Friday, 31 March 2017

The Blogger Essentials Box By Dot Creates

Dot Creates is an online stationary and gift shop based in Essex. The business was established in 2015 by Danielle Timcke; who according to the website was originally a painter and lifestyle blogger at Dot About Town. With her penchant for painting Danielle quickly merged her blog, business and art and design experience into building Dot Creates - DOT being a clever play on her own initials.

If you have been following my social accounts closely, you'll know that I have been actively boasting about Danielle's work since the beginning of the year. In-fact I used her 'Ultimate Blog Planner' in my 'Important Life Lessons I Learnt Last Year' post and soon after purchased her 'Dream Big, Dream Often Print', 'Get Shit Done A5 Notebook' and 'Gold Foil Pencil Set' for my Facebook giveaway... However, most recently I did manage to get my hands on the 'The Blogger Essentials Box' and I am more than pleased with it.

The Blogger Essentials box contains a mixture of Dot Creates best selling and/or most popular products if you prefer, all with the purpose to help you stay organised and inspired whilst at work. Gift wrapped in white tissue paper and bubble wrap, then fastened together by a pocket sized print with spotty yellow washi tape - it's the perfect gift for any blogger.

Inside the box you will find four gold foil pencils engraved with; I NEED COFFEE, UM..., PUT THAT MAGIC ON PAPER and EAT SLEEP BLOG REPEAT. My collection of pens and pencils is quite extensive, but these are by far my favourite as the unique design stands out from my usual black and yellow Staedtler sets.

Alongside the pencils Danielle also included the Ultimate Blog Planner in peach. This is an all-in-one, A5 blog planner and is the perfect way to keep both your daily life and blog content well organised. It's small enough to carry in your handbag and easy to write on. With daily space, loads of post planning pages, upcoming events, sponsored content space and note pages; it's the planner of all planners - you won't need another. 

Also included were two hand drawn, motivational sticker sheets under; 'Believe and Achieve' and 'You Got This!' - they will certainly keep you going through tough assignments and/or blog related deadlines. You can pop them in your diary, on your notebook, laptop or perhaps even on the back of your phone as reminders.

Skillfully cut into an A6 sheet, with a glossy finish, these are an adorable addition to the blogger essentials box and will allow you to remain minimalistic, yet colourful all at the same time.

Next Danielle added four hand drawn quote designs, printed on premium thick paper stating; Eat Sleep Blog Repeat, Do More Of What Makes You Happy, Life Is Better In Rose Gold and Learn To Rest, Not Quit into the box.

I'm really looking forward to hanging these in frames above my bed or if you're looking for a decorative piece for your desk, you can purchase a wooden print stand from the Dot Creates website and have it sit pride of place, beside your abnormally stained cup of coffee come Monday morning.

And finally, what better way to organize your thoughts than with this cute 'Blog Planner Notepad'. With a large space to jot your ideas down, a content to-do section and the added bonus that this notepad actually makes a fantastic photo prop - this really is a blogger essential.

Printed on A5 tear-away sheets, you can use this as a space to brainstorm when having your favourite hot chocolate in Cafe Nero, or perhaps even sitting on the train to work. I can't wait to see what Danielle conjures up next.

Have you purchased the Blogger Essentials Box yet? What are your thoughts?

Friday, 24 March 2017

Part 2: How To Get A Better Nights Sleep

It would be safe to assume that very few of us are morning people. It's not uncommon that we might hit the snooze button a few times (or a dozen), before finally mustering up the courage to rip back the bed sheets... but even then we'd still need a strong cup of coffee to get us out of that half-asleep state, which only reminds us that we ought to become better morning people.

Whilst I did write a post on 'Becoming A Morning Person' this year, it's safe to say a lot has changed since then. For example; I have just started working in a florists, which means I'm not required to wake up at silly o'clock anymore - thank god. It would also come as no surprise, that productivity starts with a good nights sleep. Even if you are getting the recommended 7-10 hours each night, the quality of sleep you get is really important, this is why I have compiled a list on:

'How To Get A Better Nights Sleep' -

Erratic sleep patterns can leave you feeling out of whack, so a regular sleep schedule may just be what you need. Routine is one of the easiest ways to get a better night sleep. For instance, going to bed and waking up at the same time each day can really help your body adjust, this way you’ll start to fall asleep naturally. It also means you’ll spend less time fidgeting and worrying, but in-fact more time resting properly.

There’s no end to the research telling us that our phones are often the cause of a shitty night’s sleep. Apparently, the constant need felt to be glued to our devices causes us a great deal of worry. Plus, spending time on our phones makes us less likely to engage in other stress-reducing activities, such as exercise or reading. Swap your late night scroll with a good book, and you will find yourself with a clear, sleep-inducing mindset.

Whether it’s a calming yoga session, endorphin boosting cardio or perhaps even weightlifting, exercise is a great way to eliminate stress. Plus, if you work out later in the day, those mood-boosting endorphins are likely to keep negativity at bay when you’re trying to fall asleep. Not to mention that you will be extra tired, meaning your brain won’t fight the rest it needs. A good way to start is to set some fitness goals.

It’s not just what you eat – it’s when you eat. While you know that it’s not a good idea to go to bed on an empty stomach, being stuffed is just as bad. Having dinner around the same time each night will help keep your whole body on track. Also, limit how much you drink before bedtime to avoid trips to the bathroom – it’s a real pain in the neck when you’ve just found your comfy spot and all of a sudden you’re busting for a piss. Say no to interrupted sleep!

Do you have a night time routine? What advice would you give to someone trying to get a better night sleep?

Monday, 20 March 2017

Setting Fitness Goals

I'm sure this isn't the first time you'll have heard someone talk about the importance of goal setting and it's most definitely not going to be the last. But cliches aside, understanding the importance of goal setting and knowing how to set targets that suit you; is a crucial element in accomplishing great things.

'I Am Overweight' was the first time I talked about body confidence on my blog, that and my experience with weight gain and weight loss in general. Embarking on this journey hasn't been an easy ride however, its meant adjusting to a lot of new things such as; changing my routine to prioritize exercising as the first thing I do each morning, its meant constantly reminding myself to drink more water and to stop eating all the biscuits! But this doesn't mean I'm going to go cold turkey with my shitty habits come Monday morning, no... for once I'm setting goals that are achievable to me - achievable in a sense that, this is a life change and not a quick fix.

Here are my top 5 tips on 'Setting Fitness Goals'

1. Set SMART Goals:
SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. These are commonly used in goal setting for businesses, but are now becoming quite frequently used with blogging and fitness related targets to. With SMART goals, you should set aside a purpose and an intention for what you are trying to accomplish. Once you are specific with your fitness goals, you can slowly start to measure your progress week by week. Keep these goals realistic and attainable to you – remember 1 lb to 2 lbs a week is perfectly healthy and acceptable in terms of weight loss.   

2. Create A Morning Routine:
Start your day with movement. Change up your routine to prioritize exercise as the first thing you do each morning, before or after a healthy breakfast - this gets your body moving, blood flowing and will increase your mood throughout the day. You’ll even notice a boost in your productivity, but if you’re still struggling with that… you should read my post on ‘How ToImprove Your Productivity’.

3. Accept Failure And Disappointments:
Have you ever heard that saying ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’? – this was a quote that hung in every classroom in my high school and it was something I can remember myself reading and re-reading over and over again in morning report. You need to accept that with every success, is a story of many failures. Don’t expect to lose 5 stone over night, but don’t give up on the idea either.  Give yourself the grace and self love you need to encourage yourself every step of the way – sometimes, you just have to be your own cheerleader.

4.  Show Up For Life:
Always try your best to be fully present in your efforts. Whatever your fitness goals are, make sure you make the most of your workout sessions. Be present and leverage your time spent in anything that you do – get rid of distractions. I often ignore my phone when I’m exercising, because this is essentially ‘my time’, that and I’m absolutely terrified of falling on the treadmill.

5.  Ask For Help:
The best thing I ever did for myself was to say my goals out loud. I told my friends, I told my family, I posted about it on Instagram. Doing this helped build a support network and a community of men and women who were on the same page as me. Starting anything new can be scary, you can feel alone and overwhelmed all at the same time… but when you have friends and loved ones cheering you on, it really makes the journey towards a healthier and better you, that little bit sweeter.

What fitness goals have you set aside this month? Have you achieved them yet?

Friday, 17 March 2017

5 Blog Organisation Tips And Tricks

Sometimes trying to keep your blog life organised can be surprisingly difficult. If there aren't comments to reply to, there are posts to plan and shoot, optimization to be done, never mind countless hours of promotion needing attended to - it can all feel a bit overwhelming as a newbie. I often find myself awake during the middle of the night, because I have forgotten to get back to someone or know that I have a post due in a day's time, yet haven't come up with a topic to discuss quite yet... although this isn't without want of trying.

Running She In The Know has certainly opened my eyes a bit, alongside working and juggling general life demands it can all be a bit of a challenge, a daunting one... but I feel mastering organization and learning how to be more productive will be two tricks that will help ensure things are much more manageable in the long run.

So, I've decided to share my top 5 Blog Organisation Tips And Tricks:

1. 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. This will ensure you stay organised and productive with your time. Besides if you're anything like me, ticking everything off will make you want to internally burst with glee! - I find splitting my to do lists up into sections such as; photographs, links and text, really help when it comes to scheduling and staying focused on the main tasks at hand.

2. Schedule:
When working on your blog part-time or even full-time for that matter, it's essential that you learn how to schedule (trust me, it will make your life a thousand times easier). If you're not able to hit publish at a set time each day, most platforms will allow you to schedule in advance. You can schedule tweets and Facebook status' - this way you have more time to focus on writing blog posts and less time stressing about promotion, because essentially the job has already been done for you.

3. Plan:
With scheduling, comes planning. Blogging can be a time consuming hobby and I know how overwhelming it can feel, especially when you want to put more time into it than you actually have available. Try planning ahead; give yourself more time to gather everything you need. Plan what your post is going to be about and write down everything you may need for it. Do you need to pick up any products? Do you need to take photographs? Is there any research you need to carry out? - allow yourself some time to sit down and have a proper think about what it is you want to discuss.

4. Write It All Down:
Any idea is a good idea. No matter what time of day that idea comes into your head, no matter how basic or complicated it might be, just write it all down. I have an entire notebook filled with lists upon lists of blog post ideas - I'm pretty sure this even made the cut at some point, but it's really important that you remember to just jot things down. You'll be surprised how one small idea; can become an entire discussion and/or topic of its own.

5. Take A Break:
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. I try to plan at-least one-two nights a week, so that I can have more time to myself - because we all know the important of self-care and a little me-time. 

Writing a blog should be a fun and uplifting experience, so please take these tips lightly - although I do hope they come in handy for someone, in-fact I suggest you read my post on 'How To Improve Your Productivity' next.

Monday, 13 March 2017

L'Oreal Pure Clay Detox Face Mask


High street beauty brands continuously impress me with their new launches of affordable and hard-working products; the latest from L'Oreal Paris being just one of them. I can't say that I have ever been someone who would openly go out of their way to purchase a face mask, in-fact I don't know much about skincare at all and make-up is something you'd be lucky to see me wearing once or twice a year. But this doesn't mean I won't test the waters, after-all I am prone to buy a Mac lipstick every now and again.

L'Oreal Paris' new range consists of three face masks; each designed to target specific problems we face when it comes to our skin - such as shine, congestion or just general dullness.

The Masks:
Detox - Detoxifies and Clarifies.
Glow - Brightens and Exfoliates.
Purity - Purifies and Mattifies. 

According to their website, all three masks contain three 'pure clays' which have their own skin-loving properties, giving us this idea that there really is a mask for everyone - but there is no reason not to multi-mask up and target all three issues at once. In-fact my Mum purchased the collection as a Christmas gift for me and I've been using them quite religiously ever since.

Detox is definitely my favourite from the collection - enriched with Black Charcoal, which acts like a magnet to draw our impurities (be gone spotty chin). The creamy texture of this deep cleansing face mask detoxifies the skin's surface and really works deep into the pores, leaving your face feeling and looking well cleansed and moisturized. It's the first mask of its kind and one which doesn't leave you feeling as though your skin is being pulled tight or flaking because it's too dry.

Not only this, but the packaging really does the mask justice - this and the fresh smell protruding from the box as soon as you lift it off the shelf.

Ingredients include:
Koalin -
A highly effective natural clay, known to absorb impurities and excess sebum.

Rich in minerals, a clay recognized for helping to eliminate imperfections.

A pure clay highly concentrated in minerals, renowned to help clarify complexion.

Originally the masks were priced in Superdrug at £7.99, but have since been reduced to £6 - so make sure you snap them up quickly. 

Have you tried L'Oreal Paris' new collection yet? Which were your favourite? 

Friday, 10 March 2017

5 Reasons Why You Should Start A Blog

I have embraced numerous hobbies throughout my life, such as; dance, performing arts, singing, cello, guitar, football and most recently photography - just to name a few. But despite these hobbies bringing me great satisfaction, I have found myself partaking more often than not in blogging these days, which means that although I thoroughly enjoy my other hobbies and interests, I haven't been giving them quite as much of my undivided attention as I should be and you're probably wondering why is this?

Blogging is a hobby I regularly recommend to others. I started She In The Know on January 2nd 2017 as a personal tool - to journal, to work on my writing and to give myself something else to focus on besides working or exercising; however somewhere along the line, it became less about writing and more about the story of me and who I am as a person. Blogging changes you; as a writer, as a creator, as a friend, as a sibling and as an individual - you become passionate, you become confident and you become more open-minded in day-to-day life, without even noticing it at times.

Thus, here are '5 Reasons Why You Should Start A Blog':

At its core, writing is a form of communication. It's all about recording thoughts and compelling others to agree with them and to that end, writing (just like all other forms of communication) can be improved upon, with practice. Blogging will not by any means force you to become a better writer, it'll just happen and becoming a better writer will hold important benefits for the rest of your life - whether you're writing a book, creating a presentation, updating your curriculum vitae or perhaps writing something personal, like your wedding vows. Blogging has made me much more conscious of how I write on a whole, for instance; what words I should incorporate and how my posts should be played out to you, my reader. 

Blogging requires time, patience, devotion, commitment and most importantly discipline - just to be clear these are all things you should try to embrace, if you hope to take your writing and/or blog to the next level. Since starting my blog, I have become a runner, a cyclist and someone who thoroughly enjoys lifting weights. I spend much more time looking after myself than I've ever done before, despite pulling many a late night to work on my content.

Blogging not only changes your life, but it changes the life of your reader and because blogs are free for the audience and open to the public, on many levels, this would be seen as an act of giving. It is a selfless act of service to invest your time, energy and worldview into a piece of writing, only then to offer it for free to anyone whom wants to read it. You will find yourself more often than not, inspiring those around you and it's a wonderful feeling - never be embarrassed by this.

Quite surprisingly blogging will help you discover more confidence in you and your day-to-day life. You will quickly realize that you do live an important life, with a very unique view - you will realize that you have something to offer others and thus it should be shared. I find that my own self-worth has improved since starting my blog, despite getting butterflies each time I press publish (clearly, I have a lot of work to do).

Whether it's through comments, emails or even social media itself, you would be surprised how quickly you can meet people online and by people I mean legitimately form relationships that seek to serve one another. From experience the blogging community is friendly, encouraging and genuinely cheering for you to succeed - the only thing missing now, is you. 

Are you a content creator? Why did you start blogging?

Monday, 6 March 2017

Becoming A Girl Boss & Giveaway

In 2006, Sophia Amoruso; a 22-year old hitchhiking, dumpster-diving, high school dropout with too much time on her hands, launched an eBay store called 'Nasty Gal Vintage' - a clever nod to the bad-ass funk singer Betty Davis' 1975 album. But this wasn't your Mum's typical prized collection of cobweb covered, out-of-shape tunics - no no. What began as a knack for finding buried treasures, among stuffy estate sales soon became one of the fastest-growing retailers in the world.

#GIRLBOSS is brimming with brazen wake-up calls, cunning and frank observations and behind-the-scenes stories from Nasty Gal's meteoric rise, it certainly covers a lot of ground. #GIRLBOSS proves that success doesn't come from where you went to college, or how popular you were in high school. Success is all about trusting your instincts, taking risks, knowing which rules to follow and which rules to break.

How To Become A #GIRLBOSS - according to Sophia Amoruso:

1. Keep Your Goals In Sight, Literally.
Amoruso believes in the use of abstract words and symbols that represent your goals. As eccentric as that sounds, she treats her internet passwords as promises to herself or financial goals for her ever-growing company. This ensures that when she's feeling a bit bogged down with day-to-day bureaucracy and details; she doesn't lose sight of what she really wants. I think we could all do with taking a leaf out of Sophia's book - setting goals, both big and small will ensure that you have room to grow, it will ensure that you are continuously moving forward and if like me you enjoy ticking things off, it will make you want to internally burst with glee. Hitting blog goals is a great example of this.

2. Leave Your 'Entitled To' Attitude At The Front Door.
Whining about your job because 'you have more to offer' will not fly. In an ideal world you'd never have to do things that are below your position, but this isn't an ideal world and it's never going to be... To be successful, you need put in the time and hard graft - who do you think is going to file invoices if you don't? There are no work fairies, as wonderful as that would be! So just remember that everything will be trial and error and often you'll find yourself doing the dirty work.

3. Small Milestones Can Add Up.
Amoruso admits that she never would have created a multi-million dollar business, if that's what she had initially set out to do. Instead she started small: she purchased the clothing, she styled the models, she took the photographs and she then uploaded them onto eBay herself. Business is all about taking sensible risks - learn to set goals and work to achieve them.


The #GIRLBOSS Giveaway:

After reading the inspiring story of Sophia Amoruso, founder and CEO of Nasty Gal - I'm more than ready to up my #GIRLBOSS game. So, as a means of showing my gratitude for 500 Facebook likes and as a way of ensuring you take your first steps on becoming the ultimate girl boss to, I'm going to be giving away the following:

- Sophia Amoruso's #GIRLBOSS paperback book,
- Dot Creates 'Dream Big, Dream Often' A5 Print,
- Dot Creates 'Get Shit Done' A5 Notebook &
- A Dot Creates Gold Foil Pencil Set.

To enter the competition, head over to my Facebook page and get liking!

I hope this post empowered you to get goal setting - remember it doesn't always have to be a pipe dream if you put your mind to it.

Friday, 3 March 2017

I Am Overweight

Growing up, body confidence and weight gain were never truly an issue for me - my Dad used to refer to me as 'beanpole' and this was something I heard quite frequently. I was very active as a teenager; I enjoyed cycling and spent a lot of Saturday's walking into town with my friends, or out in the back-garden on our trampoline (I was also an avid fan of rollerblading back in the day). But, unfortunately I grew up...and my dreaded metabolism went 'BUH BYE' and suddenly I had wide hips, thighs that touched and a tummy that seemed to wobble a bit more than I would have liked.

Truth be told, I can't blame everything on my metabolism - I'm a biscuit lover and I'm pretty sure if you handed me a tube of Pringles, I'd inhale the entire thing in one large gulp. 

This of course didn't go unnoticed, as my self-esteem has been on a somewhat downward spiral over the last three to four years - that and my quite sporadic weight gain. Frankly, I can't remember the last time I went out and bought an item of clothing, for the fear that I'd look a bit like the Michelin Man - although this doesn't mean I don't scroll endlessly through Missguided on a daily basis, no no no! I've got an entire cart of unpurchased items, but I don't think I'm quite ready to hit confirm just yet. 

It's two thousand and seventeen, my name is Rebecca Ellis and I have finally accepted the fact that I am overweight. 

I have laughed, I have cried and I have spent many a night being hurt about my appearance, but I know that no-one is to blame but me. I'm going to take control this year - that's why on January 1st 2017, I clipped my Polar watch around my wrist, tied my shoelaces and started making full use of our home gym. I haven't looked back since.

*insert progress picture here*

On January 1st 2017 I weighed in at: 215 lbs and my measurements were: Waist - 39 inches and Stomach/Hips - 49 inches.

Today (March 3rd 2017) I weigh: 209 lbs and my measurements are: Waist - 35 inches and Stomach/Hips - 42 inches.

This means that in total, I have lost 6 pounds and 11 inches in just two months - but my journey most definitely won't end here.

Are you getting into shape this year? Would you like to see more fitness related posts on She In The Know?
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