Posted in art, creativity, Planning and journaling, watercolour painting

Setting up my bullet journal for October

Hi everyone. Hope you’re all well and enjoying the beginnings of Autumn. We’ve finally got some okay weather this morning so I’ve been able to take some bright enough photographs of my BuJo set up for next month and thought I would share them with you.

I decided to keep my spreads relatively simple and to a minimum this time as I found that I was tracking far too much in September and couldn’t keep up with it all and got quite overwhelmed. I’ve just done a quote page, a cover page which features a little watercolouring piece that I did, a double page monthly calendar and a planning page for my blog.

For my quote, I chose a simple Autumnal reference and as I was writing it, I had a vague feeling I’d used it before. I checked back in one of last year’s Bujo and there it was. I figured it didn’t matter and that I must really love it!

3 bright and juicy Crayola supertips plus a drop shadow using the grey tip of my Tombow dual brush pen

This watercolour was created using my new Daley Rowney Aquafine Travel Set. I followed an online tutorial and although the results don’t look the same as those done by the professional artist that created the step by step, I’m pleased with the results as I’m a total beginner. If you want to have a quick look at the tutorial, you can find it here.

Autumn tree produced on an A4 sheet from a watercolour pad

I then spent about two hours working out how to scan the image into a format that I could shrink to stick into my BuJo. After much perseverance (and a glass of wine which was most helpful ha ha!) I got it sorted. I ended up sticking a piece of paper over a mistake I made with my brush lettering but I think it looks okay now I’ve made it into a border for my picture.

October cover page

And here’s the two pages together. I think the bright colours look lovely. What do you think?

For my monthly calendar, I chose to decorate with some Autumn leaves and berries. I’m not wonderful at drawing but I think it looks okay. I used coloured pencils to shade them in but the only problem I seem to have it that when I write on the next few pages of my notebook the colour transfers. I’m not sure if there’s a solution to this, maybe I press on too hard? If anyone has any ideas, I would be grateful to hear them.

And finally, my blog planning page. On here I’m going to record days when I’m planning, reading researching as well as the titles of my actual posts.

I hope you’ve enjoyed looking at my spreads for October. I would love to hear about your chosen themes for the month and what you have planned for the Autumn. Let me know in the comments if you get the chance.

Posted in Planning and journaling, wellbeing, wellness

BuJo love!

Hi all, hope you’re having a lovely Summer and that those of you who have kids are making the most of having some extra family time. Over the last few months, I’ve been falling in love with getting creative in my bullet journal all over again. So much so that I’m already on p.79 of my Scribbles That Matter notebook and have 16 pages at the end of the notebook filled too!

I can’t share every page or this blog post will take you the whole of the holidays to read but here’s some of my favourite spreads. I’ll keep it photo heavy so you can just see rather than spend ages reading and digesting! Of course, if you have any questions about the layouts or my supplies, I’ll be happy to answer them in the comments.

Also, I’ve just read an email about adding columns to your WordPress blog posts so hopefully I’ll be able to apply what I’ve learnt below!

Enjoy x

Just a little reminder for those days when my mental health isn’t as good and I’m on a bit of a downer.

My cover page for August using a combination of stickers, hand lettering free hand drawing and colouring

I like to make a packing list for each time we go away. This time it was a visit to family. The great thing about putting it in my bullet journal is that in years to come, I can refer back to it to make it quicker and easier next time.

I’ve now started adding any leaflets or information on local events or exhibits to my BuJo so I have a handy reminder or ideas for places to go and things to see. This information is a combination of cuttings from The Crack magazine, screenshots from my phone and extra info which I’ve found online.

I’ve uplevelled my reading log and just love this layout which includes space to give hearts out of 5 for how much I loved reading a particular book.

As much as I’m loving drinking Summer drinks such as pineapple, orange and lemon squash and Mixed berries cider, I still need at least 3 cups of coffee to function on busy days!

I have lots of frames ideas pinned to one of my bullet journal Pinterest boards but as someone who needs a little reminder at hand (I’ve just turned 42 and need things right there and in multiple places!!!!) creating a spread in the back of my bullet journal has been really helpful. As you can see, this is ideas bank 1 as I’ve had to go on to a separate double page for yet more ideas.

This spread is a work in progress but I love it so far. And if you’re wondering what’s with the stickers and the black and brown paper – they’re hiding mistakes better than Tippex! (lol)

Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed looking at the spreads I’ve shared. If they’ve given you some inspiration or got your creative juices flowing, don’t forget to leave me a comment and maybe even attach some photos of your own bullet journal spreads.

Much love,

Laura xx

Posted in mental health, Mindfulness, Planning and journaling, wellness

Building resilience for better mental health

If you read my first blog post of 2019 you’ll know that my word for this year is Resilience. Resilience can be defined as the ability to cope with and rise from all of the challenges, problems and set-backs that life throws at us and come back stronger. When we develop our skills and personal strength we are able to handle our difficulties more easily and this can improve our mental health. As part of my self development work in my Miracle Morning sessions, I’ve spent time reading online articles and a range of books on developing resilience. I’ve also written lots of tips and ideas in my bullet journal. Today’s blog post is a summary of what I’ve learnt in the first few months.

Try to remain optimistic

It can be difficult to remain optimistic when faced with challenges in life but maintaining a hopeful outlook is an important part of resilience. Try to have a positive mindset and encourage thinking such as ‘it’s not the end of the world’ and ‘things will get better’. Remember that set backs are temporary and remind yourself that you are strong and that you have the skills and abilities to face your difficulties.

When negative thoughts pop into your head, try to replace them with something more positive such as ‘I have lots of friends who will support me through this’, ‘I am good at solving problems’, ‘I never give up’, ‘I am good at my job’ etc. Also, choose to see challenges and bad experiences as an opportunity to learn. Ask yourself ‘What can I learn from this situation?’, ‘What is this trying to teach me?’ ‘What positives can I take from my experience?’.

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is all about awareness of the present moment – our thoughts and feelings and the world around us. It involves the use of techniques such as meditation, breathing and stretching exercises and can help you to stay calm and in control of your emotions.

When practising mindfulness you begin to notice how thoughts come and go in your mind. You learn to accept these thoughts without judgement and develop your ability to let them go. In addition, you are able to tune in to what your body is telling you and notice signs of stress and anxiety so that you can release tension as you meditate.

Support Network

It’s really important to have people who you can turn to at times of need. Building and nurturing constructive relationships with positive and supportive friends, family and colleagues is an essential part of wellbeing and staying resilient. They can provide a listening ear, positive encouragement, advice or help you celebrate your achievements. Having a good support system in place has also been shown to boost self esteem, confidence and better self image.

If you feel you need to widen your support network, there are many opportunities to do so either in your local community or through online groups. Try your local library, community centre or college for clubs and classes or try to find out about volunteering opportunities in your fields of interest.

A resilient body

We’ve all heard the expression ‘healthy body, heathy mind’ and keeping yourself well is another key part of resilience. Try to eat regularly and make sure you get plenty of good for you fruit and veggies in your diet. Find a type of exercise that you enjoy (personally, I love countryside walks and dancing), and schedule in a time for this each day. Also, remember to take time out to relax and recharge. It’s not self indulgent to schedule in some me time each day, it’s a key part of coping with our busy and stressful lives.

Good sleep is also vital for a healthy lifestyle and better mental health. Try to develop a good relaxation routine each evening – listen to some calming music, dim the lights, meditate or have a warm bath. Many people recommend writing in a journal as a way of putting the day to rest so that you don’t have lot of thoughts buzzing around in your head when you climb into bed. If you want to learn more about this technique click here.

Ideas to try in your bullet journal

  • Create a positive affirmations page and read them every morning. Examples of affirmations include ‘I am strong’, ‘I see the bright side in all situations’, ‘I radiate positive energy’.
  • Add some of your favourite positive quotes to your weekly plan.
  • Write a list of ways to reward yourself for your achievements such as ‘have a relaxing bubble bath’, ‘paint your nails’, ‘buy yourself some planner stickers’, ‘treat yourself to your favourite bar of chocolate’ etc.
  • Practise gratitude by keeping a one line a day log where you write in something you are grateful for on that day. You can include anything you want such as ‘
  • Make a ‘Things That Make Me Happy’ page and use it to remind you of all the good things in your life.
  • Produce a list of creative activities that you enjoy and find the time to schedule at least one of them into your busy week. Getting involved in art and creative tasks has been proven to reduce stress.
  • Keep a daily journal in which you evaluate your day. It will help you to focus on the positives and any challenges that you met. You can also use your journaling as a space to assess your issues and any ideas you may have for solving them.

I hope you find these tips useful. If you have any further ideas for staying resilient, please share them in the comments below.

Best wishes,

Laura x

Posted in wellness

Writing as therapy

We all find ourselves struggling at times and in different ways – maybe you have a really difficult decision to make, or maybe you’re finding it hard to fit it all in and still make time for yourself. Or perhaps, you’re having issues with a colleague at work or a family member and it’s getting you down. Or maybe, the cold and miserable weather has made you completely demotivated and you struggle to even get out of your cosy, warm bed in the morning.

Whatever you’re finding hard at the moment, and most of us can identify at least one thing, a technique which you might find really useful is to have a go at writing it down. There are lots of different approaches that you can try depending on your particular needs, but the act of writing has been shown to be really beneficial for improving your mental health. And, of course, all you need is a pen and some paper or a notebook (and perhaps a quiet space to sit).

As you write, you may find solutions or alternative ways of thinking popping into your head and this is your inner wisdom helping you work through your problems or look at things from another perspective.

All you need is notepaper or a notebook and a pen.


Freewriting

Freewriting is a really simple technique where you just write whatever comes into your mind. Start with a blank piece of paper and just get out whatever is in your head. Try not to worry about spelling, grammar or punctuation, focusing instead on just keeping the writing flowing.

When you’ve finished your writing, try spending a few quiet minutes focusing on your breathing or thinking about how you currently feel.


Writing about your emotions

This is a good one to try if you’re feeling uncomfortable emotions such as upset, angry or frustrated. It can help you distance yourself from the emotion in order to rationalise your thoughts or empathise with yourself. Spend time journaling about how you are feeling and why. Don’t judge yourself in any way. Just record your thoughts and this will help you process them, rather than trying to avoid them by doing something else or, trying to switch them off.


Start a gratefulness diary

At the end of a busy day, just before you start to wind down and go to bed, spending a short time writing one or two things that you are grateful for can be a great mood booster. They can be simple things such as having an umbrella when it started to rain or a relaxing bath to soothe your aching muscles. Whatever made you happy or made your day that little bit easier write it down. You can choose the form in which you write, from a simple list to a random explosion of colour with little doodles for each one depending how creative you want to get!


Write a letter to yourself

This is one that I tried a while ago and I often come back to it and re-read what I wrote. First of all, you need to think about how you are feeling right now and what issues and difficulties are present in your life. Then, take a step back from your problems and write to yourself as someone who loves you unconditionally for who you are and shows kindness and compassion in their thoughts and understanding towards what you are going through. you don’t need to add in any solutions or advice but it might be helpful to offer support in the form of understanding and acceptance that things will improve.


Putting the day to rest

When you’ve got lots on your mind and are feeling really stressed, it can be difficult to quieten down your thoughts and relax at the end of your day. This can make sleep extremely difficult as you lie in bed analysing or worrying about what’s ahead. Putting the day to rest is a journaling activity which you can do for about 20 minutes each evening, not literally right before bed, but as a way of recording your thoughts and feelings so that you can switch off more easily. Here’s how it works:

  • Try to do this activity at the same time each evening – write it on your planner or set a reminder on your phone.
  • Use pen and paper rather than a laptop to avoid the glaring light of electronic devices.
  • Start by reflecting you your day – what are you general feelings about how it went?
  • Next, write down the main points of your day and identify what went well, what troubled you etc.
  • Write a to do list of anything which didn’t get done but is a priority.
  • Think forward to tomorrow – what is scheduled? How do you feel about it? etc.
  • Make a note of anything you are unsure about with regard to your day tomorrow and schedule some time to find out in the morning.
  • When you go to bed, if you start to think about things from your day or for tomorrow, remind yourself that you have already dealt these thoughts.
  • If new thoughts arise then you are already in bed, note them down on a piece of paper to be dealt with in the morning.


Ask yourself questions

As a keen bullet journalist, I use this technique regularly to help me to find ways to live my best life. I create a page with a question as a title and then list possible answers. Again, if you want to try this and like getting creative, you could add little doodles to your answers. Here’s some examples of interesting and thought provoking questions you might choose to ask:

  • How can I treat myself?
  • How can I get more organised?
  • What makes me happy?
  • What do I want to achieve this month?
  • How can I improve my relationship with …?


Brain dump

A brain dump is simply a page where you write words and short phrases to get down on paper all of those random thoughts that pop into your head throughout your day when you’re trying to focus on a particular task or activity. In this way, you can get back to the matter in hand and return to your random thought or piece of inspiration when it is no longer a distraction and you have time to further process it.


I hope you find these suggestions useful. Let me know if you try any of them or if you use any other useful therapeutic writing activities to help with the stresses and strains of life.

Thank you for reading.

Laura x

Posted in Planning and journaling, Setting goals and intentions

My bullet journal: Word of the year, vision board for 2019 and goal setting for the month of January

Happy New Year everyone! Hope you’re all well and excited to see what 2019 brings. My husband is at work doing some overtime today so I’ve finally found some time to take photographs of my bujo spreads and share with you how I’ve created my vision board for the year and set some goals for this month.

I started a new Scribbles That Matter bullet journal last month in December 2018, so I’m not starting a fresh notebook but I am changing up a few things from last year and making some new plans in order to increase my time working on developing myself both professionally and personally in line with the recommendations from my favourite new book The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod.

My word for 2019

I thought long and hard about what I want for myself and my handmade business for 2019 and after coming up with lots of ideas, the word which resonated with me the most was RESILIENCE.

Life is full of so challenges and pressures and it’s important to develop our capacity to deal with the various stresses and strains that are thrown at us and stay well physically, but also mentally. Wellbeing has been a big focus for my self care for a while now following some huge changes to my lifestyle.

Last year my word for the year was BALANCE as I felt I needed to work on ensuring I focused on dividing my time better so that I was able to balance my business and personal commitments much better. At the beginning of the year, I set lots of goals and thought really carefully about what I wanted but, I’m disappointed to admit that I didn’t spend anywhere near as much time following through on my intentions as I would have liked.

This year, I’m in a much more positive frame of mind and more determined to work on myself, ensure that all of things that get in the way of my good intentions do not hold me back. I want to develop my ability to deal with stress brought on by life’s challenges and maintain a stable mental wellbeing whatever life brings.

This is positioned right at the front of my 2019 bujo entries and will be looked at every day!

I’m really pleased with how the page turned out and hope it provides the inspiration for me to embody my word each and every day of 2019.

Be sure to share your word of the year and why you chose it in the comments below. I would love to hear what you’re going to focus on for 2019. Also what are your tips for making sure you keep your word at the forefront of your mind?

Creating my vision board

A page I made about vision boards and their use

In 2018, my vision board was poster sized, tacked to the wall of my craft room and was very inspirational, when I looked at it (which I really, really did for at least a few months!!!). This year, I decided to put my vision board in my bujo and look at it every day as part of my Miracle Morning visualisation exercises. I also decided to get my images from Pinterest so that I wasn’t limited to magazine bits and pieces from my collection.

I spent a long time perusing Pinterest, typing in pertinent words and looking for inspirational images. I then printed them on photo paper and trimmed them ready to paste into my bujo. I also collected words and phrases to accompany the images. You can see my finished double page board below.

Simple, and I hope, effective!
Close up of page 1
And a close up of page 2

What my vision board represents

  • the desire for a well stocked, tidy craft room
  • productivity in terms of my business
  • commitment to my Miracle Morning practise for the 30 day challenge and beyond
  • quality time with my husband
  • a focus on getting little birds in our garden and wildlife photography
  • a well structured and beautiful garden
  • exercise which works on improving my core strength (and hopefully ridding me of the dreadful sciatica I’m currently suffering from)
  • getting my nails in good condition and being able to paint them
  • learning more about flat lay photography and sharing more planner and journal spreads on social media.

What does your vision board for the year look like? I’d love it if you shared in the comments below.

Setting goals for this month…

To begin my journey of a happy and successful 2019, I set myself a number of goals for January. I split them into business and personal goals. I’m pleased to say, I’ve achieved some of them already and it’s only 6th Jan!

Ambitious goals for January

That’s all for now. I hope this post has inspired you to think about your intentions for 2019 and maybe try out a few of the spreads. Don’t forget to share your own ideas for the year. I look forward to hearing from you.

Much love,

Laura x