Life

Life

Dear London, It’s Time To Say Goodbye

After some wonderful years in this beautiful city, it’s time to say goodbye to London. After a crazy few months, of changes and uncertainty, we are moving to Reading. 

My gut told me times ahead were changing a few months ago. Does anyone else always trust their gut instinct? I told Dan that I had a feeling something was about to change. It did. I also had the urge to declutter. Now, we are moving, I am so grateful I did as we can move into the new place and know that everything we own is creating the life we love.

Me looking from Millennium Bridge, London at the Shard

I will always cherish the memories I’ve made in one of my favorite places, and the amazing people I’ve met along the way. London, it’s time to say goodbye. Before I do I want to appreciate all that the years in London has given me.

Life lessons

My life in London went by so quickly, but it has changed me forever. I am so grateful I found the courage to move here, because it has truly been a life and mind altering experience. I’ve grown as a person. Both in terms of confidence, but also in terms of my perception of myself and my self-worth.

When I first moved here, I was lost, confused and carrying an enormous amount of emotional baggage (and a lot of physical baggage too!). The person that arrived in my mum’s overpacked car, filled with as many of my possessions as I could possibly cram into her car. The anticipation of what the new chapter would offer and questions of how life would turn out filled my head.

Now, I still question my life’s path, but I’m sure about one thing: whatever life will throw my way, I will be able to overcome it. No matter how far away I am from my friends, or where I am located, I am committed to live the life I love. And this is an extremely powerful thought.

Appreciating people

The past few years have been probably some of the most challenging times in my life. I moved here to do Teacher Training as a mature student, a bad experience left me feeling anxious, my confidence in tatters and regretting the career change. However, the people I met following that will forever be friends and I will be extremely grateful that our paths crossed.

Obviously, I met Dan here too. Not to be mushy, but Dan is one of the sweetest, kindest people I’ve ever met. Yet, if I hadn’t come to London, we could never have met. We had our first date at The Shard, we got engaged outside St Pauls and therefore London has always played an important part in our relationship.

It’s time to say goodbye London

For our last evening we took time away from packing to enjoy the gorgeous firework display in Blackheath village. Such a stunning display and it’s free!

Thank you London, for helping me to grow into the person I am today. You will always be like home for me. Who knows you may become home again one day. But it’s time to accept that fate is leading me into a different direction. I will be sad to leave, but I know I will always be able to visit. After all, Reading isn’t that far away to pop over and enjoy a Sunday walk by the Southbank. Let the new adventures begin!

 

If you look back, how much have you changed in the past 5 years?

Paperless Post: A Sustainable Alternative To Sending Christmas Cards This Year

[Ad] This year I’ve focused on how I could live more intentionally. I had a massive declutter and I’ve tried to find alternatives to single-use plastics. So when Paperless Post approached me and asked me to look at their range, I was so excited. With Paperless post, have I found a sustainable alternative to sending Christmas cards this year?

Photo of iPad with Christmas lights and cracker around it

I can’t believe I’m using the “Christmas” word already. But time has just flown by this year. I know if I don’t get sorted soon, it will be March before I know it! To get me in the Christmas spirit, I had to pop on a good old Christmas film. What is your favourite Christmas film?

What is Paperless Post?

Paperless Post provides a sustainable alternative to sending cards and invitations, so I was so happy when they offered me the opportunity to try our sending their paperless Christmas cards this year.

I’m quite a traditional when it comes to sending cards through the post. Yet, this doesn’t really sit well with looking towards living more intentionally, with less waste and environmental impact.

How does it work?

It all about coins. You have to buy coins to use as credit. Some cards are free and adding customisable elements will cost you various amounts of coins.

I chose a basic cute penguin design for one group of people and a customisable card and uploaded a photo for another.

Step one: Choose your design

I have to say there were lots of different options. 452 cards came up for a “Christmas card” search alone. You can obviously also choose a holiday or New Year if you don’t celebrate Christmas.

Some of the designs are free and others start at for example two coins.

Step two: Customise

You can use the free backdrop, or you can pay a coin to change it, or completely remove the background.

Next, you can edit the text in the body of the card. You can edit the text as much or as little as you want.

Then you can choose the lining of the envelope, or leave it as the preset one. It costs one coin to change it, but I quite liked the bright yellow polka dots.

You can then decide if you want to pay a coin to change the stamp or leave it as the free Paperlesspost stamp.

Step three: Reply options

Next, we have the reply options. This is really handy should you be sending an invitation or a save the date, as you can customise to add the date to their calendars, send information links to your venue, etc.

Step four: add your recipient’s email address

Finally, you pop in your recipient’s details and email address. You can even import a cvs file if you want to send to multiple recipients. Again that would be brilliant for a wedding or large event.

As simple as that?

Yep. Just press send and your beautiful, customisable card pops into your recipient’s inbox. The simple design I created cost just three coins and a personalised card just five coins.

I love the idea that the cards look like “real” cards, but can be a small step towards being more sustainable. The fact it looks like a real card and it opens up on your screen is really effective. Something which looks like you’ve really made the effort.

The fact the cards are customisable means you don’t feel like your just getting a spam email which everyone is getting. Just the perfect way to say you’re thinking of them. Although, I’m not sure if I would still prefer to send a paper card for birthdays as it’s that bit more personal.

I’ve just taken over a pub, so I’m thinking that Paperless Post is going to come in very handy to send our customers cards, invitations and they also allow you to create flyers to send directly to social media.

I think Paperless post would also be a great idea if you’re getting married, for example. We spent a fortune on postage sending out the save the dates and then the invitations.

I’m now thinking about what other areas can I look to be more sustainable.

Do you prefer traditional cards or are you going paperless?

 

*This post is kindly sponsored by Paperless Post. All opinions are my own.

What Made Me Happy In September

Hello October! September felt like it went by in a blur. Anyone else feel that way? As part of my self-care, I always like to take a moment and reflect on the month gone by and focus on what made me happy in September. And as something a bit different, I like to share it in a more personal post.

So, what made me happy in September:

September was a strange old month. It seemed to be filled with lots of uncertainty, until the very last day of the month when it all fell into place.

I’m about are to embark on probably one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. I’m going to be taking over a pub in Reading. Therefore, much of the month was spent not knowing if it was going to happen. It still feels in some respect as it might all be a dream and it will all fall through. 

Feeling grateful

A real focus of mine for the last few months has been to spend time with important people and to consciously remember the moments we spend together. Journaling has become an important part of my self-care. When I get stressed it affects my memory and I can’t for the life of me remember what I did on certain days.

This month we had my auntie and uncle over. They had a massively impressive and important influence on my childhood. As well as a good catch up, we went to explore Kew Gardens and get some inspiration for the pub garden.

Generally, though I have just been enjoying spending time with family and friends. Everyone has been really happy for us.

Out of my comfort zone

I also started doing office admin work. Supply work terrifies me, as each new assignment is like the first day in a new job, but I really enjoyed it. Also, I think brushing up my office admin skills is going to come in very handy running a business!

Goodbye

The thought of moving out of London and saying goodbye to London and all of our friends here is hard for both of us. 

I’ve already started saying goodbye by going back to places that built memories. Of course All Bar One, Butlers Wharf had to be included. I lived at Docklands when I first moved here. London back then scared me. It was huge compared to Manchester. Butlers Wharf can be really quiet compared to the hustle and bustle of central London, so will always be my “safe and cosy” place. So it was very apt to say a goodbye where it all began.

New chapter

Events in September hopefully marks the end of a massively uncertain and stressful period in our lives. Although I’m sure there will be lots more stressful times ahead! I’ve really had to focus on self-care and ensuring I had regular reset days to cope. Although, I have started to notice the more physical signs of stress, which I want to explore in another post.

September, therefore, feels like saying goodbye. I’m grateful for what we have had, achieved and built together here. It makes me feel like I need to do a sentimental post about my time in London.

Autumn is here

The weather has started to feel very autumnal this week. There is something really cosy about this time of year and I’ve loved lighting the candles and getting the blanket out for cosy evenings in front of a box set. Pure bliss.

 

What made you happy in September?

Lots of love, Helen xo

Photograph of me smiling by the seaside

7 Ways You’re Wasting Your Time Without Even Realising

One of my fave quotes is “You have the same amount of hours in a day as Beyonce”. I don’t know about you, but time appears to have a miraculous way of vanishing into thin air. Yet, we do all have the same 24 hours. It’s the first week back to work and I’m thinking what have I done with all that time. That got me thinking, how could you be wasting your time without even realising?

I started the holiday off with a great master plan of how I was going to get my s*** together. Life did, as it does, chuck you some lemons. Yet, aside from that, there was the time, I know I could have done things without wasting so much time. For example, the fact that I write a ‘to-do list’ every day and put the same stuff on it, minus the odd few things I’ve ticked off. Instead of keeping the same ‘to-do’ and going through it. 

I’ve thought about the most common ways we could be wasting our time and I’ve come up with these 7 ways you’re possibly wasting your time without even realising

10 Ways You’re Wasting Your Time Without Even Realising 

1. Waiting for “the right time.”

Are you holding off on tackling that to-do item until the mood strikes you or you think it’s too big of a job for today? Procrastination is your worst enemy. If the job is too big, break it down. Make tackling that task, the first thing you do, and it will soon become much more manageable.

My ‘sort my stuff’ was way too wide, I don’t have Marie Kondo coming over and making me tip the contents on the bed and sort them. Just by breaking it down into sections and sorting sorting through each area is the way to go. Just putting ‘sort shoes’ means an easy task. Tick. 

2. Not picking up the phone.

How many times have you thought I’ll just send a quick email to sort out something? Next thing it’s turned into a 20-minute game of email Ping-Pong to settle on a meeting time is costing valuable time.

Why are you reluctant to simply pick up the phone and get it organised there and then? That’s me. I feel so anxious about what is going to be said, I would rather hide. Then email and hope it is not something too overwhelming and hope you don’t call me during this process. What a waste of time. 

3. Screen time.

How long do you aimlessly just scroll through Twitter, Instagram or Facebook? Hands up, I am so guilty of this. Limit your time on social media and you’ll be amazed how much time magically appears in your day.

The same goes for constantly checking your messages. Sure, you can answer that new message really quickly, but each time you do, you cost yourself the time it’ll take to refocus on what you were doing before. If needs be, set an automated response on your mailbox, so that people know you are only checking emails at specified times.

4. Not time batching.

I am massively guilty of this one. I would spend an hour writing an essay, take photos for blog posts, then write the blog posts. Invariably I would forget to take the photos I needed and have to make a note. Your brain works far better if it can focus on one task at a time.

Maybe add a few bits of time batching to your Sunday GYST routine?

5. Making piles.

Either file it properly or chuck it. Piling it up just means you have to rifle through a whole lot of accumulated stuff and then take action later on. I always think of the “Don’t touch it twice rule”. Why put your coat on the sofa, to then hang it up? Just hang your coat up.  Job done. 

Take time at the end of the day to properly declutter your space, so it’s ready for a fresh start tomorrow. Find homes for everything you own, so that you can easily access it and put it back when you have finished with it.

6. Always trying to impress people.

Wasting time not being ourselves is not only time wasting, but draining.

Yet, at the same time, managing others’ impressions is arguably a big part of success. Maybe, though it’s more about the impression we make.  Maybe focus more about the smaller details. The gratitude or the attention to providing extra details or customer service. That surely says more. 

7. Not saying ‘no’.

If you are always taking on too much, you could be at risk of spreading yourself too thinly and not getting tasks done. Put your phone on silent  and think before you just say ‘yes’. 

 

How do you think you are wasting time?

What Made Me Happy In August

Happy September! Ok, so how is it September already. I know it’s a sign of getting old, but this year seems to be going faster than them all. August was a challenging month, to say the least. Motivating me, even more, to try to focus on the positives that happened. I’ve massively been getting back into journaling and writing down what I am grateful for. I thought as a bit of fun I would do a more personal post and share a few of the things that made me happy in August and a little life update.

What Made Me Happy In August

It was my birthday month

I had a very quiet birthday in contrast to my big birthday last year. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to meet with my birthday twin, my friend Claire Kate Reynolds. We must rectify this soon!

Milan with my mum

I live 200 odd miles from my mum, so it was so nice to spend some quality time together. Milan is a vibrant city, full of stunning architecture. We got an absolute bargain too for 3 nights and flights for £249 each. 

The photo was taken just around the corner from our hotel. I love the arty graffiti in contrast to the architecture.

Spending quality time with important peeps

Carrying on with making time to spend with my mum, I wanted to make time to spend time with friends and family. This month, my focus has shifted towards quality experiences. 

Plus, if ever I start to feel a little low, I usually go into hibernation mode, meaning I don’t see people as much. From past experience, I now realise that hiding away is not the answer as it puts you into a lower mood. Instead, I made sure that I surrounded myself with important people. It’s amazing how just getting out of the house, going for a walk and having a chat can do for your mood.

It was also Dan’s mum’s 70th last weekend, so we stayed in Adlington Lock, Kent. We went last year for his dad’s 70th. Such a gorgeous place if you’ve never been.

Decluttering and deciding things need to change

The clutter I got rid of a few years ago had started to mount up again. We couldn’t open a cupboard without it being rammed full. You couldn’t see what was actually inside. I mean, for example, I found a gorgeous Radley bag I couldn’t even remember I had because it was under a load of clutter! 

Surrounding myself with clutter isn’t the answer. In fact, it makes me feel worse. I am determined to start living more intentionally. Focusing on experiences, not things. And any purchases will be made more purposefully and ethically sourced with the environment in mind. Going forward, I am going to start to list items I buy to make myself more accountable. 

The simple things 

We have been growing our own tomatoes again. The third-year running. They are yet to change to red, but hopefully soon. Although, saying that a few years ago we patiently waited for the tomatoes to turn red, only to Google ‘Golden Queen’ to discover we had grown yellow tomatoes. Over-ripe tomatoes anyone!

We also had a little day trip to the seaside. It’s amazing the benefits of spending quality time in your happy places can do.

Next month 

September will hopefully bring a bit of a change career-wise and a move towards a more admin/office role. Those of you who might know, a few years back changed career from banking to Teaching. Unfortunately, I had a bad experience during the NQT year, which not only knocked my confidence in general, but affected my love for the job. Don’t get me wrong since then I’ve had some really positive experiences and I’ve met some incredible people, who are now true friends. I just can’t seem to get the passion back and that then has a knock on my mental health, so let’s see where the new chapter/direction takes me. 

 

What made you happy in August?