Monday, 30 January 2017

Overcoming Self Doubt

We’ve all been there… those days where nothing seems to be going right, you’re in a bad mood and you just can’t seem to shake it off –cue Taylor Swift. You’re left with this overwhelming sense of self-pity, self-doubt and perhaps even self-loathing. It’s funny, Matthew would tell me I’m a complicated and confusing woman and I for one know that my mood swings can go from high to low at the drop of a hat (thank you hormones!).

So, how do you get out of your funk? Whether it’s a busy work schedule, something you’re dealing with personally or maybe a feeling of frustration because you aren’t happy with the content you are currently producing.

Today I want to share five ways I overcome self-doubt, in a bid to help some of you to.

-Be Positive: This may seem like an obvious point, but it’s an important one. It won’t always be an easy job, but the more optimistic and calm you remain, the more able you’ll be to handle life and any hurdles that might come your way. I find that it really helps to jot these things down, perhaps try meditation – you’ll be surprised how much it can lift your mood.

-Have Fun/Spend Time With Loved Ones: Nothing lifts my mood more than being around people I love. Whether it’s a catch-up with a relative or a cuddle with a family pet, you should remember to laugh a little longer and louder. Before you know it, you’ll back to your good old self.

-Exercise: This is one of the best stress management tools! There is something so therapeutic about taking time to yourself, whether you want to go for a short walk, or work out with some weights – I love getting rid of my hidden frustration by running. Not only is it great for your mind, but it has added benefits of giving you that body you’ve always wanted.

-Find Therapy In Music: When I’m feeling down or de-motivated about something, there is nothing better than popping on my headphones and a good playlist from Spotify. You should let it be something that sets you up for the day, such as 'Monday Motivation'.

-Retail Therapy: We all know the wonders of retail therapy itself and what it can do for your self-esteem; just make sure you double check your bank balance before you go on a spending spree, after-all nobody wants to be left cowering over their statement come the end of the month.

Unfortunately I think self-doubt is something I’ll always hold a personal battle with, but hopefully these steps will enable you to start your own journey. 

Do you struggle with self-doubt? How do you overcome it?

Friday, 27 January 2017

Time Out

It appears that in today's day and age our lives are pretty jam packed with things to do, to think about or if you're unfortunate enough, to stress about... but I'm sure you, very much like me, find yourself constantly running from a to b, juggling far too many tasks at once and generally just living on high energy to keep up with your demanding life - this is why we can often forget to take time out, to stop, to breathe, to get some perspective.

Now that it's officially 2017, I have decided I really want to make sure my well-being remains in good nick this year. I want to spend more time looking after myself, and more time doing something of substance, if not anything at all. So... today I thought I'd share why I think it's a good idea to take some time out and how I feel it will benefit you in the long run.

-Perspective: Often stepping away from day to day life and taking some me time; whether it be a weekend away, time with friends and family, a good book or something as simple as a walk, it's a great way to garner a little perspective. When you are willing to open your life to more than just work, it can provide you with clarity - who knows, what felt stressful before might just become manageable for you, because you have taken time to re-evaluate your situation.

-Re-energize: Taking time out can help both your body and mind. Would you believe more often than not, when you take a little time you out, you can end up feeling more energized and more motivated than if you kept ploughing on? I mean... there's only so much sugary drinks you can take, and at this point I'm inhaling them! That being said, I feel like this links in very well with my posts on 'How To Improve Your Productivity' and 'Becoming A Morning Person'.

-Get Creative: Something I have come to realize, is that when I'm relaxed, I'm creative. A relaxed state will allow you to access a different part of your brain (which some of us probably didn't know we had), so when you take time to unwind you'll find yourself feeling much more inspired and able to think clearly and creatively! That's why we come up with some of our best work when we're in the shower, or on the toilet. Take inspiration as it comes!

-Be Positive: Take time to be with your family and friends, take time out to focus on you or simply do things that you enjoy - this will boost your positivity and mood. It's so important that we have a balance in life, and that we're able to overcome our self-doubts.... taking time out to escape will definitely provide you with a clearer outlook. For instance I find great solace in writing, taking photographs, going for walks or just spending time by myself... Be reminded it won't always be as easy as this.

Do you think time out is important? How do you unwind? 

Monday, 23 January 2017

Solving Bra-blems With ThirdLove

Let me begin by saying that I was what some would refer to as an 'early bloomer' in the chest region; by the mere age of 10 I had ditched all forms of training bras and vests for one poorly-fitted by my Mum. Not only did I go unmeasured, but the bra itself stated I was a 'rock chick' in bright-pink diamante's, which were clearly visible through my white school shirt... (don't worry, I'm still cringing about it and probably will for the rest of eternity). 

ThirdLove, a San Francisco based brand who design and sell bras for the every-day woman recently got in touch. During this discussion they encouraged me to both explore and raise awareness of the world of bra-blems (or bra-problems, for any of those who hadn't quite got it). But, would you believe that a whopping 80% of us women, are actually walking around in bras that don't fit us? It certainly made me double check.

Unfortunately, even at the mere age of twenty... I doubt that I'll ever really out-grow the awkwardness that a of a bra-fitting causes, you know... where the lady rips back the curtain and there you are, standing in your washed out garments ready to be taped up, just to leave with a bra that continues to cause headaches (as pretty as they are at times). It's quite funny actually... as I'm typing this post I'm having bra-blems myself, ROGUE STRAP BRA-BLEMS.

So, let's have a look at some tips and tricks to help solve those issues:

Now that we've established quad boobs doesn't actually mean four boobs, we can start working towards correcting our bra-blems themselves. Why not start of by buying something new, with ThirdLove discount code 'BRABLEMSJAN15' for an extra 15% off your first order. 

What bra-blems are you currently having?

Friday, 20 January 2017

Thierry Mugler | Alien

'Distinctive and mysterious, yet comforting and soft; Alien by THIERRY MUGLER conveys passion, sensuality and the essence of absolute femininity’.

Unleash your celestial being with THIERRY MUGLER's Alien perfume. As mentioned above Alien is a unique scent and a bold one at that; which I find much more suited to Autumn/Winter, due to its deep, heady notes that might just be to overpowering and to out of place in Summer. It's a scent out of this world and can be instantly recognizable if worn before.

MUGLER never disappoints - I mean, does this perfume really need an introduction?. I would say that I have found myself wearing this fragrance religiously for several years at most... in-fact Matthew claims he can remember it vividly wafting through our house as teens. But, I guess that's what happens when you're a spritzaholic with a fad for collecting refillable bottles.

Would you believe Alien was released in 2005 and soon became Thierry's second major fragrance? Well... I'm not surprised!

The overall scent itself has a rich, floral, woody, amber fragrance which contains Jasmine Sambac, Cashmeran Wood and White Amber, it's a perfume whose magic trails really awaken your senses. I especially find wearing it on a night out get's me several compliments and truly believe it's the perfume you should use when you want to grab someone's attention.

Appropriately encapsulated in a deep purple glass bottle, reminiscent of a precious stone... it is designed to mimic an amethyst, a symbol of femininity and up-most refinement. A sacred talisman that is alive with intense energy and physical attraction.

I for one, thoroughly enjoy Alien's wear time and find it's one of the prettiest bottles to capture on camera as of yet.

Have you tried MUGLER's Alien perfume? What were your thoughts?

Monday, 16 January 2017

Blog Goals

As I'm sure some of you may know, Monday the 2nd of January 2017 saw the official launch of my blog 'Sheintheknow' - if you missed my Anti-Bucket list post, you can catch up here. It was through this very write up that I openly discussed how I was going to defy tradition and that's exactly what I did, but this doesn't mean I can't set aside some blog related goals for the incoming year, can it?

Setting up my blog was an extremely daunting task and as a new writer and creator I felt it was only necessary that I put my time to good use, especially when I have this little space all to myself.

So, here we have it... my blog related goals for 2017:

Goal #1 - Consistency
Since officially launching my blog on Monday, I feel it's an absolute must that I try to blog consistently, not only to keep my potential readers updated, but to ensure that my audience continues to grow at a somewhat steady pace. Although I fully intend on staying consistent with my accounts linked in with this blog, I  decided to purchase a diary... this way I'll be able to jot down what I'll be writing next, when it needs to be posted and how I'll be able to squeeze in time to plan and schedule amongst working - even if that means sacrificing 20 minutes every morning.

Goal #2 - Increase Traffic and Social Media Reach
As a new writer and creator here on Sheintheknow, it is essential that I work towards increasing my traffic and social media reach - my blog wouldn't progress otherwise. Thus I intend on joining more blog related communities and groups (as well as chats), so I'll be able to network with other writers/bloggers... I'm also going to look into advertising myself and my blog, in order to get that promotion I so long desire.

Goal #3 - Blog Design 
Despite only launching my blog on the 2nd of January, I really want to work towards ensuring my layout is professional and as easy to use as possible. This means that whilst I am publishing twice on a weekly basis, I also spend that time looking for small ways to enhance my website and my readers experience - whether it be updating an image, changing the size and font my blog is currently using or simply adding gadgets to the sidebar. I want to ensure my blog is readable, and appealing to any potential readers/followers that I may encounter.

Goal #4 Monetize your Blog
Although I love writing and publishing posts here on Sheintheknow, I also want to work towards monetizing my blog itself, this way I can ensure a wider audience will be reached. Monetizing may take shape in many forms such as; Google Adsense, or advertising spaces and products via my blog. It'll also be the perfect way of making connections with other blog owners and businesses alike.

Now to put these to work...

I hope you enjoyed today's post, have you set aside any blog related goals for 2017?

Friday, 13 January 2017

Becoming A Morning Person

Let's face it, very few of us are morning people. It's not uncommon that we hit the snooze button a few times (or a dozen), before finally mustering up enough courage to rip back the bed sheets and even then we'd need a good cup of coffee to get out of that half-asleep state, which only reminds us that we ought to become better morning people.

Surprisingly, now that I've had time to adapt to my 7am mornings, there's just something I really enjoy about being an early riser. Getting up early has allowed me to take advantage of the daylight hours (which means more time to snap photographs and write blog posts), but its also made me much more productive over the years. So today I wanted to share a few tricks I've picked up, that will enable you to become a better morning person too.

-The Snooze Button: I have a confession. There used to be mornings where I'd find myself pressing snooze every ten to fifteen minutes, for an hour straight... and every time it would happen, I'd end up feeling doubly frustrated with myself when I realized that I could have just set my alarm much later and gotten a solid hour of sleep instead of a disrupted one. Hence why I suggest you avoid pressing snooze altogether... be realistic with yourself about what time you're going to get up and stick with that plan.

-Get A Head Start: Having time to relax in the morning is great, but it can feel even more liberating when you start your day off on a productive note. When I manage to sort through my emails or reply to comments before 9am, I feel motivated and it sets the tone for the rest of the day. This also means I can end my working day much sooner than expected.

-Have A Morning Ritual: To become a better morning person, you should make mornings something to look forward to. When I used to wake up late, I'd find myself rushing to make it out of the door on time and often I was so stressed I'd forgotten something important i.e. my purse. Now, I have enough time to sit and enjoy a proper breakfast before my working day begins, not to mention I'm able to catch up on all my social accounts too.

-Hydrate: This was something I actually picked up from an article several years ago... It's absolutely essential, that after a full night's sleep you start your day with a nice tall glass of water, lemon water or a herbal tea - why? because you've just gone several hours without hydrating and this can lead to fatigue. A good way to stay hydrated throughout the day, is to drink a bottle of water before every meal.

-Routine: Once you get into the habit of waking up early, try not to break it. Obviously it's okay to give yourself a break from time to time i.e. at the weekend, but if you're going to sleep in until 3pm, it's going to be much harder to get back into your routine come Monday. Motivate yourself by sticking to plans, such as a morning walk, or brunch.

I hope these tips come in useful, but make sure that if you're going to get up early tomorrow morning, that you've also had a good/early night's sleep too!

Are you a morning person? What advice can you give to those who aren't?

Monday, 9 January 2017

'Support 2gether'

Support 2gether is a charity set up and run by two sisters; Una Leonard and Brenda McCaskie – in Northern Ireland, Co. Tyrone, Omagh. It is here they provide support for families and mothers who are living with Ante/Post-Natal Depression.

According to the NHS; it’s a common problem, affecting more than 1 in every 10 women within a year of giving birth. It can also affect fathers and partners, but is less common.

Signs someone may have post-natal depression are:
  • A persistent feeling of sadness and low mood, 
  • A lack of enjoyment and loss of interest in the wider world, 
  • A lack of energy, feeling tired all the time, 
  • Trouble sleeping at night, 
  • Difficulty bonding with your baby, 
  • Withdrawing from contact with other people, 
  • Problems concentrating and making decisions, as well as 
  • Frightening thoughts, i.e. hurting your baby.

This is where Support 2gether’s 2017 calendar comes into play. In late September 2016, Una posted online looking for a photographer, fortunately I happened to be on Facebook at the time and saw this post, so we got chatting. Una talked me through how the charity uses a sunflower as their symbol and how the group were looking into creating a calendar based around this. I couldn’t wait to get out and get shooting.

The calendar itself was released on the 14th of November 2016, enclosed in a CD case with 12 cards (one for each month) – all of which come with quotes and facts that the Support 2gether Mum’s found inspirational. A favourite was April's - 'I'm thankful for my struggle because without it, I wouldn't have stumbled across my strength', whilst my favourite fact was June's - 'One in 25 fathers live with post natal depression'. It's certainly something to think about. 

You can find Una and Brenda on Facebook or their website @ Support 2gether.

Remember, it's important to Talk. 

Friday, 6 January 2017

How To Improve Your Productivity

Tip sharing is something I want to entertain on Sheintheknow - whether it be a simple do's and don'ts write-up or in particular a 'How To Improve Your Productivity' post... There is no denying, we all secretly wish we were better at being productive, goodness knows how many evenings I've spent fretting over assignments or wondering how on earth I'll achieve that perfect Instagram feed.

Running Sheintheknow has certainly opened my eyes a bit, alongside working full-time and juggling general life demands it can all be a bit of a challenge, a daunting one... but I feel mastering organisation and learning how to be more productive will be two tricks that will help ensure things are much more manageable in the long term - who knows, I might even take my own advice this time.

How To Improve Your Productivity:

-Today's Activities (To Do): Create a to do list. This may seem like the most obvious thing to do, but writing a to do list, not only for work deliverable's but life admin and blog related tasks and projects can really help establish a clear picture of what needs doing and when. It will keep you well organised, but also ensure you remain productive. Besides if you're anything like me, ticking everything off will make you want to internally burst with glee!

-Organise: Very much linked to having a to do list, a diary or notebook will keep you on-top of key projects, dates, meetings, work or blog deliverable's, events and if you're lucky holidays. Learn how to manage your time effectively so the jobs required are done efficiently.

-Stay Positive: The most important thing of all is to stay positive. This won't always be an easy job but the more optimistic and calm you remain, the more able you'll be to handle life and any hurdles that might come your way. No more stressing, flapping or smacking the keyboard, spend some time on delivery and if you need to take a break remember that it's absolutely okay. Your well-being is a critical element to success, so don't forget to schedule time for it.

-Take A Break: Alongside staying positive, it's essential that you take breaks as and when required. Often when you're juggling a lot or working on something quite demanding you might feel overwhelmed, stressed or perhaps even tired. I know I'd certainly love to be somewhere sunny right now, but unfortunately a weekend away will have to wait for the time being. Actually on the topic of taking breaks... as a frequent migraine sufferer, I find stress can leave me feeling deflated, although it would be interesting to hear your suggestions on what a suitable break is.

-Don't Over Promise: You might as well accept it now, but sometimes its just not possible to get everything done. I know I'm constantly trying to multi-task, committing to too much and pushing myself to wrap things up as quickly as possible... ultimately this just ends up stressing me out and if there's one thing that hinders productivity, that's stress. Be selective, but be conscious of any decisions you choose to make.

There are of course no rights or wrongs, but for me I think these factors really drive my productivity and ensure I stay on-top of my blog, social life and work.

Do you have any suggestions on how to improve your productivity? 

Monday, 2 January 2017

The Anti-Bucket List

Two thousand and sixteen for me; was a year of both personal growth and discovery. To say it was one of most testing periods of my life would be an understatement, so whilst the whole concept of starting a-new is very appealing, I have decided to defy tradition and gone on to compile a list of things I did achieve throughout the year.

From memory, Lauren Laverne called this 'The Anti-Bucket List' in January 2016's edition of GLAMOUR Magazine, dismissing all the silly things she says she should be doing and listing all the amazing stuff she'd already done - this is why I have decided to take a leaf out of L's book, there's nothing like blowing your own trumpet is there?

The Anti-Bucket List:

  • Matthew and I started dating in January 2016. 
  • I got my nose pierced.
  • I traveled to London/England for the first time,
  • Staying mainly in Kingston upon Thames and New Malden.
  • Matthew and I visited Killybegs in Donegal (The Slieve League Cliffs being the highlight).
  • I went blonde during the Summer holidays. 
  • I took my first train and plane trip this year. 
  • I saw G-Eazy, Marc E. Bassy and Nef the Pharaoh live in Brixton/London. 
  • I saw Oliver Heldens and Tiesto live at Belsonic in Belfast.
  • Matthew and I went to the ECS Championships in England, where we met NIP (Ninja's in Pyjamas). 
  • Matthew's family adopted Coco, she's a Cocker Spaniel / Poodle mix. 
  • I walked the Giants Causeway with Mum and Dad. 
  • I adopted a little black kitten for a while, we named her Poppy. 
  • I started baking in 2016 - surprisingly I've become a real whiz at making Fifteens, Rice Crispy Squares and Trifle. 
  • I made my first big purchase with the NIKON D7200. 
  • Matthew and I walked for Alzheimer's Society in Belfast, raising £527.32.
  • A few weeks after this, my sister and I completed AWARE NI's Mood Walk in Omagh. 
  • I set up my own business, after quitting my job spontaneously and it's been an experience all on its own. 
  • I completed my BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Health and Social Care and passed. 
  • I celebrated my twentieth birthday in September. Shout-out to Matthew's dad for baking the cake. 
  • I photographed a calendar for 'Support 2gether' - a post natal depression group,
  • I dropped 12 inches and 3lbs over Christmas. 
  • I was offered a job without interview - I took it.

What did you achieve in two thousand and sixteen?
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