Is it too late now to say sorry?

I have a white flag and I want you to know that I am waving it frantically.

I can’t apologise enough for my dropping off the face of the planet. Things have been really difficult these past few months. A lot of change, and I’ll be honest, a lot of upset. I’ve had to rearrange, what feels like, my whole life and adjust to things I never thought I’d have to at 22. I’ll spare you the gory details but know, I’m ready to get back to my blog and devote the time it needs. I feel like I’m finally seeing that little light at the end of the tunnel.

Thank you for anyone who is still out there and reading this now. Whether there’s one or one hundred of you, I appreciate and value your tolerance.

You’ll have to be patient with me. I might not be blogging as regularly as I once was but I’m determined not to abandon my blog anytime soon. Keep your eyes on your emails, you’ll be hearing from me soon.

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Bring on ’16.

People always ask, where do you see yourself in five years? What are you going to do once you’ve finished your degree? What do you want to do for your career?  And I always fumble out some response and manage to change the subject. Not because I don’t have a plan but because I know how easily things can change. I’ve always had a vague idea in my mind about how I’d like my life to pan out but I don’t like to have too many things set in stone. Tackling things in small doses, with a movable end goal in sight, is how I’ve begun living my life. I still have a solid plan but I like to think that it’s written in pencil rather than ink.

With that in mind, I was thinking about the upcoming year and all the things I want to achieve in those twelve months. I grabbed my trusty notebook and jotted down everything I could think of, and came up with my main five.

  • Reach my ideal weight – having worked hard on achieving this goal for the past months (and having lost 16 pounds so far!), I know 2016 will be the year I reach my target weight.
  • Get my second tattoo – I know what I want, I just need to figure out where to get inked this time!
  • Visit Liverpool – I know I’ve mentioned my eagerness to visit this city before and I’m hoping to get this in motion next year.
  • Eat in a Michelin star restaurant – already booked! You can read about it in my previous post here.
  • Put myself first –  in my mind, the most important item on my list. I’ve put a lot of work into myself and my self-worth, and I want to keep pushing forward.

I absolutely have more than five goals for 2016 but, as I’ve said previously, baby steps. Not need to run before I can walk!  I also have some more personal goals that are for me and me only.

Above all though, I want health and happiness (and if at all possible, a little touch of wealth ;)) for all my friends and loved ones.

What are your wishes for 2016? What do you hope to achieve through the year?

 

 

 

Dooooblin!

My day in Ireland was immense. Or to quote the new guy at work, it was “essence”. Yes, I don’t really understand what it means. The point is that my day trip was brill and the early start (I’m talking 3:30am wake-up call!) was totally worth.

Since we were only going for the day, sans luggage, we were able to check-in online and go straight through security and wait to board. The speediness of the day continued with a 30 minute flight and, before I knew it, I was on Irish soil. We started the day with a full English (or should I say, Irish) breakfast before beginning our exploration of the city.

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My mum and I ventured all over the city from O’Connell Bridge to St Patrick’s Cathedral to the Jameson Distillery. We shopped. We ate. We took selfies. We drank. It was an amazing experience.

 

For £19.98 and a half-hour flight each way, I figured that if the day wasn’t as great as we were anticipating, we could live with it. I can officially announce that it was the best 20 quid I’ve spent. It actually takes me longer to get into Leeds on the bus from where I live in the suburbs and a one-way train ticket to Liverpool is more expensive. With change from a twenty pound note, I visited Ireland for the first time where I tried Guinness for the first time and made brilliant memories all in twenty-four hours. It was a cracking day in the Emerald Isle, so it was!

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Sitting in bed on a Thursday night with watching First Dates and scoffing a bag of chocolate chip cookies (and feeling quite sick after eating one too many), I can’t help but feel a tad on the lonely side. Watching all these people meet their potential life partner just makes me go all gooey inside. I am a hopeless romantic and quiet proud of that. I’m not that delusional though. I do realise that I’d probably be doing the exact same thing tonight even if I was in a relationship. I’d just have a human pillow by my side.

Add in the fact that my Facebook news feed is littered with people getting engaged, getting wed and having babies, it’s easy to feel on your own.  I know, I know. Get a grip. I just can’t help it. There’a little part of me inside that just needs to experience real love. Unfortunately, the voice that keeps telling me that I have to experience this, just gets louder.

People say you find love when you least expect it and when you’re not searching for it. So, maybe I just need to chill out? Stop thinking about it and my knight in shining armour will appear. Or, at least, a funny guy wrapped in a bit of tinfoil. I’m not fussy.

Two weeks to go!

Two weeks today, I will be on a plane to Dublin and I can’t wait! There are so many reasons I am excited. The main being that I’ve never been to Ireland and that it’ll be 1st December, and the official countdown to Christmas will have begun.

My mother and myself decided early on that we needed a Christmas shopping day and we looked at getting the train to all different places; York, Manchester, Lincoln, Sheffield. We wanted to have a fun day somewhere new where we could how a lovely, big lunch and shop until we drop. It was then that I remembered seeing an offer for really cheap flights from our local airport to Ireland. Chancing it, I had a quick Google and was amazed. We could get a direct flight to Dublin at 7am and a return that evening for the whooping total of £19.98 each! So, of course, we booked it.

Since we are going to another country and have the entire day there, we’ve decided to make the most of it and tick off a few tourist-y bits and pieces too. In addition to our shopping extravaganza and embracing Dublin’s Christmas-y atmosphere, we’re also hitting the Old Jameson Distillery and a few other hot spots. If any of you have been before or have any tips for where to go, I’d be so grateful. Especially, if it’s any restaurant recommendations!

The countdown has begun now and I have my passport and debit card at the ready! I intend to eat, drink and be merry from the time I wake until I drop into my bed later that night. Bring on the 1st!!

 

10 years to be selfish.

I think most people will agree that during your twenties, it is socially acceptable to be selfish. You can jump on a plane and go travelling, you can pack a job in and bum around for a while, and you can run away from your problems and cry into your mum’s shoulder: all are allowed.

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As soon as the big 3-0 appears though, things can change. Your fun little job that allowed you to ‘find yourself’ suddenly seems to have no career progression. You can’t up and leave everything to visit Koh Samui because you have a mortgage, direct debits and house plants. Hell, you might even have little human beings you’re now responsible for. I don’t want to seem like a Debbie-downer who is dreading life after twenty-nine because I can’t wait for that part of my life. It’ll be exactly that: a new part of my life with a bunch of new adventures (sometimes they’ll just have to be arranged in advance!). I’m just trying to use this as motivation to make the most of having no responsibilities or permanent roots. My point is that your twenties is a time to be opportunistic and do whatever the hell you want. I never want to be the person who looked back over her life and never left her home town, never saw the world and never did all those things she wanted to just because she was trying to be sensible. There’s a time to be rational and it’s not at twenty-one! I have a little trouble remembering that. In my mind, I’m fourty-two and I think about all the consequences of all my actions. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing but I need to loosen the reins and have fun. I need to let my hair down, metaphorically and physically. I want to have so many stories to tell people that I won’t know where to begin.

I’m starting my own little campaign to start saying yes. Shall we book to go Australia next week? Yes. Do you want to get another tattoo tomorrow? Yes. Want to skive off work and Netflix binge day? Yes. I’m  twenty-two in January and I’ll have eight years left to do all the crazy shit I can think of and I’m not going to waste a minute of it. So, if someone invites me somewhere or asks if I want to do something, I’m not going to over-think it. I’m just going to start saying yes.

Club di Giulietta <3

This time last year I was lucky enough to volunteer with the Club di Giulietta in Verona, Italy. Who are they, I hear you ask. They are Juliet’s Secretaries.

Verona is synonymous with Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet. Having being the setting for the tragic love affair, the city and it’s inhabitants embrace the anything and everything to do with the couple and their love. From Juliet’s balcony to Romeo’s house to Juliet’s Tomb, there are many attractions that any hopeless romantic would love (and that’s without the city’s own historical landmarks!).

One of the most famous attractions is the Casa de Julieta where you can explore TWFT-536Juliet’s house, rub the statue’s golden boob for luck, confess your undying love on her balcony or even snap a quick selfie. Check mine out ->

You can probably see the wall behind me is covered with notes and letters. That, my friends, is what brought me to Verona. As such an iconic figure, Juliet has become a guru of sorts. People from all over the world come to Verona to ask Juliet’s help and post their letters asking for advice. Some of you have probably seen the movie Letters to Juliet with Amanda Siegfried, where she stumbles across a group of women who respond to all the letters written to Juliet. Well, they exist. Once I’d watched the movie a couple (ok, multiple!) times, I was inspired and decided to find them. It was just my luck that they offer a Traineeship Opportunity. After emails back and forth, and some haggling to get time off at work, it was confirmed. I would be spending a week in Verona at the Club di Giulietta!

TWFT-610During October half term 2014 (if you’re not from the UK, this is the last week in October and sometimes going into the first week of November), I flew from Leeds, England to Venice, Italy. Having never been to Italy before, I planned a few hours down time in Venice to explore before I had to grab my train to Verona. It was amazing! I saw the Bridge of Sighs, St Mark’s Square, the Rialto Bridge and more boats than I could count!


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Travelling solo was a really scary thing to do. I’m not ashamed to admit that there were a few tears at the airport. I arranged my entire trip from Leeds to Venice to Verona and back again then actually did it on my own – that can be really daunting! I’m super proud of myself though. When I look back on it, it almost feels like it didn’t happen but it did. I do a little happy dance inside whenever I think back on it 🙂

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When I was in Verona, I had plenty of free time to explore. I ate gelato, I shopped, I drank peach Bellinis, I ate more pasta than I care to remember, I rode the tourist train, I went sightseeing but most importantly, I wrote letters. Not only was it a privilege to work with such great people but I felt honoured to be allowed to read people’s most private thoughts and have a chance to respond to them. I was taught, when writing my replies, to always give them hope. When you take on the responsibility of writing as Juliet (and actually signing the letter as Juliet), you are responsible for helping that person and showing them that whatever they’re going through will eventually end. There were lots of letters about from people worrying that they’d never find love and there were a few simply writing to thank Juliet for bringing them their true love. A couple of letters that I read will always stay with me. One in particular from a man who wanted a letter to his fiancé that she could open on their wedding day – that was truly amazing to be a part of.

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The middle picture is me with Anna from the Club di Giulietta.

I had one of the most wonderful experiences volunteering in Verona. It’s a truly unique opportunity that most have never heard of, let alone taken part in. It gave me the chance to travel aboard on my own and visit a country I’d never been to before. Everyone always asks me about it and it’s something I love to share with people. So, on the anniversary of my trip, I decided I should share it with my lovely followers and invite them to send a letter to the Juliet’s Secretaries. They receive tens of thousands of letters every year and a large chunk of those are posted from aboard. If you’re feeling as inspired as I was, why not write a little note, pop it in an envelope and post it to them? You won’t regret it.

The address to post your letter to is: Corso Santa Anastasia 29,
Verona, ITALY.

Check out the Club di Giulietta‘s website here ->http://www.julietclub.com/en/