Things I’ve learned from being off Facebook

I went off Facebook in April 2014, after I realised just how much time I was spending wasting on the site. This ended up being a really good decision for me, because it meant that I was better able to concentrate on my uni work and other things that constant scrolling had been taking me away from.


Here’s some of the things I’ve learned in my time off of Facebook:

  1. Most people won’t even notice you’re not there.
    I put up a “hey guys, I’m disappearing for the foreseeable future, please text/call if you need me” post when I bailed off, and STILL everyone was surprised when I’d say in conversation “remember, I’m not on Facebook at the moment”.
  2. You WILL miss some important announcements, unless you have someone who is keeping tabs on stuff and can update you.
    Between Hubby and my best friend, I managed to keep mostly up-to-date with the really big things (babies, engagements, etc), but I did miss a few things. I missed several birthday parties because they only did Facebook invites.
  3. Sometimes, Facebook really is the best way to keep in contact with family.
    I have a HUGE family on my Mum’s side – she’s the oldest of 6 kids, and everyone has at least 2 kids, and most of the ones over 18 have long-term partners. Not being on Facebook meant I had honestly no clue what was going on with them unless my Mum told me.
  4. You will find out who is really your friend.
    The friends that actually care and want to still catch up with you will text/call. My “friends” list has reduced to about 6 or 8 people compared to while I was on Facebook, and I can’t say I’m particularly sorry – I prefer having a few good friendships than having heaps of superficial ones.
  5. I increased my “other social sites” use, but not by a significant amount.
    I found that when I initially got off of Facebook, I had a steep increase in the amount of time I was spending on Tumblr, Twitter and WordPress, but that reduced after a few weeks – when you don’t follow a thousand people, there’s only so many new things that will turn up on your feed when you refresh it.
  6. Now I’m back ‘on’ Facebook, I’m not checking it anywhere NEAR as often as I used to.
    I’m only doing 1 or 2 scrolls per day now, and I think that this is a sustainable amount. The time I’ve spent without Facebook seems to have broken me of the constant-checking habit.

Things I’ll be doing differently this year:

  1. I won’t be completely bailing this year – instead, I will be making changes to the things that turn up in my feed.
  2. I will be un-friending and un-following people.
    There are some people I can’t un-friend without creating a shitstorm, but I can remove them from my sight.
  3. I won’t be posting very much, even when I’m on there.
    I honestly find that there is very little I want to share on Facebook – the time away has given me a new insight into just how shallow and RIDICULOUS a lot of posts really are. I found that I didn’t even want to share some of my really exciting stuff (YAY I got a 6.0 GPA and got invited to the High Achievers lunch) because I didn’t want shit to hit the fan – I know that there are people who would take it as a slap to the face, rather than be happy for me. Maybe I’m over-thinking that, but I just can’t be bothered dealing with that crap.
  4. I will not have the app installed on my phone.
    I still have the app installed on my iPad, but not on my phone. On my phone, I am too likely to just randomly scroll because 80% of the time my phone is where I can see it.
  5. No notifications
    The only Facebook notifications I’ll be getting are the Facebook Messenger ones, because I have a few friends who prefer to use Facebook messenger so they can save on credit. Fair call.
  6. Facebook calendar sync.
    I have turned on Facebook calendar sync, and I’ll keep it on this year, even if I go off Facebook for all intents and purposes – because that way, I shouldn’t miss out on the birthdays/celebrations I did last year.


Routines for 2016

Here’s what I’m going to aim for with my morning and evening routines this year. As much as I’m not a “morning person” as such (I like being up early, but I’m not good at waking up early), I’m going to try and get up early again, like I managed to do during second semester last year.
I’ve also actually done a evening routine, because I really need to start going to bed and winding down at a reasonable hour if I want to get up early.

Morning Routine
6:30 – GET UP!
6:35 – Meditate (10mins)
6:45 – Shower & get dressed
7:00 – unpack dishwasher, repack if required
7:05 – Coffee 😃 and read while drinking
7:20 – make lunch (if uni day)
8:00 – leave for uni/start studying (depending on home or uni day)
Evening Routine
10:30pm – stop studying/watching TV
10:35 – do dishes/stack dishwasher
11:00 – wash face, brush teeth, get into PJs
11:20 – read for a little while before going to sleep

Do most people do routines like this? Or do you tend to go with the flow and see what happens?


My tips for meal planning

A few months ago, I did a post about about how I use Evernote for meal planning. In this post, I’m going to build on that and give you some of my tips that make meal planning work effectively for me.

1. Know what you’ve already got
Whether this involves checking your fridge, freezer & pantry before you meal plan, keeping a running list of what is there somewhere, or just being ‘aware’ of it in your head, it’s really useful. I use a combination of the checking and being ‘aware’ of what we’ve got, because there are some things that Hubby mainly uses and he never remembers to tell me when things are running low, but I’m usually aware of how much is left of pantry staples/stuff I use.
This also includes knowing how many meals-worth of frozen food you have. I freeze everything in single-meal serves, so I can quickly count up the containers and know how many meals we have in the freezer.

2. Know what your staples are
These are different for everyone. My staples are even very different from my Mum’s, and she’s the one who taught me to cook. If you have NO IDEA what your staples are yet (be it because you’ve just started cooking for yourself, or because you’ve never really thought about it), there are a few options.
If it’s just because you’ve never really thought about it, collect up your favourite/most-used recipes and look at the ingredients. Anything that can be frozen or is shelf-stable will make up the beginning of your staples list.
If you’ve just started cooking for yourself and don’t know where to start, because you don’t even really have favourite recipes yet, I’ll be doing a post next week about my pantry staples. You can also google ‘pantry staples’ and see what other people recommend.

3. Always have your staples on hand
They’re not really staples if you don’t have them on hand 🙂 If you always have your pantry staples, you can make a lot of meals just out of your pantry. This is great for weeks when you don’t have a lot of money for food, as you can just get a few fresh ingredients to supplement what you already have.

4. Stock up on staples when you can
If your pantry staples are on sale, replace anything that you’ve used. Eg, if you always have tinned tomatoes in the pantry, decide on a “standard” number of cans (maybe 10) and replenish your stock up to that number every time they’re on special.

5. Check the use-by dates on everything
Always keep an eye on what is about to go out of date, to save on wasting this food. There’s nothing worse than planning a meal for the week, and really looking forward to eating it, only to go to make it and find that one of the main ingredients has gone yuck. Then you have to make another trip to the shops and buy the ingredient, which often is not on special at that point, or run around trying to find something that you DO have that you can use instead.

Using Evernote for Meal Planning

This post is not about how to meal plan as such – it is about using some awesome little features in Evernote to make the process much easier.

If you have never done meal planning before, check out this link before you start here. It gives all the basics about meal planning, and will help you get an idea of what you are doing.

Last week on Tutorial Tuesday, I showed you how I organised my recipes in Evernote. Now I’m going to show you how I use those recipes to make up a comprehensive meal plan for the week.

What you’ll need:

  • Evernote program on computer (Mac or PC) – Please note that for this, you WILL need the computer program. The tablet/phone apps do not (in my experience) allow some of the actions we will be using in this tutorial, but once you have finished your meal plan you can use it on a tablet/phone.
  • Your recipes
  • A bit of free time

How to:

I’m assuming that you already have some sort of recipe archive in Evernote.

Step 1:
First thing you will need to do is make up a notebook called “Meal Plans” or something similar.Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 11.07.22 am

Step 2:
Next, create a new note in “Meal Plans” and open it in a separate window next to your Evernote window.

Step 3:
Open your “Recipes” notebook in the main Evernote window, then set up your “Meal Plan” note as you would like it. I tend to do 3 sections – Dinners, Lunches, and Baking. You can use whatever headings you would like. NOTE: I don’t plan breakfast as such, as I tend to either forget to eat breakfast, or eat the same thing on the days I do remember (generally toast, unless I’ve made some muffins or something for breakfast).

 Step 4:
This is where you can “shop the specials”, if that is what you want to do.
Collect all your supermarket catalogues (for us, there are usually 3 of them) and look at what is on special. Write down the things that you are interested in and their cost in your “Meal Plan” note. These specials will help you pick what to cook.

Step 5:
Next, select the first recipe you want to add to one of your lists. Click and drag the recipe preview from the centre column (blue box) to your Meal Plan note. Release your mouse button when the cursor is in the location you want on the note and a little green “+” appears (the little green “+” was sitting just next to the recipe title, but it didn’t show up on the screenshot for some reason).

I chose this recipe because canned beans were on special, and I know that I have beef mince in my freezer and several of the other ingredients in my pantry. 

Step 6:
Repeat this until you have a full list to your liking. As you can see, I’ve added some recipes and some notes to my list – for example, I bulk-cook so on busy nights we eat meals that I’ve frozen previously. The green ones are the recipes – if you click on one of them, it will take you straight to that recipe! (This is one of the best things about meal planning in Evernote – no need to go searching for the recipe!)

Step 7:
Make your shopping list.
In the main Evernote window, open your Meal Plan note (still keeping the same note open beside it though).

Click on one of the recipes (green writing) in the main window and it will open the recipe. Now, you can compare what the recipe ingredients are to your specials list, and create a shopping list (I do this in the same Meal Plan note, so it’s all in the same place. If you prefer to use paper instead, that’s fine too).

I know that I have arborio rice, paprika, and frozen peas already in my pantry, so I don’t need to add these to my list 

Step 8:
Once you’re done with a recipe, there is a “Back” button in the top LH corner of the main window that will take you back to your previous note. Once you’re done with all the recipes, you can close the Meal Plan note, and your meal plan has been saved! For good measure (particularly if I’m going shopping straight away) I click on the little “refresh” button up the top of the main window to make sure the notes are synced to my phone/tablet.


Now your meal plan is all ready to go!

I generally put aside an hour or so on a Sunday evening to do this, because I do food shopping on Monday nights (Monday is pay day).


Using Evernote as a recipe book

There’s so many different ways of organising recipes that you collect from different places. You can cut them out and stick them into a pretty book, or write them in (this is my Mum’s preferred method). You can file them in some kind of folders, in whatever categories you want. Or, you can do it electronically!

There’s a thousand and one different “recipe book” apps and websites out there, and while I’m sure all of them are fantastic, they all have their limitations. Most of them, a free membership only allows you to add a certain number of recipes, then you have to pay a monthly fee to access them. If there’s an app, it might only be available on one device, which means that you’re limited to when and where you can do your meal planning and cooking.

So I use Evernote!

For this tutorial, I will not be explaining in detail how to do things in Evernote – I will say something like “create notebook”, but I will not elaborate much further (unless there is a slightly hidden feature you need to use), because otherwise I’d have to do a whole post just on that.

What you need

  • Evernote (this is the website, from here you should be able to find an appropriate download for your computer and devices)
  • A handful of recipes (to get started)
  • Some free time (Put aside an hour or two, depending on how fast you type)


  1. Download Evernote and install (if you haven’t got it already). To start with, just do it on your computer – that is what I will be using for this Tutorial. Open Evernote, and get yourself set up (if you aren’t already). You will need to create an account, but you can opt-out of getting emails from them, and the account is free. This account is how you will be able to access your recipes from anywhere, at any time.
  2. Down the left hand side there will be a menu – go to the Notebook view, and create a new notebook called “Recipes”Screen Shot 2015-01-02 at 9.40.03 am
  3. Double click on the Notebook to open it.
  4. At the top of the page you will see “+ New Note in Recipes”. Click this to add a new Recipe (or use keyboard shortcut ctrl+N for windows, ⌘+N for mac).Screen Shot 2015-01-02 at 9.45.22 am
  5. Once your new recipe is open, set it up as you would like to. Shown below is how I set up a recipe card (all my recipes are set up exactly the same way, so it is easy to read).Screen Shot 2015-01-02 at 9.51.23 am
  6. If I own the recipe book, I set it up like this because why go to all the extra effort of copying out the steps when I can just grab the book out? I put the ingredient list in so I can use it for menu planning.Screen Shot 2015-01-02 at 9.53.17 am
  7. Then tag your recipes (up the top where it says “click to add tags”). I generally tag according to main ingredient (e.g. eggs, bacon, chocolate), meat used (chicken, beef, vegetarian), and number of serves (Serves 1, Serves 10, etc). I also have a “baking” tag, and I then tag those items further as “sweet” or “savoury”, and as “biscuits”, “muffins”, “cake”, or “slice”.
    A few other tags I use – I tag breakfast recipes as “breakfast” (but not lunch or dinner, because in our house those are interchangeable); If it’s something that is baked in a big pan and served from there (like pasta bake or lasagne) I’ll tag it as “bake”; Other similar cooking method tags or by food type, such as “stir fry”, “slow cooker”, “soup”, or “deep fry”
    Most recipes end up with between 4 and 8 tags. Use whatever tags work well for you and your cooking style.
    Tags are very important for meal planning (how I meal plan using Evernote will be another TT post).
  8. If your recipe is from a website and you have the web link, add it to your recipe using the little information button (an i with a circle around it) in the top row. This isn’t strictly necessary, but I think so many years of uni has gotten me in the habit of always referencing EVERYTHING. I find the web links come in handy for when I’m posting recipes from other blogs, because it’s easy to find the original blog post and give credit where it is due.

Feel free to add images if you want to, but keep in mind that pictures are BIG. Evernote has a limit on the total size of uploads, and also has a limit to the amount of data you can upload on a free membership (60MB per month). If you are only using text, you will likely never reach this limit, but if you are using pictures as well, you can get there pretty quickly.

If you want pictures, you can pay for “premium” membership for a month, upload all your stuff, then cancel the subscription (that’s what I did when I was setting up my recipes a couple of years ago). Premium costs about $5 for a month, and you get 4GB of uploads. You can still access everything once you’re back on the free membership, and as far as I’ve encountered there is no limit to the amount of cloud storage space – you can have as many recipes as you like saved there, and you don’t NEED to pay for premium membership to use them.

Please note that just taking a picture of your recipe and uploading that is fine – but you will not be able to search within the recipe, you’ll only be able to search the tags. I like being able to search within the recipe itself, as then I can do things like search for 3 ingredients I have in the cupboard and find recipes that contain those things. I use this a lot when I’m meal-planning, or when I have to cook with what I’ve got in the pantry.


Evernote is available on just about every platform and mobile device, and for free. I am not getting anything from Evernote for this post.

Weekly Schedule pages

Weekly Schedule pages

I have been looking for some weekly schedule pages to use for outlining my schedule every week, and for the life of me I haven’t been able to find ones that I like!

I was looking for something with just a simple time schedule for each day, with a pretty background… and NOPE couldn’t find what I wanted. So I made my own! And now I’m going to share them with you guys 🙂

Chevron pattern

Spots pattern

Owls pattern

Bees pattern

I’m using these to stick on the pinboard that is now living above our “crap collection point” at the end of the kitchen bench, so that Hubby knows when I’m at uni from week to week (some of my lectures, tutorials, and lab classes for next year aren’t the same every week).

Hope other people find these schedule pages useful too!

*EDIT* 5/2/15 – I wrote this post originally near the start of January (but queued it up for after the New Year New Life series finished), and after using the schedule/planners that are shown in the image, I realised a couple of things – I really needed a thing where I could write what we were doing for tea that night, and also that I didn’t really like one of the original patterns. The links are now for the new, updated planners with the new patterns. The background images come from: Bees, Owls, Spots, Chevrons.



A good start to the new year…

I have been accepted into the Nursing program that I wanted!

This means that the university campus is only 5km away from our house, so I’ll be riding my bike as often as the weather will allow 🙂

I’ve registered for all my classes, so my timetable is all done, and I’ve got my booklist… and all I can say is thank god my Dad has offered to pay for my books again! $600!!!! – it would have been $700 but I already have the APA 6thEd Publication Manual from my Psych degree.

I had let Dad off the hook about paying for my books this time around, because he’s already paid for 5 years worth of uni books for me and my sister (at the same time), and now that she’s finished uni, I wasn’t sure if he would still pay for mine with the new degree. So I said “You don’t have to pay for my books with this new degree you know, you’ve already paid for all the ones with my last degree”. But he said to me yesterday when I rang to tell him that I got in “just let me know when your booklist is out”. RELIEF. MASSIVE RELIEF.

I’m applying for government assistance as a student – there’s every possibility that I won’t get much from week-to-week (because of Hubby’s income) but I will be eligible for the bonuses they pay at the start of each semester to assist with initial semester costs.


Random fact about me…

I want SO BADLY to be able to keep a pretty paper planner and USE IT WELL.

But I never buy them because I know that will NEVER happen. I was useless at it in high school, and I was pretty terrible at it when I first started uni too. Then, by the time I went back to studying this time around, fantastic electronic things like iPads had arrived and I got one… And that was the end of paper planners for me.

I still tried to use a paper planner that first year, because I loved how pretty they looked and I felt really productive writing everything in it and colour-coding everything all nicely. But that lasted all of about a month into semester, and from that point on I was just writing in my work hours and not using any of the other “planner” bits.

So, as much as I lament not having a paper planner, I will be realistic – buying one is a waste of money, because I would not use it the way it should be used.

It will not stop me lusting after all those beautiful ones that I see on everyone’s blogs though.


A little bit of MacGuyver-ing

After kitty ONCE AGAIN knocked all my books off my desk, I decided I needed to do something – enter the delivery box shelf! I like how it works so much, I think I’ll paint it/cover it with something pretty and make it a permanent fixture 🙂

No more books falling off the end of my desk, or behind my computer screen! And it’s the perfect size to fit my current collection of textbooks in! (The one on top is from my winter unit, and I’ve got the exam for that next Tuesday, so it’ll be going into my big bookshelf soon. And the penguin classic is my current recreational reading book – which is probably not going to be touched again until the Christmas break :S)


PS – please tell me that other people actually get the reference in the title… And that I’m not the only one who loves those old TV shows…