Less Snark, More Sparkle: Let’s Go, 2018!

more sparkle

I wanted to write something to kick-start 2018 that truly represented how I feel at the start of a new year and the more I thought about it, the more I realised that I’ve already said it – four years ago! And, with a little encouragement from Briony, I decided to repost those thoughts today rather than try to reword them just for the sake of it. After all, they’re as important to me now as they were back then!

Some of you might remember this (and if you’ve been sticking with me since then, thank you!) and for those of you who are newer around here, I hope that you enjoy getting ready for 2018 with me…

Happy New Year! Whether you were partying wildly or having a cosy night in, I hope you had a fabulous time saying goodbye to 2017 and hello to the next 12 months. There’s something about a new year that makes us feel optimistic and hopeful – 365 days lie ahead ready for us and filled with potential. Think of it as a blank notebook – and it can be as interesting and exciting as you desire!

I like to set myself goals each year – some are small challenges and others are on the larger side, but all of them are with the aim of enjoying and embracing life more. Today I’d like to share some tips that I think will help make this year awesome – maybe even your best year yet!

Try Something New

This is one that you can be quite flexible with. It could be anything from trying out a new haircut to seeing a new band or even – if you’re feeling REALLY adventurous – carving out a new career! Don’t be afraid and try to push yourself out of your comfort zone this year. Take that risk! You might find a passion for something that you never knew was there! I’d love to hear about what you discover this year…

Unplug and Get Outside More!

I practice what I preach with this one. PUT THE PHONE DOWN. SWITCH OFF THE TV. GO OUTSIDE! Do you want to be the person outside making amazing things happen or the person on the sofa reading about it on Twitter? Exactly. Getting outside and even just going for long walks in the fresh air will make you feel a million times better, I promise.

All Aboard! AKA: Travel, travel, travel

This year, make it a goal to see some new places. Again, this is a flexible one that can fit in with your lifestyle (and budget). It could be as simple as visiting a neighbouring city or as massive as trekking halfway across the world. The point is, going somewhere new is exciting and a break from your normal routine. You never know what you might get up to or what you might find!

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Document your Adventures

While you’re out there, make sure you snap photos and take notes! Personally, I love being able to blog about what I’ve been up to but apps like Instagram are also a quick and easy way to take a snapshot of the exciting, funny and bizarre moments in real-time. You could even make a scrapbook if (like me) you accumulate a lot of memorabilia like ticket stubs, instant photos and flyers! Look over the fabulous memories you’ve made for an instant lift when you need one!

Spend Time with Your Favourite People

I’ve previously blogged about why I think spending time with your besties is good for the soul, and this year make it your mission to see your friends more – especially the ones that you maybe haven’t seen as much as you would have liked to last year. You will smile more, laugh more and generally feel more content.

Be Healthy and Happy

I’m certainly not going to give a lecture on what to eat or how much exercise you should be doing – there are plenty of websites and YouTube channels that give sound in-depth advice on that side of things (and then some)! All I mean here is that the more we look after ourselves, the longer we will be around and therefore able to do the fun things that we are striving to do. Nuff said!

Less Snark, More Sparkle

My favourite goal. This is something that I try to live by every day and if you take just one thing away from this list make it this one. So what does it mean? Negativity drags us down. It’s toxic stuff and we really DON’T need it. I can’t even imagine how much time and energy is wasted on criticising people for no reason (whether you know them personally or not). Be positive, be imaginative, be kind and be open to change. That’s the REAL sparkle (although if you want to cover your body in glitter I am, as always, 100% behind you!).

I can’t wait to see what the next 12 months brings. Let’s get out there and make it fantastic!

What Makes You Happy?

It’s Friday! I have to admit that I’m still on a bit of a high after last night’s Blogging With Success event – I had so much fun and met lots of lovely people. I’m so pleased that people came along and enjoyed themselves. I woke up with a smile on my face today, for sure!

I have been thinking recently about the little things that can turn a meh day into a YEAH day and, even though there are lots of things that I share with you guys, I really wanted to hear your views this time! So I took to Twitter and Instagram to ask the simple question, What makes you happy? and I was blown away by the response.

Sometimes the world can overwhelm us, so choosing to find a little nugget of joy whenever you can is so important! I loved reading your answers and really want to share what everyone had to say, just in case you need a little pick-me-up today…

what makes you happy

What Makes You Happy?

When it rains all day, but when I leave the house the sun comes out : )  (@emma.mcr on Instagram)

Real, handwritten snail mail letters (@sheandherbrightness on Instagram)

Watching my husband build Lego whilst drinking a cup of hot chocolate (@vintage_tookie244 on Instagram)

A cup of tea when I wake up makes me happy (@msmezza on Instagram)

Sleeping in clean sheets after a hot bath (@zynpgur on Instagram)

Cuddling up on the couch with a fluffy blanket & my husband, watching Drag Race! Small things (@_ejand_ on Instagram)

Food, hugs from my husband and dog, getting a sense of achievement from something (@teacakeandmake on Instagram)

A day at home on the sofa and in pyjamas with lots of movies, snacks, tea, blankets, warmth, @pamela_graham and the dug (@jamesvsburger on Twitter)

Food, wine, friends, family and Eddie! [her sunglasses-wearing dog!] (@laurafromaura on Twitter)

My cat [having seen a further photo of the cat, I can confirm he is ADORABLE!] (@jemmasaid  on Twitter)

Travelling. Head butts from my cats. Big Skirts. Ordering dessert. A really good book (@lastyearsgirl_ on Twitter)

Happiness is being surrounded by those you love, preferably with coffee, cake and your furry friends (@ananyah  on Twitter)

Reading, watching or speaking to someone inspirational! Always gives me a pep in my step. Also: cooking/ eating (@glasgowfood on Twitter)

Being content. I’m happy when I’m not trying to be bigger, better or like someone else. Being happy being me works! (@bigcitylilnurse on Twitter)

That moment when you step off an aeroplane knowing you’ve got x amount of days to explore and enjoy a new place (@TheSundayGirl on Twitter)

The sound of the sea, fresh air in my lungs, wellies on my feet and chatting about life n’ stuff with someone I love (@HouseOfHerby on Twitter)

what makes you happy

When I’m in a good headspace where I can genuinely say I do not give a toss about anyone else’s opinions and I’m not comparing. Also, when my cat smooshes her face against mine because that is a pure, golden moment (@rosekeats on Twitter)

Good wine, good food and good friends & family. What more do you need? (@Glasgowfoodgeek on Twitter)

Food – seriously and genuinely, it’s the only thing that makes me properly happy! Not great, but it’s the truth! (@LPearsonSmith on Twitter)

Someone taking the time to ask me how my day was (@AforAmbs on Twitter)

Feeding people. Love having a full table of friends or family passing food, sharing stories and complaining that they’ve eating too much (@sarahmacp on Twitter)

Time with my boyfriend, friends and family – if there is cake and tea involved, even better! (@frocksfairycake on Twitter)

Making other people feel happy and cared about, whether that’s making them laugh, being supportive or a gesture of appreciation (@papercutpanic on Twitter)

A good chin wag full of hearty laughs, putting the world to rights and positive girl plans always makes me happy (@letsdostuffs on Twitter)

Stormy weather. Makes me feel so calm, and that is not something that happens often at all (@lydipop on Twitter)

When my crush pinches me when I say he’s gorgeous! [um, cutest Tweet award!] (@AngieLoveDesign on Twitter)

what makes you happy

Sleep (@CandelleCo on Twitter)

Cuddling up to the person you love and feeling cosy and safe in their arms. This includes cuddles from animals too (@hellorogue on Twitter)

Sunday afternoon adventures, discovering new places (@misslinnyo on Twitter)

Sunsets (@yazminaaa on Twitter)

Good food, family, friends, and of course, make up (@Saskiasumakeup on Twitter)

Being able to curl up with a good book and a cup of tea. Happiness for me is warmth and comfort (@fromfiona_ on Twitter)

Making other people happy and serving others! (@HstlandHrt on Twitter)

A stodgy dessert and a good yap with my mum (@MaverickBaking on Twitter)

What an awesome list! Thank you to everyone who got involved by sharing what makes you happy – proof that social media is still a positive place, if you ask me!

I’ll be back here on Monday morning with details of a fun giveaway to kick-start your week – so stay tuned for that! In the meantime, have a wonderful weekend…

 

 

 

Images: things that have been making me happy lately – hot off the presses of my Instagram

Five Things I Learned on Our American Road Trip

This year’s American road trip wasn’t just the biggest holiday I’ve ever been on, it’s also one of the most thrilling things I’ve ever done, period.

As well as seeing seven states’ worth of towns, cities and wilderness, spending nearly three weeks on the road with my favourite people was massively exciting! It was a totally new experience for me and it’s safe to say I learned a few things along the way…

Research is everything

From rest stops, to must-do activities, to the restaurants you REALLY want to avoid, doing your research before this kind of adventure really pays off. When you only have one day in a town, you want to make the most of it (and not waste any time Googling things to do when you get there!). Prior to our trip, we had a group access spreadsheet showing our timeline in each location and a Pinterest board to get all our ideas down. On reflection this was probably one of the smartest things we did and I would highly recommend it!

Expect the unexpected

You can plan as much as possible (see above), but sometimes you will still be surprised at where the road takes you. For us, it was up the side of a mountain on a dirt track on the way to Aspen (thanks a lot, road closure!), to a cabin in the middle of the woods in Utah (which Gary thought was a ‘rustic themed hotel’ when he spotted it online, haha!) and uh, Roswell generally (!) to name a few. These twists and turns are what made parts of our trip super memorable, and I wouldn’t want it to have went any other way.

Keep your camera charged

A bit of an obvious one, but when you’re using your camera so frequently (I don’t think mine was ever more than a few inches from me at all times…) it’s really easy to let the battery run out. Pack your charger, and make sure you use it regularly! Keeping my camera and phone charged meant I could freely capture the cities, the ghost towns, the insanely beautiful views and the odd selfie whenever I wanted.

The more you buy, the more you need to carry

…so go easy on the souvenirs! During our American road trip we visited more tacky gift shops, malls and gas stations than I can keep count of, and the temptation to buy things was REAL. But, when you’re having to transport everything around with you (there was a lot of car boot Tetris, you guys!), the novelty of shopping wears off fast! As some of you will remember, I picked up very small enamel pins as souvenirs as they were cute and easy to store!

Pack multipurpose clothing & accessories 

Partly to save suitcase space, also because you’re never quite sure what the weather is going to be like from one place to the next. I don’t think I’ll ever truly be a ‘capsule wardrobe’ type (surprise!) but I definitely brought a few things that I could get good use out of. My most-used item was this huge leopard print scarf (£2 from Primark about ten years ago!!), which I wore in my hair, as a wrap on chilly evenings and even over my face when we were in the windy desert.

These are just a few things I learned on our road trip, and I’ll be keeping all of them in mind for future holidays. If there’s anything I haven’t covered here, or if you have a question about something I’ve mentioned, feel free to get in touch or tweet me!

Here’s to adventure and the open road!