Friday, 5 January 2018


Normally I love the fresh, clean start feeling that comes with a new year but this year I'm just not feeling it, probably because I'm currently agonising over whether to stay in my current role or pursue a completely different career, but that's a whole different blog post altogether. Career drama aside, whilst I don't believe in resolutions because they're normally quite unrealistic, I do like setting myself goals. So here are mine for 2018:


Paul and I have been wanting to travel to Japan for a few years now and it wasn't possible last year because Paul was selling his house but we might just be able to make it happen this year. We're hoping to travel in April because I really want to see the cherry blossom. It seems like ages since I had a a big trip so  and I've never gone anywhere long haul with Paul so it's all very exciting! If you have any tips I would love to hear them! I'd also like to visit at least one place in the UK and somewhere in Europe that I've never been before.


Last year I took a beginners cookery course at Ashburton, I really enjoyed it and picked up some useful tips but the best way to improve anything is to practice, so I want to do more cooking this year. Cooking for one tends to limit your options but now I'm living with Paul I have a guinea pig  and someone to give feedback which should help. With a bigger place it's also easier to have friends round so I can practice more dinner party type cooking, we cooked roast pork belly for friends on New Years Day which was a big success. I'd also like to eat out at some more nice restaurants :)


I've started meditating for 10 minutes a day using the Headspace app and it's massively helping break the cycle of anxiety I sometimes find myself in, I'd like to continue this habit and work on being more mindful throughout the day, particularly with my eating. I have a tendency to wolf my food down like an Alsatian which is not attractive or good for my digestion, I want to pay more attention to slowing down, chewing and enjoying my food properly. 


I mentioned that communication was a big learning for me last year and I want to continue to use the model my counsellor shared with me because I've found it very helpful.  I want to make sure Paul knows how much I care for him and plan dates, which I think is something that is really important to prioritise now that we live together, as I know how easy it is to get too laid back and let things go. I'd also like to make some friends with similar interests to me and build up more of a support network.


I'd like to get back into writing and photography this year so I figure I might as well blog a because it will be a good way of tracking progress. Other than when I travelled to Patagonia I didn't do a lot of photography or blogging last year but I miss it, it's nice to have a creative outlet and do something different.


Apart from my skincare routine, I'm very laid back about style and beauty, so I'd like to make more of an effort with the small things like wearing nail polish more often and trying out lipstick which I've never worn. I never wear jewellery so I'd like to start adding to my collection and remember to actually wear it. I'm probably the happiest I've ever been with my wardrobe but I'd like to continue to work on it in 2018. These may seem like small things but I think they can make a big difference to how you feel about yourself.

So those are my goals for 2018, I'd love to hear what your goals are!

Thursday, 4 January 2018

What I learned in 2017

If you read my last post you'll know that 2017 was full of big things, I travelled to South America,  ran a marathon, jumped out of a plane at 15,000 feet and dined at L'Enclume. I am truly grateful for  being fortunate enough to have had these amazing experiences but something I feel quite strongly about is being real. It's very easy to start comparing yourself to someone else's highlights, particularly on social media like Instagram and end up in a downward spiral of negativity. So in the spirit of getting honest, here are some things I learnt in 2017:

Communication is key

It seems obvious but a couple of experiences in 2017 really made me appreciate the importance of communication in relationships. Midway through the year I went to counselling for various different reasons and talking things over made me recognise this is something I want and need to work on. My counsellor shared a model called the Daily Temperature Reading which I've found really useful. It can be used by couples or families and doesn't necessarily have to be done every day. You just sit down and each share a compliment, complaint (together with an explanation of how it makes you feel and a suggestion on how it could be changed), any new information, puzzles and wishes. Sounds cheesy but I've found it really helpful. The other event that really reinforced the importance of communication for me was the breakdown of my brother's relationship towards the end of the year, it really upset me and is something that is out of my control but what I can control is how I communicate with others. I can't pretend I have or will magically became an expert communicator overnight but have definitely made steps in the right direction.

It's all about balance

Balance is something I've struggled with in the past, particularly with food and alcohol, but over the past couple of years and in 2017 in particular I felt like I have started to achieve it more and more. In primary and secondary school I comfort ate and was quite overweight. At 16 I went from one extreme to the other and started restricting what I ate quite dramatically to the point that people thought I had an eating disorder. Since then my relationship with food has continued to be dependent on emotional state and I've swung between binge eating and dieting. More recently I've been trying to eat intuitively and it's still a work in progress but I'm paying more attention to when I'm really hungry or just bored, eating more mindfully, eating what my body seems to be craving, paying attention to how I feel after eating and I feel so much better for it.

The importance of being kind to yourself

Lack of confidence has always been an issue for me, going right back to my childhood but I can only use getting bullied and my parents as an excuse up to a certain point. Running a marathon, sky diving and doing the Three Peaks Challenge last year helped by forcing me out of my comfort zone and seeing what I can achieve when I put my mind to something. I've also done some work to address this through counselling but it's going to be a long term thing. Quite a few people mentioned last year that I should have more confidence in myself and whilst I think it's important not to worry too much about what people think of you, this is one thing I want to continue to build. One way I'm trying to do this is by being kinder to myself and questioning that voice in my head that constantly tells me I'm not good enough. 

Do more of what makes you happy

I spent a lot of 2017, particularly towards the end of the year, getting stressed and anxious over my job but I ended up realising it's just not worth it, life's too short. I want to spend more of 2018 enjoying the day to day joys, doing things I love and being grateful for all the amazing things I have in my life. I started using the Headspace app again to meditate and the difference just 10 minutes a day is making to my anxiety is amazing, I feel so much calmer. I'm also taking steps towards making a bigger career change in 2018 but that's less out of my control so we'll have to see. I'm doing all I can and if it's meant to be it will be. 

Can you relate to any of this? What did you learn in 2017?

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Favourite Moments of 2017

Looking back 2017 was quite a year. Here are some of my favourite moments:


In February we ate our way around Lisbon on a food tour, explored the cobbled, winding streets and visited a fairytale castle.

Exploring Patagonia

It feels like a long time ago now but in March I flew out to Argentina and Chile for two weeks of hiking beautiful mountain scenery, admiring glaciers, eating steak and drinking red wine. Spotting whales and penguins  in the wild for the first time were both pretty magical moments. It's quite cool to be able to say I've been to the southernmost tip of South America and got the stamp in my passport to prove it.

Hiking Challenges

The hiking theme continued in April when I outdid myself by hiking the furthest I've ever walked (24 miles) as part of the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge. In July I completed the national Three Peaks Challenge, it was fun and a great thing to have done but never again. I like my sleep way too much.


In May I learnt how to bake bread, make pastry and prep pretty salads at  a beginners cookery course at Ashburton cookery School in Devon.

Richmond RunFest Marathon

I spent a fair chunk of the year training for and running a marathon. The training was intense but it paid off and I was very chuffed with my time of 3:56.

Sky Diving

Paul's present to me last Christmas was a sky diving experience. I can't lie, I was very unsure of this right up until I was 15,000 feet up in the air and getting ready to jump but I'm so glad I did it. The buzz you get from jumping out a plane is like nothing else I've ever experienced.


Paul treated me to a long weekend in Cornwall for my birthday in July. We had a lovely walk along the coast, dined at Rick Steins and spa-ed at the Bedruthan Hotel and Spa in Mawgan Porth.

Brecon Beacons

In August we went to the Breacon Beacons for Paul's birthday which involved lots of good pub food and long walks.

Isle of Wight

We visited the Isle of Wight in September for a "Not Wedding" which was basically all the best bits of a wedding without the ceremony. There was a lot of drinking, a lot of dancing and a lot of drunk photo booth photo taking.

Men's Health Survival of the Fittest

I jumped in three canals, ran up and down the steps of Etihad stadium and jumped over 8 foot walls as part of Men's Health 10k Survival of the Fittest run in October.

Lake District

In November Paul and I celebrated our two year anniversary at L'Enclume. I've been lucky enough to dine at quite a few nice restaurants over the past couple of years but L'Enclume has to be one of my favourites. The food was outstanding but the service really made it an incredible experience. The setting is quite relaxed and the staff are super friendly and so passionate. Definitely get there if you can!

Moving In

If all that wasn't enough Paul and I moved in together in November. Moving house is not fun and it's taken some adjusting but we're getting there and our new house is starting to feel like home.

It was an amazing year and I have so much to be grateful for! Something I feel quite strongly about though is the need to be real on social media and in blogging. Life isn't all sunshine and roses and there were definitely some lows along with the highs. More on this and what I learnt in 2017 to come.

How was your 2017?

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

happy things

Here's what's been making me happy recently.

1. Celebrity First Dates

I've got so much love for this show! My favourites are the ones that go well, it makes me go all warm and fuzzy. The last episode of the celebrity edition with Musharaf from Educating Yorkshire was so good, I thought him and his date made such a cute couple.

2. Comments on my blog

Make me a bit giddy with happiness :)

3. Weddings

P and I went to another family wedding last weekend. The ceremony was held in the Bodleian Library in Oxford, with the reception afterwards in a lovely country pub near Thame and there was a big red Routemaster bus to get everyone from Oxford to the reception with champagne and pastries provided en route. Something I've noticed at the weddings I've attended recently though is that the guests seem to enjoy the wedding more than the bride and groom, which seems wrong!

4. Happiness Planner

I've been eyeing up one of these  for ages and so glad I got round to finally ordering it. I started filling it in yesterday and really enjoyed it. I've found it very therapeutic to really think about all the little things that make me happy and how often I want to be doing those things. I'm definitely guilty of always looking towards the weekend or what I'm doing next rather than trying to enjoy what I'm doing now and this is really helping me focus on what makes me happy and trying to incorporate more happiness into my every day life. It's also full of lots of  inspiring quotes which I'm a big fan of.

5. Standing Up Desk

Work have ordered everyone in my team a standing desk and I'm loving it. I get very fidgety so it's nice to be able to have the choice between sitting and standing, although I'm sure I'm going to drive my colleagues mad moving it up and down all day.

6.  Clifton Nurseries

I've been meaning to visit this place for a while and so glad I finally got round to it at the weekend, it's honestly one of my favourite places in London, if I could move in I totally would. It's a little oasis of calm in London and made me realise how much I want a garden of my own to fill up with herbs, pretty flowers and plants. I have to go back soon and try the cafe which looks amazing!

7. Meeting the Parents

P met my family properly for the first time at the weekend for a meal and he didn't run away screaming, which quite frankly is amazing!

8.  A Week with P's Family

I spent last week with P's family in a holiday house in Worcestershire for his birthday and it was so fun. I always wanted to have a big family because mine is tiny and it was so lovely to spend time with them playing games and chilling.

9. Dogs

P's sister has a family dog (called Mr Ding Dong. Note to self - never let your kids name your dog. Luckily he also responds to Dingers). Name aside, it was so lovely playing ball with him and taking him for walks last week. It's really made me want a dog though, one day I will!

10.  Clapham

I spent some time wandering around Clapham on Sunday  and there are so many lovely houses, cafes, streets and restaurants, I can't believe I had never been. I love exploring new parts of London!

Monday, 1 August 2016

happy things

I'm desperately trying to snap myself out of some serious Monday blues which makes it the perfect time for a list of all the things that have been making me happy recently.

1. Instagram Likes

One of my favourite photographers liked one of my pictures on Instagram. Seems like a small thing but I totally geeked out!

2, New Car

I've got a new set of wheels! I very nearly had a total meltdown though on Tuesday evening (about 24 hours after picking it up) when a warning indicator light came on. I freaked out and after quickly checking the manual jumped to the conclusion that it was a problem with the brakes. I had to go to Wales for two days and was stressing about it the whole time until I came back and double checked the light. Turns out the warning light for the brake system and low tyre pressure look quite similar except one's red and the other's amber with a wavy line below it which I failed to miss in my panic. Thankfully I've pumped the tyres up and I'm back on the road.

3. First Wedding

P and I attended our first wedding together in Wales last week. It was nice because it was a little bit different to other weddings I've been to, the bride had bright pink hair, one of the groomsmen did a reading at the ceremony off his phone, the wedding breakfast was afternoon tea, there was a falconry display, an ice cream cart and pizza. There were still the good old wedding staples like dancing, a gorgeous reading from Captain Corelli's Mandolin, champagne and very drunk relatives of course!

4. Jacket Stealing

Towards the end of the evening at said wedding it got a bit cold so P lent me his jacket. I love a gentleman in a suit ❤️❤️❤️.

5. First Good Photo

Another wedding related one but I got our first good photo of P and I! It only took 9 months :D 

6. Nice Work Comments

And it's always nice to get positive feedback about your work isn't it?

7. Game of Thrones Season 2

The DVD came last week and I'm loving it.

8. Running

I ran 11k on Sunday, which is the longest I've ever run. I felt it a bit in my hips and knees (and my arms strangely enough as they were a bit stiff after being in the same position for an hour) but feeling very proud of myself.

9. Hair Cut

As much as I hate sitting in the hairdressers chair trying to awkwardly make conversation, the head massage you get when they wash your hair and the feeling of having a few inches chopped off when it's been annoying you for a while totally makes up for it!

10. First BBQ of the Summer

I went to P's for my first BBQ of the summer and ate SO much food. There was endless amounts of chicken wings, sausages, burgers, kebabs, steak and spare ribs. Good times.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

happy things

This week is seriously dragging but it's Thursday and the weekend's nearly here!

Until it reaches us, here's some things that have been making me happy recently.

1. Unexpected Gifts

My manager surprised me with a beautiful orchid, box of chocolates and a thank you card because our team has been under a bit of pressure recently with being one person short and time off due to paternity leave, holidays and sickness. This brightened up my day no end!

2. Deep Chats

A much needed conversation about deep stuff like feelings and the future happened last week and although it was hard, as it's not something that comes easily to me and I had been avoiding it for a while, I felt so much better afterwards. You would have thought I would have learnt after 30 odd years that it's always better to talk than bottle stuff up but I still haven't seemed to grasp this quite yet. Still, I'm getting there, slowly, very slowly!

3. New Car

I've put a deposit down on  a shiny new set of wheels and my manager has given me time off in lieu next Monday to go and pick it up (due to the aforementioned stress at work recently). I took it for a little test drive last weekend and it was love at first sight. I suspect this is at least part of the reason why my week is dragging as I can't wait to pick it up!

4. Locked Room Challenge

P's Nephew was down from up North last weekend so we did a locked room challenge called clueQuest near Kings Cross. They basically lock you in a room and you have to find keys and work out codes from clues, it was so much fun and would make a great team building exercise.

5. Giving Up Coffee

I've given up coffee (for the millionth time) and I feel so much better for it. Please remind me of this when I say I'm back on it again in a week's time!

6. Ctrl Alt Delete Podcast

After listening to The Lively Show archives twice over, I  really struggled to find another podcast I enjoyed as much but I'm loving listening to this one on my commute.

7. Meditation

I've started meditating (again) using the Headspace app and I'd forgotten just how calm and zen it makes me feel.

8. Peaches & Porridge

Yes I'm still on the porridge even though it's been 30 degrees plus outside. My latest topping discovery is chopped peaches sprinkled with cinnamon and bee pollen, finished with a drizzle of honey - so good!

9. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

I was given this book for my birthday and I'm really enjoying reading some fiction after the self-development books I've been reading lately.

10. Drying Washing on the Line

The hot weather the past couple of days has been killing me but one plus is being able to dry washing on the line. It dries so quickly!  Does this happy thing officially make me old?

What's been making you happy recently?