My Personal Planner 2017-18

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Who else is slightly obsessed with planners and stationary? I cannot get enough I usually have two planners as well as a to-do list note book for work, is it a little overkill? Maybe but i like to be organised.

Somehow I ended up doing my personal planners March to March but it’s a weird thing that works for me at this time, I mean it doesn’t really matter as long as you find it useful. Last year was my first Personal Planner, you can see an in depth look in my First Impressions or Follow Up Review  post. I thought I would show my new one to show what I chose this time and why.

This time the mood took me for a bit of gold, to add a little bit of sparkle and glam into my life. I really love how this turned out, I’m yet to try and create my own cover but there are such great options on the website I have never truly felt a need to. In terms of inside I went slightly different form last year not going quite as mad with all of the different options available. Compared to my last one which was pink and colourful I definitely went for a much more muted pallet internally opting for blacks and greys, I just often found the colours clashed and now the odd pop of colour can add emphasis opposed to a distraction. Hopefully in future I won’t find it too dull but right now I am loving this more neutral feel for 2017/18. I do wish though a gold/white inside could have been chosen though just having a simple bright white planned may have been super cute as well.

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In terms of module choices I kept some of my choices with whether and dinners remaining put and swapping out a tick list for a straight forward to-do list my weekly pages look similar to last year. The biggest changes was with my additional pages, I still kept my month view I loved using it mainly for a look back on the month it’s a nice summary page and good for forward planning. While at the back I kept it simple removing the year overview as I never used it and option for lined paper, soduku and blank pages. Last time I went for a bit of everything and didn’t necessarily use it so I kept it straight forward this time. Actually the main reason for the blank pages is that I didn’t having a lined back page last time, and I’m so glad it’s perfect and unmarked now.

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I’m so happy with how it turned out this time and although slightly pricier than some planners, last year I used my Personal Planner consistently as I got to pick options that worked for me. Other planner in the past I didn’t use as I couldn’t get them to work for me no matter how pretty it was. So if you want a good quality and reasonably priced custom planner I’d really recommend checking out Personal Planner on their website here. Now please excuse me while I fill it up and admire it for a little while.

Gwen

xxx

Getting Organised: Blogging

Last Friday I covered getting organised in my life in general (available here), today is how I am now organising my blog. Earlier in the year I showed you my notebook, solely dedicated to the organisation of my blog which although a great idea proved to be clunky I didn’t always use it and I just found I never referred to it. I find organisation is a bit of trial and error and this system I used a base for the past few month and have found a great system to keep me on top of things.

Spreadsheet Everything: I use a few spreadsheets but my core document has a sheet for a calendar and a checklist of upcoming posts, as I plan to post every week on Tuesdays and Fridays as well as weekly social media posts. This is super visual and helps prompt ideas as well as time frames for me to finish certain posts or tasks. You can also plan far in advance, you can assign seasonal posts when you think about them and easily find them again at a later date.

Weekly To Do Lists: As I mentioned in the life organisation post, I write weekly to do lists, not necessarily for a certain days but its covers the post I want to sort out that week. I also break it down into the individual tasks for that particular post that have to be done, by breaking it down it seems less daunting as well as making sure you don’t miss anything.

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Making Notes: I am always making notes either specifically post based or post ideas, these are either in my planner or phone. My notes can vary between the odd word, post title, product thoughts or even mini paragraphs ready for blog posts. This is key to keeping me organised as once I come to write the posts the majority of the post is already there. It is one of the most important things for me in keeping organised as the whole sitting down to write a post is not quite such a big tasks.

What helps you get organised with your blog? Let me know in the comments below so we can all be more productive bloggers when we attempt to juggle life, blog and work.

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Night Time Routine

I am not sure if I have ever done a night time routine, I did cover my skincare routine through all stages of the day back in February which you can see here. Most of the products are the same or very similar as they are what works for me.

Night Time Routine Clippers Green Tea

So I thought I would start with the routine with me winding down, as my evenings vary and a whole evening routine covering what the 6ish hours between me getting home and going to bed seems a little much. So after doing whatever I’ve been doing I make myself a nice mug of Clippers Mango Green Tea, and change into my pjs, these cute coffee bottoms from Primark are some of my favourite. Then I sit and watch some YouTube videos, look through social media and text people just generally relaxing.

I take the time to tie my hair up and but on the rather fetching headband to keep all of my hair out of my face before starting my skincare routine. By this point I have usually already removed my makeup, I generally do it after getting in from work so my evening one is more to make sure my skin is cleansed and moisturised before bed.

In order to have some time away from the screen before bed, I get out my planner and write down what I need to do the next day, and appointments or plans. I also like to use the weather tracker so just make note. I’ll sometimes add to the monthly view, as I don’t use stickers but I like to draw little pictures to add some colour. Depending on my mood I sometimes to a bit of colouring while listening to some music, I need to invest in some big colouring books but for now I am using the back pages in the planner. I just do a bit at a time and build up but it’s just a way for me to cut down looking at a screen all day.

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Sometimes I flick the tv on before bed, but now I am trying to just get into bed shut off the lights and get off to sleep. It’s made such a different to my sleep and I’m glad I’ve skipped watching tv late into the night.

So what is your night time routine like, busy and hectic or relaxing and chilled?

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Free Calender Desktop Wallpapers

So the other day I was creating some calender desktop wallpapers for my personal and work laptops and thought they were cute so I would share them with all of you lovely people. They are by no means perfect, I am no creative person by a lot of means by career is as a Data Analyst but I thought they were too cute not to share.

Any way here is something a little different with my desktop backgrounds featuring a calendar for each month, all are free to download and just do as you please with them I just thought I’d share as I often find it difficult to find these sorts of things especially ahead of time.

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Let me know what you think and if you would like these sorts of things in future as I kind of enjoyed making these, maybe something slightly more beauty or blogging related. I also have tried playing with some organisation type ones in the past so let me know if you are curious for more desktop backgrounds which are made to be cute and practical.

Fingers crossed you should just be able to click on the image and it will download, if not just do the usual right click trick or let me know. Anyway enjoy.

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Personal Planner First Impressions

Personal Planner 'You Are Capable of Amazing Things' Cover

I have kept considering getting the personal planner the past year or so and back in January I finally decided to order one, my current diary goes write up to Febuary 2017 but I am going to keep that solely as a blogging planner and this one as my personal planner. So to try it out the first time I decided to go March 2016 to March 2017, that’s one of the best things about personal planner you can pick any 12month period you want.

There are a hue range of front covers available, block colours, patterns and even your personal pictures if you desire, I went for the ‘designs’ which have new ones for 2016. It really is a case of creating your own planner and making something you’ll use and like. The cover you pick semi influences the colour scheme inside, like top bars etc. But this can easily be adjusted if you prefer something else, I adore these cute little touches.

They are a number of different layout available and I chose for the slightly more unconventional vertical columns this is because I am a list maker so this layout works best for me. You can also have custom things in the columns which include workout, work and weather. I added in the weather as I linked that small touch but didn’t want anything bulky and thought it might be nice to test the additional options. You can also customise the bottom of the weekly spread there’s a huge range of choice and in the end I went for the weekly dinner list (only downside is its Monday to Friday) but I am a meal planning person so it’s perfect. I then went for a check list, there was a to do list but I preferred the checklist lay out, then I can put down weekly tasks that I need to do and tick them off once they are done. For the last area I went for lines and I’ll just use it as and when although I am tempted to put lyrics there or quotes just to fill the space.

There is also 3 sections in the back which you can chose from a list of options. To start with I went for a 2016 and 2017 overview where I can note important events over the year and dates for the following year, there was also an option for 2017-2017 which seemed a little redundant for me. My second option was colouring pages (random I know) this bit gave some more choices around activities etc. from the world map to Sudoku, or the same old lined paper, I never use lined paper in diaries and I thought the colouring pages were a super fun idea, as I keep thinking about buying an adult colouring book. My final part I chose a month by month view which also includes ruled paper. I love the idea of having a month spread at the start of the month so you can see big events, or for bloggers etc. you can plan your months posts, either way super useful and it is a new option for this year.

Personal Planner Packaging

I ordered my planner on January 6th wanting one to start in March but allowing for plenty of time for delivery, as they tend to estimate two weeks. On the 14th January I received an email saying my planner had been dispatched and it should be expected in the next 2-6 days, which is a huge window but it fits in with the expected delivery for the planner. When it arrived I was super happy with my choices and customisability of this planner yet still not being too expensive compared to others being £22.90 total including delivery. You can also choose to add bonus items although it comes with a plastic wallet and ruler etc. although you can add more if you want to such as pens and extra wallets in a range of colours. I also love the quality of the planner, it looks beautiful the paper is of a high quality and its thick comprehensive planner so if you love organisation, list making and note jotting its ideal. I’m super happy with the lay out and cannot wait to use it.

A few things I’m not so keen on but I can definitely learn to live with them, they are definitely sitting on the nit picking side. The main issue I have is that the back cover is hard card, with lines printed on it. This is not practical to write on, and in my opinion looks untidy, I would prefer to have a plain white blank page to end the diary. I also feel as though there is not a logical place to put in the plastic wallet and mine has gone in the front, due to the lines on the back page it looks weird there and every section has starts with two pages facing each other so although it is tidier I can’t work out where to put it. These are my two biggest gripes at the moment and in reality they aren’t a big deal, simply personal preference.

So that’s my first impression, I am super excited to try it out properly and see if it is practical when I want to use it day to day. Let me know in the comments if you would like a follow up review. Also are you a stationary/organisation junkie?

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Improving Well-Being – Reducing Anxiety

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Back in July I shared my mental health story and my long running although no longer limiting anxiety disorder which you can read here, as well as some general advice which you can read here. Over the years I’ve read countless pieces on improving mental health and general advice, some are so farfetched while most are probably placebos but I thought I’d share what I’ve heard and the ones I follow.


Cod Liver Oil

This is one I got told by my family doctor around the time I was diagnosed, well over 10 years ago. Countless experiments had shown that taking cod liver oil helped reduce social anxiety and increase focus in children while adult trials proved to be inconclusive. My mum didn’t see the harm in trying it and I try to regularly take cod liver oil, I do feel as though it has helped although it’s not going to completely stop anxiety its meant to help with the underlying low levels of anxiety. To be honest I’m not completely fussed if this works or not because I don’t feel the harm in taking the capsules as omega 3 isn’t something that heavily features in my diet, the capsules are easy to swallow and inexpensive, it is no different to taking a multi vitamin really.

Eating Fish

This is similar to the cod liver oil, eating oily fish and consuming omega 3 helps improve wellbeing. Some people swear by this from anxiety to bi-polar disorder, some people swear this helps them deal with their disorder. This is only something I have made a bigger effort on this last year, with the stress of university in February I started to feel more generally anxious and thought I needed to make a change, so I decide to make an effort to eat fish once a week, salmon being the most common choice. Despite hating fish my boyfriend supported me and helped find a good mix of side dishes that would go with fish that he could have with something else.

I really feel as though this did reduce my general anxiety but whether it actually does, or it was all in my head is a different matter. Fish is part of a healthy balanced life style and I enjoyed some delicious meals.

Don’t Be Afraid to Take a Step Back

When it is all getting too much, take a step back and admit that you were struggling. Either seek help from your known support network if you’ve got professional help in the past, or talk to someone close to you. Theoretically you need to try and do the stuff that makes you anxious but if things get too much just take a step back and breathe. Take some time out for you, it really does help and it’s not selfish.

Getting Out of the House

Spending a long number of days at home, can increase anxiety and down feelings in those with disorders and it is commonly recommend to do something every day. Being proactive and planning or doing something can help, I try to do something every day. I get antsy doing nothing all day so sometimes even just walk around my village as it can be positive to get out of the house. If I stay in all day I make sure its productive, getting work done, writing blog posts, taking and editing pictures etc.

Drinking Less Coffee

Some people have linked caffeine with increased anxiety, I don’t know how true it is but it does effect sleep etc. At one point I was drinking 5/6 cups a day, which needed to change so I’ve switched to flavoured green teas. I know people promote other benefits of green tea which I’m not convinced they are all true, but drinking green tea isn’t going to do any harm and I prefer the taste of green tea. I’m also trying to drink more water but that’s health and skin related than anxiety related.

Planning and Organised

This is a mixed bag as some people recommend organisation to those that struggle with mental disorders while some are actively discouraged to do so. Planning relaxes me, and allows me to think things through with travelling especially on public transport I know every step, every stop and every expected time all noted down, it sounds insane but it really does help. Allowing extra time and knowing where I should be when just keeps me calm.

I also write loads of to do lists, especially daily to do lists this helps me know I’ve done everything and I’m on track. Everything has its somewhat disorganised place, I just like having things when and where I need it.

Induldge in a Familiar Smell or Sound

When I am feeling anxious I always spray my favourite perfume, or listen to my favourite album. Just use something that comforts you even just a little bit can make a huge different. For the first week of driving I played my favourite two albums, they brought back such amazing memories of concerts and times with friend that it really helped me relax. Or if I’m having a tough generally anxious day, I love wearing my boyfriend’s t-shirts he is just a strong force in my life and it just reminds me of that.


So those are the few things I do to reduce anxiety, they could all simply be placebos but I honestly don’t see the harm in it. None of these things make it worse and some are actually good life decisions.

September/October Collective Haul

Who doesn’t love a bit of a haul? I was going to do a collective September Haul but with only a smallish feel unique haul which didn’t seem work it I thought it would be worth combining September and Octobers hauls together as I really haven’t been buying too much. I also apologise if you have seen some of these items in posts already, as I have used some of them as I brought them for particular reasons over September and October.

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I think I actually ordered this at the end of August from Feel Unique but it didn’t arrive until the start of September and I missed the chance to put them in the collective August haul. I did pretty damn good though getting everything on sale plus an additional 10% off, I resisted going made and I only brought the things I actually need, as if I needed more makeup.

With Tanya Burrs new makeup or repackaged makeup being launched in August a lot of the older items were on sale, unfortunately the lashes I wanted had sold out. Probably because the packages are all being repackaged so £2.80 for Tanya Burr Lashes is a bloody steal, I also missed out of the lip glosses as the ones I wanted had gone but I picked up two nail polishes which I have been eyeing up for months, I owned two already and they are really great nail polishes. So I picked up the totally out of season but so pretty I’ll wear in anyway Tanya Burr Polish in Little Duck which actually went beautifully with my graduation outfit although in the end I went for flower detailed nails. The other nail polish I picked up was the Tanya Burr Nail Polish in Peaches & Cream, a lovely pinky nude some will consider it more summery but for me it’s a great all round nail polish. Both nail polishes were a bargain at £2.16 each.

I’ve been curious to pick up the Maybelline Colour Tattoo eyeshadows for ages but the highly popular bronze shade, doesn’t fit in with what I tend to wear. However I felt the Maybelline New York Colour Tattoo 24hr Gel-Cream Eyeshadow in 65 Pink Gold (£3.81), would slip perfectly into my makeup collection and will work with everything in my collection either as a strong base or as part of an eye look. Now back to the world of Rimmel, who I seem to own a lot of makeup by concerning lips and face. I think it’s just because they just make such good product, does anyone else absolutely love Rimmel London or is it just me? I love my Rimmel East End Snob Lipliner for being long lasting and thought a second lip liner wouldn’t go a miss so I picked up the Rimmel Lasting Finish 1000 Kisses Lipliner Pencil in Tiramisu (£2.01). I’ve tried some cheap, like proper cheap white and nude eyeliners but have found them to be a bit pants but with tired eyes from work I thought I’d try the Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Khol Kajal Line in Nude (£2.69) which has been recommended to me by quite a few people.

ASDA Diary and PEns

These are the only other two things I brought in September as I wanted to get more organised, and I prefer smaller diaries opposed to the cheap A4 counterpart I’ve barely used in months. I work close to an Asda and because they had their back to school range still in at the time it made sense to pop in on a lunch time. The Patterned Diary (£3.00) is one in which you write your own dates, although I have written it out until the end of the diary and its an 18month diary which I tend to prefer as I like the thickness (sounds odd I know). Then on the organised line I brought some asda own brand Coloured Fineliners (£1.00) so that I can colour code my events, things to do, blog things etc. and it really breaks up the pages.

Primark Scarf

So I wanted a little something to update my wardrobe for this Autumn/Winter without costing a fortune, so Primark was my first stop, as I have a lot of good winter basics and I love layering so I don’t need a huge amount of new clothes. I’ve kept thinking about getting a huge warm scarfs as you can use it as a blanket or it can keep you warm, especially on the commute as I drive to work and this time of year I don’t need a coat but you want something to keep you warm. So I picked up this super soft and big Tartan Scarf which only cost £5.00 I’m obsessed with it.

Macadamia Foot Pack

I’ve talked about foot packs before as they are one of the simplest, and least messy way to moisturises and treat your feet. I’m not loyal to any particular brand or one as I just pick up what’s there, this time I picked up two Macadamia Oil Extract Foot Pack (£0.99), which I’ve used before and I really love. Well worth trying out.

So that’s what I picked up over September/ October have you guys picked up anything good recently?

How to Write a Blog Post?

How I Write Blog Posts

So we have all had those moments where we have an amazing idea but have no idea how to put pen to paper so to speak, over the past year I have developed a tried and tested method for writing a fool proof blog post. Earlier in the year I should you how I got my blog organised, which you can check out here, this starts with that and takes it that step further. So here is how I go about writing my blog post, this was all written and illustrated around when I was writing my morning routine post which you can check out on my page.

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First comes first I start with the idea and look about planning it out, what content do I want and what do I need to do to achieve this such as research. This can vary depending on the type of blog post I am creating a haul post takes very little thought just a little bit of organising the items into sections to take pictures and structure the blog post e.g. organising by shop or type of product. When looking at reviews it takes a little bit more work, I look to take notes while using the product and looking at how it wears throughout the day over the course of a week. Taking notes and orgainsing points and paragraphs for a post has made writing so much easier considering I used to do this all the time for essays but never thought to do this with the blog post. For example with the morning routine post I started by jotting down everything I do in a morning in order elaborating on each point if needs be to remind myself what needs to be mentioned.

Then I will build up the post, I aim to just sit down and write solidly but I always like to have something on in the background. This varys sometimes if I need to work a lot of the pictures or do a lot of photo editing I will opt for spotify, where I listen to Man Overboard radio so I get a nice mix of music. Other times I will but all my subscriptions to the watch later playlist and watch my wierd mix of channels from Achievement Hunter to Fluer de Force, or sometimes I watch a bit of The Simpsons always a classic.

Appropriate TAG’s for your post is highly important for new people finding your posts and blog, so I note down important possible TAG’s as I go along such as brands and related key words. I find this way better than trying to think of all of the keywords at the end. Its basically doing anything that can make the whole thing simpler and much more efficient.

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Once the post is finished I move onto the pictures, sometimes the pictures are taken first but the editing is always left until after. If I am taking photos after the post has been written I sometimes make notes of what I need to take photos off for example with the morning routine I listed everything i needed to group within each picture. I use picmoney as it is free (you can pay for additional tools) but its great for basic editing and collages which is all I need really. So then I organise the pictures, upload them to wordpress and name them all accordingly so they come up within a google search result. Once the pictures have been added to the post I check through everything and make sure I’m happy with everything.

As I go along I tick everything off on my tick chart and schedule the post according to my plan, trying to ensure variety with the content of the posts while still ensuring regular quality content. After scheduling the post to wordpress I will hop over to HootSuite where I schedule a few tweets to go out around it to alert people of the new post and make the most of hash tags ect. to make everything more searchable. Then I can sit back and relax and wait for it to post, and see the reaction.

So how do you guys write posts? Do you have a general structure or do you just go for it?

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Getting My Blog Organised

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Hey Guys, so a while back I announced a new schedule for my blog as part of my getting organised in my life and blog. So I thought I’d show you how I’ve got organised and keeping on top of things.

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Hey Guys, so a while back I announced a new schedule for my blog as part of my getting organised in my life and blog. So I thought I’d show you how I’ve got organised and keeping on top of things.

So first up is actually organising posts, I list out the dates and then decide what posts are going when with the last post of the month obviously being reserved for monthly favourites posts. I’m aiming to post twice a week, on Tuesday and Friday, then additional posts depend on how much time I have and if I have something to say that’s time dependant. The idea from the tick list is what I’d seen Lilly Pebbles show on a vlog and its a great idea so you can make sure everything’s done.

So essentially I write what post is ready for that date and then go through the list, the best thing is that nothing has to be done in order I can look and do photos when I have good lighting and do 4/5 posts worth of  photos and with the tick chart I know they are there. The tick categories I have are writing, pictures, tags, links and social media, which covers everything especially as I tend to forget social media. This year I decided to get to get HootSuite and its so convenient and ideal for scheduling tweets (follow me here *wink face*) while sitting and scheduling a few posts is great.

It just helps keep everything in order and if I can see it laid out over a page its easier to keep everything planned and on schedule.

Next thing is keeping up with content so I dedicated a few pages to it and probably many more as the year goes on. I just feel like its best to note it down.

First up I have 3 pages for monthly favourites with a small sticky note per month. The small size is so I have keep the number of items low it’s easy to get ahead of yourself and put everything you’ve used in a monthly favourites. Its also handy for looking back at the end of the year for yearly favourites as I can also note reoccurring favourites that I may not wish to post about all the time.

After that I have a few pages of post ideas where I can note down everything I come up with that I can check out another day. Hopefully preventing writers block, unless the writers blocks lasts weeks. Even if you don’t plan out to such extent noting down ideas somewhere is well worth doing.

And finally I have notes for reviews, here’s the notes for my smash box review the rest of the page is filled with yet unwritten reviews. Therefore I can see initial reactions I had when it comes yo writing my reviews as opinions can change over a few weeks of use and its fairly helpful. I’m currently trying out a few primers and mascaras.

So that’s how I got myself organised if you have any more questions just let me know.

Love

Gwenllian Branwen

xxx

New Twitter

Hey guys just a quick one, I’ve now created a public twitter purely for my blog as of tonight which you can find here.although you can still follow my personal one too which is here. I just thought it would be best to separate them out and I can easily update you what’s happening on my blog there.

Lots of Love, Gwenllian Branwen