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Thirty Before Thirty…

So it’s a new year and although we are entering the roaring twenties I will, unbelievably, be leaving my twenties behind and turning thirty, and I have no idea how that happened or where the years raced away to. So in lieu of a new year’s resolution I have decided to do the clichéd thing, and simultaneously indulge my love of lists, with a list of thirty things I want to do before I turn thirty. And without further ado here we go….

See Hamilton… I mean have you heard the soundtrack?! Enough said.

Learn to French plait my hair… let’s face it I really am too old now to keep asking people to do it for me and I just really like having my hair out of my face in plaits, so it’s time to be an adult and finally learn how to do it myself.

Reconnect with old friends… being back home for a couple of months gives me the perfect opportunity to see friends who I haven’t seen for ages. I have some amazing friends who I sadly don’t see or speak to all that much, mainly because I’m off gallivanting around the world, but now I have a little time at home I want to squeeze as many reunions in as possible.

Be better at keeping in touch with people… This is a follow on from the last point. I am rubbish at keeping in touch. I have some wonderful age old friendships that when we reunite after a long separation we slip straight back into how we’ve always been but I really need to make a better effort to stay in touch in between meet ups.

See some live music… I haven’t been to a gig for ages and I really love going to see live music, so this year I’m going to try and get to some. Preferably Dean Lewis as I am a little obsessed and he did one solitary gig in New Zealand, in the one month I wasn’t there. But honestly any live music would be good.

Skydive… Ok yes I have already done this, just before my 29th birthday I flung myself out of a plane and it was indescribable. The courage I had to summon to even get into the plane was unbelievable, but the experience like no other. And I cannot recommend this enough, people, PUT IT ON YOUR BUCKET LIST!

Visit my 30th country…. So far I have visited 29 countries on my extensive travel and it would be pretty nice to round of the number to 30 by 30. Plus it gives me the excuse to go and discover a whole new exciting place.

Go somewhere in the UK I’ve never been… As per the previous point I have been lucky enough to travel to many amazing places around the world but I’ve not seen that much of my own country. Especially not as an adult, with no parents to drag me off to some random youth hostel I’ve picked jumping on a plane every time as a holiday instead. So before I hit this grand old age I’m going to discover some more of my own country.

Run a 5K… A couple of years back when I was training for Kilimanjaro I started running and I actually, very surprisingly, quite liked it and would really like to get back into it with the goal of completing a 5k.

Cook something new… I love cooking and I really love baking however having lived in hostels or cars or vans for the last however long means I’ve not really done very much. So whilst I’m back in a fully stocked kitchen (courtesy of the grandparents) I’m going to flex my baking skills and try something I haven’t done before. What though is yet to be determined.

De clutter… I have a whole heap of clothes and belongings sat in storage and considering I can’t even remember what half of them are I think it might be time to donate some stuff. Also I have managed to just live out of a backpack for almost two years and it turns out I’m ok with that.

Get that 4th tattoo… I love my other tattoos a whole lot and I’ve been meaning to add to the collection for a couple of years now, so now is the time.

Go skiing on my birthday… Another one I’ve already done because I did start writing this list before I turned 29 with this in mind for my birthday, I spent a gorgeous bluebird day on the ski slopes with my friends and absolutely loved it.

Fall in love again… Not necessarily with a person maybe with a place or an activity or even a whole bunch of people. I’ve fallen in love with many places and maybe too many people for my own mental well-being but I intend to keep on doing it for ever, because, honestly is there really any greater feeling than falling in love?

Try to improve my Spanish skills… Despite my determination to attempt to learn Spanish over the years my skills are still pretty rusty and limited to what I can remember from my GCSE Spanish classes and of course “uno cerveza por favour”! And as I am determined to go to South America at some point in my lifetime I’d quite like to be able to speak the language. Whilst I think it’s unlikely I’ll be able to be fluent within a year I’m going to try and improve my Spanish at least a little.

Finally watch Narcos… I mean self-explanatory really. I keep meaning to watch it and then just keep putting it off and watching Love Island or some other crap instead, so next binge watch… Narcos (although I’m probably going to watch the newest series of Love Island as well).

Eat at Dishoom… A pretty basic one but something I keep meaning to do and yet never quite get there.

Tick some books of the ‘To Be Read’ list… I read a lot, a lot, a lot but I have a very bad habit of re reading books repeatedly and a stack of unread books as well as a very long kindle wish list. Time to get reading some of them.

Go to the Dentist… As much as I don’t want to admit it, I am an adult now, and as such need to do things like go to the dentist, even if I don’t want to, because it’s good to take care of yourself, or so I have been told.

Dye my hair… The second of my take better care of myself promises is to sort out my hair. My hair is a complete mess I bleached the ends and dyed them green and now there’s a weird greenish tinge lingering, it turns a lighter colour mid-way down where the sun and sea lightened it last summer and there’s the odd (gulp) grey hair appearing. So time to treat myself and get it sorted.

Try to cut back on Dairy… Another promise to take better care of myself. I don’t react very well to dairy, never have really, milk and milk based products make me sick, but never the less I eat it, and I eat quite a lot of it in the form of cheese, which I am obsessed with. But as loathe as I am to, I’m going to try and eat a little less in an attempt to hopefully help my body feel a little better.

Get up and see at least five sunrises… I am not a morning person, but there is something wonderful about being awake before most of the world and seeing the sun come up. We only get so many sunrises in our lifetime and so far I’ve missed a fair few of them, so figured it would be nice to catch some this year, and hopefully in some beautiful places.

Try and date someone nice… I mean I always think I do at the start and then I get invested and catch feelings and then it turns out they are not so very nice and somehow it takes me a long time and a lot of friends pulling their hair out in frustration for me to see that. Maybe it should be listen to my friends dating advice more, but either way, it would be quite a lovely change to actually spend my time with a nice guy for once.

Keep laughing… I firmly believe laughter is the best cure for just about anything and life would be a complete waste without a little laughter in every day.

Do my bit to look after the planet… The planet is burning guys and we’ve somehow got to fix this mess we’ve made. I’ve been trying to be more and more conscious of my environmental impact, and whilst I’m nowhere near perfect I am going to try and do my utmost best.

See the Southern Lights… I have always longed to see either the northern or southern lights and am very much hoping that during my winter in Australia I’ll finally get the chance.

Be more consistent with this blog… I love writing, getting my jumbled thoughts out on paper and having other people read it makes me feel a little less alone in my crazy, crazy thoughts and feelings and hopefully provides mild entertainment for whoever happens to read it. So if you are reading, thank you and I promise to write more often.

Write something… be it a screenplay, short story, novel (although that may be a bit of a stretch) or even another blog. I have ideas that I have been mulling over for years now and let’s face it I am not getting any younger, therefore it is time to actually stop procrastinating and get on and write something for God’s sake!

Live somewhere new… I’ve no secret I’ve got the travel bug, badly, and although it’s only been a few weeks that I’ve been home, I already want to go find somewhere new to make my home for a little while. I’m kind of already working on this with a visa and flight for Australia acquired. So I’ll be seeing ya soon Melbourne.

Be goddamn happy… Simple really. Looking back at this list it’s going to be a busy year, and hopefully I’ll be able to do all this and so much more. Here’s to a fan-fucking-tastic year of travels, laughter and happiness.

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2018 in Retrospect…

I suppose it’s that time of year again. Time to look back on the year that has yet again flown by way way too quickly. And a year that has once again changed my life.

Strange to think that when the bells of 2018 rang in and I raised that glass of bubbly to the New Year I had no intentions of moving myself to the other side of the world and I don’t think I could have even have begun to imagine the year I’ve had. Because bloody hell has it been a good one!

Last year I wrote a list of things I had discovered and they very much still ring true…

1) I do have the best of friends, moving away proved that the ones I loved the most would still love me wherever the hell I was in the world. And the new ones I met, even if they were just in my life for a few months proved pretty damn awesome and never to forgotten.

2) Technically my heart didn’t get broken this year though it got a little bruised around the edges. But I still maintain that the most heartbreaking of situations can be the most healing. Looking back at all my heart break from last year if none of that had happened I wouldn’t be where or who I am today and I wouldn’t miss out on that for anyone.

3) You may have the biggest butterflies fluttering around your stomach but willpower will get you through anything. I sat on the tiniest little propeller plane on the journey from Australia to New Zealand feeling sick to my stomach with nerves at the prospect of being on the other side of the world alone for god knows how long, but it was a dream that I wanted to follow so I pushed on through. Same way I pushed on through the stress and anxiety of the first few weeks of work and pushed through the little voice in my head telling me there was no way in hell I was skiing down that steep icy slope! With a little willpower there’s no end to what you can achieve.

4) You are never too old to change your opinion or learn a new skill or make a new friend. Heck you’re never too old for anything. You never know where life is going to take you if you have an open mind.

5) Indulge your passions. Hell fucking yeah. That is exactly what I did the last seven months and let’s just say boy was it worth it.

6) Life is too short. Seriously I swear the years are going by quicker and quicker. And all good things come to an end far far quicker than you expect or want them to.

I was wallowing badly at the beginning of last year not knowing what the hell I was doing with my life and then on a random evening late January I made the impulsive decision to follow a dream I’d had for a while and move my ass to New Zealand. I still may not know what the hell I’m doing with my life, I still stumble around from adventure to adventure, drinking far too much than is good for me and making mistakes. I still fall in love with guys that don’t want me or move to the other side of the world before I get up the guts to tell them I love them. but I also cross oceans and see sights that take my breath away and I fly.

I have never been so happy in myself, I even like the messy bits, and although life keeps going by at an alarming rate it just keeps getting better and better.

So this year I stumbled and fell and flew, let’s keep doing it all over again in 2019

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Reasons why I’m not yet a real life adult…

Adulting is hard ok. I really struggle to wrap my head around the fact that I am 27. I am way closer to my 30th birthday than my 21st and sometime this year it really hit me that I am of proper adult age, how the hell did that happen? In my head I’m still a giddy 19 year old and nowhere near ready to be a full blown grown up and here’s why…

1) I make rash decisions. I am that dangerous type of person where I either sit and mull things over for weeks on end or I just go ah fuck it and jump right in, in a perfect world I’d be somewhere in the middle. To be fair this has sometimes lead to the best decisions of my life like leaving a job that was draining the life out of me or at the other end of the spectrum many many great nights out. But many a time it has lead to terrible decisions especially when it comes to relationship situations. And I then spend weeks feeling terrible and mulling over everything before I jump and make another rash and probably bad bad decision.

2) I still think tequila is a good idea. It only ever leads to me making the aforementioned rash decisions and they’re almost always the terrible ones. My body has learnt by now that I’m too old for tequila and punishes me with increasingly worst hangovers but does my brain learn? Nope. I fear me and tequila will be partners in crime for a while to come before I finally break away from this abusive relationship.

3) I suck at budgeting. Ok this isn’t entirely true I always have a rough idea of expenditure each month, I do my best to try and save and helpfully there are such things as direct debits and standing orders so that I can set these up and ensure that my rent and bills are all paid correctly and on time. The problem is that I’m a little lazy and a little impulsive I’ll walk into Topshop and get tempted or go out for drinks and end up happily buying rounds and within a few minutes my whole budget has gone to shot.

4) I have no clue what I’m doing. Seriously I flip flop around trying to figure out what the actual hell I want out of life. I think this is because I want to do too many things, but instead of getting on and doing them I get confused and panic and end up lying on my bedroom floor crying having eaten an entire Easter egg to myself (and I don’t mean a mini one) wondering what the hell I’m doing with my life. In my defence I have ticked a fair amount off my bucket list, I’ve been lucky enough to travel a hell of a lot, I’ve moved to London, I’ve got my degree and I’ve started this blog. But on the other hand I am after temporarily getting a job in a restaurant still, 3 and 1/2 years later working in a restaurant and I still haven’t quite figured out exactly what I’m going to use that degree for, despite years of people asking me.

5) I still believe in fairytales. Well not fairytales per se I don’t think I’m going to leave my shoe behind on some tequila fuelled night out and a prince will travel around the entirety of the country with it desperately trying to find me. But I do still believe, or at the very least hope, that there is a happy ending out there for me. That I will find my Prince Charming, unfortunately it is highly unlikely he’ll be an actual prince especially now the love of my life is marrying Meghan Merkle, but still I believe, or at the very least hope, I’m going to get my happy ever after.

So to any floundering twenty somethings (or people of any age really) out there, don’t feel bad if you’re not quite where you want to be yet or if you still don’t know where that is. Trust me we’ve all been there, I am most definitely still there and probably will be for a while. I guess all we can do is enjoy life as it comes, and slowly baby step by baby step muddle our way through this mess. Because despite not yet being anywhere near grown up, looking back to ten, five or even one year ago I have come so far and am so much happier and more comfortable with who I am, that I believe one day we’ll get there, even if I’m not quite sure what there is. I’ll keep you posted!

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Single on Valentines…

I have never been one for celebrating Valentine’s Day. Being very British and reserved I really struggle with too much PDA or mushy, lovey, dovey (for want of a better word) crap. Seriously my favourite Valentines present was a Mcdonald’s breakfast in bed. Don’t get me wrong I love a good bunch of flowers or book/stationary related gift as much as the next girl but I don’t see why there has to be a specific day on which to be given these. Love isn’t limited to a single day it’s a year round thing.

I suppose it’s ironic then that I have somehow wound up with Valentine’s day off. Even more ironic that for the last three years I was actually in a relationship I was either working a double or in a separate country from my boyfriend. Last year I went out drinking the night before with friends, came home in the early hours of the morning, got up and went to work a double shift and got back home in the middle of the night, I made my boyfriend a card at work and I gave him a balloon and chocolates that were left over from work (sometimes I think I make a terrible girlfriend).

Awkwardly the majority of my friends are in relationships and have plans, and the rest, well the rest are working. It looks like I won’t just be spending Valentine’s single but also completely alone.

So what am I going to do this Valentine’s day alone? Well I’m going to enjoy my day off. I’m going to have a lie in and enjoy my breakfast with a good book, I’m going to go for a run and maybe go see a movie, maybe go take my laptop to a coffee shop for the afternoon or just curl up and watch Netflix. To be honest it doesn’t really matter. February the 14th is after all just another day, another day in a limited amount we get given, and even more importantly one of my limited amounts of days off. So what I am going to do is enjoy it.

And I have so much love in my life. Let’s not get hung up on all the connotations, not get depressed if you’re single, feel pressured if you’re in a relationship or strung up if you’re in between. Let’s just take a moment to stop and be grateful for all that we love and for all the love we have in our lives, and then lets get on and enjoy the hell out of the day.

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Leaving my job… one month on

Last month I left my job. A job that I have been at for over three years. A job that for the most part I loved. There are a number of reasons why I left but I guess the main one is that I was angry.

I was incredibly dedicated to my job, I ran my own department, pushed and pushed to build a great team and to make it a great place for my team to work. Perhaps I was a little too dedicated, I spent the majority of my life at that place, even doing work or dropping by on my days off. And all this on less pay than my fellow managers.

I knew I should leave for a long time, friends and family members kept questioning why I remained when I kept coming out with crazy after crazy story and complaint after complaint. But it’s hard to leave somewhere you’re so comfortable, I worked with all my friends, I knew the job inside out and I was proud of what I had managed to achieve with my team.

So what made me finally take the leap? Well two things happened. Firstly, as you well know, I took some time off to go travelling and having some time completely away from the place, and the stress, gave me some perspective. This job was not my life. I could survive away from it and what’s more I was healthier and happier away from it. When I returned I found my team in a mess, three people had left whilst I’d been away and another handed his notice to me on the day of my return. I was flooded with complaints from my server team and the mood was thoroughly downbeat. I’m not sure whether my time away had opened my eyes wider to the problems or whether things had gotten worse whilst I was gone, either way it was not a pleasant atmosphere to step back into, especially not when suffering severe jetlag.

This brings me to secondly, a week after returning, a meeting was called during which the general manager and the operations manager of the company (aka the big boss) informed us we were all bad at our jobs, were all replaceable and that we clearly didn’t care. Having put so much of myself into this job, I was beyond furious to be told that I did not care and that I was not valued.

For me it was the final straw, I finally realised that I had too much self respect to stay in a place where I was not respected or appreciated. I’m a grown up I don’t need someone to hold me by the hand or pat me on the back every time I do my job correctly. But I do need to know that I have the support of my superiors, that they will come to me directly if there are issues with my performance, and that they will be upfront and honest with me. I have always been open to constructive criticism, am always willing to learn and grow, that is after all what life is, one big learning curve.

I was angry and I was upset. So I took the first job that got me out of there as quickly as physically possible, and within six days of the meeting from hell I had handed in my notice, within two weeks I was gone. It wasn’t the smartest career move. I took a step back and a slight pay cut and for the first few weeks I seriously questioned whether I had done the right thing.  Acting out of anger is never the best course. Perhaps I could have handled the situation better, thought it through a little more but I didn’t I ran and I jumped and it turns out it was the best thing I could have done.

Because what I did was cut the cord and I got freedom, and although my current job isn’t the end goal, it got me out of what was to be a honest a bad situation. I feel happier, lighter, less pressured, I haven’t cried over work for well over a month now and I have the time and energy to indulge in interests that are not work related in any way!

I learnt a lot from my old job, despite all the stress and troubles it was a wonderful three years and I came away with so much more knowledge, experience and some really great friends. There is no doubt that the job shaped me into the person I am. But the biggest thing I left with was to value myself. Because no amount of money or job title is worth sacrificing your happiness.

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2017 in retrospect…

2017 has just flown away but as it sped on by it completely turned my life on its head. 
This year I broke up with my boyfriend and subsequently moved house, climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, fell in love, started running, listened to despacito a million times over, lost my beloved Granny, drank a whole lot of tequila, started writing again, left my job, and travelled around South East Asia. (Not necessarily in that order) 

I floundered for a while, shed an awful lot of tears and wondered several times over if I was losing my mind. It has been a chaotic year of so many feelings but amidst this whirlwind I have discovered some wonderful things…

1) I have the best of best friends. From my oldest friend who put up with hundreds of tearful phone calls and ranting texts to newer friends who surprised me with their love, constant support and assistance in downing alarming quantities of tequila! People it turns out can be so incredibly wonderful and kind and I get to call some of the best my friends. 

2) The most heartbreaking of situations can also be the most healing. So I got my heart broken a little bit, a boy didn’t love me back. But he taught me that I can still fall in love. When I was wallowing after the end of a long term relationship and wondering what the point even was he came into my life and gave me hope. He reminded me when I so desperately needed it that that fizzy giddy feeling still exists and love will surprise you when you’re least expecting it.

3) Willpower is strong. If you set your mind to do something, really do something there is no end to what you can achieve. Me the least sporty and most ridiculously unfit person managed to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. It pushed me to almost breaking point but I did it and the feeling of achieving something that you believed impossible makes you feel invincible. There are no longer any boundaries to what I can achieve. 

4) You are never too old to change your opinion or to fall in love with new places and cultures. Travelling through South East Asia I discovered an entirely new culture that I fell head over heels in love with. I don’t know what I expected visiting there but I do know that it has become a place I long so desperately to return to and I very much hope that I get the chance to do so next year.

5) Indulge your passions. For a while I got a little lost and stopped doing the things I love most. Then when I was most confused and heartbroken I started writing again and it helped I realised that those things that I love so much I should never put to one side just because they may not result in great success and riches. Just writing this blog for the tiny handful of readers is enough to make me happy. And I intend to make this into the New Years resolution that I keep, not just writing but following my other passions and dreams and not cutting my loves out of my life. 

6) Life is short. If there is anything this year has taught me it’s this. The speed at which 2017 has fled by has shocked me. I suddenly found myself realising I was 27 and my life was slipping by at an alarming rate. So seize every moment, love every day and don’t let a second of life just pass you by.

In a year that started with Trump becoming president and has been one constant shitstorm after another I have truly had some of the most wonderful of times. So I wish you all the very happiest of New Years! Here is to a fantastic 2018 xxx

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“I’m going on an adventure”

I am a firm believer that travelling heals the soul. 
After my mummy died I lost it a little bit and a year later took myself off travelling around Europe for the entire summer. I came back a thousand times better and happier and with a serious travel addiction.  
There is something about stepping off the plane or train or bus into a completely different world and just being entranced. I would be lying if I said I hadn’t cried on occasion. 
For me travel has a magical healing power. You can get over just about anything by heading off to discover a new place. 
So I’m taking myself off again for five whole weeks this time to discover South East Asia; Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. 
This trip was planned well over a year ago with my sister but it couldn’t have come at a better time. I have had a strange few months with heart break of all different kinds on all different scales. I’ve worked myself stupid, slept far too little and worried far too much, so my plan… to step off that plane and let real life fade away. To let the travel bug take over, live the moment and experience everything! There is a whole wide world out there, full of the most amazing sights and tastes and experiences and people and I am going to take advantage of every opportunity to discover it. I’ll keep you posted!