My Morning Routine

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A few months ago I was listening to Sophia Bush on the That’s So Retrograde podcast and I had a bit of an epiphany moment. Sophia is my #1 girl crush so I obsess over most of the things that she says, but what hit me that day was her super simple advice. Do one thing in the morning that is good for you.

For her that started with drinking a glass of water. From there, she explained, it’s easier to add other good actions, like taking vitamins, incorporating meditation or fitting in some exercise.

I took her advice, and started adding positive actions into my (then non-existent) morning routine. As those actions became habits, I started to add more, until I reached the stage I’m at today.

I love my morning routine. It really sets me up for the day and knowing that I’m doing all of these things that are good for me gives me such a buzz. So, here’s what it looks like…

07:00 The alarm goes off. I try super hard not to fall back asleep, but do allow myself a few minutes to laze and relax before I face the day.

07:15 Time for exercise. I’ve got a good thing going with yoga and Davina’s 7 minute workouts, so I take my pick, usually based on whether I need to feel like I’m busting my ass, or if I need to re-centre and calm myself.

07:45 A quick shower freshens me up, blows the cobwebs away and really prepares me for the day ahead.

08:00 I tend to stick with one breakfast option if it works for me, and right now that’s a bowl of porridge (made with almond milk and a scoop of protein powder) with an apple chopped in.

08:10 I give my breakfast a little time to cool while I practise my German. I’ve been using the DuoLingo app and I’d recommend it to anyone. I studied German in school, so a lot of it is a refresher for me but it’s amazing to learn a different language.

08:15 I make sure I put my phone down so I can eat my breakfast peacefully, and consider how I’m feeling each day. Eliminating those distractions allows me the space to acknowledge anything that might be troubling me, and opens up the opportunity for thoughtfulness.

08:25 I cosy up with a cup of green tea and check my Instagram. A lot of the people I communicate with are in the US, so I like to address any overnight messages first thing in the morning to make sure I’m on top of everything.

08:30 I’m super lucky that I get to work from home, so I have the opportunity to really make the most of my time before work starts at 09:00. I spend this time knitting, reading, taking photographs or prepping the day’s meals and I can’t explain how much I value it!

It’s been a process to get my morning routine just right, and I do love a Sunday when I scrap the alarm and give myself a relaxing lie in,  but these positive, repetitive habits have had such an impact on my wellbeing that I can’t imagine giving them up!

Do you have a morning routine? What habits have you built to keep you feeling good? I’d love to know!

On Turning 27

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I’ve been past a few milestone birthdays now, and they’ve all come and gone without much event. 18, 21, 25, they were all just other numbers and I didn’t mind being them. For some reason though, 27 feels different.

Maybe it’s because 27 is definitely not mid-twenties anymore, which means it’s late twenties, which is almost thirty. And you’re definitely meant to have your shit together by 30, right?

Maybe it’s because all of those milestones that signpost adulthood, like having a career and getting married and having babies, are just not in my path. Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally OK with that, but if I can’t measure myself against these social norms, how do I know how grown up I am?

I definitely don’t feel like a grown up, but when I take a step back and think about it, I’m not really sure. I live with my boyfriend and we always pay our rent on time. I eat good, healthy food that I cook from scratch. I’ve got a credit card, but no debt and I hardly ever miss people’s birthdays. So I’m responsible, but does that make me an adult by default?

I’m not sure that I’ll ever make sense of these feelings. I’m not sure that I’ll ever feel like a proper grown up (maybe when I get a cat?). But I guess none of that really matters, does it?

27 year old me may pass as an adult, or I might not, but as long as I’m happy and healthy and surrounded by the people I love, I don’t really mind either way.

2016 In Projects

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It’s no secret that I love to get my make on, and while projects may have been a little fewer and farther between in 2016, I still love to look back and see how my creativity has presented itself. Here are a few of my favourite projects from the past year…

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Family Photograph Wall Hanging

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Coconut Nutella Bites (recipe here)

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Cropped Blouse, and the first time I ever did cuffs!

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The first three knitting patterns I designed myself

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This simple reminder that you are loved

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A cropped roll neck vest I’d been visualising for months

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The marble sticky plastic desk transformation

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A cropped roll neck jumper (there’s a theme here!)

I definitely spent the majority of the latter part of the year knitting, and I’m not sad about that at all. My love for knitting has really manifested itself this year, and I’ve been able to make some awesome, classic knits – I think I might have found my niche!

I hope 2017 will bring plenty more projects for me to get stuck into and keep my creativity inspired!

 

2016: The Highlights

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When you think about 2016 as a whole, it’s been a pretty shit year. You can’t scroll through Facebook without some awful meme reminding you of Trump, Brexit or all of the people who passed away. But when I narrow my circle and, honestly, get a little selfish, I realise that things really haven’t been that bad. In fact, they’ve been quite good.

2016 for me was…

Gathering to celebrate milestone birthdays and experience all of the family traditions that come with it.

Learning how to really spend my time well, and for me that is quietly. Knitting, reading, playing silly games that make us laugh, and all with our feet up and a cuppa. I’m a homebody, and I’m proud of it.

Taking an actual holiday and making the most of time in another place. Appreciating the sea breeze, the beautiful landscape and time with the best people I know.

Celebrating 5 years with my favourite person and feeling grateful for him every day.

Embracing new experiences and stepping out of my comfort zone, but also knowing where to draw the line.

Setting up my own handmade business and making my first sales.

Getting the balance right in the kitchen, and keeping up with good, healthy meals and the (not so) occasional treat.

Scrapping the things that get me down and learning to let go of unfinished business.

Venturing to Margate for a special day with my beautiful Mumma, full of warmth, brightness and so much love.

Eating a lot of ice cream.

Dining on the 34th floor of the BT Tower with the most inspirational bunch of people I could have imagined.

Filling the days with long walks, good food and even better company during a celebratory break in Brighton.

Developing good habits and feeling so much better for it.

Embracing change and making the most of celebrations with all of my families.

Learning not to sweat the small stuff, and ditching a tonne of anxiety in the process.

I often struggle a bit with remembering things, so it’s making my heart feel full to look back on all of the wonderful things I’ve experienced in this past year and I’m feeling super grateful for it. I work well with triggers, things to remind me of a moment, which reminds me of a day or a special occasion or a feeling. These are some pretty awesome triggers right here, and I can’t wait to create some more in 2017.

How was your 2016? I’d love to know some of your highlights if you’d like to share them with me!

This Time Next Year

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I think it might be a little early to start reviewing the past year and thinking about 2017, but I’m coming to the end of my week off and it’s given me time to think about this kind of stuff. Until now I’ve been powering from one day to the next and not even really realising that the time is passing. Now, I can’t quite believe that December’s here and before we know it another year will be checked off and we’re onto the next.

2016 has been kind to me. Nothing terrible has happened to me, and that can only be a good thing, right?

The problem I have, though, is that I can’t quite pinpoint what has actually happened.

Aside from a summer holiday to Cornwall, a brief stay in Brighton and a family get-together right at the start of the year, I’m struggling to remember what I’ve done. There have been lots of trips to Tesco, lots of Domino’s Pizza and lots of days at my desk. But what else?

So it’s with this in mind that I’m looking now to 2017. I don’t know where I’ll be this time next year, but I do know how I want to get there.

I want to get there by making memories. By really valuing the time I get with the people I love, and the people I meet.

I want to get there by going on adventures. I want to see more of my little corner of the world, spend days outside, find new places and be spontaneous.

I want to get there by learning new things. Pick up new skills, do a course, read more.

I want to get there by spending my time well. Remember how valuable those minutes are and do your very best with them.

I want to get there by asking myself what’s good for me, and being honest about the answer.

I want to get there by taking risks. Not always playing the safe card and really being committed.

I want to get there by making change. Taking action when there’s something I’m not happy with, and enjoying the results instead of resenting the issue.

So, while I don’t know where ‘there’ is, I’m sure going to enjoy the journey.

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5 Things I’m Grateful For Right Now

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So life has been pretty crazy lately. It’s been that way where every day is something, but when you look back on the past month you can’t really pinpoint what’s happened. Things are blurry, busy and lazy all at once. Progress seems impossible, and the future hazy. But I need to learn that that’s OK, and that the present is two things: always temporary and completely constant. The right now won’t last, things will change and fluctuate and you’ll go along for the ride, but also always be present. Value this moment. It won’t come again, so do the best you can with it. These moments make the future, so make them count.

I’ve got work to do to be living the life that I want to lead, and I’m taking my inspiration from Sophia Bush because she’s my favourite. In this podcast with That’s So Retrograde she tells ALL the truths, but one thing that resonated with me the most was her advice on habits. Build small habits, and those habits encourage other habits, and they become behaviours, and in doing that you’re being better to yourself. So, that’s my plan.

In the meantime I need regroup, stop thinking about what isn’t right (’cause I’m taking the steps to upgrade it) and shift my focus back to the good things in life. Because there’s always good things in life.

Right now I’m grateful for…

All of the awesome, badass and inspirational women at my WI who aren’t afraid to dish out the advice and give a sister a leg-up.

An actual, whole, entire day off that saw me meandering around the streets of Margate, gazing out across the sea and spinning on the carousel, all with my beautiful Mumma.

Excuses to get in the kitchen and bake up a storm.

Having the kind of relationship where we want to do the best by each other, and knowing that we’re in this crazy life together.

Hitting on inspiration and allowing my logical brain to work with my creative brain to do something great.

How’s life been for you lately? Are you also feeling the need to take stock? I’d love to know what you’re grateful for right now!

Why I Cried When I Heard About Prince

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Prince at the Hop Farm Festival 2011. Photo credit: Stewart Rogers. All Rights Reserved.

I didn’t know Prince. I don’t know what he was like as a person and, aside from the hits, I don’t even know his music all that well. But yesterday, when I read that he’d passed away, I cried.

There’s a very special place in my heart for Prince. A place that’s feeling a bit broken right now. He was always there, a constant in my life from as young as I can remember. His songs were always on in the car, and I can remember my mum and dad rushing to change the track when it got too dirty for my little ears.

But Prince is more than that. He’s the reason I’m here, in this little house in Tunbridge Wells, looking forward to my weekly breakfast with my Dad tomorrow morning.

You see, I wouldn’t have the life that I have if it wasn’t for Prince. I mean, I’d still exist (though I’m sure there’s some other people that might not) but I wouldn’t be where I am, with the experiences that I’ve had.

I probably need to do a little background here. So my Dad, the most amazing, wonderful role model I could wish for is, technically, my step-Dad (but he’s really my Dad). He came into my life when I was four years old, and, alongside my mum, he’s given me the best I could hope for.

And it was Prince that led me to my Dad, or at least led my Mum to him.

My Mum has always been a huge fan of Prince, since before I was born (and Mum, if you’re reading this, please forgive me if I get any of the details wrong!). When I was a toddler, in maybe 1992 or 1993, my Mum went to a Prince convention in Norwich. At some point, maybe at an after party, she spotted the symbol spray-painted on the back of a leather  jacket, asked the guy if she could take a picture.

I’ve only seen that jacket a few times over the years, but every time I do it feels like I’m looking back on an iconic moment of my personal history, the moment that made me.

For months after that first meeting they wrote each other love letters. My Mum would trace a picture of Prince onto each and every one of them, and after a while, she made the best decision of her life. She moved from Leeds to Kent, and created my family.

So without Prince, without that convention and without that badass leather jacket, I wouldn’t be me.

Thank you Prince,

I’ll be forever grateful.