Goodbye January, Hello February…

It feels a little surreal to be writing my  January update post so soon, but this has honestly been one of the quickest months of my life. It only seems like last weekend we were celebrating the New Year at Orchardleigh Estate with some of our closest friends.

So much has happened in such a short space of time, so here’s a little update…

Little life update: January 2017, white writing and a sunset at Lepe Beach

Starting my new job

After almost 18 months working in social media for a property company, I started the next chapter of my career and I am now an online marketing assistant at a digital agency. It was really sad to leave my colleagues at my old job and they bought me the most thoughtful leaving presents including the most gorgeous bunch of flowers and some bareMinerals lip sticks (one of my favourite brands in the whole world)!

I’m really enjoying learning new aspects of digital marketing and the team are lovely. I’m feeling so positive about the year ahead and January was the perfect time to start a new job, make new goals and plan for the future. Plus, my work-life balance has improved with working less hours and the fact I am still based in the centre of town means I can meet my amazing friend Sarah from Digital Motherhood on my lunch breaks (yay!).

Online learning

Last year I completed an online diploma in Social Media Marketing with Shaw Academy, and this month I started another in Digital Marketing. The beauty of it is, you can attend the webinars online in real time and you can also catch up with the videos on demand. There are two sessions a week and an assignment, before an online test at the end. I’ve learnt about so many different tools and terms relating to the online world and I really benefit from this style of learning, so can fully recommend them!

Top Tip: If you like their Facebook page, you can quite often get discounted (even free) courses (you just have to pay for the assignment in some cases) in something which interests you. For example you can do courses on everything from Nutrition to Beauty and Photography. Thanks for recommending Sarah!

heart on a beach near the shore

Spending time outdoors

My boyfriend Alex, bought me a step counter for Christmas and the accompanying Jawbone app is so addictive! It gives you little motivational notifications and I’ve enjoyed watching the steps increase. As well as hitting the gym and playing netball, we’ve been on a few lovely walks already this year.

Everyone who works a 9-5 job will know that during the week in winter, we rarely see daylight, unless we venture out into the miserable grey weather on our lunch hour. To combat this negativity, I’ve been making the most of each weekend and heading out on a walk. My most recent mini adventure was to Portland Bill Lighthouse, and I’ve also enjoyed family walks down the beach and along the river.

Giving up crisps

Yep. It’s official, for the second time in my 24 years on this planet, I’ve actually survived the whole of January without eating a packet of crisps. I’ve had a few ‘should I, shouldn’t I’ moments when I’ve come face to face with Monster Munch, Doritos and Hula Hoops at the supermarket, but I’ve not given in. Whether this is the placebo effect or not, I genuinely feel more alert because of it.

Alex has challenged me to give up ketchup for February (this is a huge deal. I took a bottle of Heinz on holiday once, just in case they didn’t have any in the hotel). I am seriously considering this, given that February is the shortest month (hehehe) and it wouldn’t hurt to avoid the sugar – watch this space!

Sunset, Lepe Beach, fields and lookout

Being more open-minded when it comes to watching TV/films

Whenever Alex asks what I’d like to watch on TV, he will tell you that 9/10 times my response is ‘anything as long as it’s funny’. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to depress myself/give myself nightmares with scary/sad films when I just want to chill out. Although if you follow me on Twitter, you will know that I’ve been broadening my horizons and watching space films. If you get me started, I’ll keep you up all night with questions and theories about the universe, the unknown and beyond is just so fascinating!

We’ve also just finished Walking the Americas with Levison Wood. Levison is a modern day explorer who has also gone on exciting, yet dangerous exhibitions along The Nile and in The Himalayas. I definitely recommend!

So what’s in store for February?

I love making plans and already have some super fun things lined up! This weekend, I am heading to London to see my best friend from university for a girly Saturday exploring, no doubt shopping and most definitely to drink some cocktails. On Sunday I’m meeting my netball girls to go and watch the England netball team play Australia (this will be amazing!).

Next weekend is my brother’s birthday, so we are planning on visiting him for a day and evening of celebrations. Then later in the month we are seeing Sue Perkins (from Mel and Sue!) with my family.

Finally, I’m hoping to keep my ‘summer bodies are made in winter’ commitment going with a few games of badminton, netball and the gym.

I really enjoyed writing my January update and taking a look back on the past month. So I’m really looking forward to making it a regular thing this year! Thanks so much for reading…

What are your January highlights? Do you have anything fun in store for February? Let me know in the comments or tweet me.

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83 Things to Do on a Rainy Day

All week we look forward to the weekend and sometimes it can be a complete wash out thanks to the typical British weather! So I’ve put together a list of 83 things to do on a rainy day to give you a little inspiration… :).

Rain drops on a window, things to do on a rainy day

Of course, I’m writing this post on a grey and miserable Sunday in January, but it turns out this was actually a lot of fun, so already I’m winning…

  1. Catch up with your favourite YouTubers
  2. Record a video yourself
  3. Bake a cake – mmmmm!
  4. Declutter your wardrobe
  5. Donate some things to charity
  6. Try out a new makeup look
  7. Get organised for the week ahead
  8. Paint your nails, perhaps even some nail art
  9. Write a letter to a friend or family member
  10. Upcycle some furniture
  11. Print off your photos and pop them in an album
  12. Make a birthday card for your friend
  13. A spot of online shopping
  14. Skype a friend in another country
  15. Get ahead with your blog (if you’re a blogger of course – if not, why not start a blog?)
  16. Binge watch a boxset (like you need an excuse?)
  17. Book a day out or finally investigate that holiday you’ve been planning!
  18. Dig out your old video games
  19. Write a bucket list and research your next adventure
  20. Go out for a pub lunch
  21. Head to the cinema
  22. Go bowling
  23. Play some board games
  24. Check out a nearby waterpark (if you’re gonna get wet, it may as well be while you’re having fun)!
  25. Book a badminton or squash court with your friends
  26. Rearrange your bedroom furniture
  27. Give yourself a pamper, from head to toe. Think face masks, exfoliation and all the moisturising possible
  28. Practise a new hair style
  29. Go to a snooker hall
  30. Go for a drive, you don’t have to get out the car, but sometimes it’s nice just to listen to some music and drive along the coast or through the forest
  31. Start an online course (there’s so many deals and free ones out there! If you love learning new things, this is an exciting thing to do!)
  32. Make some music playlists, I’m thinking Disney, 00s and a chill out mix
  33. Clear your purse of all its receipts (boring but strangely therapeutic)
  34. Try some yoga
  35. Start a scrap book of your adventures
  36. Paint some pottery
  37. Bring your LinkedIn profile up to date (your future self will thank you!)
  38. Go to the driving range – you’ll be under cover and it’s surprisingly fun to hit some balls!
  39. Go and visit a pet store, just think of the cutie little bunny rabbits
  40. Invite some friends over to hang out
  41. Cook a new recipe for your family
  42. Do a puzzle
  43. Read a book or buy a magazine to catch up on the latest celeb gossip
  44. Download a new game for your phone or tablet
  45. In fact, download the Cooking Fever app (you’ll thank me later)
  46. Register all your loyalty cards cramming your purse and discover just how many treats you can buy with your points
  47. Plan a party for another weekend
  48. Visit a spa
  49. Go and get your hair/nails/eyebrows done
  50. Drive to a nearby town/city to go shopping somewhere different to your usual shopping centre
  51. Spend your 2ps in the arcade
  52. Grab your trainers and go to laser quest
  53. Clean your makeup brushes
  54. Start watching Friends from the beginning
  55. Find your old dance mat
  56. Challenge someone to a race on Mario Kart
  57. Make some deliciously healthy meals for the week ahead
  58. Do a social media cleanse (remove people who bring negativity to your feed, and unfollow those hundreds of club promoters who send you daily notifications)
  59. Practise a musical instrument (if you have one!)
  60. Burn some calories at a trampoline park
  61. Do some arts and crafts
  62. Colour a few pages in your colouring book
  63. Try some brain puzzles or Sudoku
  64. Search the internet for some new YouTubers to fall in love with
  65. Create an indoor herb garden
  66. Go to an aquarium
  67. Give indoor rock climbing a go
  68. Make a collage with your concert/show tickets (this would look super cool on your bedroom/office wall)
  69. Go to the Sporcle website and try a few quizzes
  70. Join in with a game of bingo (it’s actually so much fun)
  71. Watch a documentary on Channel 4 – they’re the best/quirkiest
  72. Write a poem or a story
  73. Look on Groupon or Table Pouncer for a seriously tasty afternoon tea deal/voucher
  74. Do a workout DVD
  75. Sell some things on eBay or Gum Tree
  76. Relax in the bath with a bubble bar or bomb
  77. Do a crossword
  78. Go out and buy a new board game
  79. Wrap up warm and go ice skating at an indoor rink
  80. Dip your toes in culture and visit a museum
  81. Round up your pals and go go-karting
  82. If you know the rain is coming in advance, you could book into an adult’s playzone (they really do exist!)
  83. Investigate some exciting plans for when the sun actually does shine. Read all about our visit to Portland Bill Lighthouse, when we made the most of the blue skies and dry weather.

I hope this has given you some inspiration when it comes to fun things to do on a rainy day. If you have any ideas to add, please let me know in the comments and I can extend the list and give you credit :).

XO

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A Visit to Portland Bill Lighthouse

Happy Saturday Everyone! Today, the sun most definitely had its hat on and it made for the perfect weather for an adventure. We drove along the South Coast to Portland Bill Lighthouse which is near to Weymouth, on the Jurassic Coast.

I love spending our weekends visiting new places, especially when it means discovering somewhere exciting on our doorstep in Dorset. Today was no different, and in fact I don’t think I have ever climbed a lighthouse before – something to tick off a UK style bucket list.

Portland Bill Visitor Centre

What’s more, when I was younger, I wasn’t a huge fan of traipsing around museums for hours on end, but since being in my 20s and exploring the world a little more, I do appreciate learning about different cultures and dipping my toes in a little history (sometimes)…

Alex and I approached Portland Bill Lighthouse around midday and were in awe of its striking appearance.

Portland Bill Lighthouse, Dorset

The staff were absolutely lovely, from when I called up to enquire about opening times to the team who welcomed us at the front desk. Entry was £7 which included a 35 minute guided tour of the lighthouse (it is 153 steps to climb to the top – our step counters loved us!) and a look around the visitor’s centre – which is so great for kids and big kids too…!

Our tour guide was fantastic (I regret not getting his name), I just love it when a guide is so passionate about their industry and work, because their enthusiasm is contagious and I feel I learn so much more.

Portland Bill Lighthouse, Dorset

Portland Bill Lighthouse, Dorset

I knew absolutely nothing about lighthouses, but feel slightly more informed and the view from the top was just breathtaking. We were lucky enough to climb to the lantern room on a day with fabulous visibility, which meant we could see the coastline stretch down to Devon and across to Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door in the other direction.

Portland Bill Lighthouse, Dorset

We each received a little badge as a souvenir of our trip (so cute!).

I believe all the lighthouses in the country are now controlled centrally and looked after by Trinity House. An initiative, would you believe it, originally started by Henry VIII more than 500 years ago.

After our visit, we ventured outside into the brilliant sunshine to explore the coastline and fill our lungs with the fresh sea air. I actually felt the sun on my face and it was so relaxing to have it cooled by the sea mist as each wave came crashing in (summer, I can almost smell you!).

Portland Bill Lighthouse, Dorset

Portland Bill Lighthouse, Dorset

We thoroughly enjoyed exploring today and I would love to hear your recommendations on where to visit next! Let me know in the comments 🙂

If you liked this post, you might also enjoy my write up of our stay at Orchardleigh Estate in Somerset.

XO

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My 5 Most Popular Blog Posts of 2016

Google Analytics never fails to amaze me. You can learn SO much about your readers and audience, perhaps out of interest but also to help you discover your most successful blog posts and social platforms.

If you’re not already using Google Analytics my friend Sarah has written a post on why Google Analytics should be a blogger’s best friend, so make sure you check it out!

So without further ado, here is a mini round up of my most popular blog posts from 2016:

Most popular blog posts and food from a cafe at Hengistbury Head in Dorset

  1. Is this the Perfect Editing App for Bloggers? 
    I knew this post would make the final after all the interaction I got on social media! I still love this app and use it almost every single day for one reason or another! 🙂
  2. The A-Z of Me 
    I was thrilled to learn that my lovely readers were actually interested in me as a person too! Although you may read every post and social media update by somebody, you don’t truly know or get to understand the content creator, so I personally love reading these types of posts too!
  3. The FujiFilm Instax Mini 8 Review – The PERFECT Present 
    Many things are making a comeback these days in one fashion or another, from vinyls to the way we listen to music, first through headphones, then earphones and now wireless headphones – Polaroid cameras such as this one, are just the same <3
  4. The Next Chapter… Blog & Life Update
    Aww, reading this back is a proud moment. A blog is a commitment and should never be overlooked as something which anyone is capable of. It requires time, effort, dedication, money and passion to maintain a hobby and I am still so happy to typing away…
  5. JewelleryBox Review
    It’s hardly surprising that everyone loves JewelleryBox. Their products are beautiful, stylish and best of all, they’re affordable!

    Are you a blogger? Have you done a round up of your most popular blog posts of last year? Or maybe you love reading blogs and have an absolute favourite post/blogger. I’d love to read and learn all about them, so make sure you leave a link in the comments box :)Until my next post, you can find out what I got up to for New Year’s Eve at Orchardleigh Estate!

    XO

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