To The Women I Love

I am the product of the people I choose to surround myself with. I don’t just mean the five closest people like the experts say, I mean every single person I choose to have in my life and in my online space. Everything that I have seen and read, every interaction that I have had, has gone some way into making me the person that I am in this very moment. Whether it’s something that I value and want to emulate for myself, or something that jars with me and serves to show me what I don’t want to be, I consider myself moulded by each experience in one way or another.

I have been thoroughly shaped into the person that I am today by the people who have impacted upon me. I have been bolstered and influenced by the characteristics of the people I admire, and of those I don’t. And while those people are so numerous that it would be impossible to remember them all, let alone name them, I want to take a moment to express a little gratitude to some of the women who have helped.

Amy, thank you for encouraging me to learn more about things. To read, and read, and read some more and to let the things you discover make you passionate. Thank you for showing me how to treat your friends, and how to make everyone feel like a part of your family.

Cindy, thank you for teaching me how to value people, and how to show them how much you do. Thank you for showing me how to be a great leader, and to earn respect and trust. Thank you for showing me the importance of team work, and how it really does make the dream work.

Emmeline, thank you for teaching me that struggles, though long and difficult, can have such magnificent purpose. Thank you for showing me that passion can be unwavering and that there really are things worth fighting for with all of your might. Thank you for the progress.

Hannah, thank you for creating the most awesome girl gang. Thank you for showing me how we can make a difference to the people whose lives we touch. Thank you for showing me that we can do things for ourselves, that we can make those changes and that we matter.

Megan, thank you for teaching me to care about the issues I don’t see. Thank you for opening my eyes to the things I haven’t experienced for myself, and helping me to learn how to tackle them. Thank you for showing me the true meaning of inclusivity.

Michelle, thank you for teaching me the power of grace. Thank you for showing me the importance of knowledge, understanding and communication. Thank you for teaching me to do what good I can, and how to bring other people along with me on the journey.

Sophia, thank you for showing me strength. Thank you for teaching me how to love fiercely and unconditionally and how to show unwavering support. Thank you for showing me how to challenge stereotypes, and how to stay true to yourself through all that’s thrown your way.

These women are but a handful of the hundreds, if not thousands, of people who have touched my life in some way or another. Each moment I have shared with them has helped get me to here, and I couldn’t be more grateful.

Thank you, all.

Making Exercise Work For Me

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I’ve spoken about exercise a few times before. Or moreso about my failed relationship with exercise. It’s something that I’ve wanted to do for years. I’m sold on the benefits, I know exercise will give me more energy and pump some awesome endorphins around my body to get me feeling all the good vibes. But actually making myself do it has always been a chore.

I don’t want to join a gym, and I never have. I can’t afford regular exercise classes, and while my boyfriend is a personal trainer, we’ve kept our work and home lives separate. The spate of running I did to prepare for a half marathon was almost traumatic, and those memories of nights on the sofa icing my knees are enough to put me off for life.

I tried The Body Coach’s HIIT routines, and while I totally believe in the benefits of HIIT training, I don’t feel like working out so hard that I think I might die. I guess I’ve learnt a lot of the things that don’t work for me, and it’s only recently that I’m starting to learn the things that do.

Little and often. A 20 minute yoga practice or one of Davina’s 7 minute workouts are the perfect options for me. It’s over quick enough that it doesn’t take a huge chunk out of my day, and when I move regularly I can really feel the benefits in my joints.

Having a tracker. Since I started my bullet journal, I’ve been so good at keeping up with my exercise goal. My plan to exercise 40 times by the new year was illustrated with lots of little boxes for me to shade in every time I completed a workout. And it really, really helped! I love seeing those boxes fill up and not wanting to miss out on my goal is motivation enough to whip out the leggings and get right on with it.

Being accountable. I’m not very good at being accountable to myself, but letting Sam in on my goal and knowing that he’ll ask me how my workouts are going is the perfect way to stop me from bailing. He’s a good motivator, too, so that helps on days when I’m not feeling up for it.

Getting it in early. I’ve learnt that I’m much better at working out in the morning. As soon as the day gets going, I’m so caught up in other things that stepping away to exercise seems like such a chore, and it’s much easier for me to put it off.

I feel like I’ve finally hit my stride with my workout routine, and I’m committed to it more than I’ve ever been before. For the first time in my life, I feel like I would answer the question ‘Do you exercise?’ with a ‘Yes’.

So my advice to you is to exercise for your own reasons, whatever they are. Don’t beat yourself up if it’s not working out and just try something new. At some point you’ll hit on what works for you, and it’ll become part of how you live your life. Just allow yourself a little (or a lot!) patience to get there!

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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