Monday, 2 February 2015

Start The Year As You Mean To Go On...

Heeelloooo lovelies! Long time no see/speak, whatever it'd be in the blogging world :). The last post I wrote was on Christmas Eve 2014, which was the final post of Blogmas 2014. I loved taking part in Blogmas and although it was a challenge blogging every day, it was a fun one. As you might have guessed, I had a little break over Christmas and the New Year, just to have fun, spend time with family and just be. This carried over into January as I was getting organised, had a few things to sort out, priorities and all of that. I generally had to get back into the swing of things, which took a while as to be honest I was a bit :( that Christmas was over.

So yes, I wanted to get organised and sort a few things out before I got back into blogging. It's all about the clean home, clean mind for me and I didn't want to get straight into blogging again when I needed to do other things first. The main things that I needed to do have been done now, so I'm perfectly happy sitting here on this lazy Sunday and blogging for you all :).

I thought it would be apt to share with you my tips for starting the new year as you mean to go on...

Clean Your Home/Space

This is something that can instantly make me feel better and have a much clearer mind. Obviously I regularly clean our home, but there's something about having a 'big' clean at the beginning of a new year that just feels really satisfying. It's kind of like the big clean you do just before Christmas and before you go on holiday or is this just me?! Hoovering, polishing, cleaning floors and general tidying are just the basics. Opening windows to let a bit of coolness in whilst cleaning is also a lovely feeling, making it feel even more fresh and clean in your home/space. Doing a big wash of things you don't have to wash that often, for example, pillows, cushions, blankets, dressing gowns, mats etc. Also, change your bedding. I always sleep so well after I've changed our bedding and had a shower/bath before getting into bed. Finishing touches like fresh flowers, candles, air fresheners and plug-ins will make your home/space smell wonderful and just feel generally fresh, clean and comforting. I say 'space' as I know you might not have your own home and your bedroom is the only place you can make your own. I loved making my bedroom my own when I lived with my mom and so the new year was one of the times that I liked to have a good clean out and feel organised for the year ahead.

Image courtesy of Baby Center.

Freshen Up/Complete Your Home/Space

Getting rid of old items/items that don't work any more and buying new bits and pieces for your home/space can be really therapeutic and can really freshen up your home/space. You don't have to do your whole home/space in one go, but work on one area at a time. It's amazing how little things can make your home/space feel more complete and more 'you'. We've bought a few new things for our flat recently and I was just saying this to Si the other day. We've purchased a few new kitchen items, slogan signs and a working, Big Ben wall clock sticker. You can see some images on my Instagram @GemsGemz86 (which is also my Twitter name should you want to follow me :)). There's almost a sense of satisfaction and comfort from bringing the ideas in your head into reality and making your home/space feel like yours, if you know what I mean. Even moving things around and making your home/space feel different can be just as good. I'd recommend starting a list and writing down ideas for parts of your home/space that you aren't entirely happy with, then when you get paid or have a little extra money, look into buying one or two items from your list. Before you know it, your home/space will be exactly how you want it. Look for bargains online, check out charity shops and places like B&M that have amazing aisles with all those bits to add a special something to a home/space.

Sort Out Your Personal Items

For me, this was initially my clothing. I did this the other day and I'm not gonna lie about the fact that it felt great! I needed to do it for some time as I noticed when I was putting clean washing away that it was getting harder to put items back into my wardrobe. It only took me an hour which I was really pleased about. Usually with a big task like this, it's always the thought of how long it's going to take that can put you off. It wasn't that hard to do this year to be honest, I just got rid of the items that I no longer wear, items that don't fit as they first did and shrunk items. My wardrobe is now much more organised and in sections so I know what's what. I have a huge bag for charity and a few items that I might try and sell online. This tip can also apply to shoes, make-up, general beauty items etc. It doesn't have to mean getting rid of anything, maybe just dusting/cleaning items and organising them in a better way, for example, in style or colour for shoes and categories for beauty items. This could also be a time to think about getting bigger/better storage. You'll be amazed at how much better you feel after you've organised your things and it just makes you want to be more neat and organised from then on.

Write Stuff Down

One of my favourite things to do at the start of a new year is fill out a new diary and calendar. It's a great way to get things off of the mind and you can keep track of birthdays, blogging days, special events, things you don't want to miss etc. I also love getting a new notebook that I start writing in at the beginning of a new year. It's there for those times that something comes into my head and before I forget it, I write it down. So far this year, I've been jotting down blogging ideas, finances, things I need to remember to get, things I want to look at online and to-do lists. I also made a little pouch in the back of my notebook to hold loose notes etc. You'll feel better knowing you don't have to try and remember everything and that you can always refer to your diary, calendar or notebook to tell you what you need to know.

Look After Yourself

The new year is a great time to think about starting new routines in many aspects of your life whether it be your skincare routine, your diet or just your general health/fitness. I suppose some may call these 'New Year Resolutions', but I never make a point of saying I have specific resolutions that need to be adhered to, because let's face it, we all have the best intentions of sticking to resolutions at the beginning of a year, but most of the time we don't. There are always things that I want to do more of at the start of a new year but I don't put huge pressure on myself to stick to whatever it might be from the 1st January to the 31st of December. I just look at it as things that I'd like to think about and do more of during the year. I think it's good to think about things that you will enjoy doing, but also things that might be more of a challenge.

Whether it be healthy or hearty food, I love to cook from fresh, so it never really becomes a chore for me. I have my off days when I'm not in the mood, but it isn't very often when it comes to cooking. I love going through recipe books and putting little tabs on the pages of recipes I'd like to try. I also look online for recipes and have a folder for those that I'd like to try and a folder for tried and tested recipes that we enjoyed, so I can go back and make them again. I jot down the ingredients that I'll need for recipes and then during our next 'big shop', I'll pick up those ingredients. Don't get me wrong we have our treat days where we eat out or have a takeaway and we don't beat ourselves up over this as we never do this to the point where we should be worried about it, but in general, I like to look after myself and my husband in this way. If you don't like cooking, then this may be a hard one for you, but I'd recommend doing what I said above with the recipe book. It'll give cooking a bit more structure and it won't seem as daunting when you're at the supermarket and have no clue where to start.

Maintaining a skincare routine is an easy one for me as it's something I like to do as I can see the benefits. I always feel rubbish if I haven't cleansed, toned or moisturised my skin. I'm not a saint, I have those days when I use make-up remover wipes, but over the years I've found the ones that work well for me. My main skincare routine includes a cleanser, a toner and a moisturiser. I use face masks once or twice a month and also use an overnight repair cream and an eye cream. I'm thinking of doing a current skincare routine post soon, so I won't go into too much detail now. My skin feels so much better when I include all of these steps and if for some reason I forget to use a product, I definitely notice! If you already have products but don't stick to a specific skincare routine, I'd recommend giving it a go, at least then you're doing your bit in looking after your skin and you'll start to notice a difference. If you have no routine, I'd recommend treating yourself to a proper cream cleanser (cleansers you can use with a hot cloth are wonderful), a toner and a moisturiser to start with. You can go onto eye creams, masks and night creams later. You don't have to spend a fortune either, Boots often have deals on their skincare products. You might be lucky and find products that work for you straight away, but if you've never had a routine before, it might take a couple of products to get a real feel for your skin type and find those products that work perfectly for you. You could always try speaking to an assistant in Boots or another drug store and see what they'd recommend for the type of skin that you feel you have.

The last part of looking after me is a bit more challenging as I find it hard to get the motivation to do it. You might have guessed it, it's exercise/fitness. The thing is I love it when I'm doing it and I feel so much better for doing it and I know this, it's the same every time. I might be shattered after a good session of exercise/fitness but I ALWAYS feel better for it and that alone should be enough to get me going, but it's not. I know a lot of people feel this way and it's hard to fathom to be honest, but getting the motivation to exercise/keep fit is hard! I suppose if I was in a routine it might be easier, but it's more of the case that because I don't HAVE to do it, I don't. So yes, this is something I want to do more of this year. Me and Si starting running around our local park last year, in the run up to our wedding and we quite enjoyed it, so we will definitely be doing that again this year. We also like taking little walks, so we'll probably do that more too. I want to get a few exercise DVDs aswell, that I can do at home. I really want to get into yoga this year too. I love the thought of exercise that gives you perspective and peace of mind, so I need me a bit of that! One thing I will say if you are umming and ahhing over exercise/fitness, is that you will feel so much better afterwards. You might feel exhausted to start with, but exercise builds up your energy, helps metabolism and just generally makes you feel better in yourself. It's hard to explain, but you'll know what I mean!

Image courtesy of Pinterest.

I also had a hair cut and colour (I've never had my hair coloured before!) recently. I wanted a change for the new year and I'm sooo happy with it :)...

These are just a few things I've been doing and thinking about in January to set me up for the new year. Everyone has different priorities/situations, so what have you been doing to start a fresh new year? Let me know in the comments section below :).

Thanks so much for reading lovelies!
Gem XxOo

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