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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8 Ways To Improve Yourself

June Favourites 2017

June was my birthday month, so there have been lots of new things I’ve been loving! However, to save double ups (as a VERY belated what I got for my birthday post is coming soon!) I thought I’d focus more on favourites from June that have nothing to do with my birthday. If you want to read about what I did, click here 🙂

Now, without further ado, let’s get into my June faves!

Watching the sun rise & set

I only recently started noticing the sun rising in the morning or setting at night, and have made an effort to take a pause in my day to watch it happen. I find it definitely puts in perspective all my worries and anxieties of the day that was or the day that’s coming, which helps me to be mindful, grateful and happy. When summer comes around, I’ll be sad to miss watching it come up.

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Bath & Bodyworks Candle in Fresh Cut Lilacs

I bought this candle while on holiday for my 21st, as QLD is one of the only places in Australia with a Bath & Bodyworks for some reason. I was tossing up between this one and the honeysuckle candle, but in the end I had to choose this. It smells like a fresh summer garden, and makes me so happy.

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NYX Dark Circle Concealer

On to makeup, I picked up this under eye correcter early in the month and have been using it every day to help correct my dark circles that just come with working full time, while also prepping the base for my concealer to stick to. For such a cheap and cheerful product, I’ve really enjoyed it!

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NYX Total Control Drop Foundation

This foundation is super light and watery, but it covers like a dream. My favourite thing about it is that it actually comes in a colour fair enough for my skin without going pink. What a miracle! I definitely recommend this foundation, as it doesn’t go oily on me and lasts all day.

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Smashbox Spotlight Highlighter Palette

I know everyone is talking about this, but it is absolutely beautiful. When my Becca Moonstone smashed for the 3rd time, I knew I had to find a replacement as there are some breaks that rubbing alcohol just can’t fix (RIP). This has 3 stunning shades in beautiful packaging. I love using the darker two as eyeshadows, so it’s really travel friendly as with this and a bronzer, you wouldn’t need to worry about bringing an eyeshadow palette with you!

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Essence Camouflage Concealer

I bought this on a whim because it was so cheap. I love concealers, but I really didn’t expect it to work properly. But here I am, raving about it in my favourites. I really like it – the coverage isn’t the longest lasting or the fullest coverage, but I really enjoy how light it is and how thick the applicator is. There’s lots of product and it’s a great shade. Definitely recommend.

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Miniso Tea Tree Pore Strips

These are so cheap – and 100% better than the Biore pore strips! They are really great at extracting and comfortable to wear. I also feel like they are better for your skin, but that could just be the placebo of using something green on my skin…

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L’Oreal Pure Clay Mask

Speaking of green face stuff, this mask has been really nice in June. It definitely extracts and refines pores, but also reduces redness and calms dry skin and spots. It dries nice and tight so you definitely feel it working, which is always a bonus with a face mask.

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Apple Cider Vinegar

I read about ACV as a skincare treatment a while ago, but since I’ve put it to the test, I can (almost) swear by it. I dilute it about 3:1 and pop it in a spray bottle to spritz over my face morning and night. Yeah, it doesn’t smell to great, but I let it dry completely then go on to the rest of my skincare routine, and that tends to mask the scent a bit. It’s definitely made my skin brighter and clearer.

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Quay & LeSpecs Sunglasses

I recently got these Quay sunnies I’ve had my eye on for a long time (horray for TopShop sales in Australia) and these LeSpecs sunnies as a graduation gift from my best friend. I love both pairs! I’m a bit of a sunglasses hoarder, and one day might do a sunglasses collection post, but for now I’ve been rotating between these two and love how they transform any outfit.

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Lavendaire

My YouTube love of the month has been lifestyle design channel Lavendaire. She is so calming, inspiring and beautiful, and has definitely helped me find some more peace in my life. My favourite video of hers is all about gratitude, and I really recommend taking 5 minutes out of your day to watch it.

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Okja

I know, I know, everyone and their mum has been talking about this Netflix film, but it truly is amazing. I won’t give away any of the plot, but it’s incredibly shot, cleverly written and all round a beautiful film. 10/10, deserves all the ratings it’s getting.

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Brave New World – Adolus Huxley

I read this for the first time in June, which is insane considering how much I love a good dystopian fiction novel. I loved it – I loved it even more than 1984 which is one of my favourite books of all time. If you like sci-fi utopia, read this now.

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Zoe x

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June Favourites 2017

How To: Nail A Job Interview

Job interviews are pretty terrifying for almost everyone. We tend to overthink and over analyse every minute detail, usually resulting in us being a basket case of nerves when the time to actually do the interview comes around. I have had a pretty good run with interviews, so I thought I’d share my tips! These apply for ALL jobs – from casual to full-time corporate!

Don’t underestimate the power of a good CV

To have a chance at any job, you need a CV that is easy to read and relevant to the job. Make sure you use the key words from the application/job description in the resume and cover letter. There are a tonne of different ways to write a CV, so you need to do the research to figure out which one will be the best for you. If you are in the interview stage, likely they would have seen your CV already, but make sure you bring some more copies for everyone at the interview.

Dress to Impress

I feel like this is an obvious one, but people still overlook it. Dressing well is CRUCIAL to performing well in an interview. Make sure your clothes have been selected to fit the job, and have been ironed if they need to be. Freshly paint your nails, brush your hair, wear nice jewelry. It isn’t difficult to do and trust me – chipped nail polish comes across worse than you think!

Be happy and confident

People are very receptive to someone who is friendly, sunny and sure of themselves. They will be more likely to like you and go easier on you in the interview if you give them no reason to be otherwise. If you’re nervous, take a deep breath before answering any question. Be polite and keep smiling! If you’re going to inject some humour into the interview (if it’s appropriate) go ahead, just make sure the jokes won’t offend anyone in the room.

Do your research

This is another essential. Don’t just research the job, but research the people who will be interviewing you. What are their strengths? What do they like in a person? Researching this will also make you feel much more confident when you get into the interview, as there will be no curve balls thrown at you.

Be open and accepting

If the interview turns out differently than you’d expected, be open to it and accept it for what it is. By forcing your preconceived notions onto the interview, you won’t be at your best for the position.

Be positive if things don’t turn out your way

If you don’t end up with the job, don’t give up! Thank them politely for their time and consideration, and maybe ask for feedback as to where you went wrong. If it went particularly well and you still didn’t get it, maybe ask the boss if they can recommend anywhere similar for you to apply. Any connections made during the interview should’t be lost!

I hope this was helpful – and good luck if you’re going into a job interview soon!

Zoe x

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How To: Nail A Job Interview

What To Do On Your Commute

Before I moved back to Sydney, I spent over 4 hours on the train each day getting to and from work. This is a lot of time to spend sitting down, so I needed to find out how to make the best use of the time. After some experimentation, I discovered the best way to not go insane was to make my brain work. Sure, I’d have a nap every now and then (okay, okay, every morning), but I refused to let myself just do nothing or play repetitive games on my phone. I needed to make this time work for me and not be a complete waste, so that when I got home I could do the things I couldn’t do while commuting (exercising, cooking, etc), and not focusing on things that could have been done in the two hours I spent sitting down.

My biggest piece of advice when it comes to commuting is a tablet. I know not everyone has one, and you can do most of these things with other devices and the like, but having a small, lightweight device that houses everything made the journey so much better for me. I have  Samsung Galaxy Tab A 🙂

Meditate

Meditation isn’t for everyone, but I for one love the challenges of it. Nothing puts you in a better state of mind before work or winds you down after than giving yourself some perspective, gratitude and forcing yourself to be in the moment. I love the app smiling mind for guided meditations; they have a range of meditation activities that are perfect for commuting.

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Blogging

If you’re reading this, you probably have a blog. So get some of it done on your commute! Without internet, you can’t be distracted by “research”, so more time goes into actually writing than perusing pinterest.

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Learn

One of my favourite ways to spend my time – even with my much shorter commute these days – is learning. I use Ted Talks and Podcasts to expand my knowledge and vocabulary, and set myself up in a good head space for the rest of the day.

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Read

A fairly obvious one, but a long commute is a great time to get a chink of reading done. I use the Amazon Kindle bookstore to get my books on my tablet, and occasionally I use audible to listen to audio books in case I’m not feeling reading for whatever reason.

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Watch TV

If all you want to do when you get home from work is veg out to your favourite TV show, why not use your commuting time to get that out of your system? You’re going to be sitting still anyway – make the most of it! I got through a lot of seasons of TWD on my trips – here is a lovely screenshot of when Glenn was still alive #RIP.

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Watch YouTube

In a similar way to TV, I live and breathe chilling out to YouTube videos. So, I got myself YouTube Red so I could save videos offline to watch on the train. Two birds, one stone.

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Get A Start on Your Day

This tends to only apply if you’re a morning commuter, but why not get ahead on your day by starting to sort through your emails while you’ve got time to kill? This obviously is not a relaxing time, but it might help you to feel more organised!

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What are your tips for a successful commute?

 

Zoe x

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What To Do On Your Commute

How To: Get Up Earlier

For my job, I have to commute two hours each way. And do you know what that means? My alarm is set at 5.25am. I have never been an early riser, and I have to admit, when I got the job I was worried. Now? It’s fine. I have my initial freakout when my alarm goes off but as soon as I’m up, it’s all good. So, from one girl who used to get up at 10am on a good day to another, let me help you get up earlier.

This first tip is all about the alarm. We’ve all heard the trick of putting your phone on the other side of the room – but that does not work at all for me. I tend not to use my phone just before bed (more on that later), but it charges next to my bed. So, I got told about this ad – Alarmy – and it is the only reason that getting up at five am is possible. You can customise how to turn off the alarm – doing maths problems or shaking it, but mine is set of taking a picture of a cereal box in my kitchen. So, as soon as it goes off, I roll out of bed, grab my phone and go into the kitchen to take my photo. By the time that’s done, 30 seconds later, I’m completely awake and think “now I’m here, I may as well put the kettle on”. And so, my morning starts, and it’s as easy as that.

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Another thing I do is wind down. Every night, about half an hour before bed, I put my phone on charge and face down. Then, I wind myself down. Have some chammomile tea, brush my teeth, moisturise my body, write in my bullet journal and have a read. Soon enough, I’m sleepy and relaxed, so I’ll do a meditation session and drift off into a good quality sleep (this is very important if you’re getting up early, trust me!).

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I also tend to set everything out for myself in the morning. I mean EVERYTHING. All my skincare, makeup, clothes and food (I meal prep for the week and pack my snacks the night before). In the morning, this is a lifesaver.

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A way I kickstart my day is to skull a heap of water. I try and get down a half litre before I eat anything, to get a load of my water intake out of the way, to help my metabolism and to help me stay hydrated and therefore keep my energy.

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I also love having a good breakfast to look forward too. It makes it a hell of a lot easier to get on with your morning if one of your tasks is to prepare and eat something delicious. I love avocado toast with feta and mint, with a cup of english breakfast tea.

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NB: If I don’t finish my tea, I tip what’s left into my takeaway cup and carry on.

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I hope this helped someone out there! Getting up early isn’t easy, but just remember WHY you’re doing it, and the rest seems to fall into place 🙂

Zoe x

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How To: Get Up Earlier

How To: Be Happy

Being happy is a skill and a mindset. It is not something attained easily, and it certainly isn’t something you can purchase at a store. Although I’m not expert and still have my down days, following these eight things has really helped put everything in perspective for me, and allowed me to live a life I don’t dread waking up to every day.

  1. Say ‘fuck you’ to everything that makes you anxious, angry, frustrated, guilty or sad

If a person, job, place or situation makes you feel any of the above – cut it. You might not be able to completely get rid of the thing, but acknowledge in your mind that you are done with it, and actively search for something better. If your job is horrendous, look for another and put in only the work you have to in order to signify the end to yourself. If a person is making you question yourself, dump them completely out of your life. It may be cliché, but life is way too short to be made to feel insignificant by a person. No one or thing should ever have that kind of power over you.

  1. Learn to be grateful for everything

This is a really tough one to master, but once you do, happiness comes naturally. Keeping track of how grateful you are for the food you eat, your internet connection, a sunny day and the clothes on your back really make the thoughts in your head just seem like what they really are – thoughts.

  1. Surround yourself with people – even if you don’t want to

One of the easiest ways to feel unhappy is to fall into the trap of not socialising. I’ve definitely been guilty of this myself – sometimes you just really would rather do anything else. But, humans are social creatures. In order to be really happy, we need human connection. If this is with one person or fifty, or just your mum, that’s fine. Just nourish the relationships you do have, maybe try and form some more, and immediately life becomes that little bit better.

  1. Label your feelings

In a similar way to number two, label what you’re feeling. You’re allowed to feel any emotion, but just name it. If you feel sad, say to yourself ‘I recognise I’m feeling sad’ which will immediately take the sting out of it. Ultimately, the goal is to make these feelings register as thoughts. You have lots of thoughts. Why would you take this one more seriously than the rest?

  1. Think about your insignificance

This might not work for everyone, but the minute I start thinking about all those who came before me, all those who will come after, and the speck my existence will have in history, all the unhappiness swirling round in my head becomes dull.

  1. Be mindful

I have reminders set four times a day for being mindful. This doesn’t mean a full out meditation (although I do highly recommend that), but all I do when I see that alarm is just notice what I’m doing. Am I working? Am I out? What’s happening? What can I smell, see, hear, taste, touch? I simply be in the moment, four times a day at least, which pauses my mind and helps me see clearer.

  1. Do things for accomplishment

Accomplishment is such a rewarding feeling that can outweigh almost anything. That’s why I’m a firm believer in setting realistic, achievable goals, and recording them. Even something as simple as having a to-do list with ‘eat breakfast’ on it can make you feel good when you tick it off after some cereal. Find out what accomplishment looks like for you, and do what you can to feel it often. Immediately your happiness will rise.

  1. Find your purpose

This for me is the most acute reason for my unhappiness. I have the thought ‘well, what’s the point?’ and things slide quickly down from there. But it doesn’t have to be like that. Using methods like ‘Ikigao’ and writing down what values are important to you in the fields of relationships, career, living, etc can help you figure out what is at the core of who you are and what you can do to satisfy yourself. When you’ve established that, things can only get better.

I hope this helped someone out there! Let me know what you thought about my tips on being happy.

Zoe x

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How To: Be Happy

Celebrating Christmas With Friends • Blogmas

Welcome to my Blogmas! I love Christmas so much, and the best way to celebrate is with Christmas related posts every day at 5pm WordPress time until the 25th! Hope you enjoy!

Spending time at Christmas with friends is just as important as family. These are the people you have chosen to be around you all year, and you want to make sure their love and support of you is realised. In some cases, families aren’t even as close as friendships are. Still, we have a commitment to spend Christmas Day with our family, but that just means you can get creative when celebrating with your friends! Here are my ideas.

Friendmas

Never discount the idea of doing a full blown Christmas lunch with your friends. Although this doesn’t have to be on Christmas Day, you can get dressed up, bring presents and a plate of food, and stuff yourselves while watching Christmas movies and playing board games. If you can all get together before or after Christmas, why not go all out?

Adventure Time

By the time this post goes up, I would have run an entire Amazing Race for my best friend. She loves the show, so I thought, why the hell not? I picked a day we were free, and spent my time organising, creating challenges, writing out clues and setting up the finish mat with all her presents on it. This way, we can spend time together while doing something fun and also getting presents. Win win!

Christmas Markets

If you and your friends lead particularly busy lives, why not try and hit up a Christmas Market? You can get a cup of mulled wine, peruse the gifts for sale and spend quality time together while feeling all festive.

Christmas Picnic

Having all your friends bring a plate of Christmas food is easy, so why not make them bring it to a picnic? Picnic parties are inexpensive, as they can be done in local parks or even in your backyard. You could even get everyone to come over earlier and help cook the food and set up! It just takes a bit of time to get decorated if you’re going all tumblr, but the results will be worth it. Go to town on the fairy lights if you’re doing it in the evening, it is Christmas after all!

Secret Santa

This is a classic friends-on-Christmas thing, but why not make it a bit different? Instead of just drawing names out of a hat, play the Secret Santa game, or pass the parcel, or set yourself a limit with a goal, i.e. the most ridiculous present that you can find. Just remember to put a ban on chocolates and alcohol – you don’t want all the presents to be easily found and not creative!

Christmas Eve

In Australia at least, it seems to be tradition that Christmas Eve is reserved for going out with your mates and getting pretty smashed. Why not keep up the tradition? My only advice would be to stick to places that you know they aren’t going to rip you off at because it’s Christmas – so stay within pubs and casual bars rather than fancy nightclubs.

How are you spending Christmas with your friends?

 

Merry Christmas, come chat!

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Celebrating Christmas With Friends • Blogmas