A Floral Frenzy

fashion

Welcome back to The Monica Way.

 

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Camden Passage, a beautiful and stimulating avenue full of vintage treasures, dainty trinkets, charming eateries and all the second hand books a girl might ever desire.

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HERITAGE SQUARE by Henry London

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A simple and sleek understated watch is perfect for a London day out

Inspired by the sylvan and antique beauty of Camden Passage, I wanted to feel dressy but also in tune with my surroundings. A floral full sleeved tier dress and my vintage inspired Henry London bronze watch was the perfect blend for a day out exploring the delights the passage had to offer.

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The Henry London Heritage Square watch is dainty and delicate, not overpowering.

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Camden Passage is a pedestrian passage off Upper Street in the London Borough of Islington. Alongside its many antique shops it also boasts quirky, picturesque back streets and contemporary markets, cafes and bars.

I spent the day here with my Mum whilst she was visiting for the weekend. We indulged in naughty Nutella crepes and trawled through the vintage stalls dotted about the passage.

Whilst you all know that I love a second hand bargain, my Mum on the other hand prefers to buy first hand. The area has the perfect balance of old and new, offering both second hand shops and also independent boutiques and well known brands.

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If you’re a vintage fan, a bloguette, a foodie or a book lover, Camden Passage is a great way to pass an afternoon, grab a coffee and maybe pick up a few treats.

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Just living is not enough… one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.

-Hans Christian Andersen

 

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I hope you’ve enjoyed my Floral Frenzy look of the day as we’ve explored the Camden Passage together.

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Have a wonderful week,

With love,

Monica

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the 6 books every cosmopolitan girl needs

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Welcome back to The Monica Way!

This week I’m talking books…but not just any old books, oh no. I’m talking books for fun, vivacious, cosmopolitan girls who like to get stuff done!

The books I’ve chosen for my first ever book blog post (blook post?) are all chosen with  happiness, enjoyment or self accomplishment at their core. I’m not really a fiction girl, I like to read books based on real life and self development. I also like to use books to help me stay motivated, organised and focused. I’ve tried to create a varied list of my favourite books in the hope that you’ll find one or two to tickle your fancy…With that being said, lets get started!

Book 1

Personalised Forbes Notebook

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Personalised Forbes Notebook from Tangible Stationery

For who? This notebook can literally be used by anybody, anywhere. It’s the perfect size to fit in a handbag and carry around. It also doubles up as a really beautiful coffee table accessory or ‘shelfie’ ornament.

(While a selfie might show off your outfit or your face space, a shelfie flaunts your book collection)

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Why I love it…

I mainly use my Forbes notebook to jot down my ideas and thoughts throughout the day. I’m a big big advocate of lists, in fact, I write lists for pretty much anything and everything you can imagine (gift ideas, to do lists, blog post ideas, shopping lists, passwords and usernames, the list goes on..). I think that having a really good and reliable notebook is quite frankly underrated. In a world that’s so heavily reliant on technology, it’s really refreshing to physically note and record your memories in a safe and palpable location.

I always carry a notebook around with me so I wanted one that would compliment my everyday style and add a little something to my outfit, like you would with a bag or an umbrella. It may seem a little redundant or unnecessary but you could be surprised at the spike in your productivity levels just from the acquisition of a fancy new notebook!

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The perfect gift…

I loved this notebook so much that I even had to get one for my boyfriend. There’s something really special about personalised gifts and this was something a little bit quirky that I knew he would actually use. I chose to get my notebook from a company called Tangible Stationery, they offer loads of different versions of the Forbes Notebook  and also the option to customise with names or special messages. They’re super affordable, amazing quality and come beautifully packaged in white tissue paper, a great idea if you’re stuck for gift ideas!

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Book 2

PORTABLE COLOUR ME HAPPY By Lacy Mucklow

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PORTABLE COLOUR ME HAPPY By Lacy Mucklow

For who? Creative adults who love colouring!

This portable colouring book is perfect for those moments you feel stressed, overwhelmed or just want to express your creativity in a quick and easy way.

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Why I love it? There are so many benefits to colouring and I think we often overlook how it can impact on our lives.

7 benefits to colouring

  1. Your brain experiences relief by entering a meditative state
  2. Stress and anxiety levels have the potential to be lowered
  3. Negative thoughts are expelled as you take in positivity
  4. Focusing on the present helps you achieve mindfulness
  5. Unplugging from technology promotes creation over consumption
  6. Colouring can be done by anyone, not just artists or creative types
  7. It’s a hobby that can be taken with you wherever you go, waiting for the tube, on a long journey or on an evening after a long day

So why not treat yourself this month to a new packet of nice felt tips pens and colouring book?

 

 

Book 3

Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Happier Life by Arianna Huffington

For who? Lovers of autobiography style books and self-improvement journals

How would I describe it in two words? Stimulating, inspiring.

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If you aren’t aware of who Arianna Huffington is, she’s the founder of the Huffington Post and someone who I admire very much.

The general notion of this book is discovering what it means to be successful in today’s world. The book highlights that our relentless pursuit of the two traditional metrics of success — money and power — has led to an epidemic of stress-related illnesses, fatigue, an erosion in the quality of our relationships, family life and ironically, our careers.

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The chapters are set into the headers; Well-Being, Wisdom, Wonder and Giving. Huffington draws on the latest research and scientific findings in the fields of psychology, sports, sleep, and physiology to prove the profound and transformative effects of meditation, mindfulness, unplugging, and giving. 

This is a book I tend to pick up when I need to regroup and re-think my ideas surrounding my work-life and personal goals.

My thoughts? A really engaging and thought-provoking piece on what it means to be successful

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Book 4

THE RULES OF WORK by Richard Templar

For who?

Quote lovers and those looking to improve their personal traits both in work and outside of work.

Why did I choose to feature this? Every time I’ve posted a quote or an extract from this book on my social media, I’ve always been inundated with people wondering where the quote originated from..well now you know!

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THE RULES OF WORK by Richard Templar

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The book is set out in the same format as all ‘The Rules of…’ books, whereby every notion or idea has a framed quote on the page, accompanied by a guide containing practical strategies and advice on how to apply the said idea to your own life.

For those of you who’ve been following me for a while, you’ll already know of my love for the Richard Templar ‘The Rules of…‘ books. I find Templar’s style of writing extremely concise, well executed and to the point. The Rules of Work is the type of book you can pick up, read a couple of pages and then go straight ahead and put what you’ve read into practice that day.

Two words to describe this book?  Honest, useful.

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Book 5

J’aurais adoré être ethnologue by Margaux Motin 

For who? Lovers of   and beautiful illustrations.

Note: This book is entirely in French

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J’aurais adoré être ethnologue by Margaux Motin

Why did I choose to feature it? Its quirky, fun and amusing. The illustrations are really an art within themselves and it’s definitely a book I choose to read when I want to have a little giggle to myself..

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I would best describe the topics in this BD as the chronicles of a modern woman. This book is truly charming and very very funny.

I might note that Motin is a mother and so, if you don’t have children, perhaps not all of this book is entirely relatable. None-the-less this book is full of beautiful illustrations and hilarious everyday situations that we can all find humour in.

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Book 6

Everyday Happiness: 365 Ways to a Joyful life by Bounty

For who? Another one for the quote lovers!

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Everyday Happiness: 365 Ways to a Joyful life  by Bounty

Why did I choose to feature this?  It takes only one small action every day to build on your happiness. Staying positive is truly attainable though reading this book each morning. I love this little pocket-book, it’s sweet, simple and thanks to its bite size format, extremely achievable.

Each daily page features either an inspirational quote or an exercise, like try something new, take a plant to work, compliment someone, or embrace a colour.

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‘Everyday Happiness’ encourages you to really make every day count – filled with inspirational quotes, positive actions and achievable goals, this cute little book is the perfect kickstart for anyone in need of a positive pick-me-up.

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And with that, we have the 6 books that every cosmopolitan girl needs!

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I would love to know how you find these books and if you have any recommendations for me for a future post.

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I have really enjoyed compiling a list of my top 6 books for you and I hope you can find the same joy in them that I do.

Thanks for reading and have a lovely week!

With love,

Monica

Festive Decorating for a Healthy Mind

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Hello! Welcome back to The Monica Way.

In today’s post I wanted to share with you the ways that we can festively decorate our homes in a simplistic, clutter-free and calming manner whilst still embodying the spirit of Christmas.

For me, it’s really important that my home environment feels bright, homely, organic and well-ordered…tidy house tidy mind. But I often find that lots of the Christmas decorations on the high street are rather brash, tacky and messy looking.

This year I’ve opted for an understated organic, floral Christmas theme for my home.

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It’s scientifically proven that freshly-cut flowers within the home can reduce both worry and anxiety. I can personally vouch for these facts, as without a doubt having fresh flowers in my home always induces a sense of positivity into my day and makes me feel invigorated. Not only are there health benefits to fresh plants in the home but they also bring an air of freshness and beauty to a room.

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To bring my floral Christmas theme to life I chose a gorgeous Christmas bouquet from Prestige Flowers UK.   The bouquet arrived within two days and was beautifully packaged in a sturdy white box.

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What I love about this particular Christmas bouquet is the colours. I tend to keep my home ornaments white and very simple but as its Christmas I love the addition of the golden star spangles mixed in with the various flowerets. The hints of gold add in the element of festivity and glamour that I’m looking to achieve with my festive decor.

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Red and green are typically the colours that are associated with Christmas. Personally, I’m not a big fan of red home decor as I find it really over powering and distracting. This bouquet was the perfect balance of the clean-cut look that I like within my home environment and the festive christmassy demeanour that this season entails.

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The bouquet is really thick and beautifully put together as well as smelling delightful! My favourite flowers are white roses and I was highly impressed by their size and quality on opening the packaging.

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If you’re struggling for Christmas present ideas, or if you’re like me and just like to treat yourself every now and then, I would recommend you check out the Prestige Flowers website. Their flowers are of such a beautiful quality and they have a really wide range of bouquet designs to suit your personal style. Whats more, they deliver them safely straight to your chosen address and you can even add in extras like a box of chocolates or a personalised card.  It’s totally stress free and can bring a lovely sense of vitality into your living space.

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We spend a lot of time in our homes, so it’s really important that we make our homes a space we enjoy living in and where we can seek comfort and relief from the stresses of daily life. Something as simple as a fresh bouquet of flowers or a half hour out of the day to do something crafty can really help the mind repose and contribute to your overall well-being.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and I would love to hear your home decor tips.

Have a wonderful weekend.

With love,

Monica

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Red Alert

fashion

Welcome back to The Monica Way

“Red is such an interesting colour to correlate with emotion, because it’s on both ends of the spectrum. On one end you have happiness, falling in love, infatuation with someone, passion, all that. On the other end, you’ve got obsession, jealousy, danger, fear, anger and frustration.”

– Taylor Swift

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What does red signify for you? For me, the colour red says bold and fierce and I like to think that I, myself, encompass both of those attributes to some degree.

I chose to feature this look, as I feel it embodies a lot of my character, it’s adventurous and daring, but also expresses a sense of delicacy.

As I’m growing older and moving around between cities, my style is slowly changing from a form that was previously animated and perhaps a little provocative to something more classical, mature and structured.

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As I write this article, I’m listening to Do You Want to Build a Snowman from Frozen, so it’s probably worth mentioning that I do still have some rather childlike and juvenile tendencies…I get major food envy daily, I like my toast cut into triangles, I prefer Disney to most things and love to be cuddled to sleep (whilst holding my cuddly elephant wheat bag). It’s important that my style reflects who I am and how I’m feeling. Infusing vivid colour into an otherwise rather monotone outfit warrants my playful and youthful side.

 

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KENDRA PATENT Dr Martens £135

I’ve always been drawn to modish looking items. As mentioned previously in my blog, I’m on a mission to shop smart; to shop for longevity and quality. Naturally, I’m a big fan of Dr Martens, they’re renowned for their quality, in fact anyone who owns a pair will know just how durable and reliable they really are.  What’s more, Dr Martens as a brand seem to have this amazing ability to adapt and embrace change while maintaining their touch of tradition in all their boots.

For this look, I chose a classic boot brand but in an atypical design. The heeled KENDRA Dr Martens combine the masculine look of the original Dr Marten boots with a feminine twist.  I utilised these boots to infuse a sense of edge into this otherwise very imperial look.
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Another side to me is my frugal and thrifty tendencies. You’ll find that approximately half of my wardrobe is either second-hand or re-worked.

This weekend I went on a second-hand hunt with an old school friend, Molly. We spent a couple of hours together, probing through the eclectic and ever-varying clothing rails at TRAID, Peckham. If you haven’t heard of TRAID, they’re a franchise of charity shops that are dotted in and around London.

What’s really great about TRAID is that their clothing is all sorted, picked and mostly of a really great quality. It’s almost like visiting a second-hand boutique of one-offs.  Super exciting.

The aim of TRAID is primarily to increase clothing reuse whilst also helping to reduce waste, carbon emissions and consumption. TRAID proceeds go towards funding international development projects to improve conditions and working practices in the textile industry. To find your closest TRAID check out their website, they’re located all over London; Brixton, Camden, Clapham, Dalston to name but a few!

This weekend they were having a sale whereby all items were only £2-£7!

Outfit Details

Scarlet Red Tailored Jacket    TRAID £7.00

Wool Jumper Dress    TRAID £5.00

Heeled KENDRA Patent Dr Martens    Dr Martens £135.00

Black Felt Fedora Hat    Random Paris Boutique €40.00

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Wool Felt Fedora Hat Simon & Mary Audrey £60

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There are still many preconceived ideas about second-hand buying. Some seem to think that it’s dirty, bad quality or for ‘cheapskates’. But I can guarantee you, there’s just as much beauty in pre-owned clothing as newly bought, sometimes even more.

We’re living in a society driven by consumerism not to mention the continuous digression of our planet. We can all do our bit to reduce landfill and cut down on manufacturing demands. Buying second-hand clothing means you are going to reuse somebody else’s piece of clothing that may be in perfect condition but would otherwise end up in landfill.

If that’s not enough to encourage you to shop second-hand, here are the top five reasons that I buy second hand.

  1. It’s affordable and gives you more freedom to experiment with your style without taking financial risks.
  1. It aids expression of individuality. Have you ever been to Zara and bought a jumper, to later find out that every man and his dog also has that same jumper? You never know what you will find in second-hand/thrift shops, so it can be really rewarding!
  1. It’s always different. Second hand shops are continually receiving new donations and merchandise. The hunt for that unique item is always new and fresh. Second hand shopping satisfies my craving for one-off items.
  1. You can still get brand names! If like me, you’re a sucker for a brand, then check out the charity shops in the more affluent areas. If you’re in Yorkshire try Harrogate and Ilkley, or if you’re in London, check out the charity shops in Kensington and Chelsea. It’s the perfect method to feed your fashionista needs while saving your pennies and helping the environment.
  1. Your Money Stays in the Community. This is a big one. Second-hand buying ensures your money stays within the community where it can benefit local businesses, charities and those from disadvantaged situations.

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And that’s my On Red Alert look.

I would love to hear your thoughts on second-hand buying and this look of the day.

Thanks for reading!

With love,

Monica

Big hair, bigger dreams

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Welcome back to The Monica Way!

Take a Sunday stroll with me, as I talk you through my ‘Big Hair, Bigger Goals’ look and a couple of my current favourite fashion tips.

After years of abusing my naturally curly hair, I am finally coming to accept and embrace it.

In life, we generally tend to want what we can’t have and for me, that’s always been genetically straight, sleek hair (and a Hermès Birkin Bag). This year I’m making the effort to try to cut back on the number of processes that I put my hair through and thus, improve its condition.

When wearing my hair in its natural state, I find that my general appearance suddenly becomes much busier and more hectic. In order to achieve a classy and elegant look, I tend to fall back on neutral and understated colours to taper the bold style of my natural hair.

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Become a scarf lover. 

I can’t even begin to count the number of scarves that live inside my wardrobe.

A bold scarf can always be used to inject a thread of commotion into your more understated outfits. I tend to splash out on my scarves, as I feel they’re an item that will never go out of style and can always be recovered and revived when the colder months come by. This particular scarf is 85% cashmere which makes it super soft and cosy, it’s an investment that I know I’ll continue to wear for many years to come.

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Every girl needs comfy pair of dressy trainers. 

We all have those days where we want to look dressy but not too dressy.

I chose these velvet zipper high-tops from And Other Stories for their comfy and contemporary style – perfect for those long days walking through the city.

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Roots can be cute. 

As part of my mission to restore my hair’s condition, I decided to quit the hair bleach.

Instead of adding anymore chemicals into my hair, I took the plunge and started to grow out my roots. I must admit the first few weeks were the worst because it was still touch and go as to whether the roots looked like they were there intentionally or not.

It’s been over three months since I last had any bleach on my hair (yippee!) and I’m really starting to love my new look, not to mention the money I’m saving on hair appointments.

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Oversized Blazers Are Our Friends

Don’t be afraid of the oversized blazer, when worn with the right bottoms, they won’t shorten you (and that’s coming from someone who’s 5 foot small).

An oversized blazer can give your cosy, relaxed layers a sense of polish and structure. When wearing an oversized blazer I tend to wear something tighter fitting on my lower half to avoid looking frumpy or drowned out. Oversized blazers are so versatile and can be dressed up (with a pair of heels) or dressed down (with jeans/pumps) depending on the occasion.

Details

Oversized Blazer – Mango £42

Washed Out Ripped jeans – Mango £30

Wool Roll Neck – Second Hand £15

Origin Leather Day Satchel – Cancer Research £10

Velvet Zipper High-Tops – And Other Stories £95

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…And that’s my Sunday ‘Big Hair, Bigger Goals’ look of the day.

I hope you’ve all had a wonderful weekend and enjoyed this look!

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

With love,

Monica

Setting and achieving your personal goals

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Welcome back to The Monica Way.

Today I’m exploring the notion of setting and achieving your goals. For some, goal setting may seem pointless, for others setting a goal can be the catalyst that converts an idea into a reality.

Personally, I’m a very physical and practical goal setter, I love making lists and seeing my goals visually, written down onto paper. In this article I’m going to be giving you my top three tips on how to successfully set and achieve your goals.

The word ‘goal’ can sometimes connote something rather ambiguous and perhaps a little daunting. Whereas in actual fact the word ‘goal’ (in this sense) simply means the object of a person’s ambition or effort. Your goal doesn’t have to be revolutionary, it simply needs to be something that you are passionate to change or achieve in your life. Something that will impact you in a positive way and bring you that sense of achievement that we all yearn for.

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Setting Yearly, Monthly and Weekly goals is a method of life planning that I’ve been using for around four years now and I really do recommend it. It’s a highly motivating and rewarding means of tracking your progress and ensuring that you’re reaching your potential both on a personal and work level.

The tips I’m about to share are simple but effective. They’ve enabled me to get to where I am today and I feel really proud of what I’ve achieved so far.

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Goals are personal to every individual. My goals this year have been varied in size and profundity. Some as small as drinking more water, straightening my hair less and taking better care of my skin. Bigger goals that have been ticked off my 2017 list include learning a third language, living in Italy and moving to London. These are all genuine goals that I wrote down for myself over a year ago and can now look back on with pride and a real sense of achievement.

Goals big or small are still goals and all contribute to your general well-being and sense of accomplishment. With that being said, let’s get started!

1. Set your goals and be specific

We all have goals we want to achieve but sometimes we just need that initial push to acknowledge and prioritise them. Start with really thinking about what you want to accomplish and why. Ensure that this is a goal you are passionate about and that you are really going to give it your best shot. Establish what exactly the completion of this goal would look like in your mind and carve out what would be required in order to achieve it.

Tip: If you’re not ready to take on the full goal all in one, break it down into sizeable and doable segments… Baby steps!

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2. Write it down 

“When you write down your ideas you automatically focus your full attention on them. Few if any of us can write one thought and think another at the same time. Thus a pencil and paper make excellent concentration tools.”
Michael Leboeuf

In a world that revolves around technology, the old school paper and pen seems almost archaic. I firmly believe in the power of physically writing down thoughts and ideas. Writing down your goals brings about clarity and direction. A written goal is a constant reminder of what you have set out to do, it keeps you on track and can really help prevent you from swaying off track or making irrational decisions.

There are many different formats in which you can lay out your goal setting. I like to set my goals into categories by having a page for each heading such as my work goals, physical goals, lifestyle goals and material goals.

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On the completion of my goals I always give myself a big fat tick beside my original target. Looking back and palpably seeing your success on paper is such an amazing sense of satisfaction and magnifies the legitimacy of goal completion.

Tip: Treat yourself to a really special notebook that makes writing down your goals a blissful and enjoyable experience.

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3. Enjoy the journey and be realistic

I don’t use the word journey lightly. The reason goals are goals is because they require effort and determination.  Reaching your goals may not always be attainable in the original time frame that you set for yourself and that’s okay. There may, and probably will be setbacks, BUT REMEMBER pick yourself back up, re-read why you started in the first place and refocus.  Goal setting is fun and you can really play about with it- you may surprise yourself!

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Tip: Daily to do lists are a game changer! They can help you overcome feelings of being overwhelmed, and reduce the anxiety around whether you’re being productive throughout the day. I usually have around 3 ‘to do’s‘ per day, which personally I find attainable, but find what works best for you.

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If there’s something that bugs you daily or perhaps you’re just looking to learn a new skill, make it your goal and get started. Setting goals and achieving them is a journey that comes with so many benefits and now is the perfect time to start.

Let me know if you’ve found this helpful, I would love to hear about your tips, goals and ambitions for 2018!

With love,

Monica