Self Improvement

Why you need a happy space… And how to create one.

In 2016 my partner and I moved into a lovely new home. It has everything we possibly need. Not tonnes of rooms, not a huge garden, it’s all just enough for our needs and we couldn’t be happier. One of the rooms I love the most is the spare room, aka my craft room.

Up until recently the craft room has been a bit of a dumping ground: it still had items from when we moved, plus my partner has been crafting us a coffee table in there. So up until now it has been pretty much a no-go zone.

But that is no more.

I’ve been thinking a lot about happy spaces. During times of trouble we’re told to go to our happy place, normally mentally, but I’ve been thinking about making this an actual thing.

And I genuinely think this is important. Our time is spread out so thin going from work, to friends houses, to families houses. There should be a retreat for us when we need to get away.

So the craft room is now going to be our (mainly my) happy place.

But why do I need one? As previously stated it’s good to have a place to go to when times get tough.

Much like we go on holiday to get away from the daily grind, we should have space in our home to go to when we need a break.

It doesn’t have to be much space at all. I’m quite partial to a reading nook with comfy chairs and book shelves. Or if you have more space you could create a den complete with cinema, comfy cushions and loads of fluffy blankets.

The world is your oyster. But I think you owe it to yourself to carve out space for yourself. Treat yourself as you would a friend or a loved one and create your own special bubble.

Why you need a happy space and how to create one

First things first!

Think of a style which brings you joy. For me I love nordic functionality mixed with a bit of retro 30’s and 50’s styling, but brought back to the modern day with bright colours. I’m a very complicated human being! But I’ve settled on comfort with functionality for the time being.

But think about what style makes you feel most at home. Afterall, this will be your own happy space, you need to make it personal to you. Check out my Pinterest Home Decor board for some inspiration.

Second things second!

Now is time to think about whether you need to actually paint your space, or whether you can leave as is. If you need to paint, get testing and get it done. If not, hurray for you! Luckily the walls in my space are pretty plain so I plan on jazzing it up with accessories and furniture.

Also, we lived in a rented property so painting is pretty much banned from our house. Which is a shame. But at least we have a blank canvas to work from.

The important bit…

Now, these are just the things I’ve been thinking about when it comes to making this happy space work. But you have to think what would make you happiest. Could it be just a comfy chair and a pile of books? Or do you prefer sleek modernism with straight lines and white walls?

Every bit of this is personal, but hopefully from the below tips you can start cultivating your own ideas.


Organised chaos.

I’m a messy person by nature. I can’t help but collect clutter, and leave things exactly where they’re not supposed to be. But I’m going to try and change that with this room.

My partner made me an awesome craft table, and we also have a side board in there. The table is my desk space, for my laptop and also for any paints, pens etc. I have laying around (which unsurprisingly there is quite a lot of). The sideboard is storage, space to put my wool (any other knitters out there?!) and other random things.

The aim is to make sure once something has been used it is then put away. I’m still in the process of packing everything into it’s place at the moment but it’s good to have the goal in mind at the beginning.

Plenty of pictures.

When I went to college I studied photography and am completely obsessed with keeping photos of friends and family out on display. It’s comforting to look at.

Recently I celebrated my birthday and a couple of friends bought me some photos in nice frames which now have pride of place on the side board.

Last year another friend also drew me a picture of Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal in the TV series and my number 1 man crush) which is also hanging on the wall. There are other various pieces of art dotted around too. And hopefully I’ll be adding my own art work to it shortly!

Comfy seating.

At the moment we have an old under counter chair for my desk seating and a ginormous beanbag which my Mum bought me for Christmas. If it was any bigger I’d used it for the desk chair, but luckily my partner gets to sit on it and read his book whilst I work. It is genuinely the most comfortable beanbag ever, tonnes of beans and a soft slightly fluffy bag. Very nice.

I also intend on buying a much more comfortable desk chair, but that’s on a shopping list for a day far off in the future once I get tired of the under counter stool.

Soft lighting.

I’ve written a couple of posts about hygge. How I used Hygge to survive winter and My top ten tips to bring Hygge into your life. Both are posts you should read. I like to bring hygge into every room that I change.

One of the essentials for hygge is soft lighting. I’m lucky as the window catches the sunset, but I also have some tea lights dotted around, and fully intend on getting some fairy lights to drape around the ceiling. I love these ones which have flowers as well. They look so dainty and inviting, like bringing a little bit of magic into a room. We have some very similar to this in our bedroom which I absolutely love.

Room for two.

Now, as much as I want to keep this space all for myself, considering my partner pays half the rent I think he has as much right to it as I do. We’ve already considered his seating needs, but he also has a collection of knives which we want to display.

I’m seriously considering buying a run down bit of furniture and upcycling, but at the moment I’m still not really sure where to start. If anyone knows of any amazing upcycling resources please share them in the comments, I need to know!


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Self Improvement

Having a hobby will improve your life, find out how.

Hobbies are brilliant. It’s not work and yet we can still be productive and get things done. In fact I quite often feel like I get more done with my hobbies than I do with my paid work. Don’t tell my boss though.

Now, what is a hobby? A hobby is something you are passionate about, but don’t make a living from. You do it for the pure enjoyment of it.

Some people take their hobbies and turn it into a career, but for most of us that’s an impossible dream.

Hobbies can be something you do on your own, or do as part of a group. It doesn’t really matter which, but I guess it depends on whether you’re introverted or extroverted.

If you don’t have a hobby, then you’re missing out. They’re fun, relaxing and most of all they give you something to get passionate about. Finding the right hobby for you may take a little bit of time, but it is worth it.

Here’s how it will change your life.


How having a hobby will improve your life.


You will feel happier.

Breaking away from the daily grind for even just an hour a day will reduce your blood pressure for sure. It doesn’t matter what it is. High impact sports will have the same effect on your sense of wellbeing as crocheting a blanket.

You will feel more passionate.

The interest you have in your hobby will naturally roll over into your day to day life. You’ll feel more focused at work, your relationships will benefit, and you’ll find it easier to enjoy other aspects of your life.

Your days will go quicker.

With something in your life you are passionate and excited about, all of a sudden your days will pass quicker. Slogging your way through work becomes easier because you can think about all the fun things you can do outside of work.

You’ll never be bored again.

All of your spare time will be consumed with the hobby, and all of your spare thoughts too. Find something you are passionate about and you will never ever be bored again. Whenever you do find yourself with a spare hour you have something you can do to fill the time.

Learning new things will become really really fun.

I have a passion for learning new things anyway, but it can be daunting for some. But with your chosen hobby learning new things will become exciting! Through my love of photography I’ve also learnt how to use Photoshop and other design software. Not something I’d be interested alone, but mix the 2 together and it’s all fun.

You can apply your new skills to your daily life.

Regardless of what your hobby is you could take aspects from it to bring into your daily life. Big fan of team sports? You’ll become better at working with others. Fan of knitting? You have concentration skills my friend. There is tonnes you can take from any hobby.

Not sure where to start?

I’ve created a list of 50 hobby ideas for those of you have may not be sure where to start. It’s over here. Give it a read through and try something for yourself.


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Self Improvement

50 hobby ideas for people who have no idea.

Hobby ideas for people with no idea

Fancy getting yourself a hobby but have no idea where to start? Check out my list of potential hobbies you could try. Pick a few, try them out, and let me know in the comments how you get on.

1. Knitting.

2. Crochet.

3. Cross stitch.

4. Embroidery.

5. Quilt making.

6. Decoupage.

7. Upcycling.

8. Scrapbooking.

9. Pencil drawing.

10. Water colour painting.

11. Oil painting.

12. Adult colouring books.

13. Writing short stories.

14. Reading novels.

15. Reading comics.

16. Drawing comics.

17. Photography.

18. Graphic design.

19. Photo manipulation (photoshop).

20. Silk screening.

21. Lino cutting.

22. Calligraphy.

23. Litter picking.

24. Volunteer work at an animal shelter.

25. Cooking.

26. Baking.

27. Watching documentaries.

28. Watching films.

29. Watching anime.

30. Dog walking.

31. Hockey.

32. Basketball.

33. Football.

34. Rugby.

35. Tennis.

36. Badminton.

37. Table tennis.

38. Netball.

39. Yoga.

40. Pilates.

41. Zumba.

42. Spin classes.

43. Cycling.

44. Hiking.

45. Speed walking.

46. Glass blowing.

47. Pottery.

48. Sculpting.

49. Leatherwork.

50. Wood crafting.

List of 50 hobby ideas for people with no idea


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Self Improvement

10 little things you should be doing more of.

Wellbeing is a broad subject area. There is mental, physical, spiritual, emotional and so much more to it. But so many of us (myself included) can sometimes forget to look after ourselves as well as we should.

I’ve written longer posts before outlining simple things we could do to improve our lives, but I’ve been thinking of tiny little changes this time. Things so small they won’t take any effort to change, and should be easy to keep up too.

These are little things which should help with your overall sense of wellbeing.


10 little things you should be doing more of


1. Drink more water.

A really easy peasy one! Get yourself a nice water bottle and keep it constantly filled up. I have a water bottle I keep on my work desk which I normally fill up twice a day. When I’m at home I always keep a glass of water handy too.
Keeping the drink within eye sight makes it more likely you’ll remember to drink it. Always have something to hand.

You could add squash or even fresh fruit to it to improve the taste, but don’t be tempted to swap that healthy bottle of water for some fizzy pop!

2. Add fruit and vegetables to your meals.

Regardless of what you’re planning on eating, add some fruit or veg to it. In the morning I tend to either have toast or overnight oats for breakfast. Adding some chopped up strawberries or some grapes on the side is easy.

Same with lunch and dinners. Eat whatever you would normally eat, but add a side salad. Or a fruit salad for dessert.

Keeping your fridge stocked up with fruit and veg makes it easier to add these items in. Same with the water, having them readily available and on show reminds you that you need more.

3. Go to bed 30 minutes earlier.

It’s a pretty simple one? I think we can all be guilty of staying up way past bedtime. There’s only so many hours in the day and so much to do! But setting yourself a bed time which is 30minutes earlier will force you into getting all those things done quicker.

You’ll also be likely to be more tired if you’ve had a busier evening rather than one sat lazing around in front of the TV or tapping away on your phone.

4. Get up 30 minutes earlier.

Aha, you thought you were going to be getting more sleep didn’t you? Studies show that getting more than enough sleep isn’t actually a good thing. Generally we need somewhere between 6-8 hours depending on your activity levels and age. Make sure you get enough by adjusting your bed time, but still make sure you wake up early.

Waking up early will give you more time in the morning to get yourself prepared for the day ahead. This could be making lunches for the family, or allowing yourself 30 minutes worth of reading before the onslaught begins.

5. Exercise.

Whatever exercise you like. I love yoga, some people love running; find what works for you and put together a routine. Ideally this should be every day, but at the very least make sure you’re doing it 3 times a week.

If exercise is an unfamiliar concept to you (which isn’t surprising, before finding yoga I never did any exercise) break yourself in gently, and do some research on warming up and cooling down.

Also, you need to find the right time for you to exercise. Some prefer morning, some prefer night. Figure out when is best and make it happen.

6. Alone time.

Make time in your day for you. Forget the kids, forget the friends, forget the partner: this time is for you, and you alone. I know this is difficult when you have kids or a hectic social life, but spending time alone is important for your wellbeing.

Like with the exercise routine, you need to find what works for you. It could be that waking up 30 minutes earlier means that time is for you. Or you could go be alone in a park during your lunch break at work. It could even be something small like taking an extra few minutes in the shower to collect your thoughts.

7. Cultural indulgence.

Bit of a different one, but one I think is important. You need to find as much time as possible to indulge in a bit of culture. This could be as small as visiting your local library and browsing through the books, or planning a visit to a big city for a day of exploration.

This can be difficult if like me you live somewhere fairly rural with not many attractions nearby. But you’d be surprised, check out Trip Advisor and see if they have any points of interest listed. There could be a sneaky art gallery hidden in plain site or an obscure museum a few miles away.

Life can sometimes feel monotonous, but this breaks that monotony. It’s also quite nice to potentially find a new haunt!

8. Being creative.

I believe everyone has a creative streak somewhere in them. My Dad is a big burly bloke, he likes tractors and raising chickens, but is also a surprisingly good artist when he tries. He may only draw practical plans but they have a certain artistic quality to them, which he’ll deny, but secretly love.

This could be doodling on a notepad, buying some wool and some hooks and attempting crochet, or even making collages of family photos to hang in your living room. Think about something you could maybe make rather than buy for a shop.

There are so many potential creative outlets, but being creative gets the juices pumping in our brains. If you successfully create something which you are quite proud of it’ll be one help of a boost to your mood.

9. Smiling.

This is probably the smallest one on the list. Smile a bit more! Don’t force it, let it come naturally. It seems odd to me that some people avoid smiling because of their teeth or wrinkles or anything. I’ve never met anyone with an ugly smile.

Next time you walk past a stranger, show them a smile. Next time you hear a funny joke from afar, smile away. It doesn’t cost anything and honestly really does improve your mood.

10. Acting like a kid.

This one is my favourite one. Who else misses being 5 years old and being responsible for nothing more than reaching the toilet in time? Yeah, me too. So as often as possible I like to indulge and act like a little kid again.

Finger painting. Getting my hands muddy. Pulling funny faces. Taking silly pictures. The list is endless. Think of something you really enjoyed as a kid, or would enjoy even more as an adult, and go crazy with it. You’ll feel better for it, guaranteed.


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10 little things you should be doing more of

Self Improvement

Why honesty is always the best policy.

I’m a firm believer that no matter how difficult the truth is, it is always better than a lie.

I was recently in a situation where I had to either tell the truth and potentially upset someone, or lie and make the whole situation go away. And you know what? I told the truth. And the other person was appreciative of that. It wasn’t easy, but it had to be done.

And I know for a fact that if the shoe was on the other foot I would always appreciate the honest truth than an out and out lie.

Obviously the world isn’t completely black and white, so sometimes evading the truth can be easier, but again in the long run I do think it is better to be honest. But I guess if you aren’t asked a specific question you can’t lie if you don’t answer completely? It’s a very grey area, I guess it all depends on your own moral code.

This doesn’t mean you have to be mean with the truth though. First and foremost keeping the situation positive and as happy as possible is necessary. You will feel better for it, and so will the other party involved.

Also, being mean gets you nowhere in life. “You catch more flies with honey than vinegar” rings pretty true doesn’t it? Keeping the people in your life as happy as possible is much more constructive than being known as a mean person.

Honesty is the best policy

People will respect you more if they know you tell the truth.

This one is an absolute fact. Those who lie get known to be liars, and no one wants to be known as a liar. Those who tell the truth are immediately more trustworthy. You know any information you pass to them won’t be passed on else if they say it won’t.

Gaining trust from another person is vital to building and maintaining friendships. We all know a few drama llamas, and surprise surprise these people tend to be liars. And people don’t tend to trust them with their secrets.

You won’t get caught out telling stories.

Another biggy. The more you lie, the more stories you have to tell, and you can easily get caught out in the details. Even something small such as declining an invite somewhere because you’re doing something else. This leads onto further questions: what are doing? Where are you going? Who are you going with? Better to be honest and say you don’t want to go.

Getting caught in the act of lying is hurtful to the other party. And guaranteed they won’t trust you anymore. And that’s a horrible feeling. Also, if you get caught lying it is really uncomfortable and embarrassing for you too. Remember that next time you’re thinking up excuses not to go somewhere.

You will feel less stressed.

Lying is stressful! Even small lies hang over your head like a big black cloud. They drain your energy away through worrying. What if the other person finds out? Will I be in trouble for lying? You don’t need those kinds of thoughts in your head, better to speak the truth and remain stress free. Or as stress free as possible anyway.

The upkeep of the lie is also terrible. It may not happen within days, but eventually someone will ask a question and you’ll be caught out. Who needs that looming over them? Not me.

It is actually easier to tell the truth.

Concocting some story or reasons behind the lie is difficult. Being honest about whatever is happening is easy. No making things up, no having to think through the consequences or the details. It takes time and imagination lie about certain things. Time is precious.

The actual telling of the truth can be difficult, especially if someone’s feelings are involved. But it is how you tell the truth which softens the blow. Same with all my blog posts I feel that a positive spin can be put on anything. Someone has an awful new haircut and asks your opinion? You don’t have to tell them it’s horrible, find a positive aspect to that and work your response from there.


I guess I’m a bit of a dreamer. I wish life was easier for everyone. There would be no lies. There would be no stress. Everyone would get along and we’d all live happily ever after. I know that’s not possibly, but I do know that people can make the world a better place through their own actions. We are all responsible for creating a world which we want to be part of. Even if it is something small like telling the truth a bit more, this makes a difference.


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Self Improvement

The essentials you need to start practicing yoga.

(This post contains affiliates links, see my a full disclosure on my About page. I may receive a small commission for any link to Amazon. Any purchase you make helps support me write and provide this content.)

The essentials you need to start yoga

Yoga is one of the only forms of exercise which I actively enjoy. I’m not one for running, or group sports, or anything like that. But yoga is so different.

You can enjoy it alone, or will friends. And there is no pressure to be any better than how you are. You can push yourself as much as you want.

Also, if you’re someone like me who works in an office environment, it is perfect for strengthening your back muscles and improving your posture. Being sat down all day is literally terrible for you health.

Only a few months ago my lower back completed seized and I had shooting pains down one of my legs. I thought I was going to be suffering forever. But then I read up about yoga, and started following some pretty gentle routines catered specifically for back pain. And within days the pain had almost disappeared. I still suffer occasionally but yoga always helps.

Now, if you’re just starting your yoga journey there are a few things which you should invest in.

Yoga shorts.

You need something loose yet not baggy to wear. You need to be able to move freely without getting caught up in your own trousers. My favourite way to practice is naked, but I’ve been told that’s frowned upon if you go to classes. Who knew?!

I have some of these shorts here. They are completely boho and match my hippy soul! The cute elephant pattern always makes me dream of doing a bit of yoga on a beach in Thailand. And they’re comfortable which is the most important thing. Not too long, not too short, and the waistband doesn’t dig in when you’re lying down. They’re pretty much perfect for me.

Yoga mat.

You. Need. A. Yoga. Mat. When I first started practicing I would do it on our rug. This isn’t good for your joints, your back, your muscles. Pretty much anything you can think of. Yoga mats have enough give in them for you to press in and get grip, but also give support to the different parts of your body.

I’ve seen some really pretty patterned ones, but they tend to cost a fortune. Which is great, but for the mat I don’t mind accepting function over looks. I have one of these mats here which is perfect for my needs. It has enough grip to never slip, and also enough padding to feel comfortable without being caught up in it. The strap also makes it handy to take from place to place.

Yoga blocks.

Yoga blocks are foamy bricks which you can use to lean on, or give support to parts of your body. Like your head. You can scrimp on this and use whatever you have handy but I can guarantee they won’t be as comfortable.

I have these ones here. They come in a range of colours and are perfectly functional for what you will need them for. It really does make the difference for certain poses too, having something to give you more support. As a newbie I find some of the poses a bit too tricky, so the blocks elevate the ground up to a much more comfortable level. Well worth the investment.

A pretty water bottle.

Now, this isn’t essential, but I find having a water bottle to hand reminds me to drink more. When you’re practicing your yoga routine you need to make sure you stay hydrated. Nothing worse than having a dry mouth and having to run off to grab a drink.

I have a few water bottles but particularly like this one here. It is both pretty and functional, and holds enough water for someone like me to guzzle through during a 30 minute routine. I prefer clear bottles as well because it is easier to keep an eye on how much you are drinking.


Honestly, I’d say that’s it. You really don’t need a lot of equipment to start practicing yoga. Get these essentials and either find a class to join or check out Youtube for some really nifty routines to follow. I’m currently in the process of compiling a list of my favourite online routines, but you can easily find something for yourself. Especially if you have a particular area you want to work on, like balance or back pain.

I’d love to hear how you get on in the comments!


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Self Improvement

How going vegan will make you happier.

How going vegan will make you happier


First things first, I am not 100% vegan. My sister doesn’t quite understand the concept, and so when I visit her house for dinner or go out for a meal I sometimes won’t stick to it. But for the rest of the time I do actively try to stick to a vegan diet.

This all began about a year ago when my partner did turn 100% certified vegan. In the past he’d eaten a lot of meat and dairy and they made him sick. So he made a change, a really really positive change. And he lost a lot of weight, made himself a lot happier and a lot healthier along the way.

Anybody cohabiting with a partner know’s how difficult it can be to cater to 2 different lifestyles, so I adapted and changed my diet too. And I can honestly say it was the best thing we’ve ever done as a couple.

To begin with it was difficult. Like a lot of people I assumed vegans only ate salads and chickpeas. We do eat a lot of salad and chickpea’s, but there is a lot of readily available food out there which just so happens to be vegan friendly.

I did a lot of research into veganism, and as time has gone on I’ve become more passionate about it. My partner and I are both eco-minded and try to do our best for the world, and this naturally seems like a really good step towards reducing our carbon footprints.

But most of all, we’re happier people for it.

We are excited about cooking.

Something about researching and finding alternative recipes to commonly eaten meat or dairy based foods is really exciting. It’s almost like science. My favourite revelation is aquafaba (aka the water from tins of chickpeas). It’s like miracle juice. You can use it instead of eggs, making mousses and meringues and everything in between.

There is also the experimentation too. Making your own burgers and sausages, and figuring out how to bring that satisfying meaty texture and taste to every meal. I’ve learnt about umami, and probably shout it at least 5 times per meal.

Umami is the savoury taste which comes along with a lot of meat based meals. It makes you go yum. Marmite and soy sauce are good sources of vegan umami. So everything I cook gets a good dash of both, just for good measure.

Our diet is more varied.

When you’re not relying on meat for protein and dairy for calcium you are forced into thinking outside of the box. Chickpeas, soya and seitan are brilliant sources of protein. And it helps that they are all really versatile and changeable ingredients to use.

We also make sure to eat more colours. Even if you don’t know anything about diet or health, you know that the more colours you eat the better your diet will be. Before all this my diet was ashamedly beige, but now it is colourful. Opening our fridge and seeing every colour of the rainbow makes me happy.

Our stomachs feel better.

Both of us suffer with IBS. For many years I felt so poorly every single day that I could barely function as a human being. For my partner it was the meat, for me it is the dairy. But now without either our tummies are thanking us every day.

I would highly recommend looking into a vegan based diet if you suffer with IBS too. Dairy especially is a trigger for so many people. And you don’t need dairy cheese or eggs or anything like that. Violife dairy free cheese is amazing, and so is tofu instead of scrambled eggs.

The desserts are yummier.

Bit of a controversial statement there. But I’d pick a vegan dessert over any other kind of dessert every day of the week. There is something about knowing your dessert isn’t laden with fat that makes every morsel taste just that bit better.

I’m also really partial to dates and nuts, and a lot of vegan desserts rely heavily on both. Who knew you could make a cheesecake by whizzing together some cashews and soya milk?

A few months ago I made some vegan friendly biscuit truffles for a buffet at work, and I got asked for the recipe from 5 people. 2 vegan, 3 omnivores. If that isn’t an achievement I don’t know what is.

There is a sense of community among vegans and vegan supporters.

Veganism has a bad press. Think in your head what you imagine a typical vegan to look like; shaggy hair, hairy armpits, a t-shirt proudly stating their veganism. There is also the idea that it is some sort of elitist cult and you have to be super hardcore to be able to join.

This is all wrong. The vegans I know are normal people, and wouldn’t dream of trying to force their beliefs down any throats. They just want to enjoy their food minus anything made from animals or animal products. Obviously some play right into that stereotype but I’d say they’re few and far between.

Our shopping bills are minuscule.

Our diet relies heavily on carbs like pasta and rice, which we pair with veggies and beans, using passata and soy sauce as the base for our sauces. We also are quite partial to vegan friendly sausages. All of these items are fairly cheap, especially when you consider how much meat now costs.

I would say the dairy products, like cheese, are fairly expensive. But it is completely balanced out by how cheap everything else we buy is. Plus we only buy the branded cheeses because I’ve been left disappointed in the past by supermarket own brands. I should probably put them to the test again though.

I’d highly recommend to anybody reading this who is interested in self improvement and their own well being to bring a touch of veganism to their life. This could be one meal a week, or you could be like me and stick to it most of the time with the occasional relax for meals out. Give it a try, you literally have nothing to lose.


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Self Improvement

How I minimize overspending with these easy tips.

For many years I’ve been a chronic overspender. I used to “treat” myself regularly buying tonnes of books and DVDs, and then I had too many books and DVDs so had to buy another bookcase just to house them. An endless cycle of spending.

But, I’ve now realised I need to start saving my money. We want to buy a house (eventually) and we also want to get a dog. All these things cost money. I’d also like to give up my day job and work from home. All these things mean I need to start being more frugal.

We’ve done well with some other tricks I’ve found online: putting the heating on less, buying second hand clothes etc. We’ve also found eating a mainly vegan diet has been brilliant for the budget. A tin of chickpeas is 30p whereas a pack of chicken breasts is £5. No brainer there. Check out my Pinterest board for recipes if you’re interested.

This all only goes so far when you’re still spending too much on things you don’t need. So I’ve been thinking of ways I can train my brain into wanting to spend less money. And so far it seems to be working. Last month I didn’t spend any unnecessary money. Which is a big deal for me.

How am I doing it, I hear you cry? A few ways actually.


Easy tips for money saving through better mental health


No longer buying things as a treat.

This is my biggie which has helped me stop spending so much. Instead of buying things that I don’t really need to treat myself I do things I enjoy instead. For instance, I love going to the cinema, and through my work we get cheap cinema tickets, so instead of spending £20 on books I’ll spend £12 on cinema tickets.

Obviously, that’s still spending, but at least it’s being spent on an occasion rather than just an object. So if I really feel like treating myself but don’t want to spend money, I’ll either go visit my niece (who is 2, completely adorable and makes me happy) or we’ll go for a walk somewhere lovely. All free things and make me feel ten times happier than any book ever could.

Break the emotional attachment you have to things.

Another biggie. Things are just that: things. Apart from a few items which hold true sentimental value, like the Bible my Grandad gave me and a beautiful photo of my Great Grandmother, I’m trying to hold no emotional connection to an object.

I keep telling myself every time I walk past my bookshelf bursting with junk that it doesn’t matter. And every day I’m getting closer and closer to getting rid of the lot. I now see that space as wasted rather than filled with items I care about.

Persistence is key with this one. You have to keep telling yourself that these things don’t matter. Especially when it comes to throwing anything away. Goodbyes are always hard.

Ask yourself 3 questions before buying.

Obviously there are certain things which we need to buy to live, like food and replacement clothes. But before buying anything else I ask myself:

· Do I need it?
· Do we have space for it?
· Is this the cheapest price?

If I answer no to the top 2 questions it doesn’t get bought, and it gets forgotten about. If I only answer no to the bottom question I’ll check it out online and see if I can get it cheaper. At least that way I’m making sure I’m getting the best possible price for it.

I also like to ask myself if I’m likely to ever see it again, but this only really applies to art and sculptures. I’m a bit of a print fiend, I love having beautiful images on the walls, but I know I’ve got too many. But if I see something completely unique that I’ll never find again I will contemplate it, but try to avoid.

Continual self care.

If you maintain a steady level of self care the urge to “treat” yourself through spending will diminish. I’ve written another blog post about self care 10 simple self care ideas in 10 minutes or less which explains why self care is so important, and also another post 101 ideas for simple self care with plenty of ideas of what you can do to improve your self care.

A lot of the things on the list are free, or very cheap. The thing is with self care is that it’s really simple to pay more attention to looking after yourself, and doesn’t have to cost the Earth. Once you’ve tried it, you won’t forget about it again.


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Self Improvement

7 simple positive actions to try today.

Positivity doesn’t come naturally to everyone. If it did we’d all be the same and fairly boring. For instance, I’m not naturally a positive person, but I do try. And it’s the trying which is the most important part.

If, like me, it doesn’t come naturally to you, then I’ve outlined a few actions you could take every day to make yourself a more positive human being. It takes work, but after a while it does become second nature.

But why? Well, being positive is adding something to a situation. It doesn’t matter what the situation is. Being negative detracts from the situation. And generally people don’t like being around negative people. Again, I know this from experience.

So, give it a go, see what happens.


Simple positive actions to take to improve your life


1. Smile more.

A pretty basic one isn’t it? Creep the corners of your mouth up and show the world a big juicy grin. It doesn’t cost anything and is generally pain free.

The more you smile, the more you believe the smile. Obviously there are times when smiling just isn’t an option, and you don’t want that smile to turn into a grimace. Just let you face relax a bit more. Allow it to come out naturally.

We can all be guilty of being guarded with our emotions, but we shouldn’t be.

2. Find a positive in every situation.

Life can be really rubbish sometimes. Horrible things can happen to people for no reason whatsoever. But how you deal with those moments defines you as a person.

Whatever may happen, say to yourself “Yeah, that’s rubbish, but…” and think of something positive to hang on the end of that sentence. It could be anything, even the smallest positive speck, but it still counts.

This way of thinking sticks with you. Before you know it your mind will automatically jump to the most positive response to any situation.

3. Say nice things to yourself.

Positive mantras are my jam. If you wouldn’t say it to a friend, why say it to yourself? It’s so easy being mean to yourself, but you can change that.

Find something nice about yourself and let yourself know you appreciate that about you. Letting yourself feel better about yourself is like the beginning of an avalanche. You’ll be less critical of your mistakes and you’ll feel more confident in your own skin.

And like an avalanche it only grows the longer it goes on. Saying one little thing today will turn into a massive growth in self-confidence further down the line.

This could either be things you say in your head (not like a crazy person) or you could even write yourself a list of all the things which you like about yourself. Whatever works for you.

4. Say nice things to other people.

I try to live by the mantra “Be somebody that makes everybody feel like somebody”. Building up the people around you through kind words is easy, makes them feel good, and will make you feel good.

It could be something really small like complimenting a new haircut, telling someone their outfit looks nice, or even telling someone that you really appreciate them.

It is little things like this which also makes other people’s responses to you more positive. Throwing out a little ray of sunshine once in a while lifts people’s spirits, and in turn will make your environment more positive. It’s a winner.

5. Give something away.

Go through your old belongings and earmark some items to go to a charity shop. Or if you have a friend who has been eyeing up some of your clothes, let them take an item or two.

Again, this makes you feel better and makes the other person feel better. You’re crafting a more positive environment. Particularly with giving to a charity you’re doing something to actively help, and that gives you a little glow on the inside.

You could even set up a standing order to donate to a charity regularly. This is something I’ve been looking into as we’re currently in the process of adopting a dog and want the shelter to know how much we appreciate them.

6. Get away from social media.

FOMO is real and has a negative impact on everyone. Through social media it is all too easy to compare your life to somebody else’s, even though we don’t live our real true lives out on social media.

Break away from Facebook and Twitter and all the other variations out there for a while. Give yourself a no social day. Or delete the apps from your phone so you’re not tempted to browse.

This is an instant positivity booster. For some people the compulsion to share and take in what everyone else is saying is huge so this could be difficult. But stick with it. After a while you’ll stop caring about what folks are eating for lunch.

I also find through sharing less of myself online my friends are much more talkative when we do get together. We don’t know all the ins and outs of each other’s lives and so spend more time actually discussing things.

7. Don’t get angry.

Whatever the situation is, try not to let anything get under your skin.

When we get angry we’re more likely to say and do things we will regret at a later date. This can undo all the good work you’ve done in the previous actions and do some serious damage to your relationships.

I’m a really hot headed person, so when my temper flairs those you know me know they need to run for cover. But I’m working on it. The main 2 things I do are:

Empathize with the other person.
Walk away from the situation.

Empathizing with the other person puts you in their shoes and makes you think a bit harder about why they are maybe acting in a way which will cause you to get angry. I find generally this diffuses any anger I have bottled up and we normally find an amicable way to resolve the situation.

However, if this doesn’t work, remove yourself from the situation. Walk away from whatever is going on and no longer allow yourself to be part of it. And I mean physically remove yourself, not just stop responding. Removing yourself gives you time to calm down, and also gives the other person time to think over things. This always works.


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Self Improvement

3 books which changed my on life

(This post contains affiliates links, see my a full disclosure on my About page. I may receive a small commission for any link to Amazon. Any purchase you make helps support me write and provide this content.)

Books that changed my life

I’m a reader. I love books. I love escaping to a different world for a few hours. And I particularly love the deeper meaning attached to certain stories and what you can take away from them.

In almost every book you read there is a lesson to be learnt. Particularly books for kids/teens there is normally a strong moral message in the story. This could also be said for books which are geared to adult audiences.

I love reading through a book, and then thinking about the deeper meaning behind the story, and then sometimes reading the book again to see if it changes the way it reads. Most times it does.

I’ve read a lot of books across the years, but I got to thinking: which ones have actually changed something about me? Which ones have had a deeper effect on who I am as a person?

FYI These are NOT self-help books, just books I have read and taken a deeper meaning from.


The Book Thief – Markus Zuzak

This is such a lovely book. It’s set in Germany during the Second World War. It follows the story of a young girl living with a foster family as her family have been sent to concentration camps. This girl has a penchant for books. She gets caught stealing books from one of the houses and makes friends with the woman who lives there.

During this time they also find an injured enemy soldier. The girl’s family take the soldier in and nurse him back to health, keeping him secret and safe from the Nazi’s.

The girl loves books, and through this love of books makes friends and connections.

The foster father of the girl refuses to bend to the will of the Nazi’s. He stands firm whilst everyone else is telling him he’s wrong. He is also a kind man, who takes care of the girl, treating her like his own.

The foster mother of the girl is stern, strong and fearless. She can sometimes seem like she is being pretty harsh but it’s all for a bigger cause.

It’s a bit of an odd book because it the narrator is death, which can seem a little grim to begin with, but it works and you can get a different perspective.

This book is all about strength of character. Both the young girl and the family she lives with are all strong characters. They have a sense of who they are and what they have to offer. There is so much to take from this.

When I have a moment of weakness in life, whether it be a crisis of confidence or indecision I think of this book. I think of the characters and how they stood up for what they believed in. It is inspirational, and also incredibly easy to read.

This book was also recently made into a film, but I haven’t watched it yet. I think I love the book a bit too much and am scared it won’t live up to it.


The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat – Oliver Sacks

Unlike the previous book, this one is a work of non-fiction. Now, a bit of background. Oliver Sacks was an amazing human being (sadly he passed away) who dealt with weird and wonderful cases of the human brain.

This book is a collection of case studies of some really unbelievable maladies. One of the case studies is indeed about a man who mistook his wife for a hat! Luckily he didn’t try and wear her like a hat though.

Not only are the case studies themselves really interesting, it is written incredibly well. Oliver Sacks has a natural charm about him: he truly cares about the people he meets and wants to help them.

He also wrote another book called Awakenings which documents his dealings with a group of patients all of whom couldn’t talk or move, and were basically forgotten about as “lost causes”. However he cared so much that he decided to look deeper. He wanted to help these people live some kind of life, even though they had mainly been forgotten about. During his work he manages, through the implementation of a new drug, to bring them back for a time. This was also made into a film starring Robin Williams which is brilliant and highly recommended.

The kindness he shows to people who would otherwise be laughed at or forgotten about is truly inspirational. He treats people as they should be treated: like human beings. This is something we can all bring more of into our lives, and something I think about often.


Odd Thomas – Dean Koontz

Dean Koontz is a master, second only to Stephen King. Odd Thomas is one of my favourite characters. He’s an odd young man, but has the love of his girlfriend Stormy to keep him going.

Odd by name odd by nature, things happen around him that he doesn’t ask for, but that he feels obligated to help out.

I won’t say too much because I don’t want to ruin the twist of the story, but the theme for this book is enduring love. In the book Stormy and Odd visit a fortune teller who tells them they’re soulmates.

It is one of the only warm things that happens in the book. And it gives me a warm glowing feeling in the pit of my stomach. I want to be one of those people who loves without exception and completely.

The relationship Stormy and Odd have is unconventional and unique to them. It’s something we can all strive for, our very own version of love.

This is another book which has been made into an excellent film, which is highly emotional and very easy to watch. It was never going to be Oscar winner but I sometimes the most watchable films are those which don’t receive all of the academy praise.


These are just some of the books that I’ve read which I’ve taken a greater meaning from. A story without some kind of moral just isn’t a very good tale. I’d love to hear what books you guys have read which have changed your life, please leave a comment!


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