There is nothing better than finally having some much needed time off from work, studies, or just generally a break from your usual day-to-day life and while I am a housewife and many think I… More
As far back as I can remember, I have always been a chubby child. Family gatherings were always the worst, especially when certain family members had something to say about my weight. For the most part, I was oblivious though. I remember my cousin commenting about how much weight I had gained and how it would be a good idea for me to lose some weight. The comment caught me off guard but I was so confident that one comment from a family member who never made much effort to get to know me, so their opinion of me or my appearance did not matter at all. Another memory that comes to mind was when I was in high school. I was in boarding school for a short period of time of my high school career. I didn’t really fit in with the people there and I was really struggling to stay positive. The one good thing in my life was the food and when the matron noticed me gaining weight, she called me on my way to get seconds during one of the nights where desert was being served and told me that I had had enough.
Throughout my life there have been periods where I have been thin, but most of my life has been an existence entirely oblivious to my weight or appearance. I was confident whether I was at a relatively healthy weight or not. I became vaguely aware of my weight sometime in 2011. It was when I was first introduced to Herbalife. There was a lady at work who was selling it and I decided to try it out. There was no harm in trying to get in better shape. I had to admit, when I started at the second company I ever worked for I had a body that I have since been aspiring to get back to. I tried it for a few months but most of the time I felt as though I was starving, depriving myself of all the food I preferred to be eating. My colleague and I were in a similar predicament, we both would have liked to lose weight but weren’t willing to give up food as much we wanted to shed the extra kilos. There was a wellness day at work and this year they brought in a dietician who ended up giving us both the same diet (we were both around the same weight, height and had similar food preferences) which we ended up trying for a very short time before reverting back to our usual takeouts for lunch daily.
Pretty soon I was moving on to a new job at a different company and as always weight loss was a daily discussion. Over and above the work discussions about weight and diet, I was constantly being bombarded with comments about my weight and body by members of my husbands family. Usually I would not have been so concerned about comments but I was desperate to fit in to this new addition to my family and that is when everything regarding my weight came crashing down around me. My confidence plummeted and I began to get desperate to lose weight. I went back to Herbalife and it was on and off for the next 4 years. In between my Herbalife episodes I tried other products. The next product I used was Slimz. I am not sure where it is available but this is one product that did considerable damage to my stomach. I started using this product and while I don’t deny that it works, but I developed stomach ulcers and severe heartburn after using it. The bad definitely outweighed the good.
After my Slimz incident, I tried another product. It was sold by someone I worked with and it was called Skinny Me. There was a liquid that you needed to drink half an hour before and there were some other things but I cannot remember the exact details. With this diet, there were also certain foods you were not allowed to have. Fruits was one of the things that you were not allowed to eat because you had to cut out all sugars. This was definitely one of the worst diets I had ever tried out. How was this at all sustainable over long term? After a while I gave up and decided that I was going to have to find another way.
It was around this time that I got engaged. I was now planning a wedding and at the heaviest weight I had ever been. The desperation was now reaching a different level and I went back to Herbalife. For the period of a year and a half, from around the time I got engaged to the time of my wedding, I was trying to lose weight with Herbalife. Did it work? No it definitely didn’t. Before I got married, I was suddenly receiving advice from everyone who thought that they knew what would work for me. The craziest story I have ever heard about what would work for weight loss was a five spice or five herb drink that I should mix with water. The obsession with my weight on the part of my husbands family members have driven me crazy for the last 5 years. Maybe even longer but I can say that it has ruined a large part of my life.
Other people’s obsessions and issues with my weight has changed my life. I wish I could say it has been empowering to resist and stay at the same weight all this time but it hasn’t. Because of the constant attention and focus on my weight, I have withdrawn from the outside world, I am self conscious all of the time and struggle with body image daily. I have the mindset that one day when I am thin I can actually start enjoying my life and what a sad life it has become. The reality is that there are moments in my life where I would go somewhere or do something that I was against simply because I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin but every single time I have just done it anyway has been exhilarating. Whenever I have ventured out, I realised that the only people who my weight has been affecting is the people who have issues with themselves, their own appearances and their own lives. There was never a time when I went out and people were staring at me or pointing me out in a crowd. Don’t get me wrong, I know that being overweight is definitely not healthy but why are people ostracised for their appearance?
To say that there have been lessons in my life that I have had to learn the hard way, my weight has by far been the biggest one. I have had to hold my tongue, hold back an insane amount of tears while at the same time punishing myself by not caring about what food I am eating and not being active enough to live a healthy lifestyle just to prove a point. In the end it doesn’t seem like a fair trade to me. We end up sacrificing ourselves and what we really want in order to annoy or anger someone else whose opinion is not even important to us.
I watched a video that Will Smith uploaded onto his Instagram account and in it he speaks about how we tend to view ourselves through someone else’s broken mirror and then we try and fix our appearance according to that broken mirror. It is an interesting interpretation of how we are constantly trying to fit into the boxes that other people want us to fit into.
Have you had a similar experience to mine? I would love to hear your story!
-The Uninspired Blogger
It is so hard to believe that this year, as well as this decade is almost over. My twenties have definitely been a rollercoaster of emotions as well as events. Perhaps you noticed (or didn’t) that I haven’t posted a blog post since last week Monday. Well, a lot has happened since then and there have been many big decisions made and changes coming very early in 2020. In case you missed my last post about my exams, I did take some time off from the blog in order to focus on getting as much studying done. I have two exams lined up for this month with the first one on Friday morning and the next one will most likely be on the 16th or 17th of December. Once these two exams are done, I will have reached the first milestone in my qualification (finally) and then I plan to get started on the next level as soon as the exam centre opens in January (which means that I will have to start studying as soon as I am done with the two exams I have planned for this month – that is if I pass both exams which I am hoping is the case because these exams should have been done a long time ago!).
There are a few updates that I need to mention as well so let’s get into that:
My Sugar Challenge – At the beginning of November I tried to challenge myself to completely cut out sugar for 30 days. Well I don’t want to lie and say that I did it and it completely changed my life. There were a few days where I went completely sugar free (with the exception of fruits) but for the most part I ended up having sugar in my morning coffee and not much else in the form of sugar. While it was not all bad, I did manage to beat a huge part of my sugar cravings. I ended up discovering that I feel generally better and have a lot more energy if I substitute sweet snacks with fruits or vegetables with a handful of nuts or nut butter instead. So while I didn’t cut added sugar completely out, I have managed to cut out a lot of added sugar overall which I am okay with.
I have already given a rough update about my exams further up, I did map out my exams for the entire qualification and hope to be completed by 2021 with all exams and hopefully have gained enough work experience in order to apply for my full qualification where I need specific types of work experience. If you don’t already know, I am studying through CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) towards my professional qualification.
The biggest news by far is that we are officially moving back home to South Africa early next year and that means that not only will I be going back to working full time again, I will have to rework my entire routine and find the best fit for me with planners and products that make my life a whole lot easier. That means I will be able to give first hand as well as better advice about for all of you who are working, studying, and blogging on how I (hope to) balance getting everything done as well as getting back into doing my makeup everyday as well as my journey to get back into shape physically and mentally for gruelling deadlines.
With our big move happening early next year, we have a lot to get done and over and above that, I did plan to temporarily shut down my blog in order to revamp the layout as well as some other aspects and relaunch in January next year I plan to post my last post on the 20th December and will put up a notification on my Instagram and Facebook pages once my blog is back up and running so make sure you subscribe to emails or follow me on my social media.
I am hoping to settle into my new routine as quick as possible so I have been doing research on time management and plan to catch up on a lot of reading during the winter holidays that are coming up later this month. By the looks of it though I won’t have much to rest after I am done with my exams but the excitement of preparing for 2020 as well as all of the things I have to do in order to make our transition to restart our life in South Africa go as smoothly as possible. I will definitely be blogging all about our move. It is an international relocation so a lot of the things on my list will be unique to my move but I will definitely look into uploading a list on my blog in case it does end up helping someone in the future.
I am so incredibly excited for everything to come in December and for 2020. What are your plans for December? I would love to hear about them in the comments!
-The Uninspired Blogger
The good and bad part about studying through CIMA is that I choose when I want to write my exams. This is probably why I have taken so long to write them. Looking back to when I first changed over to CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) from pursuing my BCom through UNISA (University of South Africa), I felt motivated and bought all of my books online. I couldn’t wait to get started. Since then, now over 2 years ago I have only written and passed 2 exams, I failed a third twice. In the past, failure has often put me in a haze of disappointment and I have often not bothered to try for many months afterward. My husband persuaded me to try a different exam and that has been a game changer for me. I was always someone who enjoyed studying and having so much experience in finance, I hardly struggled with studying when there was some form of structure in my routine and especially when I was enjoying my job.
A lot of things started going downhill in my career when I left my second job. I changed jobs because I felt as though it was time to move on. I was wrong. Looking back, a lot of things would be so much more different had I stayed instead of looking for something else. Anyway, back to my current exam schedule. On the first level of CIMA, the CIMA Certificate In Business Accounting there are four exams. I had previous written one a year ago and recently passed the second one (Economics). I have the Ethics exam coming up later this week and the final exam (Management Accounting) planned for the middle of October. So What changed? Well, a lot actually. When I booked my exam, I was extremely nervous. The last thing I wanted was yet another failure. I know that a pass or fail in an exam should be no indication of one’s ability but when it comes to getting your degree, no one has ever gotten a degree with failures instead of passes.
My exam was booked for a Monday morning and while I spent the entire weekend studying and revising everything that was needed, I still woke up a few hours before I was meant to write in order to go over everything one last time. I tried to remain as calm as I could and when I got to the exam centre and sat in front of the computer as the exam began. I cannot explain the calm I felt during my exam. I had accepted the fact that if I failed, I would have to work harder next time and focus more on the aspects where I had failed. The exciting thing is that this was the best mark I had ever received in an exam since high school and I was extremely excited to try out some different study techniques for my next exam.
The good news is that I passed and this has been a tremendous boost for my confidence (something that I really needed when it came to my studying). I seem to have a renewed energy when it comes to studying and don’t seem to mind giving up watching a tv show or reading a book in order to bring my A-game to my exams. I have a good reason why I want to complete my qualification as soon as possible. I have goals, and in order to reach those goals, I have to do well in these exams and in order to do well in the exams, I would have to study hard. Studying now is a small price to pay for the amazing job I will be able to find with my education level which will end up leading to opportunities and my ideal job.
While this is a stressful time for me, exams and getting organised for our move back to SA, I know that all I need to do is plan my time correctly and I will be able to get everything done and with that knowledge, a lot of my stress seems to disappear and I am always grateful to have the luxury of having so much time to accomplish everything that needs to be done. I only wish that I had done all of this sooner.
Are you studying or relocating soon? I would love to hear about your experience and I plan to blog my entire relocating experience and compare it to our move to Europe! I am so excited for this new journey!
-The Uninspired Blogger
Being unemployed was definitely not a part of my plan but there was no way we could miss the amazing opportunity of living in Europe for 2 years and maybe a lot more. My husband and I decided on a certain amount of money that I would receive as a monthly allowance to spend on whatever I wanted to. The issue with that was the fact that I had debts when I left my job. I had a loan as well as a credit card and I support my mum financially. I made it work and still had enough to buy things I wanted. In the beginning, I was on a buying spree, I spent a lot of money every month buying junk that I probably didn’t need. I was buying so much because there are a lot of differences between products available in South Africa compared to Europe.
Over time, not much changed. I was still spending money on a lot of stuff that I didn’t need but what I did start noticing was that the house was starting to fill up with all of these unnecessary items that had no place. At one point, I also received a tax refund which was also spent (the majority in Sephora and Primark on makeup that has hardly been used) and the rest on books (which have not yet been read). With all of that said, these are the top lessons I have learnt about money:
- Available funds in your credit card is not the same as having money that you can spend. When I got my credit card, I used it as extra money that I could spend on everything that my heart desired. Now, I am aware that just because I have money available in my credit card, it does not mean that I can spend it buying useless items to fill my home. I have gotten into the habit of questioning every single purchase I plan to make with my credit card before actually making the purchase.
- If you can’t buy it with cash, don’t buy it. This is one lesson that my husband has taught me. Whenever we have made big purchases, it has always been done with cash. (I am not referring to vehicles and houses and other assets in that range). What I am referring to is the smaller items, laptops, phones, tablets, and other electronics.
- Have an emergency fund. I cannot begin to tell you all of the times I have had to go into debt in order to resolve emergency situations that cost me a whole lot of money. I now realise that I need to have an emergency fund built up over a period of time in order to prevent unnecessary financial stress in the future.
- Don’t spend money if you know you can’t afford it. I have spent large sums of money to try and fit in with people and then ended up drowning in debt. I am always assessing whether something is affordable and what the financial implications in the future look like (finally using my degree to improve my personal finances). I am now open when it comes to why I can or cannot participate in certain things. There is nothing shameful in not being able to afford something that others can. For me, my education, a home and a reliable vehicle will take precedence over any entertainment.
- Learn to live below your means. This is linked to point number 4. A lot of us end up buying things that we simply cannot afford instead of just buying the things we need. If you only buy the things you need, you will have more money to invest. Instead of instant gratification, we should learn to delay gratification in exchange for a larger reward.
I will have to see how best to implement this new knowledge into my life once I am earning my own income again. What is the best financial advice you have received or learnt? I would love to hear from you in the comments below!
-The Uninspired Blogger
There are not many people who say that they regret having a big wedding, or that thinking about the process of planning their big day enrages them but these are some of the intense feelings that I feel when I reflect on the year long planning process I went through to plan a wedding that still was not good enough for certain family members. There were many times during the planning process that I felt like canceling everything and just having a private ceremony for immediate family. It has been almost 3 years since my wedding and I can now see where it all went wrong. If I could go back, these are the things I would change or do differently:
- Better Research. I married someone of a different religion. Naturally we had two weddings (one following my religious rituals and the other and much larger one following his religious rituals). While I had a rough idea and had friends the same religion as my now husband, there were just some things that seemed to slip through the cracks or were not explained to me so naturally there were a lot of last minute things that needed to get done and the week before my wedding when I should have been relaxing and getting ready for my big day, we were rushing to get everything sorted out.
- Believing his family would help. Once we set a date, my in laws were constantly assuring me that they would do whatever they could to help us plan and yet when the time came for them to help, nothing really happened. I have to point out that my brother-in-law and his wife were probably the only helpful people, they sent us all the information from the time they were planning their wedding a few years before and a lot of that information helped us out. They also gave up an entire weekend a month before our wedding to drive me all over the area to get some of the last minute things.
- Choosing a big venue. I always wanted a small, intimate wedding. This was not what was in line with what ‘the people’ were expecting. I never grew up in a household where I heard those words but once I met my husbands family, these were the words that often came up whenever anyone did anything that did not align with what the family wanted. What will the people say? These are the words that I allowed to ruin a huge part of my wedding day. I should have stood up for what I wanted. I didn’t want to have people at my wedding who I would probably never see again.
- Showing my family my wedding outfit. I wore blue for my wedding. A wedding in a religion where the bride is most likely to wear red. I made the mistake of showing both families my outfit on the day and it was definitely something that became an issue. This was evident in the amount of times I was reminded that Hindu brides wear red.
- Giving in to others demands of my wedding day. Looking back, my wedding day should have been a good day for me, a stress free day where I get to marry my best friend, the person I would be spending the rest of my life with. I can say that planning my wedding for other people instead of myself made the entire process of planning my wedding day the worst experience of my life.
I truly hope that there are other people out there who never have to go through this with their wedding. If I could go back, I probably would never have spent half of what we spent on our wedding and used the rest of the money to go on the most amazing honeymoon.
What was your experience while planning your wedding?
-The Uninspired Blogger
When I moved over to Europe, there was no reason for me to be asleep at a reasonable hour because I was no longer employed, and therefore didn’t have much of a reason to wake up early either because let’s be honest, I wasn’t really going anywhere during the day so there was no incentive for me to make much of an effort, especially during the week. As a result of this, I spent copious amounts of time on social media until well after midnight and only dragged myself out of bed after 11am and by the time all the usual morning necessities have been done, there is barely enough time to do much apart from clean up and prepare dinner for the day. It was fine for a while, but eventually I needed more time in my day to actually get things done. The real struggle started when I needed to work on getting my schedule back on track.
Waking up early is one thing, but when I would wake up early, I always needed a nap during the day or else I definitely would not make it through the day. A nap during the day meant that I struggled to fall asleep at night so effectively nothing much changed but I reckon I may have gained an hour or two extra during the day to get things done. By the time we settled down here in Italy, things were a lot worse so I knew I had to take drastic action to try and get my sleep schedule back to a more normal state. I definitely did not want to sleep all day and be up all night.
I was at the point of giving up when I came across Arianna Huffington in one of her many interviews about her book, Sleep Revolution. I never doubted the importance of getting enough sleep but the one thing I took away from her interview was that she had a structured night time routine, and that her phone was never in the room with her when it was time to sleep. This was the life-changing hack I was looking for. I decided to give it a try and at first I really struggled to fall asleep but as time went on, my sleeping habits began to change. I was able to fall asleep earlier and earlier and eventually my sleep schedule seemed to return to normal. Just the simple choice to put my phone down within a certain amount of time gave me my life back.
I briefly mentioned this in a previous post (https://theuninspiredblogger.com/2019/10/14/want-better-sleep-here-is-how-i-get-it/) but I felt as though this was the best and most substantial change I have made when it came to improving my sleep and it definitely needed its own article. I haven’t read the book yet but if you are struggling to sleep and need to disconnect you should definitely try disconnect from your phone, leave it outside of the bedroom, and turn your bedroom into a sanctuary where your devices are not allowed.
Is your bedroom a device free zone?
-The Uninspired Blogger
Before 2017, I had only ever been to Durban from Johannesburg. My first trip to the ocean was when I was 19 years old and looking back now, I never would have believed that 10 years later I would be living in Europe or that going to Durban would be something that would end up being a normal trip as my husband’s family lives there.
In June 2017, I prepared myself for my first international trip. I was scared of heights and usually preferred to drive than to fly but with an international trip driving was definitely out of the question for me. It was a nerve wracking experience and I hardly slept but on the other end was my first ever stamp in my first ever passport. I landed in Zurich, Switzerland the next morning and flew out to Milan an hour later. I remember looking out the window at about 5am that morning over the Alps and looking at the sunrise. It was definitely one of the best sunrises I have seen while sitting in a plane.
Since then, I have been to a few more places both outside of Italy and inside. When we first got here, we had to wait for our permits (Which takes a few months including the time between your application and the actual date of your appointment and then obviously you have to wait a few months after the appointment in order to receive your permit so that you are free to travel between any of the Schengen areas). Our first Christmas here was spent on a short trip to Lake Como. It is not far from where we live and while we haven’t been back again, we plan to make another trip this December and to do a little more touring. While waiting for our permits, we decided to take a trip to the coast and the place we went to was Genoa. Yes, the place where the bridge collapsed the following year. It was an amazing weekend but I was eager to cross the border and visit Switzerland. We were finally notified that our permits were ready but of course, we had already anticipated that and already had our accomodation sorted out in Geneva.
We took a drive through the Mont Blanc tunnels, an 11km long tunnel that never seemed to end and had lights to indicate how far you should be from the person driving in front of you. Traffic there was a nightmare but the views were breathtaking. There was still a lot of snow and I was beyond excited to finally be in Switzerland. We spent our time there going to CERN and to Lake Geneva. While CERN didn’t interest me much, the Lake was a day well spent and we ended up spending our time on a boat tour surrounded by mountains. I was sad to leave but the reward of the view on the way back to Italy was definitely worth it!
The next place we went to was our first European summer trip. We decided to tour further south in Italy and ended up in Livorno which didn’t have much to see in the way of monuments but there was the beach and the beach is my favourite place on earth. Our plan was to make a pitstop at the Leaning Tower of Pisa on the way back. We did make the stop and managed to take a few pictures until we spotted the storm that was coming in. It was a short trip but it was fun and I hope to return to Pisa one day.
We returned back home for a short visit after our trip to Pisa and Livorno and our next trip was to Nice, France with a day trip to Monaco. This was the trip that I was definitely the most excited about. I have always wanted to go to Monaco, I have always been interested in the history of Monaco and the history of the royal family and other royal families in the world. While Monaco is very expensive to stay in, we ended up staying in Nice and took the train to Monaco and Cannes. During this trip to Nice, we spent one day at the beach (it was the middle of winter but we had amazing weather and spent most of the day sitting in the sun and watching the waves). The next day we went to Monaco and walked almost everywhere (we did not know about the hop on – hop off buses on this trip) and didn’t make it to the palace because we were too exhausted. Our last day in Nice was spent on the beach in Cannes and exploring the area.
Our next trip was in April of this year. We ended up going to Limone sul Garda on Lake Garda and despite the fact that our accomodation was noisy, we spent two days there looking at the beautiful mountain and lake views, playing mini golf and just relaxing. We drove here and the traffic around that time was absolutely horrible because we spent at least an hour sitting on the same stretch of road because of an event that was happening in the area but the breathtaking view from our balcony was definitely worth it.
Our last and final trip was another trip to my favourite destination, my husbands brother and his wife ended up visiting us here in Italy and we decided to take another road trip down to the beautiful city of Nice and of course Monaco. We visited Cannes and Monaco and stayed in Nice again but this time our trip to Monaco was a lot more successful than our previous trip. We ended up seeing the same sights in Cannes but we did end up buying the bus pass for Monaco and ended up seeing all of the sights including the palace. It was absolutely amazing and I will definitely be returning there even if it is just one more time.
Our last trip was to Florence. We spent two nights in a hotel that overlooked the Arno river which is the main river that runs through Florence. This trip was definitely not one we enjoyed because of the extreme heatwave that swept through Europe during the month of August but we managed to have quite a bit of fun while touring the city and eating good food in the area. It was an amazing trip and we spent the rest of the week at home with each other and most times just being together is enough, it doesn’t have to be anywhere else but home but it is always nice to see new places!
Out of all of the places you have been to, which places turned out to be your favourite?
-The Uninspired Blogger
Over the last few days the temperature in the northern hemisphere has really dropped drastically and we have already had snow in some places. When I was younger, I never really used to notice the different effects the weather had on my skin but lately I can feel the difference in my skin long before I notice the change in weather. With Winter slowly creeping in, I have had to change my skincare routine because my usual moisturiser is just not good enough for the harsh weather.
The one constant between the winter and the summer months is definitely my face wash. I absolutely love the Garnier Pure Active 3in1 with Charcoal. It is by far my favourite out of their full range and while I usually use it as a face wash, you can use it as a mask as well which is perfect when you have a tight schedule. I have found that even when I have breakouts, it helps to clear my skin a lot faster.
As a toner, I always use a mix of witch hazel with rose water. I buy it already mixed but I also like to have witch hazel which is perfect for summer when my skin is extra oily and sweaty. Witch Hazel is an amazing astringent that helps with a wide range of skin conditions including insect bites and has been known to soothe acne as well. I use it mainly to tighten my pores especially on my nose which is where my pores are the largest. Witch hazel also has antibacterial, antiseptic and antiviral properties. It is also safe to use daily and very affordable.
When it comes to moisturiser, this is where I have the biggest and most significant change in my skincare routine. During summer, I opt for moisturisers that will be easily absorbed into my skin. I opt for a Nivea Urban Detox Day Cream with SPF. During Winter, my skin absorbs the moisturiser a lot faster than usual so I really need a long lasting solution. During the day, I will use my Nivea Creme (The one that comes in the blue tin) and this has been an absolute lifesaver for my skin. At night I opt more for an oil. My go-to has been Bio-Oil but I have also experimented with Jojoba oil which I mainly use on my cuticles. Both of these oils have had an amazing impact on my skin and are non-comedogenic which means they won’t clog your pores and cause blackheads.
For me, there is no season that goes by without me doing a moisture bomb mask and my ultimate favourite has definitely been the sheet masks from Garnier and the clay mask from the Primark and Alex Steinherr collaboration. I use the clay mask one to two times a week in summer and only once a week in winter and reserve the sheet masks for when I shave my face (if you haven’t done this yet, it is absolutely amazing and helps your moisturisers and serums to be absorbed better as well as making your make-up application look a lot smoother. The hair DOES NOT grow back thicker, I have been doing this for over a year now) or when I dermaroll my skin because it soothes my skin afterwards.
Another item I use a lot is definitely my glycolic acid peel pads from Pixi. It has really made a difference to my skin since I moved to using acids to exfoliate instead of using skin damaging products like manual exfoliants. I started off using the Nip and Fab daily pads but found the Pixi glow peel pads in Sephora on one of my trips there. I use this twice a week in summer and only once a week during the winter months because I don’t have a lot of skin issues during the winter. The pads come in packs of 60 and is the most expensive item in my skincare but this is the product that tends to last the longest because it is not used more than 2 – 3 times a week.
Another thing to note is that I only wash my face with a face wash once a day. I have noticed a difference in the moisture of my skin by doing this. When you wash your face using products,
you strip the natural oil layer from your skin and this can cause breakouts and other skin issues in some types of skin. I prefer to wash and exfoliate in the evenings especially when I have had makeup on, and I opt for a heavy duty moisturiser in the evenings. In the mornings, all I do is rinse my face with lukewarm water, tone and moisturise and my face is ready for makeup application.
It is important to know that these are the products that seem to work best with my skin for now, your skin changes over time and products also stop working on your skin after using them for a long period of time so it is important to know what you are allergic to and what ingredients work for your skin. If you have really problematic skin, I would suggest that you see a dermatologist in order to find products that would work for your skin. My skincare will also end up changing once I am employed again and can afford to resume my monthly facials at my favourite salon back home so I will definitely do an update sometime in 2020.
Do you use any of these products? I would love to hear about your skincare routine and what products you have found to work best for all seasons and skin types!
-The Uninspired Blogger
I have been fortunate at certain points in my life to be able to go shopping and not really have to worry about the cost of getting almost everything I wanted or needed from the grocery store, or any store for that matter. This has not always been the case but I have picked up a few good tips and tricks along the way and use a lot of these tips and tricks even when I can afford not to.
- Never, ever go to the shop on an empty stomach. Make sure you get something to eat before you shop because I have been shopping numerous times on an empty stomach and ended up not only overspending but also with a whole lot of junk food that is definitely not good for me.
- Make a list and STICK TO IT! This is so important. Whenever we make a list and we are on a budget, we always stick to our list. If we want to buy any junk food, it goes on the list as well. This rule is absolutely important because when combined with the other rules on this list, it will make or break your budget.
- Always look at what is on sale. When I was working, there were three different supermarket chains on my way home from work and when I planned my shopping lists well, I ended up saving a lot more money just by splitting my shopping trips into three separate trips. Another tip from using leaflets and knowing when they had bulk items on sale and using this and sacrificing some other non-essential items and sometimes spending a little more on groceries one month than I usually would, I ended up saving over the long term because I didn’t need to purchase those items for a few months and sometimes for almost a year.
- Frozen is not bad. A lot of people prefer to buy fresh fruits and vegetables and in the case of berries, frozen is often cheaper and I have found that the quality (depending on where you purchase it from) is not bad at all. I use a lot of fruits and vegetables for smoothies during the summer and tend to lean more towards veggies as a side to my meals and frozen has by far worked out cheaper than fresh. Also, if it is frozen it lasts a lot longer than fresh especially if you don’t always have time to meal prep when you purchase the fresh fruit and veggies.
- Meal Planning is a time and money saver. When you plan your meals, you know exactly what you need and how much of each item you are going to need to buy. This helps a lot with budgeting and reduces waste while saving time because the bulk of your meals will be planned out and made for you so you won’t have to stop to get food on the way home from work because there is always a meal ready for you.
- Keep your fridge and cupboards organised. It is so easy to dump everything in the cupboard or pantry when you are tired from a trip to the shop but when your pantry or grocery cupboard is nice and organised, you are able to see what you already have so that you don’t buy things that you don’t need.
- Shop once a week. It is so easy to overspend when you just ‘pop’ into the shop every other day. Shopping once a week allows your spending to be budgeted and planned properly to only buy things you actually need.
- Don’t buy pre-cut products. Often times fruits and vegetables and cheese in some areas are already cut or shredded and they are usually a lot more expensive than the whole fruit. You can dedicate an hour or so each week to cutting and cleaning all your fruits and vegetables. It is a small price to pay for when you are on a tight budget.
- No-Name or store brands are often just as good as the name brands. I cannot tell you enough about the times I have tried no name or store brands and discovered that they were exactly the same quality as the more expensive name brands. Although there are some that have questionable quality, you will have to check which no name brands work for your taste buds.
- Not all ‘sales’ will save you money. We have all been a victim of this scam where an item goes on sale in bulk, as a buy three for a set amount or something similar which sounds very cheap, but what actually happens is that the product price per unit stays the same but because of the marketing technique, you think you are getting a bargain. While this is not always the case, you should always be cautious and plan accordingly.
These are the top tips I use when I am shopping on a budget. What tips do you use at the moment and what tips do you plan on using in the future? I would love to hear from you!
-The Uninspired Blogger
There is nothing like a good playlist to get through those menial tasks like cleaning up the house, decluttering, or even washing the dishes. There is always new music being released but sometimes there is nothing as good as a golden oldie. These are my top 10 songs on my playlist and why they are on my playlist.
- Selena Gomez ‘Lose You To Love Me’ – This is one of her new singles recently released and the words are absolutely amazing. I have never been through something like that but the raw emotion in the song makes it one of my top songs at the moment. (I also enjoy belting it out in the car on the way to the shop)
- Selena Gomez ‘Look At Her Now’ – The second of her two singles released recently, this one is what they call a bop. It is my favourite feel good song and I currently have it on repeat! Also, is it insane that both these music videos were shot on the new iPhone? If you haven’t seen the music videos do yourself a favour and go and check it out!
- Chris Brown ‘Forever’ – We recently watched The Office and if you felt nothing during Jim and Pams wedding then you have no heart! We loved that episode so much that we wished we had watched it earlier so that we could have had something similar for our wedding.
- Usher ‘Crash’ – I often end up going down memory lane on YouTube and I came across this song by Usher that used to be my favourite when it was first released. With so much new music always being released, it is nice to rediscover old favourites!
- Ed Sheeran ‘Beautiful People’ (Ft Khalid) – I came across this song on YouTube and I was in love. It was a song released by two of my favourite artists and it spoke to me as someone who has always tried to fit in and putting myself in situations with people where I don’t feel like myself. The music video is amazing and it is now my theme song!
- Keala Settle ‘This is me’ – I first heard this song on America’s Got Talent and it made me feel things I never thought a song could make you feel. When I first came across this song, I was depressed and felt completely worthless. This song made me feel like I mattered (As corny and as sad as that sounds, it is true!)
- Ariana Grande ‘7 Rings’ – Yes, this is still on my playlists. Whenever I stop feeling like I am capable of succeeding, this is the song I go to. While I am not materialistic and my definition of success is factored around happiness and being a good person, but it is always nice to be able to walk into a shop and see something you like and not have to worry about the price tag. (P.S. I am not a name brand person but there are some items of clothing that are just ridiculously expensive!)
- Normani ‘Motivation’ – This is a song that is good for any kind of playlist. This is definitely in my workout playlists and the beat helps me get through any task I need to do. My goal is to one day learn the dance to this song… Let me know if I am alone in this or if you or someone you know feels this way too!
- Rudimental ‘Something About You’ – I discovered this song once again on YouTube. The music video was the best I have seen in a long time. If you haven’t heard this song yet, please go and give it a listen, you will not regret it!
- Kaskade ‘With You’ (Ft Meghan Trainor) – Another one of my YouTube finds, this song was on repeat for a long time and I still love it to this day!
- Rita Ora – Let You Love Me
- Tove Lo – Talking Body
- Lizzo – Truth Hurts
- Lauv – I Like Me Better
- Ariana Grande – Don’t Call Me Angel (Ft Miley Cyrus and Lana Del Ray)
- Imagine Dragons – Boomerang
- Jack Garratt – Surprise Yourself
- Camila Cabello – Never Be The Same
- Liam Payne – Bedroom Floor
- Celine Dion – Ashes
Another thing I enjoy doing is finding other playlists on spotify. For example, I follow The Rock (Dwayne Johnson for those who aren’t wrestling fans) playlist on spotify and he has a very different taste in music to what I have but sometimes a change is as good as a holiday!
These aren’t the only songs on my playlist, I have a whole lot of music and sometimes I am in a shuffle all mood.
Let me know which of these are your favourite and what’s on your playlist! I am always open to listening to new music! Drop the suggestions in the comment box below!
-The Uninspired Blogger
I recently joined a planning workshop for 2020 and that has caused me to really examine where I am at the moment and where I would like to be next year at this time. My planning of previous years has not been fruitful and I am determined to make my plan for 2020 work. I have researched the best ways to implement a plan into my life and to take the necessary action on a daily basis in order to make 2020 my best year ever.
I have already worked out my plan for the last two months of 20109 focusing mainly on my studies and my health because I am able to anticipate any event that might occur in order for me to plan around it. This will be one of the biggest changes next year as I plan to return to a full time job and the uncertainty surrounding exactly which month is making my planning for 2020 a bit of a challenge. The addition of a full time job earlier in the year will mean that I might not be able to reach certain goals in time due to the time constraints. With a full time job, I would need to factor in any overtime I might have to work unexpectedly as well as commute time and time to get ready for work in the morning.
With that said, these are the major goals I plan to accomplish in 2020:
Career: It is my plan to enter the workforce at a higher level than I was when I left in 2017. I now have a higher level of education as well as almost 10 years of experience in the finance field. I also feel as though I have matured in the last few years and have a different approach to my career. I don’t want to make the same mistakes I did before when it came to finding the right job for me so I plan to be meticulous about which opportunity to take while realising that if I do make a mistake based on error of judgement, it can always be fixed. My goal is to find a job where I am able to learn daily and grow as a professional.
Studies: While I know that completing my entire qualification is not possible (with the work experience needed included), I do hope to be at the Strategic Level by the end of 2020. It is a realistic goal and with my husband who has gone through the curriculum himself, I will be able to turn to him for assistance where needed.
Health and Fitness: I truly believe that 2020 is the year I reach all of my fitness and health goals. I have already started making changes to my nutrition and definitely plan to become more active as the days go by. By the end of the year I hope to have fully implemented an effective exercise routine as well as a much healthier outlook of nutrition. I am beginning to understand the issues I have with food and I am currently using journaling to work through a lot of them. In 2020, my goal is to be as healthy as possible, to always choose what is good for my body over immediate satisfaction.
Personal Development: This is by far the area where I will be devoting a large amount of time. My plan is to listen to one full podcast every single day as well as read 52 books in 2020. Another plan is to join Jay Shetty’s Genius programme. I would have loved to join this year but I am not employed yet and cannot make the financial commitment. I also plan to meditate daily and continue to journal on a daily basis as it has been a tremendous help to me. I would also like to learn 2 new skills next year. I have a list of things I have always wanted to learn how to do, and from next year I would like to start making a dent on that list.
Relationships: Every relationship has its ups and downs and in 2020 I want to spend more quality time with friends and family. I want to have one day each week where I spend at least 5 hours without my phone when I am around my family.
Blog: I have BIG plans for my blog overall but for 2020 I plan to focus mainly on increasing my visitors as well as increasing my following on social media. I also want to streamline and stick to a particular niche and clean up the design of my blog. I also plan to monetize my blog next year which is exciting for me!
General: A big goal of mine is definitely to cut down the amount of time I spend on social media. There are so many more things I could be doing with that time instead of scrolling through social media. I have definitely reduced my time on social media by having only specific times of the day that I am online but there are days when I don’t stick to that schedule. I plan to cut this down to maximum one hour a day.
What are some of the goals you plan to achieve next year? I would love to hear about them!
-The Uninspired Blogger
With the end of the year looming, I decided to try something I have tried before but never succeeded at. For the month of November, I have decided to cut added sugar completely out of my diet. This means no sugar in my coffee in the morning, no chocolate, no sfogliatelle (my favourite italian pastry) and definitely no juices or soft drinks. Basically, I will be living on good meat and fresh fruits and vegetables for a month.
Why am I doing something this drastic? Well because I know that I have a problem with sweet stuff, anything with sugar actually. It is not unusual for me to plan to have a small piece of chocolate only to finish the entire slab which is becoming an issue for me. I want to have control over what I eat and when you are addicted to sugar, control seems to go out the door. There have been some cases where I have been able to control my cravings but most of the time, I am on a sugar high only to come crashing down feeling worse than I did before. I also have this weird thing where if I eat any unhealthy food during the day, I don’t feel like I should have anything healthy. Anyone else feel that way or is it just me?
I decided that now is the time to do this challenge simply because I want to have healthier eating habits overall. There have been days in the past where I have eaten healthy for a few consecutive days and let me tell you how amazing that felt! I had boundless energy which means I not only had energy to workout on those days, I also was extremely productive! The problem is that we become so used to having bad habits that no matter how good those days were, I always went back to my bad eating habits. I want to get into the habit of choosing healthy food over unhealthy food.
So why the entire month? Well they say it takes 21 days to form a habit, but I really want to dedicate a longer time to form this habit. Eating healthier is one of my main goals for the next two months because I really don’t want to have that many bad habits follow me into 2020. I am also doing this alone (my husband is not joining in with me because he doesn’t have a sugar addiction but he has been surprisingly supportive when it comes to keeping me on track with other things that I am working on) I feel as though it is important for me to work on implementing good habits into my own life because habits that are good for me aren’t always in line with what other people are trying to accomplish in their own lives.
Why am I telling you all this? Well because one of the reasons why I started this blog was as a means of accountability. So I want to ask each and every one of you to hold me accountable but also to remember that I am human.
Are you planning to do a challenge similar to this? I would love to hear about it!
-The Uninspired Blogger
For those of you who have only discovered my blog now, I recently turned 30 and I am so excited for all of the adventures my thirties will bring me! While the adventures that await are exciting, there are plenty of good habits I hope to implement in the upcoming months, habits that I probably should have implemented in my twenties but rather late than never.
- Regular Exercise. Whenever things go wrong or I have a few days that are a bit busier than the rest, the first habit that doesn’t seem to stick is an exercise routine. I am constantly reminded about the benefits of exercise on physical as well as mental health and while I am not in the best shape at the moment, exercise is one of the habits I am most eager to implement.
- Healthy Eating Habits. It is true that nutrition makes up 80% – 90% of weight loss, and I have always wanted to be someone who is able to choose a salad over cake or chocolate. I know that I have an insane sugar addiction and I am often unable to stop eating foods with large amounts of sugar in them. My plan isn’t to cut sugar out completely, but to limit the amount to just my morning coffee.
- Drink More Water. In summer, it is a lot easier to drink more water, simply because it’s hotter. I tend to struggle with drinking water in winter because it is colder and I often opt for tea or coffee instead. This is one of the habits I plan to implement immediately because I can feel the difference when I drink enough water and when I don’t.
- Meditation. I have heard the stories about how meditation has changed many people’s lives and their perception of life and yet this is one of the habits that I have found the most difficult to implement in my own life. I have tried it before and the habit has not stuck yet, but I would like to try again and find the right type of meditation that would work for me.
- Reduce The Amount Of Social Media. Social media is an addiction that creeps into our lives before we know it. I have spent numerous hours a day just looking through photos and videos of other people living their lives all while mine passed me by. I think back on all of the time I could have been focusing on something productive but instead watched YouTube videos about drama between makeup artists and The Office compilations. I could have written numerous blog posts or spent that time cleaning up my home, cooking good food, and even studying.
- Wake Up Early. Yes, I love staying in bed until 9am almost every morning. I will admit that waking up early has a special power to it though. There are many times that I have woken up around 6am to get things done and because there is no one up, it is a lot easier to focus and be productive before everyone is up. I know that when I start working again, I will have to wake up early so I plan to implement this one a little closer to that time.
- Read Everyday. Ideas in equal ideas out and how I usually get my ideas about anything is through reading interesting articles and books. My plan is to make it a habit to read everyday, even if it is just one page.
- Have Routines. In the words of Eric Thomas, your routine will show you your gaps. While I do have a relatively good evening routine (there is always room for improvement), most of my days don’t have time allocated for each task which makes it easier to move a task to a different day. This is how I have lost track of everything that I need to accomplish during the day and end up rushing through activities in the afternoon. I want to start managing my time better by blocking out certain times of the day for activities that have to be done instead of working from a to-do list.
- Having a budget and sticking to it. One of the things I didn’t have in my twenties was financial intelligence. Yes, I was working in the finance field but when it came to my own finances, I made numerous mistakes and ended up in debt on numerous occasions. I never had someone before showing me the power of budgeting and what can be accomplished when you save up and buy something cash instead of credit.
- Decluttering Throughout The Day. I have this bad habit of leaving everything in a mess and then not clearing up immediately after or soon after I am done with something that I have used. As a result, I often have to spend a large amount of time cleaning up a lot of clutter and this tends to not only be time consuming but usually requires a lot of energy that I could be spending on something I enjoy doing. I have slowly started implementing this habit whenever I cook, it is a lot easier to put the dirty dishes in the dishwasher as I am going along instead of piling them in the sink and then having to spend time packing the dishwasher.
What are habits that you want to implement in your daily life? I would love to hear about them, maybe there are some of your recommendations that I would like to try and add into my daily routine!
-The Uninspired Blogger
For many years, I felt as though I was good enough just the way I was. There was no reason to improve on anything because whatever I knew would get me into the jobs and places I needed to be in so that I could reach my full potential. My full potential would make me rich and I could then buy all of the things I ever wanted and all of these things would make me happy. By no means was I ever a materialistic person, but I did like having nice things around me. I was content with my life being roughly similar for the rest of my life, and I was ignorant. I had learnt a lot about becoming a better person and how to behave in different situations but it took me leaving my full time job and hitting rock bottom to discover that I could improve my own life, just by changing small things like daily habits, my outlook on life and by choosing to be happy.
This last week, I did Habits for Happiness, a 5 day live workshop run by Jay Shetty on Facebook. I did a similar one last year with him but this year he said something that really stuck with me. Happiness is a choice, happiness is a habit. I thought about how many days of 2019 I chose to be miserable, to only see the things that went wrong and ignore all of the things that went right, or all of the situations that I was in where I could have learnt the lesson and change the entire situation around and made it a positive experience for me.
Over the past few months, I have really begun to focus on dealing with everything that I have been through emotionally my whole life. I did not grow up in a good environment, it was constant stress not knowing when the next outburst would occur and you don’t really realise that all of the things that happened to you and around you when you were younger affect how you make decisions and how your body responds to the trauma. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend watching Heal, a documentary on Netflix about the magic of the body and how it heals itself. Watching the documentary made me realise how I got to this point in my life where my first thought is usually me wondering what the problem is. See, I was the problem solver for the majority of my life. I was the one family members were sent to when they needed to be healed. I was the person you could tell your whole life story and I would help you make the pain go away, I would give you the advice you need to hear. I was the support structure that held my family together after my parents got divorced. I was the one who had to grow up and be responsible and constantly give up everything I wanted and accept only what I absolutely needed while everyone else had their needs and wants fulfilled. This is the reason why I have a bad relationship with food, and with many other things. This is the reason why I ended up in debt, because when I started working and I was earning my own money, I had to buy everything I always wanted. I learnt that I have to forgive my parents and the rest of my family for everything not for their sake, but for my own. Most of the things that happened have long been forgotten by them, and the chances are that they don’t even realise the impact it has had on me.
I learnt that people will not always have the same respect for you that you have for them and that is okay. Don’t be a bad person just because someone else doesn’t treat you the way you deserve to be treated. That is more of a reflection on them than on you. We need to stop dropping our standards to those around us and start lifting each other up. You have to teach people how to treat you and that starts with how you treat yourself. If you keep putting yourself down, don’t be surprised when other people start doing that to you on your behalf. We need to learn to speak up for ourselves. If someone says something to you that does not sit well with your soul, speak up. As the saying goes: Those who matter, won’t mind and those who mind don’t matter. For too long in my life, I have allowed people to treat me however they saw fit. In 2019, I realised that I deserve a lot better than I have been receiving. Now, I demand respect from myself so that I can demand respect from others.
In 2019, I learnt that I need to manage money better. I do not need more than what I already have and don’t need to fill my life with things in order to be content. I learnt that my life is full of good things and good people and that I should focus on that instead of the people who don’t appreciate me.
I learnt to appreciate myself and my emotions above all else. We all are going through things, I learnt that it is sometimes better to keep your struggles to yourself because sometimes you can overwhelm friends and family with your emotions which sometimes causes unnecessary arguments. I learnt that people will always try and tell you what to do without knowing your full situation and while that means they care, we shouldn’t always listen to their advice. Advice comes from a good place but is usually biased.
This year, I learnt that I actually need to implement my plans or I will end up planning my entire life and have nothing to show for my plans. Planning out your day is super important and while it is nice to go down the rabbit hole of YouTube videos, there is a time to work and a time to play. I learnt that I enjoy a lot more creative work than analytical tasks on certain days of the week and at certain times of the day. I started laughing again, at stupid videos, I started smiling at sweet or funny thoughts I had, I learnt that it is okay to smile and be happy even on dark days, those are the days when they usually are the most sincere and most needed.
This year has definitely been a year of learning, and with two months left to go, I hope for the learning to continue!
What are the lessons you learnt in 2019? I would love to hear about them!
-The Uninspired Blogger
When it comes to spending money, we tend to question ourselves and have often walked out of stores empty handed simply because we couldn’t justify the need for certain items regardless of the cost. Despite that, we have however made some large and some small purchases in the last few months.
- Samsung Tablet. This was a birthday present from my husband. He asked me to give him a list of things I wanted and a tablet was one of them. I have been having issues with the battery of my phone and needed to work on my blog more conveniently than my laptop so a tablet seemed like something a little more convenient and mobile than a laptop without replacing the size of my phone. Hence, the purchase of the tablet.
- Milk Frother. We already have a coffee machine at home but with our plan to move back home, I am slowly working through all of the things we bought but never got around to eating and drinking, things like coffee. I am a huge cappuccino fan (something about living in Italy maybe?) so in order to make a fancy cup of coffee, I insisted we purchase a milk frother so I could use up all of the coffee granules in the house and it is a purchase I will definitely not regret!
- Phone Battery. Replacing a phone is a lot more costly than simply replacing the battery. For the last few months, I have been struggling with my Huawei battery suddenly dying at odd times and with hardly any use. I tried everything including resetting my phone and nothing worked. After a lot of research, we decided to purchase a new battery and change it ourselves.(A risky move, anything can go wrong.) All’s well that ends well, I now have a fully functioning battery in a phone that I no longer need to replace anytime soon.
- Pixi Glow Peel Pads. I have been using glycolic acid as a chemical exfoliant for a few months now. I started using Nip and Fab daily pads with only 2.5% glycolic acid and 5% glycolic acid until I discovered Pixi Glow Peel Pads. They have a whopping 20% glycolic acid and because I only have to use them 2 – 3 times a week, the pack of 60 pads tends to last a little longer than the daily pads.
- Powerbank. Out of all the purchases I have made, this has been a game changer. There have been so many times that we have been travelling and had a flat battery forcing us to stop taking pictures or halting communication with friends and family. It is a small investment that ends up going a long way.
- Non-Stick Pans. Yes, I have owned non-stick pans before but never ones that are good quality. We recently purchased a two-pack and they are amazing! Not too heavy and everything literally slides off. It takes two minutes to clean and anything that changes my life that drastically is definitely here to stay and a great purchase!
There are small and large purchases that are capable of improving your quality of life. The battery only cost me a few Euros from Amazon and yet it has saved me a lot more than that.
What have you purchased recently that has changed your life or improved the quality of your life? I look forward to hearing about it!
-The Uninspired Blogger
There is nothing better than a spicy chicken curry on a cold day, with a warm roti to soak up all the gravy, or spaghetti and turkey meatballs for those days when you just craving something different. We all have different dishes that we turn to depending on our mood, cravings and even the weather. One thing that is undeniable is that food creates emotions in us and store memories that come to mind with each dish.
When I was younger, I loved eating. With great food, often came a great amount of dishes and with no dishwasher, that responsibility usually fell to me. Getting a dishwasher was one of the best choices we have ever made and it has changed my love of cooking for the better. I love experimenting with new dishes that put a new spin on an old favourite, or just trying out different spice combinations to achieve a different taste. Over the last few years, I have picked up quite a few new skills as well as which products I should always have on hand.
- Pasta. Living in Italy, it is impossible to not stock up on some of the many pasta types available at an extraordinarily affordable price. Pasta is a staple here and is usually a lot cheaper than rice or any other starch. My pantry always spaghetti, linguine, lasagne sheets (I usually plan to buy this fresh but I have the boxed sheets as well just in case!), and penne rigate (the penne quills with the ridges tend to hold the sauce better than the smooth penne).
- Rice. Rice has always been a staple in our home. Back in our home country, rice is a staple and is usually quite affordable and comes in a wide variety. Here in Italy, while there are a few varieties, we have chosen to stick with basmati rice because of the time needed to cook it and the taste. It is one of the more expensive variants in South Africa over the usual long grain parboiled rice.
- All Purpose Flour. What can’t you make with AP flour? I use flour to make roti and sometimes biscuits. Banana bread is something I usually end up making because my husband always buys bananas and never ends up eating them all before they turn brown.
- Potatoes. I saw a picture on Facebook a few days ago couldn’t help sharing it with my husband. The picture was about potatoes and how we should all be thankful that we can make so many different dishes with them. My husband likes to add them to curries, and I prefer them to be boiled until soft and then roasted. Adding potatoes to a meal is a way to make them more hearty especially if you don’t really feel for rice or pasta.
- Oil. This one is quote obvious. We usually have Extra Virgin Olive Oil as well as sunflower oil and while we don’t usually use oil to make everything, there are certain foods that just need oil. I usually add some olive oil to my cooked pasta to add a bit of flavour.
- Sugar. I love my coffee in the morning with a bit of brown sugar added to it. When I go somewhere and all they have is white sugar, I can definitely taste the difference. I can’t remember exactly how or why I switched to brown sugar but I definitely know that I prefer the taste of brown sugar to white sugar. With that said, I always have both in my pantry because I do prefer to add white sugar to my baking instead of brown (unless the recipe calls for brown).
- Passata. For those of you who may not know what this is, it is basically tomato puree and I use it in almost every dish because it is affordable and saves a lot of preparation time. Before, we used to buy the tomatoes, peel them, blend them and store them in the correct portion size per meal and freeze them in tiny tupperwares. Once I discovered passata, it changed my whole life when cooking so many meals.
- Soy Sauce. Before you think I am crazy, hear me out first. I have found a marinade that works perfect for any meal I am trying to create (usually with chicken). Soy sauce, BBQ sauce, ginger and garlic, some ground chilli, and some cajun spice. This is my go-to marinade whenever I am in a hurry to get out of the kitchen. Marinade is always better overnight but I have found that this one seems to work well in an hour as well. Also, sushi and soy sauce is life!
- Herbs and Spices. I have a plethora of spices in my kitchen cupboard ranging from my indian spices (which I usually use with curries) to my herbs like thyme, oregano, basil and rosemary. All you need to do is add some rosemary and thyme with a bit of salt to roast potatoes to elevate them into a tasty side dish. Various herbs and spices have always made many dishes taste delicious no matter how simple they are.
- Frozen Broccoli. My favourite vegetable, I usually stock up on frozen broccoli because I eat at least 2 cups a day. It is okay to eat broccoli everyday, it is packed with fibre and many vitamins and other nutrients and it is such a versatile vegetable. I also recently discovered that you can make a pizza base with broccoli in the same way as cauliflower. My mind was blown.
- Meat and Fish. There are no vegetarians under this roof! I like to make sure that we have enough meat and fish stocked up in case I cannot get to the shop over the weekend and need my weekly groceries to last a little longer.
- Milk. Who doesn’t love a cappuccino in the morning? We have a coffee machine but sometimes I just need more froth! I always have whole milk available for that! On warmer days I do tend to opt for a smoothie and I tend to lean towards almond milk for that so I make sure I always have enough of both handy.
These are my all season staples for the majority of my meals. What do you have in your pantry? I would love to hear below!
-The Uninspired Blogger
Self-care is described as any activity that is done deliberately in order to take care of your physical, mental, or emotional health. I have often found that whenever there are other tasks that need to be completed, those tasks seem to take preference over any of my personal tasks. This is not only my plight, but the plight of everyone all over the world. We seem to prioritize making money over our mental, physical and emotional health. I have seen this happen first hand with my mother and habits are usually learned from those who we spend the most time with. I thought this was the way life was supposed to be. Where you continuously sacrifice yourself because other tasks that are more important that your health seems to have become a normal, and sometimes expected behaviour. I find that this statement is usually true for women. Personally, I have been on the receiving end of sexist behaviour by a woman no less. Around the time of planning my wedding, I mentioned to my mother in law that I was not getting enough attention and help from my husband when it came to both the wedding planning and in general, to which she responded that my husband’s job is very important and that I must just accept he is too busy with work to focus on other things. I was flabbergasted by her response. Here I was, working full time in the same field, studying part time, planning a wedding in another city, and yet I still managed to make time for my husband. See the double standards here? This is what needs to change.
In my home, my husband and I are working on implementing things that are good for us on all aspects of our marriage as well working through all of the preconceptions of what life is supposed to be like according to the previous generation and changing it to the reality we want to live in. This is where becomes incredibly important in my opinion. Sometimes it is the little things that makes things change for the better.
My current self-care routine is centered around healing my childhood trauma. I was not abused physically but there are behaviours in my life that stem from things I went through as a child. I recently watched Heal, a documentary on Netflix that spoke about how childhood traumas manifest themselves in our physical illnesses and conditions. I was captivated by the programme and I am extremely excited to read the book releasing tomorrow.
So what self-care practices do I enjoy in my life? I have many. Firstly, the ones I practice daily are my skin care routines (I have a different one for the morning than the evening and I always try to a mask once or twice a week), I journal daily (this is the one that has the most impact in my life. While I try to journal once a day, I often pick up my journal in order to work through any strong emotions or reactions I have with the aim to find the root of the emotion behind my reaction)
Another way I practice self-care is to get enough sleep. We often push ourselves to sleep less than the necessary amount needed in order to maintain our health. I spoke about this in my blog post about sleep (https://theuninspiredblogger.com/2019/10/14/want-better-sleep-here-is-how-i-get-it/) and I briefly touched on this constant need to hustle and I know people who casually drop phrases about how they don’t need sleep, or they will sleep when they are dead. At the rate society keeps pushing us to constantly be working, many of us will die before our time. High stress environments and not enough recovery time cause numerous health issues. When I sleep well at night, I am able to focus better on tasks that I need to get done while I am awake. When you are able to focus, you are able to get more done.
Another form of self-care I have found to be soothing is decluttering. I put on some good music and just clear up the living space. I pack away things that I have previously taken out but are not currently using, straighten up the cushions on the couches and and just declutter the space. A clean environment promotes calmness.
There are many other ways that you can practice self-care. It is all about what makes you feel better, what calms your anxiety, what helps you see the light again when days are dark. Over and above the journalling and decluttering, I like to take time out to add shows to my Netflix list, read a book that is nostalgic or informative. Self-care can even be something as simple as taking a walk outside, getting some fresh air. One of my favourite things to do is to stand on the balcony with the sun beating down and watching all of the people in the street below.
It is important to find things that help you deal with your trauma, things that ease your anxiety and and also to talk to someone. I have found that whenever something is bothering me, instead of letting it steep and turning something that could be a simple misunderstanding into a bigger issue, I voice my concerns. This has given me the confidence to share more of my concerns with my partner and opened a line of communication that has led to some breakthroughs both for me, personally as well as for my husband.
What do you do for self-care? How do you feel afterwards? I would love to hear how this practice has changed your life! Let me know in the comments below!
-The Uninspired Blogger
Over the past few months I have increasingly felt as though I am drowning in my possessions. By no means do I live in a small apartment or have multiple cupboards overflowing with dresses, or drawers overflowing with shirts and pants, but I do have a lot of items that I probably haven’t used in over a year. I don’t work and usually only go out on weekends so there are only a few items I prefer to wear depending on the weather. I have makeup that I bought and have never even opened, and stationery that I haven’t used since the day I bought them.
I recently watched Minimalism on Netflix and have been watching a number of YouTube videos about the topic. I have noticed that as I am growing older, I prefer to purchase things I am actually going to use and I constantly question a purchase before purchasing anything.
I have never considered myself to be someone who could be called materialistic and I pride myself on knowing the difference between someone who is materialistic and someone who just likes purchasing nice things. I have wealthy friends who are able to make extravagant purchases while still maintaining humility and staying grounded, and on the other hand I know people who are constantly chasing better material goods so that they appear to be ‘Keeping up with the Joneses’. The latter is usually the type of people that I prefer to stay away from.
With that said, I have fallen victim to the idea of ‘Keeping Up With The Joneses’ in the past. Growing up, my mother was a single mother so we didn’t have much. I was usually the poorest one in the group and as a result, I was often excluded from outings and conversations. When I started working, I ended up in debt because I wanted to fit in with the people at work and also partly to make up for all the things I wanted growing up but never could afford. I remember arriving at work to a group of women eager to see what shoe I decided to wear that day simply because I had based my image on not wearing the same shoe more than once a month. For someone who was earning what I was earning at the time, the lifestyle ended up costing me too much and I was forced to slow down when my monthly debt began to equal my disposable income. I understand the need to fit in all too well and have suffered the financial consequences on multiple occasions.
Like many other people who have heard the word minimalism without actually knowing what it was all about, the impression was that you only have one set of cutlery per person in a household, and one chair to sit on with a basically empty house. This is not the case at all. While minimalism promotes the idea that you don’t need much to survive, it is more focused on having items that actually have a purpose in your life. As I learn more about minimalism, I have found that it is a concept I am more than willing to lean into.
When I was younger, I was okay with having a messy desk to work at, and not really focusing too much on having everything put back into its place. I feel as though this is one of the reasons why I ended up accumulating so much things. It became normal for things to be lying around everywhere so when the piles got bigger, it didn’t strike me as something out of the ordinary. When I moved in with my partner, he just assumed the duty of cleaning up after me and voicing his frustration at the volume of junk I had brought along with me to our tiny apartment. When I left my full time job and the duties of cleaning up fell to me, it really became apparent just how much junk I had collected over the years. When we moved to Europe, I ended up leaving a lot of clothing and other items behind in our apartment but what I had essentially ended up doing is bringing a lot of useless items to fill the cupboards in our new home.
The truth is that I have gotten to this place over a period of time. I didn’t wake up one day, open up my cupboard and decide that I had too much stuff. It didn’t even occur to me when I unpacked my entire cupboard as well as everything in my chest of drawers and folded and repacked every single item except anything that was torn back into my cupboard and drawers. This all came about when my mentality had begun to shift. I prefer to work at a neatly sorted desk with very little items, I prefer to walk into a bathroom where everything has its own place and is not disorganised, and I don’t have to look through an entire basket of makeup to look for my eyeliner only to end up finding the one I bought but will probably never end up using.
Sticking with the topic of makeup, I watched a YouTube video this morning by RawBeautyKristi where she discusses the makeup industry and the overwhelming amount of launches that have taken place in the recent months. As a consumer, I have ended up stopping any purchase of beauty products due to the sheer amount of choice available. It has become a culture to use the latest eyeshadow palette or to purchase items simply because the novelty of having that particular item is more valuable than the actual product. As a result, we end up having a lot of products that remain unused while we continue using the same products we usually use. I understand that this may not be the case with everyone but it is definitely the case for me.
I am not condemning you to a life with barely anything. If you want something and you can afford to purchase it, by all means go ahead and purchase it. If you want to own all of the eyeshadow palettes available today then that is your choice. What I am saying is that we should learn to stop defining ourselves and others by what someone does, or does not have.
I am extremely excited about this journey I am about to embark on. My aim is to make my thirties the best decade of my life and to experiment with all the concepts I felt uncertain about in my twenties. I want to streamline my life so that I have more time to enjoy the little things. I look forward to sharing my journey to minimalism with you all!
Is minimalism a concept you haven’t heard about before? I would love to hear your views on downsizing your possessions based on utility or if you like your lifestyle the way it currently is. Let me know in the comments below!
-The Uninspired Blogger
My birthday is undoubtedly my favourite day of the year. I cannot remember a year where I did not have a countdown to my birthday. This year, I didn’t do a countdown. It wasn’t by choice, I just simply did not have the time to plan it. At the end of last month, I planned to make the last 3 months of 2019 the best of the year and to lay the foundation for 2020.
Growing up, I was always my biggest cheerleader when it came to my birthday. It was important to me to celebrate myself on my birthday and I made sure everyone around me did too. The older I got, the more I spoiled myself on my birthday. This birthday will be my third birthday away from my friends and family, and it is my 30th as well.
I don’t have any spectacular plans for my birthday, I am writing exams soon so I will be spending the majority of the day studying and will probably go out for dinner with my husband in the evening.
Looking back on these last few years, I have spent a considerable amount of time learning about things I do not want in the next chapter of my life, but it has also made me realise what I actually want in my future. I put a lot of time into personal development, something I definitely do not think I would have discovered had I not been put into certain situations. For all of the learning experiences I have been through in my 20’s, I am most grateful. I am looking forward to continuing my personal development journey and to see the fruits of my labour in the future.
As I said goodbye to the last day of my 20’s yesterday, I promised to always love myself in every shape, mood and stage of my life I am in, because if I cannot love myself then how can I ever expect anyone else to love me, let alone accept me.
The older I get, the more I realise that I don’t need a lot of material things around me. In fact, minimalism seems like a concept that I will be implementing in my life sooner rather than later. I am a lot more cautious about what I choose to spend my money on. My energy has become sacred, I only spend it on things that empower and uplift me and on people who send positive energy my way. As a result, a lot of people have been cut out and I am honestly in a much better place today than I was a year ago.
I am filled with gratitude for all of the little things that seem to make my day brighter, I am grateful when the sun is shining, for good cups of coffee with heaps of froth on the top, I am grateful for a warm fluffy blanket wrapped around me on a cold day, I am grateful for the warm body that joins me in bed every night and for the food that fills my belly each day.
I had originally planned to launch my blog today, but in a way I am glad that I launched it before, because there are so many other things that I have been able to add to my list now that the blog is up. I am extremely grateful to everyone who reads my posts, likes and comments! I hope that I can bring you content in the future that is worth the time to read and is informative and helps you in some way!
I want this post to be short and sweet, so here’s to 30, may it be epic!
-The Uninspired Blogger
We have all done it before, ended up in a social media or YouTube spiral on our phones when we should have been sleeping. The aftermath is not enough sleep and a terrible next day that leads to unhealthy sleeping patterns in the long term, and a lack of ability to fully concentrate on any task.
When I became a housewife, my sleeping patterns were shocking to say the least. I would only get to bed at 2am and end up sleeping until 11am everyday, sometimes I would only get out of bed at lunch time. As a result, I never had a chance to get to everything that I wanted to and as a result, I stopped focusing on anything I had planned and just watched TV when I was awake. I gained an enormous amount of weight and lived off junk food. It got the point where a year had passed and I had not even written an exam towards my qualification. I knew something had to change. Setting an alarm and trying everyday to wake up by 7am while staying up every night scrolling through social media until 1am was not working for me. I was constantly exhausted and didn’t know how to fix my sleeping patterns. I had been sold on the hustle, where sleep didn’t really matter, or wasn’t as important as being awake and doing ‘things’. Even though I was not accomplishing anything, I was sitting and making study notes with little to no understanding of what I was actually writing.
It wasn’t until sometime in the middle of 2018 that I came across Arianna Huffington discussing her book ‘The Sleep Revolution’. While the book was released in 2016, this was the first time that I had heard about the importance of sleep. I heard about her night time routine that ensured that she felt rested and ready for the day ahead when she woke up in the morning. The one thing that stuck with me was that her bedroom is a phone free zone. We have been conditioned to use our phones for everything including as an alarm clock, and sold this lie that sleep is not as important as the hustle culture.
The truth is that you need sleep in order to function at an optimal level. The average person requires 7 – 9 hours of sleep a night, with specific percentages of that sleep spent in different sleep stages. There are five stages of sleep, namely: Wakefulness, Relaxed Wakefulness, Light Sleep, Deep Sleep and REM sleep which is the stage where dreaming occurs. Each stage is important but when you are sleep deprived, deep sleep is usually recovered first which may mean that sometimes in your sleep cycle, REM may be completely skipped. This becomes detrimental as this is where memory consolidation occurs. REM sleep should account for 20 – 25% of your nights sleep and is vital to mental health as well as memory consolidation and learning.
Light sleep usually accounts for 45 – 50% of a healthy adults sleep. This is the sleep where rest and recuperation occurs. Deep sleep, on the other hand, is vital for cell repair and rejuvenation. During this stage of sleep, waste is removed from the brain (glymphatic system), glycogen is replenished and is more focused on long-term memory storage. Ideally, if you sleep an average of 8 hours a night, you would go through all 5 sleep stages which is the ideal situation.
What makes for a good night’s sleep? Here is what works for me:
- No caffeine after 3pm. While someone else may be able to have a cup of coffee at 4pm, if I have any caffeine later than 3pm I will not be able to fall asleep no matter how tired I am. You have to test what time works for you, but this is what I have personally found works for me.
- No liquids after 8:30 pm. There is nothing worse than waking up in the middle of the night (especially in winter) to go to the bathroom. This is another tip that will differ from person to person. If I have anything to drink later than this, I will definitely wake up in the middle of the night.
- Go to bed at the same time every night, even on weekends. This weekend, my husband and I spent some time catching up on movies that we hadn’t yet watched. As a result, we went to bed over an hour later than we usually do and we are feeling the effects of it on our sleeping patterns today. Usually, we go to bed at 11pm every night and are usually asleep by 11:30. This helps us to wake up around the same time every day feeling well rested.
- Intermittent Fasting – I have been doing IF for a few weeks now and I have noticed that it has helped me sleep a lot better. My last meal is usually between 5pm and 6pm and has dramatically improved my energy level.
- I have a night time routine. This is important because it tells your body that it is almost time for bed. My night time routine is usually just a simple trip to the bathroom, taking my contact lenses out and replacing it with my glasses (so I can see where I am walking) and putting oil on my face and my cuticles.
- My last tip is that I do not take my phone with me to bed. I have a fitbit so I am able to set an alarm on there if needed but my phone doesn’t enter the bedroom at all. If my phone enters the bedroom, I am guaranteed a bad night’s sleep. My room is also a place where sleep is the prime activity. I never study or work in my bedroom.
While there are more tips and tricks that you can use, these are the ones that I am currently using as a housewife and student. While I am sure that this will change once I am working full time again, they are easy to implement into your routine and work well.
What does your night time routine look like? Let me know in the comments below!
-The Uninspired Blogger
There is nothing better than cuddling under a warm blanket, with a bowl of popcorn and a mug of hot chocolate with your partner (or even alone) when the sun has decided not to shine as bright as it should. I am lucky enough to have access to Netflix as well as Amazon Prime. If you are looking for something to binge, here is a list of what I am currently watching. As a mandatory disclaimer, please note that what is available on Netflix and Amazon where I live may not be available to you where you live. So let’s get into that list:
The Office – Amazon Prime
I have heard about The Office for so many years and seen almost every meme on Instagram and I am so mad that this is the first time I am watching it. I am currently on Season 5 and tend to watch 5 – 6 episodes with my husband when he comes home from work. It is entertaining and stressful and definitely not how any office should function and yet I can almost guarantee that I will rewatch this series for many years to come.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine – Netflix
When FOX cancelled this show, the entire fanbase rallied together to get any network to bring this show back. It has since been picked up by NBC. While my Netflix only has the first 5 seasons available to watch, I usually enjoy rewatching the entire series because it is just that good. The series follows a group of NYPD officers and detectives each with their own lives and struggles and is definitely entertaining.
The Crown – Netflix
After watching Reign, I grew increasingly interested in programs based on royalty covering both fiction and non-fiction. We are all interested in the daily happenings of the royal family and the family dynamic. I stumbled across The Crown last year sometime and my sister-in-law and I are currently eagerly awaiting Season 3 which comes out November 17th.
Unbelievable – Netflix
Who doesn’t love to watch True Crime? Based on a true story about a serial rapist, I can guarantee that this series will leave you wanting more after each episode. It shows how society fails rape victims and how justice prevails as long as there is someone out there willing to make sure it gets served.
Whats in my Watch It Again List:
Tidying Up With Marie Kondo – Netflix
We all want to live in an organised space. Marie Kondo goes through all of the ways to declutter your home and to keep it organised in a way that is effective and manageable. After watching this, I used the KonMari method in my wardrobe and have been slowly implementing it in the other areas of my home.
Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things
As I have gotten older, I have found that there are a lot of things in my home that no longer serve a purpose, instead I am simply holding onto it so that I can say that I have this item, or that item. I started reading about minimalism and came across Matt D’Avella who coincidentally directed this particular documentary that I found on Netflix. If you are feeling unfulfilled with the things you have accumulated in life, I definitely recommend watching this documentary and even reading up on minimalism. It has definitely showed me an alternative to buying unnecessary goods.
Nailed It – Netflix
If you love sugar and spice, and everything nice but suck at baking, I would recommend this show. It is a game show where the contestants attempt to recreate fancy pastries and cakes and will have you laughing until your stomach hurts.
What’s on My List:
Inside Bills Brain – Netflix
I read a lot about entrepreneurs and habits they have. I came across this documentary about Bill Gates and immediately added it to my list to watch at my leisure. I am excited to watch this documentary soon!
The Pursuit of Happyness – Netflix
I watched this movie soon after it was released. With movies like this, I like to watch it at different times of my life because I always notice different lessons at different levels of self-awareness.
Undone – Amazon Prime
My husband and I are always looking for new interesting shows to watch. We recently came across this show while on the hunt and watched the trailer and it looked like something we would definitely watch. The main character somehow has a different relationship to time after being involved in a car accident. This is a show I am looking forward to watching!
Upcoming Shows I am Excited To Binge
The Crown – Netflix (17 November)
Having watched the first two seasons, I am excited to see the rest of the story play out. This is a show that I highly recommend watching!
El Camino (A Breaking Bad Movie) (11 October)
Having watched Breaking Bad, my husband and I are excited to watch the movie about the aftermath. It premieres today on Netflix and at selected cinemas. Let me know what you think about it. Are you a Breaking Bad fan?
I have a lot more on my list to watch but these are my top picks! Whats on your list?
-The Uninspired Blogger
When I was a little girl, my favourite thing to do was write in my diary. I remember exactly what it looked like. It was a pink barbie diary that you could lock, and it was my most prized possession. That diary held all my secrets (Well the type of secrets that all 7 year olds have). At that age, I didn’t have any responsibility so I would diligently fill the pages with the days events as soon as I got home from school. Journalling followed me throughout my school career. Whenever something was on my mind that I felt I couldn’t talk to anyone about, I always had a way to release the emotion. My medium changed in high school though. From journaling, I moved to writing poetry and ended up being involved in a poetry slam at school as well as having my poems published in the yearbook that was published annually during my high school career.
Writing has always been a way for me to carefully articulate my message and emotions. In primary school I was always a good speech writer and speaker. It is definitely something that I had cultivated throughout my youth and led to an interest in public speaking when I started working and was introduced to Toastmasters. My Toastmasters career didn’t last as long as I would have hoped it would but I thoroughly enjoyed being Vice President – Education as well as President during my almost 3 year membership.
While employed, I never felt the need to journal because there were always opportunities to vent with my fellow colleagues who sometimes could relate and offer advice to me and vice-versa. I had a constant release of my emotions and while this wasn’t always the best option for me, release was all that I needed to let go of things. Once I became a housewife and my interaction with other people became limited is where all of my emotional issues began to affect me. I always had a release but now without that release, all of my emotional baggage began to pile up and it began to affect my relationships. I had to think of something fast.
I started reading and rediscovered my love for writing again. I always had notebooks lying around with the thought that I would write but I never knew what to write anymore or with the fear that my untidy handwriting would make it unpresentable. All that changed when I started journaling again. I had been reading about mindset and journaling and how it has changed peoples lives for the better and there was no harm in giving my old habit another go. To say it has changed my life is an understatement.
My first journal entry was on the 30th August 2019 and I am proud to say that I have not yet missed a day, although the time of day that I do end up journaling is dependent on the amount of things I have on my to do list. It is really something I enjoy doing and have found that at times when everything becomes too much, taking a few minutes out of my day to journal about my emotions and what has triggered them has helped me deal with some difficult emotions and has helped me deal with anger issues and helped me to forgive people who have hurt me in the past.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that journaling everyday is going to solve all of your problems, but people have found huge benefits with journaling. For one, it is a form of self-care. Journaling is spending any amount of time exploring yourself and learning something about yourself that would improve the quality of life moving forward.
According to an article written by Matthew Kent on Medium.com, journalling is a key-stone habit. He goes on to say: ‘Where you go in life is going in large part be determined by what you do every day. In other words, your future is in large part the outcome of your habits. Habits can be tough to form, but they are incredibly important. For this reason, the most important habit is one that has the potential for helping you form other habits. A journal does this by creating a place where you can formulate plans for forming habits, gives you a place to track your progress, and creates a Medium where you can reflect on the effectiveness of your habit forming strategies.’ (https://medium.com/@thematthewkent/you-should-write-in-a-journal-every-day-heres-why-31cb6fe4c9dc)
For me, journaling is a form of meditation, I am clearing my thoughts and filling the page with my anxieties, my fears, and my hopes for the future. I am releasing all of the stress from my morning or my day (depending on when I journal). I use my journal to brainstorm ideas or to explore solutions to problems I am facing with my health, relationships, and even my studies. I am also tracking improvements or effects of any changes I am making in my daily routine. I have used it to discover why I have moments where I binge eat or have an unexplained burst of emotion and it has helped to lessen my anxiety about situations beyond my control.
I do know that there are people who are skeptical about the effects journaling can have on their life but there are so many people who testify that journaling has helped them reach their goals, become happier people, or just made their life better. Don’t knock it till you try it.
Do you journal? What is your favourite medium? Do you write or do you prefer to use an app while journaling? I would love to hear about it!
-The Uninspired Blogger
An expat journey is often an exciting time. It is a chance for new experiences and more opportunities to travel and learn about a new culture and possibly learning a new language.
Our expat journey started in 2015. My husband informed me of an impending interview for an internal vacancy in a Middle Eastern country. I was excited. I had never left the country before. In fact, I had never even had a passport at that point. I didn’t feel the need to rush out and apply for one at that point though because as soon as my husband was done with the call, he promptly informed me that he would definitely not be accepting that position. At that point, I was at a crossroads in my own career, I had been job hunting when the offer came up for my husband’s expat position. The company I was working for at the time had decided to consolidate with another division and move their head office from Johannesburg to Cape Town. With the news that we would not, in fact, be moving to a foreign country, I accepted a position at a company closer to home.
Around the end of 2016, another opportunity came up for my husband. By this time, I had settled into my new job but I was always open to moving to a new country. This time, the opportunity was in Morocco. I was particularly excited to move because of its proximity to Europe. I began to do some intense research on what could possibly be my new home for a while. At the same time, we had restructuring going on at the company where I was working. I found it so aggravating that whenever there were possible changes happening in my career, there was uncertainty about whether or not I would actually still be around to see them. It was an extremely stressful time for me.
At my last job, there were two rounds of restructuring. The first one happened not long after I joined the company. It seemed as though restructuring followed me from my previous job. By the time the second round of restructuring took place, my job was on the line. The only reason I wasn’t retrenched was because someone else in my department had been job hunting and resigned in the session before I was called in to hear my fate. During this time, there wasn’t much news about an expat contract in the works. All we knew was that there would possibly be a position in Europe in the near future. After that, it was constant chaos and stress, I never knew when the change was coming, or if it would ever come.
Life went on as usual and we eventually heard about the position that became available. My husband at first decided that he wouldn’t be taking the position. It was at this time that I had lined up an interview at a different company in an effort to salvage my career and work for a company where I would be able to grow and learn new things. A day before the interview, my husband and I sat down to discuss our options for the future. We finally decided that we would be moving to Europe.
Knowing what was happening was a relief and crazy time. I was still working full time while my husband was travelling back and forth for work. There was so much paperwork that needed to be sorted out, finalized, and notarized that I ended up staying back a lot longer than we first expected. In our first 6 months of marriage, we spent about 3 months apart. During that time, inwas unemployed and started feeling the effects of not having my own income anymore. My official expat journey started in October 2017, 2 weeks after my husband left from Italy.
This was an exciting time for me, I had all the time in the world to do everything I have ever wanted. The only problem now was that I didn’t have money, or any friends to go out with. I wish I could say that the expat life worked for me, but now that it is almost over, I am starting to regret not getting out more. There are so many places here that I could have explored during the day but I didn’t. I have struggled to make friends here and a lot of things have thrown me off when it comes to adapting to new environments. I am never sure where this journey is going to take me in the future and I am excited about it. Maybe next year at this time, I am back home, or maybe I am living in another country. Who knows?
Are you an expat or did you follow your partner to a different country? Let me know below!
-The Uninspired Blogger
Birthdays are my favourite! I fondly remember counting down to my 21st birthday on Facebook, something I have continued to do for almost every birthday as far back as I can remember. In fact, I usually celebrate my birthday the entire month because October is my birthday. While I am incredibly excited about turning 30 later this month because it is indeed a huge milestone for me personally. Although there are days when I feel a lot younger (and sometimes older) than my age and there are obviously days when I wonder what my life would look like had I made different choices in my career and relationships.
This leads me to think about all of the advice I would give to my younger self. There have been a lot of instances where I could have made a different decision that would have led my life in a completely different direction. There are also situations where I could have spoken up to defend myself or someone else and didn’t that would have altered my relationship with people either for better or for worse.
I have a lot of things I would tell my younger self. The first thing I would say is take care of your health. It is something that is valuable and important, especially as you get older. If I developed better eating habits and would have made exercise a habit, I would probably not have been in the situation that I am right now, starting from scratch and learning about nutrition and why it is important, or the benefits of being active.
The second thing I would tell myself is that hard work always pays. When I was younger, I was convinced that I was intelligent and that it would always be that way, and when that wasn’t working anymore. I ended up blaming it on the teachers who weren’t teaching me properly. The fact is that anything can be accomplished with hard work. I never knew how important it was to surround yourself with people who have a growth mindset. Honestly, I didn’t even know that I had a fixed mindset until this year.
The next piece of advice I would give myself is to never stop reading. Reading was a habit I cultivated very early on in my life. I was a member of the public library in my area even before I started school. I am the only person in my family who has read more than 100 books in my lifetime. When I started working, I planned to buy one book with each paycheck. Well, that never happened. Firstly, I underestimated how expensive books actually are. Secondly, when I started working, it just became my whole life. I would spend all of my energy at work and have none for my own life. Naturally, I spent a good few years never picking up a book, even when I was on leave. I regretted this because when I did decide to start reading again, it was a difficult habit to implement.
When it comes to the workplace, I would definitely not recommend bringing people from work into your personal life. While it is true that I met my husband at my job, as soon as I left the places I worked at, it was a case of out of sight, out of mind. Going further was when I had ‘friends’ from work involved in my wedding. It was disappointment central and that experience which was supposed to be a stress-free and best day of my life almost turned into the most disastrous day of my life. Not only was it an eye-opening experience, it was a tough lesson that I needed to learn.
I remember my first day at my 3rd job. I walked in, sat at my desk, and immediately came to the realization that I had made the biggest mistake of my life. I had only started looking for a job because I was in a relationship with someone who had then become my manager soI ended up moving to a different department so I wouldn’t report directly to him and while it was amazing to be with him 24/7, I needed a change. Leaving that job was the worst decision I ever made when it came to my career. I called my mom during my lunch break and told her it was a mistake. What I should have done was looked for something else. Instead, I sat there for a year until the company consolidated with another division and relocated to another city. This led me to my last job, which also turned out to be a mistake in terms of my career and my personal life. Moral of the story, if you have made a decision and it has turned out to be the wrong one, DO NOT accept your fate, you can always make another decision to change your fate. This goes for every other part of your life.
Don’t ever be afraid to cut people out of your life. I am a people pleaser, it is one of the reasons I got into debt when I was younger and allowed people to overstay their welcome in my life. I have had my fair share of people humiliating and insulting me in my life and I chose to allow it to continue. When I was younger, I was straight-forward with everyone. I was labelled a b***h, cattish, and everything else an assertive woman is called. When I stopped doing that, I became miserable and ended up being depressed for a few years. I was so desperate for approval and sacrificed who I was to make everyone else happy at the expense of my own happiness. If I could go back, I would realise that if someone really cared, they wouldn’t mind me speaking up about my feelings, and if they did, they shouldn’t be a part of my life at all.
While there are so many other good pieces of advice I would give my younger self (I might explore this topic again) I would not stop journaling. When I was younger, I wrote down everything. Diaries were my favourite and it was always fun to go back and read all of the nonsense I wrote in them about my day, but more than that it was an escape for me to let all of my emotions out. When I was working, the people I used to work with were my escape. We would all vent about anything and everything that was going on in my life. It all fell apart when I left my job and moved away from friends and family. I didn’t have that escape and all the time to wallow in my emotions. I decided that the safest way for me to deal with all of the emotions I was feeling was to journal. It has honestly changed my life, and is something that I would recommend to anyone and everyone regardless of any circumstances.
While I know that there is no way I can go back in time (unless someone builds a time machine which would be the coolest thing ever) I would not be the person that I am today. What I can do is use the knowledge I have collected and use it to make my future better.
What advice would you give your younger self? I would love to hear it!
-The Uninspired Blogger
For the better part of my adult life, I have been chubby, and sometimes overweight. I have always been going on a diet, or trying to work out on a regular basis, and my New Year’s resolutions have always been to get back into shape. Round is a shape though, isn’t it?
So why is this time so significant for me? I am turning 30 this month. This will be the 8th time this year alone that I have tried to lose weight but now I have a valid reason why I want to get healthier. The reason? Me. I am my reason why. I am sure that in the past, there might have been some valid reasons for me to lose weight. My wedding being one of them. So why didn’t I lose weight for my wedding? Even though I really wanted to, there were so many people telling me that I should lose weight, it was a hotly discussed topic both in my presence and behind my back. The fact that this was even a discussion annoyed me to the point where I decided I would not lose weight just to please others. The result of that? I became even more self-conscious, and ended up gaining another 10 kgs since my wedding. Every time I have made the decision to lose weight and get healthy, I either end up self-sabotaging or I end up reverting back to my old habits of eating junk all day and not being active.
I look back at all the money I wasted on products like Herbalife, and one called Slimz that damaged the lining of my stomach causing ulcers which have thankfully seemed to heal over the last few years. I have eaten copious amounts of omelettes and now I can once again no longer stand the sight or smell of anything that remotely resembles an omelette. I can no longer indulge in mint choc chip ice cream (which was my favourite for many years) all because of Herbalife. I gag when I smell it. That’s probably why I have a tub that I cannot finish that has been in my freezer for over a year. On second thought, I should probably throw it out.
I have tried cutting out carbs, cutting out all sugar (which included fruits: please explain how a diet without fruits is even healthy for you?) and while they all worked for a while, my body craved the juicy flesh of fruits, and a slice of pizza with some cheesy garlic bread on the side.
Growing up, fruits were not a staple of my diet. My parents struggled financially, and things only got worse when my parents made the decision to divorce. Over and above the financial issues, I grew up in an environment where diet culture was always discussed. I remember a time when I was still in high school, I was visiting my aunt with my mom and I was a bit chubbier than usual. My cousin then walked in, looked at me and told me that I should try to lose weight. The fact that this has stayed with me for so long is scary, not because of what was said to me, but because of how it has affected me. Let me be clear, having been through so much with my weight and still have people comment on how I look has caused depression, and I am constantly self conscious of how I look in anything. It is debilitating and unfair. It has caused me to give up many opportunities to attend concerts and to live.
Whether we choose to believe it or not, our upbringing had a considerable amount of impact on our adult lives. A simple comment about some extra weight that a child might be carrying around can cause an unhealthy obsession with weight loss. It is a recurring theme and yet society has not stopped doing this. I am also now at the stage where I am able to accept that I played a part in my own destruction. I cannot play the blame game forever when it comes to my health. I am the one who constantly chooses to self sabotage whenever something is said, I am the one who chooses to rather feel self conscious and wallow in self pity and allow these people who should have no opinion about my body to make me sad and self-loathing. I have the power to change the things that I am unhappy about, and one of them is not fitting into clothes I spent money on, not being able to walk into a shop, see something I like and not worry about whether they will have it in my size.
With that said, I am not losing weight to make anybody happy. I am working on my body because working out and eating healthy makes me feel good. Not many people will admit this, but I love broccoli. Eating broccoli makes me feel like I am a bad b***h. I want to feel like that all the time. That is why this time is different. I have not only found a strong reason why I want to do this, but I have found a way for me to accomplish my goal. This time, I am determined to reach my goal.
Looking back now, I can see how all of those failed tries helped me overcome all of the challenges that I would face this time around. It took me a long time to get to a place where I am consciously making better eating choices.
In these last few days, I have never felt this good, I am working out everyday, more active overall, and I am eating amazingly healthy food and loving how I feel in the morning. I know that I won’t have the body I am working for won’t happen overnight, but slow and steady wins the race. Are you on a weight-loss journey or a journey to better health? Let me know down below. Share any tips and tricks that you have to make things easier.
-The Uninspired Blogger
We all had plans to make 2019 the best year ever. I know I did. This was the year I was going to get into the best shape of my life, launch my blog, finally be halfway with my degree, and I was going to wake up everyday excited for the day ahead. What happened was the complete opposite. While there were fun moments in the first 9 months of 2019, I didn’t experience the joy of checking off my goals that I made at the beginning of the year. I have accepted that there is nothing that I can do to change the past, I will be changing that and turning my life around in the last 3 months of this year, the last 3 months of this decade. I have already made some changes to my life, I recently started intermittent fasting (which is radically changing the way I look at food and the choices I make when it comes to food), I started being more active around the house, and I developed a system that helps me get to everything I need to in a day, and over the week without causing me to feel overwhelmed. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely feel overwhelmed at times, and there are probably better ways to deal with it, but I find going outside for a bit tends to put everything into perspective for me.
So back to my plans for the rest of the year. I have already lost a bit of weight (like a tiny bit compared to what I plan to lose) and unlike before, where I would ‘treat’ myself for a meal which would turn into an entire week of ‘treats’, I have enjoyed feeling healthier and how eating better has made me feel. I haven’t had any moments of lightheadedness, which used to be a pretty frequent occurrence for me when I had a high sugar diet. This week, I plan to implement weight training so that I can tone all the flab and gradually achieve the physique that I am aiming for. I have accepted that when I look into the mirror, for a while I won’t be able to see the changes from the hard work I am putting in. I used to get frustrated when I would start exercising and leading a healthier lifestyle and see no changes after one week, and proclaim that nothing is working. It’s probably one of the reasons why I got to this weight in the first place. It is also important to know that feeding your body the right nutrients is a form of self care that you can do everyday and constantly reap the rewards from having boundless energy.
Another change I plan on making is a full revamp of my blog. I know what you are thinking, I just launched and haven’t even posted that much. When I started this blog, all I knew was that I wanted to have a blog so that I could talk to people, it doesn’t matter to me who you are, what you do for a living, if you are unemployed, broke, rich… All that I care about is that something in my blog resonates with you, and you decide to come on a journey with me and share your experiences with me. I wanted to create a dialogue and to help people based on my own experiences and how I dealt with it. I want to share my wins, my fails, my funny moments, and my moments of utter despair. The good, and the bad. The more time I spend working on my blog and myself, the clearer the vision of my blog becomes. While I don’t have any exact dates or an exact plan of how I am going to execute on my vision, what I can tell you is that I plan to share every step of the way with you.
My main focus for the rest of the year will have to be my qualification. I am always formulating and trying out different strategies in order to make the most of the time I spend studying and plan to do an entire series on planning executing a study strategy, what study techniques have worked for me, what hasn’t worked for me, and anything else I may recommend (I love stationery and have been trying out some cool products and planning tools and I plan to do some reviews on that as well in the future).
I plan to start 2020 with the habits I need in order to be successful no matter what changes happen to my routine. Over the next 3 months, I plan to implement one habit into my schedule that have been neglected before. I will be doing one habit a month and tracking my progress throughout the month. My inspiration for this came from a few videos I came across on YouTube. Those videos where the title is something along the lines of: ‘I meditated for 30 days and here’s what happened’. Over the weekend, I ended up making a list of habits that I would like to implement (to use in a 30 day challenge) and I added in some extra fun ideas into the mix which I look forward to sharing in the next few months.
I know that to some people, these might not be things you are interested in to make the last months of 2019 the best months of the year, and that is okay. I have the most exciting time of my life coming up in October, I am turning 30, a milestone for me. And while I am not where I hoped I would be, I am still alive. If you have goals for 2020, why not start working on them now? The great thing about life is that every second is a new beginning. Go out there and make your dreams a reality!
I look forward to sharing my progress changes with you soon..
Do you have goals you plan to accomplish in the next 3 months? Tell me about them! I look forward to hearing about them in the comments!
-The Uninspired Blogger
For those who don’t know me, I am what is called a ‘trailing spouse’. Basically, I gave up my life in my home country to move halfway across the world with my spouse who was given an expat contract for an opportunity that we just could not miss. With that said, we have now been living in Europe since mid 2017. Before I left my home country, I resigned from my full time job in the finance division of a logistics company with no real intention of looking for another job while in Europe.
We have subsequently made the decision to return to our home country, South Africa, sometime in 2020. With the return, it would be logical for me to find a job, and return to my place in the workforce. Having been gone for a considerable amount of time, there are certain fears that have instilled themselves in my psyche as I contemplate how personal changes I have made to myself will fit into the work environment. The habits I have integrated, and the changes I have made to myself as a person and to what I represent, have instilled a fear that I will not find the type of job I am looking for upon my return.
As any ambitious person, while I would like to one day own my own company in the field of my choice, bills need to be paid, a roof needs to be put on our heads and food in our stomachs. I also need a specific amount of experience in order to complete my qualification as a Management Accountant. Finding the right culture in a company can be difficult. In my work history, I have worked for various industries from manufacturing, logistics, and retail and I have found that the biggest threat to a career is a boss who can teach you nothing. I have had all types of bosses, my favourite being the manager at my second place of work (where I met my husband). My manager there was the type who was never afraid to show people how to do tasks that were not in your job description. He cultivated learning and always wanted his staff to do well. My line managers at all of my other jobs were not like this, and in some cases, my peers were too afraid to show me how they do their jobs in case I was there to steal it. This often backfired when they wanted to take leave and were left with no option but to show me how to complete their tasks so that they would be done by the time they returned.
In some ways I feel as though leaving my career when I did gave me time to reflect on all the things I wanted and didn’t want from my career. Yes, there was a knock on my self-worth when I left because I was financially dependent on my husband, but I shouldn’t have been basing my self-worth on whether I was bringing money to the table or not.
Looking to the future, I know what kind of answers I want to give when asked to describe myself as a person, and what I hope to achieve in my career, and I know what vibe I would like my future workplace to have. My biggest fear is that I won’t find exactly the type of company I would like to work for. My other fear is that I won’t find balance in my personal life in terms of my routine. I plan to continue my blog and my studies as well as work and run the household. Women struggle so much when it comes to balance. As a housewife, I can basically do whatever I want, whenever I feel like doing it. I don’t really have to explain myself to anyone except myself. Once I have a boss to report to, all of that will change.
Another fear of mine is trying to explain why I have chosen not to work for the last few years. My initial plan was to take the first 6 months to settle in to our new routines and pursue all of the things that I usually never had much time to enjoy doing. Things like catching up on my reading and watching all the shows and movies I ever wanted to watch but never had enough hours in the day. Of course we know that all the plans I had were extended and I ended up spending a large majority of my time binge watching shows on Netflix and Amazon Prime, and now having to fit an insane amount of studying into these last few months that I have left with a large amount of time. On the one hand, if I explain all of this then I will look like someone who is lazy and no drive or work ethic. If I lie, well then I have to live with the fact that I lied. I suppose the right answer will come to me when the time is right although it does stress me out when I ponder on it.
While there are a lot of fears, I also have a lot of confidence about certain aspects of returning. For one, I will be earning my own salary again which is going to be thrilling. While I never want for much, it will be nice to be able to buy things for myself without asking someone to buy it for me. I will also be able to invest money into myself and things that will further my personal development and skills that will get me closer to who I need to be in order to reach my goals. I am also looking forward to meeting new people and learning how to interact with the skills that I am currently obtaining through personal development and pursuing my qualification. I am definitely a different person to who I was in 2017 and while change is scary, it is always fun to see the person I am becoming. My dream has always been to have an amazing career and to excel and climb the corporate ladder. It may not be for everyone but it is definitely what I see in my future when I think about my career.
Have you recently joined the workforce after a hiatus? Let me know what your fears and triumphs were. I look forward to reading them!
-The Uninspired Blogger
Failure can be defined as the lack of success. Would that imply that in order to define failure for each individual, we would first need to define success? So what is your definition of success? Is it to be rich, to drive the best cars, to live in the best house on the block? Or is it something as simple as waking up everyday being at peace with yourself? In theory then, if you aren’t driving the best car on the market, or living in the best house on the block, does that mean that you have failed? Surely not.
Thinking of failure takes me back to when I was 18 years old and had failed my learners licence test. It was a massive hit to my ego. I attended a prestigious school on a scholarship, why would I fail at something as simple as a learners licence test? Looking back, I can see the lesson in the failure. What I should have done was immediately rebook and try and understand where I went wrong. What I did was the complete opposite. I waited until my ego was less bruised and retook the test a whopping 18 months later. I never noticed this happening during my school career because there was always another test around the corner. When the responsibility to redo the test was placed on myself, I found every excuse in the book.
It never occurred to me that failure is a good thing, a chance to learn. I have recently failed an exam for my qualification. Something that would have been relatively simple. Luckily, with this test you get a breakdown of the section in which you were not proficient. Out of the four sections, I was not proficient in two. The next time I wrote, I had excelled in those two but had not given much attention to the other sections. I failed the same exam twice in a row. Yes, it is a blow to my ego, but I know to concentrate fully on all of the sections next time. Success in this example would be to pass the exam proficiently.
A book I often read in high school, Chicken Soup for the Soul was rejected by publishers 144 times. One of the greatest authors in the world, Stephen King was rejected by many publishers. As an author, surely rejection letters would count as failures.
J.K. Rowling, the first author to ever become a billionaire by being an author, was an unemployed single mother when she decided to put all of her energy into the Harry Potter series, it took an epic failure for her to dedicate her life to completing her life’s works, and that turned out to be the best decision she ever made. The books were also rejected by various publishers, but the level of determination that J.K. Rowling and these other authors who had been rejected outweighed the feelings of failure.
In her Harvard commencement speech, she speaks these profound words about the benefits of failure: ‘Failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one area where I believed I truly belonged. I was set free because my greatest fear had been realised and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter who I adore, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so, rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.’
She goes on to say: ‘Some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well have not lived at all. In which case, you fail by default.’ Here is the link if you would like to hear the full speech (https://youtu.be/wHGqp8lz36c)
Failure has become taboo in the society we live in, everyone lives a life on social media that only portrays their successes, no one speaks about their failures and yet there is where all the magic happens. People who are destined to write the next best seller are crippled by the thought of failure, we need to learn to let go of these feelings and do something extraordinary. We need to get out of the mindset where one failure means that we should give up.
It is always important to remember that what society deems a failure may not always be the truth for us. We constantly need to put our progress into perspective with what our definition of success is, and it is important to define success for ourselves, because the world is always ready to give you a definition.
So what do I consider to be my biggest failure? Changing who I am to make other people happy. Giving in to making others happy at my own expense. Doing things that I did not want to do, and allowing people to influence my emotions. For staying in the darkness longer than I should have at the expense of my joy, and not standing up to defend decisions that I have made, decisions that would have made me happy instead of those who only think about themselves. My biggest failure is letting other people control my happiness and my joy, for allowing them to take away my peaceful rest at night.
What do you consider to be your biggest failure? Let me know in the comments below.
-The Uninspired Blogger
At the end of June 2017, I left my full time job to move halfway across the world with my husband. The plan was for me to take a few months off to focus on my other interests (reading, watching documentaries and binge watching shows I have always wanted to watch but never had the time) and then to start my CIMA qualification. I thought it would be convenient for me to eat healthily and exercise on a daily basis simply because I had all the free time with only household chores and cooking to do. What I expected, and what actually ended up happening were two completely different things.
The first thing I noticed was that my sleeping habits changed. I would stay up most of the night and slept most of the day, and while there was nothing wrong with this if I had been productive while I was awake, I preferred to lay down and relax while I was awake and found that not only had I started to gain weight at an alarming rate, I was also constantly out of breath just by doing the smallest of tasks. Grocery shopping was fast becoming a nightmare simply because I had to walk around to find the items on my list.
The second thing I noticed was that my memory wasn’t what it used to be when I was still employed. When I was working, I constantly had to remember figures and account codes (I worked in finance) and the memory went beyond just my day job, it was easier for me to remember personal details, appointments, and things that people mentioned to me. I have hardly ever had to take notes and write anything in my diary in order to remember it.
The third thing that happened was that I realised I had no self discipline at all. Working full time provided a structured routine where for a particular part of my day I was at work, after work, my priorities were making dinner then the rest of the evening was dedicated to watching TV, studying, or pursuing other interests. When I left my job, my routine fell apart and it was hard to fill the time with meaningful interactions or activities.
As someone who has always been able to adapt to new and difficult situations, leaving the stability of my job has affected me in a way I had not expected. What made things worse is that I struggled to make friends, and began to be more negatively affected by criticism than ever before. It did not take much to upset me and my life spiralled into a darkness that I had never experienced before.
With my weight skyrocketing, my confidence sinking down into the gutter, and my will to do anything apart from binge watch the same shows on Netflix and eat all the Nutella my heart desired, I felt as though a change was needed.
The scary part is that I have still not fully adapted to being unemployed (I will be changing that soon) but I have made huge changes in my life that has improved my life in extraordinary ways. I now have a set schedule with regards to what time I wake up, I have split the household chores over the week so I don’t have to spend an entire day cleaning each week, and the bulk of my day is spent working on either my blog or my qualification. I have also added exercise every morning to my routine. As I started implementing this and focusing on things that I normally would if I was employed, my memory has slowly begun to improve (simply because of all the practice) and I am able to focus on tasks for a longer period of time. While my self-discipline is still a little bit out of control, I do have things that have to be done everyday without fail which is slowly strengthening the habit of controlling my impulses to do unnecessary things everyday. I look forward to completing my daily tasks every day and I am excited to see how my life will change once I am back in the workforce.
Have you been unemployed for any period of time? How did you adjust to having free time?
Let me know in the comments below.
-The Uninspired Blogger
I often feel overwhelmed with the amount of information of any topic are available to learn. I am constantly looking for ways to increase my knowledge on specific topics, namely psychology and nutrition. While I am currently studying towards a Management Accounting qualification, I aim to spend at least an hour a day learning about something that is interesting even if it is outside the scope of my degree or interests. My only problem, especially in the week before writing an exam (like this week) I struggle to find space in my day to learn something new or to refresh my memory about something I researched or read a while ago.
I know a plethora of people who would recommend Audible to me and my answer to Audible unfortunately is no. When it comes to books, I do prefer to read either a physical copy of the book or on my e-reader. There is no greater joy to me then cuddling up with a good cup of coffee and a book that I am unable to put down on a cold winter’s day. With that said, I have not tried audible since I developed my love of Podcasts. The best part about podcasts, especially the ones I have chosen to add to my list of favourites, is that each episode is complete. I do not need to wait until the next episode for the story to be completed. All the information about the particular subject is compact in one episode, and this is something that I struggle with when compared to Audible.
- Impact Theory with Tom Bilyeu
I found Tom on Youtube at the beginning of 2018 through one of the other big motivational video channels and I have learnt so much from this channel alone. Tom has interviewed entrepreneurs, neuroscientists, authors, spiritual leaders, and many more and his channel is split into more than one focus, with Relationship Theory (where his co-host is his wife, Lisa Bilyeu), and Health Theory where he explores different diets, and other health related issues such as sleep. Tom has also recently launched Impact University. My favourite episode is one of the more recent ones where Tom interviewed Vanessa van Edwards, the author of ‘Captivate’ and founder of the Science of People. If you struggle with boundaries then this is one interview that you have to watch (https://youtu.be/X8CD2QEYo6Q), and in a close second is his interview with Moran Cerf, a neuroscientist whose interview was so interesting, I had to listen to it more than once. (https://youtu.be/PE0TedFPgH8)
- On Purpose with Jay Shetty
Jay Shetty is a former monk whose mission is to make wisdom go viral. I discovered Jay through a video on Facebook. I started following him on Instagram and did most of the free masterclasses he had on offer. His podcast was launched on Valentines Day 2019 where he interviewed his wife, Radhi. Since then, he has interviewed Russell Brand, Novak Djokovic, Lilly Singh, and many more with new episodes every Monday and Friday. My favourite episodes are Jay’s interview with ‘Shazam!’ star Zachary Levi (https://youtu.be/Cp_hDiWUKjQ) and of course his interview with his wife Radhi (https://youtu.be/IR_JOaYJnVE).
- Kwik Brain with Jim Kwik
A childhood brain injury left Jim Kwik learning-challenged but that did not stop him finding strategies to overcome his mental challenges and starting Kwik Learning (www.kwiklearning.com) which has become a world leader in brain performance, memory improvement, and speed reading. His podcast consists of bite-size clips that guide you through the processes needed in order to improve all aspects of memory, fighting mental fatigue, and foods to eat and avoid in order to get the best out of your brain. With so many interesting episodes, I couldn’t pick a favourite and even though I still have a lot more to go through. I do recommend you check it out no matter how old you are. (https://www.youtube.com/user/kwiklearning)
- TED Talks Daily
What I like about this podcast stream is the variety of topics you can find talks on. Topics range from social issues, environmental issues, relationship issues, and many more. You get insights from leaders in respective fields about research and/or findings. This channel is not to be confused with TEDx talks which focus more on a local community where TED talks which address issues facing the global community. (https://www.youtube.com/user/TEDtalksDirector/featured)
- The GaryVee Audio Experience
I have to admit that when I first came across GaryVee, I found it hard to get the point he was trying to convey. As I have progressed in my personal development journey, I have found him to be one of the best people to listen to. While I find that you have to listen to quite a bit of his episodes, he gives out a lot of meaningful advice for any situation. He has a no bullshit view of life, is kind, and has an energy that is hard to miss. He is constantly putting out amazing content and is never scared to share the limelight with anyone. He has done some very insightful interviews and constantly does Instagram lives while travelling and in the office. There are so many gems that I have personally got from listening to and following him on social media that it is hard to pick a particular episode from his podcast. Do yourself a favour and venture into his channel with no expectations and listen to the wisdom. A word of warning to those who are sensitive when it comes to swearing, the great part is that Gary also has a channel where there is no swearing as well. (https://www.youtube.com/user/GaryVaynerchuk)
My favourite platform to stream is Spotify. I am able to download episodes that I can listen to offline when I am travelling to places that have internet access that is not always available, or to listen to on the plane. When I am home, I do use YouTube as well. The above podcasts are available on both platforms as well as on Apple Podcasts.
What are your favourite podcasts? Which podcasts would be on your list?
Let me know in the comments below!
-The Uninspired Blogger
Bullet Journaling. A concept that has spread worldwide and had life-changing effects on so many people. I discovered bullet journaling about a year ago and I have been addicted since. I have tried everything from habit trackers, yearly, monthly, and weekly spreads. There are Instagram accounts dedicated to showing off the latest spreads and YouTube channels dedicated to showing you how to plan out your spreads like a pro.
What a lot of the Instagram accounts and YouTube videos don’t always mention is that you have to find the method that works best for you, and not all journals are created equal. I used to spend hours planning all of my spreads for months in advance and adding embellishments all for the spreads to remain empty until I remembered that I had a bullet journal. It was something that I kept trying to utilise but what I didn’t realise at the time was that the design didn’t fit with what I needed the bullet journal for.
On my last trip back home to South Africa to visit family, I ended up buying a bullet journal that I planned to keep in order to use it as a planning tool for my blog, and while I ended up using a few pages for personal development notes, I happened to come across the original Bullet Journal YouTube channel by the founder, Ryder Carroll. He doesn’t have too many videos, but I found his basic explanation and use of a bullet journal much simpler and less time consuming than the spreads you see on social media. His YouTube channel led me to his website (www.bulletjournal.com) which had all the information I needed to make the necessary changes to my journal. I had nothing to lose, so I decided to try it. In the beginning, I was not used to tying in the monthly spread with the daily spread, but with all habits that take to form, I eventually got the hang of it and refer to it on a regular basis throughout the day. The open format of the daily spread is what caught my attention and led me to give it a try.
Using the method described in the videos and on the website, I started my journal with a spread displaying a monthly spread using only one page with the dates and days of the week and any events that will not change (My journal came standard with an index page). I add to this as plans are made and refer to this while doing my daily plan. My daily spread is where the magic happens. There is no block to fill when you have a weekly plan like those displayed on Instagram or Pinterest. This allows me to add as many or as few tasks I need to accomplish without feeling like I had too much or too little to do on any particular day. With this method, there is no pressure to add colour, and no pressure for my handwriting to look neat. It is simply a working document.
The perk about using this method is that I can customize the spreads according to my needs. As a housewife who is currently pursuing a qualification as well as a blogger, I can have a snapshot of which days I need to focus on examinations with just a glance at my monthly spread and decide which days I have available to work on content for my blog and social media pages, and which days I am able to spend doing things I enjoy. It is always important to add in a day where you do something you enjoy doing for the sake of your mental health. I have experimented with numerous apps and calendars to help focus on the things that absolutely need to get done on a particular day and the Bullet Journal is the one method I would definitely recommend if you struggle to focus on certain tasks. Like any new method of doing things, there will be ‘teething issues’ while you figure out which way works for you and which spreads to implement, but once that is sorted through the method is a well-oiled machine. What made my transition to this method easier was knowing that I needed simplicity, a varied amount of space, and something that didn’t require too much time to set up. I also found recommendations on what type of journal I could afford that had the optimal number of pages, was the perfect size to grab and go, and had paper that wouldn’t let the ink bleed through. My current favourite is definitely the Lemome bullet journal pack that I purchased through Amazon. It is really good quality and has the same quality paper to the journal I purchased in CNA in South Africa. The bullet journal fits easily into a handbag, and a laptop bag and can be used for any possible scenario you can think of.
Another one of my favourite features of the Bullet Journal method is something called migration. This is where you go through the previous months daily logs and assess what hasn’t yet been done and examine whether this is still something that is important to spend your time and energy on. If it’s not, you scratch it out, if it is then it gets migrated to the to do list of the current month or in the month you need to complete the task in your future log. It eliminates unnecessary tasks and makes you think about what you are actually spending your time on. For me, as a procrastinator, tracking all the tasks I plan to do in a day and marking off what I have actually accomplished has led me to question how I spend my time between the tasks completed. As someone who is on a journey of self-awareness in order to better understand myself, the bullet journal has opened my eyes to my current level of productivity and the possibilities of increasing it on tasks that I can actually make progress on.
Do you use the Bullet Journal method? Let me know in the comments below!
-The Uninspired Blogger
A procrastinator is someone who delays or puts things off that should probably be done in a timely manner, and I definitely fit the criteria.
As a teenager, my main focus was school and this often meant that I made no effort to focus on anything else during the term, and when the school holidays came around, I preferred to read the set books or the pile of library books I had specifically become a library monitor to be able to take out on loan. As a result of my preference to laze around reading books and imagining myself as one of the characters in them, my bedroom was in constant chaos and I never could find anything I was looking for.
This trait seems to follow me into my adult life although the only difference is that now I have a lot more stuff. While I was employed, my desk was total chaos and I usually spent a large amount of time looking for things, and my home suffered as well. Folding the dry laundry, that would have usually taken just 10 minutes to fold and pack away has ended up taking hours simply because the volume has piled up on the bed in the spare room. An online degree that I could have finished at a more manageable rate over the past 2 years hasn’t happened at all, simply because I have convinced myself that I have enough time to complete it in the next few months. I planned to launch this blog last year, but I rationalised with myself over the fact that I have enough time to work on content, and that it needs to be absolutely perfect before it can be published.
Why do people procrastinate? Procrastination is a psychological force that you are completely unaware of. It is resistance. The resistance to do difficult things, the physical discomfort you feel when you think about doing things that you do not feel like doing. You give into that feeling of not doing something that you know you should be doing along with the guilt that comes with it. In most cases, you prefer the instant gratification you receive from scrolling through your social media feed. The more important the task that needs to be completed, the stronger the resistance to complete the task is. The only response to the resistance is simply to do the task anyway.
This is where Mel Robbins 5 Second Rule comes into the picture. Mel Robbins discusses how long the brain takes to talk you out of doing things you should be doing, or would like to do. You are never going to feel like doing anything, ever. Your brain is usually in auto-pilot when you make a decision. Before you know it, your brain has already talked you out of doing something that you probably should do. The best example is exercise. Apart from the many physical benefits of exercise, there are also psychological benefits of exercise (which we will not go into in this blog post), yet very few people wake up in the morning and feel like going to the gym. From the moment you have the idea, you only have 5 seconds to take action. Your brain will talk you out of it with a litany of excuses as to why you cannot do it.
While there is a debate as to the status of procrastination as a habit or a disorder, there are ways to combat it. In my own personal experience, I have found that forming habits little by little, or breaking tasks up into manageable chunks have helped with procrastination. I started with just focusing on making my bed every morning. A simple habit that brings the bedroom together. It is nice to come home from an outing, or work, and get into a bed that has been made and looks inviting. Another habit that I recently implemented was clearing up the kitchen in the evening. This means packing the dishwasher (even with that last plate or glass that is used for water before bed) and wiping down countertops and the sink. This has helped me focus on other tasks in the morning instead of clearing up the previous nights dinner dishes. Maintaining these habits has been a game changer and I have incorporated these quite easily into my life.
Something that I have implemented in my daily life that has helped me get a lot more done is to only schedule 5 – 6 tasks that need to be completed daily no matter what. These include habits (weighted workouts) as well as tasks that will bring me closer to my goals for the next 6 months (studying for exams). I track this progress in my bullet journal (I will explore this more in a blog post). Whenever I begin to feel overwhelmed with everything that has to be done, I find that scheduling tasks for specific days relieves some of the stress. Once certain things become automated and part of my daily habits that do not need to be tracked anymore, it is replaced by something that can easily fit into my daily routine. This process helps me to make time for a lot of things that would otherwise go unattended. The rest of my time is filled up with things that I enjoy. Different things work for different people and you have to experiment with a routine that would fit your lifestyle and your goals.
Do you procrastinate? Are you in recovery? Share your tips and tricks in the comments below, I look forward to trying some of them and sharing some of mine in future posts as my routine evolves!
-The Uninspired Blogger
I fondly remember the morning of the 18th birthday. I was on my way to school and I got into the car with my mum and I looked over and said with the utmost conviction something along the lines of how old I felt that particular morning. It never occured to me how I would feel being a month away from 30.
For anyone born in 1989, this year is a big one. It is the year we turn 30 and I, for one, had hoped that by this time I would have my life together. Unfortunately I don’t, and I often feel overwhelmed by life and that is nothing to be ashamed of. I know that I am not the only one, there are friends and acquaintances who are unfortunately in the same boat that I am in although I have often compared myself to people younger and older than myself.
Let me put it into context: I am turning 30 in October, currently unemployed and I do not have a degree. I am, however, currently studying towards a qualification, I am trying to make healthier choices with regards to my diet, and I launched my blog.
When I was younger, I never imagined that I would be a housewife living in a foreign country where I do not speak the language, and completely financially dependent on my partner. In fact, the thought of not being financially independent scared me, so you can understand my hesitance to leave my full time job with my own income and my independence. When I broke the news to my friend, she immediately told me that I was making a mistake.
In some ways, leaving my job was definitely a mistake, but in other ways it wasn’t. If I had not left my job, I would probably never have launched this blog, I would never have started my amazing journey of self-awareness, I would never have started this journey of personal development and realised how powerful thoughts are.
To be completely honest, I wished so many weeks and months away, I don’t feel as though I am turning 30 this year. It is a sad thought, I know, but it doesn’t make sense to me to dwell on all the events of the past. I prefer to make use of the time I have ahead of me to make the most of all the opportunities that lie ahead.
Turning 30 of course comes with a lot of expectations. Parents expect grandchildren, your career is supposed to be on track. I fulfill none of these expectations simply because I do not wish to. I made a choice to have a different life that may not have turned out the way I planned, but I definitely have a clear vision of my priorities moving forward. Turning 30 for me simply means the beginning of a new era, a chance to reinvent myself, a chance to be the person I want to be in order to fulfill my own expectations of myself.
My 20s were never a time for experimentation, a difficult upbringing forced me into employment straight out of school and while I resented that fact, it showed me how hard I am capable of working. A good work ethic is an asset. I never got the opportunity to party with all my friends every weekend or to socialise outside of the world I grew up in and for a while that was something that made me sad but moving into my 30s now, I appreciate being someone who prefers to stay home because that means that the only sacrifice I have to make in order to achieve my goals is to turn the TV off and abstain from Netflix.
Turning 30 also makes me reflect on the many who never got a chance to reach my age. Waking up each day is a blessing and getting to any age is an even bigger blessing. Everyday on social media, we hear about the passing of family members, friends, acquaintances, and our favourite celebrities. We are constantly reminded by our mortality and health scares in this day and age have become normal with the high stress lifestyles we lead. During my time as a housewife (especially in the early months) I spent most of my time laying on the couch and binge watching all of the shows I never had time to watch while I was working. For a while, it was fun to sleep everyday, stay up all night, and eat whatever my heart desired. The effects definitely showed on the scale and when I could no longer fit into my clothes. While this might not have stopped me then, speeding towards 30 has definitely opened my eyes to the health risks associated with an unhealthy diet and sedentary lifestyle.
Reflecting back on this, there are a few things I regret about the past few years. The first being never taking the initiative to take care of my body and to practice self-love. It is one thing to say that you love yourself, and a completely different thing to prove that you actually do. Self love is reflected in the choices you make in all aspects of your life. Will Smith said that the definition of discipline is self love. He goes on to say that self love is where you have actions towards yourself that is loving. A question that really stuck with me regarding self love goes something like this: ‘If you treat someone you loved the way you treat yourself, would that person be happy?’ and that is something that a lot of us need to examine. We often put our needs on the back burner when someone needs something, or we feel obliged to help when we do not have the emotional or physical capacity to assist and then wallow in guilt that we were unable to help out. It is not always our place to assist, and sometimes the other person just needs someone to vent to in order to get it out, no assistance needed. In these times, communication is important. You have to remember that you cannot pour from an empty cup.
My second regret is not taking more risks when it came to my career and relationships. There were often times when I was younger (which is the best time to take risks because you have less to lose) when opportunities were presented to me and instead of making my own decisions, I relied on a parent or someone who was older than me to dictate which path I should follow. This followed me well into my adult life and has led me to look for approval from people who should definitely not have a say in my life at all. I learnt that asking for advice is not an invitation for someone to tell you exactly what decision you should make in order to be happy.
My third regret is not working harder in school. I recently read Carol Dweck’s book Mindset (I recommend you read it as soon as possible!) and it made me realise that for the large part of my schooling career I had a fixed mindset. (I will go further into this in another blog post later in a review of the book) Had I worked harder, I would have probably gotten better grades and wouldn’t take every failure as the end of my good grades. I was good at math when I was coddled by the teacher and in a higher level than the rest of my peers but as soon as I felt I was not good enough, my grades dropped and with it went my confidence in learning.
We all have regrets, but the way to overcome them is by changing the way we live in the future.
What are you doing today to live your life on your own terms?
-The Uninspired Blogger
This past weekend (6 – 8 September 2019) saw the Italian Grand Prix in Monza. It is always an exciting time here in Italy, but it was especially exciting for me. It was my first time attending the event (I only attended the main race on Sunday) and it was a huge day for me in so many other aspects.
I was hesitant to attend the race. I woke up on race day and dreaded what the day would bring. It would be a day out, full of travelling and being around too many people my newly introverted self was definitely not looking forward to. Unlike other events I had previously backed out of, we had spent a considerable amount of money on these tickets and for me to back out now would definitely not be fair to anyone and it was also too late to sell the tickets.
I got up, dressed, put on a full face of makeup and we left the house for our journey to the Eni Circuit for the day. While the journey there was strenuous and long, the reward for the journey there was definitely worth all the effort and the lessons I learnt.
When I got there, I was physically uncomfortable and genuinely glad that it was not very hot so I could have a hoodie on for most of the day. But I realised that no one there was even mildly interested in what anyone else looked like, we were all there to support Ferrari, to share in the joy of winning, or the unhappiness of losing to Lewis Hamilton (who I never knew was hated here). It was an eye-opening experience just in the first few minutes.
Another thing I noticed while I was there was the amount of disabled people, there were people there who did not let a disability stop them from living life but on the other hand, here I was holding back on living because I am chubbier than everyone around me. Believe it or not, there were many people of all shapes and sizes there as well, all happily enjoying the day at the races with friends and family. Before the start of the race, there are planes that fly over the circuit, the sound and the feeling of that event moved me to tears. Being there was so surreal, and something I never thought that I would get to experience. I was here because I was determined that this year we would attend the Italian F1.
I sat there during the race wondering how many things I had said no to, things that would have brought me so much joy and happiness and goosebumps. I realised that I missed so many experiences that would have given me goosebumps, or made me shed tears of joy and why? All because I looked different. There are plenty of plus-sized people out there living their best lives, so why am I scared to be seen? I was supposed to attend a concert in March. I purchased the tickets the day they were released and when the day arrived to go to the concert, I backed out because I was feeling too self-conscious. Instead, I watched the highlights on Instagram which made me instantly regret not going to the concert.
Going to the Formula 1 this past weekend was definitely an eye-opening experience, sights and sounds bombarded my senses, I was filled with emotion, I sat there grateful that I had said yes to doing something that I had been looking forward to but was dreading because I had not lost enough weight and couldn’t fit into the pair of pants I had originally planned to wear.
I woke up on Monday morning (or rather struggled to open my eyes) with sore muscles from all the walking on Sunday, but with the amazing news and day I had, life seemed a little bit sweeter, and the sun seems to be shining a little brighter now than it did before.
The lesson here: say yes more often, and you will be surprised at what happens when you do!
-The Uninspired Blogger
If you are reading this, know how thankful I am that you are here. It is mindblowing that I took the time to create something online (something I have wanted to do for a long time) and have someone read it, share it, and hopefully enjoy it!
For a long time, I was stuck in life. I knew that I was filled with a good work ethic, had an amazing personality and had a love for all things creative. Yet, in all the time I was part of the living world I was consumed by laziness and a lack of motivation to change.
So what changed?
- In 2017, I left my full time job and moved halfway across the world with my partner in order for him to pursue international experience
- I was not earning my own income after working full time since I finished high school.
Leaving my life behind, being dependent on someone, and having all the time in the world to evaluate and nitpick every decision that I had ever made. I began to withdraw from everything and everyone. I was in the dark spiral of depression, and I needed to do something.. So for a while, all I did was just mope and complain about my life without changing anything. My weight increased dramatically (due to inactivity and the availability of Nutella), and with all the attention that was placed on my weight gain, my confidence plummeted. I was living in one of the most beautiful European countries and refused to leave my home because I felt as though I was being judged for what I looked like.It might sound silly to some people, but for those of us who have been through body shaming by family members being judged is a real fear.
It took a long time for me to wake up and realise that I needed to make changes in my life, big ones. I had been talking the talk but never walking the walk. This is the first blog I have ever published and shared with the world but it is the third domain that I have purchased in the last year. I needed to start this blog, so that I can heal and hopefully help others.
I discovered ways to grow emotionally, spiritually, and transform physically and I want to keep track of my progress and my journey from the beginning. I tried to get my husband into doing things with me and I heard somewhere that you shouldn’t try to force someone to see things from your point of view, instead you should focus on your own growth. That is exactly what I plan to do with this blog, to show everyone that you do not have to be rich, or grow up in a difficult environment, or be depressed in order to improve your life. There is always room for improvement, the only thing you need to do is realise that you can improve, decide what about your life or yourself you want to improve, find out how you can improve that particular part of yourself / your life, and JUST GET IT DONE!
This blog is me showing myself that I can put myself first again and build the life I want for myself. If I could help at least one person with my blog, I would feel as though I have accomplished something. Life is so short, everyday we hear of another acquaintance, family member, friend, and sometimes a celebrity not waking up in the morning.
Mortality is something that a lot of people dismiss. We often forget that our life here is temporary, we can lose everything in a second. Why not use that to live up to our full potential then? Why are we so scared of leading the lives we want to live? Why is it that we are continuously are bombarded with other’s opinions of what we do in our life? We are forced into careers we do not love or would have not chosen for ourselves, forced into marriages because society thinks it is time for us to get married, have kids we might later resent because we were unable to pursue our dreams because the clock was ticking.
In my own personal experience, I was bullied into having a big wedding, and constantly faced criticism regarding my weight. Who said that anyone who gets married needs to go on a strict diet in order to lose weight? Since when is my beauty reflected in the number on the scale instead of my actions? Don’t get me wrong, I understand the health concerns linked with higher numbers on the scale but since when did we start to judge a persons character on their appearances? Some of the best people I have met have not looked like they would have the heart of a saint. We are so quick to judge nowadays, and yet feel offended when we are judged in the same way.
I judged, I lived a life that I did not want to live in order to avoid confrontations and make others happy at the expense of my own happiness or peace. I know that my life won’t be easy with the decision I have made to post personal facts and opinions in a public forum, but I need to let it all out, to let others know that they are not alone, and to show myself that I can make a change, no matter how small.
-The Uninspired Blogger