Let's talk about feminism

 Well hello to you my reader chums! I'm a big and proud feminist. I talk about it all the time, whether that's in my daily life or in posts on social media as it's something close to my heart, and something that we all need to embrace more so we can change the injustice and the lack of equality in the world - and smash the patriarchy together.

Feminist quote Maya Angelou

Feminism to this day is a taboo topic and I still get dirty looks, especially from men when I say I'm a feminist but I believe that's because there is a lack of education to what it actually is, what it means, and how the movement is there to help everyone, especially minority groups.

What is feminism?

Feminism is a broad term but to put it simply, the word feminism means the equality of women and men, and for women to have the same rights and privileges that men do in society. It's a term that is often branded as 'man hating', which isn't true in the slightest. The feminist movement was put in place to liberate women and give them the freedom, options, and choices that men already have in society.

Why is feminism so important?

I really wish writing this in 2021 that feminism wasn't needed anymore as by now, I would have expected the issues to be less and for women to have more equality across the world but sadly, that's not the case. And this is the main reason why feminism is so important.

The movement of feminism is important today as women are still oppressed and seen as second-class citizens all over the world, including the UK. When you look at things like healthcare, sexual assault stats, the education system, reproductive rights, the expectations put on women, the gender pay gap, arranged marriages, and even the lack of diversity in top organisations, then it becomes apparent how important it is to fight for the rights of women and other minority groups.

Feminism is so important because it's the fighting force and a movement working towards women becoming equal to their male counterparts. It's important so women can have full control over their bodies. It's important so women have the choice for their future and to follow their goals. It's important so women can get the justice they deserve. It's important so young and impressional girls/teens have role models like themselves in power as representation matters. It's important so women can be exactly who they want to be.

Examples of misogynistic behaviour in society:

Everyone should be a feminist and if you're not, you're sexist, it's as simple as that. If you don't believe women and men deserve to be viewed as equals then you're a complete misogynist. However, a lot of misogynistic behaviour isn't just lary and sexist men harassing women on the streets and only seeing them as sexual objects, it's also internalised misogyny that society has taught us from a young age.

Like all the things we've been conditioned to growing up, unlearning misogynistic behaviour and thoughts is so important so we don't project those views on our female counterparts, even if we don't realise we're doing it. Here are a few examples of misogynistic behaviour:

  • Sexual harassment and violence against women - This goes without saying, but misogynistic men will control women when in a relationship as they see them as less than themselves. They'll put their sexual pleasure first, they'll put them down in any situation possible and make them feel less. Sexual harassment is hugely misogynistic as men or those performing it will only see women as sexual objects, hence their actions.
  • Mildly misogynistic language - The language we use every day may seem meaningless but it's impactful in the long run. For instance when we say things like 'man up', it promotes the idea that men are strong and women are weak. Or when things are deemed as 'girly', it's always made out to be a bad or weak thing just because it's associated with women.
  • Overly sexualised language towards women - Sexualised language is never okay but women always seem to get the brunt of it being branded as 'sluts' or 'whore', and it paints us in a shameful manner.
  • Objectification of women based on how they look - Women are always blamed for what we are wearing, we can never dress right as we'll still be objectified. Whether it's by being catcalled in the street when we're in jeans or photos being taken of us when we're in a bikini, our bodies can never just be viewed as bodies but always as sexual objects. Everywhere we look, women's bodies are objectified from headlines to teenage girls being told to not 'show their shoulders as it distracts boys' at school.
  • Criticism of women's sex lives but not men's - This one has become more apparent as I've gotten older. But men are always praised by how many people they've slept with, whereas women are seen as less and shamed for it - and it makes us 'undesirable'.
  • 'Feminism' considered a negative term - How many times have you said I'm a feminist and you receive negative comments or looks? It has happened to me way too many times as standing up for women's rights is still seen as a bad thing, and an unnecessary thing, as a lot of misogynists don't want women to have their place in society. They would rather we stayed in the background than let our voices be heard.
  • Jokes about sexual abuse towards women - Rape jokes make me feel sick and are not okay in any instance, yet in lad culture, they are normalised. These types of jokes are what stop women from coming forward for the sexual abuse they've experienced.
  •  Pink tax - A more systematic problem is pink tax, gender-based pricing, which is an upcharge for products intended for women. This can be across any cosmetic style product including razors - that's why women's razors always cost more than men's.

How can we be better feminists?

I'm not a perfect feminist in any way and every day I learn something new on how I can do better and how I can continue to be an activist. Nobody is the perfect feminist but there are many things we can do to grow as people and strive to reach towards the goal of equality and dismantling the patriarchy. 

Read feminist literature 

There are two things I mean by this. Firstly, read feminist literature that teaches us about feminism, what there is to know, and how we can do better as a society by standing up for the rights of others and being an ally. There are many books that I love for this including Invisible Women (a mind-blowing read), The Guilty Feminist, Women Don't Owe You Pretty and Feminist's Don't Wear Pink and Other lies.

I also mean to read more books by minority authors including women, people of colour, those from the LGBTQ+ community, and generally support their work, to learn more about their perspective, through their words.

Educate yourself further

Education is key to being a better feminist as there is always something new to learn. Other than books, there are many ways to educate yourself further with being a better feminist including podcasts like The Guilty Feminist (my favourite), reading blogs, scrolling through social media, and listening/reading about women's stories. Social media especially has become a prime source of knowledge these days with most people gravitating towards it to find out information - so I would suggest following relevant accounts that work towards helping women's rights and fighting the patriarchy.

Be an ally

This is mainly directed towards the men, but being an ally towards women and helping them reach the goal of equality is what we need. Most men don't listen to women and that's why it's up to men to make other men listen and aid us in giving women a voice more. It's also up to women, those more of privilege, whether that's your status in society and race to be an ally in giving more minority groups the opportunity to amplify their voices.

We all need to support each other on the journey to equality and being an ally is the first step to that.

Spread awareness

Continuing with education and being an ally, spreading awareness is key. It's important to share women's issues in any way we can to normalise, destigmatise and help women  - so all the negative and horrid things that are happening towards women on a daily basis can lessen, and be stopped in the long run. 97% of women have been sexually harassed and that needs to change.

Start a conversation with your family and friends

One way to spread awareness is by talking to the people you have around you and starting that conversation with feminism. It's those awkward and hard conversations that can really help change people's views and help them understand what feminism is all about and why it's needed.

Unlearn misogynistic language

Unfortunately, misogynistic language is used far too often, from mild terms to full-on objectification of women. The mild terms I would say are something ingrained in a lot of us as we've been conditioned to that way of thinking our whole lives and it's that we need to unlearn. When you notice yourself using or thinking about it, make a mental note. And, when you're around others doing it, point out an explanation why it shouldn't be said.

Be inclusive

Feminism is a movement to liberate women, that's what it has always been about. However, feminism is a fight against the patriarchy, which is a system generally build in favour of men but that doesn't mean it only has a negative effect on women. Be inclusive in how you think, how you act, trying to push forward the voices and storied of minority groups including women. But, also consider that the patriarchy can affect what men do and what it does for them. 

The thing about feminism it isn't about hating on all men, it's about stopping men from treating women how they do and that's all a result of the patriarchy. If we all come together and see it for what it is and treat each other like equals then the world will be a better place. 

Amplify women's voices

If you see a woman sharing her story on social media, share it on yours, it's that simple. Every chance you get to see where a woman wants to be heard, try and help her by amplifying her voice. The only way to make women's voices heard and to give us a voice in society is to create noise and push them forward.

I hope you enjoyed this post. What other tips do you have?

I've also written posts about consent, diet culture, sustainability and privilege, and thin privilege if you'd like to read more about those topics.

Thank you for reading <3

My experience with EFT | AD

 Well hello to you my reader chums! I've been a fan of life coaching for a while since I began learning more about how it worked and had a life coach myself in that process. I love the way it teaches you about how you can change your whole life by shifting your mindset, improving your self-awareness, and showing you how you can fulfill your goals by figuring out all that is you.

When Andrea, a life coach, and EFT practitioner got in touch about having a session with her and sharing my experience, I had to say yes as EFT is something I've heard a lot about and wanted to try to see if it'll work for me, the way life coaching has.

My experience with EFT

Whether you're interested in EFT or want to learn more about what it is and how it works, here is my experience with an EFT session.

AD - This is a paid advertorial but all thoughts are my own.

What is EFT (emotional freedom technique)?

EFT is a technique that uses tapping on acupuncture energy points with two fingers as a way to stimulate energy in the body, acknowledging the negative thoughts and then replacing them with positive ones by using positive affirmations. The tapping is known to help as distress and imbalances are caused by disturbances in the body's energy system and that's why using EFT, can help get your body back in the flow and balance your emotions once more.

EFT is known mainly to help with anxiety, stress, and other mental health problems. However, it's now gaining traction for the positive effects it can have on other things such as those with chronic illnesses.

Who is DreaHunt?

Andrea Hunt is a transformational life coach and Level 2 practitioner in EFT (emotional freedom technique.) She helps others reach their goals for a richer and more fulfilled life and to understand self-awareness, so they're able to pinpoint where they're stuck.

Andrea has worked, studied, and lived abroad and travelled all over, meeting like-minded individuals along the way. She understood the issues expats were facing and wanted to help them through and does just that with her life coaching.

My first EFT session experience

I've heard good things about EFT over the years and how tapping and repeating affirmations is a useful method to clear negative energy and reframe limiting beliefs. I'm very into holistic thinking and any methods that are different from conventional types of therapy, so I was pretty excited to see an EFT session play out.

When I logged onto the Zoom call with Andrea, instantly, I already felt content with Andrea's presence as she had that friendly and happy nature about her. She first asked for me to share any topics that I was currently struggling with and that I'd like to think differently about. I shared how I was feeling lost at the minute with my future, my career and the direction I wanted to go in, and a few issues surrounding that.

Andrea instantly took on board what I said and we began with a few rounds of limiting beliefs - and she told me to repeat the phrases she was saying, whilst practicing the tapping motions on the meridian points of the body. By repeating what she was saying out loud, really helped encapsulate what I was really thinking and get it all out of my system, and tapping at the same time also brought a sense of calm. The first few phrases began with 'even though' and we went through a series of them and many sentences that linked with the issues I had brought up to her. Then, we'd take a deep breath and talk through the sentences which stood out and resonated with me - which was the perfect time to reflect on what was really bothering me.

We did this a couple of times for different issues as we got closer to the main cause of why I was feeling that way. And then, Andrea went through 'what if' scenarios. She said a few and asked me to finish the sentence by saying the first thing that came to my head. This gave me the opportunity to air any issues without having to think about it and to be honest, my biggest fears came out, quite easily. Through all of these, the tapping continued which helped me feel a lot more relaxed when talking about issues. This is because when I'm anxious and talking about the things that make me anxious, I need to do something with my hands - and this made the talking process easier.

My favourite part of the session was the last round, and when we flipped the negative thoughts and fears into something positive. Andrea got me to repeat all the positive affirmations such as 'I am a confident woman' and many other things that I needed to hear whilst tapping. The reassuring tone Andrea has also helped, and I loved how she made light of a lot of things and was super easy to talk to.

I went into that session feeling lost and out of control but I came out with a sense of calm about myself and that everything which is bothering me right now will pass and I'll be okay. I think physically saying the thoughts, discussing what resonates, and finishing off with positive affirmations to affirm the good energy into me really helped. 

I really enjoyed my first taster into EFT and it's definitely something I would love to explore more of and practice often. I understand, not everything can be done in one session but for me, it was a great starting point and introduction to how EFT can work for me. As someone who suffers from anxiety, I think the process of tapping and repeating certain phrases will really help me in the future.

If you're interested in learning more about EFT and would like to book a session, contact Andrea today.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Have you tried EFT before?

Thank you for reading <3

Weekend in Brighton: the best things to see and do

 Well hello to you my reader chums! Brighton is one of my favourite UK cities. I love the buzz of the shops, the nightlife, the pier, and people but also the calmness of the beach and how it makes me feel like I'm at home. I recently headed over for a weekend to celebrate my birthday with my best friend and had the best ever time exploring and delving more into the Brighton way of life.

This post contains affiliate links.

If you're planning a weekend in Brighton and looking for the best things to see and do, here is my guide on how to spend a weekend in Brighton.

Brighton pier

What there is to see and do

Kemptown exploring

Kemptown, famously known for its LGBTQ+ culture is a cool place to start your ventures in Brighton. It's located right next to the main stretch of Brighton beach, packed full of cool and colourful bars, quirky cafes, and restaurants. It's also a hub for vintage boutiques, shops, and some fun backdrops for photos. I loved it around there, especially in the evening, as there was such a vibe about it.

Brighton Pavillion and gardens

The Pavillion is one of those postcard moments of Brighton and is worth the visit, even if you only have a mooch around the gardens. The building is iconic to see and the gardens match too with their beautiful bursts of flowers dotted all around. Entry to the museum inside isn't too costly if you fancy a gander too.

Brighton pavillion

Brighton Pier

The most iconic part of Brighton is the pier and you have to make sure you head over there. The pier is more than just a beautiful walkway with dazzling neon lights to look across the beach, it has so many things activities. The pier is packed with thrills and excitement from the assortment of different rides, the dodgems to the endless amount of arcades inside, leading all the way up the pier. There are also a few cafes and food spots scattered across the pier too.

Brighton pier

Shopping in the Lanes

I adore the Lanes with my whole heart and love nothing more than having a mooch about when I'm in Brighton. The Lanes are huge and there is more to see than you initially expect. Whether you're looking for vintage clothing, quirky jewelry, or unique homeware, the Lanes have a shop for everyone, plus a huge range of restaurants, cafes, and bars - and stalls outside too. The Lanes is a unique shopping experience, even if you're just going for a browse. And, it's the cutest spot for photos and soaking up the Brighton vibe.

The Lanes Brighton

Brighton Beach

Brighton beach is the heart of all the action, especially for either that bit of downtime or to soak up the buzz with its selection of bars, restaurants, and quaint shops. The beach is a huge stretch, giving you the opportunity to find a quiet spot for a picnic or throwing yourself into the live music and beach air. It's a great location for a beach afternoon.

Brighton beach

Hove Beach and seafront

Hove is Brighton's quieter neighbour and an area I absolutely fell in love with on my trip. It can easily be reached from Brighton, as you can just walk along the seafront in the direction of Hove to reach the main stretch of the beach. Hove is renowned for its colourful beach huts and they sit opposite the beach in an iconic setting. 

Hove beach

Hove's beach isn't as busy as Brighton in any sense and there are only a handful of cafes dotted along the front to eat at. But, that's what I loved about it as it reminded me of the quiet beaches I have on my doorstep. Hove is a lot more residential than Brighton with the main area, home to its high street and a few parks to mooch in.

Hove beach

Upside down house in Brighton 

On Brighton beach next to the I360 sits the coolest upside-down house. I didn't realise that's where it was located and it adds that extra bit of colour to the beach setting. You're able to enter and explore its illusions for a small fee or simply take a photo next to it outside.

upside down house brighton

Alcotraz Prison Bar experience

This has to be one of my favourite experiences to date. The Alcotraz Prison Bar is open in many cities including London, but whilst I was in Brighton, I thought I would give it a whirl and I'm thrilled I did. The entire place was designed to look like a prison and the actors were superb in playing the roles of both the warden and the guards, I felt like I was in Orange Is the New Black.

Alcocraz prison bar

The whole idea behind the bar is to sneak in your alcohol with help of the guards and then the 'kitchen staff' make customised cocktails for you to drink in your cell. We got to make our prison identity cards, engage with all of the staff and the whole thing was more like a show than a bar. I honestly loved the entire thing and would love to go back.

alcotraz brighton

Where to eat

Kooks

Located in the Lanes, amidst the cute vintage shops and quirky cafes, the cool restaurant is Kooks. It's a brunch, cafe, restaurant, and bar all in one with modern style seating inside and outside seating in the hub of the Lanes atmosphere. I stopped in for brunch and got the nicest granola bowl ever, and sat outside in the sunshine. 

kooks brighton

Red Roaster

A very hyped brunch place in the centre of town, Red Roaster is an Instagram dream with its monochrome interior and modern brunch menu (with the best waffles.) They're not just a cute brunch place, but they offer a bottomless brunch and at night, turn into a Thai BBQ venue. There's a bit of something for everyone and even an outdoor seating area.

red roaster brighton

Oeuf

One of the places I saw on Instagram, I just had to try for my birthday morning breakfast and it didn't disappoint. With its mint green and pink interior, the place screams pastels and fun. I ordered their famous frumpets (french toast crumpets) with the most delicious compote and honestly, I was in heaven when eating it. The menu was varied too with something for everyone!

oeuf brighton

Red Snapper

I'm obsessed with Thai food as it's so hard to find food that is as good as the meals I had when I was travelling but this restaurant made every dish on point. The Thai food was authentic, the restaurant was quaint and cute, and the best part, it's a bring your own bottle restaurant. For the quality of the food and how good the whole experience was, it's super cheap.

VIP Pizza

I'm a huge Italian food lover, I'm part Italian so finding good Italian food is important to me and VIP Pizza hit the nail on the head. It has a rustic interior with everything that screamed Italian eatery about it and the food was top notch. I wanted to eat the whole menu! It's one of those restaurants that has been in their family for years, and you could feel the love and authenticity in the food.

vip pizza brighton

Boho Gelato

Everyone raves about Boho Gelato and I've visited time and time again on my trips to Brighton as I love the variety of flavours on offer. You can't beat the carrot cake flavour and their chocolate ones are superb too.

Dum Dum Doughnuts

I'm not usually one to share chains when it comes to recommending places to eat or drink as it's so important to support independent businesses. However, Dum Dum Doughnuts offer a range of the biggest and best doughnuts and I always love to pick a few up when I'm in the city.

Where to drink

Twisted Lemon

The Twisted Lemon is a cool and funky bar, situated down a side alley in the middle of town which offers a selection of classic and unique cocktails. There's a rustic vibe about it with a quirky twist, and I love that! 

No32

For a fancier place for a couple of cocktails or a posh night out, this is the place to go, located in the centre of town. I adored everything about No32; the extravagance, the mood lighting, and the varied combination of drinks on the menu. It's definitely a fab place for a bottle of prosecco and to dress up fancy for a girl's night out.

no32 brighton

The Mesmerist 

The Mesmerist is one of those bars that has something for everyone. It has a slightly more casual vibe to it with that English pub feel about it. The bar is known for live music, good food, and a range of drinks. It's a great starting point for a night out!

Affinity Bar 

Located in Kempton, the Affinity Gay Bar was an incredible vibe for a night out. The bar offers cabaret, karaoke and plays every banger under the sun for a full joyous night out. I loved it there, it had such a happy atmosphere to it and the cocktails were delicious too.

affinity bar brighton

How to get around

Brighton is one of those cities where you can easily get around to all of the main sights on foot and that's one of the main ways to save money in the city. Alternatively, taxis are always easy to flag down and can be a great option if you need to get somewhere quickly or you don't fancy a long mooch. You can find taxis anywhere in town - it's important to note, they're not the cheapest mode of transport.

Where to stay

Brighton is a hub for accommodation, whether that's a hostel, B&B, hotel, or apartment, and has a place for every type of budget.

For the budget traveller, Horizon is a great pick. It's located in Kempton, only about a 10/15 minute walk from the main hub of Brighton, and is super easy to find.

For the slightly more expensive option, The Lanes Hotel is a gorgeous option, overlooking the main stretch of Brighton seafront. 

I hope you enjoyed this post. What's your favourite part of Brighton?

Thank you for reading <3

My First Smear Test Experience

 Well hello to you my reader chums! I recently turned 25 which meant receiving my cervical screening letter through the post. It may sound weird to say, but I've always been excited for the day to come, to get the test out of the way, and to feel like a proper adult in another sense.

Whether you're nearly 25 and feeling nervous about your smear test or don't know what to expect, here is my first smear test experience.

My First Smear Test Experience

Booking the appointment

You should receive your letter to get your first smear test a few months before you turn 25, I received mine 3 months before my birthday. But, I found out from my nurse at the appointment that they've lowered the age of the smear test to 24 years and 6 months, which I didn't know before and worth noting, especially to those who want to try and go as early as possible.

The smear test experience

I didn't really think much about the appointment beforehand as I didn't want to work myself up in any way. I did feel a little apprehensive and anxious as I wasn't exactly sure what to expect and heard mixed stories beforehand. However, as the nurse welcomed me in, I felt instantly relieved. She had a friendly and calm approach to her which put my mind at ease before I even sat on the bed.

The nurse asked me a few medical questions and then for me to lie on the bed, removed my underwear, and separated my legs comfortably, ready for the examination. Her presence and reassuring tone helped as she explained the process of the smear. As she began the examination, I found it to be slightly uncomfortable as she was finding my cervix. But once she found it and took the sample, that took a matter of seconds and it was a lot quicker than I expected it to me. And, it didn't hurt at all.

I turned and asked the nurse 'is that it?' As I genuinely couldn't believe it was that quick. I thought it was going to take a lot longer and hurt a lot more than it actually did.

How I felt afterward

Instantly afterward, I had a slight pain, like a weak period pain which probably remained for about twenty minutes after, but it was barely noticeable. Other than that, I felt completely fine and normal and relieved I had it done. I walked away with a spring in my step, as the bit of anxiety I had about the examination had been relieved in every way.

How long till I get the results

My nurse ensured me I should get the results in 2 weeks but due to the pandemic, they'll probably be delayed and around 4 weeks instead. I was pretty surprised at this, as I thought it would take at least 12 weeks to get the results back. However, I received my results in under a week and I can happily say they were negative which was a huge relief.

Why it's so important to book yours in

I cannot stress enough how important it is to get your smear booked in. A smear test or cervical screening as it's known now is a test to test the health of your cervix. And, to see if you have any cells that can potentially turn cancerous. It's a preventative test in a sense to catch these cells early before they can potentially turn into something much worse. It's important as catching abnormal cells in the early stage means treating whatever you may have as quickly as possible before it can get worse. Look after yourself and if you do anything today, book in your smear. AND TELL YOUR FRIENDS TOO AS WELL.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Have you had your smear test before?

Thank you for reading <3

How to live the best life for you - my top tips

 Well hello to you my reader chums! Life is full of up and downs, things that'll test our limits and moments that are so great, we'll never forget them; that's what life is all about. It's not meant to be easy in any sense and we all learn things as we grow older, in order for us to grow from our mistakes and figure out who we truly are.

I think we all aspire to live our best lives and it's something we should all have as a goal because it's important to live your life for you. If you're looking to feel more fulfilled in your everyday life and live the best life for yourself, here are my best tips.

How to live the best life for you

Be authentically you

We all spend many years trying to figure out who we are and what we want in life but I believe all of us know deep inside us that fact, and it's about bringing that out. Living our true and authentic self isn't easy in any sense, as you'll find people will be against it, won't understand you, and that you're open to more judgement.

However, we all deserve to be our true selves and live authentically as possible. Once you learn to accept yourself and embrace that in everyday life, you'll become a lot happier as your soul will be aligned with your exterior self. I can honestly assure you that being your true self will radiate the right people towards you and the right opportunities - and add to you, living your best life.

Do things that make your heart soar

Our passions and goals are what shape us as humans and give us focus on what we should aspire to do. All of us have different hobbies and different loves, and the things that really brighten our moods - and these are the things to gravitate towards, even if they're not feasible.

Whether you're an avid writer like me, love interior design, or have a penchant for gardening, if it brings you joy, make time for it and have it as an active part of your life. By spending time doing the things that make your heart soar, you'll feel happier in yourself and enjoy life a lot more.

Learn to love yourself

I preach about self-love all the time as it's the key to living your true self and having a better life. Learning to love yourself is a long journey but an important and crucial one, a journey we should all begin no matter our age. Loving yourself means accepting your flaws, appreciating who you are, and loving every inch of your being - and knowing, you don't need to be in love with yourself 100% of the time.

By learning to love yourself, you'll naturally cut the negative energy out of your life, gravitate towards the things that make you happy, and in turn, it'll help you live your best life.

Cut out all toxic energy

This leads me to negative energy. No matter who you are, negative energy and toxic people will be a part of your life in some way at one point or another. But, to live your best life, it's important to know where to set the boundaries and cut out that toxic energy from your everyday. When you do this, you can live and focus on the things which are good for you and surround yourself with the right people too.

Take rest days and breaks

This point has taken me time to realise and practice. I've always overworked myself and made sure I was doing things at 100 miles an hour and it's not healthy, leading to me burnout often and my mental health, getting worse. But when I began to take breaks and rest days, I felt completely better overall in my mental and physical health.

When you take the time out to relax, it gives your body the chance to replenish and your mind to refresh, and can do you wonders. And, this can help you feel better in yourself to pursue your loves.

Care for your mental health and wellbeing

Mental health is something I advocate about all the time as it's so important to care for your mind, the way you would your body. Mental illness and mental health are different, some may live with a mental illness like anxiety but we all have mental health, and we all need to do the best for our minds.

This can mean learning more about our mind, our triggers, what we love, what upsets us, and setting boundaries to protect ourselves, and step away from the people who aren't right for us. Looking after your mental health will help you live the best life for yourself because it will lay out the road for how you feel about your life and what you can do to live a happier life.

Take care of your physical health

Your physical health is very important and it's important to take care of your body. That means nourishing your body with food, exercising, hydration, and of course rest. By staying healthy and keeping active, it'll not only help your body but your mind too - and do a world of good for living your best life. As they say, a healthy mind is a healthy life.

Always pursue your dreams 

Dreams are what make the world go round and gives us all some level of hope that there's something better and something to strive towards. Dreams aren't meant to be realistic, that's the beauty of them and we should all have our dreams. By dreaming and pursuing your best thoughts will help you live a better life as you'll always be aiming for something that makes your heart soar.

Practice gratitude

Gratitude is incredibly important and something we should all practice every day in order to have a more positive mindset in life. And when you have a positive mindset, the harder days are easier to accept - and know things will be okay in the end. Then, it means you can lead towards living the best life for you.

Focus on the important things in life

What is important is the love you have around you and learning to love yourself in order to live the best life for you. If you focus on those things, rather than the artificial part of life, you'll find a lot more satisfaction, gratitude, and fulfillment in your everyday life - and also understand how beautiful life truly is to give us the gift of love, friendship, experiences, fun, and happiness.

I hope you enjoyed this post. What other tips do you have?

Thank you for reading <3

Learning to say no and why it's so important

 Well hello to you my reader chums! Setting boundaries and saying no has always been deemed as a bad thing or something that is 'rude', however, it's the opposite of that. Saying no is all about having the love and respect for yourself, and doing what's right for you that'll it'll radiate better energy around you and towards other people.

Whether you find it hard to set boundaries or want to learn to say no easier, here are a few tips on how and why it's so important.

Learning to say no quote

Learning to say no - top tips on how to

Start off small

Nothing new in life is easy, it's all about building yourself up in feeling confident and okay in doing that 'thing', and that's the same with saying no. How many times have you worked extra hours, gone to a social event, or stayed with someone way too long, simply because you felt too shy or rude to say no? Probably many and you're not alone.

We never want to disappoint those around us and often follow the path we think they want for us in order to make them happy, but in turn that makes us unhappy and also makes us not realise who we are, what we want, and how to set boundaries. If something doesn't feel right, whether that's a social meet-up, job task, or trying a drink, you can say no. And starting small is the best way to do it. For instance, turning down a friend as you actually would prefer to have the time for yourself or staying in as you need a mental health day- saying no can apply in all instances and it's about respecting and valuing yourself first in order to make the right decisions.

Understand when someone is crossing a boundary

Boundaries are something I'm constantly learning about every single day and something I wish I learnt earlier in life - and are something we all need to implement for a better way of life. No two people are the same, even if they've got the same genes. We're all wired differently and we all have different boundaries, and it's important to learn what they are.

When you find yourself getting upset about something, even if it's something minor or seems 'unnecessary', it may mean that someone has stepped over a boundary - and that's why it's hard to place why you feel so upset or understand. If you begin to recognise this once, you'll then be in the mindset to know what triggers you and where you're boundaries are and start to implement them for the people around you.

Learn the steps in not feeling guilty

Saying no to friends, family, colleagues or even strangers can feel so unnatural as we're constantly taught to please people around us and be a 'yes' person, and that's where the feeling of guilt may begin to crop up. 

But, guilt is a feeling we can begin to diminish. Like all negative emotions, it can take time but it is possible. The best way to begin not feel guilty is by using affirmations and constantly reassuring yourself that you're making the decision for yourself as you love and care for yourself. You can also try to create a safe space within yourself and take the steps in your self-love journey as these two things as simple as they are, once conquered, can really change your mindset including when it comes to feeling guilty.

Understand you're never too much for the right person

This is something I cannot stress enough and what I've been implementing into many day-to-day thoughts, especially when it comes to people around me. You're never too much for the right person, in terms of your personality, mental health, and most importantly, your boundaries.

The right person will respect the boundaries you set for them, whether they're a pal or a partner and that's why it's so important to understand this concept. If you try to put a boundary in place and the other person doesn't understand or respect that, they're not right for you and it may be worth, creating your distance from that person. Once you understand that the right people will be there for you in every instance, including when you bail and say no, then you will live a much simpler life and be able to put the correct boundaries in place for your mental health.

Communicate why you're saying no

This isn't always necessary as no should be enough, you shouldn't have to explain yourself for being you or if something is hard such as a social situation. However, many people may not understand why you're saying no, and by communicating when you feel uncomfortable and why, or simply because it's not something you want to do or enjoy, will help the other person understand what you're going through - and avoid them doing it in future opportunities.

Why it's so important

Learning to say no is important for many different reasons and can benefit you more than you may realise at first. 

Learning to love and respect yourself

Self-love is something I talk about a lot on my blog and to those around me as we all deserve to love and accept every bit of who we are. Learning to say no feeds into the idea of self-love because, when you make the decision to say no to something that isn't bringing you joy, you're helping your overall life satisfaction and creating the room to do things you love - and will make you happy. It also helps you respect yourself and your own boundaries as you're showing those around you what those boundaries are. You can then understand yourself more, and everybody else can learn from that.

Benefiting your mental health

Mental health and raising awareness about it are so important. Some people may have a mental illness but we all have mental health and it's crucial to take care of your mind, the same way you would your body. Saying no also feeds into looking after your mental health as if you're pushed into doing something, it can make you unhappy and uncertain which in turn will have a negative impact on your mind. Boundaries are key to a happier mind.

Creating a safe circle of people around you

Being who you are is so important as we all deserve to be our true selves, there is only one of us. But that can only be possible when we accept and love ourselves and creating a safe circle of people around us. By saying no and creating boundaries, you'll slowly figure out who that safe circle is and who you can rely on for support and to be your authentic self. 

It gives power back to your life

Saying no is a powerful thing as saying yes is much easier. By saying no, you're taking control of your life, what you want, your dreams your passions, and creating the life you want to live. Saying no is the first step to big things.

I hope you enjoyed this post. What other tips do you have?

Thank you for reading <3

The best things to see and do in Thanet this summer

 Well hello to you my reader chums! Summer is here and that means beach days, warm weather, every ounce of Pimms, and limitless ice creams. The summer, in my opinion, is best spent at the seaside and I'm lucky, I'm a beach baby and have always had the beauty of the sands on my doorstep.

Whether you're a Kent local or planning a seaside staycation, here are the best things to see and do in Thanet this summer.

This post contains affiliate links.

Margate beach Kent

What things are there to do in Thanet?

The beach scene

Thanet is renowned for its beaches from Ramsgate, Broadstairs, and Margate mains sands and all of the gorgeous bays found around and in between. Whether you're looking for a busy and bustling day at the beach or a quiet break on the quieter bays, there is a beach for you in Thanet.

The busier beaches

In the summertime, it's inevitable for any coastal town to get busy and that's the same with Thanet. Visitors from near and afar and locals alike bustle down to the sands as soon as the sunshine hits, and crowds can be likely on many of the more popular beaches. If you love the busy amusements, the exciting beer gardens, or ice cream shop after ice cream shop, there are many beaches you'll love.

The beaches with the best atmosphere are the town's main sands including Ramsgate, Broadstairs (Viking Bay), and Margate. All three of these beaches have many independent restaurants, quaint shops, the cutest cafes, and bars with a lovely atmosphere.

The family-friendly beaches

Thanet is a brilliant hub for families as there is so much to see and do for all different ages. It all depends on what you're looking for on a family day out. I would say Minnis Bay, St Mildred's, Westbrook beach, and Broadstairs beach have the perfect atmosphere for families. Minnis Bay has a slightly quieter appeal but is a long stretch of sand and has a couple of places to eat near the beach, and a park right next to the beach too. St Mildred's and Westbrook are slightly smaller stretches of sand and a great spot for picnics. Broadstairs has the joy of amusements, a gorgeous stretch of sands, is ice cream galore, and has many things to do for all of the family.

The quieter beaches

For a day away from the bustle and dreamy shorelines, you're spoilt for choice in Thanet. There are plenty of stretches of sand I adore in Thanet for a slightly quieter day. Stone Bay, Pegwell Bay, Joss Bay Kingsgate Bay, Palm Bay, and Botany Bay are a few of my favourites. The bays in general are generally quieter areas and perfect if you need a bit of vitamin sea and some fresh sea air.

The Insta-worthy beaches

I've only recently appreciated how much a lot of my local beaches look like I'm abroad and are picturesque in so many ways that sometimes I'm taken aback by how lucky I am to have this beauty on my doorstep. If you're looking for a beach to surprise you with its beauty, there are a few to note. My favourite stunning beaches are Dumpton Gap, Botany Bay, Epple Bay, and Minnis Bay. 

Dreamland Roller Disco Margate

Activities

Seaside towns are a hub for things to do and Thanet is no different. The 'Isle of Thanet' as it's known, has an assortment of activities for all ages, whether you're heading over for a girls' weekend, going on a trip with your family, or your partner.

Dreamland

Dreamland in recent years has become one of the top places to be in Thanet, especially in the summer months. It's known for their markets, football match events, concerts, and many types of gatherings. The park has an assortment of rides, the famous Scenic railway, and plenty of indoor amusements to keep you occupied. It also has a cool roller disco, great food, and is an iconic place for a drink or bottomless brunch. 

Shell Grotto

Located in Cliftonville, Margate, Shello Grotto is a renowned attraction when in Thanet. The Grotto is estimated to be around 2000 years old and believed to be a place of worship back in the day. The passageway is filled with shells, hence the name. The Grotto has shells on the walls and floors, so not only is it a great place for a photo, there is so much history to learn there.

Ramsgate Tunnels 

Thanet has a lot of wartime history about it, including the Ramsgate Tunnels. The Ramsgate Tunnels were built in the war as a way for the citizens to shelter themselves from the bombings. It's the largest network of civilian tunnels in the UK and there, you're able to go on a walking tour. It's a great place for everyone to learn a lot about wartime history on a guided tour and then go for a spot of cake in their cafe too, after the tour.

Independent shopping scene

I don't know about you but I love independent shops and small businesses as I can find quirky and uniques items in them. Thanet is a hub for independent shopping across the main towns of Ramsgate, Broadstairs, and Margate. Margate's old town especially is known for vintage clothing shops and homeware and has something for everyone.

Surfing in Joss Bay 

Love to surf? Then Joss Bay is the beach for you. It's renowned for its surfing scene and the surf school there is a recognised provider for surfing lessons. Whether you're looking to begin surfing or love to do it on the regular, you will love Joss Bay. And, it makes a dreamy spot for sunbathing afterward or to watch the sunset. Joss Bay has a lot on offer!

Turner Contemporary

I can still remember when the Turner Gallery opened and to this day, there is always more to see. The Turner is not for everyone but it's free and amazing for a mooch. If you know nothing about art or would love to see the cool exhibits, it's perfect for a rainy day and to learn something new. It's located right on the Margate seafront and is known for its abstract view of art.

The many museums

I love a museum, I'm a bit of a nerd like that as it's always exciting to learn more. Thanet has more history to it than you would think considering the size, however, the museum scene is large. From the Powell-Cotton Museum in Birchington, The Spitfire, and Hurricane Memorial Museum, the Margate Museum to Ramsgate Maritime Museum and the Dickens House Museum and so many more. 

Mini-golfing 

Mini-golfing always reminds me of my childhood as in Thanet, there are loads of different mini-golfing courses. There's the Liliput mini-golf course in Broadstairs, located right near the beach, the Lost Adventure Golf indoors in Margate, and, in Manston, the Rascal Bay course. There's a course for all types of weather, and they're all varied too.

Bugsys Bowling

If it's a colder day or you fancy an evening activity, bowling is always a good shout and Bugsys Bowling in Margate has been the place to go for years. I've spent many brill evenings in Bugsys and it's a family favourite for many locals in Thanet.

Pegwell Bay Country Park

Thanet has more than beaches in terms of scenery and coastal walks. There is also a lot to see in terms of parks and nature trails. Pegwell Bay Country Park is one of my favourite walks for a bit of tranquility and to get that taste of country air. There are lots of different walks you're able to take in the park and it includes a park for kids, a small cafe, and lots of spots for a picnic.

Where are the best places to eat in Thanet?

Bottega Caruso Margate

The food scene in Thanet is certainly a memorable one from independent family-run restaurants, to quirky cafes and dream-worthy beach bars. I could easily list many that I adore, and here are a few of my favourites.

Restaurants

Bottega Caruso

I will rave about this restaurant forever and always. It's a family-run Italian restaurant, located in Margate Old Town. The produce is freshly made from homemade pasta to the variety of dishes on the menu and they have their own deli in store so you're able to buy all of their products to take away. If you're looking for Italian food made correctly, this is the restaurant that needs to be top of your list.

The Minnis Bay Bar and Brassiere

This restaurant has both good food and beach views over Minnis Bay, what more can you want? The menu is varied but traditionally British with something for everyone and there is the option to dine inside and out, for that alfresco meal in the summer and a hearty meal when the summer days aren't so warm. I've come back time and time again as it's a classic place to dine for all walks of life.

The Med

For tapas lovers and the taste of Mediterranean cuisine, The Med in Margate Old Town is for you. They offer a varied menu with tapas dishes including the staples of king prawns and potatoes bravas to delicious pizzas and cocktails. And, it's the perfect spot when the sun is shining to dine outside.

The Little Sicilian

Italian food is my favourite and I'm always very keen to find the next best Italian eaterie. Like Bottega Caruso, The Little Sicilian is an Italian paradise with Italian food made how it is meant to be. Located in Broadstairs, the gorgeous restaurant has the ambiance of a traditional Italian place to dine, and all the food is crafted from fresh ingredients - you can really taste the difference. And, the staff are super lovely and friendly.

Cafes/brunch

Archive 

I've raved about the Archive a lot and it's my go-to brunch spot in Thanet. The cafe has that eco-friendly appeal and is located along the Royal Harbour in Ramsgate. The Archive offers all-day brunch and has everything from dreamy pancakes for sweet-tooth lovers to the best mushroom on toast spread, plus they offer a whole range of homemade cakes and a view of the harbour.

Namaka 

For vegans and those who prefer plant-based snacks or breakfast, Namaka is a hipster-style cafe located in Broadstairs. It offers a whole range of wholefood style dishes including acai bowls, freshly made smoothies, and granola pots. They're perfect to take away and eat along the beach or eat inside their cool and fresh interior.

Cliffs

Keeping up with the hipster theme, Margate has taken to that vibe with the many cool cafes within its old town. But, there are also many when you step away from its old town and towards Cliftonville, including Cliffs. Cliffs have that old-school atmosphere that serves up a brunch with something for everyone and has its own record store too.

Bars 

Harpers

Harpers Bar is one of those cool and underrated bars tucked away in the hype of Broadstairs from the bustling Royal Pavilion to the Dolphin Pub, but that doesn't take away from its quality. If you prefer something a little bit more intimate for your drinks and love a good cocktail, Harpers is a great choice - and it's only a few minutes walk from Viking Bay too.

The Counting House Bar

To get that taste of extravagance and top-class cocktails, The Counting House Bar does just that and is located along Broadstairs high street. They offer an assortment of cocktails, one for every type of drinker, and the interior is unique, to say the least, with metal-style walls and tables - and super Insta-worthy.

Mariners Bar

For that taste of a classic British pub vibe, The Mariners Bar has got you. It's located on Ramsgate Harbour and looks over towards the boats giving you the view and the vibes. The drinks are reasonable, everyone is always so friendly and they're renowned for having live bands in so you'll be singing along all evening.

Imperial Bar Meze

Located on Margate seafront, the Imperial Bar Meze has really upped its game for drinks and offers an assortment of cocktails and drinks, with a cool vibe about it. Plus, you're able to sit outside and overlook the beach and are close by to a strip of many other fun cocktail bars to dabble into like the Sun Deck. There is also Margate steps, which is a great spot for watching the sunset and having a glass of wine.

Where to stay

I've been lucky enough to live in Thanet my entire life but as a seaside hub, there are many incredible places to stay from hotels to apartments. Whether you're visiting Ramsgate, Broadstairs, or Margate, there is a place with your name on it.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Are you planning a trip to the coast?

Thank you for reading <3

5 things that make me happy ft Poster Store | Gifted

Well hello to you my reader chums! We all have things in life that make our hearts soar, whether they're people, hobbies, passions, or the beauty of capturing a moment by picture. I'm very vocal when it comes to the things which make me happy and I talk about my passions regularly to those around me. When the Poster Store got in touch about collaborating with them, I jumped at the chance as it was a way to bring those passions of mine to life visually in my bedroom. 

5 things that make me happy

The Poster Store is a new Swedish company, launched by two brothers, Oskar and Tobias Enlund. Their main focus is sustainability (which I love) and they specialise in high-quality, sustainable wall art, printed in Stockholm on ecological paper. The Poster Store offers something for everyone with varied posters including typography to silhouettes and a selection of different prints, that you can easily choose the right print to suit your décor taste. 

This post contains items that are gifted by the Poster Store but all thoughts are my own.

Whether you're planning to create a gallery wall or need a print for your new home, here are my favourite picks from the Poster Store and the 5 things that inspired my choices.

Travelling around the world

It's no secret that my biggest passion in life is booking a flight and jetting off to a new location, whether it's the next country over or thousands of miles away. The experience of a new place and seeing something for the first time is exhilarating to me and I can't think of anything better. Roaming around off the beaten path, discovering an old school family-run restaurant, or visiting the sights, is all that travelling is about.

The two travel-themed photos I chose were one of the Amalfi Coast in Italy and the other is a Broadway sign. Italy is my favourite country ever, it's a place that feels like home to me as I'm part Italian and I've always been in love with the culture, the food and their way of life. It's a place I'll return back to over and over again to explore new cities and regions without ever getting bored of the pure joy it brings. The Amalfi Coast is a region I'm yet to explore but has been on my list for the longest time. I want to see the endless colourful houses hugging the coast with my own eyes, take a dip in the cool waters and eat the freshly cooked Italian food, alfresco style.

The other image of Broadway fulfills my love of musicals and the theatre. I've been to the West End more times than I can count and I love experiencing the fun and excitement of what musicals are, and the happiness they bring me. I've been to Broadway once on my trip to New York and I long to go back and this photo gives me all the reminiscing feels.

Writing stories

I'm a writer, that's a part of my soul. I've written for as long as I can remember, making up stories and as I've gotten older, writing on this blog. I've written five novels over the past year or so and it has made the writing love in my heart grow even more as I know it's the thing I'm meant to be doing, and what is right for me.

The picture 'create your story' was too apt to resist. I know when I now look at it, it'll give me the motivation to keep going with my writing and never give up. It also has a double meaning I think because it inspires me to create my own story and live the life I want to lead. Life is all about creating stories to tell in years to come, whether they're fictional on paper or the memories we make with loved ones.

5 things that make me happy

The people I have around me

I practice gratitude a lot as it helps with my outlook on life and also keeps me grounded. I'm incredibly lucky to be surrounded by a strong family unit and have the best group of friends a girl could ever have. My loved ones make every day a little easier, every moment a little brighter and make me feel loved when I need it most. The print I chose to represent this was the heart silhouette image. It's simple with the thin brushstroke but I love that as it goes with the black and white theme and shows that love can be simple for the right ones for you.

My ambitions and dreams

I've always been a dreamer with my head in the clouds, dreaming of an unrealistic life that a lot of us imagine when we're kids before the reality of the world hits. However, those ambitions are still strong as I believe we all deserve to have the life we imagine including me. I'm a big inspirational quote person as they usually offer the wisest and most simple advice that I can take with me in life.

I chose the picture with the quote 'change your thoughts and you'll change your world' as it really resonates with this idea. Your mindset can really change every element of your life and gravitate the right things towards you, whether they're opportunities or people.

5 things that make me happy

The person I am becoming 

Life is about growth, personally, professionally, financially, and in knowledge. It's always about learning who you are and bettering yourself as a human, every single day. I look back at who I was in my teens and where I am today, and I'm proud of the person I'm becoming and how I've changed in myself. That change makes me happy every day as I've gone from someone who hated every part of themselves to a person who is excited about everything she is doing. The picture 'I am still learning' really helped me think of the journey I've been on and keeps me grounded for what is to come and gives me all the emotional feelings.

Fancy treating yourself to a poster or need a new addition to your gallery wall? Use my code DELLA35 for 35% off across all posters (except Selection Posters and frames.) Not combinable with other discount campaigns. Valid from the 2nd of July to the 2nd of August.

I hope you enjoyed this post. What is your favourite print?

Thank you for reading <3

Book review: The Missing Wife by Shelia O'Flanagan

 Well hello to you my reader chums! You know when you read a book and think this is so relatable to a character's feelings and I want to read more and more? This was how I felt about The Missing Wife. 

If you're looking for a light-hearted but slightly thriller stylebook for your holiday, this is one to pick up on your next book shop trip, and here is my full review.

*This post contains an affiliate links.

The Missing Wife by Shelia O'Flanagan book

Plotline

It looks like Imogen and Vince Naughton had a perfect and happy marriage, and were always on cloud nine together. However, when Imogen randomly disappears, everyone, she knows is in shock including her husband Vince. He treated her like a princess and she always tells everyone how lucky she is to have him.

But what goes on behind close is often different from what the outside world sees and Imogen surprises herself by taking the leap to get back to her old self. However, what she doesn't realise is that her past is right behind her, getting nearer by the day. The plot is all about whether that past catches up with her and Imogen on her journey of self-discovery and learning to love herself again.

Characters and relationships

The beauty of fictional books is reading about characters and watching their personalities and journey in a story unveil.  Imogen is a character that I loved from the off as I related to her in so many ways, but also really appreciated her courage, her organisation, and her desire to get back to the life she once has. The book really focuses on a whole look at her life and all the trauma she'd experienced before this point and the life events which shaped her existence into who she is now - and how those things made her choose to go back to France and get her life back. Imogen is one of those characters that seems down to earth, strong and loving, and that's apparent in every relationship she makes when departing to France.

Vince, Imogen's husband I disliked from the off. The way he spoke, the way he described his and Imogen's life actually made my skin crawl at times. He seemed like an entitled, selfish, and controlling man in every single sense, and even from the first few pages, I can understand why Imogen left him. But as the story unveils and Vince sets off to find Imogen, things become a lot clearer to what their relationship really was like.

The other characters I adored are all of the lovely people Imogen meets in France and become great friends of her including Celine and Rene and many other people that end up intertwining in her overall story. They bring an element of positivity into her life and for the first time in a while, give her the hope and courage that she needs.

Overall thoughts

Overall, I absolutely loved this book. The development of the plot, the growth of character development, and the setting descriptions were enough to hook me in. Plus, I also loved the slight thriller element as I couldn't tell what was going to happen next or how the story will pan out.

The way Imogen and Vince's relationship was written is genius and so apt in many ways. The writer nailed the plot to every little detail and I really enjoyed learning what was coming for Imogen and if she would get the happy ending she deserved. It's a long old read but I enjoyed every page; the author has this way of hooking you in with every page and that's how I know I've found a good book.

Ending`

I'm obviously not going to give away the ending, however, what I can say is it made me feel very content and uplifted. Everything was brought together so well and it made sense how the author panned for Imogen's story to end and for some good to come her way. In my opinion, it was the perfect ending for all of the characters in the book.

If you'd like to buy yourself a copy, you can do so here. I highly recommend this book!

I hope you enjoyed this review. What books are you loving at the minute?

Thank you for reading <3

25 things I've achieved in 25 years

 Well hello to you my reader chums! I turned 25 on Monday and to me, that's a big deal. Being in my twenties and reaching the midway mark came with a lot of pressure that we all experience but, honestly I'm thrilled to be 25 and I feel the best I ever have in myself. I've celebrated turning 25 in style and I'm forever grateful for everyone around me who made it so incredibly special.

Reaching a new birthday year, I like to sit and reflect on what I've learnt in the previous year, how I did when I turned 21 and 24. However, for this birthday, I wanted to look back at everything I've achieved. If you're 25 and looking back at your life, here are 25 things I've achieved in 25 years.

25 things I've achieved in 25 years

Travelled to 20 countries

I have the biggest passion for travel and one of the things I'm always thinking and dreaming about is where I'm going next or the places I've visited in the past. I have the longest list of countries and cities I want to visit; I'm excited to roam around, delve into the new culture, meet locals and eat all of the traditional cuisines. 

I'm proud and grateful to say, I've visited 20 countries (plus the many cities/regions I've visited too in those countries) and my heart and soul are ready to add 100 more to that list and one day maybe even have the opportunity to see every country in the world. I'm very lucky to have achieved seeing so much at this age and I can't wait to tick many more places off my never-ending list in years to come. Adventure fills my soul with pure joy and is the thing that makes me the happiest.

Overcome my travel anxiety

I've spoken about this many times on my blog, however, even though travel is my biggest passion, it wasn't always that way. My anxiety used to be so bad, I couldn't even leave the house, let alone get on a plane and leave the country. It took time, many of the darkest days and completely pushing myself into the unknown to get myself over the first hurdle on wanting to get better with my travel anxiety. When I booked my first girls trip 6 years ago and got a taste of the adventure, I knew at that moment it was something my heart desired, and I wanted to fight the anxiety which would stop me from enjoying the travel way of life. You can read more on how I did this in my travel anxiety post, and truly, I couldn't be prouder.

Written 5 novels

Since I learnt how to read, I knew I wanted to be an author. Books made younger me incredibly happy and they still do, immersing me in a fictional tale. I've been wanting to write a novel for the longest time, but something always got in the way. However, over the last year, I finally put my head down (thanks to furlough) and got cracking, and managed to write two adult fiction books and three middle-grade children's fiction books and I love each and every one of the stories. I now, dream of nothing more than getting them published and having my books on the shelves of Waterstones.

Learnt to love me

I talk about self-love on this blog, my journey and tips all of the time as it's something I've tried to do for years and over the past two, I would say have been the lightbulb moment of my journey. Learning to love me is still a process every day, but I've got to the point where I've learnt to accept and love all the parts of me - and accept, not every day I'm going to be my biggest fan. I'm still learning and that's the most important thing.

Built my self-confidence

Self-confidence goes hand in hand with self-love and my journey with it hasn't exactly been an easy one. Growing up, I was always shy and introverted and didn't believe in myself, second-guessing everything. But with great friends, family and a support system around me, and with age, confidence has slowly come. I'm not completely there but I've built it to a point that I'm confident in myself, who I am and I'm ready to take on anything that life throws at me. I look back at my 16-year-old self and I want to give her a hug with the lack of self-confidence that was so prominent in me. I feel a million times more confident in myself and my body, and I love that more than anything.

Passed my driving test

I love to drive. It's not like I've not ever been a confident driver, however, it did take me 5 times to actually pass as testing day made me way too nervous. But, I passed at the age of 22 and have now been driving for 3 years.

Celebrated 8 years of my blog

I'm forever grateful to have this blog to share my thoughts, my travels and things I've learnt in my adult life. It has been an online space to grow my writing, develop my marketing skills and navigate my way in the blogging community. I'm so happy I made the decision at 16 and I'm proud I've kept this blog up for 8 years, and I hope to continue it forevermore.

Built a marketing career for 6 years 

I've worked in marketing since I was 19 and I've loved over the span of 6 years how much I've grown in my knowledge, in what I can do and how I've had the ability to be creative. Over those 6 years, I've worked for various companies and met people in due course who have taught me lifelong lessons, and people I know will either be in my life for the long haul or their impression that they made in me will. I'm excited to see what the next step in my marketing career takes - and I'm so glad that when I was 18, the apprenticeship I applied for pushed me into the world of marketing.

Learnt how to cope with my anxiety

I could write about my anxiety for days and I've shared my experience in an open letter and the tips I've used to help me overcome it during the past decade. But, I'm not cured, I probably never will be. What I've learnt to realise instead is my triggers, what I can do to prevent or recover from them and the things I need to do to feel supported, and who to go to. I've been able to communicate to my loved ones what they need to do in order to help me and that has been a massive learning curve. Now, I'm in a much better position with my anxiety than I once was.

Built-up my savings

It has always been important to me to be financially independent and have my own money and savings so I don't need to rely on anyone else, and since I've started earning at the age of 18, I've kept to that promise. I've always made sure to have some sort of backup money to fall back on should I or someone around me need it. Over the last year, has been the best for my savings game and I've reached a total I'm very proud of and as I get nearer to my thirties, I want to be in a better financial position.

Maintained the best group of friends

I'm incredibly lucky for the girls I surround myself with. As we've gotten older, we're not living out of each other's pockets anymore but the love, the support and the pure joy are still prominent and I know they're always going to be there for me. Maintaining friendships can be hard as I got older, but my girls have got me and I've got them and I'm forever grateful for those solid roots that I'll have for the rest of my life.

Backpacked SE Asia

I dream about my backpacking trip far too often and sometimes I can't believe I did it and went away for 2 months, backpacking around south-east Asia. It has to be my favourite trip to date and I want to go back and do another backpacking trip again. The freedom of backpacking is a joyful feeling and everything I experienced from island hopping, meeting the elephants, eating street food to meeting fellow backpackers, locals and motorbiking on the islands, are memories I'll have for the rest of my life. I'm proud of myself for immersing in something completely new, a new way of travelling and for being away from home for that period of time.

Flew abroad on my own

Like travel anxiety, I used to have the biggest fear of flying which went hand in hand with my fear of heights. I would have panic attacks and dread the entire sensation of flying but by doing it more often, the fear slowly got better. And, around 5 years ago now, I wanted to push myself and flew abroad to see my family on my own and to date, it is one of my proudest moments.

Overcome my fear of heights

Having a fear of heights was something I lived with for years and even sometimes now, it is still there, but for the most part, I can handle it. I've been up to the tallest building in the world, climbed to incredible island views, fly freely and don't have that dreaded feeling when walking up to any sort of high buildings and that makes me happy.

Achieved the best grades in school

I was a massive hard worker at school and always had my head in a book, and was certainly one for the 'uncool' kids but to be honest, I'm glad I was the geeky girl as it set me forward in life with motivation, drive and ambition to succeed. It may have meant I went through years of bullying and not feeling good enough because of my peers, but I achieved good grades and made myself and my family proud.

Grasped the ability to let go

Letting go is something we all need to try and grasp in our life as it's so important, even though it may be the hardest thing ever. Whether it's a relationship or a job, choosing to let go when it doesn't feel right anymore will do the world of good. I don't like to say I've mastered this but I am in the process of learning it and accepting how important it is for my own mental health, and that in itself is an achievement.

Overcome many obstacles to become stronger

We all go through really hard times in life, the same way we go through the best of times, and the hard moments are what shape us as people. I've had many obstacles thrown in my way as I've gotten older especially and I'm proud I've overcome them to become a stronger human being.

Overcome my fear of crowds

My anxiety meant crowds and lots of groups of people absolutely terrified me and caused me way too many panic attacks to date. Whether I was in a club, on the tube or a crowded place in general, it freaked me out way too much. Over time, when I was getting better with my social anxiety and travel anxiety, the fear slowly got smaller and today, crowds do not bother me at all.

Learnt how to be my authentic self

Over the past year, I feel like being my authentic self has been more prominent. I've always known who I am, I'm quite a self-assured person, however people's opinions and influences always affected me over time, suppressing who I truly was. In my journey of self-love and confidence, I've learnt how to express myself and it makes me proud that I'm on the journey of living truly like myself.

Never giving up on my dreams

I'm a big dreamer, so many people always tell me how unrealistic all my goals are, but without dreams then what is the point? I know a lot of my dreams are unrealistic and maybe not feasible, but I love the push and the ambition to reach all of those goals. And even though, I'm getting knocked back, I'll never give up on my dreams.

Learnt to take accountability for my actions

As I've gotten older, I've learnt about the power of accountability and how important it is. It's not like I've always gone around blaming people, however, it can be easier to blame others for your actions rather than admitting you're wrong. Lately, I've learnt as hard as it is, to ensure I always take that accountability when I think or know I was in the wrong and admit that.

Started my own baking business

In 2018, my twin sister and I opened our own baking business, Twinnies Bake. I've adored every minute of running and growing the business and seeing the joy in customer's faces as they received our brownies/cakes/cookies/cupcakes and more.We had to take a big break due to lockdown but we're excited to get back to it and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for Twinnies Bake!

Swam/kayaked in open water

I have a lot of fears as you've probably read from this post so far but something that still is a fear for me, is open water and I'm working on it to this day. My biggest accomplishments to date around water are going parasailing, swimming in open water in Phi Phi off the boat and going kayaking in Vietnam. I look back at all of those moments with pride as even though I was terrified, I did it.

Turned 25 feeling the best in myself

My last achievement is turning 25 and feeling the best in myself that I ever had. I'm still learning to love all that is me, grow my confidence and continuously learn new things about me every day, but I'm on the road to achieving everything I want to do and want to be. I hope the year of 25 is everything I've dreamt of with all the successes and fun that comes with it. I'm forever grateful to reach this point and have those around me in my life. 25, let's see what you bring.

I hope you enjoyed this post! What is your biggest accomplishment?

Thank you for reading <3