Category: Writing

Leather journals

Around the end of 2017 I started to use a journal regularly. I found an A5 notebook with a nice soft lilac cover, that cost about £1.50 and I started using it every day. Or at least most days. Before that I used a planner from Leonie Dawson, whose goals workbooks I highly recommend by the way, but I am always unhappy if I haven’t used all the sections, and filled it all out regularly and, of course, perfectly.

So I decided to try using a notebook more regularly as both a planner and journal. Here are a few things I’ve learned over the last year or so.

  1. It doesn’t have to be special. Using it for every meeting, for every to do list, for random notes and webinars was easier than I thought. The idea of it NOT being special made it MUCH easier to just use it and scribble or draw or make lists. Doing it daily encouraged the idea of getting it done rather than getting it perfect. This is great if you’re someone who feels a lot of worry about things having to be right
  2. A notebook is a good place to have bad ideas. This is a wonderful quote I read in Austin Kleon’s blog,which is another place I wholeheartedly recommend by the way. You can write any drivel you want. And if its horrible, you can tear out the page or cover it in sharpie or stick a clean piece of paper over it and use it to draw or use again! It’s yours and you can mess it up however you like!
  3. You’ll learn faster. When you have a lot of things on, you’re up to stuff, creating or learning or running big projects, you’ve got a place where all the planning and thinking and all the random ideas belong. Sitting down with the journal becomes a place where you think on the page and actually work on your plans.
  4. It’s a nice thing to keep in your bag for random moments. When you are waiting for an appointment or you are bored at work or on a train, you can use it to scribble or draw pictures or doodles. These random moments and ideas that come up when you are doing nothing more than whiling away the time can be  when you come up with a cool idea. Whether it’s for a present to buy for someone or a new job to go for or an article to write. Using it in that way will develop your creativity massively.
  5. You can hone you goal setting skills. Once you allow that your journal will not be “perfect” you are free to write and plan anything for yourself. As you write and plan and (hopefully) take action on your goals, you have a place to review them. A place where you can see that the goal has changed  and developed, that some things have been discarded and others achieved. I’m  amazed sometimes by the things I realise that I’ve done and haven’t really noticed. It’s only by going back into journals and seeing that things I was working on a few months ago that I completed and didn’t really notice.

You’ll begin to improve your goals. As you realise what’s been working and what hasn’t you’ll get better at making the goals more measurable and achievable.

 Having a journal and using it on a regular basis has had a massively beneficial effect on my life, in terms of focus and learning and creativity. I used to think that goals and lists had to be RIGHT. That things couldn’t be changed.They can be and a journal is an awesome place to put them.

So have an awesome day and let yourself doodle and scribble into an old notebook. You have NO IDEA!! what might come up



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Secret Venting

I came across this website a while ago and I just find it such a useful tool. Its Called Highway for Souls and the page that I’ve linked to is called Secret Venting.

There are lots of venting or releasing techniques for shifting negative or unhappy feelings, Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages for instance or writing a letter to someone and then burning it, but this is a cool website with a page for you to vent everything that’s bothering you. When you are done you click a button and release it. A new page comes up asking you to write what you would like to replace all those negative feelings or emotional clutter with. I think it’s the last bit that’s so good, deciding what you do want rather than just on what you don’t so that’s what you end the exercise thinking about. It’s a useful website to have but works just as well with pen and paper and then you can just throw it out or tear it up when you are done.



Happy New Year

new notebooks

Getting ready for the New Year scribbling notes and plans, I was struck by the pile of notebooks and planners I have ready for the beginning of the new year. Most of these were gifts and I thought they made an attractive pile, The cat thought so too, curling up beside them as I took a picture.

Happy New Year


My Challenge

This week has been a real challenge already. And it’s only Monday.

I have, just this morning, published my first book. It’s an e-book called, The Gorgeous Girls Guide to Beautiful Skin. Do have a look at it here.

It was one of the scariest moments of my life. Particularly because this was purely voluntary! It took ages to upload, mostly this was me accidentally deleting information I had already put in. I think I had 6 cups of tea while I went through this process.

When it was done, I sat and stared at the screen and then I burst into tears. I’m still not sure why. A combination of panic and relief I guess. I do think that Amazon could have been more helpful though, I thought a message saying “Are you ok?” or “Do you need a hug?” could have popped up. That would’ve been nice.

This has been a truly big challenge, and now that I’ve done it, I’m really excited and very happy to share it with you.



How to do that Important Task, cont.

Yesterday I wrote a highly sarcastic (but extremely truthful) version of my day when I will do almost anything and justify it too in order to not do something that I dearly need, or want, to do.
It’s startling how many people have resonated with it. Even though they don’t do all the things that I do in order to put things off and feel like they have accomplished something, they all find one thing or another to do.
Today I’ve had a fantastic and positive morning, answering all the comments that have come in on the blog and on Facebook and feeling really good about it, until my brother very kindly pointed out that this ISN’T FINISHING MY BOOK! He’s quite right of course.
I do know that the one way to end procrastination is to sit down and just do the thing that you want to do and let the other tasks go for a while. Not forever, but for a while. Because when you do the thing you really want to do, you do actually feel a lot better and will still get to the other tasks.
This is a really cool blog http://zenhabits.net/do/
that is great to explain why we do it.
So on that note, I’m off to finish editing my book. Or move a desk.

How to Get That Important Task Done

Working from home, especially when you have an important task to get done can be really tough. Here are some tips from my experience to help! Please do share any others that you know of.

Start the day bright and early.

Clear off your desk and leave only your computer and a pad and pencil ready. You notice that your desk is very grubby so you take the opportunity to polish it thoroughly and wipe down your laptop so that it’s all nice and clean.

Put all the papers to one side that you have cleared off the desk and notice that they are sitting in a pile of cat fluff. Decide to take the opportunity to run the hoover around so that you have a pleasant clean working environment with no distractions.

Hoover the stairs and under the bed while you are at it.

Make a healthy breakfast to aid concentration. Catch up on twitter while you have eat it. Read 20 links and say hello to everyone you know. It’s important to be connected and to network. Share a picture of your breakfast.

Time’s getting on, so hop in the shower so you start the work day refreshed. As it’s a big day and you want to feel really good while you work, put a conditioning mask in your hair and exfoliate your body thoroughly. Doesn’t that feel good?

Notice that your toenail polish is very chipped. You’re going to be in all day so you might as well quickly sort that out. Put on lots of moisturiser and re-paint your toe nails. (If you’re a man you can skip this step if you want to).

Get dressed with care. Remember you’re at work! Try on 6 outfits. This take so long you remember that it’s good to have a de-cluttered bedroom. Take an hour to sort out the surfaces and put things neatly away.

Wonderful, you have a clean, tidy bedroom. Go back to your desk.

Sit down.

Notice the time. It’s now lunch time and you know you can’t concentrate when you’re hungry so get a nice sandwich. Something nice and healthy. Take a picture and share it on Facebook. Tell everyone you are working hard at home today and it’s all going really well.

Nip out to the shop to get more chocolate biscuits.

Sit down to really appreciate your cup of tea and relax and be present for a few minutes before you settle down to work.

Wake up with a cricked neck.

Make a fresh cup of tea and quickly check twitter and your email. 3 people have retweeted a picture of your lunch so take care to thank them for the RT. This is very good manners so be sure not to forget.

Also there’s an important email inviting you to barbecue, it’s so bad to be late with responses to invitations so you must quickly reply. It  does mean that you need to double check your calendar and make sure all the episodes of the mentalist and the latest Doctor Who are scheduled. Also book in another day like today so that you can continue with your important task.

You realise that it’s now 3 o’clock and you only have 2 hours left (you really want to stick to a strict work day) so you quickly sit down and open up the document you are working on. Now that everything is clear, you can really concentrate.

When you look at the document you decide to quickly check the To Do list and find you need to send an email. Best to be on top of things, so you check with 3 people the details of the conference and then reply. Organise your email folders so that you have a new one for the conference details.  This is wonderful. You’re making real progress today.

Get back to the document. Almost immediately you realise that there are some facts that need to be checked so you dive right in and get on with your research.

Half an hour later the alarm goes off (you really want to be punctual today) and its five o’clock!

Well done you’ve done it! An excellent and productive day.

Check in to Twitter and Facebook to share your good news.

Joining the Ultimate Blog Challenge

The Ultimate Blog Challenge
I’ve taken part in the Ultimate Blog Challenge this January, I decided to do it, not really to boost my blog but to make a commitment to writing as often as possible and to try and hit the target. I want to be a better writer so a challenge to write every day seemed like a good idea. I also wanted to break through the fear that strikes when its time to write. I’ll usually sit on the sofa and bite my fingers while avoiding looking at the computer or I’ll go and find something to do “quickly”. This is why its day 5 (though in fairness I signed up 2 days late) and the house is spotless.
My main subject is beauty tips, favourite and most useful beauty and make up products, and answering questions that I’ve been asked for the last 20 or so years of being a beauty therapist, so if there are any questions out there let me know.
 I’ve also got another personal challenge of clearing the clutter of outdated habits, too much paper and making this year simpler and happier.