Christmas Silliness at the German Market

The German Christmas Market arrived back in Birmingham a few weeks ago. Over the years it has become a source of debate among the locals (of which, after nearly 20 years of living in the city I now consider myself to be a part of). Like Marmite it is both loved and loathed in equal measure, with the call for the now duplicated stalls to be replaced by some of the many incredible independents that the city has.

I’ve never been one to stand around in the crowd to drink Gluwein, but I do try and visit at least once a year. I like the atmosphere, the lights and – of course – a rather massive German sausage followed by chocolate and banana crepe and some of those yummy mallow chocolate-covered things. And poffertjies. And large slabs of garlic bread that creates breath so potent that it could kill a vampire at one hundred metres. Continue reading

How to Create a Gratitude Journal That Actually Works

How to Create a Gratitude Journal that Actually Works

Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough – Oprah Winfrey

It’s easy to become bogged down in minutiae, particularly during days when even the smallest of things doesn’t go as planned. As someone who naturally adopts a ‘glass-half-empty’ perspective on life when things don’t go my way, I find it difficult not to get pulled into a wave of negative energy that affects my mindset and how I function.

In an effort to try and gain a more positive perspective in my day-to-day life, I started to fill out a gratitude journal of all the beautiful things that I have to be grateful for, and I discovered that it was an incredible helpful tool to boost my mindset on even the most difficult of days. Actively forcing myself to focus on the positive has indeed had a positive impact on my perception of how I live and work. Continue reading

Complacency and An Extended Blogging Break

At the beginning of August I felt fired up and motivated. My head was spinning with ideas about what I could do and achieve over the month and I had a whole bunch of plans as to how I was going to move forward. 

It lasted two days. 

It wasn’t intentional, but I ended up having an extended blogging break. I tried to convince myself that it was needed, but the truth of it was that I simply couldn’t muster up the enthusiasm to post anything on a regular basis. After six and a half years and thousands of articles the mental burnout was real. Continue reading

Kylie Minogue and a Brand New Month

Last night I watched the Kylie Minogue set at Glastonbury on TV. I love music – my degree is in the subject – and it has been one of the biggest influences throughout most of my life, but while I’ve been to see plenty of my favourite bands live in concert, I’m not a fan of festivals and generally don’t watch them.

However, I’ve got a soft spot for Kylie. I adored her as Charlene in Neighbours in the late 80’s, absolutely wetting myself with excitement when Charlene married Jason Donovan’s ‘Scott.’ So much so, in fact, that I wanted to walk down the aisle to the song that was used during the wedding scene – ‘Suddenly’ by Angry Anderson – when The Bloke and I were planning our wedding a few years ago. He wasn’t impressed with the idea, but it still remains one of my favourite songs. Continue reading

The Boy is Back

The cat looks rather handsome with his yellow and pink piggy bandage

Two weeks: 

  • Three long distance train journeys, 
  • Two flights, 
  • One long distance coach trip, 
  • Six taxi journeys 
  • Eight tube rides, 
  • Climbed at least 1000 steps,
  • Walked eight miles in one day,
  • A holiday in Dubrovnik 
  • A weekend in London,
  • A trip to IKEA,
  • Half a Sixpence at the Alexandra Theatre,
  • A visit to Martineau Gardens,
  • Two vets and a forty-eight hour stay for the cat at the veterinary hospital,
  • A follow-up consult at the doctors.

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Glazed Ham and 10 Kuna: Four Bloggers Go to Dubrovnik

Last week I got on a plane with three other blog friends for a six-day girlie trip.

As you do. 

We’ve been friends for a number of years now – meeting in person over five years ago at the very first Annual Bloggers Bash – and after a random conversation last year about holidays we spontaneously decided to take a trip together. Within a few hours we were booked into a beautiful apartment… in Dubrovnik.

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How is it June, Already?

This morning I was setting up my trackers for my client social media and freelance work for the month and it suddenly occurred to me that it was June. How on earth is it June already? It seems like five minutes ago that The Bloke and I were indulging in our New Years Eve snacky treats and singing Auld Lang Syne while we linked arms with the (rather disgruntled) cat.

The last five months have been really busy: I’ve gained several new freelance opportunities which I’m thoroughly enjoying, we’ve been on a number of day trips to interesting places, got up at 5.30am for each episode of Game of Thrones, watched Hugh Jackman on stage, musical theatre shows, plays and films, interviewed Marco Pierre White and generally had an awesome time. June also promises to be equally as great, with the fifth Annual Bloggers Bash (during which we are making a long weekend of it and being tourists for a few days). Continue reading

Simple and Effective Ways to Build Healthy Habits

Simple and Effective Ways to Adopt Daily Healthy Habits

As my workload has increased over recent months I have found that my general feeling of anxiety and overwhelm has grown with it. I have recognised the fact that I easily slip into a familiar and comfortable rut when I feel like this, and so I have had to develop a consistent routine and adopt healthy habits to continue to be productive and motivated. Everything is instantly easier when done in moderation, and so I have taken the time to make sure that these daily habits are broken down into small chunks, becoming part of my routine instead of perceiving them as extra tasks to add to my permanently large lists. Here are some healthy habits that I have incorporated into my day.

Mindfully focus on the positive. I have a specific set of mantras and quotes that I remind myself of each morning.

Wake up earlier, even if it just by fifteen minutes. While the prospect of dragging yourself out of a warm comfy bed is the last thing that most of us want to do (particularly if you already have an early start), but those extra minutes will give your brain chance to wake up for the day. Use the time to stretch, do some deep breathing or meditation exercises. I also avoid using the snooze button.

Plan, plan and plan some more. I’ve mentioned on more than a few occasions about utilising a Bullet Journal Notebook to help organise my mind and daily activities. I use a daily tracker for my client jobs, a monthly calendar to keep an overview on upcoming events and activities and a daily log for individual tasks that I need to complete. Before I go to bed I fill out the tracker for the work I have completed (which takes five minutes as it is simply filling in some boxes), look over my monthly calendar and then write my jobs list for the following day in my daily log section. This means that I have a general idea of what I need to do when I start work and saves me the time (and inevitable anxiety) of having to figure out a plan when I have just woken up. Here’s a great post on useful Habit Trackers to develop in a Bullet Journal.

Develop a routine, schedule your time and avoid sabotaging yourself. Procrastination is a huge time waster – block out what you need to achieve and give yourself a reasonable time frame to do it, focusing on just one thing.

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28 Quotes About Happiness to Brighten Your Day

It’s International Day of Happiness, and what better way to start the day than to share 28 of my favourite quotes about happiness and what it means.

I’m choosing happiness over suffering, I know I am. I’m making space for the unknown future to fill up my life with yet-to-come surprises – Elizabeth Gilbert

 

28 inspirational quotes about happiness to brighten your day

 

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How to Leave Teaching

How to Leave Teaching

Today marks the fourth anniversary of handing in my resignation, leaving a secure and financially stable teaching job to head out on my own and start again. 

Like the thousands of teachers who leave the profession every year, I couldn’t cope with the workload and pressure and it was affecting my physical and mental health.

My reasons behind the decision to walk away are no different to the hundreds of teachers that have contacted me since I published that post – workload, expectations, behaviour, health concerns – and they have all shared their own personal horror stories about the things they have experienced within their careers that have made them realise that they need to leave. 

Of all the questions I am asked, by far the most frequent is simply this:

How do I leave teaching?
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