Blog Goals

| Twitter |

Current: 654 followers

Goal:  2000 followers

Anyone else feel like a bad blogger when they miss Twitter chats? Every single time I turn up about 40 minutes too late because I’ve forgotten again but hopefully this year I will push myself to use Twitter more.

| Instagram |

Current: 490 followers

Goal: 1500 followers

For someone who used to post daily on my personal during high school, my posting is appalling on my blog Instagram. The appalling engagement probably is not helping but I aim to post more consistently at least!

| Bloglovin |

Current: 147 followers

Goal: 1000 followers

There’s not much I can do for Bloglovin, although I’m sure posting bigger and better content wouldn’t hurt. I also want to start using Bloglovin as a way to read more blogs as I’ve really fallen behind this year.

| Pinterest |

Current: 81 followers

Goal: 500 followers

I should probably start using Pinterest as a viable option for Uptown Oracle. I pin a lot of inspiration photos for my photography (not for my blog though) but I rarely post images from my blog. I might start making Pinterest worthy images for each post? If anyone has any tips for Pinterest or blog post’s please link them in the comments!

| Facebook |

Current: 25 followers

Goal: 500 followers

Has anyone had much success with Facebook without purchasing promotions? I feel like I’m running a lost race here, but maybe this year I’ll be able to improve my feed and encourage more followers.

| YouTube |

Current: 18 followers

Goal: 500 followers

I did start my channel this year, and I did post one video but I disliked it so much I decided to start over in the New Year.

Reading Goals

Read 100 Books – This was the same goal I set myself last year on GoodReads and since I only just made it, I decided that I should keep it the same for 2018.

Keep a reading spreadsheet  – I’ve already set my spreadsheet up ready to start on the 1st January! This will give me one place to include all my book info and my quick positives and negatives. I’ve included the genre’s, publisher, page count etc because I want to create stats next year about what I’m reading.

Read more diversely – The spreadsheet idea led me onto reading more diversely. I’ve added columns for whether there’s POC and whether it has LGBT rep within. I’ve also added what country the author is from as I think reading books outside of UK and US authors is important.

Read more ARCS on time – I have a bad habit of requesting too many e-arcs from Netgalley and Edelweiss, and then there’s too many to read in a short space of time. I’ve set myself up so I’m reading books well before their publication date so I can review on time.

Read a graphic novel each month – Even when I’ve been doing my monthly release posts, I’ve forgotten about graphic novels and comics. This isn’t because I don’t like them (because I do!) but it’s just not been a priority. I’ve decided to aim to read one per month, and also add them into my monthly book release posts!

Personal Goals

Finish up my internship – After 6 months working at EA I am loving it. But I do need to finish in July and I plan on working just as hard until the end to prove that I can do this.

Start off final year of university with good grades – I need to put a bit more effort into my university work when I go back for final year. I really do want to aim for a 1st but if it’s anything like 2nd year I might struggle a bit.

Write every day – whether it’s for a specific blog post or just about different ideas I plan on writing everyday. I have notebooks, my phone and my laptop and no excuse not to sit down and write for 20 minutes!

Save for a house deposit – I already have a Help to Buy ISA but I want to save as much money as possible so I can afford a house when I want to buy. This means saving as much as my paycheck before I go back for my final year of uni.

 

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It’s that time of year when we have 5 million celebratory events to go to, presents to buy, trains to catch and friends and family to meet up with. Of course, this is often a festive and happy time of year, but sometimes it can get quite stressful. Have you bought everyone’s presents? Can you afford these presents? Will the train home be delayed or cancelled? Do you have time to pack? Will everyone in my family ask me why I’m single? Will I be able to cook a whole dinner for the whole family? and so on… Overall, the happiness of Christmas can often bring some stress and not much time to deal with it. Here’s some tips to prevent and help stress:

I’m sure many of you have heard about the importance of work experience, internships and placements before but I wanted to explain from a personal point of view how important finding work experience was for… View Post

Get Organised

Creating to-do lists and organising things well will alleviate symptoms of stress. Making lists and checking them off will make sure you know what’s been done and what hasn’t. This will also stop you panicking if you can’t remember what you have left to do.

Budget

One of the biggest stress causers is the excess spend of the holidays. Before you go crazy buying everyone presents, make a list of who you need to buy for, and set yourself a set budget to buy all of them. Also, use the internet to find cheaper prices to fit into your budget.

Moderation is Key

Although everyone loves to stuff themselves over Christmas, remember to still aim for a healthy balanced diet. Eating those chocolates in moderation will help you not feel so sluggish on the 27th. Also, eating healthy leading up to after Christmas will mean you won’t feel as guilty after eating too much on Christmas day.

Get Enough Sleep

The multiple late nights due to meeting up with friends, family and co-workers, not to mention the sleepless night of Christmas Eve can increase your stress levels. Increased stress levels can also disrupt the sleep you do get which leads you into a cycle of being tired. Try to relax as much as possible before bed, and stay away from technology to try and get the best sleep possible when you’re not having late nights.

Learn to Say No

Prioritising your tasks running up to the holidays is important. Saying no and delegating to others is an important part to help you prevent stress. You can’t take on everything this Christmas, so if you have all your family round, ask them to bring some food so you’re not panicking while trying to cook everything.

Keep Active

Keeping active over the winter break is important. Even though it’s much colder and you’ve been overindulging in food, getting your heart rate up is important to keep healthy and reduce stress hormones.

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Although the holiday season is a wonderful time of year, a lot of people feel a lot less jolly than expected around this time of year. I know that as soon as the days start getting shorter and I’m walking home in the dark everyday that I’m feeling a lot moodier, unhappier and just not quite myself. This is often an indication of Seasonal Affective Disorder. Fortunately these are mild symptoms and I can function normally in my job and personal life. Unfortunately, 3% of the UK population suffer will full symptoms which affects their everyday lives drastically and affects everyday functions. Whereas 20% of the UK have mild symptoms which often go undiagnosed.

Symptoms of SAD

  • A constant low mood
  • Depression
  • Sleeping too much and experiencing fatigue
  • Gaining weight and food cravings
  • Decreased interest in social and everyday activities

What causes the Winter Blues?

Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD and the Winter Blues often occurs just as we start to run into the beginning of winter. As the days go shorter we often lack the natural sun light we are used to from the Summer months.

This is said to affect three different things in the body. First is the production of melatonin which is a hormone that makes you feel sleepy. This production is increased with less sunlight. The second is the production of serotonin lowers. This is the hormone that affects your mood, appetite and sleep and is also a main hormone that is affected during depression. The last thing is your circadian rhythms or your body clock which also affects your sleeping and eating habits.

How do you beat the winter blues?

One of the big factors to try and beat SAD is to get as much light as you can while you can. Get natural light by trying to fit in morning walks or get out of the office at lunch time before it gets dark. You can also try light therapy*. Often your doctor will let you know if you need one, and there’s different types and brightness levels for them.

Changing up your diet can also help. Although eating a healthy and balanced diet all year round is important, you need to think a bit more about which foods will help increase your mood in winter. Eating more good carbs such as whole fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds etc. will help combat the carb cravings often associated with SAD. Mood boosting foods are also important. Most fish has an abundance of lean proteins, omega 3, vitamin B-12 and vitamin D all of which help boost your mood. Other foods that include these will also help. If you struggle to incorporate some ingredients into your diet then supplements may also help. Both vitamin D and fish oil supplements can help.

Regular exercise, whether it’s a brisk walk or a full gym session will help to reduce symptoms of depression. The endorphin released alongside being outside helps to increase your overall mood as well as positively impact your health. The best time to go for a run, walk or hike would be while it’s still light although you’ll still get some benefits if you only have time in the evenings.

Becoming mindful and meditation can help to lift your mood. Being mindful that you’re feeling moodier and less like yourself means you can immediately take action to make yourself feel better. Meditation itself is said to release serotonin and melatonin which helps boost your mood and are two of the main hormones affected by SAD.

Ensure that self care is a priority. When you’re affected by SAD, it’s often difficult to do normal everyday things such as cooking food, sleeping on time, staying awake in the day etc. Forcing yourself to do these things will help you to not fall into a cycle of poor self care and being depressed.

Another thing is to keep in touch with friends and family. Talking to people and taking part in social activities will help you to not feel so alone. Whether you talk over how you feel or not, being around someone you trust will often boost your mood anyway.

And of course, if you’re feeling really rough, it’s always okay to go to the doctors.  They will be able to give you medical advice and prescriptions if needed and will give you a lot better advice than what you can find on the internet.

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Today I turn 21 and I remember a whole year ago thinking ‘Now I’m officialy no longer a teenager’. I moved out to go to university and I even lived on my own during second year. But, I just dont feel like I’m being an ‘adult’ properly still, even with my full time work placement.

Remember when you were little and you thought once you were an adult you would have your whole life sorted? Yeah… me too.

I thought I would be eating healthy meals, 3 times a day (Home cooked of course). I often skip breakfast, buy lunch out and rush together something for tea because I forgot to buy the proper ingredients needed to actually cook. Since I’m working 9-5, I will be working on doing big weekly shops with a pre-written and planned list of meals (for everyday including lunch and breakfast). But ultimately, I’m not doing what I expected an ‘adult’ to do.

My house would be immaculately clean all the time, with minimal effort because I’m just so good at tidying as I go about my day.  My room (I only have a room) is in a constant state of disarray and I lose things under other things all the time. I never have the effort to actually clean up after myself, the only positive is that I’m just messy and not dirty. I don’t leave food or rubbish out, it’s just clothes, books, makeup etc. I will need to start setting myself specific time per week to clean my room because it just gets messier and messier.

Career-wise I thought I would know exactly where I wanted to be and I’d be working towards it. I still have no idea what I actually want and even with my placement I’m still trying to figure things out. I’m going to continue taking on opportunities this year and in my final year of university so hopefully I’ll have thought more for when I graduate.

I also thought I would be completely organised in all aspects of life. I am only organised when it comes to the ‘planning’ stage of any project, I can plan a months worth of blog content but I rarely write all of it on time.  I’m going to have to plan certain times to do things when in my planning stage so I know I have the time to complete tasks. This is probably more of a ‘I need to be stricter with myself’ problem though.

I’m also going to have to start budgeting a lot more, at the moment I still end up ‘treating myself’ and it’s a really bad idea. I need to save money so I’m a bit more secure when I actually graduate.

Who else thought they would have their act together by now?

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I’ve seen a lot of posts recently about people saying they dislike writing bad reviews. I personally, write negative reviews quite often. And I enjoy writing them, I always find I have more things to say when I have a negative opinion as I justify them much more than positive opinions. But also, negative reviews are actually really good, and people should be writing more of them. My main focus for this post is books, but a lot of beauty and fashion bloggers have been doing this as well.

People have mentioned they don’t like writing bad reviews because they don’t want to sound too negative. When writing a review, as long as you’re being objective, you won’t sound ‘too negative’. You’ll sound honest and like you’re really thinking about the product. As long as you have reasons, and you’re not bashing an author or company you’ll be fine.

For Books in particular, writing a bad review is constructive criticism for the author. I read a lot of debut and indie books, and so the authors will often keep their eyes on the reviews. This means if I’m reviewing their book I can let them know what they do well, and what they don’t. Therefore, their next should be better. So for books, it’s really important to write an objective and honest review.

Bad reviews are also good to let other people avoid disappointment. I’ve read multiple books and used multiple products where I’ve only seen good reviews for them. Not writing bad reviews means any ratings are going to be skewed upwards. And when I’m reading a book that’s got 4 stars on Goodreads, I’m expecting a 4 star read.

I’ve also seen a couple of people mention that they don’t write bad reviews because they think companies wont work with them. Yes, I know that if all your posts are negative then many companies may steer away from you. But, writing an honest bad review every so often will not affect your opportunities that much. In any case, if you are working with companies you should always be writing unbiased reviews. If you don’t write negative reviews, what will happen if you get sent a product you don’t like? Will you lie or not go through with the sponsored content?

Writing bad reviews also makes you seem more honest as a blogger. I find that I don’t trust the views of some people because every single post they write is all positive, all the time. Sometimes, people write half reviews where they note all the good things but just leave out the negatives. For me anyway, this makes it sound a lot more like an advert rather than a blog post.

What are your thoughts on negative reviews? Do you write them or not?

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