What I have planned for 2018.

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

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Shape up.

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

Improve my blogging life.

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

Job life. 

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

Become a better cook.

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

Read more. 

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

Do more charity work.

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

Live more positively.

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

Experiment with my looks more.

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

BE THE COOLEST ABFAB EVER.

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To stand up for myself:

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

I grew guts:

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

I cut off toxic friends:

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

How to handle criticism:

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

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

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

I’ve learnt how to handle money better: 

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

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

I made homemade body scrubs.

I probably spent FAR too much time and money on my skincare and beauty regimes. I’m thoroughly getting into the crafting mood thinking about what I can make or bake next and after an afternoon out shopping and spending a ridiculous amount at Lush I tried my hand at making my own body scrubs. For some reason I thought it would be really quite difficult but I honestly couldn’t be farther from the truth with that. I was so, so shocked at how easy it was and also how much money I’ll be saving from now on. If Lush go into administration you can entirely blame me for no longer buying their Rub, Rub, Rub salt scrub. All you need to create your own concoctions are:

  • A sugar or salt. You could you any kind depending on what you want so you could really personalise it to you or even someone you’re gifting it too. Fine, course, maybe even himalayan pink sea salt if you want to make it look nice and pretty. Brown sugar, caster sugar, demerara, once again it’s all completely down to you and your preference.
  • A base oil. Coconut,vitamin E oil, olive oil, jojoba, sweet almond oil, wheatgerm, avocado oil are all really good options. They are all really nourishing for the skin, available in most health food shops or online too and all have a neutral scent so wouldn’t overpower your scrub with a strong smell.
  • An essential oil or something similar to add some scents or even colour to your scrub. Things like herbs might make for an interesting addition, freshly chopped mint, lavender or even rose petals. Rose would look lovely with a pink himalayan salt. I used coffee grounds to make a lovely coffee scrub. It helps reduce the appearance of cellulite so I think I might start bulk making it and selling it off!

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I had these four mini mason jars I originally bought from Ikea with good intentions to do something creative with but they were unused and I filled them instead. You could use kilner jars you can buy pretty much anywhere, bargain shops do them for a relatively cheap price. Old jam jars that have been washed out would look really cool and kitsch.

I made four different flavours or scents if you will. As tasty as these smell, I’d probably recommend against eating them!

I made a coffee scrub. Filling half the jar with brown sugar and the remaining half of coffee grounds I then poured that into a bowl. I did it like that so I knew it would definitely all fit in rather than making waaaaay too much. I poured the coffee/sugar mix into a bowl and then added a tablespoon of coconut oil until I got the consistency I wanted.

I also made a gingerbread scrub. Inkeeping with the christmas theme on my blog at the moment this would also make the perfect gift at christmas for those also keen on clean beauty and skincare. I used the same principal as with the coffee scrub but I filled the little jar up full of brown sugar. Pouring it into bowl with some ginger essential oil, cinnamon essential oil and a dash of star anise. mixing that altogether I poured it back into the jar and screwed the lid on tight.

Switching it up a bit I thought for my next two I would use a course sea salt base instead. Sea salt can be a bit more vigorous so using that in a body scrub would help with shifting dead skin cells and also helping to shift toxins from the body. Rubbing it in, in a slow circular motion helps to get the blood flowing reducing the appearance of stretch marks and cellulite as well as removing the toxins from the body.

I used sea salt with some coconut oil, a few dashes of some spearmint essential oil and some finely diced mint leaves from the garden.

For my last and final scrub, I added some lavender essential oil to sea salt and coconut oil. I wanted a runnier consistency for this one as I love applying it to my hair. It helps with repairing the hair shaft and it leaves it feeling so silky, smooth. It sounds mad I know, but don’t knock it til you’ve tried it.

 

 If I knew just how easy it was to make these beforehand I would have been wailing it from the rooftops. Scrubs like this are usually fiendishly and wrapped with a nice bow and a tag would make a lovely present for a friend for Christmas. Or even yourself, I’m sure you deserve it a whole heap more!

Life Update.

Apparently there are people out who work Monday to Friday 9-5 get home just in time to watch The Chase on catch up and settle in for the evening and can actually switch off. Now to me these people are just like those infamous Nandos black cards, you’ve heard about them, yourself and no one you know has one but apparently they exist somewhere in the world.

I’ve spent all day today updating my CV, which hadn’t been done in years, I was fairly comfortable, or maybe just a little afraid of making the jump or most likely just lazy, I never got round to keeping it up to date in my old job. Traipsing through job sites and search engines to find the perfect career is a job in itself; everything sounding so pretentious/lame/or really not what you’d imagine. Take the sandwich artists at subway for instance (yes that is their job title, no I’m not kidding) I’m sure I can speak for the majority of us when I say I’ve never come away from a Subway with a work of art style sandwich; delicious yes, Monet maybe not. My point being sometimes they make jobs out to be so much better than they actually are.

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I’m not really sure what type of job I’m looking for which makes looking for one even harder. I’ve had so many conversations with people I know about things like this. A lot of people I know, don’t even know what they want to do with themselves and there is often an awful lot of pressure, especially on the younger generation to sort of know what to do. I am at the tender age of 22 and I have no idea. I know what I don’t want to do which helps but I still have a list as long as a piece of string about my possible career options.

One of my favourite things to do is people watch. Much like everyone else apparently, now I feel even more under pressure knowing that as I’m clumsy as sin and anyone could be watching me trip over thin air outside a busy starbucks. But I used to do this with my friend Leah at my previous job and I remember one afternoon we had a couple of the maintenance people instore fixing something and we were both saying after they left how they seemed to truly enjoy their job. Which we thought was kinda strange and a bit of an alien concept to the both of us. PEOPLE ACTUALLY ENJOYING THEIR WORK? Is that a thing?!!?  It’s something I wish sometimes to be honest. I’ve never really known or had a longing to do just one thing in particular but I have always been so jealous of those that had. I am much, much happier since leaving my previous job however where to go from here has left me in a bit of a dilemma, sort of like I’m at a crossroads and the Cat in the Hat has just bounced out of nowhere with a chuckle and ran off with the map.

I’ve toyed with the idea of going back to college and learning a skill, something that will separate me from the rest and perhaps give me a new lease of life and introduce me to something I enjoy. And maybe help me meet new people. I have a small handful of friends and over time that handful is getting smaller. That isn’t a real problem because the friends I do have I wouldn’t change for the world but it can get a bit lonely at times.

Since quitting my job in July, I’ve felt kinda all over the place, I was a shop manager at 22 and I felt like that changed me for the worse and very quickly defined me too. I was stressed out all the time and the only thing I could think about or talk about was work, BOOOOOOOOOOORING. It took a few weeks for me to normalise to regular life, going from high intensity to lie ins (for the first time in months and months and months may I add) and doing whatever the heck I fancied. I felt like I was on a gap yah but remained in sunny old blighty without having to buy a visa to Thailand to find the New Abbie she was discovered on a day trip with my best bud to Weymouth. Not exactly the glamourous moonlight party on a thai beach like most, but hey who wants to be like the others eh?

It came to me on one of those very cheesy 2p machines at the arcade that I wanted to do fun things like this everyday. I want to feel happy, have a positive relationship with my family and friends, make Abbie happy and just do FUN things everyday. So until I’ve found the job that’ll make me do backflips and cartwheels I’m very content with making my own happiness. Whether that be learning something new, I really want to go to a sushi making class or taking up belly dancing, or dying my hair blue, then pink then bleach blonde cos why not? Or booking tickets to a gig or a comedy night or a festival on a whim. I’m sure to keep you all up to date with what I’m up to either on here, on my insta feed or on my twitter too.

What I’m also trying to say, if you’re going through the same thing. Don’t worry because so am I. Everything happens for a reason and life is for living. I have been a bit hesitant in looking for another job as I don’t want to end up in the same way as I was last time. So taking some me time can never work out for wrong reasons. And hey, maybe you’ll see an ad for tap dancing, discover your passion for it and become the new and improved Michael Flatley and you can thank me in your memoirs or in that infamous Ellen Degeneres interview in years to come??

I quit my job.

Hi internet pals. I’ve been meaning to write this for a long time and essentially just get it all off my chest. I have been going through the motions somewhat over the last six months and battling problems that I felt I was so out of my depth with.I never really felt like I had a problem with my mental health or my battles with anxiety until recently. I have been at a bit of a low ebb to say the very least. Pushing those closest to me away. Busying myself by going out nearly everyday or spending all my time sleeping or eating. I hadn’t really thought about what I was to do next all I was focusing on was trying to become myself again and doing anything I wanted to, to make me feel happy again.  I was in my job for four and a half years, and in some aspects of retail work that would class me as an old timer.

It was quite a tumultuous journey I went on in those years and that’s really not me being over dramatic. I made some of the best friends whom I hope stay with me through life (no pressure guys) I also met some of the most eccentric people, here’s looking at you colleague X who used to colour in their food with a biro pen which would help add extra taste and flavour??? Yeah I made that ew noise too. I cried til I laughed and laughed til I cried on plenty of occasions.

I dealt with a close colleague suffering and also beating cancer. That was actually my first taste of the big C. She was my colleague, my confidante but more importantly she was my friend and I can admit I was scared. I hated seeing someone I was so fond of suffer.

I got sexually harassed in the workplace by a customer resulting in me having to take time off work. Too scared to leave the house. Too scared to go anywhere on my own. Having a panic attack on my first day out shopping with my Mum. Then returning to work and being told that I have to get over it immediately and cannot bring it up again.  Fab.

I had to deal with one of the worst people and employees I had the misfortune to come across. Constantly blowing hot and cold, making mine and my colleagues lives hell, seeming almost hell bent to make our lives as much of a misery as possible. Culminating in said employee filing a malicious and false grievance claim, getting the police involved as she was screenshotting personal social media accounts for her own personal vendettas.

I became a store manager aged 21 just last year. Being one of the youngest on my region. I became a new person, feeling very career orientated. I wanted to pursue a path that my teachers at school said I’d never achieve. In doing so I became a sickly sweet yes person. To the point where I would often lose out on days off, working 6/7 days a week without a rest, sometimes even without breaks every day just to prove a point. To prove whatever it was to my boss that I was hoping he’d see. I was made to run a store practically on my own with no staff. Working so much overtime and 7am til late most days.

I became a shell of the person I used to be. I was constantly tired and burnt out. I felt emotionally and physically drained and everytime I thought I saw a light at the end of the tunnel the light seemed to keep getting further and further away. I had no support and I simply couldn’t cope with the poor treatment and lack of respect a second longer. Since leaving I’ve felt a combination of sadness, as I didn’t hate my job or my work pals. I’ve felt quite bitter as that treatment was just allowed to continue and no one seemed to care. But now more than anything I’m feeling mighty relieved I don’t have to put up with it anymore.

As mad as it sounds I’m kinda glad it all happened in those serious of unfortunate events. It shaped me to become a better, stronger person. I’ve learnt to not put up with any crap that is hurled my way. Whether that’s from a work environment, family and friends or even in relationships. If something doesn’t make you happy you are worth a hell of a lot more than to have to put up with it. Because you are awesome. And if they, whoever they are, cannot see that, then they can stick it.

All my love, A. x