5 Ways To Stay On Top Of Homework + Revision | Collab With Emma Blether

Hello everybody! Welcome again to my back to school series. I am very excited today to bring a collab with one of my most admired bloggers: Rachel. Rachel is a creator based in Scotland, who produces YouTube, blog and Instagram content under her alias ‘Emma Blether’. We have previously worked to each other on a few posts, which I will link here. More recently I became the first official customer of her new online business: Emma Blether Prints. I’ll link all of her social medias at the end of the post (so keep reading!)

Today’s collaboration is on a study based topic! I absolutely love sharing tips on how to be more productive. I’ll be sharing how I stay on top of homework, studying and revision. Rachel, on the other hand, will be sharing How To Stay On Top Of Revision. I will link that post here to you can head over and read it!

School is approaching, and may have resumed for you. After 6 long months of online school, it’s definitely a shock to the system to have face to face teaching and… homework. The devil’s word. But homework is a necessary tool to help you improve with your subjects! This post applies to revision too, although revision is definitely organised by the pupil more so than the teacher. Anyway, let’s get into it, shall we? 

Start As Soon As It Is Set

As soon as someone sets you a task, get started on it. No, I don’t mean get it all done in one night. If it’s a smaller task, of course go for it. However with bigger tasks and projects the largest obstacle is getting started! As soon as you can, get started. I usually do this by…

Plan, Plan, Plan

Planning! Rather than ‘go with the flow’ I like to outline the key points of discussion before heading into a task (I do this for blog posts too). You might be asked to carry out research on… Piet Mondrian – he was the first person that came to my head. Write out the questions you would like to answer in your research, then get started! But DON’T just simplify a Wikipedia document. Write down a few key points or mini to-do lists you would like to complete in your homework.

I have a sense that last paragraph made no sense. Sorry for confusing you! 

Sticky Notes

I might have rugby club directly after school, which interferes with my ability to get started right away. So in my planner, next to where I’ve written down the homework criteria, I will place a sticky note with my initial ideas. This is especially useful for creative subjects that require brainstorming! Or even with sciences, jot down what textbook you think might be useful to complete the homework.

A Planner/Schedule

Writing down your commitments (clubs, lessons, homework etc) in a timetable is a severely overlooked way to manage time! If you had five tasks set on Wednesday, but your Wednesday evening was packed full of work, write down (on your schedule) an allotted time to complete the homework/revision. Is Thursday night free? Do it on Thursday!

Don’t Pile It All On At Once

Procrastination is not ideal. Neither is expecting yourself to complete millions of tasks at a million miles an hour. Use the schedule, as mentioned above, to spread out your work. A spot of revision every day is better than one huge day packed full at the end of the week. Small, but often! That’s my approach with homework. Always make time for family, friends and pursuing your passions. School is really important, but your whole world shouldn’t centre around it. Take breaks.

These pens are completely plastic free, and the ink is soy based (non toxic) so perfect if you’re wanting to make an extra effort this school year for the planet

Many thanks to Rachel for allowing me the chance to collaborate once again! Writing study centred content is actually so enjoyable for me. On top of that, I have a few ideas planned out! Stay tuned for more study content in my back to school series. If you do really like it, I might do it beyond September! Let me know what you think.

I’ll link Rachel’s part of the collab here, along with her Instagram, YouTube and business. 

What is your advice for staying on top of homework? Which one of these tips did you find most useful?

Have a great weekend,

catherine x

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Remember 2017 When I Used To Share My Deepest Thoughts? Well We’re Doing That Again. Let’s Chat… About Grief

I’m not sure where to start. There’s a lot to unpack.

Sometimes, as I clean my teeth, I write a whole blog post in my head. I did that today, and now I need to get the ‘toothbrushing’ thoughts on to paper. Does anyone else do that? I’ve been in this blogging trade for 3 years, 3 of the most important years of my life, so it’s ingrained into me at this point.

Today I wanted to unpack. That’s an analogy that I will be using a lot in this post. First, my mind wandered to journaling. I thought it would be best to journal this. Then I realised, as I put literal pen to paper, that it would be too emotionally challenging. I know that sounds weak ‘you can’t even write, eww’ but honestly. I almost started crying.

As we head into a new month, you might be thinking about unloading the negativity, and only carrying through the good bits.

That, I’m afraid, doesn’t always work.

Right at the start of the year, I lost one of my closest relatives. I thought of telling you, but my blog at that time was so ‘professional’. To be honest, it didn’t really feel like me as I sat and wrote at the keyboard. I was ‘Erin’. Erin was almost like an alter-ego, but to a point where it felt kind of toxic. I loved the content I was writing, of course, but it didn’t feel like I was writing it. Erin wrote it. Erin received praise and accepted it gladly, but it all these lovely comments never felt like they were for me. I still struggle now. I AM Catherine. People DO care about and love my blog. It’s so hard to accept. But yes, I can be awesome sometimes. 

So I never told you.

It didn’t hit me until just today, 7 months after she had died. When I was first told, Mum said ‘grief comes in waves’ and I completely understand that now. 

Granny was probably the member of my family I was closest to, outside of Mum, Dad and Jon (my brother).

But when I heard the news I was completely unbothered and went on with my day. 

For 7 months I pretended everything was okay, and everything felt okay. Of course I was sad, but not as sad as I ‘should be’. 

Then came around mine and my brother’s birthdays.

She wasn’t there.

She won’t spring back from the dead to say happy birthday. What was I expecting? There was just this absence. It didn’t really feel like my birthday without Granny. And I know this isn’t the worst thing that could happen to me. I know people who have lost their parents at a young age, and I know that must feel 10x worse. But when it’s your first ‘proper’ loss, you are foolish, naive and don’t know what to expect. 

Today is my brother’s birthday, and my best friend’s. I should be happy. I had zuccini bread for breakfast, camped in my friend’s field, ate a ton of cake and spent time with family. Although I am content, it doesn’t stretch further than contentment. I am so incredibly grateful for today. I got to live another 24 spectacular hours on this planet.

I just feel a bit empty. 

Yesterday I was brimming with life and fun and excitement. That version of Catherine is still inside somewhere, just not today.

I find it hard to accept that in my perfect life, things can be less than perfect. I have everything a teenage girl could ask for. I live happily with my family. I have clean water, a bed and a roof over my head. A beautiful cat, a platform to share my thoughts and receive responses from like minded people.

On some days, though, you won’t be okay.

Now I would like to return to the analogy I mentioned at the beginning of the post, about ‘unpacking’.

We’re catching a flight to September. You have one suitcase and hand luggage. What are you going to take with you? What will you keep in your hand luggage, right by your side as you’re flying? And what will go below the seats, in your suitcase? 

No-one goes on holiday with all of their possessions.

You have a suitcase to pack. So pack it wisely.

You’re probably going to put in all the happy things and leave the negativity behind. You might take the good experiences with you and forget about the seemingly ‘bad’.

That’s what I did.

I moved on from January, the month my granny passed away. I’ve taken 6 flights since then, my suitcase being unpacked and repacked so many times. 

Really, I should have taken Granny’s passing with me.

It has made me stronger. 

It has taken 7 months for it to eventually hit me. I needed those seven months. But if I hadn’t gone back to pack grief into the suitcase, I would never be able to understand it.

I hope those metaphors don’t scare you away from my blog. I love using things like that though.

Whatever you carry into September, I hope it serves you well. Many good things will come to you in September, that you will be able to carry in your suitcase to October. Maybe your suitcase will expand in size, maybe it will shrink. Leave behind the things that don’t serve you. Just NEVER forget to pack in the mistakes and the hardships. You learn from them and they will make you stronger.

Grief isn’t negative.

It’s a natural part of being human and living in a mortal world.

Grief isn’t positive either.

Grief is beyond comprehension. It’s just so complicated. There’s no quick fix, and even if you could find one don’t use it. Let the wound heal naturally and give yourself time to recover. But if, like me, it takes seven months to deeply sink in, allow time for that too. 

I’ll love you and leave you. Wishing you all the best for September,

Catherine xxx

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10 Ways To Prepare For Back To School 2020 | Refresh, Revive and Rethink

The new school year. A fresh start. The final few months of the last academic year fell to pieces, so having this new chance is very exciting! Although it will be scary, re-entering school after 6 months away from it, I am remaining positive. These are 10 simple things you should do before heading into the new school year to help you feel refreshed and ready. Some are more simple than others! Even if you’re not going into education this September/Autumn time, it’s always worth detoxing before a new month begins. Hope you enjoy!

1. Clear out your camera roll

I would like to say I stay on top of this, but I honestly don’t. There is so much random stuff that builds up in my camera roll, both on my iPad and phone. Sorting through this and filing it into albums takes a lot of time but seeing it cluttered stresses me out even more. Put on some tunes and set to it. You’ll feel much better afterwards.

2. Set up your bullet journal/planner for September

Setting up a new month in your planner is such a theraputic process. Translating all the random sticky notes into one place lifts a weight off your shoulders. When it’s just a month I am planning, I can go into detail which is very helpful. I highly recommend this, especially if you are starting back in September!

3. Write in all the events and tasks in your annual calendar 

I don’t know about you, but there are some things going on in months to come that I need to jot down (because by the time that month has arrived, I will have forgotten). I have a calendar up on my wall that I like to add all of my events too. It’s similar to what you might do at the start of January! An academic year is a new year too – remember?

4. Plan meal ideas

Quite a lot of us take packed lunches or some sort of transportable meal to work. To avoid last minute ‘unhealthy’ choices, write down a few ideas of things to put in your lunch box. Eg. hummus and salad wrap, vegetarian chilli, leftover pie from the previous night. This saves time and energy when it comes to making your lunch in the morning/night before!

5. Get in touch with friends

I hope you’ve been doing this already! Text your friends, maybe go deeper and ask them how they feel about the new academic year. Most of my friends are anxious, so I do my best to reassure them that everything will be okay. Just check in with them, and maybe help each other out with revision.

6. Make sure your schoolbag is ready

I love doing this! Sharpening pencils, washing out last years pencil case, cleaning my bag. Maybe putting in new organisation systems for the new year! For example, last year I bundled all subjects into one big folder, but this year I will separate them. Find out what works for you.

7. Revise last year’s material

This doesn’t have to be an intimidating thing to complete. I didn’t take my books home this year, because we had to leave because of coronavirus (unannounced!!!). However, I’m going to a new school so I doubt my old things will be that useful. Still, I’ve been revising French and a bit of maths. If you have your books, read through them. To take it a step further, answer questions related to the subjects your struggle with (for me that’s index notation).

8. Sort out your damn sleep schedule

You admit your sleep schedule has been a bit haywire in lockdown! So get it sorted. Two weeks before starting back is ideal, but I’ve not done that. A week before school begins is slightly more reasonable! Wake up at the time you would need to for work.

9. Make your workspace an ideal place to study

Some of you have online school, meaning this is crucial. I would highly recommend watching Ruby Granger’s video on how to make the perfect workspace (linked here). I will be making a variation of this video in a blog format soon, I hope! I’m returning to school full time in September, but I’ll still have masses of homework to complete on my desk at home. That’s why I set mine up with a cute vision board beside it – full of my goals and aspirations. That helps me stay on track with my studying, so then I have in mind what I’m working for.

This desk drawer needs some attention!

10. Do nothing 

It sounds counter-productive, but doing nothing is the best way to refresh and recharge. After a few days of doing nothing (whatever nothing means to you) you’ll become so bored that you can’t wait to hurtle into tasks again. I also find my best creative ideas come while I am on a break!

I hope, through completing this mini checklist, you feel ready to conquer the next academic year! Let’s try our hardest, fall on our backsides, then pick each other up again and keep going. This year is so different to anything I’ve experienced before. But different doesn’t mean bad. Through lockdown I feel that I have changed a lot, for the better (I hope). And no doubt this coming year will see a lot of personal growth too. I am so excited for you, and us!

What are your goals for September/the coming school year?

Sending you all the best,

catherine x

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Answering FAQ About Sustainable Fashion… From Someone Who Doesn’t Buy Fast Fashion

Hello! Ever since boycotting fast fashion I have heard the same questions over and over. Today’s post is an effort to clear up any of your questions and it will hopefully be educational! I asked you over on Instagram to submit these questions. So if you want to be involved in the next post like this, please follow me over there. Ugh I actually hate promoting my Instagram – it feels like such a cliche. Anyway, on to the important stuff:

What about trends?

Trends are the food that fast fashion feeds from. The trends that are going around now seem to be recycled bits of old fashion, meaning the charity shop is the place to find all of the hidden gems. Buying into trends is a waste of money anyway, because they will disappear as soon as they came into fashion. Buy things that you know will last a long time, or won’t go out of style any time soon.

How do you get socks/underwear?

This is one thing I have to source from fast fashion brands, but rather than support the big high street retailers I pop into Peacocks or M&S.

What if someone gifts you fast fashion?

Of course, by refusing it you are contributing more waste to the world. If you can, try sending it back. If it is a close family member/friend explain why you don’t buy fast fashion. Exclaim that you love the thought behind it but you would prefer something else next time. Be gentle, but don’t stay silent.

Are you ‘uncool’ at school for only having second hand pieces?

I honestly don’t know. I haven’t been into school since March, and it was during lockdown that I researched the horrors of fast fashion. I never bought many clothes before hand, and that was never regarded as ‘uncool’. I did feel a bit stupid wearing the same jumper on every school trip but no-one seemed to mind, If they did, they didn’t voice their opinion. It’s not uncool to save the planet.

Will you ever buy fast fashion?

Sadly, in the last few days, I’ve had to purchase some school uniform. I’m moving schools so it requires a whole new set of clothes! It is unfortunate that I have to buy from fast fashion brands in this instance, but it’s the only time of the year that I do so. I will research how my school uniform is made, that could be an interesting topic of research.

If you don’t buy from garment workers, how do they get paid?

There are a few charities I have discovered that help garment workers and their families obtain necessary goods for living – such as food, water and safe housing. You can give a bit of money towards them, or support larger charities in the country of concern who will give help not only to garment workers but a broader reach of workers. Buying second hand is cheaper than fast fashion in many cases, so with the extra dosh you’ve saved you can donate towards a charity you believe in.

Have you ever bought from a sustainable brand?

Never! I find they are way out of my reach in terms of cost. I just visit the charity shop if I need anything (that’s a British equivalent to a thrift store, except money spent goes to NGO charities)

Do you think everyone should stop buying fast fashion?

Not if you cannot afford it. Fast fashion, such as Primark, is cheap and cheerful and often the only option for struggling families. There’s also an amazing convenience paired with fast fashion. For parents it’s easier to just get the specific item from a shop. Charity shops are a bit hit and miss, and they require more time to shop. So if you have a lot to juggle around, it simply isn’t possible. If clothes can be manufactured in better ways, perhaps I would buy fast fashion. However my main concern is the sheer amount of waste. If you cannot afford thrifting/sustainable shopping please do not feel inferior. Don’t feel any pressure from me to buy clothes in a certain way. Do what is best for YOU!

Hope you found this post useful and informative. Let me know in the comments if you’d like to be involved in The Plastic Plan series, or if you have any other requests for sustainable fashion related content. 

What are your plans for the weekend?

Guess who’s birthday is next week? Hopefully I’ll make a monster sized cake to share with you either on here or Instagram haha. I’d love to know what you’re up to this weekend!

catherine x

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Why You Should Start A Blog | Guest Post By Zainab Chats

Hello everyone! Welcome back to my blog. Today is a bonus post, since I don’t usually post on Thursdays. However, I was offered the chance to be interviewed for my lovely friend Zainab’s ‘Blogger Confessions’ series. Therefore I thought it was appropriate to share Zainab’s corresponding guest post on the same day. Hope that made sense, it is a little hard to explain! Today Zainab is taking you through Why YOU Should Start A Blog. This seems very appropriate for my Pinterest audience. I am bombarded with DMs on Pinterest daily ‘what advantage is a blog to my business’ ‘how should I start blogging’. To clear up those frequently asked questions, Zainab took it upon herself to write a guest post summarising it all.

If you are interested in beginning a blog, I’m always here to offer assistance. A DM on Instagram is the easiest way to communicate with me. I also have a ‘blog strategy’ section on my website. Need some tips to help grow your blog? Look no further than over there! 

This is supposed to be a guest post, so I’ll shut up. Hope you enjoy Zainab’s, quite literal, chats!

Hello, everyone! My name is Zainab, from my blog Zainab Chats! I was so thrilled when Catherine asked my to guest post on her blog, so I thought what better post than telling you why any of you should start a blog! I’ll be going through some post ideas and the best platforms to begin blogging with.

Why Should I Start A Blog?

So one of the questions I get a lot is: why did I start my blog? The answer always is, blogging is a way for me to express myself! It can be a way for you to express yourself too, writing things down always helps me to clear my mind and I know it’s a great stress reliever for other people too! So, if you ever feel stressed, you can write a blog post and that could benefit your mood. Another reason why is the community. I guarantee you, once you start blogging you’re going to see a lot of positive comments or DMs from people saying you’ve inspired them or helped them with something, that’s how lovely the blogging community is and you will meet so many amazing people that can help you with your blog or give you some great opportunities!

Where Do I Start A Blog?

Okay, now that I’ve convinced you to start a blog, let’s get into the fun! How do you start a blog? Well, there are so many blogging platforms to choose from! I started off on Blogger which is free and all you need is your Google Account. While Blogger is great for beginners, as I got more serious about blogging I found that there were many issues: I couldn’t customise how my site looked and as not many people used Blogger, and I never got a comment! So, if you’re looking for somewhere to just put your writing, Blogger is the platform for you.

However, if you’re looking to share your tips with people I would definitely recommend WordPress! WordPress is one of the most popular blogging sites out there, and it really focuses on community. Even if you don’t advertise your blog, people can find it through the WordPress Reader and you can find new blogs to read too. WordPress also offers a free plan for beginners as well as a paid plan if you’re looking to be more serious!

Get Started! 

Okay, now that you have decided to make a blog and you chose your platform, get writing! Use your blog to express your ideas, thoughts and feelings! Everyone loves reading new blog content so I can guarantee you will find some loyal readers, so keep persevering and trying to grow your blog. 

Thanks so much to Catherine once again for letting me write my guest post! Bye everyone!

That’s it from Zainab today. If you enjoyed, please do continue reading Zainab’s blog for similar content (just click here!). She also owns a stunning Instagram, which I will link here. Zainab never fails to make me smile, and I hope you could see her positive vibe through today’s post. 

I’ll see you back again tomorrow with another post!

Why did you start a blog? Who is your biggest blogging inspiration?

catherine x

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