Appreciating The Little Things

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!

  1. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. 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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Kindness Doesn’t Cost A Thing

Last year I wrote one of my most honest posts on Opening Up About Mental Health on my blog. I really appreciated the warm reception I received from those who read it. I am not sure what I was expecting if I’m honest, but I do know that it felt good to talk about it all, and good to be heard by others. To know they went out of their way to show support, and for some to even open up about their own lives was truly heartwarming. It made me think that although none of us really know what anyone else is really going through, we do know the power of kindness.

Every now and then, some thing happens in each of our lives which pops the little bubble we put around ourselves. It can leave us with a mix of emotions but also serve as a reminder that life is precious and very short. Sadly it often takes loss to remind us of this. To shake us up and realise that in life, nothing is for certain and life doesn’t wait for anyone. Rather than letting this eat you up and swallow you whole, I implore you to remember that the world is lucky to have you, for “There is no one alive that is youer that than you” (Dr Suess).

At times we may feel moments of insignificance; what impact can I alone, have? But remember that your words have power and influence, for good and for bad. We all have those memories that sting, those words that someone to said that made your stomach drop. The way that someone treated you, judged you before knowing you or even gave you a chance.  But also, the fond memories; how you laughed so hard your stomach began to hurt or when someone saw you as strong and as a positive light, although you saw yourself otherwise. There are also those actions you made that touched others in ways you may not even be aware of. The smile you gave to the stranger on the bus, or perhaps the glow you created in someone else when you asked how they are, giving them them your total undivided attention.

I keep this “Feel the Love” card I got from a jewellery brand on my mirror. Every day it serves as a reminder to myself, to feel the love on the days I feel blue. To love myself both on the in and the outside; flaws and all.  To see past the depressing evening news and feel the love in the world. To remember that even when life throws lemons and life is lost, it is just like the night breaking into sunrise, there will always be love and light.  To remember that those feelings on your down days are temporary, but it is important to feel them out – cry, speak, share and work through it. Above all be kind to yourself. You are strong.  You are resilient.

Kindness doesn’t cost a thing, so spread it everywhere; it’s one of the few things in life that is free.

10 Things That Made me Smile Last Week

We all feel like some days everything is going wrong, however I always find that Monday is a reflective, positive and motivating day of the week for me. I definitely had a few moments last week where I felt life’s little struggles, from not getting enough sleep, technical problems with my computer at work, silly and pointless arguments with family members. All those unnecessary negative things can leave me feeling infuriated all day, so much that it is easy to overlook the good things that happen. I for one try to find happiness as much as I can, because life is too short to sweat the small stuff. So if you suffer from Monday blues or like to reflect like me, here is my quick recap on 10 things that made me smile last week.

1. Decluttering

I decluttered my bedroom last week which included sorting out my wardrobe and getting rid of all of those random bits and pieces you collect and hoard over the year(s) (why do I have so many post it notepads?!) As well as decluttering the random items in my room, I decluttered my wardrobe. I began by moving over my Winter clothes into a vacuum pack bag and took out my Summer wardrobe. This allows me to see the clothes I will actually wear over the coming months, and helps me to re-evaluate what I actually wore last Summer and determine if I am going to realistically wear it this coming season. If it’s a no, I always make sure that I donate my unwanted belongs to charity, waste not- want not and all that! What I love about doing this, is that along the way I always find some outfits that I forgot about. Whether they were a fashion favourite or a faux paux, there’s something so exciting about rediscovering old outfits!

There is also something so freeing about decluttering resulting in mental health benefits of less stress and anxiety, more peace and even a better night’s sleep. Through my decluttering I have also found that I now only reach for things I need and use, and those little moments of frustration frantically searching for that top in the chaotic mess has diminished. I can also testify to my mind feeling more organised. Just knowing that everything is tidy and in it’s place is so satisfying and definitely has brought me more peace of mind.

2. Clothes, Clothes, Clothes!

Following on from the declutter this meant that I could actually see how many clothes I have and actually wear. This left me with about ten tops for summer (for both causal and nice) meaning that I had a bit of space to get some new items! All of you fashion lovers can relate to this right? You don’t have to justify to yourself where your hard earned money is going that month, because it was clearly fate for you to get that top you have been eyeing up in Zara! Therefore last week I made the most of the Summer deals and purchased some new high waisted shorts from Missguided, a couple of Bardot tops, and a pair of causal trousers from Pretty Little Thing, as well as a couple of tops from Zara. I swear there was room in my wardrobe! Ah, who cares I absolutely love Summer clothes, and this little joy definitely made me smile. Keep up on my Instagram this Summer to see these beauties in action.

3. Pilates

This isn’t a shock if you follow my blog posts, but Pilates always calms me as well as gives me a good workout. Last week I devoted parts of my evenings to it, making sure I did 30-40 minutes workouts. I tend to follow Pop Pilates/ Blogilates on YouTube but after following it for the last year and a half (on and off) I was impressed with myself to see that I could create a whole routine on my own. This left me feeling energised and those achy legs from too much sitting at work disappeared! I’m genuinely happy that I have found a form of exercise that I actually love. Although I don’t devote as much time to it as I have liked to (using the “I’m too busy” excuse) the fact that I incorporated this into my routine last week made the world of difference to my whole week. Exercise has the reputation of being such an effort, but when it’s something you genuinely enjoy, it shouldn’t be an effort! In a dream world I would start every morning before work with some Pilates, but I also like my sleep too much!

4. Chasing the Sun

I don’t know what has been going on here in the U.K but what beautiful weather we have been having! I’m a big sun worshipper and I walked around with a huge smile on my face like the Cheshire Cat (but not creepy!)

The glorious sun also makes for some beautiful sunsets too

5. Connecting with Bloggers

I love discovering new people on here and across social media,who inspire me with their photography, blog posts, Instagram feed and Youtube videos. Similarly I’m astounded every time to see how far in the world a post on mine may go. Thanks for having a read, your support means a lot!

6. See That Line Where The Sky Meets The Sea It Calls Me…!

I know, I know. I have jumped from working adult life straight back into my childhood joy for Disney. I am just going to say it, I have no regrets. Moana is a must watch! Everything about this film is so nostalgic for me, with subtle references to other Disney films which were so poignant in my (actual) childhood some 20 years ago! If you’re gonna do one thing this week, just watch it.

7. Innocent Laughter

There is a reason that children’s laughter lights you up so much. On one of the sunny days last week I took my lunch to the local park and saw a group of the sweetest little kids playing in the park. Funnily enough they were just laughing their heads off by pushing each other. Then before you know it the youngest one, maybe a year old was making a run for it with his little wobbly legs!

8. Appreciation from Work

I am soon to be leaving my job to go on a new adventure (more on this to come!) and have felt an overwhelming amount of appreciation from my co-workers. It’s a really great feeling to have your good work be acknowledged and valued. As sad as it is to be leaving a place you feel comfortable, life is all about new adventures and growth. On that note, if you notice any of your colleagues do something noteworthy, a little compliment goes a long way!

9. I’ll Be There For You

I’m a huge fan of Jess Glynne and am loving her new song! It’s a huge friendship anthem, ironically also giving some definite Friends vibes. If anyone wants to send me a concert ticket, I won’t say no!

10. The Royal Wedding

I mean come on this had to be on your list too! From the love between Harry and Meghan, the love of the supporters, the sweet bridesmaids and page boys, the dresses, the nationwide tea parties, the scones that were baked, the Prossecco that was popped as well the universal “Aww”, that was exclaimed when the new married couple shared their first kiss as husband and wife. I loved everything about this. I even visited Windsor the day before to get a glimpse of the action where I spotted many a celeb presenting from the Queen’s favourite castle. I couldn’t help but feel the buzz of excitement throughout the town; there was almost a Festival feel to it all. Also it was sunny! Britain sure does a Royal Wedding well; this was a well and truly fabulous occasion to my week!

I feel like it is so important to take a moment to reflect on the small things that make us smile. It’s so easy to get caught up in everything that is wrong, difficult or frustrating, rather than finding the light in our daily lives. Although there may not be another Royal Wedding around the corner, I hope that you too can find the joy in the little things; because it’s the little things that matter too.

Valentine’s Day Is On The Horizon

It’s Valentine’s Day next week didn’t you know. Are you a lover or hater or it? Do you get out your red lipstick and love heart shirts? Or are you planning an annual hate meal with your gals? Do you cringe at the thought of people soon to be posting engagements and ring shots or have you been planning your outfit since February 1st?! I personally like to do something low key and don’t like the whole over board, extravagance, commercialised aspect to it. Nonetheless, I do like to get into the spirit of things. After all it’s an excuse to paint your nails, show a bit of love and get to watch a bad romcom or a heart wrenching romance! Here I have compiled everything you need to know for Valentine’s Day whether you’re single, in a couple, celebrating with loved ones or just want to make next Wednesday just a slightly more special Wednesday.

Ideas on What To Do

  • Cinema (if you’re cheap, it’s 2 4 1)
  • Theatre (if you’re fancy)
  • Candles- so simple and creates a lovely romantic atmosphere. Check out Primark and Homesense for some sweet deals.
  • Comedy night- laughter is a way into my heart anyway.
  • Dinner out or Takeaway – food is the way into a man’s heart!
  • Live Music – I don’t do this enough! I loved going to live music when I was at uni once a week, but with working full time it can be an effort. Make the most of your Valentine’s Day and go catch some live music.
  • Ice skating- a good early stage dating idea
  • Night in watching romantic films: The Notebook, Dirty Dancing, Valentine’s Day, How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days, Titanic, Bridget Jones Diary, The Proposal, A Walk To Remember
  • Rooftop drinks in London; did someone say R-O-M-A-N-C-E?
  • Champagne, flowers and chocolate (treat your man also with this, it will go down well!)
  • Love note or letter. Go beyond the normal card and write from the heart; you will be allowed to be cheesy and cringey!
  • Bake something, nothing says love like some cookies or red velvet cake

Style those locks

Pay a bit more attention to your hair. Straighten it, curl it, accessorise it, use a hair mask. Give your hair a bit of TLC and even if you don’t have a date, make a bit of an effort and love yourself! Go one up than you usually do during the week.

Outfit

If it’s just a regular day at work throw on a red shirt or a pink top, or even heart socks if you’re being lazy. Give Valentine’s Day the recognition it deserves. If you have a hot date then put on your Freakum dress! If you’re having a Galentine’s night in then get your tracksuit bottoms and oversized jumper and order some Chinese. Either way most websites will be having discounts codes being advertised left, right and centre, so the Universe wants you to buy something new and fancy!

Make-Up

Red nails is a must. Simple. When it comes to your foundation base, get your glow on! Simple and quick, use an illuminating primer under your foundation . Curl those lashes and add some blusher, go for a flirty, girly romantic look. Most appropriate for February 14th don’t you think?

As commercialised as Valentine’s Day is, the whole idea behind why it’s celebrated in the first place is actually quite sweet. Saint Valentine helped to marry soldiers who were forbidden to do so; as a result he was imprisoned. Going forward some years to Geoffrey Chaucer courtly love and Valentine’s Day were poignant themes. The romantic atmosphere continued throughout the 18th century were lovers took the stage, fast forward to now and love is everywhere. In songs, movies, everyone has their own little love story.

At the very least you can’t complain, it’s gonna be a sugar filled week with Valentine’s Day following Shrove Tuesday. Pass me the cake!