Here’s The Thing About Depression…

Here’s The Thing About Depression...

Here’s the thing about depression… it can strike at any time, for any amount of time, and sometimes there’s not even a legitimate reason, it just happens. In today’s post, I discuss how I have been dealing with it lately.

Lately, my life has been pretty great. I started a wonderful new job at the beginning of the year which I love; I’m getting on top of my diet and my fitness routine, I’m happy with my social life (it’s busy but not too busy) and my relationship with Scott is as strong as ever. That’s the thing that I’m struggling with… my life is lovely at the minute and I can’t really complain. I’m not stressed on the daily anymore and I’m able to switch off a lot faster than I ever was able to before. Unfortunately that depression switch can turn itself on at ANY point, and I’ll admit that I still struggle with that..

I tend to hide away from my depression because in my head, if I hide away from it, it’s not there. I find it hard to give myself some compassion that this is something that I will likely deal with for most of my life. I can’t hide from it, I can certainly control it with the correct treatment but sometimes you can’t control everything. It slips in when you least expect it and it’s difficult to understand why, especially when we live in a world that we’re always told that “someone has it worse than you” so automatically you feel bad that those feelings slip through the cracks and sometimes I feel like I shouldn’t complain. I have a roof over my head, I have a warm bed at night, I have food on the table and I have a body capable of movement; that’s what everyone desires right?

wp-1580680048986.jpg(Capturing the beautiful pink sky a few weeks ago in Belfast City Centre)

That’s the thing with depression… it comes in many forms and it’s not just feeling sad. Most of the depression I have lived with has been multi-functioning so I’m fortunate that I can get up in the morning, go to work every day and carry on with my life, but that didn’t mean I didn’t struggle. When I was unemployed, getting out of bed was sometimes the hardest thing to do that day but that particular feeling hasn’t been very strong in quite some time. Wanting to sleep more, emotional eating with the sweet treats, not being interested in activities I used to enjoy (Ie. the gym or writing blog posts are two of many), not wanting to meet up with friends and simply staying at home are what I am dealing with at the moment and these are especially tough during the weekend. I’m very lucky that I love my job so I have a distraction during the week, but once it hits home time, I have started those feelings come back again and as I mentioned, the weekends are a little harder to deal with, and I think it’s because I don’t have that “going to work” mindset.

Scott is pretty quick to notice my change in behaviour and when I beat myself up for letting it get to me, he’s also very quick to say “you have something that sometimes you can’t control, and that’s okay” and it truly is a control mindset. It’s one of the main reasons I don’t touch alcohol; I like to be in one hundred percent control of my mind and body, so having an imbalance that I can’t control all the time, that’s very tough for me. I know that having bad days or bad weeks comes with the territory and I know that if it was a friend in this situation, I would be talking so differently, but we tend to be so much tougher on ourselves, rather we would be to a friend.

wp-1580680221534.jpg(Down by Jordanstown beach during the Summer)

I still have quite a hard time coming to terms with the fact that everything can be fine yet my head tells me a different story, Scott has described it as life being great but it’s almost like my head is looking for something to go wrong, which sounds like me. I’m normally looking for the negative in things so that theory sounds correct. It’s tough when you have all these things planned out for after work or during the weekend but within a snap of your fingers, you just want to go home and sit in silence or go to bed early. Not only do I feel sorry for myself, I feel bad that I’m changing plans for Scott too. He always says not to worry about it because he is very understanding but when we don’t get to do what I had originally planned, it’s really frustrating for me.

I know this didn’t really have a start, middle or an end like most of my posts do, and while this conclusion wasn’t planned, I guess it’s ironic that this whole process hasn’t been linear either so why should me talking about it be also? Anyway, as always, thank you for taking the time to read today’s post, I really do appreciate it ❤️

2020: The Year Of Running?

Copy of I Never Want To Run A Marathon... And That’s Okay (1)

Aah running, it’s always been such a balancing act for me; I love it because I can see instant progress but I hate the way it makes me feel sometimes. Thankfully I don’t get too much of the latter anymore. Today’s post however is talking about my first run back a few weeks ago, how I felt and what changes I’ll be making to move forward with my running goals.

In a previous post about how last year (2019) wasn’t my best year of running (which I’ll link here) I talked all about why I thought it wasn’t the best year in terms of my running and what went wrong. I had an incredible 2019 for the most part but it was just that my fitness wasn’t at its best like it should have been.
Getting ready for that first run again was tough, not in the sense that I had no idea what to expect but I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to run at all. I didn’t know whether I could run 100m never mind one mile, and I had been putting it off for a couple of weeks. Scott would suggest that we go for a run, and I would quickly suggest the gym instead, but I always knew in the back of my mind that running was more important to him, and I felt bad. I felt bad that I was more than likely, holding him back from doing what he loved, because I couldn’t get past my worry.

wp-1579465485118.jpg
Starting that first run back was better than expected; I was able to run 5K without stopping and I didn’t think I would be able to do that for at least the first few runs. I was incredibly proud of myself because I had been so worried for weeks that I would never be able to run again. When you say it out loud, it sounds ridiculous, right? I stopped running on a regular basis and now all of a sudden, I feel like I’m never going to be able to run again.
There are so many quotes about not thinking about the past and living in the present, that this one in particular seems perfect for what I’m trying to explain: “If you want to be happy, do not dwell in the past, do not worry about the future, focus on living fully in the present.” Thinking about how you used to be (especially when you were at your best) can be emotional at times and it can actually put you off pursuing something (like I did for quite a few weeks).
In anything, when you have built a skill and you feel like you have to start over again, it can be difficult. You never know if you’re going to get back to that stage again and it can be even harder going back to square one and doing all the leg work. For me, it was all about speed; when I first began running, I was at a 45 minute 5K and then my best was 30:02 (yes, two seconds off 30 minutes!) and now I’m at around 38 minutes. Sure, it’s not forty five but it’s not close to my absolute best. I would say that was the hardest part of getting back into a running routine again; knowing that I wasn’t going to be as fast and having to deal with that, whether I was okay with it or not.. When you haven’t ran consistently in just under a year, what can you really expect? It’s like anything really; if you learn a language for a year and then stop for nine months, it’s going to take a while to get back into again.

wp-1579465681508.jpg
I can tell you about how I felt getting back into running again and how I’m not happy with having to start very close to the beginning again, but what changes do I need to make? Am I going to make running a priority again? Am I going to make a plan?
As I mentioned in one of my previous posts about how to start budgeting (which you can read right here), I talked about having a “why” and while we’re not talking about money in this post today, the subject is still relatable. It’s important to have a “why” and especially for your goals (whatever they may be) because if you don’t, you’ll simply be less motivated to move forward with them and failure will be more likely. In order to make something a priority, you need to assess your time, your why and where you would like to move further with it in the future.
For me, running and overall physical fitness is a priority for me, so it’s important to me to make sure I look at what time I do have and when I can fit my goals into my time. I work a normal 9-5 schedule which I absolutely love, but I get tired very easily. I don’t have a chronic disease and having someone close to me that has one, I can only imagine what someone goes through with that type of illness. I have always had a sense of tiredness since my early teenage years and it’s always something that has stayed with me. Having no solution can be difficult but I know that so many other people have it worse than me, and it’s something I do have to remember.
I know that scheduling two runs during the week and a slightly longer run at the weekend will be the starting point for Scott and I, and we may substitute a run for a gym session but it’s equally as important to improve our overall fitness and not just our cardiovascular health. We’re also planning on signing up to a few races over the year too, because then that will help us aim for slightly larger goals, whether that is distance or speed.

● ● ●

As always, thank you for taking the time to read today’s post and if you have anything similar that you think would make an interesting read, you can leave it down below in the comments, over on my Twitter or my Instagram. Have a lovely week!

Simple Budgeting Tools for the New Year.

Simple Budgeting Tools for the New Year..png

January, also known as the longest month of the year, because we’re trying to survive after the festive season. Budgeting is really important if you need to pay off debts after this period or if you want to do something more pleasurable. In today’s post, I’m going to be talking about some tools you can use to budget and how you can start to do it too in a few simple steps.

I absolutely love January because I’m a goal-oriented person so while it might sound totally cringy, I love goal setting and January is the perfect partner for that. The one downside of January however, is how long it feels especially when it comes to your finances. Getting paid early in December might feel like a dream at first but reality soon hits when you look at the calendar for the next month and realise how many weeks it is until you are next paid. If you’re like me, it’s the last day of the month. We’ve all heard about Blue Monday which is said to be the worst day of the month due to the financial strain of the previous month.

silver-and-gold-coins-128867
(Photo Credit: Pexels)

There are three types of people in this world; those who like to record manually, those who like to work digitally and those who don’t know where to start. If you’re reading this blog post, I would say more than likely, you are the third person. Trying to find the right system for you can be overwhelming and it all comes down to what type of person you are and your time management skills.

You’re a manual person… if you love having everything written down in a notepad or your own worksheet and you have the time to make sure that everything is accounted for. The manual route is a great option if you are someone who isn’t great on technology and would rather have personal information like your expenses filed in a cabinet in your office or your house.

You’re a digital person… if you want everything accounted for but you know that you don’t have the time to write every single expense out. The digital route is also a really good option if you plan to keep your expenses on file in one designated place so they are easily accessible.

How I budget for this time of the year.

I use an Android app called “Money Manager” (which I’m sure is available on the Apple store too) and while it’s a digital system, you could say it’s a manual version. You have to input the data yourself and I personally love how you can customise each expense with each symbol as well as making your own expenses. I tend to sit with the app while going through my mobile banking app and adding in each payment alongside the date and a description of what it was. I tend to do this on a Sunday evening as I wind down for the week ahead. 

(Photo Credit: Money Manager on Google Play Store)

Recommendations.

These recommendations are friends recommendations and what works for them. Monzo seems to be quite popular at the moment, not only because it’s an online bank with some of the best interest rates but it can also help you with your spending. It has a function on the app to tell you what categories you are spending the most, which is a lot like the app I use, except Monzo does it automatically for you. If you don’t want to change your bank, I know that most of the commercial banks have something very similar on their apps (I know mine does!)

Both Google and Microsoft have several templates that you can customise to suit your style if you prefer having all your information on a worksheet. You can also make these to suit your financial needs, whether you want one huge sheet for the year or if you prefer to break them up over weeks and months.

money-pink-coins-pig-9660.jpg(Photo by Skitterphoto from Pexels)

Who doesn’t love a traditional money box? I personally find this is an old school option because I don’t tend to carry money with me all that often but I think it’s a really good option for the loose change you may have sitting in the bottom of your purse or even the coins you have around the house. I bought my boyfriend a money box that can detect which coin is going into the box, and it added it up for you too. (He will happily admit that he loved seeing the figure go up!)

If you don’t think the coin option would suit you, there are a number of apps including Tandem and Monzo that will round up your purchases to the nearest pound and it adds it into your savings. There’s even an app called Moneybox and it adds the spare change into an investment fund. All you have to do is add an app to your phone and connect it to your bank account, and you’re good to go!

Make sure you have a why.

We’re always being told that we have to do something that everyone else is doing, which brings me to my most important point; if you don’t want to budget, don’t do it. There is nothing worse that forcing yourself to do something you don’t want to do just because you think you should do it. My guess would be that if you didn’t want to sort out your finances, you wouldn’t be reading this post but I think it’s really important to make sure you have a “why”. Why do you want to save money or figure out your finances? Are you saving up for a holiday or a home renovation, or maybe you want to find a way where you’re not so tight every month. Whatever your reason, you have to make sure it’s a good reason for you or you might not stick to it as much as you think.

Thank you so much as always for reading today’s post! I know it can be hard to start budgeting but you need to find the right method for you, and I hope that my post is able to help with that, even as a starting point. I also have another post I wrote two years ago which gives a more in-depth look at how much to save (which I’ll link here). I hope you have a lovely start to the New Year!

My Continue, Start and Stop Plan: 2020.

My Continue, Start and Stop Plan_ Mid 2019.

If you’ve been reading the blog for a few years now, you will know that I have been experimenting with goals and resolutions while trying to find the best solution for me. After watching Muchelle B’s video last year about the Continue, Start and Stop plan, I gave it a go and it’s been the best tool for me so far. If you fancy having a read of the previous post, (linked right here) and in today’s post, I’ll be talking about my plan for early to mid 2020. (It’s a long one so you may want to get yourself a drink for this one!)

What is the Continue, Start and Stop plan?

If you haven’t read my first post on this, I highly recommend you do because it has the complete backstory on why I wanted to try this method. However, I’ll give you a short version of what the plan is. It’s simply a plan where you lay out what you want to continue doing, what you would like to start doing and what you want to stop doing in your life. When I did my updated six month plan (linked here), I added a back-on-track section, because there were things that I didn’t need to necessarily start but I wasn’t continuing them because I hadn’t practiced them in a while.

I’m a cliche New Year, New Me type of person and I have zero shame in that. I love the fresh start of a new month or a new year, it’s just the way that I like to work. I love having goals to aim for, I’m very much a goal oriented person; however over the last few years, I noticed that my standard practice of setting New Year’s Resolutions wasn’t working as well as I wanted it to. I knew I had to mix it up so I tried three goals every three months, then last year I tried two goals every two months as well as this Continue, Start and Stop plan. I was able to concentrate on the goals for 2019, but it’s possible that I was still taking on too much with the plan and individual goals but I did try and tie them together as much as I could. 

20180506_165350-01.jpeg

As mentioned before, I did a six month update of my plan last year and I believe that was one of the best ways not to overwhelm myself. While I’m a cliche New Year goals person, I’m also one of those people who want to change everything overnight, and as much as I know it’s the wrong attitude sometimes, I get sucked into it. Having that split over the six months will be much more beneficial and it gives you a better viewpoint on what has changed and what hasn’t changed. 

With this plan, I’m not going to go through each activity, because you’ll be here all day if I did. Most of them are self-explanatory and I think it’s important to note that these are my goals and what I want to work on for my own reasons. That’s the really good thing about goals and resolutions, we can all find our inspiration from other people and alternatives online, but it’s all about what you feel like you need to do to improve yourself. 

wp-1577903154217.jpg

What do I want to continue?

  • I have been planning mornings or afternoons at one of my local coffee shops for a few years now; you might be the type of person who can work from home but I haven’t trained myself to do that so my best work is done outside of the house. Whether the work is goal setting, blog post writing or planning the next few weeks; the new environment gives me some mental clarity. It’s something I can do on my own for a few hours whereas Scott doesn’t like working in coffee shops, he works so much better at home, so it’s always nice to come home and talk about what work we got done that day. I try and limit my mornings out to possibly twice or three times a month, but that will all depend on how much money I have to spend (those teas and coffees can add up without even noticing, which I’ll discuss in a moment) and the other activities I have planned.

  • Money management is something I have been able to stream line into my life quite easily, I’m able to work out quickly how much money I have left to spend on certain activities and when I know I have to pull back until the next pay day. I still question why this isn’t something we are taught in school; I took a Learning for Life and Work GCSE (I would also say one of the most pointless GCSE’s, I wish I had chosen something else) and we weren’t taught anything like this so it’s been something that I’ve been learning throughout adult life. Once you know what’s going in and more importantly, how much is coming out, then you’re able to establish what you can and can’t do.

  • During the Christmas period, Scott and I both managed to get back into a gym routine. (I know, it’s a VERY strange time to do this!) and we’ve been really enjoying it. What I needed to do and I had noted it on my plan last year that I needed to have a plan for the gym. Some people can decide what they’re going to do when they are there, but I’m definitely not like that. I’ve found that Instagram is a great tool especially for HIIT workouts, so I can use my wireless headphones and watch the video quickly before doing the exercise. We’ve also moved to evening workouts rather than morning workouts; this is because I kept saying “Oh let’s get up early and go to the gym before work” and for two months, that NEVER happened because I was so tired. This meant restructuring our routine and we found having the time off around Christmas gave us that freedom.

What do I want to start?

  • I don’t tend to set weight loss as a goal anymore but it’s something that I have been wanting to work on for the last year. I’ve gained a little more weight than I would like, and I spoke about this in my weightloss post quite recently (which I’ll link here) so having monthly weigh ins will be a strategy that will help me. I know it’s not all about the numbers but I know where ideal weight is meant to be so with more walking, more gym workouts and eating better, it will fall off naturally.

  • For Christmas, Scott bought me a calligraphy set alongside a Brooklyn Art Library sketchbook which has a really cool concept of being featured in the library once you have completed it and sent it off, and it ends up travelling around the United States. I’ll link the website here so you can see what it’s all about for yourself. I want to incorporate calligraphy into this project because then I’ll be able to see my progression throughout my sketches. It also has a deadline too, so it means that I definitely need to have it done before the mid-year point.

  • Intermittent fasting has always fascinated me, Scott is a big fan of it and used this method for the majority of last year so it’s something I want to explore more. I tend to get quite hungry in the mornings though so that’s one barrier that I might struggle with, but for setting it for one monthly, it will give me a taste (excuse the pun!) of what it is like without forcing myself to do it forever.

20200101_160031-01-01.jpeg

What do I want to get back on track?

  • My “back on track” is very much centered on physical health and that wasn’t even intentional. Meal prepping my lunches and drinking the correct amount of water was something I used to be so on top of but over the last few months, it hasn’t been a priority for me and I ended up not eating as nutritious as I should have.

  • While I’m continuing with a regular gym routine, I only started running again after four months off (and I didn’t realise it was that long until I checked my Strava) so building up a running routine again is one of my top priorities this year. I absolutely love running and while I have to be in the right head space for it, I love when I’m constantly getting better whether that’s with distance or with speed, the feeling is like no other.

  • My relationship with Scott is wonderful and I feel quite lucky that we seem to be a very strong couple. We don’t fight all that often and most of the time, we’re able to talk it out. We absolutely love living together but even before we moved in together, we noticed that we were hanging out in the house a lot in the evenings and the weekends. There were a lot of factors in this of course, I’m always tired in the evenings and it’s hard to push yourself to do anything apart from lie in bed or have a nap. There was also stress from work so the last thing I wanted to do when I got home, was to go out anywhere. Scott knows the challenges of this of course and he is very supportive but I want to be committed to having mini dates with him; they don’t have to be expensive and even if it’s quality time together on a walk around the city, at least it’s not another night in the house.

What do I want to stop?

  • Three of these activities are back on the “stop” list; not getting up when my alarm goes off, needing a sweet treat every day and pulling and twisting my hair. These three are incredibly hard to stop doing altogether; I spoke about emotional eating in a previous post but I don’t think the sweet treat is about that anymore, I’ve just become so accustomed to having something sweet before or after dinner that it’s a habit now. A habit that I would definitely love to break. Of course, I am all about balance but I know the difference between balance and eating for no reason, and this is definitely the latter.

  • I also talked about pulling and twisting my hair, and how I thought it may be down the lines of dermatillomania or trichotillomania. Obviously, I haven’t been diagnosed with anything but on that basis alone, it’s not as simple as just stopping. I still haven’t found anything that works on a permanent basis (other than my boyfriend telling me off, ha!)

● ● ●

A lot of reading I know but I hope it gives a better insight on my plans and goals for the next six months. If you have anything similar that you think I should read, please let me know either down below in the comments or over on my Twitter or my Instagram. Thank you so much for reading and have an amazing week! 🌻

Goals: Reflecting on October and November and What I’m Planning for Next Year.

Goals_ Reflecting on October and November and What I'm Planning for Next Year.

I don’t want to be a cliche but how fast has this year flown by?! I can’t believe it’s the end of the year and it’s my favourite time for two reasons. I get to celebrate Christmas which is my favourite holiday and I get to reassess what I’ll be doing differently for not only the next year, but into a new decade. In this post, I’ll be discussing my goals for the last two months and how they went.

Organise the spare room.

Scott is quite the star, I don’t say it enough but he is. He noticed that the room had become overwhelming for me and he helped out massively by moving most of the units around so the place didn’t look so cluttered. Towards the end of November, we moved most of the boxes out of the room that I didn’t need for the next month or so, and those were either put up in the roofspace or in the bedroom cupboards. It

Make time for more walks.

I completely SMASHED this in October because my boyfriend and my brother were taking part in a Sober October challenge with added steps, which meant they had to try and get the most steps throughout the month. It gave us a really good reason to go for a walk before or after work, and I started walking to the garage during lunch rather than driving up. I tripled my step count over the month of October compared the steps in September, and while I didn’t actively try and walk all the time in November like we did in October, I still think I did amazing for making more time for more walks, and I hope to continue it, but just not in such an intense way moving forward.

● ● ●

Again, another goal setting exercise with one out of two. Technically, it’s two out of two but because the spare room isn’t as organised as I had planned in October, I’ll not mark that off my list. November was definitely a more chill month and I think it was much needed because I’m now focused on December and the New Year to get exercising and walking more regularly.

Looking back; last year I tried three goals every three months and this year I tried two goals every two months. Personally, two goals over two months has been much more beneficial for me because in hindsight, three goals was too much. I was so goal oriented that I took it a step closer and I think that’s perfectly okay; I’ve learned what is best for me and that’s what goal setting is all about at the end of the day.

Now, as we’re coming up to the New Year, that will of course be the time where I’m going to be focusing on goals for the next quarter and the next twelve months overall. I haven’t exactly planned it out yet but I’ll be posting about it very soon as I always do. I’ll be continuing with my Continue, Stop and Start plan that I began last year (which you can read the first one and the second one right here) because that was a really great way for me to lay out my good habits, my bad habits and what I wanted to do more. I haven’t decided whether I’m going to focus on one big goal or smaller goals over a certain amount of months but that decision will depend on what I want to do, and I’m excited to explore that over the Christmas holiday period.

As always, thank you so much for reading, I do appreciate it because there are so many other blogs or articles you could read, so thank you. If you have any comments or any blog posts that you think I should read in relation to what I have posted today; you can either leave it in the comments below, send me a tweet over on my Twitter or let me know on my Instagram. Have a great week!

Stress Less Around The Christmas Season.

Stress Less Around The Christmas Season

When we think about it; if it was any other time of the year and we were panicking about getting someone a gift or spending time with a friend, we would say to each other, “it’s only one day!” but when it comes to Christmas, the majority of us go into meltdown mode to make sure it’s the perfect time of the year. I wanted to discuss four pieces of advice that I tell myself if I start panicking about the holiday season.

  1. Having the perfect wrapping paper is not the most important part of the gift.

Listen, this used to be me. I had to have the prettiest wrapping paper and it all had to be the same type. I would get the matching tags and I would have to go back to the supermarket numerous times because I was always running out. If it was colourful, I was in but if it was covered in glitter, I HAD to have it. If we actually think about it for one minute; that wrapping paper is going to be admired for maximum 30 seconds and ripped apart (unless you are Monica, then you slowly unwrap it and iron it for later, but how many of us are doing that with each gift?). That’s it, that’s all that happens and it more than likely ends up in a bin at the end of the day. All that extra money on the glitter, the colourful pattern, it’s going in the bin and because the majority of that type of paper isn’t recycled, it’s just going to sit for years unable to decompose. 

20181209_114216-01.jpeg

I’m not trying to guilt anyone, I promise I’m not, but once you really think about where that wrapping paper is going and what it’s being used for, something just clicks. It clicks that we don’t need to be really fancy; last year I used brown wrapping paper and I used regular string and it gave the present a minimalist feel. This year, I’m going to add ribbon to the present instead and that means that the paper will be recyclable, the tape I use is also recyclable and the receivers can use the ribbons afterwards if they want. This doesn’t apply to only Christmas, this is all year round and it means that you won’t have to rush round the shops looking for fancy birthday paper because you’ll have left over brown paper from Christmas and maybe a ribbon or two.

2) If you can’t attend every single event, people WILL understand.

Christmas and December in general in expensive; it’s the busiest time of the year and we want to gift our friends and family with presents that they will love. That comes at a cost and you still have to pay all your regular bills, so going out for a few nights over the month for dinner would be absolutely fine any other time of the year but around December, it’s a little harder and it can be hard to admit that to friends and family. You may want to go out and still catch-up over your monthly pizza night or have that weekly pub night, but if you can’t afford to or you have family plans, the people around you will understand. It’s a busy time of the time and you’re having to balance everything you would normally do as well as planning your Christmas and scheduling your family time around your work schedule (and your own family’s schedule). A catch up over a coffee on your lunch break can be just as effective or inviting a friend over for a home cooked meal can be just as comforting. These are things we should be doing all year around but I believe it’s so important to emphasize that if you can’t go out as often as you used to or you feel like you’ve committed to so many events, it’s okay if you can’t go to everything, and those that truly care about you will one hundred percent understand.

3) Quality over quantity is more important.

This has been a really important part of my Christmas gifting experience especially over the last few years and with my on-going journey with minimalism (or at least my very very slow journey with minimalism) I treat my present buying the way I want to be treated with gift giving. As much as fifty presents would love on the sofa on the morning of Christmas, am I going to get around to use all fifty? I absolutely love surprises and I love surprising people especially with gifts, and I believe the reason why I’m so good at gifts is because I do research. One of my favourite things to do throughout school and college was the research part of an assignment and it has stayed with me. Of course, if you ask someone what they want and they tell you; well you have hit the jackpot and you know exactly what they want, but we all have those people in our lives that we ask what they want for Christmas and they either say “Oh nothing, I don’t need anything” or “I don’t know, I’ll let you know” and they never let you know.

close-up-photo-of-gold-and-silver-christmas-ornaments-1669091.jpg(Photo by Oleg Magni from Pexels)

I would rather buy fewer presents that I either know the person will love or is higher quality than buying five smaller presents. I think this is something that parents deal with quite a lot and especially now that almost everything is documented on social media; the living room is covered in presents or there was one woman a few years ago I remember being interviewed on TV who bought her children something outrageous like three hundred presents! I can’t imagine what it’s like as a parent because I’m not one yet but I can imagine that you want to give your children the most magical Christmas. You want them to go back to school and tell them about the amazing time they had when they were off on holidays and you want them to fit in with all their friends. Where does it stop though? Do you get yourself in debt over it? Do you push yourself so far that it means the first half of the year you’re struggling to get back on track over ONE DAY? Children might not understand the quality of a gift but I believe if it’s taught to them at a young age, they will appreciate it so much more. (I’m saying this as a non-parent but this is how I want to raise my future children. At least I have a plan right?)

4) At the end of the day, it’s ONE DAY.

Is it worth it to completely stress, stretch your budget to harm you for the next year coming and make everything perfect for ONE DAY out of the year? I can give you the answer right now and I can tell you it’s a firm no. We have another 364 days to buy gifts for each other, to show each other how we feel and show our appreciation for one another; the pressure for this one day has completely taken over on an entire new level and instead of looking forward to Christmas, it’s sad that so many don’t love the build up and the excitement of it all because all they see is the pressure to be perfect. 

As always, thank you so much for reading today’s post, I know it was a long one but it’s always a good excuse to make a cup of tea beforehand, right? If you have any feedback; please let me know in the comments, over on my Instagram or over on my Twitter. Also, I love Christmas themed posts, so if you have one that you think I would enjoy, let me know! Have a great week! ❤️

Bumble BFF: My Experience Of Making New Friends Online.

Bumble BFF_ My Experience Of Making New Friends Online.

Making new friends as an adult is hard because it’s really through friends of friends, your job or your hobbies. It’s not as easy as it is in school which is why I want to talk about Bumble BFF today, what my experience has been like so far and why I have zero shame when wanting to make new friendships.

If you’re on the dating scene, you will have probably heard of Bumble, a lot of people liken it to an alternative version of Tinder where you swipe left and right on someone based on their profile and their appearance. Now, for the longest time, females especially have been wanting an app where they can make friends in their local area, because we all know that making friends as adults is hard! And wah-la, we now have it! It’s called Bumble BFF and does exactly what it says on the tin.

When I first mentioned it to people, especially my boyfriend and my co-workers, they didn’t really know what to think about it. They thought it was pretty odd but I still wanted to find out more about it, so I kept going with it. Having used dating apps in the past, it was a little odd because it felt like dating; judging someone’s profile, asking them about their interests, seeing if you vibe with them; admittedly it’s weird doing that while you’re sitting with your boyfriend. He knew it was innocent though and was interested to see who I was talking to.

I’m a shy person but I feel like I can be myself when I’m not face-to-face so talking over an app worked so much better in my favour. I don’t have a lot of friends and the friends I do have, they don’t intertwine so in almost every instance, it’s a one-on-one catch-up rather than a big group. Thinking back to secondary school, I was in a big group of friends throughout most of my high school years and unless you were loud, you never really got a word in, so I’ve always felt intimidated by larger groups. I don’t like being the centre of attention either (it’s the ONE thing I’m dreading about getting married!) so having a group of people paying attention to me is much more intimidating than a one-on-one conversation. I feel like I have been getting better at engaging in conversations and really listening to people when they’re telling stories, but that developed back in my old job when that’s where the real answers to questions came from.

selective-focus-photo-of-yellow-sunflower-878560.jpg(Photo by Karol Wiśniewski from Pexels)

This is going to sound weird but judging someone from the first look of their profile, I don’t mind that and I’ll tell you why! When I was on Tinder a few years ago, I had a few tell-tale signs that I would use to know if I was going to swipe “no” for someone. If they had their snapchat name (that was the biggest no no!), if they used a really silly or sexual pun (no thanks hun!) or if they only used all group photographs. The whole group photographs gave me a sign that they weren’t independent and while that might not be true for everyone, that’s the impression I had. It’s the same for Bumble BFF and while it’s not a dating app, you can use the same tricks essentially to see if you would be a good fit. I’ll give a few examples; I’m not a drinker so I’m not going to fit well with someone who is looking to find more friends to go on a night out with. If someone is a huge Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings fan and wants someone to talk about that for hours, I know I’m not going to be that person. I’m not saying you should judge everyone because that’s just the front cover and you don’t know about the person in the pages, but I personally think the majority of the time, you can tell when you’re going to vibe with someone and when you’re not.

There have been the odd couple of women who haven’t been as positive as the rest, but that’s expected on any type of app, it’s not just men that act strange when they’re talking to strangers. I had one woman who kept asking me quite a few times was I okay talking to a lesbian, and even though I said of course I was, the conversation got a little stranger each time. It eventually ended when I asked if she was interested in fashion and she said she would love if she could pick an outfit for me, underwear to jacket. That was one of the main signs that it was time to stop talking. That’s VERY personal and too sexualised for someone you have been talking to for less than twenty four hours.

selective-focus-photo-of-white-ceramic-mug-on-saucer-filled-1170659.jpg(Photo by gagan from Pexels)

One of the great features of Bumble BFF is, if anyone is being rude or trying to use the app to date, you can report them very easily and you can move on but the majority of the time, everyone has been lovely. You’ll get quite a few people who you will talk to for a while, and they’ll disappear from the app and you didn’t manage to get their number to keep chatting on What’s App or any other social media. I’ve had it happen to me a few times and I’ve been disappointed because I would have loved to meet up with them, but there’s not much you can do unless they come back on the app. It’s a lesson learned, suggest a meet-up sooner rather than later!

I’ve met some really lovely women on the app, and quite a few I still meet up with now. We’ve been out for dinner, meet up for a coffee and even had after work drinks. We text almost every day and while it’s all well and good chatting for ages but the whole point of friendship is making sure you keep on top of it all, it’s a two-way street at the end of the day. Making sure you check in even if it’s every once in a while or meeting up for a coffee or dinner, it can really help build a friendship further. 

bloom-blooming-blossom-blur-462118.jpg
(Photo by Pixabay from Pexels)

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting to build your friendship circle. I have zero shame in signing up for an app to find more friends, that’s not embarrassing to me so if you have any worries about that, there’s nothing wrong with trying to improve yourself and by building more friendships, you are building yourself up. I would recommend it to absolutely anyone, no matter what age you are, because you can set the settings the way you want. You can adjust the age range, what religion you are, what your core interests are, if you have children; it’s all in the app so you can find the right person or the right people for you.

Have you had any experience in the Bumble BFF app? Let me know in the comments below, on my Instagram or on my Twitter. Thank you so much for reading today’s post, I really do appreciate it and if you didn’t know a lot (or anything) about Bumble BFF, I hope I have given you a little more insight. Have a great day!