August Round Up

I’m really not sure where another month has gone to be honest. It’s been a bit of a whirlwind. I started out the month knowing that I wanted to focus on creating as much as possible for TheImLife. And that I have done – there’s been a blog post twice a week over August & I’m pretty proud of that!!

Before, I had much more of a ‘sparadic’ posting schedule, but whilst I’m back at uni, I’ll be aiming for at least one post a week.

So August:

It started off pretty quiet, but looking back, it’s been a busy month. I knew I needed this month or so before going back to uni to just be spent recuperating myself. Although I had planned more sunbathing in the garden & the weather had other ideas, it’s been what I’ve needed.

The 10 Book Challenge: I’m a fairly quick reader & have always loved books, just taking time out to be immersed into the storyline is a good way of switching off for me. With a bit more time this month, I set myself the challenge of reading 10 books & recording them in my bullet journal.

For the upcoming months, I’ll tone down the challenge to 5 books a month. I’ll be posting regular book updates on Instagram if you would be interested!

My favourite read this month was definitely ‘The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo’, I love Taylor Jenkins Reid’s writing style.

Exercise: This month, there’s been a lot of walking. At the start of September, I’m completing a 15 mile walk across all the bridges in London & due to living in the countryside, it’s a 3 mile walk to town when I can’t get a lift. My yearly gym membership at home has come to an end so I’m trying to work out what will be the best routine for me back at uni. I’ve fallen in love with Zumba classes & yes you can say what you want about that sentence but it’s true okay? I get to become a salsa dancer for an hour a week & that to me is living my best life.

Bullet Journalling: I’m still fairly new to the bullet journal concept, but I have been using it quite a bit this month. It’s been great for recording what I have done day to day as well as planning blog posts, sticking to the schedule!! It’s been really good for a month where I have had no real structure of work/uni etc & I think I’m hooked so don’t expect me to stop talking about it anytime soon haha!

Highlights of the Month

  • Tutbury Castle Outdoor Cinema – this was a bit of a last min plan but I’m so glad I went. We saw ‘Mary Queen of Scots’ which was really interesting & something a bit different to films I would normally watch. Top tip is to make sure you pack as many warm clothes/blankets as poss even if the weather is warm in the day!
  • Reading Festival – The line-up for all three days was incredible this year, but I had a Saturday day ticket. We pretty much spent the day moving from one stage to the bar, to the next stage & the bar on the way back. An expensive day but full worth it to see as much live music as we did!

Now to squeeze in a quick holiday to Scotland before September rolls around!

How has your August been?

Im x

Lets Talk: How to Maintain a Positive Mindset

Maintaining positive mindset isn’t always easy. In the height of the social media world, although it’s great, sometimes everything looks perfect.

However, a positive mindset does not mean that everything is perfect. To me, it’s more recognising how I’m feeling, but knowing that I can & will be able to achieve my goals, aspirations etc.

Typically, I do tend to assume the worst, especially when I am aiming for something. My A-Levels are a prime example here, I knew what I wanted & I’d put so much hard work in & although they are not the be-all & end-all, I knew what I wanted but I still convinced myself that I wouldn’t have got it.

To put it straight, I’m hard on myself & often that increases my anxiety & clouds my ability to have a positive mindset.

For those of you who may be in a similar boat for many different reasons, so here’s a few ways that hopefully will be able to help & support a positive mindset.

Take time for yourself

Simple eh? But it’s one that I tend to ignore the most. I prefer to distract myself, especially from the thoughts in my head that are tearing me down. But it’s important to take a step back, note down what you’re feeling & write down what you have achieved whilst feeling like this, no matter how small or big that is. Write down what you’d like to do & that means that one day you can strive towards it.

Remember you’re not alone

I always remember the saying ‘a problem solved is a problem halved’ & practising this it may make your negative thoughts seem less daunting, less scary. Talk to someone you feel comfortable with, let them listen & lift you up, it may be surprising what a relief it is to talk about everything that is going on. There are also plenty of charities that may be able to support; Mind offer a range of different helplines.

Find your Self-Care ‘routine’

This completely depends on what works for you. It may be doing a skincare routine, getting out for a walk, run, football etc, or it may be finding your creative outlet. It’s important to look after yourself & to take time to breathe. Sometimes I don’t realise how anxious I am until I take some space, for example, going for a walk & noticing the difference in my mood.

So, I’ve written this post with the hope that it’ll support anyone to find the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ – it’s a tricky journey but cherish the days when you feel ‘okay’.

Let me know the ways that help you stay positive?

I’m always up for a chat so you can drop me an email at theimlifeblog@gmail.com or send a dm on Instagram or Twitter.

Im x

Easy Skincare in 5 Minutes

Feel like you’ve got no time to sort out your skin before work/uni? I’ve got you sorted…Welcome to the wonders of skincare, but in a quick & easy way.

I always used to say that I ‘didn’t have time’, but in reality, I wasn’t giving myself time for it. At the same time, I was frustrated by having dry skin – it didn’t feel as though any moisturiser worked & the skincare routines online always seemed a few too many steps for me & the time I had. So with a bit of trial & error, I’ve streamlined the skincare products that I *try* to use on a daily basis.

  1. Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish (am & pm) – This product is a go-to for me, whether I’m starting the day or taking make-up off. Everyone always seems to mention this as their go-to cleanser & I can see why; it’s fairly affordable as a cleanser, using 1-2 pumps a day means it tends to last quite a while & it is the simplest way for your skin to feel smooth & fresh after! The best way to use is moisturising the product into your skin before using a muslim cloth (typically the bottle comes with 1/2 muslim cloths) to rinse it off is literally the easiest thing ever.
  2. Liz Earle Exfoliator (2-3 times a week) – The first time I tried this my skin honestly felt x10 smoother, for someone with fairly dry skin this has been a game changer really. I apply 2-3 times a week for the best results, but in the same way as the cleanser, rinsing off the exfoliator with a muslim cloth doesn’t add that much time to your routine either.
  3. Pixi Rose Tonic (am) – this is perfect for my skin, smoothing out any redness & refreshing the skin overall. I’d heard so much about the Glow tonic & Rose tonic & once tried, I was completely sold. I tend to apply with a reusable cotton pad after cleansing before moisturiser.

Moisturising – this is something that I definitely do not miss & with having dry skin, I’ve tried numerous products over the years. Now, I’ve found a moisturising combo that is currently working really well for my skin.

  1. The Body Shop – ‘Oils of Life’ Facial Oil (am & pm) – bit of a long title there & I only nipped into The Body Shop for some soap & next thing you know I’m spending £30 on a facial oil. But it is fabulous & well worth the money. Using the pipette to get a small amount (makes me feel like I’m back in Chemistry lessons to be honest) & as soon as it’s applied, it soaks into your skin with a smooth silky finish (not to mention it smells incredible).
  2. Olay Complete 3in1 Day Fluid (am & pm) – following the facial oil, I use this lightweight moisturiser, especially as it contains SPF 15. It’s not greasy at all, meaning that along with the facial oil, it’s not too heavy on your skin which is what I’ve found with moisturisers before.

Vogue 73 Questions

Before we know it, July is flying by! Today’s post is a little bit different for me, as I’ve very kindly been nominated by Megan from @meganelifestyle to answer the 73 quick-fire questions from Vogue, but blogger style, before tagging other bloggers to do it too!

There’s plenty of questions so I better get started with answering, here we go…

1.What’s your usual Starbuck’s order?

I’m a loyal Costa Coffee gal to be honest, but I’d probably go for a caramel latte.

2. What does your workstation look like?

White desk, grey swivel chair & a plant that I’m trying to bring back to life. But I do spend a lot of my time sat on my bed with my laptop.

3. Favourite food?

Veggie Fajitas.

4. Favourite author?

Tricky one, I’ve been loving JoJo Moyes & Libby Page at the moment – I think it depends on what I enjoy reading at the time!

5. What do you think of open relationships?

Personally wouldn’t be my choice, but if it works for you, fair enough!

6. What is your favourite video game?

Don’t really play them, does nintendogs count?

7. Guilty pleasure treat?

Custard Creams

8. Favourite movie?

The Greatest Showman

9. Favourite book?

A recent book I really loved was ‘Work Like a Woman’ by Mary Portas so I’ll say that’s my current favourite!

10. Twitter or Instagram?

Instagram, I haven’t quite got the hang of twitter yet!

11. Desktop or laptop?

Laptop.

12. Best advice you’ve ever received?
Stay strong & it’ll figure itself out – I tend to get quite worried about change, so but now I try to take take it in my stride & seeing what happens!

13. What project are you working on right now?

For the summer, I’ll be focusing on my blog as much as possible.

14.  Favourite colour?

Purple

15. Did you get good grades in school?

They got me to the university I wanted to go to, so I’d say yes!

16. Dream job?

I do have a dream of starting a coffee shop brand!

17. Play any sports?

Used to horse-ride, but now I just tend to go to the gym.

18. Do you have a degree?

Currently undertaking a Business Management degree at the University of Birmingham

19. Nationality?

British

20. What is your favourite kind of blog post?

I’m loving bullet journal posts at the moment, but would also say travel guides & sustainability tips!

21. What do you like to collect?

Memories, I have a huge box at home of birthday cards, tickets, etc.

22. Describe yourself in three words?

Loyal, supportive & a mixture between introvert and extrovert.

23. If you were a rapper what would your stage name be?

Lets go with Spinball (childhood nickname lol)

24. Who was the last person you DMed?

Boyf

25. What’s on top of your wish list right now?

To blissfully enjoy the summer before going back to uni

26. Sorting house?

I’d hope Griffindor

27.  How many tattoos do you have?

None

28. What are you most grateful for this year?

I’m grateful for all the family & friends that have supported me through my diagnosis.

29. What’s the best thing that’s happened to you this month?

My consultant confirmed that I’ve been seizure free for four months now!

30. What’s the best thing that’s happened to you today?

My positive mindset feels like it is getting back on track!

31. What’s the best thing ever?

Love

32. Favourite season?

Always spring, I love it when it starts to get warmer.

33. Favourite holiday?

Spending three weeks interrailing Europe! (travel guides for each city are on the blog!)

one of the many palaces in Vienna (ft. backpack)

34. What fictional character do you relate to the most?

I’d probably say Hermione Granger – she always wanted to do her best.

35. Do you like surprises?

As long as they are nice!

36. What’s the biggest surprise you’ve ever had?

My friends organised a canal boat party for my 19th birthday!

37. Which surprise made you cry?

Robbie Williams tickets as a Christmas present

38. What’s the best surprise you’ve given someone else?

I try to always make birthday presents a good surprise.

39. Do you like muffins?

Yesssss

40. Do you cook often?

At uni, I cook quite a bit! Typical recipes tend to be veggie chilli/fajitas/spag bol etc – the easy ones!

I would like to cook a bit more outside of my comfort zone though!

41. What’s your favourite dessert?

Chocolate brownies

42. Is there a dessert you don’t like?

I’m not a massive fan of ice-cream

43. Cake or pie?

Cake

44. What’s your least favourite food?

Tuna & Mashed potato – it’s a no from me!

45. What’s your favourite condiment?

Mayo all the way

46. It’s 4am on a random Saturday. What are you eating?

Potentially some chips if I’ve been out. But if not, I’d be sleeping!

47. If you could teach a college class, what would it be called?

How to reduce plastic in everyday life as it’s something I’m really passionate about!

48. Best animated film?

The Lion King

49. What has a guy said or done to impress you?

It’s definitely the little things in a relationship that I love the most.

50. Best thing to do on a first date?

Probs would recommend an activity, I’m always a fan of bowling lol

51. Worst thing to do on a first date?

Not be yourself

52. What’s the best pick up line?

Always got to be Joey Tribiani – “How u doin'”

Thursday TTGP Check-in 4/27 — The Bump

53. Best comic book character?

Not really a comic book fan!

54. Name three things which can always be found in your purse.

My Chillys bottle, headphones & train tickets usually!

55. Favourite drink?

Diet coke

56. If you could play a historical character in a movie who would it be?

Hmm I really don’t know!

57. Kittens or puppies?

Puppies

how cute is this one?

58. Favourite sushi roll?

Not a massive fan, but I think I’ve had an avocado one before??

59. What lipstick do you use?

Recently it’s been a bourjouis lip pencil

60. What foundation do you use?

I haven’t strayed from a Bourjouis foundation for a few years now, but would like to give another one a try when it runs out!

61. Blow dry or air dry?

Depends on how much time I have!

62. Who is your fashion icon?

I have so many favourites but would say that I’m loving the minimalist style at the moment!

63. Favourite Disney character?

Moana

64. What are you doing tomorrow?

It’s the weekend so having a chill day!

65. Movie you laughed the hardest through?

I’m really not sure to be honest!

66. Movie that made you cry?

I couldn’t not cry at Me Before You

67. If you could sing a duet with anybody, who would you choose?

Probably Robbie Williams because Angels would be the song choice

68. If your life was a song what would the title be?

Not Giving In

69. What’s your favourite animal?

Horses or Dogs

70. Favourite illustrator?

I’m not sure really, I always love the illustrators that Paper Gang use for their boxes.

71. Person you’d like to have coffee with?

I’d love to have coffee with would be Morgan Harper Nichols – I love her quotes & artwork.

72. What country would you like to visit?

Next on my list is definitely Italy!

73. Best way to decompress?

Take your time, write down your thoughts & watch a feelgood movie (even if it’s emotional, at least you get your emotions out!)

So – if you made it to the end of this blog post, I applaud you. If you read the answer to every question, I’ll give you a medal!

Hopefully you’ve learnt a bit more about me & some of these questions really made me think!

48 Hours in Hereford

One of my favourite things about the UK, is that there are still so many places that I haven’t explored. Hereford is only an hours train ride from Birmingham, making it so easy to get there, but as the weekends have the tendency to fly by, I did my research to see as much of city as possible (especially as the weather was predicting floods but we’ll get onto that!). Here’s my list to make the most of Hereford in 48 hours.

Read More »

Friendships

So, over the last week or so, I’ve done a fair amount of reflection, almost preparing myself for the next chapter. Through this, I’ve reminded myself of some pretty fabulous people that I have in my ‘circle’ & I’m incredibly lucky for that. But in our ever growing digital world, more & more, you see friends, couples etc, spending time together and they’re glued to their phones. I’ve been guilty to this probably more times than I’ll admit, but taking some time away from devices for quality time with friends, family or your other half, can often do the world of good.

Friendships are there for the good times & the bad times. Yes, you’ll disagree, bicker, have different views, but typically, friends accept you for who you are & choose to spend time with you, simply because they like your company.

In a way, I think we need to remind ourselves of that. Our growing attachment to social media doesn’t always help, the comparisons we let ourselves make, between our lives and those who we see on social media. You’re sat at home on a friday evening with a glass of wine, quietly minding your own business (& probably secretly quite enjoying being in on a friday night). But before you know it, you’ve seen everyone’s instagram stories, out with their friends & it can make you doubt everything.

Over the years, lifestyles get busier, catch up takes longer, and sometimes if something significant happens, knowing who to rely on is key. Although this may not always be so clear, friendships present themselves in different ways. For me, this year, most of my friendships have become long distance as we are all scattered around the UK and so keeping in touch with the majority of my friends has been through a device. In September, something pretty significant affected my lifestyle and knowing how to let people know felt a bit confusing. Do I just blurt it out over text? Even scheduling a FaceTime or phone call and having to say it out loud felt weird. With one of my friends, I decided to send a long rambly snapchat video (top vlogger I know) of me basically saying ‘I need to tell you something, give me a call asap’.

Friendships drift for so many different reasons, and so although being attached to devices and social media can hinder friendships, a simple text could be all that it needs to get back in touch with someone you’ve drifted from. Finding the balance of face-to-face time with friends and digital communication seems to be one of the ways forward and take it from me, managing a long distance friendship or relationship isn’t always easy with digital communication, it can be so easy for things to get misunderstood. So it’s one to think about, your support ‘circle’ doesn’t mean everyone has to know and get on with each other, it just means you’re there for them & they’re there for you, whether you’re communicating with or without digital communication.

Beating the January Blues

Okay, I’m not sure how this has happened but we’re mid January now. It feels like the longest three weeks ever, but in some way I’m like sorry how?!

Feeling like I’m fully in the swing of things now and I definitely love this time of year for setting goals and plans for the upcoming year. But I know there can be a pressure of how to improve on the last year.

After the last couple of months of 2018, I will definitely hope that 2019 is filled with much more positivity. But going back why I’m not doing a ‘new year diet’ this year (previous blog post if you fancy a read!), I’m hoping for a happy and healthy 2019, all year round. 

January CAN be stressful, the build up to Christmas may have shifted your priorities, leaving a huge to-do list to be completed with a new year motivation. The new year is great for finding that bit of motivation you need, but the overwhelming side isn’t always mentioned. 2019 is the year I’ve decided to be a lot more mindful towards how I’m feeling, whether I’m too tired or stressed and in a sense, self-care is the way to manage that, so let’s talk about how we can do that…

Mind Organisation … for me, I think this could be one of the biggest changes to realise. Often, my mind is going at 100 miles and in a way I’ve become accustomed to that, instead of realising that I can actually change it. There are many ways that you can try to organise your mind, whether that’s through meditation, writing things down, compiling a list of goals, assessing your financial situation etc. Sorting through what your mind is worrying about will hopefully improve sleep, giving you more time to switch off, of which can help you be more productive when you need to be.

Taking time out .. To be honest, I feel this is quite an important one, as we all take breaks in different ways. But thinking back to high school days, when the arguments always tended to occur towards the end of term, in a way I think that still rings true today. Sometimes taking some time out to reflect on what’s on around you and the relationships you are engaging in, can put things into a much greater perspective, whether that’s a positive or a negative. Taking time out doesn’t have to be a chilled evening in once in a while, but doing things you love (in my case, going for brunch), in turn helping reflection as you remind yourself how much you love it and how you want to make more time for it etc.

Have a pamper .. Typical one here I know, but hey, if it’s a tried and tested method, it’s got to work right? This might not be hours and hours of baths, face masks, the lot, but more taking the extra five minutes in a morning to do a proper skin-care routine, taking five mins to meditate at the end of a busy day, small things that might make a huge difference to your daily routine.

It might not be the most life-changing list of how to improve your self-care, but I think it can be easy to get caught up in the aspect of ‘I must make more time to do this to switch off etc etc’. Adding these into your day-to-day routine makes it so much easier to manage, especially with v busy lives! Here’s to be kinder to ourselves for 2019 ❤

Why I’m avoiding the New Year diet..

And just like that, Christmas has flown by! For me it was the best chilled day I could have asked for, plenty of food, afternoon naps and board games.

Previous New Years that I’ve approached in my 20 years of life, have been promising myself to get on the new year diet as soon as Jan 1st rolls around. Normally, I’ve got a new cookbook or some kind of exercise equipment for Christmas and I’m ready to try it out. But it never seems to last long, I slip up with the new year of dieting and exercise one way or another and don’t see the point of going back to it, typically before Jan 31st!

Last year, I chose not to put too much pressure on myself to follow a New Year diet and I think 2018 has taught me a lot, especially with how to balance fitness and health in a more regular way.

This summer, I decided to go vegetarian and feel as though this has shaped my eating habits into a more healthy balanced way. Simply because I just bloody love veg but actually it’s been a really good change for me to feel passionate about the food I’m creating and putting into my body (shown by my veggie Christmas dinner creation!). That’s definitely not saying I’m perfect with food, a few too many chocolates have been consumed this Christmas period, but I feel as though my habits are slowly starting to change.

Balancing fitness wise has always been something I’ve struggled with, hence why I’ve always pushed it as a focus in previous January’s. This year, I’ve learnt to enjoy the time I can go to the gym this and to feel better for it, instead of always feeling I’m pushing myself to lose weight. Programmes such as Tally Rye’s ‘#bestmemotivationmonth’, have really helped me alter my mindset towards going to the gym and I’ve stayed fairly active over the festive period with dog walks and exploring new places!

Although January can be full of motivation for some of us, it can really feel like a struggle to be prioritising going to the gym 3-4 times a week so for the New Year, I’m going to try and use the time when I’m at the gym to push myself further, whether its 30 mins, 40 mins or an hour.

But finally, the main reason why I’m going to avoid the New Year diet this year, is acceptance. I want to feel good about myself and what I’m doing fitness/health wise, rather than pressurising myself to go to the gym three times a week. It can be easy to get caught up into it all, especially the ‘New Year, New Me’ aspect. Although January can kick-start motivation for healthy eating and exercise, it’s worth remembering that your size/weight does not define you, feeling good about yourself can and will take time and it’s a roller-coaster journey so heres to 2019!

Hope you all had a lovely Christmas of indulgence and enjoy the New Year! ❤

Counting down to Christmas

Now that we’re into December, the weeks are flying by. The countdown to Christmas is well and truly on, but it means that those dark mornings and evenings are well and truly here too! If you’re anything like me, I tend to struggle with less daylight, especially now I’m working full time, typically not seeing much daylight between Monday to Friday. I find that the darker evenings just make me want to curl up and sleep as soon as I get home, making the things I love doing in the evenings (like blogging!) take a backseat. 

But there are definitely ways that we can make the most of this time of year and I’ve complied a little list of tips n tricks to get us through. 

Make the most of the daylight time you have…. now this one may not be a surprise, but it definitely is true. Daylight deprivation does exist and heading to work in the dark and heading back from work in the dark does limit our daylight intake. To be able to make the most of daylight is likely to fill your weekends more, which has acted as my motivator to get out & explore more even if the weather’s cold & rainy! A recent weekend in Lincoln actually had amazing weather, meaning we had plenty of time to explore the city, especially the Christmas decorations on Steep Hill and the Brayford Waterfront. 

Getting into the festivities… this one depends on how it suits you, you may enjoy the busy period in the lead up to Christmas, you may want to volunteer at a local charity or simply spend an evening decorating a Christmas tree, blaring the Christmas tunes. This year I allocated a Sunday afternoon to be spent putting up decorations around the house and it was the best way to put me into a Christmassy mood. 

Christmas chill time… the Christmas period can definitely be overwhelming so here I’m saying take your extra time in the morning to have a bit more of a skincare routine, light some candles and make it cosy in the evening, stop trying to be productive and watch all of these Netflix Christmas films. It is a great time of year to spend time with your loved ones, but sometimes you need that bit of space to recuperate. I find wrapping presents and writing Christmas cards actually really therapeutic and definitely spent a good evening just doing that!

These ways have helped me feel a bit better in the darker evenings as I’ve accepted that it’s okay for me to take a break on evening where I feel tired and lethargic, but to more make the most of the chilled periods instead of feeling down that I’m not achieving everything I want to, a cup of tea in bed or a visit to a cute coffee shop on the weekend always makes things better in my book! 

Hope you all have the best countdown to Christmas! x