One Little Happy Thing

Quirky home decor & lifestyle blog

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Beginners Minimalism: 5 things you need to throw out today.

Spring has sprung. The seasons are changing, it’s a time synonymous with new beginnings and new life. In other words it’s the perfect time to make a change in your life.

Over the past few months I’ve been reading a lot about minimalism. It all seems very chic, but a little bit clinical. I must admit my house has a lot of trinkets: art work on the walls, ornaments on the shelves, books absolutely everywhere.

But I do like the idea of living in a less cluttered house. Especially now we have a dog, the house would be so much easier to clean! So, it seems it may be time to start embracing minimalism.

I must admit though, the thought of throwing away some of my things, especially the books, daunts me a little bit. I do have a little bit of an emotional attachment to some of them. But I also really like seeing them, so for now I think the books will stay.

But there are so many things around the house which could go, and I bet a lot of other people out there have the same things lingering about. So, TA-DA, my list of the 5 things you need to throw away today.

beginners minimalism

1. Old magazines/newspapers/leaflets

Not sure about you, but I tend to hoard magazines to read at a later date, but then never ever read them. Where we live we receive a magazine every few months filled with ads for local companies. I like to read these as I like to keep my spending money in local pockets. But I never do actually read them.

Same with local newspapers and takeaway leaflets that come through the door. They gather in a pile either by the front door or on the coffee table. These should be the first things to go. Especially magazines you’ve already read.

If there are things in there which you are keeping the whole magazine for, take pictures of the information on your phone. That way you can keep it to hand without the clutter.

2. Unused/broken clothes hangers.

Every time I go shopping for new clothes I never refuse the offer of clothes hangers (although, has anybody else noticed they aren’t offered out as much anymore?). Hence my wardrobe now has more clothes hangers than actual clothes.

If you’re like me and have exactly the same problem then it is pretty easy to remedy, and leaves you with a surprising amount of space for more clothes in the future. I’ve also started thinking about longevity and being more eco friendly through sensible purchases. Wooden coat hangers are the way forward.

But for the time being, bag them up and throw them away! Or you could always check and see if one of your local charity shops would like them. Unless they’re pretty broken, in which case better just to throw them away.

3. Unworn clothes.

Wardrobes are one of the first places in a home where clutter manifests itself. Clothes which no longer fit, or are getting a bit grubby looking tend to stay there until you can’t squeeze anymore clothes in. Or that may just be me.

But this is a good place to start when it comes to removing clutter from the house. Take out all of your clothes and put them into 3 piles: keep, charity, bin. Obviously the keep clothes are the ones which still have life in them and are worn regularly. The charity pile is for the clothes which are still in good condition but either don’t fit or just aren’t your style anymore. Bin is for the tatty rags which haven’t been worn for years. (When I say bin you can recycle them, find a local recycling centre!).

Be tough. Don’t keep something that doesn’t fit just because you like the colour or may wear it again someday. Today is not that day. I had a dress in my wardrobe which I kept for years just because the colour was lovely. The dress is going to a charity shop and hopefully someone else will wear it.

4. Empty bottles, jars, containers etc.

Another one that me and my partner are terrible for is hoarding jam jars and empty shampoo bottles. Not because we’re lazy, but because we think they might have a use further down the line. The jam jars do generally get used as storage containers (we’re trying to move away from using so much plastic in the home) but some of the smaller ones we’ll never use.

And with empty toiletry bottles, for some reason we always fail at throwing them away. Mainly because I’m never certain if they can be recycled or not, and I hate throwing something away if it could’ve been recycled.

It’s no good though, holding onto things which essentially are trash. You could try repurposing some things, but then you’ll probably end up with a tonne of plants in glass jars which you don’t want either. It’s nice to not waste anything, but the crux of the issue is that you need to not buy so much to begin with.

5. Unnecessary trinkets.

I’m a bit of a bugger for holding onto trinkets. Shells picked up from the seaside, cute boxes from the charity shop and art I’ve bought with no plan of where to put it. All of these things are unnecessary purchases and are cluttering up our space.

Now, it’s here where you need to make a clear definition between items which bring you joy and which you don’t want to throw away because it seems like a waste. The number of items which bring you joy should be small. If everything is bringing you enjoyment then you’re not enjoying it for the right reasons.

Much like with your clothes, make piles. Keep, charity, bin. Anything which you adore should stay. Who wants to live in a barren home without the slightest hint of personality? Not me. But limit yourself in this pile for only the best of the best. Charity shop is good for old paintings. And bin those little trinkets like sea shells. Be ruthless.

Beginners Minimalism: The benefits of a minimalist life.

I’ve decided to write a mini-series about minimalism, and how we beginners can get involved in it. Now, if you’re not sure exactly what minimalism is, then let me explain. It’s about stripping back the unnecessary elements to your life, living simpler, and moving away from consumerism.

Minimalism isn’t just about not owning or buying anything. It is also about minimalizing your life: living well within your means, enjoying simpler things and being more mindful. There is a great big link between being mindful and minimal which I will explain further down.

However, before you can start your journey towards living a more minimal life, you need to understand what’s in it for you.

The benefits of minimalism

1. You will become more financially independent.

Without the unnecessary purchases, you will spend less money. It really is as simple as that. And when you spend less money, then you’re no longer obligated to earn as much money. This could mean potentially being able to quit your day job to pursue your own business dreams, or maybe even being able to drop down to part time hours.

It also means you will be able to pay off any debt you have quicker, getting you towards financial independence. Being debt free sounds pretty nice doesn’t it?

2. Your home will be easier to clean.

Without piles of clutter and junk on every surface being able to clean will be so much easier. I really hate dusting, because there are so many things which have to be moved to be able to do it, then moved back afterwards. How much easier would it be without them?!

Having less things also means having less things to clean. If you don’t have junk catching and holding onto dust then you don’t have to clean dust from it. You’ll also have less clothes to wash. This is all sounding pretty good isn’t it?

3. Your happiness will no longer rely on objects.

We can all be guilty of trying to buy our happiness. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, but it is a behaviour that shouldn’t be encouraged. When you buy something to fill the gap within in you, you’re not actually dealing with the issue, and before long it becomes a nasty cycle.

The more you buy, the less money you have, the more you worry, the less happy you are, so you buy more. And the cycle continues. Break it now.

4. You will become more aware of how much waste you produce.

Sounds like an odd after effect of getting a bit minimal, but you really will notice a difference. Your bin bags will take longer to fill because you’re not continuously buying things wrapped in more things which then need throwing away.

I find it utterly ridiculous that you can’t even buy mushrooms without then having a plastic tub and a sheet of cling film to throw away. We recently visited Ikea and came away with a few purchases (essentials only) but I was surprised by how much rubbish this small amount of purchases came with. Everything was wrapped in cardboard then wrapped again in plastic for good measure. Silly.

5. Reduce re-use recycle will become your best friend.

If the hem of your favourite pair of jeans started fraying, would you repair or throw away and buy some more? When you let minimalism into your life it stops being a question. Of course you repair! Why would you need another pair of jeans when the ones you have are salvageable.

Same goes with pretty much anything: clothes, homeware, even electronics if you’re feeling daring. Minimalism goes hand in hand with wanting to keep hold of your money, and there is no better way of doing that than make do and mend.

6. You will feel less stressed.

This is across the board on all aspects of minimalism. If you don’t have as much debt, you won’t have as much stress about money. If you don’t have a lot of clutter around, you won’t be stressed about the house being a mess.

Minimalism also stretches to your social life, self care is a high priority when dealing with minimalism and so you’ll feel less stressed for that too. No longer saying yes to everything just because you think you have to, and taking care of yourself better.

Needless to say there are so many benefits to bringing minimalism into your life. My mini series is going to look into various different aspects, such as little things you can do to start your minimalism journey, methods of minimalism, and the benefits you’ll find associated to it.

If you want to keep up to date with my latest posts please follow the blog so you’ll be notified by email of when a new one goes live.

5 little steps towards becoming vegan

Veganism seems to be growing in popularity at the moment. However vegans still seem to get a bad press, and honestly I can understand why. I’ve recently had to leave a Facebook group I was in purely because of the obnoxious attitudes of some of the members. But thankfully we’re not all like that.

I have only been vegan for a few months. My partner was vegan, and he slowly converted me. Through education, guidance and being kind. And I honestly think that is the best way to introduce people to veganism.

Now, if you’re reading this, we can assume you already have an interest in becoming vegan, but perhaps don’t really know where to start. Don’t fret! We have all been there. It’s a journey. A journey which is really worth taking. You will only know how worth it once you’ve already started.

However if you’re reading this and may need some convincing, I implore you to watch What the Health. It’s available on Netflix, and I think it is also on YouTube. Treat yourself and watch it. It is the most eye-opening documentary I’ve watched in a long time. I’ve heard some of the science behind it may be a little bit iffy, but it is still worth watching to see the other things they talk about.

For those of you who are ready to start your journey I am more than happy to hold your hand through it. Just leave me a comment, or you can find me over on Instagram @onelittlehappything.

5 steps towards becoming vegan

Step 1 – Swap milks

This is the easiest step. The availability of dairy free milk alternatives has shot through the roof in recent times. All of the major supermarkets in the UK now stock their own brand versions, I’ve even seen soya milk available in small newsagents.

Not only are they available, but they also taste pretty good. You may need to play around with it a bit, but there are tonnes out there. Soya, rice, coconut, cashew, almond: all different kinds of milks.

My personal favourite is the Waitrose own brand unsweetened soya milk, because I think it tastes the most like dairy milk, and also behaves the most like dairy milk. I’ve also heard a lot of people say they swear by the Oatley Barista milk.

Dependent on how much milk you use it can also work out slightly cheaper. My partner and I use 1 box of the Waitrose soya milk, which is about 60p. If we were to buy cows milk we’d be looking at about £1.50. It’s only a small saving but it all adds up!

Step 2 – Find a meat and cheese replacement you enjoy

Before I became vegan I was a massive meat eater. I ate meat with every meal. So cutting it out entirely was difficult. To begin with I still allowed myself to eat meat once a week, but after a few weeks I could see that wasn’t enough: it was time to cut it out for good.

Going cold turkey (excuse the pun) was hard. The only way I managed was by finding decent substitutes which soothed my animal product cravings.

I found my favourite sausages are the Linda McCartney ones. And my favourite cheese is Violife. Luckily these were readily available at most of my local supermarkets. And again, a lot of the larger supermarket chains are making their own vegan friendly meat substitutes.
Cheese substitutes can be a little harder. A lot of people say they taste like vomit, but I quite like them. If you find yourself struggling to find a substitute that works, considering making your own! There are a million recipes out there. Check out my Pinterest board dedicated to vegan recipes.

Step 3 – Learn how to read ingredients

This one sounds a bit patronizing, but honestly I didn’t realise how little I knew about what I was eating before turning vegan. In the UK any potential allergens are highlighted in bold. This includes milk, eggs etc. So it can be easy to quickly skim the ingredients list and if none of these are listed you’ll think you’re okay.

But not necessarily. Sneaky un-vegan ingredients come in the form of honey, E numbers and undescriptive additives. A good resource for learning about these is just here.

I find it handy to keep a list on my phone of any that I know are non-vegan. And you will need to get used to googling pretty much everything for a little while.

Step 4 – Find vegan friendly toiletries

Oh no, veganism isn’t just about food! A lot of every day toiletries and household products either contain animal products or are tested on animals. In the UK some companies actually label their products either vegan or cruelty free. But remember, cruelty free doesn’t necessarily mean vegan.

The Vegan Society has tonnes of resources for when it comes to knowing what it, and what isn’t vegan. Or if you’re not sure generally a quick google search brings it up. And if that still doesn’t work, you’ve got to make a decision as to whether try it anyway, or give it a miss.

Step 5 – Make some vegan friends

Now, I know I started this article by saying how I left one vegan Facebook group due to the members, but in other places I’ve spoken to some awesome people.

Search for your local vegan group on Facebook as generally they do arrange meet ups for local vegans. Consider it a good way of meeting some likeminded people near to you. They can also provide support if you have a weak day.

Instagram is also a fantastic resource for vegans. There are so many vegans on Instagram I can’t believe it. Try searching under #vegan #veganuk #veganfoodshare and #crueltyfree. You will find millions of people, honest.

Hopefully this article has given you some ideas on how you can take some baby steps towards becoming vegan. Honestly, the first month or so is hard because you will probably still crave animal products. But after a while your taste buds genuinely do change.

A few weeks back I ate some cheese. I had a weak moment. And honestly it was gross. It only reassured me that the decision I’ve made is the best decision for me. You will have moments like this, but stay strong.

If you do feel like you’re struggling, come find me on Instagram @onelittlehappything. I’m pretty nice, I’ll try and help how I can.

You may also be interested in checking out my Etsy shop where I have some prints dedicated to my love of the vegan lifestyle. Check it out!

Vegan. For the animals. For the planet. For me.

Plant powered

Animals are friends not good okay?

If you still need some convincing, check out one of my earlier blog posts How going vegan will make you happier

FOMO – the things you need to remember.

If you’ve read any of my previous blog posts you’ll know that I’ve mentioned FOMO (fear of missing out) several times.

But what is FOMO?

FOMO is defined as anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on social media.

So in a nutshell, it’s that little twinge of jealousy you feel when you see photos of a friend at an awesome looking party, or a family member at the beach, or someone with a cute puppy. And it’s something which if you don’t recognize being a problem, it will consume you.

I don’t make that statement lightly. After doing some pretty extensive googling the facts are a little bit scary. Increased rates of anxiety, depression and body image issues all stem from the dreaded FOMO.

If you are on any social media network I’m sure you know exactly what I’m talking about, even if you’ve never heard of FOMO before. Like “keeping up with the jones’s” it pushes us to want more, to have better things so that we can take pretty pictures and post them for likes. It also makes us want to go to all of the parties and events for fear that we would miss something amazing and life changing.

But just because you use social media doesn’t mean you have to be a victim to FOMO. Here’s a few things you need to remember every time you feel that twinge. Recognizing and understanding is half way to overcoming.

What you need to know about FOMO

Social media doesn’t represent real life.

This is the crux of the issue. Whatever someone posts to any social media network is the glossy, perfectly lit, perfectly posed version of their life. They are the best bits, with all the negative and less than glamorous parts edited out.

Photos of people laying on golden beaches with perfectly blue skies are aplenty on Facebook. But do you ever see the images of someone peeling their sunburned skin off their dry bits? No, you don’t.

Real life is both beautiful and disgusting. But obviously only the beautiful things are going to get likes and shares and follows. So obviously we’re only going to show the best bits!

It’s important to remember this every time you get that pang of FOMO, or even if you don’t. What I like doing is thinking about what happens two seconds after the photo has been taken, normally that the person posting it has gotten bored and started picking their nose or something equally gross.

No two people enjoy the same things.

I’m the kind of person who would much rather stay in on a Friday night, watch a film with my partner and cuddle our dog. But I know that isn’t for everyone. Much like some people enjoy going out drinking with friends.

And do you know how much flack I get for not being someone who enjoys going out and drinking the night away? The answer is a lot. I’m constantly being told that I’m not living, that I’m acting too old for my age, blah blah blah.

But I digress. Just because you have friends that are posting constant pictures of being out, drinking and partying, doesn’t mean you have to. There is a pressure put on us twenty-somethings to be a little bit wild and carefree, but you don’t have to if it isn’t something you enjoy.

And if it is something you enjoy, then remember not all parties are the same. The photos posted can be misleading at best, everyone could be sat on their phones only looking up to grab another drink. I’ve been to a few parties like this. The photos looked amazing, but sadly the party itself wasn’t.

Comparing yourself to someone else is dangerous.

When someone posts a beautiful selfie on Instagram do you start looking at yourself differently? Do you ask why you can’t look that good? If you do, then stop doing that. The human face is a wonderful thing, and it comes in all sorts of exciting and varying forms.

With the perfect angle and the right filters everyone has the potential to look like a supermodel. But like I’ve said before, it isn’t real life. That person probably doesn’t look like that all the time. And you shouldn’t expect yourself to either.

Comparing yourself to another person is like comparing a rose to a lily. Both are completely different colours, shapes and sizes, but both are equally as perfect and as beautiful. You, yes you lovely reader, are perfect and beautiful.

You know why don’t you? Because you look the exact way you are supposed to. Your ancestors’ genes have all compiled together into this wonderful concoction that is your face, and your body shape, and your hair colour, and every little bit about you.

And do you know what you achieve through comparing yourself to somebody else? Absolutely nothing, apart from feeling a bit worse about yourself. You don’t have to do that to yourself so please stop.

On a side note, this is all being written by someone who was recently told that I’d be a great beauty if I lost some weight. I’m not conventionally beautiful. I am in no way slim. But this is the body and face I’ve got so I’m going to make the most of it!

Avoid. Avoid. Avoid.

It really is a simple fix if you find yourself struggling with FOMO: delete all of the apps, and don’t go on social media for a while. Pick a time scale and stick to it. It could be a day, a week, a month. However long it takes to stop you compulsively checking and comparing.

I found a few years back I’d be impulsively checking my Facebook, and feeling a bit down in the dumps because my life wasn’t as interesting as other people’s. So I took myself off Facebook for 3 days. Its all it took to reset my focus.

I’d suggest to anyone to delete the apps from their phones and tablets, or to at least hide them (I make sure my social media apps aren’t on my home screen) and that way you’re putting yourself out of harm’s way.

If you’ve enjoyed this post, you may be interested to read one of my other posts Why you need a no screen night. For some inspiration on how to break away, also check out 10 things to do on a no screen night.

My ultimate guide to spring time hygge.

Hygge was official buzz word for 2016, and it doesn’t seem like the hype is dying down in 2017 either. You know why that is? Because hygge is something which speaks to all of us. Modern life is hectic and non-stop, and hygge is like the antidote to that.

Hygge is taking a step back and enjoying the smaller things in life. I’ve written a couple of other posts about it How I used Hygge to survive winter and My top ten tips to bring Hygge into your life and since first implementing a touch of hygge to my life, I haven’t actually looked back.

But the thing is with hygge, almost everyone assumes that it is only a winter time thing. Think cuddly blankets, candle light and flickering fires. Probably because it is synonymous with Scandinavia and their well-known harsh winters. But as the season’s changes, so does the way you can bring hygge into your daily life.

Hygge doesn’t translate to anything in particular. It’s a feeling of simple comfort, so why does that have to be restricted to the winter months? Why can’t we feel this way through the whole year? Now that Spring has sprung I’ve been thinking of things we can do to bring the essence of hygge into the sunshine.

My ultimate guide to spring time hygge

1. Invite your friends over for a BBQ.

Buy some charcoal, some booze, some burgers, and have a casual party with your friends. The weather doesn’t have to be particularly amazing because it’s the company which makes up for that (everyone from the UK knows what I’m talking about, if you plan a BBQ guaranteed it will be overcast that day).

One of the main points of hygge is to spend time with people you find comforting. Invite those people around and indulge in simple food and good conversation. BBQ’s, to me, are the most basic and yet most fun way of eating. If I could have a BBQ every night, I probably would. And it’s also fairly healthy. Tonnes of salad, and if you’re a meat eater then at least the fat is dripping out of it.

2. Take your family on a picnic at a country park.

Some of my fondest memories with my family are of family picnics at our local country park. If the sun was shining bright enough my Mum would immediately make 1 million sandwiches, throw us into the car and take us.

Make some of those precious memories with your own family! It doesn’t take much, just a few sandwiches, a bottle of drink and a comfy blanket to sit on. You could even bring some games if you have younger kids which need entertaining.

Again this is about getting back to basics, spending time with the people you love and experiencing the great outdoors. We’re lucky to have a couple of country parks within a 10 minute drive, but if you don’t then plan ahead a bit. It can be done.

3. Read your favourite book on a sun lounger in the garden.

Is there anything better than being outside, hopefully in the sun, and doing pretty much nothing? I don’t think there is. Grab your favourite book and lounge outside reading for a bit.

Even if the weather is pretty chilly I still like doing this. Normally I wear a hoodie and grab a blanket to keep warm, and have a nice drink at hand so I don’t need to move again after getting comfortable.

Hygge isn’t always about spending time with other people. It is just as much about spending time with yourself and being comfortable in your own company. Reading is a perfect way of getting used to spending time alone.

4. Make time for a spring clean.

The dark light of winter hides a multitude of sins when it comes to cleaning, but as soon as the sun light pours in you’ll start noticing those annoying patches of dust in hard to reach areas. Reserve some time to clean the whole house, thoroughly, from top to bottom.

You can also use this time to throw away or donate your unwanted belongings. Give yourself a fresh start and tonnes of space for the new season ahead.

Hygge and minimalism sort of walk hand in hand together. They’re both about living simpler. Nothing could be simpler than a clean uncluttered living space. Embrace the cleaning. Grab yourself some silly rubber gloves and have some fun with it.

I know whenever I get the house completely spick and span (regardless of how long it actually stays that way) it’s like a massive weight lifted from my shoulders.

5. Don’t turn your lights on until the sun has set.

During winter we probably spend more time in artificial light than natural, and it’s not healthy. Even when the light outside is getting dimmer, don’t be tempted to pop on your lights. Open your curtains or blinds wide to let as much light in as possible (the point above also helps as you should have nice clean windows after your spring clean).

Leave it until the last possible moment to switch the lights on. During the height of summer I tend to avoid artificial lights completely, preferring candles if I need it. So long as you can still traverse your house without stubbing your toes, do you really need it?

6. Get some fresh flowers.

Spring, to me, is synonymous with daffodils. My partner knows this and buys me bunches occasionally. But it could be any fresh flowers. It doesn’t have to be a particularly special arrangement either, just whatever you can afford.

Bringing the outdoors indoors is guaranteed to make the room feel brighter and more natural. Hygge is also so much about getting back into nature, and what easier way is there than to bring nature indoors as well!

7. Put up some solar lights in the garden.

I love my garden. We have 8 foot walls around 2 sides, with a small fence separating us and the neighbours. It needs work, but now the weather is getting better we’re going to start on it. And the first thing we are going to do is hang solar lights across the walls.

You can get really awesome solar lights on strings which you can hang either on the walls or running across the garden, and they look spectacular (our neighbours actually have some and so have inspired us, thanks neighbours!).

Instantly the garden at night time goes from being dark and uninviting to comfy and special. Twinkling string lights have a hint of magic to them. And I love it.

8. Keep your fruit bowl well stocked.

Winter hygge is all about comfortable stews, mashed potatoes and dumplings. Spring hygge is all about fresh fruit and vegetables, simple cooking and nothing heavy.

Make sure your fruit bowl is always well stocked, and your vegetable drawer full. If you make sure they’re always to hand you will always have a nice healthy snack available.

Salads are also the best meal for when the weather starts getting warmer. Who wants to eat something heavy when you’re sweating? Not me. A salad accompanied with either your favourite meat or falafels is perfect.

 Hopefully you’ve found some inspiration for bringing hygge into spring with you. Let me know in the comments how you get on!

How to cope with feeling unappreciated.

I’m in a pretty rubbish situation at the moment with regards to work. I’m stuck in an office job which doesn’t inspire me, and to be quite frank I feel unappreciated most days. This obviously isn’t good for my overall sense of well being.

We’ve recently had a pay review, and I consider myself a hard worker. I don’t enjoy the job but I put everything I have into doing as much as possible, to the highest possibly quality. The pay review does not reflect this. Pretty tricky to get over working at full pelt and then not getting the appreciation you feel you deserve for it.

But, like everything negative which happens in my life, I’m trying to use this as a learning curve. How can I turn this negative situation into a positive? How can I use these feelings to grow as a human being and become better for it?

This doesn’t necessarily have to be with regards to work either. How many times in your personal life do you feel that someone doesn’t completely appreciate what you do for them? It could be your parents, your partner, your friends. It happens a lot.

But luckily I think it can be pretty easy to overcome. Obviously the spectrum of emotion is massive, and you’ll never stop feeling it, but you can learn how to cope with these feelings and turn them into something positive within your life!

How to cope with feeling unappreciated

Do it for you.

Whatever it is that you’re doing, don’t do it for someone else. Do it for you. In this way your sense of achievement isn’t reliant on how someone else reacts to whatever you have done. You won’t be waiting for somebody else to say “Good job” and give you a pat on the back, you can do that yourself.

Set yourself a goal, and achieve it. Internally you can give yourself a big high five, maybe even give yourself a little treat for doing it. But do it all for you. I’m an absolutely huge fan of To Do lists, make yourself one and feel great about everything you tick off.

Stop caring what other people think.

This is such a massive thing. Being empathetic is brilliant, caring about other people is wonderful, but caring about how they perceive you is pointless.

If you stop caring what your boss thinks of you, you won’t be trying to compete with your colleagues to be the best on the team. I know this is difficult for purely commission based jobs, but you can try it.

Instead of focusing on what they think, you can focus on the task at hand, whether it be creating a spreadsheet under a deadline or doing the hoovering before your Mum comes round for dinner. It is applicable across so much of your life.

And it does strongly link to the previous tip. At first glance it can seem selfish, but it’s not. There is a fine line between self care and self obsession, but with the right tools and advice you can learn to tread that line perfectly.

Take a step back.

So many times I find myself getting far too involved in my work. I have a really high work ethic and I like everything to be totally perfect 100% of the time. But this isn’t practical.

By taking a step back from the situation you’re in you can look at it from an outside perspective. You can see clearly what is actually required of you and can formulate a plan to tackle this.

By doing this you’re also making yourself less personally invested in what you are doing. You can think about things more pragmatically and any response back to what has happened won’t feel as personal. You’re much less likely to feel like you’re unappreciated if you’re not emotionally invested in the task at hand.

Express the fact that you feel unappreciated.

This is relevant for work and personal life. If you’ve tried all the above steps and still feeling unappreciated then you need to vocalize that. It may be that the other people involved are completely unaware of this.

People are not mind readers. If you don’t tell people how you feel how are they supposed to know? It’s completely justified that if you feel unappreciated you should tell the other parties involved that you feel this way, and why you feel this way.

Talking about emotions can be a minefield. Intentions can be misconstrued, but if you discuss your feelings rationally and without judgement everyone will end up feeling better. I’m sure if someone told you that they felt you didn’t appreciate what they did for you, you would possible feel a little upset with yourself about that.

By discussing how you feel openly you’re creating an honest dialogue. It could be that they don’t feel your contribution was significant to warrant any gratitude, but that they will work harder to make you feel appreciated in the future.

Just make sure you don’t get upset, and never personally attack another person for your own emotions. That’s a sure fire way to cause an argument. No one wants that.

Walk away.

If all else fails and you cannot get to a point where you feel comfortable with your situation, leave it. You don’t have to work with a company who doesn’t appreciate what you do. Much like you don’t have to stay with a partner who doesn’t appreciate your efforts.

I know this is a pretty strong response, but if you can honestly say you have tried everything else to deal with how you’re feeling, then what other action can you take? Feeling unappreciated is a pretty glum place to be emotionally. You have a right to feel like what you do is worth something.

This is something I’m strongly considering in my work life. It’s not easy leaving a job, especially if you’ve been there a number of years, but when it comes to your long term happiness I consider that a small hurdle to jump. Wish me luck in the comments guys.

Why you need words to live by.

What are words to live by?

Words to live by are phrases, mantras and affirmations which hold greater meaning to you. It can be anything. A quote from another person, a line from a book, proverbs, whatever.

These words should inspire you to be better, do better and improve your life. They should strike a chord with what you already believe or feel, and enhance those beliefs. They should also make you think deeper about your current situation, your life style choices and pretty much anything which happens in your life.

These words are not a fixed thing in your life. They can chop and change dependent on what is happening at any moment in your life. When you’re feeling down they could be something which pulls you up. If you’re feeling unmotivated they could inspire you to make a great change in your life.

Why you need words to live

Why you need to find your words to live by

The power of words is highly underrated. Reading something positive, inspiring or empowering has an impact on the way you feel. Read something uplifting and you’ll be inspired to be more than you are. Read something negative and you will start questioning your life and your decisions.

Words also have the power to inspire you to make great changes in your life, if you let them. They can sow a seed of brilliance in your mind and through a bit of nurturing your life could end up being massively different because of it.

Personally I like surrounding myself with these words. I have a board dedicated to this on my Pinterest. I also like creating my own art work incorporating some magical words. There is something about mixing together art and words that really gets my blood pumping.

Particularly when times get tricky I find solace in words and inspiration on how to move forward. This self help blog and many many others are brilliant sources for inspiration on how to get through those tricky moments in life.

My words to live by.

My favourite quote is “They tried to bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds”. It’s an old Mexican proverb. It is powerful and wonderful. Being a typical Brit I love an underdog, and this makes me think of the struggles we all face against the nameless higher figures who try and tell us how we should be living.

I’m also a bit of a feminist, and this quote was used at a rally in London not so long ago. It speaks volumes to the feminist part of my identity, the oppressed vs the oppressors, and how the oppressed will grow through this.

However, this may not mean anything to you. Words are personal. For some they have no meaning, for other’s they can mean the world. You need to find the words which mean the most to you, and surround yourself with them. Immerse yourself into their meaning, the connotations attached and the images they inspire in your head.

Finding your words to live by.


Pinterest is a fantastic resource when it comes to finding inspirational, motivational and uplifting quotes, all set on beautiful backgrounds and incorporated into products. Create a board and pin some of your favourites.

The wonderful thing with Pinterest is that once it knows what you like, it will show you more similar things. So, the more quotes you pin the more it will show you. Like a big snowball effect. Guaranteed you’ll find something which speaks to you.

And if you don’t it’s almost like a limitless resource. Something will eventually pop up, so you just need to stick with it. I find a lot of the quotes on there can be a little samey, but wade through the rubbish and there are some gems.

Films, books, songs.

Think of your favourite song. Is there a particular line in it which says something to you? I love Everlong by the Foo Fighters. There is one particular line which goes “Breathe out so I can breathe you in” which I love.

Any sort of writing is a good resource for finding something which speaks to you. I can think of all my favourite books and films and think of a few quotes from each which mean something deeper to me, and I’m sure if you think about it there’s probably a few out there for you too.

Write your own.

Can’t find anything on Pinterest? Nothing inspiring you from your favourite song? Write something for yourself!

It’s not too difficult to create your own mantra. Think about what is the most important aspect. Do you want it to be about growth, or change, or motivation, or faith? There is an endless list of possibilities, but whatever matters to you at this moment in time is what you should be writing about.

If you’re struggling to find the words then google synonyms for what you want, and you may be able to make anything you write sound a little more beautiful.

Let me know what your words to live by are in the comments. I’d love some new inspiration!

Why you need a happy space… And how to create one.

(This post contains affiliates links, see my a full disclosure on my About page. I may receive a small commission for any link to Amazon. Any purchase you make helps support me write and provide this content.)

In 2016 my partner and I moved into a lovely new home. It has everything we possibly need. Not tonnes of rooms, not a huge garden, it’s all just enough for our needs and we couldn’t be happier. One of the rooms I love the most is the spare room, aka my craft room.

Up until recently the craft room has been a bit of a dumping ground: it still had items from when we moved, plus my partner has been crafting us a coffee table in there. So up until now it has been pretty much a no-go zone.

But that is no more.

I’ve been thinking a lot about happy spaces. During times of trouble we’re told to go to our happy place, normally mentally, but I’ve been thinking about making this an actual thing.

And I genuinely think this is important. Our time is spread out so thin going from work, to friends houses, to families houses. There should be a retreat for us when we need to get away.

So the craft room is now going to be our (mainly my) happy place.

But why do I need one? As previously stated it’s good to have a place to go to when times get tough.

Much like we go on holiday to get away from the daily grind, we should have space in our home to go to when we need a break.

It doesn’t have to be much space at all. I’m quite partial to a reading nook with comfy chairs and book shelves. Or if you have more space you could create a den complete with cinema, comfy cushions and loads of fluffy blankets.

The world is your oyster. But I think you owe it to yourself to carve out space for yourself. Treat yourself as you would a friend or a loved one and create your own special bubble.

Why you need a happy space and how to create one

First things first!

Think of a style which brings you joy. For me I love nordic functionality mixed with a bit of retro 30’s and 50’s styling, but brought back to the modern day with bright colours. I’m a very complicated human being! But I’ve settled on comfort with functionality for the time being.

But think about what style makes you feel most at home. Afterall, this will be your own happy space, you need to make it personal to you. Check out my Pinterest Home Decor board for some inspiration.

Second things second!

Now is time to think about whether you need to actually paint your space, or whether you can leave as is. If you need to paint, get testing and get it done. If not, hurray for you! Luckily the walls in my space are pretty plain so I plan on jazzing it up with accessories and furniture.

Also, we lived in a rented property so painting is pretty much banned from our house. Which is a shame. But at least we have a blank canvas to work from.

The important bit…

Now, these are just the things I’ve been thinking about when it comes to making this happy space work. But you have to think what would make you happiest. Could it be just a comfy chair and a pile of books? Or do you prefer sleek modernism with straight lines and white walls?

Every bit of this is personal, but hopefully from the below tips you can start cultivating your own ideas.

Organised chaos.

I’m a messy person by nature. I can’t help but collect clutter, and leave things exactly where they’re not supposed to be. But I’m going to try and change that with this room.

My partner made me an awesome craft table, and we also have a side board in there. The table is my desk space, for my laptop and also for any paints, pens etc. I have laying around (which unsurprisingly there is quite a lot of). The sideboard is storage, space to put my wool (any other knitters out there?!) and other random things.

The aim is to make sure once something has been used it is then put away. I’m still in the process of packing everything into it’s place at the moment but it’s good to have the goal in mind at the beginning.

Plenty of pictures.

When I went to college I studied photography and am completely obsessed with keeping photos of friends and family out on display. It’s comforting to look at.

Recently I celebrated my birthday and a couple of friends bought me some photos in nice frames which now have pride of place on the side board.

Last year another friend also drew me a picture of Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal in the TV series and my number 1 man crush) which is also hanging on the wall. There are other various pieces of art dotted around too. And hopefully I’ll be adding my own art work to it shortly!

Comfy seating.

At the moment we have an old under counter chair for my desk seating and a ginormous beanbag which my Mum bought me for Christmas. If it was any bigger I’d used it for the desk chair, but luckily my partner gets to sit on it and read his book whilst I work. It is genuinely the most comfortable beanbag ever, tonnes of beans and a soft slightly fluffy bag. Very nice.

I also intend on buying a much more comfortable desk chair, but that’s on a shopping list for a day far off in the future once I get tired of the under counter stool.

Soft lighting.

I’ve written a couple of posts about hygge. How I used Hygge to survive winter and My top ten tips to bring Hygge into your life. Both are posts you should read. I like to bring hygge into every room that I change.

One of the essentials for hygge is soft lighting. I’m lucky as the window catches the sunset, but I also have some tea lights dotted around, and fully intend on getting some fairy lights to drape around the ceiling. I love these ones which have flowers as well. They look so dainty and inviting, like bringing a little bit of magic into a room. We have some very similar to this in our bedroom which I absolutely love.

Room for two.

Now, as much as I want to keep this space all for myself, considering my partner pays half the rent I think he has as much right to it as I do. We’ve already considered his seating needs, but he also has a collection of knives which we want to display.

I’m seriously considering buying a run down bit of furniture and upcycling, but at the moment I’m still not really sure where to start. If anyone knows of any amazing upcycling resources please share them in the comments, I need to know!

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The easy way to find your passion in life.

Having something in your life which you are passionate is important for several reasons: it will keep you going through the tough times, it will motivate you to improve yourself in many ways and it will have a positive effect on the people around you too.

But it’s not easy finding something to be passionate about.

Modern life is difficult. It can feel like we’re being pushed from pillar to post and forced into a little mould. But finding something to get passionate about will set you apart.

I’m currently the grand old age of 25, and until recently I wasn’t really sure what my passion in life was. I studied photography at college and thought that may be, but that fizzled out when I realised trying to make a living from it was damaging my happiness. Then it was horror films which I thought were my passion, but now I realize as much as I love horror films, I don’t want to spend all day everyday watching them.

But then a few months ago I decided to start blogging again. I originally started this blog as a way of coping through a tricky time in my life. It never gained much ground and I soon forgot about it. But I decided to come back.

And since then, I think I can say I have definitely found my passion: writing. I love writing. I love thinking about things to write. I love researching for something I’m interested in.

And by a lot of standards I’ve found my passion fairly young. Some don’t realise what really motivates them until they’re retired. But that’s not a problem. Finding your passion is the most important thing, not when.

So, I’ve been thinking about ways which the process of finding it could be broken down into manageable chunks to give those of you who are still searching a better idea of how to find it.

The easy way to find your passion

Introvert or extrovert?

Whether you are more introverted or extroverted is important to narrowing down what you may be passionate about. Introverted people tend to prefer lone tasks, like writing or general crafting. However extroverted people tend to prefer team endeavours, like sports or public speaking.

Are you a sitter or a mover?

Would you rather spend 6 hours sitting at your desk tapping away at the keyboard, or go for a 10 mile hike through the wilderness? Regardless of whether you are introverted or extroverted this is another super important question.

If you prefer solitary stationary pursuits then something craft based probably is for you. If you like being around people and moving around then sports would be for you. Now, there will be cross overs. Being an introvert but loving to move means something like hiking would be perfect. Being extroverted but enjoying sitting still could mean maybe cooking then hosting a dinner party after?

Do you want to create?

Arts and crafts is such a massively broad genre of hobbies and one that is increasingly popular. Narrow this down first. If you want to create things then immediately you know you need to start looking into hobbies based around the arts, whether that be crochet, writing, cooking or upcycling.

If creating isn’t for you, then maybe people are more your jam. You could consider volunteer work, joining a sports league or maybe even creating a group effort with some friends if you share some similar interests.

Not keen on either of those ideas? It would be that both creating and being around people isn’t really for you. Consider hiking, outdoors swimming, maybe even dog walking if you like animals.

Try things out!

So you’ve narrowed it down slightly, you know whether you want to be alone or with other people, and whether you want to be sat down for it or moving. Now, you’ve gotta try things out.

Pinterest is a fantastic source for hobby ideas, and I’ve written another post 101 hobby ideas for people who have no idea. Check it out and find 3 things that you might enjoy. Then make time in your diary to try each out.

You will know immediately if the hobby you’ve tried is for you. You’ll enjoy it. And be thinking about when you can do it again.

Hopefully after going through these steps you should have an idea of what kind of thing you may be interested in, with some ideas of things to try aswell. I’d love to hear in the comments if you’ve found something to be passionate about after reading through this post!

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Having a hobby will improve your life, find out how.

Hobbies are brilliant. It’s not work and yet we can still be productive and get things done. In fact I quite often feel like I get more done with my hobbies than I do with my paid work. Don’t tell my boss though.

Now, what is a hobby? A hobby is something you are passionate about, but don’t make a living from. You do it for the pure enjoyment of it.

Some people take their hobbies and turn it into a career, but for most of us that’s an impossible dream.

Hobbies can be something you do on your own, or do as part of a group. It doesn’t really matter which, but I guess it depends on whether you’re introverted or extroverted.

If you don’t have a hobby, then you’re missing out. They’re fun, relaxing and most of all they give you something to get passionate about. Finding the right hobby for you may take a little bit of time, but it is worth it.

Here’s how it will change your life.

How having a hobby will improve your life.

You will feel happier.

Breaking away from the daily grind for even just an hour a day will reduce your blood pressure for sure. It doesn’t matter what it is. High impact sports will have the same effect on your sense of wellbeing as crocheting a blanket.

You will feel more passionate.

The interest you have in your hobby will naturally roll over into your day to day life. You’ll feel more focused at work, your relationships will benefit, and you’ll find it easier to enjoy other aspects of your life.

Your days will go quicker.

With something in your life you are passionate and excited about, all of a sudden your days will pass quicker. Slogging your way through work becomes easier because you can think about all the fun things you can do outside of work.

You’ll never be bored again.

All of your spare time will be consumed with the hobby, and all of your spare thoughts too. Find something you are passionate about and you will never ever be bored again. Whenever you do find yourself with a spare hour you have something you can do to fill the time.

Learning new things will become really really fun.

I have a passion for learning new things anyway, but it can be daunting for some. But with your chosen hobby learning new things will become exciting! Through my love of photography I’ve also learnt how to use Photoshop and other design software. Not something I’d be interested alone, but mix the 2 together and it’s all fun.

You can apply your new skills to your daily life.

Regardless of what your hobby is you could take aspects from it to bring into your daily life. Big fan of team sports? You’ll become better at working with others. Fan of knitting? You have concentration skills my friend. There is tonnes you can take from any hobby.

Not sure where to start?

I’ve created a list of 50 hobby ideas for those of you have may not be sure where to start. It’s over here. Give it a read through and try something for yourself.

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