All posts by RetroSnowflakes

Hello there! ❤ I'm Victoria, also known as RetroSnowflakes. Welcome to my blog! I like tea, nail polish, candles and I'm learning more about the world each and every day 😊

Life Update: Settling Into My New Job and Finding A New Routine.

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The last six months of the year certainly haven’t been plain sailing but for the last month, I’ve been getting comfortable in my new job and today I wanted to give you a life update talking about this new transition and what I’ve been looking forward to the most. 

As I mentioned at the beginning of July, I was made redundant from the job I had been in for over three and a half years. I was devastated and it took a long time to adjust to that change. I talked about the positives and the negatives of that and during that time while I was going through a depressive episode (not all linked to that particular situation) it was nice to have my writing as an outlet. 

However, as you have read by the title, I’m very happy to say I’m in a brand new job! At the time of writing this post (in early December) I’ve been in my job for just over a month and it’s so strange to be learning the ropes again.  In my previous job, obviously because of my experience, I was so used to helping new employees and trainees but now it’s the other way around. I’m now working in sales distribution and I have zero experience in this sector but I’m more willing than ever to learn. We know that we’ll never know everything but starting from scratch has been difficult at times and I have admitted it to my team a number of times. Not because the job is hard, it’s not, it’s more so because there are so many systems to pick up along the way and I haven’t got to that point yet. I’m very fortunate that my team are extremely supportive and I can’t stress enough how much a supportive team can really help or hinder you. Over the last month, I have finally realised how much pressure I put on myself to pick up everything right away and that’s not how it works. It’s not going to happen overnight or even in a few weeks, that’s my perfectionist side coming out and not being able to come to terms with it but I will get there eventually.  

Remember when I wrote about routines a few weeks ago? Well, it’s something that I am absolutely over the moon to have again. Of course I know that you can still have a routine when you aren’t working but when I ease going through my depressive time in the Summer, sometimes it was hard pulling myself out of bed, but I can appreciate that a routine will be different for everyone depending on your circumstances. We really do under-estimate the role of a routine in our lives until we don’t have one anymore.  

For anyone reading who is heading into the world of work for the first time or is changing jobs soon, I wanted to talk about the routine aspects that I personally love and I’m so glad to have back.  

Meal Preparation 

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If you only implement one important aspect of a routine, I would highly recommend that you look at meal preparation. There seems to be a myth or two knocking about that makes people think they don’t have the time, and it’s not about trying to add extra time to your morning or even your weekend, it’s about choosing how to spend our time that we already have.  

Since I’m starting out again, I’m going for really simple meals and I’m trying to keep my preparation to a minimum. I make a pasta salad which simply contained cucumber, lettuce, cherry tomatoes, peppers and macaroni pasta. I use an already bought dressing (but I am hoping to start making my own) and I microwave sweetcorn and quinoa bites that come already made. While that and the sauce is technically processed, I’m still aiming for a healthy lunch which I believe I achieve. The longest process is the pasta, and I would say that takes me about eight minutes to cook. I tend to chop the vegetables while the pasta is cooking and I do that in the morning but it could be easily done the night before.   

Leftovers are such a popular choice for lunches the next day and I’ve done that a few times when Scott has made me dinner the night before. It’s so easy to box it up and if you have somewhere to heat it up, then you’re good to go! 

Building my Workout Schedule 

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My physical fitness is something that is very important to me and has been for a long time. Even when I was off during the Summer; I really tried my best to get out on my bicycle, head out for a run or take a walk to the gym. As I get older, I’m not willing to give myself the excuse of being too tired after work because I genuinely can’t remember the last time I didn’t feel tired, it’s something I have grown up with. The first week or two in the new job, I did flake out of workouts because I was beyond exhausted but I have come to realise that while it’s perfectly okay to not workout and listen to your body, you have to have the right balance. But hey, we all struggle with it including me, so we shouldn’t be too hard on ourselves. I know for me that it’s something that I’m keeping an eye on over the next few months.  

Morning workouts are my favourite admittedly and what I love even more is that Scott is embracing them too. Sure, going to the gym at 5:30am may not be everyone’s cup of tea but it certainly works for us and it’s something that I will keep up because it’s so nice to work hard with your body very early in the morning and not have to worry about it for the rest of the day. In saying that, I run better in the afternoon and evening. Figure that one out, eh? 

Changing Up My Work Style 

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In my recent quarter goals post, I talked about wanting to refresh my wardrobe and minimise my clothing in general and it’s something I have really concentrated on. Before starting my job, I wanted to find a number of key pieces that I could match together that worked on a professional level but I could wear out at the weekend too. I absolutely love the look of a blouse and skirt but I became too comfortable with a skirt and jeans, and because I never had to dress too professionally, I never tried anything new. I’ve found some key pieces that I love and while I’m currently dressing in Christmas jumpers, I’ll be back in my new clothes in January. (Possibly planning a blog post in the New Year talking about this in more detail!) 

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Now, of course I have to say that everyone’s routine and priorities will be different. If you know me, I’m a twenty something who lives with her cat and I don’t have any children to support yet. I work in a standard office who has her hours pretty much fixed nine-to-five. I’m able to work around my circumstances slightly easier than someone else would who has different circumstances, and that’s totally fine. It’s all about finding out what works for you and what your priorities are. 

It’s been really lovely getting back into working life and I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity. The weeks have been flying by and while my weekends have been consumed with Christmas shopping at the minute, it’s nice to really take advantage of the down time when I have it now.  

Thank you for reading today’s post and thank you all so much for your lovely messages through Twitter and Instagram, you have no idea how much I appreciate it! 

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How To Plan For Christmas Gifts: Reducing My Gift Wrap Waste.

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During the Christmas period, I get great pleasure in wrapping presents. It’s like therapy to me and I could spend hours getting all wrapped up in it (Get it?) As I have become more eco-conscious over the past year however, I’ve tried to look at what I’m contributing to the environment so today’s post is concentrating on rethinking my gift wrap for the Christmas season and how I’m planning to change it. 

I was known quite a few years ago to get the prettiest paper and if it had glitter, then life was even better. It had to be all the same wrapping paper for every single present with the matching gift tags of course, and it simply had to be perfect. Now while I’m sure it’s like that for a lot of people, that’s something that was very important to me. I wanted perfection and it meant spending a lot of money buying new paper every year despite already having a roll or two left from the year before but I didn’t have the matching tags anymore, so what was the point? 

IMG_20171119_204325_714.jpg(Last year’s gift wrap: I still think it’s stunning but it’s a lot of money and waste just to look pretty.)

This year is very different and for a good reason; it amazes me how much my mindset has changed in just a year. I was so obsessed with having that perfect presentable look, but I don’t know why now. We all open presents within ten to thirty seconds, so does it really make sense to spend hours making sure every corner is perfectly sellotaped to an inch of its life? I pride myself on my wrapping; I do think I’m a very good wrapper, my mother taught me well so it’s not as if my wrapping will completely go down hill, it’s just going to be a lot simplier. 

I find it so fascinating about what we get ourselves wound up about. Last year, I had to buy a certain paper and tags from Tesco and it all had to be the same, and I can’t remember how many times I went back to buy more, and I couldn’t wrap without it. The amount of sellotape I used was shocking, and I would cut it out and let it hang on the table, just to make sure I had enough for each side. I would say I went truly overboard on that front. 

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This year I’m choosing to use brown paper and paper tape, both which I picked up from Teal who is one of the plastic free Northern Ireland locals starting up her own business (Here’s her Instagram if you fancy a peek!) I’m also going with the string around the present, I never used to do fancy ribbon on other presents but I think the string will add a nice little flare to the gift that will look lovely. (I’ll just have to get better at making bows!) I did think that the bows would work out better and I may take them apart at some point and see if I can do them better, but they’ll do for now. I’m also choosing to write people’s names on the paper rather than have a tag, because it takes so little time to do.

20181209_114216-01.jpeg(Admittedly, my bow skills are not up to the standard that I thought they were. It still has a charm though, right?)

I’ve been learning more about minimalism over the last year too and while you might be thinking “If you’re into minimalism, why have wrapping paper at all?” or “Isn’t presents against minimalism?” Both vaild questions of course but 1) I’m not going to NOT wrap my presents because I believe we can still have gifts nicely wrapped without being harmful to the environment and 2) Presents are nice and you don’t have to spend hundreds of pounds to make sure you have a good Christmas; presents are meant to be meaningful and have a purpose and that’s exactly what I’m doing with my purchasing this year. Minimalism isn’t about taking everything away; it’s simply about looking at what you buy and what you have around you and finding a purpose for it. For me, it’s all about practically and it’s something that we should all be aiming to achieve. 

20181209_114518-01.jpeg(Not the neatest, not the prettiest but all I used was string, brown paper and paper tape so you can’t be bad to that. Not everything has to be Instagrammable.)

I was doing some research into the statistics side of things and I found some interesting articles. In last year’s Independent, I found an article that talked about Britain throwing the equivalent of 108 million rolls of wrapping paper away. This article from IOL talks about what can be recycled and what can’t, which will be a handy tool to help you figure out your recycling bins after the Christmas period. It’s always best to check with your local council but this will get you on the right path. Finally, this article from Halifax Today is a really nice one to end the post off with. It talks about more than just gift wrap; it’s more about your impact overall. Now, I don’t have a real Christmas tree but I’ve been using my Christmas tree since I bought it two years ago and I plan on using it for many years to come, and why not? It’s in great condition! It’s a shame that when I do have to replace it, I won’t be able to recycle it but hopefully by that time, there will be something else I can do with it. The article also talks about going outside and spending time with friends or family; Christmas can be overwhelming so it’s important to get some fresh air during this time.

Hopefully you take something away from either my post or the articles I have linked to because I think it’s something that we all should take into consideration more, but it can be hard when there is so many other things going on at this time of year. Thank you so much for reading today’s post, I really appreciate it. 

Mo Running (2018) Race.

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As with most of my races, I love posting about them on the blog so today’s blog is about my most recent race with Mo Running that took place at Stormont in Belfast. 

If you read my post about the Mo Running race last month, you’ll know that I kindly got asked to take part to cover it on the blog. Having done it two years ago, I was thrilled to be asked again because running posts are one of my favourites to write about. This time however, I decided to go for the 10K rather than the 5K, because I had been used to 10K distances. 

Scott and I were doing the race together which is always lovely to have someone with you while racing, so we were training in the gym as well as getting out on the odd run together. In the middle of October however, I acquired an injury in my foot when I went on a longer distance run. I was so proud of the run but it came with consequences. My foot was really painful to walk on for weeks and we narrowed it down to my trainers being past their “best before” date and it was impacting my foot. Unfortunately, I was out from running for over a month and with a 10K coming up, I was worried about the lack of training. There was clearly nothing I could do about it and thankfully Scott was very nice and bought me new trainers for when I was able to run. We continued to go to the gym though, so I wasn’t completely out, but walking was pretty painful. 

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The day before the race was wanted to see where we would be running; Scott has ran up and down Stormont many times but I have only ever walked it. We thought it would be a great idea to go to the Stormont parkrun on the Saturday morning to see where part of the route would take us. I didn’t expect it to be quite a trail run, because I’ve never done anything like that before so it was a new experience for me. I really loved that particular parkrun and even though it’s a little further than our local one, we’re hoping to keep it up for a while. This run on the Saturday morning was the first time I had ran in over a month and while it might seem odd to run the day before, I wasn’t willing to go into a 10K race without having run beforehand.  

Before the race, I posted on my Instagram stories that we made the decision to change from the 10K to the 5K. This was because my foot started to play up again and I had hurt my hip from the run the day before. We think my hip acted up because it was my right foot that was sore so the left hip was taking the impact from that. These things happen of course to every runner but I was very disappointed having to go down to the lower distance. I’ve learned since becoming a runner that your health and body comes before your pride, always!

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The day itself was really fantastic, there was a good turnout despite the cold weather and there was a great atmosphere. Three races were taking place on the day; the Mini, 5K and the 10K. The mini one happened at around 9:30am, 5K at 10:00am and 10K at around 10:10am. It was quite accessible for the get-go, the grass was pretty wet so I was worried about slipping down the hill to registration but it was grand. We were able to change over the distance very easily and I was so glad that it wasn’t a hassle for the team because I would have felt terrible.  

My foot and hip was getting worse towards the start of the race and I was starting to think would I not be able to run but I told myself I didn’t have a choice in the matter. Ten seconds after we start, my shoe lace becomes undone and I thought “is this what’s to come?” It didn’t hold me back too much but it was a little annoying because we had JUST started. We had to run up part of Stormont hill and I didn’t find it too challenging, it was more about taking smaller steps like Scott has told me but I eventually got into the rhythm of the smaller steps.

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Having grown up in Dundonald, I didn’t live too far from Stormont Park but I had never been through the trails around it. I don’t know why but I soon discovered that there were hills longer and steeper than the one up to Parliament Buildings. It was then when I was thankfully that we changed to the 5K because if I had have known we had to run up them again, I would have cried. Lack of training is a huge factor in this but it also give me the momentum to start running through more trail areas rather on my regular clear paths. Of course, being around the Autumn season with the wet weather and the leaves being on the ground, it’s important to keep a look out on the ground at all times because a fall can be too common without even realising it. 

For the rest of the run, I generally felt okay. My hips weren’t giving me much bother and I was really surprised by it. My foot was still quite sore but when you’re putting weight on it, it’s not that big of a surprise. What I was really surprised about what the variety in the route; we had the long clear hill at the beginning, the twisty trails in the middle and then we were able to run down the hill at the end. It was quite different to the route we had ran the previous day but I still really enjoyed it. I was exhausted by the end but I know that that was the lack of training that I wasn’t able to control. 

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I finished with a time of 37:07 which is in no way my best time, far from it in fact but I’ve had a massive mindset change when it comes to judging myself with timings. I was still injured and I still ran, and that’s the most important thing to me at the end of the day. I know I’m capable of being faster and I do plan to be at some point.  

I had such a great time and thank you so much to the Mo Running team for inviting me along to take part along with Scott, we can’t wait to do it next year (and actually do the 10K this time!) Thank you for reading today’s post, I really do appreciate it! 

How To Plan For Christmas Gifts: Present Pressure and Intentional Buying.

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There is no doubt that when the Christmas season rolls around, a lot of us feel the pressure around buying gifts and receiving gifts. In my last two posts, I talked about budgeting, saving, list-making, gift ideas (linked here) and research (linked here); today’s post will focused on intentional buying alongside my journey of becoming a minimalist and how that changes with a holiday so focused on buying lots.

The pressure of buying gifts is probably one of the most common stresses around Christmas. It’s something brought on us not only by society, but our mindset too. We feel the need to buy lots and it’s something that sounds so strange in a lot of ways; spending lots of money while stressing for one day out of the year. 25th December is one of the most anticipated days of the year, there’s no doubt about it and it can be easy to fall under the spell of needing to go all out but we don’t need to. There is so much pressure on parents to buy their children everything or else you’re the worst person in the world. Not being a parent yet, I don’t understand this type of pressure but if I didn’t get something for Christmas one year that I really wanted, I don’t think I ever kicked up a fuss about it. At least, I don’t think I did. Not knowing the feeling but I can imagine that Christmas is one of the most stressful times for parents because it’s not just about our own children; present envy from other children can come into play too and with the world of social media, I see parents on my Facebook and Instagram feeds with a sofa (or two) filled with wrapped presents for the children, almost like a competition, who can out do the other? The reality soon hits that a few weeks or months down the line, how many of those things that you gave your children, do they still use?

In my previous posts I talked about doing your research and making lists for each person and while that sounds like a lot of work, a lot of thought goes into it too. Being a beginner minimalist, I’m wanting this Christmas to be different. In years past, I would go all out and spend too much money when I didn’t need to. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t try and pick the perfect gifts because I absolutely did, but because I didn’t have a budget, I just bought more presents that I should have because it meant that I cared, right? Wrong, oh so wrong. That’s why this year and every year after this will be different. I’m taking a more intentional approach with gifts this year and I have already started. I’m still doing the research I always do by trying to find gifts that fit my family and friends’ personalities but I’m using the less is more approach.

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This approach is going to challenge me and make me uncomfortable because it will be completely out of my comfort zone. I also have to look at my financial situation; with being unemployed for the last few months, I have had to borrow money and really look at what I have been spending so it’s very unlikely I am going to have a regular amount of money to spend this Christmas. That was scary at first but everyone understands at the end of the day, they’re not expecting lots because they know I’m not in a position to do so. I’m also looking at it from a positive angle because I don’t think I can say I’m on this minimalist journey but pay no attention to that when buying presents for other people, that defeats the purpose surely?

Something that we don’t always acknowledge but is just as important as the pressure of buying gifts, is receiving gifts. Have you ever received a present that you thought “I don’t deserve this” or “I didn’t get them as much as they got me”. Of course, a lot of this has to be with the pressure we put on ourselves and how we view ourselves but it’s a conversation that I don’t see happening as often. For example, significant others always seem to want to get their other half’s everything under the sun to make sure it’s the perfect day for them. When I suggested to Scott having a budget, he scoffed at it for quite a while before agreeing. The point I wanted to bring across to him by us both having a budget was selfish on my part; I didn’t want to make myself feel bad if he spoiled me so I wanted to bring both our expectations down. He reluctantly agreed but he argued that if I didn’t spend as much on him, it wasn’t going to bother him because the amount I spent on him didn’t matter. I’m sure you can see what we both meant, but again, it’s that pressure I put on myself.

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Going back to my first post briefly where I talked about asking yourself why you get stressed at Christmas, I can guarantee a good majority of people will list pressure of some kind in that list. It’s nothing out of the ordinary and is completely normal but in order for you to no to become stressed, you need to change your mind set on how you view the action of giving gifts and receiving gifts. We could get into the more in-depth conversation of how we don’t need to give gifts to show people we care and I agree completely; however we currently live in a fortunate part of the world where most of us can afford to buy gifts for the ones we love and may not feel right not doing that for each other. Both sides of the coin are perfectly fine and whatever you choose to do is right by you but I believe the first step is changing our approach is making sure that we don’t talk down to ourselves by saying that we don’t deserve a gift or becoming overwhelmed by one day of the year.

We’re always going to put pressure on ourselves no matter what and there are so many factors as to why we do it but as long as we acknowledge it and try to work on it, then that’s the best you can do, right? Again, I hope today’s post helped if you go through something similar. It’s not easy but I’m sure you’re not the only one to feel like this in your inner circle. Open up about it and you never know who you might find feels the same as you.

Volunteering With The Girl Guides.

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I’ve started something new quite recently and it’s something I have wanted to do for a while: volunteering with Girlguiding UK so that’s what today’s post is all about, including my time growing up in the Rainbows, Brownies and the Guides. (Photo credit: Girl Guiding Ulster: https://twitter.com/ggulster)

When I was younger, I was in the Girl’s Brigade but one of my friends from Sunday School said she was in the Rainbows, and I had no idea what it was so I asked could I move to the Rainbows. Looking back, I feel bad leaving so young because my Mum grew up in the GB and I should have carried on that tradition. I entered the Rainbows when I should have been leaving but because my friend was younger than me, I choose to move to Brownies when she could so I always stayed a little longer.

I moved from Rainbows to Brownies to Guides, and left the Guides when I was a few months off being seventeen. In the September, I was starting college and it meant that I wasn’t going to be so close to the church in the evenings with my classes so I decided to bow out at that point. From fourteen to sixteen, I became a young leader but I don’t have many memorable moments from that time. Overall, I had a really nice time in the three sections; one of the most memorable experiences was learning sign language when I was in Brownies and I still remember how to sign my name to this day. I think being out of the organisation for over ten years, I don’t expect to remember a lot, but I know it wasn’t a bad experience.

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In today’s society more than ever, we’re being encouraged to give back and rightly so, of course. Giving up your time for others is one of those great gifts that truly does keep on giving but some people simply don’t have the time to do so, and that’s totally fine. It’s all about doing what is right for you, and for me, I thought I didn’t have the time. I never really thought too much about it but over the last few months, I’ve been thinking more about how I spend my time. Being off for four and a half months, it gives you time to do that and I knew once I started back to work, that I was going to have less time but I wanted to fill it but not go completely overboard. From the GB, Rainbows, Brownies and Guides and even at the running events I go to; they depend on volunteers and it’s so important to remember that someone has given up their time to help you do something great, so wouldn’t it be great if you could do the same for someone else.

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I’ve been really impressed so far with the amount of growth from when I was in Guides to now. Their badges are amazing and they even have a meditation badge! Others include human rights, craftivism and campaigning. I’ve also noticed that the senior section play a bigger role than when I was in it because when I was fourteen, I became a young leader but the evenings were very much controlled by the older leaders but there seems to be a huge shift in terms of this.

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I’m really enjoying the experience so far, and having to deal with children and young adults in my previous job, that has boosted my confidence addressing the girls in the hall for activities and general chit-chat. I’ve even held a few of my own activities over the last few weeks which I didn’t think I would do so soon.

I’d love to know if you used to be in Girlguiding as a leader or as a member or simply if you volunteer your time in another organisation. Thank you for taking the time to read today’s post, I really do appreciate it.

How To Plan For Christmas Gifts: Research, Research, Research.

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The Christmas season is creeping up on us faster than we ever expected so while you might be able to escape the shops for another month, you’ll soon need to get organised. Thankfully, Christmas gift organisation is one of my specialties so I wanted to share a few of my secrets to help you get just as organised, so that’s what I’ll be talking about today. 

In my last post, I spoke about laying the foundations before you even starting Christmas shopping. This included looking at your budget, how you were planning on dividing it up and who exactly you were buying for. I’ll link that here for you if you fancy a read. Today’s post is going to be focusing on looking more in-depth at gift ideas, how to get the perfect present and keeping your lists up-to-date so you don’t become overwhelmed. 

Okay, you’ve looked at your budget, you have written down every person you’re going to buy for, what’s the next step? Well, I’m a woman who loves her research and I’m not the type of person to buy something spontaneously so I give myself at least a few days of online research. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to buy online; we are very thankful to have some many wonderful independents stores not only on our high street but online too, so we have an amazing range of shopping choices. Maybe online research isn’t your thing and you prefer walking around the shops in your local town or village, that’s great too. For that, I would recommend you have your note taking preference with you so you can write down what the product is, the name of it, what shop it’s located in, how much it is and who you think would be suited to it. You would do the same system with online research too but you would include the website link if needs be.   

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Another way to research is a very obvious one but works wonders. If you don’t mind them knowing, ask the person what they want. Most of the time, you’ll get two answers; you’ll either get “Oh, I really don’t know, I’ll have a think about it.” or you’ll get “Awk no, you don’t need to worry about getting me anything.” These two answers are the most frustrating answers for someone because if you’re planning on buying someone something and they say they don’t want or need anything, then you’re on your own. Some people will let you know exactly what they want and I always love that because especially if they’re a difficult person to buy for at the best of times, this takes the weight off your shoulders. Going back to the frustrating folks however, it’s not always a bad thing that they don’t tell you what they want because that’s where you put your research hat on and look at what they enjoy. An example of this would be Jane; she’s a coffee drinker who loves an adventure, she tells you all the time about the crime novels she’s been reading and she loves a good weekend away. Right there, you have four prime examples of gifts for Jane. You could get her a specialist coffee that you haven’t heard her talk about, you could get her a voucher for an adventure day somewhere close to where she lives, you could pre-order the latest crime novel or get her a special edition of her favourite one and you could get her a travel gift set of products for her next trip. Again, depending on your budget, I’m almost certain something will fit your budget for Jane. 

You might ask, “Do I have to do this for everyone?” In my opinion, it’s easier, yes. It will save you time in the long run when you’re running around mid-December and you’re not sure what to pick up or the worst case, Christmas Eve. (If you do this, I really don’t know how you do!) What you can also do is ask other family or friends of the person you are buying for because they may know them better than you. They may know what film they want or what book they are actually dying to read but just haven’t picked it up yet. You just have to make sure you choose someone who isn’t going to go and tell the person straight away because we all love a surprise don’t we? Another good tip to keep for the future, not just for Christmas but for someone’s birthday is to keep a little note of things they say throughout the year of potential presents. You’ll be amazed at what you can pick up from a conversation from someone when you think about it from a gift angle.  

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After a few days of using whatever research route you fancy, you should have a list of potential gift ideas for most of the people on your list. This doesn’t mean you have to buy every gift for them but it will make it easier to see the options you have before making that decision. It might sound overwhelming but trust me, it is much more beneficial to have your plans laid out in front of you rather than panic buying at the last minute. Once you do this, you can go back to your budget and see how much you had planned for each person to see if one of the gifts fits in. In an ideal world, it will but sometimes it might not and that’s when you have to make a decision. I believe it’s far more important to use your intuition when it comes to these decisions and don’t forget that it will involve being flexible but you have to be sensible too. 

Flexibility is so important, not just when starting this process but also for your piece of mind. We all know that in life, we can have all the plans in the world but things can change. In this case, they might not make the product you want anymore, it might be out of stock or it’s something that you don’t think will fit when you see it in person. All perfectly okay reasons too and you shouldn’t beat yourself up about it either. It’s all about being able to move with that change and not panicking about it. While I talk about how important your budget is to keep everything in check, give yourself a little wiggle room sometimes and the same with the ideas too. If you don’t, you risk trying to make everything perfect and becoming too overwhelmed because you couldn’t get that exact packet of coffee you wanted for Jane and you feel like your plan is falling apart. Sounds dramatic I know but you would be amazed at the amount of people (including myself) that stress so much about this time of year. 

I hope you were able to take something away from today’s post because I really mean it when I say that I absolutely love researching for this time of year so if I can help just one person take the stress off a little, then I will have done my job. Leave any more suggestions for me down in the comments or over on my Instagram or Twitter 

Restructuring Your Morning Routine.

Restructuring Your Morning Routine (1)

Morning routines are always a talking point and they are something I truly believe in. As someone who became so dependent on them, I wanted to write about restructuring your routine if you feel like something isn’t working, if you find yourself losing motivation from it or if you find yourself feeling like you’ll never have the perfect one. So that’s what today’s post is all about. 

Last Summer, I wrote about my morning routine (I’ll link it here) and it consisted of waking up at 4am, meditating, getting ready and heading to the gym all before getting ready to start the work day. I absolutely loved this routine but one of my main problems with it was that I wasn’t going to bed any earlier for quite a while. I should have been aiming for around 9pm but often, I wasn’t going to sleep until around 11pm or even midnight. Keep that up over a few months and I started to feel tired all the time and even though I physically felt stronger, I was mentally and emotionally exhausted. I haven’t done this morning routine in quite a while and since I have been unemployed and on the job search, I found it hard to get myself in a routine during this time off. 

I believe routines are so important and they really help build the foundation of your day. I know that something that I realised when I did experience my time off during the Summer was how much I depended on a routine in the morning so when I didn’t have one, I found it very difficult to find my purpose for that day unless I had an appointment booked that day. That took some getting used to and over time; once I managed my feelings and realised that they were perfectly valid, it was only then I was able to trial getting back into that mindset again. 

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Over the last few months, I have trailed going to the gym early in the morning again and I have also looked at going out for early morning runs. Meditation was something I was very focused on last year but this year, it simply slipped so again, this is something I have trailed out too. I tried out different forms of journaling, listening to informational audio, switching around my “getting ready” routine and changing when I try and organise the day ahead. All these take practice and it’s all about finding out what works for you. 

Everyone has their own little bubble on YouTube; some like looking at cats being adorable (I tend to do that on Instagram, to be fair) others like to watch video podcasts but for me, one of my top watches online are routines, morning and evening ones. I love watching these routine videos because while I know it is slightly exaggerated, I would say most of them are true to life, and I find it’s really good to pick up one step of someone’s morning and add it to your own. This can also be where we fall down however; they say “comparison is the thief of joy” and it can be, if you let it. You have to look at who you are watching and see if it fits your life too. For example: if you’re watching a twenty something who is a full time content creator who doesn’t have to get up until 7am while you’re a working Mum or Dad and 7am would be far too late for you, you can guarantee that one routine won’t work for the both of you. That doesn’t mean that their routine is silly or that it’s unrealistic, it just means that it works for them and that’s what helps them through their day, but that should be no reflection on you and how you choose to wake up. 

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That’s where you get to be creative. You have to look at your situation at the minute and what comes into play. I’ll use myself as an example; I’m in my late twenties with no children, exercise and meditation is important to me, I can’t skip breakfast and I love listening to either podcasts or audiobooks. So ideally for me, my morning routine would consist of either a run or a gym session most days of the working week, I would add a meditation in at some point each morning, I would prioritise breakfast and I would make sure I listen to something informational either as I get ready for work or in my exercise setting, whatever that may be. Now, it is very similar to my previous routine but I know that in order for it to work this time around, my bedtime routine needs to work towards going to bed earlier. 

I also know what doesn’t work for me: I’m not one for journaling, I have tried it in the past but I don’t think it’s for me at the minute, so I wouldn’t add that to my personal routine. As much as I love blogging, I know that my brain isn’t awake enough in the morning to start writing a blog post, so I wouldn’t put that pressure on myself. I also don’t like baths so adding a bath into my daily routine (no matter how relaxing it looks) would be unrealistic because it’s not a priority to me. It sounds really simple but as much as your routine is to set you up for the day, you want it to include activities that are going to lift you up. There’s always this debate and one of the topics that it normally revolves around is exercise; some people say they wake up and exercise even though they don’t want to. Now thankfully, I don’t have this problem because I do genuinely love the gym but I simply don’t see the point in scheduling in something you don’t like every day because “you have to”. 

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I came across a few articles that I found quite interesting that talked about different morning routine methods: Life Hack have a great one focusing on thirty changes you can make a difference to your motivation, Develop Good Habits have thirty-four habits that even gives you the estimated time of how much each one would take, Medium have an article which explores when one person took on a number of different routines to see which one worked out best and for a shorter read, Success have an article on what entrepreneurs mornings look like. This is what I mean when I talk about getting creative, whether you see one thing in these lists or five things, you can work out if you want to slot them into your own routine and how you are able to do so. 

Morning routines are so personal and I don’t believe that not everyone needs one. I do believe that we all need one because mentally, I think we all need to have something that sets us up for the day because it’s all about those foundations. If I wake up later than I should do, it almost always sets me off on a bad foot and while you shouldn’t let a bad morning put you off from the rest of your day, it’s something that I still struggle with. We put so much emphasis on how other people are living but as long as you look at what YOU’RE doing to improve YOUR day, then that’s really all you can control. 

I would love to know your thoughts on morning routines, if you have one and if it’s beneficial for you, whether that’s on Twitter, Instagram or the comments below. Thank you so much for reading today’s post, I hope it resonated with you in some way.