Wednesday, 15 January 2020

29

I don't know how but every year, regardless of it I've been blogging constantly or not, I find myself sitting down in the middle of January to review my year. I guess it's become a bit of a tradition, but seriously, reading last year's post back, it seems like no time has gone at all.

So 2019 was quite a big year for me looking back.

Firstly, James & I bought our first home together! I've mentioned previously our journey with properties; which have included renting our first 1 bed flat back in 2017, we then moved in Spring 2018 to a 2 bed house, to now finally being able to say we are the owners of a 3 bed house as of September last year! I do really want to write a full post on our homes & how special they've all been ('cos lets be real here, I get seriously attached to things waaaaay too much) but re-reading last year's post & remembering writing the sentence "We haven't decided what we are planning yet for our next move & if we'll be here a while longer, but everything seems to be moving in the right direction, so watch this space" I genuinely remember typing that as I was scrolling through Rightmove looking at all the amazing houses & setting up viewings, which we started in February last year. It was a complete roller-coaster. I lost count of how many properties we viewed (yes I am picky, but I'm so pleased I was as our property now is everything I hoped for) & I knew it would take time for the right one to come along. Anyway, fast forward to the end of September & we got given the keys & the rest is history. I can't begin to tell you how happy we are here, to have celebrated our first Christmas in our new place was so special, surrounded by amazing friends & family. There really was nothing like it.

Another massive change in our lives is James & I have adopted our first fur baby! I'm actually writing this on Wednesday 15th January & we are picking him up on Saturday 18th & we actually can't wait. I'm not sure when this post is going live, but yay! If you want to see lots of puppy content, head over to my Instagram account. We have also set up a home account, which you can follow & I'll link pup's here too.

Ah so now would be a good time to mention fitness maybe? Start of the New Year, new you right? What a load of rubbish! Haha. However, last year I did discover an exercise that I love, it definitely deserves a mention. If you know me, you know I'm not a massive fan of exercise. I tried the gym (once, hated it!) but I found a class with my work besties that I actually look forward to & feel fabulous afterwards. It's called Bounce. It's honestly so much fun, we do a class once a week (wish I could do more, but just depends on working hours) but I honestly can't recommend it enough. I'm still not there 100% with my fitness, but it's definitely helped me get on the right track. I'm so grateful as well but for my birthday this year, my Grandad kindly bought me a Fitbit, so I'm extremely excited to track my calorie burn at class.

Leading nicely on from my Bounce classes, last year James & I took part in the South Coast Challenge. We walked 25km, from Eastbourne to Alfriston over the Seven Sisters - raising just under £1000 for The Alzheimer's Society in memory of my Nan. It was an incredibly emotional day, for myself & my family, but I was so proud of us for doing it. As we'd been training for the walk, I found some beautiful places in our home town. I feel like it was a year for discovering new things that actually were right under our noses to start with. There's nothing better than walking out your front door & being able to walk to town in 20 minutes, but equally, 5 minutes down the road you find the most beautiful countryside. Feeling so extremely lucky. 

As well as raising money for The Alzheimer's Society, I couldn't forget about the other amazing charities. My work ladies & I took part in the Race For Life this Summer & raised an incredible £1100 for Cancer Research. Sally is trying to persuade me to do the Pretty Muddy this year & as I'm away for normal RFL, I don't see how I'm going to get out of it.. haha! We also took part in Wear It Pink, Children In Need, Christmas Jumper Day, Elf Day & Red Nose Day, where we dressed up as superheroes. I also organised 2 extremely successful quiz nights as work. The most recent one being last Friday where a last minute raffle managed to raise £150 for The National Kidney Federation. I'm extremely passionate about raising money for charity & even though it's going to be hard to top last year I'm going to try my absolute hardest to keep raising as much money as possible for these amazing causes.

So onto a completely different side of the year was all the incredible places I visited. It wasn't a year of big holidays - but James & I managed to spend 3 nights in one of our favourite places, the New Forest. We did this a few years ago & loved it so much, it's the perfect base for travelling to Bournemouth for the day & we also explored the surrounding area. I honestly can't recommend it enough. We were also lucky enough to visit my godparents in Cambridge In September. I used to go & stay with them for a few days when I was younger, but hadn't been to Cambridge for years so it was lovely to explore again. Oh & I had the best few days away with the girls. We booked a lovely 2 night stay in Birdham at the end of October & it was honestly amazing. Highlight? THE ORANGE TWIRLS! Hahaha. I joke, we made some amazing memories & I'm extremely grateful to them all.

Apart from holidays, I was lucky enough to go to London with our family, to see the amazing Phantom of the Opera, as well as recently Dear Evan Hansen with my girls. I would highly recommend seeing both if you get the chance. Dear Evan Hansen blew me away completely as I had no idea of the story before seeing the show & it was simply beautiful. We also saw McFly in November which was absolutely amazing. My teenage self could not contain the excitment, despite being in the scariest seat in the world. Hahaha! 

I also got to meet two new arrivals last year; Gemma had her second little one Harry & Sarah welcomed baby Ella into the world. Both absolutely gorgeous & I can't wait to watch them grow up.

& someone else who has grown up ALOT, is Honey. My little girl celebrated her 10th birthday in October & we threw her a sausage birthday party! Make sure you check out the photos on my Instagram page, she had the best day!

 Oh & I can't fail to mention hosting another 2 events - my Easter Party & Summer BBQ. The Summer BBQ I do every year but the Easter Party was such a success, I'm hoping to do that again this year!

So there we go, these are my highlights. I started this post thinking shit, what am I going to write about?! I haven't done anything this year, but actually looking back at all my photos, I've actually done quite a lot & achieved so much. So how am I going to end this.. Promise to blog more? Exercise more? Adopt more dogs?? Haha, that last one sounds like the most likely to happen. But in all seriousness, my Fitbit is currently vibrating my wrist, telling me to move more, so I'm actually going to walk round the garden a few times & grab some lunch.

Thankyou if you've made it to the end of this post. It's actually felt lovely being able to put all this down & review the year. I have an amazing feeling about 2020, I'm not going to lie. 

Oh & before I forget, here's the link to my last blog post. Honestly, please give Anna's book a read if you're thinking about setting up some goals for this year. It's never too late to start a new habit : )

Sunday, 27 October 2019

Setting Realistic Goals & Sticking To Them

So, I've been reading. 

I'll pause while you pick yourself off the floor.


Guys seriously. I mentioned I was reading this in my previous post & I honestly haven't read such an inspirational book in a long time. I described it as sitting down with an old friend, having a cup of tea & a chocolate biscuit & that is genuinely what it's like.

I like to think of myself as an organised person (if you know me, you'll know nothing excites me more than a spreadsheet!) but the actual doing of the tasks is another matter. I'm hopeless at prioritizing my time, so much so, I find a lot of my time is spent worrying about things, that could literally be solved from completing them. Easy right?

We're all under this constant pressure to 'exercise more, eat healthier, socialise but also have time for ourselves' & the list goes on. Surely, a regular human can't do all these things as well as maintain a full time job!?

Anna breaks it down brilliantly. She basically states that if you have all of these as your goals, you'll never complete them. Start small & be specific & you're onto a winner.

On page 103, she suggests grabbing a piece of paper & writing the following headings, so that's what I did.

Financial / Wellbeing / Personal / Career

You can obviously add in different ones if these aren't relevant to you, but they suited me perfectly. Anna's top tip here is to try to break down the goal. So instead of 'drink more water' be more specific & say 'drink 2 litres a day' or if you want to add exercise into your life, instead of 'go to the gym more' it could be 'try to exercise once or twice a week' My top tip is don't give yourself too many. You'll overwhelm yourself & you'll find that instead of completing the majority of them, you'll end up giving up. So here are my goals for the categories above.

Let's start with financial. So James & I have recently bought our own house which is incredibly exciting, but obviously meant we are now budgeting for a bigger property than we were when we were renting & we are still learning about the house in regards to our water & electric usage. Hence, my first & only goal for this one is try to save £50 a month. Now this money will literally go straight into the 'house' fund. I do want to start adding more to it in the next year, but with Christmas coming up, it seems like the sensible amount to aim for.

Next we have wellbeing. I like this category as you could add one of the smallest goals, but it could make the biggest different to your lifestyle if you stick to it. The first one for me is to attend my Bounce class once a week. I used to go back in the Summer every Monday after work, but since my shifts have changed, it hasn't been as easy for me to attend (let's be real, they do 3 classes a week.. if I forced myself I probably could have made quite a few that I was "busy" for on other days!) but I truly don't know why I stopped to be honest. It's so much fun & the ladies I do it with are amazing, so there really isn't any excuse. My second one is nice & easy; drink 1 litre of water a day. Now I know you're supposed to drink 2, but right now getting me to drink anything other than multiple cups of tea a day with a half glass of orange squash thrown in is a challenge, so I'm starting small to see if I can achieve it. It should definitely help with my headaches & hopefully my skin will thank me for it too! & final one for wellbeing is try to either jog, or walk for 30 minutes, twice a week. I actually live half an hours walk from work & in the Summer time when it's lighter, I would think nothing of the walk there & back, but unfortunately as we head into Winter, it's so much easier (& safer) to grab the car. But I find I feel so sluggish if I haven't walked in the day. My job involves sitting at a desk for 8 hour days, so I really need to push myself to get out more.

Thirdly we have personal. I have 2 goals for this one which I'm hoping I can achieve. Firstly, spending no more than 2 hours a day on my phone. I've recently got a new iPhone & it's got the screen time tracker on it & my god, it's scary. Who knew scrolling through Instagram looking at all those cute puppy videos would make you seem like you have no life away from a screen!? I seriously couldn't believe it when my first 'weekly report' came through, so I'm determined to switch off from my phone from now on. Anna also suggests have a 'digital detox' every so often & literally shutting your phone in a draw for an evening or a whole day if you're feeling brave, just to see what life is like without being joined at the hip to socials. I'm definitely going to do this more. Secondly is read a book per month. Anna had this one on her list & I attempted to read 8 last year & think I got to about 6! Not bad but I still think I can do 1 a month. I thought about how much I lay in bed each night on my phone for about 20 minutes before I go to sleep & for what reason? ..there is no reason! So why not pick up a book instead (also that will help me with the 2 hours a day goal too! 2 birds with 1 stone & all that!) I found my library card at the bottom of a handbag when we were moving & now I'm absolutely craving going there & selecting some new books! As I remember, you could only borrow the book for 3 weeks at a time, so hopefully that'll force me to stick to my goal.

& finally career. I'm quite private about my job on my blog, so I'm afraid I'm going to keep this one to myself as I know I have colleagues that read this from time to time, but I will share 1 of Anna's with you to give as an example. "Get a piece of my writing published in a magazine". I mean, is there anything this girl can't do? It'll be ticked off in no time (if it hasn't been already this year!)

Well lovelies, I hope you enjoyed that exceptionally rambley post. I'm hoping by me actually typing these down - I'm going to stick to them! Let me know if you try this method of planning your goals & what yours are! I'd love to know : )

Saturday, 19 October 2019

A Long Overdue Catch Up

Wow.. 10 months. 

I seriously can't believe it's been that long since I've sat down & written a blog post. If you're reading this, thankyou for either sticking with me or if you've stumbled across this page, welcome! I used to blog quite consistently, 2 or 3 times a week, but over the past year or so, that's sort of digressed to 1 or 2 a year! Which is so incredibly sad. I'm not going to even start to bore you with excuses why I haven't been, but let's just say life. Life is & has been extremely busy, so I thought we'd better start with a catch up.

The biggest change & what has been taking up most of this year is our move. Not only have we moved, but we've bought our very own house! We've lived together for 2 & a half years in rented accomodation, firstly in a flat, then a house & now finally we are in our very own property! We moved at the end of September & if I'm being completely honest, it still doesn't feel real. I'm not going to promise & say my next blog post is going to be all about buying a house & our experience (because who knows when I'll get round to writing it!) but I would love to share our journey with you. It was full of so many ups & downs (more downs that ups tbh!) but until we actually began the process, we never really knew what to expect & definitely agree with people when they say moving is one of the most stressful things you go through in life! But overall, so worth it & despite us not having the smoothest ride, everything has finally started to fall into place.

Not much else has changed except our living situation (this has honestly been taking up most of our time since February when we started looking!) 

I guess you're probably wondering why have you started your blog up again Cat? Why this moment.. well if I'm honest, I was just about to have a nap & the sun came out & I thought "Mmm, I'll put some washing on, it'll only take 45mins on the quick cycle, that definitely isn't enough time to nap. I know, I'll sit down & make a few goals & analyse my life." You know, a standard Saturday really!

I've recently been reading An Edited Life by Anna Newton & have become absolutely obsessed (honestly, this book is amazing, I can't recommend it enough. It's like your sitting down with an old friend over a brew & a choccie biscuit) I'm currently half way through & reading all about setting achievable goals. It encouraged me to sit down & start writing & I remembered my blog & just thought, what a great way to start.

I really want to give my blog a proper make-over, but I'm terrified of messing everything up. I remember spending hours & hours on my html when I first started, that I'm scared one wrong click & I'll ruin it all, haha! So I guess a fresh style of writing will have to do for now.

Well, that's all I have to write for now lovelies. I hope you're having the most wonderful Saturday. Here's to the next few posts! (Let's at least try to get five in before Christmas ok?)

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

28

No waaaaaay am I 2 years off of being 30?! Stop the world.. I want to get off!

Seriously though, where has this year gone? I know I type this most years.. but I'd love to know the answer to that question. Someone actually said to me the other day the world is spinning faster, so time is going quicker & I'm actually starting to believe them..

Anyway! Time for me to look back over the past year of being 27..

We moved.. again!
I mentioned in last year's post we had some exciting news about moving to a 2 bed house last April & I can confirm, everything went to plan & I'm currently sitting in our living room, log fire burning, in my onesie & I couldn't be happier. It was definitely the right decision to leave the flat when we did, even though I cried like a baby on the day we moved out! I get so emotionally attached to things & obviously our first home together meant alot to me, even though looking back, it wasn't the nicest place in the world. The house we are in now has a perfect sized garden; quite small, but I love nothing more than sitting outside in the Summer at our garden table, with my morning cup of tea. I'm counting down the days when it's warm enough to do that again. We haven't decided what we are planning yet for our next move & if we'll be here a while longer, but everything seems to be moving in the right direction, so watch this space!

Holidays
James & I were lucky enough to go on 2 big holidays with family this year; we firstly jetted off to Kefalonia in June & it was honestly one of the most beautiful places I've been to. Definitely my favourite out of the 3 Greek islands we have visited. We also were lucky enough to go to Quimper for a week in July, where we had our own pool & plenty of activities to keep us entertained! I also spotted a wild seal which was amazing.

Events 
This year has been full of exciting things! Here are a few; I met baby Ru, James & I attended Crufts for a 2nd time & met JP the pug, we sat & ate dinner outside in our own garden, we visited Hever Castle, I held a Eurovision party, I took part in my first escape room & went on to do 2 more, I went to Kefalonia & Quimper, I saw Legally Blonde & The Play That Goes Wrong with the girls, I became a gardener, I organised a brunch & Christmas dinner for my work ladies, I held my annual Summer BBQ, I attended my first murder mystery night, James & I attended 2 weddings; Matt & Alice's in Bristol & our best friend's Mils & Craig's, I organised a surprise birthday party for Elisa, read 6 books, went for afternoon tea with Mum for her birthday, went to my first pumpkin picking patch, travelled to Devon for a mini holiday to visit Nicola, dressed up as an elf for charity & went for a job interview, went to Glow Wild with the girls & finally hosted Christmas Day.

I mentioned in my last post it's incredibly hard to put a stamp on the whole year as being 'good' or 'bad'. I had some wonderful things happen last year as I've listed above, but it's funny how one thing can tip the year on it's head.

I lost someone incredibly close to me last year & it was one of the toughest things I've had to deal with. It's still incredibly hard & everyday something will remind me of my Nan & bring a smile to my face. Some days are harder than others & I still can't really get my head around the fact she's gone. Nothing really prepares you for losing someone but I honestly wouldn't have got through last year without my amazing friends & family, so thank you guys.

Here's to 2019; a fresh start & the year of being 28.. here's hoping it's a good one : )

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Wednesday, 2 January 2019

2018

Every year I sit down & write a yearly update in January, around my birthday, but for some reason, this year seems a bit different. 

I've started this post a million times & all the different ways you can imagine, but the words just won't flow & they somehow feel wrong being typed.

It's hard to put into words & review a whole year isn't it? Because how can you chuck a mixture of ups & downs together & expect for the good or bad to outweigh the other? 2018 was truly full of highs & lows, but it had one extreme low which has ultimately made it one of the hardest years in my lifetime.

I struggled a lot this year with what direction I wanted to take in life. Life is too short right? Everyone says it & this year especially has just raced by. When certain things happen, it makes you realise you can't just sit about & let life pass you by, you have to take that leap, that jump & either fall or fly. 

I do completely get '2019' is just a date, but there's something about the New Year that makes you go "Right, I'm going to try this now" & that's where I'm at.

What I think I'm trying to say is, 2018 was incredibly hard. It showed me I could be strong when I really didn't believe I was. It proved to me that my friends & family are everything & that the people around us are what keep us going.

I just want to thank you, if you're reading this & have been there with me through everything this year. I couldn't have done it on my own. So thankyou, from the bottom of my heart & here's to a happy & healthy 2019.