Getting Monday Ready

Call me crazy, but I’ve always kinda liked Mondays. I see them like a fresh start, a mini New Years every week, and this liking of Mondays has only increased since starting my new job because I don’t also dread them a little bit anymore.

I also like to think that by starting off the week right, it will mean that the whole seven days will go off without a hitch, and with that in mind there are a few things that I like to get sorted every Sunday in the hopes of a smooth coming week.

Cleaning my makeup brushes

I find cleaning my brushes really therapeutic for some reason. I don’t quite do this every week as there are some weeks I just don’t wear my makeup as much as others, but its always a Sunday evening task regardless! All my brushes are Spectrum, and I use the Freedom Cosmetics brush bath to clean them, and then let them air dry on a shelf above my radiator overnight so that they’re nice and fluffy in the morning and ready for action!

A good skincare session

Over the winter months especially, I have been making much more of an effort to be more on top of my skincare regime as the weather can drive my skin crazy, so I do have a daily routine, but Sunday’s are for a bit of extra love. Sometimes that’s a face mask, sometimes a long hot bath, and sometimes its just a longer session with my Magnitone and a few extra or more special products thrown in.

The food shop and meal planning

Sundays are normally the day that Matthew and I do our Sainsbury’s shop and decide what dinners we’re going to have in the week. We keep our weekly shop below £50 as we each get vouchers through a salary scheme at work, and we like quick and easy meals that we can throw together after we both finish work, so typically we have things like chilli, soup, curry etc, but also like to mix things up with whatever else takes our fancy. There’s also a little bit of meal prepping done on a Sunday night, but now I’m back working 9-5 I don’t have to stress about it too much.

Packing up orders

Any Etsy or Happiest Fitness Co orders that I’ve sorted out over the weekend end up in a little pile of boxes and packages by the door by Sunday night ready for me to take to the post office during my lunch break on Monday – no rest for the small business-er!

Tweet scheduling

Every Sunday night I try to get my whole week’s worth of scheduled tweets sorted so that I don’t have to think about them for the rest of the week. Its a slightly boring task but I know that if I get it out of the way, at least its done!

Ironing and outfit planning

I don’t completely plan out my outfits for work, but I try to think ahead so that I have the key items ready, washed and ironed so that I don’t have to worry about getting the ironing board out in the week.

Do you do anything specific to get ready for your week?

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About My Younger Self

This was me, aged 15. This photo was taken about two or three days after I had been dumped by my first long-term boyfriend – we’d been together around 8 or 9 months – by text, at around 2 o’clock in the morning. Yeah.. My two best girlfriends had slept round mine, and we had gone to a local summer festival where we tried to get as many free things as we could, ate food that came from trucks or stalls and just had some fun.

In those days I always carried a camera. More often than not it was my dad’s because he had much better ones than me, and phone cameras still took grainy, low quality photos. My phone at the time was a slid-up LG thing with buttons. Yep. I would take so many photos, most totally silly but every one a memory that I would painstakingly upload to Facebook in groups of 5, caption individually and tag, so that everyone could see. I still have every single one saved on my computer.

My two best friends were everything. Our lives revolved around sleepovers at each others houses and trips to Primark. We sat together in every class but still text each other under our desks, and we were there for each other through every breakup, fall out or family problem. We all had our own style and our own likes and dislikes, but we all respected each other. I never thought there would be a time that we wouldn’t be friends anymore. Well, we drifted apart in the end.

In those days I knew very little when it came to makeup, and I certainly didn’t wear it every day. When I did it was probably just blue eyeliner and mascara – I think by 15 I had given up on my Dream Matte Mousse in 3 shades more orange than my face actually was. My eyebrows were never filled in, nor did I ever pluck them (but that was partly because I’m quite lucky with my natural shape), but my nails were always painted. My nail varnish collection was my pride and joy and every week at school was a challenge to see how long I could make it before a teacher eventually noticed my navy blue tipped fingers and made me go to the office to take it off. Most gave up bothering.

Even back then my style was different. I wore skirts and shorts with knee high socks and high-tops – Converses were basically the only shoes I owned, and still are. I wore dungarees and band t-shirts, and actually knew who the bands were. I knew what I was wearing wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea but I almost thrived from it. I guess the fact that I didn’t try and blend in back then is what makes my style what it is today. To be honest, when I look back I still love every outfit.

Younger me went through a lot. I look back at some of it and wish some things had been different. I wish I could have told myself so many things about how life would be in 5-10 years time but I also applaud that version of myself for getting through it all. I almost feel like I don’t know that person anymore, but she was great, despite not believing it herself.

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Let’s Talk About Luck

Luck (noun)

“success or failure apparently brought about by chance rather than through one’s own actions”

I feel like this says it all, but because you don’t know the point I’m trying to get across, here’s some backstory..

It doesn’t matter who you are or what you achieve, there will always be someone who says ‘oh wow, you’re so lucky!’. Whether you’ve just tweeted about a promotion at work, or you’re Instagramming beach pics from a fabulous holiday, so many people jump to luck. Now don’t get me wrong, 9 times out of 10 this is probably meant as a compliment, but that’s just the thing. Unintentional as it may be, claiming luck invalidates the accomplishment.

Take bloggers for example. I follow so many incredible bloggers on Twitter, all of which produce great content, take photos that could easily appear in magazines and pour so much effort into their posts that they deserve every opportunity they get, but whenever they tweet in gratitude about one of their favourite brands reaching out to work with them, so many of the responses that come flooding in are ‘oh my gosh, this is amazing! You’re so lucky!’. Yes, it is amazing, but look at the definition of luck (see, I put it there for a reason), these things came about through hard work and determination, so that’s far from luck.

Personally, I hate being told that I’m lucky whenever I go on holiday. Sure, I guess I’m fortunate to have a job that pays well, but I earnt that job and I work hard in that job, plus I put in so much overtime for the very purpose of being able to pay for said holidays. And I suppose it helps that my outgoings aren’t too high, but again, that’s because I’m very careful with money, budget like a pro and know how to find a bargain. Yep, these are all sounding like my own actions..

I’m not saying that I’m not grateful for every opportunity that comes my way, because I am. I am so grateful and so thankful for everything I have, and there are so many things that I do think I’m lucky to have, such as my amazing family, incredible boyfriend and wonderful friends, because apart from somehow convincing them to be in my life, my actions had nothing to do with them being who they are, I just wish that we didn’t devalue accomplishments by suggesting luck has anything to do with it.

What do you think?

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Things My Travel Disasters Have Taught Me

I always say I’ve had the travel bug from a young age. I was very lucky as a child that my parents took my sister and me to so many different places and I have experienced so much of the world already, and that need to see it all has never gone away.

Now in all my years of travelling, you wouldn’t expect that everything’s always gone 100% smoothly, and you’d be right, it hasn’t. There have been plenty of slight holiday malfunctions and mishaps over the years, but as a child a lot of these didn’t seem like problems – probably because my parents always did a pretty good job of covering them up – but in more recent years, my travel nightmares have led to a lot of discovery.

Even if you’re travelling hand luggage only, make sure its a suitable bag

This is a fun story from a year ago now. I went on solo trip to Disneyland Paris and after a wonderful weekend away I got to the airport to discover my flight home had been cancelled. The airline were nice enough to get my on another flight, but this was at a different airport which I had to get a coach to, and then after walking the entire length of the airport to the gate for the second flight, that one was also cancelled. Long story short, I spent the majority of my day walking back and forth through a huge airport, and the bag I had chosen for my weekend’s worth of stuff? A shopping bag, kinda like a bag-for-life/Ikea blue bag style thing with a little grab handle, so I couldn’t put it on my back or over my shoulder, and my hand hurt so much by the time I got home – 9 hours later than I should have.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help from airport staff

On a flight to Japan, my sister and I had a VERY tight transfer time in Dubai, and by very tight I mean too tight. Thanks to a delay in our first flight, we wouldn’t have had enough time to make it to our next gate, so we did the somewhat sensible, someone stressed-fuelled thing to do and ran through the airport shouting for someone to help us. Well, we ended up on one of those little golf-cart things that the airport staff use and got shuttled right to where we needed to be, just in the nick of time!

Just because trains are reliable, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check the timetable

This is another Japan story. Japanese trains are the most reliable in the world; they so rarely run late that you actually need a note from the train company to take to work with you to prove it was actually late. Well we never experienced a single late train, but we did assume that all trains ran super regularly, when in fact the train to the airport only ran once an hour on the day we needed to take it, and we got there 5 minutes after a train had just left. Another mad run through the airport..

Set yourself a reminder alarm on any train journey

So I don’t know about anyone else, but when I’m super stressed out my body likes to shut down and make me sleep whenever the opportunity arises. Well this occurred once after I stressed about my Eurostar home from Paris being late once, and as soon as I got on the train, I fell asleep. Luckily, I kept my phone in my hand the whole time, and a friend of mine who was sat in a different part of the train had text me to ask if I was ready to run of the train at our connecting station, which woke me up, but had I not I would have missed it altogether and rode that train all the way to Brussels. Oops.

Always check the pockets of bags you haven’t used in a while

This is one of my favourite stories going back to when I was in secondary school. I was in cadets, and had used the same rucksack to take away on a cadet camp early in the summer that I used as hand luggage for a family holiday. It goes through the scanner and gets pulled for inspection, where the security guard asks if I would have anything sharp or metal to which I proclaimed that I just remembered that there were some safety pins I’d forgotten about that I would have had in there from camp. Well it turns out I also had forgotten about the pen knife that I took to camp, which the guard then pulled from my bag. Yep..

Well I certainly hope you’ve been entertained by my little cautionary tales, if you haven’t learned anything from them yourself! Have you ever had any major travel faux pas?

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Creative-18

Have I mentioned that this year is going to be my year? Well, I’m certainly gonna try and make it that way.

One thing that will always make me happy is creating things. I’ve always loved turning my imagination into reality, and nothing makes me more proud of my creations than when I see other people loving them, but sometimes just taking time out from a busy day to sit and do something creative can make a world of difference. So I’m gonna try something a bit different this year..

I’m not calling it a challenge, because then I’ll feel under pressure, and end up feeling bad if I can’t do it, but it may just be that. I guess I could call it a goal, or an aspiration maybe. Hmm..

The aim is this: in 2018, I want to take time to do something creative every single day. 365 little moments of making. These can be however big or small, whether its spending a whole day baking a masterpiece to rival the GBBO winner, an evening spent cranking out Etsy orders or just taking 5 minutes out of my lunch break at work to do a quick little sketch or some colouring.

Its a way for me to keep my creative juices flowing, and obviously I also hope that it will benefit my small businesses, but primarily I’m doing this for me, so that I can spend more time doing the things that I love, from baking or sewing to drawing or photography, and of course I hope to share a lot of what I do on here too, so stay tuned to see what I produce!

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My 2018 New Years Resolutions and Goals

And just like that, another year is upon us, and I think there’s something extra satisfying about January 1st being a Monday, anyone else? New week, new year, new set of resolutions and new goals to try and smash.

Resolutions

When it comes to resolutions, I’ve learnt that the key to success is being realistic, and being positive. This year, I’m focusing more on the things that make me happy, and continuing to become the person I really want to be. So here goes:

  • Put myself first more – I’ve always been the sort of person to put others needs first, and of course there’s nothing wrong with that, but it can mean that I end up run a little bit ragged. Well, I’m learning, and this year will be more about making sure that I don’t put too much pressure on myself.
  • Start asking for what I want – I’m often too shy or nervous to put myself out there and tell other people what I want – I won’t even ask my boyfriend to take my blog photos sometimes cos I feel like its too much to ask. Long story short, it means that sometimes I miss out on things that I want to do for no reason other than my own lack of confidence, and I’m tired of that.
  • Learn to sew more stuff – when it comes to my sewing creations, I’ve got a little comfortable with making the same kinda thing. This year, I want to branch out from skirts and teach myself some more advanced patterns like tops, dresses and shorts so I can start creating more wonderful things!
  • Wake up earlier – 2017 was the year I learnt how to have a lie-in, following years of being an early riser. Well, I could really do with that extra time in the morning again, so I’m gonna get myself back into a routine of getting up and getting stuff done.
  • Learn to love photography again – as soon as autumn/winter kicks in and the days get shorter and darker, taking photos starts to seem like such a chore, especially when it comes to blog photos and Instagram. No more! I’m saving for a new lens for my camera, and I’m gonna be bringing bright and beautiful back to your screens very soon!
  • Keep being braver with makeup – I’ve been having the most fun recently playing around eyeshadow, as well as generally improving my makeup skills, and I’ve been loving it. Here’s to a more colourful 2018!
  • Hang out with more amazing people – they say you should always surround yourself with positive people and people who support you, so I’m gonna do just that.

Blogging Goals

2017 was another incredible year for this little blog of mine. Despite a few ups and downs from my end, my blog has held fast as it hit its 4th birthday. I hit all but one of my targets for last year (stupid Instagram), so I’m hoping this year will be just as successful!

  • Targets
    • 1500 Bloglovin followers
    • 3500 Twitter followers
    • 2500 Instagram followers
    • 100,000 page views
  • To achieve
    • Improve flat-lays and product photos
    • Include more photos of myself
    • Help other bloggers by retweeting posts and commenting more
    • Try my hand at proper makeup posts
    • Remember to take more little breaks
    • Just generally chat with more lovely bloggers!

Who else is feeling like 2018 is gonna be a great year?

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Working 9-5

It doesn’t feel like all that long ago I wrote about how I ditched regular working hours in favour of 12 hour shifts, but time’s a-changing again folks! No, I didn’t get fed up of the hours – in fact, I really did love doing the whole 3 days a week thing – but your girl’s gone and got herself a new job!

I’m still working for the same company, in the same building, but I have finally clawed my way out of customer service and I’m pleased to announce that I will now be an accounts administrator in the finance department, and that means Monday-Friday, 9-5, and for the first time ever in my working life.. NO MORE WEEKENDS! The job comes with better pay, better hours and more opportunities, and I already love the work.

And while I did love my old shift pattern, I finally have total stability; no more working Monday-Wednesday one week, then Monday, Thursday and Friday the next, and then throw in a few random weekend days each month. I’ve also been given the gift of some flexibility – if I need to come in a little later one day, I can do that and stay a little later. I’m not having to be in for an exact time and take my breaks at the set time I was given, and better still, I don’t have to speak to customers anymore, yippee! (I have worked in customer service for over 5 years and while I somewhat enjoyed the work and like the majority of customers, some can be downright rude)

I normally hate change, but this change is going to be so good for me. I’m already so much happier to go to work every day, and excited to get back to a proper routine of eating meals at normal times, and not being totally exhausted when I get home. I’m excited to have time to go to the gym in the morning and still have time to do my makeup rather than just running out of the house with my eyebrows just barely filled in. I’ll have time to catch up with people on social media and promote my small businesses and just feel a little bit more like my life is together.

This is going to be good for me.

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