Tuesday, 30 December 2014

LIFE: Goodbye 2014

When I said goodbye to 2013 I was on a complete high after a shaky start to the year. Looking back, I am so happy with the goals I set for 2014. I feel they were realistic and achievable rather than silly things like 'quit smoking', 'lose weight' etc. They were emotional goals, mind and body goals - personal aims rather than resolutions.



I can honestly say - this year has been a complete whirlwind; an incredible and emotional whirlwind. I don't feel like half of the things I did this year actually happened to me now and it's amazing to think this time last year I was living in Sydney. I have done some life altering things (no exaggeration and probably not obvious to people how they would change my life).

2012-2013 was not a great time for me and I won't bore you with the reasons why again BUT I chose to go travelling to take a step away from all the negativity I had in my life and the emotional negativity I imposed on myself. I made a risky decision to go travelling - I quit my job, booked a one way flight and had absolutely no plan at all. It was without a doubt the best decision I could have ever made. I know I started my trip in 2013 and had already spoken about this at the end of the year/beginning of 2014 but I only returned home in June so half of 2014 also involved living in Australia.

While I was away, I learned some very important things - not just through places I went but also things about myself. I cut myself some slack and I realised I was worth so much more than I gave myself credit for; this is a huge step for me and one I am still pinching myself about because it has taken me such a long time to get to this point.



The experiences I have had during 2014 - driving the East Coast in a campervan with three of my friends, spending three weeks travelling with my parents, living and working in a completely different country and loving it, meeting different people with different mind sets and really learning from them and the biggest thing of all - waking up one morning, assessing things and if I  wasn't enjoying something, thinking 'it's time for a change'. I will never forget any of these moments and I would advise anybody contemplating travelling or wanting a change in their life to just go for it - it could be the best thing you do for yourself and, if it isn't, it's another experience to put in the book of life.

I told you the other day about the things I have learned in 2014, and well, there are a lot of things I have realised, learned and even achieved this year.

Since returning home I have had some blips, a couple of moves, felt disheartened when job hunting, felt a bit confused, been to some lovely restaurants, spent a lot of time in London, got a new job that I couldn't be happier with and, if I'm completely honest, feel like I've got my shit together a little bit - it's not been easy; I've had crap times, another break up, I've felt unsettled, readjusted to life back in the UK BUT I've also had so many good times and I probably feel, at this point, that this is 'the start' and that I'll always look back on 2014 as my turning point.



I won't ramble on too much more - you've seen my travel posts (and I still have a ridiculous amount to write), my recipes, places I've eaten, ticked a few more things off my bucket list and read about my general rambling and visits.




It's been a bloody good year! Here's a recap of my 2014 Goals:


1. Do what makes me happy - focus on me and if I'm not happy with something, change it
- Done done done! When I returned from Australia I had to reconsider what would make me happy in familiar surroundings because, things felt different. I read a quote about travelling basically saying, when you return that everything is the same but you realise you aren't. Couldn't agree with this more - I probably hadn't or haven't noticeably changed to those close to me but I feel like my mind set has seriously shifted and I have a better sense of what I want now (please note: I am still a confused twenty-something with no plan, no idea what's going on half of the time BUT I feel determined to be a somebody now, not to sink into the background)

2. Look after myself - eat well, exercise regularly, don't drink too much - keep my mind and body healthy.
- definitely feel I've achieved this. I didn't exercise as often as I had hoped whilst I was travelling apart from the occasional spin class but since I've got home I've rejoined the gym, managed three sessions (at least - usually four-five) per week and I've begun my training for a 10k next year.

3. Trust my own judgement more and stop thinking so much - I'm a terrible decision maker and need to learn to just take the leap sometimes - if it doesn't work out, make the best out of a bad situation and move on.
- 100% done this and I am incredibly proud of myself. The best example of this was when I returned home and realised something wasn't making me anywhere near happy so I changed that and moved on. I took charge of my own happiness, something I've struggled with in the past and I can 100% say it's one of the best decisions I've ever made and I'm in a much healthier and happy place because of trusting my own judgement.

4. Keep in touch with people - I get lazy. It's hard to keep in touch sometimes when you don't speak to people everyday, especially with the time difference,
- I managed it with some and not others - the time difference was hard and, realistically, people have things going on in their lives so sometimes weeks can pass without catching up with somebody, regardless of what country you're in or the time difference.

5. Embrace my experiences - I will hopefully be in Australia for the majority of this year (hopefully squeezing in Fiji and New Zealand at some point
- well I unfortunately didn't make it to Fiji and, although I went to NZ, I didn't see as much of it as I had hoped BUT I do feel I embraced my experiences. I can home early that planned for a couple of reasons but I certainly don't regret it. Of course, there will always be many things I wish I had done while I was there but I can't say I didn't embrace it.

6. Be able to surf - I had a few lessons and plan to do surf camp but want to be able to go home being able to do more than not fall at a baby wave.
- I can't say I was amazing but I managed to surf a fair bit and lived to tell the tale!

7. Complete at least another 5 things on My Bucket List
- I did SO well with this - climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge, held a koala, road tripped in a campervan up the East Coast of Australia, skydived, lived in a different country for a while, went sandboarding and went to the Whitsundays - this makes me feel so lucky.

8. Be more of a 'yes' woman - this was my goal last year as well and I DEFINITELY achieved it but I want to step it up a notch this year.
- I definitely feel like I achieved this - even more so since I've returned home as well. Even if something makes me anxious now, I have a firm belief that 'if you don't try, you will never know' and sometimes, what scares us is what we need the most.

I am incredibly excited to see what 2015 will bring!

I hope you've all had a good 2014!

xo

 

Sunday, 28 December 2014

THINKING: SNOW DAY!

This morning I braved the snow for my usual Yoga class. Thankfully my Dad drove because the roads around us are terrible.

I had my hour then was greeted with this little bundle of excitement when I got back...



































I'm a bit of a mardy bum when it comes to the snow so after an hour playing outside with this one (who is useless at finding the ball in the snow, might I add!) and two very numb feet later, I have fled inside for an afternoon of tea, films and getting a few bits done around the house.

Despite having two weeks off work, the first has gone very, very quickly and I'm already gutted I only have one left before I have to head back down South. I seriously miss living at home and really wish the commute for work wasn't quite so far or I would be living back here in a flash!


I hope you're all enjoying the pretty snow and keeping safe! Only a few more days until the New Year as well. Is it just me, or am I the only one that's really not that bothered about making plans for it this year? I'm heading up to Sheffield to spend it with friends there but we don't have tickets or a solid plan...it just feels like one of those things that's massively hyped up and never really becomes quite as 'big' as you hope! Whatever you're doing to bid farewell to this year and welcome the new one, I hope you have a lovely time! And fingers crossed this bloody snow and ice will have disappeared by then!

xo

Saturday, 27 December 2014

VISITED: An Afternoon Tea Midlands Blogger Meetup at Hotel La Tour, Birmingham


A couple of weekends ago I ventured to Birmingham for my first ever blogger meet up. The lovely Emily from Recipes and Reviews arranged the whole thing (and the wonderful goodie bags!) and did such a brilliant job!

It was such a beautiful day and a perfect excuse to also finish off my Christmas shopping too!


We met at Hotel La Tour on Albert Street for their festive afternoon tea.


We all arrived pretty early and had to wait a little while before we could get our teas, coffees and, mostly importantly, the food but it gave us a really good opportunity to chat amongst ourselves as many of us had never met IRL.

The goods finally came...



Homemade sandwiches, Welsh Rarebit, Fresh Scones with Strawberry Jam and Clotted Cream - the WB was particularly nice, I must admit!



Christmas Tree White Chocolate Walnut Whips, Vanilla and Cranberry Macarons, Battenburg,  Clementine and Grand Marnier Trifle and Gingerbread Men.





All in all, the food was good. I found the Battenberg a little dry and, I'm not a trifle kinda girl anyway, so I can't say I was too keen on that.

However, the company was fantastic and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

I would recommend a visit to Hotel La Tour for their afternoon tea, bearing in mind that for the price, it's an enjoyable place to venture out - very centrally located, reasonable food and a great meet up spot.  


A very big thank you again to Emily at Recipes and Reviews for organising, not only the meet up itself, but the fabulous goodie bags (and a big thanks to the lovely companies who got involved with those!)

It was great to meet everybody! Check out their wonderful blogs - Hannah Bakes Things, Fork and GoodGingey Bites, Penne For Your ThoughtsBirmingham Student Foodie, Hello Terri LoweFull to the Brum and The Foodie Couple


*Hotel La Tour did not know any of us were reviewing their Afternoon Tea so views are all my own and everything pre-paid for with our own money!*

xo

Friday, 26 December 2014

FIVE FOR FRIDAY #9


As you can imagine, this week has been a great week. Yesterday was Christmas Day and I've been telling you for a while now how excited I am for the big day with my family.

Christmas Day was lovely; relaxed, quiet and just how I like it! I won't make this FFF a long one - I have masses of leftovers to eat, chocolates to devour and films to watch.

So, this weeks FFF:

Working from Home - I was lucky enough, this week, to spend Monday and Tuesday working from home. If I hadn't had this little luxury, it would have meant 2-3 hour drive (traffic dependent) there and back both days. Being at home meant I could roll out of bed, concentrate and tie up the loose ends before the Christmas break.

My Little Family - This week has made me realise just how much I appreciate my family. There aren't many of us but I couldn't possibly sum up just how much love and appreciation I have for them. It's been so nice to spend a full week at home (and another week and a bit to go!) and it's so nice just feeling relaxed and having them around.

Christmas Day - I am sure all of you are with me in saying Christmas Day has been a highlight of this week. I was absolutely spoiled rotten (as always!!) and it was just a nice chilled out day. My family loved their presents and I even got a few tears from Mum (definitely a sign of a present well received!) 

A Quick Cuppa and a Catch Up - I am lucky enough to have my bestie living about a 5 minute drive from my Parents house. She qualified as a nurse this year (super proud!) and as she's working this Christmas, we had to squeeze in an hour for a catch up, present exchange and a cup of tea. It was lovely to have that quick hour to see one another!

Appropriate Presents - I've had some amazing gifts this year and I cannot get over the generosity of my Parents, Grandma and Best Friend. Now, what I'm about to say may sound really bizarre BUT - I love the fact that they know me so well, which is reflected in their gifts. Hear me out; I'm sure, in the past, you've been given a present for a birthday or for Christmas by a friend or relative that just feels like a generic gift. You know what I mean - a lovely gift but just, not too personal. Well, the presents I've had just go to show they listen, know the things I like, adhere to my interests (LOTS of foodie gifts!) and they're just GREAT! No generic bath sets, just well thought out presents. Bloody love the lot of them! 

I hope you had a lovely Christmas Day with your Family and Friends!

xo


Thursday, 25 December 2014

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!


I cannot believe it's FINALLY Christmas Day!

I hope you're all having a wonderful day with family and friends. Hopefully Santa has brought you all of the goodies that you hoped for and you have empty tummies ready for a day of festive scoffing!

I just want to say a big thank you to my lovely readers - it means a lot to receive tweets, comments and general good feelings about the things I post on here. So thank you, thank you, thank you! 

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

xo

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

VISITED: A Christmas Walk around London

Covent Garden > Leicester Square > Regent Street > Oxford Street > Carnaby Street

One of the many times I've visited London in recent months, I had a few hours to kill so I had a wander round London, doing some Christmas shopping and checking out many of the lovely decorations that scatter the city this time of year.

I got off the tube at Covent Garden to look at the lovely tree and reindeer that stand tall and give a real festive feel to the place. I must admit, the lights look extra pretty at night and after going down to Covent Garden for dinner last week, I could sit and be completely taken in by those lovely lights for hours. 







 

My favourite part of it all? This festively baubled stand, with candy canes overhead and the stand selling Mulled Wine, Mince Pies and Hot Spiced Cider - my kinda stall!


This photo really doesn't do the Covent Garden tree justice - and like I said, it looks especially beautiful at night and there's really buzz of excitement in the air from the many shoppers and diners that flock there.


As the weather was rather nice this day, I decided to go on an adventure - no tube, take in the many beautiful buildings and sights to be seen. I find that to be my main problem with the tube - it's so handy to get around but you lose any sense of where abouts you actually are and you miss so many things being down there!


Leicester Square, despite being full of tourists all fleeting to the West End, I do think it has some character to it. Whilst I was on my little walk this day, I saw several of the Paddington's that are scattered around London.


A quick skip from there, through China Town (all I wanted was Dim Sum at this point!) before braving Regent Street and Oxford Street.


And if there's one place that makes you feel like you've fallen into Christmas (and heaven!) apart from the Monty section of John Lewis - it's Liberty.


I must admit, I was in here for a couple of hours. I am always in awe of this place when I find the time to have a browse around. It's such a stunning building, inside and out!


At one point, I did think I was going to go a little crazy on the stockings - everyone of them was so lovely!


I could barely move an arm let alone take photographs of Oxford or Regent Street - absolutely manic!

But I did get chance to capture the beautiful Carnaby lights!


After that I kinda gave up on photos because of the crowds, plus, Pizza Pilgrims were calling my name!

xo

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

LET'S TALK: The Festive Tag



My lovely friend Emily over at Emily's Recipes and Reviews  got me involved in The Festive Tag, which seems very appropriate seeing as I've been banging on about how excited I am for Christmas this year. Last weekend I met up with Emily and some very lovely food bloggers in Birmingham (more on this tomorrow!) for a festive afternoon tea so this seems like a lovely festive follow on with just a few days to go before Christmas. 

1. FAVOURITE FESTIVE FOOD - Two years ago I made the nicest chestnut and apricot stuffing (which I will 100% making again this year!) so that's a firm favourite. In my family, boxing day means one thing - Bubble and Squeak - and I have to admit, this is my favourite festive food, not just because it's a tradition but because it's bloody tasty!

2. FAVOURITE REINDEER - Donner because well, definitely had the worst luck with the names! Poor thing.

3. FAVOURITE DAY OF CHRISTMAS - I really like Christmas Eve - one the 23rd, my friends from college and I have a night out and then Christmas Eve I get home, stick on a Christmas film or Christmas songs and wrap my presents, help prepare things for dinner the following day and there's a little bit of excitement throughout the day with Christmas Day a matter of hours away!

4. FAVOURITE CHRISTMAS SONG - Elton John, Step into Christmas. Absolute tune!


5. FAVOURITE PRESENT - I couldn't possibly pick one - I'm spoilt rotten every year! If I had to choose it would probably be last year's present from my parents; the money that paid for my skydive in Australia. Literally the best experience of my life!

6. FAVOURITE FESTIVE FILM - Hmmm tricky one! Generic answer of Home Alone probably and Love Actually, just because I think Hugh Grant is great.

7. FAVOURITE FESTIVE CRACKER TOY - Sewing kit, hands down! I am absolutely terrible at sewing and my sewing kit is one I got from a cracker about 4 years ago!

8. FAVOURITE CRACKER JOKES - How do snowmen get around? On their icicles!


9. FAVOURITE CHRISTMAS DECORATION - My parents bought me the classic Disney Christmas decoration collection years and years ago (which you may have seen on my Instagram), so I absolutely love those. BUT my absolute favourites? The Christmas decorations on my Grandma's Christmas tree that my Grandad bought for her years and years ago.

10. FAVOURITE CHRISTMAS SCENT - Mulled wine. Eeeeeryday. 

11. FAVOURITE CHRISTMAS TV AD - I would be lying if I didn't say John Lewis - they nail it every year with their Christmas adverts!

12. FAVOURITE FESTIVE TRADITION - Every year I go round to my Grandma's and decorate her Christmas tree for her. I absolutely love it! She has decorations from when she was younger, ones I've made, ones that were on the tree when my Mum was little, some of my Great Grandma's decorations - it's like a trip down memory lane!

13. FAVOURITE PLACE TO SPEND CHRISTMAS - 100% at home! Last year I was in Australia and, although I had a great time spending Christmas in the sunshine, it just wasn't the same as being at home with my Parents and my Grandma. Christmases are definitely meant to be spent at home!

14. FAVOURITE CHRISTMAS FACT -  Christmas pudding was originally a soup made of wine and raisins...which sounds very bizarre!

15. FAVOURITE SNOWMAN ACCESSORY - They always have lovely scarves!

16. FAVOURITE WINTER CLOTHING STAPLES - Boots, big coats and polo necks. I've been obsessed with all three this winter.


17. FAVOURITE CHRISTMAS MAKEUP - I am the most boring person in the world when it comes to makeup - my face always looks the same with darker eyes for a night out. Throughout Autumn and Winter I tend to experiment with red and berry coloured lipsticks (which I love!) so that's about as exciting as it gets unfortunately! I would love to know more about makeup and be better about it but I'm an only child, nobody in my family really wears makeup so it's only really now that I'm going to makeup counters in Selfridges and begging for help!

18. CHOCOLATE OR CHEESEBOARD - Both? Okay...cheeseboard then! As long as there's chutney involved!

I tag the lovely Angela from Patisserie Makes Perfect and Gabrielle from A Glass of Ice.

xo

Monday, 22 December 2014

ATE AT: Pizza Pilgrims, Kingly St

During one of many of my Christmas Shopping sprees this year, I've stopped for 'food breaks'. It's no secret that I love any excuse to try a new restaurant, cafe...anything food related.

I had a serious craving for pizza and I had developed a serious frustration with the amount of people on Oxford Street by this point too. We ducked out of the crowds and onto Kingly Street in search of Pizza Pilgrims. I've never been here before - I'm a creature of habit and allow Pizza Express to satisfy my pizza cravings (big shout out to their Leggera Padana with the delicious salad in the middle!)

I'd heard very good things about Pizza Pilgrims so we hurried in, were seated to our table and in perfect view of the pizza kitchen (does it have an actual name?) Watching pizzas being made absolutely fascinates me, mostly because I am in awe of how they can shape the dough, throw it in the air AND not drop it/attach it to the ceiling/the dough doesn't go all holey!

Their ingredients truly are the best - they specialise in traditional Neapolitan Sourdough Pizzas, with all of their ingredients from in and around Naples.

I opted for the Portobello Mushroom and Truffle...


A beautiful white pizza made up of portobello mushrooms, fior di latte (the name for mozzarella when cows milk is used), parmesan, basil and truffle oil.

As you can probably guess by the ingredients list and photo above - it was out of this world!

D opted for the Nduja - a Margherita with spicy Calabrian pork sausage (that's the nduja!) 
I was assured it was very tasty and there was very little conversation once the food arrived, only noises of appreciation - a sign of a very good meal!


I must say - while we were there, every single pizza (and other dishes we saw served) looked beautiful and every person in that restaurant had a face full of enjoyment as they dug into their meals.

If you're in need of a quick snack that's full of the best ingredients, reasonably priced and impressively quick to be dished up - make sure you check out Pizza Pilgrims. 

Have a browse of their menu before you go, it will save you the indecision when you arrive!

And, to my joy, the Pizza Pilgrim boys have their own book - which has now been added to my Christmas list!

xo

Friday, 19 December 2014

FIVE FOR FRIDAY #8

 
Well, it's Friday again - another one that's come around quickly. This week has been probably the most hectic one of 2014 for me BUT it's my last day in the office before Christmas woohoo! I'm working from home Monday and Tuesday but it means this afternoon I am homeward bound for over two weeks which I am ridiculously excited about, as I'm sure you can imagine! I have realised this morning that I am completely disorganised, especially with Christmas less than a week away.
 
This week's FFF:
 

Winter Cocktails at Dishoom - We had planned to have dinner at Dishoom but unfortunately an hour and a half wait (and two VERY hungry people) meant that after these delicious cocktails (times two!) we ventured elsewhere. I must say, these cocktails were out of this world - Winter Pimms and a Mulled Bramble - yes please!

Harry Potter Films on TV - I am a HUGE Harry Potter fan, as I've said many a time before on here and on Twitter (studio tour visitor twice and HP World in Florida 3 times, don't ya know!) So on Tuesday evening when HP and the Order of the Phoenix was on ITV I was thrilled. Ending the day with a half hearted gym session due to a migraine and getting in bed to see that was on made my week! Let's face it, it doesn't feel like Christmas if you're favourite films aren't watched!

The Prospect of TWO WEEKS at Home - Today is my last day in the office before Christmas (I'm working from home Monday and Tuesday woohoo!) and I CANNOT WAIT to have two weeks (and two days...) at home. Not only will it be nice to catch up with my friends that I haven't seen in ages, it'll also be lovely to see my family as well - who I feel like I've neglected a bit since starting my new job (which I can't exactly say is new anymore...I'm into my fourth month now!)

My Horoscopes This Week - Now, I know some people think Horoscopes are a load of rubbish but I have the Daily Horoscope App on my iPhone and it has been absolutely bang on all week. Not just once or twice, but every single day! I do believe in these kind of things and I know the sceptics many think it's easy to relate a daily horoscope to some aspect of your life but they've spoken about exactly how I'm feeling this week and given me a real boost.


Covent Garden - London this time of year is absolutely beautiful, with it's twinkling lights and Christmas trees dressed to the nines. I must say, Covent Garden is a particular favourite of mine - the Christmas trees, the lit reindeer, the d├ęcor around the market...it's stunning and makes me feel incredibly festive. Wednesday evening I stumbled across this absolute beauty and it well...Burberry, enough said.

What have your highlights been this week? Are you feeling festive to with Christmas plans on the horizon?

xo

Thursday, 18 December 2014

MONTHLY GOALS: A December Update

 
A festive Guinea Pig, you ask? Why the hell not!
 
This month is passing me by in a flash - it's already nearing the end of the month and we're a week away from Christmas. I'll be honest, I'm feeling completely disorganised! Work is hectic, life is hectic, everywhere is hectic.

BUT I AM SO EXCITED! I've been like a child lately...and played Christmas songs daily in my office. Nobody has complained yet so I think everybody's got that festive feeling!

As always, I like to do a little recap of my Monthly Goals...mostly to remind myself to actually achieve these monthly goals... which I definitely need this month!

So, for December I vowed the following:

Daily Blogging - So far I'm keeping up with this - mostly a bit of moaning and a few experiments in the kitchen. I'm glad I've managed to keep this up and I'm determined to until the end of the month (and hopefully beyond!)
 
Presents wrapped and under the tree by 14th December - Laughable! How did I ever think I was going to manage this?! I've got one present left to buy, one is almost organised and everything still needs wrapping. If somebody could give me an extra two hours in the day that would be great!
 
Boring budgeting - Surprisingly this has entered my mind but I'm yet to whip up my boring 'I'm an adult and feel like I should be doing this' spreadsheet. One to pass over to my father I think!
 
A Christmas bake each week - Really happy to have managed this! So far I've only blogged my Mince Pies but I have a few others to try and get in before Christmas! Let's face it though, Christmas equals all of December technically, so a few Christmassy bakes until we welcome 2015 is okay, right?
 
SLEEP! - Again, laughable! I think everytime I set myself the goal of more sleep or a little bit of down time I go the complete opposite way and run myself ragged! Take this morning for example, I was in London last night for dinner, got back late and then couldn't sleep so got up, got ready and went to work an hour and a half early. Eager Beaver! At least Christmas is a week away and that gives me two days, maybe three, to laze in my pyjamas (these of course) binging on chocolate and various turkey-infused dishes.
 
Have you finished your Christmas shopping yet? Are you also facing the daily struggle of healthy vs. eating the office biscuits/chocolates in their entirety? 
 
Tell me in the comments, we'll call it Christmas therapy!
 
xo

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

LET'S TALK: Things I've Learned in 2014

 
I started my Let's Talk posts in May of this year - I realised my blogging in 2014 had felt a lot more honest and I found it really easy to type out my feelings and share them with you. Although my first Let's Talk was a travel related one, I decided once I returned from gallivanting around the world that it was a 'feature' I would include on Unorganised Chaos every now and then. I've read a few posts recently of people reviewing their years and it got me thinking - 2014 has been a BIG year for me - so what has this year taught me?

1. Being alone doesn't mean being lonely - For years I've felt like I always needed company - whether that be a friend, a boyfriend, my family. This year I lived 6 months on the other side of the world, I've had a break up, I moved back in with my parents (twice), I moved out (twice) and I've taken a risk on a new job. It's only this year that I've really felt I can be alone without feeling lonely. I have found a sense of independence and enjoy my own company.

2. Your own happiness should be put first - I have never believed this more than I do right now. People always seem to say if you try and please other people too much that you stop pleasing yourself - it's true. Going travelling allowed me to be selfish and to enjoy myself, coming home meant I had a fresh mind and new goals.

3. Don't overthink everything - sometimes you just need to say yes instead of weighing all the consequences. I blogged in 2012/13 I blogged about being a Yes Woman and more recently I spoke about knowing when to just go for it - sometimes, you have to take a chance. It could be the best thing to happen to you or it could be, well, not so good but if you overthink everything and don't say yes sometimes, you might spend a lot of time thinking 'what if?'

4. Trust your gut instinct - it's usually right. I always used to think my gut instinct was just anxiety and I was my own worst enemy at overthinking things (not taking my own advice from 3.) but you know yourself when something is wrong. I made a decision that lasted about a week - I had known for months it wasn't right but I still did it anyway BUT I soon trusted my gut instinct and it's lead to this year ending on a massive high for me.

5. Don't be with somebody you want to change - if you were meant to be with that person, you wouldn't want aspects of them to change. I have realised this the hard way but now I'm enjoying not having that kind of worry.

6. Don't settle - not just in relationships but in life - don't just plod along waiting for something good to happen to you; go out there and get it through hard work and determination.

7. Be confident in yourself - I guarentee you that you will have more going for you than you think even on those rough days where you feel like somebody's always better than you.

8. Don't be afraid to speak your mind - similarly to not settling - don't just put up with something because you want an easy life, because you think that's all you deserve or because 'that's the way it is' - you deserve way more!

9. Not knowing is sometimes more fun - when I left to go travelling in 2013, I had no idea what was in store for me, of course, that was a little daunting but seriously, not knowing where I would be in a fortnight, not having a plan for the week...it was a lot of fun. You don't always need to have everything planned in advance - quite often the spontaneous things are the most fun.

10. Give yourself a bloody break - in terms of rest, in terms of beating yourself up over something and, most importantly, if you fall off the bandwagon of a goal you've set yourself, think of it as a blip and the next day is a brand new one to get back up again!

11. It's okay to not be at the same job/relationship/travel/life stage as everybody else -we all have different beginnings, middles etc. - people like me have several different beginnings. I've read SO many posts/articles this year on having quarter life crisis', twenties problems etc. We all do things differently - some of us graduate, get a job, decide we hate that job/boyfriend/life and go travelling before coming home and landing on your feet, some get a job, get engaged, get married, have kids - it's all okay -  there's no 'Rule Book of Life' for us to follow.

12. Similarly to 11, DO NOT wish your life was somebody else's - Just because you see everybody's best moments on social media, it does not mean their life is peachy. If you step back, appreciate the little things and make the most of what you do have, you'll realise you've got it pretty darn good. I had a moment recently where I questioned why I blog because I starting feeling a tad of jealousy towards more successful bloggers - but, let's face it, my own life is pretty peachy most of the time, why would I wish I had somebody else's?

13. Money isn't everything - sometimes experiences completely outweigh that - travelling stole all of my savings and more, but it was without a doubt the best thing I've ever done AND a real turning point for me as a person.

14. Don't live day to day thinking 'I wish I could do that', 'I'm jealous I'm not doing that', 'you're so lucky' - go out and grab the things you want. If you want a hot chocolate, go and get one, if you want to jump out of a plane, jump out of a god damn plane (parachute attached, of course). Don't think 'I'm still young, I have the rest of my life' because before you know it, years will have passed and you'll wonder where those years went that you spent wishing you had done this and that.

15. It's not about the amount of friends you have, how often you see them...it's about the ones that get you, the new friends you meet who love the things you love and the ones you see every couple of months and it's like you saw each other yesterday.

16. A bad day doesn't have to become a bad week - Negativity is something I've tried to eliminate as much as possible this year and I've realised that being in a terribly bad mood one day is something that you should avoid carrying on to the next day as much as possible. Call it a day, get some sleep and wake up refreshed and positive for a brand new day.

17. Don't be afraid to take a chance, it might lead to something amazing - say yes a little bit more. If it doesn't pay off, chalk it up to experience and new opportunities will undoubtedly be just around the corner.

What have you learnt this year that you are taking with you into 2015? Tell me in the comments below!

xo

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

ATE AT: Ham Holy Burger, Oxford Street

 
It's no secret that I'm a big burger fan - infact, I would probably eat a burger at any given opportunity. I'm not talking about your McDonald's Quarter Pounder, I'm talking about a real burger.
 
After a hard morning of Christmas Shopping on Oxford Street, we were in dire need of a little food-related pick me up.
 
As we were already in John Lewis, we saw Ham Holy Burger was just upstairs and couldn't resist stopping off to rest our aching feet and satisfy our grumbling tummies.
 
We were seated with our menus and soon got our heads buried into making a decision.
 
 
I went for the simple Holy Burger - Pure Piedmont Beef Burger with tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce, onion and Holy Sauce. My partner in crime went for the same with extra bacon on. We also ordered some  of the French Fries with the Cheese Fondue - which looked as incredible as they sound.
 
We were eventually met with our burgers... 

 
I must say, the presentation of the burger in it's brown paper and on the chopping board were a nice touch. It is very true that you eat with your eyes...


 
 
As you are only able to have your burger cooked Medium, this was as perfectly cooked for me as it could be (I like beef rare usually!) Tasty all the same so I can't complain.
 
Unfortunately, the French Fries were delivered to us cold and there seemed to be a miscommunication - a dish of hot, fresh fries were not brought over to us at all. Very disappointed by this but, turns out, we probably couldn't have fit in half a bowl of Fondued (definitely not a word...) Fries as well as our burgers.
 
 
The verdict? A nice burger as a stop off during our shopping extravaganza but I wouldn't go out of my way to venture here otherwise - it was definitely a convenience stop off. There was nothing wrong with this burger at all but it didn't blow me away in comparison to the likes of Byron or Five Guys.
 
If the chips had been delivered and the service was a little speedier, I might have felt a little differently BUT, as I said, by no means can I say I wouldn't recommend venturing to Ham Holy Burger - reasonably priced, a great menu and friendly staff.
 
xo