Why Can’t I Write Anymore?

I tell you something, the number of times that I have opened up a new blog post to write something, only to stare at the screen for 10 minutes, then find something else to do to distract myself from it and eventually close it again in the last few weeks is unreal. I even sit with my blog planner to brainstorm new post ideas and my brain is just empty. It sucks.

I swear this always happens when I actually have the time to write. Now I’m self-employed and working from home, I thought I’d have so much more time to dedicate to my blog, rather than just cramming it into evenings and weekends, but I’m actually just finding so many other things that are taking up my time, and even when I do sit down to blog, I’m hit with a brick wall of no inspiration.

I guess the fact is that maybe I just don’t have anything to write about right now. In the last month I haven’t really bought any new products to review, as most of my money has gone into house things, and I’ve been so back and forth between Bournemouth and Cheshire that I haven’t really got out and about either, plus with Matthew being away for the last 6 weeks, progression on house decorating has been fairly non-existent. I guess maybe my life has been too boring to be a lifestyle blogger.

The good news, however, is that next week I’ll be in Disneyland Paris, so there’ll be 4 days of live trip blogging, plus hopefully a trip away will bring back some inspiration for new content! I’m also taking a little bit of time away from working this week while Matthew is home, so maybe if I’m not using up all my creativity at my sewing machine I’ll have a little bit more juice to put into blogging. Maybe now I’ve ranted about my inability to write, the universe will send some ideas my way. Who knows, right?

Anyone else go through major writers block phases?

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My DVC Bucket List

Its so crazy to think that its been over 9 months since Matthew and I became Disney Vacation Club members, and we’ve already had one amazing trip as members, with another trip creeping up at the start of the new year. Its safe to say that we’re loving it.

Joining DVC not only opens up all of the resorts that we never thought we’d be able to afford to stay at, but it also gives us some pretty cool exclusive opportunities that I’m dying to start taking advantage of, and as I’ve been spending an unhealthy amount of time on the DVC website lately, I’ve curated a little bucket list of things I would love to do now I’m a member*.

  • Stay in all of the DVC resorts – I think this is a total given, but I want to get ticking things off the list! So far I’ve done Polynesian and Aulani, but I’ve got all the other WDW resorts to work through, plus Disneyland’s Grand Californian, and then there’s Vero Beach and Hilton Head Island so I guess its a good job its a 50 year contract, right?
  • Watch Happily Ever After from the Top of the World Lounge – The Top of the World Lounge is a DVC member lounge located at the top of Bay Lake Tower, and apparently its an amazing spot to watch the fireworks at Magic Kingdom.
  • Soarin’ Around The World tour – On select mornings, there’s a free, first-come, first-served hour long behind the scenes tour of Soarin in both Epcot and Disneyland’s California Adventure park. I’m totally fascinated by Soarin’ so I’d love to see everything that goes into making the ride so amazing!
  • Moonlight Magic – I mean, an after hours park event with character meets and so much more isn’t really something that anyone would pass up, right?
  • Fitness in the Park – I really hope that when I’m in Disneyland next year that this is on! Its a free pilates class that takes place in Disney’s California Adventure park on select mornings before the park opens and that’s got my name all over it!
  • Member cruising – Each year, there are a couple of exclusive DVC cruises and while there’s a part of me that can’t imagine anything worse than being on a ship with thousands of other DVC members (ya know, the super entitled ones), I do love a Disney cruise..
  • Get some merch! – Aside from our freebie joining tote, I don’t have any DVC exclusive merchandise, so that’s gotta change – even Matthew is ahead of me with a set of DVC pins! I’ve got my eye on the Alex and Ani bracelet to add to my collection for starters, but who knows what else might take my fancy!
*These are all benefits available to members who buy direct through Disney, so may not be available to resale buyers.

I guess I better get started, right?

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My First Time at BodyPump and Tips for First-Timers

After what for me feels like WAY too long, I am officially back in a gym! With going from living somewhere where I could walk to my gym in 25 minutes, to living somewhere where we don’t even have a proper gym in town, its taken me a while to find somewhere that meets my gym standards amongst settling into our new home and getting back into work.

But I’m back! I joined my nearest Total Fitness gym, and I’m determined to get my money’s worth out of this membership (because its so much more than my old gym!) and I’ve always liked doing classes because they push me both physically and a little out of my comfort zone. One class I’ve been super interested in trying for quite some time now is BodyPump, so I booked in for yesterday’s class, and here’s how it went..

Because I knew nothing about the class other than a general overview, I went straight to the class instructor to admit that I was a first timer and had no idea what was going on, and I would 100% recommend doing this if you are trying this class for the first time. She told me what equipment I needed to get and what weights to start off with and reassured me that I’d easily be able to follow along.

BodyPump is a weight based class, but its more of a light weight, high reps sorta workout. I grabbed a barbell and two of each of the weight plates, plus we also had a step box and a mat each. As the instructor told me to start off light, I put the lightest plates on first, which felt a little too light for me at first by I stuck with it anyway because I didn’t know what was going to happen so I figured it was the safest bet, plus because I’d been out of the gym for about 6 weeks, I thought it was best for me to start with mainly bodyweight anyway.

After a short warm-up consisting of mainly squats, we were given a little bit of time to adjust our weights for the next section of the workout, so I did change up the plates on my bar to go a little heavier, although not by much because I was still playing it safe. That said, I quickly worked up a sweat as we went into the main workout! We alternated a bit between the bar and using just plates, and also used the box as a sort of bench for doing chest work.

There was a lot of lower body work, lots of squats and lunges etc, but I was also happy when later in the class we did come round to upper stuff – primarily overhead which I didn’t mind because I’m good with overhead – and we actually finished the class on abs before going into a cool down and stretch.

Overall I really enjoyed the class. Yes, it took some getting used to and it’ll probably take me a few goes before I feel really confident in knowing what I’m doing in terms of the weights to use, but I definitely will be going back! It wasn’t as cardio as I had expected it to be, but I liked that about it, and even though I went quite light with the weights, I am feeling it a little bit today so that’s a great sign that its working!

If you’ve been considering the class for a while, or are looking for a new class to start, I would definitely recommend BodyPump, and here are some tips for when you do:

  • As I mentioned earlier, definitely speak to the instructor before the class starts and let them know you’re a newbie
  • If you can, find a spot right in front of the instructor, or at least where you can clearly see them so that you can properly copy the moves they’re doing
  • Start off light, even if you think you can do heavier – I’m a confident lifter and would normally lift a lot more than I used, but I’m so glad I went light because I did still feel the burn
  • Enjoy yourself!

I’m on the hunt for other classes to try out so if you’ve got any recommendations then hit me up!

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10 Things Before 10am

Something that I, and many others, I expect, am more than often guilty of is focusing on all the things that I haven’t done or achieved, rather than celebrating all the things that I have done.

And d’you know what? It’s draining.

Whether it’s thinking about work or tasks that I haven’t done, or things in my life that I’ve left to achieve, it leaves a constant nagging feeling of negativity hanging over me, and quite honestly I’ve had enough of it.

So the other week I had quite a productive morning, and naturally as the millennial that I am, I tweeted about all the things that I had managed to do before 10am. I didn’t think anything of it at the time, but then this week I found myself mentally taking stock of things I had done that morning and I had somewhat of an epiphany – I achieve so many more things than I don’t, I’ve just conditioned myself to overlook them all.

So I figured it’s time for a reconditioning, and that’s where the title of this post comes from. Every day, no matter how productive, or seemingly unproductive, my morning has been, I take a few minutes to stop and think of ten things that I have done or achieved. Sure, sometimes this list might be padded out with things like getting dressed, brushing my hair or drinking a glass of water, but all of these things count as successes, we just don’t tend to see them that way.

Today’s 10 for me are:

  1. Going for a 5 mile run
  2. Hitting 10,000 steps
  3. Washing my face properly with nice skincare products
  4. Eating a healthy breakfast
  5. Finishing up 2 skirt orders
  6. Scheduling my tweets for the day
  7. Writing this blog post
  8. Planned my meals for the day
  9. Brushed my hair
  10. Moisturised

Now obviously I’m not saying that you have to name ten things, or have to do it at 10am, that’s just what works for me and my schedule, but it’s just so nice to focus on something positive rather than letting that cloud of negativity float about.

I’m working a lot on creating a more positive mind-frame for myself, so watch this space!

My Golden Rules for Working From Home

I’ve now been self employed and working from home for over a month now, and while I’m absolutely living the dream, its also somewhat of a shock to the system.

I knew that I’d find it strange going from always working ‘somewhere’, but the excitement of finally being able to do my own thing full time sorta overshadowed that. Its taken some getting used to, but I’ve finally set myself some guidelines, as it were, to not only help me stay on track with my work, but also to make sure I’m keeping work-life and home-life separate.

Wherever possible, stick to set working hours

The great thing about working from home for most people is the ability to set your own working hours, and fit work around other commitments such as school runs, appointments etc. As I personally don’t really have any of those fixed commitments, I generally keep myself to a normal 9-5 type of day, but I also have the flexibility to start later, finish later, split my day up, work a longer day or whatever I need to do.

I also try, again, as much as possible, to keep my weekends as work free as possible, although if I’m super busy I have the option to work through the weekend as well.

Keep work away from play

I have my own office to work in at home, which means that at least 90% of what I do is kept separate from my home life. Sure, occasionally I’ll sneak out and sit on the sofa to work while watching some tv, but for the most part I keep in my little bubble.

Of course, not everyone has a home-office, but even if you can work in a set place, like at a desk or even just a table, it will help keep the balance.

Try and get out sometimes

When you work from home, sure you get to skip the commute, but it can mean that you have very few reasons to get out of the house. As my work essentially relies on me being at my sewing machine for the majority of my day, I don’t really have many work related reasons to get out apart from going to the post office at the end of my road, so I’m trying to find more ways to get out and about as part of my job, such as getting stalls at craft fairs and markets.

If your work is more computer based, then you can go and work from a cafe from time to time – I even know of some places who have specific ‘events’ for people who work from home to come in for and work but also have the ability to socialise with others which is pretty cool!

Switch off at the end of the day

At my old job, when I left the office at the end of the day I could completely tune out work for the rest of the evening because once I was logged off, there was nothing else I could do. Now, however, I get that little feeling in the evenings that I could go back and do one more thing, or finish up something else, and the temptation to get back into my office can be quite strong, but I have to fight it if I’m gonna keep that first rule of mine!

Honestly, I’m the happiest I’ve ever been working from home and for myself, and while my office looks nowhere near as tidy as it does in these photos anymore, its such a joy and I’m so glad that I was able to have this opportunity! Want to check out what I do? Head over to my Etsy store!

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I Run, Therefore I Am A Runner

As I make my slow return to running, I’ve been thinking a lot about the term ‘runner’. You see, as I’ve been away from running since the start of April, and have to very carefully ease myself back in on my still-healing ankle, I’ve been feeling like a bit of a bad runner.

And then it hit me.

If I go out and run, that makes me a runner. It doesn’t matter if I go out every day, or once a week, or even less often than that, taking part in the activity of running makes me a runner. It doesn’t matter if I run for 1 minute and then walk for 1 minute. It doesn’t matter if I run for 1 mile or 10 miles. I have never been a fast runner, even at my peak, but d’you know what? A 15 minute mile is just as far as a 7 minute mile.

I’ve never taken running overly seriously. I’ve always written my own training plans, changed things up on the fly, and if I’m being perfectly honest, last year I didn’t really train for any of the half marathons that I ran. I guess I’ve always been lucky to be able to get away with it, but things are different now. I’m finding it hard being so set back from where I was before, and feeling the pressure of my upcoming marathon, but it is just that, a setback. Setbacks are made to be overcome.

But despite all this, I’m still a runner. I don’t have to run a 10K every day to call myself a runner, I don’t have to have a precise training and nutrition plan to call myself a runner, and I don’t have to be a fast runner to call myself a runner. Anyone who gets out and runs is a runner, and that’s what counts.

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Paris, I’m coming back!

Happy Thursday y’all! (I had to check that it’s actually Thursday because working from home means I have no sense of what day of the week it is!)

I’m in a pretty great mood today because last night Matthew and I booked ourselves a little trip to.. Disneyland Paris! Eeek!

Believe it or not, I actually haven’t stepped foot into a Disney park at all this year, and I honestly have found it much harder than I thought I would – especially after spoiling myself with so many trips over the last few years! Anyway, with Matthew officially starting with easyJet on September 17th, we had wanted to get away on a little trip in the week before then, and had played around with the idea of a couple of places in Europe, then last night he called me up and said he’d found a pretty good deal on 4 nights in Paris, and next thing I knew it was booked!

We’re staying offsite, which I’m actually quite excited about because I haven’t actually stayed offsite before, and as I’m getting an annual pass (yay!), I plan on squeezing in a whole bunch of trips in the next year and doing them as cheaply as possible, I know that offsite is gonna be the way to do it. I’m so psyched to be becoming an AP holder again, especially now I’ll be able to take advantage of Matthew’s staff travel to fly super cheap and go more often than I have done before!

It’ll also be our first trip to Paris together, and believe it or not, only actually our second time in a Disney park together! I haven’t been to Paris in almost a year, and as that was for a RunDisney weekend it wasn’t really a proper park trip, so I can’t wait to just be in the parks with my favourite person and not have to worry about running a half marathon the next morning!

Oh, and did I mention it’s only 25 days away?! I’m so excited!