Blogmas Day 2 | Christmas Bucket List

If you saw my last post, you know that I love my Bullet Journal this month. I thought it would be fun to add a little Christmas Bucket List in there as a) I love lists and b) I love Christmas, so I thought it was only right to combine the two and add the things I want to do during the festive season! Hope it inspired you to get Christmassy this December 🙂

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My Bucket List:

  1. Make Christmas cookies
  2. Watch Love Actually
  3. See the Nutcracker Ballet
  4. Go to the Christmas Markets
  5. Watch Arthur Christmas
  6. Make rumballs
  7. Watch The Nutcracker, Home Alone, Elf & The Holiday
  8. Read The Nutcracker & Enid Blyton’s First Christmas
  9. Eat the Christmas Ham my family makes
  10. Watch The Santa Clause
  11. Write out Christmas cards
  12. Have a festive present wrapping session
  13. Burn my Christmas Cookie candle
  14. See Sydney & Melbourne during Christmastime
  15. Get a Santa Photo with my flatmate
  16. Go to an outdoor cinema to see a Christmas movie

Zoe x

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How To: Prepare For A Big Event

I sat down to write this post in June, when I had recently had my brother’s wedding, my graduation and a last minute (literally the night before) university ball, but things came up, I forgot to finish writing it, you know how it is. Life happens. But, finally, I have the time and motivation to get it done which I think is a great thing – as it comes into Spring for Southern Hemisphere folk we have spring races and summer parties to prep for, while everyone has end of year parties, fall, Halloween, Christmas, everything. There is literally no better time to talk about prepping for events than now – so this all worked out well in the end!

 

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Plan

My first big tip is to plan out all the things you will need to do in a bit, brain-dump list. Do you need to buy an outfit? Do you need to book a hair appointment? Do you need to shave before? Write down everything and anything you could possibly need to do before the event and get organised. Prioritising what is important for the event will save you from stress. For example, having a wedding in 3 weeks that you want to lose 10kg for is maybe not the most realistic thing, but knowing that you can have a facial before, buy a killer dress and turning up calm will make the whole event fun and not a source of anxiety.

Water

Obviously, drinking water is a big thing that no one does well, blah blah blah, but it is especially important when it comes to big events. For the week before, aim for at minimum 2L a day and notice how much your skin is glowing by the day. Thank me later.

 

Skincare

Before a big event, there is no use trying brand new skincare. Stick with what you know makes your skin clear, untextured and glowy, and use it well for the weeks/days prior. Make sure to exfoliate the night before and really, really moisturise it before makeup application.

Hair

You may need to book a hair appointment for something like a wedding, so make sure you get on that asap as salons fill up quickly. Make sure when you wash your hair the night before you skip the conditioner so that your curls hold for longer. Doing some really great hair masks in the weeks prior may also help your hair look great!

Body

Go get your eyebrows waxed, your top lip done, your tan on point. Do whatever you have to do to get your skin glowing and smooth, and notice how great you feel when you’re wearing your banging outfit without worrying that you forgot to shave your legs. A big exfoliate the night before with generous amounts of moisturiser will also make you glow.

Nails

Nothing says “I am not ready for this event” like chipped nail polish. You don’t have to get a set of acrylics, but a fresh lick of nail polish and top coat should do the trick.

Appointments

Make sure before an event you’re mindful of appointments. If you have laser done, and you react quite red after, maybe reschedule so your legs aren’t lobster bright in your mini dress. This comes back to planning, but just remember to be smart about it.

If you have a day’s notice…

If you have an experience like I had in early June where I was told on Thursday I had to go to a ball on Friday (and had 25 minutes to get ready for it), follow these steps:

-jump in the shower, shave, exfoliate, do a hardcore hair mask
-tan (if you need it)
-exfoliate face
-moisturising face mask (NOT extracting, you WILL break out)
-skull as much water as possible
-get a good 8 hours sleep
-write out everything you need to do
-do it

I hope this was helpful!

Zoe x

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Creating Your Dream Life

If you read one of my most recent posts – Life Update –  you’ll know that I’m in a weird stage of soul searching, job hunting, and everything else that comes with the territory of being a millennial in 2017. One thing that I have always struggled with is a sense of purpose, and the finding of a dream life. This doesn’t just mean career, although that is very important (see: How To: Pick The Right Job For You). It means every facet of your life being exactly where you want it to be. What does it look like? How do you get there? Where do you even begin?

For most of us, a dream life may look something like being financially stable (or even wealthy), surrounded by friends and loved ones, contributing to society in a job that we love with lots of free time. For others, it may be something along the lines of being 100% plant based and sustainable. That’s the beauty of a dream life, it is particular to each and every person. Everyone has an idea of where they want to end up, even if it is just in one facet of their life (if you’re stuck, maybe look at what New Year’s Resolutions you set for yourself and you may realise you are looking for a healthier/more fulfilling/happier life in certain aspects), but the real question is, and excuse my French, how the fuck do I get there?

Well, for one, you may never get there. You have to accept that some things are entirely out of your control. But having a goal of what you want your life to look like and taking steps to achieve it can only make your life better, and who doesn’t want that?

Prioritise

If you aren’t prioritising making your dream life happen, you may not want it enough. Or, you may not realise that you want it enough. The first step to getting your dream life is making it a priority. Do that, and the rest seems worth the time.

Write It Out

Once you have prioritised that you want your dream life, write it out. Every minute detail, spend a couple of hours detailing exactly what you want. Then, once you have your future life story written, you can break it down into areas, then goals, then tasks. This makes the whole process seem not so daunting.

Visualise 

Vision boards, pinterest, tumblr – get images behind your dreams. This will make them more appealing, realistic and tangiable to you.

Look

With your notes of your dream life and all of your visual materials, go over them. Look at them every day. Make them your wallpapers, stick them above your desk, save in your phone to read on the bus. The more you immerse yourself in the life you want, and then visualise yourself living that life, the more likely it is that it will happen.

 

Tiny Tasks

Take small steps every day to work towards goals that add up to your dream life. Add these small things to your to do list each day, and make sure that daily you are working towards it. You can visualise all you want, and this really does help, but you need the hard work to back you up when push comes to shove. Be small, and be realistic. Just head down, and keep going.

Tip: don’t get caught up in the hype of fancy new notebooks, self-help books, etc. Your dream life is an internal thing and is realised within. You don’t need external stuff to make that happen. Sometimes we get a sense of what we think is achievement, but really it’s just fancy procrastination. You know when you want to get fit so you reward yourself before you start with active wear? Yeah. Same shit.

Zoe x

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Sunday Routine

Sundays are a very underutilised day. Often used to nurse a hangover or binge the latest season of Geordie Shore (which sucks without Holly, btw), this is a whole day before the working week that you can used to your advantage. Ever wanted to wake up on a Monday morning and feel completely ready for the week ahead? That’s how I feel every Monday, and it all starts on the meek day of Sunday.

1.Write a List

This is perhaps the most important step of the day, as without a list, your day will have no direction for the day. I like to use a similar method to Kalyn Nicholson’s GYST day, and include cleaning, planning, self care and relaxing. That way, I wake up on Monday feeling super refreshed. If you get up, make yourself a cup of tea or coffee and write out your list first thing, you’ll be super inspired to get on with the day and make it work for you.

2. Cleaning

This doesn’t have to take all day, but get the boring cleaning and household admin out of the way first up. Put things away, make your bed, wash your sheets & clothes, wipe down the counters, sweep, mop and vacuum, dust and water your plants. Blast some music and just get it done. There is honestly nothing better than a clean space, so do it first and keep your inspiration for the rest of the day.

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3. Planning

I use this time to plan out my meals and do my groceries, as well as to meal prep. I love having all my meals sorted for the week ahead, whether that means they are cooked, the ingredients are simply prepped or even just my snacks are bought and in the cupboard. It definitely helps me out for the rest of the week. I’ll also go through my bank account on my computer (not on the app) and sort out my finances for the week ahead, and put out what I want to wear the next day, as well as group my outfits in my wardrobe for the rest of the days of the week.

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4. Workout

This may not be for everyone, but I for one like to carve out some time on a Sunday to get in a workout or at the very least do a big walk around the block. Getting moving and getting outside will help clear your head of the mundane activities you’ve just done and get you ready for the next part of the day.

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5. Self Love

I wish I had a bath, but you can definitely show yourself a bit of self-love without one. Take some time to shave, tan, wash your hair, full body moisturise, do a face mask and a pore strip. Do all the things that you forget/don’t have time to do throughout the week, and go into Monday feeling fresh.

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6. Creativity

By this point in my Sunday, I’m ready to me winding down. So, instead of bingeing something on Netflix, I like to use my creativity for a good purpose. I create and fill out my Bullet Journal spread for the week ahead, do some writing or photography for my blog or book. Even just half an hour of getting my creativity flowing helps my mental state more than I could explain.

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7. Relaxation

When Sunday is coming to an end and night is upon you, this is a good chance to do a guided meditation or some yoga, call a loved one, light some candles and treat yourself. Sometimes I like to make myself something a little extra-special for dinner, read a book or watch a movie. By the time I’m ready for bed, I’m in a freshly-sheeted bed in clean pj’s, full tummy and fresh hair and body. It makes waking up on Monday a world easier when everything that stresses you out has already been done.

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What do your Sundays look like?

If you liked this post, don’t forget to check out Kalyn Nicholson’s Get Your Shit Together video, which is super inspirational for me!

Check out my previous posts (they will open in a new window): My Favourite BooksLife UpdateAugust Faves. 

Zoe x

Zoe x

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My Favourite Books

I am a HUGE bookworm. Anyone who knows me will tell you that straight away. I absolutely adore reading. To me, nothing quite comes close to losing yourself in a completely different reality that is personal to you. No one quite reads things the same way – we all project our own lives onto the characters and the plot and that makes every single line unique to you. And I fucking love it.

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Therefore, I thought it would be fun to share my absolute favourite books. I love so many that this list was hard to choose, but I think I’ve got a good selection here! It’s also worth noting that I love series too – like Harry Potter, PJ, Hannibal/Silence of the Lambs, TMI/TID, etc, but these are the single books I can read over and over again. Let me know what you think!

Stardust – Neil Gaiman
Fairytale style book, beautifully written (I love Neil Gaiman), young love and magic, fantasy, set in medieval times.

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Reader’s Digest – The World’s Best Fairy Tales
A HUGE book dedicated to original Fairy Tales. My favourite book in the world – as you can see from the state of the book! Multicultural fairy tales and includes all the classics.

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The Mosquito Coast – Paul Theroux
Told from the perspective of a young boy, he follows his somewhat insane dad who thinks America is a sham and ships his family into the South American coast to escape the apocalypse he thinks is happening. A bit ‘Lord of The Flies’-y, but not too much. One of my all time faves.

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The Magic Faraway Tree – Enid Blyton
And we’re back to fairy tales, lol. I love all of Blyton’s work but there’s something so magical about this story that I keep coming back. Set in early 1900’s England, three siblings and their cousin have an array of magical adventures in a local magical forest. Super sweet.

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Brave New World – Adolus Huxley
Dystopian future setting where children are genetically created to fit into social classes and life is governed by very Freudian principals. Give me anything dystopian and I will drink it up, but this is one of the classics.

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The Little Book of Hygge – Meik Wiking
All about hygge (hoo-gah), the principal of cosiness. There is something so warming about this book, I tend to re-read a chapter a week or so.

IMG_2562.JPGNineteen Eighty-Four – George Orwell
Not sure if this even needs an introduction, but 1984 is one of my absolute favourites, definitely my favourite in the dystopian genre (sensing a theme?). Set in a futuristic England, the protagonist struggles with the extent to which he is being controlled. 10/10 book, definitely worth its popularity. 

Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
Again, a classic that probably doesn’t need a caption, but one of my top picks. This follows the paedophile protagonist who has a relationship with a young girl – Lolita. Sounds fucked up (it is), but it is so stunningly written and the plot is so complex it is well worth it if you are a literature fan.

Note – Yes, I forgot to photograph these in the group book shots. Whoops.

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The Song of Troy – Colleen McCullough
This is one of my faves for my mythology side. This retells the story of Troy from multiple sides and with breathtaking form. I found this book for the first time in a 2nd hand book sale, and as soon as I started reading it I was competently hooked.

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Maus – Art Spiegleman
Graphic novel re-telling the Holocaust in the form of cat v mouse. Incredibly powerful and very confronting, but definitely a one-of-a-kind book that deserves all the praise it gets. Incredible story.

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The Road – Cormac McCarthy
Oh, another dystopian book? Who could have guessed! This is a futuristic, desolate world setting, where the few survivors either find food or eat each other. It follows a father and his young boy traversing a burnt America to find the ocean where things will be better. It is a very quiet book (if you’ve read it, you’ll know what I mean by this), and definitely makes you feel all the emotions.

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Seven Ancient Wonders – Matthew Reilly
Matthew Reilly is one of my favourite authors ever, as he writes a hell of a story. This book (and its subsequent series) are my favourites of his, taking you on a fast-paced action adventure, laced with history and mythology. For a nerd like me, that earns a solic 10/10.

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What are your favourite books?

Check out my previous posts (they will open in a new window): Life UpdateAugust FavesSeptember Bullet Journal.

Zoe x

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How To: Pick The Right Job For You

If you read my latest post, my life update, you’ll know that I recently called it quits with my full time job in PR. This is not to say I’ll never work in PR again, but I’m definitely giving it a rest for a while. While at that job, I learnt so much about the industry, full time working life, and myself.

I graduated from a very prestigious Australian university with a degree in Media (PR & Advertising majors), and worked hard to find a job after uni. Unfortunately, I didn’t really know what I wanted or needed out of a job, and took the first one that presented itself. Although I’m very grateful for being able to work for so long in the industry I had studied in, adjusting to the job was tough and ultimately, wasn’t for me.

I thought I would share my tips that I have discovered throughout my experience to help you pick a job that suits you and what you need and want out of life.

Write A List

None of my advice would be truly mine if it didn’t start with writing a list. Pen to paper, fingers to smartphone, letters to word doc, who cares, just write a long, long list of everything you love in life. There’ll be a lot of little things, but write them all out, then rank them. You’ll start to see a pattern and prioritise what is most important to you. Is it free time? Being outside? Using your creativity? Being around people? Is it most important that you earn enough money to do the things you love? Write it all down, and you will start to realise what type of job will make you happy. If you are a person who loves and thrives on being outside and having lots of free time, I’d wager that you’d struggle in a 9-5 desk job + overtime. Think about this before committing.

Online Personality Tests / Work Tests

There are tonnes of resources online that can help you figure out what values are important to you – e.g. Meyers Briggs Personality Tests, etc. There are also tests that can help match you to a career path or type of work. Do as many tests as possible and compare the results to the job you’re applying for. Do they match? If not, I’m not saying don’t apply, but maybe think a bit harder about the job and if it’s really what you want.

Ask for Advice

Ask relatives, career guidance people, teachers, friends, anyone. Ask people if they think such and such job is right for you. Ask people who will tell you what you want to hear and people who will tell you the harsh truth. Listen to them all, then compare what they say with what you think.

Ikigai

I love this principle of finding your life’s purpose. Use this diagram to analyse what it is you are and figure out what it is you need to be based on that. I love this ancient Japanese principal and think it is definitely worth a go.

 

Finding Your Ikigai Workshop: What do you wake up for?
This image can be bought from The Paper Seahorse, I found it on Pinterest and thought it was beautiful!  – https://au.pinterest.com/paperseahorse/

 

My main piece of advice is easier said than done; don’t worry too much. There is nothing wrong with choosing and unconventional career path or doing things out of the natural order. Work these days fluctuates incredibly fast and traditional jobs are becoming less and less.

Things tend to fall into place. Put in the hard work and find out for yourself.

Check out my previous posts (they will open in a new window): Life Update, August Faves, September Bullet Journal.

Zoe x

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8 Ways To Improve Yourself

You can always do something better than you have before, the key is simply to change your approach. The most successful and happiest people are constantly and consistently finding and implementing ways to improve themselves. If you are truly happy with where you are, 100%, then don’t read. But I’d guess you’re lying. There is always something you can do better.

Do Something New Every Day

In this day and age, there is basically no excuse for you not to be consistently improving yourself. We have so much content out there for us to consume at any point in time. No longer are we constrained to lectures, classes and physical books, but we have YouTube videos, TV shows, eBooks and Podcasts ready for us to watch/read/listen to at any point of the day. Try and aim to experience one new thing per day in order to learn, be it read an article or chapter, listen to a podcast or simply watch a new episode of a TV show. Do something that day you never have before and your brain will relish the new information.

Ask for Feedback

One of the biggest ways people fall short in improving themselves is to not ask for feedback. There is nothing wrong with making mistakes, we’re so often told, as long as we learn from them. So why aren’t we learning all the time? There is nothing stopping you from asking those around you how you could be kinder/smarter/more consistent in the same way you meet KPIs at work. Take a moment to seek feedback from your nearest and dearest and try to meet those new goals.

Edit, Edit, Edit

When it comes to receiving feedback, the next step is to improve based on that feedback. Constantly editing yourself is the only way to do this; do you think a book is written without an edit? You need to apply the same methodology to yourself in order to move forward, and be dedicated to making small but consistent edits in yourself to improve and become who you really want to be.

Listen More Than You Speak

It becomes so easy for us to be lost in our minds, our thoughts, our headphones, our next point to be made, looking the best in any situation. For once, mindfully and actively seek to listen. This doesn’t just mean in conversations, but listen to the world. The sounds around you. People’s conversations with each other. You will be surprised how much inspiration you find and the things you can learn from others and simply opening your ears.

Surround Yourself With People You Aspire To Be Like

A pro tip for becoming more aligned with your dream life is to be surrounded by people who you want to be like. When you are enveloped in their successes, you are inspired to try harder for yourself. This then goes back to the feedback point – if you want to be like these people, seek their feedback and see what they would do differently. Implement those changes that need to be made and find yourself improved.

Read Every Day

Bill Gates reads 50 books a year. I heard that once, and it stuck with me. Just pick up a fucking book. Read it. Reading improves your vocabulary, your knowledge, your ability to visualise, your creativity, your ability to form an argument – the list is endless. Read a paragraph if a chapter is too much for your tired mind at the end of the day. Read a buzzfeed article at lunch. Just. Fucking. Read.

Go To Free Classes

There are a plethora of free classes available at any given time – from yoga, to self-defence, writing, pottery, floristry, you name it. I know I said before that you don’t have to go to a physical class as you can learn most stuff online, and that is absolutely true as well. Physical classes, however, might help you meet some of those people you aspire to be like, and seek their feedback – and so the circle continues around. It’s a balancing act of physical and digital learning, which is all learning nonetheless and impreative to improvement. Google what’s on in your area and just go to something. Meet some new people and enrich yourself. Hey, if it turns out to be a complete waste of time/utter disaster/what the hell was I thinking I can’t do this type of thing, at least you have a good story to tell.

 

Go and read my latest post – Nightime Photoshoot!

 

Zoe x

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