Saturday, 31 December 2016

Two Thousand and Sixteen Highlights

My 2016 best nine - most snaps here from Prague, but the snap of the Carnaby Rebel lights being up there made me laugh. 
2016 has been an interesting, busy & weird year - I wouldn't say the best year, but definitely not the worst either! I've definitely pushed personal boundaries, and smashed goals, and still have a few to achieve. Today, being the last day of 2016, I thought I'd create a little list of everything I feel grateful for & made me smile... 

The people who without fail always make me smile are my family... even when I have what seems to be a crisis going on, as soon as I go home, I can chill out and completely relax and laugh. My goal next year is to spend more time with my immediate family & see my extended family / family friends , oh & to beat my Dad again at Popmaster or University Challenge!

This year I've made so many new friendships, and existing friendships have grown stronger too, which I am so thankful for ... I am a complete introvert, and in the past few years, have on and off struggled with anxiety and socialising in general (which may seem weird to people who know me reading this), but this year I've felt so in my comfort zone with my friends, and I'm going in 2017 a lot more confident in myself because of all of the wonderful people in my life...
Meeting JadeHildaChelsey & Nat at the #BigBloggerExpo earlier in the year was a complete refresh in my blogging life/ life in general - our WhatsApp group can cheer up any day for me, and our meet ups since have always been full of laughs!
The same goes for meeting Tracy and Hannah at the Maidstone Hotter event earlier in the year, and then attending the Blogsophere Summer Party together ; I love catching up with these ladies in person and through Instagram/Twitter.
And to my existing friends ... whether it's Nando's dates, getting drunk and hitting up loads of new cheesy clubs or going to see Queen Bey herself or retro bands like Wheatus, as always, so much love for you always being there!


I'm not sure whether I'll ever get through a year feeling like I've had a perfect blog year, but my sixth year blogging has definitely been the best. I added to my bucket list, that I wanted to attend at least three blog events this year... well I definitely outdid that with Hotter Maidstone, #BigBloggerExpo, Blogosphere Summer Party & Winter Market, JessXKiss event, #BloggersXmas, Glamour X New Look event & more. Alongside that, came brand collaborations this year, and I'm so grateful for the brands I've been lucky enough to work with this year. When I made my first media kit last Easter, and made plans to be a bit more social in the blogging world, I couldn't believe the opportunities it has opened up. My goal for next year, my seventh year blogging is to just say yes to more opportunities, and prioritise my blog properly, alongside my newer teaching blog.

I think this year has been the year career wise, that I've started to feel completely comfortable in where my career is going and what I want to do next. Teaching has certainly brought out a side of me, especially confidence wise, that five years ago I wouldn't of thought possible.
I explained in my 17 places for 2017 how much I loved travel, and my hopes for next year. I feel so lucky that this year I've visited three different countries, and so many different places across the UK. I mean just look at my top nine at the top ... Prague was just the best, alongside Disney!

Weight Loss
This feels like the weirdest thing to write about on here (especially as I am still celebrating Christmas and have probably eaten my weight in chocolate and turkey rn), and posting a photo too, but deep breath and here goes. My weight was one thing I knew I needed to sort out this year. Back in the summer, I think I was way over 15 stone,   - at that point I didn't weigh myself because I didn't want to know the answer. Then I began dieting, and the first point where I found a start weight was just over 14 stone, which is the photograph on the left, taken in October. 17 pounds off later, 5 1/2 inches off my hips, and knocking points off my BMI & body fat percentage, comes to the photo on the right taken in December, which is nowhere near perfect or my target goal yet, but is an improvement. Seeing the two against each other, I can't believe I allowed myself to become what I did for so long, but seeing the photograph on the right, makes me want to smash my target weight even more. During the past 9 weeks, it's been strictly dieting only because I had a chest infection that wouldn't shift which made exercising so difficult, which was frustrating as throughout August & September I kept up the exercise well alongside starting a new job. Now I'm over the infection, I'm ready to have January & February be my diet and exercising combined win. Some of you may know that I've been using Slimfast and I can't believe I've actually stuck with it - my old diet used to be skip breakfast & lunch, then binge mid afternoon, dinner & snack - actually having breakfast and lunches now, along with fruit has helped me develop much better eating habits. I'd love to read more diet / fitness posts, so if you have any send them my way, and I'd love to write / feature more on here about the process, and my weight loss journey.

& those are my highlights for the year! I'm hoping 2017 will smash 2016, but to be honest, I'm pretty content with what I did achieve throughout this year! What are your highlights of '16?


Friday, 30 December 2016

NYE Party Playlist

Confession time; I have this thing with really cheesy music, especially Black Lace. Agadoo eat your heart out! 
New Year's Eve is tomorrow, and this year, I've gone completely the opposite to every other year and want to spend it at home, having a drink and listening to my record player. I've enjoyed previous years out and about, so it's about time I spent a NYE at home! As I'll still be listening to music, and probably party music for the rest of the year, I thought I'd share another mini playlist of tunes I'll singing (badly) along to tomorrow!

1. Redbone - Come And Get Your Love
2. Clean Bandit (feat Sean Paul & Anne Marie) - Rockabye
3. Little Mix - Shout Out to My Ex
4. DNCE - Cake by the Ocean
5. Faces - You Can Make Me Dance, You Can Make Me Sing
6. Galantis & Hook N Sling - Love On Me
7. George Benson & Thelma Houston - Don't Leave Me This Way
8. Whigfield - Saturday Night
9. Jason Derulo - Want to Want Me
10. T Rex - 20th Century Boy
11. Def Leppard - Pour Some Sugar on Me
12. Thin Lizzy - Boys are Back in Town
13. Jonas Blue - Fast Car
14. Whitney Houston - I Wanna Dance With Somebody 
15. Flo Rida - Get Low 
16. Bruno Mars - 24k Magic
17. Justin Timberlake - Can't Stop the Feeling

What are your must listen to party tunes? 

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Seventeen Goals for 2017

Over the past few days I've been thinking a lot about goals and the year ahead. I'm sure everyone will agree, 2016 hasn't been the best (even if it's just for the amount of talent that has passed away this year!), and so with a new year, comes hope that things will be better in days to come. I've created a list of seventeen goals to try and achieve this year, some of which are off of my bucket list, some are just daily goals that I'd like to achieve and stick to. I'm going to stick this list written somewhere so I can see it every day!

1.  Complete a 365 polaroid a day project
2.  Drink 2 litres of water
3.  Walk 10,000 steps a day
4.  Practise Yoga daily
5.  Comment on blogs
6.  Write

7.  Write letters / send postcards to loved ones
8.  Attend a class of some form
9.  Record a podcast

Across the rest of the year 
10.  Visit seventeen different places
11.  Invest in Premium Bonds
12.  Read the entire Game of Thrones series
13.  Reach 100 beer mats in my beer mat collection
14.  Pass my theory and driving test
15.  Reach my goal weight 9 stone 2 pounds
16.  Practise & re-learn playing the piano
17.  Learn Italian

What are your goals for 2017? 

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

17 Places for 2017

This year has been the year where I have really discovered my love of travel; I ticked off Edinburgh where I walked up Arthur's Seat in the snow (and then fell down it again!), Disneyland ParisPrague and more local to visits such as Margate and Great Missenden. The above photograph was taken on the way to Prague, and I remember feeling so lucky/amazed at how easy it is to travel to all these amazing places and to witness and see such amazing sights. Next year, I want to visit even more places, so I've made a goal of seventeen places for next year to tick off... 

1.  Iceland 
This is at the top of my to visit list this year, after about thirteen years of wanting to visit Iceland, mainly for the Northern Lights & the Blue Lagoon... this is my February birthday trip that's currently in the works!  

2.  Whitstable 
Whitstable is the one place that was on my to see list for years, then when I went, fell in love with. If I could, I would pack everything up and move there. Even though I've been before, I want to go again to tick one of my bucket list to do's off, and that is to try oysters there! 

3.  Oxford
An English town that I've never visited is Oxford, and it's one that I'm always supposed to see, then never get around to visiting. I definitely want to visit the universities, and have a trip along the river, but would love any other ideas for places to see in Oxford! 

4.  Cambridge 

Pretty much ditto for Cambridge what I said about Oxford! 

5.  Bristol 
A lot of my family live near Bristol, and whilst in Bath this year, I kept toying with the idea of going on to Bristol but never got around to it. I really want to see the hot air balloons, and visiting The Forge is top of my list (exposed bricks eat your heart out) alongside exploring the town. 

6.  Dublin 
I've wanted to visit Ireland, and mainly Dublin for as long as I can remember. Many of my friends have visited, and I have friends who live near Dublin, and all say it is a must visit. The colourful buildings, nightlife and Guiness are all calling! 

7.  Galway 
Galway is a place I always hear referenced in films (I'm looking at you P.S I Love You & Leap Year) and whenever I come across pins on Pinterest of Galway, it looks so lush! 

8.  Prague  
This year I fell in love with Prague. Everywhere I visited in Prague was fantastic, so much so on some days I went back to places! I want to go back to Prague again this year to re-visit the zoo (polar bears love), Battalion and the Rock Bar. New places I want to see are the Hemingway Bar, which was closed during our last visit, and I want to go out of the way to Velka Amerika which is a european version of the Grand Canyon. 

9.  New York 
One of the biggest wanderlust's on my bucket list is to visit America, and top of the America list is New York. I want to visit every tourist hotspot, especially going up the Empire State Building. And I definitely want to visit Kate Spade & Tiffany's. 

10.  Vegas 
Las Vegas is another one I feel everyone wants to do. I'm not the hugest gambler, but I would love to go to see all the lights, chapels and The Neon Museum. 

11.  Walt Disney World, Florida 
Holy cow, I need those Mickey Up Ears! Walt Disney World is one of the big holidays I know I need to do. One of my closest pals went this year, and sent me snaps constantly throughout, and videos of rides and seriously, after being in Disneyland Paris and loving every second, I know Walt Disney World is the next stop. The only thing with it, is the planning seriously overwhelms me as I do not have a clue where to start! 

12.  Oslo 
I can't decide whether I want to go to Norway to experience Hygge or to go and be adventurous ... or maybe I should aim for both! 

13.  Paris 

I've visited Paris numerous times throughout my life, and even this year for a Disneyland trip, but one place I really want to visit next year is the Louvre. 

14.  Provence 
After visiting Shoreham this year in Kent and falling head over heel for Lavender, the next step up surely is to go to the Lavender festival in Provence! 

15.  Llyn Y Fan Fach, Breacon Beacons National Park, Wales

Arthur's Seat was my spectacular view of 2016, and I want Llyn Y Fan Fach to be my 2017 one. 

16.   Cornwall 
I could make another list for Cornwall of places I'd love to visit ... Church Cove, St Michael's Mount ... everywhere! During the summer I'd like to go for at least a week down to Cornwall and just explore. 

17.  Algarve, Portugal 

I've never been to Portugal, and the Algarve is looking like the diamond blue sea perfect place to be. Benagil Cave looks amazing too. 

& that's it... not too ambitious (*scoffs*) but at least some I definitely know will happen, and there's a lot to aspire to! Where are you planning trips for in 2017? 


Tuesday, 27 December 2016

What I Received This Christmas

Two mini little things before we start ... first, I'm not sure how these posts go down, I always see a load of opinions on Twitter/social media about the pros/cons/loves/hates of these posts... personally I love reading these posts so figured I'd do a bit of sharing and gratitude with it too - so y'know, no hating on whether you think these presents are too much or shite! Secondly ... the photography is a tad appalling on these (damn winter lighting!) so apologies, but if I didn't take them when I did we never would've got here! 

And on we go...
So for Christmas this year, I was a little bit stuck on what to ask for / what I wanted. Guidance to everyone was that I wanted things I could use ... as much as I have loved previous years gifts, there is only so much space on my fireplace for Disney ornaments! I'm in the process of upgrading all of my belongings that I may have brought out of convenience first time around such as every day objects and furniture, so I asked my parents to buy me a new purse, and all I asked was that it was grey (favourite colour along with lilac) and had card slots & a zip purse. Enter the gorgeous Kate Spade purse! This was supposed to be my main (and I'm sure we agreed only present!) but as always, I ended up with a stocking full of presents! The Reese's snowman was an absolute hit (#peanutbutterforever) alongside the make up pieces and Soap & Glory perfumes. 

My sister had very good gift giving game this year ; she made me the calendar pictured, which may just be the best gift I've ever received! I love organising, so need a calendar each year, and after searching for a Jamie Redknapp calendar and having no luck, clearly my sister took it into her own hands to create a personalised calendar full of family photos, Chuck Bass, Jamie Redknapp and Turkey Twizzlers (still will never be over the fact they don't make these anymore!). She also brought me the Lee Stafford Chopstick Styler which creates the best 80s perm I could ever wish for - I need to schedule an hour out of my day to style my hair like this daily! I also got the Chocolate Beauticology Set, which is perfect for my January dieting without actually eating chocolate month, and the Joules bath salts.  

My Nan got me the grey Alyssa boots from Dorothy Perkins ... I picked them up in the sale so got a great deal on them! December was about being cosy in my Grey Bailey Bow Uggs ... Spring is about a stylish grey boot upgrade!

One of my favourite gifts which has had so much use is the Slush Mug sets ... as sad as this is, I love iced drinks, and often stick a bottle of Dr Pepper or Oasis in the freezer and get it out 2 hours later to have a slushie. These cups you free the white section for about 10-12 hours, then get out, add your drink and it slushies within 10 minutes! I've already had Blue Raspberry loads of times. 

I asked for the Lolita Dragonfly glass which is so gorgeous I actually want to drink every drink from it. I also received eucalyptus bath salts (told you my addiction to eucalyptus is so real), a peacock ring holder, Gilmore Girls t shirt and lots of other little odds and ends, along with wine & money. 

We chose not to spoil Cece with gifts this year, but she ended up receiving gifts from all my family (she is one popular dog!), and my favourite gift for her has to be the Matalan Alderhey #WearYourStripes outfit! 

I also received loads of presents from my in laws family after Christmas, including money, make up, a tea pot which blooms, a cushion with photographs of Cece on it. Also, being a teacher, I ended up with far too many lovely gifts from the parents and teachers I work with, including lots of wine, Lush gift sets, a Topshop scarf, Disney slippers & bag, hand painted wine glasses, personalised bag, stationery (including a gorgeous Ted Baker pencil case!)  and loads more ... I'm planning a separate gift haul over on my teaching blog for this one! 

If my family / friends are reading (which they sometimes do!) thank you so much for my presents! I honestly felt so overwhelmed with everything I received again this year ... it doesn't ever feel like I've grown old, especially when I open my presents from the same hessian santa sack each year that has the same smell as it had twenty years ago. 

What did you receive for Christmas this year? I would love to see your presents too so leave me links in the comments / tweet me and I'll definitely check it out! 

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