Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Little things that make me happy

1. Having a bath after a really good workout session - smug + relaxed = bliss
2. Lighting nice candles that you can smell all over the apartment
3. Reading a really good book
4. Long walks with someone to chat to
5. Going to sleep in a cold room
6. Orange juice on summer mornings
7. The smell of Pantene shampoo and conditioner
8.  Having perfectly done nails
9. A cold diet coke on a hot day
10. Going shopping on your own 
11. Big group photos of people you love
12. Giving a really thoughtful birthday present
13. Lip gloss that makes your lips tingle
14. Researching holidays that you might one day get to go on
15. A really good salad
16. Reading about history and learning something new
17. Letting your hair dry naturally on holiday
18. Eating a Domino's pizza when you're hungover (coz life is just too short)
19. Wearing an outfit that turns out exactly like you planned it in your head
20. Finishing everything on your to do list!

Inspired by the lovely From Roses blog (original post here).

Monday, 13 April 2015

Wales Weekender Pt 1

As I mentioned in my last post, I spent the bank holiday weekend in Wales. We’re saving up all our holiday for our honeymoon this year, which is lovely, but means I basically hadn’t had any time off since Christmas and I was completely exhausted – it was so nice to have some time off! My friend’s new boyfriend offered his ‘caravan’ in Wales for our holiday – I was picturing a holiday park and a little tin can type thing, basically the caravan from the Inbetweeners – but this was  essentially a lodge. It was set in the most beautiful grounds, with a balcony that jutted out over the field below and sheep that baaed outside your door. No wifi, no signal, nothing. Perfect.

We spent the first day, err, drinking, really. The sun came out for the first time all year and we sat on the balcony and I thought about how happy I was to not be at work for once…

We walked the half hour down to the little local village pub.

Which turned out actually to be a really nice gastro pub. I had lamb with sweet potato mash. My fiancé had steak and complained that it wasn’t as good as Gauchos, which I thought was a bit of a ludicrous statement – but it meant I got to finish his steak, so I won really! It was just good, proper country pub food.

We went back, drank more and played Cards Against Humanity, which gets funnier the more rum you drink, it turns out.

The next morning the sun was shining, I was miraculously hangover free and my friend woke me up with a bacon sandwich and a coffee, which we ate on the balcony, overlooked by sheep. Best breakfast ever. 

When the boys (well, one boy – my one) had finally emerged from their beds, we drove into Aberdovey and headed for the coast!

It wasn’t quite warm enough for sunbathing (although some typically British families had tried, huddled behind windshields with picnics – when I was younger, my family would totally have been amongst them)  - but it was warm enough for a good walk across the sand dunes.

 We were rewarded with some pretty spectacular views.

And an ice cream, of course.

We also found some kind of dead sea creature which I found way less fascinating than the others did (ew). 

We bought a bucket and did a bit of crabbing, which I haven’t done since I was a kid, but was still the best fun ever…

until, of course, my friend accidentally threw the line in! The only way it was ever going to end.It was so warm sitting on the dock of the bay that I felt like I was abroad.

We had fish and chips on the beach, although my fiancé, brain of Britain, put so much vinegar on his chips – genuinely – that he couldn’t carry them to the beach, because the packaging started falling apart. So we had to sit at the table in the little chippie! What is the matter with men?

The evening was probably one of my favourites in a while – we bought a football and played for ages (I got a football to the face, lovely), then showered and had drinks in the sunshine.

Followed by a really weird Indian, where the food was amazing but the restaurant was so budget that they washed up dishes at a sink in the middle of the room.

Pt 2 coming up this week!


Thursday, 9 April 2015

Why I’m going to cut down on social media (or try at least...)

I know what you’re thinking: are you kidding me? I’m a blogger. Bloggers are social media addicts practically by definition; we live, sleep, eat and breathe the Internet. We use it to capture our lives and for some of us, weirdly, it is our lives. I am no exception. I had a Myspace (heavily decorated in pink and complete with emo song), I got Facebook almost as soon as I knew it existed and I loved it. I have two Twitters and an Instagram and a Snapchat (even though I can’t quite figure out how to use it), I have a Google Plus account (although I don’t know what it does) and Whatsapp (if that counts) and Spotify, Pinterest, tumblr and just about anything else you can imagine.

Facebook is actually the reason I called this whole thing into question. It has always been my crack; I remember watching my friend count tick up excitedly back in 2008; I ran to my Dad’s old computer to see if my current crush had posted anything on my ‘wall’ in 2009; I uploaded hilarious (in my opinion) statuses and counted the ‘Likes.’ I loved it, and it was cool to love it so that was OK – everyone loved it and I was 22 anyway so what did it matter how I wasted my time?

Now, though, I feel the tides shifting. Nobody of my generation really seems to upload statuses anymore, other than to announce their engagements/marriages/babies. My homepage filled with clutter – adverts, ‘hilarious’ videos from ‘LADS ON TOUR’ and ‘LOLCATS,’  - less and less meaningful interaction from my friends. And my friends, in particular, started to lose interest and drop away. I noticed that even the true Facebook addicts amongst them were uploading less and less – once a week, now once a month, now never – except me. There I stayed, uploading stubbornly – not constantly, not like those people who post 8 times a day and really need to be on Twitter, but consistently; at least once a week, I would say.

I don’t know why. Maybe Facebook reminds me of university, a simpler time, when I was younger and all I cared about was looking cool by being tagged in photos with boys. Maybe I just don’t have a lot going on in life. Or it’s habit.

But anyway, this bank holiday just passed I spent the weekend in Wales, in a caravan in the middle of nowhere. With no Wifi and no signal (it was literally as if I crossed the border and my signal disappeared). For a few minutes, I panicked. What would I do without keeping up with Facebook? Without seeing what that girl on Made in Chelsea had eaten for breakfast via Instagram? Without clicking through to a hilarious Buzzfeed article linked to me on Twitter?

Well, you know what I did? I enjoyed dinner with my friends. I read my Kindle. I drank cider in a pub garden, and went on a long walk, and went crabbing, and ate chips on the beach, and swung on a rope swing. And I did all those things without being interrupted by notifications or by an endlessly demanding flashing phone. All I could think about was how nice it was to be left in peace – and yet, I realised, nobody was ever forcing me to check my phone every 10 minutes. It was all me, my fingers endlessly pressing the Home button to illuminate the screen – have you liked my photo? Retweeted my comment? Have you validated my existence today?

Since coming home, I have checked Facebook and Instagram and I can feel it creeping back up on me and I don’t want it. I don’t think I can cut out social media altogether (for a start, my blog somewhat depends on it,  and I like my blog) but here are a few rules I want to stick to – I’ll check back in, in a month, and see how I’m doing…

1.                No using the phone at the table. This is a rule my Dad enforced strictly when we were younger which I should’ve stuck to, but haven’t. At all mealtimes, in restaurants, and even when having drinks in bars, my phone is going to remain in my bag or somewhere out of sight. There is never a need to check Facebook when out for dinner.
2.                Turn notifications off. I check these things enough, without being prompted to check them more.
3.                Unfollow accounts that do you no good (like the blogger who creates endless envy because she’s always on holiday, or the super thin girl who just makes you feel fat and sad, or the girl you knew in Year Seven who posts endless irritating statuses about her life). Why constantly subject yourself to seeing things that make you feel sad, or jealous, or irritated? I wouldn’t keep tuning into a TV show I hated. It’s stupid.
4.                Contextualise your statuses. Or in other words: I want to think about why I’m writing them. Do I genuinely have a thought or opinion I want to share? Or am I showing off? Seeking validation? What? Think before you Tweet.
5.                Buy an alarm clock. I don’t want my social media accounts to be the first thing I check in the morning or the last thing I see at night – but because I use my phone as an alarm clock, it’s often all too tempting just to give them a quick check. Hopefully an alarm clock might help with this!

I want to become one of those people you know who ‘likes’ a photo you uploaded of them – the day after they’ve uploaded it. Or someone who says vaguely ‘I do have a Twitter, but I hardly ever check it.’ I want to live in the real world, not the virtual world!

Have you ever had a social media break? How did you find it?  
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