SHE IN THE KNOW

STYLE, LIFE & TRAVEL


The Itty Bitty Book Co. was established in 2013 by husband and wife - Astra and Al, who run their entire business from home; in Northern Ireland. According to the website, everything you see is 100% made in Ireland, has been recycled, is eco-friendly or is ethically sourced.

If you follow my Facebook page closely, you'll know that I became an ambassador for the Itty Bitty Book Company at the beginning of February. I applied for this position because I was thoroughly enjoying their Positivity Takeover and felt that their pocked-sized books were a great help for me, on days where I was feeling a bit anxious or just a bit down in the dumps. Of course I wanted to support the movement, so I went on to purchase the 'Itty Bitty Inspiration Box' - I simply couldn't decide which book I wanted more, so I opted to purchase all three! The Inspiration Box included a Positivity, Motivation and Strength Book, all of which were jam-packed with over 75 individually designed quotes, there truly is inspiration for every mood.

My favourite thing about these books is that due to their unique miniature size, I can slip them into my hang-bag and read them on the go. I've even passed some of the quotes on-to friends and family to help motivate them too. So, with that being said - here are three ways I hope to spread positivity in 2017: 

1. Encourage Others:
Studies have shown that a lot of our happiness comes from making other people happy (did that really need a survey?). If we build positive relationships and motivate other people, we end up feeling good about ourselves - which builds confidence and leads to a more positive perspective. This is where blogging comes into play - in 2017 I want to empower and encourage my readers, to step out of their comfort zone - to push boundaries. I want to improve my self-worth and your self-worth, so let's kick butt together. 

2. Be Genuine, Give Compliments:
Compliments are amazing, but often rare. I like to listen to my readers and be genuine in my responses. I want my family, friends and online circle to feel appreciated - so if giving a sincere compliment will help, then I'm more than willing to try. In-fact Olivia from The Northernist, left a comment under my post on '5 Things To Do When Choosing Your Career Path', letting me know all about her exciting new venture as a full-time Baker and I was genuinely giddy for her! I might just have to ask for some baking tips and tricks. 

3. Pay It Forward:
Keeping in theme with the Itty Bitty Book Co's, 'pay it forward' movement - I want to help spread positivity on-to others. I'm going to leave happiness cards around my hometown, in the hope that it'll help someone having a bit of a rough day. I'm also going to encourage my blogging friends, and interact more with my readers online to ensure they know, just how appreciative I am of their time and effort. I think I'm just going to do me this year. 

I hope you enjoyed today's post, how are you going to spread positivity in 2017?

In late two thousand and sixteen, I had been handed what most would refer to as a 'predicament' - this predicament affected every aspect of my life; but most importantly my career. I finished my High School education by 2014, not knowing fully what it was I wanted to pursue, so I opted to follow in the footsteps of my Mum. I studied Health and Social Care for two years, worked as a Healthcare Assistant for a year and 6 months, but miraculously decided that I'd had enough of it and I quit - finito.

It's quite strange, I had assumed by now I'd have my shit somewhat together. I'm twenty years old - I should have landed my dream job, be driving a car and possibly looking at houses... but instead I'm sitting at home, binge-watching How I Met Your Mother.

It's safe to say that I've had quite a few set-backs over the years, but I'm thankful that I was given time off to think about what I want to pursue. In-fact I've been researching courses in Pharmaceutical Science, Photography and Digital Marketing, because these are subjects that I'm excited about.

So, I have compiled a list of 5 things to do when choosing your career path - who knows it might just help you regain some focus. 

-Take Opportunities: Finding out what it is you want to do with your life and what career you'd like to have, it's all an exciting prospect and the key to working it out is simply to try new things. Take opportunities when they arise, test them and learn, work out what you enjoy and what you don't - but most importantly learn from your experiences. The more opportunities you choose to embrace the more you'll learn, the more people you'll meet and the bigger your network will become... before you know it you'll have stumbled upon something that might feel just right.

-Embrace Your Passions: It's funny, I have quite a handful of passions and hobbies, but I would have never thought those passions could potentially stand as a career. For instance; blogging is one of those that has proven it's possible, if you love what you're doing... if you put in enough effort, you'll be surprised with the outcome. If you're not sure where to start, a good idea is to jot down some of your passions, figure out what it is you enjoy doing.

-Stop Overthinking: Don't we just love to over-analyse, over-worry, over everything... If you don't know what to do when you 'grow up' shall we say, don't worry about. Think about the here and now, live for the moment and stop worrying so much about the future (advice which I'm still trying to wrap my head around). Let's remember; what we love today we might hate tomorrow, so stop overthinking and over-analyzing every situation.

-Set Goals: Finding your perfect career or job should be as much about your actual life, as it is about your work. When it comes to working out what it is you want from life, or your working life shall we say... you need to think about the bigger picture (what brings you happiness?). Setting goals will help you focus and feel as though you are actually working towards something achievable. It doesn't necessarily have to be the answer, but setting small short term goals will help you discover what it is you want and more importantly make you feel as though it is possible.

-You Only Live Once: Typing this made me internally cringe, but for the purpose of this post I'm going to be one of those people. Stop fretting, enjoy yourself while you're here and focus on finding happiness. Remember what's most important is that you are in good health, you are happy and you are surrounded by those you love. If you don't know what you want to do, who cares? - no one really knows what they want, especially when life is so unpredictable.

Did you find this post helpful? What do you work as? 

As some of you might know, creativity can be illusive - it appears that the more we go searching for it, the harder it is to grasp. We'll have days where everything we've taken photographs of, or attempted to write about comes off a bit forced, or samey and your brain isn't lighting up quite how you'd expect it to. This is natural; it's natural for our work to come in bursts and waves, especially as a blogger.

If you've become a regular reader here at sheintheknow.co.uk, you may have noticed that I post on Monday's and Friday's, but this doesn't come without the occasional creative funk and as frustrating and as stressful as this can be at times, I have to simply learn to move on.

So, here are a few self-help tactics to get you out of that creative rut:

1. CLEANSE YOUR WORK-SPACE:
You've got a few deadlines on the horizon, but your creativity has decided it's going to take the week off and you've just about had enough - we've all been there. Even though you might feel as though you need to push yourself to focus, taking a break to cleanse your work-space can be one of the best things you do. I find having a clean and well-organized work-space helps me get things moving. I mean I've just found notes from three years ago in my bottom drawer, so it's about time I did a bit of a deep-clean.

2. LOOK FOR INSPIRATION:
We all look to sources for inspiration; such as Pinterest or Instagram, because they give us a window into the outside world and allow us to be inspired by what others are seeing and doing around us. It's important that we don't narrow our focus and leave ourselves feeling deflated because we're seeing the same thing over and over again. Remember to look elsewhere for inspiration; such as books or events that are on-going in our own lives - perhaps spending time with family and friends will inspire you to think of new topics.

3. REMEMBER TO DISCONNECT:
It's important that we disconnect from social media sometimes, to make sure that we're really looking after ourselves. Are we getting enough exercise? Are we eating the right amount of foods? When was the last time we had a tall glass of water? If you aren't feeling 100%, your brain won't either. Taking some me-time will in effect help top up your creativity reserves - disconnect from the internet for the evening and just go for a walk, or read a book. It will help boost both your mood and productivity. You can read all about how I'm improving my productivity here.

4. DEFINE YOUR MISSION:
As a blogger I like to spend time working out how I want my content to serve you, the reader. I like to think about delivery and topics that are both personal to me, but useful to you. I want my posts to be both helpful and informative, yet humorous in some way. You should define your mission; what are you passionate about? Is it a product or an experience you want to share?

Have you ever been in a creative rut? How did you get out of it?

Now that January is well and truly over with (thank goodness eh?), I thought it would be the perfect time to sit down, with my ginger-nut biscuits and over-sized cup of tea, to have a proper look back over two thousand and sixteen, with a somewhat fresh mind and rationally evaluate it - or at-least make an attempt to.

Two thousand and sixteen for me; was a year of both personal growth and discovery, but it was also one of most testing periods of my life - in-fact that's why I decided to defy tradition in my 'Anti-Bucket List' post on January 2nd. Nonetheless I'm sure at some stage during the course of the year, we all learnt some serious life lessons; from self-love and self-care, to stress management and productivity, but did we really take these lessons into consideration? Will we continue to learn from them in 2017?

Here are 3 life lessons I learnt in 2016:

1. Just Let Go -
People will come and go, friends won't always be on the same page and colleagues you thought you knew, won't actually turn out to be who you originally thought they were. You will want different things and you'll get fed up trying to hold on. You need to learn to 'just let go' and accept that what you've been experiencing over the last few months, will actually contribute to who and what you are now. You'll stop being anxious eventually and you'll start realizing you have the potential to do anything you set your mind to.

2. Don't Let People Define You
Ever heard that saying 'everything happens for a reason'? it's true - you shouldn't listen to people who are only there to spite you. You need to stop believing what other people are saying and own your strength, be self-loving and self-caring. You'll leave your current job, take some time out and come back fighting. You're a #GIRLBOSS and you're going places - but perhaps you should listen to your gut more often.

3. Be Self-Loving And Self-Motivated -
It'll sound absolutely absurd to you and very cliche, but you'll learn to start self-loving and self-motivating yourself. You'll learn to take better care of your mind and body and you'll start to embrace your uniqueness. You will take control of your life and what happens next. You'll fall in love with writing and you'll use it as a way to reach out to people who are just like you - you are about to become the most determined person you'll ever be.

What life lessons did you learn in 2016? 

It's funny how we all assume we should have our shit together by the time we're in our twenties. We'll want to have landed our dream jobs by now, be in a somewhat stable relationship, possibly have our own house - or if you're like me, you'll want a dog you can dress up in human clothing. But, this isn't always the case with some of us and that's okay.

It takes time to realize that things won't just fall into your lap. We'll spend our twenties learning the ins and outs of what will be required of us, we'll struggle to find our feet at times but we'll still manage it and then soon we'll realize that we're never really going to be prepared and we're about to spend the rest of our lives just winging it - oh the joys.

So; to make it look like I'm getting my life together, here are 6 life skills I want to master in my twenties:

1. HOW TO COOK:
Being able to cook a family dinner or even a mid-week spaghetti is an important life skill to master in your twenties - I should know, because Matthew's the chef in our relationship and as far as cooking goes, I'm lucky if I can peel the spuds right. This is why I want to get a few recipes under my belt, I want to experiment more often with my food - no more Pot Noodles or Cheese on toast here! Although in saying this, my Mum did teach me how to whip up a batch of Fifteens and a tray of Rice Crispy Squares - so if you want buns for life, I'm your woman.

2. HOW TO MAKE SMALL TALK:
Please raise your hand, if you've found yourself scrolling through Instagram when you're feeling awkward in a social situation - I can't say this is something I find myself doing quite as frequently, but during College I was damn guilty of it. This is why in my twenties, I want to learn how to spark up an interesting conversation with someone. I want to learn how to make small talk - you'd be surprised what a brave few minutes could do for you.

3. HOW TO SELF-CARE:
In my twenties I want to learn the importance of self-love and self-care. I want to know which foods will nurture my body and which foods won't. I want to learn the importance of exercising daily and how to come to terms with my 'so-called' imperfections. I want to put some time aside for my mental and physical health - actually, I've made a brilliant start,  by loosing over half a stone this year already *pats self on back*.

4. LEARN HOW TO DEAL WITH CRITICISM AND REJECTION:
Our twenties are a time for exploration and development; whether it be an academic, personal or career choice. It's important that we understand everyone gets rejected and that it's okay. Some things will work out and some things won't - I want to learn how to move forward from this, as a stronger and more determined person than before. I want to learn how to quit dwelling on things that don't really matter.

5. LEARN HOW TO STAND UP FOR YOURSELF/MAKE DECISIONS:
Whether it's at work, out with friends or even in the comfort of your own home - you should never let anyone make you feel small. I want to learn how to voice my opinions in a controlled manner, on topics I feel passionately about. I want to learn how to make important life decisions for myself in my twenties.

6. ASPIRATIONS - LEARNING HOW TO HAVE A LONG VIEW:
Writing, or essentially blogging - has been a dream of mine for some time, it's this dream that has continued to push me forward; no matter how many people have told me that it's unrealistic and silly of me to rely on blogging alone. Yes, it may take a few months or even a few years, but anything is possible if you put your mind to it. I need to remind myself that being in my twenties isn't a race and by developing a long view, I'll have the ability to see beyond the immediate set-backs and see them as small detours or rather bumps along the way.

What life skills do you want to master in your 20's?
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