Thursday, 16 March 2017

Back To Basics: How to Get in Touch With Your Feelings

"Back to Basics" is an 8 week project looking at starting again after a rough period in life. In these 8 weeks, there will be tips on how to get started, embracing emotions and I've got some great guest bloggers sharing their struggles and how they overcame them.
First of all.... this picture makes me laugh! Look out for this grumpy fish at The Rainforest Café in Disney's Animal Kingdom, Florida.
I find it quite hard to express certain emotions and I'm definitely a person that can go from 0 to 100 in the matter of a millisecond! Being in touch with your emotions will help your mind and your body. In order to be confident and self-assured, you need to get your emotional alarm system on lock down.
Flipping out when you're angry or feeling anxious when paranoid happens so quickly that you don't have time to feel what you're actually feeling. For example, someone might talk trash to me on social media and initially I'm like "I feel like smashing that basic in the face!" However, once I've sat down and processed whats happened, I actually feel upset not angry.
It's important to figure out what emotion you're feeling (not just in that moment) and how to handle it effectively. It's not easy - It takes practice and patience and these small steps can help you get there:
Actually think about what you're feeling and be honest
There's always going to be ups and downs in life and there will never be a blanket emotion for each situation. Take a time out and reflect on what you feel and be honest. You should never hold back on yourself.
There's going to be times when you need to stand up to someone or lower those walls to let new friends in or your next partner. Being able to communicate how you feel will make you more in control with your emotions. Break down those barriers and stop pretending you don't feel!
Embrace negativity
This is a hard pill to swallow because negativity isn't fun for anyone. However, take any negativity that comes your way and flip it around. Even if it's not constructive criticism, be confident enough to take it all on board!
Know when to ask for help
This is a major key and something that nearly everyone is afraid of. Listen, it's not a sign of weakness if you ask for help from friends, family and/or a professional. It's a sign of strength and acceptance. Never struggle in silence - it's reckless and unproductive.

How do you stay on top of your feelings?
Back To Basics: How to Get in Touch With Your Feelings

My One Year Plan

Last year was one of the shittest years I've had. So much negative change happened, I gained weight and basically lost control. However, I'm determined not to dwell on that and planning to make this year the best ever!
I purposely waited a few months before I made "resolutions" because like many people, I break them within a few months! However, I believe these goals are obtainable and can make a positive difference in my life.
Read at least 10 books
This seems like an easy task for some but for me, I struggle to stay focused for long periods of time and my mind wonders. So now, everyday while commuting to and from work, I've been reading a little. I have eventually been building up to read before I go to sleep too. Little and often is a key for me! Anyone got any good book suggestions?
Take my blog to new heights (or at least the next level)
I've been thinking long term about what I want to do in my life and being self employed and writing is one of them. I'm not the best writer at all but I'm authentic, I never try and be someone I'm not and I'm honest with what I say. I have a couple of things I'm working on and lots of features in the pipeline so who knows what will happen! If anyone has any projects that they need help with, give me a shout! I'd love to get involved.
Get this body and mind right
This is a personal one. I've always been on the larger side and on some fad diet at some point. Now that I'm older, I know what I like and it's all about self control, balance and Zumba. That's LITERALLY my health kick mantra for this year!
Build a killer online creative portfolio
I've been so inspired by Pinterest and people's portfolios and resumés are amazing that I really want to focus on making mine the best it can be so it opens up more opportunities!
Travel somewhere alone
This year, I had plans to go to Vegas for my birthday and new years but unfortunately these plans have fallen through. So instead, I have decided to make plans to go somewhere alone and do you know what, I'm so bloody excited! No plans on where yet but once I know I'll let you all in on where I go!
Get rid of those frauds
I've already got rid of one person I was mega close with now I've realised that her idea of friendship is a one way street. Time to cut off the dead weight and move on up with the ones that care.

What are your goals for the year and are you on track to succeed?
My One Year Plan
Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Back To Basics: Five Steps to Help Start Over

"Your past is just a story. And once you realise this, it has no power over you"

Many of us don't like change and I get it, it's scary. We get anxious of what other people think especially if you're planning a drastic change. I can sympathise, I'm conscious of what I write on my blog, tweet or wear! But sometimes you have to overcome these fears and be brave.

So I've started "Back to Basics", an 8 week project looking at starting again after a rough period in life. In these 8 weeks, there will be tips on how to get started, embracing emotions and I've got some great guest bloggers sharing their struggles and how they overcame them.

In the last couple of years, I've dealt with a breakup, betrayal, loneliness, depression and a family breakdown. However, I have slowly started to come back to life, draw a line under it and start over. I have started to stick to 5 simple steps that have helped me start my journey that I wanted to share:

Stop letting society tell you how to live
Don't compare yourself to anyone on social media, your friends or family. Life is not a race and everything will happen when it's supposed to happen and there's plenty of time - its never too late!

Express your creativity
This is a vital step. Whether you like to colour in (there's some amazing adult colouring books about at the moment!), knit, crochet or journal - get creative! It's one of the best ways to relax and reflect.

Don't have regrets
This is an obvious one but also really powerful. You cannot keep living in the past. What's happened has happened - unfortunately, we cannot change the past. Make positive and smart decisions for your future and learn from your mistakes.

Make dreams/goals/wishes
In order to start over, you have to have a vision. Makes plans, goals and dream big! It keeps you motivated and accomplished! Dream big people BUT not anything that isn't obtainable! Think how you want to feel in a year and think about the steps you need to take to get there.

Don't be a victim!
This may be hard for some but try not to be a victim and feel sorry for yourself. Life is never ever plain sailing. That's a fact - doesn't matter who you follow on Snapchat or Instagram. Just stay strong and move on.

There's plenty more steps you can take and if you're interested in investing seriously into starting over, you should read Add More ~ing to Your Life by Gabrielle Bernstein. It's full of tips on adding happiness and life changing affirmations! I'm half way through the book and I'm finding it hard to put down!

So I hope you enjoy these next few weeks and find this project useful! Let me know on Twitter what you think and any suggestions are welcome! If you want to get involved in any future projects, give me a bell!

Back To Basics: Five Steps to Help Start Over
Sunday, 5 March 2017

Watercolour Doilies

I've always wanted to sell my artwork with the world but never had the courage too! I always think that no-one would buy it or be interested. However, it's 2017, the year of being brave! I've decided to start off with my painted paper doilies!
These paper doilies are created to motivate and inspire people. These can be placed anywhere in the house, office, notebooks... wherever! I'm sending some to my friends to cheer them up! Each doily is hand painted (with love) and £8 for a large one and £5 for a smaller one so super affordable for originals!
Also, 20% of all sales are going to charity so even more reason to have a looksee!
If you would like to buy a doily (or two), check out my Etsy!
Let me know what you think of my doilies! Which one is your favourite?
Watercolour Doilies
Monday, 27 February 2017

What It's Like When Your Friends Take Drugs And You Don't

**DISCLAIMER** Just for the record, I am not a drug taker and do not encourage drug use or promote it in any way!
3.3% of all adults between the ages of 16 and 59 are frequent drug users in England and Wales. Now, I have never seen the point of taking drugs - I've always spent money on food (which is my equivalent to drugs!), clothes and my social life. However, a couple of my close friends take drugs.
This can be anything from cannabis and binge drinking (two things that these days are not considered as a 'hard' drug) to MDMA and cocaine.
My friends Lilly* and Stacey* are daily drug users. Everyday they consume an average of 6 spliffs a day with Stacey smoking the majority of that as she often smokes before she starts work. Something that Lilly is surprisingly against.
"It's so easy to get hold of - I can probably get some at the door within 25 minutes"
According to a survey from the Home Office, 35% of adults aged 16 to 59 had taken drugs at some point in their lives. Cannabis is the most commonly used drug wit 6.5% of adults aged 16 to 59 using within the year. Among 16 to 24 year olds, 15.8% had used it in the last year - That's around 975,000 people!
Stacey thinks the reason its so popular is because of availability. "It's so easy to get hold of if you know the right people - I can probably get some at the door within 25 minutes" But what is the point of taking them? One of my ex boyfriends (there hasn't been many!) was considered a binge smoker and on average spent roughly anywhere between £30 to £120 a week on cannabis. He said it calms him down and helps him relax. For Lilly, she mainly smokes cannabis as she claims it helps her sleep.
"It's a social thing! It's the same as smoking a cigarette - it's relaxing and really helps me think sometimes."
Recently, we had a house party and Lilly wanted to splash out on her go to party drug that she has most nights we go out - Cocaine.
Powder cocaine is the second most commonly used drug among 16 to 59 year olds. That's 2.2% in 2015/16 - that's about 725,000 people in England and Wales. However, it's only the third most popular drug for 16 to 24 year olds.
Lilly paid £70 for 1 gram of powder cocaine - That's pretty much 80% of a leather jacket with patches from Alice and You @ ASOS! Its an unbelievable amount of money for something that if you sneezed next to it, it would blow away! "I love the buzz," Lilly says. "When you're around a big group of people, its amazing!" This all depends on mood and mental state though. I've known Lilly since the start of my teenage years and there's been many times I've seen her inconsolable and she has no idea why or any recollection of it the next day.
 Credit: WeHeartIt
"It's definitely a risk - its all dependant on how I feel and its an expensive risk to take."
On the flip side, there's many enjoyable moments I have spend with Lilly under the influence. She talks a lot more than usual and she says the same shit over and over again! She's never been violent or abusive and she's just been a great girl to be around. Not saying she's not fun sober, she has a very consistent personality. "I don't do it to be cool - I do it because I enjoy it! It effects are for me to enjoy - no-one else."
Unfortunately, the mix of cocaine, cannabis and alcohol had negative effects as Lilly was sick everywhere! She was also still awake waaayyyy after the party finished! However, this will never stop Lilly or Stacey doing what they want to do. "I've always been responsible which I guess is hypocritical but I know my limits and I never take it too far. Plus, I trust those around me."
She's right - its about trust on both sides. She trusts me and her friends to not judge her and give her space to express herself and have fun. She also trusts us that if anything was to go wrong, we as her friends will be able to make sure she is safe. On the flip side, I trust her and my other friends that use drugs recreationally to not peer pressure me into doing anything that I don't want to do. They know that no means no and they never ask me twice.
The thing about friendship s that there should be no judgements. Especially if it does not effect my life directly. Lilly and Stacey taking drugs does not directly effect my life one bit. It's their decision. Naturally I am concerned with their health and safety but then they could eat takeaways everyday and still do damage to their bodies. Lilly and Stacey both have jobs, work hard at their jobs and have a beautiful home and many other interests other than cannabis and cocaine. They are loyal and enjoy life as much as I do.
Have friends that take drugs doesn't define them and I don't think it reflects badly on me either. It comes down to life choices and personality. You have to be strong minded, have friends that you trust and have strong beliefs. That's what makes my friendships work.
Without those things, this post would be tragically different.

If you want to know more about drugs check out FRANK. All statistics used in this post can be found here.

* Names have been changed to protect the girls' identities. My friends in question have been informed about this post and they're ok about it because they're absolute babes!
What It's Like When Your Friends Take Drugs And You Don't
Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Life Lately // Coming back refreshed

I've been blogging for 6 years on and off and seen blogging grow into another level! I've been very lucky to work with a couple of brands over the years but sometimes I feel a bit overwhelmed. Not with the community but with myself and content.
I see so many blogs look the same and sometimes trying to find your own authenticity in your blog can be a bit tough. So I made the decision to step back and observe, read and think about what the f**k I'm about.
I know that may be a silly statement but I think there's a lot of people out there that have no idea what they're truly about and are scared to just take a step back and really think about it. 
Some say to stop blogging without an explanation is a blogging crime against the internet! But honestly, I think it's a smart move! One because I've just done it myself so can't exactly say I'm stupid and two because there is no point in writing a blog when you have no motivation and you've lost your authenticity.
For me, I was uninspired. There wasn't a lot going on and I had hit a bit of a downward spiral in terms of life in general (I'll probably talk about this soon). It's not that I didn't have anything to talk about, it was self doubt and that then moved onto being demotivated.
For me, I looked through my old posts which I had kept hidden and reverted them back to draft. When I looked through them, I realised how much I progressed, how much my life had changed and how many stories I hadn't shared yet. That's why I made the decision to repost all my old posts, whether they fit into my 'brand' or not. I started and continue to blog as a hobby so shouldn't be intimidated of self conscious about my old posts - 6 years is a long time!!
I've also come up with some amazing ideas while being away! I now know what projects I want to work on and collaboration is something I'm really passionate about. I hosted the #lbloggers chat on Sunday and got a chance to talk to some pretty amazing bloggers! This made me think about the direction I want to go on!
So to place a bit of accountability on myself, here's a couple of projects I'm planning and working on;
Positivity Mail This is basically an idea I've had for a while and is about connecting women through all walks of life and empowering each other through handwritten mail. It's about time we put pen to paper again!
Seven Secrets This is where collaboration comes in! It's about sharing empowering stories and life lessons!
Blogger Meet Up This is something that I think would be fun! We spoke about it on twitter but just needs to be organised! I thought why not - I'll try give it a go!
Snapchat I've always wanted my own YouTube channel but know nothing about making videos... like literally nothing. But one thing I know how to do is use Snapchat! Start small and grow! I'll let you know when I start!
Those are a couple of things that I'm planning to get started! If anyone wants to get involved email me and we can talk!
Here's to a more motivated and authentic year! 💕
Life Lately // Coming back refreshed
Saturday, 3 December 2016

Top 10 Christmas Memories with Debenhams and Yankee Candle + GIVEAWAY

I think Christmas has come around so quickly this year and honestly, this year, I haven't been that excited about it or even had a chance to since starting my new job! But then, excitement hit me when Debenhams sent me a of festive hamper filled with Yankee Candle treats. I adore the scent of 'All Is Bright' filling up my living room, and it has inspired me to share my top 10 favourite Christmas memories...

1. Making bottle glasses with my dad and nearly blowing up the sink when we threw the match down the plughole but forgot about the lighter fluid

2. That time I got drunk on red wine and fell asleep at the dinner table and nearly drowned in Christmas pudding and cream
3. Playing monopoly with the family and always having the dog
4. Santa bought me a Disney house
5. When I received my first kitchen
6. Getting a letter from Santa to say I've been very good!
7. Waking up and seeing that Santa has eaten the mince pie, drank the brandy and fed the reindeer the carrots!
8. My mum cooking things from Delia Smith's cookbooks (sausage rolls and cheese and bacon quiches are THE BEST!) 
9. Visiting Santa to tell him everything I wanted for Christmas and to see the elves!
10. Snuggling with Elmo on Christmas Eve with hot chocolate and my festive PJ's


So, who wants to have some Yankee Candle festive scents in their home? I'm giving away the Yankee Candle Festive Candle Set (pictured above) that you will, hopefully, receive before Christmas. You could separate them and give them away as stocking fillers or keep them for yourself!

All you have to do is find me on Twitter and RT my giveaway tweet!
Winner announced on Friday 16th December 2016 on Twitter!
p.s. Sorry about some of the image quality, my camera broke (typical!)
Top 10 Christmas Memories with Debenhams and Yankee Candle + GIVEAWAY
Friday, 2 December 2016

50 Things To Do In Winter

It is FINALLY December which means its nearly time for Christmas and all the festivities! I've started planning my Christmas shopping (notice how I didn't say "started shopping") and have loads of crafty things planned to make as gifts. However, although there is so much that needs to be done, we need to remember that winter is supposed to be a fun season to spend with family and friends and also, numero uno (yourself!). So I have created a list of activities you can get up to this Winter/Christmas for when you have ran out of ideas or just bored in general!

50 Things To Do This Christmas
1. Visit the German Christmas markets
2. Donate to charity
3. Build a Snowman
5. Make paperchains with decorative paper
6. Make a care package just in case
7. Spend time with family
8. Create your own wrapping paper
9. Take a winter walk in the woods
10. Make Christmas cards
11. Make homemade mince pies
12. Build a gingerbread house
13. Snow Angels
14. Make a winter inspired playlist
15. Buy a bobble hat
16. Fill a stocking for a friend
17. Decorate baubles
18. Look at the Christmas lights
19. Decorate a tree
20. Go to a food festivals and try everything
21. Visit the elderly who are lonely at Christmas
22. Have a PJ day
23. Have a Christmas TV specials marathon
24. Fold and cut paper snowflakes
25. Drink a Cherry B or Snowball
26. Sit around a log fire 
27. Prepare some New Years resolutions
28. Wear an ugly Christmas jumper
29. Buy a Yankee Candle
30. Make mulled wine
31. Read a Christmas book 
32. Knit a scarf
33. Take up a new hobby!
34. Have a hot bubble bath in candlelight
35. Volunteer at a soup kitchen / homeless shelter
36. Sing carols
37. Buy something sparkly
38. Go to Midnight Mass
39. Get a Christmas colouring book
40. Make a Christmas wreath
41. Write a letter to Santa
42. Make a snow globe
43. Make peppermint fudge
44. Cover the house in fairy lights
45. Smooch under the mistletoe
46. Play board games (No fighting in Monopoly!)
47. Make a yule log
48. Drink Baileys hot chocolate with cream
49. Play secret Santa with your friends or work colleagues.
50. Buy yourself a treat, wrap it up and put it under the tree!
One for luck: Light a candle for you loved ones and be thankful!

Like this list? Pin this image or save it to your phone so you can come back to it!
What's your favourite thing to do in Winter?
50 Things To Do In Winter