Posted in Blogging, Life

Reflecting on my 2020 goals and setting new ones for 2021

In a weird way, I’m struggling with 2020 coming to an end, as it feels like it was such a waste of time and that nothing was achieved… so I thought reflecting back a bit might help me shift my perspective. Plus, there’s always a new day, a new week, a new month, or a new year to set and achieve your goals!

I don’t exactly go back and read my old posts, so I although of course I remember what my goals were for last year, I haven’t read the post properly since I published it… so this feels a little strange delving back to what I thought 2020 would be like, pre-covid but let’s see what I said!

2020 goals… did I acheive them?

1. Write more.
I said in my 2020 New Years post that “I want 2020 to be the year I develop as a writer and a blogger.” Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t stick to writing as often as I would have liked, especially towards the end of the year… but I think in the grand scheme of things, I did pretty well!

2020 was a hectic year for me… I continued to go to work throughout all the lockdowns we had in the UK, and as a big part of my job involves sourcing PPE… you can imagine how the first half of the year was for me! Despite this, I created a blogging schedule and tried to set aside time for writing as much as possible.

So, did I acheive this goal? I’m gonna say yes!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

2. Read more.
Back in January 2020 I said that “my collection of books keeps growing and I owe it to them to get them read! I’d like to finally make sure I set aside time in the evening to read, instead of sitting on my phone.”

I will admit here, that many of my physical books have remained untouched since then, save the exception of perhaps 1 or 2. I feel embarrassed but as I said, the year was a crazy one!

It wasn’t a total failure on the reading front though… in 2020 I discovered audiobooks! So whilst I haven’t really read a physical book, I have listened to a fair few. Still not as many as I would have liked but… have I acheived this goal? I’m still going to go with a yes, but with the aim to try a bit harder again in 2021.

3. Worry less.
“I worry far, FAR, too much and frankly, I need to chill out a little. I’ll never not be a worrier I don’t think, but it’d be nice to learn to try and just let things go a bit more.”

Oh wow, I had no idea what was yet to come, did I?!

I didn’t specify in my last post, as a I don’t really talk about my mental health that much online, but it’s a lot more complicated for me that “I just worry too much”. I have stuggled with anxiety and panic attacks for most of my life, so it was never as simple as just “worry less”… Then the world was hit with a pandemic and we all faced a whole new level of stress and anxiety.

Photo by Andrew Neel on Pexels.com

I had wanted to start getting therapy in 2020, which was going to take a lot of guts as it was… but to go to a GP in the midst of Covid early in the year, was another level entirely. I also felt like I wouldn’t be taken seriously, as we were ALL scared. However, by August/September, my MH was really suffering. I could write a whole other post on it all, and I probably will later on in the year, but for the sake of getting to the point for now: I finally started seeing a counsellor in September.

So whilst I can’t actually say that I worried less, counselling is helping me understand and manage my anxiety in a way that to be honest, I didn’t think was possible. So did I acheive this goal? Too right I did.

4. Walk 1000 miles.
“Country Walking Magazine do this every year now, but this is the first year I’m giving it a proper go.”

Well… I did do a lot of walking in 2020 but when things got crazy at work at the height of Covid… I couldn’t be bothered to write my miles down and keep track. So whilst I was walking way more than I would have before, even walking to and from work in the spring and summer… I can’t really say I achieved this one without feeling like a fraud.

I am going to try again in 2021 though, so watch this space!

5. Get a dog.
“Now that we’re in a bigger house, and can actually be home more, this WILL be the year we get a dog. It’s not even an option anymore, I need a pup in my life!”

Ok, if you follow my blog and socials then you know I had this goal in the bag! We contacted a lovely breeder in January and were approved for a boy puppy, ready to come home mid-March. The timing ending up being absolutely perfect and Reggie was waiting at home for me after work, the week that the UK went in to lockdown. He was an absolute blessing at a time of such uncertainty and I’ve written many posts about him since!

Reggie and I heading towards 2021 with hope and positivity!

6. Look after my health. & 7. Drink more water.
“As I’m getting older, I’m realising that I take my health a little for granted perhaps, so I would like to work on that this year and well in to the future.”

Another thing the pandemic made many of us realise, I think, is the importance of our health. As I’d said in my 2020 post, I wanted to take better care of myself anyway but I really only recentlt realised just how lucky I am to be healthy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m by no means the world’s healthiest person… in fact, I’ve piled on weight in the last few years and spent many nights comforting eating at home. I am, however, a lot more conscience now: I drink more water, I eat more fruit and veg, I try to get plenty of fresh air and of course I’m also now taking care of my mental health too.

So did I acheive this goal? I’m saying yes, although I’ve got plenty of room for improvement.

8. Get organised.
“My biggest challenge of all, and to be honest, probably my resolution every year since I was old enough to need to be organised for myself… I am not organised, plain and simple. I buy a diary every year and never use it, I double book myself constantly, I’m always late and just generally never prepared. It’s time to improve – I won’t say it’s time to change, because to be honest I don’t think I ever will, but I can at least TRY to be more organised!”

I might as well just leave this year for a goal in 2021… I can’t really think of any examples of me being particularly more organised in 2020… then again it’s not like I had any plans to stick to! Did I acheive this? I’ll say no if I’m being honest with myself, seeing as my diaries and planners went near enough untouched yet again.

I signed off my 2020 post saying “I’m already off to a good start, so I feel like this year could really be a good one!” which I think now is a tad amusing… so many of us vowed that 2020 would be our year and really… well it just wasn’t, was it?

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Perhaps 2021 will be different! I’m not holding out for any overnight miracles, however the new year does bring some hope with it at least. Here are my goals for this year:

1. Take up more opportunies.

Reflecting on 2020 has made me really miss a lot of things, but also realise how many things I’d passed up on pre-covid, taking time and freedom for granted. Little things, like not being bothered to go out fot a drink, or being too nervous to try new things. This year, and beyond, it’s my goal not too pass up these opportunities… they say you only regret the things you don’t do, and I’m starting to understand that now!

2. Follow a proper skincare routine (and stick to it)

I will openly admit that I really don’t understand skincare, beyond washing my face and using a bit of toner and moisturiser. I keep trying to get in to a decent skincare routine, but becuase I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing I end up not keeping up with it.

My mum recently got me the Caroline Hirons book, so I’m trying to understand it all more and actually look after my skin once and for all.

3. Start a business.

I recently started candle making and having enjoyed it so much that I’d like to eventually pursue selling them and starting a business. I’m in no rush to do it, as I’d like to just enjoy it as a hobby for myself for now, and I also feel like I need to get it perfect before I sell. That all being said, I’d like to start this year – even if it’s December 31st!

4. Continue to work on my mental health

Finally starting to see a counsellor at 28 years old, has been a HUGE turning point for me – I can’t even begin to explain how tough it was to ask for the help I needed after so long. I’m already seeing such a difference, so this year I am going to carry on working on this and looking after my mind. I’d like to write more about my experience too, so watch this space if that’s something that will interest you.

5. Document the year

I often forget to appreciate the little things, or take photos, or write down my feelings. This year, I want to take it all in and remember it. I’ve already started mini daily vlogs and you can expect to see a lot more “journal” style blog posts on here too!

Carrying over from 2020…

Seeing as I didn’t quite acheive everything that I wanted to last year, there’s a few things that I’m going to try again with, or just carry on doing.

  • Walk 1000 miles
  • Read more
  • Look after my health
  • Be more organised

So there we go! 2021…. let’s do this. What are your goals for this year? Let me know in comments.

Posted in Home, Life, Reviews

My Halloween Candle Collection

You’ve seen my Autumn candle collection, but now it’s time to get spooky…

Happy Halloween! My current obsession is all things candles and wax melts, so what better way to celebrate the best day of the year that with a round up of my Halloween collection? Some are really old but I do also have some new items in the collection – if they’re still available to buy then I will include a link. None of this is an AD of affiliated in any way.

Witches Brew by Yankee Candle

These are a good few years old now but they’re great to keep bringing out! I have it in a jar and also a votive, which is in the silver holder that is pictured below. The spider web jar holder is also an old purchase from Yankee. Unfortunately I’ve found that in the UK, the Halloween collections from Yankee in recent years have been pretty lacking!

The scent is very much patchouli centred, which I LOVE. I honestly can’t get enough of patchouli which you might know from my autumn collection, as well as my Lush haul!

Skeleton Candelabra-style tea light holder

I got this a few years ago on a trip to San Francisco, funnily enough in a Christmas shop… but they had a HUGE Halloween section as well, so I was in my element. I very carefully bought this back with me, along with some candlesticks that bled red wax – hence all the red wax drips. I hadn’t actually realised at the time that this was meant to hold tea lights! So once I was home, I precariously melted some tea lights and then balanced the candlesticks in them, it worked a charm, and now this just comes out as a decoration.

I’d like to get some more drippy candlesticks for it in future, but I can’t for the life of me find any… they’re all non-drip these days?!

Pumpkin Jar Candles from Sainsbury’s

At least I think these were from Sainsbury’s, it could have actually been ASDA… I actually have four of these bad boys, cause let’s be honest – you can never have too many pumpkins at Halloween!

Skull pillar candle from ASDA

This is such a cool candle, considering it came from ASDA. The wax in the middle is red, although unfortunately it’s a non-drip… like I said, I can never find a drippy candle these days. I did try to pour some of the wax down the side once, for effect ya know, but it didn’t really work as you can see by the pink blob on the right hand side below.

Forbidden Apple by Yankee Candle

Another golden oldie from Yankee! This one smells like… you guessed it, apples! It’s super fresh but somehow still spooky?

Poison Apple tea light holder from Shop Disney

This is a recent purchase but alas, I can’t find it on the website now so I guess it’s no longer available. I saw this on an Instagram ad and absolutely had to have it… it’s a lot bigger than I thought it would be but a very cool addition to my Halloween collection!

Check out the back too…

Haunted House tea light holder from Sainsbury’s

Another Sainsbury’s find – their Halloween stuff is actually always pretty decent, especially in the bigger stores. Unfortunately this year I didn’t go and have a look for anything but maybe next year Halloween can get back on track!

This was surprisingly hard to get a good photo of, but you get the idea!

Cauldron Wax Burner from Cauldron Candles

This is available on other sites I know, but cauldron candles was the first place I saw it advertised on Instagram and it’s where I eventually nabbed one from – they were out of stock everywhere, for ages!

I also nabbed a few of their handmade wax melts, which I HIGHLY recommend!

First up, Spellbound, which has a fragrance of hyacinth, violet and sweet pea, mixed with rose and musk.

I also got a couple of skulls, which come in various scents.

Dark Heart, which comes in black and smells of smoky tobacco and dusty oak, with leather and spice.

As well as Evenstar, which is purple with a glowing amber blend and notes of spice and dark balsamic fruits.

I also nabbed Pumpkin King, which I just couldn’t leave behind! Just as you might expect, he smells of pumpkin as well as a hint of sweet caramel & vanilla – and he’s cute as a button to top it off!

Lastly, I also treated myself this year to the… Autumn Collection box by CushtyCo

The box itself is no longer available, however you can still shop their Halloween and autumn scents.

I want to write a full review of the box so for now I’ll just give you a sneak peek of the Halloween inspired melts…

Witching Hour is a dark purple melt, with a strong scent of amber, patchouli and incense, plus a hint of jasmine and violet.

Pumpkin Poison Pie which smells exactly like a pumpkin pie, funnily enough… right down to the buttery base. Just don’t be tempted to take a bite!

Restricted Section definitely smells like a bath bomb that I’ve had before, although I can’t think which. CushtyCo says “Take a walk into something from a story book, musky, woody tones of antique wooden furniture, crisp sheets of paper from rare leather bound books, with a slight undertone of sweetness.”

Dead Man’s Chest smells so good that I very may well have to become a pirate after all… “Top notes of Bergamot, orange, raspberry and Mahogany. Subtle middle notes of Orchid, lilies, clove and amber with bottom notes of Vanilla cream, patchouli and sandalwood.”

Jack’s Haunted House is next and another absolutely amazing scent. If this is what ghosts and spirits smell like, then I don’t mind! You can almost taste the pumpkin and allspice.

Monster Breath is not as gross as you might think, it turns out! I’ll be honest, this scent does make me think of soap but that’s not exactly a bad thing. The melt is a gorgeous green colour, with tones of sandalwood, cedarwood, green leaf and amber. You can also detect the spices, particularly pepper in my opinion.

Last but by no means least in this brief little summary of CushtyCo’s melts… Coffee With A Vampire. All I’m going to say is… After Eights. It’s fricken heaven in a wax pot.

Stay tuned for a full review of all of these amazing wax melts in a couple of weeks time! I’ll be honest, I don’t actually want to break them all but they’re calling out to be melted so I suppose I’m going to have to.

Which was your favourite in this collection? Do you have many Halloween candles yourself? Let me know in the comments!

Posted in Fashion, Life

10 Perfect Nail Colours for Autumn

Welcome back to my blog and here we are for another autumn themed post, this time… nail colours! Coincidentally, these are all Essie shades. I’m in no way shape or form sponsored by them, I just generally seem to always gravitate towards their polishes! These are all older colours as I’m yet to get my hands on the 2020 Fall collection, although don’t they all look stunning?!

In the mean time though, these are some other shades that I personally think are perfect for autumn:

1. Yes I Canyon

Typically, the first polish I’ve picked out from my personal collection isn’t widely available anymore BUT the colour is too perfect for me not to include it. Yes I Canyon is from the 2019 Rocky Rose collection and although it’s not technically available anymore, you can still find it on the likes of Amazon. It’s a lovely burnt orange colour which just autumn in a bottle really.

2. Exposed

This one is from the Wild Nudes collection, although don’t be fooled, as I would say it’s more of a green rather than nude. You can still get hold of it from some sites too, like this one.

Shades of green are nice transitional colour for autumn I find, a bit like when all the leaves start to turn.

3. Chinchilly

If you’d prefer something more neutral, then grey is usually a safe bet. I’m actually wearing this colour right now and find it to be a lovely universal polish that will compliment any outfit, what’s more, it’s still widely available!

4. Smokin’ Hot

Here we have another shade of grey but this time with a hint of smooth dark purple, for when you want something a little different but still not too colourful.

If you’re in the UK like me then you can get this one on the likes of Amazon.

5. Licorice

Seeing as we’re in the run up to Halloween now, any nail polish collection wouldn’t be complete without a jet black shade!

This staple colour is very much still available from places like Boots etc.

6. On Mute

For something not quite black, but still dark as a spooky soul… this dark slate grey shade is perfect!

7. Say It Ain’t Soho

Back to the warmer colours now… this is such an awesome colour for autumn. Pumpkin orange tones, check… shimmery, check! This was from the Fall 2018 collection so not widely available anymore however it does look quite similar on nails to the new Don’t Be Spotted, if a little deeper in colour.

8. Penny Talk

Another metallic colour but something a little more neutral than Say It Ain’t Soho… this is such a pretty colour for autumn!

9. Clothing Optional

Maybe don’t take the name of this one literally, especially with how the weather can be in the UK at this time of year!

This colour is a classic nude, with a lovely warm tone which to me definitely makes it just right for autumn.

10. Style Cartel

Finishing this list with something slightly different! I wasn’t going to include this one as I’m not sure how I feel about royal blue in autumn… however it’s very similar to the new Shade called Waterfall in Love, so here we are!

I still have a bottle so I’ll get it used up before purchasing the new blue as I don’t like to have too many similar ones!

Which out of these is your favourite? Let me know in the comments!

Posted in Life

5 Tips For The Ultimate Cosy Night In

I know it’s nice to go out in the evenings, especially in the summer when it’s still warm as the sun goes down… but that doesn’t mean there’s not something to be said for a super cosy night in, as the weather gets colder and the nights get darker.

That being said, it looks like we’re all going to have a lot more nights at home for the foreseeable anyway, so here are some of my suggestions for the ultimate cosy night in!

1. Have a nice hot bath

Let’s start the evening with something super relaxing: a hot bubble bathTreat yourself to a bath bomb to make it nice and special. Stay tuned for my Lush Halloween haul, the best time of year for bath bombs in my opinion.

Photo by Burst on Pexels.com

2. Get comfy

Cosy and comfy just go hand in hand really, don’t they?! My go to comfy clothes are really old and tatty pyjamas, but I’m very tempted to treat myself to some cute new loungewear for the upcoming colder months! I’m slightly obsessed with this set from Nasty Gal, which might not exactly be family friendly but that’s ok with me!

Sorry mum…

Depending on how cold it is, you might also want some cosy slippers or fluffy socks – I personally love a pair of Primark fluffy socks in the winter!

Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

Why not throw some cosy blankets in there too for good measure!

3. Snacks and hot drinks

Now, if you’re a bit of a food lover like me then the perfect snacks for the occasion are of utmost importance! Depending on the sort of night in you’re having, you might just go for something like popcorn and sweets… which is great, but if you’re going for the full works then you may as well get a takeaway in! Personally, I’d go for a Chinese or a pizza… if you’re not as lazy as me then maybe you’ll make some food yourself of course, but I for one, am no good at cooking!

Photo by Sarah Dietz on Pexels.com

4. Mood lighting

Light your room of choice up however you prefer… I’m a bit weird and like to have lots of light but for the sake of the ultimate cosy night, I’m going to assume that you’re more inclined to prefer a darker room like most people I talk to! Whichever way you prefer, I also recommend lighting some candles to get those extra cosy vibes too! Check out my recent post on my current autumn candle collection for some suggestions.

5. Have a selection of films or a series to binge

Let’s set the scene now… you’ve got your comfiest ever clothes on, wrapped up like a little burrito in blankets, the Dominos has just arrived… and now you can settle in to watch your favourite series on Netflix (or whatever streaming service you prefer, or your favourite film – am I the only one who has DVDs these days?!)

My current favourite for a cosy night in is Once Upon A Time on Netflix. Either that or whatever new crime documentary is about. If I’m up for a film then I have quite a varying taste, but next on my re-watch list is Rocketman! I could write a whole other post about how much I love that film but maybe I’ll save that for another day… Harry Potter is also of course ALWAYS an autumn classic!

Photo by Taryn Elliott on Pexels.com

I hope you’re feeling extra cosy now! Let me know in the comments what else you like to do for a nice, cosy night in ❤

Posted in Life

August Round-Up & Blogging Goals for Autumn

Just like that, it’s goodbye Summer.

Who can believe we’re about to enter September? It doesn’t seem right to me at all… March feels just like yesterday! This year hasn’t exactly been the best for anyone I think, so I suppose it’s not necessarily a bad thing that it’s flown by.

That being said, August seems to have been a busy month and so I thought now was a good time for some reflection before we enter my favourite season… Autumn.

What did I achieve in August?

Firstly, non-blogging related – Bought a new car – If you follow me on Instagram, then you may have seen my recent reel showing of the car that Dale and I have bought. We went for a Mini Countryman Sport and I love it! There are a lot of luxuries that I never knew I needed, like heated seats and Apple car play… but not only that, it’s a really sturdy car and I actually feel really safe and secure whilst driving. Writing this makes me feel like I should have written a full review!

Planned content for the rest of the year – turns out that coming in to Autumn inspires me and then I was already on a roll so carried on for Blogmas and up to the end of this year!

Managed to publish posts consistently all month – I have struggled with consistency from day one so any time I can keep up with posting regularly is an achievement to me. In August I have shared more of my first Trek America trip, a photo journal, a review of StitchFix and also 8 things to know before you get a puppy.

Reached over 100 followers on my blog and 2,600 on Instagram!

In fact, it’s a been one whole year of Watt The Blog!

When you break it down in to small acheivements like that, the year doesn’t seem so bad after all.

Moving forward in to the glorius Autumn, here are my blogging goals for the season:

Continue to post consistently and more often – I’m going to aim for twice a week in the run up to December, then ATTEMPT a daily Blogmas up to Christmas eve… wish me luck!

Stick to my content plan – it’s all very well making a plan for the rest of the year, but I need to actually stick to it…

Reach 200 followers on my blog – that one might be a bit of a stretch, but I can try!

If I’m gaining followers on my blog, might at well reach 2,700 on Instagram and 900 on Twitter… again… I can try!

Create a blogging Facebook page – I keep meaning to do this, but haven’t quite got that far yet.

I’m sending out optimism and good vibes in to the universe right now and looking forward to reflecting back on these goals later on in to Winter!

What are you goals for the coming months and what are you proud to have acheived in August? Let me know in the comments!

Posted in Life

28 Life Lessons I Have Learnt in 28 Years

Happy birthday to me!

I’ll be honest, I’ve not exactly been looking forward to this birthday and have been struggling to come to terms with getting closer to 30. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t acctually think I’m “old” by any means, it’s just that time has gone so quick and it’s incredibly unsettling – I haven’t acheived everything that I thought I would have by now.

Life just really isn’t as simple as I though it would be, but I’ve sure learnt a lot on the way, so before I start rambling too much, let’s jump straight in to the 28 life lessons that I’ve learnt in 28 years!

  1. Too much stress is actually physically unhealthy. I’ve always been a stressed out and anxious person, so I’m well aware of the physical side effects this causes, but I never really considered the long term health effects until a few years ago – it’s quite scary what too much stress can do your body over time, so it’s important to keep it in check.
  2. That being said, your health is your number one priority. My mum always used to say to me that as long as I had my health, everything else was secondary and I didn’t really get it until we were hit by the recent pandemic. Since then, I’ve really started to appreciate my health and am more active in trying to look after myself.
  3. That means you need to look after yourself. Drink the water, brush your teeth, eat vegetables and wash your face. Once you get past 25, you’ll only regret all those times you didn’t.
  4. Life really is short. Unfortunately, I think this is something that only really rings true after losing a loved one. It’s one of those things we all sort of know, but until I have to say that until I experienced a family member passing away, it never seemed real.
  5. Time waits for no one. Similarly, time won’t ever stop, no matter what you’re going through. If you want to acheive something, don’t wait!
  6. You can’t plan life. You just can’t! You can plan for the short term of course, and I guess have an idea as to what you wish to get out of life, but you definitely can’t plan it all out perfectly.
  7. It’s ok not to be ok. Just know when to reach out and ask for help when you need it.
  8. It’s also ok if you don’t actually know what to do with life. Just like you can’t plan it all out, it’s ok if you don’t even have a clue where to start.
  9. When you do know what you want to do, do everything you can to work towards it – don’t procrastinate! I spent years putting things off and I often wonder where I could have got to, if I just just got on and done the things I wanted to.
  10. People can be amazing, they’re not always scary. I spent so much of my life being afraid of other people, when there really is no need. Sure, people can be as crap as they are awesome, but those people don’t matter anyway.
  11. Travel, travel, and travel again – and do it solo! Most of these life lessons I learnt while travelling solo to be honest, there’s so much to be said for giving it a go on your own, although I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t find it terrifying.
  12. Money isn’t the be all and end all, but it certainly helps. I used to feel like you had to be super rich to make it but that really isn’t the case. Not everything costs money and you can get a lot done on a shoestring! That being said…
  13. Budget wisely. It took me a long time to figure out how to budget properly to make my monthly pay last, and that’s when money becomes stressful! There’s a difference between not needing to spend much, and not actually having enough to buy food. Now I always make sure I budget properly for the month and can still save some too.
  14. Material things don’t matter in the end.
  15. BUT if it makes you happy at the time, and you can afford it, go for it and buy the things!
  16. It CAN be fun to drink and not everyone is an awful drunk. I had some unfortunate experiences with alcohol growing up and for a long time was convinced that drinking turned everyone in to the absolute Devil. Then I found a cocktail I liked and realised you can just get a little tipsy and have a good time, you don’t need to take it too far.
  17. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to. Before I discovered a drink that I liked, I didn’t drink at all and got a lot of stick for it. I stuck to my guns though until I was ready and honestly I’m glad I didn’t give in to peer pressure – if there’s one lesson I could pass on it would probably be this one.
  18. In the grand scheme of things, no one else cares about what you do. Of course, people do CARE, and I don’t want this to sound harsh in any way but when you look at the bigger picture, we’re all looking out for number one.
  19. On that note, dress for YOU. Who cares if it’s not “on trend”, or if other people don’t like it. Wear what makes you feel good.
  20. A few, really good friends is way better than lots and lots of acquaintances. I spent many years through school being upset over not having many friends, and my mum also telling me that as long as I had a few good friends then that’s all that matters. Why are mum’s always right?!
  21. Similarly, you can’t make everyone like you. Stop trying!
  22. You can’t regret the choices that you made in the past, as they were right for you at the time. I vividly remember having to go to the Army Careers office a few years ago to collect my rejection letter. I tried SO hard not to cry but was so upset. The reason I was rejected was due to a medical issue that had only developed that year. I SO regretted not applying when I had originally wanted to a few years before that, as then I might have got in – the officer told me that I couldn’t regret it because I made the choice that was right for me at the time. It took me a long time to actually agree with him, but it’s definitely true.
  23. Education is a priviledge. I’m sure I’m not the only one who spent most of my school life despising school and not really appreciating my time there. Unfortunately, you could have never convinced me at the time but years later I realised I should have made the most of it.
  24. You can’t run from your problems. No matter how far away you go, the problems will be right there waiting when you get back.
  25. You can’t control everything, only how you deal with it all. It’s so easy to worry about things we cannot control, but what’s the point in worrying baout it if you can’t actually change it? All we can do is focus on is how to deal with it. That was something else I really realised during the pandemic: I was SO worried about everything going on in the world, but finally I ended up realising that I can’t do anything about it in the grand scheme of things, only how I cope and respond personally.
  26. A postive mental attitude is everything. Although that doesn’t mean you have to happy all the time, no one is happy all of the time!
  27. Everything happens for a reason. I’m not saying it’s all fate or anything, but honestly I do believe everything does happen for a reason, even though it doesn’t always feel like it at the time.
  28. Finally, it really WILL all be ok. I promise.

It’s safe to say, just this year alone I have learnt so much about life in general, and I’m sure I’ve got a lot more to learn in the next 28 years – whatever they may bring! It’s been a bumpy ride, but I’m definitely proud for how far I’ve come.

Let me know in the comments what you’ve learnt about life recently and come back soon for the next post in my Trek America series.

Posted in Life

Black Lives Matter – What I Have Learnt and How To Help

This post contains links to other sites and social media posts, none are affiliate and I haven’t been asked to share these, it’s just what I have personally found helpful. Any links to resources have not been created by me unless stated otherwise.

I always intended to eventually use my blog to discuss important topics, as well as travel and lifestyle. The name “Watt The Blog” is a play on words with my name and “what the fuck” – the idea being to discuss my weekly WTF moments – I think we can agree that the world is one big WTF right now. However, I’ve found myself waiting for “the right time”, until I develop my writing skills and to have a bigger following, but… why wait?

Last week, I, along with many other White people, had to face up to the fact that we have an undeniable privilege that we haven’t been putting to good use.

Racism doesn’t just come in the form that first comes to mind, which is why a lot of us defensively state we are simply not racist. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple: the fact is that racism is a spectrum and right now, society is inherently racist against Black people. This means that, without always meaning to be, we have all been guilty of a form of racism and I won’t believe you if you try to argue otherwise. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure that if you’re reading this, you’re certainly not outwardly and overtly racist, but I’m also sure that you’re in the same boat as me in realising that things are complicated and we need to do much, much better. So, what next? Here is what I’ve learnt so far about how we need to step up.

Apologise and be willing to accept our White privilege

Without making this about me, (another thing many of us are guilty of doing, albeit without necessarily meaning to) here are my apologies:

I am so sorry that I had not recognised my privilege up until now. I have now realised what it is to have White privilege and accept the responsibility that comes with it.

I am sorry for ever thinking that I understand, when I could never understand what it means to face racism on a daily basis. The most (or least) I can do is stand in unity.

I am sorry for not understanding what Black Lives Matter meant up until now, and for previously taking the “don’t all lives matter?” stance. If you’re still not sure on this, the point is that all lives DO matter, but right now Black lives are being taken and treated as though they DON’T matter. All lives can’t actually matter until Black lives do too.

I am sorry for not being actively anti-racist and for thinking that simply being “not racist” was enough.

Stop trying to be a perfect ally

Many have said they didn’t want to write a post until they knew how to properly address the subject and that it can feel like you can’t do right for wrong at the moment. However, it’s better to speak up and get it wrong, than to say nothing at all. We will need to accept that we may get called out, if we approach something from the wrong angle perhaps, but then if we do, to listen and learn and adjust our thinking.

This is a learning curve for many of us but at the end of the day, it’s a problem that needs to be fixed, which simply cannot be done by Black people alone. As James Corden said recently – “how can the Black community dismantle a problem that they didn’t create?”

Listen and learn

I highly recommend that you check out this link for the BLM card – these are more related to America but still relevant. If you’re from the UK like me then this article is also really helpful. If you have found any other useful links, please do share in the comments!

The learning curve is continuous. It’s vital to keep reading, watching, listening and learning until long after the protests have died down. This isn’t just a one time thing, or a social media trend. Although social media has been brilliant recently for sharing knowledge and I honestly feel that I’ve learnt more in the past week or so, than I ever did in school.

A few people also started sharing their favourite Black content creators and I can honestly say that I have found some new firm favourites that I can’t believe I wasn’t following before. It wasn’t until it was pointed out that I realised I didn’t follow many Black creators and so therefore my feeds and the information I was receiving wasn’t very diverse. In turn, the voices and opinions I had been sharing were of fellow White people. Although, something else I noticed too, was that I had actually been following some of these accounts already but they had then been drowned out by all the White content I was following. Diversify your feed and you won’t regret it – listen to what Black creators have to say, learn and share too. I particularly appreciated that Kelsey in London shared her favourite creators with under 10,000 followers, which means they don’t have a swipe up link, so it’s harder for them to share information.

While you’re at it, there’s also lots of wonderful black owned businesses too!

Donate and sign petitions

There are lots of places you can donate to, and lots of worthwhile petitions. This is a list of just some petitions, as well as a few zip codes you can use if needed. Once you’ve signed and/or donated, share the links too and keep the momentum going, I cannot reiterate this enough. Something to note though, don’t donate directly to the Change website when signing their petitions, as the funds will go to their promotion, rather than to an actual charity or funding page that needs your help more.

If you’re tight on money right now (many of us are and that’s ok) there are lots of videos on YouTube that you can watch, and then all the revenue will be donated – there is a whole Twitter thread of videos. This is another video too.

Also something good to know is that if you purchased the Caroline Hirons x Pixi Beauty double cleanser at any point this year, or are due to purchase in 2020, 100% of Caroline’s proceeds will be going to Black Lives Matter, AND Pixi are now matching the donation.

Use your platform to support

You’ve seen the word “share” countless times in this post I know, but seriously share any resources you have found helpful. Share links to petitions and donation pages, share the books your reading, the shows you’re watching, most importantly share the voices of your favourite Black content creators/authors/actors and of your Black friends. It really doesn’t matter how many followers you have, just speak up and support those that need it.

Continue to advocate change OFFLINE

The work online is only a small part of what we need to do. The harder part comes offline in the difficult conversations with friends and family who may have not seen, or noticed, what you’re sharing online.

Something I hadn’t even considered this week on my sharing sprees, was that social media is an echo chamber. The people you follow, and those who follow you, already agree with you. It’s your racist uncle (for example) who needs talking to, it’s the favourite brands that you buy from that need looking in to. When was the last time you considered how diverse a company was before buying from them? I know I sure as hell have buried my head in the sand up until now.

How about where you work… Have you ever questioned racism in your workplace? In my industry we’re lucky enough to be extremely racially diverse but many, many places are not. Advocate changes in every part of your life, not just online.

Continue to work and recognise how to do better

I’m under no illusions and know that I have a lot more work to do, as well as a lot more to learn but right now I believe that what’s most important is to think about how to move forward. What will you do now? Will you simply move on and go back to the way things were, or will you continue to actively be anti racist for the rest of your life?

Something that struck a chord with me this week was that Black people continue to live like this and fight for their rights every single day, for their whole lives, there are no days off. Black people, and those of other ethnic minorities, do not get to take a break from talking or thinking about racism. So if we’re stepping up as White people, we need to make the commitment to stand along side them, for the rest of our lives.

Thank you for reading – I hope this can help at least one other person!

Some other helpful links

5 things to do right now in the UK

How to ally

How to respond to common racist statements

Anti-racism terms to learn

How to be an active listener

7 ways White people invalidate Black people’s feelings

9 things that wouldn’t exist without Black women

Examples of microagressions

Racism in the UK

Racism in the UK (2)

Posted in Life

Reflecting on May and Goals for June

Well, who else can’t believe that we’re about to go into June?! This year has been one hell of a bumpy ride so far and certainly not one we’ll forget, but hey, at least it’s going quickly?! Normally, I wouldn’t want time to pass by so fast but this year I’m taking it as a positive and hoping that next year can only be better.

I’ve certainly gained a whole new perspective recently and have really started to consider what’s important in life. May in particular seems to have been a month of reflection for me, so I thought I’d share what I’ve been thinking about, as well as the goals I have set for June.

I’ve realised recently just how much I enjoy blogging and would definitely like this to take off one day. I’m under no illusion that it will happen quickly and I’ve got a lot of work to do, but it’s still nice to have a hobby to work on after a tough day at work, as well as a big goal to work towards!

Publishing this blog means that I’ve finally managed to implement a blogging schedule that allows me to post weekly, although let’s save the celebrations for a another couple of weeks just in case. Consistent posting was my first goal for my blog and so far has been my biggest struggle for a number of reasons:

  1. Procrastinating – I’ve realised this month that I spend all my time doing the wrong things. My biggest downfall is Instragram and I end up spending hours aimlessly scrolling on there, instead of writing and working on my blog. The thing is, I’ve found Instragram to be an easy platform to grow on, even though I get the least amount of blog views via Instagram, so I found myself stuck in a rut of procrastination, whilst telling myself I was working on my blog… I clearly wasn’t!
  2. Lack of time – Time can short for me… I have a full time job (keyworker, woohoo!), a house to keep clean, a puppy to look after, as well as friends, family and a boyfriend that I can’t just neglect to spend all of my time on my little corner of the internet. That being said, I’ve realised that it’s not necessarily a complete lack of time, but more a lack of utilising the time that I do have.
  3. Daydreaming – I’m a sucker for getting lost in a daydream, I always have been and probably always will be! Unfortunately though, I keep everything in my head and just think about all the things I want to do, rather than getting on and doing them. Sometimes I might make it as far as making a list but even then I still don’t really get on with it.

So, after all that deep self reflection… these points bring me to my goals for June, and beyond:

  1. Just DO – It’s ok to daydream but those ideas need to be put to paper and worked on. It’s not just my blog, even at home I will write a list of things that need to be done, then just daydream the day away without doing any of it… so less procrastinating! I won’t say that I’ll stop altogether, because let’s face it, I probably won’t.
  2. Set smaller goals – I think part of the reason that I struggle to get things done (blogging or otherwise) is that I often set myself too big a challenge or goal. I will write a mammoth to do list and then beat myself up if I don’t acheive everything on it… then I feel so disheartened that it makes me want to give up. I’m sure if I spread these tasks throughout the week and worked on smaller goals and to do lists, I will be able to utilise my time more.
  3. Switch off sometimes – Sometimes I get sucked in to everything and forget that blogging is my hobby and an outlet, not an extra thing to get stressed out over. I have enough worry in life, without getting worked up over the fun things too! Throughout June, I’ll be setting aside some time each week to switch off and remember the real world. This means not scrolling through Instragram and doing something off of a screen instead (I’ve got so many books to read for starters) and I’m fairly certain I’ll be thanking myself in the long run.

Overall, I’m looking forward to what June has to bring. I turn 28 this month too, so come back next week to read the 28 things I’ve learnt in 28 years!

Let me know in the comments what your goals are for June and I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Posted in Anxiety, Life

10 Things I Do To Help My Anxiety

I’m going to come out and say it: I’ve suffered with anxiety for most of my life. When I was a teenager, I had frequent panic attacks, often cancelled plans with friends and made myself physically ill with stress and worry. As I grew up and saw more of the world, my panic attacks eased and, in many ways, I got “better”. Except, I wasn’t better at all, I’ve just learnt how to cope a bit more and function as an adult.

At the start of this year, I realised I finally needed help. The problem is that of course, I let my anxiety get in the way and now, we’re in the middle of a lockdown and the whole world is now in state of panic. The new “C” word understandably puts a knot in my stomach and I’m sure I’m not alone. Due to my work, I knew this was coming a couple of months ago and have therefore been an anxious wreck for some time. I now regret not getting any help before now and although I’m sure there’s still avenue available, it just doesn’t really seem feasible all the time we shouldn’t be leaving our homes – and whilst I’m too scared to do anything or go anywhere. I’ve come to appreciate my health and the need to look after ourselves, so as soon as it is safe to do so I will finally get the help I need.

This post isn’t about the “C” word though, and it’s not a complete story of my anxiety as to be honest, we’d be here quite some time. I thought that just for now, I could share with you some of the small things that make a difference to how I feel day to day:

Fresh air, or a walk if you can. If you feel up for it, go for a walk, it doesn’t have to be far. I find that I instantly feel calmer after a few deep breaths in the fresh air and a quiet walk somewhere to clear my head. Some days, it’s a struggle to get out the door and all I want to do is curl up, but once I’m dressed and outside, it really does help. If you’re really not up for a walk, even just opening all the windows and letting the air in helps.

Play with my puppy. I have dreamed of having my own Corgi for several years and a few weeks ago was incredibly lucky to finally get one. Nothing is more calming than playing with my lovely boy! Of course, playing with a puppy wasn’t always an option but even before we got Reggie, I’d spend a chunk of time scrolling through photos of other corgis… maybe that sounds weird, but it’s always helped.

A hot bath or shower. Nothing is more relaxing than a lovely hot bubble bath, or if you’re in more of a rush then a shower will still help, at least I find that it does anyway. I like to sweat out all my problems without having to go to the gym!

Deep breaths. This sounds like a given really but taking a few deep breaths and just giving myself a moment to focus is a key part of my day, sometimes several times a day! Try to relax your shoulders, really breath in through your nose and gently breath back in again out of your mouth. Doing this for a couple of minutes is so beneficial for relieving anxiety and stress.

A distraction – like colouring or reading. A simple hobby to focus on, like a good book or colouring something in, is a nice distraction from my anxieties. Watching a film, drawing or painting, anything that you enjoy that will also distract you. Set yourself some time to focus on something else.

Tidy up. It’s so true what they say – tidy space, tidy mind. Unfortunately I often struggle to get motivated to get house work done, even though I hate the mess. It really depends on my mood. I think it’s important not to be too hard on yourself and force yourself to do too much when you haven’t got the motivation or energy, but if you can, tidying up just one room or small space does actually help. Once I get started, I often can’t stop and go full nesting mode! If it feels like too much, I declutter something else, like the photos on my phone or a small task like clearing out my purse. A small victory in the day to be celebrated!

Speak to a friend. Sometimes it’s hard to talk about your problems, I know that for a factbut it does help. Even if you don’t talk about what’s bothering you at first, just reach out for some communication and a good laugh. Talking about your concerns can follow later.

Make plans. I’m terrible for making plans and then sticking to them but having something to look forward to always gets me through anxious times. It helps to focus on something that will be happening after you’ve faced your demons, or whatever is worrying you.

Drink water. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate – you’ll feel so much better! Being dehydrated makes me feel so unwell, which I’m turns makes me panic more. Just drink your water!

Write it all down. This is something I’m still working on. I struggle to communicate my anxieties, because a lot of the time I don’t actually understand it myself. I don’t know why I’m in a blinding panic, I just am. Processing it by writing it all down instead is super helpful, I just seem to forget this and bottle things up instead!

I hope you’ve found these helpful, let me know in the comments what you do to ease your anxiety and get you through the day!

Posted in Music, Travel

Top 10 Road Trip Songs

There is nothing that completes a road trip more than a good playlist. The music you have on during a long journey can really either make or break trip.

Of course, everyone has different tastes and therefore different opinions on what constitutes an awesome playlist, but these are my personal top tracks and the reasons behind them.

In no particular order:

Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody

Okay, come on, we ALL know the words to this one right?! This song is totally infectious and an undeniable classic. One of my favourite road trip moments was driving through the Lake District with a car full of friends – after a VERY long day sat in Bank Holiday traffic. We were having a bit of Queen run on the playlist and this came on, we turned it up full blast and all belted it out word for word, all the while passing by the beautiful scenary, head banging away. It was pure brilliance.

Maroon 5 – Moves Like Jagger

This song brings back memories for me of a family trip to San Francisco, rather than an actual road trip, but it’s a great song and so I thought I’d still include it. The trip was around the time that this first came out and I was totally obsessed. My mum and I were stood in a tacky souvenir shop when it came on over the speakers, I danced along without a care in the world and from then on my mum always tells me how it’s my song. It makes us both think of each other now, which I think is sweet so when I am on a trip away from home listening to it… I’m reminded of family.

John Denver – Take Me Home, Country Roads

“Almost heaven, West Virginia…”

The lyrics and mellow beat to this song really make me reflect on days on the road, and how bloody lucky I am to have seen some of the places that I have. It’s almost a sad song really I think, but I have so many treasured memories that this conjures up, that it’s impossible not to belt it out! West Virginia is definitely one of my favourites and oh the memories from there… including moonshine tasting, which is mentioned in the song! If you’d like to hear more about my West Virginia stories then well, you’ll need to follow my blog.

Whitesnake – Here I Go Again

The ultimate solo travel song! Listening to this now makes me feel like I’m gazing out of an aeroplane window, off on another adventure, all alone. I might now know what’s to come, but I sure know where I’ve been! Plus, it’s an absolute classic tune, so what could be better? Sing it with me… “Like a drifter I was born to walk alone.” If you’re ever travelling alone and feeling a little lost, like you’ve made a terrible decision to go it alone, or just generally a bit lonely (let’s not pretend it doesn’t happen) this is the song for you. You’ve got this.

Fleetwood Mac – Go Your Own Way

This song gives me similar vibes to “Here I Go Again”. Sometimes you just need a reminder that you’re on the right path and sometimes that can mean leaving people behind too. This song to me always felt like letting those people go, knowing I’ll be just fine, but also a reminder to yourself to go your own damn way. Another “you’ve got this” tune. It’s got me through some tough times for sure but it’s also an absolute jam for a road trip.

Frank Sinatra – Theme From New York, New York

I’ve been lucky enough to visit New York City not once, but twice. There really is no city like it. You know how it is in the movies? It’s literally like that, you really do feel like you could be in a movie whilst walking the streets there (or maybe it’s just me and my overactive imagination). Frank Sinatra describes the feeling to a tee in this classic tune. The first time I was there, I’d been staying in Newark and got the train in, where the station exit then takes you right in to Times Square. It was a Saturday night, so you can imagine the hustle and bustle, I felt like I should be in my own video montage, with this song blaring in the background. It was an increcible feeling and I’ve never felt like that arriving in to any other city.

Bruce Springsteen – Born To Run

I’m sure this song has featured on many road trip playlists, as it is yet another classic. The words “born to run” really hone in on the feeling of wanderlust, like you are literally born to be on the move and always exploring. For a long time this song really resonated with me, as I felt I’d never be able to settle and nowhere ever really felt like home… this has changed for me now, but it’s still a good jam!

AC/DC – Highway To Hell

AC/DC are the absolute best band, and I dare you to try and fight me on that! No kind of playlist is complete without at least one of their tracks. Our tour guide played this to us as we entered Las Vegas and it was one of those awesome moments of togetherness, and sheer excitement to be somewhere so special… before the carnage ensued! Hell of course is a good place in this context, no one wants to feel like they’re in actual Hell when on a road trip.

Rusted Root – Send Me On My Way

One of the purest and most memorable moments while travelling in New Zealand for me wasn’t any kind of adventurous activity, in fact I don’t even remember where I was when it happened. I was on a hop on/off tour bus and this song started playing. The whole bus, or at least everyone in my vicinity, lit up and sang and danced along. It was such a moment of joy for me and it’s really stayed with me, it really summed up travelling and meeting new friends, just feeling carefree – it’s a memory and feeling that I’ll definitely treasure.

Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes – Time Of My Life

To be honest, I think this one goes without saying. There’s no specific reason behind this other than I’ve had the absolute time of my life on many road trips and hopefully many more to come! Plus, I think you’d be lying if you say you don’t know all the words… Forget wanderlust, this could be love!

Bonus Tracks! Sorry, there’s just too many good songs… let me know in the comments if I should do another post like this!

SIX60 – White Lines

I’ll forgive you if you don’t know this one, but I would urge you to listen to SIX60 on repeat as soon as you’ve finished reading this post. I was introduced to SIX60 a few days before New Year’s Eve whilst travelling the South Island in New Zealand. There was a lot of talk about how to spend New Years and where the best place to be was. I was due to be in Wanaka and had NO idea what to do, to the point that I considered rearranging and heading to Queenstown. I felt like it needed to be epic so when I was told there was a music festival near Wanaka, I was quite interested. There’s this Kiwi band ringing in the new year, you should definitely check it out, I was told. It wasn’t pricey at all and so a few of us that had met along the way went for it – there’s a whole other story to this but I will say, it was SO worth it and I’m glad I didn’t change my plans. The midnight fireworks went off, we did the countdown (yep, the wrong way round) and then this song played. Now I’m always reminded of the amazing times I had in New Zealand and to be honest, I can’t do any journey without giving it a listen!

The Bellamy Brothers – Let Your Love Flow

I don’t have a story behind this song really, it’s just a pure feel good song that I wanted to end the post with!

I hope you’ve enjoyed my picks for the ultimate road trip playlist, you can listen to all the tracks below. See you again soon, happy travels! xo