In the past, I’ve written about tidying your desk, your wardrobe, and your files, all in the name of productivity. But I’ve managed not to touch on how to organise what is probably the other major piece of digital real estate, your phone. I recently upgraded and saw the move to a new phone as the chance to have a clean slate. So, I spent weeks organising and reorganising my phone to get the most out of it. Today, I’m sharing the insights I discovered so moving wiggling apps on a screen doesn’t have to take over your life too*.

*These tips are based on how iPhones arrange apps.



The most basic guiding principles for arranging your apps is to follow this hierarchy of importance. In order of importance, apps should go in the dock, the top two rows, the middle two rows, then the bottom two rows. Personally, I have phone, text, email, and Spotify in the dock as they are my most used apps. Then in the top two rows, I put the apps I have to or should check more frequently, working my way down to least important.


There are some spaces on your screen that are just physically easier to reach, and so more efficient to get to. To find what they are for you just pick up your phone and see where your thumb naturally rests. This is its default position and the handiest place for you to put important apps. Then attempt to reach each of the four corners of the screen, and find out where your most comfortable range outside of that default position is.

For me, my thumb naturally rests in the upper centre of the screen, and my reach is best from the top left to the bottom right of the screen. I feel like this is likely to be true for most people who hold their phone with their right hand. But I would definitely suggest you have a go yourself, if for no other reason than it’s kind of fun. So, I put my most used apps in each section in the spaces that are easiest for me to reach.


Before this upgrade, I never really used different pages. I just had everything on one screen. Now I’ve divided my phone into work and fun. So one page has all of the apps I use for work e.g. calendar and the other has all of the apps I use for fun and blogging e.g. social media. This has meant that I don’t get as distracted when I’m working, and when I’m blogging it’s much easier to move between the apps I need to stay on top of things.


In my opinion, you’re probably either a folder person, or you’re not. I am a folder person. Just the idea of having my apps grouped and filed away gives me a sense of calm. I use folders to group together apps I don’t use often (find my phone, compass etc.) but are useful every once in a while, to reduce the amount of clutter and distraction on my screen.


If you’re looking to hack your phone for productivity, you’re going to pretty much reverse all of these tips. Put the apps you don’t want to use e.g. Facebook in hard to reach spaces on lower rows. Hide them in folders and separate procrastination sources that way it’s harder to flick between them. Another great way to slow your fingers down is to keep moving your apps around so you don’t develop that level of muscle memory that just has you reaching for Instagram as soon as you pick up your phone.

How have you organised your phone importance? Colour? Use? Emojis? Do you have any top tips?

I have, like many people right now, been interested in pursuing a more minimal lifestyle. I’ve spent hours reading The Private Life of a Girl and The Minimalists, cut down my wardrobe and my excess. I’ve become more mindful of everything I buy from food to books. I’m definitely not a poster girl for a minimal lifestyle. I probably still have too much. But I’m trying and I’m conscious of the affect my consumption has on my own psyche and the wider world. I’m doing it in my own way, which I personally think is more important than following any “rules”.

But the one area I haven’t explored is my creative practice. On the one hand, I’m excited to embrace minimalism wherever I can. On the other hand, I personally think some elements of producing creative work just can’t exist within a minimalist frame. All creative work comes from collecting information and inspiration from other sources, the more the better, that act of collection, of active consumption of as much as you can seem diametrically opposed to minimalism. Similarly, to make good work, you have to make a lot of bad work. You have to keep making and producing and putting more into to the world, which again can’t fit into minimalism.

That said there are things we can do as creative to work more simply and be more conscious of how much we’re consuming and wasting. Here are the five ways I’m trying to incorporate minimalism into my work.


Having lots of things in your works space can serve as a distraction, and a handy excuse to hoard. So, I have cleared my desk almost completely. All that stays there now is my laptop, my notebooks (sketchbook, journal, diary), my pot of pens and a jug of water. These are the essentials I need pretty much whatever I’m doing. Then I bring in whatever else I’m working on and just focus on that one piece of work or collection of images. As someone who’s very tidy desk, tidy mind orientated it’s made me a lot calmer and meant that I work much more efficiently because I’m not rifling through papers or feeling like I don’t have enough space. That said I do still have prints I love up above my desk – as I said, I’m not perfect with this decluttering malarkey. Have a think about the things you actually need to have to hand, you might find that by clearing away the excess you, as well as your desk, find a new focus.


I’ve written before about my work uniform. I have a set collection of clothes I wear for work, and now my free time too. It’s not so much a capsule wardrobe. It’s probably not quite small enough, and I don’t swap anything out seasonally. But by limiting my choices and only having things I actually enjoy wearing in my wardrobe, I have saved so much time, reduced my decision fatigue, and also felt way less of a need to buy new clothes – other when that heat wave took London! Plus getting into my set uniform always gets me into the right mindset for work.


I know I said earlier that constantly creating is, at least to me, not in keeping with the minimalist mindset, but that doesn’t mean you can’t reduce the amount of waste you produce. Make the most of all of your resources and use them cleverly. That can mean anything from using both sides of sketchbook pages to reusing old artworks in cards or gifts, collecting scraps of paper to make rough books, reducing the amount you print, working more digitally, or even just working in batches to get the most out of whatever you’re using. I’m attempting slowly to do all of these a little bit more, and I really am finding that my bin is filling up far slower and I’m approaching my work in new ways which is actually making me more creative in my work.


Just because you create loads, doesn’t mean you have to share it all. Curating what goes on display and only showing the pieces you really love or that have a story to tell is a really nice way to both up the quality of your online (or physical) presence and embrace a more minimal, thought through approach to your work. This is something I’ve been working on a lot in creating my portfolio.


Minimalism encourages you to focus on only consuming what you need and what makes you happy, things of quality. I think the same logic applies to work as well. You should only take on the jobs (within reason, taking into account the fact you have to earn enough to live) that you are going to find fulfilling. Before you say yes to taking on a new project, ask yourself: do I have enough time, mental space, and energy to do this? Will I enjoy working on this project? Will I be left with an outcome I am proud of? Is this something I really want to do? I’m still not very good at this, but I’m trying, and eventually, I’ll get there.

Are you trying to live a simpler lifestyle? What’s working for you?

I think one of my favourite things about getting into blogging is the number of badass ladies I have come across. Honestly, there is nothing more empowering, for me at least, than having so many of the people I admire professionally be women who have defined their careers on their own terms. There are so many women in my various social feeds just absolutely killing it right now, and really inspiring me to do better and to believe that I can, I will and I deserve to achieve the things I work my butt off for. They’re not all designers or makers but they are all “beautiful, talented, brilliant, powerful, musk-oxes” (compliment credit: Leslie Knope). Here’s a short list of just a few of those women and little bit on why they’re inspiring me:


If you read my favourite newsletters post (which of course you have) you will know that I’m a little bit in love with Anne’s writing. Okay, so, it’s more than a little bit. I look forward to her weekly emails like it’s my birthday every Tuesday, and my inbox is filled with birthday peach flan. It makes me smile. It makes me feel better. It inspires me to be better. Anne has made me want to write better, and to have a bolder more distinct voice. She has also helped inspire me to own the bits of pop culture I love, and not be ashamed of being the person that gets the Kardashians questions right in a pub quiz – all points are important points guys!


You know I love Emma’s podcast. I love her book too. She’s a great writer and has really made something wonderful about the shared experience many of us had as the first generation to really grow up online. But for me, what’s most inspiring about Emma is the way she seems to have built such a supportive and collaborative community of ace women around her, turning what could have been a solo freelance project in the form of her book into a community based on sharing and inspiring through her podcast. She comes across as the kind of lady you’d want to be friends with, that you know would cheerlead for you but also give you some straight-talking advice. She’s inspired me to build better networks, reach out a little more, and, yes, attempt to be a bit more upbeat.


Tallulah Fontaine is one of my biggest illustration inspirations, so I couldn’t write this list without including her. While my style, visually, is quite different to hers, I’m really striving to incorporate more of the sensitivity, emotion, and storytelling her work exudes. Her characters are so simple, but I feel like I know them and can relate to and feel for them after just seeing one frame. I also love how distinctive the details in her style are, whether she’s working commercially or on her own stuff you can always tell that it can come from her.


I mentioned Work Work Work in my recent rundown of my favourite blogs. It’s an anti-perfectionism platform which Katherine launched “to talk about the graft it takes to make it and the strife that even the most glamorous women encounter along the way”. It’s about being real and realising that we’re all human and that we shouldn’t attach moral judgements on how we look in selfies or whether we really want a new pair of shoes. I love what she has done with it, and the way that it never preaches. There’s no real women don’t wear make-up or falsehoods around the fact that people, including Katherine herself, still like to post glossy pictures on Instagram. It’s properly real. I love her frankness, I love her writing, and I love that she’s a (fellow) short girl who rocks so many amazing outfits on Instagram.


Sophie Davies of The Private Life of a Girl has inspired me to be more minimalist in my approach not just to buying but to work. I’m more selective in the things I take in and carry around with me whether that’s clothes or jobs, or worries and that’s in part due to reading her blog. As well as being a great advocate for living a simpler life in a way that is actually achievable because it’s personal, Sophie is also a badass business woman and jewellery maker. Her commitment to making quality pieces is so admirable, and I can personally account for how lovely her arch earrings are – I wish I hadn’t lost one of mine. As someone who has been thinking about starting to sell some of my work, I’m hoping to take a leaf out of her book and just make good work and aim to create a business that represents the values I hold dearest.


Man Repeller is one of my favourite places on the internet, without a doubt. It’s the sassy home of all things bright and fun and female centred that I need in my life so often. The way that Leandra had something to say, and realised that it would resonate with a whole bunch of other badass ladies, and then turned it into a hugely popular platform filled with colour and humour and real feelings and the occasional lobster earrings is why she’s such a hero. She also has the most incredible sense of her own style. While I probably can’t rock many of her outfits to the office, she has inspired me to be a little more unashamedly myself and to express the brighter (and more sarcastic) parts of my identity in what I wear and I what I do.


Not only do I love Ella’s work, I also love her honesty. In a world of super slick lifestyle and fashion blogs, she produces incredible content that still feels real and that’s such a rarity, and it’s definitely something that inspires me. As I said, her work is amazing. Her recent product launches, have really given me a push to actually make more. Her vases were stunning and heartfelt, and probably a little bit of a risk (that paid off hugely). Her commitment to making what she wants to make, and doing it so well, is definitely going to be guiding me through the next few months, if not years.


Ruby Tandoh is up there with Nigel Slater on my list of favourite foodies, who just get it. I love eating and cooking, but food is about so much more than just what’s on your plate. Her books really reflect the way that feeding your body is an emotional and personal act, and that you should eat what makes you feel good. She says what she believes, and she puts that into action, and I have so much respect for that.  She also recently co-created a zine called Do What You Want all about mental health, filled with stories and advice from a vast and incredible array of people. It’s currently on my bedside table and it’s the perfect companion for dipping in and out of, and obviously, the recipes are delicious. It’s such a great project that gives a voice to so many people with stories to share and says so many much-needed things on a topic that’s only just starting to get the time it deserves.


Who is inspiring you right now?

Today’s post is a little bit different. I just wanted to talk about a few of my favourite things, because they make me happy, and just why not. I feel like I spend a lot of time on this blog trying to improve and make things better, and not enough time just appreciating the things I love just as they are, right now. So that’s what we’re doing today, a list of just 10 things that make me happy.


Writing out a nice, new to do list never fails to make me feel like I’m in control and on top of the world. It’s a list of possibilities. It’s also an excuse to make something pretty with my hands.


Clean sheet night is a hallowed event in my house – not because it doesn’t happen often, I promise! I love feeling really tightly tucked into crisp, fresh sheets. Not only do they smell heavenly, they also make me feel really special and taken care of because it reminds me of being little and my mum making sure my sheets were as tucked as the 7could possibly be.


I love coming home to a letter sat waiting for me on the stairs. They usually come as surprises, little pick me ups at the end of the day, and they’re just the best. It’s such a lovely feeling to know that someone has taken the time to write to you and that a letter has physically travelled from their hands to yours.


There’s a ritual involved in making a cup of tea that’s just so calming. Standing by the kettle is a time to reset for me. In the office, the act of getting up, walking across, and waiting for the bag to stipe is my time to myself. It’s a moment away from the screen just to be. At home, my tea is an act of self-care. It’s the warming feeling of just holding the mug between two hands. A cup of tea is so much more than just a hot drink. It has so much personal history and so much around its everyday ritual. This piece by the incredible Ruby Tandoh says so much more so much better than I ever could.


I have a jumper that I only wear at night. In fact, I only wear it at night, after my shower, once I’m in my pyjamas. When I put that jumper on it’s a sign that says I’m cosy and relaxed and ready to get snuggle up. It’s also the softest loveliest grey jumper, even with its holes from being so well worn.


Peaches are on my mind because they’re my summer fruit. I work my way through at least one family pack a week. They just make me think of sunshine and good times. And they’re so damn tasty.


I’m one of those people who love wrapping gifts. It might be frustrating at times, darn you tricky shaped gifts. But I just love it. I love the physical act of wrapping. I love that wrapping is a chance to put a little bit extra effort into something for someone you love. I also just love nice stationery.


I made photo albums for the first-time last year, and I’m so glad I did. They bring back so many good memories. This reminds me that I really need to get better at taking photos and making more albums.


Painting my nails is a little indulgence that I love (and am slowly getting better at doing). It just makes me feel a bit fancy and forces me to sit still and not doing anything else but watch TV for 15 minutes while it dries properly.


He’s not a thing, but no list of things that bring me joy could be without Toffie. That grumpy little pooch is my whole world, and getting to go home to see him and seeing how happy he is to see me is a feeling that can’t be beaten. Whether that’s seeing his little “you’re home!!!” dance, or getting to smoosh his face, or, in quieter moments, time spent curled up together in front of the fire.

A little while ago, in fact just after I published my post about reaching out, I got an email from the lovely Shanelle Chua asking if I would be interested in collaborating on some work. Naturally, I said yes. Shannelle’s lettering work is absolutely gorgeous and I love having the opportunity to work with other creative people and really push myself and my work.

After a bit of discussion, we decided to make some desktop backgrounds based on words from some of our favourite poets and combine my love of portraits and Shannelle’s love of lettering to create something really beautiful to share with you all.

Both of the backgrounds we created are below, along with a few words on why we chose the lines we did – hope you like them!


Emily Dickinson was how I got into poetry. They were able to convey so much in so little, and I loved that. She also was the first person to make me realize that I didn’t need to seek approval from other people at a time when I needed it the most. At this stage in my life, though, I’m keeping this one close because it’s an accurate representation of my life right now, as a college student.

Download the background


Despite having studied English literature for quite a while, I only recently got around to reading Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. Rather than reading it all in one go, it’s something I’ve dipped in and out of, but one section I’ve come back to time and time again is “Give me the splendid sun” from Drum-Taps. I love its repetitive refrain. I love the real sense of yearning it creates. I love how Whitman captures the beauty and fleshy vivacity of nature. I love that it sums up pretty much exactly how I feel living in London, wanting to escape and just have fresh air. Whenever I want to run away to the Lake District this is a passage I love to come back to because it brings that longing to life and because it makes me a feel a little less alone in my desire to just lie down on some grass and look up at the sun.

Download the background

If you’re not already, please go follow Shannelle over on Instagram too, she’s ace and posts so many positive messages!