30 January 2020

Why You Should Celebrate Failure

Most people are scared to fail but failure isn't necessarily a bad thing. These articles add an interesting perspective to failure but also help to convince us to celebrate our mistakes rather than letting them get the best of us. 

"Barbara Corcoran is, by all accounts, a study in success. After she graduated in 1971 she did a brief stint of teaching, but decided that ultimately she wanted to be her own boss. Aided with a loan from her boyfriend, she started a real estate business in 1973. That business went on to sell for $66 million in 2001. 

Barbara's story is an incredible one, but she has a message for all aspiring business women. Failure isn't what you think it is. Barbara is adamant that all her best successes came on the heels of failure & wants to share her experiences of failure as a starting point for success." 

"On December 31, 2014, I stared at my computer, rereading a cover letter I had worked on for weeks. I'd sent it to my mom, my boyfriend, my best friend & my best friend's parents but it still didn't feel ready. I wanted it to be perfect. I was applying to NPR's Kroc Fellowship for emerging public radio journalists & knew that, done right, this cover letter would change my life. It did, but not in the way you might think." 

"At first glance, getting fired is not ideal. In many cases, it's completely unexpected & can render your ego & bank account severely depleted. There's no denying that being canned is a tough blow. We're talking emotional, professional & financial damages - especially in the short term. But as you'll read today, getting the ax can also be liberating & function as the much-needed impetus for progress, growth & change. Below, hear from four unstoppable women who masterfully manifested getting fired into their best career move yet. Because when life gives you pink slips, make pink lemonades." 

B x 

28 January 2020

Morning Routine Habits For A Happy & Productive Day

Productive, happy days... it's all in the power of your morning routine habits. The morning sunshine that filters into my bedroom through the curtains, is one of the things that instantly put me in a good mood. 

Coincidentally, leaving my curtains slightly opened & allowed that lighter to enter the room as the sun rises, is one of the ways I trick myself into getting out of bed early. 

It's all about creating a morning routine that fits your lifestyle, needs & one that will help make your days happy & productive, regardless of the weather outside your bedroom window. 

Always Make Your Bed 
Making my bed in the morning just looks & feels better. It gives you that small sense of accomplishment. And all it takes is a few minutes. When you get home from work after a long day, the sight of a neatly made bed alone can help you feel relaxed & calm. Now, imagine the opposite, a messy bed & bedroom. It just doesn't seem to fun or relaxing. There are a few very small things that you do every morning which will help set the tone for the rest of the day & making your bed is definitely one of them. 

Do Not Reach For Your Phone 
Most of us are constantly connected to our phone, laptops & other devices. Why not cherish those first few moments of the day before exposing yourself to the constant information overload you're guaranteed to get from turning to your devices.

Reaching for your phone first thing in the morning immediately draws your attention to the things you've missed while you were sleeping. Whether it's news, emails, text messages. All those new notifications can easily cause unwanted stress & then suddenly, you find yourself thinking about, solving problems or catching up on things before you get a chance to even brush your teeth, let alone get out of bed. The truth is, most of that stuff, if not all of it, can easily wait until your day has officially started. 

Have A Good Stretch
Ideally, you would have a nice, decent workout every day, early in the morning. In reality, though, most of us have way too much going on to make that a priority. Of course, that doesn't mean you shouldn't try. Stretching is just as important as your normal day to day workout. The good news is that all you need is a 5-10 minute stretch or little yoga session to energise yourself & get ready for the day. A good, morning stretch will kick-start your energy & a great way to let your body know that it's time to get going. 

Make Mediation A Part Of Your Morning Routine 
The busier your days are, the more I believe we can all benefit from a regular mediation practice. Mediation can help clear out your busy mind, filter out external noise & help counteract stress. It's a practice you can do before you even get out of bed. 

As it becomes a daily habit, it will help you become more balanced, energised & at peace. Having the clarity will allow you to stay focused & intentional about the tasks & goals you'll want to complete. It's a great tool to use if you want to set yourself up for a productive day. 

Treat Yourself 
I always try to make sure to have something small & exciting to look forward to, every single morning. Something that will make my getting up extra early really worth it. 

It can be journaling, reading a chapter of a good book. Taking a morning walk with my dog or just sipping on my morning coffee. Those are tiny self care habits that I don't get to do every single day if my schedule is fully packed. This is why I like to take advantage of my mornings. I mean, who says that you can't start off your day with a hot bath? You don't have to wait until the end of the day or the week to treat yourself a little. If you have something important or stressful planned for the day, get up early. Start your day by doing something small & special for yourself. 

Don't Rush 
Nothing makes your mornings more stressful than being in a rush or running late. When you're in a rush you're more likely to get frustrated & find little things annoying. Your mornings set the tone for the rest of the day. If you're whinning & complaining the minute you wake up, everything & everyone will irritate you. Slow down. Plan ahead. Get up 30 minutes early & see how big of a difference it can make. If you feel like there aren't enough hours left in your day for you to practice some self-care, try getting up early & spend some time preparing for your day.

If you're not much of a morning person, this won't be easy at first. It doesn't mean that it's impossible though. This comes from a former night owl, who still at times struggle with sleep at times. 

Maximise Your Commute 
Take advantage of your commute & learn something new. Listen to an audiobook or a podcast. Usually I like to listen to anything self-growth based. A couple of my favourite Podcasts are Don't Blame Me by Meghan Reink & Listen Louder by Megan Gilbride. Point is, you can do something productive, even when you're stuck in the morning traffic. 

Of course, all of our routines & morning habits are different. Chances are my day probably doesn't look the same as yours. Some people get to get up at 8AM, while other are well on their way to work at the time. Then, there are some of us who work night shifts & spend their mornings trying to catch up on sleep. You don't have to have the exact same routine as others, to embrace a few better morning habits. 

It's all about finding & creating a routine that works for you. None of these habits are extremely involved or difficult. Yet, they can all help make your days happy & productive, regardless of when your morning actually starts. 

B x 

26 January 2020

10 Things You Should Be Doing At The End Of Your Workday

So you're home from work & all you really want to do is put on your baggiest jumper, smear off what little make-up you have left on your face with a baby wipe & crawl into bed. However, there are far more interesting ways of winding down & switching off after a long hard day at work, all of which means you can actually have a life outside of your 9-5! 

The last thing I want to do be doing when I get home is fretting about everything I have left to do the following day. Just before I finish up for the day I make a note of what I've accomplished today & what still needs to be done tomorrow. I can then prioritise my workload for the next day without having to worry about it when I get home. 

Tie Up Loose Ends 
Often we don't have enough hours in the day. If however, there is something that can easily be resolved in a matter of minutes such as sending an email or having a quick conversation with a colleague, it's always best to wrap it up before you finish for the day. 

Eat Well 
People say you should avoid fatty foods, caffeine & alcohol before bed in fear of a disruptive sleep & honestly they aren't wrong. Opt for something healthy & yummy to avoid feeling bloated & groggy. 

It doesn't have to be strenuous, it could be as simple as taking a brisk walk or a quick HIIT session in your living room to wind down. 

Turning off your phone completely may be a step too far for some but don't be afraid to put it on charge face down & forget about it. You can survive without Twitter for a couple of hours, I believe in you! 

Light A Few Candles 
Candles are a big obsession of mine! Turn off the main lights & light a few candles to really chill & get yourself in the mood to relax. 

Read Something 
Reading is one of the best ways to wind down in my opinion. Allowing your mind to wander into a world different to your own for an hour or two is pure bliss. 

Switch Off 
Working all day requires patience, focus & determination, all of which can be extremely exhausting. This is your time to do nothing even remotely productive & not feel even the tiniest bit guilty. 

End The Day Positively
Before you nod off to sleep have a think about something that made you happy in the day, it could be something so simple but if you made it smile then it's worth thinking about. 

Sleep Well 
This means sleeping in your bed with lights turned off, not falling asleep on the couch with Neflix on in the background, it's tempting but naughty. A bad night's sleep can really stop you from reaching your full potential the next day. 

What are some of your go to rituals for the end of a busy workday? 

B x

23 January 2020

How To Boost Your Mood In Five Minutes Or Less

Think about how many days you've wasted feeling miserable? Now imagine how few of those days you would have experienced if you knew a way to instantly change your mood for the better. These articles will teach you a few simples tricks to turn that frown upside down in no time at all. 

"Sometimes it's not about a particular day or a bad event, sometimes your just in a bad moon. And you can't shake it off. 

We can't just sit & wait for our good moods to change as we are missing perfectly good opportunities to be happy & create memories. It's easy to shift our mindset & mood in 5 minutes so don't sit in sadness for the sake of it. Change it! Here are a few methods to switch your mood back to a bubbly happy mindset." 

"No matter how positive your outlook on life, some moments, days, weeks, months & even years are rough. Sometimes you just want to throw your hairbrush at the wall & scream at the top of your lungs. We think it can be extremely helpful, however, to prep for tough times when you're not lost within them by creating an arsenal of go-to tricks that will improve your mood ASAP & save you from unhealthy moments of despair or intense anger." 

"It's natural to get caught up in the minutiae of everyday life; between job expectations, social engagements & the laundry list of personal tasks to check off at home, moments of true, in-the-moment tranquility can be few & far between. With that said, there's no reason your day can't be prepared with moments of happiness & appreciation - two mind-sets that can sometimes take a backseat to stress & determination." 

B x 

21 January 2020

How To Get Every Single Task Completed On Time

With so many steps to complete a task, do you ever wish there were more hours in the day? Of course, you do & I'm with you on that one! But what we really need, isn't more hours in the day, it's more dedication, more productivity. Often, it can feel as though you're wringing every single second out of the day. 

So, if you have a to-do list as long as your arm & don't know where to start, fear not. Here are a few of my favourite hacks to help you get everything on your list ticked off. 

Give Your To-Do List A Makeover 
You already have a daily to-do list, no doubt riddled with amendments, things you need to remember & additions that you whack on at the end. Give your to-do list a makeover & instead focus on three things you can actually achieve in one day. 

I find this is actually one of the most important steps to completing a task. As soon as you do them, you can then write another to-do list. If anything else pops up, it must stay on a sticky note ready to be brought into your minimalistic to-do list. 

The power is in your hands now. You're not waiting for tasks to be chucked at you, you're taking control of your to-do list & being smart about it to. 

Declutter Your Workspace 
Start your day with a de-clutter. Chuck old papers in the bin & start fresh. It's amazing what a clean desk can do & how it will make you feel. You'll be able to tackle your day with a fresh perspective because you've given yourself the space necessary to get started. 

Focus On One Things At A Time 
Multitasking will destroy your to-do list. Do not talk on your phone while sending an email or try to remember something while filing in a spreadsheet. Focus solely on one thing until that thing is done & then move onto the next.

Shutting yourself off & focusing exclusively on one task, only resting when it's done, can free up a lot of time you didn't know you had. 

Keep Your Emails Organised
This is one of the easiest steps to complete when it comes to getting all the tasks completed. De-clutter your inbox! 

Tackling your inbox is a job that takes a little while if you've been letting it pile up but if you are able to stay on top of it every day, you'll find it takes you less time to manage & complete tasks that are tied up to your inbox. 

A quick way to do this would be to set up filters, go through your inbox at an allocated time for 20 minutes & mark any emails that you want to skip the inbox, put in a folder, mark as spam or just simply delete before they become any more of a nuisance. 

Schedule Chunks Of Uninterrupted Time 
It's all about deep work. For me, that often means identifying my biggest distraction & work on removing it. So, if you find yourself checking Instagram throughout the day, turn your phone off or put it in a drawer. The easiest way to do this is to give yourself a period of time where you work completely uninterrupted. 

You tell yourself you will work for exactly one hour without any distractions, focusing on one thing only & then at the end, you can grab water, go to the coffee machine or a take a routine walk around the printer for five minutes. I find that this works so much better that being distracted routinely throughout the day. These steps to complete a task might seem like they're self-explanatory but they'll make a huge difference. 

B x 

19 January 2020

5 Ways I'm Trying To Get A Better Nights Sleep

I love sleep & with a Chronic Illness, my body relies on it on a whole other level but while I can easily sleep 10 hours a night, the quality of that sleep is absolute rubbish. Unfortunately that's what a small part of having CFS/ME is like but here are the ways I've been trying to get a better nights & increase my quality of sleep. 

Going To Sleep When I Get Into Bed & Ditching Devices 
I've got a good evening routine down for the most part & most days I'll get into bed around 930PM however, I've got into a terrible habit of then fluffing around on my iPad or iPhone, scrolling through Instagram or Twitter. We all know that being on your devices right before bed doesn't help with your sleep at all. If I'm in bed & I feel like I'm not quite ready to go to sleep yet then I'll try & reach for reading material that isn't on a device so that could be the book I'm currently reading or a magazine. 

Hot Tea & A Book 
This is one of my favourite before bed combinations. Tea is great at soothing the stomach & great at giving you a more relaxing feeling from the inside out. Reading is a great alternative at nighttime to picking up your phone, as mention earlier. It doesn't have a be anything major, it could just an an article out a favourite magazine. Anything beats looking at your phone right before bed. 

Reach For My Favourite Bedtime Products 
Aside from my evening skincare routine I try & keep things pretty simple for when I get into bed as I don't want to have to spend 10 minutes fluffing around with a million extra products but there are a couple of extra steps that I do like to spend time doing right before bed. I'll use products like a lip balm, cuticle oil, hand cream & a sleep spray. All of these products are a great way to not only make sure you're looking after yourself but a great way to end your evening. 

B x 

16 January 2020

The Easiest Way To Stay Organised

Do you struggle to remember things? Friend's birthdays, dentist appointments or buying an anniversary present for your S.O? Well, a planner that is utilised well & properly maintains is definitely the key to your problems. Never had a diary or got one but barely use it? Here's my advice on finding a planner that will suit you & your life. 

Get One That Suits Your Lifestyle
For some people, remembering upcoming events & to-do's, the calendar in their phone is all they need. For other people, that sometimes just doesn't suit. A small pocket-sized diary is absolutely perfect for those who can just throw it in their bag & go but sometimes that just isn't feasible. 

I use a combination of digital apps on my devices to help keep me organised along with a monthly planner which gives me an overview of the months but also all the important tasks I have during certain weeks. It's what works for me & that's the most important thing because if it doesn;t then you simply won't use it. So figure out which way will suit your lifestyle best whether that may be a larger diary, small pocket diary or an app on your phone. 

Use Prompts & Reminders To Avoid Surprises 
Everyone's been it that situation where they've realised that day before a friend's birthday party that they've neglected to buy a present, maybe not everyone but most of us. A spot of re-gifting & a poorly wrapped present later they're not feeling too good about the situation. 

Instead, write yourself a reminders in your diary. Got a birthday party coming up? Put down 'buy birthday present' two weeks before. Got an important function coming up where you need a new outfit, do the same thing. Use you diary not only as a way of noting down events but as a physical or digital reminder to purchase things, clean things, give loaned items back & the list goes on. 

Create Space For Inspiration & Creativity 
Don't make your diary all about dates! I know how bizarre that sounds but use it for writing down some lists of things that will get you inspired & excited for the month ahead. You could write down a list of books to read that month or movies to see. Maybe a new skill you want to start or a free festival that's starting soon. Either way, try to se your diary as a way of inspiring you each month. 

Set Aside Time To Check It
I like to give my diary a good once over on a Sunday afternoon. This gives me a chance to see upcoming events & appointments also to make a master to-do list for the week. Make some time every week to check your diary & soon it will simply become a habit & you'll start checking it more frequently. 

Make Everything Work For You 
Go beyond using your diary just as a way of jotting down upcoming dates & reminders. Try some bullet journaling where you can simply jot down goals for the month, tasks for the day & a daily log of what you achieved which can be as simple & as memorable as you want. 

Also look at using different coloured pens & pencils or brightly patterned Washi tape to keep things creative. These can help you colour code your days or months as well as make events more important at a glance. 

Good luck & let me know what planning system works for you!

B x 

14 January 2020

Expect Wonderful Things To Happen

Have you ever noticed that whatever happens in the morning sets a tone for the day ahead? You might stub your toe walking out of your bedroom, jumping around, swearing on one leg. Then you'll drop your toast, avocado side down, then spill your toothpaste on your shirt, then get all the way to the car & realise you've left your phone inside, then seem to get every red light the whole way to work..sound familiar? 

That's not to sat this happens every day. This might happen once a week, or on Mondays, because you've told yourself how much you hate Mondays. For most of us, when we wake up, our minds begin to first assess how we feel & then we begin to play over the next steps for the day; all the extracts of our morning routine, from getting out of bed to getting to the front door. Or if you're going through a rough patch, the weight of the world can sit heavily on your chest only a few moments after waking as the impact of reality hits you like a tonne of bricks. 

I guess what I'm trying to say is start each day with a grateful heart. Life can be difficult sometimes but you will always have something to be grateful, always. Just a bit of food for thought for todays post but let me know what you think!

B x 

12 January 2020

How To Have A Fresh Start In 2020

New Year, fresh start. There is something about this time of the year that jut draws me towards new beginnings, new goals, & new opportunities. Here are a few ways I embrace a new & fresh start at the beginning of each year. 

Set Yourself New Goals 
Often, it's all too easy to get caught up in what everyone else is doing. Not everyone wants to work towards strict goals or likes to always needing something to be ticked off their to-do list & that's okay, it doesn't mean you don't have drive or ambition. Personally, I like to have goals with a good amount of wriggle room so they can change & evolve with me as needed, rather than constantly battling against me. When it comes to goal setting for the year there are lots of different goal setting activities I take part in so that I'm setting goals that are achievable but also have that wriggle room if needed throughout the year. Let me know if you want to know more about my goal setting practices. It's never to late to be setting goals, it doesn't just have to be a New Year activity. 

Over the holiday period I quite enjoy decluttering & clearing out my space so that my environment is feeling really minimal & tidy. I can be quite ruthless when it comes to decluttering, which is never a bad thing I don't think but it does get me thinking about how I can use my space better. 

New Purchases 
This is the time of the year where I start thinking about new planning & organisation systems. What I might need for the new school year & items that I might be low on that I consider home necessities. 

Something To Look Forward To 
Giving yourself something to look forward is going to help you get through that initial back to work/school hump. After having time off it can be difficult to get back into the swing of things again & all your routines are out of whack. A weekend away would always be amazing but realistically it's always feasible for the majority of us so it's always good to have small, little things on the horizon as well. I'm talking things like new & fresh bed linen, a new book, new stationary to fill, dinner at your favourite restaurant or even having a weekend with zero plans. 

What are some of your ways to refresh for the New Year ahead of you?

B x

9 January 2020

5 Beauty Products I'm Taking Into 2020

In my 2019 Yearly Lifestyle & Beauty Favourites I mentioned a whole bunch of products that I loved throughout 2019 but I wanted to see if I could take the number of products down to just five that I would take with me into 2020. 

Now having down this doesn't mean that I've fallen out of love with any of the other products but trying new & experimenting with other products is one of my favourite things to do so to allow that to happen I wanted to see if I could just take my ultimate top 5 into 2020 & start trying out some new products for 2020. With that in mind, keep an eye out for product reviews which I plan on doing plenty of this year! 

7 January 2020

Why You Shouldn't Strive For Perfection

There is no such thing as being perfect. We all know this, but most of us are still stuck in the same old thoughts of wanting to achieve perfection. Friendly reminder: life is great because of its imperfections & so are you! These are some of my favourite articles which will help to convince you of why you shouldn't strive for perfection.

7 Reasons It's OK You're Not Perfect - Career Girl Daily 
"In the era of Instagram, there seems to be constant pressures on us Career Girls: the right wardrobe, flawless make-up, amazing titles at work, boyfriends - all the things that might get you Insta status can lead me to having some extra-strength FOMO. Here's why I think you should all try a little less hard to be perfect."

Why We Should All Stop Trying To Be Perfect - The Ascent on The Medium
"There I was, sitting in a room with HR, a manager & a partner & they asked me the dreaded question,

"What would you consider to be your biggest weakness?"

"I'm a bit of a perfectionist."

And I would say this because I would actually think of it as a strength. Who doesn't want an employee who strives for perfection? I was such a foolish 23 year olds. I can telly you now that perfectionism is definitely not a strength, if anything it's probably one of our biggest faults."

How To Start Embracing Your Imperfections - Wonder Forest 
"Perfection. It means something different to everyone. For some, it is having a glamorous career & living the single life in a big city. For others, it is being married & carting children to & from dance classes. And still, for others, it is practicing yoga daily, eating a vegan diet, making a six figure salary, having hair that is never askew, getting a 4.0 GPA & well, the list goes on. Despite our differences in definition, many of us share the deep desire to embody the 'perfect' image we old in our minds. So what happens when we don't quite live up to that ideal? When it becomes clear that we all have imperfections?"

B x

5 January 2020

Banana Free Breakfast Smoothie

I'm not a big breakfast kind of gal, I'll normally just settle for a cup of coffee but one the days where I am feeling a little more adventurous & a little more hungry I'll always go for a smoothie but a banana-free one of course. 

Day-to-day it's not something that bothers me. I eat bananas, banana cake, muffins & bread but when it comes to having banana's in my smoothie it's a no go, not for me. If you ask to have the banana component removed at a juice bar, you're greeted with a look that suggests that you have a third eye growing out your forehead. 'Sorry, it just won't have the same consistency.' No really, I'd rather have a watery juice blend of fruit thanks. But it doesn't have to be that way & that's where I've delved into the world of breakfast smoothies because not only are they so quick to make, it's summer & they're refreshing but they also up my daily fruit & vegetable intake. 

When it comes to a staple breakfast smoothie base I'll reach for an apple, some yogurt & milk. From there I'll add what ever other fruits I have available to me. Sometimes it's frozen & sometimes it's fresh fruits depending on the time of the year. My favourite fruits to use is mixed berries & mango chunks. 

The beauty with smoothies is that you can't really go too wrong. Too thin? Add more fruit & vege or another dollop of yogurt. Too thick? Thin in out with a glug of milk. Too tasteless? Add in some cinnamon, a squeeze of lemon or lime, a dollop of honey or another handful of berries. Not cold enough? Pop in some ice cubes. If you find it's not filling enough then play around with adding some fats & carbohydrates to the mixture. Half an avocado won't do much to alter the taste & will amp up the creaminess. You could also had half a cup of oats or a dollop of your favourite nut butter which will help bulk it out a little. 

The moral of the story, you don't have to add a banana in order to make a smoothie that actually looks, tastes & feels like a smoothie. 

B x 

2 January 2020

Goodbye 2019, Hello 2020

What a better way to reflect on the year than through pictures. It was so much fun going through all my photos from 2019 & reliving such amazing memories so with that being said, I wanted to share some of my favourite moments of 2019, through pictures.

Make sure you're following @bonnieellenxo on Instagram for more pictures as they come. 

B x