Tuesday, 28 June 2016

25 Things to do Before 25: An Update

So it's been a year since I put together my 25 before 25 list and since I've just passed my 24th birthday I thought it was about time that I reflected on how I'm getting on with my list and see how realistic my goals were.

1. Move Out
So I achieved this goal briefly last year when me and Adam moved out for six months and tried living in the middle of both of our extremely inconveniently located jobs. It didn't work out though, we didn't like the town, we didn't like living away from both of our family and friends so we decided to move back home. After six months living back in the same house I grew up in and I'm itching to move out again but there needs to be some serious planning and some real changes for this to happen so we'll have to see how the next few months pan out.

2. Start a Scrapbook
I've definitely missed the boat on this one as I planned to start this in January! As much as I love the idea of putting photographs into a scrapbook it will inevitably end up being put in a drawer somewhere and forgotten about. Instead I'm trying to take more photos and I've even tried my hand at vlogging, both great ways to hold on to great memories.

3. Read 25 Books
I've probably read about five books this past year which is a really pityful attempt, I'm going to have to seriously up my game and make time for reading every evening if I'm going to reach my target!

4. Do an organised run of at least 10K
You may have spotted that I took part in a 10K in Nottingham a couple of weeks ago so this one can officially be ticked off! I'm definitely going to carry on running and hopefully take part in more events and increase my distance, I'd love to do a half marathon one day!

5. Travel
I haven't actually been out of the country since last summer which is seriously getting me down but we do have our trip to Orlando planned for September which is what most of our savings have been going towards. I'm really hoping to be able to get away on a couple of city breaks this summer though and explore some new places!

6. Save
Since moving back home and only paying minimal rent I've been making a real effort to save any spare cash I have, this year I've bought a new car and planned a big trip to America so I think I'm doing pretty well! Next I'm planning on setting up a help to buy ISA so I can start the saving for a house deposit, exciting!

7. Craft more
I think this can pretty much be struck off the list now as I've found that I enjoy creating things digitally much more than crafting, I've been getting back into my photography lately as I'm really enjoying my new camera and want to spend any free time upping my camera skills and learning more about video editing.

8. Invest more time in blogging
This is something I definitely think I've succeeded at over this past year, I've started to take blogging a little bit more seriously and been pretty consistent with my posting, attempting to get two new posts up a week. Over the next year I'd quite like to up my posting to three times a week and also start to dip my toe in the YouTube pond.

9. Take more photographs
I've been really trying to make an effort to do this by taking my camera out wherever I'm going, since I got the Olympus Pen I've found it much simpler to share my photos due to its inbuilt wifi capabilities but I still need to properly get to grips with the manual settings.

10. Complete my Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award
I really hate having to admit that I've failed at something but my DofE is something that I've unfortunately had to drop out of. As much as I really enjoyed the residentials and it was great to meet some new people I found the rest of the of the elements of the award to be tough going. Trying to find the time to complete the required hours for the volunteering, skill and physical aspects were a real struggle especially alongside my full time job, blogging and a long distance relationship. As well as this I never thought finding somewhere to volunteer your time would be so difficult, many places asked for a specific number of hours per week or only weekend hours which made things tricky. I feel disappointed in myself for giving up but it was only causing me stress towards the end and I wasn't enjoying it so thought it was time to step back and focus on what I wanted instead of what I thought everyone else wanted. 

11. Get into a more healthy routine
Since picking up running over the past couple of months I've been heading out three times a week to train which is a hell of a lot more exercise than I used to do. I now need to work on incorporating some resistance training into my routine for the other days as I'd really like to start seeing some physical results.

12. Progress in my career
I've got stuck in at work over the past year and think I've really shown my value within the team so hopefully this will just continue from now! 

13. Go to an outdoor cinema screening
This is yet to be ticked off the list so I'm on the lookout for somewhere that does outdoor cinema screenings this summer, be sure to let me know if you know of any!

14. Get outdoors more
If the British weather would get its act together and provide us with a proper summer then this one might be more achievable!

15. Take more weekend trips
I've been on a couple of weekends away this year so far and there are a couple in the pipeline but when you spend most of your weekends packing a suitcase and travelling for two hours (the joys of long distance relationships) some of the best weekends are actually those chilled ones at home where you don't have to go anywhere!

16. Go to the cinema more
I haven't really been to the cinema an awful lot this year so far apart from to see Me Before You (I totally cried) and maybe a few others that I can't quite remember...Hopefully there'll be some good films out this summer that will give me an excuse to go!

17. Get better at cooking
This is definitely one that still requires work, I've bought a heck of a lot of recipe books over the past year now I just need to actually start trying them out...wish me luck!

18. Have a big wardrobe clear out
I've done this a couple of times since last year as I've really found myself craving the ease and versatility of a capsule wardrobe. I've been pretty ruthless at getting rid of old or unworn clothes so now I just need to figure out where the gaps are and pick up some key items to replace them! That's definitely the fun part...

19. Be more adventurous with food
I'm not really sure how I can measure this one, lets just say I'll work on it....

20. Get a new tatoo
I haven't had anymore thoughts on this one lately, if I am to get a new tatoo I think it'll probably be another small one so maybe something quite spontaneous!

21. Go to more gigs
I haven't been to a single gig since I put this list together...must make more effort to keep a lookout for bands I like touring!

22. Make the most of my Spotify and Netflix subscriptions
I've almost watched all of the Louis Thereux documentaries on Netflix and Makng a Murderer was one of the most gripping things I watched last year so I guess you could say I'm making the most of my subscription...

23. Go on a spontaneous camping trip
This is still yet to be achieved so this summer could be the perfect opportunity!

24. Have an internet free day once a month
So far this has been a big fat fail, I always end up getting caught up with blogging or updating my Instagram, especially at the weekend as its my main time to cram it all in. I need to learn to take a break as I think one internet free day a month would allow me to recharge my batteries and come back feeling refreshed and hopefully with new ideas!

25. Enjoy myself!
It's been a bit of an up and down year with a couple of hiccups and set backs along the way. I now feel like I'm at a real fork in the road with the opportunity to make the next year a great one so let's hope that everything goes to plan and I can get on with ticking some more things off my list! 

Monday, 27 June 2016

Highlights from the Week

Happy Monday all, I hope your week is off to a great start! This post is up a little later than normal as I've not actually been at work today and have been on a lovely little weekend break away! Before we get to that here's what I've been up to over the past week...

After a tip off on Twitter last week I headed to Aldi in search of some £3 peonies, I was in luck and have been really impressed with how quickly they blossomed and how long they lasted. I'll definitely be picking up another bunch this week to brighten up my room. 
This weekend I've been on a lovely little getaway to Whitby with Adam and his family, it's always been one of the places I've wanted to visit but never seemed to get around to! The weather has been amazing with most days requiring dresses and ice creams! I'll be putting up a full post about the weekend soon so keep your eyes peeled for that! 
As much as its been great to explore somewhere new it's also been really nice to have some real chilled time and have the chance to get stuck into a new book and catch up on some blogging. 

Today we were up early and heading out to York Outlet Village for a spot of lunch and shopping before heading home. I'm really not ready for the weekend to end and head back to work and and reality tomorrow! 

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Highlights from the Week

Happy Monday, I hope your week is off to a great start! I'm feeling particularly cheery as it's only a four day week for me and I'm heading off for a long weekend in Whitby on Friday which I'm really looking forward to. But here's some of my highlights from last week, warning 90% of which include food...

It was a fairly busy week which seemed to pass by pretty quickly but coffee was definitely needed to get me through it! I'm becoming far too addicted to Starbucks iced caramel lattes and really need to start making my own at home to try and save on the $$$.
On Friday night I met Adam at The Trafford Centre after work for a little mooch around the shops and we grabbed some dinner at Gourmet Burger Kitchen. I'm not usually one to order a burger but GBK's are so good I couldn't resist. I stick with the classic with cheese and pickle, yummm!
Coffee and croissants are fast becoming a Saturday morning tradition as a reward for peeling ourselves out of bed and heading for a run. After a weeks break after our 10K Saturdays run wasn't the easiest, especially as we decided to choose a particularly hilly route!
Picnic style dinners are my absolute favourite and Saturday nights in are the perfect excuse to grab a Camembert and a baguette and get stuck in whilst watching a Louis Theroux documentary!
It's been a pretty quiet weekend by my usual standards, there's been no rushing about or no packing up and heading down to Nottingham just lots of chill time which is a real change. If I'm not spending my time doing something productive though I tend to feel a little guilty or if I'm not heading out somewhere fun I can share with you guys I feel like I'm wasting my weekend. I think I need to learn to enjoy chill out time more and give myself a break from blogging and social media at these times as I find that constantly seeing what other people are up to gives me serious FOMO and makes me feel like I should be out doing things too.

Hope you've all had a great weekend and are looking forward to the week ahead!

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Bardot Tops and Bandanna's

Top - ASOS
Jeans - ASOS
Espadrilles - River Island via ASOS
Bandana - ASOS
Watch - ASOS

So I'm back with an outfit post! I haven't done one in the longest time but I recently took the plunge and purchased the 45mm lens for my Olympus Pen so I though it was only right to enlist Adam as my photographer and give it a little test drive!

I'm absolutely obsessed with bardot tops at the moment so when I spotted Liv sporting this denim number in one of her YouTube videos I knew it had to be mine! It had been out of stock for ages but when it appeared on the website in my size right before my birthday I knew it was meant to be and I just had to treat myself! I just love the frill detail around the neck and arms making it a really simple yet girly addition to the wardrobe.

I've jumped on the bandanna bandwagon (wow that's a mouthful) recently which is kinda daring for me but I think they just work so well when teamed with a simple bardot top. Adam always says I look like an air hostess when I sport one but hey-ho can't win 'em all! Air hostess I like the way you dress and all that...

As the top is a little fancy with it's frill detail I kept the bottom half pretty simple with a pair of black jeans. I've been feeling let down by my trusty Topshop Leigh jeans recently so I decided to give the ASOS Sculpt Me pair a try, they're a lot thicker than I'm used to and I'm not 100% sold on them so if you have any skinny jean recommendations then I'm all ears!

I love a good pair of espadrilles for the summer and I'd been eyeing these River Island beauties up for while but the price tag put me off a little, they're not usually known to be the most long lasting pair of shoes. But when a 20% discount code popped into my inbox from ASOS I knew I had to act quickly! I scooped them up and haven't looked back since, now if I could just stop lusting after the leopard print version too that would be great...

What clothing items are you loving this summer?

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Highlights from the Week

Good Morning and happy Monday! Hope your week is off to a great start, but before we look ahead to the new week take a look at what I got up to last week...

I put in my final run on Monday in preparation for the 10K at the weekend, I managed 7.3K which I was pretty impressed with as it was a horrendously hot and muggy evening. I treated myself to new pyjamas and an early night afterwards, I had meant to get stuck into my new book but as per I fell asleep on the first page, whoops! I'm really looking forward to getting stuck in to Big Magic as  I've heard so many great things about it and hope it's an inspiring read!
As a little midweek pick me up, me and the gals headed out for a spot of dinner and a trip to the cinema. We of course went to watch Me Before You, a book that I absolutely loved so I've been mega looking forward to seeing the film and it actually didn't disappoint! It was of course extremely sad and had me a little teary on more than one occasion but there was also enough humour thrown in there to keep the whole thing relatively light-hearted. I definitely recommend going to see it with your gals or if you can manage to come to some sort of a Euros based compromise with your boyfriend...
I love a good notebook and luckily I got quite an abundance of new ones for my birthday along with some amazing blogging themed pencils. I'm looking forward to getting stuck in and doing some serious blog planning for the upcoming months!
This weekend marked a pretty big milestone for me, I ran my first ever 10K! It's something that I've wanted to do for quite a while now and it even featured in my 25 Things to do Before 25 post so about a month ago I decided to stop putting it off and just get one booked. I've been training ever since (you can check out some of my tips here) but before the weekend the furthest I had managed was 7K so I was feeling a little nervous when Saturday morning rolled around. The run was at Wollaton Hall in Nottingham (Batman's house) so the surroundings were pretty beaut and definitely took my mind off the pain caused by the hills at certain points! Adam stuck with me the whole way and was great at motivating me to keep going, we ended up finishing in one hour and two minutes which I was pretty chuffed with for a first attempt! It's a great achievement so now I'm looking for the next challenge I can face myself with!

Hope you've all had a lovely week!
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