To My Former Best Friends

They say the average friendship has a lifespan of about 7 years, and while this seems like quite an upsetting figure, I’ve come to accept it.

What this fact doesn’t really seem to consider, however, is that just because a friendship ends, it doesn’t mean there’s nothing left behind. Some friendships end for the wrong reasons, leaving sadness or bitterness in their wake, while others just fade away, leaving happy memories and nostalgia, and I really think that no matter what causes a friendship to become a thing of the past, that person will have always played a really important part of your life, and there will never be any truly hard feelings left behind, especially when it comes to the best friends.

To my childhood best friend..

I don’t even remember how we became friends. We met at school and things must have just clicked. We did so many things together, both in and out of school, and we were inseparable. I felt us start to drift when you moved schools, and I didn’t get to see you every day. You made other friends, and even though we still saw each other most weeks, I just knew that these friends were a bigger part in your life than I was. It was ok. You were destined for popularity, and I just wasn’t, and when we made it back to sharing a classroom again in secondary school, I just decided to stop clinging on. We were still classmates until we were 16, but all the years of friendship seemed to be forgotten, or at least we made it seem that way.

I still think of all those years with happy memories. We made a girl band, we knew each others families, and for so many years we came as a pair. Nothing changes that, and I really just hope that you’re happy.

To my teenage best friend..

You were the first person that I thought would be in the running for my maid of honour whenever I got married. We met through mutual friends, and although we were part of a larger group, we gravitated towards each other and there was just no stopping us. We went through boy troubles together, so many school exams, first nights out and so much more. But we were two very different people, we always were. I always thought that was why we worked, but over time our differences took over. I think we both tried to stay friends after we finished sixth form, but when we only saw each other a handful of times in that first year, I think we both stopped trying.

I saw you the other day. In fact, I think we’re working in the same building, and I think you saw me too. I don’t know if you didn’t recognise me or just didn’t want to say anything, but either is ok. I have so much to thank you for, you were my rock for so many years and I have accepted that our friendship faded out. I think it was best for both of us, but I still think of you often, and honestly with you all the happiness in the world.

To my first ‘adult’ best friend..

I thought you were a little crazy when I first met you, but I quickly got past that, or at least I liked the crazy. We made quite the pair. Despite being adults, the friendship was very similar to my younger friendships – we dealt with the boy problems, work problems and everything else along the way. You cut my hair in return for baked goods, and taught me how important it is to fill in my eyebrows. I never minded that you started going out with my ex. It had been so long since we’d been a couple and you were much better suited for him anyway. But I warned you what he could be like, and every time you came crying to me about it, I couldn’t help but think I told you so, and then you’d just run back to him anyway.

I let you drift out of my life because it was easier for me. You stopped showing any real interest in my life, and only wanted to come to me with your problems, or to make a competition out of things. I don’t like the term toxic but I felt like you weren’t in it for me anymore and it was draining the fun out of it. You don’t need me anyway, you’re headstrong and independent and it makes you stronger than I think you realise sometimes.

We had so much fun, and I’m sad it had to come to an end but it did. You seem happier now anyway, and I hope that continues for you.

My best friends now are very different to the ones that have left my life. I feel like I’ve got it right now, and have friends in my life who are gonna make it past the 7 year mark. I am happy, and I hope that my old friends have found friends who make them feel the same way that I do now.

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Things I’ll Miss About Bournemouth

I’m currently sat in our new house, on our new sofa that was delivered on Wednesday. I am content, but a little sad to know that we’ll be driving back tonight and that its still another 4 weeks until I can officially this place home.

Whenever I’m at home in Bournemouth, I miss our house so much, but I know that in a month’s time when I’m done with work and Matthew and I permanently move up north, besides the obvious things that I’ll miss like my family, I will miss the beautiful south coast that I grew up on.

The beach

Growing up in a town with one of the UK’s most beautiful beaches, I think I’ve taken living by the sea a little bit for granted. People always ask me if I spend all my time at the beach in the summer, and quite honestly I really don’t, and tend to actively avoid it in the summer because its so busy, but it is one of my favourite places to run in the evenings and I do think I’ll feel that little twinge from not being a 20 minute walk away from the water.

My gym

It seems like a really silly thing to miss, but I love my gym in Bournemouth. Its a 25 minute walk away, which I love doing, and I love knowing my way around the gym and seeing familiar faces every morning, and although I know that a gym is a gym, I’ll be really sad leaving.

Local shops

As a good little millennial, I do most of my shopping online to avoid too much human interaction, but there are some stores in Bournemouth that I won’t be able to visit anymore, like my two favourite fabric stores.

Bournemouth Air Festival

Every summer the world of aviation lands on on Bournemouth beach, and even though in the last couple of years I haven’t always made it down to the beach itself, the whole town gets to experience the festival as the planes fly over, so I’ll miss randomly spotting the Red Arrows, or feeling the ground shake from the engines of the Eurofighter Typhoon when it goes over.

Southern weather

Sure, the UK doesn’t always have the best weather, but its normally always just that little bit warmer down south at least, and now I’m heading further up the country I think I’ll miss those few degrees, especially in the winter!

I know that I’m going to have such an adventure living somewhere totally new, but Bournemouth will always be a very special place to me.

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The Danger of Influencers

This is a post that I’ve been thinking about writing for a long time now, but so many things have happened recently that I just can’t keep my mouth shut.

This week, Kim Kardashian has set the internet on fire with her Instagram post promoting ‘appetite suppressant’ lollipops. Now you don’t have to be a genius to read those three words and think wow what a joke, right?

Well, the problem is not everyone will think that. Celebrities and influencers all over the world have been promoting nonsense like skinny teas, waist trainers and now, it would seem, these ridiculous sweets for years now, and as much as I had to say this, they wouldn’t still be doing this if these companies weren’t doing pretty well for themselves out of it.

Unfortunately, these influencers have absolutely no regard for the danger caused by what they post. Their loyal fans, especially when the person has a particularly young fan base, will support anything they do, and often believe a lot of what they say, or at least want to give it a try themselves, and all that leaves is a whole bunch of people sat on the toilet regretting how much ‘skinny’ tea they bought once they realise that everything they consume is just making a speedy route through them.

But it’s also about more than just the products they promote. Last week a photo emerged on the internet of a ‘behind the scenes’ view of Charlotte Crosby’s Instagram post, in which she’s wearing a tight yellow leather skirt, and in the post she says this is from her new collection at InTheStyle, but the reality of said photo is that the skirt isn’t even zipped up at the back because it won’t.

So tell me how this is from her new collection if it doesn’t even fit her? Now I don’t have a problem with the fact that she can’t fit into whatever size she’s wearing – we’ve all been there – but what I do have an issue with is that you just know that website is gonna say something like ‘Charlotte wears a size X’ and women are gonna not only be believing that, but ordering based on that assumption, and as someone who has spent a lot of time lately crying over clothes that don’t fit, I hate to think about the number of people this could affect.

I get the whole making a living out of being an influencer thing, but I just wish that some people would have more sense to reject offers of promoting products that can be harmful to their followers. It’s not like Kim K has the body she has just purely thanks to lollipops and an overpriced neoprene corset..

Why Disneyland Is So Special To Me

On this exact date last year I arrived home from the most amazing trip to Disneyland, and I’m feeling a little bit sad about that. If I could go anywhere right this second it would be there.

One of the questions I get asked the most when I tell people that I’ve visited every Disney park in the world is ‘what’s your favourite?’, and I always decline an answer as its impossible to single out just one park as being better than all the rest, but Disneyland is the park that has a special place in my heart; the sort of place that has me crying when I enter and when I have to leave.

I was fortunate enough as a child to spend a lot of time in Walt Disney World and Disneyland Paris, even making more than one visit some years, right up until I was about 5 or 6 years old, and then the Disney trips stopped. My sister and I were old enough to appreciate what the rest of the world had to offer, and so that’s exactly what my family did, and I wouldn’t change that for a second, but it meant that I actually had very few Disney memories other than what I’d seen in pictures or could vaguely remember.

In 2008, we went to California for the first time, and part of this visit was to go to Disneyland. I was just coming up 14, and I remember both my sister and I being ridiculously excited when my parents told us. This was where my first ‘adult’ Disney memories were made. We went back again in 2010, and again I remember just feeling so excited and happy, and at home when I stepped through those gates. There was magic.

As I’ve grown older, and my love of Disney has quite clearly grown also, I’ve come to realise other reasons why Disneyland is so special to me. This was Walt’s park, although he would say that Disneyland is our land *stifles a sob*, and you can feel that nostalgia through the whole park. He walked down Main Street USA, he stood in front of that beautiful little pink castle, and you just know that this was exactly what he created, his vision.

There’s a different feel to Disneyland than there is to WDW. It feels calmer, more effortless. From the Disneyland park to California Adventure, there’s not a single fault in my eyes, and even though it was 10 years ago now that I saw it all for the first time, I feel like I’m seeing it with fresh eyes every time.

Disneyland, you are perfect.

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A Pledge to Myself, Right Now

The last few months for me have been a bit of a rollercoaster. Hell, the whole of 2018 has been a total blur. To say I’ve been overwhelmed would probably be an understatement, and the probably with that is the good old saying: something’s gotta give.

So I’ve been letting things slip. I’m not proud of it, but I know that its true, and the problem hasn’t so much been that I’ve been dropping a few little things from my schedule, its that I’ve been dropping some things that are actually pretty damn important, not necessarily for other people, but for myself.

My skincare routine has diminished to me just barely washing my face in the shower, and there are days where I don’t even fill in my eyebrows. My face has hardly seen any makeup in the last few months, with the exception of when I was on holiday, and when I went to a wedding a few weeks ago, and while I have no problem with not wearing makeup, I really enjoy doing my makeup, and not doing things that I enjoy has really been affecting me.

More recently, I’ve realised that I’m not even wearing the clothes that I love to wear. I’ve gone from wearing outfits that make me feel cute to wearing whatever I can throw together that morning and avoiding looking in mirrors. Suddenly I’m finding things like posting on Instagram feel like the biggest chore on some days, and my blog has been suffering massively because feeling under pressure really hinders my ability to write. I’ve also been neglecting my body; not eating well, avoiding exercise some days and feeling totally sluggish as a result. I’m not ok with this.

So here it is, a promise to myself:

I must remember to take time out for my own happiness. If something’s gotta give, then that’s ok, but don’t let the things I love disappear.

I will look after my body, from getting back on track with eating a balanced diet and remembering to stay active, even if that just means taking a walk at lunchtime. I will drink more water. I will take those extra few minutes each day to look after my skin.

I will not let myself get caught up in negativity, and spend more time reflecting on positive, happy moments in my life, and looking forward to the amazing upcoming events that the rest of this year has to come.

I will try to always be better than the person I was yesterday, because lots of small steps are just as effective as one big one.

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Can We Stop Pretending That We Don’t Care About Exposure?

As a blogger, there’s nothing worse than opening a PR email and thinking it all sounds pretty fab, only to find the classic excuse of having no budget but offering exposure on social media. We read it, we sigh, we tweet something about exposure not paying the bills and we either kindly (or not so kindly) decline the offer, or just ignore the email altogether.

Now I fully agree with this stance on exposure being considered a form of payment, especially when I think about the amount of time that goes into writing, editing and taking photos for a blog post, but I’ve been thinking a little bit about exposure, and how despite bloggers as a whole complaining about it when brands offer it, we also crave the exposure that brands can give us.

I mean, if you’ve put together a killer outfit, nailed your hairstyle and spent half a day trying to get that perfect Instagram shot, are you trying to tell me that you’re not gonna be tagging every single thing you’re wearing down to your setting spray? Sure, we do this a little to avoid the inevitable ‘ooh where’s this from?’ (even though at least half of the comments will still be asking that exact question), but I know that I for one would be lying if I wasn’t hoping that said photo will be spotted by at least one of the tagged brands. I also have no shame in saying that there’s a little part of me praying that I might get a regram, not only for the great feeling of knowing that they loved my post so much, but also because hey I might gain a bunch of followers from it.

So why do we pretend that we don’t care about social media sharing? We all need exposure – I mean, it literally means to be put in the light – but it seems to have become a dirty word in the blogging dictionary. Yes it’s an unacceptable form of payment for hours of work, but it does still offer a lot to a bunch of people who make their side hustle (or even full time hustle) from putting ourselves online to be seen..

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How A Beach Holiday Actually Boosted My Body Confidence

I’ve not kept it entirely secret that I’ve been struggling a lot this year with negative thoughts about my body, and while they lapsed in February/March time, when I broke my ankle at the start of April and was unable to walk without pain, let alone go to the gym or continue my marathon training, I started to gain weight and the negative feelings came back worse than ever, as the time when I really wanted to be ramping up my training before my trip to Aulani, was now time I had to spent with my foot elevated and iced.

The hardest part in all of this was that I’ve always been a firm believer in body confidence, and if anyone I knew was feeling the same way I felt, I’d be heartbroken, so part of the reason I’ve not talked all that much about it is because I didn’t want to seem like a fraud, or make it seem like I think gaining weight is an awful thing, because it isn’t. I just couldn’t listen to the reasonable voice in my head.

So there I was, with my dream beach holiday getting ever closer, swimsuits and outfits planned, becoming equally more excited and more upset every time I caught a glimpse of my stretch marks in the mirror, and I was starting to worry that this perfect holiday was going to turn into one big panic attack.

Well, I was wrong. The first day of our stay, I put on the bikini that I was most worried about wearing, and we headed to the beach. I was nervous to take off my cover-up, but it was so hot that we had to get into the sea asap, so I whipped it off and ran across the hot sand into the water. No one stared, no one whispered, hell, little old me was probably the last thing that all these people enjoying their holidays probably cared about.

The next day, I put on my favourite bikinis. I hadn’t wore it in about 8 months and I was nervous that I’d look like I’d been stuffed into sausage casing. Sure, it didn’t fit as well as it has done in the past, but I’ve also looked worse in it, and I was actually pretty happy with how I felt in it, and I held my head a little higher than the day before as I walked around the pool area.

Besides my own body bringing me a little more confidence, I also started feeling super empowered seeing other people out in their bathing suits. People of all shapes, sizes and colours out loving life on their holidays, who are too busy having the best time to stop and worry about whether they’ve got any wobbly bits. I took this energy and rolled with it.

And the confidence grew exponentially. Each day I felt the worry subside and the sass build, and by the end of the third full day of our stay, I posted a photo of myself in my swimsuit on Instagram, which is something that I’ve only ever done once before in my life. The response? Incredible. The nice comments from people made me feel amazing, but what made me feel even better was the people who were relating with the message, because unfortunately the way I feel is a way that a lot of women feel. My caption said that all women’s bodies are amazing, and the number of people who thanked me for telling them that made it all worth while, and to be honest, I just felt like a million bucks in that photo.

So all that worry about how I would look in a swimsuit? I guess you could say I’m over it.

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