Goodbye 2015 ☺

So here we all are at the end of another year! I’m spending my last day of the year exactly how I spent the first one – at home with my son, eating naughty food and playing silly games.

I’ve always thought NYE is one of the most overrated “nights out” of the year. Even before I had Max I never really enjoyed going out. There’s always some idiots who want to cause trouble, you can never get served at the bar cos it’s too rammed and the same shit nightclubs you always go to suddenly want to charge you Β£20 to hear them play the same Top 20 rubbish they play every week. It’s not for me, I always either preferred a house party or to go to work and avoid the hangover (I used to be a barmaid).

This year I’ll be at home with my son, same as the past 2 years. I’ll probably stay up to see in midnight and I’m gonna spend some time writing down my 2016 goals which I’ll post tomorrow.

Last year I wrote a huge gushing paragraph on Facebook about how much I love my family, friends etc. I’m not gonna do that this year, I’d rather reflect quietly on all that’s happened in 2015. Cheesy as it sounds, I really feel like this year I’ve been on a journey of self discovery. Everything that’s happened has made me really step back and look at my personal strengths and flaws, something which I’ve never properly acknowledged before. I think I understand myself a bit better, what I stand for and what I want out of life.

I went into 2015 feeling stressed. My nana who I worshipped had just died, I was stressed about the direction my life was going, I was stressing about the guy I was seeing and this meant I couldn’t truly enjoy the start of the year and appreciate everything I had.

I have an entirely different perspective this year. I know what direction I want my life to go in, I’m actually still seeing the same guy, but the difference is I don’t feel stressed any more. I know I can deal with whatever life throws at me because I already have done. I don’t depend on anyone else for happiness because I know that I can be happy no matter who is or isn’t in my life. It really does start with YOU.

Whatever will be, will be. Sometimes things don’t work out the way we plan. I’m gonna go into 2016 with an entirely different attitude than I did in 2015. I hope everyone else has a wonderful year, even people I don’t get along with because I’m not interested in seeing people miserable any more. We all deserve to succeed. Happy new year to everyone reading this and have fun whatever you’re doing! See you in 2016 πŸ˜ƒ

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Second chances

I think everyone starts reflecting on their lives when it gets to the end of the year. I definitely am and one of the things I’ve been thinking about is second chances.

My whole life I’ve always found it really hard to forgive people when they screw up. I don’t like getting too close to anyone because I don’t want to end up being let down. I automatically assume everyone will screw me over at some point so I’d rather be this cold hearted person and never give too much of myself away.

I’ve changed a lot over this year. I still don’t like opening up to people and I don’t trust anyone, but I’ve learned to forgive people. I used to think if you give someone a second chance it means you’re a weak person – why put yourself in such a vulnerable position? But honestly, hating people and holding grudges takes too much energy and I don’t want to allow negative thoughts to take over my life. I have given a lot of people second chances this year. Some of them have shown me that it is actually worth it and as for those that haven’t, at least I know that I made the effort.

Forgiving people doesn’t mean forgetting what they did, it means that you’re the bigger person. I’m glad I’ve realised that and I know I’ll be going into 2016 with a sense of peace that I didn’t have last year. πŸ˜ƒ

Merry Christmas everyone

I’m lying on the sofa as I’m writing this. I literally can’t move cos I’ve spent the last few days stuffing myself (and yet I’m still currently drinking Baileys and eating Thornton’s).

Christmas is my absolute favourite time of year. Before Max was born I was less bothered and I used to work in pubs so I’d often be working on Christmas day, but I think when you have kids the magic comes back. Christmas is all about family and I’m really close with mine so I love getting together with everyone.

Max is a lot more aware this year. He still doesn’t really understand the concept of Santa but his face when he opened his presents was so cute. Christmas isn’t really about material things but I love buying for people and indulging. Max and I have both been spoilt this year. My parents got me a new TV so my flat is looking really nice!

The rest of the week has been good too. Caught up with friends at the beginning of the week and on Christmas eve I went for lunch with friends I hadn’t seen for ages. Today was Boxing day and we had a family party. It got a bit emotional as my cousin Grace is going travelling for 6 months and she’s leaving on Monday. We’re as close as sisters and we’ll all miss her loads!

I’m gonna use this boring bit in between Christmas and new year to de clutter my flat. I’ve already got 3 bin bags full of Max’s old toys to make room for his new ones so wish me luck!

I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas because we all deserve that. I’m ready now for the new year!

Top 5 books of 2015

I don’t know if I’ve ever actually mentioned it on this blog, but I’m a massive reader and if you know me you’ll know I own almost 200 books. I like to set myself a target each year of how many books I want to read and I’m on 51 this year (not as good as last year which was 62). A lot of people ask me for recommendations so I thought I’d make this post listing the top 5 I’ve read this year just in case anyone is looking for inspiration! So in no particular order, here are my favourites this year:

1. The Help by Kathryn Stockett

I usually take other peoples’ reviews with a pinch of salt because everyone has completely different taste in books. But the ratings for this one on Goodreads were pretty high so I was persuaded to give it a go. I wasn’t disappointed – set in 1960s America, the story of an unlikely friendship between Aibileen and Minny, two black maids and the rich white Miss Skeeter is both sad and heartwarming at the same time. I wish it had a happier ending but I still came away feeling positive – one of the standout books I’ve read this year.

2. A Clash of Kings by George R R Martin

OK this is a bit of a cheat because with this one I’m talking about the whole Game of Thrones series. I’ve never seen the TV show and I thought I would HATE these books, one) because fantasy is my least favourite genre in books and two) because the books are so damn long and long books really just put me off reading them. But I was so, so surprised. GoT is one of my favourite book series. OK, sometimes they are a little hard to follow (being told from about 20 different character viewpoints) but despite being long, they’re not long winded (unlike the Lord of the Rings books, but that’s another story). Brilliantly plotted with characters you either love or hate (and who doesn’t love Tyrion Lannister πŸ˜‰) not to mention they’re actually really funny, something I did not expect. If you’ve seen the show but haven’t read the books, DO IT NOW. You won’t regret it.

3. Breadline Britain by Stewart Lansley and Joanna Mack

OK. Occasionally I can come across as a little bit preachy (when your political views are far left you often get accused of being a “tree hugger” and other stuff) but I really would encourage people to read this book. I work with homeless people and our organization provides food parcels to those in need. I see people living in poverty and a lot of people like to ignore it, pretend it doesn’t exist or accuse people of “bringing it on themselves”. I stress again, THIS COULD HAPPEN TO ANYONE. This book highlights facts and figures, provides real accounts of people living in desperate situations and challenges the government’s attempts to “tackle” poverty the Tory way (i.e. the useless way πŸ˜‚). If you believe that being poor is a choice then honestly, this book will change your views.

4. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Yeah, I’m cheating again and putting a trilogy on here. Apparently these books are aimed at teenagers. I don’t care. I love them. Although I’m not going to lie – I’m not that keen on the character of Katniss – I love the concept of these books. They’re exciting, they’re well paced and original without being too heavy. Again, I haven’t seen the films so I can’t comment on that side but if you have seen them, then read the books. Honestly.

5. The Jump by Martina Cole

Until this year, I was a Martina Cole virgin. I’d seen her books in bookshops but never actually picked one up, but I was on holiday and I’d read the book I brought with me so I needed something new (I read every day. I have to or I don’t feel right. πŸ˜‚) I chose The Jump because it was the longest one on offer and I was hooked straight away. I love anything to do with London and Essex and it felt like I was reading an episode of EastEnders (only way more hardcore!) OK, it was a bit dated – I think it was written in the early 90s but I’ll forgive that. Easily one of my new favourite crime authors!

Holidays are coming πŸŽ„ β˜Ί

It’s one week til Christmas and I’ve definitely got the Christmas spirit! I’ve been in a permanently peppy mood this past couple of weeks and I’m loving it. πŸ˜„

Today was Max’s last day at nursery and my last day at work so we’ve got 2 weeks off. I’m so excited to have some family time cos that’s what Christmas is all about for me. We’ve had a really fun week – Max had a performance at nursery yesterday where they sang songs and today they had a Christmas party with games and party food. They wore Christmas jumpers for text santa and he looked so grown up, can’t believe I have a toddler now! Santa visited the children at nursery but Max wasn’t impressed πŸ˜‚ he was scared of him last year and it doesn’t look like he’s got any better!

I’ve heard back from 2 universities, the first one rejected me which put me in a bit of a bad mood but then I received a conditional offer from one! I’m gonna wait until I’ve heard from them all before I decide anything but it’s gonna be a huge adventure and I’m over the moon. Never thought I’d have this opportunity after I fell pregnant and I can’t believe I’ve done it!

Next week is gonna be crazy because I still haven’t finished my Christmas shopping πŸ™ˆ I do tend to overindulge at Christmas. I spend too much and eat too much but that’s what it’s all about! Happy holidays πŸ˜ƒ

Following your heart

With regards to the post I put up yesterday, I was thinking about this a lot this weekend.

I’ve always been the kind of person who listens to my head instead of my heart. I’m quite practical and I don’t really like the “unknown” – I like to know where I stand with people, that things are gonna turn out how I expect them to, etc. For years I ignored what my heart wanted because I was worried about the consequences – how would it affect me, how would the people I care about be affected. What if everything went wrong and I ended up with nothing?

This past couple of years I’ve realised that this isn’t really the right way to live. I believed I was protecting myself from everything by making the “smart” decisions but in turn I’ve lost out on a few years of my life by not doing what I really wanted.

Life honestly is TOO SHORT to not take a few risks. I’ve took risks this year with regards to my future. I’ve took risks with people. And even if things don’t work out the way I expect, I can say I followed my heart. I wouldn’t change anything I’ve done this year because it’s made me happy and that’s the most important thing. πŸ˜ƒ

“The brave may not live forever, but the cautious do not live at all.”

Be a better person

So Christmas is approaching quickly and this time of year is quite bittersweet. My nana died a year ago on December 11th and I spent a lot of time this week thinking about what she was like. I always thought of her as the glue that held our family together, family was the most important thing to her and it’s something I really value as well. She was always so selfless as well – there was nothing she wouldn’t do for anyone else and I think I could do with being more like that.

Death is a funny thing. It makes you appreciate life more. Nana was 74 when she died which isn’t particularly old and she’s left a big gap in all our lives that won’t ever be filled. Sometimes I find myself thinking before I make decisions “what would nana think of me doing this?” I don’t know if she’d approve of every single decision I’ve ever made but I do know that she would always be there for me no matter what.

I’m trying to become a better person, kinder and less judgemental. I’m definitely not perfect and I can be harsh and sometimes self involved but I’m working on it. We should all aspire to that and I feel like I’ve done a lot of growing this year. πŸ˜ƒ

Positive vs negative

It’s getting to the end of the year now and I’m thinking about everything that’s happened this year and what I want to achieve next year. A lot of the memories we create are the ones that involve other people – fun things we’ve done with friends, etc so to me it’s important to make sure the people you have in your life are good ones.

Lately I’ve started to realise that I have less and less tolerance for bullshit and negative energy around me. People who can’t be happy for you or go out of their way to try and put you down. I used to put up with stuff like this because I thought I couldn’t cope without these people in my life, but over this past year I’ve realised I can. Anyone who knows me knows I’m not afraid to stick up for my views and opinions and I refuse to change them just to go along with others. The important people in your life recognise that although you may have different opinions it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re wrong and stick with you regardless. I’m lucky that I have some of those people around me. 😊

So as we get to the end of the year, I’m weighing up who brings positivity into my life and who brings negativity. I no longer have any time for negative people and I don’t put up with half as much crap as I did at the beginning of the year. Be confident in yourself and your own abilities and never beg friendship or anything else from people who don’t deserve you in their life. You can do whatever you put your mind to without them. πŸ˜ƒ

The social media disease

It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly when it happened. When social media started taking over our lives and the virtual world becomes more important than the real one.

In this day and age pretty much everyone has a smartphone. I love social media as it’s a good way for me to keep in easy contact with everyone. I like seeing what people are up to and I like posting my own pictures, tweets and statuses. But if I’m completely honest, I spend way more time on my phone than I should.

My phone notifies me whenever I get a Whatsapp, text or someone interacts with me on facebook, twitter, snapchat or instagram so I’ll often be checking it. More than one person has commented that I’m “obsessed” with my phone and I don’t want to be THAT person.

At the beginning of this year I dropped my phone in the bath and it broke. I had to go without it for about 24 hours before I got a replacement and I remember how much I hated it. What if someone was trying to message me and thought I was ignoring them? What if I missed something important? Then the other day I thought to myself, what on earth could be more important to me than anything in my real life – my son and my family and friends.

I don’t want to be the mum ignoring her child while she sits on her phone, or the person that can’t hold a conversation with a friend because she’s talking to people she doesn’t even care about online. The other day I turned off all the notifications to my social medias to remove the temptation to check my phone so often. As of now I’m making a conscientious effort to ONLY use it when I’m on my own and I’m not with family or friends. Not only is it rude, I think it’s actually soul killing. I’ve never been someone who gives a damn what strangers think about me, so why do I go on social media so much? It stops now. Time for me to enjoy the real world with the real amazing people I have in it πŸ˜ƒ

December

I know this is gonna sound like a clichΓ© but I honestly can’t believe December is already here. This year has been insane but I’ve loved (almost) every minute! It’s officially winter which is my least favourite season. I can’t stand being cold and I’m really hoping it doesn’t snow this year 😩 I am really looking forward to Christmas though. Max is a lot more aware of what’s going on this year and he’s asking if we can put the Christmas tree up so I suppose I’ll have to get on that soon. I bought him an advent calendar but he doesn’t quite grasp the concept of opening one door a day and he wanted to eat them all today so I’ve had to hide it! πŸ˜‚

I’m starting the month as I mean to go on and I FINALLY sent off my UCAS application today. The personal statement took me so long to get right but I was really pleased with how it turned out. I’m taking a bit of a risk as I don’t have all the standard entry requirements but I hope they’ll look at my life and work experiences as well as my education (that’s where I’m lacking).Β I’ve applied for 5 universities but I’m not gonna say where unless I get offered a place. It’s a bit of a weight off my shoulders now so I’m going to try and forget about it for a while. Apparently it can take up to March 31st for them to get back to you so it’s just a waiting game now!

It’s strange thinking back to where I was a year ago compared to now. Some things have changed and some things have stayed the same but I’m liking the direction my life is going in. Here’s to the last month of 2015 and I hope everyone has a good one!