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Simply Chole

Is Mother’s Day Over Commercialised?

The inspiration for this post happened as I was researching a Mother’s Day blog post for work. I’ve never really thought much into Mother’s Day other than what to get my mum and if my sisters have gotten her anything better. But during my research I discovered that after getting the day nationally established in 1914, the founder of Mother’s Day, Anna Jarvis, worked the remainder of her life to get it disestablished after she saw how popular it became- and not in the way she intended it to be. She said that the intention was for every mother to be honoured and celebrated, not the individual mother being gifted with sweets, flowers, cards and other treats.

Mothers-Day

 

So it got me thinking, how has this special day grown to be what it is today? I found that Mother’s Day is the second biggest special occasion of the year behind Christmas. With restaurants, florists, card shops and other gift giving companies sales going through the roof during this time. I mean in 2018 £1.4 billion was spent on sales alone, wow. Of course the idea behind Mother’s day is undeniably good, mums should be appreciated and thanked for all their love and support. But does this growing demand for increasingly priced gifts really equate to your level of love?

I mean surely, like everyone says it’s the thought that counts. Yet when push comes to shove, the pressure to buy a gift substantial enough to show your mum how much you love her tends to end in mounting zeros at the end of a big number.

 

mothers-day-gifts

This thought train had me contemplating what high priced gifts can be substituted for simple acts of appreciation. Stick with me on this.

 

Fancy restaurant
Try making a home cooked meal of your mother’s favourite food rather than go out. You can dress up the house and put on her favourite music to have an intimate dinner where your mother gets waited on hand and foot rather than the other way around. Mothers are so use to taking care of others that it’s nice to give them some time off and let them put their feet up for the day. Sure a fancy restaurant is nice and all, but isn’t it more special when you put the effort into treating her to a delicious meal, it certainly shows how much thought you’ve put into the day.

Printed cards
This one seems simple, make your own! Of course many deem this to be ‘cheap’ but really it isn’t about the money. It’s about creating something thoughtful and special that shows your mum how much you think about her. As the founder of Mother’s Day, Anna Jarvis once said;
‘A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world.’

Then again, I’ll be the first to admit sometimes time gets away from me and it’s way too convenient to simply buy a card from the shop rather than make one from scratch. But in writing this post I’m thinking it’s something I should make the effort to change.

Sweet treats
While tasty as they are, think how likely is it that your mum is going to eat them all herself. If she’s anything like mine then she’s either going to share them out or be appreciative and then give them to someone who is more likely to enjoy them. As good old Anna Jarvis stated;
‘And candy! You take a box to Mother—and then eat most of it yourself. A pretty sentiment.’

Think we’re getting a clearer picture of Anna’s opinion of the ‘new’ Mother’s Day.

 

Flowers
Now this one is slightly harder to avoid. I mean it’s not like you can go and pick wild flowers out of someone’s garden now is it, that’s just uncalled for. Plus, flowers were apart of Ann Jarvis’ notion of honouring motherhood, particularly with carnation flowers. Red signified those who were living and white were to remember those who had passed. So I’m thinking we can give flowers a pass on this one and let them be.

Colourful flowers

 

With all this in mind think about how Mother’s Day as we know it has changed from the original notion of the day. Are all the cards and gifts really worth it? Or should it be more about the little things and sentimental aspects that surround the day? Food for thought.

 

I’d love to hear what you all think, let me know in the comments!

 

Click here to read my Valentine’s Day self love post

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Blogging

6 Ways To Make Time For Blogging

Blogging isn’t just writing content for your site, it’s the endless social media promotions, image content and ideas that go into it. Sometimes it can get overwhelming and you can get caught up in it all. If you have a full time job or family then it’s even harder to manage your time to make room for the blogging part of your life. This is something I myself have found to be particularly difficult lately. So I’ve come up with a few ways that might help you manage your time and make life that much easier.

Making time for blogging.

1. Notes

By now you’ll have probably realised that inspiration can hit you at any time of the day or night, so making sure you find a way to write those ideas down before you forget is pretty important. For example, when I’m in work and suddenly get a wave of ideas for future blog posts I immediately get out my phone and either make myself a reminder of them or put them into my notes. This makes it easier for me to write them up fully when I get home or helps to jog my memory if I’ve forgotten about them after a long day (which happens more often than you’d think!).

2. Time during the day

Depending on what your schedule is like, carve out some time to work on your blog during the day. It only has to be a quick hour or even a couple of minutes throughout the day, but finding time to write a few tweets, take some pictures or jot down a few post ideas will help you to stay organised and well prepared for when you decide to schedule your next blog post. I find that after I finish writing a post, I immediately write out my promotional tweet in my phone notes so that it’s ready to be sent out at the same time as my post gets published onto my blog. This just helps to make me feel more organised and takes any stress out of posting.

3. Weekends

Similar to the above suggestion, use your free time during the weekend to work on any blog related tasks you need to do. It doesn’t have to be all day, just a few hours during the day or at night when you are relaxed and roaming the internet. Or if you decide to travel somewhere during this time then make sure to take some pictures of your day out, these can be used for many things like as apart of your next blog post and of course on Instagram. The day I usually do the majority of my blogging is Sunday as it’s my day to chill out and take my time with things before the work week starts all over again.

4. Reading

If you’re a book blogger, then make time throughout the day to read a few chapters of a book. If you’re like me and already do this then great, your jobs already halfway done. But a helpful tip and one I’ve picked up on since I started reviewing books is to make notes of your thoughts and feelings surrounding your latest read as you go. This makes it so much easier when it comes to writing your review as you already have a sort of cheat sheet on what you were thinking when reading certain parts of the book. In doing this, it saves you loads of time writing your post so you can move on to other things you need to do.

Read my reviews on Archangels ProphecyNext To NeverThe Cruel PrinceDaughter of Smoke and Bone and Days of Blood and Starlight.

5. Social media

It is so important that you interact on social media platforms as this is where you are most likely to get the majority of traffic to your blog. Making friends is only one aspect of social media, by being present and active it brings more awareness to your blog and helps promote any new blog posts you have. By communicating with other bloggers and your followers you are putting a face to your blog and immersing yourself into the blogging community, where you have the opportunity to learn so much from other bloggers. It’s also a great way to establish that connection with your readers and once your post is live there will be people waiting to read it.

Read my post on things I didn’t know before I started blogging here.

6. Plan

Why not use a planner or bullet journal to remind yourself when to make time or when to take pictures, create posts etc. This is a great tip for those of you that are a big fan of writing things down and keeping a physical place for your written notes. There’s a big hype around bullet journals which are perfect for anyone creative enough to design their own day planner layout. These can be useful to set yourselves reminders, plan out your week and make time for any blog activity. Especially if you are at school and have a class schedule, you can also integrate a time during the week for your blog so that it makes it easier to balance the workload.

Although this whole post is about making time for blogging, you also have to remember to make time for yourself as well so your mental health and self love isn’t jeopardised with the stress of trying to fit everything into your busy schedule. So I hope that this post gives you some helpful tips and ideas on how to make time for blogging and takes away any stress you have trying to balance your work/home and blog life!

How do you find time for blogging? Are these tips helpful? Let me know in the comments!

Categories
Simply Chole

Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

*In this book review I will give a brief overview and opinion on the text without the deliberate inclusion of any spoilers.

days-of-blood-and-starlight

Goodreads blurb:

Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a world free of bloodshed and war.

This is not that world.

Art student and monster’s apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is—and what she is. But with this knowledge comes another truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it.

In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Karou must decide how far she’ll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, secrets and impossible choices, Days of Blood & Starlight finds Karou and Akiva on opposing sides as an age-old war stirs back to life.

While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva wages a different sort of battle: a battle for redemption. For hope.

But can any hope be salvaged from the ashes of their broken dream?

 

Rating: 3.5 out of 4 books

 

The sequel seems to be a lifetime away from the first book. Set in a time of chaos, war and loss, we see the characters take their own paths in this fight whilst dealing with past consequences and new dangers. Read my review of the first book in the series here.

 

‘Life and peace. Victory and vengeance. And never the twain shall meet.’ – Karou/Madrigal

 

Loss is a huge theme in our protagonists story this time round, as we see her dealing with guilt, grief and shame throughout the book. The author really goes out of her way to show a different side to the character, as we see a dual strength and vulnerability to Karou that is at the forefront throughout her journey.

 

‘The weight of all these souls would be as good as shackles to her, but he knew that she wouldn’t shirk them.’ – Brimstone

 

As for Akiva, there seems to be a desperate hopefulness he clings to despite of the direness around him. I love how much he has grown since we were first introduced, with there being more layers to the character. He is both a warrior and a brother, lover and enemy. Plus, there seems to be a cloud of questions surrounding Akiva that weren’t there in the first book and leaves an opening for potential future storylines.

 

Similarly with Liraz, Akiva’s sister is a character that seems to have many layers both tough and vulnerable, as the book goes on we get to see her stripped of any barriers she has to the point of which I feel like she cannot go back to.

 

We also get to see more of secondary characters such as Zuzana and Mik (two of my favourite characters) who bring life to the darkness of Karou’s world and bring a much needed sense of humour that relieves the reader. Their connection is so deep and pure, one that stands out as innocent of the horrors closing in around their world.

 

‘She had to be her own strength, complete unto herself.’ – Karou

 

I really enjoyed the Middle Eastern feel of the book, as it is mostly set in Morocco, arguably the opposite of Prague where we first met Karou. With its exotic flavours and sandy landscapes, the country displayed in the book reminds me of a present day wasteland, especially with the crumbling abandoned building our characters find themselves holed up in. I particularly enjoyed how the exotic, lesser known culture seemed to run parallel with the chimera, highlighting their own culture. But the two cultures- and species (humans and chimera) are really brought to the surface especially when they come under stark contrast with humans like Mik and Zuzana.

 

Although I did not feel the same obsession to finish the second book as I did the first, I still found myself immersed in the story and intrigued by all the new elements and characters the authors introduces. Even though the book changed in pace and setting, I still feel a compulsion to see through Karou’s journey-all of the characters journey in fact. There are so many questions left unanswered and things to look forward to in the final instalment of the trilogy, I’m eager to see how their stories end.

 

Have you read this book? If so, what did you think?

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Simply Chole

4 Things I’ve Learned In The First Few Months Of 2019

You know the saying time flies when you’re having fun? Well it pretty much just flies in general cause we’re in March already people! This has been both the longest and fastest few months I have experienced. And if these first three months have taught me anything, it’s how quickly things can change in all areas of life. Your perspective on certain things, mood, career, even your mentality can shift on a dime. It’s strange to look back and think of how these first few months have changed a lot of things, but have also brought clarity as well. Here are a few of the main things I have learned within this time.

 

4 things I’ve learned in the first few months of 2019, blogging, personal growth, lifestyle

 first-few-months-

1. Your career can take unexpected turns
So I previously posted about my transition from student to career woman, since then I have continued with my job in marketing without much fuss. But recently my boss gave her notice and in doing so, made me think a lot about my future, particularly with the place I am at now. You see it’s one thing to think about moving on from somewhere but it’s another thing entirely to actually do it- especially before you expected to. But I’m learning everyday to adapt as I go and learn as much as I can, while I can.

 

2. Blogging is hard. Like, really hard.
I’ve always known that being a blogger is hard work but I’ve been really struggling these past few months with creating content and managing my blog as well as having a full time job. Sometimes it feels like too much and I find it hard to find the motivation to come home from work and work on the blog. Because the thing is, my blog was never supposed to make me feel stressful or like it was just more work for me to do. It was meant to be fun and exciting, although it still is at times, life seems to make things harder.

How bloggers manage to create content and post on social media today as well as have a full time job is beyond me. Don’t get me wrong I still love it and I’m not planning on giving up anytime soon, but I’ve become more lax with my scheduling’s while I try to get my mojo back.

 

3. Finding my way onto the property ladder
This year I decided to make it one of my personal goals to begin saving seriously for a house. I had already been saving leisurely throughout my working life but I felt like it was time to get serious (probably because I saw my friends new house and decided I wanted one of my own!).

But understanding the ins and outs of the property ladder is proving to be more of a challenge then I first thought. Luckily, my mum and dad are also looking for somewhere and so are on hand to give me some tips and pieces of advice I desperately need.

Wrapping my head around the whole thing is a task in itself so it looks like I have some time while I save before I have to get down to business (fingers crossed!).

 

4. How to balance my work and home life
Having a full time job means sometimes struggling to have a life outside of work, particularly if you work long hours in the day. This was me the majority of last year; getting up at 5.50am, going to work, coming home between 6/7pm before having my tea, going to bed and doing it all over again for the next five days. It definitely takes its toll, more than I thought it would to be honest.

But after starting the gym (gym? Who me?) early in the year as apart of my goal for a healthy lifestyle, I have found a way to feel invigorated and refreshed after work as well as overcoming some past anxiety over the gym. Go me! I don’t go every day of the week, around 3 times and I make sure to switch things up by trying different classes in between. I feel like it’s been really good for my mental wellbeing and has shown me the importance of looking after yourself, even when I didn’t fully realise I needed to.

Click here to read my Valentine’s Day Self Love post.

 

What have you learned so far this year? Let me know in the comments!

Categories
Simply Chole

6 Ways To Make It Through The Work Week

We all know what it’s like trying to survive yet another work week, meeting deadlines or studying for exams. Trying to manage your work and home life can be difficult and sometimes your efforts just slip through the cracks. I myself have found difficulties trying to find that balance and have resolved to make more of an effort to take care of myself and my well being rather than focusing entirely on the demands of work. With this in mind, here are a fair few ways to help you make it through the work week.

work-week-pin

 

1. Wear comfortable clothes
Sometimes it’s ok to want to change straight into your comfy clothes like pyjamas and gym leggings and just lounge around the house for the rest of the night. I know it’s the first thing I do after coming home from a long day in the office and sitting in traffic for close to 2 hours. I mean what else am I going to wear?

 

2. Have a nice meal
If you don’t feel like cooking then take advantage of those pre prepped meals you did at the weekend instead of spending your night in the kitchen. Or if you enjoy spending your time that way then utilise it by making your favourite meal or treat yourself by satisfying your sweet tooth.

 

3. Friends
Clear your head with a mid week catch up with friends, even if it is just on the phone or by text. Enjoying a good gossip or some friendly banter will help take your mind off of work and any other stresses you have. Same goes with family, if you live at home then sit down with a sibling or parent and just relax in front of the TV. Unwinding after a long day (or week) is best when it’s done in good company.

 

4. Cuddle your pet
Animals make everything better, it’s a fact. One of the first things I do when I get home is say hello to our dog and soak up all his cuteness I’ve missed during the day. You can also get out for some fresh air and clear your head by taking them for a walk, especially now it’s getting both warmer and lighter, it doesn’t feel like all your choices are limited to staying in.

 

5. Do something active
Go for a run or visit the gym for an hour after work to sweat out all the stresses of the day. I myself don’t particularly love exercise but I do like how I feel after it’s all said and done. The endorphins brought on by being active helps to wake up your body and make your mind more alert. I know for me after sitting for 9 hours in an office chair and then a few more in traffic, it’s feels good to stretch my body and push myself for a quick hour before going home to relax for the night.

 

Click here to read motivation for a healthy lifestyle.

 

6. Do something you love
Whether it is scrolling through social media, reading a book, writing or catching up on blog posts, this is the time of the day where you can sit back, relax and do something you enjoy that isn’t about work. Tinker with a new blog post or come up with ideas for future ones, whatever it is that makes you happy you can always find time for.

 

Nothing is more important than that work/home life balance, even if it is hard to manage sometimes. So it’s important that you do things to relax and unwind after a long day and raise your spirits, especially after a particularly stressful week. Remember to take care of yourself and not focus too much on the stresses of work life, this is something I especially are in need of learning, so lets do it together!

 

How do you relax after a day at work?