Awesome Autumn: 4 Great Reasons To LOVE The Change In Season

Now that autumn is certainly making its mark here in the UK I thought today I'd share a guest post that I wrote recently for the lovely Bella over at her blog: The Other 'F-Word'. I hope it leaves you with some ideas for the change in season. Let me know what you love most about Autumn in the comments below.

Awesome Autumn

When the summer ends we all feel a little sombre. The days start to draw in, it starts to get a little chillier and we know we have to go back to reality for a bit instead of spending long imaginative days and evenings enjoying the warmth of a summer season. But there are plenty of reasons to love the beautiful, crisp months of autumn. So today I thought I’d share a few of my favorites and I urge you to get inspired and think about what you most look forward to as summer’s cosy cousin starts to find its feet and settle in!

 

4 REASONS TO LOVE AND EMBRACE THE BEAUTY OF AUTUMN

1.   Photographing Crunchy Autumn Leaves And Dazzling Colours: The autumn months bring with them an abundance of beautiful colours as the trees start to turn and the leaves fall to the floor. Making way for crisp and crunchy walks in the park and the most beautiful of views in the strewn lower sunlight. This is the perfect opportunity for budding photographers to get out and get some of the most beautiful shots that they can expect to achieve all year round.

Feel inspired to get out and about with your camera? Read this first: Autumn Landscapes – Expert Tips On Taking Great Photographs via The Guardian.

2.   Brisk Early Walks On Crisp And Golden Misty Mornings: Longer nights and cooling temperatures make for gloriously misty mornings that sparkle with the golden rays of early morning sunshine. Make the very most of this crisp autumn prettiness and get up early for a bracing morning walk to enliven and awake you before the warmth of the sun burns the glisten away.

Walking first thing in the morning has been shown to be a great way to start your day and have huge benefits for your health. Allowing time to clear your head, breathe and calmly focus on the day ahead of you.

3.   Getting Stuck Into Tasty Chai Lattes, Gooey Hot Chocolate And Serious Comfort Food: All of our favourite comfort food and drinks make a welcome re-appearance in the autumn. Warm, spiced chocolatey drinks, comforting seasonal stews and soups and indulgent, sticky and tasty puds! Everything gets just that little bit warmer, spicier and sweeter and that’s just the way I like it!

Get in the kitchen and get inspired with these lovely recipes: Homemade Chai Tea Latte (The Real Deal) via Live Simply plus this collection of all things autumn and edible: Perfectly Autumnal Recipes via Red Magazine.

4.   Reuniting With The Cosiest Part Of Your Wardrobe: Personally I love it when the cosier clothes in my closet start to make their way back to the front again. Wrapping up a little warmer, the chance to wear all of those scarves, coats and other lovely, warming but stylish accessories, is just such a joy. Bringing out the cute little ankle boots, the stylish long sleeved wrap dresses or whatever your autumnal fancy may well be, is always refreshing and exciting. Of course it’s also a good excuse to head off for a little shopping trip and pick up a couple of the new season must haves to perk up your current selection.

Who among us can really resist the chance to buy a few new accessories when the autumn season sets in?!

 

So there we have my top four awesome autumn picks. Don’t be sad to wave the summer goodbye, think of all the amazing autumnal inspiration there will be to come and get excited, embrace and enjoy the beautiful changing seasons.

Louise

 


You've Got Mail: The Benefits Of A Handwritten Letter At Work (And In Life)

Have you ever considered writing a letter after a job interview to thank the interviewer and your potential future employer? Perhaps this is something that you have actually done or always make sure that you do?

The Benefits Of A Handwritten Letter

Now when I say letter I mean a proper, fully fledged, handwritten thank you letter. Not an email or any other form of online or social media but an old school, pen to paper, put it in an envelope and drop it in the post box kind of letter - stamp and everything!

With letter writing becoming something of a lost art I've recently stumbled across a lot of articles on career sites advising that this is a really good idea and a great way to stand out from the crowd. I have to say that I think I agree.

There's something extremely personal and thoughtful about someone taking the time to put their thoughts together on paper and send you their thanks and appreciation. It's also such a rarity these days making it a great way to show gratitude and make sure that you are well remembered for all of the right reasons. Providing you're going to write something thoughtful and nice of course!

There's a great article on Brazen Careerist about the subject: Why You Should Stop Emailing - And Write A Letter Instead.

The point that they make, which I think stood out to me the most, is that writing a letter takes time, in a world where we are fast running out of patience. Doing so not only shows how much you really care, but is also a healthier approach to our own lifestyle. It stops us rushing, sometimes quite thoughtlessly, in a world of instant communication.

Letter writing doesn't only have to apply to your working life but can also be a great thing to do in your personal life. Something to consider when thanking friends, family or even new acquaintances. It shows care and attention. Plus if you aren't really one for expressing gratitude in person, perhaps you're a little shy or find it difficult to find the right time to tell someone how appreciative you are, then settling down to get your real thoughts down on paper can be a great way to express just how much someone else's time and effort means to you.

Not long ago a friend of ours sent a thank you card after a gathering at our home and whilst I wasn't expecting it, once received the novelty, kindness and thought made both my husband and I feel really appreciated and thankful. So they'll certainly be invited around again!! Ashamedly I didn't get around to returning the same gesture myself. Mental note that in future I will make that effort because I really believe that it's a nice thing to do.

What are your thoughts? Do you ever send out thank you letters, especially after a job interview? Do you think it's a useful and worthwhile thing to do or would you find it a waste of your time?

As always I'd love to know your thoughts - and if you have any experience of doing so and you feel that it has been of real benefit then do let me know in the comments below. Why not dust off that pen and paper and give this old, but tried and well tested approach a go and let me know how you get on.

Have a lovely evening all and happy writing!

Louise

 


Counting Our Blessings: The Benefits Of Gratitude

"Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings." William Arthur Ward

No matter where we are, who we are or what we do, we all know how much life can be an emotional roller coaster at times. I talk a lot on this blog about ways to try and find your balance, de-stress and unwind. I'm not naive to the fact that these things are often very much easier said than done especially in today's modern world. Yet I still believe that all of these processes, ways to step back and re-focus are worth giving a little of your time and thought to.

The Benefits Of Gratitude

Most of what I write about is borne out of a desire to understand and find a better balance of my own. Sometimes I fail and sometimes I succeed but you know what, learning and embracing some of these things really is starting to have a positive effect on both my mental and physical outlook. So today I bring to the blog the very latest buzzword making its way around town 'Gratitude.'

Not exactly a new concept, but perhaps something of a forgotten one. This is something I've been putting extra effort into embracing this week in the form of road-testing a gratitude app (yes the app fiend in me couldn't resist!) and reading and researching various articles to find out just why this practice is deemed so very useful.

Want to know a little more about how this practice can help you to de-stress, find more contentment in your life and ultimately even make you more successful?

Well let's see ...

My interest was sparked in this subject this past Sunday when I came across the following article: Is Gratitude The New Attitude? by Anna Hart via The Telegraph. Many of the ideas I'm sharing today I attribute to this article so please do have a little look yourselves, this piece I guess is the first thing that I'm grateful for in my own week of truly embracing gratefulness!

Now pretty much everyone I know is grateful for what they have in their lives despite the ups and the downs and the rockier paths that we all sometimes come across. It's not so much about saying that we're an ungrateful bunch, more about asking ourselves to take daily steps to really acknowledge what we're grateful for in order to feel more in balance with the world around us.

 

THREE PROVEN BENEFITS OF EMBRACING GRATITUDE ON A DAILY BASIS:

1. Improved physical wellbeing. People who practice gratitude are known to be happier and more at ease with the world. Studies have shown that using a gratitude journal before bed can actually improve sleep which has a major impact on both your physical and psychological wellbeing. Grateful people are more likely to exercise regularly and take better care of their physical health.

2. Improved psychological wellbeing. As mentioned above, being more grateful makes you happier it's a simple as that! This impacts on your ability to empathise and leads to less aggressive tendencies and frustration. That old saying of taking time to 'stop and smell the roses' is exactly what we're talking about here. Gratitude enables us to remember what we have instead of dwelling on the negative and increasing our anxiety and unhappiness over the things that we perceive we should and don't have.

3. Gratitude can make you more successful. Whether this be in life or in the workplace, the benefits of reflection and the honesty that comes when you open up to being more grateful can have a hugely instrumental effect on how you pursue your life and how successful you are. Whether it be improved personal or working relationships, the ability to see things more positively and embrace them or the increased ability to reflect on failures in a positive light. People who are aware of gratitude are more able to see failure as a stepping stone forward rather than as an incident that holds them back.

 

THE GRATITUDE APP:

Well firstly I must say, you don't need an app or even a fancy journal to practice gratitude. Just a pen and some paper, a moment spent with loved ones reflecting on the highlights of your day or a simple moment to yourself to think about it, is perfectly suffice enough to get into this positive mindset and habit. That said, I can't resist an app and the Gratitude Journal that I've been giving a whirl this week is really quite a fun and useful little tool.

The Gratitude Journal App

It doesn't actually have the best of reviews on the app store, and I tinkered for a while with the idea of downloading a slightly more expensive one that had a much better rating but it just didn't look quite as user friendly to me. So I went with this one, the original gratitude app apparently, and I've actually found it a real pleasure to use. 

You simply note down throughout the day the things that you've been grateful for, whether that be something as simple as enjoying your cheese sandwich for lunch or something more eventful like getting a promotion at work - each and every positive moment counts. You can add a photo for the day and as you go on through the week you build up a memory of moments, events and just the little things that have really made you happy. Each time you go into the app it kind of plays these pictures and moments back to you in slow motion whilst you add your newest thoughts, a lovely reminder of the joy that you've already aimed to capture each and every day.

You're also able to share your updates with friends via social media if you wish, plus the app provides you with a daily quote to get you thinking - some of these are really great. Not the best app I've ever used but a pretty easy to use and wholly functional one. I like it, I'm going to keep updating it and I guess I'll see how I get on!

For £1.49, if you're looking for something incredibly simple and easy to use, that you can add to on the move, and if you're someone that likes to use apps to track your day in this kind of way, then I would definitely say it's worth downloading and giving a go. My only concern is that some of the reviews mention their journal history was wiped and not restored during certain updates. I hope this doesn't happen as it would be a real shame, but I'm willing to give it a try anyway.


A CONCLUSION:

Actively counting your daily blessings is an undeniably positive thing and something well worth doing. I like the idea of consciously thinking about the good in your day and not dwelling on the negative. It certainly seems to be helping me. I wonder what your thoughts are? Is this something you've tried already, or would consider trying to improve your wellbeing? I'd love to know your what you think.

Thanks for reading as always and have a Happy Wednesday!

Louise


FURTHER READING: 

Become Successful By Cultivating Gratitude - Reina Pomeroy



5 Ways To Turn Things Around When Your Day Gets Off To A Bad Start!

This past Monday morning didn't get off to the most user friendly of starts for me I must admit. Dressing gown clad, eyes still half shut, brain not in gear, I wandered to the kitchen to make myself a cup of tea and a quick breakfast before cracking on with a busy day and early morning disaster struck! 

Having A Bad Day

I watched in horror as I unwittingly exploded an egg in the microwave (perhaps I shouldn't be poaching eggs in the microwave when half asleep, lesson one) jumped out of my skin and in my fright dislodged a shelf in the fridge full of glass jars that happily came tumbling to the floor with an almighty crash. Shocked I stood covered in red thai curry sauce not knowing whether to laugh or cry before hurriedly being called in to action before the pup hoovered up all of the broken glass in her attempt to help me manually clean up the spilt food. I did of course have time to take a couple of photos to send to my bewildered husband who thought we'd been broken into by a gang of racoons. Then with pup safely sectioned away I began the clean up and just knew it was going to be one of those days!

Of course I'm not talking a life changing, huge disaster here but I am talking the sort of thing you really don't need when you've got a lot to get on with. That moment when suddenly a small but incredibly irritating and unwelcome distraction strikes, throwing your already busy day into disrepute before it's even started.

We all know the feeling, we curse, cry, shout and laugh in hysteria in our already frazzled and fragile morning mood. This was time for me to put all of my ideas about patience, balance and mindfulness in to practice to pull myself back to a positive and productive day despite an extra hour that was to be wasted cleaning up my own annoying mess! So with memories of my personal Monday morning madness in mind here are some tips for pacing yourself and getting back on track when your own day (or week) gets off to a less than invigorating start.

 

MY 5 TURN THINGS AROUND TIPS

1. Wait: When something negative happens during the course of your day, resist the urge to react immediately out of frustration or anger by shouting, throwing things or doing anything in the spur of the moment that will ultimately only add to the negativity of the situation. Wait a moment - step away if you can and distract yourself briefly before coming back to face it.

2. Breathe: Bring yourself back into the moment and calm yourself down by really taking a second to breathe calmly. This will help you to collect yourself before taking any further action as well as bring your heart rate down. Stopping you from reacting physically in a way that might cause you unnecessary pain and added discomfort.

3. Laugh: 9 times out of 10 whatever has happened, no matter how frustrating, isn't really all that bad. Things can seem really bad if you're already feeling stressed but rarely is it something that really matters in the grand scheme of things, or something that ultimately can't be fixed. So laugh it off as best you can and move on with your day, put it behind you. Que sera!

4. Re-assess: I mentioned above that some things can seem a lot worse than they actually are if you're already really stressed. Could this be a potential issue in itself? Did this incident happen because you were rushing or panicking too much? If so are you taking on too much, are you overloaded? If this is the case then this is a matter that needs addressing within itself. Ultimately if you're finding yourself having lots of bad days and irritating mishaps then perhaps you need to make some more fundamental changes to your lifestyle and workload to keep yourself healthy, happy and safe.

5. Take a break: Go and make a cup of tea, put on your favourite song, take a little walk and get some fresh air. Any or all of the above, or whatever it is that brings you back to your happy place then do it! Don't be afraid to go off schedule for a moment, acknowledge that you need a bit of time to re-set and take a brief time out in which to do so. Okay so now the day might not go quite as planned or to the tight schedule that you set yourself, but these things happen. Let them happen, sort them out, take a moment to breathe and relax before getting back on track once you really feel ready and refocused. 

 

What do you do when your day sets off on the wrong track leaving you feeling slightly frazzled? Do you have any other top tips to add that I've missed here? I'd love to hear your thoughts and here's to a more productive Monday morning for me next week - keep your fingers crossed!

Louise