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Happy World book day! This was an occasion I loved at school when we were given a £1 token to buy a book. However, being the adults that we are, we don’t get a lot for free.  So what are the books you should be reading? If you have ever spoken to a successful entrepreneur or side hustler, I bet you a lot of them would have said they read a lot. I guarantee you there is one book they would all recommend as it had an impact on them.  In this list below, we cover our favourite books as well the well-recommended titles. These suggestions should inspire, educate or help any side hustler to take their next steps. Here are the books you should read!

1. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

This is a team favourite. Kahneman looks at the cognitive process of system 1 and system 2 in our brain and the way we make decisions. It covers three phases of the Nobel Prize-winning author’s career working on cognitive biases, prospect theory and happiness. It’s very dense in its knowledge and there is a lot of information to process. It’s a great read and probably one to come back too if you have read it before. This should be high on your list of books you should read this year.

 

2. ‘Crushing it’ by Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary V as you may know him is an internet sensation. He is a personality and inspiration in the world of entrepreneurs. In this book, Gary discusses the importance of a brand personality and discusses stories of other entrepreneurs successful ventures. One important area he focuses on is social media. While you may be thinking yeah I know social media, I have facebook, I use Twitter; His insight and guidance demonstrate how a business can harness it and leverage to grow it’s personality further through connecting with its audience.

 

3. One + One = Three by Dave Trott

 

This is a fantastic book to read for pleasure and for business. I had a great time reading this. It’s full of fantastic advice for business and approach to things such as creativity, problems and life which are all told through other people’s real stories.  You can read two very good stories for free on Amazon by clicking look inside. This will give you a great taste of the book. It’s packed with moving stories that are so influential and with funny stories, each bringing a moral lesson or piece of advice. A lot of business books are very hard to read as they are full of detailed knowledge and fully explained concepts. This book differs from the rest, it’s great for those with a short attention span like myself, giving you the gist of what it’s saying over a couple of pages.  A very very enjoyable read that may have you laughing out loud on the train.

 

4. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

 

Habit? A familiar word in every businesswoman/man’s vocabulary.  We know the importance of habit but do we really understand the science behind it and what needs to be done to change habit?  In this best selling and highly recommended book by Charles he explores the power of habit and the impact it has on our lives. If you read this book you are likely going to do two things; break bad habits and start new ones. You will likely experience a higher chance of succeeding in this as you will now understand more about this behaviour and how it affects you. Get into the habit of reading and start with this one.

 

5. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

This book is the New York Times no.1 Bestseller. It’s a book by the incredibly talented and pioneering psychologist Angela Duckworth who looks into the real backbone supporting people’s achievements.  As you can tell from the title of the book it’s all about grit and the common trait among the most successful people in the world is there power to push themselves and persist despite the challenges they face. Duckworth has studied the mindset and behaviour of many successful people from a range of careers, chefs, entrepreneurs, athletes, and workers alike to find the thing that drives them all and share that with you in her book. Read this fantastic article to find out more about her and her journey.

 

6. Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferris

 

From the man that brought you the ‘Four Hour Work Week’ which is arguably one of the most famous business books out there. This book is big, it’s a monster book of advice and tips from the very best mentors an entrepreneur could wish for. This book is full of extraordinary advice to help fuel your career, business and life. If you want to hear Tim talk about it then check out the podcast video of when Gary V interviewed him

 

7. The Lean Startup: How Constant Innovation Creates Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries

A great book if you are about to start a business or in the early stages of one. A startup is an environment that is constantly changing. This is the exact mindset you need to have and will have, once you have read this book. Eric takes us through his thoughts and advice on how you always need to be willing to adapt to change. This may because of the market, trends or behaviours and sights. A strong believer that you shouldn’t develop a product completely before taking it to market and you should always be prepared to change and adapt to a constantly changing environment. If you get your heart set on one idea and are reluctant to change then this book could be the one to teach you a whole new level of perspective on your ideas and how they will succeed.

 

 8.  When to Jump by Mike Lewis

How many times have you thought I don’t like this job but it’s ok I will keep doing this.  This book helps give you the confidence to start pursuing the career of your dreams. There are many questions people face when thinking of a career change or thinking of taking a riskier but happier career choice. Mike helps you answer those questions by relaying stories of people who had made the jump and the sort of questions that went through their mind and how they choose to act on those thoughts. Is this your time to make the jump? order this book today!

 

9. Rise and Grind by Daymond John

Daymond John released a book called ‘Power of Broke’ in 2016. This book looked at how you can start a business from the ground up when you have virtually nothing.  ‘Rise and Grind’ follows on from that, as it looks at what it takes to succeed once you have a business.  Taking note of other entrepreneurs habits and stories he also draws upon his own career. John looks to give you the needed insight into the mindset and behaviours of a successful businessman. This book equips you with the knowledge and confidence to start practising what it takes to be successful even if you aren’t yet running your own empire.

 

10.  Steve Jobs by Walter Issacson

The man transformed our world. Everywhere you look you see something which resembles his apple empire, from phones, tech, and identity.  This book is so well written and carries rich lessons and insights from the man behind two of the world’s most successful companies ( Apple and Pixar).  These brands transformed their industries- so why not learn about the man behind it all. The book was written based on over 40 interviews conducted with Jobs as well an impressive 100 interviews ( or at least 100) conducted with family and friends of this incredible entrepreneur.

 

11.Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull

Ed Catmull the Co-founder of Pixar has written this book which looks at business through a very creative lens. Pixar is an incredible company and the man behind it has shared his insights for understanding the strive for creativity and originality in pursuing new twists on ideas.  The book looks at how to build a creative culture which is so important in generating new and wonderful ideas that make a company so successful. As a creative man and a storyteller himself, this book reads like a storybook and is the perfect companion for your nighttime reading. Then dream sweet dreams- sweet dreams of creativity and Pixar. One of the books you should read this year.

 

12.  The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle

You may have heard of ‘The Talent Code’? well if you have this is the same guy who wrote that book. This one is about culture- you guessed it! What makes groups and organizations so successful? Is it the culture? Well if you think about it – culture directly affects your work. If you are in a supportive environment you are likely to feel more motivated and happy.  Daniel Coyle looks what makes the world’s most successful organization click. Exploring the Navy seals, looking at how such diverse group of people and talent work together with a single mind to succeed.  The culture code really ignites the reader with a passion to change and take control of their culture through the actions and behaviour they partake in.

 

13. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg

 

This is a highly recommended book, especially among female entrepreneurs.  Unfortunately, women face increased challenges in business on top of the issues that everyone else has to struggle through.  Sheryl Sandberg examines the issues women face in business and the problems of progressing past them. She then gives the readers stories and advice on overcoming those issues.  After reading this you should feel empowered. Go fulfill your career ambitions and desires despite the many barriers that you may be faced with. A motivational read.

 

14. How Brands Grow: What Marketers Don’t Know by Byron Sharp

 

This is a book that is very popular among creative agencies and people within the strategery career. A thought-provoking book looking at evidenced based answers to the questions that marketers are asking.  Advertising is a very important part of any business. Sharp delves deeper into how and why it’s important to understand your audience. You will discover how crucial the consumer insight is in creating your marketing/advertising campaign. Pop this book on your reading list. Go on do it now.

 

15. Hegarty on Creativity: There Are No Rules by John Hegarty

 

This is the last book on our list but by no means the least important.  A really fun book that will give you a few giggles whilst being very influential.  You could probably read this book in a day if you wanted. It’s full of short one or two-page anecdotes for approaching creativity and should be read by everyone. It might not be your typical entrepreneur book but your approach to creativity is important for any business to succeed.

It’s Wednesday and you’re already fed up with your working week. Are you ready for a change? It’s time to start your own business. Have you been thinking about it, but still not sure you’re there yet? We, think you might be ready to take the plunge if you’re showing the signs below. Read below to see if you might be ready.

1.You’ve calculated the risk

You’ve already tested the water – you know what works. You may have even started your side hustle or maybe you’re making a few sales on your blog. Perhaps a number of people have said you need to take this passion of yours full-time. Start up’s are a risky business. Which is why researching your market, audience, challenges and potential rewards are key before you get started. You may already have expertise in the area you are going into or experience from an existing profession. This will lower your odds of failing as you’re more aware of your industry and market. You know it’s riskier than staying in your current job but where’s the fun in that?

2. You’re done with being a cog in a not so well oiled machine

Time and time again you hear of people who are not happy in their job. They feel like a cog in a machine, simply churning over the same work day in and day out.  Large companies who are unwilling to change for fear of disrupting their processes are not going to progress at the rate you are.  Start your own business and be your own boss- it can be so rewarding. Take control of the decisions you make, test out new ideas knowing that if it doesn’t work it’s ok- just go back to the drawing board. Your career is in your hands. You control how far you progress. You’re only limited by your own drive to succeed.

3. You want to love Monday mornings

You won’t be hitting that snooze button when you’re running your own company. Monday mornings will actually feel empowering as you can get back to working on what you love and start making progress. Think about it – you work for an average of 50 years of your life and spend about 40 hours a week working. So, why not love and enjoy that time and look back on your life thinking you lived it well, rather than counting the clock till you can go home each day. Make money from something you love.

4. You want to learn

If you start your own business it’s a constant learning curve as you discover all the things you don’t know (but need to figure out) in order to go forward. If you’re keen to start teaching yourself the tools you need to progress in your venture, then you’re ready. There are loads of great resources to follow that will teach you snippets of expertise to fill in the gaps that you currently have. To name a few, entrepreneur Tim Ferris and Hubspot are great to look into.

5. You’ve accepted failing is part of the journey

There is a difference between failing and being a failure. Failing is inevitable, it’s part of the path to learning. Your company fails when you have failed to acknowledge failing is something that needs addressing. Opportunities can arise when certain parts of your business may fail as you can assess areas you may have previously overlooked. In the words of Winston Churchill who, if he had given up when he hit failure, it would have resulted in us living in a very different world today – “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” Start your own business.

Start your own business. Women holds a mug which read's 'Like A Boss'

PSA: It is nearly pancake day. Yes. February 28th sees that most glorious of all days celebrating all things sweet and pan-fried. Pancakes don’t end there, though. It seems like most countries have some kind of food involving similar ingredients, and it’s really interesting to see how relatively little variation can result in such a huge range of dishes. I needed to kill time between meals, so I looked up some of the best pancake-y recipes you could try.

Good old-fashioned pancake day pancakes

I mean, it wouldn’t be pancake day if we didn’t briefly touch on the reason that we’re all here. Like most people probably are, I am very picky about my pancake toppings. Please do not speak to me if you have anything other than lemon and sugar or golden syrup on yours. We won’t be friends.

Polish apple pancakes

Known in Poland as Placki z Jabłkami, these pancakes involve using yeast. That probably means they are even thicker and more delightful. Just be warned that you need to half-fill the pan with oil, so for the love of god no flipping these bad boys.

American-style pancakes

American pancakes are one of those foods that will always be better if someone else makes them for you, so try to pass this recipe on to somebody who owes you a favour. They would be the perfect breakfast on a Pancake Day extravaganza. Or, indeed, any other day that ends in “day”.

Crepes Suzette

If you want to feel fancy, these are probably the closest to Pancake Day pancakes but with extra steps and a very specific sauce that will announce your cooking expertise to the world without you needing to say anything. Slightly off topic, but does anybody else hear ‘Little Red Corvette’ when they think about these?

Korean scallion pancakes

Amazing Pancake Day idea: Make these as a main course and then have another kind for dessert. These are a great option for people who aren’t so into the sweet stuff. Allegedly it’s for sharing, but serving suggestions are only suggestions, right?

Custard-filled pancakes

On the subject of dreams coming true, these are pancakes of the Pancake Day persuasion, but with added alcohol. They are then filled with custard. If you need any further proof that life is wonderful I’m probably not going to be able to provide.

Roti

Yes, this is technically a bread and not a pancake. But since it basically uses all of the same ingredients minus eggs, and we like to be inclusive of people who can’t eat eggs, and we also just really like roti at HowNow Towers, I’m probably going to let it slide.

Injera

Yes, technically another bread. But it’s still made in a pan, and it’s also great so it’s staying in. This one needs a little bit of forward planning because it involves a couple of days of fermentation. However, if a job’s worth doing it’s worth doing right. And this is definitely worth doing.

Arepas

Fun story – Back in the day, I lived in the USA for a little over a year. I discovered arepas early on, and then I ate them at least once every week for the entire time. Now, I swear there’s not a day that goes by when I don’t think about them. Guess which one of these recipes I’m making first?

Dutch Baby

Far from being tiny like the name would imply, this is a gigantic delicious monster of a pancake. It can serve several people on a normal day, or one on a particularly hungover day. It’s also cooked on the oven rather than the hob, which is just helpful if all of your pans are engaged in a Pancake Day spectacular.

Blinis

The perfect way to add a sophisticated touch to the pancake day feast I am insisting you have, blinis can most commonly be found in Waitrose going home with people who are also buying cream cheese and smoked salmon. But there’s so much more you can do with them.

So what pancake recipes will you be trying next week? The old faithfuls, or will you be adding something else to the mix?

‘Business’ and ‘inspiration’ are often not words that people would expect to see together. Oh, how wrong they are. It takes a lot to build something from scratch and develop it to the point where you’re not only living, but living comfortably while doing something you love. Below, you’ll find a list of resources which we think could help you to build your business into something truly special.

XOSarah

Sarah’s blog is specifically aimed at people who want to make money out of their blogs. It might seem like the lessons don’t apply to people with a very different business idea. However, blogs are a great thing to have for pretty much any business, so Sarah’s super-informative site is a great place to start. We especially love this post about how best to handle a really busy day.

Two Scots Abroad

While Two Scots abroad is a travel blog, we came across this post and we love it. It gives some great info that works for people who are just starting out, or for those who want to step up their game. Fine, you might not be promoting your own travel blog, but if you’re trying to sell anything online the tips they offer would be a great way to start.

Adore Creative Studio

Chloe is a freelance designer. She runs a beautiful website, as you would expect from a designer. However, we want to talk about her blog. It’s a fantastic example of how a business can use a blog to showcase their work, as well as creating a ton of business-related content which people will want to share. If people share your content, they spread the word about you. This post gives some great ideas for what to post on social media when you get stuck. And you will get stuck eventually. It happens to us all.

Living For Naptime

Living for Naptime is designed for mums who want to start a blog in their free time. But if you’re starting a business while dealing with something else that takes up a lot of time and attention (ie. that full time job you want to get rid of some day) we think there’s a lot to be learned from the brilliant time-saving tips on there. We particularly love this post about growing your Instagram. Give it a try!

Snap Creativity

Tauni Everett has an amazing ‘Blogging + Entrepreneur Tips’ section on her website, which is packed full of information which is really useful whatever your business. For those looking to increase their social media following, we particularly love this post about organically upping your Facebook likes. But, really, the whole blog is a treasure trove.

Nesha Woolery

Once you’ve got yourself set up and your website looking great, you’re on the right track. But it’s not enough to just sit there and wait for your clients to roll in. This post on Nesha’s blog is especially great. It provides a run-down of loads of ways you can go about attracting clients. It’s all about putting yourself out there, and that post will show you how.

Now. Real talk time. Did we miss any amazing sources of business inpiration that you think we should know about? Where do you turn when you need a kick up the backside? If you take away one tip from all of this, what will it be?

 

Valentines day is fast approaching and, yes, it’s a fake holiday invented by corporations to sell extra pink stuff. However, there’s generally still an expectation that if you’re coupled up you’re going to get involved. Luckily, there’s a load of gift ideas floating around on the internet, so we picked some of our favourites because our Valentines gift to you is to save you time shopping for presents. You’re welcome.

Bacon hearts

We could really just stop this whole post here. As everybody no doubt knows, the purest expression of any emotion is through bacon. So if’s only natural that on Valentines day that bacon wold be moulded int hearts, isn’t it?

Candy Heart Bracelet

A little bit like those crappy candy bracelets you used to have as a kid, except this one uses sweets people actually like. On top of that it will have obviously taken time and care to make. And, on top of that, there are sweets out there these days that actually look super cool. You never know, your partner may never remove their Valentines gift. Watch out for the ants, though.

Caramel Heart Brownies

You know how cake is the answer to everything? Oh, you don’t? OK, well, cake is the answer to everything. Therefore, brownies are almost inevitable. There’s a lot of food involved with Valentines day so it’s best to just lean in to it. Plus, at least this way you probably get to help in the eating process.

Sharpie Mug

We mentioned the sharpie mug idea in our Christmas gifts post, but for the time-poor and uninspired it really can’t be beaten, so it’s worth repeating. You can recreate the designs from this Valentines day-specific tutorial, or you could do your own thing. A thousand points if you use it to propose to someone. Also, you have to invite us all to be bridesmaids. We’re a 75% male team, but we’ll make it work.

Valentines Day Jenga

What better way to let someone know that you love them than by letting them win something? Or than by reminding them that you’re still better than them at the childhood games of your youth. Luckily, with this DIY version of jenga you can charm your other half as you play until they completely forget the fact that they just got pwned.

Heart-Shaped Bath Bombs

A fun gift that includes a little bit of science, and will probably make you look super-impressive. If you need to subtly hint to your loved one that they need to be a bit more vigilant with the personal hygiene, this is also an excellent way to go about it. Who said Valentines gifts couldn’t multitask?

Printables

Printables are amazing. There’s an awesome selection to be found on Landeelu in particular, but they’re all over places like Pinterest these days. Forgot to buy a card? Printable. Need to make a crappy gift look a bit more polished? Printable. Forgot to get anything at all and need to fake your way through it? Printable. Honestly, whatever’s going awry, printables can save the day.

A Year of Dates

If, for whatever reason, you need to in on ths year’s Valentines gift, you could try a years-worth of dates. The idea is, you book an activity every month for a year, and hand over a selection of tickets and entry passes for all kinds of fun stuff. Slightly less organised people could also probably get away with vague promises of days out. It has the potential to get expensive, but it’ll make you look like the thoughtful person you always wished you were.

So what will you be doing this Valentines day? Something thoughtful? Something last-minute? We really don’t have a lot going on in our personal lives, so feel free to share all.

Reader, I am obsessed with homes. Maybe it’s because I’ve been saving up to buy one for what feels like a million years (in reality it is two, but two years feels like a million when you have to cut back on takeaway coffees and all fun), or maybe it’s because I really like getting a sneak peek into other peoples’ houses (read: Staring into my neighbours’ windows on the way home). I could also be that they sometimes have free copies of Good Homes magazine available in the lobby of HowNow HQ. Either way, I bloody love a good home. And, since I’m feeling nice, I’ve put together a list of my favourite places to find home inspiration (Hinspiration? Homespo? I’ll work on it.):

Unfuck Your Habitat

Fun fact: I have paid for one app in my entire life, and it is Unfuck Your Habitat. There’s now also a book. And let’s never forget the original blog. Rachel Hoffman was sent by the gods to get everybody to clean up their spaces using a mixture of tough talk and practical advice. It definitely works. Give it a try, and you’ll be talking about 20/10s before you know it.

Apartment Therapy

A combination of home inspiration and practical advice, as well as articles about other subjects, Apartment Therapy is the kind of place you could get lost for hours. You might want to get a sneaky look at some super-stylish apartments. Maybe you want help buying a new mattress. You might just want to know how to fit more into your kitchen cupboards. The answers are all here.

Dear Designer

Dear Designer is place where visitors can find tips and tricks to use in their homes. We also get the chance to see how other people design their interiors. For the truly dedicated there’s even the chance to rent out a holiday cottage where some of that inspiration has been put into effect.

Cabin Porn

This blog (and also book, now) covers all of of the weird and wonderful homes you never realised would be possible. There are floating domes, converted containers, and even real-life hobbit holes. They’re all blended in with more traditional tiny houses which are no less fun to look at for hours. It’s a particularly great site for anybody staring down the barrel of buying a tiny flat in London and wondering what to do with a small space.

French By Design

French By Design focuses on interior design and gives practical advice, as well as featuring images that’d make anybody jealous. Tips range from working with colours to displaying art without making holes in your walls to… Well, pretty much anything. There are also the ever-necessary home tours, so you can get your fix of how the other half live.

My Scandinavian Home

Luckily, this blog veers more towards the ‘hygge’ side of Scandinavian culture than grim crime dramas. My Scandinavian Home opens the door to loads of apartments whose owners are doing the kind of cosy, stylish design schemes we can only dream of.

Now. A very important question. Where else can I look to find homespiration (still working on it)? Because, y’know, I have a lot of hours in my day that need filling up and it’s not like I work for an awesome online learning platform or anything…

January 16th is Blue Monday. For the uninitiated, that means it’s the most miserable day of the year. And even if you weren’t already aware that it had a name, you might well have felt its effects. The holidays are over, it’s getting dark early, the weather is terrible… I could go on, but it’s just really bloody depressing. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. It’s easy to bypass the Blue Monday feels, and we have a few ideas for how to do just that:

Plan a trip

What’s the best thing to do when it’s miserable, and dark, and everybody’s in a bad mood? Get away from it all! Whether you set off on a month-long European odyssey, or just spend a day exploring a nearby city, a change of scene can be just the thing to give you a new perspective. Even just booking a trip and getting yourself prepared ahead of time can blow away the Blue Monday blues.

Relax

Another thing that makes Blue Monday the beast that it is is the fact that you’re probably still catching up on work. Things pile up over the Christmas break and it’s almost enough to make you wish you’d never been away. But no more thinking like that, please. Take some time out, practice some breathing, even try some meditation. Even twenty minutes can be enough to remind you that there’s life beyond your overloaded in tray.

Get moving

Exercise has loads of benefits, one of the main ones being the ability to make you feel happier. You gotta love those endorphins. Make sure you get your fix on Blue Monday and you’ll sail through the day. The good news is you don’t even have to drag yourself to the gym if it’s cold out. Try anything from yoga to belly dance right from the comfort of your own home.

Express yourself

There’s nothing to be gained by keeping your feelings bottled up. It’ll just make you more likely to want to punch someone in the back of the head when they’re walking too slowly in front of you on the way home and- Ahem. OK, maybe that’s my personal issue. But the point still stands. It’s easy to let your emotions get the better of you if you don’t find a way to release them. So we recommend doing that.

Do something creative

As well as being a way to express yourself, getting creative can help you let go of Blue Monday by making you feel productive. Because, let’s be honest, there’s nothing in the world better than feeling productive. You might choose to learn to draw, or to sew, or any number of other creative pursuits, but whatever you choose it’ll help you to forget about feeling stressed.

Take action

At the heart of all of this Blue Monday talk is one question. Why is it so depressing? If it’s more than just the weather, and you’ve found yourself surrounded by work you no longer care about, maybe it’s time to do something drastic. How about starting your own business? Even becoming your own boss full time? It’s a way to bring back the passion to your life which should, in turn, help to banish the blues.

Sharp-eyed readers will notice that we’ve covered the Monday blues before, but Blue Monday is like a regular Monday on speed. How will you be showing the demons who’s boss on January 16th?

You may not have noticed, because it’s hardly been mentioned at all, but it is now a new year. As such, everybody’s making resolutions and planning on becoming better people. We’re not that into making tough resolutions that make January a more unpleasant month than it already is. However, we definitely agree with making little changes that make life way more awesome. So, whatever positive change you’re making this month, we’ve probably got a class that can help you.

Change No. 1: Have a go at Veganuary

Veganuary is a thing now. It’s pretty self-explanatory, and involves eating vegan in January. It’s healthy, and it’s also good for the environment. If you can stand to be away from the bacon for a full weeks, you might find you can do it forever. There are HowNow teachers who can guide you through the process of cooking a whole host of delicious, vegan recipes, so you’ll never run out of inspiration.

Change No. 2: Get Fit

It’s not the most original, but after several weeks eating nothing but sausages in bacon and quality street, and washing it all down with wine (just me?) lots of people use the momentum of a new year to improve their fitness. It can be really hard to drag yourself to the gym, so imagine if you could exercise with a trainer in the comfort of your own home. As it so happens, we can totally help you to do that.

Change No. 3: More ‘me’ time

Modern life, guys, am I right? We’re forever running around, commuting for hours, getting work emails at all times of the day and night… It’s a juggling act, and it shouldn’t be. One of the easiest ways to start the new year feeling less stressed is to set aside some time every day that’s just for you. For example, you could try meditation. Close the door for a while, switch off your phone, and focus on yourself. Bliss.

Change No. 4: Learn a new language

Maybe you can’t wait to do some travelling in 2017. You might want to try living in a new country. Maybe you just want a new challenge, or to earn some bragging rights. These are all perfectly valid reasons to start learning a new language. The easiest way to start is to talk to people in the language you’re learning, and we know a whole load of awesome folks who can help with that.

Change No. 5: Be my own boss

Picture the scene: You have to go to work. You get out of bed, get dressed, and walk ten paces to your sofa. Because that is your office. Because you work for yourself. It’s the dream but, when you’re running around at the beck and call of your boss, it can feel totally unattainable. Maybe 2017 will be the year that changes. Start learning how to put your plans into action today, and thank us later. Maybe you want to turn your passion into profit and teach your own classes – we could even help you with that.

Change No. 6: Take more pictures

Maybe you’re about to start a new phase in your life and you want to remember everything. Maybe you got a flashy new camera for Christmas and you need to know how to use it. The best way to make sure you’re creating memories in 2017 is to start now. And a great place to start is by making sure you know what you’re doing.

Change No. 7: Learn to cook

Are you sick of microwave meals and cereal dinners? Do you feel like you might be getting judged by the people who run your local takeaway? It’s time to learn how to cook. Whether you’ve got delicate baking or hearty meals in mind, there are professionals out there who can talk you through the whole process in your own kitchen. Just remember to send us some when you’re done.

Change No. 8: Manage my money better

Oh, money. Some people think it makes the world go round and, whether or not you agree with that sentiment, most people would probably agree that there’s never enough of it. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by bills, it might be time to get somebody else to help you. You could chat about budgets and how to manage your cash better. Just remember to send us some when you’re done. (LOL, JK. Unless you’re feeling generous.)

So, what changes, if any, are you planning on making in 2017? Whatever they are, remember to keep it positive rather than punishing. The new year is a great opportunity to do new things, but no man (or anyone else, for that matter) is an island – if you need help, let someone else step in and lend a hand. It just so happens we know a few.

The festive season is here again and everywhere you turn, people are buying stuff to get them into the Christmas spirit. We’re talking decorations, gifts, and all of the things you never knew you needed. But what if you want your Christmas to be more individual? That’s where craft projects come in. Luckily for you, we’ve scoured the internet and come up with some of the best simple festive crafts to make your Christmas stand out from the crowd.

Paperback Christmas Trees

Book purists, look away now. This festive craft project involves a fair amount of destruction. However, if the book is boring (because, let’s be honest, some of them are) and you’re never going to read it again, why not turn it into something pretty that’ll brighten up the room during the most wonderful time of the year? It’s also an excellent replacement if your flat is too small for a Christmas tree. And let’s face it, whose isn’t? Find the full tutorial here.

Wooden Sled Ornament

This is a great festive project to try with the kids. It’s also a great festive project to try if you spent the entire summer eating Twisters like there was no tomorrow and you need a way of hiding the evidence. It requires very little in the way of materials and will ensure that your tree looks unique rather than having the same old baubles as everyone else. Find the full tutorial here.

DIY Mason Jar Snowglobe

If you need a unique gift for that annoying person in your life who always gets you something really thoughtful and/or handmade, this might be it. Of course, we love that person. They’re a great person. But they’re difficult to buy for. So how about making one of these instead? They can display it proudly, and you could even make a personalised scene that’s relevant to their interests. Find the full tutorial here.

DIY Peppermint Candy Bowl

DO you love giving people sweets for Christmas but constantly find yourself wondering how you can make the process more unique, and also slightly more sticky? This is the festive project for you. It’ll take a little bit of effort, but so does anything good. And you know it will totally be worth it when your friends see your handiwork and think you’re a genius. Find the full tutorial here.

Wine Cork Reindeer

We all drink wine. There’s no hiding it, so we might as well embrace it. If you’re the fancy sort who buys wine with corks (or live in America where corks are still a thing) it’s worth hanging on to them so that you can have a go at making these super-cute critters. It’s also a good cover for when your kids ask you why you’ve been drinking so much. “I’ve been collecting art supplies for you, Timmy, god.” Find the full tutorial here.

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Which Christmas craft projects can’t you wait to try this year?

 

It’s officially getting festive, which means only one thing. The Christmas music is back on the iPod, cinnamon and ginger are everything, and if it isn’t covered in fairy lights and tinsel we don’t want to know about it. Actually, that might be slightly more than one thing. But, look. We just really like Christmas, OK? And while we get ready to mull everything in sight, here are a few bloggers we’ve come across who have created Christmas recipes that are off the charts:

  1. Spoon Fork Bacon

    We all remember that episode of Friends with the turkey sandwich, right? If not, here’s a memory jogger. It only seemed natural that somebody somewhere should have created the turkey sandwich with a moist maker in real life. And, lo and behold, here it is, just in time to make all of our Boxing Day dreams come true. Find the full recipe here.

  2. The Baker Mama

    Sausages wrapped in bacon are a staple of any self-respecting Christmas dinner. They’re never exactly bad, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to take them up a notch. That’s exactly what’s happened in this version with a maple pumpkin spice glaze. Yes. You read that right. Pumpkin spice not just for lattes. Find the full recipe here.

  3. Drizzle & Dip

    Mince pies are an absolute bloody classic. There’s no two ways about it. But does that mean they should be untouchable? Absolutely not. Just because something’s traditional it doesn’t mean it should be immune to being updated. Drizzle and Dip’s apple and mince pie crumble bars are a new twist on an old classic. Find the full recipe here.

  4. The View From Great Island

    Mulled wine is the best Christmas drink out there, but it’s a pain in the arse to make from scratch. It involves a lot of time spent slaving over the hob while everybody around you has fun. However, with this recipe you can just through everything in a slow cooker and have done with it. GeniusFind the full recipe here.

  5. Spend With Pennies

    OK, maybe jalapeno poppers aren’t the most festive of foods, but we love them with a passion. If we were going to throw a party they would be the first thing we served. This jalapeno popper dip keeps all of the flavour but requires a lot less valuable Christmas party time spent getting covered in chilli juice, and that can only be a good thing. Find the full recipe here.

  6. Daisies & Pie

    As far as we’re concerned,the perfect Christmas activity involves a ridiculous onesie, a sofa, and a stack of Christmas movies. Hot chocolate compliments that perfectly. But instead of another night spent with a mug of disappointing instant stuff, this peanut butter hot chocolate is the stuff that dreams are made of. Find the full recipe here.

  7. If You Give a Blonde a Kitchen

    Cookies abound at Christmas time. Whether you have a load of leftovers you want to do something with, or whether you want to dish out some cute homemade gifts, these sugar cookie truffles are a great way to get the maximum amount of sugary, Christmas fun in the smallest possible space. Find the full recipe here.

Christmas Have we missed anybody else who has awesome Christmas recipes to share? Let us know so that we can keep making amazing goodies to wow everybody at the office.