Choosing Monthly Mantras

Monthly Mantras Post-It’s Pin

Back in July last year I shared a blog post about the Monthly Mantras I’d been choosing in lieu of a Word for the Year.

Today I want to share the words I picked for the remainder of last year and what they meant to me.

If you haven’t picked a word for the year why not choose a monthly mantra to steer you for the next month and see how that goes? You may decide to stick with it for the rest of the year or choose a different one each month depending on what’s going on in your life.

Monthly Mantras – July to December 2019

July – Connection

July was a month of social engagements and networking. I also set up the FTGE Facebook group. We had a family holiday to Scotland and I wanted a reminder to use every opportunity to form connection.

Connection is one of my Core Desired Feelings.

August – Balance

When I was throwing around ideas for August I quickly skipped past Balance – which is one of my Personal Values – as it didn’t feel achievable! But I quickly realised as I threw other words into the ring (adventure, routine, celebration, relaxing) that Balance was exactly what I should be focusing on that month.

August meant it was the Summer Holidays in the UK so my son was home. And he celebrated turning 9. I wanted to get to the end of the Summer break and be able to look back knowing we had fun and spent quality time together but that I also kept other things (the blog, social media, house work, creativity, food & exercise) ticking along as well.

And that’s where balance came in. As a Libra I am intrigued by balance and it’s something I often struggle with. In certain aspects of my life I can be All-or-Nothing…and Balance doesn’t get a look in.

I wanted to be mindful of balance. I wanted to remind myself that:

  • days spent at home can be just as much fun as days out
  • this introvert needs to seek out quiet time amongst the noise
  • I can enjoy an ice-cream AND the homegrown lettuce
  • we can do things on a whim and not have it all planned out.
September – Fresh

September makes me think of Fresh Starts. I used to love pencil-case shopping for back to school (& still use it as an excuse to look for new stationery)! When I thought of Fresh it led me to:

  • Start,
  • Ideas,
  • Food and
  • Air
  • plus Freshen Up.

In September I wanted to freshen up my routines so that I was putting more time and effort into my writing. I also wanted to make the most of the sunshine and summer vibes and get outside and eat lots of fresh salad and fruit while it was still available.

October – Magical

For October I chose MAGICAL for my monthly mantra. I’ve always found Autumn to be magical plus it’s my birthday month and there’s Halloween right at the end so it felt like a good choice! We also returned to New Zealand for a visit in October and I knew that I wanted that trip to be magical. I was ready to look for magic in daily life.

Magical is one of my Core Desired Feelings.

November – Adapt

I didn’t choose November’s word until a little bit into the month. We returned from our New Zealand trip on the 9th of the month full of jet-lag and feeling discombobulated. Adapt seemed to be the right fit. I wanted to get back into the right time-zone, guide us all back into regular daily life and get back into the swing of things. I was also adapting to the change of seasons and light levels as Autumn took hold. Plus I had some recent changes to my health that I needed to adapt to.

December – Peace

I chose this word in retrospect right at the end of the year. It took longer to adapt then I’d expected and December snuck up on me. I ended up needing to relax and rest and let things go. I made a conscious decision for less stress, rushing and busy-ness. And most of all I needed to make peace with the year and everything that had happened (I’ll be honest and say that in February 2020 I’m still working on that! And hope to share more soon).

Peace is one of my Core Desired Feelings.

Did Choosing Monthly Mantras Work for Me?

It’s interesting to look back at the words I chose over the course of the year.

5 of the words chosen (Nourishment, Spark, Connection, Magical and Peace) are my 5 Core Desired Feelings and I think this has helped me realise that those words are still very important to me. Two of the words (Love and Balance) are Personal Values of mine.

Towards the end of the year I felt less connected to this project. I was late picking the words each month but I did still continue. And I think there was value in selecting words midway through the month and even in retrospect. I’m glad I did it. I enjoyed having a different theme each month and I’d recommend giving it a go – particularly if choosing one word for the whole year is daunting.

Choosing Monthly Mantras BuJo Pin Image

Forward into 2020

In 2020 I haven’t chosen a single word for the year and I’m not currently choosing a monthly mantra. Instead I have some themes for the year and I am setting goals relating to the themes. I’ll be sharing more about this with you very soon.

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Do you have a theme word this year or this month? If so do let me know. I love seeing what other people choose.

Twenty Cozy Artist Date Ideas

Today I’d like to share some Cozy Artist Date Ideas.

Cozy Artist Date Ideas title image

Earlier this year I posted some Fair Weather Artist Dates. And now the weather and seasons are turning cooler here in the UK I thought I’d share some artist date ideas for the Autumn and Winter months. I also have a post sharing 40 Artist Date Ideas from a couple of years ago.

What is an Artist Date?

An Artist Date is an idea from a book by Julia Cameron called The Artist’s Way. I’ve blogged about the book HERE.

And this is what Julia Cameron says about Artist Dates:

“The Artist Date is a once-weekly, festive, solo expedition to explore something that interests you. The Artist Date need not be overtly “artistic” —think mischief more than mastery. Artist Dates fire up the imagination. They spark whimsy. They encourage play. Since art is about the play of ideas, they feed our creative work by replenishing our inner well of images and inspiration. When choosing an Artist Date, it is good to ask yourself, “what sounds fun?” — and then allow yourself to try it.”

I don’t think you have to class yourself as an ‘artist’ to enjoy the concept of an Artist Date so why not give it a go?

20 Cozy Artist Date Ideas

  1. Make a blanket fort/den! You could create a cozy spot to watch movies or hide away in
  2. Try a new recipe – something seasonal that’s warm and comforting
  3. Bundle up in layers and head outside to explore on a rainy or cold day (remember “there’s no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes!”)
  4. Take yourself on a seasonal treasure hunt – seek out conkers, acorns, anything interesting looking and crunchy leaves
  5. Make art using or inspired by the seasonal treasures you found (examples include: a collage, painting, drawing, poem, nature writing piece)
  6. Try some knitting or crochet and create a blanket to keep you warm on the chilly nights (or maybe some hand warmers if you want a smaller project!)
  7. String up some fairy lights and spend an evening by the light of them rather than big overhead lights. Bonus points for no screens!
  8. Make your own list of activities you want to try during the darker evenings of Autumn and Winter. Then pick one and do it.
  9. Have dinner or a meal in darkness. (You can go to restaurants to do this and you don’t know what you’re eating! Or you could just try with a favourite meal at home)
  10. Visit a local art gallery or museum and find something that inspires you
  11. People watch in a cafe or a shopping mall – invent stories for the people that pass you by
  12. Take a notebook or a sketchbook to a cafe, order a hot drink and let your imagination run free. Why not try the Find Your Happy Journalling workbook?
  13. Create a photo-book or scrapbook of your Summer adventures
  14. Plan outfits to wear the brightest colours on the greyest days (I love wearing rainbows! example 1, example 2)
  15. Watch a fireworks display (UK specific due to fireworks night!)
  16. Plant garlic on the shortest day – to harvest on the longest day
  17. Plan a Spring or Summer garden (real or imaginary) – what would you plant? How would you design it?
  18. If you celebrate Christmas – make your own Christmas decorations or tree ornaments (or something similar for a celebration you take part in)
  19. Invent your own seasonal drink (like the Costa Christmas Drinks and winter warmers like Spiced Apple Tea)
  20. Re-imagine a popular Christmas/Festive story or movie – how could you put a twist on it or change the genre?

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Don’t forget to check out my Fair Weather Artist Date Ideas (some may even work in the colder months) or my original 40 Artist Date Ideas post.

And do let me know your own cozy Artist Date Ideas in the comments below.

Cozy Artist Date Ideas pin image

Find Your Happy is the perfect companion for your Artist Dates. It’s full of journalling prompts which you can try during your artist dates and also helps you generate ideas for future dates. You can read more about it here. And buy your own copy here.

Guest Post – Ways to Practice Financial Self Care

I am pleased to welcome Becky Taylor to the blog today. Becky and I met via the Grow & Glow community and decided to collaborate on some self care blog posts for you. Becky is sharing her 4 principles to practice Financial Self Care. And if you head over to Becky’s blog I’m sharing 12 Free Self Care Ideas.

I’ll hand you over to Becky…

Guest Blogger Becky Taylor shares 4 Principles to Practice Financial Self Care

Ways to Practice Financial Self Care

My name is Becky and I’m on my own quest to become financially independent. It seems quite a feat when I have a mortgage, some debt and I still want to live my life. I also want to find the true cause to my happiness and connect with myself. I really believe that looking after your finances is one of the best ways of self care.

A few years ago, I would barely open my banking app. I knew there was money in the account but I wouldn’t know the exact amount. I spent my money on all of the things, instead of the true experiences and items that make me happy. Really, I had no control over my finances and I was living payday to payday, saving a very minimal amount which would get eaten up very quickly.

It’s a strange journey I’ve embarked on but, 9 months in, I really love it. I’ve found out more about myself and lived a much more positive life since doing it. Taking control of my finances doesn’t mean I have to give up everything I love either; it just means making the correct decisions for me and ultimately, leading a happier life.

I’ve got 4 principals to practice financial self care that I swear by for improving your wellbeing by being in touch with your finances.

Principle 1 – Set up a Budget

The first way to gain control of your finances is to set up a budget. It’s not the most glamorous act of self care, like burning candles and curling up with a Netflix show, but it’s a necessity. Allocate yourself an hour to go through your bank account and see where and what you spend, and then see what money you can allocate to seperate parts of your life. If you want to save, set yourself some goals. I’ve got a blog post on how to set up a budget which goes into a lot more detail.

Practicing budgeting takes time and patience. Don’t expect your first month to be perfect and make it a budget that works for you. It’s such a stress reliever knowing what’s in your bank account instead of playing my old game of, ‘is my card going to decline today?’

Principle 2 – Find Out What Makes You Happy

It’s easier said than done, but it’s the one thing that really helped me gain control. Before, I would easily keep up with the Jones’. If there was something an influencer was flaunting on Instagram, I would buy it. Wanting all shades of Urban Decays eyeshadows? I had it. Days out trying to show I was living this exciting life. It all came down to showing what image I wanted to portray of myself.

As I got older, I found myself yearning to go back to the things I really wanted to do. I’ve been desperate to go to New York and to Africa ever since I can remember. I’ve had the money to do both of those things, but I haven’t. I mostly haven’t done them because it meant saving a decent amount of money, and why wait when I can do all these really cool things now? But now, I really regret not doing them sooner.

So, I go back to my core values. I now think of the bigger picture and fill my life with things that truly make me happy. To no one’s surprise, it’s generally not materialistic things. Some of my happiest days are dog walks with my husband, spending an evening watching rubbish TV with friends or spending time with my family.

Principle 3 – Budget For Your Life, Not Someone Else’s

I’m a natural people pleaser and I can find myself saying yes to things I don’t want to do. There’s been so many times where I’ve ended up in restaurants or days out, not really being able to afford it, because I’ve not been able to say no.

Now, every pay day, I make sure I spend a good 30 minutes putting my wages into a different savings account and making sure it’s allocated to different things and really knowing what money I have. I allocate myself some ‘fun’ money each week, and by knowing I’ve got a set amount, it really makes me say yes to the things I want to do, rather than feeling I should do.

I’m also a person who really needs at least one weekend a month to recharge. I keep one weekend a month free and have it as protected time. It’s my weekend where I don’t make any plans. It still gives me the spontaneity that I can sometimes crave but the downtime I really need.

Principle 4 – Stay in Your Own Lane

This is the biggest lesson I’ve learnt and it’s a little mantra I say to myself on the harder days – stay in your own lane. It’s remembering that there is no race with your peers, friends, family or work colleagues and we do everything within our own time.

I used to really struggle with the idea of success and never feeling like I was ever successful compared to other people. But, since entering my late 20’s, I’ve realised that the conceptions I previously had surrounding success weren’t the things that were making me happy. It may make my University friends happy, but not me. And you know what? That’s OK.

I’ve finally left the race I wasn’t winning and that it was impossible to ever win. It was impossible to win because I would never ever be happy from it, and end up plunging more money into a life I don’t want. So, I am staying in my own lane and achieving the goals I want to achieve. I no longer care about what other people have, I only care about what I’m doing and what I have and if it’s beneficial for me.

Financial self care is something I personally think can have a real impact on your mental state. We live in an age where everyone is striving to do better and want the latest things and it takes a lot of willpower to go, ‘That is not for me’. But long term, you’ll be thankful for it.

About me

My name is Becky and I blog over at beckytayloruk.com where I show you how to live your best and unique life on your budget. I’m all about being money-savvy and trying to get the best price for the life I want, as well as wanting to live a more positive and fulfilled life. You can also find me on Instagram.

Thank you Katie for letting me blog at Find the Good Everyday. Katie’s written a blog post on my blog where she shares 12 free self care ideas!

Guest Blogger Becky Taylor shares 4 Principles to Practice Financial Self Care

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A BIG thank you to Becky for sharing these awesome principals to practice financial self care. I hope you’ve found them useful.

You might also enjoy Self Care Ideas and Creating a Self Care Kit.

Write Your Own ‘Things That Make You Happy’ List

Today I want to help you write your own list of things that make you happy.

A Happy list is a great resource to have to recognise what brings you joy. It can work as a great reminder to do more of what you love and also for days that don’t feel so great to remind you to find the good! Plus creating the list can help you recognise and show gratitude for the happy things in your life.

My things that make me happy lists (list 1 and list 2) are popular posts here at Find the Good Everyday so I thought I’d share some tips so you can write your own version.

I’ve also created a journalling workbook full of journalling prompts to help you get more joy in your everyday. Happy Lists feature as do 20 other 10 minute prompts for happiness. You can find out more here. And buy your copy here.

Write your own things that make you Happy list title image

Writing your own things that make you Happy list

I’d recommend 100 things if you can – it’s a challenge but it really gets you thinking about all the things (small and large) that bring you joy.

Grab some paper or a notebook and a pen and let’s get started…

First of all – get as many things on paper that come to mind straightaway. Number them as you go so you know how many you’ve got.

Do that now and if/when you start to get stuck come back to read the prompts below (and the What Next section).

Happy List Prompts

If you’re stuck for ideas have a think about these categories and if any happy things spring to mind.

  • At home
  • Outside
  • Things you collect
  • Keepsakes
  • Places
  • Time of day
  • Day of the week
  • Each season (which is your favourite and what makes you happy during each season)
  • Occasions & Celebrations
  • Things that make you smile
  • Colours
  • Clothes
  • Food & Drinks
  • People
  • Scents
  • Hobbies
  • Animals
  • Activities (that make you feel good during and after)
  • Music
  • Movies & TV
  • Books
  • Things that made you happy as a child
  • The 5 senses (sight, sound, touch, taste and scent)

If you’ve worked your way through these prompts and still have space on your happy list have a read of my 100 things and 100 more things lists to see if they spark any ideas.

What next?

I’d recommend leaving the list for a day or two and then coming back to review it.

You could type it up or hand letter your list or stick with the original version.

And then display your list somewhere you can see it everyday – on a notice board, vision board, in your planner. Or take a photo and save it as your screensaver.

Make a pact with yourself to read it often and try to encourage some of those things that make you happy in to your daily life.

Happy List Templates

I have a couple of printable Happy List templates for you to use if you’d like. Sign up to my newsletter to get a copy or contact me.

There are also more tips for your Happy List as well as other prompts for journalling your way to happiness in Find Your Happy. You can buy a copy here.

Happy List Writing!

Do let me know how it goes and how many things end up on your own list!

1000 days of Yoga and Meditation

At the end of September I reached a milestone – 1000 days of yoga and meditation. That’s 1000 consecutive days of practising either yoga or meditation. Today I want to share my yoga story and some insights with you.

1000 days of yoga and meditation - montage

The Beginning

My 1000 days started on 1st January 2017 with Yoga for Adriene’s free January daily yoga programme – Yoga Revolution. I certainly didn’t start out thinking about reaching 1000 days. I started out hoping I’d get to the end of January. Feeling boosted by completing the January series – I carried on – picking each day from the many free practices available. I got into a rhythm and realised that the time spent on the mat was helping me every single day. I tracked my practices and progress in my Bullet Journal and it felt great to update my yoga tracker each day (like a giant tick in my self care box!).

The Messy Middle

It wasn’t an easy jump from 30 days to a 1000. I tried to celebrate milestones as I went…100 days, 500 days, 2 years. Even at 500 days I don’t think I’d decided I would aim for 1000. I just kept going.

I didn’t set myself any rules in terms of practice duration or type. A lot of days I did short practices (under 10 minutes), quite a few days I did 2 minutes. It all counted.

I did yoga:

  • in my lounge (with the YWA practices playing on the television),
  • beside the Christmas tree,
  • on our upstairs skinny landing (hallway),
  • on my bed (the bedtime ones are awesome right before you tuck yourself in to sleep),
  • in hotel rooms,
  • in 4 different countries,
  • at school with my son,
  • in the garden (only once or twice),
  • with Adriene and 2000 others at Alexandra Palace in London and
  • at a local class with a friend.
It all counted.

I found peaks and troughs with my enthusiasm and with the types of practices I sought out. I mixed things up. And I took part in online yoga retreats and 7 day programmes. I did each of the January daily programmes as they were released.

Some days I would bitch and moan that I hadn’t yet yoga’d and I had to do it before I could go to sleep…sometimes those were the magic days – the ones where I’d drop onto my mat and into the practice and remember why I kept showing up. Some days I didn’t enjoy practicing at all but those days have been far and few between.

Reaching 1000 Days of Yoga and Meditation

At the beginning of 2019 I came up with 2 yoga related goals. I wanted to practice 100 (or more) hours of yoga this year. And I wanted to reach the 1000 day milestone.

For the majority of the 1000 days it was yoga I was practicing. This year I’ve found myself looking for more gentle practices and this led me to meditation. This year has not been without its challenges. I occasionally suffer from tendonitis in my wrists and I hope I’m becoming more attuned to what my body needs. Sometimes that is stillness. I adapted my goal (thank goodness I get to make the “rules”!) to include meditation.

I can now confidently say that the numbers don’t matter. The number of days or minutes practiced don’t matter. In fact – I did think about missing a day before I reached the 1000 milestone just to prove the point…but I really wanted to write about this journey and 1000 had a nice ring to it!

What matters is the connection to something more. Treating my body and myself with respect. That I can show up for myself every single day. I have learnt to accept the ebb and flow. When I can push myself and when to ease back. And that something as simple as the way you breathe can change your mood, your outlook and your whole day. Yoga IS life-changing. (Yoga is life.)

Follow my Yoga Journey

I’ve shared a few posts now about my yoga practice. If you’re keen to read more have a look at these:

What Now? Another 1000 days of Yoga and Meditation?!

At the time of writing this I haven’t yet broken the chain! I am at 1009 days. It’s likely the chain will be broken some time this month to ensure I don’t fall into the trap of aiming for 2000 days!

I did something for 1000 days and I’m not sick of it. I might not continue practicing every single day but I intend to include yoga and meditation in my day to day life as often as I can. And I know there is so much more I can learn about yoga and life. I’m keen to study and dive deeper.

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If you have any questions please do reach out (you can leave a comment below this post). I’d love to connect with you.
Namaste.

1000 days of yoga and meditation pin

Bloggers Share – Finding Positivity on a Bad Day

Today I’m back with the next instalment of my new series here on the blog. I recently asked some fellow bloggers their tops tips to help Find the Good Everyday. Today – I’m sharing their tips for Finding Positivity on a Bad Day.

Don’t forget to come back next week for the next instalment (or you could sign up to receive notifications of new blog posts by email so you don’t miss it!)

And if you haven’t seen last week’s instalment click here to read Simple Daily Rituals to Find the Good Everyday.

Each blogger is linked – I’m sure they would love it if you paid them a visit. And if you do – please tell them I sent you!

Finding Positivity on a Bad Day

Bloggers Share FINDING POSITIVITY on a Bad Day
Elen Mai / welshwanderer.com

“Depending on how severely bad my day is, I do one of two things. If it’s a minor occurrence, I’ll dust myself off and read a few inspirational quotes on Pinterest. Messaging my mum for advice also helps – she’s brutally honest and I love/hate it. Or if it’s a really bad day, I give myself some time to get it out of my system. Usually this takes the form of a Netflix binge-watching session or a couple hours lifting heavy weights at the gym. Whatever I fancy at the time.”

Caterina / 35mminstyle.com

“I like to listen to inspiring podcasts if I’m at work and feeling down, otherwise, I only need a long walk outside in the countryside with one of my film cameras in my backpack.”

Emma Farley / acornishgeek.com

“I’ve found that even when I’m at my most stressed, getting outside makes me feel so much better, particularly on a sunny day. If I’m having a particularly busy and stressful day at work, just sitting outside for ten minutes is so beneficial.”

Tors Darling / darlinglife.co.uk

Be conscious of the little things – I could be having a terrible pain day and everything seems like a chore. I might be in an awful mood, but the positivity comes from thinking about what I have achieved e.g. I got dressed, I watched TV/film I know I’ll love like Harry Potter or a cheesy film.
If I’m having a bad day at work (Emergency Department Sister) I look for positivity in the care I’ve delivered or the targets I’m achieving – or I ask for it. I know that may seem daunting, but when I can’t see anything good I ask people what they’ve seen go well today, or what impact I’ve had on them. If I’m truly overwhelmed I get space from everything – which can be as simple of hiding in the toilet for a moment, getting a drink – nurses are terrible for it.”

Teresa Maria / outlandishblog.com

“If I feel bad, no matter if it’s for a proper reason or just a feeling that has no foundation in reality (like those days when one feels like the ugliest duckling ever), I don’t deny myself those feelings. I feel bad and I ask myself ‘why?‘ I sort of discuss myself through the issue like my mum would if she was there.
If it’s an issue that I can’t do anything about I have a little tantrum, shout at the wall, and then accept that it’s out of my control, and move on. Takes a lot of willpower, but you can train yourself to do that.
If it’s something useless, like feeling ugly or dumb, I remind myself that it’s just a feeling and that it will pass by. Tomorrow is always a new, better day. I’ve never been wrong on this.”

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I’d love to hear your tips and suggestions for finding positivity on a bad day – please leave a comment below with your ideas.

Don’t forget to check out last week’s Simple Daily Rituals to Find the Good Everyday. And here are some other blog posts you might enjoy along a similar theme:

100 Things That Make Me Happy – I’d recommend creating a Happy List that you can refer to and use for inspiration on bad days!
100 More Things That Make Me Happy
The Find the Good In… series

I’ll be back with the final instalment – Bloggers Share Favourite Ways to Find the Good Everyday – next week!

My New Bullet Journal Set-Up

Today I’m sharing my new Bullet Journal Set-Up with you. I’ve recently set up and migrated to a new BuJo and I thought you might like a peek at how I’ve set it up and the spreads I use to stay organised and inspired.
I’ve created this blog post in conjunction with a video which I’ve posted on IGTV – if you haven’t seen it please come over to my IGTV account to watch it.

My Bullet Journal History

I’ve been using a Bullet Journal for years. I’ve been using my own interpretation of the Ryder Carroll version since around 2014. And before that I had my own version. You can read more about how I was Bullet Journalling before it was cool here.

My new Bullet Journal set-up. Image shows my Flying Tiger Journal, 2 pens, a dragonfly ornament and a Find the Good Everyday sticker.

So let’s dive in to my New Bullet Journal Set-Up

My new Bullet Journal (and the one before this) are from Flying Tiger. I think they cost around £5 each and they are A5 dot grid style. I’m really pleased with the quality – especially for the price. (Side note – Flying Tiger could be considered dangerous – I don’t think I’ve ever come out of there having bought nothing!)

Forward Planning
New Bullet Journal set-up - my index and year at a glance pages

Right at the start I have an Index and a Year at a Glance page. Because this journal runs from 1st July my year at a glance covers July 2019 through to June 2020.

New BuJo set-up - my Future Log spread

Next up comes my Future Log. The page is split into squares with space for each month to note down annual events such as birthdays, anniversaries and school term dates. I also add any future appointments here and reminders for things like car tax and service and insurances coming up for renewal. I colour code so I can easily see what is what. And I refer to this page each month when setting up my monthly calendar spread.

Keeping Track of Projects
New BuJo set-up - my 37 things aged 37 project tracker

Following on from my Future Log is my 37 Things Aged 37 tracker. This is where I can keep a tally or note of things I’m working on for the list and tick items as they are complete.

And then I have a double page spread noting down the weekly, daily and Friday focus jobs for The Organised Mum Method. I wrote a post about this earlier in the year. It’s good to have a look at this page when I have a spare 5 minutes and want to get something done to help keep the house clean and tidy.

New BuJo set-up - 2019 words - choosing monthly themes rather than a word for the year

Next it’s a double spread for my 2019 Words. I recently blogged about Choosing Monthly Theme Words or Mantras and this is where I keep track of which ones I’ve picked and why as well as any notes and observations for each one.

Yoga and Other Trackers

After that I’ve got my 2019 Yoga Tracker. I’ve been doing Yoga (&/or meditation) daily since 1st January 2017 and I’ve blogged about Building a Daily Yoga Practice. On this page I keep a track of the total minutes I practice each month, my daily average across the month and my running total for the year. This helps me see progress towards my 2 yoga goals this year:

  • I want to reach 1000 consecutive days of yoga (& meditation)
  • I want to practice 100 hours of yoga in 2019 (which is a daily average of 16.43 mins)
New BuJo set-up - my annual yoga tracker and FTGE stats page

Adjacent to that is my Find the Good Everyday Stats page. This is fairly simple. I use it to keep track of subscribers for blog posts and my monthly newsletter, my Instagram followers and Facebook Page likes. I’ve got room to note the numbers at the end of 2018 so I’ll be able to see my growth throughout 2019.

Here are the links if you’d like to subscribe or follow me in any of these places:

Book related spreads

I’ve also got 2 double spreads relating to books I’ve read and covered in my Reading Rituals posts this year. I have a list of action points from Fast Draft Your Memoir by Rachael Herron which I can refer to when I’m working on my memoir. And I’ve noted down activities for the 4 pillars that Dr Rangan Chatterjee talks about in his book – The 4 Pillar Plan. I find it useful to keep spreads like this in my BuJo as reminders of what I’ve learnt when reading particular books.

Tracking Goals and Reviewing Progress

After those is a page detailing my current Half Term Goals – as mentioned in my IGTV video I’m planning to blog about this with some examples in September.

And my final page before I start my July monthly pages is my Quarter Review. This is a very simplified version where I am noting down what has worked and what hasn’t in Q2 (April, May and June) as well as what’s new and what I need to consider for Q3 (July, August, September). If you’re considering doing a Quarterly Review please check out my post which has some more suggestions for things to look at.

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I’ve planning to upload another shorter video up on IGTV showing the set-up of my monthly pages for July so please head over there if you’d like to see that.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this peek into my new Bullet Journal set-up. I’d love to hear if you prefer reading the blog post or watching the video. And if you have any great ideas for BuJo spreads that help you Find the Good Everyday please do let me know in the comments below.

Choosing Monthly Themes (an alternative to a Word for the Year)

This year I’ve been choosing monthly themes or mantras. This is an alternative to choosing a Word for the Year which I’ve done in previous years. My previous words for the year have been:

At the end of 2018 I sat down and worked through some exercises to try and choose a word for 2019. But I really couldn’t settle on just one. There were lots of words I was attracted to so I made the call to pick a new one each month.

I’ve previously shared my Personal Values and my Core Desired Feelings and I figured I could pick some of these to focus on as well as other words that come up.

Choosing Monthly Themes

Choosing Monthly Themes (an alternative to a Word for the Year)

Today I want to share which words/themes/mantras I’ve picked between January and June and why…

January – Nourishment

Why? This is one of my Core Desired Feelings and I thought it was a good pick for the start of a new year. I wanted to focus on looking after myself and feeling better.

Observations: I think this was a good pick for a Winter month…especially January that can seem quite bleak after the excitement of December.

February – Love

Why? This fitted well with Valentine’s and is one of my Personal Values. I wanted to celebrate my love for my family, my friends and myself. And remember to “do all things with love”.

Observations: If I could only pick one personal value – it would be Love. It was good to focus on this word for the month…not from the consumer ‘buy-all-the-things’ “holiday” that Valentine’s has turned into…but from the perspective of cultivating love within my relationships and with myself.

March – The Feminine

Why? International Women’s Day and Mother’s Day (UK) fall in March so I wanted to embrace the feminine. I also took part in a spa day with my women’s mentoring group from last year.

Observations: I didn’t feel as connected to this word on a day to day basis but the feminine activities throughout the month helped me come back to it several times.

April – FTG30 / Self Care

Why? Over April I released FTG30 – Find the Good in 30 Days. At its core this is all about Self Care. I knew I wanted to play along with FTG30 myself so I made that the theme for the month.

Observations: April felt intense and it was good to remind myself to focus on my own self care whilst sharing self care inspiration on the blog and Instagram.

May – Spark

Why? Spark is one of my Core Desired Feelings and to me it’s all about seeking inspiration and letting the ideas come. I was also on the hunt for synchronicity and new ways of looking at things.

Observations: During the month I found myself coming up with lots of blog post ideas. I also enjoyed playing with my personal style after my style analysis.

June – Simple

Why? I was taking part in 30 Days Wild – all about getting out in nature. And I felt like it was time for Back to Basics in terms of self care and getting things done around the house. I realised I needed the reminder to KEEP IT SIMPLE and not to over-complicate everything.

Observations: Simple became a great reminder at a time that I needed it. Several times throughout the month it popped up as a reminder and I think this was a good fit for a busy month (my husband was working away plus we celebrated his birthday and Fathers Day).

The Rest of the Year

I’m planning to continue choosing monthly themes as the year goes on. I’ve been trying to pick a word as each new month approaches. Some months it’s been obvious what word I want to pick, other months I’ve looked at what activities and tasks I have planned and factored those in. If I get stuck I revisit my values and core desired feelings to see which of those feels most relevant for the month ahead.

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If you like the idea of choosing a word for the year but struggle to decide why not pick one for a month and see how it goes?

What words are special to you? Do you have any mantra’s or themes that help you set goals and stay inspired? I’d love to hear about it.

My Favourite Nature Spots

Today I want to share some of my Favourite Nature Spots. I’m taking part in 30 Days Wild this month which is run by The Wildlife Trusts and encourages us all to get outside in the wild and closer to nature. I’ve been sharing my acts of wildness over in my Instagram stories so be sure to pop over for a look.

I love spending time outside in nature. It’s imperative to my self care, mental health and well-being. Being outside and amongst nature features on my happy lists as well as my recent Fair Weather Artists Date Ideas post.

I try and get outside every day – even if just for a short walk. And I realised on a recent walk that wherever I’ve lived I’ve usually had a collection of favourite nature spots to visit to get my fill of fresh air and being closer to nature. Different spots have their own highlights which I want to share with you.

My Favourite Nature Spots

My Favourite Nature Spots
Meadows

A meadow is somewhere you can lay back in the long grass and watch the clouds roll by. Hear the long grass swish as you walk through it. Seek out meadow flowers and wildlife. My dog used to love running around in the meadow near our Wellington house and it always felt like an adventure when we walked through it. I have found a local meadow which I often walk through to reach the towpath – at the moment it’s full of beautiful wild flowers with lots of butterflies and bees buzzing around.

Woods

I always feel like a walk in the woods helps me breathe much better – thanks trees! This is a great place to visit when it’s raining as I love the sound of the rain through the trees and usually manage to stay drier than if I’m out in the open. I can remember walking in woods as a child and I think there’s a lot of magic in them. It always feels like the perfect place for fairies!

Rivers

One of my current local favourites is a walk along the towpath beside the river. I can join the path at various places (from the city centre to out in the countryside) and take in the sights along the river. It’s a great place to spot different insects and birds. I like stopping on the bridges and gazing down into the water to spot fish and insects. Our local river is a great place to see swans, ducks and moorhens.

Beaches

I sometimes feel sad that I don’t live near a beach currently. In Wellington I was lucky enough to live within a few minutes of the South Coast and it’s wonderful beaches. The beach is somewhere I head to blow the cobwebs away. And I also enjoy seeking out beach treasure – shells, sea glass, sea pottery and other wonderful things the tide has washed up. I can happily spend hours on the beach – in all weathers (as long as I have the right clothing!). My son thoroughly enjoys playing with sand and paddling too so it’s great for family days out.

Cliffs

Being up high and looking out to water is great for giving some perspective and usually helps me to see the bigger picture. Cliffs can be a good place to visit when the tide is in and you can’t get to the beach. I got married on a cliff in New Zealand. We were overlooking the Tasman Sea with South Island in the distance and it was a stunning location to celebrate our vows.*

Parks

Wherever we’ve lived over the years (& particularly since we’ve had our son) we’ve always had favourite parks to visit – big and small. When you’ve got kids it’s great to find ones with elaborate play areas (& a cafe nearby doesn’t go amiss either!). These days we like country parks where there’s always lots to explore. I find you don’t have to go too far away from the play areas to find the quieter spaces. Essex has some great play trails which are great for keeping the kids busy as you explore.

Lakes & Lochs

I find lakes and lochs more calming than the sea. During my 5 years living in Glasgow I spent a decent amount of time near Lochs. We used to regularly visit Loch Lomond and also spent time in The Trossachs. I also love the Lake District in England and Lake Taupo in New Zealand.

My Garden

Sometimes I forget this one! Out the back we have a small patch of grass, some pebbled ground and paving. We don’t have any flower beds at the back but we are hoping to create one soon (perhaps for growing some veggies). We do have a bird table and enjoy seeing what birdy visitors come to visit! I want to try and spend more time in my garden this year. I’m hoping to create a small pond as part of my 30 Days Wild activities and hope that will encourage me to spend more time out there.

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Have I missed any good nature spots from my list? What are your favourites?

Do you have a special place outside that you go to think or blow the cobwebs away? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

*PS – Are you signed up to receive my monthly newsletter? I’m planning to share photos of some my favourite nature spots in the next one. If you’re keen to have a peek you can sign up here!

Fair Weather Artist Date Ideas

Today I want to share some ideas and inspiration for Fair Weather Artist Date Ideas.

A while back, I shared Forty Artist Date Ideas and it’s a well visited post on this blog. So I thought it was about time I come up with some more! Here are some new Fair Weather Artist Date Ideas. (I have also shared some Cozy Artist Date Ideas for when the weather isn’t so fair!)

What is an Artist Date?

The idea of an Artist Date is from a book by Julia Cameron called The Artist’s Way. I’ve blogged about the book HERE.

Here’s what Julia Cameron has to say about Artist Dates:

“The Artist Date is a once-weekly, festive, solo expedition to explore something that interests you. The Artist Date need not be overtly “artistic” —think mischief more than mastery. Artist Dates fire up the imagination. They spark whimsy. They encourage play. Since art is about the play of ideas, they feed our creative work by replenishing our inner well of images and inspiration. When choosing an Artist Date, it is good to ask yourself, “what sounds fun?” — and then allow yourself to try it.”

Fair Weather Artist Date Ideas

Twenty Fair Weather Artist Date Ideas

  1. Beach-combing – look for shark teeth, seas glass, shells, crabs, sea pottery, seaweed and other ocean treasure. Bonus points for finding a message in a bottle!
  2. Forest-bathing – get out amongst the trees, hug them, gaze up at them and breathe in all the beautiful oxygen they produce
  3. Lay on the grass and make up stories about the shapes in the clouds
  4. Build sandcastles
  5. Draw pictures and messages in the sand
  6. Build a cairn ( a man-made stack of stones) – how high can you go? I find this really meditative.
  7. Buy an ice-cream or ice-lolly you remember from childhood (ideally from an ice-cream van that you chased down the street!) and enjoy it
  8. Rent a boat, canoe or pedalo (this may be easier with a friend!)
  9. Attend an outdoor concert or movie
  10. Send a postcard to yourself from a distant land (or the next town!)
  11. Stop everything to listen to the dawn or twilight chorus
  12. Take art outside – drawing, watercolours, poetry – the addition of a breeze, fresh air and insects may have interesting results!
  13. Visit an open garden or somewhere not always open to the public (my county has a special weekend where places are opened up and you can apply for tickets)
  14. Play or practice a summer sport – tennis, boules etc
  15. Create a summer nature journal documenting (drawing or photos and words) flora and fauna you have encountered
  16. Create a garden ornament or a place for wildlife (e.g. bug house or bird house)
  17. Try tie-dye or another fabric dying project (it’s good to do this outside in buckets)
  18. Sit on a bench in the park and watch the world go by. What inspires you?
  19. Try your hand at cocktail or mocktail making – remember the gaudy accessories! (& enjoy your drink in the sunshine)
  20. Create a fairy/miniature garden to tend – let your imagination go wild.
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I’ve fallen out the habit of regularly scheduling artist dates lately but coming up with this list has motivated me to get back into weekly whimsical dates with myself!

Do any of these ideas inspire you? I’d love to hear your own ideas for outdoors and Fair Weather Artist Dates.