Lifestyle, Fashion and travel

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Life is Too Short

I know a lot of people have published posts about the tragic event in Manchester just weeks ago, (edit: and now many of the other terrible events that have yet followed) and I wasn't quite sure whether or not to post this, but it's still a valid point that I was only reminded of due to the events. Although this will continue to haunt a great number of people, I and many others who weren't directly affected (of course we're all affected but what I mean by that is those who weren't there/knew anyone there), will now have moved on and continued with our everyday lives. This post is simply a little reminder that although life goes on and we must continue to work and live, this has just proved once again how short life can be and how important it is to live the life we enjoy and are proud of.

It makes me think about the number of young children and people at different stages of their lives, not only through the recent attacks or the Grenfell Tower fire but through a whole number of other causes throughout the world who have lost their lives. And this is heart shuddering. I'm not saying I'm wasting my life and I'm not saying that we need to be happy or grateful every moment of every day, but just being thankful for living, is sometimes are very simple but necessary task.


To be thankful simply for the opportunity to experience today and likely tomorrow. To make the most of the time I have and to fulfill the life I would be proud of.

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Monday, 19 June 2017

My Australia Bucketlist

So it's not actually that long until I make the all exciting trip to Australia!! EEEEPP!! Good Golly I can't bloody wait!

I'm first heading out in August with my family for a mini holiday as I'm heading off and travelling all on my lonesome and I'm slightly absolutely terrified of it! Being a slightly social but highly anxious and sometimes proper introvert, I'm very much nervous about heading off with no plans living and travelling round a country I've never been to that's on the complete opposite side of the world!

But you know, that's what you've got to do when you're young right! Make the most whacky and perhaps stupid decisions you can and then regret them later - however I'm quite sure there's no possible way you can 'regret' a trip to Australia.

Firstly I'm going to say, I have no definitive plans. There's things I would like to see and experience but as of yet I have not booked anything! Not even a flight home! I haven't booked flights around the country, hotels or hostels, or transport or anything! It's kind of freaking me out...

I would very much appreciate any tips from anyone who's been travelling - to tell me if that's completely reckless and stupid or if I've got nothing to worry about and I can literally get these on the door kind of thing??

I've now got myself my working holiday visa and am all set up and ready to go! I'm planning on heading up to Cairns to begin with, because it's warmer up there and August is Australia's winter! Then I'm gonna hop on the Greyhound bus (quick question from past travellers - is it a good idea to buy my bus ticket before I go?) and head on all the way down to Melbourne, obviously stopping off along the way!


Anyway enough of the ramble, here are a couple of the bits on my itinerary;


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Monday, 12 June 2017

What You're Feeling is OK

Edit: I had other plans for today's post, but I came across this from last week and thought I'd share it.

So I'm sat here, home from my very last exam for my degree (it went shit, but I'm not bothered, it's finally over!!) and though I'm a little tipsy and pretty tired (after waking up at 6.30 and 5 glasses of Courtyard Pimm's) I'm not ecstatic. 

I'm lying in bed, eating cookies and banana bread my housemate baked, and anticipating tonight, and tomorrow. I'm thinking again about the fact that I should could have gone for a run yesterday, when it was nice weather and I had the chance. When I didn't have other plans/wasn't hungover. 

I'm thinking about the Pimm's I drunk today. The bacon and brie panini I had for lunch. The cookies and cake I'm currently eating. The Prosecco and alcohol I will drink tonight. The takeaway I'll probably have. The endless amount of carbs and sugar I will eat tomorrow, while lying in bed watching Netflix all day.

And what's on my mind isn't enjoyment or celebration. But bad calories. Fat. I'm feeling a bit lousy and squishy and unattractive and it's making me think that I won't enjoy myself tonight. And that's annoying, as it's the one and only time I'm ever going to finish a degree (believe me there's no chance I'm doing another one!) 


But the good thing, the thing that's different from how I used to be, is that these thoughts aren't controlling me. (In fact I'm continuing to eat more cookies)

These thoughts, though they're there, I can recognise as my ED, not me. It's not controlling me. I can rationalise, and not panic, like perhaps I used to.

I understand that these habits aren't 'healthy' if I do it all the time, but seriously a couple of days of celebration won't impact my body that much.

And what if it does? Putting on a few pounds doesn't make me a bad person. It doesn't mean I can't enjoy my night out and celebrations. And it doesn't make me any less beautiful!! 

So if you ever get these feelings, ED or not, just know that you're f****** gorgeous anyway! You are you, tall/short, big/small, big boobs/small boobs, blue eyes/brown eyes, you are beautiful.

So whether you're celebrating end of exams like I am, or celebrating anything, or even just celebrating another day done, do something tonight without worrying. Eat the cake and binge Netflix, Have another drink, another slice of pizza, whatever you want. Just enjoy it. 


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Thursday, 8 June 2017

Have Your Say

VOTE! BLOODY DO IT!

It's the day people! And this post is a final plea to get anyone who might read this to quickly take those 5/10 minutes out of their day to pop down to your local voting poll and fill out that form! Please! 

Now more than ever, we as a nation need to stand up and contribute to society! We are all responsible for this country and need to work together to pull it back together so that we can help the rest of the world!


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Monday, 5 June 2017

Shit When's Father's Day!?*

So Father's, men in general (in my family anyway) are THE WORST to buy for! They just don't want anything! So I've had to up the anty and go looking for something different this Father's Day. 

Ok, not going to lie, I completely forgot about Father's Day - in my defense final year exams kind of took up most of my attention - until I got a lovely email from UncommonGoods telling me about their site. Upon checking it out I loved some of their ideas and thought some were perfect for those dads who are tough nuts to crack when it comes to finding the perfect gift! 


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Monday, 29 May 2017

How to Study?

So I'm sure I'm not the only one who still finds it bewildering that I can somehow remember the entire 10 seasons script to F.R.I.E.N.D.S, yet can I remember anything to do with Lysosomal Storage Disorders? - Absolutely not!

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Monday, 22 May 2017

3 Skincare Gems

Now I'm definitely not a beauty blogger! I know diddly squat about skin care and look a bit like I've been punched in the face any time I attempt to use eye shadow! But I have definitely been on the hunt over the last few years, trying many a different product, drinking loads of water etc etc to try and get rid of ma damn spots! Now I don't have acne as severe as many others - it's not a condition, I literally just think due to messing my poor hormones around over the last however many years, they're coming back kicking and screaming (oh and there's chocolate and alcohol which probably doesn't help) ... HOWEVER (ramble over) over the last few months I've been using these products below and I've noticed a mahooosive change! So much so that I haven't worn make-up - partly because I don't need to, partly because I care less - for over a month! And that may sound like nothing, I know an awful lot of lucky buggers who never wear makeup and get a spot perhaps every couple of months, but for me (and I'm sure I'm not alone) I usually had at least one - more likely a few - lovely white mountains somewhere quite clearly visible! And I was very conscious of them, so I'd wear a lot of foundation and powder to cover said lurkers up.



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Monday, 15 May 2017

Workaway: My first experience

Last summer me and my best friend took a 10 day trip to the south of France to undertake a holiday through the company Workaway. I basically found this business on, I think, a list of ways to travel on a budget - I wasn't asked/paid to go or to review it, I just think it's a great idea and don't know anyone else who knows about it, so thought I'd explain a bit...

How it works is basically you pay for membership for 2 years (either alone $29/~£23 or as a pair $38/~£30 for both of you) and as a 'workawayer' you can read hosts advertisements from all over the world. Hosts advertise work they need doing - could be anything from a bit of gardening, maybe some cooking or teaching a language to helping renovate and set up an organic farm or hostel - and in exchange for this work (usually around 3-5hrs per day) the hosts offer free accommodation (and sometimes food and transport) to the workawayer/s that offer to help.



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Thursday, 11 May 2017

4 Things I Try To Live My Life By

1. Do one good thing for someone else everyday

If we all did this, the world would be a much happier place! And I mean, is there anything better than that feeling of having helped make someone happy or made their day better? This kind of leads onto my next point but I think that being generous and willing to help others, makes us all much better people which makes us (as well as the person we helped) feel better! I also believe that if you do good things for others, they will do good things to you.


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Monday, 8 May 2017

An Experience of Anorexia Nervosa

Since May is Mental Health Awareness Month, I was brainstorming ideas for posts that I could share to impart some wisdom. But I then came across a draft of a post I wrote a while ago and thought a better way to promote awareness and kick off Mental Health Awareness Week (8th-14th), rather than giving advice on such a broad subject I don't really know a lot about, was to share my story. Plain. Simple. Exposed. So here goes.


I remember the day I was diagnosed. I remember walking into the hospital with my mum and dad and hearing them tell me I was suffering from Anorexia Nervosa. It was in April 2010. It didn't shock my mum or dad. They knew. It shocked me. I had no idea what I was doing to myself. What these habits and these thoughts were making me do to myself and my body. I cried. I felt hopeless. Everything I knew and was confident about for a long time before that, was my exercise routine and eating (what I thought was) 'healthily'. Everything I was clinging onto for happiness was about to come crashing down around me. 

I was 15. I was a smart, logical and mature girl. I listened to the therapist and nutritionist and my parents and my family. All telling me what I was doing and how to recover. They told me minimum recovery time was usually around 2 years. I remember thinking I could beat those odds. That I wasn't like other 'anorexics' I wasn't really anorexic. I had everything under control. I'd just gone a bit too far, that's all. All I had to do was eat more food, and get to a healthy weight. Simple.


'It's a hard process. Moving out of a comfort zone you've pushed yourself to the very limit to achieve. Having to do things that go against everything your mind and your body is telling you to do. Because you've driven it into this state of starvation. It was torture. I'd try and tell myself it's for the best. Trust the adults. Trust your parents. Trust the professionals. 

But it's easier to say isn't it. It's easy to say eat this, you need it. All they think about is my weight and my physical health. But what about my mental health. What about my body. They don't care if I get fat and ugly. They don't care if I'm unhappy, just as long as I'm a healthy BMI. But I care though. I'm the one that has to live with it. I'm the one that has to look at my body everyday. I'm the one that would have to live alone forever, always being the other girl. The one you forgot the name of. The plain, ordinary, nothing special girl. I'm the one in photos that you're not jealous of. The one with the bucked teeth and a massive nose and a big, square, manly body. The one you don't quite take notice of. I couldn't be that person again. I just couldn't.'


'You see, for me, my eating disorder wasn't a cry for help. Not for anyone else's help anyway. It was an attempt to gain a sense of worth for myself. To prove to myself that I was someone. I was always overwhelmed at the thought of being such an insignificant person in this world who hasn't really got anything to offer. I tried so hard in everything I did and yet I still felt insignificant. I wasn't good at anything. Well that's a lie, I was. I was in the top sets at school, I always did well. I had the most wonderful friends and family. Sometimes I think I shouldn't be allowed to have an eating disorder. To have a mental illness, let alone talk about it or seem like I'm complaining. My life was amazing. Is amazing. There are people in this world who would do anything for what I had. For a loving family, parents happily married, all healthy and happy. To have the most amazing friends. To have financial security, food and clean water, a roof over our heads. Education. Healthcare. I could go on and on. Who am I to be suffering, when there are people who have had actual traumatic experiences resulting in their thoughts and worries. I've just brought this on myself. Stupid, unthankful girl. 

I think I felt insecure. I still do. We all do, I guess. I had (still do, love them all to bits) very high-flyer friends. So I was the quiet one. The 'other' one. I deemed myself the follower. The one that wasn't quite good enough to be in that group. I wasn't as funny. I wasn't as smart. I wasn't as confident. I wasn't as pretty. Maybe being thin and fit and attractive could be my thing. People seem to like attractive people. Maybe if I work hard enough, I could be like that. Maybe then I won't feel as worthless, I'll be more confident and I'll have something to offer.'



These are just some words that I'd written a while back on different occasions and edited slightly to put together. I want to stress that, while I still occasionally get old thoughts and urges and am not yet fully recovered, I'm definitely not in that place anymore and I'm in a much better mindset and physical state to keep getting healthier. And I'm much happier. My stage in recovery is down to a lot of hard work, tears, love and support from my friends and family (who I basically owe my life to, so thanks guys) - but it's happened. It's possible. Just now writing this, I can vividly remember several times over the last 7 years when I didn't think it would ever be possible (one only a few months ago in fact, but that's another story). And they'll still be times when I feel unworthy and insecure, because changing your thought process doesn't change overnight, but I'm getting better and with each day of thankfulness and happiness, it gets that much easier and the ana inside me gets that much smaller. Controlled by me now, not the other way around.

I know my experience is very different to a lot of others but here I am sharing mine, if you don't agree or relate or this post conjures up bad thoughts, please just don't read it and close the tab straight away. I know most/if not all the people who read my posts are lovely, kind and open-minded people and I love you all so much - but if you're reading this thinking of a not-so-nice comment to post, please don't - you don't realise how much damage it can do! I feel very self-conscious publishing this type of stuff, but hearing it help just one or two people encourages me to do it.

There are many reasons I'm sure for the development of this and other mental illnesses, and it's most definitely not anyone's fault. I do still feel judgement towards myself sometimes when I actually type out these kind of thoughts, but it's just one of those things that unfortunately affects 1 in 4 of us. And it sucks. And it's hard. But it's temporary. It's an illness. It's not us. 


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Thursday, 4 May 2017

Why I'm not Scared of Finishing University

Ok pinch me... the other day I had to register for my Graduation! *Draw drops, Eyes widen* Ho-ly S*** 

Being third year, fastly approaching the leap into real adulthood *Gulps*, I've definitely been subject to many a 'So have you got any plans?' comment or a 'Have you started applying for jobs/grad schemes?' and in answer to all those questions;

Nope.

A big fat Nope!

I've not applied for a single graduate scheme, or job. I have no idea what I want to do with my life. I have basically no prospects for after university. And I'll end up with no money in my bank account.

Well, that's not entirely true... I am planning on travelling in Australia in August for who knows how long (as long as my saved money/Working-Holiday Visa will last). But I've not got a whole load of money and although I'll give it my best shot, who knows if travelling for a living is the right path for me and I might come back and have spent all my savings!


But the absolutely great thing is... I'm not scared. I'm ready! I'm excited for this new chapter and this freedom to do whatever I want!

Everyone around me and everything society or university promotes is this feeling of dread and failure to leave university without a job or at least things put in place or an idea of where to go. And for a time I thought the same - hell one of the reasons I came to uni was to put off work for 3 years (definitely not a reason to be paying £9,000/yr let me just tell you, but moving swiftly on!) - but I've come to realise that there's no point in being scared or worried.

Everything has a habit of working out - opportunities come along when and how they're meant to, doors close, doors open etc etc. As long as I'm happy and working hard in whatever I'm doing at the time, I'm content with the thought that in the time until this point of ''fear'', something - maybe a job, maybe a person, maybe a way of life - will come along and fit perfectly for me at that time.

 And I think this past term, and these past few years, has definitely pushed me and shown me that I can handle whatever life throws at me. That'll change - I know me too well - when the time comes that something feels even bigger or scarier or just different to anything I've faced before, but I'll still get through it.


I admit, my parents are amazing and will support anything I want to pursue, and fortunately they have to money to put up with me for another few (*cough* thirty *cough*) years when I go travelling and hopefully make a load of mistakes/job attempts until I find the one that's right.

But all soon to be degree-finishers - don't worry! This is our time to do WHATEVER we want to do with our lives. And if the job you get isn't what you thought it would be - just get a different one?



Anyone else in their final year? Anyone struggling? Or like me have you stopped caring!?



Image links from Pinterest here;
1. maisie-daydreams.tumblr.com
2. The Daily Quotes
3. theyallhateus.com




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Monday, 1 May 2017

Nassau, Bahamas

So what better way to escape all thought of dissertation and revision, than a spontaneous mini break to The Bahamas?

As I've mentioned before, I'm extremely fortunate to have an Air Hostess mother, who has taken my family and I to many destinations over the years! And since I'm unable to accompany her after I turn 24, I've made it my mission to go with her to as many places as I can pack in before then! So that was my reasoning for jetting off to the Bahamas for 3 days 3 weeks before my dissertation hand in!



As we didn't have that long there, we did spend most of the time hanging out at the beautiful Colonial Hilton hotel to exploit the stunning views and incredible weather... oh and I did bring revision with me, it was a lot easier to read revision cards when lying on a hammock accompanied by a rum punch! Even if after the third one, the information started going in one ear and falling straight out the other!



The next day we ventured out on a boat trip to Blue Lagoon Island, just off of Paradise Island. The island was stunning, with it's gorgeous white sandy beaches and beautiful turquoise blue water! It even had inflatable slides and trampolines and things out in the water that my brother and the other kids greatly enjoyed!




On the island you had the chance to do the dolphin or sea lion experience, where you's get a chance to swim with them and feed them, but we stuck to the island experience and managed to see the beauties frolicking in the sea!





With the island experience, we were treated to a lovely, hefty BBQ lunch and were free to explore the island as we pleased!








The other days we took lovely little walks around the towns and down the streets by the sea. And by constant request by my brother, we managed to get the chance to go para-sailing - which was pretty awesome (and I managed to use my GoPro for the first time and it worked perfectly!)


A couple of great tips I'd advise if anyone was going over there - it's a very popular place for cruises and their presence greatly dictates the business of the island. We noticed on days where there were none/few present the number of restaurants and bars open was very minimal, but was pretty buzzing when the cruises were in! For great food and apparently a very popular place for the young beach bums is 'Senor Frogs', just by the Hilton hotel and another place we loved - and had smashing food and Mango Mojitos - was Lukka Kairi, further along the beach front.


Anyone ever visited these gorgeous islands? 

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Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Am I a Freak?

*Goes to any family gathering*

Family Friend/Member: 'So have you found yourself a boyfriend yet?'

Me: *shrugs and laughs it off* 'Oh no, not yet'


A big insecurity of mine has always been relationships. And this post is quite difficult for me to write and share on the internet for all to see, but I came across this draft from a while ago and thought maybe, just maybe, it's not just me feeling this way.

I think a lot of kids - teenagers - go through the 'boyfriend' phase - you know the one where you don't actually talk to each other, but you got your friend to ask them if they want to 'go out'/'go steady' with you and then you add their name with a heart on your MSN tag line and it's official! 

We all I think - or at least our peers at school - go through it. And it's around about year 7 which is also the step up to a new school - and I think it somehow got drawn into me that this was a measure of worth, of being desired, of being cool!



As the title suggests, this never happened to me. And it's not a huge issue - I haven't been totally consumed by this idea, because I've always been quite a smart and logical person, so I know now and I knew back then - that seeing this a measure of worth is total bollocks! 

And I can go into my sassy, girl-power mode and say 'You don't need a man to make you happy', 'having a boyfriend doesn't impact your self-worth' and yes I truly believe that and that's why this isn't a massive issue and I can live a long and happy life, succeeding as I have and will do in the future. 



And yet, it's been an insecurity of mine ever since then, and I won't deny that's it's knocked my confidence slightly in the past and no doubt will do in the future. And although I only really get down about it when I'm already in a bad mood or upset about something (and tend to fall into that lovely spiral we all love so much!) it keeps coming back to me. The idea that there's something wrong with me? Why am I 21 and never had a boyfriend? Does it make me weird/odd that I'm in my twenties and I've never had sex? 

Which spirals into a field of ongoing questions that my over-thinking, scientific brain likes to analyse like;
Am I disgusting? Am I ugly? Is there something wrong with my body?

Or worse; Is it me? Am I just unlovable? Am I the 'nice' person who no-one ever really has as their first choice? Am I too boring or uncool?



And luckily I'm in a good place right now that I can write this logically and know that everything's fine. I'm content with the faith that really, the person that's right for me is out there and to quote Mr Bublé, I just haven't met him yet. And at 21, I've got my whole life to go out and meet different people, all of them right for that time in my life. It's easy to get caught up in the superficial things like sex or the relationship label, but at the end of the day I'm the soppy one who just wants love and I can wait a lifetime for that!

I'd like to point out that this doesn't rule my life - I just realised that it was a recurring thought over the years and wondered whether anyone else had ever felt that sense of doubt?

Also a little reminder, that you're the main person who deserves your undivided attention and love and you're totally amazing no matter your relationship status!



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Monday, 24 April 2017

How I feel about Travelling Alone

So as my final year at university is creeping to an end (so close yet so far...) I'm starting to get pretty excited for my freedom and therefore plans to head off to the land down under and have a bit of fun!

Of course, we'll ignore the crippling fear of no job, no prospects or any ideas of what to do with my life - that's for future Josie to worry about! For now, I'm going to totally let go, be wild and do whatever the fuck I want! Because I've earned it!


So enough of the off rambly intro - this post is about how I feel about taking on this adventure alone. Years, even months ago (even now sometimes) I would never have even considered going alone, and as travel is a common desire among a few of my friends - one's even out in Australia now! - I've always assumed someone will come along with me. But as things are getting closer, myself and others have actually started planning/considering actually doing things, our timings, finances and actual willingness has turned out to be different.


For a moment, I'll admit I did consider postponing a year, until a few other friends had finished uni/earned enough money to come out with me, but I know myself, and I know that the minute I get a job or get stuck in a routine, I'll be finding excuses or other responsibilities will come along that will mean I never get to do it. 

There's also the point that, because going alone is so scary and different, that's completely out of my comfort zone, and for that reason I sort of have to do it! 

'Life begins at the end of your comfort zone' ~ Neale Donald Walsch


So it's ended up being just me. And at first that was seriously scary - it still kind of is - I'll be going to the other side of the world, a country I've never been to, one that I have no/little family there - bit of a scary prospect.

There's also the fact that I can sometimes really doubt my 'friend-making' ability, don't have the most amount of common sense and have just about enough money to see me through a couple of months.


However! As I'm doing my research (when really I should be revising, ssshh!) and I'm getting more and more ready for summer adventures (I think the recent spring/summer-ness is definitely boosting my mood), the fear I had - though still there - is turning more into excitement!


And as I'm planning/researching, I'm sort of getting excited to be on my own - as a constant people pleaser - I'm looking forward to having a bit of freedom to just do what I want, and to have that alone time.

Also, the number of people I've spoken to (hopefully aren't just trying to make me feel better) have ALL said that they almost couldn't not meet people - all/most other travellers, therefore a lot of fellow Brits thrown in there - so that's definitely dampened my worries a bit. It's also getting me all excited to meet some new, amazing people and learning so much more about myself and this amazing world!


I'll do another post after I've been and satisfied my travel-bug (if I ever come back) to let you all know how I got on.

I know it'll be scary at times but I've vowed to myself to - going against everything that comes most naturally - just have faith! I'm a smart(ish), kind and friendly person - and I'm going to have a freaking amazing time!!


Anyone ever been travelling? Did you go alone? Any places you'd recommend?





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Friday, 14 April 2017

Baking Easter Brownies

Happy Easter to all!

So I was procrasti-baking last week and thought I'd make them Easter themed, using an idea I got from a Facebook video and thought I'd share the idea with the internet if anyone fancies anything different to the standard Chocolate-Cornflake mini egg nests (although I'll admit this was my first thought when deciding to get baking)!



As I've been quite tight for time lately, I picked up a cheat version and got one of the brownie packets by BakedIn where you just add 3 eggs and 200g unsalted butter, cook for 40 minutes in the oven and hey presto, 12 deliciously tasty brownies!



The idea I got to make them Easter-themed, was to use white chocolate and orange food colouring to coat some strawberries and make them look like carrots! However, unfortunately, when mixing in the food colouring, the melted white chocolate seemed to congeal (apparently don't melt it in the microwave?) so plan B was to make some orange icing to coat the strawberries and I think I just about saved them (however my presentation isn't always immaculate so I'm sure you could do a much better job!)


Once cooled, I covered them in chocolate spread and sprinkled on crushed Cadbury flake to look a bit like soil and then added the orange strawberry 'carrots'. And for a couple I used mini eggs, because you can't very well bake Easter themed cakes without them!


And voila, double chocolate brownies perfect for Easter - if they last until then?!


Disclosure, this post isn't sponsored by BakedIn, it was just the one I picked up from Tesco!

 My brother and I are kicking off Easter Weekend by heading up to London tonight to watch Part Two of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and OH MY GOD It was so amazing last night I can't wait to see the rest!! How's everyone celebrating their Easter Weekend? 




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