Monthly Archives

March 2020

Lifestyle

10 Stories/Reasons To Help You Smile

Photo by Allie Smith on Unsplash

You can blame Thomas Sanders for inspiring this post! He had a series called Reasons To Smile that had him talking about all the positive things happening in the world. In times like these, I wanted to try at least help one person smile with some of these stories/videos I’ve found.

If you’re feeling helpless or low, remember that we’re all here for you.

You’re not alone and you will get through this.

I’d love for you guys to share some of your positive stories. I know that I have readers from different countries so share in the comments! Shout out loud about all the good things happening!

Plymouth man walking around as a cartoon character every day

I loved this story and it shows just how creative some people can be! A guy called Tim Humpage came up with the idea of dressing up as a cartoon character every day to help children smile! He wanted to use his one exercise a day to help and make a ‘small difference’!

He has!

He’s dressed up as Woody, Dora the Explorer and Fireman Sam! He wants to dress up as Hello Kitty next!

New York couple married in the street

So many people have had to postpone or cancel their weddings/honeymoons. It does get you really feeling for what those couples must be feeling! There was at least one couple who decided to bring their marriage forward and have their wedding somewhere a little different!

Their friend Matt Wilson officiated their wedding from the window of his fourth-floor apartment!

What a way to get married! So cute!

Meet Oliver the hiking ferret!

Yep, you read that title correctly!

In Texas there is a paramedic called Lauren Smith who wanted a pet that could handle her 12-hour shifts. She discovered that ferrets sleep 18-20 hours a day so in came Oliver!

The reason why she decided to take him hiking?

“He destroyed my couch and I was like, ‘I’ve got to do something to get this energy out of this little critter,’”

Together they have hiked to the top of 11 of Colorado’s peaks and visited 8 National parks! According to Lauren, he loves being outside except for the one time he was bitten by an ant. He sleeps in her hood when he wants a nap and rides in her backpack when tired.

Dozens of whales spotted in Antarctica for the first time since 1980s

Before the world decided to get sick, a lot of us were focusing on how we could help it feel better.

We started to use less plastic, buy less fast fashion and genuinely listen to Greta Thunberg!

This story about dozens of blue whales returning to those waters just made me smile so wide! I never knew that there had been a whaling ban back in the 80s. Even though it’s taken decades, the whales are coming back! You go, whales! Show the humans who’s boss!

Did you know?

  • Did you know that Finland has planted 150 million trees per decade! That’s almost 27 trees per person!!
  • Did you know that Norway became the first country in the world to ban deforestation?
  • Did you know that India launched a ‘Garbage Cafe’ where people donated rubbish for food? Super handy!
  • Did you know that there is a new kind of blood test that detect up to 20 different types of cancer?
  • Did you know Holland has covered hundreds of bus stops with plants where bees can take refuge?
  • Did you know a German circus has decided to use holographic animals instead of real ones to tackle animal abuse?

What positive stories/facts have made you smile recently?

Travel

What’s On My US Sights Wishlist?

US SightsPhoto by BICAD MEDIA on Unsplash

One of the side-effects of being stuck indoors with nowhere to go is that you start to think. Think of how long you’ll be stuck and what you’ll be doing after. Even though I won’t be able to afford to go anywhere crazy, I still love the idea of looking at some US sights that I’d love to see in person!

America is so vast and there is so much out there to discover!

You guys know that I love writing a list so I’ve come up with one about all the US sights I’d love to see if I had the chance. You’ll have to let me know if you’ve been to any of these places and give me some tips.

San Francisco

California Street Cable Car

If you have ever seen a picture of San Francisco, then you’ve seen the steep hills and the cable cars!

There used to be a photograph in my local dentist showing this street and I was just transfixed about riding up such a steep hill. It looks like so much fun and probably a little terrifying! If I ever get the chance to visit this place, then you know that I’ll be getting tickets to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child!

Golden Gate Bridge

This is the main place that I’d head to! It’s literally the one thing, other than the cable cars, that San Francisco is known for. It looks incredible and a definite tick off the old bucket list. That said, I did see a really sad documentary about it so I’m hoping that I’ll be able to get some happier memories of it!

Plus I’d get my steps done walking over it! Haha!

Oh and who else remembers Homeward Bound?! I know the sequel was based there and I loved that film growing up! I always wanted to get a cat like Sassy.

Alcatraz Island

Everyone has to have heard of Alcatraz! It’s the world most famous prison for the prisoners that got sent there like Al Capone and Robert Stroud (the Birdman). Also famous for the fact that no-one seems to have escaped from it and survived.

I’ve seen so many documentaries about this place and it actually fascinates me. You might not know this but true crime is something interests me a bit. Don’t worry…I’m not going to snap and get ideas from them! I guess there’s a part of my brain that wants to understand what drives someone to become a murderer and why they did what they did.

I saw an scientific show where the water was drained from around the island to see what made it so unescapable! If you ever get the chance, watch Draining Alcatraz: The Impossible Escape.

Los Angeles

Disneyland Park

When I visited LA in 2015, I was absolutely gutted that we didn’t get the chance to go to Disneyland Park! It was the original Disneyland! That makes it extra magical! It might have changed a bunch since it was opened in 1955, but it still seems amazing!

I’d love to visit so many places and ride so many attractions like:

Hollywood Walk of Fame

I only got to see this a teeny bit from a tour bus and I really wanted to find stars of actors I love! Who wouldn’t want to see stars of Audrey Hepburn, Julie Andrews, Ernest Borgnine and Judy Gardland! There are so many that I want to see from the Golden Age of Hollywood to these days.

I’d love to take one of those cheesy photos posing with some so let’s see what I can save up!

If you could see a famous Star, which one would you look for?

Griffith Observatory

I was teased by the sight of this every day from my hotel! I could just capture a glimpse of it in the distance along with the Hollywood sign.

If you haven’t heard of this place before, it’s a gorgeous place with its buildings and its park! The perfect place for anyone who is interested in space and the stars up there! It even has a place called the Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon Theater! So cool!

Photo by Cameron Venti on Unsplash

New York

Central Park

I know there are some really famous films that Central Park was featured in! You have Enchanted, Home Alone 2, Sex in the City and, of course, Three Man and a Baby!!

It even had Doctor Who filmed there at one point!

You could literally spend multiple days going there because it has so much going on in it! You could have a horse carriage ride around it (would love to do this on a chilly day), visit Belvedere Castle (yes, it has a castle!) and Central Park Zoo! What park has a zoo?!

The National 9/11 Memorial & Museum

It might be a super sad thing to want to visit but I do. I, like a lot of people, saw this happening live on TV and couldn’t believe what was happening. I’ll admit that I didn’t know any of the politics behind it since I was 14 but even I knew the utter tragedy.

My English teacher even used headlines from the day to use in his lessons.

I guess I’ve wanted to pay my respects to all who died on that day in New York, Washington DC and Shanksville. I think seeing everything about TV is one thing but seeing it in front of me would be another.

Top of the Rock

This has to be one of the top 3 US sights to do!

Like Central Park, so many things have been filmed up there and it has such incredible views all over the city! It’s definitely one way to see New York! I’ve heard it gets pretty packed up there especially at sunset so you might have time things just right!

______________

To be honest, I could go through every state and see what things I’d love to do! I might even make a Part 2 to this so I can fangirl over all the states I want to travel too!

Which US sights are on your wishlist?

Fandom

My First Thoughts On Disney+ And My To-Watch List

Disney+

Yesterday was the day that all the UK Disney fans had been waiting for! The magical launch of Disney+ on our little island and I never clicked a button fast enough! I, like a lot of people, grew up with the Disney films and I have some incredible memories visiting Disneyworld in 1998! There was something so cool about seeing The Lion King and princesses like Belle!

How many of you preordered Disney+ months ago?!

If I had the funds, I would have but I’m still doing the monthly payouts to watch all of my old and new favourites. Okay, so what were my first thoughts on the site so far?

The first thing I loved was how clear and concise it looked! I’m a bit of an organisation freak and seeing everything set out in clear sections such as original movies, animated movies, Disney Channel favourites and more. I may have squealed on that last section because I saw so many of my childhood shows listed!

I adore how it has gone all the way back to the start of Disney with Steamboat Willie! Who else has the whistle tune stuck in their head? I know I do! I never realised just how many short films they did at the start! If you click search at the top, you get taken to a bunch of collections to check out. One of the first that you’ll see is the ‘Disney through the decades’ collection! If you thought that you’d seen every Disney film made, you’ll be sorely mistaken!

Grab some popcorn while you stay at home and see all the different creations through the decades!

I’ve already watched Stargirl which was both incredible yet confusing! It reminded me a lot of Bridge to Terebithia with a girl completely different to everyone else and a boy trying to figure her out! The songs were incredible and I think everyone will have different interpretations!

I’ve only watched Disney Channel original films in the past so can’t wait to check out other kinds!

Speaking of Disney Channel, this was one of my main channels to watch in the early 00s. The 90s had really introduced me to US kids shows like Sabrina, Clarissa Explains It All and that carried on into the millenium!

My days were full of The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, Recess, Ducktales, Lizzie McGuire and Wizards of Waverly Place.

Those were the cheesy days!

The important question: what am I going to binge-watching on Disney+ during my self-isolation? There are literally so many films and shows! We’re going to be set for months which is super handy! Here are the picks on my watchlist that are near and dear to my Disney heart (I’ll watch everything on the site soon enough!):

Movies

  • Moana
  • Tangled
  • The Lion King (animated)
  • Beauty and the Beast (animated & live-action)
  • Ralph Breaks The Internet
  • One Day at Disney
  • The Little Mermaid
  • The Jungle Book (animated & live-action)
  • The Aristocats
  • Brave
  • Big Hero 6
  • Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe

Like I said, I’m literally going to watch everything and anything on this site! There are so many films I could add to this list but we’d be here all day!

TV Shows

  • Lizzie McGuire
  • The Suite Life of Zack and Cody
  • Suite Life on Deck
  • Andi Mack
  • Big Hero 6: The Series
  • Gravity Falls
  • Tangled: The Series
  • Wizards of Waverly Place
  • The Adventures of the Gummi Bears (MY HEART!!)
  • Doug (I still have the VHS!)
  • Kim Possible
  • Recess
  • The Imagineering Story
  • Star Wars Rebels
  • That’s So Raven

Yeah, you can kind of tell that I was hooked to the Disney Channel on the weekends! There were and still are amazing shows to watch for all ages. You had your fantasy shows, your family shows, your animated shows and the shows that took the first step! I’m looking at you, Andi Mack!!

If you have Disney+, what are you excited to watch?

Lifestyle

6 Creative Ways To Enjoy Spring From Indoors

springPhoto by Daiga Ellaby on Unsplash

Looking out the window these last few days you wouldn’t be surprised to know that it was spring! The sun is shining, the temperature isn’t rock low and, for now, the rain/snow has stopped. I think Mother Nature is giving us a break for a tiny bit since we’re trying not to implode.

I’ve been taking little walks around the courtyard of my apartments and standing on my balcony to enjoy the fresh hair and birdsong. Nature really helps you forget what is going on for a while!

Other than the idiots who have been congreating on beaches and parks in their masses, a lot of us have been trying to stay indoors. The only times I’ve been out out has been to get food and then I rush back to wash my hands. I don’t even want to be out to do that but, with no delivery options and no-one to help, I have no choice. Fingers crossed that we don’t locked in.

In an attempt to keep our spirits up, I’ve been trying to come up with a list of things we can do indoors during Spring. If you have any ideas to add to my list, let me know in the comments. Seeing as we’re going to be in more than out, we need some fun ways to keep us occupied.

Create a cleaning schedule and stick to it

I really need to take my own advice with this. It isn’t that I don’t clean but I don’t think as thorough as I need to be. You don’t have to make or clean in silence! Pop on the radio or Spotify and bob around to it as you brush/wipe.

Pinterest is heaven for people coming up with fun schedules for cleaning. People have come up with lists to help make cleaning simple and fun, especially those of us go don’t think it’s that great. If you have kids, make cleaning a game. Do a ‘Beat The Clock’ thing when they have 20 minutes to pick up things off their floor and put in the right places, putting any dirty laundry in a basket, fold/hang up clothes where they belong and whatever else you can think.

I reckon I have the attention range of a 3 year old so maybe I should do this to myself! Haha!

You can even watch vlogs/hacks of how people clean! It’s strange but they’re actually fun to watch!

Watch some Spring movies

A great way to escape from the madness is to escape to the movies!

Alright, so the cinemas are closed but that just means we can make our mini cinema at home. Grab some of your favourite snacks, that cosy blanket you love and comfy cushions. It’s up to you when you want to watch them whether during the day because of anxiety or at night!

Here are some movies that seem to fit the whole Spring aesthetic:

  • Bambi
  • A Bug’s Life
  • Easter Parade
  • Mamma Mia
  • Hop
  • Mary Poppins
  • Rise of the Guardians
  • Springbreakers
  • Mean Girls
  • Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

Do baking

I can’t bake at all but I do love Great British Bake-Off! If you have all the ingredients and tools at home, then try making some fun baked snacks to munch on! They can be healthy or they can be naughty-but-nice! Totally up to you!

I remember making hot crossed buns, scones and chocolate corn-flake bird nests as a kid! Other than the buns, I adored making these at school and being able to take what I made home with me. Apparently I was better than I thought since I did Food Technology but I’m more likely to give food poisoning these days!

Do some season photography

I know this post is about indoor ideas but this idea could be done either from the window or your garden (if you have one).

With the sun out more and days being longer than nights, you can get some incredible shots! There is an amazing guy on TikTok who seems to take creative photos with things you wouldn’t think of! He’s used water, bath bombs and other things.

You can take whatever photos you wish: family (you never know you might want to mark history!), the sky (the clouds look stunning), flowers or any animals you see. I have lots of different birds that sit on the fence and it makes me wish I had a better lens!

Do a nature study

We’re going no-where and I doubt we’ve ever truly taken the time to see what wild-life visits our homes. I’ve watched a show called Springwatch where they’ve done challenges to note down what birds/butterflies we see in our area. Obviously we’re not going to know all the bird types but this is the perfect time to learn a new little skill and you might even enjoy!

Pandemic bird watching!

Try to create new fashion styles

This is when we can use the power of our minds and technology!!

Grab a group of your friends together and do a Google hangout. You can show them what you have to work with and they can help you create a style you might not have thought of. You could all take in turns and then do a little fashion show from the comfort of your home!

Have you got any indoor ideas to share with us?

Books

What’s On My Self-Isolation/Stuck-At-Home TBR?

Okay, who else is already sick of this stupid global virus? I never knew we’d have to go through a mini-apocalypse! While my introvert side is super happy to only have myself for company and get myself to do all the little things I enjoy at home, my anxiety is hating this self-isolation.

The idea of being stuck indoors more often than not is driving me potty! I have been letting myself for walks but just not being in contact with others. We’re obviously not sure how long the world have to be like this but, since I’m wanting to keep my elderly neighbours and myself safe, I’m doing a couple of TBRs! One is for the self-isolation and the other is the Magical Readathon (post coming tomorrow!).

self-isolation

I have a small pile of books that I’ve had put to the side from the library and off my own shelves just in case. There is no better way to escape from the uncertainity of the real world than through books! You can let your mind disappear for a while and go on adventures with characters.

Just like when you were a kid!

If you’re stuck in your own personal isolation too and love reading, share with me some books that you’re planning on reading! We might not be able to see each other but we can still gush over books like always!

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

I remember hearing about this series from a Booktuber called Hailey in Bookland!

What really caught my attention was the tag-line on the front of the book: ‘If you kiss your true love, he will die’. It just seems a completely different plot to what I’ve read before and seems like a mix of fantasy/thriller! I have 0 clue since I’ve kept myself in the dark! I’ll let you know how it goes!

The Testament of Loki by Joanne M. Harris

You can tell that I’m ready for Disney+ next Tuesday since I’m listening to soundtracks and also reading up on Loki! I’m just ready for the show to come in the future so I can swoon over Tom Hiddleston’s acting! He’s just an amazing actor, okay?!

My library didn’t have the first book ‘The Gospel of Loki‘ and not sure when I’ll be getting it. I still wanted to read this even if it was the second book! Hopefully I’ll still understand what is going on! Haha!

The Unpredictability Of Being Human by Linni Ingemundsen

I’ve really being enjoying books with characters who are different. I mean…every character is different to a certain degree but I love the ones I can relate to. I hadn’t heard of Linni before but the bottom of her synopsis for this book really spoke to me:

‘It’s tough fitting in when you’re different. But what if it’s the world that’s weird, not you?’

THIS!

I’ve had to rewire my thinking a little over the year to understand that it’s okay to be different. It’s not the easier path by a long run but everyone is a little weird. If people don’t get you, fair enough. Their loss.

The Highland Falcon Thief by M.G Leonard & Sam Sedgman

I’m going to applaud my local Waterstones on amazing marketing for this book’s release!

They had a massive window display with this, stickers and cards in the shape of a train ticket! I love it when brands can be super creative with their marketing! I may be grown-up but my brain loves these things just as much as kids! I’m 30+ going 8!

Harry Potter has definitely instilled in me that any book with a train has got to be amazing! I’ve ridden on a couple of steam trains in the past and they’re amazing! You can’t go wrong with a mystery like this! The plot has everything you need: drama, jewel going missing, new friends and adventure!

Perfect! Can’t wait to get into this!!

How are you coping if you’re in self-isolation?

Books

Sorting YA Books Into Their Hogwarts Houses

hogwarts houses

I’ve been told in the past that it’s impossible to Sort objects into the Hogwarts Houses that suit them. I don’t see it as something impossible. I see it as a challenge for me to accept! I’ve been playing around with the idea of looking at YA books and wondering which Hogwarts houses they would be perfect in.

You’re obviously looking at subjects that contain loyal, brave, cunning and bookish characters. Surprisingly it was pretty easy to find a small list of books that I personally think match!

Let me know what you think of my choices and which books you would sort!

Hufflepuff

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Ann Brashares)
Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda (Becky Albertalli)
Paper Towns (John Green)

I had to start with my own House: Hufflepuff! According to the books, we badgers are known to be loyal, patient, fair and hard-working. I’m going to ignore the fact that some people see us as bland! The books I’ve chosen look at the importance of friendship, accepting any differences and being loyal to what you believe.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants has a small group of girls who have different personalities yet still hang out! They all want to buy a pair of jeans and are shocked that the same pair fits all of them. These girls are connected through their friendship and, even though their lives go on different paths, they remain friends.

Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda because it’s just so Hufflepuff! Simon even says that he’s a Hufflepuff! You can even see the little Hufflepuff badge in the film! Haha! His friends are super loyal (though do feel hurt) especially when he is being targeted after being outed as gay!

As soon as I started planning this post about YA books into Hogwarts Houses, I knew that Paper Towns would be on my mini list for Hufflepuff! What else screams patience and loyalty than helping Quentin decipher clues left by Margo and then travel across country to find her before their graduation?! This has to be my favourite John Green book and everyone needs to read!

Slytherin

One of Us Is Lying (Karen McManus)
Isles of Storm and Sorrow: Venom (Bex Hogan)
Lost Boy (Christina Henry)

Slytherin was the hardest one to find books for because I didn’t want to just limit them to being ‘the bad guys’. That’s too stereotypical for this Potter fan! I wanted to look a teeny bit deeper. One of Us Is Lying seemed to fit the idea that no-one is who they seem at first glance. If pushed hard enough, anyone is capable of murder. I did allow myself to the Isles of Storm and Sorrow series because the main character has been trained to be the Viper and obviously a viper is a snake!

As for Lost Boy, I do have a reason for choosing it because that’s a big spoiler! Let’s just say that not everyone is good and not everyone is bad. Such a great book by the way!!

Ravenclaw

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder (Holly Jackson)
Paper & Hearts Society (Lucy Powrie)
Matilda (Roald Dahl)

Ah, the house of the book lovers and intelligence! Hermione was so close to being here and, no matter what you think of Luna, she was smarter than she looked. Look at how she explained the world to Harry in Order of the Phoenix!

Back to the post: A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder really kept me on my toes! Like the title suggested, a girl wanted to test herself and do coursework investigating a local murderer. You get to read emails, transcripts and really feel like you’re a part of it! Detective work takes a lot of thinking and Ravenclaws know how to use their heads! Paper & Hearts Society is all about a group of friends who love chatting about books (the sequel is coming soon!) and everyone has to have read/watched Matilda by now! This remains my favourite childhood film to this day!

Gryffindor

The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins)
Dumplin’ (Julie Murphy)
Speak (Laurie Halse Anderson)

Woo!! The final of the Hogwarts Houses! Agh, another tough one to put YA books to! Remember that these are my opinions so might not match with yours! Haha! Gryffindors are seen as brave and if life has taught me anything, it’s that bravery comes different shapes and forms.

The Hunger Games was a 50/50 choice for me for Gryffindor! Part of me thinks it would have gone in Slytherin too! Katniss did have to lie to keep herself and Peeta alive! That said, the stuff that she had to do and the fact that she became the Mockingjay showed how insanely brave she was! Dumplin’ may not seem like an obvious Gryffindor but any girl that will take on the idea that a plus-sized girl can’t win a beauty pageant is a heroine in my eyes! Plus DOLLY PARTON! As for Speak, I’ve really been getting into graphic novels lately and this one is going to break me. I can tell! It touches on the survivors of sexual abuse and finding their voice.

If you could sort your favourite YA books into Hogwarts Houses,
which would you choose and what House?

Lifestyle

How I Started A Bullet Journal (+Page Inspiration For You)

You wouldn’t believe that I’ve been keeping a bullet journal since 2018 but it’s true!

Even though I’m creatively challenged, I still really enjoy the process of doing my bullet journal. How did I discover that this was a thing? I discovered it through one of our fellow bloggers, Sarah’s Chapter! One of her bullet journal pins had gone pretty viral and, since I loved doing lists, I wanted to give it a go.

I’m a child so any excuse to be colourful was great in my books!

bullet journal

I’ve been trying to get a little more creative with my page designs every few months.

If you’ve ever seen videos or pictures of what other people have done, then you know how crazy talented they are! From the beautiful brush-lettering, drawings and fun ways to bring across what they have been loving! I have so many cool ideas in my head but tell that to my hands. I just don’t have any of that artistic skill to bring it to life. That said, I am pretty proud of my badly-done lettering!

Do you see that first ‘h’ on my quote page?! Haha!

I would show you my first ever bullet page but I’m literally so embarrassed at sharing it. It has little effort into it because I still wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do. There were so many page ideas you could do over a month and a bunch of trackers you could follow.

What do I use my journal for?

Good question!

I literally use it for being a place for me to dump the contents of my brain, write different lists because LISTS ARE LIFE and just whatever I’m loving right then.

You know what I’m like?! I’m a fangirl of my many things so I’m even tempted to start a fandom journal. I came across journals created by K-Pop fans and they are so fun/interesting!

Click here and you’ll see what I mean!

One day I will find a way to do such beautiful lettering but this decade is not that day! Maybe when I find out what patience means I’ll have a chance. I really do need to listen to korean pop because I already watch the dramas and they’re all so beautiful! It would be amazing if I could understand what they’re saying too!

I might have to pop Fii to teach me since she’s been living in Seoul for goodness knows how long!

Do you think I should try doing a fandom journal? I do have way too many notebooks so I would probably be able to make a journal for each of my favourite ones! *snicker*

What page that you’ve created are you most proud of?

Considering that I have eternal self-loathing, I very rarely like what I say or do or look.

I did manage to have one of those rare occasions last month when I created a little page-spread decided to Heartstopper: Volume 3.

BEHOLD!!

It may be mostly a cut and glue job of Heartstopper pictures but Alice has made so many incredible drawings of her characters! It was almost impossible to choose some of my favourites. Since this had been done for February, a lot of what I chose were to do with love. We had Nick and Charlie being little cuties and the ladies being amazing! I added some teeny hearts and some of my favourite quotes from the latest volume.

I also love how these pages turned out especially my Oscars page! The little Oscar award didn’t turn into a stickman so that’s always a positive, right? I’d been watching the awards show while I was making this and wanted to remember who won what! I couldn’t get everyone down but I do have the full list in my diary. Still fuming that Greta Gerwig didn’t get anything but it will happen!

I’ve been trying to find a habits tracker style that I like the look of and the ones I tried this month seem to be working okay. Obviously doing amazing on the actual habits themselves(!). The Sleep/Exercise/Read Tracker is also okay but I think I’ll find another way to track my steps in April. I’m not overly liking the way I’ve been monitoring my step count.

Oh and really trying to figure out this whole meal-prepping thing. Sophie from GlowSteady keeps making me feel like I need to try at least once!

We’re getting closer to 2 weeks into March so I have plenty of time to try out other page ideas in my bullet journal!

What pages would you create in your journal? Who else is creatively challenged?!

Lifestyle

How I Use Blogging Tools To Help Run Things Smoothly

As bloggers, we use lots of different blogging tools to make sure our blog runs as smooth as possible.

They could be tools for editing, plug-ins, documents and more. Even though I don’t use many blogging tools, I still thought it might be interesting for newer bloggers to see. Okay…maybe it won’t be more interesting but this seemed like a good post idea at the time! Haha!

Adobe Photoshop 2020

Contrary to belief I’ve been using Photoshop on and off for 6 years.

I used to join graphics forums to learn how to make fandom icons and banners for roleplaying. Yep, you heard that right. This fangirl started her internet journey roleplaying! You’ve not lived unless you’ve dabbled in the worlds of Harry Potter (present, marauders era, future and founders era).

Back to the post!

I attempt to use this to help me edit my blog pictures or at least make them look brighter. I’m terrible at using it but it does make my life a little easier. It is expensive to buy but it’s so worth it! If you haven’t got the funds, then PicMonkey is just as great!

Canva

Before this year I had never heard of Canva before but I love it!! If you are graphically challenged like me, this place will make all of your Pinterest pin dreams come true!

It has really taken some of the struggle off my shoulders a little. You can use some premade designs to help you create your pin and then edit it to make it yours. I tend to change the photo and put my blog details there. It makes creating pins for each post fun again, especially when you want to keep engagement up.

Unsplash

Okay, hands up if you’ve been struggling to take any decent blog photos this winter?

Other than the fact that I always struggle with my photography (look at today’s!), the awful weather has made it even harder. You have the post idea in your head and have written it up but have no photo to put with it. It wasn’t until I discovered a site through some friends that made it easier (again).

The site is called Unsplash and it’s the handiest out of my blogging tools. It’s basically a place with free pictures that can use on your blog. There are so many to choose from! You can type a word into the search engine and brings up images that might fit your post. It isn’t perfect but it is brilliant!

In terms of crediting, you don’t have to but I prefer to. It’s only fair to credit when the person’s photography is awesome!

Google Drive

One of my favourite things in life is being organised!

I either have my notebooks, my bullet journal for lists or Google Drive. It has come in handy so much over the last year and a bit. If I ever receive responses from a brand, I can file them away. It’s kind of like the online version of a in and out tray.

You can make lots of little folders, give them a colour and it’s fun! I use Google Docs and Sheets the most!

Yoast SEO Plugin (WordPress)

I’ll be honest and say that I’ve never found SEO to be the easiest thing. You have to look at each post as a product and the only way people can find on search engines is through SEO. I do check up posts from other bloggers to help me understand, but I also use Yoast SEO. It’s one of the more popular blogging tools in the community and really works.

At the bottom of my post you see:

  • Focus Keyphrase (search phrase)
  • Google Preview (how it’ll look on Google)
  • SEO analysis (you have traffic light system of red, orange and green)

What blogging tools do you use on your blog?

blogging tools

Lifestyle

Why Random Acts of Kindness Are Important

random acts of kindnessPhoto by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Every time I turn on the news there is something awful to hear. You never know what a person could be going through and that’s why I love hearing about random acts of kindness. I got inpsired by the lovely Amie from The Curveous Vegan to create a post. There have been some I’ve witnessed myself and others I’d love to see more of. It pays to be kind.

If you’ve got any random acts of kindness you’ve seen, I’d love to hear about.

Hearing stories like this really help to warm my heart. I can remember reading threads of these on Tumblr. They remind you that, even when life seems bad, there is good in the world.

  1. Leave post-it-notes around the house for a loved one
  2. Offer to help someone struggling with a door
  3. Send a card of motivation to a friend
  4. Compliment someone (friend, family or stranger)
  5. Help people moving and unpack
  6. Give up your seat to anyone needs it
  7. Offer to return someone’s shopping trolley
  8. Call your family and tell them you love them
  9. Send a friend a random letter
  10. Leave kind comments online
  11. Donate to charity
  12. Donate clothes to shops
  13. Pay someone’s bill behind them at a drive-thru
  14. After a wedding or a party, donate flowers to a nursing home
  15. Befriend an elderly neighbour
  16. Pick up rubbish around your local area/canal
  17. Offer to babysit so a friend can have a break/go on a date
  18. Buy someone homeless something hot to eat/drink
  19. Help an elderly neighbour with chores for a week
  20. Bring a loved one breakfast in bed
  21. Surprise a loved one with a present for no reason
  22. Say hello to an older person at a bus stop
  23. Leave a tip for a waitress/waiter
  24. Smile at someone you don’t know
  25. Bring food to an animal shelter
  26. Petsit for a friend/neighbour while they’re away
  27. Donate blood
  28. Become an organ donor
  29. Buy a gift for a child in foster care
  30. Choose a friend and celebrate them on a random day

I love the idea of doing random acts of kindness, no matter how small they may seem. To the person that kindness is aimed at, it could mean the world to them. I’m not expecting anyone to return these acts and it just gives me a warm feeling that I may have helped someone.

I guess that’s the Hufflepuff in me! Haha!

What random acts have you seen/done lately?

Mental Health

My Nightmare Years With Food | Eating Disorders Awareness Week

eating disorder

TRIGGER WARNING: Mentions of eating disorders, mental health

I wasn’t sure I would be able to write this post. I’m currently in therapy tackling my depression, anxiety and unhealthy relationship with food. I never realised how unhealthy it was until my mum pulled me aside one day and said that she believed I had an eating disorder. I was never diagnosed with one but I have had other medical people saying so. Maybe if my GP had recognised my habits earlier I’d be less of a mess.

Let me start at the beginning.

When I was at school I wasn’t a particularly big child. I wasn’t the smallest but I was always told that I was at a healthy weight for my age. That was fine with me and I was happy. Both my parents loved their food and my dad was an amazing cook. If he made curries or corned beef hash, I would eat! I would snack fine and I never thought about what I was eating. I never needed to.

It wasn’t until the bullying at secondary school kicked started something in me.

You know how cruel children can be when they want to.

I had all the usual insults thrown at me on a daily basis:

Ugly.
Freak.
Weirdo.

Fat.

Year 7 was the first time I was ever called fat.

I can look at photos from when I was 11 and see that I wasn’t fat at all. My face was round but that was genetics and I couldn’t control those.

So many things happened during my years at school that contributed to my life spiralling. The bullying, my dad dying and just your general teen stresses. I’ll admit that I did start eating more to distract myself from my thoughts. If I ate, I could focus on something instead of crying. Skip to 2010 when my GP at the time said the worst thing than any of my bullies:

“You are morbidly obese.”

I was 10 and a half stone.

How could a medical professional look at that weight and say that I was not just obese but morbidly obese? According to the NHS, a person can be classed as that when they are either 100 pounds over their ideal body weight or at a BMI of 40. Is it any wonder that I developed eating disorders after this?

I went from a woman in her 20s who ate food normally to someone who only ate bites.

Whenever I got a meal I would leave at least half of it. If I ate bread, I would pull the middle of the sandwich and leave the rest. I would often skip meals and snacks during the day. I would look in the mirror and see a ginormous person looking at me.

Sorry about the sideways picture but this was the only picture I had of myself at my thinnest. I was at the top end of 7st. I thought I looked normal, even when people said that I didn’t look well. I guess it wasn’t until Mum said I looked like a skeleton that I took a look at myself.

I wasn’t well at all but I chose not to go to the doctors. I had completely lost faith in them and the only person I trusted was my mum. It was so difficult to start eating all of my meals and seeing the pounds piling her but I knew it made her happier.

The problem was that the thoughts never changed.

I still saw myself as super fat and it was killing me inside. I think it was going to take a lot of help to change almost a decade of negative thoughts about myself. Unfortunately, before I could get proper help, Mum died and my world imploded. Instead of not eating, I ate everything. I would eat whole tubs of Magnum, whole loaves of bread and couldn’t leave anything.

This is where I’m currently at.

I eat whole packs of things and then hit myself. Not gentle hits either. I will punch my stomach, legs, whack myself around my face and head. It’s so hard to type this and I’m in tears typing it but I need to be honest. Last week I was diagnosed officially with a binge eating disorder. I’ve had an inkling that this was the case after reading the symptoms of Beat, but I hadn’t had an actual diagnosis.

I genuinely hate that I’m like this and, even though I’ve lost 6lbs and am currently at 11st 5, I have to be monitored that I don’t take myself back to 7st. My clinical psychologist said that everything is linked to body dysmorphia. Ugh. My therapy session last week actually had me talking about my relationship with food and it was so hard. I’ve never truly been honest with anyone about food and me, not even with my mum. I know I need to start being though.

If you believe that you or someone you love may have an eating disorder, you can either talk to your GP or contact the BEAT helpline on 0808 801 0677, 0808 801 0711 (Youthline) or 0808 801 0811.

No question for this post but please look after yourselves and support everyone during Eating Disorders Awareness Week.