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Time Management

Why is it that we want to do so many different things, but can never find the time?

This is a question I ask myself too often.

Since the beginning of lockdown in the UK, I have felt like I’m in a constant state of reflection, analysing what I do, what I’ve done and why.

My overhanging emotion is that I am not working towards my ultimate goal. It is as though I have put my life on standstill due to the Global Pandemic. This, when said out-loud, sounds ridiculous. Of course my situation has changed – so has everyone else’s. But I can’t quite help but feel I have not been spending my time wisely. Do you relate?

You may delay, but time will not, and lost time is never found again.

Benjamin Franklin

So, why don’t we always make the time for things that we really want to do? This can be due to a number of reasons.

An inability to conceptualise what time we actually have:

A lot of the time, we overestimate how much time we have to complete certain tasks. For instance, I may believe that I can read a whole book, go grocery shopping, bake a cake and go for a nice long walk – all in one day!?

This is not the case. We often believe we have more time than we actually do. Not only this, but we can also be guilty of underestimating how long particular tasks take us.

As a result, we may subconsciously outline a list goals for ourselves each day, but find that we hardly ever get it all done. This may lead to feelings of failure or the belief we are not productive. However, it could just be that we have not been realistic about what we can achieve in actuality each day?

Constant failure to achieve your unrealistic daily tasks leads to overall demoralisation. We are led to feel incompetent and will ultimately lose confidence in our own abilities to succeed. This inevitably leads to demotivation.

My advice is this – be realistic about how long tasks take. Don’t overestimate your own abilities or be disheartened when you are not your most productive self. Work through your list of things to do in your own time. Organisation is key. Perhaps write a list of ‘Must Dos’ every Monday for the week ahead – adding in high priority tasks and assigning chores to particular days when the need to arises. Tick lists are also great facilitators in organisation. By physically putting a tick next to a task you have completed provides a small sense of achievement. This feeling, accumulated over a day or series of days leads to happiness and feelings of productivity.

What else do we do that leads to poor time management?

Fear of the unknown:

This is especially true when chasing our own ambitions. Much of the time, to chase our own dreams and aspirations, we must deviate from our usual daily routine. This is scary. We are subliminally doubtful this change will work or make us happy in the long run. We may find a list of excuses to justify not making the change.

It may be that you started a job after leaving University. This is a job you never thought you’d end up with or wanted – it was supposed to be a stepping stone until you landed your dream graduate role. You left University six years ago and there is not much prospect of progression. You are unhappy in this job, but don’t know which way to turn for the better.

In this situation, it is as though you are stuck in dense and muggy fog. You are stuck and to make the move seems impossible – or at least, harder than simply standing still. So, you don’t. Instead, you avoid putting in the extra hours to reach your goal and stagnate.

What we don’t see at this stage is the immense satisfaction we feel when we do jump, make the change and reach for what we truly want. The fear of the unknown scares us. It means we put off dedicating time to what matters to us and prevents us from moving towards goals we deem unreachable.

My advice is this – if you believe you can do it, go and do it. Success is a mindset. Don’t be scared of what you don’t know, be curious about it and challenge your own status quo. Manage your time wisely to make headway in your own life.

Why else do we choose to manage our time poorly?

A preoccupation with what we ought to be doing:

We can often find ourselves working our daily routine because this is what we feel we should be doing. We should get 8 hours of sleep, we should have a healthy breakfast, we should use the Tram to get to work, we should be at our desks at 8.45am and we should make small talk with our work colleagues – even if they are boring. Our monotonous routine – whatever that may look like – is something we become accustomed to.

This does not enhance our energy. It zaps us of meaningful exchanges and experiences. We have to start doing what we want in order to make us happy; otherwise, what is the point?

Sometimes, without realising, our routines have been dictated to us by someone or something else. For instance, an impossible boss who expects more from you than what your job description sets out. This means you have to work late at short notice and cancel plans with friends. Why should others’ unreasonable expectations of you dictate how you live your life, deviating from your own happiness? Don’t let masters of manipulation manage your time for you.


The bottom line – and something I have alluded to – is that we all must focus more heavily on doing things that matter to us, things that make us happy and things that align with our ultimate personal goals. Would we ever choose to spend all of our money on things we don’t like? No. (And if you do, please change that). Ultimately, we should make a conscious effort to focus our energy into the things we love. Otherwise, what is the point and how will we ever succeed in what we want to achieve?

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Managing Manipulation

This is a difficult subject to discuss and something that probably all of us have been subject to. I have experienced being manipulated and I have observed those I love being manipulated to an extreme extent. Having, in the last two years, removed a manipulatory force from my life, I now feel as though a grey cloud has lifted from my daily life. I am now able to reflect on that period of my life with clarity and accuracy. I hope this blog post is helpful to you and that my articulation on manipulation proves useful.

In its simplest form, to manipulate means to

Handle or control in a skilful manner.

This connotes the idea of influence over inanimate objects or mechanisms. So, when a person is manipulated by another, it means to

Control or influence another cleverly or unscrupulously.

Now, we can see the notion of underhandedness and wrongful actions. This is just right – to manipulate is wrong. This is easy to identify when you know you are being manipulated, however, acknowledging when this happens is harder to see.

On one level, we may have all experienced the relentless and pushy salesperson – perhaps when looking at cars or taking out a new phone contract. They say certain phrases and carry themselves in a certain way to build your trust and later try to have you act the way they want – i.e, buying the car or taking out the contract. It is usually easy to walk away from this stranger without acting as they’d have liked.

However, emotional manipulation at the hands of a loved one is somewhat harder to identify and arguably even more difficult to address. We can often find ourselves subliminally making excuses for this person when they attempt to control us.

Manipulation at the hands of a loved one can take form in a number of ways. In many instances, they try to change your behaviours or actions to further their own interests. This can be by influencing the way you look, the way you act or the things you do. Sometimes, manipulators can be aggressive and coercive. Regardless of the form manipulation takes, this is wrong and we need to identify this so we can put a stop to it.

How Can I Identify When I am Being Manipulated?

When feeling manipulated, experts say we experience three main emotions – fear, obligation and guilt. When we are coerced into doing something we may not have originally decided to do by someone close to us, we may feel guilty about not doing it, obligated to do it and fearful of the repercussions of not doing it. This can be something as simple as not wearing a particular pair of heels that makes you taller than your partner because he expressed anger last time you wore them as he felt short. However, it can also take a much more serious form – and this previous example can quickly escalate to become more emotionally coercive.

Perhaps your partner does not like you leaving the house wearing makeup and accuses you of trying to impress someone else at the office. You don’t wear makeup to impress anyone but instead decided to wear makeup to feel nice. Besides, you don’t need to justify your actions – do what the hell you want! This form of manipulation may not seem like much, but this is someone trying to actively change your independent actions – something that you should always have autonomy over.

One effective way of ensuring you are equipped to identify when someone is trying to manipulate you is by setting your own boundaries. In effect, this means to know what it is that you expect from a relationship but more importantly, what you expect of yourself. Stay true to what you want from life and remember the things that make you happy from within – not what make your partner happy. We are not responsible for anyone else’s feelings or wants. If you feel you are responsible for another’s unhappiness by not fulfilling their agenda, then you need to reevaluate this relationship.

Sometimes, it is more difficult to identify manipulative behaviours in someone you love because you may have become accustomed to it and have perhaps invested a lot of time into the relationship and excuse this behaviour as a result. However, this is where ‘setting your boundaries’ comes into play. You must always remember what makes you happy. If your partner does not like you doing these things, then please think about whether this relationship is beneficial.

In my previous blog post, I spoke about attaining inner happiness and high vibrations through positive exchanges of energy. When someone is playing the role of the manipulator, they are draining you of your positive energy and taking it for themselves. This is never acceptable and as a human being, your purpose is not to dish out energy where required without any in return. You will leave yourself empty and, undoubtedly, unhappy.

Manipulation is a form of weakness. The manipulator is unable to effectively express their own feelings and desires so instead, opts for a more direct approach by using a victim as an agent of their own agenda. In the end, these used individuals are left feeling far from their true selves and zapped of happiness. Meanwhile, the manipulator feels more powerful since they got their own way. Identifying emotional and physical manipulation is hard, but when you do observe it, knowing how to address it is even more difficult.

How Can I Address Manipulative Behaviour?

This is a tricky one. Manipulators can sometimes be very dangerous or scary people who wish to incite fear in others. When they are called out for their manipulatory actions, they may react aggressively or enact negative repercussions for those that resist their coerciveness. As previously alluded to, manipulation is a form of power over others. To address manipulation is to reassert your own power and regain control of your own wants and needs.

Considering this, it is important not to put yourself in danger when addressing your manipulator. Sometimes it is not as easy as simply saying ‘no.’ In some cases, the situation may be so severe and the fear of repercussions after calling out this behaviour so real, that we are deterred from acting. In this instance, is it so important that you contact someone you trust to discuss your situation. In the most severe scenario, please contact your local authority who will believe you and will take you seriously. It is so important that you remove the manipulator from you life – however this may be – so that you can realign your focus to yourself and work towards personal happiness again.


Manipulation is such an intricate and sensitive subject and I have only really scratched the surface of what emotional impact it can have on victims. I will be sure to revisit this topic in later blog posts, covering the subject in more depth and detail, drawing on my own experience.

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SELF-LOVE: Protecting Your Energy

We’ve all been there. In relationships where the dynamics just don’t seem right. Yeah?

When I say ‘relationships’ I mean the connections you have with different people, not necessarily just your romantic interests or partners.

I’ve read a number of books in the past which consider all humans to be masses of energy. This is something I have found really useful in my life and this blog post will explain why.

Ultimately, self-love and raising the level of your vibration go hand in hand. When you make an effort to raise your vibration, you show yourself the love and care you deserve. You’ll feel good and attract good. By taking positive actions and changing your mindset, you’ll manifest greater things. By loving yourself, you’ll live a life you love.

Vex King. Good Vibes, Good Life.

Essentially, the first step towards self-love is to acknowledge that your body is made up of energy. We need to understand what environments, events or people alter our energy and in what ways. From this, we are able to alter the way we live our lives as determined by our energy levels – always searching to heighten our energies.

This may seem like a bold concept, one which you might feel has little purchase but whilst the science behind it can be easily overlooked, the metaphor can prove successful in improving our mental wellbeing. We need to consider our energy levels as something that can be boosted or zapped.

Let’s say that we wake up each day with full energy levels and as a result, we are full to the brim with positive emotions. Something may happen during the course of the morning which leads to your energy levels lowering. For example, you burn your tongue on your morning coffee, your bus is late which means you are late to the office or your kids are having tantrums making it impossible to get them to school. These obstacles, or unfortunate events, mean that we can’t help but feel a little lower than we were before. If it was down to us, surely we would not allow these events to happen at all? However, whether we like it or not, some things we simply can not control.

However, what happens when we acknowledge that other people can influence our energy levels?

This is where the importance of self-love in relationships comes into play.

When we engage in negative interactions, we leave ourself vulnerable to a lower energy. Examples of such interactions include tense conversations with your boss, heated arguments with your partner or judgemental conversations with your friends. These exchanges undoubtedly leave us with a lowered energy level because they give us negative feelings.

Again, this is sometimes unavoidable. However, when engaging in a relationship where this type of interaction is totally avoidable and achieves nothing (which is often the case) then there is one simple answer I want to share with you that I promise will change your life.

Leave.

Leave the conversation. Leave the environment. Remove yourself from the relationship.

It’s that simple.

I’m not completely naive and I, of course, know that this is easier said than done. However, if you can change your mindset and acknowledge that this is a relationship that no longer enhances your energy levels thus is not worthy of your time, then what follows is a change in your reality.

Your boss is making your job impossible. Look for alternative employment. You may just find that a new, more exciting and fulfilling opportunity is waiting just around the corner.

Your Partner is making life difficult. They contradict you, try to control you and argue with you at every opportunity they get. Over time, your energy levels become so reduced that this new low level of energy is normalised in your every day life. Cut this relationship out of your life. The sooner, the better. Once someone proves that they do not complement your energy, instead diminishing your happiness, then they are no longer a worthwhile entity in your life. You will find that, without this constant negativity, your mind is open to new possibilities; in the workplace, in your personal life, with your family and friends.

Understanding the importance of your own internal energy is important when aiming for self-love. The above examples are extreme cases. Self-love in this form can be exercised in a number of ways. It can be as simple as realising that the man who made a derogatory remark about your appearance in front of your peers was acting inappropriately. Address this. Protect your energy and tell him that what he said wasn’t okay.

Protecting our own energy does not mean stealing it from others. Equally, it does not mean that others can steal energy from you.

Healthy relationships demonstrate a compromising energy exchange. If your partner usually makes a coffee for the two of you in the morning, why don’t you make the drinks tomorrow morning? If your friend drove to the last gig, why don’t you offer next time? This concept is about compromise. Understand how you would like to be treated to protect your own energy and live by this guide when interacting with others.

If one can connect and build up enough energy, then coincidental events begin to happen consistently.

James Redfield. The Celestine Prophecy.

By removing toxic relationships and interactions from your everyday life, you will feel refreshed. In the future, you will know what value to place on your own energy and strive to attain relationships where your energy levels are enhanced, not diminished.

Try to be aware each day of your energy and strive for energy enhancing situations! You might just find that this change in outlook provides the key to happiness.

Grace x

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Wellbeing: An Introduction

I am by no means an expert, and I have not undertaken major psychological research or studied the brain at length, but I do know what makes people tick and feel that I can offer some valuable advice for people who may be stuck in a rut for whatever reason.

The Wellbeing section of my blog will cover a wide variety of topics. I aim to comment on themes which are important to discuss; mental health, looking after yourself, exercising self love, relationships, abuse, etc.

Everyone goes through their own struggles over the course of their life. At many checkpoints, people are led to feel alone or completely out of control of their own fate.

My blog aims to help people regain control of their own lives and look for the good in the everyday, making the most of every situation. I hope I’ll be providing valuable insights into emotions, empathise your situation and offer guidance for a brighter future, drawing on my own experiences and emotions. I will include home remedies or routines to help with low moods. My Wellness Blog will also discuss coping mechanisms and empowering segments for people who may be experiencing a particularly rough patch in life.

If you find my writing helpful but would like me to discuss a particular topic, please use the ‘Contact Me’ tab to reach out and propose your ideas!

I’m really excited about building this element of my page. I hope you are just as excited to read it, too!

Stay tuned for my Wellness blog posts.

All my love x

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Gooey Brownie Recipe

This is my favourite Brownie recipe. EVER. It is so gooey in the middle with a gorgeous crunchy outside. It is perfectly chocolatey and looks totally yummy!

The recipe works on cup measurements. I’ve never really done this, however it is really easy and you honestly can’t go wrong! Just use a normal size cup and make sure you use the same one for all of your ingredients!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Unsalted Butter
  • 1 1/2 cup White Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Eggs
  • 3/4 cups Plain Flour
  • 1/2 cup Unsweetened Coco Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 Baking Powder
  • 1 cup Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips*

*If you don’t have chocolate chips, fear not! You can use a crushed chocolate bar, instead!

Method:

  1. Line your brownie baking tin (8inch x 8inch) with a light layer of butter. Line with Parc ament paper if you like.
  2. Preheat your oven to 170c.
  3. In a bowl, combine the white sugar, melted butter and vanilla extract until smooth and fluffy.
  4. In another bowl, sift together the flour, coco powder, salt and baking powder.
  5. Beat the eggs, one at a time, and add to the butter and sugar mixture. Stir until thoroughly combined.
  6. Add the dry ingredients (flour, etc) in 2 or 3 additions, mixing slowly until combined.
  7. Throw the chocolate chips into the batter and stir.
  8. Now, pour the batter into the baking tin and use your spoon to flatten. it’s really important to make sure the mixture is even.
  9. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes. The brownies are done when the edges are beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan.
  10. This is the MOST important step – once removed from the oven, leave the Brownies! That’s right, step away… Leave the Brownies to cool. This ensures that they can firm up a little in the middle before you serve. Otherwise, you’ll be left with a puddle of gooey chocolate!

I like to add some fruit to my Brownies (after about 10 – 15 minutes of baking). This makes them super fruity and even more gooey! You can also add nuts to give the brownies an added crunch.

Enjoy x

This is my mixture before I’d baked it thoroughly! When removed from the oven, yours will be a darker colour.
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Energy Boosting Banana Bread

This is one of my all time favourite recipes and I can’t wait to share it with you! Give it a go and tag me in your Instagram snaps @bookishblog_bygrace!

Ingredients:

  • 100g Butter
  • 175g Caster Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 (really ripe) Bananas
  • 225g Self-Raising Flour
  • 1tsp Milk
  • Chocolate Chips (or a crushed chocolate bar!)

You will need a 2lb Loaf Tin for this recipe!

Method:

  1. Line your loaf tin with a light covering of butter and cover with parchment paper.
  2. Preheat your oven to 180c.
  3. Now, add the butter to a pan on low heat until softened.
  4. Add your sugar and mix until fluffy! Let cool.
  5. Now, beat the eggs one at a time, add to the mixture and stir well.
  6. Then, add the flour and baking powder. Mix until smooth.
  7. Add a splash of milk to the mixture.
  8. On a separate plate, mash 1 and a half of your bananas. Make them as mashed as you can! Add this to the mixture. With the remaining half, cut into fine circles and set aside.
  9. If you want to add the chocolate chips, pop them in now and mix!
  10. Spoon this mixture into the loaf tin and place in the oven.
  11. After approximately 45 minutes, remove the loaf and add the banana circles on top for decoration!
  12. Place back into the oven for an additional 10 minutes.
  13. Your Banana Bread is ready when you can put a knife or stick through the centre and it is removed without the mixture sticking!

This method is super simple and really easy! The bake is versatile and you can add a variety of different ingredients to suit you. For example, add flaked almonds for a nutty crunch or berries for a fruitier flavour!

Enjoy x

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About Me

A little bit about me… My name is Grace, I’m a student from the University of Manchester and I study Politics and Modern History.

My degree means that I have lots of compulsory readings (which aren’t always that fun) so I feel like I have lost touch with reading for pleasure.

I’m using this summer to reconnect with books and since I’m always recommending books I love, I figured I may as well create this page.

 I’ll be posting each book I read, giving a short overview and details of what I liked. You can also follow my instagram page – @bookish_bygrace.

I’m also an avid baker! So naturally, I’ll be sharing with you some of my favourite recipes and tips for cooking…delish! All of my recipes are super versatile and can be adapted to suit your taste.

I have found Lockdown in England to be both frustrating and relieving in equal measure! I’ve chosen to use this extra time I have as one for reflection. I have allowed myself to reevaluate my life and rediscover what is really important to me. As a result, I will also be adding some Wellbeing tips to my page. I hope this will be beneficial to you and enhance your outlook.

Now that the country is staring to reopen, I will no loner take for granted my cosy coffee shop visits. I’ll be sharing my experiences and reviews with you, hopefully providing some inspiration for your next trip out!

There’ll be something for everyone on my page – go and have a look!

I really hope you like my page and take something from whatever I end up sharing.

Lots o’ love