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Monday, 14 January 2019

Creating my 2019 Vision Board.

I wanted to write a blog post to go alongside my 'vision board with me' video which I recently posted to my Youtube channel. I found myself wanting to continue rambling about vision boards, but twenty minutes for one Youtube video is already enough.

There are a few reasons I vision board. For manifestation, for clarity, for the creative process and for aesthetics.

I initially began vision-boarding when hitting a low led me to read self-help books, which led me to the law of attraction. One day I decided enough was enough and finally created a vision board as I'd noticed them popping up all over the place in the things I was reading and watching. I felt an urgency to create my vision board in that moment, so I made do with what I could find in the house, which was an old board for artwork.

When I removed everything from the vision board at the start of the year, I'd assumed most it would go back on, however, I wanted a fresh start, so still, I proceeded to take down the magazine clippings.
I was surprised when the majority of these pieces ended up in the recycling rather than back on my new vision board.

When it comes to choosing what makes the cut, I completely trust my gut. I go for what jumps out at me, and sometimes read things in my own way. The thing with going with your gut is that you end up pulling things from magazines that you didn't know you wanted. For me, a few things which unexpectedly made my pile centred around love and romance, something I was unaware I was looking for or rather convinced myself I had no interest in.

I was intending to write, to scribble quotes and the specifics of what I was after on my vision board, but once I finished sticking, I realised it said enough. The aesthetics of this mood board were different than before, it felt calming to look at, and that reflected mindfulness I'm trying to take forward into the new year.

All in all, I enjoy the process,  I find myself feeling grounded, and centred when creating something with my hands (it's what draws me to painting, drawing and crocheting). Coming away from the process I find a new self-awareness. It's somewhere to focus my attention. When I lose direction, it's somewhere to look, a reminder of what I want, and the journey I'm on.

I thought about writing a list of what I wanted from the year before beginning the process so I had some idea what I wanted to add to the vision board, why I was creating it. I decided against that, as I flicked through endless magazines, my gut told me, and that's something I've learned to trust.

It gave me clarity on some many things which I want to bring into my life, so I knew I was looking for, others I blindly chased, here are some of those things:
a positive state of mind
to find my purpose
career success
and so much more.

I just wanted to discuss why I vision board and my process a bit more as it's something which changes both everything and nothing.

If you're interested in seeing my previous vision board and reading a little about it, it gets a little mention and some pictures in this blog post.


Friday, 11 January 2019

Some Personal Accomplishments From 2018:

- Quit my job which made me unhappy.
- Went to personal training sessions 2-3 times a week throughout the summer, and enjoyed them. Became fitter than ever. Learned to challenge my body and mind.
- Read 23 books.
- Got back into driving lessons after having to stop due to illness.
- Completed a course on writing for the magazines, and received feedback which made me think 'maybe I can actually do this writing thing'.
- Sent endless pitches to magazines, and didn't give up, despite feeling disheartened by the rejections.
- Completed Vlogmas.
- Forced myself to go places, to socialise with my friends when I was terrified of fainting.
- Went on a beach holiday for the first time in years.
- Blogged to a regular schedule through the majority of the year.
- Went to a blogging event.
- Wrote 45000 words of my first book.
- Posted personal poetry to Instagram, allowing myself to be vulnerable online.
- Realised when being vulnerable online was affecting how I felt and knew it was time to stop sharing.
- Rebuilt some family relationships.
- Felt my saddest and got through it.
- Had a really nice day, despite being 'dumped' by the guy I was seeing.
- Improved some friendships.
- Booked my driving test.
- Became less anxious about sex.
- Didn't give up.
- Wore a bikini without thinking about how my body looked.
- Had some people I admire follow me on social media (hello Emma Gannon and Lucy Sheridan).
- Stop reckless spending.
- Didn't buy more lipsticks or eye palettes.


Monday, 7 January 2019

My 2019 Goals.


As one year draws to a close, and we prepare for a new year, it becomes very clear people fall into two categories. There are the people who get excited for a new year, claiming this will be their year, and set endless ambitious goals. And then, of course, there are the people who take the piss out of their positive enthusiasm.

I fall into the first category. Something about the New Year fills me with hope, often I make myself cringe at how keen I am for a new year, and knowing set goals which often seem unrealistic because it's always better to try.

So without further ado - here is my list of goal which I'm hoping my make progress with this year:

- Pass my driving test and get a car. Finally. It's taking me a while I know, but I'm so close to achieving this one now,
- Get articles published in magazines. I've been pitching a while and I'm yet to have any luck, but that's only made me want to work harder
- Finish my book and begin my search for a publisher. I'm 45,000 words in at the moment, so the first draft finish line is nearing, it's just case of editing this draft until it's good, and finding somebody else that believes in it.
- Save £5000.
- Read 30 books.
- Reach 1000 subscribers on youtube. You can find my channel here if you want to help a girl out.
- Work with brands on blog content.
- Start taking Instagram more seriously. Build up my follow count, post regularly, document life on my stories, work with photographers etc etc
- Stick to a weekly work out routine. Go for a run/work out 3 times a week.
- Get up earlier, get into a good morning routine.
- Create more art. Paint, draw, doodle more.
- Document my life more. Take photos for me,  scrapbook, write in my diary more, vlog more.
- Start dating. I've been extremely single for years, not wanting to meet anyone, but 2019 will be the year I will brave putting myself out there (more about why it will be in an upcoming blog post, so keep your eyes peeled).

I'm excited to start working on these goals, and to see all the wonderful things 2019 will bring! I'd love to know what goals you've set yourself for this year!


Friday, 4 January 2019

Some 2018 Highlights.

Happy New Year!

 I'm so excited for 2019 and all the things wonderful things I hope it will bring, more on that soon, but for now, I thought it would be nice to reflect a little on the year just gone. So, here some bits from my 2018 highlight reel...


This year I took a beach holiday with my friends, something I hadn't done in years. It was wonderful spending my days in the sun, listening to waves whilst reading books, and filling my evenings with cocktails and laughter.


2018 is the first year I've really taken my own fitness seriously. During Summer I went to outdoor personal training sessions 2-3 times a week and spent time laughing with my sister, and cousin who also happens to be my trainer, whilst challenging my body. It's the best I've ever felt.

 Walking in the Woods

 One of my favourite ways to spend a Sunday is going for a walk amongst nature with some of my closest friends. We did it a couple of times through the year and each time it left me feeling contented and grounded.

Bristol Food Tour

 Some friends  and I went on the Bristol Food Tour the year, which gave us the opportunity to try some great food in our hometown. I wasn't well at the time, so I fainted, but aside from that, it was a pretty great day, we tried so many yummy dishes, discovered new places to eat and got to spend time together.

Reconnecting with family

 Something which came hand in hand with personal training was reconnecting with some family as my cousin was my personal trainer. After going years without spending time together, it was amazing to build that relationship back up and towards the end of the year, I loved going to my cousins baby shower.

 Shooting with Madi

I've spent many fun days taking blog photos with my friend Madi. It's so good to have a friend who really understands the blog thing and it's great to help each other out. These days have been both fun and productive, which is super rewarding. Alongside this, we went to a blog event together, and for the first time ever I felt like a 'real' blogger.

Museum visits, harbourside walks and coffee with Kelsey 

I had so many nice days sipping lattes, looking at art, eating pizza and chatting about evvverything with my friend Kelsey that these days deserve their own special mention.

Quitting my job

2018 was the year I decided I needed a new start, to take a leap faith, and finally left the job which was so far from the right career path for me. 

  My birthday

 On turning 27, I had the best day with my mum (vlog here) got very spoilt, went out with some friend for food and drinks and danced a lot, it was great.

Began creating Youtube videos again

 and actually completed vlogmas (yes I'm very proud of this one)

Went to a teamaking workshop at the Bird & Blend Tea Company

and realise how much I truly love a cup of tea.


Celebrated Christmas 

 with friends, family, food and love. 

Seeing Ryleigh grow up

This year one of my best friends little babies seem to have really grown up and it feels really special watching it happen. It's so sweet seeing her walk, babble and laugh - she really is the happiest baby!

Please let me know some of your highlights from the year!


Friday, 14 December 2018

Every Book I've Read (so far) in 2018.

 My friend recently asked me what books I've been reading, I had a complete mind blank, and couldn't tell her. However I have been jotting it down in my bullet journal each time finished a book, so I can tell you.  I thought all the bookworms out there might appreciate an overview of my 2018 reading.

So here is everything I've read (so far) during 2018:

Adult Fiction:

Call Me By Your Name by André Acimen.
A beautifully written romance set in 80s Italy.
You can read my thought on it here
Star Rating: 

Caraval by Stephanie Garber
This fantasy fiction is about a girl who dreams of going to Caraval, when she eventually does, she soon learns the game revolves around her and her family.
I talk more about this book in this blog post
Star Rating: 

Eleanor Oliphant is Complete Fine by Gail Honeyman
The story revolves around the life of Eleonor, who lives a very routine day to day life. She finds things change as she makes a new friend and it becomes clear that Eleonor has a very troubled past. This book lies somewhere between a romance novel and a psychological thriller.
I talk about this book more here
Star Rating: 

Always with Love by Giovanna Fletcher
This is the final book in Giovanna Fletchers 'Billy and Me' series. It's the story of the relationship between an ordinary girl who lives in a quiet village and a movie star.
Star rating: 

My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella

My not so perfect life is a funny, and very relatable story about a girl named Katie, who makes out her life is perfect on social media, even when it seems to be falling apart.
Star Rating: 

Young Adult Fiction:

Turtles All The Way Down by John Green
This YA story is both a mystery and romance. 
Star rating: 

To All The Boys I Loved Before by Jenny Hann
The book which bought us the much loved Netflix film.
Star rating: 

P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Hann
The sequel of To All The Boys I Loved Before.
Star rating: 

Always and Forever Lara Jean by Jenny Hann
The final in the To All The Boys I Loved Before series.
Star rating: 

The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord
This book begins after the death of Paige's first boyfriend, it's about her journey learning to enjoy being a teen again.
I talk more about this here
Star rating: 

When We Collided by Emery Lord 
This is a beautiful romance novel which discusses grief and mental health. It's written in two different perspectives.
Star rating: 

The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord
Christian teen Lucy goes to be a counsellor at Summer camp after learning her mum is unwell. She makes new friends and learns life lessons.
Star rating: 

Short Stories, Poetry and Prose:

The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan:
The insightful short stories feature different characters and lives.
I talk about this book, in this video
Star Rating: 

She Must by Mad by Charly Cox.
Beautiful, relatable poetry and prose around the themes of love, mental health, body image and adulting.
I talk more about this here
Star Rating: 


Everything I know about love, by Dolly Alderton. 
Life lessons and journey of the journalist.
You can read my thoughts on it here
Star rating 

The F Word by Lily Pebbles
This book in a hybrid of genres, in a guide to modern female friendship with a memoir feel to it.
You can read more about my thoughts on this here
Star rating 

Reason to Stay Alive by Matt Haig
This inspiring book teaches you about mental health, whilst telling the writers story.
I talk about it more here
Star rating: 

Self Help, Career and Spiritual Teachings:

Higher Selfie by Jo Westwood and Lucy Sheridan.
A guide on how to make a spiritual life accessible in the modern day.
I talk about this book in this video
Star rating: 

The Anxiety Solution by Chloe Brotheridge
A guide on how to understand and manage anxiety.
Star Rating: 

Return to Love by Yoggi Kanna
A guide to inner peace and a spiritual life.
Star rating: 

You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero
This was a re-read. It's a best, most empowering, career/self-help book I've ever read.
Star rating: 

You Are A Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero
As the title might give away, this book is about how to manifest money into your life.
Star rating: 


Monday, 10 December 2018

Some thoughts on instagram and why I'm engaging in more traditional media...

I have a love-hate relationship with Instagram. Although I enjoy the creative process, I find it comes with a lot of pressure. Follow counts on Instagram, seem more predominate than anywhere else, I guess mainly because have a large following in Instagram can be can money maker, and it seems brands are more and more interested in working with 'influencers' on Instagram posts, than they are in long-form content, such a blog posts and youtube videos, which logically, seemed to cut the workload down slight for the influencer, and who would say no to less work and more money?

I find Instagram tricky, because, my followers rarely grow on there, and I know people endlessly say follow counts don't matter, but when they are what stands between you and your dream job, they kind of do. I don't want a career built on Instagram, not for a second, but as a blogger and a writer, my Instagram following has become something that could give me a ticket into the career I want. It's frustrating. I've said similar things to this on Instagram itself before - so I won't bang on too much about it here, instead, I want to talk about where I think the future of the platform is heading.

I read something recently about how with traditional media, you get the advert between the entertainment, but with Instagram influencers, the entertainment is the adverts, which is completely true, advertising has become more integrated with the entertainment. Or is this just the first time we're realising? Product placements on TV shows has always been a thing. Is it such a bad thing that people are trying to sell us stuff? If we enjoy the free content they're putting out there, I see no reason we should not have to see the occasional toothpaste advert which is simple enough to slid into the content which is already there.

It's odd that Instagram is a career for some people, and a hobby for others, as with blogging and youtube, and many creative careers. Most of us have Instagram, some of us have several accounts. We're addicted to doing what some people get paid for, for free. Although unpaid, we might not be putting so much pressure on the images, and captions, hiring photographers and planning out our grids, but we're still contributing to that platform, unpaid. It's a place where humans are ranked by follow counts. I don't think I've ever looked how many friends somebody has on Facebook, or been concerned by followers on twitter but on Instagram, I'm more likely to interact with an account with more followers, which is absolute bullshit. I know, from experience, your follow count can be low but that doesn't mean your content is not thought out and valuable.

Something which does bother me is the idea that the print industry will one day be replaced by online platforms such as Instagram.

Personally, I've found myself heading more towards traditional media more than ever recently. Instagram can feel a bit samey, and while I have the blogs which I love, it seems bloggers are choosing more and most to posts on the 'gram rather than their own website, which is completely understandable, as writing a blog post takes a lot more time, and probably get a lot less engagement.

But lazy Sunday mornings, when I lay in bed, scrolling through insta doesn't quite cut it, and I begin to feel sick of my phone. I've realised nothing brings me the joy of a magazine and a cup of tea on those lazy. There's something satisfying in flicking pages, and the articles often tend to be a mixture of my favourite writers and some new ones. Articles I never expected to find myself reading can impact my thoughts, change my day - which I'm sure could happen with an Instagram caption, but sometimes I want it to be an event, consuming media, and scrolling Instagram is more of a habit than an event, there's nothing about it which feels special. With Instagram, it feels like something I consume when I want the minutes to slip away from me, but reading a magazine feels like a way to embrace the time I've got, and really make the most of it. It's a way to indulge in the words of others and curated imagery.

There's a pressure to post on Instagram, to create content which adds to what everyone else is posting. It's nice to read a magazine and know I don't need to worry about my input.  On Instagram you expect everyone to be relatable, real, and when they've got abs and a  new home, your average joe doesn't feel quite average which can leave a feeling of inadequacy, at least with magazines, the models printed aren't supposed to be the girl next door, they're too far from me to compare.

Having said all this, I do love using Instagram, I'm not against adverts on there, if they're from somebody who's content I trust. and I think we're all smart enough by now to really, we don't need skinny teas.

I love that is something I can curate myself with who I choose to follow and I love that I have my own input in the space, but it's no replacement for the pleasure of carelessly flicking through the crisp pages of a magazine.

Jumpsuit: New Look - Lipstick: Marc Jacobs Kiss Kiss Bang Bang - i-D Magazine

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