Confronting Getting Older Head On!

*This is a collaborative post*

As I’m writing this I’m now a fully fledged member of the 25 club. I spent my birthday (and my mum’s…We have the same birthday!) in Bristol and being thoroughly spoiled it was a lovely way to enter into a new year for me. As I reflected on in my previous post, I don’t want to sound depressing or bring the mood down of this post but I’ve been thinking about death a little bit over the last few weeks. As we get older, we mature into ourselves and into a happier version of you, you might start to become a bit more aware of your own mortality.

Nobody likes the idea of getting older and we all have those days where we would like to cover up that wrinkle or stress out about that one grey hair (which nobody can actually see or takes any notice of!), but dealing with getting older is something that we’ve all got to contend with. So many people decide to fight the signs of ageing and we’ve all got one of those friends that refuse to age beyond 24 (guilty!) despite what their driving licence says! But what can you do to ensure that you get older with grace and style?

Confronting Those Horrible Realities Head-On

We can only bury our head in the sand for so long. For so many people getting older can mean getting sicker. But when we see stories of people that have have a majorly traumatic incident or they go through something horrible like cancer or alopecia at such a young age, why don’t we look to those people for inspiration? Some people go through a traumatic incident so young in life and it completely revamps their perspective. It’s important to remember that when we go through something incredibly traumatic, especially with something like a medical condition, but there’s ways and means for us to develop a coping strategy, but there’s also medical help. There is hair loss treatment online, as well as support groups, and even if you feel that you are someone who is experiencing a very unique problem that none of your friends is going through, there is no need to look upon this as a negative thing. When we are younger we don’t tend to embrace our uniqueness but as we get older we can realise that this is a positive.

Enjoy Yourself

There are still some people that believe getting older is about getting weaker and slowly resigning yourself to the stockpile of life. As we get older, we soon start to put things into perspective. While there’s a lot to be said for the importance of saving money or preparing for the future it seems that so many of us just don’t enjoy ourselves now. We live to work rather than the other way round. And it’s not a difficult thing, enjoying yourself, but it seems that there’s plenty of things out there are trying to stifle our enjoyment. Enjoying yourself isn’t difficult and, believe it or not, you don’t need to have loads of money. And besides, when you’ve got friends that go on protests and are forever worrying about the state of the country after Brexit or those that are fighting the good fight, this is a great thing but at what point do they have the opportunity to enjoy themselves? We all need passions and we all have things we believe in but at the same time, if we completely focus our efforts on the stressful and anxiety-inducing components of life where is the room for fun?

Spend Time With The People You Love

The people you keep company with says a lot about who you are. When we start to look at life in technicolour rather than black and white and we realise that there are people in our lives that are toxic or bring us down or just feel they’ve got to twist the knife in somewhere, are these people are incredibly frustrating to be around. The solution? Rather than breeding your own frustrations by hanging around these people, keep good company and be with people that are engaging or exhilarating. From a sociological perspective, we can fit a certain category. And when we are unhappy that we are in a group of friends that we feel like the butt of the jokes or we are the “quirky one,” these little thoughts can soon develop into full-blown anxieties. Put simply, the people you hang around with can be incredibly toxic for your emotions. Do yourself a favour and be with people that you know will improve your life.

Life Is A Learning Lesson

While we spend time with people that aren’t good for us, we shouldn’t spend a long time regretting those decisions. After all, we are people that learn how to be better versions of ourselves. And life is one of those things that we are entitled to make mistakes in. The great thing about life is that we make errors and that we learn from them. As we get older we may believe that we shouldn’t make too many errors or we’ve been holding onto too many regrets. Getting older is a sign that we are making the most of our mistakes and are beginning to turn them into something that benefits us. There’s no such thing as a mistake as long as you learn from it.

Think About What You Want, Not What Everybody Else Wants

We can all suffer from being a “people pleaser.” These people feel that in order for themselves to be happy they’ve got to cater for everyone else. When you start to figure out what you would like in life and there are people that aren’t particularly receptive to what you want to do, should you continue to be with these people? Start to think about what you want rather than what everybody else wants and there will be conflict. The big problem is that people please don’t like conflict. But like they say “if everybody likes you, you are doing something wrong.” Start to think about what you would like, focus on your dreams, and you will begin to make life work for you on your own terms. Arguably, this is the key to getting older in a healthy way. One of the biggest regrets of those at the end of their life is that they didn’t trust their instincts and did what they wanted. Let’s learn from these people.

Dealing with getting older is something we’ve all got to come round to, whether we just noticed a grey hair or we’ve suffered a traumatic incident in life. Getting older doesn’t mean deterioration. 

25 Things I’ve Learnt In 25 Years.

Hello reader, as you’re reading this it’ll be the 27th of January and that is my big fat birthday. So I am now 25. Twenty five. toooooooooooweeeeeeenttttyyyyyyyyy fiiiiive. Quarter of a century. Twen tee five. I’m lowkey freaking out about this as you might be able to tell as that is an actual, proper age. It sounds older than 23 or 24 did and I feel like I’m not mentally prepared for the responsibility of being a grown up. Not now or ever to be honest. 

Society says I should have my life together by now. Hollywood films say I should be living in a cute apartment with an exposed brick wall with all my besties by now, or about to meet the love of my life in some sort of random meet cute scenario but none of that actually happened sooooooo HOORAY for me! Turns out life isn’t exactly word for word like the fairytale teen blockbuster with the pop-punk soundtrack and that’s okay. Life isn’t all sunshine, rainbows and fighting dragons to get to the princess who’s actually a part time ogre and that’s also okay. I feel like in your twenties there’s a lot of pressure to succeed and exceed and I’m not here for it. I just want to be happy. SO happy in fact it makes others a little bit nausous. I want to be so happy being me that other people look at me like ffs can’t she just give someone else a chance?! 

So I’m writing this very cliche list of 25 things I’ve learnt on this awesome planet to remind myself and you lovely readers on some wonderful things I’ve learnt, adapted to and am trying to live by. 

  • It’s okay not to be okay.

Everyone has great days, everyone has good days and everyone also has bad days too. Sometimes those bad days happen more and more and all of a sudden it’s become a bad week, bad month or become a bad year but please try to not let it define you. It’s taken me a long time to learn to accept that sometimes not everything goes the way I want it to but you’ve got to try and make the best out of every situation. I’m definitely the type of person that could very easily wallow in my own little pity puddle and it can be incredibly hard to lift yourself out of that frame of mine. Just know that however you’re feeling, whatever you’re going through; you’re loved and you’re never alone. ❤

  • It’s more than okay to be on your own. 

Do you have any idea how freeing it is to be alone. Not lonely but alone. Go on a solo movie trip, grab a bite to eat on your own, travel solo? It’s honestly one of the most liberating feelings and I wish I had the confidence to adopt this mentality sooner. 

  • Say Yes.

I’ve tried so hard to push myself out of my comfort zone and say yes or do things I wouldn’t normally just to see or just to try it once. I’ve become so much more confident in myself and my abilities and every single time I’ve had a blast and have been so pleased I said that little Y word. 

  • Don’t believe all you see online.

What you see on social media is not real life. It is simply the highlight reel, no one is going to be posting about their boring dead end job, the fact they spent 2 hours deep cleaning their oven to no avail and the fact that age 23 they found their first grey hair. I found that the way I perceived my own life compared to the lives I saw on Instagram was really affecting me last year and I came off of it for a few months. I came back again later on in the year and changed my focus. I unfollowed a lot of accounts and changed the way I used the platform, sharing my love of photography instead, and I love it again! 

  • Take compliments.

I honestly find this so difficult when someone says something nice to me to not go bright red, flash a dorky smile and bash their kind compliment down with a generous helping of self depreciation. Next time someone says something nice, believe them and say thank you. Manners cost nothing y’know!

  • Have faith in the universe. 

I’ve had a rocky couple of years and it’s affected the way I outwardly look at things. I’m lucky I’ve got a wonderful fam that support me through thick and thin but I don’t think I could have coped either if it wasn’t for my kooky sense of trusting the powers of the universe (pls don’t click off I promise I’m not crazy). I know that everything will work out okay in the end because it just HAS to. 

  • Trust your gut.

I’m not just talking about those gurgly feels I get after I eat brioche…do you know how linked your stomach and your brain are? When something feels off, trust that vibe and run with it. 

  • Have a cheat day and/or a treat day.

Life is far too short to not eat the cake. I am a huge advocate of any form of therapy whether it’s seeking professional help, self care, journalling, retail therapy whatever you do to make yourself feel better. I’m a big believer in self care and self love and I wish more people were head over heels in love with themselves as much as they love other people. Treat yourself to that item you’ve been lusting after for ages, take yourself to the cinema or to a spa on a date day. Do whatever you need to do to make yourself feel like the centre of your own universe. 

  • You don’t need to wash your hair everyday.

Honestly….I don’t know how I have been conditioned (soz for the pun) to believe that was normal. My hair feels so much better and shinier since I stopped with this madness.

  • Some relationships don’t last forever and that’s just the way it was meant to be.

I am strong believer in full time people and part time people. I think everyone who comes into your life is there for a reason, sometimes good, sometimes bad (sometimes ugly too) but the important thing is to remember to cherish those who you love and tell them as often as you can. Learn from those who treat you how you don’t wish to be treated and don’t give them a second more of your time. Life is a journey but most importantly it’s your journey; who you want to bring along with you is down to you.

  • Dairy Milk Caramel tastes infinitely better after it’s been in the freezer.

I don’t have anything else to add to that statement. Just try it and let me know your thoughts alright.

  • Pursue what makes you happy

Life is the longest thing we’ll ever do so you might as well do something you love. 

  • You’re responsible for your own happiness.

Genuinely i’m starting to sound like a motivational canvas you’d see on pinterest and I’m not sure I’m alright with that. But this is something that flickers through my mind everytime I’m having a whinge about how sucky something in my life is. The only person that can change it is me. 

  • Find your cheerleaders. 

Find the people that’ll be constantly in your corner, boosting you up and treating you like the gift you are. No one wants a negative nancy. 

  • A job isn’t the be all and end all.

I cannot stress this enough. It reeks of privilege but I’ve been in a position where I had my mental health wrecked because of a terrible employer and it’s one of my biggest regrets that I stuck it out for so long. I wish I quit sooner, I wish I had a cool quitting story, where I told my boss to stick it in a boardroom meeting and made history as I high fived with every other scorned worker but alas that was not the case. Working as an early morning cleaner has taught me more about my character than any other role has. 

  • Try to save where you can.

I’m obsessed with getting a good bargain, who isn’t though, amirite?! Financially challenged is the legit story of my life but one day I’d quite like to move out of my parents house and live in my own little home and I’ve been saving the pennies where I can. I’m not being too hard on myself and if I want a treat or to go out socially I do but it’s surprising how a few coins here and there in another bank account soon adds up. 

  • Be more present. 

I am the absolute worst for being on my phone all the time. Whether I’m chatting with friends, surfing the socials or taking happy snaps of what I’m doing, embarassingly, I find it difficult to not put my phone away and live in the moment. My thought is that if I take a picture or a video of that moment then it’s saved in time and I can come back and look at it again and again. Unless it’s for a special occasion (or just pretty food…) I try to leave my phone in my bag when I’m out with family and friends and spend the most time enjoying their company.   

  • Try new things.

Oooooh look at me, my name’s Abbie and I tried an olive the other day and didn’t gag so I think I know everything about trying new stuff. But srsly try everything once (except bad, super illegal stuff, like don’t be stupid) and if you don’t like it at least you gave it your best shot. 

  • Don’t save things for best/a rainy day.

I’ve been thinking about death a lot recently. Morbid start to any sentence I know. But that might be a potential late night blog post I touch on soon…Not to bring down the mood or anything but when you die, everything that’s important to you or special to you probably isn’t going to be that special to anyone else so you might as well wear that bouji outfit that cost you a tonne of money whilst you still can; you never know what’s around the corner. 

  • Get to know yourself and your body.

Get to know who you are, everything about you, your mind, your soul, your spirit and your body. It sounds silly but you’re more likely to notice little changes once you know what’s normal for you and what’s not. 

  • Never underestimate having a good hairdresser. 

A good hairdresser is one to be cherished. Finding one that is good, reliable and not too expenny is like finding the bermuda triangle. 

  • Find a hobby.

Even though blogging and reading are my hobbies I sometimes find them a bit on the stressful side if I put pressure on myself through it. If I’ve set myself a goal of how many books i’d like to read in a year I feel guilty if I don’t get anywhere close or if I haven’t written online in awhile I feel guilty that I’m not applying myself enough to write more. In my spare time I actually really enjoy photography, crossword puzzles and antiques. I know it makes me sound like an 80 year old off on another bus trip but I loooove it.

  • Be curious.

Never stop being curious, asking questions, learning more about different people, places and cultures. Travel to new places far and wide and come up with your own narrative on something rather than adopting something you’ve heard from an unreliable source. 

  • Develop your own skincare routine.

Doing me face is the technical term of applying all of my lotions and potions, creams and oils on to my facial region when I arise from my slumber and just before I go to bed. It’s fast become one of my favourite things to do because I feel quite at peace when I’m doing it, it’s relaxing and I feel like I’m doing something quite positive to my life. 

  • Celebrate; always.

Celebrate the good things and the bad things and even the really boring, mundane things. Life is as good as you make it and I for one would like to be remembered as someone who loved hard, laughed a lot and was a pretty terrible dancer even Theresa May would grimace. 

 

How to develop Leadership Skills in a Changing Business Culture

*This is a collaborative post*

One of my favourite tv shows in the world is The Office…The american version because as controversial as it might be for a Brit to say this I think that this variant is substantially better (come fight me in the comments if you disagree). Not only is this show hilarious, albeit sometimes so silly and far fetched, it makes you really realise that terrible managers are something that everyone across the globe can relate too.

Good jobs and good management can be really hard to come by. We live in a world nowadays where it’s more uncommon now for someone to stay within the same job at the same company or even in the same sector, the amount of potential jobs or careers available to pursue these days are increasing so if you wanted to completely change what you do you could with the tip of a hat; metaphorically speaking of course. Please don’t walk into the job centre and flick your baseball cap off and expect to come out employed as an astronaut.

More often than not people are changing their current job roles to go somewhere different to try something new, for a better pay scale, if it’s closer to their home and the new workplace is easier to travel to. Another reason a lot of people. myself included, have left jobs is because of poor management. Knowing there’s nothing you can do to fight this is particularly frustrating and often you feel like leaving is the best thing you can do mentally and emotionally.

I’ve worked in different roles and at different levels and something that I sadly noticed a lot was the different ways people would speak to me if I was the early morning cleaner compared to if I was the main manager in charge. The latter of which may have paid me more (just about!) but I can tell you I was nowhere near as miserable and unhappy as the cleaner! I personally believe that the desired traits to become a good manager are as simple as being a good leader, a good listener and good at the job in hand.

These are brilliant attributes for anyone to have and hold but when you’re in a position of importance and/or responsibility it’s even more vital to have.

Leadership is crucial at all levels, in both the private and public sectors. Indeed, when a company fails to meet its standards, one of the primary causes of blame is that there was a “lack of leadership” within the organization. However, it’s important to be aware that leadership isn’t a static idea that is easily replicated using a few simple steps — and that’s because the nature and role of leadership are forever changing.

At some times, these changes can be considered subtle, since society and the business world often changes slowly. However, there are times when new skills and change become more desperately needed, since things have progressed too quickly for society to catch up. In this category, you could place more or less everything to do with information. We may be living in the ‘information culture,’ but that doesn’t mean that we’re hitting it out of the park on all fronts.

Part of the issue is that while we can identify the skills that we need for leadership in this climate of information, there is something of a shortage of those skills. To succeed in this role, the candidate must have existing leadership qualities (such as promoting teamwork, handling conflicts and so on) and also skills related to information. They would need to have experience and expertise in things like how to store and manage data, how to differentiate between valuable and non-important data, and how to investigate data.

To learn more, take a look at the infographic from the University of Southern California below.


Infographic by University of Southern California University of Southern California

Staying Safe Online

*This is a collaborative post*

Nowadays, we’re spending increasing amounts of time online. Increased availability of affordable technology means that most of us now have a smartphone, a tablet, a laptop, a computer, or a combination of these items. We spend time online for a whole host of reasons. We work online. We socialise online. We show off our lives online. We catch the news online. We read books online. We watch tv shows and films online. Chances are you’re behind your screen for a fair few hours everyday. But when we are more open online, we also face more threats and it’s so important that you do your utmost to keep yourself safe when you spend any time on the web.

One thing you can do to keep safe online is to be wary of how much personal information you share. The more you openly share, the more complete strangers get to know about you. You could let strangers know where you work, where you live, where you study and so much more. This puts you in personal danger. You could also accidentally upload pictures containing pictures of your bank cards or credit cards and put yourself at risk of people hacking into your accounts. You should also be wary about sharing personal information because it could give people a clue to your passwords, allowing them to steal your identity online.

The infographic below will give you a deeper look into cybersecurity and more tips and tricks on how to protect yourself online!


For more information on this click here

The internet is a hugely vast, sometimes scary place and there a few different ways that I try to stay safe whilst using the interweb. Firstly, I use different security packs for my blog, internet browsing and on my laptop too. This protects against any vicious malware, helps to keep my laptop and my sites healthy, and running smoothly plus it gives me peace of mind; knowing that it’s backed up and in safe hands so to speak.

Secondly, I have two factor authentication installed where and when I can. For example on Instagram, I know my sister and a few other people who’ve had previous accounts hacked and compromised so they can’t access them again simply because of a vicious bot attack gaining access to their account, email address and password, changing their information so they can’t get back into it. This really freaks me out as I practically live my life vicariously through my Insta grid. It’s got so many memories of things I’ve did, done and seen and many of which I don’t have those pictures backed up anywhere else. If one day I lost my Instagram (yes I know, worse things could happen!) but I’d be gutted all of these lovely things I’ve done and like to look back on would just disappear in a flash.

If you are using a computer or a public wifi always remember to log out. Sounds super simple, if not patronising, but it’s easy to just do what you’re doing and completely forget to completely log out of your site.

Try to make your passwords as unique as you can. Commonly used passwords or your name/date of birth could be something that is very easily guessed!

If you get anything suspicious in your emails, messages, phone calls etc always double check with a real life human being if you can before taking further action! If for instance you get a phone call/email from your bank and it seems a bit fishy before you do anything hasty; suggest phoning them back and checking with your local team beforehand. Similarly, if you get any emails that don’t seem quite right, don’t rush into opening any links or responding. Always double check and if it does turn out to be legitimate at least you’re on the safe side!

How to apply false eyelashes*

 

*This post contains gifted items*

Ever since I was young I’ve loved anything to do with makeup, beauty items and skincare. I distinctly remember playing with my Mum’s makeup when I was little, thinking it was all so cool, all these different bits, these lotions and potions and how you could just dab this here, rub that in there and transform the way you look into a movie star. I love being able to experiment with what I wear, the style I carry and the way I  look with a bit of makeup. I see it as so much more than just a thick layer of war paint, a protective coat of armour to make me feel a bit more confident, something to enhance the way I look but also as a way of self expression. I view my face and my skin as a blank canvas and I’m free to decorate it how I see fit. Whether I want a permanent tattoo, semi permanent piercings, hair dyes or a bold statement eye look it’ll reflect me and my personality and I’m so happy changing it as I see fit.

I was recently contacted by Jenny from falseeyelashes.co.uk and she kindly offered to gift me some false eyelashes to share on my blog/social media channels and to show off the fab looks I’ll be creating and the side eye I’ll be serving with these new little beauties. I will admit, I don’t wear false lashes very often; but when I do it’s always for a special occasion or a big night out where I want to be looking my absolute best.

Falseeyelashes.co.uk is a site solely dedicated to all things falsies! Whether you’re looking for something natural and understated, something big, bold and fluttery, faux mink lashes, vegan and cruelty free, something budget friendly or something a bit pricier they’ve got every person, every style and every purse point covered with thousands upon thousands of different brands and styles. If that’s not enough to tickle your pickle they also have an amazing lash subscription service (something I’d never heard of before and think is amazing!) so if you’re totally obsessed with one particular style of lash so all you need to do is simply hit the subscribe button when you purchase and choose whether you want them popping through your letterbox every 2 weeks, every month or every 2 months!

false eyelashes flat lay pic

If you’re new to the false eyelash game and really want to give it a try I want to use this post to share with you some simple, easy ways to learn to get to grips with false lashes and to be able to create fab looks with falsies…and without running the risk of glueing your eye shut or for the lash to fall off mid date! I swear these types of ‘horror’ stories were so common in girly teenage magazines when I was younger; it reeeeaally put me off using them before going to the school disco in case I’d be the one, writing into Mizz Magazine the following week because I, too, was gathered around the hand dryer trying to pry my eyes open.

  • So first and foremost, my advice to lash newbies, or to anyone attempting anything for the first time but this is a bit besides the point right now, is to start off slowly. If you try something for the first time and do it a bit rushed it’s only natural it’s going to be a bit sloppy?!

 

  • Try to take care when taking your false lashes out of it’s packaging. They usually come stuck to a little plastic tray and the best way to remove them without altering their lash line shape is by taking a pair of tweezers (or an eyelash applicator tool) and slowly, gently pulling from the corner to release them.

 

  • Before you put any glue or adhesive on them make sure they are the right size for your eye shape. The simplest way to do this is by simply holding a false eyelash against your natural eyelashes and trim from the outer end.

 

  • Apply the glue/adhesive in a thin layer on the seam of the eyelash strip, leaving it for a few moments to dry and go a bit tacky to the touch.

 

  • Either with a steady hand or tweezers/eyelash applicator gently place your falsies as close to your natural lash line as you possibly can.

 

  • It’s easier to do this if you can position yourself so your hand and the lash is coming down from above rather than directly straight on. This’ll make it a bit easier to apply, to get it in place a bit easier and to give you a bit more control over it.

 

  • Using the tweezers/eyelash applicator to gentle press the lashes into the right place to make sure it lines up,  looks neat and more natural.

 

  • Leave the lashes alone for a few minutes to dry and set in place.

 

  • Once the lashes have set you can then apply mascara on top if needed to make them look a bit more natural. Similarly, using a quick flick of eyeliner on the upper eyelid will help to fill in any obvious gaps from the lashes and give you a fancy, feline look.

 

  • Most false lashes will last nearly all day if not longer but when it comes to removing them it’s just as easy to take them off as it was to put them on. Gently apply some makeup remover/cleanser/coconut oil to a cotton bud, cotton pad or just to your fingertips and gentle massage in. Leaving it for about 30 seconds for the remover to soak in and gently pull the lashes from the outer edge.

 

  • Make sure to check on the packaging of your falsies and what they’re made out of because most sets can be reused plenty of times and you’d want to get your worth from it!

 

 

BOOK REVIEW: Reader, I Married Me!*

*This post contains a gifted item*

Hello, hello! It’s been a little while since I properly shared a book review on here, I posted all the books I read in 2019 in a long old blog post (here) but it wasn’t hugely in depth on each read, so I thought I’d share with you a little write up on the book; Reader, I Married Me! that I read at the very end of 2019. I’m not sure how to best go about reviewing this as I’m cautious I’m going to just end up giving every little detail along the way. So I’m hoping I’ll say enough to entice you to pick it up but leave enough mystery and surprise to leave you all happily hooked on what happens!

I was kindly sent this by Sophie, the author and my new second sister! We got chatting and emailing back and forth and soon realised that we actually have SO much in common. Not only do we share similar outlooks on life BUT also happen to share the same surname and her Mum lives not too far from where I live too! I’m not sure I believe in fate and all things like that but what a weird coincidence all of this has turned out to be?! Between our natterings, Soph, told me all about how the idea of this book came about. It’s ever so slightly based around her own true life events, she decided to pen this book after going through a particularly bad break up. As many people can sympathise with, it genuinely can feel like the worst thing in the world had just happened. But looking back and reflecting on it she discovered it was one of the best things to have ever happened to her! She chose to stop chasing the ‘happily ever after’ and start living for herself and for the ‘happily ever now!’. What a babe!

Sophie discovered she really didn’t need someone else to ‘complete’ her or for someone to be her ‘better half’ so decided to take vows of self-commitment and married herself in sunny Brighton in 2015.

Some people reading this might now be thinking that sounds a liiiiiiiiiittle bit mad! But Sophie wanted to be able to use this and her platform to be able to start conversations about self love and why on earth shouldn’t you see yourself as just as important (if not more) than a significant other or why self love isn’t deemed as important as romantic love?

From an early age we are taught about, and raised on, the different types of love we will feel. From the love you have for your family members, to the love you have for friends, the love you have for food and the wonderful/sometimes less than wonderful romantic love you’ll share with someone special. 

But for some reason, self love, is still seen as a bit controversial or like a taboo subject. As if it’s a bit weird that someone actually likes themselves and wants to celebrate who they are as a person! Shouldn’t that be the love that we focus on and encourage from a young age, to inspire generations to have confidence in themselves and to be able to stand strong on their own no matter what life may throw at them? It’s certainly something to think about isn’t it.

Her novel, Reader, I Married Me, is very loosely based on Sophie’s own life experiences and her experience of sologamy (aka marrying yourself!). We follow the story of Chloe Usher, the loveable 35 year old lady, who’s happily sailing her way through life when she finds out the heart shattering news that her longterm boyf has cheated on her. She battles her way through modern day dating and using different dating apps. Then after one particularly bad date she heads straight over to her best friends house, trying to forget all about her rubbish evening with alcohol and karaoke! Booze fuelled she half jokingly suggests that she’s just going to marry herself and drunkenly shares her news with her loyal followers on her blog. Waking up the next morning with a fuzzy hangover head she’s greeted with the news that her and her solo wedding has become an overnight sensation; getting both positive and negative feedback from all around the globe. 

We join Chloe on her fabulous journey as she plans her solo wedding, juggling her own emotions as well as from the people nearest and dearest to her as they try and get their heads around her upcoming nuptials as a single woman. It’s not just Chloe we witness going on a personal journey either, she realised that we society might have conditioned us to be wishing our lives away waiting for the fairytale happy ending or waiting for ‘the one’ when, in fact, YOU are the one you should be soul searching for all along.

This romcom (without the typical rom) is a perfect read if you’re looking for something a little bit different or want to challenge ways in which we come to think about ourselves and the labels we put on ourselves and on love. 

So…you want to know my thoughts on it?

I read this within the space of about three days so if that doesn’t tell you something I don’t know what will! I really enjoyed this book actually, it’s a little bit different to the usual chick lit novel I’d normally read or you might normally see on the shelf which I actually really liked. Most of them have the usual element of ‘aaaaaaaaand the woman fell in love with the man, the man fell in love with the woman and they all lived happily ever after theeeeeeee end’ which is nice but those fairy tale stories never really happen in real life do they?

This felt a lot more relatable. As nice as it is to read lovey-dovey romcoms with princesses, princes and prince charming riding in on a white stallion at the end and saving the day  they’re not as thought provoking because to me, that isn’t normal or reality.  With this, I felt like I really empathised with Chloe and I felt like I understood her character as someone I could relate with or someone I could imagine myself being friends with. I liked that this book really has stuck with me and has made me think about the different ways I view myself and the outlook I can have on love and relationships.

It struck a chord especially as quite often, self love, self worth and loving yourself can be placed further down the pecking order, or you can be seen as big headed or with an ego the size of the moon if you actually really quite like yourself. Which is quite bizarre when you think about it really? In the UK, at least, if you aren’t self depreciating there must be something wrong with you!

It’s made me want to challenge myself and how I view doing things on my own. I think being content in your own company is one of the most liberating things a person can do. From small things like going for a coffee, a lunch or to the cinema on your own to a holiday or living by yourself. Once you’re at that stage over no longer caring about whether people are looking at that poor love sitting and eating on their own or being financially independent enough to be able live on your means and not have to argue over what to watch on telly it’s like the next shift change in your life begins.

This is something I’ve been trying to get better at and a solo cinema date really is on my agenda for 2020.

This book, will definitely be the type that I’ll recommend to a lot of my friends and readers on here to read. It’s something that has really challenged the way I think and view things, which is really the type of books I long to read anyway! It’s not written in a preachy sense it’s still got the elements of the rom com without the typical ‘rom’ bit!

Life is one of the longest things we’ll ever do but it’s also one of the shortest, try to spend that time being kind to yourself, kind and loving to others and being able to stand tall amongst the crowd, adjust your own fabulous crown and fall truly, madly, deeply in love with yourself; as beautifully, strongly and eternally as you’d love someone else too.

Little things that make me happy part #2

Long time readers of this site may recall the first post I did of this nature. It was in November on a Saturday and I was in the mood to write but I wasn’t sure what, so I thought, how about I just start by writing a list of things that make me happy and I’ll see where I go from there. See what inspiration I get. Turns out it just made me happy to write and write and write even if it was totally pointless, nonsensical things it made me quite happy to read it back to myself again. A lot of the things I’ve scribbled on here lately have been quite lengthy and quite wordy and that was the first thing I’ve written in a long time that I posted immediately without thinking about it, without second guessing myself or without thinking whether anyone will actually care. So here comes round two! I don’t know if this’ll be a regular feature but we’ll see.

  • Paris.

 

  • Cobbled streets.

 

  • The first bite of something delicious.

 

  • Thank you letters.

 

  • Toasting marshmallows.

 

  • Giving gifts.

 

  • Crumpets that are so thickly laden with butter it oozes out the bottom.

 

  • Long train journeys with pretty views.

 

  • Hot chocolates that are capped with a snowy mountain of whipped cream, marshmallows and other toppings.

 

  • Hotel breakfasts.

 

  • Warm mittens.

 

  • That feeling you get when you’ve been out in the cold and then come back inside and run your hands under cold water and everything feels hot.

 

  • The smell of blown out candles.

 

  • Rock pools.

 

  • Tangerines.

 

  • The smell of hot weather.

 

  • Lava lamps.

 

  • Big, exuberant pieces of costume jewellery.

 

  • Licking the cake mix bowl.

 

  • Going out for coffee or brunch.

 

  • Dipping buttery bread into hot soup.

 

  • Mr Whippy ice creams.

 

  • Those two pence arcade machines at the seaside.

 

  • Photo booth pictures with friends.

 

  • Sugar lumps.

 

  • Coffee shops with steamy windows.

 

  • The smell after the rain.

 

  • Little villages where everyone says hello to one another.

 

  • Big cities where no one knows your name.

 

  • The colour magenta.

 

  • The word magenta.

 

  • Mashed potato.

 

  • Chasing the sun.

 

  • Dogs in little coats.

 

  • Fresh herbs and spices.

 

  • Twinkly lights.

 

  • Twinkly eyes.

 

  • Turning the radio on and your favourite song comes on.

 

  • Long hugs between old friends.

 

  • Dessert.

 

  • Vanilla pods.

 

  • Love.

 

  • When someone remembers a small detail about you.

 

  • Window seats.

 

  • Kind, chatty taxi drivers.

 

  • Exploring somewhere new.

 

  • Hidden treasures.

 

  • Fictional pirates.

 

  • Childhood teddy bears.

 

  • Roaring fires.

 

  • Old pubs.

 

  • Old pubs with roaring fires.

 

  • Old pubs with roaring fires and a pub dog too.

 

  • Long, hot baths.

 

  • Quick, cold showers.

 

  • Getting something for a cheaper price than you anticipated.

 

  • Brighton.

 

  • Honeycomb.

 

  • Food markets.

 

  • The smell of fresh fruit.

 

  • Belly laughs.

 

  • Family.

 

  • Pizza.

 

  • Fierce loyalty.

 

  • Cheesy chips.

 

  • Rocking chairs. Unless they rock on their own then they can get far, far away from me.

 

  • New beginnings.

 

  • Genuine smiles.

 

  • When the fresh heat hits you in the face when you get off of an airplane.

 

  • Afternoon teas.

 

  • Midnight feasts.

 

  • Tales from someone’s youth.

 

  • Tattoos.

 

  • Freckles.

 

  • Mint chocolate chip ice cream.

 

  • Snow days off of school.

 

  • Singing loudly in the car.

 

  • Stars.

 

  • Free food.

 

  • Writing on the first page of new stationary.

 

  • Glam makeup.

 

  • Poloroids.

 

  • Quick downloads.

 

  • Kindness between two strangers.

 

  • The Beatles.

 

  • VW Beetles.

 

  • Actual beetles.

 

  • Seeing people who actually enjoy their jobs.

 

  • Babies laughter.

 

  • Mojitos.

 

  • Actually any cocktails really.

 

  • People with natural style.

 

  • Having that Friday feelin’.

 

  • Long weekends.

 

  • Jennifer Aniston’s agelessness.

 

  • Red lipstick.

 

  • The weird yet wonderful names of different paint shades.

 

  • Terracotta.

 

  • Writing poetry.

 

  • Receiving poetry.

 

  • Wandering around supermarkets late at night.

 

  • Creative souls.

 

  • Black cats.

 

  • The stillness after a storm.

 

  • British seaside towns.

 

  • Piers. (As in the long promenade stretching out to sea…not the egotistical Morgan kind that presents breakfast telly).

 

  • Boozy brunches.

 

  • Board games.

 

  • Nicely filed and polished nails.

 

  • People with gumption.

 

  • The word gumption.

 

  • Castles.

 

  • Cosy jumpers.

 

  • Scratching an itch that’s been bothering you all day.

 

  • Spa treatments.

 

  • Reaching the top of a steep climb. Both metaphorically and literally. Well done you.

 

  • Proving people wrong.

 

  • Family traditions.

 

  • Odd sayings only mums/middle aged people use.

 

  • Luck.

 

  • Power of magpies.

 

  • Cream cakes.

 

  • The feeling after a run.

How I Decorated My Chocolate MEGA Cake!

Hello! It’s been a while since I’ve done a foodie post and I’ve been meaning to post this for AGES. So seeing as it’s mine and my Mum’s birthday in less than three weeks and then my sisters the following month; now seems like the perfect time to get prepared for birthdays, cakes and even more bigger, brilliant birthday cakes.

So I before I get into all the nitty gritty baking delights (and disasters), I want to just clarify that I am definitely not a qualified baker or anything like that. I just really quite enjoy cooking and baking and it’s always fun to just have a go isn’t it? Plus, I really like getting to eat delicious cake at the end of it all sooooo no one is missing out here?!

If you’re not a great baker I want to share with you these easy steps I took to transform a chocolate sponge cake into looking like this one I made. I’ve seen cakes like this in bakeries, or on Instagram or Pinterest and always thought how blimmin’ awesome they look?! As much as I love my sis I didn’t know how much I’d have to end up forking out on a cake like this; especially a little last minute as well!

So, underneath all of these gorgeously indulgent layers is a relatively simple chocolate cake. One of which I haven’t yet mastered. I’ve tried a variety of different recipes adding things like yogurt, buttermilk, extra oil etc etc into it to make the sponge more moist (sorry to those who don’t love the M word) but nothing seemed to do the trick. I was a bit worried the dry sponge was going to let the whole cake down but I drenched each cake layer with a generous amount of simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water boiled in a pan until it reduces and there are no sugar crystals left. Wait for it to fully cool before using) and then filled with a salted caramel and chocolate ganache.

birthday cake

On the outside of the cake I used a thin amount of chocolate buttercream as a crumb coat. Which basically helps to lock in all the crumbs from the sponge layers so when you let it chill in the fridge and set up you’ll be able to get a much cleaner, crumb free, final buttercream coating. I used a straight and an angled palette knife to smooth out the buttercream on the cake. Theoretically it helps give you a smoother, more defined finish. You can buy them in most cooking/bakeware/homeware stores, Hobbycraft, Lakeland or online too. You can get them so they’re a straight edge for really neat edge or even ones that are ridged if you want to create a lined effect.

Similarly, if you don’t have one of these or don’t want to purchase something you may not use that often if you can find a flimsy piece of clean plastic or something similar to smoothly run against the frosting it’ll help create a smoothed appearance!

Once I had finished the final buttercream frosting and I was happy with it, I popped the cake in the fridge to set up and for the frosting to harden. Usually I’d be a bit cautious about putting a cake in the fridge in case it dried out but as I had simple syrup’ed each cake layer and there was a lot of ganache and buttercream involved already I was hoping it’d be ok.

To recreate the on trend dribbly bits down the side of the cake I made a salted caramel sauce (if you don’t want to do that then cut the middle man out and just buy some!) and poured it into the centre of the top of the cake and spooning it around the top of the cake until it had gently dribbled around the outer edge and letting bigger blobs dribble down the side until I was happy with how it all looked. I was quite quick doing this part, a bit worried it’d quickly harden or that if it went wrong it would ruin the whole appearance. But I found that, unlike how I approach most things in life, if you go slower and with less haste it is so much easier to control the outcome. Who knew eh!?

Then the fun bit begins! I picked up some Kitkats, Kinder Buenos, a Kinder Egg, Mikado (or pocky) sticks, chocolate coated pretzels, Galaxy golden eggs and two chocolatey doughnuts from the supermarket in order to go crazy with the toppings for this. I found some gold food colouring spray in the cupboard beforehand and thought it would be quite fun and make the cake look really luxe by spraying certain things, leaving some bare and part spraying some others. I cut some things diagonally and splayed out the different treats at different angles giving it some dimension and really because I liked how it looked.

It was actually really good fun making this type of cake and doing all the decorating too! I added some ferrero rocher chocolates around the bottom to make it look even more special ( it is a birthday after all!) and also helps if you need to cover anything up you could add a layer of fruit or chocolates and make it look part of the decoration.

There’s something extra special about receiving a homemade cake especially for a birthday treat, knowing someone has put a lot of time and effort into making something yummy for you to eat. So, have fun with whatever you’re creating, don’t worry about whether it’ll look a bit bodged or not because it’ll still go down the same way regardless!

Six Ways To Simplify Your 2020.

*This is a collaborative post*

Life can be busy.

Life can be cluttered.

Life can be difficult.

And sometimes life can just be really really sucky….technical term there. 

I don’t remember signing up for some of this stress y’know? Agreeing to sign my life away and working full time I don’t think so?? I don’t know why I was never crowned Princess of Genovia at sixteen years old or just get to live my life as a Persian Goddess laying in the sun eating a golden platter of baklava everyday and not putting on an ounce of weight? *patiently waiting*. 

I turn 25 in just under three weeks and according to social pressures I should probably have settled into my own home, a career, a long term relationship and maybe even thought about children and the future by this time too. I can safely tell you aged 24 and 11 months I have achieved a grand total of ZERO of those things. I can easily get myself worked up over these things and whether I’m behind schedule on a schedule I didn’t even know I had. When it dawned on me recently that the only person who would actually be bothered about what I do, whether I’m happy or unhappy, in a career I love and want to work 24/7, mother of the year or childless is only ever going to be me. I need to let this weird, mental idea that I must complete all of these life changing milestones by my 30th birthday or otherwise that’ll be game over. 

Sometimes, it’s very easy to think life is taking over and there is simply not enough time for anything. There are always things to do, places to go, things to buy, things to consume and generally things to think about before you know it life itself can easily become unorganized, cluttered and super stressful. In 2020, I’m going to be making a promise to myself to help simplify my life? Removing what I don’t need, freeing up my own time, clearing my head and being able to set time for just pure conscious relaxation. Before I know it, it will be Christmas and the whole year will have flown by without you realizing what just happened.  

Here are 6 ways to simplify little life things and decisions in 2020 so that you can make the time for yourself, new experiences, self-improvement and give yourself a break in general. 

  1. Switch Off the electronics!

That’s right! I hate to admit it but I probably spend a lot of time watching boxsets on Netflix, endless videos on Youtube and procrastinating on yet another silly Buzzfeed quiz. We have become a nation of Netflix bingers, staying up until 2 am because we simply can’t wait to see what will happen in our latest favorite TV show. I’m guilty of binge watching new series in a matter of hours or days; time is irrelevant when it came to watching You Series Two. I spent a lot of my spare time in 2019 to settling into good books and managed to smash through my target of 30+! Rather than pressurizing myself into not watching the telly or gorging on my favourite Youtubers new video when it became live I tried to dedicate my time carefully. I learnt to select my TV shows carefully, watch them slowly (you don’t have to complete a series in one night) and use TV as a treat rather than your default evening plan. I’m going to try to use my time a bit more constructively for creative projects like reading and writing. If you don’t fancy being creative, work on a skill that could push your career further or reach some personal goals like getting fit by working out or hitting the gym. 

  1. Pay Off Your Debt

If you make any financial decision this year it should include paying off your debt first and foremost. Debt lingers in our subconscious, it affects us even when we don’t realize it and it makes us feel trapped. This year, put all your extra earnings into paying your debt off and by all means stop buying things you can’t afford. Whether you have credit card debt, student loan debt or car debt this year is the year you should proactively try and remove that debt. Clearing debt feels incredible, liberating and can clear your mind. Being debt-free simplifies your life allowing you to start planning how you will create wealth which is positive and exciting. 

  1. Go Minimal

I’ve taken a lot of advice from Marie Kondo and learnt how to part with things that I don’t actually want, need or just don’t spark joy. I can apply this to anything not just home things but my clothes, makeup and accessories too. Clearing your house of any old junk you don’t need is a great start but also think about things that don’t serve you. If your home is full of small trinkets and useless items, try to get rid of them and minimalize your home. We’re not saying you should get rid of everything you own or your fancy hotel quality tablecloths from Richard Haworth but you can get rid of that old yoga mat that is collecting dust in the corner. This year, try buying less, using less and hoarding less. Decluttering your home and limiting your consumerism can actually relieve a lot of stress in your life, plus your bank balance will also thank you.  I don’t know about you but I find decluttering so therapeutic, sure when you’re surrounded by all of your possessions and clothes you regret deciding to sort your wardrobe out more than anything but once it’s done you feel so much better, clearer and relaxed. 

  1. Be Positive

Okaaaaay, so I know this is SO much easier said than done but being in a continuous state of negativity is not serving you or your loved ones. 2020 is a new decade, a fresh start and you will be amazed at what you can achieve in 10 years if you put your mind to it. However, negativity can consume us and our time as we spend hours thinking about what people said to us or what we said to other people. The constant drama in our lives drains us of energy and time. This year, consciously try not to dwell on the negatives. Objectively look at the issue and decide whether it’s really worth the time thinking about and becoming negative over. Nine times out of ten you will find yourself forgetting all about it and refocusing on the important things like your relaxing, your career, love life, social life, and self-improvement. As cut throat as it may sound maybe see this fresh start as a good chance to cut out those negative entities that are weighing you down. If work is constantly leaving you stressed, you deserve SO much more than that, maybe it’s high time to invest in yourself and your mental state and find a role that makes you feel good. If your friends leave you feeling unhappy and a bit rubbish, as much as you like them and regard them as a friend, you also deserve SO much more than that too. Friends are supposed to be your support network, to build each other up when you’re feeling down not to make you feel like you’re in a constant whirlpool of sadness. Find your tribe that make life worth living and you’ll soon notice your lust for life reappearing.  

  1. Plan Your Year

So many people blindly walk through life allowing their environment to determine where they end up. This is a huge issue because if you don’t know where you are going how will you know if you will be happy where you end up? You won’t!  Instead, this year, make a plan. Spend the afternoon figuring out what you want to achieve this year, why you want to achieve it and what you need to do to get there. You can cover all of life’s categories including love, social life, family, parenting, health, career, education, money, spirituality and so on. Once you have your plan, create all the mini-tasks and goals that lead up to your plan becoming a success. Having these goals keeps you focused throughout your year, removes silly doubts about yourself and where you are going. At the end of the year, if you have stayed focused on your plan, it’s likely you will be far happier where you are in life. 

I’m not going to stand here and preach to you about planning every second of your life and nor am I planner for that matter either. Whether they’re big or small having things to look forward to certainly changes your outlook. I’ve started to plan one thing per month, something that’s a bit different or I haven’t done before, to look forward to. I can quite easily get myself into a sad little pity puddle and anyone else who knows what they’re like know that they can be difficult to get out of! So by having all these things lined up is giving me hope and a little light for each month that I’ve already got something to look forward to say six months down the line.

  1. Say “NO’

Remember when Elton John said ‘sorry seems to be the hardest word’? Well sorry Elton, you’re very wrong. No, can actually be, one of the hardest words to muster. It’s little and probably super simple for many but being able to stand up for yourself, stand up for your beliefs and put yourself first is one of the most gratifying feelings. So many of us are always so eager to please everyone around us and we find ourselves saying “yes” to lots of things we don’t need or want. Saying “No” is liberating as it stops us from cluttering our lives with jobs, events, and tasks we don’t want to do. You don’t have to go out every weekend and drink yourself silly only to wake up to a hangover during your precious weekend off work. You don’t always have to stay at the office late trying so hard to impress your boss which is never recognized or appreciated. Start saying “no” more often and you will find your life becoming slightly less cluttered and more focused on doing things that positively add to your life.

Simple Tips On How To Make 2020 YOUR Year!

*This is a collaborative post*

HI GANG! Can you believe it…consecutive posts in one day?! I know, I know, you’re probably thinking this’ll be it for another couple of months because I’m never very organised when it comes to this ol’ bloggy blog. But with the appearance of 2020 I’m hoping that I’ll have turned a corner and actually spend some time investing in my site. Anywaaaay enough of all that blabber..How are you doing? Good New Year was it? I had a lovely time actually, me and my pooch saw the New Year (I’m not a big fan of NYE I drunkenly touched on it a bit in my recent post here) have you got any plans or hopes, dreams and ambitions for the year ahead? 

I don’t know about you lovely lot but I’m actually feeling super optimistic about the year coming, the last couple days haven’t been so brilliant in the eyes of the mainstream media but I cannot help the fact that the Australian Wildfires are still raging on nor can I help the fact that Donald Trump is the way he is. It’s terrible and it’s enough to make me never want to switch the news on ever again and live in my own personal, comfy little bubble of joy but that’s not life is it?

2019 was a bit of a rubbish year for me for a lot of reasons. I didn’t feel like it will go down in my history of good years or particularly bad, life altering years either come to think of it. It was just sort of meh. We all have those years in our past that we consider to be among the best that we’ve ever had. Perhaps it just kind of happened by coincidence you met the love of your life or a great job opportunity fell into your lap or perhaps we hit some milestones (such as a marriage or graduation) that’ll just stay with us forever. While we look back with fondness and remain happy that those years happened, there’s no reason to suggest why we can’t live each year with the same optimism. With a bit of planning, a few changes, and a healthy dose of hope, we can ensure that any year can rank among our best yet. And what better year than 2020, which doesn’t just bring a new year, but an entirely new decade? 

This sounds like a lot of pressure amirite? I’m going to go through some of the brilliant and easy things you can do, nay we can ALL do, to bring about a positive change to our lives in 2020.

Trust the magic of new beginnings

As mentioned above, this is a new year and a new decade, and that presents a great opportunity for new beginnings. It doesn’t matter what’s happened in the past, be it good or bad, this is a whole new page, one that you can write in any way that you like. If you view it as such, then you’ll find it easier to adopt that “anything is possible” attitude that you can use to achieve great things. The next year will take the shape of whatever you want it to look like. Make it happen! Whether it’s looking for a new job, a new career path, a new hobby or a couple of new friends what better time is there than now? Set yourself a small goal to start off with and it makes the whole process seem so much easier. If you want to set yourself up on a new career path start off with jazzing up your CV and once you’ve done that that’s one thing already done and ticked off your list. If you want to become a bit more social, meet new people and make more new friends how about joining a club or finding the perfect hobby to suit you? Whether you’re looking for something fitness related (most gyms do really fun classes ranging from Boxercise, Jazzercise to HIIT) for a range of different athletic levels, to creative things like book clubs, joining a choir or even volunteering at a shop or a shelter is a good way to get out of your house, get a new focus and meet new people. 

Challenge Yourself

We all have a lot of responsibilities, sure, and it does sometimes feel like there’s just not enough time in the day. But it’s important that you don’t fall into the trap of complacency. If you do that, then by the time the next year rolls around, you might find that you’ve just been treading water, rather than making any meaningful strides forward. If it has been a while since you stepped out of your comfort zone, then look at setting yourself a challenge. It doesn’t really matter what it is. It could be that you learn a new language or set a fitness-related goal. Come the end of the year, you’ll be able to look back with pride at your achievement. Couch to 5K is a brilliant app that helps those of us out there that aren’t natural runners be able to run five whole kilometres without stopping (or dying). It might seem like a small achievement to some but imagine how thrilled you’ll feel knowing that you got off of your butt and did that? Way more than I could do as well!

Meeting New People

This links in nicely with my first point but when we’re younger, we tend to be forever meeting new people and learning about their lives. But when we’re older, it seems that we generally stick to our core group of friends and our families. But here’s the thing, while those people will mostly be wonderful, great and like our own miniature home comforts; they’re going to have limitations. There are a lot of people out there, and who knows what you might just learn by getting to know them? They can push you to try new things and think differently, and that’s something that really shouldn’t be understated. You can never quite be sure what kind of fantastic journey you’ll go on, just by connecting with others.

Adventure Time

As I so humbly mentioned earlier, our lives are full of responsibilities, often too many. Over time, they can begin to have a negative influence on our lives; they can limit the scope of our thinking, and take us away from that dreamy, grand way of thinking that can bring wonder into our lives. While you can’t drop all of your duties, you can take a break from them even for a short while and take a couple days just for yourself. Whether you want to take some days annual leave to just chill, take a trip abroad or even a staycation (check out my post on what to see and do in Bath here or even Salisbury here!) This forthcoming year, why not look at going on an adventure? Travel has long been documented as an excellent tool for elevating your spirit and mind. Indeed, the years upon which you look favorably probably had an adventure as the highlight. If you get planning now, you could go on a similarly inspiring adventure in the summer. It’s a big old world out there, with a lot to discover!

Get the House in Shape

But of course, you can’t expect the rest of the world to do all the work. If you’re going to love this year, then the basics of life have to be taken care of too. There’ll be little value in visiting dreamy places if your house is bringing you down for the rest of the year. So why not use the coming months to get your house in shape? You can find inspiration from the best interior design blogs, Pinterest and various different TV shows. Take steps towards getting a property that you love, one that is truly yours. There will, of course, be a cost factor, but don’t let this prevent you from realising your dreams; there are a number of different ways you could go about this and if it’s something that is in dire need of an urgent change; at extreme circumstances if you’ve exhausted every other option you could potentially go down the route of a site that offers bad credit loans with a guarantor option like this site here. Check out the interest rates of the loans you get offered but if needs must it would enable you to get started sooner. This could be the year where your house truly becomes your home, one that you love everything about. 

Hitting the Gym

It’s not always the most enjoyable of ideas, going to the gym. But it can add so much to your life, and once you’ve gotten over the initial hurdles (no pun intended), you might just find that you like those hours that you spend improving yourself. The real benefits will be felt away from the gym, of course, since you’ll have more energy, you’ll look better, and your brain will be filled with those mood-boosting chemicals. You’ll find it much easier to love this year if your health and fitness is in check! Try to build fitness into your life in other ways, too. Maybe encourage a friend to come with you and have your weekly gossip chatter there, do some lunges and squats in the cereal aisle of your local supermarket, make like Dwight K Shrute and sit on an exercise ball at your desk??? 

Working on your Goals

Everyone has hopes, dreams, and goals. Some good, some bad, some Freudian. But life has an annoying habit of getting in the way. While we may have taken a few baby steps towards making our goals come true, they often end up back on the shelf once the realities of life have set in. Could this be the year where you make one of your goals come true? Whether it’s finishing that novel, visiting an exciting destination, or whatever else, the satisfaction that you feel when you can tick it off your ‘to do’ list will be palpable. And who knows what kind of good things could follow the completion of one of your dreams? 

Getting Rid of Bad Habits

As well as bringing good things into your life, you may also want to look at getting rid of the bad habits that can compromise your happiness. Indeed, in many cases, people can push their lives forward just by changing a few things. For example, one thing that stops people from hitting the heights they’re capable of is that they’re too busy procrastinating to make it happen. Are you guilty of spending too much time on the internet? Is going out out to the bars, pubs and clubs your default action on a Friday evening? Sometimes I find that I’m my own worst enemy and am constantly standing in my own way, push yourself to get the goal you want otherwise you’ll end up kicking yourself you didn’t do it sooner.

Career Happiness

There are plenty of people out there who are happy in their personal life, but unhappy in their professional realm. And alas, this is a pretty big problem, purely because of how much time we spend at work! If you’re dreading Sunday evenings, then it’s time to make some changes. Of course, it’s often impossible to change your career at the drop of a hat, but you can set the wheels in motion. This could involve deciding what you want to do for your work, or undertaking a course that’ll make you eligible for other jobs. In many cases, simply making the decision to make a change can be enough to bring the good vibes back. 

Giving Back

The problem with life is that it’s usually only when we’re much older than we understand what’s important. But fortunately, in this interconnected age, we’re able to receive the wisdom of other people at any age. One thing you’ll hear again and again is that giving back and helping others can lead to a level of joy that nothing else can bring. So why not look at volunteering your time and helping others this year? If it’s something that you’ve never done before, then it could be a decision that opens up a whole new world of possibilities and emotions. 

Find Balance

There are times in our lives when we’re naturally just focused too much on our work, or ourselves, or socialising, or whatever else. There seems to be one dominant aspect of our lives that overshadows everything else. But have you noticed those people who seem to have all of their shiz together are always the ones that are living so incredibly well-balanced. For the forthcoming year, look at trying to perfect that balance. They say that you need to be thrived in work, friendships, spirituality, and exercise, so go easy on yourself and see what happens and if you can say yes to more things that bring you joy and no to more things that don’t. 

Positive Attitude

Whatever you do, I hope you can go into the new year with a positive attitude! You’ve got twelve months to make your own. So set aside the doubts, and live as if everything is possible and that good things are coming your way. You’ll be more likely to take chances and show gratitude, and who knows what might just materialise this year if you have such a positive and optimistic attitude?