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Monday, 15 January 2018

SETTING REALISTIC GOALS FOR 2018




I love the whole concept of a new year and a fresh start. It's the chance to look back at the previous year and think about what you've done, what you've achieved, what you regret and what you're proud of. I love looking back through pictures, remembering the highlights and feeling a bit nostalgic. 

It's funny to think about this exact time last year, and the goals I set for myself for 2017. Did I do everything I wanted to? Did I achieve my goals? I think it's important not to pile on the pressure when it comes to New Years resolutions and setting expectations. There is a fine line, setting yourself goals to achieve but then beating yourself up if you don't do everything you want to. 

Every year I used to write a list of things I wanted to do, however now I'm taking the more chilled approach to resolutions. I still want to be determined and achieve things for myself, but who really needs that added pressure of trying to do everything you've set yourself to do, otherwise you feel like you've failed. At the end of the day, you're doing this for yourself, not for anybody else. 




So, what do I want to do in 2018? I think it's good to set some achievable goals, and then also some more difficult goals to strive towards. 

1) Get into a blogging routine 
If I had more spare time, I would love to create 3,4,5 blog posts a week. But I work full time, most evenings my brain is mashed and weekends always end up being so busy. However, if you really want to do something you make it happen. After thinking realistically, I would love to post at least once a week. In terms of my Instagram, I would love to work towards growing my following and posting good quality content. My content is 85% ootds, 15% lifestyle.. it's so easy to fall into the 'typical blogger' trap, where you post the typical caption, at the typical time and the typical pose. I don't think there is necessarily anything wrong with that, but I do think if you follow that path you can get swallowed up in the whole blogging buzz and you lose any sort of originality. 
  
2) Get serious about saving 
It's hard to save money when you have so many outgoings, and not such a huge salary. There are so many things that I'm desperate to do, travelling included, and to get to that point I need a lot of money saved. I'm determined to open a savings account (is it really bad that I don't have a proper savings account?!) and move any money I've saved into that account, and also actively direct debit a certain amount in monthly. That way, I have to save money. 

3) Print more pictures 
I love having physical photos. It's so different than just looking at them on a screen. I love getting them printed and writing the dates on the back, and where they were taken. Or putting them all into a photo album and labelling each photo. I love looking back and remembering different occasions, and how different your life was then. 



4) Spending more quality time with my family 
I don't want to sound too soppy, but spending time with family is so important. They really do love and care about you, and it's so refreshing and warming to be surrounded by that sort of love. 

5) Continue with my dairy-free diet 
I suffer with problematic skin, I have done since I was about 15. When I was about 16/17 I used to look forward to being about 22/23 because I thought my skin would be clear by then, but sadly that's not the case. 99% of people would look at me and say, "But what's wrong with your skin, it looks great to me!", but of course I have make-up on.. that's why my skin looks great. It's seriously depressing, having bad skin. Most of the time I don't have the confidence to go out without make-up, and looking at myself completely bare faced is sometimes difficult. I've been dairy free for about 5 weeks now, and I'm doing this in hope for it to help my skin. It's still early days but, fingers crossed. 

I'm aiming to post some more of my long term goals at some point soon, if I manage to stick to my 'one post a week' goal then hopefully, it'll be this time next week! 


Jacket - Zara / Dress - H&M / Boots - Public Desire / Bag - M&S

L x

Thursday, 23 November 2017

THE IMPORTANCE OF SELF CARE


A lot of people talk about ‘self-care’ these days.. but what does it actually mean? Does it mean you have to spend £20 on a bath oil, £40 on yoga classes and £70 on a medium sized candle? I hope not..
A lot of brands have jumped onto the self-care wagon and try to force the idea of spending huge amounts of money on luxury items to be able to relax and de-stress. However, there are alternative ways to relax and look after yourself without going with the trend and spending all of your salary in the process.

Self-care definition: Self care is care provided “for you, by you.” It's about identifying your own needs and taking steps to meet them. It is taking the time to do some of the activities that nurture you. Self care is about taking proper care of yourself and treating yourself as kindly as you treat others. What are the steps we need to take to actually achieve this? Below I’ve listed a few things that I do that make me happy, that may work for you as well..


1.       Reading
For me, reading a really good book is an amazing way to destress your mind and stop worrying about all the little things. Sometimes it can take ages to find a book you really love, but once you find one there is nothing better. Reading before bed instead is scrolling through social media completely eases my mind and I don’t go to bed feeling aggy.

2.       Podcasts
Podcasts are still a reasonably new discovery for me. Ever since I started working full time and sitting at a desk all day, Podcasts have been helping me through each day. I now listen to so many it’s difficult to keep up. I listen to Podcasts that make me laugh out loud, that make me cry (happy & sad tears), inspire me, and make me work harder. My favourites ever are: Jules and Sarah The Podcast, Glamour Hey it’s OK, My Dad Wrote a Porno, The Debrief Podcast, The High Low, When Life Gives You Melons, Serial, The Heart of It and How To Curate Your Life. They are amazing to listen to on your commute to work, so do check them out!

3.       Baths
If you know me well, you will know how obsessed I am with baths. In my eyes there is nothing better after a long shit day of staring at a computer screen, than running a warm bubbly bath, making a hot drink and just laying there with your eyes closed trying to ignore the fact it’s only Tuesday and you still have 3 days left of the week.

4.       Spooning
Is there anything much better than Spooning? No, there isn’t. It is wonderful. It instantly makes me feel better, sometimes maybe even a bit emosh if I’m feeling particularly low (lol). If you don’t have anyone to spoon then I’m v sorry, but surely you can find someone to spoon? Your dog?

5.       Playing loud music in the car
When I’m feeling particularly pissed off, which is more often than not, I play a great sing along song really loudly in the car and passionately sing along with it. It honestly lifts my mood and makes me slightly less of a moody bitch. Some particularly great songs to put on are: Daniel Bedingfield – If You’re Not The One, Bruno Mars – Chunky, Hoobastank – The Reason, Kate Nash – Foundations, and Wham! - Everything She Wants. 

6.       Walking
I’m not actually often in the mood to go for a walk, it always just seems a bit too much effort and I’d rather chill at home. However, I never regret going. I always feel refreshed and my mind feels a bit clearer. The only time I can really go for a walk is on the weekends, as during the week I don't get home till around 6:30pm. But sometimes on a Sunday afternoon, I'll join my family on a dog walk to the woods and it's always so pretty.

7.       Talking
When I say talking, I mean talking to people who really care about you, not just talking aloud (even though that’s pretty therapeutic as well..). Sometimes, you just need to talk to someone about what is running through your mind. If it’s as small as someone else used your coffee mug at work or that your battling with severe anxiety, talking to people you care about and vice versa is really important, I find anyway. They don’t need to offer any advice, they just need to listen and say ‘mmm’ occasionally.

 8. Meditating 
I don't want to be one of those typical people that tries to tell you that meditating will solve all your problems, because it won't, but it will definitely help you feel calmer. After downloading the app Headspace, I've been using it to meditate for about 3-5 minutes a night (when I remember and can be bothered, lets be realistic). All I do is lie down on my bed in the pitch black and pop on the app and listen to the calm voice telling me to focus on my breathing, and focus my thoughts on particular things. As soon as it's finished, I put my phone on my bedside table and I'm so sleepy I drift off almost instantly. Wonderful. 

There are so many other different methods of self care, and you need to find the ideal options that suit you. Ever since being in my twenties is when I realised the importance of looking after not only your physical health, but your mental health. Learning to put yourself first is hard, especially when it doesn't come naturally. 

If anyone else has any other forms of self care, then please do let me know.
x

Saturday, 11 November 2017

AMSTERDAM: BEGINNERS TRAVEL GUIDE AND WHAT TO WEAR


Last weekend, I got the chance to visit Amsterdam for 3 days. I'd never been before so I had no idea what to expect. I'd heard a lot of different things about it, but could never quite envision what it'd be like.

We stayed in a wonderful little air bnb in one of those gorgeous town houses on a canal, about a 5 minute walk from Rembrand Square or a 15 minute walk from the city centre. It was the perfect place for while we were there.. a huge bed, coffee machine, a wet room and netflix (perfect). 



As soon as we arrived at Amsterdam at Central Station, we were both in need of some caffeine so we stopped off at Stock, a cute little coffee shop only a 2 minute walk from the station. They had delicious coffee, cakes and sandwiches. As soon as we arrived it was obvious to tell the most efficient way to get around was by bike, or tram. I literally had no idea how to cross the road without being trampled. 



To travel, I wanted to be comfy so I wore a thin knit cream jumper from H&M, Khaki military trousers from H&M, ASOS belt, slip on Vans and a cord puffer jacket from Urban Outfitters. I've also rediscovered my M&S red fur shoulder bag, I got it for Christmas a couple of years ago and completely forgot I had it. 



We went to the Moco Museum on Monday, a Banksy and Roy Lichtenstein exhibition was on which we pre booked online and it was actually really interesting. The museum itself was so pretty and it amazing to see some of their work in real life. The Moco Museum was really easy to get to, it was about a 10 minute walk from where we where staying, right next to the Van Gogh museum. After that, we got the tram into Dam Square and went to the Sex Museum. It was so dated and hilarious, but I'd say it's worth visiting for a laugh. Or even just to get that typical picture with the massive penis. 







We also did a lot of shopping whilst we were there, the shopping just seemed so much better than London. It was probably because I couldn't really buy anything as I only had a small hand luggage suitcase. Whilst we were there I did pick up a dark grey beret in Topshop, I was looking for one for a while, I didn't know if it would suit me but as soon as I tried it on I knew i'd be wearing it a lot this winter. It was bloody freezing while we were there as well, so it did keep that extra bit warmer. 

I wore my new beret with a t-shirt I picked up from Weekday that says 'emotional' on the front in red letters. I thought it was very apt as I cry at most things. I paired it with some vintage kick flares, my slips on vans and my lovely new Urban Outfitters jacket (which I'm completely besotted with by the way). 

That evening we had a delicious meal at Cao. If you're into steak and generally good food then this is a must. It was probably the best steak i've ever eaten and the cocktails were also pretty impressive.. 




We also explored the area of Jordaan, the old working class district. It was so cute, with little vintage boutique, coffee shops and bars. We found the most incredible chocolate shop called Urban Cacao which is a must visit. The most delicious chocolate, and you can try each on before you buy. Incredible. 

Later that evening we had a lovely italian meal and headed into the Red Light District. It was a very odd experience and to be honest, I didn't really know how to feel about it. I'd still 100% recommend going to check it out and experience it for yourself. We finished the evening with a drink in 'Freddy's', one of the recommendations when you google 'cocktail bars near me' and the cocktails looks v inviting. It was a gorgeous, art deco vibe bar but unfortunately the cocktails were about €25 each, so I stuck to a small glass of wine. Lol.




On our last day, we started with an amazing brunch at Blue Amsterdam. You get an amazing panoramic view of the city, I highly recommend. The food was so tasty, not a huge breakfast menu but the lunch choices were great. We also decided to try out a boat tour, going around the canals and learning about Amsterdam which we both really enjoyed. 

Overall, I completely fell in love with the city and cannot wait to go back. It felt so chilled and relaxed (for obvious reasons) and it was amazing to go in November when it was starting to feel Christmassy. Also, don't forget to try Chocomel. 

Saturday, 4 November 2017

THE BEST SEASON FOR STYLING




Autumnal, winter clothing is my absolute favourite. I love layering clothing and the autumnal 'transitional' period is the best time to do so. The weather is still reasonably warm for November (sorry for talking about the weather AND being that person that says 'how is it November already?!').. I love layering three or four layers of clothing because you can add so many different colours, shapes and textures. 

However that being said, sometimes it's a struggle to know what to layer with what without looking a bit OTT. Your favourite flowy, summer dress could be layered with a roll neck and boots.. or a denim skirt with a big oversized knit and sock boots instead of sandals and a cami top? It's all about looking in your wardrobe and experimenting with different pieces and seeing what works for you. 




I mostly wore these Asos Culotte Dungarees in the summer with a t-shirt and trainers, but it actually works great with a chunky jumper and my favourite Missguided Fluffy Cardigan over the top, with my trusty converse. This outfit was perfect on a chilly October afternoon, it kept me cosy but I also didn't get too hot. 

It's so easy to fall into the routine of jeans, a jumper and trainers when the weather gets cold, however I want to keep experimenting and making an effort with my Autumn Winter outfits.






Some of my absolute go tos for Autumn/Winter pieces have to be Zara, H&M  and & Other Stories (which can be a bit pricier, but their stuff is AMAZING). I always manage to find at least one item in each of these stores, which is not so fab for my bank balance..

Where is your favourite place to shop?



Cardigan - Missguided / Jumper - H&M / Dungarees - ASOS / Bag - M&S / Trainers - Converse