Sixty Seconds of Self Care

With mental health awareness increasing by the day, self care is becoming an ever increasingly more important part of day to day life. Quite simply, self care is any act in which you do something to look after yourself, either physically or mentally.

Too often though, we think of self care as a bit of a big deal, and I know that I for one am guilty of ignoring self care with the excuse that I don’t have enough time, when in fact we should always be finding the time to make sure that we are happy. Self care doesn’t have to mean spending 2 hours in a bath with £20 worth of Lush products, it can be as simple as a minute here and there, and sometimes the smallest things can make a big difference to your day.

Here are a few self care practices that I’ve been doing lately that take no time at all:

  • Taking a little more time brushing my hair after washing it, rather than just enough to get any knots out
  • Instead of gulping down my hot chocolate while I’m trying to get work done, I’ve been stopping to sit back and enjoy it
  • At the end of each day, taking just a small amount of time to write down, or just think about all the good things that have happened that day
  • Sitting to eat breakfast, rather than standing
  • Using an in-shower moisturiser to keep my skin happy with minimal effort
  • Drinking at least one glass of water every two hours
  • Deciding what to wear to work the night before so I don’t have to rush around in the morning and feel cuter
  • Taking a little bit of time each morning to comment on Instagram posts instead of just liking, and also replying to comments on my own posts
  • Using my Fitbit’s ‘relax’ feature for breathing exercises before bed
  • Applying BioOil to my stretch marks after showering
  • Reminding myself why I love what I do when I’m feeling stressed about it
  • Retweeting cute animal videos to brighten up my (and others) timelines

These might seem like insignificant little acts, but just by doing them and knowing that I’m making a little effort towards looking after myself, they have been making a big difference!

Do you take time to look after yourself?

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A Pledge to Myself, Right Now

The last few months for me have been a bit of a rollercoaster. Hell, the whole of 2018 has been a total blur. To say I’ve been overwhelmed would probably be an understatement, and the probably with that is the good old saying: something’s gotta give.

So I’ve been letting things slip. I’m not proud of it, but I know that its true, and the problem hasn’t so much been that I’ve been dropping a few little things from my schedule, its that I’ve been dropping some things that are actually pretty damn important, not necessarily for other people, but for myself.

My skincare routine has diminished to me just barely washing my face in the shower, and there are days where I don’t even fill in my eyebrows. My face has hardly seen any makeup in the last few months, with the exception of when I was on holiday, and when I went to a wedding a few weeks ago, and while I have no problem with not wearing makeup, I really enjoy doing my makeup, and not doing things that I enjoy has really been affecting me.

More recently, I’ve realised that I’m not even wearing the clothes that I love to wear. I’ve gone from wearing outfits that make me feel cute to wearing whatever I can throw together that morning and avoiding looking in mirrors. Suddenly I’m finding things like posting on Instagram feel like the biggest chore on some days, and my blog has been suffering massively because feeling under pressure really hinders my ability to write. I’ve also been neglecting my body; not eating well, avoiding exercise some days and feeling totally sluggish as a result. I’m not ok with this.

So here it is, a promise to myself:

I must remember to take time out for my own happiness. If something’s gotta give, then that’s ok, but don’t let the things I love disappear.

I will look after my body, from getting back on track with eating a balanced diet and remembering to stay active, even if that just means taking a walk at lunchtime. I will drink more water. I will take those extra few minutes each day to look after my skin.

I will not let myself get caught up in negativity, and spend more time reflecting on positive, happy moments in my life, and looking forward to the amazing upcoming events that the rest of this year has to come.

I will try to always be better than the person I was yesterday, because lots of small steps are just as effective as one big one.

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5 Things I Do To Stay Sane At Work

In case I haven’t harped on about it enough, its not been two solid months since I properly started my new job, and its safe to say that I am so much happier since then. But while I love being the person who doesn’t dread going to work every day, I’m still normal in the sense that there are places I’d rather be, and sometimes I do feel that little ‘is it 5pm/Friday yet?’ twinge every now and then.

I found it very strange transitioning from a retail environment to a call centre around 18 months ago, but having now transitioned away from a customer facing role into a standard office-y type job, again I’ve been thrown a little out of my comfort zone and having to adapt to a different working style, but I’ve come to learn that there are a few little tricks and tips that I do at work to keep me a little more sane, and many of these can translate to most work environments.

Don’t eat lunch at your desk

I used to spend at least half of my lunch break sitting at my desk, and even though I wasn’t working and my screen was locked, I still always found that there was a little niggle in the back of my head reminding me of whatever work needed doing, and so I’d spend my time thinking or stressing about getting back to work. Now, even if its just going down the corridor to our little vending machine area to sit with my lunch, I won’t spend my lunch time at my desk.

Stay active and step away from your screen

If you work in an office, you probably spend at least 90% of your working day sat down and staring at a screen – I don’t need to tell you that its not great for your posture or your eyes. As a Fitbit user, I have a little goal set on my Charge 2 to get in at least 250 steps every hour, so I always make sure that I’m moving around a bit, whether that’s going to the printer on the other side of the office instead of the closest one, going to fill up my mug with water, or taking a trip to a different floor to go to the toilet. I also like to get out of the office completely on my lunch break, even if its just to walk to the shops across the road or go and sit on the grass outside in the summer.

Spread some positivity

So many people find their work a little dull or maybe a little stressful, and its easy for negativity to spread in a working environment, especially when everyone’s feeling under pressure, so I try to be a little extra sunny on those days. I’m the newest person in my department, so I probably don’t understand some of the strains that other people are under with deadlines and targets etc, so I like to use that motivation to cheer others up. I wish everyone a cheery ‘good morning’ when I come in or see them for the first time that day, I make little jokes with people and have a chat at the photocopier; its the little things that can brighten someone else’s day and I feel so much better for it too.

Wear something cute

This probably sounds like the silliest thing but whenever I need a little push to feel more better about the day ahead, I always find myself reaching into my wardrobe for something special. Sometimes this means I’ll wear something quirkier like my Mickey Mouse blouse or galaxy print Black Milk shorties, and other times I’ll go for something a bit fancy like a nicer-than-everyday dress or the blazer that makes me feel all kinds of girl-boss-like, and it sets me up for the day, plus every time I catch my reflection in the mirror or a window, I get a little boost.

Work the right number of hours

Its so easy when there’s a lot of work to do to end up staying late, or cutting lunch short, but whenever I do find myself putting in more hours than I’m getting paid for, I always make sure I give myself the time back when I can, and this is a lot easier now I don’t clock in and out on shifts! On two occasions last week I ended up staying 15-20 mins late to finish up a few things, so on Friday I pushed myself to get things done a little quicker and left 20 mins early to have a good start to my weekend. I appreciate this isn’t something that everyone can do, but its the first time I’ve ever been able to do this in my working life and I’m taking advantage of it.

Do you do anything in particular to keep your head above at work?

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‘Celebrity’ Books That I Loved

When it comes to books, I generally don’t gravitate to those with a ‘celebrity’ author, and by that I mean a TV personality, film star, sportsperson etc. I’ve never really been one for autobiographies, and I’m a bit stubborn when it comes to famous people writing about stuff that they’re not so famous for. (Yes, I know they probably know the subject very well and all that, I just can’t help but think they’ve had some other person do most of the research and even if that’s not the case, I’ll still think it). Basically, I’m probably most celebrity authors worst nightmare.

That said, there are three books that fit this category that I completely worship, and I personally think that every girl – hell, anyone in general – should read, and here’s why.

Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick

I will fight anyone who doesn’t like Anna Kendrick. I think she just so genuine in her personality, I think she’s crazy talented and she’s ridiculously funny, but also loves a big helping of sarcasm. When she released her book, I knew I wanted to read it straight away, despite my previously mentioned dislike for autobiographies. Well I took it on a flight from Gatwick to Orlando, and I’d read it cover to cover before the plane landed. I loved learning more about her career as a child – she was on Broadway as a teenager and was the second youngest person EVER to be nominated for a Tony Award for her role in High Society – did you know that? I sure as hell didn’t before I read this. The whole book just reads as Anna, like she could just be sitting across from you telling these stories. I doesn’t sound like someone just trying to plug their successes and just overall it gave me so much more respect for her, not that I didn’t like her already. Lots of fun, lots of sarcasm but ultimately lots of reality.

Girl Boss by Sophia Amoruso

I hate to be ‘that person’ but I actually read this book before it became the enormous hit that it is now, but I do think it deserves every accolade. As well as being an autobiography, this book made me feel like I could take on the world. Sophia’s story is so impressive and its the true underdog story of Subway sandwich artist to CEO. Again, the writing just felt so genuine and not at all edited or scripted in any way, and also quite incredibly humble for someone who achieved so much. And while the book itself and the story that it told was a fabulous read, its the culture that it has inspired that makes it truly amazing. #Girlboss

Pretty Happy by Kate Hudson

Kate Hudson is another celebrity that I admire hugely, but I definitely think even more so since reading this book. This isn’t an autobiography but I also struggle to categorise it as its combination of health, lifestyle and positivity. What I love about this book is that it doesn’t focus in any way on one particular method to be healthier. It teaches the thing that I find most important when it comes to health and fitness and that is that every body is different and its all about learning how to understand your own body and what it wants and needs and using that mindfulness and understanding to learn what to do to become healthier. I think that this is something that anyone can read, not just people who are trying to become fitter or healthier. Kate really nailed it with this one.

I’d love to hear any recommendations you might have for similar books, so please drop me a comment if there’s any books you really love!

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Creative-18

Have I mentioned that this year is going to be my year? Well, I’m certainly gonna try and make it that way.

One thing that will always make me happy is creating things. I’ve always loved turning my imagination into reality, and nothing makes me more proud of my creations than when I see other people loving them, but sometimes just taking time out from a busy day to sit and do something creative can make a world of difference. So I’m gonna try something a bit different this year..

I’m not calling it a challenge, because then I’ll feel under pressure, and end up feeling bad if I can’t do it, but it may just be that. I guess I could call it a goal, or an aspiration maybe. Hmm..

The aim is this: in 2018, I want to take time to do something creative every single day. 365 little moments of making. These can be however big or small, whether its spending a whole day baking a masterpiece to rival the GBBO winner, an evening spent cranking out Etsy orders or just taking 5 minutes out of my lunch break at work to do a quick little sketch or some colouring.

Its a way for me to keep my creative juices flowing, and obviously I also hope that it will benefit my small businesses, but primarily I’m doing this for me, so that I can spend more time doing the things that I love, from baking or sewing to drawing or photography, and of course I hope to share a lot of what I do on here too, so stay tuned to see what I produce!

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Dear Customers..

‘Have Courage and Be Kind’ Cinderella 2015

I have this real love/hate thing with customers. Given that I’ve worked in customer service, in one form or another, for the last 5 years, and haven’t chewed my own arm off yet, there must be something about it that does it for me, but as anyone who’s worked in a customer facing role knows, its not always a stroll in the park..

So consider this an open letter. We’re all customers and consumers, and whether you’ve experienced the other end of the conversation or not, these are all things that we can bear in mind.

I can almost guarantee that the first person you speak to is not to blame for your problem

The person at the front desk, the shopfloor staff or the person who answers the phone; unless its a teeny tiny company that only employs two people, the chances of that person being responsible for whatever it is that you’re not happy about is probably one in a million, so don’t start roasting them personally.

And just because we can’t do whatever you want us to do, it doesn’t make us inadequate, stupid, or bad at our job

We cannot negotiate fixed prices, go against store policies or make magic happen. We’re not being stubborn, and we’re not incapable of unique thought, the chances are we can’t do what you want us to do for a reason.

And if we’re short staffed, we’re definitely the last person responsible

We’re the person who didn’t call in sick, and we’re the person having to pick up the slack for the people who did.

Please remember that we are humans and more than just a uniform

Don’t think that your custom pays our wages and therefore you can treat us however you like. Please refrain from snapping orders (or fingers, which I’ve had before..), or speaking about us as though we’re not there. When working on a checkout once, a woman told her husband that I ‘wasn’t hired based on intelligence’. Oh, and she did that while stood at the checkout with me.

Also, if you see someone in a uniform, maybe stop and check if its a uniform for the store you’re in before you shout at them for help – a guy once yelled at me to help him on a self-checkout machine at Asda, and I have never worked at Asda..

Take a second to think about the day we might be having

I always try to think about how a customer might be feeling. If you’ve had a bad day, I don’t expect you to be a total ray of sunshine and I’ll try not to judge you for being a little bit rude, but I would hope customers return the favour.

In my current job, I sometimes deal with accounts where the customer or a member of their family has recently passed away, and it is never easy. I can’t just move onto the next customer without a care in the world when I’ve just been speaking to a grieving widow.

The reason we have limited opening hours is because we have our own lives and families

Please don’t bitch when we’re rushing you because you walked in the door 2 minutes before we were due to close. Chances are we stop getting paid from the minute the clock strikes shut, and we’re probably dying to get home after a 9 hour day.

Insulting us or being rude to us doesn’t help any situation

It does not encourage us to do our best work, and the number of times I’ve been personally attacked by a customer only to hide in a cupboard for 10 minutes, or even burst into tears then and there on the shopfloor is more than what is ok.

A little bit of patience and kindness goes a long way

A ‘thank you’ or ‘take your time’ means the world when we’re running around trying to help you and 3 other people.

We love being able to help

Our job is helping you, and with the best will in the world we can’t always do that. We don’t get any sort of pleasure out of not being able to help you, but when we can its such a good feeling, so please appreciate that.

When you’re lovely, you make our day and you make us love our job

Generally, people will always talk about a bad experience, but they will rarely share a good one. Its the same for me with customer experiences; I have a wealth of bad customer stories, but if you asked me to tell you about my best customer service experience, I think I’d struggle. That said, I genuinely do LOVE lovely customers, and if I spoke to the lovely ones all day I would 100% love my job.

Even if you may not be remembered for it, be the good customer.

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Do What Makes You Happy

Here’s the thing: I love being creative.

I love designing and I love creating things, and while I’ve never been much good with pen and paper, whenever I make something that I am totally happy with, and that loads of people compliment, it gives me such a great sense of pride, I can’t even put it into words.

For those of you who don’t know, I have a humble little Etsy store where I sell handmade magical creations from pocket tees to custom skirts and Mickey ears, and anything else that takes my fancy, and recently its this little store that has brought me the most happiness.

I also run two small business, the newest of which being The Happiest Fitness Co, where I design and produce magical inspired fitness and leisure wear. It combines two great loves of mine: Disney and fitness, and it just reached its 1st birthday!

My other small business is actually my longest running, while I find I rarely talk about it on my blog or social media. Did you guys know I’m also a cake decorator? I’ve been doing this since I was 16, alongside school and sixth form at first, and then alongside working.

I may not know exactly where my life is going, but I know I will always continue to do the things that I love for as long as I enjoy them, and I will work my little butt off to make a future for myself doing the things that make me happy.

What makes you happy?

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