The Vital Self – Care You Might Forget

When scrolling through social media, you might be under the impression that #selfcare is all about expensive bath products, face masks and a bit of relaxation. Something kind of superficial that you do for yourself when you’re having a tough day.

And although these are wonderful acts of kindness that you should definitely treat yourself to as and when you can, the whole idea of self care has kind of been overshadowed by it’s superficial sister.

I too have often forgotten how to perform this quite frankly vital act upon myself in desperate times. Those times when I feel like it’ll take more than something that smells good from LUSH to sort out my brain or body.

So as a reminder to both myself and anyone else out there who might be struggling, here’s a few of the important things you should consider to do to take care of yourself:

Book and actually go to health appointments

When was the last time you saw your doctor, your dentist, your counsellor, your sexual health nurse…?

With the constant pressure to be busy at all times it can be a scarily long length of time before you realise that you haven’t been checked out. Especially in times of stress or bad mental health it is so important to see professional medical people, yet these are often the times where we struggle to find a spare moment to book an appointment let alone actually follow it through and go.

Do yourself a favour now and book in to see whoever you need to see, and when the time comes, actually go to that appointment. You can make the time. Your body and brain will thank you for it.

Make sure you’re drinking and eating

As someone who is, quite frankly, obsessed with food the idea of forgetting to eat seems a bit alien to me. But when things are busy and stressful, it can be hard to find the time or even the energy to check that we’re taking care of our most basic needs.

Food and water provide us with the necessary fuel to go about our lives. I’m talking literal energy here. If you’re not taking the time to top yourself up it’s going to be so much more difficult to tackle those to-dos, so ensure that you’re eating and drinking regularly. Listen to your body – when your tummy rumbles, or you feel a bit of a headache coming on those are signs that you desperately need to stop and refuel.

Trying to get enough sleep/rest

Sleep is something that I often struggle with these days and I’m only just beginning to understand how much that impacts my day to day life. If I haven’t have enough sleep or a good quality sleep the night before, I am a monster. Honestly. I become irritable and emotional and find it so difficult to even get on with the simplest of things, such as looking after myself.

Trying to get around 7 – 8 hours of sleep at night is important, but also try to ensure that you’re getting a good quality sleep too. Quality and quantity are equals in this game.

Open a window, change your bedding, keep the lights off, meditate; take some time before you head off to bed to make your space as comfortable as possible to encourage a good quality rest.

Taking medication (if and when needed)

If your on regular medication, then there is obviously a very important reason for that. Yet despite how important it is to take medication on a regular basis, it so often falls under our radar when we get busy.

Set some reminders on your phone or computer, write post it notes and stick them on your desk or mirror – have reminders in places that you see constantly to ensure that you don’t miss taking what you need.

Cleaning (yourself and environment)

During my time at university, I developed the habit of cleaning when I became stressed or overwhelmed. My environment effects me greatly and so if my room is a mess, then it’s almost guaranteed that I’m a mess too.

There is something so calming about cleaning and tidying, I find, that can instantly change my mood. When you’re feeling overwhelmed with life, a messy room or an unclean body isn’t going to help you feel any better.

Take some time to lightly clean your room, your desk, your kitchen – wherever you feel particularly stressed and are in regularly – and then clean yourself. This is where you can crack open the bath bombs and lotions, if you fancy. But just getting a regular shower will make you feel more at peace. Show your body and soul respect.

Communicating with other human IRL

We all spend too much time on the internet. I feel like that’s just a fact at this point. And when you’re online, on social media, you feel like you’re connecting with other people because isn’t that the whole point of those apps in the first place?

But it’s so important to actually see and speak to another person face-to -face at regular points. Sure social media is great, but I find that I often feel lonely after scrolling through feeds and reading about other people’s lives.

If there’s no one around you who’s available immediately, simply going to your local shop and interacting with the cashier will boost your mood. Real life, human interaction is so important and it’s something we actually crave. Don’t push yourself away too far.

Saving/earning money for financial and mental security 

Growing up in a working class family has guaranteed that money has always been a huge concern for me.¬† Even now I earn my own money and, thankfully, don’t have many commitments at the moment, I still find myself becoming anxious over the thought of not having enough money.

Saving is something I am definitely trying to learn myself, but simply knowing that I have a little sum put aside ‘just in case’ takes a huge weight from my shoulders. Even though money is a huge issue for a lot of people, a small, simple solution is often forgotten in all the stress.

If you are in a position to earn money, then trying to put away even the smallest amount regularly will provide long term relief.


What self care tips do you find to be the most important?

Take care of yourself.

Speak soon,

Rachael

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Twenty Two Lessons In 22 Years | Birthday Reflections

It’s my birthday tomorrow, so how else would a wannabe blogger celebrate than writing a cliche post? I actually love these kind of posts – I wrote one for my birthday last year and found it to be a great experience. I love this positive yet reflective state I get in around this time of year and wanted to share.

Birthdays are a wonderful opportunity to up your self care, get grateful and just appreciate yourself and your journey. So without further ado, here’s what I’ve learnt:

  1. Being a pessimist is so draining.
  2. The people you work with really make the job.
  3. University can sometimes be a really difficult and lonely place to be, but no one really tells you this beforehand.
  4. Aloe Vera plants are really hard to keep alive. RIP Harry the Plant
  5. You can actually wear whatever you want. Like you can literally put on any kind of clothing you want, regardless of your size, shape and all that other shite.
  6. Your mental health really does effect your physical, and vice versa. So it’s important to constantly be taking care of yourself in both.
  7. Communication is the number one thing to making a relationship work. If you can’t be honest with or trust your partner, then you probably shouldn’t be with them.
  8. Even if you don’t see them as often as you’d like, your friends still care about you more than you’ll understand.
  9. With that being said, it’s the small things that keep a friendship going. Those little messages to check in, the silly memes you tag each other in, and so on are great reminders that say there’s someone out there who cares and is thinking about you.
  10. Being spontaneous, although it can be terrifying at first, is good for you.
  11. Your self talk is arguably one of the most important factors in how your life is ran, so make sure what you’re saying to yourself everyday is nice.
  12. You can actually be really good mates with your sibling, it often just takes a bit of growing up (and maybe for one of you to move out ūüôā )
  13. We all put far too much pressure on ourselves.Image 1Image 2
  14. Change is such a hard thing to implement into your life, even when you know what the issues are and how much better you will be without them. Patience and determination are vital here.
  15. I really do care about what other people think about me and it’s kind of ruining my life.
  16. Shaming or ridiculing people with different opinions to you is never going to bring change. The best option is being open, honest and gentle. Education is the way forward, but its definitely the harder option.
  17. Everyone is a little problematic at times – from your favourite celebrity to your mates, family and even yourself.
  18. Reading makes me so happy and is a better way to escape than social media.
  19. Other people’s relationships, as are their lives or decisions, is none of your business. Even if you think you know what’s best for them, you have to allow people the opportunity to change for themselves.
  20. No one is looking at you. No one noticed that spot you’ve got on your chin, or that bit of mascara on your eyelid. And if they did, they’re too busying worrying about what’s happening with their face to care about yours.
  21. Being in a happy, healthy relationship can be incredible for your body confidence , and confidence in general, but only if you liked yourself before. Being insecure will get in the way, no matter how many nice things they say about you.
  22. You are a good person. Stop thinking you’re not.

Featured

I’m going into my 22nd year feeling pretty satisfied with the lessons I’ve learnt and how much I’ve grown over the past few years. I have a good feeling about this year and I aim to be lighter and just enjoy it as much as possible. Now, I’m off to start some early celebrations – which, I’ll be honest, mainly consist of cake.

Sending you all the love.

Speak soon,

Rachael.

Things I’ve Been Loving | February 2018

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these posts, which are basically favourites but I don’t do them as often as everyone else.¬†In fact, my last one was way back in November 2016! So it’s certainly about time I do another one.

There’s been such a mixture of things I’ve been loving recently and I hope you can take some inspiration from it to try something new for yourself.

  • I Like Big Books Mug

I received this mug off a lovely friend for Christmas and I haven’t stopped using it since. I drink a lot of tea and this mug is the perfect size for a cuppa. I feel like it’s very ‘trendy’ and the slogan still makes me laugh months on.

  • Hamilton Soundtrack

I’ve been kind of obsessed with Hamilton for a quite a while now, but who isn’t these days? I go through phases of listening to the soundtrack and I’ve recently been going through it in it’s entirety again. It’s just so clever and catchy, some of the songs are genuinely my favourites of all time. If you haven’t listened to it already, get yourself to it now –¬†you won’t regret it!

  • Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine : Gail Honeyman

I read this book* at the back end of January and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since. I fell absolutely in love with the main character, Eleanor, and couldn’t put it down. Yet at the same time didn’t want it to end! It’s a heartbreaking story but it’s so fuelled by hope and I just love it. I’m definitely going to reread it sometime soon, already.

  • Gold Hoops

I really like the whole nineties trend thing that’s going on at the moment, and one of my favourite things about it is the gaudy hoop earrings. I bought a pair in Primark for literally ¬£1.50 last month (see similar ones here) and I’ve worn them so much. I feel like they make any outfit trendy and I’m all about that.

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  • Peel Off Face Masks

Did anyone else really enjoying peeling PVA glue of their skin or their desks at school? Cause I was definitely that kid and I think that’s why I’ve been loving these kind of face masks. I just buy drugstore – own versions, the cheap ones in little packets, and my skin has been feeling so fresh. The best one I’ve tried so far is this ‘For Mens’ one from Superdrug – it’s got mint in it, so it kind of burns at first but my skin feels so clean after. It’s cruelty free too!

  • Pink Hair

While I was wrapped up in the whole ‘new year, new start’ kind of thing I decided to dye my hair. I bought the cheapest rose gold dye I could find and, despite an initial accident (it went sorta orange), I love having pink hair. It’s not too dramatic but this little change has made me feel more like me, if that makes any sense. I feel like any small thing you can do for yourself that makes you feel good about the way you look is valid and for me this year, pink hair it was.

  • Serial Podcast (series one)

At the beginning of the year I started listening to the podcast Serial, by This American Life, and I became obsessed. Every minute I could spare went onto this podcast, from bus journeys to tea breaks at work, and I was actually gutted when it ended. I have yet to fully dive into series two because I’m still thinking about the first series. If you need something to keep you occupied on your commute, I’d highly recommend it.


What are you loving at the moment? Let me know so I can get some inspiration!

Speak soon,

Rachael.

* affiliate link used

How Cruel Is My Makeup Bag? | EYES & LIPS

Following last week’s post, I am back today to look into the rest of my makeup bag. Today I’m tackling the eyes and lip products I use the most.

As I explained last week, I really want to make this change. I feel like I should start making better decisions for both myself and the environment. As is the nature of this entire blog, I’m on a journey of becoming better and changing the makeup I used seemed to be such an easy way to contribute to this.

Anyway, here we go again:

THE ‘EVERYDAY’ FACE
EYES
  • Essence : Make Me Brow + Eyebrow Designer + 2in1 Eyeshadow Primer

GREY AREA

“have received¬†multiple responses that are unclear”.¬†The site claims there has also been no response to clarification requests.

Once again, I thought this was a cruelty free brand. I love their brow products (which are dupes for Benefits!) but I’m not sure how I feel about this. I’m sure I can find similar products that are cruelty free.

  • Natural Collection¬†:¬†Waterguard Mascara¬†

Could not find. 

However, this is a Boots own brand so I’m assuming they’re all in the same boat. I found Boots’ No.7 under the¬†GREY AREA¬†with unclear responses and that’s how I’m taking this product too. I’m sure I’ll find a better, cruelty free mascara elsewhere.

  • Makeup Gallery : Eyeliner¬†(Poundland)

Could not find.

I’m not sure what to feel about this. It claims that it is made in China, which I assumed (due to their laws) that this would make it not cruelty free but apparently it’s not that simple.

There is no doubt I can find a better, definitely cruelty free version so I’ll leave this for now. If you have any more information, please let me know.

  • Zoeva : En Taupe Eyeshadow Pallette

CRUELTY FREE!

Finally! I’m so chuffed too, because I absolutely love this product and I am more than happy to continue buying from this brand.

EYES 1

EYES 2

LIPS
  • NYX : Lip Lingerie (Push – Up)

CRUELTY FREE!

“…but their parent company is not”

The fact that this brand itself is cruelty free, means I will still support them – hopefully it’ll show their parent company what to do themselves. I have various NYX products and I am so happy I can continue to use them!

OTHER BRANDS

Considering how bad most of my results from this challenge were, I decided to look into a couple of other brands I own. I am one of those people that when I like a brand, I tend to stick to them so I wanted to check what else was going on.

  • Lime Crime (Velvetine – Teddy Bear) :¬†CRUELTY FREE! (+ 100% VEGAN)
  • MUA (Lip Liner) – Caramel Nougat)¬†:¬†PENDING BRANDS¬†
  • Barry M (Foundation) :¬†CRUELTY FREE!
  • Lush Cosmetics (Lip Scrub) :¬†CRUELTY FREE¬†(Obviously!)
THE CONCLUSION

CRUELTY FREE BRANDS

  • Zoeva
  • NYX
  • Lime Crime
  • Barry M
  • Lush

I thought I had some kind of awareness or understanding of cruelty free makeup and how brands work, but I was SO wrong! I will continue to use the products I have now but when they run out I will replace them with a better brand.


Stay tuned to see how I get on with cruelty free makeup and what I discover.

If you have any CF brand/product recommendations, please let me know.

Speak soon,

Rachael.


Sources (all LogicalHarmony):

Cruelty Free Brand List

Brands To Avoid

Pending Brands

Grey Area Brands

How Cruel Is My Makeup Bag? | BASE PRODUCTS

This concept is something I have seen on several blogs or YouTube channels over the past year or so, and it’s something I really want to get involved in. In fact, full disclosure, I did try this several months back but without much commitment or conviction.

I’ve decided that this year I want to start making better decisions and trying to do things that will better either myself or my environment. As someone who cannot imagine being vegetarian / vegan at the moment, my makeup bag seemed the simplest place to make changes. Plus, it’ll come with the additional purposes of saving money and creating less waste as I won’t be able to freely buy pointless products like I’m used to.

I have used the site logicalharmony to see what status the brands are, as this is the site other creators have used and it seems to be the most reliable. Any products that are not cruelty free have been marked, and once I have used them up will not be repurchased. I aim to replace these products with cruelty free options eventually.

Without further ado, let me introduce you to my everyday face.

THE ‘EVERYDAY’ FACE
  • Glossier : Priming Moisturiser¬†

GREY AREA 

According to the site, this means that the brand were “unable to provide a clear statement on animal testing practices” and have not provided any clarification when asked.

Glossier are quite public about their stance on animal testing and on the back of their products claim they are cruelty free. However, this is not as simple as it seems (read more here). Because of their claims, you think they’d be more than happy to clarify their practices. Something feels a bit weird here and I’m gutted. That’s a no from me.

  • Soap & Glory : One Heck of a Blot Primer

GREY AREA

(disclaimer, I either use one or the other of the products above but thought I better check them both). The site says they have reached out to this brand but have received “unclear responses.” Apparently, this does not mean they test on animals but it also doesn’t mean they are cruelty free either.

The site claims they need more information and will therefore not be promoting Soap & Glory. Again, this feels weird. I feel betrayed. Why?! Another no from me, then.

  • L’Oreal : Infallible 24 HR Foundation¬†

BRANDS TO AVOID

Defined on the site as “not cruelty free… could mean they engage in animal testing themselves, through a third party, as requested by law, or use ingredients that are tested on animals”.¬†

To be honest, I’m not surprised. I knew this was bad.

  • Collection : Lasting Perfection Concealer¬†

BRANDS TO AVOID

I’m actually not surprised with this one either. Gutted of course, cause this has been a staple for the longest time, but I had a horrible feeling it was bad. Oh well.

  • Rimmel : Clear Completion¬†Power / Stay Matte Powder¬†

BRANDS TO AVOID

I kind of knew that too. I’m a bad person. I’m sorry animals.

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FACE 2

  • Makeup Revolution : Pro Fix Setting Spray

GREY AREA 

This one is strange to me, as I always thought this brand was cruelty free from my prior research. No extra notes have been given on this brand, so maybe I will let it slide for now?

  • Sleek : Face Contour Kit

PENDING BRAND

According to the site, this means they are¬†“waiting to receive response or waiting for the brand to finish the relevant documents.”¬†This is not the same as the grey area, as they are just simply waiting. I’ll let that slide for now, but watch this space.

  • Model’s Own : Blush

PENDING BRAND

“Have reached out multiple times but have not received¬†a response”¬†

This feels weird, again. It’s a no from me. Why can’t these brands just be honest?

  • Fenty Beauty : Killawatt Highlighter (Metal Moon)

GREY AREA 

“was unable to provide a clear statement on practices, FAQ page is not detailed enough to be sure of their status.”¬†Logical Harmony have also not received any response to their clarification requests.

Very disappointed with this. Once again feels strange and I’m not buying it. Sorry, Rihanna but no thanks.

  • NYC : Smooth Skin Bronzer¬†

BRANDS TO AVOID

I am a very bad person. Why is this more difficult than I thought? Why is everything so cruel?


This list was turning out to be too long, so stay tuned to see EYES / LIPS and to see whether I actually have any cruelty – free products.

If you have any brand recommendations, please let me know!

Speak soon,

Rachael


Sources (all LogicalHarmony):

Cruelty Free Brand List

Brands To Avoid

Pending Brands

Grey Area Brands

 

An Open Letter To Ex Friends | Self Growth

First of all let me say, that if we split in a bad way then I’m no longer mad.

I understand that at the time neither of us were in a position where our actions were as mature or as thought out as they could have been. And for that I do have some regret. From where I stand now (and hindsight is a wonderful thing!) I do wish we’d shown each other a bit more respect, but sometimes the situation takes over and there’s no time for that.

Speaking of maturity, I really want to be able to say I forgive you for what you did; for whatever choices you made or the things you said either to me or about me. For the actions that now seem unnecessary.

But here’s the thing – I’m not great with forgiveness.

Although I’m not mad anymore about what may have happened between us, I will always look back on those moments with great sadness. Sometimes I still feel hurt. And since you can still bring that effect I’m not sure if I want to forgive you right now.

Although I’m sure that time will come, eventually.

But I can be big enough to thank you for what you’ve taught me. From our actions, I now know what kind of friendships I need to avoid and which ones I should nurture. I have learnt what damaging behaviours I have tendencies to and need to lean towards those who don’t encourage this.

I should also thank you for the good times. Cause despite how it all went down, if it was a bad one, or even if you’re simply no longer in my life anymore, we had a canny few in our time. I’m grateful for the growth and the lessons we have hopefully given to each other.

And I genuinely wish you all the best.


The main reason I wanted to write this letter was for me. As is the natural way, I’ve had some friendship break downs over the years and, in an act of self growth and development, I wanted to get a few things of my chest. A bit of closure I guess.

To the friends I am lucky enough to hold dear still, thank you so much. I don’t appreciate you enough.


I urge you to put past breakups behind you and try to focus on what you have now. I feel like we all need to give ourselves that break.

Speak soon,

Rachael.

Why You Should Mix Up Your Mentors | Successful Self – Care

In this age of social media and constant connection 24/7, it’s not difficult to find a mentor for yourself.

mentor (noun)

an experienced or trusted adviser

Regardless of what field you’re interested in, or what particular element of life you’re struggling with right now, chances are there’s someone out there that you can look up to. Someone who can inspire, motivate and encourage you to start that business; go to the gym or even remodel your home.

However, with every positive comes a negative. Because we now have so much access to other people’s attitudes and routines, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Of course it’s wonderful being able to get an insight into your ideal life and how to get there. But if you’re only ever seeing the same one path to success what happens if it doesn’t apply to you?

THE SCIENCE

The way we view role models is through a process called vicarious reinforcement. Studies show that we model our behaviour on the actions we see get rewarded. For example, children may replicate their¬†classmate saying ‘thank you’ after dinner once they have seen the rewards (ie. praise from the teacher or parent).

This is a process we are continuously working with. However, in adulthood it may seem more subtle – you might not even notice you’re doing it. This is where role models come from. We often idolise successful people and want to follow their actions in order to also receive the same rewards. Hence why self – help is such a popular genre!

Blogs like mine, YouTube channels, learning programmes – they all work based on this innate process of seeking rewards.

The trouble with this vicarious reinforcement is if you see the same kind of actions being rewarded time and time again, it can lead you to believe that there is only one way to succeed. And due to the nature of social media and trends, this is something that happens all the time.

Of course, for some cases there is only one direct path to rewards. For example, if you want to become a doctor then it is pretty essential that you study relevant subjects, get specific degrees and qualifications in order to become successful (this is your reward). In these cases, there is no issue in following mentors that are all on the same path, as you are likely to do being the exact same.

However for the rest of us, particularly those of who are in creative work, it just doesn’t work like that.

THE ISSUE

Despite what you may see online, there is not one path to success regardless of whether you want to be a writer, a YouTuber, a journalist, a photographer and so on. If you’re like me and you follow the same style of people online then you might believe that things like meditating, getting up at 5am, yoga and bullet journals are the only way you will be successful and ‘live your best life’.

Although taking advice from people who are doing what you want to be doing is extremely beneficial, always take it with a pinch of salt. You can try everything they advise you to do and still might not get any further. There is no need to feel ashamed about this; we all work differently and we all have different lives that we need to take care of, so it’s ridiculous to assume that we can all be successful in the same way.

This is why variety is so important.


HOW TO MIX UP YOUR MENTORS
  • Try to find people in your ‘real life’ (as in offline) that are successful or are living a life that you see to be wonderful. See how they got there, see what they have. Chances are if you know them then you will understand that they are not perfect and they are unlikely to hide this fact.
  • Don’t just focus on the field you want to go into, because the paths to these rewards may be similar. Try to see a range of successes from various different careers or fields to show yourself that there is never simply one way (ie. a mother, self – employed blogger, manager at work or a friend studying a different course)
  • Limit your time spent on social media in order to avoid falling into comparison. Use social media to get inspired and motivated, but then put your phone down and use these tools to crack on with what you want to be doing.

Mixing up your mentors can be wonderfully beneficial and may lead to you being more productive. Who is your number one role model right now?

Speak soon,

Rachael.

So You Haven’t Had The Best Start | New Year Pep Talk

We’re over a week into 2018 already and from what I’ve seen across my social media, it’s been a bit of strange one for people.

Some people out there are proper getting into their new years resolutions; they are making wonderfully positive changes to their lives and are totally smashing it. On the flip side some of us are struggling; we’re out of a routine or we’re not feeling our best and our new year hasn’t really got off to a great start.

I am definitely in the latter category of these groups and you know what – that’s totally fine! I’ve not been too well over the past week or so which is forcing me to take things slowly and I’m actually feeling really grateful for it.

As you know, this year was the first one where I did not make a single resolution and I’m finding it to be a wonderfully liberating experience. I have taken away the unnecessary pressure we normally put on ourselves to make this year the best yet and to change everything about myself. Instead, I’m taking 2018 at my own pace. And I think you should do the same.

Maybe this week has been a bit of a difficult one for you. Maybe you’ve had to go back to work or your studies and are just feeling a bit underwhelmed with it all. Regardless of what’s going on with you, try to focus on the positive side.

So you’re not getting stuck into your passion projects like you wanted to, or you haven’t been able to go the gym yet or make a decent meal. You have eleven more months to kick 2018’s arse – stop putting so much pressure on yourself!

I’m taking my illness and my slow start to 2018 as a blessing. It’s given me some time to really think about what I want from this year, as well as allowing me to put a focus on self – care. Although this slow pace was somewhat accidental, it’s reminding me how important patience¬†can be and how much I need to implement it in all areas of my life.

I wish you all the best with the new year and I hope that it brings everything you want. Just remember to be kind to yourself and allow yourself all the time you need.

Speak soon,

Rachael.

 

Why I’m Not Making Any Resolutions This Year | 2018

Every new year I get caught up in the excitement and hype of a fresh start. I vow to myself that this year will be different and I will become a totally new person. I set a list of new years resolutions that I hope will get me to that place and head on forwards with a bout of motivation.

… That is until about January 3rd when I realise that old habits die hard and fall back into my normal routine. And I know I’m not the only one who does this.

January has always been a bit of a strange month for me, and I’m sure many others. After all the excitement and celebration of Christmas, January just feels a bit underwhelming and I’ve got it into my head that it’s the worst month ever.

Now I am beginning to understand the power of your thoughts and mindset – how the things you think effect your physical being – I know how crappy this mentality is. Every year I start off on the wrong foot and end up making things worse for myself.

I’ve decided that 2018 isn’t going to be like that. I’m going to make sure I get off to a good start by entering it with zero expectations.

FREE YOURSELF FROM YOUR EXPECTATIONS

Now hear me out, cause I know this all sounds a bit grumpy. But I realised that every year I set myself up to be a failure.

I give myself these goals that, although I really do want to try, I know I will never fully accomplish. I enter each new year expecting myself to change completely and find myself disappointed to see that my habits haven’t dissolved immediately.

I understand the importance of setting goals and basically trying to better yourself, and I’m all for it – honest! However, I’ve made the decision that for 2018 I am going to free myself from my expectations.

Of course I will continue to face this new year with the excitement and motivation that I always do, but I’m just taking the pressure off. This past year has been a strange one for me. Although I have done some really cool things and I’m feeling pretty proud of myself and my progress, one of the biggest lessons I’ve taken away from it all is that I put too much pressure on myself.

I still have goals and aspirations; there’s still countless things I want to try in 2018; but I’m just not forcing myself to do any of it. My mental health has took a bit of a kicking over the past couple of years, so I recognise that I will not always be on top of my game. Having goals that are left unaccomplished makes me feel worse, so why would I do that to myself?

THE ALTERNATIVE

Although I don’t want to set solid resolutions for myself in 2018, I do still want to get on with things. So instead, to keep me steady, I have come up with a couple of words that I really want to focus on over the next year.

It’s been an idea I’ve seen floating around several blogs for a while now and I really like it. Take a couple of words, or phrases, that summarise the mindset, lifestyle or career that you want to achieve and focus on manifesting them as much as possible.

This is the first new year I’ll be entering where I am free from any education commitments. I do have my part time job, but for the first time in my life I have all this time to get on with what I want to do. And I’m for sure going to make the most of it by making sure I’m in the best head space possible.


Are you setting any new years resolutions? How do you get on with them?

I wish you all the best for the new year!

Speak soon,

Rachael.

Top Seven Books of 2017

According to this list I made on my phone, I read 43 books this year. That’s insane! The majority of them were rereads and, I’ll be honest, I did abandon a couple – but as someone who loves books an ridiculous amount this makes me so happy.

Anyway, because this was the first year I actually recorded what I read I can now finally talk about my favourite reads of the year. Despite the fact I read a lot, I only have a handful of really brilliant reads. I loved these stories a lot and I think you might like them too.

Lily Alone: Jacqueline Wilson

I know I’m a 21 year – old, but I still love Jacqueline Wilson. I bought this book in a charity shop, as it was one of her newer ones, and I just devoured it. I fell back in love with Wilson’s writing once again and reading this got me back into reading full stop.

#Girlboss: Sophia Amaruso 

Following the hype I’d seen around the blogosphere, I was so excited to read this and I’ve read it several times since. Sophia’s writing style is a little bold and I think you need to take some things she says with a pinch of salt, but overall it give me a good kick up the arse and left me feeling inspired!

The Handmaid’s Tale: Margret Atwood

I finally decided to read this book once the TV show aired, as I didn’t want to be spoilt. I’ve been meaning to read this book for absolute years and I don’t know why I put it off so long. It’s pretty dark and unnerving, but I honestly think it might have changed my life a little bit.

Anne of Green Gables: L.M Montgomery

2017 was the year I finally decided to read books I’ve been hoarding for years it seems. I was never into classics when I was younger, which is a shame because I absolutely loved Anne. This wonderfully heartwarming story came to me at just the right time (in my post uni crisis) and I will be forever grateful.  

The Girls: Emma Cline

This may be my favourite book of the year to be honest. Heavily inspired, I believe, by the Charles Manson case, The Girls is a look into cult mentality. Similar in tone to The Kite Runner and Atonement, in terms of being stuck in a past you can’t change, it’s so interesting to pull the pieces of the story together. It was just exactly my cup of tea and I loved it.

It Only Happens In The Movies: Holly Bourne 

Now hang on, cause this one might also be my favourite book of 2017. I absolutely adore Holly Bourne and her writing and I’m so frigging happy I decided to pick up her books. They’re YA that feel like real life. Her characters always feel so real to me and often have amazingly deep conversations about feminism and so on. This book in particular is a hilarious but interesting look into rom com movies and how crop they actually are.

No Filter: Grace Victory 

And finally, this was a book I was so excited to get in 2017. I have loved Grace (formerly Uglyfaceofbeauty) for years and years, as she was one of the furst people I discovered on YouTube. She never fails to inspire or uplift me, and her life story did just that!

 

What was your favourite book of 2017? What are you excited to read next?

Speak soon,

Rachael.