6 Simple Ways To Boost Creativity

“The only unique contribution we will ever give to this world will be born out of creativity” Brené Brown

When you hear the word creative, do you immediately think of skillful artists, successful musicians, established authors or even long gone childhood memories involving sticky back plastic and washing up bottles? Maybe you think creativity is just a word reserved for those talented types on Etsy. Whilst those people are clearly artistic, I also think that everyone has the potential to live a creative life. I do not think you need to be born creative, I think creativity is just like everything else – if you work at it, whatever it is, you will get good at it. Simple. And I promise you, even if you don’t turn out to be the next Jimi Hendrix or J.K Rowling you will have fun in the process.  Here are 6 simple ways to boost creativity:

Try something new. A couple of years ago, I decided I wanted to play the guitar. So, I got one and slowly taught myself using Youtube and guitar tabs online. My neighbors moved out around the same sorta time as I started learning so I dunno if that is just purely coincidence or not, but I did get better. I’m not rock star standard yet but I can string some chords together and play a few tunes which resemble Oasis songs. It’s a form of creativity that I enjoy and find super relaxing too. If there is something which you want to learn, I say go for it! Have the courage to try and the persistence to get better.

Listen to podcasts. Podcasts are a brilliant way to feel inspired and learn from those who have done it all before. Recently, I have been listening to Magic Lessons by Liz Gilbert where she talks about living creatively and Ctrl Alt Delete by Emma Gannon who chats about the internet, social media, feminism, creativity, identity, mental health, life, careers and everything in between. There are thousands and thousands of podcasts out there, so have a search online for ones which suit your tastes. You never know what snippets of wisdom you might uncover by tuning in and taking note.

Browse Pinterest. My favourite thing to do every morning is go on Pinterest and browse the latest pins. I like looking at motivational quotes, beautiful photography, colourful art, cute cats and cool haircuts. But that is just me. So instead of logging onto Facebook or reading some negative news, go onto Pinterest for a daily dose of inspiration and motivation. Start the day in a positive and uplifting way. You will feel better for it and it may even spark a little creativity too.

Be persistent. To get better at something, you have to keep doing it and doing it and… you know, doing it. There is no other way. For example, I must have taken the same photo today about 20 or more times, rearranging the props, adding something new, taking something away, approaching from different angles, zooming in, zooming out before I thought it was okay. I then spent more time in Photoshop messing around with fonts, changing the colours and moving things around before I was actually happy.  So I say stick with it and keep experimenting until you get there.

Get moving. Feeling in a creative slump? Get some exercise! My best thinking happens when I go outside, put my headphones in and just walk. The mix of fresh air and a change of scenery is enough to clear the mind and make space for some imaginative ideas. Exercise is my go-to activity when I am feeling uninspired and generally down. Whatever I do, whether is it is swimming, walking, yoga or a fitness class – I always feel better afterwards, full of inspiration and positive energy.

Let go of perfection. There is no right or wrong when it comes to being creative, you are free to express yourself however you want to. You don’t need to follow any set rules; just go with the flow and make it up as you go along. Your creation will be special, unique and tell its own beautiful story. Most importantly, don’t use self-doubt as a barrier that prevents you from starting a new project. Whatever your standard now, keep going and you will improve. So be brave, pick up the pen, practice the piano, paint that picture, whatever, and you might actually just surprise yourself.

I hope you enjoyed my post today! What do you do to boost creativity and inspire new ideas? Do you have any favourite podcasts at the moment? I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions!

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30 Creative Date Ideas

As you may know, I write blog posts on the spot without too much forward planning. So when the lovely people at Prestige Flowers contacted me to review this beautiful Valentines Day Bundle, I thought oooh hello blog post inspiration! Firstly though, let’s talk about these gorgeous roses. I admit I don’t really have a clue about looking after flowers, so I was relieved when I noticed that within the big box there was a handy little Flower Care guide book. Phew.

I need not have worried though. It was all pretty easy stuff, even for a bouquet beginner like myself.

Look at these gorgeous flowers! Yes, that’s right, there is a cute little bear and tasty chocs included in the bundle.

Flowers, chocolates and a cuddly toy! Shaun, my valentines day expectations are now pretty high, ha ha.

Simba protecting his new Prestige box castle from Zazu…

Zazu isn’t bothered as he has more important matters to attend to.

I was more interested in these little chocolates. By the way there isn’t that many in the box anymore.

As Valentines Day and Mothers Day are both fast approaching, you may be considering buying your special people a lovely bunch of flowers. Before you head to the shops, why not check out what Prestige Flowers have to offer and grab yourself a £5 discount using the code: VIP7711 at the checkout.

If you are stuck for Valentines Day date ideas, pick up a pretty bunch of flowers and do something creative with your favourite person. Here are a few of my ideas:

recreate your first date

go to the beach and write your names in the sand

play mini golf

pick a random destination on the map and cook a themed dinner together

go for a walk and take some cute photos

go bowling

have afternoon tea

make some sandwiches and go for a picnic

jump on the next train and spend the day in a random town

play some board games

have a couples massage

go to a pub quiz

have a two person house party with your favourite tunes 

watch a live band

visit the local market

go shopping and do the £10 gift challenge

create a home spa

watch a panto at the theatre

go to an amusement arcade

make your own pizzas

go to the zoo

paint / create / craft

have a boxset or movie marathon with all the snacks

go on a spontaneous road trip

go play tennis, badminton, pool, snooker, ping pong, darts, anything!

read a book together

fly a kite

look through old photos 

have a no technology evening

plan an adventure! 

Thanks so much for the beautiful flowers, Prestige! As you can see both myself and the cats loved them. Hope you enjoyed my post! Have you got anything special planned for Valentines Day or Mothers Day? I would love to hear your ideas!

*This is a sponsored post which means I received a product/payment in exchange for an honest review. All views are my own. 

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Greece Travel Scrapbook

If you are anything like me, as soon as the Christmas tree is packed away I start to think about holidays. January is normally a grey and gloomy month so booking a holiday in the sun seems like the perfect escape and something to really look forward to. In my opinion, Greece is an ideal location – it has sunny months from April – October, the flight from the UK is not too long and there is so much to see and do once you are out there. I’ve been holidaying in Greece for about 7 years now and have visited quite a few stunning islands. Here are the places I visited to inspire you to go plan your next sunny holiday!

Like in my Thailand post, the Polaroid photos in my scrapbook are from Printiki. You can use the voucher code S6THU8R2 to receive free shipping at checkout. Check out Printiki on Instagram and Twitter for more DIY photo project ideas. (Paperchase Travel Notebook / Travel Stickers)

Rhodes

Rhodes is the largest of the Dodecanese islands with 43 towns and villages. The popular tourist resorts are Rhodes Town, Faliraki and Lindos. It takes 3 and a half hours to get there from the UK. I visited in July and the temperature was reaching highs of around 31°C (probably why I look a bit pink in the photo!)

Where I stayed: In a little village called Pastida located in at the northern tip of Rhodes in The Garden Hotel.

Things I did: Visited the seaside resort of Faliraki, went to the Rhodes Old Town and saw the Kallithea Springs (an ancient Greek spa with lots of flowers).

Corfu

Corfu (Kerkyra) is the second largest of the Ionian Islands. It takes 3 hours 15 minutes from the UK and even in April it was such a sunny holiday with highs of around 19°C. The popular destinations are Corfu town, Sidari and Acharavi.

Where I stayed: I stayed in the Aiolos Beach Hotel in Perama on the southwest edge of the Aegaleo mountains.

Things I did: I went on an coach trip island tour but not exactly sure what I saw as the guide could not speak English very well. She just pointed out the window and said “lovely views”. We did stop at Achillion which is a palace built in Gastouri which did also have lovely views.

Crete

Crete is the overall largest island in Greece. Along with Rhodes, it is one of the warmest Greek islands. The average daytime temperature in January is 16°C so if you can’t wait for a summer, Crete is perfect for some winter sun. The popular tourist towns are Chania Town, Rethymnon and Heraklion. As it one of the hottest, it is therefore one of the further away with a flight time from the UK of 4 hrs 40 mins.

Where I stayed: I stayed in the Atlantica Sensatori Resort in Analipsi, a small village only 5 minutes from popular tourist city of Hersonissos.

Things I did: Got the bus to the harbour town of Agios Nikolaos, visited Heraklion and went to Santorini for a day trip.

Santorini

Santorini is the classic picture postcard destination of Greece. It’s about 120 miles southeast of Greece’s mainland. Thira is Santorini’s main town and Oia is said to have the best sunsets on the island (and its where all those pretty white houses are located). From Crete it’s 1 hour and 45 minutes on the ferry, if you fly from the UK it is 5 hours and 45 minutes.

Where I stayed: This was just a trip from Crete for the day.

Things I did: You can rent out a quad bike and travel around the whole island in a day. We stopped at both Thira and Oia and it was very beautiful.

Kefalonia

Kefalonia is the largest of the Ionian Islands in western Greece. Popular places are Argostolion, Skala, Lixoui and Fiscardo. It takes about 3 hrs 40 mins from the UK and the temperatures range from 23°C to 26°C in the summer. It is closely situated to the island of Lefkada so you can see two islands on one trip.

Where I stayed: My sister and I stayed in the Olive Garden Apartments in Lassi which was a short hilly walk to Argostoli.

Things I did: We visited the beach town of Skala, went on a boat from to the island of Lefkada, visited the caves in Melissani and tried to spot the rich and famous in Fiscardo.

Kos

Kos is the third largest island of the Dodecanese by area, after Rhodes and Karpathos. It is just 4km from the coast of Bodrum in Turkey. Popular towns and villages are Kos Town, Kardamena and Kefalos. We visited in September and it was still a warm 23°C. The flight time from the UK is 4 hours 15 minutes.

Where I stayed: Shaun and I stayed in The Sunny View hotel which was a short walk from the beach and the lively town of Kardamena.

Things I did: We visited a lovely moutain town called Zia, had a day trip to the nearby island of Nisuros, went to Kos Town and had a boat trip.

Zante

Zakynthos or Zante is the third largest of the Ionian Islands. Popular places to stay are Laganas , Tsilivi and Zakynthos Town. It takes 3 hrs 35 mins to get there from the UK. Again, in Septmber the weather was warm with an average of around 24°C.

Where I stayed: Shaun and I stayed in The Contessa Hotel in Argasi which was 4 Km from the town of Zakyhthos.

Things I did: We went on a boat trip to see the famous Zante Shipwreck, went turtle spotting, visited Zakynthos Town, had a beach day in Tsilivi and Gerakas.

You can read more about the trip here in my Zante Travel Diary.

I hope you enjoyed this post and maybe feel inspired to book a holiday to Greece this year! Which islands are your favourite? We are planning to visit another island in September for Shaun’s birthday so would love to hear your recommendations!

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10 Things To Do: Phuket, Thailand

Since I wrote the post 18 Amazing Places I Have Visited In The Last Seven Years, I have been really keen to write a blog just on my adventures in Thailand. So when Printiki contacted me and invited me to use their photo printing service I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to share my holiday snaps. I was really impressed when my travel Polaroids arrived and thought the little captions underneath looked awesome. You can check out Printiki on Instagram and Twitter for more DIY photo project ideas. Use the code S6THU8R2 to get free shipping on your order! Before you do that, here are 10 things to do in Phuket, Thailand. (Paperchase Travel Notebook / Travel Stickers)

Night Markets

Night markets are always so much fun and you can probably grab yourself a bargain or two whilst you are there. These markets are popular in Asia – the idea is you avoid the hot humid afternoon heat and shop when the weather is a little cooler. The Phuket Weekend Market is the largest on the island and it sells everything from food to clothes to guitars and perfumes. You can pick up a t-shirt for 100 Thai Baht which is about £2.00. Amazing!

Massages

A massage is a must when visiting Phuket. Not only are they super relaxing, they are super cheap too! A 60 minute aroma massage costs about 300 Baht which is just under £7. I had a massage pretty much everyday when I was in Thailand, it was incredible. One word of advice though – Thai massages can be slightly painful. I remember naively opting for this style of massage, feeling ready for 60 minutes of pure bliss, when suddenly I felt tiny fingers jabbing me and my limbs getting contorted into all sorts of positions I never imagined possible. Yikes. Nevertheless, I’m sure it did me some good.

Thai Food

I still stand by the statement that I ate the best Pad Thai ever when I visited Phuket. Nothing has quite beaten it yet. Like everything else, the food is cheap and really tasty too. The average cost of a basic Thai meal in a restaurant is 90 to 150 Baht (£2 – £4) and the street food is even cheaper. If you find a street vendor that does pancakes I would recommend you give them a try. Seriously, Thai pancakes are delicious.

Temples

The Temples in Thailand are absolutely beautiful and if you are looking for numerous statues of Buddhas then these are the places to go. I went to Wat Chalong on my trip – one of the largest Buddhist temples in Phuket. These are free to visit but you have to be mindful of a few rules such as no shoes in the temple, women are required to cover their shoulders and knees and you mustn’t touch the statues or other Buddhist relics. The temple was so peaceful and is such a relaxing way to spend an afternoon.

Beaches

Thailand is famous for it’s stunning and tropical beaches. You don’t need to go far to uncover another sandy piece of paradise. Thailand has a wide range from serene secluded beaches to party hotspots. Phra Nang Beach (James Bond Island) is one of the most beautiful and can be reached by boat from Ao Nang. Also Ko Phi Phi Leh is equally as stunning and has been made famous by Leonardo DiCaprio’s film “The Beach.” These places can get really crowded though so make sure you go early in the day.

Tuk-Tuks

Ready to take your life in your own hands? Then go catch a ride on a tuk-tuk. This is the most popular mode of transport around the island and a must-do experience for anyone visiting Asia, even if it’s just the once. There are no standard prices for tuk-tuks so prepare to be either find yourself a bargain or be completely ripped off. Avoid scams by agreeing your price up front and don’t get poached into sneaky tuk-tuk tours as they usually involve a non-negotiable visit to a jewelry shop or a souvenir shop.

Elephant Trekking

Another typical Thai experience is to go elephant trekking. In Phuket, Kok Chang Safari offers a chance to ride an elephant and feed it bananas too. This is slightly more costly, but is a once in a lifetime experience. For 30 minutes, you pay 1400 Baht (£32) which helps towards the elephant’s natural conservation and care. The guide leads the elephant and it’s passengers through dense tropical forest along paths and trails, stopping for photo opportunities along the way.

Patong

Patong is the party capital of Phuket. It is a bustling beach town well-known for its vibrant exciting nightlife. Bangla Road is at the heart of is all and is jam packed with live music, neon lights and cheap alcohol.  If you have never seen a real-life Ladyboy, you won’t need to wait long for your first encounter in this part of Phuket. It’s all very entertaining and friendly and a fun to experience this lively part of the island.

Culture

When you are not riding in tuk-tuks or trekking on elephants, it nice to learn a bit about Thai culture. Thai people are seriously the most friendliest people in the world, hence why Thailand is called the Land Of The Smiles. On my trip I learned a little about Thai traditions. So, if you are curious why some boats have colourful ribbons around them, there is why. Thai people use these to keep the ‘sea spirits’ calm and peaceful so that nothing bad will happen to them on their voyage.

Relax

The most important thing to do in Phuket is to relax. Thailand is has become a favorable destination for yoga and meditation retreats due to its gorgeous scenery and chilled out spiritual atmosphere. There are tons of places to practice yoga if that is your thing. Or make sure your treat yourself to a indulgent beach massage for optimum relaxation.

Have you visited Phuket? What is your favourite thing to do on the island? I would love to hear your experiences!

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