January, the start of the new year, is also a good time for de-cluttering your life. Like lots of other things I’ve mentioned before in other posts, de-cluttering and organisation is something that has a physical outcome but can also work wonders for your mental health and wellbeing.
I don’t know about you but I can be a very literal person in some ways and I am often a product of my environment (think ‘messy room, messy mind’) and de-cluttering can be done in so many ways, maybe in ways you wouldn’t really realise or imagine! Why wait until Spring?
Keep on reading for my de-cluttering and organisation tips…
- Have a massive throw out (obvious one) – anything you no longer want, no longer need, no longer wish to have in your surroundings or anything that has seen better days, get rid of it! Whether you throw it out, recycle it, take it to a charity shop, give to family or friends or sell it, it needs to go! Stop putting it off!
- Minimalise – as I’ve got older, I am growing to love minimalism. I was sat in my bedroom other day and I just thought: WHY do I have two open DVD racks with 100 DVDs staring back at me? WHY are all of my cosmetic beauty products standing on my dresser instead of in drawers? WHY have I got countless candles and ornaments everywhere that don’t match? I am torn because I like a room to be quite simple but warm, welcoming and inviting at the same time. Finding the balance between cosy and calculating is this year’s décor mission.
- Storage – there’s a place for everything and everything has it’s place. Sometimes, we have to keep things that we don’t really want to keep (think: wage slips, paper bills, tape, blue tack, screwdrivers amongst countless other things!) Make sure you know exactly where these things are and that they are organised and stored neatly. I have just bought a box file for all of my paper work and each file is separated into categories: ‘Wage Slips’, ‘P45s/P60s’, ‘Gas and Electricity Bills’, ‘Student Loan Statements’ etc.
- Make better use of your space – for a long time I was using the bottom drawer of my dresser as a ‘junk drawer’. Old mobile phone chargers, adapter leads, hot water bottles, suede shoe cleaner, old keys. Any old tat I could find, you name it, it was probably in there! I have started throwing those things away/finding new homes for them and now I have an extra drawer to store all of the beauty products that I’m going to move off the top of my dresser in my quest for minimalism!
- Sort your email accounts out – I logged onto my email account a few days ago and I had 927 emails in my inbox! I am one of those fantastically anally retentive people that gets probably the most satisfaction possible when I have a completely empty inbox. Delete all of your unwanted emails , create subfolders for emails that you need to keep (e.g. my wage slips are emailed to me now so I have a subfolder for those), unsubscribe to companies that you are sick of receiving emails from, mark nuisance emails as ‘spam’. It’s funny how much you feel like you can take on the world with a clean inbox!
- Change your passwords – new year, new start, get those passwords changed (have you got a password that has an emotional attachment to something from the past, maybe associated with an ex?) GET RID!
- Hire a skip – if you do have a lot of rubbish to get rid of, it is worth hiring a skip, there’s nothing better than physically throwing your rubbish away yourself and actually seeing the process happening in front of your own eyes. It is so satisfying!
- Get your administrative sh*t together – sign up for internet banking, set up direct debits and standing orders, download apps for certain admin tasks (paying bills etc.), cancel subscriptions that you don’t use, renew or cancel memberships, check all of your outgoings are correct, if you have made any bookings for holidays/events, can you pay any of them off or whittle any of them down? Delete the fodder off your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram/other Social Media accounts. Make a financial plan, actually use your calendar and diary.
- Do a ‘deep clean’ – I am doing a spot of décor in a couple of months so a good ‘deep clean’ before any decorating of a room is crucial anyway but this is something that should be done at least 4 times a year. In my eyes, a ‘deep clean’ might include washing curtains or blinds, flipping a mattress, washing a duvet and pillows (not just the covers), cleaning nooks and crannies that you don’t always clean (light fittings, curtain poles, behind heavy pieces of furniture), polishing and scratch cleaning CDs and DVDs, washing upholstery (my dressing stool is covered in fake tan – niceee!), taking items of clothing to the dry cleaners, wiping shoes and bags clean, giving stained or marked shoes, clothes, bags (anything really) a proper cleaning treatment, replacing makeup brushes and sponges, cleaning jewellery, washing clothes that have been hanging in the wardrobe or sitting in drawers for a long time.
- Have a change around – change is good for the soul, move your bedroom around, put your bed on the other wall, change your storage units, buy some new (yet minimal!) accessories that match and have a perfect spot in your new room. I am really looking forward to decorating my bedroom, luckily I can have a massive change and buy some new pieces and accessories for my room.
Hope this will be useful to you guys, if you are somebody who hasn’t ever really thought about these tips before, I challenge you to try them out and see if they do anything for your mind and general happiness. Let me know in the comments below 🙂
Love Dani x
We all know what a struggle January can be financially. Most of us will have spent so much money over the Christmas period that January is a time to scale back our spending to either pay everything off or put some money back into our savings. I am by no means an expert on savings! Saving money is definitely something I need to work on in 2016 so I have done my research and also come up with some ideas myself for being a little bit more frugal this month and into the rest of this year…
- Dry January/insert month – I have actually been invited to quite a few social events this month, which I can’t really miss out on (close friends’ ‘big’ birthdays!) but I have promised myself that these three events will be the only time I will be drinking alcohol. Make a pact that in January and even throughout the rest of the year, you will only drink alcohol socially, no drinking in the house alone (standard teacher practice) and no cheeky glasses of wine with a meal or you know because it’s Tuesday!
- Stay in – again, as mentioned above, I have three events that I can’t really miss (a 40th Birthday party, a 30th masquerade Ball and my best friend’s birthday night out) but I have politely declined quite a few other invitations that I have received for this month. I will also be eating in everyday this month, no restaurant visits! Learn to say no sometimes, I went to the opening of an envelope last year and it did my bank balance absolutely no favours.
- No takeaways and unhealthy snacking – this obviously ties in with a lot of weight loss goals for the year and kills two birds with one stone by keeping your finances to a minimum. A lot of takeaway or fast food seems relatively cheap but if you actually add all of it up it can become quite costly, especially with minimum spends for free delivery.
- No unnecessary spending on transportation – I don’t drive and constantly find myself wasting money out of sheer laziness or lack of organisation. As a teacher who doesn’t drive, I have been guilty in the past of wasting £20 a time on Taxi journeys to work because ‘it was raining’ or ‘I woke up late’ or ‘I wanted an extra 45 minutes in bed’ or ‘I had too many books to carry’. Sometimes, I was wasting £80 a week on multiple Taxi journeys, which I could have been spending on something I love or saving! Even my £10.50 weekly bus pass is a waste if I can walk. Are you spending too much on petrol or wasting it on pointless journeys?
- Take advantage of loyalty/reward cards – here in the UK, a lot of supermarkets and retailers offer loyalty or reward cards, which mean that you can redeem points when you spend certain amounts, those points all add up and can then be spent in store. I have multiple: Boots Advantage Card, Superdrug Beauty Card, Tesco Club Card, Accessorize Reward Card, Debenhams Beauty Club Reward Card which are all incredibly advantageous to me. Use these cards to their full potential, make sure you use them each time you go and save up your points/vouchers until you really need them. This year my goal is to save all of my Boots Advantage Points until December and use them to buy Christmas presents (then I don’t have to spend my cash ) and even treat myself to a few little bits and bobs!
- Take advantage of vouchers and coupons – I must admit, we’re not as big on couponing as some of you guys from the US are but we still have vouchers and coupons available to us that we can use. Some of the loyalty cards as mentioned above also have vouchers and coupons available as well as points and other coupons can be found in newspapers, magazines and online.
- Sell unwanted items – one man’s trash is another man’s treasure and there is something so therapeutic about having a massive clear out. If you are an ‘Ebay’ virgin (like me) try other selling sites and platforms. There are lots of local selling sites on Facebook, which allow you to list your items for free, share your unwanted items with your ‘friends’ who might be more willing to buy from somebody they know or share your listings for you. Local newspapers also list items for sale for a small fee. Car Boot Sales (if you’re in the UK) or Garage/Yard Sales (if you’re in the US) are also other ways of getting rid of smaller items that aren’t worth listing on a major site. If you are going to list on a site, make sure you do your research about selling rules, fees and postage and packaging to avoid any messy transactions or disappointments.
- Reuse and recycle – here in the UK, new legislation has been passed in the last 3 months about the use of plastic carrier bags in supermarkets and retailers. All major retailers must now charge 5p for each standard plastic carrier bag you require during your shopping experience. Make sure you are reusing your carrier bags to avoid a charge each time or invest in stronger and thicker plastic bags or cloth/fabric bags which can be used over and over again. 5p doesn’t seem like a lot of money but think about how much you would be spending if you forgot your reusable bags everyday for a year!
- Check your outgoings – are you paying too much for your gas and electricity supplier? Telephone your supplier with your meter readings, they might be charging you based on an estimated usage. Are you on the right mobile/cell phone payment plan/tariff? If you live on your own, are you paying ‘Single Person’s Council Tax Allowance’? Could you switch to another provider of gas/electricity/Internet/telephone/digital television? Are you entitled to any benefits or government support that you weren’t aware of? Can you not remember the last time you watched something on Netflix?( Yeah, that’s right! The one you pay £5.99 a month for). Every little helps, it all adds up so CHECK!
- No unnecessary spending – “Hello, I’m Dani and I’m a stationary/magazine addict”. I can’t walk past a nice notebook, a pretty diary, a floral ring binder folder or a 12 piece writing set without putting them in my basket. Do I really need them? NO! I am putting myself on a one magazine a week restriction. I will be the proud reader of £1.25 New! Magazine each week instead of Look! Magazine, Heat, OK!, Closer, Reveal, Star, Grazia, Cosmopolitan, Glamour and Company. They all pretty much say the same thing and the majority of the information can be found online. What do you waste money on? Get rid of it.
- Shop around – this can be boring and tedious at first but you will thank yourself in the long run! Which supermarket is cheaper than the others? Where can you find milk and bread and washing powder cheaper? Who has got an offer on toilet rolls this week? Can you find those Nike trainers you want for the gym any cheaper anywhere else? Look on the Internet for comparison sites or ‘Google’ your weekly shop items to search for prices from the comfort of your own home.
- Don’t be wasteful – before you do your weekly shop, look at what you actually need before you start buying more. Plan your meals so you know what you will eat first and what you will eat later. Look carefully at ‘best before’ and ‘use by’ dates. Eat these items first or if possible freeze certain food stuffs like meat. Make one batch of something and eat it for your lunch or for another meal later on in the week. For food that doesn’t keep very well before going rotten (e.g. fruit) buy as you are going along each day rather than during your ‘big’ weekly shop.
- Swap, borrow, make do and mend – swap clothes, CDs, books, magazines, DVDs with your friends. if you are going out, look through your wardrobe, can you jazz up an old outfit so that you don’t have to buy something new? Before I was a teacher, in my late teens especially, I used to love customising my own outfits. Add some jewels to the heel of your boring black shoes, wear an eye catching waisted belt with your plain dress, wear a statement necklace, pin a corsage to your plain, uninteresting clutch bag (I will do some posts on this, if anybody is interested!) Go to your local library and see if they have the book you’re dying to read (instead of paying £7.99 for it). Does Netflix have that film you feel like watching instead of going to buy the DVD?
- Make your own enjoyment – have a girly night in with your friends, have a cosy night in with your partner, get the karaoke machine out or music and DVDs that you already own. Make use of that Netflix/Amazon Prime subscription and have a TV box set or movie marathon. Spend your Friday and Saturday nights going to the gym or swimming or to an exercise class. Use that time to feel amazing and get the body that you want for all of those future nights out you’ll soon be able to have again! Have a bubble bath and use up all of those pamper products that you got for Christmas or still have lying around. Do the things you love that don’t cost you a penny!
Why don’t you…? choose one of the items off the list (e.g. alcohol) and put the money that you would have spent on that item in a money box (every Friday night, I usually have a bottle of wine, which costs around £6). If I put £6 in a money box that would roughly equate to £6 x 52 weeks a year) which equals £312. Use the money to treat yourself at the end of the year or to go towards your holiday in 2017 <3.
Hope you have found these tips helpful. I will definitely be trying to follow my own advice and save some money in 2016. UK readers, check out https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en for excellent financial guidance, including their #survivejanuary kit.
Have you got any tips for being frugal and thrifty? Please share them in the comments down below!
Love Dani x
Image Credit 1: http://www.iamintheuk.com
Image Credit 2: http://www.popsugar.com
Sorry I have been a little bit absent from my blog this week! This week has been the first week back to work after the Christmas holidays and it is always a little bit chaotic getting back into a routine and a normal sleeping pattern!
From tomorrow (Monday 11th January) I will be posting every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. This will be my general posting schedule but look out for any additional or bonus posts, which might appear from time to time!
Also, I would just like to say thank you so much for the 50 likes and 9 followers, which I gained in the first 5 days of creating my blog. I know this might not seem like a lot to some of you but I was honestly so shocked! When you start something like this, you just don’t really expect to get many readers, let alone subscribers so early on so THANK YOU SO MUCH! I am looking forward to my blog growing and to putting out some quality content for you to enjoy 🙂
Also, I am launching a new Instagram account tomorrow (8am GMT), which will go hand in hand with my blog. I have a personal Instagram but I am looking forward to creating this brand new account to start a fresh with all the things I love.
Check out my Instagram ‘leadinglady88‘ to see plenty of the following:
- Face of the Day (FOTD) Posts
- Motivational Quotes
- New Make Up Pictures
- Outfit of the Day (OOTD) Posts
- Links to my Blog Posts on here
- And much more!
Hope the first 10 days of 2016 have been amazing so far! 🙂
Love Dani x
Image Credit: iopasolutions.com
I thought I would write an introductory post about my weight loss journey, which I have started and will be continuing into 2016. I am hoping to do some more posts about my progress, including my exercise routines, recipes and meal ideas and hopefully updates on my loss (pounds and inches). I would also like to do some posts about how fitness can contribute to mental health and wellbeing, as this is a topic that is very close to my heart.
For the past few years I have struggled a little bit with my weight. I had some trying times during 2012 and my weight took a nosedive. I have lost some of the weight but I still have a long way to go to get back to the target weight and size, which I hope to be. From about the age of 14 to 22 I used to be such an exercise junkie and could always maintain the size and weight I wanted to be, then all of a sudden eating out, takeaways and too many boozy nights out all caught up with me. I also had quite a stressful job (until I took a step back from my job during the summer), which took over every spare minute I had (in other words not going to the gym or swimming or aerobics classes or dance classes or walking everywhere – all the things I loved) and resulted in a lot of comfort eating. The hardships of the past few years, particularly 2012, made me forget who I was and who I wanted to be, my weight wasn’t my number one priority and doing something about it definitely wasn’t.
2016 is the year I intend to finally get my weight, health, body and mind back to where they always were. Obviously, as a 27-year-old (single) woman, how I look is important to me and has a massive knock on effect with my confidence and self-esteem but I am also on this journey for health, increased energy and most important of all, my sanity! My major inspiration/Woman Crush Wednesday/Woman Crush Everyday at the moment is Khloe Kardashian. She is the poster girl for how health and fitness and clean living can change your life (there will be more on Khloe very soon)!
This year is the year, there’s no turning back! Look out for my diet and fitness posts and my monthly updates.
Are you on your own weight loss journey? Let me know your stories, it would be great to spur each other on 🙂
Love Dani x
Image Credit: weightlossfitnessnicelife.blogspot.com
Here are all of the products that are on my ‘Beauty Wish List’ for 2016. Think I have gotten a little bit carried away but these really are the products that I have been looking into buying for a really long time now, so hopefully I will get to make some cheeky purchases. I’ve got a lot of weekends away this year, which inevitably will involve lots of shopping so no doubt, I will tick the majority of these off my list!
- Maybelline Lasting Sensation Mascara
- Soap & Glory Kick Ass Instant Retouch Pressing Powder
- Soap & Glory Solar Powder Bronzer
- Bourjois Happy Light Foundation
- L’Oreal Paris Infallible Lip Gloss
- Fleur de Force Lip Gloss
- L’Oreal True Match Foundation
- Rebranded Real Techniques Brushes
- Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Kit
- Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wizz
- Stila One Step Correct Colour Correcting Primer
- Too Faced Born This Way Foundation
- Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer
- Bobbi Brown Corrector
- MAC Fix +
- MAC Cream Blushers
- Benefit Hoola Bronzer
- Benefit Rockateur Blusher
- Benefit Coralista Blusher
- Benefit Boi-ing Industrial Strength Concealer
- Benefit Watt’s Up Cream Highlighter
- Too Faced Chocolate Bar Eyeshadow Palette
- Too Faced Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar Eyeshadow Palette
- Charlotte Tilbury – the whole line! (I have The Dolce Vita Palette)
- Make-up Geek Eye shadows and Brushes (not really high end but by the time I’ve shipped everything over to the UK it will get a little pricey!)
Rediscoveries that I used to love but haven’t bought in a while:
- Benefit They’re Real Mascara
- Benefit Bad Gal Lash Mascara
- Maybelline The Falsies Mascara
- Barry M Lip Gloss
- MAC Lashes
- Tanya Burr Lashes
Eeeeeek that is a lot of makeup! What is on your ‘Beauty Wish List’?
Love Dani x
I thought I would devise a set of ‘Beauty Resolutions’ for the New Year. These are aspects of beauty that I have always wanted to do or try or perfect but never really got round to it. I have recently reduced my workload with my career and have a lot more time to experiment with and indulge in hair and beauty and fashion again, which is really exciting. All of these resolutions are things that I’ve been wanting to do for a while:
- Finally perfect winged eyeliner – I have got a slightly hooded eye, not really hooded but the crease of my eye cuts across where you would normally place a wing. I have found a tutorial by Sam from Pixiwoo and it looks really hard but I’m going to give it a go!
- Experiment with my hair – I am the most boring person in the world with hairstyles. I love colouring my hair and have dyed it quite a few times, I’ve been dark brunette, black, light brunette, blonde, purpley red and a really vibrant red. I have had some different cuts over the years and love a curly blow dry but this is always done by a hairdresser. I want to branch out with my hair on a daily basis, it’s always down and straight, in a pony tail or in a messy bun. YAWN!
- Explore some different brands (high street and high end) – I’ve got quite a varied makeup collection but I always tend to use the same products from the same brands, you might see quite a few brands in my collection but I only own one Bobbi Brown product, one Charlotte Tilbury product, one Lancôme product, one YSL product etc.
- To try more cream products – I am a powder product girl – contour, bronzer, blusher, highlighter – but there are some cream products I have had my eye on for a while and I’m going to take the proverbial plunge and try them out.
- To experience some different beauty treatments – I love a good facial and massage, I have tried lots of different facials and Microdermabrasion. I discovered HD brows in 2014 and always have acrylic nails and toe nails done every 4 weeks. I am a typical indulgent Taurean and love being pampered. There are so many other treatments I would love to try though – facial skin peels, full body exfoliation, shrinking body wraps, OPI ear candling, fat cavitation, vacuuming and soft laser (non surgical fat reduction). A good pamper session is good for the soul and just what you need to make you feel good about yourself inside and out!
Are you going to make any ‘Beauty Resolutions’?
Love Dani x
Image Credit: http://www.cairngormbeautytherapy.com
One thing that I love is music. I eat, drink, sleep and breathe it so I just had to do this post. One of my little traditions at the end of each year is to make my own ‘Top 25 Songs’ of the year and this time I thought I would share it with you. I came up with the 25 just at random but funnily enough when I looked in my ‘Top 25 Most Played’ on iTunes, they were the same! I used my plays on iTunes to help me rank them. So here goes…
25. Galantis – Runaway (U&I)
24. Major Lazer & DJ Snake featuring. Mo – Lean On
23. Ariana Grande – Focus
22. Tinie Tempah featuring. Jess Glynne – Not letting Go
21. Calvin Harris & Disciples – How Deep Is Your Love?