Productive Things You Can Do In The Next 5 Minutes

If you couldn’t already tell, I’m a sucker for productivity hacks. I love feeling productive and often feel a little bit anxious if I even let 5 minutes get away where I’ve done nothing (that’s a post for another day because that’s definitely not a good aspect of my personality).

Anyway, we all have those 5 minute blocks of time where nothing is going on. Waiting for the bus or the kettle to boil, wanting to get the washing out the machine but it still has 5 minutes on the timer, all those periods spent waiting for your partner to tie his shoes up (why this take 5 minutes, I don’t know, but it always seems to?)

I’ve recently written myself a 5 minute list – a list of things I can do that won’t take any longer than 5 minutes. Because, sometimes it’s really easy to spend 5 minutes scrolling your phone when you be doing something productive like putting the dishes away, plus saving yourself time later. Future you will thank past you, I promise.

Personally I don’t like to write my actual to-dos on the list, even if they will take less than 5 minutes. I prefer to write down those boring recurring tasks like making the bed or putting the washing on because there’s never a time when these don’t seem to need doing and sometimes it’s nice to just have that reminder.

So grab your notebook, take 5 minutes and write yourself a list to inspire you next time you’re waiting around. Here’s mine for inspiration.

  • Read (something, anything, a short chapter of a book, your favourite poem, or just an article you keep meaning to read that gets sent to the bottom of your list).
  • Text your parents.
  • Write your journal (it takes no time at all and yet I rarely prioritise it.)
  • Stretch (Your body wants and needs it!)
  • Check your to-do list
  • Send that email that’s been sitting in your drafts for weeks.
  • Edit a photograph for Instagram.
  • Put a 5 minute timer on and tidy away as much as you can.
  • Put on clean bedsheets.
  • Wipe down your kitchen sides.
  • Put a load of laundry on.
  • Do the dishes.
  • Put away the dishes (my least favourite task in the world).
  • Drink some water.
  • Meditate.
  • Do 10 squats, crunches, cartwheels – whatever makes you feel good.
  • Pay a bill.
  • Meal plan your week.
  • Check your calendar for the week.
  • Cull your Facebook/Twitter/Insta friend list.
  • Make coffee/lunch/date plans.
  • Declutter one area of your house – but make sure there’s a 5 minute timer on so you don’t get carried away.
  • Check your bank balance.
  • Make that doctor’s appointment.

I’m slowly using my 5 minute list to help me get some of the boring stuff done, though it’s still not quite motivating me to put the dishes back in the cupboard.

Do you have a 5 minute list for getting jobs done? What would you put on yours? Let me know in the comments.

Rachel x-x-x

I Failed

This year was the year I was going to get fit and healthy. At the end of 2019 I decided my new year’s resolution was to look after my body better; to eat better, drink more water, exercise more. You know, the general stuff people say at New Year.

So to promise myself that I was taking this seriously I thought I’d try one of my favourite Instagrammers challenges. I adore Chelsie from The Peachy Life, she’s so motivational and I thought that her Peachy Life 30 Day Programme sounded within reach of something that I could challenge myself to.

As it turns out, I managed 6 days and failed. The daily disciplines were as follows:

Wake up at 5.30 – I ignored this already as doing shift work meant that it’s impossible for me to always get up at 5.30. However I got up earlier than normal.

Drink 3 litres of water

45 minutes of exercise

10 minutes of medication

No junk food

No alcohol

10 pages of self help reading

Write down 3 things you’re grateful for

Take 1 picture a day of something that makes you happy.

I was convinced that it would be the alcohol and junk food that let me down but alas my main issue was that I just couldn’t fit 45 minutes of exercise into my day. I don’t want to dwell on the bits I didn’t achieve because really I want to talk about the concept of failure. The day that I didn’t achieve 45 minutes of exercise was a day where I worked my standard 14 hour shift and had another 14 hour shift coming up the day after. All day I had eaten well, drunk 3 litres of water, I’d read my book, done my meditation and yet I had failed.

I went to bed feeling rubbish and the next day I felt like I could carry on living life as I had been previous to taking on the challenge.

But something stopped me.

We so often count failure as the inability to follow through with something, without any regard to how hard we’ve tried to do something or the parts of something that we have managed to achieve. During the six days of the challenge that I fully committed to, I drank 3 litres of water every day – a massive achievement to someone who usually drinks two cups of coffee and no water all day. By not eating junk food or drinking alcohol, something that I’ve continued to do, my body already feels better, my skin has cleared up, my head feels lighter.

This feeling of being a failure when you’ve failed a small part of something is so ingrained into our psyche that it’s incredibly difficult to tell yourself otherwise. So while the actual rules of the challenge are that if you miss a day you must go back to the start, I’m making my own rules. I’m taking the parts of the challenge that made me feel good and carrying on, and if I miss a day on the journey then so be it. The continuous striving to be better will be advantageous to me regardless.

What To Do When You Feel Like A Failure

  • Reassess your goals – I took a good look at the reasons I wanted to do this challenge. I mainly wanted to get fitter and drink more water, both of which I accomplished, just not to the level that the challenge dictated. In that way, I didn’t fail at all. I still improved myself.
  • Realise that it’s normal to feel disappointed when you haven’t achieved something – disappointment is a totally normal feeling when you set goals that you haven’t reached. Don’t make yourself feel worse by feeling sad about being disappointed.
  • Keep trying – I took a few days off and then got back on the fitness and water wagon. It felt good to be channeling my energy into something again, instead of channeling it into beating myself up.
  • Remind yourself that failure is not who you are.

What are your top tips for when you feel like you’ve failed yourself? Let me know in the comments!

Rachel x-x-x

5 Things To Stop Doing in 2020 (To Improve Your Mental Health)

Stop Making Yourself Smaller

I mean this both figuratively and literally. Literally, stop living your life around food, exercise and body image. Just stop. It’s not worth it. Your body is capable of so much, wild things, but do you have to push it to those limits? Nope, not if you don’t want to. Yes, if you do. Sorted, thank you.

Now, let’s talk about the other kind of making yourself smaller. Fitting yourself into tiny spaces to please others. I’m talking about sending those emails that end with “no worries if you can’t,” “if that’s alright with you,” and “if that makes sense.” We spend so much of our lives fitting ourselves around others and we need to stop. Take up space, ask for what you want and soon you’ll see that the world is throwing things your way that you never dreamed of. Ask and ye shall receive. Whilst we’re on this note, stop apologising for literally everything. Yes ladies, I’m looking at you.

Stop Not Asking For Help

I think it’s safe to say that most of us have been in a situation where we should have asked for help and didn’t. Whether that’s from a professional or from friends, we could all do with stepping over our ego and just speaking up. It’s hard, it’s awkward and it makes us vulnerable but sometimes we just need that extra helping hand. If you need help from your GP, then make an appointment. If you need help from a friend, send that text. It might feel embarrassing but it’ll help sevenfold.

Stop Airing Your Life On Social Media

We’re all guilty of it. Sending that passive aggressive message or posting that selfie of you looking FIT with a caption that’s crying for attention. Post the things that make you feel good without needing that instant social gratification. Post the holiday snaps, the meals out, the outfits that make you feel banging because they feel good, not because you know it’ll get a tonne of likes to feed your ego. Stop posting those shady comments that get people replying with “inbox me babe.” Use social media to post the things that make you feel great, not to make you feel great.

Stop Believing That You’re Not In Control

Weird flex I know, but turns out that you’re actually in control of your own life. Mad, right? And yet we’re all sitting here waiting for that perfect opportunity to come along at the perfect time. Chances are, it’s not going to happen and you’re going to end up feeling deflated.

Make things happen. Make those vision boards. Manifest those dreams. Hustle hustle hustle until you get what you want. Because no one else is going to do the hard work for you.

Stop Being A Negative Nancy

I’m the worst for this. But just stop being a negative Nancy. Yes this takes effort. It’s my go to, to shit all over a situation before I’ve actually thought about what’s coming out of my mouth, and you know where that gets you? Absolutely nowhere. These days I write down 3 things every day that I’m grateful for, so even on the days that feel rubbish, I can look back and know that there was something good in them.

These are the 5 things I’m determined to stop doing in 2020. Let me know yours in the comments!

Rachel x-x-x

Morning Routine for Shift Workers

I love a good morning routine blog post or Youtube video. Curiosity truly gets the better of me and all I want to see is what other people do when they get up in a morning. Is that weird, maybe, but I like it.

However, my day job means that a morning routine isn’t really that realistic and sometimes I feel like a failure for not managing a yoga routine, planning my day, writing six pages in my journal and having a smoothie before I head out of the door. Most morning routines I watch or read are from freelancers who have a bit more flexibility to their day and I must admit that I often feel jealous of people who can wake up past 7.30am.

Being a nurse means that most days a week I need to be ready for 7am and prepared for a 14 hour shift ahead of me, not such an easy feat when I’m often still scrolling on my phone until midnight. I know, I know. Old habits die hard, but I’m trying, okay?

So here’s my more realistic routine for those of you who are forced to wake up at the crack of dawn.

6.00 – The alarm goes off and I’m trying, really trying my best to not snooze it, though the temptation gets the better of me most days.

6.01 – I drink a whole 600ml of water. Yes I’m trying to up my water intake, which is really really hard for someone with the weakest bladder known to man. But drinking more water regularly appears to be having some sort of effect on my waterworks meaning that I’m actually able to not go to the toilet every 15 minutes when I’m drinking 2 litres of water a day.

6.05 – a quick 6 minute yoga routine. My personal favourite of the moment is this one from Yoga by Adriene. Yes, some morning it feels a bit repetitive but my body does thank me later in the day for a bit of early morning movement.

6.11 – It’s time to do the boring stuff. Dress, teeth, very minimal makeup.

6.20 – I always try to prep my breakfast, lunch and tea the night before so now it’s just a case of getting it out of the fridge, picking up my water bottle from the draining board and remembering my keys and ID for work.

6.22 – The coffee machine is heating up and I’m ready to craft my flat white to make everyone envious during handover.

6.26 – I always try to leave at least 5 minutes to scroll social media, think about the day ahead and have a few minutes of quiet time.

6.35 – Time to leave the house and head to work.

Not a bad thirty five minutes to prepare for the day ahead. What does your morning routine look like? Let me know in the comments!

Rachel x-x-x

One Year as a Newly Qualified Nurse

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I recently hit a pretty big milestone; I managed to make it through a whole year as a qualified nurse (without losing my registration). That’s a joke but I can honestly say there’s not a day passes at work where I don’t panic about it. The past year has been a rollercoaster ride. Being a mental health nurse is filled with so many highs and lows and my brain usually feels like mush by the day of the end. It’s such a cliché but there’s truly nothing I’d rather be doing (except living in a campervan with two dogs). But there’s nothing I’d realistically rather be doing.

To mark the occasion I wanted to share just some of the things I’ve learnt in the last year.

  1. You realise quickly how little university prepared you for being a nurse.
  2. But on the other hand, you realise that uni put the fear of God into you about how ‘terrifying’ nursing is, when in reality, good organisation, a calm mentality and listening skills make up most of the job.
  3. You’re allowed to make mistakes – just own up to them immediately.
  4. Teamwork really does make the dream work.
  5. If you’re ever considering whether a patient needs their physical observations taking, then yes they do.
  6. Force yourself to do the things you are scared of. There will be shifts where you’re the only person qualified to do them.
  7. Listen to your healthcare assistants – they are the backbone of your ward/hospital/community service.
  8. Familiarise yourself with death, you will see it even if you think you don’t work in that environment.
  9. Learn your team’s strengths and weaknesses. “Oh you don’t deal with vomit? That’s great because I’m not good with spit.”
  10. Ask for help. There are no stupid questions. Nursing is about life long learning.
  11. Listen to patients, to relatives, to staff. Listen to everyone and listen actively.
  12. Find a pair of shoes that you can walk around in for 14 hours a day.
  13. Take your breaks. Nobody thinks you’re a superior nurse because you went a whole day without eating anything.
  14. Take every opportunity to learn something new.
  15. You’re going to feel like you’re not good enough approximately 5 million times a day. Even experienced nurses feel like this. It’s a good thing that means we want the best for our patients.

What are the most important lessons you’ve learnt from your job?

Rachel x-x-x

Hello Again,

It feels strange to be back in this oh so familiar position of a blank screen staring at me while I scroll longingly through every social media platform waiting for inspiration to strike. But what better way to return than some form of re-introduction.

I’m Rachel. I live in the South West of England. I like coffee, pizza and books and I long to be a proud owner of a dog called Alan, but we’re not quite there yet. I started No Space For Milk in 2016 when I was floundering in between degrees, wondering if I should be spending my time more wisely than binge watching Gilmore Girls. Then I stopped pretty abruptly earlier this year, partly because I was lacking time, partly down to personal circumstances and wanting to step away from social media for a while. But hi, hello, I’m back.

So what’s changed around here?

The biggest change is that I’ve lost my .com. Unfortunately I let my domain name lapse around May time, meaning that at some time during the last few months, some domain snatcher nabbed So now we’re which is okay but a little snag on my goal for world dominance.

Another thing that’s going to look a little different is my content. Due to the nature of my job, I’m not happy to have my life sprawled across the internet quite so much as it was previously. So things will be a little more private, if I can keep my mouth sufficiently closed.

I also need to relearn how to use this website. So much has changed in the last six months that I feel like I’ve been flung into a new world of settings and plugins that I just don’t understand, so bear with me while I catch up on the blogging world because I’m so out of the loop!

So here’s to a new start of coffee chat, rambling posts of nothingness and photos that are never relevant to the content. I’m so glad to be back.

Rachel x-x-x

Putting Alternative Milks To The Test. And The Winner Is…

I’m a simple girl with simple pleasures. As you all know, I love a good cup of coffee. I’m happy with an Instant (no snobbery here), I’m happy in a coffee shop, but I’m happiest when I’m in the comfort of my own home, cradling a nice hot cup of my own creation.

Milk has always been a foe of mine. I hated it as a child and I still hate it now, except I can make some allowances (like when it’s being made into a mac n’ cheese sauce. So in a vow to be more animal friendly and to find a solution to my life-long hatred of dairy milk, I pulled out all the stops. I tried a different, easy to buy find dairy alternative once a week for five years.

Here are the results:

Almond Milk

First up was almond milk. I’ve bought this on and off for the last few years, but ehh I just can’t get on board with it. It’s a great gateway non-dairy milk if you’re a milk diehard and apparently it is #GoodForYou but it’s just not the milk for me. The taste is okay if you want a sub-par coffee but if you want a tasty drink then move on. I’m not the best with steaming any kind of milk for coffee but almond milk loves to curdle, making it a pretty impossible task.

Coconut Milk

If you want every drink you make to taste like coconut then coconut milk is your pal. I love coconut milk but sometimes you want your coffee to taste like err, coffee and the overpowering coconut flavour is just a little bit too much. Coconut milk is your boy if you’re looking for foam that literally plonks itself on top of your coffee, which I’m going to guess, that’s not what you’re looking for.

Hazelnut Milk

Hazelnut milk has a lovely nutty taste but the sad fact is, it’s a curdler. If you don’t mind your coffee looking a little bit weird then by all means, try out Hazelnut milk. It’s not my favourite but coupled with a shot of a vanilla syrup it makes a gorgeous Sunday morning treat drink.

Oat Milk

I love oat milk more than anything else in life. That might sound over the top but right now we have one opened oat milk in the fridge and three in the cupboard just in case there’s some kind of oat milk apocalypse. I am obsessed. It’s been said that oat milk is the closest to dairy milk in taste and in that it’s actually possible to get some kind of latte art out of it.

Soy Milk

It’s the cool kid of alternative milks. If you’re in an independent coffee shop and they only have one kind of alternative milk, you can bet that it’s soy. Soy milk is frothy as hell but I’ve found it super hard to make a nice looking coffee out of it. It has a nice sweet taste but it’s just not the most exciting to make coffee with.

Overall, it’s pretty clear that oat milk is the king of non-dairy milks but there are so many alternatives out there that you’re sure to find one that you like.

Have you switched to non-dairy milk? Let me know in the comments!

Rachel x-x-x

4 Ways To Quit Social Media Falseness

Social media is a tricky trickster isn’t it? You don’t even log in to anything anymore, you just type the first couple of letters into your URL bar and up it comes. That’s when you’re faced with utter information overload. Opinions stated as though they are fact, edited photos on edited backgrounds, it’s impossible to tell whether you’re looking at something real or entirely curated?

At the end of 2018, I realised I was becoming more and more irritated with a certain aspect of blogging: the falseness of it all. I probably shouldn’t let it affect me so much but when I see bloggers admitting that they’ve only bought something for a post or I see heavily photoshopped pictures, it really grates on me. I gave it some thought over the last few weeks and that’s when it hit me. I don’t have to engage with it. What a simple concept that just hadn’t occurred to me because I spend so much time online.

In the past year, if not longer, I’ve found myself totally perplexed by the constant stream of successful bloggers preaching that the way to ‘get ahead’ is to ‘be yourself,’ yet when you take a step back and look at what these bloggers are writing about and how they look, it’s hard to tell one from the other.

I’ve seen a lot of posts and videos already this year about curating what you see online and I’m so here for it but as well as cutting down on the accounts that I follow on social media, I also want to set myself some social media rules.

  1. If you like something, tell someone

    I’m so bad for thinking a post or a photograph is so wonderful and being too shy/awkward to say anything to the poster. There are so many bloggers out there who I really admire but have never told for fear of them thinking I’m weird, when in reality, I know that if someone said that to me I’d love it.

  2. No fake commenting

    I’m pretty good with this anyway, but I have to admit that I’ve typed ‘gorgeous photo,’ one too many times into Instagram when I don’t actually mean it. This year I’m only commenting when I mean it and saving my praise for the people who deserve it most.

  3. Unfollow everything that makes you feel bad

    Over-edited photographs, fitness accounts and beauty bloggers are things that I just don’t like. I would say that I’m reasonably confident in myself but some of these accounts still make me feel like I need to change things about myself. Last night I cut down both my Twitter and Instagram accounts that I’m following by half and I know this will make a huge difference this year.

  4. Go against the grain

    When I first started blogging I knew what I was writing about and I didn’t care if it wasn’t always a popular topic. Now I find myself with draft posts that I’m too scared to hit publish on. 2019 is a year for risk-taking and I’m ready to find my place in the blogging world again.

These are some small ways that I’m getting over the falseness of the blogging community and I hope that they pay off this year. Have you set yourself any social media resolutions for the new year? Let me know in the comments!

Rachel x-x-x

Dear 2018,

As Kylie Jenner put so eloquently two years that 2016 was going to be the year of realising stuff, 2018 has been my realising things year. At the beginning of 2018 I wrote myself six goals in the front of my Fearne Cotton Happy Journal.

  1. I will become a registered mental health nurse.
  2. I will get married.
  3. I will get a great job.
  4. I will run 10K.
  5. I will move to a new area.
  6. I will go abroad.

I remember almost scoffing at some of the goals, because none of them seemed difficult. In fact, I thought I’d gone pretty easy on myself for the year but 2018 had different plans for me.

  1. I will become a registered mental health nurse.
    Tick. Although this certainly wasn’t easy, I was pretty confident that I would manage this one and I did, finishing university in September and graduating in December. I am a nurse and that still feels incredibly bizarre to say.

  2. I will get married.
    Oh naive January Rachel, this one also seemed pretty easy. There was a date, a venue and a dress but what I learned this year was that it doesn’t really matter how concrete plans are, life throws curveballs and it’s totally possible to come out of a shitty situation unscathed and stronger. I also learnt that maybe I don’t want the married, house, kids dream that most people are aiming for at my age and that’s okay!
  3. I will get a great job.
    Tick. I never thought I’d be one of those people who said that they truly love their job but it turns out that I got a really incredible job this year. I took a job that I wasn’t sure about. I’m one of the most risk averse people usually, but this one has paid off!
  4. I will run a 10k.
    This one was a firm no. In fact, I’m not sure I ran more than 10 times this year. Why? Because I decided that I actually hate running. This year I took up pilates and yoga and found that it’s much easier to do an activity you enjoy. Goodbye 10k, you are not a goal that I’ll ever regret not managing to do.

  5. I will move to a new area.
    Tick. After finishing uni, I had pretty solid plans to move to the South of the country and by South, I meant Brighton. Once again, life had other ideas and I ended up South, but South West, starting a new life in Somerset. It certainly wasn’t what I had in mind and I can’t say that I was particularly receptive to moving to a 100,000 population sized town in the middle of kind of nowhere, but here I am and I haven’t complained about it in at least a month. Life is full of (good) surprises.
  6. I will go abroad.
    Tick. California, Köln and Berlin were totally unexpected holidays this year that just kind of happened and made up some of my best memories this year. Hopefully I can add a few more to my travel list in 2019.

    2018 has been the biggest year of twists and turns and laughs and cries and though I don’t think I’ll be sad to see it go, I can truly say it’s been the year of realising things.

Rachel x-x-x

Beating The Winter Blues with Tempur

Every year the same thing happens. September rolls around and I feel the weight of sadness that Summer is over. Then as the year speeds up in that way that only happens in the lead up to Christmas, something darker takes hold. For some, this presents as the “Winter Blues.” Feeling lethargic and miserable as a result of the dark nights and cold weather is pretty normal but if you find that just can’t shift your apathy, then it could be worth talking to your GP about Seasonal Affective Disorder.

I’ve struggled through the Winter months for a long time, even to the point where I was dreading them as the days got shorter, but in recent years I’ve found ways to combat my “Winter Blues.” By embracing the Winter months, I’ve found them a lot easier to deal with, and this year I was almost excited for the start of Autumn. I’ve always found that I struggle to sleep in Winter. It’s dark all the time, so it feels like my body never really gets ready to go to bed, or I end up napping on the sofa at 4pm in the afternoon, throwing my sleep pattern and mood totally off kilter. As a nurse, good quality sleep can be hard to come by, but here a few things that can help to beat the “Winter Blues” this year.

I love my bed. There is nothing more perfect than sinking down into the mattress after a long day and letting your eyes close. Having spent the last seven years sleeping in horrible student houses, with stained mattresses and springy beds, my sleep hasn’t been good for a long time. But this year we finally bought our own mattress. And it’s made a huge difference. We spent ages umming and ahhing over which bedframe, mattress and pillows to choose. I’ll gloss over the argument between my partner and I over whether a Kingsize bed was necessary… It wasn’t but we have ended up with one anyway. If you feel like treating yourself (and you should, because sleep is a priority) check out Tempur for a range of the comfiest mattresses and pillows. Their ergonomic section is a dream.

Something else I swear by is my SAD lamp. Getting up in the morning is hard enough, let alone when it’s pitch black outside. SAD lamps begin to light up before your alarm so that your body gets used to the light while you’re still sleeping, helping you feel more refreshed when you wake up. Mine is a Lumie lamp and I wouldn’t be without it.

Another way to make sure you get a good night’s sleep is to actually go to sleep! Winding down before bed is so hard, especially with everyone mindlessly scrolling social media in the lead up to bedtime. But it’s so important for your brain to have that downtime before you go to sleep. A hot bath or a book (not reading on your phone!) is ideal and the perfect excuse to hide under the duvet as the year gets colder.

Do you have any bedroom must-haves for a good night’s sleep? Let me know in the comments!

Rachel x-x-x


*This post is in collaboration with Tempur, but all views are my own.