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Three Things // January

Three Things // January

Instead of a monthly favourites post this year (I got a little meh about them towards the end of last year and found myself struggling to pull together a completely new set of favourite items each month) I thought I'd just share three things that have I've really enjoyed or things that played a big part in the month, so let's kick off my first Three Things post of the year!

ALL THE GREY JUMPERS // All I seem to want to wear at the moment is a grey jumper, jeans and boots. Whenever I pop into a shop or have a browse online I seem to end up buying another grey jumper - I just can't help myself! I bought this one, and this one, and this one this month but I've also got my eye on this one (I love the bow detail on it!) - I think I need an intervention!

NIKE TRAINERS // I've been wanting some black Nike trainers for a good couple of years but I never managed to bite the bullet and buy some for myself,  I bought myself some black trainers from Primark to wear when I'm on out-of-hours shifts at work and I literally wore them every time I was on shift for the past year - I got so much use out of them! So mum bought me the Nike ones I'd been lusting after for Christmas and I've worn them so much already! 

KHIELS HAND SALVE // I've banged on about this hand cream so much this month (sorry!) but honestly this has changed my life! With working in a lab I wash my hands a zillion times a day, plus wearing latex gloves every day dry my hands out, add onto that the fact that it's been bloody freezing outside this month my hands have been seriously suffering. Enter this hand slave that has saved my skin! Seriously, using this every night completely fixes the the dehydrated sandpaper-y (niiice, I know!) state that my hands end up in every day. Life-changing. If you're in need of a new hand cream then give this one a go, you'll love it!

So those are my three things for January, what've been your top three things this past month?


Insta-Lately // January 2017

Insta-Lately // January 2017

It's time to share my past month through the medium of my instagram feed - if you fancy following along then my insta is @belsmay13 :) I'm attempting to post every single day of 2017 so if you want to see the photos that didn't make the cut for this post then head over there!

January is the perfect time to buy a ridiculous amount of new stationery in the hope of *finally* getting your sh*t together, right?

Sometimes a Thursday night just calls for a pizza party...it was so good!

I bought mum the cutest Moet & Chandon cracker as a fun little Christmas present and it came complete with this crown! How cool?!

I'm in the process of trying to develop a night routine for myself - dry skin saviours, journalling and audiobook listening are all included.

I love the little pretty corners of my room - and how productive I am post-night shifts, I go cleaning crazy!

When you try to excuse your sneaky lunchtime fast food treat by attempting to make it aesthetically pleasing for you to insta...

I think I've developed an obsession with grey jumpers this winter - they seem to be all I want to wear at the moment! 

I spent many of the cold afternoons in January curled up, educating myself about hygge and drinking copious amounts of hot tea - perfection

One of our New Year's resolutions was to create a gin bar - I think it's coming along nicely. Our latest addition has been this amazing copper ice bucket!

Fresh bedding is one of my greatest pleasures - plus I finally decided to bring my Stitch out of storage, I think my single pringle status is really solidified by having a stuffed toy on my bed - oh well!


So that was the first month of January all over and done with! I can't quite believe how fast these past 25 days have flown by already, if the rest of the year could slow down a little now, please? 

5 Ways to Start Your Week Off Right

5 Ways to Start Your Week Off Right

I reckon that how you decide to spend your Sunday really sets the tone for how the rest of your week will pan out. I prefer to spend my Sunday emotionally recharging and setting myself up for the week ahead. A Sunday well spent brings a week of content after all!

So here are 5 ways to start your week off on a positive note, ready to go and #girlboss the hell out of the upcoming working week:

1. CLEAN YOUR SPACE  - coming home to a messy house/room is just not the one after a hard first day of the working week. I kinda of love the feeling of spending part of my Sunday cleaning and tidying up my space, I really think that it helps de-clutter and organise my head ready for Monday. Plus, whenever I'm feeling like I'm getting a bit overwhelmed I find sorting out my space a good way to manage my stress and channel it into something productive.

2. RUN THOSE ERRANDS - all those less-than-fun tasks that you don't really want to waste your time on during the precious weekend, like going food shopping or doing the ironing or filling your car up with petrol (ugh, the job I always put off until the last minute!) are easy to put off until the next week - but do you really want to be giving yourself extra jobs to do on top of your jam-packed working week? Take the pressure off yourself and do those easy tasks during the weekend and leave your evenings free - future you will thank you for it.

3. TREAT YOURSELF - sweeten the end of the weekend and the start of a new week with a little something to cheer yourself up. Buy yourself some fresh flowers (whilst you're doing the grocery shop if you're feeling like ticking two things off this list at once!), make yourself a delicious lunch for Monday, make plans to meet friends during the week - make sure you feature something positive into the start of your week.

4. PLAN YOUR WEEK - take the time on a Sunday to get all of your plans for the week ahead down on paper, write yourself a master to do list of everything that you want to accomplish in the next seven days. This will help give you a head start on Monday morning because you'll already have a plan of action as to how to tackle the new week and it'll help prevent those Sunday Scaries that come about when you're feeling overwhelmed about those two days of the weekend having flown by already. 

5. GET ENOUGH SLEEP - Monday's are bad enough without adding a lack of sleep into the mix. Try to get your optimum hours of REM, and make a serious dent in that sleep debt you've racked up after a crazy weekend (whether you went out and partied or if you stayed up a little too late binge-watching Netflix)! You'll wake up feeling refreshed and ready to tackle Monday head on - instead of wanting to hit snooze, roll over and just have five more minutes in your duvet cave. Allow yourself enough time to fit in enough hours of sleep and create the best sleep-inducing environment you can - put fresh bedding on your bed, liberally spray a lavender pillow spray, light a candle, have an electrical device ban for those last 60 minutes before you turn out the light. 

So, those are the little tips I employ to try to start my week off right, with a positive attitude and as least stress as possible!


How to fit blogging in when you work full-time

How to fit blogging in when you work full-time

eat sleep blog repeat

When you work full time it sometimes feels hard to fit in time for anything else other than just vegging out in front of netflix in a blanket burrito when you get home from work (no? just me?...), sometimes it's especially hard to find the time (and let's be honest, the motivation sometimes!) to fit blogging into your schedule.

For me, blogging is (and will remain to be) just a hobby for me, it's a creative outlet from my science-y job and I enjoy spending my evenings/weekends trying my hand at writing, editing, photography - but sometimes there just isn't enough time in the day (or week!) to fit everything in. There are times (like tonight - oops!) where I've done a full shift at work, come home, had dinner, faffed around on the Internet for a while and only sat down at 9pm to think of/plan/write/photograph a new post that needs to go up tonight - eeshk! 

So, to avoid moments like this (if you don't have a time turner or Bernard's watch to hand...) here are some of my tips and tricks on how to fit blogging in when you work full time:

Be realistic with your time // If you can manage to put up a post (and all of the social media that goes along with it) every day then please teach me your ways! There's no point in trying to commit to having a new post up every day if your work schedule just won't allow it, you'll end up burning yourself out creatively and emotionally and you'll come to see blogging as a chore - and there's no way you can be creative if you feel uninspired. Figure out how many times a week you can realistically manage to create a post and stick to that, don't try to take on too much - you do have another job too!

Schedule your promotion // your promotional tweets, your instagram captions, your facebook page status' - everything you can schedule, do it! You take the time to do it once (for the next day or for the whole week if you're feeling impressively organised!) and then you don't have to think about it again. You'll be working away and your social media will be driving traffic to your blog without you having to spend your breaks glued to your phone - winner.

Plan ahead // some people swear by an editorial calendar they set up each month - one brainstorming session and their content for a whole month is pre-planned, it just needs to be executed - genius. I'm just not that organised, so whenever I finish a post and schedule it to go live I start planning the next one. This gives me a couple of days to come up with an idea, jot some notes in my notebook about what I want to share and what sort of photograph I want to include - then I just have to take the photo and knock out the text  (using my pre-planned notes!) before I want the post to go live.

Use your drafts // I swear by creating draft posts, I like to keep a stash of draft titles ready for when my inspiration is a little bit lacking - whenever you get an idea for a post, create a draft title and then you'll have a bank of posts ready to be planned and executed for when you're feeling like you just don't know what to write about.

Make the most of your 'free time'  // When I'm home from work or on my days off I'll most likely be doing some sort of bloggy stuff (I don't like to call it work!). One of my better plans is spending the time on my days off actually writing, photographing and scheduling my posts for the week (this rarely happens though because I'm such a procrastinator! But if it did, I know it'd make my blogging life so much easier!) - then all the blog work is done before the next working week starts. All I have to do each night is tap away on my laptop whilst watching netflix scheduling my social media for the next day - the 'hard' work of actually creating the post is already done!

Create a checklist // When you work full time you want to be able to quickly and easily work on your blog - create yourself a checklist of things you need to get done to have a post up (write the text, take the photo, format the post, add links, schedule post, schedule social media, add to facebook page) - then this routine will just become second nature whenever you post and you won't have forgotten anything!

Bulk photograph // This is another thing I need to get better at (especially since I'm trying to post every day this year on my instagram!) - taking a load of 'generic' photos when you have the time (on your days off!) so then you have a stash of photos that just need to have a quick edit before being able to be used. None of this destroying half your bedroom trying to get a half-decent flat-lay shot in terrible lighting after you've put in a full day at work! This would make my life so much easier...

So there are my tips on how to fit blogging into your schedule when you work full time - now I just need to get better at practising what I preach!...


Currently - 15.1

Currently - 15.1

I love these quick-fire sharing posts, here's a roundup of all things 'currently' in my life...

Watching // Sherlock. Of course. Blimey this series has been extra confusing, hasn't it? I've ended each episode hoarse from yelling at the telly and practically hyperventilating at everything they managed to pack into just one episode. In other news I've been enjoying watching A Series Of Unfortunate Events on Netflix - I was underwhelmed by the film but the tv show is perfection - Neil Patrick Harris brings the perfect amount of creepy to Count Olaf - definitely worth a watch if you read the books as a child!

Craving // Wagamama's - what I wouldn't do for some gyoza, hirata buns and katsu curry - mmmm!

Reading // Heartless by Marissa Meyer - I loved The Lunar Chronicles so I was intrigued by how she was going to interpret another fairytale. Like with The Lunar Chronicle, I liked the first book in the series but I wasn't blown away by it - it was good and I'll definitely read the next installment but I'm not obsessed with it yet. The Holiday Swap by Zara Stonely - this book is the The Holiday in book form, two women swap lives just before the festive period and subsequently end up finding themselves and falling in love (predictable, but I like the comfort of that sometimes!) - I really enjoyed this light, easy read  - plus the fact that the part set in England is set in my home county was a lovely surprise! Being Brooke by Emma Hart is next on my list...

Shopping // this bedding - these wellibobs - this jumper (grey of course!)

Wanting // a Lumie Light - these dark winter mornings are starting to get to me (well that's what I'm telling myself, it's definitely not the fact that I stay up to late getting sucked into my social media refreshing cycle!) and I've convinced myself that one of these alarm clock lights will sort my mornings out. 

Following // @flourishnblog @robowecop @hannahfgale @misskatyenglish @queenbeady - I've really been getting into instagram more this month - these ladies have been providing some serious inspiration!

Quoting // "be happy with what you have, while working for what you want" // "flourish & be"


10 Things You Need To Do This January

10 Things You Need To Do This January

New Year, New You - it's cliche but it's a thing. I'm sharing 10 things I think that we all need to do to start the new year off on the right foot and get 'your house' in order, ready to tackle the next 12 months.

  • Unsubscribe to all those annoying emails that are clogging up your inbox - you know, like the ones from that site you bought those shoes you *had* to have a couple of years ago but haven't even visited since...
  • Clean - like properly clean: move everything (yep all of your furniture - behind your bed is probably where your headphones have gone to die, and approx a million hair bobbles), go through everything, throw things away - just cleanse your space, it'll make you feel like you can tackle anything - promise!
  • Make yourself a savings plan - before the first payday of the year is the best time to set yourself up with how much you want to save each month. Figure out what's do-able for you, no matter how much you save it's always better than not saving anything, and then as soon as you get paid each month either transfer it to your savings account or set up an automatic payment to make things even easier.
  • Purge your social media - get rid of those accounts you followed that don't post anymore, unfriend those fb friends who just annoy you whenever they post (we all have them...), unfollow those twitter accounts that just re-tweet 'viral' things - your social media will be a much happier place.
  • Back-up your photos/documents - there's nothing worse that losing all of your photos you've had stored on your phone for about a year. Back them up to either an external hard drive or somewhere like Google photos or dropbox (my fave is dropbox) - it's much safer for your photos and it'll mean you can stop just ignoring that 'your storage is almost full' message on your iPhone!
  • Start - just start whatever it is you've been putting off for ages. It's so easy to be daunted before starting a new project and getting over that fear of starting something new is always the hardest bit. Whether it's learning a new skill, working towards a new qualification, starting a blog/YT channel, starting your fitness journey. The new year is always the best time to get started, motivation is always at a high when a fresh start is involved.
  • Make Time - Start the year as you mean to go on - make time for yourself - don't let yourself get run down with crazy long to-do lists, take time to look after yourself. Make time for your friends/family - schedule in time to spend with the ones you love, don't waste your time keeping up appearances and seeing people who bring you down.
  • Create a habit - my high school maths teacher told me that once you've done something for 21 times then it becomes a habit, now he was talking about quadratic equations but I like to apply the same concept whenever I want to form a habit in my actual life (not the life high school teachers like you to think you'll have, where you use algebra on a daily basis and you critically discuss every book you read - errr nope!). January is an ace time to create a new habit - you do it every day for the month and you'll have done it over 21 times so boom, habit formed. Try it with making your bed every morning, posting on instagram every day, writing down things that you're grateful for before bed, meditating....
  • Book a trip - January Blues are a real thing - be kind to yourself this January and give yourself something to look forward to later on in the year. Visit a new city, go on a staycation or book that crazy adventure you've been dreaming about. 
  • Be grateful - don't start the year off holding on to any bitter, negative feelings from last year - make a conscious effort to try and be positive or at least try to find the little happy things that happen every day. Try not to focus on the negatives and send some positive vibes out there - it can't hurt, right?


Happy Little Things #1

Happy Little Things #1

Last month I stumbled across Katie's hashtag on twitter #TodayImGrateful. I really enjoyed finding a collection of a few little things that brought me joy and made me grateful each day. So, I decided that I'd take a leaf out of Katy's blog (a different Katie!) and start sharing some of the good things that are so easy to overlook...

  • When I was driving home and two of my fave songs played back to back - ugh so good!
  • Having leftover Chinese takeout for lunch - I honestly think that takeout tastes even better the day after!
  • Sherlock being back on the telly - yessss! I bloomin' love this show!
  • Pre-ordering books on my kindle and forgetting about them - it's like a surprise present every time I turn my kindle on. I really need to work on reading more, I let it slide towards the end of the year and spend far too much time on social media/youtube instead - which really messed with my sleeping.
  • Having a good clean up, clear out and tidy of my room - ugh there's something so mentally cleansing about sorting out your living space
  • Meal planning - we're trying to get better at grocery shopping/meal planning - one week in and we're still going strong!
  • I started my new Erin Condren planner this week and I'm so in love with it! There's something about a fresh new planner that makes me feel so much more productive
  • Frosty mornings were made so much more enjoyable when Little Prin was bounding along by my side - she's so funny in the frost, she runs around like a crazy thing!
  • Massive mugs of tea - it's cold therefore I have a cup of tea practically surgically attached to my hand 
  • Finally getting to grips with how to sort out my wintry dry skin - thanks to these helpers!

I love how these random little things really brightened up my days. What happy little things have you experienced this week?


5 Dry Skin Saviours This Winter

5 Dry Skin Saviours This Winter

Brrr, it has definitely started to get chillier since the new year rolled in! As if having to spent 10 minutes in the morning grumbling about having to defrost my car or constantly wandering around the house in a burrito blanket wasn't a clue enough to winter starting to kick in, my skin has become really dry lately. I think it's a combination of the freezing weather, having the central heating on at home and being in a temperature-controlled air-conditioned lab when I'm at work.

Anyway, this winter my skin has gotten ridiculously dry (painfully at times) so quickly and I've developed a little dry skin arsenal to combat it, so I thought I'd share it - in case someone else is frantically googling how to get rid of painfully raw dry skin with their fingers sliding over the keyboard because their hands a covered in a thick layer of e45 cream....like I was....

LIZ EARLE CLEANSE & POLISH // In the summer I prefer using a gel cleanser (the Clarins Daily Energizer one is my fave) but in the winter I like to opt for something a bit more moisturising so my skin gets an extra boost of moisture even when I'm cleansing. It also means that if I'm feeling particularly lazy and 'forget' to moisturise after cleansing then my face isn't completely stripped of natural oils.

ORIGINS DRINK UP INTENSIVE OVERNIGHT MASK // I've only used this mask a couple of times (I bought a mini-mask set in the post-Christmas sales!) but oh my goodness it's amazing. I love how I can go to sleep with a thin layer of this non-sticky mask on and I wake up with skin that looks really refreshed and healthy - gone are those pesky dry patches (plus my foundation has been going on so much better the morning after I've used this!). 

ELIZABETH ARDEN 8 HOUR CREAM // Now admittedly this massive tube is a little bit of an overkill for a lip balm but I've not found anything better (not Dr Lipp Nipple Balm or Nuxe Reve de Miel) for keeping my lips flake free. I whack this on and my lips are protected by a thick layer of balm that locks in the moisture and protects them from the elements. 

KIEHLS ULTIMATE STRENGTH HAND SALVE // This stuff is life changing. I'm not even joking. I'm washing my hands approximately a million times a day (every time I leave the lab, every time I answer the phone, every time I get oil on my hands after looking at blood films, etc. ...) and with the super strong hand wash and alcohol wash at work my poor hands get the moisture sucked out of them! Before Christmas it was getting to the point where my hands were turning red and itchy from being so dry - very unpleasant. So, I've tried a bunch of hand creams to try and help (soap and glory is what's currently in my lab coat pocket because it smells so nice!) but nothing was really helping to solve the problem - mum saw this when she was in Space NK picking up another of my Christmas presents and thought it was worth a try - she was a life saver (well, a hand saver!). I only used this super-thick balm on my hands for a couple of days (reapplying it a good five or six times throughout the day though) and my hands finally stopped being so painfully dry - they're feeling so much better. I tend to use this in the morning before I leave for work and then before I go to sleep to give my hands a big boost of moisture at both ends of the day and it has been working a treat!

CUTICLE OIL // My nails end up so brittle and flaky in the colder months - this oil worked amazingly well last year at helping to keep my nails in a good condition. It's a little bit too greasy for me (mainly because I can't use my phone while it's on my nails!) but I persevere with it and use it at night, by the morning it has all absorbed so it's not that much of a problem - the amount of moisture it gives my nails is definitely worth it!


So there are my 5 dry skin saviours, what products do you swear by to get you through the drying winter months?

2017 // Goals

2017 // Goals

Last year I didn't share my 'new year resolutions' here on the ol' blog - to be honest I didn't really make any...there was a few personal blogging goals I wanted to accomplish (which I did - well done me!) but no massive changes I wanted to make. I find the whole 'new year, new me' thing a little strange really, in my mind if there was something I wanted to do/change/make happen I wouldn't wait until January 1st to start - why wait and put it off?

But, having said that there are some goals I want to achieve in the next 365 days and I couldn't really write a post on New Year's Day without sharing them, could I?!

PHOTOGRAPHY // This year I really want to improve my photography - I've really come to love taking photos over the last year or so and I think I'm ready to graduate from my iPhone to a 'proper' camera. I've got my heart set on the Olympus Pen so fingers crossed I'll get my hands on one in the near future! I'm really looking forward to learning how to use a new piece of kit and getting to grips with how to take the best photos I can.

INSTAGRAM // In the same vein as my photography goal, I want to work on my instagram. I take a lot of pride in my instagram (I probably take it a little too seriously!) but this coming year I want to improve my photos, post more frequently, work on my engagement and essentially growing my instagram followers. 

BLOGGING // Similar to last year I essentially just want to keep growing my blog. I want to make sure that I post as frequently as I did in 2016 - if not more so! - because I've really enjoyed the feeling of accomplishment I got when I looked back and saw all the post I'd shared over the year. Also, towards the end of the year I had a couple of 'do it for the blog' moments (our pumpkin picking adventure & our Christmas Tree farm adventure) which I really enjoyed - ordinarily I wouldn't have done these things but because I thought "ooh that'd make a good post" I made the effort and had such a blast! Here's to more 'do it for the blog' moments next year - who knows where it'll take me?!

SAVINGS // 2016 was the first year I decided to actively start a couple of saving plans. During my first year of work I pretty much just frittered away my earnings because I got a little bit excited about earning my own money but this past year I wanted to make a conscious effort to save more. I did the 52 Week Savings Challenge (as in I took the money out of my account and physically gave it to my nan so I couldn't spend it again!) and also I tried to put a certain amount of my monthly wage into my savings account each month. I'm enjoying having that financial support there if something goes wrong (like when the oven decided to break just before Christmas!) or the feeling of saving up and then being able to purchase something you've wanted for ages (like buying my new car!). This next year I want to do the same - I want to save more: there's some home improvements I want to start saving for (hello shutters for our windows!) and a couple of bits of tech I'd like to treat myself to!

CAREER // Last year was the first year of me being a 'proper' BMS (biomedical scientist if you're new here!) on the shift rota (we run a 24 hour/365 days a year service). Throughout the past year I've gained so much more knowledge in my field and so much more confidence in my own abilities. Sure there were some bloody difficult shifts that'll stay with me forever (for both good and bad reasons) but I can safely say that every day I learnt something new and became a better BMS. In 2017 I want to start properly working on my Specialist Portfolio (the next qualification in my career) - I'm really looking forward to improving my technical and theory knowledge of haematology. Additionally, I want to focus on my morphology knowledge - morphology is by far my favourite section I work in so I want to absorb all the knowledge and experience I can in there!

So that's what I'm hoping to accomplish in 2017 - I'm looking forward to it!What are your goals for 2017?