The Rhythm Of My Working Day

April 29, 2017

Social Media & Freelancing

My-working-week-JORD-Watches-2“The value of a watch is not in being able to tell how much time has passed, but in being aware of the need to make that time count.”

I’ve written this post in collaboration with JORD wooden watches, this quote from their website sums up something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. Now I work for myself and my time is entirely my own to schedule and manage how I see fit, I find I’m acutely aware of the need to make my days productive and make the time spent working count.

Something that has become apparent in the half a year that I’ve been freelancing and working from home is how much the routines and rhythm of my day can impact on the way I work and my productivity. I don’t necessarily work on set tasks on particular days and my workload can vary from week to week so I like to think more about the way my days flow. Each day may look slightly different but if they follow the same rhythm it can keep me on track. There are a few habits and rituals I practice to help me out…

My-working-day-JORD-Watch-blossom

Time to focus

The early hours are all about getting in the right headspace to set me up right for the day.

Meditation helps me clear my mind and focus on one thing at a time and has become an important part of setting the rhythm for my day. I sit down to meditate as soon as I’ve got dressed, usually for 15-20 minutes in the morning before switching my computer on for the day. Sometimes I’ll take 5 minutes later in the day to do a min-meditation, this can be really useful to help switch from one project to another.

Although I love working from home I did use to enjoy that time spent walking to the office in the morning. So a few days a week I will make sure I get out of the house for a run at the local park or even just a short walk around the block.

My-working-week-JORD-Watches

Time to work

When it comes to getting down to work I’ll usually find myself sat at the dining table, or at the desk in our spare room.

Working from home by myself all day I’ve been so much more aware of any shifts in my focus and attention. Of course, there are no traditional distractions such as colleagues chatting or the office phone ringing but there’s still factors that will throw off my concentration. The very nature of working in social media means that constant notifications from multiple client accounts are inevitable, emails ping in, the housework can be hard to ignore and the postman even more so.

However, I’ve discovered that if I’ve got a long to-do list, I really benefit from adopting the Pomodoro method of time-management. It works by working in bursts of 25 minutes to focus only on one task and then taking a 5 minutes break. I really recommend it for people whose brains, like mine, try to think about a hundred things at once!

I always try to have a break away from my screen at lunch time. I love that being at home means I can always prepare a simple but nourishing lunch (often involving eggs). As the weather gets nicer I’ll take my plate outside and enjoy the sunshine at the garden as I eat. To accompany my break I will put on one of my favourite podcasts. I’ll usually turn to an inspirational creative show, such as Being Boss or Make It Happen, to spur me on with motivation for the afternoon.

As I said not every day is the same, sometime a have a busy day of meetings, a lot of writing to do or a day being more creative. The good thing about establishing a rhythm over a set routine is that it allows the flexibility to chance-up what I’m doing but stay on track.

Time to unwind

I suppose for some, the beauty of setting your schedule means being able to work outside of the traditional 9-5 office hours. I can see this being great if you’re a night owl or have children to consider, but for the most part working a standard day makes the most sense for me and means that once my husband gets home we have the evening to chill out together.

It’s funny, as I always thought I would be someone who preferred a less structured schedule but I definitely need a rhythm in place to keep my from feeling overwhelmed and to get the work done.

My-working-day-JORD-Watch-blossom

Keeping Time

I’ve written this post in collaboration with JORD wooden watches. I haven’t had a watch for years but the moment my Frankie 35 sandalwood watch arrived from JORD I fell for it completely and it’s barely left my wrist since. It’s a simple pleasure but it’s so nice to be able to keep track of time during the day without looking at my phone!

If you’d like to fall for a JORD Wooden Watch yourself you can enter to win a $100 voucher here. Open until May 14th.


Luxury Wooden Watch

Words: A Day Away

April 17, 2017

Travel / Writing

Durdledoor, Dorset, Feet in the sand, A Day AwayEvery person needs to take one day away.
A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future.
Jobs, family, employers, and friends can exist one day without any one of us,
and if our egos permit us to confess, they could exist eternally in our absence.

Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted,
no solutions searched for.
Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.

Maya Angelou (full poem here)

Perhaps the trend of sharing inspirational quotes and phrases online is seen as cheesy by some and I suppose there are some more famous quotations that get bandied about to the point of cliche. However, personally I’m thankful for this type of sharing because I think there’s something so special about coming across words that really resonate with you.

It might just be for a moment; you read a quote that lifts you up, provides inspiration or spurs some motivation that you were otherwise lacking. Or sometimes you come across quotes or phrases that speak to something deeper inside you and you know theses words will stay with you for a lot longer.

That’s how I felt when I first read A Day Away by Maya Angelou. Discovered on Instagram of course, these words although articulating something so simple just resonated with me. They are beautiful yet they feel instructional too; like a recipe for a more joyful life. Everyone needs A Day Away – to find some headspace, to unplug, to defend against burnout – it just makes a lot of sense doesn’t it?

Durdle Door Walking Away

For me a day away definitely involves a ‘digital detox’. I feel like it’s a cliche to say that these days, but I think it’s so important to take a break from the constant checking notifications and the mindless scrolling. Especially because all the apps and social channels are tools of my work, if I’m having a day away proper then I really have to disconnect entirely. I rely on social media daily; for distraction, for inspiration, for community and comfort, and to be honest I don’t mind relying on it for those things, but it definitely feels good to break the habit every now and then. I find that after a day or two of a blanket ban I am much more mindful of my usage – at least for a little while.

Ideally a day away for me would mean getting out of city; to the sea or the mountains. My head becomes the clearest when out in the wild and breathing in fresh air. I’m sure you might feel the same. That said, a day away doesn’t, and shouldn’t, have to be about literally getting away. It could be taking yourself to your favourite cafe or park, to a spa or to see a film.

I think the key, taking our cue from Maya Angelou, is a day spent not thinking about obligations or worrying on problems. Often it’s in those moments when you’re not searching for answers when things suddenly become oh so clear.

Maybe it’s something in the Spring air but I’ve noticed a couple of my blogging friends have recently put down thoughts in a similar vein. I urge you to go and read Lyzi’s post on Taking Time as well as Siobhan’s Lessons from the Mountains. Both are beautifully written, insightful pieces on taking a day (or days) away.

On Blogging

March 6, 2017

Social Media & Freelancing

Once, A Glimpse blog, On Blogging

So, it’s been a good couple of months since I posted here. The hiatus wasn’t exactly planned, but it also wasn’t entirely unintentional either. Although I’ve been blogging in one form or another for the best part of a decade, I’ve never exactly been great when it comes to consistency. During the final few months of last year I found that having my focus on other things just didn’t allow the time, or creative headspace, to put into writing blog posts and I found myself thinking a lot about how I wanted proceed with blogging – if at all.

In October 2016 I signed up for Me & Orla’s Instagram E course and really threw myself into improving, developing and growing my Instagram channel. I found taking the course so inspiring and the work I’ve been putting in there has definitely been paying off. Along with improving my photography and growing my following and engagement, I have also made some lovely new friendships with fellow Instagrammers (a few of whom I’m hoping will be reading 🙋🏻). The thing is as I’ve been getting so much fulfilment out of Instagram I found myself wondering if there’s much point in keeping up blogging.

I now plan and create for Instagram the way I used to for my blog. It used to be if I was going to and event, out for a walk or even baking a cake, my DSLR would be right with me to document and the occasion would (eventually) find its way onto my blog. Although I never grew a particularly large readership, that little old blog helped me show off some skills in a couple of different job interviews and really was my way into a career in social media.

Despite launching with big ideas I haven’t given this space here at Once, A Glimpse anywhere near as much dedication as I did my old site. But yet here I am…

Once, A Glimpse blog, On Blogging

To be fair, when I launched this blog last spring I was on the cusp of a year that would prove to be full-on; I turned 30, bought a house and moved, we had a major family bereavement, I got made redundant and began working for myself. Despite not finding the time or general wherewithal to publish posts I never stopped writing, albeit in a sporadic kind of way. I have been writing content for clients along the way and contributed a few bits to local sites. Intermittently I got into the practice of doing morning pages, I’d scribble down ideas, kept gratitude journals on-and off and fill note books pages with half-formed blogs posts in-amongst to-do lists.

I think ultimately it’s that desire to keep writing that makes me know I’m not done with blogging. But I want to give more of myself to this space, not just hop on to re-hash Instagram content or post a quick playlist, not just keep up with the bare minimum so I can use it on my CV!

I toyed with the idea of trying something a bit different with the blog, to rekindle my inspiration… choosing a particular theme, or something like that. But, ultimately I realised I would be creating more of a rod for my own back. So, I decided instead to just chill about it… and lo and behold there’s three posts scheduled for this month already!

There’s a few things I know I would like to work towards on the blog – like including posts related to social media and other elements of my freelance work, sharing some of the changes I’ve been making over the last year and generally just go deeper with my blog writing…but no grand plans or promises to stick to a posting schedule. I’ll be here, more wholeheartedly and hopefully more often, and when I’m not – you know where to find me.

Dear January…

February 1, 2017

Life

Dear January, Hot mug of tea in hands with CraspediaDear January, for me you were a month of contrasts – busy yet slow, pretty darn damp but also “dry”, not particularly blue necessarily but undoubtably bleak. At times I’ve wanted to bury my head in the sand and ignore what’s going on in the world, but at others I’ve been unable to tear myself away from the news.

The new year brought new clients and exciting new work opportunities. Aware that so much newness all at once could threaten to overwhelm, I did my best to “arm myself”- meditating before starting work most mornings, trying to managing my time well, leaning into the business and enjoying my full days. It’s a constant learning curve.

As much as your weekdays were busy, your weekends were quiet and slow; reserved for movies, lie-ins, mooching, friends and cooking of course. There was the therapeutic new year clear out, continuing the epic decluttering that began in 2016, each purge feels more and more freeing. This year even unwanted Christmas presents went straight into bags for charity, taking with them the usually inevitable feeling of guilt that comes months later when these items have had no use. Smug ex-hoarder here – sorry!

charlie swift, craspedia billy ball flowers

You then went oddly musical in the middle there January, as I greeted grey mornings with bursts of ‘Another Day of Sun’ and spent days singing along so loudly I’m sure I drove my neighbours La La!

January, your last day felt much like your first – minus the hangover – grey, damp, dreary. But underneath it there’s something more, daffodils in the shop, fresh growth in the garden, longer days , with a promise to soon bloom and bring brighter days.

Playlist: Winter Winds

November 27, 2016

Music + Playlists

Winter Winds playlist

This is a playlist I return to every year around this time. A playlist of songs that aren’t quite Chrismassy but seem to evoke the seasonal spirit.

It’s perfect if you’re beginning to feel festive but you aren’t quite ready to embrace Bing just yet…maybe you’re a Grinchy Christmas music hater, or maybe you just love folky types singing about winter – either way, this one’s for you!

Track List

Kate Bush – Army Dreamers
Antony and the Johnsons – For Today I am A Boy
Mumford & Sons – Winter Winds
Laura Marling – Goodbye England Covered In Snow
Martin Grech – Push
The Staves – Winter Trees
Joni Mitchell – River
Matthew and the Atlas – Come Out Of The Woods
Rufus Wainwright – Hallelujah

Check out my other playlists and recommendations in the Music + Playlists series.

(image via Unsplash)

Seasons in the Frame: Squash Watch

November 11, 2016

Photography

Squash Watch, Pumpkins on truck

During autumn over the last few years I have been sharing pumpkin pictures on Instagram with the hashtag #SquashWatch.

When I started popping the Squash Watch tag on my posts back in 2014 it was really just so I could look back through them myself; nothing makes me happier than the sight of pretty pumpkins at this time of year. The idea of the Instagram community connecting via a hashtag was not so much of a thing two years ago as it is today, not in a way I was aware of anyhow.

Squash Watch, Pale Pumpkins, Instagram #SquashWatch

|@blidandhatton | @catherine_frawley | @hellokiddostudio | @littlegreenshed |

Since my lovely friend Kym shared the #SquashWatch love, the # feed has been filling up and looking so very gourd-geous! This post features just a few of my favourites but please jump on to Instagram and marvel at the beautifully styled shots on the feed; it is entirely my happy place right now. And of course, keep tagging #SquashWatch – Halloween may have been and gone but the pumpkin party is still going strong on Instagram!

Squash Watch, Pumpkins, Instagram #SquashWatch

|@jmpsmithdesign | @muustardgirl | @kymgrimshaw | @littlegreenshed |

The Pig near Bath: Our First Wedding Anniversary

October 29, 2016

Travel

The Pig is a small chain of hotels with five locations across the south of England. As a self-proclaimed “restaurant with rooms” The Pig is a dream getaway for foodies so treating ourselves to a night at The Pig near Bath was the perfect way to celebrate our first wedding anniversary.

The Pig near Baththe-pig-near-bath-01The Pig near Bath, hotel room, bed

Wanting to make the most of our time away we headed out of Bristol just after lunchtime and checked in at The Pig in the early afternoon.

Opting for a ‘Snug’ room (The Pig’s smallest, cheapest option) certainly didn’t feel as though we were scrimping in terms of luxury at all. The lovely room, with its Pinterest-worthy bathroom, huge bed and gorgeous countryside view was perfect for us and included all those little touches that make a stay feel that bit more special. I’m almost certain you won’t find such a well-stocked room fridge in any other hotel! As tempting as it was to just don robes and stay in bed all day devouring the contents of the mini-larder, heading out to explore the grounds won out.

The gardens at The Pig near Bath are some of the best kitchen gardens I’ve ever had the pleasure of wandering around. I think we were especially lucky to visit at what, in my opinion at least, is the best time for gorgeous produce; surely there is nothing better than a greenhouse full of pumpkins?! We had such a dreamy afternoon wandering around the grounds, admiring the abundance of veg, visiting the resident pigs and deer. We also shared a pizza from the outdoor oven and enjoyed a couple of beers in the September sun.
The Pig near BathThe Pig near Bath, PizzaThe Pig near Bath, bread trolley

One of the things I love about The Pig near Bath is how many different spots there are to just stop and sit and enjoy your surroundings. There’s just something that delights me so much about a well-placed bench in a secluded spot or a vintage armchair in a cosy nook –  it conjures up and encourages ultimate relaxing experiences – drinks on the terrace, conversations under  the trees, watching the sunset over the deer field, reading by the fireside. Of course, all this luxuriating and relaxing can be taken to the next level as The Pig has a potting shed spa treatment room – next time maybe!

The Pig near BathThe Pig near Bath, The Pig near Bath, greenhouse

Starting with a celebratory cocktail in the bar, dinner was divine. In our typical indecisive nature, we opted to share a selection of ‘Piggy Bits’, starters and small plates to try as much of the menu as possible. Everything was delicious with Will and I agreeing that the cured salmon, which is smoked on site, was honestly some of the very best smoked salmon we’d ever had; and despite all the amazing things we sampled our resounding favourite dish was the bacon jam on toast!

After dinner we decided to retire to the library room to enjoy a cheese board and another couple glasses of red wine, we even found our favourite board game. Sat in the cosy room by a roaring fire, playing backgammon with cheese and wine we felt quite at home.

The Pig near Bath, greenhouseThe Pig near Bath, dining roomThe Pig near Bath, sunset

The breakfast spread at The Pig is what I imagine mornings must look like in heaven – fresh sourdough, homemade granola, boil-your-own eggs; plus we ordered from the cooked breakfast menu to boot!

Determined to squeeze every last moment out of our stay, we ordered a final coffee after we checked out and whiled away another hour with a book in the comfort of the drawing room. Can you tell I would have happily stayed at The Pig near Bath forever!?

The Pig near BathThe Pig near BathThe Pig near Bath, dining room

I’m a girl who enjoys life’s simple pleasures so to me, true luxury is feeling totally relaxed in beautiful surroundings accompanied by good food… that said, what can’t be improved on by a sea view and fresh seafood? Pig on the Beach I’ve got my eye on you for the next special occasion!

Pumpkin Salad with Fig & Goats’ Cheese

September 30, 2016

Food + Recipes

This seasonal pumpkin salad with fig & goats’ cheese is so full of the joys of autumn I simply love it!Pumpkin Salad with Fig & Goats' Cheese

I have this thing with pumpkins, they just bring me so much joy to look at and eat that I can barely walk past them without buying one. Seen as my local greengrocer has a lovely display of brightly coloured seasonal squashes at the front of the shop I’m currently bringing home pumpkins home like little lost kittens! Although I’m perfectly happy to have them brightening up my home, I thought seen as we’re still a month away from Haloween I better cook one up before the collection gets out of hand!

Pumpkin Salad with Fig & Goats' CheesePumpkin Salad with Fig & Goats' Cheese

I’m a big advocate that salads aren’t just for summer, and this pumpkin salad with fig & goats’ cheese is just the ticket for the transition into warm salad season. The spices added to the pumpkin for roasting bring depth and a little heat with the cinnamon adding that extra hint of the cosy season upon us. The soft squash contrasts wonderfully with the crispy chicory and the sweet figs and goats’ cheese combo is always a winner. This is a lovely simple bright supper to make as the evenings draw in. Oh, and the method I suggest below is my absolute favourite way to cook crispy bacon which is amazing in salads!

Pumpkin Salad with Fig & Goats’ Cheese

Salad
1 small pumpkin or seasonal squash – skin on, cut into wedges
Cumin seeds
Chipotle flakes
Cinamon
2 figs – quartered
50g goats’ cheese
4 rashers of good quality smoked streaky British bacon
2 heads of chicory – 1 white / 1 purple
A couple handfuls of other salad leaves – rocket, little gem, red oakleaf etc.
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds – toasted

Dressing
balsamic vinegar
small tsp dijon mustard
small tsp honey or date syrup
olive oil

Place the pumpkin wedges into a roasting pan and drizzle with oil; dust each slice with a little cinnamon and sprinkle over cumin seeds and chipotle flakes. Roast at 200c until cooked through and caramelising slightly. Toss the pan once during cooking. Remove the skin before serving if you prefer.

Line a tin with baking paper, lay rashers on the sheet and cover with a second sheet of baking paper. Place another heavier tin on top to keep the bacon flat and bake in the oven for 20mins. Cut into squares once cooked.

To assemble the salad: Separate the chicory leaves – slicing the larger ones in half lengthways and add to salad bowl or platter with the other leaves; top with the warm squash, fig quarters and bacon; top with crumble the goasts’ cheese followed by toasted pumpkin seeds; dress and serve.

My Loves: ‘Reversal Of The Muse’ Podcast

September 23, 2016

Music + Playlists

reversal of the muse podcast, Laura Marling

I am a podcast junkie – I listen to them on a daily basis and love their company when walking or travelling, whilst working, when I’m doing house chores or in the wee hours during bouts of insomnia.

As I listen to them so much I’m always on the hunt for new shows to download and my current favourite new discovery is a show called ‘Reversal Of The Muse’. The podcast is hosted by the amazing Laura Marling and features Laura in conversation with a variety of fellow female musicians and women who work in the music industry.

“Reversal Of The Muse began as conversations between friends about female creativity.
In reversing the muse it became an experiment.
As a small part of the global conversation about women in the arts, it became an obsession.
It occurred to me that in 10 years of making records I had only come across two female engineers working in studios.
Starting from my experience of being a woman I began to ask myself what difference it might have made had I had more women around, if any.I wanted to know why progress has been so slow in this area and what effect it would have on music.”

I’ve been telling everyone about this podcast and I wanted to share this recommendation here. I frankly feel it’s a bit weird that I’ve never really engaged with the fact that there is almost a complete lack of women involved in the technical side of music creation, so I feel like I can’t stress enough how great it is to hear these conversations.

Each episode has been fascinating to listen to and has really got me thinking – about women in music, female creativity and gender roles within the workplace in general. If you’ve listened to it I’d love to know your thoughts !

Listen to the podcast at reversalofthemuse.com or subscribe via iTunes.

Farewell Number 36

September 19, 2016

Home / Life

Farewell Number 35, View of Feet in Bed, Striped Bed Sheets,

We moved house back in the middle of July so in some ways our previous place seems like a bit of a distant memory already, however I wanted to jot a few things down about our dear old flat for memory’s sake.

Farewell Number 36 New, mantelpiece, Vintage Glass Bottles,

Six years is a long time to live somewhere. Here are a few of the things – good and bad – that I’ll remember the most…

The small but lovely kitchen where I experimented with food, learnt new skills and my love for cooking truly grew. And the oven which I always accidentally set to grill.

So many dinner parties. Especially the ones that started out so civilised and ended with dancing on sofas.

Parties with people crammed into small rooms. Brilliant nights spent with best friends. Countless bottles of wine.

The often overgrown garden belonging to the downstairs flat but sometimes shared. It may have been filled with Japanese knotweed and a hideous amount of earwigs but that didn’t stop epic BBQ birthday parties.

The girl who lived downstairs who became one of my best friends.

Games nights on cosy evenings.

The wind howling down the chimneys and rattling the old wooden window frames.

Hours spent together planning and crafting a wedding.

Christmas trees.

Farewell Number 36, Bedroom, Unmade bed, Gallery WallFarewell Number 36, mantelpiece, Mirror Selfie,

 

Watching foxes from our windows.

The 2nd neighbours we didn’t get on with who managed to have fun far too loudly, even at 2am on a Tuesday.

A mouldy, mouldy bathroom.

The view across the city.

Sitting on the bay window drinking trying to make the most of summer evenings.

The afternoon light that filled the living room.

That time I came home to pumpkins and a marriage proposal. 

… Farewell Number 36 – you were pretty awesome.

 

Hello Number 14

Evening meals eaten in the garden. Washing hung out on the line. A lack of storage space that’ll take some getting used to. Vintage furniture purchases. New neighbourhood to discover. Spaces filling up with new plants. Magical morning light that makes patterns on the bedroom walls.

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