My Goals For 2020.

I must be the only person on this planet who still uses a snapchat filter. Least of all this terrible dogface one.

 

Can you believe it’s FINALLY the end of 2019. I don’t like to be wishing my days away nor do I want to speak on behalf of all the nations but this year has been pretty abysmal so I’m quite happy to wave goodbye to it. It felt like it went on for about a decade and by the time December rolled around I swear it went from the 1st to Christmas Day in the blink of an eye?!

I’m not a big fan of New Years Eve really, I feel like it’s a time for the romantics, the couples or those that just like to get a little bit boozed up for any apparent reason. Sentimental ol’ me doesn’t really like this night. I find it quite emotional; what if I don’t want the year to end?! What if I’m not prepared for what the next year might behold? What if it’s full of happiness? New adventures? New friends or love? Or what if it’s full of sadness? Feeling stagnant? Disappointment, rejection and heartbreak? What if I want to become one of those crazy women you read about on the front page of Take A Break magazine who are stuck living in the past simply because I thought the year 2012 was the best and I’m a stickler for staying in the same place.

I’m not one for resolutions either because I usually forget all about them and then feel guilty that I hadn’t kept up with something that I promised myself I’d do in January. I totally get the point of view that if you want to do something, do it anyday, don’t wait for mondays or January 1st or a new decade; make the change you want to see for when you want to see it. But seeing as 2020 is the year I’ll be turning the grand old age of 25 I thought what better time to put some thoughts into action and do things to make me happy.

Make (good) friends:

I’ve spent a lot of 2019 feeling quite lonely. I’ve lost more friends than I’ve made and and whilst it was incredibly upsetting to go through, life is too short to hold grudges and I can honestly say I can only wish them the best in life. I miss them but sometimes good things fall apart for greater things to fall together and one day in the future we might become chums again. I’ve always been jealous of those with lifelong friendships and will have an army of guests at the wedding whereas I’ll be lucky if I could fill a pew. A mini goal of mine is to make at least one new good friend in the year 2020. Failing that a couple lush drinking buddies will do.

Be happy on my own:

Slight oxymoron to the previous point but I want to be able to live comfortably and not feel like a massive loser if I went to the cinema on my own, coffee on my own or a delightful lunch date for one. There’s something quite liberating about doing this, I’m not sure what exactly it is but knowing that you don’t need to beg and plead to someone to hang out with you and you’re perfectly content taking yourself on a solo date sounds quite nice when you think about it.

Use social media effectively:

I took a little break from Instagram during 2019 and found it really conducive to the way I now view all my social media platforms and what I choose to get from it. I chose to step back for a couple of months for a number of reasons, one reason (and the main reason) I ran out of storage space on my phone (If I had a pound for everytime I said that I’d be able to afford about 20 of the latest iPhones!) so chose to delete Instagram off of my phone as that was one of the apps I used the least. I still could use it on my iPad if I so wished but I found that I went several months without it! I didn’t miss it and I didn’t miss out on any life events from any of my close friends as they had my number anyway?! When I returned back online in the autumn, I had a bit of a Marie Kondo moment and purged my following list of all of the accounts that didn’t spark joy for me or I just weren’t really interested in. A lot of people I’d thought I was internet chummy with had already unfollowed me by that point; but hey who am I to judge as I only noticed when I was unfollowing them too! Plus, at the end of the day who actually cares who follows who on a website that might not be around forever! Look at bebo? Still friends with the people you had in your top 16???

This is another factor I noticed of me taking a side step from the ‘gram is that I actually no longer care as much about all the numbers, if I’ve lost or gained followers? If anyone has liked the last picture I posted? I mean don’t get me wrong it’s nice when someone double taps on one of my pictures but I’m posting for me not what because it’ll please Susie on Insta. (No offence to any Susie’s on Insta). The lesson learnt here is that your social media feed will be exactly what you make it. If you find it a bit of a toxic sweat den of ‘WHY AREN’T MY THIGHS AS THIN AS RANDOM INSTA MODEL’ unfollow her/him. If you’re finding yourself constantly having fomo from exuberant parties and events unfollow those accounts too. Same with all of your social media platforms to be honest; I noticed my Twitter experience changed dramatically as soon as I blocked Piers Morgan, Katie Hopkins, Boris Johnson and other sorts of human toilets.

Explore a creative hobby:

I’d really like to get in touch with my creativity in 2020. Something that looks super relaxing like painting, or pottery or needlework. It looks great to help stimulate the mind, switch off from your troubles and insert yourself into some new hideously deformed creation (speaking from experience I am a terrible artist) not literally though obvs I’m not that bad.

Read more:

Can we all take it in turns to give me a massive pat on the back for actually reaching a goal this year? I didn’t see it coming either so when I ACTUALLY read more than 30 books this year I was gobsmacked. I’m not going to put a number on it for 2020 and just see what happens and not pressurise myself. But i’m hoping I’ll be able to improve! Read the post on all the books I read over 2019 here.

Find a job I love:

God, I’m so jealous of the people that go to work happy, work happy, have nice colleagues and don’t have the sunday night dread of another full working week again. I’m really worried that’ll I’ll never find the passion i’m longing for and I’ll spend my entire working life coasting from one thing to the next in the hope that the perfect role is out there for me. Am I asking too much or is everyone in a job that doesn’t fulfil every single possible need but pays the bills and that’s enough.

Reinvent myself:

Once you dye your hair you really don’t look back. I’ve had to rebuild my hair back to normal/healthy condition for 12 months and whilst it’s been a long process, one that’s made my hair feel a billion times better, the short attention span in me is desperate for some kind of reinvention process to go through. Pierce my ear in three places, get a tattoo or dye my hair dark blue. I just really enjoy changing up my look. It’s fun and you kinda grow to like the smell of hair bleach.

Do more with my blog:

I mean it this time. I won’t lie, or toot my own horn (but toot toot here I come) I have all these exciting ideas floating around my head about what I want to write and what I want to publish on here but the only person standing in my way from actually posting these ideas is Me. I need to get myself into a good routine and post regularly, I’ve got some cool ideas for regular features and formats I want to try out this year and more importantly I want to enjoy it again. I felt for so long that the things I was posting weren’t really reflecting me or the way I’d write and avoided coming on here for a lot of 2019. I had a wee nasty streak of envy spike through as well that didn’t help. When you see your blogging friends getting these amazing opportunities of course I’m happy for them and love reading and sharing the love but it’s only human nature to also aspire for that type of thing yourself and want the same for you as well. For now and for 2020 I’m really happy being me and being What Abbie Says and I wouldn’t wish this responsibility of being me on anyone else ;).

Drink more water:

Find me a New Years Eve list of things where this isn’t one of the points on it but I usually am quite good at keeping up a good/healthy water intake. But i’ve been slacking lately in the colder months opting to have a permanent IV drip of tea and coffee would be my choice over a quick glug of H20. How gross is the word glug by the way??

But in all seriousness I need to get better at this. Whether I’m going to become one of those people with the water bottles with the special markers on the side to keep you on track throughout the day I’m not really sure? I’ll keep you updated.

Love hard:

I find it really difficult to speak up, use my voice and tell people how much they mean to me, shocking when you think how often I could rant and rave about a whole manner of sins to all you lovely lot. But life can come at you hard sometimes and before you know it you realise just how fragile life really is. Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about so try to spend as much time as you can being happy, smiling and going easy on yourself and those around you. You don’t know how much time we’ve all got left on this precious planet we call home so we might as well spend it well.

Be healthy:

I want to live healthier both mentally, physically and emotionally. I want to tone up a bit for my own sanity and meaning that if I had to run away from a pack of angry bears I wouldn’t immediately die from just the running part. I want healthy skin and a healthy mind. I want a healthy body and a healthy attitudes to all my friendships and relationships but most of all…I’d love an incredibly healthy bank account for 2020 and beyond.

I hope 2020 and this new decade brings you all the health and happiness you deserve. I hope it’s better than the last and I really hope you filthy lot won’t be waking up tomorrow with the hangover from hell not sure if you’re in need of a priest or an exorcist to lift you out of Satan’s lair.

Books I’ve Read In 2019.

I set myself a goal of reading thirty books in 2019. I started out with high hopes that it would be an achievable task, I’m an avid reader anyway and when I get stuck into a good read I practically devour it within a matter of hours and days. So how hard could it be? It would roughly translate to about two or three books a month, I used to take three books away with me on a week long holiday so I thought i’d be through the numbers in no time surely?! With this, I thought what a great way to use this as a perfect chance to switch off from technology, using my time more wisely in the evenings or before going to bed; hopefully giving me a more restful sleep with that too!

I must admit that sometimes my reading list can be a bit samey. I’m a regular reader of chick lit, so as well as giving myself a chance for a good ol’ social media detox I also thought this would be a great opportunity to get my teeth into a new genre; figure out what I do or don’t like and get to grips with some new authors. Some of these books aren’t new releases, I’ve been scouring the shelves of my local charity shops and my library, going against the usual trope of not judging a book by it’s cover and picking up something I liked the look of based on face value. So here goes!

1. The Tattooist Of Auschwitz – Heather Morris 4/5

It is a powerful, heartbreaking, true love story based on the real life events of two young people who meet and fall in love in the hellish compounds of Auschwitz concentration camp. I can’t imagine the pain, the suffering, the horrors that were felt and seen by those poor souls that suffered here. I think because of this, I struggled connecting with this book and I feel like a horrible person admitting that. I just couldn’t comprehend

2. If You Were Me – Sam Hepburn 3/5

This is a young teen / crime mystery story all about Aliya and her family escaping Afghanistan for Britain. Shortly after they arrive in the UK her brother is accused of a bomb attack. Aliya is sure her brother is innocent so sets out to solve this mystery. This book is told from two different points of view and flits between Aliya and Dan. I think this is a great piece of youth fiction that should be read by all ages. It covers quite big topics like terrorism and corruption. It’s an interesting read, one of which I’d recommend to all ages.

3. This Is Going To Hurt – Dr Adam Kay 5/5

I picked this up, purely on the basis of all the brilliant reviews I’d seen about it and I wasn’t disappointed. I won’t lie, it did take a little while for me to fully get into it but when I did; I stayed up late one night until it was finished. This Is Going To Hurt is a compilation of diary entries written by Adam Kay as he worked as an NHS Doctor. I’ve never read a book quite like this that was so raw and honest that it made me both laugh and cry. Given the current state of the NHS in the United Kingdom I would urge that everyone reads this and takes umbridge on the current state of our National Health Service or what’s left of it.

4. I Owe You One – Sophie Kinsella 3/5

I love Sophie Kinsella’s books. I think I’ve read every single one, even the ones she’s written under her actual name Madeleine Wickham. I love her cosy style of writing and the way in which she makes you feel like you know the protagonist. They are perfect holiday reads. I enjoyed I Owe You One, it was a little bit predictable in parts but still just as lovely as all of her books. In this one, we meet Fixie Far, an all round good egg and fixer upper. She is running the family shop (The shop is based around a local family run shop near me called Harts. Which made me love this novel even more!) with little actual help from her siblings. One day, as she’s in a coffee shop a stranger asks her to watch his laptop and saves it from meeting it’s dramatic end. Thus, a tennis match of IOU’s between the pair follows. It wasn’t my favourite of her books but it was still very cheery and lighthearted.

5. Still Me – Jojo Moyes 3/5

I started reading this book series as soon as it came out a few years ago and fell in love with it. Me Before You was the first Ebook I purchased and I distinctly remember ugly crying on my lunch break in a staff room as I reached the final pages. Still Me, is the third installment of this series (so I’d definitely recommend reading those two first, before starting this) and we see loveable main character Lou, working as a personal assistant for a new family in New York, struggling with a long distance relationship and still figuring out who she is and what she wants from her life. It’s such an enjoyable read and this was probably my favourite out of this series.

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6. 365 Days Of Happiness – Jacqueline Pirtle*

You may remember, if you’re a regular reader of my site, I actually got sent this book to review. If you’d like to read my review, you can find it by clicking the link here! I’d never read a book like this before and was pleasantly surprised by it. It made me definitely think about things in a different way. I like to think of myself as quite a positive person most of the time but I hadn’t realised how sometimes, subconsciously I’d be pre-empting something negative happen. This has really changed my outlook and even the way I look at day to day things to find something positive out of every situation.

7. The Circle – Dave Eggers 4/5

In this book, we see Mae, a relatively normal, working class woman in her early twenties from the US. She wants to get on and build a career despite still living at home with her parents in her little hometown. Her uni friend, Annie, gets in touch and helps her out with a job at The Circle (which is their Google/FaceBook/Twitter etc hybrid platform). The Circle wants all their employees to achieve high customer & fellow colleagues satisfaction levels as well as to be a social integrator and innovator. In return The Circle provides an incredible workplace and plenty or work perks like brilliant health care packages extending to the employees family. Which really benefits Mae as her Father has MS. One of the new ideas being tested is transparency by having miniature cameras placed on the person with the information accessible to anyone at anytime – forever. Other characters in the book, Mercer (a male childhood friend of Mae’s) and Mae’s parents are fighting against this intrusion of The Circle into their lives which results in dire consequences for them. This book, is interesting in this modern age and it did get me thinking about the impact of Facebook, Google, Apple etc and how they use our information.

8. You Were Gone – Tim Weaver 5/5

I loved this SO MUCH. I started it on a Friday night and had finished it by the following evening; I practically consumed the book whole. I had never read any of Tim Weaver’s David Raker Thriller series nor any of his books for that matter and just picked this up from the library by chance and was blown away. It focuses on David Raker a widowed ex missing persons investigator. David’s beloved wife, Derryn, had passed away from cancer some years previously so when a woman walks into a Police station, looking identical to her,claiming to be called Derryn Raker and asking for her husband, David, the Police begin to question whether Derryn had actually died and that this woman is who she says she is. This leads to David himself then beginning to question whether he nursed her through her last days and if the funeral actually took place. This was gripping and full of so many twists and turns. Perfect if you’re into something along the lines of a sinister thriller you won’t be able to put down until you’ve finished it.

9. Wags At The World Cup – Alison Kervin 0/5

I was hoping for a perfect new, girly read, something which you could imagine yourself reading on a sunbed with a cocktail in hand in sunnier climes but was left massively disappointed with this, to the point where I had to almost chivvy myself along into reading it and finishing it. I don’t want to be harsh and I’m totally aware that books can be personal and subjective but this was really quite bad. The book is focused on Tracie Martin and her husband Dean when he’s asked to be a part of the England coaching team as they’re about to play in the World Cup in South Africa. Tracie is told not to tell anyone immediately nor to do any telly appearances or interviews either but obvs she does both of these things. Having made a fool of herself she’s subsequently sent off to South Africa prior to everyone else to help smooth troubled waters.

10. The School Gate Survival Guide – Kerry Fisher 3/5

I picked this up at the library too and wasn’t really sure on it but just thought why not just give it a go! I picked up a crime novel and wanted something more lighthearted to read afterwards, or in between depending how spooky the true crime story was! I actually really liked this I liked that the main character wasn’t perfect like some chick lit novels. The main character, Maia is a very normal mum, working tirelessly as a cleaner living on a council estate, raising her two children with her lazy, layabout, long term boyfriend. One of her long term clients, an elderly lady whom she was close to, dies and leaves something to Maia in her will. She leaves some money for her to send her two children to go to a very good, posh school. We read Maia plod through the trials and tribulations of being a regular, normal family amongst all the rich, posh families that go to that school. This was a really heart warming, easy to read story and I’ve never felt like I was rooting for the main character to come out on top more than I have with this read.

11. Then She Was Gone – Lisa Jewell – 2/5

This was gripping but I felt like I knew how it was going to end a little while into the book. Nevertheless there was a big ol’ twist I really didn’t see coming! Laurel Mack is the grieving Mother of a missing child and we see her try to move on with a new relationship with a man she met in a coffee shop. The book features quite a lot of jutting between present and past tense from the point of view of Laurel and her missing daughter Ellie. Just like any other kind of psychological thriller this was full of red herrings and various different plot twists. I really like this style of genre where you are literally on the very edge of your seat but for some reason I just couldn’t gel with this particular book.

12.  No Big Deal – Bethany Rutter 3/5

This was the second book that I’d read this year that had a fat female teenager as the protagonist. Which was so wonderfully refreshing as someone also who was a fat teenager. I’m so used to the fat one being the uncool best friend, the funny one or just the fat one so it was so nice to actually have the readers have their undivided attention on them for only positive reasons. In No Big Deal, we see heroine Emily, be unapologetically herself as a fat, feisty college student. When leaving a house party she meets cool guy Joe and everything she felt about herself gets flipped upside down. This was a brilliant read, one I’d recommend to every teenage girl (and teenage boy).

13. War Girls: A Collection Of First World War Stories Through The Eyes Of Young Women. 2/5

This is a collection of short stories about a whole host of different women and their experiences during the First World War. It’s quite an insight into what life would have been like for the normal women, the ones nursing on the front line and those widowed by the war as well.

14. Things A Bright Girl Can Do – Sally Nicholls 3/5

Through rallies and marches, in polite drawing rooms and freezing prison cells and the poverty-stricken slums of the East End, three courageous young women join the fight for the vote.We meet Evelyn who’s seventeen, and though she is rich and clever, she may never be allowed to follow her older brother to university. Enraged that she is expected to marry her childhood sweetheart rather than be educated, she joins the Suffragettes, and vows to pay the ultimate price for women’s freedom. May is fifteen, and already sworn to the cause, though she and her fellow Suffragists refuse violence. When she meets Nell, a girl who’s grown up in hardship, she sees a kindred spirit. Together and in love, the two girls start to dream of a world where all kinds of women have their place.

15. The House On Cold Hill – Peter James 1/5

This spooky novel is about the Harcourt family, moving from the heart of the city of Brighton and Hove to the Sussex countryside. Ollie Harcourt, his wife, Caro, and their twelve-year-old daughter, Jade view Cold Hill House – a huge, dilapidated, Georgian mansion – and are filled with excitement. Despite the financial strain of the move, Ollie has dreamed of living in the country since he was a child, and with its acres of land, he sees Cold Hill House as a paradise for his animal-loving daughter, a base for his web-design business and a terrific long-term investment. Caro is less certain, and Jade is grumpy about being removed from all her friends. Within days of moving in, it soon becomes apparent that the Harcourt family aren’t the only residents in the house. At first it is only a friend of Jade, talking to her on Facetime, who sees a spectral woman standing behind her. Then there are more sightings of her, as well as increasingly disturbing occurrences in the house. Two weeks after moving in, Caro, out in the garden, is startled to see faces staring out of an upstairs window of the house. The window of a room which holds the secret to the house’s dark history . . . a room which does not appear to exist . . .

Initially, I was really excited to read this book, it sounded like something of interest to me and something I’d really enjoy. The plot sounded really enthralling and like the type of ghostly horror film I’d watch on a dark evening. I just couldn’t get into this book for some reason.

16. Politically Correct Bedtime Stories – James Finn Garner 0/5

I picked this up in the short stories section in my library hoping it would provide some light relief and humour. It was only a little, pocket sized one so I figured I’d be able to power through it. I ‘got’ what the author of this book was trying to achieve but I just really didn’t like it at all. I felt like this book would go down a storm with an older generation who call everyone under the age of 35 a fussy snowflake.

17. Oscar And The Lady In Pink – Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt 4/5

Oscar is ill and no one, especially not his parents, will tell him what he already knows; that he is dying. Granny Rose, the oldest of the ‘ladies in pink’ who visit Oscar and his fellow patients, makes friends with him. She suggests that he play a game: to pretend that each of the following twelve days is a decade of his imagined future. One day equals ten years, and every night Oscar writes a letter to God telling him about his life. This was a particularly moving story not only because it speaks about death in a way which isn’t usually talked about but also as it’s from the point of view of a child making it particularly more heartbreaking.

18. Holding Up The Universe – Jennifer Niven 2/5

First we meet Libby Strout, a young girl once nicknamed America’s Fattest Teen. She’s struggling to keep everything together following her mum’s death. She’s looking forward to starting at high school and being able to be a typical teenager, finding new friends, new hobbies and maybe even dabble a little with lurrrrve. Then we meet, Jack Masselin, the resident cool guy, who has a hidden secret; he can’t recognise faces. The two of them get tangled up in a cruel high school game and end up in counselling where their lives and friendships get brought together.

19. The Little Coffee Shop Of Kabul – Deborah Rodriguez 3/5

What I loved about this book is that it gave me a totally different narrative to somewhere I’d consistently only ever heard bad things about in the news and mainstream media. In a little coffee shop in one of the most dangerous places on earth, five very different women, from very different walks of life all come together. Sunny is the proud proprietor, who needs a plan or an idea to keep her cafe and customers safe, Yazmina is a young pregnant woman stolen from her remote village and now abandoned on Kabul’s violent streets, Candace is a wealthy American who has finally left her husband for her Afghan lover, the enigmatic Wakil, Isabel is a determined journalist with a secret that might keep her from the biggest story of her life and Halajan, the sixty-year-old den mother, whose long-hidden love affair breaks all the rules. As these five discover there’s more to one another than meets the eye, they form a unique bond that changes their lives and the lives of many others.

20. Find Her – Lisa Gardner 1/5

This story sounded like it was going to be right up my street. I’ve discovered this year that, weirdly, I do really like a psychological thriller?! They’re gripping, keep you on edge and full of suspense until you’ve run out of pages to keep reading. I was hoping this would be no different but for some reason I really just couldn’t get to grips with the style of writing. I found it quite jumpy and I kept getting confused with the story and what was going on. In this, an escaped kidnapping victim works alongside a cop, using her personal know how, in an effort to find another missing woman.

21. The Charmed Life Of Alex Moore – Molly Flatt 3/5

I got sent this book in a reading subscription box my sister got me for Christmas called, Reading In Heels. This story is about a girl called Alex Moore. She was stuck in a dead-end job, feeling her potential quietly slip away. One day she decides to launch her dream start-up and became one of London’s fastest rising tech stars practically overnight. At thirty-one, her life has just started to begin. But such is life; Alex’s transformation isn’t particularly easy for those around her. Her friends are struggling to accept her rapid success, her parents worry she’s burning out and her fiancé is getting second thoughts and cold feet. Then all of a sudden, out of the ordinary, weird things start to happen. Muggings, stalkers even an incredibly bizarre claim that she murdered a stranger?! When Alex visits the Orkney Islands to recharge, weird turns into even bigger, weirder things. Because there she discovers the world’s oldest secret; the secret that Alex’s stratospheric rise has royally messed up.

22. Last Time I Lied – Riley Sager 1/5

I didn’t really enjoy this book very much. Alongside an unreliable narrator I noticed quite a lot of spelling errors and grammatical mistakes, which probably sounds dumb but actually put me off. I felt like I had to focus doubly hard if that makes sense? This story is about Emma and her friends playing games and having fun out in the woods during the summer holidays. Three of those friends venture into the woods and never return. Years later Emma is invited back to Camp Nightingale and those woods but is she actually returning to a scene of a crime?

23. Tess Of The D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy 2/5

I thought I’d give a classic a go. I’ve read a few different classic pieces of literature and given that I live in Dorset and a lot of the places Thomas Hardy based his novels on are nearby to where I live, you’d have thought I’d have read more of his work. I think this story is quite telling of the treatment of women in it’s time.

Tess Durbeyfield’s family discover she is part of a noble lineage so send her to the D’Uberville family home to make an appeal to live with them. They take her in and Alec D’Urberville ‘seduces’ (whether she was seduced or raped has created a lot of debate but I lean towards the latter) her and she bears his child, Sorrow, who sadly died in infancy. She leaves and finds work as a dairymaid and meets a nice gentleman called Angel Clare. On their wedding night she confides in him about her troubled past and he cannot take what he’s hearing and leaves for a boat to Brazil. Heartbroken she is reduced to returning to the D’Urbervilles and into the arms of Alec.

24. In Flanders Fields: And Other Poems Of The First World War. – Brian Busby 3/5

I hadn’t really read a book of poetry before or at least off of my own accord and not something for school work. I chose this because I thought this would be quite interesting and more emotive. There’s something about war poetry that gets to me, I don’t know whether you can feel the pain and suffering in each and every written word or whether it’s because with everything going on around these men they found the time to jot down their thoughts and are still highly regarded today.

25. Big Bones – Laura Dockrill 3/5

BB or bluebell is the main character in this book. She’s a cool, down to earth teenager who is also overweight. She is being taken to a doctors appointment alongside her Mother when the doctor urges her that she needs to lose weight. BB sticking to her guns doesn’t want to but they eventually reach a compromise with her mum where she promises to keep a food diary over the summer holidays if her mum will let her get a job/apprenticeship instead of going back to college/sixth form. So each chapter of this book is lovingly titled with some sort of delicious food that BB is eating and reading this made me super hungry throughout. I loved the ways in which she’d describe food and herself for that matter too.

Side note, what I’ve loved about all the youth fiction books I’ve read this year centred around a fat female protagonist there hasn’t been a hint of self loathing! Where were these books when I was growing up!?

It was a bit problematic towards the end however, with a family member being taken to hospital and having to use a wheelchair, BB speaks as if that character has reached their demise because they are temporarily wheelchair bound.

26. Always With Love – Giovanna Fletcher 2.5/5

This is the sequel of Billy and Me and follows the love story between Billy, a famous movie star and his girlfriend Sophie as she meets his family in Los Angeles and navigates her way around the all american dream. From paparazzi to dealing with Billy’s mum when Sophie has to fly home and back to reality without Billy they have to decide whether their love will go the distance and whether it’s worth fighting for. This a lovely, chick lit, holiday read.

27. Some Kind Of Wonderful – Giovanna Fletcher 4/5

I actually really liked this. A lot of the books I’ve read this year have had a real theme of self acceptance, importance and self love and this has been no different. Well all those horror/suspense/thriller books aside too! This atypical love story is between Lizzy and Ian. They met at uni and have been together for 10 years and Lizzy was eagerly awaiting a proposal. During their romantic holiday to Dubai and what should have been that perfect moment, Ian ends it with Lizzy leaving her utterly desolate and heartbroken. Leaving her to reenter single life and to re-evaluate who she was Pre-Ian and who she is now and who she wants to be from now on. It’s a little different to Giovanna’s usual chick lit styles but I really enjoyed this.

28. First Man In: Leading From The Front – Ant Middleton 1/5

I picked this up in a charity shop in an effort to encourage myself to read about different things, broaden my mind and my vocabulary and all that jazz. Ant Middleton is someone who’s been on my telly screen a fair bit over the last few years and to be honest I always felt like he came across a little bit unlikeable? I don’t know much about the armed forces, having no friends or family who are involved so it was interesting to read about everything from the selection process, what he went through, what he saw and his life after the military. It was in parts, I didn’t realise he spent some time in prison after his service but moreover I found this a little bit tedious.

29. Single White Female – John Lutz 2/5

This creepy thriller starts with Allie Jones searching for a new roommate after a bad breakup leaves her living alone. Hedra Carlson appears to be the perfect person, she’s shy and quiet and seems like everything you’d want in a roommate. Soon enough though Allie starts to notice the facade slipping and Hedra grows obsessed with Allie’s looks and social life; so begins to emulate Allie by dressing and styling herself like her. I’ve seen the film and loved it and I hoped the book would live up to the film or be even better but I felt like it was missing something or that the film was more detailed than the book. Which is a rarity.

30. One Of Us Is Lying – Karen M.McManus 3/5

Is is impossible to read this title without humming ABBA’s One Of Us??? Nope just me then! This is like a modern day version of The Breakfast Club with a sinister twist. Five students are sitting in detention after school one evening. There’s Bronwyn, the brainy one, the one who’s off to Yale and has never put a foot wrong or been in detention before. Addy, the beautiful popular one. Nate, the criminal bad boy who’s already on probation for drug dealing. Cooper, the popular jock and all star athlete who’s the brilliant baseball pitcher. And finally Simon, the outcast, the creator of the notorious school gossip app and the only person to not leave the detention room alive. He had secrets on all of the remaining four people in that room and was due to reveal them all the following day so they’d all have their reasons to want him gone or had someone outside of the classroom gone to great lengths for Simon to meet his maker and for the blame to be pinned on someone else???

31. Christmas Shopaholic – Sophie Kinsella 3/5

I’ve sung this tune multiple times but once more for good measure; Sophie Kinsella is 100% my favourite author. I’ve read every single one of her books, even the ones under her real name Madeleine Wickham and I just simply adore how I can read them with such ease. Each character has the warmth of catching up with an old friend and you can easily sink your teeth into each page. I’ve followed the Shopaholic series and watched the film plenty of times too and this Christmas hit had all the same Becky Bloomwood charm. In parts it was a little bit predictable but had a lovely little surprise twist right at the very end.

32. Reader, I Married Me! – Sophie Tanner * 4/5

Last but by absolutely no means not least is this little treasure! I kindly got sent this book in the post just before Christmas and I read it in the space of two days! In this, Chloe Usher gets her heartbroken by her longterm boyfriend and her friends encourage her to get herself back out there and try out some dating apps. After a particularly bad experience she heads straight to her besties house to drink copious amounts of booze and comes up with the brilliant idea, vowing to marry herself instead. We follow Chloe on her journey of self discovery and self love before her big day and the ways in which her family and friends react to the news as well. This is perfect for everyone wanting a fresh perspective on their life or love life; giving you a wonderful new outlook on the most important person you should be loving for the rest of your life.

I have LOVED this challenge I set myself for 2019 and can only hope I can do bigger and better for 2020. I can only but apologise to those reading this hefty post as it’s over 5000 words!!! If only I had this same energy when it came to doing school work or course work! I’m not sure what was the best way to post all these things so I’d love feedback whether this was way too long to read, would you think this would work better just as a thread on Instagram or as a reel of Instagram highlights??

All the love. Abbie X

Simple Ways To Become A Savvy Shopper!

*This is a collaborative post*

We’re now nearly halfway through the month of December. Christmas and a brand new year is quickly coming round the corner and if you’re anything like me you might be facing a moment of sheer panic/crisis about how you are going to budget for it all. I used to be quite a big spender (alright Shirley Bassey, keep ya hair on!) until my financial circumstances changed and I really learned a lot about myself, what’s important (and what really isn’t) and learning how to budget my allowance properly. It was a hard process to go through both in the literal sense and mentally too.

At this time of year, it’s easy to fall into the trap shops want you to: to buy more and more stuff. When you feel as though you are saving money, it’s far easier to justify spending more. It’s also easier to justify buying lower quality stuff – we rationalize that it’s okay for something to break immediately as long as it didn’t put too much of a dent in our savings. I’ve said it myself in the past when I’ve bought something for a few pounds and then when it breaks I’m left feeling annoyed but justify it with a ‘oh it was only £2 or so it wasn’t going to last forever’. 

Obviously you don’t need me to write this and tell you that this isn’t good value in any way, shape or form. In fact, buying cheaply and having to replace things all the time is a poor use of resources as well as a poor use of your money. This is why it’s really important that we all fully understand the concept of good value. I don’t want to patronise you or to teach you something you’d already know but I’m going to list beneath a few of the ways I’ve found helpful to monitor my spending habits and how to become a more savvy shopper. 

Note down what you’re spending.

Now this one might not be for the faint hearted especially if you’re anything like me. It’s a great way to really re-evaluate what you’re spending and it also really makes you second guess yourself before you grab yourself another £3 takeout latte in the morning. I don’t know about you, but I personally always think things like that always feel so much more real by seeing things in writing, especially in an age where contactless card spending is so prevalent in our culture. So when I see a piece of paper or my notes on my phone that show me how many gingerbread lattes I glugged that week or how many things I bought from New Look sale rail in my lunch break. Oops.

Make plans and stick to them. 

When it comes to food shopping and keeping everything on a budget, I’ve found that a great way to keep cost down is to meal prep and meal plan each week. Some people might find that really time consuming, monotonous or boring but if you get your family or everyone you live with involved it will go by a lot quicker and you can have some fun with it too! It works out a lot cheaper to meal prep/plan that way you know what ingredients to buy for each week, it’ll be harder to go off piste when in a supermarket doing the weekly shop and think of the savings you’ll make when you don’t grab the same lunchtime meal deal at work each day!

Take advantage of voucher/offer websites

You can find some fantastic offers for a whole range of things online these days. Whether you’re a regular user of Groupon/Livingsocial/Wowcher you can get some fab offers from treats for yourself, gifts or even holidays and spa trips. If you were looking to purchase one of these things anyway it’s always good to shop around and sometimes you’ll find a great deal from one of these sites. Similarly, websites like Vouchercodes or honey can be automatically uploaded onto your browser so the next time you buy something online and are in the checkout they’ll scan through the internet and find suitable voucher codes and take off any savings they can! Who’d say no to that?!

Don’t be put off by shopping around

Before you make a big purchase I’m sure I can speak for many people when I’d recommend shopping around for different prices or offers first. Maybe I’m just a bit of a cynic and someone that really hates a hard sale in a shop but I always wonder when a shop assistant is really pushing to sell an item if they really believe in what they’re selling or whether they’re just hoping for a commission based sale. If it’s something that is quite a big purchase I’d suggest sleeping on that decision before you make it. Have a look in different shops and online and see what prices can be recommended to you and if you could haggle. If you’ve seen a good deal somewhere but it is more expensive some places might price match for you. You’ll still get the exact same item but with more satisfaction as you got more bang for your buck.

Shop secondhand

Buying second hand is often really good value but you have to know where to look. For example, buying second hand cars or something like these nearly new Vauxhall cars is a good option because cars are built to last and lose value the moment they are driven off the forecourt. But there are plenty of other things you could buy second hand. Vintage clothing is a great example and as more people become environmentally conscious, it is gaining popularity. Fast fashion might be tempting but developing a capsule wardrobe is a tip that comes from the heights of the fashion industry. 

Invest Sensibly

When you spend your money, you are investing in the product or service you are buying. The hope is that the product will fulfill a need and be worth the money spent on it. But this kind of logic can be problematic – if you spend a little and receive a little, it still seems like a worthy investment but it isn’t really. 

A good way to determine good value is to work out the cost-per-use of an item. A t-shirt for a fiver worn once costs £5 for that one wear but a t-shirt bought for £30 and worn 10 times costs £3 per wear. Now you will start to see why buying second hand can be such good value – you will pay less because you aren’t the first owner but you will still get plenty of use out of what you buy. 

Understanding your ethics.

Everyone has a slightly different ethical code and, let’s face it, we can’t afford to have outstanding ethics all the time. However, the more you can do to behave when you shop, the better you will feel. Our world is in a perilous state at the moment and while we can’t blame ourselves as individuals for what is going on, we can all make a small difference by ourselves. Choosing where you shop and how you shop will influence what shops and manufacturers produce and sell. This is why understanding value is so important. You have to figure out what you think of as good value and then pursue it. 

Figure out a good time to shop.

This might sound a bit daft but hear me out with this. Depending on how much time you have, what shops are closest to you or what your budget is, a great way to save a few pennies here and there is by timing your big shop a little bit differently. When it comes to food shopping most big supermarkets will be pricing down any produce for reductions in the late afternoon/evening so that’s a good time to scour the aisles for an offer on something you’d usually buy.

Good value incorporates the longevity of the products you buy, understanding the cost-per-use of each item and taking your ethics into account. 

Clowns To The Left Of Me Jokers To The Right…Here I Am; Fed Up Of Everything I Read In The News.

Once upon a time, I used to just think bad people were few and far between and the underworld was really just a knicker factory on Coronation Street. I also used to think that trolls were mythical creatures that lived underneath a bridge… Flash forward to 2019 and instead you’ll find them lurking behind a computer screen ready to catch you at your lowest ebb or just simply if you’d made an accidental spelling mistake.

I was reluctant to write about these subjects, I wanted to keep my site a somewhat happy place, somewhere where you don’t need to face the overwhelming sense of continuous bad stuff that happens every single day around the globe and have it shoved in your face on another website and media platform. You see, you’re probably wondering why I’ve decided to come on here and actually write something quite serious for a change. In Britain there will be a general election happening today and UK politics, brexit, and how much of a walking poop mountain Boris Johnson actually is something that the majority of the UK are completely sick and tired of seeing everywhere and hearing about. I’m not the most clued up on politics, the government or parliament etc but I’ve been making much more of a concerted effort in recent months to try and understand what exactly is going on in the news.

Ask me anything you’d like about pop culture or get me to quote an outdated vine from 2009 and I can do that no problem but ask me what really is going to happen to me and my generation, whether we’ll realistically be able to buy our own home, retire at a nice age (without selling all our vital organs or working 18 hours a day 7 days a week to make that all possible) and whether brexit does in fact mean brexit and sadly I fall a bit short.

If you’re reading this in the hopes of having some political review on everything that’s going on in the political climate across the globe, I’m afraid you’ve come to the place. I don’t really know all the ins and outs of it all and to be quite honest I don’t think I ever really will.

What I do know is that I am completely and utterly fed up of rich, posh white boys running the world. I’m fed up of people who don’t care about regular, averages Joe’s (and Josephine’s..) like you and me but loosely pretending that they do. I’m fed up of these carbon copies of each other employing their other posh, rich friends.

I’m fed up of big media corporations allowing these people to buy their way to the top. I’m fed up of single use plastic straws being extradited to hell because David Attenborough said they’re bad for environment but they’re is literally and metaphorically a whole ocean of single use plastic products out there. I’m fed up of big corporations using the very current trend of coming across as ethical and more green by cutting the use of plastic straws or plastic bags but wrapping everything else in store in…SiNgLe uSe PlAsTiC. I’m fed up of media bias. I’m fed up of such obvious media bias. I’m beyond fed up of seeing and hearing about so many regular, working class people struggling in one of the most progressive countries in the world and no one caring or doing anything to change that matter. I’m fed up of hearing some of the few, regular working class people who actually think and believe that these types of people actually care about them. Spoiler alert they don’t.

I’m sad I live in a country where so many people’s lives have been ruined, lives have been lost and lives have been taken because not enough people at the top give a damn. I’m sad I live in a country where so many voices still aren’t heard. I’m sad I live in a country where I see people who don’t bother voting because they can’t be bothered or don’t know who to choose. Suffragettes died for these chances and opportunities don’t forget that and many people around the world still don’t have that chance. I’m fed up of people not taking voting seriously and they think that their one vote won’t make any difference anyway so why bother. Imagine if everyone had that mentality!

I’m sad I live in a world where the big issues that will wreck more havoc on our future, like global warming or that, still in this day and age in 2019, girls will go off on a holiday of a lifetime and might get raped and/or murdered and somehow end up being the one that gets tarnished as if it’s their own fault, aren’t deemed important enough yet.

I don’t know much about stuff, long suffering readers of mine will know this by now, I could ramble on and on about my favourite biscuit for about twenty minutes before realising you didn’t even ask (or care). But this particular political event really bothers me as whichever way it’ll go it’ll affect me and my generation. It’ll affect my future children, grandchildren etc and the lack of forward thinking scares me. It sounds silly and I hope I’m not tempting fate but I really hope I wake up tomorrow morning to utter chaos from the Labour Party.

Image result for love jeremy corbyn

Twelve Simple Self Care Steps To A Happier You!

*This is a collaborative post*

Nobody said that life was going to be easy; they just said that it was going to be worth it. And that’s generally how it seems to go. It’s a series of good and bad moments, and we need to have the wisdom to appreciate the good moments and how to handle the bad ones. It’s always important to remember that while you simply cannot avoid the negative parts of life, there are always, always, always things you can do to make them easier to bear and to overcome. Stress is something that is near on impossible to avoid these days even just watching the telly and flicking onto the news channel is enough to make you want to turn the thing off forever; with it’s constant stream of bad stuff happening every single day. 

As someone who gets anxious and stressed quite easily I’ve conjured up a little list here of simple, easy steps to help overcome a stressful, low period in your life. Obviously not everything here might be applicable to you, it may seem completely obvious but sometimes it’s enough to know that you’re not on your own, in this big ol’ world you are never on your own and a lot of people (even the ones you who laugh and joke all day long) are in the same position as you.

If you’d like to add anything, any other tips, tricks or pointers please start a conversation with me in the comments down below!

 

Treat Yourself Well

Life will give you plenty of knocks over the years, and if you’re not doing anything to protect yourself, then naturally it’s going to be hard to endure. The best, most recommended way to preserve yourself is to treat yourself well. We can get so wrapped up in the daily obligations and responsibilities of life that we forget to focus on ourselves and give our bodies and minds what we need. It’s fine — even dare I say it essential; to be selfish from time to time. Listen to what you need, and don’t feel bad about treating yourself. A person in tune with their physical and mental needs will be better equipped to handle the trials and tribulations of life better than someone that doesn’t listen.

That can mean anything from physically treating yourself to some retail therapy, you DO deserve that nice new top, that new edition book to read on the way home from work, go for a large hot chocolate with all the topping rather than just a small/medium. Run yourself a big, bubble bath with some gorgeous smelling treats in it, switch your phone off for the evening and soak away any troubles.

Get Exercising

Exercising to me used to be just one of those annoying things that we think we have to do just to “be healthy,”  or to stay fitting into my clothes but it’s about so much more than that. While you likely would feel a little better about yourself if you’re in shape, that’s not the only reason why you should hit the gym or pull on the running shoes. Joining a gym or fitness group is an excellent way to get out of the house, out of your comfort zone and to meet new friends. Exercising is great for the mind — it clears your head, and also releases plenty of mood-boosting chemicals, too. It’ll also give you more energy, so you’re able to handle everything that you need to do without feeling like a walking zombie.

A Good Night’s Rest

And talking of being a walking zombie: make sure that you’re getting enough sleep! It’s one of the fundamentals of life, and there’s a big difference between someone that is well-rested and someone that is running on empty. You probably know yourself how irritable and unlike yourself you are when you’re tired. If you’ve been struggling to get to sleep, then look at making some changes. The rise in people suffering from sleeping conditions has resulted in a lot of research into how we can improve our sleep. It’s all about creating a cozy bedroom, limiting distractions such as noise and light, and avoiding screen time in the two hours leading up to bedtime. Your mind needs time to switch off if it’s going to seep, and that can’t happen if it’s continually stimulated by the buzzing and flashing lights of smartphones and tablets. I’ve been trying not going on my laptop, ipad or phone too close to bedtime and actually dedicating half an hour to some reading time. It’s meant I’ve really made a dent in my TBR list and I think my sleeping has definitely improved because of this. 

Calming the Mind

We’re all prone to feeling stress from time to time. Working towards a promotion, owning a home, raising a family, day to life in this modern age…they can all induce stress. And while it’s relatively straightforward to handle a little bit of stress, if it becomes too much, then we’re liable to crumble before what life throws at us. There is a tried and tested method for handling stress, however, one that dates back thousands of years: meditation. It can do wonders for all areas of your life, indeed, it can push you in a generally positive direction. It’s super easy to get started by yourself, find a local class that offers meditation or yoga for beginners but if you want a little help, look at downloading an app that can guide you through the process. After a while of practice, you’ll find that you attain a sense of peace that makes all aspects of life easier to control.

Simple Tasks

People can become blindsided by the big things in life. They focus on the grand aspects of life, yet, while it’s always good to keep those things in mind, it’s much better to have a bottom-up approach. If you can take care of the essential aspects of life, then you’ll find that it’s much easier to get to grips with everything else you’ve got going on. The essentials can be classed as ensuring your home is tidy, you’re eating well, and that you’re looking after yourself. These things will be the foundations upon which you can grow. 

Handling the Finances

There are few things worse than enduring the stress associated with financial issues. We could be in good health, have good friends, an active social life, but if our money situation is in trouble, then we’ll always have stress hanging around our neck. This is especially problematic during the festive period or other cost-intensive times of the year. Once you’ve been in this position it’s like you’re staring at every aspect of your spending through a magnifying glass. I’ve been there and it’s absolutely horrific. It’s easy for me to sit behind a screen and say the usual tropes of ‘everything will be okay in the end’ because that doesn’t help at all and well… you don’t want to know that; you want to know about getting out of this is situation in the here and now. It’s important to remember that there are always things you can do to improve the money aspect of things. If you need money fast and have exhausted every other option feasible then you could look into whether you’d want to try a bad credit payday loans. Before you do anything hasty I would probably advise you really thinking hard about this decision, check the loan rate and how much you’d have to pay back overall in the end and how long it would take you as well. The upside to doing this is that you would have money in your account, and then you can simply pay the money back once you get paid. That’ll handle short-term problems. For longer-term issues, you can develop a financial strategy that’ll give you enough to live on and also put some money into your savings account. 

I know it’s super cliche and easy for me to say but money isn’t the be all and end all. One of the hardest things I found was being honest with myself and those the closest around me about my money/financial situation. Admitting I can’t go to certain things as I simply can’t afford it, I can’t buy something brand new and have to look second hand or in a charity shop to save money. As hard as the conversation might be it’ll feel like a massive weight has been lifted from your shoulders. 

Set Challenges 

It’s normal to fall into a rut from time to time. Life can begin to feel a little same-y, we’re stuck on autopilot mode, and we begin to think that our options are limited. It’s always important to remember, however, that there are always ways to step up and be more. Sometimes we just need a little bit of a push to get going. If you’re beginning to fall into a rut, look at setting yourself a challenge — it doesn’t really matter what it is, so long as you’re pushing yourself forward. You might just be surprised at how invigorating it can feel, and how it reminds you of your capabilities. If you’re beginning to feel in a funk, then get moving in any direction. It’ll be the spark you need to get back to your best. You’ll also be raising the bar when it comes to your standards. Find a new hobby is a great example of this, take up running or blogging for example! You’ll be able to look back and monitor how far you’ve come and it’ll give you a fresh new focus. 

Find Your Sore Points 

Everything could be going fine, but then, from nowhere, we begin to feel a little low about ourselves. Everyone has insecurities and things that make them feel bad about themselves; it’s completely normal. If you can identify what those things are however; then you can limit the impact that they have. If it’s something you can change and want to change; then change it. If it’s not, then be aware of how those triggers can make you feel, and accept them. Sometimes our biggest mistakes happen when we’re feeling low about ourselves because of insecurities. If we can recognize the things that make us feel this way, then we might just stop us from making those mistakes. 

Help Others 

One mistake that you could say people is that they focus too much on themselves. It’s not a selfish thing, it’s just normal — and to an extent, completely understandable. You have to focus on yourself first! But it’s also worthwhile focusing on other people from time to time, too. Studies have shown that helping people can give us a lot of good feelings! So as much as it is about you too, buuut it’s mostly for them. Life can be tough and it’s up to all of us to help each other get through it. Also, not to take it a selfish place, but the more people that you support when they have difficult moments, the more people you’ll have to support you when life kicks you around a little. It’s nice to be nice. Remember that. 

Accepting Help

Of course, having people around you who are willing to help is one thing. Accepting their help is another. One of the best gifts that you can give yourself is the ability to accept help when it’s offered. We all know people who want to handle every detail of every issue all on their own. While there will be times when you have to help yourself, there’ll be others when a helping hand from a friend or family member can do wonders. A problem shared is a problem halved like they say, your family, friends and loved ones care about you and would only want the best and wouldn’t like to think that you’re struggling in silence. 

If you feel like you couldn’t reach out to someone you know in real life, sometimes actually saying what’s worrying you is really hard. Write it down, send it as a text or even reach out to a charity like the Samaritans. You can email, ring or even text them with what’s worrying you and it’s nice to know that whatever it is, whatever time of the day it is too, someone will always be there to help you through.

Learn from your mistakes

Some people are guilty of beating themselves up far too much when they make a mistake. But you wouldn’t be human if you didn’t make mistakes! Indeed, it’s better to try things and make mistakes, rather than play things safe all the time and do nothing.

 

Positive Attitudes

Finally, don’t forget the power of a positive attitude. It really can make a big difference in your life. If you act like good things are happening, you’ll be more likely to take opportunities as and when they arrive. A pessimistic attitude can keep you stuck where you are. If everything is fine in your life, then choose to be positive — it really is that simple.

How To Throw The Perfect Christmas Or New Year’s Party!

*This is a collaborative post*

December really is the month for all the social butterflies out there. Amongst all the evenings spent frequenting pubs, bars and Christmassy market mulled wine tents, work christmas parties, all the other Christmas related festivities in-between and of course pre/post New Year’s celebrations it’s easy to see why it’s the most wooooooonderful time of the year.

You’ve probably been to plenty of parties in your life, for all sorts of occasions. Many will live on in your memories, while others were forgotten about merely days later. If you are throwing a soiree soon, perhaps for Christmas or the New Year, you know which camp you are going to want yours to fall into. However, throwing a party that is remembered for all the right reasons can be particularly tricky at this time of year; especially when the weather is so terrible outside! So whether you’re big on parties or prefer the quieter, chilled nights in, you’re the first to get the booze in or prefer guzzling all the soft drinks and if you are looking to add a bit of sparkle and something special to your party; hopefully there’ll be something for everyone to think about with these handy tips here! 

Location!

The first thing you are going to need to consider before you organise the big bash is where you’re going to host the partaaaay of the year. Are you going to throw it from the comfort of your own home? Or will it be somewhere you’ll need more space like hiring a room at a village hall or a conference room at a hotel? Or pushing the boat out and getting all your mates together for a night away at a bouji AirBnB. Personally, my favourite types of parties are the more lowkey types. The ones where you can comfortably settle in for the night on the sofa with all your friends, shoveling in a handful of crisps and not having to worry about moving onto the next bar or pub every hour!

If you’re going to throw the social occasion of the year at home you’ll need to consider:

  • If you live with other housemates or family members keep any other rooms locked to keep out stray party guests.
  • If you think you all might get a bit carried away whilst having fun, perhaps warn your neighbours beforehand just to stay in their good books!
  • Keep anything you don’t want to get broken out of the way especially if you’ve got clumsy drunken pals.

If you’re throwing a party in a public place like a hall or something similar you’ll need to consider:

  • You’ll have to pay. I feel like this one goes without saying and there may be a waiting list or might be all booked up by now for Christmas dates already.
  • You’ll be allocated a certain amount of time and will have to clean up fully at the end as well. I don’t know about you but in my opinion nothing quite kills my partying buzz like whipping round with a hoover at the end of the night.
  • There might be restrictions on what you can do and whether loud music is permitted.

party pug

Perfect that guest list!

Now I don’t know about you but sometimes in life it’s nearly impossible to have completed blended friendships groups. You’ve got your family, your friends, your work friends, childhood friends, old family friends the list could go on and on. They’re all great and you adore them all equally but when it comes to hosting a shindig before you click send to all to all your FaceBook pals you might want to just double check who you actually want there, who’ll probably RSVP yes and not even bother to turn up at all and who’ll defo come through for ya and will bring a bucketload of snacks and a playlist to make Steve Aoki quake in his boots.

Have a theme!

When we think of a theme, the first thing that may come to mind is Halloween. In fact, Christmas and New Year particularly lend themselves well to themes – everyone is feeling a little more fun and more prepared to ‘let go’ and immerse themselves in the festivities. It doesn’t have to be anything too over the top (it’s your party you can do what you want to cry if you want to) Dress up to the nines for a Glitz and Glamour Hollywood theme. Have a purely Christmas themed shindig and everyone has to wear the most Christmassy jumper or go a bit wild with it. Or finally, set it to a particular decade or era and get some great pics to cherish forever (as long as everyone is game with a night of fancy dress!) or plan the night around an exciting Murder Mystery event.

Mix up the music!

Music is a must at any party, whether it subtly plays in the background or becomes more of a focal point with a dance floor. If your budget (and space!) can stretch to it, hire a professional DJ – they know exactly how to read a crowd and get them up and on the dance floor. Sometimes the really cheesy ones are the best too, there’s nothing quite like having a giggle with all your mates as you all get up singing and dancing to Living On A Prayer for the third time that night! Similarly, if you’re looking for a much cheaper alternative creating a playlist of all your favourites, cheesy classics are a must I’m afraid (soz I don’t make the rules but ABBA do) ask one of the party attendees to be officially in charge of the Spotify playlist or just simply put the radio/music channel on in the background!

party

Consider the entertainment!

For many parties, music is the sole form of entertainment, but if you want your party to be a little bit different, consider other forms of entertainment. When you’re surrounded by all your friends or family sometimes it’s nice to have a little something extra to do as well  (aside from the annual tradition of the character assassination about my work life/ love life and repeat). Board games in recent years have had a real revival. Gone are the days of just spending hours cooped around a small table playing Cluedo and Trivial pursuit til the small hours with your great Aunt Ethel and there’s an ocean of the most hilarious games and activities for groups to do. Whether you want to organise the tradish style drinking games like beer pong or never have I ever? The App Head’s Up is a great way to integrate people and have a laugh. 

I’m really into silly games especially the types where you learn something brand new about innocent Sheila from accounts. I’ve seen a lot of hubbub about Big Potato Games a fun company from the UK who create some really entertaining games for big groups to small gatherings alike. Cards Against Humanity is always an absolute belter for getting everyone in the fun, partying spirit. Similarly you can find loads of fun different games to play if you have a quick search on Amazon.

Usually the idea of organised fun to me sounds as much fun as poking myself in the eye but if you’re after a really fun activity with all your pals this festive period check out what’s going on locally in your area. Pub quizzes are a great way to get together and sometimes (if you’re lucky) win some fun prizes. I’ve never won a pub quiz in my life but we’ve got free rounds for the best team name which is always fun. Or check out Fizz Box to see what exhilarating activities are on offer in your local area.

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Plan your food and drinks!

Food and drink are essential at any party, whether you are planning a fab finger buffet or a three-course formal dinner. However, the last thing you want to be doing is spending all night slaving away in the kitchen and missing out on all of the fun. Order in some pizzas for the group to share and feast on throughout the night. Crisps and dips are the best part about a social gathering if you ask a little piggy like me. Make something fun for everyone to get involved with like a tex-mex station with guests to make fajitas, tacos and overloaded macho nachos. Or if you fancy having a cocktail making and shaking sesh for the evening; grab all your alcoholic beverages, different spirits, soft drinks and fruit juices and make like you’re all fully trained bartenders and enjoy testing out each other’s creations.  

Fingers crossed that these tips will hopefully help you to plan and throw a party that no one will forget this Christmas time. 

72 Little Things That Make Me Inexplicably Happy.

 

  • Double yolked eggs.

 

  • Sitting and facing the right way on a train.

 

  • Videos of dogs seeing their military owners home for the first time in months.

 

  • Well….Just videos of dogs in general really.

 

  • Peanut butter.

 

  • Belly laughs.

 

  • When the title name of a tv episode is used in the programme.

 

  • The smell of fresh, hot coffee.

 

  • Hitting a sequence of traffic lights all on green.

 

  • Watching The Office US again and again and again aaaaaaaaand again.

 

  • Looking up at the Moon and all the stars. Classic Aquarius aren’t I.

 

  • Feeling warm and cosy.

 

  • Little independent bookshops.

 

  • Breakfast in bed. Or any meal in bed for that matter is, totally, utterly lush.

 

  • Puddings. Desserts. Cake. Sweet treats.

 

  • Handwritten letters.

 

  • Having a great hairdresser.

 

  • When you’re having one of those days where everything is just going exactly right the way you want it to.

 

  • Receiving flowers.

 

  • Hearing a song you’d forgotten about.

 

  • Finding a book you simply can’t put down.

 

  • Compliments from strangers.

 

  • Other drivers that wave up kindly. I don’t like the ‘one-finger-lift-from-the-steering-wheel’ wave. Something more jolly please and thanks.

 

  • Undisturbed snow.

 

  • Seeing faces in inanimate objects.

 

  • Time flying when you’re having fun.

 

  • Old people who dress like each other.

 

  • Listening to really good street performers.

 

  • Sun rays.

 

  • Chocolate covered fruit.

 

  • When someone shows you something that reminds them of you.

 

  • Fountain pens.

 

  • The crackle of a log fire.

 

  • Seeing your food coming at a restaurant.

 

  • ‘Let me know you’re home’ texts.

 

  • Sunflowers.

 

  • Seeing shapes in the clouds.

 

  • Nice handwriting.

 

  • Old books.

 

  • Finding something interesting in a charity shop.

 

  • The sound of rain as you doze off to sleep.

 

  • Fresh bed sheets.

 

  • Fresh bed sheets against freshly shaved legs.

 

  • Late nights or early starts when the world is still sleeping and everything seems different and quieter.

 

  • Antiques.

 

  • Seeing small acts of kindness performed between strangers.

 

  • When someone says they’re proud of you.

 

  • The lingering scent of a nice perfume or aftershave left behind in a room.

 

  • The way my dog greets me at the door after a long day.

 

  • Quaint old pubs that smell like a mixture of spilled beer and stale cigarettes.

 

  • Summer evenings in pub beer gardens.

 

  • Picnics. The outdoor lunch kind not the raisiny chocolate bar kind.

 

  • A really good stretch.

 

  • Smiley strangers. In a good way not the creepy way.

 

  • Double texts.

 

  • Someone saying ‘Thank You’ and actually meaning it.

 

  • Old people that dress smartly. I used to work in a shop where an old gentleman would always come into town to do his shopping, in a shirt and tie and always tip his hat at us.

 

  • TV shows that end on a high.

 

  • Getting good value for money.

 

  • Birthday cake.

 

  • Deep conversations in cars late at night.

 

  • Thick woolly jumpers.

 

  • Nailing a parallel park on the first go.

 

  • Hearing someone talk passionately about something.

 

  • Sunday morning easy listening playlists.

 

  • Feeling inspired.

 

  • Red sky at night.

 

  • The smell of blown out candles.

 

  • Making someone laugh.

 

  • Fish and chips at the seaside.

 

  • The warm smell of a sauna.

 

  • Interesting architecture.

 

What about you? What would be something on your list?

 

A, x

 

 

 

Visiting The New Julia’s House Charity Shop in Creekmoor, Poole, Dorset. *

Last Tuesday, I was kindly invited by Sarah from Julia’s House to attend an exclusive blogger’s evening at their newly refurbished store in Creekmoor, Poole. Not only was I excited because this was my first proper blogger event invite, one with other, actual bloggers present (yay!) but Julia’s House is a well known charity foundation in my area and naturally I was so thrilled to be personally invited by them. Oh and also because I am a massive charity shop fan. I’m always on the hunt for a good bargain. I’m like the personification of a magpie for these sorts of things.

Speaking of being a massive charity shop fan. I became a literal massive charity shop fan. The Creekmoor site is one of the biggest charity shops on the south coast. Facts on toast from here on out.

So when Mum and I arrived,  we were greeted by one of the staff members, taken through the store, eyeing up stuff as we went (on the evening we were lucky enough to be given 20% off of everything we purchased. So if you can hold on until the end to see all of my new goodies I promise it’ll be worth it!) and were lead out to a meeting room, waiting with all the other bloggers. Sarah, led a short talk explaining to us all about their story, what they do and showed us a video of one of their parents of a Julia’s House child and their experience.

For those of you reading this who aren’t based in the South West of England you might not be fully aware of what Julia’s House is, what they’re about and the work they do. Prior to Tuesday evening, my knowledge wasn’t hugely extensive on all the exact ins and outs either to be honest. I knew they were a children’s hospice and had a lot of charity shops in my local area but that was about it.

So, Julia’s House was created from an idea a paediatric nurse named Julia Perks had. As she worked in the healthcare industry and with very poorly children, she noticed there was something still missing. She dreamed of creating a space or support network for the families who are struggling with caring for a life-limited child. Somewhere, where the child can receive the care and support they need as well as it being a place where the whole family can go or can turn to and feel like they’ve also got a lifeline. In a devastating turn of events, Julia sadly died from cancer and never got to see her dream become a reality. Her friend, Mike Wise, and a small group of dedicated supporters to kindly took the reigns of her brilliant idea and through their tireless efforts and fundraising they got the charity off the ground, employing their first two community nurses; who’d offer families some respite by visiting directly at their homes. Now, one of the first community nurses is still working within Julia’s House and is the Director of Care!

They’ve got a hospice in Poole, Dorset and another one in Devizes, Wiltshire which provides either day or overnight care to the poorly little ones and gives the affected families a chance to have some time out for themselves, to catch up on day to day things or spend with their other children whilst knowing their child is in a safe, home away from home environment. That’s one of the brilliant things I took away from this evening is that Julia’s House don’t just care about the affected child they care for the entire family. Offering and providing experiences such as shopping or spa trips for tired Mums, motor racing day trips to Thruxton for weary Dads, week long residential trips for the siblings to get to know other children/teenagers in a very similar position and giving them a good chance to get away from it all and all their worries. They cover all grounds, making sure no one is left behind and have launched something called Great Mates. A social get together for all the aunties, uncles, nannys, grandads, grans, grandpas, family friends and basically anyone who’s closely involved with the care of a Julia’s House child.

Considering only 5% of Julia’s House is government funded it really humbled me to think, firstly, just how lucky I am to be who I am. I’ve never struggled and I don’t know where the children, the families, the friends, the nurses and the staff get their strength and resilience from to wear a brave face, smile and carry on each day. How do people just learn to cope when they’re told the worst? Secondly it really brought it home to me, just how charities like this must really rely on their fundraisers, their donations, their sponsors, patrons and the customers in each of their charity shops.

So now you’re as clued up on everything Julia’s House as I am; let’s get onto the topic of the new Creekmoor store I visited. I wasn’t really sure what I was going to be expecting. I’d seen a few pictures on twitter and heard raving reviews about it but like all these things you always want to make your mind up for yourself. Upon arrival, I was instantly drawn in by their wicked Halloween display. After years of working in retail I know the pain and the pleasures of pulling off an A* dressed window and how it can entice someone into a store. I was told this wasn’t going to be like any other, ordinary charity shop. There was no dingy and damp smell and definitely no moth ball in sight! It truly lived up to the hype of being an Instagrammer’s dream.  From childrenswear, to designer garms, homeware, a cosy library nook and even an exclusive, bridal suite this definitely didn’t feel like any ordinary charity shop. Toto we defo aren’t in Kansas anymore!

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After Sarah had finished her talk with us all we were shown around the shop by the manager, Dave. In this day and age, not only is fashion sustainability something that is at the forefront of a lot of people’s minds but the importance of reusing and recycling is too. The team here made sure they put everything to good use that they could possibly and the surplus furniture they didn’t know where to place they fashioned into display cabinets. It’s super quirky and fabulous.

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This is the children’s section with this incredible Doctor Who style tardis changing room for children. This was handmade just for this store, and strangely enough, in a bizarre turn of events it’s not the only one they have in here either! Someone from Wiltshire heard about it and gave it to the store. It’s weird and wonderful and totally sums up this whole store. On the outside it looks like any other Julia’s House shop but once you’re inside it’s so much bigger and better than you’d have envisaged. Oh and not forgetting the fab lady stood in front. That’s Claire and she was on hand as our very own personal stylist for the evening.  She oozed, style, passion and charisma and was the perfect person to be championing the store and also me into buying loads. They were all so passionate about this place, the cause and you could tell they were all so proud of the newly refurbished store. After all, they were the ones that had literally put in all the hard work!

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Never have I seen so many Tardis’s in one place?! The attention to detail to every inch of this store is so inventive.

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To the left of the children’s area was the gorgeous Bridal room. To access it, you have to book an appointment in order to treat yourself to a proper Say Yes to The Dress style experience for a fraction of the cost. As we all gathered inside, I was taken aback by the glitz and glamour and was a little bit shocked to see such beautiful gowns! Not that I was expecting them to be horrible but they all looked lovely. All the gowns were either donated as secondhand or from bridal shops that had closed locally. All the dresses are priced under £300 and as wedding shopping / budgeting goes that’s still a massive bargain!

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It’s a lovely and big secluded area of the shop so you can try on and get a feel of what your style is.

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It just goes to show not everything you’d see in a charity shop looks like something your great Aunt Ethel would have worn in the early 1900s. These gowns are utterly fabulous and you wouldn’t believe you could get it for such a cheap price in a charity shop?!

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I love the extra little touches dotted around from the classy chandelier in this room and the big glass full of flowers.

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You can see even more dresses and wedding outfits available here too. Whether you’re looking for bridesmaids, or for little lads to look dapper on the big day there’s so much choice.

Similarly, they also did some nice prom style dresses. After speaking to Sarah at the end of the evening I found out that the team at Julia’s House went to one of the nearby schools with loads of Prom dresses and gowns, some drinks and nibbles and the school girls sorted their outfits out in style and for a good cause too. Prom can be such a big deal at school, well everything seems like a big deal at school at least! Everything from the outfit, the makeup, the hair, the vehicle you arrive in is seen by the rest of your year group and it feels like the biggest event in the world at the time. So to be able to get a decent dress much cheaper and much more ethically would have meant a great deal to those school children.

From the bridal room we then moved into my favourite place in any charity shop; the book section. I can’t help but raid the shelves and see what new read I can find and Creekmoor offered an even better alternative to the usual few shelves. A whole library room!

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Complete with this comfy leather sofa and a few chairs dotted about the room; this space just looks ridiculously cosy to settle in and sink your teeth into a new book. As mentioned previously (and I’m sure i’m going to mention it a few more times before this post is out) I love all the tiny details the team have used to tie each room together. The cowhide rug, the rustic makeshift table, the vintage typewriter (not for sale unfortunately for me) could confuse you for being in a vintage store, Urban Outfitters or somewhere similar to that! You could easily wile away your time in just this section alone before perusing the shelves and grabbing an armful of new books. They’re £1 each or two books for £1.50 unless marked otherwise and in my opinion you can never have too many books!

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I really love the ingeniousness of using these surplus to requirement snowboards as  bookshelves. It’s so clever, so good to reuse them for another purpose and it also looks SO cool.  Notice anything peculiar about the wall either??? Well, it’s wooden doors!? Seriously I’m astounded at the creativity that went into organising this site and into making it what it is. It’s beyond clever.

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The vintage typewriter. There were several items like this dotted around the store. It gives the place so much character, adds to the character and I’ve noticed in my local Julia’s House charity shop they have some donated items just for display purposes.

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Coming out of the library nook is the men’s section. The way Dave and the team spoke about it made me realise how some charity shops are actually quite poor when it comes to bits for men. It got me thinking whether it’s a just a slight difference between the shopping habits between men and women. Are men more likely to go into a shop knowing exactly what they want to purchase, buy that specific item and leave whereas women are perhaps more prone to enjoy the general shopping experience and like to browse as they go. Is the Great British high street and fashion retail in general primarily aimed at women more than men. There are endless shops just for women’s fashion compared to how many there are just for men; so is it inevitable that there are going to be more women’s clothes ending up in charity shops and as secondhand items compared to men’s? I feel like I’ve run away with myself on a real tangent there but it’s something you can think about, ponder on and get back to me with your thoughts!

Creekmoor, stocked a big range of men’s clothes, a huge wall of shelving of dvds and games as well as a super impressive, big vinyl record collection.

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Right by the front door is a large area of women’s clothes, shoes and bags. Ranging from designer labels like lovely Hobbs dresses to high street togs from the likes of Zara, Marks & Spencer and Topshop. Everything felt of good quality and

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As you can see, I was quite snap happy this evening. Rows of old fashioned Singer sewing machines adorned the top shelves of the shoes section.

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On the other side of the shop was all of the homewares. They laid it out like it was a proper department store. With a kitchenwares section with electronic items to plates, glasses and other little knick-knacks. A bathroom section almost with an array of different skincare and beauty products all unused and unopened, perfect if you’re on a budget. They used donated wallpaper or off cuts to create the look for each section and each room and I’m really impressed with the thought and attention to detail here. It’s something I’d have never thought of and probably wouldn’t have even realised had it not been brought to my attention. I sound like a broken record but I’m honestly so impressed with all this effort. It helps customers visualise each item when they draw it all together and lowkey makes you want to get more as it all looks so good altogether!!

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I love the quirky furnishings. I can’t wait to deck out my future home with funky little pieces like this. It’ll be like a storybook of random pieces and like Phoebe Buffay did my shopping.

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This section had real Cosy Club / Lounge vibes. It’s eclectic and fun. In my opinion vintage or vintage style pieces like this have so much more life and character about them compared to a simple (Read boring) frame.

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Opposite the till area are these two changing areas.

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five points if you can spot me.

Well done for making it this far! This is probably my personal record for the most pictures used in a blog post. So I do apologize if it’s quite laggy to open and load this blog post but trust me it’ll be so worth it! As I mentioned previously, we got given 20% off of everything we purchased on the night and I picked out some bargains I want to show off to you all.

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I picked up this faux succulent for my room. I redecorated my bedroom back in August going with a really neutral vibe with white walls, keeping the same furniture and generally having a bit of a clear out. I’m using soft furnishings and duvet covers to bring in splashes of colour here and there and also means I can change the theme as I wish. At the moment I’m alternating between a green leafy duvet cover and then a pink and grey floral design. This was only £2 as well?!

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I love little trinkets and quirky pieces and spotted this old fashioned, vintage atomizer nestled in amongst some other homewares. I just thought it was quite pretty and I can’t wait to feel like Sophia Loren spritzing myself with my fancy schmancy new atomiser.

As I was browsing the clothes I proudly proclaimed that I’ve got SOOOOO much black clothing and couldn’t possibly need anymore, that I was finally going to get something with a bit of colour. Flash forward to about 15 minutes later when I spotted this off the shoulder sheer blouse; it slipped right into my basket without even a second thought. I love items like this though, whether you want to dress it up with some skinny, cigarette trousers for a smart casual look or layer it with a mini skirt and tonnes of black kohl eyeliner and some silver jewellery for a cool going out out style.

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Lastly I picked up this hefty and totally random selection of books. I love reading as you may have already guessed by now! But something I’m really proud of is that my taste in the genre of books I read is fluid and always changing. I’m really keen to broaden my mind as and when I can. As much as I love reading a light hearted chick lit novel I also really enjoy reading social psychology books and things that make me really think. I picked up Single, White Female by John Lutz; the book the film is based on. I love books that you can’t put down until the very end and I definitely think this book will be just like that. I got The Circle by Dave Eggers which I picked up after a skim read of the blurb. The Circle is about a company (called The Circle obvs) that runs the internet and now basically runs everything. The main character starts working for them and slowly but surely notices a sinister truth about this place. Sounds interesting, right!

Next up is Big Bones by Laura Dockrill which is all about the day to day trials and tribulations of a young fat girl. It sounds fun and honest and as someone who was also the young fat girl I’m so glad to see she’s not the laughing stock, the cliche butt of the joke because she’s a larger person. I got Wilde Like Me by Louise Pentland. I know I’m a bit late the party with this one but it was £1 and I like nice to read chick lit which I’ve heard this is.

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Like I say, my reading history is eclectic and random as anything, my next purchase was Jon Ronson’s Them: Adventures With Extremists. Jon talks about his experiences of meeting different extremists around the world and discovered the one thing they all have in common. Probably not an ideal book to reading on the train or in Costa to avoid funny looks. I got Worth Dying For by Tim Marshall which is all about trying to understand the histories, the power and politics of the symbols that people rally around, the symbols that unite us and also divide us. Aaaaaand last but by no means not least; I got Tequila Mockingbird combining my two favourite things, alcohol and literary based puns. This book contains a glorious collection of all the best tipples and I can’t wait to put this book to good use. Y’know for research purposes obvs…I’m doing this for you guys.

I’m so glad I said yes to going along to this fabulous event I got loads of great new bits, learnt loads about this wonderful foundation and feel like the money I spent that evening will have inevitably helped even just a tiny bit. If you’re local to the area I’d really recommend popping in if you’re near to Poole or Bournemouth. This really isn’t like any old charity shop you’d find on your local high street.

Or simply, if you can take anything away from this blog post I implore you to have a root through your local charity shops. Not only will you be giving back to those who need it most, it’s more sustainable than buying brand new clothes or homewares and most of the time you really wouldn’t even know it’s from a charity shop! Plus it’s much cheaper way of shopping plus you never know what might take your fancy!

*I got invited to this blogger event in exchange for writing a blog post / review about it. Even though it was an invited experience all my thoughts, feelings and opinions remain authentic, true to me and genuine.

Vogue Parody: 73 Questions With What Abbie Says.

 

Hello! This tag has been swooping round the blogging world recently and I was mega touched to see one of my favourite blogging pals Tanya had taken part AND tagged me to get involved with it as well.

If you don’t already know, Tanya is the wonderwoman behind the blog Glam Glitz Gloss which covers everything from beauty, to food, to lifestyle and dating and all the nitty gritty personal bits in between. Her style of writing is as sassy and informative as she is IRL I could spend hours reading her rewrite the telephone book. Now if that wasn’t enough for you, not only does SuperTan work full time, have a bustling social life, run her own blog she also runs The Live Review providing readers with fun and insightful reviews to everything worth seeing in London. I swear she must have more than 24 hours in a day?!

So back to this tag then hey? As you’re reading this, just imagine that it’s exactly like the Vogue videos and I’m traipsing around my luxe Beverly Hills mansion as I’m typing this not that I’m really sat in my bedroom still living at home with my parents. So settle in, here goes!

1.What’s your usual Starbucks drink?

My go to is probably a vanilla latte. In the summer I’d probably opt for a iced peach green tea lemonade and in the Winter I’d go for a gingerbread latte or an eggnog latte.

2. What does your work station look like?

Messy! I can usually organise it for about a day but I’m the type of person to leave lots of little notes all over the place, a whole host of different fluffy pens and notebooks and biscuits and a cuppa. I’m sure it’s probably dead stress inducing for everyone else but I know where everything is and everything has it’s place. Well that’s my excuse for it all anyway!

3. All-time favourite food?

Italian food. I’ll have a caprese salad to start, some sort of delicious pasta or pizza for main course and a ginormous helping of tiramisu for dessert and an amaretto sour to drink. Bellissimo!

4. Favourite author?

Sophie Kinsella. I think I must have read every single one of her books and have loved them all. They’re such feel good, perfect for holiday books.

5. What do you think of open relationships?

Everyone is different and what works for someone might not necessarily work for someone else. So perhaps because I don’t necessarily ‘get’ that lifestyle; I find it hard to understand how a loving relationship could exist between more than two people without someone feeling left out or jealous.

6. What’s your favourite video game?

When I was younger I was obsessed with The Simpsons Hit & Run. Now though, I still really love The Sims but I always end up spending longer on styling the sims or designing the house than I actually do on proper gameplay!

7. What’s your guilty pleasure treat?

Anything sweet really, I have a massive sweet tooth so anything from cakes to brownies, sweets, ice cream or chocolate without sounding like a little Veruca Salt but I’d want it ALL. Or a weird guilty pleasure is gherkins. I am  O B S E S S E D.

8. Your favourite movie?

Goodfellas.

9. Favourite book?

To Kill A Mockingbird.

10. Best advice you’ve ever received?

It’s always better to make a decision than to make no decision at all.

11. Twitter or Instagram?

Twitter 100%. I’ve distanced myself from Instagram in the last few months as I’ve just found it to be quite toxic. I don’t like how it made me feel inadequate in myself, my looks and how boring I really am.

12. Are you a desktop or a laptop person?

Laptop. I think I’d be more disciplined if I had a desktop though for some reason. When you’re laying in bed on your laptop it’s easy to get distracted and end up in a Youtube black hole watching dogs seeing their military owners for the first time in ages *sob*.

13. What projects are you working on right now?

I’m working on fine tuning my blog. I’ve had a bit of a switch up with the theme and layout and am working on a whole host of new content. As I grow, my blog is going to grow with me so I’m hoping it’ll be reflected in the posts I’ll write.

14. What’s your favourite colour?

I really like rich colours like a deep velvety blue or emerald green.

15. Did you get good grades in school?

I coasted quite a lot throughout school. I didn’t enjoy it and I didn’t want to be there so I didn’t really apply myself properly. I’m sure I could have tried harder. I got B’s and C’s in my GCSES and the same in my A Levels. I never knew what I wanted to do other than earn money so by the end of sixth form I was just desperate to leave and get a job as soon as I’d be finished.

16. Dream job?

I’d quite like to own my own bar or pub mainly just to give my best Peggy Mitchell impression. Equally I’d love to be involved in charity work or something investigative so I’d feel like I was doing some good in the world. Or failing all that I’d quite like to be an official chocolate biscuit taste tester.

17. Played any sports?

I used to play netball at school.

18. Do you have a degree?

I do not.

19. Nationality?

British.

20. What’s your favourite type of blog post to write?

I quite like writing anything personal.

21. What do you like to collect?

I love reading and have an ever growing book collection. One day I hope to have  massive bookshelves in my future house and I can show off all my books. I like perusing charity shops and finding old books, ones with thin, fragile pages with little notes left behind from the original owner. Plus they have that lush old book smell.

22. Describe yourself in 3 words?

Short attention span.

23. If you were a rapper, what would your rapper name be?

Ablicious.

24. Who was the last person you DM’d?

Abby Clare. Who’s a total babe btw.

25. What’s on top of your wish list right now?

A new car.

26. Sorting House?

Hufflepuff.

27. How many tattoos do you have?

None.

28. What are you most grateful for this year?

Being alive, having a loving and supportive family and living in a safe part of the world. A lot of these things I take for granted. When I see on the news horrific things happening all around the world or even closer to home it always makes me feel quite thankful I live in such a safe, albeit quiet town.

29. What’s the best thing that’s happened to you this month?

I had a lovely pamper day getting my hair fixed and I’ve had the best stats on my blog to date.

30. What’s the best thing that’s happened to you today?

I made myself a boujee lunch and an old work colleague I haven’t spoken to in yonks reached out saying they wanted to meet.

31. What’s the best thing ever?

Chocolate.

32. Favourite season?

Autumn.

33. Favourite holiday?

Halloween. I love scary films, spooky things and I love getting all dressed up. I went to Fright Night at Thorpe Park two years ago with a friend and it was so much fun.

34. What fictional character do you relate to the most?

A subtle blend of Eleanor Shullstrop from The Good Place and Midge in The Marvellous Mrs Maisel.

35. Do you like surprises?

NO. I hate not knowing things and especially the thought of a surprise party would fill me with dread.

36. What’s the biggest surprise you’ve ever had?

I came home from sixth form one afternoon and my mum and sister had bought two puppies and they were running around the garden wasn’t really something I was expecting to see at all.

37. What’s the surprise that made you cry?

I don’t think that’s ever happened to me! I feel kinda heartless saying that but I don’t really cry a lot and my friends and family know I don’t like surprises.

38. What’s the best surprise you’ve ever given someone?

I bought my family a three course meal at The Ritz for Christmas.

39. Do you like muffins?

Yes, blueberry muffins are my fave.

40. Do you cook often?

Yes. I love cooking and baking. I probably love baking more so though.

41. What’s your favourite dessert?

Crème brûlée.

42. Is there a dessert you dislike?

Rice pudding just looks so unappetising and I don’t like the texture at all.

43. Cake or pie?

Cake.

44. What’s your least favourite food?

Olives.

45. What’s your favourite condiment?

Mayonnaise.

46. It’s 4am on a Saturday night, what would you eat?

Chips with mayo.

47. If you could teach a college class, what would it be called?

The Subtle Art Of Looking Busy When You’re Really, Really Not.

48. Best animated film?

The Emperor’s New Groove.

49. What has a guy done or said to impress you?

I’m very lucky that my best friends are boys and they’ve always treated me wonderfully and set that bar high.

50. The best thing to do on a first date?

Anything fun or out of the ordinary!

51. The worst thing to do on a first date?

Go to the cinema. Unless you’re doing something afterwards where you can chat or talk about the film it seems a bit pointless to go sit in silence in a dark room with a tango ice blast with someone off Tinder.

52. What’s the funniest pick-up line a guy could use on a girl?

Do they ever work?!

53. Best comic book character?

I’m not really into comics or anything to do with Marvel but Tin Tin is pretty cool isn’t he?!

54. What are three things that are always in your purse?

My phone, money and my glasses.

55. Favourite drink?

My favourite soft drink is a lemonade or my favourite alcoholic bev would be a nice gin and tonic.

56. If you could play a historical figure in a movie who would it be?

Cleopatra.

57. Kittens or puppies?

Puppies.

58. Tell me your favourite sushi roll?

Good vegetarian sushi can be hard to come by. I really like the Inari Nigiri from Yo Sushi though.

59. What kind of lipstick do you use?

I tend to wear a matte dusty rose shade so it’s a perfect amount of colour and nude.

60. What kind of foundation do you use?

I tend to always stick to something matte looking. After using MAC products for years in the last 18 months I’ve taken a back step and stopped purchasing anything from brands that test on animals and have just been using up any old makeup or skincare products before repurchasing brand new items. The foundations I’ve been using lately though have been a mix of a Dead Sea Spa Magik CC cream, which applies quite thickly, and NYX high definition foundation.

61. Blow dry or air dry?

In an ideal world I’d have a blowdry all the time but I tend to air dry as much as possible.

62. Who is your fashion icon?

Zendaya.

63. Favourite Disney Character?

Cinderella. When I was younger I would watch the film over and ovvvvvvveeeeeeer again.

64. What are you doing tomorrow?

It’s Saturday tomorrow and I have no real plans. I’m hoping to do loads of blog writing and get my bum in gear with loads of content.

65. A movie you laughed the hardest through?

Mrs Doubtfire.

66. A movie that made you cry?

Click.

67. If you could sing a duet with someone, who would it be?

Lewis Capaldi.

68. If your life was a song, what would the title be?

The Eastenders Theme.

69. What’s your favourite animal?

My Dog is my favourite animal.

70. Favourite illustrator?

Quentin Blake. Seeing the illustrations reminds me of being little.

71. A person you want to have coffee with?

Rylan. I bet he is such a hoot.

72. What country do you wish to visit?

Every single state of America.

73. Best way to decompress?

I like to turn my phone off and watch one of my favourite films in bed with a load of things to munch on. My Big Fat Greek Wedding and M&Ms is the perfect way for me to switch off and not think about what’s bothering me. OR getting out of the house and doing something with friends.

The 12 Bloggers I’m Tagging to take part in this tag are:

Ross

Gillian

Kamilah

Abby

Alisha

Flo

Kaylea

Faye

Laura

Ar

Megan

Emma

Once again, Tanya thank you so much for tagging me in this it’s been so much fun! I hope you all give Tanya’s Vogue Parody post a read too, it’s made me realise just how similar we actually are!

Sunshine Blogger Award #2

Hello! With the UK currently basking in the glorious weather and sunshine (blink or you’ll miss it I’m sure) what better time to write up the Sunshine Blogger Award post that Ross from Man Vs Adulthood kindly nominated me for. These style of posts are underrated and are one of my favourites to both read and write. I love doing these posts and if you want to have a little nosey at the other Sunshine Blogger Award post of mine from last year I’ll post a link to it just here! These simple posts are easy to read and easy to write, one of the many reasons I like them as they also help you to get to know the blogger behind the blog, is a good way to introduce yourself to other bloggers that have been nominated and also it’s a little bit of fun really isn’t it!? Similarly Ross is one of my favourite bloggers too. I’ve known him for a little while now and he’s always been one of the people I’ve seen who praise and highlight other bloggers, making friends and being so kind and supportive which is what this lovely community is all about!
If you haven’t already, I would totally recommend checking out his blog and his Sunshine Blogger Award post (read it here) He was fab enough to have been nominated twice so have a read of both sets of questions and answers to delve a little deeper into Man Vs Adulthood. 

So the premise of this blog ‘award’ is to nominate those bloggers that you think spread positivity, kindness and are generally just little rays of sunshine. 

The rules are as followed:

  • You must thank the blogger that nominated you and link back to their blog or their original post. 
  • List the rules for this award and a snazzy logo or picture of it in your blog post.
  • Answer the 11 questions from the person that nominated you. 
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers and set 11 fun questions for them to answer.

Questions from Ross:

  • If you had to pick an actor to play you in a film who would you pick?

Emily Blunt or Olivia Coleman. I think they’re both just great. Or if it wasn’t a Hollywood blockbuster and just a channel 5 documentary I’d cast Kim from Eastenders. What a woman. 

  • If you could do anything as a career what would you do?

Mmm I think I’d want to be something like Mr Benn (showing my age with this one aren’t I) and have a new job and new adventure everyday. I have a really short attention span and get bored fairly quickly. I like the idea of being a writer, or a charity worker or even a property developer. It changes everyday for me at the moment I really love the idea of opening up my own pub or bar…Not just so I can go full Peggy Mitchell and scream ‘Gerroutta ma Pub’ at someone. 

  • Is Pineapple allowed on pizza?

Of course. It’s amazing. I’m really no food connoisseur because when I was a child I adored the baked beans pizza. That’s how grim I am. A dollop of mayo on the side as well. Honestly you’d think I was 6 months pregnant with the weirdest cravings with the things I eat. Also I think we should be focusing this pineapple on pizza hatred towards those people who put banana on a pizza instead. I think this is a Swedish thing but if anyone has tried let me know what you thought?!

  • When was the last time you cried?

I actually don’t remember! 

  • Would you rather have all your bills wiped for life, or a Million Pounds right now?

I think I’d rather have all my bills wipes for the rest of my life. I know I’d be reckless if I had one million pounds kindly deposited into my bank account I’d have blown it all on clothes I wouldn’t even be able to send back on Asos and bought a giant yacht. 

  • In the garden, do you prefer decking or patio?

I like grass with a bit of patio.

  • In the nuclear wasteland do you think you’d survive and how long for?

I genuinely think it’s not a question of weeks or days but more of hours or minutes for me. I wouldn’t be very good at all at the survivalist stuff and i’m clumsy. I’ve always thought if I had to run for my life I’d probably die from the running anyway. 

  • It’s been a long day at work, you are chilling on the sofa with no energy and motivation. What is your go to meal?

If  I’m being lazy and going to order a takeaway I’d probably go for a Dominos veggie supreme pizza, big garlic and herb dip and maybe some garlic bread dippers if I feel like being a beached whale for the evening. If I’m going to cook for myself I’d probably have beans on toast or a jacket potato as it’s easy to do and my ultimate comfort foods. 

  • Amazon Echo or Google Home?

I don’t have either but for some reason I’m more swayed towards a Google Home. I don’t know why I feel like I’d trust Google more than I’d trust Amazon or Bing searches. 

  • If you could see ANY band or artist – dead or alive, perform who would it be?

There are so many I’d love to see. I wish I could go back in time and see the hysteria for people the The Beatles or Elvis but I think I’d have loved to have seen Amy Winehouse perform live. I was and still am such a huge fan of her music and was so sad to hear of her passing. 

  • If you could have ANY superpower what would it be and why?

I used to think it would be something like telepathy or reading minds but I’m anxious enough as it is I don’t want to hear what people are really thinking about I’d be a nervous wreck! Maybe something nice like I’d be able to heal people or eat whatever I’d like and never put on any weight.

My questions:

  1. What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
  2. The strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?
  3. If you could make one rule that everyone had to follow, what rule would you make?
  4. What is your favourite smell?
  5. What would be your dream meal? Including starters, main course, dessert and drinks?
  6. Who are your five dream dinner guests?
  7. What film/book could you watch/read again and again and not get bored of it?
  8. Do you believe in ghosts and the paranormal?
  9. If money and time weren’t a problem what skill would you like to learn?
  10. Are you a morning or a night person?
  11. Where would be your dream holiday destination?

My Nominees:

Mira

Casey 

Gillian 

Jess

Nicole

Anais

Niamh

Victoria

Alex

Kamilah

Tiffany

I’ve chosen a little selection of some of my favourite bloggers and I can’t wait to read their posts!