My goals for 2015

I DON’T believe in New Year’s resolutions because I don’t think you need the calendar to flip over to make changes in your life. That said, there’s no harm in choosing things to focus on in the future.
It took me a while to narrow down the list of things I want to do this year but here it is.

2015 New Year's resolutions

It’s going to be a great year!

Take time for myself:
Taking care of myself is the first thing to fall by the wayside as soon as life gets crazy – and with a busy job and a long daily commute (about two and a half hours per day!) this was a struggle for me in 2014.
I found I could always schedule time in for errands, friends and other activities but never put aside enough time to just relax.
Last year taught me that taking time out to rest, get enough sleep and mentally recuperate is incredibly important.
I didn’t realise how tightly wound I was until I went to Europe in June and could actually relax for weeks on end.
Whether I achieve this by going to bed earlier, reading a magazine or having a lazy Sunday morning in bed, I really want to take time out when I can this year – before I burn out.

Get moving:
Exercise is something that I too easily put on the backburner.
Again, with my long commute it’s often quite late by the time I get home but I’ve been lucky enough to house-sit near my work for the past month and having that extra time as well as minding a large dog that needs lots of walking has made all the difference to my exercise schedule.
So for almost four weeks now I’ve walked the dog for between 30 minutes and a hour each day and at the end of last month I started using an incredible yoga app for daily practice as well.
(Let me know in the comments if you’d like to see a post on my progress with this app!)
I feel incredible!! My stress levels have gone down drastically, even during the silly season.
Ideally I’d like to take at least half an hour each day for cardio (even if it’s just a brisk walk) and either 15 minutes or half an hour for yoga, with longer sessions of both on the weekend.
I’ve got a Fitbit Flex and it’s helping me keep track of the steps I do each day. Meeting my goals is extremely satisfying.
While the tough part will be keeping this routine when I start finish house-sitting and start commuting again, I’m going to give it my best shot.

Read more:
I’m a big bookworm but I don’t usually have time to read!
Before bed each night I ususally spend a bit of time reading a book on my iPod Touch but it’s just not the same as flipping physical pages.
This year I want to make more time to pick up a book and escape into another world.

Get in control of my finances:
Saving money is not exactly my strongest area and it’s something I really am going to get on top on this year.
I started by unsubscribing from a lot of store emails – I do not need to know when they have a sale on!
Saving for a house deposit is my main priority and keeping that in mind will hopefully help me keep my spending in check.

Keep up with blogging:
I’m sure most bloggers have the same goal for this year.
I’ve got so many ideas in my little notebook that I can’t wait to get on to but keeping organised and planning ahead will be key.

What are your goals for 2015? Share them in the comments!

Fujifilm Instax Mini camera review

THESE adorable instant cameras are making a comeback!
I have the Fujifilm Instax Mini 7S which is the slightly older version to what’s on the market now.

Fujifilm Instax Mini review | Extraordinary Days

Some of my favourite shots!

The best part about these camera is being able to print out your photos straight away and they’re yours forever! You don’t have to worry about leaving them on a USB forever and forgetting to print them.
As I mentioned in my post about beating post-holiday blues, having an instant camera in addition my my iPhone was absolutely invaluable — I was able to capture so many beautiful places in the cute little white frames.
The photos have a soft, vintage feel to them which I love.

Fujifilm Instax Mini review | Extraordinary Days

My Europe trip was incredible!

The only major downside is the film can be expensive.
It comes in packs of 10 sheets, usually for about $1.50-$2 per frame but you can get them for about $1 per frame if you buy in bulk from places like eBay.
There are four settings, indoor/dark, cloudy/shady, fine and clear for different light situations.
There’s also a window at the back that shows you how many shots you have left.

Fujifilm Instax Mini review

Mine’s a bit beat up after taking it with me on my travels.

Tips to get the most out of your Instax Mini:
– Think about the light source. Too much light will leave black spots on the film so if you want to capture something like a sunset, point the lens slightly away from the sun or get the sun just out of the shot. Too little light (like a time I took photos a the beach after the sun went down) can make the film underdeveloped and dark. Don’t overestimate how much light there is – even in you think there’s enough it’s usually a good idea to turn the camera onto a lower setting so you don’t end up with a dark photo.

– Remember the lens is not directly above the viewfinder. Look slightly to the left of your subject when taking a photo to get it the centre.

Fujifilm Instax Mini review | Extraordinary Days

Remember the lens is slightly to the left of the viewfinder.

– Don’t get too close to your subject. This is the thing I struggle with the most! With my iPhone and DSLR I’m used to not having to worry about how close I stand but with the Instax, the flash will wash out your photo if you’re too close. This is especially true for indoors, where you’ll end up with an out of focus, mostly white photos if you’re too close.

– Take care of your film. Store it in a cool place in hot weather and don’t leave it in the car — heat damage can make the film white and washed out. In Perth our winters are pretty mild but I’ve read cold damage can make the film turn black and make it not develop properly.

– Don’t put it in your luggage when travelling – the heavy-duty X-rays can ruin it.
Always take your Instax and extra film in your hand luggage. The X-ray machines within the airport are not as strong. I took my film on eight flights in five weeks in my hand luggage on my Europe trip and it was fine.

Fujifilm Instax Mini review

So many adventures to be had!

– And most of all, have fun! Don’t worry about taking a “bad” photo or wasting a frame – some of my favourite photos were from spur-of-the-moment shots.
Pick up your own Instax Mini here.

Do you have or want an Instax Mini camera? What do you think of it?

Garnier Perfect Blur Cream review

IT’S always nice when a spur-of-the-moment purchase turns out to be amazing!
I picked Garnier’s Perfect Blur Cream on a whim after seeing it at the chemist.
It claimed to be an all-over face cream that “reflects light” to help blur imperfections.

Not sure why they decided on such a huge box for such a small tube.

Not sure why they decided on such a huge box for such a small tube.

You apply it after your daily moisturiser and I use it its own or under BB cream.
It’s got a velvet texture when applied and it makes my skin feel soft and smooth.
The only downside is that if you touch or rub it too much when you put it on (like when putting BB cream on top of it), it comes off and leaves little balls of product all over your face.
I accidentally applied this before putting on foundation one morning and just using a soft makeup brush on my face made the Garnier cream come off and didn’t leave a smooth base for my foundation.
Don’t let this put you off though!
All in all, it does what it says on the packet and while you’re obviously going to get better coverage with concealer and foundation, it did help with evening out my complexion.
On a good skin day I wear this by itself and it feels like enough.
A small pea-sized amount is enough to cover your whole face and neck and it’s become a staple part of my workday morning routine.

This is about the amount I use each day.

This is about the amount I use each day.

At about $15, this is on the lower end of the price scale so I would definitely buy this again.
Other blurring products include L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Magic Blur Instant Skin Smoother and Indeed Laboratories Nanoblur.

Have you used a light-reflecting or ‘blurring’ face product? What did you think?