Wednesday, 30 December 2015

A Winters Walk

I have always loved the countryside, I find there is something so special and therapeutic about the clean, fresh, crisp air, the countryside surroundings and the views of the landscape.

As it's the holiday's and my Mum has had some time off work we decided to go to a country estate just outside of Brighton called Stanmer House. It was lovely, very peaceful and calming. As I knew the estate would be very picturesque made sure to take my camera to capture the beauty.

Here are some of the photos I took - enjoy!

Stanmer Tea Rooms...
Cute cottages...
Private farmyards...
Lovely ponds...
Stanmer House Garden...
The festivity is still among us...
Thank you for reading :) lots of love x

Monday, 28 December 2015

Christmas Day

I spent Christmas Day this year at my Sister, Anna's new home with both Anna, and my Mum. My Sister's home is lovely, very warming and inviting; she made my Mum and me feel extremely comfortable and happy when staying with her. 

As Anna is a wonderful cook she was in charge of making Christmas Dinner, which she organised very well (even setting up a spreadsheet for the timings!) My Mum helped my sister with the cooking, but she really enjoyed spending her time relaxing and letting her kids (Anna and me) take a lead in organising Christmas!

So, with the task of making Christmas dinner in great hands of my sister, I made the most of organising the decorations, setting the table, and making the place feel a little more festive. I also decided to take on the task of making and decorating the Christmas cake, which I really loved as I am quite a keen baker! 

Of course I took this as an opportunity to take some photos of the table decorations and the cake to share on here - enjoy!

Thank you for reading, I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas and I wish you a Happy New Year! 

All my love x

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Preparing For Christmas

Christmas is quickly approaching and I am feeling more festive than ever. From day one of being back in England from my travels I have wanted to start decorating my Mum's place to get it feeling nice and festive. 

If you know me well, you know I am a huge fan of Christmas and over the years I have also become a lover of interior design. So, come Christmas time and all I want to do is decorate, decorate, decorate! 

With this, over the last week or so I have spent my free time wandering the shops in Brighton and collecting a few decorations together; as well as getting a small Christmas tree, and then adding some finishing touches with a few ornaments I bought whilst in the U.S. 

I didn't want to make my Mum's apartment too over the top in festivity, but I wanted to decorate it in a way that it would feel warm and cosy, with a slight Scandinavian touch, and of course with a little special Christmassy feel.

I now happily feel I have achieved this, and thought I'd quite like to share my ideas on this blog.

Hanging from the door handle is a small Christmas tree ornament I got from Starbucks in Santa Monica; which was in fact too heavy for the tree but I quite like it hanging from the door handle like this.

This bowl is filled with some lovely Frankincense scented potpourri from Next. The succulent I brought back with me from the U.S, as well as the jug containing Gypsophila decorated using a sprinkle of glitter for a festive touch. 

I love hanging decorations from anywhere possible - for example the light switch in the top left of this photo, to give a small festive touch. The cute Christmas jumper draped over the chair is from H&M. A Christmas jumper is a must have every year, and this one is very cosy with some added sparkle! 

Another favourite of mine, and especially at Christmas time is fairy lights. I am over the moon about these I found (hanging from the mirror) from a small independent shop in Brighton; which tie in very nicely with the candle holder in the centre of the table.

Candles are wonderful all year round, and definitely so when its cold outside at Christmas time. They help to create a cosy, warming atmosphere to any room. The scents for candles this time of year are my favourite - from pine and gingerbread, to almond and sugar cookie...I love them all! I currently have a small yankee candle burning called 'snow love' which smells incredible! I also always like to have an advent candle (to the back of the table). Then to finish I've put some cinnamon sticks in a small trinket jar; cinnamon is another winter scent I love.

This mirror is an addition I brought back with me from America, and placed above hangs some decorative mistletoe - a very traditional ornament for this time of the year (bought from M&S Home).

Now to the tree! This year my Mum and I decided we only needed a small tree, which we wanted to keep quite simple. 

I used the fairy lights I bought back with me from America and bought a selection of mix and match decorations from Zara Home - I love the home-made feel to them. I also got a simple white star for the top which I decorated a little more by wrapping around some grey ribbon; I feel this helps it stand out.

I covered the base of the tree using some hessian material which I then secured tying a bow using the left over ribbon I used to decorate the star. I used some more cinnamon sticks in another little trinket jar here and added a dusting of christmas confetti around the bottom of the tree.

Above shows the pretty Zara decorations that I love a lot.

As well as the interior decor, I've also started wrapping some presents which I also enjoy very much and get quite excited about in fact! I wanted the style of wrapping to keep to the simple Scandinavian style similar to the decorations around the apartment. The stockings above are from a small independent shop I found in the Lanes in Brighton. I've reused some gift bags I collected in America and finished off using plain white and brown paper, then some grey, cream and silver ribbon.

I added some candy canes to the smaller gifts for a cute finishing touch.

The gift tags I bought from Paperchase which I feel is another lovely finishing touch!

Thank you for taking a look at this post on my decorations and preparations for Christmas this year. I hope you've enjoyed this little insight and that this may even help inspire you with getting ready for Christmas!

Wishing you all a very merry Christmas! 

All my love x

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

What's The Next Step?

For this post, I'd like to write a little on the subject of making decisions and deciding "whats next". Having finished A Levels, and now being in my gap year; I do often think about what my next big step may be. I don't have an exact path on what I'd like to do in the years to come; but that is okay. There are very few people who know exactly what the want for their future from my age of 19.

The most important thing for me at the moment is to ensure I continue with the focuses, changes and new interests I made and discovered whilst away in the U.S. To continue with Yoga and Meditation; with reading, blogging and taking photos. Also to continue working on my health in a positive way and to live a calm and simple life and so on. I have learnt an awful lot about myself over the last 6 months especially, and to this day I'm still finding out more...aren't we all? 

There are people who know what they want as a career from a young age...sometimes even before they've started GCSE's! This percentage of people is very small, and if you are one of those're very lucky! Others have a rough idea from high school, and go onto sixth form or college with that idea of a career in mind and later on may go to University to get a degree in the area they're particularly interested in. Some decide they'd like to take a year out to go travelling, or to go straight into the world of work, to do an apprenticeship or similar.

Then there are others that find it difficult to decide exactly what they want to do after school; to decide what their next step may be. Constantly thinking of all the possibilities, such as...Do I go to uni? Do I go travelling? Shall I continue my part time job, until I've decided? Then, with feeling stuck, and indecisive they may choose one of the above but later think, was that the right decision? 

Making decisions can be so difficult and one of life's challenges, I feel that there often isn't one correct way, no exact path, no simple answer. With making a decision and therefore trying something new and different is always positive in one way or another, even if it doesn't feel like it at the time. Sometimes there is no easy way, but even small decisions will inevitable mean small steps forward. We learn new things all the time, about ourselves, about life and so much more; everyday is a new page to our story.

I am one of the people that isn't quite sure what my next big step is, before I became ill I was planning on going to University, but I'm no longer planning on that; I find the thought of the whole idea too stressful. Not going to Uni is ok and University isn't for everyone; the difficulty I find myself in is figuring out what I do want.

Saying I've been completely stuck for any idea would be a lie as I did make a decision, a pretty big one in fact...that being to go to America for 6 months for the reasons I've mentioned in previous blog posts. To take some time out, to recuperate, to find my independence, to gain confidence...basically, "to find myself".

Making the decision to go to the U.S. on my own with the many everyday life challenges we all come across, and to do so with being an already very anxious person; not only that but also with being in recovery from my illness...if I'm honest, to say a big step would be the least.

Luckily, my time time in the U.S was incredibly wonderful, it helped me grow with confidence, independence, strength and I was able to really relax and learn so much about myself, about life, and so, so much more, which I am over the moon about. However, it wasn't all easy, oh no. But I was prepared for that, and having been through the difficult times whilst away I can now see such times helped me grow even stronger.

So now being back in the U.K I find myself still unsure about exactly what I want for the times to come, but I'm only young and have time. There's no point in rushing and making an irrational decision. But in the meantime I will continue with what I mentioned above...Yoga, Meditation, writing this blog, taking photos my health and so on; which is more than enough for now.

What I want people who read this to understand and to take away is that wherever in life you may be, whatever age it is okay to not know exactly what you want for the times ahead. However, if you do find yourself feeling stuck, maybe try making a small change, a small decision, a small step forwards; what's the worst that could happen? If you continue to feel you're struggling or you feel as though you'd like help with decisions then seek advise, speak out. Bottling up feelings, emotions and questions does no good.

Remember to take time out every now and then to overlook your accomplishments, your interests and what you're looking forward to, etc. Also, to acknowledge the things getting you down and the things that aren't working out for you. When looking at both the good and bad you will hopefully be able to make some small changes in order to help yourself focus on the good; and if its difficult to change the bad stuff, maybe this is the time to seek help.

Thank you for reading, lots of love x

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Festivity In Santa Monica

A lovely end to my time in America was being able to enjoy and join in with some of the preparations  and celebrations for the Holiday season. Spending my last weeks in Santa Monica during this time I was able to soak in the festive atmosphere. From talking to a few of the locals in Santa Monica I found out that Thanks Giving is in fact a bigger celebration than Christmas for many in the U.S. So for me, the Thanks Giving celebration felt a bit like an early Christmas, which was great! 

I've always been a lover of Christmas; I find it a wonderful time to celebrate with family and friends. I love December especially, and the lead up to Christmas Day as I find many people are too feeling very merry and festive, and sharing the cheer and joy is wonderful. 

I love wandering the streets filled with lights and decorations; on one of my last evenings in Santa Monica I went for a stroll with my camera to capture some festive photographs, and now that I am back in England and feeling more festive than ever I thought now would be a great time to share these with you! I hope you like them :)

Walking along Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica...while enjoying the Guitarist and of course, the beautiful Christmas lights.

A very festive coffee shop along Third Street

I love how the trees are decorated with fairy lights all along the Street - so pretty!

Fairy lights make everything look pretty :)

Finally - the massive Christmas tree in Santa Monica Place - and wonderfully decorated!!

Thank you for taking a look!

Lots of Love x

Sunday, 6 December 2015

America - An Inspirational Interlude

My 6 month stay in the U.S. has now come to its end, this time away has been life changing, a once in a life time experience, an opportunity I feel blessed to have had. I feel a changed person and so much happier in myself. I feel more confident, independent, calm and content and so much more.

Now that I am back in good ol' England I feel some questions may arise, ones I am thinking; as well as ones my family and friends may ask.

So, the first of these being something like...will I miss Santa Monica? 

Yes, I will for sure. Santa Monica is somewhere I have grown to feel very close to, I felt very comfortable there; it was a magical time for me and I am extremely lucky to have been able to spend several months there. 

With that said, although my time away has been a fantastic experience over all and has helped me in so many ways. That doesn't mean it's all been easy, I've had down days, I've faced up to difficult fears and challenges...I've had to deal with homesickness and being completely independent...not only that, I've had to do all of these things on top of still recovering from my illness.

I feel the several months I had away was the right length of time for me and I'm excited for the times to come now back in England. 

How has this time in California helped?

My time aways has helped in more ways than I could have ever hoped for, with the main being in helping me understand 'me'. This space away has enabled me to clear my head and to start a fresh; I've gained interests and hobbies I never thought I'd like, such as reading, meditation and yoga. 

I've found that I really enjoy the simple things, such as spending time in a coffee shop with a nice cuppa, watching the passers-by, or reading a book. I love going to the farmers market - a time to join the community. Another special time was just simply heading to the beach and watching the sunset; I love this peaceful moment; a time of calm and tranquility, a time to collect thoughts on the day.

What lifestyle changes do I hope to continue with?

A main change I feel in myself and will continue learning about and practicing is living in the moment, and to worry less about the past and future - to be with what is and live a much calmer and peaceful life. Learning to live in the moment is a journey, and with practicing comes knowledge, ability and understanding.

I will of course continue with my passion for yoga and meditation and I hope to find a Yoga and/or Meditation studio new to where I now live. Both of these practices have played a huge part in helping me grow to understand myself for who I am and have helped me an incredible amount with my recovery too.

Keeping pressure, anxiety and stress to a minimum and to continue with what I love most; with the time to come being as simple, calm and peaceful I hope to find myself feeling up to trying some sort of part-time job. Perhaps sometime next year I could see myself working in a coffee shop, or being a dog walker, or similar - a job that isn't too demanding and one that I feel I am helping others - that would make me very happy.

Will I continue with my blog, now that I am back in the U.K.?

Of course, and I look forward to sharing the times to come! 

Hopefully, I have helped answer some questions, or helped you reading this understand more about what I'm thinking about with now being back from my travels :)

Thank you for reading :)

All my love x

Tuesday, 1 December 2015


Pressure is something I find very difficult to manage. Feeling under pressure causes me a lot of stress and anxiety. It is something we all have to cope with everyday...from dealing with exams, work demands, time pressure and so on, it is always among us.

If you're like me, and find being under any type of pressure very overwhelming to comprehend there are strategies that can be learnt to help manage and cope with being in situations of feeling under pressure.

Whilst being in California I've wanted to conquer certain goals, I've wanted to take time to face up to challenges and to learn more about myself. To learn what works for me and what doesn't. This goes from finding what hobbies I enjoy, to realising what causes me stress and anxiety. 

Pressure in my eyes is something that isn't needed. When I look back on circumstances where I've felt under pressure, it has only caused a negative effect, making me feel distressed, anxious, panicked and so on. As I can now see how badly pressure effects me I've started to work on learning how to manage such times; to acknowledge and to accept the feeling and to let it go. 

We all have good and bad moments...I used to find myself getting extremely frustrated when things didn't go completely to plan, therefore putting pressure on  myself and ending with feeling even worse about the situation. But I am now learning to stop worrying so much, to not put pressure on myself, to keep calm and to stay in the moment.

Moreover there are some situations where it is possible to minimise feelings of pressure. For example with time pressures, say if you need to be in a certain place at a certain time, mange your time effectively and schedule your timing so that you arrive early. 

I understand that some feel pressure can be a good thing. They feel it can help with motivation, determination, and staying focused. I do appreciate those who believe this - for my opinion isn't necessarily correct; it comes from from my life experiences, from learning through reading a few books and with speaking to others around me. 

For me motivation, determination, focus and so on, all come from within me...I feel motivated most when I feel good about myself, when I feel confident. I feel focused most when I am in a good mindset and can set myself an achievable goal. Pressure comes from outside situations and only causes me negative effects.

With having learnt this about myself, I can see where in the past pressure was unhelpful and often not even necessary. So it is best for me to stay clear of any situations where I may feel under too much pressure. Of course I will come across times where I find myself feeling under pressure for something I have no control over (for example, running late for something). In such situations I can use what I've learnt - to acknowledge, to accept, and to let go.

I hope me writing this helps in some way. If you're like me and struggle with feeling under too much pressure, just know you're not alone; there are ways to learn to manage and cope with such feelings.

Remember to follow your heart and believe in yourself, you can do it!

Thank you for reading, all my love x