Hello!

If you've been reading my self reflection series, you'll know that 2014 continues to be a year of self improvement for me.

Some of the biggest things I've been tackling are confidence to pursue my passions, motivation to keep going, and becoming more active in improving the quality of my life.

To date things have been going pretty well.

I started freelancing so I knew it was going to be a bit of an unpredictable year but I'm pleased to report I've already completed a number of short term contracts, I've got a new teaching project starting in a few weeks, and I've got two more courses lined up to design and teach from September too so things are looking good.

I've also finished my MPhil, completed my TEFL qualification (today!), read some great books on self improvement including "refuse to choose" which has really improved my outlook and my organization, I've been travelling, cooking, eating healthy and enjoying as many music concerts I can fit in!

So all in all not a bad start to the year. Still, although it may look good I still feel like I'm living in the slow lane. My motivation remains pretty low, even for the things I love, and my expertise in procrastination continues to over rule my ability to 'get up and go' - so until it's done that's my main focus for the coming weeks.

I've come to notice in recent times that the clarity of my thinking has a strong correlation with the organization or should I more accurately say the disorganization of my environment.

cluttered house = cluttered mind

As I work from home a good deal of the time, my house is really my office and the nature of my environment has a real impact on my productivity and the quality of my work.

Sadly, being the collector that I am, I'm sure you can imagine that on the whole my environment isn't as minimal or tidy as I would like it to be.

I dream of a life where my house is modern, minimal, clutter free and my attachment to random bric-o-brac is not so out of control!

But being the person I am, for now I'm going to have to make do with what I've got and at least try and give my life some more order.

Step 1. Throw away, give away and charity as much as I can that I've not needed or used for years! I can promise you this was harder than it would seem. My longing to keep everything I've ever owned is completely illogical but absolute engrained so this was a pretty big deal to me.

Step 2. Find a permanent place for the things I love. Luckily for me a lot of those are books so finding a home should be fairly straight forward. For now, I want to concentrate on my bedroom as it is both my sleeping space and office so I spend a good deal of my time up there. The trouble is the shape of the room is far from ideal for storage so I needed to get creative.

Someone once told me, if you're short of floor space look up - so that's what I did, and here's how I got on.

WARNING: You are about to see my ex-clutter. These scenes are not for the faint hearted.



No this is not the clutter, but I want to give you something to hold on to before you despair over the mess that was my bedroom! (Excuse the lighting it was dark by the time I'd tidied up).


 My ever mounting piles of books


 I know I know I'm sorry! But I promise you it was worse, once upon a time this was all on the floor, so be thankful you're not seeing that!


Cleared out and just measuring up...

Our DIY shelf unit (It was a DIY day OK, you're allowed to not look your best).

Turned out that pile was mostly bags, shoes, clothes, a giant dog and a couple of wetsuits so it wasn't such a challenge...

...and those books found a perfect home!

I love getting creative so when my Father offered to help me make some shelves and get things in order I was super excited to give it a go and I'm more than pleased with the results.

Since I took these photos there's been more progress with the painting of that side wall, the filling of many cracks (my house is very VERY old), and all that purple is about to be a basswood brown colour to finish it all off.

I know I should probably be embarassed to have shown you my ex-mess but, the reason I've done it is to show my progress! I never want to pretend to anyone I live a perfect life, but hopefully the little steps I make to improve my life will encourage someone else to do the same for theirs.

I'm still living in the slow lane, but things are on the up. No longer do I wake up to neatly arranged (ha!) piles, but to a clear and calm space where I can relax, and focus on my work for the rest of the day. I also showed off my new little work station in a previous post which you can find here for a full idea of the room.

I'm really pleased with the results and look forward to continuing my declutter.

Maybe one day I'll finally have that dream life I hope for!

Bye for now
xx
Hello!

I've not been blogging for too long so I only heard about the Liebster Awards a few weeks ago and lucky for me I just got nominated by Roxy so lucky me gets to have a go! Thanks for the nomination Roxy, I'm so excited!




For those of you who haven't heard of the Liebster Awards before, this in an award given by bloggers to bloggers who are new on the scene. It gives bloggers the opportunity to meet other bloggers, gain exposure and most importantly tell your readers a bit more about yourself.

The all important Rules:
1. You must link back to the person who nominated you.
2. Answer the 11 questions given to you by your nominator.
3. Choose a new 11 questions and nominate 5-11 bloggers with 200 or less followers to answer your questions.
4.Let your nominees know and
...ta da! 
A new award ceremony begins!

All fairly straight forward right?

So let's get stuck in!


I also heard there was an extra rule (but I'll make this optional for my nominees) that you should also list 11 random facts about yourself so here we go...

1. I've done my grade 8 violin
2. I've broken my toes more than ten times (after ten I lost count)
3. I'm a serial procrastinator
4. I've completed 3 different degrees from 2 different Universities
5. Until the age of 9 I swore if I could only run and jump high enough I would be able to fly
6. I used to do disco dance for the Urdd Eisteddfod
7. I love to watch Millionaire matchmaker (Sorry!)
8. Macs not PCs
9. I'm a lefty!
10. Fern gully is one of my favourite childhood movies
11. Once for a fancy dress part I dressed up as a Lolly pop lady

Now to the questions!

1. What's your favourite thing to blog about?

That's a really hard question. I'm one of those people who gets easily excited by pretty much everything so I don't think I have a favourite topic. As I'm a lifestyle (ish) blogger, I suppose the things I like to blog about the most would have to be the things I enjoyed the most. Experiences that got me so excited I want to tell the world all about them! That and things that involve glue, paper, scissors and generally make a lot of mess!

2. What inspired you to start writing a blog?

I actually started another blog for a little while before this one. Not very long, I think I got to 5 posts! But I started by blogging through my postgraduate year, offering do and dont's of postgraduate study based on my experiences.

Not long after that I realised how much writing things down allowed me to reflect on my experiences and improve my life, so I started this blog for that very reason. Blogging motivates me and gives me something I'm responsible for - to document the trials and tribulations of my adventures and try to make a better life for myself.

So far it's working great, I'm definitely more active, a lot more motivated, and generally happier too!

3. What is one item of clothing you couldn't live without?

Sad as it might sound I know the answer to this question without thinking, in fact I'm wearing it right now - my dressing gown!
I feel the cold so much! No really. It doesn't matter how warm it is, it could be the height of summer, I could be covered in blankets, lying on top of a radiator, with a hot water bottle in both hands and I still couldn't go without it. I despise the cold, and besides I wear it so often now it's like a security blanket, I feel weird without it!
You'll be pleased to know I do de-robe if I'm leaving the house much to my disappointment (haha) but it's straight back on as soon as I'm home.

4. What is on your summer wish list?

This summer I have a lot on my list covering all sorts of things. I'm sure this isn't quite what your asking for but now I've started...
I'm hoping to have my freelancing website up and running (I'm a Psychology Research when I'm not blogging!), a trip to America, and a quick jaunt around Europe somewhere, I hope to graduate without falling over!...and attend an acting course if I pluck up the courage.
Busy busy!

5. What was the last beauty item you bought?

The latest beauty item I've bought was the Dior Addict Lip Maximiser. I'd heard really good things about it and thought I'd give it a go. If I see any benefits I'll do a review soon if it's something people would like to read about.

6. What's your favourite song right now?

Um...That's hard it changes from day to day, but I've got "and if my heart should some how stop" by James Vincent McMorrow set at my alarm at the moment, which is a pretty great way to wake so I'd say that's probably it at the moment.

7. What life motto do you choose to live by?

You know I don't really know many motto's, not because I don't like them but it's just not something I go seeking that often, but I have this up on my wall right next to my bed:

"Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no useful purpose"
Eckhart Tolle

I wouldn't call it my life motto, but i get quite debilitating anxiety over the most trivial things sometimes and having this up on the wall just reminds me to try to calm down and let go of the things I worry about and have no control over.

8. Do you prefer sun or snow?

Sun hands down! I love the look of snow, the fantasy of beautiful snowy Christmases and Santa's sleigh, but as we learnt in question three I hate hate hate the cold! So give me sunshine any day. If feels amazing, it brings joy and happiness and it's full of that good stuff vitamin D.

9. What is your dream job?

My dream job is not one job, but more a lifestyle where I can balance my multiple dream jobs. If I could have everything, I would carry on my Psychology research & teaching as an academic travelling the world and studying new cultures in my own time, while pursuing my aspirations as an actress/musician as the main focus of my career.

10. Who is your favourite blogger of all time?

Yikes! Don't make me choose. You know I'm sorry to disappoint but I just can't. I suppose at first what made me realise I could even start a blog was Sprinkle of glitter's blog. I first stumbled across sprinkle of glitter by chance on Youtube, and after a while of watching realised she had a blog. I suppose that was my inspiration and so for a very long time Sprinkle of glitter was my absolute favourite blogger, but now I've entered the world of blogging and found out just how many thousands of people are blogging out there I just couldn't choose there are some truly inspiring bloggers out there. Keep up the good work ladies and gents!

11. Why is your blog called what it is?

My blog is called Thea's Thinkings and I think it speaks for itself! I wanted a name that said it on the tin but also gave me the flexibility to write about life as and when, and if things changed I could simply ride the wave! I just didn't want to get boxed in, and I thought Thea's Thinkings was just the ticket!



Well that's it for my questions I hope you enjoyed and learnt a little bit more about me!



Here are my 11 questions and my 11 nominees:


1.     Where/How/When do you find your blogging inspiration?
2.    What is your best quality?
3.    What did you want to be as a child?
4.    Name one fashion mistake you made in the past and regret.
5.    Describe a happy memory from your past.
6.    If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be and what would your house look like?
7.    What blog post are you most proud of to date?
8.    What snack could you not live without?
9.    Best book you’ve read or movie you’ve seen recently?
10. What is your absolute pet peeve?

11.  If you could go back in time, what era would you live in?

Nominees:

Congratulations to all my nominees, hope you have fun!

Bye for now!
xx


Hi!

Last week I was given the opportunity to taste test some of the new recipes at Ilumi.*

I'm always trying to keep my meals healthy but I have to admit I'm not perfect and occasionally I have a sneaky pre-prepared meal. The downside is most pre-prepared meals aren't healthy and are packed with sugars, salts and preservatives, but Ilumi pride themselves for producing pre-prepared meals that are always nut, gluten & milk free (so great for those with allergies), and 100% natural. They also claim to improve well-being, so that fits my bill but I needed to try them before I made any final judgements.

So to the taste test:

I've tried two mains;
Sweet Five Spice & Chilli Pork


Northern Chinese Style Chicken & Mushroom




Both come in 275g microwaveable pouches and take two minutes to cook. Each pouch also has roughly a year on the best before date and they don't need storing in the fridge so I thought that was pretty handy.

Opinion?

Overall I really liked the taste. The flavours were well balanced, the meat was really tender and the sauces very aromatic. They both also have a slight spicy warmth which I liked but it's really mild so even if your no more adventurous than a Korma these would still be a good option. Overall I was really happy. Paired with some rice and these made for ideal and tasty quick meals. 
The only thing I can really think of that could have been improved was that I noticed both were particularly sweet and the quantity of meat I felt could have been more. I don't know if it's just my preference, maybe the way it's cooked or the choice of herbs but I found both meals very sweet which for some might be perfect but for me I wouldn't have said no to a little less - I think that ones for you to decide. The sauce to meat ratio also seemed a bit off, but it does say 40% meat on the packet so seems about right for what you get. 

Conclusions:

I actually was really pleasantly surprised by these, to find something quick and easy and still healthy gets a thumbs up in my books as I always seem to be too busy to cook as often as I'd liked, so I imagine these would come in real handy on those days when I'm rushing from one place to the other.

These retail at £3.75 a pouch which I find a little pricey, but for ease, simplicity, and reduced guilt factor I think a few of these on my shelf wouldn't go a miss and for those with allergies they are definitely a great option.

I can't say if they contributed to my overall well-being, I think I'd need to be eating them more often to come to any conclusions on that, but they're healthy and they pass my taste test so that's good enough for me.

So that's it for this weeks review. If you know of any other healthy quick meals let me know in the comments below so I can add them to my shopping list!

Thanks for stopping by!
xx


*This post contains PR samples. All opinions are my own.
Source

Hello!

Welcome to another Sunday Self-reflection. Today we're talking body image and self-esteem.

I've noticed an increasing trend in tabloids and blogs this year about 'skinny models' and 'curvy beauty' and it's been causing a lot of discussion so I thought I'd throw my hat in.

Before I start I want to first say I have no bias against either thinner or curvy women and truly think beauty comes in all shapes and sizes!

So the gist of the discussion started around the topic of very thin models, promoting unhealthy body image and discrimination against women of a typical or curvier figure. This lead to some great changes to media, advertising and fashion as a whole. A new burst in plus size models hit the scene and a number of top brands embraced the model with curves - sounds great so far!

However there's been an increasing trend that's moved away from promoting body confidence for the curvier woman and has turned towards what some people are calling 'skinny bashing'. 

If you haven't heard of this, feel glad, no form of discrimination should be OK. But to give you a basic understanding, 'skinny bashing' is pretty much what it says on the tin. It is the open and often cruel and unpleasant insulting of thin people for no reason other than their body type.

So from what began as an attempt to stop abuse and discrimination against the curvier woman (or man!) things seem to have gone full circle and it's now a regular feature to see statements across the web with rude and offensive remarks towards thinner people.

But don't you think we're missing the big picture...?

As a naturally thin woman, I can say from experience that being thin is also not always a choice. In fact for as long as I can remember I've been trying to put on weight, not because I need to (I weigh a very healthy weight) but because of a body image I've grown to think is 'more' beautiful than my own'.
Media 1 - Thea 0.

When I wear a new dress people don't say "hey you look great", "wow that really suits you" but more often than not I hear "wow you're so skinny".

Did you know that in the dictionary the word 'skinny' actually means unattractively thin?

So I'm sure you can imagine as a person who struggles to put on weight how this can be damaging for a persons self-esteem. Maybe you've been there too - compliments aren't always so complimenting are they? 

So why are we putting any body type above another? Why would we want to make any person feel any less about themselves?

Which leads me to the real question, what are we trying to achieve?

If we are trying to tell people that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes then that should encompass everyone - no brainer.

I think it's about time we gain a little perspective. Instead of telling people how they should look, who's right, who's wrong and generally discriminating against anyone, shouldn't we focus on promoting health as a whole? You can be perfectly healthy and have a completely different appearance to the person next to you, so why should we all have to conform to a beauty norm?

We need to be promoting health not just image. Someone can be thin, average or curvy and still have health problems...but they can also be perfectly healthy.

There's a lot of body confidence and self-esteem that's been lost because of the wrong messages flying about in the media and on the web, and it's time for a change.

For my self-reflection project this week I've been focusing on my health. Instead of worrying what the tabloids say I should look like, I've spent some time evaluating and understanding the routes of my worries and ultimately working to feel happier and more confident in my own skin. I can't really change my body type, so I'm wasting my time worrying about petty remarks about being skinny. What really matters is my health. If I'm healthy, it shouldn't matter if I'm thin or not, and chances are with good health will come improved confidence in my appearance.

If you have body image issues too, take a moment to think about why, and look past your physical appearance and concentrate on your health. Are you living a healthy life? Could you make steps to improve your health? You'll find with a healthier lifestyle your happiness and confidence will also improve.

I'd love if you were willing to share your body image experiences as well that you leave a comment in the box below or DM me if you'd prefer. It would be really interesting to see the similarities in our body shaming and body confidence stories across body types, and share any tips you have for improving self-esteem.

We shouldn't be telling people how to conform, we should embrace all body types. Embrace your figure, and your face. Perfection can be found in your imperfections and it's what makes us unique so focus on what matters.

Live a healthy life, look after your body, and look after your mind, they come hand in hand and each needs as much nurturing as the other.

Let's stop the body bashing and focus on things that really matter.

Enough time has been wasted enforcing a particular body type on people and more efforts need to be made to promote health as a whole.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on health promotion and body image so feel free to comment and I'll write back soon! Please be conscious of all who might be reading if you do leave a comment.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you come back next Sunday for another Self-reflection.

Bye from me!
xx
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