Tag Archives: Life

Choosing to spend my birthday on my own

I love my birthday, but this year after a Christmas I didn’t really enjoy because I felt so much pressure to be someone I’m not and constrained by family commitments, I decided to spend it on my own.

There is a big different between being alone and deciding to spend time on your own. I treated this like I was taking myself out on a date. It was special and I enjoyed every minute of it. I didn’t feel lonely at all. I felt free-spirited and alive. I came home with a sense of knowing who I am and having had a good day and ready to put my feet up.

This wasn’t the plan originally, but something fell through that would have enabled me to be somewhere else and be with a friend. So instead of trying to arrange something last minute, I decided to do exactly what I wanted to do with no compromising for others. It felt like it took me ages to decide what to do, but it was really only a couple of days and I kept it simple, focusing on two three things I enjoy doing – visiting bookshops, having coffee or tea, and wandering around.

I took myself to London!

I wanted to wander so I got the tube to Covent Garden with the aim of ending up at a couple of bookshops I wanted to visit. Although Christmas is over they still had the sleigh and reindeer and it was a welcome sight as I wandered around in the sunshine.

I meandered around the back streets exploring shops and people watching as I made my way to Forbidden Planet. I had heard good things about the book floor and I was not disappointed. I could have spent a fortune in there on signed copies, but I didn’t. I added to my reading list and will be going back in the future when my favourite authors visit.

I then wandered on to Foyles and spent a lovely amount of time exploring the shelves of a large bookstore. I miss these types of shops and wish there was one closer. It felt so nice to pick up random books and explore titles I wouldn’t otherwise have seen. It felt peaceful to be there.

I bought myself two books. A coffee one because I want to learn more about brewing and one because it’s set in Toyko and I am super excited about going there in October.

I then wandered into Soho and found an amazing Japanese restaurant called Eat Tokyo and enjoyed some green tea and sushi. It was super busy, but the joys of Japanese restaurants is that they often have bar and I was not alone in sitting solo enjoying some lunch.

All the colourful sushi!

I then spent the afternoon wandering the theatre district alone Shaftsbury Avenue and observing the hustle and bustle of London. I wandered through Piccadilly Circus, up Regent’s Street and along Oxford Street, mainly because I knew the way and could wander without thinking. As it got darker I decided to head home, but I knew I wanted to make one last stop – Baker Street!

I took a longer tube journey back to the train station just to make this stop.  I went to 221B Baker Street and found Mr Holmes himself outside the tube station. It was a lovely stop to make as I headed home.

I love passing this tube station, but have not had reason to get off before. It was great to see the Sherlock Holmes silhouette in closer proximity and realise it is made up from lots of mini silhouettes. That made me smile as I headed home, back to the furballs waitng for me to feed them.

A look forward to 2016

Again it may be cliche, but I love reading these kinds of posts and I like writing them. However I thin specific goals and/or resolutions don’t work for me. For 2016 instead I am going to set out some things to focus on and some values I want to live by. I want my small decisions and actions to add up to a much bigger picture going forward. Therefore having these values to focus on will help me live how I want to live and focus on the longer term, rather than instant gratification. I want to live in the present, but not let habits I no longer want to define this for me. Things won’t always go to plan and that is okay; it is part of who I am and each step counts.

So here is what I am focusing on:

Travelling – home and abroad

This has been a big part of my life that I sacrificed for the last few years, but I’ve been lucky to travel around the England for work and that will continue to happen. So the focus for 2016 is enjoy every minute of it and spend my time and money doing more of it. I have three trips abroad planned – Austria, Bruges, and Japan – and each will be very different from each other. They are spaced out across the year so I will always have some to look forward to. I even have a trip planned for 2017 to keep in mind.

Being good to myself – mind, body and soul

We all have a tendency to put others first. I have found this year that trying to put myself first has been considered selfish by other people and that got in my way. So this year I want to make it about taking care of myself fully. It’s the big things like losing weight and keeping fit, but it’s also about the smaller things such as journaling and doing my make up. It’s also about learning to say no to things are don’t fit within my values and not caring what other people think.

Clearing out junk – physically and metaphorically

I’ve been inspired by Alex over at Love Lexi Life with her year of clearing out and going minimal that I have already started to do the same. I have a lot of things in my house that I don’t use or need and it’s time to let go of it all. I’m going to go through every drawer in every room over time and really create the space I want to live in. The physical side is easier than the metaphorical side. This is links to ‘being good to myself’ above and clearing out my mind of the junk. I don’t know what this will look like yet, but I think I’ll start with social media and make sure everything I use and everyone I follow fits with who I am as a person and go from there.

Focusing on experiences, rather than stuff – imposing some spending limits

This is a big one for me and relates to focusing on the bigger picture over instant gratification. I am going to impose some spending limits on myself for the short term to change some habits and also back up the my other focuses above. I have realised over the years that having ‘stuff’ is nice, but at the same time I only use a small percentage of the ‘stuff’ I have. With clothes and accessories for instance, I would prefer to spend more money on something that will last a long time with continual use, than something cheap I might only wear once. I want to visit more places and do more things this coming year and therefore I need to make sure I spend my money on things that support that aim.

Aiming for consistency, with fluidity – words for the year

I’ve already mentioned how I felt 2015 lacked consistency, so that is what I would like a bit more of in the coming year. At the same time I need to allow myself the flexibility to be fluid and make changes without guilt or shame, which is also something that 2015 lacked. So this year I am setting these as my words to remind myself of what I need and want with my life.

That’s it really. I think everything I will do will fit into these aims, if that’s what they are. I have a couple of specific things I plan on achieving, such as swimming the Henley Marathon in August and losing a certain amount of weight, but they still fit into living with the above values. I want my blog posts to reflect this in the coming year and I’ve changed my categories to reflect this and my main loves and I suppose clearing out the clutter from my blog was a pre-emptive step on the next part of my journey.

I hope everyone enjoys the last few days of 2015 and welcomes 2016 with open arms and be ready to seize opportunities that present themselves along the way. Here is to an adventure filled year ahead in whatever forms those adventures come in!

A look back at 2015

Yes I’m doing the cliché of a review of the year post, but I find it quite therapeutic and useful when thinking ahead.

Overall I have felt the last year has been inconsistent. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing as I could turn it around and say it’s been varied instead. Both have pros and cons, but the nagging sense of inconsistency keeps hitting me as I thrive on routine and goals. I think I started off 2015 with the wrong goals. They didn’t meld with me as time went on and that meant I kept putting them off. So rather than look back at what didn’t go well or how I didn’t hot my goals, because I actually did, but don’t feel how I want to about them, I’m going to recap what I achieved and feel really good about.



This year my swimming has been focused towards the open water and that has been great. I’ve made new friends at the lake and loved having specific open water coaching. I swam across the Solent and conquered some fears about sea swimming by just diving head first in and keeping going until I reached the other side.


This year I undertook my Level 1 and Level 2 Swimming Teaching and my Level 1 Swimming Coaching and really enjoy it. I use my skills and qualifications at least once a week when I help my swimming club and teach the development swimmers learn what they need to for the competition squad. I also continued to help the running club swimming sessions and ran 4 full courses with the helps of friends throughout the summer and right up until the week before Christmas. I’m cutting back a bit in 2016, but also stepping up responsibility to lead a session.

Work and Career

This year has been also about work for me really. I have been aiming for a promotion for the last year and in September it happened and I was offered a development opportunity in a different team. I’ve taken a lot of time this year to look at what I want from a job and career and then what I needed to do to get there. I have been in my new role a couple of months now and am really enjoying it. I want to make the most of this opportunity in the next year and really prove I can work at this level and even higher if possible. I want to do a fantastic job and learn as much as I can over the next 12 months.

Being myself  

This last year I have also been thinking a lot about who I am and who I want to be. I’ve purged Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Feedly to make sure I am following people who inspire me and I support (and hopefully they would support back). I’ve also been searching for more like minded people to interact with. I love the age we live in when the internet can provide some of that. There is still something missing and so the year ahead is going to be delving into that more, but I feel like I am happy with who I am and just need some tweaks before I want to shout about it to the world without caring what anyone else thinks.

My Cats

This is has been the first full year with Merry and Pippin in my life. They have been through their terrible teenage months now (I hope) and are becoming more and more affectionate each day. I spent much of this year debating about letting them roam, but then I take them outside with me and they head back inside before me most of the time so I know they are happy and spoilt rotten. They are okay around people once they get used to them and they are always there when I come home each day waiting for me (to feed them). I know they are safe and well cared for. I also know I enter more competitions to win things for them than for me. I also spent more this Christmas on them!

So overall 2015 was a year that felt like I didn’t achieve what I wanted to, but that is because I am comparing it to a different version of me and not the person I am now and want to be. I am also going to look forward at 2016 in my next post and rather than be totally specific I am going to think about things to focus on, such as my values or ways of taking care of myself. There are a few specific things in there too as I need a good goal to work towards!




Christmas Musings

I love this time of year. I love the colder temperatures and the darker nights. I love being able to curl up under blankets with a good book and hot drink. I love wearing layers and long sleeves. I love the build up to Christmas. The festivities and the atmosphere are wonderful.

But I’m not a fan of the big day itself.

Being an introvert and dealing with depression and anxiety means the pressure of Christmas Day itself is no fun at all. This isn’t anyone’s fault, but rather how I feel about the whole thing. I love my family, but spending more than a few hours with them in any one go is enough nowadays. There is so much pressure for everyone to be happy and get along, but at the same time the old judgments and comparisons come out and it hurts. Why we do this to each other I will never know. It means I dread the time and then am on edge, which is no fun. Christmas should be about celebrating being who we are freely and whole with those we love and want to be with.

I plan on doing things my way this year and even if my family think it is selfish I am going to follow through for my own health and happiness. Luckily I live in the same town as my parents and we are all going to their house. I set myself up last year to not be there the whole time. I’m going to the boxing day swim at the lake (even if I don’t swim as I currently full of cold), which means I’ll be out of the way all that morning. I also plan on heading home to watch Doctor Who on Christmas Day evening. I’ve never done that before, but this year I am as I have to go feed the cats and the timing works out really well. I know that will recharge my batteries by stepping away for an hour. It’s about the small things for me that allow me to be myself fully and cope with the pressure of being the ones who love you best, but don’t always know you best, and sometimes won’t allow you to change. It is okay as long as you are true to yourself.

I am extremely jealous of people going away with just their friends or significant others. I would love to go away and explore somewhere new each year. I would love to see and experience other traditions around the world. It is something I am already thinking of doing in the next couple of years. I would like to meet someone to do this with or talk some friends into it (I have one who is keen) so even if I don’t meet someone I’ll still be starting my own tradition.

So this year I want to give people like me hope that it’s okay to be different and not feel like everyone else this time of year. We can make our own traditions and enjoy them by being ourselves in whatever way we can. This year for me it’s the small things, but in the future I am going to create something totally new and that is exciting. Others might consider it selfish, but we only live once and as long as we aren’t hurting anyone we must be true to ourselves.

I found this on The Berry and it made me smile and I know this is exactly what I will be doing when everything feels a bit too much this Christmas.

Merry Christmas Everyone! Enjoy whatever you are doing and know you are not alone. Reach out if you need to. That is the joy of living today and the internet and the communities on here are available all the time whenever you need them.

Currently – November 2015 Edition

Current Book – A Court of Thorns and Roses

I’ve lost my reading mojo the last couple of weeks and started this book, but haven’t gotten very far. I think I am going to like it, I just need some time to get stuck into it properly.

Current Music – Hello by Adele

Like everyone else I love this song and turn it up full blast when it comes on in the car.

Current Non-Guilty Pleasure – Pumpkin Apple Cider candles

I love these candle and this scent from Partylite is a favourite of mine, but they have stopped doing it this year so I am making my big pumpkin last as long as possible. Luckily they had the mini jars on sale at my friends party last month so now I have another set to see me through the winter. There is just something calming and warming about the smell and on a  dark cold evening is perfect to snuggle under a blanket with a book.

Current Beauty Product –  Smashbox Hydrating Primer

This is amazing! I came across this through Love Life Lexi’s blog and I am so happy about it. My skin tends to get drier over winter, but I have noticed it getting dry in the day and I think that was from my last primer as I reduced the foundation I wear down to special occasion, rather than everyday. This is like putting on moisturiser and just feels so nice and not greasy at all. It smooths and reduces shine and just feels great. It is more liquid like than my last one, so I think it will last quite a long time too.

Current Drink – Caorunn Gin

My leaving present when I changed role a couple of weeks ago was new bottle of my favourite gin and it’s perfect for going into winter.

Current Food –  Tuna steaks pan fried with lemon. Usually with stir fry veggies and noodles. Simple.

Current Obsession –  Adding to my Lion King collection!

Current Craving –  All the sweet food!

I think it’s this time of year, when all the Christmas food is coming out in the stores. I just want all the sweet things!

Current Need –  Lots of sleep (like my cats)

 Current Bane of My Existence – filing my personal post, especially bank stuff. I just hate doing it. I never know what I need to kept versus what i can throw away, so end up just keeping it all and now it’s a huge pile in the corner of my spare room.

Current Indulgence –  roller ski course

In preparation for my cross country skiing holiday, but more about that another time.

Current Procrastination – cleaning my car

I hate this job so much! But I could easily take it someone for someone else to do it for me, but I would rather spend the money on something else. My car is going in for a service next week, so am hoping they will do it then – fingers crossed!

Currently making my life easier – Poopy Cat litter boxes

So easy to use and clean and have removed the odor from my house. Also fits perfectly in the space by my toilet. I have to put the box in the bottom of one my last litter trays to trap the dust as my two like to dig, but work it!

Current Confession –  I love the build up to Christmas, but not the actual day. So much expectation on one day!

Current Quote – this.

Current Excitement –  A week off next week!

I so need it. I haven’t had any proper time off in ages and am feeling it. I worked from home today and really struggled to keep focused. I can feel that my brain is not as on form as it usually is and from the combination of finishing one job and moving teams to new one I’m feeling a little run down. Not in a bad way, just in a it would be nice not to set my alarm for week kind of way.

Current Mood –  Determined

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