Twenty-Six

I am now twenty-six years old.

In my head I still feel about nineteen and when I see pictures of people going off to uni I want to shout ‘take me with you, I’m not ready to be a grown up!’ Which is still because I starting uni seven years ago (thanks to Ali for reminding me of that one).

Leading up to my birthday, something I always get excited about, I was nervous. My original plan (pre pandemic) was to be in Disneyland for the week, come back the night before my birthday and go out to celebrate on the day because it was finally on a Friday. Nope, can’t happen.

Then I organised a small BBQ with close friends to celebrate. Then the rule of six came in. Right, let’s go again. Time after time plans had to change so I was a little apprehensive about my birthday. I didn’t need to be I actually had a really wonderful day full of surprises.

There are the most wonderful people in my life who bought me gifts, sent me messages, baked cakes, sent things to my house to surprise me. I was, and still am, in awe of it all. How loved I felt, how even though I couldn’t really see people I had a full heart and felt on top of the world.

So why, only two days later did I find myself feeling anxious and sad?

I know that twenty-six isn’t going to be the year I thought it would be. My last year of my mid-twenties was also going to be the year I finally married the man I love. With each day that passes we get closer to the fact that we’re almost certain we’re going to have to postpone our wedding. Instead of the plans we had we’ll be packing up our flat to move.

These things are coming and while I try not to be doom and gloom I know they will be hard – but I’m hoping good things will come out of it too. There are silver linings and I am going to make the most of them.

I cannot predict a thing about what’s to come this year – so I guess it’s time to just go with it.

Heading To The Aisle: 1 Year To Go!

This time in 1 year I will be a married woman getting ready for her reception after saying ‘I Do’ to my favourite person…whaaaaaat?! It feels absolutely crazy that we’re down to the one year mark. Despite how organised I apparently am, I’m still feeling a little stressed and overwhelmed about getting things sorted in the next 364 days.

That said, I also feel a little more settled in what I want for the day. My guestlist has been cut down to people I care about, I’ve sorted colours, the venue, the band and other big stuff and I’m on the hunt for my dress.

Recently, I’ve seen a lot of people getting engaged (congrats if that’s you!) and a lot of WHERE DO I START posts. That was 100% me, as I explained in my real talk post. I did wonder if I should have written it but now I am so glad I have because I was how I felt at the time! Nervous and overwhelmed by other people’s expectations I’m slowly letting go of what other people think or want which is so refreshing.

Now my focus is to get everything paid (eek), sort out our honeymoon to Disney World, Orlando obvs and get the finishing touches sorted so it’s not a totally crazy and stressful year.

So 365 days to go…not that I’m counting or anything! 😉

Do You Really Have To Get Up At 5am To Be Successful?

Do You Really Have To Get Up At 5am To Be Successful?

We’ve all seen it, the days of multimillionaires that start a 5am with an intense workout, a mix of strange ingredients in a smoothie, micro meetings and switching their phones off at 7.30pm for meditation throughout the evening before going to bed at 9. But these people are deemed successful so they must be doing something right. Right?

Maybe not. Hear me out.

This way of living, first of all, sounds very boring – it also sounds like something that is steeped in privilege. We can all work on ourselves and develop good habits, eating better, getting more exercise and getting off of our phones – I think everyone could benefit from those. But, most of us have jobs, families, housework, commitments etc. This isn’t me creating excuses but think about it for a second.

A lot of these ultra wealthy people we’re doing all of these things in their 20s, in the start of stages of their career. They were doing whatever they could to get themselves where they wanted to be. Now they have the means they can have the best food, they might even have a cook. They could spend hours in the gym with personal trainers who are specialists. They can run a business with a team behind them.

We see these ideas and schedules a lot. While before it was in magazines (I can’t remember which one had the ‘what’s in a celebrities fridge section but ugh) now it’s on our social media. It puts a new wave of pressure on us to strive to these ideals that are exactly that – ideals.

While I’m obviously not writing from my mansion and private library (I wish) people have called me successful in the past. Most of the time I’ve brushed them off BUT I do know people who in my mind are successful. They have 8 hours of sleep, they do like having a takeaway pizza, they also like going out with friends.

It’s easy to get sucked into the idea that there is one formulae for success and if we do it then we’ll get the result we want. Life doesn’t work that way so instead why don’t we make the changes we can.

I’m trying to go to the gym twice a week and increase my vegetable intake. Because I have work, friends, family and other parts to my life I’m doing the smaller things to contribute to being a better version of myself and hopefully more successful. Also if I got up at 5am every day I would not be a nice person, or a well person – just saying.

What do you think? Let me know below!

Talking About Periods And Mental Health

In the words of Lily Allen – ‘Periods, we all get periods. Every month, yo, that’s what the theory is. It’s human nature, another cycle’ yep she cleared it up nicely. The majority of uterus owners have to deal with these regular little rage monsters.

Recently, I’ve been listening to Hormonal by Eleanor Morgan where she talks about her experiences and looks at the wider cultural issue. It’s something I’ve struggled with in the last 12 years. I know I’m not the only one that struggles with their mental health when on their period. I am teary, anxious and stressed. I feel incredibly low and struggle with my self worth.

What about contraception? People ask well. For me, it does precisely nothing to help my anxiety and depression on my period and while I feel weak to let people know I’m feeling down because of my period (thanks to the patriarchy for that!) it’s completely true.

The thing is, why don’t we talk more about our mental health on our periods? This is something that impacts a lot of the the population and it is valid. If it were another medical condition we could be more mindful something that causes depression and mood swings alongside medical symptoms?

I know that for at least a week a month I don’t feel like myself. I feel like something within me takes over, I question everything, my confidence deflates. All because of a natural process which happens to make my mental illness worse.

I guess I’m writing to say that we are silenced and made to think that it’s embarrassing and that it only happens to us – which is not true! I’m yet to meet a woman who isn’t negatively impacted by their hormones. We’re not weak, we’re not overreacting, we are most importantly not alone.

Let me know about your experiences below!

I'm not where I thought I would be - are you_

I’m Not Where I Thought I Would Be – Are You?

Next week I’m going to be 25 years old and while it might not be a landmark birthday (although my next one will be 30 *shudder*) it has made me think quite a lot about where I am, where I want to be and what I’m doing. I don’t think I’m alone in saying that my life looks very different to what I thought it would be like when I was a child/teenager.

So I thought why not have a look at those expectations

I thought I would…have bought a house.

*laughs, laughs, cries* I don’t know anyone my age who went to university and can afford a house. The only people I know are those who have been working since they were 18 and saving hard. I’m happy for my friends who have their own houses, I’m also jealous. I am a long way off of owning a home so for now, renting it is.

I thought I would…be married.

25 is aaaaaaaaagggeeeee away and so grown up right? Haha. So I thought. Although, on my 25th birthday I’ll be a little over a year away from getting married! So I guess this one was close.

I thought I’d have…at least one child

My Mum was 21 when I was born, my Dad was 22 so for me I thought this was a great time to have a baby. In 1994 it wasn’t such a bad idea but both of my parents left school at 16 and worked quite soon after.

So, I assumed I’d also have my own rugrat in my early 20s. But instead I packed up my life went to university and spent my 21st birthday in a Wetherspoons with a bunch of friends and was carried home by Ali and my friend Lex.

There was a little while where I doubted whether I’d be good at being a parent, whether it was something I really, really wanted. After a few issues and a little scare something might be wrong (thankfully it’s all fine) I know I want children but I’m not in a rush.

I thought I would…be working for someone.

From being a little kid to my early twenties I had a LOT of ideas about what I would do with my life. There was a musical theatre actress, singer, teacher, Dr of Literature, Marketeer. It kept changing so, that’s one thing I didn’t have a solid idea for.

But I was never one of those people who thought that I would go off and build my own business, my own empire – now that’s the dream. It just didn’t seem like something I could do but at this point in time I don’t know how I could do anything else. Funny how time changes things.

Looking at all of these, I think that I definitely based what I thought my life would look like based on my parents – I mean didn’t most of us look at a grown up in our lives and go that’s what my life will be like or that’s who I want to be. But, even though the gap between me and my parents is 20 years, the world has changed so much. I can’t get a 100% mortgage, we’re fighting more for jobs and having children later.

So while I’m nowhere near where I thought I would be at 25, I’m not unhappy. I have a flat I’m renting, a fiancé I adore, my own freelance job and beautiful hamster babies. It might be a little different but it’s still pretty good.

Are any of you nodding along with any of these? What did you think you’d be doing at 25? Let me know in the comments below. 👇

Heading To The Aisle: Finding Your Venue

I’m back with a bit of wedding chat – hooray! Now, things have ramped up at little bit since I last wrote about feeling overwhelmed about where to start and what to do. We now have a date, a registrar and a venue, yep check me about! I’m going to become a Mrs on the 16th January 2021, eek!

With no doubt one of the biggest things is getting your venue right. When we got engaged I was reluctant to look at any big venues, I was worried about the money we would spend but thanks to a bit of gentle nagging my Mum got me to visit two of the bigger and more impressive venues in my hometown and, don’t tell her, but she was completely right.

To say I’m in love with my venue is an understatement, I got a gut feeling as soon as we walked up that this was the place for me. The first time I saw it I went with my Mum and got a full tour – I’d recommend going on an open day/evening as they will set it up for how it may look for a wedding.

My wedding venue!

There are a million posts online about what questions you should ask but my main advice is ask about things that are important to you as well as the boring admin things. For me the important things were that the ceremony and evening were at the same place, accessibility, the guests rooms and what we would be eating, for Ali the sound, the way it was lit and layout were important.

It has to be said that without our parents wanting to help us I would have set my sights on a smaller venue. I’m aware how lucky we are that our parents want to help. That’s something I will say, don’t assume either way. I didn’t want to assume our parents would help, so I didn’t look at the beautiful venues. Have a conversation with everyone involved and see where things stand – you might be pleasantly surprised.

Really, your venue should make you feel happy and comfortable. I could visualise myself saying I do in the room where our ceremony will be held. Also, take your time! I only booked ours so quickly because I knew it was right for us, if you haven’t found it yet then take your time to look around and see what’s available.

The Internet and Introverts

The Internet and Introverts

To put it simply, the internet is my life. Yes I am fully aware that sounds strange but hear me out. I was born in 1994, by the time I was 4 we had computers in the classroom, ICT lessons were a part of my education – we grew up online.

I’ve built a job for myself from my love of the internet so, really, it is my life. But it’s also given me more than that – it’s given me the chance to interact with others as in introvert. I can talk to people from all over the globe, I get the majority of my clients online, whereas I don’t know if I would do as well going out and talking to people constantly.

I know that there are so many people, some of you reading this even, who feel like they can be themselves online. Hell, I know I can. I can spend my time talking about books, about mental health, about anything I feel like and find others who want to talk about it too. It’s a good feeling.

At times when I’m lonely I can hop on to a Twitter chat and talk to other people who, like me, might also be at home alone on a Friday night with not much to do but still wants to do something. Likewise there are times when I feel alone or I might be struggling with something, there will be someone else who feels the same or similar.

While most people who read my blog can’t believe I’m introverted, nor can some of my family members, I find trying to interact with large groups of people so exhausting and I can’t fake enthusiasm when I’m exhausted, but I do get lonely. It’s a great solution.

Are you an introvert that uses the internet? I’d love to hear from you below!

My First Smear Test!

This year I got a letter I’d been waiting on. It was time to book my smear test, also known as a cervical screening. The letter came a little earlier than I expected, about 6 months before my 25th birthday. There wasn’t a question in my mind that I was going to book it as soon as possible.

Now, you’ve probably seen the adverts, you might have even got a letter and you’re a bit nervous. That’s normal but a little bit of embarrassment/feeling uncomfortable for a few moments could save your life.

So, to keep the conversation going I knew I was going to write about having my first smear test. Of course, I didn’t take a camera in to get the gory details, nobody needs to see that unless they’re a medical professional! Either way here’s my experience and answering any questions you might have.

So what happens?

After getting your letter you need to book an appointment, I had mine with a practice nurse, you can request to have a woman if that makes you more comfortable. The only thing you need to make sure of is that you’re not on your period/have just finished it and you can’t use Lube for 24 hours before I think. You get a handy leaflet with everything in it so take a read of that.

What happens in the appointment?

During your appointment you’ll chat with your nurse/doctor first about what’s going to happen, to make sure you consent and let you know the process for results. You will then be asked to go behind a curtain, take off your underwear and sit under a sheet.

Then comes the bit people are a little embarrassed about. It’s worth keeping in mind these people see so many vaginas, yours probably isn’t anything special (sorry!). Then they will use a tool called a speculum to open your cervix which can feel a little uncomfortable but try to relax as much as possible. Then they’ll use a little tool to get some cells from your cervix. It’s over in less that 2 minutes.

Can I have someone come in with me?

Yes! You can have someone in as a chaperone to make you more comfortable, just tell your doctor or nurse.

What about after?

I felt a little discomfort and had a little bit of bleeding but nothing major. I did go and get myself a treat after because, c’mon I did a good thing!

Now, where I live there was a backlog so I had to wait 4-6 weeks for my results. Hence why this blog is late – I wanted to make sure I knew my results before writing about it. Mine came back fine BUT as a note, if you do have abnormal cells this doesn’t necessarily mean you have cancer – but there will be further investigation to check everything!

So, there we have it. My first smear is done and dusted and I won’t be having another for 3 years! How did you find your smear test? Let me know in the comments below!

Life Update: How’re Things Going?

Hey girls and guys, it’s been a little while since I wrote this kind of post but I think it’s time.

We’re over a quarter of the way through 2019, I’m fine, it’s fine we’re all FINE. In all seriousness though, it’s gone pretty quickly and each month has had something memorable for me some big, others just a personal moment. It seemed like a perfect time to catch you guys up.

Three months down and quite a few changes. I moved house, started an awesome freelance project, got engaged, got a new hamster and I’m sure there are so many other things I’m forgetting as I’m typing this. As you can imagine, with all that change I felt very overwhelmed and had times where my mental health wasn’t at it’s best. I’m doing okay now, I’m on the waiting list for some therapy and I’m going to get through it.

So, what does May look like over here? Hopefully, I’ll be blogging a LOT more. I’m not promising every day, although I did think about doing every day in May – right now that’s not a pressure I want to put on myself. The funk I was in is slowly passing, so let’s hope that continues.

I also have 2 award events I’ve been invited to, hopefully a good amount of work to keep me busy, a Hen Do (Bachelorette party for my US readers), hopefully booking my wedding venue (!!), a family meal and at some point I hope to get some sleep. Oh! And before I forget this month is Fibromyalgia awareness day and Mental Health Week. So keep your eyes peels for those.

In short, this is a post to say I’m back. I haven’t been feeling 100% but I’m working though it and I’m looking forward to blogging again.

May, I am so ready for you.

How I really felt after getting engaged

Real Talk: How I Felt After Getting Engaged

Hello lovelies,

I’ve started going back to basics and just writing my thoughts and feeling when I feel them – could be a good idea, could be a nightmare, who knows? I’ve been thinking about whether I should talk about getting married on the blog. Then I realised that this is my little chunk of the internet where I write about my life…so it makes sense.

ANYWAY back to the matter at hand. As you probably know, I got engaged a few weeks ago (post about it here if you missed it) which is exciting. Of course I was bouncing off the walls about the engagement, then people started talking about the wedding. A lot. I just wanted to live in the excited bubble of getting engaged!

Within a few hours of getting engaged I was asked whether we had a date…nope. Overnight all of my Facebook and Instagram ads had changed to be wedding ads. People I hadn’t spoken to in years were getting in touch. I was being asked about venues, guest lists, planning. AHHHHHHHHH.

In the two days that Ali and I were the only people who knew about the ring and upcoming engagement it was blissful. While I was happy people were excited, I felt so overwhelmed so quickly. And no one was asking Ali these questions…so I found myself feeling anxious and not being interested in wedding stuff.

Instead of being excited I avoided talking about it, I got stressed by numbers and how damn expensive this shit was. It’s one day? How can one day cost so much money! I tried to reason with people surely that would be better spent to have a marriage than a party?

I think this is something people don’t talk about. I’m excited to marry Ali but the actual wedding? It’s overwhelming when so many people are interested and I feel like I have so much to do. Then after a few conversations and a few breathers I realised this is about us. This isn’t about anyone else.

So, I am going to be updating on this wedding thing and how we’re getting on and I need to bloody relax while doing it.