Setting goals (self-care month day 18)

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I can’t believe it is day 18 of self-care month already! Only 12 more days to go, well done for getting so far, you should be patting yourself on the back 🙂

When I went to counselling one of the things that we had to do in order to progress was to set some goals. This gave us all a purpose and a reason for moving forwards when the counselling had finished. I can’t really remember what my original goals were, they have probably changed quite a lot since then. Cont…

For more click here for the full free download of ‘self-care month’ now all as one handy ebook ‘The Self-care Manual’

Create Something (Self-care Month Day 16)

Create something

Hi there!

Day 16 of self-care month is all about making time to create something. I know a lot of people say that they aren’t creative or ‘crafty’ thats fine. What i’m asking you to do is give it a try and don’t worry about the outcome. The actual process of creating something is what is important here, because it’s meditative, its relaxing and it is so rewarding. It gives us a sense of accomplishment that is so easy to get through creating something from scratch with our own hands, that is impossible to get any other way. I always recommend having a look through Pinterest for craft ideas as there are so many and loads with step-by-step instructions of how to make something.Cont…

For more click here for the full free download of ‘self-care month’ now all as one handy ebook ‘The Self-care Manual’

Time to create

Tomorrow my tiny girl turns 2 years old. I don’t know where it went (we all say that don’t we) when I look back and realise that the time has flown by so quickly its emotional, but its also a reminder to enjoy all the time I get to spend with her and treasure it. Especially while she is at home with me every day and while she is so little. So tomorrow will involve a far-too-big-for-a-child-that-won’t-remember-any-of-it party.


The sunshine has been glorious for weeks but now we all waiting for the rain to come and i’m crossing everything that it might just miraculously hold off until tomorrow afternoon at 3pm when the party is over. Otherwise I really don’t know how I am going to fit in all the people! Today I am going to finish the first part of my essay that is due next Friday, decorating a farmyard themed cake, do all the cleaning I’ve been putting off for week while the sun was shining, trying out some pilates, and resting a muscle I pulled in my leg. Wonder if i can fit all of it in? Must remember to not worry if things don’t all work out that way.

Today I am talking about creating. Creating is a pretty important thing for me. I create in many different ways. I write, I paint, I sew, I draw, I bake. There is so many ways to create, perhaps you are doing it without even realising? A part of learning to create Life Balance is making time to create.


Creation is important. It helps us to express ourselves. It is really cathartic. If I go through a stage of my life where I haven’t felt i had the time or motivation for creation then I really don’t feel like myself. Emotions tend to be out of whack and everything feels just too serious. I used to paint more, now I have to schedule proper time to do it so that that part of me doesn’t get neglected. Around working, studying, family and housework I really have to work to fit it in.

In my experiences and most of the people I have asked creating and hobbies are the first things that get ditched when times are busy. People say to me often ‘I used to write music but I just don’t have the time anymore’ this is really sad to me. There should always be time to nurture your creative side. If i ask what they are doing instead the response generally is ‘oh I’m so tired at the end of the day I just watch TV’. But creating doesn’t have to be strenuous, It doesn’t have to take a lot of energy. In fact it can be a really wonderful way to relax.


If I told you to start off by finding a 1 hour space during a whole week to do something creative could you? I bet you probably could. Maybe you could even find 2 or 3 hours. But to start off with just find one hour. If you struggle for ideas or don’t believe that you are a creative person (I’ve heard that a lot!) try looking through Pinterest, there are so many ideas on there with simple step by step guides.

My board ‘Crafts to do‘ could be a good place to start.

There is something there for everyone. For those of you struggling here are a few ideas;

  • Scrapbooking
  • Journalling
  • Painting
  • Doodling
  • Colouring in (there is such a thing as grown up colouring in books nowadays try your local bookshop!)
  • Baking
  • Cooking
  • Decorating
  • Sewing
  • Knitting
  • Stenciling
  • Writing
  • Photography
  • Gardening
  • Building
  • Decoupage

I could literally go on and on, seriously look through Pinterest there is something there for you! It is relaxing and so much more fulfilling than another night watching soaps, (although a few of those don’t hurt either, don’t get me wrong). Most importantly, do it for you. Don’t worry how it will turn out or what anybody thinks about it. Just enjoy the time alone and relax.


Imogen x

Evening routine

Following on from my post yesterday about creating a weekly routine I want to talk about creating an evening routine. If you work in the day or look after your family then evenings are sacred time. They are your important time for relaxing and regenerating. If you’re tired (I certainly am) then it’s easy to want to spend your evening in front of the TV. I understand that and I do that sometimes too. That’s fine now and then but what I want to suggest is that you also use this time for personal growth, hobbies, socialising, exercise, creating and self care.

What I do first is make a list of 5 or more tasks that I feel I don’t have enough time for, or areas of my life that are getting neglected. My list looks like this

  • Crafting/painting
  • Self care
  • Socialising
  • Quality time for my relationship with my husband
  • Exercise
  • Time spent in nature
  • Reading

Now I work out how to fit this things into my evenings. I choose one per day, it doesn’t have to be rigid, for example if the weather is good I will go for a walk and tick off some time spent in nature. Sometimes I can’t get out for a walk on my own if I am on my own with the kids and I’ll have to work that time into another part of my week. Here’s how a normal week night could work:

At 7:40pm both children are in bed and I have cleared up all the pots and toys from the day. If i can go out I would go straight out for swimming, or to a friends for a cup of tea, out for a meal with friends, or for a short walk down to the river. If I am at home I could get the paints out or make something from my Crafts To Do board on Pinterest. On a Thursday, as I have said before I like to make time to pamper myself a bit (see Pamper evening post). On Wednesdays I make time to watch a film. If Mr.H is around it gives us quality time together which is something we can top up at the weekend. Generally, any one of these activities normally lasts from half an hour to 2 hours, which then gives me time watch something on TV then to read a bit before I go to bed. I very rarely go to bed later than 10:30pm. I would stay up longer and do more if I could but I know that if I do stay up longer I will pay for it in tiredness the next day.

I think everyone knows how much sleep they need and how much they can fit in to an evening. You have to use your intuition to figure out whether you are trying to fit in too much or if you are too tired to do much one evening. My belief is that this time is precious and often overlooked as a time to be productive in your hobbies or socialising. Why not try it for a while and see if you can pull another few hours of activity out of your day? For any more help or advice on creating routines and fitting more into your life then email me at imogenjhope@gmail.com

Much love,

Imogen x

Daily routine



Well I am back online finally. Now I intend to do more with this blog and make it into the network of helpful tips, ideas, and advice on how to balance your life and make space for all the wonderful things you dream of doing but feel like you never have time for. Like, for example, myself-working on this blog, running my house, looking after 2 children, doing a degree, creating and looking after myself. All very important aspects of my life!

I’ve said it before but I don’t think I can ever say it enough. Routines are there as guidelines. Do not allow it to control you. Let it be flexible. If something comes up that you hadn’t planned DO NOT WORRY, just get on with it and come back to your routines when you can. When you keep on top of things that you need or want to do the odd day where you don’t follow it won’t make as much impact on how much you can get done.

I reworked my daily routines last week as it is something that needs doing often when my life changes regularly. I have vague distinctions between days because of different commitments etc. And my version has a lot more specific detail but i’m sure you don’t actually need to know what days I wash my hair or paint my toenails etc! (Yes, I am that organised! If i don’t plan toe-nail-painting I will never do it!) But, anyway, here is a basic version of my weekdays.

7am-8:20-Getting ready for school/put a load of washing on/school run

8:45-10am-Wash up breakfast pots/cleaning tasks for the day (will include how i separate cleaning tasks through the week on another post)/Tuesdays I nip to the shops or market for any bits I have run out of

10am-11:30-Usually go out with baby to My grandmas/playgroup/park/swimming/the library

11:30-Lunch

12pm-1pm-Blog/craft while baby naps

2pm-Exercise, usually hula hoop, yoga, Pilates just at home

3pm- 3:30-School run/homework

3:30pm-5pm-Play games/play in the garden/read together

5pm-7pm-Eat tea/clean up/watch TV

7pm-7:40-Getting kids ready for bed and getting them to sleep.

I will post specifics about evening routines on another post. This is a really important time (especially for parents of young children) to look after themselves, to relax and to create things for themselves. Sometimes studying or work runs over into these times but thats ok. As long as we get some time to really do what it is that makes us who we are or who we want to be.

If you need any help creating your own routines then please contact me via the contact page or email imogenjhope@gmail.com, I would love to help you.

Have a gorgeous day,

Imogen

Life Balance

If, like me and many other people I know, you struggle to fit everything into your day, I want you to know that help is out there. There is a way to fit in everything you have to do and all that you want to do. After all I know from experience that it is the things we want that we make time for last. Life is busy, we are all busy. We have families and jobs and commitments and we forget what it is that we love to do. That which makes our soul dance.

For me this was painting. After I left college I didn’t paint for 6 years or so. Through having a family, jobs, my own business for 3 years when I was a nail technician, that part of me got simply forgotten. Brushed under the carpet, by me, in favour of looking after my family and my business.

These things were necessary to do though. As was that period in my life in which now I can look back on and realise that I need to be able to create. To feel whole, to make sure that all the different parts of me are being taken care of.

Yes, I believe that we all need a creative output in our lives to keep our lives balanced. Do you remember what it is that you used to enjoy that you don’t have time for any more? Maybe not even creating, maybe dancing, yoga, bathing, painting your nails, laughing with friends? Well I am here to tell you that there is time, that you can have to energy to do it and so will I!

I have started painting again, now I write, I am studying for a degree, I manage this blog, look after 2 children and a house and I want to do more! I know I can and the way to do it is to plan for it. To plan all my days around what I want to do. To pace yourself and making sure you are fitting in even the smallest section of time to focus on yourself and what you want to do. 

In the coming weeks (after the house move next Thursday) I will be explaining how I can help you achieve this way of balancing your life to fit in everything. 

I hope you enjoy your weekend and make time for yourself even if only a little.

Love Imogen x

A busy weekend

Mr.H returned home from his travels on Friday which meant we indulged in chippy tea and he stayed awake just long enough to put the kids in bed before drifting off into jet-lag induced sleep on the couch.

On Saturday we lounged around the house and played and watch tv and stayed away from the snow. Then I had a haircut which is always a great joy. I left feeling refreshed and pampered and floated my way home. On Saturday we also negotiated better deals for energy providers and car insurance and it took a long time and a lot of effort but we ended up saving ourselves around £700 a year altogether so it was well worth it. We dragged ourselves out into the cold for a few drinks on Saturday night and caught up with some friends and each other.

On Sunday I woke with a sore head after only 3 glasses of wine! I really am out of practise at this going out lark but i quite like it that way ;-). My mum and I went of to a felt-making workshop which was a really enjoyable, creative way to spend some time together. We never really do things together without Mr.H or the kids so it was a lovely way for us to connect and we did. We also met some lovely ladies and had a good laugh at the same time. I took some photos to show the process and the outcome. It was a learning experience for sure!

The weekend was full of creativity and inspiration and left me brimming full of energy and inspiration for the week ahead. Once i had caught up on Saturday nights lost sleep!

Imogen x

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Fitting it all in and creating Life Balance

So i have a lot of strings on my bow. And would like even more perhaps. It’s a busy life but I have to make sure that I also fit in self care and relaxation. In the past I have been known to let things get on top of me and suffered from stress and anxiety which ideally i would like to avoid returning!

So this past week I have been attempting to establish new routines as part of my goals for 2015. This started by my prioritising The different areas of my life that i need to dedicate time to. That brainstorm looked like this

IMG_4078Not the most colourful but this quick brainstorm has led me to a much more productive week already.

Monday I shut myself away and write 1 chapter of the novel I am writing. Any ideas i have had during the week are noted down or dreamt up ready to be written on Monday. This system seems to be working well so far. I have written 3 chapters and the in-between time gives me enough space to dream up what happens next.

Tuesday painting is quite straight forward. I sit down and let whatever is inside me that day come to the surface and out onto the paper. Sometimes it is something I don’t like. Sometimes i think I have produced something amazing and sometimes its just a little bit dark. Anyway the important thing is that I put the time aside to create something which is just so important to me.

Wednesday says educate. I try to use an hour or so on a Wednesday to read up on selling art, blogging, writing, scheduling and any other subjects which i feel i need to educate myself in. Then i have the rest of the days in the week to implement what i have learnt.

Thursday selling day. I pop as much as i can on etsy and try to manage my shop the best i can on this day. Maybe in the future i will also use this day to sell or display my art locally when i pluck up the courage!

Friday is blogging day. I will sit and write about whatever it is that is on my mind or has been during the week that i might have made a note of.

Weekend is spent ferrying the kiddies from parties to classes to freezing myself in the park! And if I’m lucky some special time with Mr.H.

Rain Again...(Introducing Violet and Jonah aka. Vi & J.)

You may have noticed I am also a student. I am starting a part time degree with The Open University for English Language and Creative Writing. I don’t start for another 2 weeks today and then i guess I’m  going to have to work out how to fit it in to my routine that i have already implemented. Who knows how i will fit in that 18 hours a week but, hey, we will cross that bridge when we come to it. I believe that if I’ve already set out routines for everything else it will be easier.

As i am also mother of 2 little sprouts i have to look after them before all these things AND clean and declutter and cook and play. So you see there is still a lot more to fit in here.  I will probably pop all that down in another post but i just want to give some ideas of how you can fit in ways to create, produce and even sell even if your family or working life is full and chaotic.

Thanks for reading lovelies!!

Imogen x

Welcome..to my Life Balance blog

I’m Imogen. I am a writer, painter, student, mother and wife. I hope to use this blog to practise writing and to promote whatever it may be that i am working on. Also to create a network of support and belief around myself that i, and you, can all achieve our life’s purpose and dreams.

I write with great trepidation. The same way i, in fact, do anything as i am very self conscious, self doubting and low confidence when it comes to that which i create. But i am trying. Trying to grow, trying to learn and trying to believe in myself more.

So this will be where i will publish my personal story. Maybe 1 or 2 times a week.

Thank you for reading.

Please engage in feedback it would be extremely helpful and appreciated.

Imogen J Hope

Life Balance