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!

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!

DIY Flair Display Board

When we were road tripping across America last month, I didn’t go on any major shopping sprees – the way I saw it, the more I bought, the more I’d need to carry! But I DID pick up an enamel pin from each location we visited. I wanted a memento from the amazing places we were lucky enough to see, and pins didn’t take up much room in my suitcase, which made them very easy to collect over the weeks we were away.

I wear a lot of pins and patches but (as much as I’d like to!) I can’t wear them all at once! So I decided to show off the ones that aren’t currently adorning my lapels – and share how I did it.

This DIY flair display is an inexpensive, easy and effective way to store your pins! Here’s how to make your own…

You will need

  • 1 x corkboard (mine was £1.75 from Amazon)
  • Paint in contrasting colours (I used two tester pots from Homebase, £1 each)
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Something to protect your work surface (I used an old magazine)

  1. Paint your first colour onto the whole board, and leave it to dry.
  2. Using your tape, section off some areas for your second colour. You can be as creative as you like – I made some geometric shapes with mine!
  3. Add your second colour, paint the frame and wait for it to dry. 
  4. Once all of the paint is dry, peel back the tape (so satisfying!) and admire your handiwork!
  5. Arrange your pins and affix to the board. I decided to use my board for just for the pins and prints that I picked up on our trip.

…and that’s really all there is to it – I told you it was easy!

I love walking past this board and remembering our trip. I’m tempted to make a second board very soon for the pins I have by some of my favourite indie designers.

I hope you give this DIY flair display a try, and if you do, be sure to let me know!