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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A Silent Disco on the Canal

‘Want to go to a silent disco on Friday?’

I love the random text messages I get from my friends. 

I’ve not been out and about for a while and unable to drink, so this was very much needed. My friend works for the Canal and Rivers Trust (incidentally, did you know that Birmingham has more miles of canal than Venice?), and her company was holding a silent disco in one of the lock areas last week. I’ve never been to one before, but the concept has always intrigued me – music is played through individual headphones rather than from large speakers, so while the participants still experience the feeling of being at a club or ‘disco,’ anyone without a set of headphones on can’t hear anything.  Continue reading

Have a Great Day, Neighbour!

Ever had one of those enormously frustrating days where absolutely nothing goes as it should? 

After waiting for nearly six weeks, I attended a very disappointing appointment yesterday. I had been almost looking forward to it in the hope that it would bring a resolution to an ongoing medical issue that I’ve been having, only to be called ‘darling,’ talked at for five minutes and then be told that what I needed should have been done by the person who referred me six weeks ago, which she hasn’t been able to do because of the condition that has warranted the referral in the first place. Continue reading

New Year, No New Goals

It’s a little belated, but Happy New Year! The Bloke and I celebrated by indulging in a slightly more healthy set of snacky treats than the cheese and Toblerone apocalypse that was Christmas, watching Stardust for the bajillionth time followed by broadcast of the fireworks from the bank of the Thames and the London Eye, after which we went to bed. 

Party animals, we are not. Even now, at the rather spring-chicken-esque age of 37, I think it’s safe to say that my days of throwing on a dress the size of a tea towel and strutting my stuff around a heaving nightclub in a pair of heels that would make my feet hurt for a week are long gone – even the mere thought it sends me running upstairs to find my comfy jammies and slippers.  Continue reading

2018: A Year in Review

My #Best9 of 2018 on Instagram

2018 has been a mixed year. There’s been a few personal and professional changes, some of which were not as positive as I would have liked and I’ve allowed myself to wallow in a funk on more than a few occasions, at one point even contemplating giving up blogging altogether. However, when I looked through my Bullet Journal and the photographs on my phone in preparation for this post, I was reminded that this year has actually been full of more incredible experiences than almost of any other. 

Here’s just some of the highlights…

The Bloke won a camera for a squirrel picture. That squirrel picture was more popular than our wedding photos.  Continue reading

Putting the World to Rights over Hummus

This evening my friend took me for an early birthday meal at Damascena, a Syrian cafe in Birmingham that offers all sorts of mezze platters and flatbreads. I’d never been there before, the food was lovely and as I shovelled rather tasty hummus and halloumi into my face it was a great opportunity to catch up and see how life has been since she got married earlier in the year.  Continue reading