21 March 2019

Stopping Smoking - Can It Change You As a Person?

Just a little musing on the blog today and a question:  Has anyone experienced a real change in their personality, mental health or general mental wellbeing since they stopping smoking cigarettes?

Image by roegger from Pixabay
First and foremost, let me say that I am not one of those irritating ex smokers who suddenly think that cigarettes are the plague of the earth and shout loudly and regularly from the rooftops of how disgusting smoking is.

I MISS IT.  I miss it so much.  I miss the after dinner cigarette, I miss the pleasurable addition of smoking when having a glass of wine or a cocktail; I miss the temporary calmness they would give me if I was having a bad day.  I miss them.

As a smoker you are well used to all the people that would wax lyrical about how bad it was for your health and how much money it must be costing you etc.  You would feel like wanted to stab them in the eye?  I still feel like that.  Sanctimonious ex smokers can take a hike.

Anyway.  Back to topic.  Physical health and money benefits aside, can't say I have really noticed either yet, I have to say that my mental health and wellbeing has definately changed.

For as long as I can remember, probably my whole adult life, I have had a numbing or  muting of emotions.  General the positive emotions.  Sadness, pain and anxiety I never had a problem with.  How typical. 

Feelings of anticipation, excitement, joy, happiness, feelings of just being damn normal, were just not really there.  I said the words and played out the emotions for people, but I never felt them.  I knew what they felt like because I used to experience them, but hadn't in many many years.

Not feeling, felt normal.  All the bright colours of emotions just did not live within me, except the black that occasionally would overtake me.  Everything was just muted.

Image by Alexandra Haynak from Pixabay

The only reason that I knew that I was not "normal", if anyone ever really is, is that on the occasional day, I felt everything.  It felt wonderful.  I would just wake up one day and experience a full day of normal feelings.  The world became exciting and full of wonderment.  Sadly, the next day, I went back to normal, my normal.

Not to tempt fate here (please fate, I'll be good I promise), but after around four weeks of not smoking, all of these feelings have come back.  I feel genuine happiness.  I feel excited when plans are made.  I feel anticipation when something good and new is about to happen.  I feel.   I feel everything.

Is this an effect of stopping smoking?  It would a be a very large coincidence if it was not related. 

My question I guess is very specific as I do not know anyone else who lived with the muting of emotions that I did.  I am sure that there is a name for it but I do not know what it is.

Whatever the reason, the world is full of colour again.  I look forward to each day, whatever it may hold and there is always now, some happiness to be found.  Even in the smallest corner.

How To Be Confident In Photographs

Image by Rene Pister from Pixabay

No matter who you are, in this day and age of social media photos are everywhere and hard to avoid. So, if you’re not feeling confident in front of the camera, then this might be something that fills you with dread every time your mate gets her phone out. Well fear not, there are ways you can overcome this and look and feel your best in every photo.

Know Your Angles
Standing in front of a mirror and taking some time to see what angles you prefer on your body might sound silly (no one needs to know) but it’s actually really beneficial and will help you to feel more confident if you already have an idea how you like to look! 

Another thing you can do is take lots of selfies; they’re really great for helping you to know what to do when someone else is taking the photo! So next time you're in front of a camera, get your instasmile ready and just pretend you're taking a selfie.
Ignore Everyone Else
It's so easy to feel self-conscious when taking a photo of yourself or having one taken of you. If you’re in a town full of people you might be feeling concerned about what other people think of you, or think you're being judged, but you need to forget all that because honestly, most of the time people don't even notice or they don't care. Try to forget about the rest of the world around you and enjoy the process.

Enjoy Yourself
It's so important to try and have fun while you're having your photo taken as this will shine through on the picture. The more you relax and let yourself go, the more fun you'll have, the more confident you will feel, and the more beautiful the photos will be.

Wear Something You’re Comfortable In
If you're not very confident in front of a camera, then you should definitely stick to wearing something that you feel confident and comfortable in. There is nothing worse than feeling uncomfortable and unconfident in photos as it will show and they won’t be photos you’ll want to look at again. If you are having a photoshoot or you know you’re going to be having your picture taken then wear an outfit that you love, and your confidence will shine through so much more. Then, once you're happy having people photograph you, feel free to experiment a bit with your outfits!

Fake It Till You Make It
No one knows at first what they’re doing in photos, not even models. They’ve all been there and look at them know. A lot of the time, people you think look great and confident in their pictures are often putting on an act, and pretending that they do, and you know what? It works! Pretending that you're confident in yourself will more often than not make you actually feel confident. So just fake it till you make it!

18 March 2019

Same Curved Opinion, A New Approach

Welcome to my new blog!

New blog you say?  But you have been blogging for eight years?  Well yes, I have.  This blog has undergone many changes over the years; from a place where I shared my thoughts and darkest secrets (now deleted so don't go looking), to a plus size fashion blog, then a lifestyle and opinion blog.

I decided to monetize this blog a few years ago as a sideline, but as a result and by mistake, I got sidetracked.  I began to write purely for profit, with the only occasional semblance of what I really wanted to write.  I lost myself and my motivation to write from my heart.

While writing professionally is something that I enjoy doing now and again and I do feel that it is something that I am good at, it does not drive my writing.  I do not profess to be a great writer, by any means; but they say that you should do what you love; and pouring my thoughts out in this blog has changed my life.

That sounds like an over exaggeration.  But it is true.

As I wrote about recently, I have quit smoking.  The extra money that I made through paid blogging, also funded my habit.  As such, I never kept a record of what I was spending on cigarettes and accepted some posts and wrote on some subjects that I would not ordinarily have chosen.

Whilst I will continue to occasionally write commercially, I want to get back to my writing roots.  The reason that I started blogging in the first place.  To pour my thoughts out on to the screen.  Things about my life, things about current events, my thoughts and opinions on anything; and everything.

There are a million different topics that run around in my head all the time.  My thoughts and theories change as I think about, research and listen to other people.  But yet I never write about them anymore.  Some controversial topics, some not.  

I truly believe that you should be able to talk about and say whatever you want, within the parameters of the law of course!  This is something that is currently shifting in current climes, but that is the subject of another blog post!

One of the things that I most recently wrote about was inclusivity within gaming, using Battlefield V as my example of when inclusivity does not have a place or is incorrectly used.  I felt more myself writing that than I have in a couple of years of writing.

My next upcoming piece is in relation to someone I greatly admire, a lady who goes under the pseudonym Jean Hatchet on Twitter.  Jean raises money for refuges for women who have suffered from domestic violence and has single handedly raised a nearly £19,000 so far.

Read more about Jean in my next blog post!

14 March 2019

Tops For The Dress Addict

As a dress addict, it’s tough to find tops you like. You enjoy the freedom a dress gives,  and tops and pants are just a burden. If you must wear a top - and I really can’t think of a reason why - here are some tops that are great for the dress addict who has trouble letting go.

Fitted Tops

Fitted tops help you maintain the same curves and figure-flattering style of a dress. You can get all kinds of fitted tops in many different fabrics to mimic your favorite dresses and make you feel sexy. Fitted tops enhance your shape and look elegant, fun, and professional.

Oversized Tops

If what you like about dresses is their free-flowing nature, then an oversized top makes a great transition. They give you freedom of movement and are long enough to cover the rear section that dresses usually hide. Wear oversized tops with leggings to make you even more comfortable and stylish.

Belted Tops

Many dresses have belts or ties around the waist, and you can get tops like this, too. They flatter your waist and draw the eye to something of interest. If you enjoy wearing dresses that enhance your hourglass figure or draw attention to your waistline, these types of tops are great for you.

Cami Tops

You can wear a cami alone or under another top. While some would never feel comfortable wearing a cami alone, you can use a strategically coordinated cami under a sheer top or button down to give your wardrobe more versatility. Pick out colours you will wear a lot, making them even more versatile and giving you a pop of colour.

It can be tough to transition away from dresses, but if the situation calls for it, you have some great options for tops that will mimic the style of your favorite dresses and make you feel comfortable despite the change in wardrobe for the day.

11 March 2019

6 super simple tips to help you feel sexier in your own skin

With the busy lives we lead, its so easy to loose your mojo. With long days sat at your desk or chasing after the kids, it’s no wonder so many of us are burnt out….and its certainly difficult to feel sexy while you’re utterly exhausted.

But don’t worry. Here are 6 super simple tips to help you feel sexier in your own skin.

Change up your makeup routine

You don’t need makeup to look beautiful. Lets just get that straight. But if you want to feel a little sexy from time to time, then why not shake up your makeup bag with some new additions? A new voluminous mascara – click the link to find the best mascara on the market – to a luscious lip gloss or bold lip stain. If you don’t’ fancy makeup, why not treat yourself to a new moisturiser or exfoliator to help you skin glow naturally?

Book some time away

If you have little ones, get a babysitter on the phone. You and your partner need some time away. There’s scientific proof that indulging in spontaneity acts like an aphrodisiac which will have you feeling sexy, powerful and ready to take on anything!

Touch your skin

We all know how much we need to rush in the morning, a quick shower is all we have time for. But if you make a little more time, you can enjoy your shower – get used to the feel of your body and your own skin. Afterwards take your time when you’re applying your body lotion or moisturiser, getting to know how amazing and gorgeous your body is will make you feel super sexy.

Read something hot

Remember a few years ago when everyone was practically tearing at the pages of a particular book series about a certain Mr Grey? Well, why not revisit a racy novel, or find a new one to sink your teeth into. And don’t be afraid to read it in public – it’ll make you feel extremely risqué and confident!

Boost your bust

When was the last time you treated yourself to a new bra? Sure, we all have our favourites and our old faithful’s sitting in your underwear drawers, but a bad bra can give you poor posture and not the wow factor that you deserve. Go and get yourself measured properly and find some underwear that compliments you, your skin tone and your budget. And remember your partner might approve, but this is for you!

Make eye contact

Take a moment to think about how you ask for sex…how do they know that you’re in the mood? Do you drop subtle hints? Mumble it under your breath or just hope that they get the hint…? Well, next time you’re feeling a little hot under the collar, look your partner right in the eye and make it sensual. It’ll take them back to when you first starting dating and how you couldn’t keep your hands off each other!

6 March 2019

Saying Goodbye To My Thirties

*Long read

So here it is.  The last day of my thirties.  Tomorrow, I will be 40 years old.

40 doesn't sound like something that should apply to me.  It so old.  Middle aged.   Oh Jesus.....

40 sounds like a person who knows what they are doing, more adult than I sometimes feel.  When a problem arises I still sometimes look around the room for an adult.  Someone more adult than I.  So, not like I have a choice in the matter, I am ready to be 40?

Yes, I think that I am.

The past two decades have not been easy, especially between my mid twenties and early thirties.  I had no confidence, I lived in a sea of black clothing and had little self worth.  I went in and out of depression and anxiety and sometimes, felt so sad that I wondered what the point of it all was.

Feelings of happiness, passion and hope seemed to be watered down and only on the occasional day did glimpses of them appear.  An emotional blunting or dulling of effect.

Certain people blazed a trail through my life like a shooting star.  All bright and beautiful till it crashes and burns.  Others disappointed me and abused my trust more than words can say.

That isn't to say that I did not also have fun over those years.  I had lots.  But I knew that I was not the person that I was supposed to be.  I was masked.  A fog covered me.

But then.  I started to write.  I found Twitter and found a voice that I never knew that I had.  A voice that was hidden on the internet so I was free to say what I wanted.  But I was still shy.  Still scared.

Then I started to blog.  I found plus size bloggers and found a world of colour and confidence that exploded my mind.  Fat women, like me, who wore colour and pattern.  They were self assured, knew who they were; they had confidence and sass.  Everything that I wanted.  I vowed to change.

This review was my first outing as a plus size blogger.  I cannot tell you how many photographs were taken and discarded.  How times I wrote the post and published, only to delete, rewrite, edit and publish again.

My confidence grew.  I grew to love pattern and found my confidence.

I did a photo shoot (cue moody pout).  I modeled (Can you see the smile?  That was happiness right there.)  Still not sure about that jumper though haha

I went from someone who actively hid from the camera, to someone who loves a good selfie.  I became more confident and with that, I got angry.

In the past few years, my focus has changed from the confidence in what I look like and the image that I present to the world, to what I think and what I say.  My blog pieces have become more serious and focused.  My voice on Twitter has expanded and I no longer am afraid to say anything that I think.  This has both lost and gain followers.  I care not.

I quit smoking 2 months ago.  Whether coincidence or not, the emotional blunting that I have experienced for so many years has gone.  I feel all the good.  The happiness I now have in my life, the joy, the expectation, the hope.  The excitement for the future.

I went on a spa day today with my best friend.  Someone who has been my best friend since I was 15 years old.  She has been there through every up and down, every high and every low.  She has seen the best and the worst in me.

She has seen all the recent changes in me over the recent years in confidence, in clothing, in what I say and what I share and think.  But she told me today that finally, after so long, she is now seeing the person that she first met, all those years ago.  Free, confident, happy, expectant, hopeful and most importantly, completely and utterly myself, without the fog that has covered me for so long.

I am back to myself again.  I would say that that is a damn good way to start your 40s.  Wouldn't you?

28 February 2019

The Beauty Of Birth Flowers

Did you know that every month is assigned a flower? If you are struggling to think of a gift to buy someone, you now have the answer – a bouquet of stunning flowers that contains their birth month flower. This is something that is bound to go well. You could even team it with a piece of jewellery with their birthstone if you are purchasing for someone special. With that being said, read on to discover what the birth flower of each month is.

What are the different birth flowers?
The birth flower of January is a carnation. This beautiful flower comes in a whole host of colours, with each colour having a different meaning. Yellow means ‘I wish I could be with you’ while pink means ‘I will never forget you’.

The birth flower of February is Iris, which is associated with humility and faithfulness.

Daffodil is the birth flower for March. This flower has a cheery appearance and it says ‘you are an angel.’

If your loved one was born in April, send flowers containing sweet pea.

For May, lily is the flower to choose, and you have a variation of lilies to choose from. Lily of the Valley is particularly popular.

The birth flower of June is the rose. Everyone knows that this is a flower that is connected with love. However, different coloured flowers have different meanings, with yellow being ideal for friendship and red roses saying ‘I love you.’

Next, we have Larkspur, which is the birth flower of July. This flower is associated with love, affection, and lightness. It is for someone with a pure heart.

The birth flower of August is Gladiolus. This flower symbols moral integrity and strength. When you give a bouquet of these flowers, it is supposed to pierce the giver’s heart with passion!  

Aster is the birth flower of September. With a lush texture and wildflower beauty, this has long been considered the enchanted flower.

Marigold is the birth flower of October. This flower is also called the “herb of the sun” and it represents creativity and passion.

November’s birth flower is Chrysanthemum, which carries the beautiful meaning ‘you are a wonderful friend’.

Finally, the birth flower of December is Narcissus. It symbolises new beginnings and rebirth, which probably does not come as any surprise considering the time of year.

Hopefully, you have now discovered what your friend’s birth flower is. Purchasing a bouquet of flowers containing this is bound to make a good impression and show that you have put a lot of thought into the gift.


27 February 2019

European Royalty Fashion Trends We’re All Searching For…

When you think of the Royal Family, your mind will instantly think of our beloved Queen Elizabeth, her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren — we’re officially obsessed! But, when it comes to style, there are a few other royals that deserve a space in the limelight too. Not only do these royal females look flawless when they step out of the palace, but they’ve given the world some major style envy too.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, England

Studies have suggested that the Duchess of Cambridge has the ability to persuade American’s to purchase from a British brand, proving she’s a fashion hit worldwide. Her influence on fashion even has its own name — ‘the Kate effect’.

Believe it or not, when she wears a piece of clothing, desirability of American’s increases by an astonishing 38%. After she arrived at the Victoria and Albert museum wearing a tweed dress in October 2018, search volume between September and October for the term ‘tweed dress’ rose by 50%.

Crown Princess Victoria, Sweden

Although we all have our own style, we’ve all been influenced by ‘The Kate Effect’, even Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden. She was spotted in an above-the-knee navy pleated dress to show off her baby bump in 2015, even though the Duchess of Cambridge had worn it for a private event the year before.

Looking back at some of her most iconic looks, Princess Victoria wore a Maxjenny cocktail dress in August 2018. This look generated some interest around the brand too, with searches of the designer rising by 222% from July to August of the same year.

Queen Letizia, Spain

Queen Letizia isn’t afraid to switch up her fashion choices and doesn’t mind shopping from high-street or high-end brands.

There has been countless occasions where HM has worn something we’ve all wanted. Think back to that mid-length Nina Ricci dress in Madrid to that Stella McCartney cape gown for King Willem Alexander’s birthday.

A look you’re probably more familiar with is the bespoke red gown that she wore on a trip to Buckingham Palace in 2017. It didn’t take long for the media to report how people could copy the look, with the Daily Mail suggesting a crimson fishtail maxi dress from QUIZ as a high-street alternative.

As well as this jaw-dropping look, she rocked a Carolina Herrera floral dress in the UK too. It’s no surprise that searches for the term ‘Carolina Herrera skirt’ rose by 50% from June to July of the same year.

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, England

People love the look of Meghan Markle, and the search term ‘Meghan Markle style’ has over 20,000 searches per month. She’s truly a style icon of this era! One of the biggest statement pieces from Meghan must be her silk gown following the luncheon after the wedding at Windsor Castle. High-street designers frantically began to replicate the dress to meet the demand for the style that was expected to follow — and they made the right decision. Research revealed searches for ‘halter neck dresses’ were up 40% following the royal wedding and the term ‘halter neck tops’ increased 21% week on week as people tried to replicate her look on the special day.

As well as this, Meghan is known for sporting some great accessories and brands have experienced even more popularity of their products. After the official engagement announcement in 2017, Meghan attended an event in Nottingham with a Strathberry tote bag in hand. Global search engine data reveals a 398% increase in searches for ‘Strathberry’ from November to December 2017.

Crown Princess Mary, Denmark

After marrying Prince Frederick in 2004, Princess Mary has become a fashion icon for many. She’s been spotted in some fairytale-esque looks such as when she greeted the President of Vietnam on his visit to Denmark in a floor-length blush pink gown, complete with lace. Mary is also often spotted in a statement dress coat and pillbox hat, channelling Jackie Kennedy vibes.

With her love for bright colours and stand-out styles, everyone was wanting to copy her look after she attended the Copenhagen Concert Hall in Denmark for the opening of the Copenhagen Fashion Summit in May 2018. Dressed in a chic blouse tucked into a pleated skirt by Charlotte Eskildsen, she certainly looked the part. Searches for designer ‘Charlotte Eskilden’ rose 51% after she stepped out wearing the brand.

This article was brought to you by sequindresses retailer, QUIZ.


22 February 2019

13 Things Email Marketers Need To Know About Spam

Have you ever thought about setting up a newsletter for your blog?

It is something that I have thought about time and time again, particularly as it is a great reader to have an additional connection with your readers and update them about any new and upcoming projects, changes you are going to make to the blog and also, share any new competitions.

The thing about newsletters is that you have to be careful on a number of issues.

Firstly, you must give your readers the ability to opt both in and out of receiving your newsletters easily.  A sign up button on your blog and an unsubscribe button on the email itself is probably the best way forward and will be compliant with GDPR.

Secondly, it is important that you do not spam your reader with too many emails.  I have added an infographic below with things you need to know about spam.

My top tips would be to only send a newsletter out at a maximum of twice a month.  Use an interesting subject line that will draw the reader in and make them want to open your email and of course, make that content interesting and engaging that will keep your readers subscribed to you.

13 Things Email Marketers Should Know About Spam - Infographic by Campaign Monitor
Source: 13 Things Email Marketers Should Know About Spam by Campaign Monitor

21 February 2019

Staying Safe When You DIY

This article has been written to raise awareness about mesothelioma.

Home renovation shows and tutorials available online have made finding inspiration for all of your renovation needs easier than ever. Before jumping into these projects on your own, it’s important to be conscious of the unexpected dangers of DIY that could affect your safety and health. If you’re thinking about starting a project, here are some safety tips that can help keep you protected as well as reduce the costs of giving your space the upgrade it needs.

Have The Right Gear

Before starting your DIY project, it’s important to realize that different projects will require necessary protective gear forsafety. During the renovation process, it’s likely that you will be working with a variety of construction materials. Protective gear like safety gloves will help you avoid skin irritation, splits, and cuts, but most importantly keep your eyes out of harms way. If you’re sanding, plastering, or working with paint fumes, make sure you have masks and eyewear that will properly shield you. For projects that require louder power tools, wear earplugs or noise-canceling headphones to protect your hearing.

If you will be using power tools, be aware of additional precautions. Power tools make renovating projects easier due to their simplicity and efficiency but often propose higher risks of danger. Always be aware of the tools proximity to your body. When you are finished with the tool, turn the safety back on, unplug it and keep it out of reach of small children and animals.

Finally, before starting your project make sure that your attire is free of any possible loose strings or fabric that could get caught or tangled in machinery. To avoid particle pollution in a space work in a properly ventilated room. Taking these additional small precautions is an easy way of protecting yourself.

Protect Your Furniture and Valuables
Home renovations can be messy and have the potential for leaving behind a stain or two,  having the proper coverage is essential  for protecting your irreplaceable valuables. Before starting, invest in tarps and plastic coverings that can be applied to cover furniture, flooring, carpets, and other surfaces that you want to keep clean. If you’re working in the kitchen, cover your countertops, eating utensils, and kitchen appliances to avoid any contamination and ultimately protect your health. Covering your valuables might seem like a tedious task, however, in the long run, this step will protect your belongings from any possible DIY mishaps. 

Identifying and Handling Harmful Substances
Depending on when your house was built, there could be harmful and toxic substances located within the structure, paint, and finishings of your home. For houses built before 1978, there is a high chance that lead-based paint is located across the interior and exterior of a home. Toxic metals in this paint can cause serious health problems if the paint chips or dust is inhaled. Although lead is poisonous to everyone, it has a significant impact on young children and pregnant women. To avoid the dangerous health risks associated with lead paint, seek out professionals for lead paint testing or try an at home testing kit to identify any possible problems.

Testing for asbestos is crucial before beginning your home renovation projects. Prior to 1980, asbestos was used in a variety of building materials. Inhaling asbestos fibers that have been disturbed can cause inflammation and tumors to develop in the lungs. Over time, this damage may lead to a rare cancer known as mesothelioma. These airborne fibers are extremely hazardous and homeowners should not attempt to remove or disturb asbestos on their own. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), suggest having a licensed and certified asbestos abatement professional inspect the home to determine if asbestos-containing materials are present and what steps to take for a safe removal.

In addition to toxic substances like lead paint and asbestos, beware of the threats caused by mold that thrive in damp locations like drywall, basements, and bathrooms. Exposure to these types of substances could ultimately be damaging to you and your loved one’s health. Seek out professional removal services for assessments as well as the best procedure before starting your renovation project.

Always Be Prepared
Despite taking protective measures, accidents are likely to occur. At the start of your DIY project, make sure you have a first aid kit ready for any small scrapes or cuts. If a serious injury was to occur, seek care from a medical professional as soon as possible. Update the fire extinguisher at your workstation in case of a possible electrical or chemical fire. Finally, if you are unsure of the next steps for your DIY , seek out professional help. Stay cautious, never start a project well tired, and remain positive when tackling your renovation projects.

19 February 2019

The Evolution of You

Looking back over the course of your life, have you ever wanted to meet your past younger self?  

I don't know about you, but I have been very different people over the course of my life so far.  Whilst my core being has stayed the same in terms of my values, the person that I am has undergone so many changes of the years that I am not sure if I would recognise myself if I was to meet me at a different age.

I think of it as being the same person, but simply a different shade or colour.  We are like bell peppers really (bare with me on this).  It wasn't until recently that I learned that yellow, orange, green and red peppers are not different variety of peppers, but merely at a different stage of ripening.  That feels a lot like me.

Everyone has challenges in their life and everyone has a journey that they go on, no matter how large or small.  My journey has been one of finding confidence, finding self esteem, finding body confidence, finding my voice.  I tried to put descriptive labels on some of my different stages.  I share (some) here:

Age 15  -  I am the fat girl in school.  I want to fit in.  There is still wonderment and hope in the world.  I have hope for my future.  I want to be thin so people will like me.
Age 21 - I am so lost.   I am scared. 
Age 30 - There are people on the internet that think like me, that look like me, that say what they think..........  I'm not good enough.
Age 33 - I am writing.  I am wearing colour for the first time.  A LOT of colour.  I am still terrified of rejection.  I still don't feel good enough.
Today (aged 39.99 years) I am never scared to say what I think.  I probably say too much.  My wardrobe of beautiful, colourful dresses is overflowing.  I have confidence in both myself and my courage of conviction.  I have a fella who makes me feel sexy.  I have amazing friends.  I have self worth.
I am happier today than I have ever been in my life.  This happiness is as a result of the journey of life that I have been on.  The challenges that I have set myself.  The heartbreak and the loves.  The highs, the lows.   The girl who decided to become a woman and make her life as she wanted it to be.

I am proud of just how far that I have come in my life and you know what?  I would love to meet 21 year old me.  To give her advice, to give her a boost.  To tell her that she is going to be ok.  

To tell her that she will never suit red hair, no matter how many times she tries over the years to make it work (written now with another shade of red).

What challenges in your life have changed you?

If you are looking for other blogs to read, you can't go far wrong with reading Let Them Be Small

30 January 2019

Gone In a Puff of Smoke

Everything has its own time.  That is something I truly believe.

I am never one to be pushed into anything and for me to make a big change in my life, the planets usually have to align perfectly with a touch of magic in the air, or the change will not stick.  When I make that jump though, the right jump, I never look back.

The last time I did this, I completed changed the person that I am.  I went from a very shy, under confident girl who never voiced her own opinion and wore black 24/7 to the person I am today.  Still shy, but unafraid to say what I think, a wardrobe full of colour and a smile on my face.

The very first photograph of me after ditching my all black wardrobe
A few weeks ago I wrote about why I never make New Years Resolutions. Mostly because I do not like to be forced into anything, even by myself.  Changes in my life have to be organic.

So, on the 7th January, the planets aligned and I decided that this was the day I was going to stop smoking.  There were a number of factors that made my decision for me.  The fact that my 40th birthday is looming and I was determined not to be a smoker by then.  The cost.  That I was the remaining smoker in my friend group.  My health.

Today, 23 days later and I have not smoked a cigarette since.  The first week was not easy.  I decided to stop smoking using the cold turkey method as I did not want to use aids or patches and draw out the process.  This works for me, I know using patches etc works brilliantly for others.

Something has changed in me this time though.  An internal flick of a switch.  I know that I won't start smoking again.  A certainty that I can feel.  I cannot explain it.

I have stopped smoking before, for 2 years in fact and started again due to stress.   I then stopped last year for a month, only to be lured back in again after a night out.  Each time I stopped, I knew that I was not done with cigarettes.  This time, I think that the end has come.

I will keep you posted!

Want to check out some more blogs?  Check out Chilling with Lucas which is a fantastic family blog.

8 January 2019

Steps to Take to Stop Unnecessary Buying

Are you the kind of person who discovers when you get home that you’ve managed to buy another leopard print dress that is almost identical to the two you have in your wardrobe? 

If you’ve noticed that somewhere between leaving the tills and taking everything out of your bag that the buzz of purchasing new things has gone, it might be time to start reassessing your spending. Here are some ways to manage your money and start thinking carefully about saving up.

Know What you Have
Take some time to assess your current finances. Work out your incomings and outgoings and look at what you’ve been doing with your disposable income. Look through the things you have already, from the gadgets in your kitchen to the shoes in the hall and note what’s there so you don’t start buying duplicates.

If something unexpected cropped up when you look through your statements from the last six months, alter your spending habits to account for similar sudden expenses in the future. For example, any home repairs or a car breakdown that you had to pay out for.

Once you know what you’re buying, you can start thinking of how you can plan your spending. Is there any way you can forego the morning coffee or the sales at your favourite brand in order to save some money? Making some small amends to how you spend your salary can go a long way to helping you save up.

Buy Things that Last
Do you need to get the latest phone or tablet, or can you hold on to what you have for now? If you’re someone who upgrades your tech as each new version is released, it might be worth investing in gadgets that are built to last a while in order to save money.

Similarly, if you have a dress that you love too much to wear or a car that you daren’t drive, you’re losing money in the long run. This is because you’re more likely to buy a cheaper version of the dress only to throw it away or pay for public transport to save making your car messy. Invest in something that’s high-quality that you’ll use again and again.

Avoid Temptation
If you’re a sucker for a sale or you fill up your lunch breaks by scrolling through promotional emails it might be time to make some changes. Start by unsubscribing to the sites that you know you’ll be most tempted by and try to avoid big events such as the January sales or Black Friday.

Unless you’re a savvy shopper, the bargains you think you’re getting won’t add up if you’re buying things you want rather than things you need. That’s not to say you can’t treat yourself every now and then but get the practical purchases out of the way first. 

Looking for more ways to save money?  Check out SavvyInSomerset for more money saving tips!