Showing posts with label The Caitriona Diaries. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Caitriona Diaries. Show all posts
mental health 2021 goals
Mental health 2021 goals

Hey Stranger,

Long time, no see. It’s been a while since I sat in front of my laptop and just typed. I feel a little rusty if I’m honest so bare with me. To say this year has been a roller coaster would be an understatement. Amid all the painful moments there were a handful worth celebrating. I think we can all agree it's for the best to put last year behind us.

I struggled a lot with my mental health last year and ended up cutting back on a lot of the things I loved doing. I took a long break from social media and blogging when things got too much and then felt a little out of my depth when I wanted to come back. One thing I missed the most was being creative and producing content. One of my goals for 2021 is to be consistent with my content. 

A lot has happened since I last wrote a blog post. One of those things is I’m now working as a journalist. Me! This is something I have been dreaming about since I was in year 11. It’s a completely new field for me and I’m really enjoying it. Writing about more formal topics at work has made me miss what I was writing about when I was blogging. This space has been a place for me to write about beauty, fashion, books and my favourite places in London. A lot of the things that “fed my soul”, if you will, ended up closing during the lockdowns and in the new tiered system. I wasn't very good at finding alternatives, that I could to, to all those things.

The pandemic threw more than I realised and one thing I'm focusing on this year is my mental health. Last year taught me how important a good mental health is in being able to function. After all, we’re only human and we can only take so on much.

Here’s a couple of things I’ll be doing to look after my mental health this year:
  • Be kinder to myself. Funnily enough, I wrote a blog post on this and never followed any of it. I can count on one hand how many times I have been kind to myself this year. It’s quite shocking really. As the pandemic continues, I’m going to have to rethink what things I can do to bring me happiness since what I used to do has been put on pause. Taking it easier and not putting so much pressure on myself are my two priorities. 
  • Have more ME time. For the whole year, I have felt that my time belonged to someone else. I think that’s been a big cause of my anxiety. This year, I’m focusing on taking ‘protected’ time out for just me. I started doing it last Autumn and it really helped. Essentially, Sunday will belong to me. For that day, I will do whatever I want to do whether it’s catching up on my latest read, creating content or going for a nice stroll. The most important thing is feeling as though that time belongs to me and no one else.
  • Be creative. I thrive on creativity. It’s one of the reasons why I wanted to make writing my career. I used to bake, cook, write, read, and film. I loved it all! I mentioned earlier that I stopped  doing those things when everything got a little too much. Really, I should have kept those things going. 

Love, Aoife xo


Girl sitting in a cafe

If everything went according to plan, on the 21st July, I would have walked across a stage collecting my degree. On my feet would have been a pair of Jimmy Choo’s I had been saving up for, for this exact moment. However, no part of 2020 has gone according to plan and instead I spent the day as any other day. 

It’s been three years since I moved to Portsmouth to start my Journalism degree and it feels absolutely surreal to say I made it to the end. I haven't shared my whole journey online but you can see highlights on Instagram and Twitter (@aoifecaitrionax). In my first year of university, I felt very lonely and I struggled to make friends. Like anyone, I signed up to almost every society I had a remote interest in. First year is all about trial and error so don't be afraid to make mistakes. 


Second year came along and I was stuck living in a house that lived on drama and animosity. It wasn't very fun or healthy but I learnt a lot about myself during that time. The main one being how to stand up for myself. Academically and career wise, I was starting to get ahead and had articles printed in local news websites. When final year came around, I promised myself that this would be a year I could be proud of. And I am. Despite the ups and downs, which as a uni student you will know, I have met some amazing people who are now my friends and made memories that will stick with me for life. 


Aside from the academic side to university, there are plenty of important lessons to learn outside of lectures and seminars. So here’s what university really taught me and what I wish I knew before starting:


Use your time wisely. And by that, nothing is waiting around for you. At university, you have a lot of time on your hands when you’re not in lectures, seminars or working. Use that spare time productively. I spent a lot of time in my first year blogging and making videos on YouTube. Unfortunately, I slowed down in second year and lost motivation in third year. I regret not believing in myself more and sticking to it. I really recommend using your spare time productively by taking up a new skill, hobby, or searching for internships and grad schemes. 


Do something you’re passionate about. University is a lot more fun when you’re passionate about the subject you’re studying. I wrote essays on feminism, did presentations on the fashion industry and put together video packages which I had a lot of fun doing. I really enjoyed the work and the skills I was learning with it. There were a few late and stressful nights but I wouldn’t change a thing because I was still doing something I loved. I've spoken to my friends and other people about it who all agreed that you should be studying something you're passionate about and interested in. It will be a greater experience and you'll enjoy it more.


Make the most out of the University services. There are so many services that universities offer these days and I'm pretty sure, you're not even aware of half of them. I struggled a lot when I moved back home for lockdown and my anxiety was at an all time high. My lecturer recommended that I reach out to the wellbeing team to get some additional support. To be honest, I don't know if I would have finished university without the support and weekly session from a councillor. Most universities also offer academic support with essays or career support. We pay a lot of money attending university so we may as well take advantage of what it offers.


Neon light against flower wall

(Money management) How to have fun on a low budget. Regardless of whether you have the maximum grant or the lowest grant, we all struggle with our money at some point. In your first year, you make bad money decisions and by final year, you’ve decided to go vegan because it’s cheaper and save all your money instead. Social life is a big part of university. Clubbing at uni has never been my scene but I still went out for lunches, dinners, day trips and everywhere else with my friends. This all adds up. However, by the end of the whole experience you've learnt how to have fun on a low budget.


It's not a race but it's not a marathon either. Your grades are not everything at univeristy. Sure, they're important because you need to pass to move up a year and you want a good degree classification. But, they're not the be all and end all. Lecturers are looking for how you engage with the content. My highest scoring essays were down to referencing different scholars and sharing ideas and theories. You're not in a race with anyone because you're not competing with them. Getting a degree is something you do for yourself and a personal journey. 


Good luck! And if you've already been, what did you learn at university?


Love, Aoife xo 

Girl reading The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur

The last few months have not been easy. Being in lockdown has been a challenge for us all but for some of us, it has been an even bigger battle. One thing that came out of my recent therapy sessions is that I need to be kinder to myself. I need to learn how to be confident in myself and not see my weaknesses as completely detrimental. 

    Since then, I've been on a little journey of self-confidence in learning how to identify unhealthy behaviours and make them healthier. I think we all need to not just be kinder to ourselves, but learn how to  instead. We can be kinder to ourselves by treating ourselves to a bar of chocolate or a new Dior bag. However, that's only short term. By 'learning', we can create long term healthy habits. Here are four tips that can help boost self-confidence:


Be proud of what you’ve achieved- How often do you stop and reflect on what you’ve achieved? I can’t remember the last time I did that and that’s an issue. We continue to achieve every single day and that should be recognised. I don’t think about what I have overcome or really acknowledge all the amazing things I’ve done in the past three months. And they’re a pretty big deal. I just graduated with first class honours, woah! As humans, we tend to have the habit of chasing one thing after another, never really feeling fulfilled at what we’ve already done. When you have a moment, think about everything you have done in the past week, month or even year. The most important thing is that you can smile about it and think, I did that.


Don’t put too much pressure on yourself- Do you know what’s human? Making mistakes. No one is that perfect and if they are, they’re lying. In order to be kind to ourselves, we have to allow room for errors. We’re going to get things wrong from time to time and that’s how we learn and overcome it. By putting so much pressure on ourselves, we’re missing the opportunity to learn and grow from experiences. And Rome wasn’t built in a day. Things take time and they’ll take as long as they need to.


Rupi Kaur The Sun and Her Flowers


Accepting you don’t have complete control over everything that happens- Anxiety often stems from a lack of control. In situations where we’re not in control, we often feel anxious. I get waves of anxiety that tend to last a few weeks to a few months. I guess it never really goes away but I’ve learnt how best to manage it, if you will. One thing I always get told is to focus on what I can and am able to control. This can be quite difficult in some situations especially where we feel helpless. Take the coronavirus, we can’t control that or being in lockdown but we can control how we choose to act and use our time now that we’re at home more often than not. We can control some things and we can’t with others. Finding a balance is really helpful and focusing on what we can control.


Treat yourself- I’ll admit that use those two words a lot normally. I only realised the impact of not treating yourself when I starved myself of that. Pre-lockdown,  I’d treat myself by going shopping or buying artisan doughnuts (so so good). But since we went into lockdown and I was struggling with everything including really bad acne, I stopped. I stopped feeling worthy of myself and stopped being kind to myself. One way you can treat yourself Covid friendly is to buy flowers. Flowers can make all the difference by brightening up the space and making the room feel happier. My Nan said to buy flowers for someone when they’re sad and that’s a good lesson to remember. So, whether it’s your favourite doughnut, flowers or something pink (my happy colour), remember to treat yourself and do things that make you smile. 


Love, Aoife xo


In times of crisis, I turn to baking. It is a well-known fact that baking is good for the soul and it’s even better when you get to eat something tasty after. I don’t enjoy baking the same things over and over, so I tend to seek out new recipes. I came across this one by the lovely Rachel Ama. For those of you who don’t know, she’s a vegan YouTuber who also has a book aptly named Vegan Eats. It’s my favourite ever cookbook and I’m constantly flicking through it finding new meals to make.

You can read the original recipe here. I had to adapt the recipe a little bit to what I had in the cupboard as I didn’t have apple puree on hand. I ended up making my own and it’s very easy. The pastries turned out absolutely beautiful and are perfect if you want them as a snack or for breakfast. Oh, and 100% vegan too.



For the puree, you'll need:
- 2/3 Royal Gala apples (or any other apple e.g Granny Smith etc)
- Cinnamon (optional)
Start by peeling your apples and cutting them up into little chunks. Then place in a small saucepan and add a little bit of water to the pan- enough to be able to create steam. Leave on medium heat for around 15 minutes. You’ll know when it’s done because the apple should be able to slide off the fork and there will only be a tiny amount of water left. Pour apples into a blender and add a teaspoon of cinnamon before blending. I kept my puree a little chunky rather than completely pureed. Leave to cool.

For the pastries, you'll need:
- Puff pastry (you can use pre-rolled, I used the block instead)
- 3 sliced apples (I stuck to the Royal Gala)
- Plant-based milk
- Maple Syrup (the original recipe asked for maple syrup to crisp up the edges, but I didn't have any)

Pre-heat the oven to 200C, or what the packet says. Cut the pastry into 6 even squares. Brush down the sides of the squares with your plant-based milk of choice. In the original recipe, I think Rachel added a little maple syrup to the milk. Drop a teaspoon of apple purée into the centre- you may want to spread it around a little. Then place the pieces of sliced apple on top. Grab two corners of the square and press together, do the same to the other side so the apples are "undercover". Place on a baking tray and brush some more milk over the top to stop the pastry from burning. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes until golden and crispy.



Love, Aoife xo


The Flatshare by Beth O'Leary is the cutest book I have read in a long time. A really long time! Like most romcoms, you could see how it was going to pan out from the beginning but that still didn’t stop you from enjoying the ride.

Goodreads Sypnosis:
“Tiffy and Leon share a flat
Tiffy and Leon share a bed
Tiffy and Leon have never met… 

Tiffy Moore needs a cheap flat, and fast. Leon Twomey works nights and needs cash. Their friends think they’re crazy, but it’s the perfect solution: Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffy’s at work in the day and she has the run of the place the rest of the time. 

But with obsessive ex-boyfriends, demanding clients at work, wrongly imprisoned brothers and, of course, the fact that they still haven’t met yet, they’re about to discover that if you want the perfect home you need to throw the rulebook out the window…”

When I first started reading the book, I instantly loved Tiffy. She’s your typical chatty narrator who seems to get herself in a pickle, making it a fun read. It took a little while to connect with Leon since his narration had a lack of pronouns which made him seem quite detached. He’s quite an aloof character. Not in a dark, mysterious and handsome way but more of an introverted character. I soon got over the differences in narration and ended up quite liking the difference in personalities between the two main characters.


The chapters alternate throughout the book between Tiffy’s POV and Leon’s. The book doesn’t drag on and has a quick pace. I like that it keeps moving forward rather than going back over things like some books can. I also liked how there was more going on in the book than just the story between the two main characters. Such as Tiffy's obsessive ex, Leon's brother in prison and both of them trying to locate an ex-partner of one of Leon's patients. You were rooting for them to be together but also that rooting for other things too like getting Leon's brother out of prison etc.

One of my favourite parts of the book was reading the notes between Tiffy and Leon. Tiffy’s are always long, chatty and oversharing while Leon is on a more need-to-know basis. 


Overall, I really liked this book and it was a fun read. I can imagine sitting by the pool, soaking up the sun rays, drinking a mojito and reading this book.

Love, Aoife xo

I love Valentine’s Day probably more than I should as a single lady. I’m a hopeless romantic and Valentine’s day is all about showing your appreciation and love for someone. Any excuse to demonstrate this and to celebrate something, I’m always up for it. I love the story behind Valentine’s day too and how the priest wrote letters to the jailer’s daughter signing it ‘Love, your Valentine’. This year got me thinking about love languages, what they mean and what mine is.

In 1992, Gary Chapman wrote a book called The Five Love Languages: How To Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate. It outlines five ways in how people express and experience love between romantic partners. I, personally, think this works a little in how we express love and gratitude to family members and friends as well. It's how we interact with one another.

The five languages are (according to 5lovelanguages.com):
- Receiving Gifts: “A gift says, ‘he was thinking about me’"
- Quality Time: “Giving your spouse your undivided attention.”
- Words of Affirmation: “Using words to build up the other person.”
- Acts of Service: “Doing something for your spouse that you know they would like. Such as cooking a meal, washing dishes, vacuuming floors etc.”
- Physical Touch: “Holding hands, hugging, sexual intercourse, are all expressions of love.”

According to Chapman, we have a primary love language that speaks more deeply to us and a secondary love language. If you’re not sure what your love language is, there are plenty of quizzes and tests online you can take for free. But it's ultimately about which one you can relate to the most.


My primary love language is Acts of Service with my second language as Physical Touch. I think it’s important to demonstrate your love and gratitude through doing nice things for others such as helping them out and doing something that needs to be done. I also relate to Physical Touch as I love giving hugs and I crave them too. I also like holding hands and even sitting close by to someone and feeling their presence too.

Knowing your love language and your partner’s love language, according to the experts, can help make your relationship stronger because you know each other on a deeper level. Whenever I ask people about what they’re doing for Valentine’s, they also go ‘I’ll get a card and some chocolates or flowers’. Gifts can be very thoughtful and I don’t know anyone who’s ever said no to chocolates. But, why don’t you learn about your partners love language and celebrate Valentine’s doing something they’d appreciate more such as spending quality time with them, doing acts of service or building them up etc?

What is your love language and do you believe in them?

Love, your Valentine xo

A new year gives you the opportunity to explore new places and try out new things. Unfortunately, last year I was unable to do most of the things I had planned when I was in London because I worked throughout most of the summer holidays. Since my exams finish in May and I graduate in July, I will officially be free from being a student which means I'll have more time on my hands before I start working *sarcastic yay*. What's on my list for things I want to do in 2020?

Visit a new place in London // 
Last year, Aoife and I went to Kyoto Gardens in Holland Park and it was so gorgeous and peaceful! After uploading a video on Snapchat, I received countless messages asking about the location, Many people were surprised to find that the garden was in London. There are loads of places I haven't discovered or yet seen. One of the places I really want to visit is Kew Garden which looks beautiful. When I planned to go last year, it was raining but I'm going to make sure I see it this year!

Solo Trip // 
Since I can't travel during summer at the moment -I have eczema and a skin disorder that makes my skin sensitive to the sun- I thought it would be great to go somewhere in Europe during my reading week this month. I know most of my friends are not available or don't really want to go...so, why not make it my first ever solo trip? After travelling to Venice last August, I have to go back to Italy! I would love to go to Milan or to Florence for a few days. The whole experience of travelling alone can definitely be daunting but this doesn't put me off at all! I know I would meet great people along the way. It would truly be an unforgettable experience.


Spa Day // 
Because I deserve it and you do too! I would love to treat myself to a self-pampering day where I can unwind, focus on my wellness and enjoy a relaxing massage that puts me to sleep. I've seen so many incredible places for a spa getaway trip- maybe I have plans for my 21st after all!

Go to another city // 
I have never been to another city outside London before. Except for Leicester since  I go to university there. Birmingham and Nottingham are only a train away so I don't really have any excuses! After being told how big Manchester is, I would love to spend a day experiencing city life elsewhere.

Attend a Meditation Class // 
Life can become stressful, overwhelming and chaotic. Sitting in silence and focusing on your breathing is a really good technique that allows you to refocus and bring yourself into the present. If you're on a spiritual journey, you know how important it is to stay in silence without being consumed by excessive thinking. A friend recommended a meditation class in Leicester that she really enjoyed. I would love to surround myself with people who are in touch with their spirituality whilst learning how to meditate more effectively without being distracted by excessive thought.

What new things would you like to try this year?



Instagram: Follow me @rashidahbeatson
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Hey, it's me Aoife! I hope you enjoyed Rashidah's blog post. I also wrote a guest post over on her blog about books that have changed my life which you can read here.


Happy new year!! I hope your new year is going as great as mine or if not, greater. Normally when a new year and a new chapter has started, I typically set myself a list of resolutions which I vaguely try and follow throughout the year. However, I entered the new decade full of so much hope and happiness that my resolutions turned to goals. I wrote myself a list of things that I wanted to aspire this year with the key one being chasing my happiness. 

These goals are also habits that I’d love to develop over the course of the year.

01. Complete my wind-down journal // I didn’t buy much in the Boxing Day sales -shock, I know- but I did buy a wind-down journal to fill in every evening. There are 365 pages in the journal and it requires only five minutes of my time in the evening before bed. I’d love to write in it every day and be able to read all my achievements at the end of 2020.

02. Stop wishing time away // I’m that person who sits doing nothing wishing for it to 5pm so I can get ready to meet my friends or for time to move a little faster so I don’t have to sit in a boring lecture or chat to someone, I’m not interested in chatting too. I’m graduating this summer and time will most definitely go by quickly so wasting time away really shouldn't be a habit I stick to. 

03. Believe in me more // I don’t know how many times I’ve been told that I need to be more confident in myself but you can probably guess it’s a lot. One habit I want to develop this year is to stop putting myself down so much. I am capable of a lot of things that I don’t give myself credit for. I also let other people’s opinions dictate how I feel about something. Personal development is something I always want to work on so let’s hope that this year I can say more than just I found myself.



04. Read more physical books // I read a lot of Ebooks on my phone. One thing I’d love to do is to start reading more physical books. I have a whole shelf full of books that I’ve never read so it’s probably time I start one of those before buying some new books or going to the library. I’d also love to read some more of the classic novels like Little Women. I read Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier and it was both beautiful and sad.

05. Make Wednesday mask day // Or any other possible day in the week if Wednesday isn’t available. In my first year of university, I dedicated Wednesday as mask day where I’d give myself a little pamper in the evening. I can’t remember why I stopped but I did and my skin is often calling out for something extra. My Dad bought my this Avocado Nourishing Hydration mask from Kiehl’s and it's motivating me to mask up.

06. Make my bed everyday // Beds look so much more inviting when it’s all made up. I’ll admit that at university, my duvet and pillows often gets thrown about but this year, we’re going to change that. A tidy room is a tidy mind. It can’t hurt to put them on my bed nicely.


07. Become plant-based // I’m sort of in the middle of developing this habit. For a few months now, my diet has consistently been plant-based with the odd bit of meat and meat products here and there. My goal is to become completely plant-based.

08. Go to the gym more/ take an exercise class/ go running // I admit I’m one of those noncommittal gym people. I have a membership and go when I feel like it which can either be twice a week for a month or not at all for three. There's a weekly pilates class at my local gym which costs me £2 if I want to go. I'm going to aim to attend weekly

09. Wake up early // Some people have the ability to wake up at 5 am every day and have the most productive day. I have come to the conclusion that I may never be that person but I can at least try like waking up at 7am instead of 10am. It's true what they say about waking up early. There's a lot you can accomplish before lunchtime when you wake up early. 


10. Take myself out on dates // The other day I went to Wagamamas with my stepsister and saw this woman who was sat by herself. She was sat drinking some wine and reading her kindle. I'd love to have the confidence to take myself out to the cinema more, to go into restaurants and sit alone, or to go on a day trip somewhere.

What's a habit you'd like to build this year?

Love, Aoife xo

Every now and then, I like to switch it up a little bit and do something different. The other day I watched an interview on YouTube with Ari Lennox and Summer Walker. It was a short conversation talking about all the things they’re “over” in light of Summer Walker’s latest album, Over It. If you haven’t listened to it, it’s amazing and has been on repeat ever since it came out.

I thought I'd take a leaf out of their book... okay, I'm just doing it in blog post form... and have my own go discussing what I'm over and what is not coming with me into the new year...

Drama…

A lot of drama comes from miscommunication and in a world with more streams of communication than ever before, why do we still suck at communicating? We have so many privileges that other people don’t have so why are we still afraid of sharing our feelings? Also, I have never had as much drama in my life as I currently do now. Life was so much simpler when there wasn’t drama. Let’s leave it to Eastenders, please. 

…over it

Body Hair…

Regrowth after a day, razor burn, cut legs... body hair grows back so quickly and it gets darker and darker each time. I’m over it completely. It’s the bane of my existence and it needs to not be. I don’t know how I’m going to do it but I’m leaving my body hair in 2019.

…over it


People’s opinions on my love life...

Do you have a boyfriend yet? No. You’re so picky, you’ll never find anyone. I’m sorry, what? One of the things I’m over more than anything is people’s opinions on my love life. Since when was it ever out in the open and up for debate? When I am emotionally ready to bare my deepest feelings and am ready to receive someone else’s, I will let you know. But until then, I’ll do me and you can sort your own love life out.

...over it.

Acne…

I’m starting to believe my skin has a mind of its own. No matter what I do or what I don’t do, there is always a pimple. A mark. A blemish. I’m tired of looking at my skin and seeing red marks everywhere. As much as I’m tired of acne, I’m also tired of all the work it takes to try and get rid of it. Spot cream, serum, moisturiser, natural remedies; I’m starting to think that either my skin is as stubborn as I am or it’s all just a marketing ploy. I don’t do anything to it and it explodes. 

….over it.


This post has been fun to write and if you’re a fellow blogger, give it a try and tag me in them. I’d love to see them! These four things are sadly the significant things that go round and round in my life and create the most negative energy. I predict that 2020 will be a great year. There are lots of great things happening such as graduating from university and (fingers crossed) getting my dream graduate job and a ton more things. Maybe I’ll fall in love? Maybe I’ll move into my own place? Maybe I’ll make more friends? The list of possibilities is endless.


Happy 2020 guys!!!

Love, Aoife xo

I have never been one of those people who are obsessed with candles. I never understood the attraction or appeal to a pot of wax and a flame. However, my knowledge and understanding of candles completely flipped when I received a candle that -no exaggeration- has changed my life. This candle is not only a beautiful specimen to look at but once lit transforms a cold dreary space to a warm cosy sensual space. 

I have never experienced anything like a Jo Malone candle. And yes, I said candle and experience in the same sentence because it most definitely is one. There is always a lot of hype when it comes to Jo Malone products especially by influencers but I can 100% confirm, it’s worth the hype. In the same way, nothing compares to taking a designer bag out of its dustbag, nothing compares to lighting a Jo Malone candle.


I received the candle as a birthday present and as soon as I lifted the lid off the candle, the scent had already enveloped me. The candle is the Velvet Rose & Oud Home candle and comes in all-black packaging with matte black wax and wick with a silver lid. Everything about it screams luxury even down to the matte black matches.


I’m not good at describing the scent but according to the website it says, “transform the atmosphere with the scent of darkest Damask rose. Wrapped with smoky out wood. Spiked with clove, decadent praline.” The scent is incredible when the candle isn’t even lit. And when it is, it’s extraordinary. The whole room is soon smelling of the greatest things in life. The wood and cloves give it a warm comforting feeling. 

I’m convinced that Jo Malone is a scent extraordinaire. Everything about the candle exudes luxury and elegance. And, I’m here for it. 

Love, Aoife xo

If you liked this post, you might like What is your Love Language?


In my first year of university, I wrote a post in line with the American holiday of Thanksgiving and shared all the things I was thankful for. It also happens to be one of my more popular posts. The post has weighed heavily on my mind ever since and I felt like I owed it myself to write another one. 

Reading over it again today, I feel quite proud of the person who wrote it. At that moment in time, I had started university, moved away from home and quite frankly had no clue whatsoever what I was doing.

Two years later, not much has changed. I still don’t know exactly what I’m doing but I do know that every day I’m doing something I love and am passionate about. So, there’s that. I know I’m stealing blog post ideas from myself but I wanted to write another one because there is so much that goes on in life that we can forget all the great things that have happened and we’re able to do. And, I just want to take a moment to share and reflect. 



The first thing I am grateful for, like in the last one, is for all the opportunities that have come my way. And like back then, I took them with both hands. Over the summer, I had the internship of my dreams at Marie Claire. Where I was given actual responsibilities. All the people I met were incredibly nice and the atmosphere was so welcoming. I’ve made lots of new contacts which that in itself is amazing. 

I am eternally grateful to have the privilege of travelling. I love travelling to different places, exploring different cultures and trying the local delicacies. Every summer, I save up and travel somewhere new. This summer was no different. I went to Venice with my friend in August and I absolutely loved it. We explored every inch of the islands, weaving in and out of alleyways, and crossing bridges. I didn’t quite realise at the time, but Venice is sinking and who knows if it’ll still be there by the time I have kids or have grandchildren? But, I have a million memories to share with them.


Lastly, I am thankful for having such amazing friends who have been an absolute rock this past year, especially the ones who gave me their shoulder when I cried. And there were a lot of sleep deprived tears falling. I am thankful for the ones who took me on therapy sessions to Tesco. To the ones who called me up and motivated me when I needed it. And, for all our lunches at Las Iguanas. 

The past year has taught me a million lessons about life and myself. Life will not always be the happy dreamland I thought I could get stay in. Sometimes it’s a lot harder than that. One thing I’ve learnt is how incredibly strong we all are. Even though it doesn't feel like it, we will never be faced with something we can’t handle. It just requires a little digging to find the strength you need.

What are you grateful for this year?

Aoife xo


The French have a saying, “La vie appartient à ceux qui se lèvent tôt,” which in English means “Life belongs to those who rise early!” Now, while I agree that waking up at 6AM gives you the whole day to use to be as productive as you can, sometimes you can be just as productive waking up a little later. 

As a third-year student, I have lists upon lists coming out of my ears of all the things I need to do. Even more so as a journalism student. I'm only in two days a week so the other three days are used for chasing up people for interviews, research and writing. Sounds simple but it's really not and fellow writers and journalism students will understand, especially on NCTJ accredited courses. 

Regardless of whether you're on top of your game, or in the pits of despair, procrastination will inevitably set in. I've come up with four tips and tricks to help you stay motivated, productive and less stressed. And to help push procrastination back a few hours.


ONE // Make realistic to-do lists

This was something I figured out quite early on. I would make myself a to-do list with everything I wanted to do and when the day finished I hadn’t even completed the first thing. Sometimes to-do lists are full of really big things that require a lot more time than we have to give to it. Instead of listing all the big projects that need completing, specify the parts that need doing. When you break them down into smaller tasks, they become more manageable and you’ll be ticking a lot more things of your to-do list.

TWO // Set the time

Setting yourself working hours encourages you to use those hours productively. I procrastinate less when I know I have a couple of hours of free time in the evening. The amount of work that needs doing will increase and fluctuate throughout the year but I find it helpful to set a cut off point to allow my mind to reset. I usually stop working at 6ish but I might continue on longer if I’m in the zone and happy. 



THREE // Get Active

A lot of the work I set myself is mind-based, getting active and working out is exercise for the body and allows your mind time to have a little break. A lot of my procrastination tactics involve doing something physical so this tip really helps me to focus. Whether its a walk around the block or workout at the gym, both are just as beneficial. After all, it's important to keep a happy body and a happy mind.

FOUR // Set Incentives

Sometimes we need a little incentive to help motivate us in reaching our goals. Of course, knowing you’ll reach that goal is an incentive in itself. But a little help along the way just sweetens the deal. For example, I told myself if I went to the gym consistently for two weeks then I'd buy myself some more sportswear. Or if I posted consecutively on my blog, I'd buy myself some Air Force 1's. And let's just say, I have a new pair of trainers and I've earned myself some new gym wear. 


What tips and tricks do you do to help you be more productive? Comment Below x

Love, Aoife xo