What are my 5 Goals…… making me plan and think!

Advice, Personal Experience, Planning, Travel, Wedding

Day7, 5 year goals, 30 day blog challenge.

So this has made me think, think about what I want for myself, my work and my relationship.

So in 5 years I want to achieve…

1 get married. I know you already know I am achieving this goal this year but it still a big one for me!

I love Gavin I want to be his wife. I can’t wait for our wedding day. Hopefully it doesn’t rain but if it does we will have to go out and buy wellies and umbrellas!

For my home

2, get a new kitchen. Can that be a goal, yes well we will have to save for it so it isn’t something we can just splurge on willy nilly. It will take time to plan and find the right bits.

Our kitchen is nice it’s just tired. The bottom of the cabinet have spit due to water issues and I really really want a dishwasher!

I also would like a cabinet next to the sink and maybe french doors that go out into the garden but we will see.

I would also love a little toilet and sink upstairs but Gavin is really against that for some unknown reason.

There a few bits around the house that are tired and need a bit of TLC and after the wedding is a good time to focus more.

3 my blog being successful

I am so greatful for every single follower it means the world to me that for some reason you would read my blog. Gav gets an update with each one I get, and I punch the sky, John Bender style.

I would love it to be even better where I can have a proper website not just a page. I would like it to reflect me a lot more. My friend is a super talented graphic designer and after all the wedding craziness is over I will be looking to her for advice.

If it was a success I could spend a lot more time on the photography. Carefully planning layouts rather than the snaps you get right now.

4 travel

Japan is on my bucket list along with Vietnam, Laos and Singapore. I would like to have visited all of these countries in the next few years. We are honeymooning in Japan and plan to stop of on the way at another destination. So that will be two ticked off my list.

I have a fair few countries in Europe I really want to go to. I have never been to Italy, there is so much I would love to explore there. I feel like Italy’s city’s deserve destinations of there very own! I have also never been to Ireland and need to visit as we have ancestors there.

Iceland, Norway and Sweden are places of such beauty that are not far away but expensive to visit so this will definitely be a highly planned exciting schedule.

So travel is a big one!

5 Working less and earning more

Is that possible? I meaning working 4 days a week instead of 6. Maybe doing my dream job/ jobs…..

I wouldn’t mind working from home once a week so I could look after my dog. Currently I work 5/6 days a week. But I set the Rita so at least I decide when I work even if it is 6 days straight. I don’t mind but it can be draining.

Perhaps in5 years I will achieve my dream job and be a blogger full time. Travelling the planet, renovating my perfect little house and writing full time.

Who knows?

I always struggle to think of answers to these questions but so far this challenge has been more about a challenge for me to understand what I want rather than a challenge of writing a blog everyday!

I am really enjoying this!

Fear only holds you back, so what am I afraid of?

confidence

Day 6, what are you afraid of, 30 day blog challenge.

We all know that fear holds us back from achieving or doing things so here are my fears.

Being safe

Like most people the older I get the more I fear things. I worry about walking home in the dark about being attacked or worse. I also fear that this may happen to my friends and family and it petrified me even creeping into my dream and haunting my sleep.

Personal safety is a crazy thing to fear but I do.

My father has always made me aware of personal safety but as I have gotten older I have stopped taking risks. I don’t need to put myself in a situation so I don’t. If I can I get the bus all the way home in winter rather than walking through the underpass. I do. I am not feeding my fear, I am just being smart.

Chamonix Aiguille de Midi

Heights

When I went to theatres, I would sit in my seat freaking out at how high my seat was. I wouldn’t enjoy the play, it would paralyse me until the second half when I would finally relax. A few years on I was training to be a theatre designer. I started working on scaffolds changing the lights etc. I had to do it.

I pushed myself to do it.

My knees locked, My breath gets shallow. It is a proper fear. I also have to face it on the slopes.

Snowboarding is very high up but I mainly feel the fear when I am on the chair lift and it stops. I hate it when it stops. It bounces and scares the shit out of me. I have learnt to not focus on it.

Aiguille de Midi, Gav trying to hold himself together

The picture is of the glass box in Chamonix. You feel so unsafe that it will just shatter at any moment. Gav teased me the whole queue and then just as were about to step in he had a break down! He laughed like a crazy person when the fear struck him. I couldn’t focus on myself just looking after him. He had talked about his fears before but they had never manifested in front of me.

We faced our fears hand in hand, him a maniac me trying to support him!

Snakes

I lived in Australia for a while. Snakes were an actual thing. In Dorigo we had Red Belly black snakes which are the stuff of nightmares.

I still have nightmares about them. I know on the whole snakes aren’t bad and they just eat vermin but when the darkness comes in….

Bauhaus architecture at Flaine

Failure

I think everyone fears this. It’s what holds us back most in life. I do have regrets, most of them are about stupid things I have said rather than choices I made.

When it comes to my friends I am a good listener and try to be balanced. I give sound advice ( I hope) but when it comes to me, I close my ears, shut my eyes and dream.

I stayed in retail far too long and I can only blame a certain boss for that for so long. She had a talent for putting you down so low that you just wanted to prove yourself to her even though she was full of shit. A calculated bully with a vapid existence. It was still my choice to stay!

Fear held me back and I changed job, still in retail but a different role. Now I am still technically in retail but it is a complete contrast.

There is a lot I still want to achieve in this life and only fear is holding me back.

can’t believe how deep this challenge is! So tell me, what holds you back?

My proudest moment

Advice, Personal Experience

Day 5, proudest moment, 30 day blog challenge

I have a few proudest moments

  • Getting myself through Uni
  • Getting myself together after Australia
  • Buying my beautiful home
  • Starting my blog

University

Four years of fun, drinking making friends that are still some of the best people I know. Designing and making I really did have a wonderful time.

After Australia

I won’t go into too much detail. If you have ever had your broken up with someone you truly loved. Heartbreak is a powerful thing that consumes your nights, replays every wrong thing you did and empties your heart. If you have been there then you know how strong you have to be just to wake up. I was also in the unfortunate situation of being heartbroken without a home.

My parents had moved to France and had split up so I had no base to stay. Luckily my best friends looked after me and I sorted myself out. Within a few months I had a new job at Jigsaw and a new home in Wanstead, London.

Putting yourself back together after you felt worthless and had to start your whole life over is hard. Moving back to England was mentally exhausting. I learned a few things.

  • You can live without them
  • That you cant make them love you
  • You are worthy of love
  • That rock bottom is a dark place but you can get out of it.
  • That I am happier now than I ever was with him.
  • That you know when you are ready to love again and that you shouldn’t rush it.

A home of my own

I am an army brat, used to moving from place to place. A home is where your family are, it is not a building. And yet buying my first home has been wonderful.

Me and Gav decided to house hunt together after 5 years. This is our first home and first time we have lived together. We fell in love with it as soon as we saw it. Every room, every feature.

We own a small but perfectly formed 3 bedroom Edwardian/ victorian terrace house. It has a small garden that catches the sun for most of the day and is a short walk from the station.

So owning my own house is definitely my proudest moment. I have taken great care to put beautiful pieces and plants in my home.

Starting this blog

I wrote my first piece about our long engagement. About when you are with some one for so long and them not being ready to marry you. I still think it is the best thing I have ever written.

Gavin didn’t like it, he said it cast him in a bad light. So I asked my family what they thought. My mum was upset that I didn’t really talk about it, my brother thought it was great and said I should do it. So I talked to Gav again and he just sighed.

So I posted it.

It is the most brutally honest painful thing I have written. But it is also my proudest moment. I will link it here in case you want to read it.

Proudest moments

So that’s it my proudest moments. I am sure in a few months I can add marrying Gavin to my list but until then!

What are your proudest moments?

Wedding Rant: Rules to abide by or don’t bother coming

Advice, Personal Experience, Wedding

I truly believe that you should make your wedding what you want it. This is my wedding rant brought on by a certain person hinting that they were wearing white to our wedding. I have always followed the no white at a wedding rule. I think its only fair. That include cream and other colours similar to white. I just won’t do it and think its tasteless. If you want your guests in jeans and white dresses then fine have them.

HOWEVER

If you have not said people can arrive at your wedding in white or jeans then never ever assume its going to be okay. I know you are paying to be there but weddings cost money so please take this opportunity to dress up not down.

My personal opinion

If you really want to wear white or jeans then don’t bother coming. If you can’t be bothered to make an effort for a day that means so much to the people that have invited you then why bother.

Now I am not saying that you can’t wear a nice cream/ white blazer or smart trousers etc not everyone has to wear a dress then that’s acceptable and if you are an evening guest then there really are no rules for dress code.

Accessories are also fine!

But

If you wear a white, cream ivory or champagne dress lacy or not then please don’t turn up to my wedding. I have seen so many women at weddings looking like a bride wannabe and it is always unmarried girls/women doing that.

Just make the effort

Its one day, their day, honour them and don’t wear white. As for denim I am going to say the same thing. Its one day, get your trousers out purlease.

The wedding couple go to the trouble of making/ designing an invite. Generally, there is a nod to the wedding colours on it. So if the invite is in, say white and pale green then the bridesmaids will be wearing pale green. If you don’t want to look like a bridesmaids, again don’t wear the colours.

I am not having a colour them so as long as its not white or denim I really don’t mind what you wear.

I don’t think you have a right to tell people what to wear but I do think these are just a given.

Sorry, you won’t change my mind!

Do I think that people are going to take away from me in my white dress?

Nope

Do I think that people are going to be confused who the bride is?

Absolutely not

But common curtesy is just that. I also don’t agree with cutting you nails out side your own home. Standing on the right of an escalator (there are signs people). People watching their phones without head phones. Tutting when people ask you to move your bag (it must be really tired to need a seat on its own?)

I just think that manner are manners.

And unspoken rules should be respected unless specified otherwise.

Wedding Fitness, Calorie Counting: Can I drink and diet?

Advice, body confidence, Fitness, health, Personal Experience, Wedding

I need to focus on my wedding fitness and calorie counting is helping. I know what you are thinking, I don’t have to diet for my wedding. I should just be happy in myself. My body isn’t terrible but I don’t like it.  Body confidence only works if you like what you see. I can’t convince myself that I look good because I don’t.

I don’t.

I thought I would share with you things I have changed. My drinking habits and how I have had to improve with my diet. Wedding fitness is not just for that one day, but the years after it.

I want to be healthy!

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Pints of Larger in Val D’ isere, Apres Ski

Drink

When the cooler months glisten at our doorstep I love a large glass of red in winter (204 calories). In warmer months it is a large glass of cold white wine in my hand (214 calories). But I don’t have one glass, nope, I will have three which is roughly 600 calories…. Your average intake for a woman in 2000! So 600 may not seem so bad but if like me you are a little overweight then those calories add up.

I am less active in the winter, I don’t run or walk as far. So those calories easily turn into pounds.

But I don’t just stick to wine, no.

Not sure there if there is anything better than sitting in a pub, next to fire, puppy at your feet big roast dinner on its way and a lovely pint of ale. You will find me with Doombar (203 calories) and Wandel (185) with a great big smile on myself.

Holborn Dining Rooms

Favourite Place in London, Holborn Dining Rooms they are all gin!

I like a drink,I like to eat. I don’t like moderation so much.

This doesn’t mean I drink all the time, just when I want to relax.

We have a wine rack, it is rather large. Gav bought it online, it is half a champagne rack and holds 60 bottles. It is completely full. We have wine bottles on the floor stacking up, when we have dinner parties we rarely touch it, which is crazy.

Do you do that, buy a new bottle rather than open one you already have?

If I meet up with my friends we will meet for drinks, we have dinner with food and then a few drinks before we hit the road.

If I am travelling by myself then I generally don’t drink too much. I like to have glasses of water when I drink so I stay hydrated. Not a fan of hangovers so I am also not some one who drinks right up until I go to sleep.

I like a drink and I am not going to change that

My friends like a drink too.

I had to cut back, because it is better for my skin and the number of calories are in alcohol is ridiculous.

My main weight is on my belly so that’s food and booze. My beer belly!

My drinking habits had to change… bye bye ale.

Not including holidays and festivals, I have had about 10 beers this year. Wine I have just monitored but prosecco is just a waste of calories!! 80 calories in that tiny glass!

Hello Gin

A single gin and tonic is 59 calories and because my dad taught me how to pour gin and tonic I have always had doubles which contains 112 calories as long as you use slim line tonic. This is one of the best drinks for calorie control. I can plan a few drinks or just burn off the calories.

My gin has gone from Bombay Sapphire to about 30 different gins. I love trying them I even organised a gin tour in London with my best friend and it was brilliant.

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Gin pamphlet I made for Becky’s Epic Gin Tour

I love gin but I don’t care for fancy tonics I am not a gin snob. Schweppes or generic brands are fine, I want to taste the gin! We have super expensive brands and also unusual ones we find in the supermarket on offer or on holiday.

I get a lot of gin for presents and I love it.

Except for the Ferdinand (Gavs Gin which is my absolute favourite) we just open a bottle and drink it. This picture of my gin trolley was when I first bought the trolley. Now I have so many gins they are on both trays and now on the floor under the wine rack.

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I think the most important thing about being healthy is not denying yourself the things you love but understandingwhat you are putting into your body.

When you find out how many calories are in a delicious premade pizza (2000) you start to realise that it really isn’t worth your daily intake.

I said previously that I am using Lose it App. I get to monitor everything. Although it sounds crazy to be like that I actually like it. Scanning in my food, seeing if I have gone over my calorie allowance. It also lets you set an achievable goal. You can adjust it if you want to be more proactive which is what I have done.

My daily allowance is 1376 calories a day.

You can break it up however you like they have suggestions etc. I also put my weight now and what I have lost. It tells me that in 4 months I will lose another stone.

I don’t drink during the week now. I wait till the weekend now and mainly only if we eat out or if it’s a special occasion.

My gin sits expectantly on its shelf, tonic chilling in the fridge with the limes.

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Dalloway Terrace, London

So can I diet and drink?

Absolutely. Moderation is key and not punishing yourself if you do go overboard. I don’t miss it, and I really enjoy my drinks at the weekend.

I am not 20 anymore, I can’t drink without hangovers and I can’t eat without gaining weight.

With exercise and portion control I can do this.

Looking after myself isn’t a chore but it is a challenge, hopefully someday soon it will be second nature.

I see women running, sweating and trying and I just want to high five them all!

If you are trying to lose weight you can do it!

We can do it

Dana

Will I be an emotional mess: Ugly crier

Advice, body confidence, Planning, Wedding

Since we have gotten engaged I am an emotional mess, plain and simple.

I cry pretty much every time I think about our wedding. From reading my blogs you may think that I am a mess all the time, what with waiting to get engaged. I appear to be crying constantly. I want to be able to control it or risk having photos of me, an ugly crier.

When I think about…

…My dad walking me down the aisle

…My mum seeing me in my dress

…Seeing Gavin for the first time

…. reciting our own vows

Writing this, tears are filling my eyes. (come on Dans grrr)

I don’t want to cry… is this a bride to be hormonal issue?

Do lots of brides feel this surge of emotion?

When my sister in-law got married we could see her getting overwhelmed. She looked so beautiful and was so happy but we could see the emotional tide surging against her. The photographer told her to take a big breath or she was going to miss it and get swept away with her very real emotions. She would miss the little bits, the joys the laughter she needed to focus. So she took a big breath and had pretty happy tears in her eyes for her first set of group photos.

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My brothers wedding

She looked stunning

I don’t want to miss my wedding because my face is all scrunched up and on a purely selfish not I don’t want to mess up my makeup.

So I am trying a few steps.

Pinching my fingers, tilting my head up and trying to smile through it.

Plus, I will be wearing waterproof mascara and hopefully as light a makeup as will make me look good.

The thing is this emotional nonsense means that is not just my wedding I cry at but adverts, old couples holding hands in the street, the news at ten drowns me in tears the Huffington post kills me. It seems I have changed to a weeping wreck from happy go lucky person.

I probably wont cry at all, I will be one of these brides that laugh at their partners as they weep. But it is still freaking me out.

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I, like most women am an ugly crier, blotchy , scrunched up face my eyes completely disappear and I generally resemble a butternut squash. Maybe my mantra should be Pumpkin face and then I can just focus on that. I do not want to become and emotional mess.

Its like Gav has flipped a switch in me and now I cry at everything.

I have been thinking about walking down the aisle and I think an upbeat song may get me through. I have 3 I am thinking about, two are romantic and one is upbeat but means a lot. Maybe I just need to stop focusing on guessing how I am going to react and just go with the flow.

I am British, I believe in pulling up your socks and just getting over it.

Try not to cry and just enjoy the day I have waited so long to enjoy.

If you have any tips on not crying then please let me know I would love to hear from you.

Dana

#Pumpkinface

 

Planning and Organising 3 Hen Dos

Advice, Organising, Planning, Travel

 

Have you ever tried to plan a hen do? A group of relative strangers who are all linked via one person. It is not easy.

The older you get the more difficult it is to plan things.

To organise x amount of people with different things going on in their lives, sometimes it is practically impossible.

I have about 6 Whatsapp groups where we all try and meet up. Most of the time it is a text from Jess saying are you still up for Saturday. I have completely forgotten that I had plans but then I just end up going.

I used to be worse!

Completely dysfunctional; I forgot everything. But this isn’t anything this is my hen do.

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Snow Boarding group!

 

I am having a few: one in Madrid (my favourite city at the moment), A Hag do in London/France Skiing and another Hen in Essex. This way all mine and Gavin’s friends can attend the ones they are available for and can afford.

It sounds excessive but my sister lives in New Zealand so won’t be there until a week before the wedding. She is a bridesmaid so that’s why I am having an Essex Hen Do. Plus, the elders can attend that one.

Hen Dos are expensive

We are having a few, goodness knows how I am going to save for them.

I don’t really believe in your hens brunting all of the cost. I don’t mind them paying for drinks and the odd meal but not flights and accommodation.

hen do

Becky’s Hen do Edinburgh

I have organised one hen do, been part of the creative side of my sister in Law and attended a fair few myself.

My best friend gave me a list of 44 people.

I was freaking out about what that many people could do and stay. Luckily it was a small group of us that went away and a larger group that attended the London hen do.

Still there were cross words, tears and I am pretty sure one hen never paid me. Guess that’s my fault for not being more organised.

One of the biggest issues is people not getting back to you. Dongle the organiser was a great help for picking the date but still I only had people’s emails to deal with.

Nightmare

My dyspraxia means that I tend to read an email and answer in a very straight forward way. Which can come across as abrupt, blunt sometimes rude. I don’t mean it. I read emails at face value, without a tone and certainly not between the lines. Some of the hens didn’t understand this.  I had to explain myself to them and as soon as I talked about my dyspraxia they understood my reply’s.

All in all, we had an amazing Hen do in Edinburgh, caught up with old friends, drunk lots of booze in our old haunts. Walked up Arthurs Seat! Had afternoon tea at the Dome (you have to do this) did some touristy bit too. Scotland rocks!

But I made a lot of mistakes.

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Abi’s Hen do Munich

So, with this info I am going to aid my organiser

Becky told me where she wanted her hen do one drunken night so when it was my turn, she asked me where I wanted to go. First place I thought of was Madrid.

Hot, sunny, beautiful Madrid. I loved it there and can’t wait to go back. Gav is off to Krakow which I also adore but there is something magical about Madrid.

Flights and accommodation can be sorted out for less than £200 so it would be the same price staying in the UK.

Things I learned from hen Dos I have been to

  • Organisation is Key
  • Let people pay for themselves
  • Respect people budgets
  • The hardest part is finding a free weekend
  • People don’t respond to people they barely know
  • There is a lot of pressure on the person organising
  • We are adults, let people be

 

Organisation is key

in planning a Hen do it doesn’t matter if you have 3 or 44 people leaving things to the last minute doesn’t work.

Let people pay for themselves

I get that sometimes people find it easier to pay on one credit card and then people can pay them back later. But that puts the stress on one bank account. I couldn’t afford to do that so why should other people.

Respect people budgets

We all have different pay check and budgets, respect that some people can’t afford everything. You invite them because you love don’t make them feel bad if you can’t afford it.

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Sam’s Hen Do, Penfest, yes those are dark clouds!

Finding a free weekend

I have set the date and given everyone 11 months’ notice. If they can’t make it I understand but almost a year should be plenty of notice especially for dates and also to save.

People don’t respond to people they barely know

I have also taken it upon myself to invite the guests on my Facebook account. I have done this so Becky doesn’t have the hard task of chasing everyone up. After collecting money, I found this the hardest. The yes/no’s the last-minute cant makes it’s made me book a place, then cancel it loosing my booking fee and paying for a cancellation.

The person organising is gold

Becky is just looking after one hen do. She is then organising with the girls to see do the final details that I am not allowed to know about she has two rules, no strippers and no penis anything!!! She is a super star but I know it will be work for her.

 

Sorry Becky.

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Sam loves Tennis, Penfest

We are adults, let people be

I mean it. If you can’t make, I totally understand. If you can’t afford it, I really do understand. If you just don’t fancy another hen do then don’t come. If people want to go to bed early, let them. If they don’t fancy dancing till 3am I don’t blame them.

 

My bed time is normally 10pm.

 

I am not getting involved in my hen do anymore. I will leave the planning to my bestest.

All I want is lovely wine, great food and my friends.

That’s it

A perfect hen do for me.

Have fun with your hen do and treasure those who are helping. They are gold.

Dana

Jess and Crispin’s Hag Do, Drink Shop Do

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