6 September 2017

Child's Play

When I was 15, we moved from my childhood home to a bungalow around ten minutes walk up the hill from us.  I am not lying to you when I tell you that I was devastated.   That house held so many memories for me that I could not bear to leave it.  

Memories of my dad reading The Far Away Tree to me on a Sunday morning, being pushed on the swing in the garden, the huge cherry blossom trees that used to tap on my window.  Family parties and birthdays, so many memories that I did not want to leave behind.

The street where we lived on was quite an unusual choice for a family.  The majority of residents were elderly and I think that I spent more time on that street talking to old ladies than I did children.  There were no outdoor playgrounds nearby either so much of what I did was based on things made up in my head.

I remember spending many an hour throwing the ball on my driveway, unsuccessfully learning how to ride a bike (my balance is bad, what can I say?) and making what I used to call potions with our elderly next door neighbour.

Starting primary school with so many children was a big of a shock as I was not used to it.  It did not stop me making friends or halter my progress.  If anything, not having many children around in my first few years I think it led to me having a better imagination which has benefited me throughout my life.

I have started walking past my old house sometimes when I take the puppa for a walk.  I wonder how it has changed and sometimes take a sneak peak through the window (from the pavement, not up to the glass haha) while I am walking past.

I can still see myself as a child running around that street, the elderly neighbours getting visits from me and the stories of their lives they used to tell me.  It was an innocent and wonderful childhood.  If I ever see that house up for sale, I will be the first one having a look around!

*Collaborative post 

3 August 2017

5 Tips For Dining Alone #TrulyScrumptious

As I have been talking about a lot on my blog lately, I am on a quest to be more adventurous in my single life.  You don't need to be part of a couple to have fun after all!.  I want to be able to go away on my own, be it a week's holiday or a weekend away.

A city break is something that I am comfortable doing alone and next year I am looking towards trying out a new city for some culture, shopping and new food experiences.  Liverpool!

Whilst I have my plans for the culture element of my trip; as ever, the thing that I am worried about is eating alone.  Having done my research, for the shopping and eating portion of my weekend, Liverpool One has everything that I need.  With over 130 places to eat, I am really looking forward to trying out places I have never been before.  I may be the one person in the UK that has never had a Nandos!

Having tried out eating on my own several times now when I have been out or away alone, here are some tips on how to dine out in style and still feel confident when you are out of your comfort zone. 

Don't Start Out With Dinner

The first time I dined out alone was for breakfast.  I had been on a business night away and was dying for some breakfast.  But alone?  In truth, breakfast on your own is easy and a great place to start.  The only thing people are concerned about at that time in the morning is getting their coffee and something to eat.  No one cares if someone is eating alone.  Their prime thought process is "Give me coffee!!!!!!!!!!!"

Lunch is the next step.  For that, take a little help.

Take Things to Distract You

When you are convinced that people are looking at you eating alone (even though they are more than likely not), you need something to distract you while eating your meal that is going to restore your confidence and reduce your stress levels.

Your phone is the number one aid that is going to help you but I always take a book with me or, if I have some work to do, a little netbook that I can work on while still having a bite to eat and maybe a glass of wine.

Wear Something You Feel Confident In

When we feel good about ourselves, we are more confident.  You don't have to go out wearing a ball gown, the outfit can be as casual as a pair of jeans flip flops.  Just make sure that you feel good wearing it.

Bring Along Some Affirmations

When you are shy, socially awkward and convinced that people are looking at you (even when they aren't) like me, sometimes you need a reminder that you really are OK.  Put a slip of paper in your purse saying "You are doing fine".  Put a reminder on your phone to come up mid way through your meal saying "Enjoy yourself, you are doing this".

The Big One

For me, the hardest and most challenging meal to eat on your own is dinner.  Friends groups, families and couples around you, it is a daunting process.  But try to look at it another way.  One of my friends and I's favourite pastimes is people watching.  You have a whole restaurant to watch!  Is she breaking up with him?  I wonder what those girls are celebrating? How on earth is that family managing to eat with all those children running around?

Use it as entertainment.  Looking down at your food and avoiding eye contact is what will actually make you noticed.

 You can apply these tips to any solo situation when you are out in public.  Make it so that at times when you are alone, you are not alone at all.  You have yourself.  There is nothing wrong with loving some time to yourself.  As those famous boys from Liverpool said:

Love is all you need.

*In collaboration with Liverpool One