Monday 27 February 2023

A look at my current 'to be read' pile

I've been doing very well recently with working through my 'to be read' pile. In particular, before Christmas I made a massive effort to read through the enormous stash of digital books that had accumulated on my Kindle. So I thought I'd share a quick look at the books that are still waiting for me to get to them!

The biggest one on my shelf is War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy which I do really want to read. But I keep putting it off! I did start it and I found it quite easy to read but it's just so big! There are a couple of other long reads on there too - Twenty Years After and The Count of Monte Cristo both by Alexandre Dumas. Twenty Years After is a sequel to The Three Musketeers which I really enjoyed and I've heard good things about The Count of Monte Cristo so I just need to bite the bullet and crack them open! They are both lovely old copies which have been passed down through the family and made their way to me.

Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder is a book that I remember enjoying as a teenager and had a hankering to re-read. I'm thinking that Harry might enjoy it too. Books Burn Badly by Manual Rivas is the last of a small pile of books which I picked up in a charity shop a few weeks ago when I needed change for a £20 note. I chose it mainly because I liked the cover, so I hope that the story lives up to it!

Current to be read pile of books

There are three books that you can't see in the picture which are the ones on my Kindle. Every month as an Amazon Prime member I'm able to choose one or sometimes two newly published books to download for free. Currently in my 'to be read' collection I have The Direction of the Wind by Mansi Shah, Night Angels by Weina Dai Randel and The Karma Map by Nisha Sharma. I don't know much about these books, they were just the ones that caught my eye from the lists, but I think they are probably quite quick reads.

My to be read pile looks very achievable at the moment, I just need to get on and start some of the longer books without getting distracted by more charity shop purchases! 

If you have a 'to be read' pile which is getting out of control then I've written a blog post to help - How to conquer the "to be read" pile in 2023.

Friday 24 February 2023

What the Facebook algorithm thinks I want to see

I use Facebook much less often than I used to. I usually log in for a few minutes first thing while I'm eating my breakfast to check the local village group for morning traffic updates and to have a quick scroll through the home feed. But nowadays one in every three or four posts that I'm given is an advert, and I hardly ever see the personal posts that I want to see. I think that people I follow just aren't using Facebook as much as they used to.

Predictably quite a few of the adverts that I see are related to my interests - Hobbycraft, The Works, craft subscription boxes and craft e-courses, all that kind of thing. But for some reason every now and then Facebook gets itself fixated on something that it thinks I want to see (usually based on one curious click) and then it's impossible to get rid of. 

Currently Facebook is desperate to spam my home feed with terrible advert filled photo roundup pages. It's difficult to describe if you've not seen them yourself (and I'm not going to link to one because they'll think I like them even more!) but it has a title something like 'These entitled people got what was coming to them!" and it's a long page filled with screenshots from social media, text messages and photos to fit the theme. I must admit that I have clicked on a few in the past, and now I just can't get rid of them!

I am really trying to control the algorithm by liking any advert that reflects my interest, then using the hide and block function to remove the ones that I'm really not interested in seeing. Sometimes I even log out of Facebook as soon as I've blocked the offending post, just to show it what's what. But it's taking ages to sort itself out, and it definitely doesn't seem to want me to use Facebook!

Do you get annoyed with the Facebook algorithm? What does it think you want to see?

Person holding smartphone with Facebook log in screen displayed
Photo credit Solen Feyissa via Unsplash

Wednesday 22 February 2023

Why I always have a book on the go

There are lots of reasons that I always like to have a book on the go. And as I come to the end of a book I already know which one I'll be picking up next, and I have a sizeable to be read pile to choose from.

I need to have a book on the go because I'm always turning to it throughout the day - when I'm waiting for other people to get ready, when I'm cooking dinner, when I'm eating alone, when I just want a distraction from what I should be doing. I prefer to pick up a book rather than my phone, and I love arriving early for school pick up and having some time to read in the car.

But one of the main reasons that I like to have a book on the go is because it means that I always have something to think about. I spend a lot of my time doing things that need my attention but not my full attention. Like driving to school and back, exercising, doing housework, chopping up food, sorting out washing and so on. My mind is always active, and I much prefer to have something positive to be thinking about!

So when I'm reading a book I'm always thinking about what's going on, the characters, the issues that they are facing and how it relates to my own life. I like to run through what has happened, what might happen next, whether I would behave in the same way to the book characters or not. All the books that I enjoy have something in them that appeals to me, whether it's a particular location or activity, and I like thinking about how I could incorporate that into my own life. Like spending more time on a particular hobby, or planning somewhere that I want to visit.

It means that I can keep my mind active even when I'm not actually reading, and it gives me much more interesting and positive things to think about than worrying about unimportant things in my daily life!

Woman reading book by plant
Photo credit Joel Muniz via Unsplash

Do you always have a book on the go?

Tuesday 21 February 2023

Review - Geomag Supercolour 42-Piece Magnetic Building Set

I received this set in exchange for a review.

My son has always been fascinated by magnets and construction sets, but he's never had a magnetic construction kit of his own to play with. So when I was offered the chance to review the Geomag Supercolour 42-Piece Magnetic Building Set I couldn't resist seeing what he would make of it! This 42 piece set is aimed at all ages from 3+.

Geomag Supercolour 42-Piece Magnetic Building Set

The set comes with two bases, a hexagon and a square, and a selection of magnetic balls and sticks. The pieces can be fitted into the bases to build the shapes or they can be put together separately. The solid plastic pieces are made of 100% recycled plastic and I really like the fact that the set comes with a couple of small bespoke storage boxes to help keep things neat and tidy.

Geomag magnetic construction set review

The magnets are very powerful and it's easy to understand how they can be fitted together to make different shapes. When a model is complete it's sturdy, and for an older child it makes a great desk toy for them to fidget and play around with.

The set comes with detailed instructions to help children learn about the different shapes that they can make, along with several different designs that can be copied. It is worth noting that the instruction leaflet features a few more detailed constructions that it isn't possible to build with the pieces from just one set. I don't think that this would be a problem for a younger children, but if you are looking for a construction set for an older child then that's something to bear in mind.

My son had a lot of fun with this set and I think that it's a great toy for any curious child that is interested in how things fit together and learning about how magnets work.

Monday 20 February 2023

A fabric stash project - drawstring shoe bags for travel

One of my goals this year is to make a decent dent in my fabric stash. I have a huge drawer filled with fabric of all sizes and patterns, some given to me and some that I've bought. I have a number of larger pieces which I've been trying to work through, and my latest project was some fabric shoe bags for travel.

We are lucky enough to travel quite a bit, and I've got the packing down to a fine art. I always pack a spare pair of shoes for each member of the family, and I usually pack them in a plastic carrier bag. But these days I don't have such a stash of plastic bags, and it feels so wasteful to use them, especially as I don't like to reuse them after putting dirty shoes inside.

So the obvious thing to do was to make some fabric shoe bags. They hardly take up any extra room in the suitcase, and they are made in different colours and patterns so that they can be used to identify shoes belonging to various family members. They can be put in the washing machine after a trip ready to use next time, and when we are away at our destination they can be used to store the spare shoes neatly in the wardrobe or on a hook.

Simple fabric drawstring shoe bags for travel

There are lots of tutorials for simple drawstring bags available but I just made mine up as I went along! I used a piece of fabric that measured 15" by 34" which makes for a roomy shoe bag. I sewed a seam for the ribbon along the long side, then folded it in half and sewed up the sides. The drawstring is a piece of long ribbon from my stash, threaded through and tied in a knot. They were so easy to make and I'm really looking forward to using them on our next trip!

Friday 17 February 2023

Trying out some new running routes

At the beginning of the year I set myself a few goals. One of them was to do with fitness, specifically to find myself some new running routes. I try to run three times a week and I've maintained that fairly consistently for several years now. I like to run from my home, but although there are lots of houses my village is small, and I don't have much variation in my running routes - 5k only just makes a loop around the edge. I wanted to come up with some new routes to keep things interesting, as I enjoy using my run as a way of exploring the local area.

At university I spent a year living in Germany. There wasn't much to fill the time - no television, no phone, I only had what I could fit in my suitcase! - so at the weekends I started taking myself off for walks. I bought a big map of the area and I would pick out something interesting, maybe a church or a park, and plan myself a long walk there. I'm trying to do a similar thing now, having a browse on Google maps for a place that I've not been to before and taking myself there on a run.

I use Strava to track my running but for planning routes I use MapMyRun as I find the interface really easy to use and it's free. You can choose your starting point and then click along the roads that you want to take, it even automatically follows roads for you. It tells you the distance that you've plotted and then you can save the routes to refer back to. I think that if you use the app on your phone while you are running it will also direct you, but I've managed quite well with remembering the way I want to go. I sort them by distance so I can select my run depending on how fit I feel that day!

Running routes on MapMyRun

Last week I ran a new route which I had been putting off because it involved going over a level crossing twice and I don't like having to stop and wait mid run. But there was no train in either direction and I discovered a new park! It was a bit muddy at this time of year but it's somewhere to return in the summer when I can run across it properly. 

I challenged myself to map out five new runs, but I've already come up with lots more. Some of them are admittedly variations on a theme but even running a familiar route in reverse switches things up a bit. Now I'm going to think about how I can incorporate my run with the school run, stopping somewhere on the way back and doing a run from there that might be a bit more interesting. Hopefully this will help with my motivation when I'm really not in the mood for my run that day!

Wednesday 15 February 2023

What I've been up to lately

 A little look at my life recently!


I've been busy working away at my to be read pile, although I did have a bit of a fail when I dropped off some donations at the charity shop and came back with four more books. I read quickly though, and they will probably end up back there when I'm done with them! I've been reading a wide range of books - longer classics, young adult, contemporary fiction and older books by some of my favourite authors. 


I've hardly watched any television this month! We had a binge over Christmas working through our watch list, and since then we've been doing other things in the evening. We did watch Black Panther: Wakanda Forever which was released on Disney+ last week. It was very good, I found it so sad as the plot had to deal with the death of the main actor Chadwick Boseman.


This year I'm determined to do more crafting from stash, in particular my fabric stash. Something that I've been enjoying making is some scrunchies for an upcoming cruise. I used some anchor fabric and some fabric from the bandanas that Disney Cruises give out on the pirate themed night. Two smaller ones for Mia and her plaits and a larger one for me and my pony tail!

Homemade cruise themed scrunchies


I'm doing very well with eating more healthily over the last few months, and it has definitely paid off with some weight loss. I've not been snacking between meals and I've been limiting the sweet treats (although I did manage to eat my way through the enormous bag of Lindt balls that my husband bought me for Christmas). I've been using my soup maker a lot to make soup for my lunches and I've also been trying out some new dinner recipes. I've never really thought of myself as a good cook but I've had a few successes with recipes recently which have given me some ideas for ways that I can make our usual meals more varied and interesting. 

Working on

I've been having a big go at getting the house sorted over the last few weeks. We have a guest room on the top floor which the children took over during covid and filled it with all their Lego and Playmobil sets which they haven't played with since. You couldn't see the floor, and it was stressing me out with all the little lost pieces everywhere. So I had a good sort out of the Playmobil - we don't want to get rid of it all but I have packed it up and sorted out which pieces go with which sets. The Lego has either been removed for display in their rooms or taken apart and packed away in sets for them to deal with in the future. I've given the room a good clean and hoover, and although there are still boxes of toys around the walls it is looking so much better and ready for guests.

I have become a regular at the charity shop near their school as I keep turning up with more bags of things to donate while I'm doing the school run. I find it a bit stressful dropping things off but I think they are good quality items so hopefully I can help out the charity and pass things on to a good home.


I am loving using my new Bullet Journal! I enjoy planning my week in advance and then scribbling through the tasks as I complete them. It has definitely helped me to get myself more organised, especially when it comes to the housework and working on my goals.

Bullet Journal page with crossed out tasks

Feeling proud of

I'm very pleased with how my health and fitness has improved over the last couple of months. I was running regularly but I had got myself stuck in a rut with a couple of 4K routes which I was running over and over. I've managed to up my distance to 6-8K three times a week and I've been enjoying getting out and about to some new places. It's been very cold so it has been difficult to get out sometimes but it's always worth it. 

Looking forward to

I am very much looking forward to some warmer weather. We have the heating on in the house but some evenings I just feel so cold that I get into bed in my thick pyjamas with a book and a hot water bottle. Hopefully it will only be getting warmer from now!

Monday 13 February 2023

Some books that I've enjoyed recently

I read a lot, and every now and then I like to share some of the brilliant books that I've enjoyed recently, just in case anyone is looking for some reading inspiration! I track all the books that I've read on my Goodreads account, and these are some of the recent books that I have awarded five stars.

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

I read this book a long time ago and so I knew that I would enjoy it, but I had forgotten most of the plot! It's a long read full of mysteries and twists and turns, with the story told as a series of accounts by different narrators. Despite its size it kept me wanting to read more and I was interested to see how the story would unfold. The book is also a really interesting look at women's rights not that long ago, being married off to whoever their male relatives chose and then expected to hand over their fortune to pay their new husband's debts.

The Sea by John Banville

I chose this book as one of my second hand Christmas book haul gifts as I'm always drawn to Booker prize winners, and this one lived up to expectations. It wasn't a long read but I wasn't sure about it at first. It was a little slow to get going until I got into the author's style. The full mystery isn't revealed until the very end, although there are clues throughout, and it certainly kept me guessing until the end.

The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood

Another short read from my second hand haul, this is a retelling of the of the Odyssey myth from the perspective of his wife Penelope. It also features a Greek chorus of her hanged maids who give their own opinion on events through songs, ballads and poems. It was an easy and enjoyable read even though I didn't know as much about the original myth as I probably should!

The Post-Birthday World by Lionel Shriver

This story introduces Irina, a woman who is in a happy and safe long-term relationship but one night is tempted to kiss another man who represents a more exciting alternative. At this point the story splits and alternate chapters follow Irina's life after she has made each choice. I love the film Sliding Doors and this book is very similar, especially as you try to work out which is the better choice, as it's not always obvious.

An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro

I love Kazuo Ishiguro, and although his books cover a wide range of themes and geographical locations there's just something about his writing style that draws me in. This book is set in post World War II Japan, narrated by an aging painter who is reflecting on his career during the war as a political artist. Like in many of his books the protagonist is an unreliable narrator, and so you are never quite sure exactly what has happened. I found it very readable.

Friday 10 February 2023

Packing for a spa break - the things I was glad to have brought along

I recently enjoyed a wonderful spa break at Champneys Forest Mere with my family. It was my first experience of a spa break and so I spent a lot of time researching what I should pack! So I thought I'd share some of the things that I'm glad I had along with me just in case it is helpful to anyone else (and also a few extra things that it would have been nice to have).

The things that I'm glad that I packed:

Two swimming costumes. I packed a sporty swimsuit for swimming laps and a tankini for relaxing in the spa and sauna areas. Although the tankini wasn't ideal for jacuzzi pools as it kept riding up in the bubbles!

Extra tea bags. There were a few tea bags in the room but I'm glad I packed a couple of different flavours.

A couple of bottles of fizz. We were spending time together as a family and it was nice to have a bottle to enjoy in the room.

Snacks. A couple of my treatments were late morning or late afternoon and I was glad for a couple of biscuits to prevent my tummy rumbling!

A water bottle. There were drinks stations around but they only had tiny pointy cups. I was glad of my water bottle when I was spending time relaxing by the pool or in the lounges.

Slippers. We visited in winter and although the room was warm I did enjoy having some cosy slippers to wear in the evening.

A hair wrap. I seemed to spend a lot of time with wet hair so it was more comfortable to be able to wrap it away. The atmosphere was casual enough during the day that I could have worn in to breakfast or lunch.

My running kit. Outldoor trainers, a running belt and headband. Unfortunately we only had one dry day, but it was lovely to be able to get out and about for a run through the forest.

A mini bag to hold my phone and room card when going for meals.

A small tote bag for taking a book and water bottle to the pool area.

Lots of books. I didn't actually read as much as I thought I would, but I felt happy leaving a book in my tote bag around the pool area while I was swimming or using the spa rooms.

Smarter clothes for the evening meal. I didn't dress up too much but it was nice to wear something a bit more dressy after a day in a dressing gown or swimsuit.

Spa break at Champneys Forest Mere

Things it would have been nice to have:

An extra swimming costume. Luckily we had a radiator in the room so we were able to dry our swimwear, but otherwise I would have been putting on a damp swimming costume the next day despite having brought two with me.

Something to do in the evenings. I was staying with family so we socialised in the evenings but the rest of the hotel was deserted. If I had been staying on my own I would have appreciated something to occupy myself, maybe a craft project or an iPad to watch. 

Some extra snacks. Personally I found that the food and drink was mostly sufficient, but for someone used to eating larger meals some extra food might be enjoyed!

Things to check are included in your spa break stay:

Flip flops to wear around the pool - these are a definite must have, so remember to pack if they aren't included!

A robe for relaxing in and wearing to treatments.

Towels, not just the hotel room towels but extra towels to use around the pool.

I hope that this post was useful for anyone that is planning what to pack for a spa break!

Wednesday 8 February 2023

My favourite Valentine's Day themed crafts

Over the years I've shared lots of Valentine's Day crafts on the blog, and I thought I'd share a little roundup of some of my favourites! Just click the link for tutorials and more instructions.

A simple colourful felt heart garland - a great way to use up scraps of coloured felt, and it's really quick and easy to put together using a sewing machine.

Simple felt heart garland tutorial

Some tiny mini Hama bead hearts - mini Hama beads are perfect for delicate embellishments and these mini Hama bead hearts can be used on cards or Valentine's Day decorations or turned into magnets or pin badges.

Mini Hama bead heart embellishments

A multi-coloured mini Hama bead heart picture - again using mini Hama beads in a variety of colours, this detailed heart design makes a lovely wall hanging or coaster.

Mini Hama bead heart picture

A simple felt Valentine's Day gift bag - these mini felt bags are perfect for gifting some Valentine's Day treats.

Felt Valentine's Day gift bag tutorial

A Valentine's Day Hama bead heart hanging decoration - one of my first Hama bead crafts! I really enjoyed coming up with different designs for the hearts and it makes a lovely Valentine's Day decoration.

Hama bead heart hanging decoration

A simple Valentine's Day craft for toddlers, painted toilet roll tube gift boxes - back to the very early days of my blog, but this craft is still one of my favourites! I had a lovely time making these toilet roll tube gift boxes with my toddlers.

Painted toilet roll tube Valentine's Day gift boxes

If you are looking for more simple Valentine's Day crafts then you might enjoy these Hama bead crafts for Valentine's Day

Monday 6 February 2023

Quick mini felt hearts for Valentine's Day

I'm busy working my way through my felt stash, and so I'm always looking for crafting opportunities to make a dent, no matter how small!

This week I've been making some little felt hearts for Valentine's Day. I'm not sure how to use them yet, I thought I might hang them one above the other for a Valentine's Day hanging, or just display them in a little bowl that I have on the sideboard which I like to fill with some kind of seasonal decoration

I made myself two paper heart templates, a larger one and a smaller one, and cut out lots of hearts. 

Felt heart cut outs for Valentine's Day craft

Then I sewed a small button into the centre of each small heart. I also have a sizeable button stash! After sewing the smaller heart onto the larger one I used blanket stitch to sew two sides together and added a small amount of stuffing. I like to use tiny spare felt scraps for stuffing as it's a great way to make sure that nothing is wasted. 

Simple small felt hearts craft

I've only made a few felt hearts so far but they were so quick and easy to make that I'm tempted to sew up a few more! My red felt is getting low so I might try out a few different colours too.

Small felt hearts for Valentine's Day craft

If you are looking for a similar project to use up your colourful felt scraps then why not try this simple felt heart garland? It is very quick and easy to make and it makes a room look so cheerful.

Simple felt heart garland craft

Friday 3 February 2023

Things that don't go in my bullet journal

Recently I wrote about how I've been trying out the bullet journal organisation system. I've been using my bullet journal for about two months now and I'm loving how well it's working! The system makes a lot of sense to me when it comes to planning both in the short term and long term, and it's helping me to keep up with both my daily tasks and my long term goals.

I appreciate how customisable the bullet journal system is, and I really enjoy both reading about and taking inspiration from ways in which other people use their bullet journals. But as much as I'm enjoying using this analogue system, there are some things that just don't work for me in the bullet journal format. 

Woman writing in blank journal
Photo credit Kelly Sikkema via Unsplash

Long term calendar or Future Log

For years we've been using an Outlook calendar, because that's what we use for our personal e-mail. It works very well because I can sync with my husband's calendar and we will probably also add the children as they get older and more responsible for their own diaries. In my bullet journal I only work a week or two ahead, and because we have so many things in the calendar I would soon fill up a Future Log type page. So at the weekend I will go through our shared calendar and make sure that any appointments for the next week are added into my weekly pages, as well as adding them in as the week progresses.

Weekly shopping list

We use an app called Our Groceries which is brilliant for organising our weekly shopping list. Again it can be synced so that both me and my husband can use it, and it's sorted by category to make it easy to add to the online shop. If the list was in my bullet journal only I would see it, and it would be repetitive having to write out the same things each week. It also means I always have the list with me on my phone, as I don't usually take my bullet journal out with me.

Meal planner

I use the Notes app on my phone to keep a list of the meals that I want to make for the next few days, and I don't tend to allocate each meal to a day as I like to keep it flexible. I'm also using my phone to add things to the Our Groceries app and also to do the online shop. I do however have a long list of meals to choose from which is currently stored in Trello, but I may move that over to the bullet journal at some point.

Holiday packing list

I have a very comprehensive holiday packing list which is stored as a Word document on the PC. It covers all sorts of different holidays - self-catering, cruises, camping and so on - and when we are going away I print it out and cross through all the things that aren't needed on that occasion. I definitely wouldn't want to be writing everything that we need out on a separate page each time we go away!

Reading log

I do use my bullet journal to keep track of the books in my to be read pile. I find it very useful, and I enjoy highlighting through books as I read them and adding new ones to the bottom. But I don't use it to record my thoughts, star ratings or anything like that. Instead I use my Goodreads account to keep track of everything that I've read. This is mainly because I know that my bullet journal won't be around forever and I'll probably recycle it when it's full, so the Goodreads account lets me store that information for longer. 


I have a rough notebook that I use for brainstorming - writing down ideas for craft projects and blog posts, general to do lists and so on. I'm finding that my bullet journal is filling up quickly enough just with weekly and monthly pages and so I don't want to waste all the pages with rough notes that are just going to be scribbled out! I might take out the best ideas and add them to my bullet journal if I think that I'll be referring back to them, for example a particular list of things that I want to work through.

What things do you find don't work for you in the bullet journal system?

Thursday 2 February 2023

Review - Apple Watch strap from WsC

I received this watch strap in exchange for a review

I was recently contacted by WsC and asked if I would like to review an Apple watch strap. I don't have an Apple watch myself but it was perfect timing as my husband had just broken his old Apple watch strap! 

My husband was looking for something simple and stylish, and he chose the WsC Leather Link Black Apple Watch Strap. This watch strap wraps comfortably around the wrist using concealed ultra-secure magnets. It's made of pebble-textured leather and is black on the outside, brown on the inside.

Apple watch strap review from WsC

The watch strap came beautifully packaged in a vibrant outer box with a padded and sturdy case for the strap. It's soft to touch and feels good quality.

Magnetic Apple watch strap review

He found the strap easy to fit to his watch and comfortable to wear. Because of the wraparound magnetic closure it will fit snugly on wrists of all sizes, and the fastening feels secure with no danger of the watch falling off. 

Black Apple watch strap from WsC review on wrist

The watch strap is black on the inside and brown on the inside. However my husband has discovered that the strap can also be attached to the watch in reverse with the brown side facing outwards. He loves this because it means that he can co-ordinate it with different outfits!

Apple watch strap from WsC review

He's really pleased with this watch strap. It's great quality, comfortable and secure to wear, and also looks good. 

WsC offers a wide range of designer watch straps for all occasions in all different materials, including a selection with ethically sourced diamonds if you are looking for something that really stands out. They are definitely worth a look if you want to find something different that matches your style!

Wednesday 1 February 2023

My personalised January challenge

When January comes around I always feel the need for a good tidy up and house reset. For the last few years I've signed up to the Apartment Therapy January Cure - a twenty day challenge with a home related task each day to help you refresh and reset your home. They include things like making a list of projects to complete around the house, decluttering a specific area and getting rid of expired items.

It's a really good idea and I have wanted it to work for me but I had a few problems with it. The main one was that the e-mail with the day's task arrived in my inbox at 2pm, and you can't see future tasks in advance. That's just too late in the day for me, by then I'm winding down ready for school pick up. Another problem was that some days I had lots of time to spend on a task and other days I have less time. Finally some of the tasks didn't really achieve anything, they were either things that I already do or just weren't relevant.

I recently wrote about trying out a bullet journal for the new year, and it seemed like the perfect space to work out a personalised January challenge for myself. I went around the house and looked for the areas that needed a bit of extra attention, then I worked out a list of tasks which would help me to get the house in order. I tried to mix it up with longer and shorter tasks, with some being more enjoyable than others. I knew that I would be away for a few days in January so my list only had 27 tasks.

Then I wrote them all out on a blank page in a bullet journal and put them inside boxes. Usually when I complete tasks in my bullet journal I scribble them out but this time I planned to colour the boxes in. This means that I can easily refer back to the list if I want to make myself another challenge at some point!

Personalised January home reset challenge

It's not perfect - clean kitchen floor was in there twice so I had to divide it into edges/skirting boards and the main floor area! But I stuck to it and got everything done and the house is definitely cleaner as a result. I really liked being able to choose the task I wanted to work on each day, I usually chose a task related to an area I was cleaning that day anyway and I saved easier tasks for busy days.

I'm going to repeat the challenge in the spring I think, maybe for the month of March as we are away for some of April. I have a few specific spring jobs like jet washing the patio and cleaning the garage doors, and of course some of these January jobs will probably need doing again by then! I've found it a really useful way to get some of those awkward areas looking much better.