Friday, 26 January 2018

Finding the blog/life balance

Ice Lolly Blog at the Beach 2018
Bloggers Oracle Leeds

I didn’t choose the blog life, the blog life chose me. Yep, I think I just hit peak cringe right there. I don’t want to sound like a dickhead but blogging makes you see life differently, especially when you’re working/studying/hustling/desperately trying to pay your bills etc. When you’re wrapped up in a world of content, suddenly everything is an opportunity, which means finding the balance can be a little tricky. I guess it’s out of passion that I find switching off from both blog life and work life at the same time pretty damn difficult.

Recently I met some of my absolute 10/10, A* blogger babes for an afternoon of talks with Ice Lolly – almost like a conference but with wine and outfit shots. Needless to say, it was the best afternoon. Of the three talks of the day, Bee from Queen Beady really resonated with me as she discussed how to grow your blog whilst working full time too and this is something I’ve definitely struggled with. I mean, the four months of the year where you don’t see any daylight hours midweek as you’re in the office? I feel ya, the struggle is real.

I wanted to share some of Bee’s tips and then some of my own as there’s a lot to be said about trying to grow both your blog and your career at the same time. I for one don’t have my heart set on world/Instagram domination but Bee is like the Yoda of the grid (her insta is here) with her wise ways and has a killer blog so I was desperate to take on board every single damn word:

  • Use your lunch hour. It’s so easy to work through your lunch, head out into town shopping, run errands or simply sit and gossip during your lunch hour but even if it’s just a couple of times a week, that could be time spent brainstorming new ideas, writing up content or even shooting Instagram photos. An hour walking around near your workplace on a sunny day could result in a fair few decent filler photos for when you’re low on grid content.
  • Work flexi if you can. This isn’t something I personally do but getting up and into work an hour earlier can leave you with an extra hour of daylight for outfit shots during the colder months, or simply more time of an evening to write your content in peace.
  • Bulk shoot photos. Think every outfit photo you see from a blogger is taken on a different day? Think again. Fashion bloggers will shoot multiple looks on the same day, simply changing in the car and driving to a new location. It’s productive and you only have to style your hair once. Winning.

There’s a lot I want to do to grow my blog this year, primarily in my content as I really want to fall back in love with the content I’m producing. Whilst I’ve never published anything I’m not happy with, I miss the spontaneous, reactive and spur of the moment content that I used to write far more frequently than I do now – and perhaps using my time better will mean more of that can happen.

I also want to use my work time productively and spend more lunchbreaks simply consuming content from bloggers I adore. I find the more content I watch and read, the more creative I am both personally and professionally so it’s a win win situation. I’m an early riser and I think kicking myself out the door a little earlier and heading for a pre-work brew in a cafe, with a notebook in hand, will help me set aside productive ideation time for my content too.

Ultimately what I’ve taken away from both Bee’s talk and my own thoughts afterwards that it’s not about trying to make time for my blog or cut back on other things, it’s about using my time better to make sure I achieve all of my goals both in and out of work.

So, how do you feel about your life balance? Do you have it down or are you in need of a shift? Let me know in the comments.

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Spring Fashion Wishlist

Spring Fashion Wishlist
Oh I do love a wishlist. Sadly it’s still over a week until that elusive January payday and this month I’ve been going out rather than reinventing my style (so much for a sober start to the year).

I’m pretty much loving everything about S/S18 so far as it’s mainly comprised of some stunning knitwear, even more slogan tees (I didn’t even think it was possible) and most people are still clutching to skinny jeans. I heard a rumour that flares were coming back but it’s safe to say, I will be ignoring that trend whenever it next crops up.

fashion wishlist graphic

First up is a stripy top from Joanie Clothing featuring a dinosaur. Yep. A dinosaur. I absolutely love this as in recent months I’ve developed a new appreciation for the colour yellow and I’ve had an on-going appreciation for dinosaurs since I was about four years old.

Sticking with the animal theme, I’ve also fallen in love with this zebra print blouse from ASOS which I first spotted my gal Faith wearing over on her Instagram stories. I did actually do a sneaky little ASOS order which includes this absolute beauty so if it fits and looks as good as me as it did on Faith, I’ll do a little outfit post. Monochrome is also a fave for me at the moment as it works well with rolled up jeans, trainers and a red lip, so I’m hoping this blouse will be a winner.

I adore the shade of green of the jacket I’ve included which is from the Boohoo Curve range enough to get over my usual hatred of Boohoo as a brand. This looks like it would be a really flattering length and a good smart/casual coat for evenings out but not going out out. 

We’re back to mustard, this time featuring tassels, with my fourth pick. This jumper is from New Look and I love that the detailing is a subtle nod to the tassel trend without being OOT. I think this one could be another winner for day to day as I work in a casual office so I tend to spend a lot of time in knitwear and skinny jeans.

I couldn’t do a round up without including a pair of trainers and these ones are Adidas Stan Smiths with burgundy details. I already have a pair which I live in and I’m desperate to get my hands on some more in 2018 as they’re both comfy and being leather, incredibly hardwearing.

Last but not least, another stripy top from Joanie Clothing, with a slogan and in the exact same style as the dinosaur one. I love a horizontal stripe and I think the rocket slogan is really cool. Every blogger and their cat seems to have a Joanie striped top and I’m desperate to jump on that bandwagon.

So that’s my round up of my faves from the season so far – what’s on your wishlist? Let me know in the comments!

Sunday, 21 January 2018

My relationship with my hair and tips for styling curls

Curly hair styling tips
Laura Haley Photography

I don’t normally start chatting beauty on here as let’s be honest, I’m not exactly a pro, but I really wanted to do some hair chat about my attitude has changed more recently towards my natural curls, plus my favourite products to use.

As a kid, I actually had fairly straight but very thick hair and I wasn’t until I became a teenager that it started to curl properly. Unfortunately for me, being at secondary school in the early noughties was went straighteners were still a bit shit and straight hair was the only cool kid option. I still remember vividly being told that I wouldn’t get a boyfriend until I straightened my hair by the boy I fancied in my year 8 science class. As a teenager in particular it was conditioned into me (pun entirely intended) that I should straighten my hair. That my hair looks better that way. And that seemed to be an on-going trend until my early twenties.

Every person I have ever dated has, without exception, told me I should straighten my hair. Every. Single. Damn. One. In fact, I still remember being at university and a male friend of mine telling me that men categorically do not find curly hair attractive. And (not surprisingly) for a long time, that made me so unbelievably insecure about my natural hair. It made me think that something that was so natural about my appearance wasn’t good enough, that it made me unattractive, that nobody would want to be with me if I had curly hair. It’s taken me until the age of 25 to develop that fuck it attitude enough to take every straight haired photo off my Tinder profile.

I hate that my attitude to my hair for so long has been shaped by people I’ve dated in the past, but consciously putting that insecurity behind me has meant that over the last six months or so, I’ve really enjoyed styling my hair. The last time I had my hair cut, I asked my hairdresser to cut it so that it would be big and full of volume, and she did exactly that. I’ve always found managing curly hair far easier and lower maintenance than straight hair, so my getting ready time to go out has also been cut in half.

When it comes to styling naturally curly hair, here are my five top tips:

1. After washing your hair, run mousse through it whilst it’s still wet (rather than towel dried) as the product mixes with the water and helps to define the curls better. I tend to mousse my hair, then scrunch it a lot before diffuse drying it. My favourite hair mousse at the moment is £1.49 in Boots and it’s the own brand one for curly hair.

2. Dry your hair upside down until it’s 80% dry. I use a low heat setting on my hairdryer and diffuse it upside down to make sure I get maximum volume but reduce frizz by never letting it get to 100% dry.

3. Use a serum. I use a Frizz Ease serum which I run through my hair after drying it to stop it getting totally wild.

4. Never go for a straight parting. I find that my hair is bigger when my parting is slightly off centre but quite messy – I tend to run my fingers back through it and let it fall naturally.

5. If your hair goes flat throughout the day, shake your hair out upside down then scrunch it with wet hands to reduce the frizz.

Embracing my curly hair has been a long time coming and I really hope more people with natural curls bin off their straighteners for a bit. Let me know in the comments if you’re a curly haired guy or gal and link me up to your Instagram so that I can follow you!

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Money Saving in 2018*

Surely I’m not the only one who went a little over budget during the festive period and now has a bloody long January ahead of them? I was a little bit sensible this year in that when I got paid before Christmas, I transferred my wages out of my account until when my actual payday would have been but I’m still left with that oh Lord January will be a struggle feel. Honestly, I’m going to be living the student lifestyle of beans on toast before the month is out.

Cash Lady challenged me to come up with some ideas to help me save some dollar in 2018 (which y’know, I need to be putting into practice ASAP) so here’s what I came up with. Hit me up in the comments with any other money saving tips as God knows I need them right now.

Attempted Dry/Damp/Moist January... and for the rest of the year
When I first started writing money saving ideas down for this post, I was filled with great ideas and motivation, including a little pledge to myself to have a few sober weeks (aside from my sister’s birthday weekend and LOL I cannot handle her drunken state without a prosecco or six). Needless to say, four days into the new year and I was drinking wine. My bad. But anyway, cutting down on booze in 2018 is a plan for me as it gets expensive. In fact, it only takes a few G&Ts before I think I’m ballin’, throw caution to the wind, go wild on contactless and end the night contributing to the profits of my local Dominos. Cutting back on the ‘oh I’ll only go for one, shit it’s 2am’ nights out after work will do wonders for my bank balance. And liver. And arteries.

Saying see ya to Uber
When you live a minimum fair away from town, £3 never seems like much when you’re freezing cold and just want to get home but it does add up. Wrapping up for the walk home is a sure fire way to help me get more steps in and stop wasting cash for the sake of a 20 minute walk and a cold nose.

Convenience food
Well, it’s just that isn’t it? Convenient. I want to get more organised with my meals anyway as nobody can kid themselves that a meal deal holds much nutritional value, so I want to get back into taking home made food to work and coming home and cooking rather than picking up something quick and processed on the way back. *Stares guiltily at the plate which I ate a Barburrito off a mere 14 hours ago*. It’s a waste of money and dear Lord I could do with some fresh vegetables in my life.

Doing free/cheap stuff
If I decide to spend a few hours in town killing time on a weekend, it easily turns into a little sale purchase as treat yo’self, a Starbucks (with cake, obvs) and probably some of the aforementioned convenience food and suddenly you’ve dropped £30 on absolute shit. By doing things which are free such as going for a walk in the local park (I mean, maybe not my actual local park as it’s a bit dodge and you might get stabbed) or taking a book that’s been on your to be read pile all year to a local coffee shop and spending the afternoon reading is one hell of a lot cheaper than an accidental splurge in New Look.

Stay in instead of going out
Brunch is my favourite meal of the day and hosting it is a far cheaper option than going out for it. Firstly you don’t actually have to go anywhere, secondly you’ll need to spend a good few hours tidying for your guests and that’s also a free (albeit less fun) activity, and thirdly, it will cost a fraction of the price. The press regularly tells us all that if millenials gave up going out for avo on toast then they’d be able to afford houses and whilst I don’t think hosting brunch will nudge you up the property ladder, it will be a little cheaper. In Leeds, it’s easy to spend £8-10 on a brunch dish, £3 on a cold drink to go with it and another £3 on a hot drink after. Add onto that any travel costs and spontaneous purchases in town and suddenly buying a couple of avocados, eggs and a loaf of tiger bread (the best bread ever, don’t even try to convince me otherwise) seems a whole lot cheaper.

Use what you pay for
Netflix, gym memberships, even your WiFi, utilise it all to keep yourself entertained. I have a Netflix account which is used by at least four other parasites friends so I feel like spending £8 a month on it means it’s definitely worth it but I don’t use it myself as often as I should. Likewise my gym membership, that’s a paid for activity which can easily take up a full morning on a weekend if you include the walk there and back plus hair wash and pamper time afterwards. I’ve also used Audible a lot over the last year, restarting and cancelling when I want a credit for a new book, so there’s plenty of media out there to keep you entertained.

*This post was written in collaboration with Cash Lady but as ever, all thoughts, opinions, lack of will power when it comes to Dry January and addictions to avocado on toast are my own.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

My January Gym Kit

January Gym Kit
Well, there’s nothing like a new year to start a resolution to get fitter, is there? In fairness to the clichéd ‘new year, new me’ types (hi, hello) January is actually a great time to get back in the gym and make use of the membership that’s laid dormant since November as it’s not like anyone can afford to do anything else. No joke, the only activity my membership has seen since late last year is the direct debit coming out of my account. But as ever, I’m a changed woman for at least the first few weeks of the new year and I’ve graced the gym with my presence more than once since the beginning of 2018, so I wanted to put together a list of my gym essentials.

wishlist graphic

I’m a total brand snob when it comes to gym tops and I only ever tend to wear Nike or Adidas. I go for the cotton mix tops as they tend to keep me cooler in the gym than synthetic fabrics and they tend to hang rather than cling, meaning they’re a more flattering fit.

Any excuse to buy something oversized and comfy, right? I always end up wearing a hoody too and from the gym and my current fave is Jack Wills. I always go for men’s hoodies as they’re longer and much like with my trainers, I buy them from the Jack Wills outlet as they can be fairly expensive full price. But when they’re down to around £30, it’s a bargain for a good quality hoody that will transition from gym days to office hangovers. (What can I say, Dry January didn’t work for me).

Sports bra
Another absolute essential and as a gal with small boobs, I’m really lucky that I can get away with cheaper crop tops. USA Pro is my go-to brand as it’s the only reasonably priced, non-wired crop top I’ve found that’s lightly padded so that you’re not showing the world your nipples but not removable pads which you have to rearrange every time you wash it (ain’t nobody got time for that).

I’m permanently on the lookout for new weightlifting gloves as mine are fairly battered and it only takes a few sessions without them before my hands start getting ripped to shreds by the bars at my gym. A new gym towel is also an absolute must as there’s nothing like getting halfway through a cardio workout and realising you’re sweating off your eyebrows. 

I know everyone wants to be a cool kid and rock up to the gym in head to toe Sweaty Betty but as I’m unwilling to spend £70 on something to sweat in, I stick to Karrimor leggings which cost around £7. These ones are my absolute faves as they’re thick, have silicone strips around the bottom so they actually stay on your calves rather than rolling up round your knees and have a tie waist so they stay above your hips for the duration of a workout.

Again, I’m a brand snob, but I always wear Nike trainers as I was assessed for running trainers and was told that I needed a neutral shoe like the Nike Zoom Vomero. I’d really recommend heading to a running shop to get fitted for trainers before you run anywhere as they can advise on the support you need. I end up buying most of my trainers either online in the sale or from the Nike outlet as the majority of the time, it’s only the colour that changes.

So that's what is in my gym bag right now, what's in yours? Let me know in the comments!


Thursday, 11 January 2018

Lunchtime dreaming with Trinity Kitchen

Trinity Kitchen Leeds
Trinity Kitchen Leeds

If you work in Leeds city centre, you’re pretty spoilt for choice when it comes to lunchtime options and oh my days my bank balance has taken a battering since I started working in town! It’s not hard to find something delicious on the days when a meal deal just ain’t cutting it and Trinity Kitchen is one of my favourite places to stop by for food.

For those reading this and wondering what the hell Trinity Kitchen is, it’s a food court located in the Trinity Shopping centre in the middle of Leeds, but it’s far from your average pitstop for lunch. Rather than being full of chains like the majority of shopping destinations, Trinity Kitchen is home to street food vendors, some who are permanent residents like Pho, Chicago Rib Shack and Pizza Luxe, and others who come in on a 6-8 week rotation. Essentially, you have your old faithfuls who are there every time (Tortilla is normally my go-to as burritos = life), and then a massive space where new food trucks come in.

Since I’ve been in Leeds, I’ve definitely had a few absolute faves in Trinity Kitchen including The Baking Biker, which is when I had my first ever Crème Egg Scotch Egg, and Thai Khrim who do ice cream rolls, but this time round, I’m all about the savoury options.

I was invited down to Trinity Kitchen to try out the new offerings and I took two of my friends from work, Maz and Hollie, with me. We had a £20 budget between us and ended up spending a grand total of £21 on three lunches – not bad for a treat lunch!

Trinity Kitchen Leeds

They were both set on Mr D’s Magical Pie Machine which is exactly what you’d expect – both magical and sells pies. For £6 each, they got a pie, mash and gravy. Hollie went for the pork and chilli pie and Maz opted for pork and apple, both of which went down a treat. Mr D’s has a whole load of different flavours and they’re served through a hatch in the side of the truck. The truck itself is like something you’d imagine being in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, if Wonka decided to branch out into the pastry market. Know what I mean?

Trinity Kitchen Leeds

I headed to Trough Food which specialises in pulled pork. I feel like pulled pork was a massive trend back in about 2015 but for me, I’m just not over it. It’s honestly my fave. I had pulled pork on mac and cheese (another trend I’m 100% down with), and it was the cheesy, carby dream that I needed on a slightly hungover Friday. (In case anyone wanted an update on my Dry January, it went to shit on day four). For £7, I got a massive box of creamy mac and cheese, topped with pulled pork, topped with more cheese and drizzled with BBQ sauce. It’s pretty fabulous.

Trinity Kitchen Leeds

Overall, I’d definitely recommend heading to Trinity Kitchen if you’re in the Leeds area as the current vendors are absolutely banging. Also, by going there, you’re supporting independents so your lunch comes with a side order of good karma which is always a plus!

Have you ever been to Trinity Kitchen? Do you fancy meeting me for a lunch date? Let me know in the comments!

Trinity Kitchen - Leeds, January line up

Monday, 8 January 2018

Dining with The Light

Restaurants at The Light Leeds
Restaurants at The Light Leeds

If you’re from Leeds then you’ll know The Light to be the big centre which is up on the Headrow, filled with restaurants, a gym and a Vue Cinema, but do you really know how much of a foodie destination it is? It’s full of some absolute gems to say the least. I was invited by The Light to visit four of their restaurants in one night to see for myself exactly what is going on up there.

Our first stop was a cocktail from George’s Great British Kitchen which I already absolutely love as I’ve been before. It’s really hit the balance of Instagram friendly and crowd pleasing food – there’s literally something on the menu for everyone. Being in a group of bloggers, it wasn’t surprising that we ordered the most obscure drinks on the menu and in fact mine was probably the safest option as it was a rum and ginger ale concoction. The other girls ordered cocktails which came in highball glasses and topped with clouds of candyfloss which fits in nicely with the seaside theme. I can’t wait to go back again as who doesn’t love a 241?!

Restaurants at The Light Leeds

We headed to Firelake for our starter, which is part of the Radisson Blu hotel. It wouldn’t be my first thought to visit Firelake as I had assumed that it’s just a hotel restaurant but the combination of high ceilings, open kitchen and firepit make you realise that it’s a restaurant in it’s own right. I opted for the French onion soup which was absolutely divine. I never normally go for soup but I love taking the opportunity to go for something a little different and I definitely made the right choice. This was from their Christmas menu but it’s the type of place I’d go to all year round for something a little fancy.

Restaurants at The Light Leeds

Restaurants at The Light Leeds

Our main course took place at Estabulo which is a new Brazilian restaurant which is all you can eat meat. DREAM. This is up there with one of my favourite cuisines and I was so impressed at the amount of different cuts of meat on the menu. It’s the same format of a lot of Brazilian grills in that the meat is served at your table and you have a double sided card which is red and green to indicate whether you’d like to be offered meat. There was every type of steak going, chicken, gammon, sausages and lamb, plus loads of sides which were included too. I definitely went overboard on the rump steak (I just couldn’t help myself) and no matter how many times I turned my card to red, I always got too tempted.

Last but not least was Turtle Bay for dessert and despite being absolutely stuffed, I still indulged in the chocolate and rum pot. I went to Turtle Bay not long back to try their Christmas menu and that time I had the brownie so I went for something a little different. I did think that a chocolate pot would be a slightly lighter option as I was expecting something moussey but no, it was thick, rich and delicious. Once again I was defeated by a Turtle Bay dessert!

Restaurants at The Light Leeds

All in all, we had the absolute best night at The Light and I feel like I’ve tried two incredible new restaurants as well as going back to two which I already knew that I loved. The Light has had some incredible new additions over the last couple of years and I urge you to check it out when you can. Have you visited recently? Let me know in the comments.

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Smokin' Bar and Kitchen - Leeds

Smokin' Bar and Kitchen Leeds
Smokin' Bar and Kitchen Leeds

Another new bar in Leeds? Of course it is! Can we just discuss how Leeds seems to have new bars opening every other week right now and they’re all absolutely incredible? I feel like Leeds has been and continues to absolutely kill it on the social scene and to me, it’s like the entire city centre is a bigger and better version of the NQ in Manchester. (Sorry Manc, we get less rain here, you can’t win).

Smokin’ Bar and Kitchen is a new addition to Park Row and it’s on top of Bierkeller. I don’t know what I was expecting but with it being sandwiched between Bierkeller and Shooters, I was pleasantly surprised to be in a stylish, classy bar and restaurant and that makes it such a hidden gem. There’s a massive bar area and it’s in a location which means it will always be busy enough to have a great atmosphere, and a restaurant to the right. We were invited down to try out the menu and we definitely weren’t disappointed.

The menu is fairly meat heavy – there are small plates, meat dishes, fish dishes, big plates and burgers to choose from – but also some decent veggie options, so it really does cover all bases there. I was feeling hungry/ambitious that day and went for the ribs and wings combo which was a full rack of ribs, six chicken wings, fries, slaw and a side of garlic bread. Did I finish it? Did I hell. But it was delicious! I love meat on the bone, especially when it just falls off and the ribs were cooked to absolute perfection. The chicken wings were flavoursome, but the ribs stole the show for me by a long way. The other girls went for burgers which went down an absolute treat too.

Smokin' Bar and Kitchen Leeds

Smokin' Bar and Kitchen Leeds

It wouldn’t have been a night out without a couple of cocktails too and Smokin’ Bar definitely has the quirky cocktail thing down. There’s definitely something on the menu for everyone but given the opportunity, I always like to try something a little different so I went for a Raspberry and Bergamot Iced Tea (Earl Grey iced tea with raspberry, lemon, gin, tequila and finished with mint and liquorice) and then a Blueberry Breakfast which was blueberry, vanilla and bourbon combined and topped with a mini pancake. Yes, you read that correctly, my drink had a freaking pancake in it.

Smokin' Bar and Kitchen Leeds

Smokin' Bar and Kitchen Leeds

The cocktails are very reasonably priced in Smokin’ Bar which surprised me for such a central location – they range between £5-7 which is cheap by Leeds standards! Especially for something that’s a little quirky but very high quality, I’d have expected the cocktails to be around the £8-9 mark. Knowing this, I’ll absolutely be back as between Greek Street and Park Lane, there are some fantastic bars and Smokin’ is a fantastic addition to my daytime drinking destinations.

Overall, I was definitely impressed and will be heading back as the halloumi stack burger has been calling my name. Also, they do a cocktail with beef jerky in it that I want to try/do it for the ‘gram. Who fancies coming to Smokin’ with me for dinner? Let me know in the comments.

Monday, 1 January 2018

What I want from 2018

Scarborough beach

Happy New Year! 

Every year, I spend the majority that weird inbetween stage between Christmas and New Year thinking about what lies ahead for the next year. I mean, what could be more dreamy than deciding on your goals whilst being filled with a combination of festive feels and motivation over a mince pie (or three, preferably from Thomas the Bakers as they’re the most underrated mince pies in the entire world)?

I’ve written up my resolutions on this blog for the last four years and having that point of reference really helps me stay motivated, especially when we hit September and suddenly that feels like another fresh start – will my mind ever stop working on an academic calendar?! It’s always nice to be able to do a resolution round up and have that benchmark there to see what I’ve achieved – and it’s an even better feeling to be able to check things off. You can read my round up of my 2017 goals and progress here.

Moving into the next year, new chapter, whatever you want to call it, here’s what I’m aiming for.

Do more fun stuff
This is my reoccurring resolution but one I always want to include as it’s a reminder that fun stuff isn’t going to do itself. I’ve definitely started to become one of those people who values experiences over material things and I’d rather spend my time on nights out, going for dinner and doing exciting things with friends than I would shopping for stuff I don’t need. I’m the best version of me when I have things to look forward to so getting dates in the diary is now a far bigger priority to me than buying bits and pieces which don’t mean as much.

Improve my living space
This is something I’ve started to think more and more about over the last 6 months as I’ve come to accept that my little flat in Leeds is a more permanent place to live than I first intended. I’ve been here for three years now and always assumed I’d stay in my first job for two years max and move on. Two years turned into three and the plan changed to when I left that job, I’d move on. Six months ago I got a job that’s 20 minutes walk from my flat and I’ve finally registered my Leeds address with my bank rather than having everything sent home to my mum’s! As I bought the flat whilst I was renting it, it came with everything in it and for three years, I just never got round to making any significant changes but I’ve decided that 2018 is the year I make it a proper home.

Own my style
I’m a self confessed safe dresser. I live in skinny jeans, oversized jumpers and trainers. I feel like I’ve spent a long time almost making fun of the fact that I ‘dress like a student’ or that I’m ‘just not into fashion’, but I want to own how I dress a bit more, not aspire to change it. Though I’m never going to be particularly edgy or the kind of person who looks like they’ve heavily invested in Topshop, I want to feel like that’s OK. I want to have a more ‘you do you’ attitude towards how I dress rather than feel the need to apologise for being super-casual.

Share the love more
This is something that I try to do but could definitely do more of but this year has made me realise that it’s the little things that count. I’ve been on the receiving end of a few random acts of kindness this year from friends and paying it forward to others is something which is really important to me as I know how happy it made me. Giving blood is on the list, as is sending more snail mail and sponsoring friends who are doing charity events.

Learn more professionally
I don’t tend to write too much on here about my work, but I feel like I’ve learned one hell of a lot in the last six months and I think the next six months will be the exact same. I’m determined to be the best I possibly can be professionally and I want to learn as much as I possibly can about social media to make sure I’m doing the best job I can be. I’m so lucky to be working in a role which is also my passion and I don’t ever want to take that for granted.

So that’s what I’m hoping 2018 will bring me and I think it’s all achievable if I put my mind to it – nothing in there will be reliant on luck! 2017 has definitely ended on a high so I’m really hoping that means I can make 2018 my best year to date.
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