Breaking Bad Habits


I can’t remember if I’ve written about this before but most years I give up something for lent. I haven’t for the last few years, as I’ve either been away on holiday at that time (usually at VLV) or I just didn’t actually feel like giving up anything. I kinda of got into because I went to a catholic school and although I have never followed the religion or went to church as much as I should have (I’m not even confirmed so I’m not sure I’m a proper catholic anyway). These days I don’t considered myself religious at all, even though I still do the whole giving something up for lent.

So why do it?

Well I’ve always seen it as a good way to break bad habit or cut out seemingly harmless addictions. Lent runs for 40 plus days. They say it takes 21 days to break a bad habit but newer research suggests it’s more like 66 days, though naturally it does vary from person to person and the habit they’re trying to break but 40 days will get you well on your way.

So what can you give up for lent?

Pretty much anything you want, though it should really be something you could do without or are relying upon unnecessarily. Here’s a little list to get you on your way.

Refined/processed sugar – I am a terrible sugar fiend, recently I fell off the wagon and have been walking around in a sugar induced zombie state. I have no will power, just the one you say oh go on then. So I’m cutting out sugar. But here’s the thing don’t save up all your sweets you’re passing on for Easter Sunday or you’ll end up  undoing all your hard work. This means I will also have to give alcohol but I don’t drink enough to care that much but you might have to prise the cake from my hands!

Meat – they say we meat should be a treat, even though I won’t be giving up meat I have definitely cut down over the last few months. I know a vegetarian that also went vegan for lent, it should be about challenging yourself and making yourself aware as to the benefits of giving something up.

Smoking – I quit smoking a few years ago now, I don’t even crave the odd cheeky cig any more which is good but if you do smoke it’s something to consider giving up.

Social media – I have a few friends who give up Facebook for lent. As you know I’m cutting down on my social media as it’s all too much and quit Facebook already. Or maybe you’ve promised to spend less time playing games on your phone and more time reading, you could delete those apps!

Letting go of negative habits like comparing yourself to other people and their life or work. You are your own person on your own journey.

There are lots of other things you could give up whether it be alcohol, junk food, fizzy drinks, cigarettes or whatever bad vices you can think of but don’t feel bad or give up if you fall of the wagon just get right back on it and keep going.

Taking up Good habits

Another thing you could do is take a good habit, 40 plus days is great way to kick-start something good to take up
  • It could be a creative challenge
  • or something physical like a twenty minute brisk walk everyday
  • or thinking of one thing everyday that you are grateful for/ keep a gratitude journal
  • going to bed at a regular time,
  • getting up early
  • yoga
  • meditating
  • saving money (put two quid in a jar or something similar) and then buy yourself something nice or donate to charity
  • take up learning a language, ten minutes on a free language site like Duolingo or Babble to brush up those skills.

The list is pretty much endless, so this lent whether you are religious or not maybe think about letting go of something negative and taking up something positive instead. Let me know if you do and I can cheer you on.


Sleep Tight!

I recently came across a Ted talk with Arianna Huffington about the importance of sleep and productivity and from personal experience I had to agree with her. I see so many freelancers on the verge of burnout as they twitter away about how much work they have to do, how they’re going to pull an all nighter and just in general how they feel like they are never going to catch up or how they can’t shift this cold they’ve had for ages. And I get this, I’ve been there and I learnt the hard way. It’s no recent scientific revelation that the brain needs a decent amount of sleep to function properly, that along with hydration. Sleep is the bodies way of sorting and fixing the brain and body out, lack of good sleep can be quite detrimental. Well that’s easier said than done, I hear people say. Well it all depends on how you look at it but here’s a little bit about my story and sleep deprivation.
I used to suffer really bad insomnia, so bad it left me emotionally and physically fried and I walked into the doctors one day and told them I couldn’t stop crying and I didn’t know why. The first question he asked was ‘How are you sleeping?’ It turned out that several years of not being able to sleep properly had taken it’s toll and I was pretty much suffering from physical and mental exhaustion. Getting into a good sleep routine is hard, yeah getting to bed on time was easy but actually getting to sleep was another problem altogether, and as a last resort I ended up on medication to help reset my sleeping programme. I don’t advocate going on meds but if that’s what you need, then that’s what you need! But if you can do it without meds then that is better.
It took nearly two years for me to get back into a decent sleep pattern, it seemed weird at first because it literally forced by body and brain to slow down when it had been running at hyper speed for so long but slowly the benefits began to show. I was firstly less snappy even with people who deserved it, I could think clearer which meant I could plan clearer, make better judgements/decisions, the permanent sniffles and regular migraines began to ease up, I just began to function better. Whilst this all might sound obvious, we as a species seem to think that running on four hours sleep is an achievement, something to brag about and it’s not! We all know that lack of sleep can have devastating consequences, like when a driver falls asleep at the wheel, yet we continue to ignore the warning signs and push through and as a freelancer, I know how easy it can be do this.
I quit my old job because the stress was getting beyond ridiculous and I could see me heading back to my old ways of sleepless nights. The job wasn’t going to get better, it was in fact getting worse, the work load was getting bigger as they made other people redundant and not long after I left the company basically got shut down and absorbed, not related, even I’m not that egotistic but I knew that was going to happen and so I got out when I could and I’m so glad I did.
I had this big plan when I left but do you know what I did first? That’s right I slept! For two months I rested and I was in a fortunate enough position to not have to delve back into work right away but it enabled me to plan my future/my business and realistically see that it was going to be a long journey and it would be longer if I tried to cut corners to get there quicker. I opted for the creative field, make stuff and sell it. I’ve learned along the way when are the busier periods and when to take time off during the quieter periods to recharge and plan my future steps. I’ve learned to make sure I’m really prepared for the busier times, like a month or two in advance so I don’t get burned out from all the rushing around. My busiest period is Sept-Jan, I make sure I have a clear cut plan to deal with these period and you know it works and I can pretty much stick to a ‘normal’ working day. Yes I do end up working a few extra hours here and there and pretty much a seven day week but it’s about time management. There are probably a few people still scoffing at this point and that’s fine, I get that! As freelancers we don’t get sick pay or holiday pay, and we’re constantly worried that the work will dry up, trust me that thought crosses my mind at least twice a day!
But mistakes caused through lack of sleep and tiredness will cost you more in the long run and it will be the stupidest of mistakes that could have been easily avoided if you were on the ball! If you’re constantly tired or sick, you slow down and become less productive. You’re prone to making mistakes that could cost you and your business, and in some cases create even more work for you as you need to fix those mistakes. Sounds silly but when I’m tired I get my husband to double check my work for me just because he’s usually around but sometimes 9most of the time) he’ll spot things I haven’t even though I’ve checked it a ten times already!
The trick (or at least one of them) is to treat to your job like you’re in a full timed employed job for someone else, remember when (that’s if you ever did) work for someone else or a company. How you had set hours, tea breaks, deadlines etc, do the dame for yourself as a freelancer. Easier said than done but seriously it can be done and will benefit you in the long run.  Set your hours like you would if you were working for someone else. You’re entitled to personal time, take into account overtime for projects/commissions but remember to bill for your time! Treat any extra hours you do as overtime and don’t feel guilty for taking those hours back to go out and catch up with a friend or go shopping or basically have a day off.
Obviously I’m not a sleep expert or a medical professional or a business expert even, and I can only tell you what I know from personal experience and of course everyone is different. Personally I like being awake at night but for practicality and work purposes I need to sleep at night, some jobs allow you to work the hours and times of day you choose, which is great but don’t neglect the fact that you still need sleep. It’s fine to pull an all nighter on a deadline once in a while but if you find yourself constantly having to pull all nighters to keep up with work, you need to either stop taking on so much work, be better organised or ask for help! There are plenty of other people in the same position as you willing to lend an ear or hand if needs be, even if it’s just referring you to someone else who could be able to help. Remember you can do anything, just not everything! Also get some sleep!

Ramblin’ Rose

I’m pretty sure it comes across that I’m a shopaholic sometimes but that’s probably but that’s only a half truth. I tend to go on shopping splurges once in a while because I run out of stuff but then I also have to buy lots of stuff for work so it just feels like I’m shopping all the time, though this year I have kind of treated myself a little more that usual. The worse time is walking into TK Maxx when they’ve just had a new shipment of beauty products in, I’m a sucker for beauty products, not that you could tell because half the time I cannot be bothered to put my face on!
My skin has been feeling a little tired lately, stress of trying to get finish up my epic stock clear out and use up old stuff and pack the shop out ready for busy season (which has been done), poorly family member’s (who are now on the mend) has resulted in a crappy diet and lack of sleep over the last few months and it’s showing in my skin.

I popped into TK Maxx and was having a browse and decided to try out some more beauty products. I opted for some Rose themed products mainly because I love the smell of roses and it’s also supposed to help brighten up tired skin. I already use Boot’s rosewater and glycerine toner daily which is fab and fairly cheap. I Hibiscus and Rose bath bomb bar was at the counter and I actually picked it up thinking it was chocolate at first but it smells lush, so it’s waiting for when I actually decide to chill out and have a relaxing bath!
Not one to be ever suckered in by pretty packaging and the promise of rejuvenated skin, I spent a little more on this than I would normally for a face cream. The serum is dispensed by a little pippet as you only need a few tiny drops for your face and neck. It’s silky smooth and has nice matt finish and soaks into the skin really well. It also leaves a lively light rose scent, so for £12.99 I’m not grumbling, in fact I might be hunting this out again.
I’ve been look for a face sponge/exfoliator for a while now that I’m stopping using exfoliating face washes because they contain plastic beads. So I picked up this Konjac Sponge for £3.99. This sponge is made of natural vegetable fibres, it’s very soft on the skin and therefore can be used daily and lasts about 3 months, so I might go back and stock up on some more. 

I’m a bit obsessed with face masks at the moment and  have stocked up on loads to test drive, especially as my skin suffers so much in the colder months. These ones came with five in a box for £4.99.

I also opted for some vitamin c masks because I’m planning on having a weekly face mask session because well I can and I want to and now winter is coming, I can finally get back to using all those saved up lush bath bombs and get back to my weekly soak in a hot bath, slap on a face mask and read a book!
 Also made some random purchases off the clearance shelf. I’m not sure what possessed me to buy false eyelashes especially with my fear of gluing my eyes shut!

 But this Tarina Tarantino under eye brightener is the bomb! (do people even say that any more, I’m showing my age aren’t I?) Anyway this Eye Dream Hyperlight combats my tired baggy eyes no end and is now my go to under eye highlighter. I think was about a fiver, I’ve lost the receipt but it was worth it whatever it was.
We don’t have Sephora over here, well I think there’s an outlet shop somewhere but generally if you want Sephore products, you either need to buy online or stock up when your abroad. So I stocked up a few face and eye masks this time, probably a little too many because my French is rubbish and I’m typically British when it comes to these things and was just like yes I’ll take all of them to be polite! I have yet to try these ones out because I have a stack of face mask packs to get through, so we’ll ahve to wait and see what they’re like.

Oh but before I go I left these little wonders behind! You may have caught my what the hell are these moment on either Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram because basically I’m a child and found these hilarious. Though I have it on good authority that the Hellpore mask for the same range is brilliant.

So I don’t know whether beauty products will feature to much on here but I have some Kat Von D eyeliner and lipstick I bought in April to still test out and some new Lime Crime Lipsticks, so there maybe a few more posts!

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post, all items were purchased with my own cash for personal use.

Hi Ho, It’s On The Treadmill I Go!

Somewhere in the Metropolis (yes I’m back) there is a woman cursing at trying to get on her size 12 jeans and throwing her bathroom scales out of the window of her sixth floor flat! Ok maybe that is a slight exaggeration but the thought had crossed my mind plus i can’t keep afford to using the evil scales at Boots, you the one that insists on announcing to the netire store that you’re being weighed and to stand still while it does it, like your some naughty child.  Anyway after four days of lounging around and being spoilt rotten at the OH’s for christmas I may have put of a few pounds, added to the weight I gained last christmas and during this summer lets just say I’m looking a little podgy and leave it at that! But i am determined to get healthy, there are only three days left of the year so I am getting a head start on my health and body overhaul. The last of the cigarettes have been smoked, the sugar is being cut down on as we speak and my yogic breathing exercises are being practised for the short temper I am about to get as one’s body goes through withdrawal from all the crap I have been feeding it over the last few months.

I keep telling myself it’s for the greater good, my diet is appalling considering the stomach problems I have and my waistline only encourages that heart attack or stroke that seems to plague one side of the family or other! Plus I have no money or the space to buy or store new clothes! So I’ve dusted of the recently acquired steps machine,dug out the yoga video from pile of unwatched DVD’s and cleared all breakables out the way for the hula hooping! So I currently weigh in at 12st6lb (yep you read that right) and plan on losing 2 stone by the beginning of summer, I figure as it’s harder to work off weight when you hit your mid thirties, this should be a workable timeframe.  I may even resort to drastic measures and stick a fat photo on my fridge to remind me of my goal! I don’t want to be skinny, I just want to be healthy and not worry.

I shall bore you with my progress as to how I get on!