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My Diary For 2023

Every year I write a blog post about which diary system or set up I am going to use for the following twelve months. In recent years, I have moved away from a Filofax (I trialled something earlier this year - more of that in a minute) and fallen in love with the Hobonichi printed diaries. For the last two years I have used a Hobonichi Weeks as my personal planner and I won't be deviating from that this year. I have tried a Hobonichi Techo A6 a couple of times but have never managed to feel comfortable with it size-wise.  I have always lusted after the Hobonichi Cousin A5 as a main work planner so, this year, I have bitten the bullet at launch time and invested in my very first one. Hobonichi Weeks The Hobonichi Weeks is a slim diary with a yearly, monthly and weekly layout. The main section is a "week to view with notes" and there are an additional 70 note pages at the back. This year (2022) I used the "Mega" version which comes with almost three times as m

How to Upscale Your Downtime

With busy working lives, families to see and friends to connect with, it’s a little wonder anybody has any free time in this 100mph world we live in. My belief is that we should all cherish a little downtime, once in a while, to recharge the batteries and get the endorphins running; whatever that means for you. From the energetic to the downright slovenly, here are some ideas for how you can maximise your spare time and perhaps enjoy some self-improvement at the same time!

Dance to the Music


Let’s face it: the idea of running or hitting the job doesn’t appeal to everybody, and that’s fair enough. But exercise is proven to be good for us in so many ways, from burning off the calories from those late-night chocolate hits to releasing endorphins and hormones such as serotonin and norepinephrine, which are well-known in scientific circles for improving mood and promoting feelings of positivity.
Source: Bruce Mars via Pexels


There is still this perception that exercise has to be hard, and that you have to suffer in some way. But that doesn’t have to be the case, and even just walking more quickly and animatedly to the shops can help to burn additional calories.

One form of exercise that the majority of us love is dancing, and remember you don’t need to reach for the neon leggings and glowsticks to get involved. Few things in life are more enjoyable than dancing in the kitchen to our favourite songs, so crank up the volume and get active!
Something for Nothing

There was a story in the newspapers last year about a man who won more than £20,000 simply for entering free competitions. Just think about how you could spend that cash, from an extension on your house to a dream holiday in the sun or a super-fast car to get you from A to B in style.

The gentleman in question didn’t do anything particularly taxing or time-consuming; indeed, in 95% of cases it simply involves entering some personal information into a form or answering a simple question. And the prizes range from cash payouts to event tickets, holidays and designer clothes. What’s not to love!? There’s a great article on ‘comping’ on the MoneySavingExpert website.

There are other angles you could try too. If you are a sports fanatic, you could try free-to-enter contests like the Super6 (football) or ITV7 (horse racing), where you can win huge prizes just for guessing the correct winners of a match or race. And if you love nothing more than a trip to the casino, there are tons of freebies up for grabs on the web; such as the newest online casino Wildz, who reward their new players with bonus cash, free spins and more.

Winning something, when you haven’t invested time or money into it, really is a fantastic way to spend your free time.

Read My Mind


For many of us, our learning days are over as soon as we leave school as a wide-eyed teenager. But maybe we should never stop trying to learn, whether it’s a new skill or information that could help us in a personal or professional way.

Source: Pexels via Pixabay
There are so many good books out there about psychology and mindset, and these really can both entertain and prove educational.  Why not spend your downtime learning about the world, our history on this planet or perhaps even how the human mind works. Worst case scenario you’ll be a hit at the next pub quiz, but maybe you will learn something about yourself or others that you can put to good use.

How to Upscale Your Downtime | From the energetic to the downright slovenly, here are some ideas for how you can maximise your spare time and perhaps enjoy some self-improvement at the same time!