50 Things To Do In Winter | 2021 Prep, Getting Cosy, Being Present

Winter really excites me. The turn of a New Year is on the horizon and it marks a new chapter for us all. The weather doesn’t allow for socialising and the time spent alone can be isolating but, if used correctly, can be a time of self-improvement. I wanted to make a list 50 things you can do in Winter. Some of them are Christmas oriented, but the majority can be applicable for anyone no matter their religion! They’re all supposed to make you feel good, cosy, and confident.

This post is made in collaboration with my dear friend Meg, but you may know her as The Blog Girl or @baking.by.meg! We collaborated before, way back in summer. It was absolute pleasure working with Meg so we’ve decided to collaborate again, this time on a 50 things to do in winter post! Surprisingly, it wasn’t that hard to come up with so many ideas. But, if there isn’t something here that floats your boat, Meg has another 50 things on her blog. Click here to see the post! Please also follow Meg’s Instagram, she is the most wonderful baker and you will surely enjoy her content.

Let’s get into it!

  • Create a really extravagant, over-the-top hot chocolate
  • Have porridge for breakfast 
  • Make a Christmas Pinterest board
  • Read an entire book in a day
Photo by Any Lane on Pexels.com
  • Blankets
  • Make some wintery wallpaper for your phone, laptop etc
  • Bullet journal Christmas movies you want to watch
  • Write out your New Year’s Goals and how you will achieve them
  • On a frosty morning, brew a cuppa tea and drink it outside
Photo by Ivars on Pexels.com
  • Drink lots of hot water – but make sure you don’t burn yourself!
  • Go for an early morning walk
  • Cook up a big breakfast: hash browns, egg bread, beans – the lot!
  • Practise calligraphy so you can impress people with your Christmas cards
Photo by Anthony Shkraba on Pexels.com
  • Make a Pinterest board for your 2021 manifestations 
  • Do a series on your Instagram (12 Days Of Musicmas, Takeover Tuesday, What I Wore Wednesday)
  • Bake gingerbread 
Photo by Nicole Michalou on Pexels.com
  • Go for an afternoon walk to see the early sunset
  • Watch the sunrise 
  • Learn how to knit
  • Sort out your emails and unsubscribe from unnecessary mailing lists
  • Unfollow people who won’t bring your positive vibes in 2021
  • Plan content ahead of time!
  • Prioritise revision for end of term tests
  • Sort out your wardrobe 
  • Determine what gifts you’re getting for people for Christmas
  • Bake mince pies
  • Get a nice planner for 2021 or set up your bullet journal for the next year
Photo by Ivan Samkov on Pexels.com
  • Watch telly in your duvet on the sofa
  • Sort out your room thoroughly
  • Sell things you no longer want
  • Video call your friends
  • Do a Secret Santa
  • Change your bedding to something more seasonal
Photo by Jan Kopu0159iva on Pexels.com
  • Decorate your room
  • Go for a walk with your friend
  • List out everything 20 things you learned in 2020
  • Spend time with your family
  • Play board games
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com
  • Try some interesting new tea flavour
  • Bake something unusual
  • Listen to the birds
  • Whip out your colouring book and settle down for a cosy afternoon with a good film and get colouring 
  • Learn different zentangle patterns 
  • Set a Goodreads goal for next year
  • Make pom-pom room decor
  • Start a scrapbook
Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com
  • Read through old letters
  • Find a penpal to start writing to
  • Go through a recipe book and tab things you want to make
  • Sort though old photographs 

This list has a balance of looking forward to the New Year, and being grateful for the moment. Let me know if you try any of these! I’d love to see your pics on Instagram.

What do you want to do this Winter?

Catherine x

Find me elsewhere on the Internet:

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Email me! cathjaneblog@gmail.com

5 Plastic Items To Completely Boycott

Disclaimer: the most sustainable thing you have is what you already own. Please don’t throw any of these things away if you already own them. Use them carefully, and wisely. The idea is not to buy new ones. Please don’t feel ashamed if you own some of these – because even I do! If you can avoid them, however, please do. 

This is our home and we are destroying it. Not only our home, but home to millions and species and trillions of animals. Beside global warming, there is the large issue of plastic. How it is sourced, where it is used and where it ends up. Every part of the plastic cycle is dangerous to our planet. Saying no to it as a consumer decreases the demand from the supplier. We are in an oil shortage, and using oil for things like straws is stupid (especially when there are non-plastic alternatives!). 

This post will detail 5 plastic items and why you can and should stop buying them. Let’s get into it.

Single-Use Plastic Bags

The shops say they’re single use, but if you ever buy them rest assured you can actually reuse them way more than once. That doesn’t excuse purchasing them, but please don’t be deceived by ‘single use only’ because that’s a whole load of crap. 

In my house, we keep our plastic bags because we know they’re not recyclable. We’ve not bought any for years, apart for those bags that tortillas wraps come in. Again, we do supermarkets use such excess packaging? *rolls eyes* Not only is there a charge on plastic bags in the UK now, but they’re also unnecessary. Be prepared and bring your own bag. 

Plastic Drinking Bottles

One reason I love ‘real’ and public school is due to the fact that you can meet so many different characters in such an institution. I know of one that won’t drink tap water because ‘it doesn’t taste nice’ and only drinks from plastic bottles. Wonderful. It’s such a joy to live in a world of ignorance. 

If my mum is reading this she won’t realise that was sarcasm.

Bring your own drinking bottle! Please! They’re so much more convenient anyway, and having a snazzy metal waterbottle always makes you feel like a boss. They are very affordable from Wilko, Home Bargains and other home stores. But if you can’t afford a metal one just get a reusable plastic one. If you use it long enough, you can offset all of the previous single use bottles you have bought. 

Shower Gel

If you are prescribed shower gel for a skin condition then ignore me. You know what is best for you.

Soap bars are genius, and thankfully lots of mainstream brands are starting to make them. Use these in place of bottled shower gel where you can. These bottles are largely non-recyclable! Still, you should try to prevent your consumption of plastic and crude oil in the first place, regardless of where it will end up. 

The shower gel I use is called Faith In Nature. It’s a small sustainable brand and you can take your recyclable bottle made from recycled plastic to be refilled at certain shops. My mum bought it for my birthday back in August and I have yet to refill, so that’s pretty good going! 

Plastic Straws

They’re bad. For so many reasons. Even recyclable straws are too lightweight and small that they don’t make through mechanical recycling sorters. They get disposed as rubbish, and once in landfill of litter they will break up into tiny microplastics that pose large danger for marine life. Fish and other Sealife will intake the tiny plastics. And if you eat seafood, then that will be you too. 

Alternatives: metal straws. Sturdy reusable plastic straws (not the best option, but better than nothing).

Cling Film

Not only does thing film cling to your food, but it clings on to the planet and doesn’t biodegrade. They are quite a few alternative to cling film these days, including beeswax wraps. And even then – beeswax isn’t how we would ideally do things. Try to avoid using cling film in the first place. Where you normally use it, consider whether it is necessary.

Made of PVC (polyvinyl chloride) it is seldom recycled. I also found this on the Internet to do with PVC: “PVC contains dangerous chemical additives including phthalates, lead, cadmium, and/or organotins, which can be toxic to your child’s health. These toxic additives can leach out or evaporate into the air over time, posing unnecessary dangers to children.” Source here.

I suppose it goes without saying, but PVC is not considered eco-friendly. It is made by a chemical reaction between chlorine, carbon, and ethylene and because it causes the release of other harmful chemicals, it does a lot of harm to the environment. Source here.

Thank you for reading blogmas day 17! Not a very Christmassy style post, but I hope it warns you and gets you ready for a greener, healthier 2021. I will be posting more about sustainability on the run up to Christmas because we can be really wasteful at this time of year. As a nation, landfill increases to an insane amount over the holiday period!

What are you wishing for this Christmas?

Stay safe everyone,

Catherine x

Find me elsewhere on the Internet:

Instagram: @cathjaneblog

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Email me! cathjaneblog@gmail.com

Self-Care | Chats With Cath

Welcome back to blogmas day 16!

A couple of weeks ago I posted this to my Instagram story. It had a very positive response and I think it is worth sharing here of WordPress too.

Because my blog so often talks about productivity, it’s important to define what productivity is. 

I would say it’s using a given set of time effectively in any situation.

For example, I have a headache but I have lots of school work to do. In that situation, I would take a rest and wait until the headache goes away before I tackle any work. It’s listening to my body. And if I need to rest, I need to rest.

On Saturday I had a lie-in until 9 which is very unlike me. I was disappointed in myself for not waking up at the right time, but then I winded back a few steps. My body needed that rest. My mind needed that lie-in. And without it, my day would have been less energised. 

I felt it was important to address this as my blog so closely focusses on studying! I’m not always working at my desk. I’m not always happily working at my desk. Everyone has bad days.

By the time you’re seeing this, it will be my last day of school in 2020. That’s crazy. 

This year has flown by. There have been some moments that felt slower than others and they stay alive in my mind.

I can’t wait for the new year. Though of course, I don’t want to wish away the end of this one. 

2021 excites me with its uncertainty. Hopefully it will be a better year for the world. But if not, let’s support each other. Love. Kindness. I will be carrying those two on my back in 2021 like wings. 

Enough about the future, let’s talk about the now. More specifically, self-care.

I asked you in my post the other day how you like to practise self-care. Your comments were a joy to respond to. 

This time last year I shared a post named ‘these aren’t your regular self-care tips’ and it’s a post I am still to this day proud of! 

However, in 365 x 24 hours a lot changes, so let’s talk about how I practise self-care these days.

  • Eating nutritious food, less of the processed stuff that makes me feel rotten
  • Waking up and going to sleep at consistent times
  • Always preparing for the following morning
  • Exercising. Making myself go outside even when I don’t feel like it.
  • Taking breaks form social media guilt free
  • Journaling
  • Taking photos of precious moments, or by taking photos turning things into precious moments

Self-care isn’t a face mask on a Sunday. It is what you consistently do. 

This post flows like a stream of consciousness, and stutters and stalls like a conversation. 

I just wanted to write something from me. Almost like a letter. And I hope you enjoyed reading.

What have you been up to today?

Along with some boring things that you wouldn’t care to read about, I baked some gingerbread men! I am yet to ice them but I think I’ll do that when the Strictly Results come on. 

Have a wonderful day everyone!

Catherine x

Find me elsewhere on the Internet:

Instagram: @cathjaneblog

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Email me! cathjaneblog@gmail.com

5 Easy Ways You Can Be An Organised Blogger

Welcome to blogmas day 15, today on the subject of productivity.

I am a student and blogger, and with those things come many responsibilities. Beside my side-hustle and studying, I am part of a GirlGuiding unit and I also take cello lessons. But most importantly of all – I’m human! You might be wondering how I juggle it all. Later on this week I will be sharing another installation of my Chats With Cath series. In that post I will be going into more detail about how I’ve pushed out 1 blog post a day, and the stress of December. At this time of the year I love to address the notion of self-care. It’s important all year round, of course, yet when things get the most hectic is when we need to be the most mindful about how we look after ourselves.

This post includes 5 ways I stay organised as a blogger. Hopefully you can use my tips to make you more time efficient, and therefore being able to carve out more time for yourself, friends and family.

Keeping a list of post ideas

Keeping a list of blog posts ideas you get on the go is really handy, especially when you come to the keyboard not knowing what to write. I have a list in my Notes that I add to every now and then. Once the ideas have formed, I add them into a calendar. My three content buckets are sustainability, wellness and lifestyle. I don’t like to clump posts of the same niche together. Seeing my posts a month at a glance allows me to spread out the different ‘type’ of posts – so that you come to my blog seeing a range of writing. It’s also refreshing for me to write in different styles!

Drafting Instagram posts

Thank you Instagram for this marvellous feature. I will right my captions in Notes first, then copy and paste into an Instagram draft so it’s all ready to go. Instagram drafts allow you to add the location, tag people and select the chosen photos all at once. When it comes to your posting time you just hit publish, paste the hashtags in the comments, then you’re all good to go! 

Google Calendar

I set reminders with the title of each blog post and when it goes live. This way I know what to write in the correlating Instagram post. But, most importantly, my calendar reminds me what to write and when for! When I’m doing IRL school, Google Calendar is helpful. Otherwise I get so lost in school work that I forget I have a blog… (I’m not joking)

Spending half and hour doing blog related admin everyday

30 minutes goes a long way! I shared in my Cosy Night Routine post (please read it here if you haven’t already) that I enjoy doing this in the evening. Depending on the day I’ll either respond to emails, reply to comments, read your posts or reply to DMs. Ideally I would get all of them done but I just leave it up to future me. 

Master to-do lists

Every weekend I make the most mammoth to-do list with every thing playing on my mind that I know I need to complete. From this long list, I can divide the tasks up depending on urgency. Then they will be allotted a certain day in the week for me to get it done. This way of weekly planning I find keeps me on track. If you have any time to spare, you may want to take a look at Holly Gabrielle’s video on weekly planning because I use the same method as her. It is much easier to explain through dialogue than typed words! I’ll link it here for those curious.


Hopefully you will find these tips applicable to your current blogging ‘routine’. Everyone is different so these tips may not work for you, but I hope you can mould and adapt them to fit your lifestyle. 

What apps do you use on a daily basis?

I’ve seen Notion flying around a bit lately! I’d love to know what apps you use regularly. You might see me try them out in a future post 😉 Please leave some suggestions so I can make that post happen for you.

Have a very happy Tuesday!

Catherine x

Instagram: @cathjaneblog

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Email me! cathjaneblog@gmail.com

Cosy Winter Nighttime Routine | Hygge, Self-Care + Productivity

Hey everyone!

This is blogmas day 11. I’m super excited to bring you my Cosy Winter Nighttime Routine. If you’re from the southern hemisphere, no doubt you are fed up of me complaining about how it gets dark so early. 

Rather than continue that negative attitide towards darkness, let’s appreciate what we already have and make it cosy!

When it’s dark outside and you’re all wrapped up warm and safe inside, it feels hygge. This nighttime routine – hygge inspired – helps me embrace the darkness outside and not get too mad about it!

My nighttime routine begins at 6pm, when I completely stop work. I make a promise to myself not to work past 6pm, because – well – I deserve it! Online learning has given me a lot more flexibility in terms of schedule. On a normal, in-person school day I could be working until 8pm with the endless homework and assessments. Everyone is different so please don’t compare your habits to mine! I am about to share them with you but just because you do things differently doesn’t make you any better or worse than I am.

6pm

At the moment I’m watching Downton Abbey. While I watch it I’ll either make some scrunchies for my little biz, knit, do some colouring… I love doing this to break up my day. It always stretches my creative muscles 🙂 Oh, and you can buy a scrunchie from me right here! All the profits go to a service trip to Kenya where I’ll be facilitating school sessions for less priviliged children.

While I do my crafting, I light a candle. I’m burning a gingerbread one at the minute that adds a sweet, festive aroma to my room. Lighting candles brings out the ‘hygge’ in me and singles it’s time to wind down. And nothing beats the cosy vibes it emulates. 

7pm

Around 7 I like to tie up some loose ends. I’ll do blog admin: reply to DMs, comments, read your posts, sort through my emails. It’s the only time of day I get to spend on my blog! But a little goes a long way.

This will be the last time I go on social media until the morning. When I do carry on scrolling late into the night, it defintely has knock-on effects the following day (making me feel sluggish and less positive). I don’t know why it does because my feed is the most wonderful place! It might just be do with constantly being updated with other people’s lives.

7.30pm

I head back to the computer and start writing a blog post. Getting down initial thoughts will help me the following day when I need to finish the post. I don’t write the best in the evening, but you can always edit a bad page.You can’t edit a blank one! Blogmas is really exciting and writing so much doesn’t burn me out creatively, but it sure does take a lot of work.

8pm

This is the time I get ready for bed. I’ll hop into my pajamas, wash my face or maybe have a shower! Treating the end of the day as if it is something makes it worth something. Because it is dark and gloomy you can (I catch myself doing this) get ahead of yourself and start wishing about the next day rather than appreciating the one you’re in! But a nice little pamper, whether that be a nice shower or skincare routine, sets you up nicely for the evening ahead.

8.30pm

Towards the end of the day I do a quick power-clean and tidy up my room, getting set up for the following day. There might be a pile of papers I need to sort through, or clothes I need to put away. Small tasks can build up but 8.30 is when I just clear off as many from the to-do list as possible!

8.45pm

Speaking of to-do lists, anytime before 9 I’ll check in my bullet journal to see what I have done, what I need to complete, plans for the following day etc. While I have my bullet journal out I like to sit in bed and write down what I’m grateful for. By the time I’ve done a bit of journaling I’m normally really tired!

9-10pm

Often I’ll go to bed at 9 which is considered quite early. Although I’m ashamed of being a granny when it comes to bedtime! I listen to my body, and 9pm is shut off time. Sometimes I’ll fit in a bit of reading before bed but it honestly depends on the day. Since it’s Christmastime, I have my colourful lights strung around my room and these add a magical touch to the end of the day.

I hope this post inspires you to create your own nighttime routine if you don’t already have one. Routines can be boring but adding flexibility (like this one) makes it easier to stick to. A good routine sets you up for success! I personally find that without routine I’m a bit hopeless. If a ‘How To Create A Good Routine’ post is one you want to see, then do let me know. After a few years of using a structured morning and night routine there are a few tips and tricks I have under my belt that can help you!

What do you do every night, to set the next day up for success?

And please don’t feel guilty if you don’t have a good routine at the moment. Covid-19 sucks and it’s thrown us all off our axis. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed, stressed or anxious about what lies ahead. Just remeber that everything is temporary. If you need to speak to someone, I’m always here for you.

Find me elsewhere on the Internet:

Instagram: @cathjaneblog

Goodreads: @cathjaneblog

Pinterest: @cathjaneblog

Email me! cathjaneblog@gmail.com