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.

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Small Things To Do For Yourself This Christmas | Festive Thoughts #5

I know it’s so cliche, but allow me this one – can you believe that Christmas is basically here now? I certainly can’t! Where is this month (read: year) going man.

Anyway, I was so pleasantly surprised with the response to my ‘pep talk’ post. It seems like so many of us are going through the same thing during this season and I wanted to keep this conversation going.

Of course, I’m leaving it a bit late but I feel like now is the time – more than ever – to emphasise the importance of self care. We’re so close to the big day and the pressure is on. You might have so many events, traditions and commitments coming up in the next few days and although I hope you’re excited for them, I totally get that it can be overwhelming sometimes.

Allow me to remind you of some small, simple things you can do for yourself to make you feel calm and positive. Sometimes just taking a step back is all that is needed.

  • Run yourself a hot bath and use some of your favourite products
  • Make yourself your favourite meal / order your favourite takeout
  • Read several chapters of a book
  • Listen to your favourite album all the way throughout without any interuptions
  • Change your bedding for a fresh nights sleep
  • Make yourself a cup of tea (or another beverage) and actually take the time to taste and enjoy it
  • Have an early night
  • Watch your favourite Christmas movie or Christmas special
  • Simply allow yourself to be on your own for a while

And most importantly:

DON’T FEEL GUILTY ABOUT LOOKING AFTER YOURSELF. PUT YOURSELF FIRST.

I hope you have a wonderfully relaxing evening. Sending you all the positive and calming vibes.

Happy holidays.

Speak soon,

Rachael.

Last Minute Christmas Gifts: A Gift Guide Inspo | Festive Thoughts #4

Buying Christmas presents, in my opinion, can either be a wonderful experience or the worst thing ever. There’s no in between. With the pressure of making sure the people actually like it, some money issues and the deadline, Christmas shopping can be a nightmare sometimes.

If this is how you’re feeling right now and you’re really not sure of what to buy anyone, I’ve come up with a little list of generic presents to try to help you on your way. These ideas can be tailored to suit anyone and any budget.

THE LIST

  • Pyjamas
  • Underwear / socks
  • Candles
  • Sweets / chocolate
  • Bath bombs / body products
  • Mugs
  • Hot chocolate / speciality tea
  • Stationary
  • Vouchers (Amazon, supermarkets or shopping centres for variety)
  • Headphones
  • Alcohol
  • Slippers

I’m aware that a lot of these choices may seem obvious, but I think they might help if you’re really struggling. Sometimes we get so stuck in our heads that we forget the basics and that’s what I was aiming for with this post.

I’ve tried to go for ideas that would work for anyone of mainly any age / gender, and of course you can (should!) tailor them to your loved ones as best you can.


I hope this helped you some how. Good luck with your shopping! In fact, let me know how far you’ve gotten with your gift shopping or even if you’ve started it at all.

Happy holidays and speak soon,

Rachael.

Five Things EVERYBODY Can Enjoy This Christmas | Festive Thoughts #2

This time of year can definitely be a hit or miss for some people. Although it can be easy to imagine that everyone in the world celebrates and loves Christmas, it’s just not true.

For some people it’s a religious thing, as I think we seem to forget that Christmas is a relgious holiday and not everyone is about that. For some people it’s a deeper, more personal issue. And for some it’s just not their cup of tea and that’s it.

But regardless of what you think about Christmas, there are some things about this whole season that I think we can all enjoy. Like…

THE FOOD

It may sound a bit daft, but I honestly think my favourite thing about this entire season is the food. As soon as winter hits, it seems like all everyone wants to do is huddle indoors and scoff chocolate. Which, if we’re being totally honest, is how I like to spend all of my time throughout the year anyway so it’s no surprise that winter is my favourite time!

Everything from the family packs of sweets to miniature party food (mini burger, anyone?) just makes my heart – and tummy- happy and I feel like all my fellow foodies can feel the same.

FAMILY TIME

Now this one is a little more specific, as I understand that not everyone has a great family life. But the fact that this whole season is about spending quality time with our loved ones, sharing, caring and all that good stuff, is amazing and something we should definitely do more throughout the year.

No matter how you feel about Christmas or who it is you have around you, taking some time out to just be together is a lovely thing to do. I am a huge family person so this one is definitely an important factor for me!

THE DECORATIONS

Again, regardless of what you actually think about Christmas or whether you even celebrate it there’s no escaping the festivities whenever you leave your house.

From the end of November fairy lights and decorations begin appearing everywhere – on the high street, in shops and even in our workplaces – and despite what you actually think about this season, I’m sure we can all admit that it makes everything look so damn pretty!

I personally love seeing the transformation in my city and my home. Somehow, adding fairly lights to things just makes them instantly look more attractive, don’t you think? And when the days are short and the nights are dark, having lots of pretty lights around to brighten things up is just so lovely.

BEING COSY (HYGGE)

On the note of things being cold and dark, winter is the perfect time to snuggle up and spend a lot of time indoors. And once again this is how I like to be all year round, so it’s wonderful that everyone joins in at Christmas!

Staying at home, wrapped in a blanket burrito is my ideal situation and in winter there often isn’t any other activity that will suffice. Even if you’re the biggest extrovert / party animal out there, you can definitely still appreciate a cosy night in.

CELEBRATING

And finally, regardless of whether you actually celebrate Christmas day specifically, now is the perfect time to get involved with celebrations anyway.

Celebrate the fact that you’ve made it through another year; celebrate all of your achievements; celebrate the people around you. Get jolly about the fact a fresh start is coming up and another chance for to you tackle all of your goals is on the horizon.


Whatever you choose to do, I hope you have a wonderful time. Stay safe and happy holidays!

Speak soon,

Rachael.

 

 

Three Albums For When The World Gets Too Much

Things have been so weird and unsettled in the world for a long time now. It feels like everyday seems to bring about more horrendous news and, to put it bluntly, the world just seems so scary sometimes.

When we’ve got our own issues to deal with as well, there’s no wonder so many of us are experiencing overwhelm. And although there often isn’t a lot we can do about the state of the world (with immediate effects anyway) we can take care of ourselves.

If things seems a bit much for you right now, and you’re tired of seeing bad news, day in and day out, then maybe you need to just take some time away and escape for a little bit.

Music is a wonderful form of escape and it’s really helped me out a lot in the past. Now, as things are feeling pretty difficult, I’m finding myself leaning towards it once again and it’s really working wonders.

When the world’s gone to shit, I want to listen to something that will, of course, uplift me but that isn’t blind to the more difficult areas as well. These three albums that I’m going to recommend are all very much based on the current state of the world, with comments on politics, leaders and nasty views – yet they still remain so positive.

I turn to these songs when I need reminding that I’m not alone in my issues. They all inspire me and remind me that sometimes being united, even if it is by crappy things, is the best way to get through it all.

BEAUTIFUL TRAUMA: P!NK 

Stand Out Tracks: Barbies, Beautiful Trauma 

Pink is my absolute favourite artist and it’s her music that has, without a doubt, influenced me the most over the years. She’s a wonderfully outspoken, honest and generally just a cool human being who I love so frigging much.

Her newest album is all about the weird and wonderful goings on in the world right now. Dealing with traumatic relationships, feeling lost and a general sense of disappointment, I can guarantee that you will be able to relate to at least one track and (hopefully!) feel less alone.

WILD WORLD: BASTILLE

Stand Out Tracks: The Currents, Snakes

Around about this time last year I was lucky enough to see Bastille on their tour for this album, and I honestly think that experience changed my life in some way. I was going through a pretty rough patch then (maybe it’s a winter thing?) and this album helped me get through that.

Released just after Trump’s win at the election, Wild World is aptly titled. Once again it’s another album full of feeling unsatisfied and disappointed with the modern world, yet somehow it manages to make me feel so good. It’s brilliant to know that you’re not the only one feeling this way!

WONDERFUL, WONDERFUL: THE KILLERS 

Stand Out Tracks: Rut, Have All The Songs Been Written?

If you know me in anyway, then you might have some understanding of how deep my love for The Killers is. I feel like I’ve just used this entire post to fangirl, but honestly I love all three albums and artists so much! The Killers are my favourite band of all time and I just get so excited by what they make.

Like the other two albums mentioned, Wonderful Wonderful touches on the strange modern world we are currently living in – but this one has a heavy focus on mental health issues. Regardless of whether you suffer with an actual mental health condition, everyone is forced to face issues at some point in their life and I think this album will really help you process that.

Elton John


How do you escape? Who’s your favourite artist?

If you’re also struggling with things at the moment, trust me I feel for you! I’m sending as many positive and calming vibes your way as I can. I wish you all the best.

Speak soon,

Rachael.

 

 

 

The Perfect Night In: Five Creepy Films For People Who Hate Gore

Halloween isn’t really a holiday that I celebrate (hence the lack of posts around it) but as I mentioned in my last film guide, there is just something about this time of year that makes me want to huddle up and watch films all day long.

Now Halloween can be a difficult time for people, like me, who are a bit squeamish and feel nervous around gory things. As interested as I am in the latest horror flick to hit the screens, I often have to miss out as they make me uncomfortable.

If you’re feeling like you can relate, here are five creepy films that will definitely thrill without making you feel ill!

Please note I have a preference for cheesy, classic thrillers so you’ll definitely have heard of these before.

THE OTHERS

Set in a big country manor in the middle of nowhere, this paranormal thriller is exactly my cup of tea. If you’ve not seen it before, prepare yourself for a wonderfully cheesy but quite clever twist. It’s creepy but there is no gore to be seen.

THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT

I know this low-budget film is kind of seen as a joke now, but I still genuinely really like it. I have this thing about hand-held camera films though. Maybe it’s because I feel safe with them, as no matter how creepy they get I know how it’s all going to end. It’s predictable and a bit detail-heavy at points, but still a good one to get you in the Halloween spirit.

SIXTH SENSE

Yet another classic/ridiculed film! Are you getting what my film taste is now? I’ll admit if you’re really bad with gore then maybe give this one a miss, as there are some minor elements to it. For the most part though it just relies on tension and the odd jump scare to get you in the creepy mood.

INSIDIOUS (3)

I’ve seen all of the three of these movies and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised with them all! With newer horror films I am always concerned that they will be filled with gruesome scenes, meaning I can’t watch them. But these are paranormal based with nothing too traumatising at all.  I’ve highlighted the final one in the trilogy as it’s my favourite, and genuinely one of the best thrillers I’ve ever seen.

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY

Finally, this is another ridiculous film series but I still enjoy them. Again, it’s that hand-held camera thing – it just gets to me. Despite initial rumours, there is no gore in this one. It simply relies on tension and a little bit of boredom to get you feeling all spooked.


So that’s how I’ll be spending my night. What are you up to this Halloween?

Happy Haunting!

Speak soon,

Rachael.

Six Movies For A Family – Friendly Halloween

Alright, so I know that most people have been out this weekend celebrating all things spooky, meaning this post may seem a little late and irrelevant now but Halloween still hasn’t arrived. And maybe it’s just me, but there’s something about this whole season with it’s dark nights and cold weather, that makes me want to wrap myself up in a blanket and watch movies with loved ones.

So if you’re on the same general wavelength or you fancy getting a little festive this week, tuck yourself up, grab a cuppa and watch one of these family-friendly flicks:

Corpse Bride

This Tim Burton classic is an obvious favourite for Halloween. It’s a film I used to watch constantly as a kid. With a mixture of music, comedy and a little bit of the feels it’s a wonderful one to watch no matter your age.

Casper

This film is basically nostalgia central for me and one of my absolute childhood favourites. I mean, who can resist Casper the friendly ghost?!

I’ll admit the scene where the dad is looking in the mirror after being messed around with by the three uncles freaked me out completely when I was little, but thankfully that doesn’t have the same effect, like, a decade later.

Frankinweenie

This is such an underated Disney film I feel! It’s a quirky but heartwarming story about the friendship between a young boy and his dog. Of course, with Tim Burton involved, things get a little spooky when the young boy tries to bring his dog back to life.

Monster House

Renowned for it’s double entendre gags, this film was a complete surprise hit for me. It’s a little bit creepy with it’s twists and turns, but overall it’s very funny and definitely something to get stuck into.

Casper Meets Wendy

I’ve never really heard many people mention this movie online and I just can’t understand why. Starring an incredibly young Hilary Duff, this is an adorable story of a lonely witch who makes friends with Casper, our favourite friendly ghost, despite the ongoing rivalry among all things supernatural. Definitely a hit for younger viewers (and old!)

Coraline

And finally, I feel like no Halloween list would be complete without Coraline! This film still genuinely scares me, even though I’m now technically an adult. It’s an interesting story and wonderfully produced, but there’s something about those buttons that freaks me right out. Definitely keep your pillows near by for this one!


What will you be watching this Halloween?

Speak soon,

Rachael.

 

Dealing With A Bad Mental Health Day At Work

For the past few months my mental health hasn’t been in the best of places. With dealing with my graduation and impending ‘adult life’; starting a new job and some illnesses and issues within my family, things have gotten on top of me a bit and it’s been evident to everyone around me. Including my new colleagues.

I’m usually the kind of person who tries to keep everything under control and under wraps, but lately I just haven’t been able to hide whatever’s going on. So imagine my shock and embarrassment as I went into work yesterday (which was a better day) and was greeted with sarky comments on my improved attitude.

“Oh, so you’ve decided to talk to us today have you?” 

Now I know my colleagues weren’t commenting from a place of hatred or being deliberately mean. They were simply making a comment. And I guess I’m glad that I’m now in the kind of work environment where people notice what’s going on and will take time to ask how you’re feeling.

But that didn’t stop me feeling a bit embarrassed about my obvious bad attitude over the past few weeks and got me thinking about how I should handle it in the future.

Now I’ve spoken about self-care a few times on this blog, and I love that it is a popular topic elsewhere online. But even though it’s a topic I talk about a lot, I still struggle with it – especially when I’m going to work a lot and have to deal with my issues while still being present for my employer.

Following this conversation yesterday, and in an attempt to pick myself back up again, I’ve come up with a couple of ways to deal with a bad mental health day when you’re at work and can’t just huddle in bed like you’d want to.

FORGIVE YOURSELF 

Whatever happens today, when you’re at work, you need to forgive yourself for it. Treat yourself like you’d treat your best friend or a loved one. If they came to you and said that they were having a bad mental health day and subsequently had a bad day at work, what would you do?

You certainly wouldn’t shame them or make them feel any worse. You’d (hopefully!) be kind and compassionate. So why shouldn’t you treat yourself the same way?

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USE YOUR BREAKS

Although there isn’t much you can do at work to try to make yourself feel better, as you’re too busy doing your actual job, most workplaces are entitled to a break of sorts.

It is absolutely vital on a bad mental health day that you make the most of your break. In fact I’d say it’s vital everyday, but I know how things can be. However when you’re feeling low, make sure you use your lunch break to maybe get out of your work environment – even if it’s just for a walk around the block. Use this time to have a calming cup of tea and eat something nutritious and yummy.

If you don’t get official breaks at work, ask a manager if you can take 10 or so minutes uninterrupted away from the shop floor. Bloody hell, even just take yourself to the loos and sit in there for five minutes! Just allow yourself some quiet time.

BE HONEST 

If you’re really struggling to handle work today, pull aside a trusted colleague or, better yet, speak to someone higher up and be honest with them about how you’re feeling and express what’s going on.

I understand how hard this may be, but if you’re really having a bad day letting those around you know is incredibly useful. This will help them understand why you may not be performing at your best which in turn may give you some peace of mind. Mental health is still something of a ‘new’ topic for workplaces, especially those I have experienced, but by being honest and expressing what you need together we can change attitudes and the way things are handled.

HOME TIME = TIME FOR SELF CARE

Regardless of how many breaks you manage to get throughout the day, it’s likely that you’ve not really had any time for some serious self care. Once you’re home, make sure you take looking after yourself as a priority.

If you have plans for after work and don’t feel up to them, cancel. Although there still maybe things you need to get done in the evening just take it slow. Start your self-care routine the minute you get home. Things to include could be:

  • A long hot bath
  • Several cups of tea (decaff if you’re feeling anxious!)
  • Watching your favourite TV show/Youtuber for a few hours
  • Cooking yourself a decent meal. This can be whatever you feel like you need, but if you’ve been low for a while try include some greens (note to self). If you need comfort, carbs are you’re best friend!
  • Have an early night

Check out my Emergency Self Care Checklist for more ideas

START AFRESH  

And finally, despite everything that may have happened today, tomorrow is a new one. Take this evening to look after yourself, seek some motivation and inspiration so you’re ready to tackle tomorrow.

I’m aware mental health issues don’t just go away, but I know how much of an impact your overall attitude can have on your day regardless. By taking some time out this evening to support yourself, you will hopefully feel in a better mindset to deal with tomorrow.


How do you cope with a bad day at work? I’d really like to hear your advice!

Speak soon,

Rachael.

Regaining Control: How To Reach Your Goals

There’s been a lot of things going on recently in my life. From turning 21, to dealing with the last handful of university deadlines as well as the usual trying-to-keep-on-top-of-life stuff it’s safe to say that things have taken a toll a little bit.

Last week was a total write off. If you know me personally, you know this is something I say basically every week- but this time it was for real. I was poorly and generally lacked all motivation to get my shit together.

But over the past few days I’ve been reconsidering my goals and attempting to make new ones. I’m constantly working on transforming my mindset and becoming more positive, in order to be more productive. I am generally aiming to be a better and happier me.

So I thought I’d share some simple steps that I am taking to help you and I reach our goals and how to get back on track when things have slowed down:

  • Make your to-do list the night before

Literally write every single thing down that you need to get done, either for the next day or for the following week. I’m talking the obvious stuff, like assignments and work bits, but also things like chores, calling your parents, doing a face mask, making dinner and so on. Although the list may look a little intimidating at first, once you start doing the basic stuff and ticking off your progress you’re going to feel more motivated to tackle the bigger things.

Plus, by writing things down and getting them out of your head means you’re going to have more room in there, which will come in handy when dealing with said tasks!

  • Figure out why 

Why is it you want to do all of these things? Why do you feel like you’ve lost control? Take some time to either write it down or talk about the reasons why you suddenly want to change your routine, work harder, exercise or whatever it is your planning on doing.

By figuring out the ultimate motive behind your work (to feel accomplished, to feel better) you’re going to find it easier to actually do the thing. Working out what you want and more specifically why you want it, gives you something to turn to when you’re needing inspiration or motivation. It should get your excited about your progress and make you feel like you’re doing the right thing. If it doesn’t, then maybe you should reconsider your goals.

  • Start early

It’s a new week, which means a new start. So why don’t you start now? But don’t use the fact you’ve missed the beginning of the week to let the rest go to waste. You can literally make changes whenever you want, but I’d suggest starting early to give yourself a head-start.

I know that not everyone is a morning person, and that’s totally cool (you do you) so you don’t have to take this literally. Early here doesn’t have to mean early in the morning, but rather as early as possible in your own routine. Instead of wasting time procrastinating or thinking about all of the things you need to do, just force yourself to get on with it as soon as possible. It’ll make the world of difference and once you’ve started you’ll realise it’s easier to just keep going!

  • Get inspired

Without comparing yourself, look to other people to see how they’re getting on and use it to fuel your own work. I have some links in the end of this post that have helped me but try to use other people’s advice, stories and experiences to push you to make the most of yours. Look for inspirational quotes, YouTube videos on how-to or even look to your friends and see how they do it.

You’ll notice everyone has their own struggles and everyone is just trying to get on with things the best they can.

  • Break it up

Like I mentioned previously, it’s easy to get overwhelmed when you have a huge list of things to do. If you break everything up into manageable chunks, it’ll not only make the task easier to start but also easier to finish as  your progress will be clearer to see this way.

For example, if you have an essay to write instead of just writing down ‘do essay’ break it up into separate tasks. So that could be ‘get books from library’, ‘research this area on the internet’, ‘write introduction’ and so on. Once you start ticking off tasks and getting somewhere with your goal, you’re more likely to feel motivated to get it done. Or you’ll at least feel pleased with your progress which will encourage you with other tasks.

  • Do it your own way

It’s all well and good me offering you advice on how to reach your goals and complete that to-do list, but I know that what works for me mightn’t work for you. We’re all different and we all have our own way of doing things. And while I do think the advice in this post may help (or at least encourage you), you may need to tailor things to suit your circumstances.

A simple example of this is to-do lists. I have to admit, I am someone that can appreciate a to do list. But I prefer to keep my simple, handwritten and often on a post-it that can be thrown away when everything is done. Some people like to make theirs online, in bullet journals, on their phone or some people don’t like to make them at all and can keep track of everything in their head (if this is you, I totally salute you!).

What I’m trying to say is you know yourself best, and although it can sometimes feel like you’re not doing things right because your progress doesn’t look like anyone else’s, you should make something that works for you. Don’t compare yourself with anyone else and make sure you’re doing the best for you to reach your goals.


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If you have something to say to can tweet me, comment below or contact me.

You can follow me on bloglovin’ or Instagram if you fancy.

Speak soon,

Rachael.

 

 

Twenty-One Things I’ve Learnt In 21 Years

This is something I’ve seen going around a lot and I think it’s lovely to hear people’s insights, see some changes and generally just try to better yourself.

Now I’m a 21 year-old I’ve been reflecting a lot on the past (as well as looking forward to the future!) and even though it might not feel like it sometimes, I’ve done so much and grown loads. Here are some key things I’ve learnt over the years that may be beneficial to you.

1. Practising pays off, even though it can be really tedious and annoying.

For me a key area I learnt this was makeup, and after many years of messing about with the stuff for fun I’m finally getting okay at it. This also applies to other, non-superficial areas too! Just keep showing up and pushing and you’ll get there.

2. No one knows what they’re doing. Literally no one.

Not even that girl who looks like she has it all together. I know this because I pretend to be her and I still haven’t got a clue. I thought that by 21 I’d have everything figured out, but every day is still a learning curve. It’s totally okay, we’ll figure it out one day- maybe.

3. Always be yourself. Do what feels right for you at all times.

Any other action or behaviour will come across awkward, weird and uncomfortable for everyone, especially you! Listen to yourself and try to not focus on what other people might think. You have to live with yourself everyday and that is something you should honour.

4. Don’t be afraid to change it up.

A lot of people go through this stage of altering their appearance, friendships and values when they’re a young teen but I think it’s something that we should constantly do. Experiment with different versions of yourself and try new things to figure out what you like. It’s how you often find that you have always been exactly how you were meant to be.

5. Being girly isn’t a weakness.

Feminism! This one took me far to long to grasp. Liking pink, wearing ‘feminine’ fashion, being interested in beauty… The list is endless. None of the things are a bad or should be thought of with guilt. You are never just one thing so why pigeon-hole yourself?

6. It’s better to not have been the popular one at school.

It gives you an opportunity to grow, change and focus on what is really important right now. School may be considered the ‘best years of your life’ by adults, but trust me it’s not. You have so much wonder to come and luckily you haven’t peaked too early!

7. It takes time to find the right contraception.

 You need to educate yourself, try things and listen to your body. The first method you try might not be your last.

8. There are no deadlines on milestones.

You’re going through life at your own pace so it’s pointless to compare what you’re doing with other people’s experiences. (See: sex, first kisses, getting drunk, education, getting married, etc.)

9. Creating a safe place for yourself is the best act of self care. 

Whether that place is outside or in your house, take time to figure out where you feel the safest and make that space exactly how you want it. This will be your sanctuary for the days when things seem to be a much and a place for you to chill out whenever necessary.

10. Just because your life and/or choices look different to other people doesn’t mean they’re wrong.

“Comparison is the thief of joy”

You know yourself best, so just do what’s right for you even if it’s difficult or doesn’t match up to others. You should be your number one and this takes time to understand and accept. I promise you- you’re doing fine.

11. Be grateful for your parents/guardians/friends. They do so much for you.

This can be hard to see sometimes but be grateful for those around you who care because one day they may not be around. Gratitude is a wonderful thing to practice and can change your outlook and the way you handle so many different situations.

12. Time doesn’t have to be an important factor in friendships.

You don’t have to stay friends with someone just because you always have been and alternatively you can become brilliant friends with someone you’ve just met. Time isn’t really an important factor, or at least it doesn’t have to be. Sometime you just need to go with your gut and heart to find the right people.

13. Try to save some of your money for a rainy day. Having something behind you can make the world of difference. 

Try to budget and keep bits of money back in case you ever need it. If not, it’ll come in handy for that trip you want to do or that bag you’ve wanted for ages. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. 

14. Don’t feel bad about feeling bad.

Whether you’re feeling bad right now, or you’re annoyed at past you, we need these times to grow and get to a better place. Everything is valid.

15. Worrying can destroy everything you care about. 

Try to switch off and get out of your head a bit because worrying and overthinking will ruin your relationships, friendships and experiences. Take a walk, open up to someone close or write it down. You need to find a way to get these things out of your head so you can be more open to the important, and present, things.

16. The internet doesn’t need to know everything you’re up to.

You don’t have to post it to prove that it happened and it doesn’t have to be an instant thing either. Don’t let sharing stuff get in the way of your experiences. It’s brilliant to share and show off what you’ve been up to, where you’ve been and who you’ve seen but remember to enjoy the moment a bit first.

17. Metal actually does explode in the microwave.

I found this out the hard way. It can also catch fire too so be careful and stay aware!

18. Learn how to be on your own.

It might become the best lesson you’ll ever learn. You need to rely on yourself totally and be your own best friend because at the end of the day, you are the only guarantee in life.

19. A good bra will change your life.

It’ll make you look and feel amazing, trust me. It might even be worth spending that little bit more money in order to feel this way. Comfort and confidence are the key to any fashion experience.

20. You can trust places like you trust people.

It can be an instant feeling when you get there; you’re definitely going to like it here. I’ve experienced this only a handful of times in my life but it’s often a great factor when making major decisions (see: choosing a university, moving away, work)

21. The loudest people often don’t have anything to shout about.

Whether they’re bragging about sex, drinking, their love life or success you never get to see what actually goes on behind closed doors so take everything with a pinch of salt. Try not to get too caught up in what other people are doing, because they’re not you and everyone experiences things differently.


Happy Birthday Me!

I’m expecting this year to be full of growth, change, joy and fear and I am so buzzing for it. Although things may get tough I’m so proud of myself for everything I’ve done to get here and I love that I’m only going to continue to learn more.

Thank you so much for reading this post. I’m so grateful for you being here. Let’s hope this blog continues for many more birthdays!


Speak soon,

Rachael.