Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Increasing Productivity With MYnd Map MY Journal*.

My General Life - MYnd Map MY Journal

Productivity is something I have been trying to perfect for a long time. You see, I'm the Queen of procrastination. That coupled with a reasonably short attention span means that I find it so hard to actually sit, focus and get things done, particularly when I'm not under pressure to do so.

I think that's one of the reasons why I find it so hard to be consistent with my blog, because the pressure is self imposed and therefore it's easy to be distracted by something else and just not do it. When I have external pressure, for example at work, I can be super productive and get so much done, but outside of this not so much. Not that I don't do anything, but it's more done at my own leisurely pace when my own self imposed pressure leads me to feel the need to do it now.

Needless to say, this is something I want to change. I really want to create more and find ways to feel more productive in relation to this little outlet of mine without it significantly impacting on my life balance.

Life balance is something I really value, I mean there's a whole blog post that could be written on life balance alone, but in terms of productivity and increasing my ability to engage in the creative process of this blog (and other things) it's an important consideration.

So how does one go about increasing productivity whilst promoting life balance? Well one method that I'm currently trying out is the MYnd Map MY Journal*.

My General Life - MYnd Map MY Journal


As I'm sure you're aware if you've read this blog for a little while, I've tried using bullet journalling to help plan my time, however, I found that after a while the act of having to set up each day became slightly arduous and if I'm honest detracted from my productivity. I found I was wanting to spend so long making my journal look pretty that it meant I had less time to actually plan and execute my tasks.

MY Journal is already planned out for you, which for me makes it a more usable journal. It also draws on principles from positive psychology, affirmations, goal setting, visualisation, gratitude and colour therapy. It encourages you to think about what you really want from life and how and why you intend to get there. It then helps you focus in on your goals through setting weekly intentions that help you strive towards living your best life.

MY Journal has a timeline spread for each day so that you can structure and plan your time more effectively. I can totally see the positives in this, but for me personally, I spend such a large chunk of my day at work and the subsequent travel time that this feels a bit like wasted space as I wouldn't use this journal to plan my work time. However, I love that it encourages you to think of your daily focus, actions and what you're grateful for, along with providing a daily affirmation and a colouring/doodle space. Each week also has a recap that allows you to rate how happy you feel your week was and why. Reflection is a really useful tool for self-development and is something that I try to do regularly although I'm not so good at actually writing this down, so having a dedicated reflective space in my planner is definitely a win for me.

My General Life - MYnd Map MY Journal

Overall, I can really appreciate the hard work, research and positivity that has gone in to producing the MY Journal. It's definitely helping me to focus on what's really important, what I want my best life to look like and how I'm going to work towards this. It's also aiding in promoting a positive mindset, which is always welcome if you ask me. The version I have is a prototype, however, if you fancy giving the MYnd Map MY Journal a try for 21 days, you can sign up and download a FREE PDF version of the journal on their website just here. If it's something that interests you, then you can also help fund the production of the MYnd Map MY Journal through their Kickstarter campaign. 

Let's start a conversation:
What's your favourite way to journal for maximum productivity? I'd love to hear your thoughts either in the comments below, or why not drop me a tweet @_hellojordan


* Products marked with * were sent for review purposes, however, as always all thoughts are my own*


We're talking increasing productivity with the help of the MYnd Map MY Journal. Click to read more!


Friday, 7 April 2017

Easter Treats With Indigo Herbs* [VEGAN].

My General Life - Easter Treat - Vegan

In the spirit of Easter, Indigo Herbs recently asked me if I could whip up some chocolatey treats with some of their goodies. I'm not one to say no to chocolate so naturally I was immediately on board.

I chose to try out their Chocolate Starter Kit*, which comes with virtually everything one needs to create your own chocolate treats, including organic cacao butter, organic cacao powder,  organic raw agave syrup and organic raw vanilla powder. The only thing the kit didn't come with was a mould, but honestly you could use cupcake cases or even ice cube trays. Or you could spend a little extra and pick up the Easter Chocolate Making Kit which comes with Easter themed moulds.

I decided that rather that just following the recipe for plain chocolate, I'd split the ingredients and try my hand at creating some vegan friendly white chocolate. I've not eaten white chocolate since going vegan so I was intrigued to see how this would turn out - I have to say I'm fairly impressed. It's no Milky Bar but it's still deliciously creamy and makes for a nice change from my usual dark chocolate.

My General Life - Easter Treat - Vegan

I also decided to try my hand at creating a couple of different filling options, because who doesn't love a filled chocolate? I put together some salted caramel sauce along with a sticky matcha-pumpkin filling - both are pretty simple to put together and add a nice contrast of textures and flavours to the chocolate treats.

Overall, I found the chocolate kit really self-explanatory to use. It took around 10-15 minutes to put the chocolate recipe together and I find the possibilities of what could do with this kit quite exciting - you could make filled chocolates like I did or even take a stab at bars, cups or shapes. Anyway, less of the talking - let's get to the recipes (FYI, I've not included the plan chocolate recipe as that's included as part of the kit).

VEGAN WHITE CHOCOLATE:
makes approximately 12 small filled chocolates

WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
50g cacao butter
20g vegetable shortening (Trex) / coconut oil
1.5g raw vanilla powder (1/2 sachet provided in the kit)
50g icing sugar (sifted)

WHAT TO DO:
Set up a bain marie and place the cacao butter and vegetable shortening/coconut oil in a bowl over the hot water.
Melt the cacao butter and shortening/oil together until fully melted and combined.
Stir in the vanilla powder and sifted icing sugar.
To make a filled chocolate treat, spoon a small amount into your chosen mould and leave to harden in the freezer for 5 minutes. 
Add a small amount of filling and then spoon more of the chocolate mixture over the top to seal.
Allow to fully harden before turning out.


SALTED CARAMEL SAUCE:

WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
5 tbsp coconut sugar
5 tbsp water
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extra
75ml coconut milk (from a carton not a tin - I use Koko)

WHAT TO DO:
Place the sugar, water, vanilla extract and salt in a pan and heat until the sugar has melted and the mix has reduced slightly (approx 5-10 minutes)
Add the coconut milk and stir thoroughly. Leave to gently heat for 3-5 more minutes until thickened.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool before using.

Here's some decadent Easter treats in collaboration with Indigo Herbs. All cruelty free and vegan and, if you ask me, delicious!


STICKY MATCHA-POWER SAUCE:

WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
50g dates (soaked in hot water for 10 minutes to soften, save 2-3 tbsp of the liquid)
1 tbsp pumpkin seed butter
1 tsp matcha powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

WHAT TO DO:
After soaking the dates, place them in a food processor with 2-3 tbsp of the soaking water.
Blend until they begin to form a smooth texture.
Add the pumpkin seed butter, matcha powder and vanilla extract and blend further until fully smooth.

FYI this makes a rather large amount, however, it's lovely in porridge, just sayin!

My General Life - Easter Treat - Vegan

Along with the fillings I created above, I also found that slightly sweetened crunchy peanut butter and Sweet Freedom chocolate spread made for amazing fillings - so if you wanted to make these as an Easter gift you could easily create lots of variety for minimal effort (which is always winning in my eyes!).

And what would life be without an Obi outtake? 

My General Life - Easter Treat - Vegan

Let's start a conversation
I'd love to know what you'd create with your own chocolate kit? Please feel free to leave your thoughts either in the comments below, or drop me a tweet @_hellojordan

* Products parked with * were sent for review purposes, however, as always all thoughts are my own*