My Week Day Morning Routine

Morning routines are a tricky thing aren’t they? Some people swear by them, some people can’t remember the last time they had one and feel like they don’t need one. Each to their own but for me, having a morning routine is vital to keep my mind and my body set up for the day. I briefly talked about my morning routine in my Monday Syndrome blog post last week and I know I post quite early on Twitter so I thought I would talk about it in more details in a blog post of its own.

☀️  Wake Up ☀️

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I wake up at 4am. No really, I do but I can understand why that sounds quite odd to many people but it’s what now works for me. It didn’t take too long for me to get used to surprisingly. When I was living at home, I was getting up at 6am for both college and work (I had to get the bus at 8am) so there’s isn’t too big of a difference.

🌸 My Meditation 🌸

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I haven’t become particularly religious (in the spiritual sense) participating  in mediation every morning and every night; for example, at the weekend if my boyfriend stays over, I wouldn’t normally stick on a mediation every single time but I know that if I want it to become a priority, I would need to start doing it at the weekend too just as much as the work week.

In the morning I would choose a short meditation, no longer than ten minutes because my mind is just waking up so I don’t want to choose a thirty minute practice if my mind isn’t focused. That’s why six to ten minutes is perfect! However, this is one downside and I’ve fell for this many times; I have a tendency to lie down during the practice and I think to myself “Oh, I’ll be able to stay awake until the end.” Fast forward to waking up again at 5am, and being almost an hour behind schedule. Now and for the foreseeable future (until I don’t fall asleep at the drop of a hat), I sit up in bed for these morning meditations.

☀️ Get set, get ready and go! ☀️

So after the meditation is complete, I get out of bed and get ready to go to the gym. For my morning workouts, I don’t eat anything beforehand. If it was after work, I would defintely need food but first thing in the morning, I don’t feel unwell if I don’t eat. I normally just fill up my water and drink it on the way to the gym.

🌸 Workout 🌸

By the time I wake up, meditate, get ready, grab my bag, fill up my water and say hello the little kitty, it’s about 4:25am giving me perfect time to get to the gym just before 5am. My gym is a half an hour walk away so if I power walk the majority of the route, I get there just before the top of the hour. The walk there is like my warm-up so I never feel the need to stretch before a workout or do a warm-up on a machine because I’ve technically already done that.

IMG_20170806_101629_565(One of the rare times I had a short yoga practice after my workout.)

Talking about my workout routine is difficult, mainly because I don’t do the same thing every day. Some days I choose the “Fat Burn” setting on the cardio machines and blast at those for at least ten minutes; other times I build my own levels by choosing a higher level every thirty seconds to a minute on a machine. (This depends on the type of machine and how long I am giving myself for the machine). Other times I will only choose one cardio machine and do a quick level up blast for ten minutes and move over to the weight machines section for up to thirty minutes. Mixing is up is absolutely key for me because if I get bored, it won’t motivation me to go (Remember we talked about motivation in Monday Syndrome?)

20170815_213730(An example of one of many Instagram stories that are posted on my profile. I find this is a way to keep myself accountable and to show people what I’m doing in the gym that day.)

My time in the gym has slightly increased for the last few weeks, normally I would stay for half an hour but because I’ve started to get up earlier and want to fit in as much as I can, I can spend up to an hour there. I know there are people who can spend three hours there and fair play to them but I find for me if I can get an effective workout done that tires me out and makes me feel like I’m making progress, then I don’t need to spend an excessive amount of time there each morning.

☀️  Breakfast Time ☀️

20170414_134107-02(Please note that I don’t look like this in the morning after the gym. This photograph is after a shower, dried and straightened hair as well as my make-up all finished. However, it shows the exact emotion I feel every morning when I make my amazing smoothie!)

After the half an hour walk home, it’s time for breakfast! If you follow me on Instagram, there will be many days out of the week where I will post an Instagram story of my morning smoothie. I also make two slices of toast with some butter, but that’s not as exciting as a smoothie is it? One thing I would love to start incorporating into my routine is mindful eating; I want to savour and enjoy my food but right now, I just stand in the kitchen eating and drinking while watching a YouTube video.

The rest of my morning routine is quite boring from this point. I go up for my shower so I wash my hair every day (Unfortunately my hair is very greasy and I can’t NOT wash it daily, as much as I hate doing it), I spend about half an hour doing my make-up while watching a YouTube video or listening to a podcast then I fed the kitten while getting my bag ready for work. I thought my activities post 4am up until I make breakfast would be the most interesting to read, but I might consider doing a morning make-up routine in the future if it sparks any interest.

💛 💛 💛

I’m hoping to do a more in-depth blog post on meditation, the benefits for me, what apps I use and the techniques I use, because there’s so much more I want to speak about in terms of meditation, so look out for that at some stage! I hope you enjoyed today’s post and if you have any morning routine posts that you’ve either written or would recommend, send them my way in the comments, my Twitter or over on Instagram.

I am a body shamer.

Being a body shamer doesn’t just mean body shaming other people, you can be a body shamer by doing it to yourself. I take full responsibility for both so today I wanted to talk about body shaming..

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(Source Image Credit)

This post is inspired by two things. Firstly, there’s a lovely YouTuber I watch called Avia (also known as thesparkleicious on YouTube) who I’ve been watching for a few years now. She seems so lovely and she talks about issues that many of us are thinking in her series “Woman to Woman” . One of these issues was body shaming and she spoke about fat shaming more specifically but I’ll be speaking about body shaming overall. The second thing I was inspired by was my own behaviour (after watching Avia’s video)

In Avia’s video (which is linked here) she talked about getting comments from someone about her body shape and how she looked on Instagram and on YouTube. That led her to reading an article about body shaming and she spoke about how she feels when it comes to talking to someone about how they look, whether that is their weight or their overall looks.

For me, I didn’t understand how someone could go out of their way to make a horrible comment on someone’s personal picture about something that doesn’t involve them. At the same time, I know I have made comments about a family members weight to them, not because I hate them and I wanted to be a horrible person (because I don’t) but it’s because I genuinely cared and I wanted to help. I never really thought about the fact that it’s probably not that helpful. Yes, I was pointing out the obvious but ever since watching Avia’s video, I’ve looked at my behaviour towards other people to see how I can change. In reality, I was being a massive hypocrite and I was and still am very ashamed of myself for ever thinking that was acceptable, even if it was a family member.

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But what about my behaviour towards myself? If you sat me down and asked me what I liked about my body, I would ask you, “can I tell you what I don’t like instead?”. For me to think about something I like about my body is very difficult, I find a flaw with something. For example, I love my hair colour but my actual hair is thin, it’s so greasy and it falls out so easily. Another one would be I love when my nails are painted but my actual nails have become very flaky and they’re not as strong as they used to be.

My weight is something that I have struggled with ever since I lost a large amount of weight a few years ago. Having been through a weight loss journey and talking to others who have been through the same, I’ve started to realise that I’m not the only one who goes through these thoughts. I worry about gaining the weight back instantly, I worry about not fitting into something so I buy a bigger size and it makes me look even bigger than I am. What also fits into that is trying on a size that you’re meant to be and it being too tight and those thoughts of “You’ve gained weight, it’s starting again” creep in. Now this could be one of two things; either you have actually gained a little weight back (which in hindsight, isn’t a big deal) or you’re in a shop where their sizing is so up the left that it’s really a guessing game what size of clothes you really are wearing. (Don’t get me started on clothing sizes in the UK).

I’m not going to sit here and say that I’m so happy with my body because I’m simply not. I make numerous comments to myself on a daily basis about my body and my looks, that’s something I’m trying to control but to be begin with, it’s very tough. “Well Victoria, if you’re so unhappy, why not change what you don’t like?” We all have that little voice in our heads and that’s mine. Funnily enough, I make choices on a daily basis to try and improve myself; I eat a fairly healthy diet, I drink lots of water, I don’t drink alcohol or smoke and I go to the gym about four or five times a week. This isn’t a new thing by the way, I’ve been doing this for a while but I just need to find a balance with really making a difference to my body and changing my attitude towards myself.

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To end this post today, please go and watch Avia’s video and if you were like me and body shamed without even realising it, I think you’ll take a step back and reflect on what you can change. I’m all for being yourself but if you’re hurting someone (or yourself) with your words, you need to realise that that’s not okay and change your attitude by looking at it through another perspective. How would you feel if someone was saying it to you? Would you like it? If you’ve asked no to those, then you know that you need to look at your own outlook on it.

Let me know what you thought of today’s post. Do you body shame? Have you been body shamed? What are your thoughts on it all? Thank you for taking the time out of your day to read this ❤

Life Update #2: Spring 2017

I’m back with another life update! My last one was just before Christmas during Blogmas when I was just back from the stunningly beautiful Rome so I thought almost five months later, I was due an update. (If you want to read that update: it’s right here!)

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In December, I spoke about finding out about renting my first house before I went on holiday…

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(This was me the day I moved in, I was very excited!)

I moved in on 4th January and it’s one of the best decisions I have ever made. I’m so unbelievably happy living on my own and it just proves that it really was something I needed to do. Of course I’ve been here a few months and my spare room is still a mess, I haven’t got a rug for the living room and I have a few pictures that I still want to hang up, but apart from that, I think I’ve settled in quite well.

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If you’ve been keeping up with the blog, you’ll know that I went from being a vegetarian to eating a plant based diet permanently…

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(Just one of my obsessions from one of my favourite places in the world, Tony and Jen’s. Yep, gluten free AND vegan. Match made in heaven right?  )

I’ll not talk too much about why I changed to a plant based diet because I have talked about it a lot recently; I wrote a post about completing Veganuary (right here), I documented what I ate during Veganuary (right here) and I spoke about how I became vegetarian last March (right here) so you can check those posts out for more detail.

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Very very recently I also bought my first little kitten…

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I used to be terrified of almost all animals (except goldfish) but over the past year or so, things have changed. For the majority of the year last year, I lived with my ex-boyfriend and he had the cutest cat ever, and that was really my first experience of living with another animal. My Dad had dogs but because we were only ever there one or two nights a fortnight, I never felt like I lived with them. So that experience of living with a cat showed me that there’s nothing to be really scared of and I should embrace the love of a little furry munchkin (Even though when she does jump up on me, I still get a little scared) Plus my three best friends all have cats and they’re both adorable, so even more help to show me that I can do it.

So once I knew I was moving out of my family home, I told myself to wait a few months to get myself settled in before thinking about getting a cat and that’s what I did. I named her Audrey and when I got her, she was about nine weeks old.

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I’m very grateful to be who I am and where I am today…

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(Outstanding photography skills and credit goes to the wonderful photographer that took this during one of our lunch dates.)

I feel very supported by my lovely group of friends, my family have been fantastic since moving out (except for the change to my diet, they’re still coming to terms with that) and I’m very blessed to be in a new, happy and healthy relationship. I now believe everything happens for a reason and I can’t wait to see what the next year brings.

❤ ❤ ❤

I hope you enjoyed this little life update and if you want to keep up to date with me, you can follow me on Twitter or over on Instagram.

Reflecting on 2016’s Resolutions.

I posted my 2017 New Year’s Resolutions yesterday and last year I reflected back on the previous year’s resolutions so I wanted to do the same thing this year too. There’s no point setting resolutions or goals if you don’t reflect back on them and see if you achieved them, right?

Go outside every day!
I didn’t do outside every day, I know that for a fact but that wasn’t really the point of the goal. I wanted to spend more time outside and I did that! For a few weeks, I walked home from work (it’s a two hour walk!), I walked around town more on my lunch break and because I went away on holiday twice this year, I walked so much to explore. So I think I completed this goal, I’m satisfied with that.

Further advance in yoga.
Yes! I did this! When you go to a class once a week most weeks, you do see yourself growing and advancing over time. I’m now doing poses that this time last year, there was no way I could even do at beginner level. It’s so motivating to see yourself get better at something you love.

Save money.
I did this but not for my original purpose. I was meant to be saving to take a trip to Canada, and I had started but then life stepped in the way for this one. However, I started saving towards the end of the year and I now have my first month’s rent saved so I don’t have to worry about that.

Write every day in my One Line A Day book.
The fact I stopped doing this actually does upset me. I loved that book but then I was never motivated to write in it and I always said “Oh I’ll do it tomorrow” Tomorrow essentially never came and I fell behind.

Read more books.
I read but I don’t think I read more than usual which is a real shame because I want to read more but I just can’t seem to push myself to do it.

Knit more.
I don’t think I knit one thing this year. I finished off a scarf at the very very beginning of the year then I tried to knit something for my Mum but I hardly started that.

Keep up with my blog!
I’m so happy that I kept up with the blog this year. I have loved having this platform and connecting with other bloggers, it makes the online world so much more exciting. I’m really happy with the content I put out this year and I hope that this year will be just as great.

Learn a new language.
I’m so disappointed that I didn’t do this! I wanted to learn Finnish for when Ryan and I went to Finland but we never got around to it. Definitely a missed opportunity!

Spend more time with my boyfriend.
You could say this one did but didn’t work out. We spent a lot of time together and I practically lived with him for about six months, but we broke up in September. Reminder to self: do not make a resolution about a boyfriend, you don’t know what can happen in a year (and clearly I didn’t!)

Four out of nine isn’t bad, right? 

❤ My 2017 New Year’s Resolutions ❤

Happy New Year everyone! Welcome to 2017! It’s the year we’ve all been waiting for. I hope you all have a lovely year this year!

It’s Sunday today which means there’s normally a Sunday Saves but I wanted to post about my 2017 New Year’s Resolutions instead. Next week Sunday Saves will resume, and if you come back tomorrow, you’ll see a reflection of my 2016 Resolutions. (I’ll link it here when it’s live!)

1) Take part in Veganuary.
First and fore most because this starts in January, I’ll be participating in Veganuary. I’m planning on doing a blog post later on in the week about what exactly Veganuary is and about how I became vegetarian because I haven’t talked about it on the blog yet.

2) Create a morning and evening routine.
Having a morning and evening routine is one of the most important parts of a healthy lifestyle in my opinion but yet, I don’t have either. I want to get up earlier and achieve more with my morning before I go to work. I want to have a healthier attitude to ‘bedtime’ and have a set routine that can settle me down for the night.

3) Create a sleep routine.
This ties in with the morning and evening routine goal. Over the past nine months or so, on an average work day, I have lived on about four or five hours sleep a day. It’s not healthy, I know it’s not. Every part of me has felt the effects so I’m committed to going to bed earlier and getting up earlier too. I’m slowly killing myself otherwise.

4) Meditate more.
Ideally, I would love to do a ten minute meditation in the morning and in the evening but I don’t want to throw myself in to such a big task at first. One meditation every other morning would suit me at the beginning of the year at first and then I would want to build it up to once or twice a day.

5) Practice more yoga at home.
Okay, so I’ve covered getting into yoga and advancing yoga over the past few years but I want to take that even further by making sure I practice yoga at home rather than just in the studio once a week.

6) Live in the moment.
This is really important to me because I am either so stuck in the past or the future. I never take time to appreciate where I am right now and how far I have come. I always float back to my past and how I can’t change it or I race to the future thinking “Okay, I need to be here in the least amount of time”. I really need to take each day as it comes, go with the flow of life and take it in my stride.

7) Expand my knowledge on mindfulness.
Through therapy and reading mental health blogs, I have been really interested in learning more about mindfulness and the techniques behind it. I tend to participate in it quite often but I would like to make it a daily routine of mine because when I do, I genuinely feel better about myself. So I want to practice it as well as do my own reading and research into the ‘science’ behind it too.

8) Keep a Happy Jar for the year.
I love this idea! I featured a jar like this on one of my recent Sunday Saves but I found a post that explains it more, so if you click here, you’ll see it. I’ll do a blog post on mine once I have it decorated!


If you have a New Year’s Resolutions or Goals posts or videos, please send me them via the comments below or over on my Twitter, I love finding out about everyone else’s goals!

(Blogmas Day Eleven) Positivity Takeover Update #1

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Welcome to Blogmas Day Eleven!

So if you read my Life Update that I posted last week or you seen my Instagram, you’ll know that I was in Rome last week! That was a pretty perfect opportunity to take my Positivity Takeover cards from the Itty Bitty Book Company over to Italy with me. I only left two around the city (I was too busy sightseeing and then I kept forgetting) and they were both in the same place (but quite a distance from each other of course!)

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You’ll have seen this one above on my Instagram!

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Both photographs were taken at Ponte Sant’Angelo in Rome on a lovely sunny day (which is why I think the second card is so appropriate!)

I love being one of the many Positivity Takeover ambassadors and I’m going to be spreading more happiness and positivity throughout the New Year!

(Blogmas Day Eight) Life Update…

What I haven’t shared on social media… (yet)

So it’s Blogmas Day Eight, it’s Wednesday morning and at 2am, I arrived back in Belfast via the Dublin bus because I was in Rome!

Yes, I went to Rome and I went completely on my own. Maybe not such a huge deal to some, but I only went on my first adult holiday this year to Finland and Russia so going from my first adult holiday to my first holiday on my own, is quite a big step.

I booked it about a month and a half ago, I just needed something to keep my mind off what was going on in my own life. I wasn’t happy and I wanted something to distract me. Thankfully a month and a half later, my life is genuinely a lot better, I’m a lot happier and I couldn’t be more different to the person I was a few months ago. I still get my really down days and I even had one when I was in Rome which hit me really hard, but I made the most of my trip, and I had a lovely time.

Once Blogmas is over, I’m planning on posting my Rome Diaries because it would be really nice to reflect back on my trip. You know, places I went and food I ate; the two most important things in a trip!

One more thing…

About two days before my trip, I found out that I had secured a house I had been looking at to rent! So I’ll be moving out on my own for the first time in the New Year! Probably not the greatest time to move out, straight after Christmas when everyone feels the pinch but I would have been silly not to grab at this opportunity when it’s been something I have been wanting to do for the last few years.

I’m really excited, obviously I’m worried about the money aspect (because booking a holiday before Christmas, then having Christmas, then moving out seemed like such a great idea at the time right?! I didn’t know about the house when I booked the holiday!) but I have a great support network around me and I can’t wait to live on my own and have my own little house.

Why I didn’t post on social media about my holiday…

I know I don’t need to give an explanation but I want to. As much as I love posting on Instagram, checking in on Facebook and tweeting about everything I do; I didn’t want to do it at all and I have found myself over the past few months doing it a lot less. Sure, I was still on social media during the trip; I was still writing blog posts, I was still scheduling tweets in my hotel room and I was taking photographs for myself (but also for the blog) but I had no desire to share with the world at that very moment that I was away on holiday.

Don’t get me wrong, I done the exact opposite on my last holiday. I checked in everywhere, there were loads of photographs on Instagram and I LOVED tweeting about it. I just didn’t want to do it this time. This trip was meant to be for me, and just me. I wanted to create memories for myself and have experiences for myself because I needed to get away from my ‘normal’ life for a while. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be Instagramming photographs and I’ll probably tweet about it, but I just didn’t want to when I was there.

I loved coming back to my hotel and writing another blog post though. That was something that filled my nights because I didn’t want to stay out late in a country I wasn’t too familar with, in the dark, on my own; so writing blog posts for Blogmas was a nice routine to get into each night.

This might have been a boring post for you to read, I don’t know but I’m really happy that I’ve had a few positive life updates recently and I can’t wait to see what the next few months brings. Oh, and remember to look out for my Rome Diaries in the New Year too!