It works!

I had a wonderful message the other day from one of my readers, she had a bad day with a lot of stress from outside influences beyond her control and decided to delve into the ‘bag of tricks’ to feel more balanced and calm heres what she said;

‘I had the most horrendous migraine yesterday with it all and I realised my neck and shoulders were tense. This made me think about the things you have said so I put everything on hold and jumped into a nice hot bubble bath and came up with an action plan. It worked!!!! Thank you! You should be so proud of everything you are doing for yourself and other people.’

I’ll be honest now it brought a tear to my eye. I love to know, on a personal level that the tricks and tips I write are being used and are working. I mean, I know they work because I do it myself but it’s so good to hear this.

And very importantly-Dear Lady, you should be soo proud of yourself too for noticing the signs and for looking after yourself. I am so proud of you and happy for you!

Remembering to take care of yourself when it feels like the world is falling apart is hard to do. But it works, it puts things into perspective and it makes you stronger for when these things do arise.

Have you been delving in to my bag of tricks? What do you feel is working for you?

Don’t forget to sign up for self-care month emails. A self-care task to your inbox everyday throughout June for FREEEEE!!

And the Ebook Balance Your Life Today is available worldwide on Amazon for £1.99 or free on kindle unlimited. It is a practical guide to creating balance in your life and is choca-blok with tips and hints.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend,

Love & joy,

Imogen x

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Life balance coaching

Hello my lovelies! After a few requests I have decided to create a life-balance service one-to-one. Actually, this was my plan all along but it has been brought forward somewhat.

The life-balance coaching service will include

  • Daily contact with me in the form of email and/or skype
  • I will work out some routines for you to fit into your life more of the things you struggle for time for
  • I will create and send you routines and worksheets in PDF format
  • Free access to any of my ebooks, ecourses, and any other products that I release
  • My guarantee that you will feel like your life-balance has improved
  • Anything you want to talk about, discuss, need help or advice with is fine by me. I am here to help as much as I can in any way I can

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There will be a monthly charge for this service but for now I want to offer 1 month free to 2 people. There is absolutely no pre-requisit to applying for this freebie. I am going to choose 2 of the applications at random for the free month. The full service will be launched officially at the beginning of July. To apply for one of the 2 free 1 month month places please email to imogenjhope@gmail.com or use the contact form and provide the following information

  • Name, age, location
  • Where you heard about the blog
  • Why your life needs more balance

I will choose the 2 winners on May 31st so keep an eye out in your inbox on that day!

Good luck peeps,

Joy & love,

Imogen x

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Most Important Tasks

In my Leonie Dawson workbook that I filled out at the beginning of this year there was a page called

12 Zen Habits (From Leo Babuta at Zen habits.net)

They are all pretty useful and zen and go as follows

  1. Set your 3 MIT’s (most important tasks) each morning
  2. Single task (focus your attention)
  3. Zero inbox
  4. Process emails once a day
  5. Exercise 5-10 mins a day
  6. Work while disconnected
  7. Keep your desk decluttered
  8. Clear & declutter home for 15 mins a day
  9. Stick to a 5 sentence limit on emails (make your words powerful)
  10. Say no to commitments & requests not on your important short list
  11. Eat fresh fruit & veg everyday
  12. Follow a morning routine

I think we can all pretty much agree that these ‘Zen Habits’ are worth thinking about as we go through our days. In fact I have them stuck on the wall in front of me right this very second look

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My favourite one is number 1. I actually do use this one every day now. Having 3 MIT’s is great because it isn’t overwhelming. It its an endless to do list. It is just what actually matters to you the most on that day. Sometimes there is time for more. Some days I have achieved my MIT’s by 11am and I have the rest of the day to frolic..or whatever. I take 5 minutes every morning to figure out what the 3 tasks are for that day that i definitely need to do. If i think of 4 i have to choose which ones are the most necessary to my day.

Todays MIT’s for example are

  • Write blog post
  • Go to appointment
  • Start assignment

Today is pretty standard actually. Often my 3 MIT’s have something to do with self-care (appointment-actually for hypnotherapy) something for my business (today-write blog post) and often something to do with studying because there is basically always something I really need to do for that.

Other days, I know immediately that My number 1 priority is self care. Sometimes my MIT is actually to find time for a quick nap, or a bath, or just to read alone for a while. On days when I’m not feeling that great I know that that needs to be taken care of first.

Some days it is to do something fun with my family, to visit my grandma, to clean something, to business plan, to organise something for charity, to find time for yoga or a walk or to write in my journal if I haven’t done that for a while, to create something if i haven’t done that for a while.

You get the picture. I need to sit down each morning and actually give myself a few minutes to think about what the day holds in store for me and how I can work out when to do my MIT’s.

Why don’t you try it? Could you list 3 MIT’s today?

Peace out,

Imogen x

P.S.

Have you signed up for self-care month? Free daily emails throughout June with self care tasks in for every day! Sign up here

http://eepurl.com/bl49EP

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

Day 3 in the sick house

Well weirdly enough today has actually been, well, nice! First day since Friday with no sickness so that’s obviously a bonus. I have been pottering around with the kids again playing, making, giggling and it’s been lovely. I asked my lovely sister to take baby out to the park in the afternoon because she was ill first so recovered first and has been fine for a few days. It’s so important to have a support system that is there for you and you can ask for help. I know it’s awkward to ask and you feel like you’re putting people out by asking but you’re not. You’re looking after the best interests of your family and they can only say no. If you’re not lucky enough to live near your family, build a network of mummy friends and ask one of them, ask a neighbour you trust or find the money to pay someone. If only once a week you need that time especially if you are a single mum or like me spend time alone while daddy is away.

So while baby was out the boy watched the Lego Movie and I actually got to write for an hour. I am trying to write a novel. It’s experimental but I’m enjoying it! When I sat down I just had one of those kinds of sessions where it just seemed to flow and I got a chapter and a half written before bubs got home.
Then we did this

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And played Lego and snuggled and laughed and played games and it was special. I wasn’t rushing trying to do other things and got some sneaky unexpected quality time with the kids.
A stolen day of quality family time.
Imogen x

And the rest…

Ok so wouldn’t it be amazing if I could spend my time doing the 6 different activities that i pin pointed in the last post. But i don’t. I have lots of other tasks that i want/have to fit into my days without over doing it and burning myself out. Which, quite frankly has to be my very top priority so i can look after my family in the best way and create a Life Balance.
So heres a wee list of all the other joys that fill my days
Washing up (doesn’t come under cleaning I’m afraid because washing up is a must do where as a lot of other cleaning isn’t to me!)
First the household thingies-
Washing/drying/ironing clothes
Baking bread (probably not necessary for most people but it is something I enjoy that actually needs doing most days)
Shopping (the bane of my life!)
Cooking
And personal care-
Meditation
Exercise
Reading
Watching films
Personal hygiene
Pampering
Sleep
Socialising
And family stuff-
Generally organising children. Actually Organising all 4 of us most of the time.
Playing together
Play dates
Visiting family
Homework (my 5 year old has homework it is insane no?!!)
Karate lessons for the big one
Date nights
Family trips

I have made myself a lovely colourful wall planner

Which basically plans out my every move. Which is great for fitting in all the lovely things i want to do. BUT we must always always remember to be a little flexible. To expect the unexpected and don’t get too stressed if you aren’t rubber gloved with your hands down the loo at precisely 9:15 am. Sometimes the baby needs cuddling, emergency milk needs buying, sun needs laying in etc and if thats the way you wanna play then that is so great and wonderful. My planner is there to keep me on track a lot of the time but i know not to worry if i can’t follow it sometimes.

This is my desk/workspace/creative station

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It’s a bit dark but it’s cosy and it’s right next to baby’s bedroom so she can play and potter about while i am at my desk.We are actually moving house in 6 weeks anyway so I will have to carve out a new space in our new house when we get there. We will finally have a proper garden though so i’m hoping there will be a lot of work done outside!

Here’s my new wall planner

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It looks pretty hectic but it’s not. It’s detailed and repetitive. You will notice there are only 5 days in this week. My weekends are kept spontaneous and free to get on with what needs doing and to go wherever our fancy takes us!

The only real thing left for this space that i want to do is a big dream board/collage to put on my goals, wishes, dreams and ideas onto so i can see them regularly and keep them in focus. Coming soon…

If you would like me to design you a wall planner to help you balance your life please use the contact form below. I will help to organise all the activities, jobs and anything else into your days by working with you to come up with a plan like this one. I want everyone to be able to fit into their lives all the wonderful things that make them happy as well as the necessary jobs that keep life ticking over nicely. I like to hand draw things because that is the best way i work. I like to make them colourful, cheery and full of love and i like to think that shows in my services. Once we have come to an agreement on a plan i will send you your hand drawn wall planner in digital format and you can print it out at home. If you don’t have printing facilities a plan can be arranged for shipping.

As an introductory price I will create your wall planner for £5 (payable through paypal) but be quick the print will go up in 2 weeks for this one of a kind, bespoke life balancing service.

Imogen x