Make Friends with Change.

Do you ever sit and wonder if everything happens for a reason? I have. And I think I truly believe that too. I’m 23 years old. And the first 18 years of my life weren’t a walk in the park but I believe it’s best not to dwell on the negative or the past, and simply not let it define you. So more than I ever, I believe something is put in your path for a reason – no matter how positive, negative, upsetting or overwhelming. We are all human.

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Recently, as it seems most years around this time, a bit of bad luck came our way. I knew it was coming. Well I didn’t. But for a few weeks, and if you have me on twitter you’ll have read, I just had this feeling that a black cloud was looming, ready to open and pour down on us. And it did. I’m a stay at home mum to a 22 month old, pregnant with baby #2 – and I am extremely lucky to be in this position and with my partner working to allow this. Here’s this thing, my partner ended up leaving his job. Just before Christmas, just before we were meant to purchase a family car, just after things seemed to be going dare I say it…well. It was a big, messy affair and he was glad to be out. I was happy the weight had been lifted from his shoulders, I could see on his face the relief he felt to be out of a toxic place but at the same time I was riddled with worry. What did this mean for our family? I couldn’t get a job being pregnant, childcare is expensive – no one would employ me (yes I know this isn’t allowed but come on who would?). Luckily we had enough funds to last us until January – but the time bomb was ticking away with every second.

It gave me a kick up the backside. I made a change after being in deep thought for a day or two. I enrolled on a course, distance learning, to finish my training to become a Early Years/Reception Teacher. I now do 3 mornings a week volunteering in a setting across the road from me, with the flexibility to complete the course within two years and change my days to suit around my family. And it’s all funded until I earn over a certain amount which is even better. I am carving myself a future slowly, thinking post-baby/toddlers, keeping myself busy and motivated to take the plunge and transition from SAHM to Working Mum after baby #2 is born.

Again, I believe everything happens for a reason. My partner landed another job after about 10 days of being out of his previous job. One he doesn’t dread, feels more positive about and another bonus of more hours and better pay. It also gave him a fire to get himself into a career he is passionate about and loves – something for him to work towards in the future.

So here I am. Still my brain feels like a muddled, messy baby brain and I still need to settle into the new routine until I can feel I can put my umbrella down from stormy November but it’s a start. It just once again proves, life gives you a challenges at every corner, don’t let it overcome or defeat you. Focus on moving forward and being productive – life truly is what you make of it. So my posts will only be twice a week as of now, I need to prioritise and let myself fall into a routine without adding pressure to myself – so do bear with me and thank you for your continued support. And for anyone going through a rough patch, things will get better, the fog will clear and you’ll see your rainbow soon.

love-lex-1

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Goals of November.

November has arrived.

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2016 is just speeding by. October was a month of mixed emotions and events for me. I had some downs and tears but some great moments and memories too (finding out the gender of baby #2 especially made October special). On the blogging front I achieved some small milestones that made me especially proud, like:

They are relatively small achievements, but ones that have made me super proud and happy especially as I put lots of blogging effort in throughout October. Reflecting has made me aware of these achievements and given me a bit of motivation to continue on in the direction I am going. November isn’t usually a positive month of me. This time last year, we found out that our landlord was selling and we needed to be out of the house for January (which over the Christmas period wasn’t ideal as you can imagine and I cannot believe it’s been a year), it’s also the fifteenth year anniversary of my mothers death too. So you can see why I am a bit gloomy going into this eleventh month of the year. With it being the beginning of the month I thought it was perfect to set some new goals and go into November with a positive mind. Here we go:

  • Hit 2000 Twitter followers
  • Hit 200 followers on Instagram (this is my newest social media platform so want to be realistic) 
  • Reach 50 followers on Pinterest
  • Beat Octobers monthly views
  • Post at least three times a week
  • By the end of November, have a least first week of December’s posts scheduled (eek I can’t believe it’s December next month!)
  • Take part in a twitter chat at least once a week

Again, these are small goals but I would rather be realistic and have a shot at hitting them, then deflate myself if I fail to do so as they were so unreachable. So November, let’s be having you!

loll

Do you have any achievements you are proud of from October? Do you have a particular goal you want to reach by the end of November? 

5 quotes to embrace happiness.

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Sunday is often a day we reflect, make plans for the following week and mull over the week we have just had. I’ve seen some small improvements and successes in my blog (well I like to think) and this makes me proud, positive and happy. So on that note why not keep it nice and light – rounding off the week with some quotes that make us feel all happy and mushy inside. Here’s five of my best:

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Each quote can relate and mean something different to every person, so I’m not going to say what they mean to me as this s purely a reflection post. Instead I’ll leave you with this, remember that there is only one of you in this world and you are brilliant. Learn to love yourself, overly love those important to you, remember making mistakes is human, learn from you every day. You’re your own best teacher. Embrace you. Be happy!

loll

What makes you happy? Do you have a favourite happiness quote? Anything this week that has lifted your spirits?

Is Social Media ruining our ability to socialise?

The internet has 3.17 billion users. Let that number sink in. Now 2.3 billion of those users are active on social media. After reading an interesting article on 96 Amazing Social Media Statistics and Facts for 2016, I  quickly got dragged into a deep wormhole of thought. Technology is evidently everywhere. Our society is one providing information we need want at the open of an app. Gone are the days people discovered news from a newspaper delivery to their homes. What’s more social media is obviously reigning supreme, and human interaction is feebly trying to hold on.

Man on phone on train

How many of us interact with others through social media everyday? Be it replying to a tweet, getting involved in a twitter chat, responding to comments on any platform or even Whats App’ing and text messaging as they loosely fall under this category too. We all do it. What’s more we all do it every single day. A lot. Especially if your hobby and/or business is internet/technology based. It’s a must in order to keep active and present, fully understandable too but do we know when to truly switch to sleep mode on social media and technology? Or is it a concept that’s lost to us. We make a conscious decision every day to be involved in the world of social media, can we say the same about regular human interactions?

Did you know that according to a 2015 report in The Telegraph , the average person has not one but FIVE social media accounts and can spend upwards of 1 hour and 40 minutes a day skimming through them, if you’re a Briton it’s likely to be 1 hour and 20 minutes across FOUR social media accounts. How insane is that? These days how many of you spend 1 hour and 20 minutes a day socialising in person, (your child, pet, husband or someone in your household who you speak to everyday does not count). I mean – how many of us make an effort to actually make plans, to go out and actually connect with someone in person and what’s more want too. I’ll admit it, I don’t. And if you are one of those people who do (firstly I truly applaud you and your superhuman abilities) how many times do you take out your phone and scroll through during? Again, guilty!

Recently I deleted my personal Facebook account. A rash decision after sitting musing one day over how many of the people on there do I actually consider to be a friend? Not an old school friend or childhood friend who you found online, not a work colleague you make small talk with over the morning coffee break or a friend of a friend. How many are actual friends? People who make an effort to be in my daughters life, people who I could phone at 3am during an emergency, people who I would make plans with. Don’t get me wrong social media can be, and indeed is a wonderful platform for connecting with family members who live far away but let’s be honest, many of us have social media skills better than actual people skills. Flicking through my newsfeed I found myself thinking, why am I on here (as a personal account)? What am I actually gaining, because time clearly isn’t one of them. Social media is clearly robbing me of my free time. I sit reading about other peoples lives day in day out, checking it like a morning newspaper, ‘liking’ all the fun things people are up too ( on social media whilst  on these outings too might I add) and simply feel as if I’m shutting off from my own life and my ability to make plans. Where is the logic in that? So I did it. I cut it out and made a commitment to actually socialise more. Be it a lunch date, a phone call, a quick trip to the local park with fellow mummy friends – I made a change.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying social media is something we need to shut out of our lives, because it’s been very beneficial to me and it is indeed very important to many people in terms of connecting to loved ones. I just mean do we really need to stare at our screens as much as we do. Do we really need to check our notifications first thing in a morning and last at night? Are we missing out on actual life?  Through apps we can’t see our friends/family laugh, react and respond to us, we don’t get to react and feel in response to this – we are bypassing interacting and feeling on a human level. Some days, my hub to be sits scrolling through his news feed, reading pretty generic and repetitive updates,  missing out on our daughter screeching singing and dancing to Frozen’s Let It Go (maybe this is why he was scrolling through hmm). Something that seems so small and insignificant but when our children grow, it’s moments like that we are wish to relive.

So I say, make plans. Live in the moment that little bit more. Arrange a family day out without any social media, commit to a date night without looking at your phone (and if you do, you are dumped with the bill), connect with your friend over lunch rather than Whats App. Even make the effort to send a phone call rather than send a text. Commit to making more of a human interaction, to feeling. Set an example to our younger generation that you don’t need to socialise through a phone or computer. That it’s good for the soul to be able to take a break and what’s more, know when a break is needed to bring the balance back to your life.

Time is gone in the blink of an eye. Don’t let social media/apps/technology steal more than it needs too.

loll

All images used were taken from canva as a free image. 

How often do you use social media purely for entertainment? Do you think you can afford to cut back on the usage? What would you like to change about your social media to socialising life?

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8 things I wish I’d known when starting blogging.

Blogging. It’s a roller coaster of a journey that none of us expect to go on and definitely don’t except to learn so much on. I for one had no idea how vast the world of blogging is. I came into fairly under educated and with no goals. But after blogging for almost a year now (with the odd break) – here’s what I wish I’d known when starting out:

  • Promote promote promote – blogging is (well can be) a time consuming thing. As a newbie, I thought it would be as simple as putting a post up and people would flock from all over to have a ganders. How innocent I was. I never knew the importance of promoting and that’s something I wish I knew from the get go. Whether that’s through social media or linkies, how is anyone meant to know you are here if you don’t let yourself be seen.
  • Get involved in linkies – I hadn’t the foggiest what a linkup was. It truly hurt my brain trying to understand/find/join one. It took me a good couple of months before I got involved in any. It’s really important to find out what’s out there, not only for promotion but also for blog inspiration. Different links bring different audience. Utilise this!
  • Set up social media platforms – when I first started blogging, I didn’t have anything linked to my blogging profile as like I said I had no clue of what the blogging world entailed. Looking back I would have loved to set up twitter/Instagram/Pinterest straight away, promoting on them from the start. I’ve only just created Instagram and Pinterest so this is most definitely something I would fully recommend looking into and joining as a newbie, they  are fantastic platforms. Again it links to promotion.
  • Interaction – it took me a while to get submerged into interacting, be it commenting on fellow bloggers posts, or just basic conversation through social media. It can be daunting to a newbie. This is something I’ve found is hugely helpful. Blogging is a community that mostly supports and uplifts each other. As you’ve probably read or discovered yourself, it’s one big circle of people all looking to achieve the same thing (mostly), so don’t be scared to tweet responses to people, to start conversation and leave your opinions on other blogs. It gets you known and let’s people see who you are, behind your posts.
  • Create picture content – whether this is your own photography, the use of quote pictures or even a collage/header you created. I didn’t know how this simple feature could improve your look AND  content of  posts. It just adds a bit of extra love and really promotes the effort you put in. Looking back on my earlier posts, I discretely cringe at what pictures I used (all evidence of these will be edited eventually once old posts are updated). So it’s useful to include picture content straight away and even the use a photo editor to just update content – it can be something as simple as using picmonkey or as complicated as photoshop. The choice is yours.
  • Spend time browsing others – blogging is very much a lover of karma. You can’t expect results overnight. You get what you give. You can’t expect people to visit your page if you don’t spend time visiting others. If you visit pages and leave lovely feedback and comments, you are likely to see bloggers return the favour and start to visit your page. You develop a repetition for yourself too, which is lovely to have in the blogging world, and create lovely bonds with other bloggers. It’s a long winded process, one I’m far from mastering. But knowing this earlier would have been helpful.
  • Scheduling – this is a HUGE point I wish I’d have known long ago. It just helps you become more organised. When you’re having a motivated day filled with lots of inspiration and time, get typing those posts and schedule them for later dates. The same goes for scheduling social media updates. I use Hootsuite.com to promote my new and old posts on social media. The good thing is you are in charge of what you put out there and when, so if you know your going to be busy on certain days and not have much time to be present, it’s a good tool to keep you active. It’s also a great feature to help give you a break, and as a result reduce the stress and pressure you put on yourself drawn with the need to update constantly.
  • Be kind patient – things don’t happen overnight, blogging takes effort and time. Especially in building up a nice following and readership. So make sure you commit to things if you want results. Don’t beat yourself up over things. Slow and steady does it. Enjoy the world and live in the moment. Don’t take things to seriously and don’t try to be the perfect. You don’t need to put additional pressure on yourself rushing to learn too much at once or take on too much in a short space of time. Things will come together in time and you’ll look back in a year and see those small improvements to be the most important.

I don’t claim to be a blogging success and my goodness, I have a very long way to go. I have so much more to learn, so much more to achieve and I am most definitely not an expert. But these simple points, I feel, can really help someone get things going that little bit quicker, and help them learn to love blogging that little bit more.

loll

My Thankful List.

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Sitting back and actually pondering over life, it’s easy to see that I have a lot to be thankful for. Since it is Sunday, what better way to round off the week than to put these marvellously positive reasons out into my own personal corner of the internet. I have many reasons to be thankful in life but for the sake of the blog, lets round it to five. So here we go, lets count these blessings:

  1. I have a very resourceful, beautiful, kind and most importantly healthy 19 month old daughter. This is easily the thing I am most thankful for in life by far. Many people go through life longing for a child or having some many obstacles in their way whilst trying to achieve this and the fact I was able to bring my daughter into this world comfortably and stress free was/is amazing. I know as a parent, we all have those moments where our child tests our patience, but deep down I wouldn’t have it any other way. It is an exceptional, incredible journey and every part of it makes up parenthood (especially the bad and the ugly moments). She is here and with me, and loves me unconditionally. How can I not be thankful?
  2. Love is also something not everyone gets to experience, or they find love and unfortunately it gets away. For whatever reason. Love is something I am massively thankful for. And by love, I mean the relationship I have with my fiance. Eight years we have been together now. Eight years has brought many high and low moments, but now our relationship is strong, sturdy and (I feel) shatterproof. It’s so cliche to say but he is my best friend, rock and soulmate. The support I receive from him is something I will forever be thankful for.
  3. My health is something I am very thankful for. Losing my mother as a small child and then my Nanna as a teen (who was my guardian) means that I understand the true value of how important your health is and how quickly it can take a turn for the worse. We are all so quick to grumble about a cough or a cold we have, but we forget that there are many people in this world battling to stay another day. I thank heavens every morning that I am healthy and here to experience my daughters life.
  4. My education. Living in the UK means I have always had the access to education from being a young child. At the age of 3/4 years old, I was in pre-school, then primary school, then secondary school, then college and then university. Okay university might not have been the route for me, but the fact I had the opportunity to even apply to go there is an incredible thing. Many people in this world do not even have access to a proper childhood education, don’t know how to read or write or even count. It’s something you take massively for granted, especially living in the UK. I am extremely thankful that my education served me well and is the basis for many opportunities I receive in life.
  5. Since this blog has turned into a deep post, I will finish it on a lighter thankful note. I am thankful for my cat. He was abandoned as a kitten and took to a cat shelter. Luck would have it, two weeks later, we fell in love with him and he became a part of our family. He is a cat you wouldn’t ever think had such a rough start to life. He is a gentle soul, playful (but doesn’t hurt) and is my daughters best friend. I am thankful for the smiles he brings to her face on a daily basis.

So there we have it. My week rounded off and brought to an end with a smile on for face for all these precious, lovely things I have to be thankful of. In this fast paced, quick moving world, we don’t reflect on life enough.

Lots of Love

What are you thankful for in life?