Sustainable Gift Guide

Sustainable Gift Guide

If you know someone who’s trying to be more sustainable, or maybe that’s you, I’ve compiled a gift guide to help you choose the right product!

Please be aware that this post contains affiliate links. This will in no way effect the price of the item; it merely gives me a commission from the sale.

Sustainable Gifts

Whether it’s make up or essentials, there’s ways to be sustainable while using the products you love.

Reusable Make Up Pads

Make up wipes cost a fortune but also create a lot of rubbish. What if you can still remove make up while being more sustainable? I recently purchased these make up wipes from Amazon which allow you to wipe make up off (you can also buy make up remover) without discarding the pads. All you need to do is pop them in the wash bag in with your clothes and voila! You can purchase a pack of 16 pads here.

Bamboo Razor

We all tend to use razors at some point, but if you’re like me you’ll buy a pack of three plastic lady shavers and bin them after a few months. This is a much better option for the environment – and your skin. You can buy the bamboo safety razor here.

Bamboo Toothbrush

Maybe not a gift you would usually give your loved one but it is a gift to the environment to battle against the amount of plastic toothbrushes we use each year. In the US alone, one billion toothbrushes are thrown away each year. You may only see it as one toothbrush but it all adds up. There are plenty of places to buy your bamboo toothbrush but I bought mine on Amazon.

Sustainable Gift Guide

Pencils

If your loved one is an artist, these recycled newspaper pencils are the perfect quirky gift. On Etsy they come in a pack of five and they’re made from 100% recycled paper.

Straws

Even as an adult I still love using straws in my drinks. But to be more eco-friendly I decided to buy some long lasting ones from TK Maxx. You can obviously find these in lots of health food stores, supermarkets but if you’re like me and barely go out, I recommend getting these metal straws.

Wax Wraps

Wax wraps are a great and Eco-friendly way of storing food without using nasty plastic Tupperware. They can store your lunch, fruit or even be wrapped around jam jars. I got my own from V-Eco food wraps where you can get some beautiful patterned wraps.

sustainable gift guide

Flask

If your partner has to commute to work each day, why not buy them one of these colourful flasks? They’re perfect to keep drinks hot for twelve hours or cold drinks cold for twenty-four!

Collapsible Travel Mug

This has been n my to-buy list for a while. I think they’re such a clever idea! You can just collapse the mug into your bag when you’re not using it and it pops back open when you want to fill it up. You can find these at lots of supermarkets now but if you’re looking to buy one online you can grab yourself one of these.

sustainable gift guide

I hope these have given you some good ideas on what to get your partner or friend or family member to help them become more Eco-friendly.

Tips For Working From Home

Tips For Working From Home

Whether you’re new to remote working or you’ve been working from home for a while, you may find these tips useful for when you have little motivation or feel overwhelmed.

Take Breaks

When it comes to working from home, one of my biggest tips for you is to take breaks. I sometimes find that I will get up and work for hours at a time without taking a bathroom break or even grabbing a glass of water. I used to do this when I worked 9-5 as well. However, it’s not healthy. Take regular breaks. Don’t do what I have done and work from 8am-2pm without a single break.

I know you want to get that work done and it may be important, but so is your health. Go out for a walk on your lunch break, watch an episode of Riverdale on Netflix. Anything to take a short break and then you can continue with your work. Remember to drink!

Tips for Working From Home

Work When It Suits You

Just because you used to work 9-5 doesn’t mean you have to do the same from home. Some people are more motivated in the morning, some have more energy in the evenings or at night.

Some freelancers will tell you it’s not healthy to work at night but if that’s when it suits you and you feel ready to work at that time, go for it! Everyone has different preferences. Anyway, you’re freelance, you can work whenever you want!

Just remember to set aside time for friends, family or to do your own thing. It could be during the week, weekends or any time that suits around your schedule.

Set Boundaries

Some clients can be very demanding and they can ring you up at 9pm on a Wednesday and ask you to do something. Make sure you set boundaries from the beginning of your contract.

The likelihood is you don’t need to do that task right away, it can wait until the next day. However, when I’m asked to do something immediately, I can’t stop thinking about it until it’s done.

Setting boundaries can be difficult if you work from home because clients can contact you any time. I have a few tips on how to set boundaries with clients when it comes to working from home:

  • Get a work phone that you can turn off (this can be used as one of your expenses)
  • Uninstall Gmail, Zoom, Skype etc from your phone when you’re not working
  • Send a polite email stating your working hours if asked to do something “out of hours”
  • Have an out of office email for the days/hours you don’t work

Eat Healthy

This is one I still struggle with myself. But another tip I have if you’re working from home is to cook meals and make packed lunches as you would if you were commuting to work. You need to make sure you eat properly and don’t go without. BBC Good Food has a few easy recipes you can use!

Tips for Working From Home

Have A To Do List

I find that having a to do list of all the tasks I have to complete that day super helpful. I have a long term to do list of things I need to continue doing every week/month and a to do list for the day ahead. This could just be in your notes on your phone but it may be helpful to write it down on paper!

Don’t Cut Yourself Off

It can be so easy to stay in the house and get completely isolated when working from home, so make sure you take regular walks, even if it’s just twenty minutes. Schedule in dates to see friends, go out for dinner, spend time with family. I find that if I have no travel plans or plans to meet up with people, I can fall into a pit of depression and so I need to make sure I do something once a week to get out of my head – and the house.

Take Up A Hobby

Taking up a hobby, whether it’s drawing, writing, knitting or dancing is good for you, whether you work from home or not. However, I find that because I work from home during the day there’s a lot of classes and groups on. You could go to your local library for a reading group, start pole fitness, learn street dancing or take up an activity at home.

Tips for Working From Home

Exercise

By exercise, I don’t mean having to go to the gym and working out on a treadmill for an hour. You could do some yoga at home or go for a run or just a long walk. Staying at home all the time can be negative not only for your mental but also your physical health so you need to make sure you’re regularly moving about.

And don’t forget to have fun! Working from home can have its downsides but I wouldn’t change what I do for the world.

Book Review: Depression in a Digital Age

Book Review: Depression in a Digital Age

I feel like I haven’t written a book review in a while so to start the year off on the right foot I’ll be reviewing Fiona Thomas’ book, Depression in a Digital Age.

This book has everything you need from Spice Girl references to Fiona’s rambling thoughts that help ground you and make you feel a little less alone.

Depression digital age
Taken from Fiona’s Instagram

I really felt like I was taking a journey with Fiona while reading this. I felt sympathy for her when she went through her mental health breakdown and couldn’t work.

I myself have left countless jobs for mental health related reasons which has led me to a life of freelance work.

I completely emphasized with how she felt so overwhelmed with her workload and there’s a chapter in the book that really spoke to me.

Fiona talks about taking a break from work because it’s making her so stressed. However, she also stresses out when she takes a much needed break, worrying that people will miss her and need her.

I really resonated with this when I took a week’s holiday from freelance work to go to Morocco in November. Although I was so glad to get away I was worrying about money, about whether my clients had sent me thousands of emails, etc. Turns out when I got back and switched my work phone on, I had one email, and it was a promotional one. I felt a little disappointed no one had needed me and I’d wasted precious time on holiday worrying about my workload.

I think a good lesson to take away from Fiona’s book is that you can stress as much as you like but it won’t change the outcome or how quickly you can complete a task. Take a step back, breathe and relax. Everything will get done in the end.

Overall, Fiona’s book taught me it’s okay to let others help you. It’s okay to speak out about your mental health and not everyone wants the same thing.

Depression digital age
Taken from Fiona’s Instagram

While some people are perfectly happy working 9-5 and getting home to get ready for the next day, not everyone feels the same. Sometimes our mental health stops us from doing the mundane tasks. Sometimes it prevents us from working on ourselves.

Not everyone’s journey is the same and that’s what I’ve learnt from Fiona. While our paths may be different, we share one thing in common. We just want to be happy. We want a life full of adventures. We don’t want to be bound by our mental illnesses. And that’s why Fiona’s story is so inspiring; she used her mental illness to help others.

In the book Fiona also talks about feeling like an imposter. That she isn’t qualified to do her job. The thing is, as a child I always thought I would grow up to feel so big and confident, like I could do anything. But I’m still little old anxious me. That won’t go away. We grow up to think adults have their shit together, when really we are all in the same boat, trying to paddle upstream to get to where we want to be.

Have you read Fiona’s book yet? She is currently writing another book all about being freelance which comes out later this year and I can’t wait to read it.

You can follow Fiona on her socials:

Instagram: @fionalikestoblog

Book: Depression in a Digital Age

Twitter: @fionalikes

Female Creative Series: Q&A with Beauty Blogger Chichi

Female Creative Series: Q&A with Beauty Blogger Chichi

I started a female Creative Series to celebrate the women around us who work hard and hustle in the creative jobs. This week I spoke to Chichi, a beauty blogger who lives in Cambridge.

Tell us a little bit about yourself!

My name is Chichi and I’m a beauty blogger. I’m from London and I currently live in Cambridge. In my spare time I like to read books, watch YouTube videos, visit museums and blog!

What do you do for a living?

I work in digital media and marketing. I specialise in content writing and copywriting, but I’ve also worked in content marketing, blogger & influencer outreach and social media management.

What made you decide to do what you do for a living?

I kind of fell into the digital media world. My original plan was to become a journalist and work in traditional media – I wanted to work as a beauty and fashion journalist for magazines. But after discovering the digital media world and realising that I could write for online media, I chose to do that instead.

What would be your advice for someone looking to go into your profession?

If you want to enter the industry then definitely try to get some experience and build up your network. Your network is your net worth! Consider taking professional qualifications – this is something I am working on right now. Also, create a website or portfolio to showcase your best work.

What are some of your hobbies or skills that you’d like to improve this year? 

I’m currently teaching myself to play the keyboard after briefly learning as a child. The thing is that learning to play an instrument requires so much practice and consistency so I need to keep it up and keep it going.

What’s a quote that makes you feel empowered/motivated?

“Your value does not decrease based upon someone’s inability to see your worth.”

Can you tell us some of your favourite female creatives you love to support? Feel free to link to their socials or blogs!

I am always reading blogs and these are some of my favourites:

Sophie Milner (formerly Fashion Slave)

Gemma Louise

A Woman’s Confidence

Kate La Vie

Albertine Sarah

Demi Colleen

Cruelty-Free Kitty

Can you recommend your top 5 books for creatives? 

The Joy Of No

Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff by Richard Carlson

What A Time To Be Alone by Chidera Eggerue

The Courage To Be Disliked by Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga

Get Your Sh*t Together by Sarah Knight

You can find Chichi on her socials:

Blog: https://www.chichiwritesbeauty.co.uk/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/chichiogwe
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/chichiogwe/

 

Female Creatives Series: Q&A with Author Jessie Allyn

Female Creatives Series: Q&A with Author Jessie Allyn

Recently I came up with an idea to support female creatives and give others some empowerment. The planet, excuse my french, has gone to shit, so I wanted to make some positive posts and asked some people on Twitter whether they’d like to participate. My first interviewee is Jessie, an author and creative.

My first guest in this female creative series of posts is Jessie Allyn, an author and creative. Let’s see what she has to say!

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself!

Hi! My name is Jessie Allyn. I am a writer who focuses primarily on fantasy and romance. My goals for the future are to get my first book published by next year and then open classes to teach other writers step-by-step how to write/publish their own books.

2. What do you do for a living?

Writing is not what I do for a living, but what I do for a living allows me to write.

3. What made you decide to do what you do for a living?

When I graduated college, I graduated with a Secondary English Education degree (I was an English teacher). But life has a funny way of not aligning the way you thought it would. I jumped from college to working with a pharmaceutical company, to working with a customer service call center, to working as a tutor for students with learning disabilities, to now managing a retail store. For me, these jobs are just a means to an end. I take on these jobs in order to support myself, my family, and my writing career. Because not everyone can afford to be a full-time writer like they dream to be…at least not in the beginning.

4. What would be your advice for someone looking to go into your profession?

Writing is hard. It’s not something most people can make a living off of. So if you want to be a writer, you need to understand that you write for your love of writing, not because you want to be a famous author one day. People glamorize being a writer, but they don’t know how hard it actually is. They don’t know how long it takes to craft a book, how many times you need to query agent after agent, how many rejection letters you might get, how much money you will spend on marketing, how many unpaid hours you will lose to edits. Writing is not a get rich quick scheme, it’s a labor of love. Every book that is published was fought for. Every writer put themselves out there, in all this stress and chaos, not because they wanted to be famous – but because they had a story to tell. So my advice, to anyone who wants to become a writer, is to write for yourself first and the rest of the world second. In the end, you might be the only person to pick up that book and that needs to be enough for you.

 

Female Creatives Series: Interview: Jessie Allyn

5. What are some of your hobbies or skills that you’d like to improve this year?

I am constantly taking seminars, attending virtual classes, listening to podcasts, and working with other editors/writers in hopes to better my writing craft. So for this year, I am hoping to get to a place where I can confidently create my writing course and launch my classes for other writers out there. My goal is to be able to take someone who has no idea what to write, help them work through their entire writing process and then help them through the entire publication process. There are so many things about writing and publication that you aren’t taught and that information is super hard to find these days. So my goal is to improve my writing craft to the point where I can take all of the knowledge I’ve collected over the years and make it accessible to anyone who needs it.

6. Can you list 3 books that empower you and that you recommend every creative reads?

Julie Kagawa’s “Talon” Series – She has an amazing way of writing from multiple perspectives without breaking the flow of her novel (something I envy to this day).
Orson Scott Card’s “Ender’s Game” – This was the book that taught me that not every story needs to end in a happily ever after.
David Clement-Davies’ “The Sight” – This book is probably the book I credit the most for how “alive” my characters feel. I learned from this book that if you make your characters multi-dimensional, it doesn’t matter if they are humans or wolves – people will find ways to relate to them.

7. I always ask this one as it’s fun to wrap up with! If you were stranded on an island, what 3 things would you take with you? And which 2 people?

A knife, a flint striker, and some sort of water purifier. I’d bring my significant other and probably The Rock (I mean, he’d be super helpful on an island and more people would probably search for him than me haha).

If you want to find out more about Jessie and her work, you can visit her website here.
Thank you so much to Jessie for participating! Don’t forget to subscribe for more Q&As, tips, reviews and more!

Reasons Your Website Isn’t Getting Views

Reasons Your Website Isn’t Getting Views

Have you been struggling with gaining new followers and visitors to your site? Down below I list the reasons why your website isn’t getting views and what you can do to improve the situation.

You Aren’t Marketing Yourself

As a blogger, it can be difficult to know how to market yourself to stand out from the rest. You have to have a certain level of confidence in your work in order to believe in it, and therefore, to market it.

If you’re writing blog posts you aren’t passionate about, you won’t be passionate about marketing it. The first step to gaining views is to decide how you want to be perceived, and this starts with your brand.

You Don’t Have A Brand

Maybe the reason you aren’t getting views on your website is because you simply do not have a consistent brand. For my website I have a logo and I’ve named all my social media accounts the same thing. I have a consistent logo on all social media channels so when someone mentions me or my blog, they will have the image of my logo in their head.

Reasons Your Website Isn't Getting Views

You can hire a graphic designer to create a look for your website or to create a custom logo. My wonderful friend Chelsea created one for me which I adore! It describes me perfectly and I wouldn’t change it! To market your brand, you have to have a consistent theme or be known for your niche.

You Don’t Have A Posting Schedule

Another reason your website isn’t getting views could be that you don’t post at a time when your followers are online. I asked my followers on Instagram a series of questions recently about the times they’re online, what content they want to see and what days they’re most active. I learnt that my followers tend to be online at night time on weekdays and they prefer my original content instead of graphics.

Not only is it important to post your blog on WordPress or your website at the right time, it’s also important when you post to your social channels. These handy graphs from Sprout are a great way to see what traffic you could be getting by posting at the correct times. Please bare in mind these are from last year.

A way you can see what time your followers are online is to do the same thing I did. Or you can do your research on what country gives you the most views and aim to publish a blog post or Instagram post at a time that suits them. It’s all about analyzing your audience.

You Aren’t Targeting Your Audience

Another reason your website isn’t getting views could be that you aren’t targeting the right audience. The internet has so many blogs and websites for people to read. You need to make sure you stand out and your audience – your followers – are the key. Take a look at what they blog about or like to read – host polls on social media asking what your followers prefer to see from you and when.

If you’re looking to change your niche, I recommend going through all your social media channels and following people who also blog or have a website similar to yours. The odds are they will be interested in the same content that they write about – I know I am.

Start following these people, interacting with their posts and networking. This is how you can get organic views to your website and target the right audience too!

You Don’t Have The Right Tools

It’s obvious that if you see an appealing looking blog with a great aesthetic, you’re going to click on it. After all, that’s why we scroll through Pinterest for hours on end, right?!

There are so many free apps you can get to improve the visuals for your website. I currently use Canva which I use for my clients as well. It’s easy to use and you can use so many graphics and illustrations for free. You can also upgrade your plan so you get even more options.

Changing it up so you have eye-catching visuals will make a huge difference for your website.

You Don’t Have The Right Social Media Channels

You might not be getting the views you want because you haven’t downloaded apps and promoted your articles or website on the right platforms. I predominately get my views from Twitter and WordPress followers. So my goal is to gain followers on here.

I know a lot of bloggers who gain hundreds of views through Pinterest and if you have the swipe up function, on Instagram. I do gain a few followers and views through Instagram but it’s very rare.

You have to do your homework, see what works for you. I used to get so many views via Facebook groups and promoting on my Facebook Page. Nowadays, I get less than half my views from there. But that’s where it all started for me, so you have to know your audience, have a brand and know exactly when to post in order to get the views. I hope this was helpful in some way, and by all means, if you have any tips feel free to share them in the comments section of my blog.

If you want more advice on how to promote your website, check out my recent blog post.

If you’re still confused and need help growing your audience and gaining views to your website, contact me via email at greenv745@gmail.com and I can help you create content and market your brand. I am a social media manager myself and have several clients I work with on social media and generating new, organic followers.

Book Review: The Man In Forest Hills

Book Review: The Man In Forest Hills

I was recently asked by basketball player and author Alex Owumi, if I wanted to review his audio book, The Man in Forest Hills. Alex has always been a great friend and has helped increase my blogging audience over the past couple of years. I admire him and his journey and wanted to review one of his books!

Book Review: The Man in Forest Hills

The Man in Forest Hills is set around the character Thomas Kent, a detective based in Boston. He wakes up from a coma after being shot to find out his family are gone. He thinks it’s something to do with one of the high profile cases he’s worked on in the past and starts trying to dig into the mystery further…

I don’t want to give away any more spoilers as there’s a lot that goes down in the book!

I really enjoyed actually listening to an audiobook and being able to do other things; it was also a really good book to start off with. It only took me two days to get through although I did have to pay close attention to all the characters!

What I really enjoyed about this book was the suspense. Each chapter ended with a cliffhanger, making you wonder who was behind the murder of Kent’s family. As a reader, you also struggle to determine whether Kent is playing good cop or bad cop by trying to avenge his family’s murder.

If he murders the people who have harmed them, is he then in the wrong? Or is he doing a good deed to make sure they don’t murder again? It’s a very moral oriented story. We have to pick whether we are backing Kent or we want him to go to jail.

As the chapters go on we also see flashbacks to before Kent’s family were murdered; we also see his time in the police academy and how his story has unraveled to leave us where he is now. By giving us this glimpse into Kent’s past, Owumi has let the reader into his world; these flashbacks intrigue us and we find ourselves wanting to know more.

Overall, I felt like the story line was well thought out and I can’t wait to read the rest of Owumi’s books!

You can purchase Alex’s books here.

You can also read Alex’s thoughts and tips on his blog.

Hope you enjoyed this review! Remember, if you have a book you want reviewed, email me at greenv745@gmail.com