Give Yourself Permission to Slow Down!

slow down

To say that I’m a little bit hyperactive is probably an understatement – I’m very easily excited and I always like to be doing things, seeing things, making things…all the things, really! I’m definitely guilty of over-filling my days sometimes (I can’t help it!), how about you?

Recently though, I found myself having to slow down, stay home and not do terribly much for a couple of weeks. Ugh. Cut to me lying in bed, watching my usual range of high-quality movies like The Ugly Dachshund (in which a Great Dane pupper thinks he is a Dachshund…I swear this is a real film and NOT a fever hallucination!) and Cool Runnings (can I get a YASS?). I also drank endless cups of blackcurrant tea, barely looked at my phone and slept a lot – I think I got my sleep quota for the year in a very short period of time!

Usually, some down time would encourage me to be productive in some way. Makeup clear outs, reorganising the cupboards, writing and researching are a few of my usual go-to’s for a day at home. But this time, I just didn’t have the energy – and instead of feeling weird about doing nothing, there was something telling me that I needed it.

But despite having zero energy, I still almost found myself asking for permission to slow down – which sounds so silly when you say it out loud but I’m sure I’m not alone in this! How did we get here?

slow down

After a day or two, the guilt (again, so silly!) went away and I started to see the value in just relaxing and not filling my mind with activities. I felt like I was investing in myself for the first time in ages – something that (ironically!) I always encourage other people to do.

After this period of rest, I felt SO MUCH BETTER. I was recharged and refocused on what I wanted to do and, in a short period of time, I can already see the benefits on my work projects, my personal life and my overall health.

Slowing down truly allowed me to bounce back with more energy (I didn’t know that I had more energy, but there you have it!), so now I incorporate this into my weekly routine. I set aside time to relax, hang out on the sofa, watch something fun for a few hours and just enjoy being in the moment. And speaking of TV, can I share my latest Netflix obsession with you? Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee – get on this, friends!

I’ve found that this quiet time at home is the yin to my overactive yang – it’s that fine balance that allows me to give my best and feel good about what I’m doing. Give yourself permission to slow down and I promise you’ll see the positive impact it can have! And PS: if you’re looking for some extra tips, here are five ways to hit pause (written by yours truly in 2016!).

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!

more sparkle

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!