How I stay Focused and Productive

I am often asked how do I stay so focused and productive. To be honest most of the time I wing it, like any other normal mummy. I do have different methods in which to keep myself focused and productive at work and at home. I do also love researching new methods to incorporate to make my life that little easier. Here is a list of 10 ways I stay focused and productive and hopefully some may also help yourself…please remember it is about finding your own way, all what I do may not work for everyone. But then this is also the fun of trying new methods.

Brain Dump

Emptying all the ideas and tasks out of my head means a clear space for concentrating and staying focused. Clearing your mind means you aren’t thinking of other tasks. Ways of doing this is just make a simple list, literally empty all the jobs you know need doing that are stored. Even if they seem minimal, leaving the tasks in your head means they take up valuable focus space. I personally do this digitally but will also sometimes produce a long paper list of a million tasks or thoughts I am trying to remember. This really does help and only takes a few minutes of your time. Try getting in the habit of doing this once a week. 

Productivity Methods

I seriously geek out on all things productivity and personal growth and am constantly researching and reading books on the subjects. I thrive from learning and it is one way I love to keep my brain active. There are a few different ways which can help you stay focused and boost productivity. I will be doing posts on all of these soon in more detail.

One method is the Pomodoro Technique which is where you work in short bursts of Pomodoros which is 25 minutes non-stop on your task. After this time is up, then have a 5 minute break away from the task in hand. Repeat this and after every four pomodoros take a longer break of 20-30 minutes. This may seem a strange way to stay productive, but the breaks away from the task give you breathing space to stay focused when retutrning to the original task. I tend to use this if doing blogging tasks or work at home.

Focus Timers

Focus timers are brilliant for stopping yourself use your phone, even though in a weird way you can use your phone to use them if using a focus timer app. I use an app called Forest for when I don’t want to be distracted with my phone. The more you leave your phone the more you can eventually build an arboretum. There have been many times I will think ‘oh, I will just check this’ and the reminder that if I carry on opening the phone my tree will die, and reminds me I am not meant to be distracted.

Another timer I use for when applying the Pomodoro Technique above is the Bear Focus Timer (BFT) which will count in Pomodoros. I love the graphics on this one. There are many other timer apps, but these are the ones I prefer.

If you would prefer to use a manual timer, then this still works. I use a cube timer for making myself stay alert and on time. Plus this is great for a time out for the kids. Being mindful of the time took for a task means you will be more focused on the task itself and this will eliminate procrastination.

Eliminate Notifications

This has made the hugest difference to keeping myself focused and staying off my phone. I have removed all notifications off most of my apps. My email and social media apps have no notifications, which means I just need to go in them to view. Rather than focusing on an important task and then you spot a notification has popped up that Sandra has uploaded a new photo of her lunch, straight away you have broken that focus. Plus most of us are guilty of the vortex of social media, just having an innocent scroll through can lead you on to a trail and then before you know it you lost valuable time deviating away from your work.

Not only eliminating notifications keeps you focused, this means those pesky red dots appear in the corner of your apps. This may just be me that hates them, but for those of you that are on the same wave length as me here… it is a game changer.

Background Noise

I personally prefer to work listening to music, I always have done and have varied playlists for certain tasks. You can make your own or search for focus playlists and there is a large number for you to listen too. It is finding a happy medium for what makes you more productive. One great playlist was mentioned by the lovely Alex Gladwin over at Bump To Baby, which was Fearless Motivation Instrumentals on Spotify. Honestly have a listen and see if you feel slightly pumped (you will).

Listening to your favourite playlist whether soft piano or drum and bass, also has the advantage to drown out background noise. For example I forgot my earphones when having a sneaky latte whilst blogging in Starbucks….obviously taking the standard blogger photo of my keyboard and coffee cup. I found myself listening to every conversation going, it was impossible to focus. 

I admire the people who can watch Netflix and work. I tried and failed. Finding the best way for you to stay focused and also be aware of time again. Yes you may have worked whilst watching the latest episode in a new series you are binging on, but could you have done that job quicker if you wasn’t watching a TV at the same time. Again this is a personal preference and do what works for you. Hey, you may even like total peace and quiet… in my house this simply is non existent.

Early or Late

This method means playing to your strengths. Back in my twenties I could stay up until the early hours and have a lie in to restore my sleep. Then came kids and my body clock changed. Gone are the days of watching the budget films on after midnight on a Saturday night on BBC One then waking to record the Top 40 on cassette. Instead up early enough to watch the promo loop on CBeebies, desperately waiting for it to start to have a sneaky snooze whilst the kids are engrossed on Teletubbies.

Now I am way more productive earlier in the morning and often wake early to get jobs done in peace and also to fit them in. For example on a working day, by the time we are home the last thing is you want to go on a screen and start typing your next blog post or scheduling tweets. So to fit in my blog/life admin I will get up early.

For me getting up early means, the earlier the better for any main tasks. These will get most of my focus energy as I am more alert. Rather than at 4pm where I am slightly flagging and needing caffeine. Use the time you feel most alert and awake to get your best work done. You will notice you are more focused in this time frame and then getting more jobs, even the ones that you have been putting off means you will feel more productive.

Plan Your Day

Planning your day will help you stay on plan as much as it can. There is always things to pop up and break your focus, but overall this works for me. I know planning and calendar blocking my day how many tasks I can do, rather than compiling a huge list and feeling overwhelmed which looses your focus. Also this helps you not procrastinate inbetween tasks and projects as you know what you have planned. Plus similar to the brain dump all of your other jobs are out of your head, which means you can focus solely on the current task.

Another tip is take 10 minutes at the end of your work day or session to plan the next day. One you will go to bed minus the thoughts of the next days plans as you have already planned your day. Plus you will feel much more refreshed in the morning and motivated to be productive, knowing you already have planned your day ahead.

Environment

Create a happy work space wether this is at work, in a coffee shop, at the kitchen table or if you have the room for a desk…. create a space where you feel comfortable. This is all about making your happy place, this will encourage you to work.

One of my favourite things to do to boost productivity vibes is to clear my workspace. With the highlighters neatly in a line and a fresh new notepad at the ready, I feel at my most productive. Those who follow myself, know I have a day job and am able to work from home during school holidays, plus doing my blogging as a side hustle means I am constantly on a device of some sort.

I started working from the sofa and bedroom but couldn’t get comfortable and then the husband is constantly watching TV so then I was distracted and could not focus. I have tried so may different little desk areas, one being an Ikea Kallax unit, but this was not comfortable for all day working from home. Then we tried a little desk in our built in cupboard in the bedroom. I loved this little space but without sounding like Goldilocks this was too little and is now a fabulous dressing table.

Then came the idea of a home office which you can see and read more here. I am so focused in my office and everything is perfect to stop distractions. Work wise for my day job I like to keep my desk clear and personalised with little touches from home, pictures of the kiddies and a fake plant… the normal really. But all of this makes me feel like I am in my own little space and again when not distracted by people I can focus and really get productive.

Break Everything Down

If you are like myself you can get overwhelmed with huge or many tasks. Again this is where brain dumping is fantastic. Clear your head and break everything down, make notes before hand and get your head round the task ahead. The key is to stay focused at this point as this is when procrastination can slip in. Having the feeling of being overwhelmed can mean you openly look for distractions and welcome them.

I always have had the issue of starting a project, even now in my mid 30’s I doubt myself and then start googling, similar to searching medical symptoms. You can go on a trail and again waste precious focused time. I have got better by making the note and having a brain dump before starting a project. If you can break each section down as once you start you should find the rest flows.

Also I have found do not doubt yourself, you can do it. Do not compare yourself to anyone else in anything you do. One this saves you precious time trawling through google. Also if you feel more confident you will feel more focused.

The big projects can be the ones that break any focus and productivity. These are the ones that you need to do at your most alert and use all of your focus superpowers to eliminate distractions as honestly once you complete a mammoth task or project you will be ready to tackle anything.

Another tip is for tasks wise, if you have a huge To Do List you again may feel overwhelmed. Similar to the Ivy Lee Method of choosing a number of tasks to complete as goals can eliminate this. I prefer to choose a power three tasks and these I will get done first when most focused and most alert.

 

Sleep

As mentioned in Early or Late, I get up early which most mornings is between 5-6am. One non-negotiable is the fact that you need sleep. Ideally you need to aim for 7-8 hours and I will plan this when planning my day. If I know I want to draft a blog post in the morning before everyone is up i will add this to my calendar. Then work out which time I need to aim to go to bed for. This is where my calendar blocking comes in handy, again I will do a post on this soon.

Getting enough sleep will leave you feeling refreshed and ready for the day ahead. Not getting enough sleep can impact your productivity, focus and more importantly your health. Again this depends on your day and personal circumstances but aim for a good sleep if you can and this will help you stay focused and alert.

I hope some of these come in handy and motivate you to try some of these methods. I would love to know if you do try them and also if you have any other methods you would like to share. Just remember there will be off days, there will be days nothing goes to plan but each day is a new day. Scrap the previous day and focus on the next one. This is not about achieving as near perfection as you can, but making a part of your life easier with some simple methods.

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Monthly favourites posts are fantastic to read, mainly as you may see items or products that you didn’t know existed and you now need in your life. I love seeing what other people have brought recently, or items they already have but are loving that month. So I thought why not do my own post on here. I hope you enjoy reading what I am loving this month…

May Favourites, Simply Stacey Blog

Typo Mug

If you are a regular reader here on my blog you will know that I am obsessed with the mothership that is Typo. I recently published a post which you can catch here, showing my recent stationery purchases. 

Other than Typo’s awesome stationery range they do the most amazing mugs. They are the perfect size for your favourite brew (I opt for Twinnings English Breakfast….classy). 

I am building quite the collection and they always get noticed in my posts.  So far I have:

  • Talk Disney To Me
  • Less Work, More Disney
  • Be Weird
  • Can’t Adult Today

Newest  to my collection are:

  • 50% Dry Shampoo, 50% Caffeine
  • Life Goals: Keeping Myself and my Plants Alive

Make sure you check out my Instagram as I often have pictures of the mugs on there. The bold quotes really do stand out for the gram. 

Succulent of Dreams

I love houseplants and succulents. I mean are you even a blogger if you haven’t got a succulent? I always spot a succulent somewhere in a bloggers photos. Why is this? Well because they are easy to look after and brighten up any photo.

Before I would opt for fake plants as I thought they would get murdered in my company. The beginning of this year we converted the garage into a home office and I had the urge for a real plant. Considering I have grown two children, surely I can keep a plant alive for a time.

Well fast forward a few months and I have a collection of plants. You will be glad to know they are all are still alive and living their best plant life. 

My newest addition is a Sansevieria Punk from my favourite go to place for plants The Little Botanical. I love the fact the plants come with pots. I am unsure if myself being a new plant mummy or just not down with plant buying rules, but I am never able to find the right size pot. So for me this is a blessing, plus my local John Lewis also stock the range. This little guy has made the way to be my first bedroom plant, he certainly won’t be the last as I am already planning my next addition. 

Candle

I love lighting candles all year around. A candle isn’t just for Christmas. This little candle I brought in Homesense for £2.99.  The candle is by LAB, and the fragrance is Unwind | Fig and Cardamom Spice made with coconut wax. I love the scents that are masculine and smell like a waft of Lynx. 

I brought the candle when the office was being renovated as the colour matched my office to be aesthetics, and the smell was amazing. I totally forgot about it until recently but am loving the scent. Homesense is brilliant for candles, and such good prices. 

Phone Case

Finally last month I was able to upgrade my phone. I love this time every 2 years on upgrade day. I went for an iPhone XS Max as I liked the plus size from my previous mobile. Originally I ordered a glass style case and screen protector but this was seriously indenting my pinkies. I mean really severely indenting, to the point my fingers were bruised. Plus as a glass style case the phone kept sliding off surfaces.

So I decided to treat myself to a new case this month and came across Coconut Lane on an Instagram promoted post. Oh my gosh, I love everything on the site, they do the cutest jumpers. I spotted this Jaguar case and I fell in love with the print and vibrancy. Plus I found matching Pop Sockets, which both together have fixed my pinkie problem (hurrah)…. I live to text another day! 

I am seriously tempted for the Macbook case and getting the same print. I didn’t realise I actually have the palm tree case of theirs, as previously brought this on Amazon. I was really impressed with the quality and price and will be ordering more items another month. 

Coconut Lane Phone Cover, Simply Stacey Blog

Reading

The beginning of the year I really got into reading, mainly non-fiction books about productivity to assist my personal growth and inner productivity geek. Then as normal life gets in the way and I haven’t read for a while. 

Then for Mothers Day the kids brought me a Kindle Fire, which was easier for me to carry around. Admittedly I original used this for binging the rest of Gossip Girl, but more recently I have reinstated my daily reading habit. I am currently reading The Paramedic’s Daughter by  Tara Lyons, and really enjoying it. 

I didn’t know how I would find a kindle for reading, I am adapting well. I will still read “proper” books as you can’t beat a new book smell. I am enjoying mixing up reading fiction on my kindle and non-fiction in book format. 

Watching

I am trying to also include having some Netflix and chill time (get your mind out of the gutter) and watching binge worthy series. I feel this is important to just sit and not concentrate as such. I am normally doing blogging, blog admin or working from home in the evenings, so taking the time out has been really relaxing. 

I just finished (today in fact) New Amsterdam on Amazon Prime. I tend to forget about the series on there as Netflix is normally where I would check first, but I heard about this on Brogan Tate’s vlog and thought I would check it out.  Oh my days I am sort of glad I did as totally loved it, but same time the series finale had the most epic cliffhanger. I can’t actually wait for season 2. 

Simply Stacey Blog

I hope you have enjoyed my Monthly Favourites for May. I would love to hear what you are loving this month? Plus throw me recommendations for my next binge session. 

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One film I am guaranteed to cry at is Toy Story 3. When Andy hands over the toys and leaves for college my eye start to instantly leak, we have all been there with a favourite toy…I still have my Lenny the lion. Well Woody and Buzz are back again and for the launch Smyths Toys are having a Toy Story party. The best bit is you are all invited.

To celebrate the release of the latest Disney Pixar film Toy Story 4, Smyths Toys Superstores are hosting parties all over the UK and Northern Ireland this bank holiday weekend. 

This Saturday 25th May, from 9am, Smyths stores around the country will be welcoming families in for a FREE day of fun, including giveaways, face painting, and DJs. Find out more here: https://www.smythstoys.com/uk/en-gb/in-store-events

Shockingly it has been 9 years since Toy Story 3 was released in 2010, and an even bigger WOW moment that the original Toy Story film was released in 1996. I was a newly turned teenager when the film came out 23 years ago. I still love the films, and the fact I now watch them with my own children is even more special. 

Being a parent, events like this are brilliant for something to do over the bank holiday that is free and fun. Plus the chances to win prizes on the hour, and who doesn’t love their face painted. If you can’t make this event then keep checking the site, as further events are listed. 

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*** This is art of a sponsored post in exchange for my words on the subject and promotion. 

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This week celebrates one of my favourite obsessions which I have harboured from being a child….. stationery. The year I got a Pilot pen set was one of my favourite birthdays. Plus don’t get me started on shopping before a new school year, the WH Smith times table pencil case was a must have.

Well next week is National Stationery Week (insert an excited shriek) and I am going to show you one of my favourite shops to go for my stationery supplies…. the mothership that is known as Typo.

Typo National Stationery Week

Shout out to fellow stationery hoarders, if you haven’t been to Typo yet…. then you will thank me when you do. If you love the pretty designs in Paperchase then you will certainly have the same gratitude for Typo. Don’t worry if you can’t get to a Typo store, they have a super cool website for you to buy much needed stationery…. we can all agree you can never have too much stationery (FACT).

Typo do much more than just stationery, there is a quirky home and tech range for you to purchase. In fact Typo is my one stop place for mugs, and these get so much attention in photos. Anyhow lets get back to the nitty gritty of their awesome stationery range. 

There was something very comfortable in having plenty of stationery

Typo National Stationery Week

Typo Stationery Haul

Recently I purchased a mini stationery purchase as Typo had a fantastic sale on, and if ever I need a reason (I don’t really need a reason) then I had to purchase some stationery items. 

I brought more sets of the 3pk To Do Lists, they match the colours of my office. I am a list maker, wether digitally or paper. You can’t beat a paper list and the overwhelming enjoyment in crossing off a task. Also I am not afraid to admit I am that person that will complete a task and add it to my list after execution and cross off to mark my accomplishment. I brought a few of these as I will be taking a set to work. Plus Typo change their stock for fresh designs so I stocked up while they were still available. 

Typo notebooks are also fabulous designs and really good prices, there are normally offers for multi-buys. I normally buy the spiral notebooks in mixtures of A4 and A5 but this time I also brought some hidden spiral notebooks. I have a small dalmation print theme through my home office in places and thought the notebook I purchased matched perfectly. The other said ‘Exert Procrastinator’ and well if the title fits. The A5 size are my favourites as they are easy to carry around. Josie my daughter has an extensive set of Typo notebooks. 

Typo has an extensive range of pens, which like the mugs I own a fair amount. My favourites are the Mickey Mouse thin pens. I had the cold one already and it is my favourite pen to use at home, so I also brought the black and rose gold one. I love Disney and Typo has some fantastic bits in store, and currently they have a Friends range from the hit TV Show which I have my eye on a Pivot notebook as this was one of my favourite scenes. If you know what I am on about then I can guarantee you are shouting ‘PIVOT’ in your head this moment…. no need for thanks. 

One of my favourite Disney items that I brought a while ago (not in store now but there are other designs) is the desk-pad. This is perfect as it matches my office colours, fits under my monitor stand and is Disney related. I love the fact there is no dates and I can use this for days or projects. I love this as if it was a month to a sheet and then Antony or the kids doodle on it I don’t have to waste a whole sheet, or sit there twitching at the non aesthetic looking doodles facing me while I work. 

Typo National Stationery Week
Typo National Stationery Week

I first came across the store when a new branch had opened at Cribbs Causeway in Bristol. Typo is certainly worth checking out if you want quirky, statement stationery which also is brilliant if you are in need of a gift. I love the fact the range is constantly changing so there is always something different, plus to suit all tastes. Not long ago was the tropical print which I adored, and also there was a dinosaur range. Currently there is Aladdin merchandise, ready for the film release in May.

I don’t think I will ever get fed up of stationery, and finally I am actually using all of my notebooks. Normally I would start a brand new book (honestly this beats ticking off a To Do List task) and then promptly make a mistake. Along comes my anxiety and the eye twitching would start and then I wouldn’t use it again. I am pleased to say I am working through this perfectionist problem and finally using them 🙂

I am looking forward to the fact that National Stationery Week falls over payday, as I am certain seeing so many stationery posts that they are going to influence me to need some new purchases.

If you check out my YouTube channel you will see Typo mentioned a fair few times in my haul videos, I told you I am a regular Typo shopper.

I would love to know if you are also a fellow stationery addict or hoarder? What is your favourite stationery purchase? Have you been to Typo before?

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During half term I am able to work from home, which previously meant working from the kitchen table. I would have to carry the computer down from upstairs and then move each day to tidy up. This naturally led us to decide planning a home office. This would mean an addition of an extra room in the house, plus a place to work and do my blogging….my own little happy place. So the beginning of this year we made a home office with a semi garage conversion.

Originally we was planning on converting the garage into a playroom but we also needed space to store normal garage items such as the freezer, bikes and the normal garage items that you never use. This is when we started thinking about converting half of the garage instead but this would not be a huge playroom that we originally planned. Then it came to me like a lightening bolt, what about a home office. The size would not be an issue as the main part would be a desk which you can get any size, so I knew I could work with what size we had after the conversion.

We started planning the room towards the end of 2018 and hired S J Carpentry to look after the job for us. We have used Stewart many times and he always does a high standard, so we booked in a date to start the conversion. Excited was an understatement.

Work began in January this year on the office and the whole job took just under three weeks to complete. We experienced some problems which was mainly with building control. I don’t know the technical terms but at one point they wanted us to raise the roof which would have been out of our budget. Luckily instead of this mammoth task we was allowed to continue if we installed a fan, also we had to agree sound proofing the external wall and have a raised floor. Needless to say the job was signed off by the building regulations officer who was a happy bunny with the work.

Home Office Garage Conversion

Working in an office as my day job meant I felt strongly about having a home vibe, I didn’t want the home office to feel as an office as such. I wanted a space that felt like an extended part of our home, a space that us and the kids can also go and sit and relax if needed. Still I needed to be able to sit and concentrate when working, for this I wanted the room to feel relaxing and minimal.

Sitting Area

I was left solely for designing my new space and was adamant about having an occasional chair of some sort. Antony took some convincing on this but since I have a seat, we use it daily (told you I would Antony lol). I knew adding a chair would make the room feel homely and less of the office feel. I also decided against grey for the visitor chair (as we call it), mainly as the computer chair would be grey and to also take this opportunity to inject some colour. 

I struggled trying to find a chair in budget and that would meet my needs. I decided on a darker colour, mainly as we have 2 children, puppy and cat which I thought would not get dirty as easy. I finally found the perfect chair in Dunelm which was the Isla occasional chair in midnight, and can confirm it is super comfy.

This is also the item that has had the most compliments since the renovation and one of my favourite areas to sit, either when hiding from squabbling children or to read. I also love the fact the kids will come and sit in here and share the chair whilst I am working. I added a small blush cushion which also was purchased from Dunelm

Anyone who knows me well, knows I love Meat Loaf and went twice to see Bat Out Of Hell The Musical (which was awesome) and I do love my posters. We have different favourite film posters in frames in the lounge. Mum brought me this Bat Out Of Hell poster form our first visit. Being honest I contemplated adding this to my office and was undecided. I was worried this would stand out too much in the room and looking for the minimal instagram worthy feel. But then I decided, I love the poster and the room is for me and not for Instagram. As long as I like it and that is all that matters, and I am glad I chose to add it as it has made a feature in the room for my sitting area. 

Adding my Ikea favourite Kallax unit meant additional storage. We have these units in most rooms and great as cost effective and sturdy. Originally I was going to have this unit standing up but when filling the room I preferred this on the side as it fits in perfect. The Kallax unit is perfect for storing my art supplies and books. 

The Desk

Choosing the desk was a mammoth task as this would be the main point for the home office. I was always going to get the desk from IKEA as they are fine and sturdy, plus the budget limit. Originally I was set on the Malm Dressing Table as I liked the glass top, plus I didn’t think the office would be that big. Once the partition wall was up I was astounded at how much room I had to play with. 

When working from home, I need alot of room as excess paper work which meant the Malm Dressing Table was out. I went for the Thyge Desk which was a complete bargain considering the size of the desk. One reason I loved the desk is the desk space size, but also you can easily adjust the height. I have the desk on quite a high setting. 

This is my second office chair, my original one from Made.com which Antony brought me had to be returned as . unfortunately it arrived ripped. For the price I wasn’t impressed with the quality of the chair. I found the Hattefjall Chair in Ikea when we were desk shopping and it is so comfortable. I chose for the style without arms, but you can have the choice depending on which model you decide on. 

The add-on unit for my monitor was a later purchase which is the Alex Add-on Unit and I am so glad I purchased this. The unit has made the desk look more interesting, provided storage and makes my monitor at the perfect eye level. This is one of my favourite purchases for my office and still has left me with an epic amount of desk space.

Recently I decided to pimp this unit and brought a cheap LED colour changing strip from Amazon for £8 which is powered by USB, and means I can change to different colours to brighten my office. 

Accessories

I have tried to keep accessories to a minimum at the moment, and slowly adding new purchases to the office. I brought picture ledge shelves from Ikea for my back wall. Mainly to brighten up a plain wall and add storage. Plus when I am vlogging, this gives a brilliant backdrop.  One of my favourite items is my diffuser from John Lewis. It was pricey but it is lasting for ages so far and smells nice all of the time. Other diffusers I find I smell for about an hour after changing the reeds but then the fragrance disappears. The Skandinavisk Diffuser Koto smells nice every time you go into the room, plus really stands out on the shelf. 

Are you even a blogger if you don’t have a letterboard?! This was originally upstairs at my original desk but I decided to put this in my office. This a fantastic way to inspire yourself with various positive quotes. Currently i have some lyrics from a Meat Loaf song. 

I have never brought real plants before but now I am obsessed. They have made a huge difference in my office for adding colour. When they all go for a sunbathing session in the kitchen, the office looks so plain. All of my plants, except the trailing one on the shelf are from The Little Botanical, which can also be found in John Lewis. I love the fact the pots come with the plants. One of my favourites is my Pilea Peperomioides which sits on my desk. 

I was lucky as for my birthday my mum brought me a Sonos Speaker with Alexa which I love playing in my office. I originally got one for Christmas which is in the lounge, when I am on my own I will link them both up together. I always have music on when working and love using this system. The speaker sits on my Kallax Unit, which is where my printer was meant to go but we ordered the wired one not wireless, so this is actually on a little unit hidden under my desk. Also under my desk is a basket which houses my lights and tripod.

Prints I have a couple up on the wall which I purchased, but to be honest I don’t think I will put much else print wise on the wall. I want to get some wire lettering to put above my computer and also an acrylic planner some point looking forward.

The door I had my heart set on, eventually we will replace upstairs with the same doors. We opted for a clear varnish to keep the existing door colour. I am glad we went for this door as it really sets off the room. Again this also adds some colour as everything else is white. 

Overall I absolutely love my office, it is so much nicer than I expected and I never thought we would have so much room. Using half of the garage means half is available still which we had a huge clear-out before the conversion started. 

I have worked from home a couple of times now and am often in here some point each day. It has made a huge difference for working from home, everything is set up ready and I can just get on and be productive. Bibi (our Weechon puppy) loves the rug I brought in Ikea, which was to stop my toes getting cold on the floor. She takes to laying on the rug, which is difficult to spot her as she camouflages. 

I have really enjoyed being creative and designing the space for my office, finding furnishings and styling. I will be doing a room tour on my YouTube Channel soon, so make sure you check that out.

Long term we would love to do an extension for a snug type room on the back of our house, leading onto the garden. The next projects will be the kids rooms, we have never decorated them as have been lucky since moving in as the house was a blank canvas and liveable. Then we will be painting downstairs, this will be a huge task as all of downstairs is more of less open plan. Also as mentioned before we have planned to do the internal doors and change the staircase. I certainly have caught a bug for interiors and enjoying planning our next projects. 

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Productive apps, how I stay organised, Simply Stacey

Day to day, I not only need to be organised….I honestly love being organised. Being productive helps to motivate myself. There is honestly nothing better than ticking a task off your To Do List. When I meet my goals I do a little air punch, I am not ashamed. We all need to do more air punches in life. 

Being a working mummy I need to be super organised in all areas of my existence. Not only just for myself, but also for our family. The kids (no joke) have a better social life than me, they have so many events with nursery and school that I am like a personal assistant. Then I sometimes need to organise Antony and remind him (not nag as he would say) about tasks or dates he needs to remember. 

My job away from blogging and walking around with a camera vlogging, is on the extreme scale for staying organised. I work as a Quality and Regulatory Manager manufacturing medical devices and need to ensure all procedures are met, constantly stay up to date with standards, have a working retrievable system….the list goes on. So you might be getting an idea now that I wasn’t being dramatic. I need to be like a superhero with organisational skills who is radiating with productivity vibes. Ok maybe I was a little dramatic then, but you get the picture.

Focus on being productive instead of busy.

I am going to share with you six of my favourite apps that I am currently loving. These all help me stay on top and be productive. I tend to use certain apps for home/blogging and work, which I will cover in different posts. This is a small selection of apps, I am a sucker for a new app and use many. This list is my main ‘go to apps’ that I use constantly.

Bear App

Bear is hands down my favourite note taking app. I previously was solely using Evernote and I still do for work and longterm projects. I use Bear mainly for research and everyday notes. 


Bear took a little while to navigate, for example making folders you use a hashtag, and sub folders a forward slash. YouTube tutorials was how I learnt to use the app efficiently. 

Once you get use to the shortcuts you will find Bear is a simple app to use. For example you can change font style, add dividers, links and add bullet points. There is much more you can do with Bear to meet your needs and is well worth a download. 

Things 3 App

For my editorial and personal ‘to do list’ management system. I like the fact it is similar to the GTD (Getting Things Done) method, which is a fantastic book to read. Previously I was using Wunderlist, which for work I still use. I like to keep work and home tasks separate if possible. 

All my tasks go into the ‘Inbox’ section, from here or when doing my weekly planning I will allocate the next action steps. This can be adding to a separate folder, maybe the task isn’t urgent and for when have time. If this is the case I will add this to the ‘Anytime’ folder.

If the task needs a due date I will add this to the task itself, which then will automatically appear in the ‘Upcoming’ folder.

You can also make folders for specific projects or folders, which is helpful for planning.

Each task can be amended with checklists, due dates, notes etc. There is plenty of ways to add as much detail as you need.

I like the simplicity of Things 3, and have since downloading for my phone and iPad, I recently paid for the Mac version as I use this app daily. Things 3 is perfect for keeping me organised and letting me know the tasks for the day ahead. 

Fantastical App

The main secret for my organisational skills is Calendar Blocking. I will do a post and video about this soon as honestly it has been a life saver. Each week I plan the week ahead, for work and home. You start to realise how much time you have free in the day and the free time becomes more precious.

I am more regimental with calendar blocking during the week. Weekends I will block tasks I need to remember, or if I have a busy day ahead and want to stay organised. Orignally I was solely using Google Calendar with seperate calendar folders for various elements. For example I have an ‘Editorial’ calendar and ‘Home’ which is a couple of my many calendars. This is mainly for seeing specific entries for the calendar name. 

Fantastical is brilliant for my needs as I can link external calendars, which one is also my work calendar. Plus another addition is the fact I have the app as an element on my Apple Watch face so I know what is always happening. 

Google Calendar worked well for me, but Fantastical meets all of my needs and for me is the best calendar app I have downloaded and well worth the price. Planning your day ahead is one way to be super productive and I really recommend trying this. Make sure you keep an eye for future posts about this subject which I will show you how I make this effective for my needs.

BFT App, Bear Focus Timer, Pomodoro

Staying productive is hard when you have distractions which is mainly your phone. We all are guilty of this, you could be typing a blog post, working on an urgent project and your phone pings or you see a notification. Resisting the urge to see what indeed has come through to your phone is a hard task alone. This can then lead you breaking concentration or stopping what you are doing all together. 

One way to eliminate distractions on my phone was to remove notifications. I have minimal amounts alerting me. For any social media especially, no notifications appear. I have to physically go into the app to see if someone has tweeted or liked my recent Instagram selfie. 

To take this further I decided on a timer app on my phone. These are fantastic for stopping you using your phone. Originally my first timer was Forest, I still use this app. You decide on which tree to grow which is dependant on the length of time you wish to not check your phone. Eventually if you grow enough trees and receive coins you can plant real trees for charity which is a. nice addition. Obviously if you have a sneaky peek on your phone outside of the app and go looking to see where Maureen has tagged herself on facebook then your tree will sadly die.

Then on one of my many researching moments I came across the Pomodoro Method. For this you have 25 minute sections and in between 5 minute breaks. This really helps when on big tasks and really does work.

Bear Focus Timer (BFT) focuses using the Pomodoro Method which helps you stay productive. You can even have white noise playing if you wish, I am more of a Spotify focus playlist person to be honest on that part of. the apps features. If you use your phone the bear is not going to be happy with you and makes you put that phone back down and carry on smashing your tasks. 

Mindnode App

Brain dumping is perfect for staying productive. Emptying your thoughts helps empty your brain to concentrate on the task ahead.  Also brainstorming is a method I regularly use.

MindNode is perfect for brainstorming or having a brain dump session. I again use this app at home and work. Some examples of how I use is for content ideas, planning blog posts. Over Christmas I used MindNode to plan tasks, for example Christmas Dinner, shopping, activities. The app makes this so easy to start building a structral idea. 

MinNode is one of my more recent apps, and is now also one of my most favourite. Again I love the simplicity of the app. Not only being simple to use the app makes me super productive and creative. I have been using this more recently for work when planning a project and cannot recommend enough trying to brainstorm and seeing how much you actually start building on ideas. 

Instapaper App

Instapaper is perfect for those moments when browsing the internet and you come across a page that you simply haven’t got time to browse fully but want to read some other time. 

You can set Instapaper up for a shortcut on your phone. I simply go to share and find the app icon, also you can get a desktop extension for ease of use. 

Previously I was using screenshots but they would get lost on my phone and not convenient to find the pages I wanted to re-visit. 

Other ways I use the app is for when browsing Pinterest, I find pages from pins I have checked out and want to save this for later. 

I tend to check out pages when I schedule a research hour or weekly review. A pattern with these apps is the simplicity and aesthetically pleasing look. 

Making use of your phone apps can help enhance your productivity and staying organised to your own needs You can build your own platform of apps that help make your own life easier. 

I prefer staying organised digitally as it is so easy nowadays with the technologies available to us. On twitter the other week I was chatting about apps with a fellow blogger and I mentioned how much easier I would have found staying organised when at school and college. I mean it didn’t make a difference as these apps was not around back in my days of being a teen, I would just live by my filofax and mum being my calendar. 

However now living in this digitally minded world, I am embracing apps to make life simpler. There are so many to view and try and my main tip is find what works for you based on your own needs. Hopefully this will give you an insight on apps you may not have seen before and hopefully may help your needs.

Have you got a favourite app for being productive or staying organised?

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Swindon Wyvern, Aladdin Pantomime

One of my earliest and happiest memories of my childhood, was going as a family to the pantomime. This is one tradition that I have tried to carried over with my own family. I think Christmas in one of the main times for traditions. These could be from your childhood or why not start a new tradition. 

Pantomimes are perfect for all the family, no matter what age. It is a chance to take time out from hectic Christmas preparations and enjoying time together as a family, with friends or as a night out to the theatre.  The feel good songs, lovable characters and of course the booing of the baddies. I love hearing all of the children getting excited screaming ‘he’s behind you’. Pantomimes indeed make me feel festive and ready for the Christmas build up. 

The Wyvern Theatre in Swindon, kindly invited us to attend press night and see the production of this years pantomime….Aladdin. Starring Eastenders longest cast member, Ian Beale. Otherwise known as the talented Adam Woodyatt playing the evil baddie Abanazar (commence the booing). This actually is Adam’s 12th pantomime. Last year Adam actually squirted my husband Antony in the face…..much to my amusement.

Adam Woodyatt, Aladdin, Swindon

Josie originally was thinking of the Disney classic Aladdin. This is of course the pantomime version but there are similarities such as the lamp, genie and magic carpets and of course Aladdin.

This pantomime version of Aladdin brings in many characters such as Aladdin (Adam Bailey), Princess Jasmine (Rosanna Harris), Genie (Richard J Hunt),  Widow Twankey (Neil Bromley), Wishee Washee (Gary Jerry), The Emperor (David McKechnie) and Spirit of The Ring (Crischaela Vallender).

The production is brought together by the brilliant Ensemble who brings the scenes even more to life.  A great fact I found out was the dancers are part of a Juvenile Chorus and attend local schools and colleges. This is such a great touch for getting youngsters involved and a theatre production experience.

There are many feel good songs including a couple from mine and Josie’s favourite film of 2018… The Greatest Showman. Also including a sing-a-long of Baby Shark with Wishee Washee. You can’t help but join in with the actions, mainly as the song tends to stick in your head.

Aladdin, Adam Bailey

One part of the pantomime that was magical was the scene with Aladdin soaring through the sky on the magic flying carpet. Josie’s face was an absolute picture as she couldn’t work out how Aladdin was flying. For a pantomime you expect the normal special effects like the strategically placed smoke when Abanazar appeared on stage. The flying carpet really made the pantomime shine. 

The whole cast put on an amazing production. Adam Woodyatt again was brilliant, there was a hysterical scene with Wishee Washee, Abanazar and Widow Twankey in her laundrette, which had me crying with laughter.

Wishee Washee played by Gary Jerry was one of my favourite characters. Gary encouraged the audience to join in and had everyone clapping along. I also loved the sass of The Genie, Richard who was completely suited to the roll.

This was another fantastic pantomime put on by The Wyvern in Swindon. The Aladdin pantomime production is on until 6th January 2019. Next year is Sleeping Beauty which we will be booking and hopefully be taking Rowan to his first pantomime. 

*** These tickets were gifted by The Wyvern Theatre during Press Night. All words are honest and my own thoughts. 

*** Photo Credit | Anthony Hunt Photography

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IMG_4089

First impressions of yourself and your brand are displayed in your Instagram bio. This is the section of your profile Instagram page where you can inject personality and show your best and most relevant points. Your bio is the first things a new potential follower will see. Why not het creative and make your Instagram bio stand out from the crowd.

Not only are you inviting possible new followers to your page, you are also creating a call to action  for driving traffic to your chosen destination link. Overall you want to sell yourself and your brand whilst keeping your Instagram bio current and easy to process.

The current limit text characters for your bio is 150 characters. I am going to show you ways of how I was creative with my Instagram bio. You can also use some of these methods across all of your social media platforms, perfect if like me you love consistency. 

The first task to start editing your bio, pop into the kitchen and make yourself a brew. Secondly head over to your profile page and click on ‘Edit Profile’.

Be a flamingo in a flock of pigeons and make yourself stand out from the crowd.

Profile Picture

I personally like to keep my personal branding consistent across my platforms. I feel this adds to my brand for making my profile easy to recognise. The profile picture I have on my main blog page, is the same profile picture across all of my content platforms.
Instagram Bio, Simply Stacey Blogger

Headline

Instagram defaults your heading (in bold) to your username, but you can amend and change this. One thing to remember is this is your chance to use keywords to make yourself appear in searches. You want to explain in a headline your brand/company and if possible any keywords. At the same time you want to stay relevant and not over complicate. I have opted for my brand and blog name ‘Simply Stacey’. I wanted to cover both of my main platforms of blogging and vlogging. Due to your headline being maximum of 30 characters, I had to play around with wording and decided on: SIMPLY STACEY | BLOG & VLOG. I recommend always ensure your brand name is in your headline as a non-negotialble. 

Fancy Text Editing

Why not make your headline stand out from the crowd..

I use Cool Symbol for my fancy text editing and symbols. Once you go on the site, select the ‘Fancy Text’ tab and enter chosen text. Once you have found your preferred font style, simply click ‘copy’ and paste on your headline. You can inject visual creativity by adding relevant emojis. One tip, you can use this fancy text all across your platforms. Why not make your next tweet stand out using fancy text and symbols.

Bio Body

The body of your Instagram bio is your main area for showing what your brand is all about. You want to show your targeted followers your personality, brand awareness and again the majority staying relevant. As mentioned before you have 150 characters to fill in here, so use this wisely. 

You can either write a paragraph about your brand or you can be clever with carefully placed text. This makes your bio visually easier to read at a glance. 

Using a desktop for editing your Instagram bio you will be able to select ‘Return’ and a new line will appear. If you try this on the commonly used mobile app, the paragraph lines will not align where you originally placed them. You can change this by typing your bio out in the notes app on your mobile. Once complete you can copy and paste into your bio. 

Again why not add emojis or symbols using Cool Symbols (mentioned above). This makes the bio visually pleasing. You will notice using the odd emoji will make your bio start to stand out. 

Be creative with your Instagram bio. This is the first thing your potential new followers will see. Inject your personality, showcase your personal brand....but importantly stay relevant.

Examples of Bio Body Content To Use

  • LOCATION | Let your followers know which country/county you are in. This might also be relevant for brands approaching you to collaborate
  • DESCRIPTION | Explain your brand
  • SKILLS | Are you a marketing expert? Award winning blogger? Show off your skills
  • QUOTE | About yourself or your brand. Or maybe you have a favourite quote you live by
  • PERSONAL | Do you love cats or pizza? Add an emoji or words to make you more relatable.
  • SOCIAL MEDIA | Add handles for other platforms
  • EMAIL | Let potential collaborations or customers email you. Show your email address here
  • HASHTAGS | These are only clickable and not keywords. Does your brand have a hashtag? Let your followers see it here
  • CALL TO ACTION | On the bottom line, why not showcase your link below

Call To Action

Other than your heading, your call to action is your most important section. This leads your followers to your destination url. Perhaps you have uploaded a new blog post and have shared a relevant Instagram post to show this. Most people will add to the caption and insert the text ‘Link In Bio’. Then rather than your homepage you may chose to place the direct link for the post. 

You may also chose to link your Etsy Shop, Social Media Profile. YouTube Channel or maybe you have set up to share a brand for an AD. There are so many call to actions to choose from. 

This is the problem I encountered. I run my blog page and my YouTube Channel. When I upload a video I want to insert the url for the latest content upload. Then the problem escalates….You find out you have been nominated for a UK Blog Award. Obviously you want to gain as many votes as you can so another link is needed. 

I tried using a 3rd party app called LinkTree. Researching I found this is not the best way if you are wanting to create an efficient call to action. Plus this also affects your branding. You want your link to show your branding if possible. 

Click on the image to see my links landing page

To solve this problem I created a static page for resources and links. The page is hidden from my blog, but available as a link.  The page includes buttons which link to my blogs homepage and YouTube Channel. My blog always shows latest posts, so this will always be updated. 

You can take this further by adding special posts or events. I also chose to add my social platform links. You can make the page exactly how you like. Think of this like an index for your brand. 

This has been an essential change for my bio. I love the link is all on brand. Plus as this goes straight to my site I can see the traffic results in my stats. I use this link for my other social platforms too, not just Instagram.

Simply Stacey Instagram

I hope this post has inspired you and helped to be creative with your own Instagram bio. Remember you can be creative across all of your platforms. 

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If you love Roald Dahl style books (seriously who doesn’t?!) then you will certainly enjoy reading books by Britains Got Talent judge…David Walliams. One of his many books that David has wrote is Awful Auntie and rather than making the story into a TV Production most of David’s other books, this story was instead turned into a theatrical production.

Awful Auntie is currently on a UK tour and produced by The Birmingham Stage Company. We went along to press night at the Wyvern Theatre in Swindon to watch the show. We haven’t got round to reading Awful Auntie yet, so my review is only about the show and not in comparison to the books storyline.

The production of Awful Auntie is based on the best selling children’s book (2014) by comedian and best selling author David Walliams, and is actually David’s seventh book. We have enjoyed his other books and especially the TV adaptions. Other titles include Gangsta Granny, Mr Stink, Ratburger and recently Bad Dad. The style of David Walliams is very similar to Roald Dahl, keeping children entertained ….the more gruesome the better.

Awful Auntie is set in December 1933 and starts with Stella Saxby waking up bandaged from her neck down. Recently awoken from her coma to find both of her wealthy parents have died in a horrific car crash, the newly orphaned character wakes to find her Aunt Alberta has become her guardian. You can guess by the title Awful Auntie, Aunt Alberta is not going to be a pleasant character and is solely after Stella’s inheritance to Saxby Hall.

The character of Aunt Alberta played by Richard James, reminded me of the eccentric Count Olaf from Lemony Snickett. Straight away you notice all of the characters spitting image resemblance to the books illustrations by Tony Ross.

Alberta’s faithful feathered friend, Bavarian Owl Wagner is identical to the books illustration. Wagner was brought to life with the puppetry skills of Roberta Bellekom. The giant owl was Josie’s favourite character, which she is now aspiring to be a puppeteer.

The set helps the production become real, with self rotating pillars to create different rooms. One second you are in the coal room and the next moment you are watching the characters climb over the rooftops. The set which was designed by Jacqueline Trousdale was spectacular to see how something so simple looking, can be so effective.

I personally preferred the second half of Awful Auntie, but Josie throughly enjoyed all of the performance. The first half is more of the introduction of characters and revelation of Aunt Alberta being a possible murderer. The second half is full of adventure as Stella (played by Georgina Leonidas) and cockney ghost Soot (played by Ashley Cousins) try to save Saxby Hall.

You see how masterful the set design is during the second half of the production. Every moments sound effects was all executed at correct timings. There was a lovely moment towards the end which shows a really lovely message that I personally found meaningful.

Awful Auntie Live is on at The Wyvern until Saturday 24th November 2018. The tour continues to The Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham, then off to Theatre Royal in Plymouth. Finally, over Christmas the show is available to see for a few weeks at London’s Bloomsbury Theatre. Tickets for the rest of the tour can be found online here.

Birmingham Stage Company are back at The Wyvern Theatre in April 2019 showing Horrible Histories. One we are really looking forward to is in November 2019 they are bringing Tom Gates Live On Stage. Josie-Ann has read most of the Tom Gates books and is a huge fan

(Photo Credit: Mark Douet)

Overall we really enjoyed the performance 

✰✰✰✰✰

Simply Stacey, Awful Auntie Live Swindon Wyvern

*** Gifted tickets to the production are in return for our honest review. All words are honest and our own.
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Back in 1997…. the classic film The Full Monty soon become one of the most popular film releases of that year. The thongs are back out from the closet, and The Full Monty cast and crew are back for a pants dropping UK Tour.

The Full Monty Live UK Tour 2018

The tour is currently at The Wyvern Theatre, Swindon from Monday 29th October – Saturday 3rd November. I was invited to the Press Night to review the performance, which was a sell out and packed to the rafters. The Full Monty Tour is winner of Best Touring Production Theatre Award.

“I NEED HOT STUFF”

The Full Monty UK Tour is based on the 90’s film and was wrote by Simon Beaufoy and directed by Rupert Hill. I did wonder how the film would be portrayed on the stage for a theatrical performance, I have been to musicals mainly in the past that had minimal staging to incorporate scene changes, but throughout the play the scene changes and set design had been carefully thought out and designed. The staging couldn’t have worked any better and helped the show come alive.

The all-star casting is impressive, and superbly cast for each character…..

Gary Lucy (Gaz) | Gary’s professional credits are impressive and main ones you may have seen him in is Hollyoaks, Footballers Wives, Eastenders and The Bill to name a few. Gary played the main lovable cocky character who is trying to earn some cash to keep seeing his son, brilliantly. The character originally played by Robert Carlyle in the movie, was brought to life by Gary. Being a super talented actor really helped go from funny to serious scenes and the performance was well acted throughout.

Andrew Dunn (Gerald) | Credits include Dinner Ladies, Coronation Street, Dalziel and Pascoe. I actually preferred the way Andrew played the part. I found the character was more amusing than in the film and I actually preferred the way this came across in the theatre production.

Louis Emerick (Horse) | I was trying to find the picture of this but couldn’t. I met Louis years and years ago (I was still at School) at a LFC Football Game. Louis is well known from his Brookside days and more recently Coronation Street. Again another well played character and blimey Louis has some moves on his scene of auditioning to join the lads.

Joe Gill (Lomper) | Best known for playing Finn Barton in Emmerdale, who I adored and was gutted he was killed off. I didn’t recognise him when I first seen the production was coming to Swindon, but when I found out it was Joe, I was excited to see how he would portray the part and Joe did not disappoint. There was one serious scene when you first meet the character that shocked me, but was amazingly well done and really showed the extent of making the production come alive.

Kai Owen (Dave) | I loved how Kai made the character as lovable and funny as the original character from the film. The bromance chemistry between Dave and Gaz was believable and both Gary and Kai really made the characters work together well. TV credits include Waterloo Road, Torchwood and Hollyoaks.

James Redmond (Guy) | You may recognise James from Holby City, Emmerdale, Coronation Street and another Hollyoaks cast member. James reminded me of his Hollyoaks character and was another well played performance. When Guy shows his talents, I was crying. Either was a stage mishap or it was meant to happen but either way this part was absolutely brilliant just before the interval.

Fraser Kelly (Nathan) | I love the fact that Fraser’s character seemed more involved than in the film version. Fraser was on the original UK Tour in 2014 and is back this year. Fraser gave a faultless performance as the character Nathan, and again the scenes with the rest of the cast was well acted.

Even though the theatre production of The Full Monty is only based on the film, the cast all made the character their own. Each cast member and scene did remind me of the film (which I totally feel I need to watch again), one brilliant scene was the waiting in line at the job club and dancing when the music came on. You knew as soon as you spotted the line what was coming and the laughs soon started from the uncontrollable dance moves to the groove. The attention to detail was brilliant too, from black and white TV’s, records and even a Natwest piggybank (I had some of these in my childhood days). These details really make you feel back to that era.

“YOU CAN LEAVE YOUR HAT ON”

Then was the moment everyone was waiting for! As watching you were wanting the group of friends to pull of a performance of a lifetime (as well as their clothes). I loved the staging just before the performance which was superbly well thought of. When the main performance scene came, it was made that you are the audience and really worked well with the whole feel of the show.


I wont lie….I was wolf whistling, and mum was clapping away to the well know track awaiting for the hats not to be left on. I can confirm they DID the Full Monty! The final performance was the perfect end to the production. Just as Gerald’s problem in the show….there was a standing ovation and everyone was cheering.

The show is on tour for the rest of 2018 and part of 2019, so there are plenty of dates to choose from…..dates can be found Wyvern Theatre. Hats off for all of the cast, the whole production was bloody hilarious and is well worth a watch.

Also incase you were wondering, I did not see any knickers thrown, apart from the thongs off the lads 🙂

*** Press pass tickets was provided in return of my review. All wording is my own words and completely honest.
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Do you ever look around and notice items are starting to clutter up space? Have you not used an item for months or even years? Do you feel cluttered in yourself? Then maybe it is time for a decluttering session. This may seem a daunting task, but hopefully some methods I have come across may be of help to get you started…..

Effective Decluttering Methods | Do you ever look around and notice items are starting to clutter up space? Have you not used an item for months or even years? Do you feel cluttered in yourself? Then maybe it is time for a decluttering session. This may seem a daunting task, but hopefully some methods I have come across may be of help to get you started

Please note some items have affiliate links, These have been marked with *

The benefits of having an uncluttered life is to also have your head uncluttered. I have been studying minimalism and various decluttering methods and have found these so inspiring. Decluttering increases motivation and doing this in my own home has meant I have more head space, I simply do not feel as cluttered in my home life. This is from even starting the smallest of tasks from sorting our wardrobe to a larger project of weekly tip and charity shop runs for emptying the garage.

I have also found since decluttering, I have become more money conscious. I have always been careful not to overspend, but since this challenge of living a simplified life, I have questioned ‘do I really need another book, as I have 5 unread books on my shelf’ and found myself really thinking more before making any purchases. Decluttering has not only meant everything is starting to look aesthetically pleasing, but I am more aware of my items and surroundings plus one huge benefit….there is less to clean. If you are having to move the 20 bottles of skincare ointments and creams you have (even though you realistically only probably use a couple of them) this will take you more time to clean. Being ruthless will mean you have less standing there and in return, less to move for cleaning.

Try and be mindful of the items you declutter, we only take what we can’t recycle, donate or sell to the recycling centre. Last month we made over £100 for random decluttering from the garage, and the garage has so much space now. We are planning an internal semi office conversion in the garage and the space was always an issue. There was so much junk out there and we have tried a few times clearing out, but it never looked any different. Now there is so much empty floor space.

Effective Decluttering Methods | Kon Mari

So here are my favourite decluttering methods and ways to help you start decluttering and live a simpler life……

KonMari Method

I recently read ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up*‘ by Marie Kondo, which no lie was totally motivating. By page 16 I had 3 bags of clothes for the clothing bank,  I had decluttering my wardrobe and now all of our clothes are folded in the KonMari format, which you must check out. The space you save is amazing, once you start doing this method you will wonder why you hadn’t thought of this before.

Marie Kondo helps you to declutter by category. The main thing to remember when applying this method is ‘Spark of Joy’ does the item you are holding gives you that joy, if not then discard the item. I loved the book and applied some of the methods, not all of them. I found the stroking your clothes and being thankful a little too far, but never less the book got me starting the decluttering task.

The KonMari method of decluttering, will mean this will take time. This method is for those who are serious or need that push to complete the task ahead. This is not for those who have a spare 10 minutes. For example when sorting your wardrobe, you need to empty ALL of the contents on the floor and go through each item. This may be time consuming, but the sense of achievement is immense at completing a mammoth task.

Instagram Challenges

This is a new method I have come across which was completely by accident. You know how it is when you come across a new favourite feed….you find yourself scrolling through every highlight and photo for the fantastic content.  One I found recently was @EveryDayAmazingYou on Instagram, Jessica is extremely motivational and has designed a super fun decluttering challenge, for example:

  • Day 1   | Make Up
  • Day 10 | Keepsakes
  • Day 22 | Books

Instagram challenges are extremely fun as you can see everyone’s progress, for Jessica’s challenge check out #WantLoveNeedChallenge. I hope there will be more as I definitely will be taking part in future ones. I may even try and catch the end of this challenge. Either way, it is a fantastic way again to get you started and can be broken down into small steps.

Make Lists

This method is simple and yet effective. Motivation exceeds that moment you cross of a task on a list, either by pen and paper or digitally which I love using Wunderlist, so extend this feeling of triumph for starting to declutter. Take a step back and break down areas in your home, for example I want to sort the airing cupboard. There are towels and bedding that we don’t use but keep for incase we may go through 4 sets in one night (which has never happened) so this will be added to my list.

Also you can simplify into sub-categories. An example is childrens toys, you can break down by toy category or storage space. You can sub category the kitchen for example sort your pan draw, spice rack, the kitchen draw that is for anything and everything…we all have that draw somewhere in the house. Make it as simple of long winded as you want, the main thing is as you start ticking off tasks you will soon be getting in the full swing of decluttering.

Minimalist Game

I love watching Matt D’Avella on YouTube, his editing style is awesome and Matt is who actually got me interested into Minimalism. I watched The Minimalists documentary on Netflix which was directed by Matt D’Avella and this widened my interests more into this way of living. The Minimalists are Ryan Nicodemus and Joshua Fields Millburn and they have hundreds of people joining each month in their #minsgame on social media. The format of the method is simple, on the first day of the month you declutter 1 item, on the second day of the month you declutter 2 items and so on. By the end of a 31 day month you will have decluttered 496 items (yes this took me a whole coffee frappuchino to work this out).

This method is effective for the amount of decluttering, and the purpose of building up the amount as the moth passes is to build your momentum decluttering, this helps you build confidence in your decisions for letting go of items. I love this idea, for starting out and seeing where you go with this.

Closet Hanger Method

Another new method I have come across which was originally brought to light by Oprah Winfrey is the Closet Hanger Method. Do apply this method hang all of your clothes on hangers and face all of the hangers one way. As you wear clothes you turn the hanger round the opposite way, soon after 6 months (to allow for seasons) you will see items you are not wearing and then donate, sell or take to a clothing bank the unworn garments.

I was thinking this is just a clothes way of decluttering. But I reckon you could do a list or add labels for other items, for example the kitchen cupboards or toys. See what toys your kids are not playing with or grown out of, and make way for Santa bringing exciting new toys. I have taken this approach whilst decluttering the garage, if we haven’t used it in the past year then do we really need it?

Do you feel like decluttering?

The main thing is to just go for it, these methods are simply to make decluttering achievable and motivational. Even if you spend 5 minutes decluttering a week, or one item a day… then that is still one item less than you began with. You can always take your own spin on the methods, or you can tweak all of the methods to suit your needs.
I have found the more I look round after decluttering and being organised in putting what I keep away, that I feel a great sense of achievement and in control of my home and surroundings. I have even took this to work and had a declutter in my office. I would love to hear if you try any of the above methods or are planning too?
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