Welcome back to the first blog of 2021! I hope you’re feeling refreshed after the Christmas break, and that your week got off to a positive start. On Sunday night I pictured myself getting up nice and early, ready for the first Monday of 2021. I was genuinely looking forward to reinstating a bit of a routine to my day once again, and begin working on some of the things I wanted to achieve this year. However the reality of my first working day of 2021 saw me wake up 90 minutes later than planned (oops)…
Alas, I didn’t allow this to set the tone to the rest of my day. Instead I rewrote the narrative and thought just how rested I was feeling, and how grateful I was that there was no commute to rush for. We all know that a New Year doesn’t magically change our reality and I am definitely not one to proclaim, “New Year, New Me”. However, I love the optimism that the New Year presents itself with. But if you’re struggling with a bit of motivation today (especially after last night’s lockdown 3.0 announcement), here are a few of my posts I wrote in 2020 to send some positivity your way.
During a post-Christmas clean, I found a journal entry I wrote on 1st January. Incidentally this was the only entry I made all year, but looking back I started the year out filled with a lot of hope and ambition for 2020. Reading it made me realize just how much growth I have had in many areas of my life. The global pandemic has certainly brought some challenging and depressing days, but there have also been some wonderful moments this year that I want to remember. So before 2020 is over, here are just some of my highlights from this incredibly strange year:
I attended my auntie’s wedding right at the beginning of January and who knew that would be my first and last big social event for the year?! The day was filled with carefree dancing, toasting, laughing, hugging, and all without wearing a mask or obeying any rules of six…
This year the U.K. has really enjoyed some glorious weather, which I really appreciated particularly throughout the first lockdown. This meant there were lots of walks (often twice a day!), as well as days filled with various kinds of outside exercise or sunbathing with a glass of cold Pimms.
Being at home and having a lot more time back in my day, meant it was the perfect opportunity for more blogging, with this post being number 58 of this year! I pushed myself with writing challenges and also concentrated more on uploading videos to my YouTube channel. Overall this has resulted in more traffic with readers/viewers from different parts of the world – thank you! I can’t wait to continue creating next year.
There wasn’t a homemade sourdough in sight on my end, but I did get some baking in here and there. My new favourite discovery was a Sangria cake I baked for my Mum’s birthday – so easy and delicious! I also tried cooking some new recipes which emphasized how much I love trying new things. I am excited to do more of this in 2021 too!
I was devastated when my Summer flights to America were cancelled as I planned on going to Chicago for the first time, as well as attending my brother’s wedding! However we all still celebrated virtually via a live stream, complete with video calls for speeches and toasts. My family and I made the effort to dress up and we also decorated the house, the garden and the table. I even cooked a slightly elaborate meal! Overall, it was a bittersweet but a memorable and special day.
Despite all the challenges working from home, I am super proud of my progression in my 9-5 job and the impact I have had this year. I am giving myself a huge pat on the back well done… something we all need to do now and again!
Living an active lifestyle was my main goal for 2020. At the start of the year I was focused on getting beyond the 8 week mark of regular exercise (before I typically lost interest). From HIIT, running, pilates, hikes, walks, online classes and various other videos and IGTV’s, I’ve LOVED every moment of it. I am feeling stronger both mentally and physically, with my relationship and attitude towards exercise being completely transformed. Here’s to health in 2021!
Finding out I would be an auntie for the first time has also been a highlight for this year. Roll on early 2021 where I get to meet (virtually but hopefully physically soon) my little niece.
Becoming a dog auntie to the wonderful @cosmoandsherlockadventures has brought me so much joy and firmly helped me get over my fear of dogs! I am now one of those people who would coo at a dog rather than run away from it, haha!
In a way I am hugely grateful to 2020 as it meant I was able to save money faster and led me to buying my first home with my boyfriend. I am so excited to move in January 2021 and begin a new and exciting chapter of my life!
This year may not have always gone to plan, but 2020 has helped me be thankful for what I do have and enjoy the small moments along the way. Whatever way you are ringing in the New Year, I wish you a wonderful , happy, healthy and safe year ahead, filled with lots of positivity and light. Let’s hope 2021 will be filled with more times seeing our loved ones and squeezing them tight once again.
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It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these posts, and I really wanted to begin this week with a dose of positivity. Each time I write a post like this, it leaves me feeling lighter, grateful and just good inside and out. So here are five things that have had me smiling in December so far!
December saw the end of Movember and so it seems fit to include this one on a list. I made a donation to something which I know is a good cause, and it was great to help someone exceed their fundraising target!
There’s not many things that compare to the first few calm moments of the day as you begin to wake up. How one can be so alert but also half-asleep, still and peaceful. Everything is (mostly) quiet, but most importantly gone are the stresses from the day before. As the days get shorter, I’ve really enjoyed having a slower start to my day, and am taking advantage of a few extra minutes sleeping in, knowing that I’m listening to my body and preparing for the day ahead.
Last week was very challenging and by the end of it, I was so ready to switch off for the weekend. However one thing that really cheered me up was watching the finale of I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. Over the last three weeks, the show provided the escapism I think many of us in the U.K. needed. I was also so thrilled to see Giovanna win, who I had rooted for from the start! I love what she stands for and admire her kindness and braveness. We all need a bit of Gi in our lives.
This one of course had to be on this list… Christmas! Christmas joy has well and truly lifted my mood this month. I have also really enjoyed planning presents for my family this year. I love taking the time to think about what each recipient would like and appreciate, especially this Christmas where we all need just that bit of extra TLC. This December I’m also appreciating fairy lights, mulled wine and Winter walks just a bit more… All whilst I am wrapped up in my fluffiest of jumpers!
Making time for friendships despite the love/hate relationship with zoom. Although it doesn’t come close to the real thing, I have loved spending an hour catching up with some of my dearest friends over a video call. The quizzes may have taken a back seat, but spending some time checking in and having a giggle has been well needed, and I always come away feeling happier.
Although it can feel tough to find the good in this strange year, I would recommend taking a moment to stop, pause and reflect on what has made you smile, as often as you can. Perhaps it’s something you are grateful for, the moments or people which bring you happiness. The more you practice this, the easier and more natural it will become to notice the little things, which can really have a big impact on your outlook.
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Growing up I was always considered a “nice” person. As a child, I had (fortunately) never really experienced what it felt like to be left out, or actively disliked. So when I arrived at University, it was a shock to learn that not everyone was as nice as me. That just because I was kind, did not mean others would be kind back; a lesson I’m sure we all have learned along the way. As an adult, I was even more shocked to learn how often rude and patronizing people somehow ended up as managers. This made me wonder, do nice girls and guys really finish last?
Over the last few years, I have unfortunately heard stories and seen firsthand adults be publicly embarrassed in the workplace, only to be left on the brink of tears. I remember earlier this year on my Monday commute into work, I had a similar instance – albeit not in the office. There I was, smiling and standing patiently at Marylebone Station on a cold Winter’s morning, completely unprepared for what was to happen next. There had been issues with the ticket barriers that day – a nightmare for any London commuter. As a result, this meant pandemonium erupted among the hundreds of people who were rushing to get to work. When it was my turn to go through the gates, the employee checked my ticket only to realize I had the wrong one, and reacted as if I had tried to cheat the whole of Transport for London. She shouted at me as if to make an example out of me, utterly humiliating me in the process in front of a crowd people. I remember my face began to feel hot, my eyes began to well up with tears, and my blood began to boil. I was completely taken aback by her overreaction and this moment of humiliation. I then became increasingly aware of the eyes of onlookers watching this moment of drama unfold, all before it was even 8 AM.
It had in fact been totally her own fault, rather than mine (which I suppose so often is the case in these kind of scenarios) as I had told her as I approached, about the ticket dilemma. However I managed to hold it together, and calmly called her out on her behaviour. I stood up for myself, correcting her on what had actually happened with ticket-gate (excuse the pun) and told her there was absolutely no need to treat me, or anyone else like that. I then proceeded to complain about this to one of her team members. Whether this was taken seriously I do not know- I certainly did not receive an apology. Nonetheless, I was proud of how I handled this stranger’s outburst and that I had kept myself mostly together. In that moment, I empathized with those who may experience such behaviour in the workplace. Thinking about this now, I wonder how this kind of scenario may be playing out in a remote setting. I also wonder if I would have reacted the same way if it was my boss speaking to me in such a rude manner, rather than a complete stranger. How would I act, especially now, where there is an increasing amount of anxiety around job security? I sincerely hope that I would have the courage and resilience to deal with this, or that a kind colleague would step in and show me some support if needed.
2020 has been a tough year on many levels, and whilst I may not have all the answers, I know that being nice does not cost a thing. I remember reading an article on The Everygirl about protecting your heart at work, which emphasized just how important emotional resilience is. Although I still have so much more to learn and I know inevitably there will be more hurdles to overcome, here are some of the lessons I have learned in my 20’s so far…
The company I keep both in an out of work is important The people we surround ourselves with have a direct impact on our wellbeing and outlook on life. Take a look at those nearest to you and figure out if they add value to your life and if they build you up as a person.
Other people’s opinions of me do not validate me Whenever I catch myself ruminating about silly thoughts like what I said earlier that day, I stop myself. Instead I try to focus my energy on my own goals, rather than wasting energy on needless worry.
Showing my “true” self can be daunting but liberating I used to differentiate my identity between my “work” self and “true” self, and now count myself lucky to work somewhere where I feel I can and want to, bring my whole self to work. This also means I feel more authentic in my choices and am able to bounce back easier on days which are challenging.
It’s better to be understood than to be liked Not everyone will like me, and that’s fine, despite the people pleasing voice I have in my head!
Not everyone shares the same ideas or outlook as me As obvious as this, really taking time to digest and understand this has made a huge difference. This was also summed up really succinctly for me in the Everygirl article,
“Most people see interactions as swift, emotionless transactions ; whilst this is true in many businesses, it doesn’t mean you have to be the same, just recognize that there are others like that”.
How people act and respond to you often comes from them projecting their own feelings from what’s happening in their own life, rather than in response to the actual content of what you have said.
This year I’ve committed to watching I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, and it’s genuinely bringing me so much joy – especially in lockdown. Should fame ever come my way, I would love to be a contestant on that show – come on manifestation, do your thing! I’ve always considered myself to be quite adventurous. Having camped every summer whilst growing up, I would bat away badgers, ants and cope with treacherous weather, among many other challenges! The premise of I’m A Celeb, comes down to overcoming your fears. We are only born with two fears; the fear of falling and of loud sounds. So it’s interesting to think that everything else is learned, and that most are irrational. During my early adulthood years, I accidentally discovered one of my fears (I suppose that’s the way they all are discovered though). I say “accidentally” because it’s genuinely something I discovered by accident, and it took me by surprise…
A few years back, I was on holiday in Cyprus enjoying the sunshine and tzatziki (although not together), having the time of my life. One afternoon I went on a boat trip. This was my very first boat trip abroad and it was very different than the kind you go on along the River Thames; there was sunny weather and crystal blue waters for a start! There was a portion of the boat trip where you get off and swim in the sea. Here there are two options for how to get into the water. You can either enter by climbing down the ladder (easy), or you can go to the top of the boat, climb over the railings and jump in. I’m sure you can see which direction this story is going in…
My boyfriend told me how much fun the second option was, and me being me, I was up for trying something new. It’s not that big of a drop, about 15 – 20 feet, I thought to myself. So I took off my sunglasses, made my way to the top floor of the boat, all the while feeling calm and collected. I then watched my boyfriend climb over the railing and turn to me with an encouraging smile. I put one hand onto the railing, when my legs suddenly turned to jelly. At that very moment, that scene in Titanic where Rose almost jumps off the ship came to mind. “Nope, I’m not doing it. There is no way I am flinging myself off this. Not for me. No thank you!” was the physical reaction my body was having, before I even got around to saying the words aloud. After a minute or so, I took a deep breath, and I climbed over. I kept a firm grip on the rails behind me, and I stared at the ocean. (Side note: My hands have gone clammy and my armpits have even begun to sweat as I write this!) I was reluctant to let go, but I did not want my fear of this thing that I’ve never done before, to get the better of me. Eventually after a lot of encouragement from my boyfriend and even the other guests on the boat, I psyched myself up. I jumped into the water, which was complete with a mighty scream. This very (dramatic) jump had much of the other guests in fits of laughter, and I think I may recall a bit of clapping and whooping – although that part may be a bit exaggerated. As I emerged from the water, I realised nothing bad had happened to me in this moment. I’ve continued to force myself to do that jump many times since, and it gets a bit easier each time, (although the thought of this now still majorly freaks me out!)
Evidently I have a fear of heights, combined with the fear of falling. Strangely enough I’m fine on planes, but if I go into a glass elevator you will most definitely witness my panic. No word of a lie, I have noticed onlookers laugh at me in amusement, at my minor freak out during the course of a five second glass elevator journey. This same scenario has played out in theme parks too. I love that sense of adventure and enjoy fast roller-coasters, but any ride where I am up super high, followed by a steep drop terrifies me. The perfect example here being Rush at Thorpe Park, and don’t even get me started on some of the rides I went on at Six Flags in California.
I can also vividly recall one hike in Yosemite along the Mist Falls trail leading to Nevada Falls. On this hike you climb beside a waterfall. The water sprays create a mist, resulting in a rainbow appearing the higher you climb. I love being active and I especially love the outdoors, but I couldn’t bear to look down the whole time we hiked. At the top I felt a sense of satisfaction, but it was the hike back down which I found the most challenging. If you want to see my internal panic, there was also a similar moment I captured during my Wales Vlog at 7:01 – 7:18. On the Yosemite hike, there was however a humorous moment which broke my tension. I was trying my best to hold back the tears and a fearless girl who must have only been about seven years old, marched right past me, brave as can be! Who knows, it could have been the Ghost of Christmas Past, reminding me of what I too used to be like as a child.
So what have I learned? Well, I know I will continue to force myself to climb a few more peaks in the future. I will also try to push myself to do more things that scare me. Throughout each of these moments, I persevered and I certainly don’t regret doing any of those activities. I’ve learned that quite often on the other side, once you push through the fear and discomfort, that’s where growth lies.
However, should I ever have to abseil down a cliff backwards like they did on I’m A Celeb, I would probably react the same as Jordan North and let my nerves get the better of me. Nonetheless, I know that I am far stronger and capable than I give myself credit for and I should not let my fears hold me back – whatever capacity that may be in. That being said, I can’t imagine myself jumping out of an aeroplane just yet… Maybe one day!
What’s one fear you have tried to overcome? Let me know in the comments!
I hope you enjoyed this blog post and it made you smile! If you liked this post, you should subscribe to keep up to date with what I’m talking about. Remember there will also be more content coming your way Monday – Friday throughout lockdown, so don’t miss out!