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The best of the little things

Things haven’t been easy. Things aren’t always going to be easy either. But that doesn’t mean that everything will always be terrible. I have compiled a list and this list looks at all those little moments in life that we love. Those small things that happen and you really, really appreciate it.

For me, this list is a reminder that there are so many moments that we experience that make life so unique. The kind of moments that seem so insignificant at the time, but when we really think about them, they’re the ones we love the most. I’m hoping you can relate to a few of these.

  1. Getting goosebumps when you hear a song.
  2. Laughing so much that no sound comes out.
  3. Noticing that it’s staying lighter for longer outside.
  4. Having the exact change when you buy something.
  5. When you say the same thing at the same time with someone.
  6. When you feel the sun on your face.
  7. When you feel a breeze dance across your arms and cheeks on a hot day.
  8. The feeling of adrenaline and anticipation as you’re going up on a rollercoaster.
  9. When you’re holding somebody’s hand and you feel the stroke of their thumb against yours.
  10. The sound of a baby’s laughter.
  11. The feeling of nervousness before you meet someone new.
  12. Taking off your make up and being able to rub your eyes.
  13. When you’re paying for something and discover it’s on offer.
  14. The taste of cereal at night time.
  15. Absolutely belting your heart out singing in the car.
  16. Scratching a really tickley itch.
  17. The feeling of relief and joy when you receive or open some good news.
  18. When you have a blocked nose and one side clears.
  19. Finding a book that you get completely absorbed in.
  20. The popping noise of a new mascara or lipgloss when you first open it.
  21. Waking up to the smell of breakfast being cooked.
  22. Freshly shaved and moisturised legs on clean bed sheets.
  23. When your ears unpop.
  24. Seeing someone’s smile when you compliment them.
  25. The smell of new pages.
  26. When you finally get to go to the toilet after holding it in and almost bursting.
  27. Tearing open wrapping paper.
  28. How good food tastes when it’s something you’ve been craving.
  29. Using something new for the first time.
  30. Completing a to-do list.
  31. The crunch of fresh snow under your feet.
  32. The way your hair feels after it’s been cut.
  33. The smell of your favourite candle.
  34. Feeling sore the next day after an intense workout.
  35. Being recognised for something you’ve done.
  36. Seeing how happy puppies are when they see you.
  37. Having a creative idea and being able to roll with it.
  38. Cheese pulls.
  39. Completing something that’s taken what’s felt like forever.
  40. Stepping off a plane and feeling the heat of being in a hot country.

So, this is my list. Now, I want you guys to tell me what makes you smile! What are those small moments that happen that you really appreciate?

Let me know in the comments – I can’t wait to read them!

As ever, thank you so much for your support and I’m sorry it’s been a while. But I’m back now with more ideas to share with you wonderful people.

Love always x

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Monthly Favourites

March Favourites!

So, as so many people shared the same love as me for the things in my February Favourites, I decided to continue and I’ve come up with more monthly faves! Here’s what I’ve been loving in March.

1. Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls – 100 Tales of Extraordinary Women

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I love everything about this book. It is so important to educate generations on the inspirational, brave and amazing women that have lived across the many years. I think it’s an amazing way of showcasing girl power and teaching both boys, girls, men and women about these ladies. I am proud to be a feminist. I am proud to be a young woman. These stories give just some of the reasons why men and women deserve to have equal rights as well as also highlighting the strength behind a woman’s mind. The stories are nice and short and illustrated beautifully while the cover is stunning, making it a perfect book to keep on through the years!

2. Funky Trousers

At the moment, I am all about having some brightly coloured trousers in my wardrobe. With what felt like the longest winter ever, having a bit of colour was definitely overdue! Currently, I have my striped pair, my orange pair and the red pair which I wore on Valentines Day. I also may, or may not (I absolutely did) have ordered another pair which are a gorgeous teal colour. It’s definitely something new for me to be wearing but I’ve learnt to really love experimenting with new looks! – That also explains why I cut my hair short and died it a deep purple. Again, loving new looks!

3. L’Oréal Paris Pure Clay Glow Mask

In my February favourites, I talked about how much I loved the Sand and Sky Australian Clay mask. Well, I’ve now found another one which I love just as much (if not, more!). L’Oréal have recently released a series of new clays which all target the skin in different ways. Now, with summer coming up, I’m really looking for a natural glow. This mask has 3 key ingredients to ensure that – kaolin, montmorillonite and ghassol. On the side of the packaging, it tells you that these ingredients help to eliminate imperfections, clarify complexion and absorb impurities, including excess sebum. It just needs putting on to a cleansed face, leaving to dry for 10 minutes and then rinse it off and I promise you, your skin will feel amazing; it will be softer, smoother and brighter and over time you will notice your pores feeling tighter. An absolute must have!

4. WHSmiths new ‘Bramble Wood’ range

Possibly the most adorable stationary range I have ever come across! People that know me are fully aware of my love for both hedgehogs and foxes so when I saw these, I had to get them! The little hedgie is a pencil case and I got the fox notepad. They had all sorts of things in the range including desk organisers and tidies, pens, rubbers, ring binders, water bottles… a lot! The other animals include badgers, owls – there’s so much choice and it’s all very, very cute.

5. Denim jackets

Again, linking back to trying out new looks and styles and items, denim jackets is another one! What I love most is that they can so easily be dressed up or down. This one is from new look and I was pleasantly surprised when I saw it on. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to pull off the double denim look but who knows!

6. A Bloggers Journal

One for all my fellow blog writing friends and up and coming bloggers! I found this little gem in Paperchase and it’s such an essential. Planning can have such an impact on the quality of your writing and this is a great way to structure your plans. It’s also amazing for recording your traffic, noting down some of your favourite blogs and setting yourself goals and targets. It’s also great for noting down those little ideas you get that you want to come back to later!

7. Rebel Colouring for Girls – Motivating messages and marvellous mantras to colour and create

Two of the best things to support good wellbeing – colouring and positive quotes! These images are so intricate and delicate and create beautiful messages. They are perfect for spending some time to yourself and feeling uplifted. The best part is that they are not double sided, so if you’re really impressed with your masterpiece and want a reminder of the message, you can cut it out and frame it. I’m going to work on staying inside the lines first!!

8. Nip + Fab Repair – Bee Sting Fix Eye

So, one of the perks(?) of growing up is that life can get busy, especially in our twenties – you’re always learning new things and working hard and just being generally busy for what feels like all of the time. Naturally, we don’t have the skin we had when we were children and one of the things which stands out for me is having darker circles under my eyes. Now, I understand I probably need to get more sleep and drink less coffee etc etc but as I said, busy grown up. Nip + Fab’s eye cream is absolutely wonderful and is now part of my daily routine. It helps to really target dark circles around the eyes and makes me look much less of a zombie.

9. 30 Day Writing ChallengeI love the simplicity of these writing prompts. Often a simple writing prompt can be the one that generates the most vast ideas. This 30 day book can be a fantastic way to get over that dreaded writers block and write for the simple reason of your love of writing. They are so open that you have the freedom to take them anywhere your mind wants to, without the frustration of finding that starting point. A really nice book for some light exercises.

10. iPad Pro 12.9-inch

Definitely a treat to myself! My main reasoning behind getting a new iPad was that I really want to enhance my blogging, networking and creative spaces. I could very easily use my phone or my laptop, but I wanted something a bit more slick. It’s bright colours on the screen make it aesthetically pleasing and enhances the experience of ‘working’ because you’re enjoying the tools that you use. Also, you can get a free engraving so I thought why the hell not. Having such a bigger screen has completely renovated the way that I am blogging, watching and creating . Plus, when you work hard, it’s important to get yourself a good treat. Work hard play hard!

So, there we have it. 10 of my favourite things from the last month. I’d love to hear what you guys have all been loving or if you’ve tried any of the things in this post/my last favourites! Leave your comments below!

Until next post!

Stace.x

*Disclaimer – I have not received any sponsorship to endorse or advertise any of the above products or companies. All views are my own.*

Monthly Favourites

February Favourites!

Time to have a look back at all of the things I have been loving the last month! From stationary to apps to fitness to beauty, here’s my top 10 faves from February (in no particular order)!

1. Sand and Sky brilliant skin mask

This mask is an absolute dream! The little brush means it’s incredibly hygienic and applies smoothly to your face. It only takes 10 minutes to dry and leaves my skin looking brighter, healthier and glowing! You can also use it as a spot treatment overnight for those pesky ones that pop up uninvited. I have tried so many face masks over the years but I have to say this is my favourite and I highly recommend it!

2. Budget Planner

I have been looking for a budget planner that is simple and easy. A lot of the ones I’ve seen have lots of complicated terms on and acronyms and I just wanted something I could list my expenses on and keep track of. Then I found this little gem in Paperchase. There’s a section for weekly expenses, monthly expenses and receipts. I also love the notes section and use that bit to track what I start the week on, how much I’ve spent and what I end the week on. I’m definitely a nightmare for overspending and fuelling an expensive shopping habit so this is a great way to see exactly where my money is going and how to keep on top of it!

3. Creative Writing Book – A Journal with Art

Creative writing is one of my favourite hobbies. I have so many books to help inspire me and reach into my imagination. However, none are quite like this. Each page has different types of art and a prompt on the opposite page. I found the idea of using art to write creatively was a great way to come up with something incredibly unique and personal. I’m really looking forward to getting started with this one!

4. Goodreads App

For all book lovers, this is an absolute must! Goodreads helps you to find new books, review those that you have already read and track where you are with your current reading. It also allows you to set a reading challenge for the number of books you want to read this year! I love finding new books to add to my lists and reading other people’s recommendations. You can also add friends to see what they’re into and reading at the moment! Type ‘Stacey Whitmore’ into the friends search and let’s be book besties!

5. ‘Love’ – series on Netflix

This has to be one of my favourite series I’ve come across! Episodes are 30 minutes long and based on the lives of Mickey and Gus, following the ups and downs of their often complicated relationship. This series has humour, real life issues and romance all put together perfectly to tell their story. I find this is one of those series that I can watch without having to think about a complicated plot and I can binge for hours and hours – especially on lazy evenings! Series 3 is coming out on March 9th so you have some time to catch up!

6. Charli Coco charcoal teeth whitening Teeth whiteners. I have tried so many different ones, I’ve honestly lost count. This one however is an absolute gem! Charli coco whitener works instantly and also progressively. Get instant results and then continue to build up your white bright smile! All you have to do is wet the toothbrush (this wooden one comes as part of the kit), dip the bristles into the charcoal powder and brush away. Brush for 2 minutes and then thoroughly rinse your mouth. It can be quite messy if it gets anywhere but wipes away easily so just be careful if you’re using it in someone else’s sink so they’re not left wondering what the black stains are you’ve left behind! It’s important to remember that this does not replace using toothpaste – it’s an enhancer to use alongside your normal brushing routine for that Hollywood smile!

7. Ideallean BCAAs – Raspberry LemonadeRecently, I joined a gym. I know, I’m shocked too. But it turns out it’s something I’m really loving! The one thing I wasn’t much a fan of was how incredibly sore I was feeling the day after a workout. I mean, to the point of not being able to physically walk properly! I’d heard of BCAAs before but being a gym newbie, had never really considered them. So, when I did a little research, I decided to try some out. To put it simply, BCAAs help with muscle recovery (speeding it up) and reducing soreness. They also reduce the feeling of fatigue. I highly recommend ideallean BCAAs for my ladies – especially fellow new gym-goers! All you have to do is put a scoop into 400ml of water and give it a shake (I also got the cute shaker cup for free when I bought my BCAAs!). I tend to have mine post workout but you can have them throughout as well! And, the raspberry lemonade flavour is super sweet!

8. Revolution ‘Soph’ eyeshadow palette

The colours in this palette are just beautiful. I have so many different eyeshadow palettes but this one definitely stands out to me! I love that it can be used for both daytime and evening looks with the huge variety of colours. There are 24 colours and they have the cutest names – my personal favourite names are ‘penguin’, ‘strawberry sweets’, ‘cloudberry’ and ‘pug’. In terms of the shades I’m loving the most, I’ve used ‘festive flame’, ‘pink champagne’ and ‘tiramisu’ the most. There are so many options for keeping it simple with one shade or blending and combining colours for a more glamorous look!

9. Face Halo Make Up Removers

I saw these advertised and I was so intrigued! Since purchasing, these little beauties have revolutionised my night time routine! All you need to use with them is water – yep that’s it! They take off all of your make up and can be used up to 200 times! I got 3 in a pack so I’m sorted for a good while now. They can be washed super easily too. You can use soap and water in between uses and for the more thorough washes, just whack them in the washing machine (without softener – this can damage the fibres). They are so much better for my skin, more hygienic and I’m saving a fortune as I’m not having to buy make up wipes and remover all the time. The face halo pads have little fibres on which help for a deeper clean and get every bit of your make up off. I used one the morning after I’d taken make up off the night before and it picked up dirt and make up that my wipes had missed. I couldn’t recommend these enough!

10. Imperial Leather Cherry Bakewell Shower CreamHaving sensitive skin means that when I fancy a switch up of shower products, it can be difficult to find something that smells great, feels lush and doesn’t irritate my skin. Then, I found this! I smell amazing. My skin is noticeably softer and it’s so gentle on my skin. Plus, it’s my favourite colour! They have so many fun scents in their ‘sweets’ range, like marshmallow (which I bought in the bubble bath version), sherbet lemon, strawberry and vanilla, fruit salad and spearmint! Who doesn’t love a bit of something sweet?!

So, those are my 10 favourites for February! I had a great month and came across some amazing bits and bobs. Stay tuned for future favourites in other months!

Love always x

*Disclaimer: I have not been sponsored to endorse or advertise any of these products and items. All views are my own*

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Valentines Day: what we did, what I wore & what made it so special.

Ah Valentines. A controversial holiday. It has been criticised as being a commercialised occasion, as being pointless and unnecessary. But you know what? Whether I’ve been single or in a relationship, I’ve always loved Valentine’s Day. For me, there’s something about showering those close to you with love. Yes, I understand that should happen every day – however, I am very much an advocate for focusing on just that for one whole day. So, how did I spend it?

The day before, Liam and I got the train together to Birmingham and it was throwing it down with rain. I mean, to be fair, this was a definite improvement compared to the last time when everywhere was covered in snow. We checked in to our hotel and we were ravenous. After demolishing our food from Ed’s diner, we headed back for some chill time before we got ready. The outfit is chosen for that day was very much V Day inspired! I love this blouse and trousers combo. What’s even better is that both of these items are from George at Asda!! They were super comfortable and definitely gave me a smart casual kind of look that didn’t break the bank. The view from our room was lovely as we looked out on to the cathedral. After spending hours watching various programmes on Challenge, we got ready to go out. We headed out to the Alchemist and then onto Broad Street where we found ourselves in Pop World!! I stuck to my Valentines themed outfit and wore a red leotard (New Look) teamed with my black jeggings (New Look) and sparkly blazer (River Island). Liam and I like to celebrate with a good drink (or several) and the alchemist did not disappoint! The rest of the night, we laughed, we danced, we talked and we belted our hearts out to the best cheese music you could think of! The next morning, I was awoken with gifts and the realisation that my headache will shortly be kicking in from the night before… Liam got me the most beautiful roses, along with some adorable Chip earrings! He knows how much I love Chip! I was also so excited to give him his gift; I had put together a hamper full of all sorts of things to make him smile. We had some mimosas to kick start the day and enjoyed our morning together.

Our plans for the day were to have a look around the shops and we had a table booked at Jamie’s Italian for our Valentines Day dinner. I wore another blouse from George at Asda and finished my look with my favourite MAC lipstick – Pink Plaid.

We spent around an our in a bookshop which was just wonderful, our food was simply amazing and we had a very special day together. We didn’t come home too late, so we had plenty of time left together. We had a pamper evening and watched lots of Netflix and just relaxed together.

Now, here’s why all of this is so special. Whilst Liam and I see each other most days, this is usually only for a couple of hours in the evening. We rarely get full days off together. Liam and I thrive when we are with each other. We bring out the best in one another and cherish days when we get all day in each other’s company. Of course, we make the most of every moment we spend together, but knowing we have some time off together for these longer periods of time is something very special to the both of us.

It was also my first Valentines Day in a relationship since 2014 and I was over the moon to be spending it with somebody that treats me so well and shows his love to me every single day.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not always sunshine and rainbows. We have our obstacles and our tiffs and disagreements. We even had some whilst we were away. But what’s important is the way which we deal with them. I have the knowledge that regardless of what we’re arguing over, we never let it get the better of us. We have overcome a lot together and there is nobody I’d rather be on this journey with.

So thank you to Liam for making my Valentines Day so wonderful. Thank you to anybody who has read this. I hope you all had a lovely Valentines Day, whether you showed your love to your partner, your friends or did something caring for a stranger. Love is not restricted to those in relationships. Love is something that we all feel – single or not – and I hope you know who loves you, who cares about you and who has positive impacts on your life. They are the people we need to be holding on to. Don’t hold on to people who pretend, who lie or cheat. Save your love for those who are worthy of receiving it.

Love always x

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Self-Care and Wellbeing

This year, I’m really focusing on putting my wellbeing first. I’m looking at exactly what I need to do to ensure I am looking after myself; all parts of myself. So, I thought I’d share with you some advice, some tips, some suggestions, all on how to take care of yourself mentally, physically and emotionally. Of course, what works for me won’t work for everybody. It’s about exploring lots of different avenues and making small changes which make you feel well and fulfilled.

1) Accepting support. This is definitely one which it took me a while to do. I always feel as though I should be dealing with things by myself. But the reality is that it’s not physically possible to do just that. I ended up bottling and not really trying any useful solutions and it came to a point where I simply just couldn’t carry on battling with myself, by myself. Dealing with having OCD, GAD and depression means I can constantly be conflicted with my thoughts – not very helpful for when I was trying to sort things out independently. I realised, I needed to let people in and accept the support that was being offered to me. Some of it I had to actively search for, but I found it because it is always there – you just have to look a little deeper sometimes. Now, I am receiving cognitive behavioural therapy from a wonderful therapist who is getting to understand which steps I need to take for a better wellbeing. I have also been put on a ‘Wellbeing Action Support Plan’ at work. My manager and I are working through identifying what will help, what my triggers are and how I can ensure good wellbeing whilst at work. I talk to those around me – friends, family, my boyfriend – to maintain the feeling of happiness but also when I need that little boost. It’s all about learning who is there for you – I promise there is always someone, even if you count that someone as me – my mailbox is always open. It’s so important to nurture yourself in all areas of your life and let yourself have the support to strengthen you.

2) Reading. I’ve talked about the benefits of reading before, but in terms of it’s relevance to this topic, reading is a great escape for me. I love to get invested in characters and a storyline. It definitely allows my mind to focus on something else for a while and get lost in some other lives in completely different worlds! A lot of people say that they ‘don’t read’ or ‘hate reading’. I can almost guarantee this is because they’re basing reading on the books they had to read at school, that they had no choice over. Find something that really hooks your interest and get lost in it.

3) Baths. So, usually I’m the  type of person to have a shower for ease and quickness. However, I’ve been finding so much serenity just lately in running a hot bath and listening to music or reading my book or just enjoying the quiet. I do of course have to have a beautiful smelling bubble bath! It feels so wonderful to just float and close my eyes and just focus all of my attention on relaxation and feeling calm. Taking that time to just forget about everything is now becoming vital to my mental wellbeing.

4) Try something new. Recently I did something I never, ever thought I would. I walked into a gym and signed myself up, despite spending the majority of my life adamant that I would never set foot in a gym. Not only did I sign up to the gym, I’ve booked myself onto classes that I’ve never done before. Now, I have to admit, my initial visit was the first time I’d ever been to the gym in my life so I was nervous! I had the typical feeling of ‘what if everybody knows I’m new’, ‘what if I get laughed at’, ‘what if I do something wrong’ etc etc. Now, I won’t sugar-coat it, sometimes I do see people in the gym not treating others with respect, but they are a minority. Those people think they are the only ones allowed in their because their left arm probably weighs more than my entire body and anybody that’s smaller than them is basically the equivalent to an ant the way they see it. The majority of the people in there have been fabulous. I’ve even made some friends! The feeling I get when I’m channelling so much into a workout is phenomenal. It reminds me of my strength, of my abilities and my motivation. Trying something new can be ne of the most daunting yet positively life changing decisions you ever make.

5) Indulge. I have recently learnt that if you spend your entire life restricting yourself, you will not achieve a healthy mindset. Allow yourself to have a day of doing nothing if that’s what you want to do. Treat yourself to something new or something you already have but really, really, really want more of. Have days of just enjoying the things you love – be that eating, shopping, sleeping, Netflix binging, reading, running, knitting, writing, singing at the top of your lungs, whichever! Most of what I have eaten today has been sweets/chocolate/crisps because I damn felt like it and I’ve loved it! Be selfish every now and then and choose things that make you happy always.

6) Allow yourself to feel anything that you do. A really important part of making sure your wellbeing is carefully looked after is to accept the way that you are feeling. OCD and GAD both bring separate challenges and different emotions. I am learning to just let myself feel the way that I do. We are human and we are meant to feel such a wide array of emotions. If you’re angry, sad, excited – let yourself feel those emotions and understand how you are responding to them. Don’t ever repress the way that you are feeling.  Develop your strength by knowing how you feel and knowing what you need when you feel that way.

As I mentioned before, these are just some of the things that I have found work particularly well for me in terms of developing a healthy mindset and looking after my wellbeing. I would love to find out what you guys do to look after yourself. It would be great to try out each others’ ideas and support one another as best we can. Mental wellbeing needs just as much looking after as your physical wellbeing. Don’t neglect yourself. Never be ashamed of yourself, nor embarrassed or held back. Take care of yourself and show yourself the love that you deserve. x

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8 Tips towards a warm heart

It’s incredibly easy to get caught up in life and become overly focused on something. It’s so important to remember that we are only here once and we need to savour every moment and live with a warm and happy heart.

1.) Look up from your screen. We are all guilty of probably spending a little too much time on our phones endlessly scrolling through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. What we might not be realising is how much precious time we are missing out on. When you have friends or family over, make sure you’re chatting with them. When you’re a passenger in a car or on a train, take a moment to look at your surroundings. When you have some time spare, try and fill that time with something lovely; our social media isn’t going anywhere and is a great tool for staying connected – just don’t fall into the trap of it becoming your main point of focus. Treasure the time you have.

2.) Telling someone to have a nice day. Even if they don’t say it to you, be the first to say it. I know before when I’ve been feeling a bit down, all it’s taken is for one person to wish me a nice day when I know they’ve truly meant it for me to feel that bit better.

3.) Charity work. Now, don’t worry – this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to start a huge project or create an event. There are so many ways you can make a difference to a charity that are super easy! For example, donating to national fundraising such as children in need – you can buy lots of little bits and bobs and proceeds will go towards the cause. You can make a shoebox – something that is particularly popular this time of year. Shoeboxes can be made for people that are homeless, people living in poverty – locally and globally – just to name a couple. It’s a small gesture that goes such a long way! Also, think about the fundraising you see on Facebook; people doing Dryathlons, the race for life or individual charity work – take a moment to donate something towards them. It’s a wonderful supportive gesture and I know it always warms my heart.

4.) Spend time with little minds. One of my favourite things about working with kids is the run up to Christmas! I had a little boy telling me about how Santa is going to use his special key and is coming soon. He also said he can’t wait to see me next. Little moments like that are the kind that truly warm you. Kids say such amazing and lovely things; I highly recommend if you have any little ‘uns in the family, that you spend lots of special time with them and discover how fantastic their little minds really are.

5.) Compliments. I feel that as a society, we do not dedicate enough time to really celebrating one another and building each other up. Giving somebody a compliment really serves as a great feeling. The second you see how they appreciate it and how they react to it, you will know it was worthwhile. Don’t feel constricted by just using physical compliments as well; whilst commenting on somebody physically is lovely, there are so many other traits which are equally as important that you could mention. Tell somebody that they are intelligent, kind, funny, unique, interesting, intriguing, the list could go on! We could all do with that little extra boost sometimes.

6.) Movies, books and music. Think of something that really resonates with you. Something that completely draws you in and grabs your full attention. Spend some time just in that moment appreciating it and noticing how it makes you feel. I know there are songs out there that give you goosebumps, put them in a playlist and submerse yourself.

7.) Helping someone out whilst expecting nothing in return. A little bit of politeness doesn’t ever go unnoticed. Helping somebody, whether it’s a loved one or a stranger, is something which I believe more of us should start to act on. If somebody is struggling with something, give them a hand – don’t just walk past and pretend you haven’t noticed. We need to engage with each other a lot more than we currently are. We are all on the same planet – we need to have each other’s backs. Plus, for onlookers, they will feel wonderful that they have experienced such a kind gesture.

8.) Identify the positives. If you go on Google and search for good things that have happened this year, there will be several lists which tell you all the highs of your year. The news often reports the negatives and it’s safe to say that this year there have been many. This has meant that our minds have been exposed to more bad than perhaps good. It’s important to acknowledge the wonderful things that happen all over the world – it’s a guaranteed instant feel-good!

I believe that we are living during a time where people find it difficult to find the good things in life. They find they can not recognise it as easily as they can the struggles, challenges or sorrows. But having a warm heart will influence your entire being. You will become more conscientious, more emotionally available and more appreciative of all that is surrounding you. Always try your best to live a life that is full of beauty and full of wonder.

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Choices – Part 1 (A short story)

Ok. So, I suppose I should probably explain why I’m waking up this morning sprawled on the floor of a hotel room with mayo in my knotted hair, wrapped up in a bed sheet, wearing one shoe that has a heel hanging off of it with a 21 year old starfished across the bed…

I’d been dreading this day since the moment that perfectly presented, rose-scented, wrapped in silk invitation landed on my laminate floor. As a recently turned 31 year old woman, who is the epitome of being single, attending my best friend’s wedding to her tall, rich,, tan, Italian fiancé was not quite at the top of my agenda. I had 6 weeks to either a) find a wonderful, handsome man who is pining for me with all of his being or b) find a reason (excuse) why I simply wouldn’t be able to make it. Now, given my recent situation, it was looking like option b was the most realistic. The only male attention I’d received this morning was from Carl who lived in the flat opposite.

Carl always seemed to time collecting his packages from his front door step at a very particular time because I don’t remember the last time I left my flat without him conveniently being there, leaning on his doorframe holding his online supermarket delivery and calling over to me. The lights in the hallway always reflected on his bald spot towards the middle-back of his head. That bald spot was not stopping for anyone; yet he was still clinging on to every follicle of hair he had by smoothing it all over. I’ve also never known Carl to wear anything other than his Star Trek jumper and flip flops with a pair of pyjama bottoms that look as though they’ve existed decade after decade. There was one day I got a knock on my door. I had just washed my hair, I was in my underwear with a plate of cheesecake in one hand and a glass of wine in the other. I looked through the peep hole on the door and all I saw was that gleaming bald patch and Carl’s signature glasses which had been taped together in the middle and had one arm missing. I opened the door. “Hi Carl, I…” “Hello Piper, long time no see!”. He saw me this morning when I opened my door to get my post but sure; he continues “Did you get one of these in your door today?”. He presented a leaflet menu for the local pizza shop. He knows full well that everybody in this block gets them, at least once a week. “Yep, I did Carl. Just like last week, it’s in my drawer with the rest of them”. “Well, you see what I was thinking…”. He steps past me, through the door and into my flat. “Why don’t we share a large one. A margarita. Some Pepsi. I must know this menu off by heart now!”. He has taken a seat at the breakfast bar – the one where I have piled up all of my post, including the menu for Paolo’s Pizza’s. I find myself racking my brain for an excuse when, thank God, my phone rings. It’s my best friend, Ally. She knows exactly when I need her to come through and get me out of a situation. I put her on loud speaker straight away. We have an agreement – anytime one of us answers the phone with the other one’s name followed by a particular phrase, it’s go time. “Ally! Hi! What took you so long to call, tell me everything!”. She knows and this is why she’s my best friend. “Pipes, I need to talk to you immediately. It’s all gone wrong!!”. She’s even putting in some fake whimpering tonight, amazing. “What? Ok yes of course, let me just… Carl I’m so sorry I really have to go”, I say as I’m herding him out the house like a sheepdog. Before he has a chance to finish his sentence, the door is shut and all I can hear now is Ally giggling away.

“Shhhh, he’s still outside the door, you know!”

“Carl! Again?! That must be his 3rd visit this week!”

“Listen, I love the place and in all honesty, I am in no position right now to be looking to move. I just need some Carl repellent that’s all!”

She laughs. “Oh Pipes, I cannot wait to hear you tell all your stories next week!”

Crap. The wedding. The damn wedding is next week and it’s taken me this long to fail at finding an excuse not to go. Why did my ex have to have such poor timing? I mean, who ends a relationship the day before receiving a wedding invitation…

Well Piper… looks like next week you have a wedding to go to…alone… and single… and hopefully blind drunk…

*TO BE CONTINUED*