A February Catch-up

A February Catch-up

It’s been awhile since I did a chatty catch-up post, hasn’t it? Here’s what I’ve been up to in 2019 so far. 

#19for2019

So far I’ve managed to tick off finishing my Florida 2015 scrapbook, archive and organise my paperwork as well as getting a vlogging camera ready for our Japan trip (and hopefully future trips!) and solving my blog photo problem. Turned out it was easier to just cough up a bit of cash and stay with Flickr. The ridiculous amount of photos I have on there helped with my decision!

I think that’s a pretty good start to my list. One check and two half checks. Bring on the rest of the year. 

Weight Loss

Or lack of it I should say. Since the beginning of 2019 I haven’t really gone anywhere when I look at the scales now. I’ve just yo-yoed the whole month. So things need to get serious. 

I want to get at least a stone off before we go to Japan so I’m back on it with Slimming World. There’s going to be a lot of walking happening during the 2 weeks we’re over there and I want to be as comfortable as possible. That and a scary nurse at my doctors is threatening to switch my medication out if I don’t lose weight. So that’s definitely motivation. 

Health

I’ve been sick. The flu caught me these last couple of weeks in two stages which left me two weeks ago having to be sent home one afternoon and take the next day off, followed by having to call in sick for two days straight last week. So three days off work. Who am I? Before this I could count the number of sick days I’ve had in my working life on one hand. 

At first I felt guilty for taking the days off but in the end I had no choice. I looked like death and don’t get me started on how I felt. I was super stubborn at first and didn’t want to go home but I think that’s just engrained in me from working jobs that didn’t give sick pay. This one does and I don’t have to worry anymore. 

And speaking of the flu…sorry Topher. I passed it onto him as well. He actually took a day off sick today. His first one in the whole 10 years I’ve known him. Apart from his hernia surgery a few years back where he had sick leave. See, even more stubborn than me! 

We both realise now that it’s ok to take a day and heal rather than exhaust yourself trying to get through the day. I feel so much better now and am so thankful I had that time off. It was definitely needed and one of the days was when no one could get in because of the snow anyway so not too bad going. 

General wanderings

I haven’t been out too much in the last month but I did go to my first We Blog North event in a long time. It was a goal setting workshop and just what I needed. Now that I’m all better as well I can fill out the workbook that we got with the session!

Topher and I had brunch at Evelyn’s in the Northern Quarter which was awesome. I’ve heard good things about them so they’ve been on my to try list for a while. Topher had the steak and egg which was delicious and I had the pancakes with honeycomb butter and blueberries which was just heaven. As much as I like pancakes, I always find myself getting too full too quickly with them. Not these ones. Nom.

And speaking of food, this weekend my parents are coming to stay. Whenever they come to visit we always go out for a meal. This time they requested a Korean restaurant since they’re going to Seoul at the end of the month. Of course I turned to my Korea expert Claire and she’s recommended us a place. The table is booked so I’ll let you know how it goes!

And that’s about it really. In other news I’m still slowly decluttering but that’s a long term ongoing process so you’ll definitely know when I’ve finished!

How has 2019 been treating you so far?

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The ABC Of Home Security

*This is a collaborative post

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It seems safe to say that the vast majority of people reading this post will know that they need to ensure that their home is secure. While general ‘good practice’ – such as always locking the doors and windows before leaving your property – definitely have a role to play in achieving the desired security level, for most people, the need for dedicated security measures is well-understood.

Unfortunately, when it comes to choosing “dedicated security measures”, there are seemingly countless options to choose from – which can be more than a little confusing. Below, we’ve sought to go back to basics by highlighting the fundamental, must-have requirements of home security – and you should have no issue recalling these measures in future, given that they are as simple as ABC…

A is for… Alarm

Investing in a reliable alarm system – and ensuring you activate it every time you leave the house – is one of the best home security measures you can take for your home. If you already have an alarm, then it’s worth having it professionally serviced to ensure it’s working as it should – expert advice suggests that annual servicing is usually sufficient. Alternatively, if there is no alarm system currently installed on your property, opting for a new installation is a huge home security boost, so it’s worth considering such a step in future.

B is for… Barriers

In the digital age, many homeowners focus primarily on technological home security measures – and these, as demonstrated by our “A” and “C” choices, are undoubtedly worthwhile. However, there is definitely something to be said for pairing technological security measures with good, old-fashioned barriers; bushes and plants close to entry points and beneath windows, perimeter fences, locked gates, thick trees, and – of course – standard concrete walls all have a role to play in ensuring your home is secure. Essentially, the goal is to ensure that your home looks unfriendly; as if it would be far too much hassle for a prospective burglar to even think about trying to gain access. By combining this “old school” measure with more modern innovations, you can enjoy the peace of mind of a complete, well-rounded home security setup.

C is for… CCTV

Closed-circuit television (or simply “CCTV” as it is more commonly known) is often associated primarily with commercial and industrial buildings, but CCTV can also be enjoyed in domestic properties in order to provide a comprehensive home security solution. By opting for a CCTV installation at your home, you can look forward to enjoying a dedicated security measure that both allows you to monitor your property as and when you please and acts as a reliable deterrent – a home security win/win.

In conclusion

The world of home security can be more than a little tough to decipher, with a vast number of products and innovations available on the market. Above, we’ve sought to focus on the core basics; the essential elements that – combined with sensible, conventional measures such as setting internal lights on a timer and always using door and window locks – can help to ensure your home is as robustly secure as possible.

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Creating my Dream Gallery Wall with Wilko – AD

Creating my Dream Gallery Wall with Wilko – AD

*This post contains items purchased with a gift card that was gifted from Wilko.

Years before I owned my own house, I dreamed of the day I could have a gallery wall. Yes, my dreams are that sad but it makes me happy. And for the last three years that we’ve lived here, I’ve been collecting art, cards and prints ready for this day. We had a few frames and canvas’s up in the living room but there were a lot of gaps.

gallery wall - living room

So last month when Wilko offered to help me finish my gallery wall, I couldn’t say no. It’s impressive to think that with a £30 gift card I managed to get 9 of the 18 items on the wall from Wilko. Part of the reason why I’ve delayed finishing my gallery wall is trouble finding frames that are nice but not going to break the bank. Why didn’t I think of Wilko?

gallery wall - pickles not amused

There are even different ranges so you could have everything matching to one colour. But of course I didn’t go for that (sorry mum) and decided to have a mix of three. To be fair I did choose black, white and oak which is quite minimal. I wanted the art inside the frames to take centre stage.

gallery wall - closeup right

I love how inexpensive Wilko’s photo range is and yet it doesn’t look that way at all. The range I picked from was their middle one I would say. There was an even cheaper range which would be perfect for students and also a more expensive range that would be great for ladies and gents into their bling.

gallery wall - bottom close up

A lot of the frames I picked up were box frames which means you could actually fit some smaller 3D items inside. I took advantage of this for one of the frames in particular and displayed one of the badges Topher and I got on our honeymoon in Disneyland.

gallery wall - length

I love my gallery wall so much. I just can’t stop looking at it. I’ll tell you a secret – the night I finished it and went to bed, I actually got out of bed one more time and snuck downstairs just to look at it one last time.

gallery wall - landscape

Considering the last time I showed you my living room it looked like this, I might be pretty close to showing you the rest of the room! Watch this space. And a big thank you to Wilko for giving me the nudge I needed to get this room looking awesome.

Do you have a gallery wall?

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The Ultimate Guide To Planning Your Far Flung Adventure

It doesn’t matter how settled you should feel, sometimes the urge to change up your lifestyle, pack a bag and escape the monotony of your home life can become too intense to resist. You may crave the sandy white beaches of Thailand, the Oriental splendour of China or you might want to go off the beaten track in Costa Rica. Wherever it is that you have a yearning to explore, you need to consider how you will plan for your far flung adventure.

Some people may state that you are too old or that you have too many commitments or that you’d be a fool for giving up such a well paid job or that you cannot hot foot it halfway across the world with hardly any disposable cash. While they may have a point, this doesn’t mean that you can’t sort out your finances, job, and commitments prior to leaving. You need to consider why it is that you want to leave town for a little while. The world is massive and is craving to be explored. You only live once, and it’s vital that you can venture to distant shores to get your wanderlust kicks. Take a look at this ultimate guide to planning your incredible trip of a lifetime.

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Finances

Before you even think about booking flights, you need to sort out your finances. You may head online to your bank account to see that you are in the red, using your overdraft every month and that you have very little savings to speak of. Don’t throw in the wanderlust towel. You simply have to knuckle down and make your finances healthier. In two months, you can be back in the black, overdraft-free and more comfortable.

One viable option is to look into borrowing responsibly. You can even apply for personal loans with bad credit. Don’t assume you are simply taking on more debt. You will be borrowing to consolidate your debt into a manageable monthly payment. This means when you are abroad, you don’t have to worry about checking your bank account every day to make sure random and sporadic debt repayments have been taken out.

Make yourself a budget that you can stick to and cut out the unnecessary luxuries that you have partaken in recently. You don’t need to pick up that almond croissant and caramel latte on the way to work every Friday and drinks after work don’t need to consist of three rounds. Shave your expenditure and put any amount that you can save into a travel nest egg or towards paying off some of your debts.

If you are venturing overseas, you want to make sure that your finances are well managed. This doesn’t necessarily mean being debt free, but it does mean that your repayments are covered so that you are more free to enjoy your travel experiences.

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Itinerary

While you like the thought of being spontaneous, heading to the airport and hot footing it onto the next plane out of the country, it may be more effective in the long run to spend some time planning your trip. For many countries, you need to look into vaccinations, visas, and documentation. There’s nothing worse than hot footing it to China, only to discover that you don’t have the correct visa and that you have to return to good old Blighty. Spend the time researching your destination of choice and construct at least a skeleton itinerary. It can be difficult to strike the perfect balance between a comprehensive plan and a shoddy itinerary. Aim for something in between, that gives you time to wander off the beaten track a little. Venturing abroad should be exciting, but this exhilaration can slip if you don’t have accommodation sorted. Head online and book your hostels or hotels for every night you are away. This way, you can be sure of a safe place to rest your weary bones every night.

Check out the destinations you want to hit and make a flight plan. Don’t try and head to too many cities in a short space of time. You want to enjoy the places you visit, immerse yourself in the culture and enjoy meeting new people. If you are only ever in one place for two days, you’ll never learn what the destination is really like. Spend a week or two somewhere, get to know the locals, maybe pick up some work and enjoy living like a native.

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Learn The Lingo

Even if you are only heading abroad for three months, it still pays to learn the language of the destination you plan to visit. If you are heading to Japan, the locals will appreciate the fact that you have learned the basics of the language before you set foot in a temple or when you are trying to order sushi at a restaurant. Being able to converse on a more meaningful level, rather than trying to shout or speak more slowly in English, shows that you value their culture and customs, and can result in you forming more meaningful relationships with the people that you meet.

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Source Deals

While you don’t want to scrimp when enjoying your trip of a lifetime, there are some simple ways that you can ensure that you are sourcing the best deals. Venture onto comparison websites for flights and accommodation. If your willing to head to hostels and share a dorm, the cost of keeping a roof over your head can be minimal.

When checking out flights, consider flying at awkward times to save hundreds on your tickets. Sure, you might be jet lagged for an extra day, but you will have an extra wad of cash in your pocket to enjoy on an excursion, a foodie experience or to spend an extra night in a destination.

Trying to scratch that wanderlust itch can be frustrating. However, with excellent planning, thorough preparation and a willingness to save money where you can, you could end up hot footing it on the trip of a lifetime.

*this is a collaborative post

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Bullet Journal 2019 Update

As I mentioned in my last post about setting up my bullet journal, I was trying to find an in-between of my super detailed bujo and my minimal one. So far I’ve been loving my main spreads and have been using them and referring to them. And even my monthly one.

It’s my weekly one that’s the problem. I’m just not filling it in. I don’t know what it is about these dark nights that make me want to take to my bed and binge watch YouTube videos – actually scratch that, I know exactly what it is. My current spread is not giving me the room to breathe during the week. It’s making me feel like I need to fill something in every day and that’s making me guilty when I don’t want to do anything.

bullet journal 2
Bleh.

Look at the state of it. Complete with terrible lighting but I don’t even care. Even though I achieved a fair bit last week (see last weeks post about my Florida scrapbook and my Jordan video) but I didn’t even mention them here!

I wasn’t too sure what to do about it so I’m trialing something. It’s only Wednesday and I can already see it’s going so much better.

bullet journal 1

You may be able to see that this is pretty much exactly the same as before just squished onto one page but I think it eases the guilt if I don’t fill it in. Not entirely sure what the right hand side of this single page will be used for but that’s the beauty of it. I can put whatever I damn please. Let’s see if this tweak works out.

That’s the thing I love about bullet journals, the next page is always blank so you can decide what goes on there. It doesn’t matter if you miss a day or a week or even a month. You can fill it with whatever you want. Hell, if I wasn’t so committed to my spreadsheets you would definitely see a whole load of “Japlanning” in here. Less than three months to go btw guys – I’m so excited and nervous all at once.

Do you do a weekly spread in your bullet journal or do you prefer to just go with the flow?

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