2018 Promises

In my defence....I completely forgot I'd written a 2017 Promises post...therefore breaking the majority of those promises is a little forgivable. However, I supposed forgetting about promises isn't unforgivable.

2018...I will do better.

I feel like I am in a better frame of mind at the moment. I am content and settled in some ways.

I mean...my house looks like not just one bomb went off but ALL OF THE BOMBS went off and there are so many things I need to sort out and be mindful of but these will hopefully get better if I stick to my promises.

Rather than just writing them down in a list form followed by "I need to do this and this is why", I thought that actually I need to write and make a plan of how I am going to achieve each promise.

Be more in control of finances and outgoings
To be honest, before I moved into a house by myself last year I had never really dealt with numerous bills. I guess I just planned them all and thought it would be ok, without actually keeping a check of what I pay and when.
I didn't shop around for best prices like I could have done, other than for car insurance and house insurance, but for my phone and Broadband I automatically opted for BT and TV I went for Sky. I suppose I just automatically went for what I knew about before.
For the past year and a half I have buried my head in the sand and ended up spending a lot more money than I should have done or needed to. I was too proud to accept help that was offered to me and that I am entitled to. I got to the point where I knew I was going to get in trouble and finally accepted that I need to stop being so proud and actually I work more than the minimum hours I should, I declare all earnings and don't "fleece the system" so why not apply for and accept what I can.
I've already made a start with this and have changed my energy provider, the new billing kicks in on January 10th so I already feel a little success in this area. I've also renewed my BT contract saving money and getting a better deal for my Broadband (finally as my internet has been shocking!)
I also cancelled my Glossybox and Birchbox last year seeing these as unnecessary treats that I was very rarely happy with.
I promise to make a note of all outgoings, keep a track of what is going out and when, and to try and reduce any outgoings where I can. To only pay for services I use and need (eg Netflix, Spotify) and to not sign up to or be tempted by anything that isn't essential (eg Birchbox and Glossybox).

Save money
As above really, but with controlling my outgoings I then want to be able to save money. I have never been good at saving money but since I recently almost got myself in trouble (more running out of money and having no more savings etc) and with a boyfriend who I want to be able to confidently book holidays with and take out for meals and so on, it's given me a kick up the bum to get myself sorted.
We booked a holiday in July and that was what gave me the final push to sort myself out. I bought myself a bottle to save money in, it's an alternative to the smashable pots so the only way to get your money out is to smash it, and I think this will be a really good way to keep a track on my savings and to encourage me to do it without the temptation of dipping in a borrowing the money for something unnecessary.
I think the fact I have told my boyfriend that I'm not good with money and that I am saving has also encouraged me to use this bottle to save money in as it's nice to be able to proudly say "I've put X amount in today".
I promise to be better with my money and to be mindful of what I am spending. At any time I am about to buy a takeaway or feel I have a disposable income and can buy pointless items, to instead put that money into my savings bottle.

Lose weight
I am massively ashamed of what I have done to my body. Although I do forgive myself as mentally I have had a hard year and do tend to comfort eat.
I have joined the gym and will try and stick to regular rota on when I go. I saw a personal trainer who set me up with a regime so I will follow that. However, I don't want to be too strict with myself about going as there are times when I won't be able to make it and I don't want to resent myself for that.
I am going to make an effort to eat better, in terms of what I am consuming and also my portion sizes. Getting back into the 5:2 diet which worked well for me before.
I promise to take more care of myself and my body. To be kind and to not set myself unachieveable goals or limits. To remember what and who I want to look and feel good for.

Write more
I really feel like I have let my blog go a lot in the last two years. I have found it hard to juggle a working life and my mum life along with my blog to and it naturally took a back seat, not at all purposefully because I have missed it. But also haven't been in the frame of mind to write properly.
I've set myself some projects to encourage blogging and sometimes I think that's what you need to give you the boost to write. I have a list of posts to write and went through my 225 draft posts...narrowing it down to 14 so will aim to get those finished and scheduled by the end of January. 
I also have some Isle of Man, and Ireland posts I still want to write and had a trip to Paris in September which inspired a list of 6 posts which eventually I want to get written.
I managed six months of free writing which involved every day just opening a particular notebook and writing whatever came into my head. But then I got depression quite badly and I found a lot of what I was writing was negative and I didn't want that. So on January 1st I will start again. It was very therapeutic and I really enjoyed setting time aside in a day to make time for that.
I promise to be more organised with blog posts, to make time for my blog and to set myself a realistic schedule, but to not put too much pressure on myself if I don't achieve what I really need to. Something is better than nothing.  To set time aside each day for free writing and to enjoy putting pen to paper.

This year I've taken time to meditate. I haven't got myself into any kind of routine with it and most of the time only do it for 5 minutes and although that works well enough to make me feel good and rested, I definitely find the times I focus more and meditate for longer I end up feeling better and getting better results. On 3 occasions I found meditation videos on Youtube and settled the boys at bedtime by doing it with them. They really enjoyed it and I want to bring more of it into their lives next year too.
I promise to manage my time better and to make meditation part of my daily routine. To focus more and to also focus more on meditation for the boys too and make it part of their routine. I promise to make sure my environment is tidy and clear and to focus on what I can do around me to make meditation more effective.

Oracle Cards
I bought my oracle cards when I went to Glastonbury in Easter 2017. I have really enjoyed using them and even though I am open minded I have found that they have given me the answers and guidance I have needed each time I have used them.
I want to learn more about them, to learn the best way to use them for me, and to again get into a routine where I use them either weekly, fortnightly or monthly, however I don't want to use them for the sake of it as I don't think they will be as affective and don't want it to be forced.
I'd also love to get to the point where I can read them for other people. I have done my boyfriends cards once and will use him as my guinea pig for now.
I promise to learn more about the history and uses of Oracle cards and to learn more about how they work for me and benefit me. To use the cards when I feel it necessary and to develop, if I can, to read for other people and to benefit them.



Samsung S8 Personalised Case

I upgraded my phone back in June and have struggled to find a phone case that I like, instead opting for the basic clear protective case that comes free with the phone.

Then, by fate, GoCustomized got in touch and asked if I would like to review one of their phone cases, and in addition to that one of their newest products which included either a notebook, power bank or in-ear earbuds or website.

I am a nightmare and constantly end up with a dead phone whenever I go out so the Personalised Power Bank was the obvious choice.

The great thing about the GoCustomized website is that it is really easy to use. 
You can either use a design already featured on the website or upload a photo and create your own custom product.

I chose the same photo for both my phone case and for the powerbank.
The Xiaomi Slim Power Bank power bank offers 5000mAH of power. I have purchased power banks in the past and haven't been too impressed with how they look or of the plastic coating, so I was quite excited to be able to have a product that would have a photo of my choosing on it. I hadn't read the description on the website properly so was really surprised (in a good way!) to discover on delivery that the power bank is aluminium so the quality is a lot better than those I have purchased previously.
The Power Bank arrived surprisingly quick which I was super impressed with considering it is a personalised product.

The Samsung S8 phone case took a little longer to arrive which was ok as it wasn't a gift and I wasn't in a rush for it, however if you are wanting to order this as a gift for someone then make sure you buy it within plenty of time.
The phone case quality again is fantastic, and fits the phone perfectly, with no parts of the case overlapping any of the buttons or charger/headphone points.
I really like the feel of the case on my phone too. It has an almost matte feel to it and, without sounding strange, feels as though it's unlikely to slip out of my hand easily. It also makes the quality feel that extra bit better.

I'm really pleased with every aspect of both of these products and would highly recommend them not just based on the quality but also on the ease of designing and ordering. 



Five Things | Why Tenerife Is The Perfect Holiday Destination

I have visited Tenerife three times now and fully expect to return again.
It was on my bucket list to visit Tenerife with the boys for a particular reason, which you will see below.
I'm working with  Holiday Gems to bring you Five of my reasons why Tenerife is the perfect holiday destination.

Suitable for couples and families

My first two holidays to Tenerife with my ex-husband and his parents which was an age range of 18-55. It was perfect for us all to be able to enjoy ourselves and find things to do to keep us all happy. 
Holidaying there with the boys was just as perfect and again, we were able to find things to keep us all happy and we even did things I had done during my previous two visits.
There are plenty of areas on the island to keep everyone happy and to suit everyone's tastes. 
Quiet villages or party areas too. Ideal for all ages.

Dolphin and Whale Watching

When I visited Tenerife before I had children we went out on a boat trip to see the Whales and Dolphins. I loved it so much that from that moment I stuck it on my bucket list that when I had children I would take them to Tenerife and we would go out on a boat trip.
Last year we went to Tenerife with my mum and I said that I didn't mind what we did, as long as we got to cross this off my bucket list.
I find it amazing, and a little emotional, to see these animals out in their own environment and habitat.
It was lovely being able to look out for the animals and then getting to relax on the boat and go for a swim in the sea if you wanted to. 
This is something I would do every time I go to Tenerife and highly recommend to everyone.

Loro Parque

I have visited Loro Parque twice now and I absolutely love it. Although it can be hard to walk around when it is super hot, make sure you have lots of suncream and water!
With a variety of different animals, and spacious, well kept enclosures this is safely one of my favourite zoo's I have ever been to.
I find that there are some zoo's that you can struggle to spend a full day at, but Loro Parque is one where you can spend all day and still want to go back and see more.
The boys loved it there and despite us going to Tenerife in the school holidays it was surprisingly not too busy.

Monkey Park, Los Cristianos

Annoyingly I only found out about Monkey Park in September this year when my best friend went on holiday to Tenerife with her fiance and their daughter.
I was full of envy as she sent me photos of her feeding monkeys and being able to hold them. Having researched the park I have discovered that it is described as a "compact zoo and breeding centre for endangered primates, with walk-through cages and feeding allowed". 
This, I feel, has given me a great excuse to go back to Tenerife!

Guaranteed Hot Weather

One of the main reasons to go to Tenerife, and the other Canary islands, is that you are pretty much guaranteed hot weather all year round. Making it the perfect place to holiday throughout the year.


December 2017 Lust List

I'm so excited as my boyfriend and I have booked our first holiday together for July!
We are flying with British Airways and have an allowance of a handbag and then a cabin bag and are hoping to be able to manage with that and not having to pay for additional luggage.
Perfect excuse to buy a lovely piece of cabin luggage right? I am totally impatient and couldn't help but to instantly start looking when he booked the flights.
I think the best thing about cabin luggage is that you can go a bit fancy, without fear of it being chucked about by the baggage staff.
It's been a dream of mine for years to own a Tripp suitcase. I love the look of them and the hard cases really appeal to me in terms of how robust they could be...potentially.
I also love the beautiful floral cases from River Island too. January Sales...fingers crossed!

It seems like these lust lists aren't complete without a collage of nail or tattoo lust.
With my final nail appointment of 2017 due and the colour on my last two visits being chosen by my nail technician because I am so indecisive I thought in advance about what style and theme I want to go for.
Classy, cosy with a hint of winter.



Caturday December 2017

The reason I wanted a kitten was because I felt this overwhelming urge to love something new. To nurture and to feel wanted and needed. 
It wasn't until this week that I realised that actually, maybe it wasn't completely down to me wanting to love something new. 

As I remembered the first messages I sent to my mum when Forest first came home. As I thought about the things I say to him over and over. 

"He loves me already
"You really do love me"

I realised that more than giving out love, I wanted to receive it. 
It wasn't about me wanting something new to love, not completely anyway, but was mostly about feeling love from something. 

And in Forest I have that....probably a lot more than I expected. 

He follows me around everywhere I go and at night time likes to cuddle up with me, as close as he can, and go to sleep. Preferring to lay across me or on me where and when possible. 
I can only just excuse the stupid o clock wake ups where he pokes and prods me to wake me up for me to give him a little cuddle and then go to back to sleep. Although his new obsession of clawing my hair and scalp is not my favourite. 

We're now two months into this amazing cat being part of our family and not a lot has changed. He is still super confident. Massively affectionate. 
The only change that has happened in the last month is a name change. He now goes by Forest or Ainsley...due to my boyfriend renaming him. 
Annoyingly...Ainsley really suits him and has kind of stuck. 

I've tried to give him a little bit of freedom and will let him out but he returns in seconds, choosing to be more of a house cat. 

The introduction of a Christmas Tree and Christmas lights went better than I expected....until this morning when the tree was knocked down and our poor Angel was decapitated. 

And two months on he still adores me just like he did in the beginning. He is always by my side and gets quite upset when I leave him to have a bath. We've now had 2 incidents which involved him getting wet because he couldn't not be apart from me and thought it would be ok to jump up and lay on my shoulders and my head.
I also still absolutely adore him. He 100% filled that void I had.



November 2017 Lust List

I joined the gym in November and although I had some running leggings or whatever you'd like to call them, I always struggle with tops. I want something thin but oversized and I am amazed usually by how much these cost....when essentially there isn't a huge amount of material.
Sports Direct had loads to choose from and I ended up with a few in my basket...although they are still sitting there whilst I decide which ones to purchase!

I was given the chance to choose some items from an online store this week and spent every day lusting after countless pairs of shoes and boots.
My final selection and top of my lust list are these 3 beauties.
Review will be coming in the next month.

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