Tag: Tips and Tricks

Those Dark Cold Mornings

Those Dark Cold Mornings

We have reached that time of the year where each morning is dark and dull and when we hear our alarm clocks ringing we just want to hit the snooze button and bury our heads back under our duvets! So how can we make facing these dark mornings that little bit more bearable?

There is nothing worse than your alarm clock waking you up when it is still pitch black outside; your brain instantly thinks ‘it is way too early for this’, even though this is the time that you get up every morning. I hate getting out of bed when it is still dark, but at the same time, I do not like sleeping the day away. At the moment I do not have to be up in the early mornings for work, but I have seen how difficult it is for my partner to get out of bed at 6am every morning! Usually, he would be up and straight in the shower, but now that the dark mornings have set in, the snooze button is being pressed at least 3 times a day!

I can imagine that thousands of people have this problem each and every morning, so I thought I would share some tips and tricks tor tackling the dark mornings ahead of us!

  • The quicker you get the lights on the quicker your body will realise it is time to wake up and get up! Having a bright bedside light can be helpful as you can lean over and switch it on with ease, and your body can start waking up for the day ahead. My partner recently purchased an alarm clock which not only has the option to wake you up with sound, but also with light! It is a great little thing and I am seriously in need of one for myself! You can set it up so that the light comes on half an hour before your chosen wake-up time and gradually gets brighter for 30 minutes, before eventually making sound! You can also choose to be woken up with the radio and various different sounds. I absolutely love this and 9 out of 10 times the light alone is enough to wake me up! You can find this great invention here!
  • Water… I am sure by now everyone is aware of the endless amount of perks that water has! Well here is another one (or two)… I know getting a cold shower on a cold dark morning is the last thing that anyone would want to do, so instead, try splashing your face with cold water when you get out of bed or running your wrists under a cold running tap. This gives your body a temperature shock which encourages you to feel more awake and alert. You can also drink a glass of water in the morning to refresh your system and help to boost your metabolism.
  • As tempting as it may be, do not sleep in on the weekends! It will make those pesky Monday mornings a lot easier to handle and you will find yourself feeling much more refreshed on a daily basis. Try to go to sleep at the same time every night throughout the week, waking up at the same time every morning, this will ensure that your body clock is in good shape and you will soon find waking up and getting out of bed much easier!
  • Eating a breakfast that is high in protein! Now… you may be thinking ‘I don’t have time for that!’… but the truth is, protein comes in all shapes and sizes! You do not have to be cooking a full English breakfast at 5 am, you can simply make egg on toast or a nice bowl of porridge, or oats with greek yoghurt and fruit! A healthy breakfast will perk you up and give you the energy that you need to get you through the morning.
  • Apples are also great to eat in the morning, they are high in natural sugars and unlike drinking coffee, they do not give you that tired low feeling after a couple of hours! Apples slowly release energy throughout the day helping to keep you feeling awake!
  • Having a dressing gown and slippers handy to put on when you get out of bed to shelter you from the cold can really help you to make that first move! I often press snooze and curl back up under my duvet to stay warm… but having a dressing gown at arm’s length can make getting up that little bit easier! Either that or getting dressed straight away, rather than lounging around in my PJ’s for as long as possible. Getting dressed as soon as you get up can instantly make you feel more productive and ready for the day ahead of you.
  • A lot of people (my partner included), often turn to a nice hot cup of coffee in the morning! Which is fine, it will give you that quick boost you are looking for as well as warming you up… but remember what I mentioned earlier about that low tired feeling that takes over after a short while and try not to rely on a cup of coffee alone to wake you up and get you going.
  • Planning clothes and preparing lunch the night before can also make the mornings a lot easier to handle. I hate searching for clothes to wear in the morning and making a packed lunch (I always forget something!), so having it all ready the night before takes a huge amount of stress away when that alarm rings in the morning.

I hope these tips and tricks help you to get out of bed on these cold dark Autumn mornings! I know that some of them have certainly helped me. I would love to know what tips and tricks that you have for facing the early mornings, so please do not hesitate to share them below in the comments (don’t forget to tick the box to notified of further comments and replies!)

BT – Morning Motivation

GoodToKnow – 11 Ways To Cope With Dark Mornings

Huffington Post – Finding Ways To Cope With Dark Mornings

Women’s Health – High Protein Breakfasts

Tips For Newbie Bloggers!

Tips For Newbie Bloggers!

Joining the world of blogging can be nerve-wracking as there are millions of bloggers out there… however, it is not as daunting as you might imagine it to be!

I started blogging around 18 months ago… I was nervous and I did not believe that my blog would be successful compared to all of the other amazing blogs that I had seen and read! I was shocked when I entered the blogging world, I was expecting it to be harsh and in some ways bitchy and competitive, but it was the complete opposite! The blogging world is more than just a group of writers, it is a community. A very kind, supportive community where you will make connections for life!

I have made some incredible friends through blogging, some who I would love to meet in person one day in the future! However, these people do not just fall in your lap, you need to insert yourself into the community, support others and they will support you…

I know many people who are just starting off in the blogging world as well as people who are still debating whether or not they should give it a go, so I wanted to give some friendly advice and guidance to those people!

New to Blogging? Here Are Some Tips and Pieces of Advice To Inspire You:

  • There are many different types of bloggers out there, personal blogs, mental health blogs, lifestyle blogs, beauty blogs, psychology blogs, science blogs, travel blogs and many many more! You can write about whatever you like. Pick a topic that you are interested in and passionate about this keeps you interested in writing posts, rather than picking a topic simply because you feel it is popular and will do well!
  • You do not have to blog every single day or even every week! There are many bloggers who consider themselves ‘occasional bloggers’, who will post whenever an idea springs to mind or when they come across a product of some sort that they want to write about! There are no rules to blogging, no set schedule and no set word limit, meaning you can post what you want when you want!
  • Find the right place to create your blog… there are many different platforms available for creating and designing blogs (WordPress, Wix and Blogger being some of the most popular choices). Originally, SeeTheUniverse was designed and created by my partner Jacob! We decided to move over to WordPress (though I am still self-hosted), as it was quicker and easier for me to add extra features, rather than waiting for my partner to build them from scratch, as he is working full time as well as hosting my blog! I find WordPress very easy to use and I would definitely recommend it to other bloggers.
  • Have a play around with your theme and design, make sure it is easy to navigate before sharing it with the world… there are still a couple of changes I am wanting to make in regards to the mobile view of my blog, but these are nothing too important at this moment in time (Jacob is working on it!)
  • Sharing your blog is important! Promote it well! I find Twitter the best social media platform for this although many other bloggers prefer Instagram. Try to include good pictures and captions to catch people’s attention (and hashtags are your best friends!) – I use Canva for creating many of my images and I am currently experimenting with my camera skills.
  • Making connections – This is a huge one! Follow other bloggers, not only those who blog about similar topics to yourself but bloggers of all different kinds! Support them, share their posts, interact with them on social media, like and comment on their blog posts and make friends! I have connected with some lovely people and feel as though I have known them all of my life, despite never meeting them in person!
  • Do not allow yourself to get stressed when it comes to blogging, try not to see it as a chore. I love blogging, I see it as a form of self-care for me as I enjoy sitting, planning content and writing up posts! I do not see it as something that I have to do, I know that I can take breaks for as long as I need to, or even stop altogether if I wanted to! Blogging should be fun and enjoyable for both the writer and the readers.
  • Guest posts! – Try to write some guest posts for other bloggers, or ask others if they would like to guest post for you! It is a nice way to connect with people and show support to them as well as being a good way to get your name out there.
  • Competitions and Giveaways – Not all bloggers choose to do this, however it is a good way to draw attention to your social media outlets and your blog page. They do not have to be big grand competitions for expensive prizes, they can be as small as winning a bag of sweets and a personalised letter! People love competitions.
  • Be yourself. Do not change who you are, there will be many people out there who will love you just the way you are. Be original, write your own content and if you do use other resources while writing your posts, make sure to refer to them! You do not want to be making enemies or getting into trouble for copywriting.

If you have just started out as a new blogger or are struggling to make connections in the blogging community, please feel free to follow me on social media, send me your blog links and get to know me! I love talking to new people and reading new content. 

Twitter – @SeeTheUniverse_

Facebook – @SeeTheUniverseOfficial

Instagram – @SeeTheUniverse_

Pinterest – @SeeTheUniverse_

 

 

 

World Student’s Day

World Student’s Day

Okay, so as you may know, I graduated from Liverpool Hope University in the summer! I felt as though it would be appropriate to share some helpful tips and advice to new students for World Student Day!

Starting university is a huge stepping stone in an individuals life, and it involves quite a lot of change and therefore can be a little scary! I hope this article makes someone’s transition from college into university that little bit easier…

Basic Things That Will Come In Handy:

  • Project Books – All courses are separated into modules, so having a project book can help to keep your notes organised and in one place. I highly recommend Pukka Pad project books as they tend to have storage pockets on at the start of each section which comes in handy for keeping handout sheets in! There are cheaper options available if you shop around, however!
  • Plastic wallets in a hard folder or button folders are also great for keeping paperwork together.
  • Different coloured pens! I love stationery, so I am a huge lover of having different coloured pens… they come in handy for bringing attention to important notes instead of using highlighters.
  • Academic diary! This helps you to keep important deadlines in one place so that you don’t have to root through your project books to find where you have written them! They are also great for setting yourself goals and jotting down upcoming events in!
  • A coffee flask – to get you through those early morning lectures! Also, many universities give small discounts on hot drinks if you bring your own flask/mug!

Living Away From Home…

  • Try not to over-pack! This was a huge problem for me… You will end up getting frustrated with having too much stuff and not enough room for everything. A messy room really does make it harder to study! You will feel much more relaxed in a clean and tidy room and will be able to concentrate much better!
  • Bring things that will make you feel at home! They do not need to be big things, it could be a blanket, a teddy bear, photographs, scented candles, your dressing gown… anything that makes you feel at home! For me, this was teddy bears and fleece blankets!
  • Don’t feel like a ‘baby’ for calling your family all of the time! Speak to them as much as you need to. I didn’t live too far so I was lucky enough to go home most weekends if I wanted to, I also spoke with my mum on Facebook most days!
  • Get to know your flatmates… you do not have to like them, in fact, many people do not get along with their first-year flatmates, but it is important that you try to be civil and keep the peace!
  • If you are sharing a flat/house with others, try to make house rules! This usually includes cleaning up after yourself and making a rota and taking it in turns to hoover up!

Is It Really Party After Party?

Absolutely not.
Don’t get me wrong there were many students who would be out on the town every weekend… but they were often the ones failing their assignments or just scraping the barrel! Plus… students are often skint and do not have the money to be going out partying 24/7.
Freshers week will hit you like a ton of bricks! Especially if going out on the ale every night is not your usual routine. Freshers is weird, wonderful and at the same time deadly… and freshers flu is a thing!
There will be regular student nights hosted by the university which again can be really fun, and I do recommend that you attend some of them… but don’t forget those pesky assignments!

I did find myself going out more during my university years than what I did previously but compared to many students, that was still not a lot! I made great memories and had some amazing nights out, so you will have lots of fun despite having lots of work… it is all about finding a balance and prioritising!

Will I Really Make Friends For Life?

I cannot speak for everyone… but I definitely made friends for life, and although we may never meet up again now that university is over, we still have good chats and a gossip via social media on a regular basis and my university experience would have been completely different without them!

Also, do not feel as though you need to make a hundred friends… I had 4 close university friends throughout my degree. Remember quality over quantity!

Other Bits and Pieces…

There will be days where you will not want to get out bed for those daunting morning lectures. Everyone skips lectures from time to time… but try not to make a habit of it as I promise you, you will regret it!

Make as many notes as possible, they will come in handy when it comes to exam season.

Often, the first year of your degree will only count towards a small percentage of your overall degree… This does not mean you should sit back and relax and not work at your best, but it does take a little bit of that freshers fear away!

There will be a lot of reading. Try to divide up your time and make yourself a schedule when it comes to reading given materials… they can be boring and long-winded at times, so breaking them up into smaller sections can make them more endurable!

Everyone will dress to impress for the first week of the year… but the truth is, no one cares what you look like! Dress comfortably, don’t worry about wearing a full face of make-up, or doing your hair all perfect… There were many times that students turned up to morning lectures in onesies! So put on your joggers a baggy top and ugg boots if that is what makes you comfy! Hoodies will become your best friends throughout September – March, you will live in hoodies with your hair thrown up and no make-up on and you will feel great!

Spend time in the library, get to know where all of your course books are kept, find a spot where you feel comfortable or hire out private study rooms when it comes to doing assignments, you will benefit from this! Especially if you have a noisy house!

You will experience stress like never before… but when you look back at your time in university you will realise it wasn’t all that bad! In fact, there were many times that I would say ‘I can’t wait to graduate and get out of here!’, or ‘Ugh I am always so stressed, university is the worst!’… but when I look back, there were definitely more happy, fun and enjoyable moments than there were stressful moments and after graduating, part of me misses being there!

Be yourself and remember that if you ever need help or support it will be available to you! Ask at the student union or the reception area and they will direct you to the right kind of support that you are after!

And last, but not least… enjoy your university experience!

 

Activities For Colder Days

Activities For Colder Days

The cold weather can often bring people down. Not being able to go outside and take part in regular activities can be a bit of a bummer… but you do not need to be outside to be having fun! There are loads of things that you can do indoors, that are just as fun and enjoyable.

A friend of mine said that they hate the cold weather because they love going for picnics with their children when the weather is nice… well have a picnic indoors? Put the fire on, lay the blanket down, set out the food, and have tea on the living room floor! The kids will love it because they can even watch TV at this picnic! It changes things up and makes tea-time interesting for all the family, children can bring their teddy bears for a picnic or they could pick a board game to play after food! I agree it is not the same as running around and playing in the park, but it is still fun and a great way to spend time together as a family. 

Make new foods and explore with recipes and home cooking. This may not be something you usually do, but it can be enjoyable to try new things! Google some easy homemade soup recipes or even just bake some cakes, I find baking can be quite fun and even if the end product doesn’t turn out great, it was still a nice way to pass the time! If making your own homemade meals or desserts is really not your thing, why not order a takeaway with friends or family and put on a movie for the evening? This can be super relaxing and enjoyable, even if you are watching alone!

You could have an Autumn clean up! Turn the music up and get your clean on. It is always good to have a long therapeutic cleanup session from time to time and personally I think Autumn is the perfect time for this as you can throw out loads of old stuff and be ready for all the new things that Christmas brings! I will definitely be doing this one day soon, not only to be ready for Christmas but also so I can redecorate my bedroom!

The lovely Estelle (@Estellosaurus) suggested playing games (maybe on the PlayStation or Xbox), or do some jigsaw puzzles, read a book or have a sofa picnic! – I love how indoor picnics are a thing.

This suggestion led me to think about the smaller things that we can do on the colder days, such as board games, binge-watching TV shows, colouring books (one of my favourites!), writing, drawing, being creative! Lots of little yet fun activities that you can do to keep yourself busy! Most of these come under great self-care too!

My advice would be to try not to do the same thing day in and day out. Change is good! Doing the same thing over and over again can become boring and can, in turn, make you feel down and drained. It is nice to switch things around from time to time, do things that you would not normally do, maybe even step out of your comfort zone for the day! If you usually sit in front of the TV all day, try getting up and doing something more active or productive, such as a mini workout or doing something artistic.
You do not have to be great at drawing or making things, you can still have fun no matter what the outcome looks like…and who knows, you might make something that you are proud of!

People seem to forget that staying indoors does not necessarily have to be in your own home… you can still go out for the day and visit places that are warm and sheltered! This is great if you have children, or even if you hate being trapped inside your own home 24/7. 
You could visit fun activity centres such as trampoline parks and indoor play areas, or you could go down a more educational route and visits museums or galleries… there are even some farms that have indoor animals that you can visit! You could go out for a nice pub lunch with the family, enjoy an evening of shopping at an indoor shopping centre, go for a cinema date or go bowling! There are endless indoor activities that you can you enjoy when the weather sucks, it is all about finding something that suits you!

Cold weather does not mean that you cannot enjoy yourself, plan some different activities and find different indoor places that you can visit! Tell us all about them in the comments below!

 

 

Improve Your Office Day

Improve Your Office Day

Okay, so those of you who know me will know that my desk (where most of my blogging takes place) is not the tidiest place to sit! So I have decided to have a cleanup today, seeing as it is ‘Improve Your Office Day’ and thought I would share it with you!

I will be sharing some tips and tricks to a clean, organised office space as well as showing you some of my ‘must have’ products when it comes to blogging and some of my favourite items, I hope you enjoy!

It is not always a bad thing to have a messy workspace, however sometimes having a nice tidy, uncluttered space to work in can help you to feel more relaxed and can also improve your concentration. I have to admit, my desk is always full of stuff… not necessarily rubbish, but multiple books, stickers, pens, sticky notes, letters etc. I recently had a clear out, throwing away old notebooks and stationary that I no longer need nor use, I went through the three drawers on my desk and organised them, and I put all my empty books and papers inside my desk stool (as the top lifts up!).

I have to say, organising my drawers has made working a lot less stressful as it is so much easier to find the things that I need. I now use my top drawer to keep my protein snacks and little bits and pieces such as my beads for bracelet making! I use my second drawer for, blog books, notepads and envelopes and letter writing items and I use my bottom drawer for colouring books, colouring pens and pencils and other arts and crafts!

On my desk I have my MacBook with a cute little bunny head cable holder for my charger (to stop it falling behind my desk), a small stationary drawer set (where I keep stickers, washi tape, badges, sticky notes, staples and stapler), I have a pencil holder, with my fine liners and pencils in, my ‘bloggers bible’ and my current blog project book! I also must always have a candle on my desk, I love to light my candle in the evening while I work on blog posts and other forms of writing.

My most important item when it comes to blogging (besides my MacBook of course), is my Bloggers Bible! I came across this item on eBay for £16… now you may think that is a little expensive for a blog book, but you could create this kind of book by yourself if you had the time and creativity to do so (which I lack immensely). This book is my life-saver! It has a separate section for each month of the year, each starting with two calendars for that month… one calendar is filled with event days such as ‘Improve Your Desk Day’, this is a great way to prompt blog post ideas and social media post ideas when you are struggling for content! The other calendar is empty, to allow you to jot down important dates and schedule posts of your own! The next page has the following headings and sections: Ideas & Themes, Guest Bloggers to Contact, Companies to Contact, Objectives (with tick boxes down the side), Competitions & Giveaways, Products to Promote, Expenses & Earnings, Monthly Stats for followers and likes! This is a great way to jot down any monthly theme idea, as well as keeping any important contacts for that month all in one place! I also enjoy filling in the monthly stats at the end of each month and comparing them to the previous month. This book also offers a blank page at the start of each month for ‘Brainstorming!’, I tend to use this space for mind-mapping blog post ideas. The next few pages include individual scheduling for each specific blog post for that month, here you write the post title, the date the post is scheduled for, the date that the post was published, what hashtags you will use when sharing the post, a section to check off which social media platforms you will share the post too, and tick boxes for the following: ‘written’, ‘proofed’, ‘photos taken’, ‘scheduled’ and ‘published’! This is a great way to organise your posts (especially if you are like me and enjoy handwriting blog notes before typing it up). There are also tick boxes in regards to following up the post such as checking comments, and replying to them as well as checking for spam!

This amazing book also came with social media stickers to use throughout the book, so instead of ticking Twitter to show that I shared my post there, I can put a Twitter sticker there instead, adding colour and making it stand out more.

I highly recommend this book to bloggers but as I mentioned earlier, it would be possible to set out an ordinary notebook in this way if you wanted too!

Another must have for me when it comes to blogging, are sticky notes! I love sticky notes and they are super handy for jotting down important things that I need to do or remember! I tend to stick them onto my Mac as I use it every day so there is no way I could possibly miss them! I like to use cute girly sticky notes, so when I came across this little book in Wilko’s I simply could not resist (so I purchased two!). I am probably due a new one soon, so I will be searching for different designs!

I have also recently become a fan of washi tape, mainly to decorate my letters with and using as borders for my handwritten notes. They are super cute and fun, and they make my notes and letters look pretty and quirky as well as making the receivers of my letters smile when they come through their door! I recently purchased a pack of 6 washi tape rolls from Poundland, they are really lovely colours and designs and I will definitely be buying more in the near future as they had lots of designs to choose from!

I asked my lovely Twitter followers whether they would describe themselves as being tidy and organised or messy and unorganised, this is what they said:

Harish (@HarishHere) said: ‘Messy like hell…but I never forget things or lose them. If I have put the cap of the pen under a pile of clothes, I remember it. The problem is my mom picks it up and places it to its correct place and when and then when I’m unable to find it…she blames it on me being messy!’

I completely understand this! Nine out of ten times I always know where things are when I need them, despite my workspace being messy… It is organised chaos!

ThinkOutlandish (@BlogOutlandish) said: ‘My workspace is pretty clean. It’s probably because I use text editors for random notes than scribbling down on paper. I can’t say the same about my home workspace though. For that, I’ll have to align with Harish!’

I work in a cafe so I do not have my own workspace there, I am constantly cleaning up throughout the day! However, I love handwriting notes and drafting my blog posts by hand, so I have lots of notes and papers jotted around my home workspace! I try to keep it all in one place, though some of them manage to go astray… 

@Asphodelmoon said: ‘like to think I’m organised but I’m really not. My desk space is always cluttered no matter how often I tidy it!’

I could not agree more with this! I have thrown away lots of stuff, but my desk still seems cluttered… although the things that are cluttering it are the things that I tend to use on a day-to-day basis! 

I would love to know whether any of you lovely lot have changed your office space today? What are your favourite items, what must you have on your desk at all times? Would you class yourself as being organised or messy?

Let us know in the comments below and remember to Have Hope Always xo