A moment to think at the Little Beach Hut of Dreams, Brighton

Life in a beach hut / Brighton beach ››

Life in a beach hut / Brighton beach ››

I can't tell you how excited I've been about sharing this post.

The little beach hut of dreams has stolen my heart, she really has.

Neil & I spent a morning restacking our creative thoughts in this peaceful place not far from our home in Hove. The sun was shining, it was a wee windy at times but that only contributed to the relaxing seaside atmosphere. It provided the perfect space to get away and unwind for a few hours together.

Life in a beach hut / Brighton beach ››

Life in a beach hut / Brighton beach ››

Life in a beach hut / Brighton beach ››

We've all needed a moment or two to think about the grand vision we want for our lives and careers, but somehow those moments rarely seem to come. It's hard to completely detach yourself from the everyday routine of reality, you end up getting caught up in housework, phone calls, meetings and paying bills before you have time to think.

In my opinion, everyone needs a few hours every month, or a weekend every year in a place like this to rethink or plan forth your direction in life. And that's exactly what Neil & I planned as "Dreamers-in-residence" in the hut that sits on Hove promenade. We talked about our home plans, his Brighton wedding photography plans, and the vision for my blog and how I'll get there.
Life in a beach hut / Brighton beach ››

Life in a beach hut / Brighton beach ››

Life in a beach hut / Brighton beach ››

Life in a beach hut / Brighton beach ››

Life in a beach hut / Brighton beach ››

Aside from the sheer beauty of this little place, what is most special about the beach hut are the experiences it provides for the dreamers in residence, and all for free. It's an inspiring initiative run by Beth & Paul, the couple behind Do What You Love online courses (I've been a part of this one, and can't recommend it highly enough, they also have a Do What You Love guide to blogging which I'm signing up for). Beth & Paul are passionate about giving people a day away out of their lives to spend time here, and have opened it up to anyone to apply. I simply love this. 

Brighton has needed a little escape hatch for city folk, couples and small creative teams, and I feel like the Little Beach Hut of Dreams has a very exciting time ahead.
I'm keeping fingers and toes crossed that it wins the Beach Hut of the year award, you deserve it!

Life in a beach hut / Brighton beach ››

Life in a beach hut / Brighton beach ››

Life in a beach hut / Brighton beach ››

Life in a beach hut / Brighton beach ››

Life in a beach hut / Brighton beach ››

Life in a beach hut / Brighton beach ››

Life in a beach hut / Brighton beach ››

Visit littlebeachhutofdreams.com and apply for a day away

If you're starting or running your own business and are in need of a weekend to unplug & get inspired, also check out the Happy Startup Summercamp which I help organise. Another golden opportunity to start thinking about the life you want to live.

7 ways I've made my life better this month (January edition)

Here it is. 2015 and another fresh start.

I posted 7 ways I've made my life better this month back in October and I received the most hits I've ever had on a blog post during 2014. It scared me a little clicking publish on that one given the transparency, but I guess it worked. So here's round 2.

7 ways I've made January a little less blue.

1. I'm reading a book a month

That's 12 books in 2015. Not a huge amount, but a challenge for me being a really slow reader. This month is The Accidental Creative by Todd Henry (a recommendation from Carrie) and it's one brilliant read to kick off the year - it's jam packed full of techniques for having better, more actionable ideas. Next on my list is Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In (one to check out if you're career-driven) I can't wait to get learning.

2. Yoga (of the Fifi variety) happens three times a week

I can't help it, I'm a wannabe Erin Motz. The girl is perfect. Since finding out about the bad yogi movement she's behind, it made me see how accessible yoga is for anyone. I wouldn't say I'm on a health kick, more of a brain kick this year, in search of more focus and less dependency on google and all things digital. Hatha yoga is allowing me to become more, y'know, mindful. I use youtube videos to get my confidence up before I'll eventually find a class or yoga retreat so if you see any gooduns, let me know :)

3. I've made my kitchen a better equipped place to create healthier meals... FINALLY!

When you don't have the right ingredients in the cupboard, or the right tools to work with, it's easy to just reach for a bag of crisps and have that for din dins saving all the effort (and washing up) of cooking from scratch. Neil & I paid a visit to Home Sense in Brighton and did a big home haul of things we needed for better ease of meal creation.

A non-slip chopping board, that's LIGHT! has been the biggest change in our lives. Who else starts screaming when you're trying to cut up an onion and end up cutting yourself because your cheap chopping board won't stay put? What's worse is washing them up, they weigh a tonne. This Home Sense bamboo one is a dream to use and I find myself wanting to prepare meals now. We were also in need of a new peeler for similar reasons (I'm accident prone) and I let out a squeak of delight finding this copper one for only a fiver. I copper. Life's too short to live with crappy kitchenware, stop your frustration and do a home haul.

4.  I now drink only green tea & water*

This is another change I've made for my brain kick. Green tea is much lower in caffeine and packed with anti-oxidants. I make up a travel mug of it to start my day and it keeps me toasty on my walk to work. So far I feel much more switched on, healthier and hydrated so I aim to keep this up throughout the year. Cutting back drastically on alcohol too, I'm convinced, has made my brain function better and I'm more articulate.

*unless it's Friday night - a girl gotta have a small glass of wine.

5. Introduced more creativity through colouring

Yes, I've bought an actual colouring book. For grown ups though. I'll talk more about this in a post I have planned, but in the book I mentioned in point 1, the author highly recommends incorporating "unnecessary creating" into your week to give you something to look forward to inside a hectic weekly rhythm. So far I don't know how much good it's doing for my overall creativity levels, but I'm loving any excuse to act like a kid again. 

6. I began writing a gratitude journal 

The idea came about when I was given a beautiful Orla Kiely print notebook from Neil's ma & pa for Christmas. I found myself not wanting to write the usual notes, telephone numbers and to-do lists inside it, it was too nice to ruin with my scribbles. So I did exactly what I'm trying to not do so much of, and googled "what shall I write in my new diary" (Google dictates my life). Lots of cool ideas came up, but this I loved. Every night I think of 3 things I'm thankful for that day and write them down. It'll be fun to read through them when I'm old and grey.

7. I've been waking up at 7.30am every morning (including weekends)

Not gunna lie, this has been the hardest of the 7. Trying to get back into a proper routine after the Christmas holidays was difficult. I don't have to leave the house for work until about 9am, and I used to wake up as close to 9 as I could. But since 2015 came, this has all changed. I now have time to tidy the house, pop to the sorting office or potter around before the day begins and it feels FANTASTIC!

What goals have you reached in January?

7 ways I've made my life better this month

1. Set up a pension

Okay so it hasn't officially been set up yet, but all the necessary steps have been made to start putting aside a chunk of cash so I live more comfortably once I come of age. I read an article about a year ago in the Guardian saying people in their early 20s (or younger) must start putting aside at least £30 a month for their retirement, or risk financially struggling.

It stayed with me ever since, and now that I've been lucky enough to have a salary rise, I've decided to invest that little bit extra into the future.

2. Planned my finances for the next 3 months down to the button

New boots, new converse, mortgage payments, replacing the guttering costs, (not in priority order, ha) there's an endless mental list I've had of things that need paying out which left me constantly worried about where the money will come from and when will I start digging into my overdraft.

Last week I sat down, created a Trello board of my earnings, mapped out exactly what I need to pay for and set budgets for the week. I can now rest easy and forget about money, knowing how much I have and how much I'm allowed to spend on what.

3. Arranged a damp survey... FINALLY

Not sure I've mentioned this previously, if you follow me on twitter you might have heard me ranting about it. As with a LOT of older properties in Brighton & Hove, we have had our fair share of damp issues, that sadly we have to fix and foot the bill for (the only moments where I wish I was renting!)

The problem has gone round in circles a bit. If you've ever suffered with condensation & damp problems in your homes, you'll understand how frustrating the 'trial and error' approach is. It constantly feels like there's no solution. So Neil & I have taken the plunge and booked in a damp survey to start fixing the problems.

Fingers crossed it'll be money well spent!

4. Mapped out blog events, posts and ideas with Trello

Hey look, it's behind the scenes of Fifi McGee. I know it doesn't appear like I'm this organised when you visit this page, but if you're a blogger too you'll know how much effort goes into every post. In a bid to keep track of campaigns I've been asked to work on, events that are upcoming and the constant stream of ideas (and no time to execute them!) I have, I've created a trello board to have everything in one place.

If you don't know what Trello is, you haven't lived.

5. Changed my shower head

You'll perhaps see more of this when I do a house tour (won't be for a while yet, but it will happen). 

Every morning I have a shower I begin my day miserable. Our old shower head had no force to it, the water felt more like it was being deployed from a faulty watering can from pound stretcher. Not the most optimistic start to every day.

Thank GOD for Methven. After researching their ranges, I found that if I changed my shower head to involve a more immersive 'spray' as long as the pressure of our water was fine, it should improve the shower experience to dodge the watering can feel.

I've currently got the Kaha Satinjet shower head and my life (and mornings!) have been revolutionised.

6. I've come up with a savings plan

There's 3 holidays coming up this year. A girls holiday. Where my tight-knit group of girls picked a name out of a hat to plan a surprise getaway with a budget. None of us are allowed to know where we're going until we get to the airport, woop woop. A family holiday. That'll give us the opportunity to 'tour' Germany (something I've wanted to do since I studied German in A-level). And a couples holiday. We're thinking Santorini or somewhere similar to lap up sun and eat damn good food.

Again, cue the trello board. I've worked out a budget for each, how long I've got until we have to book and divided the two to equal a monthly saving for each. Adulthood is fun.

7. Gave up milk & sugar in my tea

Black tea is so much fresher (and healthier). Try it.

What goals have you reached this last month?