DD Book Club | Places I Stopped on the Way Home

After reading a few self-help/self-improvement books one after another during the last few months, picking up this memoir with short essays was refreshing and just reminded me how important it is to switch up the content you use. This was the perfect book to open up in the evening, with a cup of tea and get lost in this love letter to 20ies and reflect on your own thoughts and life.

I hadn't heard of Meg Fee before reading Places I Stopped on the Way Home, but I really enjoyed getting to know her through this book. When quickly skimming through reviews before purchase, similar words kept coming up when talking about the feedback on this book - vulnerable, raw, honest, heartbreaking, genuine. The book really does contain all of that and I think that is the part I enjoyed the most about this book.

Ever since I was in high school, New York was always a place I wanted to visit or perhaps even live in for a little while. A few years ago I was lucky to see this beautiful city. Even though I was there for only 3 days, it did exceed my expectations. More than anything else - the amazing energy that the city has, the people, creativity and the idea of a million of opportunities. One of the things that draw me to Meg Fee's book was that she writes about her time in New York. And since it was a place I had biggened up in my mind, I was intrigued to read her perspective on her life there.

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CONFUSION THAT IS YOUR 20’s

I think pretty much every 20-something-year old can relate to this book and find themselves in at least one of the chapters. Heartbreak, search for the meaning, chasing false promises, finding the happy place, finding our what “being true to yourself” really means. We all go through that.

I love that the author didn't try to romanticise her decade long journey in New York and seemed so honest about her experiences when it comes to love, uncertainty, work, expectations, disappointment. Her writing is beautiful and I think because she writes so honestly, it draws people in. It is very relatable.

I have been (and still am, in many aspects) so confused about the future. About not being where I thought I would be at this age. And that expectation I have for myself also brings a lot of frustration and feeling down.

And through this confusion I also learn that I have to let go of expectations. Of myself, of others, of relationships, of timing of life. That sometimes you have to work a little harder on each of those things.

“I'm mourning all of the lives I'm not living. And that occasionally I feel like I'm failing all of the time, and in all ways”.

BECOMING

The last few chapters were gold. I re-read a lot of sentences and kept smiling as I was reading in agreement, thinking in my head “so true”, highlighting every paragraph. Life is made up of very small things that make our experiences unique, that makes our memories filled with emotion. A smell, a sound, a place, a taste can bring back the best memories. Perhaps of the great conversation we had in that particular or how we were feeling in the moment. And these little memories and moments is what make up a big life. These little things that happen to you over time, are what made you who you are today - the things you believe in, the way you are, the way you think. It's so precious and so undervalued. We all live “a big life made up of the very small things”.

I journal to capture these memories. To remember. A few days ago I picked up my journal from 5 years ago. And so many things made me smile. Because it brought back a memory I didn't know I had and made me realise how much has changed. How much I have grown. If you are not doing it yet, I highly, HIGHLY recommend documenting all moments. Big or small. Your future self will thank you for it.

“Our job is not to create a masterpiece, but to give voice to that which only we can give voice to. Our job is to go to work doing that which feel called to do. Despite our fears - despite the nagging notion that we are not enough, or too much, or fraudulent, we show up. We take risks. We wrestle with our wants and our needs and the black canvas. And we let the wrestling change us - in the space of who we once were and who we become - is the divine”.

“We will all, many times over, have to reconcile the life we planned for the life we've got. I learned about trusting my gut only after I didn't. And I learned about love in the trenches of heartbreak. And I understood the value of showing up only after I failed to do so. But it is how I learned each thing that has shaped the woman I am today, and the woman I'll be tomorrow, and the day after”.

THERE IS NO “HAPPY PLACE”

One of the most important “note to self” conclusions I had after reading this book is that there is no “happy place”. No “perfect city” that will make you happy. Often I've found myself dreaming of another place where the grass is greener and thinking that it will make me happier in a certain situation. But that's an illusion. Actually, that's escaping. It all begins and ends within us. Meaning, our inner world is all that matters. Once that is content and in great terms with itself, it can find joy, gratitude and happiness anywhere in the world. And self-love is in the center of it all.

“We don't talk about that much, do we? How we have to fight for ourselves, and ultimately face ourselves? How the best and the most courageous and the most compelling thing we can do is cultivate self love. How it's not some New Age prophecy, but a very real and very necessary investment. How self love is the source of empathy and honesty and love of a partner, if that is your thing”.

I'll end it on this wish by Meg Fee:

“Keep going, not because it's easy, but because that is what it is to be human - to continuously show up despite the fact that it's hard. You are not the first person to feel afraid, you are not the first person to feel unworthy, but that is where your story begins, not where it ends. There is no roadmap. There is only faith. The act of it, if not the feeling. Keep going”.

Thank you so much for being here. I'm so excited to read your highlights and takeaways of The Places I Stopped on the Way Home.
Much Love,
xx
Zane & the DD team




Make the Rest of 2018 Great ft. Undated Dear Diary

Happy September, friends! 

We are 4 months away from 2019.One third of 12 months left. Wow - that went by quickly. 

I had a conversation with a friend a few days ago about things that have happened this year, what has worked and what hasn't, as well as the lessons we learnt. She said she can't wait for a new start, a new year and get excited about new and life-changing goals. Due to a mix of a few different circumstances - goals becoming irrelevant, facing challenges, setting too many unrealistic goals, etc. - she hasn't accomplished what she planned for herself and she wants to open a new page and start fresh. 

And it made me think about this quote (which I'm sure you've heard before, but it seems very appropriate):

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In this particular case - stop waiting for a new year. We shouldn't be waiting for some kind of “outside” inspiration and motivation. It's within us. Our actions are the best motivator. Happiness and fulfilment comes from making the most of the moment you are in now. Whether it's a big or small step towards what you want to achieve, it's still a step in the right direction. Before you know it, you will be looking back at a pretty epic and eventful few months, tapping yourself on a shoulder for a job well done.

I don't think this is only the case for my friend, I believe a lot of people feel that way and they just want to start making new plans, get excited and think that the new year is that golden ticket for a fresh start. If you are struggling with this and need a little encouragement to make the most of what's left of 2018, I have put together a short step-by-steps guide that will help you reflect on where you are at this point and what you still want to achieve in these 4 months as well as create a little action plan that will help you chase those goals you set for yourself at the beginning of this year. Get your life together before a new year starts and you set new goals and intentions for the next year.

Imagine that you can start 2019 feeling much more in control, with a sense of accomplishment, knowing that you've done your best. Let the previous months be a map that helps you see what you've accomplished so far and what you still can work on and improve in the next 4 months before the 2019 is here. Once you've reflected on your progress be intentional about moving forward to make sure you accomplish all the goals you set for yourself at the beginning of this year.

Here is a step-by-step practice for reviewing your progress so far. Reflect by writing down answers to these questions and make notes for the plan that you will stick to over the next 4 months:

1. PART ONE - REFLECT

What are some of your best achievements from January 2018 until now that you are proud of?

Take a moment to appreciate your hard work and celebrate these wins. Perhaps there are new goals that were added on your agenda later on in the year that were more important to you?

When planning my goals for the year ahead, I usually leave some blank space for goals that will be added throughout the year. There might be goals that I start working on, but it turns out that in reality they are not relevant to me or they are just not right for me at that particular point. Always leave free space to welcome new goals and new dreams. They can change depending on our circumstances, new experiences or people that come into our lives. If you have been working on something new that you hadn't planned at the beginning of the year, be sure to celebrate the wins and be grateful for the new idea that came to you.

 

2. PART TWO - WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE? 

What is the progress of the projects/goals you've started working on?

Are there goals that you haven't started working on yet? Ask yourself are they still relevant/important to you? If they are, how can you make time for working on them?

My personal goals have been harder to accomplish this year. There are certain habits that I really wanted to implement (and still do) but somehow I've managed to put them aside and find excuses not to do them. Because I devoted more time to work related goals. This is because I think that my personal life can be put on hold for a little and I just need to finish that one work related thing. But these work related things never get less. Only more. The more you do, the more to-do's seem to appear on your list. But I come to the same realisation every time - work will always be there. But your health, wellbeing and mindfulness really need attention, care and daily practice. Because a healthy mind and body is what gives us the energy and inspiration to do everything else. If all other things don't work out - always, always work on yourself. It's the best investment.

As for habits -

What do you need to change in your daily routine to make sure that you implement actions that are important and beneficial to you?

 

3. PART THREE - MOTIVATION

Now do a little visualisation exercise.

Why is it important for you to achieve the goals you've set for yourself? What positive change it will bring to your life? How it will make you feel?  

Giving yourself an honest answer to these questions will bring you all the motivation and inspiration you need to make sure that you've done your best to achieve your goals and stick to your habits. Be your own inspiration :)
 

Undated DEAR DIARY - make the most of every day

I believe goals and habits need to be re-visited at least 3 times per year (every 4 months) to make sure that they are still important to you and relevant for that particular circumstances/situation that you are in at that point. 

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When I know that I need to gain that extra motivation and put in the work to actually accomplish everything I planned for myself, I turn to our Undated Dear Diary. It is designed to help you make the absolute most of your day and plan your priorities, so that you can tick off tasks from your to-do list daily. Step-by-step. We designed it for those who are serious about how they spend their time and want to focus on things that truly matter to them and track the progress along the way. 

 

Here is what it will help you do: 

 Make a plan for the upcoming months. Set your goals and create vision of where you want to be in 4 months time.

Make a plan for the upcoming months. Set your goals and create vision of where you want to be in 4 months time.

 Plan the week ahead - make a note of what you need to focus each day, write down your to-do's & track habits.

Plan the week ahead - make a note of what you need to focus each day, write down your to-do's & track habits.

 Review your progress, challenges & wins.

Review your progress, challenges & wins.

 Note down daily/weekly habits that will help you achieve your goals.

Note down daily/weekly habits that will help you achieve your goals.

 Create a detailed plan for each day - write your daily affirmation, top 3 priorities, important times, other to-do's, quick 10 min tasks, notes & best thing about that day.

Create a detailed plan for each day - write your daily affirmation, top 3 priorities, important times, other to-do's, quick 10 min tasks, notes & best thing about that day.

 You also get inspirational tasks/challenges to keep you inspired, focusing on the positive.

You also get inspirational tasks/challenges to keep you inspired, focusing on the positive.

Thank you so much for being here. I really hope this helps and inspires you to make the most of your 2018. 


Much Love, 
xx
Zane & the DD team

 

DD Book Club | The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

This is easily one of my favourite books that I've read in the last 2 years or so. I would say top 3. Perhaps the timing was right and I felt that I can relate to it so much or perhaps it just is that good and a great read for anyone at any point in their lives. I really enjoy Mark Manson's blog in general, but it's great to keep something physical on your bedside table that reminds you to choose your battles wisely. How much better our lives would be, if we only focused on the things that genuinely mattered to us? 

If you feel overwhelmed, not sure which direction to go, confused or just need a different perspective on personal growth, responsibility and achievements - this book is a must read. We are so lucky to live at a time where so many opportunities are just around the corner and we have the option to choose different paths for ourselves. However, sadly this has become also a downfall for a lot of people simply because they loose focus (been there) and the feeling of overwhelm takes over. We often loose the track of what we care about but this book breaks down some essential thought patters and actions that can be taken to avoid that and welcome clarity and motivation. 

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Here are some of my main takeaways from this book. Most of the pages in my book are highlighted, but I've narrowed down to a few that stood out to me the most and these thoughts/reminders are something that can be incorporated as some of your main values when it comes to life, work, relationships:

 

WHAT ARE YOU WILLING TO STRUGGLE FOR? 

"Pleasure is the easy question & pretty much all of us have the same answer.”

This has become one of my favourite questions to ask myself. An answer that you give to this question can bring so much clarity and understanding of yourself, which in return will help you make better decisions and put your time and effort into things that really matter to you. 

I can speak about this from a personal experience. When starting our business, I was sure of two things: 1) I wanted to create something beautiful that is helpful and valuable to others and 2) I wanted to be my own boss. Between that there was a very confusing, overwhelming, sometimes painful journey with lots of questions, uncertainty, getting out of my comfort zone, fear and the thought that the time that's been devoted to creating something might not even come to any kind of fruition. However, above all that, I knew very deeply that I am willing to struggle for that. And we are still growing. The fear, feeling overwhelmed, uncertain is still there, but when I look back, I realise that a lot has also been accomplished and we have a clear vision (and most importantly - belief) of where we want to go. That is what keeps me going. I am willing to struggle and work for that goal. 

 

ASK "WHY" 

Always ask yourself difficult questions. "Why" is a great value based question to help you understand yourself and also eliminate things that really don't matter to you, so you stop wasting time on these things. One of the first things you can start with is defining what success means to you. All of our goals are focused on some form of success, whatever that means to you. The problem is that many of us don't even know what success looks like to us. A big house? Beautiful car? A luxury holiday? New shoes? Or perhaps giving back to others? Creating something that serves others? Helping a friend? Being able to spend quality time with your family? This is the first question you should ask yourself even before starting the process of goal setting and envisioning your future. Getting clear on your values and success will help you set goals and actions that you are excited about and you truly enjoy the results when these goals are accomplished. 

This honest questioning invites more self awareness and the more uncomfortable the answer, the more likely it's true and you can get to the bottom of the problem and solve it. 

 

FAILURE - PICASSO STORY

For those who might have not just read the book (I really hope you do), I want to share a paragraph from the book about Pablo Picasso. It's an amazing example that shows the importance of failure in order to achieve success: 

"When Pablo Picasso was an old man, he was sitting at a cafe in Spain, doodling on a used napkin. He was nonchalant about the whole thing, drawing whatever amused him in that moment - kind of the same way teenage boys draw penises on bathroom stalls - except this was Picasso, so his bathroom-stall penises were more like cubist/impressionist awesomeness laced on top of faint coffee stains. Anyway, some woman sitting near him was looking on in awe. After a few moments, Picasso finished his coffee and crumpled up the napkin to throw away as he left. The woman stopped him. "Wait," she said. "Can I have that napkin you were just drawing on? I'll pay you for it."
"Sure," Picasso replied. "Twenty thousand dollars."
The woman's head jolted back as if he had just flung a brick at her. "What? It took you like two minutes draw that."
"No, ma'am," Picasso said. "It took me over sixty years to draw this." He stuffed the napkin in his pocket and walked out of the cafe."

Failure is a huge part of our life. The quicker we learn to accept it and even welcome it, the easier our lives become. Every failure or a mistake builds up a chain of experiences that lead us to where we are meant to be, where we grow, know better and do better. There is no success without failure. 

"DO SOMETHING" PRINCIPLE

I loved the quote that was shared in the book by Mark Manson's high school teacher Mr. Packwood: "If you're stuck on a problem, don't sit there and think about it; just start working on it. Even when you don't know what you're doing, the simple act of working on it will eventually cause the right ideas to show up in your head." I know that this works for me personally in every area of my life. Whenever I feel stuck or I'm not sure where to start working on a project, I simply start with research, then note down simple steps that I can do each day to move closer to my goal. These little steps give confidence that you are moving forward and, most importantly, it becomes your source for motivation and inspiration to do more. 

The worst you can do is to just dwell on the problem/issue/challenging situation in your life and think of how difficult it is. Action invites inspiration and that in return promotes motivation. Even tacking small tasks each day will make you feel a sense of accomplishment. 

Even when you feel stuck, unhappy or overwhelmed, start with little actions that make you feel better. Enjoy the simple pleasures of life, do something that makes you smile. These little actions will change your mood and you will gain a completely new perspective of what you need to be doing as well as feel motivated to do it. 

 

Thank you so much for reading. Can't wait to hear what you thought of this book as well as some of your favourite takeaways. 

With much love,
xx
Zane & the Dear Diary team

 

 

 

DD Book Club | The Road Less Travelled

The Road Less travelled is an extraordinary book about life and it’s challenges. Possibly because it is written by a psychiatrist who has delved deep into specific cases and profound insights of his clients - finding the very base cause for their struggles, unhappiness and confusion. From that, he suggests that facing our difficulties and the acceptance of some sort of suffering can reach a higher level of understanding ourselves. This book connects psychology and spirituality, showing how closely they work together. 

Personally, I found most of the value in the beginning of the book - especially the sections about discipline and love. To be completely honest, the last sections on growth, religion and grace didn’t speak to me as much as the first two chapters that seemed to provide a lot of takeaways that can be practically applied for a happier and more fulfilled living. There were points later on in the book that I disagreed with to some level or simply couldn’t relate to some of the ideas as they seemed somewhat too radical and a little too outdated (keeping in mind this book was written in the 70ies). 

Apart from that, this book has lots of thought-provoking insights and thought patterns that you can apply to this day. And it’s definitely worth picking up, even for the first 170-something pages. Without further ado, here are some highlights from this book that really spoke to me and I thought are extremely helpful when it comes to having a better understanding of certain challenges and why we respond to life the way we do. 

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LIFE IS COMPLICATED

One of the biggest takeaways from this book was the thought that pain and suffering we experience is in most cases caused by ourselves trying to avoid our problems. However, in order to grow spiritually and mentally, we have to face and solve them. 

Get comfortable with life being difficult. Accept that there are no shortcuts. Accept that you will have to make challenging decisions and have hard conversations. Once you accept that, it simply is easier to handle all the difficulties coming your way, solve them and grow mentally and spiritually while you do so. Don't expect life to be easy - get comfortable with solving problems instead.

This is a truly valuable thought for myself personally. When things don't go as planned, my first reaction is emotional, it can be overwhelming and I can start feeling a lot of discouragement and a sense of failure at times. However, most of the time it's just life throwing it's challenges at us to help us grow, to make us learn.

“What makes life difficult is that the process of confronting and solving problems is a painful one. Problems, depending upon their nature, evoke in us frustration or grief or sadness or loneliness or guilt or regret or anger or fear or anxiety or anguish or despair.” 

Looking back at each and every situation now, I know that it is all a test and now that these situations have been solved, they don't seem as big as they did in the moment. There is always a solution to every problem. It's about accepting it and making the best possible decision you can in that time and space. 

“It is only because of problems that we grow mentally and spiritually. When we desire to encourage the growth, of the human spirit, we challenge and encourage human capacity to solve problems. It is though the pain of confronting and resolving problems that we learn.” 

 

PROBLEM SOLVING, TRUTH & RESPONSIBILITY

When it comes to dealing with problems, dedication to truth plays a huge role. The more clearly we can see the situations, the better we deal with them. The less clearly we see the reality - the more we are confused by falsehood and misperceptions. That, of course, means that we will have less understanding of how to make the right decisions with moving forward and solving issues. Love this comparison of our reality being a map: 

“Our view of reality is like a map with which to negotiate the terrain of life. if the map is true and accurate, we will generally know where we are , and if we have decided where we want to go, we will generally know how to get there. If the map is false and inaccurate, we generally will be lost.” 

Another way to a less overwhelming and "easier" way of solving problems, is taking a full responsibility of everything that happens to you. 

I love this bold paragraph of one of Scott Peck’s patient cases where he has a conversation with a young wife in Okinawa who has cut her wrist with a razor blade and was brought to the emergency room. The conversation started with S. Peck asking why she had done this to herself. 

“To kill myself, of course.”
“Why do you want to kill yourself?”
“Because I can’t stand it on this dumb island. You have to send me back to the States. I’m going to kill myself if I have to stay here any longer.”
“What is it about living on Okinawa that’s so painful for you?”
“I don’t have any friends here, and I’m alone all the time.”
“That’s too bad. How come you haven’t been able to make any friends?”

“Because I have to live in a stupid Okinawan housing area, and none of my neighbours speaks English.”
“Why don’t you drive over to the American housing area, or to the wives’ club during the day so you can make some friends?”
“Because my husband has to drive the car to work.” 
“Can’t you drive him to work, since you’re alone and bored all day?”
“No. It’s a stick-shift car, and I don’t know how to drive a stick-shift car, only an automatic.”
“Why don’t you learn how to drive a stick-shift car?”

“On these roads? You must be crazy.”

The message couldn't be clearer - excuses and avoidance to take responsibility and solve the problem that is in this woman's way. This paragraph actually shows a great question-answer type of exercise that you can try yourself. When you are down about something and there is something in the way of your happiness, ask yourself similar questions - Why am I feeling this way? What is causing this? What can I do myself to change this situation? What am I willing to sacrifice? What new things can I learn/do/implement to overcome this? 

You stop dwelling on things that are really out of your control and you just focus on what YOU can do to improve the situation. It's the best way to avoid so many negative aspects that can bring you down - anger, envy, comparison, guilt, etc. The commitment to taking a full responsibility for everything that's happening in our lives is an absolute game changer.

I'm really looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this book and the highlights that you have taken from this book. Please leave a comment below - would love to get to know you better and be inspired by your thoughts/experience :) 

 

GIVEAWAY

Thank you so much for being a part of the Dear Diary Book Club. We love reading your thoughts, highlights, takeaways and also you sharing your experiences. You are all so inspiring and it's such a pleasure getting to know you better. Thank you for being here and hopefully soon we can take this book club to an in-person meeting and talking all afternoon/evening long with a side of coffee/tea. 

To celebrate 3 months of the Dear Diary Book Club, we'll be gifting some of our faves. These are some things that we've been loving and we would gift to a friend for more mindfulness and inspiration. Here is what we have in the Dear Diary Book Club giveaway box that will be given to one of our book club friends: 

- "Am I There Yet? The loop-de-loop, zigzagging journey to adulthood" - a book by Mari Andrew that in a very creative and illustrative way shows the highs and lows of adulating, making decisions and facial all kinds of problems. 

- "Calm" - a book from The School of Life that focuses on the importance of remaining calm in different situations. It teaches you how you can stay calm through your thinking. 

- "Know Yourself cards" - 60 prompt cards by The School of Life that assist you in a journey of self-knowledge. Answer questions that will help you understand yourself better. 

- "Stress check breathe in" - roll on stick by ThisWorks to refresh and calm your senses so you stress less. 100% natural blend of pure essential oils to help you relieve mental and physical tension. 

- Good Vibes Only print kit by us - The Dear Diary :) 

- "One day or day one? You decide." A4 weekly notepad - again, by us :) 

- A morse code LOVE bracelet brought to you all the way from my personal journey to Bali - found in the cutest jewellery shop "Fineline by Katahati". Something a bit more personal and picked especially with one of our DD friends in mind. 

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All you have to do to enter this giveaway is simply leave a comment on this Insta pic and let us know your favourite quote from one of the DD Book Club reads so far (Tuesdays with Morrie, The Four Agreements or The Road Less Travelled) and also let us know in that comment why this quote is so meaningful to you. 

*The giveaway is open until Thursday, 5th of July. The winner will be picked randomly and announced on our Instagram. Good luck and we're so excited to hear your fave quote from the DD book club reads so far. 

 

As always - thank you so much for being here <3
Much Love, 
Zane & the DD team

 

 

DD Book Club | The Four Agreements

This could probably be described as one of the most “to the point” books I’ve recently read. It’s what makes this book so valuable and memorable - you can apply these simple truths to your life and let them guide you through decisions, doubt and questions. The way you think, the way you are with others, the decisions you have to make, dealing with challenges - these simple yet profound agreements will help you find answers. If you let it, this book can give you a way to discover yourself and achieve personal freedom.

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The main goal of the DD Book Club is to connect, discuss and most importantly - learn, grow and take helpful, practical takeaways that can be applied to our everyday lives from anything that we read. I really enjoyed this book as it offered all of this. So here are my thoughts on the Four Agreements and I’m looking forward to hearing your main takeaways in the comments. 

  • Be impeccable with your word. 

Personally, my favourite agreement. This is one of the most powerful, magical gifts you can have. Words have so much power - we speak, think, express ourselves through the word. It allows us to show up, share a bit of ourselves, create relationships not only with others but with ourselves also. Our words create emotions - happiness, sadness, confusion, anger. Words have the power to change lives. They allow us to learn, grow and create ourselves. 

The words you feed your mind will determine how you think, the way you are acting, the ideas you have and how you communicate with others. With time, as we grow, we learn what words we want to welcome into our lives and words we want to be surrounded by. 

Words we use with others. 

Our words have the power to lift someone up or make someone feel really low. It’s so important to be aware of this. I would like to think that all of us want to be a force of encouragement and support. And it can be done so easily - compliment others, when you think that someone has done or has created something good, say it out loud. When someone is confused or unsure - encourage with your words. Beautiful words will lead to beautiful actions. 

We can truly relate to this from our personal experience with our DD friends. We have felt so much encouragement and support from our DD friends - through comments, emails and messages that share genuine excitement about their new paper goodies or share an experience of what difference it’s made. Messages like this encourages, uplifts and inspires us to keep creating, sharing and giving back to others, so each and every one of them is appreciated SO MUCH. 

By speaking beautiful things we manifest beauty and create a circle of positive emotions, therefore - make great things happen. Use words for the good - to grow, to encourage, to speak up, to support, to make a positive difference. 

Words we use to talk to ourselves. 

The words we use to talk to ourselves shapes our self-respect, self-love and contentment. The relationship we have with ourselves will determine the way we live our lives. It’s the most valuable relationship we’ll ever have, as it’s the foundation that we build other relationships and connections on. 

It starts with self-talk. We all deal with self-doubt at times. How do you handle it? Do you use words that are positive, encouraging and hopeful? Or do you dwell on the negative and let the little demons in your head take over and drown yourself in self-pity? 

I’ve become (to be honest, still are continuously learning to be) more aware on both how I speak to others and also how I speak to myself. It’s one of the easiest things you can do to spread more positivity and kindness in your life. You create a happier bubble where no harming words are allowed and you don’t use them yourself. This way you create a happy, clear and content environment around you and whatever challenges you experience, this attitude will always help you navigate through it in a much healthier way.

  • Don’t take anything personally. 

I’m sure that at some point we all have experienced someone else being rude/disrespectful. And right away we took it personally, reacted and created a bubble of horrible feelings & emotions... Got angry, upset, sad, frustrated, anxious. 

I loved the “nothing other people do is because of you” thought in the book. To not get affected by someone else’s negativity (and most likely personal challenges) you have to know who you are, believe and have a lot of respect for yourself. 

Note to self: next time I get involved into someone else’s personal drama or in a rude/disrespectful situation - count to three and remember that everyone is fighting their own battle and it has nothing to do with you (of course, that is assuming you actually haven’t been at fault and the disagreement or criticism is not being constructive :)). 

  • Don’t make assumptions. 

Now this is an agreement that will help avoid any unnecessary stress and misunderstandings. Based on our own experiences, we make assumptions of what others think as well as assume they know what we are thinking. We all see life differently and therefore act differently. It’s important to understand the why behind people’s words and actions, but it can’t be done by simply making an assumption. 

So what do you do to stop making assumptions and potentially causing disagreements and conflicts? You ask questions. Just imagine if you asked questions about everything that is not clear to you? No conflicts or negative emotions based on assumptions. Next time you feel frustrated with someone or stressed about an upcoming situation, ask yourself - is there something I can clarify and get answers to? Are my emotions/thoughts based on assumptions or am I basing this on facts? 

Sometimes, it will take a lot of courage to ask questions and it might mean we have to have uncomfortable conversations. But in the end you will know the truth and the truth is what sets you free and allows you to act with most clarity and feel less anxious. 

  • Always do your best. 

This must be my other favourite agreement that I value most. It’s the action you can take on all previous agreements. For someone who is working from home, helping to grow a business, the to-do list is never completed. There is always more you can do, more tasks to add. It creates an unhealthy attitude that doesn’t help the creativity and productivity. When your mind is restless and you always have more tasks lined up in your head, you can’t be in the moment. You can’t fully focus and, well , do your best. So I’ve learnt that having a list of actionable and realistic (and this is extremely important - make sure the tasks you include are not overwhelming for the amount of time you’ve given yourself) to-do’s for each day that you complete and tick off have magic powers when it comes to feeling like you’ve done your best, you celebrate little wins and enjoy a sense of accomplishment.  

I loved the thought about your best never being the same from moment to moment. It will always depend on how you’re feeling and where you are in the given situation. So don’t be harsh on yourself. There will be days when you are an absolute rockstar and then there will be days when not one thing seems to go right and you just can’t get your head around it. 

Overall, having “I’m going to do my best” attitude will let you live a more fulfilled and colourful life. You are better to yourself, you create better things around you and invite happier emotions. On the opposite - when you don’t do your best, you don’t allow yourself to reach your full potential and you will most likely have regrets later in your life. 

At the end of the day, we are the ones that have the power to give ourselves personal freedom. We take responsibility of our actions, decisions and thoughts. Define what personal freedom means to you and then you’ll have more clarity on working to achieve it. Don’t be afraid to explore and to play. You define how you want to see the world around you. 

“Happiness is a choice and so is suffering”

P.S. This is our second book discussion and just a little reminder that after our 3rd discussion we'll be hosting a big giveaway for those who are a part of the book club and have left their thoughts in the comments for each discussion (please make sure to also leave your Insta account in the comments). 

Thank you so much for being here and for being a part of the Dear Diary Book Club. We're so excited to get to know you better, learn from your lessons and inspire each other. Looking forward to chatting with you in the comments. 

With Much Love, 
xx
Zane & the Dear Diary team

 

 

Meet Our Inspiration: Fiona Humberstone | Inspirational teacher. Author. Creative director.

First, I noticed "How To Style Your Brand" book online. At the time the Dear Diary was making its very first steps and there were about a million things to learn (it hasn't got any less to be honest, still learning), so the name of the book got my attention and I had to order it. Right away I noticed that I really enjoyed the way the author shared insights and tips throughout the book, There was something calm, inspirational and exciting all at the same time. Most of all, I loved the encouragement to find your own identity, to create emotions and establish connection. If feels like the author is speaking directly to you about your business and is there to help you up your game taking you through the process of styling your brand step-by-step. Because I loved the book so much, I had to look up and "follow" the author of the book - Fiona Humberstone. 

Why is Fiona our inspiration? As she says in the introduction of her second book "Brand Brilliance", she encourages to "create a business on your own terms, define your own version of success and shoot for the stars". That's what I love most about Fiona - she is wonderfully honest, creative and inspiring. She has found success in what she does and she kindly passes a great knowledge to anyone willing to roll up their sleeves, work hard and create their own success story. 

Fiona shares her knowledge in her two books, retreats, workshops, on her blog and also daily on her Instagram, so be sure to follow her for some inspiration and great lessons. But for now, grab a cup of tea and get to know this wonderful human. 

 Photography by: www.cecelinaphotography.com

Photography by: www.cecelinaphotography.com

Could you tell us more about your journey on creating The Brand Stylist? How did this adventure begin?

I guess it really began almost twenty years ago when I left university and started working for a print company. I loved the buzz that came with working with entrepreneurs about to launch a business and I read voraciously: anything I could get my hands on to do with design, branding and business. It was very much a pile it high, sell it cheap business but it taught me a lot: about how to build a brand, how to sell and what really makes entrepreneurs tick.

I’ve worked with business owners my whole career, aside from a very brief stint as an undergraduate intern for a large oil company, and I love it. There’s something very special about working with entrepreneurs, who have the absolute power to make anything they like happen without all the red tape that slows larger companies down. They can be nimble, respond quickly and they listen. I love that.

Our eldest daughter, Ellie, came along when we were in our mid twenties, so I left the print company and set up a franchise. It paid the bills but I wanted more creativity in my life, so we majored very much on design. I launched my design agency in 2008 and by 2010 we had companies from around the world wanting to work with us on the strength of our portfolio. They loved our approach and our enthusiasm for what we did.

I sold the business in 2012 and took two years out to be with the children, which I adored. And it put me in a real position of strength, because when I went back to work, I was determined that this business would totally work for me. I thought long and hard about the sort of business I wanted to set up, and where my unique strengths lay, and that was how The Brand Stylist came about.

Over the years, I’d met so many entrepreneurs who had wasted time and money on brand identities that just weren’t right for them. And I could see that if they could just understand how the process worked, they could make better choices which would have a massive impact on the business. That was how How to Style your Brand came about and things have just gone from there.

I love what I do. It inspires me, challenges me and has created incredible opportunities for me and my family. I’m a lucky lady.

 Photo by: www.katiespicer.co.uk

Photo by: www.katiespicer.co.uk

What are you most proud of in your career so far?

This is a tough one! Because I move my business forward at such a pace and I love to challenge myself so I’m always moving the goalposts. I guess How to Style your Brand was what changed everything for me. Not necessarily because of the platform that having a book brings. But because for the first time in my career, I proved to myself to trust my instincts.

I knew there was a need for that book. And I knew that I could do it better than anyone else. If that sounds cocky, it’s not meant to. But I had a vision and I had the experience to know what people wanted and needed. I approached a very selected number of publishers, the only ones I felt could pull it off and who had the aesthetic I was after and one by one, they all said No.

Sometimes it’s good to listen to industry experts. But I felt sure I knew something that they didn’t about what the market wanted. So I pressed on with the project as a self publisher.

We sold out of the first run within 6 weeks and three years on, we’re now on our seventh print run. The feedback on the book has been incredible and most of all, it’s given me the strength and confidence to trust in myself.

 Photo by: www.katiespicer.co.uk

Photo by: www.katiespicer.co.uk

It's a Monday morning, what will your day look like?

Yoga! I always do yoga or a run first thing in the morning. Then I go and do something creative or inspiring. The emails wait until after lunch when I’m in an inspired place. My time is precious and I’m highly focused, so I don’t want anyone else setting my priorities for me.

What would be the starting point and main focus when thinking about “styling your brand”? How to communicate brand's vision effectively?

Yes, exactly. You need to think about what impact you want your brand to have and on whom. That’s a harder question to answer than you might think, which is why I wrote Brand Brilliance, which is all about elevating your brand and enchanting your audience.

 Photo by: Fiona Humberstone

Photo by: Fiona Humberstone

How does work & personal life balance look like in your life?

It’s something that’s just changed again as my smallest one has started school but generally I try and just work term times while the children are at school. It all works pretty well until a week before half term when I realise how much is left to do and I start having to work afternoons and evenings to get it all done!

I try very hard to be present for the children. I exercise, I get outside. I garden and I cook a lot, and that helps me maintain a semblance of balance.

What resources do you use to stay inspired both personally and in business?

Inspiration and creativity are two of the most important things to me. I’m not sure it’s about resources, it’s a way of life. I notice everything around me. I’m constantly looking at design details, colour combinations and styling ideas in my everyday life - in fact, it’s so entrenched in me that we recently recorded a video of exactly this for my Design for Go-Getters online course!

I’m very conscious of what drains my creativity and I try not to put myself in those situations.

 Photos by: www.cecelinaphotogrpahy.com

Photos by: www.cecelinaphotogrpahy.com

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What's your “recharge/reflection” ritual?

I’m not sure I have one! But having space between work is really important to me and I often get brilliant ideas on my runs.

What makes you tick, what's your purpose? Any advice on finding it?

I empower entrepreneurs to create incredible brands. I want to help them create businesses that really work for them. I want to rid the world of this idea that you need to hustle to get ahead. You don’t. You need to find that thing that you uniquely do brilliantly and build your business around delivering that better than anyone else.

 Photo by: www.cecelinaphotography.com

Photo by: www.cecelinaphotography.com

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give to your 18 year old self?

Trust yourself. And don’t feel as though you have to go the corporate route. You will be far more fulfilled if you work with people who are doing what they love.

 

Workspace essentials - Mac, sketchbook and a lovely black gel pen.

Top 3 books (the ones you would like to gift someone) - I don’t tend to read business books any more but The Absolute Essentials of Colour Psychology by Angela Wright is brilliant, as is The E-Myth by Michael Gerber. Honestly the other one I think every entrepreneur should read is Brand Brilliance. Because if you action everything in that it will transform your business.

Happy place - My home with my husband and the kids around me; The New Forest, where I grew up; Middleton Lodge in Yorkshire; Cal Reiet in Mallorca.

Guilty pleasure - Waitrose Salted Caramel dipping sauce spooned straight from the jar. Just looking at it makes me put on three pounds.

Fun fact about you - My mum, grandmother and I all went to the same school in Salisbury. We don’t live in the area so I feel bad that my daughters will break the chain. I’m not sure how fun that is!

If you could go for a coffee and a long chat with someone (living or dead), who would it be and why?  - It would be my Naneh (my paternal grandmother) in Iran. I never met her and she lived a life so far removed from our privileged Western existence that I’d love to discover more.


FIND FIONA: 

 Photo by: www.mattpereira.com

Photo by: www.mattpereira.com

Thank you so much for reading and a big thank you to Fiona for sharing her story with us! 

With Much Love, 

xx

Dear Diary team

DD Book Club | Tuesdays with Morrie

Firstly, I want to say a big thank you to everyone who enthusiastically supported the idea of the Dear Diary Book Club. We love our Dear Diary family and the fact that you are just as interested in all things inspiration, being the best version of yourself, asking questions and brainstorming on different ideas as much as we are. So we thought of creating this book club as an outlet where we all can share our lessons, highlights and takeaways on subjects like mindfulness, motivation, wellbeing, happiness, personal growth, love and relationships (with yourself and others). We are so excited to connect, learn and grow together! 

tuesdays-with-morrie

There are many powerful messages in "Tuesdays with Morrie" that a lot of other authors have also covered in their work - family, love, forgiveness, the importance of chasing things that matter in life, etc. However, what makes this book different is that it's a story from someone who has lived his life and now has to be in peace with knowing that an unforgiving disease gradually takes over his body. The strength, peace and wisdom of the character is inspiring and heartbreaking at the same time.

Morrie was a professor who was adored by his students, Mitch Albom especially. This book is written with much love and respect and a goal to make Morrie's last wish come to life. "Tuesdays with Morrie" offers a mix of sentiment, personal lessons and philosophy. Simple, gentle and very much straight to the point this story gives an insight of some of the most important things that we should always consider and find answers to for ourselves - love, responsibility, spirituality, awareness.

Depending on what we're going through in our lives in that particular moment or our past experiences, we all can have different meaningful key takeaways from any story. We interpret the stories we read in a way that resonates with us and gives us a lesson to learn, encourages to look deeper into the philosophy of the story and bring out parallels with our own life. This is always the exciting part - what will you learn, how will this particular story make you reevaluate your decisions and actions, what will you be able to relate to? 

These are the highlights for me from this kind, generous, uplifting and at the same time heart-breaking story: 

CREATING YOUR OWN CULTURE

“The culture we have does not make people feel good about themselves. And you have to be strong enough to say if the culture doesn't work, don't buy it. Create your own.”

Even knowing that his body would give up soon and the simplest daily habits and actions would have to be carried out by the help of someone else, Morrie didn't give into self-pity. He considered himself lucky because he was surrounded by loving and caring souls and had lived his life happily.

If the culture doesn't work for you - create your own. This is so true and can be addressed to so many areas of our lives. Morrie is an example and developed his own culture, discussion groups, read books to find new ideas, kept in touch with people, spent time in the nature instead of wasting time in front of the TV.

tuesdays-with-morrie

 

That's the beauty of life - we get to choose  what we want to let go of and what we want more of in our lives. This comes to the things we buy and use, people that we have in our lives and how we spend our days. We have a FULL control over it and we have to treat it like our own responsibility. If something doesn't work for you - don't buy it, don't waste your time on it. Fill your life with conversations, interactions and connections that bring value, happiness and inspiration into your life. 

 

It's also so easy to get sucked into the vicious cycle of comparison when you are not in control of your own life and your own choices. When you are excited, happy with the people around you and planning exciting projects, you can't help but be busy working on your own grass instead of noticing that someone else's grass is greener :)

“So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when they're busy doing things they think are important. This is because they are chasing the wrong things.”

tuesdays-with-morrie

 

 

So here is some food for thought and a question to answer to yourself - are you living a meaningful life and are you chasing things that are truly important?

 

 

 

 

Don't let yourself get so lost in the “busy” trap that you loose clarity on what happiness and fulfilled life means to you. This must be the biggest highlight for me personally, because who we spend time with, what information we surround ourselves with and things that we focus on are the biggest determinants on whether we're living a happy life or not.

 

GIVING MEANS LIVING

“You know what really gives you satisfaction? Offering others what you have to give. Your time. Your concern. Your storytelling.”
 

Morrie's thought on “brainwashing” is so true. We are told to own more, use more. More is good. This could really lead one to being so confused on what the true and important values are. Morrie suggests that giving to people is what gives the biggest satisfaction - “devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning”.

Giving to other people is what makes us feel alive. Whether it's our undistracted attention and time for conversations with our friends and loved ones or our full support, genuine advice and understanding. Being there for someone else.

When I think about the last time I was truly happy and something that has given me satisfaction, it definitely involves giving to others. Doing things that come from my heart, with the best and most selfless intentions. Whether it's a day out with a friend who needs someone to listen to them and giving my honest advice or receiving an e-mail from you guys saying how much one of our diaries has inspired you to work on the best version of yourselves. This was my way of giving and sharing with others. And creating that positive emotion into someone is priceless.

“When I give my time, when I can make someone smile after they were feeling sad, it's as close to healthy as I ever feel.”

tuesdays-with-morrie
tuesdays-with-morrie


If you need a little perspective, that's not preaching, but instead thought-provoking - this book definitely deserves to be on your bookshelf. It's a beautiful story for everyone with an open heart and in need for a little outside reminder of the true values in life. It's a heart-warming tribute to a loved mentor and I'm happy that Morrie got to teach the final “course” of this life and that his wish came true - to touch so many people's lives, to give to others. He keeps on living just like he wanted to :) 

P.S. This is our first book discussion and just a little reminder that after our 3rd discussion we'll be hosting a big giveaway for those who are a part of the book club and have left their thoughts in the comments for each discussion (please make sure to also leave your Insta account in the comments). 

Thank you so much for being here and for being a part of the Dear Diary Book Club. We're so excited to get to know you better, learn from your lessons and inspire each other. Please leave a comment on your thoughts, highlights, lessons from this book, as well as leave a note in the comments of your suggestion on April's book choices :) We're looking forward to chatting with you in the comments. 

With Much Love, 
xx
Zane & the Dear Diary team

Things I've Learnt About Self Care

2018 started with quite a busy schedule and long to-do lists. Not that we mind, because it means that there are a lot of new projects in the works. Apart from work related to-do's and agenda, there's been something I've been trying to work out, have a deeper understanding of and apply in every day life on a more personal level - the idea of self-care. What it really is and what it means to me. I'm fully aware of the "basic" self-care ideas that are widely discussed - taking a relaxing bath, lighting candles, taking an evening off, etc. While those examples are all great and helpful, I wanted to have a better understanding of how I can implement it in my daily life, instead of having something that I do once a month. 

I'll start with some of the things I've learnt on this self-care discovery journey myself and we have also collaborated with the amazing team from Scentered. They have shared a few very practical and easy-to-implemet self-care actions that will help you feel more calm, motivated, empowered and happy. Make sure to scroll down to the end of this blog post as we might have a little surprise for you in collaboration with Scentered. 

self-care-planner

WHAT SELF-CARE MEANS TO ME

self-care

 

 

If our mind is the foundation of our happiness, then why taking care of it is not on the very top of our priority list? 

 

 

 

What I've learnt about self-care on my journey so far (there is still a way to go and lots of personal lessons to learn), is that first and foremost you have to understand what caring for yourself means to YOU. We are all wired so differently, we respond to things differently, there are different actions that trigger our happiness, makes us feel calm, inspired and motivated. 

I've learnt that self-care is not a thing/action you do once or twice a month. To me, self-care is a lifestyle. It's a way you live your life. It's something you incorporate in your daily life. It's something you don't feel guilty about. And that's an important one. Not feeling guilty for taking time for yourself, for the wellbeing of your mind. For someone who is always thinking "I should do more, that's not enough", it's been quite a hard realisation and I'm still working on self-acceptance and letting go. I used to think "I don't have time to read that book, I need to do something more productive, I don't have to go for a walk, that's a waste of time". Scared to miss out, scared not to meet someone else's expectations, sabotaging my own happiness and freedom. How unhealthy, right? 

We convince ourselves that we don't have time for self-care. For these little actions that make us better. These things contribute massively to our mental health and wellbeing. Personally, I think this thinking is dominating because we don't see the result right away. I've now learnt that it's a lifestyle. And once you embrace it, everything becomes easier - the way you handle your relationships with people and most importantly - how you treat the relationship with yourself. You start respecting yourself a lot more. You know what to accept and you know what not to accept. You allow for time to slow down.

inspirational-planner

The reason we created Dear Diary was because we wanted to change the way we work and how we treat ourselves. We wanted to have more balance between career and personal growth. We don't follow the advice to burn out, that you have to manage absolutely everything, work 18 hours per day, hustle, hustle, hustle (really dislike this word actually). Because if there is no clarity, appreciation, self-discovery and play - are we really sure that we're chasing something we truly want? 

There are a few things that I do that help me get to a good place. My good place is feeling motivated, not comparing myself with the rest of the world, having confidence in what I do, owning my story. Disclaimer: they are not revolutionary, but I do explain why each of these things work (for me) and my hope is that in a similar way you can find something that works for you - your own self-care rituals that you need to add to your routine. The most important thing here is to DO WHAT WORKS FOR YOU. Personally. 

GETTING TO THE "GOOD PLACE"

MY MORNING. Early morning is something that's in your control (most of the time). So it's important to treat it as if you own it. Make your own rules, make your own routine that truly helps you start the day the best way possible. For me, it's workout first, dry-brushing my body, shower, 10 minute meditation, journaling and then planning the day. Establish a routine that makes you feel fresh, ready and motivated to start the day.

workspace

 

Planning the day is a huge part of my morning routine, as it helps not to feel overwhelmed. I've learnt not to pack as many tasks as I can, but instead put down most important ones that I realistically can complete. This way I have a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day, knowing I've done my best and I've not felt overwhelmed and guilty that I've not done my best. 

 

 

 

When it comes to journaling, I don't limit myself to just one type of this practice. I use a few journals. In some, I have to just fill in a sentence about what I'm grateful for, in some I create different lists that focuses on happiness and fulfilment, in some I answer a question of the day and I also have a blank notebook where I can write down anything that is on my mind if I'm feeling like brainstorming and putting down more of a personal story and thoughts. They all serve one very important purpose - to make me slow down, take a moment to think about how I feel and most of the time it really motivates and uplifts me and helps me focus on the positive.

Taking care of my body has become a big priority for me. I have put into my Dear Diary weekly tracking to exercise 6 days per week. This doesn't mean I do a proper workout each day. I don't like to limit myself just to one type of exercise, as I know that it can easily fail and I will feel that I have let myself down and not kept a promise to myself. My main goal is that my body moves, I feel strong and healthy. So any exercise is a great exercise. I still complete the daily goal and have moved my body, whether it's going for at least a 30 minute walk, doing a 15-20 minute work out in the morning, swimming or playing squash. 

reading-cosy

MY EVENING. Reading in the evening has been a big game changer for me. Instead of scrolling on Insta, I get into bed, open my book and get lost in the story. Whether it's a novel or a book with some life advice & lessons, I fully commit to that story. With nothing else on my mind. I accept that I've done my best that day and that it's time for my mind to slow down and just be there in the moment. I find that it's best to choose books for the evening read that are not too intense, that have a beautiful story or something calming about them. 

 

 

I've tried audio books, they don't really work for me. I like the “reading experience”. I like holding a book in my hands and highlighting all the great thoughts. I like stopping, looking up and thinking about what the words I just read mean to me. I like to read at my own pace, it's almost like a self-care ritual in it. 

I truly believe that we ourselves are the biggest source of inspiration and it's important that we treat ourselves that way, instead of constantly seeking outside inspiration from others. 

 

ACTIONABLE TIPS FROM SCENTERED

As mentioned earlier in this post, we teamed up with the very wonderful people from Scentered team. Scentered is a unique range of aromatherapy products to help you stay centred. You can take these balms with you anywhere you go. They will encourage you to stop, take a moment for yourself and bring some calm, focus and a sense of clarity into your busy lifestyle. 

I personally use and LOVE Scentered balms. My personal faves are Focus balm, Sleep Well balm and Love balm. Not only they create amazing products, their team shares so much inspiration when it comes to mindfulness, wellbeing, happiness, so be sure to also check their Insta and blog

workspace

Scentered team has shared their best tips on how to practice self care day to day. Actionable steps that you can implement into your everyday life and how their range can truly make a difference in how you feel throughout the day: 

  • SLEEP, along with exercise and diet, are part of the three “pillars of health”. It is recommended that to be productive the following day and to function both mentally and physically, 8 or more hours of sleep is necessary per night. Scentered team shared that their secret to a long, restful night's sleep is their Sleep Well range. You can apply the therapy balm to your pulse points before curling up, burn your sleep candle half an hour before bed whilst you read your book and use their luxury 100% silk eye mask to block out the disturbance of early morning light.
     
  • MAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF. Life is busy and fast paced, however, this is what makes it so fulfilling and rewarding. This does mean that finding a moment to yourself is somewhat a challenge. Whether it's being more selective with social plans or amending your work hours, so you start earlier in the morning leaving more time to spend relaxing in the evening. It is the smaller amendments to your lifestyle that will make a big difference in the long run. De-Stress balms and candles are the perfect companion whan enjoying some “me” time, unwinding and releasing tensions from the day.
     
  • EXERCISE. The thought of finding time to exercise is a challenge enough for some but consider using your lunch hour to get away and take yourself for a good walk of perhaps a yoga or spin class. We all know how good it makes you feel for the rest of the day. Before starting your workout, apply the stimulating Focus Balm to your pulse points to allow those endorphins to be released!
     
  • NUTRITION. When we're feeling tired, we want fill up on stodgy, unhealthy carbs. They might feel comforting as we're eating, but the resulting in high sugar - and then crash - will make us feel worse. Opt for some fresh fruit or vegetables with hummus instead. Consider adding chia seeds to your lunch. The ancient Aztecs used chia seeds to keep up the energy and alertness in their warriors during times of war. These tiny seeds are rich in essential fatty acids and can help boost energy. And finally, make yourself a nice cup of turmeric tea. Turmeric has been in ayurvedic medicine for centuries, to raise energy levels in those suffering with fatigue and depression. The taste and smell of it can uplift your senses. You can buy turmeric tea bags from your local health food shop if you don't fancy messing around making your own blend.
     
  • HOBBIES & INTERESTS. Do something you love doing. Take a walk, call a friend for a catch up, go for a bike ride or volunteer for an organisation you love - whatever it is, it needs to be fun and just for you. Make sure you plan your hobbies into your schedule so you always have a bit of time for things that make you happy. 

A LITTLE GIFT

workspace

 

Scentered team kindly created a discount code especially for Dear Diary friends. If any of their products catch your eye (and I truly do recommend giving them a try, as they make a very noticeable difference in how I feel every day and they are so easy to use, whether you are working at the desk or are on the go), enter code “deardiary10” at the checkout to receive 10% off your purchase. Code can only be used against full price purchases made on the www.scentered.me website and cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer. Valid until 14th of March. 

 

Thank you so much for being here. We would absolutely love to hear your take on self-care, so please do leave a comment below. Also, a big thank you to Sentered for sharing their tips. We love collaborating with other brands that we believe in, support and whose products make a big positive difference in our everyday lives. 

LOVE YO SELF
xx
Zane & the Dear Diary team

inspirational-prints

How To Get Ready For 2018

The last month of the year has definitely been an intense one and we are looking forward to taking in that 2017 has almost come to its end. I love that everything slows down at this time of the year. Holiday spirit in the air, signs of “holiday hours” are up, people are not rushing to or from work, they are just exploring, having a good time and travelling to spend some quality time with their loved ones.

To end this year on a positive and inspiring note, I'm sharing a few things that I will be doing myself over these last few days of 2017 to get ready for a new year. I invite you to join me, so that we can welcome 2018 with more clarity, mindfulness and avoid the feeling of being overwhelmed. 

planner-2018

Now, this is something that works for me. If I sit down to review my year and make plans for the new one, I like to take my time and look at it in depth. I will ask and answer questions that will help me start the new year knowing my “why”, having an idea of where I want to be heading to, how I'm feeling and what aspirations I have.

Keep in mind that these steps that I'm sharing with you are just guidelines. Feel free to make them your own, shorten them and change them up to whatever works for you. Here are the steps that help me get ready for 2018 and gain more clarity when it comes to my lessons and future plans.

1. Review 2017

Before we start setting new goals and dreaming about how good the new year will be, let's look back at the old one. End of December is the perfect time to reflect on everything you have experienced over the last 12 months and it's also a great mindfulness exercise. Reminisce about your most favourite moments and lessons as well as come to conclusions about the things that bring you joy and which don't.

It's also a great exercise if you will be setting goals, as it will help you make sure that your new goals are in line with your vision and priorities.

We have included these questions at the end of the 2017 Dear Diary (and now also in 2018 diary) so those of you who had our first diary will be able to do it in the planner, but for the rest - here is a list of some important questions you can ask yourself. 

What highlight, moment or event (big or small) will you tell your grandchildren about?
What's the biggest lesson you learnt in 2017?
What big or small goals did you achieve this year?
What new habits did you cultivate?
What new things did you discover about yourself?
List the things you did for the very first time in your life.
Who or what are you most thankful for?
Write down in a few words how you would describe 2017.

We have also created a printable, so if you want to fill it all in and answer all the questions, it's here ready for you. 

2. Create A Vision Board

2018-planner

 

Vision board is a powerful tool to help you clarify and maintain focus on specific life goals. Similar to yearly reflection, creating your own vision board is also a great mindfulness exercise and a fun activity that allows you to have some quality “me time”. Once created, your vision board will serve you as a constant reminder of your dreams.

 

 

We did share a step-by-step blog post last year on how to create your vision board and also filmed a little video. Watch it here to see how we create a vision board with a purpose. 

To make it quicker and a little easier for you, here is a Vision Board worksheet that will help you note down all the steps.
 

3. Writing A Personal Mission Statement

Your personal mission statement represents your values, dreams and mission. It's like a promise to yourself to live with a certain mindset and make sure that all your decision are in line with your values.

Check out our step-by-step blog post on how to write your personal mission statement here and download your worksheet.

Remember that you don't necessarily need to fill in all of the fields. Do what works for your, what questions give you a clear idea of who you want to be and the things you value.
 

4. Write Down Your Goals

Now the fun part - setting your goals for 2018. One of the biggest lessons I learnt last year was not to set too many and too unrealistic goals. Write down goals that you know you'll accomplish within shorter periods of time (monthly or weekly). Then mix it up and set bigger goals, that might take you longer to achieve..

In this year's diary we've included a section where we suggesting writing down your “why” to every goal that you wish to accomplish. Take a moment to think about this before you set your goals for 2018. What will accomplishing these goals mean to you? Knowing your “why” will inspire you, add purpose and make you look forward to achieving these goals and making significant improvements. Most importantly, this will help you find greater fulfillment and purpose in everything you do.

planner-2018

 

 

Again, for those of you who have the new 2018 Dear Diary, you can write down your new goals in your planner, but for the rest you we have created a separate PDF of this goal setting sheet, so that you can keep all your goals in one place. Download it here.

 

 

 

JOIN THIS LITTLE CHALLENGE + GIVEAWAY

I was very inspired to put together this blog post, as I know it will also encourage me to finally do an “in depth” reflection and be mindful when it comes to setting new goals. I hope this also inspires you to look back, celebrate your wins, learn from your lessons and think about how you want your 2018 to look.

I'll be sharing my completed steps on @inspiredlifediary Insta Stories and I hope you join me so that we can encourage and be accountable to each other :)

We're also doing the last giveaway of 2017 and it will be a good one! Here is what you have to do to enter:

  1. Leave a comment on this Insta photo letting us know how you prepare for the New Year. Any rituals, traditions or just your favourite activity to do at the end of the year. 
  2. Send us a DM on our Instagram with one of the steps above. It can be all of the steps or just one step, for example you writing your goals or creating your vision board (totally up to you and you can customise it to whatever works for you). You can either tag @inspiredlifediary in your Insta Stories or you can just sent us a private message with an image/video attached.

The winner will receive a couple of goodies from the Dear Diary shop (your choice) and also a few of our this year's favourites as a little surprise (things that we have found inspiring or enjoyed using). The giveaway closes on January 1st. Good Luck! <3 

 

We wish you a magical and peaceful end of the 2017. May it be filled with lots of delicious food, laughter, great conversations, reflection and joy! As always, thank you so much for reading and for being here. It means the world to us!

With Much Love, 
xx
The Dear Diary team

 

Dear Diary 2018 OR Dear Diary Undated - Which One To Choose?

Since we launched our new Dear Diary for 2018, we have been receiving quite a few questions about the differences and similarities of our two Dear Diary versions - Dear Diary Undated and Dear Diary 2018. So we thought we would help you make a decision on which diary is more suitable for your needs, lifestyle & personality and write a blog post highlighting the differences and similarities. Without further ado, let's figure our which diary is a better match for your adventures in 2018. 

The biggest and most important similar quality these diaries share is their purpose - to help you stay inspired, track your progress, be organised, remind to invite balance in your life and focus on the things that matter to you. Both diaries are designed to be your companion whether you are working in an office or from home on creative projects. The differences are mainly based in the way you plan your day-to-day work & personal life, so let's have a closer look. 

COVERS & SIZE

DEAR DIARY 2018 comes in a hard cover textured leatherette, with an elastic band, 2 bookmark ribbons, pocket at the back, 100gsm Ivory FSC paper. It's an A5 size planner (148x210mm) and the approximate weight is 615 grams. It has 304 pages and it covers one year (January - December).

DEAR DIARY UNDATED comes in a textured linen hard cover with 1 bookmark ribbon, 90gsm Ivory FSC paper, A5 size (145x210mm) and the approximate weight is 480 grams. It has 200 pages and it's designed for a 16 week period (undated)

 Dear Diary Undated on the left &amp; Dear Diary 2018 on the right.&nbsp;

Dear Diary Undated on the left & Dear Diary 2018 on the right. 

WEEKLY & DAILY LAYOUTS

When it comes to layouts, both dairies have quite a different concept. This is a big factor when making your decision, as it really depends how you prefer planning your days and weeks. 

 DD Undated on the left &amp; DD 2018 on the right&nbsp;

DD Undated on the left & DD 2018 on the right 

DEAR DIARY 2018 has a weekly layout where you can easily overview the whole week in one spread. 

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You also have space for appointments, top priority for each day and a separate box for to-do's that you can tick off, which allows you to organise your day nicely. 

Saturday and Sunday doesn't have a to-do box, but there is still enough space to note down your weekend plans and we've also added a little box for your most important to-do's for the weekend. 

This layout is perfect for you if you prefer having a planner with a week at a glance, see what you have planned for the 7 days and note most important to do's and appointments for certain dates. 

 

weekly-planner

 

Weekly planning page is a separate page before the weekly overview that allows you make notes of your most important tasks for a particular week as well as make a list of habits that you want to track. 

This way you can brainstorm about the week ahead and make notes of the tasks you want to complete, prioritising your 3 most important to-do's so you can start your week with a clear focus on where your attention should go. 

 

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Weekly reflection at the end of the week reminds you to look back at the progress as well as highs and lows. Highlight happy moments & note the things you've learn and write down what you will do to make next week even better. 

This will help you start a new week with a clear mind, letting go of the things that didn't work out and getting excited about new things you will plan and accomplish. 

 

 

DEAR DIARY UNDATED has day-per-page layout that gives you lots of space for writing down and prioritising your to-do's. Since this diary has a strong focus on day-by-day management, we have also included a little separate space for writing down your daily affirmation, so that you can feel inspired as soon as you start your working day as well as a reminder to write down "Best thing about today" to end your day on a positive note. 

daily-planner

 

This daily structure offers you space for your 3 top priorities, important times, to-do's that you can tick off, quick 10 minute tasks and also a separate box for notes. Saturday and Sunday is split between a whole dotted page giving you space for making more creative notes (perhaps sketches?) and plans for the weekend.

This layout is perfect if you have lots of tasks each day and you prefer having enough space to prioritise your to-do's. 

 

The Undated Diary also has a separate weekly planning spread for writing down your main focus for each day and also plan overall weekly goals and habit tracking. 

daily-planner
daily-planner

 

 

Just like the DD2018, this version also has the weekly reflection for highlighting your happy moments & accomplishments, note down things that you would like to improve, review whether you did stick to your goals and habits and acknowledge the things that you didn't manage to complete that week. 

 

 

 

INCLUDED IN BOTH DIARIES

goals page
moodboard
weekly planning
inspirational challenges
space for notes & ideas
weekly reflection
positive & uplifting quotes

Both diaries focus not only on planning your days but also reminds you to have a better relationship with yourself and to create a lifestyle that values balance between personal and professional areas of life, 

DD-November-Shoot-86.jpg
DD-November-Shoot-91.jpg

We really hope this helps you make a decision on which diary is a better match for you. Please feel free to let us know in the comments if you still have any questions or need help deciding. We'll be more than happy to share our recommendation. 

With Love, 
xx

Zane & the Dear Diary team
 

 

September Adventures & Current Favourites

September was probably the most intense and active month so far this year. We are not complaining because it involved a couple of sunny trips, finalising our new 2018 diary (YAY! more info about this coming very soon) and a very happy wedding. We thought we would share a few of our favourite moments and things from the previous month, so here we go…

  www.katstravels.com

www.katstravels.com

DEAR DIARY TEAM TRIP

We believe in hard work, but that must always be balanced with some rest, play and making sure that we do what makes our souls happy. So at the end of August we decided to take a much needed time off together, relaxing, brainstorming and just spending some time in the sunshine. We were after a sun-kissed skin, swimming, beautiful views, delicious food and vibrant city but also sandy beaches not too far away. After some research we found that Mallorca should tick off all of the requirements. And let me tell you - we were not disappointed when we got there. If anything, it truly surprised me and made us all wonder - how on earth we have not been here before? This gem is less than a 2 hour flight away from London.

It was probably one of the most relaxing trips I've ever been on. We started our days with delicious acai bowls and almond milk cappuccinos, then either wondered around the beautiful city of Palma or went on a little road trip in search of charming, white-sanded beaches.

acai-bowl-instax
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To see more (gorgeous!) photos and read more about where we went, what we ate and what we enjoyed the most about this little paradise on earth that is definitely worth a visit (or a few), head over to Kat's travel blog.

P.S. I'm just warning you that entering her blog might result in you booking a trip to one of the destinations she's blogged about as her photos are out. of. this. world. 

 Always joyful Kat :)&nbsp;

Always joyful Kat :) 

 Baiba and Zane - doing their best to pose for Kat's photos :D&nbsp;

Baiba and Zane - doing their best to pose for Kat's photos :D 

GREAT THOUGHTS & HEALTHY REMINDERS

I have a really bad habit of overpacking. Not only clothes, but also books and stationery. I like to think that in 4 days I would somehow manage to read 4 books and make notes in approximately 3 notebooks. That has happened exactly… NEVER. And I guess it's a good thing, because it means I'm too busy having a great time :)

On one of our flights together with Kat she had to take a couple of my books because my suitcase exceeded the weight restriction, so I thought I would be smarter with our trip to Mallorca and restrict myself to only one book. And I'm happy I chose to take Mark Manson's “The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck”.

I have also been enjoying reading Mark Manson's blog. I love his refreshing and brutally honest take on topics such as relationships, habits, self-improvement, etc. His articles usually make me think to myself - gosh, that's so true. And the best thing about it is that it can really change your perspective on life, if you are willing to take action and responsibility of your own choices. So I knew that his book must be just as good and I wasn't wrong there.

I managed to read a few chapters while we were having the most relaxing time by the beach and more than once this book made me read out a paragraph from this book to the girls to interrupt them being super relaxed, soaking up the sun. There is just too much truth in this book, not to let others know about it.

Here are some of my favourite quotes/truths from this book:

The desire for more positive experience is itself a negative experience. And, paradoxically, the acceptance of one's negative experience is itself a positive experience

Happiness is a form of action; it's an activity, not something that is passively bestowed upon you, not something that you magically discover in a top-ten article on the Huffington Post or from any specific guru or teacher. It doesn't magically appear when you finally make enough money to add on that extra room in the house. Happiness is a constant work-in-progress, because solving problems is a constant work-in-progress - the solutions to today's problems will lay the foundation for tomorrow's problems and so on. True happiness occurs only when you find the problems you enjoy having and enjoy solving

Everyone wants to love a carefree, happy, and easy life, to fall in love and have amazing sex and relationships, to look perfect and make money and be popular and well-respected and admired and a total baller to the point that people part like the Red Sea when they walk into the room. Everybody wants that. It's easy to want that. A more interesting question, a question that most people never consider, is “What pain do you want in your life? What are you willing to struggle for?” Because that seems to be a greater determinant of how our lives turn out. Pleasure is the easy question. And pretty much all of us have the a similar answer

 

TRAVEL BUDDY

We had wanted to get our hands on a Polaroid camera for a while, especially for capturing memories on trips and adventures. There is just something special and fun about having an instant photo of the moment you are in and being able to keep it in your purse, planner or add somewhere on your workspace. A visual reminder of all the good times :) Plus, it doesn't hurt that is has such a cute design.

We teamed up with the awesome team behind InstaX UK and took one of their cameras on our trip to Mallorca. Keep an eye out on our Insta later on this week. We have planned something special for you :)

instax-polaroid
polaroid-camera-mallorca

DRESSING UP OUR TECHNOLOGY

I had my marble sticker on my laptop for almost two years and a few weeks ago I decided it was time to change it. We came across CaseApp - a brand that does really cute phone and laptop cases. The cool thing about this company is that you can choose from their available, pre-made designs or you can create your own, customised one. 

Even though the love for marble patterns is still strong, I decided to changed things up and go for something a bit more fun and unique and chose this really pretty parrot and flowers skin. While working on my laptop at coffee shops, I've received so many compliments on it. It truly stands out. 

laptop-case-workspace
noptepad-workspace-todo-lists

For the phone case we decided it would be great to create our own design and we took inspiration from our own Instagram account and chose this funky quote (which is such a sweet everyday reminder).

P.S, Let us know if you also like this design, we will be more than happy to share it with you. Also, CaseApp kindly shared a discount code that you can use for 20% off in case you decide to get one of these cute cases for yourself. Use DEARDIARY20 at the checkout. The code is active until November 30th. 

 Because - why be moody when you can shake your booty? :)&nbsp;

Because - why be moody when you can shake your booty? :) 

Thank you so much for stopping by. We would love to hear what new things or places you've discovered and have been enjoying, so please do leave a comment below. Let's exchange inspiration <3 

Much Love,

Zane & Dear Diary team 

 

Meet Our Inspiration | Celest Pereira

Our second post from "Meet Our Inspiration" series is here (click here in case you missed our first interview with the wonderful Nadia Meli). Today, we are so excited to introduce Celest Pereira - yoga teacher and human-sunshine :) She is one of a kind. 

Why is Celest our inspiration? Celest's passion and enthusiasm towards her work is inspiring. She's a yoga teacher who makes everyone feel like they have known her for a long time and will celebrate with you when you finally master that downward facing dog pose. Attending her class is an experience and you are sure to leave it with a big smile on your face. Celest is a wonderful, people-loving teacher and she radiates positivity and has the most genuine smile and warmest heart. It is contagious and inspiring. 

yoga-instructor

Without further ado, grab a cup of tea and get to know the lovely Celest - all about life, challenges, putting yourself our there, inspiration and more. 

Why yoga? How did this adventure begin?

I started yoga in dance school about 16 years ago. It was a compulsory class on the timetable. I loved it but never thought of taking it up seriously until a few years later. I was a bit lost at that time. I knew I didn't want to dance anymore but I wasn't sure what was my calling. For extra cash I worked in a fitness club and it's here that I became hooked. After leaving the gym I went to university to study Physio therapy. I decided to do my teacher training for fun after I graduated and when I came back I was so low on cash I began teaching just to make 'food money'. Seven years later it was the best thing that ever happened to me.

The best decision you've made for your business so far?

To create online classes. It was a scary step to present on camera with no experience and I still  look back and cringe at that old footage. But now a few years later I earn a passive income from those videos and I get heart warming messages from all over the world of people that love my content. Putting yourself out there, even if it's not perfect, really does pay off.  

What are you most proud of in your career?

Writing my book, The Yoga Mentor. I struggled so much academically, left school at 16. So to have written a book, for me, is a huge achievement. I actually feel emotional thinking back to how difficult I found school and how far I have come since those days. If I can do it, anybody can!

yoga
yoga

It's a Monday morning, what will your day look like?

Everyday is different. Monday I wake up early and plan my class theme and sequence for the week ahead. I then head to Triyoga soho to teach my class, which I love to death. My students are exceptional we have so much fun. After class I head to gym for some cardio followed by lunch. I'll then go home and get on my laptop for admin. Sometimes I head out in the evenings for a private yoga session, but often I stay in cook or hang with friends.

Do you have a favourite social media tool to use? If so, why is this one your favourite?

I wish I was better acquainted with the tools available to make social media life easier. It's definitely a goal to up my social media game. ️ Instagram is my favourite handle, because it's very simple and I get to stay up to date with how my friends are doing.

How does work & personal life balance look like in your life?

It's sometimes a battle to establish, but I'm so much better now than I was in the past. These days I realise that I can never be on top of my workload. There is just always more to do. So I take my Sundays off and at least 4-5 evenings a week work free.

london-yoga-instructor

What resources do you use to stay inspired both personally and in business?

I love TED talks! I also think Tony Robbins has a lot of practical information that makes a big difference in every area of your life. I also tend to use hypnotherapy apps to help condition my mind in a more positive way.

What's your “recharge/reflection” ritual?

I love using the Dear Diary at the end of the week. It keeps me thinking intelligently about how I spend my time. I also meditate in the mornings for around 10 minutes.

What makes you tick, what's your purpose? Any advice on finding it?

I draw so much enjoyment in working with people and seeing them progress in their movement goals. I know his because since I was a baby I was excited about dance and movement more than anything. Your passion has been leaving clues for a long time, it takes courage to notice what those clues are and then act on what you discover. 

yoga-mindfulness
yoga-city

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give to your 18 year old self?

I'd tell my younger self would to choose the people you're spending time with wisely. Life is too short to spend time with people that bring you down or are negative. Choose the people that add something, and be the person to also add something amazing back.

yoga-happiness
yoga-instructor

Workspace essentials - Herbal tea (my new favourite one is cinnamon) and coloured pens.

Top 3 books (the ones you would like to gift someone) - 1. Chimp Paradox by Prof Steve Peteres, 2. Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari, 3. Shantaram by Gregory David Roberst

Happy place - At home on the balcony :)

Guilty pleasure - Booja Booja Chocolate

Fun fact about you - I'm a rock climber and a kite surfer

If you could go for a coffee/tea and a long chat with someone (living or dead), who would it be and why?  - I know I've mentioned him before, but I'd love to spend a bit of time talking to Tony Robbins. I love his books and programmes and I owe so much of my success to the information he has shared with the world.

P.S. Celest has a YouTube channel where she shares lots of helpful tips and awesome lifestyle & wellbeing finds. Be sure to check it out :)

FIND CELEST:

 All images by  www.katsfilms.com

All images by www.katsfilms.com

Thank you so much for reading and a big thank you to Celest for sharing her story with us! 

With Much Love, 
xx
Dear Diary team

Dear Diary - Undated

The undated version of the Dear Diary is here! It's your day-per-page agenda for 16 weeks with a focus on staying organised every day, goal setting, habit tracking, reflecting, and as usual we've included lots of inspiration and little positive challenges.

Our purpose for creating this diary is to inspire you to believe in yourself, take charge of your life, feel determined and be your own inspiration. It is designed to serve as a tool that helps you master your day and feel determined to take action daily.

undated-planner

Here is what we truly believe in - when you want something, whether it is achieving your lifelong dream or becoming the person you've always aspired to be, it takes discipline, consistent action and commitment. It takes hours, days, weeks and months of planning and doing your best every single day.

VISION + PLANNING + TRACKING PROGRESS + REFLECTION + INSPIRATION

“Anyone can revolutionize their lives once they revolutionize the direction in which they are moving. But if you don't even know where you are going, how will you ever know when you get there?”

daily-planner
undated-diary

Start with planning your upcoming months by creating your own inspirational moodboard, setting your goals and writing down daily habits that will help you achieve them.

This diary offers you space for detailed to-do lists, schedule, and notes, as well as reminds you to start your day on a positive and inspiring note with daily affirmations and to look back on the great things that happened that day.

At the end of every week reflect on your accomplishments and note down lessons learnt.

We've also included little positive suggestions that focus on gratitude, growth, self-discovery, inspiration and mindful living.

inspirational-planner

The diary starts with a quote:

“Trust the wait. Embrace the uncertainty. Enjoy the beauty of becoming. When nothing is certain, anything is possible.”

That's our wish to you. Enjoy this adventurous ride. Trust your own journey. Embrace all the lessons, challenges and growth. It's the beauty of becoming.

If you want make each day fulfilling, live intentionally and you feel responsible for your own reality - this diary is for you!

We hope you like it :) 
Thank you so much for being here <3

With Love,
xx
Dear Diary team

 

Meet Our Inspiration | N ad i a M e l i

We are so excited to start "Meet Our Inspiration" series on our blog. There are so many people out there that inspire us to do our best every day. To be the best we can be, to provide value and spread kindness. These are people whose work speaks louder than words, whose creativity we admire and who have a heart of a gold. In these series, we want to share their stories with you - how they came to be who they are today, what their beliefs are and their take on life, work and relationships. 

As our first guest, we are so excited to introduce N A D I A   M E L I - wedding photographer (keep reading and you'll see that it doesn't just stop at photography). 

Why is Nadia our inspiration? She plays by her own rules. She is kind, gentle and strong all at the same time. She seeks beauty and she speaks when she sees it (oh, and she writes so beautifully!). Nadia is a wedding photographer who specialises in intimate weddings and elopements. She's a creator of The Signature Style System, which is a course that helps creatives find their true voice, build a business and stay inspired. She generously shares everything she has learnt so far with others. Nadia puts her heart and soul into everything she creates. Whether it's a photoshoot, a website or an Instagram caption - we truly admire her for all the beauty she shares. Nadia Meli, you are a true inspiration! :) 

We could go on and on, but we'll let you get to know her through her own words. Her personality shines through this interview and we are sure you'll love her just as much as we do So here it is - Nadia on life, work, beauty, growth and more. 

Why photography and specifically wedding photography? How did this adventure begin and how it also lead to coaching?

That is a loooooong story. Basically, I was always an artist at heart. But growing up I never thought I could make a living of it. And I had no idea what I would do exactly, anyway. I just knew I had this need to express my creativity, my world and I needed beauty around me. When I moved to London at the age of 19 for a gap year I started getting into photography and from there I never stopped (with a few detours like studying theology and moving back to Germany). 

Ultimately, I knew photography was it for me. Especially people photography and weddings. It combined all I loved and valued. I could never do fashion photography, it would miss the element of real life emotions for me. 

Photography helps me entertain my passion: people. I am so curious about people’s lives. Their story, what they’ve learned, what they have to say. With photography I have an excuse to get close to them.

And then that ‘getting close to people’ led to getting close to their heart. That ended up in coaching. It’s something that developed naturally, also because I share so much of myself that people feel they can tell me stuff and ask me for advice. I love both parts of my business deeply.

 www.nadiameli.com

www.nadiameli.com

The best decision you've made for your business so far?

I don’t know if it can be called a conscious ‘decision’ - but it was the step of detaching myself from the standards that my industry dictates. What a (wedding) photographer should say, write, how they should shoot - I started using my own words, hosting my own kind of workshops, sticking to what I believed and valued, in shooting as well as running the business.

Another one was specializing in Intimate weddings & Elopements. These two things gave me so much peace of mind and so much more happiness!

 www.nadiameli.com

www.nadiameli.com

What are you most proud of in your career?

That I’m doing what I never thought was possible: making a living from what I love. So that a lot of times it doesn’t even feel like I am working to earn money - I’m just genuinely doing something I enjoy and something I would do anyway.

And I am very proud of the people around me. The community I have build. It makes me smile every day, honestly. 

It's a Monday morning, what will your day look like?

Get up early because I love mornings! Having a cup of green tea with my journal. I usually write down what I’m thankful for, affirmations on my life and prayers.

Then I’ll make a To-Do list for the week and for the day. I need to get all the little loose ends out of my head and in another place: paper. I really need that. I cannot function otherwise.

Then I’ll either work from home or go to my co-working office (which I love) - doing emails, Social Media, editing pictures, attending to my own Facebook groups, work on new ideas for videos, blogposts or products, writing - and more emails :)

If I have a shoot that will usually happen in the afternoon or evening, when the light is soft, so a normal day for me is mostly glued to the desk with a few breaks in between to either go for a walk by the beach or make some lunch. Very boring actually.

What's your favourite social media tool to use and why? Also, what advice would you give to a fellow entrepreneur on making the most of social media?

My favourites are Instagram, my Blog and my newsletter (do those count?) - I also love Twitter because it makes me laugh, there are some amazing people on there. I don’t think I am good at it and I wish I was a witty twitter person, but it’s fun to follow!

But Instagram is probably my number 1 right now - because it is the most powerful tool for businesses at the moment (iMO) and because it is great for meeting  like-minded people. The ones that love what you love believe what you believe.

To make the most out of social media I would say find the platform that works best for you and then share like it’s your job . No pun intended.

Be honest, show your personality. Don’t write what others are writing. Say what you want to say. If you want a big following really fast, be strictly business - if you want to build a loyal community with an emotional attachment to you, be personal and say the truth about your business and your life.

How does work & personal life balance look like in your life?

I am not sure if that really exists when you own a business. And I have to say, I don’t really mind that the lines are blurred. But I try to implement little rules like not answering client emails or phone calls and texts really late at night.

I try and take a cooking break every day between work, it slows me down, plus I have something yummy to eat after.I keep a weekend or two open every month.

I also text or call my family and at least one friend every day to stay in touch - and if I’m lucky I also meet them in person a few times a month.
I just try to step out of my business bubble and participate in ‘normal’ life, in the little things as much as I can - that really helps.  

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What resources do you use to stay inspired both personally and in business?

The best resource for inspiration to me is doing what I love. Spending time to nurture my soul. That is where I find inspiration. When I sit down in a coffeeshop and watch people. When I read poetry or watch movies I love. When someone shares their story with me. When I look at the sky. When I listen to music. That’s when a thought will strike me, or a new feeling will come up - that’s when something new takes shape inside of me, that’s when I feel inspiration and when new ideas are born.

What's your “recharge/reflection” ritual?

Not a ritual in itself but just being alone. Doing whatever. But completely alone. At home or outside in an empty space. But when I’m alone I have the best recharging and reflecting times!

What does beauty mean to you?

Everything. Beauty is infinite. It is EVERYWHERE. And I need it like breathing. Beauty to me is not what you see in Vogue, beauty to me is everything. The way the sun hits the wall in the morning. How a flower grows through concrete. How strangers smile at each other. In the little details, when you see someone put effort and love into something. Beauty is everywhere.

What makes you tick, what's your purpose? Any advice on finding it?

It is a journey really and it’s different for everyone.

I would say to not stress out but always be curious and follow your curiosity. Follow the questions you have. Or ask questions in general, because some people never do. I found my purpose by finding myself.

Meaning: when I got to the roots of what defined me and why, I understood my purpose. And that involved a lot of soul-searching, painful reflections of my past, my childhood, the relationship to my parents and other people. When I understood what had shaped me to the woman I am, I was able to let go of things, to work on myself (still happening) and start living the life I wanted.

When I understood why I was always looking for love, for beauty and for a home and how those things were connected with my own story, I understood that my purpose in life was to create all of these not only for me but in the lives of others.

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give to your 18 year old self?

Don’t be scared. Things will work out. All the good and the bad stuff will work out together to create your beautiful future.  You will find your purpose. You will find people that get you. You will find home. Be brave. The stuff that didn’t work out and that you’re upset about right now - it’s necessary for you to end up in just the right place. Don’t be scared, it’s going to be a brilliant ride.

Workspace essentials: 1 big bottle of water, My diary ( i would be lost without it), Laptop obviously

Top 3 books (the ones you would like to gift someone): Start with Why - Simon Sinek, Big Magic - Liz Gilbert, The Artisan Soul - Erwin McManus

Happy place: London. London. London.

Guilty pleasure: Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

Fun fact about you: I have a moustache (italian genes).

If you could go for a coffee/tea and a long chat with someone (living or dead), who would it be and why?:  Geeez. So many people popping into my head right now. Let’s go with Peter Lindbergh. I would love to get a deeper look into his soul. And I would love to see how he would photograph me.

P.S. A couple of our personal faves of Nadia's written pieces are her blog posts - The Woman I Want To Be and My Purpose. Both are sure to inspire you to write something similar for yourself. 

FIND NADIA: 

 All photos by www.katsfilms.com

All photos by www.katsfilms.com

Thank you so much for reading and a big thank you to Nadia for sharing her story with us! 

With Much Love, 

xx

Dear Diary team

Reflecting on Your Goals + GIVEAWAY

More than one third of the 2017 is already gone. This happened way too quickly! Do you still remember sitting down and setting your goals/resolutions for 2017, feeling determined that this year will be the best one yet? At the end of 2016 everyone was talking about it - new habits, new resolutions, new you. So… what's the reality now and how is it going? Do you keep your goals written down somewhere you can look at them often or have you already forgotten what you put on your list?

If you are actively working on your goals and have already managed to tick some of them off - we're cheering you on. Keep up the amazing work! If, however, you're not exactly where you want to be, this blog post is written for you and the good news is that you have enough time to turn it all around and make things happen.

Reflecting

A couple of weeks ago I was looking over the goals I set for myself and came to a few realisations. The goals I set are unrealistically big, considering my daily schedule. Some of them were not thought through, as they weren't really important to me. I need to leave space for new goals that can be added as the year goes, because situations and priorities change and it's important to keep an open mind and adjust accordingly.


And that's fine. You grow through reflection and it allows you to understand yourself better. To appreciate your strengths, learn from setbacks, acknowledge victories and understand your “why”. I'm just happy that this realisation came while I still have 7 months of 2017 left to make the change and make the most of my time.

Step-By-Step Process

In case you are feeling the same as I did, my suggestion is to reflect on where you are currently in your life. Goal reflection is such a powerful exercise that can help you be more mindful and intentional about moving forward. Look back at the last few months as a map that helps you see what you've accomplished, what still needs to be worked on, come to a conclusion on why things might not be working out as you planned. But most importantly, ask yourself if the goals you set for yourself at the beginning of the year are still just as important to you?

Here are some questions I asked myself when reflecting on my progress. Make a cup of tea/coffee, free an hour of your time (or whatever time you can spare for this), get cozy and write down answers to these questions to better understand where you are right now and what you need to focus on going forward.

CELEBRATE WINS

What did I achieve in the last 5 months that I can be proud of?

YOUR GOALS

What goals am I currently working on and what's the progress?

What goals did I attempt, but didn't succeed at completing? Are these goals still important to me? If so, what can I do to make time for activities that will get me closer to achieving them?

YOUR HABITS

What habits did I focus on and what's the progress?

What habits am I finding hard to implement? Is it still important for me to introduce these habits in my life? If so, how can I help myself and make it easier for myself to stick to these habits?

MOTIVATE YOURSELF

Why is it important for me to achieve the goals I have set for myself and what positive change will it bring to my life?

I really hope you find this short yet so valuable goal & habit reflection just as helpful as I did.

Giveaway time

Here at the Dear Diary team one of our biggest goals for 2017 is to create an even better version of the Dear Diary for the next year. This is why we would very much appreciate if you shared your thoughts on what your ideal yearly planner would look like. To say thank you, we'll be giving away 2 of our Inspired notebooks - one for you and one for a friend. Simply complete these 2 steps in order to enter the giveaway: 

1)  Complete the short survey here (make sure to leave your Insta handle at the last question, so that we can get in touch with you);

2) Tag your friend in our Insta pic regarding the giveaway here.

Good luck! :) 

*Giveaway open worldwide. The winner will be announced on Sunday, 4th of June on our Insta. 

notebook

Thank you so much for reading! 

With Love, 

xx

Zane & the Dear Diary team













 

February Favourites + Giveaway

Yes, I know. It's mid March and I'm talking about February. I was also thinking that it's too late to chat about the things we enjoyed & discovered in the previous month, but hey, the date is not what matters. Some inspiration and sharing is what's important to us. Plus, we have a little fun giveaway to go with this blog post :) So here they are - a few, but meaningful ones:

BOOK

I ordered Motivation Manifesto by Brendon Burchard a while ago and it was sitting on the book shelf for some time, as I didn't have time to read it. Luckily, I took it with me on a flight last month and I couldn't stop highlighting all the ideas & thoughts in this book. (P.S. you can get it for free on his website, just pay for the shipping).

Just like the title says, this book is about motivation. If you're open to it, it suggests identifying your fears and doubts about who you are and what you do. By doing so, you can then deal with these struggles by applying more positive, proactive mindset.

I do believe that this book is about a good timing and for me, I picked it up exactly when I needed. It did inspire me to look at myself from a different perspective. At the time, I needed to read this passionate and powerful encouragement to find my own personal freedom, be aware of the decisions I make and what's the thought process behind my choices.

Throughout the book Burchard asks important questions and the answers you give to these questions help identify your struggles and be aware of your own actions and thoughts. There is definitely enough advice to take some positive action, if that's what you decide to do for yourself.

reading-book

Here are just a few of my favourite sentences from the book:

“Let us awaken now and realise there is greater vibrancy, joy, and freedom available to each of us. There is more feeling. There is more power. There is more love and abundance. But gaining access rests on our shoulders, for only two things can change our lives: either something new comes into our lives, or something new comes from within”

'’We procrastinate on an important assignment or exciting new venture because we cannot overcome our uncertainty. We fool ourselves into thinking that things must be perfect before we release our art into the world when the clear reality is we're just too undisciplined to get things done. We lie to ourselves, break our own resolutions, allow our dreams to slide away without grasping at them”

“Aware of these things, we must have responsibility and courage to think for ourselves, to ask, Are my ambitions, attentions, affirmations, and actions truly of my own choosing? Am I being my genuine self in the world and pursuing things that deeply matter to me? Am I opening myself to change and challenges so that I can stretch and grow into my full potential?”

“Isn't it true that with enough time, effort and dedication we can learn most of what what we need to succeed? Isn't it true that most great accomplishments were achieved by people who at first had no idea what they were doing, who had to first endure years of struggle to bring their dream to fruition?”

“Did we spend today being ourselves, expressing our true voice and sincere feelings and innate power? Did we spend the vast majority of the day doing meaningful activities rather than being slave to distraction or useless endeavour?”

LITTLE HELPER WITH THE WATER INTAKE

You have to stay hydrated throughout the day, as it has countless health benefits. That's nothing new. However, even being fully aware of this, sometimes your long to-do list can suck you in and at 6pm you realise you haven't had even a glass of water. I've been there many times.

Just like we believe that pretty and carefully designed stationery can help you feel more inspired and encourages to plan better, we believe that a beautifully designed water bottle will be a good reminder to drink more water. Simple :)

That was the case with this water bottle from 24Bottles. As it sits there on my desk (also serving as a beautiful addition to my workspace), it reminds me to have a sip of water. I really like this brand, as not only the bottles they create are visually very appealing, the company cares about sustainability and the bottles are made in one of my favourite countries - Italy.

flatlay-workspace

RELAXING

A few weeks ago my friends gifted me this beautiful The White Company Lime & Bay candle. Since I got it, I've been using it pretty much every evening, as I really love the calming effects of candlelight. It's become like a little ritual, after I'm done with the day's work, it helps to set the mood in the house for a relaxing and calm evening. It now holds the meaning for switching off my mind and just enjoying stillness. It increases self-awareness and can easily drift you into a meditative state.

candlelight

PLANNING

A couple of weeks ago we launched our A5 size Daily Notepads. They come in two designs and you can read all about them in our previous blog post.

The last few weeks have been pretty intense. I'm sure it's no secret that running a small business is a real challenge and you have to become the master of all trades. Which is very exciting, however, challenging at times. Because it feels like there is not enough hours in a day to complete all the to-do's, work on your skills and take care of your baby (a.k.a. your small business).

That's where the notepads come in. They have been our little helpers while doing our best to plan and organise our days. Since they come in two designs with slightly different sections, we use them both in a week, depending what kind of tasks we need to accomplish. If it's a busy day with quite a few bigger and also smaller tasks as well as errands to run, we'll go for the “Now Is The New Later” notepad, as it has more space dedicated for work related to-do's.

“Oh Hello Today” notepad is always the first choice when we know we need to focus on just a few important tasks that might take longer and also need to remind ourselves to focus on wellbeing and include tasks/activities that focuses on the health of mind, body and spirit. :)

Plus, we are 100% sure that a nice set up on your desk increases chances of feeling productive and inspired, so this little piece of stationery in our workspace is a big bonus :)

to-do-notepad

GIVEAWAY TIME

As promised above, here comes the most exciting part of the blog - GIVEAWAY! Since our most favourite of all favourites this month are the notepads (of course!), we want to share the love and gift a set to you.

We'll be giving away one notepad of each design as well as a copy of Motivation Manifesto to one lucky winner. Keep one notepad for yourself and gift the other one to your to-do list lover friend. Please complete all of the tasks below to enter the giveaway:

  1. Leave a comment below about what activity/routine helps you get into your “inspired/most productive mode” and make the most of your day? Make sure to leave your Insta name in the comment as well (so that we can find you on Instagram :)).
  2. Follow our Instagram and Facebook accounts.
  3. Tag your friend in our latest Insta pic (here).

* One entry per person. Open worldwide. The giveaway ends on March 19th. Winner will be contacted directly on Insta DM.

 

We're so excited to hear from you! 

With Love, 

xx

Zane & Dear Diary team 

Daily To-Do Notepads Are Here

Working from home gives you that freedom to organise your day the way you want. That's amazing. But… We've also found that it can be very challenging. All those hours in the day and you are in charge to make the most of this time. Because the to-do list only gets bigger and stuff needs to get done. The solution - be smart about how you organise your day in a way that's motivating rather than overwhelming.

That's why we designed our daily to-do notepads (first new addition to the Dear Diary family after our 2017 diaries, YAY!).

daily-notepad

These daily notepads are not designed just to look cute on your desk. They are also (well, mainly) designed to help you make the most of every day. Keep it on your desk or tear off the daily page if you're on the go. Focus on what matters most and track your progress throughout the day.

Ticking off boxes just adds that satisfaction about the job well done and completed so, of course, adding these were a must. There is nothing more motivating than noticing your own progress as you tick off your to-do's. The get-stuff-done list doesn't seem so bad and overwhelming anymore :)

 

Whether you're a student, self-employed, a busy mum or working in an office, this neat system will help you do your best every day. This daily notepad will become the best friend for anyone who is serious about their to-do's and enjoys a cute piece of stationery.

Without further ado, here is a closer look at both notepads and their differences in design and structure:

Now Is The New Later A5 Daily Notepad

  • Today's date: dates are not printed, so you can start using the notepad anytime and just as many times per week/month as you wish. Just note the date to the space allocated and start planning your day.
  • Today is all about: write down the biggest tasks that you'll accomplish, your daily focus or something that motivates you to do your best today.
  • Today's top 3: most important tasks of the day that you will complete. You can. And you will. We believe in you! :)
  • Other to-do's: a little less important on the priority scale, but also things that need to be completed.
  • Quick 10 minute tasks: small tasks that will take less than 10 minutes. A little goes a long way!
  • Brainstorming & ideas: make sure to note down that brilliant idea that came to you on this day, sketch, make notes, write down a good thought or quote that motivates you.
  • Water intake: just a friendly reminder here to stay hydrated. Track how many glasses of water you drink throughout the day.
     
daily-notepad

Oh Hello Today A5 Daily Notepad

  • Today's date: dates are not printed, so you can start using the notepad anytime and just as many times per week/month as you wish. Just note the date to the space allocated and start planning your day.
  • Today's happy thought: anything you are grateful/excited for today
  • Today's top 3: most important tasks of the day that you will complete. You can. And you will. We believe in you! :)
  • Other to-do's: a little less important on the priority scale, but also things that need to be completed.
  • To-do for wellbeing: remember to include activities that help you take care of your mind/body/spirit.
  • To remember: a quick note of the things you have to remind yourself about today.
  • Water intake: just a friendly reminder here to stay hydrated. Track how many glasses of water you drink throughout the day.
  • Brainstorming & ideas: make sure to note down that brilliant idea that came to you on this day, sketch, make notes, write down a good thought or quote that motivates you.
daily-notepad

Both notepads are proudly printed in England on 100% recycled paper with vegetable based ink and the design includes metallic golden ink (to make it a little more special and sparkly).

Our goal is to inspire you to believe in yourself, take consistent action and chase your dreams by incorporating neat, carefully designed systems, positive reminders, inspiration and overall beautiful aesthetics in every piece of stationery we create. We want for every Dear Diary product to serve you as a personal cheerleader that motivates you to take little steps day by day towards the life you imagine for yourself.

On that note, there's more stationery goodies coming out soon. Subscribe to our newsletter and be the first to know about new product launches, discounts & special offers.

Prioritise. Focus. Take those baby steps towards achieving your goals <3

With Love,

xx

Dear Diary team

 

January Favourites

Our first monthly favourites. YAY! We are constantly looking for ways to improve ourselves, for resources to learn, ways to better understand ourselves and others and for all things that improve our overall wellbeing - mind, body and spirit. We thought we would share all the things that we've found helpful or interesting this month and hopefully some of this is helpful or inspiring to you. We'll keep it short & sweet, so without further ado, let's get into it :)


MINDFULNESS

New year means new habits and new resolutions. For all of us, incorporating regular meditation practice in our lives is on top of the list. It's well known that meditation relaxes your body, trains your mind and promotes deeper understanding of yourself and those around you. When you listen to high-performing people talking about what makes them successful, meditation is sure to be one of habits mentioned. It only takes 10 minutes (or longer if you prefer), yet has such a positive impact on your wellbeing. And to be honest, if you don't have 10 minutes in the morning (or evening), do you even have the time to live a fulfilled life? I heard this somewhere and since then every time resistance hits and that voice in my head tries to convince me that I don't have time for it, I ask this question to myself.

habit-tracking-diary

We like to try out different ways and experiment with meditation methods that help us stick with this routine and slowly notice the progress. This month we've been enjoying Meditations by Jody Shield. On her website, you can find meditations section that offers guided audio meditation for different purposes, such as “meditation for heart opening”, “meditiation for staying zen”, “meditation for deeper sleep” and others.

I like to mix up my mediations and sometimes I just put on relaxing background music and focus on my breath, however, most of the time I (as a beginner) prefer to use guided meditation as it's simply the easiest way to mediate and this way I truly feel the progress. Listening to Jody's guidance has helped me achieve a deep state of relaxation and right away I feel better emotionally and mentally.

Jody also hosts different events and workshops in London that are designed to work on your mind, body and spirit. In you are in the area, you can check them out here.
 

BOOK

Now, the book I'm about to mention came to me at a perfect time. A couple of weeks into January, when all the goals are set and you actually need to start taking action, I experienced mixed feelings. Procrastination, resistance and the feeling of being overwhelmed. I knew I had to get out of this vicious circle and, usually, a great help is a good and inspiring book. So I picked up “Mindset” by dr Carol Dweck and pretty much finished it in 2 days.

It describes the power of our mindset and separates two - growth and fixed mindset. The main idea is that it's not just our talent that brings us success, but the way we approach our goals. Is it with a fixed or growth mindset? The right mindset helps us achieve our goals professionally and personally as well as gain confidence and keep going even when the things don't turn out the way we want them to.

Here is a great example that compares both mindsets:

In the fixed mindset, everything is about the outcome. If you fail - or if you’re not the best - it’s all been wasted. The growth mindset allows people to value what they are doing regardless of the outcome. They are tackling the problems, charting new courses working on important issues. Maybe they haven’t found the cure for cancer, but the search was deeply meaningful.
— C. Dweck

This book has really helped me look back at my own past experiences and identify what approach/mindset I've used to deal with it. Then, learn from these experiences and notice what I could have done better or shifted my mindset for a more positive outcome. This book suggests incorporating a healthier and more positive perspective when making decisions and dealing with difficult situations in your life. Really recommend reading it, even if it is just to understand yourself better.

mindset

PEACE

Now on to relaxation. Only in the last few months of 2016 (when we were putting together the Dear Diary) I started looking into essential oils and tried out a few myself. And oh my gosh - they do work!

One of my favourites is lavender oil. I usually use it after an intense/stressful day and it truly helps me reduce stress and unwind. You can either add a few drops of oil to bath water or mix it with your body lotion. If I use it just before bed, I'm sure to sleep like a baby.

Another oil I've been enjoying is grapefruit oil and this is great for uplifting and refreshing. Grapefruit oil can be used the same way as lavender oil or I also like to keep it next to my workspace. When I'm starting to feel a bit low on energy, I dilute a few drops of oil in my hand cream, rub on my wrists and breathe in the scent.

essential-oils

WEBSITE

Very often we talk ourselves out (or perhaps it's just me?) of developing/learning a new skill or expressing ourselves creatively, because we think we lack talent. If we hadn't started playing piano, drawing or dancing at an early age, it means it's now too late for the twenty-something self to start. Or, we tried it once, we failed, so it means we don't have a talent in that particular field. I was often guilty of thinking this about myself and (again) listened to that unhealthy voice in my head that said - there are so many other people that do it better than you, why even start and waste your time? Ugh, hate that voice… With time I've started to resist it and do quite the opposite. If I want to try something new - I go for it. Without feeling like I have to win an award for my new skill that I'm trying to develop. I'm just doing it for my own pleasure. Then it turns out to be an extremely enjoyable activity that even serves as type of meditation.

I've always admired beautifully written quotes/words in brush lettering and finally this year I set this for myself as a goal. First action steps are done - buy good pens and find a resources online that could educate me on the basics. This brings me to the second favorite of the month - Skillshare website. It's a learning platform with online classes taught by practitioners from all over the world. You can search categories like business, technology, writing, design, photography and more.

With the help of these classes, I've started practicing my brush lettering (it's so much harder than it looks, btw) and I've been really enjoying it. I've already saved many other classes that I want to take in writing, business and lifestyle and can't wait to explore. I mean, how lucky are we to live in this incredible time when we have so much information around us. Still blows my mind.

brush-lettering

TREAT

Working from home can be challenging in a few ways. For me, one of them is the want to snack. Constantly. Every time I have a cup of tea, I need something to go with it. This has been a good challenge though, as it's made me pay attention to healthy snacks available on the market and discover that there are quite a lot of yummy options out there.

This month we've been really enjoying Whitworths Cacao Maca-roons. The ingredients include almonds, coconut flakes, agave nectar, sunflower seeds, cacao powder, coconut oil, golden flax seeds, vanilla extract and maca powder. All the good stuff. No sugary, unhealthy stuff needed. We made similar choco balls a few months ago and they also turned out delicious. These are just quicker and still a very tasty option when you don't have time to prepare your healthy snack.

healthy-treat

What are your monthly favourites? We would love to hear from you :) 

Thank you so much for reading!

With Love, 

Zane & The Dear Diary team 

HOW TO: Write a Personal Mission Statement + worksheets

We're already two weeks into the New Year. We've set our goals, have big dreams and we're excited for all the adventures that 2017 will bring our way (well, I bet most of us are). Pretty much every single day in the first week of January I heard people talking about their resolutions and goals. The level of motivation and determination was high. It got me thinking - how can we make this feeling/excitement last now that everyone's back into their daily routines?

We believe that keeping your goals and future vision in front of you where you can see it daily can be the biggest source of motivation. Dreams don't work unless you do, right? :) This is the main reason why we included goal setting and moodboard in the first pages of our Dear Diary. I, personally, don't want to let myself down, so looking over my goals reminds me to take a little action daily that will bring me closer to achieving my goal. And don't ever underestimate the smallest steps :)

moodboard

Recently, while watching Tony Robbins “I'm not your guru” on Netflix, I heard a phrase “personal mission statement”. It caught my attention and after watching the documentary, I got carried away doing more research on the topic. After reading more about it, I had to create one for myself. I found that a uniquely created statement that represents your values, dreams and mission, is like a promise to yourself to live with a certain mindset. It's a reminder to keep going and not let yourself down.

In this blog post, I'll share why I think it's valuable to create your own personal mission statement, how I create it and how I use it. Plus, we've created a little gift for you so that you can start right away :)
 

WHY PERSONAL MISSION STATEMENT?

Author Stephen Covey talks a lot about this topic and he says that ”a personal mission statement becomes the DNA for every other decision to make.

Similar to creating your vision board (if you haven't checked it out already, we also have a blog post on how to create a vision board with purpose here), writing a personal mission statement is an amazing mindfulness exercise that helps you clear your thoughts and also get to know yourself better. 

Once you've created your very own unique personal mission statement, it works as a reminder of who you are and what beliefs you stand for. It's a personal “motivator” that you've created yourself and it speaks to you personally. It will be the reminder to live according to your values, dreams and purpose. Sometimes it's all we need in order to stop procrastinating and get on with the things we need to accomplish.

HOW TO CREATE IT?

After trying out a few ideas and techniques, I created my own system and questions that helped me create a few sentences that combine and represent my purpose and most important values. These are the 3 steps I follow in order to create my personal mission statement:

1. Discover yourself.

Before writing your personal mission statement, it's important to fully understand yourself. What are your main values? This is essential because it helps creating a statement that's true to you.

Also, think about what you enjoy doing most? What are you passionate about? Whether it's your hobby, spending time with your friends or providing value to others in some way. Take time to think about what truly excites, makes you happy, motivates and empowers you, then write those actions down.

What are your top 3 life goals? This is not something you will achieve in the next year, but rather something you want to achieve in your lifetime. Accomplishing these goals would make you really happy and fulfilled.

2. Future self.

Imagine the person you want to become. Think about the qualities and attitudes you want to have. What do you want others to say about you? This can include your accomplishments and your character. Also, think about the different roles you play (a daughter, a friend, an employee, a father, etc). How would you want to be described in these roles?

3. Positive influence.

We are so lucky to live in a time and place where we're surrounded by so much inspiration, incredibly valuable information and wise teachers that share their experiences through books, videos, podcasts, etc.

All this information can help us understand ourselves better - who do we want to be, what we can relate to, what inspires us, how can we grow. 

In this last step, think of a person that inspires you. It can be a family member, a friend, a public figure, a legend, or anyone else you admire. Describe their top qualities, mindset, beliefs and what you think makes them successful/admirable. Write down these qualities and then think how you can bring these attitudes in your life.

Now, here are a few things to keep in mind before writing your personal mission statement:

  • Make it short, powerful and encouraging (narrow it down, so that it can become your own personal mantra or moto that you repeat to yourself daily).
  • Use confident, not wishful thinking (use “I am…”).
  • Include emotions and outcomes of living according to your personal mission statement, make it unique to you.
  • It should briefly describe the person you want to be and things you want to focus on/that are valuable to you. 

HOW TO USE IT?

It took me a few days to create my personal mission statement. In order to make it unique and powerful, you have to make sure that all the things you include truly represent the way you want to be and what life you want to live. Finalise your personal mission statement when you feel really comfortable about all the answers to the questions above. Most importantly, be true to yourself.

As quoted above, “a personal mission statement becomes the DNA of every other decision to make”. I believe this is why we create personal mission statements. It guides us to live the life we imagine for ourselves, it reminds us of who we want to become and it motivates us to keep going. 

You can create this statement as a paragraph (just write down your thoughts and get into as much detail as you wish) or write separate encouraging statements in regards to different areas of your life.

My main advice is to keep it in front of you. Print it out, frame it and put it on your desk. Write it in your diary. Put it on your vision board. Use it as wallpaper on your phone or laptop. Place it whenever you feel it can be most effective.

Remember to practice this mission daily. Whenever you need to make a decision and be aware of the attitudes that come into your mind. Make sure to ask yourself - does this align with my personal mission?

vision-board

A LITTLE GIFT TO YOU

My personal mission statement helps me focus on the things that matter the most and I believe it will do the same for you.

We've created free printables that include all the sections mentioned in this blog post, so that you can start working on your personal mission statement right away. Remember that you don't necessarily need to fill in all of the fields. See what works best for you, what questions give you a good idea of who you want to be and the things you stand for. Download your printables here

personal-mission-statement

 

Thank you so much for reading! Please let us know in the comments if you have ever created a personal mission statement and what are your tips for staying inspired and motivated throughout the year. We love hearing from you :)

With Much Love,

xx

Zane & the Dear Diary team 

Guide: Meaningful Gifts + GIVEAWAY

Last year my family and I decided not to exchange Christmas gifts. It did feel good to escape the over-the-top shopping frenzy. Later, however, I realised that there is nothing wrong with giving gifts. What's wrong is how we choose to approach it.

How about switching from mindless shopping to mindful giving? A meaningful gift that can actually be beneficial to someone. The most magical time of the year could actually be turned into a joyful time with shared experiences.

WHAT'S THE INTENTION? 

Finding the perfect gift involves doing some serious brainstorming and getting into your creative mindset. I suggest asking yourself the following questions:

 - What does this person truly enjoy?

 - Have they shared any challenges or struggles they are dealing with? How can your gift help?

 - Are you purchasing this gift because “you have to get something” or the gift will actually be valuable and beneficial for the receiver? Will it bring happiness, be useful, be the source of self-improvement?

 - What's the intention behind the gift that you want to give?

Here are some ideas for the gifts that we believe provide value and can bring lots of smiles.

EXPERIENCE

Why not gift an experience that will create a lasting beautiful memory for your friend or your loved one? This is something we can cherish forever, so I believe that experience-related gifts are the best things you can give to your loved ones.

Think about the receiver. Are they into sports? Always trying out new things? Or perhaps they like relaxing experiences? It's something you know they would enjoy, but perhaps they don't put aside time or finances to do it themselves. So, organise it for them. Here are a few ideas:

 - Theatre or a musical (a couple of years ago I gifted my boyfriend a ticket to “The Lion King” musical. It was amazing and I'm so happy we shared this experience).

 - Cooking class (this can be a super fun evening together filled with laughter and meeting new people).

 - Meditation experience (this is for someone who needs to slow down and check in with themselves).

 - Yoga classes (you can gift a certificate to local classes. Help the receiver start a healthy habit).

 - Spa experience (a spa experience or just a one-off massage can seem like a luxury to get for ourselves, so I'm sure that your massage-loving friend will appreciate you organising it for them).

 - Concert ticket (from big names to just a small gig locally - music helps us switch off and allows us to step outside the noise inside our heads).

A LETTER FROM THE HEART

I believe that your time and undivided attention is the best gift you can give to someone. The next gift on our list doesn't cost anything, but is the most priceless.

Write a letter from the heart. To say thank you, to say how they make you feel, how grateful you are to have them in your life, how proud you are of how far they've come, how meaningful the memories are you've shared together. 

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QUALITY TIME

This might seem very simple, but the thought behind is much bigger than any sweater or candles you can give to someone. We are often so caught up in our daily agendas and being busy that we forget to spend some quality time with our close friends and loved ones. Booking a table for lunch at a cute and intimate restaurant, where you and your friend can talk for a few hours (no mobile phones, no distractions) could be the best gift for that person and yourself. The purpose of this gift is to be truly present and listen to each other, engage in a meaningful conversation. Or, why not go on a fun one-day road trip, explore new places and play tourists all day long?

You can present this as a gift card. Write down the date and time and ask them to save the date. 

PERSONALISED JEWELLERY

Personally, I will take a new piece of jewellery any day :) I also love gifting jewellery, because it's something that can stay with the person for years. Now, don't just get any jewellery piece (or something that suits your taste), think about the person you are gifting it to - do they like wearing dainty or statement-y jewellery? Bold or subtle?

Etsy and NotOnTheHighStreet have lots of wonderful options for this and you can also get it personalised. This adds even more value, as you can add a special message or a date that's significant to the receiver. And another bonus - you'll support a small business and this gift will bring much joy not only to the person you're gifting it to, but also the person who is making it.

INSPIRING QUOTES AND PHOTO PRINTS

Who doesn't love a good quote? This is a lovely and thoughtful gift for your inspiration-seeking friends. Look for something that has a beautiful design and would also serve as a unique piece of decor for their office or home. Do your research and find a quote that can be a daily source of inspiration/motivation and remind the receiver to follow their wildest dreams.

Or, choose the most special photos that represent meaningful memories from your friend's life. Print them out and create a collage or put them in a journal and write down comments. Include wonderful memories you have shared together so far or remind them of how proud you are of everything they have done/achieved.

PAPER GOODIES

To me, a stationery lover, paper goodies is always on top of the list. I truly believe that writing is healing, it's a form of self-reflection that can lead to mindfulness and peace.

Find a beautifully designed blank journal (for those who enjoy putting their thoughts and emotions on paper) or short entry journal (for those who are not so much into writing).

You can find beautiful hand-made journals on Etsy to make it more unique and special (so that they can't help but want to write in it :)).
 

INSPIRATIONAL BOOKS

Don't just gift any book that's marked at the store as a bestseller. Think about what the receiver actually likes? Do they like novels? Self-help books? Autobiographies? Fiction? Inspirational read? Most importantly, do they even like reading? I personally love receiving a good book as a present and I do enjoy the process of holding a physical copy in my hands, but there might be people who prefer audio versions. If so, why not gift a subscription to Audible?

Again, the purpose here is to gift a book that potentially could make a positive change in the receiver's life. For example, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. It's about clearing the clutter in your house. And mind :)

A cookbook with delicious recipes is always a great idea. Is your friend trying to reduce an intake of sugar? Perhaps switching to healthy eating? Get a cookbook that will inspire them to stick to the new healthy habits and try out new recipes.


THE DEAR DIARY

We are also including our own Dear Diary, because for us, something to do with a writing experience has always been of a high value (as already mentioned above). It is designed for inspiration, mindfulness and focus on the things that matter most. It's something your loved one or a friend can use for 12 months - a tool to track and reflect on their journey in 2017. 
 

IT'S A GIVEAWAY TIME, YAY!

So this is a pretty big deal - our first giveaway :) Mainly, just to say thank you so much for all your support, love, encouraging comments and kind words. We are beyond thankful!

We'll be giving away 2 diaries to one lucky winner - one for yourself and the other one as a gift to your friend. Here's what you have to do to enter the giveaway:

  1. Leave us a comment below about what's the most memorable and meaningful gift you've ever received.
  2. Follow our Instagram and Facebook accounts.
  3. Tag the person you will gift the diary to in our latest Insta photo pic (here).

* One entry per person. Open worldwide. The giveaway ends on December 7th. Winner will be announced on our Insta on December 8th. 

Thank you so much for stopping by and reading. May this magical season be filled with love and warm memories! <3 

With Much Love,

xx

Zane & Dear Diary team