Posted in Life

Self Isolation Diaries: Day Three

27.06.21

Today I was a little more productive, although I still didn’t really get up and do anything until around midday. It’s just too easy to be lazy when you’re at home with no plans. There is so much I could actually do, but I just can’t be bothered.

Knowing I still have two days at home doesn’t help. It’s that “I can do it later” mentality that I’ve always had, leaving things to the last minute… I just can’t help myself.

Then again, why am I beating myself up for not being productive enough? It’s really not the be all and end all. I do this on a never ending cycle though… make a mammoth to do list and then berate myself when I don’t get it completed.

Sometimes, I like to take a leaf out of Mrs Hinch’s book and do a “ta da” list instead. It’s a good way to reflect on the things you have achieved, and actually it’s always surprising to find that you’ve done a lot more than you think!

Things I did get done today:

⁃ Wash load on and hung up to dry

⁃ Cleaned out the dishwasher

⁃ Dishwasher load

⁃ Cleaned down all the surfaces and the hob

⁃ Played with Reggie

⁃ Unboxed my wax melter

⁃ Made content and interacted with other bloggers

Ok, so it’s not the hugest list and there’s always more I could have done, but I don’t think I totally wasted the day!

It’s Monday tomorrow and I find I get more done when it’s a weekday and I’m at home. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m so used to being at work or whatever… but yea!

This evening we rewatched season one of Sex Education, as the new season is coming soon… also had a takeaway for dinner but I just had a chicken wrap to try and keep it moderately healthy. I’d like to lose a bit of lockdown weight now, as I’ve let it linger a little while! I’ve stuck with it as best I can for a few days now… we’ll see how I get on!

Posted in Life

Self Isolation Diaries: Day Two

26.06.21

Dale asked me this morning when we got up if I’d made any plans… well funnily enough, no! I had a morning spin class in the garage and apart from that, bugger all.

My intentions, as usual, were to be productive after I’d done spin, but it’s just gone 4pm as I’m writing this and literally… I showered, published a blog post, ate lunch and then had a nap. That’s it. That’s been my day. I’m not even sorry to be honest!

I still have 3 whole days left to be productive… honestly the rest of the day after a spin class I’m just totally done in. I thought exercise was supposed to give you energy?! It’s all lies…

I will probably have a little bit of a potter about this afternoon and in to the evening, as Dale has gone out to a wedding. This means I have to get my own dinner sorted, so I actually do have to get back up off my ass at some point…

Even to turn the TV on, I need to actually get up… currently all I can hear is the neighbour singing along to Bon Jovi and it’s not exactly the soundtrack I want for a Saturday evening.

Reggie and I have had a lovely cuddle though, which is always the best. He’s now currently laid across the foot stool in front of me, absolutely fast asleep. I love him so much.

I’m going to make myself tuna pasta for dinner, although the only pasta we’ve got in the house is spaghetti. It feels weird to have that with tuna although I know it’s technically all the same. I think I’ll stick a film on while Dale is out too, I fancy watching Dirty Dancing. We’ve been binging New Girl on netflix and there’s an episode where Dirty Dancing is bought up and I’ve been wanting to rewatch it ever since.

Tomorrow is another day to be productive!

Posted in Life

Self Isolation Diaries: Day One

This certainly isn’t the return to blogging that I planned but here we go…

25.06.21

I no longer work Fridays, so today started like any other day off.

I got out of bed when Dale went off to work and I walked Reggie. Came home, had some breakfast. Did a bit of tidying up before getting ready to out for an appointment.

I went to my appointment with no hiccups, then met my mum in town for some lunch. We had a great catch up, actually sat inside Costa with actual coffee cups and were about to head to Boots. “How long do you have left for your parking?” She asked me… as I got my phone out to check the time, there it was. A notification from NHS test and trace.

Being rather an anxious person, my initial reaction was of course blind panic. Immediately I felt ill, as if I’d just been told I actually HAVE Covid-19. My mind raced and I realised I needed to head straight home. Mum helped me to switch my rational brain back on and reminded me that I’ve already had both my jabs and besides… I’ve not felt ill until right in that moment. So to go home, take a test for peace of mind and just make the most out of the situation. I’m always craving more time at home and here it is!

I was exposed on the 19th June and only just being notified on the 25th, so it’s 5 days at home.

If there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s being home with no plans, so 5 days is nothing! Although it does concern me that I’ve been going about my business for almost a full week, before being notified of the exposure… Luckily I’ve only been to work, wearing PPE, so actually it’s pretty ironic that on one of the rare occasions I’ve ventured out to anywhere else, I was “exposed”.

First things first was to let work know so I rang my boss whilst walking back to my car. Luckily I would only miss two days and can easily make up most of that time. So may as well enjoy the time off… there’s always plenty to do at home, Reggie loves the company and I can make plenty of candles and wax melts.

I calmed down and got home, tested and it was negative. Phew.

So time to get on with all this extra time at home…

I’ve been struggling to stick with any kind of blogging schedule for a little while and fell out of love with it all as a result. I’ve been trying to kick my butt in to gear and make a grand return, just not quite managed it yet. So I’ve decided to make a diary style blog series about how I fill my time. Plus of course, it means I can work on the many drafts I’ve started over the last few months! Stay tuned, I hope you’re all safe and well.

Let me know in the comments if you’ve had to isolate recently and how did you fill your time?

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)