Sunday 24 April 2016

Hold Onto Your Dreams

For today's post I am going to be telling you a little about struggles I've had over the years with reading. You may wonder why on earth I'm writing a post on something that for some people is such a basic thing, and I'm hoping the reasons as to why will all become clearer as you read through this post.

From the first time I was able to pick up a book reading hasn't been at all easy, basic or a simple task. In fact I've only been able to read properly, and more importantly - enjoy it for just over a year.

With almost being 20 I do feel a little behind on the band wagon with it, but throughout my childhood reading had always been a huge struggle due to a number of reasons (which I won't be going into much detail on today). However hard I tried to read a book I just found it to be too difficult; too much of a chore and gave up before completing even the first chapter.

I know that I'm not alone with the matter of finding reading something of a challenge, and I hope that me sharing my story with getting to a place where I can delightfully say "I enjoy reading", may help those who perhaps are going through something similar. I won't say that I find reading super easy now, as I do still struggle with it but overall I am a lot better and as I said above, I do enjoy it.

When growing up I remember often seeing my Mum and Sister at weekends or in the evenings chilling on the sofa, or on holidays relaxed by a pool, or on the beach, enjoying their book and secretly felt quite jealous of them - however silly it may sound.

Whenever I picked up a book and tried to read it I just couldn't find the concentration within me to continue it, whatever type of book, be it fiction, non fiction, or even articles in magazines, however hard I tried I honestly felt I couldn't. 

I was able to read well enough at school to pass my exams (just), but it wasn't easy. Studying and revising is already a difficult task for the majority of us, then with the challenge of reading on top of this made it a lot worse. Lets just say, I'm over the moon that my exams are now in the past and out of the way!

But even so, reading for pleasure had always secretly been a dream of mine, and I hoped that one day I'd be able to enjoy it - just like my Mum and Sister do. With growing older the determination within me also grew and around a year ago I felt if I really did focus on the task I could do it.

Now having worked on my reading for a year or so I can confidently say it has become one of my favourite things to do. I love how its such a lovely, simple way to wind down, to feel relaxed and calm also. This being in the comfort of home, or travelling on a train, plane or similar. Or when on holiday and so much more. Reading is something that can be done almost anywhere and at anytime which makes it even more wonderful.

So you may be wondering, how did I achieve this; how did I change a 'no-can-do' to a 'can-do'? 

I worked myself slowly into it, firstly with reading the articles in magazines...instead of just looking at the pictures and quickly flicking through the rest. Then I took my six month stay in the U.S as the perfect opportunity to start reading some 'real' books.

I started with non fiction books such as 'to do' and 'how to' books, on topics I felt particularly interested in and wanted to learn more on. For example Meditation, Yoga and Self Help books, as well as books on Interior Designs.

For the first time ever I was reading and completing books. And the more important thing - I was enjoying it too!

I feel the main reason I was able to do so was because it had been the first time ever that I could put a huge amount of focus and effort into it. I'd finished school and exams; I was away from home, on my own and could take the time out to focus on the simplicity of reading. I'm thrilled I did as I've always secretly dreamed of being able to cosy down under a blanket with a cuppa to read a good book. That little dream of mine has come true - wooho!

I wanted to share this with you basically as an example of a dream I held onto; even when I wanted to completely give up, I didn't, I still carried on trying; I still held onto my dream. This dream has now come true - it wasn't easy, but I eventually got there.

I do understand that there are a lot more substantial and significant dreams in life than the example I've written about here with reading, but that doesn't mean they can't be achieved.

Each and every one of us have dreams, ambitions, and things we'd like to work towards. As long as they are realistic, with enough focus, drive and determination you are all so capable of accomplishing your dream.  However small (like me with my reading) or big (such as wanting to start your own business). As long as you hold onto your dream, as long as you keep on believing you can, and as long as you use your determination, you can get to where you want to be.

Sending you all my love xxx

Thursday 21 April 2016

The Royal Pavilion

Today I'm delighted to share some photo's I recently took of the Royal Pavilion in Brighton.

Surprisingly although I've now been living in Brighton for just under 5 months I hadn't properly been to have a look around the Pavilion grounds. In all honesty the reason for this is simply down to the long Wintery slog and cold weather we've had in the UK. 

I know its such a silly excuse, but I am someone who tends to hibernate as much as possible in Winter, and although I did go out and about a bit - such as the odd Seaside stroll and popping into town. Overall when its cold outside I'd much rather stay in the cosy warmth of my home (I'm sure some of you feel the same!)

Anyway, its now Spring - whoop whoop! I know I've been rambling on in quite a few of my recent posts about how lovely it is to finally be getting warmer and brighter but I just love, love, love this time of year as we're edging closer to the Summer. I am a huge fan of Summer...for starters my Birthday's in July, and of course the warm weather is a favourite of mine as it means I can spend most of my time outdoors which is just great. 

So with spending more time out and about I finally made the decision to head to the Royal Pavilion for a proper wander around, with my camera to take some shots of the surroundings. I really enjoyed my time and am now delighted to share it with you here on my blog.

The day I choose to go was a gorgeous one, as you'll see. With a beautiful bright blue sky, and the warming Sun making the Pavilion look even more spectacular than it already looks. The design and architecture of the building itself is incredibly interesting and intriguing, so of course I was in complete awe as I love design. 

There weren't many other people out as it was a week day, so the grounds were calm and peaceful, with the addition of a few birds out singing, chirping and flying around, as well as a few squirrels foraging on the grass and amongst the trees.

Before sharing my favourite photos of my outing I'll give you a little bit of background information about the Royal Pavilion as it's got an interesting history. It was originally built as a seaside retreat for George IV in 1787. It was then extended and designed to the Indo-Saracenic style (a style movement by British architects in the late 19th Century) in 1815 by John Nash.

More recently the Royal Pavilion was purchased from Queen Victoria by Brighton in 1850. Following this the adjacent royal stables were converted into a concert hall - now known as the Brighton Dome. Both are now popular attractions for tourists, drawing in around 400,000 tourists each year. Thanks to the renovations of the building over the years the Pavilion is filled with the original furniture, fixtures and fittings so when inside it feels like being inside a time capsule. If you'd like to read up more on the Pavilion, click the following link which will take you to the website:

Now onto the rest of the photos...I hope you like the handful I've chosen to share with you!

See what I mean when I say the bright, beaming Sun along with blue sky make the Pavilion look even more so spectacular, in fact quite magical too...

The architecture of the building is just incredible. All the attention to detail is outstanding, the years of hard work has definitely paid of...

The detailing in the roof and more along with the great light from the day together create pretty interesting shadow and highlight effects...

I love the curvature and shapes of the building, it's so different to other traditional British Palaces...

Above is a statue of George IV which is just outside the Pavilion...

I like the silhouette effect here from the Sun behind...

I'd love to know what you think of the photos I've shared with you - be sure to leave a comment below :) 

As always, thank you for taking the time to have a browse through this post, and if you haven't read my previous posts feel free to check those out too!

All my love xxx

Monday 18 April 2016

Easy Peasy Chocolate Chip Cookies

I'm pretty excited to be writing today's post, this is because it is the first of my baking posts and if you've read my last post: you'll know that I've recently started baking again which I'm loving and enjoying a lot. 

So with enjoying my baking so much at the moment I feel now is the perfect opportunity to share some of my favourite bakes here on my blog. Not only will this be great for me to look back on over time, to hopefully see my baking progress and evolve. But I also hope that you reading this will be able to take something from these posts too...perhaps after reading this post you'll feel inspired to try out the recipes I share; or you simply take joy in having a little look through these sorts of posts. 

Personally, I think it's such a nice topic for me to add to my blog. I'd be delighted if you like this post and look forward to my future baking and cooking posts as I'll be sure to add more.

I'm only baking quite simple things at the moment, just to slowly ease myself into baking again. This chocolate chip cookie recipe is one that has worked for me time and time again over the last month or so. It's very quick, simple and easy so you'll without a doubt make a gorgeous batch of cookies if you do use this recipe.

Below is a photo of my finished batch, with my cup of tea, my current favourite candle and bunch of flowers (just to look pretty for the photo).

This recipe makes 12 to 16 cookies, and will take approximately 15 minutes to prepare, 10-12 minutes to bake, then a further 15 minutes to cool. 

The ingredients you'll need:

1 egg
175g plain flour
175g caster sugar
115g butter
100g chocolate chips (can have more/less whatever looks right for you)
A pinch of salt
Teaspoon vanilla extract
Teaspoon baking soda

Extra bits you'll want:

Mixing spoon
Teaspoons for measuring
Weighing scales
Fork for mixing the egg
Greaseproof paper
Baking tray

That should be everything...

Before you start you'll want to preheat the oven to 175°C and line the baking tray with the grease proof paper.

I'll now take you through the simple steps to make yourself a lovely batch of cookies...first you'll want to measure and weigh out all of the ingredients.

I like to weigh my ingredients into separate bowls before mixing them altogether (you can just add them straight to the bowl if you prefer). 

Use the fork to mix the egg; then mix together the egg, sugar, flour, butter, baking soda and vanilla extract in the large mixing bowl with your mixing spoon until the mixture turns to cookie dough.

Mix in the chocolate chips.

Once the cookie dough is nicely mixed with the chocolate chips, place about a heaped teaspoon of the cookie dough onto the lined baking tray, leave a couple of inches between each heap to give plenty of room for when they expand in the oven.

Place the tray in the oven (at 175°C) and leave to bake for 10-12 minutes; making sure not to over cook them. 

Once the 10-12 minutes is up, take the cookies out of the oven and leave to cool for around 15 minutes...and there we have it - easy peasy chocolate chip cookies :)

I'd love to know what you think of this post, especially with it being my first baking post!

Lots of love xxx

Thursday 14 April 2016

It's Time For An Update

It's about time I gave you all an update...and I'll warn you now, this is going to be a long ol' perhaps grab yourself a cuppa and get comfy :)

Right, here goes...I want to start this post by sharing some recent thoughts I've had that involve this blog. Of course I adore my blog...writing about the things I get up to, sharing my photos and my thoughts and so on. I mean if I didn't, I wouldn't be continuing to do so. This blog has become a huge part of my life; it has been and is still really great for me, I can't stress that enough. Then, what makes this even more incredible for me is knowing that there are people, such as you who actually read this little blog of mine.

With that said, over the last month or so I've unnecessarily put pressure on myself with wanting to post really interesting, exciting and different new posts as much as possible which just isn't realistic for me to do, especially not at the moment.

In fact, if you're a regular reader you'll know that my current focus is to live my life as simply as possible; to stay calm and to enjoy living in and getting to know Brighton, as thats what is best for me right now.

The worry I have is that I'd hate for you as my readers to find my posts repetitive, or boring. For example with the photos I share. I absolutely love taking photos, and will inevitably continue to, especially now the weather is finally getting better, warmer and brighter. Then of course I love sharing my favourite shots here, on my Blog.

I'd find it useful to know your thoughts on I still share my photos, even if they are mostly of the Seafront, and of around Brighton and Hove? Will this still interest you? 

Although I've had this worry at the back of my mind 'are my readers finding my blog repetitive'. It made me think back to the reasons for making my blog in the first place...which was and is still to use it to help me get through tough days, to perhaps channel any negative energy I find myself wrapped up in, into positive use, such as with writing, with sharing photos and more.

Saying that, I do want to touch on the fact that I didn't create this blog purely for myself, but also, hopefully with some posts, to help others. Such as where I write about challenges and experiences I come across in my day to day; letting those that find themselves going through similar that they are not alone. As well as sharing my interests and things that I'm inspired by such as art, design and more to give a little bit of inspiration and positivity.

Basically, I want to take you, my readers along my journey of moving forwards, getting through challenges, and learning and working towards better wellbeing, health, happiness and so on. So, yes I'm living as simply as I can at the moment, which is doing me a lot of good. And although I've been having a few rough days here and there, overall I am feeling a lot more positive and enjoying things; I'm feeling more at home being in Brighton than I've felt in a very long time and sooooo much more calm and relaxed too which is great.

Now I have that silly worry off my shoulders (let me tell you I'm feeling so much better for doing so!) I'll tell you a little about what I'm currently up to - starting with the most complicated thing going on for me right now...moving house.

My Mum and I are hoping to move into our new home pretty soon (hopefully this month). The whole moving process is very complicated, stressful and a difficult task. I'm sure those of you who have been through it will agree...Mum andI have felt this strain through the many months of looking, and now we have all our fingers crossed that the final leg of the move will go ok, and I'll be sure to keep you updated with this.

This brings me onto something exciting coming up...once we're moved in a lot of my time is going to be taken up with the renovation and decorating of the new place. I'm hoping to do some before and after photos, as well as sharing my DIY and interior design ideas and watch this space if you like that sort of thing!

Now moving onto Yoga and Meditation, which I seem to love more and more everyday. In fact both have become my favourite thing to do daily. I find I love to start and finish my day with either a Yoga or Meditation practice at home, and I use a couple of different Apps to guide me through my at home practice which I highly recommend. These being 'Yoga Studio' and 'Calm' (you can get both in the App Store on your phone); both are great for beginner to advance practices, so definitely give each a go if you fancy trying some Yoga or Meditation in the comfort of your own home! I also still love going to classes at the great little Yoga Studio thats just a 10 minute walk away from me, the teachers are all so lovely and it has become very special to me.

Another current favourite of mine is reading, which in my last update I said I wanted to try and do more of and since that post I've definitely done just that. At the moment I'm reading a trilogy series of books, called the 'DIMLY' (Did I Mention I Love You) series by the author Estelle Maskame (click the link for more info: I won't give too much away about the story as I don't want to give away any spoilers, but as you've probably guessed by the Title, its a love story. The reason why I was drawn to read this series in particular is the fact that the first of the books is set in Santa Monica which is like second home to me so this intrigued me. I'm now to the end of the second book which is just as good as the first and set in New York which is fab and I'm very excited to get started with the third!

Something I've recently gotten back into, and am enjoying a lot is baking. I used to be such a keen baker throughout my childhood, so of course I'm so delighted I've rekindled my love for it. I may even do a few posts on baking, including recipes and photos of what I like to make; so thats another thing for you to look forward to if you like baking :)

Finally, I must mention Spring! I'm delighted that it definitely feels like we're in Spring; although there are still some cold, windy and rainy moments, the days are getting longer, the Sun is out more, making outside feel brighter and warmer too. This instantly brightens my mood as I'm sure it does for many of you too! I just love it, and I plan to spend my time enjoying the fresh outdoors as much as I can, with time at the beach, reading, having picnics, going for sunny seafront walks. As well as spending my Spring/Summer time in Brighton I also plan on exploring the Sussex countryside which I haven't yet seen much of, so this excites me greatly!

The positives I've mentioned above are most certainly helping me keep me progress along my journey to better wellbeing, health, happiness. Having things to forward to, if its something I do daily, such as Yoga and Meditation, or something I'm looking forward to doing in the weeks, and even months to come, such as exploring the Sussex countryside really do help me keep my positive momentum, which I guess is what interests and hobbies are there for, ey? :). Plus, on the days I feel not so great I can think, "hey, I can look forward to this or that...", which can help to turn a frown into a smile.

To end this post I want to express my feelings on how important it is to make sure you do find time to do the things you love; such as your hobbies, interests, spending time with friends and family as well as taking that oh so important 'time out', or 'me time'...What ever makes you feel positive and happier inside - make sure you find the time to do it! I know its easier said than done sometimes, but taking time out for yourself is so important, and beneficial in many ways.

Now, before I more thing - a hugeeeeee thank you, to each and every one of you who read this little blog of mine!


Monday 4 April 2016

Easter Continued...

For this post I'm going to write a little more about my Easter, and share the rest of the photos I took with you.

If you've read my previous Easter post you'll know that Easter for me this year was a wonderfully relaxed time; the first Easter in a while that I've been able to completely enjoy. For the last five or so years things have been pretty chaotic for me and my family, and looking back Easter just whizzed by in a flash without me even realising or being able to enjoy.

For many of you reading this, you may be able to relate to me not being able to make the most of the Easter weekend. A lot of us live an extremely fast paced life and with work, school and other commitments it is incredible difficult sometimes to stop and fully enjoy such moments.

Over time I'm realising more on how important it is to make the most of special times, such as Holidays, Celebrations, and the times we spend with loved ones. Also, taking time out for ourselves; for you reading this, to acknowledge all that you are working towards. All of us are going through a heck of a lot all of the time and we often forget to give ourselves some self respect and a much needed pat on the back. 

Something that I find is great to help me with this is staying in the present moment; to make sure I do find the time to stop and savor such special moments. This doesn't necessarily have to be during a Celebration or a Holiday such as Easter. But dedicating a day in the week to slow down, to relax and to enjoy; if not a day, perhaps an evening.

Doing so is guaranteed to help refresh the mind, to help with feelings of stress, or a low mood, and is the perfect opportunity to acknowledging all the great things there are in life, especially at this time of year when its getting brighter outside, with longer, warmer days and the world is finally waking up from the dark, gloomy Winter slog. 

Right, so now I've gotten that ramble out of the way (and thank you if you've read this far!!) I'll go back to Easter Sunday...

I spent the day with my Mum, we had a very relaxed day; starting off with waking my Mum up with Easter gifts in one hand and a mug of coffee in the other and later grabbing a stack of magazines to flick through. 

Then, after having this much needed slow morning we headed out for a lovely yet rather windy morning walk along the seafront, followed by a wander along some of the back streets of Hove and Brighton, the Sunlight on this morning was great for taking some photos, so of course I did just that. I'll now share some of my photos of the buildings and surroundings.

This was a little Mews off on of the streets in Hove. I love the shadow effect from the bright sunlight bouncing off the Terrace houses. 

This walled, gated house and courtyard garden at the end of the Mews really fascinated me. Although it was difficult to see much of the garden I quite like the feeling that I know there must be a beautiful little courtyard behind the gate. The fact that its kept so private and hidden away adds to the beauty and fascination and keeps the mind thinking of what may be behind the closed doors.

I felt quite inspired with the lighting for this shot. There was just something about the Sunlight on this Easter Sunday that made me want to take photos of everything! Does this photo make you wonder what 'La Cucina' is? I'll leave you guessing...

Here, the clouds started cast over the blue sky and the only Sunlight was shinning on the Sea, glistening brightly which formed a silhouette of the Church. The tall, long pole thing standing out to the left of the Church is the i360...a new viewing tower currently being built, what are your thoughts on it?

After our wander we headed for a cup of tea at a cafe called 'Verano Lounge'; my Mum recommended to go as she'd been a couple of months ago for a work thing and has been raving about it ever since. I can now see why she raved about it so much and we both really enjoyed our time chilling, sipping tea and coffee, chatting and reading. 

The staff are very friendly, and the cafe itself is quirky, spacious and grand, having plenty of room for dining tables when there for a meal, as well as huge comfy, leather sofas and arm chairs if there for a more relaxed coffee. Even though its pretty big and airy the atmosphere still feels warm and inviting. We both now agree its our favourite nearby cafe and I can guarantee we'll be going back in no time which I'm very excited about!

You can now see what I mean about Verano Lounge being quite grand.

The Cafe is filled with all sorts of works of Art which as a lover of Art myself, I definitely enjoyed admiring and looking around at them.

I adore the fact that they allow dogs into the cafe, obviously only well behaved dogs, hehe. But yes, I just thought it was lovely. Plus this dog in particular was incredibly cute. He even had a little teddy to play with - bless.

Once back home we spent the afternoon preparing Easter Dinner and as soon as we got all the dishes cooking I prepared a little Easter egg hunt to do for a bit of fun and giggles, which we enjoyed a lot, and I felt like a little kid again :) Finally after Dinner we fell asleep in front of the TV whilst watching films. It was the best day I’ve had for a while and a memory I’ll remember forever.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post, it means a lot! I'd love to know your thoughts on it, so make sure to leave a comment or private message me - I'd love that :)

Lots of love xxx