Wednesday, 1 April 2020

April Goals | 2020

My goals for March started off pretty well, and then for obvious reasons, certain roadblocks were hit that has made some of them a little more difficult to achieve. Even so I still cleared a lot of them, although I’m going to have to get creative with my April goals.

First things first, let’s have a look at what I managed last month;

Drink more water

Given all the time I am now spending at home, this has been pretty easy to achieve. I’ve been trying to ration my coffee, as I don’t know when we can get more so I’ve been switching to water instead.

Treat myself to a bath bomb once a week

I’ve managed this as part of my Sunday routine! Although I’m glad I cut some of the larger ones up, to get more uses out of them. It means they’ll last me much longer, as I don’t know how many weeks it’ll be until I can get more.

Face mask

Again, tick! I wanted to start working these into my Sunday routine, which I’ve done, but now that I’m working from home I have a little more time for skin care as well. Plus I’ve not been wearing make up most days, which I feel has helped my skin as well.

Gym routine

I started off really well, and was hitting my target of 2 classes a week, and getting some regular sessions in as well. After social distancing kicked in and our gym closed, I’ve not been able to go. I have however, been able to work out at home, and have been making use of the various videos on YouTube so I have still had some exercise.

Start my America wish list

This one is a bit of a kick in the teeth if I’m honest with you. I’ve got my list together, and I’ve even started ticking some bits off it. I’ve even written a post, that shares my list… but I don’t think we’ll be going to America. Our wonderful holiday with our friends, and our wedding just isn’t going to be possible. There is a teeny tiny chance that things will calm down by the time the end of May rolls around, which is when we are due to travel, but I’m feeling more and more doubtful each day.

Period delay

I actually had some help with this, within the comments of last month’s post no less! The lovely Alice in Sheffield left a helpful comment informing that there is a pill that can be used to delay periods, called Norethisterone. Which can even be purchased over the counter from Boots with pharmacist approval. Given that I am on the contraceptive implant, I’m not sure if that will stop them giving it to me. You can apply online, but given everything that is going on at the moment I’m leaving it be for the time being. They have far more important things to do at the moment than helping me delay a period. 

Blog stats

I’m really pleased with these. It was my goal to get over 1,500 views in the month, but I actually hit over 2,000! I guess this means my April goal needs to be 2,500, especially as people will be spending more time at home for the foreseeable future. Although I have to admit, it doesn’t feel entirely appropriate to write beauty based posts. It’s just not something that’s important at the moment.

Get outside

I did get outside a fair bit at the start of the month, but this trailed off towards the end as we slowly moved closer and closer to lock down. At least the start of the month was full of walks in the woods, shooting and campfires, so I feel like I got the most out  of our time of freedom.  For now, my time outside will just have to be my garden.

Now, on for my goals for April which I will likely need to review as and when things change, but these should be achievable in the current climate.

Drink more water

Given that I’m going to be spending all of my time at home, there is really no excuse to not up my water intake. It’s not like I have to go far to top up.

Exercise at home

I’ve found some really good videos on YouTube for work outs with no equipment which are perfect for me as I only have a yoga mat. They are also categorised by how long the work outs are, and what areas of the body they focus on, so I can get a really good variety in. My aim is to do at least 5 of these a week for the first few weeks, and then look to try and build up to more.

Bath bombs

Given I can’t get any more, I’ll be stretching this to a bomb every 10 days or so. I’ve also cut all of mine into either halves or quarters depending on their size, so now I’ve got around 11 baths worth. So even with one a week that takes me all the way to June but which time we’ll hopefully have returned to something a little more normal.

Group calls and face time

It’s important to keep in touch with people during this time, so I’ll be having various group calls and face time sessions with friends and family to keep in contact. We’ve already discovered you can have an audio chat on WhatsApp with up to four people,  and most of us have access to computers and gaming consoles which allow larger groups. We’re working through various different apps and systems to find something that works well.

Keep a routine

I’m keen to maintain as much of my usual routine as possible. Given that I no longer have a 45 minute commute to work in the morning I am allowing myself to sleep in a little longer, but I’m still up and about at pretty much the same time. As per my post about working from home, a structure is crucial. I’m also being very mindful of maintaining good sleep hygiene so that I don’t fall into bad habits. Ultimately this isn’t forever,  there is a point where we will be going back to our usual jobs and places of work and I don’t want it to be a total shock to the system when that day comes.

Find some screen-less hobbies

As I’m working from my dining table, I’m in front of two computer screens Monday to Friday, 9 to 5. When I’ve been logging off I’ve either been turning to my laptop or watching Netflix. I’m mindful that this equates to a lot of screen time, so I want some alternatives that don’t involve a screen. I’ve got various colour therapy books, hard copy books and other bits and pieces to get into.

Stay positive

This is a goal to myself, and all of you too. There’s no two ways around the fact that this is all pretty rubbish for everyone, but it’s not forever. The best advice I can give is to just take each day one at a time, and pick up the phone to your loved ones as often as you can. My DMs on any of my socials are open if anyone needs or wants a friendly chat.

Help each other, be kind and remember; this isn’t permanent.


Friday, 27 March 2020

The Darker The Night The Brighter The Stars

What a peculiar couple of weeks it’s been... It feels like a life time ago that we were all going out and about, shopping, eating out, going on various trips out and spending time with friends and family at our leisure. When in reality, it’s only actually been a handful of weeks that restrictions have been in place here in the UK.

I know a lot of people, myself included are now feeling rather anxious, and even a little bit trapped from being confined to our homes for most of the time. I know I certainly had a wobble earlier in the week, when I received a phone call from our local registry office to inform that our wedding sadly needed to be cancelled. We had planned on doing our wedding in two parts, the ‘pretty’ side in Tennessee, America, and then a quick ceremony in the registry office here at home for a legal marriage. With the legal side cancelled and the rest of it teetering on the edge of going the same way I was feeling very down, as I’m sure you can imagine.

There’s no doubt in my mind that we aren’t the only ones who have lost something to this horrible virus, I know of two other couples who have had weddings cancelled, many cancelled holidays, lost jobs and many people will have lost loved ones too. Heck, even those who haven’t experienced any of those things are restricted, and probably not feeling their best either. Things are hard at the moment, but we’re all going through the same thing, we’re all in this together.

Whilst unable to sleep the other night, I was up mindlessly scrolling through my Pinterest and came across a quote that resonated with me;

“The darker the night the brighter the stars”  

If ever there was a dark night it’s now, and it’s likely that we have a little way to go before the sun comes up. Until that point though, lets focus on the stars, those little pockets of positivity that are still here.

My wedding might be cancelled but we’re still getting married, just maybe not when we originally planned to. We are currently on a waiting list for the first available slot for our legal wedding, and everyone involved in the American side of the wedding is being absolutely fantastic. The venue, photographer, accommodation… everyone, are helping us move our wedding day, and they have all waived re-scheduling fees. It’ll take a little work and coordination, but after that we can go back to just looking forward to our special day. We just have a little more time to be excited that we originally thought.

A lot of friends have been absolutely fantastic too. Given that I am high risk Mike and I are hesitant to leave the house unless we absolutely have to. There are a few people within our friend group who have been life savers, and got various bits of shopping for us where we haven’t been able to get food deliveries sent. My lovely sister in law even threw in some of my favourite chocolates last time she popped round, ‘just because’. She was unquestionably one of my bright stars that day – especially as she also replenished our dwindling supply of loo roll!

Those bright little stars to focus on can be absolutely anything you want. Heck, one of mine this morning was that a game I’ve been eyeing up on Steam is now on sale, so I’ve treated myself to it. I now get to look forward to a brand new game when I finish my working day, I might even indulge in some of that chocolate I mentioned too. Your stars can be as big or as little as you like, just make sure you remember to focus more on your stars, and less on the night.

What are your bright stars at the moment?


Friday, 20 March 2020

Some tips for working from home

Well, here I am towards the end of week one of working from home. My PC (not to mentioned two monitors) are all set up and ready to go, but am I? As it happens, yes, because working from home isn’t a totally new thing for me. Whilst it’s not something I’ve done for a little while and certainly not for long periods, it was quite a common occurrence in one of my previous jobs for me to be working remotely, so I’m sinking back into that old routine. That being said, there are plenty of people out there who haven’t worked form home before and are now needing to, so with that in mind, here are a few things to keep in mind to keep you productive, and stop you going insane. 

Get dressed
Working in your PJs from bed does sound rather appealing, but it does very little for your production. To help get yourself into a working mind-set, the best thing to do is to get up and get dressed like you would for any other working day. You don’t have to get into usual work gear, but getting out of your PJs makes a massive difference. 

Call people
Especially for internal discussions. Rather than sending an email to someone in the office, call them instead. Working from home means you don’t get as much interaction as you would usually, and something as simple as a phone call can keep you ticking over. You’ll also get an answer so much quicker, and have better quality conversation on a phone call than you typically would an email. 

Our office has set up a buddy system between those of us at home, and those still in the office. The aim being to have at least one phone call a day to hear a friendly voice, catch up, have a chat and stay connected with each other. I’ve also arranged some calls with various friends who are also home working, so I can speak to people during my breaks.  

Get a playlist
I would highly recommend you don’t turn the TV on, as it’ll just become a distraction. That being said, you will want something to break up the silence you’ll suddenly find yourself in. Even though a typical office isn’t overly loud, there is always background noise of some kind – people tapping away at keyboards, phone calls, colleagues talking to each other, and you won’t have any of that at home. Get a good playlist together to play in the background, or turn the radio on.  

If you can’t think of what you might want in your playlist, the lovely Jordanne over at The life of a Glasgow Girl put a motivational playlist together a while ago. You can find it here.

Create a space for work
If you can, create a separate space for working, if you have an office, that’s perfect. I don’t, so I’ve set up on our dining room table instead. Not only does it give a degree of separation when it comes to a work life balance, it means I am sitting properly, at a desk as I usually would. This will help stave off any kind of back problems from a week or so of sitting poorly. 

Leave the house work
Unless you are on a break, leave the house work alone. You wouldn’t be able to do it if you were in your usual place of work so don’t do it while working from home. By all means, pick up little bits during breaks, but for the most part, leave it be.

Get fresh air and exercise
You might have limited options in regards to how you do this, but try and get fresh air throughout the day. Be it popping outside for a walk, going out into the garden, or simply opening your windows every now and then. Exercise can be a little tricky if you can’t leave the house. I’ve got into the routine of running up and down the stairs a few times every time I go to the loo or for a coffee break. I would typically walk for both of these in the office so I want to replicate that.

There are also plenty of at home exercises around online and on YouTube that you can follow. I’ve been getting up at my usual time, so have a spare 30-45 minutes

When it comes to the end of your working day, don’t be tempted to carry on working. It’s very easy do ‘just a couple’ more emails or tasks, but if you do that you aren’t having a proper rest. Turn the computer off, put your paper work away (or turn it over) and don’t pick it up until you are next scheduled to work. You having adequate time to recharge is not only important to your work, but your wellbeing in general.

I hope that was helpful to some of you. We’re in strange times at the moment, so remember to take care, check in on each other and share kindness whenever you can.


Friday, 13 March 2020

Let's Catch Up

I don’t think I’ve had a generic, chatty catch up with you all. Sure, you’ll have my latest monthly look backs, but they only really cover what I got up to in any given month, but they don’t give a huge amount of depth into where I’m at, how I’m feeling or what is going on in life in general. 

Given that we’re nearing the end of the first quarter, it feels like good timing for a light hearted, chatty post, and general life catch up.

You may have read in my recent post that we’re traveling to Tennessee in America in 11 weeks’ time to get married. Or at least I hope we are. It was announced in the news today that to try and prevent the spread of COVID-19 travel from mainland Europe to the United States has been suspended. At present the UK isn’t included, and travel is still fine, but I have to admit, it’s making me very nervous.

Whilst (at time of writing) there are no confirmed cases in my home City of Norwich. In fact, I think we’re the only county that has no confirmed cases yet… finally, the poor transport links from Norfolk to the rest of the country have come in useful! Although I doubt it’ll stay that way, and it’s probably a matter of time before it reaches Norwich and Norfolk as well.

I do feel a little guilty that our trip is my primary concern when it comes to COVID-19, especially when you consider that people have died, lost loved ones or experienced genuine worry because of it. That being said, it’s our wedding. We’ve invested a huge amount of money and time into it, that we might not get back. Plus let’s face it, no one wants to have their wedding to be cancelled, especially because of something that is completely out of their control.

At the moment I’ve decided to try not to worry about it. There’s literally nothing we can do about it, although I have reached out to various people, such as the wedding venue and photographer to see where we stand if travel is suspended from the UK too. Fortunately, we sorted our travel insurance ages ago, and the policy we went for has fairly wide cover, which to be fair you’d expect form a pair of insurance brokers!

A more positive topic to focus on at the moment is that I am now only a few weeks away from my probationary period at work being over. Changing jobs was probably the best thing I did in 2019, and I don’t think I quite realised what an impact my old job was making on me. I guess you desensitise to it after a while, but I was absolutely miserable, constantly feeling on edge and anxious, and thanks to a couple of people in the office my confidence in myself was at an all-time low.

Since moving I’ve managed to re-build my confidence, slowly chip away at my self-doubt and form some new friendships. Although I’ve moved to a comparatively more senior position, the work itself is very similar to what I did before. The environment and the approach by management however, couldn’t be more different. From being generally supportive, to encouraging us to look after our health and wellbeing, this company is far more people focused, and you can really feel it.

Having a positive experience during my working day has had a notable impact on my life outside of the office too. I’m getting back to my happy, upbeat self. I feel as though I spent a lot of last year running on auto-pilot and was just existing. So far this year I feel excited for things to come and feel very happy in myself. That’s not to say I don’t have the odd bad day, of course I do, but I feel like I’m on an upward incline at the moment, and things are getting better and better.

When I caught up with Maria recently she even commented that I seemed a lot more myself and a lot more cheerful that I had been in the later months of 2019. Mike has said similar, so clearly other people are seeing the difference too. As a consequence I’m being less tolerant to anything negative or confrontational, it’s not something I have or want to make space for in my life, and therefore I’m not going to.

There’s been a couple of people who have pushed my boundaries a little recently, and I like to think I’ve been firm but fair with them. Whereas before I’d have probably just taken it, I’ve started to say no, and communicate that I am not comfortable or happy with something. Some have taken it on board, others haven’t and to be honest probably won’t. Even so, I feel like I’m taking more control over my interaction I have with people and setting and maintaining my boundaries in a constructive way, which can only be a good thing.

I’m finally in a place where I feel happy and am actually excited for things. I’m getting married in a few months (one way or another) Spring is coming, and I’m excited to see what is in store for the rest of the year

Anyway I think I’ve rambled on enough for the time being, but there’s a little glimpse of where I’m at and life in general. I hope you enjoyed reading it, because it was actually quite enjoyable to write!


Monday, 9 March 2020

March Goals | 2020

Happy March everyone! I know I say this all the time, but I really can’t believe how quick time is going. In a few weeks we’ll be a quarter of the way through the year… that’s insane! I’m pleased to report that I’ve done much better with my goals for February than I did with my January ones. Which means I can add a few new ones for the month of March, but first, let’s have a look at how I got on last month.

I’ve finally ticked this one off! I’m ashamed to admit it took me almost three months to actually buy a planner for 2020, especially given how reliant I am on it, but I’ve got it now. My previous planners have come from Busy B and I’ve loved them, so saw no reason to stray and managed to pick up a lovely one in their sale – the one advantage to leaving it so late I guess!

Menu choices
All done! We added a couple of extra bits to our options, as we were struggling to cut it down and have sent our order to the venue, who has confirmed them all. They’ll also be sorting the wedding cake, but all that’s left to be done is chose the flavour, which we’ll probably cover off next time we speak to them.

Catch up with venue and photographer
I’ve managed to get this done as well. When we sorted food orders with the venue we got all of the timings need for the day to pass to the photographer. I just have to let them know when everything is firmed up and then we’re good to go.

Car hire
To try and make things easier we’ve split our traveling party into two groups, with one car to be hired by each group. My group has now sorted a car (although the other group hasn’t yet) but I’m going to consider this done, as transport for Mike and I is now sorted. We’ve also submitted our ESTA application, which was going to be on the list for March, so it’s good to get another thing ticked off our list.

Catch up with Maria
Another one done! Maria and I drove to Braintree to visit all the designer outlet stores. We went early, stopped off for a big breakfast and spent the whole day together catching up and shopping. It was lovely to spend some much needed time together, but also to go and do something different.

This is a fail… I’ve just been making do with random make up I have stashed away. I have however, ordered what I need in the past few days, so I’ll be stocked back up again soon.  

Bath bombs
Tick! I went into the city with Mike when he was having a beard trim so that I could visit Lush, and stocked myself up on £30 worth of various different bath bombs. They’ve now become part of my Sunday routine.

Whilst it was a pretty easy set of goals for February, I’m pretty pleased to have most of them ticked off, especially my 2020 planner. Now let’s have a look at my goals for March.

Drink more water
I’m pretty sure I say this a lot, have a stint of drinking loads of water, and then kind of forget and trail off again. I feel so much better when I’m well hydrated, so I really need to make more effort with it. Plus, it does wonders for my skin.

Treat myself to a bath bomb once a week

I did well to get a good selection together, but I’m always in the habit of saving up my bath bombs. For what, I don’t know. It’s like I feel I need a special occasion to treat myself or something. Well no more! Having an evening where I use one of my bath bombs is something I like to do, and I feel better for it, so why the hell not?

Face mask
I feel like I’m finally starting to get a handle on my skin again, and with the wedding coming up I want to keep looking after it. Part of my routine will be to try and do a face mask once a week. I’ve got plenty, so there’s really no excuses, and in theory I can link it up with the previous goal quite easily.

Gym routine
With 11 weeks to go I’m starting to push a little harder in the gym. This month I want to try and get myself to at least two classes a week, and have at least one cardio session a week. Three visits a week should be pretty manageable, and I’m hoping I can actually do a few more than that.

Start my America wish list
Naturally there’s going to be things I’m going to want or need while we’re in America, be it clothing, make up or something else. I don’t want to leave it to the last minute so I want to get a wish list together so I can start ticking things off.

Period delay
I’ve always had major problems with my cycle, although it seems to have calmed down in the past few months to a point where I can actually track it (within a few days) using my Fitbit. Annoyingly, it would seem that I will be due on for the week I’m in America.. which is just infuriating. As there is no doubt a pill or some kind of solution for that, it’s something I’m going to be looking into. It’s not something I would usually care about, but come on, who wants to be on their period on their wedding day?

Blog stats
I wouldn’t usually put blog stats as a goal, simply because I try not to focus on them too much. That being said, when I first started, I had the goal of achieving 1k views within a calendar month, which was something I didn’t expect would happen for long time. I just about hit it in January, and in February I managed to sneak over the 1.5k line which was great. My goal for March is to get over 1.5k again, and if possible try to inch my way to 2k if I can. This is probably teeny tiny numbers for many people, but for me who hasn’t been going very long, and only really does this as a hobby, it’s something I’m quite pleased with.

Get outside
My final goal for the month is to get outside now that the weather is starting to get a little better. Be it a short stroll, something active or just simply sitting in the garden, I’m in much need of some fresh air now that the weather is finally starting to allow for it.

That sums up all of my goals for March! What are your goals?


Wednesday, 4 March 2020

February Look Back | 2020

Well, here we are; March. I swear just a week ago it was Christmas, so I’m not quite sure how we’re in March already… but hey ho! It means spring and summer are inching closer and closer now, so there will be absolutely no complaint from me! Apologies this post is a few days late, I’m afraid I was hauled up in bed for the first few days of March feeling unwell.

If I had to sum up February with a word, that word would be BUSY which is probably partly why I fell victim to the sickness bug that’s been doing the rounds in our office of late. Although that’s probably also why it’s flown by so quickly. I’m almost through my probationary six months at the new(ish) job, and things are going really well still. We’ve had a member of our team go away to have a minor shoulder operation, and I’ve been asked to cover for her for 6 weeks, which is obviously a good sign in terms the trust my manager has put in me to maintain two workloads. 

Speaking of operations, my friend, who had an operation on her spine at the very end of January is doing fantastic, has recovered really well and even went back to work at the end of February to start her phased return, which is obviously really great.

Given that her recovery went as well as it did, it meant she could join in for Mike's birthday, for which our chosen theme was an American Frat party! The boys all dressed up in various basketball and American Football attire, while us girls all got matching cheer-leading outfits. We had a massive plastic box in which we made a delicious punch that went down brilliantly, and everyone had a fantastic time.

Mike and Boots share a birthday, so naturally the fur baby was spoiled rotten as well, as he should be. He’s never been particularly interest in cat toys, but he loves boxes. As a treat for him we saved up all our boxes from various deliveries, and threw them all on the floor for him to play in. It was quite funny watching him jump into one box, only to realise he’s got more and rotate through them until he’d sat in each one. He now seems to have a favourite box, so we’ve recycled the others so our living room isn’t left looking like a bin.

The weekend after Mike’s birthday I caught up with my good friend Maria, which was one of my goals for February. We met early on Saturday morning and travelled to Braintree in Essex to visit the outlet stores there, as its only about an hour and a half to drive. We had a great day out browsing, catching up and snagging ourselves some great bargains.

For the last weekend of March Mike and I decided to have a long weekend together, so booked the Friday off work. We’ve got very little holiday left as we are having 3 weeks off for our wedding later in the year, so we want to make sure we get the most out of the precious few days we have left. We started off productively, so I took the car for its MOT and did a food shop on the way home while Mike sorted the house. This meant we had the rest of the weekend to hide away from the world and do nothing, which was perfect.

We only ventured out on the Saturday, to go visit the Harley Davidson in Newmarket, as there was an event there with loads of sales. Needless to say I came away with my purse feeling a lot lighter than when we got there…

I also had a little bit of a re-focus on my word of the year at the end of February, as I am determined to have a positive 2020 after some major lows of 2019. There’s not been many events so far where I’ve had to re-centre myself, but the scenario cropped up where I had to remind myself that the only persons emotions and behaviours I can control are my own. There will always be people who speak or act in a way that isn’t always positive, but it’s down to me to be stern with my boundaries of what I accept, remain constructive, and bear in mind the positive aspect of those people.

This renewed way of thinking is having a pretty positive impact so far, and I’m optimistic that I’ll see the results I want from it. Time will tell I guess.

That just about sums up my February, and now we’ve moved into March we’re in proper countdown to our wedding, which is in 13 weeks from today! What did you get up to in February?


Thursday, 20 February 2020

Chasing Nostalgia | Returning to Nashville

Something I feel I missed the opportunity to talk about on here was our little adventure around America back toward the end of 2017. Given how long ago it was, I do feel like I’ve kind of missed the boat a little bit. In fact the only reason I didn’t write about it, was because this blog was brand new upon our return and I hadn’t quite got into the swing of things yet. We were away for almost 2 months, and travelled across the county in what I would describe as a slightly wonky ‘N’ shape. We started off in New York, then moved on to Nashville, down to New Orleans, up to Canada for the Christmas period and then ended the trip with a bang in Vegas for New Year. With the very different locations, climates and experiences I could go on and on about what we did on our travels, although this post would end up rather long.

One place that stood out the most for both Mike and I however, is perhaps not the one you’d expect from the list I gave. It wasn’t the Big Apple, and it wasn’t Vegas, although we certainly enjoyed both. The location that ended up being the favourite for us both, was actually Nashville in Tennessee. 

Both Mike and I are big lovers of country music, and it was that love that of course put Nashville as a logical stop on our route in the first place. That, and it’s a relatively short drive from the Jack Daniels distillery, which Mike wanted to visit. Nashville was our second stop, and a welcome relief after the hectic nature of New York city. Even from the instant we got our hire car, an extremely blue Ford Mustang, we felt far more relaxed than we had in New York. Despite the fact we were driving on the wrong side of the road, in a place we’d never been, with unfamiliar signage and road rules. Although they do all drive automatics, so that did make things easier!

Even from the moment we first stepped foot in our hotel we were immediately drawn into the friendly nature of everyone we met. It was probably the most basic of all the hotels we stayed in, and it was certainly the cheapest, but this was the place on all of our travels we felt the most comfortable and at home. Since returning home to the UK, we’ve dreamed of returning to the US, especially to Nashville.

This is why, at the end of May 2020 we’ll be gathering up our closest friends and heading across the pond not only for an adventure together, but to finally get married. As much as we enjoyed traveling just the two of us as a couple, we did miss our friends and family greatly while we were away. Even more so when we came across things we knew they’d love if they were there. This isn’t just a simple road trip with loved ones though. After a lot of thought and a lot of reviewing of our options, Mike and I had decided to get married in Nashville.

We’ve finally found and booked our venue for early June, and I absolutely cannot wait. We’ve been engaged since Halloween 2017, and have gone through so many different suggestions and ideas of where and how to tie the knot, always circling back to America, especially Tennessee as it was so special to us. Both of us want a small wedding with just our family and very close friends, and the venue we’ve found is absolutely perfect. The fact that is set in a place already full of fond memories makes it even more special.

Now we are frantically trying to finalise everything for the day, which is kind of daunting. If anyone has any advise or tips on organising a wedding abroad, please do share them as we’ll need all the help we can get!

Friday, 14 February 2020

Love Yourself First This Valentines Day

The month of February plays host to an event that can either bring excitement or dread to all who hear the word... that’s right, it’s Valentine’s Day. It seems like there is so much more hype about it these days than there used to be, or perhaps I never really noticed it when I was younger. Either way, it seems almost a bit over the top these days.

Whether you are single or taken, it seems this day brings with it a large sense of obligation. Those who are single are made to feel as if they are inadequate or missing out in some way, even though they may be perfectly happy being free and single. On the flip side, those who have partners are made to feel that they have to go all out, or they are a terrible people.

It’s almost expectation that you must find someone to spend the day, evening, whatever with, almost just for the sake of it. I myself am always a little reluctant to acknowledge it fully, simply because it falls within a couple of days of Mike’s birthday, and I don’t want to dull the shine of his special day. Luckily he’s always surprised me in one way or another, as he has this year, which is lovely.

In contrast I remember many years ago, when my partner at the time flat out refused to acknowledge the day in any way, saying “why should the men make all the effort?” and whilst his comment wasn’t totally without a point, I remember feeling pretty unimportant, and to be honest a little jealous when my female friends got flowers and presents from their boyfriends and mine simply couldn’t be bothered.

What took me a while to get my head around was that he couldn’t really be bothered at many other points in the rest of the year, so I shouldn’t really be upset just because that indifference happened to fall across that one day in the middle of February as well. I guess it just shone a light on it a bit more at the time. I mean, this is the same partner that forgot my birthday, and then blamed me because I should have reminded him…

I ended up instead spending Valentines with my best friend. We got a load of food in, cooked a dinner and had a girly movie night together. I see far more now than I did at the time that I didn’t need to get anything from my partner to feel happy. There were plenty of other people around me who loved me, and all I really needed were my friends and my family.

The point I think I’m trying to make is that you shouldn’t feel pressured or inadequate just because of one day in the year. Sure, having a partner that buys you flowers, spoils you and wants to spend time with you is great, but it isn’t and certainly shouldn’t be the be all and end all when it comes to how you feel in yourself. It’s important for you to be happy in your own skin, with or without the influence of a significant other.

Life isn’t always straight forward, and just because you don’t have someone to celebrate valentine’s day with, or your special someone can’t be there for whatever reason, it doesn’t matter, and it has no bearing on your value or self-worth. Buy yourself flowers, have a night out with the girls, or a chill evening at home with a facemask, do whatever makes you happy, and spoil yourself a bit. After all, the most important love is the love we give to ourselves.

Whether you will be going all out, ignoring the day completely or maybe even something in between, make sure to love and look after yourself first. Ultimately, it’s just another day in the month.


Wednesday, 12 February 2020

February Goals | 2020

Now that the marathon that was January has been and gone I feel like I have a fresh surge of motivation for February! January is a long month for many, but I found that my motivation dwindled more and more as the month went on, and as a consequence I don’t feel that I did as great as I could have with my goals for the month. 

Vegan Cooking
Contrary to what I just said, this actually went really well, and I after asking the people of Twitter for help I was introduced to an app to make Vegan cooking really easy that gave loads of inspiration for meals I could put together.  It’s meant that I’ve been able to cook a couple of different things and take them over to my friend to help out while she recovers from her op – which went really well.

I still haven’t done this… if I’m honest I haven’t even started looking for one.

Eat better & Gym
Now, if I told you I’d cut out junk food in January it would be an out and out lie, but I have been to the gym a fair bit, and eaten a little better. I’ve started attending gym classes again as I find they push me far more than if I work out on my own – I think it’s thanks to my competitive nature.

See the baby seals
I sadly haven’t been to see the seals yet.

Saving plan
Not only have I got a little budget and saving plan together, but I also managed to put a little money away last month too. I’ve set everything up, so my savings will go as soon as my pay drops into my bank account. With a little time I should have a nice little saving pot!

Wedding dress
Erugh… I still haven’t done this.. I’m starting to get into a little bit of a panic now.

Flights and vehicle hire
We’ve managed to get our flights booked! It was a bit of a nightmare trying to coordinate ten people, but it’s all sorted now. One of our group is landing in the States the day before the rest of us, so there’s a good chance that we’ll have less to sort with the car hire too, as he’ll no doubt have something sorted for when he lands.

Start planning Mike’s birthday
Everything is organised and in place ready for his birthday weekend! We’ve gone for a fun theme, and it’ll be great to have a fun night out and catch up with various people we haven’t seen in a while. 

Get back into a rhythm
I’ve not been terrible, but I wouldn’t say I’m in a proper rhythm yet. I’ll give myself half a tick for this one.

Now that last month is out the way, let’s have a look at my goals for the rest of February..

Self-explanatory really… I’m a little lost without it, so I need to start shopping around for one.

Bath bombs
My supply of bath bombs is dangerously low at the moment… in fact I’m down to two. As it happens I’ll be in and out of the city at various points, so I’ll make sure I stop by Lush and pick some up.

Wedding dress
Oh my god, how have I not sorted this yet!?

Menu choices
We’ve made things a little easier (and cheaper) for ourselves by opting for a buffet style meal at our wedding. That doesn’t mean we can get out of menu choices though, and we still need to choose what items we want from the list we’ve been given.

Catch up with venue and photographer
We don’t have any kind of timeline for the day yet, which the photographer will need soon. The venue have been really good, and offered to FaceTime with us and walk around the venue so that we can decide on the decoration.    

Car hire
We’ll need at least two cars while in America, so it’ll be a good idea to get that sorted soon.

Catch up with Maria
It doesn’t seem like that long ago since we caught up, and yet it was before Christmas! As one of my oldest and closest friends I always love to see her, so we really must get a date in the diary (that I don’t have) soon. 

Is it just me, or do all your daily essentials seem run out at the same time!? I’m running low on pretty much all of my go to products, so I need to stock up again.

Given that we’re a lot of the way through February already, I’ll leave it there. Perhaps I should have a goal to get my goals out in good time! Better late than never though I guess. 

Do you have any goals for February?


Tuesday, 4 February 2020

January Look Back | 2020

Now I know it isn’t just me who feels like January went on forever. It’s always the way. Most of us get paid earlier in December, and then have to make it last that little bit longer until January pay day finally arrives. As a consequence, everyone is mindful of money, partaking in dry January, or just generally going into hermit mode. Although I have to admit, I actually quite like living in my dressing gown and going into hermit mode every now and then, so I’m not complaining at all.

If I’m honest, January has been a pretty disjointed month for me. I feel like I’ve been mega organised at work, but that I’ve slipped a little in my personal life. For example, I normally write up my look backs as I’m going through the month, adding as and when I do things while they are fresh in my mind. This month however, I’m typing this up late, and I can’t really remember what I did!

Don’t worry, this post isn’t going to be random confused ramblings with no real direction or substance. Not all of it anyway. I do have a couple of bits to talk about. You may have noticed that the blog is getting a slightly new look. I’m playing around with various ideas, and should be done in the next few weeks or so. At the moment it’s just small changes, for example the sign off at the bottom of my posts, the slight change in text, or my logo. 

I plan to revamp my Disclaimer and About me sections, and maybe even have a play around with the blog layout… although I haven’t decided on that last part yet. Despite my lack of organisation I feel that my blog is progressing well, with more views and comments this month than any month previously, which I’m really pleased with. I’ve been making a real effort to make sure I share my new posts on social media, so it’s nice to see that it’s paying off. 

Around the middle of the month I started to undertake a slightly more ruthless clear out of the beauty room (aka our tiny spare room). I’ve been wanting to revamp that room since we moved here, done a lot of talking about it but just never go to it. At the moment its plain, cluttered and overcrowded. I’ve taken measurements to wallpaper one wall, cleared a load of rubbish I don’t need and measured up for new furniture. I’m taking it slow, but I’m slowly transforming the space into what I want it to be. I’m documenting it as I go, so when I’m finally done I’ll be able to do a little before and after. I’ll be sharing my progress in a little series, so keep an eye out for future posts. 

So far I’ve found pulling everything out of a cupboard or draw, sorting through it and putting what I want to keep back in a tidy manor to be quite therapeutic. A great way to clear and declutter your mind can sometimes be to do exactly that with the environment around you, especially your home.

It wasn’t just tidying and decluttering that I did this month, I’ve also tried my hand at some Vegan cooking, as my friend had a spinal operation at the end of the month and will be immobile for a little while. Her op went well and she was allowed home the next day, so I’ve got a couple of days off to keep her company and cook some of the new meals I’ve learned! I have to say, I found a life saver of an app, which I talked about in a post about making Vegan cooking easier.

Toward the end of the month Mike and I got another thing ticked off our wedding to do list and choose our wedding rings! Naturally thanks to me and my tiny fingers they’ve had to be specially ordered, so we haven’t got them yet. I’m hoping they fit, because there wasn’t a single size J in the store for me to try on for size, although we have been assured they’ll just swap them if mine doesn’t fit.

We got a couple of other bits done, which are better serves talking about in my February goals, so keep an eye out for that!

What did you get up to in January?

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