Lifestyle

Beginning of my Bullet Journal..

Back in January, I made the decision to start using a bullet journal. I’ve always used study planners and for several years I had had a Filofax. Never did I manage to actually stick with one for more than a few months as I always found that I would give up with them because they never quite ticked all the boxes of what I needed. I don’t even want to think about the amount of money I have likely wasted trying to find the perfect planner for me to use for University, Blogging, as well as my day to day life.img_1123.jpg

For a little while, I had been seeing the idea of Bullet Journaling on YouTube and Instagram, and although at first I thought it all sounded like way too much work, I very quickly saw that it would be a great hobby that I could get creative with. So just Christmas, I ordered myself a journal, and starting watching loads of bullet journaling YouTube videos to get my head around what I wanted to do.

So I have now been journaling for just under a full year, and I must say that what I journal about, as well as my favourite way of decorating have quite widely changed. But I truly think that that is all just part of the process of Bullet Journaling. Its the beauty of the method, you can make it what ever you want it to be, you can do what ever you want to do with it. It is completely individual, and unique to you and just you.

Now I have found a good routine, I have got a constant pattern of what I do each month and I just switch up the colours every now and again. I know that some people work with different styles and designs each month, but I much prefer to have a consistent theme throughout my journal; partly because I have found a way that works for me and I’m not all that confident with being creative from scratch.

I have found that I have been a lot more productive this year since starting using the bullet journal method, just in my daily life. It has also really helped me to be more reflective of my life, spotting what I do that makes me happy and what stresses me out. If you haven’t guessed I am so thankful for starting my bullet journal and am excited to share more of it with you.

Do you use a planner or journal? What do you find works for you?

Books

November Reads & December TBR

Finally, I had a month back to some what normality; actually enjoying reading, and using as much of my spare time as possible to sit with my book. I managed to read a full two books, and I loved both of them. Sadly life did kick back in which stopped me from being able to keep it up for the full month as I have had to step up to help out with some family stuff. With December I am confident that I will keep this up; although I have still got to support my partner this month, and we have family Christmas coming up,  so I may not be quite so lucky with time but we’ll see.img_1122

In November I read one amazing book, and another good one, I would recommend both. The first was Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan, a young adult LGBT+ fantasy that I got in a fairyloot box. Have to admit, I had heard of this one but had had no interest in getting my hands on a copy, but for some reason, when I opened it in the box, I felt the need to start reading it almost instantly. Wow am I glad I did, as I loved this! Okay, so I should really say that it is full of scenes that may be destressing for some, so a big trigger warning for sexual abuse.  With that aside, this was a really heart wrenching fantasy novel, and one where I found myself falling in love with the world. Normally I am not one to be moved by a romance, but this novel has one that you cant help but love whole heartedly.  I am praying that there is going to be a sequel, please let me know if you know anything about this?img_1120.jpg

The other book I read was Vox by Christina Dalcher, a dystopian novel much like one of my favourites The Handmaids Tale. I had such high hopes for this one, and to begin with it truly stood up to those expectations; unfortunately though it then turned out to be a bit of a disappointment. It felt as if the ending was all a bit of a rush, wrapping things up quickly but not exactly excitingly. I don’t know what I expected, I just hoped for more. However I would still recommend this as a quick read as its a solid 3 star.

For December, I am trying to be realistic, giving myself three (well really just two proper books), and I am doing my Twitter Poll again for you to all have your say. With it being Christmas, I have to have the Grinch on my list. IF you know me, then you know that I read the Grinch every year at Christmas without fail, and this year is going to be no different.

Again, with it being Christmas, I feel that it is only right that I once again break out the Illustrated editions of Harry Potter. Last year I read the third one, but I am yet to open up the first two, so this year I think I am going to read Philosophers Stone in the Illustrated copy. Who knows, if I get on a roll I may even then pick up Chamber of Secrets.

The only other set book on my TBR this month is Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik. I confess, this has been on my list for several months now, but I have finally actually started it, and I think it will turn out to be a rather easy read despite the size of the book. Have you read this? What did you think?img_1118.jpg

Now that leads on to my Twitter Poll. I have been running this each month, or at least trying, and its where I choose three books for you to choose from on Twitter. This month it is between some repeat appearance books that I still haven’t got to.

The options are Everless by Sara Holland, Blackbird Season by Kate Moretti and Halycon by Rio Youres. These are all very different books, but all ones that I have been looking forward to getting to, so now its up to you…

Health

Bed Rest Diaries #3

Guess what? Yes that’s right, I’m back in bed feeling ill again. Over a week ago now I went to the doctors with difficulty breathing and was diagnosed with a chest infection, given antibiotics, and sent to get on with it. Normally if you just rest up a little, keep warm and take the antibiotics you will recover within a week or so; but after getting worse and talking to the doctor again on Friday I was instructed to go to bed and rest up.

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So Saturday and Sunday were in full on bed rest mood, only difference was that this time around I had my brilliant partner keeping me company. In those two days we binge watched all of Fried on Netflix and all of the first season and half of the second season of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. First of all, why is there not a season two of Fried?! Its so funny and original, why in the world was it cancelled after just the first season, its one of those shows that needed to of had several seasons!!

Secondly, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is fabulous. I have never seen a show with the concept of a group of girls that have been trapped in a cult that has kept them underground for the past 15 years, following just one of them trying to now live a normal life in New York City. This is belly hurting hilarious, with about five season on Netflix, it is the perfect binge watch programme, I highly recommend it.

After still no improvement come Monday it was back to the doctors, received new antibiotics, and been told that bed rest will need to continue for the following week. Now Monday, I rested but I did end up going out for lunch, but now its Tuesday, I am making a point of doing NOTHING. WELL except for writing this…

So this has been a bit of a different bed rest situation for me this time around with me mostly spending time catching up on TV or binge watching Netflix rather than reading. I’ve dedicated time to my journal, and to just generally resting up.

Fingers crossed I wont be having to do any further entries to this bed rest diaries as I am hoping to be out and about come tomorrow.

You had any Winter bugs this year? Love to hear what you do to spend the time recovering.

Books

Strange Ink by Gary Kemble

Its been a while since I last sat and wrote a book review, but then is that really a surprise when you think that you have to read a book in order to review it? I will put my hands up and admit that in the past few months I have only read a tiny handful of books; its not something that I am proud of, but with the reading slump, and just generally more going on in life I have not been in the mood to sit and marathon through a book. Thankfully, it is now starting to change, and this book was one that definitely helped to get back on track with reading.img_1016

Described as a horror novel, this turned out to be a perfect Halloween read for me, spooky without scaring the living daylights out of me, and full of suspense and page gripping twists and turns.

When washed-up journalist Harry Hendrick wakes one morning with a hangover and a strange symbol tattooed on his neck, he shrugs it off as a bad night out. But soon more tattoos appear: grisly, violent images which come accompanied by horrific nightmares – so he begins to dig deeper. Harry’s search leads him to a sinister disappearance, torment from beyond the grave, and a web of corruption and violence tangled with his own past. One way or another, he has to right the wrongs. (From Goodreads)

Now I may be a wuss when it comes to horror films, I can only watch them during the day and with all the lights on, but when it comes to horror novels, I am generally quite a bit better. Strange Ink however had me running to turn the light on, and gripping my duvet that little bit closer to feel safe. It was and odd sense of fear of not knowing what was going to be coming around the next corner, especially in the flashback chapters.

This book does flick back in flashbacks in the form of dreams, which I have to admit I thought were my favourite chapters, but it was at times a bit hard to follow.

Connecting the two different storylines, with the past couple and the present couple was very cleverly done, showing how they were taking on the other personalities while still sticking to themselves.

Not going to lie I was a little disappointed that they just lost these connections once the mystery was resolved. I feel like the events that happened would of left more of a mark on them; but I cant explain this much more without this become spoilery.

I would definitely say that this is a great read for any horror or psychological thriller fans; I read it over Halloween and I would say it was the perfect read.

Have you read this book yet? What did you think? If not, you should go and get yourself a copy.

Books

OctoberReads& November TBR

Well I feel like I am becoming a broken record, as once again I have had a terrible reading month, only managing to read one singular book. I really thought that I was having a good month when it started as I was loving the book and making decent progress, but the monster slump snuck itself back in mid way through. Though just like I’ve been saying for months, I am determined to make November the month that I defeat the reading slump! It has to happen!!

Beginning with October, the one and only book that I read was Strange Ink by Gary Kemble. A horror thriller that was full of twists and turns, it was definitely a fast paced read. You can read an extract from the book here at my stop on the blog tour; plus my full review will be live in the next couple of weeks. This was a clear four star read and I highly recommend it, it was the perfect read for Halloween. img_1016

Onto November, its going to be a good one, I can just feel it- plus my partner is having a lads weekend so I’ll have a weekend of peace for reading! Although as in October, I do have studying to do, but I feel like I’m getting the balance right now.

So the first book I will read, and have actually almost finished, is Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan. A Chinese mythology inspired fantasy novel that is just such an easy and compelling read. Got to admit I only got it because it was in the October FairyLoot box, and previously I had not actually got any plans of buying this book otherwise. It just didn’t appeal to me, but when I saw it I just knew I had to pick it up. Without giving away too much, I am absolutely loving it.

Carrying from last month, I really want to pick up the Blackbird Season by Kate Moretti. I have loved everything that she has written, but I’m not sure if I have actually read this one. I feel like I have, but with my patchy memory of the last few years, has got me questioning. But either way this thriller will be a great speedy reread if I feel I need a fantasy break.

The final book I put on the TBR is Vox by Christina Dalcher, a sci-fi dystopian book centred around the idea that women can only say 100 words a day. I have been recommended it as I absolutely love The Handmaids Tale which I read several years ago. I bought this back in the summer, and its about time that I finally actually pick this one up.

I said that was the final book, but this month, I have actually brought back my Twitter Poll book; this is where I select three books from my shelf and let all you lovely people on Twitter choose which one I will pick up this month. The three books I put on the poll this month were, These Rebel Waves by Sara Raasch, Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik, and Everless by Sara Holland. It was a tight result between the final two, but it was Spinning Silver that won. I have meant to pick this up since I got sent the review copy several months ago, but with this slump I just have not been in the place to dive in. I will pick it up this month!

What are you planning to read this month?

Health

Apps helping me form Healthy Habits..

If you have been keeping up with my posts lately, you will know that I have been making some changes to my daily routines in order to help my health and hopefully try and prevent having a rough Winter. You can see what changes I have been making here, but this post is to let you know about the apps I have been using on my phone to try and help with this.schizo

There are three main apps that I will be talking about, two that are things to help me through some new habits, and the last is one to help me track a change I’ve made. I definitely have my favourite but that’s besides the point.

To track my water intake each day I am using My Water. Its a very simple free app on my phone that allows me to input each glass of water I drink, as well as Tea and Coffee. With tea and coffee, it also calculates the amount of caffeine, and although I have gone decaf, I find it interesting to see how much I would be having if I hadn’t. You can set an amount of water that you want to be consuming each day, and you can look back and see when you have hit the target and when you haven’t. There are also lots of fun little badges to try to earn, which I find just adds to the motivation. Like with most apps there is an option to pay a yearly amount and it will then open up the ability to track many many other drinks, such as fizzy drinks, milkshakes and alcohol. Personally, I have not done this, as I don’t see the need to. I know that I already drink plenty and am just interested in trying to increase my pure water intake.

This next one is one that I am still questioning just how useful it actually is, but never the less, I am giving it a try. That app is 7M Yoga, and if you cant guess from the name it has some premade yoga workouts that guide you through. It is great if you don’t really know what you are doing, as it has a little how to do it video for each move, and nothing is too complex. However there are only 3 workout, and all only about 10mins long. For me this just isn’t seeming to be quite enough, as I am looking for a workout that will be around 20-30 minutes. If you have any suggestions of where I can find something like this then please let me know.

Then finally, and yes this is my favourite, I am using Headspace to take some time each day to meditate. Headspace is full of hundreds of different guided meditations, some set out as ‘packs’, that are a set of meditations to be done on consecutive days, and also ‘singles’ that are for the one of varied emotions. I have been doing a couple of the packs, I started off on the Basics pack, which you can try out for free when you download the app. This just introduces you to some of the various techniques that the app uses, it is definitely a good place to start, and there are further basic packs that you can also dip into. If you subscribe as I have then it opens up a whole bunch more, and I have now started the Mindful Eating pack, hoping that this may help me to keep my focus on healthy eating over this winter. As for the singles, I am slowly just trying to do one a day, sometimes new ones, but just whatever feels relevant or me at the time.

So these are the three new apps that I am using in order to track my new healthy changes. I definitely feel like Headspace and ‘My Water’ are being of great help for me, I think I might need to find something else to help with the yoga, but for now the basic app is helping.

Do you have any health or wellbeing apps that you find helpful?

Lifestyle

November 18 Goals

Well as you very well may of noticed, October was not my month. I just got myself all messed up with studying, the blog, and just general life. I am now trying to make a conscious effort to get myself back on top of anything. For the next several months I do need to find a way to balance keeping the blog going while I am now back at studying towards my degree. img_0341-3So overall, I’m not really going to mention my blogging goals, as none of them have done well at all. You have to be consistent and dedicated in order to be successful within the blogging community; this month I certainly was anything but dedicated, and ended up actually walking away from the blog for a couple of weeks. But now I am back, and I am determined, I just need to keep myself together and be focused; keep my goal in view and push myself. For November, I am going to go easy on myself just to get myself back in the motion of things. My wordpress follower goal will be to hit 200 followers, and for Twitter I would like to get to the 1000 mark finally. Then for my overall blog views, I am going to go back to the goal of 1.4k as I smashed this in September. The whole idea for November is just to get through and get back to being consistent.

But I feel like it needs to be said that I will never expect much of myself in November, for me and my family its one of those months that we really struggle with. I might write more about this at a later point in the month.

With that being said I want to reiterate my October goal of getting myself into a routine for studying. I want to carry this over as it didn’t really happen this month, I have started to get into some good patterns, but I need to make it a bit more of a regular routine.

Finally, the only other goal, which is again something I’ve mentioned a few months ago, is to really focus myself on my meditation and yoga. Since the beginning of the month I have completely slipped with my yoga but that is mostly because of not being well. As for meditating it has become a bit hit and miss, and I truly think that I need to start fitting this into my routine more consistently.

Sorry for such a simple goals most this time around, but November is a tough month for me, and I am hoping to just get through without too many melt downs. If I get through this month smiling then I will be happy.

Do you have any goals for the month?