5 Quotes To Keep You Going This January

DETERMINATION, MOTIVATION AND LEAVING THE PAST BEHIND YOU ...

When the New Year dawns we are often so filled with the optimism of that clean slate, new beginnings and a chance to get stuck into all of our New Years resolutions. But as the long month of January goes on it can be hard to keep up with all of that initial heartfelt enthusiasm! Now we've passed that middle of the month mark and with today well known as the dreaded Blue Monday, if your determination and best-laid plans have started to flag, then here is a selection of my favourite pick me up quotes that I hope will help to remind you of your goals and renew your sense of spirit and motivation. Enjoy them as your Monday dawns and don't forget to share with me your personal favourite quotes as well.

Quotes To Keep You Going This January

1. RENEW YOUR DETERMINATION

This quote from author Karen Lamb is a great one for kicking you up the butt when you need it most! We all fall foul to procrastination and often put off our best and brightest ideas when we really should just grab inspiration by the horns and get started straight away. Stay determined, fight off those should's, would's and could's and false fears that crush our motivation and get started on that new project right away. Life is short so make each day count and fill the years, as much as you can, with the things that matter the most.

Quotes To Keep You Going This January

2. DON'T BE AFRAID TO FAIL

Failure is all part of the game. For some reason, especially in the UK I think, we have such a huge fear of failure and treat it as if it means the end. But each and every failure is a step towards your goal, it's a chance to learn from your mistakes and make better on them the next time. I'll also turn here to a further quote well worth remembering from the great Nelson Mandela - "I Never Lose. I Either Win Or Learn."

Quotes To Keep You Going This January

3. LEAVE THE PAST BEHIND YOU

Isn't it so tricky sometimes to forget the past and look forward to the future? I love this quote because it renews the excitement in what might lay ahead and makes me feel motivated and inspired to pick myself up and carry on. Sometimes it might not even be a bad past that we're struggling to let go of. It may well be that we feel all of the good opportunities have already passed us by and we hold no optimism for anything further to look forward to in the future. But there are always new chances and goals to reach for. We just have to open our eyes and witness them when they come our way.

Quotes To Keep You Going This January

4. FOCUS ON TODAY

I guess this is very similar to the last quote but I feel it is more about letting go of regret and the mistakes of yesterday that might still be hiding within you. Part of being able to move forward with new projects and to move on from previous mistakes and failures is obviously being able to leave the past in the past. Once you have taken all of the lessons that you can from the errors that you may have made, there comes a time where you must forgive yourself and move forward without regret. To me, this quote sums up that need perfectly and serves as a reminder that unless we let go we cannot start afresh.

Quotes To Keep You Going This January

5. EMBRACE THE POWER OF POSITIVE THINKING

Ok so we all know that every day isn't always a good day, but looking at life with that intention can only do us good not harm. It's hard to always stay positive and can take a concerted effort. But if you have in your heart that you will do your best to make each day a good day then at least you're stepping off into the year in the right frame of mind. It doesn't mean you can't have moments where you falter and fail, it just means you're striving forward with a positive outlook and this quote picks me up and reminds me of this when perhaps I'm not feeling that way.

Which of these quotes holds most true for you? Do you have a favourite reminder that perks you up when you're feeling low and uninspired? I love quotes and am always on the look out for new inspiration so let me know some of your favourites too.

Louise

 


A Neon Wonderland In God's Own Junkyard

THIS WEEKEND EXPLORE A HIDDEN CORNER OF EAST LONDON WHERE NEON NEVER DIES!

If the January blues and dark winter nights are already starting to getting you down, then take a moment to explore with me a heavenly little enclave of bright neon lights, vintage signs and old movie props guaranteed to brighten up your day. Tucked away on an industrial estate in Walthamstow, East London you will find God's Own Junkyard, a wonder in neon that shines brightly and beautifully into the night.

Gods Own Junkyard

I'd been wanting to visit this place for so long, ever since friends who live nearby had told of its glorious, glistening existence and also after reading about it on a favourite fellow bloggers site Emma Inks. On a few occasions when visiting the area, I was disappointed to find it closed, so when I managed to finally get that first, fluorescent glimpse just before Christmas, it was every bit the colourful, crazy, neon wonderland I'd expected. Queue gasps of delight and a wildly snapping camera as I tried in vain to capture each and every bit of its shiny, quirky goodness.

Gods Own Junkyard
Gods Own Junkyard

God's Own Junkyard houses the work of the late and legendary neon artist Chris Bracey. Often known as 'The Master of Glow' Chris started out in the 70's and over the years, until his passing in 2014, created literally hundreds of neon signs and artwork for many Soho bars and shops, as well as commissions for an impressive list of Hollywood blockbusters - including the likes of Bond, Batman and Blade Runner. God's Own Junkyard is a home for much of this iconic work that is now looked after by his family.

Gods Own Junkyard

This really is a great place to visit, and if you're in this part of London then somewhere I'd highly recommend. Take your time to wander around and marvel at the bright, funny and provocative collection of neon lights and signs - some old, some new, that grace every crevice of each and every corner of the industrial block in which it's situated. With colourful content literally spilling out all over, you'll probably find yourself standing and staring in awe for a good hour, taking everything in, trying to decide which sign you'd personally like and if you could feasibly take one home and find somewhere suitable to put it! 

Gods Own Junkyard
Gods Own Junkyard
Gods Own Junkyard

If you wish to sit back and rest a while as you gaze at the walls around you, then the Rolling Scones cafe will see you right with its selection of freshly baked cakes and food, or if you prefer grab an alcoholic tipple from the bar. A fun place to sit and chat as your eyes take in the wonder of your surroundings.  

Gods Own Junkyard
Gods Own Junkyard
Gods Own Junkyard
Gods Own Junkyard

God's Own Junkyard is situated on the Ravenswood Industrial Estate in Walthamstow and is open on Friday and Saturday from 11am to 9pm and on Sunday from 11am until 6pm. Once you've taken your time to have a look around then I'd definitely recommend popping into the nearby Wildcard Brewery for a nice local beer to finish off your evening. Or if gin is more your thing then maybe check out Mother's Ruin the new Gin Palace that has recently opened in the area. I haven't had the chance to visit yet - but it sure sounds fun to me!

Louise

 


Useful Work Tech Tools Actually Worth Your Time

MAKE 2017 MORE PRODUCTIVE WITH THESE USEFUL APPS AND ADD-ONS ...

There are literally hundreds and thousands of productivity-enhancing apps, add-ons and other technology services that promise to make your working life that little bit simpler and a whole lot easier. I often try out new bits here and there that I hope might make life a little more streamlined and efficient. However, I also delete or dismiss many things along the way as I just don't find them all that enhancing or useful. Like me, the last thing any of us need is a whole load of unwanted apps, emails or services clogging up our already overloaded daily online lives.

Image Source: Unsplash

Image Source: Unsplash

Over time there are a few things that I've tried and continued to use and love. Apps and other online services that actually really help me out and I hope might do the very same for you. I thought I'd start sharing some of these as and when I have a list of favourites worthy of a mention. So starting today, check out my current recommendations, plus let me know any failsafe, can't live without apps or tech that you use on a daily basis that you think myself or other readers might also fall in love with.

1. Grammarly

As I often spend a large proportion of my day writing blog posts, proposals and lengthy emails this free spelling and grammar checker that you can install as an extension to Google Chrome (as well as use it in many other ways) is a godsend. I only use the free version and should probably think about upgrading to premium to get more of the very beneficial features. However, the free extension alone helps me out no end. 

Grammarly checks your grammar, punctuation and style as you write and if there are any mistakes to be fixed it will underline them in red and a little red circle will appear for you to click on to view and make changes to any errors. Seeing as Squarespace, the platform I use for this blog, has no built in spell checker I find this extension absolutely invaluable. It works across everything I do online and I love it. It also emails you once a week with a little update on how many words you've written which I think is quite a nice added and motivating feature!

2. Unroll.Me

One of the biggest distractions in my day, and I'm sure in many other peoples, is the dreaded email. I especially hate all of those nonsense emails that I get throughout the day from things I may have subscribed to ages ago and no longer have any interest in - or even from things that I'm interested in but don't want to be distracted by too many times throughout the day or week. Plus there are all the irritating things that you inadvertently get subscribed to just because you happen to have ordered or attended one thing, one time. This leads to way too much time just trying to clean up my inbox in order to even have a chance of tackling the actual important stuff! So step forward the very useful free services of the email 'unsubscription' service Unroll.Me which trust me is very, very handy.

Unroll.Me is a quick and simple way to clean up even the messiest of inboxes. Sign up with your email and it will instantly provide you with a list of everything that you have ever subscribed to. Simply go through the list and check the boxes to say whether you wish to add emails from each company to one easy daily digest or 'rollup' as they call it, whether you wish to unsubscribe altogether or whether you wish to keep the emails coming to your inbox as usual. This makes such a glorious difference to my daily email influx and is such a simple service that I've personally found incredibly beneficial.

3. Wordswag

The usefulness of the Wordswag app will depend on what you do for a living but if you spend a lot of time on social media, writing blogs or other articles online and like to share things like beautiful quotes or wish to overlay a title on a beautiful image as part of that, then this will come in incredibly useful - especially on the go from your phone. The app costs £3.99 but it's worth it. In my opinion this is one of the most user-friendly apps for words and imagery with some of the best results. 

4. Pexels and Unsplash

When I started this blog I really wanted to try and use my own imagery as much as possible. I love beautiful photos to accompany a post and spend far too long worrying about how something looks instead of just getting down to business! As time went on I realised that not having the right photographs was sometimes holding me back from just cracking on with getting my ideas down on the blog and out into the world. Plus as I often talk about work related subjects, creating my own suitable imagery can be a bit of a task. There are only so many ways that I can personally think of to photograph my own desk!

When I don't have personal, good quality images worth sharing to accompany an idea that I still want to share with the world, I now turn to either Pexels or Unsplash for royalty free stock photographs that are actually nice enough to headline a professional and creative post. These sites have really helped me out since using them and if you're in need of something similar I'd recommend trying them out. You don't even have to credit the photographs or photographer (I just do it to set them apart from my own imagery in line with my disclaimer!)

 

Which online tools or apps do you find most useful in your working lives? Anything you'd recommend me giving a go next for a more productive, inspired and creative 2017? I'd love to hear your favourites too!

Louise

 


A Festive Weekend in Ljubljana, Slovenia

Recently we spent a long weekend in the beautiful capital city of Slovenia - Ljubljana. Pronounced lyoo-blah-nah, this relaxing and friendly city, with a stunning alpine backdrop, is well worth a visit any time of the year but seemed especially suitable for a pre-Christmas break with a hearty side of excitement and exploration. So here's what we got up to, alongside some of my personal favourite picks - things I'd highly recommend you check out should you be planning your own visit to this very destination.

Metelkova

MY FESTIVE LJUBLJANA TOP FIVE!

1. STROLL AROUND THE CITY AND JUST RELAX

Ljubljana is a fairly small capital city with a population of around 280,000. This makes it a very pleasant and pretty calm place to be, as well as being incredibly easy to cover a lot of ground very quickly. Nothing is particularly far away, everything is within reasonable walking distance. So one of the very best things to do is to get yourself out and strolling around this city of rivers, dragons and many bridges and enjoy it at your own pace.

Ljubljana
Ljubljana

There are some seriously beautiful buildings to step back and admire, especially within the old town - as well as pretty squares, museums and galleries to take your time to explore. Dotted alongside the river you will find plenty of bars at which to pull up a chair and partake in a little tipple! Even in the colder temperatures of early December, when we visited, you could sit outside, wrap up in a blanket and warm your legs by the heaters under the table as you sipped happily away at a glass of mulled wine - or two, or three. Mulled wine is very big here at this time of the year, with a stall on almost every corner just ready and waiting to serve!

Ljubljana

Now the one set of landmarks that you can not fail to miss on any tour of this city are the many and varied bridges. From Dragon's Bridge to the Triple Bridge, they pave their way across certain points on the river Ljubljanica, running right through the heart of Ljubljana. Pictured below is Butchers Bridge - Ljubljana's version (kind of) of a love bridge similar to those found in places such as Rome and Paris. Given its name, and the slightly dark and somewhat grotesque sculptures on and around it, this seems something of an ironic idea for this particular bridge. Yet take a stroll across and you will notice the many love etched padlocks that couples have attached to it. To find out more about the other bridges that are worth wandering over, this post offers a quick and useful guide to help you out: The Bridges of Ljubljana, Slovenia from One Day in a City.

Ljubljana
Ljubljana
Ljubljana

2. SOAK UP THE LOCAL FOOD AND DRINK

The food in Slovenia is so good! With hearty soups and stews, an abundance of fresh produce, traditional pastries, fresh bread, Carniolan sausage and much, much more, all guaranteed to make a mark on any foodies tastebuds. One of the very first things that we did when we arrived was to take a local food walk with Iva from Ljubljananjam. This really helped us get our bearings in the city, learn a little about the local food and drink culture and enabled us to experience some of the perhaps slightly lesser known, yet definitely best-kept secrets of the edible scene in the capital. Restaurants, bars and markets, there's plenty to seek out and enjoy.

Ljubljanajam Tour

This was such a brilliant tour to take to get a grasp on the local way of life. I believe that so much of a places past, present and future can be seen through the basic needs and joys of what we choose to put on the kitchen table - and Iva certainly knew exactly where to take us to show us what the foodie world in Ljubljana is all about. I won't give too much away as the details are best treasured by taking part yourself, but if you are in the capital anytime soon be sure to visit the Ljubljananjam website where you can find details of upcoming foodie events, or book yourself onto your very own food walk, craft brewery tour or a local cookery course. Well worth the time and highly recommended.

Ljubljanajam Tour
Ljubljanajam Tour

There are also many taste-tingling restaurants to visit whether you're looking for local cuisine with a twist or some truly fine dining. Noteworthy on our part would have to be the incredibly reasonably priced, but oh so delicious four (or five or six depending on how hungry you are!) course taster menu with local wines (Slovenian wine is oh so good!) at Atelje part of the Grand Hotel Union. If you're after something special, but still want to feel comfortable and relaxed, then this is definitely a spot worth checking out.

Atelje

Another beautiful place with very friendly staff, a cosy atmosphere, and of course great food, sits right near the aforementioned Butchers Bridge. Most Restaurant is connected by the bridge to the market on the other side, allowing for the freshest of produce to be brought straight to their door on a daily basis. Expect a slightly more modern take on some Slovenian classics, as well as Meditteranean inspired themes and flavours. 

Most Restaurant

Finally if getting a good vista of the city is your thing (and anyone who has read my travel related posts before will probably know that it's one of my favourite things to do) then a quick drink with a view can be happily achieved atop the balcony of Neboticnik. This is Ljubljana's prominent landmark, a skyscraper that may be small by comparison to other city heights, but that hovers proudly over an otherwise fairly low rise city. At thirteen storeys it stands out at just over 70 metres and provides a great spot from which to watch over the rest of the lower laying landscape below. A great place to grab a pre-dinner drink and observe as light turns to dark and the twinkling lights of the bustle below begin to shine.

Neboticnik

3. TAKE TO THE SKIES OVER BEAUTIFUL LAKE BLED

Lake Bled is about thirty minutes by car from Ljubljana or between forty-five minutes to an hour and a half by local bus, depending on the route and therefore a good few more stops! Either way it's more than worth the trip out of town to take in some truly breathtaking scenery, wander around the lake and sample a lovely little delight known as Blejska Kremna Rezina - Bled cream cake, err yes please!! 

Hot Air Balloon Over Lake Bled

We decided to do something a little different during our trip there and booked ourselves onto a hot air balloon ride to take to the skies, watch the day break over the lake and witness its picturesque scenery. What an experience! Both terrifying and thrilling at the same time - terrifying because in my excitement to book it I'd kind of completely forgotten that I have a fear of flying! However, this adventure was actually extremely peaceful, serene and beautiful and something that I know we won't ever forget. 

Hot Air Balloon Over Lake Bled

We booked our flight with Balonarski Center Barje after reading some fantastic reviews about them on Tripadvisor and I'm so glad that we did. Filip and Zdenka who took care of us that day, were absolutely fantastic and made the whole experience simple and fun from start to finish. They picked us up at 6.30am from our apartment in Ljubljana and drove us to the lake. Here we helped in setting up the balloon - quite an experience in itself! Then we took to the skies for over an hour, before landing, packing up and taking part in a fun, short ceremony to celebrate our first time taking to the skies in a balloon, all washed down with a welcome glass of bubbly and followed by a very delicious and generous slice of Bled cream cake! If an experience such as this happens to be on your bucket list then I can't recommend them enough, especially here over the very alluring Lake Bled. I hope some of the photos I took from the comfort of our small but perfectly formed balloon basket will give you more of a feel for what to expect. Just make sure you wrap up nice and warm if you happen to be going at this time of the year - chilly stuff!

Hot Air Balloon Over Lake Bled
Hot Air Balloon Over Lake Bled
Hot Air Balloon Over Lake Bled
Hot Air Balloon Over Lake Bled

Once you've finished the balloon experience (or if the air balloon ride isn't your thing and you just want to explore the lake instead) then the lake itself provides a beautiful opportunity to stretch your legs and take in some of the breathtaking beauty of Slovenia. You can take a boat ride over to the church situated on the island in the middle of the lake, or take a climb up the mountainside and visit the picturesque Blejski Grad - Bled Castle.

Lake Bled Castle

4. GET CREATIVE AND DANCE UNTIL DAWN AT METELKOVA

If you read my Copenhagen post back at the end of this summer then you may remember me talking about Freetown Christiania, an autonomous neighbourhood in the capital that lives and works by its own set of rules and offers its inhabitants a very different way of life. Now I wasn't all too sure what to think of Christiania and it's certainly somewhere that's having some problems of late, but Ljubljana has a very similar sort of neighbourhood with fewer issues, a very relaxed and friendly vibe and an inviting creative outlook, a place known as Metelkova Mesto.

Metelkova

Metelkova is also an autonomous, independent area of the city, situated on the former site of some old and abandoned military barracks. It provides an alternative view of urban city life and culture, plays host to a number of musical, artistic and creative events, and is somewhere that locals and visitors alike flock at night to soak up the underground music and art scene, in a relaxed and laidback environment. 

Metelkova

We visited both at night and during the day. In the evenings it's best to wait until around 11pm-midnight to arrive as that's really when the night gets started. Expect a lively and colourful music scene where you'll feel quite happy dancing and revelling until the early hours. During the day head back to shed some light on the beautiful street art and creativity that adorns every wall. Anyone who follows me on Instagram may have already picked up on my slight street art obsession, so as you can imagine, I was pretty happy to wander around here in the daylight and take it all in. Explore some of the images below to get a taste for what I'm talking about!

Metelkova
Metelkova
Metelkova

5. WATCH THE SUNSET OVER THE CITY

Finally on my list, and back into the heart of Ljubljana itself, I highly recommend taking a sunset walk up the banks of Ljubljana Castle and to the top of its tower to take in the landscape as the sun goes down. Or if your feet are too tired for more walking then you can hitch a ride on the funicular that will run you up to the top for a reasonable price and save those sore pins after a busy day of exploring!

Ljubljana Castle

Entry into the castle grounds is free but you do have to pay a small amount to enter the museums inside and go up the tower. It's not necessarily the most exciting of castles that I've ever been to, but it is worth the trip up to capture an extensive overview of the city - and if you time it right, then sunset is the perfect time to be there.

Ljubljana Castle
Ljubljana Castle
Ljubljana Castle
Ljubljana Castle
Ljubljana Castle

OTHER STUFF!

Getting There: We flew with Easyjet from Stansted Airport. Flights run once a day and take approximately 1 hour 45 minutes. The airport in Ljubljana is just a short 20-30 minutes by shuttle bus or taxi to the city centre. Our shuttle cost 9 euros per person. I believe that a taxi ride can cost around 45 euros.

Accommodation: We chose to stay in an apartment that we found on Airbnb and were very lucky to have a spacious, modern and affordable place to stay that was but a few minutes walk from the centre. Our hosts were also fantastic and I think this was a great way to experience the city. I'd highly recommend doing something similar.

Ljubljana Festive Break
Ljubljana Christmas Lights

So if you're looking for somewhere new to explore and are after an easy to get to and easy to navigate city, that's very friendly and also pretty easy on the purse strings, then you definitely can't go far wrong with Ljubljana and with Slovenia in general. Winter was a beautiful time to visit, especially with the amazing array of Christmas lights, however, I'm reliably informed it's equally as stunning all year round, especially during spring and summer when the beauty of the rich green landscape is in full force. So happy future travels everyone, I hope this post has been useful and whatever you do, with 2017 about to dawn, never stop exploring - at home or overseas, there's always something new just around the corner!

Louise