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    Travel Instagrammers I’m Loving Right Now

    The numerous travel hashtags are where I’m living right now on Instagram. Just love seeing all the amazing photos and places that people are visiting. It’s good for inspiration and it’s good for giving yourself motivation to get saving…

    TravelInstagrammers

    Photo from my Lanzarote travels!

    Everyone always seem to be complaining about instagram and it honestly feels like we’re forgetting what it was actually for. To share our snaps. Like I do watch my numbers, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not the be all end all of life. Lately I’ve been using instagram to stalk follow travellers. People visiting amazing places and pretty much living through them to make things seem more interesting.

    I’ve always been into photography. I mean, I even studied it at college and university. I love having a good browse through instagram to see what’s happening in the world and right now, that means getting travel-envy. I love loads of travel bloggers, but here are just a few that I’ve been really loving this month!

    Flying-The0Nest

    Flying The Nest

    These two are quite a recent discovery and I have pretty much been trawling through their website and videos for the past couple of weeks. They’re such a fun couple to watch, and they just seem so down to earth considering the amazing things they are getting to do.

    The instagram accounts are strange, because although they are travelling together, the photos they are sharing are completely different. And I love that. It’s the best thing about instagram really, being able to experience something from the photographer’s eyes.

    It’s weird isn’t it, the different things that people will pick out and save, or comment on. But yeah, I love these two mainly for their vlogs, but of course they post so many gorgeous photos too.

    Find Flying The Nest + Stephen’s Instagram + Jess’ Instagram + Youtube + Blog

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    Where’s Mollie

    I think I discovered Mollie on Youtube to be honest, through all her Australia travel vlogs. She’s just so fun to watch, and has been to various amazing places. There are plenty of guides on her youtube, as well as random vlogs and such too. Definitely worth a look.

    Now Mollies’s instagram is full of travel envy photographs, and I just want to visit every place she’s been to. Seriously, everything looks so beautiful and I like that she’s in a lot of the photos too – it keeps it more personal!

    Mollie also shows a lot on her instastories, so you can keep up with her daily travels constantly. Always having a good time on there!

    Find Where’s Mollie:
    + Instagram
    + Youtube
    + Blog

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    Katie Lofblad

    Katie’s travel photos are all so colourful and bright, I love seeing them on my feed. Just some of the angles and ways the photos have been taken really draw me in. If you go onto her feed, there’s one just a little further down of a gondola in Venice, and I just love it.

    Lots of photos in Australia recently… You know that’s how I discovered this feed of course. Living for all travel photos of Australia right now – giving me the inspiration and push to keep saving up!

    There’s also great content on her blog about travels and help/advice for travelling or moving away. Plenty to keep you occupied whilst you dream about that sunshine.

    Find Katie Lofblad:
    + Instagram
    + Youtube
    + Blog

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    Kristie Jean

    These ones are definitely different in that they’re quite dark really compared to the others that I’ve shared. Obviously it depends on where you visit but most of Kristie’s photos are darker, and I love that!

    I would describe it as quite a moody feel to the feed, but it makes some of the breathtaking views in the photographs stand out. I just love the general theme and style and colours on there. You know when you see photos and it just feels wild, and free, and really in nature? That’s how I feel looking at these!

    Lots of trees and rivers and woodland, love it. I definitely want to travel to more places like this, with proper wilderness and not just pretty beaches! Nothing beats exploring the outdoors, right?

    Find Kristie Jean:
    + Instagram
    + Blog


    So there we go, some of my current favourites! Have any recommendations?

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    Lifestyle, Tips & Tricks

    How To Create Goals & Stick To Them

    Some people will start the new year with a list of goals (me) yet some hate it. Some will do monthly goals. Some hate it. If you know me just the slightest, you’ll know I like goals. I figured I’d give the reasons why I like them in all aspects of life.

    Pros-of-Goal-Setting

    Sometimes I think the problem with goals is that they’re given too much weight. Like, they become a fixation and for those who don’t meet those goals, or set them too high get hit with failure and that ultimately just makes things worse. Don’t get me wrong, I have done that before. Plenty of times. But right now, I feel like I’m in a good place with what I want in life and what I’m doing to get to that point. You’ve got to have a good balance.

    How To Create Goals That Don’t Set You Up For Failure

    Looking at the words themselves, a goal really is just a general outcome that you want. Anyone can just say “Oh I want to do such a thing” and there we have it, a goal. The next part is the one that ensures you can reach that goal, and it’s thinking about the steps you need to take to reach it. Quite often it takes more than one thing or change to hit that goal. These become your objectives, or steps as I prefer to call them, and I think people forget about this bit.

    So for example, my main life goal at the moment is to be travelling by the end of 2018. To get to that goal, the main step I’ve started working on at the moment is putting money aside in my savings. Once I get closer to the time, I’ll also have to start looking at getting a visa, possibly getting jabs, checking airlines, hostels, places and the like. These are all separate steps that will help me hit that main goal and without them I wouldn’t get there.

    For fitness, ultimately my goal is to get stronger and run a PB half marathon time. I need to consider all the things that will help me do this, and this includes adding more strength training, adding more running mileage and of course, cleaning up my diet. Again, all separate steps that will get me to that ultimate goal.

    Basically, when setting a goal you need to be thinking about the wider picture. How can you hit that goal? What is it that you actually need to work on? As you can see, just saying ‘I want to travel’ doesn’t really help you at all if you don’t know what you need to do.

    Why Having Goals Helps Me To Achieve

    There’s a couple of reasons really why I like to set goals, but mostly it’s because I am someone who needs a plan. Organisation. I like writing down what I want to do and how I can do it. And then also because I like a challenge. Can’t help it.

    You’ll find a lot of people just plodding on in life. Doing what they have to, to get by, and not completely happy but also not doing anything about it. I don’t want that for myself. How many people do you know who just hate their job? I know quite a few… and whilst I myself don’t hate my jobs, I know it’s not what I want to be doing in the long-term. I have dreams of where I want to be, and I want to take those steps to hit them. Those regrets, what would have been, if I’d just tried to… Nope, not me.

    Like I know that I will completely regret not trying to get out and travel. Even just for a month. I don’t want to be settled down mid-thirties with kids thinking, why didn’t I just take that chance I had? Don’t get me wrong, I want to start a family. I’d love to have kids. But I’m not ready for that yet. And this isn’t a negative push at those who do settle down young – that’s perfectly fine if it’s what you want to do.

    Which brings me to my next point. We all have different goals and dreams in life. You might look at me and think, she wants to run another half marathon, maybe even a marathon? No thanks! And that’s perfectly okay. You do you, and figure out what makes you happy. After all, isn’t that what we’re all aiming for?

    Pros-of-Goal-Setting-Goals

    What You Should Do Next To Start Achieving Goals

    So think about what you want to achieve in the next year. Is it fitness related? Job related? Blog related? Maybe even family/friend related? Whatever it is, start jotting it down.

    My favourite thing to do is to create a mind map. I find that it’s easier to do separate ones for each area of life because then you can get really detailed if needed. For example mine would include, a general life one, a fitness one, a blog one and a travel one. This doesn’t have to be neat (hey you can always re-do it neatly if you want this as a visual once you’ve decided on things!) and is basically just a brainstorm of what you want to achieve. It can be for the next year, the next 5 or even longer.

    Once all those thoughts are written down, you can start to sort through what you want to do and figure out which bits are the main goals, and which bits are the steps that you need to take. For me, actually writing down these things allows me to properly understand them and to see which goals are easier and which will take more time. That’s one of the hardest things, time. You just can’t expect results over night, but by working consistently you will get there.

    So Go Out And Hit Those Goals

    Yep. I hope this has helped you to at least have a better view on goals, and how to set yourself up for success instead of failure. So many people make new years resolutions and never stick to them… Now’s your chance to revisit those things you want to do for yourself and really smash them.

    What Tips Do You Have For Me?

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    Organisation

    Planning for 2017

    Three weeks into 2017 and I’m ready to share my planner set-up for this year (so far). I’d like to say that these three weeks have flown by, but seriously it feels like we’re on day 100 of 2017 not day 21. That’s not to say it’s been a bad start to the year – I’ve actually had a pleasantly good year so far – it’s just dragged. (Might be because payday is still a week away…)

    Planning for 2017 | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    I was in two minds about restarting a planner set up for this year because I simply wasn’t utilising it enough to be worth it before Christmas. Something wasn’t clicking and I just rarely looked inside the planner. I figured that a bit of a change around would either reignite my love for planning and writing things down, or it would prove that I just didn’t really need it any more. So, 21 days in…

    It’s getting a lot more use than last year, so that’s a positive. I’ve started tracking different things, things that I know are useful and will keep me writing them. The bullet journal idea is still very much incorporated into my planning format, and it’s working really well. So my tabs include: Diary, for all weeklies/planning pages; Misc, for all collection style things; Lists, obvious really; Lang, because I want to start back my Spanish learning; Notes, just for random notes. Simple is the key.

    Planning for 2017 | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    The diary section starts with a year on two pages spread, just for future planning. It currently lists my birthday, races planned and holidays booked. Then we’re straight into the weekly pages. I designed my own as usual, and have kept it fairly similar to last years. The schedule on the left page just acts as a place to list my work shifts and any other things I may do. The addition on the right is for my fitness tracking. Being able to write a good amount of info about daily work outs is great, and it’s easy to see how I’m progressing each week, how little/much I’ve done etc.

    Planning for 2017 | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    In my Misc section I currently have a few different things. There’s a half marathon running plan (which you can see below), a page ready for listing all the races I complete, notes on good lower half exercises, a page with the Marvel film timeline (because I want to try watch them all) and a few blogging ideas. So it’s a little random, but that’s what I wanted. Just a place to keep long-term lists/notes.

    Planning for 2017 | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    The Lists section has in a few lists already like things to watch, restaurants to try etc. This is the messier listing section, for those that I don’t really need to look at very often and don’t need to go into the collections section. It makes sense to me.

    The Lang section is pretty much empty at the moment. It just has a page with the days/months/numbers in. Same for the Notes section, not really used yet. I don’t know whether I’ll keep this one – will have to see how used it gets!

    Lastly, you’ll notice there are two extra tabs… They’re not really in use, but I do have one thing behind the first tab. It’s a place where I can write down any personal earnings for this year – as in, blog earnings and the like, not job earnings. I created a little card cover thing so that you can’t actually see any information until you open the rings and open the covering. Makes things nice and private and was easy to do. I mean obviously it can be easily opened, but information won’t be visible to those just flicking through. You could use this for all sorts.

    Planning for 2017 | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    Planning for 2017 | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    So far this is working for me and I’m actually opening my planner to see what’s going on. I think incorporating most of my blog/fitness information into the one planner is definitely helping – last year I used a separate blog planner and whilst it was great, I think that’s why my regular planner got forgotten. It’s just easier to have everything together.

    Are you using a planner this year?

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    Crafting

    Handmade Ideas: Oh Happy Day Card Kit*

    Last year I was really into creating my scrapbook layouts and using smash books. This year I’ve fallen a bit behind, and though I’ve wanted to I just haven’t put the time aside to do it. I was contacted about the Stampin’ Up! UK ‘Oh Happy Day Card Kit‘* and I was super excited to try it out.

    Handmade Ideas: Oh Happy Day Card Kit* | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    Going to a shop and buying a card is all too easy. We all do it, I’m not going to pretend I don’t, but it’s not as special as creating a handmade card right? It just seems time consuming and probably too creative to some. Where would you get the ideas?! I’ve never actually delved into the world of card making myself, so I was impressed to see that you can get kits with everything cut out, designed and included.

    Oh Happy Day Card Kit

    Opening the box you see a stamping kit and lots of different pieces of card, envelopes, pre-cut shapes, string and instructions. The kit is £31.50 but includes enough stuff to make 20 different cards. Cards ranging from thank you messages, loving, birthday, parties and friends. The instructions are easy to follow and it’s pretty much a case of looking at the photo, finding the corresponding shapes in the pack and sticking it all together! Simple.

    Handmade Ideas: Oh Happy Day Card Kit* | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    I decided to try two out and went for different sized cards to see how they looked. All of the card included feels of super high quality and some of the design shapes – like the green heart on the right – were made out of wood to add that extra texture! I was really impressed with the kit overall.

    One thing though, I could not for the life of me get into that ink. I just couldn’t open it! Probably me just being weak after arm day at the gym but I gave up and used my own black ink in the end. Seriously when I was looking back at the video I did I must have spent around 5 minutes just trying to open that little ink box!

    Handmade Ideas: Oh Happy Day Card Kit* | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    The Stampin’ Up! UK craft products, projects and kits can only be bought online or through independent sales consultants in a variety of countries. Sadly not in any stores! There are a few different kits you can try out, especially good for getting children into crafting! At £31.50 this may seem pricey to some (if you’ve never delved into the world of handmade crafting!) but like I said before it does make 20 cards and if you want to try card making without the fuss of designing your own this is the kit for you.

    Here’s a sped up video of me making the cards… Not done one of these in a while! Sorry it has no music…

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    *Items in this post were sent for review, but as always I would not include something I wouldn’t use myself and all opinions are my own.

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    Creative, Organisation, Stationery, Tips & Tricks

    Washi Tape Hack for Bullet Journals and Planning

    Are all you bloggers still using your bullet journals? If you are, I have a little tip to make planning and finding things just that little bit easier. I’ve been using this system all year for my blog planner, and I love the way it looks.

    Washi Tape Hack for Bullet Journals and Planning | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    How To Use Washi Tape Effectively in your Bullet Journal

    All you need is a roll of washi tape (or two, or three, or ten…) and your planner. Instead of constantly skimming through your notebook to find which section you want, or using a lot of different bookmarks and making the notebook bulky, washi tape can be used as an easy place marker.

    I have my blog planner set out with monthly sections, and random collections in between. To make it easier to find each monthly section, I’ve simply taken the title page and stuck a piece of washi tape along the top edge. You could use any designs here – maybe a different tape for each month – but I’ve just used this blue one on every month so far. I like the uniformity. You can see in the top image that the tape really stands out against the blank pages, making the months easy to find.

    This does add a little bulk to the notebook because the washi tape is in the same place on every page it’s used on, but it really is minimal compared to using a lot of actual bookmarks or clips along the edges.

    Washi Tape Hack for Bullet Journals and Planning | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    Then, using the same technique, I’ve just placed a few pieces of different washi tape along the edges of certain pages. These include my blog stats, idea pages, books read, and random notes. It means I can quickly check an ideas page, or jot down some stats without having to leaf through every page. As bullet journals are pretty much organised chaos by design it just makes life easier.

    These ones I place randomly (you can just about see on so the first photo) because it just means they’re easier to spot. I’ve used the blue sky washi tape for any ideas pages, a dark green for my books read and there’s a couple of peachy colour ones for my stats pages.

    Washi Tape Hack for Bullet Journals and Planning | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    If you feel like you need a little more organisation in your bullet journal, give it a go! And let me know if you have any other tips like this – I’d love to hear more ideas!

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    Photography, Tips & Tricks

    Tips on Creating a Flat Lay

    Ah the flat lay. Everyone loves a good flat lay right? I don’t for one minute think myself as an expert on creating this style of photo, but I figured I’d try to give a few pointers and show my methods. Also, don’t you just love the quote below mixed with Jon Snow’s unhappy little face? I do.

    Tips on Creating a Flat Lay | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    Photography is an art. Just having a ‘good camera’ will not get you good photos. Yes they may technically look good – meaning they’re in focus, they have good exposure, colours etc – but having an eye for composition and detail is what makes a great photo. You can’t just shoot photos without thinking and expect every single one to look good. Those instagrams with the perfect shots? It probably wasn’t the first snap, let’s be honest now!

    Anyway, hopefully these tips will give you a few more ideas of what to do with your photos and get a little more creativity in there.

    Tips on Creating a Flat Lay | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    Backgrounds and props

    The background is arguably the most important thing there. It gives you a clear canvas to start rearranging your items in the flatlay. I personally like to keep my backgrounds as simple as possible. I mostly use a white wooden background that I have, but I do like a good dark wood too. Pretty blankets or bedding also work really great for this.

    Depending on what you’re actually taking a photo of, props are super useful to have. I keep a load of random bits and bobs in a little box within easy reach. Polaroids, prints, quote cards, ribbon, fabric, papers, trinkets etc. My advice? Save everything! Any tags, pretty packaging, notebooks, ornaments, flowers – pretty much anything can be used as a prop. Just make sure that what you’re throwing together looks cohesive.

    Have a theme

    Which brings me to this point – have a general theme in the photo. Whether that’s objects all relating to each other, the same colour, the same concept… Just make sure they fit together. There’s nothing stranger than seeing a flatlay with REALLY random objects on there. Like sports wear and then a book on gardening. Random.

    Tips on Creating a Flat Lay | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    Get Above

    Yep. I usually take photos in my room for ease – it means I don’t have to drag everything out into another room in my house. The best lighting is obviously right in front of the window to get all that lovely natural light. My bed is in front of the window. This means I have to be a little creative. Most of the time I will lean over the side and try to get as above as possible, but sometimes I just need to stand on my bed. Like in the lovely post-gym selfie above. Excuse the mess, please. No, my bedding does not match. Bad blogger right? ;)

    Best results are really going to be taken using a tripod because then you can easily keep your camera in one place above the objects whilst you figure out the composition below. Effort though. Definitely make sure you’re taking the photo directly above the objects, and watch out for distortion from wide angled lenses.

    Tips on Creating a Flat Lay | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    Spacing and layout

    This is the hardest thing to get right in my opinion, and honestly you just have to keep playing around and taking shots until the composition works. Generally, you need a main focus in there, but it doesn’t always have to be so. I like a mixture of flat lay styles. Sometimes I’ll go all out and include loads of little things and then others I’ll go very minimalist.

    The ‘Hello Spring’ photo is a prime example of the latter. I liked it because it reminded me of a scrapbook layout, and I just think it looks all neat! It’s a good blog post title photo. I used some patterned card stock, polaroid photos, bits of plant from the garden and a quote card.

    The photo below is one I was really happy with, as an example of a busier flat lay. I used lots of colour, I picked props that related to the main focus (the journals, right?) and I kept the composition balanced. Well, I think I did. In my opinion, angled items and things chopped out make a busy flat lay work. It views more like a table top then. ‘Artfully messy’

    The Art of Being Mindful | Tips on Creating a Flat Lay | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    Small movements can really make a different in your photo. In the ones below, just a slight change in the background position, and with the order of the books, gives it a more balanced composition. Having the two books with text titles on the outside definitely looks more balanced, and I also think the lines leading into the books works better than just flat across. What do you think though?

    Tips on Creating a Flat Lay | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    To be honest, you’ve just got to keep practising and moving things around. The more you do it, the more you’ll recognise what shapes or colours work together. Like I said, photography is an art form. Always new things to learn and improve.

    Well, that’s my thoughts on the magic of flat laying. Are you a fan? Too much effort?

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    Crafting, Creative

    The Art of Being Mindful with Dreamday*

    So who jumped on the adult colouring book bandwagon when it got super popular? I sure did! Colouring in is a great way to de-stress, take some time away and create something pretty.

    The Art of Being Mindful | Dreamdays Journal | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    Mindfulness: a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.

    Using colouring as a was to de-stress, help anxiety and as a form of escapism isn’t a new thing. This method has been gaining huge popularity in the last year, possibly a lot earlier actually, and is a simple way to help clear your mind. If you’ve ever tried it, you’ll know that actually colouring within the lines it quite the task… It takes concentration, and whilst focusing your mind on that it can’t think about all those other things worrying you.

    So yep, colouring books for adults aren’t a new concept. But, the Dreamday Pattern Journals* are just a little bit different. After saying how relaxing colouring is, I have to admit I am bad at taking that time away switching off from the internet, and sitting down to relax and colour. My colouring books stand forgotten on my bookshelf.

    The Dreamday Pattern Journal*…for writing, musing, drawing and doodling.

    Why do I think the Dreamday books will be different? Well they also include blank pages, meaning this is actually a notebook that has the added advantage of pages to colour. I’ve been given the Kyoto – Japanese and Marrakech – Moroccan style journals, each with illustrations inside that reflect the culture of that place. I like how each journal is based on a specific place – others in the series include Mid-Century Modern – Scandinavian style, Art Deco – Manhattan, Heraldic – Paris and Renaissance – Florence.

    Each book contains 108 pages, with 36 illustrations to colour in. There are some single pattern pages, some double pattern pages and then also some double blank pages. The ivory coloured paper feels really thick and luxurious, perfect in my opinion for a bit of artistic journaling. That’s exactly what I’d going to use mine for.

    The Art of Being Mindful | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    The Art of Being Mindful | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    The Art of Being Mindful | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    The Art of Being Mindful | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    I’ve been following people who do mixed media journalling on youtube for ages now, and it’s something I’ve wanted to try. I plan to use this book for my thoughts, my ideas, my plans, my drawing, my writing and basically anything that I just want to note down. It’s going to be a book I go to when I need to get away from things and escape reality. Lately I’ve been getting really anxious and not being able to shut my mind off so this is exactly what I need. First page done, and it kept my mind occupied on a lonely evening haha!

    The Art of Being Mindful | lifeofkitty.co.uk

    I will definitely keep you guys updated on how these journals are doing. At around £10.95, I think these ones by Dreamday are a steal. You have the blank journal to do whatever you like, with the added extra of a few illustrations to give you something easy to put your mind to. I will obviously keep all the private things away from the blog, but there’ll also be a lot that I’ll share once I’ve started. I’m excited to really get going and let my creative side come free.

    Ever tried colouring books?

    https://c1.staticflickr.com/8/7590/27796104592_1dd1dfaf59_b.jpg

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