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

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

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

101 happiness boosting actions

101 ideas for a happiness boost

1. Walk on the beach.

2. Spend time with friends.

3. Paint a picture.

4. Take pretty pictures.

5. Bake a cake.

6. Jump on a trampoline.

7. Complete something which you have been avoiding.

8. Write a nice letter to yourself.

9. Write a nice letter to a friend.

10. Buy a gift for someone you love.

11. Read a poem.

12. Dress up nice for no reason.

13. Eat your favourite dessert.

14. Watch your favourite film.

15. Walk a dog.

16. Pet a cat.

17. Lay on the floor with your legs in the air.

18. Drink a cup of tea.

19. Try different hairstyles.

20. Go to a shop, try on new outfits, but don’t buy any.

21. Book a weekend away.

22. Walk through a forest.

23. Go for a drive – anywhere.

24. Play board games.

25. Make something for someone else.

Happiness is a journey not a destination

26. Learn a new craft.

27. Light a nice smelly candle.

28. Tell someone you love them.

29. Make a list of nice things in your life.

30. Put your feet up.

31. Read your favourite book.

32. Pamper yourself at home.

33. Read inspiring stories.

34. Buy some fresh flowers.

35. Plant something in the ground.

36. Climb a tree.

37. Swing on a swing set.

38. Fix something that is broken.

39. Print off pictures of friends.

40. Forgive any mistakes you’ve made.

41. Reconnect with an old friend.

42. Do some gentle exercise

43. Find shapes in the clouds.

44. Look at the moon.

45. Write a small to do list.

46. Dance to your favourite song.

47. Sing at the top of your lungs.

48. Paint your house.

49. Make your bed.

50. Wash your PJ’s.

Happiness is a choice, not a result

51. Have a really warm shower.

52. Run yourself a bubble bath.

53. Burn some incense.

54. Wake up 10 minutes earlier.

55. Make a pitcher of ice tea.

56. Dunk your toes in a lake or the sea.

57. Wear odd socks.

58. Wash your car and make it gleam.

59. Brush your teeth for longer.

60. Dye your hair a different colour.

61. Paint your nails.

62. Pluck your eyebrows.

63. Give a friend a makeover.

64. Go the park with the kids in your life.

65. Pull funny faces at a toddler.

66. Read jokes online.

67. Watch a comedy show.

68. Have an ice cold glass of water.

69. Play pooh sticks.

70. Turn off your phone for an hour.

71. Go for a walk on your lunch break.

72. Ignore all emails for a day.

73. Wear your slippers for a day.

74. Buy comfortable shoes.

75. Wear slouchy clothes.

There are so many beautiful reasons to be happy

76. Drink tea from a tea pot.

77. Have a candlelit dinner.

78. Eat outside.

79. Sit on the grass.

80. Hula hoop

81. Play hop scotch.

82. Make a fruit salad.

83. Buy some retro sweets.

84. Visit your family.

85. Take a day off from work.

86. Build sand castles.

87. Go on a date.

88. Visit a castle.

89.   Take an extra break at work.

90.   Reminisce over old photos.

91.   Visit a book shop.

92.   Plan a holiday.

93.   Buy lunch instead of making it.

94. Give to charity.

95. Buy a homeless person a hot drink/meal.

96. Volunteer your time at a charity.

97. Take your old stuff to a charity shop.

98. Host a car boot sale.

99. Rearrange your bedroom.

100. Walk barefooted.

101. Practice serious self care regularly.


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101 happiness boosting actions infographic

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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Self Improvement

10 easy ways to love yourself more

Self love has a bit of an image to it. You may think of yoga bending, crystal wearing, kale chomping hippy goddesses when you think of self love, but that isn’t so. Self love is the act of loving yourself, and so it is completely personal to you. You have to find what works for you.

Loving yourself isn’t always easy. We can be pretty harsh on ourselves sometimes, but why? Why do we say things to ourselves that we would never dream of saying to anybody else? I don’t really know the answer to that, but I know that it needs to stop.

Being horrible to yourself isn’t productive. It brings you down, knocks your confidence and stops you from living the good life you should be living. And the thing is, it’s easy to love yourself a little more.

Little changes can build up and make a huge difference. And before you know it they will become second nature.


10 steps to better self love


Know that you are important.

You may not be the leader of the world, but your opinions and your feelings are important. Tell yourself regularly that you matter, and that your opinions count. This will grow and give you confidence in what you are saying, and also what you are feeling.

Know that you are worth it.

Not only are you important, but you are worth something. You are worth the effort it initially takes to love yourself. Understand that and before long self love will be complete second nature.

Surround yourself with good people.

We all have those friends that are complete drama-llamas, nothing is easy and there is always something major going on. Those people are not the best kinds of people to be around. You’ll always be brought into the latest drama, which is no good for your well being.

Make sure to spend plenty of time with those people who raise you up rather than knock you down. Supportive people are sometimes tricky to find, but once you do, hold onto them.

Recite positive affirmations.

I love positive words. They have power. It’s one of those things that you won’t believe the difference they can make until you try it. I’ve written a couple of other posts about this, specifically affirmations for the morning and for night time.

A quick google search will show you tonnes of others, or write down some words which have meaning to you. Making it personal will make it more likely those words will have a deeper effect.

Indulge in gentle exercise.

We’re not talking running marathons or 2 hours at the gym here, we’re talking gentle stretches, yoga or a fast walk. Do whatever feels comfortable for you based on your current fitness levels or abilities.

Exercise triggers the release of endorphins, and these endorphins give you a more positive feeling. You will also find your stress levels reduced and you will feel more awake during the day. Incorporate small levels of exercise into your daily routine.

Learn to own your flaws.

Nobody is perfect, nobody can ever be perfect, perfection is not humanly possible.

Write a list of your strengths and your weaknesses. Take those weaknesses and put a positive spin on them. For example, I have very curly hair which is a pain in the bum to style. But not many people have such naturally curly hair like mine, it is unique and makes me stand out. See what I did there. I have taken ownership of what I consider a flaw and put a positive spin on it. Give it a whirl.

Make time for self care.

Oh I love self care! Read my other post I’ve written about it with tonnes of ideas on things you can do to look after yourself a bit better.

The most important thing about self care is making it personal to you. What relaxes one person could have completely the opposite effect on someone else. Find the things that work for you and stick to them.

Forgive yourself.

People make mistakes, don’t beat yourself up about them. This could be past mistakes made years ago or something that has just happened.

Let it go. It has happened and cannot be changed, no point wasting time dwelling on it. You’ll feel so much better for it, like a weight has been lifted.

Identify things to change in your life.

Look through the various aspects of your life and decide what isn’t working for you. This could be your career, your eating plan, or even a partner. If it is something detracting from your life then change it.

It can be a bit scary to begin with, making some serious life changes, but in the long run you will feel better for it.

Create attainable goals for the future.

What is important for you and where do you see yourself in five years’ time? Having attainable and manageable goals will keep you focused and make your life more meaningful.

It will also give you a clear idea of what is actually important and what you want to spend more time on. If you’re like me and a bit of a dreamer it also gives you something to stare out of the window and think about for a while.

Give these tips a go, see how you get on, and let me know if you have any luck in the comments!


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Self Improvement

101 ideas for simple self care

101 ideas for simple self care

1. Eat lots of fruit and veg.

2. Drink plenty of water.

3. Pick a “guilty pleasure” and indulge occasionally.

4. Practise yoga regularly.

5. Pick some affirmations, and believe them.

6. Go to the beach.

7. Have some time alone.

8. Make sure you get a full night’s sleep.

9. Have a bubble bath.

10. Speak to the people you love who support you.

11. Listen to your favourite song.

12. Watch your favourite film.

13. Watch a funny video on youtube.

14. Visit an art gallery.

15. Go to your favourite coffee shop for a drink.

16. Visit your local park.

17. Enjoy the sunshine on your skin.

18. Go star gazing.

19. Go on day trips to somewhere beautiful.

20. Don’t feel bad for saying no.

21. Keep a journal.

22. Have a no screen night 

23. Spend time around animals.

24. Have a nap.

25. Burn a nice smelling candle or incense stick.

Self love self care inspirational quote

26. Cook your favourite meal.

27. Find a hobby you love and make time for it.

28. Declutter your house.

29. Do some baking.

30. Change your bedsheets before bedtime.

31. Put your PJ’s in the tumbledryer for just a couple of minutes before putting them on.

32. Do some painting.

33. Plant some flowers.

34. Wear your favourite perfume.

35. Get dressed up for no reason, just because.

36. Have a pyjama day.

37. Close your eyes for 5 minutes.

38. Meditate.

39. Turn your phone off for a few hours.

40. Visit a forest.

41. Organise your work space.

42. Throw away old things you no longer need.

43. Look through old photographs.

44. Take pictures of beautiful things.

45. Have a candlelit dinner.

46. Create something.

47. Start an evening course.

48. Have a lay in at the weekend.

49. Create a relaxing music playlist.

50. Buy yourself a treat.

Self love self care inspirational quote

51. Put your feet up for an evening.

52. Take regular breaks from your work.

53. Write a list of your favourite things about yourself.

54. Write yourself a budget.

55. Have a spare change piggy bank or “fun fund”.

56. Colour in a colouring book.

57. Pop some bubble wrap.

58. Be mindful of what you’re feeling this precise moment.

59. Write a list of the things you are grateful for.

60. Buy yourself some flowers.

61. Do some gentle exercise.

62. Have a pamper day.

63. Put a pin in a map for all the places you would like to visit.

64. Create a new Pinterest board dedicated to self improvement.

65. Bundle up in your duvet and scoot down the stairs.

66. Lay on the floor with your legs in the air.

67. Make a gift for a friend.

68. Tell someone you love them.

69. Create a space of peace at home.

70. Take a dog for a walk.

71. Get a haircut.

72. Clear out the old clothes from your wardrobe.

73. Do some deep breathing exercises.

74. Give yourself a pep talk.

75. Drink a warm beverage.

Self love self care inspirational quote

76. Make some alcohol free cocktails to have at lunch time.

77. Sell some items online.

78. Go browsing in a book shop.

79. Leave the house for a spontaneous adventure.

80. Rearrange your furniture.

81. Paint your toenails.

82. Make a face mask and put it on.

83. Pull funny faces at yourself in the mirror.

84. Run up and down the stairs 10 times to get your heart pumping.

85. Buy some new extra comfy slippers.

86. Hold hands with a loved one.

87. Draw a silly picture.

88. Bake a loaf of bread.

89. Clean your windows to let the sunlight in.

90. Find shapes in the clouds.

91. Find some daisies and make daisy chains.

92. Climb a tree (if you can and it’s safe).

93. Re-purpose some old clothes into something new.

94. Run outside when it’s raining.

95. Jump on your sofa’s and pretend the floor is lava.

96. Get yourself a massage.

97. Do something new: visit a new place, go a different route to work, anything.

98. Set yourself an attainable challenge for the next day.

99. Take a moment to let go of past mistakes.

100. Remind yourself how important you are.

101. Remember how important it is to look after yourself.

Self love self care inspirational quote


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101 simple self care ideas

Self Improvement

10 simple self care ideas in 10 minutes or less

Self love, self care, inspirational quote

What is self care?

Self care is small actions you take to look after yourself, physically, mentally and emotionally. These actions are intended to increase your overall sense of well being and make you a happier healthier more giving individual.

Why does it matter?

As the quote says, you can’t pour from an empty cup. Much like on airplanes parents are told to secure their breathing apparatus before their child’s, you must take care of yourself before you can take care of anyone else. You can’t give away something which you don’t have, so if your mental energy reserves are running empty this could be a problem for you.

But I don’t have time!

Oh, you really really do. Self care doesn’t have to take much time out of your day. It can be small actions which you do daily to help replenish your mental and emotional stock. Stick to it long enough and before you know it self care will be a habit, a natural part of your daily routine.

Okay, how do I start caring for myself more?

I’m so glad you asked! Self care is a pretty general term, so there are a lot of ways you can look after yourself a bit better. All of these are small ways you can practice self care, so should be easy to implement into your routine.


Simple & quick self care inspiration

Take time to freshen up.

Spend 5 minutes extra in the shower, brush your teeth in the evening, wash your hands with some nice smelling soap. Literally remove the grime from yourself and it will make you feel a lot better.

Listen to your favourite song.

Music is powerful. Put your favourite song on and have a dance, sing along, enjoy it. Choose a song which holds particular meaning to you to really feel the benefit.

Look away from those screens.

It doesn’t have to be for long, just a 5 minute break every hour if you work in front of a computer. Or pack away your phone for some time. It’s like a reboot for the mind.

Do some stretches.

Yoga is amazing and a proper routine is something you try and do as much as possible. However if you’re short of time just pick a few poses which you really enjoy and go for it.

Get into nature.

Find 10 minutes to go for a short walk outside and take in the beauty around you. Literally smell the roses. Fresh air is amazing. This could be a bit trickier if you live in a city, but work around your surroundings, even the most built up areas have some green areas.

Talk to someone you love.

And I don’t mean just text them. Either see them, or ring them. Spending time speaking to someone who matters to you will make you feel better about yourself and also about life in general. These are the kinds of people you should keep close.

Close your eyes for 5 minutes.

You could really do this anywhere (unless you’re driving, don’t do that). Stop and close your eyes, let them rest and your mind reboot.

Read inspirational quotes.

There are tonnes of them on Pinterest, or even a quick google search will pop something up. Find word’s which have meaning to you, read them, absorb them and take them to heart.

Write a journal entry.

Write out the good and the bad aspects of your day. Let any emotions you may have about them flow out onto the paper. The positive memories will be collected, and the negative thoughts taken from your head and planted onto paper. Win win.

Say some positive affirmations.

Positive words have a positive impact, tell yourself something nice and you will feel nice. It really is as simple as that. I have 2 posts I’ve written about this:

Give them a read through, the only way to find out is if you try it for yourself


These are just a few ideas, it is not exhaustive and it’s also important to work out a routine for yourself. There are a lot of resources out there surrounding the topic of self care.

If you have any other ideas please share them in the comments!

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Self Improvement

10 steps to becoming a happier person

I’ve often thought about what makes a happy person. Is it money? Is it good looks? Is it just plain old good fortune? And do you know what? Its none of those things.

Life isn’t easy all of the time, but what is easy is changing your outlook. You have the power to make yourself a happy person, even if some days you just don’t feel like it.

But flapping around in the dark is no use, you need guidance for this kind of thing. An idea on how to make yourself happier.

So, I’ve had a good think about things, and these are the 10 steps I have used to become a much happier person.

10 steps to becoming a happier person

1. Let go of the past.

Stop looking back, you’re not heading that way! We’ve all heard it, time to start embracing it. Whatever may have happened, whether it be large or small, is behind you. Some things can’t be forgotten, but you can train yourself to stop thinking about it.

Next time you start thinking about something you didn’t like about your past make yourself think about something you are excited about for the future. You can train your brain this way to stop dwelling on negative past experiences.

2. Be present.

Don’t let moments pass you by, embrace them. Whatever is happening right this second is important and you should take part in the moment wholly and completely. Allow yourself to take part in whatever is happening around you.

Letting yourself enjoy the moment is a game changer. Being more involved in your present self stops you from thinking back, and from also thinking too far forward. It is important to have a plan but not everything needs to be work for a single minded goal. Let the moment take you where you should be.

3. Put a positive spin on everything.

Something really rubbish has happened, how easy is it to dwell on just how rubbish it is? Not any more. Look at what has happened from all angles and find a positive one.

A good example for this is at work. Us humans weren’t built to live the way we are living, but for most of us we have to do something we don’t actively enjoy to get by. Instead of focusing on how much you don’t enjoy it, focus on the aspects which you do enjoy. It could be as much as the people are really lovely, or as little as the coffee is strong. Take whatever you can from every situation and put a positive light on it.

Your brain will soon become trained to looking at things positively, and it will become second nature.

4. Get out into nature as much as possible.

If you’re like me going to a country park is one of my favourite ways to spend a sunny weekend. But even if you wouldn’t consider yourself outdoorsy, just try it.

Leave the confines of your house and take a walk to a local park. Sit in your garden and read a book. Plan a weekend escape to a local camping ground. You need to reconnect with nature, even if you don’t think this is something which applies to you.

5. Unplug.

I wrote another post recently Why you need a no screen night which details why you need to unplug from social media, television etc. And also another post 10 things to do on a no screen evening with some ideas as to what to do on these evenings.

The proof really is in the pudding with this one. Getting away from technology as much as possible is great for your sense of well being. It also gives you time to focus on a hobby or spend more present time with loved ones.

6. Stop comparing yourself to other’s.

The rise of social media has made it all too easy to grab an insight into other people’s lives, and we automatically compare their lot to ours. Stop doing this. It isn’t productive, and normally people only post the very very best aspects of their lives on social media. It isn’t realistic.

Also, we grow as people at different rates. Have you ever heard the phrase “an old head on young shoulders”? Some people are naturally very good at life and succeed immediately. With other’s it can take a while. And that is great! If everyone was exactly the same life would be completely boring. Just because someone the same age as you has a fancy house or the latest car doesn’t mean you should have those things too. Focus on yourself, not on other people.

7. Stop caring what people think.

Oh, this is such a big one when it comes to happiness. How many times have you avoided doing something you would enjoy because you thought other people may look down on you or make fun of you for it? We’re all guilty of this, but it is time to stop.

Do you know what I really like doing? I love singing along to my music as loud as possible whilst driving in my car. I used to only do this at night for fear of someone pointing and laughing. Do you know what I do now? I don’t care! I’ll sing along, and no one has pointed and laughed yet.

Do what makes you happy and stop considering other people’s opinions when it comes to things you enjoy.

8. Leave yourself with time to be spontaneous.

My partner and I looked at our calendar recently and found we have so many different events and gatherings on that we don’t have a free weekend for some time to come. Which is nice, but on the flip side we also now have a really rigid structure to follow for the next few weeks. Which sucks.

Leave yourself some days to do exactly what you want to do at that exact moment. Look back up to number 2, be present and let your path flow where it wants to for the day. The day’s will feel so much more natural, and you then don’t have to do anything you’re not really looking forward to.

9. Learn when to say yes, and when to say no.

This is so important. Dependent on where you look you’re either told to say yes to everything, or say no to everything. But you need to learn how to accept offers and decline them in equal measure.

When it comes to saying yes, you need to decide whether it is something you actively want to do. And also whether it is something which will expand you as a person. Will you meet new people? Will you learn a new craft? Weigh these things up.

Likewise with saying no, is it something which will detract from your sense of well being? Will it put you into a situation which you would rather not be in? I’m not keen on partying or night clubs and so avoid those as much as possible. But you do have the power to decline any event you don’t want to go to.

10. Learn how to be alone.

Being alone is brilliant. I have a wonderful partner, lovely friends and amazing family. But I still ear mark time from each day where I will be alone and can do my own thing.

Your happiness is not dependent on somebody else, and it is empowering to realize this. Particularly with romance it can be all too easy to rely on other people for your happiness, but this is co-dependency and no one comes out of a relationship like that unscathed.

If you’re not used to being on your own, try it. And turn your phone off whilst you’re at it. You’re not completely alone if you are still contacting people.

 


 

True happiness is a difficult thing to achieve, I don’t think anyone ever is truly happy all of the time. And there is nothing wrong with that. But aiming for happiness is a brilliant thing and will change you as a person along the way. Let me know how you get on in the comments.

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