YAYYYYY BIRTHDAY! I’m a couple of days late, but I just didn’t have time to post this on the actual day! 🎈🎉🎂
I’ve seen a lot of bloggers do a ‘___ things I’ve learned in ___ years’ for their birthdays, but I’ve decided to note down 25 discoveries (food, beauty, lifestyle, well-being…) from the last 12 months. Enjoy!
1. ‘It’s Just a Story…’
This is a big one for me, and linked to my post about how Derren Brown’s ‘Miracle’ helped my anxiety. I go into more detail in the post and explain what the phrase means, but just for a quick insight; I struggle with anxiety on occasion, mainly when dealing with new places/experiences, and applying this phrase to stressful situations has allowed me to cope with my anxiety in a different way. The show is on Netflix and I didn’t imagine when I sat down to watch it that it would make me look at life differently, but this simple phrase when worrying about something… it honestly really helps.
2. Chocolate Wine
YES it’s a thing, but you can only get it in Sainsbury’s! It’s so delicious and yummy, and it’s VERYYYYYYY easy to drink it as you would a glass of juice (definitely try to pace yourself with this one)! Seriously though, give it a go! (FYI it’s in the port section as it’s classed as a fortified product – Ed and I spent AGES trying to find it in the red wine section to start off with)!
3. It’s okay to say no to work
I hate to let anyone down, as I’m sure we all do. But sometimes, when that comes at the detriment of your physical or mental health, you have to say no. I had a situation at the beginning of the year where I’d taken on too much and it was really taking it’s toll. As much as I hated to do it, I said no to a job. But I’m glad I did, because I really don’t know how I’d have coped for the rest of the school year with such intense commitments. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY, do what YOU need to do.
4. How To Drive
I never had the time to learn when I was at school, so I started learning a year after I moved back to Yorkshire, shortly before my 25th birthday. I was extremely nervous ahead of time because I felt old to be learning…everyone my age already seemed to know how to drive, and all other learners were doing so in their school uniforms! But I had the most amazing teacher, who’s calming voice I still hear in my head, and getting my car in December has opened up so many doors for me! As a freelance dance tutor, it really is one of the best things I’ve done.
5. Twitter’s Amazing Blogging Community
I had no idea until the beginning of summer that there even WAS a blogging community on Twitter! But I’ve met some wonderfully supportive and friendly people, and I love to check out their content and see how they’re getting on. Shout out to my lovely blogger gals 😊
6. Dermalogica Skincare
I included this in a post about clearing up my skin, and I have to repeat it because the Clear Start Toner has made a MASSIVE difference. My skin’s finally cleared up (took long enough mind you) and now I wouldn’t be without it!
7. Mushroom Sauce
This was a discovery from a Google search when I wanted to jazz up a chicken breast. It’s easy and yummy and has made it to my recipe book! This is the recipe I used.
8. The ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ Soundtrack
Yes, I know it came out last year, yes I know I’m late to the party, but I don’t care – this soundtrack is gorgeous. The story sends a really important message, and the actual music itself is incredibly special. If you haven’t listened to it, DO. I listen to this at least once a week.
9. Want activewear? Head to Forever21!
Forever 21 was a favourite in our year group at Bird for fancy sports bras, and I’ve shopped their activewear range on occasion for the last 18 months or so (as well as JD Sports, Sports Direct and other branded stores). Now, I tend to head straight for Forever 21, especially for sports bras and leggings. The high waisted leggings DON’T SLIP DOWN, are very flattering and comfy, and I adore the designs too. Most of the time they have a matching sports bra (and who doesn’t feel like they can take on the world when they’re matchy matchy?!), so I’m absolutely in love with this store for my work clothes 💖
10. Multiple planners are a god send
Of course, I’m referring to my wedding! One planner ain’t enough, there’s just not enough room for all the various notes you scribble, questions for meetings, contact information of suppliers, guest list, playlist ideas, not to mention the more fun bits like colour scheme ideas/inspo, guest predictions and memorable dates… I have two but I’m not gonna lie, I’m tempted to get a third!
11. Being on stage with a significant other is THE MOST FUN!
(Credit: Bob McLennan)
Ed and I have done our fair share of shows together over the years, but October 2017 was our first with the upgrade from bezzies to a couple. And it was SO much fun! Shoutout to HSAP, we miss you!
12. How FAB Etsy is
I really had no idea until I started using it last Christmas! I’ve bought so much from there now, it’s my go to for gift ideas and I love browsing all the wedding related stuff to get inspiration too! I’m going to be dedicating a couple of blog posts to my Etsy experience, so keep an eye out!
13. ‘Unforgotten’ (ITV)
The most gripping TV series I’ve watched since Broadchurch series 3. If you haven’t already, get yourself on the ITV Hub and catch up on the last 3 series, because this is such a JUICY drama. And I love murder mysteries so this is right up my street! Ed and I totally binge watched this and cannot WAIT for the next series, because the story lines and performances and just outstanding.
14. How you fuel your body has a massive impact on the way it runs
Potentially an obvious one? We all know that if we spend our lives eating takeaways, we’re going to feel more sluggish and crappy than if we’re eating a more ‘clean’ diet (I put that in inverted commas because I’m not suggesting I eat like a rabbit AT ALL, but now, I’m making everything from scratch so I know exactly what’s in my food). We haven’t necessarily been on a ‘diet’, but recently we’ve re-educated ourselves about what we’re putting into our bodies. Before now, it was very carb heavy – to my mind, active jobs like ours required carbs to fuel us through. Whilst this isn’t necessarily wrong, having spent a lot of my life eating bread and pasta and NOW concentrating on fueling my body with higher portions of protein/veggies/natural snacks – my body feels SO MUCH better for it! I have more energy, I feel less sluggish – and I didn’t realise I was feeling sluggish in the first place! It was a life changing discovery.
15. Rebuilding burnt bridges lifts a weight you didn’t even know was there
So I recently re-kindled with my old high school bezzie. There’s no need to get into the ‘break up’ or any of that miserable business, because the main thing is, it’s all in the past. It was the one thing that really made me sad when I’d look back at it, or imagined what life might be like were she still one of my gals…but I didn’t realise there was a weight there…not until it was lifted! Lots of love has been happening this year and this just finished it off nicely 😊
16. Continuing to learn at work
Vague, but I genuinely learn more every time I’m in the Studio (whichever Studio that may be)! It really is one of those things where you learn on the job – I know I’m probably a VERY different teacher now to how I was 2 years ago when I’d only just started. I’m very lucky to be able to teach a wide range of students/styles/abilities/locations, and am loving being able to learn from some incredible creatives/collegues.
17. I didn’t know what stress was until we bought a house
I have no idea why I ever thought I was stressed before now. Having experienced the stress and rubbish that goes with buying a house, I will never complain about being stressed again! It’s such an important thing hanging over you for so long, something that you have NO control over… I don’t think we can comprehend until we actually go through it, how intense the entire process is. It’s been a rubbish experience regardless of the stress (I’m not going into it though), and can’t wait till we’re actually moved in! We got the keys a week ago and finally, we had a reason to SMILE about the house – it had been fairly miserable up to that point 😂
18. I’m actually quite good at cooking!
I started my cooking life 7 years ago when I moved down to London, and it’s safe to say that it’s been a longggggg learning experience – Jacket Potatoes and Chicken Kievs were my go to for the first year or so 😂 As with anything, it just takes practice, but it’s only in the last couple of months that I’ve realised that I can cook up some mean dishes!
19. I’m shocking at baking
Total opposite of the above. I’ll give it a go, especially when I’m making Ed’s birthday cake or my rent’s anniversary cake – but I’m absolutely awful. I cheat and use the Betty Crocker mixes, but I’m still rubbish 😂
20. Flowers in the home make me happy
I don’t know if it’s the freshness or the colour or what – but it lifts my mood 😊
21. Cherry J Rum
Ed made the discovery in So Bar a few months back, and it’s BEAUTIFUL. You know cherry haribo? Imagine that flavour mixed with coke and ice 😍 You can buy it on Amazon, and if you’re in the mood for that kind of drink, BUY IT!
22. ‘The one’ wedding dress is a thing
I HAVE MY WEDDING DRESS AND I’M UTTERLY IN LOVE WITH IT and I genuinely thought this was just a saying. Until I got mine on in the store. And OMG. It’s a wonderful feeling. I DON’T WANT TO WAIT ANOTHER 8 MONTHS TO WEAR IT THOUGH 😂👰🏻
23. It’s okay to rely on people
I’ve always been very happy with my independence, and by extension, relying on just myself. In the last 12 months I’ve realised it’s okay to share your burden with someone else – it actually helps! Even if it’s literally just talking through a problem, it’s amazing how much better you feel. I’m pretty sure that allowing myself to let down that barrier and be weak on occasion has actually helped my mental health. And I am forever grateful to my wonderful fiance for being absolutely incredible, and knowing me better than I know myself.
24. Want a cheap bouquet? Head to M&S!
It was a couple of days ago when Ed and I had moved out of the flat that we popped down to M&S to get a nice little tea and some bubbles. At the checkout, one of the ladies who worked there (who was sorting out flowers at the end of the conveyor belt at the time) piped up; ‘Do you want some flowers?’ They were £1.60 for the bouquet down from, can you guess? £16. £16! Which is JUST ridiculous. There were a couple of other bouquets that were starting to brown, so I guess it’ll just be luck of the drawer…but now I know! Go at the end of the day right before closing! You’re welcome 😉
25. Don’t be afraid to cut people out of your life
It’s difficult to cut toxic people out of your life, particularly when you have history with them. You keep them as friends on Facebook or follow each other on Instagram: whether that’s because you haven’t got round to doing a social media cleanse, or whether they meant something to you and you’re not sure if you’re ready to end all communication with them. But life’s too short. I’ve got to an age now where if someone doesn’t add or bring anything to my life, or worse, take away from it, why keep them in it? It feels a bit harsh, but d’you know where I’m coming from? It’s only this year that I’ve found the courage to cut those people from my life. I’ve got a new chapter starting, so this is the perfect time to have a clear out.
And there we go, well done if you made it to the end, I wasn’t expecting it to be as long as that – I guess I got carried away with descriptions 🙈 I hope you enjoyed learning about my discoveries, and maybe learned a thing or two along the way!