Blog Post Ideas for Blogmas 2018

Blogmas Post Ideas 2018
Copyright of Monsterful Mama

 

Yes. I know. It’s August still. I am not about to let that dampen my Christmas cheer and so in the spirit of all things festive, I have decided to take part in Blogmas this year. For those of you wondering, Blogmas is this thing where bloggers go crazy and commit to posting a festive blog post every day of December. Obviously I will be trying to keep it as family friendly as possible with ideas for keeping the toddler entertained and how not to lose your mind after hearing Jingle Bells for the millionth time, but that doesn’t mean I wont have the odd random post.

The plan is to get as organised as possible as early as possible. As a family, we have a lot of stuff going on in the next few months so it will be vital for me to get as much content written as soon as I can. So naturally, my first thing to do was use my blogging bullet journal to brain storm post ideas. I need to make sure I have enough to post for at least twelve days (depending on decision about commitment) and so I came up with thirty post ideas. Even if I can commit to all thirty one days of December, that gives me enough content for the whole month with one extra post as a 2018 roundup or New Year kind of thing like I did at the beginning of this year. You can see that post here.

Blogmas
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I’ve decided on twelve of my post ideas to share with you guys. Some of the posts I am really excited about, including one where I have already planned with my BFF’s who are fully supportive of my extra festive activities. So, without further adieu, here are my top twelve blog post ideas from my list which I have ordered with excitement levels in mind.


12. Christmas on a Budget.

Like my post (link) 1stbirthday on a budget, I aim to help my readers with some tips to keeping costs down over christmas.

11. Favourite Christmas Films

This is an obvious post really. I’ll be going through some of our favourite Christmas films some mainstream and some obscure.

10. Be Mindful this Christmas

A post about staying mindful during the most materialist holiday season. I aim to share ways to be grateful and how the gift of giving (not spending) can really help boost our happiness.

9. Festive Gluten Free Recipes

Seeing as Hubby has become gluten intolerant, I am planning to try out some simple alternatives to some of the most iconic Christmas Recipes.

8. A Bloggers Christmas Wishlist

A gift list for the blogger in your life.

7. Family Traditions to Start

As Zosia become older and more aware of the festive period, we are planning to create some new family traditions into our Christmas that will help her to be more mindful. I will be writing about different traditions that you can introduce to your family that will not mean spending more cash.

6. Tips for Shopping with a Toddler at Christmas

We all know that this festive period can bring the worst out in our kids. As a teacher, Santa is a great way to keep children in line. In this post I’ll be looking at ways to take out the stress of shopping with the toddler.

5. Christmas Eve Box for Zosia

As one of our new traditions this year, I will create a post about what will be in Zosia’s Christmas Eve box.

4. Christmas/Winter Themed Picture Books

This one is going to be awesome! I’ve been wanting to do a post on children’s picture books for some time but I can never chose a small selection. I always end with hundreds of shortlists. This will help me to create a small list (no more than 10) of my favourite Christmas and winter themed books.

3. Gift Ideas for Toddlers

For this post I will be looking into a range of gifts that we will be considering for toddler’s this year and I’ll be looking into some gender neutral/plastic free gifts too. I will be breaking it down into a few categories like I did for my (link) top 10 gifts for new mums post.

2. Santa’s Grotto Visit

We plan to visit a local Santa’s grotto again this year (possible more than one!) and I will be writing a review of it for this post.

1. Visit to Local Christmas Market

Having scheduled in a day with the girls, I will be having a blast at a local Christmas Market. Expect amazing pictures from Chloe Lee Photography of all things festive.


There are a few more ideas to work on too, but I cant spoil it all too much right. I plan to get started on writing the simple posts as soon as September and will have them ready, edited and scheduled by the middle of November, giving me plenty of time to get the rest done during December.

santa, all i want for
Copyright of Monsterful Mama.

What are you most looking forward to this year? Any post ideas you would like to see from me? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading,

Peace and Love

Monsterful Mama

JakiJellz
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Why you Should be Using a Journal to Improve your Mental Health

 

Using a journal

When I was a kid, about eight or nine, my nan gave me my first diary. A simple weekly spread to manage the supposedly hectic life of a primary school pupil. I began to use it as a way of documenting the little things I had done during the day; woke up, brushed my teeth, watched Pokemon, annoyed little sister etc. I kept things very simple. As I grew up my diary morphed, changed. It grew with me. As I became a teenager dealing with my parents separation, puberty, first ‘loves’ and being unpopular at school, my diary became incredibly important to me. I took it everywhere. As a teen I was so angry at the world and writing all of that down helped me to process my emotions. Of course, this didn’t suddenly make me a better person. I was still a terrible daughter, sister, friend but slightly less so. I felt so very alone growing up, as I am sure we all did but my diary was the only thing I could be truly honest with. I would pour my heart out to it. No holds barred. The great thing was, it never judged me.

As I ventured into adulthood, as I began my journey into serious relationships and discovered my own ideas of womanhood, my diary changed again. I started to include pictures, memories. Growing up my diary was a place to vent, rant, a place to be angry and sad. Now it had become a place of love and happiness. I had made it a document of the good times. Naturally, being only eighteen/nineteen it didn’t last long. Yet I knew that when I was in a better place, it would be something I could look back at with a smile.

Move into my early twenties and my diary (now a proper notebook, with lined pages and referred to as a journal because that’s more grown up) it went through one of its darkest phases. The anger I had felt as a teenager was nothing compared to what was happening to my mind at this point. I had gone from updating it a few times a week to writing in it daily, sometimes several times a day. I would write page after page about how low I was, what (or who) was causing it. It was a very negative place. I knew this would not be a thing that I would want to look back on. It often took me into a darker place as I became overwhelmed with emotions and as I processed the person I was becoming, hurtful, unfaithful, nasty. I no longer recognised myself. However, being able to express myself through writing, during this darkest phase is probably what saved my life.

The journey to recovery was not easy. It took years. A part of that recovery was during an emotionally abusive relationship where I allowed him to strip me back, to break me down and uncover this horrible woman I had become until I was no longer that person and unfortunately, I was no longer a version of me that I recognised. Despite of all that, it was writing at this point which allowed me to re-evaluate who I was and who I wanted to be. At my lowest point, it was my diary that was my salvation.

Then I met my hubby, my light at the end of the tunnel, my knight in shining armour. It wasn’t long before I didn’t need to write things down. I didn’t feel like I needed to furiously scribble down every emotion or vet the things I wanted to say. I could be myself again. Slowly (although he may not realise it) he allowed me to rebuild myself as the person I am today. After a while, I no longer needed the diary and I stopped writing. This isn’t a negative thing. Not needing to write has been refreshing after so long. I still write today but not because I need to. I write because I want to. I write to keep myself and my family organised and to process events out of my control. I write to vent things around the world that upset me but it is no longer so personal. But why did I start in the first place? Why did I feel that need, the need that at points felt so desperate? Personally, I think it was out of frustration, desperation and possible even self-preservation. To save my sanity, to minimise damage.

“I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read on the train.” – Oscar Wilde

Keeping a diary or a journal to document the good, bad and the ugly is no new thing. As early as human kind could write, they would document their daily life, the things they had learnt, seen, done etc. There is research from the University of Lancaster that suggests keeping a journal of your experiences can help keep your mind healthier as you get older. Expressive writing can be a way to get a clear perspective as you take time to reflect on something. It stops to obsessive loops we can get ourselves into when dealing with negative situations. It can make us happier and more successful. With this in mind I have come up with some of the benefits of keeping a journal and why you should be using expressive writing to help improve your mental well-being.

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Setting Goals. Copyright of Monsterful Mama

1. It Doesn’t Have to be Articulate:

It doesn’t matter if the spellings are correct or the grammar is perfect. Nobody is going to read it but you, and even you don’t have to read it once you’ve finished it. It doesn’t have to even make sense so long as it allows you to deal with things in your own time. You could try making a mind map if that helps you.

2. Offload the Negative:

You can use it as a brain dump, a way to empty out all of the negative stuff we have to deal with on a daily basis. You are quite literally just offloading some of the things that you either don’t have time to deal with or the things that need more of your attention. You can write the basics down for now and move on. Come back to it when you are ready to deal with it.

3. No Regrets:

Too often do we react on impulse to a negative situation and too often do we fell like crap after. We know we have said things we now regret and we continue to let the loop go round and round in our head. By writing it down, you can say all the things that are bothering you without fear of repercussion and free from the worry of upsetting someone. Once you have all of that out of your system you have time to re-evaluate the situation and approach it in a calm manner. Pouring your heart out on paper can help you to form rational responses to negativity.

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Reviewing the good. Copyright of Monsterful Mama

4. Don’t Just Focus on the Negative:

The process of writing things down, doesn’t have to be solely about the negativity in your life. I use a bullet journal to not only help organise my life but to help me regain control. Yes, there are times when you need to offload the negative but there are also times when you need to remind yourself of the positive. I have often kept a page in my journal to help me focus on the things I am thankful for and keeping a gratitude log is a great way to help you can a little perspective. I made a page about all the things I love about my husband so that I can focus on that when he is driving me mad.

5. Change a Habit of a Lifetime:

You can use your journal as a way to help change some of those habits which are leading to these negative emotions. Tracking habits and moods allows you to see what it is holding you back and means you can find ways to help you move on. Whether you are tracking how many times in a month you have exercised or how many days you have felt sad, you will be able to see what is happening and hopefully address any triggers.

6. Achieve your Goals:

By using a tracker like above, you can begin to work on achieving your goals. Documenting what you want to achieve, whether it be today, this week, this year or even in your lifetime is a great way to help you to actually achieve your goals. Writing the goals down makes them real and thus you feel more accountable for them. Achieving the goals you set yourself allows you to feel more successful, no matter how small the goal was.

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Goals to work towards. Copyright of Monsterful Mama

7. Unleash your Creative Side:

Writing of any kind is a creative outlet, but why stop there? Using a bullet journal is not just a better way to get organised or even to improve your mental health but it is a great way to brush up on other creative skills. I am not just talking about our drawing or painting etc. We also begin to learn a more creative approach to dealing with the pain, disappointment and difficult relationships. Plus you can have a good doodle.

8. Because it Feels Good:

Using expressive writing to help us process life can really make us happier and achieve positivity in our lives. As we go on this journey of self-discovery we can begin our personal transformation. We can manage stress better, we have a feeling of fullfilment. The less stressed we are, the happier we are. The happier we are, the better our mental health is. The better our mental health, the more successful we can be. It sounds quite obvious when you put it like that.

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Inspirational Quote. Copyright of Monsterful Mama

I am by no means an expert on this topic. I am merely sharing what has worked for me in the hope that it can help you. We all know that improving our mental health in todays often chaotic and stressful world is so important. If you ever feel like life is just too much to bare please remember that there are a number of channels out there willing to help you through the dark days. You are not alone. Nor do you have to suffer alone.

If you have any other tips to help with expressive writing or keeping a journal, or if you have used this method to help you during a difficult time, let us know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading,
Peace and Love

Monsterful Mama

JakiJellz
3 Little Buttons
Musings Of A Tired Mummy

July’s Update of Goals for 2018

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As some of you may know, 2018 has not been going to plan. After a steady rise in blog traffic earlier on in the year, things were looking up. However, if you follow me on social media you will know that my mum, who had been in hospital since December 2017 took a turn for the worst at the beginning of March. I mentioned this a bit in ‘My First Year as a Blogger.’ post. Long story short, the blog took a massive hit as I was either working or travelling to the hospital every chance I had. The numbers dipped to an all time low. I wasn’t posting on social media, I wasn’t writing and I wasn’t even using my bullet journal any more. As she began to recover, I did start listening to some podcasts to try and inspire myself to write again and although I wasn’t posting anything, I was getting through the block. When Mum finally came home earlier this month it finally lifted completely. It has helped that I’ve had less work due to it being the end of the academic year.

So, just a little over half way through the year seems like a good a time as any to have a little catch up with the goals I set myself back in January. It seems like a lifetime since I wrote them. Looking back at ‘Goals for 2018’ hasn’t helped my confidence in the blog or even life really. I am nowhere near completing half of the goals that I set. I originally set my goals into different categories: Body, Mind, Creativity, Home, Finances and Blog. In each category I gave myself some goals to work on and broke each goal down into targets to make it more manageable. Let’s take a look at how I’ve done so far.

Body:

I am not sure this will make for an interesting read but let’s get started anyway shall we. Many of these goals are going to be hit and miss.

Fewer Take Aways

  • No more than one takeaway a month

Outcome:   Did not make a tracker for this but have managed to reduce take aways each month. We are not quite down to one a month yet but as our local Chinese has shut and been replaced with a (dodgy looking) pizza and pasta place, I don’t think it will be as difficult in the coming months.

Make better food choices

  • Start cooking meals from scratch again
  • Make time to cook

Outcome:   This went completely out of the window when mum was in a coma. Something to continue working on.

Make sure you eat all three meals, no skipping lunch

  • Stop making excuses, get up and do it.

Outcome:   Doing okay -ish on this one. Most days I manage all three. Every now and then, especially during the recent heat wave, we have skipped a few dinners. We have started to meal plan in the hopes of reducing waste and getting ourselves more organised. So far so good but it needs work still.

Drink more water

  • Get a glass of water (or squash at the very least) when you make your first coffee

Outcome:   Until recently I was doing well with this. Lately we have had a bit of a fizz thing. It is an addiction and yes, we are working on it.

Start Yoga at home

  • Get a yoga app
  • Make a yoga tracker in my bullet journal
  • Use yoga at least 3 or 4 times a week
  • Get up early to do it (even if you’re working)

Outcome:   So, I did restart doing the yoga but it didn’t last long. Zosia started getting up earlier and earlier and I found it hard to find time before work. I think I will need to start doing it in the evening instead. I did get an app though, does that count as a completed goal?

Exercise More Frequently

  • Create a tracker to monitor exercise
  • Go for walks with Zosia
  • Complete a ‘fun’ run for charity

Outcome:   Okay, so Zosia and I have been on some walks. Some days we took friends and Daddy. We walk down to town now instead of driving and fighting twats with no children in their cars for child parking bays. But as for ‘exercise’ no. just no!

Remember why you are doing this!

  • Zosia
  • Hubby
  • YOU

Outcome:   Yeah. I need this written on a yoga mat or something so when I want to cry during exercise I remember why I am doing this.

Mind:

Think this one is going to be a lot more work needed. The mental health has been taking a battering but as with many things, a few patches here and there and we will be all good again.

Avoid drama

  • Don’t create unnecessary drama
  • Don’t get sucked into other peoples drama
  • Remain calm in difficult situations
  • Try not to over react to the little things

Outcome:   Drama has been reduced. Trying to stay calm, not always successful but hey.

Be thankful

  • Remind yourself of the things that keep you going every day
  • Help others in need more

Outcome:   Trying my best to remember the good things in life despite having faced a lot of disruption in my life lately. We have been doing a massive clear out of the house, a de-clutter to make room for more memories. I have used this as a way to help others more and have been sorting the things we do not want anymore to give to charity. We have done a few runs already but there will definitely be more.

Meditate

  • Regular meditation time
  • Spend less time plugged in. Step away from social media for at least 10 minutes a day (to start with)

Outcome:   Tried a few meditation classes on an app. Didn’t manage to stick with it. I will try to get back to it soon. It is just a matter of time and lack of motivation at the moment.

During the early months of mum being in intensive care, I rarely used my phone other than to contact people. As she got better I did start listening to a few podcasts. However since she has been home and I have been back into blogging my screen time has sky rocketed again. I think my next step here would be to schedule time away from my phone (and not just when I am asleep). I just need to find a way to keep track and find different rewards than using my phone.

Be more positive

  • Think happy thoughts
  • Keep a list of all the things that make you happy in your bullet journal

Outcome:   Staying positive has been one of the hardest things about this year. A lot has happened. Things turned out alright. I will be working on this more for the rest of the year.

Learn to love yourself

  • Accept the little slips and move on
  • Remind yourself that nobody is perfect
  • Stop making negative comments about yourself
  • Be kinder to yourself, you know if you’re doing the best you can do or not

Outcome:   This seems to be an impossible task. I cannot remember the last time I felt like I was happy with me. I think that before I can allow myself some love, I need to kick myself up the arse and be harsh. I am a fat cow. End of. Nobodies fault but my own. Nobody can change this but me. Until I begin to start working on the outside, the love for myself (inside and outside) should naturally begin to fall into place. Sometimes you have to be honest with yourself. Tell yourself you look good in an outfit that is clearly not made for you body type is not doing you any favours. Convincing yourself that you’ll go for a walk tomorrow to burn off that pizza, is not helping. Trying to convince yourself that it is okay to be fat – not good. That’s what I need, honesty. Not a few white lies to make myself feel better. I don’t feel better at all. I need to get up, get on and be real.

Creativity:

I think it is safe to say that I am failing miserably here.

Write a children’s picture book

  • Start with a book for Zosia this year, then go from there
  • Work out how you want it to look
  • Think about what the moral of the story is
  • Make time to get this done

Outcome:   This has just not happened at all. I’ll come back to this later. There are more important things to be getting sorted.

Start Zosia’s scrapbook

  • Enlist the help from bestie
  • Don’t be afraid to commit to it
  • Make note of all the important milestones

Outcome:   Again, I have plans to do this still, just not yet. I am saving lots of bits for when I am ready to start this up.

Keep going with the bullet journal

  • utilise the blog journal more
  • Make sure it is as practical as it is pretty

Outcome:   Right, the biggest problem here is I cannot seem to open my bullet journal at the moment. The last page is from the week before things happened with mum. I can’t find the motivation to commit to those same pages in that same book. I think the best thing to do would be to get another notebook and start again fresh when we have the money. I just can’t face that one anymore.

Create more things to sell on Etsy

  • Scan in work you have already
  • Create a calendar for 2019
  • Scan it in to make a digital copy of it
  • Finish setting up Etsy shop
  • Share the s**t out of it on social media
  • Create digital planners for bloggers to use
  • Write more blog posts about my creative side

Outcome:   Although this one may seem like another fail, and it is in the sense that I have nothing for sale in my Etsy shop, it is actually not a complete fail. I have begun to make things, prints to sell but on other sites. Sites that will be revealed later when I have more things to sell. I have chosen these sites instead of Etsy as I do not have the time or the money to be printing things out and shipping them off myself. There will be more on this later. Also, I need a new scanner as the one we have is no longer compatible with MacOS. I have been trying to create some things with the help of the hubby teaching me to use Illustrator. So I am hoping things will pick up here soon too.

Believe in yourself more

  • Remind yourself that you can achieve anything that you set your mind to.
  • Remind yourself that if people get paid millions for calling stuffed sheep and upside down urinals ‘art’ then your few pounds for a hand made print is reasonable enough

Outcome:   I’m getting there. Work in process still. Always.

Home:

I would say this is becoming my biggest success at the moment although, as with everything else, it is still very much still on the to do list. We are making baby steps on most of these goals.

De-clutter the house

  • Go room by room and clear out stuff that either hasn’t been unpacked since we moved in or hasn’t been used in the last 6 months

Outcome:   The process began last month. We’re getting there slowly. Box by box. Shredding old files has begun, packing up our memories to store away and we have been binning or charity shopping old bits we no longer need or use.

SPRING CLEAN THE S**T OUT OF THIS HOUSE!!

Outcome:   Mostly done. Few bits left to do but that will be finished next month. We suffered a major bathroom leak which came down into the kitchen so we need to finish off those two rooms and hopefully that’ll be sorted soon.

Sort Zosia’s room

  • Go through the boxes and clear out the rubbish
  • Buy and assemble new furniture
  • Move crib in after 1st birthday
  • Put up wall decorations

Outcome:   Okay, so Zosia is still in our room and her room is still full of boxes. In the next few months there will be a massive transformation you’ll see, I promise!

Buy better storage and new furniture

  • Book shelf for under the stairs
  • Organise kitchen cupboards better

Outcome:   This too will be sorted in the coming months. I am very much looking forward to writing up about this all again later!

Create a cleaning schedule for the house and put it up in the kitchen

  • Try not to use the word ROTA

Start washing up after every meal.

  • Make this a habit not a chore
  • Stop only tidying up or cleaning when people are due to visit

Outcome:   This is a bit of a sore point at the moment. We are working through some teething problems with housework but as we finish the big declutter and spring clean I hope that it will all be ironed out and sorted.

Finances:

It has taken some time but this has been one of the more successful of goals.

Spend less on the things you don’t need

  • If you do go shopping take your time to think about the necessity of the purchase.

Start putting more aside for Zosia’s future

Outcome:   We have been saving but work for me hasn’t been as helpful as I would have liked. I have had issues getting work when I have needed it, anxiety with early morning (or late) calls and dealing with some unpleasant schools. However for these points we have been mostly successful. We have held the purse strings quite tightly. Yes, we could have held on tighter but we’re working on this too. We have made swaps to the cheaper brands and are working harder to reduce our outgoings.

Blog:

So, by now you should all know what’s been going on and why I have been MIA. I won’t repeat it. The blog has suffered, but I am back and determined more than ever to make this blog a success. I am taking steps towards all of these goals. Some are little steps, some are bigger.

Start seeing this as a business, not just a hobby

  • Think about why you started this
  • Think about a plan of action for 2018
  • Be a full time blogger by 2019

Outcome:   So this might still be achievable, but maybe the end of 2019. There is still hope for this goal yet.

Raise viewer and visitor numbers

  • Promote more often
  • Join more Linkies

Outcome: With my first post back I have already achieved this. The numbers are on the up and although I have not been able to match February’s numbers, I have managed to beat some of last years monthly statistics. If you know of any relevant linkies for me to join, drop me a comment or DM on social media.

Start writing content to cover busy periods so that you always have something to post

  • Compile a list of potential blog posts

Outcome:   I’ll give myself a big tick on this as I already have two more on the go and near completion!Man that feels good to know too. Takes out the stress a bit. I will be trying to get as much content ready for work to continue in September too. I have also thought about ‘Blogmas’ and how I can be prepared for blogging everyday throughout December.

Create a list on brands that you would like to work with

  • Create assets to promote yourself to brands

Outcome:   Bit of a sore point again. I have seen some great small businesses I would love to work with, and some big ones too. However, the other day as I was trying to make my media kit, the time off I have had off has utterly destroyed my numbers and if I am honest, my confidence a little. This is still something to work on. I have begun a list of brands to work with so hopefully soon enough when the numbers pick up again I can start planning my approach.

Work with Hubby to begin migration to self-hosting

Outcome:   We have both been very busy with work and life. This is still going to happen, there is no doubt about that but it is on the back burner for now.

Learn how to create your own subscription emails

  • Set up email list
  • Add ‘Subscribe Now’ pop up

Outcome:   I will need to look into some courses on how to set this up but I know my husband can help me with creating the emails once I have set everything up.

Learn more about SEO

  • Get Hubby to teach you how to code for yourself

Outcome:   On this one I have been trying to teach myself a few bits. Hubby has helped me with some of the small blog bits that I have been working on recently. I am thinking about doing a course on Udemy at some point but that all depends on the finances and my schedule after I return to work in September. I am always looking out for little bits to build the website when the time comes. I am working on making some of the assets myself and hopefully come the new year, I should be fully self-hosted on my own website.

Keep working on your ‘Mummy Rants’ Series

  • Open it up to guest bloggers??

Outcome:   Despite not opening this up to guest bloggers, I have been on this one. I have recently rebranded the series to be’Mama Rants’to help keep the theme of the blog. My February post on Valentines Day (a bit of an anti-Valentines Day rant) has been the most popular out of the series so far. There will be more coming. If you have any things that as a Mama or a Papa that really bugs you in the parenting world, please let me know and I can take a look into it. I think that will also help me to open it out to guest bloggers too.

That’s a Wrap!

That’s it. They are the goals I set myself at the beginning of the year and although I know someone will be sitting there wondering why I have even bothered to update you when I haven’t really completed or achieved any of them, I am glad I took the time to go through this process. Holding yourself accountable for your own failures is a brilliant way to help you move on. We all make mistakes, life gets in the way, s**t happens. It is about how you deal with it that makes you stronger (or not). Life tried to knock us down. We did not let it. I will rebuild. I will be better. I will achieve these goals, one way or another, eventually.

Thanks for sticking with it. If you have had similar set backs let me know in the comments below. It would be nice to hear how you worked through them.

Peace and love,

Monsterful Mama.

JakiJellz
3 Little Buttons

Goals for 2018

As we all know, a new year means new goals, or rather refreshed goals that we may not have achieved last year, or the year before. For the last ten years at least my New Years resolutions have featured weight loss of some kind. Some years have been more successful than others, but nevertheless my weight has increased. Most recently I had lost 2 stone in the run up to our wedding. Naturally, having a baby has impacted my ever increasing waistline and here I sit, writing this blog post at my heaviest. So what’s to be done? Do I repeat the same old goal of weight loss as I do every year, no matter how much I’ve failed? Or do I mask it as something else? ‘Stop eating takeaway food!’?

One of the goals that I have already set myself is positive thinking. So I’ll take a more positive spin on things, I’ll make my goals steps toward positive thoughts rather than remarking on the negative. Having glanced around google, I’ll try to make my goals SMART. They will be Significant steps broken down to be Meaningful and Measurable steps that are easily Attainable. These steps will be Rewarding and kept Relevant and of course I will find ways to make them Trackable in my bullet journal so I can measure the time it takes to achieve them.

To begin with, I’ve spent some time thinking about what is truly important to me this year. Determined not to get stuck in the monotony of the seemingly unachievable ‘lose weight’, I looked for ways to make my goals much more positive. I think this year will be more focused on breaking bad habits. Changing how I think about my goals and how I feel when I don’t achieve them. I’ll need to break down each goal into smaller steps that are easier to achieve. I will need to review the goals regularly to see how I am getting on.  The plan is to review once a month. I will also be looking at ways to incorporate mindfulness into the everyday, a kind of ‘Practice What You Preach’ sort of thing. I will need to think about how I can be mindful of the things I am doing or thinking that will have a negative impact on my progress.

What Next?

As I’ve said already, I plan on using my bullet journal a lot more this year to help me stay on track (keep an eye out for a post on how to utilise your bullet journal for goal tracking later this month). I am in the process of creating spreads to help me manage this. I recently read somewhere that writing your goals down will help to make you more accountable for them. As if having them written down makes you more aware of them, less likely to forget them. I also read that sharing them with people helps with this too. I always share my goals with my husband so that he can help to keep me on track and of course, I am now sharing them with you. I should also mention that my word of the year is discipline and I aim to remind myself of this every time I slip up.

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New Year Goals in Bullet Journal. Copyright of Monsterful Mama

So with all that being said, what are my goals for this year? To start, I’ve broken my goals down into six categories. I’ve chosen these categories as I feel they are areas that need the most work.

Body

Mind

Creativity

Home

Finances

Blog

Hopefully this will make it easier to keep organised, to visualise each goal and each step within each goal. So let’s begin.

Body:

I know my problem with food stems from my mindset. I see food as a comfort so I need to break the habit of binge eating, and reaching for the snacks when I am bored or tired. Just looking at the scales is upsetting enough yet still I reach. However, as I’ve already mentioned, I don’t want to set a ‘lose weight’ goal. Instead I want to focus on how I can lose weight by changing some bad habits. I began to compile a list of things that needed to change. I thought about the poor food choices I was making, the lack of water I was drinking, the lack of exercise I was doing and how often we rely on take away food. Then I thought about how to make it positive and achievable.

  • Fewer Take Aways

– No more than one takeaway a month

(Can I make a tracker for this…?)

  • Make better food choices

– Start cooking meals from scratch again

– Make time to cook

  • Make sure you eat all three meals, no skipping lunch

– Stop making excuses, get up and do it.

  • Drink more water

– Get a glass of water (or squash at the very least) when you make your first coffee

  • Start Yoga at home

– Get a yoga app

– Make a yoga tracker in my bullet journal

– Use yoga at least 3 or 4 times a week

– Get up early to do it (even if you’re working)

  • Exercise More Frequently

– Create a tracker to monitor exercise

– Go for walks with Zosia

– Complete a ‘fun’ run for charity

  • Remember why you are doing this!

– Zosia

– Hubby

YOU

Mind:

How can I begin to change my habits? Habits I have had for most of my life. I think first of all I need to start thinking about my triggers. I already know all too well that my bad eating habits stem from three things; a lack of discipline, boredom and negative moods. Focusing on negative moods is where my mind goals will coming from.

  • Avoid drama

– Don’t create unnecessary drama

– Don’t get sucked into other peoples drama

– Remain calm in difficult situations.

– Try not to over react to the little things

  • Be thankful

– Remind yourself of the things that keep you going every day

– Help others in need more

  • Meditate

– Regular meditation time

– Spend less time plugged in. Step away from social media for at least 10 minutes a day (to start with)

  • Be more positive

– Think happy thoughts

– Keep a list of all the things that make you happy in your bullet journal

  • Learn to love yourself

– Accept the little slips and move on

– Remind yourself that nobody is perfect

– Stop making negative comments about yourself

– Be kinder to yourself, you know if you’re doing the best you can do or not

Creativity:

Last year my goal was to get creative more often and for the most part I was successful in this. I have improved my hand lettering and been braver using water colours more often. This year I want to take this a step further and hopefully start making some money out of it.

  • Write a children’s picture book

– Start with a book for Zosia this year, then go from there

– Work out how you want it to look

– Think about what the moral of the story is

– Make time to get this done

  • Start Zosia’s scrapbook

– Enlist the help from bestie

– Don’t be afraid to commit to it

– Make note of all the important milestones

  • Keep going with the bullet journal

– utilise the blog journal more

– Make sure it is as practical as it is pretty

  • Create more things to sell on Etsy

– Scan in work you have already

– Create a calendar for 2019

+ Scan it in to make a digital copy of it

– Finish setting up Etsy shop

– Share the s**t out of it on social media

– Create digital planners for bloggers to use

– Write more blog posts about my creative side

  • Believe in yourself more

– Remind yourself that you can achieve anything that you set your mind to.

– Remind yourself that if people get paid millions for calling stuffed sheep and upside down urinals ‘art’ then your few pounds for a hand made print is reasonable enough

Home:

There are a lot of things that need sorting at home. With the arrival of a tiny human chaos has ensued. So these goals feature a lot of tidying up and organising rooms.

  • De-clutter the house

– Go room by room and clear out stuff that either hasn’t been unpacked since we moved in or hasn’t been used in the last 6 months

– SPRING CLEAN THE S**T OUT OF THIS HOUSE!!

  • Sort Zosia’s room

– Go through the boxes and clear out the rubbish

– Buy and assemble new furniture

– Move crib in after 1st birthday

– Put up wall decorations

  • Buy better storage and new furniture

– Book shelf for under the stairs

– Organise kitchen cupboards better

  • Create a cleaning schedule for the house and put it up in the kitchen

– Try not to use the word ROTA

  • Start washing up after every meal. Make this a habit not a chore

  • Stop only tidying up or cleaning when people are due to visit

Finances:

With money, things are always tricky. Even more so when you have a child. Working part time is proving challenging so I need to think of other ways to save or make money.

  • Spend less on the things you don’t need

– If you do go shopping take your time to think about the necessity of the purchase.

  • Look for cheaper alternatives to the expensive brands

  • Start putting more aside for Zosia’s future

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Inspired by Little Coffee Fox at https://littlecoffeefox.com.

Blog:

My numbers are picking up again after a few months off due to work commitments. However they are still quite low. I will need to work on raising numbers before I can approach brands but I am hopeful.

  • Start seeing this as a business, not just a hobby

– Think about why you started this

– Think about a plan of action for 2018

– Be a full time blogger by 2019

  • Raise viewer and visitor numbers

– Promote more often

– Join more Linkies

  • Start writing content to cover busy periods so that you always have something to post

– Compile a list of potential blog posts

  • Create a list on brands that you would like to work with

– Create assets to promote yourself to brands

  • Work with Hubby to begin migration to self-hosting

– Learn how to create your own subscription emails

– Set up email list

– Add ‘Subscribe Now’ pop up

– Learn more about SEO

– Get Hubby to teach you how to code for yourself

  • Keep working on your ‘Mummy Rants’ Series

– Open it up to guest bloggers??

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Motivational Quote.  Copyright of Monsterful Mama

So, I know this makes your goals seem harder to reach as there are so many little things to worry about but trust me when I say that breaking them down into smaller more achievable goals as I have done above really does help. I still have the big goals in mind but I know that I will be able to complete them by creating little ‘To Do’ lists within each one. You will feel a sense of achievement if you are able to tick a box every now and then which ultimately will help with some of the other goals. Setting yourself goals is vital to stay proactive and productive in life and business. You don’t need to wait for the new to set or evaluate them either, it just feels good to start a new year with a fresh head on your shoulders.

What goals have you set yourself this year? More importantly how are you going to achieve them?

Thanks for listening,

Love and Peace,

Monsterful Mama

Midwife and Life

 

10 Things That Make Me Happy

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Copyright Monsterful Mama

I know that I have recently done a post about happiness, and those being the three main things so let’s make this one a bit of fun.  Call it a ‘getting to know you’ kinda blog post!

The Ten Things That Make Me Happy are…

  1. Family: So of course this is a given. My little family are my world. You can read about them in more detail here.
  2. Pens: Lots and lots of pens. Brush pens, fine liners, fountain pens, highlighters, bright ones, pastel ones, black and white ones. You name it I will happily buy it for the right price, which leads me on to number three.
  3. Bullet Journal: I love getting creative in my bullet journal but it is also a fantastic way to get organised. My motto before was that I was an organised mess. My style was organised chaos but now with my bullet journal I can manage appointments without forgetting them, track progression of my blog in my blog bujo and get to keep on being creative with the many challenges in hand lettering etc.
  4. Food: I have a love hate relationship with food. I LOVE to eat it … all… but it does not agree with my waistline. I love cheesy pizza, stringy, gooey pizza, salted caramel flavoured thing, peanut butter on toast, a good old fashion roast dinner, cake of many varieties, coffee flavoured things too, chocolate of course… the list goes on. It actually surprises me that I am not bigger than I am! I do have a bit of a sweet tooth. If we go out for dinner, I will often chose a vegetarian option because my husband is a vege-phobe!
  5. Washi Tape: There are sooooo many different varieties of tape out there in the world, and like in Pokemon, I want to catch them all! I use them quite sparingly in my bullet journal but I just love to collect them. They are just so pretty!
  6. Video games: I don’t mind which platform but would prefer the PS4 and PC over Xbox. I used to love Nintendo but they have made their consoles big and clunky and unnecessarily so. They had great consoles with the N64 and the GameCube so I dont know why they had to mess about with it all. I love to play games such as; Skyrim, Terraria, Minecraft, The Sims, Stardew Valley, Starbound, Anno, Don’t Starve, Legend of Zelda, Fallout 4, WoW, Diablo III, Hearthstone, Civilization, Life is Strange etc. I love a bargain on Steam or on the PlayStation Store especially if it is an indie game.
  7. Taking Pictures: I love taking pictures. I’ve been referred to as the happy snapper before. I won’t go so far as to claim I am any good at taking pictures, but I do okay. My degree is in Photography but again, there are no guarantees that, that means I am good. I mostly take pictures of my little girl now but the degree has helped with setting up a few flat lays for the blog. I am currently in love with using black and white film in my Instax Mini. I’m now very jealous of my best buds skills in photography, so much so I got her to do our wedding! Chloe is awesome at capturing the natural quirkiness at weddings. I have enlisted her help many times when it comes to my own photography.
  8. Travel: I haven’t seen much of the world but I have loved seeing the bits that I have seen. Japan has got to be the best place we’ve been. We love going somewhere with lots of history or culture. There are sooo many more places on our list but, what with having a baby, we know it will be a while before we can tick the big ones off. Meanwhile, seeing a bit more of the UK will keep us occupied until Zosia is old enough to fly comfortably.
  9. Self Care Time: Because I have spent so many years living alone, I do enjoy a bit of me time, alone time. It is great to get to grips with thoughts and feelings and sometimes just to clear some of the cobwebs away. I will often take a coffee break on my own (mostly with Zosia though) in a café in town. I will mill around town with no real intent to buy things, although that doesn’t mean I won’t buy anything! It’s not really about buying anything, it is about being by myself.
  10. Creativity: I have always been a bit creative but never really known how to channel it. I’ve tried performing arts, photography, painting etc. I still don’t really know what my creative ‘niche’ is but I am loving the process of trying to figure it out. My sister is an illustrator so I’ve always been jealous of her mad skills for drawing and using watercolours. At the moment I am trying to learn new digital creative skills with my hubby teaching me tricks on PhotoShop, Illustrator and CSS/HTML etc.

 

Well, I hope you enjoyed getting to know me a little more. Here are my tags for bloggers that you should get to know!

  1. itsallzara.co.uk
  2. http://thismamacan.com/

Thanks

Monsterful Mama

Mindfulness: how to be mindful everyday.

 

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Does it always seem like the busier you are, the less in control you feel? It’s easy to get lost in the mundane of everyday life, be it at work or at home. We are all guilty of being a mindless zombie, trudging through life searching for brains but what happens when you finally find one? Do you scoff it down so fast it barely touches the sides? Do you eat it without thinking about it is you’re actually eating in the first place. Now take out the analogy because it’s slightly gross and apply it to something slightly healthier and more appetising, like your daily bowl of cereal. Do you still scoff it down mindlessly? Do you eat your breakfast on autopilot every morning? Think about it, you had oats today but what did you have yesterday, or the day before or even last week? Living life on autopilot might seem like an effective way to get things done but where is the fun in that? Trying to do too much means we miss out on the beauty of every day.

It’s understandable that if you’re leading a hectic lifestyle, keeping things simple is the easy option but self care is just as important. The idea of self care is to make time for yourself. The simplest way to do so is to just pause. Take a break from the madness and stop. Stop the task you’re doing. Sit or stand where you are and think – not about work or the task you were doing but the spoon in your hand, the sound outside the window, the taste of your cereal, really think about it.

It sounds easy doesn’t it. Just stop and think about your spoon, it’s not a hard task. Stopping what you are doing and thinking in the moment, not the past or future but the present, this very moment but did you try it? As a teacher (and a new mum) I know all too well just how difficult it is to switch off. It’s not a 9-5 kind of job where home is the work free sanctuary. Home becomes an extension of work with half your marking piled up on the dinner table most evenings. You want to switch off but don’t want to become a hemp wearing, vege munching hippy (we love you really!). Mindfulness is an incredible tool that can allow you to switch off from work, from those mundane tasks, from whatever it is causing an imbalance in your life. Using mindfulness to take a break, a brief and intentional pause from your own thoughts can enable you to stop and reset, reconnect with your mind, body and surroundings.

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Mindfulness Watercolour.  Copyright of Monsterful Mama

How do I let go and be in the moment?

At school I use one simple thing. The chocolate button. The kids love it because they get a treat, the teacher because the whole class is quite for 2 minutes and you’ll love it because it’s being naughty whilst being good to yourself.

Follow my 5 step plan to help you become mindful.

First things first, disconnect yourself. Turn off all electronic devices. We don’t want to be interrupted. Make sure you have some chocolate buttons in reach. Get a yoga mat, blanket or cushion. We want to be comfortable. Make sure you read ahead before you begin and just remember that we are all human, if your mind wanders don’t beat yourself up about it. Just refocus and move forwards.

Step 1: Make sure you are sitting comfortably with your eyes closed. Listen to the sounds around you. What can you hear? The fridge whirring? The neighbours getting ready for work or the birds outside chirping? Shut that out! That is a distraction that will lead your thoughts astray. Instead focus on your breathing . Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.

Inhale

Exhale

Step 2: Once you’ve refocused your mind, take a single chocolate button (only one is needed, this is not an exercise in eating chocolate!). Place the button on your tongue. Let it rest there. Don’t swallow it. Think in this moment only. Think about the chocolate, the texture of it, the taste. It’s melting. You’re salivating, it’s yummy. (If your mind wanders or you ‘accidentally’ eat the button, just get another and bring it back to the moment by focusing back on the breathes).

Step 3: The chocolate is almost gone. Don’t rush to finish it, savour it. The velvety chocolate resting on your tongue as it slowly disappears. Once it’s gone, don’t open your eyes, remain in the moment. Focus on the feeling in this moment. The euphoria of now. Let the moment wash over you. Let the corners of your mouth stretch into a smile.

Step 4: Refocus back to your b

reathing. Taking deep breaths.

Inhale

Exhale

Inhale … 2 … 3 … 4 …

Exhale… 2 … 3 … 4 …

In … 2 … 3 … 4 …

Out … 2 … 3 … 4 …

Step 5: Open your eyes. Continue to focus on your breathing before you get moving again. Stand up, stretch it out. You’ve just completed your first mindfulness exercise. How did it feel? Now is your time to reflect. Not on life but on the feeling inside. Do you feel ready to face the day? Alive and kicking? Good! Enjoy it.

You can use other foods such as a raisin or other dried fruit. Something that won’t disappear too easily but that will still excite the taste buds and awaken the sense. Try adding this to you daily routine and see the difference it makes. This is one of many mindfulness exercise that can help you you take back NOW, to refocus your mind on the moment and prepare for the day ahead.

Other exercises to try:

Walking: this is a great source of low impact exercise that can invigorate the body and the mind. The fresh air and the sunshine on your face helps to refocus your thoughts.

Making tea/coffee: the step by step process may seem like a mundane task but you focus on what you are doing in each step. You can be in each moment and you get to enjoy a cuppa.

This may seem like the opposite of what you need to do to refocus your mind but it is about taking time out and enjoying a bit of self care. Reflect on what you are reading and switch off from work and life.

Meditation: mindfulness is rooted in meditation. If you need that time to come back to the moment, to de-stress, you can take 5 where ever you are. Just find a quite spot and enjoy a moments peace.

Mindfulness doesn’t have to be a big deal. It doesn’t have to take up a lot of time. It’s really cheap as there are a lot of free apps available. They will guide you through each session and some even provide music to meditate to. Applying mindfulness to your everyday can bring about positive changes to your mental well-being and it’s so easy to get started.

I hope you like my little intro to mindfulness. As I said, there are so many great apps and guides out there so get looking and get trying. If you do try the chocolate button exercise drop me a comment and let me know how you get on.

Monsterful Mama

Follow my blog with BloglovinMindful everyday

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