35 tips for joy, peace & getting things done!

Leafology Journal: Leaves, Shoots & Roots

Afternoon!

Although a creative person at heart, I’ve always been quite fascinated by ‘productivity’/organisation and am a big fan of experiencing joy and magic daily WHILE getting things done. In case it need stating, I’m far from any kind of ‘life expert'(!), but I’ve got a feeling it would be fun to share some ideas for those who, like me, are keen to rev up their daily routine.

I had the urge to challenge myself to write up my 35 best tips (I was aiming for 30 but got carried away) for making little moments count, so that you can make the best of your time but also (crucially) not fall apart or beat yourself up when it all goes to pot… Some of these things I do daily, and some I’m including below as little reminders to myself to do more of, because I know they work!

Here are my 35 favorite tips to getting stuff done WHILE finding joy & peace (disclaimer, they will range from ‘verging on life-changing’ to ‘rather silly’, with a dose of ‘kinda radical’ in between):

  1. Never knowingly get dressed in the morning without simultaneously dancing in front of the mirror; two minutes of dancing per day is infinitely better than zero minutes. Bonus: have a playlist ready and waiting.

  2. Drink your favourite tea (or beverage of choice) while glancing over your diary/plan for the day. (Pre-empting the actions of your day gives you focus – and, if you’re anything like me, also a brief chance to rein in any delusions your previous self may have had about how much can be done in one, singular day.) 2a: Choose the three things you want to do (or be) in order to feel satisfied by bedtime, and prioritise those. Let go of the rest.
  3. Practise ‘radical honesty’. This doesn’t mean going around randomly insulting people, unprovoked, but it does mean refusing to misrepresent your own feelings or beliefs. It’s amazing how often and how easily we do this. Consider making a commitment to yourself that, when asked, you will only speak what is true (to your best knowledge), and that you will also speak up when you are unhappy with something; this is productive in that it promotes authenticity and therefore real connection, and it’s joyful in the sheer sense of liberation it can evoke within you.
  4. Add something green to every meal. Your body will thank you.
  5. If you have plants, take a moment to look properly at them to notice any changes or new growth each time you water them. (If you want to give them names, I won’t judge you.)
  6. Listen to an informative youtube video or podcast while washing up (I do this every evening so that I wake up to a clean/clear kitchen in the morning; perhaps horrifyingly to some people, I don’t wash up in dribs and drabs as I go through the day); I’ve heard of this practice being referred to as ‘putting the kitchen to bed’ – cute! The next morning, take a minute to clear the draining board while the kettle is boiling.
  7. Go and drink a pint of water. Repeat multiple times per day.
  8. If you’re learning a language, do five minutes of a language-learning app in between bigger task blocks…
  9. … or listen to the radio in your target language while doing some stretches (bonus points for pretending you fully understand their jokes and laughing along)…
  10. … or watch a film with subtitles (indulgent and productive at once? What’s not to love!)

  11. Consider specially allocating a day or afternoon (etc.) to actually brainstorm what matters to you in your life; what are your values and what do you actually want to spend your time doing/achieving/working towards. Your values might have changed since you last thought about this, or perhaps you’ve never taken the time to do it. Once you’ve thought about what you’re choosing to spend your time on, think about how this is going to work for you (do you like assigning certain tasks to certain days of the week? Do you want to go with the flow more? Do you want to keep a list of weekly goals somewhere to remind you to stay on track? What do you want to let go of?)
  12. Similarly, consider what ‘success’ actually means to you. (I did this recently, and realised that, for me, ‘success’ is not actually about ‘actions’, ‘posessions’ and ‘goals’, but much more to do with states, feelings and experiences. Journalling on this can be quite fun and revealing! You might discover you’re already quite successful in your own eyes (who knew?), or you might instead uncover a few areas you’d like to address.

  13. Put something wise, beautiful or interesting at eye-level in your bathroom, positioned so you can see it while on the toilet or in the shower. (I highly recommend some passages from the amazing spiritual text A Course in Miracles, which I’ve been baffling my bathroom guests with [/treating them to] for the last year or so.)
  14. Go outside and walk in the fresh air every single day (this can be a tiny potter to put the bins/compost out, a big ‘proper’ walk, or something in between). Take photos of interesting/beautiful things you spot along the way = relaxed exercise.
  15. Go and put some lip balm on. What’s not productive about well-cared-for lips? 🙂
  16. Make it a strict, personal rule that you will from now on never catch sight of yourself in a mirror without smiling at your reflection before looking away. (Think you look awful? Smiling at yourself will remind you of the simple fact that you are absolutely fine – if not rather wonderful! – as you are.) Little note: Self-love has been a buzzword for a while, and is actually the opposite of being ‘selfish’; in fact, it’s a simple truth that we can only love others to the same degree that we have the capacity to love ourselves (woohoo, going in deep!).
  17. Indulge in the art of micro-goals: do one sun salutation per day. Just one. No big deal. One is better than zero (see first tip). Congratulate yourself afterwards.
  18. Every time you brush your teeth, look into your own eyes in the mirror and think something kind about yourself. (Above my bathroom mirror, I have a painted piece of wood with the following line from Roald Dahl’s The Twits written on it – a line which some of you may also have spotted on display at a few of my market stall set-ups: ‘If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.’)
  19. While cooking, sing, as incompetently as you like. (I’m a big fan of Bosh cookbooks for healthy comfort food – it’s my go-to recommendation for new vegans – and I also find these emails are full of delicious-sounding food inspiration.)
  20. Always make at least double the recipe you’ll need for one meal, so that you can freeze/refrigerate it for a future meal (= half the amount of time you spend cooking). I write this about to have a third delicious portion from a recent broccoli/potato/garam masala/coconut cream soup extravaganza…
  21. …Invest in some eco-friendly containers for this purpose. I love pyrex (or similar) glass with silicone lids (they don’t stain or develop any kind of smell like old-fashioned tupperware can, and they can be frozen or heated with the lids off).
  22. If you’re a snacker, like me, but also a bit of a health freak, consider a weekend baking ritual. It doesn’t have to take long; I’m talking half an hour including prep, and you can make all manner of healthy sweet treats to see you through the week. Healthy flapjack? Refined-sugar-free cookies? I’m a big fan of this lady‘s work among others.
  23. If you’ve got a less enjoyable task ahead of you, see if you can combine it with an enjoyable one. For example, if you have some boring life-admin tasks to do, could you take your laptop to a café and enjoy it with a cup of earl grey?
  24. Pray, meditate, or both. Don’t be scared to invent your own version of what these things mean; you do not need a ‘lesson’ in any of them, to take on any unhelpful definitions imposed upon you by others, or to train under a guru, just find what works for you. As a very basic guide, I recommend speaking out loud (while practising radical honesty!) then remain silent to listen/receive. You may be surprised at what happens.
  25. Take control of the time you spend on your mobile phone by becoming aware of your usage and setting particular intentions beforehand. One example which may or may not work for you: decide to reply to all text messages or emails at a certain time once or twice per day (say, 3pm, or 1pm and 7pm). This is a form of ‘batch tasking’, whereby you put your attention onto it fully at pre-ordained times, rather than responding to things distractedly throughout the day and flitting around willy nilly between people/events/memes/whatever people are sending you. Safely ignore anything which isn’t urgent (most things probably aren’t!), and respond in your own time (you’re only leaving people ‘hanging’ for a short period, so you don’t have to feel like a terrible person!). You could even tell people in advance that you are going to be doing this, if you like. This frees up your mind and allows for less distraction from the things you’ve identified as being important for you to achieve or do that day (see 2a!).
  26. That said, a note about ‘control’: realise that you are not necessarily in it. What a gift!
  27. If you’re ever feeling a bit down on yourself for not having ‘done’ much, write a list at the end of the day of things you have done, and tick them off. Ha! Trust me, this is a pleasing thing to do. ‘Picking up the clothes from the floor’ or ‘cooking dinner’ absolutely counts. If you’re feeling scattered, this is also a really good way to remind yourself of what you’ve done.
  28. That said (and this is cheesy I know): remember that we are human beings, not human doings; we are not supposed to be doing machines.
  29. Multitask less. It’s not all that brilliant; in fact, some studies have shown that it doesn’t even particularly exist (OK, yes, we can listen to music while driving, but what is actually more often happening when we think we are multitasking is just very quick switching between tasks). Do one thing at a time, well.
  30. Understand that if someone is attacking you in any way, shape or form, it is coming from their fear (fear can be disguised as anger, irritation, impatience, sadness… you name it). Understand what their underlying fear may be, and have some compassion for them, before deciding how to respond. If your immediate response was to react or defend yourself (disproportionately or otherwise), have some compassion for yourself.
  31. Tidy or declutter one thing every single day. Give yourself the gift of not making this a big deal (don’t start a week-long clearing-out-the-entire-house commitment if you realistically only have five minutes; in fact, five minutes is perfect!). Start with one windowsill, or, if your windowsills are hectic, half of one.

  32. … That said, if you’re aware that you probably need to spend an entire day kick-starting your way towards a clearer environment, try to find the time to actually do that; it’s amazing what a clear surface/room/space can do for the mind (hint: it clears it).
  33. Think about what monthly habits might bring you joy if you were to implement them. Earlier this year (admittedly pre-lockdown), I made the decision to visit the beach once per month, for my own sanity and joy. (I love Oxford, but it is a tad landlocked.) You’ll already know about my love of visiting the sea if you’re following the Leafology instagram account. For me, being by the sea is rejuvenating, fun and brings clarity and perspective – I always take a pen and paper with me in case of any epiphanies that need to be written down, especially if there are any decisions or problems bubbling away inside my mind. What’s your thing?
  34. Ask for help. Knowing your strengths and, in turn, your weaknesses, can be liberating as well as productive; we are not all made the same (isn’t that a relief?) and yes, you can choose to learn to do the things you currently find difficult or don’t know how to do, but in some cases you might find it a better use of your time to simply swap your skills or just ask for someone else’s help.
  35. If, like me, you are highly sensitive to scent, consider making a room spray with natural ingredients designed to either energise/clear or relax you, and put one in your car. The aromatherapeutic benefits of this are obvious, and it’s no secret that you can engineer this so that different scents can be associated with different tasks, potentially making you more productive or better rested. For example, certain essential oils (like rosemary) are said to boost memory!

… What do you think? Let me know your favourite tip from the above and make sure you sign up for the monthly newsletter if you haven’t already! And if you have any tips of your own, I’d LOVE to hear them!

Can skincare/haircare REALLY be ‘eco friendly’ or ‘natural’?

Leafology Journal: Leaves, Shoots & Roots

I think it’s really important to be honest, and I quite fancy a deep dive into this. Here are some of my reflections on the subject, as creator of the Leafology range…

‘Chemical-free’ skincare

Occasionally, when I’ve been at markets with a glorious table piled high with Leafology wares, a customer has said to me ‘Oh, this is all so brilliant, I love natural stuff – I hate chemicals!’ and I wonder then and there if I should gently remind them that everything they are breathing, eating and drinking, plus everything around them, including themselves, is made of chemicals (even water is H2O, i.e. hydrogen and oxygen). Chemicals are not inherently ‘baddies’, therefore, but simply facts of life.

I’m being pedantic, of course; what my customers mean is that they hate what I tend to describe as ‘harsh’ chemicals – irritating preservatives, sensitising additives, petrochemicals, or really anything which sounds like it would better belong in a strong cleaning fluid. And I agree with them.

While I cannot claim to defy the laws of nature by producing chemical-free products (I do not sell vacuums in jars), I do claim to use ‘natural’ ingredients, and (even while I want to point out that even the word ‘natural’ is not completely innocuous; hemlock, cancer and shark attacks are all ‘natural’) this is a strong value of mine and therefore of the Leafology range.

It is aesthetically/sensually pleasing, safe and beautiful to use carefully-chosen natural ingredients, whether they’re derived from plants (essential oils, seed oils, distilled petals, leaves, infusions, fruit butters, etc.) or the earth (clays, salts, etc.). It’s also (rather importantly) effective; modern medicine, after all, was borne from the study of plants and their uses.

But can a skincare range really be eco-friendly?

There are so many aspects of this question which could be explored, so I’m gonna give it a good bash. A fundamental value of mine (which is, again, therefore reflected in the range) is that we should be minimising our use of plastic. This meant, for me, hours of researching alternatives and surprisingly complicated decisions about what to use both to contain each product and how to package our shipments.

Glass and metal are both recyclable and, in my opinion, simply more beautiful than plastic tubs or bottles would be. They also make attractive objects as well as not requiring you to buy plastic bottle after plastic bottle – the Want to be a rebel? page also encourages multipurpose use of the products, which can mean you need to buy even less! Of course, our use of glass and metal can’t be completely perfect or carbon-free when transporting, and it also doesn’t mean that our suppliers don’t sometimes post the raw ingredients to us packaged in plastic (though rest assured we buy in bulk, so the impact is less! Read on for more on this!) – every order from us of a product which is contained in glass or metal is another person NOT buying a plastic bottle of shampoo or toothpaste or body lotion (etc.). It all adds up (and helps spread the joy!).

One pump for life
The serums/oils across the range come in glass bottles and are all available to purchase with either a metal screwcap or a recyclable PET plastic pump lid. Many of you like to buy metal-lidded versions from your second purchase onward (if not from the very first purchase); this way you can see it as your own refill, simply transferring the old plastic-pump lid over to the new bottle (if you like), and repurposing or recycling the old bottle. See the ‘One pump for life‘ scheme, which has been part of Leafology from the start.

Q: Are Leafology products organic?
A: Here’s a little secret: organic ingredients are sometimes used in Leafology products even when they are not stated as such on the labels (this is because individual ingredients being upgraded to organic sometimes occurs before a print run of labels is used up; this is currently true of several products in the range)! Meanwhile, many of the products use organic ingredients, often to a high degree within the overall composition, but you may notice that the finished products don’t have officially accredited ‘organic’ logos on them (this may be considered in the future). Of the long list of potent plant ingredients in Leafology products, many are strictly organic (like all the plant butters and coconut oil, some of the essential oils), while some are not classed as such, simply because they are currently difficult to obtain (any non-organic ingredients are beautifully cold-pressed and unrefined, however). We’ll keep working on this. Meanwhile, many of the natural ingredients such as salts and clays simply cannot be described as organic as there is no agricultural process involved!

Q: How far up the ‘food chain’ is Leafology plastic-free?
A: An excellent question. The basic answer is that the supply chain is not 100% plastic-free (this is unfortunately very difficult to achieve for now). BUT it is moving in the right direction! Here is an encouraging reply from one of my biggest raw-ingredient suppliers when I quizzed them about their packaging:

Do you realise the void fill is made of corn starch and is biodegradable? If you run them under the tap they turn to water. We are moving to more and more paper… however we have been trialling paper bags for the plastic bottles… and they haven’t been doing very well, they tear during transport and then mix with the shredded cardboard we are using. We have some biodegradable bags for the packaging on the way and we are hoping these will work as a compromise between the paper bags and the current bags we are using. Later on this year we will be launching plastic bottles made from vegetable oils, which will be compostable, although these will be comparatively expensive at the beginning, long term we hope to replace everything with these.

…Don’t you just love companies that are transparent and on the right track?

 

Leafology: now award-winning!

Leafology Journal: Leaves, Shoots & Roots

I’m hugely excited to announce that Leafology has just scooped FOUR Beauty Shortlist awards!

This is such an honour and feels amazing to be recognised by this brilliant organisation among a real mix of newer, small artisan brands (like us) and bigger, very well-known brands – all products are independently trialled by non-biased judges on panels around the world, who enthusiastically sample a mountain of entries! You can read more about these awards below!

I’m very proud and grateful to say that the Mermaid Magic Anti-Blemish Face Mask with Sea Clay, Kelp, Green Tea & Spirulina only went and WON the BEST FACE MASK (‘anti-blemish/breakouts’ category)!!

(Here’s me celebrating the win yesterday while washing up…!) 

Leafology also had THREE commended awards for the:

About the awards (from the website):

Celebrating 10 years of The Beauty Shortlist this year, the Awards were created by beauty journalist Fiona Klonarides in 2012. They went global in 2017, attracting entries from 39 countries (43 in 2019).

The awards are widely recognised for their objectivity, transparency and ethical focus and are closely followed by consumers as well as industry experts including beauty buyers, bloggers, news sources, journalists, PRs, retailers and international distributors.

100% Independent, Ad-Free and Sponsor-Free

These awards (beauty, men’s grooming and wellbeing) are wholly independent of any allegiance(s) to any organisation, brand or entity whatsoever and are completely sponsor and ad-free. Every product entered undergoes thorough testing by industry experts in London, New York and Sydney.

These Awards offer a level playing field to the largest global brands as well as much smaller artisan brands, and were launched to celebrate the brightest new arrivals in the beauty space as well as already established and much-loved products.

The Beauty Shortlist and Wellbeing Awards are:

  • cruelty-free
  • sponsor-free, ad-free, partnership-free
  • dairy-free
  • 100% independent, tested+recommended
  • judged by industry expert
  • global (since 2017) with 3 panels in UK, USA & AUSTRALIA
  • a level playing field for big and smaller brands
  • completely trusted by consumers
  • an unbiased guide to shopping the best in beauty and natural health

Needless to say, I am chuffed to bits. A huge thank you to all the judges at the Beauty Shortlist Awards. It means a lot! 🙂

3 tips for plastic-free joy + Buy Leafology in bulk!

Leafology Journal: Leaves, Shoots & Roots

First… the big, bulky news…

You can now order larger quantities of the Renaissance Cleansing Grains and the Tooth Powder in paper bags, to fill up your original metal/glass container.
Just select the option from the drop-down on the product page.

..Save £££ AND the environment!

Mermaids hate plastic + 3 times you shouldn’t try Leafology products

Leafology Journal: Leaves, Shoots & Roots

Happy Summer Solstice!

If you’re in the northern hemisphere, like I am, you might know that the full moon we had a few days ago was called the ‘Rose Moon’, because it’s around now that roses come into bloom. I only found out the name of this paticular moon (I love the fact the moon has different names!) a day after the event, which was when I literally had noticed that the roses seemed to have flourished overnight!

Roses and moons aside, there’s a small announcement and a money-saving special offer for those of you who read to the end, but in the meantime…

Here are 3 times you shouldn’t try Leafology products (yep, really!):

Pink & Yellow (half-price magic) + a hefty chunk of news!

Leafology Journal: Leaves, Shoots & Roots

A Tuesday hello to you!

I’ve got so much to say I hardly know where to start, but something tells me I should give up the goods in the first paragraph or two, so… Here’s something you might want to know about:

I’m feeling all bright and summery (quite bizarrely so, considering it’s just poured with rain) and want to celebrate Leafology’s brightest, most succulent-hued products with a very special offer…

It’s here! Renaissance Cleansing Grains <3

Leafology Journal: Leaves, Shoots & Roots

Since I began creating my own natural skin and haircare products, out of a desire to be really in control of what ingredients I come into contact with (and lessen my unconscious, dangerous addiction to plastic-packaged things), I’ve had people asking me to create a shampoo.

You wanted something natural, nourishing, plant-based, GENTLE and pro-zerowaste.

After the usual EU certification to make it legal to sell, I’m happy to announce that the Renaissance Cleansing Grains for Hair & Body is now available! (Yes it’s a one-stop product for washing your hair and body!)

Photo by Bill Irwin

A unique, effective, nourishing blend, this game-changing formulation is the result of countless tweaks to a recipe I’ve been using myself for a long time.

I am rather fussy about what I put in or on my hair, and struggled to find a decent shampoo that doesn’t come full of sulphates, drying ingredients or which is then packaged in a plastic bottle… I’m happy to say that the solution is here!

My birthday month: let the light in with me!

Leafology Journal: Leaves, Shoots & Roots, Uncategorised

It’s March! My birthday month! I want to celebrate this month (the best of the 12, let’s be honest) with a lovely little offer of Leafology’s FIRST EVER tealight candle, ‘Divine Dusk’. All orders in the entire month of March of £50 or more receive this special little candle completely FREE! (See below for the lowdown!) What is this magnificent beast?
It’s a vegan, clean-burn, low-waste tealight (free of paraffin and synthetic fragrances, so emits only goodness into the air around your home) perfect for lighting in the evening when finishing the day and winding down. The (entirely natural) aroma is a gentle trio of sensual, relaxing & (dare I say it) seductive essential oils; a medley of lavender, basil & cardamom. (Fittingly, I write this with my hands smelling of fresh basil.)

Plus, it comes in a cute, recyclable, screwtop metal tin (the same size as the lip balms!) so you can even transport it with you when on the move, if that’s your thing.

The situation: I’ve been making these sweet & decadent little mini-candles for myself and they are so beautiful and smell so delicious I really wanted to share. Consider this my equivalent of bringing delicious cake to work for my birthday. That’s really it.

(Confession: everything in the Leafology range has the tea plant in it, in some shape or form, but I’m squeezing this into the arena via a tenuous link; a tealight is tea-related, is it not?! Tea lights were originally so-named because they were lit under a teapot to keep the brew warm!).

How can I get one?
These candles are not available for general sale, but if you’d like to get your hands on one, all you’ve got to do is place an order of £50 or more and a magical ‘Divine Dusk’ tealight is yours – it will be automatically added to your order when we post to you.
… And you can order as many times as you like, throughout the month of March.

Over and out; wishing you wondrous brews, well-lit evenings & tea that never goes cold.

~ Ella ~
www.leafology.co.uk


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Happy New Year + Do you ever wonder how you fit in?

Leafology Journal: Leaves, Shoots & Roots, Uncategorised

I write this with the zingy Tea & Sympathy Relief Balm dabbed gloriously around the base of my nostrils (it’s a good visual, I grant you), since a winter cold has hit me hard over the last week and not being able to breathe PLUS having a red, chafed nose from blowing it too many times is a double whammy up with which I will not put. (It’s helped a lot, by the way.)


Back on topic, I have to admit something: despite the fact that Leafology is growing month by month, and I’m ridiculously excited about it all (and grateful!), I had a small waver a couple of days ago. Here’s why:

LAST POSTING DATES, easy stocking fillers & a marvellous medley of merry news

Leafology Journal: Leaves, Shoots & Roots

Afternoon!

The last time I wrote to you it was halloween, and somehow, time has magicked its way in a forward motion, as is its wont, and I’ve just spent the morning decorating my Christmas tree (a little evergreen I keep outside all year in a pot, now abundant in wooden koala bears, red bells, glass stockings & topped with a cardboard angel I made aged 6-ish), with a blazing fire, radio 4 and a determination that everything will happen perfectly in its own sweet time…

Lots to mention in this bumper post, so moving swiftly to it:

LAST DATES FOR POSTING:
If you’re in the UK, you’ll want to etch these in your mind (I, for one, know I still have plenty of shopping to do and am loving supporting small, independent businesses!). So with no further delay (seriously), you’ll want to place your orders before these dates:
– For second class (standard) postage: Tuesday 18th December
– For first class postage: Thursday 20th December