UK Lifestyle Blog

17 January 2018

How I'm staying organised in 2018

Every year I vow that I'm going to be more organised, every year I don't quite get there. Don't get me wrong I have come a long way over the last few years with remembering to pick up Birthday Cards and  when to make appointments etc. but general day to day organisation could be much improved on.

January is all about fresh starts, a whole new year to plan, and the best time to get organised. I have a lot of 'stuff' on my to do list, from clearing out my wardrobe, to organising our kitchen.  I actually love a good list, if I have a lot on my mind, or a lot to get done in a day then I make a list. There's something I find satisfying about ticking it off when I've completed a task. I make them for shopping, places I want to visit, when I'm packing, when I'm buying gifts etc. I just love lists. So I will be making a whole lot more of them this year.

I always start the year with grand plans, but often forget about them later down the line. So this year I've employed a few tactics to help myself stay organised in 2018.

They mainly come in 3 paper forms.

1. The Calendar. I have a new noticeboard up as you enter our kitchen with a brand new 2018 Calendar pinned to it. This is the 'must remember' element of my organisation, the birthdays, appointments, bills to pay.

It's easily accessible, I enter the kitchen every day and it's simple and quick to check. I'm hoping for no last minute rushing around for presents and no forgetting about appointments/ arrangements I have made.

2. The Diary. Last year I didn't keep a diary, I had a 'bullet journal' only. However, I found that I didn't use the 'monthly' section of my bullet journal enough. Therefore this year I have bought a diary, this will be used to fill in what days I'm working, what plans we've made for weekends, when people are coming to ours etc.

It will be a more personal and detailed version of the calendar. I can pop it into my bag and take it around with me. Then when anyone asks when I'm free, or when my next available weekend is, I can quickly check on the spot, instead of having to get back to people. Making it easier to make commitments, and also not double book or over stretch myself with too many plans.

3. The 'Bullet Journal', in quotation marks as I haven't bought the bullet journal. I am instead using a trusty notepad and filling the pages bullet journal style. I did this for the last part of 2017 and I found the sections that were most useful to me were; Content Planning, Meal Planning, Budget Tracking and Spending Log.

I have been using it to help plan out blog content for the month, meaning I've been able to keep up my blogging more consistently.  It also helps when you have a moment of sheer genius for a post and need to write it down somewhere before you forget!

My favourite pages are the budget planning and spending log, it's amazing how many little transactions you make, and how much they add up. If you check out my 2018 Goals, you will see that saving more is up there on my list, and I'm hoping that these pages will help me on my way with that resolution. Under the same theme, meal planning has been a game changer. I don't know why we never did it before! The food shop is much cheaper, and I don't have  to think about what to cook every night, I just consult my journal and it's there.

One section I will be adding to my Bullet Journal this year is a Seasonal Capsule Wardrobe page. I am hoping to de-clutter and refine my wardrobe this year (wish me luck!). Alongside the theme of spending less, I want to purchase less. I'm hoping by curating a capsule wardrobe I won't have anymore panic buys for those impromptu dinners and nights out. I also want to be able to open my wardrobe and easily select an outfit. I'll be popping up a post at the end of February all about what was in my capsule wardrobe for winter, alongside a list of items I want to add to my spring capsule wardrobe. If any of you have tips for curating an organised wardrobe, or a capsule wardrobe please send them in my direction, I need all the help I can get!

Other little organisation tips I'm employing:

- Keeping a stock of cards/ wrapping paper/ gift bags
- Regular clear out of kitchen cupboards and freezer
- Starting a Cleaning schedule (deep clean oven etc)
- Storage solutions - wardrobe, beauty, kitchen.


3 January 2018

Our Stay at High Lodge Farm, Upper Milton

High Lodge Farm is a stunning B&B in Upper Milton, not far from the gorgeous Cotswold town of Burford. I stumbled across it by chance when I was googling where to stay for our first anniversary trip. I was immediately taken with it's picturesque setting, and perfectly styled rooms.

There was ample parking when we arrived, and the building itself is insanely impressive, surrounded by country lanes and fields, the ultimate retreat.

We headed to the huge main door, where we were warmly greeted by Kirsten, her little boy and Maggie their friendly dog. We immediately felt at home.

We pottered up to our room, trying not to mark the stunning white carpet as we went! When we arrived at our room, number 3. The whole family showed us in, Kirsten even offered to make us tea/coffee though there was already facilities in our room, which was incredibly thoughtful.

After a little chat and a tour of our room, we were given our keys and left to settle in. I had a little mooch round, taking in all the details and having a read through the information folder, before we decided to have a little nap! I can confirm that the bed is luxuriously comfortable, and I could have happily stayed there all night if we hadn't already made dinner plans!

After venturing out into Burford for dinner, we arrived back around 10:30, hopped straight into bed and fell asleep. I was awoken in the middle of the night to an owl hooting happily, which I have to say was quite exciting! I quickly fell back to sleep, waking my husband up first to alert him of the owl, aren't I a thoughtful wife...

My favourite thing about the room was drawing back the curtains in the morning and getting to appreciate the stunning view. The sun peeped through the trees, instantly brightening the day.

The room itself is even more gorgeous in daylight, with crisp white bedding, perfect cream carpets and luxury accessories. We had a fully stocked tea tray, with hot chocolate and Kit Kats! The bed was big and fluffy, with amazingly plump pillows that I must now get for our own bed. I could not recommend it more.

We had a little lie in and headed down for breakfast around 9am. The breakfast room was a lovely bright space, with light pink walls and pale wooden shutters. It was delicately decorated with beautiful furnishings, which really set a tranquil tone to the room.

We had a choice of breakfast, I went for a slightly lighter option of crossaints, which came out deliciously warm with homemade jam. Stephen had the 'farmhouse breakfast' with beans, scrambled egg, bacon and sausages, which he really enjoyed. We accompanied breakfast with plenty of coffee and orange juice.

We finished our breakfast and headed back up to the room for a final potter around before collecting our bag and heading off home.

If you are looking for a new years retreat, I would definitely recommend High Lodge Farm. It's in a peaceful countryside surrounding, yet is a short drive to some stunning Cotswold towns and villages.

Find out what we did on our Cotswold Trip here.


1 January 2018

Top Ten Moments of 2017 & My 2018 Goals

It only feels like yesterday that I was typing up the 2016 top ten moments, and here we are another new year laid out in front of us. Is it me, or don't you just love the prospect of a whole new year to make plans for, like a new notepad ready to be written on. I love starting a fresh new year, but I never forget to look back on the year that's just passed, and what memories we have made. It's only when I flick back through my camera role I actually appreciate how much I have packed into one year, and soon realised why it's gone so fast!

This year won't beat last years top ten in terms of life moments  (we got married last year!) but it certainly has got lots of lovely little memories nestled in it, Our first year as Mr & Mrs, so I thought I would share them on here, my little internet memory bank.

1. The start of the year saw me attend some amazing events with Intu Victoria Centre, one of my favourites has to be the February Galentine's event. We had a boozy brunch, followed by make overs, all with a bunch of lovely ladies I have met during my time blogging.

2. March saw us head to Windermere in the Lake District. It's somewhere I had been wanting to go for a long time, and we had finally booked it. We stayed in a gorgeous little B&B and it really kicked off my love for exploring the UK, hence the many trips that followed!

3. Summer was incredible, we went on so many long walks, took a trip to the outdoor cinema at Wollaton Hall, went to Beer Festivals, and just enjoyed those sun filled days.

4. July saw us go away to Brixham in Devon with my family, we haven't been on a family holiday in years and I have to say it was wonderful. Brixham is such a gorgeous place and we dropped extremely lucky in the weather department. We had many sunny days sat on the little balcony or sipping gin outside a bar.

5. Summer also saw me get into gardening, something I really hope to carry on in 2018. I love making our home look pretty, and this interior passion has now spread to the outdoors. This has also led to me discovering open gardens, which if you're both nosy and love gardening is amazing! You get to mooch around other peoples gardens to see how they've transformed a variety of spaces. My favourite this year has to be Winster's open gardens, their homes are absolutely gorgeous and all of the owners were so welcoming.

6. September saw us take another trip, this time down to the south coast. We explored Eastbourne, Brighton, Hastings and Rye. It was such a fun and memorable trip, eating lots of delicious food and exploring all of the cute lanes and shops.

7. Socialising. This year has been a good one for socialising. I have met up with friends for drinks, outdoor cinemas, walks and more. I hope that I can continue with this into 2018, I'm hoping to have a few more pizza & gin nights at my house too!

8. Making the most of our weekends off together. I vowed to ensure our weekends off this year were filled with fun activities. We certainly did that, we went to tea rooms, walks, went on a trip to Warwick, and later in the year joined the National Trust, meaning that we had even more places to visit!

9. November brought us to our First Wedding Anniversary! I cannot get over how quickly the time has gone and that its already been over a year since our special day. We took (another) trip, this time to the stunning Cotswolds. We stayed in a gorgeous farm house close to Burford, where we got to enjoy the magical autumn colours, and see the Christmas season peeking in.

10. December brought us lots of festivities, I booked the whole week before Christmas off so that we could fill it with Christmas markets, winter walks and parties. We definitely made the most of our time over the Christmas period together, and I really didn't want it to end. Alas though, the New Year awaits and we're already busy making plans.

Now for my 2018 goals. I had a cheeky look back to my 2017 goals which you can have a read of here too, I have to say with some I have done very well, others not so much! I am yet to start my driving lessons back up, and still miles away from my 1000 twitter goal, maybe this year? Though I am fairly pleased with what I have achieved and have thoroughly enjoyed the year.

My 2018 Goals

1. Learn to use my camera better. I love photography but I have had the habit of using my phone to take shots as its just so much easier to use.

2. Curate a capsule wardrobe. I have started to employ this already, but I definitely could do with a mega clear out.

3. Learn to sew. I have a few projects I want to have a go at, but need to learn first!

4. Print out photos. I have so many on my phone/laptop but need to start printing them.

5. Put more into savings, this is a big one for me, and I'm hoping with my bullet journal I can be more savvy on the old spending front.

6. The elusive 1000 twitter followers. Is it cliché to put it in again as a wishful thinking goal? gotta aim for something, right?!

7. Visit as many National Trust properties as possible. I see many long summer walks, picnic basket in tow.

8. Continue to make more time for socialising. I love socialising with our friends and long may it continue.

9. Finish one room in the house. Surely we can do this?! I mean the living room only needs new blinds now!

10. Learn Calligraphy. I love lettering and pretty signs so I thought I could have a go at it myself. It will also come in useful for a little project idea I have.

Happy New Year to you all! Thank you for continuing to read my little old blog,
I hope your 2018 is wonderful.

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