Self-Care – Do We Do Enough of it?

Self care.

We hear lots about it these days. I know my social media feeds have self-care related posts sprinkled throughout my feeds almost daily. It comes up in groups I’m in, pages I follow, magazines I read and even in discussions at work.

Self Love is asking yourself what you needย  – every day – and then making sure you receive it. – Christine Arylo

But do I do enough of it? Do we all do enough of it?

Probably not. Well, at least I know I don’t. I’ve had to take a bit of a break from my blog over the last few weeks, and things have been pretty stressful for me. It has made me think more and more about how much I take care of myself, and what I do to recharge. Where do I see my own emotional well-being in the grand scheme of things? Too low down most of the time.

Of course, this has come naturally. Being a wife, a mum, a friend, working , volunteering, managing the house and life in general has meant that thinking about me generally doesn’t happen as often as it should do. It’s the same for most of us I imagine. Life has this thing of getting in the way alot of the time!

In amongst lots of stress at work, finding a new job, preparing little G for school, and dealing with some home issues, I realised that I wasn’t being the best mum/wife/friend I could be. And that was partly because I was forgetting about looking after me. It’s true that you can’t pour from an empty cup. So I took a step back, and thought a bit about the things I would like to do that were for me. That would help fill that cup back up.

Here are some of those things:

Journalling and Planning

Earlier this year, I started bullet journalling. I had high hopes of being able to plan my life, and use my bullet journal as a bit of a creative outlet. I loved doing it, setting it up, making it look pretty. But by February I had stopped. Recently, I’ve started it again – but this time, it is alot more “functional” and I don’t beat myself up if my spread isn’t as pretty as my earlier ones, or if I miss a week because, well…life! During the few months where I didn’t journal, I missed it. I wanted to do it. But I realised I was putting too much pressure on myself to make it look perfect, rather than using it as it was intended – to help me plan.

I’d love to have the time to be able to make it instagram-perfect, but right now I know that it won’t be, and that’s OK. It’s helping with the stresses of work, and I’m sure it will also get a whole new makeover when I start my new job next month. But first and foremost, the journal is for me, and whatever I need it to be.

Crafting

This is definitely the one thing that I know will top up my self-care cup! Crafting is my absolute passion (well, besides my family of course!!) and it 100% takes my mind of any worries. Over the last few weeks, I have neglected my crafts and I know my emotional well-being has suffered because of it. This week, I’ve picked my crochet back up again, and made progress on a blanket I started back in May. It’s a simple granny square blanket, so I don’t have to focus too much on it, as the pattern is repetitive. I also love the colours, it reminds me of neapolitan ice cream and childhood fun.

Granny Blanket

I recommend crafting to anyone that wants to do something to escape from the world for a little bit. I learned to crochet about a year ago, following Youtube, and I love it! It’s cheap and easy to start up (although be prepared to become obsessed with yarns and patterns!). There is nothing more relaxing than sitting in the garden crocheting on a Summer day.

Reading

As a child, my parents always called me a bookworm. I loved to read and usually could be found “with my head in a book” as my Dad would say. As an adult, I read less that I would like, although I have started to make a point of picking up books more. I’ve signed up at my local library, and try to visit often. In the last few weeks alone, I have read two books and starting on my third.

I’ve joined social media groups to help find books I might enjoy, and I am making use of GoodReads – this is a fab site for checking out books in different genres, and keeping a list of books you want to read, have read etc. I started a challenge to read 10 books in 2018. I’ve now ticked off 2 of those ๐Ÿ™‚ I try to read a bit each night before bed. Which makes me feel better straight away as I’m not spending that time aimlessly scrolling through social media!

I also plan on posting some book reviews on my blog soon – so keep an eye out for those!

Positive Thinking and Affirmations

I spend my working days with counsellors and therapists, and this comes up a lot. When preparing their training materials, I’ve noticed they place a lot of emphasis on how we think about ourselves. Sometimes just reading a quote or a meme that you can relate to at that moment, or something that can help you think a bit differently, can really help. I love quotes. I’ve started keeping a note of quotes in my journal, and also made a positive thinking Pinterest board with quotes, memes and ideas to help me think positively, or to think about me and make some time for my self-care.

I’m planning to also try and use them in a crafty way and make some home-decor with some of these quotes on. Perhaps some cross- stitch, or a print for my desk.

 

These are just some of the ways that I am trying to practice more self care. There are plenty of other, really straightforward ideas and I am going to plan to do a blog post of some of my favourite, simple, 5 minute self-care ideas very soon. What I need to do first, is do them myself. To take care of me, and take some time for me.

Because, do I do enough self-care? Absolutely not! And it is something I want to get better at.

 

Love,

Sarah x

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Self-Hosting: My Experience So Far and How I Did It

Self-Hosting

When I first thought about creating my blog, I had no intention of going self-hosted. Self-hosting was the thing that established bloggers did; the ones will lots of followers and interactions and really pretty sites.

I’d decided I’d create a free blog on WordPress.com – it would give me enough functionality to blog as I wanted to for a while. It would give me the chance to see if I stuck with it, to see if anyone was even interested in my rambling about yarn and patterns and recipes. So I went with it, set up my blog and then did some reading on promoting your blog and growing your followers. I set up BlogLovin. I set up Twitter. I joined blogging Facebook groups.

But most of the things I read pointed to self-hosted being the way forwards.

So what made me decide to go self-hosted?

  • Almost everything I was reading suggested self-hosting give you the most options to increase followers/readers/subscribers
  • The customisation options available on a self-hosted WordPress.org site are far better
  • I could use plugins to really work on making my posts as good as possible, and improve my SEO
  • The blog would be mine
  • I could use my own domain name, and not have the WordPress branding in my domain (which, I’ll be honest, is probably the one thing that irritated me the most about a free WordPress!)
  • It would potentially open up more doors to be able to do collaborations, work with brands, and make money from my blog. I’ve not got any real plans for this at the moment, as I’m so new to blogging, but self-hosting seems to be the way forward if you do want to make any money from your blog!
  • I might be more likely to stick with blogging, as I’ve invested in it already.
  • It made sense to do it sooner rather than later, as that way I wouldn’t have as much information to transfer over

Disclaimer: The sites I recommend and link to in this post are my own, personal recommendations. I have not received anything to promote the companies mentioned, and this post talks about my own, subjective experiences.

How did I do it?

I started by researching managed wordpress hosting. I googled it, I read on forums, I read on social media and tried to work out which host would be best for what I needed. There is ALOT out there on which hosts are good, which plans offer real value for money etc. I’ll be honest, one of the big things for me was cost. At the moment, our budget is stretched to it’s limits, so I knew I wouldn’t be able to afford a massive monthly fee. But equally I wanted to go with a hosting provider that was reputable. I read an article on the best wordpress hosting providers in 2018 on Techradar. It mentioned all the hosts I’d come across in my readings, plus a couple of others.

Which Plan Did I Choose?

I decided to have a look at 1&1 – as Techradar recommended it for the novice blogger (that would be me!). The 1&1 Basic WordPress package is only 99p (+VAT) per month, for the first year. It also includes a free domain name for the first year. The renewal costs for anything after the first year are reasonable too, and you can pay monthly, rather than annually – which for me was a big plus! The plan also includes and SSL certificate and DDoS protection (I honestly don’t know what that really means, but I had read it is important to have this). I read some reviews and decided to give it a try!

The process of buying the plan and setting up the domain was really simple. It took around 24 hours for everything to be sorted, and to be able to access my control panel. First of all I set up my domain and SSL certificate, and then began the process of setting up WordPress. It was really straightforward and my site was up within about 15 minutes! I also set up my email address, installed a simple theme and then set to work on finding out how to transfer my posts from my original WordPress.com site.

Moving My Posts to my New Blog

This was the bit I thought would take the most time. It turned out, by following a few simple steps, I had moved my posts over to my self-hosted blog. I found this step by step tutorial by WPBeginner to be awesome. I only wanted to move my posts, so I can’t comment on how it works for anything else, but I found the process really simple. Just remember to extract the XML file that you download!!

Self-Hosting Success

So that, in a nutshell, is how I went self-hosted! It was nowhere near as scary and technical as I thought it was going to be. I’m finding adding posts and updating my site is still fairly intuitive with the WordPress.org platform – althought there is more functionality that I have yet to figure out!

I’ve started to use some plugins that were recommended on WPBeginner, but it’s early days yet and I’m still working on trying to understand those. (Once I know which ones I like, and the ones I use, I’ll pop a post up about the plugins I have found most useful).

I hope this helps anyone thinking about going self hosted. If you are about to take the plunge, or have any questions, leave me a comment or drop me an email – sarah@dottycraft.co.uk

 

Sarah x

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A Week of Sunshine

Well, it has been a pretty busy week of sunshine for me! Lots going on, and a few changes in store. It has also been a beautiful sunny week – the perfect example of a Great British summer. I have had a chance to enjoy that in the garden with my favourite people!

Enjoying the Summer

 

Pink Sweet Williams

I’ve been waiting for these flowers to bloom in the garden for a while now; the gorgeous sunshine has finally encouraged them to blossom and I love the vibrant pink colours. They make the mornings look brighter and the evenings prettier.

I’ve made a real effort over the last week to keep my “proper” camera within easy reach. As I’m using a really old phone at the moment (due to a washing machine disaster at Christmas with my main phone) I know that my little old iPhone 4 isn’t really up to taking the best photos. I’ve got some super photos of my girl enjoying time in the garden in her paddling pool, as well as some garden photos, and even a blue sky photo, complete with aeroplanes… So in the midst of Winter, I can look back and remember the glorious weather we’ve had recently.

Blue Skies and Aeroplane

 

Crafts and Hobbies

I’ve also been able to do a little bit on my cross stitch project. The awesome Woodland Sampler from The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery has been sat on my stitching frame for far too long. On Monday, after an important appointment (more on that in a later post), I decided to sit in the garden and do a bit more on the sampler. I love TFPS projects; they are cute, colourful and really easy to follow. Mr and Little DottyCraft bought this pattern for my birthday. Once it is finished, I plan to have it framed for Georgie’s bedroom.

Garden Stitching

The fabric I’m using is from Chromatic Alchemy, and the colour is called Nimbus. I adore using hand dyed fabrics for my cross stitch projects. There are so many fantastic artisans creating the most amazing colours – it is a bit of an addiction in itself just collecting the pretty fabrics! Chromatic Alchemy is one of my favourites, and I highly recommend checking out the website if you want to ogle some beautiful fabrics.

Reading

You might also have noticed the book in the photograph too. I’m really trying to make an effort to read more, especially because our new shiny library opened last Summer and it is within easy walking distance, so I really have no excuse! I do find it hard to choose and stick with a book sometimes though… Am I hooked in the first chapter? I am not a huge fan of chick-lit books either, and the plot has to keep me really focused.

At the moment, I’m really enjoying historical fiction, and my current book is The Italian Wife by Kate Furnivall. I’m about a third through and I’m enjoying it a lot. I try to make sure to have it in my backpack for trips on the bus to and from work, as for me, that is the best time for me to fit reading a chapter or two in.

 

How I’ve Been Getting Organised

One of the reasons I decided to start a blog was because I needed to “switch off” from work and from the office. But in attempting to do that, I knew I would need to do something to really organise and focus my working days. This is so that I don’t feel guilty about not checking in with work related stuff on my days off.

I’ve been a fan of bullet journaling for a while, and made a start on my very first bullet journal earlier this year. Of course, with work, life, and my need to try and make it all pretty and perfect, I lost my way with it for a bit. But after seeing a post on a Facebook Group recently about how someone used their bullet journal for work, I decided it would be a great chance to get back into it, and use the bullet journal system for a very specific purpose.

I used it last week and am going to set up this week later on, and I plan to put a separate blog post up about how I’m using my bullet journal for work. So keep an eye out for that very soon ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve also taken the plunge with my blog this weekend, and gone self-hosted. It’s still very new as I only went “live” this morning. I really want to share with you my experience and what I have done and learned in my self-hosting journey so far. Once I am a bit more familiar with things, and can put it into something meaningful, I will do a separate post.

Phew, I think that’s about it for now! Thanks for reading.

Sarah x

 

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Mid Week Motivation

Gowhere

I’m just going to leave this here, as I get ready for a potentially very difficult and gruelling day in the office. But I’m feeling OK about it; this quote sums up really well how I’m feeling, and there is a light at the end of this little tunnel!

I’ll explain in my next blog post what I have done to change everything around, and how I tackled it. It’s been an exciting and tough week so far… here’s to hopefully having a much calmer rest of the week!

Have a great Wednesday! ๐Ÿ™‚

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In the beginning…

So I’ve finally taken the plunge! Decided to really focus on making a blog that represents me, and my life, and my creative outlets! I won’t lie, this is not the first blog I have started… but it is the first one I am really excited about. Because I want to write about and share the things that really inspire me. I also want to let this little space on the internet be somewhere that in between the office, the school run, the supermarket and spending time on my crafts, I can just be me!

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I have always loved to write, and since finishing university and life generally getting in the way, I just haven’t done anywhere near enough of it. I’ve missed it – and although I’m not amazing at it, I enjoy writing for fun,ย  so I am really excited to do this. Mix that in with my love of crochet, yarn, floss, fabrics, baking, and of course my lovely little family and I’m sure I will have plenty to write about.

I’ve been thinking about blogging for a few weeks. Office life at the moment is stressful, hard work and all-consuming. On the days I am in the office, I literally do not get a moment to step back, to think, to focus on what I am actually doing. I don’t think it will be like that forever, but right now I can’t see it changing any time soon. I’ve been spending my days off continuing to work, trying to fit everything in, trying not to let people I work with down. But it’s not sustainable, and isn’t fair on me or my family. So I decided a few weeks ago I needed somewhere else to focus my energy, something to really stop my mind thinking about the office when G is at school and I’m home alone for a few hours. What better way to do that, than by following my love of writing once more? So Dotty Craft is just that. Let’s see where it takes us shall we?

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