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. Wednesday, 1 January 2020 .
I always have mixed feelings about setting goals or making resolutions around the new year. I like the idea, but in reality, how many people stick to them? And if you can't stick to them, does it just lead to that flat/disappointed feeling which outweighs the benefit of setting the goals in the first place? That's why this year I want to reframe the way I think about my goals in the hope that this would make them seem less daunting and make it more likely I'd actually stick to them. I'm aiming to create new habits, rather than make resolutions. I realise that might just be pointless semantics to some people, but it makes sense to me and I'm hoping it will help! On average, forming a new habit takes over 2 months, approximately 66 days, so the way I'm looking at it is for the first couple of months this might be quite challenging but then hopefully after that it will just become second nature.

As silly as it sounds, I've also only set myself goals that I think I can realistically do. So the things below are all things I already do, but I just want to increase or decrease (whichever is appropriate!). This might also sound a bit cheesy, but I've created an image with my goals on them and set it as my home screen on my phone. Hopefully this will act as the little reminder/prompt that I need during these first couple of months whilst I'm creating these new habits.

1. No unnecessary spending

Now if you watch my YouTube channel, you'll know this is going to be quite the challenge for me. But I'm currently saving to buy a house and it's one of the biggest things I'm aiming to achieve in 2020. I really need this final push to put my savings into the position where I'm going to be able to afford to do this. My goal is to have a total spending ban for things like clothes and makeup in the first 3 months of the year. There's absolutely nothing I need at the moment; I have more than enough clothes and spares of most of the makeup I use regularly to keep me going. Realistically this isn't going to work long-term, so it's definitely something that I will slowly re-introduce, but I do want to significantly reduce the amount of money i'm spending on clothes and makeup particularly. This isn't the only area I want to reduce unnecessary spending though. Food shopping is also another area that I massively waste money. Usually when I go shopping I'll have a few things in mind to pick up, maybe a few meal ideas, but I'll generally just wing it. This leads to me buying loads of random things that I don't really need, doesn't come together to make a meal and often goes out of date before I'm able to use it up. So something I want to introduce is making a shopping list before I go shopping (ground breaking, I know!) and then only actually buying what is on my list. It might sound super simple but i'm hoping it will help me reduce my food shopping costs and reduce the amount of food i'm wasting. 

2. Reduce unhealthy snacking

I am so guilty of boredom snacking! I'm not even hungry most of the time, I just do it because i'm bored whilst editing/watching YouTube and it's there in the cupboard. I'm going to try and stop buying unhealthy snacks, because if it isn't in my flat then I can't eat it. If i've got more fruit and vegetables in the flat, then if I do fancy a snack, that's what I'll reach for. 

3. Run 5k twice a week

2019 has been a weird year for me in terms of exercise. I've always loved exercising in different capacities and pride myself on being and feeling fit. But during 2019 I've had two ankle injuries which have drastically reduced the amount of exercise I've been able to do, particularly running, because the injuries have left my ankle quite weak throughout the year. Now my ankle is feeling strong again it's time for me to start building up my running again. It's been a long time since I've run so I've been using the 'Couch to 5k' programme to help me build it up slowly. I've already started a blog post to document my journey on the nine week programme, so that will go live once i've finished it. Initially these runs are going to be on a treadmill in the gym but hopefully as the weather warms up i'll be able to take them outside. 

4. Exercise three times a week

My plan is for these three work outs to be separate from my runs, but they can take many different forms. I'm a keen walker/hiker and as my hike to Mount Everest gets closer i'll be including more of these hikes as training. I also attend aerial hoop classes which I discovered last year and am obsessed with! I can't go every week due to shift patterns but I hope to continue going to these classes as regularly as possible. I'm not the biggest fan of swimming of that's another thing I hope to do a bit more of in 2020. Then of course you've got your standard gym sessions which I love! So there's loads of different ways that I plan on working out in the new year. 

5. Read everyday

I have always loved reading since I was a child, but it's something I've done a lot less of since I started my undergrad degree over 4 years ago. I'm hoping to make it more of my daily life again in 2020, so it's my goal to read every day. Even if it's just for 5 minutes before I go to bed, i'm hoping it will reignite my passion for reading again. 

6. Avoid social media for the first hour after I wake up

Due to running a YouTube channel and a blog, social media is kind of part of that. Personally I think I have a pretty healthy relationship with social media, in the sense that I don't feel it affects my life as much as it appears to affect other people. However, I definitely feel like I spend too much time on it which is something that I'd like to reduce. A realistic way I hope to do this (because let's be honest, we all mindlessly open social media apps when bored, and that's a much harder habit to break!) is to stop going on social media first thing in the morning. This is something that's much easier to measure and keep a track of, therefore hold myself account. I am guilty of rolling over when I first open my eyes and going straight to social media, which isn't the best way to start my day and it's something I'd like to change. I'm definitely expecting some slip ups with this one but we can only try!

I'd love to hear more about what your goals/resolutions/new habits for the new year are in the comments! 

. Monday, 18 November 2019 .
This post has kindly been sponsored by BedGuru. 

Me sat on my bed with my BedGuru cosy care package
I've been thinking a lot about self care across my platforms recently, and something that really resonates with me as self care is being able to get a decent nights sleep. When I'm tired, everything seems so much worse. Little things that wouldn't normally get to me, suddenly are a really big deal, all of which adds to that overall feeling of stress. Inspired by BedGuru who kindly sent me a cosy care package, I thought I would share with you my tips on improving your sleep.

  • Only use your bed for sleep - this might seem like a bit of a weird one but for me it was one of the biggest for improving my sleep. Whilst at university I basically did everything in my bed; relaxing, eating, doing uni work - primarily because in cramped uni rooms there isn't really anywhere else to do these things! By only using your bed to sleep your brain will associate it only with sleeping, and therefore just the act of getting into bed will trigger your brain to think it's time for sleep.
  • Avoid screen time an hour before bed - we all know this as yet I imagine a lot of people are guilty of not actually doing it! The way I like to this is I will spend that last hour before bed getting things ready that I need for the next day, meal prepping for the next day, washing up ect. Whilst this isn't exactly relaxing, let's be honest, I bet most people don't have a spare hour at night to relax if you're anywhere near as busy as me. This way I'm still being productive and avoiding screen time. The reason screens are so bad for us before bed is because they emit a blue light which tricks our brains into thinking it's daytime. Therefore it stops our brain making all the necessary changes to trigger that sleep mode inside us.
  • Try to follow a regular routine - again something I'm terrible at, but this time it isn't my fault, I work shifts! Our bodies work on something called a Circadian rhythm. That's essentially the fancy name for our sleep-wake cycle. It's a 24 hour cycle that controls the release of different hormones to do with falling asleep and waking up. Our bodies like patterns, so if you're falling asleep and waking up at roughly the same time everyday it will make it a lot easier to fall asleep because your body will naturally start preparing for it by increasing the amount of melatonin (a hormone that induces sleep) before the time when you usually fall asleep. The worst thing you can do for your sleeping pattern (and it really kills me to say this) is have a lie in. I know we all love them, but honestly it totally throws your sleeping pattern out of whack so you're better off avoiding them!
  • Find something that helps you relax, that might be a lavender spray, lighting a candle, camomile tea - this is another element of helping your body find a routine and triggering that sleep mode inside you. If you always smell a certain smell or do a certain thing shortly before bed, your body will start to associate that will bed time. Find something that you find relaxing and introduce it to your night routine shortly before bed, very quickly your body will associate that thing with sleep and it will help you drift off when you otherwise might have struggled.
  • Shower/bath before bed - whether you shower in the morning or evening always seems to cause debate, but from a sleep hygiene point of view, bathing in the evening is best. When you get out of the shower or bath your body temperature cools very quickly, this is also something that happens to your body whilst asleep. So by artificially creating this through bathing, again we can help to trigger that 'sleep mode' inside us. 
Those are my tips for getting a good nights sleep - do you have any you want to share in the comments below? I'm always looking for some new additions to add to my routine! 

. Thursday, 24 October 2019 .
Self care has been a topic on a lot of people's lips recently what with it recently being World Mental Health Day on the 10th of October. Self care is a topic I always find really interesting because because it's often portrayed on social media as face masks, bath bombs and wearing cute pyjamas. Whilst these are great things to do, in reality there are a lot of other ways we can care for ourselves. If you don't regularly follow me you might not know that I'm actually a mental health nurse, but i'm not coming at this from the point of view as a professional; this is me as a person speaking. Whilst I cannot give specific mental health advice, if you do need support I would recommend checking out Mind, Young Minds, NHS Choices and the Samaritans. This blog post is meant to discuss well-being as a whole, which is something everyone should be aware of.
Getting comfy on the sofa watching YouTube is a big thing for me in terms of self care

Whilst having a nice bath and pampering yourself is definitely a great thing to do and can help to de-stress you after a busy day or week, I often find this idea of mental health quite patronising. Whether or not you have a diagnosed mental health condition, everyone has their own experience of mental health and well-being. We all have "mental health" whether that we "good" or "bad" and everything in between. Self care isn't just something for people who have a mental health diagnosis should be doing, it's something I truly believe everyone should be doing something to take care of their own well-being. The beauty of self care is that is varies from person to person and from situation to situation. If you've had a bad day at work a bubble bath might be enough to make you feel better, but if you've had a bad day on top of having a whole load of other things going on, then we're underestimating the power of our brains if we think that's going to be enough for everyone.

I asked on Instagram what your idea of self care was and received so many incredible (and varied!) results. Thank you so much to everyone that got involved. Here are just a handful of the kind of things people said they practised as self care:
  • Crying 
  • Napping
  • Doing something you enjoy
  • Talking to a loved one about how you feel
  • Taking a "lazy" day 
  • Taking some time away from social media
  • Drinking tea, in your pyjamas, watching TV, Netflix/YouTube
  • Going for a walk/hike/run
  • A G&T and a good book
  • Cutting toxic people out of your life
  • Spending time with family/friends/pets
  • Acknowledging your emotions, nurturing the good ones and finding alternatives for the bad ones
  • Practising gratitude for the good things in your life
  • Not being afraid to seek professional support, both physical and psychological 
  • Saying "no" to things you don't want to do

A hike and a cup of tea, another self care activity for me
As you can probably tell from that extensive (but condensed!) list, I have a lot of incredible people following me on social media. It also just goes to show that there are so many different things you can do to take care of yourself. I'm a firm believer that everyone should take some time, even if it's just once a week, to do something for themselves. Everyone deserves that time. We cannot always live every day in the fast lane or we burn out. We're human after all. 

I am by no means under-estimating the power of a good bath bomb here, but I just wanted to make people aware that there are so many more things we can do to take care of ourselves. The key is finding what works for you and having a tool kit of things you can do when it's needed. In reality no amount of self care is going to be able to treat mental health conditions, however it is important for our general well-being. If you're not looking after yourself then you aren't going to be performing at your best, whether that be in an education sense, work sense or even just generally in life.

What things do you guys do to practice self care?

. Saturday, 12 October 2019 .
Autumn fashion is by far my favourite, I love the colours, jumpers, coats, scarfs. It's all a dream! I'm desperately trying to save money at the moment because i'm hoping to buy a house in 2020, so I've been doing a bit of "window shopping" on ASOS so to speak. I thought I'd share with you my favourite picks for the new season. A few of these things I will definitely be picking up, but a few more will likely just remain as inspo.

Please note, all the links in the blog post are affiliate links. This means I will make a small commission if you purchase through my link. It doesn’t cost you anything extra and it really helps me out, so if you do decide to purchase due to my recommendation I would really appreciate you doing so through my links!
I am a cold person, i'm pretty much always cold! So I love having a gorgeous coat that I can snuggle up in. I used to always just go for a black coat, but in recent years I've loved buying coat that are more of a statement colour. This is something that I actually bought last week (I just had to include it in this blog post anyway though to give it the credit it deserves.) The hood is so huge and snuggly, which is perfect for cold mornings when you want to pretend you're still snuggled up in bed! I bought it in a size up so that there was space for me to wear chunky jumpers underneath; another Autumn/Winter staple. This coat is a little on the pricer side than what I like to pay, however ASOS always have sales on, so I'd suggest keeping it in your saved list and waiting for a sale to pounce. It is definitely great quality though, so well worth the price.
I had been on the hunt for a decent waist belt for a while, so when I found this gorgeous Western style belt I fell in love. One of my favourite things about this is that it's extendable; you can wear it either on your waist or hips depending on how tightly you fasten it. It's also sold in clothing sizes, meaning it's much more likely to actually fit your waist, which is something I often struggle with. My go-to outfit for this season is a chunky jumper, tucked into high-waisted jeans, with a nice belt to break up the outfit and some boots. Safe to say this belt would be perfect for that!
I'm on the hunt for some new black chelsea boots because my last pair have been totally worn into the ground over the last two years and are now totally falling apart. I'm after a classic pair with a decent sole on them so they'll hopefully last me another couple of years! These ones seem to have a little bit of a heel on them which i'm not a massive fan of, but i'm hoping it will help with their durability and keeping my feet dry.
Autumn is all about being super cosy (and to put a boring adult spin on it, I want to avoid putting my heating on for as long as possible, so I'm on the hunt for some comfy/warm clothes to wear around the house.) This co-ord set, which you order separately, is knitted and has a stretchy waist band. Plus, it's also made from a recycled blend of materials. It's made from recycled polyester; plastic bottles and textile waste are processed and melted into new fibres. This means it saves water and energy and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Comfy, affordable and consciously produced - what more could you want?!
If you follow me on any platforms, you'll know that I'm a big lover of ditsy, floral dresses. Usually, you can only really get away with wearing these in the warmer months. But I've finally found my dream Autumn, floral dress! I used to hate wearing green but it has really grown on me recently. I love the girly pattern and the puffy sleeves, but most importantly it will still look cute with a chunky knit cardigan and tights, or maybe with a jumper over the top to shake things up a bit.
I probably own far too many jumpers (although, is there such a thing?!), but in my defence, I certainly don't own one like this. It's quite an unusual grey colour and i'm obsessed with the sleeves. In a practical sense, it might be quite tricky to put a coat or jacket on over the top of this jumper because of the slightly bulkier sleeves, but then would you really want to hide them anyway?!
I'm in love with the look of leather trousers, but most of the ones i've come across before have been super tight fitting. They look great on the model but in reality they're rarely flattering. These trousers look like they'd suit me (and a lot of people I imagine) much better - they're high-waisted, a chunky belt to show off your waist and a slim fit. I love mixing up textures so I think these would look super cool with a chunky knit and then dressed down with some trainers.
Despite literally just saying I love all things girly, I also quite like changing things up and looking a little more grungy at times, particularly in Autumn when darker colours are on trend. I'm not really sure what it is that draws me to this hoody, I love the print, but also the fact that it's more subtle/distressed. The outfit i'm picturing is this hoody, black jeans, blue oversize denim jacket over the top and a beanie. Basically my perfect Autumn/Winter outfit for days when I want to be comfy and warm.
Speaking of being comfy and warm, who wouldn't want a complete abundance of cute jumpers for this time of year?! The colours in this one just totally sold it to me. I would love to wear this as part of an all black outfit, maybe with a mustard coat on if it's really cold to make the colour pop.
Is it that much of a surprise that I've included a mustard jumper in this list? I basically add a new one to my collection every time Autumn rolls around. Mustard is just my favourite colour ever, I love Autumn and I love jumpers. I particularly love the cable knit detailing on this one. I'm a bit confused by the ASOS styling though, surely if it's cold enough for a jumper, you're not exactly going to wear shorts with it are you?!
I can't decide if I love or hate these trousers... so I thought I'd include them in this blog post so you can make your own mind up. When the leopard print trend first came back around I hated it, but it's really started to grow on me recently. However, these trousers might be pushing the boat out a bit even for me. Personally I think wearing it with the matching top is a bit much, i'd be much more likely to wear them with a plain black jumper. I feel like the only way I could truly make my mind up about these trousers is just to order them and see for myself.
My final addition to this list is something else that I think might be a bit love/hate for people, but I certainly love it! I love the colour combination, the style and the fact that the front panel is fleece to keep you super cosy. I also think the huge pocket at the front would be really handy for both keep your hands warm, and carrying a few things if you wanted to nip out of the house without a bag.

What's your favourite item on this list? What are your fashion staples for Autumn/Winter? I would love to chat with you in the comments!

. Saturday, 28 September 2019 .
I'd always wanted to go "glamping," so when I stumbled across Peaks and Pods online whilst browsing the internet at 3am on a night shift, I was sold. I stayed in the cutest little pod, overlooking the gorgeous Yorkshire Dales. The site is based on a working diary farm so there's plenty of local wildlife to keep you company, including chickens who roam amongst the pods. I stayed for two nights and my only complaint is that it wasn't long enough!
Me sat in front of the Glamping pod

When we arrived there was a homemade lemon drizzle cake made using the eggs from the hens on the farm which I just thought was a lovely touch. The pod was cosy yet surprisingly spacious considering how small it looked from the outside. Inside was a double bed, an ensuite bathroom, a small kitchen with all the essentials, a pull out table and chairs and a sofa that also pulls out into a double bed. I chose to stay in 'Corn Bents' which comes with its own private hot tub on the patio and honestly it was just a dream. We also got really lucky with the weather! But quite frankly, even the rain couldn't spoil this place.
Inside the pod
Kitchen in the pod

Where To Eat

Me eating ice cream in 'The Milking Parlour'
Each pod comes with its own mini kitchen, there's also a fire pit on the patio which you could use to make a BBQ. If you don't fancy cooking for yourself I would highly recommend Ruchee - an Indian restaurant in the nearby town of Settle. It is about a 15 minute drive from the glamping site and the food was seriously the best curry I have had in a long time! In the on-site communal area there is also a pizza oven which you can hire out for an evening if you fancy making your own pizzas. We chose to make our own but you could also use the ovens to prepare store bought pizzas if you'd rather. 

If you fancy travelling further ahead, we visited a small town called Kirby Lonsdale. There we ate lunch a place called Crossing Point Cafe - such a cute little place and they make their own tea blends. After lunch we couldn't resist checking out The Milking Parlour; it's an ice cream shop that makes the ice cream from the milk produced at their family diary farm. The milk is made into ice cream the day that it's milked and it was seriously the tastiest ice cream i've ever eaten.  

What To Do

Personally I think the most important thing to do whilst visiting Peaks and Pods is spend as much time as possible in the hot tub! I can't quite explain how incredible it is sitting in the hot tub in the sunshine looking out over the incredible view. I even got up early on my last morning to go for another quick dip because I just couldn't resist. I quite literally felt like royalty. The only downside was actually having to get out! 

You definitely need to make the most of the stunning local countryside too during your visit. We opted for an 8 mile walk around the Stocks Circular Path. Within the pods are several different leaflets detailing different walks you can take of varying lengths and difficulty. 

Another favourite activity of mine was warming myself by the fire. There's a fire pit in the communal area which you can purchase wood for. The fire is right by a field for young cows and watching them wander around the field was so peaceful. 

Would I recommend it?

100%! I cannot emphasise this enough. I will definitely be booking to return in the future as I loved every minute of my stay.
Flowers and watering can outside the pod

View from the pod
The pod at night
A tin with homemade cake in it and some corn to feed the chickens