For a while now I’ve been obsessed with the meal prep photos on Instagram and Pinterest. I love the idea of spending a chunk of time planning and preparing meals and then not having to think about it any more. I’m making November the month that I really get into meal prep but I had a bit of a practice session last week and made myself lunches for Monday through to Friday. I made 3 different lunches from the same lot of ingredients so that it didn’t get too repetitive. Also so I could decide on the day what I felt like eating.
What I bought
Bag of spinach
Bunch of celery
One red pepper
Tub of tomatoes
Box of crackers
Pack cooked chicken chunks
Small block manchego cheese
Pack sliced salami
*I also used a nest of dried noodles, a tin of sweetcorn, tin of mushrooms and a splash of soy sauce. These were already in my cupboard*
What I made
I used my soup maker to turn most of the chicken and the sweetcorn, mushrooms, soy sauce and noodles into chinese style chicken and sweetcorn soup. I made 2 large portions and stored them in the fridge for the days when I wanted something hot and comforting.
I also made 3 salad boxes, 1 with the remaining chicken and 2 with salami, cheese and berries.
I chopped up and portioned out the salad ingredients and split them between 3 meal prep containers. The ones I used have 3 compartments and are linked below. I added what was left of the chicken, a mini tub of humus and some crackers to the first box. For the remaining 2 boxes I added strawberries and blackberries to one of the mini compartments and folded salami and chunks of manchego cheese to the other one. The white stuff sticking out of the sides of the main compartment is kitchen roll, I lined the underneath so that my salad stayed crisp.
As this was my first attempt at prepping several days lunches at once, I was a bit skeptical that my salad would still be fresh on day five. I was pleasantly surprised, I think the kitchen roll definitely helped! Below I have linked all the products that I have used. These are affiliate links which mean if you purchase something through those links I get a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Not bad for a first attempt! Do you meal prep? What did you find worked for you? Let me know in the comments below =)
I love November. It’s the month of Bonfire Night, my birthday and the Coco Cola Christmas advert! Before I start talking about my goals for this month, if you haven’t read this post from last week which explains why and how I’ve moved to Yorkshire this week, I would go there first. Everyone caught up? Ok good, lets start!
Goals for November
Most of my goals this month are going to revolve around settling down and making roots in my new city. Moving away on your own is always a bit scary (although its the second time I’ve done it now!) so I think its important to try new things and get to know people as soon as possible.
Explore my new city and get settled in: I’m starting my new job next week so I have a few days to explore and settle in first.
Book a yoga class: My housemate/landlady gave me a leaflet for a yoga studio. She has been before and enjoyed it and kindly thought it might be a good place for me to meet new people. I have had a few yoga sessions in the past and I’m keen to start up again!
Join another exercise class: This is another part of “Operation meet new people and do new things” I discovered an exercise class where adults play playground games such as dodgeball, british bulldog and capture the flag in a local park, then go to the pub after. I’m liking the sound of that!
Meal prep: I’ve been trying out some recipes and having a go at mini meal preps during October (I’ll be posting about that soon!) Now that I’ve moved away and I’m going to be working long hours I want to get into meal prep properly!
I’m making that do for this month, its going to be a big one! What are your goals for November? Let me know below =)
October has passed by in a bit of a blur. There’s a couple of days left but I’m ready to look at the goals I set myself and see what I’ve achieved. Or haven’t achieved…
I went big on a couple of my goals, especially ones relating to the blog as I didn’t know what a realistic target would be. That’s my excuses out of the way, lets get on with it!
Post at least twice a week: Achieved
Get to grips with Twitter and Pinterest: Achieved
Have 500 site views over the month: Not achieved. I set my target way too high and at time of writing I have exactly 250 views for the month. Oops! Well at least I got halfway there!
Keep tracking sleep and caffeine intake in my bullet journal: Achieved
Stick to no more than 3 caffeinated drinks a day Achieved. By only drinking caffeinated tea at mealtimes and drinking decaf in between.
Finish reading at least two books. Achieved. This month I read Relight my fire by Joanna Bolouri and Better than before by Gretchin Rubin.
I’m making this month the month of organisation! Moving to another city is imminent, as soon as I secure a job I’ll have to pack up and drive to Yorkshire. At the moment its a waiting game. I hate waiting games! But if I can get the majority of my things sorted out and ready to go then that’s one less thing to worry about.
***Update: During the month I was offered a job and I am moving tomorrow!***
Pack up anything that I don’t need right now, summer clothes etc. Achieved.
Make a page in my bullet journal for everything that needs doing before I move. Sort of achieved. I didn’t make a page in my bullet journal but I did scribble a master list of everything I had to do.
Declutter, declutter, declutter! Achieved. My local charity shop loves me!
So that’s how I did with my goals for October. Its looking like November is going to be a huge month, exciting times! Did you meet your October goals? Let me know in the comments below =)
This post is a little different. I’m writing it on the spur of the moment, no planning or scheduling. Why? Because after a couple of months of planning, applying, scheming and dreaming, I’ve finally secured a job and somewhere to live! I’m moving back out of the family home and on to the next adventure in 4 days…
Its one of those things, for the last 10ish weeks I’ve been waiting. Waiting for interviews, waiting for the results of the interviews, waiting to hear back off agencies. Weeks and weeks of hanging around. Now suddenly its all systems go, exciting but also a little scary.
A quick back story for anyone who hasn’t read my previous posts. I’m a nanny. I spent 2 years working 250 miles away from home and living with the family I was working for. I returned home at the end of summer with plans to spend a few weeks at home, then move away again to work for another family. With 2 little changes. Firstly I wanted to be closer to my hometown and second I wanted to rent nearby instead of being a living in again. I decided on these changes as I wanted a better work/life balance. Finding the right job took me longer than I would have liked but at the same time I wanted to be sure it was the right fit. Finally I can get myself together and get going!
Planning and stuff
As you can imagine my do-to list is getting huge! There’s things to pack, addresses to change, registering at a different doctor/dentist etc. Some of my things are still packed in boxes from when I moved back home all those weeks ago. I always planned to move on soon so I only unpacked the essentials. Everything else is being sorted into bags or boxes but I’m pretty happy with how its going. I feel a lot more relaxed this time, I’ve done it once so I can do it again. Moving to a different city alone is a big deal but also an amazing adventure. I’ll have to write a post about it some time.
I’m planning to stick to my blogging schedule of Monday and Friday but in all the chaos of the last week or so (and also that I’ve had a horrible cold for the last few days) I’ve ran out of scheduled posts… Oops! I like to be at least a week ahead. I’m going to try to rectify that over the weekend but if my posting gets a little wobbly over the next couple of weeks, please bear with me!
So that’s everyone caught up on my news, have you got any to share? Let me know in the comments below =)
As part of my quest to unwind and get a better nights sleep, I stumbled across the idea of an acupressure mat. I was intrigued by the rave reviews and 80% 5 star rating so I decided to try it for myself.
I chose the orange Base Acupressure mat. I understood the idea behind it, rounded plastic spikes that apply gentle pressure and relax the muscles but I was a bit skeptical. I had 3 main concerns;
Would it hurt?
Would it really help me sleep better?
Would it live up to the hype of the Amazon reviews I had read?
The mat I purchased is linked below. Please note this is an affiliate link so any purchases made through that link will give me a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting Educating Hayley.
I was keen to try out my mat as soon as it arrived, so I took it upstairs, lay it on my bed and read the instructions. I put a thin pajama top on for my first attempt as it is suggested to build up to bare skin contact. Different people have varying levels of tolerance for sensation on the skin so its best to go slow and see what works for you. Apparently I must have a pretty high level of tolerance, as when I lay on it with the pajama top on, I couldn’t feel anything! So the top came off and I lay down again.
Its hard to describe the sensation of hundreds of rounded plastic tips pressing against your back. I wriggled and adjusted for a moment then set an alarm for 20 minutes and tried to relax into the mat. It is suggested to lie on the mat for 20-40 minutes several times a week for maximum benefit. I took a few deep breaths and could feel my muscles start to relax. The main thing going through my head was “Hey this doesn’t hurt!” I lay for the 20 minutes and then got up and carried on with my day. I didn’t get the warm tingly feeling that a lot of the reviews described but I still felt refreshed and happy with the result.
One month later
My mat arrived on the 11th of September, at time of writing I have been using it for just over a month. I have used the mat most days for at least 30 minutes. On day 3 I felt the warm tingly sensation and now I feel it almost every time. I would say that using it before bed does help me fall asleep faster as I’m more relaxed but I can’t definitively say that it has improved my sleep. Either way I enjoy my “mat time” and it is something that I will continue using. It has fit effortlessly into my before bed routine and I feel better for it. I now understand the rave reviews but ultimately its something that is hard to grasp until you have tried it for yourself.
Have you got an acupressure mat? Would you recommend it to others? Let me know in the comments below.
Its been a month since I started reducing my caffeine intake. I thought I would take a moment to update how that has been going and what I want to do going forward. The main reason I started monitoring my caffeine intake was because I hoped it would help me sleep better. For the last month I have stuck to no more than 3 caffeinated drinks a day, so the big question is;
Has it made any difference?
It’s not a straightforward answer. On the one hand, yes I think I am feeling sleepier at bedtime because I’m not wired on caffeine. But I can’t honestly say that I’m falling asleep much easier. I wish I could be one of these people who puts their head on their pillow and goes to sleep but I’m not. I can lie awake for hours before finally dozing off and I’m such a light sleeper that little things such as sunlight or noise from outside can wake me up. When I was working and in a routine I found it much easier to get to sleep because frankly I was exhausted. At the moment I’m between jobs and until I start working again I’m not sure how much difference it will make.
After I few days I did start to get headaches and shaky hands, always at around 3pm. At the time I was trying to only drink 2 caffeinated drinks a day, when I woke up and at dinner time. First I tried moving my 2nd cup forward to 2pm. It stopped my 3pm symptoms but meant that I was feeling really shaky when I woke up in the morning. Now I have 3 cups a day and at the moment that is working for me. I can always try to reduce further later on.
Since cutting my caffeine intake I have noticed some changes;
Like I said above, I do feel sleepier at bedtime. Unfortunately at the moment it isn’t having much effect on how quickly I’m falling asleep. I’m going to have to look into other ways of improving my sleep but every little helps!
I haven’t felt jumpy, jittery or irritable the way that I do when I’ve had too much caffeine, so that’s a big plus!
I haven’t been buying takeaway coffee so I’ve saved money on that over the last month.
The plan for now is to keep doing what I’ve been doing. Have you reduced your caffeine intake? Let me know in the comments.
Now that we are firmly into autumn, I thought it would be a good time to make a self care plan. The days are getting shorter, the temperature is dropping and cough and colds season is on its way. Self care is important any time of the year but personally I think it becomes more important over autumn and winter for 3 reasons:
Cough and colds season. Its that time of the year when everybody seems to be coming down with something.
Shorter days and longer nights. When the days are shorter and the weather is miserable we are more likely to feel down. Please note am I talking about winter blues in general and not seasonal affective disorder (SAD) which requires treatment and support.
Its cold! As the temperature drops, its time to make sure we are taking care of ourselves.
What can we do about it?
Firstly we can make sure we are staying warm. Adjust the heating so that it comes on just before you wake up. Wrap up warm when going outside. Cosy socks are great when the temperature drops at night, especially as body heat is lost quickest from the head and feet.
Autumn is my favourite time of year. I love the smell of the air, the leaves changing colour and its the season of comfort food. Stews, casseroles, soup, I love them all! Its important to make sure we are getting enough nutrients and with a stew, soup or casserole you can throw pretty much any combination of protein, carbs and veg in and it will taste great. I recently bought a soup maker, so I’m experimenting with different recipes. I’ll post a few once I’ve got the hang of it!
Boost your immune system
This is something I discovered last year and it really worked for me. I work with children and used to be constantly picking up colds, coughs and flu, kids love to share… It used to start around this time of year and then I would be catching something on and off until the warmer weather arrived. Which in the UK is very unpredictable! Last year I was looking at ways to strengthen my immune system when I came across Sambucol black elderberry liquid. It helps support the immune system and it tastes really good too! I take two teaspoons a day for the first few days, then drop down to one teaspoon a day so that the bottle lasts longer. Apart from a couple of sniffles, I didn’t have any major colds, coughs or flu last year and I believe Sambucol was a part of that. I bought the pack of 3 below as that seemed to give the best value.
*Please note the link below is an affiliate link of a product I have purchased and use myself. Any purchases made through the link will give me a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting Educating Hayley.*
Those are the three major things I am doing to help myself stay well over the colder months. Do you have a self care plan or any tips and tricks to stay well? Let me know below.
A couple of weeks ago I explained how I use my bullet journal to plan for the week ahead. I love using my bullet journal but I do remember how overwhelming it was at first. Seeing the stunning layouts on Pinterest (my bullet journal inspiration board is here) and wondering where to start. Which notebook/pens did I need and did I start with drawing a daily or weekly layout? To answer the notebook/pens question, any will do to get started. The supplies I use or have used in the past are linked further down the post. Any purchases made through those links will give me a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting my blog.
A simple weekly layout
I prefer to draw one weekly layout rather than daily pages. Its easier, I sit down at the weekend and draw out a layout that will get me through the whole week. I normally spread it out over 2 pages as shown in this post. For this post I’m going to draw a really simple weekly spread on one page, perfect for beginners! Just grab a notebook and a pen and copy me!
Very easy, perfect for a first attempt!
Quick to do
Can see your whole week at a glance
Not much space width ways in each box. A spread set over 2 pages would provide more room.
You will need
A notebook. Any will do but my instructions will be easier to follow with a dotted notebook. This spread was drawn as an example in my old Bullet Journal by Leuchtturm1917. These days I use a Lemome journal. Both are linked below.
A pen. Any pen or use a pencil first if you prefer. I use micron pens, this spread was drawn with the 03 pen from the set linked below.
Washi tape. Optional, I used washi tape to add a bit of colour but it works fine without it too. The autumn leaves tape I use on this spread is part of the washi tape set linked below.
First up, turn to the page you will be using. From the top of the page count four dots down and mark the first dot on that row with your pen.
Follow the row all the way along and mark the last dot on the same row.
Go to the bottom of the page and mark the first and last dot on the bottom row.
Join the four dots together using a ruler to make a large box. Now flip your notebook sideways.
If you are using washi tape, roll a length across the top of your box. Now your page should look like the picture below.
Now we are going to make 7 sections, one for each day of the week. Starting from one side of the page count 5 dots along then draw a line from your washi tape (or top line) to the bottom line.
Do this until you have 7 sections. There should be 4 dots inside each column with a line on either side. Look at the photo below for reference.
Now write the day of the week at the top of each column. I put the letters between dots 2 and 3 to keep them centered. You now have a section for each day of the week! All that’s left to do is fill up our schedule.
I’ve added a few things as an example. The bullet points are tasks. Turn the dot into a cross when it is completed.
Triangles are appointments. Shade the triangle in when it is done.
Circles are events. Shade the circle in once it has passed.
So there you have it! One quick and easy weekly layout. Hope its helpful for someone out there. If you want more step by step bullet journal posts, let me know in the comments below and I’ll see what I can do.
*Please note this post contains affiliate links of products I have purchased and use myself. Any purchases made through those links will give me a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting Educating Hayley.*
A week ago I posted about trying to change my sleep habits. Staring at the ceiling for half of the night isn’t fun! One week later I thought I would check in and share what’s working and what isn’t.
The first little change I made was to stop drinking caffeinated tea and coffee after 4pm. This had previously been 6pm but I recently read this article stating that caffeine stays in our system for up to 6 hours after we drink it. I’m putting that to the test so now its decaf only after 4pm. I’m not sure I’ve noticed much difference with this one to be honest. Annoyingly I haven’t been falling asleep any earlier. I’m going to change things up a bit and start drinking a cup of herbal tea before bed to see if it helps relax me. I like chamomile tea but don’t drink it very often so I’m going to slot it into my bed time routine and see if it makes a difference. I’m also going to put a drop of lavender essential oil on my pillow for the next week to see if that does anything.
I’m a light sleeper so noise and sunlight from outside easily wakes me up. I have blackout curtains but the light still keeps poking through so I rather nervously ordered myself a sleep mask. Why nervously? I don’t like having things around my head or on my face while I’m sleeping so I haven’t tried a sleep mask before. I imagined them to be restrictive and I’d heard horror stories about them giving you blurry vision the next morning from where the mask has been pressing against your eyes. That would definitely freak me out because I suffer from migraines and blurry vision is one of my early warning symptoms, that and pins and needles on my tongue (weird right?). After a bit of online searching I chose this one on Amazon from Bedtime Bliss.
My main reason for picking the Bedtime Bliss mask was the hollow eyes design. It doesn’t press on your eyelids and you can open your eyes or blink while wearing it but no light gets in as long as its pulled over your nose properly. I was surprised by how soft and comfortable it is, it doesn’t feel restrictive at all and can be adjusted at the back. My problem is that although the mask is soft and very lightweight, I’m not used to having anything on my face. Also because it takes me so long to get to sleep, I flip around a lot changing positions and often pull the mask on and off as I’m doing this. What I’ve started to do is sleep with the mask in bed next to me. When I’m in a comfortable position and feel like I’ll doze off soon, I pull the mask on. If it starts to annoy me, I take it off but keep it beside me. When the sun starts to wake me up, I pull the mask on and go straight back to sleep, which is great because it normally takes me a while to doze off again once the sun comes up. Sometimes I can wear it all night with no problems and when I am wearing it I sleep through the sunrise, result! The more I’m wearing it the more I’m getting used to it so hopefully soon I’ll be able to wear it straight through every night. It also comes in a little cloth bag with a set of earplugs. I haven’t tried those yet but might build up to it!
So to recap, there are 3 things I’m going to try for the next couple of weeks;
Keep wearing the sleep mask.
Drink herbal tea before bed.
Put a drop of lavender oil on my pillow
Do you have any tricks for a better night sleep? Let me know in the comments.
Before I start, I want to add a quick disclaimer. This will not be your typical capsule wardrobe post with stunning photos of gorgeous clothes that look like they have been lifted straight out of London Fashion Week. Sorry to disappoint, my fashion photography skills and general dress sense are not (and never will be…) up to that level. But before everyone closes their browser windows, here are 3 reasons to stay:
If you have considered building a capsule wardrobe yourself but don’t know where to start. Maybe you have looked into it before but got confused or discouraged with how many pieces of clothing you are allowed or articles that say you must have a black pencil skirt. Speaking from personal experience there…
If you want to see how a capsule wardrobe can work in day to day life. Because there isn’t a set formula that will work for everyone. What works for you will depend on your job/hobbies and what you get up to in an average week. I can show you what I have done but that doesn’t mean it would work for you, its all about tweaking it for your individual lifestyle.
If you are reading right now thinking “What is a capsule wardrobe???” I’ll do my best to explain, bear with me.
What is a capsule wardrobe?
A capsule wardrobe is when you narrow down your clothing choices to just pieces that fit, are good quality and most importantly, that your love wearing. At some point everyone has stood in front of a stuffed wardrobe and said “I have nothing to wear!” or worn the same few outfits over and over while ignoring all the other options. Sometimes too many options can feel paralyzing, there is such thing as too much choice. A capsule wardrobe takes the stress out of getting dressed because instead of choosing from 30 tops, (some which don’t fit and some which still have tags on that make you feel guilty every time you look at them…) you are choosing from a handful of tops that you like and know definitely fit.
I first came across the idea of a capsule wardrobe while reading about Project 333. The idea behind Project 333 is that you choose 33 pieces of clothing/shoes/accessories (not including underwear, pajamas or gym clothes) to wear for that season, 3 months. Head to the website linked above for more information. I loved the idea of sorting through all my clothes and keeping only items that I loved and that I knew I would wear that season. Don’t worry, clothes for other seasons are packed away for later, not binned! I followed along for a few months but life happened and slowly more clothes crept in.
Lately I’ve been a bit down about the state of my wardrobe. It isn’t as bad as it was before I tried Project 333 but there is room for improvement. This time I’m not focusing on numbers and I’m making sure that whatever I end up with will work for me. The whole point of a capsule wardrobe is to make your own life easier, so if you are thinking of giving this a go yourself, watch out for these 3 pitfalls;
Comparing yourself to everyone else. Especially if their lifestyle is nothing like yours. It’s easy to over compare and feel like you aren’t doing it right or that your capsule will never be as good as *insert fashion blogger here* Remember this is to make your life easier.
Must have pieces. Articles with titles such as “10 must have pieces for your capsule wardrobe” will tell you to buy a pencil skirt/chambray shirt/blazer. If these are the kind of things you wear at work/weekends/everyday life then go ahead and buy them. Just remember they are only “must have” if they fit in with your lifestyle.
Obsessing over numbers. With Project 333 I found that 33 items was doable and a good starting point for me. In other articles or websites it might state a different number as the perfect number. Basically there is no perfect number, don’t worry if yours is higher or lower than somebody else.
I spent an hour or so going through my clothes and removing anything that didn’t fit, had holes in it or that I simply don’t wear. Next I boxed up all my summer clothes, won’t be needing those for the foreseeable future! I whittled down until I was happy that what was left in my wardrobe was suitable for autumn, comfortable and clothes that I enjoy wearing. Here’s a quick run through. Remember the disclaimer at the top of the page about my photography skills…
My Capsule Wardrobe
3 pairs of jeans: 2 mid blue, 1 dark blue (not pictured)
3 bags: 1 cross body (hanging in photo) 1 giant black rucksack and 1 smaller silver/grey rucksack (not in picture)
4 T-shirts: 2 navy, 1 blue/white patterned and 1 terracotta.
1 navy cardigan.
3 long sleeved tops: 1 terracotta, 1 navy/white stripe and 1 mustard (not pictured)
1 long sleeved check skirt.
3 jumpers: 1 cream patterned, 1 blue striped and 1 blue/grey hearts.
1 black leather jacket.
1 blue hoody.
3 pairs of shoes: Sketchers, boots and sandals. To cover all weathers! Kept downstairs on shoe rack so not in photo.
1 blue wool coat.
I admit I wear a lot of blue and navy! The jackets/coats aren’t pictured as they are hung up in the coat cupboard. When I finished I counted everything up and was surprised that it is only 24! I thought for a while about choosing/buying more to add in but I’ve decided not to at the moment. Firstly because I’m not focusing too much on numbers and I don’t feel like there’s anything missing right now. Secondly because I may add some thicker jumpers as the weather turns colder and my birthday is coming up in November. My family tend to buy me clothes so my wardrobe will probably grow then. The bottom line is I don’t see the point of adding more clothes right now for the sake of it. I can add if/when necessary.
The other thing I should make clear is that this is just my day to day wardrobe. In the other side of my wardrobe I have a small selection of smarter clothes for interviews and a couple of dresses for parties, weddings, christenings etc. I don’t count these because I so rarely wear them but I need them for special occasions. Also I’m lucky that I wear my everyday clothes to work and don’t need a separate work wardrobe.
So that’s my autumn wardrobe sorted. Do you have a capsule wardrobe or would you consider it? Let me know in the comments.