How I Personally Approach Self-Care

Hi everyone! I hope you’re all well and safe. Excitingly, today’s post is a group collaboration with some amazing teen bloggers. I will link them right at the end for you to check out!

The announcement of a national lockdown last Monday sent ripples all across England. It’s been a difficult few months – suffering through the winter of a pandemic with the future being uncertain. My Instagram feed has, thoughtfully, been saturated with self-care posts. The group has decided to hop on to this bandwagon, although some of us are going to be taking a different approach. 

Over a year ago, a post of mine ‘These Aren’t Your Regular Self-Care Tips’ gained a mass of attention. Looking back, there are points to further explain and add on to. Consider this post the ‘sister’ of last year’s. I’m going to share ways I personally practise self-care.

Everyone should accept that they have different perception of self-care. Where a relaxing bath works for one person, a walk works for someone else. Personally, I find ticking off to-do lists and reducing procrastination therapeutic. It’s hard for me to ever relax when there are deadlines to be met. Of course, I don’t over-work myself. By 6pm I try to shut off from all forms of work. I just find getting things done now helps my future self feel less stressed – which is a form of self-care. Occasionally it’s important to not care at all, make your future self cope with the consequences, and have a day off. 

Although I did in the past, now I don’t think I should share ‘self care ideas’ on my blog because it is so individual – and without knowing the circumstances it’s hard to advise what people should do. This post is going to be a little list of things I do to take care of myself, and you can take away what you want, but this is just what works for me. 

  • Have a bath pamper
  • Put on a comfort programme (namely Doctor Who, Miranda, Downton Abbey, Gavin and Stacey)
  • Watch YouTube under a blanket
  • Read a book
  • Journal
  • Do some colouring with an audiobook as company
  • Go for a walk with a friend
  • Have a One Direction dance party (this really boosts my mood – just to dance like no-one is watching)
  • Bake! Trying out new recipes is always fun
  • Watch comedy with my family on the sofa downstairs, perhaps with a fire lit
  • Knitting 
  • Scroll through Goodreads and add yet more books to my TBR
  • Video call a friend
  • Go for a solo walk
  • Explore a place I haven’t been before

There is no routine to my self-care, I just do these things whenever I’m feeling anxious or overwhelmed. Normally I take Saturday as a complete day off social media and schoolwork. Although throughout the week I will do something for ‘me’ every day so I never hit breaking point. Of course I absoutely love being on social media and interacting with everyone! Fortunately my feed is such a postive space, and I have cultiavted to be that way. However, being costantly updated with 100s of people’s lives does get exhausting. Taking a step back allows me to appreciate my return. But from a health perspective, online school increases my interaction with screens so there is a certain point where I just need to say ‘no’ and be less digital for a day. I have had frequent problems associated with blue light in the past, even white paper and lights makes my eyes water sometimes. I don’t know why they’re so sesntive to light (I’m a vampire?) but I put precautions in place – like my day off social media!

I really hope you enjoyed today’s post. To see more self-care related posts as part of our group collab, simply click below!

Beth Lucy Blogs

Infintely A Day Dreamer 

Imaan Aziz (her’s will go live as an Instagram post!)

Meghan’s Teen Life

Pati Cool

Christina And Camera

Isabella Kate Blog

Zainab Chats

I love these girls so much and their blogs are (in my opinion) some of the best teen blogs out there. Enjoy your visits to their awesome websites!

How are you going to care for yourself today? 

Catherine x

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How To Make Effective To-Do Lists (That You Will Tick Off!)

Writing daily to-do lists has completely changed the way I approach productivity, and I don’t know where I would be without my handy lists. After 4-5 years of consistently using this method, I have found my own preferred way to write to-do lists. Now, it might sound stupidly obvious: just write down what you need to get done. But to prevent feeling overwhelmed, you have establish a good to-do list writing method. In this post I’ll be sharing my top tips to creating to-do lists that you will actually complete. 

Write a Huge Master To-Do List

Let us first establish everything you need to do. Absolutely everything: short term, long term, even tasks with no timeline. Empty all of the things you need to get done out of your brain and into a digital Notes app: such as the one that comes free with iPhone. This might take a long time, but believe me, we’ll create direction to them later.

Draw Out a Week at a Glance

I do this in my bullet journal, on to spreads that look like this. Just a box every day for seven days. Now, this is where you master to-do list comes in, write down the time limited tasks into the appropriate boxes. So if you have an assignment due on Wednesday, but ‘submit assignment’ into your box allocated to Wednesday. Also make sure you do this timetabling in a place that you will reference and look at throughout the week. There is no point writing it in a bullet journal is that notebook stays shut on your desk all week. Whatever works for you, plan there. And it doesn’t have to be fancy! 

And also, once writing time limited tasks into your boxes, remove them or tick them off your master to-do list.

Work Backwards 

You have put all of your tasks-with-deadlines in the correct boxes. Now, work backwards one task at a time. You may have put ‘submit assessment’ on Saturday, for example, so work backwards. Monday you finish off research, Tuesday you begin writing, get it all finished my Thursday, proofread on Friday and make sure you’re at the correct word count, submit on Saturday. This breaks down your bigger tasks and ensures you don’t ‘forget’ about your deadline. I recommend this method to absolutely anyone and it’s so helpful with studying in particular. 

Put One Smaller Task Per Day

On your fat master to-do list you might actually have small tasks that will only take less than an hour. Allocate one of these tasks each day. Don’t get too ambitious, because throughout the week you’ll be adding to the list as life goes on – you know. At the end of the week that’s still 7 little tasks completed! 

Put One Bigger Task Per Day

Along with that, put one big task per day. Such as the example we previously discussed: starting to write an assignment! That’s a big task (in my eyes anyway) so prioritise that on your list. Sadly, life means we can’t just do one ‘big’ thing per day. We have to do more. But in your forward planning, just put one thing down. You’ll add to it.

An Enjoyable Task

Try to enjoy every little thing you do, of course! However, at the end of a hard day’s work, treat yourself to something you can do for you. AND PUT THIS ON YOUR LIST. Because self-care hands itself to productivity, and prevents overworking and burn out. I, for example, might put ‘watch Torchwood and bullet journal’. Something I enjoy. I don’t force myself to put a ‘fun’ task on my list everyday, because that would completely destroy the idea of it being ‘fun’. You could put something as broad as ‘me time’ as a check box, and do whatever you feel like that day. That could mean half an hour on Instagram scrolling (allow yourself that if you enjoy it). 

Exercise

You’re really supposed to exercise everyday, but putting it on my to-do list makes it feel like an extra little win.

Weekly Tasks

Finally, go over your master to-do list again to look at tasks that you need to get done before the week is out but on no specific date. Perhaps make a separate box for this on your timetable!

Throughout this post I have said ‘you will add to it’. The model I have explained in this post is for a week in advance. Weekly planning is so much more efficient than daily. However, tasks will come up day to day that you need to add to your list. You might be set something on Tuesday due on Wednesday. Of course add this to your list. That’s why you should never bombard yourself with too many tasks at the start of the week, because things will crop up. 

I really hope I explained myself well here, although it is hard to show weekly planning through writing. It’s not that complicated – but through words it makes itself out to be! 

There will be other tasks that don’t fit within these categories or maybe there are too many big tasks to put for one week! They can be allocated to the next week. Or you can do them when you get free time throughout the week. Keep this master to-do list so you can use it for the next week’s weekly planning session. You might have more time that week than the week before! Flexibility is key. Too much structure is hard to stick with, too little means you get nothing done. Balance and flexibility are key to productivity 🙂 

(ooh, I just made that phrase up myself but I kinda like it ;))

What’s on your to-do list today? How are you going to get it done?

And if your to-do list just looks like: wake up, shower and eat food that should not be invalidated. You’re doing so well. Don’t allow hustle culture to make your day seem ‘less productive’ just because you aren’t moving at a million miles per hour. 

I shared this on my Instagram stories a few weeks ago: ‘productivity is making the most out of a given situation’. Are you feeling ill? Rest. That’s productive, because you’re making the right decision in that given situation. If you forced yourself to work when you were feeling ill, you’ll not only tire yourself out but probably produce something you’re not happy with and have to do it all over again. 

Productivity is relative. Do what is best for you.

Catherine x

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A Week Of Vegan Breakfasts | Quick, Easy + Yummy

Hey everyone! Welcome to the start of a new year. I hope you all had safe yet enjoyable New Year’s celebrations. In alignment with the Veganuary trend, I am today going to share a week of vegan breakfasts. These are all going to be realistic, budget-friendly and energising!

Just to clarify, I am not a vegan. As a teenager still living at home my parents simply can’t accommodate for a vegan diet. Although, I am vegetarian and this year will be my 3 year ‘veggie-versary!’. I am looking forward to making some veggie themed posts for that celebration on August. 

Meals I make myself (breakfast and lunch) I always try to make vegan. It’s a simple little lifestyle change I have been implementing for some time now. It’s really important that when trying to eat with more environmental consciousness, you don’t go in with an all-or-nothing mindset. Change is gradual and should be treated as a journey. It’s not a simple ‘flick-the-switch-and-done’. Rather than become fixated on a diet – like veganism – I think more about short term impact. If there was a chocolate bar made by a local farm, I would choose it over the plastic wrapped vegan choice (recyclable or not). Cow farming is of course destructive to the planet, but so is sourcing virgin plastic, growing soy plantations and shipping these beans to the UK. Balance is integral to sustaining good choices. So don’t be deceived by heavily processed vegan products! 

I don’t eat fruit with my breakfast to make a ‘health’ statement, it’s just simply because I love it. My vegan tendencies are made because I care about the ethical nature behind food. 

If you find the mention of food triggering to your recovery or otherwise, kindly click off this post. We won’t be discussing disordered eating but it is nonetheless important to stay away from any potential harm.

I am so, so grateful to be in a position where I can eat without restrictions and not feel guilty about the food I consume. And it is worth pointing out in a post about food. Because ‘vegan’ has the connotations of being ‘healthier’ than other diets. But that’s entirely untrue. It might seem as if I am restricting myself through eating such a diet, but I couldn’t feel better. From starting this diet/lifestyle I have grown in confidence. I feel amazing. Even using the label ‘diet’ makes me slightly quiver. Because it is more than that. I wish we could remove the stigma around veganism as being ‘the healthy solution to weight loss’. It’s not that at all. It’s a lifestyle, and a choice, and not a fad.

But without further ado, I’d like it introduce to you Catherine’s Culinary Corner (the name is a work in progress XD)

Monday

Porridge is an absolute staple for my breakfast! I would have it for every meal if I could. Instead of measuring out my oats, I just pour the amount I’m feeling that morning. I make my porridge with a splash of water instead of milk and top with fruit of some kind. Today that was banana! Then alongside I sprinkled some vegan muesli stuff. I’m not a nutritionist and have absolutely no clue whether this bowl was balanced or healthy or anything. But it was tasty and filling (all that counts)

Tuesday

Shaking it up a bit today with a slice of peanut butter on toast with an orange. Since having braces this meal has taken longer to eat! But loving the excuse to read a few more pages before the chaotic day ensues. Reading while eating my breakfast is a habit I absolutely love.

To make the whole family happy, we buy this Roberts sliced white loaf that is vegan friendly and palm-oil free.

Wednesday

Back to porridge! Today I topped it off with some frozen fruit. These were quite sour by themselves although mixed with enough porridge it tasted yum.

Thursday

Cereal had to get a feature somewhere! Thursday’s brekkie was a lovely bowl of Bran Flakes with almond milk. If you can’t tell already, I’m obsessed with bananas 😂

Friday

End of the *working* week! And no better way to celebrate than with a filling bowl of porridge topped off with frozen fruit and more of that vegan muesli stuff that I LOVE!

Saturday

Nothing speaks weekend more than a good bowl of plain cereal. To incorporate some fruity goodness I sliced an apple (that I ate leisurely on the sofa as I read my book with a cup of tea). 

Sunday

Returning to my signature dish: porridge, for a cosy winter Sunday morning. Topped with some of the muesli stuff I love and a little bit of frozen fruit – it set me up for a relaxing reset. Using Sundays as an admin day is a great habit to help subside the potential stress on a Monday morning. And these mundane and repetitive tasks require nothing more than an energising bowl of goodness to get started!

Thank you so much for reading my week of breakfasts! I hope they inspire some of your own morning meals. Vegan doesn’t mean just eating a salad leaf – you can really enjoy food while being kind to the planet in the process. 

What’s your favourite breakfast?

Catherine x

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Blogger Spotlight | Bloggers I’ve Been Loving Recently

Quite a few months ago, Pooja from Life’s Fine Whine kindly nominated me for The Beautiful Blogger Award. I have wanted to share with you my favourite bloggers, and so combining the two means I have the perfect excuse to share all the blogs I love to read!

If I mention you in this post, please don’t feel the need to continue the award. However, it would be lovely if you could share support for your favourite content creators. It’s entirely up to you! 

Here are the rules:

1. Link to the blogger who has nominated you.

2. List 7 random facts about you.

3. Nominate 7 creative, beautiful bloggers and let them know about the nomination.

My Random Facts

  1. ‘Fluffy Towels’ is my favourite Yankee Candle scent.
  2. Non-fictions about climate change are possibly my favourite genre of book.
  3. Doctor Who is my favourite television series and I have been watching since I was a tiny toddler – but never found it scary! My favourite Doctor is David Tennant and I’m currently watching the 2005 Doctor Who spinoff – Torchwood. My dream is to one day feature in an episode of the programme.
  4. My cat’s name is Pikachu.
  5. I actually have a pet rabbit but I rarely share photos of her on here! She is called Tufty because in winter she grows a fluffy black ‘mane’ around her neck.
  6. My favourite colour is undeniably mustard yellow – but I used to hate it.
  7. My Spotify looks like this. Indie rock bands are my favourite although I do have a soft spot for One Direction because… well it’s 1D. After the release of folklore I started getting into Taylor Swift too, but I can’t say I enjoy her older albums that much :/

Zainab Chats

Zainab is a wonderful teen blogger from the UK who shares tips and advice directed towards an audience of teen girls. I think blogs like these are so valuable for young teens since they discuss a plethora of topics that are difficult to have conversations about. Besides her wonderful advice posts, Zainab enjoys posting book reviews and lifestyle posts. It’s the ultimate blog for any young teenager!

Simply, Ancine

Book blogs have always been a favourite of mine, many of you might remember my own book blog days! Francine is one of my favourite content creators and recently she moved away from lifestyle posts to post about her absolute passion: books. From recommendations to reviews, tags to teen fiction, Simply Ancine invites a community of book lovers to share their enjoyment of reading! The comment sections are like book club in itself. Couldn’t rave about it enough 🙂

Mind. Beauty. Simplicity.

Minimalism is an idea that I have been incorporating into my life since 2018, and the blogs I read around continually change my thoughts about the lifestyle. So many new ideas being brought to the table in every post! Mind. Beauty. Simplicity. takes these ideas and converts them into actionable steps. She talks about her own minimalist life, delivering comprehensive advice regularly. I love this blog so much and have recently been reading it more than ever!

Little World Of Rachel

Rachel is the most wonderful person, and kindly supports so much of my content! And her loving personality carries through into her writing, that is simultaneously chatty and informative. I love her unique takes on popular blog post ideas. Each post is refreshingly novel! While maintaining her amazing website, Rachel has the most beautiful Instagram too.

Real & Relatable 

Recently I’ve been *addicted* to Instagram Reels (a habit I probably need to break because I have been going to bed at midnight regularly…) but there are a few reasons why I absolutely love the content on Reels: informative, helpful, fun. Madeline delivers all of these in her own 15 second videos! I absolutely love her page on Instagram and how it interlinks with her blog content as well. So glad I found Madeline’s content because it’s incredibly well-written and unique. Click here for her blog… you will never regret it 😉

The Blog Girl

Where do I start? The Blog Girl is a beautiful blog run by Meg – a fellow UK based teen. She has such an adorable yet mature personality, and each post of her’s is a joy to read. I love the list posts from The Blog Girl, which are long yet not lacking in quality. Each point made is delivered with expertise and explanation. Although her blog is not completely centred around ‘advice’, I have learned so much from reading her content. As well as that, Meg is the best baker I have ever had the pleasure to know. She has a fab Instagram where she shares her own delicious creations! Getting to know Meg this year has been a pleasure I can’t wait to see how far she goes.

Meg also did a ‘Top 5 Favourite Bloggers of 2020’ post, similar to this one, so make sure to give that a read! Very kindly she included this blog in her top 5 which *ahhhhhdjhjdsjdkad* makes me so happy ❤

Hiddenzzz

Hiddenzzz blog is one of the most aesthetic places on the Internet. The content varies from book reviews, to positive affirmations. Hiddenzzz invites other creators to do collab style posts that are so novel and enjoyable to read! I absolutely love this blog because each post is a surprise – a good surprise – and so well-written. They also have a beautiful YouTube channel full of bullet journaling and (it wouldn’t be Hiddenzzz without it…) coffee! The vibes emulate my Pinterest dream board: light academia, bujos and hygge.

I really hope you enjoyed my little rundown of the blogs I am loving at the moment, along with 7 random facts about me. The Monday this post goes live is on the week I’m returning to school, which is scary more than anything. I am feeling anxious upon my return to the virtual learning world, where all the work you complete never feels like actual work because it only exists within the pixels of a screen. Perhaps with my New Year’s resolution of journaling (which I am keeping up with very well thank you XD) I might strike a good balance between work and relax time. But I am struggling to find that balance when there is uncertainty about how and when online exams will go ahead. Even the thought of it puts me off the idea of revising… I just- the education system does not support mental wellbeing of the students :’)

Leave a little random fact about yourself in the comments.

Happy new week!

Catherine x

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How To Create New Year’s Resolutions That Will Stick

No doubt you are all excited for 2021, and the fresh start it promises for all of us. The pandemic will not miraculously go away – but I am certainly wishing for a better year for the world. Along with any new year comes the exciting notion of resolutions! I will be setting a few myself. This is how I chose what goals to pursue. With the technique I am going to share in this post, hopefully you will find yourself more compelled to achieve your resolutions! Because, no matter how motivational, a Pinterest quote doesn’t solve everything…

The words: who, what, where, when, why, how will not be unfamiliar to you. In fact they might even bring back haunting memories of primary school English class (if you know, you know). Let’s take that academic connotation away and turn them into tools for success! (stick with me – this is going somewhere)

What

You must first determine your what. What do you want to achieve? From as small as baking a 3 tier cake, to creating a consistent meditation habit. Have in your mind what you want to achieve. Write it down if it helps! Don’t feel any of your goals are insignificant. Make a list of everything – big and small – you wish to do. We’ll narrow it down later.

You’ll be glad to see that I’m using a different candle in this post 😂

How

How will you complete your ‘what’? For each part of your ‘what’ list, write down a set of instructions or steps for success. My resolution is consistent journaling (very atypical). I will achieve it by opening my journal, picking up a pen and writing every day. 

It may be stupidly obvious! Yet breaking the task up will allow it to appeal to the brain more.

My January bullet journal set-up

Where

Might sounds a little ridiculous but it will help as the year goes along (also as the New Year’s buzz fades away). Where are you going to complete your goal? Again with my journaling example: I am going to journal in my bed. For exercising consistently – it might be a run around the canal every morning. Find your where. This is a bit like the previous step: it is breaking down your big goal into ‘digestible’ chunks. Also, the more boxes checked off the more accomplished you’ll feel!

‘No matter how motivational, a Pinterest quote doesn’t solve everything…’

When

I find the ‘when’ is the most useful (besides the why). Finding a when will allow the habit/goal to thread into your daily routine. Make time for your goals! Determining a ‘when’ means there will be less friction between you and achieving the goal. Throughout the year it will create consistency. If you’ve not heard it before (possibly one of the most important quotes of all time): consistency is key!

The mistletoe come twig doodle is starting to grow on me

Why

This is where we narrow down which goals are the most important to you. That list you created earlier? We need it again. For everything on your list think – or write down – a why. The ones you are most passionate about will have the most ‘why’. But don’t let this fool you! You can have perfectly valid goals that don’t need a why.

The process of writing the ‘why’ is very meditative. Between words your mind is getting more and more excited for the prospect of completing this final goal. The ‘why’ is also nice to read back on when you are losing motivation with your goal. At the start of the year you put a lot of thought into what you wanted to pursue.

I have a tiny calendar this month because I tend not to use the bigger ones

If you have been a reader of my blog for a while now, you will know of my fixation on writing to-do lists the night before. I think this is the best way for me personally because…

  1. The night before your mind is more alive, and it knows what is best for you. It knows what is needed to have a good following day. But say for example you wrote your list in the morning – your priorities wouldn’t be the same. You might be working for your own short-term comfort rather than long-term bliss.
  2. I believe this aligns with setting goals at the start of the year – but throughout the year losing motivation with them. Just because you are losing motivation with them doesn’t mean you should give up. Because past you (or ‘more awake’ you) probably knows what’s best. We do grow from our past – of course – but in this instance the past self is the more motivated self.
  3. But although it is important to remind yourself of why you initiated this goal in the first place, things do change. Don’t tie yourself down to a resolution if it isn’t benefiting you anymore.

I really hope this tips help you to consolidate what resolutions you wish to pursue and how you will get there. Hope to see you again on Friday where I will share my New Year’s Resolutions with you all. As a Slytherin, I have certainly been ambitious. But no doubt I will get there 🙂

What are your New Year’s resolutions/goals?

Thank you for reading and I wish you a very happy new year!

Catherine x 

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