Do more of what you love

Recently, I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting and thinking. These last few months I’ve been really trying to focus on myself and what I enjoy. I wrote a post a while back announcing that I had a new job, it’s going so well and it’s amazing how much my mental health has improved since I started the job. 

I’ve seen a real change in myself since starting my new job. I feel much more positive and I’m really enjoying focusing on myself. I suddenly feel a lot more motivated to achieve my goals and just do my own thing. 

You may have noticed that recently my posts have been very creative. I’ve been focusing a lot on arts and crafts which is what I’m most passionate about… And I’ve been loving creating this type of content. 

Making Changes

With all of this reflecting, it’s only natural that I’ve been thinking a lot about my blog and it’s future. I think I’m definitely ready to make some changes and focus more on what I love and what I’m passionate about. 

I dug out a new shiny Hogwarts notebook (how frickin’ cute is it?) and I’ve been brainstorming lots of ideas for Charlotte Shares. I’m really passionate about card making and arts and crafts and I want to start focusing more of my content around this. I’ll still be writing some Lifestyle content as well as I enjoy it, but I want to shift my focus slightly. 

Here’s some of the things to expect from my blog going forward: 

  • More bullet journal posts 
  • Christmas DIY’s
  • Visual inspiration boards
  • Handmade cards
  • DIY origami boxes (perfect for gifts) 

and the list goes on…. 

I’m really excited to start creating new content and hope you all enjoy it as much as I will. 

Charlotte xx 

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Creating a schedule to fit your lifestyle

On June 14th, I packed my life up into boxes and moved out of my parent’s house and into my own house with Shaun. My mum is a very organised person and she’s always told me that having a schedule is so important and that it makes things easier. I can confirm she is 100% right!

I’ve always been a bit of an organised freak anyway. To-do lists are like my best friend and I always have to know what I’m doing when. Since moving out; I’ve loved having the freedom to create a schedule that works for me. Although I still had some control when I was at my parent’s house; I obviously had to fit in around my parent’s schedule. 

I know so many people that live a bit of an all over the place lifestyle (which is fine if that’s what they like, but it’s not for me). The amount of times I hear people say that they have no food in the house … and I’m sat there thinking well I always do my food shop on a Monday night so I don’t have that problem.

How to make a schedule that works for you

  • Start off by writing a list of things you NEED to do each week – For example: Clean the bathroom, hoover, dust, do the washing, ironing, food shop and any commitments such as an exercise class you take each week. 
  • Then write a list of things you LIKE to do each week – For example: Go swimming, go to the gym, visit a friend, work on a hobby etc. 
  • Then write down the hours that you work. For me, this is easy as I know I work Monday-Friday 9-5 every week and this never changes. This makes it easy for me to put a relatively set schedule in place that never really changes between weeks. Obviously, if you work different shifts you can take each week at a time to make a schedule that works for that week. 

Now that you have it all wrote down in front of you it’s easier to plan it into the week. This is where you really need to think about your lifestyle and what you want. Personally, I don’t like to have lots of chores to do at the weekend and prefer to do them in the evenings. I also prefer to get the boring stuff done at the start of the week so that when it gets to Thursday/Friday night I can chill out a little more. 

An example of my weekly schedule

  • Monday evening – Food shop 
  • Tuesday evening – Clothes wash, hoover, clean bathroom, clean kitchen, mop the floors and dust. 
  • Wednesday evening – Do the ironing and do some form of exercise. 
  • Thursday evening – My Thursday evenings are usually relatively free. You’ll often find me making cards or working on my blog. 
  • Friday evening – This is always the night that me and Shaun spend some quality time together. It usually consists of cooking a nice meal and a movie night or sometimes we get a takeaway. 
  • Saturday – Wash bedding/ towels and do a clothes wash. The rest of the day is free to do what we want.  
  • Sunday – Ironing, exercise and write a meal plan for the week ahead. The rest of the day is free to do what we want. 

Of course; some weeks something will crop up, or we’ll be out on the night that we usually do all of the chores meaning we just switch the days around a little. A schedule is never set in stone and you can change things around if you need to. But I’ve found that having a rough schedule in place keeps us on top of everything…. and we’re never those people that have no food left in the house haha. 

Hope you found this helpful!

Charlotte xx 

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How I figured out what I wanted to do with my life

Figuring out what you want to do with life is hard. Heck, some of us probably never figure it out and that’s totally fine. As long as we’re happy then that’s the main thing. 

I remember 5-year-old Charlotte wanted to be a ballerina, then I wanted to become a doctor, then I wanted to be an astronaut, then I wanted to be a baker and the list went on. 

Up until a couple of months ago, I was working a job that made me 100% miserable. I was in a call centre talking to rude people day in day out and I often came home in floods of tears and dreaded going to work every day. I knew this wasn’t what I wanted to do for the rest of my life and I needed a change as my mental health was being affected. I have a degree in Graphic Design but it’s a pretty high-pressure environment to work in which isn’t what I wanted. I’ve always loved Graphics since I was at school but it’s something I love to do in my spare time and I’ve never really seen myself working as a graphic designer for a large company.  

For a couple of years, I’ve been trying to figure out what I should be doing with my life and it’s been hard. I found I really needed to strip everything back to basics and write down lists to help me get some sense of what I wanted. I started off by writing down a list of the 5 things that are most important to me currently.

5 most important things to me 

  • To live a stress-free life (which my job wasn’t allowing) 
  • To be happy 
  • To enjoy what I’m doing 
  • To be healthy 
  • To be loved and appreciated

I then took a step back and looked at the situation I was in. I hated my job which made me stressed which in turn made me unhappy and I certainly wasn’t enjoying what I was doing. My health was being affected due to all of this. The only thing I really felt was loved by my family and friends. 

Next up I started thinking about my childhood. I was always a very happy child that was full of confidence and I thought I could conquer the world. Anything I set my mind to I could do. I had a positive attitude and was always so cheerful and bubbly. 

5 things I enjoyed doing as a child 

  • Inventing things
  • Painting 
  • Making cards 
  • Swimming 
  • Baking and cooking 

It was reflecting back on my childhood that was really the lightbulb moment to me. I was creative. I was always making things and coming up with new ideas. Everything was very hands on, I used to help my mum cook dinner and bake cakes with my grandad. The main thing though was card making. My dad and I would sit for hours and hours on end and make cards together and that’s honestly one of my fondest memories from my childhood. Creativity is obviously very linked in with my degree and this is what I’d been missing. Being creative.

Taking action 

  • The first thing I needed was a stress-free job. This was the most important thing to me. I needed to get away from the job I was working. A job came up in the same company I was at but in a different department which was far less stressful. I applied and got the job. This meant taking a pay cut but money honestly doesn’t buy you happiness. You can read more about this here
  • I started making things again. I dug out all of my old card making supplies and also bought some new ones. I started making cards and being creative again. I even started watching crafty YouTube videos to help learn new skills and techniques which I’ve been practising. 
  • I got back into cooking and trying new recipes. I even write a meal plan every Sunday for the week ahead and I’ve been loving trying to cook new things. 
  • I began making more of an effort to see my friends and go out and do things. Removing my negative job helped with this as I had more energy in the evenings to actually go out and be social. 

My mum once said to me: 

“Some people live to work and other people work to live”

I work to live. I’m not the sort of person that needs a high flying job with multiple promotions and lots of pressure. I go to work to earn money so that I can pay to live… And I want to spend my life outside of work doing things that make me happy and bring me joy. 

Now I’m not saying that I love my new job. It’s kind of boring, but it’s stress free and easy and it allows me to pay for what I need and it also means in my spare time I have energy to do things that I love like card making. 

My long-term goal would definitely be to make a decent amount of money from my card making so that I could reduce my hours at work. But that’s my long-term goal and I have plenty of time to get there. 

As I’m writing this (August 2018) I honestly feel so happy and content. I feel like I have purpose and I know what I want to do. I’m taking each day as it comes and I can’t wait to see what the future holds. 

Sorry for how long this post was! Hope you enjoyed and found it somewhat helpful. 

Charlotte xx 

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Card making techniques

I’ve been card making for a few years now but I’ve rarely tried out different techniques. I’ve always loved my die cut machine and using stamps but other than that I haven’t tried much. I decided that I needed to start experimenting with new techniques so I did lots of research and watched some YouTube videos to decide where to take my card making next. 

After many hours of YouTube, I decided that I wanted to try using stamps with watercolours, creating distress ink backgrounds and I wanted to give heat embossing a go. 

The first thing I experimented with was using distress inks to create watercolour backgrounds and I love how it turned out. 

I used watercolour paper and a mini ink blending tool to create the watercolour effect background with the distress inks that you can see above. I love the vibrancy of the colours; especially the pink and orange! 

Next up I tried using stamps and colouring them with watercolour paint. This is something I’ve never tried before and found it a little tricky at first but I got the hang of it eventually. This cute little guy below was done with watercolours. I used a palette of watercolour paints and then used an aqua water brush pen to apply the colour. I really enjoyed using watercolour as it makes it easier for shading as well as blending colours. 

The last technique I tried was using stamps with a versamark watermark stamp and then applying embossing powder on top. The watermark stamp is clear in colour and then the powder sticks over the top. I then used my Dovecraft heat tool to emboss the powder. I used a silver colour and you can see in the image below how shiny the powder went after the heat was applied! 

I’ve really enjoyed experimenting with some new techniques and I’m excited to continue practising and making more cards!

**This post contains affiliate links**

Hope you enjoyed!

Charlotte xx 

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Exercise that is actually suitable for beginners

It’s no lie that since being in a long-term relationship I’ve put on a lot of weight. We like to go out for meals, have movie nights in and eat unhealthy snacks. Exercise seems to have been a thing of the past for me for quite some time now. When I first met Shaun I used to swim 2/3 times a week and I never really snacked in between meals. I actually miss swimming a lot but there was a fire at my local pool and it’s been closed for about a year and a half now. Fingers crossed it’ll re-open soon!

I’ve never really had an issue with my body, I’ve always been a size 10/12 and I was always happy with this. I’m not saying I loved how I looked because I didn’t. But I also wasn’t unhappy.

More recently, I feel repulsed by myself and my body. I’ve put on almost 2 stone of weight in three years and I can really notice it. I’m now a size 14 and I feel really unhappy and sluggish and I know I need to do something about it. I’m not saying a size 14 is big because it isn’t, but everyone has their own circumstances and I feel unhappy at this size as I used to be smaller.

Exercise for ‘beginners’ 

I’m unfit and I haven’t properly worked out in ages! I don’t know if anyone else gets this problem, but over the last couple of months, I’ve tried various workout videos and routines that claim to be for ‘beginners’. If someone would like to tell me what ‘beginner’ can hold a plank for 1 minute and do a high-intensity workout for 45 minutes then please share?! I’m a beginner and I can hold a plank for a grand total of about 10 seconds!

I started to get really frustrated at the number of things claiming to be for beginners that wasn’t really aimed at beginners. It made me feel even more crap about myself as I couldn’t even manage the basic moves and this, in turn, made me want to sit and eat pizza as opposed to exercising.

Exercise that’s actually for beginners! 

Recently I asked on twitter if anyone could recommend any good YouTube channels for exercise for beginners and someone suggested JessicaSmithTV. All I can say is THANK YOU JESSICA for actually understanding the ability of a beginner. Jessica does a lot of videos that are a walking series which I love as we all know how to walk. This morning (22nd July 2018) I completed my first video of hers which was the HIIT for Beginners: Walking Interval Cardio Workout, Low Impact, Fat BurningIt was honestly the nicest feeling ever to be able to complete 25 minutes of exercise and actually be able to do ALL of it. It pushed me, made me sweat, made my heart race and it was hard at times but I did it and I felt so good afterwards.

I really wish more people would understand and cater for beginners. But in the meantime, if anyone else wants to get back into exercise and are struggling then I definitely recommend you try out JessicaSmithTV. I’m going to keep trying more of her videos over the next few weeks and I’ll keep you updated with how I get on.

Happy exercising everyone!

Charlotte xx

 

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