October Goals /September Report 2017

I can’t believe that it’s well into October already! This month has been off to a terrible start so I want to try and make goals and stick to them. If you haven’t seen it already this seems to be a regular post here on the blog! Last month’s can be found here. Keep reading to find out how I did in September and my October goals!

September 2017 Goals Recap

1) Meditate /Yoga a few times a week

Unfortunately, I haven’t managed this one and to be honest, the few times I’ve done it I’ve just felt tired and seen no benefit personally. Yoga is an interest to me but not currently I don’t think. I’ll see whether I want to pick it up in the future. In the meantime, I’m going to try other coping strategies.

2) 2+ Litres of water a day

Like a lot of my goals, I started off doing this and then as my life got crazier and busy it fell by the wayside. This is one I need to stick by because as I get more stressed I drink less water and get more kidney issues. It’s a vicious cycle.

3) Grow my blog

So, I didn’t disclose the details of this one but have managed to hit each goal I set in regards to each individual target.

I’m beyond proud of myself because I have a tendency to ditch things if I get bored or forget about them. I’ve had the individual goals for my blog on a board in my room and achieved them and no others. Visibility is definitely a big help. I’m going to make this my goal again this month but just up the numbers that I hope to achieve. I know this is a bad start so far but hopefully, the month will get better.

4) Pursue a hobby

You will notice that September was horrendously terrible for achieving goals. If I’m honest a lot of my hobbies that I want to pursue I have been, just not enough to make much of a difference to my skill level. There are a few hobbies I’m going to be focussing on which you will find in this month’s goals below!

5) Learn something new

I technically did this one. I did half of an online course in social media marketing and got so bored I stopped. I am glad I looked at it because I did learn a few things but I also learnt that free courses, a lot of the time, are free for a reason. I might look into paid courses in the future when I know what I want to focus on in general.

6) Get my s**t together

This one is still ongoing. I finally joined a gym again and have planned my time a lot more than normal. I find if I don’t plan my time then I end up doing nothing or having a Netflix binge. As great as that is I feel I haven’t done anything properly productive in a very long time.

October 2017 Goals

1) Research and save to purchase a house

I am lucky enough that my parents will be able to help me with a deposit for a property. I haven’t actually ever moved out but have decided I would rather purchase than rent. This month I want to do some research on properties in the area and costs that I am likely to incur. I also want to work out roughly how much random things like furniture etc are going to cost me.

I’m also fortunate in my job that we have so much work that needs doing that essentially we have unlimited over time that we can do. I’m going to total everything up and make sure I can afford everything before I move.

2) Work on my general health and wellbeing

I feel like these health-related goals are getting less and less specific. I suppose I kind of like this in a way. I feel as though increasing my overall wellbeing will be more beneficial than focusing on individual aspects. A few things have changed in my life recently (none of them good, unfortunately) and I have a lot more time than I used to. I figure that that time is best spent trying to improve myself mentally and physically.

I am going to try really hard to drink more water as mentioned last month as it is most detrimental to my health if I don’t. I’m going to trial tracking the amount of water I drink on my Fitbit app and then I can see how it varies day to day.

3) Read at least 2 books

I have bought so many books recently and really want to read them. If I’m perfectly honest with myself then I definitely have more than enough time to read; I just don’t. I’m going to make a start on 1 non-fiction and 1 fiction book. I have a lot of both and I get a little bored of the one type after a little while. If you want to know what I’m reading then you can find it on my GoodReads account.

4) Grow my blog further

This is a continuation of last month. I managed to hit all of my mini goals for all of my social media accounts. I’m so proud of myself. I’m going to set the bar a little higher and try to post twice a week for the rest of October. I’m also going to make more of an effort on Twitter to promote past posts and make more blogger friends.

5) Declutter

There a lot of moving parts to this one. I’m going to try and find a decluttering checklist and work through it. As I have said previously I still live at home so I keep 90% of my possessions in my very small bedroom. A lot of which I never use and really don’t need. My clothes are the main issue so I will be tackling that first I think.

These are my goals for the month of October. What are your goals for this month?

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Isabelle xo

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Get More Blog Views (for beginners)

I thought it would be a good idea to post a few things i’ve found have worked for me recently. I came into blogging 3 months ago roughly as a total beginner and had no idea how to properly get my content seen. I did quite a lot of research but everything i was seeing was based on already having some kind of following. That being said i seem to have learnt a lot from other bloggers on Twitter and wanted to share what i’ve learnt so far!

Comment Pods

If i’m being honest, i really didn’t understand what this was. I saw a blogger i followed asking if people wanted to be in a comment pod and naturally said i’d love to be involved. 5 Minutes (and lots of googling later) and i found out that a comment pod is basically a group chat where bloggers can promote their most recent posts and everyone else will go and comment on it. These are great to get comments initially and another way to check out new bloggers content and support one another.

Blogger Chats

This one is similar to comment pods but is simply where a lot of like-minded bloggers can chat and share posts. I’ve found if i’m unsure about anything then this is the best place to go for me. All the ladies and gentleman that I have been in a chat with have been so lovely and so helpful when I’ve had what I class as “stupid” questions. Everyone I’ve been talking to has also been really insightful and has helped me get my blog off the ground.

Twitter has been where I’ve found all of these chats so far so I would definitely start there.

“RT/Follow trains”

This concept is something that I’ve only discovered recently and it’s helped me out so much. It’s essentially where you retweet someone else’s tweet and then everyone who retweets it then you follow them and vice versa. This is an amazing way to get more followers but also find some new blogs and bloggers you might love.

Consistency

Consistency is key. This is something I hear so often and unfortunately it’s true. I’ve found that the more I post then the more followers I attract generally. This may sound like common sense but I’ve found that repeated updated posts go down really well too. For the last few months running I have been doing goals posts and reporting on how the previous month went and these are my most popular posts!

Buffer

Buffer is amazing. No joke. It’s a free site where you can schedule tweets. There are also some amazing perks of having the full paid services too, one in particular being the ability to re-schedule past posts.

So far I’ve used it to schedule my tweets to post at the same time a new post goes live on my blog. I’ve also been using it to experiment with timing. I’ve found posting late evening in England seems to work better and reach the US audience as well.

I hope you have found some value in these tips and tricks I’ve learnt really early on. If you want to start a blogger chat or comment pod with me then by all means give me a message on twitter or comment below! ūüôā

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Isabelle xo

Podcast Feature Friday: Happier with Gretchen Rubin

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These days I spend around 2 hours a day travelling to and from my place of work. I use public transport because it’s cheaper and quicker so that means I end up with a lot of free time. I have a confession to¬†make.¬†Up until about 2 months ago, I¬†didna know what podcasts actually were. I know. I’m ashamed of myself too.

I came across podcasts in the most random way. I watch an amazing YouTuber called Favorite Daughter Emily who talks about saving money, budgetting and planning. She said she was using the Dave Ramsey plan so I searched him randomly on Spotify and his live podcast show thing came up. Since then i’ve been searching keywords in podcasts and have found some amazing ones I wanted to share with you all!

Happier with Gretchen Rubin

Gretchen Rubin is the author of several books, including the block- buster New York Times bestsellers, Better Than Before, The Happiness Project and Happier at Home. She has an enormous reader- ship, both in print and online, and her books have sold more than two million copies worldwide, in more than thirty languages. She makes frequent TV appearances and is in much demand as a speaker. On her weekly podcast Happier with Gretchen Rubin, she discusses good habits and happiness with her sister Elizabeth Craft. Rubin started her career in law and was clerking for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor when she realized she wanted to be a writer. She lives in New York City with her husband and two daughters.

The above is the press biography from her website and explains perfectly why I love her podcast with her sister Elizabeth Craft. Her podcast is my daily dose of productivity during my long commute to work in the morning; by the time I get there I am feeling much happier and inspired.

My favourite episode so far is episode 134 which you can find here¬†and listen to on her website if you don’t have a podcast platform currently. They talk about a concept that a listener wrote in about and something i’ve been doing for a few weeks actually; the “ta-da list”. I hadn’t given it a name when i started doing it but “ta-da list” is clever and makes sense.

The idea is that you write down all of your achievements in a list rather than your “to-do’s”. It’s a very simple idea and helps you to keep track of what you’re doing and gives you a sort of diary to look back on. The example the listener gave is that she was now in an unstructured job and needed a way to log all the work she was doing for her project. She said it also serves as a progression diary when asked by her boss to show her progress.

If you’re looking for a positive and inspiring podcast hosted by two hilariously sweet and funny ladies then definitely give this a go!

Do you have any podcasts you would recommend? 

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Isabelle xo

 

 

September Goals 2017 / August Recap

It’s about time for some goals I think! As per last months post that you can find here, I’m going to do a review of how I got on with last months goals and then get into this month’s goals.

August 2017 Goals

1. Meditate – This is something that I did a few times but didn’t really see much benefit. I was just too distracted to fully engage with it which I think says I need to meditate more than ever. This month I’m going to make more of an effort to practice it regularly and see if I can’t calm down a little.

2. Lose 10lbs – As you will quickly be learning I struggle a lot with my weight and have done so again this month. I spent the majority of this month in tremendous pain so this really was the last of my worries, unfortunately. I’m finally feeling a lot better so will be back on this one this month!

3. Plan next trip – I’m technically still in the middle of this one and am writing a few posts on places I want to visit and as I write the post I am researching where to stay, costs etc. 2 birds with 1 stone you see.

4. Workout – Unfortunately as I mentioned earlier I have been struggling so much with my health this month that working out hasn’t really been an option. I plan to tweak this goal for this month to try and make it more manageable.

5. Research the benefits of minimalism – This is the only goal I feel I’ve fully achieved in August :(. I’ve watched a lot of videos and read blog posts on the topic and am now in the market for a few books I can read that will expand my working knowledge of minimalism. It seems to be something people interpret very differently.

September 2017 Goals

1. Yoga/ meditate 3 times a week or more – 3rd time lucky right? I’ve had this on my 2 previous goals in some form or another. Last month I decided not to quantify the goal but have learnt then I trick myself into thinking once means I’ve done it if I just say “practice meditation”. Technically practising it once is practising though, right?

I want to try and either meditate or practice yoga a few 3 times a week because I found yoga really helped me before and I seriously need to stop stressing over unnecessary things and focus.

2. Drink 2+ litres of water a day – I mentioned in the recap that I had struggled a lot with my health last month and this was due to recurrent kidney issues. I’m actually writing a post at the moment talking all about it but it’s really difficult.

I never used to drink any water/ squash and would drink a can of something carbonated and that would be it for the WHOLE DAY. I know, it’s ridiculously unhealthy and childish to think it wouldn’t catch up with me. I know I should be doing it but don’t. Therefore I want to drink at least 2 litres a day to try and prevent further health issues.

3. Grow my blog further – This one I’m excited about! I have managed to almost double the amount of views in August compared to July and have a huge ambition to try and do the same this month! I also want to learn about Pinterest and how to properly use it to bring in more viewers. I do have specific social media and blog targets but those are very personal so I may share these if I hit them in next months report!

4. Pursue a hobby – I half-markedly (that’s a word right? ;]) have a lot of hobbies that I do when the mood takes me but I want to get serious about at least 1. I’m sort of already on track with this one because on Tuesday I have my first rehearsal session booked in with a local acapella group – I’m so excited. I also want to work more on my guitar skills and try and do an open mic night next month.

5. Learn something new – When I was in university I was totally done with learning and had had enough by the time my course was over. Ironically now I want to learn about a topic or something in particular and have no idea where to start. I kind of miss the research aspect and testing my theories as sad as that sounds. I’ve checked out eDX and have enrolled on a free course on productivity to test the waters before I actually pay for a course. I’ve also been re-learning German through an app on my phone.

6. Get my s**t together – I know, could I be vaguer if I tried? Probably not. I want to focus on using my bullet journal more and also logging all of my achievements. I get so caught up in what I haven’t done and really don’t focus on the small wins that I’ve had this month. I’ve decided to log these in my planner so I can see that the day has been better than I thought.

How has your month been?

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Isabelle xo

August Goals 2017/ July Report

So, I thought it would make sense to do my August goals but also to update you guys on how my July goals went. July was my birthday month and I had so much fun exploring and doing what I wanted to. Not saying that that is an excuse…

July 2017 Goal Report

1. Lose 10lbs¬†– Weight loss is something I’m really struggling with at the moment and my weekend away in Cambridge meant I ate terribly. I only lost 2lbs but with the way I was eating and treating my body, I’m surprised I lost anything.

2. Read/ finish 1 book¬†– Technically I have been reading a book but haven’t finished it yet. I got “The Million Dollar Blog” by Natasha Courtenay-Smith. It’s really interesting and I’m learning a lot about blogging as I go along. Expect a book review on this one really soon!

3. Go to the gym 14 times¬†– This one I actually did the opposite of… I actually cancelled my gym membership. I’m currently looking to move away from my home town in the next few weeks and gyms in the city are more affordable. I’ve been going for runs outside and will be trying yoga this week.

4. Practice self-care once a day РIf you recall I actually wrote a post on self-care and actually managed to do one thing from the list every day which I am proud of. I can see a change in myself because I am a lot more relaxed and my Fitbit that I got for my birthday has shown my average heart rate is slightly lower.

5.¬†Blog once a week – YEP! Nailed it! I am so proud I’ve managed to do a post a week, even if it has been a bit hectic at times. I’ve also managed to grow the Instagram and Twitter following for the blog as well and met some lovely blogger ladies.

August 2017 Goals

1. Meditate¬†– This links closely to last month as I was practising self-care regularly. I’ve found that meditation helps me to relax which is important as I’m a worrier and stress out quite easily.

2. Lose 10lbs¬†– So I hopped on the scales this morning and had an unfortunate shock. I’ve actually put on weight since updating the top of this post. I’m going to start using MyFitnessPal to track all of my calories in and out. It’s quite awesome because it syncs to my Fitbit and any extra steps I do will be added to my calorie allowance!

3. Plan next trip¬†– I’m one of those few people that have yet to leave the UK. I really don’t travel very far at all if I’m honest. Last weekend ¬†I stayed in Cambridge for a long weekend for my birthday and it was so amazing. This has made me want to go somewhere else new. I have a passport so it’s just a case of booking the trip and saving up! I’m thinking about going to Spain or somewhere hot ūüôā

4. Workout¬†– Last month I said go to the gym 14 times but I think leaving it more open ended may be more helpful. I’m going to try and go for a run every other day and practice yoga as well.

5. Research the benefits of minimalism¬†– I’ve been looking into minimalism and am unashamedly addicted to declutter videos on YouTube. I’ve heard a lot about the benefits of minimalism and I’m currently in a small room that is way too overcrowded. I need to actually get rid of a lot as 70% of it I don’t know I have or don’t use. Does anyone have any suggestions for where to start?

What are your goals this month?

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#NewMusicMonday Top 5 Songs – Week of 31st July 2017

{Photo from WeHeartIt ūüď∑}

I am still trying to find my bearings here on WordPress and in the blogging world. I enjoy the lifestyle posts, as well as the music posts so I thought I’d start a regular music post.

Here are 5 songs I love that I think you should check out.

  • Rain – The Script

The Script hold a special place in my heart. I met Danny when he was handing out business cards for their first ever single before them supporting the Hoosiers. It was cute, needless to say.

I love their new song rain but not because it’s them. I honestly feel like they’ve gone too mainstream on this one. I do like it as a song though, hence why it made the list. It’s a fun and upbeat song with a reggae vibe to it with a bit of a sad meaning behind it. I would love to see if Danny can hit those high notes live though. I’m sceptical. Either way, I’m glad they’re back.

  • Legends – Kelsea Ballerini 

This song has found its way into my Spotify this month because I absolutely love Kelsea Ballerini (think a cross between country-era Taylor Swift and a modern day Carrie Underwood). The song itself reminds me of Long Live by Taylor Swift a lot. If you’re looking for a new summer country song then I’d highly recommend this one!

This is a beautiful love song and my favourite lyrics, in particular, have to be “Like we were written down in permanent marker, not even the brightest sun could ever fade”. It’s such a beautiful image and has actually made me consider these lyrics or something similar for a tattoo I’m looking to get at some point soon. It’s one of those “sing your heart out” songs for the car, especially if you’re a modern country music fan.

  • Weak ft Louisa Johnson (Stay Strong Mix) – AJR & Louisa Johnson

What a title, right?! This is actually a remix of the original song called Weak by AJR. I stumbled across this song because it was on the top 40 for the UK. This is definitely another summer song and I really like the drop before the chorus. If you watch this performed live they used a digital recording thing for the female voice in the chorus.

Louisa Johnson (X Factor, So Good & Best Behaviour) is a welcome addition to this song. I love her voice and couldn’t believe the original wasn’t a credited artist in the beginning. She has such an impressive vocal range and I love the beautiful harmonies she brings to the track. I feel like the AJR singer can sound very autotuned at times so her raw vocals are a beautiful change.

  • Sorry Not Sorry – Demi Lovato

I will unashamedly explain that I used to love Camp Rock and Demi Lovato in general. I sing myself so I love listening to her music because her vocals are the main focus. I’m not entirely sure who upset Demi (i don’t really keep up with the “drama”) but this is an amazing girl power/revenge track.

I find myself singing the main line “baby I’m sorry, not sorry” quite a bit as it’s a phrase I’ve seen a few people using and posting. I have heard Demi is a very busy lady at the moment with a YouTube documentary being filmed about her, her collaboration with Fabletics and also her other musical collaborations. I’m so happy for her and this new hit is definitely just that, it is a hit that highlights how well she is doing now and if people don’t like it then they can expect her success as her revenge.

  • She Looks So Perfect – 5 Seconds of Summer

I had to look 5SOS up for this post to see if they were still even around. It turns out they seem to still be on a tour for their first album. How strange. Anyway. This remains as one of those older cringe-worthy pop songs that occasionally someone will mention American Apparel and me start singing the song again. It’s a decent mix of typical pop backing and catchy lyrics.

They’re an Australian boy band and I’ve actually been listening to the live version of this song. I think it is potentially better than the released track. Just to let you in on a little secret; this is kind of my drunk song. I sing the main lyrics when I’m rather drunk. That’s how you know it’s a good song, right? All silliness aside if you like pop boy bands *cough* One Direction *cough*  then you’ll totally love 5SOS if you haven’t heard of them before.

Have you had any new listens this week?

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To The Bone – Netflix Review

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I just want to preface this by saying I have never been affected by an eating disorder personally; this review may be impacted by that. 

I seem to be spending a terrible amount of time lately watching Netflix, [sorry not sorry] especially since I have been downloading things to watch on my train commute to work. I noticed To The Bone and decided to download it because it was something I remember hearing about but couldn’t remember why. Apparently, it was the fact the movie is littered with controversy.

At the time of writing this review, I’m¬†really conflicted about how I feel about this movie. To sum it up; it has elements of romance but isn’t a romance story, it has to feel good moment but isn’t a feel good film and also has moments of comedy but isn’t a comedic movie at the heart of it. I really enjoyed the movie but I’m still not 100% sure why. I do agree with some angry reviews that claim it glamorises anorexia. At times I feel it does because for the most part Ellen herself doesn’t seem too phased by it or like she is suffering.

I would recommend it when you have a free afternoon and you’re looking for something that will make you think a¬†little more about life itself. It teaches that as much as someone may claim to “have it together” the majority of the time they don’t. In a very harsh way, it also taught me that not everyone can be “saved” and that sometimes learning to cope is the best available outcome.

My main issue with this film is that I felt like it was the first episode of a series and I was very disappointed that it was just a movie. I think the characters themselves are very likeable and I think Luke is absolutely great along with Kelly, her sister. My overall opinion is that it’s worth a watch when there is very little else you’d rather watch. It gives an insight into anorexia and the way people think when they are affected by such an affliction. It also briefly touches on the feelings and thoughts of the people who surround the “sufferer”. For a more in-depth review with spoilers, keep reading.

[Spoilers lie ahead]

The story follows Ellen (Lily Collins), a young woman who suffers from anorexia and has seemingly tried all treatments going other than a radical one at a group recovery home that is run by Dr Beckham (Keanu Reeves). The premise, I feel, is a good one. Like I mentioned earlier I¬†feel like it would have benefited either from having a form of “resolution” or being made into a¬†multi-episode series.

The lighthearted nature throughout the movie meant that I quite enjoyed it and it felt like an oddly compelling documentary in places. I myself have not been impacted by an eating disorder and I feel like it helped me to understand a little about the disorder. This being said the lack of a definitive “happy ending” did leave me a little hopeless that she would actually better and would ultimately lose her life. I can see why this ending was written but hopefully, this isn’t the case for everyone who has an eating disorder.

There is a “moment” in To The Bone between Ellen and Luke and I have to say that I really enjoyed it. I am a romantic at heart and love it when two characters seemingly perfect for each other get together. The fact that Luke is such a positive person and seems to be making a lot of good progress is the main reason why I feel like he’d be great for Ellen. He also doesn’t take things too seriously but knows when to draw the line as well. I write fanfiction occasionally (i know, I’m a nerd..) ¬†and have an overwhelming urge to write their recovery together.

The main issue I had though was that the whole “she’s an artist and some girl committed suicide” story line really confused me throughout. I still don’t really understand why the girl killed herself or what significance it had. Maybe it was what sparked the anorexia or was a result of it. If you’ve seen To The Bone can you¬†please explain this to me?!

All in all, it’s definitely worth a watch but I would avoid letting younger kids watch it as I do agree in places it glamorises anorexia like 13 Reasons does with suicide. Worth a watch but doubtful I’d rewatch it.

6/10

Have you seen it? What did you think?

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