Bullet Journalling, Colour

Taking Notes; Adding Embellishments

Wherever I end up in a meeting or listening to something, I can’t help but take notes. As soon as I add little pictures, tags, colour, etc. (the little embellishments), I am able to recall what I’ve been hearing more easily. I also find that this allows for threading the overall theme together later.

Embellishments can be simple doodles, but rather than a point of distracted absence, they serve a purpose. These embellishments can be anchor points; how often have we all searched through lots of words looking for THAT point? Why not have a little colour in your notes? Maybe that highlight will make it easier to find/catch the thread of the meeting more vividly.

I’ll confess here, although I love the concept of bullet journalling, I’m not great at the ‘bullet’ part in this context. I haven’t figured out how to reduce what I’m hearing/thinking to simple bullets.. however, when I write notes, I love colour. As demonstrated below:

WJEC Chemistry A-Level Modules
Notes in my journal – colours to capture separate modules
🐝 Beelong

My experience, after much trial and error I hasten to add, is that I need colour or pictures to recall my feelings and/or the essential principles of what I was listening to or learning at the time (e.g. the little honeycomb and bee in the picture above).

I’d encourage you to think about what is useful for you when taking notes:-

  1. What do you want to remember -recollection of details or broad strokes? This will define the amount you write. Consider if a picture to depict the setting, or your interpretation of the theme will help to map your notes more effectively; this doesn’t need to be elaborate or pretty and could even be a logo or picture stuck into your notes.
  2. Consider how do you best learn/ understand – if you’re a visual learner (use pictures), if you learn best by reading (use colour to separate chunks of text), if you learn best simply listening (note down quotes and bullets for anything essential, but focus on what’s being said, primarily)
  3. Finally look back to your previous notes; do they help you recollect what was said /done? If not… Think about taking them a different way, don’t be afraid to adopt several methods in one meeting 😊

I hope this overview of how embellishments could support your note taking is useful, let me know any thoughts in comments below.

Bullet Journalling, Crochet, Ponderings

Crochet Diploma; Was it Worth It?

Approximately a year and a half ago, I came across an advert on Facebook for a Crochet Diploma by the Centre of Excellence. Online and self-paced, the idea of this course appealed straight away- the advert also had a code for a significant discount, meaning it was ~Β£30 to sign up. I was conscious the qualification may not mean anything to anyone else (in a professional capacity), but I love to learn, so this was ideal.

Having been crazy about my hobby for a while and as I’ve mentioned elsewhere, encouraged by my friends and family to pursue (at least part-time) a creative business, I signed up and took on the course.

Whilst on holiday earlier this month I completed the course, about a year after I initially began it. I have a full-time job and a busy social life, so I chose to study only when I felt like it, to stop it becoming a burden. The diploma could definitely be completed in a shorter time frame, if you so wished.

The course covers how to crochet; advanced techniques; reading patterns and charts; designing various items from scarves and bags to clothing and finally the course finishes by covering basic business approaches, including considering your target market and writing a business plan.

Although I learnt new approaches from the first few modules, since I could already crochet and had some experience of the advanced techniques, the highlight of the course for me personally, was not only the modules about designing garments, but the final modules on thinking through a business plan. Both these aspects of the course were new to me and having a platform to go on from was just what I needed.

The assessments at the end of each module are largely simple and useful to cement knowledge. I treated them as open book and reviewed the content as I went along if I wasn’t completely sure of an answer. The final assessments were far more personalised to a business you may want to create, so required a lot of (good, needed) thought and reflection. A word of caution here, you cannot access the answers you submit for your assessments once completed, so make sure these are saved or written elsewhere. I wrote mine in my bullet journal and a separate crochet notebook.

Once I completed the course, I received lovely feedback and a certificate from CoE with my grade as well as confirmation of 150 hours of Continuing Professional Development. In addition to this, I received a certificate to say I was part of the International Alliance of Holistic Therapists as a result of getting the qualification. A note, you can access the course content after completing the course, very useful for a reminder! πŸ˜„

As I mentioned above, I’m not sure whether this will be recognised professionally as a qualification, but I think it demonstrates a love of the hobby and an ability to pursue learning & development for my own pleasure, so I think if re-doing my CV for example, it will feature as a personal achievement.

One other benefit I haven’t mentioned; doing the course qualifies you for an National Union of Students (NUS) card, enabling you to have student discount at various shops and the cinema; this is definitely worthwhile!

I would recommend doing this course or one similar if you’re considering setting up a business or want to get into designing – COE also provide a Sewing and Knitting Diploma too; make sure you look/ask for discount codes, as these make the courses far more accessible financially.

From a personal point of view, I recently realised that learning new things is a major factor for my motivation. For a time I had lost my ‘Crojo’ (the motivation and heart to crochet), so this course has helped to cement the love of crochet and I am now picking up my hook more often. I look forward to putting the skills I learnt into practise and hope to design something soon.

Doing the course is also part of the reason this blog exists, rather than remaining a longed for dream. As well as the blog, I also set up a Facebook page and Instagram feed (@mayailoves on both platforms). To be honest, I find it much easier to engage on these regularly, so please feel free to follow me there too to keep up to date. πŸ˜ƒ

If any of you have an questions or thoughts, about the course or my journey, please let me know. I’d love to hear from you!

Bullet Journalling, Crochet, Ponderings

Rest! What is it Good For?! Absolutely Everything!!

I’ve been AWOL for a little while on the blog, Facebook and Instagram as it’s been a manic few months.

It was only when I finally stopped last week, on holiday I realised how long it had been since my last real ‘rest’. This view from our balcony did me the world of good:

Being away made me think about a couple of things.

  1. Why is rest important?
  2. What strategies could I incorporate into daily life to introduce more rest?

Why rest?

Simply, because it’s good. Rest allows contemplation, celebration and restoration. When we stop being so busy (as has been my experience last week), we are able to think more clearly, observe details often missed otherwise and focus more on the current moment. We also have opportunities to celebrate what is going well and consider where we need to make changes.

I feel less frenzied this week, my mind has more freedom to dream, hope and think. I’ve actually become far more productive too. I think these are some of the benefits of rest, but how to actually introduce rest?

Strategies to have rest

In the midst of busyness, I find that I often fore-go things I enjoy, fun goes out of the window!!

So, with that in mind, I hope to:

  • Walk more; at least twice a week – I started walking by the river and through the local park recently and it has done me the world of good to be outside.
  • Crochet – this goes without saying given my previous series of posts, but I love to crochet. However, crocheting is one of the first things to get taken out of my schedule if things are busy. Whilst on holiday I crocheted more in two days, than in the last two months. The sheer joy and the ‘mindfulness’ of hook and yarn was exactly what I needed.
  • Sew – I recently bought a new vintage sewing machine (blog post to follow), one I’ve dreamed of for many years. However, I don’t feel that confident sewing, so I am going to spend some time re-learning how to sew. This will hopefully be another calming activity.
  • Bullet Journal – I recall a time, as I first began the Bullet Journal journey this year, I wrote a couple of lines each day or drew a small picture to represent my thoughts for the day. A real journal as such. I found that I slept better and it was a good record of life, I felt less like ‘life’ was just passing me by. So, I hope to do this as a wind-down before bed each night. While on holiday I updated my pen test list:

  • Finally, I’d like to introduce regular nights off in the week. I am notorious for being unable to say, “No”. So in a bid to take care of myself and take opportunities for rest, I will have a night off planned each week, with no responsibility! On these evenings, I may just stay at home. Though, as I also love art/ arts & crafts, live music and dancing, I may use these to have some fun with the people I love.

I hope that these new ways of living help me to rest in my everyday and this post has inspired you to learn to take some rest too. If you have any other strategies or thoughts regarding rest, I’d love to hear them – please comment below. πŸ˜ƒ

Bullet Journalling, Slimming World

Slimming World, Fresh Food, New Start

This post is about my return to a journey I started almost five years ago by joining Slimming World. Since getting to my target weight in 2015, I have managed quite well to keep off the pounds, however in recent months, I have to confess my discipline has slipped.

I’ve been noticing for months that where I used to stick to one piece of chocolate, I’ll often now have two or even three in a row. So today, despite having to sacrifice my Saturday lie in, I joined a local group again.

When I did last did slimming world (SW) a few years ago, I lost just under three stones; this was fundamentally because my husband and I changed our lifestyle, eating habits and I played netball regularly. I really enjoyed the process, saw good results, but wasn’t putting undue pressure on myself, knowing that the weight would come off over time.

I’m hoping this post serves as a reminder to me and to you that it’s good to consider our health, but also to give ourselves a break.

So to this end, as I go through this weight loss journey I choose to:

  • Go at my own pace – no competing or comparing
  • Cut my self some slack – there will be good and bad weeks, but over time, the good will outweigh (πŸ˜†) the bad.
  • Enjoy food – remember good relationships, community and friends are worth more than a few pounds; be grateful!
  • Experiment – work out what works this time, this week and don’t be afraid to try new things

If any one else is also on any kind of health kick, be kind to yourself. Learn from those you can, forget the ones who are unhelpful and be grateful for the ones who cheer you on and join you on the journey.

To aid me, I’ve added a very simple tracker in my bullet journal showing each pound lost, which will (I hope) serve as motivation on this journey.

I expect that I’ll share a little more about food in the coming weeks. Wishing you all the best of health for the coming year πŸ˜„

Bullet Journalling

A New Year – Bullet Journal Set Up

First of all; Happy New Year from Mayai Loves. May this year be full of delights and happy memories for you. 🍾🍾πŸ₯‚

As part of my run up to 2018, I chose to set up my bullet journal for the new year. I came across bullet journalling in the latter part of 2016, partly because I was looking for a way to organise life without feeling guilty for having many, many missed days in a traditional planner. I’ll be honest, I love the idea of journalling, but the practise has always been haphazard. I wanted some way of tracking my day to day things to do, birthdays and a visual means to see when I had too much on. However, I love taking notes, so also wanted a notebook or many blank pages and always found that traditional diaries never had enough space for all of this in one book – I cannot for the world imagine why! πŸ˜‰

The bullet journal seemed ideal as in reality, it’s just a notebook and a pen. Each day, you make a list of the events and tasks you have ahead, in the form of a bullet list. In the original (linked here), there are a few different bullets to depict tasks, events and notes, alongside these, some will also have a signifier, which are used to highlight whether a topic is particularly important, inspirational or even something requiring further research. All of this is done in an incredibly neat rapid log.  However, the bullet journal has developed into a creative outlet for many people, as well as the original concept of an effective, personalised, organisational tool. 

I discovered the idea after it had already morphed into the beautiful polyphony you’ll discover if you search on Google, so my journal is a mish-mash of the minimalist, rapid log and the incredible, creative spreads that normally appear first on Google. I wanted a practical, but creative feel. So some pages from 2017 are shown below:

As you are able to see, I prefer blue ink, with splashes of colour. I draw, write notes, make lists etc. all in the same notebook. The versatility of the bullet journal is the thing that attracted me to it, but it’s also what keeps me hooked. The added bonus is that I no longer have little bits of paper all over the place with lists or ideas on them! 

For 2018, I wanted to set up some of the same pages as I had for 2017 and also add a couple more: 

New for 2018 is a words of the year page: 

This really serves as inspiration and helps with goal setting; these three words were the ones that jumped out at me for the coming year; for the whole list see the end of the post. 

Then, two pages which worked well in 2017: 

A Calendex: a hybrid of an index and a calendar. This allows you to mark a new event, much like a traditional calendar and then view the details about it on a different page. I’ve also added birthdays at the bottom of the page.

The second repeat of 2017 is a month to view page. This helps me to track exactly what’s going on and make a note of any important dates at work. This should (I hope) help me to balance out my month in terms of time commitments.  This monthly view looks at what happens in the short term, in detail; where the Calendex is really to help with tracking future events as an overview.

I am intending to try and look at weekly breakdowns with a list of tasks also – but I’ve not decided on how to plan that yet- so that may become an update to this post. 

I have a few more things to complete but, here’s to a smashing, organised 2018 for you and I! My next job in the BuJo is to plan my next few blog posts πŸ˜†

I’d love to know what’s your word(s) of the year are; here’s the list I started with: 

If you have any comments or questions, please let me know below. As always, if you want to know when the next post is up, click follow below πŸ˜„

Bullet Journalling, Crochet, Introduction

The Adventure Begins…

This blog is a little adventure into the world of starting off a business and celebrating the beauty I see around me. Right now, I feel the trepidation of stepping off a boat onto an unfamiliar shoreline; excitement and wonderment, mixed with a bag full of nerves!

“Mayai”, literally translated from Swahili to English means, “Egg”. A very simple shape that on its own comes in a variety of subtly different colours, but can be adapted through decoration to suit any aesthetic, or equally, cooked to suit any taste.

Mayai Loves is born of a desire to share the things that brighten up my day; not including my family and friends, I find most often that these are pops of colour, bold prints and interesting shapes. I’ll often wonder around shops looking at shoes and handbags, most often the ones with a beautiful pattern like this one at Matalan: https://www.matalan.co.uk/product/detail/s2655426_c101/embroidered-backpack-black.

For many years, like so many I know, I told myself I lacked creativity and pigeon-holed the concept of ‘creativity’ into a small, narrow view. I believed that since I was not prolific with a paint brush, I was not creative. My intention with the blog is to explore this sense of creativity with my readers, the intention being that I may inspire you to dust off ‘creativity’ from the box into which it was discarded long ago. I hope this will in turn encourage you to don the tools which help you express this inherent goodness. If you hadn’t already guessed, I have a firm belief that everyone has a ‘creative side,’ as such, but we all need opportunities to discover it and fulfill it.

The idea of a blog and business came from friends and family, who have lovingly encouraged me to share my journey, mainly of making and giving crocheted items. I’ll be writing a post shortly about how I (re-)discovered my creative side and the intention for the rest of the blog is to celebrate some of the things I love, in the main, these will be focused on crochet, but expect to see some posts about food, interiors, art and even bullet-journalling.

I’m looking forward to going on this journey with you. If you’d like to keep up, please click on the follow button and let me know your thoughts and comments below.

Have a lovely weekend… I’m off to a wedding, but more about that on another post πŸ™‚