistols. They were crude, rude and basic musicians, but they were brilliant performers and continue to be hugely influential on modern day musicians thirty years later.

14. The National Anthem (performed by Brian May on the top of Buckingham Palace).

During the Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 2002 one of England’s greatest guitarists of all time stood on the roof of it’s most famous palace to play the National Anthem. I still get goosebumps even now. The only thing that would have made it more English would be if Brian was wearing the flag, eating fish and chips and drinking a pint of beer…

I’ve made some almost musically blastphemous emissions from the list – The Who, Def Leppard, Iron Maiden, Led Zepplin, Oasis, Blur, Radiohead, UB40, Muse, Adele… so please avoid shouting at me… I’d love to hear your thoughts – what songs should be included?

Do you want to join in? Simply link to mine and Steve’s posts and tell us what songs represent your country and nationality!

Stay tuned for the next installment!

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog

 

 

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United We Stand: 10 Things I Love About My Country #1…

suzie81speaks:

I’ve teamed up with Steve Says in a ‘Why We Love Our Country’ series. He’s Scottish, I’m English and here’s the first installment! Stay tuned for mine tomorrow!

Originally posted on Steve Says...:

scotland_640As it’s coming closer to the Vote For Independence campaign in Scotland I’ve teamed up with Suzie81 Speaks to compile a list of 10 things we love about our own country. She loves England (for some reason) and I love Scotland. Politics aside, let’s enjoy our country!

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Bliss…

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It’s an absolutely glorious day today – the weather is clear and warm with bright sunshine and a cloudless blue sky. The cats are dozing in the streams of sunlight that are coming through the window, it’s quiet and peaceful and I have had a good night’s sleep. I’ve been a domestic goddess this morning and there are already two loads of clean clothes drying on the line outside. 

I’m still trying to relax – after spending months feeling anxious and tired I know that it is going to take a little bit of time to wind down – but it’s certainly a good step in the right direction. I don’t have many plans for the day – I’m meeting my best friend for breakfast later, I fully intend to have a long, hot bubble bath and I am going to continue with the my blogging endeavours. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed getting back into my writing routine – I caught up with people that I haven’t spoken to in a long time, I’ve had fun reading lots of thoughts and ideas and one of my posts was featured on Mumsnet Bloggers again yesterday. I’ve also spent some time developing my other social networking sites…

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks

Twitter: @suzie81blog

Tumblr: suzie81blog

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/suzie81speaks

Check them out – I’d love to see you there! 

The rest of the week is looking to be just as fabulous. I am taking my mum to see The Commitments in London at the weekend – it’s her favourite film and we were disappointed when we discovered that we had missed the musical adaptation last year, but I found out that it has returned after a European tour and I have surprised her with tickets. I have also managed to book us into a hotel right in the centre of the city (very convenient for walking home after the show rather than navigating the Tube late at night) and as an extra special treat I have reserved us a table for a late lunch at The Ivy, a Michelin starred restaurant that is famous for it’s popularity with celebrities. I’ve always wanted to go and I’m really looking forward to it…

What about you guys? What are you looking forward to this week?

 

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Why I Don’t Believe in Soulmates

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Lots of people in my world are getting married at the minute, and amidst the excitable chatter about dresses, cake, flowers and reception venues I have heard the world ‘soulmate’ thrown around a number of times.

Admittedly, I am hardly Little Miss Romantic, despite immersing myself in many a romantic comedy over the years. Most of these films seem to follow the same conventions – the characters meet, they fall in love, we see a montage that demonstrates some happy times together, something or someone interferes, they break up and eventually the film will end with a huge gesture and a proclamation of feelings and the couple will kiss while an orchestra plays intense, passionate music in the background.

However, what happens when Vivienne rescues Edward ‘right back?’ Did Harry continue to love the little wrinkle in the middle of Sally’s forehead? Did Hal love Rosemary regardless of her size or did he revert back to his shallow ways?

What we actually see in these films is not love, it’s a demonstration of mutual attraction and the fun, exciting initial stages of the honeymoon period in a relationship. It’s pure lust. These characters don’t appear to deal with every day situations – the stresses of work, being tired and grumpy at each other, having a nasty cold, having the car break down on the way to work, the death of a family member, friend or pet. Why? Because real life is far more boring.

The Bloke and I have been together for about four and a half years. (We’ve actually lived together for six, but that is a much longer story that I will save for later). He’s my bloke, my partner in crime, my other half. He’s the person I am pleased to wake up to every morning.

But he isn’t my soulmate.

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Why? Because I don’t believe that soulmates exist, or at least not in the context that it is used in the present day. The concept is nice, but unrealistic. In a world where seven billion people exist I refuse to believe that there is just one person for each of us, and I’m positive that if we had never met and were living in different places we would be equally happy with somebody else.

It may sound harsh, but my problem with the idea of a soulmate is that there is a sense of perfection behind the term. While I am by no means an expert in relationships, and I am certainly not claiming to be, I know enough to realise that perfection, in all forms, simply doesn’t exist. As human beings, we are all intrinsically flawed, and unless we are willing to accept both our own flaws and the flaws of our partners we will be forever left feeling disappointed.

Soulmates are not born and meant for each other, they are created through an ongoing process of trust, honesty and respect with people who deserve to be in a relationship with each other. When things have been going really well, The Bloke has been there with me to celebrate, and I’ve done the same with him. When I’ve been hurt or upset, The Bloke listened, comforted me and told me it would all be ok, and I’ve done the same for him. When I was ill and in hospital, he was there every night and sat with me for hours. When we had to move house shortly after, he pretty much did the whole thing by himself as I hadn’t fully recovered. We talk, we laugh, we go out together. He makes my lunch, runs me baths, picks me up from work and rubs my feet. He’s not just my bloke, he’s my friend, my confidante, my rock. I love him, and he loves me. He makes me happy. However, he’s not perfect, and neither am I.

While it’s certainly a far less romantic thought, I think its far more important to stop idealising the concept of ‘The One,’ and start working on the creation of forever in our relationships. It might just save a lot of time and heartache in the long term…

What do you think? Have you found your soulmate? Do you believe in them? Are you still waiting to meet yours?

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog

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How To Get Motivated: Things To Do Today

tumblr_m5n3knmhcb1qfi7g6As the self-proclaimed ‘Queen of Procrastination,’ I have found myself in quite a slump as of late. The smallest tasks, however menial, seemed daunting and impossible to achieve and I fell behind in all areas of my life.

It’s been extremely difficult to get back on track, but over time I have been able to very slowly pull myself out of the rut and change the way that I was living on a daily basis. Here are some of the hints and tips I have learned that have helped me along the way.

1. Get up at a reasonable time. Have a shower. Get dressed. Eat breakfast. (Thanks to Ray for this – it’s possibly the most important, the most obvious and the least overlooked).

2. Get some sleep. Where possible (and this is easier said than done for people who are parents and those who work long hours), try and get as much sleep as possible. The more tired you are, the less likely you are to remain motivated.

4. Break things down into small steps. Instead of looking at the big picture, work out the small things that you need to do now, today.

5. Tackle just one task at a time. Trying to juggle too many tasks in one go will become overwhelming. Start a task, finish the task, then move onto something else.

6. Do things when they need to be done. Don’t allow yourself to sit down with the idea of ‘doing it later.’ The quicker you start, the quicker you’ll finish. If you’re anything like me, you won’t be able to truly relax until it’s finished anyway!

7. Ask for help. If someone joins you in a task, whether it is cleaning, working out or organising something, it is more likely to be done in a shorter amount of time and you’ll almost certainly have more fun doing it!

8. Create the ultimate playlist. Music is an integral part of my daily life, and I have a playlist of songs that genuinely pump me up and make me happy.

9. Get excited about it! Try and gain inspiration from other people – talk to them and ask for advice. Try and see the benefits that are to be gained from completing something rather than focusing on the negative.

10. Read about it. If I’m not sure how to begin something, I’ll search for articles about the same subject. I’m always left feeling inspired afterwards.

11. Find places and activities that inspire you. This could be a building, a park, a museum or your local coffee shop. It could be a dance class, a book reading or a film. Whatever it is, visit and/or participate.

12. Reward yourself! If you know there is a positive reward at the end of it, you’re more likely to push yourself.

13. Remember that it is ok to fail. Fear of failure is often reason for not doing something at all. If you fail – stop and start again.

14. Don’t initially set the bar too high. If fear of failure is a barrier to achieving your goal, lower your sights and build it up.

What about you guys? Have you got any useful hints and tips for motivating yourself when you are in a slump?

You can also find me on Twitter and tumblr @suzie81blog

 

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Blog Blog Blog Blog

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I woke up quite early today and was really excited. I’ve decided that today is going to be devoted solely to the blog, without guilt or apologies for not doing anything else. The only trouble is, now i’m sitting at my laptop I don’t really know where to start.

Over the last few months work has been the absolute priority and has taken almost every part of my life, and this has completely interferred with the little writing routine that I had got myself into. However, I have written little notes for ideas in my phone as time has passed and I’ve been able to sit down and look at them all this morning. I’m happy with some, some seemed like a good idea at the time but may be better off being left until later, and some are utter crap.

In fact, looking through my blog I would consider about 80% of my ramblings to be utter crap. When I first started blogging just over a year ago I remember reading a post in which somebody had just confessed to deleting a year’s worth of their content, and I was aghast at the prospect of how much time must have been wasted. Now, I completely understand. My writing has grown and evolved in such a short amount of time that my earlier posts seem rather juvenile and pointless, the only positive in that they helped to develop and grow my following.

I suppose I do know what I need to do today. Read, delete, edit, comment… I need to catch up on what must be thousands of posts that I’ve missed.

What about you? Do you feel that a lot of your earlier posts are rubbish? Has your writing style changed?

You can also find me on Twitter and tumblr @suzie81blog

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