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 Unwind After A Long Day

How I Unwind After A Long Day

The only thing I want to do after a long day, particularly one in the city, is relax. I’m not the best person at relaxing…I’m actually quite terrible but there are some things I can do to help myself out.

Lush Bath

I love a good Lush bath to unwind. I’m always a big fan of something sweet as well as colourful, oh and glitter. I’m not afraid of glitter. Luxury Lush Pud below!

Lush Bath

Comfy Clothes

On with the pyjama bottoms and a baggy t-shirt. If I’ve had a long day, it normally means I’m quite achy too

My home is my space and I want to be as comfortable as possible, you’ll also find that my make up is scrubbed off my face at home.

Slipper Socks or Fluffy Socks

I’m a huge fan of fluffy socks or slipper socks, even better if they have woodland creatures on them (I have two fox pairs as I write this).

I’m always cold and not a big fan of regular slippers so these are a dream. Buy yourself a pair and you will never look back.

A Cup Of Tea

I have a mug that is almost as big as my face because I love tea that much. Getting a good cuppa and curling up is a very British way to chill out but it’s one of my favourite ways to do so. If you’re wondering, it’s milk and two sugars.

Mug and Socks

A Good Book

I’ll read at any time but it’s one of the very few ways I can really relax and switch off from real life. I get invested in the story, which is why I’m also not afraid to discard a book if I’m not interested!

It sounds cliché but I really can get lost in a good book. Everything else disappears and it’s just me and the story.

Sleep

An early night does the world of good, and sometimes that’s all you need.

What helps you relax? I’d love to know below!

Let's Talk About Money

Let’s Talk Money

I don’t know about you, but I’ve found that here in the UK we aren’t great about talking about money. It’s kind of viewed as a yucky topic. If you do talk about money you’re either showing off or complaining, well that’s what I’ve found.

As always, it started with a book (big surprise to my regular readers). I was recommended You Are A Badass At Making Money by Jen Sincero and I thought why not have a listen? I loved it and I’m not against saying that it completely changed my perception of money.

Money Anxiety

Money for me has changed a LOT in the past few years. Mainly because I am now directly responsible for making sure I have enough. If I don’t work for whatever reason, I don’t get any. Self-employed life for the win! Before that even being in full-time employment I was always anxious about money. No, scratch that I was scared about money.

What if I didn’t have enough? Was I making enough? Should I be making more? Would I be stuck earning this amount for the rest of my life? Yep, definite money anxiety. And I know I’m not the only one.

Changing Your Mindset

There’s the idea that money is hard to find and therefore it’s unlikely you’ll have enough. This is what I had to change personally, Sincero says that money is all around us, we just need to find how to access it.

Hold fire, I understand that this seems out there, I scoffed at it at first BUT think about it. There are opportunities everywhere, yes some of us have more privilege to access it than others but it’s still there. It’s all about what we’ll do to access it and the mindset we have about how we’ll get it.

A mere few days after finishing this book, I was told a client of mine was no longer continuing. Normally this would have given me a panic attack and a lot of teams. I was anxious, no doubt, but I took a few breaths and spent my entire train journey noting down ideas of how I could possibly gain back that income.

I had a positive mindset that I could and would replace that money. That I just had to find it. It wasn’t instant but there are more things in the pipeline.

Calling Out Bullshit

Rich people aren’t evil, poor people aren’t stupid. These are some bullshit ideas that float around. How you view money and what you want is a big part of the book. Similarly, if you enjoy money and want to make a large amount you’re not a soulless demon.

We have some really weird ideas as a society about money. One of this biggest is that it has to be a secret. I know for a fact people have been paid more than me to do the same job, in the same place.

I’ve always been pretty open about my earnings to those who are close to me. It is what it is and I won’t be ashamed or embarrassed.

I’m fully aware that circumstance can hugely impact how much a person earns! It’s not all positive thinking and fingers crossed. BUT unless we talk about it how are we going to know if people are being exploited or mistreated?

How are we going to fix problems with pay gaps due to gender and ethnicity if we refuse to talk about them? Additionally, we need to make sure we are supporting those who are minorities or those from low-income backgrounds because we’re only going to become a better society.

How do you feel about money and the way we talk about it? Let me know in the comments below!

5 Things I’ve Gained From Jobs I’ve Had Since Graduating.

When I left university I thought I would get a job, stay in that job for a few years and not even have to think about another one until I wanted to. With hindsight I laugh at myself then, because what I didn’t know is that it’s simply not the case. 

From the examples I’d had in my life you worked in one place for a long time, people in my family had worked at the same place for over 10 years sometimes – they might have changed roles but they were with that company. The thing is, that didn’t seem to apply with me. 

I’ve moved around a fair few times since graduating. For some, it was simply the fact that my position wasn’t needed anymore and so my contract ended, from others I wasn’t right for the role and let go and some were simply short term contract roles. In some of those I was miserable and leaving was the best thing I did…but when I was made to leave I couldn’t help but feel like a failure. But, with the gift of hindsight I realised I actually learnt a lot.

Doing a good job is important but so are boundaries.

I’ve always been an overachiever, but I had to learn about boundaries. I would work and work and work way past what I should have been.

I needed to learn to separate my work life and my home life. To know that my job wasn’t my entire life (although this gets a little more difficult when you are working for yourself). I learnt that I work to live, not the other way around! It’s an important lesson.

Learning what I want and what I don’t in my personal and professional life

I learnt that I love the world of digital, have a passion for social and like to be creative. Traditional marketing methods never spoke to me short-term and instead of managing campaigns I wanted to be in the thick of it! I wanted to be writing, making, creating.

I also learnt that a 45-minute drive every morning and every night made me miserable, as did a rigid 9-5.30. That the corporate scene bored me and that I needed to enjoy what I was doing.

I have to look after my own health because other people won’t

In more than one of my jobs I felt that I had to hide any health issues I had, even mentioning the word stress was looked down upon. As if I couldn’t do my job.

When I worked late and gave my all, it wasn’t noticed or acknowledged but if I was overworked and got ill or wasn’t my ‘normal self’ it was pulled up. I had to learn the hard way I needed to look after myself because no one in the working world was going to.

Resilience

Every time I got knocked down I got back up again vowing to do better next time. Once, after being told my job wasn’t going to exist anymore I cried, drove back to my home town and immediately got online and started contacting people who might know of some leads.

Did I cry when these happened? Of course, I did, I’m human! Did I have times where I thought I just couldn’t do it and wanted to give up, duh! Somehow I did it.

There are good people in every company, organisation, etc

Ultimately in every single job I’ve had I met wonderful people. People who I’ve stayed in touch with to varying degrees. No matter what there are good people in the world and that’s always a good thing to be reminded of.

What have previous jobs taught you? I’d love to know in the comments below!

My Top 10 Highlights of 2018

My Top 10 Highlights of 2018

We made it to the end of 2018 – wooooooo! It’s been a weird year of up and downs, but I’ve learnt a lot from it. I wanted to share with you just 10 of my highlights from 2018, it was hard to whittle them down! If you’re looking for my bookish favourites of the year you can find those here.

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Paramore

We kicked off the New Year with another trip to see Paramore, our 4th time together. As you can see Ali still doesn’t want to smile for pictures. Despite how it looks we had a great time!

Becoming A Published Poet

Finding out I was being published and then recieving the final product! I’m a published writer!!! I wonder what I can publish in 2019…

London Book Fair 2018

Visiting the London Book Fair

I was invited to attend the London Book Fair as a blogger with my Mum. It was something I wanted to do for a while and it was an interesting day, even if I did feel a little like a deer in headlights.

Hammies

One became…three. I said no more and then Ali and I went to Pets at Home and we saw our little guys BB & Artoo. I’m now a hamster Mum x3 and I absolutely love my little buddies. They really keep me company when Ali’s away.

YALC

I got to go to YALC! A whole day of being around book people, buying books and it was magical. I also got a pretty impressive book haul, which I’m still making my way through. Hopefully I can finish tme all before next year!

Going freelance & starting my business!

I’d been toying with the idea of going freelance for a few months but thought it was something I would never be able to do, until I had to! I’m now living life as a freelancer and absolutely LOVING it!

Six The Musical

Musicals!

I saw not one but two new musicals this year which I didn’t realise how much I missed! When I was younger I was a total musical nut, I even wanted to be a musical theatre actress when I grew up (more on that in another blog).

I loved Heathers enough to see it twice and I’d happily see Six again when it moves back to London. I’m looking forward to getting more shows in 2019!

10 year anniversary

We made it to 10 years! I’ve been lucky enough to spend the past decade with this wonderful human. He’s pretty great.

Disneyland!

I got to go to Disneyland!!! DISNEYLAND. I loved it so much I wrote not one but two blogs. You can read the first one here and the second here.

I Read 115 Books!

After setting my Goodreads goal at 50 so that I didn’t feel any pressure, I managed to double it and then added some! I read some really amazing books (and some not so amazing books).

There are more things and people that I haven’t had a chance to add but here’s to hoping I have an even better 2019!

Top Posts of 2018

My Most Popular Posts Of 2018!

I don’t know about you but I find my analytics absolutely fascinating. Stats might not be everything but year after year I love to see what my readers have been getting up to on my site. So, I thought, why not make a post out of it? 

I’ll always write what I want to write but, at the same time, my blog – and the opportunities I get from it is down to my wonderful readers. On that note I’m going to stop babbling and let you actually read! 

Number 10: Fibromyalgia And Me 

I’m really pleased this post made my top 10, because it was one I was very nervous about posting. I only got diagnosed with Fibromyalgia earlier this year and my reaction was…complicated.

I didn’t want people to see me differently BUT needed to reevaluate parts of my life. Now I feel much better and can be much more open about living with Fibro. The post that started it all is here.

Number 9: I’m Starting Again 

In July I found myself job hunting again and it knocked my confidence. This post was just chatting about how I felt, what I was trying to do and a general update. You can read about it here

Number 8: I’m In A Funk 

Another one of my mental health posts to hit the top 10. I wanted to get out there that I was struggling and comparing myself a lot to others. It was a to the point post about how we look at ourselves and comparison. 

Number 7: Carrying On: Surviving The Past Year 

A post from April about the previous 365 days that had been pretty tough (little did I know this year would have a LOT of ups and downs too!). I like to keep you guys in the loop and this was looking back on how far I’d come.

Number 6: I’m Obese? 

I really wanted to write about body image and expectations because of a few knocks I’d had. Following on from a doctors appointment where I was deemed overweight-obese by my BMI, despite being a size 12-14 I decided to get my feelings down once and for all! 

Number 5: Why I Will NEVER Use An App For Birth Control 

Responding to a worrying idea that people were using a fairly risky app as a way to try and prevent pregnancy got in the top 5. I made my feelings very clear and, actually, had a lot of great conversations about it! 

Number 4: The Pros and Cons Of Long Distance 

I’m in a long distance relationship for chunks of the year. I get asked quite a lot of questions, some weird sympathy and so I wrote about what’s it’s like – and you can check it out here.

Number 3: Taking The Plunge – I’m A Freelancer 

Not something I entirely planned for this year but it happened! I’m planning to do an update on being freelance in the new year too! The blog about how it all started is here

Number 2: Harry Potter Haul: Updated 

One of my most popular blogs EVER was a Harry Potter haul I wrote while at university. So, when I went to London for a Potter filled day shortly after Christmas I came back with a little collection and wanted to share! The updated version is here.

Number 1: Stressed, Depressed, But Well Dressed? 

This is one that really, really surprised me. I wrote the post a few years ago about a top I saw with the slogan on and how I felt about the phrase. Next year I really want to talk more about Mental Health! You can read it here.

So, that’s my top posts of 2018! Thank you to each and every one of you who head read, liked and commented on my posts – it means so much. 

Which of these was your favourite? I’d love to know in the comments below! 

*please note these were the most popular at the time of writing.

November Favourites

November has been and gone and while I am fully extra and in Christmas mode right now, let’s throw it back to what I got up to. November was a crazy busy month and I’m really excited to share it with you all!

Books

I got a good bit of reading in this month, despite the fact that it’s been super busy! My favourites start off with Stuff I’ve Been Feeling Lately by Alicia Cook, a collection of poetry that I really connected with – I’ve loved both of her collections and I can’t wait to read more. Up next a true favourite and one for all Feminists – New Erotica For Feminists, this made me laugh so hard and I wrote a review ahead of its release here. And my final two reads were ARCs and I can’t wait to share my full reviews with you in 2019! Pilu of the Woods and The Year I Didn’t Eat were both brilliant reads for different reasons. Keep your eyes peeled.

 

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Films 

From the moment I found out about it I knew I wanted to see Bohemian Rhapsody. I love Queen and think Freddie was one of the greatest showmen on earth. This film was incredible and I was surprisingly emotional watching it. If you haven’t seen it yet make sure you do, you won’t regret it.

Ali’s 25th Birthday 

Not only did I get the boy back from tour at the end of October (yay) it was also his 25th birthday. We spent the day in London as he was working BUT went out with friends the following weekend. Can we take a second to appreciate my hair actually going well to go out, I was so proud of it.

Six The Musical 

Your next favourite musical is here. The six wives of Henry VIII take back the spotlight to tell their stories. I went with my friend Lucy and it was absolutely incredible, I’ve had the soundtrack on repeat. They’re going to go back to London soon and you can read my post all about it here.

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Spice Girls Tickets! 

Yes, I did it. It kicked me out multiple times but I am going to see The Spice Girls in June 2019. I don’t even know how to put my excitement into a paragraph. I’M GOING TO SEE THE SPICE GIRLS (again).

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Muggle Mastermind 

How do you spend your Thursday nights? I meet up with some of my closest friends and go to a Harry Potter quiz. Oh my lord, this was so much fun. There were decorations, super hard questions and prizes. We might not have one but I can’t WAIT for the next one. All the info on the quizzes is here for you.

 

Tonight Alive 10th Anniversary Show 

Ali and I have been fans of Tonight Alive since we were teenagers, so we got tickets to see them at Bush Hall, London for a special acoustic show to celebrate 10 years. It was incredible and like nothing I’ve ever seen before. Beautiful.

Vote for me! Badge 2 #UKBA19

The UK Blog Awards!

I’m in the running for a UK Blog Award! You can read all about it and even vote if you want to by clicking here.

Thank U, Next 

If you haven’t been dancing along to this absolute TUNE what are you doing? So I’ve listened to the song constantly and then on the last day of November the Queen Ariana Grande dropped the video. This is a pre-teen dream with most of the dreams I loved watching in one place with my favourite song of the year.

 

What were your favourites in November? Let me know in the comments below!