How to Make a Scrapbook Look Pretty with Minimal Effort

I’m that person who keeps every ticket, every photo and leaflet I possibly could have been given during the holiday. I love memories, but it’s been two years since I went interailing and the photos I printed, the tickets I kept have been stored in a blue plastic wallet – oops? It was time to finally have a place to show them off. However, with my lack of art skills, I sought the effortless ways to do so.

Scrap-booking is a really nice form of self-care. It can bring out your creative side, a bit of time to ‘switch-off’ and it’s quite easy to get lost in the memories, or find things that you had forgotten about. But it can need a bit of dedicated time – before you know it, you’ll be surrounded by photos/stickers/glue/pens etc.

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A Self-Care List for Everyday

The first thing that comes to mind when I think ‘self-care’ is a face mask to be honest. A good step to making yourself feel pampered and I’m sure we’ll agree that a face mask does make us feel fabulous but it’s not the fundamental element of daily self-care. We live in a society where we are reminded about self-care – like drink enough water, get a good nights sleep etc. But let’s cut to the real elements of self-care, it is simply the role in protecting your own well-being, increasing your energy and an attempt to reduce your stress.

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The 5 Podcasts for Escapism

I’ll be honest, with COVID-19 news, it does feel a little weird to be writing and publishing a blog post. With self-isolation being advised, it does bring another element of uncertainty and anxiety to the mix. But that’s the last I’m going to talk about it today. Instead, I’m offering a list of my favourite podcasts which (hopefully) will add an element of escapism to our lives at the moment.

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Setting Self-Care Goals for 2020

Creating goals for the new year might seem a little cliche, but I’m here for it. Has anyone mentioned that we are starting a new decade?

Time feels like it is going a million miles an hour at the moment and being in my final year at university, the obvious goals for 2020 will be completing my degree and hopefully securing a job for after graduation. Quite a lot of pressure seems to be riding on this year, right?

I do really like the idea of ‘starting afresh’, opening up the chapter to the new year and setting goals is one of the ways to get my thoughts in order. Thinking about the year ahead has made me realise that I need to make time for myself, so the goals for me this year will be more simplistic but hopefully easier to keep on top of.

Yoga once a week. I started 2019 going to weekly yoga classes but had about 2/3 months where I didn’t do any. That time made me realise how much I’d missed it, so getting back into yoga classes at university has been so good (and kept me sane!). The plan is to set aside time every week to do yoga, whether that’s a class, a YouTube video or a combination of my favourite moves.

Reflect and Journal as much as possible. I’m not setting a ‘measurable’ on this one but hopefully it’ll become a habit. This year I started using a bullet journal (you can read about my September bullet journal here) and it was set out in a way to manage blog posts/university/mental health. I want to do more of this in 2020 as I find the process of setting out my journal creative and by reflecting over time, this should help get my thoughts in order. I’ve also started working my way through Fearne Cotton’s Happy and Calm books which I’m finding really good so far!

Read 20 Books. 20 books for 2020 right? I’m a pretty quick reader when I want to be and give me a good fiction book, I’ll plough through it as quickly as possible when I’m hooked. I read 10 books over July and August but as soon as I settled back into University, my reading definitely took a back seat. Setting a yearly target (as inspired by TheAnnaEdit) will work through the ebbs and flows of my motivation for reading. I’ll keep track of this on my instagram if that is something you’re interested in!

Healthy Eating. A few years ago, I decided that I need to scrap the ‘new years diet’. Typically, I became frustrated that I couldn’t stay on track. Over the years, I’ve learnt more about intuitive eating (Tally Rye has really good info on this!) and being a vegetarian has made me feel better. I’ve got used to the recipes I make regularly now so 2020 will be the year of exploring more recipes that will be healthy and delicious!

That’s all from me for 2019! Hope you’ve had a wonderful Christmas break and are feeling ready for the New Year. What are your goals/resolutions for 2020? Let me know how you get on!

Im x

My Style Plan for 2020

From 2009 to 2019, I have technically become an actual ‘adult’. So back in 2009, it’s safe to say my 11 year old style was very different. We’ve moved on from the big chunky necklaces, the boot-cut jeans and the peter-pan collars, I hope? As we enter 2020, I’ve had a think about the staples I want to have in my wardrobe. I’ve seen plenty of capsule wardrobe videos on YouTube and although have attempted to create one of my own, I’m going to focus on this much more next year. By doing so, I’m hoping to have some classic ‘go-to’ outfits and of course, have less of an impact upon the bank balance!

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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

The Ultimate Veggie Pie Recipe

When I decided to become a vegetarian, I found myself loving all the new recipes I could try & all the Linda McCartney treats available. But I found myself lacking a ‘go-to’ option for a roast dinner. Pretty much a Sunday staple during winters in the UK, especially Christmas Day.

For this pie, you can use whatever veg you like, whatever veg you’ve got left in the fridge – it’s completely up to you!

I’m all for simple & easy cooking so here I present the ‘ultimate veggie pie’ recipe…

Veggie Pie Recipe (makes 4 portions typically)

Core Ingredients: 1 Onion (red or white), Tin of Tomatoes, Sprinkle of garlic powder (or add a clove of garlic), 1 teaspoon of paprika, 1 teaspoon of oregano & 1 Pack of Shortcrust pastry (I used Just Rol)

The Veg I used this time: 1 courgette, pepper & leek, 1/2 aubergine & 1/2 tub of mushrooms.

Start by chopping up all of your chosen veg into medium sized chunks, before starting to fry the onion on a medium heat for around five mins. Add the chopped veg to the pan & stir for around another five minutes.

Then, pour the tin of tomatoes into the pan, mixing with the veg. Add the seasoning (sprinkle of garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of oregano & paprika). Leave the mixture on a low heat for around 15 minutes, whilst prepping the pastry.


If you’re like me & want for a quick recipe, then using shortcrust pastry from the packet is easiest. But if you want to make your own pastry, then I take my hat off to you!!

Using a sprinkle of flour on the surface (if it’s a student kitchen, hopefully you’ve got some clear surface left?) & on the rolling pin, splitting the pastry into two squares & rolling to fit the dish you are using. Line the bottom of your dish with one of the pastry squares, making sure there is enough to hang over the edges & scoop the mixture into the dish.

All you’ve got left to do is cover the top of the pie with the second pastry square. Pierce the top of the pie just in-case your mixture decides it wants to try & escape in the oven. Briefly brush egg or milk (vegan option) over the pastry for a golden crisp pastry.

Cook for 30 minutes at 200 degrees & ta-da, you’re sorted for a veggie roast dinner!

Do you have a favourite ‘go-to’ veggie recipe?

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.

Exercising for Me & My Body

I’ve been thinking about writing a post like this for a while, and there’s no better time than after my first zumba class in a while, whilst I’m full of endorphins & wanting to talk about how great exercise is for our minds. This week, it’s mental health awareness week, and I’ve seen plenty of posts talking all about body image & how we feel about ourselves.

I’m going to start this off by saying I’m not perfect with accepting my body image, I’d love to be that little bit smaller, but the main thing for me, is that I want to feel comfortable, fit & healthy in my own body. Today may not be the best day to write this as I have fuelled my body with cake the last few days, following a cake sale at work, but eh it’s all about balance right? I’ve come back from a 45 minute zumba class & my mindset is x10 better than it was an hour or so before.. and that my friends is what I want to talk about.

i don’t actually lift these weights, but the gym was quiet = selfie

The main question I think is: why do we exercise? Do you do it for you? The reason why I ask this, is that my relationship with exercise has been up & down, (I actually wrote one of my first blog posts on this:
https://theimlifex.wordpress.com/2018/04/17/fitness/ ). Since that blog post, my fitness routine has changed, I’ve got access to a gym, I’ve done weekly yoga classes, & I will begin training for a 15 mile walk, and although I wouldn’t say I’ve lost much weight, but I am definitely fitter & healthier than I was. Normally, if I was exercising regularly and not seeing much of a difference in weight, I’d become demotivated, and question if I was doing enough. But this year, I’ve noticed the change that exercise does to my mindset, especially if I’m feeling stressed – take today for example, I was tired & I could have most definitely sat and watched Netflix all evening (which is perfectly justified just to add!), but I just knew that I needed to move to get rid of all the stress. Zumba worked pretty well for that, I may have felt like I was nearly a professional Latin dancer, but I most definitely was not!!

definitely a quote to live by!
t-shirt – stay wild swim

So, in light of the body image theme for mental health awareness, I think we need to not be too hard on ourselves. Exercise because you want to, not because the voice in your head is telling you to burn off the calories you’ve consumed that day, no matter how much cake you ate. Exercise no matter what size/shape you are, take away the scales & measure progress based on how you feel, your fitness & your strength. It’s okay to have bad days, and to not want to exercise ~ accept those days & move on. Finally, ignore every comment someone makes about your size/fitness/strength etc & remember you are doing this for you, if you want to & when you want to, not for them.

By nourishing our bodies, knowing our capabilities & what makes us smile – we don’t have to be on a track to ‘lose the pounds’, we can be on an exercise journey, simply because we want to. Remember, #bebodykind ~ not just to others, but to yourself as well.