My New Years Resolutions

Well well well, look who’s back.

So after a bit of a hiatus I thought I’d come crawling back to my little blog space. Rather than leaping right in to more travel tips and tales, I have decided to ease myself in by writing a good ol’ list post and as ’tis the season (and let’s face it, you probably won’t hear from me until sometime in 2017 now) I thought I’d write a bit of a new years resolution post.

Now I’m not going to do anything silly like promise to blog every other day because let’s all be honest – that ain’t gonna happen but here are some things I would like to focus on for the new year ahead.

1. Follow a passion and learn something new

When certain aspects of life become stale, it’s time to shake things up. So I have just started doing a distance learning course in something I’ve always been interested in but never pursued. So far I’m really enjoying it but the only downside to doing the course is that it gives me alot less time for blogging. However, I’m learning alot and it could lead me onto something amazing if I’m lucky enough. But if not, then at least I tried.

2. Reignite my creative spark

I was a very creative child but somewhere along the way between discouraging art teachers and the world of work, my creative spark got extinguished. I miss being a creative free spirit and often complain to my hubby that I have no talents (besides being able to lick my own elbow LOL). Perhaps if I’d stuck at my creative endeavours I’d feel more satisfied with myself.

My New Years Resolutions

3. Look after my mental well-being

I have anxiety. I’ve been dealing with this shit for over 10 years now but it does seem to be a more openly discussed topic these days. I have had therapy. I have also been prescribed medication (which gave me awful side effects). Unfortunately where I got better at handling the type of anxiety I had, it has just morphed itself into a different kind of anxiety. I have good days and bad days (which I hide very well) and I’ve come to realise that if I’m going to get better then I need to invest more energy into helping myself on those bad days, because no one else is going to.

4. Be more conscientious 

I’m someone who can be a little naive and impulsive sometimes. I feel that now is the time I need to pay a bit more attention to the things that I buy, starting with shopping for cruelty-free cosmetics and toiletries. I know its just a small change, but baby steps and all that. Oh and I’m always open to recommendations for new brands to try!

Christmas cruelty-free beauty haul ...think my mum went nuts in The Body Shop! :)
Christmas cruelty-free beauty haul …think my mum went nuts in The Body Shop! 🙂

5. Do more volunteer work

Come February I will have been volunteering at the cat shelter for a year, which I am proud of because I am hopeless at sticking to things (remind me again why I’m writing this list?!). As much as I love the cats and what I do, I know that I won’t be there forever and would eventually like to donate my time to other good causes.

How about you? Do you believe in New Years Resolutions? And have you made any?

Thank you for reading this post, I raise my glass to you on New Years Eve and wish you a happy, healthy and prosperous 2017!

The Problem with Pinterest, Technology and Blogging

Hello.

Long time, no see – or at least that’s how it feels.

But rather than doing the whole ‘sorry for my absence’ thing like I usually do, I make no apologies because I’ve been working my arse off at my day job putting in the extra hours trying to meet deadlines and you know what, when you’re sat looking at a screen constantly for over 9 hours a day, the last thing you want to be doing when you get home is spending yet more time at a computer. I think I’m tiring of technology in general.

I went to see Bridget Jones’s Baby on the day it was released. I absolutely love those movies and really enjoyed this one too. However, the woman sitting next to me felt the compulsive need to keep checking her phone. Annoying yes, but it made me think – if you can’t even sit through a 2 hour movie without looking at your phone umpteen times, then you have a serious problem.

Why are we all so obsessed with our phones and the internet?

I’m also slowly turning my back on social media. While at present, I am still quite fond of Twitter, sadly Pinterest has gone from hero to zero. Pinterest used to be my favourite, I joined initially when I was planning my wedding to gain ideas and inspiration, which then after the wedding progressed into a place where I could ‘keep’ recipes to try and hairstyles I liked. I enjoyed Pinterest as I found it uplifting and motivating until they introduced their ‘Picked for you’ pins – pins they suggest you might like based on what you’ve previously looked at.

They’ve got it all wrong. Sharing cute animal pictures and heartwarming rescue stories DOES NOT mean I want to see horrific images of animal cruelty splashed all over my feed. I have tried blocking, unfollowing and reporting but Pinterest keeps showing me progressively worse things that once you have see, you can’t unsee. One picture too many (which reduced me to tears) has resulted in me contacting them to complain and deleting the app. I am still waiting for a response.

So although I had high hopes and intentions of growing this blog in 2016, sadly it is not going to happen. My motivation has gone. I’ve lost my blogging mojo. Still, there’s no point forcing it. Only do it while it’s fun. So until that time comes again, I’m going to be off having real fun in the real world (and planning my next two adventures!).

Mount Cook, New Zealand

Life lately… Summer edition!

I can’t believe we’re over halfway through the year already! It’s also that time of year where I feel like throwing in the towel on this blog, I’ve done it once already and oddly enough I said the same thing last July, but I think all that’s needed sometimes is a bit of sunshine, a dose of the real world and a something of a digital detox to get the blogging mojo back.

Speaking of digital detox, I got some of that when I visited Cuba back in May. Cuba nicely fitted itself in as the letter ‘C’ for the alphabet dating that hubby and I have been doing each month. I also wrote a post for how to spend 24 hours in Havana so if you’re thinking of visiting Cuba “before it all changes” then check it out!

Posing in a 1952 pink Chevrolet at Revolution Square in Havana, Cuba
I’m a Barbie Girl in a Barbie World

I have also been making friends with lots of animals. My sister in law bought herself, me and hubby a ‘Meet the Meerkat’ experience which we did back in May, along with her boyfriend. It was cute and fun although I suspect the meerkats had a soft spot for the guys rather than us girls. Boo.

But I did manage to get this less than flattering selfie.

Meerkat selfie at Hoppers Animal World
meerkat selfie!

I’m the sort of kid who has a new favourite animal every week, so I’ve been to a few different zoos and wildlife parks over the past 3 months and I’m fortunate that I live relatively close to some really great ones here in the South East that do alot for conservation and wildlife charities. If you follow me on instagram you may have spied a few animal pics in between all the blue skies and black cats.

Tiger at Howletts Zoo, Kent

A group of lemurs at Wingham Wildlife Park in Kent

A yellow headed day gecko at Bristol Zoo

I was also lucky enough to win tickets to one of the Wildlife Heritage Foundation open days this year – so thanks to Sam over at Yoko Meshi for the prize!

WHF is a big cat sanctuary which has the mission statement “To be recognised and respected as being a centre of excellence for endangered big cats”. It was a nice day out in the sunshine, although alot busier than I expected! I would love to go back and stay in one of the lodges they have there but they’re sooooo expensive!

Handsome white lion at the Wildlife Heritage Foundation in Kent

The WHF also offer photography courses which I might have to look into. I’m kicking myself that I forgot to take my SLR camera along with me, although alot of the cats were hiding away sheltering from the heat.

It’s actually been pretty hot here in England lately and anyone who knows what the typical British summer is like will know that if the sun is shining then you make the most of it! So for my hubby’s birthday back in June we took a trip down to the coast and got ourselves a sweet little Travelzoo deal at a boutique hotel (or rather a restaurant with rooms as they call themselves), The Marquis at Alkham. I didn’t actually realise it at the time but Conde Nast Traveller even named it as one of their best restaurants in Kent!

I must admit having somewhat of a past with social anxiety, I’m much more comfortable in my local Nandos than fine dining establishments, so although the whole dining experience was total instagram food-porn I didn’t actually take any pictures of it as I really didn’t want to be that person. Plus it’s quite nice to not obsess over posting things on social media and just enjoy the moment – something I think we’re all starting to lose touch with.

I did, however, take a photo of our room’s ‘guard dog’. You just pop the cuddly toy outside the door to your room if you don’t wish to be disturbed by housekeeping – a cute and quirky take on the traditional ‘Do not disturb’ signs that you hang on the door!

Our hotel room 'guard dog'

Even stuffed animals can’t escape my mobile/camera lens!

Oh and hey, in other news, turns out my cat is better at twitter than me!

Happy Caturday!

Also, there has also been some more alphabet dating antics but as I’ve rambled on enough for one post I will save that for another time!

Oh and I promise when the weather turns crap again to start posting more!

Peace, Love and Sunshine!

Peace, Love and Sunshine!

All images © me. Last image via unsplash.

April round-up!

I’m a little late with my round-up but you’ll have to forgive me because April has been such a busy month! It kicked off with my birthday which I decided to celebrate in London with my husband. We had lunch at Inamo Soho and then took in the weird and wonderful world of Ripley’s.

This past month I also experienced some Kentish delights such as afternoon tea at a Kent country house, as well as larking around with a pair of lemurs.

Delicious desserts for afternoon tea
mmm… afternoon tea should happen more often!

Hubby and I went on another Alphabet Date (this time the letter ‘B’) but I haven’t had chance to write about it yet (incase you were wondering what Alphabet Dating is, then click here). Date ‘C’ is already planned for May and I promise it’s a good one!

We also celebrated our wedding anniversary at the coast, played mini golf AND we went to see Hairspray on tour, which was a Christmas gift from the in-laws. If you get chance to see Hairspray, then go! It’s fantastic!

Aside from the posts I linked to above, the blog also consisted of –

What else?

In all honesty, I am finding blogging alot of hard work for very little reward so I’m planning to take a digital detox at the end of the month. I doubt anyone will even notice let alone miss me, but sometimes I feel that investing too much time in the ‘online world’ isn’t healthy. I feel a little lost within myself right now so a break away will be a chance for me to spend some time not feeling bad about myself.

I’ll try not to get too sucked into the world of inspirational pinterest quotes as a form of motivation, but I did want to share a couple that I saw in the Hard Rock section at Ripley’s. I kind of love these…

I'm from Las Vegas! I can't understand why more people don't wear sequins - Brandon Flowers

I have multipersonality disorder when it comes to my fashion choices - Katy Perry

So that’s me, how are you?

March round-up!

I have this theory that everything in January and February sucks – my social life, bank balance, health, the weather etc etc blah blah blah.

And then along comes March and with the arrival of spring, the blossom on the trees and the daffodils popping up all over the place, plus the lighter evenings, everything starts to look rosy again.

Of course this is probably just my imagination over analysing things but what I’m trying to say is – yay!  March!

What I’ve been up to

I have started volunteering at my local cat shelter, the same one we rescued our cat from actually. It’s something I’ve been thinking about doing for a while and I’m enjoying it so far. To be honest, I think I prefer the company of animals to people anyway – far less drama.

Beautiful black cat
Here’s a picture of my cat, for if you need a cuddly wuddly fix

I’ve also started taking yoga classes. No word of a lie, after my first class I was still hurting 4 days later! I’m not very good at keeping up with exercise classes so this will probably fall by the wayside along with the bellydancing, aerobics and zumba (and we don’t talk about that one street dance class I attended) but I will try my best to keep at it because I think it could be very beneficial for me in both body and mind.

Of course, March gave us Easter. I’m not sure what I was more excited about – 4 days off work or all the chocolate?! I love Easter and was always fortunate that I rarely had to go to school on my birthday due to it falling during the Easter school holidays. I might be an April Fool but I was also born on Good Friday, which means I am good too!

I still haven’t quite managed to pick up the pace I started in January but it takes me so darn long to write anything! Fast reader, slow writer.

But here’s what I did write…

On the blog

  • I finally got around to writing about the day I attended Spy Academy. That’s right folks, the name’s Blonde, 007.
  • I started Alphabet Dating with my husband – ‘A’ saw us visit an Alice in Wonderland exhibition and the Aquarium in London.
  • Every now and again I like to get a little nostalgic with a #throwbackthursday post. This time I relived my visit to the upside down house in Orlando.
  • Getting involved in another WordPress photo challenge except as well as photos I thought I would treat you all to a little video too. Incase you missed it, here it is. I promise you it’s worth watching, unless you’ve already seen a guy spin fire while riding a jetblade??

  • I reminisced about the time I soaked in the Blue Lagoon in Iceland. You wanna check that out just for the super sexy photo of me looking all like a professional travel blogger and stuff 😉 Trust me, it will make you feel better about yourself.
  • I also raved about some burgers that I ate in New Zealand. Those kiwis know how to make a decent burger!
  • And I got in touch with my inner child (which to be honest isn’t a very difficult task for me as I sit here in my Mickey Mouse pyjamas eating butterscotch flavour Angel Delight).

Lastly…

April is already looking set to be a good one, so when I’m not stuck in the office, gallivanting around London, hanging out with cats or indulging my sweet tooth, I will try my hardest to type as fast as my little fingers can and keep this blog ticking over (as opposed to lying on the sofa binge watching Pretty Little Liars).

How was your March? Did you have a good Easter? And what are your top tips for being a quicker blogger?! Let me know in the comments!