Book Review: Jacqueline Pirtle’s 365 Days Of Happiness *

One of my favourite pastimes is immersing myself in a book, to me there is nothing quite like being able to slink off, forget all your troubles and worries and absorb yourself for a little while into a different world. I’ve been this way since I was a child and I’m still one of those people that could pick up the same book and reread it time and time again. This year in an attempt to try and cut down my screen time I’ve set myself a challenge of reading 25 books in a year. To some this may seem simple to others it may seem mammoth but i’m hoping it could be an achievable goal.

I’m trying to branch out in what I read rather than the usual fiction or chick lit I’m trying to broaden my literary horizons and add some different genres to my bookshelf.

I was lucky enough to be gifted this particular book from one of the nicest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of speaking to. I know that probably sounds false or like a massive cliche but Kelsey from Book Publicity Services in the States is a literal ray of sunshine. Which was totally apt considering she sent me over Jacqueline Pirtle’s book 365 Days Of Happiness to read and review.

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They say you can’t judge a book by it’s cover but when there’s a gorgeous cupcake that looks too good to eat how can you not want to dive in head first? From the description and the blurb I was already super interested in what this book had to offer. Jusr from reading that I learnt that Jacqueline is a holistic practitioner, healing arts teacher, mentor, author, all round cool chick, need I add more to the list?! She has published this book as a step by step guide to happiness. She spent every day throughout 2017 dedicated to her own happiness. Noting down the things she did that improved her wellbeing or sparked joy. 

I’d never read a book like this before and I must admit to being a bit sceptical at first. I suffer with low mood and anxiety and am also a natural cynic so how much would this book realistically change the way I think? Is she going to tell me surefire ways to win the lottery, wake up looking like Charlize Theron with Tom Hardy running upstairs bringing me breakfast in bed? Well…sadly not. But, Jacqueline will teach you the very easy, subtle art of changing the way you think to a much more positive happy outlook on life.

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I’m the type of person who can often find herself in a more negative head space and that can be a funk that can be quite hard to break out of. This book teaches you simple ways to rethink normal, day to day life and before you know it, it’s slowly seeping into your normal way of thinking.

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A lot of the teachings in the book really resonated with me and definitely made me sit back and reorganize my thoughts or the way I think about things. This passage above has made me look at situations I’m presented with in a different way. Sometimes when you’re faced with difficulties it can be hard to raise your head above it and think of the bigger picture in life. That someone somewhere will have it better and someone somewhere will also have it a lot worse. What you think or what you see as a problem someone else could see as a blessing.

This isn’t the sort of book you would necessarily read all in one go but perhaps place on your bedside table or your kitchen counter so when you wake up first thing or have a few minutes with a cup of tea and your breakfast you can spend a moment or two dedicated to yourself, your thoughts, gratitude and mindfulness. As someone who can often feel quite pessimistic this book taught me that sometimes you have to adopt a mindset in seeing positivity in things you might not normally.

I really liked this book and I feel like Jacqueline’s personality and soul shines through so warmly. It’s like she’s an actual friend and is offering life advice and cheering me up a bit every morning! If you’re looking for a book along these lines I would wholly recommend this one. I’ve actually lent it to a friend and he really loved it and tries to put the teachings into practice each and every day.

*this book was gifted to me but all of my thoughts, feelings, opinions and pictures are completely genuine and completely my own.

My Spring Bucket List!

Hi there! It’s been a while hasn’t it?! I’m sorry I’ve been so MIA; I’m hoping to refill my little blog with loads of new bits of chitter chatter and writing over the coming weeks so watch this space! I’ve got loads of ideas and half written little ditties saved in my drafts that I just haven’t got round to posting so expect a flurry of new stuff soon!

I’ve had little to no mojo to blog for ages and I think it might be finally be back (yay) which I’m super excited about. Browsing through my usual, favourite blogs to read I may have taken this idea from Gillian’s post I read in the week (have a read of it it’s just here she and her blog are just lovely I would totally recommend having a little gander over there!) But I do love doing these types of posts. Once I’ve done it and written it up I feel so much more inclined to actually follow it all through almost like I’m now formally bound in a written contract to you all. No pressure eh Ab.

But here it is…My Spring Bucket List. I hope it may inspire you to do one too, or maybe even try and do some of these things for yourself as well!

Spring Bucketlist

Spring Clean- Nothing says Spring has Sprung like doing a complete Marie Kondo on everything you own and decluttering your space. I am in desperate need of re-organising my bedroom, getting rid of any clutter I just don’t need. I’m not saying I’m a hoarder but what if I need this *insert item of clothing I haven’t worn in years but ya never know if I might get invited to a costume party and need a leopard print cowboy hat…ahem*.

Spend less time online-  Over the next few months I want to be able to spend less time surrounded by technology. As one of my mini missions I want to be able to switch off a bit better before I go to bed as well so I’m planning to have at least 30 minutes of no phone or computer and try and read before I get my full 8 hours (lol if I’m lucky).

Exercise more- I want to find my fitness specialty and feel a bit happier and more confident within myself and with my body image before the warmer weather hits.

Splash more colour into my wardrobe- Once I’ve finished with my spring cleaning and my decluttering and have lost a bit of my winter wobble I can reclutter my decluttered wardrobe and hopefully inject a bit more fun and colour into it. I’m a sucker for wearing things that are either dark colours or all black errrthang and that’s fine and fail safe for me but I want to experiment a bit more and maybe splash out from my black clothes to more Springlike shades.

Go on nature walks- This sounds like the type of thing you’d encourage a group of pre schoolers to do and I’m not about to go and do leaf drawings and hug a tree but there’s a lot of pretty walks and areas near where I live that once Spring has fully burst through Nature it’ll look so pretty.

Visit different parts of the UK I’ve not been to before- I hope this one may stretch out throughout the most-part of 2019 not just for Spring but I’ve said for a while now I hope to visit and road trip parts of the UK I’ve never visited before. There’s so many places throughout these Isles I’d love to go to and some of them aren’t even really that far away from where I live. I have a car and a railcard and even though train prices can be a bit extortionate I want to be able to tick them off my bucket list soon. Oh and actually try the regional foods I’m obsessed with but try them from the locals. Welsh cakes I’m looking at you here…

Go on a fun day trip-  A few of my friends and I actually had a conversation just the other day about going to the Harry Potter Warner Bros. Experience and perhaps a zoo trip too. I really want to be able to be in the position where I can plan lots of fun trips and have loads to look forward to this year.

Bake some exciting Easter treats-  I mean this one might be a bit more topical right now but I want to take full advantage of my sweet tooth and make and bake (oh and share on here and my socials) some chocolatey snacks. I want to try new things and as much as I love a creme egg brownie as much as the rest of Instagram I want to sweep my foodie brain and see what me and my creativity can come up with.

Visit a local food market or food fair- If you’ve followed me for a little while on here you may remember a post about the Frome Independent Market. Have a little refresh of said post just herrrreeeee! It happens on the first Sunday of each Month and I either want to go back and see what’s on offer or even traipse to a new one and see what delights we can feast on.

Aim to get halfway through my Goodreads Book Challenge-  I love reading and like mentioned above, I want to spend less time on my phone and more time actually doing things and in the present moment. I set myself a challenge to read 25 books this year. Roughly 2 books a month I thought it sounded doable. I’m on 5 so far which I’m quite happy with considering! But I’ve been slacking a bit and where I could have switched off from and picked up one of growing TBR pile instead of doing my billionth Buzzfeed quiz of the evening.

Drink more water- This one is just so important really isn’t it?! I am ashamed to say I’m not amazing at drinking water rather reaching for a soft drink or a cup of tea. Flavoured water is a start, having a glass or a bottle within arms reach is another step along the drink-more-water path well you get the gist.

Try to keep on top of my blogging and get into a routine- I am sure I’ll be preaching this until the end of time but I really want to get into a good headspace and have set posting days on here. I once said it would be Wednesdays and Sundays but LOL that never happened. Either way I need to sort out the half written when drunk state of my drafted posts. If anyone has any suggestions I’d love to know your thoughts! Would you rather a set day or days of posts? Is it nicer as a random surprise email to say ‘Hiya I’ve posted?’. Similarly I’d love to know your thoughts on things you’d like to see being spoken about or blogged about?

 

Have you got anything you’d like to do or achieve this Spring? I’d love to know! HAPPY SUNDAY!

 

 

 

 

Spooky things to do this October!

Host a Halloween Party.

If the thought of being the hostess with the mostess doesn’t make chills run down your spine enough at the thought of all the clearing up the next day, then plan a spooktacular Halloween party with all your nearest and dearest. Scary costumes are a must, make a awesome witches punch bowl cocktail and play games like apple bobbing, hold a pumpkin carving competition with some mini pumpkins, beer pong but fill some cups with some nice things and maybe some not so nice things or just play some good old fashioned drinking games, like never have I ever or one of my favourites if you get everyone around a table and tear up lots of little bits of paper everyone writes down as many famous people’s names as you can and put them all into a hat or a bowl. Each player gets 60 seconds to try and get through as many pieces of paper as they can, describing the celebrity without saying their name. All made so much more fun with drinks and against the clock.

Go to a Pumpkin Patch.

I think these are becoming a lot more common over the years in the UK and they seem to be sprouting up all over the place, especially across my Instagram feed at the moment. They’re really child friendly if you want to take your little ones along for a fun afternoon picking your favourite pumpkin. Or even just go along take some snaps for the ‘gram and get into that Halloween’y spirit. Did you know pumpkin carving started from an ancient Celtic tradition to help ward off evil spirits  but back in the day they used turnips. Everyday is a learning day with Abfab.

Visit a psychic medium.

I’ve visited a psychic twice and had my tarot cards read once, I’d like to think I’m quite a spiritual person and strongly believe in things like this. I went for the first time last May and wasn’t really sure what to expect nor was my friends. But we went into it with an open mind and the lady we saw did get quite a lot of things eerily correct, however she did say that I was going to get pregnant within the next 18 months and that was May 2017…

Fancy dress club nights

Bunker 51 in London are hosting the first Purge:Lockdown event, hideout in the only safe house in London and party the night away with a selection of the best DJs and live performers.

Tickle your tastebuds with a dining experience.

I don’t know about you but this sounds like an absolute HOOT. This 4 course banquet at the Ivory Vaults complete with unlimited drinks and a medieval show, acrobats and live music. Find out more from their website here. Alcotraz Penitentiary bar in London acts as a BYOB style cocktail bar decorated JUST like Alcatraz itself along with the orange prisons jumpsuits too. Check out their website here to book tickets to visit.

Scary film marathon.

Staying in is the new going out and if you’re anything like me and the thought of cuddling up on the sofa by the fire and lots of snacks sounds way more appealing than covering yourself in SFX makeup to look like Harley Quinn after a night in a Yates then Netflix or Amazon Prime have a load of great selections of Horror or Thriller films at the moment. Or scour your local charity shops and see if you can any second hand dvds to watch.

Spend a night at a museum.

Fancy getting your inner Ben Stiller on and go to a museum after dark? The Museums at Night festival is sweeping through the UK from the 27th to the 29th of October check out if there is somewhere near you just here. Similarly if these type of spooky shenanigans are up your alley why not check out the Tower of London or if that doesn’t tickle your haunted pickle why not brave the London Dungeons.

Visit a Haunted House or Haunted Hotel.

Ok for the majority of people this probably sounds a liiiiittle bit terrifying. But if you’re like me and are super intrigued and interested by the paranormal have a look on Haunted Happening’s website (Here) to see if there is somewhere near you to channel your inner Yvette Fielding. Or if you’re really feeling brave you could even stay overnight in a haunted building. Gives me the chills just at the thought of this!

Escape rooms.

Most big towns or cities have one of these and they’re a super fun way to spend an evening with friends putting your heads together to work through complicated challenges. Or if you’re after something with a bit more of a bump in the night Immersive Events are running an event in Shepton Mallet Prison called The Hole (more info here) offering several activities through the evening as well as a bar! There’s loads of these style dotted around the country. I simply typed in Halloween events near me on google map and this was the first one that shot up.

Fright Night at Thorpe Park.

I went to this on Halloween last year with one of my best mates and we had such a blast. We got there about lunchtime ish so we got through a fair few of the rides by the time it got to the evening and the fun began! We ended up queuing for the Derren Brown Experience ride for about 3 hours and by the time we were about to step foot through the door the ride had a malfunctioning problem. But luckily we got issued a fast track ticket for any one ride so decided to use it on that if it reopened again which it did and it was so good, I’d definitely recommend checking it out! They really dress the place up for Fright Night and if that is your cup of tea, as well as rollercoasters obvs, you’d really enjoy this! There’s a handful of things there specially for Fright Night including several scare mazes and the whole place has this spooky feel to it. Maybe cos it’s after dark and it feels a bit weird to be there too! It was so much fun!

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Alton Towers also have their Scarefest which I’ve just seen which looks SO COOL. I love the fact they cater for both little kiddies if they want to get into the Halloween spirit as well as for thrill seeking adults too!

Ghost walk.

I haven’t ever done one of these but I’ve always been really interested in doing one. There’s the famous Jack the Ripper walk tour you can do in London on a pinpointed route and I believe you finish off at the pub The Ten Bells where the infamous serial killer murdered two of his victims. There are many others ghost walks similar to this style in towns and cities up and down the country From Bristol to Liverpool, Bath to York it’d be a really interesting insight into the place you live.

Club nights.

Most clubs will do some sort of Halloween dress up event or something so if you fancy getting totally Chaka Khan’d dressed up as a scary zombie Noel Edmonds (Or whatever you want to go as butttttt that’s a totally good suggestion fyi). Or if you wanted to get your Halloween in true Horror film spirit Bunker 51 in London are hosting the first Purge:Lockdown event, hideout in the only safe house in London and party the night away with a selection of the best DJs and live performers.

Now if none of these options frighten you enough, you could always sit at home, with a bottle of Echo Falls and facebook stalk your exes and people you went to school with. I don’t know about you, but I know which one sounds the most haunting to me now….

What are your plans this Halloween?

Ps, sorry if I haven’t included any fun things to do in your country, I wish I could have researched everywhere because I found it honestly so interesting and so much fun! But this is almost at 1500 words as it is and I doubt people will actually read this far! It’s crazy to think I would have rather eaten my own liver than have written a 2000 word essay and now look at me, doing this type of thing for FUN. Madness isn’t it?!

Much love x

My Self Care Routine & tips.

I often find myself thinking whether anxiety, stress and other mental health problems are more common these days or whether it’s just something that is much more widely discussed and something people feel a bit more comfortable talking about or sharing their stories. I suffer with anxiety and low mood and have done for as long as I can remember. I would usually put it down to me being overly sensitive, overthinking things or being a bit antisocial when I wouldn’t want to see anyone else. It’s only taken me 23 years to come to the realisation that no one is perfect and no one is living the perfect life.

The older I get the more normal I’ve come to realise these feelings are, how I’m not the only person in the world that feels this way and I’ve come to accept this is me and how I can best cope with this. I’m going to share with you some of my best self care tips both for you or how to help someone else.

 

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Switch off.

I’m probably way too proud to admit to this but sometimes I love nothing more than when my phone runs out of battery and I don’t feel the need to run and go get my charger. I love being able to literally switch off for a bit and not feel compelled to check my phone every 3 seconds as per usual.

Block if needs be. 

Don’t feel bad or that you’re being shady or creating drama by deleting/blocking/leaving group chats that make you miserable. The mute button is a wonderful thing but if you’re like me and often find yourself being drawn back to it like a moth to a lamp (if u know u know) so have to block. Just to stop myself from creeping ever 28 seconds.

Pamper.

Whenever I’m feeling a bit down, my old habit used to be nipping into a Boots or Superdrug buying an actual tonne of bleach and a hair colour and dyeing my hair a funky, wild colour. To me there was something quite cathartic about being able to make a radical change and completely overhaul the way I look with a simple box of L’oreal. It’s frazzled my hair to bits now so when I’m feeling like I’m in need of a treat or a pamper, I love scrunching my hair up on my head, taking of all my makeup and using a nice face mask. The one pictured above is FOMO from Lush’s Jelly Face Mask range. It’s gentle and floral leaving my skin feel smooth like a baby’s butt.

Skincare.

I won’t lie, as soon as I have got my skincare routine together I feel like I can actually take on the world. If any of you have the time and energy to cleanse, smooth, buff, exfoliate, polish, tone, moisturise every morning and night and not feel like they’re living in a constant Groundhog Day then you’re a better person than me. But when I do make the effort to do this, I feel like Mariah Carey on her Birthday.

Have a relaxing bubble bath.

Is it me or has Lush all of a sudden gotten a liiiiiiittle bit more expensive with every visit? If I’m feeling a little bit poop I would normally make sure I’ve got a good pile of Lush goodies to choose from. Just realised how annoying that makes me sound I promise I don’t have a mini Lush shop in my bathroom.

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But to me, there is nothing more relaxing than soaking into a hot bath, with plenty of bubble bath, a bath bomb and some bath oils or bath salts. I don’t mess about when it comes to my bathtimes.

Comfort food.

I am definitely the type of person that would overeat when I’m feeling a bit rubbish, which then makes me feel a bit more rubbish when I’m feeling bloated and chubby making me feel more down in the dumps. Such a vicious cycle that I really need to snap out of! Especially going into the colder months of the year, I find such joy in settling into the sofa for the night with a warming dish like a big bowl of hearty soup. Food for the soul.

Read.

I have always loved reading and immersing myself into a new book and living vicariously through their lives. Sounds mad but I literally soak it up so much I am right there with them, planning what I’d do next if I was the protagonist. My favourite feelgood books are usually anything written by Sophie Kinsella. I just find her style of writing so easy and pleasurable to read.

Playing The Sims. 

Oh my goodness it is actually embarassing how much time I could waste playing on The Sims. I could lose DAYS just building the house and pretending I’m some sort of interior designer and Motherlode my way through building the most obscure house in the neighborhood. But I will admit I do go a little bit crazy with all the power I have and tend to make my Sim the worst person in town, stealing all the husbands, having all their babies and generally being a bad bish. Btw life is definitely not imitating art here.

Talk.

It sounds dead simple and a little bit patronising, especially coming from the girl that would rather choke on her own vom than have to open up or talk about my feelings. Most of the time when I do talk to someone it’s just to vent or to get something off my chest and just need someone to just listen to what I’m saying or trying to say  rather than jumping down my throat with advice or what they’d do. That makes me sound so obnoxious and I’m sure they’re only trying to help.

There’s always someone to share with.

If you’re a bit like me and find it difficult opening up to people, write it down in a letter/text email to a family member or friend. Whether it’s a big thing, a little thing a seemingly silly thing a whatever you want it to be thing you can always ring/text or even email The Samaritans for someone to listen to you.

Get out the house.

When I’m in the midst of a really bad low mood it is a complete effort to even get out of my bed to shower let alone get out of the house. But I have a little doggie that loves being walked so getting out in the fresh air is good for me, and good for him too.

Bake.

I find baking really therapeutic and calming. Aside from the washing up obvs. Plus you get a yummy cake at the end. Win win.

Literally take 5. 

A cup of tea or any other drink of choice and just take 5 minutes out just for yourself. Focus on something small like just breathing in and out. Phone a friend for a chat, browse instagram for cute kittens and puppies whatever makes you relax and chill and all warm and fuzzy inside.

My advice (as a completely untrained person) for someone who wants to help someone through a more difficult time is just to simply be there for them. Not everyone copes in the exact same way. Having a solid group of loving family and friends surrounding you and helping you nourish and flourish can help a multitude of problems.

MUCH LOVE. x

Is Arm Candy legit?

chanel bag set uoSome people love shoes, some people love jewellery, I love handbags. I have done since I was a child and I genuinely had the biggest collection of bags for any normal teenager. I must have drove my parents bonkers with it! I’ve always had a bit of an obsession with designer handbags as well. I mean, who wouldn’t want to have that sought after item, the best of the best?! Shortly after I created this blog I entered in a competition to win a designer handbag of my choice. If I’m being completely honest, after I entered I completely forgot about it until a week or two went by and I got a call from an unknown number up in Manchester. At the time I was getting so many scam calls that as soon as I saw this flash up I remember tutting, rolling my eyes and thinking ‘Nope I CBA with this’ so actually declined the call. Little did I know it was actually Rob from Arm Candy ringing to say I was the closest guess (I was one out I believe) and I had won a Chanel handbag. Aka the bag of my absolute dreams.

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A few minutes had gone past and I then get a notification on my mobile with a voicemail, baring in mind at this point I was still thinking it was some dodgy company trying to convince me I was owed PPI. I remember thinking the cheek of this one, not only trying to scam me, but to leave a voicemail too!?! Clicking play and putting it on loudspeaker, my mouth genuinely fell open as I heard ‘Congratulations you’re this week’s winner Abbie! You won your Chanel handbag’. So much so I had to replay it about 87 times, making sure it wasn’t someone I knew pulling the most convincing prank with the most convincing northern accent I’d ever heard!

Needless to say, I rang back within about 0.0003 seconds and still couldn’t quite believe it. I still live at home with my family and when my parents and sister came through the door they were even convinced it was too good to be true. After much emailing back and forth I arranged to meet Rob and Gary in a hotel bar in my town. We had some building work at home and also just in case this wasn’t legit I had my mum and sister with me! After a quick chat it was time for me to open the big black Chanel carrier gift bag i’d been eyeing up the whole time and when I did, It was even more perfect than I  imagined!

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There’s a handful of reasons as to why I decided to write this post today, for one, I feel like I go on about my experience with them and can’t stop going on about it. I am typically not a lucky person yet still won. I think they’re ruddy fantastic. Secondly, I get quite a lot of page views on the original post I wrote about my experience with arm candy (here) and a lot of emails and questions about them. Whether it’s about their authenticity, if they’re legit or whether there is a sure fire way to win! If you hadn’t heard of Arm Candy until today (well babe where ya been?) it’s a competition site where in which you select the dream designer handbag of your choice, guess the numbers of sweets or candy in a jar and if you guess the correct number or the closest to it you win. Easy as that! You can see why some people deem it too good to be true?! It certainly sounds it. But I can totally promise you it’s 100% legit. So much so I’ve put together, along with the help of the lovely Rachael aka the marketing marvel over at Arm Candy, a little Q&A with all the most frequently asked questions I receive and what Arm Candy is really all about.

How did the idea of Arm Candy Handbags start?

Rachael: Well we knew that girls love handbags! And lots of people aspire to own a designer brand. Most people might be unable to purchase one with the big price tags, so we wanted to help make those dreams a reality and provide people the opportunity to win one – but with a bit of fun!

How did you decide to have a competition of counting sweets in a jar?

R: The name came first, so then the game came quite easily after that! We knew that we wanted our competition to be a game of skill, and with “candy” we instantly thought of sweets! So guessing the number of sweets in a jar seemed a fun and fair game, that’s easy to understand.

Do you get these made up in shop or do you do it yourselves?

R: We started out purchasing from local sweet shops, however we thought it would be more fun to make them ourselves! By doing them ourselves, it means we can create jars around certain themes, add lots more variety of sweets and make them look more exciting!

Who counts the sweets? 

R: Every Monday morning after the competition close two members of the Arm Candy team will conduct the official count and film it for its authenticity. One person counts and the other keeps a tally, so we can double check our count.  And don’t worry we wear gloves when counting the sweets for health and safety reasons, as one thing that not many people know, is that the lucky winner gets to keep that jar of sweets to enjoy!

Would you ever post a video of the sweets being counted after every weekly competition comes to a close?

R: Yes as we film all of the sweet counts, we post them to our Arm Candy You Tube channel each week so people can watch them if they wish! We recently even did a Facebook live count which went down really well! We think everyone loved real-time nature to see how close they were to winning! As it was such a success, we’ve decided to continue using Facebook live for the first Monday of every month.

What happens if no one who enters comes close to guessing the correct number?

R: The great thing about Arm Candy, is that there will always be one winner each week! It is rare that someone doesn’t guess the exact count, but if that does happen then we go to the closest guess. Also if there is more than person who guesses correctly, then they all go into a tie break process where they have one guess with a new jar of sweets. The tie breaker that guesses correctly from the tie break jar then is the winner! The best bit, is that everyone who is in the tie break, get a £50 Selfridges voucher so they can still treat themselves to something nice!

Several people think these competitions seem too good to be true! What do you think it is about Arm Candy that makes people question its authenticity?

R: I think it’s the fact that you can win your dream designer handbag for as little as £2! And as it’s a game of skill, everyone has an equal chance! We’ve even had people win on their first ever time of playing! We’ve also had people question our winners videos, whether they are real or staged with actors. All those videos are very much real people, winning their dream designer handbags. Everyone reacts differently when they are on camera and we have some that are over the moon ecstatic and some winners who are very shy and don’t react in that same way. We respect all our winners and never force them to act in a certain way, we try to keep everything as natural as possible.  

I get a lot of pageviews on my blog post about winning my chanel bag (seen here ) from last year still from people wondering if this is legit. What can we do to prove to people this is very much real? 

R: I believe the winners are the most important thing here! Without them, we wouldn’t have Arm Candy! People believe other people! We try to post as much content about our winners, as we do about the designer bags and the competition itself. That’s also why we personally hand deliver each bag to wherever the winner is within the UK. We like to do this, not only as we love to meet our players and the lucky winner! But also to make sure we get some natural content to prove that we are a real competition, and that we are genuinely giving away an authentic designer handbag, to a real person!  

Would you ever think about branching out and stocking watches or purses?

R: We definitely have thought about the future of Arm Candy and whether that involves branching out into complementary items. In the short term, we do plan to run special one-off campaigns that will include bonus prizes such as these.

Or even a men’s selection?

R: We have considered a man’s version, and we’d need to offer the right product as designer handbags might not appeal to the masses of men like they do for females! We have lots of exciting enhancements in the future of Arm Candy… watch this space!

How do you choose which bags to offer?

R: The Arm Candy team like to keep up-to-date with what’s going on in the world of fashion, not only from the designer brands themselves, but what styles key bloggers and influencers are wearing. We try to provide a range that is suitable for many ages, styles and taste! We always love to get feedback from our fans as well, if they would like to see a particular brand or style on the site, we’ll always try our best! We currently only offer styles from iconic designers, however we are very interested to look into offering bags from up and coming designers and more unique styles on our site, if the Arm Candy fans would be up for it!

Which is the most popular?

R: By far Chanel is the most popular brand – when its available to win. We are limited on the number of times we can offer Chanel on our site, otherwise we’d love to have it available for our fans to play to win every single week! Aside from that, the other most popular brands are Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Givenchy. There collections are always gorgeous, and we always try to have a few different styles available to win.

I think it would be really exciting if you could add a feature so when you enter, you could input a phone number or the details of a family member or friend. So when the winner guesses the correct amount and wins, you could liaise with that person and surprise the winner with the bag of their dreams at work or wherever! Is this something you’d ever consider? 

R: It’s a great idea, and one we have considered as we’d love to be able to surprise the winner! However, the majority of the time we have a tie break situation, so we have to call the winner to tell them that they are in the tie break and give them the opportunity to provide their tie break guess. In this scenario, unfortunately having a surprise wouldn’t work for us at the moment, but it is really something we would like to try and incorporate in the future.

If you feel excited about the opportunity to win your own designer handbag, then we’d love you to play along with Arm Candy and you could be our next winner! Play along by clicking this link here!

AND if this isn’t reason enough to take a chance at winning the designer bag of your dreams for less than a price of a takeaway coffee, if you enter this week and you guess correctly, your dream bag will be hand delivered to you by none other than Jack Fowler aka New Jack from this years Love Island?!

Thanks so much for reading ya little hun, I hope you enjoyed this Q&A as much as I enjoyed doing it? ALSO, I hope you’re enjoying the fact I’m on here much more often. I’m thinking of doing Blogtober but I also said that last year, so we’ll see!

MUCH LOVES. X

Honey, I’m home!

 

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Disclaimer: this picture isn’t a picture of my actual house. I wish it was because this house is just adorable. It looks just like a house you’d see on a postcard and I just feel if your house was THIS cute you’d definitely have every other aspect of your life pulled together. Like I bet a Bree Van Der Kampf of the world would live here, baking perfect pies and cleaning perfectly for her perfectly family. Anyway that was the weirdest intro ever, you can tell I haven’t been active on here because there’s no introduction it’s straight into the babble. HELLO you little beaut, I still go here apparently. I haven’t posted on here since June, literally three months to the day that I’ve been neglecting this little slice of heaven. I’ve been pretty absent from social media and well, socializing and getting out the house in general since I last wrote on here actually. I wish I could tell you that I’ve been flat out busy, spending my summer months back and forth from my vacation home in the Hamptons to my villa in Mykonos to spending a few boujiee long weekends in Paris cos ya gurl had a craving for a macaron; like I’m the British Blair Waldorf. ALAS that was not the case. A girl can dream right?!

So since I haven’t informed you all about what exactly the Abbie behind What Abbie Says has been doing, let me take you riiiiiiight back to the beginning of all this madness. So hold tight, grab a snack or whatever I don’t mind..Up until a few months ago I had no idea there was a football hooligan inside of me (minds out of the gutters you heathens, I know I was in Wetherspoons A LOT but I’m not that bad?!) until England Men’s team actually started to do well at the World Cup. Streets were packed full of people, mainly intoxicated, drunk dancing to the beat of Three Lions and for a split second I genuinely believed it was coming home. SPOILER ALERT, it didn’t come home. Well, not to England at least, but to a French home neverthelessSo if you’ve been living under a rock and completely confused by all that above, I am talking about the World Cup. Something of which took over the nation, small talk conversations went from the weather to whether Southgate would put Kane in his starting XI or not (told ya i’m a football hooligan now) and football fever seemed to be everywhere. I was just as shocked as anyone else was at my sudden lust for everything and anything Football, World Cup, Southgate or just generally getting on it in my local pub. Whether it was the endless sunshine, the constant gin IV drip pumping through my veins or the atmosphere of everyone rooting for the national team for once, but I was loving it. I loved that it brought together a sense of pride, unity and for once we weren’t totally crap at something as a nation on the World’s stage.

If you aren’t from England, (omg then welcome???? honestly I always feel like no one reads this apart from like me, my best fren and my family that stalk it) so like bienvenue, herzlich willkommen and g’day mate! For once the UK had an actual summer with a Sun that shone, bright like all of Rihanna’s diamonds, and it blooooooooody shone. I sound like that token brit but I was puffy, sweaty and red the whole of July. There’s hot and then there’s h o tI don’t really cope well in the heat and I felt like a sweaty bag of cheese the whole entire time. As a country it seems we aren’t really equipped for any sorts of weather changes when it’s snowing we go into panic mode bulk buying bread, milk and eggs. Don’t ask me why, I assume everyone makes a last minute bread and butter pudding???? When it’s warm we also STILL go into panic mode, trains stop running, we run out of bbq food and ice lollies and sometimes our roads melt. Things got so bad as a nation we almost ran out of crisps and beer. I think that was to do with the Co2 shortage however but it does sound better like that doesn’t it?! To sum up, Britain runs best at a mild to moderate lukewarm temperature. Maybe a slight breeze like let’s not get too crazy with it, mind.

I’m looking for a job again. It seems that’s all I ever talk about and how I haven’t felt comfortable or happy in a job role in ages, if at all and that makes me feel really sad. I’m desperate to become one of those people that love their job, love their colleagues and actually look forward to going into work in the morning. No one actually tells you when you’re looking for something else that it practically feels like a part time job in itself. First there is the preparing of the CV, writing a cover letter for each individual application, the waiting game to find out if you’ll get through to the one of many interview stages, having a go-to interview outfit, being free and available on the day they want to interview you, answering the cliche questions about how you’re definitely a team player and how of course I would love to get involved in their work netball team.

Literally in the midst of July I decided to actually do something positive and worthwhile with myself this year. One of my passions is writing, or creative writing so to speak and I’ve always wanted to write actual proper books since I was a child. SO i bought a cute little leatherbound notepad and scribbled some ideas down. I’m nowhere near a Lord of The Rings style trilogy just yet though!

If you’ve been to this site before you might notice the layout and the general look/feel of it is a liiiiiiittle bit different?! I’ve decided to spruce it up a little bit. Ya girl over here isn’t the most technically minded, having famously once spent a good half an hour trying to glue something back together before realising it was mouth ulcer gel. I am preeeeeeetty impressed with myself for being able to do this. On. My. Own. I’ve also added an extra few lines over in my About section if you wanted to have a peruse over there. Similarly, I’ll be going through some admin changes on here in the next few months as I’m hoping to think of a different blog name for myself. Simply because there are quite a few other blog names with very similar domain names. Turns out us Abbie/Abi/Abby’s have quite a lot to say? Nothing against these girls at all I just want to be able to put my own stamp on something and not to create any confusion for myself, for them or anyone who follows these sites.

Other than this I’ve been spending a lot of time with my family and best friend doing all sorts of fun things from leisurely lunches to beach trips to going to the theatre to being possibly the oldest people in the cinema when we went to see The Incredibles 2. Did anyone else tear up slightly at Bao before the film started or am I the only one could have sobbed for eternity?!

We are now in September and that excites me greatly. Autumn is lowkey (not even lowkey I blimmin’ love it; is highkey a word???) my favourite season of them all. I adore the cold, crisp mornings with the sun set high in the sky. The fact I can fiiiiiinally wear all my comfy knits once again and pull all the gorgeous autumnal hues out of my wardrobe. Any excuse for me to channel burgundy and khaki colour clothes back into my life again to be honest! Conkers and crunchy leaves crackling underfoot oh and gingerbread lattes. I’m just not a pumpkin spice type of gal! Never have I related more and never has a finer thing been spoken than in the quote I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers” famously uttered from Anne of Green Gables and tbh ain’t that the damn truth.

Which brings me to my final point, I have so much exciting content to be bringing you on here soon. Some stuff I’ve been working really hard on, other stuff came to me at 2am when I had one too many double g&t’s and I thought what I wrote was thought provoking. I mean it was, just in the wrong way. So I hate to leave you on this awfully clickbaity note but I’m going to do it anyway.  Keep your eyes peeled for some humdingers of blogposts in the coming weeks is all I’m going to say for now.

How has your summer been? Have you been up to anything exciting?

Until next time! A x

No, I ain’t no follow back gurl.

It’s been a while since I wrote something thoughts and feelsy on here that wasn’t to do with stuffing my cakehole full of, well, cake. I’ve wanted to write something like this for ages now actually and I was filled with inspiration after spending the night before on social media hating myself and my life a liiiiiittle bit. I really want to talk about all the things that kinda irk me about blogging. I love it don’t get me wrong but sometimes I feel like I want to throw my laptop into a fast flowing river and wonder what I did with my time before all of this. I’ve written and rambled on for an absolute age beneath so if you’d rather not read all this gushy jargon keep scrolling down to the bits I’ll have titled in bold. YOU’RE WELCOME XOX. But if you do wanna read my innermost thoughts and feelings and potentially the lottery numbers (not really soz I just want to entice you in a bit) well settle into your seats and enjoy!

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I’ve been blogging for quite some time now, on and off for nearly 6 years and honestly it’s such a joy to see this community of people all over the planet grow. It actually makes me so happy to see people I interacted with, all those years ago when I was just starting out at 17, back when I really didn’t have a clue what I was doing, not that I do now  to be honest, seeing them progress with their blog and their lives in general really! I mean some have got married, had babies, had a full on bloody glow up whilst I’ve twiddled about on the internet for a couple years, dying my hair and getting a little bit Naomi Campbell’ed at the weekends.

I don’t know whether I have ever touched upon my blogging journey with you all because it’s a bit of a random starter to this. I’ve read some people’s accounts as to why or how they started and they are really touching stories and mine is a bit of an arsy one to say the very least. And it’s kinda full of name drops. It all started in June or July 2012. (If this was the film of my life I would have been narrating this scene and that bit as we travel back in time to this monumental occasion. Ideally Kate Upton would be playing me but i’m going to stop dreaming for a little bit ok. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve had as many thoughts on career changes as Mr Benn and at this moment in time I really wanted to go into journalism or something involved in the media circus. My cousin is celeb and entertainment journo and often is meeting and interviewing all the top names so as a favour to me he said I could be his plus one to go backstage with him at T4 On The Beach. If you don’t remember this (ur too young for me bro) it was a one day music festival held on the beach at Weston-Super-Mare. Super it is not may I add. I had a wristband that said PRESS PERSON on it I felt like I was a teen Fearne Cotton hotfooting my way over to interview Tulisa and Rizzle Kicks. I mean it wasn’t exactly Glasto.

I got to see the perks of all the behind the scenes fun, mingle with famous people and even basically loot the gifting lounge. Having never been inside somewhere like that before I honestly had no idea what I was doing and whether I was supposed to be taking things for free?! FYI Hugo from Made in Chelsea took two soda streams. Who needs one let alone two was my thought as well. It was in there at a table laden with gifts from a cosmetics company, when I was literally breathing in the same air as Alexandra Burke and Rita Ora, (oops soz I’ll just pick up those name I just dropped. *Insert shameless eyeroll emoji*) that the girls from the brand looked at my press band, looked at me (aged 17) and head to toe in Primark and H&M and they asked politely who I was or who I was with.  I quickly swapped my entire life story and gushed on and on to them how I was still in sixth form and was kind of hating it and didn’t know what to do, that my cousin invited me and I wanted to do something similar and love writing. I’m fairly certain I said this all within about 9 seconds in one breath as well. One of the girls just said with total ease in her voice that I should give blogging a go. They handed me loads of their goodies and instructed me to write all about them online. We swapped email addresses and I promised I’d send them my blog info. THUS my blog was born about 7 hours later when I eventually got home. Needless to say my blog journey was a bit of a strange one. I don’t know how I effectively nabbed the PR samples before the blog was even around. I have a lot to thank those girls for. Or you might just think I’m easily swayed and take life advice off of a complete stranger I met in a glorified tent.

Sometimes I absolutely adore this community and other times, like a 0.0001% of the time, I simply loathe it. It’s gone forward in a lot of aspects since I started. In the sense that’s it’s grown huuuuuugely with more and more people, blogging or vlogging or simply being more present online. It’s getting lot more good press, great attention and the respect it deserves. Not a day goes past where I don’t see people reaching out to others asking for their blogging deets to pass on to a PR rep or fellow bloggers posting affiliate links or their latest posts with items in which they’ve been gifted by a brand. I’ve seen some people get hate saying that X blogger only wrote such a rave review about their specific products because they got it for free or whatnot and it just makes me giggle what they must think about the celebrities who are paid to endorse certain products. I know who’s opinion I’d rather trust, someone who’s used it and put it on their blog or Cheryl Cole (or whatever her surname is) on an advert. I’m so hugely impressed and proud of people I’ve never even met, seeing them glow up and basically do so well. It makes me remember why I enjoy and love being part of such a thriving, ambitious group of fab people.

On my old blog, one which I have now hidden from prying eyes, I used to literally post on there about everything or anything. From daily updates on what colour my nail varnish was, what I bought from Oxfam on my lunch break from work or what I was thinking about having for my eleven o’clock snack. NO JOKE. One time I posted four times on my blog in one evening four different nail varnish shades asking you all for your opinions on which one I should go with for sixth form the following day. God knows how I wasn’t ever reported as a bot. Or why Blogger/blogspot didn’t intervene like U ok hun??? We want to report your unusual activity and posting all this verbal poop on our sites.

  • BLOGGING ISN’T WHAT IT USED TO BE. 

I know I sound about 357 years old by saying that and obvs things change over time but back in the day when I was starting out the blogger chats you see on twitter were buzzing with life and activity. I remember Sunday evenings used to be an actual challenge for me, as I was organising myself around the lifestyle bloggers chat at 7, another chat at 8 and getting ready for bed as I had a look at the blog posts mentioned and linked to in the chats and then watching TOWIE at 10. People used to share each others links ALL the time I remember seeing people write specific posts to share their favourite blog posts and or bloggers of that week or month. Or people would often be writing guest posts on each others blogs a lot too. I don’t know whether that’s still a thing as such anymore or whether I’ve got my head up my butt, but I just don’t see the same love in’s anymore.

  • IT CAN BE HARD NOT TO FEEL JEALOUS OR COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHERS.

I was actually a little unsure how to post this or word it as well. It’s something I’m sure i’m not alone in feeling. It can be difficult to not get a few jealous pangs when you see someone you’re friendly with through blogging getting offered amazing opportunities or pr samples. You want to be super happy for them but also a tiny part of you probably wonders why you didn’t get that email or DM too. You can sit there questioning it, wondering why they have it when your engagement is far better or you’ve been blogging a lot longer and think to yourself whether it was because you missed a week back in November because you went out out one weekend and simply couldn’t be arsed to write about whatever it was the following day so missed your weekly blog catch up. I’m not entirely sure how PR’s find bloggers sometimes if you’re reading this as a blogger/ a PR or even a normal person please do let me know if you have the answer. I’m happy for all my blogger pals and for all they’ve achieved because I know they’ve all worked their socks off for what they get and they deserve it too. You want a tiny slice of that pie too and that’s totally ok, you want to be recognised by someone for all your hard work too.  Just as long as you don’t take this jealousy too far and burn their house down with their new Jo Malone candle we’re all good, ok. But in all seriousness if this thought does niggle away at you just remember you have a blog, so you have internet connection so you’re already a lot better off than a lot of people around the world. Stay humble. 🙂

  • FOLLOWING EVERY BLOGGER.

I’m going to admit it I’ve been guilty of doing this in the past and I hold my hands up to that and apologise to all the people I’ve actually annoyed when I used to be that person popping up on their timeline every now and then. In a blogger world you think numbers are the key to success and as soon as you’ve hit over a certain amount you’ll be jetting off to the Bahamas on a press trip. It doesn’t work that way I’m afraid. You see the word blogger in their bio and click that big blue follow button assuming they’ll follow you right back and not mess up your ratios. if you were in a room full of 200 people chances are you wouldn’t get on with everybody in the said room. So why force it with blogging too? Just because you have a mutual hobby together doesn’t automatically mean you’ll be besties skipping off to Peggy Porschen’s together.

  • FAKING YOUR NUMBERS.

Whether this is from actually buying bots and followers or literally following everyone you can so you have about 120,000 followers but sadly also have to follow 121,000 people. How on earth do you see everything? As mentioned I used to think by following EVERYONE, my numbers would shoot up and my blog would get the following to match too. It didn’t happen. I’ve learnt from my mistakes and I’m a lot happy for it. If someone follows my blog, my Instagram or my Twitter I’m super chuffed as it’s an organic/authentic follower.

  • UNNECESSARY PRESSURE.

Your blog is your own if you want to write about the decline in bumble bee’s I’d be more than happy to read that or if you want to write about why you have started using lipstick as eye shadow I’d also be more than happy to read that too. Or if you’ve just treated yourself to the Urban decay heat palette and really want to write about that even though everyone else has too. Well you open up your browser and you write that review. I used to be quite put off and not want to write those sorts of posts on my old page because there will have been umpteen blog posts about the eyeshadow palette I just got. But don’t let that put you off. The world has yet to read your thoughts and feels on it. Also I’m just going to chuck in here that you can tell when someone slips away from themselves when writing content and it no longer feels or sounds like the same person behind the screen tapping away at their keyboards. There’s the pressure of putting out great content, to have a great, informative, innovative, whatever you want to call it blog. As long as you are happy with it and it makes YOU happy who cares what so and so on the internet thinks.  

  • PODS/TRAINS.

Two words that have a totally different meaning outside the blog world. I’ve been in Instagram pods but I’m not going to lie it was an effort. I was liking pictures I didn’t actually like. Just so I would also get a like on my new selfie. When I put into words it sounds dead sad doesn’t it. I’ve also been in follow trains on twitter too. Congrats if they work for you but I didn’t reap the rewards like everyone else seems to. Not many people seemed to follow back or if they did they’d be gone within a few days. If it works for you then excellent but I know it’s not the way in which I want to project myself.

  • BITCHINESS.

UGH. I’ve seen some pretty nasty things flung around and the vast majority of people I’ve come across have been even lovelier than lovely. I personally am very much looking forward to the day it is not seen as cool or funny for people to be a bitch, or to be petty or to be unnecessarily mean. You do you but don’t bring someone else down for your pleasure.

  • Some people are in it for the freebies/money. 

You can usually spot these people a mile off and do you know what who am I to judge you or them or anyone for that matter. I was friendly with another blogger who would get so ragey if they didn’t get sent something they saw someone else post online. What bugs me about it is that it can give the whole blogger breed a bad rep. Outsiders from this community thinking we are dishonest or suck the buttcheeks off the PR rep in return of a good review.

FOLLOWING TO UNFOLLOW BACK. 

This shit really is bananas. I’m sure I speak for many when I say this is SO annoying. Please stop I beg. I’m yet to understand how these types gain followings at all because it is so blatantly obvious that’s what they’re up to. I had someone on twitter follow me 3 times over one weekend. There they were lurking on my page like a weirdo in a trench coat so I followed them back then they immediately unfollowed me?!! I mean kinda the whole point of this whole post but when I say ‘Few times I’ve been round that track, So it’s not just gonna happen like that…’Cause I ain’t no followback girllllllllllllll no I ain’t no followback girl.’

  • EVERYTHING LOOKING PERFECT.

I understand this is kinda the way of the social media world. No one posts a picture of their sad bowl of Rice Krispies it’s always the decadent avo on rye that gets the likes. The trials and tribulations of being a lifestyle blogger can be that your brand is your life and effectively your life is your brand. You want to portray this picture perfect image that you’re living your best life and just so happen to have a candid shot taken over lunch at Spoons. Don’t get me wrong I kinda obsess over these accounts that everything is pastel and pretty and annoyingly perfect. But for once can you just stand in some dog poop and post that to really go with your aesthetic. K THNX.

  • SOMETIMES IT TAKES AGES TO WRITE A BLOG POST AND THEN YOU REALISE YOU DON’T HAVE ENOUGH PICTURES FOR IT. OR ANY PICTURES AT ALL FOR THAT MATTER. 

This was me as I was writing this post. Like I was close to just scrolling through my phone pics and clicking one at random until I realised the one I picked was close ups of me drunk my friend took. No one needs to see those.

  • SELF DOUBT.

SOMETIMES i have the fear when I go to click that cute little publish button. These crippling moments of self doubt. Like this stuff I put out online that I pour my heart, soul and fingertips into no one *really* gives a crap about. But it’s like the grown up, modern day self soothing and I feel a lot better putting this stuff out there. Even if it’s for my own benefit.

  • LOVELY.

Why do we call everyone lovely??????

  • DRAFTS. 

I have countless drafted posts that are either blank with random jumbled writing, a half written post, something I wrote when I was drunk that I thought was heartfelt but when I read it back it’s actually quite terrifying. Who knew I could squeeze Monica Gellar and Tennis Shoe into the same paragraph and what on earth was the point I thought I was making?!!?

  • When did blogging become so intense?

I log into twitter and sometimes I feel like I’ve got lost in a foreign country without a map and everyone is speaking in code. What’s a DA? Who on earth is Moz when they’re at home? I haven’t a clue about affiliate links or how to fix broken links to come to that either. I’ve only just learnt how to schedule posts and I don’t have strict timings or a plan each week for posting either. Does that make me a bad blogger? You may be tutting and shaking your head in disdain but I don’t think so. Personally I don’t think anyone will be on the edge of their seats on a Sunday evening refreshing their inbox awaiting my new post to bounce on in. I don’t think anyone would be that bothered and also I don’t need that added pressure and you sure as hell don’t either.

Your blog can evolve.

Just as you mature, and your crowd/friends/audience/rabble mature at the same time too. So if you used to post about what you carry with you in your school bag don’t worry about disrupting your niche to suddenly posting about holiday hot spots or how to spot a terrible tinder guy. ALSO whilst I’m on the subject, how do I put this, IT IS YOUR BLOG. In the words of Sheryl Crow ‘ If it makes you happy, it can’t be that bad’. Unless it’s olives, they’re gross Sheryl.

After all that ramble about the things I dislike about the world of blogging I want to reiterate how much I also do love it. I’ve made so many fantastic friends who are going to be my friends for life whether they like it or not sorry guys. It’s given me more confidence in myself and being able to speak my mind and say what’s bothering me and also it gives me a sense of belonging and community. Something I can say I’ve never really had before.

 

It’s gone midnight and I’ve just finished writing all this. I couldn’t have done it without the help of Gemma who I simply adore so if you haven’t given her some love then I reckon you should do it now. Find her blog here. or find her chatting away to the small hours on Twitter here.  BIG LOVE X

I’m buzzing with the fact I got the phrase lurking on my page like a weirdo in a trench coat into this post btw. Oh and also Gwen Stefani lyrics. x

 

 

The World According to She.

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Now this is a story all about how my life got flipped-turned upside down and I’d like to take a minute and just sit right there and I’ll tell you how I became the princess of a town called Bel-Air. In West Philadelphia, born and raised, on the playground was where I spent most of my days, chillin’ out maxin’ relaxin’ all cool and eatin’ some push-pops outside of the school when a couple of guys who were up to no good started making trouble in my neighborhood, I got in one little fight and my mum got scared she said, “You’re movin’ with your auntie and uncle in Bel-Air”.

I have a super active imagination if you couldn’t already tell…But when I was a kid and even now if I watched a tv show or film religiously my brain would get it confused with my reality and the made up show. So much so one time I had a dream I was in Egypt then a few weeks later in a geography lesson at school the teacher asked if anyone had ever been to Egypt and for some weird-out-of-body-experience and reason my arm flung up into the air as if I was the one that discovered Tutankhamen’s tomb. OBVIOUSLY no one else in my class had been to Egypt in real life or in a dream as it turns out so I had to very quickly think about what I loved about the holiday. If in doubt say it was lovely weather and the Cornetto selection was much better. BUT UNLESS YOU COULDN’T ALREADY TELL and if you didn’t know well soz beauts but you’re in for a shocker, I am not Will Smith (sorry to disappoint) nor am I cool and my aunt and uncle live in a quiet village outside of the social hub of the south west of England otherwise known as Southampton. Sadly sarcasm doesn’t convert well in written word but unless you like skinny chavlads or girls that are more lip filler than woman and would start a fight with you for a tenner, spitfires or the Titanic then maybs just maybs Southampton isn’t the place for you. Soz Southampton normal people if you’re reading this.

I digress again. See, I’ve always had this problem in life, I get distracted and go off on tangents both in conversation and in my head. I’ll be doing something or talking to someone about something fairly serious and the next thing I know a random thought bubble has crash landed through my brain and we’re discussing the rising cost prices of sausage rolls in Greggs or why just WHY no one says croopy down north of the A303. For you educated folk the term “Croopy Down” is the act of squatting down but in the most ladylike fashion I believe. I remember my Nan used to say it to us when we were small little babes. Now we’re big babes we still croopy now and then. I’m hitting you up with a more thoughts and feelsy post again today, think of this like our virtual coffee date, so grab a cuppa, maybe a few biscuits, because what’s a tea without a few hobnobs and we can have a good old chinwag on here and in the comment section.

SO where do I start I hear you cry?! I think with work. Everyone always asks that question when you see a friend or neighbour it’s always “hey how are you? You look tired? how’s work?”. Since we last had a little chit chat I am now working two and a bit jobs. Which is tough. I start work at five in the morning and finish at two in the afternoon. I am suffering with all of the typical toddler symptoms of tiredness, constantly hungry just that if I throw myself on the floor in the middle of the biscuit aisle in Asda no one will pick me up and tell me it’ll be alright as they rub my back (maybs they know it won’t??? oh gosh let’s not open that can of worms.) The people I work with all tend to be really nice (there’s always one though and you get that anywhere I guess) In the daytime officey role I have, I work next to a gent from Indonesia with the thickest Indonesian accent so when he’s dictating an email or an invoice for me to send over to someone we can often get fairly lost in translation. He’s lovely but he must think I’m stupid or like a telly presenter on time delay as I have to really listen to what he’s saying. Equally doing telesales with an important client can be a bit of a challenge when he’s yelling down the phone to his wife in loud Indonesian (she’s Indonesian too I should, he’s not like a sociopath shouting at the poor love in a language she can’t even understand. Can you imagine tho?) Anyway. It’s not all bad, without sounding like a complete pretentious twonk. It’s character building and teaching me mad skillz and the more I work the less time I’m either out shopping or sat at home buying things online I don’t need (Insert frog shape jelly mould heeerrreee yeah I don’t know what I was thinking either tbh) But I am still looking and keeping my eye out for something that doesn’t have me up even before the crack of dawn and something that makes me happy. I shall keep ya updated babes.

I can’t remember if I’ve wrote on here since my birthday & day of birth but I turned 23 at the end of January. Yayhoo! I went to London for a fancy pants lunch at The Ritz with my mum and sister as my stepdad was struck down with the flu. I didn’t do anything young or fun like getting more smashed than your avo on toast this Saturday at brunch which was a bit of a bummer. I really wanted to go out and let my hair down and celebrate an important year but unfortunately my pals either didn’t want to or didn’t have the funds so I had a quiet family time instead. I’m hoping I’ll be able to plan something fun for my 24th next year and well hell if everyone bails I’m just going to head to ‘Spoons and cry into my fishbowls (yes plural, I plan on a maaaaad old night on my jack. Well as mad as you can get in Salisbury Wetherspoons…on your own as well.)

In more exciting news, I BECAME AN AMBASSADOR FOR SOMETHING SUPER COOL AND IMPORTANT!!! YES you read them caps locked letters correctly. So this fabulous, wonderful, brilliant (all the good and shiny adjectives ever) charity organisation want my face, alongside many beautiful others, representing them so to speak. It is for a wonderful mental health charity called Exhale, whom I am SUPER DUPER excited to be working with. Can ya tell by all the inappropriate big letters and excessive exclamation marks?!? Find out more info about them here as I’ll be posting on there, like things about my experiences with my mental health, stress and anxiety. How I’ve coped and tips and tricks on how I’ve learnt about managing my stresses and/or triggers. Mental health in general is a topic which is really important to me because of my experiences and also me suffering with it. A lot of those close to me do as well,  and I would love to be able to help share my experiences and if that helped someone else that would mean so much to me.

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I can’t remember if I wrote much about it on here but I went vegetarian back in November. As you may have seen in my last post I have a very gorgeous and adorable little pooch who I think the absolute world of and he basically inspired my decision. To cement all your thoughts that I’m easily swayed, I did fall victim to watching certain documentaries beforehand on Netflix and looked out of the corner of my eye to see my loyal little pal beaming up at me. The thought of anyone eating him or suchlike really broke my heart and I got a bit deep thinking about what the difference between him and a cow,fish,chicken, lamb was in my mind. Literally overnight I cut meat and fish out and have been living a vegetarian diet ever since. I’ve found it a lot easier and a lot tastier than I actually thought I would. I’ve dabbled with it in the past and only lasted a week or so but this was when I was about 13/14. I am now absolutely hooooooked on Linda McCartney sausages, other than I’ve Just Seen a Face I’d say it’s the second best thing to come out of The Beatles. I am also super impressed with how lush Quorn or any meat free meat style products actually taste. They don’t taste exactly the same but they are actually so delicious I can’t really believe I didn’t try some of it sooner.

I’ve also hit a bit of a slump in terms of the way I look and feel about myself at the moment. I’m a bit bigger than the size I wish to be and want to focus my body and my mind on healthy eating and more regular exercise (there is a blog post soon to come) This pic was a totally gorgeous and a totally healthy salad I had at the cool and quirky chain Bills in Salisbury on a summery day last year. Inevitably I do want to get back to the healthier size I was a few years ago where I felt a lot more comfortable in my own skin and in my body. Cos I can’t really change into someone elses?! Way to go Abfab making it weird. But you get what I mean? I want to be able to wear nice dresses, or skinny jeans without feeling like an overly stuffed sausage. That is my go-to feeling chub analogy at the minute.

I’ve been thinking about posting more regularly on here too. So little miss Downton Abbie can get herself into a routine with you all and vice versa. I’m thinking about posting a lifestyle/misc/random wordsy (thoughts and feelsy if you want) on Wednesdays and a more foodie related topic on a Sunday. I haven’t done anything in terms of cooking or baking that has been very exciting or pretty (unless you want to see my cheesey beans on toast on a weekday?) but I’m hoping to get back into it soon. But enough about me now, what about you babes? What have you all been up to?

What I have planned for 2018.

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas time and banging New Year celebrations whatever you all got up too! I am not usually the type of person to make New Years Resolutions, simply because I tend to completely forget all about them and then I end up feeling bad about those people who have a long old memory that may remember the silly little idea or ditty I may have had about losing weight or learning another language or skill and me giving up 2 weeks into January with the fat tummy podge still very much there and very much comfy.  But for the first time in a long time I’ve decided I want to set myself a few of my own little personal goals, nothing major and nothing huge but to add to my year ahead and make me feel like the best me I can be. These are all things that I actually really want to do and achieve so I’m feeling like they’ll be a lot more attainable right? Plus I’m thinking if I share it with you all i’ll be more likely to keep up with it all cos you lovely lot can pester me if they aren’t being completed!?

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Shape up.

I want or need to lose a few extra pounds here and there. I am not completely happy in the way I look at all and want to be able to exercise more, eat healthier and be happier with the Abbie I see looking back in the mirror.

Improve my blogging life.

I am terrible for being organised with my blog. I’m terrible at being organised in general if I’m completely honest. I’m always at least ten minutes late for everything. But I want to be able to post a lot more consistently on here whether that be every week on a set day or the same time on a set day. I would also really love to be able to grow my blog a lot more this year with a wider readership and improve my content and photography.

Job life. 

I haven’t exactly made it a secret that I struggled in my last job role and my goal for the end of 2018 is that i’d have either found or be in a job that I really enjoy. It can be a bit of a challenge where I live (the backend of the middle of nowhere, if you know it???) opportunities aren’t exactly rife in the countryside.

Become a better cook.

I turned vegetarian in November which was actually a lot easier than I would have first anticipated. I love animals and my dog is my best friend and one day it really hurt me in the feels the thought of someone harming him that it dawned on me there isn’t any difference between him, a cow, or a pig. They are all animals and have feelings and from that day forward I haven’t eaten any meat. I chose to give it up so I don’t lecture those that still eat meat. But this year I want to be able to cook more vegetarian dishes as they are just as wholesome and delicious as any others. Plus I’m not the world’s best chef by any stretch so if I hope to move out of my parent’s home I’ve kinda got to be able to fend for myself and not just live off of Linda McCartney sausages. Even though they are incredible.

Read more. 

Social media is taking over my brain ever so slowly and surely. If I like what someone says or what they’re wearing I don’t tell them I just shout FAVOURITED in their face and I’ve started actually following people in real life too to see what they’re ordering in Starbucks or Pret. HA ok i’m totally kidding please don’t arrest me but you get my drift! Social media can be a very negative environment at times and I want to be able to be able to switch off quite literally and read the fifty ish books I’ve got stacked up in my room.

Do more charity work.

I want to be able to do a lot more this year. Whether that be actually working for a charity, donating a lot more to good causes or doing a charitable event of any sort. I want to be able to do more good things this year that’ll make feel good and that I’m proud of.

Live more positively.

I feel this one maybe slightly more self explanatory buuuuut I want to live more for me this year, do things that make me happy or do things outside of my comfort zone. Life is life and should be the best thing you do. For instance I’ve been thinking for ages about trying to work on my funnybone and get into stand up and even my sister said she’d help me or support me if I tried out a comedy gig.

Experiment with my looks more.

I’ve dyed my hair a lot the last 12 months from brown to pink to red to blonde again and I really fancy getting a tattoo or my nose pierced too. I fancy doing a Sinead O’Connor (the singer not the roughen from Hollyoaks a few years back) and shaving my head and starting again. Cos Nothing Compares to U or a brand new ‘do?!

BE THE COOLEST ABFAB EVER.

2018 will no doubt be better than 2017 mainly because 2017 was pure poop. So I’m planning on making this year as jam packed as a double stuffed Oreo would be if they were filled with jam (???) and make it the coolest time for me yet. I am really hoping this will be my year. I will no doubt keep you all updated as well. Much loves as always pups x

 

Why quitting my job was the best thing I’ve ever done.

I’ve been wanting to write this for a while now and actually put the thoughts and feelings that are sitting pretty in my head and heart into words for a long time. I was umming and ahhing about whether to write this for a lot of reasons; some of which you may not quite understand some of which may seem silly.  I didn’t want to be seen as ‘dragging’ or ‘slaying’ my previous employer and workplace for everything they failed to do for me, I also didn’t want to give the people who made my life a living nightmare a platform to make them seem like they’ve won when they really, really haven’t whatsoever. Moreover I didn’t want to seem like I wasn’t over it and that I was stuck in the past. Because I’ve got to the point by myself where I can reflect on it all and see it for what it was. A learning curve. And also I might be able to share and bond with those of you who may have or had similar experiences.

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I was in my old role from the age of 17 to 22. Those five years can be quite crucial in a young person’s life. That’s the time when you may typically go to university or go travelling and find yourself on a moonlight beach party on the shores of Thailand (cliche I know but ya get my drift!) I’ve always been one of those people that have constantly gone through life flitting from one idea to the other. When I was a child; I wanted to be a banker when I grew up. When other little girls were dreaming of being a ballet dancer or a fairy I had high hopes of working in Barclays. It was like I had the Clarks shoes equivalent of job aspirations. Sturdy, reliable albeit rigid and a wee bit BORING. I’d like to inject some excitement and adventure and claim the only reason I dreamt this was it would be a surefire and easy way to steal money and screw over the general public (can you tell I’ve been petty since birth) but in reality it was probably just that I was a big fan of their endless ballpoint pen collection and fine examples of neckerchiefs.

I mean, I’m sure if you took five seconds out of your day right now as you’re reading this to think back to seventeen year old you, compared to you  right now you’d certainly be a lot different, no? It’s only a natural part of life for you to change and flow freely with the direction life takes you. I am a strong believer, over the last few years in particular,  that life is fluid and everything that happens to you, that you go through or the people you surround yourself with shape you. I’ve never been the type of person to plan anything for a number of reasons. I love spontaneity and the actual thought of setting dates and goals for things leads to my very quick attention span getting bored; very quickly. Without going too hippy and quotesy on your butts but I like to think everything happens for a reason, sometimes I’m dumb and make bad decisions but it’ll still lead to something awesome…maybe. Hopefully.

In my full time role I quit in July I was a manager of a shop which was seen as quite an accomplishment aged 21/22. A lot of my friends, family and even strangers would comment on how great it was to get to that position at my age. I never really saw it as that brilliant if I’m completely honest, as it was merely I was in the right place in the right time and my boss wanted the position filled and I was happy to say yes to whatever was needed. A lot of the people I worked with weren’t really qualified to be in their positions they were in either. Nothing against them or the jobs they do because in my role it was more if you had more than one brain cell and could pressure sell you were basically ‘in’ with the in crowd. It was a role I never really aspired and dreamed of in the first place, it felt somewhat grown up, gave me a full time job that had a salary yet still paid peanuts compared to other positions in store management in other places. I didn’t want to go to university simply for the reasons I didn’t know what I wanted to do at all and I couldn’t stand sixth form so what hope would I have at getting through uni?! I was never truly happy in this role and it was something that I never felt that I excelled at in my heart more so something to help pass the time and to help fund my ASOS addiction too.

The decision that led to me leaving without a clear plan with what to do next started off as quite a difficult. I didn’t want to end up jumping from fat to frying pan as my dear parents would say and as I mentioned previously I was never truly happy in this role. For months and months I was constantly looking for something better to turn up or hoping a winning lottery ticket would fly into my hand on a rather blustery day.  I had bosses making my working life a misery, day in and day out, denying me annual leave, time off in lieu I was owed and throwing any obstacle in the way they possibly could. One of them infamously saying I couldn’t cope because I was a woman and had too many emotions. No hun, I worked three solid weeks without a single day off. You should have tried it some time? And another one saying he would never give any praise for anything as it is simply not his style. Misogyny and pigheadedness was though huh? I had a problems with my team members and not enough support where it was needed. So one fateful  day in May  a friend and I decided to go and see a psychic and she even said I wouldn’t be in the job I’m in for much longer. Little did she know I went back to work and a few days later my boss berated me for about 2 hours so I just decided enough was enough and handed in my four week notice without a care in the world.

This decision has taught me a lot of things and I can use this all as life experience to reflect on and learn from (God how annoying does this all make me sound)

To stand up for myself:

I was the youngest on my area and I didn’t have anyone ever stood with me when the going got tough, no support and no help. The way I would get spoken to sometimes by fellow employees, bosses and even the customers would often be completely unacceptable. I could laugh at it all at the time but the way retail workers get spoken to sometimes is completely shocking.

I grew guts:

Often I felt too scared to say anything other than yes to my boss in a weird innate sense to always look like a good employee and to please him (goodness knows why really) but now if anyone from work colleagues or even friends do something that I am not ok with I will be the first one to voice my concerns. So much so I went to a handful of interviews and even started a job and felt it feeling like my old position I knew I had to get away from.

I cut off toxic friends:

Similar to the above two points, I got treated badly by a workplace I am no longer accepting it in my life. It may seem fickle and fierce but I would much rather have one or two friends I could totally rely on that treat me with kindness and respect than a larger amount that follow the same values.

How to handle criticism:

I got a lot of stick from a lot of people I didn’t even think would judge me or care about my life decisions. A lot of people I thought I was close to spread it like wildfire and that really offended me as I didn’t want something that had really affected me mentally to be treated like playground chitter chatter. A lot of people felt like I needed an intervention for quitting my day job but to be honest I didn’t care about them and still don’t anymore to this day. They weren’t aware of the ins and outs of it all and the decision I made I don’t regret and still stand by.

I’ve learnt to accept the way it all affected me:

I didn’t realise how much it all had affected me mentally and emotionally working in such a nonsensically highly strung environment. Going from working 40+ hours a week to suddenly having all the time in the world on my hands took some getting used to. I felt very mentally bruised, paranoid and bitter and still do a little bit to this day but I have a new job now and I am feeling exponentially happier than I did ever.

I’ve learnt how to handle money better: 

Going from a full time job to nothing has the obvious concern of OMG HOW ON EARTH AM I GOING TO SURVIVE which is often what puts a lot of people off. I think it’s the main thing that puts a lot of people off. If it wasn’t for money and paying the bills would you be in the job you are in today? Luckily for me I had a good last payslip, got an amount of the holiday pay I was owed, have savings and still live at home with my parents to rely on as much as I like to be independent. I was adamant I wasn’t going to race back into a job and wanted to have some time to breath and actually enjoy my summer for once. I wanted to get back into the proper working environment at my own pace and into something I thrive in and makes my heart and soul happy.

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I don’t think I’ve ever felt as happy in myself as I have done at this present moment (maybe because i’m chilling at home in my comfies eating the remainder of the Christmas food) but I have a really positive and cheshire cat style smile on my face at the thought of a New Year and a new and improved Abbie for 2018.