guardian angel

May your 2021 be filled with self-love, and self-care… Start it with some Etsy gifts… ✨

If you loved my small business post, I’m hoping you’ll love this one!

I’d like to introduce you to Pandora’s FairyMoonCandlesUK, a small business on Etsy that do incredible scented, soy wax candles that are vegan and eco-friendly.

Those of you who know me, will know I love candles – even though I used to have an irrational fear of matches or flames! Emphasis on “used to”. 😂

guardian angel

Pandora at FairyMoonCandlesUK hand-makes the most beautiful scented candles, filled with sequins, dried rose petals and healing crystals (another passion of mine).

Etsy Gifts: What is the ‘Guardian Angel’ candle?

The ‘Guardian Angel’ candle (pictured above) has a beautiful citrusy-lemon 🍋 meets ginger scent which I love! It’s very refreshing.

Also, it comes with pieces of clear quartz and citrine planted in the wax. Simply sublime… You’re welcome!

If lemon isn’t your thing, there are other varieties that are just as stunning. All types can be found here.

Oh, and – another thing that’s important is: customer service… Well the service I received, together with communication throughout shipment (and post-delivery) is second to none. Really, really fab.

Also, something unexpected arrived with my delivery – a free crystal gift as a little thank you for shopping with FairyMoonCandlesUK. That was an incredibly sweet touch.

Tell me more about the ‘Guardian Angel’ candle

guardian angel

Now for the packaging, very well wrapped. It came gift-wrapped in soft paper and securely fastened with a very neatly tied bow to match! The fairies pulled out all the magical stops… 🧚‍♀️

What others think of the ‘Guardian Angel’ candle

I gifted this candle to my boyfriend’s mum for Christmas, he passed on her message: “she absolutely loves it! Super lemony, gorgeous too, thanks!

My mum gifted a couple to her friends: “how unique! It’s very authentic.” / “it’s lovely, thank you! The stones in there are a great touch.” / “it goes perfectly with the decor [the recipient owns a beauty salon]”

I gave one to my mum too who lit it on the first day she received it, as she couldn’t wait another minute! 😭❤️

My next purchase will be for myself, one that I won’t light as it’s simply too stunning to light.

Thank you Pandora, your products are amazing.

I will be shopping with Pandora at FairyMoonCandlesUK throughout 2021, and I highly recommend her handmade pieces!

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Small Business Ideas

Now’s the time for all the ‘supporting small business’ ideas in the world! Especially as we’re heading into another national lockdown, which – if it helps the NHS cope and means life can get back to normal post-vaccine, then it’s worth it!

This year has been one heck of a ride… Worst rollercoaster ever, one you’d never find at Thorpe Park!

A major thing that suffered is our economy, and on a global scale. Therefore, this year, it’s been more important than ever to support small and/or local businesses.

In the first national lockdown, plenty of businesses were forced to close… With another one on the way, I dread to think what that means for the ones that luckily & thankfully survived.

This post aims to give tips on what you can do to support small or local businesses wherever you are in the world.

Small Business Ideas

Supporting small business ideas – #1: Shop online

This Christmas, I relied heavily on Etsy. In fact, all year round – my friends and family have been receiving gifts from small businesses which I’ve found via Etsy.

Small Business Ideas

Supporting small business ideas- #2: Buy & send gift cards

Gift cards are a way of giving a business extra £££ during the pandemic – even when they’re closed – which you or a loved one can claim back at a later date, in exchange for purchases or treatments.

Non-essential shops rely on this sort of thing to keep their businesses open, it also shows your loyalty.

Small Business Ideas

Supporting small business ideas – #3: Order a Home Delivery or Pickup a Takeaway

Although local restaurants and cafes have closed for dining, they are open for takeaways and home deliveries. So, pop in or order one via Deliveroo, Uber Eats or Just Eat to “eat in, help out”.

Small Business Ideas

Supporting small business ideas – #4: Tip More Than Usual

Here’s another tip for you: get tipping. Go above and beyond your usual (when and if possible). That way, the business knows that they are valued by you.

Small Business Ideas

Supporting small business ideas – #5: Leave Good Reviews

You must have come across the ‘support local businesses’ telly adverts by Google, where the likes of Anthony Joshua showcase their favourite local business, encouraging viewers to leave a good review on theirs’.

Small Business Ideas

Supporting small business ideas – #6: Continue with Subscriptions and Memberships

Keep paying your memberships and subscriptions, even if they’ve been temporarily suspended.

For those of you who have a steady income, offer to continue paying your cleaners, hair stylists, nannies, etc. They need us and we need them.

Small Business Ideas

Supporting small business ideas – #7: Don’t Always Accept Refunds

If you’ve paid for something, don’t ask for a refund where possible and if it won’t put you out of pocket. Think of it as a donation.

Small Business Ideas

Supporting small business ideas – #8: Start a Local Business Network

Pretty self explanatory, set up a local businesses group (via Facebook or wherever) where all the local businesses can place ads. Then promote it, getting the local residents involved. It may just be that the locals in your area didn’t know of this particular service.

Small Business Ideas

Supporting small business ideas – #9: Crowdfunding

If you love a business and know it’s worth saving (which all do), create a campaign on platforms like GoFundMe to boost its finances. Promote it to friends, and encourage them to share it with theirs and so on…

Another way to do this is to get in touch with your local newspaper and see if they can do something to help.

Small Business Ideas

Supporting small business ideas – #10: Offer Your Services For Free

Calling all cool web-designers, web-developers, awesome content creators, ace copywriters, social media whizzes & excellent marketer & advertisers…

Offer your services to those in need. 9/10 times the companies would be so taken aback by the gesture that they’ll spread the word of how amazing you are, which might lead to extra business later down the line. But, don’t expect this.

Never do anything with expectations of reward – the feeling you get after helping someone is enough of a reward in itself.

Small Business Ideas

Supporting small business ideas – #11: Share A Local Business’ Promotions & Ideas

If you learn of a unique promotion or idea from a local business, share it online. It may well be something your social-media following or network would like to know about.

Small Business Ideas

Supporting small business ideas – #12: Search for Online Services Offered by a Local Business

Not everything must close entirely. Keep an eye out for those businesses who may be able to alter their services, offering online engagement.

Therapists, tutoring, yoga, personal trainers, coaches, financial planners, lawyers, music classes for kids – all of these can be continued through videos or online conferencing.

Whatever and wherever you can, do help out.

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films

I have relied heavily on the likes of Disney to pull me through the lockdown blues… I think you could tell by the amount of Disney movies featured in this list. 😂

Films of the year – 2020

films

Films of the year: #1

Soul (Disney+)

The only movie in this list that’s worthy of first place, in my humble opinion.

Joe is a primary-school music teacher who dreams of being a recognised musician. His true passion is jazz, he’s mighty talented. Unfortunately, his life didn’t quite go the way he expected…

But when he travels to another realm on a mission to help someone else find their passion, he soon finds out what it means to have soul, swapping bodies with a cat in the process.

The message behind this movie is simple: nothing is more important than memories & moments – time spent with people. Everything & anything else is greed.

Fun fact about this film: it was produced and recorded in lockdown. The actors / voiceover artists who starred in this film recorded their parts in a socially-distant studio, and were kept six feet apart.

films

Films of the year: #2

The Christmas Chronicles 2 (Netflix)

This was a film that I truly had high hopes for… Although I only discovered the first in its series this year, I was very excited to hear that a second was coming in November.

After watching it, I was quite underwhelmed (only because the bar for the first one was so high).

The adorable Katy Pierce is back, this time as a bratty teen (in the beginning of the movie). She resents her mum for finding love again so soon after her father’s death.

While on an island holiday with her family and mum’s new partner’s family, her resentment worsens to the point where she plots returning home in secret.

On her way to the airport, the caddy crashes, resulting in her being magically transported to the North Pole. It is there when Katy is reunited with Santa Claus, as a troublemaker (guy who crashed the caddy) threatens to cancel Christmas forever before Katy and her step-brother save the day.

There was a lot of resentment in this film, it was not filled with Christmas spirit at all. Having said that, the special effects and the visuals were on point as per usual.

films

Films of the year: #3

The Princess Switch: Switched Again (Netflix)

Interestingly, this is one which I wasn’t so sure about sequel-wise… After watching the first, I thought that it would’ve been better to end it there. I stand corrected!

At a time when Duchess Margaret unexpectedly inherits the throne to Montenaro, she splits with her boyfriend Kevin. So her twin, Princess Stacy, hatches a plan to get them back together again in time for the Christmas coronation.

Stacy’s plan hits a snag as a third look-alike, Margaret’s evil cousin Lady Fiona, disguises herself as Margaret in a bid to steal the throne.

Oh, and if you’re a fan of Eastenders, you might recognise Ricky Norwood. I’m really glad he’s finally made it to Hollywood, as I always knew/hoped he would!

films

Films of the year: #4

Mulan (Disney+)

I have a lot to say about this one, and not much of it good…

First for the good, we STAN a strong female lead. The effects and the visuals are incredible too!

Now for the not so good… For one thing, Mushu (our beloved dragon) wasn’t in it. While I understand that dragons aren’t real and this is a live action remake, Hollywood featured a whole BEAST in the live action remake of Beauty & The Beast…

Another thing, the soundtrack of Mulan has always been an integral part of the movie. Where was it? I didn’t hear any! This was also a shame…

Plus, Disney+ charged a whopping £20 (excluding membership fee) just so people got an exclusive viewing. I didn’t, I waited for it to become freely available. I can’t help but feel sorry for those who paid!

Okay, so now my views are out of the way, let’s get back to the review of the film.

Mulan is back, only this time in real life. The plot is the same one we know and love, that’s about the only thing that stayed the same, to be honest.

films

Films of the year: #5

Wonder Woman 1984 (HBO Max)

This movie has been extremely long awaited, quite literally in fact…

The film was originally set for a cinema release in December last year, but then brought forward to November to avoid competing with the equally hotly anticipated release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

After some deliberation, Hollywood later decided they preferred a summer release, further postponing its release to June 2020 – which was later made impossible due to the pandemic.

Patty Jenkins and her epic story writing skills strike again… This film takes us on a time warp to the 80s, unarguably (depends on who you argue with) the best era. The absolutely stunning and fierce Gal Gadot is back as Wonder Woman, but this time finds herself making two new enemies: Max Lord and The Cheetah.

Although HBO Max is a streaming service that’s exclusive to the USA, signing up to NordVPN enables you to watch this, or any other American TV shows or films which aren’t available here. In fact, a VPN lets you stream stuff from just about anywhere around the world.

Say what you like about 2020, but streaming platforms have done the MOST to keep us entertained during lockdown!

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afternoon tea

Calling all ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and afternoon tea fans.. I’m so excited to bring you this post!

I was gifted this brilliant little hamper for Christmas, by one of my lifelong & closest friends – who I’d regularly (prior-to-Covid) meet up with for afternoon teas – bringing our mums along…

Before I go any further: special thanks and a shout-out to Natalie (pictured with me below) for this amazing & very thoughtful gift! ❤️

afternoon tea
Us at Fortnum & Mason

There isn’t much I love more than an afternoon tea… No-thanks to Covid, we haven’t been able to go out to any this year! 😭

So, I decided to buy a Sara Miller cake stand (pictured in top photo) as a way of bringing afternoon teas to us, if we can’t go to them…

I wasted no time in putting Natalie’s present to good use, by making an at-home afternoon tea for me and my household. Isn’t it gorgeous!?!

Tell me more about the afternoon tea

All sandwiches, pastries and cakes were bought from M&S Food Hall, listed below…

afternoon tea

M&S Collection Santa Hat Profiteroles (top row)

This was a unanimous standout favourite… Choux pastries filled to the brim with delicious raspberry crème pâtissière & delicately topped with raspberry flavoured white chocolate fondant. 

Victoria sandwiches mini-cake (second row)

We usually always go for scones (whichever way you pronounce it), but we thought we’d mix things up a little with these mini Victoria sandwiches.

A butter sponge, combined with a strawberry jam and buttercream centre, topped with light dusting of sugar.

Strawberry Cornish Clotted Cream Sundaes (second row)

Delightful. We absolutely loved this.

A butter pastry filled with Cornish clotted cream buttercream and a sprinkle of dried strawberries.

Who knew straight up cholesterol 😂 and dried strawberry crumbs could be so delightful!?
Seriously though, very moreish.

Cheesecake Bites (top row)

Vanilla cheesecake bites dusted with edible glitter.

Sandwiches (bottom row)

Ham & Cheese

Egg & Cress

Prawn cocktail

Cheese and tomato

afternoon tea

What was in the afternoon tea hamper?

Okay, now – back to the hamper (pictured above)…

It comes with sachets of Galaxy hot chocolate, Nescafé Gold Cappuccino, Twinings Cranberry & Raspberry and Everyday Breakfast (also by Twinings).

There was also a bag of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ crunchy mint dark chocolate discs 😋, a notebook (as I love to write) and a pen. 📓🖊🥰

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angel nova

This is my review of Thierry Mugler’s Angel Nova, a Christmas gift from mumzie

‘Nova’ is Latin for “new”. And, that’s quite fitting as it’s a NEW perfume which I’ve added to my collection.

Common! Let’s talk some Angel Nova ‘scents’

  • Top notes: Raspberry & Lychee
  • Heart notes: Damask Rose 🌹
  • Base notes: Akigalawood & Benzoin

Damask Rose’ is a rose from Syria – and a sustainably sourced ingredient, which is inline with Mugler’s innovative approach to fragrances.

My review of Mugler’s Angel Nova

This Angel Nova perfume truly is me in a bottle… It’s the perfect mix of fruity and floral… I know generally it’s either or… But, when the two scents combine in the right way, like this one does, just wow!

‘Angel Nova’ is not overpowering in the slightest… Personally, I’d wear it at night and during the day. What I’m saying is: I’ll wear it to my living room for a night out in Tier 4 Lockdown, but also on a trip down Co-op.

And now for the packaging… It’s refillable, #result! Eco-friendly and irresistible!?! What more could you ask for?

Also, I just love the design of the bottle. (Glass if I’m not mistaken?) “Nova” also refers to ‘supernova’ (stars), hence the shape… It’s great, perfectly fits in my hand – with good grip.

I’d give this 10*s if I could… It’s from my mum, and is just perfect.

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christmas hamper

Whattup, blogosphere!? ❤️

Today’s post is a little late in the game, but whatever! 😫

How was your Christmas!?

Hope it was awesome, even if forcibly a little different to ones we’re used to!

🚨 If you spent it alone to protect your loved ones from Covid-19, you’re a superhero and deserve every gift forevermore! 🚨

Mine? A recurring sport injury is back which meant I was ‘hoppin’ 🐰 around the Christmas tree 🎄 as opposed to ‘rockin’… But, I was grateful to spend it with my household – who still managed to make it special nonetheless.

Oh, and as far as presents go, while everyone seemed to either be getting pregnant, engaged or receiving Michael Kors gifts, I bought myself a Ninja Foodi Grill and a Christmas hamper from Etsy (store: PixieParlourHealing).

christmas hamper

I had myself a little self-love Christmas, y’all! ✌️

The Christmas hamper I ordered was a limited edition, so unfortunately it isn’t in stock right now.

The purpose of this post I guess is to distract myself from the aches and pains by sharing details of its contents with you (in case it’s something you’d like to get yourself or someone special next year)!

What is included in the hamper?

  1. A mulled wine bathbomb (pictured)
  2. A mulled wine candle (pictured)
  3. A handmade bauble filled with dried flowers, mini healing crystals & gold leaf
  4. One sachet of Twinings’ Turmeric, Orange & Star Anise tea
  5. A candy cane
  6. Mystery healing crystal

Let’s start with the little things, because: it’s all about the finer things in life.

christmas hamper

Candycane: Minty, as expected. Extremely Christmassy. A ‘sweet’ touch.

Tea: this is now my favourite flavour tea. Just yum.

Mystery crystal: Very intuitive. I received an ‘apatite’ crystal at a time when I’ve been suffering from inflammation in the knee.

Bauble: looked rustic and handmade, which I loved. Very unique. It was filled with tiny crystals, dry petals and gold leaf – simply stunning.

Okay, now for the pieces de resistances (plural)…

christmas hamper

Mulled wine bathbomb: usually I’d never cheat on Lush, but, dare I say that this was better.

It felt as if I was bathing in Santa’s house! 😂🎅

Another thing, there were bits of gold leaf floating around with me, so I fully felt those Beyoncé vibes! I. Stan. A. Queen! 👑

Mulled wine candle: of course I lit the matching candle that came with it [which smelled like a glass mulled wine with edible flower petals mixed in] while bathing, and – to put it simply, perfection.

My verdict on the Christmas hamper

My “Christmas bath with candle trimmings” left me relaxed AF! It led to the best sleep I’ve had in while…

All in all, a 5* hamper, I’d definitely buy again (when available).

In the meantime though, I’ll be checking out other hampers on the PixieParlourHealing Etsy store.

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disney classics

I’ve put together a shortlist of some absolute animal classics streaming on Disney+, Netflix or Amazon Prime Video.

Let’s be honest, some of these I hadn’t heard of (or at least don’t remember watching) before last year.

My list of forgotten Disney classics

disney classics

Homeward Bound (1993)

Think Home Alone, but for pets…

Probably the first of films featured on this list which I discovered on Disney+, ‘Homeward Bound’ tells the story of three pets (two dogs and a cat) who are left with petsitters while their owners go on holiday.

Believing that they’ve been abandoned (and from fear of being taken to The Pound), they run away from their petsitter’s house and embark on a journey back to op California to be reunited with their owners.

The bond between Sassy, Chance and Shadow is incredible. I have to say, whether I’m allowed to have favourites or not, this one is it.

*This movie can be found on Disney+*

disney classics

The Search for Paws (2010)

This is one of my Christmas favourites, and one which (again) I discovered on Disney+.

Santa Paws’ is another film that I only discovered after signing up to Disney+.

Santa Claus and his adorable fluffy companion ‘Santa Paws’ leave the North Pole behind and head for the US on an important mission…

They embark on the journey of a lifetime, to try and persuade the heir of one of their greatest supporters (toy store owner Mr Hucklebuckle) to continue his grandfather’s legacy or risk losing Christmas spirit forever.

*This film can be found on Disney+*

disney classics

Because of Winn-Dixie (2005)

One of the most amazing films I’ve ever watched (mostly because I had low expectations).

It’s seriously underrated and I’m tired of it being slept on…

Opal was abandoned by her mum at 10 years old. She ends up moving to a small town in Florida with her dad, who works as a preacher in church.

As a newbie in town (and someone who finds it rather difficult to make friends) Opal bonds with a stray dog who she names Winn-Dixie. Her father allows her to keep him, to their neighbour’s dismay…

With Winn-Dixie’s help, Opal starts making friends with some unlikely characters in the town, and even helps mend her relationship with her dad.

It truly is a must watch!

*This movie can be found on Disney+*

disney classics

Beethoven (1992)

A slobbering, larger than life St. Bernard puppy finds a forever home with a loving family, but an evil dog-napping vet convinces them that Beethoven is a danger, so the father reluctantly gives him up.

However, after finding out that it’s all lies, the family rush to save their pup and bring him home (and end up rehoming all the pup who were in kennel with Beethoven too).

*This film can be found on Amazon Prime Video*

Other Disney classics which I recommend:

disney classics

Doctor Doolittle (1998)

‘Dr Doolittle’ needs no introduction… It’s one of the most iconic films Eddie Murphy has ever starred in.

In case you’ve been living under a rock, the film follows everyone’s favourite fictional vet, John Dolittle, who has a unique gift of talking to animals.

*This movie can be found on Disney+*

disney classics

Benji (2018)

This one is a tearjerker!

‘Benji’ is about an orphaned puppy called Benji, who is found and adopted by two school-friends.

The kids find themselves in danger when they’re kidnapped by robbers. But, have no fear because Benji and his stray buddy come save the day!

*This film can be found on Netflix, but to watch the classic ‘Benji: The Hunted (1987)’ on Disney+, click here*

disney classics

The Call of the Wild (2020)

I feel like this is popular, because if it isn’t, why the heck not!?!

It’s brilliant. For starters, it stars the legendary Harrison Ford!

This has to be one of the best films I’ve seen this year…

Buck is a loyal pup whose life is turned upside down when his loving owner John passes away.

Not long after this tragedy, Buck is uprooted from California to Yukon, Alaska to later become an integral part of a mail-delivery dog sled team.

In the middle of the film, Buck and his mail-delivery dog sled team are sent their separate ways, which leads to the meeting between Harrison (who plays an alcoholic who lost his whole livelihood). There, Buck tries to get him to quit the drink, and makes contact with a wolfpack.

He falls for the female wolf and they later create a family of their own.

So, this film is very bittersweet as things start to look up for Buck after he endures heartbreak. He not only experiences the adventure of a lifetime, but finds his purpose along the way.

*This movie can be found on Disney+*

disney classics

Lady & The Tramp – LIVE Action Remake (2019)

I have an admission to make, I’ve never actually seen the original (animation) Lady & The Tramp. However, I was in absolute awe after watching this LIVE action remake.

This is another type of film that doesn’t need no introduction…

Pretty much everyone has seen the iconic Lady & The Tramp, right!? In case you’re in the 1% who hasn’t, read on.

Lady’s an affectionate King Charles Spaniel who is loyal to her owners. Her owners end up having a child, and she feels pushed out.

While Lady’s owners are on a trip out of town, they hire Sarah, a pet-sitter who brings cats along.

Sarah’s cats are troublemakers who’s that live to wreak havoc, but she refuse to accept that they are capable of naughtiness, so blames Lady instead.

Hurt by Sarah’s accusations, Lady ends up running off and falling in love with Tramp, who saves her.

It’s truly fantastic movie!

*This film can be found on Disney+. Want to watch the animation? Click here*

disney classics

Turner & Hooch (1989)

Starring Tom Hanks, this film is iconic…

Detective Turner is seemingly very put-together until the arrival of Hooch, a brutish dog who’s the main witness of the murder of his owner.

*This movie can be found on Disney+*

What do you think of my list? Have recommendations? Let me know I’m the comments below.

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books

Hola! Welcome back to my blog for another post… ☺️

So, in keeping with “variety is the spice of life”, which is pretty much my motto of the month, here’s another topic entirely: books.

This post was inspired by That Happy Reader.

Below I’ll list my favourite books of the year (all of which are romantic comedies, because I haven’t got time for anything else). I’m a lover and a laugher.

Before we get into it, let’s kick things off with my favourite writers of all time, shall we?

My favourite writers

  1. Lindsay Kelk
  2. Sophie Kinsella
  3. Jacqueline Wilson (had to add Jacqueline in this list, as an ode to my teen years)
  4. Meg Cabot

I can honestly say Lindsay, Sophie, Jacqueline and Meg have never written a book I didn’t like.

Since the start of writing this blog post, I’ve come across more writers that have piqued my interest. So, look out for my review of those in the coming months.

Books I’ve Read in 2020

books

Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey

This is one of those books that had me laughing out loud. It tells the story of Annie Cassidy, a screenwriter and budding movie journalist, who has her sights set on Tom Hanks… She ends up working on a film with her dream man, which coincidentally is being filmed in her neighbourhood… But, ends up falling for the lead actor, a cocky prankster.

Basically just more proof that what we think we want, we don’t always get.

books

Roomies by Christina Lauren

Christina & Lauren are simply unstoppable. They’re doing a lot to keep their title as New York Times’ Bestselling Author, because Roomies is dynamite. ‘Golden’ if you will..

This dazzling book tells the story of Holland Bakker and Calvin McLoughlin. Fake marriage anyone? Only, this “fake marriage” ends up turning into one with real feelings, oh – and it’s a set in New York. What’s not to love!?!

Tweet Cute by Emma Lord

books

I love the name ‘Emma’ and I love the Lord, it also helps that Twitter is my favourite social-media platform… So, all in all, a dead-cert book for me, and one that I knew I’d enjoy.

Think Gossip Girl and/or Mean Girls – it definitely gives off those type of vibes.

The plot itself is more You’ve Got Mail or A Cinderella Story, though…

Also set in New York, this book tells the tale of Patricia (better known as Pepper) who becomes close with her classmate Jack (who has a thing for developing apps) without realising his identity. They meet anonymously via school’s messaging app, but there’s a twist…

In real-life, Pepper runs the Twitter account for her family’s large fast-food burger chain. Jack’s family own a small downtown deli – selling a famous grilled cheese sandwich. Both Jack & Pepper end up in a Twitter spat over the alleged “stolen” grilled cheese sandwich recipe.

It has everything from teenage banter to Twitter spats. Fab-U-lous!

books

This Time Next Year by Sophie Cousens

Minnie and Quinn were both born at the same time, on the same day, in the same place. (Thankfully, not to the same parents or else that would be weird, disgusting and the word that sounds like ‘incense’!)

He is a privileged party boy who believes the world is his for the taking. She is a hard-working realist, whose lack of confidence tends to hold her back.

They meet on their birthday (at a NYE party) and embark on a friendship that slowly develops into something more, as Quinn tries his luck.

books

Would Like To Meet by Rachel Winters

Evie Summers is on the verge of losing her job, and the only person that can save it is her film agency’s client (who’s notorious for being its biggest but most difficult client), Ezra Chester.

Cutting the plot-line short, Evie is waiting for Ezra’s screenplay script. Unfortunately, Ezra is refusing to write the script (because of writer’s block) but bides time by asking Evie to prove that real love can be like the movies before submitting it… Good luck with that, Evie!

Probably the most ridiculous book I’ve ever read, but funny nonetheless hence why it made my list.

I’m looking to read more in 2021, and have started making a list of the books I’d like to get through. Any recommendations? I’d love to hear about them in the comments section below!

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bucket list

I’m turning 30 in the coming year, so I thought a list of 29 bucket list must-ticks before turning 30 would be apt.

bucket list

Bucket list tick #1: Start Saving

If you’ve yet to set up a savings account, do so. It doesn’t even need to be a large amount, a simple £50 each month away for a rainy day – it all adds up.

Think about it, *amount you’re willing to save* x *amount of months* x *the years away you are from retirement* = a somewhat large number.

You never know what the future holds, so start now.

Also, for those of you planning to get onto the mortgage ladder, the sooner you start saving, the quicker it’ll be to have enough money for a deposit…

bucket list

Bucket list tick #2: Learn to Cook More & Better

As much as we love pasta and ready-meals, it’s not sustainable for a lifetime. Especially if you plan on having a family of your own one day. Learn to cook, either buy a cook book or scour the internet / check out YouTube for some awesome new recipes.

‘Health is wealth’, and so is giving our body the nutrients it needs by cooking our own meals. What’s more, it might even work out cheaper to buy the ingredients – because more often than not, there will be a surplus of ingredients to make a second batch with.

bucket list

Bucket list tick #3: Fundraise For a Cause and Volunteer for Change

I absolutely love fundraising &/or volunteering. I’ve been doing it since I was a teen and I can categorically say it’s shaped me as a person.

I’ve matured beyond my years and experienced things that others my age might not have.

Also, that feeling after you’ve given back is unmatched. It’s a rewarding, liberating feeling that comes with volunteering which not much else really offers.

Fancy it? Choose a cause that you care about, or one close to your heart and find out how to get involved in your local community.

Now more than ever is the time to do it… Even if means getting an elderly couple at the end of your street some shopping and leaving it at the door. That’s helping.

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Bucket list tick #4: Strengthen Your Political Awareness

For the sake of your children and your children’s children (or even just our generation), research politics and delve deeper into it.

I’m not saying that you need to go as far as becoming a minister, or that politics isn’t filled with lies and a whole heap of crazy – but being able to choose a party to support – and having your reasons based on your core values is important.

If possible, choose a party that offers you or the people of tomorrow a better life. Alternatively, just choose the one you deem a lesser of two evils.

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Bucket list tick #5: Be At Peace With Yourself

By now, you’d have made your fair share of mistakes and wrong decisions… But, rather than looking back in shame, accept them and more importantly: yourself.

Be at peace with who you are because you’ve made it this far, and life’s too short to be anything but content with that.

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Bucket list tick #6: Social Media Isn’t Real

Nothing on social-media is real. For the most part, social-media is oversaturated with people pretending to be living ‘the life’, but there’s more to that. There’s a lot that goes on behind closed doors…

Also, celebrities typically filter/photoshop themselves in pictures, so it’s a far cry from what they look like in real-life. The effects of filtering/photoshopping can lead to a really awful case of body/image dysmorphia. I’ve definitely learned my lesson and don’t use filters anymore.

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Bucket list tick #7: Make a List of Stuff You Want to do Before You’re 40

Apparently, our 20s are supposed to be a ‘dress rehearsal’ of our 30s, so make your 30s count by writing down a list of stuff (which are achievable) that you’d like to complete before you turn 40.

Look back on them every so often in the lead-up, so you don’t lose sight of them.

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Bucket list tick #8: Plan An Awesome 30th Birthday Celebration

If you turned 30 during Covid lockdowns, I am so sorry! Plan to turn 30 again post-Covid, everyone else in the same boat will be… 😆(It might be the case for me next year too, tbh – so I won’t say too much.)

However, in the ideal world – make it memorable. It’s a huge milestone!

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Bucket list tick #9: Stop Living in the Past

Stop with the regrets, ‘shoulda coulda woulda’ BS. At the end of the day, life doesn’t always go our way. We could plan our whole lives out and God will pull out a “checkmate” on our lives, and change it.

Not everything is in our control. But one thing’s for sure: it will all make sense afterwards, and the outcome is better than we’d ever have planned.

The present day, minute or hour is on more powerful than our past – because that’s what determines our future.

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Bucket list tick #10: Keep Your Close Friends With You No Matter What

You will meet loads of people on this journey of life, but sadly not all of them will stick around. Only the ones most meaningful will. And, more often than not, you’ll only be able to count those type of people on one hand. True friends are few and far between, when you find them – keep them no matter what.

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Bucket list tick #11: Attend A Concert, Festival or Sport Game

Do this, attend an event maybe not during Covid times as it’s definitely not safe (or even happening unless it’s outdoors) but I truly recommend it.

I’ve never been to a festival but was planning to this year and then… Yeah, exactly! So, when things go back to normal, I definitely will be.

First concert I’ve been to: Capital FM’s Summertime Ball

First football game I’ve been to: Man United

First basketball game I’ve been to: LA Lakers

First theatre performance I’ve been to: The Lion King

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Bucket list tick #12: Learn How To Be More Organised

Organisation skills aren’t a light switch. They don’t turn on when you turn 30…

Do the work before you get there, because trying to learn new tricks at 30 is going to come with its own challenges that’ll leave you with little time for manual self-development.

Any self-development you’ll be doing in your 30s will most likely happen due to life experience – because the older we get, the harder it is to create new habits that we stick to.

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Bucket list tick #13: Read More

The more you read, the more you’ll grow. Honestly, reading is so freeing.

Make a list, and work your way through it. It’s really that simple. Oh, and – if you come across a book that you lose interest in once you’ve started, put it down and start reading the next one.

If you’re reading the right books, you’ll learn what all the fuss is about and why most people love it so much.

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Bucket list tick #14: Try To Learn a New Language

Sort of like tip 12, if you don’t do this during your 20s, you’ll have less time and patience for it in your 30s. It’s not easy though, so choose a simpler one – and if you master it, you’re my personal hero.

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Bucket list tick #15: Get Fit

Our bodies start to change as we go into our 30s apparently, so try to stay fit and active to avoid sluggishness.

Find a fitness regime that works for you and stick to it. Similarly to tip 14, if you manage to do this – you too are my hero!

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Bucket list tick #16: Try Living in A Different City

I haven’t done this personally, but I did work in different cities before.

In a previous job, I ran events in the states so would be out there every couple of months.

But, I’d recommend living in a different city post-Covid for sure. There’s a sense of independence tied with adventure. It’s great.

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Bucket list tick #17: Travel Alone

Again, I was due to do this for the first time this year but it didn’t end up happening.

I’ve travelled alone before, but never done the whole trip alone.

I’ve heard from people who have done it that it’s a mix of lonesome but also fun. It’s ‘fun’ in the sense that you get to do what you want to do all the time, without others there.

I’d do it for the experience but I doubt I’d prefer it to being on a trip with others. I love social interaction aspect that comes with exploring. It also helps that I’m flexible when it comes to excursions.

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Bucket list tick #18: Try To Delve Deeper Into Your Family

If you haven’t done one of those ancestry tests, I’d highly recommend it. It’s so interesting! You’ll find out so much. Alternatively, if that isn’t your style, do more with your actual (immediate or extended) family, i.e. get to know them more.

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Bucket list tick #19: Try New Things

“Variety is the spice of life”, or so they say… Try new things. If there’s been something you’ve always wanted to do, cease the day (again after Covid, if it’s not social-distance dependent)! Get it done.

Whether it’s skydiving or swimming with sharks – whatever it is, YOLO (You Only Live Once) but also keep safe & be well!

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Bucket list tick #20: Get Rid of Bad Habits

Like I said earlier, the older we get – the harder it is to quit bad habits. If there’s something that annoys you about yourself, quit or change it. ‘Trying’ is the first step to overcoming.

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Bucket list tick #21: Buy Something You’ve Always Wanted

I love this one, it really offers a sense of accomplishment. Set yourself a goal and promise yourself that you will purchase whatever it is as a reward for your achievements.

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Bucket list tick #22: Don’t Hold Grudges

Life is way too short to carry negativity with us and drag it out over long periods of time. Forgive and forget, it’s more peaceful that way.

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Bucket list tick #23: Get A Tattoo

I have two and wouldn’t change them for the world. I have 0 plans on getting more, though.

There’s only a couple of pieces of advice I’d offer regarding this… Only get a tattoo if you want to, and if you’re 100% sure that you’ll still like the look of it when you’re old, wrinkly and grey.

You don’t want to regret it and have to pay for it to be laser removed – it’s more painful than getting the tattoo itself too, apparently.

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Bucket list tick #24: Binge Watch The Most Popular Films & Series

When you’ve got kids and a livelihood, you’ll have less time for binge watching movies and TV shows that your friends keep going on about…

My advice would be get as many as you can before your 30s as that’s when (on average) an advanced sense of responsibility kicks in.

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Bucket list tick #25: Go On A Road Trip

I had always planned of doing a road trip around America. It’ll definitely happen in my 30’s as it hasn’t so far!

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Bucket list tick #26: Start Keeping A ‘Good Memories’ Diary

There is nothing better than looking back on all the good times, and not having to be reminded of them solely by pictures on your social-media archive…

I wish I’d kept a diary of the good stuff I’ve experienced in my 20’s… Might start when I’m 30. You heard it here first… 30 is the new 20. 😂

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Bucket list tick #27: There Are Some Things They Don’t Teach You In School

School is home to some of the best memories I’ve ever had. Honestly, we always miss it when we leave.

However, the reality is – it doesn’t teach us everything we need to know in our adult lives… For example: applying for a job, applying for and sorting out a mortgage, tax, childbirth, raising children, managing trauma, managing life, overcoming battles with mental health.

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Bucket list tick #28: Be Ready For Change

Life is fluid. So, be prepared to be shaped and moulded differently (without losing your key values).

When I mentioned being ‘shaped and moulded’, I don’t mean who you are as a person and your ideals or moral compass, what I mean is: being accepting of change and conforming to a different outcome, even if very different to the one you planned.

Stubbornness has never in its history stopped things from happening. So, we can be as stubborn as we like, but it won’t change the outcome.

Life begins at the end of our comfort zone.

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Bucket list tick #29: Meet More People

Don’t be afraid to meet new people, whether that’s friends or dating. I love my friends since childhood, and nobody will ever replace them but life brings new people into our lives all the time, that doesn’t mean we love each other any less. Having more than one friendship circle is healthy.

Now, we’ve come to the end of the post… 🎵 

Have you go any tips of your own you’d like to share? Comment below.

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Another day, another blog… Thought I’d spice things up a bit with a ‘finding a job you love’ past !

Seeing as we’re currently in the weird part of the year between Christmas and New Year (when no-one knows what day it is), I thought it’d be an ideal time to post about & tap into some motivation ‘new year, new you’ topics.

We’re in the middle of a pandemic, and things are very tough. There are many people losing their jobs, and feel like they’re between a rock and a hard place. If you have been made redundant, I am truly sorry. Another opportunity will come your way, I truly believe that.

There might be many people who are considering a career change since Covid lockdown, and I’m hoping that this post will help.

Before I continue, I want to ask you to think about something (below)…

Just think…

‘If you had unlimited opportunity in the world to do a certain type of career, what would you choose?’

For me… I’m grateful to have a full-time job in marketing – but also work freelance as a journalist/blogger, as that’s what mine was.

I majored in journalism and gained opportunities to write for both national and regional publications while studying, and loved every second of it. But being the type who loves a challenge, I switched as I didn’t feel like that career challenged me enough, I’ll explain…

One thing I’m not in doubt about is that I’m talented a writer. I feel like this means that I don’t necessarily need to limit myself to what I write, and who for.

That’s why I took the brave step of going freelance. However, I made sure I could take up a more challenging and fulfilling full-time role in something I wanted to learn more about and get better at – providing me with a stable income. I chose marketing & events.

Right, so let’s get cracking! The purpose of this post is that I want to help you by offering some tips that I’ve picked up along the way…

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life

Confucius
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Tip 1) Don’t listen to others’ opinions on your career choice

First thing’s first, think back to when you were in school. What subjects were you good at/enjoyed? What was your dream career? With the right help, you can make it happen (as long as it wasn’t something unrealistic like “be a unicorn”).

Also, be mindful that everyone has an opinion about everything, and theirs isn’t warranted when it’s regarding a career you should take up & how you choose to pay your bills (within reason of it being legal and above the law, of course!).

If you want to be a footballer, and believe you can do it – train. If you want to be an astronaut, study and get your foot in the door (or should I say: on the moon).

There is literally nothing we cannot do if we have the passion, willingness and determination.

I’m pretty sure that people who appose our choices of career are only doing it to protect us.

They think it’s just a “pie in the sky thing”, because they don’t realise how hard we’re willing to work, or how determined we are to make it happen. It’s up to us to show them and prove it.

An example of this, below…

Love what you do, do what you love

Confucius

Whilst working for Archant (a UK regional newspaper brand), we hired a student on work experience. He was young, and impressionable with a zest for journalism.

He dreamed of being a journalist, but wasn’t comfortable in telling his parents he wanted to choose that career as his parents saw it as one without “shelf-life”. They wanted him to become a doctor instead.

I felt the need to encourage him to stand up about them in a dignified way. As I said, people give their opinions without realising our talents, our passion or our determination.

They think it’s the “easy way out” (from a career with a short-self life), which in hindsight, the world of journalism would’ve definitely been more of an easy way out than doctoring! A career in anything can be as long as we’re willing to work at it.

I gave him this very piece of advice, and received some news a couple of years later that he ended up going to study journalism at University a few years later and landed his first role! 🎉

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Tip 2) Don’t just sit and take rejection

Disclaimer: I’m not talking about being in denial here.. I’m talking about trying elsewhere & never giving up on the dream as a whole.

Yeah, a certain firm/employer might not see your potential, but there are plenty of other firms/employers out there who will. You are the sauce. Believe it, prove it and at the right time, in the right way, you will achieve it.

Take yourself “back to the drawing board” by all means but take all the lessons back with you and learn more, practice your craft more, you’ll get there. Even go as far as asking for feedback from said company/firm who rejected you. This shows tenacity…

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Tip 3) Stay consistent

This probably should be the first one to be honest… Consistency has very rarely led to failure.

People have experienced failure along the way, sure – but it’s their ability to stay consistent that led to the win. That’s the secret to success and is probably the most important too.

Tip 3 made for a smooth transition into tip 4…

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Tip 4) Don’t be afraid of failing

You shouldn’t fear failure. Newsflash: failing doesn’t make or break us… What makes or breaks us is our decisions of whether we give up or persevere.

Fail seven times, stand up eight!

Japanese proverb

Did you know that the likes of Coca Cola and Apple failed a lot before they stumbled across their goldmine products that has now made their companies worth billions?

Even famous entrepreneurs such as Bill Gates and Sir Richard Branson have failed before succeeding.

Your education report card doesn’t map out your life… Your ideas, and decision to innovate and bring them to life without giving up does.

Simon Cowell (the music mogul) and Alan Sugar (entrepreneur & host of the The Apprentice UK) are examples of public figures didn’t do well school but still succeeded.

Look, I’m not saying you shouldn’t study and learn, I’m just saying that if you’re not cut out for it, it’s not the end of the world. Do what you love, and you’ll love what you do.

Besides, there are plenty of vocational courses out there & apprenticeships for a wide range of careers.

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Tip 5) Don’t do a career simply for the money or ease of the journey

Aside from the fact that we’re facing a pandemic and our economies are dwindling, choosing a career based on the salary isn’t the wisest move because if you’re a talented footballer but decide against pursuing the career before choosing something more “realistic”, you might live to regret it.

As a former journalist, I did a lot of internships and writing for free before I started earning. I’m not ashamed of it. It taught me a lot, I got to experience things I never would’ve without it.

My first job in writing was for Archant (covering the London boroughs), I stayed on for seven years… In that time, I did a bunch of writing for underground student online magazines too before landing roles at HuffPost, Closer & T3.

If my pursue of journalism was for the money, it wouldn’t have got me far. It takes a lot of patience and pursuing unpaid/intern experience before you land your big break. Be prepared.

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Tip 6) Consider the option of someday turning your hobby into a full-time job

… but do it wisely and gradually.

I’m not saying quit your day job and commit by becoming self-employed. What I’m saying is, start it up as a side business.

That way, have a stable job and income whilst earning that little extra from your hobby.

Say for example you’re an artist: paint and sell it on. The better you get, the higher you can charge when selling them on – paving the way for setting up your own gallery/business.

Your motto should be: keep grinding, and you’ll get there.

Another way to do it is by saving a chunk of your paycheck each month (or when feasible) from day-job, and put it towards your side-business.

Eventually, you will have enough to stay afloat if you decide take the plunge – but: only take the plunge when you have a good clientele or are financially stable. Because taking a risk like that too soon has its downfalls.

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