Monday, 18 June 2018

How I Found Out I Was Pregnant

Finding out that I was pregnant was an absolute surprise. I was in my final term at uni and had only moved in with my husband a couple of weeks before so it was really unexpected. Thinking back, there were quite a few signs that I had overlooked but, at the time, I thought nothing of them.

The first major sign that I had overlooked was that my period was late. I travelled to visit my husband in the Lake District around the 25th of February and expected my period around the 27th. It didn't come but, for some reason, I shrugged it off. I was used to a little irregularity in my periods - especially as I hadn't been eating enough on some crazy diet and with all the final year stress too. So I really thought nothing of it. I had been working like mad doing nights, trying to plan coursework and attend lecture during the day, and fit in a relationship too - I didn't have time to worry about something as small as my period.

On about the 8th of March, my husband moved into my little room in my student accommodation in Cardiff and waved the Lakes goodbye. My period still hadn't raised its ugly head but I still wasn't thinking about it. But the very day that my husband moved in, I was sick as a dog. We had spent the day going around the shops and having food out but I had had the worst stomach cramps all day. I remember thinking it must be either my period finally arriving or a bad bout of food poisoning. I managed to make it home before I was very sick for the first time in my adult life. Somehow pregnancy still didn't cross my mind. I blamed it on some Shake Shack cheesy chips I'd eaten and got on with enjoying having my husband around.

After about another week, I noticed that my sense of smell was so strong. It was crazy. I mean, I could smell Quavers from the other side of the cinema when we went to see a movie. And I had gone off of certain foods and really wanted to drink orange juice. It was weird as I usually eat anything and everything. So, my husband suggested I take a pregnancy test. I just laughed as he bought me one and sent me off to the public loos in St David shopping centre. Flash forward to five mins later and me frantically texting my flatmate telling her that there is a very faint line in the positive window. I was squinting thinking that it must just be my eyes.

When I left the loos, I told my husband that I wasn't sure as there is a mega faint line so I have to take another test in a bit. Later on, I took a test when we stopped off in Wok To Walk (you really would have thought we'd be doing this at home, right?). Same again. Mega faint line.

So, we go to Boots where we got the pregnancy tests from and asked to talk to the pharmacist. He assured me that there is no way that I could be pregnant after I showed him the tests and that they are probably faulty. I mean, the line would be darker, right? To be sure, I invested in a digital one and headed home.

Once we got home, I went into the loo and braved the digital test. Two minutes later, 'pregnant' flashed up in the window. Lord, I almost died. My mind went crazy. Like, how can I be pregnant?! I was literally crying and my husband was hugging me tryna calm me down whilst also panicking himself. We weren't ready for this! After a sleepless night for my husband and a not so sleepless one for me after that day of endless walking and peeing on sticks, we kinda regained some composure. After every word had been said, we woke up assured that we could do this. We were both so scared but I started to feel excited about this journey and now, over a year later, we have a lovely 7 month old girl who we adore and it all worked out for the best. Although I still can't stand the smell of Quavers.

Monday, 11 June 2018

Unpopular Opinion: Blogger Edition

A big part of blogging is the community. I love all my blogging babes and the support we all give each other. It is awesome how the same ladies always like and comment on my things and share my content. I love finding people who like similar things to me and being able to totally fangirl over anything from a lipstick to this one restaurant we both went to in Krakow. But I also feel this pressure to keep up appearances in the blogging community and either be enthusiastic about something I'm not that fussed about or just keep schtum if I'm not into something. Until today! Today I am sharing all the things that bloggers love but I kinda don't like very much (please don't unfollow me!).

I'm not fussed over Disney
Ok, I like some Disney films and I grew up watching the classics but I don't understand the absolute hype over everything Disney. When the Primark merch came out, I was like 'yeah, it's cute but not something I would buy'. Sure, I would go to Disneyland - and I definitely intend to take Ava there one day - but I am not a massive fan girl. Also I am still waiting for a Jewish princess.

Krispy Kreme donuts are really sickly 
Krispy Kreme donuts are another thing that I don't mind but really am not fussed on. If someone buys me one, I would be happy but I could probably only eat half. I mean, I once ate a whole Battenberg over the course of an evening but a whole Krispy Kreme donut? It's too much for me. And they all kinda taste the same to me. Like, give me a Tesco jam donut instead.

Instagram themes are too much effort
I can appreciate the work and creativity that goes into maintaining an Insta theme - if you have one, you are basically Van Gogh of the influencer world - but it is too much effort and sucks all the fun out of Instagram for me. I have tried to keep a theme before but it just made me hate Insta and want to chuck my phone out of the window. I love snapping pics then just putting a filter on them and sharing them - I don't have the time to be planning my grid. Big up people who have a theme but I'm gonna keep my hot mess of a grid myself.

Being a working class blogger is hard
People like to say 'hard work pays' whenever anyone raises a class issue but the influencer world is definitely geared towards those with excess cash (dosh, wonga). Like, I'm not gonna post a house tour because we don't even have carpets in our house as the council didn't put any flooring down and we're still saving to do it. As a working class blogger, I feel like I have to pretend and act like I am living a lifestyle which really isn't my reality.

Copper wire baskets are rubbish
Remember those copper wire baskets we all bought from Primark? Absolute trash. They're the storage equivalent of eating soup out of a sieve. I swapped mine out for a lined wicker basket because, get this, stuff doesn't fall out the second you put it in there. What can you even keep in there? The holes are too big. Nothing stay in there. It is ridiculous.

Freakshakes are just that - freaky
It is milkshake and cream and sprinkles and cakes and Lord knows what else stuffed into a mason jar and sold for like £5? When I could just a milkshake from McDonald's? I'll pass. I like a milkshake as much as the next girl but freakshakes are next level and I'm not into it. They are just too much of everything.

I hope you liked my brutal honesty and haven't unfollowed yet. Now it is your turn - what are your unpopular opinions that you haven't dared to share with your blogging pals?

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Things We Learnt Living Without WiFi For Two Months

For most millennials, this is a modern day nightmare but, up until a couple of weeks ago, this was our reality. We had switched to Talk Talk as our broadband provider a month before we moved house but when we got to our new house, there were so many issues setting up the broadband. Engineers kept booking and cancelling. Some came but didn't manage to fix the problem. Talk Talk kept pushing the date back. In the end, what was meant to only be a couple of weeks turned into a couple of months. And for two young people, this was pretty difficult. I'm sure some people would scoff at us but the internet has become such a massive part of all of our daily lives so to suddenly not have it did cause some issues. But we did learn a few things.

Libraries are super important
These two months have taught me that we need to preserve libraries at all costs. To start with, I was using Costa as a place to settle down in for a couple of hours with my laptop and a coffee but then I thought about how much I was spending in a week just to use their wifi and decided I needed a new place to camp out in. That's when we discovered the idyll which is the local library. It is free. It is quiet. The wifi is unlimited. And you can even print stuff. We need more places like this.

I use my phone too much
For the first few weeks, I kept buying data add-ons so that I could continuing scrolling through Insta but, by the end, I wasn't actually so fussed about using my phone. I spent time doing other things like making bread, playing silly games with Ava, going on long walks, and actually watching films without giving a running commentary of the action on Twitter. This time showed me that I am hugely reliant on my phone in so many ways. Instead of looking up recipes, I trusted my gut and experimented. Instead of walking the route that Google Maps told me, I explored different places. In all honesty, I kinda didn't want to use my phone anymore by the end of the two months because I realised that I was wasting so much time on it that could have been used doing other things - more beneficial things.

Social media can be bad for your mental health
Social media is a great place to make friends and find a community of people with similar interests to you. But it can also be a very negative place and I find too much of it really draining. Whether it is the bigots of Twitter bringing you down with their misogyny or the unworldly beauty of Insta models making you feel not so good about your rolls and not so shiny hair, social media isn't all unicorns and rainbows. Sometimes you really need to just take a time out and breathe. And remember that no one is perfect and that bigots are not worth the energy of even thinking about.

The internet is a super useful tool
Despite loving my time offline - and kinda never wanting to return again - there is no getting away from just how useful the internet is. Anything you want an answer to is a quick type into Google away. Personally, I love using the internet for finding new recipes to try and different places to plan to travel to (and for a cheeky ASOS browse). I think once you've had the internet, it is super difficult to live without it as it makes some things so much easier.

At the end of these two months, I feel like I have learnt that I need to moderate my internet use more and spend less time aimlessly scrolling. I want to make a conscious effort from now on to put my phone in another room and spend time just being. I want to give Ava my undivided attention more often and I feel like spending less time online will be a big step in the right direction.

Would you be able to live without wifi?

Saturday, 26 May 2018

Should Content Creators Be Relatable?

Whenever I open Instagram, I seem to be met with Gucci belts and Chloe bags and expensive makeup palettes. Slim, beautiful women with tanned skin and shimmering hair sipping espresso martinis and posing candidly at exclusive bars. The wedding cake houses of Kensington are always the backdrop of every outfit picture taken on a glittering rose gold iPhone or high-spec camera.

Everything we post online is in some way artificial. We want to create a certain reaction. Whether you want to appear to be the 'it girl' or a friend to your audience, content is never created without a desired effect. Whether it is at the front of our minds or not. But have some content creators become too far removed from the reality of their audience? Or are influencers meant to create something for their audience to escape into?

I have been pondering these questions lately. Personally, I prefer content that I can relate to. I like mummy bloggers who write with passion and emotion about their children and their roles as mothers but also aren't afraid to share the less glamorous parts of their lives too. I like that reassurance that not everyone has their shit together 100% of the time. I like bloggers who write about mental health and body positivity and are relatable. I like bloggers who address racial biases within the blogging industry. I like people who aren't afraid to speak out and have an opinion. I just can't relate to Louboutin wearing, private party attending, juice cleanse doing influencers. But somehow they still draw me in. I enjoy the beautiful candids somehow taken walking in the roads of New York with yellow taxis just behind them. I enjoy the pictures of their manicured hands clasping lattes as they recline back in a hipster coffee shop with a book that they have probably met the author of. I enjoy seeing their impossibly flat stomachs in pretty bikinis as they sit on the white sand beaches of a luxury location dipping their toes in the sea. I can't relate but I wish I could. Maybe that is what draws us in.

Following some influencers feels like window shopping for a lifestyle I will probably never have. Their Tuesday lounging on a white sand beach in the Maldives is very different to my Tuesday trying to drag a crying baby around Tesco. And, in all honesty, that is probably why I still follow them.

I know that I sound jealous. In all honesty, I am a little bit. But with every picture of a blonde-haired, doe-eyed, button-nosed girl laughing into an iced tea or clasping a donut she definitely won't eat, I find myself crying out for a change. I want to see people of all ethnicities and nationalities scoring top brand collaboration deals. I want to see plus size women becoming faces of generic brands - and not just for plus size brands. I want to see something different. I am hungry for something new. Someone relatable. Someone who isn't an 'it girl'.

I am tired of the it girl aesthetic.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

3 Hidden Gems You Need To Add To Your Travel Bucket List*

The Rhine, Germany

It's no secret that I love to travel. I love exploring new places, trying food that I can't even pronounce, and kicking back in king-size hotel beds with a mug of tea in hand. When I am not visiting different destinations, reading travel blogs, and trying my hand at recreating foreign cuisine, I am scouring websites like Holiday Gems looking for new destinations to add to my ever-expanding travel bucket list. So, you can rest assured that I have a few hidden gems on that list - places full of history and culture (and sunshine) but not so full of tourists. And today I am going to share them with you lovely lot - and I ask you all to just pray that later this year I will be able to say that I booked a holiday to Gran Canaria.

When it comes to sunny European destinations, most people instantly think of places like Italy, Spain, and Greece. But, personally, I have had my eyes on Malta for quite a while. The island boasts three UNESCO world heritage sites - including monuments that date back centuries. Although Malta is becoming ever-popular as a travel destination, it is nowhere near as bustling with tourists as places like Venice or Madrid. The capital, Valletta, has an abundance of amazing castles, churches, and theatres. There are multiple museums and city tours so that you can soak up the culture.

Of all the places in Germany that I have visited, I found that Rudesheim was the most picturesque and traditionally beautiful place that I went to. The whole town is full of timber-front houses and pubs selling pint after pint of German beer. The surrounding hills are filled with grape vines to make their local wine that they have been making for over a thousand years. The town is a UNESCO world heritage site and it is easy to see why. The best part of this town was a street named Drosselgasse. It was a small, cobbled street with buildings on either side. They play live music in the wine taverns situated on this street through the summer and have open-air garden seating so you can enjoy a bottle of wine as the summer evening draws in. 

Charmouth, Devon

I had to put a staycation in this list too, didn't I? The UK is full of lovely locations and Cornwall is definitely the perfect place for a short stay. As a kid, we would visit Tintagel religiously and I always felt like I was missing out by not going abroad but now I feel grateful that my parents opened my eyes to the great places there are to visit in the UK. Tintagel is a picturesque seaside town with all the traditional British seaside charm that you'd want in a beach holiday. In the height of summer, the sea tends to be quite clear and there is a stretch of sandy beaches. There are also rockpools and caves that I spent many hours exploring as a child. As well as this, there are the ruins of a castle said to have been inhabited by King Arthur and a traditional town where you can get a cream tea or some homemade fudge. Although this place is always quite busy during summer months, it isn't as revered as places like Bude so it is definitely a bit of a hidden gem.

What are your hidden gems?

Friday, 18 May 2018

Making Exercise Fun With Nicce

Anyone who knows me will know that 'exercise' and 'fun' are two words that I would very rarely use in the same sentence but, to the shock of my friends and family, I have actually started to exercise - and am actually enjoying it. But this has not always been the case. In my mind, exercise has always seemed like a bit of a chore. I was always that chubby kid hiding in the loos during PE or faking a devastating leg injury to avoid cross country. My school PE teachers despaired at my inability to do the simplest of activities - to be honest, I can't do a forward roll even now. But, as a kid, I did love activities that didn't seem like exercise but kinda were. I loved long walks and was very proud of myself for doing the Exmoor Challenge and DofE. I used to play '40 40 In' with the other kids on our block and maybe a cheeky game of the forbidden 'British Bulldog'. And that's what I realised recently - that exercise didn't have to be this regimental, enforced thing that I only did when I was a diet but it could be implemented into my daily life and it could actually be enjoyable.

So, I have put together a list of things that I have found helpful on this journey to becoming fitter.

Buy Gym Clothes
Investing in a lot of gym clothes because they make me feel so much more motivated to move around. So, when the lovely people at Nicce got in touch to ask if I wanted to collaborate, I was overjoyed. I had had my eyes on their womens black hoodie for a while now but I decided to go for something a little more colourful - and I love it! The absolute best thing about this hoodie is that it has a soft, fluffy lining which makes it so snug. But, if you're not a hoodie kinda person, then you don't have to worry. They do everything from swimming costumes to caps to yoga pants. All with their iconic logo on and in a range of fun colours - I love all their mustard yellow items they're bringing out at the moment.

Start Small
I know I may never be the next Mo Farah but I still feel proud of the small milestones I pass. When I first started jogging, I could only run for about 1 min before feeling like I was going to collapse. Now I am reaching 5 minutes and I am happy with this improvement. Knowing your limits and listening to your body are really important when you exercise so if I start to feel tired then I stop and have a rest. But not having overly ambitious goals has really helped me to be persistent and get into a routine with exercise.

Be Patient With The Results
This is one thing that my husband often has to remind me. Just because I've gone for a hike, doesn't mean I can climb Everest the following week. It takes time for your muscles to grow and your body to become more able to do certain activities. It can seem like you're doing so much for so little return but in a few months you'll look back and realise how far you have come.

Pick An Activity That You Can Do Everyday 
I'm not saying you should exercise everyday but picking an activity that is easily accessible will make it so much easier to keep up with. If you decide to go for polo but don't have a horse and live in central London, this probably won't be something you can do regularly in the long term. Choosing something like walking, yoga, or football will mean that you can do this often without having to take too much time out of your day to travel to a certain place. Personally, I try to go for a jog maybe once or twice a week and I also try to go on one long walk a day - preferably up a hill - with the pushchair. I've found this really fits in well with my lifestyle as I don't have enough time to go to a gym alone but bringing Ava along on walks gets us both out of the house and allows me to exercise.

What I'm Wearing:

Nicce Pink Hoodie*

Primark Yoga Pants (similar)

Puma Gazelle Trainers (here)

How do you exercise?

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Products You Need To Become The Next Zoella

Blogging is a fickle mistress. One minute everyone is raving over Ikea plant pots and MAC lipsticks, the next minute it's all about white marble and poloroids. This, of course, makes it near on impossible for our friends and family to try to buy us anything that we could feature on the blog without completely missing the mark and getting us something way back from 2014 blogging. So, I have scoured Instagram and put together a cohesive list of all the products that bloggers are going crazy for at the moment.

Novelty mugs
Everybody loves a mug - especially one full of hot chocolate - but novelty mugs are all the rage right now. I love this one by Blogging Mode because it lets everyone know that I am the boss (a fact that my husband is yet to fully accept). They also do a range of other fun blogger themed gifts which are all equally fabulous.

Paperchase is my go-to location for cute stationary so when I discovered their postcards, I literally fell in love. I really like all the catchy slogans and cute prints. I recently bought one with a sloth on it - if that doesn't convince you that they do the best postcards then nothing will. Grab one, find a pretty location, paint your nails a pastel colour (or just your thumb - we've all done it), and voila! You have a perfect pic.

Bright, slogan tees
Following the lead of blogger goddess Hannah Gale, everyone is donning bright yellow tees with catchy slogans on them. Extra points if you find a pink wall to pose in front of. And a guaranteed extra 100 followers if you're laughing into an iced tea from Starbucks.

A Doughnut Time Doughnut 
Doughtnut Time have recently opened their first UK branch in London and people are going mad for their giant, delicious donuts. A few of my fave Insta queens have posted pics posing with a donut outside their pastel green shop and it really makes me want like 5 donuts. But, yeah, donuts are here to stay (thank the Lord).

I love using Polaroids in pictures but unfortunately I really can't afford to splash out on an Instax so I use online companies like Printiki instead. You just send over your pics, they print them out (you can even add captions!), then they send them back. Like having a polaroid without the price tag.

A Blogger Box From My New Business
Yes, this is a cheeky self promo. No, I'm not ashamed. So, I am starting a business selling all the things bloggers need to create the perfect flatlays. Everything is still developing at the moment but you can follow me on social media to keep up to date with everything that's going on. My business Twitter is here and my Insta is here.

What do you think makes a perfect blog photo?
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